Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The best laid plans

Day 1 (yesterday) of half marathon training went swimmingly, despite the fact that I didn't wake up from my alarm because I had spent 3/4 of the night tossing and turning after getting up with my daughter in the middle of the night.

No matter.  I got home from work at 4 PM and did a nice 4 mile run with 6 stride outs after AND got dinner on the table before my husband was home with the kids.


Day 2 not so great.  My son woke up at 3:15 AM barking like a seal and gasping for breath.  I took him to the ED.  He was diagnosed with croup and we had to stay there for observation after the breathing treatment and steroids.  We arrived back home at 7 AM...just in time for me to shower and get to my daughter's meet the teacher date at 8:15AM and then to work.

OH>MY>GOD am I tired.  I don't do well on one night of little sleep, but two in a row and my eyeballs are twitching and I am semi-hallucinating.

Needless to say, I am already switching Friday's rest day to Today.

And hopefully going to bed at 7PM.


Monday, August 29, 2016

I ran 10 miles!

Last week, I got a Facebook message from B, my Boston training partner in crime. 

"Wanna run early Saturday morning?"

I was excited, but also nervous as I haven't done anything longer than a 5 mile run post injury.  I was trying to gear myself up to go 6 on Saturday.  I asked her how long she wanted to go.

"I'm thinking 10"

I confessed that I had not gone that long since June (June 12 to be exact) but that I would try.  My last run with B was a 22 miler pre-Boston that we CRUSHED in 2:45.  I was excited to see her.

I crept around my dark house at 5:30 AM and drove to her house to meet her at 6 AM, quietly texting "I'm here" so as not to wake her family.

And just like that we fell into stride and started chatting/laughing it up.  It felt great to go on a real "long" run.  We were not concerned about pace, just a relaxed, nice run.

We covered 10 miles in 1:17:41.  I should not have looked back at my last 10 mile run, but I did.  I ran 10 miles on June 12 in 1:10:56.  You wanna know how much fitness I lost due to my foot injury? There you have it.  6:45 difference.

Still, the 10 miler with B gave me confidence that I could in fact start to run longer distances.  I have been so nervous to even venture beyond 5 miles.

And with that, Half-Marathon training kicks off today!  I am following Kara Goucher's 10 week training plan she made for Oiselle Volee to start off.  I set my alarm to get out on the road this morning before work, but then I woke up at 1 with  my daughter and struggled to fall back asleep.  I am dragging today!  

Friday, August 26, 2016

Friday Links!


I am really excited to watch the New York City Marathon this November, although it will have to be recaps because it is the same date and time as my own half marathon.  So many great women runners to watch, including GWEN JORGENSEN! I am so curious to see how she will do!

Sarah Mac Robinson is also running!

NYC Marathon has helped me cope with the fact that the Olympics are over. Le Sigh.  I enjoyed reading Dr. Lesko's experience of Rio watching Oiselle athletes on her blog:

Did you see Runner's World's Top 15 running moments of the Olympics?

I enjoyed this podcast recap of the Olympics Track and Field with Malcolm Gladwell

American Women Domination

Finally, I checked Kelly Starett's book out from the library after reading this article:

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Pain, Pain Go Away

I started investigating the impact of mindset on running earlier this year, kind of by accident as we had to read Mindset for work. And, because I am more tuned into it, it seems that "the mental side of running" is all the rage lately.  Lucky me! To date, I have focused generically on "mental focus" - creating mantras, thinking positive thoughts.  I have read about the power of habit (another work book!) and therefore started practicing mantras while not racing.  I have found that these have been helpful but still not exactly right.

Then I read Mark Remy's August 2016 column in Runner's World and CLICK!  I had it.  My issue.  Pain. Suffering. Hurt. Discomfort.  I don't like it.   I can so clearly remember a conversation back in high school before a big cross country meet where one of my teammates said, "I just don't want it to hurt" and emphatically agreeing with her.  Indeed, if I reflect back on my race history - when they started to hurt, I lost it, most of the time.  I think my marathon especially suffers from this.  I mean a 5K is so quick and while it hurts, I can easily talk myself out of the pain knowing it isn't going to last too much longer.  During a marathon? I am not successful.  Out of 7 attempts at that distance, I only have 2 that I don't remember bonking at:
1) The 2006 Chicago marathon, which was my second marathon and where I dropped 38 minutes and 16 seconds off my time from my first attempt to qualify for Boston in 3:30:20.

2) The first time I ran Boston, in 2007, where I didn't care what my time was and ran entirely by feel, and had an enjoyable time (and finished in 3:33:28, which was almost exactly 3 minutes slower than my qualifying time.)

