Friday, September 30, 2011

my first mile.

It may have taken me 46 minutes, but I went my first mile ever yesterday. Swimming. On my third attempt out at lap swimming in oh... you know... about four years, I swam a mile. No complaints. I don't care that it took me so long, it felt wonderful. Like I mentioned before, I decided to hop back in the pool seeing how my hip is grumpy at running. I forgot just how much I love swimming. The instant I swim those first few strokes, I just feel at 'home.'

I've always been a water bug, I don't even remember learning to swim. Although I'm pretty sure my Grandpa taught me in our backyard pool, or maybe it was my dad. Or both. I don't know. I've just always swam. Our family loves the water, we spend a lot of time on the lake together. Skiing and swimming and playing. Being in water for me is natural. And comfortable. And far easier on my body than running.

I plan to keep up the swimming, going about twice a week. Although I'm itching to get back in the water for some laps, I'm trying to temper my desire and take it easy. It makes it that much more enjoyable when I jump in the pool. I think the reason I love it so much is because when I swim laps I get into a zone that's even more focused and far more zen than running (i rarely feel zen when running). My brain shuts off and I just.... swim. It's so relaxing. I'm not in there competing with anything but seeing how far I can go. Even swimming that mile yesterday? I felt like I could have gone two miles. And when I hopped out of the pool, my somewhat tough week had melted away.

I'm not saying this to beef myself up, at ALL. I'm just sharing how swimming makes me feel... which is wonderful. I even love the lingering smell of chlorine (despite showering after) on my skin the rest of the day. Although, maybe the ease of it just means I need to swim harder! Or maybe it just means swimming is my thing. Clearly I'm not a speedster or stellar swimmer. But I do love it. And feel like I'm a swimmer who's been trying to fit into the running world. It's just the most natural sport I've ever done, honestly. Running was never natural for me. I feel almost the same about the bike, it's more natural for me than running. But that's a different story for a different day! And yes, there is a triathlon in my very near future. I'll be dipping my cheeto-like toes into the tri world in November. With THIS GIRL, who just moved back home, by my side. BONUS. She is a seasoned triathlete, thank goodness!

And the thing is, writing about swimming and biking... well, I've always thought it was un-interesting, boring and lame. So I probably won't write about it a lot. For some reason running is more interesting to me, in regard to reading and writing about it. That's just me.

For now, I'm going to attempt my FIRST run in nearly three weeks later today. I have no idea how far I'll go, I'm just going to go run and limit myself to an hour. I do have 8 miles, part of which is a 5k, on tap tomorrow with the girls. I can't totally neglect the fact I'm running a half marathon in a week. I need to get my running legs back!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

new obnoxious kicks.

Interwebs I snagged myself a brand spankin' new pair of obnoxious kicks, to go along with THESE. This time I went with bright green and what I can only describe as hyperspace hot pink. Because in real life the pink on these shoes is brighter than neon. And I couldn't think of a better term than 'hyperspace'. And it. Is. Awesome. (although the laces kinda look orange in the picture, they aren't).

Drum roll please.

No really. Did you do a drum roll?  For reals. Do one. Right now.


I will be wearing said obnoxious kicks in the Prairie Fire Half Marathon in about a week. My hip is doing significantly better. I've been walking, swimming and biking (more on that later) since taking a full week off after peaking at a long run of 19 miles and then dealing with my crapped out hipster. And doing all of the prior pain free. It doesn't even hurt to stand on my left leg anymore, this is a definite improvement. Because, people.

I can put pants on. By myself. Without holding onto my bed. SUCCESS! And yes, I raise my arms in the air every morning now and scream 'success!!!!!!!!' after putting on my pants.

While I'm a bit concerned that my running ability has been diminished by a lack of running the past few weeks, I'm hoping my cross training and those long runs will carry me through comfortably in the half mari. I have no intentions of getting a PR. But I do hope to maintain a fairly decent pace and come in under two hours. I'll be doing a lil' bit o' race tune-up Saturday morning at the annual Rosstoberfest 5k, yet another race that runs down my street and past my house.

So that's that. I have obnoxious new shoes. And I will run a half marathon in them.  Does life get much more exciting than that? I thought not.

Monday, September 19, 2011

three weeks to prairie fire. trying not to sneeze.

You know it's a good old fashioned hip strain when you sneeze and it hurts. And you wince every time you get up, or go down stairs, or lift your leg... and then you brace yourself for another sneeze. Apparently I am 80. Prairie Fire is in three short weeks and whether or not I'll be running in it is up in the air. Running the half that is. The full marathon? Notagonnahappen. And it's okay.

