A Simple Running Log

February 26, 2010

Training for 2/26/10

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 4:32 pm

My last day of not running! I’m way too excited about running 20 miles in cold and wind tomorrow. I hope the euphoria of just being able to run again doesn’t wear off until at least after the first lap, and then I’ll only have another 14.5 miles to go.

That is, of course, if I can in fact run again, and my knee isn’t just playing a big trick on me.

Anyway, in anticipation of said run, this morning I just did some invisible chair sitting, yoga, foam rolling and icing.

Oh man. I absolutely can’t wait for tomorrow morning. I’m so glad all this snow missed us! The only part of the forecasted “snowicane” we got was the high winds. There were some flurries this morning, but nothing that stuck to the roads at all.

February 25, 2010

Training for 2/25/10

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 4:38 pm

This morning was weight training, three minutes in my invisible chair, stretching, foam rolling and icing. I really tore up my legs (in the good way) this morning on purpose. They’ll have tomorrow to rest, and thus should be good to go for 20 miles on Saturday.

I’m in an excellent mood overall today. First, every bit of the 5-8 inches of snow they predicted MISSED US! All we got was a little more (snow-melting) rain. Which means I will not have to even consider running 20 miles on a freaking treadmill this weekend.

I’m also confident my IT band issues are behind me. This week off has been tough, just because I couldn’t help but feel like I was losing everything I’d gained in my marathon training. But I think this has been a good thing. Not only do my knees feel totally recuperated, my legs feel stronger than ever and my whole body just feels recharged.

A couple more small plusses: I was about to drink my normal post-workout glass of chocolate milk, when I decided to put it in a blender with an overripe banana (that won’t get eaten otherwise at this point) and some ice. Shazam — a chocolate banana smoothie. Why didn’t I think of this before?

And, we finally identified the source of the putrid smell coming from the fridge for the past few days. Last night, I opened a package of chicken thighs that were not even close to the expiration date and about passed out. So they’ve been dealt with, and now it no longer fills the house with the smell of rancid fart when someone opens the fridge.

It was getting so bad, we were starting to think there was a dead mouse or four rotting behind the fridge.

February 24, 2010

Training for 2/24/10

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 3:57 pm

Today, I got up to three minutes in my invisible chair, stretched, foam rolled and iced. All while watching the local news, which reported yet another snowstorm is supposed to roll through here tomorrow. So my recuperation might have to be extended, since the roads will most likely be icy Saturday and that’s what got my knees in this mess in the first place.

Maybe the roads will be OK by Sunday. I really want to get in this 20-miler this weekend. I’m getting anxious. I’ve even considered calling the gym in Seaford to find out if there’s a daily rate so I can come in and do the run on a treadmill. Yes, that’s how desperate I’ve gotten — I’m contemplating a 20-mile run on a treadmill.

February can’t end soon enough for me. This month has been nothing but a giant pain in my ass.

February 23, 2010

Training for 2/23/10

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 4:28 pm

This morning, I dug out Billy Blanks. You know, the Tae Bo guy. I bought one of his DVDs a couple of years ago, and used to do the workout pretty regularly. But since I started running more seriously, I put the kickboxing aside.

Today’s Tuesday, so I haven’t run in five days. My knees feel good but I’m sticking to my plan to not run until Saturday. And while yoga is nice, it doesn’t really get my heart rate up. So it was my only workout DVD to the rescue.

I forgot how unintentionally funny the DVD is, but as I was going through the motions, I realized I still had it memorized. Why is Billy so sweaty, even at the very beginning before we even start warming up? Where did he get those shorts? There’s Shelly, the lady who counts to eight out loud repeatedly. And here’s my favorite part — when Shelly starts busting a move during one exercise and the little Asian lady behind her starts laughing.

And there’s my favorite get-your-ass-in-gear mantra from Billy: “DO YOUR JOB!”

