Still hurting

I’m beginning to wonder how much pain I’ve been ignoring all along. I feel like now that I’ve stopped pushing, with the goal of fully healing my body and getting rid of the nagging pain, I notice so much more pain. I don’t think I’m severely injured, so much as finally paying attention to the hurting. My back is seeing some improvement, after the 3 chiropractor visits I’ve had so far. It’s still not right, though. It’s been not-right for a long time, so it may take a while to get it right, I understand this. It’s still frustrating. I want to run, and I want to run without pain. It seems my IT band is acting up, as well. So there are a lot of different spots that hurt all down my right leg. It’s not fun.

I’m not running at all right now, as that seems the best. But I hate it. I miss running physically. I miss the mental break, and the lift I got from it. I miss the emotional release. And I really miss the metabolism boost. I love food, and I’m scared of gaining back some of the weight I’ve worked so hard to lose. I eat when I’m stressed. It’s kind of a double whammy, since I’m not running to deal with stress, I eat more, and since I’m not running to burn the calories, they matter more. Ouch.

I’m going to try water running tomorrow, I think. I’ve never done it, I’m not much of a swimmer, but I’m getting desperite. It’s less convenient, as I can’t just walk out the front door and start, the way I can with running, but I need to do something, and soon.

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Fixing what hurts

I took a short break from training. It seems like the right thing to do after a big race, and a nice reset to get motivated to train again. This break is going to go a bit longer than I’d intended, though. I did return to training a couple weeks ago, but lingering leg and back issues are making me step back.

I’ve had something not quite right with my back for years. I’ve tried treating it a few times without much luck. Recently I’ve been going to a physio for IMS treatments, and had quite a bit of relief, but still things aren’t quite right. The heavy load that running training sessions, lacrosse games, and Bike to Work Week put on my body all at once, reminded me that there’s something still wrong……So I’m trying a chiropractor now, and holding back on the running for a bit.

I didn’t run for a full week while I thought about what to do, had a rest, and sought out chiro recommendations. It was surprising how long ONE week of not running felt to me. My coach has said that if I push through the wrong pain and hurt myself, I can be out six weeks, or more. I see how bad that would be now, if one week felt long. So I’m taking care. I went for an easy run this morning, mentally it felt GREAT, physically, not so much. Patience and adherence to the chiro’s instructions, and hopefully I’ll be back pounding pavement fast.

“Running the Lakes”

I’ve finally done it. I went and “ran the lakes” on Sunday. It really is a lovely place to run. The trail is changing and interesting, lots of little hills to challenge as well.Being my first trip around I really had no idea what to expect, which was kind of exciting as well. I usually run on flat roads, so this was much different, and kept me guessing. I loved the smell of the wet, westcoast forest. It took me back, and smelled like “home”. I grew up on some farmland that extended up the front of Mount Douglas here in Victoria. So that wet wood really is home to me.

I did manage to get lost, though. I feel pretty silly, considering it is a LOOPED and MARKED trail, and still I managed to go wrong somehow. I went wide out from the lake through some kind of equestrian training area. Cool, but not the designated trail. By the time I got to around 11km (on a 10k loop) I realized something was wrong. I could see the lake, and was on the trail, but I had no idea if I had under, or over-shot the parking lot I started from. Luckily my new GPS watch has a very easy to use mapping feature. I hadn’t gotten that far in the instruction booklet, but I managed to pull up a map, see where I was, and see that I was just around the corner from where I was trying to get to. Saved by the Garmin! In all, I ran 11.27km. My longest run yet!

I also ran without music this time. I always run with music, always. I brought my walkman, and had planned to listen, but somehow changed my mind. I thought I’d start out without and plug in later if I felt like it. And I didn’t really feel like it, until nearing the end. By then, I was pleased with myself for not using the tunes, so I held out and ran without. I still like my music, but I was happy to see that I could run without it and enjoy myself!

Two milestones in one run – awesome!

Going for it.

I’m thinking of running Beaver/Elk lake tomorrow morning.  It’s a 10k route, apparently quite a nice run, and common for the local runners.  I’ve never done it.  I walked it once, about 7 years ago, with some friends.  I seem to recall it took us an awfully long time.

