Friday, February 26, 2016

New Post, New Shoe Day!

Hello, and welcome to Friday night's confessional post.

Already, so much shade is being thrown.  (Just kidding, she was begging for bagels.)

Alas, ladies and gentlemen, I have become the thing that frightens and confuses me most.  I have become the person in the ugly Hokas.

That's right.  I have my very own pair of clown shoes.

You have GOT to be kidding me with these colors, too.  Insult, injury, etc.

My orthopedist has a working theory that my peroneus muscle strain is the result of too much motion control in my shoes, especially on the right.  Except, I don't wear a motion control shoe.  Never have.  I run in a neutral shoe.

My insteps are so high, that probably 60-70% of the bottom surface of my foot doesn't make any contact with the insole of the shoe unless I force my weight down and roll inward (pronate).  It hasn't really ever bothered me.  I just try to find the most narrow and low-volume shoes I can, and then get on with my life.  In the past, I have liked Mizuno Wave Riders (older versions...the new construction from like 2013 onward sucksss), Adidas Adizero Boost, and the Brooks Ghost.  The free pair of Saucony ISO Triumph 2s that I was gifted by the local running store have been in the rotation, too.

I'm usually left with a shoe that is comfortable, but still a little too wide for my foot.  I rock around.  Lately, I guess I've been rocking outward (supinating) on the right side a little more than I should.  I have my theories that the freebie Saucony's were the main culprits in this.  Whoops.*  So I need to either get into a super-low-volume shoe or get some custom orthotics ($200 worth of NOPE for the time being).

Enter the Hoka One One Conquest (ugh even the name is lame, and did you know "One One" is pronounced "oh-nay-oh-nay"?  EYE ROLLS FOREVERRRRR.).  Well, I put them on, and they fit.  My foot did not rock around at all. 

But WTF with the way these things look!!!  At least I'm sort of a larger/taller person, so they don't look THAT disproportionate.  Right?

I ran around the building and had no pain.  None.  I even went outside, then ran a little loop.  Again, no pain.  No fear of having to bail and walk it in.


They even have little lock laces built in.  And they feel fine without a sock.  I'm damn near six feet tall when I wear them.

Please don't judge me.

Later, y'all.

* And you may have noticed that I haven't reviewed this shoe yet, despite thinking I would, at least after accumulating some miles on them.  At this time, I can't really recommend these shoes for anyone with narrow feet, especially narrow heels.  Just trying to be honest.  

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Running Links I am Loving Today

Winter courtesy of

First of all, check out my friend Mike's post on why it's good to gain weight while you are injured.  And while you're at it, take a look at his lightweight app for timing intervals.

Here's something to think about...a new study from Harvard shows that the primary ingredient for injury-free running is a low "vertical average loading rate" (a/k/a a soft footfall).

Over on Youtube, I found this upper body and core circuit for runners that takes less than 15 minutes:

A GQ (yes, really) article about a marathon that takes place inside San Quentin prison.

And finally, here is a fabulous video with exercises for preventing injury to the IT band.

Over the past week, I've had a few discussions with runners experiencing IT band symptoms, so I was excited to see this video.  If you're curious, also check out:

The Best Damn IT Band Stretch Ever (a/k/a a million things you probably misunderstand)
My post about rehabbing ITBS

Have a great day!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Diet: An Update on Breakfast

You may remember that I started doing a series of posts about "cleaning up" my diet while still running significant mileage.  Here is the post about breakfast, which I wrote in midsummer.  Looking back at the post really made me miss all the lovely berries and stone fruits that were in season back then.  It also made me want to write a bit of an update, because I have been changing up my breakfast routine lately.

Summer breakfast.
I think I've finally settled on the breakfast that works best for me.

Basically, I don't believe in clean eating, or assigning moral value to food, or overthinking diet.  I tend to focus on the performance side of my diet.  For example, I know that I recover faster from hard workouts if I eat more simple carbs.  More fat in my diet helps me regulate my body temperature during cold outdoor workouts.  Eating fewer calories for dinner can often translate into an agonizing workout the next morning.  Too much meat gives me nightmares (yes, seriously).  Caffeine and alcohol are both dehydrating, sometimes dangerously so in the summer.

