Monday, August 26, 2013

Richmond Marathon Training Take 2 - Week 12

Officially halfway there.

3 runs for 24.1 miles
2 miles of swimming

Total running miles so far: 243.6

(Sorry... couldn't help it.)

Training highlights:
  • Had an appointment with Dr. Cutter on Wednesday, at which I was declared overall healthy and ok to run. He thinks the discomfort is from scar/fibrous tissue build up from the glass incident. I don't really know if I believe him... (see below)
  • Skipped out of the Patrick Henry Half Marathon on Saturday - which was what all MTT people were supposed to do - to do what we called the "Going Rogue" Half instead. Basically, a big group of us (30-40) running a 13.1 mile route that Greg came up with and staffed with 3 water stops - one of which was manned by Husband. I decided to do my best to hang with the flyers - Kit, Coach Ed, and Giles, who is like the rabbit to our proverbial greyhounds. Whenever Giles is with us, the rest of us just chase him and find ourselves running faster than we should. Anyhow, it was a lovely morning for running thanks to a cold front the night before, and I ended up with an unofficial PR of 1:49:50. VERY unofficial, as I stopped my Garmin during water stops. Kit came in first and I was second, but only because the rest of the group stopped off at a water fountain about 1.5 miles from the end and we kept going (though I think Kit still would've been first). It was a great run and I felt very accomplished for sticking with the flyers - for the most part.
Greg even rounded up some medals and finisher certificates!
  • Return of the Garmin! I received my new Garmin on Friday, only 7 business days after mailing away my old one. Big virtual high five to Garmin customer service.

Training lowlights:
  • Even though I saw the clear X-Rays with my own eyes, I still don't quite believe Dr. Cutter. There is something going on in there... I just know it. By the end of the half on Saturday, I just wanted to be finished so I could get my shoe off and massage my foot. After that, it didn't hurt but I spent the rest of the day on the couch (literally... I didn't leave it). Felt great when I woke up on Sunday, which was a rest day with only a short trip to the grocery store and some vacuuming. But at around 5:00 pm as I started packing my suitcase for Germany, my foot started wonking out. That's my new techinical term for describing what is going on; it doesn't hurt, it's not numb, it's just... wonky. Ugh. It just doesn't make sense!

Hydration belt status:
  • Untouched

Gold star of the week:
  • Greg for organizing and pulling off a great Going Rogue Half Marathon! Thanks, GB!
  • Husband, for agreeing to drag himself out of bed at 5:30 on a Saturday morning and man the water stop at mile 3.

Completed some major speedwork with Greg this morning, but the rest of the week is going to get tricky. Our flight to Germany is at 11:20am on Wednesday so I'm going to attempt to run with the mid-week group to get in my 6 miles before heading out. My running shoes and 3 sets of gear are packed for the trip... I'm determined that this time I really will run while I'm abroad (and not just to the nearest gelato shop). 

Actually, I don't have much of a choice - I have to run to stay on track. So I'm planning on trying to do 10 in Germany on Friday morning and a mid distance run on Tuesday. Don't ask me where the third run will fit in. Haven't figured it out yet, though I have delusions of running in Paris. 

The real fun part will be flying back home on Thursday, September 5 and then trying to run an 18 miler on Saturday the 7th.


Also happening this week, Sunday marks the anniversary of a certain incident which-shall-not-be-named. I hope to be in Heidelberg, going nuts at the all-Haribo store and/or drinking some good German Riesling and not thinking about it.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Good Doctor

The good doctor checks the chart,
Another chronic worrier, back again.
He fixes his expression to the correct one -
a perfect blend of caring concern,
then goes in.

"What's going on?" he asks,
and listens attentively,
brow furrowing into appropriate contemplative lines,
as she tries to describe her latest malady.

"Does this hurt? How about this?" he asks,
as he pummels the offending appendage.
He takes obligatory notes in the chart -
probably just writing, "Hyprochondriac returns."

But we'll never know, will we?

He carefully inspects the running shoes,
bending and flexing.
Looking thoughtful.
How can one be so thoughtful about shoes?

He knows what will make her feel better;
in this age of over-analysis and information overload.
"I think you're fine, but let's get an X ray."

