Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Running Wild: Weekly Wrap-up

Total Miles Run: 9.7

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: Strength at the gym

Warm-up, then:
*3 sets of 15 10# wall balls
/*3 sets of 10 pull-ups w/ a band
\*3 sets of 10 50# single leg deadlifts
*3 sets of 8 110# squat rows
*3 sets of 10 25# torso twists on the freemotion
*lots of jumpropes. I tried to do some double unders but could not do a single one! UGH!
*3 sets of 10 stability ball rollouts

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: Crossfit

This was a trial class at a box in my neighborhood. I went with my friend Sarah and we're having fun checking out boxes together before deciding which one to join! This one was a different experience from our first one, and I definitely enjoyed it, overall. I liked that we were a part of a very small basics class, and that we were given some empty barbells to throw around a bit. 

We warmed up with a 500m row, then 2 rounds of: bear crawl, crab walk, ring push-ups, burpees and hollow hold planks (I think that is what they were called?). Then we moved on to working on different squats. We did air squats, back squats, front squats and overhead squats. Not gonna lie, I am a decent squatter ifIdosaysomyself. I have done A LOT of squats over the past several months so I hope that my form is decent by now! At one point I got to demonstrate to the group how to do an overhead squat, and again, not gonna lie, I kind of felt like a badass.

THEN it was time for the WOD. I am not sure if this is common knowledge, but the killer WODS in crossfit? Those are just part of the work you do in a class! The WOD was a 10 minute AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) of: 20 single unders (jump ropes, with the rope passing under your feet once for each jump), 10 air squats, and 5 burpees. Just keep repeating that as many times as you can in 10 minutes. I did 8 full rounds plus 20 jumpropes. 

And then I almost died. 

But I didn't, and it was awesome! 

Friday: 4.2 mile run

This was my first run post-Ragnar and it went swimmingly. I made a last-minute decision to run at Lincoln Park, which is mostly shaded and on trails, which was a pretty smart move. It was hot out and the shade helped a lot. There were some hills, big and small, but overall I felt great! 

Saturday: Strength at the gym

I wasn't too excited to workout when I headed to the gym, but here's what I came up with:

*10 minutes on the rower
/*3 sets of 10 KB swings
\*3 sets of 10 KB sumo squats
*3 sets of 8 medicine ball push-ups
*1 set of 8 2-handed pistol squats (one legged squat, holding on to a bar above)
*2 sets of 8 1-handed pistol squats
*3 sets of 10 exercises on the ab bench. Leg raises and hip raises.

Sunday: 5.5 mile run

I met Michael at Discovery Park for two loops on the trails. It was a fantastic run, and we had time to reminisce about Ragnar, as well as chat about all sorts of other things. We had a great time. I missed that trail! 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Ragnar Northwest Passage, Post #2

Around 5:00pm or so on Friday evening, in the heat of the day, runner #1, Stephanie, set out on her second Ragnar leg. It was hot, crazy hot, and Stephanie had a very hilly leg to run. She was glad to hand off to Heather, who battled through her almost 4 miles before handing off to me. I prepared for the heat by, well, pretending it wasn't so bad. Heather ran in to the exchange and I was off at about 6:30pm.

Stephanie getting ready to run her 2nd leg.

My second leg was by far the most beautiful, but I felt just awful. I was super excited that my team mates would be able to support me on this leg by stopping to cheer and give me water, so I informed Michael of my semi-complicated hydration requests before I headed out for my run. It quickly became obvious to me that my stomach wasn't my friend and I spent the entire leg praying for a porta potty to magically appear. Ragnar rules state that if you are caught squatting in the bushes out on the course you get thrown out of the race, so I didn't risk it. I am curious how other runners dealt with this, but, well, it was a little brutal to run 6.7 miles when you need to make a pit stop. My team stopped everywhere I asked them to, like the awesome team mates they are, but I ended up not wanting anything to drink or eat during the run.

My second leg.

Besides feeling bad, it was a crazy gorgeous leg. I saw a ton of animals, including horses and cows and alpacas and bees. The shaved alpacas were my favorites, they just watched me as I plodded along the rode. The view was spectacular, with mountains off in the distance. 

Luckily it didn't feel that hot out, despite it being 72*. The sun was low enough that the road was shaded for the most part. The last bit of the leg was up a hill and over a bridge and then I handed off to Michelle.

Handing off to Michelle at the end of my second leg.

15 miles done! The most I had ever run in one day!

