Sunday, September 27, 2015

Chickamauga Battlefield Marathon: Week 9

So, it finally happened. After a bunch of fantastic weeks of training - I finally ran into some trouble. At the very least I'm glad it happened this week, during an already scheduled step-back week.

Last spring, I took some time off for illness and then jumped back into training. My hamstrings ended up getting so tight, my quads had to do all the work and in turn got so tight I could no longer run (or even walk without hobbling). I've been foam-rolling most days, adding in some extra therapy with a tennis ball as necessary to try to avoid trashing my quads this training cycle.

However, last week, I noticed some tightness developing. It usually worked itself out less than a mile into my runs and didn't bother me, so I kept training on schedule. There was some tenderness Sunday after my long run, but Monday morning I felt 100%. Unfortunately, Tuesday I was in a lot of pain and made the decision to stop running until it healed. This was so hard for me to do, but I kept remembering how miserable it was last year, and that helped me hold strong.

I added in yoga most days this week, which seemed to help somewhat. Even if it didn't help my quad heal any faster, it really cleaned up my hips and IT bands, which can't hurt! As I write this, I notice a little bit of twinging if I pivot on my right foot without bending my knee, which won't really be something I do when I run, so I plan to start back up tomorrow. I've really missed running!

I think the problem partially stems from running on roads, which means my right foot is hitting ever so slightly higher than my left due to the camber. When I start my new job in two weeks, I plan to do some runs on the Towpath by work, which will be flat. I would prefer to train by my house to keep getting hills in consistently, but it's obviously not worth it if I will get injured. But I also seem to have noticed I hold all my work stress (which is honestly a lot) in my right quad. Hopefully when I leave my current position, that problem will solve itself!

Sunday, September 20

Monday, September 21
5 mi easy (11:02 min/mile)

I went a little too fast for this to feel truly easy, but I had just found out I was getting the job, so I couldn't help but run a little faster with all the adrenaline.

Tuesday, September 22
Yin Yoga for Runners - Hips and Hamstrings

My quad did feel better when I finished, but I really noticed my IT bands felt much better.

Wednesday, September 23
Yin Yoga for Runners - Hips and Hamstrings

Thursday, September 24

I had good intentions of doing a yoga video when I got home, but I got three shots at the allergist (my two allergy shots and my flu shot), so I just sat on the couch with my achy arms instead.

Friday, September 25
Yin Yoga for Runners - Hips and Hamstrings

This practice was slightly abbreviated because Michael's parents came.

Saturday, September 26

I watched football and ate Melt. Very important things to recover.

Run Miles: 5 mi
Yoga Time: 1:46
Total Time: 2:41

As hard as it was, I hope taking this week to rest will pay off. If the pain continues, I might schedule a sports massage to try to dig deep into the problematic tissue. Has anyone else had problems with tight hamstrings leading to tight quads? I'll take any tips!

Fall is finally here, and I'm so excited to get out in this weather and run this week! I've missed it so much, I'm actually tempted to get up and run before work tomorrow, rather than waiting all day. There is 0% chance this will happen, but I still entertained the idea!

I also am to the point I almost need a new pair of running shoes, so I'm hoping to check out a new-to-me running store this week that looks promising. The main chain by us is Fleet Feet, but all the locations seem pretty small and a bit lackluster. Hopefully this place will be a winner. I also have my eye on a Halloween 5K - I am a sucker for fall/winter holiday-themed races, even if it's in name alone, so now is prime time for me to get some scheduled!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Chickamauga Battlefield Marathon Weeks 6-8

So it's been a long time since I last posted. I have still been getting in my training, but some other stuff has come up in the mean time. Mostly another bout of depression (always a real treat) followed by a cold. Thankfully both are over now. The other good news is, even though my allergies are now acting up (story of my life), I finally tried the steroid my allergist prescribed for my Bad Days. I was a little hesitant to take it because I wasn't sure if the prednisone would keep me up for a week straight, but instead it just made me feel a little wired for six hours, but my allergy symptoms were completely gone. That's huge for me!

What else has happened since I last blogged? First, I had my birthday, and I had a great weekend celebrating with Michael and my parents. I'm also happy to be 23, because I feel like 22 still sounds like college age. I'm not sure why I care, since everyone who sees me will still assume I'm about 14, on a good day.

But in the biggest (and most exciting) news, I got a new job! I'm hesitant to say anything negative about work on my blog, so let's just say I already feel like a whole new person knowing I have just two weeks left in my current position. As a bonus, my commute will go from being 50 minutes one way to 20. Plus (and I'm so geeked about this), a trailhead for the Towpath is less than 10 minutes from my new office, so I'm hoping to get out there for a lot of runs after work, rather than coming home first and procrastinating.

I hope you made it through that big info dump! Now that I will have more time and be less beaten down when I get home, I'm hoping to get back into blogging regularly. Maybe I'll even recap Missoula from two months ago!

