Thursday, March 31, 2011

March recap

this will be my last transmission from Earth's Central Time Zoneer, this will be my last blog post before the Martian Half. The kiddo and I head out tomorrow and we're ready for an awesome weekend. Mr. Joanna is ready for a long weekend of mostly yard work at home, sadly. But before heading out, the March Recap!

Miles planned/ran: 141/128.9
Rest days planned/taken: 5/6
Highest mileage week: 36.8
Long runs planned/ran: 4/3.5 (because this happened)
Pace workouts planned/ran: 3/3 
XT days planned/done: 5/5
Tempo or interval runs planned/ran: 5/5
Favorite run: I'm going to have to say my 16-miler. I had some fun and confidence-boosting tempo and pace workouts, but the 16-miler had gorgeous weather and I got my pacing right FTW. 
Current goal: sub-2 half on Saturday!!
Current obsession: see Current goal.
Current need: new dress pants, because nothing I own fits. See "current excitement," and no, I am not pregnant. 
Current excitement: too many to choose from~the trip this weekend, my continuing weight loss (thank you, sparkpeople!), and a visit from The Beastie next week!!
Current bane of my existence: the big toe on my right foot. Yep, still hurts. 
Current wish list: Crabtree & Evelyn lavender shower gel. I'm almost out and I always feel like it's a luxury to buy it. 
Current indulgence: As an early birthday present, my Mom bought me a necklace that I fell in love with while we were strolling around a boutique a few neighborhoods over. It's gorgeous and I love it! 

Special March Addition to the recap:
I've finally picked a name for the new Garmin: Clepsydra. This was a nomination from RunningFirst and I really like it. It's Greek for water clock/water thief. What better name for a running accessory could there be?!? Thank you for all the name suggestions! 

Monday, March 28, 2011

Heading into Martian!

I haven't posted in a week?!? A week?!? Things have, admittedly, been busy. About three weeks ago my parents called and said they wanted to visit during their spring break. We explained that if they were OK with the fact that we are never home and work constantly and could not be their tour guides, then sure, we'd love to have them visit. They readily agreed and bought plane tickets. So on Saturday (a week+ ago) I picked them up at the airport. We wasted no time. There was a room to paint!

That's Dad in his "Diva Pants." When we told them to bring painting clothes, we thought he still had pants here. Turns out they were Mom's. Brand: Diva. Oops.
{sidenote: I am LOVING having some direction on interior decorating choices. It took a while to figure out what I wanted my "grown-up house" to look and feel like. And it was equally fabulous having help from the parentals!}

On Sunday we basked:

And just in case you can't tell, that's SPRING there under my Mom.

And then the week started again. Even with my hectic work schedule, I was able to meet them for lunch twice and we had a lot of fun. Then Saturday rolled around and we got this craptastic news:

I called my SIL, in freaking Detroit, where there was NO SNOW. I LIVE IN MISSOURI. What is this crap? She said it snowed just to piss me off. Eleven miles later, and still snowing and slushy out, I felt a renewed appreciation for the treadmill.

So all that brings me to the running portion of this post. Yes, I ran 11 miles on Saturday. Yes, my toe hurt when I was done. I thought I'd given it enough of a break. I took y'all's (I get can away with a double contraction like that because I'm from WV) advice and XT'ed until Wednesday of last week then cautiously tested it. The toe was fine after the Wednesday run (which I nailed--good confidence boost pre-race), so I thought I was in the clear. I think my choice of work footwear is part of the problem. I'm forcing myself to wear flat shoes (or at least shorter heels than normal) to work this week and keep the miles easy.

Am I ready for Martian? Yes. More ready than I've ever been for a half. Am I nervous? Yes, because I *really* want that PR. Am I excited? YOU KNOW IT!! To meet a bunch of you, see family (& let the kiddo see family!), and hopefully post a great race. I LOVED racing in Detroit in 2009--hoping for another great race!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

A slight detour

Last time I blogged I shared my sports massage therapy experience. Since then, I've been able to do forward bends (touch my toes) in one smooth motion for the first time in MONTHS. I still have some tightness but it's much improved. I'm hopeful that one more appointment will finish obliterating the knot.

