Week 9 & 10 Workouts {Phoenix Half & Green Bay Marathon}

Now up: Training for the Green Bay Marathon in May!

I had a good race at the Phoenix Half Marathon (you can see my recap here), and followed it up with a solid training week as I shifted goals from 13.1 miles, to a full 26.2.

Sunday, February 23rd: Stretch + foam roll

Monday: 4 miles
Solid jaunt on the treadmill.

Tuesday: Rest

Wednesday: 4 miles
I can’t remember exactly why I skipped this workout, other than I was probably just being lazy…

Thursday: Rest

Friday: 2 miles
After a 4-hour flight, I arrived in Phoenix with my sisters. That afternoon, we went on a little shake-out run to loosen up for our big race the next day.

We ran from our hotel…

tempe palms hotel

…to nearby Tempe Beach Park, which had a convenient running path along Tempe Town Lake.

running path along temp town lake

We enjoyed the views and the weather. It’s been so long since I’ve run in a t-shirt and shorts and actually felt the sun heating my skin. It was glorious, and made me itch for spring even more.

Saturday: 13.1 miles, Phoenix Half Marathon! 2:17:38 (10:30/mile pace)
phoenix half marathon medal
Felt strong and ran my last four miles progressively faster, with the last mile the fastest of all. Overall I was happy with my race and my time. This was no PR for me (I think a 2:08 is my best) but considering I haven’t been doing any speedwork, a 2:17 is pretty decent in my book.

Sunday, March 2nd: Rest
My “rest” day included hiking this beast, the “Tempe Butte” (aka “A Mountain”) in Tempe.

tempe butte, also known as A Mountain

Doesn’t stack up to the other hiking mountains around Phoenix, but we still felt the burn walking up this guy.

tempe butte

Monday: 3 miles easy
It was our last day in Arizona, and the weather was so refreshing (sunny + 60-something degrees) that we had to get one more run in. After all, we were heading back to single digit temps and snow. We went for another jog along the Tempe Lake path, this time crossing a footbridge and exploring the other side of the lake.

running in tempe, phoenix, arizona.

[thanks to my sister for the Instagram]

I wasn’t sure that a jog so soon after my half was wise, but I actually felt really strong and wasn’t sore at all. Success!

Tuesday: Rest

Wednesday: 4 miles 2 miles
Back in the arctic tundra in Wisconsin, I reacquainted myself with my treadmill. Five minutes into the run, my left knee started bothering me a bit. I hopped off and foam rolled/stretched for a few minutes. I got back on the ‘mill and the naggy pain was gone, so I think my IT band was just tight since I hadn’t rolled in a week (I normally do it at least every other day). I didn’t want to push my luck, though, so I hopped off after 2 miles and just stretched/foam rolled some more.

Thursday: 6 miles
I got outside for this run, thankfully. I felt strong and actually had to keep slowing myself down, as I was pushing close to a 10-minute pace, which isn’t my “easy” pace at all!

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 14 miles
The temps were in the 20s for this long run, which hasn’t happened in a long while—heat wave! The wind was pretty severe, but I could still feel all of my limbs and exposed skin, so I count that as a win.

I felt really tight during most of this run.  My running partners did too, so we stopped every couple of miles to stretch, which helped us get through it. We hit a few treacherously icy stretches of road, which makes you run differently… I noticed after one particularly long bout on the ice, my hip flexors were super tight. I finished the run fine, but at the end I couldn’t have pushed it any faster, my legs just wouldn’t loosen up.

I was pretty tight and sore, especially my hips and knees, after this run. Even two days later now, my knees are feeling a little tender. I have a tendency to over-analyze pain due to all of my hip/knee related injuries in the past, so I’m trying not to freak myself out. 🙂 I’ve been foam rolling and icing my knees just in case. I’m also taking today off instead of tomorrow. (I was going to cross train, but I’m actually feeling kind of sick. Bleh.)

On a fun note, during the long run, my friend June found a $20 bill half-frozen into the ice on the side of the road.

030914-money-in-ice

We used a car key to chip it out, and then June bought us coffee with it after we finished the run. The bill was totally soaked and dirty, and I wish I would’ve gotten the poor cashier’s face when she pulled the bill out to pay. Hahah!

– – –

This week’s workouts:
Sunday: Yoga + foam roll
Monday: Rest
Tuesday: 4 miles
Wednesday: 6 miles
Thursday: 4 miles
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 15 miles (eep, starting to get up there!)

Depending how my knees feel, I might replace some mileage with cross training.

