There’s always something……….

It’s been a whole year since my first half marathon. And looking back I can’t help but feel jealous of my first 6 months of running – so many firsts (first double digit run, first sub-8 min mile), a new love of sport and fitness (did not see that coming) and most importantly injury free running. No aches, no pains. How did that happen? Beginner’s luck is the most obvious (and unsatisfying) answer.

After 4 full days of rest I headed to the gym on Saturday for an hour of strength training. Sunday was 6.5 miles on the elliptical followed by one mile on the treadmill. It was amazing! I had missed running so much. Monday 3 more treadmill miles + 1.5 miles on the elliptical. Tuesday morning more strength training.

And the good news – my foot feels so much better. A couple of aches and twinges yesterday but completely fine today. I am planning on doing a mixture of running + elliptical this week to ease back in to it.

But there’s always something……..and with me it’s my right knee. I’ve been having some kind of knee pain since the end of January (4 months!). My physiotherapist seems to think it’s due to weak glute muscles and should be ok to run through. But it’s still painful after taking complete rest days. So frustrating!

My current thought is that since my left foot was all tendonitis-y that I was overcompensating with my right knee and aggravating it. So now that my foot is better the knee pain should subside. Right, right………please tell me I’m right. I’m going to see how it goes and arrange a physio appointment for next week. Somebody told me yesterday (at a very strange personal training appointment that I’ll fill you in on later) that I need to be an advocate for my body.

Four months after my first physiotherapist appointment I am feeling worse than ever despite following all her advice and religiously doing all the prescribed exercises. Maybe it’s not me……….maybe I need to try someone new. Someone new who accepts my insurance!

It’s pretty quiet around our place right now. That’s what happens when one person is nursing injuries and the other is doing the last set of long runs for his marathon. We did get a bunch of (much delayed) spring cleaning done including spring comforter. One of my absolute favorite things in the world is getting into a freshly made bed. And we grilled like there was no tomorrow. Eating dinner outside makes everything taste awesome-r.

BBQ pork. J is the man behind the grill. Check out those impressive grill marks. My job is to make the sides. Healthy potato salad and a carrot salad with pine nuts, raisins, cilantro and a cumin-garlic dressing.

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Mexican salad (I think lime and cilantro are my two favorite ingredients). Plus this cool new beer from one of our local breweries. A benefit of having a home-brewer in the house is a constant supply of new beer to try out.

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Paprika potatoes and tequila-glazed chicken thighs. All of our grill recipes come from this amazing book we found at Costco. I think it’s a Cooking Light BBQ book. Everything in it is amazing.

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If you live with me and run 17 miles in one go I will make you pancakes. That is the deal. I hope J reciprocates in 4ish months.

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I also made a trip to REI and picked up a Spibelt ($15 using my coupon). It’ll be holding my phone and Gu s (99 cent each right now at REI) for my next half marathon. I’m hoping to try it out as soon as I can.

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Day 30 – Sunshine and mood swings

I feel like my mood for the last few days have been all over the place. Crappy and down on Saturday. Elated on Sunday. Beyond exhausted on Monday. And back to my normal happy self today. It might not be a coincidence that my two awesome days coincided with sunshine and blue skies. Good weather always puts me in a good mood.

Last night I was seriously in need of comfort food and my go-to is enchiladas. This time it was all-veggie zucchini enchiladas with all the toppings. It was good. Cheesy and with extra avocado.

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I also went to bed before 9.30. I think that maybe my long run took it out of me on Sunday but I needed 8 hours of sleep. I was also hydrating like a crazy person all day. I think chocolate milk might become a staple in my diet from now on.

It all worked and I woke up feeling great and with minimal stiffness in my quads and glutes. Plus another smashing day. Today is a rest day so no running. But I had scheduled a check-up with my physiotherapist……….

Overall it went pretty well. My right foot rotation is improved and my form is better. She massaged the hell out of my quads and glute medius muscle. And I got more homework to do – crab walks and bridge exercises.

I have a serious muscle asymmetry – my right leg is significantly weaker than my left leg and may be the cause of all my problems. So we’re working on strengthening exercises to sort that out. It’s never good when your PT looks your leg up and down and tells you its got issues.

On the plus side she said I could keep at my current volume – a little over 20 miles a week. And my training plan got the official PT approval. And she suggested that I could restart some speedwork – specifically tempo runs! Plus I can have a bigger gap until I see her again. Win. Win. Win.

I’m celebrating with a yoga class to work on my core some more. This is a class I went to almost every Tuesday for a year – Yoga for Athletes. However, by the end of last year I was getting a little tired of it and wanted to shake up my routing so I haven’t been in a while. I am excited that I’m excited to go (if that makes sense). I know if will kick my butt.

Also, I had some thoughts about my long run on Sunday that I wanted to share;

1. Lemon and lime flavored Nuun is so good. A million times better than Grape (Yuck!). It tastes like flat Sprite which is actually pretty tasty to me.

2. I love running down hills. I just have to get my quads to agree.

3. It was a bit too cool to wear shorts. My legs went a little numb especially running in the shade. This happened in my first half marathon – cold and rainy. But I kind of liked it because it felt like I was running a little nekkid – I had to check that I was still wearing shorts!

4. Running under blue skies and sunshine is the best. Well, as long as it’s less than 60F.

Day 16 – Getting a little wiser……………

Today is a rest day. Normally for me that means an active rest day i.e. no running. Instead I do some strength training mainly squats, lunges, calf raises and a ton of core work. I don’t really do real rest days. I guess I think that if I go a whole 24 hours without exercising I’ll turn into a fat slob who gets who will never run a marathon. Needless to say this is ridiculous. I’ve read a million articles saying that rest is important. That we need to let our bodies recover and be refreshed. Why is it so hard to put this into practice?

I’m trying to be smarter about my training. Listening to my body. Being flexible with workouts if I need to be. My knee felt a whole lot better yesterday but still a little painful when going up or down stairs and when I bent it (and started poking my knee-cap – I did this about every half hour to see if I was suddenly and miraculously injury free). A 50 minute session doing nothing but bending my knee was probably not going to help.

So I did something old me would not have done. I am taking a complete rest day. No exercise (other than my PT exercises). I still got up early and got a few extra hours in work. And you know what – my knee feels great. Almost normal and just a little tender.

Tomorrow was originally going to be a short tempo workout but that probably won’t help my injury either so I’m going to do a slow recovery run.

I might finally be getting wiser and that can’t be bad.