So, I really think there is value in identifying the foods that help you work out harder, recover faster, feel better, and maintain the body weight that works best for your sport.

Since this past summer, I have changed up my breakfast several times, searching around for something quick and easy to prepare, light (and carby) enough to eat right before running, and satisfying enough to last until a late lunch.  After summer ended, and I started training hard for fall races, my breakfasts started getting more and more focused on carbohydrate, particularly simple sugars.  I loved the rush I got from a cup of coffee with sugar, so I started dumping more and MORE sugar into my espresso.  Good times.  

My teeth hurt looking at this typical pre-long run meal.  That's probably 70g of sugar right there, not counting what's in the coffee. 

If I knew I had a hard workout, I would have just oats and fruit.  Sometimes only oats.  I sort of got into a rut where I was eating a full cup of oats cooked in water and a triple espresso with a heinous amount of sugar.  At a track club event, some friends watched in disbelief as I took the top off the sugar shaker to dose up my coffee.  Around that time, I experimented with tracking some "typical" days on My Fitness Pal.  I was eating close to 65% carbohydrate.  Obviously, that's too much for health (heart disease, stable insulin levels, teeth, etc.)

After the holidays were over, I told myself I was going to step away from all of the added sugar and see how my running fared.  

Experimental breakfast.

So, for about a month I tried a no-added-sugar breakfast.  Black coffee.  Fruit.  About a cup of pinto beans or lentils with savory spices.  I ran a trail half marathon in January, and I used a packet of gel for that.  Otherwise, I was very careful about simple carbs, processed foods, added sugar, and all that other stuff that had crept into my diet during the dead of winter.

I felt okay.  I was surprised that my workouts didn't suffer.  I decided that the "sugar high" that I had come to rely on during long runs and speed work was just a mental crutch.  I stuck with my weird bean breakfasts for the month of January and nothing bad happened.

The happy medium.

Recently, I have reached a nice compromise.  For this month, I have been eating half a cup of oats and an egg.  I cook the oats in water, using the microwave, and it is easy to crack a whole egg into the mixture at the very end, so that it poaches while I get my coffee.  I'm still doing black coffee 90% of the time, and I don't miss the sugar at all.  It's kind of nice to not have the crazy sugar high and crash in the mid morning.  I feel like this combination is easy to digest, and I haven't had any problems with going directly from the breakfast table to a workout.  If I have more time, I'll add a second cup of coffee.  If I'm headed out for a long run, or to the gym for leg day, I'll add a piece of fruit.

My Fitness Pal says this meal is about 230 calories.  That's only about 10% of my daily goal, but the ratio of macronutrients is perfect.  I think 50% carbohydrate is the sweet spot for me right now, and I don't have plans to go any lower.

I'm going to stick with this breakfast all the way through spring, and then see how I feel after the weather gets hot again.  I can see potentially not wanting to eat a hot breakfast and head out to run in triple digit heat.  But who knows???!

Do you eat the same breakfast every day?  Skip it entirely?  Have any other ideas I should try? 

Monday, February 22, 2016

A Week of Workouts - February 22, 2016

I've been having a lot of fun with workouts lately.  I haven't been running very much, but I have been making the most of what I can do.

My cross-eyed little lady is creepin' on my snacks.  She also wishes we were doing more running. 

Monday - Rest.  I guess I don't really get on board with the Never Miss a Monday thing, huh?

Tuesday - Ran a cautious mile on the treadmill at an 8:45 pace, to see if my foot would fall off.  My foot did not fall off.  I did an hour-long full body barbell circuit with moderate weights and moderate reps.  Between exercises, I did HIIT cardio...things like jumping jacks, box jumps, and burpees.  My foot still did not fall off, or even hurt.  Exciting!