Pain Face during Race for the Bacon

Every other marathon, I distinctly remember the point at which I backed off because it hurt.  Um, how can I be in love with distance running and be unable to deal with pain?!  Easy.  Generally, I have found minor success at running good enough.  My breakthrough moments in running have come when for whatever reason I could push past the pain.  If I can learn to deal with some pain, I can easily get my 3:15 marathon goal.  I know it.  I had an amazing training cycle preparing for Boston 2016 - including a number of long runs where everything clicked and they were amazing.  I also had a number of long runs where they didn't feel right/I wasn't comfortable and I remember dwelling on that the entire run.  

Now that I am aware of this, I can more effectively work on making this common practice, right?  So say the sports psychologists anyways.

Here are some of my favorite recent readings on dealing with pain:

"There is a big difference between pain and discomfort - work on understanding why you are backing down." 

From the aforementioned Remy's World:
"Suffering is a constant.  It'll be there no matter what. Do your speed workout and you will suffer.  Put it off for weeks or months (or years) and you'll suffer.  run today and you may suffer, at least a little bit. Skip it and you'll suffer for that too.  Go get it done. you might as well choose the kind of suffering that makes you faster."

Jason Karp, via @heather_runs74 on Instagram:
"There will always be that voice inside of us that says, 'This is too hard', or 'This hurts' or 'I want to stop'. We can either let that voice get the best of us, or we can work at mastering ourselves and our emotions."

If you have any other quotes/links/etc, share them. :)

Pain Face during Acuity Health Race

Run Fast Eat Slow

Have you purchased Shalane Flanagan & Elyse Kopecky's new cookbook Run Fast Eat Slow?

I pre-ordered it because I love cookbooks, but haven't been able to make anything out of it yet because our August has been IN.SANE.

Several of the recipes are featured in the latest Runner's World and on the cookbook's website.   You can also purchase the ebook off of Amazon right now (until 8/30) for only $3.99.

I have paged through it and read parts of it and it is a beautiful book.  According to some of the social media runners I follow, the food is tasty!  Make no mistake, after the night I had, I will NOT be making any of the quinoa-based recipes!

Monday, August 22, 2016

KeenWah Kause for Keeling Over

Quinoa is the devil.

I used to eat quinoa fairly often, pre-Whole30.  It is not on the list of allowable foods for that diet so I cut it out of my diet completely for 30 days.  I didn't notice specifically that quinoa caused any problems during my 10-day reintroduction phase, but I really didn't feel great during that time period anyways.

Fast forward to last week.  I made lunch for my team at work as a fundraiser for the run we are doing next month to raise money for Children's Hospital.  One of the items I made was the chicken quinoa soup out of Runner's World Cookbook.  It was really yummy and I ate two big bowls of it.  My stomach hurt for the rest of the afternoon.  I thought I just overate.

Two days later, I had another big bowl of the same soup for lunch and same effect - painful stomach cramps, nausea.  At that point, I suspected the quinoa as the only other ingredients in the soup were chicken and veggies.  (Also, no one else who ate the soup felt ill.)

Today I purposely brought a big bowl of quinoa for my lunch to test my theory.

Unfortunately for my stomach right now, I was right.  Fortunately though, quinoa will be easy enough to eliminate from my diet.

The saponins may be to blame.  I don't always rinse my quinoa, and I have no idea if the brand I currently have is pre-rinsed.

I'm not sure how long quinoa has been bothering me.  I do know that I had a huge quinoa salad the day before the Boston Marathon and my stomach wasn't right then.  I ate a ton of quinoa while pregnant with Maggie and had a lot of nausea during the pregnancy.  This is one of those instances of retroactively trying to fit data points into the hypothesis.  Moving forward - no quinoa for me!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Two Years of 5K Data Review!

I am a data nerd so I combed through two years of 5K race data to look at my average pace at each mile mark.

The pace in the Mile 1-4 columns is the "Average Pace" data from my Garmin for the race while the Finish Time is the finish time per the official race results.  Most of the time my Garmin is off by a few tenths of a mile in distance and a few seconds in finish time compared to the official race results.

2015 was injury free for me.  I injured my foot between the Silver Lining and Acuity Health races in 2016.

