Sunday, February 28, 2010

ouch, ouch, ouch

Happy to report that the "ouch, ouch, ouch" of the title of this week's blog is in relation to sore leg muscles rather than plantar fasciitis heel pain!  Each day my heel pain has lessened. The runs that Coach Josh had planned ended up being shifted around a bit, but I still got the 27 (point 09) miles in for the week.  Woo hoo! That's the most miles I've run in weeks, maybe months!  The daily details follow, with stats/goals at the bottom.

Monday:  Rest Day

Tuesday:  was supposed to ride the stationary bike, but didn't make it to the gym.

Wednesday:  4.09 miles in 45:13.  Goal was 4 miles at an 11:15 minute per mile pace, and completed it in 11:03 minute per mile pace average!  I took Tasha (husky mix) with me for the first mile and then swapped her out for Riley (golden retriever) for the second mile, and then dropped him off at home and ran the last two miles alone.  Tasha is now faster than Riley!

Thursday:  I was supposed to run 6 miles today, but worked very late instead.  Will run tomorrow.

Friday:  6 miles in 1:06:41 = 11:06 minutes/mile average pace.  Today was scheduled to be a 'rest day', but since I didn't run yesterday, I talked to my running coach and we agreed to shift my schedule. The 6-mile run from yesterday was supposed to be 1 mile warm-up, 2 miles at 11:30 pace, 2 miles at sub-11 minute pace, and 1 mile cool down. I ran it this evening as follows: 11:59 (warm-up), 11:30, 11:29, 10:53, 10:04, 10:46.

Saturday:  Coach Josh had suggested 1000 yard swim plus 45 minutes on the stationary bike, but if I only had time for one, to choose the swim. Well, as usual in my crazy busy life, it boiled down to only having time for one activity...  swimming.  The photo of this blog post is of Bryn's shoe. Bryn spent the night with us last night and this morning, I noticed her one shoe out in the yard. Kyra insisted that she warned Bryn to keep shoes, etc. closed in her bedroom so Riley couldn't get to them! Bryn insisted that she had. So I settled it saying that at one point last night I noticed that Kyra's room door was open when they weren't in there so I suspect that Riley snuck it out when they were off doing something else. Oh well...  I'm greatful that the only damage was to the shoestring rather than to the entire shoe. I took a shoelace out of one of Kyra's outgrown Nike's to replace Bryn's.

Sunday:  17 miles in 3:13:56 = 11:24 average pace. My daughter didn't feel well today, so I opted to play it safe and run on the treadmill in the basement instead of many times around our neighborhood block.  At 1.8 miles, she came down and said she had vomitted. I went upstairs with her for a few minutes, she said she felt better and that I should continue my run. I put a phone in the bathroom and made her promise to call my cell phone if she got sick again or needed me for anything, because she is my higher priority... I can postpone this run if needed.  She didn't call, but I made it a point to stop every 4 miles and walk upstairs to make sure she was okay. Each time she said she was okay with me continuing my run, so I did. DARN... I was really looking for an excuse to stop because 17 miles on a treadmill is torturous!  My leg muscles were so sore afterwards! Normally I would have taken an ice bath after, but I needed to focus on my daughter instead. The lack of ice bath will probably prolong the soreness, but have to prioritize. She sacrificed for me to run, now it's my turn to give her all the attention she deserves. What a great kid!
Clothing:  I ran in my Champion light blue running skirt, yellow sports bra, and Sarasota half-marathon race technical shirt. As I put on the skirt I remembered that the last time I wore it I thought I should retire it because it was too big. Now, I KNOW I should retire it because it is too big and kept sliding down. RETIRE THIS SKIRT!!!
Nutrition:  I ate quinoa with steamed vegies last night, boiled eggs and bacon and toast this morning, Zaxby's buffalo/grilled salad for lunch.  Then I consumed one Clif gel at mile 5, one Hammer gel at mile 9, another Hammer gel at mile 13, a bottle of water (plus 2 cups during checks on Kyra), and a bottle of Heed/water during the last few miles.  I felt like I had perfect energy and had NO stomach issues. Yay!

