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Journey To the Finish Line

PR's, 4 children, hopes and dreams; I'm always running after something

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cross training

Disney Marathon Training – Week 1

One race right into another.

I’d really like to improve my speed in the marathon and even qualify for Boston one day, but with my hip/butt issue I really try to keep my running down to 3 days a week. That plan worked well for me last year and I was able to PR by pacing myself well, but in order to really decrease my time I need more focus.

For this race I’m using the “Run Less, Run Faster” plan. It includes three “quality runs” and two days of of cross training. The quality runs are one tempo run (longer run at a set pace faster than goal but slower than speed work), a speed work run and a long run. Each run has specific pace goals and supposedly, if you follow it, you can meet your time goals.

To qualify for Boston I’d need to run in 3 hours and 35 minutes, or 27 minutes faster than my current fastest. Per my most recent 5k times, the book suggests I can shoot for a 3:45, so that’s my goal. If I can do that, next year’s focus will be a BQ.

Since it was the week right after the triathlon I followed the plan more loosely, only doing 2 of the 3 recommended runs.

Monday: rest day

Tuesday: 45 minutes of yoga. My muscles tend to be tight anyway but extra bad during races, and my nagging hamstring was still nagging, so I was hoping to loosen up a little.

Wednesday: 4.5 miles – usually speed work Wednesday, this week we took to some hills. Luckily, a couple guys offered to push the stroller up a couple of them so I didn’t have to do them all. The steep ones were killer and I had to stop and walk a bit at the top.

The hills are alive
The hills are alive

Thursday: swim 1200 yards. I’m planning to keep swimming over the winter once a week as it is by far my weakest area in triathlons. Hoping I can gain some speed.

Friday run 4 miles (8:28 pace). I cheated on the long run a bit (and will probably for a few weeks) and split it. The last time I tried to jump too much in the milage I ended up with this hamstring issue and I’d really prefer it go away, not get worse. I was supposed to run 13 miles with a goal pace of 9:05. Obviously I didn’t do great following that here.

Saturday: 9 miles (9:01 pace). The second half of my long run. I had planned to run solo but Miles woke up screaming at 6am so I just fed them breakfast and pushed them. I doubted they’d make it the whole way without getting irritated but they did – making this my longest stroller run. I meant to get a picture, but I forgot. Fail.

Sunday: 50 minutes of yoga/swim 1400 yards. I did a ladder working on speed this time. So 1 lap fast/1 slow, 2 laps fast/ 2 slow, 3 fast/3 slow, 4 fast/4slow and back down again, with 400 yard warm up and 200 yard cool down.

Going to Tri

Before the twins arrived, I was a runner. That’s not to say I’m not a runner anymore, but previously I basically ran, and ran and ran some more, with very little cross training.

Then I hurt my back, and my chiropractor recommended amping up the cross training. More specifically, swimming and biking. Bryan bought me a hybrid bike for my birthday last year and I’ve enjoyed the occasional ride, but I’m really not much of swimmer.  In fact, prior to about 6 weeks ago I can count the number of times  I swam for exercise on one hand.

Interestingly, I’m finding that I really enjoy more frequent cross training because it helps me avoid burnout. I look forward to my workouts more now that I’m doing different things. In fact, I’ve even started to enjoy swimming and even swam a whole mile (!) last week. I’ve secretly been doing brick workouts (swim/bike, bike/run etc) once a week for the last several weeks.

So of course, you know what this means.

It’s time to try a sprint triathlon. It’s been on my mind for several weeks and I’ve finally decided I’m going to register.

This particular race consists of

  • .3 mile swim (yes, point three)
  • 12 mile bike ride
  • 5k

I know I won’t place, but I know I can finish. If the contact lenses I ordered show up in enough time I’m going to jump in on the race next Sunday, otherwise I’ll race on August 10 (because you know, being able to see for the whole thing would be nice).

Stay tuned.

On The Mend (Another Injury Update)

Last week I somewhat “graduated” from the chiropractor. Though I’m not completely done, I no longer need the spinal decompression table and visits have decreased significantly from 3x a week to 1x a week with the plan to decrease even further to 1x every 3-4 weeks after a few more adjustments. Slowly the work of keeping up is being taken from him and the responsibility is placed on me to follow the plan of stretches, exercises and incorporating more cross training.

12 weeks post injury and my longest run to date is still only a little over 5 miles. After my broken toe I was back to running 9+ miles 6-8 weeks later. I’m finding myself to be both frustrated at how slow recovery feels (knowing I’ll be lucky to run one or two half marathons this year let alone the 6 I’d hoped for) and hesitant to push too hard for fear of re-injury. A broken toe is a bit harder to re- break (unless I find myself face to face with another fever and late night bathroom trip blocked by a bouncy seat) than a joint is to…displace? re-displace? Whatever.

One of the biggest mistakes I made (though at the time I didn’t realize it) post partum was jumping back into running without consistently working areas like my abs, hips, and glutes. I still have diastasis rectii (split abs) and am not sure if that is something that will ever fully go back to normal. I assumed I’d be able to make a comeback without needing to worry about anything but how many miles I’m logging and at what speed I could run my fastest 5k. I can’t say that I would have avoided the injury altogether – both the chiropractor and I “blame” the weight and effects of a twin pregnancy on my hips and generally small frame.

I’ve reintroduced yoga once a week in attempt to increase my strength and flexibility overall. I’m supposed to stretch my pyriformis after runs and other times throughout the day. I’ve “cut” running from a consistent 5 days per week with occasional cross train to a consistent 3-4 days per week with 1-2 days of cross training (bike, yoga, rollerblading). I’ve been given a set of exercises to help strengthen the left side of my back in order for things to stay as even as possible, for lack of a better word.

I, and other runners too I think, have a hard time thinking outside the running box. Workouts are centered around going for runs, calculating miles and keeping track of pace. It has been a difficult habit for me to break out of and one that I honestly still need to work on. I have been good about incorporating cross training, but sometimes I have to mentally force myself to pull out my yoga mat and not plop the babies in the jogging stroller. I’m consistent about stretching after runs, but not as much at other times. I’m still only intermittently working my abs and if I’m completely honest I can count the number of times I’ve done the shoulder/back exercises on one hand. I can blame lack of time, I can blame the babies, I can blame exhaustion, but really all I am doing is making up excuses. Excuses that will only hurt me in the end. I’m hoping that by putting this out there will begin to hold myself more accountable.

I am no good injured, I need to remember that my body is not the same as it was before the twins and I need to remind myself that in order to stay injury free in the future, I need to be consistent about strengthening other areas.

I’m on the mend, but I could still use a little work.

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