Friday, February 26, 2010

Barefoot!

I feel like I just wore my XC or track cleats for the first time of the season - my calves are SORE! At yesterday's PT appointment, they put me on the treadmill in my socks. Without that big cushy heel, things get a bit more stretched out than usual. It was JUST like the old days after wearing those racing flats for the first time of the season. A little tight today but I feel GOOD.

First, Mr. PT (who is quite a bit younger than me, btw, but PhD and everything) put me on the treadmill in my runners, Brooks Axiom. I was supposed to run without the big heel "THUD" followed by the toe "SLAP." Concentrated on lifting my feet, think light, think high, think relaxed, remember to breathe, listen to the feet...pretty hard to relax when you gotta think about so much stuff! Anyway, it was tricky and the only way for me to avoid landing so hard on my heels was to shorten my stride, which felt choppy.

Next, Mr. PT had me take off my shoes. Think relaxed, think light, think quiet, think high, remember to breathe. It was actually a lot easier! It naturally made me lighter on my feet, shorten my stride, land mid-foot. Hmmm...Maybe there is something to this. I tried to intentionally run the way I do in shoes, with a longer stride and big heel plant and it felt horrible. Jarring to my entire body from the heel up through the ankle, knee, hip, and jiggly muffin top.

Last came the negotiation. Last week I was allowed to run 2 min, walk 1 min for a total of 10 min every other day (I actually did 12 min because that's a 3 min cycle and I wasn't going to stop at 10 min mid-cycle.). This week, I negotiated up to 16 minutes total (!!) with 3 min run, 1 min walk. Also, I get to (yes, get to - it was fun!) run in socks on a treadmill for 3 - 5 minutes. The idea will be for me to copy my barefoot gait when I've got my shoes on.

This is going to be an interesting week. Plus, next week marks the first official training week for the North Olympic Discovery (Half) Marathon Walk. It's a pretty aggressive training schedule to jump into from couch tomato but I'm not going to try to set any records and will throw my PT running into the walk milage:

Mon: 3 mi walk
Tues: 3 mi walk
Wed: 4 mi walk
Thurs: cross train/rest
Fri: 6 mi walk
Sat: cross train/rest
Sun: rest

Finding the time is definitely going to be my biggest challenge. Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday are my days off so I might have to juggle those walk days around to find the right fit.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Blast from the past - Mr. V.

An old co-worker/friend from my Michigan days was in town giving a seminar on remediation technologies so we got to meet up between his Seattle - Portland gigs for coffee and savory treats at the Macrina Bakery & Cafe. Mr. V. is the best kind of geek (my favorite compliment) - so fantastic to see him again!

And guess what? He is a recovering runner, too! He is nursing a foot injury right now (he ran into a door-hee hee! ) but hopefully will be able to hit the streets when the weather thaws out in MI.

We worked together back in 1997/1998. At that time, I was running a fair amount and was able to convince several people in the office to do a fun run with me. It was a first for Mr. V. and some others in the office. And apparently was indeed a FUN run because after that, Mr. V. just took off with his running and even completed the Columbus Marathon [he says he ran as a Clydesdale, >200# weight class]! Though, I think he said he wouldn't run that far ever again...

That's ok. The important thing is that running can be a great thing to introduce to friends. I've found that it also is a great way to break the ice with co-workers. It's nice to have something "safe" to talk about at work, or maybe nice to have something to trash talk/tease about at work :)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Yeah - I did it again!

I escaped work today for the second time and hit the gym for a little while before picking up baby F at day care. I did my big 10 minutes of walk/jog allowed by my PT and then ellipticized for a total of 2.8 miles. Again not a lot but I'll take it! I added the time/miles to my little log and with some TLC, hope it grows.

I pulled my iPod shuffle out of my gym bag this time and realized that I had forgotten what a great, crazy mix of music I have on there. I was reminded how great the White Stripes, Franz Ferdinand, Lupe Fiasco, Blues Scholars, MIA, Mala Rodriguez, U2, GNR, and yes, Metallica are to exercise to. And...guilty pleasure Duran Duran and Paula Abdul...and guiltiest pleasure...Journey. Yup, Journey. AND I'M NOT ASHAMED TO ADMIT IT!

Funny thing - I found out I was recommended for a promotion. This, from the job that had reduced me to "on call" in December then just brought me back as regular, part-time status. 

In the meantime...

...just a small-town girl, living in a lonely world. She took the midnight train going aaanyywhere. Just a city boy, born and raised in south Detroit. He took the midnight train going aaanyywhere...


Sunday, February 21, 2010

Seattle's February Spring-time

Thanks to Lisa runs?, In a Field of Daffodils, and Mom vs Marathon for inspiration!

