Saturday, June 30, 2012

6 miles...

Today we ran 6miles at the Rose Bowl trails. Even though I felt great last week, I wanted to make sure that I kept feeling great so I made sure to really stretch and warm up. We were off in out pacing groups in no time and I a few strides later I began to cramp up. Crap! This is how it started the first time I was feeling pain. I slowed down during my walks take those extra long strides and stretch my calves. It helped a bit, but I still felt a little uncomfortable. We were also running faster than our actual pace so we spoke up and slowed it down.

My group is pacing at a 17min mile and I have no problem with it. At first I was a bit disappointed in myself because I knew I could do better. But then look what happened, started too fast, pushed too hard and bam! Shin Splints. So I am really starting to learn what my body can take and how fast it can take it. And right now my body is telling me that I should stick with my pace group and not push it too fast. I'm already on pace to finish strong, I know I can get stronger, but I still have a full 9 weeks to get me there. I'm finally in no hurry. Took me 6 weeks to listen to my body, slow down, and be ok with it. But hey, at least I'm there.

So, I have no problem slowing down. Coaches say that when you slow down you are actually training your body to burn fat and strengthening those muscles. And strong muscles is what I need right now. Get my skinny legs going!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

5 Miles...

5 miles came and went today. I say it just like that because it felt REALLY good. I think taking two weeks off from impact running really helped my shins and legs rest a little. Aqua Jogging and the elliptical at the gym still allowed me to train and strengthen, but without the hard impact. 

I was a bit nervous because I remember how crappy I felt before when running. This would be the first time in 2 weeks that I would be attempting to run again. I wanted it to feel good and not hurt. And I didn't! :) 

I made sure to get to the Rose Bowl early to give myself enough time to warm up and stretch well. I think that was one of the main culprits for my aches - not enough stretching. I would stretch, but I don't think I was getting the deep stretches that I needed. I concentrated on my calves mostly since they begin to cramp up when I'm out there running. 

We went off with our 17min/mile pace group and began our walk/run ratio. At the 1mi mark, we looked at our watches and realized we were at a 14min/mile pace - too fast. Although we all felt good and were able to keep going, Coach Pete slowed us down to the 17min/mile pace. He wanted to make sure we felt good finishing. And we did. Had we kept the 14min mile pace, I don't think that I would have felt as strong as I did when I finished. 

I think I am finally starting to get the hand of this whole patience thing. When I first started I wanted to finish fast because I knew I could. I was wrong. My quick start out of the gates was probably one of the main causes for my shins getting injured the way they did. I am fine with slow and easy training. If I keep up this pace, I'm sure that in no time I will be moving up to the 16 and 15min/mile group. But for now, I'm good with my 17min/mile pace.

Next Saturday, 6miles. Aint no thang...  

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Aqua Jogging...

I went Aqua Jogging today! "What the heck is that?" Is what you may be asking. Well aqua jogging it just what it sounds like - jogging in the water. It is meant to work out the muscles in your legs and feet without the impact of the ground. With my shins being the way they are, this was the perfect exercise for me. 

I did take the week off like I was supposed to, but I couldn't just sit out while the rest of the team met up for regular Saturday practice. Coach Kiley suggested Aqua Jogging. Since I don't know how to swim, anything with the word aqua in it makes me cringe a little. But he assured that I would be OK and that I would not drown. OK... 

So I met up with Coach Nat at 6am at the Rose Bowl Aquatics Center. She is not actually one of the coaches for the Fall season but still graciously agreed to meet me to show me the ropes on aqua jogging. The rest of the team went for a 75min jog around the Rose Bowl, so I was to go for 75min in the pool. We wrapped these flotation belts around our waists and into the water we went. 80degree water at 6am feels wonderfuuuuuuuul! That made things a little easier. Coach Nat showed me proper form as we trucked along the lane. We weren't just going along like we would on the track, we were really raising and dropping our legs. It was basically an exaggerated form of how you would be running on land. It felt good and I wasn't (too) scared. It was 7feet of water and if that flotation belt came off....

But it didn't! Coach Nat stuck around with me for about 30min and made sure I was comfortable with doing it on my own. I was, really I was. So I kept on going up and down the lanes for another 45min. After a while I began to sweat - odd when you are in the water - but I could really feel my heart going and my forehead beginning to clam up. I could actually feel it working out my legs. It was nice! People have always said that swimming and working out in the water is a great low impact work out, but because I can't swim, I can't take advantage of it. So this is the next best thing. Yay! I still get to work out, strengthen my muscles, and give my shins a break. Things are looking good!