When people find out I run it seems to be a common question “oh, do you ever run around the lakes?”  But until recently, 10k was like a marathon to me.  Something I endeavored to finish.  Something I trained for, to survive all 10k, and get to the end still standing.  So no, I didn’t “go run around the lakes” for fun or training, because a 10k route was the end goal.  Now though, my long runs approach 10k regularly, and I know I could do it.  There’s little danger of getting halfway around and being too fatigued to run the rest of the way.  I think it will actually be, dare I say it, FUN.

So weather willing, if I’m up early enough to be out and back without offsetting my family’s day too much, I’m hoping to run the lakes tomorrow.  Wish me luck.

I Need a Plan

I work better with a plan.  This holds true in most areas of my life.  I like to have at least a loose schedule for the weekend’s plans, I need a to-do list to be organized in getting things done, and when it comes to diet and fitness, a plan is a requirement.

I’m noticing that if my diet and fitness aren’t “on plan” then I am distinctly “OFF PLAN” and that’s not a good thing.  Motivation wanes, poor diet choices replace the good ones, and it just slowly falls apart.  Being “on plan” doesn’t mean perfection or even rigidity, though.  It’s come to mean having a goal and planning the choices that help me get there.  Scheduling training runs and other fitness activities doesn’t mean they happen 100%, but it means I’m motivated to do them rather than finding excuses I don’t need to.  A plan helps me succeed.

My diet’s gotten way off track in the last week or two.  I’m not “on plan” with what had been working for me, so I’ve kind of given up and not bothered at all.  Making all these poor food choices,  I don’t feel good, and I know it’s not good for me.  I can’t seem to just step away from the junk food, make better choices one at a time, because I don’t have a plan, and I need goals and some structure.  So here’s the plan, what worked well for me before, and I’m confident will work well again.  Back to my regular breakfast of whole wheat toast with peanut butter and sliced fruit, or a protein smoothie or oatmeal.  Fast, easy and nutritious.  Snacks back to fruit and veggies, carby things just get me mindlessly snacking and don’t pack the same nutritional punch.  Treats are for special occasions and to be enjoyed, not eaten because they are there.  And water, WAY more water.  I’ll feel better when I’m eating welldiet, and I’ll perform better.  I’m even thinking about cutting out dairy for a couple weeks.  I hear some people find a real improvement in their skin with this change, and I could certainly use some improvement there.

Since the TC10k, I’ve taken a couple weeks off of running.  My back and leg still don’t feel right, and I’d hoped a break from running might heal me up.  I think going “off plan” with my running is dragging my eating off plan as well.  Hopefully starting running again will settle things back into the routine I’ve been into the last few months.   My leg is still bugging me, but I’m working with a physiotherapist and she says I can still run, so run I shall.

Times Colonist 10k – Race Report

I’ve been too busy to sit down and write my report from the 10k over a week ago.  Work’s been nuts, and I just spent the weekend playing in a Field Lacrosse tournament in Kamloops.

I feel like I  did ok in the Times Colonist 10k race, but felt a little bit dissapointed afterwards.  Some of that was the letdown that comes after an event with a big buildup.  I’ve been training for 4 months for this race, so there was definitely a bit buildup!  Just like Christmas, when it’s over, you feel a bit of letdown.

It was great weather for the TC 10k.  Cool, but not cold, and very little wind.  I got there with plenty of time to warm up, but headed to line up a bit early, nervous I’d have to fight the crowds.  I wish I’d warmed up a little longer, and closer to start time, I was cooling off again by the time the race started.  The start was really slow, even though I lined up in the right spot for my pace (50-59min) It took more than 2 minutes to cross the start line.  And even then I was shoulder to shoulder with so many runners for the first couple of kilometers.  You can see how packed it was, right out of the gate, I was hardly moving.  (It’s not a great photo, I look pretty unhappy, even though I was really quite happy at this point, but it’s the only photo of me from the race!)  It was difficult to run, or find my pace, when I was so concerned with stepping on someone’s heels or bumping the people beside me.  I worked on weaving through the crowd to move forward, but it was difficult and tiring.   I didn’t like the race being so busy,  the crowds are less fun when you’re trying for speed.

I spotted my coach as I was stopped drinking after the first water station, just after 3km.  Great, he finds me the one moment I’m standing still! Off I went again…..The course had some short hills, nothing too steep, and they actually kept it interesting.  My right leg felt tight, but no pain in the first half of the race, and once the crowd thinned a little, running felt better and smoother.

