When you only get 10 minutes and you're trying to savor every second of it, it's amazing how aware you become of everything about what you're body is doing. And apparently, for reasons I don't understand, in my six weeks off from running my form has actually changed dramatically for the better. I find myself leaning forward with no problem (something I was working on but struggling with before the stress fracture), landing on the inner part of my ball of foot / midfoot with less effort, and engaging my glutes & hamstrings so much more easily.
(After the AlterG post I got a question about why I'm trying to run more on the inside part of my foot. This is why:
Left: Windsor Green Half Marathon, May 2012.
Right: Healdsburg Half Marathon, October 2012.
The left foot, I pretty much have under control at this point. The real trick has been getting my right foot to land flat without my right knee collapsing in, which my PT thinks may have played a nonzero part in my hip flexor tear last May. So I've been doing extra strength work for those particular muscles.)
Part of me wonders if this has to do with spending so much time on the bike. With that I definitely find I have to use my glutes & hamstrings a lot, especially doing speed & tempo workouts, so it makes sense that those muscles would be stronger now. (Triathletes, you may have more insight into this than I do!) Also, the fact that my average speed on the spin bike at easy-but-not-too-easy effort has gone from 12 mph to nearly 14 mph seems not insignificant.
The nice thing about being forced to run in short intervals and not having the pressure of an upcoming race is that I have the luxury of focusing on form instead of mileage. I mean yes, I was working on form a lot when I had Berkeley Half and KP Half and NVM on the schedule, but if in the middle of a run my legs would get tired from running with really good form, I was definitely more likely to be like, "Okay, I did a bunch of form miles, but [x] race is only [y] weeks away, so I HAVE to get the miles in, even if my form for the rest of this run is maybe not so great." For the time being, I think I want to institute and all-form-all-the-time rule -- If my legs get too tired to keep up good form, I'd rather take a little walking break & end up with slightly less mileage than get all the mileage but wear myself out too much to run well the whole time. (So basically it'll be like the Couch-2-5K of running form.)
OK here's the thing about getting injured towards the end of the year: You get to spend all of January getting all kinds of crazy coupons & emails about sales & discounts from all your favorite running stores, sometimes on shoes you've been eying for a while.
Boring responsible angel brain: You don't need those shoes. You have plenty of running shoes, and oh BTW, did I mention you can't even use them right now???
Smooth-talkin' rationalizin' devil brain: You know you're going to buy them anyway, and who KNOWS when there'll be another sale/coupon/whatever like this? Really, it's irresponsible NOT to buy them!
You can probably guess who won the majority of those battles. And then just as you're starting to be able to run again and maybe put some of those new shoes into use, you get sent a prototype pair to wear test. So I guess what I'm saying is that maybe sometime around March, I'll have some shoe reviews for you that I'm really excited about.
Aw, what's this, now?????
ON THE OTHER HAND MAYBE WE CAN JUST CELEBRATE FOR A MOMENT THE FACT THAT I HAVE LEGITIMATE USE FOR RUNNING SHOES.
Grand Total: 61.65 miles
- * 5.35 running
* 30 easy (bike)
* 6.7 speed (bike)
* 8.3 tempo (bike)
* 11.3 elliptical
Afternoon 1.4 run (4 x 2:00 on / 2:00 off); p.m. karate + light strength
For I think the third week in a row I woke up on Monday feeling like absolute death. At this point I've pretty much concluded that our house is harboring some sort of mold that I'm horrifically allergic to & being in the house over the weekend is too much. I had to skip my usual Monday morning strength session because of a classroom observation, but honestly I think if it hadn't been for that I would have stayed home because I just felt that bad.
I've really been enjoying getting back into karate, although I have learned that I have to take it easy on my leg & give myself lots of breaks. There's even been some protest from the non-injured parts of my legs--they're still in the process of getting used to kicking high again, which tends to cause achey hamstrings (and whatever those tendons in there are as well).
a.m. 3.75 elliptical / p.m bike - 3.5 warm up, 4 x (5:00 @ 5K effort / 3:00 easy), 5.35 cool down = 14 speed.
I usually try to do 45 minutes of bike or elliptical on double days, but I was still feeling pretty crappy Tuesday morning, particularly in the chest / sinuses / breathing areas, and just making it to half an hour was miserable enough as it was. Fortunately I was feeling relatively human again by the afternoon & was able to make it up on the bike.
a.m. strength work / afternoon 12.9 bike / p.m. karate (at which I did my first flying axe kick in nearly two months, which was pretty sweet. Alas, no camera!).
a.m. 1.75 run (5 x 2:00 w/ 2:00 walk breaks) & 3.5 elliptical / p.m. 4 elliptical
THE GOOD: No leg pain on the treadmill! I think the healing may be far enough along that I can start running every other day instead of every three.
THE BAD: On Thursday afternoon I suffered massive carb fail. I felt like I'd eaten enough & well throughout the day & even had a couple of teaspoons of honey in my tea right before I left work for the gym, just to be safe. But WOW, not 15 minutes in and I suddenly felt like I was going to pass out from hunger. I did 30 minutes instead of my usual 45 (because I'm pretty sure I would have passed out otherwise), scarfed the banana I had in the car, then gunned it home & proceeded to devour half a box of Triscuits (which are my new favorite source of whole grains).
Strength work + bike - 3.2 warm up, 2 x (16:00 @ marathon effort / 3:00 easy), 2.1 cool down = 13.6 tempo.
Thanks to some schedule weirdness on Friday, I got to do these two workouts back-to-back, which suuuuucked. I did slightly less strength stuff than usual because I didn't want to ruin my tempo, er, ride, but even so, I could tell as soon as I started that I was tired & it would not be a particularly speedy ride.
Saturday: Rest / beer it up, yo.
All sours, all the time at The Monk's Kettle. Not joking, I cannot
remember the last time I was out til nearly one in the morning. SAD!
Sunday: 2.2 run (6 x .25 run w/ 2:00 walk breaks)
Technically I did violate the terms of my
parole PT on Sunday by running on pavement, but the weather was nasty & I just wasn't all that enthusiastic about spending as much time driving to & from the track as I would actually running.