Tuesday, February 3, 2015

NVM Weeks 11 & 12. OR: Why January was both awesome & terrible.

If I'm training (or fake-training) for something towards the end of the year, I usually go into the holidays knowing that I'll make a plan for getting as much running done as I reasonably can, but also that it will very likely be less than I would have otherwise, and that's really not the end of the world.

This is one of the many reasons why January is, maybe counterintuitively, one of my favorite times of year. My schedule gets back to normal. People are kind of partied- and socialized-out & I have more uncommitted free/me-time in the evenings & weekends. I get back to eating & drinking like a (mostly) normal person & feel a lot better physically.

This January hasn't really been like that, for several awesome/sucky reasons.


  • Moving. So much moving. This has taken a toll on both my free time as well as my physical not-busted-ness.

    I have had jobs where I am extremely busy nearly every second of my day & on my feet/putting out (metaphorical) fires for 90% of it (those of you in those jobs? Heroes.), but I will never for a second kid myself that the daily physical exhaustion of those jobs was anything remotely like real, actual manual labor. I have massive amounts of respect for people who do manual labor for a living, and will also own every speck of privilege in my upper-middle class, flexible-office-job, property-in-San Francisco-owning life when I say I will never, ever be one of them unless I have no other choice.

  • Being sick. I haven't had a fully functioning respiratory system in over a month (this happens from time to time), and all the dust we stirred up moving certainly didn't help. Then a couple of weeks ago I got actual, legit sick on top of that.
  • !!!Surprise!!! Mystery injuries. More on that in a bit. (Spoiler: nothing catastrophic, just annoying)


  • Moving!!! For all that moving kind of sucks and our new house needs some work before it will be truly awesome, I am absolutely in love with the fact that it's ours and we can do whatever we want with it whenever we feel like it. Also that we have awesome HOA neighbors who seem like the chillest, most accommodating people on earth.
  • Travel!!! Back in the fall, our friend T decided she wanted to celebrate her birthday in Puerto Vallarta (where her dad has lived for years) with whomever among her friends felt like tagging along. In general we are kind of on a big-spending freeze thanks to the new house, but PV is hella cheap and neither of us had ever properly been to Mexico, so we decided to take a few days off & join her for a long weekend. (More on this below as well.)

As a result, there has not been a whole ton to tell in terms of training for the last couple of weeks, so let's just get that out of the way right now.

~*~*~NVM WEEK 11 OF 16~*~*~

Grand Total: 28 miles, all easy

Monday (1/19): STRAIGHT UP MOVE.

    I pity the fool* who thought anything else but this was happening all day. By Monday night, I'm not even kidding that I couldn't walk. My feet hurt. My shin splints hurt. Lifting with the legs was not a thing I was capable of. By the time I went to bed my shin splints pain had become entire tibia pain. The moral here is, "Don't race and move, even if you're not really racing and not moving all that far, because at the end you will still hate your life.


Tuesday (1/20): Rest.

    As of Tuesday afternoon I was still wincing in pain going upstairs or walking more than a block at a time due to lingering pain in my feet and shin splints. A couple of years ago, I would have sucked it up and run anyway, and then probably lost two more days as a result, so I'm kind of proud of myself for being like, "Eff it, shit hurts, time to catch up on my couch sitting."

Wednesday (1/21): a.m. strength work / afternoon 6 easy / p.m. karate

    I felt a lot better on Wednesday & decided to try a shorter run just to see how my various bones & tissues held up. It was definitely harder than usual and I would not have wanted to go much farther, but I didn't feel worse afterward, and the run itself was not bad.

Thursday (1/22): 8 easy

    Weirdly, this was one of the best runs I've had in a looooong time, in spite of a *tiny* little bit of lingering foot/tibia pain. Also, incidentally, my best aerobic run of all time in terms of miles per heartbeat, which I took as a sign that I was more or less done being sick. :)

Friday (1/23): 8 easy

    Ugh. So this run was fine until about mile three when I started feeling some completely new & random pain on the top of my right foot along the metatarsals. At the time, I was kind of like, "Huh, that's weird." After another mile I was like, "WOW, that's really painful." By six miles I was legitimately worried that I had managed to give myself a metatarsal stress fracture out of nowhere & was kind of terrified of continuing to put pressure on those bones every time I toed-off. I'm pretty sure I ran the last two miles home heel striking with my right foot. By the time I got out of the shower, I couldn't bear any weight on the ball of my right foot.

