Log: March 6-19 (weeks four and not so five)

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.

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These runs include: 8 x 800s at 3:30 or less with 400m recoveries, I had a 3:25 average and felt strong and controlled throughout. The heel was complaining afterward, but not as much as after long-run Saturday; an easy 7 miler with a fast finish; a 3 mile tempo run at sub- 8 mpm; and what was supposed to be an easy 3 miler that became reduced to 1, in order to preserve myself for my schedule 13 miles at half marathon pace. That didn’t happen, so I ended up with a tad above 22 miles for week four. Week five started off with a two one-mile test runs… and then a few strides at the park that weren’t so great either.

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

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Log: Feb 27th- March 5th (week three)

Well, this post almost didn’t happen. Next week’s might not.  I’m  in awe of people who have full-time jobs, kids, marathon training and still have time to blog about it. My daisy-chain linked hat is tipped in your direction (and maybe the direction of your sig. other who helps you get it all done ;) ).

new-week

This was a satisfactory week. I’m a bit hesitant to praise it in light of a bout of PF pain that decided to rear its ugly head after yesterday’s long run, but there’s a bottle of water in the freezer and some supportive socks being worn and we’ll see what a nice day of rest can do. Plus, I had PF pain last week after the long run too, and it went away by Monday’s interval run. Magic?

This week marks the the highest weekly and daily mileage I’ve done since Marathon Four over a year ago. I like to think that I slowly worked up to this, but I do feel kind of stressed going from 14 to 18 miles in four weeks. I guess it’s normal? It just seems a bit quick. Maybe my PF agrees with me. Who knows. I think my feet are just complaining about a bad shoe/treadmill combo that I should have been more careful about.

47.5 miles and an 18-mile long run could summarize this week, but I want to give a shout-out to the individual runs:

  • Intervals on Monday were fun, but tough: 6 x 1000 meters in 4:15 or less. 5/6 intervals were done in 4:01 to 4:07. My fourth one was 4:31. Recoveries were 3 minutes.
  • Tuesday’s easy run was supposed to be 10 miles, but I cut it short at 9.2. I didn’t want to run it at all, but once I was out there, I felt decent. Unfortunately, I procrastinated enough on the run that I then had to cut it short after all. The problems of balance.
  • Wednesday was an alternating workout. I alternated 9 and 8 minute miles and did this fairly successfully since it was on the treadmill. At the beginning of the run, I didn’t think I could keep it up (still tired from Mon), but I loosened up by the last miles.
  • Thursday was a rest day, but I commuted to work. I actually commuted via bike 4/5 days this week. Wheel power.
  • On the schedule for Friday were fartleks: 5 miles. I just went out and randomly picked intervals to go faster or slower. Overall 44 minutes including one mile warm-up, so not shabby. Got some 17 km per hour strides in there, too, so got some speed.
  • Saturday: went out for 18 miles in the kind of mood that it’s good to have an 18 mile run to work off some steam with. I was basically annoyed with the world until mile 6, but then on the trails, in beautiful spring sunlight and in the embrace of the green trees, I felt better. I saw a family of warthogs, got some fuel about halfway through, and generally finished the run feeling surprisingly good. I accidentally went .7 miles over, which made up for Tuesday’s missed mileage. Today, all systems are go except for the right foot.

On deck for tomorrow is an 8 x 800m in 3:30 which isn’t really scaring me, but I hope my foot is ready for. I’m debating checking the track or at least postponing the interval.We’ll see how good I am at smart decision making by the end of the week.

See you then! (hopefully). In the meantime, anyone had PF issues and wants to tell the tale? I know about icing and rolling the foot over tubes and balls, but I wonder if there’s other kinds of magic tricks I haven’t heard of yet.

 

Summer running had me a blast

This post may be a bit random, but please bear with me. I just wanted to get my thoughts out into the world, now that I have decided to break my period of silence and of not blogging about my running.

I’ve slacked a bit on the running front. Not having a training plan and having a crazy busy (but awesome) last weeks in Germany after the semester ended meant that I’ve run sporadically, but I’ve been running. July saw a total of 135 miles… Not really great, but my best mileage this year. I also ran a decent 5K and 10K in May and June: 21:35 and 44:45.

