Saturday, June 22, 2013

2013 Goals / Challenge Update: May

YIKES!  I never posted the May results!

Here you have it:
Reminder in case you haven't been paying attention:
My goal for 2013 is to run, walk and / or bike 500 miles as quickly as possible.
The other Challenge items for this year are:

  1. Ultimate mileage goal is to run/ walk 500 miles (excluding bike miles).
  2. Complete my first half marathon race (or, you know, two).
  3. 5K race time under 35 minutes. DONE
  4. 10K race time under 1 hour 10 minutes.
  5. Test Mile time under 10 minutes. DONE

I ran this month's miles for:

Additional stats for this month and year-to-date:

Random facts for May:

  • Trips to Lake Bloomington: 2 / Evergreen Lake:  1
  • Number of Test Miles: 0 - my training schedule with long runs didn't allow space for this!
  • Longest distance in a single run: 9.0+ (walked to and from the start, another 1.5 miles)
  • Hotel workouts:  1
  • Number of races: 3
  • Number of new PR's:  3**
  • Best 5k time: 34:13.58**
  • Group runs: Zero
  • Runs cancelled or altered due to weather conditions: 0
  • Weight change for the month: +0.2 lbs. Well, the bleeding has stopped, but still not heading in the right direction there.

Upcoming Events:

June 15:  Steamboat Classic (Peoria, IL) 4-mile

Month of June:  Thursday Night Accumulative Marathon (TNAM) results will be in by the end of the month!
July 4:  Park 2 Park (from Bloomington to Normal, IL) 5-mile

Last month was Race-A-Palooza: 4 in a row.  Results:  
  • (April) Christie Clinic 2013 Illinois marathon 10K (goal time: 1:10:00) actual time:  1:11:29  Race recap here.
  • Lake Run 12k (first time racing this distance) (goal time 1:30:00) actual time: 1:30:24.6.  Race recap here.
  • **Race to Wrigley 5k (goal - have fun and raise money for a great cause!)  actual time:  34:13.58 - here's the asterisk:  that time would be a PR, but my Garmin indicated the distance was slightly less than a full 5k - 3.07 miles... so the PACE works out to just slightly OVER my best time for 5k.  You can judge for yourself.  I'm taking the PR.  Race recap here.
  • Run River City Marathon Relay (first time in a relay!) (goal: depends on which leg I'm running.)  I ran the last and longest leg:  7.5 miles.  Given that, I made my goal time 1:30 (same as Lake run, as similar distance) - actual time: 1:38 - that was a tough run, very hot and I think all that racing took a toll!  Race recap yet to come.
Larger goal in sight for May: Get that weight back on track and headed in the right direction. Refocus on the goal. This isn't just about running; it's about health and FITness.  Yes, (this is a repeat from last month's Challenge Update) I'm keeping this here because this is still valid.  My weight is hanging steady but I need to change things up and get some movement there.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Race Recap: 2013 Steamboat Classic 4-miler

I was traveling for work again this week, which means lots of driving, some crappy food, minimal exercise, and very long work days.  It was fun working with a new client this week, though - lots of new problems to solve, puzzles to work out with my team.  Good stuff.

Friday we pulled anchor about 3pm and I started the 3-hour drive home... except I needed to go past home, to Peoria, to pick up my race packet for Saturday's race.  Technically, I could have waited until Saturday morning for pickup, but they had a mandatory Friday weigh-in for the "Athena" division... and after my third-place showing in the "Foot-Pounder" division at the Lake Run, you bet I'm signing up for the weight class.  Mandatory weigh-in the night before seems a bit much if you ask me, but what the hell.

So I picked up my packet, and headed back home.  I had a nice evening with the hubby, packing my race gear, listening to too-loud music and had a couple of adult beverages, and off to bed, just a little too late.  Summer has arrived here in central Illinois and the races are starting earlier.  The 40th running of the Steamboat Classic was set to start at 7am.  I got up a little before 5am to run through the shower, get dressed, locate coffee and hit the road.  MAN, I hate getting up that early, but I really enjoy my races!! 

Here's what I noticed before I headed out:
I get to ask them for a Large shirt this year (NOT an Extra Large), and they give me a shirt with "XL" plastered across my chest!  What the HELL, people??  
I've run this four-mile race several times (last year's race recap is here).  It's fun, it's flat, it's fast.  It's HOT.  Last year I started out way to fast and did a lot of walking, finished at 54:29.  The time before, I was on a run/walk interval program and not yet running continuously, and even then I finished in 54:09.  I'm still dealing with some pain in my hip and calves so I wasn't sure how much running I should plan on today, but I dared dream up a goal of finishing under 49 minutes.  I didn't have a plan for a run/walk interval or anything, just "take it as is comes" and walk if and when it felt necessary.  

