Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Devastating news for my friend

My Indianapolis Road Trip Friend just started running last year. The Martian was his first 5k and he built on that to finish the Free Press half marathon, and the Indianapolis Monumental half two weeks later. 

His big plan for 2013 was to complete a full marathon. On January 1 he emailed me "I'm a bit nuts, but as you probably know, the Indiana Monumental opened up registration yesterday and up until tonight, the full marathon is only $55. I don't know where I will be [with some personal stuff] by then, but I did sign up for the full marathon. yikes. It really does scare the living shit out of me."

A few days later he texted, "I'm letting you know first - I'm officially bonkers, call the asylum - I've signed up for the full DFP run."

To both, I assured him that yes, he CAN do it, that he needs to meet my boyfriend Hal, stick with him, and he WILL finish a full marathon (or two)!

Last week he said he had hurt his foot on the treadmill. I prescribed rest, elevation, compression, ice. Is that not the fix for every running ailment? This week it was still bothering him, so I advised that he see a doctor. I'm the biggest fan of trying to wait out injuries, or self-cure, but I've learned if it interferes with more than seven consecutive run days, see a doctor!

He texted me this afternoon that he's seeing an orthopedist in the morning and from what he's found online, he thinks it's a navicular stress fracture. 

I feel soooooooooo bad for him. Stress fractures derailed my entire 2011 and it's such a frustrating injury because everything FEELS FINE! You just can't run, and every day that goes by, you KNOW you're losing health and ability. It's the worst feeling to watch all your hard earned fitness slip away so quickly.

I hated to be the bearer of bad news, but I said his spring race plans are almost certainly off the table now, including the Martian and Toledo that we were going to carpool together and take dorky photos with our medals (because I was too sick in Indy to remember it then). In extreme cases, a stress fracture is casted, but with or without the cast, the main treatment is rest rest rest. Then start building mileage SLOWLY.

Can he still do the full marathons in the fall? Sure, but it's going to be a long, slow, frustrating process. Poor guy! I feel terrible for him!!!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Healthy food for lazy girls

I don't love cooking. I CAN cook, but I live alone, so I don't see much reason to make a big meal for myself, when food serves one purpose, which is to provide FUEL to run. It doesn't faze me to eat the same thing for a week, so here's something I came up with last week:

The lazy girl's Mexican chicken soup

- 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 can corn, drained and rinsed
- cooked chicken - I used a rotisserie, canned chicken would work, Tyson pre-cooked slices, leftovers etc.
- 1 serving cooked brown rice
- 1 can diced tomatoes, not drained
- green pepper and/or onion as desired
- 1 box chicken broth

Mix in big pot. Add preferred spices. Add more liquid if you want it more soupy. Heat and eat!

For spices all I used was a healthy shake of chipotle powder. Serve with salsa or a pinch of cheese if that sounds good.

Happy healthy eating!!!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

The horrible awful surprisingly nice day

My nephew's birthday party was Saturday. He lives in Milford, which means running at Kensington!!! The temperature was 20 when I left and the wind chill was 18, so virtually NO wind. Sweet!!! I had halfass plans to meet up with a runner I've been texting with since the summer but never met. I always start at mile 3.5 on the running path. He said "Running late. going to start area 0 mile. we will pass! Green hat lol" Great clues, eh? I didn't put too much faith in that working out.

The path at Kensington is 8.2 miles. I asked at the entry gate if the whole path had been cleared. The guy working said 5 miles of it was clear, the rest was being used for cross country skiing. I wasn't planning to run a full lap anyway, so I guess it was ok. Besides I was already dressed and there.

Pulled into the gravel parking lot and realized I had a flat tire! Boo!!!! Yet, I knew it would still be flat in another hour, and I had paid for a daily pass, so I just let it sit.

The path was busy, but it was a mess. I was surprised (and disappointed) because it's normally clear within minutes of the snow ending. Yesterday it was slushy and slippery, but not enough snow to warrant the snow chains for my shoes. I had forgotten how brutal and constant the hills are at Kensington!!! Gah that sucked!!!

Hal said to run anything in the 4-6 range so I decided to do exactly 4 and call it a day. I ran 2 miles, turned around and ran back. On the way back, who passed me, but a guy running alone in a green hat!!! We ran together back to my car then he kept going while I dealt with my tire. Having someone to run with was soooooooo nice, especially on the hills. So many times I would have walked and dismissed it as a bad day, but it's hard to walk with a partner because no one wants to say "I can't keep up. Let me walk." So I finished without wimping out.

