Sunday, August 31, 2008

Not the Bees Knees

All of my non-running friends are constantly asking about my knees. How are you knees? Don't your knees hurt? How can you run without knee pain? I've always been able to say no my knees don't hurt, they're just fine.

That is, until this week.

This week, my knees have decided that they are not fine. They hurt when I wake up. It gets better after I get moving. They're unhappy about walking. They're angry about running. What the font?!?

There are several possibilities about what is causing the pain, but I think the most likely culprit is osteoarthritis. I've started taking glucosamine (Schiff Move Free Advanced to be exact) hoping for substantial improvement in 2-4 weeks. I've also backed off on running intensity.

I'm not my usual cheery self at the moment. In fact, I'm rather whiney & grumpy about the whole thing.

Today husband & I showed up for a local Nike Human Race 10K. I managed to find a slow, easy pace that didn't cause it to hurt worse, and struggled through what felt like the longest 10K ever. [edited to add: Even though it seemed like the longest 10K ever, my hurtin-knee-limp-run got me across the finish line faster than I did for the Mariposa Death March in June *and* the Jingle Bell run last December. I must be making progress]

Husband has been experiencing pain of his own, so he decided to stay with me the whole way. I guess that's one positive in this whole thing. We make a lovely pair - Mr & Mrs Gimpy.

Running with pain is no fun. Somehow, I need to be pain-free for the Chips-n-Salsa half-marathon next weekend. RICE seems like a good starting point.

Recent workouts
Fri: OWS with Misty :-)
Sat: Rest
Sun: Nike Human Race 10K - easy pace

Shoutout to Cindy and Misty who are running the New Mexico Marathon today. You Go, Girls!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

This and That

Remember when I first went to see trainer guy three week ago? I've been working on my core two to three times a week since then. I've still got a ways to go, but I'm actually seeing some progress with regard to the numbers.

When I started, I could only hold plank for 20 secs. My goal is 3 sets of 90 secs, and today I can do 3 sets of 40 secs.

I also started off being able to do a whopping total of two push-ups. It took every ounce of my being to do those two push-ups. The goal is 3 sets of 20 while focussing on good form. Today my three sets consisted of 9, 7, and 7.

Then there's the foam roller. After using it almost every day for a week, it's now my friend.

Should mention those evil pilates V-ups and rocking V-ups. Let's just say that I still have a lot of work to do on those, and leave it at that.

Recent workouts:
Wed: Rest
Thu: Core + Speedwork(3.0 mi)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Question for the Ladies

I have a serious question for the ladies out there. Do you notice athletic performance changes that align to um...hormonal cycles?

More and more, I'm convinced that I'm pretty much useless a few days per month and wonder if I ought to simply modify my training plan around it. Take some extra rest or stretch or light weight or easy swimming days or something.

Suggestions? Or am I just imagining this whole thing?

Recent workouts
Sun: 1200 yd easy swim
Mon: 4 mile easy run
Tues: core+speedwork at track (4.7 mi total)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Are You Ready to Rumble?

My next three weeks look like this:

- Nike Human Race 10K
- Chips and Salsa half-marathon
- Patriot Sprint Triathlon

I guess that means it's taper time (of sorts). Already? Yikes. And along with that I begin to question whether or not I'm ready for each or any of them.

In some ways I don't feel prepared for chips-n-salsa, so I decided to look back at my long run two weeks out from the Unser half marathon this past spring. That long run was 11 miles in 02:21:05, a pace of 12:50 employing a 9:1 run/walk. Today, two weeks out from chips-n-salsa, I ran 10 miles in 01:57:19, a pace of 11:44 employing a full run. I did end up with two short walk breaks (miles 4 and 6) due to back issues. I actually wasn't sure I could run this morning because I was having back spasms yesterday, but I made it to the end, and feel pretty good right now.

Anyway, just looking at the numbers, I'd have to say that I must be ready for chips-n-salsa especially since it isn't my A race. In general, I just want to put the miles on my legs and finish feeling good. Duke City (in October) is the one that I'm really focussed on for a PR.

