Monday, November 29, 2010

Outback Distance Classis Recap + Thanksgiving

So Thanksgiving is over and now it's Christmas, which is really scary to think that this year is over already.
Thanksgiving morning I woke up bright and early for Jacksonville's "Turkey Trot" the Outback Distance Classic- Nothing like running a half marathon to really earn your dinner!

This was without a doubt probably one of the worst races I have had- I seriously almost quit like 17 times during the race. I was given the ok to go out at a 9 minute pace which would have put my finish time at 1:58 and I was content with that. I managed to stay on that pace for the first 5 miles, and then just fell apart, my hip was already aching and there were rolling hills on the course and lots of turns and I wasn't being super careful. Combine all that with the fact that I don't really feel like I'm in shape from taking so much time off and you get a really crappy race. I mentally was not in it the way I needed to be, and it's hard to be mentally sharp when you have no control over your body and it could fail you at any minute.

John came out to take lots of pictures, which will have to wait for another post because they are at home, and I am not. I really think if he wasn't there I would have stopped somewhere along the way and made someone take me home, but I stuck it out, and finished in 2:05:06, a lot faster than my half last weekend, but still not up to my standards. I have never had a bad race like this, where I literally wanted to quit, I love to race, I am not fast but I can execute a race plan to a T and that is why I think I love races because I always nail the plan, and I guess I did nothing I would normally do during this race, I felt reckless out there with no strategy. Oh well, onward and upward, the next race will be better.

I am now currently on day 4 of a running hiatus, I have another massage booked for later this week, and I have lots of cross-training plans, but truth be told I get very angry when I walk into the gym and see people running on the treadmills. I get even more angry at the people I see running outside. The goal is to go back out on Monday feeling back to normal and get back to my normal running, so here's hoping, not just for my sake and sanity, but for the fellow runners who now all have targets on their backs if my plan does not go well.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Pre-Thanksgiving Holiday

Happy Thanksgiving Eve to everyone! J and I both had the day off today and spent the day running errands and wasting time, it felt nice to not have any real obligations and just enjoy our day off.

A few things we did accomplish... Costco and Whole Foods. Somehow I have managed to eat an entire pound of Spinach in just 2 1/2 days, probably because I have been eating these like it's my job...

I guess since the temperature has headed back into the upper 70s I have been craving smoothies. I basically make my standard smoothies (strawberry, orange, banana) and add 2 huge handfuls of spinach- looks awful, tastes amazing!!!

I also had to pick up my packet for tomorrow's race, and while at the running store I picked up something for my tree....

I always get a new ornament every year, and I thought what better than to remind me of what I spent so much of this year focused on. I also picked up a 13.1 ornament for my mom, she has gotten to be quite the racer.

So now I am watching Eat, Pray, Love on Redbox and trying to collect myself for tomorrow's race. I have been given the green light to go out at what I will call conservative half marathon pace, and to pace off another girl until mile 8. If at mile 8 the knee still feels good, I am allowed to really pick it up- here is hoping the plan works! I am planning to do everything as I did on Sunday, and praying my knee responds the same.

Everyone enjoy the start of your Thanksgivings, and I will see you tomorrow with a race recap!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Women's Half Marathon Weekend Recap

Hello and Happy Monday!I have been a major blog slacker since last week, so this will be a long recap.

So rewinding to Friday, I got up early to test the knee out after my Thursday night massage. The massage went well, she was able to really target where the tension was in my leg, and which muscles were weak and which ones were doing the over compensating. Good to know moving forward so I know what to be targeting. She also showed me how to apply the KT Tape to my leg to try and alleviate the pain while running.

Friday's run I went an easy 3 miles, average pace 9:15, I also wore the knee strap I bought to try and figure out where I like it best. I changed positions for each mile, not sure if any spot was better than the other, but I was able to finish all 3 miles without the stabbing knee pain, another win!

