Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Boston Marathon Week 11 of 18: How Not to Plan Your Training Week

So, at least for now, it seems like I've gotten back to a normal training load, just in time to turn 37 last Friday. I decided against the Saturday 10K, for a lot of reasons, including 1) running 6+ miles at 10K race pace is REALLY DIFFERENT than a run-of-the-mill speed or tempo workout, and I don't want to risk my hip relapsing so soon after it's started to feel normal again; 2) I reallllly need to prioritize long runs right now given my distinct lack of them as of late, and racing on Saturday makes a Sunday long run potentially miserable or a bad idea or both (if not impossible); 3) $60 is pretty pricey for a 10K I haven't even really been training for; but mostly 4) I wanted to go out for a fun dinner on my birthday Friday night without having to worry about what I'm eating or drinking and going to bed early and getting up at the butt crack of dawn or feeling like crap at the starting line.

So. I'll race something else later. Right now we are seven weeks out from Boston and it seems prudent to keep one's eye on the prize so to speak.

As for week 11? Well, on the face of things, it looks like, "Hey, wow, a normal-looking marathon training load! Woohoo!" And there's some truth there. My hip has felt 100% completely fine (because you can bet your booty I wouldn't be running this mileage otherwise), and it DOES feel super good to complete all the workouts and finish the full long run and even hit all the paces. (I've even been doing the strength work!) So, in a lot of ways, #winning.

But there was also a little comedy of errors going on this week in terms of how I ended up running all those miles & workouts. So let us talk about how, in an ideal world, one would perhaps NOT structure their training week!

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

The Myth of Balance

A perennial lifestyle meme/debate/whatever you want to call it that bugs the crap out of me has to do with the question of if and how one can "have it all," usually specifically whether women can "have it all." And e'rrrrbody's got an opinion.

Why does it bug the crap out of me? Well, for one, because the phrase "having it all" does NOT in fact refer to having "it all"; it's almost always used as short-hand for having a very specific subset of things: A high-powered successful career, a healthy social life, a reasonably functional relationship (if you feel like it), and of course, the absolutely non-negotiable pièce de résistance, children, because what normal woman could ever *possibly* hope to have a happy, fulfilling life without squirting some crotch spawn out into the world. (Mostly, though, "it all" seems to refer to a super successful career & kids.) Yes, I get that a lot of women do want those things and are sad if they can only have some of them, but those things by no means constitute "all" there is to have in life. It bugs me that society acts like they are. A woman could have all of those things and still feel frustrated and unfulfilled.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Boston Marathon Week 10 of 18: "altitude training" + should I run a birthday 10K?

Hello from snowy Park City, UT where our ski group is having our yearly (er...sort of) ski trip! This is the first year I've been able to go since 2013, so I'm pretty excited to get some skiing in.

I'm also trying to get a few solid runs in. It's probably no surprise that this has not turned into the victorious beast-mode Boston Marathon training cycle I'd hoped for, which is disappointing, but there are silver linings here & there. I'd been a little worried about how I was going to work in a 50+ mile week over the ski trip, but with my hip just recovering, it's nice to not have the pressure of trying to hit that much mileage, and when the slopes and hot tub are calling, it's that much easier to hold myself back from pushing too far.

For example, this weekend was supposed to be my first 20 miler of this cycle, but given that my longest run since all this hip drama started has been 8 miles, I wasn't holding out a whole lot of hope that that would happen. If I felt fine and had no pain in my hip, I was totally open to going for the whole thing, but I also didn't want to do anything stupid.

I'd mapped myself out a nice little 10 mile out-and-back with a loop at the end, and as it worked out, I started feeling just a bit of an ache right as I hit about eight miles. I wasn't worried about finishing the run back to the house, but I didn't try to go any further. As you all know, it's hard, because as distance runners our core competency is putting up with discomfort and pushing through, and part of me was definitely yelling, "JUST A COUPLE MORE MILES OUT AND BACK, YOU CAN DO IT!" And I just kept having to remind myself, "Well yes, obviously, I COULD do it. But let's maybe quit while the pain is 1-2 out of 10 & not eff up the possibility of running for the rest of the trip. Also hot tub is waiting."

