Tuesday, September 30, 2008

September Summary

The Numbers
* Swam 5000 yds
* Cycled 44.9 miles
* Ran 28.9 miles
* Did Core work 6 times and strength work 7 times
* Many rest days and lots of stretching
* Three races: Half Mary (dnf), Sprint Tri, chaotic "5k" run

* No regrets. I did what I needed to do for my body and still managed to have fun.

October Plans
* Get healthy & remain injury-free.
* Salvage training to finish Duke City Half-Marathon.
* Find other events to put on the calendar.
* Have fun and keep smiling. :-)

A few more things

A few more comments about the run on Sunday, mostly because I have a few photos to share.

I had convinced a friend to do this event with me. She's a new runner and this was her second "5K" ever. She did great and was in good spirits despite the chaos. I believe this was her farthest distance ever. She ran the whole way and had fun. I think she's hooked. Woot!

Also, I had chosen this particular event because it was for Deaf and Hard of Hearing awareness, something that is near and dear to a friend of mine. She was volunteering at the event and picked up my AG award.

Okay, enough about that. Today is running group day. I can't adaquately express how giddy I am to be back on my feet.

It's also the last day of the month. Yikes. Tomorrow I'll calculate my September totals. It's not going to be a pretty sight.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

They Went Thataway

The little experiment I had up my sleeve was an event called the Sign 'n Run which was advertised as having a 10K, a 5K, and a kid's K. I had signed up for the 5K, but hadn't mentioned it on my blog because I wasn't sure how my knee would be doing this week.

Everything seemed okay when I arrived at the race site, but confusion ended up being the word for the day. Five minutes after the 10K start, they started the "5K" runners on what they had described as an out and back with a short loop through a neighborhood.

However, that's not how it played out. As you can see, I ended up running a loop (no out-and back) that measured ~4.5miles according to my Garmin.

In talking to others at the finish line, it seems we were misdirected on a turn for the 5K and were sent onto the 10K course, but without doing the full 10K.

It wouldn't be so bad if all the "5K" runners did the same loop, but at some point they realized that runners were being sent the wrong way and got that corrected. They also sent some volunteers out in a car to turn some of the runners back around. So there were at least three permutations of 5K runners: 5K runners who ran a 5K, 5K runners who ran a 4.5 mile loop, and 5K runners who ran something longer than a 5K but less than 4.5 miles. What a mess!

I didn't bother to stick around for official results. The results are totally bogus since not everyone ran the same distance! As you might expect, some people were very unhappy. Edited to add - They posted the results and I actually won my age group women 40-49 and was 19 of 100 "5K" runners overall, not that it means that much with all the confusion on the course

As for me, I finished without knee pain and got a little longer run in than I had planned, what's not to love about that?!? Project "Return to Half-Marathon Training" is a GO. Woot!!

Some number courtesy of Garmin:
* My 5K split was 30:12, a 9:44 pace. Coming straight off a knee injury, that's good enough for me!
* My 7K split was 43:14, a 9:57 pace. I slowed down to something closer to my 10K pace when I realized the course was going long.
* The loop was 7.2K in length, I finished in 44:17, a 9:56 pace.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Easing back in...

My running this week has been as follows:

Tue - 3.6 mi (run/walk)
Thu - 3.2 mi (easy run)
Fri - 1.5 mi (easy run)
Sat - 4.6 mi (easy run)

That's a total of 13.9 slow easy miles, way better than the zeros I've been logging most of the month. Best news is that I'm experiencing pain-free running for the first time all month. I'm feeling some tightness, but not pain. I'm being super cautious about easing back into it, not wanting to take any chances of pushing too far too fast.

In some ways this injury has been a blessing. I've always maintained that I run simply because I can. It's something that I was beginning to take for granted in my quest for more speed. But now I'm back to appreciating each and every pain-free step at any pace. Life is good.

I have one more experiment tomorrow. After that, I'll see what can be salvaged of the half-marathon training.

Have a good weekend folks!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

One of these things is not like the others...

My scoot parked with the big bikes at work.

A month ago, most of the spaces were filled. I'm seeing more and more empty spaces as it's getting cooler in the mornings. It will be interesting to see who's still there in another month.

I get questions almost every time I ride it. And some puzzled looks when someone sees me walking to the scoot with three bags of groceries and a purse. Hehehehe.

