Update

Today I did something I rarely do – a lunchtime workout. I wanted to do a swim workout and usually that means hitting the pool after work and getting home late, or going at 6 AM and having breakfast at work. I finally figured out option 3: go during my lunch break. And take advantage of our amazing weather (clear blue skies and in the 50s) for a nice 15 minute walk each way. I am usually stuck in my building from dark til dark these days.

Winter came on Saturday but was gone 4 hours later.

Winter came on Saturday but was gone 4 hours later.

 

Plus I swam 1 mile for the first time – although with a couple of breaks – but I am almost done with my 6 week zero to 1 (continuous) mile swim program. And I could spy the new cardio equipment and 50m pool in the new gym that will be opening in January 2015.

Shiny new gym.

Shiny new gym.

I could get used to three day weeks! No races for me tomorrow. My body (or more specifically – my right foot) just isn’t ready – and I know that I cannot take it easy in a race situation. I’ve managed two 3 mile treadmill runs in the last week. Running is pain free but my hypochondriac injury detector has gone into overdrive.

When I started back with my 1 mile runs I was feeling little aches in weird places (shins for the first time ever and calves as usual) but these went away pretty quickly. I think that my body was just getting used to running again. So one part of me now thinks that I just need to be brave and push myself a little. To toughen up a little. But (there is always a but) I still don’t feel right. It’s hard to explain: I’m not in pain (and certainly not the rapid onset that made me make an emergency appointment with a doctor) but my foot doesn’t feel normal. I’m not sure if this is actual or imagined weakness in my foot, but I think it isn’t doing any harm to be hyper-vigilante as I start to add back the miles. So vigilant that I’m wearing my compression socks today.

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I kinda feel like a superhero – wearing my superhero socks under my regular clothes!

So, like I said no race but tomorrow is a big day. I’m planning to try a short run OUTSIDE on one of my favorite trails with J and my running buddy A. I haven’t run outside since October 16th and I am so excited, especially because the weather here is meant to be unseasonably warm. Thank you Thanksgiving gods!

Seriously, if I ever move back to Ireland or the UK I am bringing Thanksgiving with me. It is just the best holiday ever. Like Christmas without all the pressure of buying gifts. I also like to think of it as practice for eating Christmas dinner which is a huge deal in Ireland (we do turkey AND ham). We will be eating delicious food and hanging out with our awesome friends.

Speaking of delicious foods……….I think enchiladas are my favorite thing ever.

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These ones are black bean and sweet potato (and you know I need to have avocado and jalapenos). But I’ve been making my own sauce for a while and thought I’d share because it is ridiculously easy.

8 oz can of tomato sauce

1/2 tsp cumin

1/4 tsp chilli powder

1-2 cloves of garlic chopped

1 chili in adobo sauce chopped (these are in cans in the Mexican section of the supermarket)

Mix everything in a small pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat. Cover and simmer for 10 mins and it’s ready to pour over. I think I could happily eat this everyday.

Workout summary: 11/17 – 11/26

Mon: 2 mile run + leg strength/stretching

Tues: AM: Yoga

PM: 1600 yds (40 mins)

Wed: 2 mile run + leg strength/stretching

Thurs: AM Yoga

PM 1600 yds (40 mins)

Fri: 2 mile run + leg strength/stretching

Sat: 1600 yds (40 mins)

Sun: 3 mile + full body strength

Mon: Rest!

Tues: 3 mile + leg strength/stretching

Wed: 1650 yds (1 mile!)

Happy Thanksgiving y’all! And if you live in the UK or Ireland I recommend that you take the day off work and have an early Christmas dinner!

