Wow. Only a two-week gap in posting? Good job, Dorothea. You’re not totally failing at this blogging thing.
Seriously though, the return to Berlin brought old routines back, and I am pretty good about getting at least 4 runs a week in again. However, I’m noticing that I have to be careful about getting back into it too fast. It may not look like much, but over the past two weeks I went up from 22 to 25 miles, and this week did 27 with most of those miles at a pace that’s realistically too fast. I’m going to have to work on that. I’m also commuting regularly with my bike again and doing strength 2-3 times a week in the gym, so it’s really no surprise that I’m getting some early symptoms of burnout. Going to nip it in the bud before it’s too late by having a few rest days this next week, but I’m happy with how things are!
Don’t ask me why, but I did two 5k race trials over the past two weeks and managed 22:17 and 22:07. One time was after a 3 mile warm-up, and one was without much of a warm-up, so I think I may have a PR in me this year yet. This kind of thinking prompted me to actually look at local races again for the first time in about 5 months, and I went for the two-fer.
Problem is, Xavier, a storm with hurricane force winds and killing 6 people throughout northern Germany, did a lot of damage in the Berlin region, so the two races I signed up for this fall were cancelled. I still have a 10k in Florida and I’ll do that while home over Christmas, so that may be the way I score at least one PR this year. We’ll see. I’m not going to put too much pressure on myself. This is a busy semester and I’m still trying to get back into running and staying healthy, so while my stretch goal is a sub-44 minute, I’ll be happy with a sub-45.
Today, I’m mostly happy about my 10 miler–the first in four weeks. But holy cow, I’m dealing with a serious post-long run haze. How can I feel like this after only doing 10 miles at 8-minute pace? How did I ever manage 8-minute miles for 18 miles? My present self likes to hold a lot of conversations with my past selves. They should probably be banned from talking to one another.
Hope you have a good weekend of running, resting, and whatever else is in store for you!
I guess I can post a September update and call myself accomplished in keeping up with the blog.
In my defense, this past month I dealt with hurricane evacuation, food poisoning, traveling internationally and starting my position as Phd scholarship candidate (these things account for the longer gaps in my log)… I’m going to cut myself slack even if you won’t. ;-)
There’s not a lot to comment on from this last update, since I really followed the “whatever works” plan pretty religiously. One can see since getting back to Berlin that running is working a little better. I guess it’s also worth noting that I’ve steadily built up to double-digit runs. Soon I may even look into a race again.
My 800 intervals, one of the ways I keep track of my fitness, are 3:20 on average, so I am pretty pleased with how I’m staying in shape even if it’s not marathon shape. I hope to continue having a more consistent pattern of running soon, so that I can get more easy running in and build up my base again.
And… yep. That’s all I have to say this time around.
Hope September was a great month of running for all of you! Looking forward to seeing all the fall race recaps.
Just got back from my run in time to watch the last hour of the BMW Berlin Marathon as Kipchoge, Berkeley, and Kipsang (as the advertised world record strivers) fight for first place and hopefully the world record on this dreary Berliner day.
Opting for a more comfortable spectator position than last year (in my defense, I’ve also got wicked jetlag), I’m taking advantage of Berlin’s major TV station, RBB where the whole race is reported live. These are my thoughts while watching (disclaimer: I’m not a sports reporter, nor get paid to be one on TV 😉):
Right now (1:08), they’re talking about Anna Hahner, one of Germany’s top marathon runners and also the hopeful for the top German result. She is about 20 meters away from the top women. (Spoiler alert: she only gets mentioned two more times and finishes alright)
Kind of interesting this year are the thousands of election campaign posters lining the course and constantly caught by the camera
Berkeley is off course (1:10:48) for the record. He could still make it up but eh…
Guye Adola missed his water bottle at km 25…he’s a debut runner doing pretty well. Go underdog! No one shared his bottle with him, though. Competition is tough
My bet is on Kipchoge, because he has that sub 2-Hour attempt to draw meantal strength from
1:24:29 Kimputo is kind of bouncing around in the back, my bet is he’s next to fall off the pace
The water (light rain and sweat) is flying off their feet
Pacer 60 Kimpare is doing a great job
Oh! They’re at km aid station 30, and before I could finish writing about how I was there last year and didn’t even realize I could end up in the footage…
WHAT Kipsang is out?! WHAT!?
