Monday, June 28, 2010

The temperature's rising, it isn't surprising,

The heat. Yes, blah blah blah, you all know the drill. It's hot, it's humid, the running sucks. But I did run today. First time since my tri about 10 days ago. I should have gone out earlier that 8:30, when it was already over 80 degrees with high humidity. Loren's outa town, however, and I like to give Bea as much time outside in the morning as I can. I can deal with the heat better that she can and she's been feeling a little cooped up. Even though I have the AC on, I think she likes being able to be outside for long stretches of time. In this heat, she just wilts and her little tongue hang downs to the ground.
Anywooo. I've been giving myself time off from running, trying to get this foot under control. PT twice a week is now down to once a week along with stretching, icing, taping, and all that stuff. Really, I'd like it to just be better. And of course there's the fear it's going to hurt when I run. It did a bit when I started and loosened up a bit. I'd say it's about 80-85%. I ran 4 miles. I easily could have done more but I didn't want to push it and it was disgusting out.
My half ironman is in 8 weeks. The good news, I have some serious running fitness coming off of Boston (still!) Would I like to be running more? Yes. And I will, but it's not going to be high milage. For one, clearly I can't right now. Also, I do have 2 other sports to work on, so silver lining. I don't think I'm going to give up too much running fitness though I would like to run more. Right now, I'm thinking 3 runs a week (maybe 4 with a brick).
My cycling form is coming along. I rode over 100 miles last week. Sat. Loren and I did a great 50 mile ride with some serious intervals and hills. I love love love my new bike. The swimming is coming around as well. We headed out to Coney Island on Sunday for a nice open water swim. For me, I don't even worry about time on these swims, it's just practicing in the open water which is totally different than the pool.
So right now, the thorn in my side is running, which does bum me out. I am planning on an easy fall, but man, I'd like to have it under control!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Balancing on one wounded wing

