Tuesday, November 29, 2011

running

I'd been toying with the idea of running the Tucson half marathon for a while, but didn't officially commit until a few weeks ago. After IMCDA I took over 4 weeks completely off running. My foot was either on the verge of, or had a minor stress fracture. My friend and podiatrist suggested (gasp) time off. Since it was July and 4000 degrees outside, it honestly wasn't that hard.

When I started running again in August to train for Soma, my run was nothing short of awful. My aerobic pace had slowed almost a minute a mile and my HR would sky rocket up to my HR cap so easily. I was grumpy and slow and grumpy and HOT. I stuck with it and finally, after a shitty run at an Olympic race at the end of September I got some speed work put on my schedule. It took just a few weeks of pace work as well as some temperature drops to get some of my speed back. Unfortunately race day gave us 100deg temps to run in so my run performance was less than stellar at Soma, but whadaya gonna do when you fee like your melting?

We bagged our plans to race in Vegas 2 weeks after Soma, so I immediately sent my coach a note to tell her - Tucson Half. Let's do this. And, BTW I know we only have 5 weeks. But, I would like a PR. Ok, thanks.

If anyone can get me there, I'm pretty sure Michelle can. Now, until this past year I haven't been able to wrap my head around any sort of crazy ass time goals, but I've decided that was the old me. Game on. Michelle isn't afraid to test your limits and put you to work, and thankfully (although I'm sure my husband would disagree) I'm pretty good at doing what I'm told. To a "T".

For the past 4 weeks I've been running 4x per week. Some speed work (although not all out- except 1 VO2 test workout), some tempo race pace running, easy aerobic runs and also long runs ending at race pace. 30-35 miles per week. That might now sound like much to some of you real runners, but besides a few peak IM weeks, I don't usually run that much.. or certainly not that hard.

To be honest, I've been quite shocked at how quickly my body has adapted to this faster running. The paces I can hold and the HRs I'm doing them at have been something in ten years of running that I have never seen nor thought possible. I feel more confident with each run I go do, and all be darned if I didn't hold on to 1 crazy zippy girl the last time I went to track for a couple of laps!

Today's workout was my last hard hard/key run before the race. I did a 2 mile warmup then I did 3x2 miles at "race pace." I was tired…. Probably a combination of last weeks work including a (hungover) negative splitting long run on Sunday plus a 2 hour massage plus a strength workout yesterday. Either way, I was mentally exhausted and had a really hard time making myself get into the run. I kept thinking of ways to turn down a street to make the route easier… or wanting to walk. It was complete mind over matter when I would look at my watch and see I was running faster than race pace and my HR was in the mid 160s. I had NO reason to walk. I wasn't panting, I wasn't cramping nothing hurt. It was all in my head and I sucked it up, kept pace and even finished the loop the harder way at a slight incline.

That run was followed up with a 25 mile ride doing some hills. Sure enough Tucson can't feel any harder that THIS!

So there you have it. I've got a goal. I'm doing the work, and I'm going to give it my all next Sunday.. Best part, I've got my pacer/rabbit/husband all signed up to get me there ;-)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

2012 Recovery e21 team now accepting applications

Anyone who reads my blog or trains with me in AZ knows how much I've enjoyed being part of the Recovery e21 team. I can't say enough good things about the magic seaweed pills. They've helped me train harder, have a season of PRs and most of all avoid massive headaches and nausea due to sodium loss in the crazy desert heat.

I wrote a little bit about some of the results I've experienced in an old post about my favorite things. You can find it at the bottom of the post here.

I've given out a ton of samples to my local friends and training partners and have heard all positive things about it (except the only negative is the "fishy taste"). It's funny tho, I seriously don't even notice it! I've taken up to 12 of these in one day and never had a problem getting them down.

If you are interested in being part of the team representing and promoting this amazing supplement, please go here and fill out the application! Feel free to contact me with any questions, or if you have yet to try the product and would like a sample.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Shoe Dog

So, I'm training for a half marathon. A 5 week training plan that is :-) I don't think I've actually ever trained for a half. I've done lots of them, but never just trained for them. Most were in the middle of a marathon training, or done on a whim, but never actually my big goal.

However, after Soma where it was hot as hell our AZ weather finally turned and it is now the most beautiful running season of the year. You could pretty much run at any time of day right now. Top the perfect weather with all the local run races right now and I just couldn't help myself from dragging out my race season for a few more weeks!

Tucson is a small race that has a slight downhill (about 750 ft over 13 miles). Most of the drop is in the first 10k and then it flattens out with a couple of false flats. The kicker is mile 12-13 is up. You really have to dig deep and have some energy left so you don't end up walking next to everyone else, but then the last little shot to the finish is a slight down, and much welcomed. This race is one of my favorites because it was the first time after years of injury that I nailed my race. It was my first sub 2hr half marathon and it gave me my run confidence back.

After Tucson I've done 2 other half marathons without really training and they were both 1:45 so I'm really excited to see what I can do at this race with a few weeks of working with my coach on running!

First things first, with all this running I needed to find a shoe solution. With all my years of injury and PT I have seen numerous doctors, surgeons, podiatrists, etc. I've gone through 3 different sets of custom inserts/orthotics. I think I've tried almost every brand of running shoe, gone through running assessment after running assessment. And, while I don't actually remember how I came up with the combination I've been in for the past 3+ years…. It has worked with out too much damage thus far. My toes, blisters and calluses are in good shape. My IT bands and hips flare up, but after a few visits with my ART guy they always come around.

