Wednesday, September 10, 2014

MCM14 Training, Week 8: Ugh

Avg Pace
Monday, 9/1Regular Run5.259:35
Tuesday, 9/2Rest0--
Wednesday, 9/3Regular Run109:53
Thursday, 9/4Regular Run79:48
Friday, 9/5Rest0--
Saturday, 9/6Long Run2.39:26
Sunday, 9/7Rest0--

Total Weekly Mileage: 24.55

This past week not did not end up the way I'd hoped it would. Although it started strong, with high mileage weekday runs and little pain, by the time Friday rolled around, my foot was hurting more than usual. I hoped it was a fluke. I went to bed Friday night and hoped a good night's sleep would have me feeling better in the morning and ready to conquer 20 miles.

That did not happen. I met my friend Nicole for an early warm-up mile, and that mile didn't feel great. I couldn't decide whether I should just quit there or try to start with the group and hope for the best. Nicole reminded me that I bailed on her this same time of year last year, around her birthday, because I felt like I was going to pass out. So I felt guilty enough to at least attempt doing the run. But after another mile in, I could tell it was going to cause further problems for my foot, so I had to stop. I went back home and slept for a long time. I decided I needed to take some more time off. And I haven't done a damn thing since. I've slept in (i.e., not gotten up early to run) four days in a row now, and I'm starting to feel depressed. I don't know what I'll be able to do in the next couple of days, let alone come marathon time. I halfway want to just go out and run and see what happens. 

The very frustrating thing about this bursitis diagnosis is that I can't tell how much worse it might get if I do run, and then I don't know if it would be worthwhile to try to push through the pain so I can meet my training/marathon goals. However, it was only months ago that I had to take a six-week hiatus so I could heal. I don't want to do that again. I guess I'm in a place of not wanting to accept that I'm hurt. Running has given me so much confidence and positive perspective; yet, when I don't have it, I feel just awful. I keep saying I'll get on my bike and ride, and even though I've pumped my tires and set out all my bike gear, I just can't make myself get on it and go. Perhaps I just have too much going on in my life right now--too much change already about to happen to focus on something new (more on that in a later post). I'm trying to have a better perspective; after all, this is not a catastrophe--it's very, very far from it. I still have much that I am able to do and many people who love me. Thank goodness for that.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

MCM14 Training, Week 7: Holding Strong (Enough)

Avg Pace
Monday, 8/25Regular Run39:30
Tuesday, 8/26Regular Run910:45
Wednesday, 8/27Yoga0--
Thursday, 8/28Regular Run79:47
Friday, 8/29Rest0--
Saturday, 8/30Long Run189:54
Sunday, 8/31Rest0--

Total Weekly Mileage: 37

Last week started out a bit rough: I overslept for my Monday morning run and ended up doing three instead of four miles (not a huge deal, and not enough of a shortage for me to want to make up), and I decided I also didn't want to get up early on Tuesday morning, so I decided to do my nine miles that evening. And that was one of the worst runs I've had in recent memory. I haven't run in the evening in some time, so I wasn't used to the lingering heat and humidity from the day, and my stomach wasn't accustomed to running during that part of the day, so I had all kinds of cramps--side stitches, water cramps from drinking too much, and, er, BM cramps. But on top of that, my body had no energy. And my head started hurting. I was just off in every way. But since I'd gotten myself four and a half miles out on Bayshore, I had to do the four and a half miles back to where I parked. I ended up walking a total of a mile or so, which partially accounts for my slower pace that day. I was glad to have done it once I was finished, but doing it was literally painful. I was back on track for my Thursday run, which I did in the morning and had no trouble with. So the only remaining run was the 18-miler on Saturday.

My biggest concern going into this run was my foot; while the pain I'd recently and once again experienced seemed to have eased after some treatment, I knew that a big run like this could potentially cause damage and prevent further training. I must have adjusted the laces on my shoes five times before starting my run "with" the Sharks training group on Davis Islands (I don't actually run in pace with anyone, but I like that other runners are around in the dark), and once after I was 10 miles in. I can't seem to loosen my laces enough on that left shoe, same side as my foot pain, and I wonder if my laces have been a culprit this whole time. Wishful thinking, probably.

