Injured, Take 2

Well, hello there! It’s been a while, I know. I’ve been busy with life and biding my time, hoping to pop back in with better news, but here it is:

I’m injured again.

When I trained for my first marathon last year, I was plagued with ITBS—my hips and knees weren’t happy, but dedication, determination and $1000+ of PT helped me get across the finish line. I was SO happy to get there, but I didn’t feel 100% fulfilled. I knew I could have done better had I not been injured. So I signed up for my second marathon.

THIS time it would be different. I knew the PT exercises to do to stave off the ITBS. I would be smart! I would be experienced! I would run this race MY way!

I made it to my 18-mile training run a few weeks ago.

18 mile long run for Green Bay Marathon

I ran it alone, and it was a glorious run—relaxing, enjoyable, sunny. About 15 miles in, I started getting some tightness in [what I thought was] my left hip flexor. I had been having tightness on-and-off in my hip flexors so I took note and kept stretching, but I figured it’d pass. I made it through the 18 miles and was all smiles when I finished.

18 mile long run for Green Bay Marathon

I even did a little dance up the driveway when I finished, and pretty sure my neighbor who drove by at the time prob thinks I’m a nut. Ah, well.

That night, my hip flexor-ish area started to hurt while I was walking around. Then it ached all night and all the next day. Proceed with icing, ibuprofen and rest. The next couple weeks my long runs consisted of 9 miles (supposed to be 19) on April 12; the next weekend off to rest; and 10 miles (supposed to be 20 miles) on April 26.

The doomed 20-miler was the most frustrating, because after taking off almost the entire previous week from running, I thought I would be doing much better. But just 6 miles into the run, I could tell something didn’t feel right…and I couldn’t get my hip to stretch out. I got back home at around 10 miles and I was starting to limp-run, so I called it quits before I did more damage.

After a few tears out of pure frustration (UGH), I pulled it together and thought about where the pain and tightness were happening. It seemed like the achiness would be at the top inside of my thigh where it meets the pubic bone, then go straight up. This is why I thought the problem was my hip flexor, but after doing some research, I am now wondering if I might be dealing with a strained groin? It explains the pain/dull ache at the very top of my thigh/pubic bone, but not the tightness that radiates up, does it?

So there we are. Green Bay Marathon training: Only two weeks left, and I’m injured again. [Cue sad trombone noise.]

At this point, I can’t decide—still try for the full marathon (I’ve already sworn up and down this will be my last)…or just downgrade to the half marathon so I don’t risk hurting myself more? After all, I don’t want to hurt myself to the point of being unable to run when spring & summer weather is just around the corner…

Advice? What would you do—full or half marathon?

P.S. Icing the groin region = weirdly uncomfortable. Glad I am not a dude.

Just Livin’ That Lovely Life

Over the winter, when I thought about the whole marathon training + working + planning a wedding + staying social thing, I knew it’d be a little busy…but I had no idea! It’s been a bit of a whirlwind, a good one, and I’m in my own happy little version of Oz.

The Green Bay Marathon is quickly approaching: Only about a month away now! I’m so ready. I’m excited, but I have to admit that I am fully looking forward to it coming, and then going and being done. Staying in alone Friday nights, then getting up at the crack of dawn and running for 3+ hours on Saturday morning isss getting a little old. I love, love, love running—why else would I run a marathon?! But all the time that training’s taking away from the rest of my life…well, I’m ready to get that back. 😉

That said, training’s been decent. I did my 18-miler two weeks ago. I felt great for it all, ’til what I thought was my hip flexor, but I now suspect was perhaps my groin(?), was pretty tight for the last 3-4 miles. I finished without pain, but had some dull aching that night and the following couple of days. I took off Sunday—Thursday, then did a 2-mile test last Friday. I didn’t want to push my luck, so I only did 9 miles as my long run this past weekend (instead of 19 miles). I have a 20-mile run on the docket in two weeks and I think I’ll be golden for it. In the meantime, I’m looking up hip and groin stretches and strengthening exercises to help keep me feelin’ good ’til that finish line is in my crosshairs.

In other news: Work + wedding + social life have been fabulous.

I earned a promotion at work a few weeks ago, something I’ve been working towards for almost two years, so that’s exhilarating and motivating. YAY! Of course, that means big projects + personal goals to make things even MORE uber-awesome now, which means I’ve been putting in some extra hours lately. All worth it, though! Can’t live, or work, without a little extra passion. Amen.

I wish I could say I’ve been just as on top of wedding planning.

041414-elope

I was feeling good about it, like I was ahead of the game, and then the last 2-3 weeks have positively FLOWN by and suddenly my to-do list is glaring at me. Eeeek.

Hope to do some real updating and more in-depth recap on my training lately…stay tuned!

– – –

How do you balance it all? 

Week 12 Workouts {Green Bay Marathon}

YAY! Week 12 is done, and with it, a huge long run.

Sunday, March 16th: Yoga
Did a nice little 20-minute series at home to get stretched out.

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 4 miles (10:11/mile) + abs pilates
I finally started to add pilates back into my weekly workouts. I love pilates!

The 4-mile run was fun. I met up with a group of runners after work and busted them out at a pretty good clip, considering it felt pretty “easy.”

Wednesday: 4 miles 2 miles + buns/thighs pilates
My legs were tired and semi-sore from my morning pilates. By the time I got home, I was so not motivated to run on the treadmill, but I made myself hop on to at least do something. I actually thought once I got going I’d be fine, but I just wasn’t into it. Oh well, better than nothing.

Thursday: 7 miles (10:50/mile)
Another post-work run outside. Ran with a couple friends; nice to have company and nice to be outside again.

Running along Lake Michigan

Let’s pretend it’s summer…

We got to run down near the lake, now that the mounds of snow & ice have finally melted. Lake Michigan went from 90% frozen to completely clear in what seemed like a matter of days!

Friday: Rest
Saturday: Rest

Sunday: 16 miles!!! (11:37/mile)
Okay, this is technically part of next week since it’s Sunday, but it was “this week’s” long run. My training partners were busy yesterday so we opted to do our long run this lovely Sunday morning instead. We started at 7am (nicer than our 6am start times as of late) and although it was still chilly and a bit windy, the sun was shining. That always makes us smile, after this long, dreary winter.

We split the run into two parts: an out-and-back 10 mile run, which put us back at the starting point to meet up with a couple more people for the last 6 miles. Splitting the long run up into “two” runs makes it SO much easier mentally! I just focused on taking an easy 10-mile run, then by the time we got to the second part, the 6 mile run, it wasn’t weighing so heavily over our heads. Granted, we were still tired and ready to be done by the end, but mentally I felt on top of my game, and my body feels pretty good, too. I’m going to try to do this with the rest of our long runs going forward, I think.

I had stomach issues the entire run, which were pretty annoying. This has happened to me a couple times over the recent month, so I wonder if I need to start being more careful with what & when I eat leading up to my long run. Perhaps my spicy Mexican brunch yesterday was a bad idea. Of course, having a wild Friday night out with lots of drinks probably didn’t help, either. 😉

– – –

This week’s workouts:
Sunday: 16 miles (am) + yoga (pm)
Monday: Rest
Tuesday: 4.5 miles
Wednesday: 4.5 miles
Thursday: 8 miles
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 13 miles (yay for step-back week!)

– – –

How were your workouts this week?
Are you able to start getting out in the “spring” weather?
What’s your favorite carb-loading meal before a long run or race? 

Week 11 Workouts {Green Bay Marathon}

Last week’s training was…kind of non-existent. I started feeling under the weather Monday and it all went downhill from there: Flu, followed by some cold/sinus junk. After a whole week of not running + lots of sleeping + way too much [needed] couch/TV time, I finally felt halfway decent on Saturday. Just in time for my long run of the week! Here’s how it went.

