Pumped Up Kicks Tempo

Easing back into things here. Of course my mind is ready to go out and crush some workouts and races, but I need to let my body catch up from all this crazy minor injury and marathon recovery stuff :)

This morning was a great relaxed tempo with my girlfriends. Both recovering from big races of their own it was nice to get out early and get in a relaxed workout with no real pressure (despite my stupid alarms failing to work I woke up when I was supposed to be leaving and thankfully I get ready fast and was out the door in time to meet them only 10 minutes late).

Jamming on the radio on the way in and the last tune must have been Pumped Up Kicks because this is what was on replay in my head for the workout.

I forgot to turn my autolap back on after Tuesdays track workout so I just had average pace rolling for the tempo and Stina was in charge of the individual miles. Wind was at our backs on the way out so we were a little quicker than the targeted 6:50 pace but nothing crazy. All miles were between 6:40 and 7:00. Finished out the 5 miles into the wind at an average of 6:44 pace for the run. It was nice to pick up the pace a bit and let the legs roll and as always great to catch up with the ladies.

Second run without the ankle brace and everything felt good! Unfortunately I somehow sprained my middle finger when I got back to the office. Seriously of all the dumb things, I don't even know how I did it but it is purple and swollen and typing all day is probably not ideal, ouch!

Sweet Disposition

Just really love this song. Pandora as always just has a way of finding tunes to suit my given mood.

"Sweet disposition
Never too soon
Oh, reckless abandon
Like no one's watching you"

"And while our blood's still young
It's so young
It runs
And we won't stop until it's over
Won't stop to surrender"

Yes there has been some training going on

Well two weeks ago was pretty much a bust with the ankle drama. I was able to get in two swims but then got side tracked by a last minute work conference and only ran the one day at Cleveland. About 13 miles at about 6:40 pace and sadly it was rough.

This week I have been easing back into things. With no official marching orders I just ran what I felt each day paying attention to my ankle, feet, and lungs and trying to listen to my body.

This resulted in 6 runs and 3 swims totaling about 45 miles and 6400 meters. I did some actual workouts in the pool this week so that was my anaerobic stuff for the week while the running was all kept between 7:20 and 8:20 pace.

I should be getting official marching orders this week as we start building into a summer speed phase. Fingers crossed that the body is ready and willing!


I've always been relatively competitive. I don't particularly like to lose, at anything. But with running for the most part I have always kept my expectations realistic. While I may have been driven to be the best on the team in high school, or driven to be the fastest of my friends when I started into endurance sports I always knew there was going to be someone faster and I had no delusions of grandeur. I was perfectly content to chase minor PRs and slowly get better year after year or pursue some other venue if I wasn't getting better.

Then in 2008 Boston held the women's marathon trials. I watched that race and thought to myself, what is the difference between these women and me? I wasn't looking at the Deena Kastors and Magdelena's and Blake's in the group, but rather the women who were running towards the back of the pack. Women who clearly weren't professional runners, but had found a way to get to a sub elite level while still holding down full time jobs, raising children, and pursuing lives outside running. Running 3:22:50 the next day at Boston clearly the answer was, they were doing a lot more. But was it something I could achieve?

I decided then I needed to run more mileage and get serious about my workouts. Getting myself down to 3:16:30 the next year at Boston before starting to work with my coach who has taken me to 2:49:53 at Columbus last fall, and in the process I have taken down my PRs in every distance from the mile to the marathon. Clearly I have come so close to reaching this goal that seemed like a real long shot at the time. Something you thought about doing, something maybe you told a few close friends you wanted to do, something you weren't even really sure was feasible. And now I am here staring the next seven months in the face and knowing that while I have come so far I still have a long way to go.

Clearly my body has responded well to training, and up until the last few months every race I have run was a new PR indicating better fitness. Achieving these results builds confidence and I think that is what allowed me to let go of my doubt and go for it at Columbus. But the truth of it is that about a month before Columbus I was seriously contemplating trying for the 2:46 then. My training partner was going for it and our other training buddy was on her way to getting it done at Wineglass. I was doing the same workouts as them, the same mileage, but I just wasn't confident I could get 2:46. So while publicly everyone thought I would be gunning for sub 3 I was actually toying with 2:46 and the moment I decided to take that off the table and go for 2:50 instead I felt this huge wave of relief. My instincts told me I was ready for 2:50 despite my best time being a 3:05:57 and having blown up at Boston trying for sub 3. Somewhere inside I just knew I was ready for better.

Being competitive I wanted to place well at Columbus leading up to the race. I felt with a 2:50 I should have a run at top 5. At the expo I asked for a list of the elites. I did my homework and noted that instead of a few gals who might compete that there were around 15 girls lining up the next morning with credentials equal to or better than mine. I decided then to ignore my competitors and just run my own race for time. This also left me relaxed and focused on just myself, allowing me to run without fear. (Imagine my surprise when I placed 2nd!) Not many people expected me to place well or even to run a great time (note what I consider a great time for myself holds no bearing on what I believe to be great for others). Running my race I was able to do something unexpected by others and to achieve a goal I was pretty sure I was capable of on a good day.

But even though I had this great race at Columbus, and I had great races in shorter distances leading up to Columbus I still don't think of myself as a real competitor. For some reason I have this underdog complex. I don't have the benefit of coming from a track background, I was never an all American, I don't have the confidence of someone who is used to going out and dominating a race field. I currently lack the tenacity of a champion. I watch my competition get better and I put them up on this personally unachievable pedestal while holding myself on the ground.

I am not sure when this started. I have always had perceptions of a "pecking order" in the local running scene. When I first got back into running I was aiming to be within a certain % of the top women, then I wanted to place in my age group, now I want to place overall locally, and stay top 1% in more competitive fields. I certainly know all of the girls in the local racing scene who are currently out of my league, and those that I am close to, and those who are coming after me. And I think it is holding me back. I have this perception that I will never be good enough no matter how fast I get, no matter how hard I work. I have this fear of getting left behind while watching all of my speedy pals continue to get better.

I perceive this to be one of my (many) mental issues that is holding me back and that I need to overcome in order to achieve my goals. It is one of my goals this summer to toe the line with no fear of any other woman on it. To focus purely on myself and run the best times I am capable of on the day no matter who is there. I need to make sure my perception of who I should and shouldn't be able to keep up with doesn't hold me back.

I need to shed my underdog complex.

Such Great Heights

Todays Pandora pick of the day.

I'm actually listening to the more mellow cover by Iron & Wine which is okay, not as good as Postal Service (in my opinion). I came across this tune a few years ago when making my husband a mixed CD for one of our anniversary's. I love the tune. Ben Folds did an awesome cover of it live when we saw him at Blossom. I tend to be a day dreamer so the chorus speaks to me.

Keeping It Real

My friend recently mentioned to me that perhaps I don't come across clearly via my blog. She gets to see the side of me that has doubts, worries, and crazy spells that I don't often post about here. The intent when I started this blog was always to be honest and up front about my training.

In the beginning this was to be held accountable to those that were donating to TNT on my behalf, and later it morphed into a place to give an honest take on my own running pursuits. These have been so varied and I never would have guessed this crazy journey would have taken me down my current path. From triathlons for charity, my first marathon BQ attempt, to ultras for fun, to pacing marathons, to chasing a dream. It is definitely not the typical path one would have taken to get where I am and maybe that hasn't come across here recently. I'm still the person who loves a new challenge, I still wish I could be running socially with my TNT and ultra buddies, I miss the trails, I miss the freedom of running a race for fun and not worrying about a poor result reflecting on my training or my coach. Then there is this other part of me who wants to see these goals achieved and that part has tried to sacrifice the other things I want in the heat of the moment to what I want in the long term. But sometimes that is extremely difficult to do.

