Sunday, January 29, 2012

Training log - Week ending 1/29/12

This week was 58 miles of “real running” and 14 “miles” pool running, plus 60 minutes of easy cycling and 2000 yards of swimming breathing drills -- training log is here.

This week was disrupted a bit by a brief work trip to Chicago. Luckily, the weather was quite reasonable for January in Chicago – I had a relaxed Wednesday morning run along the shores of Lake Michigan that was really pleasant . I got to watch the sun rise over floes of ice floating in the lake, which was actually gorgeous – like chunks of diamond floating almost within reach.

Unfortunately, this work trip also included a late dinner at a super spicy celebrity chef type restaurant. My digestive system is ridiculously sensitive, and has issues with both late dinners and dinners that are spicy and acidic. I limited myself to eating the most mild thing on the menu (and not very much of it), but the trip did a job on my stomach regardless that I’ve been recovering from ever since. My stomach was stupid for Friday’s tempo. It was almost cleared up by Sunday, and then I tried a new gel during my long run. Tasted great, but 45 minutes later I was truly sorry for my experimentation. Looks like it’s back to uberbland foods for a few days. Finis whining.

Other than the stomach issues, the running is going well. Tuesday I did my first intervals workout in almost 2 months, and was happy with it – I’m not sharp (which I shouldn’t be right now) but I’m in good shape. Friday’s tempo was in slightly iccky weather (62, DP of 60, and wind), and despite the weather and my stupid stomach, I still completed the workout decently, with stuff left in the tank. I kept Sunday’s long run on the easier side as well (especially because of my stomach) but was pleasantly surprised by the paces that apparently matched easy to moderate effort on my watch.

So, aerobically I’m in pretty good shape, and my legs continue to regain strength, with no concerning aches. Interestingly, it’s my mental game that’s the most behind. To explain better, I run best when I come into each run with a very relaxed uncaring attitude. This attitude doesn’t come naturally to me, and needs to be practiced. In contrast, my natural tendency to PUSH VERY HARD means that I can preserve my fitness very effectively when confined to pool-running, arc-trainer, etc. But, in doing so, I indulge in bad mental habits, and I then have to reprogram myself to once again RELAX when running. That’s the focus for this upcoming week.


Monday: In the morning, 60 minutes of poolrunning for “6 miles” followed by 1000 yards of swimming breathing drills, and then upper body and core strength work, plus injury prevention exercises. Foam-rolling at night.

Tuesday: In the morning, 10.5 miles on the track, including a workout of 1600m followed by 4x800m (half-distance recovery). Splits were 6:02, and then 2:54, 2:52, 2:52, and 2:51. Followed with injury prevention work and then recovery pool-running for 30 minutes (“3 miles”). Then a quick foam-rolling session before dragging luggage through airports.

Wednesday: In the morning, 11.5 miles very easy (8:05 pace). Pseudo-foam rolling (using medicine ball, stick, and tennis ball) plus stretching and injury prevention work in evening.

Thursday: In the morning, 60 minutes easy on an exercise bike, followed by upper body and core strength work, plus injury prevention exercises. Drag luggage through airport in afternoon. Foam-rolling at night.

Friday: In the morning, 11 miles on the track, including a tempo workout. The scheduled workout was 3x2 miles at “6 mile tempo pace” – which translated to 6:30-6:35 for me (as always, I didn't check my watch during the workout, but just ran on feel).  Splits were 12:47 (6:26/6:21); 13:09 (6:36/6:33); 13:01 (6:33/6:28). Average pace overall was 6:32, which was about where the coach wanted, though I wish I could have swapped the order of the intervals. Followed by injury prevention work and then recovery pool-running for 15 minutes (“1.5 miles”). Pilates and a sports massage at night.

Saturday: In the morning, 8 miles easy (8:05 pace), followed by 1000 yards of swimming breathing drills. Weights, core strengthwork, injury prevention exercises, and foam rolling in the afternoon.

Sunday: A long run of 16.5 miles averaging 7:44 pace, split as 3.5 miles at 8:33 pace, next 7 at 7:44 pace, next 4 at 7:29, and final 2 at 6:49. Followed with injury prevention work at gym, and then 35 minutes of easy pool-running for “3.5 miles”. Yoga and foam rolling at night.

