Texas weather is KA-RAY-ZEE!!! [32M]

So, I'm currently sitting in our hotel room in Spokane, just waiting until it's time to leave for the airport. We will for sure make it to Seattle today, but after that, there's no telling! Dallas has a winter weather storm predicted from 6am today thru noon tomorrow (Monday). AKA, we'll be very lucky if our plane gets to land in Dallas at 7:15 tonight!!! And, to make our return home even more exciting, tomorrow the weather forecast shows sleet, Tuesday it shows snow, and Wednesday and Thursday the lows are 26 and 29 respectively. We may as well just stay here in Washington if that's the weather we're going home to, haha! The nice thing about Spokane is that there's zero rain and zero wind (at least for the four days we've been here!).

So to recap last week's training, I give it an A-. It was a slight jump in mileage, up 3 from last week, 6 from my previous season high, and I had one very good workout... at least it was very good by feeling! The rest of the week was nothing special and I actually felt somewhat beat up and sluggish most days, but I'm still giving it an A- because I got the mileage in despite all the pains I had. Lately I have been so cautious about potential injuries that when things hurt more than one day, I would stop part way through my run to keep them from getting worse. Last week may have been my first week with pains where I actually got in every mile, including the optional ones. The speed fartlek on Tuesday gave me a glimmer of hope that I am getting more fit, and it was also a reminder of what it's like to feel fast and smooth again.

This week I will probably be starting up a new plan that Jake has laid out. He recently read Vigil's book and is really excited about some of the training philosophies and workouts he picked up. He showed me a skeletal plan on the plane ride up and I really like it. The workouts are more structured than usual and they build up to a little more work than the old plan, which gives me a lot more confidence! If all goes well at the doctor with my ankle/arch, I'll do a one mile time trial this week and that will determine my paces for most of the future workouts.

Sunday, November 24th
Rest day. Was supposed to be 7 miles (it's a down week), but my ankle and arch are still a massive pain, even when just walking. Figured it was best to wait and see if I could try running outside tomorrow instead of forcing another chunk of miles in on the treadmill. My doctor scheduled a Doppler Ultrasound on it for tomorrow, but that will depend on if we get home by then or not!

Monday, November 25th
7M natural run in the neighborhood. It was cold and misty, so I started in my baggy wind pants (my tights are in the wash!) and it made for a very uncomfortable first four miles, haha! But honestly, I really enjoyed this run! It was nice to have the fresh air on my face and be running outdoors. Mile splits were 8:07, 7:58, 7:34, 7:14, 6:56, 6:55, 6:40 for a 7:20 average pace. I felt like a new person when I took those sweatpants off after four miles, haha! My ankle is the same and I still have shin pain, but I only had pain in my quad for about 3/4's of a mile in my sixth mile. Feeling very thankful for this one!

Tuesday, November 26th
3M easy, 3M aerobic tempo, 1M easy. Finished with a 6:50 avg for the workout portion. Today we tried something different! Jake would like to start running by HR, so today was day one of that! Either I have a super high max HR, have been overtraining, or have been misinterpreting effort in my workouts! Warmed up 3 miles averaging 8:15 pace and with an average HR of 158 (last mile avg HR was 165). Did a few drills, changed shoes, and then did my 3M on the track. It was super windy (mostly why we started the HR thing today). After 500m I checked and my Garmin said 6:02 pace and HR of 176, so I put the brakes on. He wanted my HR between 168 and 172. Well, it didn't work. I slowed down and slowed down and slowed down and my HR continued to climb. First mile: 6:46, HR 181. Second mile (still trying to drop the HR): 6:59, HR 185. Third mile (giving up on dropping the HR, just trying to hold steady): 6:45, HR 187. Ouch. My garmin says that's 88% of my max HRR. Lots and lots of work to do! 1 mile cool down in 7:57, avg HR of 169.

Wednesday, November 27th
5M easy run + drills and 6 strides. Day 2 of HR running. Umm, yes, I have definitely been running too hard on my daily runs. That or I am terribly mistaken on what my HR/HRR % should be for daily runs! My HR was very high in the first mile, but after that it was picture perfect for what I wanted. 180, 157, 158, 160, 160. I was hoping to stay between 155 and 160 so the last four miles were right on. I don't know the paces as the Garmin doesn't pick up accurately on our gravel trail. I do know it's about 5.2 miles for 4 loops, which would mean I averaged 8:02 pace today. It's funny because I've always said I am a loud breather when I run, but today I couldn't hear myself breathing out loud at all. Any time I did hear myself, I looked down and my HR was over 160... ding ding ding! I will have much slower runs for the next month or so as I get into this new routine, but I think it will really reduce my aches and pains and help my workouts. I felt like I was literally jogging today! So freeing!