The next exchange was at what appeared to be a fruit and vegetable stand, where we sent off Kathleen for her 8 mile leg.

Michelle handing off to Kathleen.

The next exchange was right when the sun had gone down and we sent Michael off to run in the dark. It was hard to cheer for him along his leg, he was on the side of a two lane highway and we couldn't tell when he was coming! At one point Michelle and I were waiting on the side of the road and when we saw someone approach I said "go runner!" and Michelle said "Michael?" and when he answered we knew it was him, otherwise we would have missed him!

Michael all lit up and ready to hit his night leg!

My favorite picture of the entire race: Kathleen, me, Heather and Stephanie 
right after Kathleen finished her second run. She was blissful!

The next big exchange was #18, at La Conner High School. We didn't stay long, just long enough to pick Michael up and see van #2's runner off. It was about 10pm by this point. We had to drive to the next major exchange, at Oak Harbor High School, to sleep. It was a little brutal to have to drive so far when we were tired. We drove over Deception Pass and saw where the race course would wind through that part of Whidbey Island. I couldn't imagine having to run through it in the black of the night! 

When we got to the high school Kathleen, Michael and I headed inside to set up our sleeping bags in the cafeteria. Stephanie, Heather and Michelle stayed in the van to sleep. I jumped at the chance to shower at the high school before crawling in to my sleeping bag. It was a pretty awful shower, extremely hot water that only stayed on when you held in the button. But it cleaned me off, then I hit the floor of the cafeteria just after midnight. 

At 1:30am the lights in part of the cafeteria came on, which didn't help the already tenuous sleep situation. Runners were coming in and out all night, and while everyone was as quiet as they could be, it's still a lot of noise and commotion. Our wake-up call was around 3:30am. I was amazed how many people were packed in to the room when we got up considering how empty the room was when we laid down!  

We headed outside and Stephanie was completely pumped and ready to run, it was amazing, I had no idea where she gathered the energy! Runner #12 came running in, I am guessing around 4:30am or so, then Stephanie was off in to the dark. We stopped to quietly cheer a couple a couple of times while she hammered out her 3 mile leg. She passed off to Heather for her 3 mile leg, then it was time for me to bust out 2.4 miles. The sun had come up by the time I ran and I thought it would be a super speedy run . . . but it was so hilly! I ran my booty off and finished with a sub-9:00 min/mile pace, which was amazing considering I had to walk up some of the hills.

My third leg (hardee har har). 


Heather was done!

I handed off to Michelle who had a very hard and very hilly 8 miles to do. It was a gorgeous and overcast morning and some of the final stretches of van #1's runs were along the water.

Kathleen and I hanging out on Whidbey Island waiting for Michelle to run by!

I was so impressed with Michelle that morning, she finished her leg strong! We said goodbye to her at that point because her family was there to whisk her away for the rest of the weekend. Kathleen took off for her last leg, and then she passed off to Michael, who I had a bit of a competition with, as his last leg was also 2.4 miles. We finished our legs less than 10 seconds apart!

I don't know what team this was with a futon attached to their van 
at exchange 30, but it cracked me up!

We passed off for the last time to van #2 at Coupeville High School and then drove down to Langley to find some breakfast. Luckily the Braeburn in Langely had immediate seating out on their patio. 

I inhaled the "Ragnar Hash". Healthy, filling, and delicious!

After breakfast we drove over to the Island County Fairgrounds, which was where the finish line was! I don't recall exactly when we got over there, my guess is around 11:00-ish. I remember thinking we had three hours to wait for our runner to come in, but he ended up arriving ahead of schedule, at around 1:30. With our free time we wandered around a bit, ate a little, and Michael and I set up our sleeping bags inside a soccer goal near our van and tried to sleep.

Stephanie showing off her checked boxes at the finish line!

Michael showing off his checked boxes at the finish line.

When it was almost time for our runner to come in when stood out on the sidewalk ahead of the finish line cheering everyone in and watching for our runner. When he came up the sidewalk we all ran up along side and crossed under the Ragnar arch! It was an amazing feeling to be done!

Team Sinister Muffin People!

After the finish we got our bottle opener medals, two free pizzas, and our picture take as a team (minus Michelle, sadly). We made our way back to van #2's van to enjoy our beer and pizza (the bottle openers came in handy immediately!) and then got ready to head home. We had to drop Stephanie off to meet her family before driving down to the ferry to get back to the mainland. Luckily the wait in the ferry line wasn't as long as we thought it would be, and the ride across to Mukilteo was short and gorgeous . . . and full of other Ragnar runners!