I was parked in a gravel lot that was covered in 2-3" of snow and I really didn't want to deal with the spare tire, so I aired it up, knowing I only had to drive 2 miles to the gas station because I needed gas. In the 2 miles and 5 minutes it took to drive, the tire was completely dead again. Naturally the spare was buried under a pile of stuff in the trunk and it was 20 degrees.

I jacked up the car and started loosening the lugnuts, but they just weren't budging!!! I called my brother and asked him to send Dad who had already arrived for the party. The man at the next pump asked if I needed help. He said he heard me on the phone, and could he help? Yes, please! It's always nice to be reminded that nice people are out there, that not everyone is an A-H.

My car is 13 years old and at some point in those 13 years I lost the torque wrench that goes with the spare. I had a multi-size generic t-shaped one, and it worked for most of the lugnuts, but one was stubbornly refusing to budge. There was a car parts shop next door, so I had to go buy a wrench the right size and the last lugnut finally loosened.

Naturally my spare tire was kind of soft, but several years ago Mom gave me money for Christmas. I bought a backpack and used the remaining $20 to buy a Craftsman air compressor. It's small, and I've used it countless times. So that was easy enough to inflate.

Then it was time for my nephew's birthday party. The tire could wait a few hours, and he's only 4. Went to Milford High School for his pool party, then while I was swimming with the kids, Dad took my car to replace the flat. Such a great surprise! I hate dealing with car shops and schiesty car people.

After the party he asked if I wanted to go out for dinner. Yup! Who says no to free dinner??? :) We went to Vinsetta Grill, but I kept raving about the macaroni and cheese at Vinsetta Garage across the street. While I was parking my car and walking in, he ran across the street and got me a big carry out of mac and cheese. Yum!!!!!

The flat tire was definitely crappy, but the day got better as it went. Plus, it was sunny, which makes everything better and with the lack of wind, I barely noticed it was only 20 degrees! :)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


I can't really complain too much about the weather this winter and all of last winter. Today, however, brrrrr!!!! The temperature ranged from 4 degrees to 10 degrees, and the wind chill was anywhere from -19 degrees to -11 degrees. I wore my warmest clothing to school and still used my down jacket as a lap blanket most of the day. After walking from the car to the building, my feet were numb. And it's Tuesday, which is a running day...

Hal said to do 3 miles. That was no problem whatsoever. The insane freezing temperature and wind were the problem! Could I have run outside? Sure, but why? Being outside today would have crossed the line from dedicated to dangerous. The risk of hypothermia or frostbite was much greater than any benefit I would garner from a piddly little 3-miler.

I still wanted to work my body, work my cardiovascular system, so I went to the gym and tried my hardest to shut off my brain on the DREADmill. Yes, it sucked, but afterward I felt sooooooo good and so glad I went!!! It would have been easy to ditch the run and blame the weather but I made myself go and I feel great!

Now I'm looking forward to the balmy 24 degree forecast on Saturday haha

By the way, I'm looking for a way to carry my camera in races, without the bulk of a water belt. Any ideas? It's about the size of a credit card, with a thickness of 3/4". I'd like something more accessible than duct taping it to my body...

Monday, January 21, 2013

Five days in...

I weighed myself on Wednesday then got serious about my weight for the upcoming spring race season. Five days in and I'm down 4.4 pounds. Sweet!!! I know it's mostly water and it's definitely an unsustainable pace, but it feels great to have such a good start.

The past times I've lost a few pounds, it's been 100% about looking better, but this time I don't especially care how I look, it's completely about how I feel, and how that translates to running. I'm sticking with my exercise program, particularly the weight training because I can't lose muscle! I'd rather maintain fat than lose muscle at this point.

Hal always stresses lower weight for better times, and that's reason enough, but finances tend to be an even bigger motivator for me. I didn't pay entry fees ranging from $40 (Columbia City) to $175 (Chicago - registration opens Feb. 19) to just show up, or to half ass it. If I'm shelling out that money and the time to train, I'm going to be fully committed to running the best marathons I possibly can.

2010 was about finishing one for the bucket list, 2012 was about proving to myself that I can run a respectable time. 2013 is time to be serious, even if it takes over my entire life. If? hah! I'm forcing running to take precedence over all else. I told my friend I won't be dating anyone until after Cincinnati because not eating restaurant food and being in bed by 11 really puts a damper on things. "I can meet you for black coffee but have to leave by 9." Yeah, I'm sure they'll line up for that lol lol Either that or date a long distance runner and have "running dates."

