Thursday, July 29, 2010

Track Workout - 7/28/10 5.15 miles 01:07

I don't have Garmin data for this one, looks like I must have stopped my watch at some point and forgotten to start it so I'm just going off of what my buddy's Garmin said.  We also did another .5 miles of cool down (walking) laps that we didn't count.

Before I left work for the track last night I seriously considered not going.  Not because I didn't want to run 5 or 6 miles but because I didn't want to do it there.  I guess every week, despite putting it in writing, I forget how much it sucked the week before.  Since I'm not really doing the speedwork as scheduled I thought maybe I should just skip these track workouts and go run on a trail myself.  By yesterday evening I figured I likely wouldn't get back off my butt if I went home instead so I dragged myself to the track.  If nothing else at least there are plenty of cheerleaders and buddies there to keep me moving.

Despite being one of the cooler days in recent history it was still over 90 degrees at 6:30 last night.  I felt... okay.  I was tired, as usual, and slow but really all in all I felt fine.  My legs were a bit heavy as always in the evening and for a brief time I had a hard time catching a good, full, deep breath but that's par for the course on a hot, humid evening.  We received the speedwork instructions followed by "and if you don't want to do that just do 16 laps however you feel like doing them."  Sign me up for that!  If I had some good data I'd probably find that we actually did most of the laps at a pretty good clip, I know I did two on my own around an 11-11:15 pace.  The total time includes walking two or three recovery laps. 

I guess I'm glad I went, and I'm sure I'll have the same conversation with myself every Wednesday for the next few months  And I'm sure I'll keep going to the track.

Trail Run - 7/25/10 8 miles 01:35:48

We had the option of running Riley's Rumble half-marathon on the 25th, or not.  A lot of us chose not to after lots of emails from the group coaches suggesting we skip it.  It's a hilly, hard, miserable race and the 95 degree heat was going to make it even less pleasant.  By Saturday afternoon I'd talked myself out of doing it so Bo and I agreed to meet some running buddies down at the Capital Crescent Trail at 6AM on Sunday.  He planned for 5, I was hoping for 12.

We met up as planned and Bo decided that he could probably swing six miles so we headed south three miles to the first water fountain.  At this point we had two options - Hengameh and I could keep going another three or turn around and go back to the parking lot with Bo then head north.   After a brief discussion and excessive use of puppy-dog eyes we headed back with Bo.  We stopped at the benches by the parking lot for some water and a brief rest since neither of my partners were particularly keen to keep going any direction.  Our 12 miles turned into a compromised 8, just one more mile north.  It made for Bo's longest run ever and he kicked its ass.  Close to the end, approaching the tunnel, I had a sudden burst of energy and just took off.  I don't know how fast I was going or how far but I felt awesome.  One of those increasingly rare "YES, THIS IS WHY I RUN!" moments.  I felt light, and fast, and surprised that despite my speed I wasn't really huffing and puffing or struggling.  Of course I don't know how long I could have kept it up but I felt damn good for that short period of time.  So good that I feel like I wussed out by not doing 12 or 13, I definitely had the energy for another 5 miles at that point.  But maybe those extra miles would have ruined that energy and it's a good thing I stopped on a positive mental note instead of hating life. 

Maybe that's the runner's high I've heard so much about.  I need more of that!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Track Workout - 7/21/10 - 5.38 miles 01:14:13

The speed workout that wasn't, obviously.  I just can't seem to do speedwork right now no matter how hard I try.  I did the first mile in 11:27 and the second in 11:18 and it just went downhill from there.  Though looking back those are some pretty decent miles, the fastest I've run in quite some time!

The Tuesday before the track run I went down to RnJ Sports in Rockville to check out some new shoe suggestions.  I'd been to both of the other running stores in the area so I figured why not make the rounds and hit this one up as well, it's the one most of the running club suggests.  I walked in with a pair of 9.5 Mizuno Inspires and walked out with a pair of Brooks Adrenaline GTS10 in size 10, extra wide.  The guys said that the Inspires were probably a good shoe to correct my pronation but in the wrong size which led to the arch pain.  And the shoes were so cheap there ($80) that I grabbed a Nike running skirt (for half off) as well.  Wednesday's track workout was the first time I wore them.  They felt good, definitely no problem with the ankle and they clearly don't irritate my arch as much though it's still cranky from the Inspires.

The goal for the workout was 3 laps at a fast pace, then one recovery.  I tried the first lap with the 12-12:30 group but they were just going way too fast so I dropped back and again found myself with my one running buddy.  We ran three laps and walked the recovery laps so our mile splits look pretty sad.  While we did the 1.3 mile warm-up around campus we skipped the cool-down again in lieu of walking a lap with our group.  As usual for a track run I did not feel good.  My legs were tired, I was hot, I just wanted to go home.  I really thought I couldn't make it more than a mile around the track, I was just dragging physically and mentally.  Without my running buddy I would have called it quits, good thing she was there to keep me going!

