Category Archives: Training

Spring Break Successes: Manitou Incline and an Injury Diagnosis

Guess who’s on Spring Break right now?

Did you guess me? You’re right! Of course, break is flying, but so has the school year thus far. I’m sure it’ll all be over before I know it.

Jordan and I are in different school districts now, which means we have different breaks. His was two weeks ago. That’s lame, but I’ve managed to have some fun without him. On Monday, some colleagues and I headed down to Manitou Springs to climb the infamous Manitou Incline.

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At the bottom… hopefully my co-workers don’t mind my posting their picture on the Internet…

If you’re not familiar with the Incline: It’s a popular trail/staircase that literally goes straight up a mountain. It was once a cable car track, and when the cable car was damaged and removed, but the railroad ties stayed and looked like a staircase, someone thought, “Hey, we should walk up that.” And ever since, it’s been a quintessential Colorado workout. Because what’s more Colorado than going up 2000 feet in just under a mile?

This video from Out There Colorado gives you an awesome overview, if you can spare two minutes to watch:

The hike burns, that’s for sure. But  the view from the top is well worth it. It took me 38 minutes to get to the top. Yes, that’s 38 minutes for a 0.8-mile hike. And I was the fastest in our group (was I proud of myself for beating the 20-something Crossfit coaches in our group? Yes, yes I was).
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Once everyone made it to the top and we snapped a picture (“pics or it didn’t happen,” right?), we headed back down Barr Trail, which is a longer but much less scary way to get down (I would NOT want to go down the Incline). I ran down with my boss, which was fun. She and I haven’t spent much time together this year, and I was pleased at how well we got along. Also, this was my first trail run of 2017. I hope there are many more to come!

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We all made it!

That hope of trail runs to come brings me to my next topic: this hamstring injury that just won’t go away. I was pretty nervous about climbing the Incline, especially since the injury had flared back up again last week, causing me to skip my long run. But it held out well, and while I was certainly aware of it, it didn’t hurt badly enough to concern me.

And then, today, I finally ventured to a physical therapist (yes, nine months after this injury originally occurred. I am an idiot). She told me that it’s not actually a hamstring injury, but rather bursitis. The bursa sac where my leg joins my body is inflamed, which then irritates the hamstring. BUT here’s the best news I’ve heard in a long, long time: she thinks I can be better in just a few weeks. We have to get my pelvis realigned and improve some flexibility in my hamstrings, and then the bursa sac should stop being irritated and I’ll be okay again. AND, she said that running won’t cause any major damage — it’ll make me sore, but it’s not dangerous. Soreness I can handle. Bring on the training and the health!

I’m so relieved to finally have an answer… and regretful that I didn’t go see a PT sooner. But, live and learn, and soon I hope I’ll be healthy and enjoying more Incline-esque adventures!

 

Have you hiked the Incline? What did you think?

What’s a quintessential “your state” thing to do?

Ever had bursitis? Please tell me it’s easy to fix once you know what it is…

 

 

 

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Skirt Sports 13er Training, Weeks 3-4

You guys, it feels amazing to be training again.

I’m following a plan that repeats weeks to avoid increasing mileage too quickly, so I’m just going to list the last two weeks together, okay? (Of course it’s okay. Three people read these posts). Here we go:

Monday (2/27 and 3/6)
4 miles easy/3 miles easy, plus 15-minute strength workout

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This is my view when I run now. I don’t mind. 

Tuesday (2/28 and 3/7)
Fartleks: 8 x 2 minutes at 10k pace, 2-minute recovery. With warm-up and cool-down, I ran 7 miles on the 28th and 8 on the 7th. Both were on the treadmill because I am a wuss and didn’t want to run fartleks in the wind AGAIN. Followed by core work

Wednesday (3/1 and 3/8)
3 miles easy/ 5 miles easy, plus core work/light ST
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Thursday (3/2 and 3/9)
6 miles easy, followed by 20 minutes strength work

Friday (3/3 and 3/10)
3 recovery miles, followed by foam rolling. These were my first 6-day running weeks since getting injured, so I wanted to take it super easy.