You can see the relief in her face:
"Ah! We'll get some real answers now -
Answers that the Internet couldn't provide."

She looks over his shoulder as he peers at the films
That reveal the milky white bones of that pesky foot.
Ghosts come to snatch away that marathon dream.

"X Rays make me nervous," says the patient.
He chuckles.
"Why? These are perfect."

A clear bill of health is given;
nothing but some fibrous scar tissue
thanks to an errant piece of glass.

"I'll try to stop being so paranoid," she says as she puts on her shoes;
shoes with heels that he notices,
but doesn't scold her for.

He chuckles again.
"It's not a bad thing, Kathryn," he says,
pointing the way out of the room with her chart.

The elusive chart of yet another injury veteran
whose paranoia the good doctor is good enough to entertain.

Just one of the many runaway minds of crazy running people
that the good doctor knows how to put at ease with one phrase:
Yes. You can go run.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Richmond Marathon Training Take 2 - Week 11


3 runs for 27.5 miles
2 miles of swimming
ZERO miles on the bike

Running miles logged so far: 219.5 

Training highlights:

  • Sixteen miles on Saturday that felt remarkably (dare I say it?) easy. I was extremely nervous about going my longest distance ever (by two miles!), but just kept trying to tell myself that it was just another run like every other week. I didn't run with the guys up front this week and instead did the entire thing with team mates Theresa and Marie, who were awesome. After last week's horrific 11 miler, I was shocked at how good I felt as the miles seemed to fly by. I finished in 2:25:00 with an average pace of 9:05 - right on marathon target pace. AND I even somehow managed negative splits. Apparently, I'm doing something right. Here's a photo from around mile 12:
Me, Theresa, and Marie kicking some assphalt and looking like we
are having way too much fun on a 16 miler.
Photo courtesy of MTT Photos/Mark Buckland 
  • After a tedious search featuring lots of padlocks and fences, a speed work track has finally been identified! Greg and I did Monday's session around a "track" at a local elementary school. It's more of a gravel path in the shape of a rounded square, but it works. I like having four equal sides, which makes it easier to divide up the intervals.

Training lowlights:

  • My mile swim on Thursday was downright tough. After 800 meters, I stopped after every set of 200 and had to give myself a pep talk to finish. 
  • I've decided that I hate the stationary bike and I'm sick of it.
  • Foot discomfort has returned. It doesn't get worse with running, I pass the hop test, and htere is zero swelling. I can't call it painful but something is up. So I finally (sigh) made an appointment to see Dr. Cutter. It's on Wednesday this week. Blargh.
  • My Garmin decided to up and die on me. I went to put it on for my Wednesday run and it would not turn on. I plugged it back into the computer. It wouldn't turn on. I plugged it into the wall. It's blank face mocked me. I may or may not have angrily thrown it. I tried a soft reset and a hard reset. I may or may not have thrown it again. Still, its blank face mocked me:
Nothing worse than an inanimate object
acting like a JERK.

Hydration belt status:

  • I put it on for all of 30 seconds as I got ready on Saturday morning, then took it off and put it back in the drawer.

Gold star of the week:

  • Navy Teammate Lauren, who brought icy pops for the entire team to partake of post-run on Saturday. I had forgotten how delicious the blue ones are.
  • Garmin tech support. I called them on Wednesday as soon as I could. The tech that I talked to was awesome and after he heard what was going on, he decided to send me a new Garmin even though mine was outside of the warranty by 8 months. He said he was concerned about the power loss in a device that was less than 2 years old and wanted to get it back to them to check it out. All I had to do was send mine back to them and they'd send me a new one or fix my old one. As of this morning, I got a shipping notification email for my new Garmin. GREAT SERVICE, GUYS! 

I didn't write a lot this week because I was having a lot of anxiety about my foot being uncomfortable AGAIN and I know ya'll are sick to death of hearing my paranoid rants about it. All I will say now is that I am pretty confident this isn't a bone issue but something else... and that I don't have a lot of faith that we will figure it out on Wednesday. So I'm just going to keep on keeping on unless it gets more painful.