– – –

Do you overanalyze your aches and pains?
What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever found while out on a run/bike ride/walk?

The funniest thing I ever found while on a run was discovered during a high school cross country practice… We were running around some trails and found a “road closed” sign in a huge ditch near the woods. Thinking it’d be funny to use it as a prank somehow, my younger sister and I got the sign after practice and took it home. When my mom saw it, she totally freaked out on us because apparently taking road signs is illegal. Oooops! I mean, it was in the ditch, not even on the road… If that was the worst thing I did in high school, my mom is lucky. 😉

Chicago Marathon Training, Week 13 Recap

Week 13 of the Chicago Marathon training has come and gone. There are only 4 weeks to go ‘til the big day, and I’m just happy I was able to run at all this week! Here’s the breakdown…

Sunday, September 8th: 60 minutes cross-train
Went on a bike ride.

Monday: rest • 15 min. bike ride
Matt said he wanted to bike, so I was all for it. Unfortunately, there were swarms of tiny flies all around our neighborhood. They were all over our shirts and shorts, pinging off our faces, and we couldn’t talk because every time we opened our mouths they somehow managed to find their way in. So gross. Obviously we decided to cut this ride short!

Tuesday: 5 miles • PT
Had a PT appointment, so did all my exercises and stretches for that. Got the green light to try some run/walking, if I didn’t have any pain before I started, so I decided Wednesday would be the day…

Wednesday: 5 miles • 50 min. bike ride + 24 min. run/walk
I had two friends who were going biking so I met up with them before attempting my run/walk. I figured it would help me warm up + loosen my legs, plus I wanted some extra cardio time since I knew I wouldn’t try to run/walk very far. The bike ride felt good, then I foam rolled my IT band and stretched really well. You can read my whole post about my run/walk success, but I ran 2 minutes/walked 1 minute for a total of 24 minutes, with no pain. YAY! Major spirit lifter.

Thursday: 5 miles PT
I was so stoked to go to the PT office and let them know about my run/walk success. They suggested I only run/walk every other day for now, so I did all my PT exercises and stretches and called it a day.

Friday: rest + PT
I had another PT appointment, this time with the doc I had originally wanted to see (she owns the clinic and is a runner herself). She suggested again that I try a run/walk method for the marathon, then gave me advice on how to build up my run/walk routine to eventually get back to running a mile at a time (you’ll see that plan in this week’s upcoming schedule at the bottom).

Since Wednesday’s 2:1 run/walk went well, she told me I could try a 4:2 run/walk on Saturday, but not to increase the time (25 minutes) unless I just added a 5-minute walk warm-up and 5-minute walk cool-down. Sold.

The PT doc massaged my IT band for a decent amount of time at the appointment, and it was a little achy all night afterwards. (This slight achiness or tenderness has continued through the weekend, so I hope it was just the massage breaking up the knots and stuff?)

Saturday: 19 miles • 3.48 miles (~2 running)
Last week I had said I’d hoped I could run 13 miles on this day, and obviously that wasn’t going to happen. I listened to my PT and started with the 5-minute walk to warm up, did some stretching, and then started my 4 minutes of running followed by 2 minutes of walking.

I think the toughest part was actually stopping to walk after the 4-minute running periods were up, especially when I was feeling really good. It was just so exhilarating to finally get moving again! It was also tough once when, after a run interval, I stopped to do my 2-minute walk and a passing runner tried to encourage me, “Don’t stop, you’re looking strong!” Thanks for the compliment & encouragement, runner, but it’s doctor’s orders!

On the plus side, the walk breaks did give nice opportunities for some pretty photo ops:

This sunrise is the best part of early morning runs!

This sunrise is the best part of early morning runs!

I ended up tacking on an extra 4:2 set, so my total run/walk time was 30 minutes instead of 25. Heh. Who’s surprised by the stubborn runner? I did feel pretty good most of the time, but at the end, the outside of my knee started to feel uncomfortable. It didn’t hurt, but it didn’t feel right, either. Then I had about a 10-minute walk back to my car, so I had a total of almost 45 minutes on my feet, and probably about 2 miles of running.

This week’s schedule:
I plan to continue the run/walks, hoping to slowly up the time I can go without pain… (The crossed out items are what would be on my running schedule if I were healthy.)

  • Sunday: rest
  • Monday: 5 miles 35 minute run/walk (4:2 ratio +10 min walk warm-up/cool-down)
  • Tuesday: 60-minute cross train + PT appt
  • Wednesday: 8 miles 35 minute run/walk (6:2 ratio, if Monday brings no pain +10 min walk warm-up/cool-down)
  • Thursday: 5 miles PT appt + 60 min. bike ride
  • Friday: rest + PT appt
  • Saturday: 12 miles 35 minute run/walk (10:1 ratio, if Wednesday brings no pain +10 min walk warm-up/cool-down)

With only four weeks to go until the Chicago Marathon, I know at this point I won’t be able to run the whole thing… But I’m hopeful that I can at least run a mile at a time, perhaps take a minute walk break between each mile, and still finish. It will just be a loooong marathon!

What do you think of run/walking? Is it something you normally do, or would try? How’s your training going?

I have to admit, stopping to walk in the middle of my running at first felt SOOO slow. I didn’t have the patience for it. But after a couple times, I realized that the short walk breaks make running MUCH easier! I would definitely recommend new runners, or people who’ve been out of training for a while, try run/walking. It’s much less torturous. 🙂

Run-Walk Success

You guys, I did it! I ran yesterday!

Without PAINNN.

Take that, ITBS – you pain in the ass knee.

At my PT appointment on Tuesday, I asked my doctor to get real with me about when I could start trying to run regularly again. It’s been a couple weeks since my last real run, and I’m only a month out from the Chicago Marathon now. Sure, I’ve been biking a lot, doing some PT exercises to build strength, and working on my core muscles…but to complete 26.2 miles by foot, I need to get some lots of miles in on these legs. Plain and simple.

If my knee wasn’t hurting me, she said, I could try it, but shouldn’t go overboard. And of course, if it started hurting, I promised myself I would stop immediately and walk, so I don’t make things worse.

Naturally, on Wednesday I decided it was time to try a little running. Even after some massaging, exercises and stretches on Tuesday night, I didn’t have any pain or tenderness around my knee or IT band. The other doctor in the clinic had suggested I look up a run/walk plan for the marathon (since I told her I was getting nervous about it), so I figured I might as well start out run/walking now.

It doesn't matter how slow you go, as long as you don't stop.

I started my workout with a 45-minute bike ride, since I knew I needed to put in some real cardio time, more than I would be able to run. Plus, I figured this would be a great way to get my legs warmed up and loose, which would help to stretch them before I ran.

After the biking, I did some foam rolling on my IT bands, and then stretched really well.

Then I was off, almost holding my breath with each step I took. Except, you know, I was running and all, so I had to breathe.

I decided I would do 2 minutes of running, followed by 1 minute of walking, and repeat that. I didn’t really have a set time or distance in my head, as I had no clue how my knee would feel, so I just trotted off without a plan, happy that it seemed the run would go okay as I took my first steps.

I continued my run/walking iterations until I got to about 12 minutes. Ecstatic that I wasn’t feeling any pain or anything at this point, I decided I better turn around and start the 12-minute jaunt back home, just in case. I didn’t want to push myself too far, right away.

By the time I got home, I was grinning like a freak, sweating like an even bigger freak, and restraining myself from jumping around. In total, I did 24 minutes of run-walking (16 minutes of running/8 minutes of walking). Not a ton, but, 16 minutes of running was longer than I could run this past Saturday, and without any aches or pains. I’ll take it.

We’ll see tonight at my next PT appointment if the little workout did anything adverse—I bet I will probably be a little tighter than the last several days, but hopefully the doc can continue to work out the tightness and knots in my IT band.

I’m taking this all as a reminder that when you start losing hope and wonder when things will turn around, you should never really worry—because before you know it, a little miracle just might happen. 🙂

Thanks for all encouraging responses to my last few posts & on Twitter, folks! And to my everyday friends and runner pals who’ve heard me yak on and on about all of this. You poor souls. I lova ya.

Running Withdrawals

Hi all! I realize my blog posts haven’t been as exciting lately—mostly due to the fact that I can’t run. Womp.

{However, I shall uplift this post with a sprinkling of funny runner memes.}

Ryan Gosling makes everything better.

Ryan Gosling makes everything better.

I’ll admit, I’ve been trying to stay positive, but it’s been tough. I was sure everything would be okay the first week my knee started bugging me. I thought I’d just enjoy several days’ rest and then take my runs easy for a few weeks, and I’d be A-OK and back on my way to marathon training bliss.

Then the next week moseyed on by and my knee was still bothering me. Not to worry! I’d just take the whole week off, go see a PT, and all would be fixed.

