Friday, December 6, 2013

Wanted: Half Mary Training Plan

I want to find a training plan for my next goal race (March 9, San Diego Half). So far, I've been generally base building and increasing mileage slowly, preparing for harder workouts in late December, January, and February.

Last half I trained for, I followed Jeff Galloway's half marathon plan. But I can't really evaluate the results because of bad weather conditions at that race (epic winds). The cornerstone of the Galloway plan was lots of speed work (weekly). Also weekly long runs, and less emphasis on tempos. I think the plan got me into great shape. But given my recent injury, doing all that speed work would put me at too high of risk for re-injury.

Anyone have a reco for a half marathon training plan???

As I already reported, I had a pretty good showing in the 3 mile Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving! Last time I ran a race, back in April at the Carlsbad 5000, I remember my joints aching beforehand and my body generally complaining afterwards. And then I ran another 5 miles.

{{{shuddering}}} at the foolishness.

A few weeks later, to my great surprise (at the time), I sprained my ankle. Likely because my joints were not recovering from my 55 mile weeks, but I pressed on with 10 mile tempos, epic speed workouts, etc.

I learned from my mistake, the hard way (as usual): I cut back in mileage for the race. I ran only three days, but they were all outdoor runs. No treadmill! This is my highest outdoor mileage so far this training cycle.

Still base building - race week/cut back week: 18.5 miles

Monday – 11/25
     Legs/core weights

Tuesday – 11/26
     Stuck at work all day/night.

Wednesday – 11/27
     Travel to Illinois.

Thursday – 11/28 THANKSGIVING!
     Ran a 3 mile race in 19:19.  + warm up and cool down for 5 miles total

Friday – 11/29
     Bowling with my fam, does that count as exercise?

Saturday – 11/30
     5.5 miles easy with 10 strides of about 100 m. Strides made me sore!! 

Sunday – 12/1
     8.0 miles easy.

two little runners

Thursday, December 5, 2013

City of Bloomington 3 Mile Turkey Trot at Miller Park

I went back to my hometown (Bloomington-Normal, IL) to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with my parents, brothers, sister-in-law, nephew, aunts and uncles, and grandparents. And their seven dogs. My family has been taken over by members of the canine variety.

Otis and Roy

Post-turkey naps with Emma and Pa
(Not pictured - Jo, Hannah, Daphne, and Daisy.)

I was very thankful to spend the day with my family. I haven’t seen them enough in the last few years. Especially this crazy guy!

Nephew Nilo
The only time he holds still for a picture is in his car seat!
In keeping with my Thanksgiving racing tradition, I ran a turkey trot for the third year in a row on Thursday. I was very excited about this race because my dad ran too! And because it was my first race in costume! And because it was my first race since spraining my ankle (however, I still can’t go an entire post without mentioning that)!

It was cold!!!
This was my dad’s first race since his days as a track and cross country star in college. He trained for the race by completing the Runkeeper beginner 5K training plan.

Our race was a 3 miler. There were a lot of turns, but none of them very sharp, so they didn’t slow us down at all. The course was, for the most part flat, and on wide streets in and around the park. It was a great course, although it measured a little bit short, which I ended up being grateful for in the end…

We experienced a little bit of wind, and it was pretty cold.  The lake in the park was partially frozen.

The race was untimed – but free – so no places were given out. A lot of very fast runners showed anyway (the first person crossed in 14:10, I heard). My impression was that a lot of cross country runners were home for the holidays. I saw a lot of cross country team sweatshirts from nearby colleges and high schools.

I went out very, very fast (having lined up near the front with all the cross country runners). But then settled into a rhythm by about the half mile mark.

By about end of the first mile, I had formed a nice little group with about a half a dozen other runners – a few high school cross country runners and a few thirtysomething old farts. I stayed in the back of the pack, using them to block the wind. The pack was going a little bit faster than I had planned, but I decided to stay with them.

The group broke up in the last half mile of the race when a few runners started to kick. I kicked with them and crossed the finish line – dying – in 19:19. The course was a little bit short, so it was an average pace of 6:51.

I was very happy with an average pace that began with a ‘6.’ I was projecting a little bit slower pace, since it was colder than I’m used to, and I didn’t do a proper warm up. I also think I’m in a little better shape than I thought I was. What a nice surprise! The ankle held up very well. No pain during the race, or after.

two little runners

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Life Update: Two Little Runners Go Multinational

So I promised some news.  Well, after 5 years of living as an immigrant in, and finally becoming a citizen of, the United States, my husband and I have decided to return back to my native land, Australia. We both fortuitously found jobs there at the same time, and it was too good of an opportunity to pass up. We will be leaving in less than two weeks time, and will be home with my family in Melbourne for Christmas. In the New Year, we will be setting up shop in Sydney, where we'll be living (when Im not sneaking down to Melbourne to cuddle my new nephew and drink good coffee with my dad)...

