Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Walking for Mary

This was the fifth year our family team, Walking for Mary, came together for the Swedish SummeRun 5k Run/Walk to remember my Aunt Mary. It's the fifth anniversary of her death due to ovarian cancer. This cancer walk weekend has become a family reunion weekend, all weekend long with lots of laughs, tequila shots, music, bubbles, and good food as family come together from all around.

37 members strong in 2011!
Copyright: Craig Larsen Photography
LAST YEAR, there was quite the show-down between the "older folks" (me and cousin, Army Doc) and little cousin, T. In summary, Little T got creamed by the "older folks!" Apparently, the whoopin' Little T got lasted for quite some time because I heard rumors via Facebook that he was training for the big race with high hopes of showing us up.

I heard this rumor about the time I had just finished an 11-mile tempo run at 7:44 pace. I thought, "HA! Bring it, Little T! He better pack a lunch, because he's going to be out there for a while breathing our dust!" 

Well, as you know, I'm on the DL and cannot run and even walking causes calf pain these days (yes, I've been concealing this fact. 4 weeks post-incident and it still sucks and makes me depressed.) Anyway, I was disappointed I would be a no-show for the show-down and was really counting on Army Doc to pull through for our team.

But oh no - Army Doc was walking this year too (something about the tequila shots)!

You know what?  Little T was "sick" this year and didn't even come for the walk! I think this was pure fear holding him back. By default:

Older Folks = 2
Little T = 0 

The Swedish SummeRun is a fantastic event, dominated by walkers. The teams are amazing and I don't think you could walk among them without getting emotional. So many people have been affected by ovarian cancer and sadly, there are few screening tools and detection is often so late that treatment isn't effective.

Amidst the emotions, we always enjoy ourselves. This year, walking allowed me to enjoy the sights more than last year...

Sponsor this Army Doc: Donate $25 & earn an animal; $50 for face frontage

Mr. F and Baby F

Funniest looking dog we ever saw...oh wait...that's not a dog! 

Well-hydrated non-human primate 

Look closely for the cross-dressing Rabbit

Our team captain & youngest daughter of Aunt Mary on right

Mr. F, Baby F, Avg Woman Runner, and newlywed bride & li'l Bro F wrapping up their WA/BC honeymoon with the cancer walk 

Friend & Average Woman Runner, other team members in line
Team members/family and long line of walkers

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Revelations of a hard-head

Thick headed, hard-headed, whatever. That's me. I've been on the DL for going on FOUR WEEKS now and I'm STILL re-running Saturday, June 25th through my head, over and over. Still analyzing my training. Still remembering how I felt in the weeks leading up to the Seattle RNR Marathon to figure out,


And then today happened. I am FINALLY seeing this as a learning experience. How can I come out of this stronger than before, even if it means a temporary loss of fitness?

Instead of hitting the pool, I decided to do what Dr. PT recommended and what I've been hearing about repeatedly from the MTA, Ben Greenfield, Furman Institute guys, and others via podcasts, blogs, and books.


Pre-baby, I lifted weights several times a week. For YEARS I've done this. Not a lot, but enough to stay strong and fit. Post-baby...NADA.

To answer an earlier question, NO, doing a Jillian Michaels workout is NOT the same as lifting weights. That's not bad, though. I think that given limited time and access to a gym, doing Jillian's "No More Trouble Zones" is a fantastic way to work on the core and major muscles groups. No doubt.

BUT, getting back into the weight room today reminded me how much I NEED that time pumping the iron. I'm going to be OH SO sore tomorrow but this is good. I've been so singularly focused on retaining my aerobic fitness because, well, I worked my ASS off for the past SIX months to get in incredible running shape and of course, I didn't want to lose it.

While lifting today, though, I realized that it's o.k. to let some of that go and in exchange, spend more time working on strength. This was a critical component of training that I was missing out on and I see now how this can play a role in injury prevention.