But, no. Now I’m on week three of injury patrol and it’s starting to wear on me. Gone are the positive thoughts and relaxed attitude. Enter the psychotic, cliché, injured runner symptoms of worrying and obsessing over the fact that I can NOT run.

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I find myself constantly googling things about my injury online, reading articles, posting on message boards, babbling the ears off of anyone who will listen, and seeking out advice from every other runner I know. I’m doing all of this while already seeing a professional physical therapist…who should really be the only person I’m asking for advice from, not the interwebs.

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But alas, I’ve arrived here, to the injured-runner-exile, where self-pity and crabby pants abound. And I am so not about self-pity and crabby pants type of person, so on top of not being able to run, you can imagine how much this all annoys me.

So forgive me, dear friends and fellow readers, for my lack of oomph and passion and fun posts lately. You see, I choose to just keep my crabby pants to myself, to spare you from the headcase that I’m slowly becoming. You don’t need to see the slow unraveling of wits that is starting to fray at the seams.

Yes. Wine does help.

Yes. Wine does help.

The bike, foam roller & PT are my new BFFs, and while they’re all good listeners, they just doesn’t compare to my oldest friends…my running shoes.

I hope we’re reunited soon.

Since I can’t write so much about running right now, what would you like to hear more of? My PT & cross-training, other various workouts? Or something entirely different?

Wedding planning is on the upswing, so I’m thinking that will be making a regular appearance soon. Promise that I’ll get creative and come up with some happier workout posts & healthy eats soon, too, though.

Chicago Marathon Training, Week 12 recap

Week 12 gone, huh? I am trying to stay positive, but this injury is starting to get to me. I’ve had to take off most of the week, but at least I got to see a physical therapist a couple times. So I’m hopeful this coming week will mean more running…at some point…

Sunday, September 1st: rest

Monday: 60 minutes cross-train
Bike ride.

Tuesday: 5 miles
No running. Had my first PT appointment after work so I didn’t have time to bike afterwards.

Wednesday: 8 miles • 50 min. bike ride
No running still, but biked. Ran into some friends just as I began my ride, so I joined them & that raised my spirits. Made the bike ride fun and took my mind off the lack of running.

Thursday: 5 miles
Honestly forget what I did this evening. I didn’t do any working out, besides my PT exercises and stretches. I think I worked late-ish and then did some blogging stuff. Looked forward to my Friday PT appointment, hoping to have good prospects for my Saturday run.

Friday: rest
Had my next PT appointment. Got more stretches and exercises to help with the hips (which I will fill you in on soon). However, when I asked advice for weekend running, my doc said nonchalantly, “Oh, well you can just try a mile and see how it goes. But I wouldn’t recommend more than that.”

A mile? ONE? HA. My PT is not a runner and, I thought snobbishly, doesn’t seem to understand how I’m training for a marathon, which I’m supposed to run in 5 weeks. So one mile, nope—that’s just not gonna cut it.

I figured since I was able to run 3 miles last Thursday, after only taking four days off, that at this point (10 days off) I would definitely be okay with three miles. So I decided that I’d try three miles Saturday morning, and if I still felt no achiness or pain, I’d keep going up to six miles, max…

Saturday: 13 miles • 1.75 miles
And then it was Saturday morning. I ran my one singular mile and felt great. Stopped to stretch and really took my time with it. Started the next mile and halfway in, the aching started on the outside of my left knee again. Already?! I had taken 10 DAYS off!!! Ugh, so frustrating, I can’t even put into words. I started walking back to where I began. Twice, I tried stretching and running a really slow pace back, but both times the pain started to flare up worse than before. So… I didn’t even get 2 miles of running in.

Not what I was expecting.

Talk about discouraging.

This week’s schedule:
This week’s runs are again up in the air. I hope to run AT ALL. Here’s what my schedule should be, if I were healthy…

  • Sunday: 60 minutes cross-train
  • Monday: rest
  • Tuesday: 5 miles
  • Wednesday: 5 miles
  • Thursday: 5 miles
  • Friday: rest
  • Saturday: 19 miles (really hoping I can do 13 by then, to stay on track)

I have PT appointments on Tuesday and Thursday. I’ll have a third appointment sometime this week with the clinic director (who I had wanted to see in the first place, but was on vacation this past week). She is a runner and had come to speak at our running club meeting several months ago, so I’m hoping she’ll better understand how I hope to get moving again if I want to run this marathon. I am also hoping she will be able to tell me for sure that this knee pain I’m feeling is coming from my weak hips. Cross your fingers…

I am really trying not to be one of those runners, who gets injured and turns into an antsy freak that becomes obsessed with when they will be able to run again. I was doing really well with it, but now I’ve come to the 2-week mark and am starting to worry about timing with the Chicago Marathon. Will I be able to run the marathon still? Will my injury go away, or be under control in time to run 26.2 miles pain-free?