Thursday, November 28th
5M run. We went to Old Settler's Park near Hutto and ran a loop that was about 1k long around the perimeter their soccer fields. It was pretty decent footing, but it took a while to warm up! I did eventually get more comfortable though! 160 average HR for the full five miles, but man was it slow! 8:38 average pace! Phew! I am embarrassed by how my HR is with such easy paces! Shins, left foot, right arch/ankle, and left quad are all still bothering me though. :(

Friday, November 29th
2.5M easy, 4 x 1M @ 6:25 w/ 400m recovery. Did most of my warm up on the track in the opposite direction because my legs felt so heavy and clunky on the grass at the nearby golf course. I thought it would be a poor workout because of the 'off' warmup and I just didn't have any kind of pep in my step, but the PERFECT weather was enough to turn the tide! 6:24, 6:20, 6:15, 6:09 for the repeats, none of which were out of control. After the second one, I wanted to drop four seconds on the next and ended up dropping five, so right where I wanted. Then Jake surprised me and made it 4 reps instead of 3. I wasn't sure how it would go because I wanted to continue my trend of dropping 4-5" per rep, but as soon as I came thru 400 in 90, I knew it wouldn't be a problem! Got to ease up a couple times when I heard splits and was still able to cut down by 6"! So at the end of the day, the pattern was cutting 4", 5", 6"! :) I'm math girl! :) The total recovery time was just under 3:00 between each rep. Pains today were shins (mostly during warm up), right ankle, hamstring, and hip, and left quad and knee. 

Saturday, November 30th
Rest day.


We're headed to Spokane! [37M]

This week Jake and I will be flying out with his assistant coach and one of his athletes for the NCAA D2 National Championships! His athlete is extremely talented and won the individual title this past weekend at their NCCAA National Championships. I'm definitely looking forward to visiting Spokane, and especially excited to watch this lady compete!

In terms of my own training this week, not much will change from the past few weeks. I'm still following the same basic skeletal plan with long on Sunday, short fartlek style work on Tuesday, and some good aerobic work on Friday. I can tell that I am improving and I have felt great in terms of strength and energy, but my feet, joints, and IT bands have really been hurting for the past week. I'm wondering if part of it is from so many tight, winding turns on the trails last Sunday, which would be nice. That would mean all I need to do is take good care of them and wait for them to heal up.... They shouldn't be getting any worse.

Sunday, November 17th
9M run with Carolyn at WRL. We started out nice and easy with an 8:20 mile and finished the run with a 6:58 mile, so it was a pretty typical progression for us. We usually pick it up pretty well when we go long together. Finished with a 7:43 average pace and the same achy arch and IT bands as when I started, haha. Bought some epsom salt today though! Woohoo!

Monday, November 18th
Rest day! Two days of foam rolling, plus a nice epsom salt bath yesterday and today has worked like magic! My IT bands feel fantastic!

Tuesday, November 19th
1M test run at lunch + 6M with 2M of straights and curves at night. I was dealing with some major arch and ankle pain during my mid-day run (see picture below!), so I stopped after a mile and went to visit the trainers. They didn't seem the least bit concerned so Jake, ever so kindly, took me to the track to get it in at night. Absolutely perfect in terms of how I felt. Literally, I felt like my old self again. Going from 100 pounds when I was sick (but super fast) to 115 now, I just have felt heavy and uncoordinated and, well, just... heavy. No better way to say it. For the first time tonight, I felt lean and like my old self where I was running on air and could run as fast as I chose to allow myself. So freeing. At any rate, the 2 miles hard were completed in 12:40. Hard 100's were between 5:13 and 4:38; easy 100's were between 7:11 and 7:59. The first mile was mostly in the 5:00-5:11 range for the hard parts, second mile was all sub 5:00. Felt great. Now I just need to fix up this arch!!!
Check out that vein on my right ankle!

Wednesday, November 20th
6M run and weights. I ran like a snail for the first three miles because my joints hurt so bad from the way I was altering my form on the gravel. For the last three miles I switched to a more packed gravel surface and was a little better off. My ankle is still bothering me, but now the opposite hip flexor and knee are as well! Eek. Going to ART tonight.

Thursday, November 21st
6M + 6 strides. We woke up at 4:30 and traveled pretty much all day! Got to Spokane and did our run outside (bad idea for me!). My reynauds got the best of me and I had to stop 3 minutes early and skip the strides. Just miserable! After the first 30 minutes I realized I was only getting colder and considered going inside to finish on the treadmill, but decided to just really take off and move my body with a much higher effort in hopes to get warmer. It worked for everything but my hands, but then my left knee started giving me a sharp pain so I called it a day when I got back to the hotel. Same painful, swollen ankle vein!