SHAKE UP: While doing single leg hamstring curls, I found that my right leg is about 30% STRONGER than my left (injured) leg. I was completely shocked when I switched from my right to left ham and found such a drastic difference in strength. Why would that be? Surely, this is not good and could have been one of the factors contributing to my left leg injury.

I spent a good hour working on different muscles while also working in my PT exercises. I think with a bit more experimentation, I can get a decent routine put together that will cover the basics in 30 minutes.

As y'all know, especially moms with limited child care, there is only so much you can fit into 24 hrs. So, spending time lifting weights means I have to sacrifice something else: cardio training. Before today, I did not want to sacrifice that for anything but now, I think I can work it out where I can fit some cycling in with the weights.

So beginning next week I'm going to step away from getting full cardio in each day. Instead...

Mon/Wed: 30 minutes on stationary bike + 30 minutes weight training
Tues/Thurs: Swim + DVD at home in evening, as time/energy permit
Fri: DVD and/or core/band/ball/weight workout at home, as possible

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

First sweat

Ok, you can't see the Rose-style sweat but I swear it was there!
OH SO HAPPY AFTER my first dry-land sweat since JUNE 25!

As much as I like lap swim, I've been dying to get back onto dry land for a workout with sweat I can actually feel. Dripping off my arms and face.

With clearance from Dr. PT at last appointment, I tried spinning:

  • Low resistance ("Level 1" on stationary bike) 
  • High RPM (stayed between 110-125 for workout)
  • iPod shuffle on random: Nirvana, Franz Ferdinand, Lady Gaga, Paul Abdul, ACDC, Michael Jackson, and more good ones...oh yes, so good I had to sing out loud 
  • $1.99 Goodwill-find Nike Dryfit capris (mostly newish) - for good luck of course 


  • Lots of feel-good sweat and a giant smile on my face 
  • 10.8 miles in 30 minutes, followed up with < 2 miles during 5 minute cool-down
  • No calf pain!

After I change the laundry over, I'm going to squeeze in a Dimity Core workout or some Jillian core work. Tomorrow, I'll give the bike a break and stick with the pool. Thursday, goin' for another spin!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Back with a splash

We're back from vacation, during which time I did NOTHING to maintain my fitness unless you count watching the kids in my in-laws' pond as they hunted for frogs, turtles, and fish and do crazy flips off the diving board? I was even too scared to jump on the trampoline with the little ones for fear of getting carried away and making the bad calf worse...so sad. Baby F loved it all though.

This was a good Monday as I was so very eager to get back into the pool and get a workout in. It was so hard being away from the gym for a week!

I got 1400m in today, doing sets of (2 laps x kick or pull buoy + 3 laps freestyle). I struggled a bit, definitely feeling my fitness deteriorating but hopefully I can maintain what I've got now that I'm home and can get back into a routine.

This week, I have clearance to try to spin! This is o.k. as long as I feel no pain, don't get out of my saddle, and keep resistance low. I'm going to give the spin a spin tomorrow...

I was supposed to return to the physical therapist this week after missing last week but had to cancel my appointment due to a schedule conflict. Now, next available appointment isn't until NEXT FRIDAY! That's pretty much 3 weeks without seeing the doc and that makes me very frustrated.


Otherwise, my brain is spinning itself in circles due to the lack of training. Nothing to obsess about!

To keep myself occupied, I'm finally reading Parenting with Love and Logic by Cline & Fay that everyone raves about (anyone out there read this?). I think I've read at least 100 baby/toddler-related books in the last 2+ years. Other than one sleep training book, which is like my bible, not sure if I've been able to incorporate anything or not?

Also, based on this book review, I picked up Racing Weight by Matt Fitzgerald. At the close of my Seattle RNR training, I had been frustrated with my body composition (duh, I haven't been on a regular weight training routine since 2008) and had been intending on trying to work on my muscle:fat mass ratio so maybe this book will give me some pointers on how to pull it all together?

Friday, July 8, 2011

I'm your average MEAN woman non-runner now

It sucks being side-lined.

