Surrendering to the IT Band

The more I read about IT Band issues, the less I want to aggravate this problem or turn it chronic. So I am taking the entire week off from running, with the intention of visiting the pool and trying out a new yoga class on Wednesday. I have a running club 5K this Saturday that I am going to do, but at a very easy pace. I am volunteering before the race to register people–it will be my first time at the opposite side of the table!

I am admittedly a little blue about the running break because it is sunny and gorgeous outside. I was also supposed to meet up with another woman in my neighborhood and run tomorrow morning, but I had to cancel. I hate hate hate cancelling on people!

Perhaps a walk after dinner will cheer me up a bit?

Happy Monday! Can you believe it’s almost May?

 

 

The road less taken

Hello, back from my week at conference and I have updates. Let’s rewind… After the Whidbey Half Marathon, I felt really good after a strong finish. I was a bit sore in my quads for a few days after, but nothing debilitating. I actually had a relatively normal week of working out following the race. Last weekend, I ran a 5K charity race and felt a little tired for the first time, and by the finish my chronically troublesome right knee was aching. It didn’t concern me because I have experienced something similar before–the repetitive stress of training for and then running a long race can cause some hidden injuries that come out after the fact. So I rested after last Saturday’s 5K, diligently attended workouts at the pool, and sort of left it at that.

Where am I now? Well, simply put, my knee needs more time. Knee injuries are definitely dangerous for runners, and I am not taking this lightly. On Friday I ran 3 miles on a treadmill at the hotel gym, and I could feel some tightness in my knee afterward. So I stretched and took it easy the rest of the day. This morning, I went for my traditional Sunday trail run, but kept it at an easy 3 once again–still a little tenderness. Tonight I ended up going to the pool and I actually feel like it helped to loosen things up a bit, but I was very gentle and worked a lot more on upper arms (push-ups off the side of the pool, etc) than legs trying to avoid any additional stress on the knee.

So, the good news is I currently have more swimsuits in the laundry than running clothes and I am getting some new muscle definition (especially in my arms!). The not as good news is that I am going to scale back the distance of my runs by quite a bit these next few weeks, and with a half marathon coming up in 3 weeks, I am in for an interesting ride. But, you know? I will do my best. I’m going to be in that pool at least 2 times a week, going for regular 3 mile runs, and stretching, icing, and pampering this little knee until it is eating bon-bons and getting fanned by pool boys (the image is funny in my head and oddly comforting). Here be it resolved: The Portland Rock ‘n’ Roll is now officially Just For Fun. It won’t be a PR day. I may even need to walk, and that is OKAY. Because as my running buddy reminded me this evening, the goal is to start marathon training healthy and happy this June. WHICH IS A MONTH AWAY! So I need to listen to my body.

I am backing out of a 2x per week running clinic I was going to start this week and trying to find a yoga class for some gentle intentional stretching. The rest of May looks like feel-good-runs, whatever the mileage may be, lots of time at the pool, and a mellow half marathon somewhere in there.

New Speedo

Yep, I get to wear my new Speedo (thanks Costco!) to the pool today during my lunch hour. Since I am gone the second half of this week, I am doing some cross-training in the pool today. I plan on aqua jogging with resistance weights followed by some laps of kick-boarding. I would swim laps, but I have to dash back to the office, so I don’t have time to deal with swim cap or wet hair.

Less than a month to go before the Portland Rock ‘n’ Roll Half! I am really looking forward to this race, but the emails from the organizers are getting ridiculous. Yesterday I got a message advertising a VIP package with private access to bathrooms before the race at just $45 more. Uh, I think I will manage just fine with the line of Honey Buckets. I want to know… who actually pays for these things? 🙂

 

 

The weekend that was “just right”

My heart is full and my energy restored after this last weekend. I ran the Fun with the Fuzz 5K on Saturday and it was so wonderful to be swept up in the energy that was captured during that event. I saw quite a few runners with Boston Marathon jackets on, which was a visible reminder of the week we’ve all experienced in the running community. Our town came out with a strong showing, thanking those who indiscriminately respond first to emergencies and keep our community safe.

