Saturday, May 31, 2014

Friends/Pool Maintenance Guy Negate Injury

So Im still here, still injured and still spending an inordinate amount of time here...

...out-staring the pool maintenance man who bewilderedly witnesses the spectacle of me pool running in the mornings.

Ive been interspersing my pool running with bouts of stationary bike and weight lifting. Bike/pool to maintain that aerobic fitness, weights so I can wear gloves and grunt and act hard core like all the bros in my gym.

I hate myself quite a lot for taking a selfie in the lift. But it's demonstrative of said gloves and overall hard-coreness.

Anyway, I would love to give you an injury update but the long and short is we dont know what it is! Ive had an xray and ultrasound, all of which show some healthy bones and unmolested tendons, and a very happy and healthy plantar fascia. The only remaining cause could be neuro; ie, a nerve entrapment of some type in my foot. My podiatrist said its actually a good thing, because my foot is so generally healthy, and at least we know what not to look for now. 

Tomorrow im going to see a specialist sports med guy who will likely give me an MRI to confirm and hopefully a rehab schedule to follow. Unfortunately all the things my podiatrist was doing for the more obvious and common diagnoses - myofascial release (ie just a massage that induces a cold sweating, white knuckled response), orthotics, and tight taping of my foot - were likely squashing the nerve even further and generally making it worse. Since we've stopped those things, its gotten a lot better again! And given Ive gotten it to almost 100% before on my own, im hopeful that i can do it again with the right rehab.

In the meantime, Im not going to lie... I have had some very strong and violent urges when passing by basically every runner in Sydney ever... With all their stupid neon running gear (like all my stupid neon running gear), their ridiculous garmins (I heart my garmin) and their absurdly happy endorphin glow (must....have.... endorphins....).

The thing that has actually kept me most sane while injured are my favorite people. Obviously Kristen (who is racing San Diego RnR tomorrow with Meb - good luck!!) - duh...but also because she has been through a looooong injury before and knows exactly where I am at. Sam and Racer, amazing runners in their own rights who have suffered more than their fair share of injuries... My Dad who got me into this damned sport in the first place and who knows the heart ache of missing out on the miles... (And who has never stopped talking about witnessing my first marathon finish). My new workmates (most of whom just think im insane for loving running this much) have also been great. Especially GML, (you can stop complaining - consider this your shoutout on the blog) my bestie and coffee-partner at work, who has to listen to me endlessly discuss running and bear witness to my awesomely attractive pairings of corporate attire + grungey running shoes. 

But in reality its also about realizing that its JUST running. Even for professional runners its just running. Im thankful for friends who listen and care about it, but also remind me that there is more to life than this somewhat selfish and narcississtic pursuit of ours. Im grateful to have a lot of other things that keep me sane and grounded and happy until i get to run again.

In the meantime, I also have the unlikely bond I am developing with pool maintenance guy... And am cherishing his ever-increasing bewilderment at me and my horrendously fugly jogging belt. 

~ Penny

Thursday, May 29, 2014

And 20 weeks later, we reach taper week

I agreed to write a law journal article on a topic that 99.9% of lawyers don't care about, and my deadline is Friday. Of course, I didn’t start working on it in April when I said yes. So here I sit in the office working evenings this week to pull this thing together. It’s a good thing it’s TAPER WEEK!

April and May were full of tough races and intense training. So, in addition to having to commit extra time to work, I welcomed taper week just for some physical relaxation!

As part of my elaborate efforts to avoid working on the law article, I’ve been reading articles on tapering. Most of the information I've found is geared toward elite-level runners. The suggested taper plans are almost harder than my hardest week of training. Not much out there on tapering for the hobbyist half marathoner. I gather that the basic idea is to assess the state of your body and what your training was like. And then you just have to trust your training. “The hay is in the barn,” as a runner friend of mine told me.

I was pretty low mileage, but my legs have accumulated fatigue from April and May. So for my taper, I decided that one week would be enough because I’ve never tapered for more than a week for any of my half marathons. And I'm planning on about 20 mile this week - half of my average weekly mileage over the last month. I’m keeping it to all easy miles and perhaps a couple of miles at race pace just for fun.

But trusting your training is the hardest part. I violated the-hay-is-in-the-barn principle of tapering on Saturday when I ran 16 miles for my final long run (the longest run of my entire 20 week training cycle, and probably the longest in the last 12 months). It was a mistake. My legs still have not quite regained their spring, and it’s almost Friday!