The weather has been gorgeous in Seattle and the mornings are PERFECT running and bike-commuting weather. Earlier this week, as I was walking from work to the pool to get my swim on, I saw a number of bikers and runners out.

I'm 97.6% sure they were out just to mock me. I swear. I wanted to push all the cyclists over and trip the runners. If I can't run, NO ONE should be able to run within my eyesight. That's how it SHOULD be because I'm your average MEAN woman non-runner now.

Is that redundant, average = mean? Oh, you know what I mean! Oh heck, that's three different meanings for the word mean.

Ok, so mean girl here trying to see the upsides of being side-lined:

  1. No more gym bag schlepping. My swimsuit/goggles/cap fit neatly into my big purse. I'm sure other train commuters appreciate me taking up less space. 
  2. Fewer loads of laundry. Just think of all the running / cycling clothes I'm NOT using & getting all sweaty! This also means lower water and energy consumption. I'm green!
  3. Regular showers (thanks to lap swim). Yes, with regular lap swimming, I'll definitely be showering (with soap!) to get that nasty chlorine off AND I will be shaving my legs on a more regular basis. j.k. Swimming counts as showering, right?
  4. Working the weights. I'm finally getting to that core work and light weight training that I've been meaning to do along with the Run Less, Run Faster training program. 
  5. I get to be grumpy with good reason. I think I can play my "I'm injured" card for the next 10 weeks, right? This gives me instant forgiveness from everyone for being grumpy and downright mean. This also allows me to throw an on-line pity party for myself at least once per week.
  6. No guilt for being lazy on vacation. I'm off to Michigan/Illinois next week to see family and will not have access to a gym. I will have access to flat country roads for easy walking and one pond for floating. Not much I can do to maintain my swimming routine until I return. 
  7. My work clothes may start to fit me again. Now that I'm not marathon training, I just might put some of that weight back on. While most people would see this as a negative, I'm thinking it will be great that my once-too-big clothes will fit again. Maybe I won't even need to use belts anymore! 
I'm sure there are other good things coming out of this.

Do you have anything to add to this list? 

I'll be offline most of next week while floating on my in-laws' pond drinking Gobels & Bells. Good luck to folks racing this weekend and I look forward to getting caught up on blogland when I return.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Aqua Run - Fail (>>Rehab Plan, Version 2)

Ok, so the rehab plan is in effect, but two days in I'm already on Version 2.

I got into my gym this week only to realize for the first time, despite having swam there for over a year, that the maximum pool depth is 5 ft. You're NOT supposed to be able to touch the bottom when you aqua jog and I'm > 5 feet tall. I tried anyway, for about 5 minutes, and it made me nervous hitting the bottom so I switched over to regular lap swim. Damn.

In order to get any aqua running in, I'm going to have to DRIVE to a different pool (as opposed to walking 5 blocks from work to my current pool). This might not be a big deal to others but I don't drive to work (bike or light rail) and I consider it to be a big pain in the ass & waste of time. My days are already scheduled pretty tight so I think if I make that work, it will have to be on a weekend day. For now, I'll focus on swimming near work and if I can get to the pool on the weekend to jog, that will just be a bonus for the week.


So here's the deal. My goal will be to swim every day that I have child care (Mon - Thurs). I just need to get into work a little bit earlier (i.e., on time) to make up for the time lost swimming. No biggie. Dr. PT has stressed the importance of tightening up my core and getting some weight training in, too.

But where do I fit that in? I'd love to spend more time at the gym doing circuit training AND swimming but I don't know that I want to sacrifice the cardio time in the pool.


Tonight I dusted off my No More Trouble Zones (Jillian Michaels) and my hand weights and gave it a go. That 40 minutes almost did me in! I think this will be a good substitute for circuit training because its a great core, arm, glute, leg workout but I can do it in the evening at home without missing out on much QT with the hubs. There are some moves I just can't perform due to my calf but I will substitute squats or other Dr. PT-approved movements at those times. I'm ready for Jillian to destroy my muffin top! 

