Better late than never. I’m trying to get a hold on the blogging consistency. I’m managing 2 blogposts a week, one weekly wrap up and another mixed bag of things- tips, throwbacks, running psychology, family, etc..... once school is officially out I think I’ll get into a better rhythm... or not... but I’m determined to just keep blogging even if I’m late. So it’s Tuesday morning, I have a prep period I don’t need because I’ve been prepping so far in advance I’m able to relax (for once). The printer here is also out of ink so I'm trading the prepping I normally do at school and doing it at home... so the things I normally do at home (blog, for example) I'm trying to squeeze in during my prep at school. Everyone else is cleaning their class and organizing during their preps, but I’ll be here all summer so I’m not that concerned! In the meantime, here’s another week of training... I ran!
Monday: Spin Class
Matts back from Switzerland but he’s doing some crazy amount of pre-sales for new products and so he’s got a cray schedule with long hours. Monday he had the girls with him, so I went to spin class and killed myself there. I understand that the spin bikes probably measure miles based on revolutions not on power, but I “rode” 24 miles in an hour... my watts were just under 170. I actually had a lot of fun, but no a lot of time to do anything else.
Tuesday: RUN! and bike.
I did 10 minute walk, 5x1:00 walk/run at 11:00/pace, 10 min cool down walk. Almost 2 miles. WOO! My right foot hurt a little more than my left foot. I took this as a good thing because maybe it means I'm not compensating so much....? and then my right hip was a bit sore after spin... but again in a pretty good way. My orthotics still have not come in so I'm just itching to start breaking them in and getting moving again! I wasn't overly enthusiastic about running again. It always feels a little wrong when you start again. Kind of like a baby deer learning to walk. It seems like it should just come so naturally if everything is healed, but that's just not how the body works. Those early phases post injury are a delicate balance between what you are actually feeling and what you are perceiving you are feeling based off of fear or history. When you are only running one minute at a time there's not a lot of risk involved. My PT gave me a return to run program that I'm sort of following with some minor changes from my podiatrist. The return to run program that my PT has me doing is an hour on your feet (most of which is walking) but my podiatrist wants even less... at least until I get the orthotics. I'm still waiting for some clarification on how to increase next.... but if I don't get an email back soon I'm going to go rogue and that's probably not a good thing! After the run I biked easy for 30 minutes and then I finished up with some single leg box squats, step ups, glute band stuff, and some pelvic floor breathing. I'm really trying to get the pelvic floor stuff back under control. I know, I know, it seems like I should be done with all this postpartum stuff, but the reality is once postpartum, always postpartum and I've learned that the hard way this year.
Wednesday: Happy Global Running Day!
I did pool running. I did a quick ladder workout similar to what I posted in my Water Running 101 post, but I shortened it to only 2 ladders instead of 3 since I was pressed for time before a class came in. I did a lot of reflection on the running experiences I've had. How many hours I've probably spent in the pool injured, how many I've spent as supplemental work, how many hours I've spent devoting to this sport in general. It's a lot. I used to think I lacked discipline, but really I don't... Motivation and dedication aren't the same thing. I'm often overworking myself so motivation is thin. But I'm learning to balance it better with age, so I'll get it right one day!
Thursday: Walk/Run 30 minutes
Today was another day where I had to drive all the way home to get the girls and all the way back to the gym to get the use of kids korner. I think soon I can take them outside in the stroller, but Raea chose the gym so that worked for me. She had her FIRST EVER field trip so I think she was tired of being outside. It actually worked even better than I could imagine! A co-worker of mine was having a retirement party. I knew what day it was because I remember checking and thinking oh, I can't go, Matt isn't home. But I didn't realize that the location was actually at the bar IN MY GYM. So I showed up with my kids not even aware all my coworkers were there. I worked out and then went to socialize a bit. I fed my kids some of the food and it worked out great because one less thing to clean up. I had a ton on my plate that night because I promised my students I'd make us T-shirts for Spree Day. I had not started yet and I got home at 8:00... It was a fun night. I finished at 12:30 which wasn't actually too bad considering all I squeezed in on a Thursday. 30 minutes of walk/running wasn't much, but it was something, and pretty much no noticeable hip or foot pain.
Spree Day! I spent the whole day on my feet at work and outside. The kids at school had a TON of fun and were really well behaved. I spent the whole week talking about waiting in lines and choosing to wait only for your most favorite things. I had them write about their favorite things and took note of their top 3 so that none of them missed out on what they wanted to do the most. Bouncy Houses, Slides, Horses, face painting, tattoos, colored hair, cotton candy, snow cones, dunk tank, and more relay and field games than you can ever imagine (and this is coming from someone who has spent 12 hours at a track event specifically for relays). Anyway, Spree day was enough activity for me. Just as I was leaving school I checked my voicemail and my Orthotics were in. I picked them up so I could spend the weekend breaking them in and by Tuesday I'd be in them for a full work day. When I got home I just wanted to spend time with my kids and then I did a Date Night In with my husband.
Crazy Saturday. The usual. My husband is off to work early everyday and home late during his big sales season, so even though I do see him each day I'm basically parenting solo. I took Raea to dance with Maebel. After dance I took the kids to Kids Korner at the gym. I did about 40 minutes of walk running but mostly walking. It felt weird since I was in my orthotics for 2 hours before and then had to take them off to workout. I'm still adjusting. I didn't do much more. Just foam rolling and practicing Pelvic Floor breathing. Afterward I had a few errands to run. I needed to get the car inspected because it was a few days overdue, we all needed to eat, and I had to get a gift for my friends bridal shower the next day. I thought I was being super efficient when I pulled into the autoshop right next to panera, right in front of Home Depot. This is great. I'll drop off my car, get an oil changed and an inspection, walk over to panera and eat while it's getting done and then walk up to home depot. The kids wont even need to wait!....
Well, it didn't go that way. As it turns out my registration was expired a few days ago, too.... and it's technically my husbands car because I sold mine and he drives the company car... and my husband was in a giant tent sale.... so the only way I can get my car inspected is to re-register the car online... but I need all his info, and then I need to somehow do it on my phone while my kids run around like crazy, going behind the desk, licking the windows and screaming at the top of their lungs because I'm raising a bunch of animals and it was Maebels nap time. I was super stressed about this but thank the LORD another little girl came in with her toy puppy and my kids settled long enough to let me finish what I was doing. Then we needed to wait for the registration email to come in and it just wasn't coming... and now I"m freaking out like I need to wait until business hours or something... and I'm 90% sure the carshop isn't going to let me drive away with an unregistered car, so... W.T.F... I walk over to panera with the impatient girls (and I'm starving BTW because my kids decided not to be an alarm clock today and we were running really late for dance so I skipped breakfast) and the second I step through the door I get the email I was waiting for. We eat, then walk back to the car place.. wait some more... give the proof they need and the registration number, walk to Home Depot and grab a gift card and then I just pushed them in the cart for literally no other reason but to keep them contained until the shop called me and said the car was ready. Dear Lord please pass inspection. We go to get the car and all was good. Great customer service and way more patience with my kids than I had... although I do admit the food gave me the patience I needed! The car passed, I wasn't really worried until I was having one of those days and thought that would be the icing on the cake... but instead the icing was ice cream! right as we were about to leave, the ice cream truck pulled up and I just happened to have cash from all my students parents giving me some money for their spree day shirts. The wait was worth it, Raea never saw an ice cream truck before. She was excited and wants to go back to the car place... Next time this year I will. Someone remind me.
Sunday: Another day of no working out and I'm not sad about it. I had a bridal shower to go to and then I spent the rest of the afternoon prepping for next fall. Did I mention I signed up for a marathon? It's a last chance BQ, Erie Marathon, and I'm basically going to be doing peak week when we go back to school and racing right around the time everything starts to really take off. Needless to say, it's going to be a stressful month to run a marathon, so I figure if I can get everything organized for next year it will help remove some of that initial start of the school year stress. This year was really stressful because I had a mostly new batch of kids. This coming year I will have most of the same students, so it gives me a little bit of a better opportunity to prepare. I enjoyed the rest of the night hanging out with these cool kids!
It's been over 21 years of ups and downs, and I have grown so much. I have a lot of words to say on this global running day, but most of all I can only say thank you.
Thank you for the confidence I never knew I had.
Thank you for the friendships I've gained across the years,
Thank you for the bond I share with members of my family,
Thank you for my family. Without you, maybe we wouldn't be here.
Thank you for the opportunities.
So many opportunities.
