Mo’ Training, Week 11: Adjusting Expectations

When I started to train for the Mo Cowbell Half Marathon, I had intentions to beat my old personal best time. But given some of the issues that have popped up in the last month, I’m honestly just working to finish healthy right now. I have a few times in mind to shoot for, but that’s the kind of thing that would just be icing on the cake at this point.

I’m working slowly for the rest of this training period up until the half marathon, I’ve decided. My hips are still a bit stiff, but they’re doing better day-to-day. I’m listening to my body and trying to respond as appropriate. My running is going well, using this approach, albeit slow – but hey, I’ve never claimed to be a speedy runner. Besides the slow-and-steady pace I’ve adopted, I’m also taking time out throughout the day to focus on my hips. My favorite thing to do is balance on one leg and go through a series of leg lifts – front, side, back, even what I call “fire hydrant” lifts (like a dog relieving itself) – and just balancing on that one leg as long as possible before switching to the other leg. This routine really hits my trouble spots on the outside of my hips and leaves them feeling stable and ready for action afterwards.

It’s tough, knowing that with just a week to go (!!!) until the half marathon that there’s really not that much more I can do. I really should have been doing more in the way of cross- and strength-training throughout this process, but what’s done is done. I can take this lesson and apply it to my next round of training – which will start just after this race. I’m kind of excited about it and will fill you in once this half is done.

For now, I’ll be working some easy miles, keeping my hips lithe, and doing my best to stay healthy. 13.1 is calling a week from today!

- K

Mo’ Training Week 10: Hips don’t lie

Wow. So that tightness in the hips I was feeling last week? Totally blew up in my face this week. I wasn’t feeling great at all on Monday, but I just chalked it up to my long run on Sunday. But when it came time to run on Tuesday, I only got a half mile in before throwing in the flag. I was in pain – the outside of my hips just felt discombobulated and didn’t want to work right. I’ve had problems with my right hip before due to a disparity between the length of my legs, but this pain was different: it was on both sides, rather than one, and not as sharp/debilitating. So I found a smidge of comfort in that. However, knowing that I’ve really trained well this summer and really wanted to run a half on October 5th forced me into action. I put an immediate halt to running.

This week, I did a lot of walking. I stretched. I iced. I foam rolled. I made sure to get up from my desk at work and walk around at least once an hour. The worst of my pain I would feel upon getting up and starting to walk around after sitting – but after I walked around a few minutes, the pain would dissipate almost entirely, so I knew I could overcome this. I did a little self-diagnosing online, because that’s how I roll, and started myself on a regimen of light exercises designed to promote hip and glute strength. Yesterday I felt pretty decent, so I hopped on the treadmill with zero expectations, starting off at a fast walk and working my way up to a slow jog only for a mile and a half. I felt like I could have gone longer, but didn’t want to tempt fate. So I foam rolled and iced afterwards, taking a few ibuprofen. This morning I hopped out of bed in almost zero pain – a hint of pain, like my hips aren’t quite sure they’re done with me yet. I worked in an easy three miles, hitting some interval work towards the end just to test things out. A little more foam rolling, a little more ibuprofen. I think I’m good to go, so long as I really take care of myself.

Now, I already have at least one half lined up for early 2015, so I’m looking ahead at that training cycle for some adjustments I can make there to work on my core strength and try and prevent this kind of thing from happening. But for the immediate future, I’ve only got two weeks left before the Mo’ Cowbell half, so I’m not going to make any major changes to my training as far as strengthening exercises are concerned. I am, however, going to work in some light calisthenics targeted at my hips and glutes because it seems to be helping. I want to get close to my training mileages as they’re scheduled, but I won’t stress out or hurt myself over it.

- K

Mo’ Training, Week 9

I’m feeling pretty comfortable with my mileage this week. I hit my runs (some with more enthusiasm than others) and everything seems to be going along pretty okay. I mean, not stellar, because I’m just perpetually achy around my hips, but I’d rather than pain that the knee discomfort I felt all of August. The big thing this week is that the treadmill is not feeling awesome at all. It’s hurting more to run on it that in is to go outside. Fortunately, the forecast for the foreseeable future (how’s that for alliteration?) is completely in my favor with highs in the low 70s, so I’ll be pushing my runs outside and after work. I’d love to run earlier in the day, but my workday starts at 6am, and I’m just not that comfortable running in the dark.

Other than the tightness in my hips, I have a toenail that’s been purplish for a few weeks and a blister that’s starting to heal nicely. Unsure if the toenail has given up on life or not. Time will tell, I guess.

Also, I tried out running this morning while listening to a book on my iPod shuffle – and wow! Totally engaging. I’m definitely doing that more often from now on.

Three weeks to go!