My update today is less positive. There have been moments of panic, actually, followed by some self-coaching and trying to be calm and logical. Here's what happened.

Friday I had a 7 mile easy run. When I got back I was limping because my big toe on my right foot hurt kind of a lot. There was a small bruise and a tiny bit of swelling. I iced my butt knot (new to JoannaRuns? See the last post explaining this) but not the toe, not thinking all that much of it at first. When Saturday morning rolled around and I was gearing up for my 18 miler, it was still tender. I called RunningFirst (aka Coach Mike, "a walk in the park 4:45") to ask what I should do. He advised running around the block to see if that made it worse. We eventually compromised on a 1.5 mile loop through the adjoining neighborhood to see what happened. When I got back I took off my shoe and walked around for a few minutes. Texted him: No worse. Going out for another 6.5 and will reevaluate." He texted back to take it S-L-O-W and easy.

After the next 6.5 miles (about 8 total) it hurt. It hurt to the touch and hurt to walk on. Without my shoes, I was limping. So I decided to cut my 18-miler short at 8 miles and call it a day. Which kind of broke my heart.

But I have an admission: it also kind of didn't break my heart. I've known for a week or two that I'm on the edge of over-training...for me. By the start of last week I was starting to dread the really hard runs. I still appreciated them after the fact and was glad I could do them, but I craved a break, too. After the forced reduction yesterday and a rest day today, I'm chomping at the bit to get back out there.

But I can't. I was still limping around all day today. It hurts less as the day goes by, but I don't know how long it will take before I can run without re-injuring it. I don't even know what I did to it in the first place. And let me be clear: I am running Martian to PR it. I need to be ready to race in two weeks. So I'm going to do something I don't think I've ever done: an XT Extravaganza (as The Redhead calls it). Hopefully by week's end the foot will be back in business and I can get in one last quality long run before the race. I really hope so. I ordered pace bands and everything.

2 weeks until Martian Half
8 weeks until Cleveland

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

So were I am in Week 2 of Highest Mileage Ever Weeks (for a while, anyway). Not sure how to introduce this, so I'll just say it: I've had a pain on my left butt bone for about 13 months. The hamstring attachment point has been one huge knot of a muscle for that long. At lower mileage weeks, it was a low, dull, yet constant ache that I could pretty easily ignore. But as mileage has grown, it's gotten harder to ignore. So in January I started fulfilling my XT workout with yoga. It was love. And last week I finally bought a foam roller.

funny sidebar: my 2-year-old rolls his whole body over the foam roller, which he calls a "steamroller" and says, "Oh, it hurts!" Can you say parrot?

The pain has not gone away. So I decided to go for the trifecta: yoga, foam roller, and sports massage therapy. I went to my first appointment today, fully prepared for it to hurt like a sonufabitch. And it did. The therapist started and said, "well, your hamstring is tight, but I don't feel a knot. Up an inch? Oooooooh....that's a big knot." Yeah.

I learned a lot:

  1. I actually have 2 injuries, both on my left side. One at the hammy attachment point, and another on the muscle between my bottom rib and the side/back of my hip. Both contribute to the pain I've been feeling. 
  2. The rib/hip injury is very likely from carrying my son on my left hip all the time. The truth is, I love having my baby on my hip. But he's almost 3. He's heavy. So Momma has to cut back on carrying the kid. He rarely needs to be carried. I just like doing it. 
  3. The hammy/butt bone injury is sort of a weirdo, because the surrounding muscles that should also hurt don't hurt nearly enough. 
  4. I knew I was flirting with IT soreness, but I didn't realize how closely I was flirting with it. The left side is definitely tender. I've been stretching, but will be more careful about it. 
And just so I don't leave you picture-less, Happy St. Patrick's Day, y'all. 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

A new weekly best!!

