Sunday, September 30, 2012

Week 5 10k training: Do NOT as I do

How many times have I sacrificed myself so that others may continue to run injury-free, having learned what NOT to do from me?

Week 5 10k training re-cap:
  • Running: NONE.
  • Yoga: Nope.
  • Weights: Nada.
  • Bike: Not this either.
  • Swim: Not allowed.
In fact, I was barely walking for the first several days this week. It was a complete ZERO week but funny thing, I'm not upset about it. It sucked but since it was temporary, it was easy to take into stride as just an off week. It was almost humorous because it was so simple and stupid.

So here I am telling you how to avoid an unexpected temporary set-BACK, MIND YOUR FACETS! 

Facet Joint: small stabilizing joints located between and behind adjacent vertebrae. Each facet joint is positioned at each level to provide the needed limits to motion, especially to rotation and to prevent forward slipping (spondylolisthesis) of that vertebra over the one below. A protective reflex arrangement arises when the facets are inflamed which causes the nearby muscles that parallel the spine to go into spasm. Inflamed facet joints cause crooking and out-of posture of the back, along with powerful muscle spasm.

After my fantastic 9+ mile run last Saturday, my hubs, son, and I went to the Y to swim only to find that swim lessons had taken over the entire pool. Instead of leaving right away, we decided to sit in the hot tub for a few minutes. Heat isn't what I would apply post-long run under normal circumstances but I thought a few minutes wouldn't hurt.

Well, after returning home, I sat lengthwise on our couch with my laptop to write my blog post (i.e., brag) about my great long run. Once finished, I tried to get up. Tried to get up. Could not. I was stuck, bent over. Ack! Eventually, I made it to an upright position. My back was in excrutiating pain the rest of the weekend and after sitting, I had to walk around like a neanderthal knuckle-dragger for a while before I could get fully upright.

Thankfully, I see Seattle' best chiropractor and physical therapist, who had me in much better shape by Wednesday but put me on restriction until the inflammation subsides: No activity that would cause spinal compression and no activity that would require me to be in a bent over position.

So here's the deal, I created the perfect storm of events:
  1. Fatigue the core and lower back muscles during long run.
  2. Sit in hot tub to make muscles extremely relaxed and "gushy."
  3. Sit in an unsupported position with a reverse lumbar curve in spine.

Recipe for disaster.

My facets did not have the juice to limit motion and everything in my low back got overextended, or slipped, or whatever. So please, friends, do NOT sit with your back all hunched over, especially after you have physically exhausted yourself. You just might set your back, back a week. The cure: adjustments, ice, topical anti-inflammatory creme, AND, no sitting for more than 10 minutes. I've been kneeling and standing at work (not bad, actually) and it has helped immensely.

I'm going to try for some easy runs this week and will continue to limit my sitting while watching my lower back posture (not a bad thing, anyway). I hope you are laughing at how silly this all is, as I am. Who but me could come up with something so ridiculous, being forced to take a week off because of sitting with poor posture while blogging?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

I registered for my 10k!

Since I've survived four weeks of real running, I thought I'd finally register for the Snohomish River Run 10k. You can still get $10 off your registration for either the 10k or half marathon using this code: AVERAGESRR12.

A portion of your entry fee will go to one of three beneficiaries: YMCA, Susan G. Komen Foundation, and Ironheart. This, I really like as I am a big fan of the YMCA. They are good people.

The folks putting on this new race have been posting photos on their Facebook page and it's looking to be a beautiful run...and FLAT and FAST. As the name indicates, the run takes place on the banks of the Snohomish River and I'm thinking that by October 27th, we will definitely have some lovely fall colors reflecting off that river. Followed by a cool fall race, they will be serving hot StockPot soup. YUM. Check it:
A thing of beauty, ?que no?