Opportunities to connect with my inner self,
Opportunities to breathe when we often don't take them,
Opportunities to pray,
Opportunities to sweat,
Opportunities to move my body... especially as I age and being an athlete loses it's glory.
Opportunities for the glory... even if I thought it was bigger (much bigger) than it actually was.
I thought I was the shit... Thanks for teaching me humility too.
I learned a lot through success, but even more through failure.
Man, you gave me so many opportunities to fail.
...and fail ugly
... I was a sore loser at times.... but you didn't care. I even embarrassed myself for how I accepted failure (or didn't accept failure) but you were still there. I was so young and passionate, and growing.
I needed the opportunities that you continued to give me.
Opportunities to fail again
and fail a bit more gracefully each time.
... so many lessons in the failures.
a constant reminder that I can choose to stay down or get back up.
I learned to get up when I failed in other aspects of life too.
I learned to understand that failure is part of the process to success across all endeavors, not just with you.
I was once a 12 year old girl checking the oven clock, and jumping out the door racing a few blocks to see how fast I could go and realizing, by most peoples standards, I could go fast.
But fast wasn't enough.
I wanted more.
There once was a time I wanted you to go away.
You haunted my dreams.
I wanted my dreams to be real so badly and I got mad when they weren't.
I felt like you owed it to me.
For all the time and energy I put in.
You owed me ...
I was owed a victory or owed a PR or owed healthy leg (or foot, or hip, or back <<<>insert injuries here <>>>), or owed back time in my life that I invested where things didn't pan out the way I thought they ought to... (Like that time I missed Nationals by .24 seconds. That wasn't fun.) ...
If you weren't going to give me those things...
I didn't want you anymore....
But I didn't know life without you so I just kept going...
and kept growing...
and kept changing...
and now I'm a mom. I'm still racing that oven clock... but most often for things like if I burnt the food yet, or shuffling out the door to get to work, or dance, or daycare always in a hurray, always moving fast. .....I race that oven clock for bedtime... how fast can I get kids to bed so I can get a bit of time to breathe again? When can I breathe?
I used to think I was giving to you.
I was giving you my time
giving you my energy
giving you my life
and all you could do was just be
and never give
so I got nothing in return.
or so I thought.
but you do give
You give me time to breathe.
Every day I get to run I get to breathe...
I used to want everything so fast but now, when I run, it finally slows down.
No matter what pace I run, the world slows down.
You give me that opportunity to live in the moment
see the beauty in all the world
forget about all the things I have to worry about
and just be.
Being able to just be is powerful.
You are that for me
You give that to me
PS: I still do want to run fast, though. Let’s get it right this time!
In the month of March I pulled the plug on the Shamrock marathon and decided to fully heal before I started training again. In the month of April I thought I understood what fully healed meant... started training, and then pulled the plug 4 weeks in realizing I was doing myself a disservice to repeat this same old pattern. Manageable pain is only manageable until it’s not... and by the time you realize it’s no longer manageable you’re too deep into training to stop. Too invested, too much work to waste... so you risk it all until you lose it all. I’ve repeated this pattern a few times. I manage pain well... a thing I used to be proud of... but as I age I know I need to give my body a better place to start from. It’s so hard for me to trust my own insight on this having made so many repeated mistakes. In the month of May I took this more seriously. I’m 4 weeks in to the Last Comeback but still have not run a step. I still have pain but extremely limited in comparison to previous benchmarks. I also feel like I’m about to make enough changes that the result will hopefully change. This will hopefully be the last week of NO running. But next weeks totals are probably going to be <5. A less than gradual approach. But enjoy my last recap that has ZERO running.
Monday: I don't know if it's bad or good that I've already forgotten. I had to look this up. It appears I did nothing on Monday and on Sunday. I think it was Matts full day back from Switzerland and I just wanted to not think about fitting something in the schedule.
Tuesday: Pool workout: 10 min warm up; 10x (50sec hard/10 sec easy, 40 sec hard/20 sec easy, 30 sec hard/30 sec easy); 5 x 90 sec (faster every 30 sec) w/30 sec easy between each; cool down. This workout was directly from my coach. The pool at the gym I joined is not a deep water pool. The very center of it is 5 feet deep so if I wear a belt I can do deep water running if I turn around every 15 seconds. I basically just go in a small circle in the middle of my lane like a lame fish... but I also did use the shallow end for the warm up, cool down, and the 90 second repeats. It takes me roughly 30 seconds to run a length of the pool so it was easy to run down and back for 90 seconds and measure if I was getting faster or staying on pace. I wrote a whole blogpost on water running with a few workouts on there if you missed it. Check it out! I also had my last Shockwave appointment. I'm still not 100% but I'd say my range is now between 95-99% on any given day. I more notice pain or chronic tightness in my shin and calf. The podiatrist feels pretty confident that the orthotics are going to relieve a lot of that.
Wednesday: 60 minutes on the bike and glute band drills plus box steps and other box stuff. I was shockingly sore from the pool workout so just kept it easy! I've been having real trouble sleeping lately so I'm trying not to overwork myself.
Thursday: Squeezed in a quick sprints pool workout (FREE on my Water 101 post!) before heading to get a massage. My massage hurt really bad. Lots of deep abdominal work done reminding me that I still have a long way to go in terms of pelvic floor stability. However, reading this blogpost that Sarah Canney put together I felt hopeful. I can perform all the exercises mentioned but my guess is I can't perform them after a run or after a workout or without putting thought into it. It takes a lot of concentration for me to breath correctly! Being able to do it without fatigue is, to me, just the baseline. I need to be able to do it when I'm tired, so that's what I will work on. My massage therapist keeps saying "it's not a strength thing, it's a vascular thing. You are strong enough, you just aren't getting enough oxygen and blood flow, you're not breathing correctly". So I got this little thing called "expand-a-lung"... I had heard about it on Tina Muirs podcast and it helps with the diaphragm and emailed her guest who is local to here. I remember when I went to pelvic floor PT I had an issue with my piston breath and my diaphragm lowering on inhales because it was so tight. My massage therapist basically did deep tissue massage in that diaphragm area and I gotta say I've never felt so good (and sore... in a good way). The expand-a-lung puts some pressure against the breath to sort of force the correct engagement and coordination... I guess it increases your lung capacity which sounds cool for runners, but Again, I just got it because the guy on the podcast is legit and recommended it to me when I emailed him about my pelvic floor. at least that's what I understood from the podcast episode it was mentioned in! Here is a great video below that the pelvic floor PT I worked with sent to me. I fall in the category of tight upper abs and diaphragm. I do not leak at all though because my pelvic floor has compensated and is in a constant state of contraction in order to hold everything up since my abs and diaphragm are not fully expanding and contracting either. Anyway, I was able to get correct movement almost 2 years ago when I saw the PT, but again, I think I need to do it really conscientiously and it doesn't happen when I'm running or doing sports or transporting or restraining a child at work... as a result I sometimes have pain and sometimes do not.
Friday: I planned to get up early but slept 5hours and 3 minutes according to my app (which usually means I slept less than that). It was the Flag Day show at school and it took every bit of energy I had to make sure every student was happy and able to participate nicely so that I didn't need to transport anyone out off the stage with a million parent eyes on me. It's part of my job and I'm trained to correctly and safely remove children who are a threat to themselves or others, however no one wants an audience for something like that... especially when it's supposed to be a celebration! Fortunately the kids were great during the show(s) (they perform twice), but a change in schedule for kids with autism is hard on everyone and I was psyched to just go home and chill.
Saturday: On Saturday I took the approach of doing two back to back classes in order to make it a "long run" day. I did the shallow water H2O class which wasn't exactly hard, I can make it much more challenging on my own, but the introduction of some impact is good before I start running next week so I just went with it. Some things were very hard and others were... meh... but I reminded myself that long runs shouldn't be hard... jut long. I followed up with a spin class. To be honest, I didn't love the instructor. Mostly because I couldn't hear her and didn't know her cues and had a really large (like tall) man blocking my view so I also couldn't see. But I give her a pass because I overheard her telling another member of the class that she ran 3:32 in the marathon "Not the BQ I wanted, at one point I was on pace for a 3:11"... Knowing nothing about her I wanted to be like "if you were looking to BQ why 3:11 pace?..." sounds like she got out too hard. Anyway, I was impressed she could spin after because spin class is legit hard for me! But not sure I would take her class again. Too much of the class was centered around the music for me. I would rather be told "30 seconds" than "find the beat"... I don't run with music and really don't want music to dictate my workout. When I finished up I headed over to Raeas dance class to trade off with Matt and made it back just in time to check out her handprint being added to the wall! So cute!
