Week 13: October 19-25 (My knee is starting to heal)

It really has been a journey these past few weeks. I have tried to keep training through this knee pain. Heck, I even did a race. I mentioned last week that after I completed the half marathon as soon as I finished my knee flooded with pain and swelled up all over again. I have had the most success with spinning instead of using the elliptical. I did not want to take a day off after the race. I am training, and needed to pull through this minor hiccup. So here is a look at this past weeks training.

Monday, October 19: In the afternoon I hopped on a spin bike and rode for 60 minutes. After completing the ride, I did exercises which are suppose to help with patella femoral tendon issues. I have a nice little circuit I complete. It takes about 15 minutes. After the circuit. I pick up with my typical weight and core routines.

Tuesday, October 20: Once again I went to the gym and rode the spin bike for 60 minutes. I also included the Patella exercises and a different core/weight routine.

Wednesday, October 21: I wanted to test out me knee. My legs were getting a bit itchy. They wanted to run. I figured I could do a nice shake out run with the women’s cross country team. They had a 5 mile progression run. The girls had a head start, but I managed to work my way to them and finished the run with one of the runners. It felt really good to get my legs running again. The knee pain was minimal. I felt it mainly when I was running down hills. The run ended with a total of 634 miles in a time of 47:17 averaging 7:20 per mile.

Thursday, October 22: I went to bed Wednesday night unsure of whether or not I would run on Thursday. The plan was to wait and see how my knee felt in the morning. There was a little bit of tightness in my knee, I foam rolled my IT band, quads, and hamstrings prior to the run. The run felt a little sluggish. I probably slept too much. Since I was just using this week to test the knee I tried not to be too concern with pacing. I ran by feel and only looked at my watch at the end of the run. Putting in head phones and tuning out everything else, helps me to just run! Sometimes, we get to carried away with how fast we ran. I know this for sure. I am 100% guilty of feeling like this quite often. Once the run was finished I saw I completed 7 miles in 54:55 for ana average of 7:44 per mile.

Friday, October 23… No matter what I know rest days are super important for me. I figured it was time for a day off. I had not rested in over a week. Some great relaxation times was perfect.

Saturday, October 25- My knee was feeling so much better. I really wanted to run a 16 miler today. However, It is not worth it to run too much if I only get set backs. I knew I would have to listen to my body and stop when the pain creeps in. The run went really well. around mile 9-10 my knee stared to feel as if it were tugging. I did not want to push it. I headed back towards my house and did a few extra loops to try to get in 12 miles. The knee was not too bad, it was my blister that was so painful. I took of my shoe and saw a blister along my arch which was about 1 inch in diameter before the run, grew to be about 2.5 inches wide and long. OUCH!!! It was pretty painful. (12.1 miles, 1:27, average 7:10 miles)

Sunday, October 25- It really is crazy how taking it day by day makes all the difference in the world. Most mornings I have no idea how far I will run, I just let my body tell me. I did another 12 mile run. I ran until I started to feel the tugging sensation and then stopped. The knee is feeling so much better. Once again what hurt the most was my dang blister. After the run my husband grabbed some medical grade second skin to cover up my blister. I think I should have done this sooner. Oh well, we live and learn! ( 12 miles, 1:27, 7:15 average)

I am super happy with this weeks running. I was able to run 37.6 miles over 4 days of running. That is right at an average of 9.4 miles per day. Not too bad. The only think I wish I could have done differently was to actually include some sort of workout. Even if it was minor. But like I said earlier. I am taking it day by day until my knee pain is gone. Which it probably will be gone soon as long as I keep doing my exercises and being smart.

Stay tuned!

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Week 12: October 12-18 ( Not much training, but I still raced)

Going into this week, I was super nerves and stressed out. I wanted more than anything to race on Sunday. Over the past 3 years since I decided to start running again, I have had the goal of running half marathons, setting new records for myself, and shooting for the Olympic Trials Qualifying Standard. Through the first 2.5 years I suffered from about 6 stress fractures. Not all at once, but throughout the entire 2.5 year. My last stress fracture consisted of 2 fractures at both ends of my right tibia. I stopped running this past February. The spring was an eventful time for my husband and I with our move back to the Midwest. I decided to finish up my time devoted to my students. I cross trained as well as rested my body till May. Since we were going to be on the road and bouncing around till the middle of July, I decided I would start slowly adding running back into my days once we get more settled. I ran throughout the summer, but only managed to run about 20-30 miles per week. Just enough to keep me sane. By the end of the summer I knew I was running out of time. If I wanted any shot at all towards the Olympic trials, I needed to start running again. In fear of failure, I kept putting off actually starting to train. August rolled around and I knew it was time. At that point I only have 5 months to train. Since I am not in great shape this dream was not going to be easy. Especially because I knew I needed to be super conservative with my training to avoid another injury.

