Saturday, October 30, 2010

Pac10 Cross Country Championship - Recap

Today was the BIG day. The UW hosted the Pac10 XC Championships after 10 years and the Husky women were defending their previous two Pac10 titles. Also, this is the last year for the Pac10. Next year, it will become the Pac12.

Weather: 40 degrees, light wind. Gray, threats of rain.

MC: As always, USAT&F president, Bill Roe, was announcer. Nice to hear a familiar voice at a meet. Really made it feel exciting and bring back all those old XC memories. 

Course: Jefferson Park Golf Course. I was running late this morning so instead of running to the race, I jumped on my bike. Good thing I was dressed in runners though because there was a LOT of running around the course to catch the racers at different points. I don't know how the course was to run, but it was great for spectators since it consisted of a couple loops that we could run back & forth between to see the runners multiple times during the race.

The women started their 6k race at 10:00 a.m. and fairly early in the race were spaced out with Stanford and Oregon runners taking the lead. The ladies went out a little bit "slow" but they still ran some pretty speedy times. Oregon's Jordan Hasay had a strong lead and finished in 19:44 (5:17 pace). Kathy Kroeger of Stanford was second, finishing a full 5 seconds later in 19:49. As the runners came in, it was tough to tell how the scoring after first place was going to shake out but ultimately, it was 1: Stanford (62), 2: Arizona (65), then tie for 3: Oregon/Washington (68). See, they were all pretty close / all mixed up together. Sorry Kerrie, WSU was 9th.

Here are some pics from the women's race:

Coming down the first stretch.

Huskies are on the outside.

Front of pack.

Upper-mid of pack.

Front-runners again.

Top finishers.
This is what running a sub-5:30 min/mile looks like.
At the end of the women's race, I ran into someone I ran high school cross country with who ran cross country and track for the UW. It was great to see him after many years and meet his wife and daughter. Cool! I was actually surprised that I hadn't seen more people I know because I know quite a few peeps from college who are still very serious about running and I was SURE they would be there :(

While I waited for the men's race to start, I decided to hunt down my old coach, Bill Roe, to say hi. He informed me that he's trying to get regionals to Seattle, which means we'd have a REALLY big meet here every 4 years. Yeah! I hope that comes about. I can't wait to take Baby F to these big meets and hopefully get him jazzed about running XC.

As the men were about to start their race, I ran into an old runner buddy from college (WWU in Bellingham) who still lives in Bellingham. [His wife owns the jewelry shop, Whimsey, in Fairhaven so if you ever go to the Ham, check out their shop!] Ok - so Mr. Whimsey has been doing some great running with other folks from Bellingham. They came down with a few people from their track club, including another old college friend who actually ran for UW. Which makes me wonder, how did I know him when we went to different schools? Oh yeah - he was from Bellingham and for some reason used to run with us up at WWU once in a while when he was home visiting. Or something like that. Anyway, it was great to see these guys. We ran around the course cheering the guys on.
Note: I was too embarrassed to ask the guys to pose for a blog pic.

Here is the start of the men's 8k race:
Gun smoke!

You could feel the ground rumble as they went by.

Check out the guy with the "Pre" thing going on - and he's with Oregon, of course!



These are the top 3 finishers as they were coming down the final stretch.
Shortly into the race, the rain started. By the end it was POURING and it was really cold. It didn't phase these guys, especially Stanford and Oregon who were quite impressive. They ran as a pretty tight pack until about half-way when the Oregon team started to break up a bit. Stanford's top runners stayed together though and ultimately finished 1, 2, 3 in 23:00 (4:37 pace). In fact, the entire men's field stayed pretty tight, making it an exciting race to watch. I had thought about leaving the meet after the women ran so I'm glad I stuck around.

Top men's team finishers were 1: Stanford (25), 2: Oregon (56), 3: California (86). UW was 7th (181) and WSU was 6th (158) (you got us on the men's side Kerrie!). What was most impressive was Stanford's score of just 25 points. This shows you how tight and well-placed their team was. Damn!

You can read a full race re-cap and get results HERE at the Pac10 site. The photos they have posted are worth viewing.

That's all I have for today. I've been scheming for my 2011 running rebound. Details to come soon.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Get in my belly!

THIS came in my produce box this week:

Meet: Romanesco Cauliflower
This would have been perfect for MomVsMarathon's veggie SOWL challenge this past summer. I have had cauliflower a-plenty but I don't think I've ever had ROMANESCO cauliflower and I KNOW I've never actually cooked one.