Sunday: Everything about this day just wasn't good. I don't even want to get into it because I worked really hard to just let it go and don't want to rehash it.. but I will say that I posted about it in my story on instagram and was overwhelmed by the support by other parents out there! I honestly got so many messages of support I couldn't even respond to them all individually. Amazing amazing people willing to support a total stranger! It's funny how we can be that way online, but I wonder if I would have received the same support in person. It reminded me to be kind. Always be kind. You don't know what someone else is dealing with. We Can't be perfect all the time (not even close, for me)... but I pulled my head out of the fog and meal prepped... that's all I could manage for Sunday. My kids also returned to their angelic state (after the devilish one that sent me for a loop) and I got this adorable footage of Maebel reading with Raea. Love them so much!
Hope you had a really great week! Sorry I’m a little inconsistent with posting in terms of day/time. I’m going for weekly consistency (2-3 posts per week always with weekly training recap)
Have you ever done spin class? what parts you like or don’t like?
Tell me your parent fails
how was your week of training?
Today (Tuesday) was my last Shockwave appointment and although I'm still waiting for my orthotics, I got the green light to start running 1 minute at a time one mile at a time (one minute run one minute walk for a mile) starting next week! Woo Hoo! I need to start rebuilding tissue tolerance and adapting to the impact after all this time off. My foot is feeling great after all the treatments! I wish I got some done to my calf though, because now that my foot feels good the pain is back in my calf... but it sounds like the orthotics could solve it all. I'm so hopeful! I've spent A LOT of money on this! Thank GOD I had three pay periods (as opposed to the usual 2) in the month of May. We have no extra money, but if there was ever a time for us to indulge, it's a month with three pay periods. In addition to the 5 shockwave treatments and the big bills for the orthotics, I also got a gym membership. I typically don't need a gym since I'm very much happy with outdoor activity, but these last four weeks having various bikes and classes, and weights, and available babysitters has made me feel less depressed and less like I'm missing out on something. The reason I got the membership in the first place is because my favorite form of cross training is the pool. When I first joined it was closed for 2 weeks for annual cleaning (of course) and then with Matts travel there was a class going on during the babysitting hours so I didn't have the freedom to do whatever I wanted, but today I finally got to use it! This is my go-to cross training method of choice, and here's why it should be yours too (plus a few workouts to try!)
1. Little to No Impact
Generally speaking, when people talk about water running (or aqua jogging, or pool running) they are referring to running in the deep end of the pool with a buoyancy belt (essential!) where your feet can not touch the ground. You can also run in the shallow end with less impact depending on how shallow you run. I spent many of my high school summers running circles in my parents above ground pool. I also did this when I broke my foot and began to reintroduce impact. It was before the alter-G was a thing where you could remove "X" percentage of your weight... It just was something I did on my own intuition. For most injuries you want to stay primarily on the deep end, but there is some benefit to gradually reintroducing your body to some impact and force with the use of a pool before you hit the pavement. This is why people might walk after a surgery in the shallow end of the pool. Standing without full weight but still standing. The majority of running related injuries are lower extremities. Achilles, calves, shins, and feet (sound familiar). All these things can benefit from pool running. No take off to hurt the Achilles and calves, and no landing to hurt the shins and feet. If you have a hamstring or hip injury, pool running may not be the best for you, especially if you are new to it and may make some mistakes while getting comfortable. Over extending in the pool could hurt the hamstring and the resistance of your knee drive could bother your hip... but I still recommend you read ahead just in case it is a good fit or worth trialing!
2. Sport Specificity
The best way to get better at running is to run. Cross training, and strength training are all supplemental training to running. If you want to get better at running, YOU MUST RUN! Unfortunately, running related injuries are common due to the high impact nature of the sport, so you may find yourself needing cross training either as a way to reduce impact and avoid injury or just during a time of injury in general. Not all of us were built with durability to withstand 80-100+ mile weeks so although running more in theory produces better running results, it only works if you don’t get hurt. Biking, lifting, swimming, rowing.. these are all great ways to maintain your cardiovasular fitness, but water running is running... just in the water... so in that sense it is the most specific to the sport itself with little to no impact. Unlike other forms of cross training where you may be using or building muscle groups in a different way than necessary for running, workouts in the pool mimic your real running form and mechanics (and can actually improve it, too!!) so it is the ideal choice for cross training. Specificity to sport is also why when I do strength training, you will see a lot of single leg exercises. This is specific to running. There is no point in your running stride that you are on two legs, so my lifting routine primarily involves working the muscles on one leg.
The pool offers resistance that only a really windy day can achieve! I’ve seen a lot of crazy things people are willing to do to add resistance to their running. Parachutes, bungee cords, sleds, even weighted vests! (Ouch! I think my leg just broke thinking about that!). I’ve mostly seen this for sprinters and track athletes trying to shave off tenths of a second, but mostly because with distance running there is no easy way to add resistance for the duration of a workout. You can do hills, you can train at elevation.... OR you can run in the pool! The pool has a great benefit of offering the resistance for both when the belly of the muscle contracts AND when it expands. Every direction you move in you are met with resistance to give you a little extra something when that resistance is taken away! You will notice your arms will get a really good workout in the pool, too! You may find yourself hungrier than ever after a pool workout because you're working everything (and are even burning calories just to stay warm)
Piggy backing on the above, the resistance also can help improve running form. Your body is going to look for the path of least resistance, which is the most efficient way of moving. For example, if you have any side to side arm swinging while running outside, you will notice immediately when you are in the deep water! With the resistance of the water you will actually move side to side instead of forward so you will quickly learn to monitor and change that arm swing! You are also able to slow down your stride due to the buoyancy (note: you should always wear a boyancy belt. Don't be a hero, we are not treading water, we are water running!), Make sure you’ve got your spine lined up nice and tall, your pelvis tilted and tucked, and a nice forward lean (but not too much. We're not swimming!). drive those knees up and elbows back, but don't overreach with your arms and pull yourself forward. It will feel a little like running in place but you will still have some forward motion. Overstriding isn’t going to happen in the water. Try it (unless you've got a hamstring issue!)! You’ll see how hard it is to pull your body forward through the water and then transition to a push. You should keep your cadence similar to running (around 180 is a good goal for me... or higher if I'm doing a "sprint") but remember, with resistance it will be harder work to achieve that. Overstriding most certainly is not going to allow you to do that, and it will be even more noticeable than it is on land. Keep in mind that proper form in the water is very important. If you are sacrificing form for speed, slow down and get it right so you can reap the full benefits of this method of cross training.
5. Go Hard More Often
Since you do not need your body to recover from impact you can really incorporate more workouts more often (but should always still have "easy" days). Additionally, your perceived effort might be harder than your heart rate suggests. Since you are buoyant, not taking any force, and in water that is not warm (although you might sweat, your core temperature is probably still lower than usual), your heart rate is generally lower even when you may feel like you are really cranking. As a result, you are able to do hard efforts more often without much difficulty, and also can do it with less recovery between intervals.... which is a good thing, because the pool can be BORING without having a constant change of pace! Below are some workouts you can try!
You can also just do your prescribed running workouts and convert it to Minutes. That might get boring (especially if you have a 2 hour long run....) so you may need to invest in some waterproof headphones etc. to keep it entertaining... but again, since there's no impact and your heart rate stays low, you can mix up the type of effort you do quite a bit without having to worry about overreaching.
Some Final Considerations:
Since we've talked about all the good with water running, one might think that when they can return to running on the land they don't need to go as gradually. This is not correct! Remember, your body is not taking any force with pool running. When you return to the land you still need to follow a return to run program that will gradually increase your load. You should wait 4-6 weeks from a long term injury before you add in workouts on land. Continue to do your workouts in the pool while you increase the duration of your runs on land.
Week 3, my hardest week of this comeback yet, but not because of workouts or anything fitness related.... rather, because I was solo parenting Monday to about 1 hour from now when my husband comes home. I'm tired. Pardon gave me a super flexible schedule and basically was like "just do what you can" ... 4 weeks ago I would have done next to nothing, but once the train is rolling, I don't want to stop. Last week Matt was gone for a few days and we tried out the Kids Korner, so this week was more of the same... a lot less lifting than previous weeks but time was not on my side.
Monday: 5 Miles on the bike and band exercises plus single leg deadlift and bulgarian split squats.