Since the beginning of August I have kept my mileage hoovering 45 miles per week. With a few of the weeks closer to 20 miles with supplemental cross training to avoid the onset of an injury. Training was coming around. I still was not getting in very many workouts. Why? Well that’s easy, because I am scared. I know, crazy stupid!!! Especially since I have intimidating goals. I decided to start racing to help encourage me to train a bit harder. Also the races could serve a purpose as a hard “workout”. I ran one 5k, and two 10ks. They were fun. But also racing the shorter distances is within my comfort zone. They say success lies outside your comfort zone. With that in mind I knew I needed to run something that would test my limits. A Half Marathon is the next step.

Last week I started suffering from what seems to be patella femoral tendinitis. My knee is constantly swollen and has been for the past two weeks. After taking last Saturday and Sunday Off, I needed to start cross training. The swelling had subsided greatly due to my Mother In Law and her magically hands. Monday I rode the bike for 35 minutes just to test the waters as well as weight and circuit training. I also included exercises for my knee. Tuesday my knee was starting to feel a bit better, So I extended my time on the machine and cross trained for 75 minutes with weights and circuit work, along with knee exercises. Wednesday rolls around, My knee feels about 85% better. I still had my eyes on a half marathon for Sunday, therefore, I needed to run a bit to make sure I do not feel sluggish. I went out for a 6 mile run that morning, I felt pretty good. Averaging 7:18 pace for a total time of 43:54. I felt a bit sluggish, but was just going to wait and see how my knee responded before making my next move. I woke up Thursday Morning, my knee was a tad sore, but not too swollen. I decided to do a moderate workout. Something to get my legs moving at race pace, but nothing that would irritate my knee too much. I chose to do a mini fartleck. My favorite one, I think I do this every other week. It is my safety workout. It consists of 30 minutes alternating 1 minute at race pace and once minute at regular run pace. Since I did not want to aggravate my knee too much I decided to aim for half marathon pace instead of 5k pace. I tried to keep the fast portion of the run around 6:00 pace, but ended up hitting 5:40 pace. I ended up running 8 miles in a time of 54:29 for an average pace of 6:48. With a mini workout under my belt I figured if I still wanted to race on Sunday I should take it easy on Friday. Friday came and I biked for 60 minutes, as well as spent time working on knee exercises as well as stretching. Saturday I decided to do a little shake out run which was only 3.5 miles (7:18 pace, 25:34 total time). I followed the run with the dreaded foam roller and ample stretching.

Now to Sunday…( sorry for the long novel)

Saturday afternoon I still was unsure if it was smart to actually run the half. If I were my old self from 2005 I would run through it. My more recent self, backs out at the smallest ounce of discomfort in fear I will ruin myself pertinently and never be able to run again. I do not like the self I have turned in to. The whole point of running is to push your limits. Yes!! I have to be smart. But I also know I am most likely dealing with tendinitis. This type of injury tends to just be a nagging pain. I can run though this. I will just Ice and cross train for a few days. In the first week of November I get to see an osteopath, who will help realign my body. That’s only 2.5 weeks from now. If I have to I will just run every other day till then. I will do whatever it takes to run this half marathon. No more quitting or backing out in fear of failure. It is time to take what I get and move on!

IMG_4386(can you tell which one is swollen)

I stepped out onto the starting line of the Rock’n Roll Half Marathon in St. Louis, MO. The temperature was about 37 degrees. There was a slight chill in the air, but I knew by mile 5 I would feel warm. I made it. I actually made it to the starting line of a half marathon. It has been just 3 months shy of 10 years since the last time I stepped onto a starting line like this one. 10 years ago, I ran the 2006 3M half marathon in Austin, Texas. At 18 years old I crossed the finish line in 1 hour and 16 minutes. Today, a much more difficult course, and many ups and downs later I finished as the first women, 8th overall finisher, in a time of 1 hour and 19 minutes. I was exactly 3 minutes slower than I was when I was 18 years old. My goal going into the run was to hit 6 minute miles the entire way, I ended up averaging 6:05 miles. Just a few seconds off each mile. I wish I was faster, but it has been a tough few weeks. If I can get my knee feeling better, I would love to attempt another half in the first week of December. I am proud I raced. I have a new starting line. 1:19 now, and lets just wait and see what time will tell…IMG_4378 The calculator predictors suggest I should be able to IMG_4377run 2:46, for a full marathon. In order to qualify I need to be under 2:43!

Stay tuned!