Fast forward to post-work Friday, I made the 3 1/2 hour drive to Tampa for the weekend. I made a super fun playlist for the car trip and it flew by, before I knew it I had arrived at Penny's apartment. After a quick wardrobe change we were headed out for the evening. Since the race wasn't until Sunday, we knew Friday would be our fun night, but I don't think either of us were prepared for the evening ahead.

First stop was to spend some time with Jaime before continuing on elsewhere.

Well after 3 stops and a lot of dancing, Penny and I finally managed to crash at 4:30am Saturday morning. Needless to say, I have not been up that late in I don't know how long, maybe ever, but we had so much fun it was absolutely worth it. A very early wake-up call Saturday morning meant less than 3 hours of sleep, but despite a sluggish start, I managed to have a very productive day and never really felt awful, I was functioning on all Cylinders. Jaime and I hit the expo to get all of our stuff, had lunch, and took and ice/heat bath in her pool and hottub.

I did manage to sneak in about a 90 minute nap before Penny got back from work, and then the three of us headed out for an early dinner. We were in bed early Saturday night, but a 4:30am wake-up call Sunday morning we still only had about 7 1/2 hours of sleep.

Now going into the race, I wasn't sure what my plans were going to be or how my knee was going to be feeling. I had done everything I possibly could to try and ensure my ability to race, but I just didn't know how my knee was going to feel.

We rode down with several of Penny's running friends whom we spent some time with this weekend.

While everyone else went to warm-up, I stayed at the cars knowing I didn't want to waste a possible mile or 2 of the race now. I stretched a lot, got myself loose, moved around some to see how my knee was feeling. I knew with the crazy Friday we had that I was not in prime racing condition, I had been on my feet pretty much since I got to Tampa and that made me nervous. Before I had ever left Jax on Friday I told myself this would be a race morning decision, and I had a few options depending on how everything felt: Don't start, drop down to the 5k, start the half and if the knee flares up before 7 miles take a DNF, start the half and if the knee flares up after 7 miles deal with it and finish, or start the half and do whatever I need to do to finish.

The annoying part about this injury is that you can't tell from the first step how a run is going to end, and that was what made this such a tough call because you couldn't tell if you were making the right one. Well I decided that my leg felt good enough that I was going to give it a shot, and I really didn't want to do the 5k, so I lined up as planned in my corral for the half. I had done everything that morning that I was supposed to: I stretched (a lot!), foam rolled, took some ib profen, I used the KT tape AND the knee strap, I also decided to wear my old shoes instead of the new ones. I knew my old shoes had done me so well that if I had a change to day, it was in a pair of shoes that my muscles were familiar with.

So the race was advertised as flat which I knew was good, but the course map showed a lot of turns which is where I had been having trouble with my knee the last week, so I though if I ran the turns wide rather than really tight that would help from putting to much strain on my knee, I would rather not bother to run the tangents and finish still running than try and turn to tight and have to take a DNF if my knee flared up. So this was my only race plan, that and to keep it pretty easy and not push too hard until the last couple miles if I was still feeling good. Normally I am such a strategy person in a race, I have splits nailed down, fueling plans in place, and have thought of every last detail, I did no such thing for this race because I truly didn't know how I would be feeling physically.

Now this race is heavily walker friendly, so we were put in Corral 1 and I started pretty close to the start line. I crossed pretty quickly and while I tried to keep it under control, my legs were wanting to run what my original planned pace was...

Mile 1- 8:58

Oops, too fast. I kept in check for the next 5 miles, I never pushed, I took the turns wide, and I walked through every water station- mostly due to congestion, but it also gave me a change to break up the running and stretch my knee which I did once up until mile 6 and then at every water station there after. I focused on keeping a short stride and landing more on my heels since that has been the only thing I have noticed over the last few weeks that seems to keep the knee pain away.
Miles 2-6 were all in the 9:20-9:25 range.

