Post-Bairn Half Training – Week 2

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Alternate title for this post: “Well, that deescalated quickly.”

Sigh no more, readers, sigh no more
My training plan hopes were deceivers ever…

Okay, enough melodrama. TL;dr my plan got derailed pretty severely after my glorious first week. Is anyone surprised? Training plans and I are star-crossed, it seems. Let’s recap:

Monday
Rest | Rest

Like I said last week, I’m awesome at rest days. This one was perfectly timed too, since the Bairn woke up with a fever and we both stayed home and laid low.

Tuesday
3m run | 3m run

The Bairn was still home on Tuesday, and after being in the house with him for two days I was a little stir crazy. (We usually run errands or get out of the house somehow, but I didn’t want to drag a feverish wee one with a snot-fountain for a nose out where he could infect others.) Drew was working from home, and during a break in his meetings I booked it to the gym for a welcome break and a treadmill run.

Good things about this run:

  1. I remembered my ipod and had a bumpin’ soundtrack to get me going.
  2. The gym was practically empty. It was glorious.

Not so good things about this run:

  1. My right knee.

Oh boy. This knee has been the bane of my existence more than once on this blog, and I was not happy to feel familiar twinges. I should have stopped my run once I felt it, or walked the remaining distance to 3 miles, but I was stupidly stubborn (I completed Week 1, and I will complete Week 2, knees be damned!!). I finished the run, stretched, and headed home to rejoin my ailing Bairn, with my knee mostly feeling better. Ish.

Wednesday
2m run or CT | rest and ice

Wednesday the Bairn was feeling better and back at school, so I was back at work. A day of constantly moving from sitting to standing, going up and down stairs every few minutes, and lifting boxes and pushing carts didn’t help my knee any. I had originally planned to do some of my PT/gait retraining exercises to help bolster my knee but decided putting them up and popping some ice on them would probably be the best bet.

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Thursday
30 mins CT | rest

After the previous night’s icing, I thought my CT would either be a gentle bike ride at the gym or the PT exercises I had planned to do the night before. Then I woke up having inherited the Bairn’s snot-fountain of a nose. I didn’t feel right dropping the still-not-100% Bairn at the gym daycare, nor did I want to drip snot all over the gym equipment (nor did I really want to use the gym equipment with the way I was feeling) so the bike was right out.

As the day wore on, I felt worse and worse and really didn’t want to do any kind of physical activity beyond chasing the Bairn around the house. I decided to swap Friday’s rest day for Thursday’s CT and called it a night.

Friday
Rest | Rest

Then Friday happened. I well and truly had caught whatever the Bairn had at the beginning of the week, and Friday was my day to have a fever. My mom, bless her most wonderful soul, braved the germs and came over to help wrangle the Bairn while I sat on the couch, shivering under a blanket.

There’s really no point in finishing the week in this posting fashion, because as you’ve probably already guessed, I didn’t run at all at the weekend. Between dealing with the fever’s alternating chills and overheating sessions Friday night, and taking a mega-Sudafed as a last resort on Saturday night and being kept awake all night as a result, not to mention the Bairn’s coughing and night wakings, I didn’t get much sleep all weekend. Even if I had been feeling up to running, the lack of sleep probably would have kept me from getting the miles in.

So, sad trombone noises for Week 2.

—–

Now the question is, how do I handle this training plan going forward?

In all honesty, I was setting myself up for badness from the start. I really should have been running/training more before diving right into a plan that asked for 3 miles right off the bat. I knew this deep down. I had intentions of doing just that. As is wont to happen in my distracted #mombrain these days, I lost track of time and all of a sudden had just enough time to squeeze in a 12-week plan, with no room beforehand to build up properly. Knowing my body, that’s just asking for an injury.

Before whatever plague this was hit me, I figured I’d sacrifice one run per week to focus on PT exercises for my knees, and to make sure I do the cross-training that’s called for, rather than just 5 minutes here, 10 minutes there. I wanted to do it right… or as “right” as I could at this point.

And then the plague. If this tale of woe sounds vaguely familiar, an eerily similar situation happened a few years back – almost to the day! – when I was taking a Couch to 5-Miler class at work and was making strides (ha!) and feeling great about myself. In fact, looking back on that post, the intro I wrote rings quite a few bells:

“My first week of training was going so well, readers. So well. As I ran my prescribed miles on the treadmill, I was eagerly looking forward to writing a wrap-up post on this blog that showed just how well I had stuck to my training plan (lame, I know), and I couldn’t wait to show up at my second running class with my head held high, having actually completed the “homework” of sticking to the plan. … And then I got the flu.”

More sad trombones.

So what’s the best course of action now? Do I…

  1. Start the training plan over/repeat Week 2 when I’m feeling better?
  2. Jump back in at Week 3, but with some tweaks?
  3. Scrap the training plan and start a 5K training plan, then start this one once that’s done, and then just run the half as best I can? (Having run a half with minimal training I know it’s possible, it’s just not ideal)
  4. Scrap everything, give my race registration to a friend who’s on the wait-list, and just enjoy a weekend in Western Mass without running?
  5. Your suggestion here?
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Post-Bairn Half Training – Week 1

Hi! I’d like to introduce you to someone who’s very excited to be here: a version of me who actually completed a full week of a training plan! Was that your jaw I just heard hitting the floor? It’s okay, mine’s down there too.

I mentioned several posts ago that I had signed up for a spring half marathon so that I could have a goal to work toward. I knew I’d need to finagle some kind of legitimate training in beforehand, otherwise I knew I’d be a hot mess. Plus, the training – and thus getting back into some kind of shape – was really the motivation behind signing up.