    After a few minutes of hysterical googling (ALWAYS THE BEST POSSIBLE COURSE OF ACTION WHEN HYSTERICAL & IN PAIN), I'd satisfied myself that it wasn't a bone issue since 1) I could bang on all my metatarsal pretty firmly with only mild pain and 2) the pain was mostly between my 2nd & 3rd & 3rd & 4th metatarsal, not on the bones themselves. Still; not promising.

Saturday (1/24): Move shit (kind of)

    My foot felt better enough on Saturday that I could walk on it without too much pain, so I moved & unpacked boxes until it got bad enough that walking wasn't really an option anymore. (See: the toll of moving on non-busted-ness.)

Sunday (1/25): 20 long 6 easy

    Honestly, I was mentally beaten at this run before it even started. Inside my head I was a psychological wreck and did not not NOT feel like running, at all, period. I'm sure being worried about my foot did not help. But, I did what I always do when I feel that way but am physically fine and laced up. As I'd half expected, though, I only got three miles out before I started to feel some pain in my right foot again, and that was enough to convince me that it was not a smart idea to try pushing it further. The pain was bad by the time I got back, but not as bad as it had been on Thursday when it first showed up.

~*~*~NVM WEEK 12 OF 16~*~*~

Allow me sum up my week 12 training for you in pictures:

As you can see, I suffered mightily.

Originally I'd been thinking that this week would involve a Tuesday evening run of 8-10 miles before we left Wednesday morning, & then probably nothing in PV unless I was just really, really feeling it. (Sidenote: PV is totally runnable! You can cruise for miles on the spacious, paved seaside Malecon boardwalk, as long as it's not too hot & humid.) But not being able to walk very well after only six miles on Sunday really freaked me out & convinced me it was good timing for some aggressive measures in terms of letting my foot get back to normal.

I mean, if I hadn't been traveling, I probably would have just done a ton of spin biking at the gym. And if I'd been planning to run Napa for a PR, I would have sucked it up & run in PV or just not gone. Since I'm not, though, I decided I just wanted to enjoy this trip with my friends without the pressure of going to bed early/getting up early/tearing myself away from everyone for a workout, and if I wanted to literally sit on the beach and do nothing but read & sip piña coladas for five days, it would not be utterly catastrophic for my fitness. JUDGE AWAY.

CURRENTLY: I ran a few miles on Monday after we got back and my foot seemed fine, so I've got my fingers crossed that it was just some passing thing that's since resolved itself.

And, congrats to all of you that ran Kaiser Half on Sunday!! It is one of my absolute favorite local races & I was kind of bummed to not be able to run it for the second year in a row.

(Not that bummed, tho.)


  1. You go from "I can't bear weight" to "I ran six miles" faster than anyone I know. And I don't mean that in the "whoaaa buddy, slow down there" sense, even. I mean I want some of your magical healing powers!

    Also, some frosty tropical drinks.

    1. Fingers crossed that it doesn't come back!

      Also, until this trip I had completely written off the Piña Colada as a froo froo sissy drink. Turns out good ones are reallllllly good!

  2. That is some intense suffering. I'm glad you survived Mexico to tell the tale. Wondering if your pain was a neuroma? That's a common location.

    1. Eek, that doesn't sound good at all! I hope not!

  3. Every time I have any kind of bone pain I freak out that I have a stress fracture. I blame all my runner friends/blogs that I read. Glad the pain has gone away! Having had to take two mostly-rested weeks prior to my goal half, and then had the half go pretty damn well, I am firmly in the "rest that shit" camp. Also, I feel like I need to plan a tropical vacation stat after these pictures...

    1. GO TO PV!! It is sooo cheap (our hotel was 65% off), especially in the winter (but still warm & gorgeous), & you can have whatever mix of lazy resort / authentic Mexico experience you want. Highly recommend!

  4. Wow. week 12 looks like such a rough week (...whoa, is that a whale?...) Read anything good? How's the foot now? Mystery pains freak me out - if something's wrong with me I like to know exactly what.

    1. It IS a whale! We were maybe 200 ft from a group of males fighting over a female. It was crazy & amazing.

      Foot pain appears to be gone, so aggressive rest for the win? As long as it goes away quickly & doesn't come back, I'm okay with not knowing what it was.