4/17/14

Taped up with a return to running!

I had an appointment yesterday with my sports chiro and he diagnosed my calf strain as "tibialis posterior strain". He also said I can slowly get back to running! I need to make the runs easy while it heals, but I don't need to be off running completely. PHEW! It's not completely feeling fabulous right now, still sore and tender, but active recovery is allowed and for that, I'm super happy :)  This link has really good information on what it is I'm dealing with and how to heal and treat it.

Taped up and cleared to run again

As I wrote in my last post, I decided to stop running completely for at least 3 days until my visit with him. I also decided to follow Sock Doc's advice of no stretching, at least for the first 48 hours, to let it rest and not further stress the area. I also iced the area and wore compression sleeves and socks. I started noticing, however, that my calf feels better after I walk and spend time on my feet. Shopping, getting groceries, and other daily activities leave my leg feeling much better, but the pain comes back when I'm immobile. I started sensing that I was probably going to be able to get back to light running soon and thankfully, my sports chiro approved!

We didn't discuss "strength exercises" on this visit, but I'm planning to discuss it more with him when I go back on Friday. He's going to do a laser treatment on it and "manipulate it" himself (I'm assuming some kind of ART), and hopefully this will just be a little bump in the road and in another week or two I'm back to my average weekly mileage. I know I do need to suck it up and work on strengthening my hips and glutes. It's not fun to me, but I know I need to do it. I've researched glute specific exercises and besides the always-useful squats, I will add clamshells, donkey kicks, and the side leg lifts. I'll also keep up my stretching and make sure to do heel drops to keep my calves loose. I always stretch after runs and was doing heel drops, but this still cropped up. I'm left to assume my hips and glutes are weak again and probably the underlying cause of issues like this.

Basically, I need to get back to doing what I was doing before and accept that it is necessary. Even though I don't want to :)  I'm going to go lightly on the strength work, however, because I've always noticed that too much leaves my body aching more and then my running form suffers. I think it's a matter of finding the right balance for my body.

I've made some changes to my upcoming race plans and strategies, but I'll write about that in another post. I need to finalize all of my plans and I want to wait a couple more days to see how my leg feels and heals.

Have you had a calf issue before and were able to run through most it? How do you deal with the aches/niggles/strains while still allowed to run?



-----

Christina

I'm also found here:

Instagram: http://instagram.com/christinaruns
Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/movablemom
Twitter: http://twitter.com/christinamoves
Feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/MovableMom/

4/14/14

Stressing your body to run longer and stronger

It's been a bit of a hectic weekend followed by a little bad news with my leg. The weekend was going great, my legs were great, I had a strong 11 mile run on Friday, but then I went out for a short and easy run on Sunday and my calf just tightened up, pain seared, and the hurt set in quick. This whole time I've been thinking Achilles, but now I think it is calf and not Achilles after all. Which is sort of a good thing, but still frustrating nonetheless. I'm 2 weeks out from a Half Marathon and can taper back anyway, but argh! I go in on Wednesday to see my sports chiro and massage therapist so we'll see what they think. I've decided no running until I see them, three days from now. I can walk on it and it doesn't seem swollen. I'm wearing ProCompression calf sleeves, icing, and elevating/rest. I'm going to use Sock Doc's recommendation of actually not stretching it. The stretching I had been doing for calf/Achilles didn't seem to help leading up to this after all. I've found stretching really helps me with things like keeping ITB at bay, but the calf/shin/achilles area seems to respond in a different way. Basically, the upper half of my legs like stretching, the lower half doesn't seem to matter?

At least it is taper time anyway!


Taper time begins!


On the positive


On the positive, I've been holding steady 20+ mile weeks for a couple weeks now and mentally and physically (other than this calf thing), I'm feeling really good. What I'm really happy about is my mental and physical fitness state. It gives me a lot of hope for the next Full training cycle regarding those aspects. I'd really like to keep a 20 mile week as a typical run week leading up into the Fall when I try for another Full Marathon cycle and know that these aches and niggles right now are part of my body adapting and building up.