Friday, January 27, 2012

MMM Skymall... I love you

(apologies to Underworld for the title)

So, sometimes I have to travel for work.  And I hate it.  I don't like traveling, be it for business or for pleasure.  I'm not particularly into seeing new places, and travel is a massive hassle.  And my idea of a vacation is catching up on all the stuff I don't get to do around home while working.

But, sometimes I have to travel.  And I have to fly.  I'm not a nervous flier, but I hate the whole hurry up and wait aspect of it.  And the planes dehydrate me and my neighbors are annoying and the plane's too cold and they won't let me use my laptop during takeoff/landing etc.

But, there is one thing I LOVE about flying.  Skymall.

From the somewhat questionable safety and security of your airplane seat, you can shop for any number of products sure to improve your life.  And even purchase them while under the influence of lower pressure dry air, before returning to the ground and your senses.

Several of these products are of particular interest to the dedicated athlete.  Here are my favorites.

"Protein Ketchup."  Eat your veggies. 'Nuff said.

 "With the Workout 180 personal gym, you get complete
strength, cardiovascular and stability training with
one compact piece of equipment that is sized perfectly for storage."

Call me crazy, but this doesn't look like it is sized well for storage --
I don't see any part of it that you can use as a clothing rack.

On the other hand, this beauty is the Whole Body Vibration Trainer
(starts at $1250).   Looks like it would work perfectly for storage,
with a rack for hanging clothes plus a low shelf.

Swim parachute.  This actually looks useful for pool-running

"Wake Up On Time Supplement."
Never miss another morning workout!

"Gravity defying shoes"
They feature an "integrated shock absorbing system
enclosed in a specially formulated polymer sole
that absorbs harmful impact and propels you forward
for a more energized and active lifestyle

-- if you have a lousy track workout with these,
you're clearly a bit overambitious in your goals.

Wind meter
For when you need a documented excuse for
falling apart during your track workout
despite the magic pills and magic shoes.

"Deluxe Exerciser"
They seriously have like 6 different variants on this concept.
Has anyone ever used one of these more than once?

Infrared LED pain reliever -
"the LED light penetrates deep into tissue for
lasting relief from muscle aches"
IMHO, if you buy this, you really don't deserve
to have $159.95 in your pocket anyway.

"ATIS 4500 AB Inversion System
Included because no discussion
of Skymall fitness equipment is complete without this. 
Added bonus -- the longer you're inverted, the more likely you are
to forget just how much you spent for this ($429)
And, finally.
"Giddy Up! Core Exerciser."
Comment at will.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Training log - Week ending 1/22/12

This week was 42 miles of “real running”, 21 “miles” pool running, and 19 “miles” on the arc-trainer plus 3000 yards of swimming breathing drills -- training log is here.

My focus this week was on coming back CAREFULLY from my impromptu cutback month. The shin’s cleared up, and I’m not concerned about it. I also feel like I haven’t lost too much in terms of aerobic fitness, and should be back to where I was pretty quick. The legs are a bit weak, but that should come back soon as well. My main concern is the ability of my ankles and feet to hold up to my normal mileage and workouts right now.

To expand: I’ve learned a few things about myself over the course of my brief running career, including that while I’m pretty durable when I’m running consistent mileage, even quite high mileage (which I am nowhere near now), I lose that durability if I cut back my mileage for more than a few days. Thus, I need to come back very carefully if I cut back mileage for a week or two, and the silly shin thing has resulted in a month of reduced mileage. All the soft tissue around my lower legs and feet seems to lose resiliency pretty quickly, and while I do a LOT of rehab/strengthening exercises focused on those areas, they are no substitute for the strengthening I get from actually running.

I have a clear history of coming back too quickly from a low mileage period and tweaking something new and completely different (see 2010, where I spent the whole year alternating soft tissue injuries back and forth between each leg). So, the plan for next bit of time is gradually ramping back up to full mileage and complete workouts, while phasing out the cross training.


Monday: In the morning, 60 minutes of beltless poolrunning for “6 miles”, followed by 2000m of swimming breathing drills, and then upper body and core strength work, plus injury prevention exercises. Foam-rolling at night.

Tuesday: In the morning, 8.5 miles very easy (8:17 pace) – did first 4.5 miles on the track, then drills and strides, and then 4 more miles on a hilly route, followed by a pool running workout of 10x3:00 hard, 1:00 easy. Then a PT appointment. Floor barre at night.