We'll be in Utah until Wednesday, then it's back home for a few days before heading to Southern California for work. Friday (2/23) will be my 37th birthday, & I'm toying with the idea of running the Victory 10K the next day in Richmond. Before all the hip drama I felt like I was in pretty darn good shape, plus I'll be coming off of a week at altitude*. (I don't know if it really makes a difference, but I ran my second fastest ever half after a week in Breckenridge, CA on a hot day feeling like I didn't even try that hard, so true or not, I now feel like a pre-race week at altitude is good juju.)

*But also, can we talk about how altitude sucks? You're constantly dehydrated even if you're chugging water, you feel hungover the first few mornings even if you weren't drinking, and you can't do any workouts (or rather, there's no *point* in doing workouts) until you fully acclimate which apparently takes like 2-4 weeks. Damn my pansy-ass sea level system.

Partly, I want to race because I was super excited about Kaiser, and since that didn't work out, I feel like I am owed at least one good hard effort before Boston. The only reason not to would be whether I should be pushing my hip that hard, so that's the main thing I'll have to pay attention to and see what happens.

And, let's be honest, the other thing holding me back is remembering just how much it hurts to run an honest 10K. I wasn't in great shape for Victory 10K last year, but I ran it hard under the circumstances, and I still can't shake that feeling of getting to the halfway point and thinking "Sweet Jesus I don't think I have three more miles of this in me." Because, real talk, if you get to the halfway point of a 10K and you don't feel like you want to die, you're leaving something on the table.

~*~*~ Boston Marathon: Week 10 of 18 ~*~*~

Grand Total: 23 miles
    * 21.45 easy
    * 1.55 speed

Monday 2/12: Karate. This was the day of my PT appointment. (If you missed that post & are into pictures of nasty PT-inflicted bruises, that one's for you.) If it hadn't been for that appointment I probably would have tried to get in a few easy miles, but I was super thankful to get the PT appointment that soon.

Tuesday 2/13: 2.75 warm up, 2 x (3 x 300m / 100m jog) / 300m jog, 2.7 = 7 total.

    My hip felt 100% fine (other than the bruising), and since the PT had given me the clear to run as long as it was pain-free, I decided to attempt this workout and see how it went. The intervals were short and few, and it's easier to tap out of an interval at the track than anywhere else. I jogged 2.75 easy miles there for a warm up, did my drills, then took off on the first interval. The target time was 1:10 per 300m, but all I was thinking was "Let me not worry about the pace and just coast through these and see how the hip feels at a higher cadence," and lo and behold, I finished it 1:04, so, cool???

    Not 100% out of the woods yet, but I can't tell you how excited I was to finish the whole workout plus the 2.7 miles back home with no pain in my hip. Pretty encouraging!

Wednesday 2/14: Karate + hip exercises

Thursday 2/15: 6 easy.

    This was a long travel day for us so I had to get up early to get it done. It was 8-10 on the plan but I just was not getting up any earlier.

Friday 2/16: Ski!

    Don and I arrived a couple of days before the rest our ski trip group, so we used the extra time to get in a day at Snowbird just outside of Salt Lake City. Pretty good day of skiing and no hip pain! Though towards the end of the day some douche bag did smash a metal lift bar down onto my knee (repeatedly, because he didn't get why it wouldn't come all the way down), leaving me with a nicely swollen and bruised right knee. :-/

Gorgeous day at Snowbird!

Saturday 2/17: 10 easy + hip exercises. Not the 20 that was on the schedule, but THAT IS OKAY.

Sunday 2/18: Ski!

    I'm only a kind of-sort of-okay skiier, so it usually takes me a day or so of skiing nice friendly blues to remember how to do it & get up the nerve to get onto some black runs. This was my last black run on Sunday at Canyons in Park City.

    Working up the nerve to hurl myself down the mountain in a blizzard.

I'm hoping to get at least one more run in this week in Park City. My hip still gets sore after longer runs but it also seems to go back to normal a day or two later, so if I have to only train every other day for the rest of the cycle, that'll be okay as long as I can get the long runs in. Right now, being able to complete the distance in terms of my hip is my biggest concern. If I have to run Boston a lot slower than I'd hoped and just finish, I am 100% okay doing that, but it means that at some point very soon I'm going to have to be able to do some for-real long runs.