After Mile 6, my hip started to get achey, and I got nervous, I told myself that if I could make it to the halfway point before any knee pain started I would finish, but when my hip and it band started to ache at 6 I was a bit nervous as to if I had the mental strength to push through pain for 6+ miles.

My pace took a hit and miles 6-10 were all 9:55-10:07 range. Slower than I had wanted but I was stretching almost every mile and while my hip and IT band were tight/achy the debilitating stabbing pain never started so I just kept on going. At mile 10 I knew I had it in me to finish but it was still a waiting game for the knee.

Mile 11-12 had an uphill I was unaware of and then we ran through the inside of Tropicana field (stadium?) where the Devil Rays play. It was neat to run through the inside of the baseball stadium, but the turf really threw me off and slowed me down. It definitely require me to have to stabilize myself more with each step which sucked because my knee was not needing to be stressed anymore by being asked to stabilize me on rough surface. So my pace here dropped pretty bad, and per everyone's splits, it seemed to be a universal problem.

After we made the final turn to head to the finish line I figured if I had made it this far w/out any pain then I could pick it up until the finish line. I managed to get mile 13 at 9:50 and then the last little bit down to an 8:16 pace. It felt SO good to open up finally and take the long strides I have become accustomed to. It felt good to get back into my normal pace rhythms and I was flying by people in the last 1/2 mile which was also kind of nice.

While this isn't a personal worst, it certainly is not far off of it. Do I wish my time had been better, sure, but to be honest, finishing this race in my current injury-ridden condition was a serious accomplishment. I know that I have some time off coming very very soon, and once I give my knee a chance to recover fully, then I will be able to get back to my normal times and setting new PR's, but this was about finishing a fun race with my friends and having a great weekend in Tampa, which I did.

Post-race we hung around for the awards ceremony, and then headed out for breakfast. I hit the road and made it back to Jacksonville before dark.  My knee seems to be feeling ok today, a little stiff, but to be expected after the beat-down it took yesterday. I am hoping it recovers quickly as I have one more favor to ask of it before it gets a running hiatus.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

You win some you lose some

Happy Hump Day! Despite an uncertain racing future, I am still super excited to make to Friday and hit the road to spend another race weekend with two of my favorites!

So yesterday after work I had some time and a serious yearning to put my new shoes to good use, so I played it safe and hit the gym for a run on the treadmill. I actually really came to embrace the treadmill and it's functionality over the last year, but for some reason since my marathon I am really loathing the idea of the treadmill, but since I didn't want to be miles from home in the dark if my knee freaked out I decided to keep it safe.

I ran 3 glorious pain free miles on the treadmill before I decided to "quit while you're ahead". I actually feel like I could have probably made it to 5 miles piece of cake, and in hindsight, I kind of wish I had.
3 Miles- 28:59 (9:50,9:40, 9:29)

I kept the run super easy and while I had some tightness in my actual IT band up near my hip, my knee never spoke up, I was thrilled. I knew with a completely different kind of shoe my legs might feel off or tight and they might have a little bit, but to be honest it was the best feeling run I had in over a week so I was quite happy. So there you have it, a win!

Now in hindsight I realize this was probably a pretty dumb move, but I never claimed to be smart. I decided I was going to run again this morning, and my coach ok'ed it as long as I was smart and careful. My original plan was to run this morning, last night's run was kind of impromptu, so I never really thought about moving this run.

The lose: 1.5 miles in to what I had hoped would be an easy 5 miler my knee shut down. after I made a hard turn. I was purposely avoiding uneven or slanted terrain, avoiding hills, but kind of forgot about the planting portion of a hard turn. As soon as I felt that stabbing pain on the outside of my knee I stopped and walked the shortest route home. I am taking off completely the rest of the day and tomorrow. I have a massage (read: torture session) tomorrow and then have been permitted to test the waters on Friday mornig with nothing more than 3 miles, and preferrably on a treadmill.