Wednesday - I tempted fate with another 15 minutes on the treadmill.  It ended up being 1.7 @ 8:36.  Wednesday is also heavy weights day!  I wanted to do another deadlift-focused workout like last week, and up the weight.  This workout took about half an hour:

Stationary lunges onto the BOSU - 30 each side
Box jumps - 3x10 onto a 24" box
Barbell row - 3x10 with a 70# barbell
Bench press - 3x10 with the bar only (which is 45#)
Bench press - 2x4 with 55# (these were lower reps because I was REALLY CLOSE to failure and didn't have a spotter...FYI dropping a barbell on your chest in a crowded gym is humiliating)
Deadlift - 3x8 with 95# (I am working up to my body weight + 10%)

Thursday - Swam 3,014 yards in exactly an hour.  I just swam moderate intensity freestyle without stopping until the hour was up. It felt nice.

New suits!  Pro tip: if you don't care about specific colors/styles, buy directly from TYR and choose the "grabbag" option.  They will send you past seasons' suits in your selected size for $19.99 each (these retail for $55-$70).  I think I lucked out with the colors, don't you?  The one on the left is much skimpier that I would have selected on my own, but #YOLO I guess. 

Friday - I did the same hour-long cardio weights circuit I did last week.  It is very performance-based, and almost like a bootcamp format.  I wore a heart rate monitor, and my heart rate was up fairly high, which I found surprising.  The average for the circuit was 130, and the peak was 185.

(That's on par with a running hill workout, so I'm hoping it's effective for maintaining my conditioning while this injury heals.  Oddly enough, the only thing that really causes me pain right now is running.  LAME.  But I digress.)

Also, on Friday night I met my friend Katherine at the pool to swim a bit for fun.  She's a triathlete, and I met her through my track club.  We were in the water for an hour, and my watch logged 1,600 yards.  We did a warmup, a really heinous speed workout, then just faffed around with some butterfly and IM stuff.  We also did a lot of standing around in the water talking, which is way more fun that speed workouts, I guess. 

Saturday - 2 @ 8:46 in the park.  I was feeling very optimistic about my foot, so I went for a very flat, very mellow run.  It was incredibly hot and humid, which I found shocking!  I didn't have any pain on this run, but I had some soreness and then sharp pain for several hours after.  By evening, I only felt a dull ache in the side of my foot.  At the time, I didn't think I had overdone it, and I made tentative plans to run with a group the next morning.

Even though there are no scenic mountain vistas, running around downtown has interesting views. 

Sunday - When my alarm clock went off, I tested my foot and told myself that if I felt ANY pain at all, I would skip the group run.  I am just too "competitive" to trust myself to take it easy on a group run (even with a small, casual group of friends, and yes I know it's silly).  The side of my foot felt sore with flexion, so I decided not to chance it.  Instead, I ran 2.5 @ 8:55 by myself once the sun was up.  I made an effort to find a little route without any incline or camber and that is incredibly hard to do in Birmingham!  I really think I overdid it a bit with this run, and my foot has been quite sore every since.

This week, I plan to take a few more days completely away from running, and then reevaluate.  I've been keeping up a pretty good routine of stretching, rolling, scraping the muscle, and icing several times a day.  All of that seems to help, and I still haven't experienced the same type of pain I had in the first few days, so I think it is healing.

Everyone have a great week!

Friday, February 19, 2016

Woo Hoo! A Diagnosis: Peroneus Muscle Strain

Well, well, well, folks.  It's an exciting time in my life, because I finally have some words to call this mysterious pain I have been experiencing in my right foot.  That means 1) I can start Googling things manically, and 2) I guess I should add a fun "injuries" tag to this blog.

The good news is, I probably didn't do this to myself by running.  Also, it's just a soft tissue injury.  This is a HUGE relief, because almost all of my friends have suffered from stress fractures, and I have thus far been spared.  This means I am constantly knocking on wood, swallowing handfuls of calcium, vitamin D, and magnesium supplements, and taking every opportunity to scream OH MY GAWD THIS IS A STRESS FRACTURE, JUST GO AHEAD AND KILL ME.  It probably doesn't help that I once had an internist tell me my aching hip was "probably a stress fracture, because most injuries to female runners are."  Thanks, dude.

So, not a stress fracture.

Also, not tendonitis.