Wednesday: In the morning, 5.5 miles easy (7:51 pace), and then an arc-trainer tempo of 2x13 minutes with 2:30 recovery, followed by 3 miles easy (7:50 pace). Foam rolling and hot yoga at night.

Thursday: In the morning, upper body and core strength work, plus injury prevention exercises followed by 30 minutes of beltless pool-running for “3 miles”, and then 1000m of swimming breathing drills. Foam-rolling at night.

Friday: In the morning, 10 miles on the track, including a tempo workout. Did 3 miles in 6:39/6:32/6:26 (6:35 pace), then 6:00 jog, then 2 miles in 6:35/6:25 (6:32 pace). [the scheduled workout was 3 miles, 2 mile, 1 mile; I showed up planning to probably do 3+1, ended up doing 3+2, but managed to resist the temptation of the last mile.]

Followed by injury prevention work and then recovery pool-running for 20 minutes (“2 miles”). Pilates and foam rolling at night.

Saturday: 110 minutes on the arc-trainer – we’ll call it equivalent to 13 miles of easy running. Weights, core strengthwork, injury prevention exercises, and foam rolling in the afternoon.

Sunday: A sorta_but_not_really_long progression run of 14.5 miles in conditions that were dangerously slick at times. The first mile at 9:36 (very icy), then next 9.5 at 7:40 pace (icy patches), next 2 at 7:08 pace, and final 2 at 6:37 pace (some ice). Overall average pace - 7:35 (7:26 if you ignore the first ridiculously icy mile). I had originally planned to do 14, and then add on 2 more if everything felt 100%. Everything felt really good at the end of the 14, but I decided that I didn’t feel like risking further running on the iciness on tired legs. Just not worth the risk. And I think that a mile run on ice counts for 1.25 miles...

Followed with injury prevention work at gym, and then 30 minutes of easy pool-running for “3 miles”. Hot yoga and foam rolling tonight.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Training log - Week ending 1/15/12

This week was 29 miles of “real running”, 22 “miles” pool running, and 28 “miles” on the arc-trainer plus 2000m of swimming breathing drills -- training log is here.

Nope. Didn’t do Houston. I procrastinated the decision all the way until Friday morning, because it was a hard decision (made harder by the fact that both an orthopedist and my PT were on board with me running it). But I finally made the tough but right call to skip it. I’ve come too far in my running to risk a major setback with one race. So cancelled the hotel and plane, and stayed home and foam-rolled, stretched, did rehab exercises, etc.

But I was feeling just a bit childishly sorry for myself. Immature, I know.

And then I learned that my friend Julie (she had the Houston 5K as her goal race, and was one of the people I was really looking forward to hanging out with in Houston) lost her father Friday morning.

Nope. Not sorry for myself anymore.

"CBS News remembers Dick Threlkeld"


I saw the orthopedist on Tuesday morning, and besides him telling me that I could run the race (and shouldn’t have cut back my mileage) he also told me I was crazy for not taking Aleve or the equivalent for my shin. I am crazy, but I also really HATE taking anything with a pain-reducing effect. Not because of masochistic tendencies, but just because I don’t like hiding pain while running – I think it’s risky. But, doctor’s orders are doctor’s orders.

Sort of. I ended up compromising by timing doses of Aleve so that they would wear off right before each run, and then taking again right afterwards. It gives me some comfort to know that there’s nothing going on with the shin that I’m not feeling.

I tested the shin out on Friday with a baby tempo – not so much a workout as playing with running at a slightly faster pace to see if it aggravated stuff. Nope – no real soreness at the end, though there was a bit of stiffness in the calf and shin that reassured me that skipping Houston was the right call.

One humorous thing about the Aleve –one of the side effects of it can be retaining water, and I’m definitely doing so…4 pounds up on the scale since Tuesday, and rocking the muffin top look. Which is less than pleasant. But it also means that I’m much more buoyant in the pool than normal – and beltless pool-running has suddenly become easy. It’s surreal.


Monday: In the morning, 70 minutes of easy poolrunning for “7 miles”, followed by a PT appointment.

Tuesday: In the morning, upper body and core strength training plus injury prevention work, followed by 9.5 miles easy (7:46 pace), followed by a PT appointment.

Wednesday: In the morning, an arc-trainer tempo of 20 minutes, 15 minutes, 10 minutes at tempo effort (2:30 recovery between each), followed by 35 minutes of easy pool-running for “3.5 miles” and then a PT appointment.