Friday I "ran" for the first time since August 2008! As instructed by my PT, I jogged for 2 minutes, walked for 1 minute for a total of 10 minutes. I am allowed to "run" every other day. I listened to my foot strike (trying to avoid the big slap), concentrated on lifting my feet up higher off the ground, and tried to relax more. After that, baby F and I went for a great walk along Alki Beach with friend K.H. and baby S. The views of the Sound and Olympic Mountains were incredible - forgot my camera.

Later on Friday, I interviewed for a new job. Sort-of. I seem to be boomerang girl with my jobs. After grad school, I got a job at Company A for several years then left because I didn't have a mentor and felt that I wasn't learning as much as I should be. So I went to Company B, a start-up, where I had not only an incredible mentor, I had a team of toxicologists to work with. We had challenging work and I had a great time but missed working for a larger firm where I could do a variety of work. I then went back to Company A where I've been the last two years. Things have been going really good there - working on a variety of things from a dioxin fingerprinting study in a town that had a pulp & paper mill to an arsenic biomonitoring study in Cali. Well, the economy has taken its toll on Company A and they put me "on-call" in December. Panic. Coincidentally, my wonderful mentor from Company B was in the process of switching to a different firm (larger) and she was looking to build a team at her new digs. Enter moi! So it looks like I will likely be moving to Company C with mentor and former supervisor from Company B. Hopefully this new union will be the best of A + B = a great mentor & larger company with wider range of service areas. BIG DAY!

Yesterday...I don't actually remember yesterday. You ever have those days?

Today was another beautiful day and so baby F and I went to Seattle's Olympic Sculpture Park for my walk-jog routine. It was our FIRST ever "run" together in the Kelty baby jogger that I purchased on Craig's List. I threw the jogger in the car & headed down to the waterfront only to find that the tires were flat. OOPS! Fortunately, good Samaritan bicyclist loading his car had a pump that I borrowed so we wouldn't have to bail on our outing. Baby F did pretty good for about a half hour then got overheated and/or bored and/or tired. It was a good start.

Check out these amazing views of Mt. Rainier, Port of Seattle, downtown Seattle...





Papa F snapped a picture of baby F and I - Calder and Olympic Mountains in the distance.



I took Lisa's advice and got my e-running log dusted off and plan entered. Need to stick to it!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Action Plan - Activate!

Form of...a walk jogger!

My stars must have been aligned yesterday, because I actually got out of the office with just enough time to go to the Y. For the first time since Fall 2008, I did an official workout - 2 miles / 23 minutes on the elliptical trainer, hill setting. It's not a lot but I'll take it! I could definitely feel the torn area of my calf again but it wasn't bad at all. Even got a shower in before going to pick up baby F at day care. Nice!

It felt so good to finally make it to the gym, after several weeks of having good intentions of going but not making it. Maybe I can pull this off again before the end of the week?!

This morning I made more progress, going to my first physical therapy appointment. My PT was excited about the fact that I am so out of shape ("Starting from scratch" is how he referred to it) even though I have a long running history. He said this is an excellent opportunity to unlearn bad habits and rebuild good technique. I just see a big mountain in front of me but I like his perspective. Something very interesting he said he wants me to build up to:

barefoot running.

I almost rolled my eyes...all the hype lately about barefoot running...really?

Well, as he explained it, our thick, cushioned, motion-control shoes have made us lazy foot-strikers. So, he suggested running barefoot ~ 10 min every week or two to check in with our foot-strike. He thinks it can be an excellent diagnostic tool to teach ourselves about how our feet move and use that information to self-correct when we're training in our runners. He definitely has my interest piqued and I'm certainly willing to give it a try, especially if it will help me with the chronic IT-band and plantar fascitis issues I've had in the past.

Any barefoot proponents / opponents out there? I'm assuming I'll be doing this on a treadmill or someplace grassy without broken glass & other debris?

Until I start the Zola Budd running, he has me back to stretches, toe/calf raises, and a walk/jog exercise regimen (10 min only). I'm pleasantly surprised that I can start with the running already, even if it's only for up to 10 min at a time. That's 10 min more than I've run in over a year - yeeha!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Walking at the beach = strong calves


We just had a wonderful 3-day beach weekend with my parents and got very lucky with the weather! Lots of time to relax and not think about the fact that I turned 37. Eeek!

The Long Beach Peninsula has a great trail you can take through the grassy sand dunes and you can also cut down to the beach to work out those calves. Each day I got at least a 3-mile walk in, so I'm feeling pretty good about that. I can definitely feel the beach walks in my left calf, at the point where the tear is/was. I think that's a good sign?

Hoping this week will be more productive than last week. I'm looking forward to seeing the physical therapist on Wednesday!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Work trumps workOUT

For the second day in a row, I just couldn't get away from work to go to the Y. With only a part-time work (24 hr/wk) and child care schedule, it's REALLY hard to get all my work-work completed and still sneak away for a workout.