The bottle opener medal.

Matt and the girls decided to spend the weekend in Yakima while I was gone, so they weren't home when I got home, and didn't get back until the next evening. It was nice to have some time to lay around and reminisce, but I missed them!

I can not wait to run Ragnar again next year and already have lots of ideas on how to build on this year's experience. I would definitely love to run with this team again, but as I was brought in at the last minute when a regular runner dropped out . . . I'm not sure there would be room for me next year! So many friends have expressed interest in running I am seriously considering setting up a team for 2014. Let me know if you're up for it!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Ragnar Northwest Passage, Post #1

I honestly don't even know where to begin. Running Ragnar Northwest Passage was even better than I imagined it would be. I'm seriously in a post-Ragnar let-down now!

So, let's see. I'll start with packing. I started planning my packing right after I found out I was doing Ragnar, so about two weeks out. I consulted many different blog posts about packing for a relay (yes, I'm a little Type A sometimes) and I think the best tip I gleaned was this one: pack three completely separate running outfits, one outfit in each in a gallon sized ziploc bag. Not only did it help me stay organized, it helped me dress quickly (okay, sorta quickly) and gave me a place to stuff my gross clothes after I ran. 

I chose to take (roughly running down the columns of gear, L-R): two pairs of running shoes, three bags of running clothes (two bags had my cw-x capris in addition to my running shorts), sweat pants, underwear, regular bra, t-shirt, kindle fire, ziploc bag of things like: face wipes, hand wipes, leukotape, sunscreen, ibuprofen, arnica, ear plugs, blister cream (spoiler alert: it didn't work), tums, body glide . . . basically a running-related first-aid kit, ziploc bag of bathroom essentials like: face and body wash, shampoo, conditioner, face lotion, deodorant, toothbrush and toothpaste, two headbands, several hair ties, then flip-flops for the shower, towel and washcloth, pro-compression socks, arm sleeves, snack bars, The Stick, shower pills (packets of anti-bacterial body wipes), 2 cow bells, reflective vest, bag-o-gels, chews and nuun. Not pictured: Birkenstocks, sleeping bag, thermarest, pillow, sweatshirt, phone charger, Garmin, Road ID. 

So what was essential? All of the running clothes. I liked having options and ended up not wearing only one thing (a pair of capris). Both of the pairs of running shoes I think were essential, but not everyone in my van had two pairs and they were fine. The bags of first-aid type things and all of the bathroom stuff were essential to me, but I was one of only two people in my van who showered during the relay. The shower was a MUST for me, by the way, and I chose to hit the showers when all of my team mates were hitting their sleeping bags on Friday night. I hate being dirty. I drank a lot of the nuun. The shower pills were awesome for de-stinking immediately post-run. Vest was a must to even run Ragnar. Cowbells, duh. My beloved Birkenstocks-- they were what I wore when I wasn't running. LOVE them. Having things in ziploc bags was a must. 

What do I wish I had brought? Not much, other than something "nicer" to wear at the finish line. I walked around the whole time in gray sweatpants and my new gray Ragnar sweatshirt and looked like a big gray slob. 

On Thursday night, after I crammed all of that stuff in to my backpack and set it by the door, I showered and went to bed. At 8:30pm. I had to be up at 3:30, which ended up being fine, because I was unable to sleep after about 2:30am. I was too excited! My team mates came around to pick me up in the big white van just after 4:00am and we drove up to Blaine for our 6:30am start time.

The starting line was exciting but pretty toned down compared to, well, the rest of the run! We got our bibs and flags and all of the swag, then attended a safety-briefing before being set loose. Our team missed their 6:30 start time and so we sent Stephanie, runner #1, off at 6:45. I can't speak to all of the start lines, but, ours was pretty toned down. It was early and there weren't a ton of people there. I would say about 30 or so teams started with ours. 

At the start with van #1. 
L-R: Michael, Michelle, Heather, Kathleen, me and Stephanie

Going in to Ragnar I only knew Michael and Kathleen. Michael has been a running buddy for well over a year, and Kathleen I have known from intervals class for just as long. Stephanie, Michelle and Heather all work together, but none of them knew Michael and I. Our common bond was Kathleen, who used to work with the other girls. Luckily we all got along well made a great team! The best trait to have if you're going to do a relay race? To be laid back and able to go with the flow. As I learned from my daughter's kindergarten teacher, you have to be able to say "oh, well!" As in: "I have to sleep on this cafeteria floor?! Oh well!" "I don't get van support on this leg?! Oh well!" or "I have use another f%^&in' porta potty?! Oh well!"