Friday, November 22nd
6M with 3M hard. Nothing exciting to report on this one. Same ankle pains, also some shin and IT band pain but that's very much to be expected and not concerning to me. I did a normal easy first mile, then my usual 1' hard, 1' easy for the second mile to get my HR up. Did a teeny bit of drills in the small hotel gym and then knocked out my 3 miles at 6:44 pace. I think the hardest part of the run was all in the lungs. I felt like I was suffocating for the first 2 miles or so because it was so hot in there, but after that I was sweating enough that I could breathe a bit better. Still a good, full effort though, which is embarrassing but got to be thankful for progress! Getting a test done on my ankle when we get home next week to check the blood flow.

Saturday, November 23rd
3M shakeout. Just a nice easy run! First mile was a nice wake up mile, then I cut down every quarter mile after that to finish in the low 7:20s. Felt fine energy wise, but still feeling the IT bands and shins. Wearing compression socks pretty much 24/7 right now for the ankle, haha! Good thing it's cold here!


On to the next week! [34.7M]

What a crazy week and weekend! Needless to say I am exhausted and ready to wind down and get back into a routine!

Sunday, November 10th
8M trail run. I ran with Jake on this one so I wouldn't get lost in the trails, and let's just say that being sick combined with a weekend full of travel does not make for a pleasant run! I felt bad for holding Jake back! It was supposed to be a 9 miler, but considering that I know I'm trying to fight off some sort of cold and I just returned from travel, I think leaving off that last mile is okay. Jake had me do 1' hard, 1' easy for the last ten minutes just to ensure I got a little bit of quality in there.

Monday, November 11th
Rest day

Tuesday, November 12th
6M, last 2M of 200 on, 200 off. Ran 32 minutes, did one quick set of drills and a single stride, then took off. I was short on time because the kids were about to practice! I felt pretty good and loose, and the first few laps actually felt great, but as I went on my legs got very cold and tight. Not sure if it was from the temps dropping or if I wasn't warmed up well enough. Regardless, I hit the paces I needed to and felt very good thru 1.5M; all of the recoveries felt long and easy! 13:47 for the full 2 miles, splits of 42/61, 42/64, 41/63, 40/60, 41/63, 1:44 (?/?), 41/62, 40/56. Nothing but an e+ shot before the run today.

Wednesday, November 13th
6M run. Jake convinced me to go with him to the Luke's Locker social run this morning! It was below 30 outside and I knew I wouldn't run in the morning if I were on my own, haha! It worked out well this week, but I'm not sure if I'd have people to run with next time! Since I didn't know the route, I tucked in about 10m back from the lady Jake coaches and group of guys she was running with. With a couple miles to go they started wiggling on the pace a bit so I ended up running with them for the rest of the time. Supposedly it's a 10k route, so we ended up averaging 7:29 pace, though I'm really not sure how accurate that is. It was nice to get the run done though despite the weather! And I ran about 800m and went through a set of drills before we started, so no wasted mileage again... woohoo!

Thursday, November 14th
6M run + 6 strides. 3M and drills. I did not run this morning due to some groin and hamstring pain, and I figured I'd let it loosen up and run at lunch since it was supposed to be perfect weather. Lunchtime came around and though I still had the same pain, I intended to run. Nope. Not happening. My stomach was in knots so bad it hurt to even sit up... Laying down was the only way to get rid of the pain! So, post-ART session it was. I was fully dressed, stomach was good, weather was PERFECT, but the pains in my groin and glute still hadn't gotten better so I switched my six miler with Saturday's 3 miler. I also went through a set of drills but skipped the strides. Ouch! Hope this is better tomorrow!

Friday, November 15th
6M cut down. Ran a 1/2 mile loop to loosen up, ran thru a quick set of drills and 2 strides, and off I went. The plan was to start at 7:25 and cut down 10 seconds each mile to finish at 6:35 (date 10k pace), and I came thru the first 800 right at 6:36 pace. Yep, the e+ shots work, hahah. Had to coast for the rest of the mile since it was all downhill and still finished in 6:57. From there I focused on just cutting down each mile. 6:57, 6:51, 6:46, 6:40, 6:34, 6:30 for a 6:43 average. I still had the same pains in my hip, glute, and groin, so I've got those doused in pain relief cream right now and will be buying some epsom salt today! Very happy with this workout though! I had planned to stop after mile five since I knew I would finish at 10k pace (purpose of the workout), but I felt so good on the downhill last half of that mile that I decided to get in the 6th mile as planned. Woohoo! Successful day!

