Backwards and Forwards

Dear readers,

Happy new year. May it bring us all positive answers, a stronger sense of security, and some peace.

The days between the years were great. I went home to blue skies and lots of sunshine for Christmas and flew back to Germany on the 31st. Long flights leave room for thinking (if one doesn’t get too distracted by the onboard entertainment, this time including the pilot), and this time of year invites reflection in general. So I will reflect on a year of PRs, months riddled by injuries, and a much lower mileage than I had planned for.

First of all, if anything, I can appreciate my 10,000 lifetime recorded miles. Assuming I continue running, I can’t expect another 10,000 until 2023. But to run strong through 2023 is a good long-term goal! I’d love to not have any injuries until then, but to ensure that, I am going to need some assessments of my health that I hadn’t taken seriously enough, and age 25 is a pretty good time to start, especially if I want to continue to be a runner. I have a few doctor appointments planned.

year-2016
All things considered, I had a pretty good year running the majority of the time.

Not meeting my 1500 (bumped up in June to 1700) miles goal is not bad news to me. I accept that I was challenged by injuries (one major one not running related) and should have been smarter. I reached 1367 miles this year, which is a nice prime number if you ask me. As long as I’m logging more than a mile a day for a year, I’m in pretty good shape.

I guess not meeting a mileage goal (the first time I ever set one, actually) helped in the realization that I don’t have to take myself as seriously as a runner. I still have my lifetime goal of a sub-3hr marathon, but that’s not a priority, especially not now while I’m working on my doctorate. I don’t know if I’ll ever have time to focus on the training enough to dedicate mind and spirit, whole-heartedly, but for now I am grateful with consistency that will always leave a starting point better than square one, should I chose to reach that goal. Running is a part of my life and always has the potential to be more. Right now, that potential is enough, especially when I’m continuing to score age group (and super-occasionally overall) wins.

My training from 2015 paid off into 2016 with a PR in the half-marathon in January and an 18 minute PR in the marathon February. I didn’t race again until Fall 2016, but did fairly well (considering 6 weeks off due to broken toe) in a 10.7km, 8.6km, and a 20km in December. I never recapped that race, but I was 7th overall for the females and ran a 1:33:40. Not amazing, off my goal by about 3 minutes, but still a good race considering the injuries, etc.. It also probably prepared me to end the year on a positive note with a 5K race on New Year’s Eve.

In my race Saturday, I ran 21:32, placed 8th for the women, won my age-group and was off my 5k PR by only 18 seconds despite a hurting back, a freshly stubbed toe (race-morning wandering around the house in the dark, because I didn’t want to wake the whole household up) and not having trained specifically for a 5K nor training properly at all, due to a hurt tendon in the foot after the 20k.

My weeks (Dec. 5-Jan. 1st) since the last time I posted looked like this:

graph-runs-4-12-through-1-1

One can see how I took a few days off after I hurt my foot (coinciding well with a scholarship application due on the 15th), and slowly ramped up the mileage the following week. I learned again not to do too much too soon following a race, and the graph shows I had a better month than I allow myself in my memory. In general, the stats always seem better than the reality in my head. I need to get out of my head more often.

One last running highlight of the year that I’d like to mention was volunteering at the Berlin marathon. I somehow missed signing up for the lottery for 2017, but may just volunteer again, anyway.

Looking forwards, I intend to keep logging my running and keep updates with my blog posts. I also am running at least one marathon that I’d like to PR at on April 23rd. I haven’t decided yet if I will do another one (I signed up for one on April 15th, but am not sure about messing up my chance to PR on the 23rd), but for now the plan is to just slowly start upping the mileage anyway. I will also continue strength training, since I noticed a huge shift in the effort in the fall after the work I put into increasing my core and upper body strength.

I plan to get to 50 miles a week by the middle of February and once I’m there, double-marathon specific training can still be decided. I can also use this time to address my nutrition without stressing about specific workouts, and in general focus on my academic life a little more. In February, it’s time to reassess and think about later in the year. But for now, I’m satisfied in my planning and excited about a lot of easy and long runs.

Wishing you all a great year of running- and otherwise.

-Dorothea

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Looking Forward: April 2017

Disclosure: I did end up running in Munich yesterday… running to catch my bus back to Berlin, that is!

