Archive for December, 2012

2012 Summary

648.9 miles. That’s how far I ran in 2013. Very modest by many marathon standards and yet the furthest I’ve ever run in a year. So I set an annual PR.
My running accomplishments for 2012? 1st full marathon. Not a total success and yet I finished with more than an hour left on the clock. I set a half marathon PR at 2:29:16. I did ecoaching with Jeff Galloway which improved my running overall. Basically a good year for running.
In 2012 I finished 1 full marathon, 2 half marathons, 1 virtual half marathon, 1 ten miler, one 10k, and one 5k. I ran on vacation multiple times. Survived 10 days of no power due to Hurricane Sandy. And vowed to finished 39.3 miles in less than 2 weeks despite the recent loss of my biggest supporter, my mother.
2012 was a year of ups – I think I greatly improved my running – and downs. And gives me a good take-off point for 2013.
Next year I want to run further – 800 miles? – and faster – a sub 2:20 half? – than last year. I want to focus on improving my half marathon time rather than going further and further. I’m running the Goofy in less than 2 weeks. Then the Royal Family 5k and Princess Half in February. I’m planning to run the More Magazine Women’s Half in April. Maybe the Mini 10k again in June. Thinking about the Westchester Running Festival in October. Trying to convince Tom to join me for the Wine and Dine Half in November with the 5k. That gives me two 5ks, one 10k, 4 halfs, and one full for 2013. Not bad.
For 2013 I’d like to add a cross-training day. Either biking, elliptical, or swimming. And maybe add an extra running day per week. More realistically, try to exercise 15 times per month instead of 12. I’ll consider Insanity! Or P90X as opposed to the gym.
Perhaps most importantly I want to enjoy running and keep it fun. I’m still not sure if next January will be a Half or another Full. Probably not the Goofy next time but maybe again in 2014 for he anniversary. I’ll see how the next few weeks/months go before settling.

Let the Taper Begin!

This weekend I completed the last and longest of my training runs before the Goofy begins on January 12th (the full marathon is on the 13th). My assigned mileage was 12 miles on Saturday and a whopping 27 miles on Sunday. I didn’t quite follow this plan, for several reasons which I will discuss further. I did manage 12 miles on Friday and 24 miles today (Sunday). And I survived.
So what did I learn this weekend and throughout my Goofy preparation?

1. My body doesn’t like back to back long runs. At least not at this stage in my running career. Once the back to back mileage started to increase significantly, I felt slightly injured or extremely sore during every Sunday long run. I have many theories about this but they mostly focus on the fact that with low weekday mileage, the extra miles on Saturday of the back to back weekends represented a serious jump in my overall miles. Maybe with more overall miles, that wouldn’t have been so significant. The other theory relates to overall muscle weakness which could be improved with weight training/cross-training. And, since I know several of you keep telling me to cross-train, I’m going to try to figure out a way to add a cross-training day after Goofy.

2. 4:30am is early. 4:30am twice in one weekend is exhausting. I also believe that if you’re going to abandon your family for 9 cumulative hours of running in one weekend, starting at 4:30am is considerate. Especially when your day also involves seeing inpatients at the hospital. I will go on to say that while my husband doesn’t love having me abandon the family for the morning on a weekend, he was extremely thoughtful today.

3. 36F isn’t as cold as I thought. I did Friday’s 12 miles on the treadmill because it was pouring rain and gusting winds. And 4:30am and dark. I just couldn’t get myself outside in that. Last night as I was preparing my fuel and clothes for today’s run, I debated treadmill vs. outdoors. The prediction was 30F (although it was actually about 36F). I decided to go outside and I’m glad I did. I dressed about perfectly for the weather and was only a bit chilled for the first few miles. And I never overheated. (I wore a winter long-sleeved tech shirt with a short-sleeved tech shirt over it and then my awesome running vest which is wind-resistant. I wore calf-sleeves under long tights with shorts on top. I had a baseball-style running cap and gloves. And socks and shoes, of course!)

4. When equipment problems occur, it’s best to fix them as early as possible. I had 2 minor issues today. My right contact lens was messed up. Before I hit mile 1 I knew I had a problem. And my mile two I had removed the offending (disposable) lens. I ran the next 5+ miles with only my left lens before I stopped home to replace the right one. (I also took advantage of indoor plumbing). The second issue was some discomfort from a calf sleeve. It was rubbing against the back of my left ankle by mile 8 or so. I should have just stopped then a fixed it rather than waiting a few more miles. No harm was done but it was annoying.

5. I still don’t have the fueling/hydration stuff down exactly. By the late teens I was feeling under-fueled despite fueling every 40 min. I’m not sure why but I may need to fuel every 30 minutes. I haven’t figured out my personal physiology enough to explain why a small-ish person like me needs more fuel than average. I also had weird hydration issues today. I generally have a sailor’s bladder but I needed to pee fairly frequently today. Which wasn’t fabulous since there aren’t a lot of bathrooms along my route. And the one I was counting on using was closed for the winter with a porta-potty as the replacement. A least there was toiler paper…

6. Speaking of hydration… It’s always a good idea to make sure your reusable water bottle has been fully rinsed before using it. Drinking soapy water starting at mile 18 isn’t ideal.

7. 24 miles is really friggin’ far! I guess that’s obvious since most sane people choose NOT to run that distance. I also really understand why Jeff Galloway has his runners go the distance before the race (which I didn’t do but I was only 2.2 miles short). I have seen the wall and broken through. The last few miles today were HARD but I now know that I can do this thing!

On that note I wish all who celebrate a very Merry Christmas! And I wish everyone a Happy New Year! Let’s make some new goals so we can achieve new things in 2013!

Tales from the Disabled List

Most people who read this blog probably already know about my recent foot injury. Let me recap. 2 weekends ago I was scheduled for a mega-weekend. 10 mile walk on Saturday and 24 mile run/walk on Sunday. I did my 10 mile walk at 14:14 pace without any major issues. Woke up early on Sunday to start my run. My left foot had what I’ll call a twinge. It felt a bit sore but nothing that caused any major worry. I’ve found that every back to back weekend I start my 2nd day with a twinge. Sore quads. Sore gluts. Sore foot. No big deal.
I headed for the South-bound Bronx River Pathway. I’ve done most of my long runs on the North-bound trail and wanted a change in scenery. The North-bound trail starts about 1 mile from my house while the South-bound one starts about 2 miles away (the trail isn’t continuous; there’s a several mile gap). At about mile 3 my foot twinge changed into a foot pain. I thought maybe this was just a cramp and took a bit of an extended walk break. It felt a bit better while walking so I tried to run again. Ouch! Not good. I decided that I could just walk instead of run. Luckily for me I needed to be home by 8:30am so Tom could take a child to Hebrew School without the assistance of the other children. I actually texted Tom on my way home to tell him about the foot injury. Being an awesome husband, he offered to come pick me up. I was less than a mile from home so I just toughed it out.
My original plan was to run as many outdoor miles as time allowed and then finish on the dreadmill in my basement. I had managed 10 miles outside (3 with run/walk and 7 just walking) which left 14 long, slow miles indoors. As I prepared to go to the basement my husband gave me an incredulous look and said, “Tomorrow is another day. Stop.” At least someone is sensible about my running…
I started my online research. What causes pain on the outer edge of the foot halfway between the ankle and the little toe? The search results were not promising. A 5th metatarsal stress fracture was high on the list. I emailed my coach, Jeff Galloway, for advice. He wanted me to try to walk 30 minutes on Tues and Thursday and then reduce my mileage on Saturday from 6 miles down to 4 miles. He had a gentle run/walk plan in mind but I decided to play it safe and just walk.
One advantage of my profession is that I’m surrounded by doctors. And many Tuesdays I spend the time between OR cases in the Doctors’ Lounge with the Chairman of Orthopedic Surgery – a man I refer to as my “work dad.”. I wanted his opinion on my injury and perhaps help scheduling an X-ray. His approach was far more blunt and, probably, common sense. “Amanda, you have an overuse injury. It doesn’t matter if it’s a stress fracture or not. You need to stop using it and it will get better.” Well alrighty then..
He went on the recommend that I take 3 months off of running. But, of course, he knows me better than that. So he said to take another week off and give running a try. If I get pain again, I have my answer. He also spoke like a true Chairman, “Nobody is paying you to run Marathons. If you hurt your foot worse, you won’t be able to work.” When I told my husband this he responded, “He’s making an assumption that if you had to choose between working and running Marathons that you’d choose working.”
Yes. My husband knows me well….
I have been able to walk without pain. I’m not going to try running again until next week but I feel I could walk the Goofy if I had to do it that way.