Today is a problem though because it's "No exercise Monday!!" Some weeks I spend from Tuesday through Sunday looking forward to Monday and it's the highlight of the week. The past few months, however, I've dreaded Mondays because I can't exercise. It always feels like a waste of time, a waste of potential. There's no reason to exercise all 7 days a week, six is enough. At least Hal says so and he's doing all my thinking for me until May 5. Love you Hal!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Back with a laser focus

Earlier this week I realized I haven't weighed myself in quite some time, and the number wasn't the greatest. I've been slacking a little with eating since Columbia City... My clothing all still fits, but I had been planning to lose some weight this winter anyway. My "boyfriend" Hal Higdon has said numerous times that runners typically run their fastest times when at their lowest weights. It completely makes sense. I wouldn't run a marathon wearing a 10 pound weight vest, yet if I don't lose the winter weight, that's essentially what I'm doing.

So I'm back to training with a vengeance. Back to The Daily Plate for calorie monitoring. Back to healthy eating, with fruit or veggie and protein at every meal. I am what I eat. Besides I've noticed many a time that when I eat healthy, I feel better which transfers to better runs.

It doesn't faze me to eat the same thing several days in a row, so last night I made whole wheat pasta with baked chicken breast, broccoli and carrots, seasoned with a little olive oil and pesto sauce. Yum!

Back to 11 pm bedtimes...

I would say back with Hal's training program, but I never left him. I wrote out his training program 4 months ahead of time so I know what I'm doing every single day through May 7. Every season I print a paper calendar and write the schedule in pen. Knowing it's there, knowing what I have to do makes me more likely to complete the mileage.

No more excuses. Cold weather? Pfft put on some more clothing! It's staying daylight until 5:45 now, so that buys me a few more minutes of run time after work.

Something else Hal stresses is CONSISTENCY CONSISTENCY CONSISTENCY!!! I agree 100%. I KNOW the formula for running well and being prepared for a race, now I need to stick with it for 13 weeks.

The Martian marathon is in 13 Saturdays so it's time to get serious and re-commit to doing the work I need to for a 4:48 finish. I'm healthy, my cold is gone, and my hamstrings and glutes are as good as I have time for them to be.

The Martian posted the shirt and medal design. They're so hideous they've swung back to intriguing... :P Now if only the shirts were v-neck!!!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Finishing a marathon in 4 steps

I don't normally post race pictures because they're the copyright of the photographer. I ordered a few from Columbia City, however, and since I paid for them, they're now mine to do with as I please.

So...finishing a marathon in 4 steps.

Step 1 - Raise your arms as you cross the finish line. Notice the timer starts with a 4!!!!

Step 2 - Instantly start crying with happiness and relief at finally finishing the goal after 11 months and 9 days.

Step 3 - Be overcome with emotion (and exhaustion and pain) and lay down on the street until ready to move again.

Step 4 - Drink some chocolate milk, eat some homemade soup and shuffle to the car for the camera, then return to take photos looking a little more alive :)

Number 6, baby!!! :)
Was it worth it? Absolutely!!!!!!! On December 30th, Ironman asked what was my best memory from 2012. Did he even need to ask? 4:58:09! He then asked what else? Ummm did you not hear me? 4:58:09!!!!! I worked at it for 11 months and 9 days, not to mention the training in October - December 2011. Best memory, greatest accomplishment of the year! Let's see what 2013 brings.... 

Saturday, January 12, 2013

That's more like it!

It's Saturday, run day, and I made sure to run. No more resting, no more taking it easy. I might not jump back into 16 miles right away, but short, frequent runs are good.

Today was absolutely perfect weather-wise. It was mid-50s and I wore shorts, a long-sleeve t-shirt and knee socks. I was way overdressed. In January!!!! Whee!!! I read several places that low 50s is the ideal running temperature and after today I absolutely believe it. Can we bottle this weather and revisit it every weekend through May 5???

The actual run was hard and painful. My heart and lungs haven't worked as hard the past few weeks because I haven't been running much, if at all. Heart kept screaming that it was too much work. Legs were lazy as well. Hal said somewhere from 3-6 miles. Initially I had planned to do my "normal" 4.85, but I was fatigued after just over 1. So I changed it. Final distance was 3.5. Not great, but not terrible either for my first run post-cold. Hamstrings and glutes were still a little tight, but I'll keep working them with home yoga and deal with it.

Friday, January 11, 2013

I like antibiotics :D

I ran to the doctor the third day I was feeling symptoms of bronchitis. I'm generally more inclined to wait weeks or months and everything will fix itself eventually, but I really wasn't in the mood to be sick until February. Dr. K. said next time maybe wait a week so they can better tell if it's bacteria or virus. Ummm no thanks. The symptoms and sick pattern are always exactly the same. I can write a schedule of which symptoms will arise each day and it's miserable! I knew what it was, and what it would become. Did he want me to wait for it to become pneumonia before I came in???