But lately I've been having a lot more wear on my shoes, particularly on the right side. After just over 100 miles I start to wear down the entire sole under the big toe of the right shoe. At 200 miles my hip starts to hurt and my IT bands get all fired up. I struggle with back to back running days. I am also really hoping to get a lighter shoe for my shorter tris, run races & track workouts - but, I was scared of screwing myself up so I headed to our local Road Runner Sports with 2 pairs of my old shoes & my orthotics in hand. After a quick introduction to a sales person they set me up with another guy to put me through their "shoe dog" assessment.

Over the years I've been video taped, and I've done the old try these shoes on and watch me run type thing, but I have to say I really liked the guy who helped me and worked with me, as well as the process. First they have you stand on something that takes measures your arch and your weight dispersment. It is all uploaded into a computer system that spits out all sorts of good stuff. Then you run barefoot on the treadmill as they video-tape you & then all that good stuff is added to the software to provide a really good analysis of what is going on when you run; how you land, how you push off & most importantly what is happening with your arch as all of this is going on.

Long story short; I have a high arch and as I land and go to push off my ankles and arch cave and "pronate." The orthotic would help with this but the neutral cushion shoe that I've been running in was just not enough, especially on my right side to keep from collapsing and causing me to roll in (hence the wear on the right side). I was very happy when my shoe expert guy did NOT say he wanted to put me in a stability shoe, but more of a neutral with slight stability. I've done the stability plus orthotic before and it was not good.

After several shoes tried on, and even after finding a pair I thought I wanted, I had them analyze me running with the shoe plus orthotic again. While the shoe will be great for track workouts and shorter races… For my longer distance running I still needed a slightly more supportive shoe to correct my pronation…

I left the store with 2 new pair (well, actually only 1 because wouldn't ya know it they both came in freaking PINK and I could not do the second pair that looked like bubble gum so I have to wait for a new color to come in this week)…. and I'm REALLY excited to see if it helps my IT bands stay a little stronger and just the general overall feeling! I've been running in my current setup for so long I wonder how much it has held me back?

Stay tuned! This is a fun fun run week :-)

Friday, November 11, 2011

Yoga

Yesterday I woke up a little stiff in my upper body. In reality a massage would have been amazing, but that wasn't on the schedule so out of no where before I had enuf caffeine in my system to think logically, I sent a couple texts to my parter in crime T (she's REAL ez to peer pressure into stuff) to see if she would go to a yoga class with me at noon. After several more texts back and forth about the class and her thinking it might be too hard for a first time yoga, then back and forth with our little tri club/yogi friend Abby, we somehow had a plan to meet for the noon "heated" (not HOT) power yoga class…

Good lord what have I gotten myself into? I told Shane I was meeting Matt & T for yoga and I think he almost cried laughing at me….

As the clock got closer to noon I started thinking, "Why didn't I just go swim?" But, instead I went and found my most yoga looking clothes - capri tights and a longer tank top, IM branded of course :-), got in my car & headed to the gym.

I got to the gym 10mins early (WHAT? I'm always 5 mins late). I waited in the car for Matt & T & then headed inside with them. The check in was comical. First, I don't own anything Yoga. I was told I could use one of the yoga mats at the gym so I asked for one and they told me no. Huh what? After getting directions to the studio - yes, I'm that pathetic I've been a member of this gym for over a year and have no idea where anything besides the pool, steam room & showers are - we headed thru the spa and up to the the new heated yoga studio room.

Someone got me a mat and we headed into the studio. I just copied what everyone else did. Put my mat in the back (or at least I hoped it was) of the room and put towels on each end.

Again thinking…. What the F@$K have I gotten myself into???

The class started and the teacher (who I've been told makes or breaks the class) didn't annoy me at all, so we have a good start at least. She started telling us to "pray" (yes I know that's not what she said, but I don't know any of the yoga language and it looks like praying) and breathe and people were making these funny noises. I just couldn't bring myself to exhale and grunt. Isn't that for the end of the race when you sprint across the line or stand up climbing after your 10th hill repeat on the bike? Grunt, just cause you are taking a deep breath? I think not.

Hmm, Yoga is weird.

So the real posing starts and I have NO idea what anything except downward dog is so I just have to copy everyone around me. Some of the things I could actually do, some of them I thought I was doing, then I looked in the mirror and then looked over at Miss Gumby, Abby and laughed out loud at myself. I got a few cramps in some of the lunge-like positions (where's my damn E-21?) and after what seemed like an hour I looked up and it was only 11:20.

FORTY more minutes to go…. Crap. Maybe I should go swim?

After the first 20mins I started to relax a little. I was loving the feeling of sweating, it wasn't overwhelming at around 95degs, but enough to keep you warm and sweating like I love. I could already feel my hips a little achy from trying to do some of the stuff and eventually the class started to wind down.

This is where, in MY opinion, it all started to go wrong. And, this is why I will NEVER be a Yogi.

The praying time and NAP. I'm sorry people, but sitting in a dark room on a flat and stinky mat full of detoxing sweat with 20 other stinky people and their stinky sweat is just NOT relaxing to me. I ended the first :55mins actually somewhat happy I went, and thinking I could maybe do this every once in a while, but it was about the sweat & the stretching and the trying to undo all the damage I do to myself swim, bike running.

MY alone, quiet, ZEN time is when I'm snuggling on the couch with my dogs or under the covers before I get my butt out of bed. When I run by myself with my music so loud it actually shuts my mind off so that when the song changes I don't even know what the last song I listened to was. And lastly, when I'm doing a swim set where I have to check my watch after only 3 laps to see how many I've done because my mind shut down and I was just swimming.

Now I know that means I prolly just don't "get" the purpose of Yoga, but like most other people who just don't get "running" - to each their own right?

All that said, I probably will go back (def to a heated or hot one), it worked over some stuff for sure (very sore today), but I can't promise I won't be the ass-hole giggling during the "Nap."