Sound O.K.? Thoughts? Should I be making more of an effort to get to the deep pool to aqua jog instead of swimming laps in the convenient pool? Anyone out there who has done Jillian's No More Trouble Zones think this is a decent substitute for circuit training?

So here is Version 2:

I'm on vacation next week and will not have access to my gym, which is a shame because Dr. PT said I could spin next week (stay in saddle, light resistance, only with no pain)! I'll be in a hotel beginning on Thursday so assuming I can find some time amidst wedding activities, I'll try to find a stationary bike at the hotel. Woot!

On the PT front, new homework for this week includes light toe raises (most of weight on strong leg), more balancing work, and slightly more aggressive stretching.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Rehab plan

This is what WAS in the Master Plan for 2011 (for kicking ass) for July through early October, in preparation for the Portland Marathon (using the Furman FIRST full marathon training program). I'll revise the plan once I'm back to running and try to salvage what is left of 2011. If it takes a full 12 weeks to recover though, the year will almost be shot and I may just focus on running the Seattle Half in November (and maybe RNR Las Vegas in December?).

And I was going to rock this plan. *sigh* 

My Portland Marathon registration likely will be down-graded to the half marathon. But first, I need to get healed up. Orders from Dr. Brian PT are to work on my core and do some circuit training to stay strong. Of course, I also need to do my PT exercises and keep up my cardiovascular fitness. 

Dr. Brian said I have NO EXCUSE to let my fitness go. That's tricky when all I can do is get into the pool right now. I'm hoping that within a couple weeks, I can add some elliptical and cycling to this plan. Until then, I will use swimming/aqua jogging and circuit training to stay fit. 

SUAR sent me a link to a fantastic article she wrote for Athleta about aqua jogging, in which she includes a link to an actual pool running training plan. I think this is the only way I will survive. If I don't have an actual plan to follow, I will sink & drown in boredom. So, for the "swim" days below, I will incorporate workouts from this plan and if I get comfortable with the technique, I will add additional days. 

As I make progress, I will continue to fill the recovery plan, below, with additional training until I can get to the Portland Half in early October. Part of me still wants to hold on to the idea of doing the full (but not at BQ pace this time) by just training in the pool. SUAR did it! Deena Kastor did it! I can do it too? 

We'll see what Dr. Brian PT says... 

Friday, July 1, 2011


12 weeks. 12 weeks for complete tissue healing.

Portland Marathon is OUT.

MAYBE the half marathon is IN.

That's what my PT (Dr. Brian) said after an initial evaluation today. As we got further into the appointment, though, he did comment that my leg was feeling surprisingly well. Quite low pain level after only one week. I can go up on my toes, I can even hop on one leg. No inflammation or swelling. Minimal tenderness to the touch.

This is all good and much better than I was the first time this happened in 2008.

So maybe I can trim some weeks off that 12 week diagnosis? Pray yes. I honestly can't imagine taking 12 weeks off from training. I feel like I have so little time left this year and so much I wanted to do yet.

Crazy tape job to improve circulation.

Balance exercises, standing on my lame leg on a pillow with eyes closed
Squats, both legs at once
Light stretching, no pain
Hamstring stretch

Swimming = Yes
Aqua Jogging = Yes (I've never done this. Any tips?)
Walking = Not for exercise, avoid hills (in Seattle?)
Bike = Not yet
Elliptical = Not yet

I asked if maybe in 2 weeks I could do elliptical?
"Maybe, we'll see."

He gave me no excuses. He told me this is the perfect opportunity to work on my core. Get to the gym to do some circuit training. BUILD the UPPER BODY, WORK ON THE LEGS, GLUTES, HIPS, and TIGHTEN UP THE CORE.

This is good. I need to maintain my routine and start training up my muscles while I have time. Sitting on my couch eating ice cream, watching Jane Austen, is not getting me anywhere and will slow me down in the end.