Next, I wonder if I'm ready for the 10K next weekend. Admittedly, I'd really like to come in under an hour for a 10K some day, but I don't think this is going to be the race for that to happen. I want to have fun and injury free. With that kind of laid-back goal, I must be ready.

Then there's the whole question of the Patriot Sprint Tri. As much as I didn't train for Socorro, imagine even less triathlon training for this one. I didn't swim or bike once this week. So am I ready? Well, I'm fairly confident I can finish. I just need to keep my mind in a place where I'm okay with a goal of having fun so I don't beat myself up afterwards for being slow.

Recent workouts:
Thu - core+ 3.5 mi tempo run
Fri - REST
Sat - 10 mi easy run

Different subject - two comments regarding my last post:

1 - How exactly does one lock keys in a scooter? I locked my keys in the scoot by inadvertently putting them along wth my gloves inside my helmet and under the seat. I'll post a photo of the under seat storage sometime. Anyway, the only way to unlock the seat is with the keys in the ignition. From now on, I will make sure the keys are still in the ignition before I close and lock the seat.

2 - Why is it so hard to catch the bus? There is a lot of construction going on at the high school right now and depending on where you are in teh school you may or may not hear the last bell. Plus there is construction to dodge. On Wednesday, the teacher from her last period kept the whole class a little late due to not hearing the bell. Unfortunately, her bus is near the front of the bus line (a good half mile+ hike) which means no dawdling. With the class getting out late, she had to run and still didn't make it. She had to wait longer than she would have liked, I think she'll try harder to catch the bus in the future.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Stupid Human Tricks

I've mentioned that I now have two in High School this year. For some reason, the first few weeks of school always prove to be challenging with regard to reliable transportation from school to home. AKA Missing the Bus and needing a ride home. This is never a good situation because school gets out fairly early in the afternoon while I'm still at work.

This year, Son is driving. I was hoping this would solve most of the problem. However, he seems to be working or consumed with after school activities so Daughter still needs to catch the bus to get home.

She missed it on Monday. I wasn't able to come get her right away. She ended up walking over to Son's place of employment and hung out for an hour and a half or so waiting for me to pick her up.

Tuesday. Caught the bus no problem.

Yesterday. Missed the bus again. This time, I had taken the scooter to work. Theoretically, I could give her a lift on the scoot, but I don't have a second helmet (yet). I told her that I was going to stop at Petco on my way home, then would go home, get the car, and come pick her up.

Sounded reasonable to me. Except that when I stopped at Petco, I proceeded to do the scooter equivalent of locking the keys in the car. I managed to lock the keys under the seat. Crud. I had a second set at home, but how was I going to get them? Husband had ridden his bike to work, so he wasn't going to be able to help out any time soon. And Daughter is still waiting for me to come pick her up.

Think. Think. Think.

I called one of my colleagues at work and asked what his schedule was like. Had a meeting in 10mins. Tried another one. She's not there, she's gone home already. Third time's a charm, found someone who was on the way and agreed not only to give me a ride home, but to pick up Daughter as well. I owe that someone lunch!!

Eventually, I made it back to the scooter with the 2nd set of keys and brought it home too.

All's well that ends well, but I think I'll take the car today, just in case...

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Scenes from Early Morning Run

I've been wanting to chronicle one of my runs for a while, but I didn't have a cell camera phone until recently. The photo quality isn't the best, but you'll get some idea of what it's like for me.

Sun just coming up over the mountains as I run down the trail.

Flowers on the ditch bank. This was my turn point marker today.

Fairly sparse foliage in the high desert this time of year, only a few wildflowers here and there.

Home sweet home. There was a hummingbird feeding on the the trumpet vine blooms, but I scared it away when I walked up to take the photo.

Workout Log:

Sat - 8 mil easy run
Sun - core + Rest
Mon - 5 mi easy run
Tue - core + 4 mi tempo run
Wed - 4 mi easy run

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

How's Your Running?

Yesterday, a colleague at work asked a simple question, "How's your running?"

It made me think for a moment. I immediately started going through numbers in my head. Am I running any faster? More volume? Further distances? Does my training plan make sense? Am I on track for my upcoming races?

But wait...

There is something about running that's different and it has nothing to do with the numbers.