If I can convince my hubs & 3-yr old to come along early in the morning, I'm thinking we'll hit up a pumpkin patch and see if we can get some hot cider, winter squash, and watch a pumpkin catapult or two. These look good: Craven Farm (corn maze & hay ride) and Stocker Farms (corn maize, pumpkin cannon, hay ride).

There are a number of Seattle-area bloggers and some of my friends doing this race so I'm really excited to see everyone. I'm just hoping that it's not raining.

So will I be ready to run hard? I am going to wait until about 2 weeks out then figure out what my goals will be. I know I can finish, so it will be a question of whether or not I want to name some finishing times. I'm doing good so far although I will admit I'm deviating from the Another Mother Runner training plan for my long runs. I'm pushing my distances up instead of hovering around the 6-8 range because I'd really like to be able to at least run-walk one of the two half marathons I'm signed up for in October for my double header weekend with Kim and LJ (oh yeah, remember that?).

Yeah, more on that later...

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Week 4 10k training - survived!

I am so MC Hammer right now! This gimp is 4 weeks into 10k training and I'm stoked to be moving into week 5.

What I accomplished this week:
  • 3 miles easy run x 2
  • 9+ mile long run (yes, not what the AMR 10k training plan called for but it felt so good!)
  • 5 min barefoot running
  • 1 session strength training
  • 1 yoga session
  • 2 bicycling sessions
Tuesday I was feeling so good after strength training that I decided to do 3 minutes of barefoot running on the treadmill. This used to be a regular thing for me as per PT's orders but since my plantar fasciitis flared up, I've not dared to do this.

Let me tell you, the 3 minutes felt so good I carried it out to 5 minutes. The result? My calves were SO SORE that I had to take the next day off from running (yoga only) and my second easy run of the week was extra easy (no speed surges, 1 mile shorter than planned distance). I've been using The Stick (amazing) and arnica to help soothe my legs and they are finally fine but a good reminder to me that I need to stick with the 2-3 minutes for a while and slowly build up.

I'm really dang excited that I was able to barefoot run after such a long hiatus and NOT have plantar fasciitis pain. I miss that free foot feeling and hope to get back to it.

Other Week 4 excitement included finding this re-purposed grain sack bicycle bag and awesome knee socks at the public library's gift shop:
Socks for a friend
My new "leave at work" purse to use when I bike in but need a purse to run around town with.
I self-identify more with the "NERD" label they had but I got these GEEK ones for my sister-in-law who wears her GEEK badge proudly.
And the most exciting part of Week 4 training? Going long with MEGAN (Daily Sweat)! Megan just kicked her PR's bootay last weekend in an Olympic distance triathlon but instead of resting on her laurels, she is continuing her marathon training (CIM).

We met at the scene of our last long run together: Madison Park (November 6, 2011). Instead of sticking to the Lake Washington route, we looped up through the Seattle Arboretum. Construction prevented us from finding the cute path that goes out through the wetlands & Foster Island but it was scenic nonetheless. From there, we headed north across the Montake Cut to the University of Washington (DAWGS!) and along the Burke Gilman Trail before heading back to start. 

I STRUGGLED to keep up. Megan STRUGGLED to slow down. She's in such great shape right now! It was intoxicating to be with her and sense that feeling you get when you're well conditioned. It reminded me of how I felt last year during marathon training and what I have to look forward to as I continue my training. 

It was so great getting to run with her again and I was sad to part ways after 9.5 miles but she needed to go a full 17 miles and frankly, I was running on fumes. I look forward to getting in better shape so I don't feel like I'm holding people back and can just float along as Megan was this misty fall morning.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Mark Bittman: food policy, public health, and VB6

You better sit down for this.
I actually went OUT on a work night. I mean, out-out. With a girlfriend!
I know, it's crazy.

I met my friend CC for happy hour (I need to interview her, she's very knowledgeable about organophosphate pesticides / food consumption / organic vs conventional food & her upcoming doctoral dissertation work is going to kick ass) then we went to a Seattle Arts & Lectures series speaker, Mark Bittman.

