Running lately

Hello, and happy Saturday!  I am enjoying a super low-key day.  I just got back from an easy 5-miler outside, and now I’m eating pancakes and deciding which direction to take my day.  Probably clothes shopping at the mall (still waiting for yoga pants to be the new dress pants) and one last hurrah through Sam’s Club.  My Sam’s Club membership expires tomorrow (on my birthday…doesn’t everyone want that as a gift?), and I don’t think I’ll renew it, so I have to make sure I’m all stocked up on my economy-sized food items.

But I want to chat about running today: this week in running, an injury update, and goals!
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My longest run since the injury has been 6 miles, which I’ve done three times in the past two weeks, and I’m HOPING to run a 7 mile “Groundhog race” tomorrow (Sunday) near Indianapolis with a few friends.  We’re under a winter storm warning tonight through tomorrow though, so I have a feeling the race might get cancelled or the roads might be too messy for the hour drive.  Plus, my recovering glutes/hips/knee/ailment isn’t ready for slippery terrain yet.

This past week in running:
Monday: Rest.  Busy school day, and I was SO SORE from the weight workouts Ryan and I did over the weekend.
Tuesday: 5 treadmill miles, easy pace (8:39).  I listened to the first episode of Serial, and time has never passed so quickly on the treadmill! (Thanks for the recommendation, Kelly!).  I was only able to listen for about 30 minutes until my earbuds fell out because my ears were too sweaty, but that got me through the majority of the run.
Wednesday: 6 treadmill miles with 2 miles at “tempo lite” pace.  I want to ease my way back into speedwork, so I warmed up at an 8:30 pace and then varied the pace between a 7:45-8:00 for miles 4 & 5.  Felt good!
Thursday: Rest.  Busy day.
Friday: 60 minute circuit: 4 x (run 1/2 mile + 15 weighted squats, 15 push ups, 10 step ups, 10 burpees, 10 single leg bridges, 1:00 plank, 10 side plank dips, 20 leg lifts).
Saturday: 5 miles outside, easy pace (8:54).  This felt really hard, but I was happy to run outside.

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Injury Update:
I don’t feel like I’m completely healed yet, but I’m definitely moving forward.
To back up a bit for anyone new, I’ve been dealing with right-side knee pain since a marathon last May, which slowly got worse and worse until it hurt to walk at the beginning of November.  I transitioned my workouts to the AMT (until that started to hurt my knee) and then to the ARC trainer (until that started to hurt my knee), and then finally settled on cycling and strength training with 1-4 rest days per week.  I’ve been working with a PT, but I only see him about once a month because he is in my hometown, a few hours away.

From what I understand about WHAT this injury is/was, it’s ITBS (IT-band syndrome) on the right side that is/was caused by my hips, sacrum, & lumbar spine rotating to the right.  This threw me for a loop because I think ITBS knee pain is usually the result of weak hip abductors on the same side, but my hips & glutes were weaker on the opposite side (left side).  My pelvis rotated to the stronger side (the right side), which caused a whole host of issues, including a leg length discrepancy, a weird foot strike to subconsciously compensate for the leg length issue, SI-joint dysfunction, and ITBS.  At least that was my interpretation of the million questions I asked my PT, so that may not be 100% accurate.  Anyway, he had me doing glute & hip strengthening exercises on my weaker side only (left side) for a few weeks, and now I’ve graduated to doing both sides.

I’m not the perfect patient, but I really like to run, so I’ve been trying hard to keep up with those PT exercises.  The entire routine is 8 moves and takes about an hour (who has time for that?), so I usually pick 3 moves and do two sets of 15 reps.

My favorite moves:

  1. Squats with resistance band around knees. Example.
  2. Bird-dog.  Example.
  3. Quadrupled Hip External Rotation. Example.
  4. Single leg deadlift (no weights). Example.

Aside from trying to do 15-20 minutes of hip & glute strength a day, I’m focusing on my running form—“tucking my tail” to help activate my glutes when I run.  As far as I can tell, it’s helping!

Running Goals

First and foremost, to stay injury-free.  Distance-wise, I’d like to be able to run 13 miles by the end of March, which should be fine.  I have a marathon relay the last weekend in March, and my leg is a half marathon.  There are a few other potential races I could do this spring, but we’ll see.  Pace-wise, I’m playing that by ear and not setting any goals yet.

So that’s where I am with running!  Enjoy the weekend!

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Any good runs lately?
Where do you put your key when you run? (I had a moment of panic this morning when I forgot that I tied it to my shoe and couldn’t find it in my pocket).

Weekend randoms and fun workouts

Hello!  Hope you’re having a nice weekend.  Ryan and I just finished a killer workout, and then he left early for his long drive home because it’s sleeting.  I guess I can’t complain too much since it’s been relatively warm, but ugh winter.

