Rehabbing and New Goals

In the past six weeks or so, I’ve been focused on rehabbing a little nagging “injury” and setting some new goals for myself that aren’t about running. HELL YES FOR NEW GOALS. 

First, let’s talk about my dumb hip. My hips have always been weak areas #typicalrunnerprobs. My left side has always been the dumber side but this time, it’s my right. After a workout at the gym in the middle of May, I felt a little off. I did box jumps rather than step ups for the first time ever and I’m going to blame that. While training for races, I’ve always opted to do step ups instead of jumps because I’m already stressing my body enough with running.  But I had already started to switch my focus off running and figured now was a good time to challenge myself.  Well, I’m paying for it. 

My last 5k — with Lifting Bae (Heather)
Since that time, I’ve been dealing with a slight pain on the outside of my hip if my walks or runs go beyond 2 miles. If I stop and rest (as in lay on the couch) it goes away. And it literally only hurts during those two activities. I tried the chiropractor for a month thinking things were out of alignment and I did get better, but once I took two weeks off and ran a 5k, the pain was pretty high up there on the “How much does this suck?” scale. 

I just met with my physical therapist yesterday and have some unilateral exercises to do because of the uneven tightness in my quads and hamstrings.  It seems to be I may have some low back issues going on that aren’t specifically an “injury”, but are signs to back off and recover before getting an actual injury. So here I am resting a couple more weeks before I run again and seeing what happens. I’m relieved that I’m in a running hiatus right now because I am totally NOT bummed that I can’t run (and totally happy nothing else irritates it!)

Onto the more exciting thing — new goals!

It’s always been a goal of mine to be able to do a pull up, even since I went to my first CrossFit class 4 years ago. As I haven’t been attending classes regularly, nor have I actually practiced the movement, I haven’t achieved that. But this summer? I’m going to get it. 

I already got my goal a couple months ago of being able to deadlift my body weight, which was a low key goal of mine. I know, I know, so many people can double & triple their body weight but I’ve always been a runner, so this is a big goal for me. Next up? I want to squat and also clean my body weight. I’m only about 30 pounds off it on my front squat, so pretty sure I can nearly back squat it today if I tried.  Right now it’s not in the programming as we’re focusing on front squats and shoulder presses to get ready for Fran.

Also, further goals — my first competition! It’s next Saturday! It’s an in house competition, so it’s not anything too crazy but still a little scary.  I think I now understand how new runners feel at races when they feel “slow” in comparison to the field. I get the “I don’t want to be last!” mentality and just like I tell anyone in that scenario how nobody will care or notice or think differently if you are last… I’m trying to tell myself that as well. 
It feels good to push myself out of my comfort zone and I’m enjoying all the little gold stars I’m getting next to my name at the gym now. It’s funny — I wouldn’t be able to run for a couple days after going to the gym because … ouch. But now that I’m going 3-4 times a week, I could easily come home and go for a run because my muscles don’t feel as dead as they once did. Maybe all along I could balance both running and CrossFit, I just needed to get my body used to this first? Hmmm……

Keep on Truckin’

Yet again, another week since the marathon passes and I move up another few notches up on the “Feeling Better” scale, at least while running.  Earlier last week I talked about what I’ve done since Chicago and what I was setting out to accomplish this week.  At this point, I’m just taking each week one by one without worry.  I’m looking at the past week and setting some minor goals for the next 7 days.  The goals for this week that I set were to run three times and body weight train in my apartment.  I’m happy to say I accomplished most of it.  I ran 3 times and although I only did about 20 minutes of physical therapy exercises (because apparently my drive to workout comes from beer), I did stick to my Stand-Up schedule with work. Continue reading Keep on Truckin’

Base Building Finale: Week 20

Getting my natural recovery on: tart cherry juice!
Getting my natural recovery on: tart cherry juice!

I can’t believe it’s finally here: the final week before the somewhat arbitrary date I picked to conclude the past five months of “base building”.  At the end of this week I will have run the furthest distance since this time last year when I ran (and should have DNF’d) the Lake Effect Half Marathon.  After reading my posts leading up to the race, I talked about all the pain I didn’t feel and how awesome I was doing, but who was I kidding?  I distinctly remember feeling sore during my runs with my ankle and it always felt “stuck”, not to mention leading into the race I knew something was wrong .  I don’t really remember the reason I acted like everything was fine; maybe it was fine but I have horrid post-race memories that have made me feel like it was so much worse than it was?  Or maybe I was in the mindset that if I blogged like everything was fabulous, then sunshine and rainbows would come out of my ass?  All I do know is that things started to go very downhill the week before the race, so let’s hope that this upcoming week is exponentially better than a year ago.

This week was emotionally draining.  J and I had a wake on Friday and funeral Saturday morning, so the ending of the week was exhausting.  We postponed our Valentine’s Day celebration due to the somber mood we knew we’d be in and it was for the best.  Hashtag sleeping by eleven pm.  Despite the emotional week, I stuck it out and hit up the treadmill three times this week, plus a night of CrossFit: Endurance.  I’m just as shocked as y’all must be!  Three runs?  Who am I?