I was able to get up in the morning to do this workout because Matt was leaving mid day. To be honest, I wanted nothing to do with it because I felt like I had zero recovery from our weekend getaway and then from the previous solo parenting in Philly. The family time last week was nice and needed but sandwiched between two big trips for Matt left very little time to recover and prep for the big Switzerland trip which is a bigger Pain in the A$$ because of the timezone difference. I forced myself to get going in the morning. Just when I adjusted to mornings I had to do afternoons for the Kids Korner, and then back to mornings, and then afternoons. I'm really tired. Last week I became a monster of a mother to Raea one of the solo parenting days when she wouldn't go to bed. After some thought I realized how hard it is for her since she does not understand when Daddy is not coming home. So Monday night we made a schedule together and based on the experience with Kids Korner last week I knew I needed to build in a lot of really fun stuff for them to allow me to get to do the stuff I wanted with less trouble. This schedule definitely was the key to my success this week, but also felt like my demise some days. Pretty much every day I was like "whyyyyyy didn't I put more relax icons on there?"
Tuesday: 45 minute circuit training. Heavy on the squats and the glutes. I just foam rolled after. On paper Tuesday seemed like the easiest day. The girls were at my moms with my sister and my mom all day, and my mom is two seconds from my work and 2 minutes from the gym. Kids Korner opened at 5 so I put pool on the schedule before. Well, the pool is only family swim at 3 on Fridays, on Mondays it's at 7pm. W.T.F. So... this schedule that is designed to help me not get in an argument with my 3 year old over dinner (which is strategically all her favorites chosen in advance by her) and over where she has to go each day is now fucked. She's way too smart. If I miss one thing on the schedule, she'll know we can miss other things like... kids korner (I printed a copy that said babysitting, but then realized I had to type Kids Korner because Raea will argue who the babysitter is if I don't be specific and although she can't read the schedule followed her to school and to my moms house and with Grammy... so I needed them to use the same language... she's a smart cookie) So what do I do? I take my kids to the pool at 7pm even though I usually have them in bed by that time and I live 30 minutes from the gym and they haven't eaten yet. We're off to a great start! Fortunately the pool tired them out and it was really easy to get them to bed.
Wednesday: 10 minute warm up, 5 minutes hard, 1 minute recovery, (then 4, then 3, then 2, then 1) and 5 x :30 on :30 off. cool down... 10.9 total.
I left work, drove 30 minutes home to get the girls from Grammy who brought my nephew so she didn't have room in her car to take them to me (which is not a big deal because Kids Korner wasn't open yet anyway) then drove 30 minutes back to the gym just to get a workout in. I set a goal to increase wattage as each rep decreased. My watts were somewhere in the mid 200's for the 2 and 1 minute and RPM was around 90. Then for the :30 seconds I wanted the RPM in the 110s with lower resistance to be like "strides". Maebel saw me through the window when I got off the bike to walk on the treadmill next to my cousin-in-law who is also dealing with Plantar Fasciitis, so my gym session ended early. No lifting, and no shower until home (I really liked being showered before I had the bedtime shuffle). but I'd rather that than my kid crying because I walked right by her.
Thursday: Spin Class and some light lifting... more of the same
30 minute Drive home to get the girls, 30 minute drive back and then just in time for spin class. I brought my bike shoes but they won't clip into the new spin pedals. My shoes are a little stripped ... they clip into my bike fine, but I couldn't get them to clip in. I guess it's a common problem with the bikes... I think I'll just stick to using the cages, whatever. My quads are now absolutely shredded between all the biking and the squatting and the lifting....This was the most smooth day at the gym so far. I didn't need much strength after, this was a really hard class of climbing. I still did glutes and rolled and stretched but I was tired. Pizza was on the schedule for dinner and my sisters were both home from college, so I invited them to come. They were psyched because my mom "left them to fend for themselves" for dinner so it worked out because sometimes it is the worst waiting for food, but my sisters always keep the girls happy and entertained. Actually another easy night. But... soo happy that the work week is almost over at least!
Pardon wanted me to take at least one day completely off this week and so far I hadn't. After updating my Vdot to say "my quads are shredded" I got a little "remember- lets do a day off this week" reminder. I already knew I needed Friday and possibly Sunday so NO PROBLEM COACH! We still had some things to check off the schedule. Raea said she was too tired to go to Panera (phew! Me too!) so we could just have mac and cheese at home. and then when I asked her if she still wanted to play at the playground (please say no) she called me a cheater. "Cheater, Cheater, CHEATER! Home is not on our schedule now!".... Yikes. Victim of my own success. We went to the playground.
Saturday: One easy hour after Dance, glute band work, then pool drills
Raea's dance studio is just a few minutes from the gym so after dance I dropped them off at Kids Korner and did an easy hour on the bike. I was feeling down because I weigh 147lbs, but then I got over it. Whatever. Read more about that here... could be baby weight, could be because I'm lifting... could be because I'm no longer vegetarian and my body is figuring out what is going on... Who cares, my results will speak for themselves. The girls are getting really good at swimming with their puddle jumpers that I really can get some hip loosening drills done while watching them swim around. It's kinda nice! Today felt like a really well rounded day because we went home and finally got to relax after.
Sunday: Day of Rest... or cleaning like a mad woman because my husband is going to come home to a disaster. I kept up with as much as I could throughout the week but so much stuff accumulates as the week goes on and I prioritize cleaning things that make the house dirty... like food and dishes and trash... and the clutter takes a back seat. papers piled up on the table, backpacks on the floor, and stuffed animals everywhere. And laundry. Mountains of laundry. The house is pretty close to spotless now. Phew, I feel better. After I finished cleaning I got the kids out of the house to finish up our schedule before daddy comes home. Some biking and playground and ICE CREAM!
Overall a good week, but not my best with sleep... Raea asked if she could sleep in my bed when daddy is not sleeping in my bed... and I said yes. That's a lot of days to co-sleep. It sounded a lot cuter in my head, and even looks cuter... but not much sleep to be had. The main thing is I didn't absolutely lose my shit as a parent which I had the previous week.... so... victory! ... and the main reason I think I didn't flip out was because the girls were really very good, and actually... Maebel is always pretty good... she's starting to show resistance, but I'm going to soak up the sweetness while it's all she's got. Raea is a constant challenge (really good kid, but way too smart and quite the negotiator) but the schedule helped keep her in check. She enjoyed it and there wasn't much up for discussion which was... a tiny slice of heaven.
Baby weight.... I still have it.... or do I?
I don’t typically weigh myself.... especially when I’m feeling insecure. If I do weigh myself it’s usually when I’m feeling good and want to have some metrics to associate with that good feeling. Today that backfired on me a little bit, and I’m using this post to sort of process the information I received from my scale this morning.
I’ve had two babies; at this point I think you all know that. Both pregnancy experiences and postpartum experiences were extremely different; also something you probably know but just in case you don’t here’s the quick info. With my first, Raea, not only was I unable to run pregnant, I was unable to run for the year leading up to the pregnancy! I had a knee injury that eventually needed surgery, which I had while 22-23ish weeks pregnant. I went on to quickly get back into shape mostly without any glitches (one calf injury... horrible timing since it was 10 days out from the marathon, but as a whole things went smoothly!) Due to that smooth postpartum experience, when I got pregnant with Maebel, I was arguably in the best shape of my life coming off of 6k and marathon PRs (range!). I was able to run all through pregnancy, although difficult and painful and questionably stupid, I was still able to do it... postpartum with Maebel seemed like it would go even better than with Raea since I never really stopped running... but... obviously that didn’t happen! Below are two photos. The one on the left is right after my 6k XC PR, about 2 weeks pre-pregnancy (6 weeks before I’d find out). I was only 14 months postpartum and at, what I usually consider my prime “walk the line” race weight. 127lbs. On the right? Me this morning, nearly 21 months postpartum, and 147lbs!!! (Don’t cry, Caitlyn)
20lbs between these two photos!!! WHAT!?
The only reason I even stepped on the scale to begin with was because I was looking for a way to measure my fitness. I don’t have running times or races or training paces to give me feedback. I’m working out a lot and feeling good! I thought the scale might give me that positive reinforcement to continue even though I’ve been really tired with my schedule shifting from mornings to nights depending on where In the world matts job takes him during this selling season. I’ve tried to remove all metics in my life that might discourage me, but I thought for sure this number was going down (especially since the Cadbury eggs are behind us...). Last time I weighed myself I was coming in at 141 pretty consistently... which was frustrating, but not unexpected. My typical weight is around 132-135, and since I had not been training much that variation is not unusual or concerning... BUT I’ve been crushing it at the gym lately and getting my heart rate super high with exercises I’m not really efficient at, sweating up a storm and definitely burning a lot... I feel good, and in my opinion I look good... so I innocently assumed I’d be slightly under 140 which I really only saw once or twice since I’ve had Maebel...and that would motivate me to keep doing the gym stuff that I don’t necessarily love, especially as it gets nicer outdoors! THAT IS NOT WHAT HAPPENED (obviously).