I have a muscle strain in my peroneus longus, a/k/a/ another damn calf muscle you probably didn't know you had, yes there are lots of them.

So, how did I do this to myself?  Because of timing, and a lot of other things I ignored, probably by hiking in clogs.  Yes, that is probably as stupid as it sounds.  I own a lot of clogs, and when I am not barefoot or wearing running shoes, that's what I have on.  I know they aren't the best, given they absolutely prevent natural foot flexion, and you are liable to roll your ankle.  I roll my ankles pretty regularly and without much effect, because I have some joint hypermobility.

Specifically, these clogs.  Specifically, on these trails at Oak Mountain.
I've also recently been putting a bit more mileage on some newer trail shoes, the Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger (seriously, that is like 60% more shoe name than necessary, Nike).  Before, I was in a very minimal trail shoe, the Montrail Rogue Fly.  This Nike is a lot more rigid.  Much like...I dunno...maybe a clog.

I don't need a motion control shoe.  I just like a bit more between my feet and the trails.
But let's talk about the (clog) hiking trip where I believe I damaged my ankle.   It was about five days before the first symptoms.  I wore clogs, of course, because they are my causal shoe.  They were good enough for my Viking ancestors, so they're good enough for me!  Dammit!  We originally planned to walk around the stables and maybe drive through the park. 

Then, we ended up hiking on this.  The waterfalls were lovely.  I carried my son for about half a mile.

And I wore clogs.  Of course. 
If I recall correctly, I wore clogs a lot of that weekend, and did a fair bit of walking.  Also a fair bit of heavy-toddler-carrying.  I am almost certain that my right peroneus muscle was strained by all of this.  I have a motto: my feet aren't twins; they're just sisters. They are different sizes.  They have different arches.  Different toe spacing.  I run "neutral" on the left and supinate on the right.  It happens.  I have a bit of a weird toe thing that makes me roll off my right foot in sort of a dramatic way.

All this is very interesting, I'm sure.

What I'm saying is, I need to take special care to wear proper shoes, and stretch and ice my calves after every run.  Even if my hypermobility issues mean that this is a huge pain that requires squatting and rolling around on the dog-hair-covered floor.

So, how have I been coping over the past few weeks?  Swimming.  A lot of swimming.  I even got a nice preemptive spring haircut to accommodate the chlorine scene.  I am lifting a lot of heavy weights.  Even following a real five-week lifting program and doing a decent job.  Making myself sore.  Eating extra calories and trying to put on some muscle before summer racing.  

By the time summer trail races roll around, I will be a MACHINE.  Maybe with abs?  That would be cool. 
And yes, I carefully posed for that mirror selfie to placate the angry commenter who moaned about the "thigh gap" in my previous photos.  You're all welcome.

Over and out.

Oh, and P.S. I'm going to experiment with blogging more regularly.  No promises.  I just completely changed up my work schedule and I think I can make it happen.  Get excited!

Monday, February 15, 2016

A Week of Workouts - February 15, 2016

I'm still taking it easy on my foot, and eagerly awaiting my orthopedist appointment a week from today.  I think it is almost entirely better, but I am exercising caution.  Either way, I got in some quality workouts this week.

Monday - Rest

Tuesday - one hour of swimming, which included about 2800 yards.  I think I did a 500 warmup, then some progressive sets of freestyle and breaststroke, worked on flip turns, and did about a 300 cooldown. 

Wednesday - an hour-long weights circuit for the lower body, focus on glutes.  I'm really trying to build up specific muscles, for both aesthetic and performance reasons.  The booty is at the top of the list!  I warmed up by running on the treadmill, but I cut it short when my foot didn't feel great.  Here is the workout, if you are interested:

Run .25 miles
Box stepups 18# 3x10 each side
Walking lunges 25# 6x10
Bodyweight back extension 3x10
Assisted pullup 70# 3x10
Assisted pullup 50# 3 (failure)
Hamstring cables 10# (10x extension, 10x curl) 3x each side
Deadlift:  45# 10, 65# 3x10, 85# 3x5
Adduction 85# 3x10
Abduction 85# 3x10
Hamstring prone 30# 3x10

Sorry if that notation is weird or doesn't make sense.  As you can see, this was a weights workout focused on deadlifts. I maxed out the third set of deadlifts at 85 pounds.  That means I have probably lost strength since summer, but I wanted to keep my reps high and be careful, considering I haven't deadlifted in several months.