On the frustration


I'm of course frustrated with this calf thing because I've had niggling/pesky/irritating injuries and aches pretty much this entire Spring training season. Last year at this time I trained strong and healthy for a FULL marathon! I'm even following a similar plan, my mileage is low, 10% rule followed, etc. I don't think it is shoes either, I've been having issues whether I run in a zero drop to a higher heel. Just bad luck right now? I did have a really strong March training and first week of April, but the weeks before and now after that time frame have been trouble-some. Well, we'll see how it feels by race day - I will not run the Half if I feel it's not wise. Another positive is that my chafing issue is on the mend, good grief :)


Cutting back on extra strength exercises


Because I was having so many niggling issues back in January/February, I quit doing intense leg strength exercises, like squats. I actually started having less trouble when I cut out a lot of extra leg exercise work and let my legs just run and then rest. I also have had no upper back/neck trouble now that I cut out planks and other core work. My whole body feels really good for running (other than this one calf) so for me, it seems that the extra strength work may hinder me at times rather than help. Everyone is different in how they respond and there are millions of articles discussing the benefits of strength exercises for runners versus the adage that one must really focus more on running. I think the answer lies somewhere in the middle and we have to each experiment with our own physiology. I do believe as one ages, strength exercises are important. I also believe running targets leg strength as well as the cardio, so I don't believe runners need that much additional "leg work". If anything, we probably need core strength the most. I don't recall that the runners in "Running with the Kenyans" were doing that much extra work, other than running and running more.

Just to clarify, I think squats are one of the best leg strength exercises ... just perhaps not as necessary a couple weeks closer to race day?

For example, if you run strong on a Monday and then use Tuesday for leg strength work, you haven't given your legs a chance to heal/rebuild from Monday's strong run. I've always noticed how good my legs feel after a day or two "leg rest". They feel refreshed and ready to tackle miles again so I know they recovered well. If I squat during that "rest time", I'm not giving them as much opportunity to heal. We discussed this during RRCA and I remember our instructor was pretty adamant about making running your main priority and not focusing too much on other exercises. Just a little to stay strong, but nothing too intense.

A fun part of the weekend was a tie-dye tee project with kids! We had a couple girls over and they really liked making these tees :)


Tie dye tee craft with kids


How often do you deal with the niggles/aches when you really ramp up your running? I think I'm just in the phase of building up again and working out the kinks until my body adapts to new stresses. Hopefully by the Fall I'll have built up strong again!


-----

Christina

I'm also found here:

Instagram: http://instagram.com/christinaruns
Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/movablemom
Twitter: http://twitter.com/christinamoves
Feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/MovableMom/

4/10/14

Catching up, running strong, a little chafing, but feeling good!

I'm being a lazy blogger lately! Still alive, running, and doing well ... however the sun has been coming out more and I'm finding a burst of Spring cleaning, yard work, and extra energy lately. I'll try to get better with my weekly updates on here after I get past some of my Spring Fever :)  Running has been going well, although I have unfortunately created an ugly "chafing" problem in an unmentionable area. I never chafe!!! This took me by surprise and I'm not sure how I created it since I have been wearing the same gear for several years now. No major changes in clothing/fabrics, no changes in habits. *sigh* At least it is on the mend and I'm hoping to get outdoors tomorrow for a longer run. I decided to take Wed and Thurs off to let it heal and allow the ointments and air-drying to help. I'm using Bacitracin, Lotrimin, and rubbing alcohol. One of these items began healing it, just not sure which, so I'm going to continue using them all. I'll lube up with Bacitracin before my next run and hopefully this will clear. (tmi for sure!)

All of my runs have been strong and my legs are doing well. I get a little niggle now and then from my Achilles still, but it doesn't seem injured. Keeping an eye on it and I think on race day, how it is behaving will determine how strong I'll try to PR (or not). Healthy legs first ... no matter what.

10 miles and feeling strong

Since I've been running more miles lately, fierce hunger starts setting in. I have noticed that once I ramp up mileage and get into more and more runs beyond an hour, my body starts craving food after the runs. I've been eating Quest bars with water after my runs lately rather than my usual post-run Almond Milk protein powder drink ... I'm just starving all the time again.

Stretching with protein recovery


It's been a while since I've ordered any new running gear (other than shoes), so I sent an order off to ProCompression for two new pair of their marathon socks. I ordered orange and purple, two colors I don't have and the two colors I seem to have plenty of clothing to match.

I'm still loving my Egg, Guac, Spinach on Ezekiel bread sandwiches! They are just the best lunch for me and hold me well throughout the afternoon.

Egg white sandwiches with guac and spinach

I also tried a new roast combo, plaintains and sweet potatoes. They are a good match and with olive oil, salt, and garlic, very quick and easy to throw together to add to evening meals.

Plantains and sweet potato roast


Hope all of my runner friends are doing well! I need to check in and get caught up :) 


-----

Christina

I'm also found here:

Instagram: http://instagram.com/christinaruns
Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/movablemom
Twitter: http://twitter.com/christinamoves
Feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/MovableMom/

4/3/14

Spring Break busy, kitty adoptions, and training runs

I've been quite neglectful over here! We're on Spring Break and I've been busy with Mom stuff and just haven't found time to get caught up here. I'll do a quick catch up photo-dump style. The week isn't over yet and I still have quite a bit on my agenda!

