Monday, November 30, 2009

Podiatrist Appointment

I finally made my podiatrist appointment. I am extremely scared to go to this doctor appointment as I don't want a doctor to tell me I shouldn't be running, but I don't want to make the situation worse.....So I am going to the doctor on Thursday.

I went to this doctor two years ago after my first marathon when I had a bad case of plantar faciitis. She was awesome in getting me back to running pretty quickly, but was also honest with me in my capabilities. I am proud of myself that I can go into her office on Thursday and tell her that I haven't ran in almost 4 weeks. The pain is basically gone in my tendon. I feel GREAT! The problem is, I am very scared to start running too soon and to be back where I started and the past 3 weeks of no running will have been for nothing. I want her to tell me that I shouldn't run the 5k on my birthday but that I should be fine for the marathon in January as long as I take it easy like I have. My biggest fear right now is that I have been putting hours into the pool like I have and I won't be able to run another marathon until May. I literally will be heart broken, but I need to do what is best for my legs if I ever want to run that stupid race that our city hosts every April.

Yesterday I did complete my 3 hour pool run. That was torture. The run itself was hard but not terrible. It was the monotony that killed me. I ended up doing 3 pool workouts. I did a ladder up and down from 1 minute to 5 minutes of hard running with 1 minute rest in between. Then I did 5 minutes of hard 8 times with 1 minute rest in between followed by 10x45 seconds hard with 15 seconds in between. And FINALLY I finished with 65 minutes of steady running. I did some warm up and cool downs for all my workouts for a total of 3 hours exactly. Once I got out of the pool I was a wobbly mess. :) The rest of the day was a blur as I had a huge headache from I am guessing dehydration and exhaustion. Luckily, after dinner my husband took the kids and I went to bed and I woke up this morning much more refreshed.

So yes, 3 weeks of no running is now complete. I am hoping on Friday I can report to you all that there is an end in sight for this hiatus, but we will soon see. Have a good week!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving! Happy Birthday!

Not much update here for me. I am still not running. I have been hitting the pool as often as I can, but haven't been in a few days because I have been so busy with Thanksgiving and Gabbie's 3rd birthday. The training has been going pretty good. My arms are toning up and my cardio has been so hard that I nearly throw up in the pool as I am pushing so hard. As to whether this is going to help, I still don't know, but I do know that the pain is going away. I am still hoping to run in my birthday 5k that is in 2 weeks, but we will see. Today I am headed to the pool for a triple workout/long run since I haven't been to the gym in 3 days. My plan is to simulate a 20 mile run so I am hoping to last 3 hours in there. Weekends at the gym pool are not the most fun as there are tons of people so we will see how long it lasts.

Here are some picture from my baby's birthday last night. She wanted a Christmas tree cake, so I made one with my new found cake decorating skills. (I am taking a cake decorating class right now.)

My girls in front of the Christmas tree.


My girls and nephews. My baby nephew, Kenny had just gotten out of the hospital. Poor thing, but he is doing much better!


With the cake.


Blowing out the candles.


Gabbie's Christmas tree cake.


The cake I made at my class last week.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

More Aqua-Jogging and Vermont City Marathon 2010

So since I last posted I have put in probably 4 more hours in the pool, including 2 today. I am water-logged and sore but hoping that I am maintaining some sort of fitness.

Today I did a 2 hour run in the pool. I started off with a 5 minute warm-up. After that I moved onto intervals. Intervals are important in the water in order to keep your heart rate up so I did about 11-5 minute intervals of hard jogging with 1 minute rests in between. Then it was bathroom break time in which I had to pretty much block my lane so people wouldn't hop in. I came back and did 52 minutes of steady running for a total of right around 2 hours. I was shooting for 2-1/2 hours, but my arms were starting to get sore so I called it quits at 2 hours. I really wouldn't mind nice arms so even if I don't maintain fitness as well as I am hoping, at least my arms will benefit.