I did one mile prior to the group start time of 5:30 a.m., which wasn't much, but anything helps. Soon after, the group began the official run, passing me by like a herd of cattle, at which point I told myself that everyone else was running less mileage and therefore could afford to run faster. What's funny (and sort of annoying) is that I often end up playing leap frog with some of these faster runners, as they tend to stop more and linger at the designated water stops. One great benefit of the Sharks runs is that the organizers provide water and sports drink at three different points along the route. And that's three different opportunities to stop, along with what I consider the main stopping point at the DI Yacht Club, which has a water fountain and real restrooms (as opposed to the port-a-potties in the neighborhood, which I I'm also thankful for). But with so much mileage ahead of me, I didn't want to stop if I didn't really feel I needed to. So my first stop was around seven and a half miles, around the same time others also arrived at the yacht club. But I wasn't even halfway done. I refilled my handheld water bottle, popped a Shot Blok in my mouth, and carried on my steady way.

I got back to the starting point and then proceeded to run another small loop. When I was almost back at the starting point, I realized I'd have to add on about a half mile of distance to get 18. My legs were so over the run. The just didn't want to turn over. When I first started running years ago, I used to have a silly little mantra, more like a cheer, that I said in my head over and over again when I didn't think I could go any farther. It was very simple and to the point: "Go, legs, go!" repeated over and over again. So I revitalized this mantra, if for no other reason than the diversion. I knew I would eventually finish, but focusing on how awful I felt would have had me finishing crappier than finishing with a positive message in mind--silly as it was. Tim also ran 18 and was waiting for me in the parking lot. We were both pooped, but we had a beach vacation to look forward to next!

Probably the very worst thing we could do after running 18 miles was sit in a car for two and a half hours while driving to New Smyrna Beach, on the other coast. But for the sake of beach and family time, this is what we did. As soon as we arrived, we rewarded ourselves:

The rest of the holiday weekend was spent visiting my family--more than I usually get to see at one time these days--playing on the beach, and lounging by the pool. The youngest generation now totals seven, and I loved getting to spend time with all of them!

Tim took one for the team so the whole family could be in the shot.

After walking back and forth on Flagler Avenue multiple times over the weekend, in flip-flops, and not having iced my foot since my long run, I started feeling a bit more pain in my foot again and knew I needed to take better care of it. Luckily I had a massage appointment with Pete in the upcoming week, and he would be able to fix me up.

This coming weekend I have my first 20-miler ahead of me, and I'm feeling pretty confident that I can get it done and not hurt myself much. Those are my lofty goals. Check back to see if I met them!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

MCM14 Training, Week 6: Hope for Me Yet

Avg Pace
Monday, 8/18Yoga0--
Tuesday, 8/19Rest0--
Wednesday, 8/20Yoga0--
Thursday, 8/21Regular Run59:38
Friday, 8/22Rest49:26
Saturday, 8/23Long Run/Yoga129:43
Sunday, 8/24Yoga in the Park0--

Total Weekly Mileage: 21.5

So, this was my break week. But it doesn't look exactly like a break week. I made it through four days in a row (including the Sunday you don't see) without running (and check out all the yoga!). And then I tried a lower-mileage run on Thursday morning to assess where I was, pain-wise. It wasn't too bad, but my foot still hurt afterward as I was walking around. I'd made an appointment to see a sports massage therapist after work on Thursday, not having very high hopes for treatment--not because I didn't think the guy was good, but because I didn't think massage was an effective treatment for my particular problem (bursitis, or metatarsalgia). So I spent a half hour with Pete Pfannerstill, of UltraSports Massage Therapy, who has a rather impressive resume (if he can work on Olympians, I suppose he can work on me), and I was pretty amazed at what he was able to do in that time. He mostly worked to create space between the metatarsals in my left foot. It was a bit uncomfortable, but I was happy to withstand any unease if it might bring about less pain. When I got up from the massage table and walked around barefoot--which is usually when I feel the pain the most--my foot felt completely normal. I was excited, but also guarded. I know that the relief may not last very long.