Sometimes as runners we make stupid decisions. I am not above this. I've been really lucky the past few years to train at a higher level than I used to without any major mishaps and for the most part the goals just keep getting checked off the list. But my running seems to come in ups and downs. Major breakthroughs, often followed by plateaus. It never bothered me too much in the past, but it seems the faster I get I am also getting a bit greedy and impatient :) I want to reach my marathon goals, and I want to do it ASAP. It doesn't help that there is a short time line on my current goal.

Post Boston I was not upset about my race result. I was a bit distressed that it was so difficult mentally and physically to achieve a result that I thought I was well beyond. I was anxious to run at the level I hoped I was capable of, and I was anxious to do it soon. I ignored the fact that I had warded off minor hamstring and calf injuries with religious massages and ART as well as ice and rest, then followed that up with a severe sinus infection just a week before the marathon. I kept trucking along as if this year was the same as last and I would bounce back quickly from this marathon despite these minor set backs that should have been flags all along that I wasn't quite ready. I pushed the boundaries jumping back into training and assumed I could also go out and do other activities on top of runs that were clearly stressing my system because my body has always done what I ask of it. All of this to try and jump in at Cleveland just 4 weeks after Boston and run the race with my training partner. I was advised not to tell anyone about my plans, so that I would have no pressure on me to perform and no negative feedback about making what might be an unwise decision. Then I hurt my ankle and pretty much resolved that my $96 was lost to a race I don't really support and that I would have to suck it up and move on.

Then this little devil on my shoulder realized that Friday my ankle was feeling better and the cough that had been plaguing me finally went away. I took the air cast off Saturday and had no pain walking. I stopped the NSAIDs and went for a light jog to test it and it was fine. I then spent the next 12 or so hours deciding whether or not to toe the line for a race I most likely would not be able to finish. In 21 marathon starts and 9 ultras I have never DNF'ed. I didn't know what my body would do after a week of no running, and I really had no idea if the ankle would be a problem or not. I vowed that if I started and I had pain I would stop immediately and walk off the course.

And so I found myself at the line of the Cleveland Marathon on Sunday. I planned to go out with the 2:45 pack and just see what happened. I stayed with the group for about 5 miles surprised that my ankle felt perfectly fine. But unfortunately I just felt stale and the pace was not going to happen. I let the group go and just ran at what felt like marathon effort. I hadn't worn a Garmin and had assumed at the 10km I would probably have to bail and take a short cut back to town to cheer on my friends. But at 10 km I still had no ankle pain and no real reason to pull out. Clearly I was not running that fast, but nothing hurt and at the end of the day I'd much rather be running than anything else so I kept going and waiting to see how I would feel.

My ankle still made no peep, but it was clear my legs and feet were not very happy. I contemplated where the course went and if I would be able to stop by the club and switch into trainers as I thought I might be able to suffer through the back half if I put on more supportive shoes. Thankfully some friends caught up and distracted me for a few miles, then Salty caught up and was clearly suffering so I put my crappy feeling legs aside and did my best to help her rally and finish the half strong. After all, two gals in their skimpy running clothes really should move as quickly as possible through the ghettos, not power walk the 4+ miles back to town! This actually helped me to focus on something else, my left foot was getting sore and I was starting to get some cramps in my calves which was weird, but the ankle felt great. I did my best to pep talk Salty and run strong to the 13 mile mark where I peeled off and realized a minute later she actually might still be able to PR even though we thought we were running a lot slower than that, with no Garmin I can't say for sure, but my guess is mile markers were not placed correctly. They had said before the race you could not switch to the half mid race, so I walked off the course and took my first ever marathon DNF.

Then I headed out to cheer on all my awesome friends. Including my training partner who got the job done winning the marathon and getting the OTQ. So freaking stoked for her!

Was this the smartest thing I have ever done? No. Did I have to do it? I think so.

Last year I felt fantastic at Cleveland and was kicking myself for not running the full there. I will always wonder what I could have done in the full that day. And now this year I know I could not have done what I wanted to achieve this day. And I am glad to know it. I now have a clearer outline of my physical boundaries and what I can and can't get away with. And I am glad I tried on the off chance something special might have happened. And I am thanking my lucky stars that I didn't injure myself further in the process.