So, back to the race.

Once Stephanie was off, the rest of us jumped in the van to head down the course to cheer her on! In a relay, your runner takes off on his/her leg and the van drives ahead a couple of miles or so (depends on where the runner wants you to stop and cheer or give them water) and then parks to wait. So, we all jumped out and used the first stop to decorate our van windows a little and cheer on not only our runner, but every runner who went past. After that we drove ahead a little, stopped, cheered, then drove to the exchange. That was pretty much how it worked for almost every leg of every runner.

Stephanie, on the far right in dark blue, ready to kill her first leg.

Runner #2 for our team was Heather, she passed off to me each time as I was runner #3.  

Heather just passed the baton (aka the slap bracelet) to me.
Clearly I had some enthusiasm about my first leg! 

I was so nervous and excited. My first leg was my longest. At the end it showed on my Garmin as 8.26 miles. I knew going in it would be very hilly and have an overall elevation gain, but I didn't find out until the last minute that there was no van support on this leg! The reason was there was apparently no safe places for the vans to pull over and let teammates out to come support, but honestly, I thought there were a lot of places the van could have stopped. And lots of other teams did end up stopping! I was glad mine didn't, though, because they could have gotten a strike for it (In Ragnar it's three strikes and you're out!). 

The run started out on a two lane back road in the country. The whole time we were running on the side of the road. It then turned and went down a much busier two lane highway for four miles. This part wasn't awful, but it wasn't great. Lots of big trucks would blow by and I put my head down, but luckily none of them kicked up a lot of dirt or anything. Ragnar had two water stations set up on the leg because we couldn't use van support. I appreciated the water and took a gel around mile 5. Along the highway there was basically nothing interesting, but the fields and trees were pretty. We turned south on Olson Road, and it was a bit more interesting. There were lots of animals (including what appeared to be a pen of geese?) and a handful of very sketchy looking mobile homes. 

And the hills. Oh, the hills! Pretty much we were rolling up and down the whole way. Nothing too steep, but they were long and rolling. I passed a few people and was passed by a few people. My legs were never had many people running. I could often run for a 1/2 mile or more without being near another person. Maybe starting so early in the morning meant that it wasn't as crowded on those legs? It was tough because I thought it would be a little more like a traditional race in that there would be a lot of us on the road at a time, but it was definitely much more lonely than that. 

I SO wish this looked as huge as it felt! This was about 2/3 of the way in to my first leg. 

I ran in to the city of Ferndale just before the end of the leg and was then running on sidewalks. The road went downhill a bit before making a turn north and to the exchange. There were a lot of people at the exchange so I got really excited to hear all of the cheers for the runners! I was waving my arms and yelling like a lunatic, it was so much fun. I passed off to Michelle, runner #4, and headed over to the van for water. 

Usually after a run that long I would take a lot of time to stretch, roll, re-fuel properly, shower, all of it. When you're at Ragnar you get a little creative. I had to hop right in the van so we could take off and cheer on Michelle! At the next exchange I used a shower pill (which is basically a large, thick anti-bacterial baby wipe) which felt good. I changed my shirt, left on my sports bra, but slipped out of my capris and put on the extra running shorts I had in my ziploc. Was tricky maneuvering in the van, but it worked. I stretched a little and passed The Stick over my legs a few times and called it good. 

Michelle ran her shortest leg of her three, then it was time for Kathleen, runner #5 to head out. Her first leg was almost 6 miles and it was starting to get pretty warm out by that point. Michael was our last runner to go. He ran in to Bellingham as the first major exchange, where van #1 hands off to van #2, was at Bellingham high school.

At the exchange, we got to see these guys (minus one, who was runner #7 and already out there when we took this picture):

Van #1 and Van #2, together for a moment!

At this exchange we also got to purchase Ragnar gear and grab some free stuff before we piled back in the van and headed to lunch. Kathleen knew of the perfect lunch spot, which was Avenue Bread in downtown Bellingham. Oh my, best lunch ever. Then again, isn't every meal after a hard run the best ever? I tried not to embarrass myself by eating everything in sight . . . but I did get a delicious carrot cake cookie to go along with my meal. No photo, as I basically inhaled the whole thing. 