I remember the first time I tried this DVD. I had to pause it at least twice, maybe three times, to catch my breath and gulp some water. This morning I just breezed right through it, though there were still a few moves that got me sweating. Which was, of course, the whole point.

Then I did 2.5 minutes in my invisible chair and some stretches and tortured myself on the foam roller.

Only four more days until I’m letting myself run again! It’s raining right now, which is melting what’s left of the snow. I can’t wait.

February 22, 2010

Training for 2/22/10

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 3:22 pm

This morning, I got up really early to do my weight training and stretching, as I had an 8:15 a.m. appointment at the high school to participate in a blood drive. The blood donation went fine, but the site wouldn’t stop bleeding after they removed the needle, so they strapped an ice pack in the crook of my left arm. Makes using that arm difficult.

Anyway, this weekend, I stuck to my plan and did not run at all. I didn’t know what to do with myself Saturday morning. I did some yoga both days, sat in my invisible chair (up to 2.5 minutes at a time now) and tried out my new foam roller.

That thing’s supposed to provide a deep tissue massage for a lot cheaper than going to an actual masseuse. It was less of a massage and more of a torture device. It HURTS. But, alas, that means it’s working. So I rolled both IT bands over it several times a day.

Today, my left knee feels totally fine. There’s still a slight twinge in the right one every now and then while walking, but that’s getting less and less frequent. I think it’s going well, and I believe I’m on track to return to running Saturday.

February 19, 2010

Training for 2/19/10

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 4:46 pm

This morning was weight training, additional leg strengthening exercises and tons of stretching, stretching, stretching.

In a rare moment of empathy, Clark last night reminded me I started training for my first half marathon almost a year ago, and I haven’t let up since. (Usually any running-related moping just gets snark from him.) Anyway, he’s right. As soon as that first half was over, I jumped into training for a second. When that was done, I ran a 10K and a 5K the following week and then started training for my first full marathon. So maybe I should just give myself a break.

That’s exactly what I’m going to do. That’s right — a month before my first marathon, I am taking eight days off running.

No running, no jogging, no skipping, no walking slightly bouncier than usual. Nothing.

I will not be idle, however. I’ve got a plan of attack that involves yoga, weight training (targeting the legs), stretching and rest.

I’ve been doing a lot of reading on ITB syndrome, for obvious reasons. While stretching is universally recommended, there’s a newer school of thought that suggests the real problem is not the band itself, but the muscles supporting it. Running is notorious for building hamstrings that are much stronger than quads, creating an imbalance. However, your quads are responsible for controlling a lot of the knees’ motion. Weak quads = bad knees.

So those who think this way recommend lots of leg strengthening exercises, in addition to stretching.

Just last week, I finished reading Kathrine Switzer’s memoir (the first woman to officially run the Boston Marathon, in 1967.) She wrote that, while training for a marathon in the ’70s, she suddenly got sharp pains in her knee — probably what today is called ITB syndrome. Her sports doctor said her thighs were weak. That sounded ridiculous to her, because she’d been running 100 miles a week, but he explained about the hamstring/quad inequalities.

He recommended an exercise used by downhill skiers to build up their thigh muscles. He said to put her back against a wall, and then “sit” in an invisible chair for as long as she could. The first time she tried it, she made it 70 seconds before she collapsed. Eventually she got up to 11 minutes, and she wrote it not only solved the knee pain then, it has done the trick every time since then that she’s gotten knee pain.

I’m already up to two minutes in my invisible chair.

Anyway, so, for the next eight days, I will be sitting on air, doing yoga, lifting weights, stretching and resting. I hope this will set my IT bands right again and just give my whole body a chance to chill out.

Then, next Saturday, I will try to complete the longest run on the training schedule, the 20-miler. I easily did 18 a few weeks ago. If my knees are up to it, I am confident I can do two more. And that will give me the confidence I need to think I can make it the whole 26.2.

Then I will be back on schedule. Instead of trying to make up missed miles from my time off, I’ll stick to the tapering schedule that begins the first week of March.

