This Body Still Works

Today, I’m finally feeling sore. The good kind of sore. The sore that informs me I did something yesterday. Finally. I put this body to work.

Sitting on the sidelines takes a lot out of you: Passion. Dedication. Energy.

Not being able to run is almost (almost) as draining as running ten miles.

I’ve been feeling that weakness, that all-to-familiar drag of my body. As much as you try to ignore it, it’s there. You can stay positive, put on a smile, but inside—damn it, you just want to run! And when you feel that passion, dedication and energy sucked out of you for doing what you love, those feelings seem to be voided in other areas as well. Healthy eating, cooking, writing—they’ve all taken a hit.

After I ran the Green Bay Half Marathon in mid-May, I didn’t run a step for weeks. It took almost two weeks before what felt like my pubic bone, the bone that you sit on, finally stopped aching. Sitting, laying, it didn’t matter—it nagged me.

By early June, it felt better and I got in a handful of short bike rides. I decided it was time to put it to the test—after all, I had rested and done practically nothing for three weeks, so it had to be better! At a running club meeting, I went for an easy 3-mile jog.

Lying in bed that night, I cursed the running gods. I hurt again.

I had gotten advice from some running club friends, who had similar symptoms and had gone to PT, trained through it, and were fine. Turns out what worked for them, didn’t for me. It pays to pay professionals.

I’ve been going to PT for two weeks now, and it’s improving—slo-o-owly, but surely. The nagging pain is almost gone, but it rears its head if I sit too much. I’m thankful I have a work desk I can stand at.

Tendonitis, the PTs say. The adductors running along my inner thigh were imbalanced, too weak, and the adductor brevis/longus and gracilis that attach to the pubic bone are pulling on it, thus the pain that feels like it comes from the bone. We’ve been working carefully on building strength back up in my legs, butt, and core.

I was allowed to walk 15 minutes last week as my “workout.” Do you run? You can imagine how I felt. But I put on a smile, and thought to myself: You do this now, so you can run for many years later.

In everything, a bright point: I’m sore today, because I finally hopped into a pool for a swimming workout yesterday. I’ve wanted to try swimming for a while—honestly, a couple years. I don’t know why I was so nervous to try, but I was… Maybe because it was new, I didn’t know how one does a “workout” in the pool, and I was afraid of looking like an idiot. However, with no other alternative, this pretty much forced me into the water head-first.

And I totally loved it.

Only 15-20 minutes in the water, and I felt like I got a fantastic workout, with no increase in pain… Just this lovely soreness, that tells me my body does, indeed, still work.

Confessions of a Mid-Week Slacker

Okay, usually I post about all my workouts and how great they’ve felt, how wonderful I feel to have them done, yadda yadda.

But not today.

Last night, I skipped my workout. I was sooo tired in the afternoon, that once I got home from work, I laid on the couch and napped for almost an hour. I am not normally a nap-taker, so maybe I needed the extra rest? I feel like my long run on Sunday has thrown me all off-schedule.

Then Matt and I went out to dinner for Mexican food, and you KNOW there was no running happening after that.

Thennn, this morning, I was supposed to wake up to get my run in before work. I have important plans after work {you know, to go to happy hour}…

And then my alarm went off, and I hit snooze, and went back to sleep.

Several. Times.

Which means I didn’t ever get up and run. So my new contingency plan is to have one singular (is that possible?) glass of wine at happy hour…

wino wednesday

And then come home to run.

Bets, anyone? Any takers?

– – –

How do you keep yourself motivated, especially when you’re tired and busy during the week? 

What do you do to get out of a slump? 

Tips for Running in the Rain

I’ve been keeping a close eye on the weather for the Phoenix Half Marathon on Saturday morning. They’ve been predicting rain, and I keep waiting for that to magically go away—but just a few days out now, there’s a pretty good chance we’ll be slogging through 13 miles in the rain.

Which led me to start seriously thinking: What do you wear for a race in the rain?

Here are some tips I’ve collected (from my gracious, knowledgeable running club friends) on how to prepare for and run in the rain. I hope they help you, whether you’re running the race this weekend, or face a rainy run in the future!

tips for running in the rain

Before you start:

  • Mentally prepare yourself: You will be running in the rain, and you will get wet.
  • Pack dry clothes to change in to immediately after the race, so you aren’t freezing post-run.
  • If you prefer to run with music on an iPod, your phone, or other electronic device, find a way to waterproof it. Sandwich baggies, plastic wrap, whatever you can MacGyver up. If you can forego your tunes, do so—that’s one less thing to worry about on race day.
  • Use a poncho, or even just a large (clean) garbage bag, to keep you warm and dry while you wait for the race to start.

