Life Update – Busy Weeks, Fun Weekends

I have been silent on my blog since my last post about not running almost a month ago.  I have been very busy with my final semester and searching for a job for after graduation.  It’s true what they say about the job search being a full-time job in itself.  I have been attending career fairs and career mixers, sending out my resume to every opportunity, networking, studying for interviews… oh and midterms are coming up this week and next for that school thing!

I’ve been so busy that I’ve barely even noticed the time pass in terms of how long I have been off.  It was just the other night that I was lying in bed and realized it had actually been five weeks since my last run.  That’s enough time off for some stress fractures, and I didn’t even realize it had been that long!  So, as you can imagine, I haven’t been too torn up about not running.  It certainly helps to be so busy during the week that I don’t even have time to think about running.

Where my weeks have been filled with work, school, and looking for work for after school, I have been able to fill my weekends with wonderful experiences. The weekend before last, Matt and I went camping in St. Ignace and visited Mackinac Island, which is something we had talked about doing all summer.  We had a mild summery weekend, so we planned the trip on a whim the day before leaving. 🙂

Our campsite after packing up to leave on Sunday.

Our campsite after packing up to leave on Sunday.

Me in a rock formation

I don’t remember what this rock formation was called, but here I am inside it.

Take nothing but pictures; leave nothing but footprints.

I liked this sign at the entrance to a wetland board path.

Under the Mackinac Bridge

Our ferry ride back to the mainland stopped us under the Mackinac Bridge for pictures.

Last week Saturday, I went to a WordPress conference called WordCamp Ann Arbor.  It was for work, but I really wanted to go and had a lot of fun.

WordCamp swag

WordCamp swag.

On Sunday of last week, I biked out to the cider mill with some friends.

Cider Mill ride!

Cider Mill ride!

This Saturday, I went on a breakfast bike ride to (and back home from) the Dexter bakery, where I had a huge and hugely sweet apple fritter.  As you can see, I’ve been reliably cross training about once a week. 😛

Bicycle Dexter poster

Poster in the bakery

Matt’s birthday was last weekend, so I bought us two tickets to last night’s Michigan v. Penn State football game.  It was an “Under the Lights” game and the atmosphere was incredible.  Our team (Michigan) won and it was very fun to watch.

Matt and I wearing light-up glasses.

They gave us light-up glasses.

Lights during the half-time show

The Michigan Marching Band’s halftime show.

Fun was had!

Fun was had!

My proofs came in the mail for my senior pictures!  Oh, and I cut my hair short.

"Hi, I'm professional."

“Hi, I’m professional.”

"But also fun."

“But also fun.”

Finally, because I should probably update you on my injury… I have been attending physical therapy twice a week and my foot improved drastically after the first week.  Since then, improvement has slowed, but, this past Friday, my physical therapist cleared me to try running ten minutes twice a week, with the stipulation that I ice after, warm up, and cool down.  So, on Friday evening, I stretched, walked for five minutes, ran for ten minutes, probably didn’t stop smiling the whole time, and then walked another six minutes home.  My feet felt GREAT during the run, but they were extra sore after.  They hurt quite a bit on Saturday, and I was worried standing for so long at the game would make them even worse.  However, I woke up this morning with virtually no pain.  It’s confusing and I am of course going to wait until at least tomorrow (Monday) to try running again, but I’m excited to be making progress. 🙂

Hiking Pinckney

Matt and I had originally planned to head up to Mackinac Island this past Sunday.  Long story short, our bikes weren’t ready in time, so we opted to save a little money and find something to do locally, instead.

After attempting to fix his bike.

After attempting to fix his bike on Thursday night.

My friend Becca, ultrarunner extraordinaire, likes running trails at the Pinckney Rec Area.  I texted her on Saturday afternoon asking if the park was good for hiking.  She said it absolutely was, so Matt and I made plans to spend Sunday there, instead.