Ideas?

A quick on-line search yielded a few options, so far the most appealing is to chop him up & toss with parm, olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic then roast in the oven for 20 minutes @ 400 degrees F. Yum!

I'm curious to hear if anyone has other ideas for this poor guy? He's going to end up in my belly, the question is, In what form?

And in other news:

  • Tomorrow will be a big 15 minute run for me and more PT homework (I have a TON of new exercises that make me sore now). 
  • Saturday is the big event I know y'all have been impatiently waiting for...


PAC10 XC CHAMPIONSHIPS!!!

Full race report coming up this weekend!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The ankle speaks

Ok, so what have I learned from this go-around with the ankle tendinitis? I know I can get smarter from my latest blip...

Oh wait! Before I get into that - I just have to say that the rainy bike commuting is going great! I'm usually getting passed as I chug up the hill on my way home but today for the first time, I passed two people! It's not a race or anything but I just feel like it's a sign of my improved biking fitness. Yeah!

Back to the ankle business. I think my ankle is telling me...

  • Do your homework. Almost all of the exercises that I've been assigned for my ankle at PT are the same exercises I was assigned this spring to recover from my torn calf muscle. I was good about keeping up with these exercises until late August when I went on vacation and lost my routine. Maybe if I had kept up with my exercises through August & September, I would have been able to avoid this injury. Grrrr.
  • Stay on top of your feet. I'm still over-striding, letting my feet get ahead of me. This puts strain on everything below the knee. I've seen it a few different places but Anne (Asthma and the Gift of Running) is a great example of how achieving 180 steps per minute forces you to increase your turn-over rate, of course, but also shorten your stride length. This keeps your feet under you, where they belong, and reduces stress on your joints. 
  • Easy on the downhill. Over-striding while landing on your toes for over 2 miles of downhill (You Go Girl 10k), is not good for your tendons. Again, keep your feet under your body, especially when inflicting extra impact on your body while running downhill.
Everyone hear me now:

DO YOUR STRENGTH, FLEXIBILITY, and BALANCE TRAINING!! 

Be consistent. Listen to your docs & PTs. Be smart. Stay strong. Winter is a great time to focus on this stuff.

I've been beating myself up with the "If only I had..." thoughts but at least I can report that I went for another "run" today and it felt pretty good. My ankle definitely is a bit weak but as long as I don't push too hard too soon, I think I'm on a good road to recovery.

In totally unrelated news, with my extra time that I'm not running, I've been able to finish a couple more hats for the babe. Not the best resolution for either pic, but the first is the newest hat with earflaps for those colder days in the baby jogger. I did another owl hat (previously showed off a blue version) but this one is a bit bigger. I really need to stop with the hats for my own little guy and start focusing on knitting up some Christmas presents. Yes, time to start thinking about the holidays again...

Gray & blue stripe earflap hat with ties
Need to add eyes & beak yet


And in totally irrelevant news, sad that Adam got sent home tonight.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Tonta

GREEN LIGHT on Wednesday meant I could try running again on Friday. 15 minutes, pain free.

So, Friday afternoon I loaded up Baby F and headed out for my "run." I was going to be good with a short trip up to the VA hospital then loop back to the playground where the little guy could play for a while before we walked back.

As soon as we left our alley, I screwed up the plan. Instead of taking the intended track to the VA, I decided to do a mini-loop around our immediate neighborhood and check out the overlook park (view of Elliot Bay) and THEN head to the VA. That was about 0.75 mile extra, I'm guessing.

I fully intended on being good but I forgot to put on a watch so I wasn't completely sure when my 15 minutes were up. I decided I would just listen to my body and let it be my guide but all I could hear was SCREAMING coming from...

...not my ankle thankfully, but from Baby F who was ECSTATIC about running again. The little guy LOVES the jogger and the faster I go, the more fun he has. After 3 weeks without a run, he was screaming at everything and I'm guessing he was thinking, "WTH Mom?! It's about fracking time!"

On the way to the VA, we passed Jefferson Park Golf Course where the PAC10 XC Championships are coming up THIS SATURDAY (I can't wait!!). But remember, we're going to hide from THESE badass ladies! Yikes!

Nice colors, no?
I felt so good, I did another little loop near the VA then finally headed to the playground and let Baby F run around for a while. On the way home, it didn't make sense to walk when we could run, so I jogged it home. In all, my "15 minute run" turned out to be about 3 miles. Oops. 