For now, it's time to wipe the slate clean of those three marathons I had planned this fall. Oh ambitious young grasshopper, you'd think I would learn. Right?! Not so much. If my hip is in shape for it, I'll run the Prairie Fire half, if not, I'll spectate. From my front yard. And wait at the finish line for my pals then host a celebration at my house afterwards.

So that's that. No marathon for me this year. The bright side in this is that I love half marathons, and I'll continue running those. They don't tear me up. Maybe I'll start swimming. Maybe I'll bike. Maybe I'll try some triathlon's. Or maybe I'll just eat Cheetos and Nutter Butters and watch trashy TV. Who knows. I'm not making any plans of any sort. Although Cheetos are REALLY good... Now I want some Cheetos. For now, I'm just gonna roll with what feels right.

Clearly I don't have any training to report. I did some yoga last week. Um...ouch. But after plenty of rest this weekend and more physical therapy (including ultrasound and e-stim) my hip is feeling much better and I have the clear to do some yoga again. Seeing how my legs are going nuts, you better believe I'm plopping my mat in that yoga studio at 12p sharp today and enjoying every second of it!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

beyond bruises and astym.

Right. So it's no secret I'm a bruised up leopard like of a runner right now. It turns out, that all the junk the resulting bruises from ASTYM and deep tissue work, on top of that fantastic 19 miler Saturday allowed a hip strain to show it's true colors. The other junk was covering it up, and while it was there a little under the surface, those 19 wonderful miles sent it over the edge in to pure pain.

Imagine a knife being stabbed into your hip (front and side) every time you took a step, lifted your leg, or moved. That's pretty much what I'm dealing with. It's again time to re-evaluate my marathon. After three hours of tears and turmoil and thinking and evaluating there were some decisions made. Maybe I will run a marathon, maybe I won't. At the very least I will run the half. And whatever will be will be. It may be time I just let go of the marathon and focus what I'm good at. Running half marathons and shorter distances, and supporting other people in their running endeavours. Time will tell. I'm open to wherever I'm supposed to be and doing whatever I'm supposed to be doing.

For now, I'm puffy and bruised up today, but it's all good. I had some great treatments this morning at PT and while the pain is still there, I'm hopeful I'll return to running soon. More lessons learned. More tweaking to my running. More injuries behind me. But healthier and happier, every day. It's a process for me. I'm learning. The important thing is that I'll get back to running and be ready to pummel some races. Or maybe just run alongside some of my favorite people in the world (like my sisters, and this girl), supporting them in their new running adventures. Either way, deep down I'm a happy girl. And it's all okay.

And look at it this way, if I wasn't always getting injured and growing and learning and being all dramatic... what the hell would I write about on this blog?!  That's what I thought. So it's agreed, at least I have endless topics to blather on about to the blahgesphere...

Monday, September 12, 2011

four weeks to prairie fire. a turkey or a crane.

Despite the on-going hip/IT band/quad/hamstring my left leg is enduring, I am still running as much as possible. With my goal 'm' time changed I am not worried or stressing out about the marathon as I have in the past. We are doing our long runs at a pace very near to where we want to run the marathon, so that in and of itself is comforting. And no, it's not at a pace that I'm pushing, it's a very comfortable, easy pace for a long run. We talk the entire time, so we are running easily enough for us to chatter non-stop.

While the long runs are going quite well, it's my weekday runs that are hurting me. Having two treatments a week in PT means that I'm swollen and bruised during the week, and good to go by the weekend. So I'm managing the best I can, squeezing in 4-6 milers as comfortably as possible Monday - Friday.  I wish I could do more than that, but the pain isn't worth it.

That said, we ran 19 miles on Saturday, and I'm pretty stinking satisfied with it! It's one of the best long runs I've ever had. I love that I am training with Shellers and Katie (who is only doing the half at PF) and that we can carry each other when needed. It seems when one of us is having a bad run there is another one of us there to pick the other up to keep her going. It's what running buddies are for! Our last long run will be this Saturday topping out at 20 miles, then our taper includes a half marathon, and a 5k (+ some miles) the week before our big 'm'.

In other news, we have been mixing up our long run routes the past few months, none of us enjoy running the same route over and over. So we ran quite the path on Saturday that led us through a good chunk of the city and then landed us in a big nature preserve/park where we got to run on quiet shaded paths through prairie grasses and all manner of nature. In fact we spotted some Turkeys (or Cranes.... that issue is still up for debate) during our run.

Maybe you can tell which they are? We are sticking to Turkeys, SOMEONE else thinks they were Cranes. But he is a boy. And wasn't there. So clearly we are right. He is wrong. Or maybe you, the interwebs, should decipher. What do you think, they are the little grey things toward the top of the picture in the green scrub.