I bought some KT tape yesterday, I had read really good things about it, and figured tape never hurt anyone. I am taking in to my massage appointment tomorrow, the massage therapist is a Certified Kinesio-Taping practitioner, so I am actually really excited to see what all she has to say. I am kind of at that point now that I hit during the marathon where I have laid out all my options and it is probably time to start re-evaluating my goals. That would certainly be a lot easier if I wasn't already signed up for several races that I am so very excited about, but 2 races now could ruin all of next year and that is just not worth it. A lot of decisions to be made in the next several days.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Every Trick in the book

Hello Bloggies! I have been MIA since last week, I have learned that no running makes for a very boring blog.

So to rewind, Saturday I attempted a long run with Penny, I made it 3 beautiful pain-free and quick miles before my knee freaked out and I had to turn around and walk back- yeah that bad. I vowed right there that I would take the entire upcoming week off from running to see if I could salvage either of my races in the next 10 days.

Saturday football = bad, tailgating was good as always, but football...bad.

Moving forward to Sunday- weights and cross-training. I found a lovely machine called the arc trainer which worked my quads, left my knee pain free and really got my heart rate up, a positive pay-off.

Monday- I sent my coach another discouraged email asking what options we had left to salvage one or both of my races. We talked through EVERY possible problem and scenario and came to 2 conclusions
1.  If I want to race, pick one, gut it out, and plan to need another week recovery afterwards- FAIL!
2.  Maybe you need new shoes....interesting thought!!!!

My current shoes had exactly 300 miles on them, and while I have always been able to make it to the 400-500 range, the mizunos I have been wearing recently are a much lighter shoe than all my previous pairs- maybe they couldn't handle the same mileage, hmm interesting.

After looking at the bottom of my shoes I noticed something very disturbing, the only wear on them was in the middle of the fore-foot area- I am (was) a very bad pronator with some decent heel striking- but that was not what my shoes were telling me.  An hour spent in my local running store having my weight distribution, gait, and arch scrutinized, and trying almost a dozen pairs of shoes we MIGHT have a solution!

For whatever reason my natural stride has completely changed over the last 6 months and I am now running normal with minimal pronation and zero heel strike- so I have been wearing the completely wrong shoes for the last 14 or so weeks. I am still suspicious that the shoes are the culprit since nothing flared up until post-marathon, but either way I do need to be in the right shoes, so time well spent.

I tried to cling to my beloved Mizuno brand since I really did love the pair I have been in most recently, but there was another pair that felt so perfect on my feet. The felt super light and springy despite the fact that they were 2 ounces heavier than the mizunos...

So I know I professed my absolute hatred for Asics after my last pair destroyed my feet, but I could not deny how perfect these shoes felt, I ran outside, on the treadmill, jumped up and down, and did pretty much everything I could to try to find something wrong, so at the end of the day the Asics Gel Cumulus 12 came home with me, but with a promise that if they gave me blisters or any other problems, to bring them back and the would exchange them for a new pair of Mizunos.

I was supposed to give them a test run this morning, but before I even climbed out of bed I could feel my hip was stiff from the strength exerices I did yesterday. I know the route of ITBS is weak hips/glutes so I have been trying to do a little strengthening to get them back up to speed. As much as I wanted to run  I knew this was not the day to push it, so they will have to wait for another day.

The last resort which I don't want to try with the new shoes on the first time out is one of those IT band knee straps. Almost everything I have read swears they work, but that many people become dependent on them and can't run without it. I don't want to get to that point so I figure I will save it for the race if I can't get my knee to calm down before then.

So there you have it, the full knee update- it seems like such a weird case of ITBS that it flared up only during the race and was still just as prominent after a week of complete rest. and another 2 weeks of so little activity, but I guess it doesn't discriminate.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Foam Rolling: Helpful or Harmful?

Now it's actually Friday, yay! We are back on the road again this weekend, because we all know I can't sit still!

