Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Pinteresting my Workouts

As you know I've been without any real running for 4+ weeks annnnd I'm pretty much losing it. Luckily I have a perfectly normal obsession with Pinterest that I used to run, well... pretty much every aspect of my life. I use it to organize my several closets and pack (think the computer program Share used in Clueless), pull ideas for redecorating and recipes, etc. How do I pull this into running? I use it to gather, store, and rate workouts. From running to gym workouts, I collect everything that looks fun or challenging. Pinterest is a great source to find workouts to change up the same old, same old!

If you aren't following me on pinterest already and would like to, you can find me here!. Although I'm told I bombard most people's facebook feeds when I got on my little pinterest sprees. Woops! Sorry I'm not sorry. I digress...

So how have I used pinterest to organize my workouts? I have 2 boards:

"Workouts to Try" and "Workouts that Work" boards! As I find good workouts (or hear about them and create a pin) I load them into Workouts to try. If I'm feeling like I need something fresh to get my out of bed and into the gym, I"ll go on my board and pull one. If I find they are challenging and I like them I move them to "Workouts that Work" if they don't work-- they get deleted!

My Fav Workouts on Pinterest
I've found a number of workouts that I really like and some of them have kept me from having a complete meltdown during my non-running time. Here are a few of the highlights....

1) Biggest bang for your mileage! I call this the Run/Walk Cal scorch. You really can burn 300-400 cals in 30 minutes.Run 7 MPH for one minute then drop down the speed (4 MPH) and ramp up the incline (to 15) and walk for 3 minutes.
Pump up the Workout!:
-While walking try not to hold the bar at all, leaning forward and really burning those glutes
-Pump up the speed! I like to kick both speed settings up. Moving up the walking speed will really start
burning the cals

2) Everyday Booty Kick! If you have ever woken up early on a Saturday morning and turned on TV you'll have noticed Brazilian Booty! Don't want to pay the "3 low payments of $19.99"? Get the workout right here! Add this workout 3-4 days a week (just a few minutes) and you'll be booty poppin!
Pump up the Workout!:
-Add in a 1-minute plank between sets

3) Little Black Dress Toner! Want to get all those girly muscles nice and toned? This workout will do it. BONUS: You're also working a lot of those running support muscles- Tightening the upper arms for better pumping, Calve burns are always a bonus for running, and lunges should be included in every runners workout.
Pump up the Workout!:
-For the lunges, do jump lunges alternating legs to make it a more cardio workout.
-For alternating shoulder raises: Use a step to get a better calf burn.
-Throw in a set of burpees. Why? WHY NOT?
Get the full workout here!

4) Speed Workout Variation Sticks! I try several types of speedwork for my running in attempt to change things up and keep the muscles guessing. If you get stuck in the same type of speedwork you'll hit a plateau.

A way to avoid doing that is by jotting down various running workouts (organized by type if you're so inclined-- Speedwork, tempos, etc) and pulling the stick right when you're ready to go. Remember to put in those "deadly" workouts that you hate. This will force you to get through it without having to dread it all day.

I know... I know... HOW am I going to get to 100 when I can't run? My upcoming July marathon looks like a no-go but I'm busting my butt in PT to get back to good health so I can get right back to it come August. What's next? I DON'T KNOW!!! In attempts to put out positive energy I would like to plan for a marathon in late August/September. So, I need your help! What marathon should I run in August or September? Some ideas were submitted....
E.T. Marathon
Leading Ladies
PA Grand Canyon Marathon
Other ideas?????

Weigh in- I'd love to hear more ideas. Also... send my knee any spare good mojo you have! :)
"Run to Win" -Meb

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Running (sort of) in Wales!

Pip pip cheerio and alllllll that hob nobbery... from Cardiff, Wales! I'm spending the week doing what finance people do at this week of the year- quarter close! Good times. This is my first time to Wales and I'm pleasantly surprised at how cool it is! It's a small city full of life and I love when the old meets the knew (people, buildings, streets sites, etc) in these kinds of places. Most of all.. I LOVE the FOOD!!! I've had an affair with an entire loaf of potato and rosemary bread for dinner... twice. And each morning I jump out of bed knowing that (once my workout is complete) I'll be able to go down for fresh croissants, brie and fruits. I'm on a serious carbo-load diet for...

... well nothing! Because I'm not running! But you know what? I really don't care. I justify it by telling myself that the more I eat the things I love, the less stressed I am, and less stress leads to less fat retention. It's a fact- look it up! And if you find evidence refuting it, don't tell me or we won't be friends. 