Ryan and I had two really great workouts this weekend.  Last winter, I got up super early on Saturdays to run with friends and freeze our butts off, and it was awesome.  This winter, Ryan and I have been doing cardio + strength circuits on both Saturday and Sunday mornings, and it’s a different kind of awesome.  We watch VH1 music video countdowns and work our muscles.  Our workouts this weekend were set up a little different from what we normally do, and I really liked them!  In case you’re looking for something different:

Workout One: 12 x (5 min AMRAP of circuit + 1 min rest).  We created 5 different circuits that each had four moves (e.g. 12 push ups + 10 lunge pulses + 8 reverse lunges + 6 burpees) and went through each circuit AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) for 5 minutes, rested for 1 minute, and then did it again.  It took a little over an hour to do all 5 different circuits twice, plus an extra “choose your favorite” two circuits at the end.  We used the Interval Timer app on my iPad to keep track of the 5:1 minute set-up, which worked out really well.  This workout was like sneaky hard…it didn’t feel like death during the workout, but it did after.

Workout Two: 3 x (10 min treadmill run + 10 min strength).  One person was on the treadmill while the other person did the strength circuit, and we switched every 10 minutes. On the treadmill, we tried to keep the incline high. I set the incline at a 4-5% grade on my first round, and when I got back on the treadmill, I saw that Ryan had it at 10%?! I cranked that sucker right back down. The strength set was AMRAP of a list we made (included burpees, weighted squats, weighted Russian twists, mountain climbers, supermans, donkey kicks, and push ups). The only change I’d make is to do a different strength circuit each time, but otherwise, this workout was a good change of pace.

Other weekend ramblings…

Ryan and I read and studied for a long time, and that about sums up the rest of the weekend.  I finished reading Karen (loved it!) last week and started Devil in the White City by Erik Larson (2015 reading challenge category= book with a color in the title).

We continued our reading spree at Barnes & Noble, where we sat on the floor in the running section for a long time.  Weird or not weird?
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And weird or not weird that we had super healthy “experimental bean ball” wraps, squash, and brussels sprouts for lunch…and Taco Bell for dinner?  Just keeping our digestive systems guessing.
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I also got two fun packages in the mail!

This is the running log that I’ve been using for years, and my 2015 log finally came in the mail.  I say that like I ordered it a while ago, but really I ordered it last week and kept track of my workouts on random scrap paper,

Looks like this on the outside:
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And this on the inside:
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The other fun package was from Shutterfly.  I ordered a pack of photo magnets from because there was a special deal and they were free, and I’m happy with how they turned out!  I’m also proud of myself for decorating the fridge…I’ve lived in the same place for over a year, and all of my picture frames are sitting on the floor.  The bottom left is Lake Erie, and the bottom right is on a flight to Montreal.
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Have a good week!

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Are you into decorating or a mega decorating procrastinator?
Do you use a running log?

Running, hot sauce, and a giant potato

Hope you had a nice [3-day??] weekend!  I had Monday off, which was extra special because ALL of my classes this semester are on Mondays.  Woohoo!  Ryan and I still did some work though, so I’m not completely off the hook.

This weekend was a good mix of work, play, and a little bit of running.  Last we chatted, I had just run my first run with no pain in several months, and I am happy to announce that I’ve been running pain-free all week!  The new challenge is to make sure I don’t increase the mileage too quickly.  I went on three 3-4 mile runs throughout the week, biked or rested on the other days, and had a long run of 6 miles on Saturday.  If all goes well, I’m going to try to add one mile to the long run each week and hopefully reach double digits by late February or early March.  My dad and I are registered for a marathon relay at the end of March, so I’m feeling optimistic about running my half.

IMG_1610All of those runs were on either the treadmill or indoor track.  I’m really focusing on my form this time around (I’m a member of the quad-dominant group of runners and I currently have to tell myself “butt butt butt” with every step), so I want to get a little stronger before I venture back outside.

I gave the running legs a break on Sunday and Monday, and Ryan and I did two strength workouts together: a “push” workout on Sunday morning that focused on chest & triceps, and a “pull” workout on Monday morning that focused on back & biceps.  They both had squats, burpees, and some core work sprinkled in.  Ryan designed the push/pull exercises for us because he is the weight training master, and I just did my job of adding planks to every workout and whining about burpees.

Luckily my apartment’s fitness room is almost always empty, so we usually get the place to ourselves and can spread out.  And we can do weird moves like the “dog peeing on fire hydrant one” without feeling weird.  The “push” workout is in the picture below.IMG_1617

So those workouts were good, but this hot sauce may have been more sweat-inducing.  Holy cow.  Ryan and I went to Firehouse Subs after church on Sunday, and they had a shelf of hot sauce ranked from 1 to 10 for spiciness.  We thought it would be “fun” to try a tiny dab of level 10 sauce, and long story short, it was NOT fun.  My eyes watered, my nose ran, my entire body broke out in a sweat, and my tongue.was.on.fire.  I drank 48oz of water right away and never wanted to eat anything ever again.  It took a few minutes for everything to calm down, but it was not an enjoyable experience.IMG_1620

Also…check out the size difference between the large sub and the…normal sized?…sub.  If you’re looking for the best deal, go with the large and split it, unless you’re Ryan and can eat 3 Chipotle meals at one time (linking back to that as many times as I can…so proud!).
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Speaking of large food items, here is the sweet potato that we bought at the grocery store on Sunday, with Kraft mac for size comparison.IMG_1614

Aside from eating, working out, and studying, we met up with some friends on Sunday afternoon/evening for a game night.  We played euchre and Balderdash, and we watched parts of both football games.  I’m not really a football person, but I live in Colts territory, so I was hoping they would make it.  The superbowl is on my birthday this year, and blue is my favorite color.IMG_1621

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How spicy can you go?
Would you rather eat a giant sweet potato or a box of Kraft mac?