Now it’s just Kipchoge and Adola! I guess I may win my bet after all
Kimpare is gone now too
It’s not long now
The bicycle leaders are are having a hard time not working as pacers for the two
Marathon running televised is a bit like watching sloths play soccer.
1:43:11 Adola still there, slightly irritating Kipchoge it looks like. Hang on for 7 more km, Adola! Wouldn’t it be wild if he won?
And how lucky is Kipchoge, after the other two fell off, to have this competition? Someone who keeps him on pace?
Bekele is now also completely out. :-(
Kipchoge is running the blue line (the adidas three stripes to be seen throughout the city weeks after the race) Adola is running long curves. What is going on? Is a Adola letting Kipchoge keep his own pace?
1:50:40 Okay, yeah, it’s getting a little more interesting now
4 more km
Less than 10 more minutes
1:54:55 Kipchoge looks like he’s losing a bit of form :/
What the heck, Adola looks like a running god. He can have the win. I’m a fan
Okay Kipchoge, you still got this after all. He closed the gap
Adola doesn’t take any fuel? What? He may also have surged too early
Max 5 more minutes. I’m actually on the end of my seat. I take back my sloth comment
C’mon Adola! Hang on!
Kipchoge is claiming the last km for himself
Okay, experience wins. Aber Adola, aller Respeckt!
Damn. Kipchoge, look at that smile. 1km left and he knows he has this
Stride, smile, finish.
KIPCHOGE IS THE WINNER!
AND ADOLA, fastest debut in history, 2:03:47 :-)
First woman, Gladys Cherono, doing a really nice job, on her own these last km.
Wish I had that kind of stride
Wins in 2:20:21 (and still gets a 15,000€ time bonus). Wooh!
In summary: what a race. Had I bet, I’d have won. Still proven: there are some fast runners out there. Athletes have a tough fight; it takes a lot to know when to step out of a race. Love the Berlin Marathon and hope to maybe run it one day!
Now, I return to my regularly scheduled Sunday. Hope you also have a nice day! -Dorothea
Ha ha. I thought I’d get around to collecting my thoughts about the summer in Germany and blog about it, but look, it’s already time for another recap on running.
I’m consistently getting closer to regular 6 miles. I haven’t done more than an eight mile run in over five months, but I’m getting closer to the point where I’ll try an 8-10 miler (maybe even next weekend?!). These past three weeks I’ve averaged around 20 miles as well and run more days in a row.
I obviously didn’t run on the day I flew back to the US, but I ran the four days after that and kept the runs shorter and comfortable (I was woefully reminded of what running in sub-tropic climates in the summer feels like). I managed to get a cold (probably from sitting around too long in air-conditioning in sweaty clothes). Still, I felt ready for an interval session on Friday, so after rearing myself in after a fast warm-up mile, went for 3 x 800s with .2 mile recoveries. The humidity of South Florida is not to be underestimated, though. I found the 3 were enough and couldn’t get under 3:16. But it’s a good baseline for September running in Florida and training in these conditions will prepare me for the cooler, drier fall in Berlin when I head back.
Hope everyone is running/recovering well and that Harvey doesn’t leave too large a trail of destruction. Stay safe!
Hello again, cool people (of course I mean this figuratively ;) I’m well aware it’s high summer)
It’s been a while, and I’ve been off the radar not enjoying Germany’s lack of summer weather, but enjoying enough of the sights and opportunities to make up for that. I missed my goal of steadily building my mileage through the end of August, but I actually appreciated a summer not feeling pressured to compete my training plan as well as possible.
Really, I really enjoyed just letting go of running for a few months.
I found a happy place between marathon training and not running: running a few miles a few times a week at the pace/intervals that seem comfortable and compatible with my lifestyle. I truly learned to use running as a stress release and fell in love with it again. Taking competition out of the equation helped me to appreciate the way running makes me feel and not have it as an added source of stress.