I had a few longer runs throughout the last weeks, but haven’t touched more than 10 miles since the marathon in April. A lot of it was due to time constraints, but I also wasn’t really motivated to get a long run in. Last week, I pushed 8 miles after a 65 mile ride the day before, and 6 miles the following day, but then I had a break of three days before getting in a hectic three miles. That was Saturday. Today it’s Tuesday and I am seriously considering taking the rest of the week (month?) off from running.

Part of my attitude has to do with the leeway I have, and why shouldn’t I take advantage of it? I plan to sign up for the Fort Lauderdale Marathon at the end of February. I figure I can pick up some other races along the way (I’m flirting with the idea of joining a local running club for their Saturday long runs) and use them as gauges of my fitness. But I don’t really need to start training for the marathon until about five months out. That gives me until the end of September.

Another reason for my attitude is that I’ve recently been running only to offset the undisciplined diet I’ve been consuming… a lot of fatty, semi-fast food with too many carbs and not enough time between meals and snacks to just digest. Running to burn calories is a potentially unhealthy correlation to create with running, for sure, and it’s making me a bit unhappy. So I’ve decided to stop for a while, and if I feel the urge to go run because I want to run, then that’s when I’ll do it again.

Finally, I guess, if I’m completely honest, I need a few new pairs of good running shoes (all of mine have 400 miles or more) and it’s making my plantar fasciiti flare up. I’m too poor for new shoes now, so I’ll wait for my first paycheck in my new job as adjunct.

In the meantime, I’ll stay active and swim a lot in the pool, perfect refreshment during south Florida’s hot and humid mornings. Also, who knows? Maybe I will end up going for a run this evening. If I do, it will be because I want to, and not because I have to… there won’t be the stress of having to fit the run in somehow.

It’s a well-deserved break, and I have enough other things to do and take care of right now.

A Different Kind of Patience

This is a fairly self-therapy post in which I do some whining. Sorry in advance!

Many runners use words with “P” as part of their personal mantras: practice!, persevere, persist, patience, “it’s okay to perspire,” “keep the pace…” “move through the pain.” A lot of time, we think of patience in running as having the strength to wait for the right moment to sprint, or taking the “ability to hold out” meaning of patience as it’s definition. However, many runners who have been injured know  that patience is not so much what we have during the run, but what we need during recovery to stop ourselves from running too soon.
“But I just ran a PR, I can do fast, why do I have to wait?”

Clearly, there’s knowing one should be patient, and being able to practice it. I think I was too impatient following my half-marathon mid-December, getting back to walking a lot within a day, and running by the fourth day after the race. I should have waited, and my feet told me so after my almost 6-miler just five days after my race. I had done some damage, made it worse by running again so soon, and now I’m afraid to start again for fear of having given myself an injury.

Clearly, I should go to the doctor to get the foot that’s causing me trouble diagnosed. I am just worried that I already know that the doctor will tell me to stop running, and I’m afraid it’s for a period longer than I’m willing to stop. Instead, I’m considering that I have the worst (stress fracture), and taking the necessary steps from there. [disclaimer: in all likelihood, what I have is “just” a reaction and compounded soreness. If I were in serious pain, I would go see a doctor]

Rest: obviously, I need to take a break from running, or spending a lot of time on my feet. Not running is easier controlled than walking, since I need to be able to get places. I haven’t run for two weeks now, and I figure if I take one more week off, I should be able to gingerly move back into it. It’s been three weeks since a hard run, or daily running, but I know I should probably stick to my plan of three weeks completely off. That’s where having patience comes in. I need to remember that even if the foot feels fine walking, or a few minutes into the run, I don’t want to know what happens when it starts hurting again, or how long I have to wait to start again… so I wait.

Waiting: I am using the time I would usually run to take care of my feet. I used a callous remover and got my heels back down to their normal texture and size. I soak my feet in warm water and rub them in with creme. I try to ice them. I have been taping my arches when I walk for longer periods of time. I try to keep my feet walking normally, and ignore the pain that makes it tempting to do a weird foot twist. I roll my feet over a ridged roller and a small, hard ball. For the rest of my legs and body, I still foam roll, try to do calisthenics, and get a lot of biking in. It’s weird going from 50 miles a week of running to 0, but I can use the extra time right now anyway to work for school.

what about playing soccer?: Am I stupid? Admittedly, yes, a little. I am thinking about it. Should I though? Probably not. I’m going to wait at least as long as I will wait before I start running again.