…well, that and the chance to check another town off my Massachusetts running map… and the to have an excuse to travel somewhere new with the Bairn.

Anyway, I’m starting to ramble. All that to say – I dug out the ol’ Hal Higdon Novice half marathon training plan (which I attempted for my first half… you can read how swell that experiment went in this post), counted the weeks backward from race day, and set my jaw in a determined manner.

Last week was Week 1 of 12. And, reader, I nailed it. More or less. Here’s how the week looked:

Sunday (last day of Week 0)

1 mile run | 1 mile run

The first run in the plan was 3 miles. I hadn’t run much more than 1 mile post-Bairn, and that was in early December. I figured hoped a nice gentle mile would be a good way to ease me in to the plan.

When Sunday turned out to be in the upper 40s, I giddily set out for that gentle mile despite head congestion and a plugged duct (that made squeezing into my sports bra fun…). It wasn’t my best run by a long shot, and I didn’t feel great during or after, but I did feel accomplished at getting it done.

Monday

Rest | Rest

I’m very good at rest days 🙂 If Mondays hadn’t been rest days in the plan, I would have tweaked it a bit to make it so. Mondays are my late days at work, and are usually a bit hellish as it’s the Bairn’s first day back at daycare and his bedtime gets pushed late because I get home late and… just ugh. A good day for a rest day indeed.

Tuesday

3 mile run | 2 mile run

This is why I wrote “more or less” up there in the intro. While I completed the week of training, I did make a few small tweaks to take into account my general lack of fitness (see this post). Even after my gentle mile on Sunday, I mentally didn’t feel ready for 3, so I hit the gym for 2 miles of walk/running on the treadmill.

Wednesday

2 mile run or cross train | resistance band work

I figured I could use either some yoga/stretching or strength training during this half training, since my body is destroyed from hefting my growing bairn around all the time. Drew set me up with some resistance bands in our living room and showed me a few routines that would work my arms, chest, and back, and I went to it… in my most stylish cross training outfit ever:

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If you look closely, you’ll see some glow-in-the-dark space otter socks and slippers, plus the sweet goggles that came with the resistance bands.

Anyway, it was a gentle intro workout, as my body was already feeling it after minimal reps and I didn’t want to wreck myself. I’ll work at building it up as the weeks go on.

Thursday

30 mins cross training | Expresso Bike

Remember my good friend the Expresso Bike? I was so excited to hop back in the saddle. I brought the Bairn to the gym, got him registered for on-site childcare, and grabbed a bike. I probably should have started off with an easy lap around the virtual track, but I picked a 1-mile slightly hilly course to make it more interesting.

Yeah… after a half-mile my legs were dead. I hadn’t been on a bike since March 2016, before I got pregnant. And my mostly sedentary lifestyle post-Bairn meant my body was already reeling from 2 runs in a week and some cross training. Plus I was worried about how the Bairn, who is in the throes of some nice separation anxiety, was faring having been deposited in a strange new place. So I finished the course, hopped off the bike, and went down to childcare to pick up the Bairn (who was cheerfully bouncing away in an exersaucer). So it was only 5 mins of CT instead of 30, but it was something, right?

Friday

Rest | Rest

Neither the Bairn nor I felt 100% on Friday, so it was another well-timed rest day.

Saturday

3 mile run | 3 mile run

When Drew and the Bairn settled in to watch the Spurs match, I set off on a 3-miler around the neighborhood, route courtesy of MapMyRun’s Route Genius. It took me down some streets I’d never been down, which is always fun. My first mile was strong, and is now my current post-Bairn best mile time, but the next 2 got slower and slower. Still a decent run, but I need to work on not going out so fast. I think I’m just so pumped to be running again, it’s hard to hold back!

Sunday

4 mile run | 4 mile run

I was curious to see how I’d do with 2 runs in 2 days, and surprised myself by feeling pretty strong. I set off down to the pond, which was iced over and a bit grim-looking despite temps in the upper 40s:

Once again, I set out too fast for my first mile and then got slower as the run went on, but each mile managed to come in under 13:00 per mile, even with multiple walk breaks. I’ll take that!

——

So, Week 1 is complete! Huzzah! Here are some reflections from my first week of training:

Favorite sight while running: a preschool-aged kid dressed as Batman running around his driveway, [I imagine] fighting invisible baddies

Milestone of note: I already have a bruised toenail 😦 I suppose that’s what happens when I dive headlong into a training plan without even a small base settled. Ah well.

Lesson learned: Always have electronics charged and ready to go! Both my Garmin and my iPod were dead when I went to use them this week. The Garmin, meh… at least I have MapMyRun to play GPS for me, but man, treadmill miles are looooong without music.

How was your week?

Any awesome sightings, milestones, or lessons to share?

 

GetFit 2016: The Wrap-Up

Hello and happy Monday! This is a post that’s been in the works for a while, but – as you might have been able to tell from the sheer lack of posts on this blog recently – I’ve been in a bit of a writing slump, so it’s a few weeks late. But it’s here now and that’s what counts, right?

Right, where was I? Oh yes. GetFit. I wrote about it a few months back with a bright spark in my eyes, about how I was going to totally nail all my minutes goals this year because of my ingenious double-whammy GetFit/half-marathon-training-plan fandango. I also had the grand plan to wear Simon every day, since he doubles as a pedometer. Yes, readers, I had my eyes on the prize, and GetFit began with a bang.

