Let’s just call it LessonS Learned

I sat here earlier today, icing my knee, and wrote an absolutely beautiful, funny, (dare I say?) epic post about this morning’s four mile run.
There were lessons along each and every mile.
There were lessons about pace.
There were lessons about pain.
There were lessons about the human experience. (Couldn’t make that start with a ‘p’.)
Then, at the very end, there was a lesson about the importance of writing blog post drafts in Wordpad, Notepad, or Word rather than directly in the browser window because one little mis-click and *poof* (which does start with ‘p’) it’s all gone!
*le sigh*
Yes I tried ctrl + z.
Yes I tried my browser’s Back Button.
Yes I tried seeing if it had saved as a “Draft”.
None of the above worked.
Nothing.
Zero.
Zip.
Zilch.
In honor of Cinco de Mayo: Nada!

So.
The RDCV (Reader’s Digest Condensed Version) is this:
Mile 0 – Mile 1: I ran along with HCRP (there’s no wikipedia page for him – he’s my little secret) and kept up!
Pace for Mile One: 10:44 min/mile

Mile 1 – Mile 2: I continued on my own after walking a couple dozen feet just after crossing the one mile mark. I made it to 1.5 miles, walked a few feet then continued to the 2 mile mark which was my turn-around point.
Pace for Mile Two: 11:11 min/mile

Mile 2 – Mile 3: I slowed to a walk, took a couple sips of water, and started back running. I got about a quarter of a mile when I felt It.
“It” being a major league, tears-in-your-eyes, panic-inducing twinge in Ye Olde Knee.
I slowed way down to a near crawl-paced walk, stopped to stretch, walked a bit further, resisted the urge to panic and text HCRP and say “I’m never gong to run again!” and as I went along tried to figure out exactly where the wheels fell off my run.
And then.
It hit me.
I hit the two mile mark at 21 minutes 54 seconds (I knew this because the nice Endomondo Lady told me so when I got there). Some quick math told me this was an average 11 minute mile with fairly little walking.
This.
Was.
Too.
Fast!
Entirely too fast a pace – which meant my feet were landing hard on that pavement – for my third week back running in two months.
Well Shazam Andy!
It is a previously proven fact that a twelve minute mile with built-in recovery walking intervals is a good, reasonable, doable pace for me to run a sustained distance. I have run as much as ten miles at that pace and with walking intervals.

We have identified The Problem.
We have identified The Solution.
We have identfied The ‘Nother Problem.
What’s a twelve minute per mile pace and how do I know when I’m running it?
I am great at following another person’s pace. I can – and will – follow it until I just can’t follow any longer. (Yes, I realize the pathology and recognize it as a lifelong pattern having nothing to do with running. Hush. That’s a whole ‘nother blog for a whole ‘nother day.)

So there I was, nearing the end of Mile Three and I hear coming up behind me this faster than a walk but not really a run sounding pace. Since I was schlumping along at a slow walk (and grateful that I was no longer semi-limping or feeling pain) it wasn’t long before I was passed and in that slow flash I saw My Pace moving away from me along the path.
Pace for Mile Three: 16m:27s
Endomondo put a turtle on this leg of my run. But I disagree with this assessment.  I would say this was the mile I got the most out of.

Mile 3 – Mile 4: Since My Pace had overtaken me right at the beginning of Mile 4 I had a good quarter mile to study it and ingrain it in my head. At the 3.25 mile point Ye Olde Knee was showing no signs of pain, and before it was too far ahead of me I wanted to try out my newfound pace.
And.
It worked!
I jog/ran the second quarter mile of Mile 4, walked the third 1/4, and finished running the last 1/4.
Pace for Mile Four: 14m:54s 

I stretched, waited for HCRP to finish his six miles and cool down then it was home to shower, put on fresh duds, and ice Ye Olde Knee.

And put together a playlist for my ipod that will keep me at that 12:00 minute per mile pace.

Today’s Stats:
Distance: 4.07 miles
Duration: 54m:07s
Avg. Speed: 13:17 min/mile
Calories: 596 kcal (I was robbed!)

Wha’ ha’ happen waaaas . . .

Tonight’s post title brought to you courtesy of my sons and how they would preface things they were ‘fessing up to that they knew I was going to be mad about in an effort to soften me up with humor.

Now.
On to the topic at hand.