I ran a few miles Friday morning to see if the pain would be there right after the run, and while it wasn't completely gone, it wasn't as severe as it had been. I continued to ice my foot and implement the same massage strokes Pete used, though less gracefully. I had already decided I was going to try for my long run of a thankfully reduced 12 miles. I hadn't been to Flatwoods in a while and thought it would be a nice change of venue, and the pavement there is a bit more forgiving than the roads of Davis Islands, and definitely more so than the sidewalk on Bayshore. I ran the first few miles in the dark, solo (while Tim was with his fast friends), but with others in front of and behind me so I didn't feel too alone. I think I heard a couple of wild boars in the woods, which I've heard stories of but have never actually encountered (and that's OK with me). But once the sky started to brighten up ever so slightly, I could see the thin sliver of a moon among a backdrop of a progressively navy-, purple-, and rose-tinted sky, with the treetops protecting my view of the the suburbs and commercialization that lay just outside the park. It's this one spot, about a mile or so into the Bruce B. Downs entrance of the park, that I actually notice the park and think, I could be anywhere.

During the first few miles of my run--always the longest of a long run--I was constantly assessing how my foot felt. I had decided prior to the run to switch shoes. I've been going back and forth between my old and trusty Brooks Ghosts and my newer Asics Gel Cumulus. After getting a recurring blister on one foot from the Asics, I decided to go back to the Brooks. Plus, I had special Spenco inserts with metatarsal support in my Brooks. But my Brooks weren't feeling as supportive as I wanted them to, and I knew the Asics were a bit more cushiony. So I had this very late but obvious revelation to take the inserts out of the Brooks and put them in the Asics. And hope for no blisters. And I think it may have been a good idea (sometimes I have them). I ran 12.5 miles without incident, and only a couple mild instances of foot pain. And while I did get a blister, it was in a new spot. I don't know if that's good or bad, but I was relieved not to have it in the old spot. Small victories.

After the long run, my foot didn't feel too bad--and that's usually the test (how it feels after the run). I iced it and massaged it a bit and spent much of the day finishing up a novel that my mom and sisters were all reading together, Orphan Train, by Christina Baker Kline. I, the English major, was the very last to finish. But it was a worthwhile read, and I was particularly intrigued by this early twentieth-century American practice of taking orphans from the northeast, often immigrants, and basically shipping them out west to find "homes"--but more like people in need of cheap labor. That part of the story was based on fact, and it was shocking and fascinating. The rest of the story was entertaining enough; it takes place both in the past and the present, and my favorite parts are from the past. I love the historical details that were incorporated into the story, with the backdrop of the stock market crash through the onset of World War II. It's been a long time since I've read, let alone finished, a book for pleasure, so this felt like a huge feat, and an enjoyable one. I'm now trying to make a dent in Oryx and Crake so I can go on to the next two novels in that trilogy by Margaret Atwood.

That evening, Tim and I met with two friends to try out a newish restaurant in Seminole Heights, the Rooster and the Till. We were all excited and hungry. The fact that we were hungry was unfortunate, because we soon learned that the portions of food were miniscule. Very good, but tiny. And I had to request vegetarian options on their main menu items. So I guess if you're not very hungry and you like meat--small portions of meat--you might enjoy this restaurant. My glass of wine was very good. And the company was the best part, but they aren't on the menu.

Pre-disappointing food orders.

So far this week I've been able to (mostly) run my mileage--although the nine-miler I did was laughable. More about that and my upcoming 18-miler in next week's post. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

MCM14 Training, Week 5: A Setback

Avg Pace
Monday, 8/11Regular Run69:33
Tuesday, 8/12Regular Run99:47
Wednesday, 8/13Rest0--
Thursday, 8/14Regular Run69:37
Friday, 8/15Rest0--
Saturday, 8/16Long Run169:45
Sunday, 8/17Yoga in the Park0--

Total Weekly Mileage: 37

My training runs are feeling better in some respects--endurance, mind set, time (sometimes)--but in another respect, I'm concerned about my ability to fully train for this marathon. My left foot, the one with bursitis, has been hurting again. It hasn't gotten so bad that I feel I can't run through it, and in fact the pain isn't the worst while I'm running--it's the days after when I'm just walking around that I feel the most pain. I just want to walk in giant, protective marshmallow shoes (perhaps I should try the Hoka One Ones). But the underlying issue would still be there. So what do I do? I've decided to take a bit of a break this week to see how much better I can feel. If my condition improves, I may go down to running only three days per week moving forward and see how that works. But I have a feeling that the long runs alone are going to aggravate my foot. So the goal will be pain management until I can no longer manage the pain and the end goal is not worthwhile. I don't want to throw in the towel now, but I want to be realistic about my options. I could also seriously revise my training schedule to include more break weeks and do either a run-walk or a slow run at the actual marathon. I'm also going to a sports massage therapist this week to see if he uses any modalities that can help treat bursitis. I will report back next week.