Wee Tim, our mascot, ran the GetFit race with us to help us track our progress. He also shed clothing as the weather changed (source)

Wee Tim, our mascot, ran the GetFit race with us to help us track our progress. He also shed clothing as the weather changed (source)

For the first few weeks, my GetFit was on point. I rocked Simon (and my step counts… for the most part), I was meeting and beating my weekly minute goals, and I was blogging regularly about my progress:

Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4

Basically, I was all about GetFit in February. Even with a few rocky days thrown in (see the very beginning of Week 1), I was cruising. I even tried out some of the free classes offered through the program (Pilates and a core-strengthening class from hell). Plus, I was making good progress with my half marathon training plan. I was finally sticking with a plan! Go me!

And then… and then I hurt my “good” knee (see Week 3) and scaled back my training plan a bit, so as not to make it worse. And then, my knee stayed dodgy (see Week 4, aka the week of poo) and my dodgy ribs started acting up again. And that’s when the wheels fell off.

I went back to my gait retraining clinic and learned that I don’t breathe correctly, which likely was leading to said dodginess in my ribs. I began trying to relearn how to breathe, on top of trying to relearn how to run properly, and that totally threw my training plan out the window. My GRG gave me an intervals plan to ease back into running, but that got thrown by the wayside due to whirlwind trip planning and then said trip to the UK for work.

As happened in years past, GetFit sort of faded and dropped off my radar as the weeks ticked by. Maybe 12 weeks is just too long for me to stay pumped up? Maybe I’m on teams that aren’t the most guilt-inducing motivating (which is totally my fault, as a co-captain of said teams. What can I say? I’m really good at putting teams together, but then once they’re together it all goes a bit wonky)?

Whatever the reason(s), as in years past, this year I was just looking forward to GetFit ending so that I wouldn’t have to worry about entering my minutes on time lest I let my team down.

However, unlike years past, I actually met all the minute goals this time around!

getfit16Some were by the skin of my teeth, but some (hello, Week 10!) I managed to rock pretty sufficiently.

So, even though I fell off my training plan, and even though I stopped wearing Simon every day to track my steps, and even though I finished the program with much less enthusiasm than I started with, I’d still call GetFit 2016 at least a little bit of a success. It’s the little victories, right? 🙂

What little victories have you celebrated lately?

GetFit Week 4

Right. Another week that started off well and then turned a bit to poo. When will bionic knees become a thing, and can I get some? Sigh. Let’s get on with it:

GetFit goal: 195 minutes
Minutes exercised: 195

Steps:

stepsweek4

Man, my weekend step counts are pathetic.

Training Plan:
Monday (scheduled): cross-train
Monday (actual): cross-train (arms)

I came *so close* to just turning this into a rest day, but after feeling upset at myself for doing just that randomly last week, I forced myself to do something. That something ended up being a simple arm workout with 2lb dumbbells while watching Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. I basically did as many sets of 10 reps as I could before my arms wanted to fall off, and considered that a success. Something is better than nothing, right?

Tuesday (scheduled): cross-train/speedwork
Tuesday (actual): speedwork

Tuesday's workout

Tuesday’s workout

I really didn’t want to do speedwork on Tuesday. At all. It was a long day at work, and I was exhausted and crabby. But I knew that running would make me feel better, so I forced myself to get changed and dragged myself to the track.

Drew and I ran 4 laps to warm up, then joined a small group doing some dynamic warmups – skipping, high knees, walking lunges, etc. After that we launched into the workout – 4 sets of 4 minutes running at 5K pace followed by a 2-minute jog. That workout was followed by strides, then some yoga as a stretch session/cool down.

The main workout was hard, mostly because I had a cramp/side-stitch combo stabbing my gut for most of it. I soldiered through, and was pleased that I was able to complete all 4 sets, dodgy knees and all! (A shiny new patella strap – so both my knees could have one – helped.) I even managed to speed up a bit in the 4th set, although that did mean I was gassed and unwilling to do strides. Plus, I didn’t want to stress out my knees too much. (And, my legs were also burning because I’d had the brilliant idea to shave my wintery-dry legs immediately before sweating in the stuffy gym, and they were protesting with an almighty redness and anger at any movement.)

I should probably figure out how to get my watch into stopwatch mode so I can do laps and figure out how my splits translate (see cardboard guide in the above photo – Coach Steve calculates what your lap time should be to get your goal 5K mile pace), instead of just running by feel. That would probably be productive and helpful.

However, I did figure out a good way to keep track of how many laps I completed, since it’s a tiny (150m) track and I can never remember – a tally counter app. It’s not ideal, because then I have to carry my phone and remember to hit the button after each lap, but I’m enough of a nerd that it’s worth it so that I know how far I ran at each workout. (Tuesday was 26 laps, so 3.9K or 2.42 miles.)

And, despite the legs on fire, I felt so much better after this workout than I did before!

Wednesday (scheduled): run 30-35 minutes
Wednesday (actual): run 30 minutes

Wednesday night was the monthly meeting of Run Club Book Club, so I had to squeeze a run in between getting home from work and heading down to the tavern for some cider and socializing (#priorities). I got home, got changed, and went straight to the gym… only to get there and realize I forgot my knee braces at home. D’oh! Oh well, I thought, I’ll just take it easy.

I snagged a good treadmill, walked my warmup, and got my run on. It felt okay – not terrible, not my best run ever – until I reached 30 minutes and slowed to a walk. Not long after I started walking, I realized that my right knee was kind of numb. Um, that can’t be good, right?!

