Friday, March 4, 2011

Back in the saddle

This morning I ran my first workout of the season, that is, in preparation for spring and summer races. Basically, it was just structured strides. 10 x ~60s hills with plenty 'o rest in between. Anyway, it went well, and I'm looking forward to getting back to racing soon. It also helps that the mornings also are getting lighter (until that meddlesome daylight savings sets us back, or forward, again), and the weather's getting warmer. The plan is to start getting in 2 workouts a week, cut back on the weekend snowboard trips, and have my first race in mid-April.

To all running gate river run next saturday, run fast!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Just Numbers

The qualifying time for US Indoor Champs last year was 8:03.00 for 3000 meters. Late in the indoor season of last year I ran a 3k where I was looking to make that time. As I crossed the finish line I could see eight-0-two-point-something on the clock. As I awaited the official time, I knew that if I saw 8:02 then there was a great chance that I ran 8:03. Turns out...I missed qualifying for US Indoors by 0.45 seconds.....8:03.45. For one year I despised that stupid little rational, finite decimal. I mean I REALLY hated it. I had nobody to blame but myself, certainly there was some point during the race that I could have pushed half a second faster. This indoor year I wasn't going to let that happen again.
The qualifying time was the same, 8:03.00. Changing my racing schedule from last year, I decided to run a 3k earlier in the season and get the qualifier out of the way. Feeling fitter than the previous year, I was ready..... 8 minutes and 3.59 seconds later, I had missed it again, by 0.59 seconds. I couldn't believe it but I was still very optimistic because it was my first race of the season and I had more chances (If anything I was encouraged). The race went out slow, another runner fell in front of me in the middle of the race, and I hadn't done anything too fast workout wise.
Well, long story short, I got two more attempts. The first was disrupted by sickness and the second was a solo try that didn't end well, still feeling a bit drained.
I believe that things happen for a reason and although I will now loath the number 59, I will look forward to better things on the outdoor track.
Paul, Jesse, and I talk about a lot of things on our runs (mostly football - Paul and I are huge Broncos fans and Jesse had the misfortune of growing up a Chiefs fan). Apart from gridiron chat, we talk about another passion, running. In all of the conversations, in all of the long runs we do together, we can only come to one conclusion - running can be tough. But everyone knows that.

P.S. Tommy, I'm glad you got to meet Pete.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Maybe I'm Finally Back...I Hope

Last week I attempted come back number five since getting injured 4 1/2 months ago and I think I am finally ready to go. I'm shocked that I am actually feeling good while running because the injury I sustained was one that comes with a very uncertain recovery period. I must say it is a pleasant surprise that I am ready to go. I had tried 4 other times to start running again with each episode lasting only a couple days before I realized I needed more time to heal. On this comeback attempt I have been going strong for 11 days now and hit 50 miles last week. I'm pretty sure its all good but it really could be derailed at any time.

Back in mid September I began having a foot pain and tried many things to get it better only to find out that it was mostly likely a stress fracture of the medial sesamoid bone on my left foot and that it could be anywhere from 8 weeks to it never healing with surgery to remove it as the only option. In each persons foot there are two sesamoid bones, they are tiny pea-size bones that are located on the bottom of your first metatarsal area just back from the big toe joint (see picture). Now the problem with these little bones, as stated above, is that once they are messed up they can become a chronic problem with many cases where healing is either very slow or nonexistent.

The time leading up to my injury was by far the best training that I have ever experienced. I had a 15 week average of 115 miles per week and a top week of 127 miles. And the best thing about these 15 weeks was that I was feeling absolutely phenomenal nearly every day and getting great quality in. It has been an incredibly disappointing and painful process to deal with since I was feeling so good and know that I was ready to have that huge breakout that it seems I have been waiting years to have.

Unfortunately the mileage did catch up to me because little did I know I had been running in neutral cushion shoes all of my life while being a pretty severe overpronator. For years I was able to get away with it while running 80, 90, or even 100 miles per week but the combination of the wrong shoes and repeated 120 mile weeks caused an overall breakdown in my foot stability and foot strike which resulted in the stress fracture. Some people think I'm an idiot for running that much especially since I'm not training for the marathon or even a half marathon but I completely disagree. Sure running more miles means diminishing returns with each mile but I have learned over the years that my weakness is my aerobic capacity so I am trying to do what it takes to make up for that. And if that means running 120 miles per week I am willing to do it. Heck, once 100% full healthy I'm hoping that I can build back up to that mileage.

After getting to a point where I could run with very minimal pain I went and visited Cody and that is how I figured out I was overpronating. He put me on the treadmill at the Boulder Running Company Store and got the video camera rolling and was able to tell right away that I was in the wrong shoes. If any of you haven't ever had yourself looked at on video I would highly recommend you head over to BRC and have them check it out, at best they will simply tell you you are in the right shoes. I've been running in the wrong shoes for years and you could be too.

So now I am left wondering what I will be able to make of this track season and I honestly have no clue. All of those miles I put in are surely still with me in regards to my longterm development. I just need to get in some consistent miles now and get back into shape. My plans are to start out focusing on the 800/1500 and if I feel like my fitness is progressing well I would like to ultimately focus on the 5k as it gets into May and June. At this point I'll be happy if I can set a few PRs during this track season, even if just barely. Then just roll on into the summer and start hitting huge miles again with a focus on having the big breakout next year.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Sacro Wedgy

So for the past year an so months I have been dealing with an imbalance in my sacrum. The pain isn't in the sacrum so you wouldn't think that this was the cause the pain is in the meaty part of my hamstring. I have tried everything to deal with it message, chiropractic and stretching. They all seem to help but the issue always come back. It hasn't been fun and the time I have spent dealing with it takes away from everything. And it ends up not just being time its money too. So here is a little tip if you are dealing with hamstring pain and cant find a way to deal with. This issue may be coming from your back and your sacrum not the hamstring itself. To help it take a look at this website and maybe even get this product.