Thursday - 3,000-yard swim, which took about 70 minutes.  I didn't rush, and took breaks between sets.  I love swimming :)

Friday - a one-hour cardio/weights circuit with a group at the gym.  It involved a lot of plyometrics and was really fun.  At the end, I was pleasantly surprised that my foot didn't hurt at all, and I made a mental note to go attend this workout whenever I have the chance.

In the afternoon, I took my road bike out for a little spin...just like six miles.  I am still learning how to operate it, and get used to the speed.  I walked it down one giant hill, because I was worried about going TOO fast and potentially losing control.  I know, I know...I am really scared of traffic and that is going to take some getting used to.

Saturday - an hour on the stationary bike trainer, mostly reading articles about the late Justice Scalia.  What an interesting dude.  I did always enjoy reading the wry wit in his opinions.

Sunday - Rest

I do have a few more things I'd like to address.  This week, I received a few (okay, two) hate-filled emails and several bizarre comments on my Instagram (since deleted).  Apparently, this blog was mentioned on a private message board that I cannot access.  I'd just like to lay a few things out, in case anyone misunderstands my intentions or goals with this blog.

I think it goes without saying, but I do not post about every aspect of my life.  I post the things I believe are 1) related to fitness, and 2) interesting to an audience of strangers.  I spend probably less than one percent of my free time on this blog, which is probably obvious haha.

It has never been my intent that anyone should compare their fitness or their body to mine.  It has never been my intent to show off my body.  I believe fitness is a lifelong pursuit without universal standards, not some particular "achievement" that looks the same on everyone.  I personally strive to get stronger and better at every activity I do, whether it's yoga or hiking or making a paper airplane.  It's just my personality. 

I love and appreciate all my readers, I really do.  I love your comments and emails.  As I do every week, I thank you for reading.  Have a great week!

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Use Your Powers for Good: Set Up a Shoe Drive

Runners know the struggle...

Running is best done with specialized shoes, some of which cost $120 or more.  For some runners, the shoes are unwearable after 300 to 500 miles.  For marathoners, this could be as short as two or three months!  And the "worn out" shoes can still look perfectly rips or tears, no dirt on the outsole, everything seemingly in working order.

These have over 200 miles on them...who knew??!

If you're like me, you have a pile of these used running shoes in your closet.  You know better than to keep running in them, but you can't seem to part with them.  Surely these shoes have some life left in them, right???!!

My husband works for a nonprofit that operates a soup kitchen, boarding house, emergency shelter, food pantry, and clothes closet.  We always notice how many people in the community have inadequate or no shoes.  For people who are on their feet all day, every day, shoes are the first clothing items to be worn out and discarded.  The clothes closet stays stocked with last season's clothing, but shoes are few and far between.

Part of the free clothes closet.
Before:  The closet stays stocked with last season's clothing, but shoes are few and far between.

Right before Thanksgiving, the clothes closet director sent out a mailer with a list of "Things we Need for the Holidays," and it said gently used athletic shoes at the top of the list.  I called to ask whether my used running shoes would be okay, and I was given an enthusiastic YES!!!  As I started piling my shoes by the door, something clicked in my head.  What if other runners in town were also hoarding used shoes?  I made a few quick posts on Facebook, on my own timeline and in a few local running groups.  The response was overwhelming!  It seemed like everyone had at least a few pairs of shoes they wanted to donate.

The first collection.
I ended up putting together a little Facebook event, with a time and a place for a shoe collection.  I timed it to coincide with Thanksgiving week, and called it "Thanksgiving Shoe Drive."  I promoted it to all my runner friends, the track club, and some Facebook groups for runners.