So to rewind a bit, Wednesday night = track night. I went to the track, updated my coach on the current ITB situation if the day and set out with my group for our warm-up.

I felt great during the warm-up, other than the fact that it was already pitch black at 6pm, I was beginning to think all of the being cautious was paying off.

3 Mile warm-up (27:13- 9:00, 9:09, 9:04)
We did another half mile warm-up once everyone else showed up at the track and then got down to business- on deck 4x1600, 2 1/2 minutes rest.

1st 1600- 7:48
My legs felt good during this first mile, but I was sucking wind like an 80 year old man with emphysema! I knew my legs should feel good, with all the ITB issues keeping me slowed down, I feel so rested, I actually miss that feeling of exhaustion that comes with long hard runs. I guess so much resting has been bad for my speed, but not much we can do there

2nd 1600- turned 800. Somewhere in the middle of the 2nd lap the infamous IT Band seized up and sent my knee and hip into some shooting pain. That was it, I called the workout right there. On pace for 7:55 2nd mile when I stopped, so at least I got something accomplished.

Made for another 5 mile night, I cannot seem to get past the 5 mile barrier, is that the point where my leg just gets angry? I spent a good 20 minutes talking to my coach, stretching, and foam rolling before heading home to ice and foam roll some more.

Yesterday with the day off, I woke up and had to ditch the long run (15 miler) I had planned, I was so mad, it was the perfect setting for it, and I had to scrub my workout because my leg still hurt. I ended up trying the bike, but the whole 'bending my knee repeatedly' seemed to be making it worse, so I just did some weights and went home to again ice/stretch/roll.

I must have spent at least an hour with my foam roller on just that 1 IT band yesterday. This morning, my knee and hip feel great, but I can literally feel knots in 2 spots on my IT band. I had never actually felt anything on the band itself, just the joint pain it was causing. It makes me wonder if all the foam rolling is actually hurting or helping???

I am thinking if I was getting a massage today and she could knead all these knots out I would actually be good to go, but maybe that is just false hope. And I can't decide if I should keep trying to roll out my leg, will it help or will it make something else hurt???

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Too Many Priorities

Happy Friday Wednesday! Working in the fabulous education industry has warranted me a nice mid-week holiday tomorrow, and a nice long weekend to look forward to!

Tonight is track night, and my leg is feeling good, so I am hoping I can do something good tonight rather than just flail about like I did last week at the track.

Yesterday I cross-trained...a lot. I could have run, but I have some big runs planned the rest of the week, and a pissed off knee would not have fit into that schedule so I did some spinning, so hand bike action (SO boring btw) and some more spinning, exciting I know. I am a bit nervous to still only be in the 4-5 day a week range with the running and not the 5-6 range, I feel like a February marathon is starting to seem like a long shot right now.

So obviously I have a lot of races scheduled in the coming months, and I would be lying if I said I didn't have specific goals for each of them.
-I am hoping for a half-marathon PR in just 10 short days, and only 7 weeks after setting my last one.
-I also trying to drop 90 seconds off of my 5k PR for seeding purposes for a spring race.
-Lastly, I have a redemption marathon in just 13 weeks that I need to start building back up for, like now!

Even as I type this, I realize how ridiculous this all sounds. I am trying to focus on 3 major goals that are each a daunting task all on their own, and yet I am somehow trying to roll all 3 strategies into 1 condensed training cycle, I might have tried to take on too much. I would rather have 1 or 2 really awesome races with new PR's that 5 or 6 mediocre ones, and I am worried that there is not enough time to really be able to focus on the specific training to achieve each of the goals I have, but I can't bring myself to back off of any of those.