* gas milease? approximately 90 mpg
* gas tank size? I think it holds 1.3 gallons max
* engine size? 125cc - requires a motorcycle endorsement
* top speed? approximately 65 mph. My commute tops out at 35 mph so it's plenty fast for me, but you'd need something with a bigger engine if you wanted to take it on the highway.
* how to get endorsement? must pass written test for 6 mo learning permit. must pass driving skills test for full endorsement. MSF class is an option that includes driving skills, but isn't required for adult riders.
* storage space? lots. I brought home 48 cans of catfood in the underseat storage the other day and had room for more. I carry a bungee net for big items plus I usually have the canvas top case attached.
* why do you wear so much protective gear? i love my family too much not to.
* what's up with the plaid seat cover? keeps it cool after sitting out in the sun all day. should be warmer in the fall as well. plus I love how it makes my scoot really stand out from the big bikes.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Tuesday Tidbits

This morning I had an appt with the Trainer guy and we focussed on lower body stretching and strengthening - hopefully stuff that will help with injury recovery and prevention. As usual, it was time well spent.

Met up with the running group for the first time in three weeks. I did a modified run/walk workout while they were running the track. It was good to be back with them. I've just got to ease back into it. I have a few more short/easy runs planned this week. Depending on how that goes, I'm hoping to be able to salvage half-marathon training rather than scrap the race.

Going to an Oktoberfest party this weekend and need to bring something. Found a recipe for gurkensalat (cucumber salad) that I'm going to try. I have no idea if it will taste good, but I like the name.

That's all I've got for now.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Saturday Morning

Husband and I cycle commuted to the fitness center at work this morning.

The trip up the hill reminded me of one more thing that I wanted to mention. I have a triple up front, but lately I haven't been using the small ring when going up the hills. What does this mean?

I started off with did 2 miles on the ellliptical. It's a decent workout and I like it more than the treadmill, but would rather be running (outside of course).

I thought about my running group who had 12miles on the schedule today. I wonder if they thought about me. I also wonder how I'm going to join back in after all this time off. I guess I'll worry about that when I'm able to join back in..

I went through my upper body strength work again. No push-ups though. He did all strength work. Then we cycled back home.

It's awesome that Husband & I were able to spend Saturday morning together like this. I hope we can do this kind of this together for a long time. It was fun.

Friday, September 19, 2008

This, that, and the other

I usually swim on Fridays, but today I went to the gym instead for upper body strength, lower body strength, and cardio using the elliptical machine. The whole lower body strength and elliptical are new for me, but this is part of knee rehab.

Afterwards, I stopped at Sunflower market to pick up evening primrose oil and fish oil. Sounds appetizing, huh? I've decided to try evening primrose oil for my eczema/contact dermatitis which has been worse than ususal for the past month. I've read that EPO is more effective when combined with fish oil, so I'm giving it a go. Fingers crossed.

Next stop, Lowes to fork over mucho dinero for our upcoming tile installation project. Hopefully this will all be done before the end of October. I'm *not* looking forward to hauling all the stuff out of the master bedroom/vanity/closet and the office, but I *am* looking forward to getting the last of the carpeting out of the house and replacing it with tile.

I miss running. A lot. I'm supposed to check in again with run group leader/coach on Monday and let him know how things are going at the gym etc. Perhaps I will be able to run again later next week. Duke City is now only 4 weeks away. Sigh.

It took me awhile to get the courage to look at the Patriot Tri results . As it turns out, I was 13/18 in my age group and 93/140 women. That's a pleasant surprise! Given how much I walked the 5K and extra time taken in transition with the brace (and lack of training on the bike for the event), I really expected to be much farther back in the pack, and possibly last in my age group.

It's starting to get cooler in the mornings and I'm thinking of buying a scooter skirt to keep my legs warm. One of these days I need to post a photo of my little orange scooter in the motorcycle parking lot at work surrounded by big bikes. It's a funny sight. One of these things is not like the others....

That's all that I've got today. Have a good weekend folks!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Those Dreaded Push-ups

As recently as few months ago, I hated push-ups and was perfectly happy without them in my life. I made an attempt at the 100 push-ups challenge, but was very discouraged at slow progress.

But then they were recommended by Trainer Guy, and I needed to think about them again.

He explained that push-ups work several parts of the body, and you can do them just about anywhere without special equipment. They increase upper-body strength particularly in the chest, fronts of shoulders, and triceps. They also work the abdominals and hip flexors and should help to improve balance. I’m sure there are even more benefits than that.