He gave me a generic for Zithromax (Z-pack) and it's GREAT!!!!! I took the first two pills on day one, woke up the next day and felt like a new woman. The drugs blocked the cold from settling in and festering in my lungs, prevented me from waking up all night to cough up my lungs, prevented massive drainage of green snot. Why would I have waited a long miserable week???

The bottom of my right middle toe had been red and sore for a week or so. It felt like it was blistering, but there was no cause or reason for it. For some reason, it was just sore. Yeah, that fixed itself today as well.

My heart rate is back in its normal range and I don't feel it working hard, nor are my lungs working hard just to function.

Looking forward to running again on Saturday with my body 92% healthy and counting :)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Well I'm sure not running today >:(

I didn't run for seven extremely long days. Instead I did yoga, got a massage, and contorted my body into glute yoga positions 2-3 times a day, every day. Glutes and hamstrings are finally feeling better, about 97% perfect.

Sunday night...sigh...sore throat. Monday...sore ears...Tuesday full on cold. THIS SUCKS!!!!! Rather than let it linger as bronchitis for 3-4 weeks, I thought I'd take a more pro-active approach and called the doctor.

"Who do you normally see?" the receptionist asked at 8:10 am.

"Dr. C.," I said through a nose full of snot.

"She's actually booked all day. Did you want to see someone else?"


"You can see Dr. K. at 10:30 or Dr. P. at 12:45 or..."

"Dr. K.," I said. Then because I'm nosey, I looked at Oakwood's website, where they have pictures of all the doctors. Dr. K. looked about 20, and freshly out of medical school. Good thing I had my own diagnosis and treatment - bronchitis, antibiotics and the orange cough syrup with codeine.

He gave me the drugs I wanted and confirmed my diagnosis. The only point of concern - aside from my second bronchial infection in three months - was my pulse. My normal resting heart rate is 70 beats per minute, and I measure that while sitting or standing, getting ready to go to the gym. If I were laying down, I'm sure it would be in the 60s, where it should be for a runner. At the office today? 113 bpm!!!! I don't know how concerned Dr. K. was about that, but I definitely was. I have to bike hard for 15 minutes before I can raise it to 125. My heart is working as hard just to function now as it does for moderate exercise. Over the weekend I was winded after walking upstairs with a basket of laundry. Not good body!!!!! I put on my heart rate monitor and I'm still at 99 bpm :(

I feel like I've been hit by a Mack truck. How did I ever run the Free Press marathon feeling like this? Gah!!! I'm already in my pajamas at 4 pm, and planning to take a nap, wake up for the online Jeopardy! test at 8 pm, then take some codeine cough syrup to be completely knocked out for the night. Sucky sucky sucky.

Today was going to be a trial run to see how my glutes and hamstrings feel, but not like this. Not with a woozy head and mushy feeling behind my forehead bone. Grrrrrr I'm not a happy camper.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

The long Saturday

It's Saturday and I'm not running. Everything about this situation is all wrong!!! Yes, there have been a few Saturday runs that got postponed to Sunday due to weather or time conflict or whatnot, but I have no plans of running tomorrow either. It's the first weekend in well over a year that I haven't run, probably dating back to September 2011.

Taking a break to rest is killing me, but I don't know if I could run in pain through May 5, and if I forced it, my time would probably suffer greatly. So I'm making myself rest. At least I'm doing it now, instead of March when my training mileage will be the highest.

Even if I don't do a long run for the entire month of January, I'll still have 10 weeks of training before the Martian. Regaining fitness will be faster and easier than building in the first place. Even if I re-build too quickly and develop shin splints, I'll have time after Cincinnati to rest again. In fact, I'm going to force myself to rest a week or two after Cincy and be deliberate in incorporating rest as part of training. Then I'll listen to my boyfriend Hal and follow his plan for the first 4 weeks post-marathon.

I went to yoga twice this week and I feel pretty good. Pigeon is my favorite pose for stretching glutes and I've been doing it a few times every day. Warrior 3 is good for strengthening the glutes, as is half moon, squats don't hurt either. Maybe I'll get a massage next week. Everything will be fine.

Hal says it's ok...

Thursday, January 3, 2013

2012 in pictures

First race: Martian marathon in Dearborn, Michigan. Medal is cute, but the back of the shirt is ALL sponsor logos. Same shirt for half and full. Round neck. I rarely wear it.

Second: Toledo. I really like the medal because of its simplicity. Shirt is a v-neck and fits, so I wear it often, despite its ugly color. Got a glass beer mug at the finish line, even though it's too small for a pint.