How do y'all do it? I could get up earlier to work out before work, as I did pre-baby but with my Facebook addiction leading to late bed times and middle-of-the-night feedings, it's SO difficult to wake up. Crazy to think I used to be up at 5:30 am running track workouts and doing tempo runs. I KNOW I can get back to that and consequently, my pre-pregnancy jeans. I miss feeling fit. I want it. It's just getting over this hump at the beginning...

I think I can...I think I can...

Off to do my physical therapy exercises...

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Super Bowl Sunday

Alright - Skipping to item #3 of my action plan!

Beena came over early before the party today and we set some goals to get us moving. We agreed that we were both going to register for:
North Olympic Discovery Half Marathon on June 6 to walk together,
and the Lake Padden Triathlon in Bellingham, WA on June 26. I did this one in 2008 with some girl friends and had a blast. A stop at Boundary Bay Brewery after the race is the perfect ending. Hopefully this year there will be at least 5 of us going up together.

So, plunking down some dough better help us get motivated. Also, we have a weekend get-away planned to Leavenworth, WA in late March with the gang. For that weekend, we both are expected to be ready to do a long training walk together (8 - 9 miles), which means THIS WEEK MUST BE WEEK 1 of training.

Not sure what other events will be scheduled for the summer - just need to make it through these first two events - BUT I am liking the idea of the new Women's Half Marathon in Eugene, OR on September 5th. It could be a nice get-away weekend. I ran across the ad in the Race Center mag. The following words caught my eye:

champagne
AVEDA spa


which made me look a little closer, and then I saw:

schwag
chocolate
woman's half marathon


Ah-ha! This speaks to me!

The last half marathon I ran was the Mercer Island Half in March 2008. It was a great race and I just can't wait to get back to running long again.

So while I'm stripping diapers tonight, I need to pack that gym bag for tomorrow. I've lugged it to work with stroller & baby gear a couple times but managed to come up with excuses not to go to the gym. Tomorrow - NO excuses. I gotta be ready to walk long with Beena on March 20th!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Clueless

Ok so I'm a dork.

Blogs by running moms, career moms, career running moms, blah blah are everywhere.

Pressing on...

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Waiting for swift kick in the caboose (The Beginning)

I just spent an hour searching for a blog written by someone like me, to give me inspiration.

Desired characteristics:
  • Female
  • Loves to run (not fast, but not slow either)
  • 30-something
  • Works outside the home
  • New mom
  • Tired

I'm sure there is someone out there but I didn't find it. All the blogs I found are by uber-fit personal trainers, ultra runners, and other over-achievers that I really can't relate to. Where is that average runner/new mom seeking to stay healthy, find a work-life balance, and maintain a sense of self?

It looks like I need to make my own inspiration.

I had a baby in May 2009 and haven't run since August 19, 2008. Needless to say, I'm completely out of shape. Prior to August 19, 2008, I ran about 15 - 35 miles/week and right now, I'm really missing my runs.

How do I get going again? Life is so busy right now that I don't know where to find the time, but I'm going to go crazy if I don't make the time. Plus, I really don't think things are going to slow down so I better just figure it out.

But first, a quick backgrounder...

During the summer of 2008, I was training for the Victoria Marathon (my first) with my friend Katie. Training was going great. On August 18, I was traveling for work in Port Angeles, WA and went for an early morning run on the Olympic Discovery Trail. I was supposed to be doing a tempo run but my legs were TIGHT. I just couldn't loosen up. After about 2 miles of trying to push myself into a tempo speed, I heard and/or felt a *pop*! I couldn't walk. I ended up hopping on one foot back to the Red Lion Hotel. Upon return to Seattle, it was confirmed by my doc that I had torn my calf muscle.

I was motivated to heal and followed all the physical therapy instructions I was given. Within a few weeks, I was on the elliptical and feeling like things would be ok. Then something else happened...I found out I was pregnant. While this was not unwanted, it was not what I had in my action item list for September 2009. My husband and I had talked about trying to get pregnant AFTER the marathon.

Well, for those of you who have been pregnant, you might have a sense of how flipping tired you can get. I fell into a depression, quit my PT, struggled to get through my work days without falling asleep...and before I knew it I was so far into my pregnancy and so far out of shape that running wasn't even an option. Also, for those first 6 months of pregnancy, I was traveling every 2 weeks for work. Between work, shock of pregnancy, planning for the baby, being depressed...and everything else...the only exercise I ended up doing was prenatal yoga and some walking. If only eating chocolate counted as exercise!

Somehow, I've managed to lose 35 lbs but I have more to go. Here I am with an [adorable] 8-month old baby boy who still doesn't sleep through the night, 10-15 extra lbs to lose, and none of my former muscle tone or cardiovascular fitness.

With spring and summer races coming up, it's time to get moving. But why is it so hard to get started when I miss running so much? Maybe an action plan will help?

  1. Make appointment to see a PT to complete rehab on calf
  2. Develop cross-training plan to transition to running
  3. Set race goals with friends
  4. Find support from other new moms who have gotten back into a routine

Tomorrow, I start the plan...