After lunch we drove to the next major exchange, at Burlington High School, where van #2 would end their first set of legs and we would start running again. When we got there we mostly tried to rest in the van and on the grass and hung out a bit until we got the call that runner #12 was on his way in to the exchange. This part was a little boring, I didn't really want to rest, I wasn't THAT tired, but I knew I needed the energy to run my next leg later in the day. Before we knew it, we got the call from van #2 that runner #12 was heading in to the exchange, so we got all ready to go again!

Heather and I trying to look tough at Exchange 12. 

Part 2 coming soon . . . .

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Running Wild: Weekly Wrap-up

Total Miles Run: 21

Whoops. I totally forgot to post about last week's workouts. I will be getting my Ragnar Re-cap up soon (hopefully I will get some photos to go with all of those words!).

Monday: Strength Training

Barbell complex: back squats, bent-over rows, push-presses and lunges. Three sets of 10 each with 45# barbell and two sets with 55# barbell.

Tuesday: 3.6 Miles Run

Early morning run with Kelly

Wednesday: 2 Mile Walk

I took Eloise and our dog, Heidi, to Lincoln Park for a nice walk! 

Thursday: Rest

Friday: 15 Miles Run

My first two legs at Ragnar! 

Saturday: 2.4 Miles Run

My last leg at Ragnar! 

Sunday: Rest

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Bags Are Packed, I'm Ready To Go

. . . . I'm leaving, in a Ragnar van, don't know when I'll be back again . . . 

That song was stuck in my head, sorry if it's stuck in yours now, too!

My team has a very very VERY early Friday morning departure for Blaine, WA for our 6:30 am start time. Brutal. The team said it's the earliest start time they have ever had.
I am now runner #3. Last time I wrote about Ragnar I was runner #2 (after briefly holding a spot as runner #1) and my legs are: 8.2 miles, 6.7 miles and 2.4 miles. Overall it's about 4 more miles than runner #2 had, but I am about 4 TIMES more nervous. I could do runner #2 easy (well, not easy, but you know what I mean). I have never run over 13.1 miles in 30 hours. This will be 17.3 miles.

If we all run similar paces to what we predicted, I will be running at about 8:30 am Friday, 6:20 pm Friday and 5:00 am Saturday. Not bad, right? I even missed all the night time runs, which is a bummer but also cool because I never practiced running with a headlamp. 

Am I even prepared? I have no idea. Nothing else to do now but go for it, right? Last night I dreamed I was yelling swear words at my husband because, in the dream, he was supposed to drive me to the start line and wasn't going to be able to get me there on time. Sheesh. 

This whole Ragnar thing, I have to say, I am so incredibly excited. It is going to be such an amazing experience!

Shifting gears a bit, I wanted to quickly write about active release technique. As you probably know by now, I've hopped around to lots of different health care providers to find answers for my running injuries. Some have been helpful, some have been not-so helpful. My massage therapist has been gently suggesting that I meet with a local practitioner of active release technique, and I finally made an appointment to go in. I have to say, I am pretty darn hopeful about this technique and what it can do for me.

Active release technique is a technique that addresses muscular and soft tissue problems. I once read that ART is for your muscles like chiropractic is for your bones. 

My appointment started with the practitioner doing some muscle tests. They didn't make a lot of sense to me, but they gave him a lot of information about what was going on with me. He did some very deep (and painful) "massage" (I say "massage" because it isn't a massage, but more like focused pressure to one area) and had me move my legs in different ways as he applied the pressure. He re-affirmed that I am not activating some of my muscles when I need to be, so it's overloading my IT band and hamstring. He also suggested I focus more certain areas when I stretch and roll. I will go back again after I completely wreck my legs at Ragnar, haha. Not sure if he does this with everyone, but my practitioner proclaimed that he was excited about all of this, to see how I progress with his help. Gotta love someone who tells you they are excited to help, versus someone who just tells you to stop running!

So, anyways, I will write more about my experience with ART, maybe it will help someone else, as well? 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Running Wild: Weekly Wrap-up

Total Miles Run: 17.2

Monday: Rest 

Lots of walking the dog, but nothing too strenuous. 

Tuesday: 3 Miles Run

Tried to pick up the pace a little on an early morning run with Kelly.