I didn’t get back from my mom’s house until pretty late on Saturday, so Matt and I went to the grocery store around 11pm to get some things to bring for a picnic on Sunday.  The store at that time of night was pretty empty, which was kind of cool.  We grabbed some corned beef, swiss cheese, and rye bread for sandwiches, along with premade macaroni and potato salads, raspberries, and blackberries.  Then we had fun picking out insulated lunch boxes in the back-to-school section.  In other words, he chose something right away and I spent a long time worrying that I would somehow choose the “wrong” one.

On Sunday morning, we slept in till close to 10 o’clock.  We had chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast before heading out around noon.  It was a half hour drive to the park through as country as it gets in southeast Michigan.  When we arrived, there was no wait for park entry.  I just bought my state park pass (which is now good until my license plate tabs expire next year!) and we were on our way.  Parking was a piece of cake and we got out on the trails right away.  We left our phones in the car, so I didn’t get any pictures.  I just wanted to enjoy the hike and not worry about technology. 🙂

We started off on a three-mile foot-traffic-only loop.  We didn’t see anyone else the whole time, until the very end when we were exiting the trail and someone else was entering it.  For the most part, the trail was just wide enough for two people to walk side by side.  It had plenty of hills and, to me, it almost felt like we were out in the wilderness.  I believe I actually said, “This is Pure Michigan.”  The hike reminded Matt of going to cross country camp in high school, so we had a very interesting conversation about that.  I wish I had had the experience of cross country in high school, but what’s done is done, and I had many other unique opportunities. 🙂

After that first loop, which took about an hour, we went back to the car to use bug spray (we forgot for the first trail and the flies were eating me alive) and to grab our lunches.  We found a nice picnic table up on a hill in the shade by the lake.  The lake area was pretty crowded, so plenty of people-watching opportunities abounded!  My favorite was the little girl carrying a raft as big as she was on her head.

After lunch, we went back out onto another trail, this one about five miles long and partially open to mountain bikers.  We saw a lot more people this time, mostly runners and mountain bikers.  Everyone was very friendly, and luckily the trail was usually just wide enough for us to get out of the way.  Just when we were starting to get annoyed by the mountain bikers, we stopped seeing any.  I do think it’s really cool to watch them do what they do, but it can be a little frightening to be a hiker on a trail where they are moving quickly.

The second trail was even hillier than the first, or maybe my legs were just more tired.  No matter what, I loved the challenge, and it felt so good to be out there.  However, by the end, after 8+ miles of hiking, along with walking to and from the car multiple times, I was more than ready to go home.  We stopped at a gas station so I could get a donut and Matt could get a slurpee.  Then we drove to Matt’s house where I relaxed for maybe half an hour before getting hungry again.  I went home, made dinner, and fell asleep at 8:30pm.

All in all, it was an amazing day, and I would love to do it again.  There’s nothing quite like that feeling of exhaustion at the end of the day after challenging myself.

HHN1 Week One

The disease-sounding name in the title (H1N1 anyone?) stands for Hal Higdon Novice 1 and this is my recap of week one of the Novice 1 marathon training program.  As I wrote about here, I’m not planning to run a marathon at the end of this training cycle, but I wanted some structure and this plan seemed to fit my goals.

The first week was really easy and probably exactly what I needed to recover from Bayshore the previous weekend.  It called for rest Monday, 3-mile runs on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, rest Friday, a “long” run of 6 miles on Saturday, and cross training Sunday.  Each week has the same rest, run, and cross-training days, so I’m sitting here on Monday of week two feeling ready to run, but reminding myself that I need to rest today.  I’m definitely not used to taking two days off from running in a row unless I am feeling hurt.

On that note, my takeaway from week one is that I really like the amount of rest this plan prescribes.  On Thursday, after having run three days in a row, I was feeling ready for rest and was happy that Friday was a rest day.  In addition, resting Monday after not running on Sunday gives me lots of physical and mental energy to tackle and enjoy the next three days of running.