The Goofiness of Goofy

What now seems like decades ago, I registered for the Big Daddy of all runDisney races – the Goofy. For reasons that now seem to elude me, it seemed like a good idea – way back in March – to run 13.1 miles on Saturday and 26.2 miles on Sunday. This despite the fact that January’s marathon was hardly a triumph. I stumbled across the finish line in an inglorious sub-6 hour time. At the time I remember thinking that I should probably have a stronger marathon finish before “advancing” to the Goofy. And yet I couldn’t resist the challenge of the Goofy when it came time to register.
In order to better prepare myself for this race (races?), I signed myself up for Jeff Galloway e-coaching. What I liked about Galloway training is his run-walk-run method and the fact that you only run 3 days per week (or 4 days on the Goofy training weekends). This worked well with my schedule. Galloway had me doing long runs every other weekend (so 10 miles one weekend then 4 miles then next and 12 miles after that) until I reached about the 16 mike distance. Then I started going long every 3rd weekend – 18 miles then 6 miles then 6 miles then 21 miles. For the Gooofy he adds a twist: each long run is preceded by a long walk. The weekend that I did 18 miles on Sunday, I walked 7 miles on Saturday. The idea is to get yourself used to running on tired legs since that’s what happens during the Goofy.
There’s a problem in all this. Even at the beginning of the back to back runs, I could feel the strain at the start of Sunday’s run. Almost every weekend of back to back has resulted in a minor injury, most recently my as-yet undiagnosed foot injury. For the first time this training cycle, I abandoned a long run due to injury. Very discouraging! Most of these injuries have been mild. Muscle soreness which lasts a few days. Calf pain that resolved with aggressive foam roller treatment. And now foot pain. That seems to be improving.
I won’t lie. It worries me. And I have a few thoughts about this:
1. It has been said that Galloway’s extreme focus on the long run with minimal mid-week mileage is a fault in his program. Although I have successfully completed a 21 miler (one day after 8.5 mike, thank you very much!), I don’t have the same total miles as people using other training plans. Perhaps I need more total miles and not just long run miles?
2. My weight. Again. Perhaps that 10-15 lbs that I want to lose won’t just make me faster but will spare me from injury. More weight = More strain on the body. While the weight certainly isn’t melting away, I am more focused on the foods I put into my body and my water consumption.
3. My overall conditioning. Maybe before I sign up for another Goofy I need to find a way to incorporate strength training into my training schedule. With my current work and family responsibilities, it’s hard to have any consistency beyond my 3 weekly runs. Obviously life conditions don’t stay the same over time so this may not always be the way it is.
So what now?
Jeff Galloway has a plan for me as I recover my foot. I was able to walk 30 minutes today without hurting my foot. Thursday I will walk 30 minutes again, resisting any temptation to run. This weekend I’m doing 4 easy miles instead of 6. And by then I’m thinking I’ll be back on track. I will ask Jeff Galloway if I should consider skipping the back to back in 3 weeks to avoid further injuries. And then I go for the Goofy!