It's the process. That feeling of being alive. Putting one foot in front of the other. Moving my body from point A to point B. Taking in the sights and smells along the way.

So how's my running? I'd have to say that it's good. Really good.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Emotional Rollercoaster

I'm filled with worry since Daughter started high school

and sadness from the infrequent sightings of Son now that he drives to his before/after school events and part-time job

and joy in seeing them both help out in the childrens area at church.

I've felt disappointment when I dropped back during a group run and watched them disappear off on the horizon

and surprise when the running group leader showed up at my side so I wouldn't get lost.

and acceptance when they waited, cheered, and gave high fives when I finished.

I've experienced excitement after holding plank for 40 secs

and frustration only to fail at 20 secs the next time

and hatred toward those stinkin' push-ups.

I'm filled with enthusiasm in pursuit of a PR at the Duke City Half marathon

and apprehension toward other upcoming races that probably won't go so well

and contentment with my decision to drop out of the oly tri.

Ever have one of those days?

Friday, August 15, 2008

Just Roll with It

Remember I was going to see the Trainer guy so he could push me through my core stuff? Well I showed up Wednesday morning and happened to mention that my muscles were a little tight and wanted to stretch first.

Out of nowhere, the foam roller appeared. When this happens, my friends, be afraid. Be very afraid. Trainer guy tortured me with that evil piece of foam for the entire session.

Oh.the.PAIN. Apparently, the more it hurts, the more you need it. Either that or he just enjoys watching his clients' reactions when they roll over those tight spots.

Having survived the session, the weirdest thing happened. I felt noticably less tense. It was amazing. Maybe rolling isn't so bad after all.

The evil device must have lured me with some sort of trickery. Guess who's all giddy because Husband has his hands on a foam roller and is bringing it home this evening?

Weekday workout summary:
mon: 5 mi easy run
tue: core+speedwork at track (5.1 mi total)
wed: PT appt
thu: core+ hill repeats (5.2 mi total)
fri: 1000yd swim

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

No Rest for the Wicked

Having made my decision to focus on half marathons, I began my new run-focussed training plan Monday with a 5 mile easy run. For some reason, I thought doing it at the gym on a treadmill would be a good idea. I have no idea why. I have always hated the treadmill and Monday proved to be no different. But I got it done.

This morning I did my core stuff. The highlight for me was hanging on for 3x30sec of plank and 3x5-6 good form pushups. The lowlight was my v-ups and the rocking v-ups which both were pretty pathetic. I have an appt with Trainer guy tomorrow and he's planning to push me hard on this stuff. Yikes.

This evening I met up with the running group for some track work. We did 10miin warm up, 10x2min hard effort with 1 min rest in between, a short rest, then 5x1 min hard effort with 1 min in between, and ended with 10 min cool down. For the 1 min rests, I opted for 30sec of walking and 30 sec of jogging. I found the Garmin graph and stats to be very interesting, so I will share.

Walking - 21:06 pace, .56 miles, 20% of workout
Jogging - 11:40 pace, 1.87 miles, 37% of workout
Running - 8:26 pace, 2.97 miles, 43% of workout

That 8:26 min/mi pace had me excited, but I was only doing that for about 400M lengths each time. When I check the MacMillan running calcuator, it tells me that is basically the speed I *should* be doing my 400M speed workouts at (based on my 5K time). I guess it's not a breakthrough.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Return to Socorro - A Race Reflection

Preface: In 2006, I focussed all of my training on my first ever triathlon, the Socorro Sprint Tri. I had been counting down to the event all year. I attended a tri workshop, practiced transitions, included several brick workouts. I was psyched and ready to race.

I was back at the same venue this weekend, but with a much lower level of enthiasm. No brick workouts under my belt. Not a single transition practice. I was feeling pretty blah and wasn't willing to treat is as anything more than a glorified brick workout.

Pre-Race: Got up at stupid o'clock in the morning after a terrible sleep. Downed a cup of coffee and a piece of peanut butter toast. Breakfast of champions, not! Took one bottle of accelerade out of the fridge for prerace. Had a frozen one in the back of the car for the bike.