Wednesday: 3 Miles Run

I originally wanted to run twice on Tuesday, as Ragnar prep, but I was too tired at night and bailed on the second run. As a Plan B I ran the next day, which I typically don't do because of history of injury. I did 1/2 mile of the run up a decent hill so that was a nice change. After the run I had zero soreness, which is completely unusual. My hamstring is always, always very tight at the end of a run, it hurts to bend over and untie my shoes. Today? I could touch my toes with no issues. It was very strange, but awesome!

Thursday: Workout With Trainer

Another great workout. We started with lots of warm-up squats and some other drills before heading in to the workout:

/*3 sets of 8 push-presses w/ 35#/45#/55# barbell
\*3 sets of 10 front squats w/ 35#/45#/55# barbell
*3 sets of the following: push-ups on toes w/ a plate on my back (I don't know the weight, maybe 10#?) until failure (about 6), then right in to push-ups on toes w/ no weight (about 5 more) then push-ups on my knees (about 7 more). So there were three sets of about 18 total push-ups.
*pulling the sled. This was so fun! The first two passes were with my trainer on the sled. Guessing she weighs around 150#. Then one pass with my trainer plus 135#, next pass w/ just the 135#, next pass w/ 90#, last pass w/ 45#

Good thing I pumped up my muscles, because after the workout it was time to head to IKEA and do this:

Those three boxes on the bottom weighed over 60 lbs each and I loaded them on to the cart all by myself! We are re-doing the girls' playroom, so this is two desks, two cupboards, a bookcase, two chairs and lots of accessories. 

Friday: Rest

Saturday: Run 11.2 Miles

A few of my Ragnar buddies met up for a run and it was such a beautiful morning and a very, very fun time. I ran 2 miles to meet the gang then did the last 9.2 miles with them. We kept our pace easy but tackled some monster hills:

You'll see how it went up up up and then a little break, then up again, then a break, etc. Well, at each break I didn't know there was more to come. I thought we were done climbing at about 200 ft! Our last mile was the fastest of the run, too. Finish strong!

I had an ice bath when I got home:

We don't have a bathtub, so ice bath in the kiddie pool with a willing 6 year old it is. I kinda love ice baths, which is probably some sort of genetic defect in me.

I was amazed how good I felt later in the day. I did take a little break mid-afternoon on the couch but after that was on my feet for about four hours at the local street fair.

Wanted the twinkies, but I didn't get them. My tummy hurt after too many french fries!

Sunday: Rest

I had intended this to be a strength day, but I was too tired. Usually I do strength on Saturday and long run on Sunday, so I was a little thrown off my schedule this week. I figured an 11+ mile run buys me an extra rest day. 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Permission From the Master

I had the nicest surprise on my run on Wednesday morning! Before I headed out the door I downloaded the last few podcasts from Another Mother Runner. The one I was able to listen to on my three mile run was a Q&A Sarah and Dimity did with Greg McMillan. Imagine my surprise when Dimity asked Greg the question I submitted (and said my name on the podcast)! 

The question was about what the fewest amount of days someone (well, ME) could run while training  for a marathon. To my sheer delight, Greg said 3 or 4 days would be fine! Well, allrighty then. I have permission from the master himself to train at a lower volume for my first marathon!

Okay, clearly I don't need Greg McMillan's permission, but it certainly helps boost my confidence. 

I'm not really sure at what point I should pick out a goal marathon. I am definitely a little gun-shy after registering for Portland 2012 and not being able to run it. I need a local race, maybe something next spring? 

Maybe the Capital City Marathon or Tacoma City Marathon next May? 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Ragnar, My Knee, and Medal Racks

Kind of a random title, no?

It is, however, a handful of the myriad of things on my mind today. 

Ragnar is SO CLOSE now. In less than two weeks I will be back at home, basking in the glory that was 196 miles of relay deliciousness. 

Did I mention yet that I have the shortest leg out of all 12 runners on my team? Only by .01 of a mile, but still. As someone who was brought in to the team very late in the game after another member dropped out, I am so eternally grateful that I wasn't stuck with the 17, 18 or more mile distances. Mine is 13.6. Easy peasy (ha!). 

My packing list is, uh, filling up. Our team had a conference call  last week and I think one of my team mates summed it up nicely when he said that we should remember all of the items we had discussed, but to still pack lightly. Ummm . . . . wha?!  I have bought a few new goodies just in time for Ragnar, such as The Stick (such an ominous name, no?), another pair of cw-x Stabilyx capris and a second pair of my current favorite running shoes, the Saucony Progrid Ride 5s. 