CC is a big Bittman fan, formerly read his food column in the New York Times, currently reads his blog, and has his cookbooks which are all about simple, healthy home cooking (see: How to Cook Everything). To be honest, I pretty much only knew of Bittman through his PBS series on eating in Spain, that he did with Mario Batali and Gwyneth Paltrow (Spain: On the Road Again). It was an interesting talk and I thought it would be nice to give a quick summary in case anyone is interested...

His talk was about what you would expect:
  • Soda makes us fat and kills more people than cigarettes kill via lung cancer. We need to villainize soda in the way we've villainized cigarettes. This is a public health issue, not a consumerism issue.
  • We need to stop subsidizing monoculture (i.e., soy & corn) for animal feed and subsidize nutritious people-food instead, especially foods from small local farms.
  • Our current ag practices are not sustainable, one way or another we will be forced to change our current practices.
  • Call for a soda tax and limits on marketing processed foods to children.
  • Promote simple home cooking. If people can't cook for themselves, figure out ways to get them help so they can get home-cooked meals.
Preacher & choir we were. Nevertheless, it was a good reminder to keep doing all the things we've been doing in our house:
  • Buy locally sourced foods = Our veggies & dairy come from a local farm, we buy locally produced meats that aren't from giant feed lots MOST of the time. We eat a ton of fish (we buy from local salmon fishers or my husband gets the salmon himself). But, we need to start just buying a whole cow/pig with friends from local farmers and cutting out the middle-part of going through a grocery store or butcher. I know this costs $$ and right now we can afford it. It shouldn't be the case where this is out of reach for most people though. Healthy, organic foods that are grown in ways less damaging to the environment need to become more affordable.
  • Eat a plant-heavy diet = My goal with meals is to have half our plates filled with veggies, 1/4 protein (usually meat), 1/4 carb or grain. I'm also trying to have weekly "meatless Mondays" but it doesn't always happen. 
Other things we can do are to support an initiative coming to Washington in Fall 2013 that will require genetically modified foods to be labeled. I guess the big guys are trying to squash California's Referendum 37 that will require labeling of GMO foods because polls show that if given the information, people will not buy GMO foods. Hmmm. So better to keep us in the dark about what we're putting into our bodies.

I think my favorite part about Bittman's talk came toward the end when he talked about how he had gotten quite overweight and his doctor told him to become a vegan. Bittman, being in the food industry, laughed because that was clearly unrealistic and not how he wanted to live.

Instead, he decided to look at it how we look at exercise. Eating "vegan," or along those lines, wasn't something that you necessarily have to do each and every day. With exercise, you have your days where you get your workout in and some workouts are heavier than others, but sometimes you just rest.

Bittman approached his diet the same way and he calls it, "Vegan Before 6:00" or VB6. He also cut out all processed foods and white foods before 6:00 p.m. As often as he can, he tries to eat vegan all day until dinnertime. Then, he eats healthfully but he will allow meat into his diet. It's not everyday but it's most days. Doing this, he lost 40 lbs. in just a few months!

I found this approach quite refreshing. It's so easy to look at things in absolutes, to force strict rules that must be obeyed for every meal, most every day. Some people are disciplined enough that it works. For me, I feel like it's just setting me up to be frustrated and feel like I've failed. It's probably common sense to other people but for me, it's helpful to be given permission to not be so extreme!

I don't necessarily want to go VB6 but I do like the moderate approach to improving my habits or showing more restraint. I think it's similar to Bob Harper's Skinny Rule about no carbs after lunch, with dinner being "lean & green." Quite practical.

So there you go. If you are interested in a thoughtful critique on U.S. food policy, politics, and advocating for change in how we define and view our food, definitely check out Bittman's personal blog or his New York Times blog, The Opinionator.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Week 3: 10k training update (step-down week)

I was scheduled for a "step down" this week for my long run but due to my work travel, not having access to cross-training equipment, and getting back later than anticipated, my step-down consisted of dropping all my cross training but maintaining my full long run distance.