I met up with Joe and his brothers with about 45 minutes to spare; we chatted it up for a while, and I decided to hit the restrooms while there was still time.  What I found was a line for separate men's & women's restrooms (of course the line for the women's was about half-mile long).  I passed that up in favor of seeking out the porta-potties.  What I found then, was another line about a half-mile long!  Twenty minutes later and I realize there are actually TWO lines, fanning in opposite directions, BOTH of which were about a half-mile long (explains why the line was moving so s l o w l y...)  
Five thousand runners. Twelve porta-johns. Yeah, that math works.
Potty issues aside, I made it to the starting line just before the gun.  It was threatening rain, but all I saw were clouds.  It was a bit hot - about 70 degrees - and super humid.  I ran for about 5 minutes and then checked in:  how are my calves?  How's my hip?  My ankles were feeling weird yesterday after driving all afternoon, how's that going?  I felt GOOD.  I decided to just run by feel, and keep checking in along the way.  If I needed to walk, I'd walk.  

They have quite a few water-stops, especially for such a short distance, but with the heat, that's usually a blessing.  I got to the first stop a little after the 1-mile mark - and NO WATER!  After the whole wait for the bathrooms, I was annoyed about this.  But it was early yet, and I wasn't desperate for hydration or anything.
I made it to the second water stop at mile 2 without any issues.  My Garmin notified me I'd finished the first mile in 11:30 - on pace for my goal - and I was still feeling good. My hip was fine, my calves were starting to loosen up, so I happily kept on going!

After the 2-mile mark there was another water stop - this one WITH water - and I took a break to walk a bit, drink up, and assess my situation.  I was still feeling good so I revved up and got back to it.  I had finished mile 2 in about the same time as mile 1 - 11:35.  With that 90-second break, mile 3 was a bit slower, but I must have sped up a little because I only lost about 40 seconds.
I was feeling great. This is awesome - I feel like I could do this all day!  Only one mile to go!  I could FLY if I want to.  There's no stopping me no---OUCH! What the hell just happened to my hip?!? Oh, Jesus that hurts.  Yup.  Thirty-seven minutes in; Stopped me dead in my tracks.  I walked for another minute, massaging that thing in my hip... right where the PT works on it every week, that thing felt like it was just a little bit on fire.  It hadn't burst into flame but it was definitely smoldering.
OK, so I walk a bit.  Maybe I walk the rest of the way - it's less than a mile to the finish line, it's not that big a deal.
Who am I kidding - only a mile to go, I'm NOT going to walk all that way. This is a race!  For crying out loud, I train for this!  I PAY to do this!  The pain in my hip eased back a notch and I decided to run another quarter-mile and see what happened.  I figured one of two things would happen:  1) it's fine, works itself out in a minute or two, a minute of walking was all that I needed; or 2) it's not fine, and it's not going to be fine, and I'll be walking again within a minute or two.  But I wouldn't know unless I tried running on it again.
And you know, it eased up even more after I started running again.  I was able to run the rest of the way in, and even managed a sprint in the last 30 seconds - the Garmin says I got up to a 6:30 pace in that last burst!!

Overall:  2450 of 3124
Females 35-39: 161 / 229

And check out the Athena Division results: 
Again, it's a REALLY small field and my chances were pretty good to place!  Sadly, I did not.  But I'm happy with 5th place.  I'll take that.

Post-race, the poor organization continued:  this is definitely a theme for this year.  I remembered from last year, they keep the water stowed away about a mile from the finish line - last year I gave up before I found the damn water!  I did find it this time, and stretched for quite a while before I found Joe and his brothers again.
We went for food & snacks and found lines even worse than the porta-john lines.  And don't even get me STARTED on the line for free beer.  Ugh.  We chatted for a while and decided to skip the whole thing.  The guys had a golfing date, and I decided I could probably get myself a free beer at my friend Heather's house.  (She understands the occasional need for a beer at 9am... you know, after a race of course!)

All in all I'm still a fan of the Steamboat Classic.  The weather makes it a very challenging race every year, even though it's flat.  And now, I've got a new personal best to try and beat next year.  (But I may bring my own snacks and a cooler of beer for afterward.)