I'm really grateful to be able to live closer to my family and friends for the first time in a long time. But I am also very sad to be leaving my American friends and family, and even my work. And of course, it is especially tough to leave Kristen, my co-worker, fellow little runner, and my dearest friend here! [I have spent my recovery time concocting a devious plan to trick her into moving to Sydney with me... all for the continuity and cohesiveness of the blog, of course...]

Does that count as a subliminal message? I may need to work on the subtleties and finer nuances of this scheme...
As for this here blog? Well, you may get blog postings at all hours of the night (US time), but Im not going anywhere from the etherwebs! Two Little Runners will now just be a multinational venture! And you all get to see pictures of the marvelous runs, trails and races you will get to do if you come visit the greatest country in the world [that means you kristen]!

I'll leave you with some pictures of some of my favorite parts of NYC that we have been visiting recently through the Fall and Thanksgiving:

Jazz Festival and Fall leaves in Central Park...

The NYC skyline from the top of the Statue of Liberty...

Climbing Lady Lib, herself...

 (Not as good a workout as you'd think)

 The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree (being lit tonight!)

 My favorite building (and workplace) in New York...Mr. Chrysler:

And its lobby...

My train station, Grand Central...

 My favorite person, and my favorite NYC Bridge, the Brooklyn...


NYC lights from the top of Rockefeller Center ....this is the Empire State Building (obvs)...

 Central Park and Uptown...

 Empire State, Chrysler Building and the Lower East Side

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Injury Update: Femoral Neck Stress Reaction

Hey ho... so as it seems to be customary on this blog, I went underground while healing from my femoral neck stress reaction.

Im now back to running, but wanted to fill in the gaps of what I've done in the last 10 weeks by way of cross-training and rehab.

Bullet points work best when you have tons of thoughts and are a shitty blogger. So here is the run (HAR HAR) down of my injury.
  • SYMPTOMS: very very minor groin pain, prior to racing a half marathon. During race, I experienced no pain, but could not warm down afterwards. Pain was in the front of the hip and was at about an 8-9 on the pain scale (with weight bearing). I could not hop or climb stairs and hip had a "giving out" feeling. No aches at night, like a traditional stress fracture, however.
  • DIAGNOSIS: stress reaction, precursor to a stress fracture in the femoral neck. Via MRI.
  • CAUSE: Diet, mostly. Low to moderate bone density due to too low calorie intake and not enough calcium/Vitamin D, coupled with high mileage (55+ pw).
  • TREATMENT PLAN: 8 weeks no running. 3 weeks completely off, with only 2 short elliptical and 3 swim sessions, when I was still undiagnosed.
  • CROSS-TRAINING: 5 weeks of cross training and LIGHT leg strength. I cross-trained mostly on the ProCore ellipticals; the ones where you can crank up the incline so you're only using your gluts. It took all the impact off my hip and I experienced no pain using them. 
  •  STRENGTH: I managed about one leg strength (pain/discomfort dependent) session per week, with either light weights or body weight. I also did about one core session (plus random planks) and one upper body session per week.
  • REHAB: Stretching, lots of hip flexor, glut and ITB stretches. Foam rolling, especially ITB and quads.
  • DIET CHANGES: in addition to more overall calories, I added, daily, a cup of greek yogurt, a chocolate milk, a cup of plain almond milk and a Vitamin D/Calcium supplement at night.
  • RETURN TO RUNNING:I am using this plan, by Pfizinger, for returning to running after a stress fracture. I am presently on week 3, and am running every second or third day, depending entirely on how my hip feels. If Im feeling any discomfort (which only ever is about a 1 on the pain scale) or weakness in the injured area, Im NOT running. 
That last bullet point identifies the hardest part of recovery for me, and probably most runners. When you're aaaaaalmost 100% but not quite. But as I told a friend recently, recovery is not a race with a finish line. Its a process that takes time; and is frequently two steps forward, one step back. Its important to be in touch with your OWN body, and adapt to ITS healing schedule; rather than the advertised "healing time" for your injury... or even what your doctor has projected. I think we're all guilty of just deciding "Ok, its been 8 weeks! Should be recovered now, so off to run!", regardless of how the injury actually feels. Frequently our bodies just dont adhere to anyone else's schedule but their own.

Anyway, enough of that preachyness. I'll be back in a day or two to give you a much more important life update! 

~ Penny