Tuesday, January 29, 2013

It is 66* here today, a stark contrast from only 3 days ago when I ran The Winter Runnerland on snow covered trails with temps in the mid 30's.

Sunday-snow from Friday's snowfall still on the trail. Temp in the mid 30's.
Today and tomorrow 72*! Such weird weather we have here.
I didn't realize when I packed my running clothes how beautiful it was going to be today. I had speed work on the treadmill scheduled, but scrapped that idea and decided to head outside and do a 4 mile loop around my work. It was a good decision.

I didn't have my Garmin or even my phone holder with me so I decided that I could do a 1.25 mile loop around my work 3 times and then if I still had time before I had to head home I would do a half mile cool down. Well, I have been sick for most of the month and have been running at a slower pace just trying to log the miles, but today was glorious. I am finally feeling like myself and the weather couldn't have been better. I ran gadget free, only starting the timer on my iPhone before heading out the door, leaving it on my desk until I returned. I roughly estimated 31 minutes for the 3.75 miles. I knew I was really pushing my pace, but was able to keep it going the entire time. My lungs were screaming, sweat got in my eyes, and I loved every minute of it! I think my pace was just over 8 minute miles! Yay! I head enough time to do another half mile cool down. I am finally starting to feel some gains in my endurance and that I am getting back into racing shape. Good think because the Flying Pirate Half is only 10 weeks away!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

I'm Sick

I'm sick. I have been sick since Dec 30. I had flu-like symptoms the whole week of New Years, but not the flu. I was tested for it and nada. I might not have been the flu, but it felt like it. Fever, body aches, cough. It was a great way to ring in the new year. (Insert sarcasm here.) I had a couple of days reprieve only to come down with some sort of head cold. After waiting in the doctors office with my fake flu, only to be told I didn't have anything they could treat, I swore off wasting another $35 co-pay.

So 23 days later, here I am still sick. It's not the flu, but rather a head cold that wont quit. I haven't let it slow me down until now. I'm beat. I was suppose to do six miles and instead I am taking a nap. I need to get over this cold instead of running myself into the ground. I know it's just a head cold, but I'm over it. I'm going to concede (for now) and rest. Tomorrow is another day.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Movement Prep

Since I can remember I have always been active in one way or another. I played sports growing up and was lucky enough to play college soccer. I was a goalkeeper and although I had injuries here and there, I was never put on the injured reserve list. I was young and thankfully bounced back from injuries relatively quickly.

Fast forward to today....and although I have always maintained an active lifestyle and a decent level of fitness, I do not bounce back from injury like I used to. That and my injuries are so different now than when I was 20. Back then I would get kicked and end up with a huge contusion. Today, I get tendonitis and arthritic pain. What I wouldn't give to trade my arthritic ankle pain for a bruised muscle or brush burn. At least I knew that those bruises and scrapes, although ugly, didn't stop me from doing what I wanted to do.

Why am I talking about injury? What is Movement Prep? No, I am not injured, not right now anyway, but well, I am not getting any younger. It's been 15 years since I donned a soccer uniform and stepped into the goal. I don't play soccer anymore, I run and runners are prone to overuse injuries; tendonitis, stress fractures, PFS, plantar fasciitis, and the list goes on. In the past year I had to deal with a nasty case of ITB friction syndrome. It sucked. It kept me from training the way I wanted, which prevented me from performing the way I wanted. Not being able to run left me feeling depressed and stressed out. I hated it. Now that I am healthy and back to training for a half marathon, I am taking a proactive approach to my health, this is where Movement Prep comes into play.

Back when I was playing soccer our warm up generally consigned of a light jog around the field and some static stretching, you know, bend over, touch your toes and hold, that sort of thing. Before games we did more of a dynamic warm-up that involved us moving across the field while doing butt kicks, lunges with a reach, tin soldiers, etc...that is a dynamic warm-up and although I didn't known it then, this dynamic warm-up is key to injury prevention. Today, many strength coaches, exercise physiologists, and trainers will refer to this as Movement Preparation or simply Movement Prep.

Core Performance gives an accurate description of what movement prep is and have short videos on how to perform each movement. They describe MP as..."It involves going through a series of dynamic movements that increase your core temperature, prepare your nervous system for activity, and activate key muscles that you'll use in your training session. The word "warm-up" doesn't really cover it. That's why we call it "movement preparation," or "movement prep." More than getting warm, movement prep decreases your injury potential and improves your training. And it only takes about 5 to 7 minutes."

You can access a whole routine of MP here on the Core Performance website.

I used to tie my running shoes, wait for my Garmin to load and then start running. Not anymore. I can't afford to not incorporate MP into my routine. I have been doing it before I workout and/or run for about 2 weeks. It probably takes me less than 5 minutes. I can feel the difference it makes immediately. Yesterday I had a sore and tight hamstring and an achy Achilles, as I went down the list of MP exercises I could feel my muscles warm and release. I was able to complete my speed work with no concern about either.

My goal is to get more fluid with the routine and start every workout with these MP exercises. I'm hoping that with the addition of MP to my training routine, among some other changes I have made for a more well rounded plan, I will stay off the injured list and complete my goal of running injury free. Please keep your fingers crossed for me!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Flying Pirate


I am running the Flying Pirate Half Marathon on the Outer Banks of NC April 14.  After the holiday's and being sick I finally completed my first official training week today. Although, I wasn't able to log as many miles as I would have liked, I still feel pretty good about getting back into a training routine.

I plan on following Run Less Run Faster again this year. I had good success with it last year, shaving almost 30 minute off my PR time. I don't expect that again, but I hope to PR by 2 minutes. (I hope!)