As for my actual training that I did accomplish, it went well. I was fortunate to have company on my 16-miler Saturday morning. My primary training partner for Steamtown, Nicole, is also training for Marine Corps, and we finally got a partner run in. We work well together because she keeps our pace down from the start (where I'd usually be sluggish), and I try to make it last toward the end. While I was able to get in to the Marine Corps Marathon through the lottery system, Nicole is raising money for a charity to gain her entrance. One of her very close friends was a Marine Corps Officer and recently passed away from cancer, far too young. You can read her touching story, and, if you're so inclined, donate to the very worthy charity Little Things for Cancer.

In place of a watch picture (which I admit I took also), here is the view from the parking lot where the Blue Shark training group meets, on Davis Islands:

Not too shabby, eh?

Because my foot pain had started to set in around mile 10, I started thinking immediately about picking up a bag of ice to bring home for my first ice bath of the training season. After successfully completing 16 miles at a slightly lower pace than I normally would have, thanks to Nicole, my foot was doing OK, but I knew more pain would set in after I took off my running shoes and started to walk around. So I prepared my ice bath as soon as I got home.

Does this look enticing, or what?

In the past, I've used the ice bath to alleviate pain and inflammation in my legs, so I usually left my feet sticking out of the water. But this time I submerged my feet, and holy cow did it hurt. I lasted maybe two minutes before I couldn't stand it anymore. Feet just aren't very fleshy, so there's not much barrier between the ice-cold water and all of the nerves that send pain signals to my brain, which I couldn't ignore, try as I did.

After this I resorted to my usual ice pack wrapped on my foot with an Ace bandage. Much more tolerable. Next, I was in for a treat. Tim's mom, who reports on community events for the Tampa Tribune, had invited me to be her guest at the Plant Based Bites in the Heights Pop-Up Brunch, a one-time event held at a rented space. The chef, Michelle Lyons Ehrlich, prepared an AMAZING array of vegan brunch food and drink for attendees. I was especially happy that she came up with creative plant-based food thats that did not include soy, which is in my opinion an overused product in vegan cuisine. There were vegans and carnivores and everything in between in attendance, and everyone seemed to love the food equally.

Vegan, organic, and 100% delicious!

The idea with this event was to try out some dishes and feel out the community's interest in a vegan restaurant in Seminole Heights. Based on the responses I heard and read, Michelle would certainly not be wanting for customers. I know I'd be a regular.

I'm currently on my second day of rest from running and am feeling a bit lazy. But I did go to yoga Monday, and I plan to go once more this week and then try one medium-mileage run. I still plan to do my long run this weekend, but it's a come-down run of 12 miles, so I feel I won't be overdoing it. Here's hoping I'm able to get some relief for my foot and continue training on an altered schedule next week!

Friday, August 15, 2014

MCM14 Training, Week 4: Excuses, Excuses

Avg Pace
Monday, 8/4Regular Run59:18
Tuesday, 8/5Rest0--
Wednesday, 8/6Regular Run99:50
Thursday, 8/7Regular Run69:35
Friday, 8/8Rest0--
Saturday, 8/9Long Run159:56
Sunday, 8/10Yoga in the Park0--

Total Weekly Mileage: 35

This past week of training was a tough one to get through--and it only marks a quarter of the way through my training plan. I had to spend a lot of time talking myself into running.

I don't know where Monday's speedier time came from; this is typically a "recovery"run from Saturday's long run, so I expect it to be a little sluggish. But that's what I was feeling that night, so I went with it. Perhaps it had something to do with running in the evening that day as opposed to the morning, which I've almost primarily been doing lately. And since I haven't made any real  efforts to do speed work, this can be my speed work for the week--especially because my faster pace didn't last.