Around the halfway point I was getting tired, and my leg was bugging me more.  The portion all along Dallas Road was beautiful, but it was getting harder for me there.  I had to take a break for about 20 seconds, just walk, deep breaths and regroup.  I was struggling a bit, but determined to finish this thing, so I got going again after that short break at around 7.5km.  I felt like my pace was all over the place, but worked through it and just kept going.  It was still busy at this point, not a ton of space to just work at your own pace, and that was frustrating.   The last few kilometers felt longer than the early ones, but that’s to be expected.  The last kilometer hurt, but I pushed and ran my hardest.  I found some energy to finish strong with effort, so I guess my pace was ok through the race.  The finish line was as blocked up as the starting line, so I ran to it as fast as I safely could, but people were stopped a mere foot after the finish, so that slowed us down some.

My official finishing time was 56:03.  That’s more than 15 minutes off the first time I ran it, 2 years ago in 2009!  My pace was 5:37, and looking back at most other races I’ve done, my pace was 7:09 or thereabouts.  That’s pretty significant!  I worked really hard with my coach, training three times a week for 4 months (minus a couple weeks for a head injury) so I’m happy to see results from my hard work.  I’ve lost about 30lbs over the past year as well, another factor that I’m sure improves my running performance.

So what’s next?  My coach mentioned a race in July, but I’m not sure which one it is.  The 8k in October tied to the BMO Marathon is another I have been doing for a few years, so I’d love to go for a fantastic PB in that one.   I know I want to race more, and be faster, so after a short break to rest my leg and heal it up, back to training!

It’s the night before my big race. It’s “just a 10k” and not a serious one at that, as the TC 10K is known as a welcoming, fun run. But for me it’s big. I’ve been training hard, with an awesome coach, for nearly 4 months now. I’m a much stronger, fitter, smarter runner now, and I’m looking forward to seeing just what I can do tomorrow. I’m a bit nervous, as I feel a lot of pressure to do well, prove to myself that all this effort has been worth it.

I ran my last 10k, 2 years ago, in 1:11:30. |I was pleased with that because I “ran” the whole way, and finished the race. Two years ago that was a huge accomplishment for me. This time around, I’m hoping for a lot more.

Here’s my playlist for the race. I like starting with Adele, she’s so powerful and her voice lifts me, gets me going. I want to hit 5k before “Heads will Roll” is over, and Billy Idol should bring me to the final kilometer. If I don’t finish with Shakira, the white stripes will let me power home, and I’ll recover to “Written in the stars”

Adele – Rolling in the Deep
Beck – Black Tambourine
Britney – Till the World Ends
Kelly Rowland – Commander
Dragonette – Hello
Eminem – Not Afraid
YeahYeahYeahs – Heads will Roll
Jason Derulo – In My Head
Kaskade – Fire in Your New Shoes
Marina and the Diamonds – Oh No!
Ducksauce – Barbra Streisand
Naked and Famous – Young Blood
Billy Idol – Rebel Yell
Shakira – Waka Waka
White Stripes – 7 Nation Army
Tinie Tempah – Written In the Stars

Balance!

I’ve noticed that my higher (and more intense) energy expenditure lately has afforded me more freedom in eating. During 2010 I worked pretty hard on revamping my eating, along with adding activity, in order to lose some weight. I was successful in dropping about 30lbs, and have been feeling much better about my health and size since. Then I started training for the 10k early this year, and slowly relaxed my eating as I increased my training. More treats snuck in, as well as higher portions. But I wasn’t gaining weight! My smaller clothes still fit. After a few weeks of not-very-good-eating-choices, and no real change in size or weight, I realized I’d finally achieved something magical. That point where I could “eat what I wanted and not gain weight”!

What I want to eat has shifted a little over time. More apples and less crackers find their way into my day, I’m consciously trying to increase my protein at each meal, but I’m not being strict about it. Plenty of treats find their way onto my plate, especially over holidays. But that’s ok. I can relax about eating, and not gain back that hard-lost weight! For a gal who has always been big, struggled with eating and weight loss, this is fantastic.

Going forward, I’d like to lose another 10lbs or so. I feel more confident about it now, knowing it’s possible, and not requiring horribly restrictive eating to accomplish. Part of my next training plan will be a better look at my eating, and better nutrition planning to fuel my body well, and I think that a little more weight loss should just happen. If I train hard, and eat well, my body will do what I need it to.