All he asked was for me to do three sets of good form push-ups twice a week, as many as I could, for a few months. After that, I could decide whether or not push-ups were for me, and quit them forever if I wanted.

Deal. I was *so* going to push out the push-ups from my life for good. Clearly they were too difficult for me and a waste of my time. After all, my first set of three ended up being something like 2, 1, & 1.

A month and a half has gone by and I've kept my part of the deal. Twice a week, usually Tuesday and Thursday, I pull out the mat, get my body all taut on the floor and start the evil process. Push Up to a plank-like position. Slight pause. Look forward. Come down. Don't forget to breathe. Keep everything tight. Back up. Look forward. Repeat a few times. Collapse. One down, two sets to go. Pretty much hating every moment.

Today is Tuesday and once again pushups were scheduled at the end of my strength workout at the gym. I pulled out the mat, laid there for a few moments, and then started. First set 15, second set 12, third set 10. Un.Freaking.Believable.

I still dread them every time they’re on my schedule, but they're growing on me. Plus, I've been able to do just a few more each time and after a while, the improvement is really noticable. I wonder how many I'll be able to do in another few weeks or so? Guess there's only one way to find out...

Trainer Guy hit the nail on the head with this one. Push-ups are a keeper.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Patriot Tri

"Always aim for achievement, and forget about success" - Helen Hayes

Preface: This morning I did a tough little event known as the Patriot Triathlon. Not wanting to injure myself further, the goal was to finish, scope out the course, and set myself up for a PR next year. I already knew that swimming was okay. I did a little test on Friday and determined that the bike would be okay with the brace on, but I was going to have to resign myself to a slow walkish-joggish pace for the "run." I was okay with that; I just wanted to cross the finish line without making the injury worse.

The Swim: This was a seeded start 400 yd pool swim. Up and back in each lane, then under the rope to the next lane and repeat in serpentine fashion until getting to the ladder at the last lane. I had submitted an estimated time of 8:50. My unofficial time was 8:51 (includes getting out and across the mat). I'm pleased with my swim.

T1: Took my sweet time. I had to take extra time to put the brace on to support the bendy thing. I also put a shirt on because it was a bit chilly.

The Bike: This was a tough, hilly 15.5 mile course. There were a few places that had signs that said "Slow! Bike Race" which were for the cars, but they made me laugh out loud every time I saw them. I may have been the only cyclist following those instructions! Let's just say that it probably wasn't a good strategy to stay off my bike for the past month before attempting this course. But I made it.

T2: I had to adjust the brace for running, but otherwise uneventful.

The Run: More hills. Part on a hard surface, part cross-country, 3.1 miles total. I took this slow and easy as planned - walking up the hills and on the steep downhill parts and keeping an easy pace when I tried to jog.

Finish Line: It took a long time to get there but crossing the finish line pain-free was totally worth it. Unofficial finish time: 02:01:31.

Random After Thoughts:
- Cindy was doing the swim for a relay team and I was envious of that, but now I'm glad I entered as an individual because it sparked my interest in triathlon again.
- Her husband, Jeff, was there doing his first triathlon. Yay, Jeff! Actually, there were a lot of first time triathletes this morning. How cool is that?!?
- Husband was there taking pictures and cheering me on (Thank you!), but accidently had the camera in movie mode (oops). I tried doing some editing so I could post a few frames. Sorry about the poor image quality.
- My bike computer says I achieved 32 mph at one point on the bike course. Obviously that was on a downhill, but it's significant because I didn't reach for the brakes this time when I started going over 24 mph. Gaining confidence (or stupidity!).
- Even though this was one of my slowest times for the bike and definately my slowest 5K ever, I did the best that I could safely do and I'm really proud of today's accomplishment. Plus I had fun. Can't beat that.
- This race was close to home, I liked that. Next year, I think I'll try to practice on the race course in advance. Or at least ride my bike a few times in the weeks ahead of the race. Heheheh.
- This was a first time event and was well organized. Thank you RD and volunteers!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend, folks!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Glass half-full

Taking my training day-by-day so as not to aggravate the bendy thing*

Swam yesterday evening. Usually I've been swimming in the mornings or on Sunday afternoons and have had most of the pool to myself. Now I know why. Apparently everyone and their brother, sister, and first cousins all go to the pool in the evenings. Or maybe it's the swim team. Anyway, I managed to get a lane in the shallow pool and swam an easy/moderate pace without a watch. Slept well after that.