- K

Mo’ Training, Week 8: unscheduled R&R

Obviously if you read my last post, I fully intended to hit all my runs this week while on vacation. Surprise surprise: that totally didn’t happen. I got in a decent 4 mile run on Tuesday, but didn’t hit my Wednesday or Friday runs at all. I was seriously sleep deprived – not from partying it up every night, but because our beach house had very thin walls, and I could hear my parents every morning super early as they got up, stomped around, opened and closed the sliding glass door to their porch (which would happen OMG SO MANY TIMES because one would go out, then another, then someone wanted coffee, but someone else forgot their book, and FOR THE LOVE OF GOD PICK ONE: IN OR OUT). Now, you’d think this would set me up for a good early morning run. I mean, if I wasn’t so grouchy from lack of sleep, that is. The heat and humidity, however, did not abate at all (good for beach week, bad for running). And towards the end of the week, I succumbed to a particularly murderous episode of PMS which not only contributed to my foul mood but also had me waking up at least five times a night my last two nights there due to cramping and a fervent desire not to ruin the sheets. (Yeah, sorry, tmi, deal with it.) On the plus side, though, the break in running got me to rest, and the lingering discomfort I’d been feeling in my left knee is all but gone.

I drove back out to the midwest yesterday, the usual 11.5 hour drive. It wasn’t bad, but sitting in a car that long is kind of hellacious, so I knew I was going to run for sure today. Probably shorter than the 9 miles my plan called for, since I hadn’t run since Tuesday. When I woke up this morning to clear skies and temps in the high 50s, I took it as a sign. I drove over to the military base where I work and went out on the 10K running trail there. I’ve never ran the full thing (mostly because it can get a little isolated at times – not a safety concern, just boredom). It was pretty stellar, I have to say. I was really happy with my pace and time, and my legs feel decent. I also ran pretty light – no cell phone or music, just my garmin – and was okay with that as well. Keeping my ears free of music helped me focus on what I was doing and how I was doing it. (Although I did get a specific refrain of a song from Evita stuck in my head for like two miles mid-run … seriously what the hell random?)

So now I’m back home and have nothing major planned for the next four weeks as I gear up for this half marathon. I’m renewed, focused and determined. I’m ready to work for that PR.

- K

Mo’ Training, week 7 (another late post)

This post is definitely going to be short, because I’m writing it on my phone. I’m not totally comfortable with this format, but I’m on vacation and the phone is my only option. Last week’s runs went really well. I increased my mileage using a new plan and felt pretty great. My runs on Thursday and Friday were particularly awesome, because I was at my parents’ place in Virginia, and their neighborhood has some really fantastic running trails. I was supposed to get my long run in yesterday, but has to cut it short due to some pretty serious humidity here at the beach. I’m really going to make my next mid-week runs really count to try and make up for that. Other than that, things aren’t bad. I’m going to try and enjoy the hell out of this week at the beach … And with just over a month remaining, I’m really going to buckle down as soon as vacation is over.
– K

Mo’ Training, week 6

I thought I might have more to say about this week’s training, but this is probably going to be a short update. Overall, I can’t really complain about this week’s effort. Solid runs, all, but I feel some doubts creeping in. In between my own traveling, thunderstorms, or this week’s excessive heat, I haven’t really been able to get my long runs in outside. Which really bothers me. I mean, the midweek work on the treadmill is great, but I’m still unsure about the longer distances. So I’m adjusting things a touch and switching over to a Runner’s World half marathon plan. It’s not a huge difference, but the midweek mileage is slightly higher. Granted, it’s not going to help me figure out how to work in an outdoor long run, but  I feel like it might be able to give me a better base to work with. And with my goal half coming up in 6 weeks, I think it’s enough time to help (rather than hurt) my training.

Are you training for anything this summer? How do you deal with the “doubts”?

- K

Mo’ Training, Week 5

This week felt really good. After having been so busy the past few weeks, it was nice to only have to worry about normal life and work stuff … and my morning runs. It was the kind of week where every morning I wished I didn’t have to go into work so early because the weather was just so darn perfect for outdoor runs. But I realize I’m pretty fortunate to have my own treadmill and a first floor apartment so my 4am (or 3am) runs don’t bother anyone but myself. I’m going to have to move my Wednesday alarm back a little bit just so I don’t feel so rushed – it’s not a long run day, but it’s about to increase over 4 miles that morning (according to the plan I’m using) and I’m already feeling a little rushed to get myself presentable, eat breakfast, and out the door by 5:30.

Now this weekend? A completely different story. I had myself prepped for a good long run. I even bought a little handheld 10oz water bottle just to be safe. I was going to run a good outdoor jogging path I knew near work. I was ready, dammit. And then I looked out the window Saturday morning to a grey, windy, rainy, and occasionally thundery morning. A quick glance to the weather forecast and radar told me an outdoor run wasn’t in the cards. Looking back at the past few weekends – two weeks ago, I cut my run from 6 miles to 3 because I was so run down and having real pain in my quads, then last week I skipped my 7 mile long run entirely because my travel plans really didn’t afford me the opportunity for it – well, I knew I needed to run. So I geared up for the treadmill. I had 8 miles on the plan, but knowing I didn’t hit my distances the last two weeks, I decided anything between 6-8 miles would work for me. I’m not truing to overextend myself and I definitely don’t want to get hurt. It wasn’t totally boring, as I had The Lost World on the TV while running, but … yeah. Could have been better. Anyways, towards the 6 mile mark, my hip flexors were tightening up pretty significantly (something I’ve experienced in a few half marathons that I hadn’t really prepped for), so I decided 6 miles was just as good a distance as any.

It’s another rainy morning after a night full of thunderstorms, so I’ve settled in for a lazy day. Rest, stretch, and Netflix. Happy weekend, y’all.

- K


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