SO PUMPED to tell you that I hit a new personal best mileage week: 36.8 miles! Last week was insanity on a few fronts. My running attire went from thermal tights to short sleeves and shorts. Work was totally out of control. Oh, and in case I didn't mention it, I put 6+ miles on my standing highest mileage week ever. Go me. Here's the recap.

4 miles easy. It was 34 degrees for this early morning run, so I hit the streets in thermal tights, a jacket, gloves, and, for the last time ever, my Penn State ear warmer.

Yoga. Class starts at 7am. By 7:15 I was ready to walk out. This chick was hardcore and I wasn't in the mood for it. But I guess she does the hardest part of her workouts first. It turned out to be a great workout.

By far my most memorable run of the week. I told The Redhead that if "Hills are for Heroes" then "Wind is for Winners." Yes, yes, I am laying claim to this mantra on behalf of all Midwesterners. It was gray, windy, and cold out. Every time I rounded the bend of the track and came into head-on wind, I just had to repeat that mantra and keep pushing on. I did a 1 mile warm-up, a 4 mile tempo+ run, and a 1 mile cool-down. My tempo times were 5-18 seconds faster than scheduled. I feel good exceeding my goal times consistently. And in case you're wondering, when I do tempo runs mid-day at work, I use the track because I work in a highly urbanized area and get stopped at lights too often to reasonably run a tempo workout.

3 mile recovery run with my neighbor. I think we're going to make this a regular thing, which I'm pretty excited about. :) Also a point of excitement: the debut of my new Pearl Izumi ear warmer. LOVE it.

7 mile pace run. Went well. Not much else to say there. Debuted the new pairs of Brooks.

16 mile long run. By far my most successful long run this training cycle. Woot! I made a conscious effort to keep the early miles at the same pace I'd expect of the later miles. I kept roughly a 10:07 mile pace, which is only about 17 seconds slower than my goal race pace. It was a gorgeous 60 degrees and sunny. Absolutely beautiful. It felt so good to do my long run in shorts and a short-sleeved shirt. Eat your heart out, winter!!

I'm feeling good about the distance at this point. I build miles again next week, then cut back before Martian. Next week is also a lighter week at work. It's gonna be awesome.

Monday, March 7, 2011

My make it rich quick scheme

So, I was out running the other day and a thought came to me. One year when I was young I had a 365-day Far Side desk calendar. My mom had a 365 Uses for Duck Tape calendar (really, and she's the normal one). I wondered if we could come up with 365 days of running--some combination of running rules, inspirational quotes, very short stories, etc. This is my make it rich quick scheme. It's gonna be huge, I tell ya.

This came to mind as I've been reminded of my most frequent running rule infraction--wearing non-technical fabric head gear. Specifically, my Penn State ear warmer. Because I love it. Ok, and maybe I don't have a tech fabric ear warmer*. The problem is that it does its job for about the first 30 minutes, then does exactly the opposite of its purpose.
* yet--there's one with my name on it at my local running store, as soon as I can go pick it up. Yay!!