On a side note - has anyone else ever used Map My Run? I used it on Wednesday and Saturday to log my miles. I have never been a fan because of course it requires me to carry my phone (which I detest doing), but I also have noticed that it seems to be really inaccurate. On Saturday when we finished, the app said I went 16.9 miles compared to 16-on-the-dot on Theresa's Garmin. Though I'd love to say I ran nearly 17 miles, I know I didn't. Greg has used it in the past on runs that we've done together and we noticed the same thing then too. I'd hate to think that others are using it exclusively for their training and short changing themselves. 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Richmond Marathon Training Take 2 - Week 10

To say this week was an improvement over last is an understatement.

3 runs for 22 miles
1 mile swim
11 miles on the  bike

Running miles logged so far: 192

Training highlights:
  • Glass ejected from foot; foot no longer hurts.
  • Great return to the run with Kit on Thursday morning.
  • Swam my first ever official mile on Wednesday.
  • Had a great time volunteering at the Moonlight 4 Miler on Thursday evening.
  • Hit my mileage goal for the week

Training lowlights:
  • Saturday's MTT was definitely the worst long run of the cycle thus far. It was hot, it was very very humid, and there were no clouds to take the sun out of the equation. Therefore, it was pretty much miserable for lots of us (not just me). To add to my own misery, my thighs were extremely tired from the 11 miles of biking I'd done on Friday. Note to self: do not bike the day before the long run. Ever. Again.

Hydration belt status:
  • Unsullied.

Gold star of the week *New feature* :
  • Kit, for waking up early on a staycation day to come run 7 with me, even though he had just run 7 the day before.

This morning I dived right back into regular training mode by picking up where I left off with the FIRST program - which is apparently what ever other runner on the planet calls Run Less Run Faster. I did miss one session of speed work last week, but this morning I met with Greg at the "track" of a local elementary school where we did a really great speed work session.

The weather has been disgusting here for the past week to ten days. The humidity was so thick this morning - 91% when Greg and I met at 6:30 am - that it felt like I could cut the air with a knife. I'm looking forward to the cold front that is coming through tomorrow, which will bring in some pretty fabulous weather with highs in the upper 70's to low 80's through Sunday. 

Thank goodness, because this Saturday's MTT run is sixteen miles, which will be my longest ever run, and I honestly don't know if I would be able to do it if the weather was a repeat of this past Saturday's. Luckily, the forecast right now is "few showers" with a high of 76 and low of 66. I'll take it.

Friday, August 9, 2013

The Most Efficient Water Stop Ever

Last night, the Richmond Road Runners held their annual Moonlight 4 Miler. I did the race with Marcey last year and was planning on doing it again, but when I had my foot freak out last week, I decided that I just didn't want to risk it. But I still wanted to support Marcey, as this was Race #9 in her epic Year of Running, so I signed up to volunteer instead.

If you've never volunteered for a race, I highly recommend it. It is an extremely rewarding experience and it is a treat to see things from the non-runner point of view.

My station was water stop #2. This was my first time working a water stop, my previous volunteer duties having included handing out bibs at the Richmond Marathon expo and medals at the race last year. (By the way, handing out medals is the most awesome volunteer job ever.)

Let me just say that water stop #2 was the most well-run water stop ever. Our team had 200 cups of water set up and ready to go at 7:00 pm.

That's some high quality H2O.
(Sorry, couldn't help it)
 And then we waited...and waited... until 7:35 when the first runner showed up.

Second place - pushing a stroller! What a beast!

First woman

There were 9 of us stationed at the stop, including 2 kids who were of course the most popular water distributers. And there was also our official water stop mascot, Morgan the golden retriever. 

I actually handed out only two cups of water: one to the first place man, who doubled back on the course for some more miles, and Marcey, who gave me a very sweaty hug.

I can never get a non-blurry photo of HMR in action.

With more than enough water distributors, I spent most of my time cheering and picking up discarded cups instead - a perfect job for an obsessive compulsive neatnik like me. I even got in probably an extra mile of running as I jogged up and down the curb cleaning up. 

What I enjoy most about volunteering is seeing the huge amount of diversity among runners: 70 year old men, kids under 10, moms and dads pushing strollers, the super fit lead pack who seem to float on the pavement as they passed, even a team of a blind father and his daughter who was leading him. So many different people, all accomplishing something big and on their own terms. From first place to the final participant who we all cheered enthusiastically, I couldn't help but be amazed and touched by what we can all achieve if we set our minds to something.