Anyway, I want to keep a record of my training for Chickamauga, but I understand if no one reads through three weeks of training! The main takeaway from this period is I've decided to cut out strength training. I'm glad I did it for some of the cycle, but it started to feel like a chore instead of fun. I know if I ever want to get to Boston, I might have to do some more chore-ish things, but right now I still want training to be fun!

Sunday, August 30

Monday, August 31
AM - 4 mi easy (11:14 min/mile)
PM - 10 min spin WU, NROLFW Stage 3A-1

Tuesday, September 1
PM - 7 mi easy (11:13 min/mile)

Wednesday, September 2
AM - 4 mi easy (11:33 min/mile)
PM - 10 min spin WU, NROLFW Stage 3B-1

I noted for this workout that my legs felt so tired and heavy from so many humid runs in a row. I am so glad fall weather is finally here!

Thursday, September 3

Friday, September 4

This has been my only unplanned rest day of the cycle. I was supposed to run seven miles, but I had my first round interview in the morning and then got stuck at work for month end. I didn't want to miss Michigan State's kickoff (priorities, people!), so I took a rest day.

Saturday, September 5
PM - 10 mi long (11:23 min/mile)

Run Miles - 25 mi
Bike Miles - 4.6 mi
Lifting Time - 2:01
Total Time - 7:06

Sunday, September 6

We celebrated my birthday with my parents by eating Melt and lemon bars. A very good day for eating!

Monday, September 7
PM - 4 mi easy (11:23 min/mile)

Tuesday, September 8
PM - 5 mi easy (11:02 min/mile)

Wednesday, September 9
PM - 3.8 mi hills

This was my second time doing four sets of hill repeats instead of two, and it was so much easier! It really shows how much of running is mental.

Thursday, September 10

Friday, September 11
AM - 1 mi WU, 6 mi tempo @ 9:55, 1 mi CD

Michael and I had a six hour drive to Illinois after work, so we got up before 6 AM to get this run in. It sucked getting up, but I actually felt great during the tempo miles since it was cooler and a lot less humid. I was very, very tired at work, though.

Saturday, September 12
AM - 16 mi long (11:22 min/mile)

Luckily our hotel was 10 minutes from a really pretty park that had a paved eight mile loop trail. It was awesome to get a change of scenery, and "only" having to do two loops made the run mentally easier.

Afterwards we headed to celebrate my grandma's 90th birthday! She was only expecting her children to be there, so all the grandchildren and great-grandchildren were a huge surprise. My grandma is one of the happiest people I know, and I'm sure her longevity is strongly related to that fact.

Then we were able to sneak away to watch the Oregon with my uncle, who is absolutely hilarious. A Michigan State win was the icing on the cake.

Run Miles - 36.8 mi
Total Time - 6:43

Sunday, September 13

Monday, September 14
PM - 4 mi easy (11:19 min/mile)

Tuesday, September 15
PM - 8 mi easy (10:56 min/mile)

The humidity was finally gone, and this run made me remember why I love running!

Wednesday, September 16
PM - 3.8 mi hills

I woke up with a cold (that I caught from Michael). It worked out okay because I had to go offsite for training, and there was a Rite Aid on the corner, so I grabbed some cold medicine and actually got out around 3:30. I went to the gym from there - I don't think the cold slowed me down, and my headache finally went away while I was running.

Thursday, September 17

I felt much worse Thursday, and I was a little annoyed because I had to skip my allergy shot. (You're not supposed to get them when you're sick, I assume so your immune system isn't further stressed.) However, it was nice just to sit on the sofa all evening.

And I just want to quickly note I'm not viewing this cold as an overtraining warning since a) I caught it from the person I live with and b) I got over it in only a few days, while it seems to be lingering for most other people.

Friday, September 18
PM - 1 mi WU, 6 mi tempo @ 9:54 min/mile, 1 mi CD

I called in sick to work because I still didn't feel well and I had my second round interview, so it was easiest to just be gone the whole day. Michael got us wings for dinner, and I ran afterwards. I was so thirsty from the wings I thought I would die, but otherwise the run felt really good.

Saturday, September 19
PM - 17 mi long (11:21 min/mile)

Well, this was the first run of the training cycle that didn't go according to plan. The last five miles were supposed to be at my goal pace, but I just didn't have it in me. I had a bit of a bonk (I suspect more from not eating enough on Friday and Saturday, rather than my fueling during the run), so I just stuck to my long run pace and didn't beat myself up about it.

Putting the last three weeks in writing is good perspective now at how much I was handling physically and emotionally, so I guess it really is no surprise I had a bit of struggle. But I just reminded myself, hey, I had run 17 miles!

Run Miles - 40.8 mi
Total Time - 7:27

So there you have it - the last three weeks of my training. I'm feeling really prepared for this marathon, and I know I still have lots of time to build on that. I'm currently debating throwing in a race to test my fitness, but I'm still not sure how to fit one in. Maybe replace a tempo run with a race and move my long run to Sunday?

This week will be a little tricky because Michael's parent are visiting (and will finally get to see our house!), but they said they don't mind at all if we run, so I think it will work out fine. And most of all I'm so excited fall is here! I forgot how amazing it is to run when it's not humid.