Thursday: In the morning, 55 minutes of beltless pool-running for “5.5 miles”, followed by 2000m of swimming breathing drills, and then upper body and core strength work, plus injury prevention exercises. Foam-rolling at night.

Friday: In the morning, 6.5 miles on the track, including a careful test tempo workout (2 miles in 6:40/6:31, then 5:00 jog, then a mile in 6:30), followed by injury prevention work and then a pool intervals workout of 8x2:30 hard, 0:30 recovery. Hot yoga and foam rolling at night.

Saturday: 100 minutes on the arc-trainer – we’ll call it equivalent to 11 miles of easy running. Weights, core strengthwork, injury prevention exercises, and foam rolling in the afternoon.

Sunday: Another “hybrid long run” – first 13 miles easy (7:57 pace) followed by 40 minutes on the arc-trainer at hard effort. Foam rolling and then yoga tonight.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Oh, teh drama.

Obligatory Mission Control picture.  Because every
single blog referencing this race uses the cliche
"Houston, we have a problem" or some variant.
Edit:  So after all of the below, I've decided not to go.  Yes, this was a "goal race."  And I'm fit, and have no doubt of my ability to complete the course and most likely set a PR

But in the end, it comes down to the question of what my overall goals are for this year.  And they're not to hit any specific time, or run any specific race, but rather to avoid major injury and have fun racing.  

It doesn't advance those goals to fly to Houston and run this race with the concern of prolonging this silly shin issue or getting a new compensation injury, and that makes the answer easy, though also hard.   It'd be a far easier decision if I was in a boot, or in significant pain -- I'm trying to appreciate the fact that I'm NOT in those situations.

(The decision is also made easier by the fact that I *REALLY* hate traveling)

So, I'm registered for the Houston Half-Marathon this coming Sunday.  I had been focused on it for a while as my chance to run a good half-marathon on a flat course.

And then I gave myself some anterior tibial tendonitis.  And so commenced the drama.   I ran.  And then I backed off and cross-trained for several days.  When I returned to running, the shin was sore, as it had not been beforehand.  But as I began to run on it again, it improved.  Still stiff, sometimes sore.  But slowly improving.  I ran carefully, and occasionally, with a ton of cross-training.

And so the race question: Should she?  Shouldn't she?  What does the magic 8K ball say? 


I have no magic 8K ball, or skull with which to dialogue, a la Hamlet.  But, I did have something arguably better.  An orthopedist appointment, and several PT sessions.

I had pretty much decided that I would NOT run the race, especially since the shin and calf of the leg were sore and stiff on Tuesday after my run, enough so to make me fear I had overdone stuff.

There's never been any doubt that I COULD run the Houston Half and finish it.  But I'm annoyed with how many workouts I've missed already.  And I'd rather get this nagging shin thing done with then let it linger for a few more weeks.


And then I went to see my coach's preferred orthopedist on Tuesday afternoon.  He x-rayed the leg BEFORE seeing me -- apparently any runner that comes in with a leg or foot injury gets x-rayed prior to meeting with him.

Then he came in, took my history, flexed my foot and looked at the x-ray, and confirmed that it was anterior tibial tendonitis, and not a stress fracture.  That was no surprise.  I've done this one before (stupid shoes) and I figure that if you can push hard on a bone and not locate any point of tenderness, there's no developing fracture.  Especially when the discomfort is associated with muscle action, and not weight bearing.

What was a surprise was what he said next.  I mentioned that I had been planning to race a half this weekend, but had pretty much canned that idea -- I didn't want to risk any major injury or setback.  I also told him that I had cut back my mileage substantially, and been cross-training to rest it.

"That's silly.  Have you you been taking anything for it?"

"No, not really.  Some arnica cream and a baby aspirin, both after running."  I really hate using anything with an analgestic effect -- I figure pain is a warning light on the runner's dashboard, and I don't know why you'd want to short circuit that.

"That stuff does nothing.  Take 2 Aleve twice a day for the next few days, and run your race."


So that was that.  I was...surprised, to say the least.  But, I also figured that he hadn't spent that much time with me, and might be focused on bone injuries exclusively, and assume that soft tissue injuries weren't an issue.

On Wednesday morning, I met with my PT.  Despite the soreness from Tuesday, he declared it improved even from Monday.