I am not sorry for a minute that I did not run the race last night. To be honest, it was disgustingly humid and warm and I was sweating just standing still at the water stop, so I can't imagine how miserable the runners were. Kudos to all of them for their efforts! I am very glad that I decided to participate as a volunteer, not only because it's always rewarding, but also because I got to cheer on Marcey and receive a very special package that she had for me:

Just in case you can't make it out, this is a Rail Europe train pass for my trip from Kaiserslautern, Germany to Paris, France. When I booked it, print at home tickets weren't an option. It had to be shipped and signed for and Marcey was good enough to let me ship it to her house for daytime delivery and signature.

I literally did a dance in the parking lot when she pulled the envelope out. I cannot wait to be in Paris again, even if it is only for a whirlwind 24 hours!

Ah, Paris. I'll see you in just 26 days.

Meanwhile, congratulations to everyone who ran the 4 Miler last night. It's a tough one and you should all be proud of your accomplishment!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Ice Cream Break

Today, Bev's tweeted that they had Key Lime Pie Ice Cream.

Obviously, I had to go get some right away.

This was a mini-celebration, as I managed to run 6.75 miles this morning relatively pain free.

Yup. You heard me.

On Wednesday, I put up a pathetic plea on the Team Navy Facebook Group, asking if there was anyone willing to accompany me on my Thursday 6-7 miler in case of the worst. I didn't want to be alone if I broke. 

My awesome teammate Kit responded that he'd be glad to provide the assist. Kit and I often end up running together near the front of the pack during MTT long runs. We are generally a good match for each other, although we both admit to being terrible pacers and running much too fast. I was absolutely thrilled that he was willing to wake up early on a vacation day and come run with me.

Despite serious humidity and a bit of a route fail by me (we had intended on running 7... didn't quite make it), we had a great tempo run with an average pace of 8:15 (!). 

Based on this, I'm gonna go with the theory that that tiny piece of glass was the culprit and that I am now 100% healed. 

And I am also 100% tired. What I want to do right now is take a clue from Wonton, the resident cat of the used book store Chop Suey Tuey, who I espied doing this in the window:

Tough life.

But alas, I am a not a cat but a human with a job and responsibilities.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Confirmation That I Am Not 100% Crazy

Do you guys remember a few weeks ago, when I reported that I had stepped on something in my kitchen and it had lodged itself into my right foot?

I didn't mention it again, but I obsessed over it for weeks.

I know... me? Obsessive? NEVER.

My friends, mother, and Husband all patiently told me to just chill out; it would work its way out and no, I wouldn't have to go get it surgically removed. After a while it stopped hurting so I figured that the 50 epsom salt soaks had finally done their trick, but was not 100% convinced that the glass was out.

Then yesterday afternoon, I was walking toward the parking lot with my co-worker Emily when all of a sudden there it was again - that sharp, stabbing pain in the ball of my foot.

"Are you SERIOUS?!?!" I said.

Truly, I am at the end of my rope when it comes to foot pain.

I parked myself immediately on the nearest bench and yanked off my sandal. Sure enough, I could see something sticking out of my foot.

Luckily, Emily came to the rescue and pulled a pair of tweezers from her purse and I proceeded to pull this out of my foot:

Ring for size reference
That's the glass that was still stuck in my foot.

Now I feel completely justified in my excessive anxiety.

And now I'm wondering if that tiny piece of glass is what has been causing all of my problems. It seems unlikely, but you never know. Maybe my body still knew it was in there and forced me to change my gait which caused the foot pain.

... or maybe I am just about 5% crazy and just making this crap up as I go along.

In other news, I went for a timid 4 mile run on the treadmill yesterday morning, wearing my Pinks. I was aware of my foot but pain did not increase as I continued. Afterwards, it felt 95% normal all day and in the afternoon, I had actually completely forgotten about it for a little while.

Stay tuned for the next episode of Kathryn's Foot Drama. It's totally riveting, yeah?

Monday, August 5, 2013

Richmond Marathon Training Take 2 - Week 9

Week 9 was pretty much non-existent.