Saturday (3/4 and 3/11)
11 miles. The 4th, I ran from my house. Since it was my longest run since we moved here, I got to explore a little farther than I’d been. I made new friends.
IMG_3565This week, I ran in Boulder as part of a Skirt Sports ambassador meet-up. Because I’m the WORST blogger ever, I took no pictures. Yep.

Sunday (3/5 and 3/12)
Rest day!

Totals: 34/ 35.8 miles

Overall, I’m feeling pretty good. I’ve been slacking a bit on the yoga and foam rolling, and I’m afraid that’s playing with injury fire, so I need to be more faithful again. It feels good to have a “3” in front of my weekly mileage, and I can’t wait until it’s a “5.” But I’m taking it slow and steady!

How’s your training going? What’s your next big goal?

Skirt Sports 13er Training: Weeks 1-2

Remember when I used to do training recaps? You know, when I was training? That seems like about a million years ago. But I’m finally training again, albeit slower and with less mileage than before, so it’s time to bring back the training recaps. Plus, it gives me something to blog about, and I really need to get back on a more regular blogging schedule.

The Skirt Sports 13er (don’t forget, you can get a discount to join me by using code SKIRTAMB15) is June 4. Normally, I’d do a 12-week plan for a half, but since I’m coming back from injury, I decided that 16 weeks would be better for building my fitness and preventing another injury. I’m also making a serious effort to thoroughly warm up before each run and finish with some sort of strength or core work and foam rolling, and I’m keeping with my nightly 15-25 minutes of yoga. Here’s how weeks 1-2 went down:

Tuesday, Feb. 14 –First day of training!
Fartlek run — 8 x 1-minute at 10k pace with 2-minute recoveries. Total mileage, including warm-up and cooldown: 7 miles.

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Skirt and short sleeves in February! What?!

Wednesday, Feb. 15
3-mile recovery run

Thursday, February 16
Rest day

Friday, February 17
Had the day off, hooray! 5 miles, finished with a few strides

Saturday, February 18
9 miles! Longest run in a loooong time

Sunday, February 19
Rest day. Taking three rest days in one week felt weird, but Monday and Thursday were scheduled rest days, and I felt like the ol’ hamstring needed one the day after the long run. I’ll start taking Sunday rest days again, I think. That works best for my body.

Week 1 Total: 24 miles

Monday, February 20
4 recovery miles

Tuesday, February 21
Same 7-mile fartlek workout as last week. It was SO windy out. My paces were absolutely ridiculous: super fast when the wind was at my back, super slow when running back into the wind.

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Clearly had a tailwind here — see how my skirt is plastered to my legs?

Wednesday, February 22
3 miles easy. Super slow. I was exhausted and felt like crap, so I was not sad to only run three.

Thursday, February 23
5-mile easy run on the treadmill. The gorgeous, non-Februaryish weather was gone, and it was windy and snowing out. I knew that if I ran in the cold, all I’d want to do when I got back would be take a hot shower, and I’d likely skip my strength workout, so I ran did an alternating run/strength workout in my basement.

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No, this picture isn’t staged at all! Why would you ask? …

Friday, February 24
Rest day

Saturday, February 25
10 miles!!! I went to a “writing marathon” at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science on Saturday morning, and I couldn’t pass up the chance to do my long run in Denver City Park after. It feels pretty darn good to be back to double digits!
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Sunday, February 26
Rest.

Week 2 Total Mileage: 29

I’m hoping to get back to six days of running this week or next. Just gotta play it by ear and see how my hamstring feels. Either way, it feels great to be running consistently again and to have a goal on the horizon.

What are you training for these days?

Ever had to come back from an injury or other setback? Tell me about it!

Injury and Identity Crisis

I’m one of those lucky runners who, for whatever reason, can put in lots of miles without getting injured. I try to be smart about it — not building too quickly, strength training regularly, listening to my body if something hurts — and it works. At least that’s what I thought.

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A few weeks ago, for no apparent reason, my left butt cheek started hurting in the middle of a fartlek run (insert butt-and-fartlek jokes here), and the pain didn’t stop, despite my stretching and slowing down. I have no idea why this would happen now, when I was running less than half the mileage I run when I’m training for a race, but the pain was there, and it was persistent.