Third up: Detroit Free Press. I like the design of the shirt, but I'd like the text on the back to be much larger. Their medals are always great.

Indianapolis Monumental. Shirt is basic white and several sponsor logos on the back. I like the v-neck and simplicity of the front, so I wear it fairly often. Hat at the finish line was much needed that day. The half medal was the same, but the ribbon was red.

I realized I don't have a picture of my jacket and medal from Columbia City, but I've already posted a picture of the jacket. I used my Christmas gift to buy this medal hanger. CC is the right-most medal.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The perils of not listening to Hal

My boyfriend Hal Higdon doesn't abandon his runners after the marathon. He has a program for the next five weeks to enable them to recover, without losing ability.

Zero week - don't do much of anything. Perhaps a 2-miler on Thursday, maybe 3-4 miles on Saturday, but don't do too much. Take it easy. Rest. Recover.

Weeks 2-5 - sloooooowly build mileage up to long runs of 6 miles. He calls it a "reverse taper," or a slow gradual build up of miles.

After the Free Press, I was doing great, following him to the letter.

After Indianapolis, I had an inkling I would do Columbia City the following weekend, so I did Tuesday and Wednesday runs of 4.85, nothing more.

After Columbia City, I was flying high. I figured it had taken me so long to get in shape, that it was tons easier to just stay in shape. My legs felt good, so on Tuesday I was back to my normal 4.85 mile route.

Why oh why oh why didn't I listen to Hal??? He's been training runners longer than I've been alive! Why did I ever think I knew what to do?

Columbia City was 8 weeks ago and I didn't take off any time since then. Is it any wonder my glutes and hamstrings are aching? I thought I designed a good program last night so I biked 45 minutes today, then had to go to yoga to work my glutes. Booo :(

SIGH. New plan. Interrupt training to take the break I should have taken 8 weeks ago. I've only run 3 miles this week, so this is now zero week. Maybe next week will be zero week part 2. Then the next four weeks will be low low low mileage. In February, I'll pick up with his novice 2 program. It's ironic because he addressed almost the same question today.
HAL’S ANSWER: Let's back up to the program you “should have” started on Monday last week after your marathon. My Marathon Recovery Program begins with a “Zero Week” and continues with a 4-week build-up to a 10-K that signals you are ready to start another marathon or half marathon program, if you so choose. So let’s wait a while before you jump back into Novice 2, overlooking the fact that you might be "losing time" on your next marathon build-up. Once finished with Marathon Recovery (and hopefully recovered) segue into Novice 2 at whatever week will get you to your next goal race. There's a mileage gap between your recovery program and your marathon program, but you should be able to bridge that easily. 

As usual, Hal knows best... 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Running - it's a pain in the butt

My hamstrings have been tight the past few weeks. They generally feel better after 2 or 2 1/2 miles, but they're tight at the start of every run, and I notice them even when I'm not running. I asked my yoga teacher to work on hamstrings last Friday. I sit on the heating pad whenever I'm on the couch. Nothing helps.

I finally realized - maybe it's not the hamstrings because my glutes have been tight as well. I Googled "runner sore glutes." It's a fairly common problem, but the main remedy is rest. Stretching is good as well, but not running is the big one.

It also recommended cross training. It's funny. I stopped cross training because it seemed to be nothing more than extra work for my already exhausted legs, but I guess it's beneficial for more than just building heart and lung capacity.

It's good this is happening this year and not last year, because I built a huge foundation last year that I can continue to draw from. I don't NEED to BUILD cardio capability - I already have it, I just can't lose it.

So I have a new plan for the next few weeks, perhaps through the end of February. Do the long Saturday runs following Hal Higdon's novice 2 program, but otherwise no running. Instead, break a sweat and work my heart via biking 2-3 times a week. I'll have to do it in the gym, which is the last place I want to be for the next three weeks while all the New Years Resolution people are swarming around. Nevertheless it must be done, especially if I'm going to accomplish my 2013 schedule:

Martian marathon
Lansing marathon
Toledo marathon
Cincinnati 4-way
Hell 50k
Chicago marathon
Detroit marathon
Indianapolis Monumental marathon
Columbia City marathon
Goofy race and a half

Time wise, my goal is to drop 10 minutes from my PR each season. In other words, my target time for the spring is 4:48, and for the fall is 4:38.

Whew! Going to be an exhausting year!

I'm IN!!!

Yes, I registered for the Free Press marathon at the stroke of midnight. Here's hoping for race number 101 :D

Columbia City has a $40 one-day only registration price. They're on central time, so I have to wait 45 minutes to commit to that one as well.

See you at the finish line :)