My week in review:

Last Saturday I did a trail run that ended with a bloody knee. (I'm blaming that on my too tight new running shoes, which have been replaced and will be returned.)

Sunday was a rest day.

Monday I did some speed work. It has been a long time since I did any real speed work and although I had to cut it short and caused a depletion of oxygen in the gym, I was so excited and felt great once I was done.

Tuesday I did a bike workout. 35 minutes with (10) 1:00 sprint intervals.

Thursday was as challenge. I was suppose to do a tempo run. One mile warm-up another mile cool down with three miles at tempo in between. I warmed up, did a mile at tempo and had to take a walk break. Then I did another mile and another walk break and repeat. I ended up doing four miles, not the five I planned, or at the intensity I planned. I guess I am much more out of shape than I thought.

I ended up taking Friday and Saturday off. I had a conference to go to and pushed my long run to today. I almost slept in, but somehow managed to get up out of my nice cozy bed before the sunrise and ran over 7 miles. It was great! The weather was cool but not cold and it was foggy. It made for a very peaceful run. The best part of it was that I didn't need any walk breaks. Plus all my little aches and pains I usually get took the day off and let me just enjoy a nice long slow run.

I had two down falls to my training last year that I hope to avoid this year. (I know, didn't she just say she PR'd by 30 minutes?) I did but I wanted sub 1:50. So the two things I plan on doing this year is to follow the plan more closely. You are suppose to do 2-3 days of cross training in addition to your running. I didn't really do this. Secondly, I did not max out my long runs and my weekly mileage was short compared to the plan. I am going to add in 2 cross training days, one of which will be a bike workout and I plan on logging more miles. I am not their yet, but hopefully I will get there by the months end.

Monday, January 7, 2013

2013 Running Goals

I don't know what it is about writing my goals that has been so hard to do. I don't do New Year resolutions, but I do like to set some goals both personally and professionally each year. I think goal setting is important, it helps you grow. So here are some of my running related and other personal goals for 2013.....

  1. Run at least 13 races.
  2. Learn to NOT START TOO FAST!! This one kills me ever.single.time. I start races way too  fast, even when I know I started too fast and slow down. I never slow enough. It cost me a sub 1:50 half last year and I won't let it stop me from getting that this year.
  3. PR and break a 1:50 half marathon (see above).
  4. PR and break a 40 minutes 8k. I haven't raced an 8k in a couple of years. This March, watch out Shamrock 8kers, I am finally going to go sub 40 minutes!
  5. Complete Tough Mudder and finally mark this off my to do list!
  6. Not get injured or sick. (This is already a fail, you can read about that in Trail Running Gone Wrong.)
  7. Win my age group in all the small local races I run. (Notice, I didn't say the large races.) They say you peak in you late 30's, well I am in my late 30's. This age group is tough and gets tougher at every race. So not only do I need to PR and be happy with my PR, because according to science it's all down hill from here, I need to win. To me this is my Olympics, the competition is that good! (Side note: I know this must sound arrogant, but if you don't dream big, then you are limiting yourself!)
  8. Incorporate, really incorporate on a regular basis stretching and movement prep to my training plan. This will help tremendously with #6, the injured part not the sick part.
  9. 800 miles. That is just over 15 miles per week. I know to some people this is chump change but for me it will probably be one of the harder challenges on this list.
  10. Run a relay. I have my eye on The Colonial 200, here in Virginia.
  11. Continue to pursue clean eating, menu planning, and hopefully get a vegetable garden put in in February to help with this.
  12. To not let training, blogging, Facebooking, and other time suckers like Pinterest interfere with my family. My boys are getting big and I don't want to miss this precious time I have with them.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Trail Running Gone Wrong

I have been sick, really sick. Some wonderful upper respiratory infection with flu-like symptoms has been going around. It started last Sunday after my run. I got home and couldn't shake the chill. You know the chill, the one that makes you stand in a steaming hot shower until the water runs cold. This chill turned into a deep ache and cold sweats which lasted the day and left me spending NYE with a  deep raspy cough, nothing a little Malibu and Coke couldn't make disappear, but then it was back on Thursday. This time, instead of ringing in the New Year with drinking and dancing, I was laid out on the couch again with chills and cold sweats. WTH! Not the best way to start the new year, let alone get my half training underway, which leads me to today and this gruesome picture!

That is my knee with a chunk of skin coming off. Trust me it's horrific! JK, but it was pretty bloody. I went trail running with my BRF (best running friend) Randi. (Btw, that should be in urban dictionary term.) Due to my recent illness and lack of fitness I was a little less agile on the trails today and out of nowhere I was attacked by a giant tree root! My toe clipped the root and sent me down. I wish I could say that I still had my youthful athleticism and was able to tuck and roll into the landing and pop right back up, the way I used to when I played goalkeeper, but I can't. I did try to tuck and roll, and it ended up being more like sliding into first across the sandy forest floor, but not before hitting my knee on yet another tree root leaving this bloody divot. Yay me!
Coincidentally, I was reading The Boring Runner just before writing this post and Adam posted this picture on Friday:
My tree root was definitely like the root on the left, but bigger! Maybe I should have read his blog before I went running? Would it have prevented my bloody knee? Probably not. I have fallen two times at First Landing, but nothing major. The trails can be pretty tricky out there. Earlier this fall while racing Run Like a Girl, I pasted several women who had become victims of the massive tree roots.
So here is my question for you....
During a race, in which a top 3 age group placing is at stake, would you stop to help someone who looked to have sustained a minor injury? Major injury? Why or why not?

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!
May all your racing dreams come true!