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.

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? 

Return to Normalcy (and a gigantic cookie)

It’s been nice to get back to normal this week. No longer feeling under the weather, I’ve been able to get my butt up when my earlyyy (5:45) alarm goes off and do Pilates in the mornings. I hate the early wake-up call, but it’s nice to have some “me” time before trotting off to work to cater to the rest of the world all day. Just sort of helps center myself before jumping into the day-to-day doldrums.

I’ve also enjoyed a few runs outside this week, which makes me happy! It’s finally gotten up to 40 degrees a few afternoons. Hotttt. Ha. Tuesday night, a group of about 8 ladies got together and I ran a solid 4 miles at a decent pace. It felt good, and easy! Crazy how these days a four-miler is my “easy” run.

I had a rather boring 2 mile run (was supposed to be 4 miles) on the treadmill yesterday. Slacker, but I got my 7 mile run done tonight so I’ll give myself a big pat on the back for that.

And this huge ass cookie.

20140320-210602.jpg

Because clearly my diet is back on track, errrr…

Happy almost Friday, friends!

My Secret Workout Weapon

This week, I added in a secret weapon to my workout schedule. As I write this, may I add, that my bum is on fire…

No, that’s not a personal issue, it’s just what happens when you add some Pilates to the mix!

Pilates are not what I’d think of first to add as strength training. The DVDs I use are fairly quick (only 20 minutes or so) and deceptively easy. At least for the first few minutes… then suddenly, ouch! These suckers are a workout. Quick + effective + do at home? Yes, please.

These aren’t new to me, I guess I just forgot I had the DVDs. I got them in high school (err, almost 10 years ago) and for a few months did the workouts several times a week. I remember feeling very strong, lean and my butt lookin’ good! Plus, I never once got injured during track and cross country season. So, lets hope that happens again this time. 😉

20140319-065824.jpg

I am going to try to alternate two specific workouts: abs, and buns & thighs. The abs workout is great to strengthen your core, of course, which is important for any runner. The buns and thighs really seem to target the hips, and the fact I’ve had trouble with weak hips in the last few years alone is enough to get me on this train. My piriformis was also burning this morning, so I know those moves are getting the booty, too.

Bored with your workouts or don’t have time to go strength train at the gym? (Or like me, feel intimidated by all the muscles while you hold your measly barbell?) Try Pilates! They’ll definitely give you the extra boost of strength and toning you need. Added bonus: You don’t need any equipment for these specific DVDs.

Be forewarned: These are serious workouts in disguise. I do some ab work usually, but yesterday morning I could barely keep up with the abs DVD. By noon, my abs were sore. That’s when you know it’s a keeper!

You can find the abs DVD on Amazon here and the buns & thighs here. (Buy them used, much more affordable!)

And no, I’m not paid to promote these, I just love ’em that much.

– – –

Do you use any workout DVDs?
What are your favorite ways to get strength workouts in?

The Countdown Is ON

In t-minus three days, I will be having a sleepover with my older sister and her new dog (!!), then waking up ridiculously early to head to the airport. After a few short hours up in the air, we’ll be reunited with our long-lost little sister in Phoenix, Arizona…in the SUN and WARM air and happiness!

Can you tell I’m excited?

My blog posts have been lacking {or just, MIA} lately, mostly due to a crazier-than-usual work schedule and actually staying on top of my workouts despite that. Which leaves no real extra time for this little hobby o’ mine. At least the craziness of the last few weeks will make this little run-cation all the more sweeter! I can’t wait to let you all know how the Phoenix Half Marathon goes (first race of the year for me), and fill you in on the other fun parts of the trip: Sweet hotel, pool time, drinkies, lots of good eats, baseball? and who knows what else.

last year's runcation, celebratory drinks

last year’s runcation, celebratory drinks

Actually, who knows what else? Really? We have all been so busy we haven’t planned…ANYTHING…beyond our race. I guess we’ll play it by ear once we get there.

In the meantime, while I daydream and drool over the thought of running in a t-shirt and not freezing my arse off, I am passing the time in the following ways:

• Obsessively googling bridesmaids dress options. I think I have it figured out…
• Equally obsessively tracking my bridal shoes’ arrival date (helloooo, beautifuls)
Badgley Mischka Randall wedding shoes in mint blue
• Agonizing over our ‘final’ wedding guest list. Seriously, this is the toughest part! We want everyone to be there…
• Watching DVDs of the West Wing to distract me from above wedding things.
• Tromping along on my new (to me) treadmill at home!
• Chugging down protein shakes, eating tuna sandwiches, and sleeping.

My legs and body have been getting sore more than usual in the last few weeks, and I’m not sure why. The fact I’m on a diet—maybe I’m not getting enough protein? Not enough sleep? Pushing myself too hard? I’m betting on the protein/sleep combo. For now.

P.S. Is it pathetic that my right arm and left buttocks are super sore from bowling on Saturday? ‘Cause I kinda think it is. But I ran a marathon last year, so it’s cool. Right?

– – –

What should we do in Phoenix, Arizona? Where should we eat & drink?
What’s making me so sore lately—need more cowbell protein?

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? 

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.