The race itself was just fine–I finished 27:30, not my fastest, but the race was pretty crowded so I knew the chances of a PR were slim. I also felt a few aggravations from the previous weekend’s half marathon cropping up, so I took it a bit easy. I had the pleasure of standing at the finish line and watching both my running buddy and her husband finish the race strong. The food trough was epic–I enjoyed a turkey sandwich.

Yesterday I went to the pool and had an amazing workout. Water jogging with weights, kick boarding, swimming, and pushups off the side of the pool. I am so happy I’ve incorporated the pool into my training.

I leave on Wednesday for a conference, so my posting may be a bit sporadic this week. I’m packing my running shoes so I can run during my time away 🙂

Running buddy love before the race!

 

Week in Review

Sunday- 13 miles

Monday- 2 miles

Tuesday- 1 mile, Zumba

Wednesday- 2 miles

Thursday- Aqua jogging

Friday- REST

Saturday- 3 miles

Total: 21 miles

This week was a time of recovery in many ways. I am feeling excited for the fun run tomorrow morning–I am going to pick up my race stuff after work today.

My running buddy is writing a blog now! You can follow along here.

I’ll be back with a race recap on Monday! Happy Friday!!

What are your running plans for the weekend?

Quick Update

I went aqua jogging today and I feel great and completely recovered from the half on Sunday!

I signed up for the Seattle See Jane Run half marathon in mid-July because it lines up with the prescribed distance of my long run for marathon training that week. I’ve decided to table the duathlon for another summer because I have a lot to train for as it is.

My name is Anna and I am a half marathon addict. I really do love these races. I realized after Portland I can join the Half Fanatics if I want (Neptune level… womp womp) and I very well may.

What’s your favorite distance for a race?

 

A Little Hump Day Zen

Yesterday I ran a silent mile for Boston before I left for Zumba as a participant in Runners United to Remember. I am simply overwhelmed every time I see posts from runners all over the country (and world!) dedicating runs to remember Boston.

My body is asking for recovery from the race on Sunday–I ran hard, and though I feel no soreness today, I do feel tired. Maybe it’s the reduced sleep (two year molars are making a big entrance at my house), or maybe it’s the high pollen and the consistently stuffy sinuses. Today I will probably do a light run, perhaps around 3 miles. Tomorrow I am going to the pool to aqua jog on my lunch break (one of the perks of working on a campus), and I hope to feel strong and energized by Saturday’s race. I am aiming for a feel-good 5K.

Today, I’m feeling particularly centered by this quote from Zen and the Art of Running:

“In a fairly obvious sense, running is life made small. A run has a beginning and an end. There are obstacles to overcome, good days and bad days.”

We can set our expectations and form our attachments, but running is imbedded with an organic spirit that flows, sometimes, unpredictably. I seek to practice mindfulness by listening to the systems of my body without judgement or narrative. On Sunday, I was reminded that I can be my own best support when I acknowledge difficulty as part of the process and the journey. The steep hills, the tender muscles, the heavy hearts–these form the soil that is ripe for growth.

Recovery

Yesterday I went for a 2 mile jog to get some blood pumping to my muscles in an effort to aid recovery from Sunday’s half.

sunnyrun

This evening I will go to Zumba and hopefully I will feel back to normal by tomorrow’s track workout. I wasn’t very sore yesterday, but today my quads are pretty stiff. I want to incorporate more strength training exercises, such as squats, to build up the backs of my legs so that the burden of force is more evenly distributed during my long runs. I’ve also been working diligently to break in my new pair of Brooks, which I am alternating with my Mizunos for running. So far, so good. I like both shoes for entirely different reasons, perhaps I’ll write about that at some point.

brooks

Yesterday’s events are still weighing on me, as I am sure they are on you as well. I take some comfort in knowing that runners are some of the most tenacious and brave people on this earth, and the good and camaraderie nurtured by this lifestyle will only be strengthened when all is said and done.

I have a fun run 5K this Saturday that will be a pretty awesome event–runners and members of the police force are running together to raise money for families of fallen officers. Looking forward to doing this one.

Happy Running!