Monday: Easy < 3 mile 'travel run' in Kodiak
Tuesday: Walking (a couple miles maybe? but lots of beer drinking too)
Wednesday: Rest
Thursday: Easy 3 mile run around my "golf course loop"
Friday: Rest
Saturday: Relaxed 7 mile run around Lake Union with Sally (she was doing a full 20 miler!)
Sunday: Walking around the state fair

**No up-tempo runs, just all easy paces.
**It all felt good! Minimal plantar fasciitis pain and my right ham/glut seems to be getting better.
**I've been wearing my Mizunos a lot and LOVE them. As my distances increase I may switch over to a heavier shoe for the long runs.

Plan for Week 4:
I'm looking forward to getting more of my sweat on this coming week, back to a routine. I will continue to work on:
**2 days of strength training (or at least some Jillian Michaels exercises)
**1 day of yoga
And will plan for sure on: 
**1 or 2 easy runs (~3-4 miles)
**1 faster run with some strides
**1 long run of 8 miles!

I'm deviating a little from the Another Mother Runner program but I'm trying to build up my mileage a little quicker than I calls for. I don't think I'm being dumb about it though? 

I REALLY need to start getting into the pool again. I enjoy swimming but I have so much anxiety about it, it takes a lot of motivation to get my butt into the pool for some reason. Why am I so wacky about something that I enjoy? The hassle of getting wet? The horrible technique I display?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Stranded in Kodiak (a photo tour)

There could be worse things?

Right now, it's pouring rain and foggy. Because of this (and a computer breakdown this morning with Alaska Air), my 8:20 a.m. flight was cancelled. Not delayed. Cancelled. Instead of being home by afternoon today, I will not be home until 5:30 a.m. tomorrow (assuming now more weather delays).

The last two days were stunning though. Yesterday, I caught a beautiful sunrise run around town (Thanks for the route, Molly!). I headed out around 6:50 a.m. but the sun rises late here. This was a great way to start what would be a busy day. I toured town, found local museums, fisheries, marinas, the high school, and amazing views. Check it out!

Local marina

High school art proejct, made from debris found at sea
Russian Orthodox Church

Who needs a tire swing when you can make a buoy swing!

It was a nice, relaxed run, just 30 minutes. There was much more to see but I was short on time (and running late, literally) as I needed to get to work. But oh how I love travel running!

At our meeting last night, I met some amazing people. This tiny town is quite diverse, given the Native Alaskan origins, Russian colonization, U.S. Coast Guard occupation, and fisheries industry. Aside from the historical inhabitants and tourists from all over, it attracts people from Asia, Africa, Latin America... Lots of languages being heard within just a few city blocks!

Today, I took time to walk around and visit three museums (Alutiiq Museum, Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center, and Baranov Museum). It was very interesting, especially seeing the fully rearticulated gray whale skeleton. The whale was discovered washed up on a beach, they buried it for FOUR years to let it decompose, then carefully excavated the bones, let the bones bleach in the sun & fat dry out, THEN, they brought in experts to reassemble the entire skeleton. It is amazing!

But I did work up a thirst, which led me to meeting my client at...

Kodiak Island Brewing Company.
Oh yes we did.

We sampled, then we took the plunge into full pints. I'm an IPA girl, client went for the Liquid Sunshine (also good).
But I was really tempted by the Sarah Pale. (I bought a shirt with her logo for hubs. How could I resist?)
Evidence. Hard at work? Yes.

Lovely here, but I'm looking forward to getting home.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

New bells & aerial Alaskan views

I had one day this weekend to get ready for a work trip to Alaska and realize, now that I'm here, that I completely forgot one change of clothes. What will I wear tomorrow? You're guess is as good as mine. But don't worry, I didn't forget to pack my running clothes!