I slowed my walk down even more (usually I slow down very gradually) and mentally assessed my knee. It was a bit numb, and felt kind of puffy. Nope, not good. I cut off my cool-down early, hobbled to the bubbler, and then assumed the awkward stance of someone trying to stare at her own knees. Drew found me like that – bent double and poking at my knees like a weirdo – and lent his eyes to the cause. He said Righty looked a little swollen, and my brain careened briefly into quiet-panic mode.

What "quiet-panic  mode" felt like (source)

What “quiet-panic mode” felt like (source)

I managed to reel it in long enough to get home, get changed, and grab an ice pack out of the freezer on the way to the tavern. The book club seems to be made up of two main groups – injured runners, or former runners who gave up due to persistent injury but stayed in the run club for the social aspects – so no one batted an eye when I showed up with an ice pack on my knee. Such is the nature of our beast. The ice, 2 pints of cider, and bookish banter helped distract from the weird feeling in my knee, and I decided to treat the rest of the week as touch-and-go. Boo, knees. Boo.

Thursday (scheduled): cross-train
Thursday (actual): a ton of walking

I walked a LOT at work on Thursday. I spent most of the day on-call for our reference staff, which meant walking back and forth across campus to fetch things several times. Also it was gorgeous out, so I went for a walk at lunch too. By the time I got home I didn’t feel well (not knee-related), so I decided that all my walking counted as my cross-training and spent the evening curled up on the couch.

Friday (scheduled): run 30-35 minutes
Friday (actual): rest

I knew I wouldn’t be running on Friday after Wednesday’s knee debacle. Instead, I went out for drinks with colleagues after work and didn’t worry about the run I wasn’t fitting in.

Saturday (scheduled): rest
Saturday (actual): rest

Another rest day, just for good measure. Watched some soccer, read some books, watched a movie. It was a nice, relaxing day.

Sunday (scheduled): run 4 miles
Sunday (actual): 1.5-mile trail run

I had planned to run with the Shammies as per usual, but:

a) My usual SMS buddy, N, wouldn’t be running, so I’d be on my own
b) It was supposed to be almost 60*, but when the Shammies run at 8, it was still going to be in the 30s
c) Spurs were playing at 9

The way I saw it, if I would be running alone anyway, I might as well wait until it was warmer and spend the morning cozy, watching Spurs, drinking tea, and eating a yummy breakfast. So I did.

When I finally ventured out for a run around 3, it was 58* and sunny and lovely. I took to the lagoon, because I thought the dirt trail would be a little easier on my knees than the asphalt around the pond. I thought I’d aim for 1 mile to see how the knee felt, then maybe go for 2 if I felt okay. Righty felt swollen when I woke up (looked fine, but felt puffy) so I didn’t want to push it.

What a gorgeous day it was! I was so happy to be out enjoying it, even if it did mean sharing the trail with pretty much everyone in town and their dogs. The light was coming through the woods in such a cool way… which didn’t translate in pictures very well, but that didn’t stop me from snapping pics as I jogged along:

Blurry woods

Blurry woods

Trail through the lagoon

Trail around the lagoon

Can you find the tiny waterfall?

Can you find the tiny waterfall?

I thought I was taking it easy, going at a gentle pace and trying to stick to the dirt, but I felt winded really fast. (Turns out I was going around a 10:00 pace, when I was used to a 12-something on the treadmill.) Then my right ankle/lower calf started bothering me and I didn’t like the way my right foot was flopping at the ground. I think I was favoring my knee and running a bit funny, and when I tried to fix my gait, my knee started hurting a little. Sigh.

My original plan had been to ease my way through the lagoon, see how I felt on the dirt trail, and then do the loop of the pond. But the loop of the pond is 2 miles, not counting the lagoon. I didn’t know if I could swing it, so I looped back through the lagoon again for a grand total of 1.5 miles. Not what I wanted, but something is better than nothing, right?

——

Keep calm and on to Week 5, eh? I’m changing my Tuesdays to be just cross-training again – no speedwork, at least until the Shammies move to the outdoor track. The turns on the tiny indoor track are too tight, and the surface is wicked hard. To save my knees (as much as I can, anyway) I’m going to wait until April to work at getting speedy.

I’m also torn about whether I should drop back to Week 2 (runs of 25-30 minutes and 3 miles on Sunday) or another attempted repeat of Week 3 (below). One of my Shammies buddies at Book Club kept saying “Scale back! Scale back!” but I’m on the fence about just how far back to scale. Hmm.

GetFit goal: 210 minutes

Mon: cross-train
Tue:
cross-train
Wed:
run 30-35 minutes
Thu:
cross-train
Fri:
run 30-35 minutes
Sat:
rest
Sun:
run 4 miles

If you were me and had a dodgy knee, would you try Week 3 of the training plan again? Or would you scale back even further?

Does “a crap-load of walking” count as cross-training, or is it a cop-out?
In my running class last year, our schedule said “cross-train or walk” for M, T, and Th.

GetFit Week 3

Well… after the glory that was last week for me, we all knew the chances were slim to none that I’d have a repeat week of awesomeness, right? Week 3 wasn’t terrible, but it didn’t start out too great. I did manage to rally and rescue it by the end, but it certainly wasn’t where I was hoping last week’s momentum would take me.

GetFit goal: 180 minutes
Minutes exercised: 235

Steps

stepsweek3Monday was a day off, hence my pathetic showing (I really get around when I’m at work… it helps that I have a walk to and from the subway, and that my office is on a mezzanine only accessible by stairs!) The work week looks solid, but my weekend, again, not great. Well, Sunday looks decent, despite my not having met the steps goal Simon gave me. And I didn’t wear the thing on Saturday; I wasn’t *completely* sedentary!