Arrived at the venue for packet pick-up, got my race number, and made my way to transition. We were racking according to race number, which was assigned by estimated swim time. I liked that fact that the racks were numbered (no searching for my bike after the swim) but figured that meant it would be crowded in T1 b/c everyone on the rack would be there at approximately the same time.

Chatted with Cindy and Misty as well as some other non-blogger friends prerace. In 2006 I knew only one other person at the race. I've met several nice people through the sport in the past few years and found many familiar faces in the crowd this time around. I watched the daughter of one of my new running group friends do the swim in the kids race. She rocked it!

The Swim: It's a 400M seeded pool swim based on estimated swim time. I have no idea what swim time I submitted. I had signed up last year and couldn't make it after the hospital visit for the ovarian cyst last year so they forwarded my registration to this year. I'm guessing I may have sent in something like 8:40 which would have been reasonable last year, but not so much this year as I haven't really been doing swim drills this time around. The water felt nice. It got bunched up near the end and I had to pass a few times but otherwise just let people by and swam an easy pace. I was pretty sure it was much slower than 2006, but it turned out to be closer than I thought.

swim time: 2006-9:05, 2008-9:19

T1: Normally transition isn't worthy of much discussion, but in 2006 I slipped running out of the pool and over to T1. It wasn't pretty. I split my chin open and had road rash on my left arm, hip, and chest. I did NOT want that to happen again so I left a pair of sandals near the swim exit and purposely took my time rounding the corner on the wet pavement.

T1 time: 2006-2:00, 2008:-2:28

The Bike: By the time I mounted my bike, I was already 40 seconds slower than 2006. But my greatest improvements have been on the bike and I was looking forward to this segment. Some portions were beautiful and I found myself having a good time out there. I tried to wave, shout, etc. everytime I saw someone I knew. I got to see Cindy three times, twice on out and back portions and once when she blew by me looking strong and happy. I'm still pretty slow, but I easily cut a good 4 mins off my 2006 bike time.

bike time: 2006-52:35, 2008-48:20

T2: Uneventful.

T2 time: 2006-1:03, 2008-1:15

The Run: Oh, if wishes were fishes. I wished that I had done a few brick workouts. I wished that I had remembered to take the gel I had stashed in my bento box. I wished that I was back at my 2006 weight and about 10lbs lighter. I wished that some clouds would form in the sky. Sadly, none of my wishes came true. The highlight was seeing friends out on the race course, all looking strong.

run time: 2006-32:22, 2008-32:18
total time: 2006-01:37:01, 2008-01:33:37

Post-Race: I had packed a change of clothes, shampoo, brush, etc and had fully intended to shower in the locker room at the pool and hang around for awhile. But the combination of insufficient nutrition & sleep and too much sun was getting to me. I ran into SWTrigal who tried to convince me to stay, but I was toast and just wanted to go home.

After-thoughts: I had fun because of having friends at the race venue, but still feel pretty blah about triathlon right now. I came home and promptly sent an email to the Elephant Man RD asking to cancel my registration. With this, I can rearrange my training and focus on my current passion, the half-marathon. I will however, keep the Patriot Tri (a local sprint) on my calendar as cross-training. I feel good about this decision; it may be the real reason for that big smile when I got home.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Socorro Shortie

My main goal was decent race photos. I'm not sure if there was an official photographer, but Husband kindly drove me down there this morning and took photos. At least I have these. What do you think? Oh, and I'll write a full race report later.

Coming out of the swim.

Heading out of T1.

Coming in on the bike.

On the run.

And finally, showered and happy to be back at home.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Friday Follies

Thursday Evening Running Group:

Last night was the beloved running group. This is a semi-coached group led by an excellent athlete and really nice guy. I arrived a little early and was questioning the running schedule he gave me for the next few months. The long runs looked a little short given the half marathon in 4 weeks or so. He replies, I thought you were doing the 10K and the half in October. Nope, I'm doing the half each time. A little rearranging of the schedule for the next couple of weeks and we're good to go. He tells me the first one is practice, the second one is for a PR (actually he gave me a number that I think is unachievable from this body, but whatever). Sounds like a plan.