Have you ever used The Stick before? I am not 100% sold yet. 

As a side note, I have never, ever had blisters from running until the Seattle Rock-n-Roll, which I ran in the same shoes I trained for the race in (up to 11+ miles at a time). Nothing major, but still annoying. On my 8 mile run today the blisters started coming back. What gives?! Could this be a sign my shoes are wearing out? 

Moving on.

You remember all those hundreds of times I whined and complained about how injured I have been? I don't want to jinx anything, but I am feeling so much better lately. Not sure exactly what is causing the shift, as I am doing a whole bunch of things every day to help heal, but it seems to be working. I have recently started doing dynamic stretching before each run, in addition to my bridges, nerve gliding and pelvic correction exercises, and I have started stretching after each run. My naturopath also put me on a supplement that may or may not be helping with repairing damaged muscle tissue, as well. I am still doing the same program of the least amount of running possible and lots and lots of strength and cross-training, as well. 

I am not going to get my hopes up, but I feel like this is very good news right now. On my run on Sunday, the longest since RnR, I had very mild knee discomfort (I hate using the "P" word) after stopping for a few minutes and then resuming the run. It went away quickly, as well. Post-run, I had very little soreness in my IT band and hamstring. People, this is HUGE progress for me. 

And, moving on again.

Recently I was looking at this lame, sorry mess of a medal display, and thinking how sad my Ragnar medal/bottle opener is going to feel joining this fray. I think I need a proper medal holder. 

I was thinking this one below might be pretty cool, what do you think? I kind of love that it would give me a place to display some of my favorite race photos, too. 

I also like metal ones, like this. So many choices!

Do you have a race medal holder that you love? Have you ever tried The Stick? 

Monday, July 08, 2013

Running Wild: Weekly Wrap-up

Total Miles Run: 16.75

Only one rest day this week, which was a little tough, but I liked the challenge.

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 5.75 Mile Run and Kickball!

I got up at 5:00 to meet my friend Kelly at 5:30 for a run. A little side note: I know Kelly because her daughter has been my daughter's classmate for the last two years. We've always known the other was a runner but never went the extra step of inviting each other to run together until the end of this past school year. Kelly lives very close to me and we are perfect running partners! The only teeny weeny problem is that we often need to run very early due to Kelly's work schedule. I have to say, though, that it was pretty nice to be up and have my entire run done nice and early. Kelly headed home after 4 miles and I tacked on another 1.75. 

That night my husband asked me to play on his work's kickball team. It had been ten years since I last played kickball, but I figured I could five it a try! It was pretty fun, but if I played more I would want to practice so I wasn't so anxious about it. The whole time I was out in left field I prayed that the ball wouldn't be kicked to me because I had no idea how to catch it! 

Our team won! 

Wednesday: 2.5 Mile Walk

Funny morning. I knew it was an easy cross-training day, so I got up and headed out the door to the gym, not knowing for sure what I would do when I got there. About half way there I realized it was way too nice out, and my dog was giving me serious puppy-dog eyes when I walked out the door, so I decided to come back home and go for a walk. We walked around the 'hood and a bit on some trails and it was completely perfect. MUCH better than a lame ol' elliptical workout at the gym! 

My trail walk with Heidi. 

Thursday: Workout With My Trainer

I was so very glad my trainer didn't absolutely kill me today. We started with the usual warm-up and then moved on to:

(side note: have you ever done squats with your arms straight up above your head? Try it and report back to me.)

/*5 sets of 10 deadlifts w/ 45/55/60/65/70# barbell
\*5 sets of 8 bent-over rows w/ 45/55/60/65/70# barbell
/*3 sets of 8 dumbbell pull-overs w/ 15/20/20# dumbbell
\*3 sets of 8 straight leg raises on the bench
/*3 sets of 8 lat push-downs (not sure of the weight)
\*3 sets of hanging leg raises w/ holding my legs in the up position as long as I can
*3 sets of 8 planks to pike w/ disks under my feet 

How to do a dumbbell pullover.

How to do a lat pushdown. (Side note: when I did this I was a little more bent over 
and my feet were a little wider, per my trainer's recommendation.)

Plank to pike w/ disks under the feet (SO HARD if you are not flexible. I am NOT flexible. My disks moved about two inches). Keep your legs straight when you do this one. 

Friday: 3 Mile Run

A quick run before an exhausting day.