I could definitely feel my ankle and iced off & on all evening (while enjoying a fresh pint of Manny's Ale and watching a "new" Pedro Almodovar flick). Saturday morning I woke up sore and a bit swollen. 

Dumb-ass! Why why didn't I just do as I was told and stick to 15 minutes? Que tonta! 

I decided to play it safe and take today off. I consoled myself with a "small" piece of 3-layer chocolate cake at my niece's 3-yr birthday party:

Have you ever seen such a fantastically pink & purple cake?!
I will run again Tuesday morning (schedule too hectic tomorrow) and see how the ankle is before my Wednesday PT appointment. In the meantime, I'm still on all my exercises to build up strength and flexibility in my ankle. Despite pushing it too hard on Friday, I do feel pretty good and am confident that I'll be picking things up again soon.






Thursday, October 21, 2010

Versatility

I can go from racing to injured in a day, whatever the situation calls for. You need a mad scientist during the day and crazy knitter at night, I can easily transition from one role to the next. If only I was as versatile as my running jacket with zip-off sleeves, I would zip off my left ankle and replace it with a more functional one.

THANK YOU MEGAN @ The Daily Sweat for passing along the Versatile Blogger Award. I'm not sure how I found Megan but I'm grateful to be a voyeur on her inspiring triathlon training. If only I'd found her sooner, we could have possibly met up when we both did the Lake Padden Triathlon this past June. Hopefully we can toast after the 2011 Lake Padden Tri!

I actually participated in Versatile Blogger festivities back in May (see here, Seven Random Things). I'm honored to take another shot and pass along to more bloggers...

The Rules:
1. Say thank you to who sent you the award.
2. Share seven things about yourself.
3. Pass the award on to other bloggers.

Here goes...
  1. I lived in Megan's current home-town of Bellingham, WA for 5 memorable years and I'm so envious that she found a job in the best town in all of Washington state. Lucky lady!
  2. I went to 8 schools during grades K-12. All schools were in Washington state.
  3. The Danskin Women's Triathlon was my first triathlon experience in 1993, age 20. (I did it because my ex-boyfriend had just done a tri and I had to prove that I could do anything he could do.) 
  4. I was a vegetarian for 9 long years. I broke my meat fast with a grilled brautwurst at a Notre Dame football game in South Bend, IN and never looked back.
  5. Don't get me wrong! I do love veggies. I get organic produce delivered from a local farm every other week and the variety that comes in my produce box helps us cook/eat a wide variety of veggies year-round.
  6. My favorite Halloween candy is candy corn.  
  7. I have a genetic polymorphism in the YCE-CRM-2A1 gene that makes it necessary for me, for my survival, to eat ice cream on a regular basis. It is passed down from my paternal grandfather. Thankfully, this aberration doesn't appear to be paired with lactose intolerance. That would be bad.

 I'm happy to pass the Versatile Blogger Award on to two more local bloggers and one international Mama:
  1. Chelsea @ Will Run for Food
  2. Kadie @ There She Runs
  3. Liz @ Runner Mum

 Thanks again, Megan! And now, I need to scoop my ice cream before The Office starts!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Green light!

As of this morning's PT appointment, I'm allowed to RUN! My ankle is still a bit stiff and I still need to wear the crazy tape on my ankle for 90 days and I still need to keep up with my exercises but I'm allowed to RUN now!

Rx: 15 minutes every other day as long as there is no pain. 

Not everyone would consider it running but I'm NOT complaining. My glass is definitely half full. 

I started jumping up & down in the office this morning when Brian said I was going to get to run. I can't believe it's been 3 weeks and 3 days since I last ran (You Go Girl 10k). It's been driving me crazy - especially with everyone out running marathons lately & making us gimps jealous.

That's my quick update, I'm off to cook up some dinner:

  • rockfish caught locally by yours truly and hopefully pan fried (not low fat but quite good)
  • brown and wild rice (wild rice hand-harvested in Minnesota, of course)
  • locally-grown collard greens. 

An odd mix of stuff but I think it will be tasty.

And speaking of food, I'm overjoyed with all the squash in season right now. We've gone through delicata, red kuri, buttercup, acorn, butternut...hoping to work my way through them all. Mmmm!

buttercup squash (mixed this w/ wild rice for Baby F)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Coming out

I WANT TO RUN PORTLAND MARATHON NEXT YEAR AS MY FIRST MARATHON EVER.

There.