Still, as a life of routine and work looms again on the horizon, and as my foot feels as though it’s finally healed, I’m starting to think about a few fall races and having some sort of running goals. I wouldn’t mind averaging 4 runs and at least 25 miles a week soon. I don’t think this negates how I’ve learned to think abou running again, I just think it means I’m looking for a bit more structure in my life again, and a running plan helps me with that. So far I’m not considering beyond 20km. There’s a running series in Oct.-Nov. I’m eyeing, and then maybe some shorter races with the bro and BF, if they’re interested ;)
My base? Let’s see: longest run since May was just short of 8 miles. Fastest run was an 800m interval (5th of 7) in 3:01. Best runs were a 6 miler in 49 mins and 2 miler in 13:12. Besides running though, I’ve done a lot of walking (Europe: that word explains everything as far as miles logged walking, doesn’t it?), biking and swimming. I averaged 6 days of activity a week, so I’m not unfit. And I did kind of build slowly, averaging 15 miles a week and only topping at 22.
So yep. That’s my return to the running world. Still trying to work up the effort for my real world blog (so much to write, so little time), but we’ll see. :-)
Hope everyone is uninjured and fall training is going swell! – Dorothea
Wow. So that went quickly. I may not be able to log again until the end of June, so I figured I’d blog about the rest of May now. I logged a grand total of 52.1 miles in May, most of those in the first half. Still, it’s more than a mile a day average and I find a bit of consolation in that.
My mom arriving put my “whatever works” plan to the test. I found the first few days after she came tough to carve out time to run, but am slowly getting back into waking up early to get some running in, since I know a day with running is always a good day. We’ll see how well that carries out since the sun doesn’t go down until after 10 and summer nights are made for staying up late. But the sun is also up by 5, so I have no other excuses about getting up.
Runs of note:
I did another 5k test at around 22:10, and I’m starting to feel motivated about shorter distance running again to maybe shoot for a sub-21:30 in two weeks. I’m flirting with the idea of a few intervals this coming week as well.
My longest run was about 6 miles and while I plan to get more of those in the next few weeks, it’s not the top of my list of priorities. It was my first run with the new orthotic inserts and my feet were heavy, but it’s good for the arobic strength so I’ll def. continue going longer than 6, if I can.
I ran for a bit barefoot on the beach and found the foot not as opposed to it as it may have been a month ago.
In other news, I had my first PT session and it went well. Basically, it was a wake-up call that I need to return to high-school habits and stretch before every run. I’d totally neglected that and so the run of injuries over the past few years probably has a very logical answer after all.
Before you say “well, duh”, I should add that I have been stretching, but not all my muscle groups, not before running but rather after, and not for at least 20 seconds as the PT recommended. These are all things I’ve changed and I think I’m slowly feeling a whole lot better.
Looking forward to my first race since Dec., some more pain-free mornings and running, and higher humidity and heat as summer comes. Just kidding… the humidity can hide for as long as it wants. I also may post a bit of my biking escapades next month as well, since I’m about to start doing some longer rides soon.
Hope everyone running this weekend (James and Paula!) have a good time and good times.
Running hard or hardly running? Either way, I am happy to report that I am taking steps in the right direction.
I finally saw my foot doctor again, and after she fussed at me a bit about failing to cash in my physiotherapy and orthotic prescriptions, she recommended I continue going out for runs as I felt able, and she told me to see her again after I had actually followed her instructions (for the record: it wasn’t my fault I didn’t do so the first time! I swear!). According to her diagnosis, I have an imbalance in the lower back that causes the pain to radiate down through the Achilles and peroneal tendons. So I start physio next week and get my new orthotics for day shoes and sport shoes at the end of this week. Hopefully I’ll have good things to report.
While the foot is still being annoying and I do have a slight phobia of foot injuries now that affects me during and after runs, the last few runs have been okay. Most aversion to running right now is almost all mental. I mean, I did take time off after an impromptu interval session, and that’s because the bones all weren’t too happy with me after that (I know, my bones aren’t the ones injured- but they take the brunt of the stress when tendons decide to take a day off), but I could have gone the third day and since then, my foot has actually been cooperating pretty well.
