Baby Steps

Saturday morning was the 5 mile NYRR Pride Run - a run I've been wanting to do for a couple of years, and it definitely didn't disappoint. I had missed the Central Park loop, and it was so nice to be back in familiar territory. My biggest accomplishment, however? Running the whole five miles, no walk breaks. Boo ya. After the first 15 minutes or so, I kept telling myself "make it to 20 minutes" then "make it to two miles, then "make it to thirty minutes," at which point I realized that I could, and should, just push through to the finish. It wasn't fast, but I kept telling myself that it's going to take baby steps to get back in shape...baby steps up Harlem Hill... baby steps up Cat Hill... It was a great feeling, and made especially so since my foot cooperated quite nicely.

This morning I finished three miles in between thunderstorms. My hills kicked ass, and I wasn't even startled by the guy waving his wang all over the place by the giant booze warehouse. I live in a colorful neighborhood. The best part? (definitely not Captain Indecent Exposure) My last mile was under 11:00. And my slowest was just over. I just keep telling myself that as long as I keep putting in the work, the results will come, and that I just need to trust that it'll come together. This run definitely started my week off on the right foot (ha), and I'm already looking forward to my next run on Wednesday. It feels so good to be back.


Over-Analyzers Anonymous

I went on my second run "back" yesterday. It was awesome, even in spite of it being 75 and humid as crap at 6 am. I'm fully back in the OMG I LOVE RUNNING OMG ITS SO AWESOME camp, because I have had zero foot pain during or after this run. I ran a mile warm-up, and then, since my neighborhood has a plethora of monster hills, I ran 3-4 minutes at an easy pace, booked it up whatever hill presented itself (for a total of 4), then walked briskly down for 2-3 minutes to catch my breath for the next mile and a half. It seems like doing that, coupled with paying really close attention to my foot position/alignment is a fantastic workout, based on how sore certain muscles in my legs are that are a) never sore, and b) probably underused, since I don't even know what muscles they are (ETA: they are my quads. Apparently they are really weak, which makes my form suuuuck). Needless to say, despite my pace still being less than desirable, I'm not stressing about that and just focusing on correcting my foot form, and developing those things called quads that are apparently supposed to be a big running muscle. 

On Saturday, I'm doing the NYRR Pride Run, which will be my longest run since I've returned to the land of the running, and I have two goals: 1) not to give a shit about overall time/pace, and 2) listen to my body, so I can keep doing form-wise what I did yesterday and take walk breaks as needed. Central Park tends to be less hilly than Inwood though, which will be nice. It'll also put me at about 10 miles for the week, which is exciting for me, after two months of NO miles per week. 

I've been thinking a lot about my relationship with running. I really enjoy it, and I'd love to be able to get up every day and go for a run. At this point, doing that makes me really concerned about both burnout and injury, since I seem to be easily prone to both of those things. I'm thinking of signing up for one of the running classes with NYRR, and also taking a break from races/training after Hartford and just focus on building my endurance/mileage for the 2013 NYC Marathon. I have a pretty lofty (for me) goal set for my next marathon, and I'd love to be able to really maximize my training for it, but properly. 

I'm also toying with the idea of a little 2 mile jog tomorrow morning to test out the new arch support insoles I ordered before I use them on Saturday. Yay running! 



Back to "running" - although it involves a lot of walk breaks and some playtime with my gait/stride/whatever you call running form. I got the official word that Dr. A was in fact, totally incorrect and a grade-A moron, and I never, at any point, had a stress fracture. Cool. Although I had massive amounts of tendonitis in pretty much every foot joint, so I had needed to take the time I did off anyway. My foot feels fine, about in line with the rest of me, which pretty much feels like death on all runs of any distance these days.

NYC Half 2012: how to have terrible form and  make your feet hate you.
I'm pretty sure feet are not naturally supposed to point that way.

It's frustrating - I lost a lot of conditioning over the last two months. But I have to keep reminding myself that Rome wasn't built in a day, and let's be real here, even on a good day, I'm not exactly Kara Goucher. So here's the game plan for the next couple of weeks: get in 3 runs of 30+ minutes a week. Walk breaks as necessary. Hill work is fun. Maybe keep doing it. I have no idea what I'm doing form-wise, so I should probably stop obsessing about it. Order supportive insoles (check) and try not to BUY ALL OF THE SHOES. Keep working with Dr. Happyfeet to get custom orthotic insoles that will hopefully correct my foot issues so that I'm not overpronating and twisting my foot like a crazy woman. (Can you tell that I'm obsessed with the fact that my running form is terrible? I'm guessing that has a lot to do with why I'm so. freaking. slow.) And I'm still so paranoid that the foot pain is going to come back, I overanalyze everything I'm doing and it takes away from the whole "running is relaxing" component of working out. Pass the cookies. Advice/benzodiazepines also welcome.