Last Saturday was my first run post hamstring strain/Runner’s Knee Incident.
I felt good.
I was excited.
And it showed!
It showed in our first three minute run interval timing out at about 10:36 minutes per mile (our normal pace is right at a 12:00 mile). And continued for the next three or four running intervals when my HCRP kept having to tell me “Pull it back! Pull it back!” when me being several paces ahead of him (which never happens!) didn’t send the signal.

Oh, those first three miles felt AH-MAZ-ING!
Everything was working grrrrreat!
Lungs – check!
Legs – check!
Lungs and legs – check, check, and double-check!
Right up to the 3.5 mile mark when it stopped feeling amazing, great, and working.
Yep!
That would be My Left Knee.
The same My Left Knee that gained its fame in my February 9th Post.
The one I had been dutifully treating with R.I.C.E., hating that ‘R’ part most of all.

And the fact is that the failure wasn’t my knee. The failure was all mine.
I got ahead of myself.
Instead of getting back to running on the more forgiving surface of a treadmill, I hit a road run!
Instead of setting out on a three mile road run – I set out to do six straight off the couch (stretching and some light yoga notwithstanding). And, in fact got so far ahead of myself that we were “going for seven”!
Instead of wearing the compression sleeve I had credited with the speedy recovery/rehab of my Runner’s Knee – I ‘bare-kneed’ it and ran sans-support.
Big.
Freakin’.
Mistake(s)!
I ended up hobbling from the 3.5 mile turn-around mark of our run back to where a cross-street met the trail and sitting there waiting for Rich to finish his (our) run, get the car, and drive back to pick me up.


I didn’t post about this last weekend because . . . well . . . wha’ ha’ happen waaaas . . . we had dinner plans with friends and even coming home and showering quickly we got there twenty minutes late.

Then, well, on Sunday we had church and then we got home and I had to make Sunday dinner, and really needed to spend time with Rich (HCRP), and hey! The Amazing Race was on!

Monday I was actually on the couch – when I wasn’t in the bathroom – all day with some sort of ‘intestinal disfortitude’ (read: stomach bug/something I ate).

Tuesday – in addition to being My 47th Birthday! – I was doing laundry and cleaning the house in preparation for our trip to Columbia, South Carolina to attend my oldest (step)son’s Army Boot Camp Graduation. So, really, there was No Time To Write.
Right?
Of course right?

Wednesday and Thursday, well those were All About The Benjamin.
And his wife and their baby.
So really, again, No Time To Write.

Lies!
All of it LIES!!
I just didn’t want to write because – as we Southerners are wont to say – I’m askeered.
I’m afraid to even try running again because I know the minute I feel that twinge it means my run is O-V-E-R.
I’m afraid that if that twinge comes One-Too-Many Times my running days are O-V-E-R before they have even got going good.

I want – like I haven’t wanted anything since I wanted to give birth to a healthy baby in 1988 – to finish this half-marathon we have coming up on March 18th.
I wanted to run 80% of it doing the run 4:walk 1 intervals we’ve been training with.
I wanted to finish the race in less than three hours. Maybe not much less, but less nonetheless.
I wanted to finish the race hand-in-hand (literally, actually holding hands) with my HCRP.

Well.
Some of that isn’t going to happen.
Oh, rest and read assured, that I will participate in and finish this race.
I won’t run 80% of it.
I won’t finish in less than three hours.
And I won’t finish it hand-in-hand with my HCRP.
But I have a plan.

I’ll be running the race using our accustomed 4:1/Run:walk intervals; however, I’ll be running two miles then walking one throughout the duration of the race. I sincerely hope that makes sense.
But.
If it doesn’t, and because this is my running blog, allow me to elaborate.
Miles 1 & 2 – Run 4 minutes:Walk 1 minute.
Mile 3 – Walk.
Miles 4 & 5 – Run 4 minutes:Walk 1 minute.
Mile 6 – Walk.
Miles 7 & 8 – Run 4 minutes:Walk 1 minute.
Mile 9 – Walk.
Miles 10 & 11 – Run 4 minutes:Walk 1 minute.
Mile 12 – Walk.
Mile 13 to Finish – Run 4 minutes:Walk 1 minute.
And I will finish that .1 r-u-n-n-i-n-g!