Let's pick up where we left off shall we?
Last week, I ran a 10k. Ok, I ran a mile and a half of a 10k then jogged to the finish line with a foot in a lot of pain. I thought for sure this was more than the usual PF I've had off and on and I'd be taking a nice long running vacation. On Monday I went to see my trusty physical therapists to see if I could get to the bottom of this (har har, foot...ok, never mind). John saw me and work on my foot and my calf and thought I had perhaps strained something a little deeper on my foot. He figured at least a week off of running. On Thurs. I went back and saw Pete. It was feeling better. I have been doing everything I'm suppose to with this foot of mine and also decided to started 10 days of ibuprofin to try and blow out the inflammation. We talked about what caused the flare up, Pete didn't think it was just running. It could have been aggravated by running in flats that day but the most likely culprit: walking the dog. I walk the dog at least 90 minutes every day and while I wear good shoes, clearly my fairly flat foot isn't getting enough support. He suggested putting superfeet insoles in my dog walking shoes. I have a pair in my hiking boots, so they're going in my dog walking shoes. I asked about maybe running this weekend. Pete looked at John and they both sorta shrugged. I signed up to do an Olympic distance tri as a tune up for a half ironman Loren and I are doing in Aug. I hated the thought of paying so much money for a race and not doing it or doing just the swim and the bike. My plan was to do the swim and the bike and see how I felt in the run, if it hurt, I'd stop. They were both fine with that. They figured I might aggravated it a bit but not do any harm.
Being totally honest, I really hadn't trained for this race. An Olympic distance race is a 1500m swim (I've been swimming again for about a 6 weeks), 24 mile bike (I've ridden maybe just over 100 miles this year and they had to cut the bike 2 miles), and a 10k run (which was about a third of a mile short, very annoying).
We spent Friday night at Loren's friend Marge's house and drove to the race very early Sat. morning. Triathlons, require so much stuff which makes them kinda a pain. We checked in, unloaded the car of bikes, and crap, squeezed into wetsuits and got ready to go. It's been about 2 years since I've done a full on triathlon. This should be interesting.
The women were the 3rd wave of the swim. All the girls gathered at the edge of the lake and got ready for the start. Once we were off, I settled into a rhythm quickly. I was also in a nice little pack, trying to avoid feet to the face. We were swimming into the sun which made it very hard to sight. I knew this wasn't going to be my best swim ever since I'm just getting back into swimming shape. As I got out of the water, I looked at my watch, just over 34 minutes. Not terrible, I should be at least 2 minutes faster. Out of 29 people in my age group, I was 19th. There was long run from the swim exit to the bikes. I wasn't too happy about doing this in my bare feet with my foot feeling the was it was.
Get into transition, get off wet suit, put on helmet, put on shoes, go. Transition took me 1:54.
Off to the bike.
Immediately, I started powering on the bike, passing people just settling in. Faster guys from the swim wave behind me passed me in the first 2 miles or so of the bike, but that was generally it. I've been cycling for about 15 years. That really really helps. Cycling relies a lot on muscle memory so even when I'm not in top cycling form, it comes back very quickly. This was a tough bike course, there was a lot of climbing. On every hill, I just settled in...a passed a ton of people. I would pass women and notice them trying to hang on. Nope. Nice try.
One woman passed me on the bike and stayed in front of me.
It happened at mile 13 and it was Loren. I was actually surprised, she usually passes me, but it's in the run. She's getting better at swimming and hilly bikes courses are her strength. About 22 miles in 1:20. I had really hoped to have a faster bike split, but those hills...ugh. I had the 4th fasted split in the bike in my AG (Loren had the 2nd as far as over all women, Loren's was 8th, mine was 14th). Off the bike, rack bike, off with helmet, off with bike shoes, on with running shoes. Ok, I wasn't sure what to expect here. It felt ok. It was a little sore. I figured I'd just see what happens. The run is a 2 loop course so if it sucks, I can drop out after one loop or sooner and just walk or hobble back. I think it was really nice and warmed up from the bike and swim. First mile, I look at my watch: 8:18. Ok, that's pretty good. It's a little funny trying to get land legs after a bike and difficult to gauge how I'm actually running. Plus, the first half of the first loop was down hill. Before the turn around, I saw Loren heading the other way, she looked really good. After half a loop, I knew I was going to be ok and started targeting people to pick off. It was a little more difficult on the 2nd loop because I didn't know if I was passing people or lapping people. There were also only 2 miles markers so after the 2nd turn around, I wasn't really sure where I was. I was ready to be done, that's for sure. I started doing runner's math, which is never a good idea. I figured maybe I'd get in under 50 minutes for the 10k which I thought was a little crazy given the week I was having and the fact that I had a hill to run up before I finished.
I was really really happy to be able to actually run. Seriously.
Last straight away then a left to the finish. PHEW! 2:47:08. Really really not bad. My run time was 47:48. The course was short. If it was right, I may have edged in under 50. What's so annoying though is there was another women (in my AG with the same run time who I think came in before me so she was placed ahead of me. There was another women 1 second ahead of both of us.) I was 9th in my AG on the run. Loren? Well, Loren was first in our AG on the run. Oh yea, she also had the fasted run of any woman that day with 41:13. Hot damn that girl is fast!
So when all is said in done, this is what it looks like:
Loren 2/29 in AG 14th woman over all.
Me 6/29 in AG 23rd woman over all.
This race was the regional qualifier for the Olympic distance Nation AG Championships, we both qualified. I'm pretty ok with that result all things considered!
My foot really held up. It was a little sore after, but not bad. There was someone there doing active release after the race and he worked on it which I think really helped. I think I'll take another week off of running and go to PT 2x again this week and take it from there.
With the half ironman 9 weeks away, I'll start hitting the pool and the bike just a wee bit more seriously. I'm not too concerned with my running fitness so while I'd like my foot to be 100%, it's not and I can deal with it as we go along.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