I had planned to wake up early Tuesday to drive out to Bayshore for my nine-miler. I laid out my outfit the night before placed my water bottle by the sink to fill in the morning. I went to bed early. When my first two alarms went off, I disregarded them completely. The third one I gave some consideration to, and eventually I made it out of bed and into the bathroom to, er, empty my bladder. But while sitting on the toilet I felt an overwhelming need to close my eyes, so I rested my elbows on my legs, my head in my hands, and shut my eyes. Tim walked in and asked if I was going to be ready to go soon. I mumbled something about not being sure I wanted to go, hoping he'd talk me out of my toilet slumber, but then he didn't try any further. So neither did I. I went right back into bed while he left to run. (I later learned this wasn't his only effort; he had been up for a while and tried to get me up earlier, but I didn't remember it.)

My morning failure set in motion more excuses later that day. I thought I'd just make up the run that evening, but when I got home from work, I was too discouraged to go out and run. I just sat around, perpetuating a cycle of self-pity. Because I missed a day, I decided that perhaps I didn't need five days of running anyway. I usually only train four days per week, and there was no real need to increase my mileage, especially given my proneness to injury. So I took Tuesday's mishap as a sign to cut back, and I instead did the early morning nine-mile run Wednesday. It was not pretty. I had (very) positive splits, which is actually a bad thing. Most runners want to achieve negative splits, meaning the second half of the run is faster than the half. Mine just kept getting slower. But I did it. I still think anything more than six miles on a workday morning is a big success in my book.

Thursday morning's six-miler was pretty uneventful, and Friday was a welcome rest day. What remained was the hefty weight of Saturday's long run. I knew I'd be running alone, which is always fine with me, but the motivation to get up and run is harder to find when I'm deep in the most peaceful sleep I've had all week and my alarms go off at four something in the morning. And nobody is expecting me. At long last, though, I did drag myself out of bed and managed to get my pre-selected outfit on, my water bottle filled, and my watch around my wrist before heading out the door into darkness.

Because I needed 15 miles, my plan was to run three before joining the Blue Sharks group training run, which is a 9.5-mile loop, and then finish out the mileage afterward. But I dilly-dallied in bed a little too long, so I only had time for one mile. This meant I'd have to do 4.5 after finishing the main loop. In that one-mile warmup, I felt some pain in my left foot, which had been slowly creeping back in after some relatively pain-free months of running. At that point I was still so sleepy that I thought, maybe I should just stop now. Go back to bed. Save my foot. But I knew that was the defeatist voice talking, and I had to decide not to listen to it. And that's pretty much how my whole run went. The voice popped in and told me it was OK to quit. I argued with it. Sometimes I only got through the miles because I was arguing with myself for so long (not out loud--that would be weird). And when I finally got close to 10 miles, I knew there was no point in entertaining the idea of quitting; I'd come that far and may as well finish. And, eventually, I did.

There it is, slow pace and all.

The rest of the day, I took care to ice my foot and rest it (i.e., I hardly got up to do anything). I'm still experiencing pain throughout this week, and tomorrow I have 16 miles to log. I know that the problem is bursitis, and I knew when I received the diagnosis that it was likely to come back to haunt me. But, knowing what it is, I sort of know what I can get away with. I can run on it (for now), and I can do my best to treat it. And I can hope that it doesn't get any worse throughout training. If it does, I know I'll need to take a break. We'll just have to wait and see.

Sunday I returned to the Yoga in the Park class that I've neglected for far too long. I love the class, and I love being outside for it, downtown, among a great variety of other yoga enthusiasts or even newbies. It was good for my soul, so I hope to continue adding it in to my life, not just as "training" but as soul nurturing, which I could use a lot of these days.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

MCM14 Training, Week 3: A Run Down Nostalgia Lane

Avg Pace
Monday, 7/28Regular Run69:40
Tuesday, 7/29Regular Run89:45
Wednesday, 7/30Regular Run39:12
Thursday, 7/31Regular / Speed 59:30
Friday, 8/1Rest0--
Saturday, 8/2Long Run149:52
Sunday, 8/3Rest0--

Total Weekly Mileage: 36

Last week was a pretty successful training week, meaning that I met my weekly mileage and didn't get hurt doing it (my standards for training success have lowered over the years). One change I knew I needed to make was leaving my Seminole Heights neighborhood for Tuesday morning's "medium"-length run (I can only circle the Sem Hi 'hood so many times), which meant getting up extra early to drive to Bayshore. I looked for many excuses not to do this run, even after Tim and I got to the start of it (it was very lightly sprinkling outside), but eventually I did the eight miles--every difficult step of it. And guess what? I got rained on, and I was thankful for it in the stifling heat. Also, I saw more dolphins than I'd ever seen in the bay--probably a dozen--which always feels like a magical experience.