After my workout and after Friday's workout, I noticed my achillles was sore on my left foot. It wasn't a terrible pain, but I could feel a nagging pain. I am not taking an Ibuprofen and am not feeling pain while in the pool so I can't imagine I am aggravating my injury while I am running. The only thing I can think of is when I get out, my calves are tight, so maybe that is why my achilles is sore. I took a warm bath tonight and the pain was gone almost instantly, so I felt some relief and was able to cook dinner.

I was talking to my husband about my upcoming marathon/half marathon. I know, based on the pain I was feeling today, that I am going to be at a minimum of 3 weeks off total now instead of the 2 I was hoping for. And that 3 may turn into 4 if I am not feeling relief next week. I keep wondering, how long can I go without killing my chances of finishing the marathon? I am absolutely physically fit right now and feel I can run a marathon at any given time as long as I am not injured, but who knows if I can maintain my shape while not running. I don't want to rush back into running because I do want to try and qualify for Boston next year, but I really don't want to walk the Goofy Challenge. Being injured is so frustrating and so mentally challenging. Thank goodness for no time goals I guess. :)

On Tuesday, I found out that my daughters' dance recital is now a week later than they had originally stated it would be. I was so excited to hear this as my husband and I really want to do the Vermont City Marathon again next year and couldn't because of the recital. So I called my husband on the way home full of excitement and he of course was extremely happy. Not even 2 hours later and I got the email that registration was open for the Vermont City Marathon, I was literally dancing. I love love love Burlington, Vermont and can't wait to run that marathon again. So yes, I did get some good news this week.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

My Non-Running Training Plan

So I am on Day 4 of no running. Until this morning, I was convinced this was going to be a very long month. I woke up this morning and I was EXHAUSTED. I have been going to bed early the past 2 nights (I worked out both of those days) so I must be doing something correct with my cross-training.

Tuesday was Day 1 and I headed to the pool. I did 60 laps in just over an hour. I was on the swim team in high school, so swimming isn't hard for me, but my body felt it. The rest of the day I could barely keep my eyes open. Workout #1 was a success.

Day 2 I did 90 minutes on the elliptical machine that I have at home. I watched a movie which kept me on the machine longer than normal. It was a good workout, but I did feel a strain in my achilles within the last 30 minutes and throughout the rest of the day. Workout #2 was a success in terms of cardio, but I do know I can't repeat that workout until I am slightly more healed. Last night I was a little discouraged as I wasn't in the mood to head to the pool every morning but I also want to maintain my fitness.

Day 3, this morning I woke up exhausted and not in the mood to go swimming. I was planning on lifting weights after my swim but I didn't make it to the gym in time to get both in before my husband had to go to work so I knew it was just going to be my swim today. I warmed up with 10 laps which went pretty good. After that I put on my swim shoes and a swim belt and began aqua-running. I read a few threads on the Runner's World message boards this week about aqua-running. I questioned how much of a workout it could be but figured I would give it a try. Surprisingly, my heart rate did go up when aqua running and I enjoyed myself much more than swimming. I didn't have a workout planned so I did a steady 45 minutes of running and then cooled down with 5 more laps of swimming. Now that I am done, I know I didn't work out as hard as I did during my swim but my legs were definitely worked during this workout. Workout #3, success.

I came home and immediately looked up the training program I had been reading about. Pete Pfitzinger has a water running program, perfect since I really love his programs. His plan is labeled a 9 week running program to stay in shape while injured. Now I really hope I will not have to do this program for 9 weeks as I really feel my injury was not as severe as it could have been had I continued running on it, but I will do the program for at least 3-4 weeks and may only introduce short runs and continue aqua-running until I know I can add in road running again. I have read good reviews from other runners who feel they have maintained their fitness using this program and some who have even noted they were faster when they got out of the water. I do have my birthday 5k next month and would love a PR but we will see how it goes.

If you read this post and wonder how to get started with aqua-running when you are injured, I will list a few of the things I have seen recommended. It is recommended that you have water shoes and a flotation belt. These are not necessary but they make it easier. Luckily, my mom had both of these things so that saved me some money. I am currently waiting for my iPod waterproof case and waterproof headphones from H2O Audio. I will write a review on these once I get them, but I do miss my music when I am in the pool.