Training Plan:

Monday (scheduled): cross-train
Monday (actual): cross-train

I had the day off from work, which has the tendency to mean that I don’t do a lot of physical activity. However, still riding the momentum from the previous week, I made my lazy butt do somethingstrengthening exercises for my knees, some planks, and a very sad attempt at push-ups. But hey, it was something!

Also, unrelated to my training plan or GetFit, I went to a CPR/AED class that was offered through the Shammies. The last time I took a CPR class (about 15(!) years ago, when I was a day camp counselor), mouth-to-mouth was still a thing, and it was awful because I could never get the dummy’s chest to rise sufficiently. Thank you, AHA, for making CPR hands-only! This class was much less awkward, and it feels good to have finally refreshed what I learned all those years ago.

Tuesday (scheduled): cross-train/speedwork
Tuesday (actual): rest

You know, I don’t really know why I opted for a random rest day on Tuesday. I know I had to work late, and I remember craving crab rangoon like nobody’s business on the ride home from work… apparently those two things together meant no cross-training for me? (There was no speed workout because the indoor track was closed for school vacation.) Looking back, I’m disappointed in myself.

However, I did manage to accomplish something on Tuesday… potentially injuring myself! Yay!

Not really sure what I did… I know I was intending to pick something up off the floor, and I took a step toward it and my left knee (my good leg!! the traitor!!) suddenly went all Snap-Crackle-Pop on me. It was a sound I’d never heard coming from either knee before, and then – whether it was my paranoid runner’s brain or real life, I’m not sure – it started to hurt a little, just under the kneecap. I iced it and went to bed with my fingers crossed.

Wednesday (scheduled): run 30-35 minutes
Wednesday (actual): rest

I brought an ice pack to work with me just in case, but my knee didn’t bother me much at all. To be safe, I opted for another rest day.

Thursday (scheduled): cross-train
Thursday (actual): cross-train

Another day of minimal-if-anything pain in my knee, and I felt ready to test it out gently. Drew and I hit the gym after work and I rode 6.5 flat(ish) miles on the Expresso Bike. I even managed to not get all competitive and go fast… just fast enough to make it feel like I was accomplishing some light cardio. The knee felt fine afterward. Maybe it was nothing after all?

Friday(scheduled): run 30-35 minutes (originally); run 25-30 minutes
Friday (actual): run 30 minutes

In an attempt to play it safe knee-wise, I reverted the rest of my training plan week back to Week 2 – basically shorter runs for Friday and Sunday. I have some wiggle room in the plan in terms of time – I’ll likely finish the plan way before my half marathon, so I’m improvising in places – so I figured repeating Week 2 wouldn’t hurt… especially since my 3-mile run in Real Week 2 was split by an emergency loo break at the gym, and I wanted to attempt running 3 miles without a break.

I intended to run my 25-30 minutes outside on Friday, thinking maybe a break from the treadmill would be good for my knee, but I got home later than planned and didn’t want to risk running in the dark when I still haven’t invested in an easy-to-carry-flashlight or headlamp. The last thing I needed was to step in a pothole and destroy another part of my body! So back to the gym treadmill it was. I felt good at 25 so carried on for 30, and felt fantastic afterward.

Saturday (scheduled): rest
Saturday (actual): rest

Ahh, legit rest day. How lovely. I visited my BFF and had a fab day full of laughter and tasty treats and her adorable wee one.

Upon returning home, however, Left Knee was not happy. Maybe it was the fact that I had it bent for the majority of the 2.5 hours I was in the car, and that my body was coiled tight because the drive was a little stressful? Who knows. I plopped an ice pack on that puppy and once again crossed my fingers.

My Saturday night. You know you're jealous.

My Saturday night. You know you’re jealous.

Sunday (scheduled): run 4 miles (originally); run 3 miles
Sunday (actual): run 3 miles

The SMSs were planning 8-10 miles, to which I said: “Oh helllll no.” I decided I’d still meet them at Shammies HQ, since that would be motivation to get me out of bed and actually out there to run, but then I’d go off on my own for 3 gentle miles. Luckily N was there, and she also wanted to do 3, so I had a buddy.

This was my first outdoor run in almost 3 weeks. While I tend to grumble about how hard the treadmill feels because of speed issues, I failed to factor in that I’ve been running at 0 incline each time. And real life has hills. When you’re used to 0 incline, even tiny hills feel hard. So that was a bit of a rude awakening.

The run ended up being a little slower than I wanted; N was recovering from sinus issues as well as an injury, so she wanted to take it slow, and I didn’t want to be a jerk and run off without her. However, once I got over myself and thought about it, I realized it was just what I needed. Knowing me, I would have set off at an unsustainable pace in order to keep up with the speedy Shammies before veering off on my own, and very likely may have tweaked one or both of my knees. Slow and steady today meant that I ran the full 3 miles without stopping, and I still felt strong at the end, and like I could keep going for at least another mile.

Plus, taking it easy meant I could snap some mid-run pictures of the lovely near-spring day we were having – 46* (felt like upper 30s with the wind) and sunny:

Look how little snow is left!!

Look how little snow is left!!

IMG_6095IMG_6096FullSizeRenderMy knees both gave me grief at various points on the run… mostly righty, the one I went to PT for last year. I’ve misplaced one of my patella straps, and had put the one I could find on lefty after she was throwing a temper tantrum yesterday, but righty seemed to want one too. My damn knees are so needy and uncooperative. Boo.

IMG_6103Cups of tea and cozy blankets make the double ice packs slightly less terrible.

