Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Stop the Presses, It's a Double-Digit Week!!

So I've finally run enough in one week that I feel like it's worth blogging about it, which is kind of a big deal when you consider that two and a half months ago I could barely walk. I have to remind myself of that every time I start to feel depressed about what I still can't do.

The hardest thing about running these days is how screwed up my effort levels are as I'm working on all the posterior chain stuff. Honestly, I think if I just went back to running the way I was before the the marathon, I'm pretty sure I could run as far as I wanted at a more or less respectable pace. (I'd probably also end up with another hip flexor injury.) But since I'm committed to re-learning to Run With The ButtTM, everything is hard. There are no easy runs. I sometimes have to stop every mile, not because of aerobic endurance but because of muscular endurance in my hamstrings and glutes.

As it happens, there are also no slow runs. When I really do a good job of working the posterior chain (not a euphemism), I can't actually run much slower than ~8:10 / mile (basically marathon pace) unless I'm going uphill. Which is kind of cool, but it's also frustrating that those muscles aren't yet strong enough to keep it up without lots of breaks.

I have finally figured out at a kinesthetic level how all the hamstring/glute stuff fits together with what my hip flexor is doing. The more I work on my running form and do strength work that is reinforcing the right neuromuscular firing patterns, the more I find myself consciously aware of what my hamstrings & glutes are doing while I'm running. And I've noticed that when those muscles are flexing and firing and engaging at the right times, they are protecting my hip flexor (ie, keeping it from engaging inappropriately), and when they're not, the hip flexor has to absorb more force & do more stabilizing, which makes it sore.

The response of every medical / running / movement professional on my case right now:

Look it's a .gif! Because otherwise you might not know it's a running blog.

"YES AND/OR DUH. This is what we've been trying to tell you for weeks. Welcome to the party, finally."

* * *

Grand Total: 13.5 miles

    * 10.75 easy
    * 2 tempo
    * 0.75 speed

Monday Aug 5:

Karate + strength work.

Tuesday Aug 6:

2.5 speed. On the track! Not slow! Also some strength work.

Wednesday Aug 7:

Yoga only. I did go to karate, but this past Wednesday was a testing night instead of a regular class, and now that I'm a black belt, instead of a fairly reasonable workout on those nights I get to sit on the panel. Which, don't get me wrong, is actually SUPER fascinating & interesting, but mostly involves sitting on a cushion at the front of the dojo & asking deep questions with #seriousface instead of actually sweating.


Thursday Aug 8:

An hour of strength work in the a.m. (the afore-mentioned lifting / sprints, plus some circuit work) + 3 miles easy in the p.m. My plan said four, but when my hip started to feel achey 1.5 miles in, I decided to be safe & turn around.

Friday Aug 9:

4 tempo. My first *real* tempo run since M2BM, so kind of a big deal! The plan called for 1 mile warm-up, 3 mile repeats at 7:25 with 1:00 jog recoveries, & 1 mile cool-down, which I modified to 1 mile warm-up, 2 mile repeats with a bit of walking in between, & 1 mile cool down.

Remember how I said my effort levels are kind of screwed up? Well, my first tempo mile was 7:22, which was pretty close to what it should be. The second one was 6:59, which is frankly *absurd*. Yes, it was slightly downhill, but still. I will be happy once I have my sense of pace / effort back again.

Saturday Aug 10:

Nothing, except eat oysters in Tamales Bay at a friend's birthday party & then go see live music. :)

Sunday Aug 11:

4 miles easy. Again...."easy" is very much a relative term. Since Sunday is traditionally my long run day, I thought I might just see how far my hip was up for. If I was lucky, I thought I get through maybe five, but the hip started getting achey around three so I called it good at four.

* * *

I went to see the running doc again today, and he was pleased to see that I basically don't have pain anymore besides a bit of soreness if I push it too far and that I was running up to four miles. "That's actually a little more than I thought you'd be doing by now," he said. "I'd say you're right on track." I agreed, but also bemoaned the fact that things are still progressing sooooo sloooooowly and it's been nearly 2.5 months since I've been able to run properly.

Doc: "So yeah. Let's maybe not forget that a) you basically tore a major muscle almost in half, and b) the last time you were here you could barely run half a mile."

Which, yeah. True.

I was glad to hear that he approved of my race plans (10K in October, half in November, marathon maybe next spring if all goes well); for the most part he seemed pretty happy with the work I've been doing (continuing PT, Running With The ButtTM, spinning, swimming, strength work) & encouraged me to keep it all up. He was not particularly crazy about the fact that I ran some kinda-sorta-fastish 400s on the track last week, & said that if anything I'm doing is likely to re-aggravate the muscle while it's still healing, it's that.

"Just be careful," he said finally. "I would rather see you work on aerobic / LT fitness until your leg is strong and then work on speed."

I think I probably had a look like he'd just run over my dog.

"I guess some 100s & 200s would probably be okay."

Sooooooo yeah. That's where things stand.

This week, I will hopefully attempt 5 miles at some point. #smallvictories


  1. Yay for you! It must feel super good to break that barrier after so long on the mend. Congrats!

    Just saw you're running the Berkeley Half in November. I'll be there too. I'm sure you'll be so ready by then you'll kick its butt!

    1. Thanks!

      Maybe I'll see you there??? It's always fun to meet bloggers!!

  2. Super proud of you Angela! Be proud of those victories whether they are big are small...they are earned! I know what you mean by having to stop and not have it be due to aerobic fitness. I went through a lot of that last year when I was trying to learn how to not heel strike on every stride. My poor little calves were screaming for rest and sometimes every 1/2 mile.

    1. YES! It's just like that! It's so frustrating but I just keep trying to remind myself that it's part of a longer process.

  3. Yay progress!! You're doing awesome!!

  4. #smallvictories is what it's all about. I simply cannot wait to celebrate this same milestone in my recovery. Keep going girl!