Sunday, October 18, 2009

Plugging away

I've finished my second week of 3 mile runs, running every other day. Since I started back to running in July, Marc has come along for all my runs, in addition to running on his own. Today he had to work and I was feeling a little sad that I had to go out on my own. So I decided to go up to the gym where he works and run on the treadmill. I'm such a dork! I normally hate the treadmill, but it was nice to have it to keep my on pace.

Speaking of pace, I've been pleasantly surprised that my running pace has been in the 10:30 range. I was really expecting to come back much slower. I've lost a lot of fitness and still feel tired as I'm nearing the 3 mile mark. But I don't feel like I can go any slower. Another surprising development is I've been getting a little endorphin-high afterglow from my little 3 mile runs. In my previous running life, I didn't get that endorphin high until I started running ultras. So maybe I'm experiencing a bit of endorphin memory. Yeah, I'll take it!

I still have not so good days along with the good days. I still get whacky aches and pains out of the blue. My left side tends to seize up and get tight. I rarely feel much pain when running or exercising....sometimes it just seems like my muscles don't know how to react in response. The good news is: Any "bad" I feel is how I used to feel all this time. I can live with this if I can keep running and exercising. But I do think I'm getting better! What I'm learning is that I need to keep moving. Sitting for long periods of time is the worst. I feel much better after I run or exercise. So I've committed myself to a pretty strict schedule of movement and exercise:

Water Aerobics

I attend a water aerobics class (in the deep end) three days a week...every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 6 am. The first 40 minutes of the class is cardio based....think of it as calisthenics and plyometrics in the water. I decided the last 15 minutes, working with water dumbells, wasn't a good use of my time. Instead, I hit the jacuzzi for a few minutes. If you ever have a chance to attend a class like this I highly recommend it as a good complement to running. I always come away feeling stretched out and loose. I plan to stick with this class even when I'm back running 50 miles a week.

Weight Training

My goal is to fit this in three days a week. I work out at home on Tuesday and Thursday mornings and then get into the gym one day on the weekend. I'm concentrating on working the big muscles. Not only do I need to tone up (I'm one of those skinny fat types), but working the lower body in particular is what has allowed me to get back into running. My muscles had learned to fail or not respond and I'm re-patterning them to work and respond the way they are supposed to.

Egoscue Pain-Free Workout

I purchased this dvd about a year ago and used to do it every now and then. The dvd contains 45 minutes of back and hip stretches and exercises, based on the Egosue Method. Apparently, it costs a lot of money at the Egoscue clinics to learn the same stuff that's on the dvd and in the book. It's really not rocket science, but I decided to get the full benefit I needed to commit to doing the exercises daily. I wrote down the sequence and I now do it every evening while watching TV. It takes about 35 minutes this way. The only thing I miss from the dvd is some of the encouraging talk. But I say it to myself instead. "Your body has no choice but to react to these exercises in a positive way." (See, I am a dork!) I'm on consecutive day 10 and am pleased with the results so far.

Foam roller and massage therapy ball

Every evening I also spend some time with my foam roller and massage therapy ball. I do a short protocol based on things I've learned reading the Julstro forums. I hit the quads first with the form roller. Then with the ball, work the TLF, glutes, piriformis, spinal erectors, QL and then roll the quads again.


Of course, building my running is my main goal right now. Although I enjoy them all in their own right, the focus of every other activity I do is to support my running. Due to my other activities, this former morning runner has become an evening runner. I'm not thrilled with more cars around, but am glad to have Marc's company (something he wouldn't be able to do in the morning.) I'm still at 3 miles and will stay there for the next two weeks. Then I plan to slowly build. TCM in May is still my goal, but I'll wait to sign up until late December, when I'll have a better idea if that goal is truly realistic. I think I can do it.


Something had to give so I'm actually doing a bit less yoga then I used to. Based on the benefits I receive from my other activities, yoga is something I'm willing to let slide for the time being. I still take a class one day a week during lunch, and will try to fit in some yoga time at home. But aside from the class, any yoga I can fit in (I have a ton of dvds and podcasts) is gravy.

It's a good thing I like to exercise because I know this is a lot. It helps that I live, work and workout within a 2 mile radius. Commuting time is non-existent! Of course, I hope to get in some family hikes, skiing and snowshoeing over the winter too. I'm extremely grateful to have an active and supportive family!


olga said...

sarah, this is where patience pays off. Wish I was like you:) You'll come back stronger than you had ever been before. It is awesome to read about - and awesome that since you are back at it, you are back at writing too:)

Backofpack said...

This is great Sarah! I need to bookmark this post so I can find it again. I use the foam roller and my tigertail after almost every run. Love them! I stretch first, then roll. So glad all is going well for you.

Joe said...

It is so cool to read this, Sarah. I hope you found it therapeutic to work out the plan and write it down. Very disciplined, all building towards a clear goal.

I'm thrilled for you...what a great way to work your way back. 10:30 miles are impressive!!

Gretchen said...

Wow, you are so disciplined! I am impressed. That is a lot to tackle, but I think you are really being smart. It will all help you run healthy. Keep it up!

Rick Gaston said...

"The only thing I miss from the dvd is some of the encouraging talk. But I say it to myself instead."

That's the long distance runner in you:) Don't we all self-motivate ourselves. Maybe some of those guys who have earphones on are really listening to some positive encouraging talk but I doubt it. I have to say your keep a busy schedule of workouts.

Carrie said...

Thanks for posting your schedule. And I agree -- the supportive family is just as important as your own motivation often!

I am very proud of you!

Darrell said...

That's a lot of different disciplines. Congrats for having the determination to stick to them. The best part is that it seems to be working.