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How to get your mojo back

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It’s taken a while but my motivation is back! Thank God! To be totally honest the marathon took a lot more out of me than I expected. Well, not just the race itself but the 18 weeks of training. I was tired and a little sick of running. So what I should have done was take a full two weeks off and enjoyed some rest. But what I did instead was take 4 days off and then start freaking out about my next half marathon. I did a couple of runs – that were all terrible – and ended up with my stress response and some unplanned time off. This actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

No early mornings. No runs in the dark. Lots of rest and recuperation. And now, a little over a month later my mojo has reappeared – 5.40 AM wake up calls, working out almost everyday and I’m loving it (well not first thing when I wake up) and here’s how I got it back.

1. Make your workout part of your schedule. I don’t know about you but when a work meeting is on my schedule it is non-negotiable. I cannot miss it. And when I’m planning my week my workouts go on my schedule and become non-negotiable. I look at my day planner and it becomes another item that I have to do. I don’t have to think about whether I’ll go to the gym or to yoga class – it just happens.

2. Make it easy for yourself. My yoga studio is half a mile from my house. My gym is on my way to work. Same for my local pool. It is easier to go than not. Especially if I change into my workout clothes at work. Or have my swimming gear already in my car. Or have my yoga mat and outfit waiting by my bed. Don’t give yourself the time to talk yourself out of going.

3. Wants and needs. Sometimes – OK a lot of times – when my alarm goes off or when I’m finished work I WANT to go home. Then I have a little talk with myself and woman up. I try to remember how good I’ll feel once I’m done, and try to think long term. But sometimes you NEED to take a break. Some days you need to have that extra hour in bed. Or that ache could benefit from a days rest. Be honest with yourself about what you’re feeling – do you want to or need to take a break?

4. Find a buddy. Time flies when you’re having fun, right? Plus, friends can turn into great accountability-buddies. Lucky for me, J is a morning person. In fact, I used to think that he was crazy for getting up early to workout. How times have changed! But when he’s up and getting ready for yoga class in the early hours it’s a lot easier for me to get up and follow him.

5. Set mini goals. For this break from running I wanted to do a different form of cardio, so I picked swimming. I’ll tell you right now that I am not a swimmer. Sure, I learned the basics when I was a kid but I never swam in high school (high school sports are not a thing in Ireland unfortunately) or college. So basically I had no idea what to do in a pool. I found a 6 week couch to 1 mile swim program. A short program with designated and progressive workouts finishing in a one mile swim. That is perfect for me (although it might not work for everyone) and gives me a short goal to work on while I get back to running.

6. Treat yourself. I don’t know about everyone else but I love cute workout gear. So after a couple of swim sessions in my very old swimsuit (and after my goggles broke right at the start of one workout) I hit up the REI sale and picked up a new TYR suit and goggles. And I was excited to go and try out my new gear- > added incentive to workout!

7. Develop a habit. Being consistent is the number one key to getting and staying fit (whatever fit means to you). Like most things those first few workouts are going to be hard. But it gets better. You might have to force it at first but once you develop those habits it’s easier to keep them going.

So, I’ve got my mojo working for me! I hope you have found yours!

2 miles and feeling great!

Well the return to running is going great. 2 treadmill miles at 6 AM on Monday morning. No pain running and no aches later in the day. I think I might be back! One of the greatest feelings is going about your normal day (up and down stairs, walking to and from work) and realizing “Nothing hurts!”. I’ve had so many recurrent, but not serious injuries, for most of 2014 – that it SOOOO nice to be able to do everything and not hurt anywhere. I had forgotten how good it feels to just be healthy. I’m loving it! My plan is to gradually increase my mileage until I’m back in the 25ish mile per week range. My marathon training will being at the end of January so I have a ton of time and am in no rush to get back – especially because it is freezing right now! Not much snow yet in SLC (although the first of the ski resorts is opening today) but BRRRRR! I think we’re back above freezing today.

I think the the marathon left me burnt out. It has taken me a month to feel ready to get back into the swing of things. Now those 5.40 AM wake up calls don’t seem so bad. I’m excited to work out – prepping meals at the weekends so that I can fit everything in and still eat healthy. My swimming program is going nicely – 2/3 of the way through and ready to hit 1000 yds tonight. My body feels fresh and the “softness” that came with taper time is gone and I’m feeling in great shape. Woohoo!