Some Internet research told me I had hamstring tendinitis, and I found stretches, strength moves, and general advice on how to treat it. I’ve been doing it all religiously: stretching, strengthening, foam rolling and rolling on a tennis ball, taking short walks to keep it loose, taking several days off running and resuming with short and easy runs (no hills or speed), and even getting a massage, but still the pain persists. I can run 4-5 miles, but 5 is the most I’ve run in over a month. Frankly, it’s starting to mess with my head.

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I know I should be grateful that I can run at all, and that this happened when I don’t have any races on the calendar. Plus, I’ll be so busy soon with moving and starting a new job that running long shouldn’t be my priority anyway (but I will have this new town to explore…).

But there’s a huge part of my identity that is distance runner, and even though it’s been only a few weeks, I feel like that part of my identity is misplaced. Sometimes I toy with the idea of just moving on from that identity — becoming someone who works out purely for health reasons, with less cardio and more strength training and yoga — and for a minute, that seems like a great idea. After all, I’m certainly not a professional — it’s not like I’m paid to run long. There’s no logical reason for me to keep doing it. In fact, it would probably be healthier to go the other way.

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But then I see an ad for a race, or a post in a Facebook group about an epic trail run coming up, or my trail shoes sitting by the door, looking sad because I haven’t taken them out lately, or even the “4.00” on my watch at the end of yet another short, slow road run, and I think, “No, the just-for-health exerciser is not who I am.”

I realize this post is a complete pity party, and if you’ve made it through my word vomit thus far, thanks for sticking around. I feel like I should end this on a positive note, especially because I know, in the grand scheme of the world, that this is not that big of an issue and probably doesn’t even warrant its own blog post. But I feel grumpy and negative right now. Here:

Commiserate with me: Tell me about an injury and how you recovered/are recovering. Or give me a magic piriformis-healing bullet. 

 

Blue Sky Trail Marathon Training, Week 11

My second-to-last week of training is done, and tomorrow starts race week. The second-to-last week is always my least favorite: close enough to the race that I’m tapering, but far enough away that my brain thinks we should still be killing it. Taper madness is real, folks.

Do I make a tapir/taper pun every training cycle? Yes. Does it ever get old? No.

Here’s how this week looked:

Monday: 

Rest. I don’t like to rest on Mondays (running = sanity), but my body needed it after Sunday’s long run.

Tuesday: 

7.2 miles of fartleks to shake the legs out, followed by core work.

Wednesday: 

10.1 miles with Jaylin. It’s so fun to have a running buddy! I love my solo runs, too, but I’ve really enjoyed these weekly meet-ups.

Thursday: 

5 miles easy + core and upper body… by which I mean I tacked 20 push-ups onto my usual core workout. I’m hardcore.

Friday: 

4 miles of “hills” on the treadmill, followed by core and — believe it or not — stretching.

Saturday: 

5 easy miles, plus the same hardcore workout as Thursday.

Sunday: 

10 miles easy. This was the first long run of training that I haven’t gone to the trails, and I”m pretty proud of myself for making it to the trails consistently. I didn’t go today because I figured it was silly to drive twice as long as I’d run, especially since I had a LOT of housework and grading to do. The work has been done now; one more short trail run would probably not impact my race.

Total: 41.3 miles

One week from today, I’ll toe the line at my very first trail race. I wish I’d decided to run it sooner — I’d feel a lot more confident with 16 or 18 weeks of training under my belt instead of 12. But I can’t change it now; all that’s left is to get out there, try my best, and most importantly, have fun. Wish me luck!

Any main events coming up for you soon? 

Blue Sky Trail Marathon Training, Week 9

I can hardly believe it, but my second-to-last week of heavy training is finished. I’ve got one more big week, then a two-week taper, and then the race. I wish I’d decided earlier to do this race, so I would’ve had time for a 16- or 18-week training plan… I’m feeling less ready than I’d like. But there’s no going back, so I’ll just have to see what a 12-week plan will do.

Here’s the rundown on Week 9:

Monday:

AM: 7.3 miles of hills. Thanks to Labor Day, I went out to the only real hills around.
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PM: Strength training

Tuesday:

11.1 miles “easy.” It’s still a little warm out in the early evenings, but it’s nice to decompress after work. I’m sure Jordan is also grateful for my return to evening running, as it makes me much more pleasant for the rest of the night.
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H
ow could this not make you happier?