Nice, Alma.

Instead of more carefully planning for my work trip, I was taking care of bike business:

1. Patched a hole in little guy's front bike tube. 
2. Installed a blue bike bell on his bike.
3. Got a new bell for me (I heart Seattle, most of the time).
4. Added a new reflective item to my bicycling ensemble.

Upon arrival in Alaska, I met up with my client whom I had never met in person and we drove around looking at work-related "stuff." After dinner, in a moment of weakness, I mentioned that I had a running mom blog. This is NOT something I would mention to any client under normal circumstances. But, it turns out that she (client who lives in the middle of the country, many states removed from WA) has a friend named Sybil in Seattle who also has a running mom blog. Yup, none other than Sybil Runs Things was our 1 degree of separation.

What are the odds?

I'm exhausted and we have a big day ahead. My goal is to get up and go for a run to explore the town and gorgeous views. In the meantime, here are some shots from the flight over:

Those are mountains out there, not clouds!

Oh, and the sore ham/glute from Thursday's near-fall is almost back to normal! Phew!

Friday, September 7, 2012

10k training update & Dylan vs Brandon?

The 10k training continues, with a plantar fasciitis distance PR of 6.1 miles. I was so excited at the end of my run, I kicked it in after topping a giant hill and as I looked down at my watch... old sidewalk edge jumped up and caught my left foot. BAM! I lunged forward hard & fast, flailing, and as my face raced toward the sidewalk and I was accepting that I was going to face-plant, somehow, I managed to recover my balance and continued home unscratched. Victorious!

However, that nice lunge stressed my right ham/glute and I'm still smarting from it. Nothing that a couple days of rest won't heal but really? Just as I'm hitting that threshold of legit running!

This weekend I leave for Kodiak, Alaska for a couple days (work meetings) so I hope to get a run in. It's their rainy season now but maybe I'll still get nice views?

Over Labor Day weekend, the (not so) Super Runner Mom tagged me in a Q&A post, the Liebster Award. She posted the following 11 questions:

1.  What is the oldest piece of clothing in your wardrobe (that you actually wear)?
Western Washington University vintage track jacket from the 1980's. Navy blue with white Adidas stripes on the arms - stylin'!

2.  What is your favorite drink?
Non-alcoholic: earl gray tea every morning
Alcoholic: Georgetown Brewing Co's Manny's Pale Ale on tap in our basement, 24/7

3.  What's your favorite race distance?
Half marathon!

4.  If you could give your teenage self just one piece of advice, what would it be?
Do a second senior year in a Spanish-speaking country.  

5.  What did you study/major in college?
B.S. in Environmental Science, minor in Chemistry then a M.S. in Environmental Health/Toxicology. If I could do it over...I would add Spanish as a double major in undergrad and then pursue further education in naturopathic medicine. (This is exactly what my dad recommended, but did I listen? If I only knew then what I know now!)

6.  Cilantro - love or hate? (I've determined that there is no in between on this issue)
LOVE. It would go against my genes to not like cilantro. Deeeelish! I even add it to my green smoothies, though a little goes a LONG way.

7.  Brandon or Dylan? (Inspired by the Old Navy commercials)
Umm...Bob Dylan. Final answer. No clue about Brandon & Dylan otherwise. Is this a boy band thing?

8.  Have you ever run a relay? If yes, which one? If no, why not?
YES and they are my favorite type of race. I've done Hood to Coast 2x, Falls to Gasworks, Mountains to Sound (awesome multisport race), and Mt. Si Relay 2x. Read HERE.

9.  How did you celebrate your 21st birthday?
My birthday was consistently timed with midterms and I was a science geek who studied for my organic chemistry midterm on my 21st birthday. I think I did go out to dinner & buy a beer at a local English pub but it was pretty tame (i.e., lame). 

10. What movie(s) could you watch over and over again?
I like the bad ones: Big Lebowski, Pineapple Express, Hangover, etc. But I can also watch Star Wars, Kill Bills (& pretty much any Quentin Tarantino movie), Princess Bride repeatedly. Oh, and the old school Muppets.

11. How often do you update your blog?
My goal is to post 2x per week to really wallow (in a good way) and relish my running, sometimes 3x when my training is in full swing.

With the Liebster Award, I'm supposed to tag 15 people to answer 11 random questions. There are many bloggers I would love to learn more about so if anyone reading this is interested, please answer these 11 questions or 11 of your own questions and leave me a comment letting me know so I can come read about you.


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Week 1: 10k training recap

I'm already further along in my 10k training program than I was in my half marathon training in March when this dang plantar fasciitis stopped me on the track. Literally.

I'm cautiously optimistic (probably have used that term too many times this year). 

Week 1 of the Another Mother Runner plan called for 1 or 2 easy 3-mile runs, 1 fartlek run, 1 long run, and 1 or 2 cross-training days. I actually did it all and my PF isn't any worse (or better) and I am continuing on to week 2! Week two calls for a long run of 6 miles and a tempo run. I'm actually toying with running a local 5k as my tempo.

Day 1: Easy 3.4 mile run with 4 strides (+ bike to work commute)
          This was my standard "golf course loop" by my house followed by strides at the park. It had been a LONG time since I actually tried to sprint. I knew I'd feel it later in my hamstrings but was hoping I wouldn't hurt myself. I'm wearing my Mizuno Wave Elixirs received via the Mezamashii Project and I'm really liking them. Very lightweight and responsive. I can feel fall coming on: warm temps with cool undertones. I love it, reminds me of cross country season! 

Day 2: Strength training (+ bike to work commute)
          I was sore from the previous day's strides, indeed, but my PF was no worse. Ok, so far, so good!

Day 3: Easy 3.4 mile run with 6 x 1-minute fartlek with 2-3 minute rest interval (+ yoga!)
          Ok, I hadn't done fartleks since college. I love the name, they made me giggle every time I picked up another 1-minute uptempo interval. I made a point to go easier on the fartleks than I would have pre-PF. It was speed that got me into this mess and I'd already pressed my luck with the strides. The yoga helped loosen me up after the effort (oh how I love that our office is now across from the YMCA). 

Day 4: + bike to work commute 
          This was essentially an active rest day. Much needed. 

Day 5: Weekly long run of 5 miles 
          I was nervous about this, my longest run since early March. On the way out, I felt like I wouldn't make it the whole way. My foot hurt for the first 1.5 miles and I was hot & thirsty. Finally, I made it to my turn-around point and then all the right peeps came on my shuffle (I rarely listen to music while running outside, glad I did this time): Don Omar, CSS, Earth Wind & Fire, Daddy Yankee, Destiny's Child (I know, RANDOM). It did the trick, the second half felt downhill...until the last mile. Then, the last mile was one big effort and pain in the foot. But, I DID IT!

Day 6: Rest day
          I could feel my PF a bit but it was doing ok. I was relieved my long run didn't do me in. 

Day 7: Easy 4.2 mile run
          This run was 3 laps around a little state park lake with two of my best college friends. We ran together all through college and the three of us and our families hadn't all been together since a trip to Sayulita, Mexico in 2008 and the three of us hadn't run together since college (...over 15 years ago). The three of us girls sneaked away for some "soul/sole medicine" to get this run in while the hubses played with the kids. It felt so great to run with my girlfriends again, like old times. These are the girls who taught me how to run! 


And in other news...

There are 5 days left in our annual "10k a Day" competition at work. The Seattle office is in second place (!!), hoping to uphold our title from last summer. So far, I've been averaging about 13,000 steps a day. Not bad! 


Thank you (so not) SuperRunner Mom for tagging me in a post. I will answer your questions this week!


Because everyone wants to know, you can get these cool tumblers featured in an earlier post at Butter Home.