My Takeaways

What was I doing starting Acuity, the first run I had in a month, at the same pace as the race I set my 5K PR in?!  Similar thoughts for Hank Aaron.   The go-out-fast-approach does have some research behind it.  My homegirl Lauren Fleshman suggests this:

"Try this next time: Run the first mile with your head, the second mile with your focus, and the third mile with your heart. In the first mile, you can’t let any emotion or excitement in at all. Start with a pace you are confident you can maintain and then relax a little bit more. Until you see that one mile marker, all you are allowed to think about is running smart. From 1-2 miles, focus on maintaining your form and start to look around you, taking a survey of which runners around you probably went out too hard, and which ones you should make your prey in the third mile. You are taking some time to strategize for the big battle, and you aren’t allowed to draw your sword until you pass the 2mile marker! The last mile, start to pick off your victims, and allow your mind to feel gratitude for how powerful and strong your body is. As soon as you can see that finish line, pretend you are Meb running down Boylston St in front of all of America and run with passion, tall and proud!"

This strategy advocates for even pace.

This article has different strategies for different runner types.  For an experienced competitive runner the "strong start, middle float, strong finish" is recommended.  I would say some of my 5Ks follow this.  Annnnnddddd some do not.

2. ...and then my second mile is slow.  Sometimes I can pull off a faster 3rd mile.  Sometimes.  (Definitely not post-injury this year!)

3. The second mile of Silver Lining SUCKS.  I recall thinking this during the actual race this year.  Hills and turns.  Hills and turns.

4. Run Tosa Run 2016 was such a good race.  I loved it during and I loved if after and I love it now.

I think this will help me set some goals for my next 5K race.

What about you - What pacing strategy do YOU follow for a 5K? Have you looked at your race data in a similar way?

Friday, August 12, 2016

Friday Links!

Apologies.  There haven't been any Friday Links in a few weeks.  My Fridays have been a little crazy lately!

I covertly tried to watch the women's Olympic 10,000 m final from my office this morning and it made me depressed.  Depressed because I am so highly suspicious of the outcome.  This link provides a good round up of post-race tweets.

Ironically, the Wall Street Journal tweeted a link to this article IMMEDIATELY post-race.  Hmmm....

There was a happy outcome of the race though - Molly Huddle set the new American Record in the 10K.  AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Another depressing side of running is the high profile homicides of three females who were running at the time of assault which has led to a lot of "x number of safety tips for female runner" articles.  This article points out the absurdity of this:

More on women's safety - have you been catcalled while running? I have!

Have a great weekend! I will be tuning in to the marathon Sunday morning.  Go Shalane, Amy & Desi!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Running Analysis Recap

Yesterday afternoon I had a running analysis done at the Froedtert and Medical College of Wisconsin Sports Medicine Clinic.  I checked in and was told I wasn't on the schedule.  Thankfully they found my appointment and I was given a form to fill out.

The form asked about running history: years running, injuries, surfaces you run on, types of workouts you regularly do, brief health history and type and age of shoes.

I then was introduced to Sara, the PT who would be working with me.  She started off by reviewing the form with me and getting more information about my running goals and more about my recent stress reaction.

The next phase was more analysis.  She watched me squat, stand on one leg, hop on one leg, squat on one leg.  She then pushed on various parts of my legs to test my strength - one of those "don't let me push down on your leg/hip/etc".

The next phase was treadmill running.  My colleague recommended that I wear shorts and a shirt that are different colors based on her experience.  I ended up wearing my booty shorts because I thought those would give the best view of everything (RUMP SHAKER, ha ha ha).  The treadmill was a Woodway.  This was my first experience running on one of these and it was definitely strange.  The belt is tracked to make it more like outdoor running.  I really liked that aspect of it.  The strange part was that there were no sides or front resulting in a very open feel which made me feel like I was going to fall off!  She wanted me running close to my normal pace for this part and acknowledged that it might feel harder at a slower pace on this treadmill.  I settled in at a 7:47 pace.  After a few minutes, she watched me from the front, side and back and then started videotaping me.  I tried to not run "perfectly" as I was worried I might since I was really self-conscious having someone watch me! I ran a little under a mile total, I would guess.

We then went back into the exam room to review tape.  This was my favorite part.  She had a form and we examined my body from head to toe while running.  The program used to video captures a lot of frames so you can view in slow motion and stop.  There is also a built in tool to measure angles your body parts make with the ground and each other.  CRAZY.

All in all, I don't do anything super concerning.  I guess this doesn't entirely surprise me. The things that I have to work on are also not surprising:

1) The biggest thing that she recommends is engaging my core while running as  I have a tendency (shown on video) to arch my lower back while running so working on NOT doing that will give me more stability and support. This goes beyond just doing core exercises (which I also need to do).  She said that you can have a really strong core but if you aren't using it when you run, then it's not doing any good.  The exercise she taught me to practice this (beyond practicing engaging core when running) is to tie a resistance band around something stable and my ankle, stand on a stool, put my hands on my hips and do a running motion with my leg while making sure my pelvis doesn't dip forward.  

