Getting Back on the Horse

It’s been months since I posted here. It just hasn’t been a priority with so much going on lately. I thought I’d pop in and do a little update post-surgery.

Surgery was back on November 7th. What was supposed to be a quick, get in, pull out the floating body, sew it up, turned out to be a little more invasive. When they got into my knee, they saw some cartilage damage from my 20 year old injury and the floating body. In order to help it regenerate a bit, they did some microfracturing. When I woke up from the anesthesia, I was disappointed to learn it would be at least three to four weeks until I would be able to run. I left on crutches which was unexpected, and I was in some pain. The pain meds did a number on my stomach so after the first two days, I stopped taking them.

Over the next week I started doing a series of recommended exercises to get mobility back in my knee. After my first post-op, I was told that I could ride a stationary bike, very slowly an with no resistance. They also told me I was going to have to wait three to five more weeks to run. WHAT?! That was a blow. Not that I was ready to run just yet, but I started to panic as I was suppose to start marathon training the first week of January.

I listened though. I rode that stationary bike and started walking on the treadmill. A few weeks later, I was given the ok to start running. My first run was on the indoor track of our local sports dome. It felt strange and stiff, but the longer I ran, the better it started to feel. I covered about three miles that morning and had a huge smile on my face.

After that run I followed up with the coach I’d contacted a few months prior. I had decided I would need help getting back from surgery and I also needed help breaking through my plateau. He started me run/walking and after a few weeks of that, slowly (both pace and distance) building a base so I could safely start marathon training. I happy to report, things are going well thus far. My legs are tired but I haven’t had any pain. I don’t have that little floating fragment pulling at my tendons which is awesome. My IT band gets so from time to time, but I figure that’s normal considering they cut through it.

I’ll report back soon about how marathon training is going thus far, how it’s different from what I’ve been doing and why as a coach, I wanted a coach.

Six in One

I’m solidly in the camp that you do not need to run every day to be a successful runner. I’ve adhered strictly to my run only three to four days/week rule for years now. That is, until last week, when I was reminded why I don’t run so much.

Monday morning I was excited to try a strength training class that I hadn’t done in years. I’ll admit, I went in a little cocky thinking that it wouldn’t be a big deal since I’ve been doing Orangetheory for more than a year now. I.was.wrong. Holy cow, an hour of strength training did me in. I was sore before the class was even over. Come 7 p.m. I get a text from my friend Ashley asking to go for a short, easy run with her. Couldn’t pass that up. We did about three miles.

Tuesday I had my usual run. I did a six mile tempo and my butt and legs felt it the entire time. I knew I was in for it on Wednesday night at OTF.

Wednesday, Orangetheory. Usually I run between 1.5-3 miles total. Yeah, not this week. This time I ran 4.16 miles of pushes and all-outs. Now I was up to three days in a row of running. That’s ok, I do that fairly frequently.

Thursday I did my first 400m intervals in a long time. With warm up and cool down, that was a total of 5.75 miles. That was my third day in a row of intense running, fourth day in a row of running. My body was feeling it.

I took Friday completely off. In fact I think I only took 6000 steps the entire day. I had the Rice Lake Classic to run Saturday morning and I didn’t want to totally blow it after four days and 19+ miles.

Saturday morning, I really did not want to go to the race. It was hot, humid and I was tired. Tired from my intense workouts, tired from having company all week, tired from not getting enough sleep. As soon as the race started, my legs made it known they were done. I felt my sore glutes with every step. I tried to move my legs faster, but they didn’t listen. Instead my bone fragment pulled in my leg causing burning and by the second mile had a minor locking incident. I just wanted it to be over. Turns out, I ran the exact.same.time as I did two years ago and came in third in my age group. I should be happy right? I placed in my age group. I was so disappointed. All I could think about is that I am stronger and faster than I was two years ago, so I should easily be able to run a faster time.

After talking to my mom last night I realized, I am stronger and faster. Two years ago if I had worked out that hard leading up to the race, I would have run way slower. I would have walked more and been in pain. I guess I needed someone else to help me look at it from another angle.

I was supposed to run 10 miles total Saturday, but after the Rice Lake Classic, running the kids run with Ella, and spending two hours at Maple Grove Days in 90 degree weather, I was exhausted. Sunday afternoon when we got back from camping, I went to the gym and slowly, ran my 10 miles. I wasn’t going to do all 10, but slowing my pace down made it doable.

Monday morning, I was so tired and sore. My body was not happy. I went for a walk and called that good.  It’s amazing how a few unplanned runs and an additional session of intense strength training affected me. Lesson learned, six days a week of running doesn’t really work for me. At least not when I have four intense runs. Not when I want to excel. I am considering adding a fifth day, just a short recovery run maybe on Sundays. We will see how it goes.