But in the mean time...more skiing. ;)


Boston Marathon Week 1 of 18: On your mark, Get set...

Boston Marathon Week 2 of 18: speed, snow, & vertical

Boston Marathon Week 3 of 18: Foiled By Weather & Travel

Boston Marathon Week 4 of 18: There's "hills" and then there's HILLLZZ

Boston Marathon Week 5 of 18: Not the greatest of weeks...

Boston Marathon Week 6 of 18: Winter Running: Take 2

Boston Marathon Week 9 of 18: Grumpy Hip is Grumpy

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Boston Marathon Week 9 of 18: Grumpy Hip is Grumpy

So, I have fallen way behind in these weekly updates, which has partly to do with screwing up my hip and, y'know, not having much to update about. It also has to do with having just been legitimately busy in the past couple of weeks. When I'm super busy but there's cool stuff to blog about, I seem to somehow carve out the time, but busy-ness + injury depression/lack of much to talk about tends to equal blogging fail.

Thankfully, things seem to be coming back together now (FINGERS CROSSED), so what the heck, have a little update!

In my KP Half race report (such as it was), I mentioned that I've been having this hip issue lately. For context, here's the timeline:

  • Tuesday 1/9: Track workout; I'd had a very very minor ache in my hip, but somewhere around the middle of this workout there was a sudden, sharp WHOAH WTF WAS THAT kind of pain. It went away, but my hip still hurt after. (This was the day of my car accident, but I really do not see how that could be related.)

  • Wednesday 1/10: Threw my back out & couldn't really walk comfortably for the next two days. (This very well could have been related to the accident.)

  • Friday 1/12: Everything feeling fine, 10 mile tempo run w/ no problem.

  • Saturday 1/13: Hip super sore with moderate+ pain if I tried to run. Skipped running.

  • Sunday 1/14: 16 miles with no pain

  • Monday 1/15: Super sore hip, but it was a rest day so ok.

  • Tuesday 1/16-Sunday 1/21: Normal 50 mile week, completely fine with no pain.

  • Tuesday 1/23: The hip thing came roaring back with a vengeance during a hotel treadmill speed workout.

  • Wednesday 1/24-Saturday 1/27: Have the flu/feel awful/don't run

  • Sunday 1/28: 6 easy miles, can feel the hip but not awful

  • Monday 1/29: Minor soreness, not that bad

  • Tuesday 1/30: Quit track workout 2 miles in with another sharp, sudden WTF pain

  • Wednesday 1/31-Saturday 2/3: Don't run, hope for miracle

Pretty much as soon as the hip started feeling funny, I was back in the Church of Strength Work desperately trying to invoke the runner's version of absolution for cross training laziness (squats, lunges, clam shells, etc.). When my hip did not magically heal itself in time for KP Half in spite of five days of zero running, I decided to haul out the big guns & make a PT appointment.

The good news: My insurance doesn't require getting a dr. referral in order to see a PT. Woohoo!

The bad news: Only some places are in network (read: covered by insurance) and the ones that are have openings in mid-March at the earliest. (One place: "We could schedule you on May 16, how does that work for you?")

So. I sucked it up & went to the cheapest of the places that could see me right away & just paid the out-of-pocket rate. Good thing this is the Year of No Shopping so I've got all that extra phat cash lying around!!

(Lololol *cry*. Tell me more about how running is the cheapest exercise there is and all I need is a pair of shoes.)

I saw a new-to-me PT in San Francisco this past Monday who I like so far, and his assessment was pretty much that I'd minorly strained a hip flexor/adductor somehow & not really noticed, then made it a lot worse with the repeated motion of running until I finally started to feel it. He thought the original minor strain was probably a result of the muscle being super tight and, yes, my getting lazy about strength work through the holidays (knowing that at certain points in the past hip muscles have been my kryptonite). He spent the next hour and a half grinding the ever loving shizzle out of it with an elbow and some Graston tools, then stuck me on an e-stim machine with ice for 10 minutes.

Post-Graston. From my PT with love.

I know what you're thinking; super hot, right?