——

So then. If all my wonky body parts behave this week, here’s what Week 4 will look like (hint: it’s what Week 3 was supposed to look like):

GetFit goal: 195 minutes

Mon: cross-train
Tue:
cross-train/speedwork
Wed:
run 30-35 minutes
Thu:
cross-train
Fri:
run 30-35 minutes
Sat:
rest
Sun:
run 4 miles

Have you ever taken a CPR class?

How’s the weather where you are? Were you able to get outside for a run this week?

GetFit Week 2

Guess what, readers? Week 2 of GetFit/Training Plan Extraordinaire was insanely successful. I nearly doubled the amount of GetFit minutes I needed (!?!), AND I actually followed my training plan to. the. letter. Seriously, who am I?!

Now that that silliness is out of the way, let’s take a look at how the week shook out, shall we?

GetFit goal: 165 minutes
Minutes exercised: 320 😮

Training plan:

Monday (scheduled): cross-train
Monday (actual): Pilates

One thing I love about the GetFit program is that there are so many classes and events on offer, most free and some for small fees. In the past I’ve taken running classes that met weekly, and they were fantastic. On Monday, I took a free 30-minute intro to Pilates class, which was taught by a woman who teaches Pilates here on campus throughout the year.

I knew little about Pilates before this class; I knew it was focused on the core and named after Joseph PIlates… that’s about it. In the class I learned a bit more about its background, as well as the dance-based interpretation this particular instructor teaches. Then we did some basic moves on yoga mats and, once again, I was a bit embarrassed when attention was called to the fact that my legs don’t stretch flat when they’re up in the air. I need to do something about this…

This? Yeah, I can't even get close. (Source)

This? Yeah, I can’t even get close. (Source)

Other than that, the class was decent – not too hard, but I definitely felt it in my core when I walked away. It was hard to get a lot out of a quick 30-minute class, but was a pretty good intro.

Tuesday (scheduled): cross-train/speedwork
Tuesday (actual): shoveling and lots of walking

Like last Friday, Monday brought another day of blizzard warnings and slippery commutes. It was still snowing well after I got home, and I really didn’t feel like shoveling in the dark, only to have to get up and shovel more in the morning, so I set my alarm for wicked early on Tuesday and did it all then. Who needs the gym when you have a driveway full of snow, eh?

It actually worked out well, because Drew and I got tickets to Tuesday night’s Bruins game (my first professional hockey game!), so I had to skip the night’s speed workout anyway.

These seats though.

These seats though.

After watching the Bruins get thrashed by the Kings 9-2 (ouch), we had to walk about 2 miles back to our car. That, on top of lots of walking back and forth across campus during the day for various meetings, meant I got quite a few steps in over the course of the day. So Tuesday wasn’t too useless, and I totally count shoveling as cross-training.

Wednesday (scheduled): run 25-30 minutes
Wednesday (actual): run 27 minutes

Another cold day with some snow and no sign of clear sidewalks, so it was back to the gym I went. I intended to run 25 minutes, but the ‘pod shuffled up a few songs that were perfect to run to (I’m looking at you, “Stockholm Syndrome“) and I just had to keep going. In fact, due to the music that came up, I may have increased the speed a little and turned it into an accidental progression run ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Thursday (scheduled): cross-train
Thursday (actual): Stability and Core Clinic

The clinic was another free class offered through GetFit, and I was intrigued. Core stuff is wicked important for runners, right? And it’s something I tend to ignore. So I was all proud of myself, signing up for two core-focused classes for cross-training this week. Little did I know I’d soon be regretting that decision…

I showed up to the class on the early side, and was pleased to overhear the instructor tell another classmate that the class would not be intense. (Did I remember seeing “challenging” and “invigorating” in the class description? Of course not…) We were instructed to each grab a mat, a BOSU, a stability ball, and two dumbbells.

BOSU (source)

BOSU (source)

We did three different circuits using these things, and two sets of each circuit. Each circuit had 3-4 exercises in it, which we’d do for 45 seconds, then we’d have 15 seconds to rest/transition to the next exercise, and so on. It wasn’t too bad at first, when we were doing things like squats on the BOSU, but once we got into planks and push-ups and sit-ups…?! I can do, like, 5 push-ups and 0 sit-ups, let alone do them for 45 seconds at a time. I rode the struggle bus so hard during this class.

I don’t remember all the exercises, but there were squats, lunges, planks, push-ups, sit-ups, sit-up-twists, chest presses, bird-dogs, bridges, the bridges where you then put your heels on the stability ball and drag it toward your butt, a thing where you put your knees on the ball and dragged it toward your chest… yeah. I was pretty much driving the struggle bus.

The one cool thing, I guess, was that I was able to do my first sit-up during this class (the BOSU makes it a little easier to do it, because it gives you a bit of a bounce)… crunches I can do, but sit-ups? Oh hell no. So that was cool, but then I had to keep doing them for 45 seconds, then 45 more seconds of sit-ups with a twist at the end, and then all over again. Torture, I tell you.

And, it *still* hurts to laugh, cough, or sneeze, three days later. My core was NOT happy, and is still quite miffed at me. If I want to look for a silver lining, it’s that I now have proof that my core is wicked weak so I know it’s something I need to work on. Will I take another class with this instructor, though? That’s a big mug of nope. Not sure what “not intense” means to her, but me and my sore abs will be over here sipping on our piping hot nope, thanks.