I saw that number and immediately started thinking “what am I doing wrong?” Or “why can’t I lose this baby weight” or “am I ever going to be as fit as I was before I had Maebel”.... and then I stopped.
Why am I letting my weight define my fitness? Yes, it has in the past. Anytime I dip under 130 I know I’m fit and am ready to crank a few good races. I never restrict beyond just normal “That second piece of cake isn’t necessary” or “hmm that food didn’t make me feel right”... and I have never struggled with an eating disorder.... so the weight drop I experience is a natural byproduct of hard training and I know I’m peaking at the low-for-me weight. I’ve also learned that that sub 130lbs is only good for a few weeks before it becomes unsustainable (just like peak training). Then I race the goal race, hopefully crush it, and take a week or two off either way and everything regulates back to mid 130s.... so it’s never a concern.... but natural weight loss (not weight loss by restriction or control) has always been a metric for prime fitness for me thus far.
But that doesn’t mean it always will be or should be.
I don’t know what my weight was here, but it was not under 140. I was 7 months postpartum and pretty damn fit based on runs I was completing (but not aware I was pretty injured from pregnancy... I thought it was my new baseline.)
I was also really fit here, and not under 140. I was probably pretty heavy here but never weighed myself... I don’t know why today I let this number make me feel less than. I think it’s because the only time I’ve ever seen a number that high I was within one month postpartum. I instantly was thinking it’s baby weight still. I ran my entire pregnancy and I’m dealing with baby weight! How will I ever lose the baby weight? WTF is baby weight anyway? Since having Maebel I’ve been injured so often I’ve taken up new types of exercise... maybe it’s not leftover from pregnancy, but weight from different kind of fitness. I’m lifting, I’m spinning, my quads are getting bigger and I’m hitting the glutes hard every day (and it shows!)... Did I expect to grow these muscles without that number on the scale growing? I also have been intuitively eating more protein. It’s what my body craves to feed my muscles. I don’t know, Temporary lapse of judgement and reason, I guess. My body hasn’t responded well to most things I did pre-pregnancy, and I’ve been in a constant phase of metamorphosis, evolving and adapting to a lot of new things... almost everything I knew to be true about my body pre-pregnancy(2) has been thrown out postpartum, so why am I trying to hold it to some meaningless other pre-pregnancy standard seen on the scale. The truth is, you are never the same after a baby.... your whole lifestyle will change, so it’s likely that your fitness habits and routine and expectations will in some capacity, too. That doesn’t mean your goals have to, but the way to get to those goals might.
Im not sure if more weight will help or hurt my performance, but probably better if I just don’t look. Just like turning off the Garmin, if you feel good... that’s more than enough validation. I can’t WAIT to get my orthotics. I e had lower leg injuries my entire running career that I’ve been able to manage by being young, resilient, and stubborn.... that’s not working for me anymore. These orthotics are going to change a lot about how I distribute force and stress... so there’s a lot of adjusting ahead, but hopefully this puts an end to my DNS streak for good.
Here is an blogpost that demonstrates me being a headcase circa 2011.... I'm still a headcase 8 years later, but it's all centered around my injuries and the confusion of being "semi-injured" all the time. Right now, I haven't run in over a month... not because I can't, but because "been there, done that" I already know based on the first step out of bed that my foot is going to eventually be a problem when I hit peak mileage.... so right now I'm in a happy place because I have a concrete plan (wait until orthotics and then proceed with hope and caution). There isn't really much part of me lacking motivation, but my body continues to say no. If I knew then what I know now conversations like below would never occur. My children have been the cure to the below problem of procrastination. I used to think I was busy and tired.... but man, I was wrong! Enjoy the struggle of a privledged mid 20 something girl who’s biggest stressor was her daily run.
February 3, 2011
I'm a headcase...
Here are my text message exchanges after work today... Sure I could have spent that time a bit more wisely... but at the end of the day, I did what I needed to do... I RAN.
3:50 John- Not sure if I want to run roads today what are you thinking?
3:52 RE John- I'm interviewing at the gym. Hill reps after
4:46 RE John- Got a new job. ZERO motivation to run!
4:47 John- Congrats but run anyway!
5:02 RE John- I'm lazy and cold... I'll think about it
5:07 TO Matthew- I can't run
5:07 Matthew- Neither can I... What is up with you?
5:08 RE Matthew: Lazy
5:10 RE Matthew: I'm supposed to do hill repeats and I don't want to. Roads are terrible. I'm depressed over this
5:11 Matthew- Just run up and down your street. Who even cares if you go fast
5:11 RE Matthew- I am too cold
5:12 Matthew- Put on my f state sweatshirt. That thing is warm
5:13 RE Matthew: It's at home. I'm at my parents... Maybe I'll go home
5:14 Matthew: It might be better to run around the college there. Safer, and more light
5:15 RE Matthew: I don't want to run :( I got a job though...
5:15 Matthew- That is cool. You will have more money
5:16 RE Matthew: More Friends.
5:18 RE Matthew: I'm lazy. I need a kick in the rear. I just don't want to run.
5:19 TO Caitlin F: At my parents whining about a run I need to do. Wanna run?
5:20 Matthew: You do... Just go do it and you can complain about it all you want while you are running
5:22 RE Matthew: I just want to run without guilt and complaining :( I feel burdened.
5:22 Matthew- Running helps with that
5:24 RE Matthew: ........ I seriously have issues......
5:25 Caitlin F- Sorry, Class
5:25 RE Caitlin F: Darn
5:26 Matthew- You can run for me. I want to run so badly
5:27 RE Matthew: NOT FAIR! Makes the guilt worse!!
5:29 TO Matthew: YES! JANE NEEDS TO RUN!
5:34 Neel- Run at 6:30ish?
5:35 RE Neel: Running with my sister at the college
5:59 John- 10 Minutes. Now! I just did 8 miles in 61:30. You can surely go 10 minutes
It's not that I don't want to run at all... I just want running to be fun and free. When I run with company, it keeps my mind off of the "training." I didn't do my workout, but I don't care. At least I ran! I got in 45 minutes with Jane, and it went by really fast. I just have to focus on one step at a time.
Glad I'll get to work at Central Rock! This will give me an opportunity to meet new friends who AREN'T runners, but are still fit and healthy. I'm excited :)
This was the type of conversation I'd have everyday inside my head... "I don't wanna, I can't, I'm too cold, this sucks, why am I doing this?" Since I entered this sport as a High School athlete, then went on to run collegiately at the National level, I never really made my own choice to run, I always had to. I graduated college in 2006 and finished my eligibility in 2007 as a grad student, and it took a very long time to find my new why. Some people take a break after college and rediscover their love for the sport later. They find their why in the down time... I found my why while still training and competing which was really conflicting at times. Some days (most days) I just wasn't motivated to go on my own. I always thought that this meant I wasn't dedicated, but I was. Every day I still got it done regardless of my flip-flopping emotions. After having my children my motivation never waivers this strongly. I just hope that I can find my way to healthy running again... but if not, I will retire in the climbing gym. That was a cool side job and a cool new hobby I'd love to pick up again.
In one of my recent posts I wrote to stop paying such close attention to your data as a way to ward off "treatment fatigue" and man have I taken my own advice. I started this post Sunday and have attempted to write it several other times but it's now Tuesday night and I still haven't completed it. WHY? Primarily because I don't even know what I did 5 minutes ago let alone 5-7 days ago. I have literally just been doing what feels right and moving on... I have recorded my workouts in my Vdot, and there have been some weird auto-uploads to my strava... but the accuracy of all of it is questionable because I've done it so long after the workout I can't even remember what I did. So here is "Week 2: The Last Comeback"... A flexible training approach.
I got off to a late start Monday. My daughter woke up before I left and I just didn't have the heart to take off on her in a hurry. I stayed for breakfast and was able to get to the gym still. I've been prioritizing whatever is going to make me feel the least.... tired.... or... fatigued. So I skipped the brainless cardio and just did some lifting. I did the lifting with the intention to get a quick cardio workout in as well... low weight, high reps, little to no rest. I stuck mostly with the glute burning band exercises and box drills, but honestly can't remember specifics. All the days blur together.
My coach prescribed a workout on the bike so I did it but shortened the warm up and cool down to give myself enough time to lift and do all the drills and foam rolling. 5 minute warm up, 10min on, 3 min off, 10 min on, 3 min off, then 5 x 2:00 hard 1 min easy, 5 min cool down. I kept my Heart Rate between 1:50-1:65 for hard portions, and tried to keep the RPMs above 90. Not too bad. I followed up with lifting. Hex Bar, Squat, over head press (single arm), Single leg DL, bear row, and I think band drills in all three planes. No rest. Suffer fest before the real suffer fest. WORK. After work I had Shockwave and I also got to meet my new nephew! So cute! (baby fever is strong! But, pregnancy fever is at an all time low... Still recovering from the last one!)
I totally intended to go in the morning since my husband was leaving for Philly in the afternoon.... But I honestly felt like I should actually say goodbye to him instead of just giving him a call to tell him to have a good trip. So I spent the morning with him and the girls and decided I'd just skip today... but then when I got home I felt a wave of motivation come over me. I grabbed the girls and put them in the Kids Korner while I worked out. This is the first day I attempted to do that after a day of not seeing them. The guilt poured in. I selected a bike where I could see them thinking that that would relieve the guilt a bit... and it did because they were so happy. Work was tough, I had the statewide assessment for some of my students, and it makes me probably more nervous than it makes them. Knowing I had another day of testing and a few days of solo parenting made me feel like I should get some me time even though my kids barely got time with me. They were so good. I was able to do an hour on the bike and then I lifted and foam rolled and did all the drills I need to do. Amazing how quick it happens when kids aren't crawling on you. I tried to make the rest of the night very focused on them and not on any of my own stuff to ensure we got some good quality time. The guilt is inevitable some days... but I know I am a very impatient and mean person when I haven't had that time for myself so I think it's better they have the best version of me less often than the monster version of me more often... I can be a monster sometimes. It's so hard in my line of work to have any patience left for my own kids, and they deserve my patience.... so the workout is essential.
Another workout at the gym. This time I took my first ever spin class. Cranked it in there. No clue about any analytics but I know I was sweating bullets and had a good time doing it. I didn't bring my bike shoes so felt a tad like a tool since everyone has them, but whatever. Followed up with glutes and box drills. Raea said "mommy, you weren't there when I needed you"... ouch. But I try not to act on my feelings of guilt. I can never be everything they want all the time. I just have to teach her why I'm taking time at the gym and hope someday she understands. I told her that the gym helps me not yell so much, and, well... it sunk in because yesterday (Monday) when I yelled she said "mommy, I think you need the gym". She's not wrong.
No husband until way late at night and no babysitting room on Fridays, but I wanted them to know we can spend time together at the gym too (aka: it's not just where mommy drops them off), so I took them to family swim. Then we went for Panera. You'd be surprised how good just walking and kicking around in the water can be for your joints. Even though it was not a formal workout, my range of motion in my hips felt better. They stayed in for an hour! We went home and had full bellies and full hearts.
Disaster ride to Race Point Beach. Back in February I was supposed to run a half marathon but got a sinus infection and didn't do it. I've had more DNS's in the last year than I have in my entire running career. I've just never been this plagued with an injury before. Any other injury I've had was bad enough to just know with certainty that running wasn't an option. This injury is somewhere in between so I've had this bi-polar-ish ebbing and flowing. I've committed now to the time off until I get the Orthotics.... anyway, I had a hotel booked, and didn't cancel with enough warning, so instead of paying and not staying we were able to postpone it to a time of year that Matt would probably need a hotel out on the Cape anyway. So we used the hotel. He had some stores to visit and we were able to tag along. The girls had fun walking around in P-town... but we timed everything all wrong and by the time we got to the bike part they were hungry and tired and we were poorly prepared. Still got in 8ish miles on the bike path (hilly AF and hard AF while towing 70+ lbs!), but it wasn't fun for anyone. We made up for it with pizza for dinner, ice cream and more swimming at the hotel pool. Since Matt stays at so many hotels we often get free upgrades. The suite was SWEET! and perfect for the girls. Raea had a little trouble settling down to sleep, but overall we were well rested for the next adventure.
After Saturday's biking disaster, one might think we are gluttons for punishment since we took the girls out for 12 miles on Sunday... but we came much better prepared in every sense. The girls rocked out to their favorite Disney tunes while Matt and I could barely hear it with the strong winds. We were able to have an (almost) uninterrupted conversation during the ride/run with happy kids in tow. Not too Shabby!
So that's Week 2 of the Last Comeback. My orthotics should be in within the next two weeks (hopefully only 1!) so then the real work begins. I guess it takes a long time to break them in and since my big toe will be mobilized in a way it never has been before... it could cause some new issues if I don't proceed cautiously... The only running goal on the Horizon is a BQ. Feels like it should be easy compared to my original OTQ goal, but one thing I have learned is that there is no such thing as an easy marathon.
I don't think I'm quite clever enough to come up with the term "treatment fatigue" but somewhere in the midst of this journey, I may have heard it or said it or stumbled on it and have been referring to it as part of my experience ever since. Before I get into what it means to me, and maybe to other runners out there, let me preface that in the grand scheme of treatments, and the grand scheme of "chronic" things, a running injury is hardly serious. Annoying, yes; at times heart breaking, but nothing like cancer, or Polycystic kidney disease, or even substance abuse or eating disorders. There are many things in this world that require "treatment" and I don't want to undermine anyone else's treatment with my seemingly petty injuries. We each have our own battles and struggles... If you've stumbled on this blog due to any more serious conditions, you should know I'm writing this as an injured runner, but if by some chance I'm able to help anyone else, that's good too... but I wouldn't know enough about everything else out there to even know where to begin to broaden my perspective on this! I wish you the best! While I'm at it............ :
Disclaimer: I'm not qualified to give out any advice about any thing in life except for maybe how to help your child learn to read. I've been a competitive runner for 21 years, so this is all based on my experience!
What Is Treatment Fatigue?
Treatment: "medical care given to a patient for an illness or injury."
Fatigue: "extreme tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness."
Put them together and you get:
Treatment Fatigue: "Extreme tiredness resulting from medical care given for an illness or injury"
Just like you get training fatigue, you can get treatment fatigue too. Especially when you are working so hard and are not seeing results (just like running!) No one knows the treatment fatigue for running more than I do (okay, maybe that's an exaggeration, but I know it well), Apart from the nearly 2 years of on again off again calf and foot injures, I also struggled with Fat Pad Impingement syndrome for just shy of 2 years, I was in constant pain and had consistent swelling from every activity I did. Swim, bike, walk, I struggled to get up the stairs. It took over a year to finally check all the "to-do" boxes before we did an exploratory surgery which I had done at 21ish weeks pregnant with Raea (before you judge for having surgery pregnant, I was paranoid about falling down the stairs pregnant or with the baby because my knee couldn't support my weight as it was... read more on that and see the list of treatment I tried: here). Before the knee surgery I had a few back injuries that took 4-6 months. One a back sprain from work that I swore was a bulging disc, but it just couldn't get better because I was always restraining small tantrumming children at work. It finally got better over the summer. Then I had a fractured T12 at the end of my last college season, which I briefly mention on my most popular post since the rebirth of my blog... (the story of how I met Matt). This doesn't include the countless fractures to my 4th metatarsal (which I'm now finding out is likely a result of my super narrow feet... these orthotics better work!), the sprained ankle that never healed, and the debilitating shin splints... Probably all related! I've found out along the way that although extremely talented from a cardiovascular standpoint, my genetics are out to get me in terms of my duribility (Read: Tale of Two Thresholds). I have an abnormality in my spine, hypermobile and narrow feet, and super bowed legs. Additionally, my career choice is highly demanding. So, yeah, I know about injuries... I know about treatment for them.... and I know about fatigue from said treatments... and the feeling of hopelessness when all has failed... but I've come out of all of them. I'm still here after 21 years of at least 21 injuries, I'm still here so something I'm doing during the injury phase is right... otherwise the mental fatigue would have swallowed me whole a decade ago. Here are some tips to cope with Treatment Fatigue
How can I prevent Treatment Fatigue?
Tip 1: Don't get Injured
If you're reading this, you're probably already injured... so don't hate me and hear me out. Obviously, I'm the queen of injuries, and I own it. BUT, I can't do a blogpost on Treatment Fatigue as it relates to running injuries without first addressing the obvious: Don't do dumb shit that will get you injured! Even professionals get injured, so of course, not all injuries are preventable... but here are some general rules of thumb
-DON'T train like an A-hole. Example: Don't train at your goal pace... even if your goal is reasonable. If I were trying to teach your kid to read if they didn't even know their letters and then I wrote a note home saying "Johnny was crying and threw a fit during reading" and you were like "duh, it's too hard for my kid, he doesn't know his letters yet, you should teach him his letters first" .... Well, Obviously! Right? Why would you torment yourself the same way? You may not tantrum or cry when you are overreaching... but your body will rebel. A gradual approach is advisable. This is not to say that you will never run your goal paces... your goal marathon pace may actually be your current threshold pace, so it's not like you'll never train at that pace, just the workouts should be appropriate for the intensity of the pace. Jack Daniels has a great system based on science (not on your emotions and feelings about your goals) that is highly successful. I'll link his book below. Every runner should own it (and don't just skip to the tables! It wont help you to do that!)