The other runs were typical runs around the 'hood--encounters of the homeless man under the Hillsborough Ave. bridge, sometimes peeing in the river, sometimes washing himself with what looks like a bottle of Listerine; invoking the ire (and frightening speed) of the pit bull that lives thankfully on the other side of a fence along Highland Ave.; and wincing at the random honking and hollering from rude drivers-by (why do people feel a need to do this?).

This Used to Be My Playground

I was looking forward to visiting my family in Central Florida over the weekend, partly because I enjoy visiting my family but also because I like to run the Seminole Wekiva Trail, which both my mom and dad live roughly two miles away from (separately). The last time Tim and I ran this trail together, we sort of got lost (OK, I got us lost). But this time there was less pressure on the still early training run, so I didn't even worry about which direction to go in; I knew that if we ran out of mileage one way, we could go back the other way for more. So we headed north toward the underground tunnel that was locked last time (and seemed to disappear thereafter), hoping for a different result this time.

Fortunately, the tunnel was open, but Tim wanted to go back the other way (probably traumatized from his last experience), so I went ahead by myself. And this is when the memories from my childhood and adolescence came flooding in. This was a new part of the trail for me, so I wasn't entirely sure where it would lead. But after passing over a beautiful babbling brook and then past the softball complex, I came to Sanlando Park, the tennis park that various members of my family used to go to when I was young, while my sister Anna, cousin Tara and I hung out, and that my sister Anna and I went to (to actually play) when we were seniors in high school. We were never very good, and I was less good than she was, but what I recall most about our little matches is exhausting ourselves silly and falling into performance-hindering fits of laughter. I don't know if I could ever take tennis seriously because of this.

I was hoping to get to seven miles in one direction and then turn back for fourteen, and I knew I was going to get close going in this direction. But I could see the San Sebastian trail head when I was at about 6.5, so I figured I'd run to the end and see where I could get some extra mileage. When I reached the end of the road, I realized I was at a main road, State Road 436, near a shopping complex that used to house a Borders bookstore (remember those?) that I'd patronized many, many times as a teenager and for some years later. Anna and I used to go there some evenings prior to going out swing dancing--an activity we picked up also in our senior year of high school that turned into a life-changing experience. One of the last times I visited the store was after I'd moved away to Tampa. I was visiting family one weekend after I had recently gotten back in touch with a professor I had for less than a semester at UCF (I had a false start). She had helped me through a difficult situation, and I'd always remembered her kindness. So we arranged to meet up in person, and Borders is the place we met to reconnect. It's probably my last memory of the store.

I ran for a quarter-mile on 436 and turned around to hop back on the trail. For some reason, in the first half of my run I hadn't noticed another distinct part of the trail that grabbed me on the way back. The path cut through a neighborhood with a sign that read "Spring Oaks." I saw the sign and thought for a second about why I should know that name. Then I realized that I was only blocks away from the first house we moved to when we moved to Florida. And a few blocks in the other direction was my grandparents' house, where we spent so much time growing up. And directly to my left was Westmonte Park, the park that Anna and I "ran away" to as kids, that both sisters and I went to for day camp in the summer, that we swam at, picked fights with boys at, and where our mom attended Jazzercize classes while we got barbecue-flavored Fritos and Bleep Blips from the vending machines. I was tempted to pause my run so I could go check out the park and the old corner house, but I was too far along for a detour and wanted to get back before the sun became too oppressive. The memories were what mattered, anyway, and those would always be there.

Food, Family, and Blood Pressure

I finished my run without too much trouble, aside from the usual deterioration in the last couple of miles. I even picked up a credit card on the side of the road so I could call the bank to alert the owner (turns out the owner had already canceled it--so much for my heroics).

The guest room is overtaken by toddler toys.

After we cleaned up, my dad started making breakfast and my mom came over with her contributions. Although my parents have been divorced for over twenty years, they remain good friends and live not far from one another. I count this among my many blessings. We sat around for quite a while reminiscing about old family memories. And Tim endured it all like a champ.

Coffee, eggs, pastries, fruit, and . . . blood pressure cuff?