Running Update!
I snuck in 3 sessions of PT before I left for Cardiff. I've been assigned a number of exercises to do while I'm here and I've stuck to it. For those interested in the types of exercises that help an injury like IT band friction syndrome, they are all about stretching and strengthening the inner (mostly) and outer thighs but NOT the quad! Noted...
  • Tensor stretch- a stranding sideway stretch to get the IT band to loostened up
  • Hip adduction Squeeze- inner thigh strengthening either done on a the (good girl) machine or (hotel style) squeezing a pillow between your knees.
  • Hip adduction with resistance band- working the same as above
  • Hip abduction- strengthening exercise to work the outer thigh. These weren't assigned to me but I've done them either with the (bad girl) machine or using the resistance band. 
I'm limited to a "mile- maybe 2" depending on how I feel. I just have to run while I'm here because 1) It's a new country to run in and 2) I can't go much longer on the elliptical! Not to mention, I have some GREAT running views...

I've been running by the "minutes," allowing myself a run as long as I get my exercises all done the day before. I've started with 25 minutes and added a few minutes each day until my kneed hurts then supplement my workout with the elliptical and other gym exercises. I've gotten up to 35 minutes before it starts to hurt. The good news? My hotel has a hot tub! That will certainly help in this rehab process. 

I feel good with the progress made so far. Its a slow process (especially while traveling this week) but my Dr really has me feeling positive about the near future. I'll keep you all posted on the progress but for now I'll leave you with this...

"Run to Win" -Meb

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

If it ain't Broke Don't... Buy Fancy New Shoes?

At this point it's been 17 days and 20 hours since I've last been able to really run... but who's keeping count? I finally got diagnosed at a nearby Orthopedic and Sports Medicine physicians office. If you're friends with me on "The Book" you may have seen this...
I have (in my medical opinion) what looks like a tiny alien in my knee. From the eyes of a license Dr. it's severe Illiotiabol band friction syndrome. Specifically, it's caused a "Baker's cyst" and fluid on the knee with a small edema in the band. Any IT band issues are a very real fear in runners because once you have an issue, it seems to pop up all the time. This is not my knee but it looks very similar to mine. You can see Marvin the Martian just hanging out in there.

How did this happen?
As anybody would, my Dr went to "over use" citing the 81 marathons. However, he also pointed out that I have ZERO cartilage damage in both knees and they actually look great. This is simply a tightness of muscles (from lack of stretching) that was set off by a few bad stars aligning: New shoes that changed my form and a very sloped road in the Hatfield McCoy Marathon.

There is something I have to get off my chest. I am... an over-pronator. Don't judge me! All this time I've thought I had to change, conform, be more like other runners that have ideal sloping arches and ankles that align with the knee and the hips. I've carried this secret shame my whole life and recently tried to change by buying a stability shoe... to my detriment. I told the Doc about my confliction. His advice? Go back to minimalist shoes. Run the way your body wants to. Essentially, if it isn't broke don't fix it! 

He went on to point out that each runner's alignment is different and running with a high arch and lined up ankles may NOT be the best thing for ME. He also told me that the fastest runners are the ones that run like me! Overpronation means we use our big toe to push off and it's the strongest part of the foot to use. Heck yeah! So all you overpronators- say it loud and say it proud: "I HAVE FLAT FEET AND I LIKE IT, LIKE IT, YES I DO!"

What's Next...
I complained about the "Herpes of running injuries" to my Doc. After he decided NOT to remove me from the facility he told me that TRULY it wasn't. I'll trust him-- for the sheer fact that he's telling me what I want to hear-- but he says with proper therapy and then preventative measures I can keep it gone forever. What must I do? It's bad... like REALLY REALLY bad. Please, if you're a runner with a queezey stomach, please just skip to the next section...

  • STOP Running for THREE more WEEKS! Oooooh no he didn't! I have to admit, the past three weeks have been helpful. My knee doesn't feel like it's popping out of place anymore. It's a challenge mentally. I feel like I'm losing my speed and endurance. In this time I can bike, swim, elipticize, etc. 
  • Stretching!!! NOOOOOO! I hate stretching more than anything. It takes a lot of time. I'm not good at it and I've never needed it... until now. Let's face it chaps, the old body just isn't springing back the way it used it. 
  • Physical Therapy. OH THE HUMANITY! Ok this one may not be so bad. I have my first appt today, so I'll let you know how that goes. 
  • Minimalist Shoes! YAY I like this one. Getting back to my old alignment, although it doesn't help that I cannot run yet. 
He said 2-3 weeks, but unfortunately I'll be in Cardiff, Wales next week so no PT for me. I guess it's the elliptical for me for a few more weeks... pray for the soles of the people that have to see me every day. There is no way they're all making it out of this alive. 