Yesterday, thousands of runners started their Munich Marathon race, and I saw a few of them on my way out of the city. In honor of their run, and my almost-run, I did an easy 2.62 miles. My feet have been feeling good these past two weeks. Despite my toe suffering the wrath of my iPad, the hobbling was gone the next day, and the toe is slowly returning to its normal color. I did a few test runs last week- not more than a mile and always with rest-days in between. Things have been looking up.

The nice run yesterday, and the lack of any ill effects today makes me feel ready to slowly start again. I’m only thinking 10-15 miles this week and next, maybe 20 the following. Six weeks from now, I’d like to be able to run 30 miles, but I’m not going to push it. I’m also not give myself the pressure of a race this side of 2016.

However, on the 7 hour ride back to Berlin, I did do some race research, and found a few races happening in April that really caught my attention. The Hamburg Marathon obviously caught my eye, happening April 23rd. Unfortunately, the Darß Marathon is also happening that day, and I have a hankering to do a nice run in that beautiful landscape. Plus side: I already have a place there where I could stay that weekend. I also have a few friends that may feel like running the race with me. Downside: it’s a rather small race and it would mean I’d maybe miss out on a chance to run with some study-abroad friends in Hamburg.

The other thing is, there’s a marathon in Berlin happening the week before on April 15th. It’s also a small race (last year had only 91 runners, 21 of them women), and it’s a week before two other great races. This set-up is making me think I may shoot for back-to-back marathons for the first time in my life. Maybe I’ll make it on the marathon maniacs bronze-level list. Since it’s 28 weeks out, I am sure I could train sufficiently for this. I’m also excited about a new challenge. Depending on which race I would pick for the 23rd, I could make the first or second marathon my goal race. There’s a lot of possibility in looking forward right now…

These past two months have been an up-and-down of hope and pressure to be able to run the Munich Marathon. Now that the race can’t even be on my radar anymore, I feel like looking forward again.

Finally, fun fact: I turn 26 next April, which makes a marathon or two that month pretty much (a) mandatory event(s).

 

Is it a sign? It must be a sign. 

After nearly two months of attention heaped on my fourth toe, toe five decided it was its time in the purple limelight.


 If you’re tired of these feet close ups and poorly cut nails, then good; me too. I call that color “crimson curse.” On the plus side, isn’t toe four looking fine? 
Can you believe my luck?! That’s the damage a full-size iPad can do falling on its side on a toe. I just wish it wasn’t my toe that provided the evidence for posterity’s sake. I’m not even mad about the fact that running is put off for even longer… I’m just mad to be hobbling around again. I thought I’d done my share of hobbling this year! On the plus side, I don’t have to worry about this happening a week out from a marathon I’m no longer running. 

Maybe I should just wear boots everywhere.

Hope your Monday is MUCH better. 

Updates from runner me

I saw a doctor on Friday, and while I can’t run for the next two weeks at least, I can be reassured that I did not give myself a stress fracture. I gave myself a stress-reaction and I just have to take this as a lesson well-learned. After not running, one cannot suddenly jump from 7 to 15 to 30 miles a week. There needed to be something between that 15 and 30 mile week. Despite my muscles being fine, my bones needed to be readjusted.

So, I learned. I also learned that our bodies don’t heal the way we expect them to, and that our bodies bear the marks of what we do to them for months, years after we do it. For example, I got to see my healed toe, and I was surprised to see a clear line indicating where I’d broken it. It was a crazy break, jagged and everything. No wonder it hurt for so long. I thought when bone heals together, then there’s white in the x-ray again. Instead, the bone heals, but it takes a while for new part connecting the bone pieces together to appear as white.

In other news, I sold my Munich Marathon entry and resisted the urge to pick up a Berlin Marathon starting place, floating around on e-bay. There will be more marathons.

And I got to volunteer at the Berlin Marathon! Recap here.

Otherwise, not much new from runner me. I’ve been following a good regimen of weights every other day- and non-runner me actually likes it. Um, yeah. Been riding? Okay, I’m done now.

Happy running!

-Dorothea

Marathon training…without running

It’s me… I’ve been wondering if after all these months you’d like to read what I’ve been up to. I should be doing a life-update-post, but this one will be shorter.