I helped a friend of mine bring home a pair of bonded rescue kitties from the Humane Society a couple days ago. I would love to have taken a pic of the kitties but was a little worried they would fly out of the boxes :)

Rescue kitties going to a new home

I've been running strong this week and getting my training runs done well and as planned. I wasn't in the mood for speed work, but you know how it is, just get it done! Tuesday had a sweaty tempo run that was hard, but good for the body. My legs are feeling amazing lately *knock on wood* and I hope they keep up. I've been really pushing hard through all of March into April and can tell my fitness level has gone up again - the ebbs and flows of race training cycles.

Sweaty Tempo Run

We had some sunshine earlier this week! It felt good to see the sun again.

Some sunshine finally!

I've been doing well in the Saucony Triumphs and started the new pair into rotation so they'll be ready for race day on April 26. I usually try to have a fresh pair of shoes for a race with about 20 miles on them. Kitty is always hovering!

Kitty loves bags on the floor

My girl and I finally watched Disney's Frozen. I can't believe it took us this long to see it, being the Disney fans we are! I also added the movie song "Let It Go" to my running play list :)




How is your Spring training cycle going? I've got one more run to finish out the week, hopefully a long run with a break in this rain that set in now.



-----

Christina


I'm also found here:

Instagram: http://instagram.com/christinaruns
Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/movablemom
Twitter: http://twitter.com/christinamoves
Feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/MovableMom/

3/30/14

Double run day, new hair, and Spring salads

I've wrapped up my week and find myself with a quiet Sunday morning to recap. The sun is poking out, the birds are chirping today, and I have a rest day! The weather today seems a complete 180 from yesterday when we had snow-rain. Yesterday's weather had me alter how my "long run day" was doing to shape out. I wanted an outdoor 10 mile run at an easy pace, but instead ran 6 strong tempo miles on the treadmill due to the weather. By the late afternoon, the weather dried up and I went outside for 4 easy miles to at least get my 10 mile total for the day. Right now I want miles on the legs more than the speedwork, but I've been learning to be more adaptable with my training plans based on other unexpected factors.

All in all, this week was a solid running week. My legs felt amazing on that 6 mile tempo with literally no aches, twinges, niggles - just perfect. I love runs like that and they make me smile!

Double run day complete


Style


I tackled something else during the week - a salon hair appointment! I have not been going to salons for several years now, opting to save money and just get light trims at Great Clips and box hair dying now and then to cover the sprinkled grays. I'm not all over gray and would say I'm only 10% gray at the most, but I'm really not enjoying this "home hair care" anymore. It is hard to do, messy, and I really can't see what I'm doing in the back of my head. Plus, I feel like the box hair coloring chemicals are not healthy and the "natural" type ones aren't worth the effort since they don't last. I also am not liking the "blunt color" that comes out of box hair coloring. I decided I need to try a different approach with blending in my grays and am going to spend a little more and go back to the salons. The hairdresser and I had a long discussion after she looked at my hair and we're going to try caramel highlighting for the next year or two to slowly lighten my hair and blend in the sprinkled grays. We'll see how this shapes up over the next year. She thinks I can make it about 10 weeks before needing to come back in! Fingers crossed on that - that would be fantastic!!! The highlights are hard to see in photos, but they look great and I love them.

New hair highlights


Food


We have been eating more salad veggies rather than roasted veggies lately. Spring Fever has set in and I'm definitely ready for the Spring/Summer foods! I'm really liking all of the Bragg salad dressings lately and they've become a favorite.

Time for Spring salads again

I also got ahold of the new Cookies and Cream Quest bar. It's been hard to find around here because it's been selling out so fast. I liked it, but I think Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough is still my favorite. Both are yummy and I like them sometimes as a post run protein snack. I don't have them after every run, just now and then if I'm feeling starved :)

Finally got ahold of the new Quest bar



How are you dealing with gray hair as you find them? Do you eat Quest bars and have a favorite?

-----

Christina

I'm also found here:

Instagram: http://instagram.com/christinaruns
Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/movablemom
Twitter: http://twitter.com/christinamoves
Feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/MovableMom/

3/26/14

Analyzing my current running and an awesome mother runner

We're in the mid-week miles and I don't have anything super interesting to report regarding my running, other than "I ran, then I ran some more". We had some snow again but I really don't want to see that treadmill until I have to be on it during Summer Vacation when the kiddo it out of school, so I ran through the snow. It was fine, just snow flurries that stab you in the face a bit, but nothing too extreme :) I had some wet snowflakes stuck to my eyebrows when I came home.

