Monday, February 24, 2014

Some Birthday Miles & A Freaky Freaky Friday

Rollin', rollin' rollin'...
When you can't run, cross training isn't only useful from the perspective of keeping some semblance of cardiovascular fitness. It's also a mental thing. Of course I know that spin bike & elliptical miles aren't equivalent to running miles, but it's still gratifying to make a training schedule, stick to it, & tally the miles up anyway at the end of the week.

As I'm starting to run again, I'm gradually trading out minutes I've been spending on the bike & elliptical for treadmill time, which is AWESOME. On the other hand, it means my total "mileage" per week will gradually start to fall (since, shockingly, I can't run--and certainly not run/walk--as fast as I can bike or elliptical). Obviously this is one of those stupid things that I shouldn't care or been concerned with at all, but I have to be honest--I was kind of getting used to seeing that 6x.xx each week, and I'm still a looooong way from seeing it in relation to real, actual running miles.

Sunday was my 33rd birthday, and back at the beginning of the month, I'd hoped to be ready to run for 33 minutes or 3.3 miles without walk breaks for the occasion. And given how easy and pain-free all my interval runs have been lately, I'm sure I could have if I'd just said "Screw it, this is happening" and done it. But it would have been way, WAY more than I've done so far, & I didn't want to risk waking up limping again & facing another week another set-back. So, instead, I did 10 x .33 with ~1:00 walking breaks for a total of 3.33. Which is still WAY more running at a time than I've done since that fateful day in December. Strictly speaking I'm not sure my PT would have condoned jumping up by that much, but as a compromise I did go straight home after & spend the rest of the afternoon rolling that tough, nobbly little spot in my calf muscle like a mad woman.

I told my PT the foam roller didn't hurt much anymore.
He told me to get on the lacrosse ball. I hate the lacrosse
ball, but it effing works, & that is hard to argue with.

To be honest, if I'd known I was only a 400m away from a double digit week in terms of running, I probably just would have done it. Given how far I was already pushing it, though, it's probably for the best that I didn't.

* * *

Grand Total: 55.25 miles

    * 9.75 running
    * 14.6 easy (bike)
    * 4.9 speed (bike)
    * 10 tempo (bike)
    * 16 elliptical


Ski it up in Tahoe.


a.m. 4 elliptical / p.m. 1.9 run (6 x 2:00 easy with 1:30 walk breaks) + bike, 3 x (5:00 @ 5K effort / 2:00 easy), 4.6 cool down = 9.5 speed.

I was feeling a bit beat up from skiing Tuesday morning, so I kept my morning elliptical to a fairly easy half hour. By the afternoon my legs felt pretty good so I went ahead & did a little treadmill running with no problem. My left calf was still sore from the last time I rolled the hell out of it, but it definitely had that muscle soreness feel to it & not the deep, nauseating ache that I associate with the stress fracture pain. On the other hand I could tell they weren't 100% as soon as I started my first interval on the bike, so I only did 3 x 5:00 @ 5K effort instead of 4.


a.m. strength work / afternoon 7.5 elliptical / p.m. karate.


a.m. bike, 10 easy / p.m. 2.25 run (5 x 3:00 w/ 2:00 walk breaks) + 4.5 elliptical. Running!!!! Painlessly!!!! With good form!!!! The downside is that I had almost convinced myself that eh, the spin bike & elliptical aren't really THAT bad. And then I hopped on the elliptical after my 25 minutes on the treadmill.

Oh no. Compared to actual real running? There's just no comparison. At all. Elliptical, when the day finally comes, I will not be sorry to see you go.

FREAKY Friday:

2.3 run (5 x 3:00 w/ 2:00 walking breaks) + strength work + 10 bike @ marathon effort

Friday was weird. In spite of being zonked Thursday evening & hitting the sack at 9:00pm, I woke up at 3:00am, then 4:00am, then 4:30am, & never really slept well again after that. So when my alarm went off at 5:45, it was another of those "Oh heeeeeellllz no" moments. Pre-work strength work was just not going to happen. I re-set my alarm for 7:00 & went back to sleep.

When I woke up the second time, I spent a few minutes just laying there, thinking about the day & pretending for a few minutes that I wasn't going to do the strength work. Then I got up, packed my gym bag, & went to work.

What this meant (sigh) is that after work, I had to do it all. I mean obviously I didn't have to do it all because I don't have to do anything, but you find a way or you find excuses. So I broke the afternoon down into chunks & figured I would do one chunk at a time until I couldn't.