-Rest is Best. You might find people on instagram glorifying training on 4 hours of sleep and "Make the Time!"... WRONG! Just don't. If you don't have enough time to sleep, you don't have enough time to run... Make the time somewhere else, but not sleep. I struggle to sleep because I get anxious about my following day so sometimes when I'm injured instead of doing PT and drills, I do everything possible to remove stress so I can sleep. I lesson planned 12 weeks of work in a few sittings so that I didn't have to worry about work so much. I'm averaging 7 a night now! Yay!... but I track my sleep every night and try to monitor my workouts according to how much rest I get. If I get 5, I'll opt for an off day and just do drills.
-Little Things Add Up. There's a million and one "Little Things" you can do... obviously prioritize sleep, but if your body says it's thirsty, it's too late, if it feels off and like you really need to foam roll? you're already behind... When your body sends you signs and you don't listen... you end up like me... Writing blogs about running instead of actually running. (do as I say, not as I do). Listen early and follow through.
Tip 2: Stop Blaming Yourself
To counteract Tip 1, you need to know that even if your injury was preventable, every part of this sport is a learning experience. Instead of falling victim to your training choices, use it to improve next time... because there will be a next time. I can't think of a scenario where you can not participate in this sport again. If she can do it, you all can. It is almost always just a matter of will and mental fortitude and willingness to withstand the storm. I've spent a lot of time thinking about how I should have stopped running while I was pregnant when I started feeling unbalanced.... (because, when you run pregnant, you feel balanced all the time, HAH!... sarcasm, guys) but I didn't have a Magic Crystal Ball telling me that the risks I was taking weren't going to pay off. As far as I was concerned, the baby was healthy, and the pain I felt running was going to go away when I was no longer pregnant. I had a goal of breaking 3 in the marathon at 9 months postpartum at the Boston Marathon. Taking risks is part of the sport. Our pros take risks and get injured and they have the best resources around... so how can we expect any different out of ourselves? I'm a big risk taker, always have been. I've been to two NCAA championships and have won many New England titles. I've very rarely set a goal and failed because with I'm prepared to fail and prepared to get up again. I never expect it to just go accordingly, I’m always ready to adjust perspective and the plan. It's part of it. It's not your fault, keep learning! (but, might I also suggest, if you are running and pregnant... hold off on time goals until you have had the baby!)
Tip 3: Make it FUN
Injuries suck, there's no way around it, but make the "treatment" part of it as fun as possible. It gets exhausting to keep doing all these little things and nothing is working It's been 3 or 4 or 5 weeks and nothing has improved. Think about how long it took for you to dig the hole. Probably a lot longer than a few weeks.... you just didn't notice the changes until it was too late (again, not your fault)! Healing works the same way, but in the reverse. Be as stubborn about your "treatment" as you were about your "training". Don't give up on it just because you're not putting up a result! Marathon cycles are 12-16 weeks, injury cycles can sometimes be marathons. Make it fun! Mix it up! Don't bite off more than you can chew. Sometimes I have no problem just checking the boxes of all the things I need to do (and I do it all) but other days I feel tired and blah... so I might write down six exercises and then roll a dice to determine which exercise, and then a dice to determine how many reps and one to determine how many sets. Something is better than nothing so when I'm feeling tired, if I "roll the dice" there's always a chance I might get an easy exercise and only need to do one rep one time (and never have I ever stopped at 1... but it got me started!) and then theres always a chance to get 6x6, so you can get some real work in. It feels less like treatment and more like a game or gambling... You can even add in your favorite hydration and a college drinking game to hydrate somehow. Another thing to try is to figure out how to make your "why" for running correlate to your treatment. If you run for the social aspect and you're supposed to be working on glute strength (every runner on the planet) see if you're allowed to try a Barre Class, or some strength class and ask your PT for what kind of modifications you will possibly need so you can still get that social aspect. If your'e running to get outside, try hiking or biking! If you're running for more likes and follows on instagram... reevaluate your "why".... and you might get some answers to your injury. We all need validation, but that's certainly not a sustainable approach to the sport....
Tip 4: Don't take Data
Don't count the weeks, don't count the miles missed or compare the amount of miles this month to the same month last year. Don't add up the dollars or the time spent. Don't log something on strava that will not serve you later. Don't count down days to a race you wished you'd run. Get rid of all numbers. Hell, don't count your PT repeats... Just do it until if feels right or until failure (if you're doing it right it will be a good burn, not injury pain). Get more in touch with how you feel doing something than the metrics. Too many metrics. I was at the Boston Marathon Mckirdy shakeout and I had three different people tell me I needed to charge my watch. I had only been running 30 minutes every other day MAX. I was barely even using my watch. Honestly, I wish I had the diclipline to never run with a garmin again. I don't need it. Maybe that will be my goal when I comeback...go back to my trusty timex (I'm breaking out in a sweat thinking about it even though I loved that thing)... We are addicted to our metrics, but your metrics don't know when you need to foam roll or when you need to back off. Getting rid of these external measures will help you get in touch with internal measures... and it will also just take away some of the obsession and make you forget a little bit. For me, when I"m in the thick of injury treatment... the best way to avoid fatigue is to not give it any more of my energy than it deserves. I (try to) do the work to treat it, and let it stop there. My husband would disagree, but... these are tips! Easier said than done! I will say that ever since I took a break from Instagram for Lent, I've been so much happier with my injury... I stopped feeling like I needed to come up with a post about it every day... now I just post here if I feel like it and if I don't I basically just go to the gym, do all the things, and go about the rest of my day. No checking in on anything (except Vdot with my coach... and my patient portal for "treatment protocol") but no strava, minimum feedback on instagram, and NO garmin. Nada.
Tip 5: Enjoy the Time Off!
Back to Jack Daniels... Principal 7 of Ease of Maintenance. During an injury you are going to detrain. If you are experiencing a long term injury It is OKAY to just STOP . If none of it is giving you an ounce of hope or making you happy... STOP. Don't worry about losing fitness... you're losing it anyway. Even if you bike or swim like a maniac, your muscular/skeletal system are still going to need to adapt to impact and stress... You are going to need to start back slowly regardless of how well you keep your cardio up. Cross Training does not mean that you will be able to increase training faster, it just keeps your engine strong. There are benefits to that, of course (if you're only taking a few weeks off especially...) but for much longer layoffs, if it doesn't serve you, get rid of it and don't stress about losing your "cardio". Ever blow up a balloon? That first breath is always really hard to get in... but then it gets easier. And if you deflate the balloon... it is a little bit hard to re-start, but still easier to blow that first breath for a second time and even easier a third time... because the balloon has already stretched a bit... so you're able to stretch it again with less effort (and you've also trialed and errored the best way to hold the balloon or pace to add air.... (aka: what worked and what didn't in your training). Do something, anything else that will make you happy. For me, it's been sleeping in, blogging and eating cadbury eggs (RIP Easter Candy), for you it might be going to the movies or the bar. Maybe it’s a different sport that you don’t want to try in training- like skiing. Do it-don't do it forever- and be responsible about your general health, but stop being caught up in running. It should not make you unhappy. It will be there for you when you're ready.... and unless you take many decades off, it's highly likely you can still run PRs ... and there are many of people that run PR's really late in life. Why not you? I PRed within a year of every major injury I've had (two back injuries and knee surgery) and I'm 100% positive I will PR after all this. I literally don't question if I question when. If the orthotics don't work, I'm at the point where I will take serious time away.... but mostly because I really want to try something new in the meantime (rock climbing!) and see what I can gain from totally different stuff! Live your LIFE! Running is just part of it, and there are many many ways to be involved in the sport without actually running.
I hope you found some of these helpful. If you are struggling for an injury, and need moral support, I feel like I"m really good in this area (again, no qualifications other than experience....) DM me on instagram, comment here, or hit the contact tab and it will email me directly. I try to share my experience because it brings purpose to my struggle. Again, in the grand scheme of things, it's minor... But I SEE YOU it doesn't feel minor. It feels like you've lost everything and the balance in the rest of your life is in jeopardy. I get it. I do. But I promise you will find stability again one way or another.