It's out. Is one year enough time for this gimp?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

PT update

So last week's pep talk didn't do much good for me. I had good intentions. Really. But now that it's been a couple weeks of time away from running, I've lost my routine and it's just really hard to get myself going again. I haven't done a core workout or yoga or anything at home. Just the bike commute & swim lesson.

A visit to PT Brian this morning included manually loosening my ankle up, taping, and more home work: toe raises and balancing exercises. These are added to some one-legged reaches and being more conscious of my ankles/weight distribution when I stand & walk.

After some very painful massage, PT Brian cheered me up by saying that maybe by next week's visit, I just might be able to run a little bit. I have a feeling it won't be a full clearance to go forward and run - it will be more of a walk-jog thing again. For the best, but depressing. Wasn't I just here a few months ago? Why is my body so lame?

Oh, so the other home work I have is something he says he can rarely convince people to do, which of course made me agree right away before hearing the entire task. He taped around my leg, just above my ankle to provide some extra support to my bones, holding them together. Apparently, this causes scar tissue to form and is a rare case where scar tissue can do some good. He wants me to wear a tape ALL THE TIME for NINETY (90) DAYS. That would be January 13, 2011! He said I can NEVER put pressure on my foot without the tape and after 90 days, I'll have the scar tissue built up satisfactorily. Why do people refuse to do this?

Am I crazy?

He did recommend taking the tape off at night to let my skin have a break, which sounds like a good idea but...how do I walk to the toilet in the night without putting pressure on my foot? Can I hop or crawl in my sleep? Should I just sleep in the bathroom? Maybe I should have stopped drinking liquids (i.e., wine) by now to prevent the need to go. Hmmm. Tonight we will see...

And speaking of drinking water, I took on a fair amount of water tonight during my swim lesson. We had a sub who typically teaches children and he was less than stellar. We got a lot of over-the-top "AWESOME" compliments and not so much specific critique on our strokes. I had low energy from not eating well today (dumb, I know, but rare since usually nothing stands between me & food) and I paid the price during my workout. My goal is always to get 1600 meters in but I stopped at 1000 meters and came home to finally have some lunch/dinner.

Busy day tomorrow so Friday I hope to tackle the PT exercises and either swim or do yoga. Definitely need to get on the core workout routine. Someone please call me & sing Indigo Girls until I follow through?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Bring on the rain

Being a Seattle-ite, I'm totally prepared for wet-weather running. Bike commuting in the rain, however, will be a new experience for me. I've really enjoyed my bike commuting this past summer and credit my commute for my higher level of fitness than my 15 miles/week of running provides.

Fortunate for my upcoming winter snowboarding (yeeha!) but unfortunate for my upcoming winter commuting, it's going to be a WET one thanks to La Nina (see NOAA map below).

I need to be ready for these rains so that I am not discouraged from riding to work and I need to keep riding to work to add to my overall fitness.

As you may know, REI is having some great fall sales right now. C and I headed down and got matchy-matchy cycling jackets to help keep us dry. C also is a new bike commuter and was hit by a car last Friday (she wasn't hurt but her bike wheel was totally bent)! With this recent shake-up, we opted for a HIGHLY VISIBLE option. It features open arm pits, a lower back zip pocket, reflective piping, lightweight material, zip-off sleeves, and a longer flap over the butt and longer sleeves to keep you covered while stretched out.

Novara Convertible Jacket

I already have rain pants and I think my feet will be ok. Well, they'll get wet on the rainy days but I just need a towl for those since I change into different work clothes/shoes anyway.

My next step was to get fenders. Our neighborhood bike shop will be installing those tomorrow so hopefully I can minimize the black road slime up the back that I experienced during the last heavy rain. Beauties, no?


This should mean I have NO excuse to wimp out on commuting right? Well, almost. Still have the wet head issue to think about and since I don't have the guts to get a Sinead O'Connor haircut, I may just be packing a travel hair dryer to keep in my desk drawer. I can't imagine that I'd really need it that often but I would hate to sit in my cold office with a wet head.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Husky update

        

I can't believe I was so self-involved that I forgot to celebrate the UW cross country team's great performance this past weekend at the Emerald City Invite!

Both the Husky women and men placed first at the meet. The women, who are ranked THIRD in the nation (they were second but the Oregon women moved up), placed 5 runners in the top 8. The women's race was won by Husky's Lindsay Flanagan (she's only a sophomore, yo!) who covered the HILLY 6 km course in 20:34. You can get a full race report HERE.

Our Canadian friends will be happy to hear that Simon Fraser competed in the "open" race and took 1st and University of British Columbia took 5th of 17 total teams. The winning women's time in the open race was 21:51.