I’ve lately been feeling the need for speed a lot more these past few weeks than during marathon training. I notice for the first time in a while that my average pace during marathon training is a good amount slower than when running recreationally, because during marathon training I’m doing a lot more running (duh) and more easy miles. Also, getting energy up for long intervals once a week is much harder than going out for short tempo runs several times a week. Add these realizations to more reasons why it’s a good thing I took this break.
Meanwhile, Berlin seems to be telling me it’s time to get serious about running again.
As seen from my balcony
It’s finally spring time here, and I’m seeing runners everywhere. Yesterday, there was the Big25 (25k race) as a part of the Berlin Runner’s Cup and I had the pleasure/curse of seeing them outside my window. I’m kidding… I felt a slight tinge of “why am I not running?” and then proceeded to cheer a few on. I’m not ready to do 25k right now, and my soul knows this. But I did head out for a pleasant 4-miler in the palace gardens of Schloss Charlottenburg later that evening, so it all worked out.
Looking forward, I’m continuing the “whatever works” plan and am kind of excited about PT. Does that make me weird?
Woah. I know this didn’t break the 2 hour wall, but hot damn, that’s fast. 4:36 pace for 26.2? It’s almost unbelievable.
Eluid Kipchoge, Lelisa Desisa, and Zersensay Tadese deserve some time off. Way to go for even attempting the feat.
Congratulations to Kipchoge for making it sooooo close. I think he beat a lot of predictions by the naysayers. Given this result, I’m sure the world record will officially fall in the next year, too. It does remove a mental block.
The temperature seemed right, but I was surprised at the high humidity. 74% is a decent amount, even if the dew point was still okay. I wonder if less humidity would have made a difference
I have respect for all the pacers… they were a valuable contribution to this effort and don’t share any of the limelight
How many people outside the running community care that this attempt even happened?
How many people followed it live? I didn’t… I was still sleeping when they started, and had places to go and no time to turn on the computer
I wonder if crowd support would have helped? Or just made them more nervous?
I wonder how much was the shoes.
It’s inspiring, but the blistering speed all but inspires me to go out for a long run. Maybe a few hundred meters.
Hi! I’m back with a rather unusual and long (but not unusually long, if you know me) update post where I try to help you (and myself) work through what I’ve learned over the past month and a half of silence.
Lesson #1: I can give up running. It’s not that I want to give it up now, or ever, but I’ve realized that if I couldn’t run all of a sudden, I can survive. That being said, lesson #2: it takes a lot to stop being a runner. I’ve been injured, I haven’t been training, I’m barely running, but I’m still a runner! I will always be a runner as long as it’s a way I look to spend my free-time and my number one hobby. And I don’t need anyone to agree with me for me to feel this way.
This may sound kind of bland for you, but it’s big news to me, and it’s a good intro to where I’m at now.
The graphic update:
It took a while for the 18 miler right before (or at the peak of) my injury to stop making every run after that look like a smidgen. Now, a 6 mile in my plan is tower that gets called a “long run.”
I go out for 1-4+ mile runs. Usually, I’ll still do a short warm-up run for strength-training. I’ve pushed myself for longer runs over these past two weeks, but still need to be careful about doing them too soon within one another.
Most of these runs have been fast. Fewer runs and fewer miles while still riding off some marathon fitness mean that almost every run has felt fresh. Giving myself the freedom to run fast when I feel like it, not when the plan tells me, means I never know how the run will end up. I also had some really great runs. For example, that “race” on the 27th was a run that started off so fast, I decided to see if I could hold it for a 5k. Turns out, I still have a 22:09 5k in me. And it was fun!
On the other hand, I can’t expect to log any PRs based off this… but I’m not looking to do that right now anyway, and it’s still a log!
The verbal update:
On the physical front, it seems like my body’s mechanics finally caught up with me. I have a wonky back (probably not helped by my notoriously poor posture) and wonky feet (definitely not helped by breaking toes and playing barefoot soccer). When I saw my doctor at the end of March, she did the normal “does this hurt” tests and listened to my symptoms. She figured my back was the problem, took an x-ray, and prescribed shoe orthotics and physical therapy visits. At the time, I was surprised that she didn’t x-ray my feet, and I didn’t think to tell her that while nothing she did to test my feet hurt, if I turn my foot on it’s side, I felt a pain there. I guess I thought that maybe I shouldn’t be turning my foot like that anyway, and that was the problem.