Running Playlists

I’ve been thinking about a playlist for my upcoming 10k race on May 1st (tc10k.ca). I’ve tried for upbeat music when I run, not exactly to pace, but just for encouragement and that wee bit of distraction to keep my mind of fatigue and discomfort. I change it up a lot to prevent boredom, but it’s overall pretty random what I’ll listen to on a given day. I’ve enjoyed 101 Running Songs which is a 5 CD set, ripped to my MP3 player.

Lately I’m finding the pace of the music counter productive to trying to pace myself on runs, though. I feel like I’m drawn to run at the BMP of the music. That’s a good thing if the pace is right (or a teeny bit fast) but not if it’s too slow. And I’m not sure what my pace is in terms of BPM, so it’s hard to know what to do with my music now. I’ve been turning the volume down a little so it’s more background and that’s helping. I’m not ready to run without music, though.

What do you have on your running playlist? I’m heavily influenced by Top-40, and that shows in my lists. Let me know what you listen to, I’d love some new ideas

5k Race Playlist

  1. Adele – Rolling in the Deep
  2. Taiyo Cruz – Break Your Heart
  3. Bruno Mars – Grenade
  4. Queen – Don’t Stop Me Now
  5. Dragonette – Hello
  6. Eminem – Not Afraid
  7. These Kids Wear Crowns – Jumpstart
  8. Marina and The Diamonds – Oh No!
  9. Sunloverz – Fire

Newer Training list – about an hour long:

  • RIo – after the love
  • Alyssa Reid – Alone Again
  • Christina Aguilera – Not Myself Tonight
  • Flock of Seagulls – I Ran
  • These Kids Wear Crowns – Jumpstart
  • Kesha – Take it Off
  • 3 Doors Down – Kryptonite
  • Tony Arzandon – Let it Rock
  • Eminem – Lose Yourself
  • Billy Idol – Rebel Yell
  • Rhianna – Disturbia
  • Tom Petty – Running Down a Dream
  • Rihanna – S and M
  • Kesha – We R Who We R
  • White Stripes – 7 Nation Army
  • Written in the Stars

Early Morning Training

Like most people, I have a busy life. I work full time, have younger children (5 and 7), have a house to manage, play 2 team sports, and try to spend a little time with my husband and friends. It can be hard enough fitting all that in, so where do I find time for training? I can’t run when my husband isn’t home, because the kids are too young to be left alone. I can’t run WELL on a day I’ve played a game of lacrosse or field hockey. Running at lunch means I’m starting from my workplace, limiting my options, and increasing the odds my coworkers would watch me, as well as the amount of time I’ve got to run for. By the time I’m home from work and the kids fed, evenings don’t look good for running either. So I’m up at 6am to run a couple times a week.

To some this sounds painful, but for me there are positives:

  • 1. I’m alone
    I get self conscious when I think people are watching me. I’ll run faster when I encounter someone along my route, even though I don’t know them. It is silly, and it takes me off my pace and form. Most people will say “no one is looking at you!” but I know that I watch people, to see their form/speed/etc, so I have trouble believing that.
  • 2. There is less traffic
    I run on sidewalks and roads a lot of the time, or the trail I run crosses roads. Less traffic means a safer run, and one less interrupted by traffic and long lights. (also as to point 1, less drivers to watch me!)
  • 3. Uses “wasted time”
    I need to move faster to get dressed and ready for my workday after a run, but it’s doable. And if I weren’t running, breakfast, dressing and showering would just stretch to fill all the available time. It’s not like I’d be getting housework done or doing anything else productive if I weren’t running. (as evidenced by most non-running mornings)
  • 4. It’s a great start
    I find a run or other activity a great way to start off my day. I feel good physically, and I feel good about having done something positive so early in the day. It helps me make better food choices when I start off my day with running, as well

  • 5. It doesn’t inconvenience my family…..much
    Long runs take time, even the short ones do. This means scheduling activities around my running sometimes. My family is accepting and accommodating of me, but I try to minimize the effect on them when I can. Running in the morning doesn’t put a huge burden on my husband, or deprive my kids of good quality family time. (we are typically just running around getting ready for the day, not hanging out together)
  • 6. No Excuses
    As a day wears on, and I get tired out, or think of things I still want to accomplish, it’s easy to make excuses not to run. But if I hop out of bed, clothes laid out the night before, and get out the door, I’m running before I’ve had the chance to even THINK of excuses not to.

It’s all about finding what works for you.