"I think you should go down and run your race.  I definitely would in your situation."


So, to run or not to run?  And before that, to travel to Houston or not?

Despite the above, it's still a tough call.

On the one hand, the plane tickets are paid for.  And I had really been looking forward to this weekend, especially seeing the trials.  And the course is flat and the weather should be great.  And until I tweaked my shin, my training had been going great, and I was hoping for a real breakthrough race.

On the other hand, I haven't run further than 10 miles in the past 3 weeks.  And the shin's still sore.   And I'm worried not just about the shin, but about aggravating something new by racing after a few weeks of uber low mileage.  One consistent mistake I've made in the past is to come back way too fast after spending a few weeks cross training, and to tweak something new.  I spent a year alternating between soft tissue injuries on my left and right sides, before topping it off with a broken foot that was the result of running hard while my stride was slightly altered.

And my overall goal, rather than any one race, is to avoid major injury.   That's my overarching goal for this year, and it trumps any goal race or goal time.  I don't see anything respect-worthy in risking major injury or training setback to run a race, unless it's something like the Olympic trials, World Champs, etc.

And, this is not a cheap trip - though I lose the plane fare if I cancel the trip, I still save about $700 between hotel costs, cat boarding, taxi fare to/from airport, meals, etc. 

And, it's also not terribly confidence-inspiring that I haven't run anywhere near my half-marathon pace in the past three weeks.  I've been cross-training a storm, but that ain't running, and only gets you so far.


Ugh.  I hate it when decisions are up in the air.  And the Magic 8K ball's no help.  I've currently left it at:

a) if nothing's sore or stiff or tight on Friday, I'll board the cat and hop on the plane (as of Thursday, the calf is still tight).

b) if I go there, and feel good, I'll go to the start and warm-up on Sunday morning.  If I feel absolutely 100%, then I'll race it, and see how fast I can run on 3 weeks of cross-training.

If nothing else, you can't say I haven't tapered for this one...

Monday, January 9, 2012

Training log - Week ending 1/08/12

This week was 25.5 miles of “real running”, “47 miles” pool running, and “18 miles” on the arc-trainer plus 2500 yards of swimming breathing drills -- training log is here.

Heh.  What a week.  The good news is that the shin is improving; the bad is that I had a most trying week, full of calamities that were at least partially of my own making.  I don't completely blame myself, but the fact is that the stresses of the past few months and weeks have been catching up with me, and I'm frazzled to the point where I'm doing silly things like leaving my bag on the front seat of my car.

Even more frustrating is the "will I/won't I" thing I'm going through with regard to the Houston Half Marathon, which is this coming Sunday.  I had really been looking forward to this trip -- meet up with lots of online friends who I rarely (or never) see in person; watch the Olympic Marathon Trials on Saturday; run a fast half-marathon on Sunday.  But, I'm leaning (sometimes strongly, sometimes weakly) towards not going.

Essentially, I've got some inflammation of my left tibialis anterior muscle going on -- the result of stupidly tying my shoe too tight (as you can see the tendon associated with the muscle runs over the front of the ankle and then across the foot -- crank your shoe way too tight and it binds the tendon and places additional stress on the muscle).  I've done this one before, and it's always cleared up with a few days of easy running.  This time however, despite being supercareful and taking 5 days of no running the inflammation persisted and even worsened a bit.  It's steadily improved this week (I've been running carefully on it) but is still a question mark.

The inflammation is in much part due to a bad cycle -- the muscle swelled in a location on the lower shin where it's essentially landlocked by the tibia bone, other muscle, and fascia.  So, there's no room for it to swell, so it gets squeezed and irritated, which means that it swells more, and....

What I ran in on Sunday --
hot pink compression socks and baby blue shorts
to complete the picture.  No shame.
I've been working with a PT, and following his instructions regarding a combination of continued activity, epsom salts, elevation whenever not in use, and horrid compression socks (the picture to the left doesn't capture just how bright the socks are).  And it's been improving.  The elevation is especially key -- as my PT explained to me, he wasn't concerned with my running some on it as much as he was concerned with the percentage of my day that was spent with my shin below my heart, encouraging fluid build up in that area.