So, I did two months of marathon training since my jubilant announcement about getting into it back in June. I had a lot of really great workouts, intervals always being more fun than the tempos, but the long runs were slowly building from 10 to 12 to 14 to 15 to 13 to 16… and my last long run was a 15.4 that was supposed to be 17.

Why shorter, you (may not actually) ask? Well, I’ve been taking detailed notes about my running to be able to log everything online again once I got online again (um, I had nothing better than an old eating journal)… and below you see how I was slowly having issues with my feet. It started with a small ache post run that went away over the course of the day, and then became a clearly identifiable point of pain, becoming more and more acute of a pain after each run. Usually, the day off between runs resolved everything.

IMG_1681

Unfortunately, during a particularly determined long run, for which I’d set up a circle route and had an aid station and everything, I was in pain for the last five miles of the run and knew I would have been crazy stupid to finish the run. I was out of time anyway, but I like to think I was being smart. The point is, I knew on August 2nd, I needed to take a break, and I actually didn’t mind too terribly much- just enough to question my decision every four hours – to wait until the following Monday (Aug. 8th) to run again. I had started my training plan on a Wednesday and therefore had time for the plan to catch up anyway, so that my long runs would be on Saturdays again (I had made them Tuesdays to accommodate family vacation plans). Unfortunately, before the week was up, I managed to do even more damage. While my right foot was feeling better by the day, my left foot had an altercation with the leg of a particularly sturdy couch and…

YEEAH. That was a day after. Immediately after the match (that I obviously won), the fourth toe was having a party about 2 cm away from third toe. Clearly, I could not run on that. In fact, I had trouble walking and still do.

IMG_1684
1.17 weeks later

Thus, while I guess I should be grateful that I had a better reason to stop running than a possible-stress-fracture-not-even-diagnosed, I also wish I hadn’t done this ante-up. It’s been harder to cross-train with this kind of injury, and I’m gritting my way through swims and cycles and hoping I’m not putting too much pressure on the toe and allowing it to heal.

Good news is, my right foot will be healed, without a doubt, by the time I can run again. Bad news is, I’m stuck taking off two weeks and counting from running…in the middle of marathon training and with more pain that the possible stress-fracture proved to be.

What’s a girl with a funny injury limp to do? Ask the internet, of course.

  1. Five Alternative Workouts 
  2. “You Can Race Well Off Cross-Training”
  3. Nine week plan for pool-running

I found a few useful sites giving me workouts and fellow sob-stories of training without running. Most plans promise those who follow them that he/she will be able to retain fitness. Ideally, though, I’m still building my fitness to prep for a sub 3:30 marathon (still my goal, until proven otherwise). I’m modifying the workouts I find based on former experiences on being coached in swimming and from going to spinning classes, so as long as I’m raising my heart rate five times a week, I feel like I may make it through this/these next week(s) and get back out in running shoes by the start of Sept.(?) to resume training.

For those concerned, the answer is “yes”; I’ll get a clearance diagnosis from a doctor before I resume running. There’s not point in starting to run again and end up out of action for the marathon Oct. 9. I got lucky that this injury happened with enough running training in my legs and early enough still to be able to cross train, return to running training, and be okay-ish prepared. If this sequence of injuries had happened this or next  week, I’d be in a little more trouble.

To keep myself moderately involved in the sport, and not want to shoot lasers with my eyes at every runner I see these days (I know, I know, it’s not their fault), I’ve signed up for a local running volunteer group and am going to volunteer at a few upcoming races…maybe even the Berlin Marathon!

Now that I’m back, I’ll be posting updates again (may or may not continue analog logging)- hope you continue to check in!

post script: I listened to the radio while writing this post, and in the past hour heard for the third time that Usain Bolt proved himself the fastest man in the world…again. Geez. I get it. He’s a fast guy! But only over 100 meters :p

;)

In honor of Global Running Day…

Or not, I don’t know. Maybe it’s as good an excuse to post again as any.

I’ve been nowhere, and it wasn’t very exciting.

I can’t believe it’s been over a month since I’ve posted. I guess, after one misses a certain amount of time and doing nothing exciting, blogging is out of the system and doesn’t seem worth the effort… then the days turn into weeks, months… you know the drill.

But, hello there! Nice to share some running news with you again.

First of all, no, I didn’t get in an accident, get sick, have a major life-changing event happen, etc. I really just did my normal stuff and didn’t blog about it.