Friday (scheduled): run 25-30 minutes
Friday (actual): run 30 minutes

Another trip to the gym for some quality treadmill time. I keyed up a playlist with some of the same songs that pumped me up on Wednesday (did you know “Cecilia” by Simon and Garfunkel is a pretty awesome song to run to? I didn’t, but I do now!) and went to town. And, like Wednesday, the playlist I ended up with caused me to get pumped, up the speed, and do another accidental progression run. Not a bad thing, right?

Saturday (scheduled): rest
Saturday (actual): glorious rest!

Oh God, sweet rest. Being the day after the day after my core clinic, my body was hurting even more than it had been on Friday. My abs, my hamstrings, and my armpits (?) were all in agony, so I enjoyed reading on the couch for most of the day. I did manage a walk around the grocery store though, so I wasn’t a total lump.

Sunday (scheduled): run 3 miles
Sunday (actual): run 3 miles

So. It’s been cold on the east coast this weekend. I had originally been planning to run with the Sunday Morning Shammies (SMSs), and had even found someone else who wanted to do 3 miles. I was mentally preparing myself to bundle up like crazy, get my miles in as quickly as possible, and then head straight to Shammies HQ for breakfast. Then the weather reports kept warning of colder and colder temps due to nasty windchill, and more and more Shammies kept backing out. So I decided I’d hit the treadmill once again.

How my weather app greeted me this morning.

How my weather app greeted me this morning.

I don’t think it was the worst idea. Drew and I met the SMSs for breakfast at HQ anyway, and heard the tales of the few who were brave enough to face the outside. One Shammie said his face mask froze solid, so he had to pull it off to breathe, but then he could feel his face getting frostbit so he cut the run short. Yeah… I’m definitely glad I opted for the treadmill today!

It wasn’t my best run, by far, but it got done. First, two of the good treadmills were out of order and all the rest were taken, so I figured I’d warm up on an Expresso bike. Then, I got all competitive with myself and decided that racing my fastest ghost would be a good idea for a warm-up. (I realized it was, in fact, a bad idea when I stepped off the bike and my right leg gave out.) In an attempt to shake out my mess of a leg, I hopped one a bad treadmill to walk for a bit, which seemed to help a little.

When a good treadmill opened up I made a dash for it, hopped on, and started running. (Soundtrack = Night Ripper by Girl Talk.) About a tenth of a mile into the run, I knew I had to stop. For one thing, I had hydrated a bit too well and felt like I was going to pee myself. For another, my form was off thanks to my wonky right leg. Plus, the bro next to me was grunting and groaning so loud I could hear him through my music, and it was seriously harshing my zone. I pushed myself to finish a mile, then hopped off and ran for a pee.

Happily, a few other good treadmills had opened up while I was in the loo, so I picked the one farthest from Bro McGrunty, and ran 2 more miles. They felt pretty crap, and I spent way too much of them trying to maneuver my earphone cord so that I wouldn’t keep accidentally ripping it out of my ears. Once I got that settled, I was able to get into a few brief zones before something else distracted me, or hurt, or whatever. It was a struggle to finish, but I did, and I felt awesome afterwards.

Lovely recovery - stretching, The Stick, Nuun, and strawberry milk

Lovely recovery – stretching, The Stick, Nuun, and strawberry milk

Oh yeah… did I say something about tracking my steps during GetFit too? I totally forgot to post my steps last week, so here are both this week’s and last week’s (in too many images because I had technical difficulties during Week 1…)

steps1

Week 1, part 1 (just Monday)

Week 1, part 2 (which included a dead Garmin battery)

Week 1, part 2 (which included a dead Garmin battery)

Week 2. I need to work on moving my lazy butt on the weekends!

Week 2. I need to work on moving my lazy butt on the weekends!

——

Next week looks like:

GetFit goal: 180 minutes

Mon: cross-train
Tue:
cross-train/speedwork
Wed:
run 30-35 minutes
Thu:
cross-train
Fri:
run 30-35 minutes
Sat:
rest
Sun:
run 4 miles

——

Any tips for getting my legs to go straight – hamstring stretches, maybe?

What do you think – does shoveling count as cross-training?

Do you have a favorite song (or songs) for helping make treadmill running less painful?

Nuun Year Dash, 7 February 2016

What: Virtual 5K race

Where: on the treadmill

Who: me and David Bowie*, running virtually with other Nuun fans around the country
*David Bowie did not actually run with me… obviously

Benefited: Challenged Athletes Foundation

Time: 40:42

Note: This post is a bit rambly. TL;DR? I ran a virtual race and you can see my fancy results page here. Scroll to the bottom of this post for my more substantive thoughts!

——

Last summer, Nuun hosted a virtual running/cycling race for its Nuunbassadors and sponsored athletes. Always a sucker for bling, I jumped at the chance to take part and ran my race around the Ballona Wetlands in Los Angeles (you can read my recap here):

photo(16)A few months back, I got an email from Nuun that they were hosting another virtual race, but this time it would be open to all runners and walkers, regardless of Nuun affiliation. Once again, distracted by the opportunity to get another shiny medal (and another sweet t-shirt… the one for Run Ride Hydrate (seen in the photo above) is one of my faves – so soft and fits perfectly!), I signed up immediately.

At the time I signed up, back in November, I was still in the midst of recovering from injury, and thought a virtual 5K would be a nice way to start the year – a gentle return to racing and something to look forward to. I didn’t know at the time that I would have already made a victorious return to racing, or that the 5K would clash with my training schedule… oops.