This was really brought home to me on Wednesday, when I had to spend about 4 hours either on my feet or sitting in a chair with my leg not elevated as I tried to replace stolen phone, rent a loaner car, etc.  That was by far the worst day for the shin - it was fairly stiff and noticeably sore by the end of the day.  In contrast, a fairly hard Sunday "long run" (10 miles of easy running, then finishing with a progressively harder 50 minute effort on the arc-trainer) was no issue -- the leg looked better on Monday morning (post long run) than it did on Friday.

Thus, my conundrum with traveling to Houston this coming weekend.  It seems like the leg would most likely hold up for the race, and I don't believe I've lost much fitness these past 2 weeks.  On the other hand, running the Houston half is not so important to me that I'm willing to risk any further injury, or screwing up my planned spring races.  My coach is advising me not to run it for this reason, and that carries a lot of weight.

And, of more concern than the running is the toll that the travel would take on me.  Due to crappy circulation, my legs swell whenever I fly (even with compression socks) and I'm very concerned that two flights in 3 days plus being on my feet all day at the airport, in the expo, and watching the trials will set my shin's recovery back weeks.

And then there's the fact that I'd have to wear pink compression socks, combined with my red team sportsbra, if I raced.  Even I have my pride.

So, I go back and forth.  I decide not to do it, and then I run 10 miles on the shin, feel good, and wonder why the heck I'm not running my goal race.  Heck, at its very worst (after 4 hours of standing on it) it's only hurt about a "3" on a scale of 1-10.   And generally, it's just stiff and a bit sore when the ankle's flexed the right way.  It's really not the sort of pain or discomfort that would result in most people skipping a goal race.

 And then I remember that I am absolutely terrified of having to miss a month plus of workouts, or not run to my potential in my spring races. 

But then I'm also curious -- how fast can I run a half marathon off of 3 weeks of minimal slow running plus tons of cross training.

Ah well.  I still have a few days to decide.


Monday: In the morning, strength training (focused mostly on core) and injury prevention exercises, plus an easy 6 miles on the towpath (8:14 pace) and then  by 65 minutes of easy pool-running for “6.5 miles.”

Tuesday: In the morning, 4 miles easy on the track (8:05 pace), followed by a pool-running workout (10x3:00 hard, 1:00 easy), and then PT for A.R.T. and dry needling.

Wednesday: In the morning, a progressive 80 minute effort on the arc-trainer that I would equate to an 11 mile progression run. Middle of day spent on progression frustration workout (trying to replace phone, get car fixed, etc).  In the evening,70 minutes of beltless pool-running for "7 miles."

Thursday: In the morning, 1000 yards of swimming breathing drills and then 70 minutes of beltless pool-running for "7 miles", followed by upper body and core strength work, plus injury prevention exercises.   Foam-rolling at night.

Friday: In the morning, 5 miles easy on the track (8:01 pace), followed by a pool-running workout (10x3:00 hard, 1:00 easy), and then PT for A.R.T. and dry needling.

Saturday: In the morning, 1500 yards of swimming breathing drills and then 80 minutes of beltless pool-running for "8 miles."  Weights in the evening.

Sunday: A “hybrid long run” – first 10 easy miles (8:00 pace) and then 50 minutes on the arc-trainer at a progressively harder effort to simulate our fast finish long runs (equivalent to 7 miles)  Followed with a shakeout 15 minutes of pool-running for "1.5" miles, and then hot yoga at night.

Friday, January 6, 2012

SIlver lining Fridays

So, a follow-up to my Wednesday whinge.  As my friend Zoltar (linking because his podcasts are essential for hard pool/arc-trainer workouts) says, "every thorn has its rose."

Exhibit a:

Works fantastic for running cold water down my shin.  The groundwater's near freezing right now, so I just stand in the tub, with laptop on nearby shelf, and happily work away while the water shooting out of the pipe soaks my shin.  I can do contrast bathing too -- just change to hot water.

exhibit b:

My loaner car ended up being a Prius.  Which I really liked.  And when I got my car back today, the interior was the cleanest it has ever been.

exhibit c:

I have a great deal of pride in my hometown, and am happy to contribute at any opportunity.

(ok, I'm reaching)

exhibit d:

I did get the second sock.  Like the first, it is also hot pink.  I'm wearing hot pink compression socks.  There really is no silver lining here -- I looked inside the socks, and the interior is that same offensive shocking pink.

I got nuthing here.  But 3 out of 4 is still win.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Wordless whiny Wednesday

So, a common theme of this blog seems to be misadventures with water.  See, e.g. hilarious pool-running encounters or exploding water pipes or broken hot water heaters that take 2 weeks to be replaced.

