Hello again! Last week was a much needed break from blogging – busy at work and stressful personal stuff do not make a good combination. But luckily this weekend has been the definition of relaxing and worry-free. And we finally got into the Christmas spirit. Tree. Check. Cards mailed. Check. Gifts purchased. Check-ish.
So let’s rewind to workouts. I was trail running with a friend this week (more on those runs later) when she asked me if my foot pain is real or psychosomatic. And I wasn’t sure. I know that when I’m distracted or running then my foot doesn’t hurt. But I’m terrified of getting a stress fracture so I get random foot pains and convince myself that I’ve broken my foot. That is super duper fun. As well as that, after every run I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop……..so to speak………..really I’m waiting to get punished for daring to try.
As someone who never exercised regularly growing up I’ve always found it hard to trust my own opinion of how my body is feeling. I seek reassurance from PTs or doctors to hold my hand and tell me when I should push myself a little harder. Having to rely on my own judgement for this is scary. I’m scared of making the wrong decision – and maybe this is a reflection of my life in general. The fear of choosing the wrong thing and being full of regrets. I know that I need more faith in myself. In my own judgement. And not being so afraid – of failing, getting it wrong, admitting I f*cked up.
So that’s what I’ve been doing. Running when I’m a little scared – of triggering my injury, getting a compensation injury. Believing that I am more resilient than I believe. Aren’t we all our own harshest critics? I know that this is true for me. I hold myself to much higher standards than I expect from anyone else. The one thing I have noticed is that yoga seems to aggravate my foot – probably due to the one-footed balancing – so I’m taking a break from that. My gym is also out of action until mid-January so strength training isn’t really an option right now either. Cardio it is!
Sat: 2000 yd swim (this is the half iron-man distance 1.2 miles)
Sun: 4.2 mile trail run + PM skiing!
Mon: 2000 yd swim
Tues: 4.2 mile trail run
Wed: 1350 yd swim
Thurs: 3.9 mile run
Fri: 4.35 mile trail run
Sat: 2500 yd swim (fastest mile 37.05 minutes, and longest distance!)
Sun: 5.3 mile run
My doctor recommended that my return to running should be on softer surfaces – so for me that means plenty of trail runs. I’m lucky to live in Salt Lake City where it is easy to get to a trail-head in 10-15 minutes (including a whole bunch right by my workplace). Although they tend to be full of hills.
One route I’ve been running is a little over 4 miles with 500 ft of elevation change plus beautiful views over the valley. I’ve been lucky in that both J and my trail running buddy A have made these runs so fun – plenty of chatting which keeps the pace manageable. Most of these runs have also been at lunchtime which gives me the rare pleasure of daylight running in winter. It was even in the 60s for our run on Friday!
On Tuesday we tackled Dry Creek canyon. I ran this a lot during the summer. It’s one tough uphill run – a little over a mile non-stop uphill with 426 ft elevation gain in that distance (800 ft total for the whole run). It is hard and I couldn’t quite make it to the top without stopping for a walk break. It was a little discouraging – I used to run ALL the way to the top in the summer – so I know that I’m not where I was during marathon training. Although why that was surprising to me I have no idea. I haven’t been running the same mileage, tempo runs or hill work so why should I magically retain that fitness? I guess I needed to get a reality check.
What I like about trail running is my complete lack of interest in pace/split times. I personally believe that trail running improves your running efficiency – it shortens your stride, strengthens your feet/ankles, and works your cardiovascular system in a way that seems fun (well……..most of the time). One of my main goals for 2015 is to do longer trail runs in the ski resorts in Park City and enter some trail races. (I always thought that these races were for crazy people………..so um yeah I think I’m turning into a crazy person).
The other running option is a local park about 1 mile away that has a wood-chip 1.5 mile trail around it. We had plenty of rain here yesterday so when I went for my run today there was a real spring in my step. I had no expectations for this run except that I wanted to run at least 5 miles. When I left my house it was 33F and snowing lightly and I felt great. So I pushed it a little – 8.08/8.07/8.10/7.55 for 4 miles. And the first time I’ve seen a sub-8 minute mile in two months. After that excitement I decided to be sensible and slow it down for the way home. Overall, 5.3 miles at 8.14 min/mile pace. And it felt awesome! I might not be in peak shape but I can see myself getting there again.
The other thing that you may have noticed is that ski season has started. We haven’t gotten a ton of snow here in Utah yet but I wanted to test out my ski legs. So last weekend we headed up to Alta for a couple of hours of skiing – $10 for 1.5 hours. 5 runs and no quad burn. That is usually the factor that puts an end to my ski day. Luckily the green runs didn’t kick my butt too much this time.
So I think I might be finally ready for winter…….