Indianapolis Monumental Half Training {Week Two}

I’m a firm believer in practice makes perfect and if it ain’t (I cringe at that non-word) broke, don’t fix it. That’s been my philosophy with my training for a few years now. I’m consistent. I found the marathon training plan that worked for me. While I deviate a tiny bit, I’ve stuck with it. It’s helped me go from a 5+ hour marathon to Boston. One thing this modified training cycle is giving me is an opportunity to do a little experimenting.

Here’s what I’ve been toying with:

  1. Warming up longer for short, fast intervals. I have always done a standard warm-up and cool down of one mile. I think adding the additional mile helps my legs loosen up a bit more and the 400 and 800 m intervals don’t feel so damn hard.
  2. The tempo run. Yeah, apparently I’d been selling myself short, which I learned in my class. Now I don’t include my warm-up/cool down in the total tempo mileage. So a four mile tempo is a legit four miles at tempo pace (not a half mile warm up/cool down and three miles at tempo), six miles total if I include my warm-up and cool down.
  3. Adding an easy paced run the day after my long run. My long runs are not what they usually are, but this week I really enjoyed my slow miles. I got on the treadmill to keep my pace in check. Come Monday morning, my legs felt good. I’m going to try to keep this up and see how it goes. Maybe I’ll keep them during my Boston training cycle.

You run and you learn right? Two more days until I get to register for Boston!

Monday -Rest
Tuesday – 1 mile WU + 4 mile tempo + 1 mile CD
Wednesday – Orangetheory
Thursday – Rest
Friday – 2 mile WU + 4×800 @ 6:27 + 2 mile CD
Saturday – 9 mile run
Sunday – 3.35 mile easy run

Indianapolis Monumental Half Marathon Training {Week One}

This reset was just what I needed! You know how long my long run was this week? Seven miles. SEVEN! It was so amazing not to have to wake up at 4 am to get ready to go for a double digit run. Could I go out and run 13-16 miles? Sure, did I want to or have to? Nope! Gah, I should train for half marathons more often. Lightbulb: Maybe that’s what I’ll focus on after Boston.

Anyway, this week was the start of getting myself back in gear. It was also the last week before I send my baby off to kindergarten. What? How did that happen? Tear. More like lots of them. She’s so ready, but I’m just having a hard time believe it’s almost here. Back to running. There was not much of note this week, other than my weird knee burning flared up during my tempo run. I just slowed a bit and was good.

From my coaching class (more on that later), I realized I hadn’t been warming up or cooling down enough for my intervals. So this week because my intervals were really short and fast, I added an extra mile to both warm-up and cool-down. When I was done I felt great and fully recovered, rather than feeling like I may keel over.

Here’s how it went:

Monday – Rest (not really planned, but that’s how the cookie crumbles)

Tuesday – 2 mile WU + 4×400 @ 6:07 min/miles (first one was actually at 5:59) + 2 mile CD

Wednesday – Orangetheory

Thursday – Rest

Friday – 1 mile WU + 3 mile tempo + 1 mile CD

Saturday – 7 miles + 2.5 mile hike with the fam

Sunday – 30 min elliptical + 20 mins weights

Lake Wobegon Marathon Training {Week 3}

“The marathon starts in a few minutes,” I told my family with excitement on Saturday afternoon. Josh asked me to see if I could figure out if a guy he went to high school with was running in the Trials again this year. Found him, as I turned on the TV to watch the some of the fastest American marathoners do everything they could to secure one of the six spots on the Olympic marathon team. As I watched them look effortless as they ran sub-6 minute miles, I was in awe. I mean holy hell, I felt like I might die during my quarter mile intervals this week which were at a slow pace for them.

I continued watching at the gym, where I was again relegated to the treadmill for my long run. Damn Old Man Winter won again. I was exhausted from a rough night of sleep Friday night, so I decided to take it easy. I was just going to cruise. As I was just taking it easy, I could not take my eyes off the screen. These athletes are amazing. I was especially impressed by Des Linden who won marathon pacing. I mean seriously, to give it that kick in the last mile to come in second, wow. #pacinggoals

Right as the top three women were finishing, my run ended as well. It was one inspiring run. Maybe one day I will be able to run one mile as fast as their average for the entire marathon. Time to get on those intervals!

I was so excited about the race, I talked to Josh about it the rest of the day. I think he was sick of hearing me wax on about how awesome these competitors rocked the race in less than ideal conditions. Maybe in four years I can watch in person.

Monday – 8 mile stationary bike + weights
Tuesday – 10×400 @ 6:18 (6.75 miles @ 7:41 min/mile avg)
Wednesday – Orangetheory Fitness
Thursday – 6 mile tempo (7:58 avg. min/mile avg)
Friday – Rest (I remembered why I don’t run three days in a row. Sore!)
Saturday – 14 miles
Sunday – Rest