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!)

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– – – – – 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? 

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. 🙂

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 11 recap

This recap of week 11 will only be summing up one thing: rest. If you didn’t see, I’m staving off an injury, so this week was pretty light on workouts…

Sunday, August 25th: rest

Monday: cross train – biking
Since my knee hurt so bad after Saturday’s run, I thought a few rest days were in order to help it get back to 100%. I foam rolled, iced and did some PT exercises.

Tuesday: 5 miles • DNR
Rest + foam roll, ice, PT.

Wednesday: 5 miles • DNR
Rest + foam roll, ice, PT.

Thursday: 5 miles • 3 miles
After three days off, I was hopeful that I could do a test run and there’d be no pain. My knee did feel just fine until around 2.5 miles, then a dull ache started to settle in. By mile 3 I knew it was going to keep getting worse, so I stopped before that could happen.

Friday: rest
Rest + foam roll, ice, PT.

Saturday: 18 miles • DNR
I knew there was no way I’d get through 18 miles without any pain, so I called this run off. Rest + foam roll, ice, PT.

This week’s schedule:
This is all very up in the air. Here’s what my schedule should be, but I’ll probably sub most workouts with biking. I’m seeing a physical therapist on Tuesday evening so we’ll see what she suggests I should do, too… I’m feeling pretty optimistic that this second week of rest should help me get back to GOOD, so I won’t let this injury business get to me too much!

  • 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 substitute biking, or maybe try a run?
  • Friday: rest
  • Saturday: 13 miles (if I’m lucky????)

On a day off like today—sunny and a high of 70—I am just itching to go on a long trail run. You always want it more when you can’t run, don’t you?

How’s your training going? How do you deal with the frustration of injuries when you need to take time off? 

Injuries Suck

Said every runner, ever.

I mentioned last weekend that my left knee started hurting 7 miles into my long run, but I was able to bear the pain and finish the 17-miler. However, that whole day I had SO much pain that at times it was difficult to walk.

The pain was on the back outside of my knee—right where the tendon seems to run along the back edge. A lot of runner friends, when I told them the pain was on the outside of my knee, kept suggesting it may be my IT band. I’ve dealt with that pain a lot with my right knee, so I know what that usually feels like—and this felt way different. The pain started as a dull ache (I don’t think I even noticed it at first?) and then got worse as I kept going. It seemed to emanate up and down my leg as the pain increased; even all the way up my leg to my lower back (which had already been sore). Sometimes it felt like my knee would just give out completely, and actually it kind of did once…That probably should have been the sign to stop, but I didn’t (dumb).

So, after some research online, it makes sense to me that my Lateral Collateral Ligament (LCL) is what’s giving me grief.

BentKneeAnatomy

[source]

I don’t think I would say it’s sprained or torn, since the pain was pretty much gone the day after my long run and I never heard any popping or anything; but I’d definitely say I’ve irritated, or strained, it. I have a feeling the 8-mile trail run during the week before (after which I had some dull pain) may have had too much twisting or jumping over rocks/ruts, and maybe I tweaked it during all that?

I had to no pain going into a test run this Thursday, but by three miles that familiar ache was coming back. So I called it quits before it started to hurt and decided I need to take some more time off running to really heal. That’s always a tough decision to make, but it’s 100% always the best decision. I’ve read that if you DO injure a tendon, it can take from 2-8 weeks to fully heal. And I don’t have that much time.

I normally would be kind of freaked out, but seeing as I’m still six weeks away from the Chicago Marathon, I realize it’s better to take off time now, while it’s just irritated, than later. At least I’ll still be able to [hopefully] get in a 20-miler before the race.  But if I can peak at 18 miles, I guess I’ll take it!

So, I haven’t really done anything (besides some PT for my knees + core work) since Thursday. I will only be biking this coming week. It was definitely weird not getting up Saturday at the crack of dawn and putting in a ridiculously long run by 10am. But, it’s what’s best for me, so I need to cut back!

Because I realize that internet research and self-diagnosis isn’t always correct, I also made an appointment to see a physical therapist for an evaluation on Tuesday night. Hopefully she can confirm (or otherwise diagnose) what’s going on and help me with a recovery plan so I can still run 26.2 miles in October.

Cross your fingers! And run an extra mile for me. I’ll be the one on the bike, staring longingly at your flying feet as I pedal by…