Running and snowy footprints

Analyzing where I am with running


I've been doing some analyzing of my paces, efforts, and general running over the past couple years, trying to make some sense of it. I'm trying to figure out a strategy for this year and I want to be realistic. I was faster in 2012 than I was in 2013. It makes sense because I trained for my first marathon in 2013, so my pacing had to get slower. I just don't think I've picked it back up yet to where it was by the end of 2012. I looked at all of my history that I have logged in RunningAhead and it is a fact - I am still slower now than I was in 2012. What I need to do is figure out how I should play out 2014 that gives me goals that are realistic.

I want to get faster again, but I still want to knock a few more Full Marathons out. I'm in my 40s now and I don't know how many more years I'll want to realistically keep running Full Marathons. I know there are many masters Marathon runners, and maybe I'll still feel up to it in my mid-50s, but I can't look that far ahead. Logically, I have a good 5 years here before I might want to tone down the distance.

I have 3 Half Marathons on my calendar before the November Monumental Marathon. Do I want to still try to PR on the Halfs? Or do I want to use them as mental and strength exercises? Not sure ... but I seem to have verged back into that Full Marathon mindset lately. My mind is on distance again, not speed. And - my mind is in a really good place for a marathoner. I'm welcoming miles and not looking at them as a burden so much. I hate to lose that mental steam!

An awesome Mother Runner


Did you catch the article on the winner of the Modesto Marathon? Anna Breton won the entire marathon at a time of 2:41:52 ... while being a working parent of three kids! Working parent being the mind-blowing part. I know there are other full time working parents - I'm talking out of the house working - who run serious marathon times like this and it is almost surreal to think about. What I also found very curious was her quote:

..."with three small kids I have to be very selective and my races have to be relatively close. Modesto is perfect for that."

I think it is refreshing to read that kind of real talk from serious runners and I share her sentiment of running races closer to home. I made a list of some of the Full Marathons I can drive to within a 2-5 hour car ride from where I live that would eliminate some unnecessary travel expenses, like plane tickets. It's nice to have all of these choices nearby.

Carmel Marathon (the one I ran in 2013)
Monumental Marathon
Air Force Marathon
Flying Pig Marathon
Illinois Marathon
Chicago Marathon
Rock n Roll Nashville
Rock n Roll St. Louis
Columbus Marathon
Veterans Marathon
Detroit Marathon

... and there are more, these are just the ones I can easily think of off the top of my head! I have so many marathons here that I don't see long-distance travel involving airfare as something I would do. Sometimes I get a notion that I'd like to do a Disney race, but the costs are starting to get ridiculous for them and frankly, the logistics I read about is not very appealing. I love Disney World, but not sure I want to race there anymore. Of course, if I were ever to Boston Qualify, I'd be flying to that, no doubt about it :)



What are your thoughts on marathon/race travel? Everyone has a different threshold for what one can handle and I don't mean to assume there is one right answer for everyone.


-----

Christina

I'm also found here:

Instagram: http://instagram.com/christinaruns
Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/movablemom
Twitter: http://twitter.com/christinamoves
Feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/MovableMom/

3/24/14

Monday miles, another race partner, and a Taekwondo Blue Belt

Happy Monday, right? I love Mondays! I know ... for the 8 to 5 workers it's a bit of a dreary day of the week, but for me it's a fresh start and I have the house to myself after busy weekends :)  We were pretty busy again with activities for my daughter. I ended up using the weekend to rest my legs, but I had all of my running miles in on the plan by Friday so I was in good shape. I started my week off with an easy 4 mile run this morning and am looking at a double-digit run later on in the week.

It's still in the 20s here in the mornings, but at least it's not feeling so bitter cold anymore. I've been wearing compression socks under my running tights lately, just to keep that Achilles in check. It seems fairly quiet, but I'm keeping my eye on it.

Monday morning miles and some compression

My daughter earned her Taekwondo Blue Belt over the weekend and did very good on her test. She's usually calm and does well on her tests, but the levels are getting harder so she's starting to need to work more at each belt level. Reaching black belt does not come easy!

TKD board breaking


I mentioned last week that I have hopefully secured a training partner for the Monumental Marathon. Coincidentally, I secured another buddy to run the Air Force Half with me as well! I love having friends to share these moments with so I'm really happy about this. Hopefully it all comes together well!

Happy Monday everyone! I don't have any deep thoughts today, just trying to get my week started and my brain back in gear. How is your week looking? Any double-digit runs?

-----

Christina

I'm also found here:

Instagram: http://instagram.com/christinaruns
Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/movablemom
Twitter: http://twitter.com/christinamoves
Feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/MovableMom/