Sunday: Yoga + foam roll
Monday: Rest
Tuesday: 4 miles sick 😦
Wednesday: 6 miles sick 😦
Thursday: 4 miles sick 😦
Friday: Rest {still sick}
Saturday: 15 miles 12 miles (~12:30/mile pace)

I wasn’t sure if I should just jump out there and try for my long run after a whole week off + being sick, but my running club peeps {who uses that word anymore?} told me I should try and simply “listen to your body.” My head was still congested and I had an annoying cough (nothing in my chest, though). I figured by 6 miles my body would tell me it was done.

Thanks to the recent time change, we started out in the dark and got to watch the sun come up…
031714-sunrise1

031714-sunrise

Not so bad. 🙂

Around 3-4 miles, I did start feeling pretty tired, but I just slowed down the pace a lot (from 10:30 pace to 11:30-12 min/mile) and took lots of walking breaks as needed. Surprisingly, I ended up feeling pretty good and kept going for a total of 12 miles. I even considered trying for all 15 miles… Then decided I had probably pushed myself enough; I’ll just surpass 15 miles when I hit 16 on my long run next weekend!

Running with the remnants of a cold/sinus congestion was kind of annoying—I went through a LOT of tissues—but at the end of the day, it did help clear all the crud out.

I should have taken the rest of my Saturday easy, but instead I ran around doing errands for a few hours, and only napped one hour before meeting some friends for dinner and bowling. By the time we were bowling around 8pm, I was exhausted! I had possibly the worst bowling scores of my life. HA. I could barely lift the dang ball at the end.

Note to self: You can run while you’re sick, but make sure you get extra rest and take it easy everywhere else!

Here’s hoping this week is back to normal! 🙂 I still really want to post a recap of my time in Phoenix, so keep an eye out—it will be a fun post!

This week’s workouts:
Sunday: Yoga & foam rolling
Monday: Rest
Tuesday: 4 miles
Wednesday: 4 miles
Thursday: 7 miles
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 16 miles

– – –

Have you ever run while you’re sick?
What are your cures for flu/cold season?

I take my “drug cocktail” every day when flu season hits, especially when I feel a little under the weather: Garlic pills (yep, for real), Echinacea, vitamin C, and zinc with lots of water. I swear it makes a difference! I also loooove me some hot peach tea with honey when I have a sore throat.

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. 😉

Week 7 & 8 Workouts {Phoenix Half & Green Bay Marathon}

Life these days: Work, eat, run, eat, work, sleep. Repeat.

I’ve had lots of long hours at my desk lately {fulfilling, but draining}. In the past, long hours on the job meant I skipped my workouts and spent that free time vegging to rest my brain. This time, I finally managed to break for a run—even when I felt like “I just don’t have time”—because I knew the mental break would be invigorating. And it was. I’ll try to remember that in the future, when stressful projects & precious free time collide again.

Here’s a recap of the past two weeks’ workouts, leading up to my half marathon in Phoenix, Arizona a short week away. (Ohh, so excited!)

011014-finish-line

– – – – – WEEK 7 – – – – – 

Sunday, February 9th: Stretch + foam roll

Monday: 3.5 miles 3 miles + 10 minutes bike
I got to 3 miles on the treadmill and boredom struck hard, so I bopped to the bike for the rest of my workout.

Tuesday: Rest

Wednesday: 3.5 miles
Another easy treadmill run.

Thursday: 6 miles 5.5 miles
First run on my new treadmill! Even though I complain about the ‘mill all the time, when my friend put hers up for sale for $150, Matt sprung to get it for me so I could have a treadmill at home. Woo! What a great fiancé.

It’s so nice to be able to watch my own TV shows, play my music without headphones, and work out at home whenever I want. Even with all those perks, getting to 5.5 miles was still a struggle against boredom; an hour on the treadmill is a long time! It was a good workout, though. I played around with speed and incline to keep my mind busy and test the waters of my new toy treadmill.