Saturday: Crossfit Workout!

My friend Sarah and I joined our friend Becca at her "box" (aka crossfit gym) for an intro workout. I was a little bummed that we weren't given the same WOD (workout of the day) as the other crossfitters, but apparently that is a good thing. My trainer from my gym told me that a good box will start you on zero weight to make sure you can move correctly. So, here was the workout Sarah and I got:

*long warm-up of dynamic stretching and then partner stretching (I got to know another crossfitter realllllly well by wrapping ourselves all over each other for these stretches, but it was a great warm-up!)
*3 rounds of:
   -take two minutes to do AMRAP (as many rounds as possible):
*5 air squats
*5 push-ups
*5 good mornings
*run 400 meters and rest for one minute before starting next round
*cool-down with w/ 3 hollow body holds

To be honest, it was a nice workout, but it wasn't very hard (side note: I could feel all of those push-ups the next day!). If I had used weight on the squats and the good mornings and gone a couple of more rounds I would have been in a puddle at the end, however. I think the regular WOD was pull-ups, push-ups, good mornings and run 400 meters.

Sunday: 8 Mile Run

I met up with Sally for a loop around Lake Union (plus a little extra for a total of 8 miles). It was a beautiful overcast morning and my legs felt great, but my stomach wasn't too happy. I think I ate too close to running. Every time I run post-half marathon I get more and more excited that my legs feel okay!  

Monday, July 01, 2013

Running Wild: Weekly Wrap-up

Total Miles Run: 4

I took it very, very easy for the seven days after RnR (with one notable exception on Friday). This was a very good choice for me. As I look back on last year and how much I pushed and pushed and pushed so much, it seems clear that my desire to add too much too fast was likely a big part of my injuries. At the time it didn't feel like too much or too fast, but hindsight is 20/20, no? 

I added in lots of stretching and foam rolling after RnR, as well. It is something I am struggling to keep up, however. I think it would help to have a specific routine that I knew would be helpful instead of just winging it every day and wonder, "was that enough?"

Monday: Rest 

Tuesday: Elliptical

30 easy mins of elliptical at the gym.

Wednesday: Walk

2 mile walk with Iris.

Thursday: Rest

Friday: Workout With Trainer

Oh. My. Lord. Here I thought my trainer might take it easy on me, but oh no. She did mostly stay away from killing my legs, bless her soul, but my arms? Those were fair game.

Warm-up, then:
*1 set of 16 close grip bench presses w/ 45#
*1 set of 10 medium grip bench presses w/ 45#
*2 sets of 5 close grip w/ 55#
*2 sets of 4 medium grip w/ 55#
*warm-up for thrusters w/ one set of 10 push-presses and one set of 10 front squats
*21/15/9 thrusters w/ 45# 
*3 sets of 6 chest dips
*3 handstand holds-- note on these: I hated these. My arms were so shot, I was shaking even trying to get up in to a handstand. I couldn't kick up in to a single one on my own. I might have had a fighting chance if my arms weren't spaghetti when I tried! It was also sort of terrifying to hold the handstand because, well, if I didn't I would collapse on my face. Hoping my trainer has me try these again before she wrecks my arms on other things!
*2 sets of plank walks w/ 5 push-ups-- to do these I put two large disks (aka furniture movers) under the balls of my feet in the plank pose and then walked my hands in plank, dragging my legs. I went about 20 feet or so. Super hard, these are a great move if you have carpeting in your house! 

Saturday: 4 Miles Run

I actually felt really good on this run and took it nice and slow. Unfortunately, afterwards I was really sore! My quads were killing me, which was from Friday's workout. Ouch! 

Sunday: Workout at the Gym (the / \ means I did those two exercises as a superset)

*WU w/ 10 mins on the elliptical
*3 sets of 15 wall balls w/ 10# ball
/*3 sets of 10 KB swings w/ 35# KB
\*3 sets of 10 KB sumo squats w/ 35# KB
/*3 sets of 8 hanging knee raises
\*3 sets of 8 cable squat rows at 140#
/*3 sets of 5 (unassisted!) chest dips
\*3 sets of 8 straight leg raises on the roman chair
*2 sets of 8 medicine ball push-ups

This was a fun workout. I went in to the gym not knowing at all what I was going to do, maybe even just elliptical the whole time. I ended up feeling like I didn't want to go in the weight room, but did want to push it a little. I think I came up with a nice routine for the day. It left me exhausted, for sure!