School again and the end of winter break

Guess what day it is?!
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We heralded the first day of our last semester of class with three 2-hour classes (woo every Monday!) but I think we can see the light at the end of the tunnel, so that’ll get us through the semester.  And through the winter.

Oh the winter.  We had some nasty ice/snow/slush coming from the sky all night, so roads were a wet mess this morning.  I took a rest day from running and/or the gym to give myself plenty of time for the drive this morning….but it’s all good because I’m still riding the high from my TOTALLY pain-free treadmill run on Sunday!

Ryan and I went to the Indy YMCA on Sunday morning for a quick workout.  I’m not joking about the quick part–the fire alarm went off 33 minutes into our workouts and they were wishy-washy about whether to evacuate the building (um?), so they shepherded us halfway out, and then Ryan and I just left.  But not before I fit in four solid miles on the treadmill!  And with a right knee that felt like it was made out of gold…or at least a healthy human joint again.IMG_1564There’s the fire truck in the back!

Hopefully (fingers crossed!) I’m on the upswing because this was the first time my knee has felt completely normal.  Over winter break, I went on a few short runs both outside and on the treadmill at my house, but my knee felt a little twingy, so I turned into a biker.  Surprisingly, it wasn’t so bad!  I watched Gilmore Girls or Glee on the easy bike days and listened to 90’s hits on the interval days.
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Back to the weekend.  After we left the Y, Ryan and I had a picnic lunch on his living room floor because sometimes it’s just more fun to eat on the floor.  He made veggie chili that was hands-down the best veggie chili I’ve ever had, even with the new-to-us meat substitute that was really a fungi.  He also introduced me to honey vanilla almond milk, which was delicious and made my coffee taste like birthday cake frosting.

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Then we bundled up and spent the rest of the afternoon at the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

We saw some crazy cool exhibits.IMG_1574

And admired the enormity and endless possibility of this room.IMG_1591

And of course took the cheesiest picture we’ve ever taken.
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Oh…and I started my next book in the 2015 Reading Challenge (here’s the list, in case you’re interested!)
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I’m reading Karen by Marie Killilea for the “memoir” category.  Karen was born with cerebral palsy in the 1940’s, when cerebral palsy was “unknown territory” with little research.  This book is her mother’s account of their family’s experience with figuring out cerebral palsy, and it’s fascinating!  This book pulled me right in.

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Tips for staying entertained on the treadmill?
How’s your weather?

It’s 2015! goals, reading list, and all that good stuff

I really love making new years resolutions.  January 1 is like opening up a brand new notebook and using my very best handwriting, all while knowing that it’ll sloppy itself out soon, and I’ll probably mess up on the next page.  That’s the story of resolutions involving diet coke and anything without a sticker chart, so while they’re really exciting to plan out, less-strict “goals” work better for me.

Number one running goal is to get over this hip/knee injury, build my mileage back up, and stay as injury-free as possible (maybe with this book that Greg got me for Christmas!)

Secondary running goal is to fit in a few races.  I’m not feeling a full marathon this year, but I would love to PR in the half!  I’d also like to run more 5k races…5ks are scary to me

My dad and I started out the new year with a bike and a run.  50 minutes on bike trainers in the basement followed by 4 easy miles.  I’m trying to focus on my form (“tucking my tail” & engaging my glutes) in combination with my PT exercises (a lot of glute and core strength) to get over this injury.
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Other goal = Read more.  Laura and I compiled a 2015 reading “category” list based on this idea.  Here’s the list we came up with.  Join us, if you’d like!  I’m so excited about it that I read two books in the last 4 days (Me Before You by Jojo Moyes and The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty).

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Laura and I brainstormed the list during our sister date on Saturday.  We saw Into the Woods, got pizza, browsed Barnes & Noble, and hung out at Laura’s place with coffee.  I told Laura that another one of my new years goals is to spend less money on frivolous things.  Then I noticed that we were standing by a table of 2015 planners that were 50% off at Barnes & Noble, and we convinced each other how important and nonfrivolous these purchases would be.  So we bought them!  Here’s the best self-timer picture we managed with our new planners.
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Other goal = Spend more time outside.  Um, bad time of year to set this goal, but I guess this means trying to run outside all winter and maybe going on a walk if it’s not too miserable out.

Other goal = Be as kind, caring, helpful, thankful, and positive as I can be.  Only one semester of classes left, and then a one-year clinical rotation, so I can almost see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Other goal = I am kind of bored with this blog since I haven’t been running and have nothing to talk about, so I have to figure out what to do about that.  I could post about the bike workouts I’ve been doing in my basement…so there’s one sentence.  Post ideas?

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2015 goals?
Do you have any snow yet?