*turkeys or cranes?*

Week 12 Training
Monday - 3 miles
Tuesday - 4 miles
Wednesday - Yoga
Thursday - 5 miles
Friday - Rest
Saturday - 19 miles
Sunday - Rest

Total = 31

Friday, September 9, 2011

I Am Leopard.

And shameless. Pictures never do it justice, the bruises I'm developing from my second ASTYM treatment. My bruises are quite spectacular, and they look like I'm channeling a leopard. Random aside: what noises to leopards make? Do they meow? Growl? Do leopards purr, I wonder?  If they do, I'd be purring right now because my leg may look horrific, but man is it feeling better!

Regardless, the above splotches on my quad and inner thigh (yes those spotty patches are bruises, hard to tell) are the result of ASTYM; well the second treatment, the first treatment bruises aren't going public... well maybe... for a fee. So. Everyone handles treatment differently (i.e. level of bruising and swelling). I bruise a lot, and swell some. But it's very manageable. The pain is the payoff in this case. Literally. The good news is all those little spotter-spots? That is my damaged tissue thanks to all that speedwork this spring. Clearly I can work hard to run faster, but if I neglect my legs during my phases of speedwork, the results aren't good.

The great news here is that it's not like I have some awful injury like I've experienced in the past, my muscles just didn't heal back correctly. They should be like spaghetti in a box, and right now they are like cooked spaghetti. It's just how my muscles respond. And basically everything in my upper left leg is cooked spaghetti, not just my hip, but my IT band, my groin, my inner thigh, my butt. It sucks, but now I know. I know how these issues can be fixed. And now I know what to do when the aches, throbbing and pain appear.

I am an official ASTYM junkie! 

I have a few more treatments to go, I'm not sure how many exactly, but I can keep running through treatment.! And if I knew what sound a leopard makes? I would totally insert the appropriate text reflecting said leopard noise... for now I'll say meow. And purr.

Thursday, September 8, 2011


Finally. For the first time in nearly six weeks, I ran ALMOST pain free this morning. I had ASTYM Tuesday at Physical Therapy, and while ASTYM hurts like a mother and makes me all bruised up and puffy, it works. I had it on my right hip years ago, and haven't had problems with that hip since. I'm hopeful this proves the same on my left side. I go back for more torture this afternoon. But it's worth it.

I was seriously considering dropping to the half-marathon yesterday. As in ready to say at the end of my day, "okay, this isn't worth it." I'm not this athlete. I'm not meant to marathon (i'm still not convinced i'm built for it). But after my morning run today with my dear running buddy Shellers, I feel better. And ready to run a marathon. Of course the delicious Pumpkin Spice Latte's after and a good chat didn't hurt a bit....sweet goodness how I LOVE fall.

Side note: Milo hit his mileage PR today, five miles! So proud. He kept our pace the entire run and didn't once peter out.

It was my best run in a month and a half. My pain has been reduced by at least 80% and while I still had some pain, it was nothing like it's been. It was just the boost I needed to pick myself up and decide to do the marathon after all. With me and marathon training, it's never drama free. There is always that point I get to where I say, forget it, I won't do it. And then I get better and I do. It's a good time.

But. This is what I've worked hard for the past few months, really hard for. To get healthy in running, but also overall physically, emotionally and spiritually. To get past the junk, to get past the pain and be able to pick myself up and say it's okay regardless of all the crap. To keep going. And to live a happy and content life. Despite the junk. Despite running injuries.

The hard work and determination and refusal to give up are paying off. I feel like I've been climbing Everest the past few months in regard to a lot of things. Like life, running, career. And I finally made it to the top this week. Time to take a breath and enjoy. Because finally this week, there has been RELIEF.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

best part of my day.

My morning run in 55 degree weather. No.

Let that sink in.

FIFTY. FIVE. DEGREES. No humidity. I even put on a long sleeve shirt. My face got chilly, my cheeks were all red after my run, my hands a little numb.

It was incredible. After the 'summer on the surface of the sun' (read: endless days of 100+ temps), in early September I got to run in FIFTY FIVE DEGREE WEATHER. With my dog. In the peace and quiet of early morning. No iPod. No Garmin. No running buddies. Just me and Milo. And even though it didn't feel like an easy painless run (none of them have been lately), it was the best run I've had in a really long time.

After the first mile I just forgot about everything, let go and ran hard. Milo kept up, I've been working to get him in shape for this, and it is paying off. I can now just let him run beside me, off the leash, worry free. He is always right there. My favorite little running buddy. Then before I knew it we were back home. Both out of breath, chilly and smiling. All peaceful, content and happy. I worked some junk out on my run. I really needed that.

*milo happily trotting along in front of me on our run*