After I was done, I met up with the rest of the team and finished off practice. We had a mini potluck as we had Dr. Smith come out and assess our team. He did a few strength tests and would let you know what your weak areas were. When it came to my turn, I mentioned my shins and calves. He did the quick tests and told me a few exercises and stretches I could do to help my legs out. 

I will definitely be working on those because these shins need to stop hurting already! 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

They want me to do WHAT?!...


Yeah. The sports medicine doctor and the physical therapist told me that I should take a few weeks off from running. Um.. que QUE!?

Diagnosis is that my feet are too weak and there is not enough muscle in my legs to keep up with all the running that I have been doing lately. I have been running at least 2-3 times a week for about 30min and then doing my long run at the end of the week. Well, apparently my legs haven't been liking that too much.

The folks at Casa Colina mentioned that taking some time off from running and focusing on strengthening my muscles, will help out with the pains. I completely understand and it makes total sense, but how will I be ready come marathon time? When I told them that my run was going to be at the beginning of September, they gave me a worried look - not reassuring at all. Thanks Doc. They were probably thinking the same thing I was. "If I take time off, I will have to start all over and start training from the beginning, I wont be able to keep up with the rest of the team, then I'll train too hard and re-injure myself again" OR. Maybe that is just what was going on in my crazy non stop mind. 

But if I take 3 weeks off, how was I supposed to be ready in time for my run in September? I broke down. I couldn't picture taking so much time off from training and still be able to make it across the finish line. I just couldn't... 

So I did what a worried person in training would do, I emailed my coach. I expressed my anxiety and frustration with the plan and here is what he said...

If the half marathon was tomorrow and you were 100% healthy you could finish by sheer will.  It may not be comfortable and you would probably feel pretty beat up, but you could do it. There are definitely x-training solutions.  Don't stress. You can overcome this "setback"

His message really helped calm me down. I know I could finish the race beat up and what not, but the overachiever in me wants to finish STRONG

I will be taking a week off from x-training and running, but will be back with the team on Saturday. I will take my Motrin, continue icing, and rest. Hopefully this helps come Saturday... it better. 


Saturday, June 9, 2012

60min Run...

This Saturday we went back to the Rose Bowl and were scheduled to run for 60min. I was a bit nervous since my shins had been bothering me all week. I made sure to wrap up my shins and wear my ankle brace before getting to the run. At this point, I looked like a beat up athlete - wraps, braces, etc. But I'm doing what I can to prevent further injury. PS. I really like the sound of that - Athlete. I don't think I am quite there yet, but I'll be there soon enough. 

I hit the pavement with my pace group and we went for our 60min run/walk. My calves began to cramp up again but that went away after mile 2. We went for a total of about 4miles and I wasn't as beat up as I felt the week before. The wrapping definitely helped.

I still didn't like that I was having pain when running. Yes, it was less pain than before but it was still pain. I talked to the coaches and they mentioned Casa Colina. They have a sports injury assessment clinic on Sunday's right in Pomona. So I will be going tomorrow to see what they tell me. Hopefully it isn't too bad and I can get rid of those darn shin splints soon. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Shin Splints ...

Shin splints are painful and they suuuuuuck!  :( 

During last Saturday's practice, I was having a pain in my right calf, like a tightness. I just assumed it was because I didn't stretch as well as I should have. Once we finished, I made sure to stretched it out well and the pain was gone. 

I made sure to rest on Sunday to prepare myself for the midweek runs during the week. Thinking proactively. Monday I went out for my usual run. I was doing OK and implementing the 1:1 pace ratio but about 5 minutes into the run I had to stop. The pain in my calf was so bad that I had to stop and stretch it out. I walked it off and it was fine so I started to run again. Nope! I was done. It hurt way too much that I stopped all together. By this point walking was also hurting. I got scared. "Would I be able to continue training? What kind of injury is this? How will I possibly finish the 13.1 miles if I cant finish a 30min run? Why are my feet so stupid?" 

I mildly freaked out, but Jay would tell you that I totally flipped out and shut the world out, so maybe I did.... 

I was quickly heading towards The Dark Side. Fear leading to anger. Anger leading to hate.. Keep up people!  I had genuine fear that this injury would take me out of the game completely. I had trouble sleeping that night and was hoping and wishing the pain would be gone when I woke up - it wasn't... 