rusted wheel can't move on

I had some high hopes for the NY Mini 10k. I really like this race, it's women only and has a very unique course in NYC, starting on Central Park West out of the park. The first mile is fast and flat. It also has a huge pro field and a great history. There's a really cool video about it here. After missing my 10k PR by 2 seconds right before Boston, I was targeting this race. The last few weeks I've done specific speed work on what's the 3rd mile of this course as it historically gives me trouble. And there's something else that historically gives me trouble: my foot.
It's felt fine. I ran low milage going into Boston, I've run lower milage since, adding swimming and biking. After a hill workout this week, it really flared up. Frustrating as I've been doing everything I'm suppose to be doing to take care of it. There is a theory that perhaps swimming and biking is aggravating something. While it doesn't hurt while doing either of those things, perhaps it's just manifesting when I run. I'm going to PT on Monday, I want to get this taken care of and if that means no running for a while, fine.
Anyway, back to the race. Since this is all women, I get a nice start up in the front (blue bib as those of us in NY call it, since first corals have blue bibs). Historically, I run the first mile way too fast. I found my pal Megan to start with. We had talked during the week about trying to keep that first mile under control. And we did. 7:33. The pace felt great, I thought it was a good way to start. Then I just got this terrible pain in my foot. I felt like I was altering my gait and it just plain old hurt. I decided to ease up. I ran a 7:44 2nd mile and decided to phone it in. Stopped to stretch (miles 3, 4, and 5 were in the 9s) and finished with an 8:28 mile 6. Total time 53:27. Meh.
After I was very frustrated. My friend Sharon asked if I was frustrated because of the pain or because I didn't run well. It's the pain. I don't really care that I didn't PR. It's a 10k. Not something I've ever specifically trained for and not like a marathon that if you blow it, you can't try again for months. If I was totally healthy, I could do it again next week no biggie. I can easily (well, sometimes) just let the race go if it's not going my way, chalk it up to a throw away. Not to mention I can look back to a time when this was my race pace and now, my HR wasn't even up for the last 5 miles.
So PT Monday and we'll see where we go from here. The next big just running race I'm planning on isn't until Sept. I do have 2 triathlons before that, one isn't until the end of Aug so I have time to just cross train, I know my running will come back quickly if I have to be on the shelf a bit. Plus, I have this totally beautiful new bike that I'm really enjoying getting to know.
And finally, Megan's smart start today really paid off. She ran 43:40 (7:02 pace!!!!) for a big PR. Girl, you're inching ever closer to that sub 7 pace. I hope I'm there when you do it.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

He's racing and pacing and plotting the course,

This is a bit of a delayed report about my first XC race of the spring. I'm sure I've talking about running xc in Van Cortlandt before. It's great to have such a great course so close to home. I like xc because I ran it in HS and that was my first foray into any kind of distance running. Funny, these days I think of 5k as very very short. Also, it's like trail running light and it takes me out of my usual routes and routines. The gang at VCTC who put on the races are really nice and it's a laid back evening. Oh except for the running. The course has changed a bit this year due to construction in the park. I like the change, it takes us away from a very long flat start that I always run too fast and pay for later. Once in the woods, we have about 1.5 miles of hills, up and down. It's challenging, but gets easier the more you run it.
I had a good start, I marked a woman who looked to be a bit older than me and decided to run with her. Then I looked down at my Garmin and saw yes, in fact, I was going too fast, so I eased off. Normally I wear xc spikes on this course but with my PF problems of late, I opted for racing flats that have a hair more support. It was dry so I didn't think the spikes were needed.
Well low and behold once in the woods my shoe came untied. At the bottom of a hill. I was so pissed. Honestly, I do not remember the last time this happened. A quick stop to retie, but that costs time, esp. in such a short race. I didn't want to risk leaving it and going ass over teakettle while barreling down hill.
I made up time lost someone, or position anyway.
Coming down the final down hill and out of the park, the guy directing people told me I was 6th woman. It's a deceptive 700m or so to the finish from here. Woman #7 came right up on me. We sized each other up. I looked at her and said "I'm not going" and she chuckled. We really pushed each other. A glance down at my garmin told me I was going sub 7. The course finishes on a long straightaway which seems endless. With in the last 100m, she went and I couldn't hold on.
23:24. 3 seconds slower than I ran last year. Stupid shoelace.
I did finish 7th woman and won my age group, so I took home a nice carrot muffin.
Luckily, they do this every 2 weeks so I can try again. I hope to get under 23 on this course this year.

In other news, since I was so close to a 10k PR right before Boston, I've been going out and doing speed work on sections of the 10k course for the Mini 10k. It's a course they only use for this race and there are sections that traditionally slow me down. I'm hoping to avoid that this year.
I'm also relearning to balance working out in 3 sports for my upcoming triathlons. And ya know what? I'm finding myself just wanting to run.
On that note, I have a beautiful new road bike that was just built up and keeps whispering to me when I walk by "ride me", so that's what I'm going to do.