Saturday, November 16th
3M shakeout. 4.5M run. I wanted to get in the full six miles and strides that were originally scheduled for Wednesday, and at the beginning of my run I thought I might do so, but it was pretty obvious halfway thru that I was making a poor choice. My IT band, piriformis, quad, and arch, were getting tighter and tighter and tighter during the run. I even stopped to stretch at 24 minutes to see if it would release at all. No such luck. I called it a day at 36 minutes, came home, and as soon as I showered I doused myself in the analgesic cream. I'm hoping to make it to the store for some more epsom salt today. I really hate that I'm missing this mileage and the strides. I've had plenty of energy and my muscles feel good and strong and ready to roll, but I just hurt every time a take a step and I can't justify that to myself anymore. :(


Week 2 and life is good! [27M]

What an exciting first week of training! Everything went very well last week, and even better, it felt good! I had a few days with some foot pain, but since it was the same spot on both feet I thought it might be something with my flats or trainers. I switched to my old NB trainers and have been good as gold since then! If I can string together 14 more weeks of these runs, I will be plenty ready to at least complete a respectable half in March! Jake has a great plan set up which gradually increases mileage and the duration of my higher intensity runs! Love it!

Sunday, November 3rd
7M at WRL with a few uptempo miles. I ran the first 2.5 miles with Carolyn averaging 6:45 pace for those (she was running the DRC Half Marathon), then chilled as I got in the rest of my run. When my watch beeped to start the last mile, I decided to take the pace back down so that my total run average would be more reflective of those first two and a half miles! :) Finished off with a 6:41 mile, making my average pace for the day 7:04. Very happy with this! Last Friday was 5 miles in 6:47 pace, and now two days later I've gotten in 7 miles in just over 7 minute pace. If I stay patient and keep getting in the work without jumping ahead of myself, things are definitely looking up!

Monday, November 4th
Rest day! 20 minutes of abs during lunch and that's all!

Tuesday, November 5th
5M with 2M straights and curves. Did 24 minutes easy as an out and back run with Carolyn. We ran from the track to the Katy Trail and spent a good majority of the time there. After we got back, I changed shoes, did some leg swings, and then got started with my workout. Wasn't sure if I'd be able to finish as I had pretty bad hip pain on my left leg during the easy run, but it was more manageable in on the track (that or I was more distracted!). Saved the drills for during lunch when I did my second workout just to not overdo things with my hip/ IT band. The first mile of straights and curves was 6:56, the second one was 7:06 but I was in lanes 3 and 4 so I am assuming it was actually about the same.

Wednesday, November 6th
5M. Today was just picture perfect! Absolutely beautiful weather when I ran during my lunch hour, and the gravel trail was just right because of the rain we got last night! I did four loops, so should be about 5.2 miles. I wanted to run very easy and relaxed today to let my hip/IT band/hip flexor recover, and I succeeded! I felt like I was literally trotting the whole time and expected to look down and find that I had run 9:00 pace, but it was actually 7:53... and I seriously felt like I was just jogging! I could have run at that pace for hours and hours! Came home and went through my drills and knocked out the core. Another day in the books!

Thursday, November 7th (Fly to Kansas City, MO)
5M with 6 strides. Tried running in the morning but had too much glute/hamstring pain so I put a cream on it all day and did my run in the afternoon. Happened to be perfect weather in KC when I arrived, so I got lucky! The run didn't feel great structurally (joints and bones), but I had plenty of energy and kept it relaxed. Did some quick drills and my strides after the run.

Friday, November 8th
5M with last 3M hard. It was 30 degrees (wind chill) when I woke this morning so I opted for the treadmill. Plus there are no street lights here and I was concerned about being on the roads so early without lights! I did my two miles easy, the first one gradually dropping the pace and the second one alternating 8:30 pace with 7:30 down to 6:58 pace every minute to wake up a bit more. I felt awful and thought I might have to call it a day because I had so many aches, my legs felt like lead, and I was getting light headed! I wasn't planning to stop before the 3 hard miles but decided that was best. I got a sip of water did some stretches and then hopped back on. Incline to 1%, pace to 6:58, and settled in. First mile felt absolutely awful but went by fast, 2nd mile crept by but actually felt pretty good. First quarter of the last mile I honestly thought I might pass out! I had to stop it at 4.25! I got another sip of water, walked around 15" or so, and then got back on. Finished out the last .75 at that same 6:58 pace and it felt fine that time. Must've been a travel funk. Oh well - Got it done, to some extent!

Saturday, November 8th
Rest day! I felt so achy on yesterday's run that I decided it was wisest to sit out the optional 3M shakeout and let my joints recover a bit.