I was surprised this week by the long run.  I thought 6 miles would be a piece of cake after running a half marathon the previous weekend, but the late-spring heat really got to me and I felt very bad for much of it.  It was approaching 70ºF when I went out at 10am and was already 75 when I finished an hour later.  I sweat easily and saltily, so even though I grabbed water at the halfway point, I was starting to feel nauseous by the end.  That is something I need to figure out how to handle this summer.  I’m hoping some of it will get easier as I get more acclimated to the heat, but I will also be heading out earlier in the day next time, when it hopefully will not be as hot.

I did not buy a spring/summer gym membership from the university gym this year (although I could still buy one if I wanted), so my cross-training this week was simply walking.  I went downtown to cheer the finishers at the Dexter-Ann Arbor run and pretty much walked all around town going into different shops, as well.  Once I get my road bike fixed, I might bike sometimes, but I really do like walking and honestly, my legs were tired by the end of the morning (I was on my feet for three hours), so I felt good about walking as cross training. 🙂

This is what my week looked like in far fewer words:

Monday: rest

Tuesday: run 3.03mi

Wednesday: run 3.48mi

Thursday: run 3.85mi (I underestimated the distance of the loop) + hip strengthening exercises after

Friday: rest

Saturday: run 6mi

Sunday: cross training – walked around downtown all morning

Total running for the week: 16.36mi 😀

How was your training last week?  Do you like to follow a plan or do your own thing?

Resting training 5/12-5/18/14

After re-tweaking my hip on Tuesday, I ended up taking the rest of the week really easy trying to sort it out.  No more running and as little walking as possible until it was feeling better.  I was able to go for a walk Sunday night without pain, but running still feels out of the question.  I still want to play it super safe to make sure I make it to the starting line (and the finish!) of Bayshore on Saturday.

I walked to work this morning (Monday), which is about 2 miles, and I felt probably just as good as my walk Sunday night, but my hip still feels weak and volatile.  Once the pain is completely gone, I want to work on strengthening it with some bodyweight work.  I have some PT exercises I have been neglecting.

Monday: rest

Tuesday: 6mi run during which I messed up my hip again (didn’t notice till that night)

Wednesday: yoga before bed

Thursday: rest

Friday: at-home strength workout, mostly core and a bit of arms

Saturday: rest

Sunday: Walked a little less than 4 miles with Matt

Total running: 6 miles, but it’s fine. 🙂

Training 5/5-5/11/14

This past week was a great week of training for me.  The last time I hit 20 miles for a week five weeks ago, I was ignoring hip pain that ended up needing a week off to rectify.  I started thinking there must be something wrong with me where I can’t even run 20 miles without getting hurt, even though I have ran more than that in the past.  My highest week ever was last spring at about 45 miles, although I got a stress fracture shortly after.

I am still learning how to recover properly and figuring out what works best for me, but I’m really hopeful that this is the start of some solid, consistent base building this summer.  I’m scared of saying things like that because I know the tiniest thing can push my body over the edge, but hopefully if I’m careful, I won’t be putting my foot in my mouth by saying it.

Training last week was pretty much just running.  I didn’t do any strength training besides a few pushups after one of my runs.  That is something I want to change for the coming week, even if it is just a couple short at-home yoga sessions.

Monday: Still very sore from my long run the day before – 20 min recovery yoga before bed.

Tuesday: 2.47mi easy, STILL sore from the previous Sunday…

Wednesday: off – took a walk with Matt after work that ended up being about 3 miles. 🙂

Thursday: 5.27mi easy before work.  I stopped two or three times to stretch for a few seconds when I felt little pulls, which definitely felt like it helped.

Friday: 3mi easy before work with a couple friends + a few strides at the end.

Saturday: off

Sunday: 10mi – first double-digit long run since November that I wrote about here!

Total running for the week: 20.74mi

I’m so excited that number is a twenty. 🙂  Here’s to small victories.

Training Recap: Week of 4/28-5/4/14

I’m actually amazed that last week was still April for half the week.  Even though it doesn’t feel like it outside, it is distinctly May in my mind right now.  Not sure why–maybe because I’m out of school and a bunch of people just graduated on May 3rd.

