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
Man, my weekend step counts are pathetic.
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
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)
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:
Trail around the lagoon
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
Wed: run 30-35 minutes
Fri: run 30-35 minutes
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.