One of our group members often takes photos during runs, I saw him snapping away every time we ran by (not this workout but the week before) and thought maybe he'd finally gotten a good picture of me to prove that I'm even out there.  Nope, just a picture of my butt (I'm not entirely sure why Sarah next to me looks so darn happy):

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Trail Run - 7/18/10 - 10 miles 02:09:17

I couldn't make the group run but I did run on a trail early on a Sunday morning so I say it counts!  Saturday was a long day - Bo and I got up early and did 4 miles together at Lake Needwood, then spent the rest of the day with my parents.  One baseball game and slice of cheesecake later we didn't get back home until midnight.  And yet we still managed to get up at 5:15 on Sunday morning to get our long runs in.

We started by going out 2.5 miles from Ken-Gar, Bo's run was going to be 5 miles total.  Still taking it easy I did the first 5 miles in 1:05:23, Bo finished before me but by how much I don't know.  We usually stay together until there are hills at which point I slow down but he just blasts over them like they're not even there.  Ridiculous!

We got back to the parking lot where I had another Gu, refilled my water bottles, put an arch support in my right shoe and headed north.  North is a bit hillier so while I didn't hit any of the real killers on the 2 miles I went out my miles were a bit slower.  I also got stung or bitten on the butt about .6 miles in so I ran the rest of the way with an itchy, owwy butt. I stopped at each water fountain, not wanting to miss a chance to fill up, and for a red light or two but other than that I didn't take any walk breaks.  I only went out two miles so I ran around the parking lot area a few times to get that last mile in when I got back.  I saw a little trail offshoot that said ".2 miles to Plyers Mill Road" so I figured I'd take that to get a little more distance in.  That stupid path went STRAIGHT UP for those .2 miles.  I actually walked up it and jogged back down but it was so steep that coming down was pretty unnerving.  Another lap around the parking lot area and there I was at the end of my first double-digit run in two weeks. 

I thought my ankle would hurt, it didn't.  At all.  My legs are fine too, not nearly as stiff as they were after my 4 miler last weekend.  My right arch, though, has been sore since Sunday.  Maybe if I'd used the arch support from the beginning I would have been okay, I usually only run with one on the left foot since I've hard arch problems there before.    I need to find a pair or shoes, or shoes with inserts, that will fix both the tendon and arch problems.  I think I'll take my shoes and myself to another running store tonight for more expert advice before our track workout tomorrow.  So, except for that minor glitch, I'm back and in good shape!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Track Workout - 7/14/10 5.33 miles 01:10

I'm back!  Glad to make my first group run in over two weeks, unfortunately I'll miss this weekend's long run since they moved it to Saturday and my parents are visiting that day.  Perhaps for the better since I don't know if my legs could (or should) handle the entire 16 miles.  Bo and I will run Sunday.

This was my second run since seeing the doctor and so far, so good.  Sunday I ran with Bo, just four miles, and was surprised at how little pain I had (and at what a beast he is, he just took off and left me in the dust on the way back).  I wore my Mizuno Inspires and a cheap compression wrap and while the ankle was a little sore afterward 20 minutes of ice and elevation did the trick.  Ankle was fine but my legs were sore for two days, the trail really is all uphill on the way back!

Since I'm supposed to stay away from big hills and uneven surfaces I figured the track was a great place to be so I went with the group last night.  I have some running buddies there who like to keep a nice slow pace so with them to keep me in check we took it very easy, total time includes a .5 mile walking cool-down at the end (instead of a lap around the college campus over cracked sidewalks).  Average running pace was closer to 13 minutes which I'm good with for now since the last thing I want to do is aggravate this tendon any more.  I think we've formed our own 2-person pace group, 12:30 is a bit too fast right now and the 13 group usually runs closer to 14s or 15s.

Running in the Mizunos is going well but I think I need a wider pair since my toenails were pretty sore last night.  Probably not urgent quite yet so I'm debating whether to just order the same in a wider size or get fitted and see if there's an even better pair out there.  I guess I'll wait until after Sunday's long run to decide, if I lose any toenails I'll buy a new pair right away.


Last week I finally got in to see Dr. Spector, one of the podiatrists recommended by the running club. He's also an active member and a marathoner so I felt going in that he would be reasonable, sympathetic and understanding. And he was awesome. Very friendly, chatty, personable and professional. He also recommended reading Born to Run, which I've heard great things about, and we discussed the Tarahumara and barefoot running (he said Vibrams have brought him a TON of business in foot and muscle injuries though he's for them in moderation). A+, would see again.

Just like I thought I do indeed have peroneal tendonitis. He diagrammed all the bones, ligaments and tendons on my ankle with a pen and explained all the anatomy. I heard the words peroneal tendonitis and my heart sank a bit, I'd read enough horror stories to think that was officially the end of my training. Luckily the diagnoses was immediately followed by "but you can run with this." Rock the hell on.

He hated my Nikes and said my Mizunos are much better, especially at this point I want to go a little overboard on stability so that those tendons don't have to work so hard. I also need new shoes for every day after I was admonished for wearing my adorable, cheap, completely unsupportive Payless flats. My mother-in-law gave me an oh-so-stylish pair of navy blue Naturalizers and the difference was immediate and astonishing.  If I'd know all it would take was some old lady shoes to essentially resolve the problem I would have bought them a week ago.