2) My right knee has a slight tendency to do a medial rotation upon impact with the ground.  This could be caused by tight hip flexors but also may just be a goofy thing I do.  She wants me to practice doing a bound on my right side and focus on making my knee face forward.   This made a lot of sense to me as this is something I notice (and dislike) in all of my race photos.

3) I sometimes over stride.  This wasn't consistent on the video footage but occurred often enough that she pointed it out.  "Keep your feet under you".  I have definitely suspected that I do this, especially during speed workouts.  My new hypothesis for why I have a stress reaction is all of the speed work I was doing earlier this spring/summer - likely over striding through most of it.

While we were reviewing the video footage, she gave a lot of helpful tips and pointers regarding where you want different parts of your body to be during running.  I was happy that for most of it, I was in the "acceptable" range.  I was expecting my hips to be weaker than they actually were.  I had no "hip dip" when watching me run from the back.

The session closed with her teaching me the two exercises and then I was on my way.  I can opt to have a 30 minute follow up appointment to use however I choose whenever I want.

I ran 3 miles last night and really tried focusing on all the stuff she said, mostly on the core engagement.  It felt really unnatural!  I am going to try to do more of the core sections in the Hit Reset book as those do a great job of explaining what muscles to engage while running.

Oh! And I found out last night, once and for all, that I am a heel striker, although more of the front part of the heel (trending towards midfoot) than the back.  I had always wondered about that!

Bottom Line: I recommend this experience!  It is $100, and I was able to use my health savings account (HSA) debit card to pay for it.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Hank Aaron State Trail 5K Race Recap


JUST squeaked in under 20 with this one!

Saturday morning I ran the Friends of Hank Aaron State Trail 5K.  One of the leaders within my employer's organization formed a team so it was a free entry fee for me!

I felt really crappy most of last week, culminating in some ear pain on Friday which caused me to stop by urgent care on the way home from work.  The NP barely got the otoscope in my ear when she announced, "Yikes! You definitely have an ear infection."  A stop by the pharmacy and I was on course to have amoxicillin 2x a day for the next 10 days.  I was surprised at how quickly I started feeling better after getting just one dose in!

I woke up on Saturday and still felt tired, but no ear pain.  I had a breakfast of two over easy eggs with spinach and avocado and half a water bottle of Nuun Energy.  After breakfast, my family packed up and headed to the race.

We got to the race about 30 minutes ahead of the start - plenty of time for me to get a warm up in.  Except that I didn't.  I still felt tired and out of sorts so I decided that I was just going to do the race and let it be what it was.

We started up at the finish when a woman next to me asked how fast I was going to run because she wanted to gauge where she was in line.  I told her that I would maybe run it in the mid-upper 19s.  She tried convincing me to move to the front but I stayed where I was (still near the front but not at the line).

The gun went off and I started running.  I was grateful that my ear pain was nonexistent as I was wondering if the pounding during running would affect it.  About halfway through the first mile, I found myself running with another woman.  We were the lead females.  The pace felt comfortable, but at one mile, my watch beeped: 6:04.  Ok, so that is too fast.   My goal for mile 2 was to stay with the other woman if I could.  I was able to do that and our second mile was 6:25.

I felt really tired and hot by the time I was running the third mile.  I just wanted to be done with the race.  I ended up pulling ahead a bit and I didn't have any idea of how far back the woman had fallen.  I was essentially running by myself - time for some major snot rocket action.  Felt so much better to get those sinuses cleared!

I was still really tired so I checked my watch - 2.4 miles.  I then checked my watch every 0.1 miles.  That last 0.7 miles took forever.  You cross a small bridge and turn left right at mile 3 and so I tried to push it in for the final 0.1 mile.  I could see the clock ticking as I was running toward the finish...19:49, 19:50, 19:51 and I tried to just get there before I saw 20.  My final time was 19:58 and I maintained the first place female spot!  The second place female finished in 20:09; the third in 20:35.  I spoke with both women for a bit afterwards.  The second place female injured her hamstring only a few days prior!  She was also in my same age group (35-39).  We were commiserating at how hot it was.  The third place woman (in 40-44 age group) got second last year with a 19:46 (19:40 won it last year) so we were definitely slower than last year's field.  Go upper 30s/lower 40s age group!!!!
My efforts were rewarded with a $50 gift card to Bartolotta Restaurants.  Date night is on me, ha ha ha.

The event was really nicely done.  1,048 people finished the race, 552 of which were women. The post-race party included Sprecher root beer floats, grilled burgers and Collectivo Coffee.  I definitely plan on doing it in future years. There was a lot for my kids to look at while I was running.  While my time wasn't the greatest, I was happy with the race given my coming-off-of-injury, saddled-with-ear-infection-and-inflamed-sinuses status.