I emailed my Coach and explained what happened, what I felt, and what he suggested I do. I was going to see him at x-training that day so he suggested I get there early so we could discuss the severity of it and discuss other alternatives. He said I definitely had shin splints and suggested a few exercises to do to strengthen my muscles in my legs and work out the kinks. Coaches suggested I lay off running and strenuous leg work but that it was OK to still do a little cross training but I should stop if bad pain occurs. They also suggested I get new shoes or at least get fitted for insoles to put in my shoes. I may not have enough support with the current shoes I have. He also  gave me the address of a local Clinic that does free sports injury assessment and treatment. Definitely going to that next Sunday. 

So my homework for these splints: 

No strenuous workouts
Buy new Kicks 
Visit the Dr 

Ahhh.. We'll see how this goes. I promise to try and stay calm... 

Monday, June 4, 2012

Fundraising: Pt 2...

I broke $1,000 this weekend!!! ....... (!!!!!) 

Yes, I AM excited. I have only been fundraising for a month and have already collected $1,000. I thank all of you who have donated in one way or another. And for those of you reading my blog and haven't.... here is a friendly nudge to do so....   ::nudge::  

But seriously, thank you all. Your donations are helping better so many lives. 

That being said, let me remind you of a few ways you can help out AND receive something in return (besides a warm feeling in your heart)!  I am selling cupcakes, brownies, cakes, cookies, and other treats to fund raise. 100% of the profits will go to my efforts. So why not order some goodies and help fight cancer?! 

CUPCAKES! These are some of the cupcakes I have made recently. I am selling them at $15/doz. Last week I had an order for 72 of these babies! 

CAKES! These are 10inch round, double layered, filled, and frosted cakes. $20 and you get to take one of these home! 

Other Goodies! Some of  my other crowd pleasers. 

Triple layered brownies: a layer of cookie dough, an Oreo, and a layer of brownie batter. $1 each.

Salted double Chocolate Chip Cookies: adapted from the Jacques Torres recipe, try having just one. $10/doz

Caramel Apples: who doesn't like a good ol' fashioned caramel apple? I can make several designs of these, but since I am doing the Disneyland marathon, thought I would showcase the Mickey and Minnie. :) 

Please let me know if I can make you any of these goodies for your next party, shower, gathering, or even if you just have a sweet tooth like me. 

Feel free to email me directly if you have any questions or would like to place an order:  

Thanks again to all who have already purchased and donated! 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Walk/Run Ratio, 1:1...

Second team practice: check! Yesterday was our second team practice. We met at the Rose Bowl again at 7am to train. We would be placed in our Pace Groups this week and run with them. 

Last week we ran a 5k and recorded our time. TNT took that time and developed Pacing Groups, grouping us with other people who ran similar times. I was in 17min mile group. This meant that during race time, we should be running each mile somewhere between 16-18min. This was a lot slower than what I have been doing (11:30-13:30/mile). But that was just ONE mile. Would I be able to keep running like that for the entire 13miles? Doubt it. But a 17min/mile does seem more realistic. Coach Kiley mentioned that these pacing groups could change for us depending on our training in the next few weeks. I'm good with the group I'm in now, and here is why. 

The coaches had our group running a 1:1 walk/run ration. Meaning we would alternate walking for a minute and then running for a minute for the full 45minutes. For me, this was harder than it sounded. "Oh, I can run for a minute and walk for a minute, I have been running most of my 30min runs during the week". It wasn't that easy. I realized that I am more out of shape than I thought since this was so difficult for me. I was able to keep up with the group, but I was definitely the last one in the pack. 

I honestly wasn't too happy with my performance, but I also didn't let it get to me TOO much.. just a little. :) 

After the run, we had a representative from "Run With Us" come out and talk to us about shoes and gear when running. Run With Us is a running specialty store that carries a ton of different types of shoes for all kinds of runners and walkers (no, not these walkers, folks who walk marathons). From the information we received, I don't think I have the right shoes on. I bought them at FootLocker because they looked cute. Yes, guilty. Don't get me wrong, they don't hurt or anything, I just don't know if my feet are getting the full support they need. My shins hurt every now and then, and that may be because of the shoes. I don't  know, but I am for sure going to check out the shop and see what they tell me. 

Next week consists of more "Easy 30s"-running for 30min. No matter the distance, just get your shoes on and run. So I will. It's going to only get tougher from now on so, no use in skipping runs. 

Anyone up for joining me for a run?