This past fall when I started racing again after a summer of base building and marathon training, I was smashing old PR's left and right, by minutes at a time, and to be honest it was easy. Most of my PR's were from last fall or early spring when I was still considerably slower, my speed had improved enough that a PR was a given, it was just a matter of how much. Unfortunately, I am not in that position anymore. My months of focusing on distance and now recovery I feel like has left me stagnant for the first time since I started running. I think over the last year all I have focused on is increasing my distance, and that is all, the speed just came on it's own. Now that I have reached the maximum distance that at this point I am willing to train for, I am only focused on speed, and I just don't know if I can build the improvements in my speed as quickly as I have been able to improve my ability to run the distance.

I suppose we can call this a post-marathon rut, or possibly being a litte over-whelmed as to how to proceed with all of my goals, or maybe it is injury-paranoia who knows, but I don't seem to have the same focus I did when I was in the thick of marathon training, and to be honest a think a lot of it is because I don't really know what to focus on. Focusing on nothing is certainly not the way to go, but I don't really know where to start. Hopefully starting with today's track workout will provide some guidance.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Caustiously Optimistic...

Happy Monday everyone, back to the routine today! I am currently obsessed with the cold weather, it makes me look feel so fast!

Like I mentioned Friday I was gearing up for my first post-marathon long run this past weekend. I was a bit nervous about how it would go since the IT Band was giving me so much grief last week. I was hoping for 10-12 miles, and ended up doing 11- a nice litte compromise I suppose :)

I ended up doing the first 5.5 alone, and the second 5.5 with a running buddy. The person I was running with was a teeny bit slower and I kind of did that on purpose, I my legs were itching to run far and fast, and while I knew some fast miles were needed, I also needed to exercise some control as to not hurt myself even more. Since I have no self-control in the cold weather, I knew signing up for pacing duty would be a good way to keep it at a moderate pace.

1st 5.6 Miles- 51:25 (9:11 pace)
Mile 1-  9:33
Mile 2-  9:24
Mile 3-  9:15
Mile 4-  9:16
Mile 5-  8:57
5-5.6 -  5:00 (8:20 pace)

So I was flying for the half I was alone, I felt so good, the temps were perfect, it was 45* and I warmed up so fast that I actually ended up taking my gloves off. It was so nice to be out for a long run again. I was really pleased with how good I felt (including my knee). Kind of bummed that I had to make a short stop to pick up running buddy and refill my water, but it was a quick stop and back out.

2nd 5.4 Miles-  52:43 (9:45 pace)
5.6- 6 -  4:02
Mile 7-  9:44
Mile 8-  9:33
Mile 9-  9:49
Mile 10-  9:28
Mile 11-  9:51

So my hands froze during the 2nd half, so bad that I could barely even push the buttons on my Garmin. Other than that, I was pleased that we were able to stay under 9:50 for the first 5. At mile 9 my knee started to hurt all of a sudden, so I promised myself that I would pick it up some for mile 10 and then I would slow it down for the last mile, since 10 was my minimum I didn't feel bad about the last 1 being slow. After I finished mile 10 my knee got pretty right, but the last mile helped loosen it up.

I spent most of Saturday with my knee hurting every time I bent it, not good! But woke up yesterday and it seemed fine- weird? I decided to literally rest all day and sit on the couch watching the NYC Marathon!

This morning I had a run planned with the group to do the bridges as usual on Mondays. Iwas very nervous about my knee after it freaked out at the end of Saturday's run, but it felt good so I told my coach I was feeling Cautiously optimistic.

Other than a slight ache somewhere on the 2nd down hill, it felt really good this morning! We did a total of 4 bridges (uphills) and the accompanying downhills. My times look slow to me, but I know I was doing well up the hills, and kept in check going down since that seems to be where my knee acts up.

5 Miles- 48:34 (9:43 pace)
Mile 1-  9:46
Mile 2-  9:50
Mile 3-  9:51
Mile 4-  9:39
Mile 5-  9:26

Another successful run, and I am ready to start picking it back up. I am also feeling cautiously optimistic about my race in 2 weeks, if everything continues to stay healthy, I think I could really see some big improvements in my running this fall!!!