Monday – Fartlek (2 miles)

After my first treadmill run flopped last week, I thought this one had to be better.  Not so much.  In fact, I thought I might have discovered a new thing called treadmill motion sickness (new only because everyone laughed at my when I brought it up).  I was just going to run an even paced few miles, but got bored fast and decided to have a little Swedish speed play.   I didn’t run too fast during any speedy portions (6.5 mph max) but I nearly lost my entire breakfast and lunch all over the treadmill.  I was not looking forward to having some kind of nickname on my second day at the new gym, so I just called it quits.

Tuesday – Rest Day

Strengthening my arches, all day, err'day.
Strengthening my arches, all day, err’day.

My Mom won club level seats to the Sabres game and she couldn’t go due to having to pick my sister up from work (at the Sabres game – the irony) so she passed them on to J and I.  It was awesome to sit in these seats and have somebody bring us food and drinks, but give me the 300s any day.  I want to cheer, I want to talk hockey, I don’t want to hear businessmen talking work.

Wednesday – CrossFit: Endurance (1:00)

This is my favorite part of every week.  It forces me to concentrate on drills and reinforces things I learned in PT and need to dust off.  Plus it ensures that if I go to class, I’m doing something physical therapy related for the most part.  Just because I graduated PT in June, it doesn’t mean I never need to practice again.  This time, PT Chris was actually at the box and working with us a little bit for some additional drills: marching, marching skips, and vertical skips.   After the drills and some core exercises, we partnered up for a rowing only WOD since 400m repeats is out of the question in this weather.  Alternating every 400m with the same intensity as though we were running, we rowed 2400m with our partner.

Thursday – Easy Run (4.5 miles)

Wednesday didn’t involve too many plyometric drills with triple flexion and extension, so I was able to run without issue the following day.  If I can find a TV show to get lost in, the miles click away.  I tried to watch downhill skiing but it was making me nauseated, so I settled on Forensic Files.  I kept the pace really easy (10:30/mile) with exception to the last half mile when I picked it up ever so slightly.

New favorite beer and Millrose Games = best Saturday night
New favorite beer and Millrose Games = best Saturday night

Friday and Saturday were rest days due to the wake and funeral.  I’m always amazed when things like this happen, you realize how much smaller Buffalo is than you already knew it was.  I ran into multiple people from completely opposite aspects of my life for the same man.   Then it makes me think about how many times I could have and probably did pass by J long before we ever met.  Ironically, we met at work despite all those personal connections we had years before.

We ended up having an early night on Saturday (we didn’t really exchange any gifts this year) because we were exhausted, which might have had something to do with the drinks I was slinging back.  Hey, it’s the only way to watch the Millrose Games when you’re not actually running, ya know?  Sunday’s beer fueled run was probably the best I’ve had in months though, who could have predicted that?

Sunday – Easy Run (4 miles)

After feeling lazy all morning, staying in bed until 11 even though I was awake at 8, and eating pizza logs for breakfast… I willed myself into the sub zero world and drove to the gym.  Since I’ve been going after work, I’ve been walking into a cluster of people but today was peaceful and quiet.  I also finally got over my fear of stretching/warming-up around other people.  I feel like a huge goof doing my running exercises plus gyms make me anxious (go figure, even after teaching at one for a year!) but today I just waltzed over to the mat and did my thing, not even caring that I had to share it with two equally awkward lookin’ dudes trying to figure out the proper way to do a sit-up (hint: don’t, they’re really kind of an awful exercise for your body!)

I ended up running a little faster than Thursday, but felt oddly comfortable.  I did notice my knees lightly brushing each other and although they never cause chafing, it’s something I know to work on more.  I’m not entirely sure what I can do to help (I’ll bring it up at CrossFit), but I am wondering how much of it is genetics with my knock knees.  I could concentrate on making sure they didn’t touch, but then I felt like I was landing from one side to the other side with each step.  On the bright side, I did manage to focus on my arm swing; it’s getting a little more comfortable with driving my elbows straight back!

Picked up a new color to sport for LEHM this week.  I can't be the only one who needs fresh nails for their races?
Picked up a new color to sport for LEHM this week. I can’t be the only one who needs fresh nails for their races?

This week was my highest mileage since last year at just a measly 10.5 miles, but I’m happier and healthier.  I paid close attention to my increases, I listened to my body, I incorporated strength training and yoga… I’ve just been so much smarter this time around.  Yes, my feet and ankles still get a little sore during some runs as I focus on various parts of my form, but at least this time I know the difference between my tissues getting used to more stress and tendonitis.

It’s going to be a huge challenge to finish this half marathon on Sunday, but I want to remain smart and level headed.  I do have a game plan in my head, but more on that this week.  I’m just really looking forward to concluding this “base building” phase and adding in some speed work.  I’ll still ultimately be “base building” until I can get a good 15-17 miles under my belt every week, but in terms of my history with a base?  I’m here and these legs are ready to be challenged.