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. 

Lift heavy or heavier?

Finally I can check one thing off my imaginary bucket list – a CrossFit Competition. Last Saturday I went in with no expectations or goals aside from “don’t die” and “don’t fuck your shit up” (a staple phrase at our gym). 

As an in-house competition, it was all members of the gym so for the most part we all knew each other. One of the members works for an organization which helps families who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless with so many different services. Our donation to compete, along with tons of raffles went directly to the organization. I think nearly double the amount was raised from last year — it was a great showing. 

The event was organized with 6 heats — the coaches, RX men, RX women, scaled men, and 2 of scaled women.  We all completed three workouts. The fourth was not announced til the top 4 in each division were determined, as that would be to find the top 3 in each group. Spoiler alert: I didn’t even come close to competing in the final workout (no surprise there!) Each person competing has a judge watching their movements, and depending on the workout, helping load the barbell. 

First workout? Six minutes to find a 2 rep max hang clean with front squat. 

The thing with lifting for me is that until now, I haven’t lifted consistently to know what my max for anything is. So I usually start low and just kind of go up 10 pounds; sometimes I get a little gold star in the app showing my PR. Sometimes I don’t. 

PR – right before the squat
I started my six minutes at 55 pounds and told my judge (who’s also a coach, and my massage therapist) I’d go up 10ish pounds each try and my max was once at 80lbs for a clean and jerk — last year. I worked my way up to 80 and had two minutes left. We loaded up 90 and I couldn’t shrug the bar up, I knew I was fatigued and at the max I could lift. We decided to wait for :45 left on the clock to give one more go. I managed to clean it up once, knew I had another rep to go and I could likely nail out two squats in the time.  I can’t complain about a PR in the middle of a complex, and for two reps! 

Wall balls
I had about 45 minutes before the second workout, which J came to watch. They got progressively suckier too, by the way. Second workout was for time: 40 calories on the rower, 40 dumbbell snatches (10lbs for my scales division), and 40 wall balls (10lbs).  I love rowing and did fairly well, the snatches were pretty easy at 10lbs when I’m used to 25lbs in class, but those wall balls? Fuck, man. My quads were on FIRE. I was excited to finish well, but sad to realize I wasn’t hitting the mark on the wall so while I finished ahead of people, I technically scaled the scaled and was last. I was frustrated but after watching the video, it wasn’t likely I would’ve hit the mark 40 times even knowing that. And who wants to do more work than necessary knowing the next workout is coming and you’re not even going to finish in the top four? (Not me.)

Final workout? I was thankful to have a time cap on it — as many rounds as possible in 10 minutes: 400m run buy in followed by 10 thrusters at 55 lbs and 10 burpees box jumps (step ups for the scaled people). This one terrified me. I can run. I can do burpees. I can do box jumps. Thrusters at 55lbs? 10 of them? Repeated? Uh, not so much. 

So I ran. Being one of the runners at the gym, it’s like the only thing I really excel at and can finish ahead with ease. Then I got back inside for my thrusters and it suuuucked. Thrusters, if you’re not familiar involve a squat into a shoulder press, back into a squat, repeat. When you’re out of breath from even a slower 400m (probably ran it at 8:00/mile pace) to jump into a weightlifting maneuver that doesn’t allow you to catch your breath is hard. It’s harder when the weight is heavier than you normally lift for this many reps. But I did it. The limiting factor in my rounds/reps was my strength at that movement. I did 2 rounds and a few reps, so two full sets of both thrusters and burpees box step ups, plus a few more thrusters. 

Then, I ate food and died. I finished second to last, so there’s that. Ultimately, the biggest achievement for me was that I signed up for this. I did it. While I’d come to class and was never ashamed at lifting sometimes half of what my female peers lift, I never felt ready to just do a competition. Also, the whole training for races kind of put a damper on that. While CrossFit has been a great tool to keep me healthy while running, you can’t be good at both. You can supplement one with the other, but it’s not feasible to continually give 100% to both. 

Oddly enough, how I felt after last weekend was very similar to how I felt after Chicago. Sore as fuck, but proud as fuck… And yes, hungry for more.