Recovering

After a week of pouting about my race and injury, I’m glad to say I’ve come to terms with where I am right now. Pity party over, I’ve run out of peanut butter pretzels, and I’m ready to get a PR in recovery and general fitness improvement. I’m optimistic, patient, and excited to experience some other physical pursuits that don’t involve pounding pavement with my legs.

I don't have any workout pictures, so I'll flood this post with random other things that happened this past week. Starting with a puppy visit last Friday at work.

I don’t have any workout pictures, so I’ll flood this post with random other things that happened this past week. Starting with a puppy visit last Friday at work.

I’m logging more km in the pool, typically swimming 1000-1500m each time. I usually break up the distance with intervals with the pull buoy and flutter board. Here are a couple workout examples:

1000m Swim Workout
100m freestyle (aka front crawl)
50m pull buoy (arms only)
50m flutter board (legs only)
100m freestyle
50m pull bouy
50m flutter board
100m freestyle
All that x2

1500m Swim Workout
300m freestyle
100m pull buoy
100m flutter board
100m pull buoy
300m freestyle
100m flutter board
100m pull buoy
100m flutter board
300m freestyle

Using the pull buoy helps build some upper body strength and learn proper body position. Start with placing it between your thighs, and work your way down your legs as you progress. I found that mixing it up with the board and pull buoy gives my body a break, as I’m still finding it a challenge to do loads of consecutive laps of freestyle. I hope that maybe by the end of the summer I can complete 1500m of front crawl without a break (taking under 45 min total).

My babely friends.

My babely friends.

I’ve been hitting up spin classes. I’m not always in the mood to listen to crappy techno at 6am in the morning, so I don’t always go. But I don’t worry about it too much. It’s a good way to keep up VO2 and anaerobic capacity somewhat up and I do it when I can.

Mother's Day! Out in Lake Louise.

Mother’s Day! Out at Lake Louise.

Another big ‘recovery goal’ of mine is to work hard on my strength. I’m not able to comfortably work on any type of impacting plyometrics so I thought I’d jump on the heavy lifting bandwagon for a while. It has been known for eons that high-weigh-low-reps is a surefire way to make muscle gains, and finally it is no longer taboo for women to desire strength and have muscles. It’s been more than rumored to even help endurance sports. So why the hell not.

I recently shadowed my friend Jen, a lady of strong legs/butt and heavy squats, and got her to show me the way around a squat rack. I’ve trained on one before (back in my skiing days), but it’s been a while and I was feeling a little shy. Here’s a quick run-down of what we did:

Warm-up squats with the bar
Back squats
Overhead squats (with a lighter barbell because I’m a n00b)
Deadlifts
Lunges on the smith machine
Calf raises on the leg press
Hamstring curls

~3-5 sets of ~5-10 reps, usually increasing weights with each set

I had a blast. It was fun to have someone show me something new, and to work out with a buddy. My legs didn’t even feel that bad the next day (two days after however…). I’m looking forward to seeing some progress in my lifting abilities.

Lake Louise herself

Lake Louise herself

Which brings me to my next topic. One thing I loved about running is the progress I would see. I liked seeing my pace drop and race times improve (who doesn’t, really?), and it gave me a reason to push myself past my comfort zone. That was something I was upset about and miss from being injured. Thinking about keeping fit through my rehab, I chose activities that I could aim for tangible, quantifiable improvements with. Weights, I will see the numbers increasing. Swimming, I will (hopefully) see my times dropping, and feeling more comfortable swimming consecutive laps.

I’m happy to have a new focus to bring me out of my rut, thus feeding an upward spiral of positivity that will in turn only help my recovery and mental approach when I do get back running. I’ve had to keep my mind focused on my long term goals (we’re talking very long term) and see this as a bump in the road that allowed me to develop as an athlete as a whole.

Keep your eyes on the prize.

Lazy cat and boyfriend's morning hair

Lazy cat and boyfriend’s morning hair

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Running Strike – Week 1

With week one of my running streak is complete, things are going pretty well. I’m still taking it day by day, but generally my shins (especially my misbehaving right shin) are feeling much better. Old Me at the point would’ve thought “hey! I’m feeling mostly better lets get back at it” but New Me knows that this injury likes to rear it’s stupid head again and again when you’re think you’re close to being out of the woods. New Me wants to be way the fuck away from those woods before she hops back into her running shoes.

