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Posts tagged ‘marathon training’

I Am Lazy

One hundred seconds is a very short amount of time. In fact, there are few things that you can start and finish in just 100 seconds. It takes longer than that just to brush your teeth. And based on the fact that at age 31, I had my very first cavity filled this morning, it seems I should be brushing a little longer. But I digress…

One minute and 40 seconds was all it took for me this morning to come to the sound conclusion that I, although I thought I was and some people may disagree, am not owning my healing process. I want results but not to endure change. That makes me lazy and you are probably wondering what the heck I am talking about. I shall explain.

First and foremost, you must watch this profound message from one of my all time favorite people, Jonathan Fields. If you don’t watch it, you’ll be confused. Go ahead, watch it. It’s only one minute and 40 seconds and it’ll leave you pondering your actions as a human being and as a member of society. I’ll be right here when you get back.

Go. Watch. It.

Intense, right? And although I don’t agree with the term “nobody”, he brings to light a very true fact. People want things to change. Change is hard. Subsequently, people (generally speaking), don’t do the work to make change happen. People don’t like hard.

In the almost three months since my surgery, I’d venture to say that I’ve lost very little of my cardio fitness. Why? Because I am a lean, mean, elliptical going machine. I have simulated speed workouts, tempo runs, and long training runs on the elliptical. Tabata intervals are my favorite and I pride myself on my sweatiness factor when I leave the gym. Yes, I am that person you do NOT want to be beside at the gym. But see the problem isn’t my cardiovascular fitness. I’m pretty certain that has a solid foundation and even if I stopped exercising for a month, it would still be solid.. The problem is my strength and I really don’t like doing strength training exercises. That’s why I’m cardio queen, as they call me at the gym. Not iron queen. But here is what that short video made me realize this morning: by avoiding what I obviously need to do, I’m refusing to own the process and I’m refusing to endure change. I’m being just like everyone else in the world who wants things to change but who doesn’t want to do the work. In other words, I’m being a lazy ass.

Cardio is easy for me. I’d do it all day, every day if I could. That’s why I like marathon training so much. But I don’t need more cardio in my life. I need strength. And based on my movement patterns, I’d say I need a little muscle memory retraining as well. As Mr. Fields so eloquently puts it, people want to own the results but nobody wants to own the process. I want the result of a stronger body and a stable hip. I have yet to own up to the process to get there.

To successfully endure change is to be one step above the rest. Today I will leave my dear friend the elliptical and introduce myself to the weight room. However, no worries. I’ll be back tomorrow. I could never leave my favorite machine completely. My intention is to not to leave cardio all together. That would be a really sad day. My intention is to gradually shift my focus from all out sprints to deep squats and weighted lunges. It might not be so bad after all. Even if I don’t like, I still have to do it. The result I’m after is to run another marathon. I have to face the fact that in order to get there, I need to get stronger.

Happy Trails and Happy Running,

Tracie

PS: I recently discovered the bad ass Neghar Fonooni. She’s pretty freakin’ strong but her workouts are metabolic workouts. In other words, she incorporates strength training and endurance training. That is a workout I can appreciate.

PPS: I ran my first full mile on Monday. It took 13 minutes but I made it. And I hurt afterwards. I don’t think my bone has quite taken to the screws in my hip just yet. Lovely.

One Month Post Boston

Time flies. It really does. And at the same time, so much can happen in such a short amount of time. I guess that means life passes by pretty quickly too. Must. Get. Busy.

One month ago today, I woke up with excitement, hope, and determination. I woke up with plans to do the thing that I had spent the last four months of my life training for. It was a beautiful day and I knew I would end that day with a medal around my neck and pride across my face. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

A lot has happened since then and a lot has changed. This is what one month injured, in the hospital, and on the mend have taught me:

1) Shitty things happen. I get to choose how I’m going to deal with them.

2) Will power is an incredible resource. Every day I get to decide how I’m going to help myself.

3) Perspective changes. If you had told me six weeks ago I wouldn’t be running for six months, I would have thought the world were coming to an end. Now I realize it’s not that bad.

4) A healthy body matters. My recovery is going incredibly well. The doc and PT say my active lifestyle and health have made a big difference.

5) Everything changes. From health and fitness to hospital beds and walkers, nothing stays the same. This too shall pass.

6) Pain is temporary. The pain I felt that Monday afternoon and the pain I felt after my surgery were immense. Now it’s all just a distant memory.

7) Things change (and many times, it’s not your decision). I had big plans after Boston and for the 2015 race. I’ve since had to readjust and I’m okay with that.

