Monthly Archives: July 2012

Begin Where I Am

In the Spring I had grand visions of lots of long summer runs where I ran watch-free and didn’t care about mileage or pace or distance. I wanted to have a couple of months of carefree running, the way I did before I ever ran a race. Kimra calls it “Running Stupid”, and that’s exactly what it is. Suffice to say that my summer hasn’t gone exactly as planned, yet I kind of feel like it did because in a way, I’m back to where I began. And by that I mean I feel like I’m starting over with a clean slate.

Injury forced me to take more rest over the past 9 weeks than I ever would have without the injury. And for the past 7 weeks (and counting) I’ve been going to physical therapy and working on building a mind-body connection. My physical therapist promised that if I kept up with my exercises, I’d start to see muscle changes in 8-10 weeks. That promise has motivated me to do my PT exercises every single day – and sometimes twice daily. So now we are approaching 8 weeks and I am feeling much better, stronger even.

Now is the time to see where I am at and if my hard work has paid off. This is where my Summer begins.

This Sunday I’m running my “home town” SFM 2nd Half Marathon and I am so excited for it! However, I know that I am in no shape to “race” this race and have no illusions of a PR, or anything close to it. That being said, I know I am strong enough to run it and it is an opportunity to have a long, supported run. It’s also the perfect opportunity to gauge where I am at as I start to train for Fall races.

Looking to the Fall…

Having trained for 5 marathons, started 4 and finished 3, I’ve decided that I need to be more selective with my races this year. I’m tired of working hard through a training cycle and not being able to get to the Finish Line, let alone the Start Line. With that in mind, I have just 2 races on my Fall schedule.

The first one is the San Jose Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon on October 7th. It’s 10 weeks after SFM, which gives me time to get back into shape. It’s also 4 weeks before the second race on my calendar, and the one I am more focused on – the New York Marathon.

I have a cousin running NYCM, family flying out for it and comp’d hotel rooms for a few nights so it only made sense for this to be my “one and done” year to run it. To be able to do so, I joined the National Stroke Association’s Challenge Team and am raising funds to help stroke victims and build programs for stroke education. Having had so many family members suffer strokes, it’s something that I strongly support.

Running for a cause greater than my own has given me a different perspective on preparing for this race.

People are generously making donations to support my cause with the faith that I’ll be able to complete this challenge. I don’t take this lightly. This time I am running for a greater purpose and feel a greater sense of responsibility. With this in mind it is important for me to listen to my physical therapist, coach, trainer and most importantly my body.

So as I go into this weekend and beyond, I’m erasing from my mind everything that’s happened in the past. I’m beginning where I am now and hope to train smart so I can make to the Start Line and happily make it to the Finish.

I plan to document this training cycle more closely than previous ones so that those who have donated to my fund can follow my training progress. So if you should feel so incline, join us on this latest journey of mine!

Week End Recall – Cautiously Optimistic

After last weekend’s DSE Run, I took Monday as a Rest Day, and then resumed running on Tuesday.

Tues, 7/17

5-mile Run:

I worked from home that day and ran during my lunch hour. It wasn’t as hot as I anticipated. Even better, my knee felt a slightly better. I only felt it mildly once or twice – nothing like at the DSE Run. I also didn’t feel my Piriformis pain! However, the foot numbness lingered – in the very beginning, at 3.5 miles, and again at the very end. It’s a little frustrating (okay a lot) because when my foot gets numb it’s not painful, but I have been adamantly instructed not to run through it. So I’m forced to take walk breaks until it subsides, which is thankfully, was just a few seconds.

I started doing a couple of new things with this run:

1. I did ALL of my assigned PT exercises immediately before running.
2. I used an old pair of shoes to see if it would make any difference with the foot numbness.
3. I tied my shoelaces differently.

I’m don’t think #2 and #3 made any difference, but I think #1 did. I also had a massage on Monday evening and had my IT Band at the hip worked on. It was extremely painful, but I think loosened up the fascia quite a bit.

Wed, 7/18

45-min Bike Trainer
1-hr TRX Strength Training

Thurs, 7/19

5-mile Run:

I worked from home and ran during lunch again. I also did all of my PT exercises just before heading out. I zero knee pain and very minimal foot numbness at the very start of the run. It went away within the first half mile and never came back. This run left me feeling cautiously optimistic.

Fri, 7/20

RunFit Visit #6:

My Physical Therapist decided to try a new treatment called “Negative Pressure Myofascial Decompression” therapy on my IT Band and Piriformis. I had never heard of it and didn’t know what to expect. Basically, it’s suction cups that are put on the affected area. There’s a tube thingy that can adjust the pressure. You can read more about it here. So yeah, I had it done on my IT Band and butt Piriformis. It’s more intense than ART and Graston and leaves uglier bruising.