During the race/run:

  • Wear a hat. The brim will keep the water from streaming down your face and into your eyes.
  • Wear moisture-wicking clothes. Yeah, there will be too much moisture to wick away, but it won’t hold on to it and weigh you down like other materials. Plus, it will help keep some chafing away.
  • Use Vaseline/Body Glide on likely chafing spots: Legs, arm pits, bra straps, etc.
  • Don’t forego your water stops. Just because you’ll be soaked, doesn’t mean you don’t need to stay hydrated!
  • Embrace it! We don’t often go out running in the rain. Enjoy the feeling; pretend you’re a kid out running around in the puddles again.

After the race:

  • Change into your dry clothes that you so thoughtfully packed up before the race. Hopefully this includes some dry socks & shoes.
  • Refuel yourself with something to drink—again, that’s not just rainwater you’re soaked in, it’s surely sweat, too.
  • Celebrate! You made it to the rainbow… That finish line! 😉

Any tips to add?
Please comment & share!

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 6 Workouts {Phoenix Half & Green Bay Marathon}

This week’s workouts were a bit less structured than normal. I’ve been without my car all week, and I’ve realized that being forced out of your normal routine makes it a bit harder to stick to workout plans. But all in all, I feel okay about this week’s training.

Sunday
Yoga
Only did about 15 minutes of yoga moves & stretches, but still a nice way to loosen up.

Monday
3.5 miles 2.25 miles hard

Matt picked me up from work and then dropped me at the gym while he ran into the grocery store. He had to be somewhere, so I only had about 25 minutes to work out. I ran 5 minutes easy to warm up, then ran the rest of my 20 minutes as hard as I could. Better than nothing!

Tuesday
Rest

Wednesday
3 miles Circuit workout

Again, I had to be chauffeured from work with no time for the gym, so I made myself a circuit workout to do at home. I used the jump rope for cardio & did a lot of strength exercises in 30 minutes. I was sore for the next couple of days, so I think it was def a good workout!

You can try my Whole Body Circuit Workout for yourself & let me know what you think!

Thursday
5.5 miles DNR

I don’t know if I was just thrown off from the whole week being wacky, but I was NOT feeling this run Thursday. I was tired, cranky, super sore, and my stomach hurt. I’m usually pretty good at holding myself accountable, but not this time.

Friday
Rest

I thought about getting up in the morning to squeak in a few miles to make up for Thursday’s skipped run, but I was SO tired and sore still, so I decided that maybe this week I just need some extra rest.

Saturday
10 miles (11:32/mile)
After the last two weeks’ long runs being terrible, I have to admit I wasn’t excited to run this 10-miler. I was quite dismayed when I woke up and it was SNOWING again. But hey, the wind chill was 1 degree above zero, at least.

Thankfully, things turned out positive. When we started our run, my calves and legs were still sore, tight and heavy; it took a few miles for them to loosen up and feel okay, but they eventually did. The snow that was falling really only dusted the roads (nowhere near the trudging-through-3-inches-of-snow craptastic run of last week). Our traction was solid, so we weren’t slipping around at all.

Plus, the snow gave me sweet frozen eyelashes and eyebrows.

020914-frozen-eyelashes

Since this run hit double-digits, I made sure to wear my water belt and brought two small bottles with me. They were starting to freeze by the end of the run, though. Ha! I also had some energy chews, but I left them in my car on accident. I didn’t seem to need them this time, but I don’t want to take that chance next week.

I saw this article on Runner’s World yesterday: “How to Keep Fuel From Freezing in Winter.” Hopefully, some of those tricks will help me on my long run next week.

Today, I’m pretty sore (my calves are KILLing me), so yoga will be quite welcomed later. I’m foam rolling, stretching and drinking lots of water. Here’s hoping this fatigue & soreness that’s lingered all week in my legs will go away soon.

– – –

This week’s workouts:
Sunday: Yoga
Monday: 3.5 miles easy
Tuesday: rest
Wednesday: 5-6 miles easy
Thursday: 3.5 miles (hard, if legs feel better)
Friday: rest
Saturday: 11 miles

– – –

How do you deal when your workout schedule gets interrupted?
Any tips on stretching calves, or helping sore muscles recover faster? 

Hell’s Frozen Over, aka, An Enjoyable Treadmill Run

Chaos, email flurry, meetings galore. Monday was a hectic start to the week, so I couldn’t wait to get my sweat on and clear my head. But only 5 minutes after I got onto the treadmill, I was feeling very ho-hum.