Weekly summary:
  • Days run this week:  3
  • Miles run this week:  27.09
  • Highlight of the week:  ran 27 freakin miles!  Plus... heel feels better and no tummy issues during/after long run!
  • Goal for next week: run through muscle soreness

Sunday, February 21, 2010

heel healing

Started the week happy to be over the variety off illnesses I had last week. But my heel pain got progressively worse. It was so bad on Wednesday morning, that I broke down and made an appointment with my sports medicine doctor. Thankfully, he could see me that afternoon. X-rays negative, plantar fasciitis. He injected my heel with cortisone and two other meds, gave me heel cushions to wear in my shoes, said to continue icing/stretching, and that I could resume running the next day. No pain on Thursday, tiny pain on Friday. Wish I had gone to see him a month ago! I feel like a new woman now that the pain is gone!  I'm going to start writing more details about long runs in hopes of learning lessons and making future improvements.  My focus is going to be on weather/clothing and nutrition/hydration since these are the two areas that I seem to have the most problems with.  My weekly running details follow...

Monday:  Rest Day

Tuesday:  stationary bike

Wednesday:  swimming, doctor for heel pain.  I'm so relieved that it's not a stress fracture and that I can continue running! Hope the cortisone shot kills the pain!

Thursday:  5.5 miles in 59:39, and it felt great!  Goal was one mile warm-up, two miles at 11:30 pace, two miles at sub-11 pace, half-mile cool down.  Actual:  11:59, 11:25, 11:15, 10:38, 9:16, then cool-down half mile.  Was a great run. I'm so happy to be pain free!

Friday:  Rest Day. Received an awesome magazine type format of race results from the 2009 Chicago marathon in the mail today.  Although I was disappointed in how I performed in that race (later diagnosed as hamstring tendonitis), I was so happy to see that my name/finish time wasn't on the very last printed page of race results. Woo hoo!  Looking forward to performing better on 10/10/10.

Saturday:  Long Run
Run details:  10.04 miles in 1:51:38, and felt great.  Began run at 12:55 p.m.  I ran at the cushy high school track for a soft surface to test the heel. Coach said to do 8 slow/easy miles, if heel didn't hurt, and stretch it to 10 if it felt good.  I felt great until about 7.5 miles, when my left patellar tendon (knee) felt like it was on fire.  I walked a few minutes and stretched it really good, then continued. I think it may be from running non-stop on a flat surface for such a distance.  I usually walk a few seconds at each water stop on long runs, which are usually on hilly routes.  The few minute walk and stretch released the burning sensation.  Coach suggested the pace of 11:10-11:20 for this run.  He said to do it at a comfortable pace that I would feel like I could keep going forever.  My average pace was 11:07 minutes/mile.  I just started crusing easily around the track and that's the way it worked out.  I looked at my Garmin frequently, but only rarely made adjustments to pace based on the stats it was giving me.  I went by how I was feeling rather than the numbers on the watch.  I was definitely tired at the end, so I wonder if I should have gone a little slower.  My average heart rate was 151; I don't know enough about heartrate training to know if that's where it should have been or not.  Oh well, miles done, and with the exception of that 7-8 mile point where my knee was burning, I think it went well.  The mile splits were:  11:00, 10:57, 11:05, 10:58, 11:02, 11:06, 11:05, 11:37 (walk/stretch knee), 11:13, 11:08.  After the run, I came home and sat in a cold bath for 20 minutes in hopes of reducing inflammation in heel, knees, legs, etc.
Weather: 60 degrees and sunny (woo hoo!)
Clothing: white summer Nike hat, Nike sunglasses, hot pink long-sleeve loose fitting shirt, compression tights, shorts, thick balga socks, Asics Gel 2150 shoes.
Under the same weather conditions, what would I do differently? I pushed the sleeves up within the first half mile, so next time, wear short-sleeves. The looseness allowed enough air flow to keep me from getting too hot.
* Last night: I ate quinoa topped with organic diced tomatoes and steamed vegies (brocoli, zuchini, carrots, onion, garlic).  I didn't have a recipe, but just created my own meal.  And wow, it was delicious! Wonder if I can repeat it? 
* Pre-run:  I slept late.  Around 11:45 a.m., (an hour and 15 minutes before run) I ate three boiled egg whites, a cup of steel-cut oatmeal with a teaspoon of honey and a handful of raspberries.
* During run:  I consumed a vanilla clif shot gel and water at mile 2, water at mile 4, sips of lemon-lime Hammer Nutrition Heed at mile 6, heed at mile 8 and again at mile 9, then finished off my heed bottle after the run.  Heed was mixed 1 scoop in 28 oz bottle (100 calories).
* After run:  About 30 minutes after run, ate a small plate of left over quinoa topped with tomato/vegie mix.
* Results?  Fueling felt good during run. Came home and pooped immediately.  Felt the need at mile 3 but held it in since the bathrooms are locked at the track during non-school hours/events.  Pooped again about 2 hours later.  Happy for no cramps/diarrhea!