Friday, November 5, 2010

It's Finally here

TGIF everyone! That is not exactly what I am excited about, but it's a nice fact I suppose. Fall, or more importantly winter is finally here in the Sunshine State, woohoo!!!!!!

Temps this AM were 51* at 5am, and predicted 44* for tomorrow's first post-marathon long run! I have honestly forgotten how to dress for this weather- I spent most of last winter sweating to death from being over-dressed for many of my cold yet super-sunny runs. Are shorts appropriate for 44*, I haven't seen a number like that since maybe early February????

Since it is getting to be cold out, I also decided that I needed to make sure my dog was well equipped for winter. While out running errands one night this week, a fuzzy red item caught my eye, and I decided that since my poor Peachie was deprived and did not get to dress up for Halloween, I made sure that she would get to be the cutest ever Christmas pup...

Yeah she pretty much hated this thing, but it is SO cute! It is fur lined AND has a hood, you can't beat that!

So an ITB update, it seems to be doing better I guess. It was making itself heard at the track Wednesday night, but nothing I couldn't handle, I kept bringing my paces down and by the end of each interval it was feeling better, the longer I went the better it felt- weird right???
My coach had my put this stuff along my IT band that I thought was kind of like icy-hot, when I asked if that was what is was, he said kind of, but more just the Hot. I did my entire workout and my leg felt good with no major pain, but the second I finished and climbed in my car, my leg was on FIRE!!!!!!! Again, no pain, so I suppose we could call it a win, but not sure I will be trying that method again.

Wednesday's workout was 5x1000 with 200RI.

Warm-up: 3.15 Miles- 29:14 (9:15, 9:13, 9:21, 1:24 (9:29pace))
I felt good during the warm-up, it was cool out and cloudy, and not once did I feel like I was pushing, maybe the cool weather really does do wonders for your pace!

4x1000: Goal times 4:45-5:30
5:24, 4:51, 5:16, 5:12

So I only did 4 intervals instead of 5, better safe than sorry this week, but my times were all over the place. I started slow because I had no idea how it would feel, and to be honest the first one hurt the most. For #2 I hit the pace I am supposed to for that distance, and toward the end my right hip started to ache, so I decided to back it off for the last 2. I kept it respectable, but didn't try to kill it. The recoveries were perfect, I was ready to go as soon as I hit the start line again, even though most of the other were trying to walk and take a longer break, I guess all the distance training pays of somewhere.

1/2 mile cool down: 4:57 (9:58 pace)
Total 6.5 Miles

Not too awful for the first track workout back, but it was certainly not pretty, actually really ugly, but I feel good about it, I knew a week off would not make everything easy. As intructed I took Thursday off after running 3 days in a row.

I was going to get up and run a few easy miles this morning, but I woke up late, I blame the cold, and getting in everything this AM was just not going to happen. Determined to stick to my strength training schedule I did get in my weights this morning, so that make 3x this week as scheduled, I am so proud of myself that I actually did it! I don't remember the last time I actually lifted 3 days in one week!

I am planning a long run tomorrow 10-12 miles. I am wanting to do 12, but we will see how that pans out, but double digits is a must! I may try to get in some missed miles Sunday, but may just rest since next week is back to the real mileage, I hope the IT band holds up, I have been foam rolling and icing it to death, avoiding, heels, stairs, and anything else that may aggrevate it more. Thanks for all the suggestions, they all seem to be working!

Good luck to everyone racing NYC this weekend!!!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Soliciting Advice

So my first week back to running has not gone as smoothly as I would like. Monday's run went great, and I left feeling fine. Yesterday I had planned to do 6 miles with 2 at hmp, especially since I felt so good Monday and was so energized I was really excited to be able to hop back in.