My hip is doing a lot better and actually felt amazing after my long run on Sunday.  Last week, my hip was a little tight after my long run, but this time I’m just regular-sore.  I’m actually more sore from yesterday’s long run than I have been from a run in a long time.  I’m probably going to try this recovery yoga video tonight.

I ran three times last week with two rest days.  I’m trying to incorporate some form of strength training into my routine twice a week, which I did last week on Monday and Wednesday.  I’m still debating whether I want to spend $90 for a student gym membership for the summer, or whether I just want to do bodyweight exercises at home.  I’m not taking summer classes, so I can’t get into the gym for free over the summer. 😦  I’ll probably buy the membership, but I’ve had to spend so much money lately that I’m hesitant.

Monday: Upper body weights in the morning (hit 70lb for 3 reps on bench press for a rep PR–my 1RM is 75lb–and it felt easy! This is why I should maintain a gym membership.) + 25 min yoga in the evening following this video.

Tuesday: 3.8mi before work

Wednesday: Bouldering in the evening for an hour (tons of long breaks obviously)

Thursday: Rest

Friday: 3.34mi after work.  I felt amazing during and after this run.

Saturday: Off for graduation festivities. 🙂  Lots of walking though!

Sunday: 8.28mi, mostly through trails and parks.

Total running for the week: 15.42mi

I’m really happy with how this week went.  Sunday gave me confidence that I will be able to get through the Bayshore Half Marathon on May 24th.  I ran my PR there last year, but with my general lack of training and low mileage this winter, I was honestly worried about even being able to cover the distance this year.  I’m feeling much better about that now!

How about you?  How was your running/training/working out last week?  I hope you have an excellent start to this week!

Training(ish) Recap: Week of 4/14-4/20/2014

This week was all about my hip feeling like crap.  I got really down on myself, but the last couple days I have been able to rest more than normal with it being the weekend and me not having to do much walking.  It feels like resting has really helped!  The end of the semester is here and I have exams and projects the next two weeks, with the most challenging ones over by this coming Friday.  I don’t see myself having much time to do anything but code and study this coming week, so I think I should get in some more excellent rest and come out of it feeling ready to enjoy this beautiful weather. 🙂  With running.  Or even pain-free walking.  Whaaat a concept!

My cross-training kind of petered off by the end of the week, but I really do think rest is helping more than cross-training was.  I swam on Saturday for the first time in months, though, and I do want to get myself feeling much more comfortable in the water (I gulp air and give myself tummy-aches 😦 ), so I might see if I can fit in a couple swims next week.  Even two workouts before Friday might be a stretch though if I want to do well on exams, which I do.

Without further ado, my “training”!

Monday: 40 minutes on the elliptical followed by pushups and hip strengthening

Tuesday: 45 minutes elliptical, core, negative pull-ups, lat pulldowns – with a couple friends in the morning 🙂

Wednesday: Off (I had to walk a lot though)

Thursday: 30 minutes elliptical, core, woodchoppers, pushups, goblet squats, dumbbell rows, plus foam rolling

Friday: Foam rolling, 15 minutes elliptical, then I didn’t want to be on the elliptical so I went to Matt’s house and had ice cream.

Saturday: 38ish minute swim (short breaks included) – kickboard and pull-buoy practice with a few laps of freestyle at the end (and two random backstroke laps at the very beginning)

Sunday: Off (coding all day)

I started taking ibuprofen for my hip on Thursday and I took it a few times Thursday and Friday and once Saturday.  I don’t know if it helps the healing process, but the doctor usually tells me to take it and it definitely makes things feel happier in there.  I didn’t take any today, but I’ll probably take some tomorrow just in the morning for when I have to walk to/from class.

Takeaways from this past week: I underestimated the value of rest and now I get to rest more because of exams.

Matt says I’m “under construction.”  I kind of like that. 🙂

How was your week?  I hope you had a happy Easter or just a happy spring day!