We did a 15min cool up, 4x5min hard efforts with 2 min walk/jog in between, 15min cool-down. He tells me "I want you out of your comfort zone. Really work hard. Run fast." He ran the first two with me to push me along at a little harder effort than I would do on my own. You can really see it in the numbers: 8:37 (no, not a typo), 9:06, 9:48, 9:42. You can see my pace slipped back to something much more comfortable when I didn't have the extra push. It was a good workout and I thanked him afterwards.

Friday Morning Swim & Core:

I've discovered that running hard at night causes me to wake up feeling not so fresh for my morning workout. Go figure. Despite this, I went out for a planned 800yd easy swim over at the new aquatic center. Left the watch at home so as not to be tempted to go fast. It felt good. I bought a 15 punch pass that's good for 3 months and plan to swim there until it runs out.

Came home and worked through the evil core stuff that Trainer guy gave me. OUCH. I have a long way to go.

Saturday Planning:

Oh yeah, have I mentioned that I have a race tomorrow which happens to be my first multisport event of the year, a sprint tri? So about that...

I guess I really need to get ready for this. I was going to clean my bike chain, but I'm feeling kind of lazy so maybe not. I will put air in the tires. I think I know what I'm going to wear and have a gu sitting out. Need to mix up some accelerade and stick it in the freezer, I plan to put it on my bike. Changed the laces in my running shoes and tested it out. Still need to get everything together and pack up the car. Don't want to forget anything. We're planning to leave at stupid o'clock in the morning and there won't be time to turn around if I've forgotten something.

I would be remiss if I didn't put my race goals in writing. Sure, I would like to better my time from 2006, but I'm not going to bust my tail to make sure that happens. Instead, what I'm really shooting for (yes this is vain) is some decent race photos. Seriously. I figure this will require that I truly have fun out there. So that's my main goal. Also to come home with a decision about what to do in September. Sound wimpy? Too bad. It's my life, not yours. ;-P

Catch you on the flip side. Get out there and have fun everyone!!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

You want me to do WHAT?!?!

Had another appt with the personal trainer this morning.

Before I get too far into this, I need to explain that Husband has been working with Trainer guy for a few months now. He had been bugging me about making an appt to ensure that I spend time doing the things that I should be doing based on personal strengths/weaknesses, rather than just doing things because they sound good. Case in point, the push-up challenge.

Last week, Trainer guy focussed on my upper body and gave me four specific exercises to do. Today we were planning to focus on lower body. Before we started, he asked if I had any questions about the upper body stuff from last week.

Well, actually, yes, there was one exercise that I couldn't quite remember how to do and btw they don't have that machine at the gym that I usually go to and maybe he could recommend an alternative.

He casually answered,




"Sure. Why dont' you do push-ups instead."

You have got to be kidding me. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. When I came up for air, I explained that my abs are horrible and I stink at push-ups and I know this because of the push-up challenge.

That's all it took for him to ditch the lower body plan for today and go straight to core. As such, I have four new short term (I think we're talkng a couple months) goals:

Goal #1 - 3x90secs of plank. Keep the glutes and abs flexed while doing it. This is difficult for me. I can maybe do them correctly for 20 secs at a time right now.

Goal #2 - 3x90secs of "V-ups". This is some sort of evil Pilates thing. I'm not convinced that mere mortals can actually accomplish this. I'm starting in a modified position with legs bent and my hands on the floor. Eventually want to have the legs straight and arms off the floor. Yeah, right.

Goal #3 - 3x15 Seated rocking with medicine ball. Basically V-ups with motion and tight abs the whole time.

Goal #4 - 3x(20 pushups in 60 secs). The kicker - he tells me to start push-ups from the floor. Get everything tight (just like plank) and then do push-up #1 by actually pushing up (novel concept, huh?). He really wants me to focus on good form to make each one count.

It went something like this today:

"One! Looking strong.
Two! Good form, keep it up.
Okay...well....that's a start."

Bottom line - this personal trainer stuff seems to be worthwhile. I'm glad Husband pushed me into it. I've got another appt next week. I'll let you know how it goes.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

What's on my Mind

I've found that Zyrtec is superior to Claritin with regards to the ability to halt allergy symptoms. However, it also halts me....very drowsy and "out of it". May try taking it before bed to see if it still works the next morning without the Zombie Lisa effect.