So there you have my current training program. I am thinking about editing the training program so that I can still get my long runs done on the weekends. I am going to be quite pruny when I spend 3 hours in the pool in order to simulate my 20 mile runs that I had on my training program. This may not sound too fun, but I can honestly say I am excited and happy that I finally can run again.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

DNF on my Half Marathon Today

Today was another humbling experience in my racing career.

I took the past 5 days off for at first what I thought was calf pain. The more research I did, I realized I was having problems with my Achilles tendon. As soon as I knew I had the beginning stages of Achilles tendonitis, I knew that rest was the only option. I spent 5 days cross training and not running. The 5 days helped immensely and I was feeling great yesterday and did a practice 1.5 mile run to see how I felt. I had no pain and thought I would be great for my half marathon today so headed up to Maine this morning.

I decided to race the all women's Maine Coast Half Marathon in hopes to redeem my training after Twin Cities. I knew that because of my injury that my chances of a PR were small, but I wanted to try and see what would happen.

Kathrine Switzer showed up for the race, how cool is that? The race advertises this marathon as an all women's half marathon and "one lucky guy". Kathrine made the comment that when she ran Boston, there were 778 men (not exactly sure of the number) and she was the one lucky girl, so here he was the one lucky man among just under 1200 women. This was probably one of my favorite parts of the day. :)

So we took off and the first 5k was AWESOME. I felt great and I was cruising. Mile 1 was under 7:40 and I settled into an 8 minute pace for mile 2 and 3. There were a lot of rolling hills and I was still able to maintain my pace going up the hills. Now one problem is, my achilles, does not like going downhill. So the initial rolling hills, while I was able to run them fine, my tendon was not happy with me. I saw my husband at around the 5k point and I looked and felt great....Looking back I should have stopped then before the pain started.

Coming down the hill the road along the ocean, so pretty.


Looking very strong and very happy and it was a perfect day for racing.


This was our view for a multiple miles, so pretty! The lighthouse in the distance is the neighborhood we got to run in.




Just over a mile later and the pain began. I gradually slowed down as the pain increased thinking it was just little pain and that I could push through it. I wasn't worried about time, I just wanted to get my 13 miles in. Well going into mile 5 there was a lot of rolling hills. I am not complaining about hills, because I love a good rolling course because I pass people going up, but going down hills was killing me. My mile 4 was around 8:20 and 5 was about 8:40. I was slowing down and the pain was getting worse. I figured, I would just make it back to my husband which was around mile 9 and be done. The decision was pretty much made, but I needed to get to him. I started to get past, over and over again. It really was hard on the ego and I knew I would never get passed by these people if I wasn't injured.

At this point, my first complaint of the half marathon began. The mile 5 or so water stop was totally unmanned. They had a table set up with jugs of water behind it and cups. Women were just drinking out of the jugs. (Ever heard of flu people?) I was annoyed but poured myself a cup and kept going. My next complaint was, where was the course support? I wanted to quit and couldn't find anyone to ask how to get back to the finish line. There were not even police officers around and the traffic was totally blocked so even if I could borrow a cell phone from a spectator there was no way my husband was coming to me other than by foot.

So miles 6-9 went by pretty slowly as I knew the pain was getting worse and I was very afraid of injuring myself worse than I already was, so I took it slow, very slowly. I was trying to enjoy the beautiful day, but who likes to get passed by people and being in pain. We were running back down the pretty stretch along the ocean and I was looking desperately for my husband. I couldn't find him and passed the turn to the finish line. I thought, maybe I could do this and kept going. I made it about 1/4 of a mile before I decided I was done. I quit. This was the hardest decision I have made while running before. I immediately took off my number and crossed the street and walked back to the high school with my head hung low. Walking was painful at all, so I knew that I could finish the half marathon walking, but I don't walk half marathons, I run them. I was not going to wear a medal that I didn't totally earn. (Please note, I find NOTHING wrong with walking in races, if that is how you finish them. I will walk when needed, but 4 miles of walking would not do me any good other than irritate my injury more than it needed to be.)