Speaking of almost Friday! . . . back to that law review article that no one but my editor cares about.

Two Little Runners

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

"A Life Beyond 'Do What You Love'"

"Perhaps you relish running marathons. Perhaps you even think of your exercise regimen as a form of self-improvement. But if your “something higher” is, say, justice and equality, those ideals might behoove you to delegate some of the many hours spent pounding the track on tutoring kids at the youth center. Our desires should not be the ultimate arbiters of vocation. Sometimes we should do what we hate, or what most needs doing, and do it as best we can."

"A Life Beyond 'Do What You Love'" - Gordon Marino, NY Times, 17 May 2014

~ Penny

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Navy’s Coronado Bay Bridge Run (4 miles)

This race starts on the Embarcadero by the Convention Center and goes over the Coronado Bridge, finishing over in Coronado’s Tidelands Park. It’s the only time the bridge is open to foot traffic all year. So it’s a must do for any San Diegan! (It would also be a fantastic destination race.) Over 10,000 people showed up to run (or walk) and raised money for wounded warriors and other worthy causes.

The race lends itself to a fun run, and I wanted to run this race as a fun run, but I just don’t have that in me. I raced it – but I didn’t race it too hard, after a pretty intense week of running. Plus one more intense week to go before I start tapering for the San Diego Rock N Roll Half Marathon on June 1.

This was a tough race from the start. Maybe it was my fatigued legs, but I struggled with the baby hills in the first mile (6:30). And then, the big climb up the bridge (complete with headwind)  was in mile 2 (7:30, no Garmin data on elevation on the bridge – shows a flat line). By the time I crested the bridge, I could barely be bothered to enjoy the 360 degree views of the Silver Strand, Pacific Ocean, San Diego Harbor, Coronado, and downtown. My legs were burning on the hill, and I felt pukey. So I coasted downhill on the bridge in mile 3 (6:42). (I could have pushed a lot harder here, but eh…) I was well recovered for the 4th mile, which was totally flat (6:13).

My average pace was 6:47 – which, on paper, is a bit troubling because I am going for 6:50-6:55 pace in my half. But I feel really positive about the 6:13 in the final mile. It felt almost effortless after several very tough miles that I recovered from pretty quickly.

This earned me 3rd place female overall, so I stayed to enjoy the post-race party and collect my rewards! I took advantage of a free massage, enjoyed the band, and collected a record amount of freebies, which thank god I had to munch on because I decided to spend the extra time to wait to take the free race ferry back to downtown.

1 – 6:30
2 – 7:30
3 – 6:42
7 – 6:13
27:07 (6:47)

3rd female of 2548 / 54th overall of 4840 runners (over 10,000 runners and walkers!)

Two Little Runners ~ Kristen

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Happy Blogiversary to Us

A few days ago, this blog turned two years old.
Kristen and I have been besties for about 2-3 years now. Its hard to pinpoint exactly when we fell in friend-love with each other. But somewhere after the time I began working in an office next to hers at our law firm, (and we began our daily coffee trips together) we fell into the beginning of the wonderful friendship we have today. Kristen had the unique distinction of getting me completely trashed on tequila on my first mexican/bar experience in California after I found out I passed the bar exam. 

And honestly? We've been through quite a lot of shit together in the last few years. Probably some of the hardest times in our lives so far. We've shared so much; and often in quite close proximity to one another. We've shared bosses, desks, cases, briefs, hotel rooms, clothes, relationship advice, training advice, the editing of our firm newsletter, injury diagnoses, food recommendations, 16 hour days in a windowless room while at trial... Not to mention sharing each others shoulders to cry on, when the going just got a little too tough. 

But before we get toooo sentimental here, there needs to be a bit of a disclaimer. Sometimes we probably fall into perhaps over-sharing. Is there such a thing? Here are a selections of things we've felt the need to share with one another (usually by free text message) even after moving a half a world away:

New arm-warmers complete with muscle shots:

Precisely how much I sweat while running in the South Australian heat.

What we've been snacking on lately...

New bizarre grains we've tried to cook up

And some less-old but massively delicious kitchen creations

New injuries 

New hair

Of course our new shoes

Lulu shopping trips

(This happens shockingly frequently)

New bags

And offices

And hotel rooms

Stretches we've been loving lately...
(This is not me!)