We had so much fun with this (obviously).
I learned that my blood pressure runs naturally low, around 94/70, just like my mom's. This makes us prone to occasional lightheadedness. Now I know why I've often felt that way with seemingly no other causes. Chronically low blood pressure can cause even more fun symptoms such as lack of concentration, nausea, fatigue, and depression--all of which I've experienced at various times throughout my adulthood without knowing why.

My life-givers.

The real  reason for the trip, however, was so that my dad, my sister Catie, Tim, and I could see the movie Boyhood playing at the awesome Orlando movie house, the Enzian (even though it was also playing at our own Tampa Theatre). What the Enzian lacks in architectural interest it makes up for with its table seating and acclaimed menu, which we ordered off of for lunch while we watched the film. And vice versa for Tampa Theatre--amazing architecture, lousy seating and food selection (but I love it anyway).

Older sis, Catie. We rarely spend much adult time together, so this was a treat.

After the movie, Tim and I headed back home to Tampa. It had been a long day, but a totally worthwhile one.

I'm (mostly) on schedule for training this week. In my next post, I'll discuss the speed work that hasn't happened, the time Tim didn't try hard enough to get me out the door for an early run, and whatever other fun or tragic things occur between now and then.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

MCM14 Training, Week 2

Avg Pace
Monday, 7/21Regular Run49:24
Tuesday, 7/22Regular Run59:21
Wednesday, 7/23Regular Run49:19
Thursday, 7/24Regular / Speed 4.38 / 39:26 / 9:17
Friday, 7/25Rest0--
Saturday, 7/26Long Run1310:02
Sunday, 7/27Mini Strength-Train0--

Total Weekly Mileage: 33.38 (that's .38 miles more than I needed!)

Normally, I would start a training plan with Week 1; however, given my special circumstances, I was pretty much out for the count during my first "official" week of training. So I started with Week 2 and tried really hard to catch up. To my own amazement, I did. At this point, I'm really just running the miles, hence all of the Regular Runs. Even my attempt at a "speed" run wasn't very speedy. But I forgive myself--for now. I spent a week after my surgery not doing any exercise at all and also eating less than usual because it was just too difficult. So when I tried to come back to a full week of training, I really felt the declined stamina. I decided I still wanted to aim to do the 13-mile long run on my training plan for Saturday, but I was prepared for how ugly it might be.

I planned to run alone, in case of any mishaps, but I knew other runners would be out with me. I decided to start at Channelside and run the main Davis Islands loop and back, which gave me almost 13 miles--I had to run a quarter mile extra at the end. I started extra early, a little past 5:30 a.m. I don't like being in the sun too much for my long runs, so the more I can do pre-dawn, the better. And based on the fact that I couldn't seem to run for longer than five miles earlier in the week (see Thursday's split runs), I imagined I would need to stop a lot or walk some, and I wanted to allow time for this. But the main thing that ended up plaguing me was a slight muscle pull on my inner thigh fairly early in the run. This just made me give a more concerted effort to slowing down--fine by me. I was able to complete the run without too much stopping, and no walking. My thigh was hurting pretty badly in the end, though, so I knew I'd need to take care of it so it didn't become an actual injury. This was the farthest I'd run since the Clearwater Marathon, before my foot injury and significant pain developments. So it was a rather nice milestone to achieve.

The obligatory watch picture.

This week I've been on track with my runs so far, and the leg thing doesn't seem to be anything major. I have a new foot pain, but it's manageable so far. I've learned that some pain will always be present in my body, and I just have to learn to either treat it or manage it.

I'd like to incorporate more strength-training and cross-training, but I just can't decide how best to do that. I feel like my needs have changed, and I want something less intense than what I was doing before, but more regular. If only I were the self-motivated type, I could just do my own thing at home--which I actually did on Sunday, but it was only about 15 minutes of calisthenic exercises with a bit of kettlebell thrown in.

Tim and I are looking at hotels in DC, which is making me excited about both the trip and the marathon. I want to do well, but I think I care less about my time than about coming away from it still in decent shape. So while a 3:50 marathon would be really nice, I can't say it's my main goal, and I'm certainly not going to get there without upping my training (i.e., that dreadful speed work I've avoided for years). Stay tuned for a recap of Week 3, currently in progress.