But for tomorrow’s run, I’ll be doing that on a treadmill setting out to do four miles with the option to do six using the aforementioned half-marathon running plan.
I miss running.
I miss running more than 3.5 miles.
I want to run ten miles again.
And.
I.
Will.

Back in my laces again

Both my hamstring and knee have “been pain free” for three days now both with and without compression support.  Therefore, It’s time to get back on the road.  Or treadmill.  The jury’s still out on where exactly it is that I’m going to test the rehabbedness of my leg.

The recently discovered Treadmill Hater in me is jumping up and down chanting “Hit The Road!  Hit The Road!”  The part of me who still remembers the agony of limping along for-what-seemed-like-ever a week ago Thursday night keeps raising her hand from the back of the classroom saying “Ummm…  What if ‘It’ happens again and you’re miles away from the car and have to do that limping/wincing/stabbing pain thing again?!  Huh?  What about that Miss Road Hitter?”  What we have heayuh is a failyuh to reach a decision.

So.
I’m doing what any intelligent, level-headed, human being would do: I’m letting the weather be my guide!
If it’s cold and rainy that’s my “sign” that tomorrow afternoon’s six miles (with the possibility of expanding to eight) will take place on the (dreaded) treadmill.  Thank God for Audiobooks!
If it’s only cold, but not rainy, we’ll be hitting our favorite local running/biking trail.
I think that’s a perfectly reasonable ‘coin toss’.

I’m both excited and a little nervous about this whole thing.
I WANT to be running again, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little afraid of feeling that “twinge” at the back of my knee again.  I’m at T-minus 29 days and counting to my first Half Marathon and I really want to run more of it than I walk.

It’s going to be just fine Julianne.
That’s what I keep telling myself.

What to do? What to do?

There’s knitting.
However, much to the chagrin of my maternal grandmother I’ve not ever been able to get the knack of that.  And really, how much cardio elevation does one get from knitting?

No, I’m talking about what to do exercise-wise while my knee rehabs.  (Which knee, by the way, is feeling better today.  No more stabbing pain.  Thankfully.)  I have a number of things I’ll be implementing to get back into running form and stay that way.

  1. R.I.C.E.  Rest.  Ice.  Compression.  Elevation.  The Rest will be the hardest part.
  2. On the advice of my friend Tonia, who is also a fellow (and far more experienced) runner, and a certified trainer, I’m getting a foam roller.  I’ve found a website that offers not only good advice on use of said roller, but also some other exercises that will help.
  3. Yoga.  I play at Yoga, but don’t really practice it regularly.  It’s time to correct that.  I have no small number of Yoga DVDs so I’ll be making Yoga a part of my nightly, pre-bedtime routine.
  4. As much as they bore me to tears, I’ll be using the recumbent bikes at the gym to stay in some semblance of cardio conditioning.  I find it difficult to consider any exercise one can read while doing actual exercise . . .
  5. Cross/Weight Training.  I understand the value of cross training, in particular weight training, for running.  Before taking up running last summer the last actual exercise I did and enjoyed was weight training.  True story.  I’ve been putting off adding weight training to my current regimen for a couple reasons: I wanted to get really and truly vested in running; and I was a little hesitant to add it for fear of injury.  I think we all see how that worked out!

So, I have a plan.

I’ve also had a suggestion/request for ‘content’ here.  Back on this post I got the following comment: Considering your other topics, how about more on your nutritional intake around race time, and daily life? I would like to see how you balance diet and exercise- picking the right calories for maximum energy. A comparison of home-created meals vs. packaged foods would be a bonus.  Which I think is a brilliant ‘use of space’ given that with taking up running I’ve also revamped and ‘customized’ my diet to both “fuel the machine” and drop some of those excess pounds and ounces.

My family, and likely a few of my friends, call me “The Food Nazi”.  I am constantly expounding the virtues of whole grains, lean proteins, carbs from fruits and veggies, and my predilection for referring to artificial sweeteners as “Rat Poison” has actually become a running joke with my co-workers.  (Just today one of the girls made reference to getting her “Rat Poison Coffee” after procuring a packet of sweetener that isn’t found in nature.)  I don’t buy or use margarine, and with a very few, carefully chosen exceptions we eat almost no pre-prepared/packaged foods (much to the chagrin of certain under-30 members of our household).  Of course it helps that I love to cook!

So I’ve decided to use this ‘running down time’ to “restructure” this blog a bit and start sharing the other elements of this whole venture here as well.  Starting with the fuel that keeps the machine running when all the wheels are rolling right!

After all, but “most read” post to date wasn’t about any of my runs – not my first 5K as a runner, not my first ten mile run – no that “most read” post was my product review of bras.
Go figure!
Let’s see what some posts about food and eating habits do for the place!

10 in 2: We Finished It RUNNING!

I recently had a comment saying that the liked my “I’ve never run ‘X’ miles posts every few runs.  Well, tonight’s is another one.

Today we ran TEN FREAKIN’ MILES!!  Everybody together now: 
I HAVE NEVER RUN TEN MILES (freakin’ or otherwise) IN MY LIFE!

I don’t know about anybody else, but I certainly feel better having got that out of my system!

This was our run.
Before you get all impressed by that elevation chart down there, please understand this:  Between Miles 1.5 and 8.5 we’re running on a local running/biking trail that is essentially flat.  The mapping program – ALL of them – picks up on the terrain on either side of the trail.  Our elevation change really weren’t all that impressive for most of the run.  It was just l-o-n-g!

And painful.
These are our “Splits”.
As explained to me by my HCRP (husband/coach/running partner) “splits” show your speed/minutes per mile for each individual mile of a run and show how consistent/inconsistent a runner is at maintaining a particular pace.  This is – I am learning – very important information to have.
Back to the Splits…
As you can see we were pretty consistent with our times with the notable exceptions of miles 5 and 8.  Let me tell you what happened there.

Mile 5:
My left
hamstring tightened up like an over-wound wristwatch spring so we had to stop completely for a good couple minutes so I could stretch, as well as walking an entire two minutes in that stretch.  It got better, but never “good”.  In addition, my right shoulder tightened up just as severely.  At first I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why.  Early in my running I realized that I have a tendency to ‘bunch’ my shoulders up which causes muscle tension pretty much everywhere.  Once I realized that – which actually happened during a tai chi class – I have made a conscious effort at ‘dropping’ my shoulders and keeping them, my arms, and hands (actually in reverse order of effect) loose and relaxed while I run.  It finally dawned on me that it was a sympathetic reaction to the tightness of the hamstring on the opposite side of my body.  You never realize how much a single part of your body impacts your run until it isn’t acting right!

And I developed a blister on my right foot just where my foot starts arching up past the ball of my foot.  That’s where I got the first blister I ever had and – ill-fitting shoes aside – if I’m going to get a blister that’s where it’s going to be.  The most aggravating part about the blister is the fact that I was wearing $14 running socks and $120 running shoes – that I’d been fitted for at a local running store no less – and still got a flippin’ blister!  I coulda done that in Dollar Store socks and WalMart tennies!

Mile 8:
Ye Old Hamstring kicked back in, whatever the muscle is at the top of the leg where the thigh and hip come together on my right leg started screaming at me, my left knee added its dulcet tones to this little symphony of pain, my shoulder tightening was giving me a headache, and frankly I was tired!  So we walked a good two minutes, and Rich was completely willing – even suggested – that maybe I just needed to walk out the last 1.5 miles.  And he would totally have done that to avoid the possibility of me doing permanent damage.
I thought about it for about half a second before the thought of having to come here and admit that I walked the entire last two miles of my first ten mile run hit me and frankly that pissed me completely off at myself.  Oh heck no (remember, I gave up profanity for the new year…)!  I was not finishing my first ten mile run walking.  I had not busted my butt since last July to WALK the end of my first really long run!  If I wanted to WALK I could have been doing that all along!
So we took off running and even with a couple extended (by 30 seconds each) walk intervals we finished RUNNING!  Tired and sore but RUNNING!
I came home and bee-lined it to our (wonderful, fabulous, I could just about live in it) jacuzzi tub, added a generous scoop of epsom salts with eucalyptus and soaked for a good 40 minutes til the water started cooling off.

Now.
I’m sore.  Make no mistake about that.  And my blister has a blister.  But I just ran TEN FREAKIN’ MILES people!  There’s gonna be soreness.
There will be soreness next weekend when we increase our distance to eleven miles, and the week after that when we increase to 12.  And most assuredly after our Half in March.
But there are no injuries – blistered blisters notwithstanding.

And by God, there was no walking to the end of that run either!