silvery strands of thought

The Great Fitness Blogging Experiment: Weeks 7, 8, and 9

Yeesh, I am behind on sharing these posts with you! You’d think being down and out with this knee injury that I’d have more time to blog. I sure did. :) Anyway, here are brief descriptions to the posts, along with links. Enjoy!

How to Eat Your Veggies

This is one of the goals that Pamela and I set early on in our journey. It was hard! Not because I don’t like veggies–I do!–but because they are not a part of my routine. But I’m learning how to make them a part of my routine, and I share some of my secrets in this post.

What to Expect in a Workout

I have gymnaphobia. I just made up that word, but it means that I get scared and self-conscious when I work out at the gym… all the beautiful people and complicated machines, not to mention whether or not I know the right way to build muscle and burn fat (do I do high reps with low weight or low reps with high weight or something in between?!). But when I’m working with Pamela, I don’t have to worry about any of that. Read what a workout session is like with her in this post.

On My Own

Lucky Pamela and her husband Brian got to go to Paris during October–and they didn’t take me! ;) So I had to work out on my own. No, she didn’t make me go to the gym… it was actually a really great, eye-opening experience. Read all about it in this post.

Today Had Better Not Be That Day

It was a beautiful night at Cruse Dog Park. Rowdy was having a blast with get best doggie friend, Ellie. I was having an interesting conversation with Ellie’s owner, Julie, about career, traveling, and anal glands. All of a sudden, I was on the ground.

When Rowdy and some of her favorite dog park buddies play, they do this half-wrestling, half-chasing thing. When Rowdy and Ellie ran into the outside of my right knee, they were doing just that, and at full speed. When I hit the ground, I knew something was wrong with my knee.

The dog park is really a special community, because we all have at least one thing in common: we love our furbabies enough to pay the yearly fee and spend hours there, letting the dogs run and socialize with all sorts of other dogs and humans. It’s selfless to choose standing out in that field so your dog can get the exercise she needs 4, 5, 7 nights a week. These are special people. And last night, they proved it in another way.

Julie helped me up, then went to the Walgreens which is right next to the dog park. Lane, whose dog Allie is another of Rowdy’s best buddies, walked around with me as I tried to walk it off. I decided to sit down as Julie came back with some frozen pasta (it was that or a 20-pound bag of ice), Advil, and water. I rested my leg on a bench and iced it–boy, did that feel good. When it was time to leave, Julie and Lane offered to drive me home, but in the end, I decided I could probably manage the stick shift okay, since it was right leg that was injured. Allie’s owner walked Rowdy out while another man helped me walk to my car.

I made it home in relatively little pain by keeping the frozen pasta on my knee and flexing only my ankle.

And when I got home, I lost it.

One of my favorite, inspirational running quotes is “Some day, you will no longer be able to run. Today is not that day.” It is supposed to remind me that even if I don’t feel like running, I should do it because some day, I won’t even have that option. That quote kept running through my head, but slightly changed: “Today might be That Day.”

Even if I am able to run again, I definitely won’t be running the St. Louis Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon next Saturday. No way. I’ve been working so hard, for myself and with Pamela and Sarah. I’ll never have the chance to kick a half marathon’s butt the day before my 30th birthday again. I am so angry!

I’m mad at the situation. Mad at the fact that it now takes me a full 10 seconds to climb 8 stairs that used to take me about 3 seconds. I’m mad that I don’t know if this is going to cause a lingering injury that will haunt me for the rest of my life. I’m mad that I have always tried so hard to stay injury-free and that a complete accident might screw me over. I’m even mad that I will be spending next Sunday morning in bed asleep instead of pounding out 13.1 miles in St. Louis.

So I’ve spent the afternoon on the couch, knee wrapped, raised, and iced. I’ll see a doctor on Monday, and while I don’t think he’ll find that I need surgery or crutches, I do hope I’ll get a slightly stronger pain pill. Because that’s something else I’m mad about: I’m not typically a back sleeper, so it’s uncomfortable to fall asleep, and last night I woke up at 5:30 in pain. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t time for another dose of Aleeve, but I took some anyway.

We’ll see how it goes. *sigh* Despite how bummed out I am in this post, I’m going to cross my T’s and dot my I’s and be careful not to injure my knee further or start training again too soon. I’m hopeful, but there’s no denying that it still really sucks.

Edit: After an MRI in December, I found out that those sweet, energetic pups gave me a grade 2 MCL sprain and a bruised tibia.