The Trak Shak, a local running store, agreed to "host" the event, and let us pile the shoes on their doorstep during an organized track club long run.  The store owner Jeff was so pumped up about the shoe drive, that he even managed to get about 20 donated pairs from his customers!

After:  Two thirds of these shoes were adopted by new owners within a week!
We ended up collecting 55 pairs of shoes during the official event.  But it didn't end there!  Once word got out, it seemed like everyone had shoes to get rid of.  Over the next month, I collected donations from a local Mormon social group, a gym, a tennis club, and an estate sale.  And the clothes closet director reports that shoes are still in demand.  In fact, we are still actively seeking donations of athletic shoes (I'm looking at you, Birmingham people)!

So, if you are a runner (like 98% of my audience) and you have a cache of shoes that are "used up" but not ugly enough to toss, you can organize a shoe drive of your own!

1.  Find a recipient organization.  I was in touch with homeless shelters, urban church congregations, and women's shelters that were interested in our shoes.  United Way is a great resource for finding a recipient group, because they coordinate with local charities.

2.  Reach out to your runner friends.  Use local clubs, coaching services, collegiate athletic departments, local running shops, and national organizations like Girls on the Run.

3.  Use social media!  Once you have a recipient organization, and bunch of interested runners, promote your drive.  Give it a name and a specific date.  Make a Facebook event.  Promote it on Instagram and Twitter.  See if you can get a local running store interested.

I'm so happy that we managed to get Birmingham runners interested in something like shoe donation, and connected with a charity in need.  Good luck, and let me know if any of you put together something similar in your hometowns!

Monday, February 8, 2016

A Week of Workouts - February 8, 2016

Happy New Year!  Lunar New Year, that is.  I have 14 days off of work right now, and I couldn't be happier.

Also, welcome to my blog, those of you searching for race recaps of the Mercedes Benz Marathon in Birmingham, Alabama. <--  My report from the 2015 race is linked right there, if you are looking for it.  The race is six days away, so I hope you guys are getting pumped up for it!  I will be cheering in Avondale Park, and helping some of my friends with the final two-mile stretch, depending on how my ankle is doing.

And about that ankle...BOOOOO.  It seems problems really compound one another, right?  If you follow me on Strava, then you know I have a bit of an injury brewing right now.  It started Wednesday afternoon, seemingly out of the blue.  I went for a morning run, stayed in my running clothes and shoes (typical haha), then started feeling a twinge in the side of my foot around 2 pm.  The chiropractor said he couldn't detect any skeletal problem, when I went in for my regular weekly appointment.

I tried to run on it the next morning, which was BAD IDEA JEANS.  In my defense, I thought it was just a little "catch" in the bones or maybe some bruising. (Where my fellow weird feet peeps at?  You know what I'm talking about, right?)  I made it about a mile and a half before I decided it was hurting WORSE, and then walked back home.  I haven't run since.

I still managed to get in these workouts:

Monday - Rest, following my eight miler on Sunday.  Which followed a very low mileage week and four days off...SIGH.  Hindsight is 20/20, right?

Tuesday - 5 @ 9:16 on a hilly loop.  This was slow because I did it fasted and felt very weak.

Wednesday - 5.2 @ 8:28 on the same loop as the day before.  I felt better.  Up in the afternoon, my foot started to ache.

Thursday - 3 miles, and bailed after a mile and a half.  I think it ended up around an 11:00 average pace haha.

Friday - 30-minute upper body "push" workout, basically a chest workout with heavy weights.  In case you care, here it is:

Warmup with 3x5 pushups, hands turned inward (to load more weight on the chest, less on the triceps)
3x10 incline press
3x10 bench pushup
3x10 bench press (done as a superset with the above pushups)
3x10 dumbbell flys
3x10 dumbbell Arnold press (I failed the third set and didn't finish)

I had more time, so I got in the pool and swam laps for an hour, about 3,000 yards.  I know this sounds like a crazy-hard workout, but you have to remember that I swam seven days a week, two or more hours a day, for years.  Swimming is a sport where technical knowledge sort of lasts a lifetime, and you can always get in the pool and burn off some steam without exhausting yourself.  I find swimming very relaxing.