Peaks and Valleys

I don't know if it was the good weather, the good out look on running or just the company I was with but half way through the workout today I realized how much I LOVE running.Which I am SO happy to be saying!
That may seem weird to you as we all LOVE this sport......when it is treating you well.

Let me take you back to October. Running was going so great. Workouts, races and everything about running had been so amazing to me. I went into the 10k champs thinking I was in way over my head and came away with a 41 second pr. It was awesome. I came home had a good week of training and bam. I got sick, workouts were awful and than for the first time since I started running I had two AWFUL races in a row. First the Turkey Trot and than XC club nationals. Than as runners do, my head took over and I couldn't do anything. Distraught my coaches and training partners kept telling me. "This is part of the process. You have to have valleys it can not all be peaks" Being the stubborn person I am all I heard was "BLAH BLAH BLAH" Keep in mind in the 18 months I had been training I had nothing but Peaks, I would PR in almost every race. It kept me hungry for more so I had NO idea how to deal with this valley. I tried everything. Massage, solo workouts, eating better, rolling, stretching anything I could think of that I may be missing. Until I came to the conclusion all I could do was take a week off. Not my normal week "off" of 60-70 easy miles but a whole week off. Which really scared me as I already wasn't getting in good workouts and after the week off I would only have 3 weeks until my second ever half. Tired, mad and without any other options I took the week off, ate a lot of junk food and to my surprise when I came back from that off week things seemed to start clicking again. It felt amazing to go fast again and more important to not feel like I was going to die doing it.
Lets fast forward back to now. I have had two months of really great workouts and things have been amazing (We are just going to completely forget about that little thing I did at the Air Force :) ) I have finally gotten smarter in workouts and have learned each interval should be faster than the last. Instead of my old philosophy of as fast as I can on number one and than hold on for dear life. I came to the realization that even though Corey and Tyler (two of my go to training partners) had passed me in workouts it wasn't because I was getting slower but because they too were getting faster. And as much as I HATE not being in the front chasing them has made my workouts a lot faster as well. (They would probably be mad if they knew I pretend they are females in upcoming races that I want to beat!! ) All this being said I am really excited to get into another race and am hoping that Gate River will be the start to a great year for me! Who knows if it will go good but I am optomistic because do we ever really know?
Here is to hoping this is the start of a nice long climb to the peak!

The choice

Running in and of itself isn't very complicated. You pretty much put one foot in front of the other and propel your body forward. So, why at times does running seem so complicated and so emotional? From anguish to exhilaration, running causes me a range of emotions. And oddly enough this assortment can sometimes happen in one day.

I can remember countless times where running has brought me joy. Those memories are often ones of victory or of a special time I shared with a friend. I distinctly remember the first run I did with my now husband, Tim. We have shared many a run since then but that first one will probably be a favorite forever. I can also remember running a PR in the 10K in California like it was yesterday. I felt so fast and fit and like I was just flying with nothing holding me back. I remember winning my first race in high school, and the shock I felt when no one passed me back. I also have more memories of long runs with my dad, talking about anything and everything just because we could.

On the other hand, I remember crying at the state track meet my senior year of high school because high school running was over. Another time running has brought me to tears was in Massachusetts when I ran the Falmouth Road Race. I had traveled all the way from Colorado to the east coast only to have one of the worst races I can remember having (at least up to that point). I was devastated for days and had a hard time putting things into perspective and had to have many a pep talk from my coach, my training partners and my husband before I got over that race. I remember having meltdowns, where the only emotion I felt was anger and my usual calm, un-dramatic demeanor was replaced with drama-queen like behavior where I resorted to throwing things.

Over the past few days I have been feeling that same despair, hurt and anger. This time it didn’t end in throwing objects, but rather made me analyze if running was worth the hurt. Not because of a bad race but because I felt like I faced a ultimatum—to “retire” or to hang in there. No matter what I do and how much I try to take care of my body things seem to fall apart. Training is going well and then, BAM!!, my asthma starts up again after a 9 year hiatus, or I am 90 seconds into a race and “POW” my leg seizes up thus forcing me to stop, or I start feeling awful and after blood work discover that my ferritin is low….and the list could go on. But I realized something today while I was trying to figure out if this pain, anguish and heartache was really worth it…and then I started thinking about all the positive things running has brought me. I have met more friends, visited more neat places and learned more about myself over the past 20 years. Was I really ready to throw that all away because I felt despair over my physical inadequacies that kept causing training to come to a abrupt halt? No. Part of running and choosing this path is to accept all the hard parts of this sport. It also helped me remember that when things aren’t good for so long, a good race or an enjoyable run will be so much sweeter. And those moments that haven’t happened but I know will, are memories that I am not willing to sacrifice even when things get hard.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Three Sisters

One of my favorite parks in all of Colorado is Three Sisters in Evergreen. There is something special about this mountainous park that makes each run exciting and peaceful. The trails are dirt and roam through meadow, forest, and up, or down, a couple mountains. Three Sister's seems to take away all stresses I build up from weekly training and it redirects my brain back to a more positive path. I never get tired of the scenery or the view of Mount Evans. Today was no exception.

I had the joy of running part of the run with my mom and dog. There were tons of laughs due to icy conditions that were more easily crossed by sliding on our butts. I ran roughly 17 miles, although I only needed 15, because I felt at peace and wanted to take in the scenery and clear my mind. For me, there is truly something magical about this park.