Sunday:  3.15 mile jog/walk with Riley (golden retriever) + 1000 meters swim.  Coach Josh had scheduled me to do 45 minutes on the stationary bike + 1000 yards swimming today.  But the day was just too gorgeous to spend it inside on the stationary bike.  Another 60 degree and sunny day.  Plus, Riley has been waking me up several times a night lately, so I thought that a jog/walk may tire him enough to let me sleep all night.  So I took him to Stone Mountain.  Lots of other people had the same idea; it took me a while to find a parking spot.  There were a lot of people and dogs on the trail, so we spent more time walking/waiting for people to pass, than we did jogging. He used to easily run 4 miles on the trail, but today he lost steam at 2 miles.  I haven't been taking him running much lately because of the weather, my heel, and focusing on quality work-outs.  I'm looking forward to being able to do those easy recovery runs so I can get him back into shape.  At 2.5 miles, he had been panting heavily and refused to drink water.  He normally runs in front of me, but now was lagging behind.  So I stopped and made him sit for about 10 minutes since we still had about a half-mile to go and this was unusual behavior.  We ended up walking the last mile. He refused to drink water on the trail or at the car and continued to pant heavily.  He looked happy though. As soon as we arrived home, he drank out of his water bowl and happily greeted the dog that we had left behind; I just can't handle both of them on the trail and Riley is the one in most need of exercise.
Swim:  After ensuring the dogs had plenty of water, I changed into my swimsuit and headed to the pool.  I wondered if I would be able to get 1000 meters in before the pool closed. I decided that I would just do what I could and quit at either 1000 meters or when they closed the pool.  Arriving this late kept me going strong and I swam faster than I have been lately.  1000 meters in 33 minutes.  Felt great!  I'm really getting into swimming.

Weekly Summary:
  • Days run this week:  2
  • Miles run this week:  15.54
  • Highlight of the week:  Heel feels better!  No upset tummy after long run!
  • Goal for next week:  run more with continued heel healing 

Sunday, February 14, 2010


It's been a rough week.  I've been fighting a cold all week and had a fever on Thursday.  We had a snow storm on Friday, which delayed the start of the half marathon on Saturday until noon.  I really enjoyed running the Run the Reagan Half Marathon along snow-lined streets, but the drive there was treacherous.  My heel is hurting worse after running the race, but didn't hurt during. I started having an upset stomach two hours after the race and it's still going.  Hoping for a healthier week next week!  On the positive, the runs that I did this week were great!  And, Kyra (my daughter that doesn't like to run) decided to go for a one mile run on the treadmill Sunday.  My weekly details follow:

Monday:  Rest Day

Tuesday:  I came home from work and had an awesome run on the treadmill while Kyra and Zoe were playing. I totally surprised myself by nailing what I thought was going to be a hard-to-accomplish run prescribed by my running coach. I've had a stuffy head/runny nose for the past few days and felt aweful today. I wasn't sure I could meet his expectations. He prescribed a 4 mile run at a 11:15 minute/mile "nice and easy pace".  Hate to say it, but 11:15 isn't exactly "nice and easy" for me. But it wasn't too hard. I'm used to a slower first mile for warm-up, but tried to hit the pace from the start. Right shin tightened slightly, but finally relaxed in mile 3. I was concerned about hitting the pace before the run because I've had a stuffy head/runny nose the past few days, but surprised myself and nailed it. Actually head/nose feel better afterwards; yay!  I think it helped me to listen to music, rather than podcasts during the run. It kept me pumped.

Wednesday: 1000 yard swim.

Thursday:  I was scheduled to run 5.5 miles today, but this cold has gotten the best of me. Wondering if it is a sinus infection instead. I was so tired all day. Mid afternoon I realized I had a fever. After work, I came home, ate a light dinner, and went to bed.