Race Report: 2011 Sunshine Run 10k

Time*: 1:11:54 (11:36 pace)

If you couldn’t tell from my previous post, I had some high expectations for this race. I didn’t meet any of them, but now that I’ve had about 15 hours to reflect, I’m happy with my showing in today’s race. Let me give you a brief run down–pun intended–of the race first.

Sarah and I started off strong, pacing between 10:30 and 11:00 minutes per mile. We walked at regular intervals, as planned. But pretty quickly I knew something was wrong in the calf department, and I ain’t talking bout no baby cows neither.

My calves felt like concrete, solid and hard. On a good day, my calves feel powerful. Hamstrings work really hard too, but I feel the power pushing out of my calves. Today, I felt solid, heavy, unforgiving.

I kept plodding ahead, though, taking a GU Chomps every mile as planned, walking when my watch said it was time. But I got dispirited.

Sarah and I always run races on our own. It’s only fair. I would hate to hold her back if she felt On at a race, and I’m sure the feeling is mutual. So I ran at a pace that felt comfortable to me, but I needed her! At one point as we were passing Phelps Grove Park on the far side, I got selfish, stopped running, waited for get, told her what was going on and planned to run with her or keep as close as I could so that I could still get advice, inspiration, and companionship, but I felt bad almost immediately. I couldn’t ask her to stick back with me!

She pushed ahead and I kept at it, running as far as I could, walking a tenth of a mile, running some more, all the while trying not to think about how far I still had to go. I made running buddies with a local chiropractor who was also struggling and we pushed each other on, challenging things like, “Let’s run to that stoplight. You can do that, right?”

Right in front of Hammons Field, my new running buddy needed to walk, but I had to keep going, being so close to the finish line. I pushed myself some more to keep running, but that somehow gets easier and easier as the finish line gets closer.

And this finish line is a good one! It’s home plate at Hammons Field, and they read your name over the loud speaker add you get close to the finish line. What a rush!

Summary

So what is up with my calves? I’m sure part of the problem is that I’ve switched to Vibram Five Fingers full time. Proper use of them forces you to change your gait, which uses different muscles, namely, the calves. But I also stayed up later than I should have last night with race day jitters.

I’m two weeks out from my half marathon, so not much time to fix whatever is going in my calves and still complete the training runs I need to do. I have a strategy in my head, but I need to put it into a calendar and run it by my trusted advisers, Sarah and Pamela.

Any runners out there with any advice I should consider?

Before I end, I have to give a shout out to my Barnes Noble buddy, Keri, who took second in her age group with a time of 49:43! Way to go, Keri!

*According to my Garmin, my chip time is 1:11:54, but I haven’t seen the official time yet.

Race Tomorrow, Running Mind Tonight

The big variables are already set in stone: how will I fuel up in the days leading up to race day? How much muscle-building, body-rejuvenating sleep will I allow myself? How serious did I take my training?

Those factors get checked off before my toes get anywhere near the starting line. All these little things I’m worrying about now will only rob me of rest, so I’m just going to write ‘em out.

How hard will I be able to push myself tomorrow? I’ve just finished reading the most inspiring running book probably ever written, Born to Run by Chris McDougall. If the finale 50-mile race pitting the Tarahumara against the world’s best ultra runners, run in the Copper Canyon in 100° desert weather, doesn’t inspire me to give a measly 10k in beautiful Missouri fall weather my best, I don’t know what will.

How should I fuel? If I eat one Gu Chomp per mile in the St. Louis Half Mary, that’s more than two packets I’ll have to carry. Maybe I should try one every 1.5 miles? But is a perfect pre-race race day the best time to try out a new fueling strategy? Probably not, but then again, maybe so?

Should I go for the shirt-jacket combo, or just the long-sleeved shirt by itself? Hat or visor? The hat will keep my head warmer than the visor, but if I go shirt-jacket, maybe the visor will be okay?

Should I try for a negative split or a steady pace? There’s a small incline–enough to be a thorn in my side–just before the finish line. Do I meet it with speed or take it steady?

And then, the big question. Rob thinks I could do a sub-hour 10k tomorrow if I push myself. I’d emreally/em love to do that, but is it smart to push now, so close to the big race? My real goal is 11-minute miles, and I definitely think that’s possible, because training has gone really well…

And now I really have to go to sleep. Thanks for listening. And, Sarah? Sorry I told you to close emThe Help/em do you could get some sleep and then stayed up myself… Can I repay you in Gu? /p

The Great Fitness Blogging Experiment: Week 6

It took 6 weeks (and almost 30 years), but I finally learned an important lesson: if you’re going to make healthy choices, you have to be able to make healthy choices when life is going according to plan and when it throws you a curve ball or you’re just out of your element, and that’s what I wrote about in this week’s blog post over on Thrive Personal Fitness.