And then there’s food.

Rice, beans and salsa for Skinnytaste burrito bowls. And salmon fishcakes.

Rice, beans and salsa for Skinnytaste burrito bowls. And salmon fishcakes.

I had a weird (and unseasonal) craving for homemade Caesar salad dressing.

I had a weird (and unseasonal) craving for homemade Caesar salad dressing.

J's soda bread.

J’s soda bread.

And J's homemade chicken pot pie was amazing!

And J’s homemade chicken pot pie was amazing!

As soon as it gets cold outside I want to get in the kitchen and cook me up some comfort food.

We also went to see the first play of the season – we have tickets for one of the local theaters here in SLC.

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One Man, Two Guv’nors – set in Britain in the 60s musical/comedy/slapstick. I loved it! Usually a dark room after 10 PM is a sure thing to make me fall asleep but I loved this especially the music interludes where people played washboards, drums, and a bare chest.

A tentative return

Running injuries suck – I think everyone can agree with that. But one of the hardest things about an injury (at least for newish runners like myself) is knowing when it’s OK to start running again. For this I rely on my doctor’s advice (REST REST REST) and listening to my own body. I took two weeks completely off from running – but supplemented with swimming and biking which were completely pain free. After the first week my foot (diagnosed with stress response AKA if you don’t stop this will become a stress fracture) was feeling great so I decided to test it out. 1 mile on the treadmill – and it felt fine. The next day I was a little achy but this went away pretty quickly. So I kept it up – running every second day with a 5 min walking warm-up and followed by lots of stretching and foot strengthening exercises.

I bumped it up to 1.5 miles this week and my foot is still feeling good (total mileage 7.5 miles for the month). But I am freaking out about every little ache or pain – hypochondriac right here. On one hand I want to get back to running ASAP but I do not want to injure myself in the process. The day after my second comeback run my shins were feeling sore – then I remembered that I have the tightest calves in the world and need to remember to stretch them everyday. And volia – shin pain disappeared. But (there is always a but) my foot still doesn’t feel quite right. I can’t quite figure out what is wrong (and it’s definitely not the stress response issue) so I might have to rest a little more. Or at least continue with my constant body surveillance and decide for myself when an ache is really a pain.

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But workouts are still happening.

Sat: 1.5 mile run + strength session at gym

Sun: Swim (1500 yds) + yoga (first class in 4 weeks!)

Mon: 1.5 mile run + strength

Tues: Swim (1500 yds)

Wed: 1.5 mile run + strength

So lots of swimming (I’m about 2/3 of the way thru my 0 – 1 mile swim program) and lots of core + leg work. I’m actually feeling pretty good and like I haven’t lost that much fitness. Also, today was the first time since the marathon where I’ve gotten up before 6 AM to workout. Of course, I did pick the coldest day of the year to do that. But it seems like I’ve suddenly got my energy and motivation mojo back. And if you live with me that means baked goods.

Chocolate chip zucchini bread and pumpkin granola AKA breakfast this week.

Chocolate chip zucchini bread and pumpkin granola AKA breakfast this week.

AAnd some non- homemade treats.

I did use the dough to make the cookies and it was amazing. Fresh made cookies need to be eaten with ice cream.

I did use the dough to make the cookies and it was amazing. Fresh made cookies need to be eaten with ice cream.

And because John was out of town all last week (and I was somehow way more busy than usual hence my complete lack of posting) I managed to catch up on my new favorite shows – How to Get Away With Murder and the Mindy Project.

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It seems like today is our first real taste of winter out here in SLC – I am currently wearing a million layers to stay warm – but we were treated to some beautiful sunsets last week. Luckily for me my offside is west facing and I get to take in the view before I leave for home (in the dark).

From work last week.

From work last week.

On the way to yoga on Sunday.

On the way to yoga on Sunday.

Any tips for returning from injury?