Saturday - 90-minute weights workout, including a 30-minute legs circuit, followed by a 60-minute full body track with a trainer.  My gym has these little circuit classes periodically, and any member can jump into them.  They are cardio tracks that keep your heart rate up between sets.  Here was the legs circuit I did:

Warmup with body weight squats
3x10 front barbell squat
3x10 back extension on the Romanian rack (done as a superset with the above squats, mainly so no one would steal my barbell weights)
3x10 leg abductor
3x10 leg adductor
body weight Sumo squats to failure

Sunday - Ashtanga yoga class

Totals - About 13 miles of running, lots of weights, a swimming workout, and a yoga class.

This next week will probably be mostly the same, from what I can tell.  I'm alright with taking this opportunity to get stronger and focus on things other than running.  Even though I am one of those crazy people who actually ENJOYS the feeling of a nice hard run, and I really miss it when I'm on a break.  I have an appointment with my orthopedic doctor two weeks from today.  Even if I'm not feeling better by then, I can get some answers.  Dr. Google seems to think this is a peroneal tendon issue, so I am giving it the rest/ice/NSAID treatment for now.  Maybe it will magically heal?  There's always hope!

Everyone have a great week!

Monday, February 1, 2016

A Week of Workouts - February 1, 2016

Well, here's the post, late and probably full of things no one wants to read.  Oh well.

Life has me really down lately, for a lot of uninteresting reasons.  Family stuff.  Health stuff.  Work stuff.  Other boring adult-y things that don't make good blog fodder.  I will summarize with this little list: 1) a close family member has recently received a frightening medical diagnosis, and it has dramatically changed our day-to-day lives, 2) we were the victim of a crime this past week, and that alone has caused a lot of anxiety, 3) I have been very ill with a high fever, and 4) I am in the process of reorganizing my relationship with my employer, and it is causing me stress and self-doubt. Also,  I would never consider this something "negative," but I have borne a huge amount of solo parenting responsibility over the past few weeks.  That is unlikely to change in the near future.

I am questioning my ability to stay committed to running through all of these things.  I have no races scheduled.  All of this is very depressing to me.  Doubly so when I consider how weak and rundown I feel after a week with the flu.

Enough.  Here are the (nonexistent) workouts.

Monday - 5.26 @ 8:36 around one of my favorite downtown loops.  Typing this seems laughable to me now.  Even today, one week later, I would probably find it impossible to repeat this run at this pace.

Tuesday and Wednesday - too sick to move from the couch/bed for anything other than necessary parenting activities.

Thursday - an hour long yoga class that felt like a 20-mile run

Friday - an hour-long yoga class that felt marginally better

Saturday - finally feeling a bit better, but the track club run was cancelled so I didn't do anything.

Sunday - 8 @ 9:25 on the course for the Mercedes Marathon.  The track club was hosting a 14-mile course preview, and I showed up for the social aspect.  I felt decent enough to run with the 9:30 pace group, so I did most of the run with them.  By mile 7, I was feeling so winded and tired, I just headed home.  That's the beauty of living downtown, I guess.

Now it's Monday and I'll admit I wasn't able to fit a run in today, either.  I had some family stuff to take care of, I had to care for my son, and I couldn't even fit in a trip to the gym (where there is childcare) without disrupting his schedule.  I also had work deadlines to make, which....UGHHHH!  To give you an example of how crazy this makes me, I literally had one of my engineers come OVER TO MY HOME to finalize a contract while my son napped.  We were whispering in the kitchen.  Not even kidding right now. 

I don't know how I am going to make this stuff work, and I am going to be parenting alone again several days this week.  I suppose I could get a sitter, but that seems very selfish for something like a recreational running habit.  I'll decide.

Of course, it is my intent to blog my "running life" through the ups and downs.  I blogged through my spring injury last year, and I will continue to blog through this mess.  I know I will come out on the other side.  After all, fitness is a lifetime undertaking, right?  There have been episodes in my life where I have spent months at a time without any deliberate exercise.  And thus far, they have not managed to make me unhappy or out of shape.

Here's to a better month in February!