The Most Epic Elliptical Workout

After the hard 17-mile run I had 8 days ago, I spent last week thinking about what things I could change to make my next long run be better.

Nutrition
One thing that came to mind was definitely my nutrition. In the days leading up to the 17-miler, I was on vacation and eating fancy-free. So last week, I paid special attention to my diet. I steadily ate a little more carbs than usual (instead of having one huge carb-binge the night before the scheduled run). I may have gone overboard and fed my addiction with one too many caprese sandwiches…but they were so worth it. :)

I also knew I had to change up my nutrition during the run so that my endurance would be better. I talked to a number of people who have completed full marathons and got some really great advice! The one thing quite a few people recommended was to drink Cytomax during the run. I had been drinking Propel, and while its great for a short run, I learned its definitely not enough for these 3+ hour sessions. I had a packet of citrus Cytomax from one of the race expos I recently went to. One packet wasn’t enough to fill 4 bottles so I filled 2 and filled the other 2 with the usual Propel. I figured since it was a test, a mixture of what I’m used to drinking with something new would be a good balance.

Sleep
Another area I knew I had to be better in was sleep, which is why I didn’t have as many blog posts last week. I had to sacrifice writing for a couple more hours of zzz.

By Thursday morning, I was feeling really good. I had mapped out the route I was going to take and even included a stop at home at the half-way point so I could grab a quick bite of a PB&J. I felt very prepared for this run…that is until Thursday evening when I tried to go out for a few miles.

Bruised Right Foot
As a result of running 17-miles in my newish Superfeet insoles, my right foot was now bruised. I couldn’t run on Thursday. The best I could do was to run/walk 2 miles when I had planned for 6. I cut it short, came home and iced it, rolled it and soaked it in epsom salt.

It felt a little better on Friday, so with fingers crossed, I prepared for a 19-miler on Saturday. My favorite pre-race/pre-long run meal is the “San Francisco” crepe from the Crepevine. It filled with salmon and spinach (2 super foods!) and comes with home cooked potatoes. I always get this for takeout on Friday nights before Saturday long runs.

When Saturday morning rolled around, the foot was still a little stiff, but I figured I’d give it a try anyway. I wrote my route on my arm and got my mid-way snack ready.

A mile into the run I realized that I wasn’t running, I was hobbling. I probably could have pushed through it, but I decided not to. I didn’t want to risk more injury.

So that left me with a dilemma. I had to get the miles in somehow AND I had increased my carbs all week and had to burn them off. I couldn’t do nothing. So I walked home, grabbed my car keys and drove straight to the gym.

Still wearing hydration belt, hopped on an elliptical that was right under the fan and went to work. The elliptical has a 60-minute time limit so I knew I’d be restarting it quite a few times. And since my Garmin doesn’t work indoors, I had to track my workout in one hour increments.

The first hour went by easily. I was so focused on my form and paying attention to how my body was feeling that I hardly was aware of my surroundings. I’m sure I got a lot of looks for the hydration belt. (By the way, I stuck to my schedule of sipping my drink every 2 hours and eating a GU every 4.5 miles).

The second hour also went by quickly. I turned on my music video play list on my iPhone which kept me occupied. My friend Yvette also came by to say hello. She’s a marathoner as well and gave me a lot of great advice on how to treat my foot and still plan for the following week’s long run. She also offered to drive me to my race, run the last few miles with me, and drive me home. I am so taking her up on the offer! She’s just about the only person who has told me that she’s so excited for me to run a marathon. Most everyone else just tells me I’m nuts.

Soon after she left, the lady on the elliptical next to me tapped me on the shoulder. She said she couldn’t help but overhear our conversation and she was a physical therapist. I briefed her on what had happened and she said she’s seen it before – the Superfeet insoles having that kind of effect on a person’s foot. She told me to that the foam roller should be my best friend, and not just to roll around the foot area, but to roll all the way up to my knee. Loosening up that area should help.

Up until that time I was doing fine. I didn’t start to feel tired until Hour 3. While the elliptical wasn’t as taxing on my body as actual running, it was still hard to do for so long. I felt it in my calves, which is different than where my body normally aches when running.

By the time I had to start the elliptical for the fourth time, I was counting the minutes till I was done. I started to do the math game again and try to predict how much more time I had left to do before hitting 19-miles. I also was so sick of GU that I couldn’t bear to have even 1 more packet.

I finally finished in 3 hours 9 minutes and 7 seconds and boy was I glad it was over! (And by the way, the Cytomax worked great, its definitely a keeper).

In hindsight, it probably worked out for the best. You see, after the workout, I only had 90 minutes to get home, shower and get ready for the Puppy Shower I was co-hosting that afternoon. Yes, a puppy shower! My friend Samantha just adopted a baby Boston Terrier named Enzo. We just had to throw a party to welcome him!

If I had actually run the 19-miles, there would have been no way I could have made it to the shower, or even volunteered at the Oakland Running Festival the next day.

As of today, my foot is still stiff, however, it felt fine (zero pain) during the entire time on the elliptical. The only time it feels sore is when I try to push off on it. Its very mobile and doesn’t hurt when I squeeze it so I don’t think its anything too serious, although I do have trouble going down stairs. I have a pretty busy schedule this week that doesn’t leave much time for running, which is probably another good thing so I can rest it and hope it will be better in time to run 20 miles on Saturday.

At Yoga Tune-up tonight my instructor looked at my feet and told me that my Achilles and calf on my right foot is more defined than the left which means its probably tighter too. He too said to make sure I roll it but also suggested that I rub sesame oil (yes like the kind you cook with) on my foot and leg. Its supposed to have an anti-inflammatory effect on your body so I’m giving it a try – can’t hurt right?!

Keep your fingers crossed for me!

3 Responses to The Most Epic Elliptical Workout

  1. Wow – I can hardly do the elliptical for 20 mins. Geez. I get soooo bored. Have you tried rolling your foot on a tennis ball. When I was dancing and performing, I kept a tennis ball in my dance bag and in the living room. Feels so good (you can even toss it in the freezer). I love how you actually reflected on the bad run to learn from it rather than just be mad at yourself over it (not saying you were, but you know what I mean). There are so many factors that affect our workouts from day to day. Oh, and how fun with the puppy shower!

  2. Naomi says:

    Hi Bekka – You may want to check your shoes. Go to your local shoe store (like New Balance or Nike or something like it) and get your foot evaluated to make sure you have the proper type of shoe. That should help! Thanks@

  3. Rebekka says:

    Hi Naomi! You’re the guru! I’ve got a workout question for you. I’ve been experiencing toe numbness while working out on the elliptical, treadmill, and bike machine. What could be causing this?

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