Wednesday:

I ran to the gym, spent three miles of steep climbing on the incline trainer, then ran home for 5 miles total. It took me the same amount of time as my 7-miler Monday. Hopefully it’ll make me stronger come race day! I also did some core work when I got home. I’m hoping that, too, will make me stronger come race day.

Thursday:

AM: 10 miles with the same group I’ve been running with the last couple of weeks. We planned nine but math is hard.

PM: Strength training

Friday: 

5 recovery miles and some core work.

Saturday:

Jordan had a meeting (and thus a hotel room) in Golden, so you know I had to crash that party and get in a long trail run. I ran 20 miles at Green Mountain (the Lakewood one, not the Boulder one). It was hard, but the climbs are pretty similar to the first part of the race. And the views were not too shabby.
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I intended to run 21 miles, but I ran out of water, and it was getting hot out. I didn’t really want to risk passing out on the trail, so I called it a day. Still, I got in almost 3000 feet of vertical, which for this flatlander is pretty darn good. I’m planning to run there again next weekend, since we’ll be in town for my brother’s wedding.

Sunday: 

Rest. I didn’t even do yoga, though I probably should have, as I’m a bit sore and stiff from yesterday.

Total: 58.4 miles… 12 miles short of what my peak weeks are for road marathon training. I’m not sure what to think about that.

Well, I’m working all of three days this week (yay, wedding!), so I’d better get rested up. Ha. Have a great week!

What’s your usual peak mileage?

What does a run with lots of vertical look like for you? Go ahead, ultra-runners. Make my 3000 feet look paltry.

Blue Sky Trail Marathon Training, Weeks 7-8

School starts and I disappear from the Interwebs, apparently. Now that we’re past the craziness of the first couple of weeks, I should be able to get back to regular posting… at least as regular as I ever am. In the meantime, here’s a rundown of my training over the last two weeks. There’s a serious lack of pictures here, as the vast majority of my runs lately have been either on the treadmill or in the dark. The weather’s supposed to cool down this week, though, so I’ll switch back to post-work running in the daylight.

Monday, August 24

AM: 6.2 miles of “hills” on the treadmill. (Foreshadowing: Later that week, I learned that the “hills” I’ve been doing are inadequate).

PM: My usual strength workout at home

Tuesday, August 25

10.8 easy miles — half on the treadmill, half outside once it got light. Not bad for a school morning.

Wednesday, August 26 

8 miles with Jaylin and two guys we know who also run. It was fun to run with a group for once.

Thursday, August 27

AM: 6 miles of short “hill” sprints

PM: Strength training again, a wimpier version of my normal routine because I was tired and cranky and figured anything was better than the nothing I felt like doing.

Friday, August 28

5 miles at recovery pace, followed by core work

Saturday, August 29

I made an extra-long venture up to the trails this week, running the first part of the race course, then back to the second part, which I’d trained on before. Fun fact: this elevation chart from the race’s website is not exaggerated.
Blue Sky Trail Marathon Elevation Profile

Turns out, I should’ve been hitting the incline trainer at my gym instead of my little treadmill all this time. That first climb is a doozy. I had a 16:48 mile in there. But check out the views:
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Even though I enjoy the scenery, I hope I can get a leetle stronger on the climb in the next couple of weeks.

I ran 19 miles, and it was tough, but I loved it!

Sunday, August 30

Rest day. I did some easy yoga for my tight hamstrings and hips.

Total: 55 miles

This week was a cutback week, the last until taper.

Monday, August 31

AM: 5 miles easy

PM: Strength, per usual

Tuesday, Sept. 1

5 miles of treadmill hills… on the incline trainer this time.

Wednesday, Sept. 2

Same as last week — 8.1 miles with the same little group.

Thursday, Sept. 3

AM: Short, fast hill intervals for 5 miles

PM: Strength training

Friday, Sept. 4

Rest day. I usually rest Sundays, but I was definitely not resting this Sunday, so I took Friday off instead.

