Things I Do and Do Not Recommend

Things I recommend: feeling better after six weeks. Things I don’t recommend: getting sick in the first place.

Things I recommend: enjoying the holiday season. Things I don’t (necessarily) recommend (at least not frequently): earning a badge on Untappd for checking in an adult beverage for over a week straight.

Things I recommend: eating good food, often. Things I don’t recommend: not exercising, gaining 10 lbs, losing muscle, gaining fluff.

Things I recommend: back squats. Things I don’t recommend: dropping a plate directly on your foot from the racked barbell.

SO THAT’S BASICALLY WHERE WE’RE AT RIGHT NOW, FOLKS.

I finally feel better and it’s been a hell of a ride. For somebody who rarely gets sick, I felt like a whiner talking about my cold. Was it really as bad as I thought? Emphatically YES. Confirmed by multiple friends whining at week 3. Phew. Glad I wasn’t making it up.

Yes, I earned a badge on Untappd for checking in daily for over a week. I had a beer or glass of wine at home daily, sandwiched between a happy hour, dinner out and then another dinner out and $15 manhattans. My wallet wasn’t happy, neither was my liver I’m sure, but my oh my, my palate was loving it.

Yes, I also gained 10ish lbs from being sick and not exercising on top of my usual poor food choices. My middle is fluffier than it has been since college and while I know at least 10lbs of the 20lbs I’ve gained since college is definitely muscle, I’m sure a bit is mac and cheese, pizza logs, and hot pockets.

Oh yeah, and two weeks ago I went to clear off a barbell that was racked for squats and a 5lb plate landed directly onto my foot from shoulder height. Sure, it’s just 5lbs but that piece of metal had me convinced I needed my foot amputated. I haven’t been able to run since, nor walk further than 1 mile without feeling it the next day. I can’t do anything that involves flexing my big toe still, but it’s finally getting better, though still bruised. You don’t realize how often you bend and flex your toes until you can’t do it painlessly.

I’ve been trying to figure out in this time what I want to do about my running. The Lake Effect Half Marathon is in February and tradition to run, but they added a 5k option this year and that’s kind of where I’m leaning. I’m not sure I have it in me to dedicate to training for a half marathon this year.

I did make one decision though. I need to eat better. RP strength had a Black Friday sale on their templates and I gave in. I need to eat better and if I spend money on it, maybe I’ll finally do it. I know a few people personally who have had great success with it (think increased strength, better stamina, more muscle, less body fat, better recovery) so I figured why not? I started it Monday and I’m going to attempt to stick with it 90-100% each day, but realistically eating ANY vegetables and less processed food is an improvement. I plan to write up a more extensive post about RP strength soon, but I’m only a day (or two when you read this!) in so I need a few more days under my belt.

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Starting Over. Again. 

I started training with Run Less, Run Faster in September and absolutely nailed my last couple workouts at the end of the month. I felt motivated, strong, and in my head, I had a plan for at least the next three months. Of course, nothing ever goes as planned. 

I got sick. We’re talking absolutely exhausted, hacking cough, snotty nose, nothing helps me kind of sick. 

There’s one thing you have to know about me, though. I don’t get sick. 

I’m not being cocky or dramatic, I’m being real. The extend of my “sick” is two days of a runny nose or sore throat from post nasal drip. Like, we didn’t have ibuprofen or aleve or acetaminophen in our house until my chiropractor told me to get it for my hip. My DayQuil expired 2 years ago. My full bottle of Zyrtec from BJs? That’s over a year expired, too. And that is the extent of my medicine cabinet. I don’t get sick. 

I got sick on a Friday and laid low. I figured I’d be fine by Monday. Monday came and the head cold moved to my chest. Okay, this will last a couple more days. I’ll be fine. Friday came around. I wasn’t any better and it was a week into my cold. I then hit up the drug store and gave in. Mucinex, sinus medication – I bought it all. A week later and the chest cold left and went right back to my head. At that point I went to urgent care and got a few days of steroids and a week of antibiotics. I was finishing week 3 when that ended and I finally felt better but then got stuck with wicked vertigo. So, I tried to go back to CrossFit and got through half a class before having to stop because I was dizzy.  Finally, after FOUR FREAKING WEEKS I’m better. I’m still a little stuffy here and there but I can walk more than two miles without exhaustion, I’m not wheezing, and I don’t feel like I’m having an out of body experience 24/7. PHEW. 

I run lots now
So now it’s like starting over again. That CrossFit class after a month off? I was sore for 5 days. It hurt to squat to a toilet or climb the stairs for three. I took Dunkin on two 3 mile runs and my calves are asking when I’m asking my next deep tissue massage. 

I haven’t opened my RLRF book back up to start considering targeted runs again, but the itch is there to start doing things again. Being sick wasn’t any fun, but forcing myself to take a month off when I was starting to get excited again for training might have been the best thing for me. We’ll see where I’m at in two weeks, eh?

Run Fast… or Faster

When I started this blog, the named came pretty easily for me. I have always liked to run fast, and if not fast, faster. Slow runs were not my forte – I got bored, I sped up, I didn’t enjoy them. Basically 13 year old me and (now) 29 year old me aren’t any different. 

When I started training for longer races, including my first half marathon, I thrived on workouts that let me use my speed. Recovery runs, though important, didn’t really exist. My second half marathon (my PR) training involved plenty of speed and recovery was done by tossing in spinning classes. It wasn’t really a planned effort, but more just because I loved it. Granted, I ended the race with an injury, but I don’t think for one second there was a direct correlation between my training and injury; my form paired with weak glutes was the driving force. 
Since then, I’ve become a more educated runner. I have tried to do the “typical” training plan. I’ve tried to increase my mileage and consistency. I’ve paid a coach to write my training plan. I’ve hated it. 

I’ve taken a good four months off from structured running — much like I did last year. I’ve started to get the itch to race again, but not so much for the full blown running schedule of 5-6 days a week.  So the past few times I’ve gone running, I’ve made it a workout; obviously I haven’t been out there back to back days killing intervals. After realizing I really loved it — I’ve always been a girl who loved running intervals on the track, or hitting tempo miles, etc. — I figured maybe I need to figure out how to approach this for training. Could I do it?

I remembered hearing about the FIRST method (The Furman Institute of Running and Scientific Training) which is captured in the book “Run Less, Run Faster”. A quick Google told me it might be exactly what I was looking for in a plan and at something like $10 on Amazon, I was buying it. 

Here I am, a week after starting the plan, and I’m pretty happy about it. I won’t lie, I’m following a loose interpretation of it right now. I’m not using it to PR, but I need something to follow to get me back into where I want to be.  I know if I jump back into a plan, specially this one with the level of speed required of me, I might end up injured. Also, CrossFit is not one of the recommended crosstraining activities — but that’s OK. I know my body enough to know when and what to modify, if I need to, plus we have cardio equipment I can use before/after workouts or during open gym. Plus, one of our friends has a rower in his basement that I could use. 

Running with D is still a thing!
So basically right now, I’ve done all 3ish workouts this week. One I did on my own before realizing I was starting this plan — it was about 50% of the actual workout but it was better than nothing. Plus I haven’t been running much lately besides my dog’s pace, so I’m fine with cutting these workouts short to start. Second workout was supposed to be a 3 mile tempo (not including warmup and cooldown). I didn’t adjust for the high 80s temperature with humidity, or the fact that I haven’t run this speed in 4 months and turned it into 2 mile repeats with a breather in between. And my five mile run was actually just three, and I’m okay with that, too. 

My “goal” race is the Turkey Trot 8k on Thanksgiving, with a goal of feeling strong throughout.  So really, following the plan right down to every rep and pace isn’t going to make or break it. Next week I’m going to start to add CrossFit back in — I’ve had a little shoulder ouchie lately that keeps going away and then I test it out, and go right back to square one. So I decided to take a full two weeks off, get a massage, and see how that feels. 

It feels good to be back, but I did not miss the amount of dedication my legs require from the foam roller.