 

Boston

I’ve spent the last two hours numb and heart-broken, knowing so many people who dedicated themselves to living their dreams and supporting the dreams of others are now victims of a senseless and disgusting act of terrorism. The running community is the most peace-loving and supportive family of people I know, and this tragedy breaks my heart. I am thinking of all of those marathoners, supporters, volunteers and first responders today and sending prayers for healing to them.

Whidbey Island Half Marathon Recap

Three notable things about this race:

-I set a new PR for myself at 2:11… four minutes under my goal time and almost 8 minutes under the time for my last half

-Hills, crazy weather, more hills, more crazy weather

-Did not hit the wall

On Saturday, the day before we left for Whidbey Island, it started to snow. After an unusually mild winter, I found the timing to be HILARIOUS. As we drove down toward Deception Pass, the snow just accumulated more and more. Luckily, by the time we reached Oak Harbor, it was just a rainy day and any white stuff had melted away. We kicked around for a bit, going to Safeway to buy the necessities (bananas, peanut butter…) and then to Windjammer Park (the race start) to play on the windy beach and at one of the most expansive playgrounds I’ve ever seen. My daughter was pretty excited about that part! We even got a decent window of sun.

I got virtually no sleep the night before the race, but I was nonchalant about it. I intentionally tried to sleep as much as possible in the nights leading up to race weekend knowing I would probably experience a lot of nervous energy before the race.

In the morning, I got up, made coffee, and ate all of my special race day foods.

breakfast

At around 7:30, my husband drove me and my running buddy to the start. We huddled in the heated tent and I made many trips to the port-o-potty because I was really well hydrated and also didn’t want to pee during the race. At 8:05 we started lining up, and I put myself right behind the 2:10 pacer figuring I would run between him and the 2:20 pacer to meet my goal of 2:15. At 8:15 we were off, and almost simultaneously, the downpour began.

This half was very different for me in that it went by quickly. I was blissfully in the zone for many of the miles and didn’t really pay attention to the markers until around Mile 9. Even with the rolling hills in the first half of the race, I was able to stay ahead of the 2:10 pacer and continue steadily without walking. In fact, there was only one time that I walked briefly, and that was when I needed to eat my GU. When we got to about Mile 4, we started in on the trails, and were a bit more covered from the rain. I love how much the route went on trails, through woods, and along the water. It was truly a beautiful tour of that part of the island.

mile 4

Around Mile 4

The middle part of the race took us through the Naval Base, which made for interesting scenery. It really is a city within a city. Miles 6-7 were on this beautiful strip of road between the coast on the left side and a shallow tide pool on the right. At this point, the rain let-up quite a bit, but my feet were getting wet from large puddles on the course.

mile 7Approaching Mile 6-ish

The route was a lopsided figure eight, so at around Mile 9 we actually bisected the starting area and went for another smaller loop through trails and roads on the other side of the park. The last four miles were very hilly and difficult. The last steep uphill at Mile 11 was the only time I saw the 2:10 pacer in front of me. I did my best not to get frustrated, I fueled again with some GU, and I reminded myself that the goal was primarily to finish, and secondarily to finish under 2:15. The last mile, which is usually all guts for me, was surprisingly fun because it was almost entirely downhill. I was very happy to finish at a time that was below my goal time by quite a few minutes.

whidbeyfinish

Ready for a hot shower and dry clothes.

Of course once I got to the end of the race, the clouds parted and the sun started shining. We enjoyed a beautiful drive home and then I spent the rest of the afternoon playing out in the yard and tending to some gardening. This morning I am a little sore, but nowhere near as stiff as I was after my first few half marathons.

When I finished yesterday, I could have gone a few more miles, and that made me realize that my body is capable of longer runs–that the marathon goal is not unrealistic. Additionally, I had so much FUN running the race yesterday–even during the challenging hills and last few miles! I jokingly told my running buddy before the race that I was excited for the day that a half marathon would be my fun run. While half marathons still require a lot of mental and physical effort from my body, they are becoming more manageable and enjoyable.

I was a bit sad to finish this half marathon, but I know I will definitely run this race again because it was so beautiful and I have great memories from it. I am very glad I have the Rock’n’Roll Portland lined up for next month–something to continue working toward! Dare I try to shave more time off my finish??

medalLast but not least… GU no longer makes me gag! The taste is starting to grow on me…