I know now I have a lot of work to do mentally and physically to get ready for the fall. I need to figure out why I am getting all these minor injuries and illness, and I need to find some balance to get to the start line ready to go, ready to fight hard, and not get burned out on the way. The good news is the ankle really feels good, and my body seems to be injury free. Waiting on some blood tests to make sure the cough/lung stuff is really over and to see if perhaps my Vitamin D or Iron levels are low. I want to be 100% before I start ramping up for an awesome summer and fall!

So all this to say that I need to remind myself sometimes that I am not invincible, and I am not perfect, but I love everything about this sport and all the good and bad that comes along with putting what I do and what I want to do out there in the public realm for others to see. So I will try harder to keep it real here and show that much more than my log books go into my race results and decisions.

Retail Therapy and Swim WOD

So what does this runner do to clear away the no running blues? Well with all this awesome weather it's tough, but I just logged onto SwimOutlet.com and ordered two grab bag competition bikinis to get ready for the outdoor pool workouts that will be coming up soon! Looks like I will also be adding core workouts into the new cross training regime ;) Hello P90 X!

Todays workout was brought to me by one of my gal pals who took pity on me after reading yesterdays post. She sent me a plethora of new swim workouts assigned to different training "systems." So I grabbed a random "Aerobic Endurance" workout and hopped in the pool. This should be great for changing things up a bit even after I am back up and running.

Unfortunately time is limited in the morning and I misread the total meters on the workout so we didn't even get half way through the first main set which was supposed to include a 600 meter swim that I was looking forward to seeing how fast I could do. But it was still fun to change it up a bit and do something "new."

Daisy joined me and because the workout had plenty of kicking we got to chat (aka vent) a bit while burning the heck out of our hip flexors.

Warm up:

300 swim
200 kick

Main Set
4*300 - 100 swim, 100 kick, 100 swim with 30 second rest between each 300

Cool Down:
300 swim

A total of 2000 meters with 600 meters of kicking and my hip flexors were feeling it, in a good way. Daisy wore her zoomers today so I had to keep the effort honest.

And one more positive note to wrap it up, the cough finally seems to have gone away!

Peroneal Tendonitis

So that is the "official" diagnosis. Too much of a good thing with the Dance Central just overwhelmed this little used tendon of mine. I am sincerely hoping it heals fast since I managed to injure it so quickly. But everything I am reading makes it sound like minimum of 2 weeks no running, and that tendons are slow to heal. This is why my preference is always to see a sports doc who runs if I can with injuries, the last thing they want to tell you is no running, so if they say no running then I will believe them. But unfortunately I had to go with first available. And now I am wondering if perhaps he was just being conservative and if I might be able to run by the weekend. :) It also struck me as odd that he said I won't need any physical therapy to rehab it, I just feel like I will need to strengthen the muscles connected to the tendon to avoid it happening again. And I actually thought I would be okay with time off, ha. It doesn't help that it is gorgeous outside and I am amped up for all the hometown girls running at Cleveland this weekend.

I am doing my best not to "test" the tendon yet. I did try some ankle exercises yesterday and it feels a lot better, but still get pain when standing on my toes and if I step wrong I feel it. So I am behaving and wearing the air cast and avoiding all lateral motion. I'm icing like a maniac and taking the prescribed NSAIDs. But of course I'd rather be running.

So if anyone has any stories of miraculous peroneal tendon healing let me know ;) I really don't want to prolong recovery by forcing the issue, and I know big picture I need to be 100% to train for this fall, but I also don't want to avoid running if it actually isn't hurting it. Part of me is worried that all these small set backs are making me paranoid and turning me into a hypochondriac, I don't want to screw up training every time a small pain crops up as clearly that happens with running. Doing my best to remain patient and in the mean time sending lots of healing vibes to my ankle!