In Alma-land, my ankle is definitely improving. THANK YOU for all the good healing wishes. I hope all of us gimps get back out there soon. I'm hoping to be close to running (maybe another week to 10 days?) and am happy I was able to bike to work yesterday (yeah!). This weekend my goal is to get into the pool.

Only 22 more days until the Pac-10 XC championships! I can't wait to see the Huskies face off with the Ducks. These are some TOUGH looking women, they would have me shaking in my boots...

Oregon women, ranked 2nd (from Pac10.org website)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

No more strain drain

No more excuses ladies! I know there is at least one other person out there with a strained ankle and there are others nursing wounds. I've been wallowing in self-pity for the last week and today it stops.
Just because we need to take a BRIEF break from running doesn't mean we can't maintain our fitness so we can get back to running without starting from scratch. The Seattle Half Marathon is coming up for some of you, no?

Yesterday I made it to the doc to confirm that I do NOT have a stress fracture. While I was there, I got my first ever flu shot in one arm and my tetanus update in the other arm. SORE! My ARNP also gave me a scrip for physical therapy (YES!).

This morning, I went to see Brian @ Madison Park TAI. He worked on loosening my ankle, talked me through what was going on, and determined that this is a minor joint issue that probably resulted from me hammering those last two downhill miles at the You Go Girl 10k. Damn. He thinks that with a bit more rest I should be good to go...well, assuming I do some exercises too.

Of course, you can't go to physical therapy without getting homework. I am to work on my posture, as in how I rest on my feet. I tend to let them cave inward and I need to learn to carry my weight so that it's more aligned over the centerline of my feet. Even weight distribution. It makes sense, right? So, I will work on being more conscious with that and even do some squats trying to maintain my alignment all the way from my hips through my knees and down through my ankles, heels, and toes.

After that, he did some "soft tissue work"which amounted to a very painful massage using some plastic torture tools. We finished up with an ultrasound on my ankle and further instructions to ice my ankle regularly and also keep it moving, keep it loose.

After the last two days of being at work and sitting at a computer all day, my ankle is actually feeling much better. It's my days off that kill me. House cleaning, chasing after a toddler, working on our basement - all that stuff just aggravates it so I need to be more mindful of taking it easy. We all know, that's easier said than done.

With the ankle improving a bit and Brian giving me the go-ahead, I do plan on biking in to work tomorrow. Brian said I should be ok to keep up with all my normal activities except running, walking (especially flat surfaces), and any other impact activities. I really have no excuse not to keep up with my exercise and do my best to substitute cycling and swimming for my running for a little while. My bum ankle is NOT preventing me from doing core work, right? No more excuses or pity party.

And in other news, I finished the little hat I was making for Baby F only it's too short. I will give it to a cousin who is 6 months younger than Baby F and make one a little bigger for my guy so it lasts through the fall and winter. Here you can see how it turned out. I really like the owls but thinking I should find a pattern with ear flaps. Anyone out there have a good toddler hat knitting pattern?

Owl Tuque

Monday, October 4, 2010

Still grumpy

I haven't been able to get into the doctor because Virginia Mason Hospital's computers were down and so they couldn't schedule appointments. WTH? Today, after multiple tries to get through to the scheduling line, I was able to schedule an appointment with a nurse practitioner for tomorrow at 9:30 am.

Hopefully I'll get a referral to a PT (since I already have an appointment scheduled for Wednesday) and possibly a sports med doc. I'm also hoping we can rule out a stress fracture. Are there any tests for this besides an x-ray? 

So yes, my ankle is still f&kt and I'm really grumpy about it. It hurts to walk. I can't put pressure on it at all. Still no biking to work, either. I swear I can feel my fitness slipping away by the day. At least I can swim, which is ok but difficult for me to do with limited child care.

@#)(*%&*^#$!

In the meantime, I've doing a lot of cooking lately. Unfortunately, the food ends up in my belly before I think to take photos but really, our dinners have been quite beautiful lately: grilled salmon with delicata squash "chips" on Friday, homemade marina sauce w/ grass-fed, organic beef meatballs and cheese tortellini on Saturday, bouillabaisse and tuna tartare on Sunday, pan-friend rockfish tonight...hopefully just leftovers tomorrow (or drown myself in Seattle's best, Manny's Pale Ale, depending on how the doc appointment goes).



Since I have a little more spare time these days, I'm also knitting a fall/winter tuque for Baby F (pictures coming when finished) and am making progress on The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver.