HHN1 Week 2 (6/1-6/8)

This morning, I discovered my calling as a Chipmunk Rescuer.  I was running past a house when I saw a cat in the yard holding something in its mouth.  It saw me, got scared, dropped what it was holding, and ran away toward the house.  Then, a chipmunk ran away from the same spot in the opposite direction.  I hope both animals can be happy now.

This is just a quick post about last week’s training.  Last week was Week 2 of Hal Higdon’s Novice 1 (non-)marathon training plan.  I have nothing much to say, except that I felt it went well and I am feeling ready for the plan to start increasing the distance of the Wednesday runs, which it does starting in week 3.  I’m also glad I was able to get real cross-training in on Sunday instead of just taking a walk.  I don’t know how often that will happen because I am still set on saving money by not having a gym membership.

Monday: rest

Tuesday: run 3.19 miles

Wednesday: run 3.06 miles

Thursday: run 3.07 miles + lower-body strength training at home with just my bodyweight (I was actually sore the next day!)

Friday: rest

Saturday: run 7.06 miles – I wrote about this here.

Sunday: 30min elliptical + 30min upper-body weights

Total running for the week: 16.38 miles (0.01 more than last week, haha.)

Are you training for anything?  Like I said before, I’m just using this plan in an attempt to safely build mileage and get healthy before training for spring races.  I have a few races this summer, but I’m just running them for fun. 🙂

Thoughts from Today’s Long Run

This morning, the plan said to run 7 miles. On Thursday, I had asked Matt if he wanted to accompany me to a nearby park for the day’s 3-miler. He said he couldn’t make it but offered to run with me Saturday instead. When I said I was running 7 on Saturday, I totally did not expect him to want to come, but he offered! It was very exciting.

We got to the park around 8:30am and set out for the run. I really feel bad that my current comfortable pace is so slow because it’s so below his level, but every time I told him to go ahead if he wanted, he said he wanted to run with me. 🙂

Last week, I ran 6 and I was expecting it to feel short and easy, but it didn’t because of the heat. Today, I had no such expectations. I can tell that I am slowly regaining fitness, but it is going to be a looong process and my confidence has truly been shaken. I am so far from the 8:35-pace 10-miler I remember running nearly two years ago.

Today, as with last week, I found myself questioning whether I would even finish. Honestly, I knew I would finish, especially because there was no way Matt was going to let me cop out, but I still questioned how I would do it. Of course, 7 miles isn’t very far, but I guess I was struggling mentally. Physically, I felt fine and my pace was extremely consistent, but I kept thinking negative things. Things like, “I’m not even halfway,” “I still have X amount of miles to go,” etc.

In the end, I was okay. I finished the distance no problem. My last mile was the quickest by about 15 seconds. I ran the last mile on my own because Matt decided to go ahead after 6 miles, but it seemed to pass quickly and I wasn’t dying. At least, in hindsight I wasn’t dying. I probably felt differently in the moment.

I know it is going to take a long time to get back the fitness I once had. I know it will take patience and consistency. And if my confidence is lacking, I need to fake it till I make it. Because I can’t keep asking myself if I am going to be able to finish my runs. I won’t always have someone there to keep me moving forward. I know I can run these distances and they would not be in the plan if I couldn’t. I need to trust and enjoy the process and the results will come. 🙂

I’m feeling positive looking forward!

A Swing of the Pendulum

Have you ever heard the analogy of the pendulum?  The idea is that things tend to go from one extreme to another before finding a balance.  I first heard it in a Jewish history class when we were talking about the move from ultra-orthodox to ultra-reform, before Orthodoxy and Reform Judaism became less extreme and Conservative Judaism developed.

That’s how I feel about my perception of my body’s aches and pains right now.  When I first started running “seriously” and up until quite recently, I thought of every pain as something to run through.  I only stopped if I couldn’t walk.  While I knew sore muscles, painful tendons, etc. were different, I treated them the same.

Recovery was something I didn’t really understand, having grown up figure skating six days a week, during which time I trained 2-4 hours a day.  I was taught how to work out, how to push myself, how to improve, but not the science of any of it.  I knew I had to take Sundays off from everything, but I didn’t know why.  I knew I needed to do strength training, but no one told me why I needed to train my arms for what I saw as a lower-body sport.  To be fair, I never asked “why” about any of these things.