My foot was feeling better this weekend.  I think part of the issue was that my calves have been really tight.  I foam rolled them daily over the weekend.

This summer has me feeling old, like I'm falling apart!  Still trying to feel grateful that I am running at all, even if it isn't up to what I want it to be and not nearly as consistent as I wanted to be.

I have no 5Ks left this least that I am registered for.  I have an 8K in mid-September and a half-marathon in the first week of November.  Depending on how I am feeling, I may add to this list but I think it will be good to have a few weeks off from racing.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Race Drop

My BFF and I are not doing the 5K race tonight.  We are under a heat advisory and I slept all of a few hours last night, and still have my sinus infection.  I may be ready to go to doctor for this thing.  I am neti-potting, taking Sudafed, and blowing my nose like crazy but still feel like my head is full and in a fog.

My foot still feels off.  I ran 3 miles last night and it felt ok.  It feels like it is asleep all of the time - so not painful, just not "normal".  It never felt like this at any point yet so I'm not really sure what to make of it.

Blah.  I need a nap.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Some Mini Updates

Gait Analysis
I was originally supposed to have my gait analysis on Friday July 29.  Unfortunately, I had to reschedule this to Tuesday August 9 due to a family funeral.

I am halfway through the lifespan of my Adidas Energy Boost 3s and I have done a few runs in my new Mizuno Sayonara 3.  I like them.  Someone on the Oiselle Facebook page alerted to me to the fact that Amazon had super price cuts on my Adidas Energy Boost 2s!  So I bought a pair of those.  I do well with 3 pairs of shoes in my training rotation and I am glad to have three pairs that I like.  (My last rotation included some Mizuno Wave Runners that I was not the biggest fan of.)

I am trying to sell my Brooks Pure Flow 3s that I ran 4 miles in and hated.  Unfortunately I bought them on clearance so I could not return them to the running store.  (If you're interested, leave a comment!)

My doctored up Superfeet insoles seem to be working well.  I switch these to each shoe.

I don't think that I ever provided a Whole 30 wrap up.  Having been removed from it for a few months, I have to say that I am really glad that I did it, even though I hated it during.  Generally, I am trying to stick to a paleo diet as much as possible and my skin seems to be agreeing with this.  I fell off the wagon and had several days of disgusting eating and promptly had a huge breakout fest on my face.  (You know it's bad when your mom emails you with the subject "Acne" and the message, "I saw it's back.  What happened?"). 

I did return to Nuun hydration, although I bought some Gen UCan products (thanks Elizabeth!) to try as I ramp up half-marathon training.  I actually moved to RxBars though instead of Picky Bars.  I still have a Picky Bar once in a while but really prefer RxBars. (My kids are Picky Bar freaks though so I will still be on that train!) I bought some Primal Kitchen Dark Chocolate Almond Bars off of Thrive Market through an intro deal and those were so yummy.  I have to say that while I still like sugar, I am not nearly as sugar crazed as I was pre-Whole30 and a lot of stuff still tastes way too sweet to me.

The biggest long-lasting change is breakfast.  I have continued having my Whole 30 breakfast of eggs + leftover veggies and it has made a huge difference.  I no longer have a ton of snacks before lunch.  I have to say that all of that "whole 30 is a lifestyle change" has rang true with me, even though it didn't really feel like it while I was doing the program.

This cold of mine is hanging on.  I am at the point where I just am dealing with lots of snot, mucus and post-nasal drip that gets caught in my throat.  YUMMY!  Hopefully it will be gone gone in a few days.

My foot has been a little achy since Sunday night.  At about mile 4.76 of my 5 mile run it started to feel a little off.  Not painful, just off.  I am trying not to freak out.  I skipped my morning run today to give it some more rest.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Looking Back on July & Looking Ahead to August

I started July in a boot and ended with a five mile run.  Not bad!

Total Mileage: 34.54 miles
60.4% decrease from July 2015

I am happy with this mileage.  Something is better than nothing!

My goals for August are really to slowly build back some endurance and mileage without re-injuring myself. I have 3 races on the calendar:

8/4 West Bend Race for the Columns.
My BFF and I have ran this race every year of it's existence AND it's on her birthday.  Double fun!

8/6 Friends of Hank Aaron State Trail 5k
I joined my employer's team for this.  Free race entry and a new-to-me race.  Double fun!

8/28 Nuun Challenge Dash
Oiselle WI formed a team for this event.  I think I signed up for the virtual 5K event.

Anyone doing any fun races this month!