Friday:  I woke up at 9:30 a.m. and called my boss. I left a message saying I was sick and would be taking a "rest day". What? I must have still been dilirious! I meant a "sick day". But in reality, rest is what I did. I went back to bed and slept until 2:30 p.m.  It was snowing.  I was still tired, but decided I needed to go pick up my race packet before the weather gets too bad. In the evening, I felt so much better. I needed the sleep!

Saturday:  Run the Reagan Half Marathon.  I ran this race sandwiched between a 1 mile warm-up and a 1 mile cool-down to get 15 miles in for the day.  See my separate blog post for more details, but in summary, I felt very positive about the run!

Sunday:  My heel hurts pretty badly from running so much yesterday. I've been icing and stretching it. Bummer.  I'm supposed to swim and bike today, but that's not going to happen, thanks to yet another illness. I started having diarrhea about two hours after the race yesterday and it's been non-stop. As of this morning, I lost 3.2 pounds in 24-hours. I'm sure it's dehydration from the race and diarrhea. I didn't get much sleep last night. It's slowed a little, but still going. Hope it ends soon!

Surprisingly, my daughter walked into the living room this morning, dressed in running attire, and said she was going to go running on the treadmill. She HATES to run! I was shocked!  She said she was bored and wants to improve her mile time. They have a run test each year at school. I showed her how to operate the treadmill and then left her to it. She ran a mile in 9:30. She said her previous mile time was 9:55.  Guess all that basketball running has improved her fitness!  Now if I could only convince her to go running with me...

Weekly Summary:
  • Days run:  2
  • Miles run:  19.07
  • Highlight of the week:  Run the Reagan half marathon with snow-lined streets
  • Goal for next week: feel better. 

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Run the Reagan half-marathon

Today I was scheduled for a 15-mile long run, but my running coach agreed that it would be a good idea to incorporate it into a local half-marathon.  I think the first time I ran this race was in 1995.  I still have the sweatshirt. Back then, the race was held in late October. I have fond memories of my mom coming to visit while I ran this race, on her birthday.  At some point, they switched it from October to February.  I can't find my old running logs, but I think this is my 5th time running this race.  Last year I ran the 10K.  My mom died 10 years ago; each time I run this race I think of her. Fond memories.

I picked up my race packet yesterday afternoon.  They said to check the website for potential changes in start times or cancellation because of the weather.  The race was originally supposed to begin at 8 a.m.  But, the metro-Atlanta area received heavy snowfall yesterday.  This photo was taken at 7 p.m. on Friday.  Early evening they sent an email and posted on the website that the race start was postponed until 10 a.m.  I set my alarm clock for 7 a.m. I started making breakfast and got another update; race postponed until noon.  I have 3 inches of snow in my yard. Lots of accidents reported on local news.  Although it would only normally take me 20 minutes to drive to the race start, I decided to leave home at 9:30 in case roads were bad/closed.  Good thing I did. I made it several miles down one road before I had to turn around and pick a different route because of ice/cars all over the road. The next route was better, but still slippery in some areas with cars lining the ditches. I was so stressed driving. I eventually made it to the race start, safe and sound, at 11 a.m.  I'd had several adrenaline rushes during near slips off the road. Not a good way to start a race. Anyway, I was just happy to have made it.

They close down the Ronald Reagan Parkway for this race.  At 11:30 a.m. I did a warm-up mile along the route. The road was clear, but snow lined the median and ditches. It was gorgeous! During the half-mile out, I ran against a strong wind; when I turned around, it felt like the temperature had risen 20 degrees. 

The race started at noon for those running the half-marathon and 10K.  It was about 30 degrees and windy.  I felt really good about this run/race. I only walked for a few seconds at 4 hydration stations, and a few seconds under 4 bridges where the road was icy/slippery. I felt better about this half-marathon than other ones that I've done in the past two years. I tried to follow my coach's pacing plan and came close. The first 3 miles were mostly downhill, so as hard as I tried, I couldn't get down to 12 minutes/mile that my coach had prescribed, but it was definitely an easy pace. And since this was an out-and-back, the last 3 miles were mostly uphill, so they were slower than rest. My mile splits (and coach's goal) were:  first 3 miles (goal 12 minutes/mile) 11:04, 11:30, 11:45.  Middle 7 miles (goal 11:30-11:40 minutes/mile): 11:26, 11:32, 11:37, 11:19, 11:27, 11:33, 11:27. Last 3 miles (goal solid comfortable): 11:28, 12:05, 11:25.