1 run for 5 miles
1600 yd swim
24.5 miles on the bike

Running miles logged so far: 170

Training highlights:

  • I got nothin'

Training lowlights:

  • Everything

On Tuesday I went to the high school track to do my first RLRF speed work session. The intelligence I had gathered was wrong. I was greeted by a 12' high fence and padlocks when I arrived at the track at 6:40 am. So I drove 3 minutes down the road and parked at the Y. Did one mile outside to warm up, then moved inside to the treadmill to complete the speedwork, which wasn't that bad. 

...but my foot started to feel sore.

I swam on Wednesday morning to give it a rest. On Thursday it was still bothering me. I skipped my tempo run and biked instead. Friday was a full day of rest and me being wracked with indecision on whether or not to attempt the long run on Saturday. The planned route was very loopy and passed back by our start area, so I could go out and if I started to feel pain, could easily bail before things got bad. But in the back of my mind, I knew that what I should really do is play it super safe and just skip this one run all together.

But I was hopeful, so I laid all of my clothes out and went to bed early on Friday night. The plan was to get up at 5:30 as if going to run and seeing how my foot felt. Any pain or discomfort at all and I wouldn't go. I kept reminding myself that missing a week or two now is an infinitely better option than pushing through whatever the issue with my foot was and ending up on crutches again. I simply REFUSE to be on crutches again. As much as it pains me to say so, I'd rather forgo the marathon than have another fractured foot.

Saturday morning, 5:30 am. Alarm goes off, I roll out of bed, feet hit the floor, and there is discomfort. Not pain but I am just aware of my right foot.

I went right back to bed and tried not to think about it anymore.

Here I am at the beginning of week 10 and I'm unsure of what is going to happen. Despite a lot of activity this weekend including a concert where I basically stood on my feet for 3 hours, my foot is feeling a lot better. In fact, I'm hardly aware of it. I can stand on my tip toes, I can walk perfectly fine without any soreness. 

My mother is convinced that it was the new shoes that threw me off and that it simply took a few weeks for the symptoms to manifest. I was going to call and  make an appointment with Dr. Cutter today, but I've decided not to. Instead, I'm going to go back to my PureCadence and go out for a very easy run tomorrow morning at the vita course to test the waters, then ease back into the rest of the week if all goes well. If all does not go well, a call will be put in to the good Doctor on Friday and I'll be going to see what my fate is.

But the thing is this: I cannot break my foot.  I just dropped a boat load of money on a plane ticket to Germany with a side trip to Paris. I leave on August 28. I am not missing that trip because I am broken. It just cannot happen. Beyond that, I simply cannot spend another fall on crutches. 

If I have to sacrifice the marathon in order to not break myself again, I'm just going to have to do that. I will have to accept the fact that my foot bones were not made to do more than 25 miles of running a week. I'm trying to come to terms with this. Right now I seem to be ok with it, but I'm sure things won't be so neat and pretty if push comes to shove and I have to make that choice. 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Resolution Check In

Goal: Run 800 Miles

Through July 31

January: 55.1 miles
February: 45.3 miles
March: 65 miles
April: 77 miles
May: 46 miles (2 weeks off in Italy... whoops)
June: 81.6 miles
July: 101.7 miles (holy cow!)

Total for the year:  471.7 miles

Three PRs:
10k - 47:49
10 Miler - 1:26:16
Half Marathon - 1:51:52

Goal: Run a Full Marathon - this one will have to wait until November

Goal: Do a Sprint Triathlon - ...more on this one soon

Goal: Read One Book Per Month

January Books
George, Elizabeth - Mary, Queen of Scots

February Books
Davenport-Hines, Richard - Voyagers of the Titanic
Mantel, Hilary - Wolf Hall

March Books
Galbadon, Diana - Voyager
Galbadon, Diana - Drums of Autumn

April Books
Pierce, Murr, Moss - Run Less, Run Faster

May Books
Cross, Donna Woolfolk - Pope Joan

June Books
Martin, George R.R. - A Song of Ice and Fire: A Dance with Dragons

July Books
Collins, Suzanne - Catching Fire (re-read)
Weir, Allison - Captive Queen (an attempt to read, which I gave up because I remember that I hate Allison Weir's attempts at historical fiction)
de Rosnay, Tatiana - Sarah's Key
Moore, Christopher - Sacre Bleu