4*200 meter, 20 second rests

Well if I can't run I figure I better HTFU and actually push the swim workouts. Since starting back up swimming I have mostly just been getting in easy meters to loosen up the legs for the next run, maybe a few 100 meter sets to feel like I actually worked, and I have been adding in a good dose of kicking to strengthen my hips, but I haven't really pushed myself that hard. Since I won't be on the track tonight I decided I should up the effort this morning in the pool and try to simulate a hard track workout a bit, at least aerobically if I can't simulate the physical pounding. I've done some googling to try and find good swim workouts for runners and I have to say I haven't found much. I think a Runners World article quoted the following two workouts for runners:

1. Swim 4 to 6 x 25 meters hard, with 30 seconds of complete rest between repeats. Build up to 6 x 50 meters. Always finish with several minutes of easy swimming.

2. Swim 2 x 100 meters hard, with a 2-minute rest between repeats. Eventually work up to 2 to 4 x 200 meters.

Seriously? The rests are incredibly long and the distance is a bit weak. I guess if you never swam before this might be sufficient, but in my head I am thinking if I want to simulate 15-20 hard minutes of track work I need to do 15-20 hard minutes of swimming.

Way back in 2004 is when I got started with the endurance sports via Team in Training. Our coach was an excellent swimmer so I got plenty of workouts to do. Now I am making it up as I go, but I remember I never had any trouble cranking out sets of 100s on minimal rest, but as the distance got longer I tended to fall off. So I decided this morning to do some 200s and see what I could do.

800 meters of warm up: 2* 200 swim, 100 kick, 100 pull
Timed the 200 meter warm up swim to get an idea of what I do with a moderate effort and it was 3:35ish
Then I did a main set of 4*200 meters with 20 second rests. The interesting thing about the pool is I have no feedback like I do on the track, no Garmin to tell me if I am "on pace." But for some reason I do well with this. First 200 I go by effort, I work hard, check the time when done, and try to give the same output or harder the following set. A lot of times in the pool it feels like I must be going slower as I start to go anaerobic in the later sets and my breathing goes from every 5th stroke to every 3rd, but I have found that typically I actually get a little faster. Today was no different. 3:20, 3:20, 3:15, 3:13. I was breathing heavy and definitely working hard, but it felt good to push myself and I would say the effort was equal to my 800s or 1000s on the track.
Followed the main set up with a cool down of 100 kick, 100 pull, 100 swim, 50 breast, and 50 back to round out 2000 meters in about 45 minutes.

It's a start. Way back in the day when I was in a swim club I know we used to spend several hours in the pool. Not sure if I have the mental fortitude (or the drive to get up early enough) to get in 5000 meter workouts by myself several times a week, but we will find out!

Ideally I would be doing pool running to replace any running I can't do, but the pool at my gym has no deep end and the tendon is irritated on push off so I don't think that is an option right now. I find it hard to believe that there isn't more information out there on actual swimming as a substitute for running with some sort of equivalent workouts. I realize it is inherently different. Swimmers have to do a lot more technique work and the workouts are inherently more interval based, but you would think that there would be some information on what type of workouts would work best if you simply can't run or do any weight bearing. Right now I am thinking perhaps a few days of hard intervals and a few days of longer steady swims. We'll see. Hopefully this is a very short term problem!

Crank 'dat Tendon

Goals for the week:

50-55 miles

Monday: Easy.
Tuesday: Track.
Wednesday and Friday: easy miles @ 7:20 or slower. 6 x 30 sec @ 5:30 pace on Friday
Thursday: Tempo run: 5 miles @ 6:15, 1 Mile @ 5:55
10 miles @ 7:10.
12 miles @ 7:25.

How it played out:

44 miles
6 runs
1 swim 1400 meters
1 inflamed tendon from playing Dance Central.

Yes I gave myself tendonitis playing Dance Central. I'm in an air cast and have been put on rest mode until the inflammation goes away. Mission recover and start focusing on the fall begins today.