What are some other good things I seem to forget rules? Seriously, if this isn't evidence that I need a running desk calendar, I don't know what would be!
  1. Replace your shoes every 300-500 miles. Another rule I'd apparently forgotten until I wondered if I'd cracked a bone in my foot on Saturday. 
  2. Don't eat lots of fiber before a run. True story: Meg once picked me up for our long run and I got into her car carrying a box of Mini Wheats and a Diet Coke (read it here). 
  3. Hydrate after a hard run.Otherwise live with the pounding headache. 
  4. Gu every hour. No more. Or suffer the digestive fallout. 
  5. Buy a good sports bra. As I recently told a friend, "no one should have to wear two bras."
  6. Double layer socks! 
  7. And I think Body Glide almost goes without saying. Definitely a rookie mistake. 
  8. Wear ShoeID or RunnerID or something. It took me getting sketched out by a bright blue all-the-doors-open Hummer in the park to finally put on my ShoeID. 
  9. Don't take a hot bath/shower after a hard run--your muscles will only get more inflamed. It's hard to resist though. 
  10. Per RW, develop mantras to get you through the tough miles. It's not supposed to be easy. 
  11. Always tell someone where you're going and about when you'll be back. 
  12. Buy a foam roller the very first time your hips ever feel stiff. Don't wait. And if it gets worse, go see a physical therapist or sports medicine person immediately. Because it doesn't have to be horrible. And, foam rollers are lots of fun for the whole family. And yes, my living room always looks like a tornado went through. I blame the 2-year-old. Don't judge me.  
    Oh, and they are also really fun to try to describe to The Beastie on Skype. Especially when she "print screens" you and shows you how ridiculous you look.
  13. Your shins will hurt for 2 weeks when you're just starting. And you will be slow. And you might not make it far enough from your house to warrant technical fabrics. And that is all just fine. Everyone starts somewhere. 
  14. The running blog community is freaking awesome. Awesome. Be part of it. 
  15. Celebrate your achievements. I have an Inspired Endurance race tag for each of my marathons and will get another one after Cleveland. I wear them together on a necklace all the time. I also keep my medals displayed to keep me motivated. 
What can you add to the list? Time to strike it rich. And get me a desk calendar. 

Saturday, March 5, 2011

::for the record::

for the record
All the smack talk about RunningFirst and the Challenge is completely in jest. He and I are friends. I harbor absolutely no ill will toward the man, and I believe him entirely about all aspects of the communication gap we suffered. This is meant purely in fun. And as a means of keeping him motivated, which he's told me many times he appreciates. RunningFirst coached me through a horrible injury during my Marathon #1 training cycle--I could never have done it without his help. And he ran Marathon #2 with me--with killer hills late in the race and everything. And he helped me write my training plan for Marathon #3 (Cleveland!!) and gave me some confidence about it. I owe him a huge debt of gratitude for all of this. All of this is meant purely in fun.

...and the Garmin nominations now include
Forest (in honor of my first running buddy)
The Tattler (because it lets you get away with nothing)
Clepsydra (Greek name for water clock/water thief)
Paula (in honor of both the fabulous TNT Coach Paula, who I miss so much, and my own family, which you can probably figure out if you happen to know my middle name)

I like them all!! Please vote and/or add your nominations!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Two kind of big deals in one post

One of these things I've been sitting on for a day. The other just happened when I got home today. No preamble is required, so buckle up.

1. The One-Week Challenge Train Wreck 
So you remember a few weeks ago when RunningFirst and I accidentally entered into a one week mileage challenge? No? Read it here. Well, we were neck and neck. Then he laid down a 16-miler. And I assumed that this put him ahead of me, hands down, and I accordingly congratulated him heartily (here). Big blue letters and everything.

Then the end of February rolled around and we both posted recaps. His "highest mileage week" made me suspicious. I assumed I was mis-remembering, but checked our Running Ahead user group training log just to be sure. And sure enough, right there it was. By a tiny margin, I had actually won the challenge. 

I rather firmly made note of this mentioned this to him on Facebook. And he threw down a big card. He pulled out all the stops. He posted an over-the-top apologetic blog post here. But you know what?? I want a re-match. A chance to properly clear the air. Set the record straight. Get it all out. So...what say you, RunningFirst?

2. Garmin Rocks My Face Off/I Need Suggestions
As y'all know, I mailed The Vengeance back to Garmin last Friday. How surprised was I to come home after work today and find their return box on my porch? That's right. They not only sent me a replacement, but it arrived less than a week after I sent the broken one. They are serious about customer service. I honestly could not be a bigger cheerleader for Garmin right now. Completely, totally impressed.

So this is where you come in. I need nominations for a new Garmin name. So far the list is short: Mr. Joanna suggested the name Forest in honor of my first running buddy, Sherwood.

But I need a bigger pool of names to consider. So put some out there. I wanna hear what you've got!