He gave me some supplementary exercises to strengthen the hip muscle and suggested I come back in as often as my wallet will allow I can to get it Graston'ed a bunch more and in the mean time continue to roll the ever loving shizzle out of it with a lacrosse ball.

There is more good news, though. I've been able to do several short-to-medium distance runs this past week (up to 8 miles) with no pain, and the PT said that as long as I continued to have no pain, I could keep running and very conservatively bump up the distance and speed. I happen to have a pretty short, easy speed workout (6 x 300m's) on the calendar yesterday so went ahead and tried it, thinking there is nowhere easier than the track to tap out of an interval should things start to feel off, but I finished the whole thing with no pain whatsoever (and bonus, no trouble hitting the paces) so we'll call that a win for now.

On Thursday we're off to Utah to ski for a week, where I may or may not be doing much skiing, and expect the footing may be a bit too treacherous for anything more than easy miles. I also obviously expect to be the envy of everyone in the apres-ski hot tub (see above). For now it just feels bruised and tender (wonder why), and hopefully it will continue to heal pain-free as I (very gradually) ramp up the mileage.

Will report back soon................

~*~*~ Boston Marathon: Week 9 of 18 ~*~*~

Grand Total: 17 miles, all easy

Monday 2/5: Rest

Tuesday 2/6: 1 hour strength work

    8 sets seated row @ 55 lb. alternated w/ 8 sets push-ups (2 x 15, 2 x 12, 2 x 10, 2 x 8 for both), 8 sets weighted step-ups w/ two 15 lb dumbbells alternated w/ 8 sets prone jack knifes on the physio ball (same as above), clam shell series both legs (4 x 12 each side), + 20:00 elliptical because a girl's got to do something resembling cardio. SEE ME BEING GOOD AND DOING MY STRENGTH WORK??????

Wednesday 2/7: 1.5 hours karate

Thursday 2/8: 6 easy. No pain??????

Friday 2/9: 40:00 strength work + 3 easy to the gym & back

    3 x 15 deadlifts @ 85 lb, 10 x pike reverse leg lifts w/ straight legs (btw: even just 10 of these are enough to reduce my transverse abs to jello right now), clam shell series both legs (4 x 12 each side), 4 x 15 dumbbell thrusters w/ two 15 lb dumbbells, 4 x 15 weighted static lunges w/ two 15 lb dumbbells.

Saturday 2/10: 8 easy, beautiful miles through Golden Gate Park in gorgeous weather (see: the photo at the top of this post). Also no pain!!!! Though, hoo boy, did my legs feel like jello halfway through.

Sunday 2/11: Rest

Next week: Pray I don't have any ill-fated encounters with ice. D:


Boston Marathon Week 1 of 18: On your mark, Get set...

Boston Marathon Week 2 of 18: speed, snow, & vertical

Boston Marathon Week 3 of 18: Foiled By Weather & Travel

Boston Marathon Week 4 of 18: There's "hills" and then there's HILLLZZ

Boston Marathon Week 5 of 18: Not the greatest of weeks...

Boston Marathon Week 6 of 18: Winter Running: Take 2

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Race Report: Kaiser Permanente Half Marathon

I'm probably doing all this in the wrong order, posting-wise, but oh well! You get a post! And a post is better than no post. Right? Let's go with that.

Kaiser Permanente Half is one of the iconic San Francisco races, right up there with SFM and Bay 2 Breakers. In fact, in spite of the fact that SFM and B2B are flashier & marketed way more heavily, I would probably still consider Kaiser Half my "hometown" race over either of those, for a few reasons.

1) There are a lot of fun, well-done races in San Francisco that offer their own unique experiences, but most of them also tend to be a bit of a spectacle and cater more to tourists and fun runners looking for an "event" or "experience" than local runners just looking for a good, fast race.

2) If you're hoping for a half PR, Kaiser is 100% your best bet in SF. The course is 90%+ flat or downhill, doesn't have too many turns, and takes place in early February where the biggest weather risk is heavy rain or wind (and a light breeze and/or drizzle is much more likely).

3) $$$. The first time I ran KP half, I think it cost less than $50. It was up to $60 when I registered at the early bird price in July (plus transaction fee, bah), but that's still over $100 less (!) than some other half marathons in the city that offer a different experience.