Monday, January 6, 2014

In which I talk about cross training in a nice way!

This winter I have only a couple races on the horizon. For a brief moment after Wednesday's 10K I got a feeling of nostalgia for the good old days when I had a race almost every weekend! That dissipated quickly when I remembered how much of that time I spent on the DL... Nothing says "No thanks, not again" like reminiscing about days spent with ice packs, a bag of icy cold peas shoved down my pants, the need to take out stock in my chiropractor's business....

The theme for this winter is to become stronger. I do indeed emphasize that over "faster" which I imagine my running buddies everywhere are cringing about. Faster should, in fact, be a logical by product of stronger and if so, awesome. I always want to get speedier, duh.

But right now? Stronger it is.

Skiing in zero degree temps is indeed crosstraining!

We all know I struggled with my left leg mildly from the time around GCI to after NYCM when I called it quits and took a couple of weeks off. While I still hesitate to call it an injury, as it did not sideline me, it certainly was a nuisance and a worry. The general consensus is that it was a combination of piriformis syndrome, a mild case of sciatica (nice, general term there...) and basic, boring overuse. In a nutshell it was infrequent stabbing pain in my ass. Fun!

I have had ZERO pain since late November. I most certainly feel that that particular leg is still weak and I am working hard with cross training and serious core/strength work to get it to buck up! I do feel that this is something I have 100% control over and that if I can achieve greater fitness I will not have a recurrence.

My non runner acquaintances are baffled that I could have trained all Summer/Fall the way I did and still come out of the season feeling as though I developed a major weakness.
But here is what happened.
Between GCI and Smuttynose I had a great Marathon training cycle- I built up some good running stamina but really neglected any form of cross training. I tended to favor the left leg slightly as it was having occasional painful flare ups. From the time that I began to taper for Smutty (mid September) to the time I finally took a break (Early November) I did little more than race, recover, try to maintain, race, recover and so on!
It was a good way to get thru a busy time but not a recipe for gaining any strength.

So while I might not have high running miles for the next 6 weeks or so I will be putting in very normal total hours of working out. Apparently, I have come to a place in my life where I deem this acceptable. Pre Boston I will ramp up the mileage per the norm, and look forward to that as long runs are definitely part of my lifestyle. This is the first time that I have really accepted forms of exercise other than running as legitimate workouts. Believe me, when you complete one of Kelsey's core routines if you aren't tired and a little (or a lot) sore, you aren't doing it right!!

Look closely. Those are bike rollers! Yikes!

I really hope to be a runner forever. I picture myself as a tiny 75 year old woman running Boston like a boss and finally winning my damn age group! Having life long running goals is a big motivator for staying as healthy and strong as I can. Some people can run 100 plus miles a week, every week and their bodies can handle it. I find that is not the ideal for me, at least not at this time in my life! I like to put in plenty of miles, and I certainly would enjoy a nice, relaxing 8 miles of pure junk over 40 minutes of core and TRX... But I can see that this is for the greater good so I embrace it, dammit!

So here's to you, by left butt/hip/piriformis! A better 2014 for all of us and lunges and squats for the win!


Friday, January 3, 2014

First Run 10k, Hello 2014....

It's always risky business deciding to run any race in the dead of winter, especially is that race happens to be 2.5 hours away...
Between the incessant storms, the truly arctic weather and the fact that I took 2 weeks off from running post upper respiratory infection (and then had 2 abysmal runs for quality "training!") we were basically on the fence about heading to Lowell for this race until the 11th hour.
Interestingly, despite the problematic conditions I really felt like running.
Scratch that, for whatever reason I actually felt like racing. Huh.
I set a goal for this race a while back to run it in 45:00. I suck at running right now. I recognized the fact that I had not run any speedwork since, well.... before Smuttynose (in October, FML) and had not run a mile that started with "7" since NYCM. And, honestly, my virus had knocked me flat on my ass. Whoops.
But for whatever reason I REALLY felt like running this race.
But maybe not so fast. I did some quality math and had trouble imagining that I could run faster than about a 51:00- but I also know that I get way awesomer when I run with others so I figures that 47-49 was well within reach unless I froze to death first.
Several years ago I did this run as my first 10K and had fond memories! So off we went.

Those fond memories linger because, in some stroke of luck, the race weather several years back was legit amazing. It was 60. I wore shorts.... How I long for those good old days...
It was -13 when we rolled out.... F-U-C-K.

The good news is, that by the time we arrived (an hour and fifteen minutes before race time. I hope people are taking note of what a good influence Eric is on my schedule!!) it was almost 20. 20 is by far the warmest weather we had seen in a while. The bummer? It was windy...

We collected our bibs and swag (really useful hats/gloves- AWESOME stuff!) And waited inside staying warm. This is a big deal for me as I freeze to death immediately when I go out into the cold in my running outfit. So having a warm location close to the start is a really wonderful!

Nice and warm and happy!

Eric wanted to run a solid PR, and knowing that he is a fast starter I was all "Just run! Leave me to die!" except not like that at all. More like "Go, you actually might beat me today!" This was basically the way it played out for a while.
So we started running, Eric took off, I promptly tripped on some ice and basically fell down and broke my leg. Jeesh, one point for coordination!

That look on my face says "I just wiped out in front of ALL of you!"

I ran along, feeling pretty good for a while- in which I actually saw miles that started with "7" which was a nice, shiny, happy kind of feeling. At mile 2 I caught a glimpse of Eric up ahead of me and decided to run him down. Too bad that there was a significant headwind from mile 2-3. (and 5-6 since it's a double loop.) I had hoped to be warming up at this point but was actually growing colder, due to the wind, and could NOT feel my feet at all which was disconcerting.

I did manage to catch Eric. I sneakily tried to draft off him for a bit but it didn't really work so I popped up beside him and tried to run him off the road. Hey, since I caught him I wasn't gonna let him win! We actually ran together like lovah's for a bit and then I ran away from him, cackling in glee. BWA-HA-HAHHHHH! (that's me, cackling in glee.)

Athletic Power Couple.
The wind is legit blowing me backwards! 

So I ran for a while and was cold. And I ran for a little while longer. And coughed up some phlegm because I am stunning and attractive. I thought about how glad I was not to be running a marathon. I decided to hurry the eff up and get done (but that pesky headwind was like "OH NO YOU DON'T!!!)

Going FAST. OMG so FAST!!!
Um. Or 7:33 average fast... So fast-ish.
But I look like I'm FLYING!

However. I did finish. And it felt so fun and quick and easy compared to a marathon! And I was so fresh from tapering for 239 days! And at this point it was ALL I could handle because I'm old and out of shape! But I finished in 46:51 so, while not setting any land speed records I don't have to hide in a hole of shame just yet.

Eric scampered thru less than a minute behind me, and he PR'd!
I actually ended up taking 3rd in my AG so, all in all not a bad way to start the year!

Hope that everyone else enjoyed the New Year and that you are looking forward to 2014 as much as we are! It's going to be a good one!
Haha! We are fantastic!