I’m feeling strangely optimistic about this. There’s no pain in my knees today, though I know there would be if I tried to run. So I feel like a week off should be more than enough time.

On the other hand, there’s still a part of me that’s afraid this isn’t going to work.

Wish me (and my knees) luck!

February 18, 2010

Training for 2/18/10

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 4:44 pm

Today, I tried 5.5 miles. It was another failure.

I felt great the first few miles (which is probably why my three-miler yesterday didn’t cause any pain.) Then, once again, about four miles in, my right knee started hurting. It would start as a dull, easily ignored ache and flare up into a nearly knee-buckling pain in a few strides. I would walk a little, and then try to slowly run again until the pain was too bad to keep going. Then I would repeat, until I finally made it home.

Oh, and, not to be outdone, my left knee joined in today as well.

I don’t know what to do about this. This is the just about the worst time this could happen. I’m supposed to be getting in the longest runs NOW so I can taper the last few weeks before the marathon.

I need to run long, but at the same time, I need to not run at all.

So, OK, new plan. No running for a few days, period. Just stretching and yoga, ice and heat.

Next week, I will continue to baby my knees, and I hope they’ll be up for the 20-mile long run scheduled for next Saturday. That’s the most important one. If I can’t run 20, there’s no way I’ll be able to run 26.2.

Up until last Saturday, when I had my first bad run because of this IT band crap, I was looking forward to my marathon. Now the thought of it just makes me sick, because if I’m still having these knee issues, I won’t be able to do it. And that would be devastating.

February 17, 2010

Training for 2/17/10

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 4:58 pm

Today is a much better day. The sun is shining, it’s above freezing and I ran. With no pain!

It was only a little 1.5-mile out-and-back, so a total of 3 miles. I really wanted to do more, but I decided to be smart and ease back into it. Tomorrow, I will do either the 4.5- or 5.5-mile loop, and Saturday, I will take another swing at that 19-miler I had to quit last weekend.

After my run, I did some yoga and a lot of stretching. My right leg feels 100 percent normal.

I’m always surprised by just how tied into running my mood is. I was pretty upset the past few days. I’ve never been prone to injuries, so any little ache is immediate cause for despair. Which has its upside — since I treat every out-of-the-ordinary pain like a major catastrophe, instead of ignoring the pain until it actually becomes one, I’ve never suffered a huge injury. Stress fractures can take you off running for months. I don’t know how I’d survive that.

February 16, 2010

Training for 2/16/10

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 5:07 pm

You’ll never guess what! When I woke up this morning, it was snowing! Gee, it hasn’t snowed here in… five days! I’d almost forgotten what it looked like.

Happily, this was not Blizzard Pt. 4, it was just some dopey flurries. It didn’t even stick to the roads. Lame. It’s already sunny out there, and the temperature’s a touch above freezing, so I’m hoping to see some good melting action out there today.

I’m even happier about the state of my right knee. Last night, I did a yoga session and a bunch of stretches to target the IT band. I also iced and heated the knee and, for good measure, wore my toe separators to relieve some of the pressure on them.

Clark took one look at my sweatpants rolled up to my thigh, the ice pack on my knee, the heating pad waiting on standby and the foam toe separators on my feet and said “How old are you?” When I said I was 150, he said that’s what he guessed.

Whatever. I was feeling better already. Then, this morning, I did some weight training and a whole lot more stretching, and there is no pain at all in the knee. Of course, I didn’t feel anything until about 4 miles into a 7-mile run yesterday, so I don’t think it’s time to declare myself fully recuperated.

I will try a very short, very easy run tomorrow, just to see where the knee is at. If it’s in good shape, I might run a little farther Thursday, and then take off Friday. My main goal is to make up that 19-miler this weekend.

February 15, 2010

Training for 2/15/10

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 5:02 pm

I’m in a pretty bad mood today.

Last week, I had to run all three weekday runs in screw shoes, due to the neverending snow and ice that will not f***ing go away. Friday night, my right knee was feeling tight, but I decided to ignore it.