(Hartford training starts July 1st!! I'm freaking out that I can barely run a full mile!)


In a slump

I'm in a workout funk. I had two glorious runs on Saturday and Monday, with no real foot pain, and was so geared up to get back running. And then on Wednesday I saw a Podiatrist to make sure my foot was all better and cleared to run.....short story is I'm not supposed to run until at least my follow-up on June 18th. On the plus side, I finally got x-rays done and the doctor, who is also a runner, was 100% more professional and just...better than that a-hole I saw in April. He didn't confirm or deny whether it was, in fact, a stress fracture, but I'm hoping it wasn't and I can get cleared to run by the end of June.

In the meantime, I have been riding the bike, and I'm hitting a bit of a wall with it. My legs have been really heavy the last couple of days from the biking and the strength training I've been doing, and I've noticed a tiny ITB twinge. I foam rolled the crap out of it today (HOLY SHIT that is painful) and will keep my eye on it so it doesn't get worse. I'm debating whether to take a couple of days off and let my body recharge or screw the doctor's orders and go run (or at least walk) to mix things up. I'm just so unmotivated and fitting in my workout the last two days has been a Sisyphean task. I'd also like to try a week of yoga to kind of immerse myself in it, which may be a good plan for me both mentally and physically, but truth be told, I'm a little intimidated. Maybe I'll try the OnDemand yoga for runners a couple times this weekend to get the feel for it.

Also, I've been curious about trying protein powder with my lunch smoothies: does anyone have a good powder or good recipes they would recommend?

This is what I imagine yoga for cats would be like. Don't you wish you could do this all day?


The Next Big Thing

It's finally sinking in that I'm done with law school. The biggest difference that I've noticed is how I no longer wake up with these intense feelings of panic and dread in the middle of the night, and I actually get up in the morning not hating 90% of the things I have to do during the day. Yes, I still have bar prep, but the whole "learning things that are given to you in a way that makes sense" thing is much more agreeable to me than the whole "let's try to bore everyone to tears while simultaneously confusing the hell out of them" that was my day-to-day existence during the school year.

Definitely makes you want to try it, no? I can say with a good degree of certainty that it was a pretty unpleasant experience. Nonetheless, finishing was a great accomplishment for me, and I am definitely a better person because of it.

One great thing I've discovered? The bar prep lectures are all on video, and the lecturers are pretty entertaining. Which means they make great material to watch while I ride the exercise bike in the mornings. Yes, I watch pre-recorded lectures while riding the bike, and I actually enjoy it. I am a sick person.

But that's not my point. My point is that, after a six-week hiatus, in which three of those weeks were spent doing not a single iota of physical activity, I finally ran again on Saturday. 1.7 whole miles. At about an 11:15 pace, which, for me, isn't all that bad. On Wednesday I'm seeing a Podiatrist to get my foot checked out, and if all looks good (fingers crossed that it does - I have had no pain since my run on Saturday) I can start building back up slowly and start training for my fall goal half marathon, which is officially the Hartford Half Marathon in October, with Emily (and Alyssa, and Kari who are doing the full marathon).

I'm not sure what my goal is for the half, although a PR would be nice (so like 2:19 or better), and I have a really solid training plan in place that should get me there. I have a feeling, based on the workouts I had last week, that I'm going to spend the next few months raising the bar on the level of fatigue my body is comfortable tolerating, and probably won't see much of an improvement speed-wise until the race. I say this because I had some great workouts last week on the bike and strength-training, and I feel a little tired today, but in an "I can push through this because it means my body is getting stronger" kind of way. It's a little bit exciting. I've been running now for almost a year, and am starting to feel comfortable knowing what I can do and what is good for me and then using that information to push myself safely and productively.

I'm really excited for this training cycle, even if I'm exhausted for the entirety of it, and don't see any results until the end, because I have a good feeling that I'll see some great results come October. Because, in a way, that's exactly how it was with law school.