Why two weeks? First off, that’s what my trainer recommended. I didn’t question him. Maybe I should have? Either way, it seemed like a good chunk of time since after a week I’m typically feeling “good enough to run” but something ends up hurting. Secondly, I am registered for the Glencoe Icebreaker 10k on April 6 and intend on running it. It would be nice to get a couple easy runs in before hand so I plan on giving that a try next Wednesday or Thursday.

But this strike does not mean I’m not training! Oh no. I’ve been filling the running-shaped void in my life with various other cross training, reduced-to-no impact activities.

Spin classes have taken the place of my tempo runs and track workouts, and pool running the longer, slower distances. Last Saturday I successfully completed my first long run in the pool (2hr, 45 min).

my new treadmill

(source)

If you think that “running” for nearly three hours in your neighborhood gym’s dive tank would be painfully boring, and you would be right. But it’s less painful if you procure one of these little guys.

It’s a waterproof iPod bag with a headphone jack! Don’t ask me how the headphone jack works in the water because I don’t know, it just does. It’s science.

Anyways, I loaded up my iPod with Hunger Games on audiobook (entertaining, doesn’t require much brain-thinking) and went for it. Soon enough two hours went by, and I really only dreaded the last half hour. I was hungry, had to pee, and was looking forward to my massage that afternoon. But all in all, it was good and I’m not totally dreading this Saturday morning when I get to do it all over again (but for longer).

At least I can reward myself with food after.

Another exciting thing I did this week was swim laps for the first time in… oh… two years? I did it quite a bit in University and after, but got out of the habit. I decided to go for 45 minutes, and would basically do laps of front crawl until I got tired and then I would throw in a lap of breast stroke. I swam 1500m in total. It took me a while to get into it and find my stride (stroke?) but the last 500m I had no issue holding the front crawl for several laps at a time. In the end, I really enjoyed it and hope to throw one swim workout into the mix once a week going forward.

Mentally I’m feeling pretty good. The frustration I had with being injured and the anger I had towards two small parts of my lower legs has dissolved and I’m feeling relaxed, happy and healthy. I think I stand a good chance of having an enjoyable, pain-free race as long as I keep myself fit and healthy (being injury free) even though Vancouver might not hold the PR I had previously hoped for. But who knows! I’ve never trained for a race before in this way. Anything could happen.

Running Strike

Heyo!
Just thought I’d check in with y’all (yep, still using it) and update you on life and stuff. Mostly shins.

I wrote (and re-wrote) a post last week, but wordpress/my computer/the combination of was being uncooperative and I wasn’t able to post it. So here we are.

Shins.They’re not doing much better. I had about a week of not-so-much pain, thinking I was on the upward swing, then my right shin hopped on the pain train. I cut back again, ran a bit in San Francisco (yep, I was there and was going to talk about in the “post that never happened”). I bought Hokas and they felt good for a hot minute.

Image

I also got new pants!

 I attempted a tempo run on Tuesday, outdoors, to test if/how I would be able to hold my pace. I could, sort of, but cut it short. That night, while icing religiously and watching Hunger Games, I decided that I needed to finally listen to my trainer Conrad and take some time off. Like, ACTUALLY take time off, and a minimum of two weeks.

If I keep on the same path of running in pain 85-90% of the time and cutting back to running 3x a week, there is a high chance I will do further damage and not run Vancouver (or any marathon this summer for that matter). I’m not enjoying myself and it’s not doing me any good mentally or physically.

I have created some simple rules :
– No running, not even if I feel better or mostly better
– Make up my runs with cross training activities. Spin classes, pool running speedwork/tempo/long runs, elliptical, etc
– If I don’t feel up to doing an activity, don’t do it. No more pushing through exhaustion and pain.

Instead of making Vancouver my big time goal race, it’s now my experimental race. I want to see how well I can bounce back, and comparatively how I will perform by not running much/at all but substituting with ample cross training. I have no expectations, I’m only going to try my best.

Wish me luck!