Thursday = Windy Tempo

This weeks goal was 5 miles at 6:15 followed by one mile at 5:55. Funny how the goal of the workout can change ones whole perspective on the outcome. Last week I changed the goal mid run and was happy with a slow into the wind finish and even cutting the tempo short one mile because I wanted to err on the side of safe post marathon. This week I really wanted to run that last mile faster and the wind just wiped me out the 4th and 5th miles so in my mind it was a "blown" tempo. So to recap, last week 5 at 6:23=Yay, this week 6 at 6:15=Blown. I need my head checked ;)

Clearly I am not yet fully recovered from the marathon as these paces wouldn't have been an issue before the marathon, but on a good note the legs still feel great and ready to fly. Just waiting for my aerobic system to catch up.

Started with two of the guys and was chatting comfortably at 6:04 pace for the first two miles. Figured it was wind aided as it felt comfortable. Third mile right on uphill and out of the wind a bit in 6:15. Fourth mile I figured would be a little slow into the wind and it was at 6:23, but the next mile just sucked it out of me 6:35 and I was so close to quitting or taking a 2 minute walk break before the last mile, but at 5 I forced myself to turn out of the wind and just ran as hard as I could to close out in 6:09. Salty wasn't too far behind me and looked great. We cooled down together and I was glad she was there as I was seeing stars, so I was also probably a little dehydrated. I am definitely not used to warmer than 40 yet on these hard days :)

Likely had I gone out at 6:15 like I was supposed to the later miles probably wouldn't have felt so bad. It's hard with the wind to guess what pace is ok and what pace is a bit too aggressive early in the run because it all feels good. After last weeks 27 mph winds I didn't think 12 mph would be a big deal, but it was definitely noticeable. One of these runs I will learn my lesson and actually stick to the goal pace the whole way instead of going out too fast!

5*1k, 4*200

Legs are coming around, lungs are apparently still stuck a couple of VDOTs slower though. Not sure if this is just post marathon, or if this cough that is clinging on has something to do with it. Either way it is an odd feeling for me having legs that want to fly but lungs that are sucking wind. I am more used to my legs being the limiter not the aerobic capacity. It feels like someone is squeezing me really tight whenever I try to get under 6:20 pace.

Goal for the workout tonight was 5*1000 with 2:00 rest followed by 4*200 hard (<40 and jog 200 between each) Goal times: 3:30, 3:25, 3:25, 3:20, 3:20. I asked coach if he really thought I was ready for that and he said he wasn't changing the paces and to just run what I could.

Cold drizzly night and I did my best to keep up with our pacer and my partner. Did okay the first two but just couldn't get the lungs to comply on the 3rd and 4th. The last one we got some extra rest while my partner hit the bathroom and I was able to get that one back to start pace, but clearly not the desired step down. 200s started at my average 38 and coach yelled at me to get on my toes. For once I listened and I ran my little shins off getting on my toes and was rewarded with my fastest 200s ever, but boy did they hurt!


Weekly Rundown April 25-May 1

Diving back in here and hoping for a quick recovery. The legs feel pretty good but aerobically I just feel a bit ragged. My pre marathon paces were definitely a little out of my lungs league the past week. Still clinging on to this cough so I am assuming allergies, but can't lie I am definitely over it! Here's hoping this week the paces will start coming back to me this week and I can start pushing it a bit. I have been erring on the side of "safe" this week with the workouts. It would be awfully easy for "playing it safe" to turn into being a wuss when the going gets tough so I need to really listen to the body and make sure I am putting in the right efforts this week.


Total Mileage 60 - 65

Monday: Easy
Tuesday: Track
Wednesday and Friday: easy miles @ 7:20 or slower. 6 x 30 sec @ 5:30 pace
Thursday: Tempo run
10 miles @ 7:00
16 miles @ 6:50

How it played out:

65 miles
7 runs
6 ice baths
4 swims totaling 5500 meters
Long Runs:
10 @ 6:56
16 @ 6:49 with a few marathon paced miles thrown in at the end before a mile cool down