Week 11 (October 5-11) A rough week…

This week did not turn out as I had expected. I was really hopping to get in 2 really solid workouts and then take the following week easy before the half marathon which is suppose to be ran on October 18th. On Monday I went about my normal routine. Which includes an easy run of about 6-8 miles. Since I started substitute teaching, I am having to move some of my runs to the afternoons since the days are getting shorter. I do not feel super comfortable running in the dark. Safety first! I ran a very relaxing run with some of the girls on the College Cross country team.  It was a great start to the week, getting to run with them since I usually run alone a majority of the time. After the run I went home to cook dinner and resume my typical life, when I noticed a significant amount of pain in my right knee. I was not too concerned at first since Tuesdays are cross training days, I figured I will just cross train and I will be just fine to  complete my workout on Wednesday like I had planned. However, Wednesday came and there was no way I would be able to run an interval workout. I decided to cross train lightly and rest on Thursday in order to let my knee fully recover. I also went to a massage therapist to see if we could work out the tightness in my hamstrings and quads. This helped quite a bit. I felt well enough to do a modified workout on Friday. On another note, I started feeling a bit under the weather as well. So taking a little of time off to recover was needed. When Friday came I decided to not run a super fast interval workout like 400 or 600 repeats like I had planned but to run mile repeats hoping it would keep my knee from flaring up too much. I was very pleased with this workout. I ran 5 x1miles with 2 minutes recovery. I did this same workout 7 weeks ago. The only difference between this workout and the one I ran 7 weeks ago, was that I was feeling great then and I also had a longer recovery of 3 minutes.

Week 4 (3 minutes rest) Week 11 (2 minutes rest)
6:06 5:56
6:01 6:04
5:59 5:54
6:12 6:14
6:13 5:56

One modification I would like to make is to actually run my mile repeats on a track to see how much faster I would be. I have noticed running on dirt trails and grass is much harder, but better for recovery purposes. The total run consisted of 10 miles when you include the warm up and cool down portions of the run. I pretty solid workout for feeling sickish and dealing with a mildly inflamed knee.  After the run my husband and I had to drive down to Tulsa for my brother in laws wedding. Sitting in a car for 6 hours was probably not ideal for my knee situation. The knee had really swelled up over the weekend and became very painful. Walking was painful! I knew I had to be smart and just enjoy the weeding weekend and put my running on hold. The goal is still to run a half marathon on the 18th at just slightly faster than marathon pace. I am so blessed to have such a great mother-in-law who spent a lot of time treating my knee while I was in Tulsa. Unfortunately I only ran a total of 18 miles this week. Much of the week was spent either cross training or resting trying to get the inflammation out of the knee. Since my mother- in- law worked on my I am feeling much better, but the knee is still swollen, but not near as painful. Fingers crossed I can still run the half!

I will end with some photos from the weekends wedding festivities.IMG_4315IMG_4335 IMG_4331 IMG_4325 IMG_4319

Week 10: September 28- October 4

Time is really flying by this fall. I totally lost track of time, so I am a little late posing week 10’s training log. Since I was coming off a 10K race, I did not want to over do training. I am not strong enough to handle lots of super fast runs. In order to stay healthy I have to be modest with my runs. Hopefully if I can stay healthy long enough I can slowly start increasing intensity. I am not planning on adding too many miles to my week. The plan is to keep my weeks right around the 50 mile per week mark, and slowly add workouts throughout the week. So far so good! Let’s take a look at this past weeks training:

Monday, September 28:

Easy 8.2 mile run followed with 6×75 meter strides. 1:02:06 total time, which is 7:34 average pace.

Tuesday, September 29:

60 minute cross train day with dumbbell complex circuit, upper body weights, and core exercises.

Wednesday, September 30:

Moderate workout day. I ran 2 miles for warm up with the Women’s cross country team. We then proceeded to run 6×800 meter tempo efforts with 3 minute jog recovery. The 800s were ran on a grassy/hilly field. the paces for the 800s were as follows: 3:00, 2:57, 2:57, 2:55, 2:55, 2:53. I was a little tired from the 10K race, so this was a good workout so shake out the legs yet still get a little bit of turn over. After the 800s, I cooled down to finish with a total of 10 miles for the day.

Thursday, October 1:

Easy run on the treadmill, it was super dark out side, so I decided to be safe a stick to the indoors. I started out a bit stiff since it was so early and I have not ran on a treadmill in several years, except for Alter-G treadmills, but those are in a different category. Anyway, I ran 8 miles averaging 7:29 pace for 59 minutes and 50 seconds.

Friday October 2:

Rest Day

Saturday October 3:

Best run all week, I wanted to run 15 miles at a consistent pace. It felt easy the entire time. I finished the miles in 1:45:53 for an average pace of 7:03. As long as I stay healthy I feel like in 2 weeks I will be able to finish a half marathon right around a 6:00 minute pace. So this run today gave me some much needed confidence.

Sunday October 4:

Easy 6.6 mile run, 48:34, pace: 7:21. I finished with 6x 75 meter stride. I felt really good in the middle of the run. I was happy with this run coming off of a long run the previous day.

Summary of the week:

I ended the week with 47.8 miles. I few more miles than last week, which is a good sign. I will probably be taking a down week soon, to let my body recover and keep trekking. Another week in the books. I am happy with my progression thus far.

Stay tuned!!