Wish me luck! Realistically, I know I can take off three more weeks and still have moderate preparation for the marathon at the end of April. If I want that even to be an option, I need to be patient now. That’s my mantra.

A Rough Recovery

You know the advice to keep walking after finishing a race? Try to stay on your feet for at least 20 minutes? Well, it’s good advice.

Unfortunately, after my half-marathon two weekends ago, I failed to take it and got comfortable on a curb with a plate of food within ten minutes of my run. I hadn’t even finished my first bottle of water yet.

Sitting felt good. Getting up, not so good.

My thighs were incredibly sore and anything more than a shuffle hurt. Well, I also wasn’t able to complete a cool down run, and settled for a slow, painful walk to the car. This is a far stretch from my last half marathon where I lost my car key in the walk from my car to the starting line and used the moment I crossed the finish line onward to find security personnel along the race and ask if they had found my key. A quick run from one person to the next meant I had a good cool-down (and got my key in the process). Should have lost my key again, I guess.  The rest of the day after this race I moved very little, happy to be sitting down. I haven’t done an intense long race in a while, so I don’t know if I felt that way after my marathons, but I certainly never felt that way after a half before.

Monday wasn’t much better and it not only hurt going down steps, it hurt going up and horizontal as well. I was in very bad shape. It was my own fault though, and while I didn’t do much immediate post race recovery, I put more effort into the recovery for the rest of the week. I gave myself daily massages, took Epsom salt baths, got enough sleep, ate a lot of foods with important vitamins and minerals, stretched and did yoga, basically, everything one is supposed to do. By Thursday I was feeling much better, but after a short 2 mile run, quite sore again. It was mostly my thighs that were complaining, but the blister on my foot was still making trouble. Friday morning I went out for another run that felt much better (seems like the run the day before cleared out some of the pain), but I started feeling a slight pain in the top, right side of my right foot, and my paranoid self (as well as the knowledge that four days of rest after my effort had not been enough) made me fear the worst: stress fracture.

It’s not just paranoia. I am a likely candidate. I have been increasing my mileage and running on a foot plagued by plantar fasciitis since July. I lost about seven pounds since my arrival in Hamburg, as well as my regular period. While losing my weight was not intentional, I also wasn’t vigilant about making sure I had enough to eat for the amount of running I was doing. I also chalked up the amenorrhea (absence of menstrual cycle) to hormonal shifts based on the stress of being in a foreign country and having some homesickness and culture shock. It wasn’t until I got home, right before my race where I realized that I had lost weight and may have been unhealthy. To top this list, I had fractured a bone in my foot before by playing soccer barefoot (brilliant, I know). The slight tingling I feel on my foot in various stages of movement make me think that if I had a stress fracture, the location would be in about the same place.  Because of the combination of these factors, I kind of think I may be in pretty bad shape to begin marathon training.

But, after that almost 6 mile run on that last Friday (the 20th), I consequently avoided running and long periods of walking. I have continued stretching and massaging, and I am trying to stay active by biking and swimming. I also did a workout of pool running, but I still feel silly when I do that.

Anyway, I don’t plan to run again for another week at least. Also, if I don’t feel better on Jan. 2nd, I may just take one more week off (to give myself three weeks of potential recovery).

I know I should not self-diagnose, but if I basically know I have to take time off and rest, what more can a doctor tell me? At least time off may ensure that I recover from the fasciitis.

Welp. So much for injury free. It’s hard to sit on the sideline, since I wasn’t actually experiencing real pain (just some pangs of discomfort) when I stopped running and probably could have continued running. On the other hand, with this marathon I registered for, and a soccer team I want to continue playing for, I also know I’d rather take time off now, while I can, than run and have to stop and not have enough time after recovery to train properly. Oh well.

I can’t believe I’ve only taken one week off and already feel antsy. How will I make it to two or three more??