Well the heavens opened up here in North Florida yesterday and sent me to visit the treadmill. I actually had kind of missed the treadmill, I couldn't even remember our last date, but I would say it had been at least a month. So I get started, set my first mile at 9:31 and feel great, and again almost effortless. I get into mile 2 and my right knee that one that has been showing the ITB stress starts to flare up. I keep going since it is more achy than painful, but during mile 4 it stages a rebellion and forces me to change my stride. While I could have kept running since it wasn't really painful, I knew that since I was running and landing funny that is was a recipe for disaster, so run cut short at 4 miles, boo :(

4 Miles- 37:12, 9:18 average pace
Mile 1-  9:31
Mile 2-  9:29
Mile 3-  8:49
Mile 4-  9:23

Since my run got cut short, I used the extra time to stretch and foam roll, and while it seemed to temporarily offer some relief, I am a little stressed now. Up until today, any knee/ITB pain has been post run or exercise so the fact that it came about while I was running is a little, well, terrifying!!!

This is textbook ITB syndrome, it starts in the knee, but shows lingering tension up my leg to my hip. I have not a clue how to be proactive about this, ITB is not something I have ever dealt with, and everything I read says 3 things: Stretch, Foam Roll, and/or stop running. I have no intentions of taking another week off, so any advice on this matter is requested, and well expected, and if it could before my 6pm track practice that would be even better! If you have dealt with ITB issues, lets hear it, how did you kill them off????

Monday, November 1, 2010

Back in Business

Happy Monday and November to all! I trust everyone had a nice weekend, our Florida/Georgia festivities were amazing and so insanely busy that I did not snap one picture the entire day- so imagine, lots of food, drinks, and TONS of people! Per usual, scheming for next year is already in the works.

Despite 9 hours of sleep Saturday night I was dragging yesterday, I skipped the weights, laid low, and got in bed early last night. This morning I almost turned off the alarm clock when it started blasting at 5am, and then I remembered I had to get my butt out of bed because I had a hot date!

8 days post marathon, and I was finally allowed to go for a run. I was really nervous about having had taken a week off, and while I did some moving last week, I would still consider my level of physical activity last week to be sloth-like. Due to some initial differences in opinion between my coach and I, this first week back tends to have a range for all my runs rather than a specific number. Today said 4-6 SUPER EASY, literally just like that. Well I met the large PRS group downtown this morning to run the bridges, especially since the bridges + wind kicked my ass during the marathon, I am going to make sure I own these babies come time for my next race.

I was a little timid starting out, I didn't really know how my legs were going to feel, or if they would even remember what to do. I tucked in with a couple girls who seemed to be about my same pace, and some faster ones I knew who were taking it easy today since they raced yesterday. Within the first half mile I was shocked I had fallen right back into my normal 9:40 pace, was moving, breathing, and feeling fine! Last week my right knee acted up off and on so I was also nervous that I would get halfway through and the pain would flare-up again, but it felt good the whole time.

I ended up running with just 1 girl the entire way. She is training for her first half in 3 years and is actually doing the same race I am in 3 weeks so we immediately had tons to talk about. I was SO happy to have someone to chat with as I was running up the monster bridge, and since she said she was doing 4 miles today, I decided that I would just stick to 4, which made my coach very happy.

4.14- 39:46, 9:36 average pace
Mile 1-  9:57
Mile 2-  9:26
Mile 3-  10:07
Mile 4-  9:49
.14-  1:27

I started feeling great during mile 2 and wanted to pick it up, but since I had started talking to this one girl I stuck with her, probably smart too because I have several more plans for this week, so I'll take it for my first day back.

Since today is November 1st, I did a look back at my month of October: mileage was very low for me: 109.3 miles total for the month of October, but considering that October included my taper and 1 week rest post-race, that actually still seems pretty good, if I had those 2 weeks back it would have been my highest month total yet.

October's Highlights obviously include my half marathon PR, meeting a new friend, and My First Marathon! I am really excited about all the things I have going on this month too, so there should be lots of fun race recaps to look out for :)