    Chunk #1: Run. The fun part, obviously. It was my first time running two days in a row since the stress fracture, and I was glad to find that I didn't feel sore or tired or have any trouble maintaining form. YAYZ!

    Chunk #2: Strength work. Unlike when I usually do strength work at 6:45 in the morning, I was sweaty and warmed up and my muscles were no longer 100% fresh, so I was prepared for everything to be a little bit tougher. One of the things I learned from Coach Nate at CrossFit SF, though, is that doing strength work occasionally immediately after a run is actually a good thing, because it shows you how functional your strength really is once your muscles are tired (which, let's be honest, is a lot more relevant at mile 20 of a marathon than what you can do with fresh ones). Weirdly, everything actually seemed easier than usual.

    Chunk #3: Bike. Normally I'd do a 15 minute warm-up before launching into the tempo stuff, but since I was already *quite* warm as it was, I jumped right into 10 miles at marathon effort. Which...again, was weirdly one of the easiest bike rides I think I've ever had, as well as the fastest (I'm pretty sure). I felt like I could have gone on at that pace forever.

So.....yeah. Freaky.

Saturday: Catch up on sleep / desperately force myself to REST, which is not something I've ever had trouble with before. Unlike every other running blogger on the internet (apparently?) I am the only person who seems to have NO TROUBLE WHATSOEVER tapering for a race. Sit on the couch and relax, you say? Ease up on the miles, you say? Eat some extra carbs, you say? WELL OKAY IF I MUST. But for some reason on Saturday both my brain and my body wanted nothing more than to run ALL TEH MILES. It was all I could do to keep repeating to myself, "You actually get stronger on rest days. You actually get stronger on rest days. You actually get stronger on rest days."

Sunday: 3.33 run (10 x .33 w/ ~1:00 walk breaks)

By Sunday I'd caught up on my sleep & gotten the two-a-day adrenaline out of my system & really didn't have much interest in doing anything much besides laying on the couch, drinking wine, & binge watching Alias. (Takes me right back to grad school!) The birthday run I've been so excited about for weeks suddenly held zero appeal to me. It was nice & sunny outside, though, so finally, at 4:30pm I dragged myself off the couch & put on shorts and a tank top, fired up the ol' Garmin, & headed out.

And WOW, had the sunshine on our back deck deceived me. It was considerably cooler out than it has been lately (by which I mean ~50F), & by the time I got out of the Mission I could see the fog rolling in from the coast. (Plus side: This is the first run I've done since December long enough to get me out of the Mission. In fact it's been so long that I missed my usual turn & had to double back.) I warmed up a little as I ran, though arm warmers still would've been nice.

Karl gets his revenge!

On tap for next week: HALF-MILE intervals, perchance???? Look out; things could get *crazy* up in here.


  1. It's so tough coming back from injury and knowing just how much you can push yourself without causing any problems. How can you improve if you don't push yourself a little? But how do you know when enough's enough? I hope there were no ramifications after your Sunday run.
    And, by the way, I hope your birthday was a good one.

  2. Dang, that's a lot of miles. It's rare for me to ever hit 60, let alone every week! Good for you to be at 55 - no matter how you got there. Glad to see improvement, and happy birthday!

  3. Hooray for a comeback run(ish)! Hope the healing process keeps going. And happy birthday - I hope it was filled with delicious things.

  4. Forget the numbers. Biking/elliptical miles are nothing like running miles. Oh yeah you said you knew that... :) Well, don't compare them.
    Happy birthday!

  5. Wow, this might be the best running and racing blog I've ever seen! I discovered it yesterday (while searching for worthy Bay Area races) and I have spent most of the day reading all your content back to 2010. Great writing, interesting content, amusing, and truly useful. I appreciate your consistency even while having a string of bad luck with injuries lately. Seriously good stuff here – please keep it up!

  6. The key phrase here is that you didn't overdo it on that interval run - easiest way to get injured is to do "too much too soon" as I've done plenty over the years.

    Awesome on skiing in Tahoe, hope there was some decent snow! Sochi snow looked awful with how hot it was, but that is what the organizers get for awarding the Olympics to the warmest average temperature city to ever host the Olympics.

    Glad I'm not the only one with more Olympics on my DVR, I finished all the competition days, now it's just watching more of the closing ceremony that I missed.