Saturday, Sept. 5

5-mile easy run plus core work, shaking out the legs for…

Sunday, Sept. 6

I paced and helped crew Logan through part of her run at the Hideaway 100 in Winter Park. We ran about 12 miles in the wee hours together, though she had a gnarly blister that made our run more of a hike. I’m counting it as a run anyway. I’m hoping to get a post up about the pacer/crew experience later this week.

Total: 40.1 miles

Now I’ve got two more big weeks, two weeks of taper, and the race! Gulp.

I’m very tired, since I slept about an hour last night and another hour when I got home this morning, and that’s it, so I’m not writing reader questions or proofreading this. Please excuse any stupid typos (Students: Do as I say, not as I do), and tell me whatever you want to in the comments.

Blue Sky Marathon Training, Week 6

Another week of trail marathon training is in the books! I’m loving trail running, but I swear, it feels like an entirely different sport. I feel like I’m training for my first marathon again: every week, I finish a long run and think, “Can I really run another 11, 9, whatever, miles?” I’m enjoying it, though. It’s fun to be learning and trying something new!

Here’s how this week looked:

Monday: 

AM: 9.3 miles: 2-mile warm–up,4×1-mile at threshold pace with 3-minute rests, and 2-mile cool down. I haven’t really done speedwork this training cycle — my hard workouts have all been hills — so this was TOUGH. But the sunrise was pretty.
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PM: 45ish minuts strength training

Tuesday: 

AM: 10.6 easy-paced miles. This was an inservice day, so I didn’t have to be at work as early as I do on school days, and I really enjoyed my last morning-with-daylight weekday run for a while.

PM: 30 minutes of yoga, mostly because my colleague and I talked about yoga that day, and I felt guilty for not having done it for a while. Increasing mileage + not doing yoga + two days of sitting in meetings = very angry hips and hamstrings.

Wednesday: 

7-mile recovery run with Jaylin

Thursday: 

5.2 miles of treadmill hills.I had planned for around 7 miles, but my body didn’t adjust well to the half-hour earlier alarm and I was just dragging. This was the first day with students, so I wanted to be early and just cut it short. It  was still a good workout. I also skipped my planned afternoon strength workout. I’m not sure why I bothered planning one at all — I should know by now that the first day of school is always exhausting!

Friday: 

5.5-mile recovery run

Saturday: 

Although I really didn’t want to get up early again, I knew I needed to get to the trails to train. Of course, once i was there,  I was glad I went. I tried a different trailhead and got to run parts of the race course that I hadn’t been on before, so that was fun.  I ran 17 miles, my longest trail run yet.

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I was really just trying to take a picture of these deer, not the cyclist. But that cyclist (and his two buddies) and I played leapfrog for a good chunk of my run. IMG_2034
N
o race can suck too much if you’re looking at this, right?

Sunday:

Rest day. I took a walk and did some yoga to work out some soreness from Saturday.

Total: 54.6 miles

Since the weather is supposed to be hot for at least another week, I’m sticking with morning runs, but I have to start either in the dark or on the treadmill, so I’m hoping I can switch to evenings soon. And on that note, I’m going to post this and get ready for bed so I don’t have another sluggish morning like Thursday.

Are you training for anything lately? 

Is it starting to cool down where you live? 

P.S. Don’t forget to enter my Freekeh Foods giveaway!

Blue Sky Trail Marathon Training, Week 5

I decided to go back to posting training recaps on Sundays. I write these as much for myself as for you guys, and now that school is starting again, my life is easier if I follow a routine. My plan is to post on Sundays and Thursdays again, but don’t be surprised if Thursdays don’t happen for the first few weeks of school.

This was my fifth week of trail marathon training. I finally had another 50-mile week, so I feel more like I’m actually training, if that makes sense. Let’s pretend that 50 isn’t where I usually start  my training, and now I’m worried because I’m barely hitting 50 seven weeks out…

Monday: 

AM: My plan was to do a long incline workout on the treadmill. At 3.8 miles, I paused it and hopped off to use the bathroom, and when I came back, the incline had stopped working! Not wanting to lose my momentum, I hustled outside and ran three miles at tempo pace, then a cool-down. It wasn’t what I was planning, but it ended up being a solid workout nonetheless. (Side note: I later found out that my treadmill isn’t broken; it  just needed recalibrated. Huge relief.)