To that collection, I add the following.  Went to take a shower early Saturday evening -- pushed down the stopper on the bathtub faucet, and the entire thing came off the wall.  Apparently I need to back off on the bent-over dumbbell rows.

No, my tub's not quite this dirty -- weird cell phone lighting - - it's pretty dim in there.
And yes, entire bathroom was redone about 2 years ago.  This is ridiculous.

With no stopper, I can't use the shower.  But fear not -- our heroine has a second bathroom (used as laundry room) with a shower (used as clothes drying area).  So remove the drying rack, and use the shower.

Better light here.
If you can see, the handle on the right is marked "H".  But au contraire -- in actuality it is the left faucet that controls the hot (the one marked "C"...).  Hilarity ensues while our heroine, undaunted but also pressed for time, attempts to shower.

Well, the cat was amused.


This was preceded by the following slip of paper on Friday

I love DC!  Always happy to contribute more than my share!
Yup - that's a $100 parking ticket.  For parking at a meter on an access lane (K St) during rush hour.  No reason that the access lane should have rush hour restrictions and it was NOT so marked.  And yes, I fed the meter, so this is actually a $104.50 ticket, once you include the wasted meter payment.

(for those of you who don't live in our nation's capital - parking is the city's biggest scam.  Signs are confusing and often missing; tickets are costly and the appeals process is a sham).


We continue.

So, my silly left shin muscle continues to give some issue.  No more soreness when flexing he muscle against pressure on top of foot, but the leg's stiff.  I can run on it without distorting my stride (and it improves every day that I do), but I'm not comfortable pushing it with speedwork until it's 100%.  (I still have hopes that I will get there shortly).

I went in to my PT, and he thinks that we're in a bad cycle - the muscle's irritated, and so it's slightly swollen.  Since there's not much room for the muscle, the swelling inflames it more, and perpetuates the loop.  The answer is to get the swelling down via epsom salts, continued activity, and compression socks.

So, went right after and bought a) epsom salts and b) compression socks.   Got my pricy socks home, and...

No black; I had to buy pink. 
Let no one say I'm not dedicated to my recovery.
Yup.  That's only one sock.  And it's the right one (which is actually the wrong one), not the left.


And...the grand finale happened early this morning.

Yup.  That's my car window.  I STUPIDLY left my gym/pool bag on the passenger's seat while I stopped in at the gym early this AM.  Really stupid -- I just was casual because a) it was RIGHT outside the entrance, under a bright light; b) it was 18 degrees out; c) aren't most delinquents asleep at 5:30 am?

Apparently not. So, they got my bathing suit, my nice towel, blackberry, my personal cell phone, my drivers license, all my credit cards....

[yes - I'm very aware of how stupid I was]

Fortunately, I have a second drivers license.  Unfortunately, I don't have a landline, making cancelling all of my accounts a bit challenging -- why won't they let you cancel credit cards via online request?

So, I take today as a mental health day, and go about getting myself settled.  Get access to a phone, and try to report the claim to insurance.  But...their computers are down...

OK, no prob.  Body shop is preapproved by insurance, so I can take it in anyway.  And, body shop/service center has loaner cars through a deal with Enterprise Rent-A-Car, and is right next to a Verizon store.  So grab drivers license and checkbook, and we're off.

Drop off car and head to Verizon store, where I pick out a phone.  Only for it to take 25 minutes to process the order (phone not in stock, so they'll have to ship to me).  Once the order's processed, I write a check out, and....check's not accepted by approval system.  No new phone for me.

So, give up and head over to grab loaner.  Only to discover that while the service center does cover 100% of loaner costs, the body shop does not.  And, I'm now carless and lacking credit cards while away from home at a car rental place that only takes credit cards (and money orders).

Long story short (too late), I take the "complementary shuttle" to a bank, flash my checkbook and drivers license (confirming, BTW, that there was NO reason for my checks to be declined), and get money order plus survival cash.  I now have loaner car and am home.  And am debating whether to retreat to World of Warcraft for the next 5 hours (or years).


I like to imagine that all of us live our lives on fault lines of a sort -- and small irritations (and the above are all small irritations) are tremors that take the place of massive disruptions.  This little fantasy gets me through the day with a smile.  When little things go bad, you're fortunate.

I'm thinking I need to play the lottery this week.  If I ever escape Azeroth.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Training log - Week ending 1/01/12

This week was 13.5 miles of “real running”, “37 miles” pool running, and “22.5 miles” on the arc-trainer plus 3000m of swimming breathing drills -- training log is here.

Heretofore to be known as the week of the silly injury-like thing. Essentially I tied my left shoe too tight during my long run last Sunday. No big deal, the foot was just red right at the base of the ankle where I tie the laces when I finished, with some soreness right above and muscle knots in the shin (anterior tibialis muscle).

By Tuesday morning I had to flex my foot upwards against resistance to feel it. I opted to skip the Tuesday hill workout to be supercareful (hills just seemed like a really dumb idea for a shin issue). Ran easy with no issue, then hit the pool for a hard intervals workout. Cool. Good to go. Yay for being safe.

Then I got out, and read an email from my coach informing me that if my shin was hurting at all I needed to “not run another step” for several days… At first, I was not happy about this at all (AT ALL), but it doesn’t make sense to have a coach if you don’t do what he says. Especially because the things that make the least sense and annoy you the most are the things that you most need to hear. So (with some helpful additional convincing from good friends), I sucked it up. I know I won’t lose fitness with a few days of cross-training; it’s just not as much fun. But the difference between being a committed athlete and a fun runner lies in one’s willingness to forego fun for the sake of performance.

Instead of just pool-running, I did a combination of pool-running and the arc-trainer. I honestly feel that the arc-trainer is the closest substitute for running; better than even pool-running. It’s like an elliptical, but with a larger range of motion that’s much closer to actual running. Set the incline to a low # and skip the hand-levers (instead using your upper body and arms like you were running), and it’s pretty much the exact same motion, except that there’s no impact. It is weightbearing, which is why it wasn’t a good option during my broken foot saga, but for here it was fine. And you can get your heartrate up to tempo level and sustain, which was something I was never able to do in the pool.

I also got the shin dry-needled on Friday (basically like massage to the power of 20 – they stick needles in the muscle knots and pulse electrical current through it). I’ve found it tremendously helpful, but it does leave one very sore in the short run.

The plan for next week is to carefully add running back in, with the mindset of better to run too few miles than too many.


Monday: In the morning, strength training (focused mostly on core) and injury prevention exercises, followed by 70 minutes of easy pool-running for “7 miles.” Foam rolling at night.

Tuesday: In the morning, 9 miles easy (8:04 pace), plus drills and strides, followed by a pool-running workout (10x3:00 hard, 1:00 easy) and injury prevention exercises. Floor Barre class at night.

Wednesday: In the morning, 60 minutes of pool-running for “6 miles”, followed by 2000m swimming. Foam rolling and then yoga in the evening.

Thursday: In the morning, upper body and core strength work, plus injury prevention exercises, followed by 60 minutes of easy pool-running for “6 miles.” Foam-rolling at night.

Friday: In the morning, I replaced our “3, 2, 1” tempo workout (4800m, then 3200m, then 1600m) with an arc-trainer tempo of 20:00, 15:00, 10:00, with 3:00 easy recovery for each. Worked very well – the arc-trainer’s even closer to real running than pool-running is, including the same glute engagement. Focused on effort, and sustained just below the same heart rates I would have for a tempo. So yay.

Afterwards, I got the muscle knots released from my shin via dry needling, then did 30 minutes of pool-running for “3 miles” and 1000m of swimming breathing drills. Pilates at night.

Saturday: Weights, then the equivalent of 5.5 easy miles on the arc-trainer, followed by 50 minutes of pool-running for “5 miles.”

Sunday: A “mixed run” – first 4.5 very careful miles at 8:28 pace to test the shin (sore from the dryneedling, but otherwise nothing of note), followed by another arc-trainer tempo of 20:00, 15:00, 10:00, with 2:30 easy recovery for each (kept the effort slightly easier, as this was supposed to be the second half of a progression run, not a tempo in and of itself). Followed with injury prevention work and then (after cheering at a race) 40 minutes easy pool-running for “4 miles”. Plan to foam roll tonight.

(and yes, I did start running at 7 am on New Years Day, so I could finish my test miles, hit the gym when it opened at 8 am for the arc-trainer, and be done with both in time to see some friends race at 10:00 am. Not sure if this makes me cool or pathetic. Probably both.)