8) The race is long. That one day in Boston I thought I would finally have my chance to prove myself as a runner. It didn’t happen, but I know it wasn’t my last chance. Another opportunity awaits me.

9) My can’ts have become my can’s. Before my surgery there were many things I thought I couldn’t do. Or I wouldn’t do. Now that I don’t have an option, I know that I can.

10) Life goes on. The world did not stop for my suffering and neither did my life. The days continue and what was once so vivid and painful, grows fainter and fainter with each new day.

I am grateful for everything that has happened to me. It has put me on a different path for now, and that’s okay. I’m learning to venture out of my running comfort zone, to do things other than exercise like a crazy lady, and to appreciate the fact that every day I have a choice. Every day, I get to choose to be happy, choose to be determined, and choose to embrace my suffering. Having part of my identity taken away is hard but it’s as hard as I let it be. But perhaps the thing I am most grateful for is the fact that I finally feel like my hips are fixed. For so long I’ve been off balance and out of whack, which caused so many of my injuries. Now I can finally feel what it’s like to stand evenly on two feet. It’s actually quite amazing. Perhaps the pain caused by this injury today is what will help me to find my place in the future.

It’s all up to me.

Happy Trails and Happy Running,
Tracie

(PS: One week from today I get to start exercising again. This has been my longest break from exercise since I was in high school. I wonder what next Monday will have in store for me.)

Consistency

Consistency can be defined as steadfast adherence to the same principles, course, form, etc. For me, I would say it’s adherence to the same sport – running. As a runner for 12+ years, consistency is something I have really lacked. The only time I can remember where I had a consistent running schedule was when I was about 20 years old and running 5-6 days a week. That only lasted for a few months and ever since then, I have been a 3-4 day a week runner, with a lot of cross training, and a lot of injuries. However, I have always wanted to run more. I think if I could, I would run two a days, every day. I just love being outside and running that much.

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Workout Fears

Sometimes I’m afraid of workouts. Strange, perhaps. But when I see some of the track workouts my coach has planned out for me, I can’t help but to experience a little anxiety. It’s not the distance that has ever bothered me. It’s the speed.

 

 

Yesterday I decided there are two main reasons I’m “afraid” of my speed workouts…

Reason #1: Pain

Track workouts can be intense. Right now, because we are so early into my training, we are doing shorter, faster intervals. (Not my thing.)  Tuesday, I was reminded why I like long distances.  Short and fast equals painful. The workout was 4-5 sets of “split 1000s,” which means a 200, 300, and 500 at around 5:30-5:40 pace with a one minute break between intervals. The 200 interval – not too bad. The 300 – a little more painful. The 500?? Oh my gosh, I have to do how many of these!?!?  By the 4th set, I was done. Not even 3 miles and my legs has a nice little burn going on.  The 85 degree weather and hot track didn’t help make the workout any less painful. I asked coach how do you get over the pain? His response, embrace it and know it’s making your stronger. Okay, I’ll do my best coach.

Reasons #2: Failure

When I saw my Tuesday workouts for the next month, I started to tell myself, I can’t do this. This is too fast for me. Well if that’s not setting myself up for failure , I don’t know what is. I’m not use to doing a lot of speed work on the track and I’m afraid of not meeting my goals. What if I can’t run the splits that I’m aiming for? What if my last interval is significantly slower than my first? What if I fail? Before we started on Tuesday coach said to me, I think you’re faster than you give yourself credit for. And that got me thinking… Who cares if I don’t meet my time goals as long as I try my best? I am fast and I know I can be faster. Pushing myself to the point of failure is the only way I’m going to know how fast I really am.

Happy Trails & Happy Running,

Tracie

Running Update: Tuesday’s track workout is here followed by yesterday’s 8 miles. I was amazed at how easy and fast 8 miles felt after Tuesday. Today is an easy 6 mile run. It’s been a great running week. 🙂

Calf Tightness

Hello blogosphere! After one week of no blogging whatsoever, I can now say that I miss it and am ready to contribute my two cents once again.

Running has been going okay. Not the amazing, pain free running I woud like but I’m still doing my workouts. Tuesday was my first track workout since January and thankfully, I was able to hit my goal times (actually a little faster), with no problem. However, my coach was there and he was quick to point out some things going on with my form that need a little work. For example, too much twisting in the hips and a left arm that barely moves and is held up significantly higher than my right. I’m working on it.

Thursday was an easy 5 miler out at the greenway and I couldn’t believe how tight my calves were. They hurt some kind of bad and thoughts of being sidelined for a month due to injury started to enter my mind. What the heck am I doing wrong? When I got back to my car, I decided to put on my Minimus shoes for a short jog just to see if they felt any better. Immediately the pain went away and my form corrected itself. I ran another mile pain free.