But now, heading into a warm summer, I want to get back to blogging. Of course I’m kidding myself when I think that I’ll be able to keep it up normally while in Germany, which is where I’m heading in less than seven days, but for the time being, this is an update.

Since I last went running, my log looks really consistent and kind of boring. The best of news, right?

update running

It looks like I take a lot of rest days, but I try to only have two a week. They keep my knees and feet happy, and my social calendar seems a lot more manageable when I can plan two days instead of just one.

Sparknotes of my training: my only goal for the past months has been to do a steady increase in my mileage.

For the past seven weeks, I’ve been adding a mile each week to get up to 35 last week, and I plan to do this for the next ten weeks as well. That was the only caveat for my training. It happened to be that I had days where a fartlek felt good, or I did intervals, or needed a long run at the end of the week to get to the goal mileage. For the past three weeks, I’ve also been checking my mile speed. So far, my fastest mile has been 6:27, but I know I just need to get my speed back. The colors of the different kinds of runs I did reflect my flexibility at the type and length of run I did, and so far the build-up has been smooth.

So, I didn’t really have a goal, but knew about a 10K I usually do in Berlin at the end of July that I signed up for a few weeks ago. It’s been on my mind during faster workouts, and now I’ll slowly start ramping up speedwork over the next few weeks. While I dislike evening races, and I tend to struggle balancing family vacation and race-day priorities for this particular race, I do want to try for a 10K PR there. Sub-44 minutes would be awesome!

Also, the latest news is that I’m running a second marathon this year. Not quite sure how it happened, myself. I usually go for one marathon a year and am grateful to even get in the one, both financially speaking and in regards to my health. However, after an exciting PR in February and general good recovery, I found myself missing the marathon training and feel ready for a second race this year. Saturday, in randomly looking through marathons I could do in the fall in Germany, I found the München Marathon (that’s in Munich, for those of you who have never been to Oktoberfest Wies’n). Twenty minutes and 94 dollars later, there’s this thing I’m running…

Woo hoo!

It will be cool to watch the Berlin Marathon in Berlin this year, and know I’ll be running my own marathon a few weeks later later in one of Germany’s coolest cities. I guess I should start looking for a plan to follow…

Ta da! You’ve been updated, and I hope summer running is looking good for you! Temps and humidity are up here in South Florida, but as long as I put on my sunblock and stay hydrated, it’s not too bad. Plus, I have some shady German forest trails to look forward to.

For closing, I present you with Fort Lauderdale marathon picture #10 (“proof”ed, of course). They never posted my finish-line pic’ with my medal, but I do have this one and others. You can’t tell how I pee’ed my pants (sorry if that’s TMI) and my running face isn’t pretty, but this shows me running strongly into the finish and makes me happy, even almost four months later.

Cheers, DT

FL marathon10

P.S. I’m not running today, because my body tells me it wants a rest. Still, it’s a happy running day for any runner, even when s/he takes a rest.

 

 

Update: I’m still alive!

So, I’ve been off the radar for a while (in reading and posting blogs). I’m going to skip off again after this, but to check-in and make it easier on myself when I finally return for the end of 2015 (likely next weekend, life will be mine again), I’m doing a quick running log.

Last time you read from me, I had just PR’ed and was already part way through finals stress. This year, I have tons of papers (late and on-time) from my students to grade, my brother’s finals to help him prepare with, and grad school applications…plus the house needed to be decorated! So, I’m a wee bit busy and can’t wait for the break to begin next weekend.

However, I have been running, even if it was a bit rocky.

training_21 Nov 6 Dec

The first day after the race was fine. I did an easy 5 miles and shook out the legs. Things felt good! Then, I took my scheduled rest day and life was hunky-dory. Following that, I had an interval session planned. This was done at the track and I did 7 x 400ms with 400 m recovery jogs. The pace overall was fine, but nothing stellar, and I felt tired. I chalked it up to having just raced hard and didn’t really push myself, anyway.