"Run to Win" -Meb

Friday, June 14, 2013

The first 80 marathons were ok, but 81...

At some point in life I had to realize that although my birthday cake may still says "21" my body doesn't... that day was this past weekend. My 81st marathons was looking to be a hopeful one. I won a cool new toy as a door prize at the Hatfield-McCoy skit on marathon eve...

Hanging with my marathon maniac buddies from all over! My favorite Floridians (sans Greg G.), my (now) DC buddies, and my Fellow Flower Chicks that I love to run with... as well as many, many more. Meeting some new friends in person- Danielle is on her way to 50 states and kicking butt while doing it. So happy to have finally met her in person!
Florida Friends ... plus a few others

The Start and the Finish...
I felt fantastic at the start of the race. Getting into a little groove on the rolling hills of the Hatfield McCoy Marathon. I even got that nervous "can I hold this???" panic I haven't gotten in about 4 years. I reminded myself that this is my distance and I KNOW the marathon. I also reminded myself of all the speed work I've been doing and how much it's about to kick some @$$ on this course.

That's when this little guy joined me. We found him on the bridge that sways when a lot of people are on it. He got a little scared of all the movement and we picked him up and carried him to safety. Only to reward us all by running along side... for about 10 miles. Seriously, tiny legs but a big heart (reminds me of somebody else I know...). Anyways I thought this was Buddy's (that's what I named him) way of telling me "you can do it!!!"

I was busting out some 8:00 splits and feeling like myself again. Appreciating all that the course had to offer (this is still one of my absolute favorite marathons!) And then IT happened... It started with a little twinge of pain in my left knee. I thought "ah just a little tightness... it will work itself out." Then it started hurting more so I stopped to stretch it only for it to start hurting again in a half mile. This continued until about mile 20 when I just couldn't take it anymore. I stopped to stretch/rub the knee (PS. Rubbing a knee is not at all helpful). I was definitely frustrated and even Buddy left me in the dust!

Luckily Shannon and AJ weren't too far behind and caught up. They ran/walked the rest of the 5 miles we had left with me. This is why the Maniacs are such a tight group-- we work together to make sure everybody gets to the finish line! 

Post Race
I iced and stretched as much as possible. Even though it hurt, I couldn't miss a chance to dance it out as we cheered in the rest of the maniacs. This is me demonstrating "The Scoot" (my best move) to Lori and Mr. Hatfield.

So what's the status on the knee? I haven't ran ALL week and I'm going just a littttttle stir crazy! It's been the eliptical/pool/bike for me. :( The day after it hurt like hell but it's getting stronger. No idea what's wrong with it exactly- it pops out of place and clicks a lot, but hey, at least it doesn't hurt as much. I've been doing a number of strengthening exercises to do around the IT band and knee. Positive thoughts only so this is GOING to work and I WILL be running next week with NO pain! Or else... 
That's all for now. Race ratings coming up soon!!!!

"Run to Win" -Meb

Friday, May 24, 2013

Speedwork Works and Memorial Weekend Running!

Say what????
You get faster... (wait for it) by training faster. Gather the pieces of your mind up off the ground. You would be surprised by the number of people that complain "I'm just not getting any faster" or "I hit a wall in my marathon time" then when I ask what speedwork they do, they side-head-tilt Scooby me. Hhhhh? Speedwork? Why would somebody need this? Well I figure the name in itself is enough to explain, but hey-- let's be blunt here...

Why Speedwork Helps: (Yeah there are articles that tell you day-by-day what to do and why it works. But, take it from a runner that has tried just about every "school" of running there is)...
1) Muscle Memory- You get your legs turning over at (around) the same speeds every time you run. To build gears, you need to get them used to moving faster and holding through the pain (more information on that in this article). Speaking of pain...