I'm also doing PT for a month, he said it's not entirely necessary but he's a big fan of it and if I want it to heal fast that's the way to go.  It's going to cost me a fortune even with insurance but I feel like I'm too far into training to let anything hold me back or keep me down so it'll be worth it.  I had my first appointment yesterday and it went well, I'm having so little pain these days that the treatment didn't hurt too much but I could definitely tell I need to build some strength in that ankle. 

So here's to being back on my feet, healthy and happy.  As much as running sucks sometimes NOT running sucked a whole lot more.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


As much as it pains me to write this, I have been forced to take a (hopefully) temporary break from training.  I had a great time during last week's monumental run to Union Station, but about three hours later I could no longer bend my left ankle.  It was fine during the run, during the metro ride back home, during the 5 walk block back to the car, during the ride back to my house... It appears to be some soft tissue problem on the outside and underneath the ankle.  I don't think it's a sprain though it does seem weird for an overuse injury to come on so suddenly with no prior symptoms.  I figured it was just sore and would go away with a day or two of rest but it hasn't.  It's better, certainly, but not good enough.

I saw my doctor last Friday, she's nice but not particularly helpful.  She poked and prodded, when I indicated the most painful area and asked her what was even in there to be injured since it's a weird spot she actually said "I don't know."  Gee, thanks.  Prescription was for more rest, ice, occasional compression and stay off it for another week.  I'm pretty sure I could physically run through the pain but mentally I know that's just a really bad idea so I'm following orders and staying off it as much as possible.  I can walk, albeit slowly and pathetically, as long as I don't bend my ankle and put all the weight on my heel.  This is of course causing both of my feet, as well as my back, to hurt as well, and the more I walk the more everything hurts.  I've been avoiding walks to the office cafeteria to get water (because it's too far and because I want to avoid walking to the bathroom) and for lunch (because I want to avoid people asking about it).  I've Googled like mad and haven't been able to diagnose it myself (though I feel like I have found some likely culprits) so I have an appointment with a podiatrist for this Friday.  Hopefully he'll have not only the solution to the problem but a plan for keeping it from coming back.  I will be at the starting line on October 31st, hopefully better and stronger than before.  This isn't discouraging me from completing my training, don't let it discourage you from donating to AICR!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Eighth Trail Run - 6/27/10 - 11.56 miles 02:31:31

This run was almost epic.  Almost.  But it was so close that I won't complain (too much).

This was our first point-to-point run, beginning at the Capital Crescent Trail in Bethesda and ending at Union Station in DC.  12 sweaty miles, then a metro ride back to our cars.  It's a little unnerving knowing you're running straight out, for some reason it's much more comforting to know you're hitting a halfway point and turning around to go back the way you came.  We were also warned that once you hit DC both water and shade are hard to come by.  I carried a ton of stuff with me: 
Amphipod belt with Nuun in the 20 ounce bottle and with two additional 10.5 ounce bottles, one of water and one of Gatorade ( is THE BEST place to order all this stuff)
Three Gus - two in the belt pocket and one in an additional pouch
Car key, additional sunblock, a small first aid kit with antiseptic wipes, band-aids and aspirin, Alka-Seltzer, phone, ID, ATM and SmarTrip cards

All that stuff felt awfully heavy around my waist when we started out but I soon got used to or ignored it.  With the exception of the 10.5 ounce bottles moving around when empty it was all pretty comfortable.  I also tried out my new CW-X Expert 3/4 tights on this run.  They have some fancy pants webbing around the thighs and knees, I was hoping they'd reduce the knee soreness I'd been feeling after the longer runs.  And they did!  They're a bit of a hassle to get in to but once on they're quite comfortable, I didn't feel too hot at all and I think they really did support my knees.  Thumbs up, especially since I found them on sale for 30 bucks.

Anyway, on to the run!  It was relatively uneventful, I started out with the 12:30 group as usual but got separated when I stopped to wait for a friend.  I got vague directions from the pace leader and almost got lost when I came upon a closed street in Georgetown and wasn't sure which way to go, luckily Andy saved the day and came back to rescue the stragglers. By this time the group was a bit ahead of me and instead of busting my butt to catch up I plodded along behind, as long as I could see someone I was okay since I had absolutely no idea where I was going.  I got picked up by a slower group as we converged on a street corner, our group had apparently taken a "short cut" so I have no idea what scenery I missed.  There are amazing photos and videos posted from some other groups of a whole lot of stuff I didn't see.  I think a lot of groups ran across the mall, we ended up going up Constitution Avenue which was a bit shadier but also, I imagine, a bit more boring.  I didn't see the Kennedy Center, we only saw the Capitol in the distance.  We did stop at the Lincoln Monument and saw the White House across the street.  So my only beef with this run was that I missed out on seeing some cool stuff along the way, and that it was slow going in downtown DC waiting for a bunch of traffic lights.  Once I got picked up by the slower group around mile 8 I went from 12-12:45 minute miles to around a 14 minute pace.  Slow going but I had good friends and coaches to keep me company.

This is what Union Station looks like around 9AM on a Sunday morning after you've run almost 12 miles to get to it: