ilanarama: a mountain (mountain)
As some of you know, after my glorious victory at the Canyonlands 5-mile I had a relapse of the lung rot that had plagued me since the first week of March. When it just seemed to be getting worse I went to the clinic and was diagnosed with bronchitis and prescribed a number of things, including an antibiotic "to take if you don't get better in a couple of days," because apparently these viruses often mask bacterial infections. I got worse and began taking the antibiotic a week ago, and things turned the corner pretty quickly after that, and today I went for a run for the first time in ten days.

It was extremely slow. I coughed every so often. But those problems, I know, are temporary. What may not be temporary is that my gluteus medius ached - not horribly, but enough to concern me. I had noticed the butt-pain starting to return last week, in fact, which dismayed me since I wasn't doing any physical activity at all.

The spine guy had said that it often takes more than one shot to fix the kind of problem I had. I hope I don't have to do it again - it's expensive (I've maxed out my deductible, but I still have a co-pay which comes out to about $500, and even though it's not a problem for me financially it freaks me out a bit - and my insurance company is beginning to get nervous, which makes ME nervous) and it's a bit of a hassle/pain.

I am going to try to work on those core exercises, keep running, and see what happens. I guess if things get worse (or don't get better) I will have to get a second cortisone shot. I hope I don't have to. I also hope I'm smart enough to see if I DO have to, and do it.

Some weight and bodyfat talk )

Boston plans )

Other running plans )

Other non-running plans )
ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (marathon)
It is March! And just as this is the month when winter turns the corner and heads toward spring, I feel as though my fitness is, finally, doing the same. (And what's funny is that I just noticed I used almost the same phrasing in my first post in January, talking about starting over with the new year! Me and calendar metaphors...)

To recap a little: )

In November, I ran 17.6 miles. In December I basically didn't run at all. In January, as I was (in the words of my previous post) "preparing to begin to start from scratch," I ran 65 slow miles. In February, I ran 84 slightly less-slow miles. I am hopeful (see me knocking on this wood, here? Knock! Knock! Knockity Knock!) that in March I will finally get back above 100 miles!

I'm still a lot slower than I used to be, but it's been really interesting watching my pace vs heart rate improve. My easy pace heart rate is around 128-140 bpm; my average for a run is usually right around 136. Back in September and October, before I was injured, I'd run my easy runs at a pace between around 8:55-9:35/mile. In January, when I started running again, to keep my HR at the right level I had to run at around 10:30-11 minute pace - though running felt hard enough physically that I often ran even slower.

By the third week of February (a bit more than a week after the injection) I had my first run in which I averaged under 10 minute miles (a blazing 9:53 pace!) The next week most of my runs were 10 minute pace or under, and the next week - well, that's this week. And so far I've kept up the trend! \o/ Monday's run was the fastest yet at 9:42 pace (though the run included a half-dozen strides - short accelerations - which make the overall pace faster). Today was a slower but still sub-10 pace. And you know, I look at 9:53@133 today and compare it to 9:53@136 two weeks ago and it looks like improvement.

I've also been watching my weight come down; very very slowly, but it's coming down. I weighed around 115 in October, not the lowest I've been recently but a weight I'm happy with. Once I stopped running, it climbed, and I stopped weighing myself in mid-December because numbers above 120 depressed me.

The weight goes up, the weight goes down - at least, it's starting to! )

In less than three weeks I've got my first race of the year, the Canyonlands 5-miler that is concurrent with the half marathon I usually run. I don't expect I'll be very fast, but as most of the fast people run the half, I am likely to get a medal for top-3 AG, and possibly even win it. Then, in just under seven weeks: the Boston Marathon. I'd pretty much resigned myself to spectating, but I have a few friends who are injured and planning to run/walk at an easy pace, and I'm thinking that might be doable. I started my distance running with run/walk, and I know that this technique can be used to extend endurance and run farther with low injury risk. This past Saturday I ran (and walked) 10 miles, even though my longest run up to now has been 6.3, and felt fine. So I'm going to try to ramp up my long run with walk breaks, and see how things go.
ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (marathon)
So since my last post I've been steadily ramping up the running. That first week I ran 5 times, 3 miles a day with 4 as my long run on Saturday, for 16 miles. Last week I ran 24 miles, with a "long run" of 6. I'm hoping to get to 30 this week, probably hold that for another week, and then give another push.

There are three problems, though. The first is that...my pain in the butt is back. And I have no idea what to do. It's not as bad as it was originally - it doesn't radiate down the leg, and I can still run, and actually, the pain goes away after about five minutes - but it hurts all the time. In fact, it hurts more when I'm not running! I've been doing some stretching and strengthening exercises, but I'm reluctant to go back to PT when it didn't do me any good before.

Second, I am soooo slooow. I'm running by heart rate, keeping my HR in the 'easy' range, and my pace is 1-2 minutes per mile slower than it used to be. I am so out of shape! It should improve as I run more, but it's just depressing.

Third, I am soooo fat. I gained ten pounds since October, and that's a lot for me. I don't fit in any of my clothes and I feel terrible. Almost terrible enough to diet. It's just so hard for me to restrict my eating. I'm eating a little less, but I haven't e.g. given up drinking wine, and I probably should, but - I hate dieting. HATE. So I rely on my eating a generally good diet and running to keep the weight off. I'm hoping that when I get back to my usual running volume all this fat will go away, because I really don't want to go on a diet!

Anyway, I feel like I am clawing my way up out of the pit. I can see the sunlight, but man, it's so far away.
ilanarama: me in Escalante (yatta!)
The steroid pills I was prescribed last Thursday worked miracles. On Friday I barely hurt and walked a mile and a half, Saturday I walked 2.75 miles with a little jogging thrown in, and on Sunday I ran THREE MILES.

Okay, it was a slow jog - I didn't dare bring the Garmin because I didn't want to know just how slowly I was moving - but I RAN THREE MILES. And it felt FINE. Yesterday I walked 3 miles, mostly because it was snowing and I was worried about slipping and re-injury. I think I'm going to run again this afternoon!

This morning I saw the doctor again, who had looked at the MRI results. Apparently I had a herniated disc that was leaking gunk into my back and causing inflammation, but this was cleared up by the steroids and it's pretty much healed over, so the doctor thinks I don't need to do anything other than just work on core strength, be alert to future issues, and come in and get steroid shots if it happens again. And now I can run. Sort of an anticlimax, but I'm glad not to have to have surgery or major treatment needed. And my hamstring is still kind of sore, so I do need to keep an eye on that.

I'm delighted to be cleared to move ahead! But I'm also annoyed that it took so long to deal with that now I am starting from scratch, much too late to be able to race this spring. Oh, well. My big problem, I suspect, is going to be reining myself in and not doing too much too soon and injuring myself in some other way while I ramp back up to running again. ("Running again!" Doesn't that sound LOVELY?!)

looking up

Jan. 8th, 2015 06:34 pm
ilanarama: a mountain (mountain)
I had my meeting with the specialist today, and I'm in a lot better mood this evening than I was a few days ago. Although the prescription painkillers may have something to do with it...

I had been referred by my PT (Advantage Physical Therapy) to Animas Spine; Mike said they'd worked a lot with Patrick McLaughlin, "who is a runner, too," so naturally I had to look him up on Athlinks! Turns out he ran both Imogene, and the road portion of the Durango Double. (Also, he's slow, which surprises me as he's a fit-looking guy of about my age. But that's okay!)

Anyway, he seems like a good guy, pleasant and knowledgeable. I got x-rays taken today, have an MRI scheduled for Saturday, have bottles of three different pills (painkiller, steroid anti-inflammatory, and muscle relaxant), and will be going back in on Wednesday morning to hear the verdict. He thinks a disc problem is likely, but that surgery is probably not necessary, and he was super-encouraging about being able to get back to activity soon, so, yay!

update

Jan. 4th, 2015 11:18 am
ilanarama: my footies in my finnies (snorkeling)
With the start of the new year, there is a sense of beginning anew, of starting over, even though all we've marked is an arbitrary spot on the calendar. Even so, for me things feel like I'm starting from scratch again - actually, like I'm preparing to begin to start from scratch, because I'm not even there yet!

In the fall I was looking forward to taking a short break from running during the second half of October, then ramping up my training for the Boston marathon. Well, you know what they say about best-laid plans. At this point, not only am I not running, I'm unable to do any exercise at all. I'm fat and cranky and hurting. While I have not yet ruled out going to Boston to cheer on my friends, the marathon is out of the question.

The story thus far )

When I told Mike (my PT) that I thought it was getting worse rather than better, he suggested that I see a back specialist; he says my lower back is really tight, and he suspects the source of the problem is there, not in my glutes. This is a reasonable possibility, as I've periodically had back issues. So I made an appointment for this Thursday.

And then, on Friday, Britt and I went skiing. This was our first time up to the mountain this season, and we didn't know how his knee or my butt/hip/leg would do, so we planned a relatively short day on easier terrain.

The first couple of runs I felt great. I didn't even notice my usual low-level pain. Plus, I just got new skis this year, longer and smoother and lighter than my old ones, and so it was a real delight to be making turns on the lovely new snow we got on Thursday! Or at least it was for just short of three runs, because I was nearly down to the lift on the third run when suddenly, for no apparent reason, something went SPROING in my back. I came to a screeching halt and tried to put myself into the least painful position while I waited for Britt to realize that I was waving and screaming for a reason :-(

Fortunately, we were not far from the lift that ended at the restaurant, where we'd been planning to stop for lunch anyway at that point. Between the slow lift and the slow service, we took a two-hour break, and I had a pint and a half of muscle relaxant, so our return to the base (which requires two runs with a lift in the middle, taking the easiest path and going slow) was not as miserable as I had feared.

So there you have it. I'm even more crippled up than I was before; I'm sprawled in a recliner, downing copious amounts of Aleve and carefully doing my old McKenzie Method back exercises several times a day. But in a way this is confirmation that the trouble is in my spine, after all. So I'm hopeful that Thursday's appointment will bring some answers, or at least put me on that road.
ilanarama: Mountain can has santa hat! (mountain santa)
After my third massage, things were leveling out, so on Sunday I decided to make another try at running. And by "running" I mean "jogging at two minutes per mile slower than my usual easy pace," but it did not feel that great, and the next day I was hurting again.

So I threw in the towel and went to a physical therapist, which, maybe I should have done it sooner, but I was hoping that rest would take care of things, and obviously it didn't. They think that the tight knot in my butt should resolve with dry needling (which sounds terribly scary, but I have it scheduled for Monday) and at that point they can address the hip imbalance they feel is the source of all my troubles (hamstring, ITB, peroneal tendons). We shall see.

Also, it's December, which means it's time for Vestal Peak to put on the Santa hat!
ilanarama: me on a bike on the White Rim trail (biking)
I haven't been posting lately (geez, in over a month!) because I haven't been doing much. After the 1-2 punch (or 2-1, actually!) of the Double and the 50K, my right hamstring and ITB let me know in no uncertain terms that they needed a breather. So I have been taking a break from running in the hopes that I'll be able to start training for the Boston Marathon on schedule at the beginning of December.

In the meantime I've been getting massages and doing strengthening and stretching exercises, and biking a lot, or at least, a lot for me. When the weather is crappy I spin on the recumbent exercise bike in the basement, which is seriously boring, so I can't manage it for very long at a time. When the weather is good, though, I go mountain biking. I am not very good at mountain biking, and there are only two local loops I can do without carrying my bike over large portions of the trail. Fortunately, the more I do it, the less I suck at it - but I still suck!

Here is someone who does not suck. I don't think I could make some of these jumps on foot that he does on a bike! But wow, what amazing scenery porn this is. I would love to hike this mountain ridge (without a bike)!

ilanarama: my footies in my finnies (snorkeling)
It's unsurprising that the last few weeks before a race tend to be filled with disaster and depression, and most especially the phenomenon known by runners as 'taper madness' or 'taper tantrums'. My training has come to a peak, which is very hard on the body. Everything has been working toward the point which is now less than two weeks from now - so naturally, everything is going wrong.

The biggest problem, at the moment, is that I seem to have strained my soleus (the deep calf muscle). On Monday I ran an easy 6 miles with hill sprints, felt fine, though my peroneal tendinitis was bothering me a bit more than usual. In the evening when I did my core routine I noticed my calves, especially my right calf (the one with tendinitis) were tight, so I made sure to do a little stretching (which I don't do often enough) along with my exercises. But on Tuesday morning my calves still felt tight, and when I headed out on my run, my right calf felt like a block of wood, unresponsive and stiff.

Despite the odd feeling in my calf, I had a great workout. My run was 2 miles easy, 3MP (which averaged 7:42), 3 minutes easy (which was not particularly slow, 8:15 pace), 3HMP (which averaged 7:19), and then easy home, which was another mile and a half, for a total of just under 10 miles. Except as I headed home I felt like my calf was even tighter - usually it loosens up as I run - and after I went upstairs and took my shower, I found it hurt to go down the stairs!

I didn't run yesterday (Wednesday), and I bailed on my planned Turkey Trot today. I have been self massaging and foam rolling (using the excellent resources at http://www.athletestreatingathletes.com/self-muscle-massage/self-muscle-massage-pt-1-the-calf/). I don't think it's a tear, or something severe enough that I'll have to cancel the marathon - at least, I hope not. No idea how many days I'm going to need to take off; as they say, 'the hay is in the barn' and I don't need to do more workouts, but hope I can get a run or two in before the marathon.

You'd think that this would be enough for the vengeful gods to throw at me, but, no. My husband's had some sort of respiratory ick for the past two weeks - I've been sleeping in the guest room, washing my hands fifty times daily, and taking vitamin C / echinacea / zinc supplements. So far, so good, but I'm terrified I'm going to come down with it.

Of course I'm stressing about the weather, too. We're just getting into that timeframe where forecasts are possible and...they're not that great. It's looking like wind and rain, bleah.

I'm not in the best of moods, as you can imagine. So, naturally...I get my period! I'm at that stage in my life where it's so irregular as to be random, and it's also become heavier than it used to be, and lasts longer. If I was in a normal state of mind I would probably rejoice, since this means I'm unlikely to be having it during the race, but after reading horror stories of perimenopausal women with month-long periods, I'm just hoping it GOES AWAY NOW PLEASE.

Ah, well. Taper tantrums. I'm self-medicating with alcohol and chocolate, and crossing my fingers, and hoping for the best, because there is nothing else I CAN do.

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ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (Default)
Ilana

July 2017

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My running PRs:

5K: 21:03 (downhill) 21:43 (loop)
10K: 43:06 (downhill)
10M: 1:12:59
13.1M: 1:35:55
26.2M: 3:23:31

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