How do you deal with being out of your home and forced to eat out or can’t plan ahead? Leave your tips in the comments!

Why You Should Have a Running Partner AND Why You Should Run Alone

A lot of people, usually non-runners, are so amazed that I can run! I sometimes try to convince them that they can too–I have two secrets that I bestow on those awestrucks–but they hardly ever believe me. It’s like they think runners are a special breed of human. But really! You need an incremental training plan and a running partner. Shoes optional.

I’m not going to go into the simple training strategy that got me from barely being able to run for two minutes to running 26.2 miles straight. I want to talk about the little bit of magic that is the running partner. I’ve mentioned it before, but as I was running on my own while my running partner was sick a few weeks ago, I had a revelation.

Some days I really need Sarah, but some days, I really need to run on my own.

I’d say more often, it’s the former, but the latter affords the opportunity to see where you’re truly at. My Number 1 Main Hurdle to running or working out regularly is ME. I am really great at talking myself out of a run. I mean it. I’m a pro. But knowing that Sarah is waiting for me at the park, that she got up this morning to run. With me. It really holds me accountable. Maybe not everyone needs that, but if you are having trouble sticking to your routine, then maybe you need someone to count on you too.

Once you’ve established your routine and you won’t skip out on run just because your running partner won’t be there, go for a run on your own.

When you’re on your own, you get to put yourself to the test. Your mental strength is an important part of running. When you run alone, you get to see how strong you are becoming. Sometimes, I hear Sarah pushing me on. Sometimes, I push myself. But either way, I find out what works when I want to quit. I can’t run every race or every run even with Sarah, so it’s important to know that I can do it.

So go ahead, get started. Find someone who shares your goals or at least your pace. Set up an incremental training plan. Run with your partner for a while, then run alone a couple times a month to see how strong you’ve become.

The Great Fitness Blogging Experiment: Weeks 4 and 5

I’m a couple weeks behind  in sharing these posts with you, but I know you’ll enjoy them all the same. Here’s a post in which I have a conversation with myself about sugar, and here’s a post where I share how I tried to cope with Real Life happening while still trying to maintain the healthy changes I’m trying to make in my life.

Wordless Wednesday: Chalk Graffiti Hearts

chalk graffiti hearts

Tuesdays with Linden’s Favorite Links | 13-Sep-11

I got a big kick in the pants last Friday, a kick that knocked me into depression and frustration over where I’m at in life and the direction my career is headed. So what do I do? I clean, of course.

It always makes me feel better, and why wouldn’t it? Instead of walking into my work space to see a cluttered desk, I see lots of clear space to work in. Instead of cringing when I walk into the kitchen because of the piles of pots and pans (i.e. handwash-only items) left over from a week of preparing several new recipes at home, I walk into a sparkling kitchen. The work itself makes me feel better even. Then, I spent some time polishing up my organization and workflow processes on Sunday afternoon.

So today I’m going to share some links with you that inspire and guide my cleaning and organization.

Cleaning

FlyLady: I’ve talked about FlyLady before, but I’ve been finding recently that when I feel weighed down by life, I can still “do anything for 15 minutes.” I’ll make a list of three or four tasks I need to get done, set a 15-minute timer, and just go on auto-pilot. At the end of the day, my depression isn’t compounded by the fact that I didn’t get anything done today.

Organization

Craft the Perfect Calendar and To-Do List This Weekend: This post inspired my Sunday-afternoon workflow makeover. It’s chock-full of links to other great productivity posts, so read it through, then read it through again and read the linked posts.

How to Use 6 Calendar Views to Be More Productive: I’ve already separated my personal and work calendars, but this post suggests I go a little further. Sounds a bit like creating horcruxes, but definitely not as bad. Anyway, I’m not sure I’m going to follow this method, but this post really got me thinking.

Upgrade Your GTD Calendar and Keep Up with the Times: If you’re a GTD fan, you need to read this post. Again, I don’t think I’ll be using this exact method, but this post helped me think outside the box as far as modding popular methods to fit how I think and work.

The Great Fitness Blogging Experiment: Week 3

In this week’s Great Fitness Blogging Experiment post, I share the story of a tough week, fraught with depression and fighting (and winning!) my conditioned response: stress eating. Go read it over on the Thrive Personal Fitness blog.