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!