Then, Thanksgiving prep got in the way of my run, and I started showing cold symptoms. That turned into a full-fledged cold, but not before I could get 8 miles in on Thanksgiving. They were nice (and windy) to the beach and back. Friday, my cold played out its game, hard, and I was miserable and forced to be productive on applications all last weekend. Still, I squeezed in a few short runs. They didn’t kill me (even though I just lay down in the grass at one point during Friday’s run, because it felt better than running), and life moved on. I took off the last day of running to work on my applications completely, because I know where to set my priorities… obviously. ;)

Starting Dec. 1st, things looked better. I was feeling healthier and had a little more time to run, even if I’m still tight for it.

Tuesday, Dec. 1- quick 10k. The legs felt good, I felt good, I had to get back before it got dark… (edited to add that this was actually an interval run! How could I forget? Probably because it wasn’t as easy as my selective memory had me believe, due to my cold. 3 x 7 minutes at 7:00-7:30 mpm, 3 min. recovery jog.)
Wednesday, Dec. 2- Easy five miles. It felt good to relax on this run, no stress and plenty of time for circuit training
Thursday, Dec. 3- short 3 miles. Got home late after driving around south Florida for three hours, but really wanted that run (and even if I would have actually been okay without it, it felt good to run in the rain)
Friday, Dec. 4- even shorter 2.3 miles… just to get the legs moving. I’m getting back into marathon training and wanted to get a  run in on the day before the long run.
Saturday, Dec. 5- longest run since the April marathon! Finally back into marathon training. 15.5 miles at a pretty good clip (8:37). To get the distance and be home in time for breakfast (because, let’s be real, it’s almost the best part of the day), I did a little less than 2 miles before the group run. Wore some compression socks after my shower, and wow, hose things really do help in recovery.
Sunday, Dec. 6- rest day, 2nd Advent, life is fairly good, but now I have to get back to grading.

Total: 32.5 miles. This is not as high as I’d like to see, but after the last two weeks sub-24 miles, I’m happy with this. I know that next week, with a planned 17-miler, it will be easy to get to 40 miles.

Hope everyone had a good weekend and has a wonderful week. Stay healthy! It’s that time of the year, but no need to get sick.

All the best and happy running.

 

Running Update: 9/23-9/29

I’ve been posting fairly regularly, so I guess that means I’m in something of a running groove right now. Came just in time to start actually building a base for marathon training.

It could have something to do with the shoes because, since buying the Gel-Nimbus 17s, I haven’t been dealing with as many leg niggles. I still have a few, and they still made me think that a few rest sandwiches were in order, but even after not taking a rest day after my “long” run this week, I’m feeling okay.

The trick is to go slow and steady.

I do want to go faster again though. I think having two shoes to rotate will help with that, so I bought myself a pair of Nimbus 16s. I had these shoes last fall and they worked well for me.

asics-nimbus-16-womens-pink-main
I loved the mint green, neon pink combo of these, so decided to get them again.

My training, since the awesome 5K in the gym last Tuesday, resumed Wednesday with an easy 3 miler with some circuit training at the park. Then, I decided I needed an extra rest training 9-23day and would run Friday before the “long” run. I did run Friday, but decided sleeping in on Saturday to recover from the week and nip my oncoming cold in the bud was more important. So I did the 9 miles on Sunday. Yesterday the foolishness started, where I thought I could handle a run after a short “long” run. I probably can, but I had also done some strength work at the gym on my legs, which I don’t usually do. I ended up with a very easy pace and I also felt it today on my not-too-significantly-shorter run.

I have yet to see how the rest of the week plays out, but the plan is: run tomorrow and Thursday, rest-day Friday, 13-miler Saturday.

We’ll see how this goes.

Hope everyone is having a great week!

Running Update 9/14-9/22: in which I become the runner I was six years ago

Ahhh! New shoes. I got new shoes the moment my check cleared on Friday. I splurged for the ASICS Nimbus, which I’ve had before and do the best good for my legs, even if they are too expensive. They’re already making a difference and my legs are returning back to their usual level of whining.

However, that wasn’t the only thing good to happen in this training update. I ran 13.1 miles, was able to take a few days off without feeling guilty, and… ran my fastest 5K in 6 years.

6 years ago, I hadn’t done any marathons or half-marathons. I hadn’t earned my BA or MA. I weighed about 18 pounds less. I had my first fall without cross country in four years. I was playing soccer about every evening. That is all to say, I am not the same runner at all.

And yet today, I ran only one second slower than my fastest time since sophomore year in high school. Basically, in November 2006, I ran 21:15. In September 2009, I ran 21:18. Today, I ran 21:19.

Granted, I was on a treadmill in the gym. It was at .5 incline, but I’m aware the odds of gravity, traction, whatever were in my favor. Still, the 21:18 six years ago was also on a treadmill, and that has stood as one of my quickest runs.

I am so motivated right now, I can’t even begin to describe all the 5K races I want to go out and run.

In fact, I have two I’ve signed up for now- a turkey trot and a jingle-bell jog. They  were what got me out today to begin with, since I’m inspired to focus on 5Ks again. Because of the eminent races, I decided to shoot for my old PR and am basically going to revert back to high school in which I ran a 5K on Tuesday (almost) every week during cross country season. I want to start “racing” once a week again and then add a speed-workout on another day.

Today was just supposed to be a test-drive, a chance to gauge my fitness. I’m feeling pretty good about my fitness. Even if it was on a treadmill, I know I could have run faster. I was still breathing smoothly at 2 miles.

Then again, the run-up to this run may explain my success.

Since the last time I wrote:

Tue: 9/15- off and spinning
Wed: 9/16-off and spinning
Thurs: 9/17-off and off to a birthday celebration
Fri: 9/18- easy 2.5 miles with some circuit training
Sat: 9/19- 13.1 long run in 1:59 on the dot; Marco Polo in the pool
Sun: 9/20- off
Mon: 9/21- easy/tempo 5.3 in the park
Tue: 9/22- 5k success! (and a warm-up/cool-down of 1.05 each)

So, I guess one could attribute my run today to having last week off. However, I think it is also fair to consider that even though I haven’t been running more than 28 miles, and I’ve taken a lot of days off, I’ve been running at least a little each week. I also did a few interval/fartlek/tempo workouts throughout the last weeks. I’ve been increasing my long run… oh, and shoes.

It’s definitely the shoes.

I really can’t see exactly where my personal success from today comes from (I’m so proud! and a super dork), but now I need to reign myself in to not overdo training to get even faster, and to just relax for the next month and keep doing what I’m doing. I would be BEYOND stoked if I could finally break my 5K PR this fall/early winter.

We shall see.

Happy running!

-Dorothea

Running Update 9/8-9/13

This week was consistent, which I’m grateful for and know will eventually get me to the fitness that I need. The one thing I would change about this week is running four days in a row, instead of three. But, since I took Monday off, three days it was.

I had a 4.97 mile run Tuesday and Wednesday, and 5.08 miles on Thursday in the gym. Before Saturday, my favorite run was the gym run since I got it done in 41:38 and had a trio of cute guys commenting on my speed the entire time (“damn, now she’s pushing it up to 9.5”); it was a good progression run. Nothing like an ego boost to head into Friday with.

I took Friday off to make sure I was well-rested for the group run on Saturday.

Yep, that’s a sentence I’ve never written before. I’ve finally decided to get some running buddies again, since my brother is about as reliable as a cold front in south Florida. Unfortunately, while most of the regulars were out running a race, which meant limited selection for my running-buddy hunting session, I still had a great run.

Pictures, or it didn’t happen. Proof (even if shady, in the back) proof that I was part of the Delray Beach Running Company group run on Saturday

I ran by feel the entire time and ended up with an 8:20 overall pace for 12.24 miles. I guess I was excited to run or something.

I call this the “wiping my sweaty hands on my even sweatier pants” pose

The owner of the Delray Beach Running company (who is really nice and greeted us with coffee, bagels, muffins and donuts after the run) seemed impressed by the pace in light of the heat and humidity (I think the state of my top and shorts shows how humid it was…). She assured me that some of her other “speedy” runners will be back next week. I plan to be back too, but not necessarily running 8:20. 9 mpm are respectable as well (and kudos to everyone running sub-8 and 7 mpm for their longer runs!).

While I’m pleased at how I ran, the rest of Saturday was a fight against biomechanics to prevent the runners knee I mentioned last week. While I started having the most issues with my left knee, I think my body is now compensating by making my right knee even worse. I will really need to keep an eye on that and seriously buy new shoes as soon as I get my first paycheck on Friday. Good thing I’m getting retro-paid for four weeks, because I’ve got a few races to sign-up for too.

Hope everyone had a good weekend and is ready for a fresh week of running log.