So my question is, why are my calves so darn tight?

I carry around a lot of tension in my body when I run. Because I’m always thinking about form, I don’t just let things happen. Foot strike and arm movement are the two main things always on my mind.

When running, the calf muscles are used to stabilize the ankle and absorb the impact during push off and landing. For some reason, when I get more miles on my legs, I start shifting my foot strike to my toes. I can feel it now and I could feel it back in January. I imagine that running on your toes requires a lot of extra effort from the calf muscles because the ankle and foot really have to be stabilized.

I read this from TheHungryRunner and thought this sounded about right for me:

Interestingly, calf tightness can also be symptomatic of weakness elsewhere in the leg.  If your glutes and/or hamstrings are weak, your calves will often try to make up for that weakness, which means the muscle gets overused, which in turn exacerbates calf tightness.  In that same vein, calf tension is rarely experienced in isolation; rather, if there is tightness in the calf muscles, there is also a good chance you are tight in your hamstrings as well, due to the synergistic nature of the hamstrings and calves for much of our daily movements.

Tomorrow I’ll spend time really focusing on my glutes, quads, and hamstrings. I’ve also been using the Rumble Roller (ouch!!!) to work on releasing some of these knots. And the final thing that I am going to do to work on my calf tightness is…. meditation. Perhaps that sounds a little odd but I have got to release this tension that I carry around. I think meditation is a great way to do this.

Happy Trails & Happy Running,

Tracie

Running Update: Today I did 12 miles in my Minimus. It was a little tough because I was up too late last night and only ate a small salad for dinner. On the plus side, however, my calves didn’t bother me one bit and my form felt a lot better in the Minimus. Maybe it is also important for me to alternate shoes more consistently. Stats are here.

Dear Hills

As I said yesterday, I’m taking my runs off the sidewalks and to the greenways. The one positive thing (or negative, depending on how you look at it), is I’m always running some type of hill. Sure, they aren’t as bad as the hills in Seattle or San Francisco, but sometimes they really do suck. During my 8 mile hilly run today, I mentally wrote a letter telling the hills just what I thought of them. I’d like to share it…

Dear Hills,

Hills, I love you. I hate you. And I respect you. I love you because when I’m effortlessly bounding down you, you make me feel like I’m a Kenyan. Incredibly fast and incredibly efficient. I hate you because when you present me with an arduous climb, you remind me that I’m not the Kenyan I previously thought. Instead I’m slow and not nearly as strong as I once thought. And I respect you because even though from afar, you make me think holy sh**, when we met face to face, I realize you aren’t that bad. In fact, hills, you really do remind me of life. Amazing when it’s easy, crappy when it’s hard, and a constant reminder that even though it may look insurmountable, it is totally doable. I’m a stronger person because of you.

Love,

A soon to be much faster runner 😉

Happy Trails and Happy Running!

Tracie

Running Update: 8 hilly miles today and now off to restaurant club with my girlfriends. Stats are here.

Want

Yesterday I ran like I haven’t run in almost two months. I ran one of the hilliest courses I know and I ran it at a pace that was kind of fast for the hills and easy pace I had originally planned. As I ran up one of the steepest hills, as I wanted to stop and walk, as I questioned why I wanted to hurt when I was suppose to be going easy, I told myself no 3 hour marathoner got there without a little hurt, no Ironman crossed the finish line without a little suffering, and my running hero, Ariana Hilborn, didn’t go from a 4:30 marathoner to Olympic Trials qualifier by walking the hills. Pain is just a part of it. Embrace it.

Love Yourself

Happy Trails & Happy Running,

Tracie

Running Update: No running today. Tomorrow will be my longest run since February. I can’t wait!

Ankle Flexibility

In keeping with the foot theme from yesterday, I have another question… how flexible are your ankles?

Back when I ran myself to the injured list for 5 1/2 weeks, I went to a sports massage therapist who told me my ankles were very inflexible. I took this quite offensively because I’ve always been proud of my flexibility. But truth be told, I think he was right :).

Ankle flexibility is important, especially for runners. And tight ankles can lead to quite a few aches and pains, including calf injuries. Yup, I’ve had that injury…

Paula Quinene, Livestrong:

Tight joints, including your ankles, make it difficult to maintain correct form while you run. Ankles with a limited range of motion also predispose you to tight calf muscles as they are the major muscles acting on your ankles. This condition can hurt your running performance by causing further injury, rendering you out of commission from your training. Stretches for the muscles acting on your ankles stretch your ankles.