Monday, June 10, 2013

I Hate Sit-Ups. (Do This Instead)

I'm getting my calves reoriented to running! Last Thursday I managed a 4.37 run/walk using 2/1 intervals. It took a full hour, which COULD be discouraging, but after about a half-hour, my calves FINALLY started to feel loose and NORMAL again! Perhaps I should have pushed harder and longer when I tried it on Wednesday.

Sit-ups have always been rough on my back (being a bit top-heavy, I can never seem to keep my low back flat to the floor), so when my husband told me about this article he read last week, I had to go find it for myself. 

Five Reasons to Never Do Sit-Ups / Crunches again. (BONUS: it's VERY short.)

Of course, this does NOT mean I get to skip my core work: planks, side planks, side planks with pulse, Russian Twists, nearly anything with a Bosu Ball... Especially with all I've learned from my physical therapy sessions the past few weeks, I absolutely need to work that core for a healthier, stronger body!!

Here are some of my favorite options (and some I want to start using):

Basic Plank (classic; I do this all the time, always challenging
Side Plank (I also like to do this one with a "pulse" - point your arm to the ceiling and :pulse: your hips to the side (up toward the ceiling) 
Lunge with Rotation (This looks difficult to me; haven't tried it yet, but it incorporates a lot of what my PT is wanting me to work on.)

Bosu Ball Forearm Plank

Bosu Ab Twist

Here's one on the Stability Ball:  Back Extension Rear Leg Raise

Check this out for other options!  25 Variations on the Plank

In my hunt for pics / video I found this terrific list of Bosu exercises:  41 Exercises to Do on a Bosu Ball.
I also referenced these articles:
Best Ab Workouts for Women
8 Killer Ab Exercises ( - looks like you may need at least the free membership to read this article.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Physical Therapy: Euphemism for Torture?

I've had this nagging pain in my left foot, and a recurring issue with my hip, and then there's the chronic back pain.  (Welcome to Being Over Thirty-Five, right?)

I went to my doc a while back to check on things, my biggest concern being the potential for developing a stress fracture in my foot.  I figured I can expect to live with the back pain but once he suggested a physical therapist, I decided to make sure and get help from them on the hip and back pain as well.

My first visit was last Wednesday, right before heading out of town for work.

Overall, the diagnosis is that I need to develop a LOT more flexibility in my hip flexors and my calves.  (And that the high heels I favor are not helping.)  I also need to build strength in my hip flexors.  The PT, Josh, did a whole lot of muscle massage before having me do some specific stretches to work on these area. He took some photos (definitely the MOST FLATTERING photos EVER taken of me!) of the various stretches and whatnot that he wanted me to work on as my "homework" and sent them to me.  By the time I left, my back, at least, was completely pain-free.  I bought a foam roller on the way home and I've been doing these a couple of times a day ever since.

I went back yesterday for my second visit.  Uh, let's just say the Gloves Are Off!  I had Josh working on me and then an intern.  They had me do three new exercises, MUCH harder than the stretches I've been doing, and really worked me over.  This was no massage; this was a beating!  They did clear me to do cardio and strength training after my appointment, just avoid the legs.  So I hit the gym and hopped on the bike for 20 minutes and then did arms, back and core work, NO LEG WORK.  Josh warned me I would be feeling it today, and he was right.  It felt dangerous to walk around the office - I worried my hip may actually dislodge from its socket if I wasn't careful.  

I was worried about trying to run after work but decided to give it a try.  I decided to just go by feel, not have any set distance or time, just try some intervals and walk whenever necessary.  It went okay.  Coty and I walked our normal half-mile to start, then tried some 2-minute running intervals.  My hips felt... weird, but alright.  My calves were another story.  They were so tight I had trouble WALKING once I started running, but when I was running, they just BURNED.  This was a tough workout, and it only lasted 30 minutes!  

I have another appointment tomorrow and we'll see how it goes from there.  I sure hope I'll be able to run Steamboat - just 10 days away!  It's only 4 miles, and I was just thinking this morning about how if this lovely weather holds out, I ought to be able to finish around 48 minutes this year, even if I take a walk-break half-way through.  (And yes, I checked my race history and that would be a 3-minute PR.... I want to keep my streak going!)

On that note, I gotta go stretch and make friends with my foam roller.

Oh one more thing:  weigh-in on Sunday was a plus:  down 0.2 lbs! First loss in a while, so I was pretty happy about it, even though it's basically a goose-egg.