2) Blocking the Pain- I honestly believe that every runner goes out and experiences the same (relative) amount of pain. The difference is, runners are used to blocking it out. Half of training is (unknowingly) learning to block out what hurts. Don't believe me? The next time you're in a race and hurting-- just general soreness, not injuries-- kick it up. Seriously, speed up 10-15 seconds per mile and hold. It won't hurt ANY more than it already did. And I guarantee slowing down 10-15 seconds per mile won't hurt any less. So next time, kick it up and your body may respond in a surprising way!

3) Confidence- Holding faster paces for substantial training runs-- be it track sessions or tempo runs-- will leave you feeling much more confident when you slow down a bit at race time.

Speeding it Up...
Now the article referenced above tells you how to "ease" into speedwork. That's all well and good, but we all know I don't ease into anything. The best feeling in the world is walking (because you no longer CAN run) away from a speedwork session feeling incredibly sore and worn out. You've gone as hard as you could for as long as you could that day and you have pushed your threshold just a little bit more!

Yesterday I did my 3:20 yassos x 5!!! That's my speedwork of choice! Why? It's scheduled (1 time a week, starting at 3-4 yassos and moving up one every week), it's easy to follow and understand, you can do them anywhere (with a distance calc watch, a track, or a death-mill), it's goal oriented (3m 20s intervals for a 3h 20m marathon), and it works. Preach!!! Below is Bart Yasso. Remember his face-- he'll be the one you're cursing at around the 8-interval week.
Meet Bart...you'll curse him later
For the past few weeks I've struggled mentally though these. I'm not too surprised since I'm NOWHERE near running a 3h 20m marathon right now. But hey! B***s to the walls, right? To supplement my speedy, speedwork I've done at least one tempo run and another (semi) tempo run as part of my weekly routine. Every time I go out, I can run faster for a longer period of time and I'm getting back to my comfort zone doing it. Word.
Completely "borrowed" for the betterrment of runners :)
It also helps to shed some of the extra winter time lbs. So far I've lost 6 lbs-- over about 6-7 weeks. Healthy but very much needed. I'm running lighter and faster and feeling much better! And I'm 4 lbs off my best racing weight. #sexy-fide.

Memorial Weekend Plan!
What do people do on memorial day weekend? Drinking? Pool time? Baseball games? Tim McGraw concert? Well yeah all of those will happen. But my goal is to do 3 days of 10+ mile runs. Why? 1) I have a marathon in 2 weeks and need to get some high mileage in. 2) I like to give myself random goals just to do it and 3) All of those other things are going to cost me calories and I need to work them off! Woohoo- wish me luck! Today it's an easy workout with some cross training to get ready for my long weekend.

One more note- The "Race Ratings" page (at the top) is up and running! Check it out for the race ratings (2) since this blog started (a month ago). More to be added in no time!

Happy Memorial Day Weekend! What races are you using to celebrate?

"Run to Win" -Meb

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Marathons... Better than a Root Canal!

Warning: The following message is rated P for Painful tooth extraction and contains self-medicating NSAID abuse. 

I've heard a lot of comments from non runners about how "crazy" I am for all my running. The first time I tell them about my marathoning (and the many, many subsequent times I talk about running in general), they make that 'I just smelled a crop duster' face and say things like "How can you enjoy it???" As if I told them I like to spend my weekends torturing bunnies and chewing on light bulbs. Well this weekend I was able to personally prove that the old cliche "I'd rather have a root canal than..." does not apply to marathon running.

I arrived in NY very late Friday night with a slight tooth ache. I took a handful of ibuprophen (note: Steph's 100 marathon challenge does not promote self medicating behavior... unless you want to share) and went to bed.  In the morning I had a terrible ache in my mouth. My usual ibu/wine combo wasn't even strong enough to kick it. Luckily our local dentist was willing to come in on a weekend and take an X-Ray. As it turns out, that re-worked root canal I had paid an obscene amount of money for a few years ago, was failing. #Awesome. I was given an antibiotic and codeine (SWEET!) in hopes to relieve the pain and bring down the swelling until I could return to OH/KY and have somebody work on it. No such luck... and the antibiotics were making me loopy on top of it.

The night before I was supposed to run the marathon I was up every hour in pain. When I awoke I was exhausted and in more pain than ever. 1,12-hour aleeve, 12 ibuprophen, 2 codeine pills, and 2 tylenol PM and I wasn't able to sleep and was still in a bad way. I made the choice to go back to the dentist and get my tooth extracted rather than fight the good fight... hey! I live in KY, I'm not expected to have all my teeth! 