I applied some of the same concepts when I started running, namely that I will get better with time and consistency (good thing), and that pain is something to work through and overcome (possibly less of a good thing).  Except for some hip flexor issues in middle school that I treated with stretching and massages while continuing to train, I never had to take time off from skating for overuse injuries.  Acute injuries, yes.  I took a few days off for my several concussions and when I sprained my ankle.  (I sprained it warming up for a competition!  My coach was pissed and made me compete anyway.  I think I placed 10th out of 12 in my flight, which is like a heat.  Then I cried and got a lesson about good sportsmanship and not crying in front of others about my performance.)  However, I never got tendinitis like some of my friends did.  I never pulled my groin, which was a common skating injury.  So, I rarely had to take time off and didn’t really comprehend the concept.  Enter running.

The tagline on my out-of-use Tumblr blog is, “Run till you can’t run no more.”  I think that embodies my outlook at the time.  Keep on running until you literally can’t, then take as little time off as possible and run yourself into the ground again.  Count up all the damn injuries.

Now, my pendulum has swung to the opposite extreme.  Every little thing worries me.  Most of the time, I can tell when something is a sore muscle versus a strained or injured muscle, but other things elude me.  I’m in this super-cautious phase, which I guess is definitely better than how I was looking at things before.  Every little ache or pain worries me, but “better safe than sorry” as the adage goes.

This morning, my arches are sore.  Instead of noticing it and wearing the squishy, flat flip flops I have been wearing the last few days anyway, as I probably would have in the past, I put on my supportive Ravennas.  I think that was a good move and not “extreme” by any means.  What got me thinking about extremity is that my thoughts automatically go to freaking out about whether this is going to be an injury.  Is it something to watch and take care of?  Definitely.  Is it something to get stressed and worry about?  Probably not.  Stress does not help anything.

So, my arches are sore this morning.  That’s it.  Statement of fact.  Step one in finding my pendulum’s resting point.

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?

Running, Adult Parties, and a Smelly Sentiment

The last few days have been really awesome.  It was pretty rough getting back into the work groove after a beautiful four-day weekend up north (northern Michigan).  Life on a lake in a cabin off a secluded dirt road etc etc, even if it’s only for four days, is idyllic and just swept me away.  I can’t wait to hopefully go back for the Fourth of July.

The good thing about working after a long weekend is that the week that follows is also a day short.  It is already Friday and it seemed to come up so fast.  I have a sushi date tonight and plans to go to a pool party on Sunday, so it should be another great weekend.

So what made these past few days awesome?  Well, after taking a couple days off after Bayshore, I started my summer training plan!  My first run back on Tuesday felt rough and I didn’t feel recovered from my race yet, but I felt better on Wednesday and ran Wednesday and Thursday as well.  The plan I am using calls for easy runs on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, with rest Friday, a long run Saturday, cross training on Sunday, and rest again Monday.  It peaks at a 40-mile week after about four months, so my hope is that this can get me back to running the mileage I would like to be running in a safe, effective way.

The plan I am using is Hal Higdon’s Novice 1 marathon training program.  I’m not intending to run a marathon until the spring, but since the plan gives me the mileage I want and since I am feeling like a beginner again after all the injuries of the past year, I thought it seemed like a good way to go.  I’m also hoping that following a plan written by an experienced professional will help give me less of a chance of getting hurt than if I were to continue doing things my way and playing it by ear.  I’m looking forward to the next 18 weeks and to seeing where I am at the end of the program. 🙂

In non-running news, I went with Matt to the picnic his boss hosted yesterday evening.  It was interesting because it was an “adult party.”  With the exception of our friend Jack and one other employee, everyone was married and most people were at least 30, or nearing it.  Not to say that that is old, because it’s not, but it did feel a little funny being the youngest one (unless you count the one toddler running around, or the baby in the pregnant wife’s belly).  It was pleasant, just a very different experience.  Oh, and the hot dogs were great.  There was a puppy, too, but we didn’t eat him. 😛

The other important non-running news?  I had to throw away one of my favorite shirts this morning.  It is the T-shirt I got for 8th grade graduation back in 2006.  It still fits great and is really comfortable and soft, but when I put it on this morning I noticed the underarms still smelled even though it had just been washed, and when I looked, they were also stained. 😦  I took pictures so I would always remember this amazing shirt.  I mean, sentimentally amazing.  It’s nothing special except that it’s a special memory.

The Knights were the high school's mascot that I would have gone to (that my middle school fed into) if I hadn't gone to a different school.

The Knights were the high school’s mascot that I would have gone to (that my middle school fed into) if I hadn’t gone to a different school.

Because my high school graduating class was the Class of 2010.

Because my high school graduating class was the Class of 2010.

Do you have anything of sentimental value that you probably should get rid of but just can’t bring yourself to throw away?

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.