More core work in the morning, this time adding in the modified v-ups (3x35secs) and rocking v-ups (3x9-10) that I've been neglecting. Also made friends with the foam roller.

Tomorrow I'm heading to the gym for more core, upper body strength, and those dreaded push-ups.

Recent work-outs
Mon: core+upper body
Tue: 1200yd swim
Wed: core+REST

*I have banished the common word used in reference to "the joint between the thigh and the lower leg, formed by the articulation of the femur and the tibia and covered anteriorly by the patella" from my vocabulary until further notice so that I can stay in my happy place. If it *must* be mentioned, it shall be referred to as the "bendy thing".

Monday, September 8, 2008

Working through It

"Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful." - -Joshua J. Marine

Emotions the Day After

Spent the day angry, frustrated, depressed, grumpy, and generally in a lousy mood. DNFing pretty much sucks even if you believe it was the right decision. Worse is the thing that caused it. In my case, the freakin' knee pain that I don't have a diagnosis for because the medical system is ridiculously slow and unhelpful. Grrrrrrrr!!

Refocussed Energy

I was a woman on a mission at the gym today. Accomplished 3 sets of 45secs plank followed by 10,10, 9 push-ups. Yeah, baby, that's what I'm talkin' 'bout! Also muscled through my arm strength work with higher weights on two of the exercises and survived another session on the foam roller. Ha!

Outta Nowhere

Got something in my inbox from Victoria's Secret online advertising a special on push-up bras. I paused for a moment and wondered why on earth anyone would need a bra specifically for push-ups. Running, sure, but push-ups? Oh wait, now I get it...

And just like that, I've mostly snapped out of my funk. There's joy to be found in every moment. It's just a matter of how you look at things.

Sunday, September 7, 2008


At mile 5, Husband reminded me that we do this for fun, we didn't need to finish.

Even though I was running with a limp, I needed to time to think about it.

How do you know when enough is enough?

It's not the pain of the moment, it's not the finish time, it's the fear of unknown. It comes down to an assessment of risk vs reward.

Is it worth it?

What is running this race worth to me? Is it worth risking further damage to my knee?

Is it worth it?

How long will it put me back on the sideline? a few days? a week?

Is it worth it?

What if it means two weeks? or a month? or longer?

Is it worth it?

Maybe I should just suck it up. Maybe it's not that bad.
But the question wouldn't stop echoing in my head.

Is it worth it?

Is it worth it?

Is it worth it?

I turned my garmin off at mile 6.3 and sent him on ahead.
I walked another 3.7 miles. And then I stopped.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Missing Confidence

If Found, Please Return to Owner

Knee is still problematic. Looking back, I know that I shouldn't have run on Sunday.

I've been smarter this week. I've iced and elevated the knee, wrapped it, and let it rest. In addition, I've been consistently taking the glucosamine, which I know is a long-term solution (not a short-term fix). It's improving, but it is nowhere close to 100%.

The Chips-n-Salsa half marathon is now about survival. My new goal is simply to finish without significantly greater pain than when I started - preferably with a smile at the end rather than a grimace.

I believe that resting was a good choice physically. However, it came at a significant mental / emotional price. I've lost my confidence.

Can I find it by Sunday morning? Only time will tell.

Recent Workouts
Mon - Core+Rest (skipped bike)
Tue - Rest
Wed - Rest (skipped run)
Thu - Core+upper body Strength (skipped run)
Fri - Swim 1400y (skipped run)

Monday, September 1, 2008

August Tally

The Numbers
* Swam 5000 yards, Cycled 25 miles, Ran 83.8 miles
* Did Core work 11 times and Upper Body Strength work 5 times
* Completed two races: one sprint tri, one 10K
* Cancelled registration for one race: oly tri

* Really enjoyed this month. Had a lot of fun.
* Pleased with progress in core strength and running. Also had a good (panic-free) OWS.
* Unhappy about recent knee pain, but I am hopeful that I can work through that soon.

September Plans
* Training remains focussed on Duke City half-marathon in October.
* Looking forward to the Chips-n-Salsa half-marathon next Sunday and Patriot Sprint Tri the weekend following. Guess I should get on my bike again before the tri. ;)
* Hoping for another opportunity to work on OWS.