Rotary Run 5 Miler
...Of course not before racing! We happen to live right on the course of a 5-mile race that was going on that morning. Convenient? I think so! I figured I wouldn't be able to run after the tooth extraction, so I ran down the street and jumped in the Rotary Run 5-mile and won it :) More importantly- I was able to wear my FLOWER!!! That's right, my "Rock Star" flower came in this week! (read more about flowers here). I had won this race in the past, but that was in my prime-- and without a pharmacy in my stomach. 

The first mile has a good downhill portion and the drugs were making me quite trippy-- so I thought going off at a 6:50 was a brilliant idea. I would pay for it later on the uphill. I was able to keep it to 7:28's on a relatively hill course. Not great, but good enough for a W. It also gave me a little practice in short distance running, which (if you read my last post) is something I've been working on, while getting my marathon training in. Yay! 

After the 5-mile race I ran home, showered, and then went outside to cheer on the 5K runners as they went by... then went to get my tooth removed from my mouth. Cody bear and I cheering on the runners ----> 

So I wasn't able to run a marathon this weekend, but there were good point to be focused on...
  • MB was able to catch up a little more in our marathon count. She finished marathon #72 :)
  • Last week I hit 6 lbs in my weight loss progress and now I'm 6 lbs and one tooth lighter!!!
  • I was able to wear my Rock Star flower for the first time
  • I won a race!
All great points if I do say so myself!!! 

While traveling in CT on Monday and Tuesday I was able to get one solid run in and one fantastic "hotel" workout in! More on that later this week!

I'm back from the northeast and ready to get my speed on! Yassos today!
"Run to Win" -Meb

Friday, May 17, 2013

Oh a marathon this weekend? Why not... and Training for Two!

Marathon this Weekend? 
I found out yesterday that I have to be in Hartford early next week for work. Being that it's only an hour and a half from Crazy Lady (my mother and other half of my "mother/daughter first 50 state marathon awesome team"... we need to work on that name) I let her know I would be close by and could visit. What do normal families say when they hear about the sudden return of the prodigal daughter? Here are the options...

Option 1: I will start baking the cookies now!
Option 2: Oh we can go visit Grandma!
Option 3: Oh good you can come run a marathon in Vermont!
Option 4: It's so good to have you home... just relax pool side!

... guess which one my family picks? Let me tell you know, there aren't any cookies coming my way anytime soon and my Grandma is far too busy and popular to try and get anybody squeezed in her schedule last minute. Soooo off to the races I guess. What does that mean? We have a sudden addition to the race schedule: The Shires of Vermont Marathon. Haven't heard of it? Either have I! Let's just say the 3rd female came in just under 4 hours last year. Either this is hilly hilly hilly or it's tiny tiny tiny. My guess is a little bit of both. Are you running this race? Know anybody that is?

More to come on the race...

Training for Two...
No, I'm not gracing the world with a miniature me-- not that you can get much smaller. Training for 2 types of races. I always run into trouble here, but I can't help but take on a challenge. We have a 5K here at work every year. Now I will run marathons and 50-milers and even attempts at 100 miles... in trails, up hills, doesn't matter. But 5Ks??? ARE THE DEVIL. Seriously... the devil. That God awful feeling that your lungs are going to collapse- I just can't do it! Why do I do it then? 1) it's free and 2) people around here know me as "the runner." How can I live up to my name if I'm going to opt out of a running event on our work campus?

If you have done speed training for races before you realize that speedwork for marathons and speedwork for 5Ks are 2 entirely different beasts. Marathons speedwork usually entails holding 7 min/mile pace (at least for me right now) for a half mile or a mile at a time with jogging breaks... but for a considerable distance. Trying to get faster for 5Ks means going much faster for 400m or so.

When you start edging toward the faster end of your marathon spectrum, as a runner, you'll start to realize your pace for any race is about the same. It's a threshold and you are maxing out, my friend. So that I'm not crossing the line at an 8 min/mile pace, I decided to up my Yasso's and try to train for both! I pushed them from a 7:00 pace down to a 6:20 and held on for dear life! After about 4 my legs were SCREAMING. I went to bed last night in more pain than I have after any marathon. Please note, I used to do Yassos at this pace all the time-- clearly somebody has slowed down!

In an attempt to stay positive about my training (at least in word) I'm going to stop my thoughts here. Let's just say-- I'm going to need an ice bath or two before this marathon that I didn't prepare for.

Easy running today and tomorrow... race day on Sunday! Woohoo!

"Run to Win" -Meb