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 11 miles
What a fantastic run! It was really cold yet again—barely above zero, I think. Meeting up to run with four other ladies (including a new running club member) sure helped make the miles fly by, though. This run was a major win with NO SNOW on the roads. I forgot how much easier it is to run when there aren’t a couple inches of snow mucking up your footing.

With that, my longest pre-half marathon run is complete!

– – – – – WEEK 8 – – – – – 

Sunday, February 16th: Stretch + foam roll
Hi, major knot in my left IT band. Meet my little friend, the foam roller. Ouch.

Monday: Rest
Switched my usual rest day to Monday, so I could work some extra hours in the evening.

Tuesday: 4 miles (10:52/mile)
AH! It was 44 degrees outside and it felt like heaven. Ha.

I met up with a handful of my running buds for a post-work run (one of those “I don’t think I have time, but I need to do this for me” runs). It felt glorious to actually be a little too warm with all our layers on. My face didn’t feel like it was going to fall off. I could actually feel all of my limbs. It was a nice run.

Wednesday: 4 miles 3 miles (10:33/mile)
Working at home ‘til 11pm Tuesday + getting up at 5:30am to get s* done in the morning = I felt like a zombie when I got home Wednesday evening. Despite that, I craved a little run to clear my mind. It was still 40 degrees out (heat wave!) and I knew if I didn’t go for a run, I’d sprint to a glass of wine instead. Glad I opted for the healthier alternative.

Taking a moment to breathe & enjoy the view on a dusk run.

Taking a moment to breathe & enjoy the view on a dusk run.

Thursday: 6 miles Rest
The late nights, early mornings and stress finally caught up to me, I guess. When I got home, I was kind of exhausted and drained of all motivation. I spent a relaxing, low-key night on the couch with DVDs of “The West Wing,” and Matt, instead.

And maybe some wine.

Friday: Rest
My “real” rest day. I was still pretty tapped out from the week—I seriously wanted to go to bed at 7pm. Yawn.

Saturday: 8 miles 7 miles
My step-back “long” run before the Phoenix Half Marathon. YAY, I can’t wait! Sunny weather, warm temps, and my sisters. I’m already daydreaming about landing there on Friday.

This run was good, because I got to meet yet another new member of our running club, and we enjoyed a relaxed run. On the not-so-good part, my stomach started feeling funky around mile 3, so the last two miles were pretty stop-and-go as I had to walk a lot. I cut the run a mile short because of that, but I’m not worried about a lost mile.

Note to self: Mexican food the night before a long run? Never again.

– – –

This week’s workouts:
Sunday: Yoga + foam roll
Monday: 4 miles
Tuesday: Rest
Wednesday: 4 miles
Thursday: Rest
Friday: 2 miles (shakeout run)
Saturday: 13.1 miles, Phoenix Half Marathon!

– – –

Do you squeeze in workouts, even when life pummels hectic curveballs your way?

Are you looking forward to any races on your schedule? 

Week 5 Workouts {Phoenix Half & Green Bay Marathon}

How to describe this week’s workouts?

Surprising. Circular. Snowy. Tiring. Torture. But… Positive.

Sunday
Yoga
I’ve had hip & ITBS trouble in the past, so I’m adding yoga into my weekly routine to help keep me flexible and injury-free. I did this quick 25-minute video I found on runnersworld.com. I typically don’t like doing yoga at home (I get bored, easily distracted) but this “Class 1: Essential Yoga” video was quicker-paced than a traditional yoga video (and none of that zen music in the background to make you feel sleepy). I was a little sore the next day, but in a good way—my shoulders could feel it, so I’m glad they’re getting some strength work from the downward dogs!

Monday
3 miles
On the treadmill. Pretty boring, but checked it off the list.

Tuesday
Rest day

Wednesday
3 miles (tempo)
I did an interval workout on the treadmill that I—gasp—actually enjoyed! I wrote more about it here, but it was a good workout and I felt strong.

Thursday
5 miles easy
I switched things up on Thursday and ran on an indoor track with my friend Liz. One mile = 8 laps on the track. Sooo, 40 laps. While I enjoyed having a friend for company, I have to say I really didn’t like running on the indoor track, which surprised me. I thought the notion of moving would be better than the treadmill, but I found I couldn’t really “zone out” at all, and it just wasn’t relaxing.

We ran between a 10:30-11:15 pace, I think, but it still felt like it wasn’t that easy to me. Maybe because of the speedwork on Wednesday?

Also, probably because the track is just a thin layer of rubber (or whatever it’s made of) on concrete, my knees were kind of bugging me. After 2 miles, I had to stop to stretch, and it’d help for a bit, but then my knees would start getting achy and I’d have to stop again. I tried not to let this worry me, but with the ITBS issues in the past, it was lurking in the back of my mind. I actually stopped ¼ mile early, just ‘cause I didn’t think it was worth pushing it.

Friday
Rest day

Saturday
9 miles (12:15/mile)
Let me preface this with: I try to stay optimistic, and find things to be positive about, even in bad times.

But, if I thought last Saturday was rough, yesterday’s run was ten times worse. I don’t even know what descriptors to use for it that don’t include swear words. All kinds of names ran through my head while I ran it: I could say it was the polar vortex edition of water boarding, perhaps. Whatever, I’ll just say—it was mental torture and physically exhausting.

Sounds like a blast, huh?

When we started at 7am, there was probably 2-3 inches of fresh snow on the roads, sidewalks, everywhere…and no shoveling or plowing to make a way for us. We just ran through the snow and blazed our own trail—for pretty much the entire 9 miles.

running in the snow

Ever run in the sand? Imagine doing that for over 1.5 hours. By the end, I was exhausted, my back and core muscles were sore, and I just wanted to walk. We actually took several walk breaks during the run, as you can see by the awfully increasing mile splits:

020214-long-run-winter-snow-splits

{My Garmin died near the end of the run, which is why it shows only 8.5 miles.}

It was a little warmer this weekend than the past, but running north there was still a good bit of wind to battle. In that wind were tiny, abrasive snowflakes that pelted your face. I’m glad I was able to get a microderm facial while I ran, at least.

running in the snow

The snow would melt on my face, which caused the hood I had on to start chafing my cheeks (!!!) and then, the melted water would re-freeze in my eyebrows so there were ice chunks in them. Beautiful. Actually, now that I reread that and how ridiculous it was, I am laughing to myself.

Does that make me kind of…nuts?

At just 3.5 miles into the run, I was ready to quit. I was, embarrassingly, also ready to cry. On top of everything above, I was having trouble breathing (guess I should have taken my inhaler beforehand, with the cold air). I just wanted to QUIT. Thank goodness my friends June and Patty were running with me. I didn’t even say aloud that I wanted to quit, because I knew they wouldn’t let me. They just kept checking on me, and literally cheered for me the whole way we ran, telling me to keep going and that we would make it just fine. I don’t know what I would have done without them!

That’s what running clubs (and friends) are for: When you think you can’t, when you know you can’t… They show you the way to “can,” cheer you on, and help you get there.

So that’s what we did. We kept going, and we ended up running a little over 9 miles, when all was said and done. They showed me I could do it, after all.

I guess… There’s a positive in all of that. 🙂

– – –

This week’s workouts:

Sunday: Yoga
Monday: 3.5 miles easy
Tuesday: Rest
Wednesday: 3 miles speed
Thursday: 5.5 miles
Friday: rest
Saturday: 10 miles

– – –

What’s the toughest run (or workout) you’ve ever done?
What got you through it?

I have to say, I have had a few tough runs and races in my life, but Saturday’s the worst I have had in a LONG time. I’m proud of myself for getting through it.