012914-treadmill-meme

Borrrring. This cold weather (as in, negative wind chills again this week) is really getting to me, and it’s tough being stuck inside all the time on the dang treadmill. Nevertheless, I grimaced and kept chugging along, human hamster on the treadmill, slapping my three miles out.

I had my scheduled rest day yesterday, which was perfect timing—I was working until almost 8 o’clock at night. Talk about brain dead! There’s no way I would have had the determination to run after that. I did have the willpower to stick with my new diet, though: On days I don’t work out, my calorie intake is pretty limited, so I have to eat very smartly to make sure every calorie counts to help me stay full. I went to bed exhausted, but happy with myself for stickin’ with it, even on a crazy day.

Today, I turned another corner.

Once again, I was looking forward to my post-workday run to clear the jumble of design, code, tight timelines and other nonsense from my mind. At the gym, I hopped on the treadmill {…again} and decided to try a programmed “interval” workout. I wanted to up the effort since Wednesdays are my “speed” days. After a few minutes warming up, the program had me run 5mph easy for a minute, alternated with 1 minute at 6.5mph. At first, I didn’t think the effort was hard enough, but by halfway through, I could tell it was giving me a decent workout; harder than usual, at least. For the final few intervals, I upped the speed to 6.8mph for the fast minutes, so perhaps I could have upped it a little more the whole time. Next time!

Now here’s the “Whaaaaat?” moment of today’s story:

I actually enjoyed the speed workout. The treadmill workout.

Is that hell freezing over?

Nope, it’s just the polar vortex of doom. Again.

But, really. I have been so sick of the treadmill, especially for easy pace runs where I just want to space out. Now I’ve found that when it comes to controlling speed, it’s much easier on the treadmill to push the pace (after all, you gotta keep up or you’ll, you know, completely wipe out and fall on your face). It’s also easier to make sure your “recovery” pace is actually on target, too. I always had a hard time doing speedwork outdoors; I was unable to keep the right paces, usually pushing too hard, too early, so I’d burn out halfway through. So, I think it’s safe to say I am now a fan of the old ‘mill when it comes to speedwork.

Yeah, yeah. I can’t believe it either. But the time just flew by, and I was done before I knew it. I even considered running a few extra minutes. Really! Then I was like, “Helloooo self, you’re on the treadmill, don’t you wanna get off by now?” and so I did.

Besides, I have 5 miles to bust out on the indoor track tomorrow. We’ll see if that’s any more fun than the hamster wheel.

Do you find workouts help you de-stress?
What are your tricks to fool yourself into {gasp} enjoying treadmill time? 

Last Week’s Workouts

Now that the holidays have passed, it’s nice to get back to working out and feeling healthy again. Here’s how my workouts went this past week:

Monday–Wednesday:
Family in town, didn’t work out.

Thursday, Jan. 2:
20 minutes treadmill (5.5mph-6mph, an “easy” pace)
10 minutes elliptical
15 minutes body strength

I planned to do 30 minutes on the treadmill, but my right knee started acting up at almost 20 minutes. Rather than chance anything, I hopped off onto the elliptical for the last 10 minutes. I don’t know why my knee was bugging me {very slightly}, other than perhaps from sitting all day at my desk and the fact I hadn’t run in 10 days, it was tight?

For my body strengthening, I just did a bunch of core exercises, some push-ups, squats and my hip exercises.

Friday:
Off, rest day before long run.

Saturday:
5 mile long run
Hip exercises

I’m starting my long runs for my half marathon training schedule. {I’ll post my full schedule for you to see soon.} I was only going to run 4 miles, but I joined up with my running club to run yesterday morning, and my friend Tom talked me up to 5 miles instead.

The run was challenging, but good. It was “feels like” 8 degrees out with the wind chill, but with the right clothes it wasn’t bad at all. {See my “what to wear for winter running” post!}

You know it’s windy out when the flags are blowing straight out…

flags in windy winter weather

The toughest part of the run was the varying road conditions. Forget the sidewalks—a lot weren’t even shoveled—so we were relegated to the roads. Some parts were clear, some had slush, but the worst parts still had about an inch of snow on them.

snowy roads for winter running

The snow wasn’t slippery, but it felt like running in sand! Phew, what a workout. Those parts definitely slowed me down, and towards the end of the run, I just wanted to walk through them, but I kept chugging along.

Despite all that, it sure was pretty out…

010514-winter-running-lake

I was definitely spent after the run, but it felt good to be out in the fresh air, chatting with some friends, and getting in a good run…all before 9am!

010514-stay-warm

{I need to get better at my selfie skills. ha!}

After my run, I came home and did some foam rolling (owww) and some hip exercises to help keep my knees happy.

– – –

What were your workouts this week?
Would you bundle up and run in those conditions?