PM: Basement strength training, per usual

Tuesday: 

6 miles of sunrise fartleks, followed by core work. I love fartleks. IMG_1983

Wednesday: 

8 miles easy… although they didn’t feel easy, because it was unusually muggy. I’m sure my southern friends would scoff at my definition of “muggy,” but it was rough for me.

Thursday: 

AM: Short hills for 7.2 miles. This road and I are becoming very good friends this training cycle.
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PM: Another round of basement strength.

Friday: 

6.3 recovery miles. My training schedule called for another interval workout, but I’d already done three quality workouts this week. Another one, especially the day before my long run, just seemed like a request for injury, so I took it easy instead. And I played with the camera timer…
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Saturday: 

15.2 trail miles. I randomly ran a few miles with a woman who went to high school with my husband and is training for the same race I am. Small world. I also fell THREE TIMES. Graceful I am not. Don’t worry, I’m not hurt. Just dumb.

At least I had pretty things to look at while I fell on my face. Maybe this is why I fell: too busy gawking at the scenery to look at where my feet were.
At least I had pretty things to look at while I fell on my face. Maybe this is why I fell: too busy gawking at the scenery to look at where my feet were.

Sunday: 

Rest

Total: 50.3 miles

Five down, seven to go.

Have you ever fallen while running? Did you feel as foolish as I did?

Teacher friends: when do you (or did you) go back to school?

Blue Sky Trail Marathon Training, Weeks 3-4

I’m now into week five of training for my first trail race. That means I’ve got just over seven weeks to get ready to run 26.2 miles on trails. So far, the farthest I’ve run on trails is a little over 11. Gulp.

The last two weeks of training were a little different: I did a (very) small taper for Chase the Moon, and the following week was a cutback/recovery week. Here’s how they looked:

Week 3

Monday: 
6.4 miles of hills. This is why I need to write these recaps weekly: now I can’t remember if they were long treadmill hills or short real-life hills. My training log just says “hills.”

Tuesday:
AM: 7 miles easy.
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I love Fitsnap. If you follow me on Instagram, you can see my overuse of Fitsnap almost every day!

PM: Strength training in my basement.

Wednesday: 

6 miles easy. My friend Jaylin, who originally got me into this whole distance-running thing, ran together. We’ve had a hard time getting our schedules to align very often, so it was great to get together!

Thursday: 

6 miles with fartleks (still my favorite workout)

Friday-Saturday:

30 miles over 12 hours at the Chase the Moon relay. I guess I’m just gonna have to write that recap, as I haven’t seen any sign of official pictures.

Sunday: 

Rest; we did a lovely 5-mile, easy hike.

Total: 56.4 miles

Week 4

Monday: 

4.1 miles at recovery pace, just testing my legs and making sure they felt okay after the weekend.

Tuesday: 

AM: 7 miles easy

PM: Basement strength work

Wednesday: 

6 miles easy, again with Jaylin. Two weeks in a row is pretty great for us! With school starting, we’re not sure if we can keep making it work, but we’ll try.

Thursday: 

5.3 miles easy. I intended to do another strength workout in the afternoon, but I went into work to start prepping my classroom, and I came home with a killer headache. I took a nap instead of a workout. I regret nothing.

Friday:

We were headed to my in-laws’ for the weekend, so I took advantage of the last Friday of summer break and headed up to Devil’s Backbone for a “long” run of 10.3 miles.
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This is where I get to run a marathon in seven weeks. I don’t mind those views!

I also saw a mama and baby deer. This was the best picture I could get with my phone, even though they let me watch them for quite a while.
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Saturday: 

6-mile recovery run

Sunday: 

Rest. We spent over 8 hours pulling weeds. I would’ve much rather been running.

Cutback week total: 38.7 miles.

This is lower mileage than I’ve run before in marathon training, but all my runs are scheduled by time this round, and since trails and hills are slow, my mileage is lower. We’ll just see how this race goes, and plan future trail race training schedules accordingly. Because I can already tell you, there will be future trail races.

This week, I’m back to a more normal week, with several quality runs, so hopefully I’ll keep getting stronger and faster. Stay tuned to see if this training is sufficient to keep me from dying during a trail race.

What does your typical week of training look like? 

Best trail you’ve ever run?