I ran strong through the finish and received my medal. The medal is much cooler this year than two years ago.  My Garmin read 2:29:59.  (Later I looked at official results, which listed 2:29:58.)  After receiving my medal, I did a 1-mile cool down jog/walk/jog to get my total of 15 miles in for the day.  It wasn't a PR, but a PR wasn't my goal for today, anyway.  However, I did run it more than 16 minutes faster than I did two years ago, and it definitely felt easier than it did two years ago, also. Progress!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Bye bye diet coke, hello improved running/health

Bye bye diet coke, hello improved running/health...  I tried to quit diet coke last summer and it lasted about a week, maybe two, until fatigue drew me back into the habit.  I've wanted to improve my health for quite a while and this has stuck out to me as one of the important changes I should make. For some reason, I decided that Groundhog's Day (also my grandmother's birthday) would be my last day of diet coke. I had my last diet coke on Tuesday morning, 2/2/2010. Wednesday I missed it, but survived. Thursday I had the most massive headache that I can ever remember having. Twitter friends told me that if I could just hold out one more day, I would be over the habit. They were right. Headache was gone on Friday and I had no desire for diet coke. I didn't crave it over the weekend either; yay!  My twitter friends and running coach told me that quiting diet coke would improve my running. Well...  not sure if it was from taking a week off running or from quiting diet coke, but this week I ran much better.  I didn't have any tummy issues, which was a major plus! It's too early for me to determine if my tummy issues are related to diet coke, but I'm hopeful.

Monday:  Rest Day

Tuesday:  Coach prescribed 3 miles at a "nice and easy" 12:00 minute/mile pace.  I was so happy to run again!!! Heel still hurts a little, but didn't hurt during run.  It wasn't worse afterwards, but hurts about the same as before. Yay!  12:00 minutes per mile seemed too slow after a week off running, so I bumped it up a notch for miles 2 and 3.  Splits were:  mile 1 = 12:00, mile 2 = 11:32, mile 3 = 11:15.

Wednesday:  Coach prescribed 800 yards of swimming. The local pool is in meters so I did 800 meters instead (a little farther). Felt great! Got in a groove and swam faster than last week without much more effort. Yay!

Thursday:  Coach prescribed 5.5 miles with 1 mile warm-up, 2 miles at 11:30 pace, 2 miles at sub-11:00 pace and a half-mile cool down. The run felt good!  Splits were:  12:13, 11:18, 11:15, 10:38, 9:58, and cool-down half mile was 5:15.

Friday:  Rest Day. My daughter's end-of-the-season basketball party was tonight. Too bad the team's coach didn't make it... I took a few hours off of work to drive out-of-my-way to go to the only store in metro-Atlanta that had a Slipp-Nott board in stock, which was the gift we chose for him.  He had asked for parents to contribute to purchase one mid-season, but it was at Christmas time and we just couldn't pull it together.  I gathered enough money from parents for the coach's gift to purchase it...  and he didn't appear at our end-of-the-season party...  And we selected this date based on him saying he would be able to attend.  Oh well... The team ate pizza/pasta/salad and distributed awards at the Stone Mountain Pizza Cafe and then went to the Atlanta Hawks vs Chicago Bulls basketball game. It was a close game, but we were all so excited that the Hawks won! What a great way to celebrate a losing season (daughter's team lost all games this year).

Saturday: THANK GOODNESS! Finally a good long run! Coach prescribed 8 long slow distance (LSD) miles to be stretched to 10 if it felt good. And good it felt... Mile splits were:  13:03, 11:59, 11:53, 11:45, 11:48, 11:38, 11:32, 11:26, 11:16, 10:58.  I was so happy to not have an upset stomach mid-run!

Sunday:  Coach prescribed swimming and biking for today, but my body needed major rest.  I slept until 2 p.m. today, despite going to bed at 7 p.m. last night. I was so tired from weeks of less than optimal sleep.  Plus I now have a stuffy/runny nose. Just didn't have the energy/motivation to go swim/bike today. Despite sleeping ~18 hours, I was still tired.  Uh oh...

Weekly summary:
  • Days run this week:  3
  • Miles run this week:  18.5
  • Highlight of the week:  Having 3 great runs, and less heel pain.
  • Goal for next week:  Even less heel pain + participate in the Run the Reagan Half-Marathon