Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

I'm sure it will shock you to hear that getting back to being fit and strong after a few weeks off for whatever reason is my least favorite part of running (because sooner or later, it does happen to all of us). I feel slow and clunky and sluggish & generally unfit. These periods aren't all bad, though. In fact, I would say I had a pretty darn good Tuesday, all things considered.

So let's consider.


1) Major work project finished. Boom.

2) Lunch break strength work. There is no yoga or Pilates at my office-gym on Tuesdays, but I figured it couldn't hurt to go & get my little key chain tag, figure out where the lock room is, etc., & as long as I was there I might as well get a few sets of something or rather in.

Friends, sets were done. Muscle groups were worked. Core stability was attended to. I'd kind of forgotten how efficient that kind of stuff can be. You can get a lot done in 45 minutes in a weight room.

3) Evening track session. I will not lie to you and tell you that this workout did not suck giant elephant balls in terms of reminding me just how out of racing shape I am, but for the most part the experience was mostly pretty good. I love being at the track and I love running fast, and it was good to be reminded of that after several weeks away from it.

    1.5 warm up;
    3 x (300m @ 6:11 pace + 100m recovery jog)
    400m recovery jog
    3 x (300m @ 6:11 pace + 100m recovery jog)
    1.85 cool down
    = ~5 miles total

4) Purchasing of fruits & vegetables. I can admit it; I get completely over-impressed with myself any time I go into a grocery store & come out with mostly produce. As if this is somehow a challenging prospect, & the produce section is surrounded by barbed wire & electrical fences & armed guards.

Still, there are few things that make me feel as much like a real grown-up as making a list of healthy foods & methodically ticking them off as I drop them into my environmentally responsible canvas bag.





5) Cooking ALL the food. Something I have been trying to do for a while now is get in the habit of preparing food in bulk that I can store for a few days & grab for lunches & quick dinners, as supposed to realizing at 9pm that we're both starving & there's nothing even remotely meal-worthy in the house that takes less than an hour to prepare. Tuesday night, though, I managed to throw together not only stuff for dinner but also a few options for the next few days' lunches (& dinners, should we need them).

I made a big batch of Cate's chard & lentil stew (delicious & nutritious, & will keep for a few days in the fridge, plus salad fixings that could be thrown together in three minutes or less (Greens, Greek peppers, Gorgonzola, & a garlic-cilantro-lime dressing mixed with chicken). Salads every day this week, my friends. True story.

But it was not all sunshine & rainbows (or chard & free-weights, as the case may be).


1) I am wicked sore. It may or may not be a great idea to do serious strength work & a speed workout in the same day. (Actually, I have a feeling it's fine -- my body just isn't used to it yet. But still. Sore.) On a related note, it turns out that even when I'm so sore I'm kind of walking funny both before & after, I can still magically run six miles totally pain-free.

2) 300m repeats kicked my ass. Basically this workout was called, "In case you forgot, you have NO functional VO2 right now. None. Nada. Zilch. Zip. Zero. Have fun with that if/when you race that 3200m in a couple weeks." Beforehand I was thinking that this looked like sort of a paltry speed workout & I would at *least* need to add one more set of of 300's in order to feel like I did anything.

Um, no. Not necessary.

I struggle with short repeats sometimes because the paces are not ones that I run often enough to be able to dial into them easily, and it's not like you have much time to adjust if you go out too fast or slow. Also, given my current lack of fitness, 6:11 is just a hair away from an all-out sprint. So in both sets my splits (in terms of average pace) more or less went 6:05, 6:15, 6:25. Oops.

I also had to run them on the concrete upper track due to a soccer game (fail), and though I was feeling optimistic about my left foot for most of the workout, that last mile or so of the cool down was a BITCH. I pretty much limped my way through the Safeway produce section.

And finally...


I think my left ankle may actually be fossilizing in places. Can that happen? Seriously. I have about three degrees of range in terms of dorsiflexion (pointing my toes up); much beyond that, and it feels like the joint is about to snap. Part of me wonders if this is what arthritis feels like. I hope I don't have ankle arthritis.

Not much else to do right now but keep plugging away. The plantar-fasciitis-ey-peroneal-tendinitis-ey parts of my foot have been feeling a little better & not killing me during my runs, so that's progress.

Soon, I am going to write a post about strength work, since I've been doing more of it lately. Seems to be the topic du jour, so I'm going with it. ;)


  1. I am awful about buying veggies too. Mostly because my husband won't eat them and so if I cook for both of us I usually leave a lot of the veggies out. He complains if I try to make him eat his green beans. How old are we? Haha.

    Sorry about your ankle! I hope that nothing is fossilizing and that it gets better soon. It really shouldn't be so selfish. :-)

  2. I have absolutely no interest in setting foot on the track right now. I know I'm painfully out of shape, but I don't want those numbers glaring at me and reminding me of it!

    I haven't been eating enough salads lately...I gotta get more veggies prepped! If I don't wash them as soon as I get them home they just seem like way too much work (Laziness. I haz it.)

    1. Yeah...The numbers are pretty demoralizing. :P

  3. Cate's chard/lentil stew is high up on my list of things to cook...I saw it on her blog and it looks great!!

    Well done on the track workout...once I'm back, I'm going to chase you round a track for a bit!!! Hopefully your ankle will have petrified so I can beat you!

    1. Yes! This should happen.

      The stew is fabulous - highly recommend! Also, I recently learned that lentils are so packed with nutrition that they're basically like taking a multi-vitamin, so I am cooking lentils all the time now.

  4. Love the photos of the veggies. :) I've been really bad about cooking lately as well, but we're planning on turning things around this week. Fingers crossed.

    As for the ankle... speaking as someone who is missing 10 degrees of dorsiflexion in her ankle, I recommend copious stretching (runner's/calf stretch) and balance exercises.