I’m really trying to stay positive, but after two weeks off and no results (in fact, feeling worse after 10 days off that I did after 5 days off)—it is tough!

Have you ever had an injury impede running a race? What did you do to handle being injured, but stay on top of your fitness? Have you ever had hip/knee/IT band issues? 

I think the biking is a decent workout, and all these new exercises are definitely pushing me, but I just feel like without running, I am losing my fitness. Fast.

Chicago Marathon Training, Week 10 recap

Wow, week 10 is done already?! The weeks have really flown by, so I guess that means my training’s been going well. This week has had its ups and downs, though, as did my long run of 17 miles…and I might be dealing with a slight injury. 😦

Sunday, August 18th: rest

Monday: 4 miles • 9:55/mile
I took some frustrations out on this run, so it was great to push it hard and feel accomplished when I finished. I ran the four miles progressively faster, with splits of 10:46, 10;33, 9:36 and 8:42. That last mile was fast!

Tuesday: cross train – biking
Met up with some lovely ladies for a medium-effort bike ride for an hour along the lake. Good time!

Wednesday: 4 miles • DNR
I wasn’t feeling a run and my legs were tired. I decided I’d run an easy couple miles on Friday to loosen up, but…See Friday’s recap.

Thursday: 8 miles  10:43/mile
This run really pushed me. I met up with a couple people and we ran on trails for all 8 miles, which was fun. Trails are my favorite! Plus, it was great to give the legs a break from pounding pavement. The small hills and different muscles you use for trail running were really challenging, so by the end I was spent and glad to be done. Considering this was on trails, my pace per mile was quite fast; usually, I run around 11:15/mile pace for trails.

Perhaps I shouldn’t have pushed it so hard, because later that night my left knee started to ache a little. Usually my right knee gives me pain due to IT band issues, so it was weird that my left knee was yellin’ at me. I iced my knee, took some ibuprofen and figured it’d be fine, but it came back to haunt me Saturday…

Friday: rest
That trail run kicked my butt, and I was psyching myself out for Saturday’s long run, so I didn’t make up any miles from Wednesday’s missed run. I thought the more rest for my legs, the better!

Saturday: 17 miles • 10:38/mile
Well, I did it! In exactly 3 hours, I ran 17 miles.

I still can’t believe I actually ran that far!!!

My friend Jess ran with me, and thank goodness, because I don’t know if I could have done it without the support of another runner. I felt pretty good starting off, but by mile 6 or so my left knee started to ache again. I’m not sure how to even describe the pain, as it’s not the typical pain I feel from IT band issues in my other knee. This pain was on the side of the knee, on the outside, and sort of felt like what I’d imagine arthritis feels like? Sometimes it just felt achy, but then sometimes (especially after stopping for a minute to stretch) it was really painful. A few times it felt like my knee was going to simply give out. My left lower back was also tight and started to hurt, so I have to figure it’s probably all connected…

By mile 7, I could tell that the pain wasn’t going to go away, despite stopping to stretch, so I hoped for the best and gritted my teeth.

For 10 more miles.

I have to say, I kind of feel like a badass since I could deal with that pain for 10 miles. But, maybe I could also be called a dumbass for continuing to run with the pain, as afterwards my knee hurt so bad I was pretty much hobbling around all day.

I got in a [really wimpy] ice bath for 10 minutes when I got home, which I think helped all of my muscles. Matt thought the whole concept of the ice bath was pretty funny I guess, because he was quite eager to help pour all of the ice in and then take pictures of my reaction…

post-run ice bath

Brr.

The ice bath must have helped, because today (Sunday) I’m not sore and my knee is barely hurting at all when I walk, go up & down stairs, etc. Nonetheless, I think I’ll just be cross-training for a few days, and doing some detective work on what might be going on and how I can help it.

This week’s schedule:

  • Sunday: rest/PT
  • Monday: 60 minutes cross-train
  • Tuesday: 5 miles/PT – will substitute biking
  • Wednesday: 8 miles – will substitute biking
  • Thursday: 5 miles/PT – will probably run a very easy 3-4 miles to see how my knee feels
  • Friday: rest
  • Saturday: 18 miles

Any ideas on what might be wrong with my knee? How do you deal with injuries during and after your runs? Any advice?