When I said I was treating the Sprint this weekend like a glorified brick, I wasn't kidding. At this point I have basically ZERO planning done and just this morning finally decided that we're driving down Sat morning vs. staying in a hotel Friday night. Geez. It might behoove me to figure out what I'm wearing, taking, etc sometime before Friday night, ya think?

The houseguests have departed. It was great seeing them, but I now need therapy more than ever before. I'm just sayin'

Running group got rained out this evening. Actually, it was called due to lightning. I am sooooo bummed. I was looking forward to it all day.

After searching for months, finally settled on new dinnerware and bought it today at lunchtime. Our old stuff is highly chipped/damaged. The new stuff is being washed and the old stuff is getting packed away for donation. I'm very happy about that.

Cycled to work today and for the first time kept it in the middle ring up front (vs. granny gear) and I think it was easier to control the bike that way. Of course I was only going about 4.5 mph up the hill, but that's another issue...

Blood tests came back normal (wrt PVCs). I have a followup appt in Sep to finallize next steps, but I think the recommendation for now is "keep on keepin' on" - no meds, no cardiologist. That's good news.

Remember when the chain broke that I wear my cross on? Well I put it on a cheap chain. That broke. Got the original chain and the bale repaired. The chain broke again in another spot. I told the people at the jewelry store that I needed a new chain that was thin enough not to overpower the cross, but heavy enough to suffer abuse 24x7 because I don't take it off and I put it though a lot of stuff. They suggested a wheat chain. It's awesome.

Having second thoughts about the triathlons in September. My heart just doesn't seem to be into the multisport stuff this season. I resent not being able to run as much as my HM training plan calls for because I need to get in my swim and cycling workouts. In the past, I've found triathlon to be addictive. Finish one and can't wait to do the next. Will I feel that way after this weekend? I hope so. If not, I seriously need to reconsider my plans.

Went to the new Aquatic Center on Friday. Water is a bit chillier than the pool I usually swim in but there were lanes-a-plenty and the water is crystal clear.

School registration is this week. I now officially have two in high school. It's gonna' be a loooooong year.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Carrying the Torch (aka 8 on the 8th)

Nancy's 8 on the 8th is quickly approaching. This blogger is unable to participate in the events next weekend, but did her part by participating in the virtual torch relay to make sure the games go on as scheduled. No need to thank me, I'm here to help.

I'm sure you all understand that the torch relay is more akin to an easy long run than a race. You see, it's more important to keep the flame going and safely transport it from Point A to Point B than to arrive quicly at Point B only to find that the blinding speed caused the flame to go out. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

This portion of the torch relay passed through a very rural part of the country; the torch carrier had to stop once to let a group of horses pass by safely and one other time when a coyote was crossing the path. I'm pleased to report that no animals were injured or spooked by the torch runner.

The route ended up a little long, measuring 8.43 miles. However, thanks to the wonders of modern technology, I am able to report with confidence that the 8 mile point was passed in precisely 01:36:53.

Race participants may rest with confidence in knowing that the torch has been successfully passed on. I would expect the games to proceed on schedule.

The torch runner will rest with confidence as well. This was her longest run in the past 2.5 months. The half-marathon training plan seems to be coming along well.

Friday, August 1, 2008

July Tally

The Numbers
- Swam 7300yds
- Cycled 178.6 miles
- Ran 41.1 miles
- Went to the gym 12 times for strength work (upper body weights, core, pushups, etc)
- Races - one 5K
- Other: Passed MSF class! Joined a running group! Conquered an OWS!

Big smile. I'm really pleased with progress in July. I couldn't run until July 10 due to the leg issue, that's all healed now. YAY. My training was fairly balanced for once. I'm happy about all the strength training at the gym. Gotta be happy about the surprise AG award at the 5K. I've started doing speed work with my running group. Got in one OWS which ended much better than it started. All in all, a good month.

Aug Plans
Sprint Tri this coming Saturday (not tomorrow). Otherwise, focus focus focus on the Half Mary and Oly tri in Sept, those are my A races. There's another sprint tri in Sep as well, but I'm treating both sprints as glorified brick workouts.