Since my doctor said my back was the problem and I had the go-to to continue running, within reason, I did get off the running break (it’s not in the chart above, but I did take about two weeks off running). I still have the pain in my foot though, and I haven’t been able to get the orthotics or PT yet, because my job status changed, and therefore also my insurance, so I think another visit is in order.
Tl; dr: I’m able to run, but I’m still having problems where my foot doesn’t feel great after every run, so I’m technically still injured and not diagnosed, and I need to see my doctor again.
On the mental front, I’ve had some major improvements. I can almost say I’ve had a complete lifestyle change in the opposite direction of running, and it’s, um, life changing.
I guess the best way to explain my running plan right now is “whatever works.” If my foot feels okay, I have time and I’m running just to run, I run. If it doesn’t feel okay, or I really have another priority, or I’m running just to burn some calories but for no other mental/physical benefit, I don’t run.
This is where the huge shift is. I looked at what running did for me in the past and what it actually should be doing for me. For the past ten years, running:
Kept me sane, gave me alone time and a chance to do something unacademic
Required me to constantly chose between running, family, and work
Allowed me to procrastinate on my academics
Helped me get some really great ideas for my writing
Helped me control my weight
Kept my immune, cardiovascular, and neurological systems in top-form
Gave me massive appetite and excuses, so I often overate and/or ate unhealthily
Gave me a natural high, gave me reasons to be proud of my body
While many of these are good reasons to run, what I needed running to stop doing were 2, 3, and 7.
I guess I should mention that what I was going through with my running was a huge (many times helpful) distraction in my life. However, for the past few months, I’d been given many hints that running was maybe not working for me in the same way anymore. It would distract me from my struggles with finances in Berlin, working part-time while working on my dissertation, remaining active in uni life, and it was fueling some efforts to meet a body-image ideal I’ve been chasing since college.
So, while I say I need running to stop doing things 3, 2, 7, I realized I needed to stop blaming the activity and look at the choices I was making when I went out for that activity. I realized I made those choices because a) I had set a goal (sometimes not reasonable given my other responsibilities) and would sacrifice too much to meet those goals and b) I was unhappy about something that I could look toward other solutions to help fix. Running is not the cure-all for my life.
Since March 9th or so, I haven’t been following a plan and therefore I don’t wake up with the mentality that running is my priority for the day. This may be self-understood for many, but there are many of you reading who may know exactly what I’m talking about. The pressure of getting the run ticked off the list for the day, getting that workout in, is something any of us striving for a specific race or running/health goal can feel. I had been feeling that way since before summer of 2015 and that was too long.
I’m going to just tell you a little bit about what I went through to get to where I am right now, but I also realize my post is already getting long enough as it is… you could just skip to the end, if you want.
I didn’t realize that I was putting myself under this pressure of constantly being in training until this latest injury. Since setting my goals in summer of 2015 to PR in the 5k, then PR in the half and full marathons in the winter, I was on a running high that made me want to keep training and keep racing, so I signed up for races in the fall of 2016. But when I broke my toe last summer, I still didn’t use the break (literally and figuratively) as a chance to step back. instead, I stepped up my cross-training to fully replace marathon training. This meant 2 to 4.5 hours cycling a day. I’m not even a pro runner! It’s not like I had that kind of time, but I couldn’t shut off the voice in my head saying I needed to get back into training in time for a fall marathon. So I went from crazy cross training right back into my training plan, where I left off, started too fast, too soon, and then injured myself again. When I realized I really couldn’t get the fall marathon anymore, I still totally wanted redemption. So, I signed up for two marathons in the spring and got back into training. Lo and behold, I got injured again. It took me a while, but that was finally the smack in the face I needed. I realized I couldn’t train anymore, and needed to reassess what running does in my life.
So I did.
Since following the “whatever works” plan, I’ve been logging a heck of a lot less miles. But I also have much better feelings associated with my runs, and many more good ones. Somehow, I also haven’t miraculously gained 5 hundred pounds or lost my fitness. Sure, I couldn’t run a marathon right now and I’ve gained about 5 pounds. But those five are only seven above my medically ideal weight anyway, and they’re easy to hold with my normal eating habits, so I figure they’re healthy. And I’m not gunning for a marathon or any PRs now anyway.
It’s finally pass the date of the main goal race of the year, and I’ve decided not to run the marathon in June. I have an annual company 5k I’m still doing in June and a campus 10k in July that I signed up for the sake of having some running community event to attend, but I’m not training for them specifically and I’m going to try and keep all other races off the schedule until I’m secure in dedicating time and energy to training again.
Right now, I’ve pushed running back into it’s spot next to reading fiction not related to my dissertation, watching movies, blogging, and random adventures out in Berlin. Just where it should be.
I’m still keeping track of my running, because it’s a nice way to check in with what I’m doing with my time and how my body it feeling. But I haven’t decided if I still want to do a blog post every week or not.
That being said, all of you who are pursuing goals right now, more power to you! I’m still an avid cheerleader. :-) And I still live vicariously through you.
First of all, this is a late post and that’s a bit lame. In retrospect, I probably was reluctant to post about my first “failed” week, since I’m so used to writing when things are going well. But they’re not going well right now- I’m injured (even if still a bit in denial about it) and have a hectic personal and family life at the moment, but I figured I should update all the same.
Secondly, thank you to everyone who gave me tips for my heel pain. I tried all of them (not quite at the same time, of course) and none were bad advice. Thank you!
The problem is, no amount of magic is better than the magic of pure rest. After completing the first three runs of last week alright, I still felt the condition of my right foot deteriorating, and I decided to do what I probably should have done as soon as I noticed a bigger problem- take a break.
I finally pulled the brakes two Fridays ago, because I realized the pain in my foot may not even be PF, and I was feeling discomfort in other parts of my foot as though I’m compensating, which is a bad sign. I didn’t think quickly enough to get an appointment before an unscheduled trip home, but I booked an appointment with a foot doctor (who is a runner herself) for as soon as I’m back in Berlin (in about a week). I’m not running until my foot has been checked out. I figure that whatever I have needs some rest anyway, and if what I have is more serious, I can get a head-start on the healing time the doctor predicts for me.
In the meantime, I also took a good, long look at myself and decided I this forced break is probably what I needed, and I need to be easier on myself.
As most of us do, I find being easy on myself very difficult. I’m a Type A personality, and even when I’m doing well in school, work, running, and in my relationships (or so I’m told), I never believe that to be the case. I always think there’s something I need to do better… and there probably is! No one is perfect! But that perfectionism mentality is pretty perfect in making one think one can be perfect- and that’s the curse of it.
There are personal struggles all of us go through, whether they be body image, relationships, work environment- basically figuring out what we want for our future and how we want to get there. I’ve had my fair share of these struggles, but while I’m still young, I’ve lived long enough to know there are no quick and easy solutions and that I need to figure out what goals I think are worth taking the long route for.
However, I still look for the easy way out though in my work and in my eating habits… and I developed a few unhealthy patterns because of the resulting mentality. These past weeks of unscheduled rest days were daily reminders that I can and should have enough respect and love for my body to go easy on it for as long as needed, and I shouldn’t worry about the miles not run and the calories not burned, and I definitely don’t need to worry about the time not run…because there’s always a way to use time well.
So, until I’m cleared to run again, I’m not going to drive myself crazy with marathon training. Maybe I won’t even run any marathons until the fall, or this year. If so, the only person who really cares is me, and if I say I’m okay with not running, I’m sure I’ll find ways to be happy without it.
Of course, that being said, I know being active is a part of my lifestyle, and I am happy when I’m doing something even if it’s not running. But it doesn’t have to be intense or at the level of marathon training. I tried that last summer after breaking my toe, and ended up injured again anyway.
So, for now, things like swimming, biking, and weight training to keep some fitness and get some energy out is all I need. In the meantime, I also need to straighten out a weird relationship with food and exercise I’ve developed since last year, so it’s probably good to start at square “A” in training and fueling.
In short, yep, marathon training weeks four and five aren’t ideal. But I’m pushing myself out of the denial and depression and into some more positive thinking, because that’s just how I roll.
Hope daylight savings didn’t kick you in the butt too much and that training is going well for all you April marathon folks!- Dorothea