Or other training/injury advice

Come to think of it, we email/msg/send each other a lot of random crap:

Including some much needed venting sessions..

But despite being half a world away, Im thankful on a daily basis (because we actually do talk/email/msg that frequently) for having such a dear friend in this world, with whom I can share so much. Be it the heart-breaks of life, the tough circumstances we face at work, our latest grueling tempo runs, or the prettiest running shorts we can find. 

So on the two year anniversary of Two Little Runners - just one more thing we share - I want to say: 

Kristen, thanks for being my friend. You rock. 



Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Seen while running - Little Free Library

Unlimited candy, cookies, and sweets. Ice cream and pizza for dinner! And no discipline! That's life at Grandma and Grandpa's house - a kid's anarchic paradise! This week I'm reliving those summer weeks spent at my grandparent's house as a kid. I'm spending the week with Grandma and Grandpa - in Sun Prairie, WI (just outside of Madison) - helping out as my grandpa recovers from surgery.  

My mom and grandma know how much I love to run, so they scoped out a bike path for me that runs right behind the house. I've already run 25 miles on it and haven't run out of trail! It's awesome!

On my first trip out, I saw this curious little box:

There were about 20 books in the box - from kids' books to novels! Upon further investigation, I found out it was a Little Free Library - which is a mailbox full of books! The boxes are put up and maintained by a volunteer. Any one can take a book, and any one can drop one off. How cute is that? It's a worldwide project - and it all started right here in Wisconsin!

Two Little Runners

Monday, May 5, 2014

El Take It Easy

There used to be a Mexican restaurant in San Diego by this name. Brilliant! They served the cuisine of the Guadalupe Valley, which is the wine region of Baja California. And they had tons of mescal martinis. Mescal is sort of tequila’s smoky, piney cousin.

El take it easy is not just an out-of-business restaurant – it was also my training motto this week.

My legs were trashed after the La Jolla Half Marathon. Specifically, below the knees - from clomping down a pretty steep hill at max speed. Calves were tight, shins were sore, and my joints/bones/connective tissue felt generally pounded out. Therefore, el take it easy this week!

Monday, I needed to get in some sunshine before a work trip to NYC. 4 miles easy through the neighborhood.

Tuesday, in NYC. I wasn’t even tempted to run. It was cold, windy, and raining! 45 minutes on the elliptical. Ate dinner at Il Postino, classic NY Italian. Great service, not that impressed with the food.

Wednesday, in NYC. In the morning, I did an easy 3 miles on the treadmill (still raining). Flight cancelled, so in the evening did 30 minutes on the elliptical and a pull-up workout (still raining). Total rain for the day = 5 inches! But I managed to dodge the rain drops to get to Eataly and devoured a delicious pizza!

Thursday, back in San Diego where it was very hot! 99 degrees. 4 miles easy in Balboa Park.

Friday, core/legs at the gym. Another hot day – headed to Fathom for a beer after work. This is a little tap room/sausage place on the pier at Shelter Island.

Saturday, still hot . . . ran 5 hot miles in Balboa Park in the morning, and headed to the ocean for 3 miles of kayaking at La Jolla Shores. Saw sea lions, seals, and dolphins out swimming! So cool!!

So with the race and el take it easy the rest of the week, it was a 30 mile week (not counting the kayaking).

Two Little Runners

Friday, May 2, 2014

I Run Because _____.

Gonna try not to get too deep and serious here. But it’s a topic Penny and I have been discussing lately. I’ve been the optimistic one lately because I’ve had – more or less – an injury-free 2014. Penny has been a little gloomy on the topic, as she works her way back from injury again and all the emotions that come with it. 

Why do I run?

Really, there are tons of reasons. And every day is different . . . 

I run because I’m in better shape at 33 than I was at 23.
I run to have fun. 
I run because I'm an athlete. 
I run because I want sunshine.
I run because I want the runner’s high. 
I run because I'm dedicated.
I run to get sexy racer back tan lines.
I run because I want a PR.
I run to look good.
I run to be healthy and fit.
I run to explore my surroundings. 
I run because then I get to eat 3,000 calories a day.
I run because it’s gorgeous outside.
I run because my training plan tells me to.
I run to race.
I run to wear bright colors.
I run because I’m a goal-driven overachiever.

Two Little Runners