Fast forward to this past weekend: race weekend. My training plan dictated a “long” run of 2 miles – this being the first week of said plan, which is nice and gentle – and yet here I was facing a 5K race. It definitely seemed doable, but after my plethora of injuries of late I was hesitant to over-do it and send myself down another spiral of injury and resting sadness. However, I had already paid for the race, I already had the swag in hand, and not doing it seemed like a waste. So I decided to run the full 5K, but very, very gently.

...but not quite this gentle (source)

…but not quite this gentle (source)

Sunday – long run day – arrived, and I got amped for my virtual race. I donned my spiffy new Nuun shirt, hydrated properly (#nuunlove!), picked out a good playlist on the ‘pod, and shuffled off to the gym. Despite the relatively warm temps (low 40s), the sidewalks were still a slushy, icy mess from Friday’s snowstorm and I didn’t want to take any risks.

Being Super Bowl Sunday, the gym was gloriously not crowded, and I had a choice of treadmills. Huzzah! I fired up the belt and walked for 5 minutes to warm up, flipping through the channels on the treadmill TV for something I wouldn’t mind staring at. Usually I end up watching a basketball game I don’t care about, or HGTV, but the stars aligned this day and gave me the gift of a David Bowie documentary on VH1. (Although, except for the part when they explained how “Heroes” was made, I listened to my iPod instead of the documentary, since I wanted to run to music and not talking.)

Once I was warmed up, I restarted the treadmill and hit the belt running. Slowly(ish). I kept the speed set to between a 12-13-minute pace in the name of taking it easy, but holy mackerel – running a 13-minute pace on a treadmill feels just as intense as running a 9- to 10-minute pace outside! To me, anyway. I felt like I was putting in nearly the same effort as I did in recent races where I finished around 32-33 minutes, and yet this run took about 8 minutes longer. Treadmills are weird.

Anyway, as I was running and trying to figure out how I could drink water without stopping, but also without dribbling down myself or tripping/flying off the machine, I got a brilliant idea – to stick with my training plan, I’d run straight for 2 miles, then slow the belt down for a walk-and-water break, and then determine how I felt about going the remaining mile and change. That way, I’d still technically be keeping myself on the plan, while also giving myself a way to hydrate safely and (in theory) without embarrassment.

IMG_6038

2 miles with the Thin White Duke in 25:33

I hit 2 miles in just over 25 minutes, which was a little self-esteem boost since the day before I had gone 1.8 miles in the same amount of time. It’s the little things! I slowed the belt down and walked for a bit, downing some water and enjoying the breeze from the little treadmill fan, and made a mental systems check. I felt good! I felt like I could keep going, so after about a tenth of a mile I sped up again to run the last mile of the 5K.

IMG_6040

3.12 miles in 40:42

Dude. Treadmills make me feel so slow. I seriously felt like I had just put in the same effort as I did in the Dockweiler 5K where I PR’d, and yet this time around I was going so much slower. I tried not to focus on that too much though; there were a few spots during the run where I noticed how strong I was feeling, or how I’d hear a song that matched my cadence perfectly and made me feel like I was unstoppable. It felt awesome.

Plus, I had already seen a bunch of Nuun Year Dash results online, and it wasn’t like I was going to win any speed prizes, so I opted to just bask in those few moments of strength and awesomeness. I walked some more to cool down, stretched, and drove home feeling awesome. And thirsty:

Bling bling!

Bling bling!

So, after that rambly tale of my treadmill adventure, what about the race itself?

Pros:
-I love the swag. Super soft, nice-fitting t-shirts are awesome, and bling is always fun.
-I like running for charity, and the ones Nuun has chosen for their virtual races have been ones I feel good supporting.
-It’s really cool following the other runners’ exploits on social media. My facebook feed was teeming with fun photos from all over the country, and I loved getting to see the diversity of places as well as the runners/walkers themselves.

Cons:
-As much as I loved following the races of my fellow runners, the social media aspect turned into a bit of a deluge. However, this could have been easily remedied if I had chosen to unfollow the event on facebook; it was much more manageable on instagram and twitter. I felt like a bit of a spoil-sport unfollowing the event though, so I just ended up ignoring my phone put up with all the alerts.
-If you want to be eligible for prizes, you have to submit a link to your time on the results reporting page – so a link to Garmin connect, MapMyRun, Nike+, etc. If you’re like me and you ran on a treadmill, but don’t have the fancy accelerometer foot pod things to track your distance on the ‘mill, then you have no way of proving your activity. Like I said earlier, I didn’t run fast enough to be anywhere near a prize category, but it was still a bummer to be unable to submit “legit” results.

So, to sum up? Nuun – and FitFam, the virtual running organization who took care of the race logistics – puts on a fun virtual race, probably the best I’ve done. (To read recaps of my other virtual races, you can go here, here, here, or here.) Compared to the others, Nuun’s races definitely have had more of a sense of community, which is impressive given that it’s a virtual event. The others I did were basically just an excuse to get a medal… there wasn’t really any connection with other participants.

All that said, I think I’m going to hang up my virtual racing shoes, at least for now. The first three I did were honestly just a way to get more running bling, but I’ve come to feel that bling earned virtually just doesn’t feel as awesome as bling earned in person. Maybe it’s because the medal tends to arrive in the mail before the run even takes place? Whatever the reason – and not to knock virtual races at all – I think I’ve reached a place in my running where I don’t need the bling incentive to make me go out and run; I’m finally doing okay getting out there on my own, and prefer to share my races with other people (IRL, not virtually). Race day atmosphere is something you really can’t replicate virtually! I mean, never say never, but… I think I’ve officially hit the “been there, done that, got the t-shirts, next!” phase with virtual races.

What are your thoughts on virtual races – yay, nay, or eh?