Saturday, I got up bright and early. I was really excited about running 19 miles, even though it would have to be, once again, in screw shoes. Not only was I tired of basically running in cleats on paved roads, but the shoes themselves were almost 100 miles past “dead” and I had a brand new pair that had been sitting in my closet for four days, since I couldn’t wear them because of the STUPID SNOW.

The first three miles went OK. Then, for the next two miles, I ran through ankle-deep, slushy crap. My right leg was starting to smart. At about the 5.5-mile mark, I turned onto a road that, thrill of thrills, had not been plowed AT ALL and had no less than three fallen trees laying across it.

At this point, my leg was really starting to kill me. I wanted to run 19 miles, but I knew that was a very bad idea. I needed to stop running. I needed to just go home. But, the shortest route home at that point was down this road, covered in knee-deep drifts and trees.

So I trudged all the way down that road. By the time I got to the end and back on relatively clear pavement, I knew what I had to do.

I swallowed my pride, took out my cell phone and called Clark to pick me up. I had only covered 6.5 of the scheduled 19 miles. Fail.

The rest of Saturday was spent sulking and trying to rehabilitate whatever the hell was wrong with my leg. I iced, heated and stretched various things.

I guess running about 17 miles over three days in screw shoes, through slush and uneven, hard-packed snow and ice, threw off my normal stride and put a weird strain on things. I have never had any pain in my joints before.

Sunday, I felt OK when I woke up, well enough to go to Walmart and get stuff to make chili (and buy two boxes of Girl Scout cookies because I felt bad for the little girls standing in the freezing wind just outside the door.) By Sunday night, I felt back to normal.

So this morning, when they said they’re expecting a little more snow/rain overnight tonight, I decided to do tomorrow’s run today, so I could avoid the potential crappy roads tomorrow. The rest of the week’s forecast is blessedly snow-free, and high temperatures should get up near 40 a couple of days (melt, fiend!)

I put on my new shoes (finally!) and hit the road. Again, the first few miles were fine. I decided I liked the new shoes thus far.

Then, around the 4-mile mark, bam. My right knee started protesting.

Today, I had no choice but to keep going. For one, I had accidentally left my cell phone home, and, for two, Clark was at work anyway. I walked/jogged/limped the last 2.5 miles or so. It was weird; the pain would actually move around on that leg. So I really don’t know what is wrong.

And now I’m at work, and totally pissed.

I’m not sure how the rest of the week will go. Since I’d missed the 19-miler Saturday, I was planning to do a 12-miler Wednesday and 19 miles this coming Saturday. That way, I would still be on track to do the 20-mile run, the longest one before the marathon, next Saturday. I wasn’t planning on running tomorrow anyway, but I don’t know that it will be a good idea to try for 12 in two days.

Guess I’ll have to rework the training schedule, again, and just play it by ear.

Stupid, idiotic snow, and stupid, idiotic freezing weather that won’t let it melt and clear the roads. I hate winter.

EDIT: After scouring several reputable Web sites (did you think I’d actually use the Internet for work at a time like this?), I have determined I probably gave myself a case of iliotibial band (ITB) syndrome last week. The IT band runs from your hip to your knee, on the outside of the leg. Excessive rubbing of the band can occur, where it meets your knee, if your legs turn inward for an extended period of time, and causes inflammation and swelling — you know, pain.

Last week, I was running on worn-the-hell-out shoes with screws only on one side of the forefoot (I didn’t put them on the inside of the forefoot because the last time I did that, the screws wore through on the ball of both feet) so of course my legs were rolling slightly inward every time I took a step. Add to that the uneven, crappy surface and there you go — excessive rubbing, for hours on end.

ITB syndrome is very common among distance runners and affects veteran and beginner runners at nearly the same rate.

The best part? The No. 1 cure is just stretching! And rest, of course.

So I printed out a ton of IT band stretch ideas, and will be stretching it copiously from now on.

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