Holiday Weekly Rundown

It is a bit bizarre to have gone from all these wild high mileage high instensity workout training posts to this very minimal running rundown each week now, but here it is for what it's worth :) I am most certainly in a down time/recover/repair phase, and it is important. But I am also most certainly excited to hopefully get out of this phase soon!

I had a bit too much action for the shoulder this week, tweaked something bad and have a pinched nerve or something in the neck, pain scale was 10 friday night, I am taking naproxen and using tiger balm. Ouch! I stopped massaging it/stretching because it seemed to irritate it more. I saw my therapist thursday for massage, but I think it was just too much for the shoulder this week between cleaning, boxing, moving stuff, PT exercises, and then helping clean out office storage at the office Friday AM plus driving to Michigan on top of that. I have been resting as best as I can for the weekend and not doing anything strenuous. It is feeling better, but not 100%. My lower back/hip flexor/hip are also still a little inflamed from all the driving/sitting.

The measly totals :)

3 runs, about 20 miles total and did PT on M, T, W, TH, FRI. Massage thursday night.
A bit of dancing Thursday night!

I really am enjoying the PT, but may have been a bit too focused on always keeping my core engaged, trying to ease back into it a little slower this round after the shoulder nonsense! Sometimes it is hard to teach an old dog new tricks ;) But I am getting there!

Physical Therapy

So clearly my body has been giving me the finger a bit since a bit before Boston this year. I stubbornly trained through it all and was able to pull off some great results, but I am committed to fixing my body in 2012 before ramping back up. In keeping with that effort I started PT this week. The first appointment was great. The workouts are tough but I think they will make a huge difference.

Essentially we think I have a slight sciatica issue and it is running down the entire left leg causing the left hip, left lower back, left hamstring, left calf, and left PF issues. Who knew? My entire left side is slightly smaller than the right and definitely weaker. I'll be focusing on core exercises, balancing, range of motion, strength type stuff to get the left leg back in line with the right ASAP!

I am really excited to see how this goes. I have always had the wonky left hip and some lower back issues so I am interested to see how focusing on my lower core all the time will play out. If I can run a 2:51:59 with one leg I can't wait to see what I can run with two ;)

In the meantime the shoulder issues cropped back up and they are BAD and seem to be pinching a nerve in my neck! Ouch! So I need to give myself some TLC the next few days while home visiting family and might have to put PT and training off a few more days or more. Bummed but optimistic this will heal too quickly if I behave.

Talk Amongst Yourselves

While I am not running a ton I am a ton busy, things may slip over here for a little while. I have drafts in my mind about PT, about 2011, about 2012, about goals etc. But the holidays are here and I am focused on making the most of them on all accounts! So Talk Amongst Yourselves seems appropriate for today :)

I love this song.

Weekly Rundown

Wow, amazing PT appointment this morning and many body things to deal with now but that is for another post!

Last week I was extremely busy at work and around the house so I did not focus on running at all. I believe I ran three times. An easy 3.5 miler on the treadmill, a 5.5 mile run with my buddy Bridget, and 6 easy miles at the SERC run Sunday (Competitive E really wanted to pick up the pace and run with her usual crowd but I behaved and ran gimp patrol with another buddy coming off injury!). The treadmill and Sunday run were pain free, and the midweek run wasn't too bad. Made it to an indoor spin class where I was able to hammer a bit and feel like my old competitive self. And I headed to the gym Friday and got in some core work, stretching, 10 minutes on the ellipitical and headed to the pool for an easy 30ish minute swim. First time in a long time I didn't do any sort of workout, just swam to enjoy moving through the water and meditating on life a bit. Got in some alternative cross training Friday night at a huge dance party and decided that no run was required Saturday in order to let my body recover!

While not the most fitness based week ever I still feel like I got in some solid workouts and I think the running is going to come along here soon!

Belated Weekly Run Down and Mileage Bummer

I've been pretty focused on just doing what I want every day workout wise the past few weeks, trying to be nice to the calf and foot. I ran every week day last week light and easy and it wasn't too bad, but I took the weekend off. 5 runs 24 miles. And one night I did an easy hour of trainer riding which was a riot as we played 90s music and had a lot of fun.

I'm focusing on getting in some extra "pampering" time and really massaging the calf and foot (and any other tight spots that crop up) everyday and doing some strengthening exercises for the lower body. Monday I head to the PT to see what else I can be doing to get a clean bill of health and get back up and running more frequently here soon!

In order to hit 3000 miles for the year I would have to run 10 miles a day starting today. Looks like I will have to settle for a little less this year. But I am excited to say my body really feels like it is appreciating the cross training and rest. I just get this feeling that it is ready to really get after it in 2012 and is going to reward my recovery time with some seriously fast races!

I've come a long way this year and can't believe what a healthy frame of mind I am in given I am not running like I would like to be! Really enjoying the cross training when I can get it and definitely feel like my body needed the rest!

Into The Wild

I completely slacked off on researching a fun vid this week. So you can thank my awesome friends who send me fun stuff all the time for this one this week. Phenomenal performance! Wow!

Closing the door on OTQ, for now

At some point between 2008 and now I decided that I was going to make a go at hitting the Olympic trials qualifying standard in the marathon. I was fortunate to run Boston in 2008 and be on the sidelines watching the Olympic Trials and it was obviously inspiring. Since then at points I have literally been eating, sleeping, dreaming, running with OTQ on the brain. It definitely got out of hand but I never lost my passion for it and it has been this amazing pursuit to share with a ton of other fabulous women.

At Cleveland this year I was made aware of "Miles & Trials"and it has been fascinating to follow other women as they trained for and raced towards a sub 2:46. Though there are a few more days left to qualify CIM is pretty much recognized as the "last chance" to get into the trials, and wow it looks like it was an amazing race to be a part of. 25 women qualified and looking at the splits you can see that a group as large as 50+ really worked together throughout most of the race. This is something you really don't see very often around that level and it gives me hope.

I've found that for me the OTQ pursuit brought out some of my better and some of my less positive traits. At some point this year it had literally sucked the life out of me. I was this shell of a person who used to be this positive over the top bundle of excitement. I was worn out, I was frustrated, I was resentful, I was sad. But along the way I also found out that I love running fast, that I love pushing myself, that I am faster than I would have ever dreamed possible.

It has been interesting to watch and share this experience with so many other women. I think around 200 have officially qualified, and I am sure there are just as many, like me, that missed out by a few minutes or more in the pursuit. I thought that after CIM I might be sad to have to acknowledge that this was one goal I didn't achieve. But the truth is that, for me, the excitement was in the pursuit. It was an avenue for pushing myself to be better than I thought was possible. And though I didn't achieve the time, I most certainly have become a better runner, a better racer, and a better person from the journey.

I've learned that while being "sub-elite" or "elite" sounds very exciting, it comes with it's drawbacks. I learned that my competitive nature can get the best of me in an all fast female field. That I am not immune to racing like an idiot. I also learned that really these races are about the top 3 and I have no delusions of going to the Olympics or even being the best marathoner in a 30 mile radius, and I am not sure that had I qualified that the trials would be the racing experience I even desire right now in my running career. I think what Boston, Cleveland, and Indy Half showed me was that I don't particularly enjoy running someone else's race, and that if I want to run in a women's only field my race will be a lonely one as I watch the real elites run away and I pray there are a few like me to work with (and most times there aren't). (And the truth is I like racing men!)

And though I have figured that out, it doesn't mean that the OTQ isn't still inspiring deep down in my soul. I loved this note from a Miles and Trials fan to the movie director:

"I have a great belief in the content of this film. For me, the training and struggles for the amateur runner at this level are inspiring. Not that it is easy for athletes at any level, especially in the sport of running, but I have always been taken with this particular level of runner, male or female. I consider myself fortunate to be close friends with many. These are people who train as hard as any athlete I know and yet, if they receive sponsorship, it is minimal, their costs for training/travel/racing are typically their own, and ultimately the payoff is little more than self-satisfaction of their own achievement. They do not run to qualify for the Olympic Team, some do not even run to be in the Top Ten. Most run just to make the Trials and, as we well know, some of them train for years and never quite make even that. For me, this segment of athlete has always been, always will be, the true heart of amateur athletics."

It really has been fascinating to be a part of this amazing group of women who are at the cusp of sub 2:50 and trying for more. It has been entertaining to watch girls dream big that really have no shot, and to see the few of them that took a big chance and ended up running the race of their lives because of their bravado. And it has been heartbreaking to watch girls who had all the talent, put in all the time, but just couldn't line it up on the day. It really is amazing how many awesome runners made so many stupid or crazy decisions this year in pursuit of the OTQ. It has definitely been an eye opener for me into the mindset of a semi competitive female runner.

Congratulations to all the ladies who made it! I am really hoping I can line up the funds to get down there and cheer my ass off. So many rocking Ohio ladies are going to be running. And my epiphany at the finish at Philly really was that while sub 2:46 may be achievable for me, it is no joke. These girls had to have the talent, they had to have the drive, they had to put in the work, they had to stay injury free, they had to keep mentally healthy, they had to choose the right course, and the stars had to align a bit. The truth is the marathon is tricky and it can humble even the best of runners. So to have the patience and confidence to get it done is no small feat. These girls did an amazing thing and I hope they all revel in how awesome it is.

I have no idea what my body will give me as I head into my 30s. I have no idea if this was my peak and I will remain forever a 2:49 marathoner. But I have high hopes that in the pursuit of better I will learn more about myself as a runner and that I will have many many highlights in the future. So I am closing the door on a 2012 OTQ, but still have high hopes of getting faster when I start chasing the 2016 OTQ!

In Your Wildest Dreams

I have a feeling if I had been alive in the 60s and 70s I would have been a Beatles girl, but seeing as it was my dad's 60th this weekend I wanted to play something by his favorite band this week. I adore the Moody Blues too (though they are no Beatles). And I am still amazed that my parents survived the 70s listening to this type of music and never doing drugs!

Wow the hair!

These guys were still rocking in 1997!

I think this would be a blast to play on Rock Band :)

Moderation is Not My Middle Name

After one week of absolutely no exercise you could say I was literally bouncing off the walls with energy. My calf was still pretty tight and I couldn't really tell if my foot was getting better or not, so I was sticking with the no running plan. However, I was on a mission to get to the pool and at least try to work off some aerobic steam.

I have been swimming once or twice a week 1600 to 2000 meters usually with maybe 400 to 600 hard, but usually everything pretty easy. So I probably went a little overboard getting in three swims this week Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday which included a masters swim class where I hammered my body for around 700 meters and followed that up the next day with all pull because I didn't want to irritate my calf. Cue shoulder pain. Yeah I'm an idiot :) So my shoulder has been killing me since Wednesday and I skipped hopping back in the pool. Hoping some heat and relaxation will get the shoulder back in order so I can get back in the pool but keep it to one or two swims a week and not kill myself while doing it.

Wednesday night we went out for some social drinks and I ended up leaving my car downtown so I hopped on the bike Thursday morning to commute in and thankfully my calf felt absolutely fine for that. I kept the bike ride easy and other than my toes feeling like they might freeze off it was great to get out in the sun.

Stressful day Friday and my shoulder was wrecked so I took Friday and Saturday off exercise. I did go and cheer at the Reindeer Run (Sara did a great job summarizing the morning!) and while I was really tempted to bring my running gear with me and sneak in a few miles I behaved.

Sunday was my dads 60th Birthday so I was at home for that and while I was leaning towards being a slug my sister and I got in the P90X yoga DVD which was a surprisingly good workout! Word is still out on if the shoulder was affected by that positively or negatively.

Today I am hitting the streets! Please please please foot and calf feel good!