I've been hashtagging #thelastcomeback for a while now, but I think it's official now. This is the first week of my last comeback from all these postpartum injuries and hopefully my last comeback ever. Lower leg injuries have plagued me my entire running career, but nothing like they have these last few years after having Maebel. There have been stretches of decent training in there, but fearful and also painful training that I just accepted as my new "normal" and wrongfully persisted through. My bad. Anyway, I've done everything under the sun to get injuries under control, and if you've followed me at all, you know that. The only thing I haven't done yet is something obvious to most runners is get orthotics. I never saw a podiatrist mostly because the first thing they usually tell you you need are orthotics and I just a. didn't think I should invest almost $600 in something I'm not guaranteed to need and b. my husband works in the footwear indurstry and has seen so many instances of peoples orthotics getting in the way because their foot just needed time to heal and once it did the orthotics actually were limiting. We decided after two visits to the podiatrist that it was necessary for me. I didn't know that feet have more than one arch. My husband knew but the forward arch is really hard to assess based on walking (whereas your other arches cause pronation or supination... anyway, long story short, because I'm sure I'll get all the science stuff wrong, my transverse arch is collapsed and somehow restricting my big toe which is definitely causing heel pain and highly likely it caused all the calf issues. I was scanned for custom carbon fiber orthotics to support my foot under the metatarsals, and hopefully everything will slowly resolve once I get them! Granted, theres still all the strength and maintenance stuff to be done, but I've been doing everything forEVER and feel like I can never even get back to zero, I'm so far in the hole. Hopefully these will get me to that clean slate space and then I know what to do from there.
The past weekor so I let myself wallow for a while and did essentially nothing except eat bad-for-my-health-but-good-for-my-soul food and this week I rallied. I see a light either way. If the Orthotics don't work I've decided to give it up for a bit and find another hobby for a while. I can't deal with the disappointment anymore so I'm relieved to know I've done everything I possibly can. Either result means that the searching for answers is over. Lets hope the answer allows me to keep running! Other wise these weeks of "the last comeback" will be really short!
Cardio:5 min warm up on lateral machine, 7.26 Miles biking, 30ish minutes, 5 minute cool down rowing
Since joining the gym I feel human again. I wake up early and go to the gym 1.5 minutes from work and then get to it. I started using this bike that essentially is a video game. You pick a course and pick a pace, and then you try to beat the computer which has a pacer and then a bunch of riders a tiny bit faster or slower than your current pace to keep you motivated. All the courses are Fricken Hilly and I'm riding with some pretty high wattage. I can't remember what I averaged each day, but I can tell you I essentially raced all the time and the pacer is going at 150 watts. I usually fall really far behind in the beginning warming up and then when I reach the 10 minute mark I play catch up and then I see how far ahead I can get. I'm pouring sweat every day like a pig. Not sure the old people appreciate me.
I lost a lot since my Peak Fitness days (and much prefer their weight room set up, but they are 20 minutes from work and so it's an extra 40-45 minutes to go there than this gym... plus this gym has a pool and babysitting which is better for our family needs)... I'm starting easy just to get acquainted with the set up etc. but hopefully I can get a dead lift PR or something if I'm not running for a while.
Single Leg RDL 3x6x65lbs
Single Leg over head press 3x6x20lbs
Squat 2x6x96, 1x6x105 (legs trashed from bike!)
RDL 3x6x95 (sad face, I was doing 150 at Peak!)
Single Leg hamstring pull down 3x6x15lb
Single Leg row 3x6x55lb
I'm planning to do a lot more single leg than anything else because running is all single leg, but it's easier to push myself on both feet since I still have a pretty big discrepancy with hip strength.
Cardio: 10.15 Miles 43:29, 159watts. This was a super hilly course and really hard especially since I'm adjusting to the bike... and the lifting.... and the early morning..... I'm barely sleeping. Normally I don't condone pushing hard with limited sleep but in this case I have to get my body on a different schedule so I'd like to be really tired at night so I can FALL THE FUCK TO SLEEP!
Alternating Step Ups 3x10x20lbs each
Bulgarian Split Squat 3x6x30. Really hard on right side post bike. I need to close the gap here.
Push Ups 3x6-8. I suck ballz. I tried to focus on good form and I am just laughing at myself self talk: "you call yourself an athlete?!"... boom. roasted.
Jump, pull-up hold 3x15sec no clue what some of these things are really called... self talk: "is this real life?"
Band Drills: Lateral hip flexors 3x15.
Yeah, so I have done "everything" but not at the same time. Strength training hasn't been a strength lately. I can do shin exercises and toe-ups for days, but some of this stuff probably shouldn't have ever left the rotation.
In the afternoon I had more shockwave treatment. Bleeding money that I barely have right now.... but the most hopeful I’ve been
7.8 Miles, Hilliest course ever, 34.12, fast track to bike racing burn out.
I am highly motivated by competition, and it makes the time go by way faster... but I literally am racing everyday and I am not efficient at this biking thing and my muscles are all sorts of tired from new or new in the last month type of stuff. I'm on fast track to burn-out so I need to steer this ship in another direction.
Gobblet Squat 3x6x40 (trashed quads)
Single leg RDL 3x6x75
Triple Threat Adductor 3x15 each
Push ups 3x8 half on knees- tired AF DOMS DOMS DOMS
Calf Raises on Toe Pro 4x25 with 30 seconds rest.
Tired but feeling good about it. Good kind of tired. Also starving. My body is burning way more since I'm not as efficient as I am at running. My heartrate on the bike has been in the 140's-160's and running it's basically in the 125ish on easy (flat) days
Today was the Mothers Day Breakfast so I didn't workout until much later at night over 30 hours of recovery. I didn't do straight cardio, instead I lifted with no breaks so that I could make it to yoga on time and use the weights as cardio. I set as much up as I could without being rude (not a lot of people in the gym, mostly classes at this time and there's so many things to choose from)
Single Arm off center bench press 3x8x25
Gobblet Squat 3x8x55, 1x4x65
Single leg hamstring curl (3x8x20-25lb)
Single let knee drive 3x8x20-25
Single leg RDL 3x6x75
Bulgarian Split Squat 3x8x25 each
I crammed all this into 35-40 minutes and then did an hour yoga class. Plank pose... ugh... my arms... and sooo many "runners pose" where my quads were like "go to hell"... and I'm just in my happy place like "I missed you, healthy pain"... since I've been so obsessed with all the unhealthy pain for two years. It was nice to feel a painful sensation that was a sign of adaptation not injury.
Cardio: 55:55 on the bike, 11.3 miles. NO race bike today. Just chillin.
Strength: Since I spent more time on the bike and I lifted so quick and pretty hard only 12 hours prior, I just did the glute activation resistence band drills. Still a lot of work! I always try to fit in 6 strength exercises each session even if some of them are just simply monster walks. It all adds up! When I'm short on time I try to do exercises with minimal set up so the bands were perfect! Also I did the calf toe-pro stuff.
Cardio: 35ish minutes with pick ups 5 warm up, 1, 2, 3, 3, 2, 1, minute pick ups with 1 minute in between. I turned resistance up to 10 and tried to keep RPM around 85-90. Killer. Followed up with 5x20 seconds on with RPM at about 125-130 and 20 second cool down. 5 minute backwards pedal and 10 minute walk on treadmill to cool down.
Strength: More of the same with the glute band stuff.
Today Matt came to the gym with me. We tried the girls in the Kids Korner for the first time to sort of test it out. So happy! They loved it! and I could see through the window when I walked on the treadmill. They were dancing and playing and it was really cute to see. Neither wanted to come home after so I think the gym membership was a really good idea for all!
Day of Rest.
I worked my ass off (literally) this week and don't want to burn myself out by starting off too hard. I'll take tomorrow off to prep for another week of early rising while I'm still adjusting. My Orthotics are going to take almost a month to be made and then I'll need to start training really slow. In the meantime i have three more shockwave treatments. My only running goal is really to be healthy, but I have sights on a BQ in September if all goes well.
Welcome to my blog! I blogged my entire pregnancy in 2017 and I had high hopes for where I could take my running after baby number 2, but my body had other plans. At some point I got too discouraged to write and recently realized that it is essential for my personal growth and development to keep putting feelings into coherent(ish) thoughts. I still hope to run sub 2:45 in the marathon one day, but for now I’m trying to focus on the process and I’m learning to enjoy it. You can come along for the ride, apologies in advance for grammatical incorrectness!