But no need to worry. While you’re working on spreading those toes, you can also improve your ankle flexibility. You can read about wall-and-toes, runner’s calf stretch, tibialis stretch, and lateral stretch here. Or if you’re more interested in a few yoga poses to help your ankles, check out this article. This article also has a few basic ankle stretches.

I love how a sport that can seem so simple, can be so much more complex. When I first started running many years ago, I never though my toes, ankles, back muscles, or hips would play such an important role. I’m glad I’m finally starting to figure it all out (or at least some of it).

Happy Trails and Happy Running,

Tracie

Running Update: Yea, I said I wasn’t going to run today but I did anyway. The thought of being inside on such a beautiful day did not seem appealing. I was feeling fine so I went for an easy 5 1/2 miles. It was around 85 degrees here in NC and I must say, running in the heat isn’t as much fun as running in the cold. Garmin stats are here and I love that I’m making new friends on Garmin Connect! Tomorrow is a functional fitness and strength training day.

My Own Worst Enemy

I am my own worst enemy. When it comes to running, I lack patience, discipline (in certain areas), control, restraint, and perspective. So many times, I see my run in that very moment and not how it is going to help me to reach my goal 6 months from now. I recognize this and I’m working on. I promise. Today, I have proof….

This morning Mario and I went out for a 6 mile run. I think sometimes I scare Mario because I’m not as careful as I should be when crossing the street. If a car starts to slow down, I cross the street. Well I think I gave Mario a slight heart attack this morning as we were running back home. Don’t pedestrians always have the right of way? He was planning to go a little faster on the 3 miles back home anyway and instead of suffering through more scares, he went on ahead. Normally, I would have been right there with him. But I didn’t go. I thought about my small steps to getting healthy. I thought about all of the advice I have received from my running friends. Patience. Perspective. Discipline. For a brief moment, I thought about how everyone else on the street must be thinking she can’t keep up with him. I let it go. I did what was best for me and I was proud of that.

I don’t want to be my own worst enemy. I want to be my biggest ally.

Happy Trails and Happy Running,

Tracie

My 2nd Saturday Run 

Pain

I have come to the sound conclusion that athletes have an incredible ability to tolerate pain. Yes, most of us already know that athletes have to deal with a little more pain than your average person, but they really do deal with some intense pain. I couldn’t even begin to list all of the accidents Chrissie Wellington had during her Ironman training (according to her book). Broken bones, severe road rash, hamstring injuries, etc.  And yesterday I read an article about how Paula Radcliffe suffered a dislocated jaw, a jammed hip, and whiplash one week before her world record performance. Um, ouch?

There are many studies out there detailing how athletes handle pain. According to this study, endurance athletes can handle a moderate amount of pain, while other game sport athletes can handle more intense pain. Perhaps because endurance athletes deal with it for longer periods of time versus short bouts of pain? Two of the common coping mechanisms are association (thinking about the pain) and dissociation (thinking about something else). For me personally, I prefer association, especially if I’m doing an intense effort.

Although I do not have the stories of Wellington or Radcliffe, I do have my own broken bone story. On my wedding night, I broke my collar bone. (Apparently having a bunch of people of varying heights lift you in a chair is a bad idea. Gravity will win.) Anyway, three days later I was biking again and one week later I was running. The key to running with a broken collar bone…. do NOT swing that arm, 🙂 Sure, it hurt a bit but I’m an athlete. I deal with pain. Most people said I was crazy. For me personally, I never understood how a broken collar bone affected my legs anyway. I also went hang gliding over the Swiss Alps but that’s another story.

Happy Trails and Happy Running,

Tracie

One of the last photos taken at my wedding. But how many people can say they fell 7 feet and left their wedding in an ambulance?

One of the last photos taken at my wedding. But how many people can say they fell 7 feet and left their wedding in an ambulance?

A flight to Switzerland like this wasn't much fun

A flight to Switzerland like this wasn’t much fun.

But I couldn't let a broken bone stop me from this - amazing!

But I couldn’t let a broken bone stop me from this – amazing!

Running/Recovery Update: Perhaps I shouldn’t have run two days in a row but I couldn’t stand the thought of working out on the elliptical in that stuffy gym. I ran 4 miles through Microsoft’s campus, followed by strength training and stretching. I’m continuing to run in my Minimus shoes and my calves can tell. On another note, I had a crazy idea this morning. On May 2nd, I am turning 30 years old. Wouldn’t it be cool to run 30 miles? Maybe not the best idea for a recovering runner but I think this would be amazing!