So I made it to the finish line at around 1:35 on the clock and got to finish all the top finishers of the race. I had extreme envy of their speed and injury-free legs. I waited around for my husband who finally realized after a while that I must have quit and went to the finish line to find me. Stupid, me, was so upset with quitting that I refused to grab water or food after the race. My head was telling me I didn't deserve the food even though I had just ran 9 miles. I paid for that about an hour later when I had the worst headache and chills from not eating or drinking.

We went home and my tendons began swelling up. I was limping around so I let my husband talked me into icing and heating my ankles. Here are pictures of me with my feet in a bucket of ice water and then the hot bath.




I am now planning on 2-4 weeks of rest, more if I need it. This is not a fun situation for me because I run for more reasons than just racing. I need to run for my peace of mind, so I will be a crabby person for the next few weeks. I do plan on cross-training as I was fine with it last week. When I do plan on easing back into training, it will be a GRADUAL easing. I have adjusted my goals for Disney to just finish the races and to have fun. I know as long as I keep my cardio up that I will be able to finish the races, it just won't be as easy if I could complete my training.

The quickly filling up Boston Marathon has made my decision to take it easy over the next few months so much easier. I have read that the race may be filled by Thanksgiving so any chance of qualifying in the winter is now not an option, so I will just enjoy my winter marathon without having any what if's, no need to skip my 1/2 marathon if I am feeling good.

So there is my not-so-fun update. Oh injuries, they are so much fun.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Sore Calves & Halloween Pictures

I have sore calves. No other way to describe the pain I am in right now. According to the Newton website, you need to break your legs into the Newton's. Well, my first run in my Newton's was an 8 mile easy run and I felt great so after Baystate I resumed training as normal rotating the Newton's with my Brook's. Well after a few speed workouts in my Newton's and my calves are killing me. I would think I am injured but for the fact that the pain moves. At the beginning of the run the bottoms of my calves ache and by the end of my 16 mile run yesterday the tops of my calves were dying. And yes, I said dying. My muscles have never felt this sore before. I am also ok during the day, reinforcing the fact that this is just sore muscles.

When I started running 2 1/2 years ago, I had problems with my calves/shins. Maybe I am sensitive to pain, but my nerves tell my brain that I am in a lot of pain. It is really annoying because I know I am fine, but it is no fun running when your eyes are tearing from pain. But I must point out that I am not always in pain while I am running....Once I stop and stretch, the pain goes away. The problem is my calves cramp back up within another mile or so, so I stop way too many times to alleviate the cramps. I did make it for 10 miles yesterday with minimal stretching and at a good pace, the last 6 miles were a different story, but I did finish my run.

I am hoping my lack of miles this week and 2 days of rest on Friday and Saturday will leave me with fresh calves for my half marathon on Sunday. I am not in the mood to blow another race, so we will see how my legs handle 13.1 fast miles.

I would love any suggestions on how to stretch the poor things out. Normal calf stretches help while I am running along with stretching my hamstrings. At home I do more hamstring stretches and roll out the muscles, oh that feels really wonderful. (SARCASTIC, I hate the foam roller, but it does work.) I also don't plan on wearing my Newton's at all this week and I took the orthotics out of my shoes just in case they are worn out. Desperate measures.

Update to when I originally wrote this post....I am going to take the whole week off from running, rest is good. I am not sure this is just my calves or if a combination of new shoes and lack of recovery time has hurt me. I am going to give my legs a break this week and see how I do.

Hopefully you all had a great Halloween. Congrats to all the awesome racers out there. I spent my Halloween celebrating my daughter's 3rd birthday. Her birthday is Thanksgiving weekend, so I had the party early, so that I didn't have to cook for two celebrations so close together. Here are some pictures from the weekend.

My cake I made...


Our trick-or-treaters...


Dora & Diego (I look terrible, I was working on this party for 2 days straight and ran 8 miles that morning.)


Gabbie's new stroller...


The birthday girl...