She also introduced more strengthening exercises. These new exercises are done on weight machines at the gym and mimic running motion. I have to do them slowly so that I pay attention to form. Eventually it should translate into better running form.

We ended the visit with a little chat on managing expectations. She reassured me that she is seeing huge improvements in my strength and form but I need to remember to:

• Practice Body Awareness – if something hurts or feels off STOP – don’t push through it.
• Be liberal rest with days.
• Keep doing what I’m doing and don’t sacrifice all the work and effort I’ve done so far by falling back into bad habits and bad form.
• Be realistic about next week’s race (San Francisco Marathon – 2nd Half). It’s not a goal race so I shouldn’t treat it as such. It’s just a long training run.

45-min Swim:

Since I’ve lost almost all endurance over the past 2 months, I spent some time in the pool swimming laps to work on building it back up again.

Sat, 7/21

6-mile Run:

I wasn’t aware that hot summer temperatures were arriving in the Bay Area this weekend. By the time I started running it was well after 9 am and already hot. I didn’t bring any water with me and suffered. It was tough but I managed to finish without incident…AND WITHOUT PAIN! It was my second consecutive run without any Knee or Pirifomis pain and very little numbness in my foot.

Later that day my cousins and I had lunch at a new (to me) gluten-free restaurant in Palo Alto called “Asian Box.” I like to call it the “Vietnamese version of Chipotle.” And it’s just as yummy. In fact it was so good we went back that evening to pick up takeout for dinner and lunch today (not kidding!).

Sun, 7/22

4-mile Run:

I finished the week out with a 4-mile run. I woke up much earlier than Saturday so I could have time to do all of my PT exercises and run before it got blazing hot again. I’m happy to say it was my 3rd consecutive run with no pain and minimal foot numbing. Besides everything that I listed above, I think another key has been icing my leg as soon as I’m done running. I think icing and stretching within 20-30 minutes of finishing my runs have been a tremendous help.

I hope that I’ve turned the corner on this thing and can put more effort into building up my endurance again.

5 Blog Posts I Loved This Week

Who doesn’t love Friday’s? It’s been a pretty good week for me all around so I thought I’d end it by sharing some of my favorite readings from the past week:

1. Is Running Actually Healthy? And why do we care?

Jojo wrote this post in response to an article that appeared on SFGate.com (the online version of the San Francisco Chronicle) and I couldn’t agree with her more.

“We run to discover more about the world we inhabit, to connect with ourselves and others, to find out who we are and what we’re capable of, to seek solace in sorrow and to celebrate life’s blessings. We run from our primal instinct to move and transform. Sometimes we’re driven to run by forces unknown.”

“Running may be my vice or my virtue, but in any case, it brings me joy.”

2. DIY Yoga Mat Cleaning Spray

This blog post is from the folks at Free People – yep the clothing brand that I always see in tbd at Nordstrom. I started reading their blog just a few weeks ago for creative inspiration and was pleasantly surprised to read that they blog on a variety of topics. This one piqued my interest. I haven’t actually tried it yet, because I haven’t been to yoga in a few weeks, but I will definitely try it after my next Bikram Yoga class…which will hopefully be soon…

3. Need to spice up your site? Try this unlikely resource for cheap and cheerful graphics!

Not only does the Girls Guide to Web Design Team provide an amazing E-Learning course, but also they also routinely write posts on tips and tricks for Web design. Being someone who is still trying to unleash the “Creative Me”, I am a sponge absorbing all the knowledge they share. This was a great post on resources to find graphics for blog.

4. Mediterranean Chicken and Artichoke Salad

A simple salad recipe from one of my favorite food bloggers! I made this salad mid-week and have been having it for lunch for the past couple of days. Not only is it filling, but simple to make. I am not really a fan of sauces, dressings and condiments. I prefer to add flavorful ingredients to salads like feta, sun-dried tomatoes and caramelized shallots instead. But the made-from-scratch dressing in this recipe was light and really added to it’s flavor. It’s a perfect summer dish!

5. On Depression

My overall favorite post of the week was this very personal and honest one written by Andie (same blogger at Item #4). As I commented, this post felt all too familiar to me. I could empathize with her because despite being blessed with a pretty great life, I also have dark moments filled with overwhelming sadness. This is a difficult topic to open up about but reading posts like this makes me feel like I’m not alone in my similar struggles. I find it therapeutic and uplifting.

If you have any favorite posts you’d like to share, please do – I’m always looking for good reads!