Thursday, July 29, 2010

I Think I'm Back

My calf is well. My fitness is not.  My weekly mileage has been about 35-38 miles for 3 weeks now, and it's time to increase that.  On most of my days off from running, I have either done a spinning class, intense resistance training, or both.  Even so, my fitness is a shell of what it was in March/April.  I run slow and short.  I want to run fast and long.

So I have work to do.

I'm going to bump up to 45 or so miles for the next couple of weeks, and then hopefully start an 18 week marathon training program that peaks at 70 miles per week.  Will that get me to 2:59:59 or less?  I don't know.  And I will re-assess that goal after running a 5k fitness test in the next couple of weeks.  But I will focus on my training and will make choices in other areas of my life that will help me get there.

This spring, my oft repeated trite little motivational quote (is the word I'm looking for "mantra"?) was "Suck it up, buttercup."  This fall, I'm switching over to "Everything counts."  Hopefully this will help me to keep my diet, sleep, rest, recovery, and hydration in check.  Everything counts.  Everything I do will either help me progress toward my goal or it will set me back.  Everything counts.

Let's do this.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Still coming back

I had a great weekend of running compared to the past 6 weeks with 8 miles on Saturday followed by 10 miles on Sunday. The Sunday 10 miler was nice with a strong finish. I was struggling and my calf was tight for the last two miles, but it never hurt. I decided to take Monday off completely which felt really good. My calf was feeling great this morning.

I decided to use the spinning class to sub for a tempo run today. I don't know if I'm quite ready for good hard running just yet. So, I ran over to the gym (about two miles on the route I took, but it can be as short as 1.25 miles) in time for the 5:15 AM spinning class. We did 30 minutes of standing and increasing the resistance followed by 5 minutes of sitting at a hard pace + warm up and cool down. For that 35 minutes, my HR was in the tempo zone. Still, it's not the same as a tempo run, but it will have to do for now. I followed that up with a push workout and a 1.75 mile run home.

I'm still deciding on the 5k fitness test to run in a couple of weeks. That race may actually be the ABS CC versus alumni race. (Though if that happens this year, it looks like I'll have to be the one to pull it together.) From there, I'll assess my goals for the remainder of the year and begin training for Rocket City. Sub three hours may be gone as a goal for this year, but that's okay with me. If sub three is clearly out of reach, I'll probably totally reassess everything and try to determine what is reasonable and then schedule my races around that.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Coming Back Slowly

Oh how I want to run 20 miles right now. And I probably could, but I would definitely regret it.

I did an 8 miler this morning around Athens. It was a great run, and one in which each mile was faster than the previous one. My calf was fine, but it was starting to tighten up during the last half mile or so. I'm still working much harder than I should be to run an 8:00 mile. I really enjoyed the run and can't wait until I'm back up to 70 miles per week.

Knowing that 8 miles just isn't enough exercise for a day, I went for a swim immediately after the run. That also went well. I was able to go 200 yards without stopping. That's a huge improvement over what I've been able to do. It wasn't fast, but it was steady and there was no interruption in the 3 or 5 strokes between breaths rhythm I was in. I'm going to try to keep a couple of weekly swims in my routine. I really enjoy it.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Wednesday Run

I'm going to have to be careful in my comeback because I REALLY want to run about 20 miles right now.

I ran Wednesday morning, and it felt GREAT. There was absolutely no pain or discomfort in the calf. It was sore later in the day, though. My cardiovascular system is NOT conditioned for running just yet. I was working much harder than I should have been to run 7 miles at an 8:23 average pace, but I'll take it.

I didn't run today (though I planned a short 3 miler), but I did do a killer interval spinning workout followed by a "pull" weight session in the gym. I don't enjoy weights, but I do like the results.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Monday's 5 miler didn't exactly go as planned. I ran the first mile very slow, like 10:00. I didn't even notice! The next mile, I was bold and dropped down to about 9:35. Ouch. I actually had to stop and walk, but I never limped. During the 3rd mile, I ran nearer a 9:00 pace, and my leg was very tight. It loosened considerably on the 4th and 5th mile and actually felt fine. The 4th mile was 8:40 or so and the 5th was 8:00. Everything felt great while I was running those last two miles. After the run, though, it was sore all day. I hit the gym really hard yesterday and today. My calf feels much better today and I'll give another try either later today or tomorrow morning.

I'm going to go with the advice I've heard and given others. If it doesn't affect your gait, you can run through it. So far, it isn't affecting my gait.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Last Day Off!

Today is the last day of rest before I try to start running again! Woohoo! I'm very excited to get out in the morning! I hope it all goes well.

My plan is to start with easy miles and keep up the spinning and swimming so that I can get some good high heart rate work done without the impact. I plan to start at about 30-35 miles per week. If that goes well for a couple of weeks, I'll replace one of the spinning sessions with a tempo run. I plan to do a 5k as a fitness test some time during the first week of August (maybe Sunset 5k in Sheffield or Dog Trot in Huntsville). That will give me an idea of how to pace my workouts as I train for the Rocket City Marathon this fall.

While I've been out, I've really tried to avoid losing ground by doing weights, core, spinning/stationary bike, and swimming. I spent over an hour in the pool yesterday! It's a 25 yard lap pool, and I did 25, 50, and 75 yard intervals. I just can't quite last for 100 yards yet. I was pushing really hard, was gasping for air, and nearly puked. But still, it's not the same as busting out a set of hard intervals at the track.

I will say that swimming is humbling! I'd like to keep practicing, though. Who knows, one day I may try a tri.

Friday, July 9, 2010

After This Message...

I've been meaning to do this for a while, and I just haven't done it. I'd like to take this opportunity to talk about Fleet Feet Sports in Huntsville.

When I first started running, runners in the area told me to go to Fleet Feet Sports in Huntsville. That is the single best piece of running advice anyone has ever given me! The staff there was very friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable. They truly take care of their customers. Every time I have been to the store, it has been a great experience.

I was honored when I was selected for the Fleet Feet racing team, sponsored by Nike, for the 2010 season. I didn't write about it here sooner because I wasn't sure it was for real. I was waiting for them to realize how slow I am and that there had been a mistake in the selection process. But now, I've got a spot on the website and a uniform that I've worn, so I'm in for this season!

Seriously, nobody has better customer service and higher quality products and employees than Fleet Feet. Nobody does more to support the local running community than Fleet Feet. I can't imagine buying running gear anywhere else.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Maybe the Sky Isn't Falling

I went to the doctor Wednesday for a check up and I mentioned my calf problem while I was there. The calf is tendinitis and rest, ice, and ibuprofen are the treatment. That was my plan anyway.

My BP was 120/75. Compare that to 157/112 four years ago when I weighed in at 238. Yeah, that's a terrible number, and that number alone may have been the catalyst for my current fitness kick. I still remember the serious look of concern in my doctor's eyes when we discussed my blood pressure. I am thankful that diet and exercise have been successful in getting that number to a healthy range.

I've been terribly worried about my weight since my calf started bothering me. However, my weight was exactly the same as last year's doctor visit, and I had a great fall/winter of races last year. I guess it doesn't really matter that I lost 8 or 9 pounds for the April marathon and gained them back. I'm still right where I was last year as far as weight is concerned. I can have a great fall and winter again and I can drop those pounds again.

I'm still trying to maintain cardio fitness and take advantage of the time off to strengthen my core and tone my upper body. So far, it seems to be working. Who knows, maybe I'll return better than ever once I regain the running specific conditioning on my bones and muscles.