Monday, April 02, 2012
March, March, March... There's so much I want to say about you, but I'll try to be nice.
While looking at my running calendar, I'm the sure the first thing that jumps out is the huge empty space in the middle of the month. If you've been following my blog, this should come as no surprise to you. If you haven't, well, here's the 4-1-1.
Sat Mar 10 - which shows as a 3.7 mile run, was supposed to be a 9 mile run. The preceding Thursday was my birthday. I took the day off because both my wife and daughter were sick and because it was my birthday. I ran in the morning and then played outside with my daughter. At some point in the morning, around noon, my back stiffened up. When Saturday rolled around, I hoped my run would loosen it up. I tried to run and my back tightened up so badly that I could barely walk or even stand and my dad (my parents were visiting for the weekend) had to come pick me up.
My friend came in to town the next weekend to see us and run a half marathon that we had signed up for on the 17th. Needless to say, I did not run and instead babysat while he and his wife ran the 5k, instead. That was depressing and a relief at the same time. I was relieved that I didn't have to race him - which he had been determined to do - but I had really been looking forward to the race and the very real possibility of breaking 2 hours for the first time. So, it was still disappointing that I had to sit out. On top of that, he ran a 26:11 for his 5k, and I knew that based on my most resent self-timed 5k's that I could have beaten him by at least 2 minutes, and probably would have easily handled him in the half marathon.
Anyway, 2 weeks of rest and 3 chiropractor visits later, I began running again on Sat the 24th. Slowly, but surely, trying to build my way back up to half marathon ready status while hoping that my back was indeed healthy enough for running.
So far, so good. I keep praying for continued progress. I ran 5 miles on Mar 31 and 6 miles on Apr 1, so Lord willing, I'm in good position with just under 3 weeks left until my big races.
So, on the positive side, it looks like my two weeks off gave my body a couple weeks of much needed rest which is probably not a bad thing as I get ready for an endurance challenge.
And apparently, I had miscalculated how many weeks I had between my March race (that I missed) and my April races. I thought I had only 4 weeks in between, but figured out this week that I actually had 5 weeks. That is making my recovery easier than I expected. After last week, I thought I had only 2 weeks left before my races, only to figure out this weekend that I actually have 3. Sweet! That really helps eliminate the desire to rush myself back into racing shape.
On the disappointing side - other than the missed race and workouts - I fell way short of the expectation of a second month exceeding 100 miles. But those are just statistics and merely means to an end. As long as I can still finish my goal races, a few missed workouts are nothing to worry about.
So, all in all I am not really any worse off than I was before my back flared up, other than having some chronic back soreness and being in the odd scenario of having to build UP to my races rather than tapering down.
In summary, I am still on track to finish my races in April. I may not run them quite as fast, but I wasn't planning to try to PR in either of them, anyway, and have no real time goals in place at all. As long as I finish them both, I'll be happy and still qualify to be a Half Fanatic!
Now, looking forward to April.
For April, I'm looking at finally getting back to my usual running schedule, this week, and only departing from the schedule when I determine how far I'm ready to run this Saturday. I'm scheduled for 12, but since by the end of this week I won't have run more than 6 miles in 5 weeks, I will instead try for a slow 9 or 10 (probably 10) just to confirm to myself that I'm still in shape to run that far. More a confidence builder than anything else.
Also, since I just had two weeks off and will not actually be racing (just running) in my two races, I am seriously considering doing just a one week taper to make sure I get enough long distance training in to ensure the muscle memory is there for running 10+ miles.
Other than my races, what is going to be the most interesting part of April? My Wildland Fire Pack Test on the 25th - just 3 days after my races. Walking (no running allowed) 3 miles, wearing 40lbs, in under 45 minutes. Of course, after running 13.1 miles on back-to-back days that should be a cinch, right?
Anyway, I'm praying for no unplanned blank days in April, and if I only do 3 things this month, they are my races and my pack test. Anything else is unimportant as long as I can complete those.
It's gut check time!
Friday, March 30, 2012
Today, I ran with my daughter for the first time!
Well, I was the only one running, but it did actually happen!
This morning our daughter (who just turned 22 months) decided to sleep lightly and woke up twice when I clumsily knocked over random objects as I tried to get ready to go for my run. So, I decided to just stay home and go back to sleep so that she would stay asleep and wouldn't wake up again when I left and then again when I got back.
I just couldn't skip my run, so instead, I planned to run tonight. However, I forgot that my wife already had plans to go out with her sister and a friend. So, what was I to do?
Well, my wife had found a jogging stroller on Craigslist a year and a half ago that we bought so we could use it for longer walks and possibly actually for running with. My wife used it a number of times while training for her half marathon last fall and our daughter seemed to like it and would often fall asleep in it, but wouldn't always last the entire run before melting down. I had only used a few times while on walks with my wife and daughter - never on my own or for actual running.
So, to get my run in, I decided to give it a shot and see if our daughter would be able to enjoy it since she hadn't used it in at least 3 months and would probably enjoy the faster speed of running as opposed to our slow family walks. I wasn't sure how happy she would be and if she would last the full 4 miles I planned to do - especially since it was not too long before her dinner time - so I decided to just start out with the idea of doing only 2 and then seeing how she did. If she was done, I would at least have run 2 miles. If she seemed happy, I would keep running and see if I could run all 4.
As it turned out, she had a great time. She had her snack trap and a water bottle strapped to the stroller and they kept her full and hydrated. She loved the scenery and would often look up at me and smile and laugh or point out random things. For my part, I tried to ask her questions or point out various things for her to see, which was difficult to do while running, so I ended up not talking too much, but fortunately, she enjoyed herself and most of my chatter was not needed. And she was cute and adorable and got waves from a few passing drivers. We did the full 4 miles and she probably could've done more!
When we finished, I started my usual cool down walk. She immediately looked back at me and said "More run! More run!" I told her that daddy was tired and finished running and that it was time to walk. Boy, what a slave driver she is!
Maybe I'll have to take her out for a few more runs this Spring before the weather really starts to heat up.
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
After a rest day, yesterday, I was able to run a full 3 miles, this morning. I also did it without stopping to walk every half mile to see if my back would tighten up. My back did not tighten up and I feel no worse than I did before my run.
I am still nervous before every run, however, because my back seems to be at its tightest right when I wake up. This morning, our daughter woke up at 4am and while I leaned over her crib and patted her back to sleep I could really feel the tightness in my back. So, when I got back to bed, I clumsily plugged in the heating pad and laid on it for the next hour until my alarm went off. Either I was over cautious, or the heating pad worked, because when I got up with my alarm, my back felt much looser.
Anyway, so I'm torn on how much I should run tomorrow and Thursday. I want to run either two or three miles tomorrow, and then I'm not sure if I should run 3 miles, 4 miles, or push up to 5 miles. I'm thinking I should back off to 2 miles, tomorrow, and then only move up to 4 on Thursday. Then I can try either 5 or 6 on Saturday, if all goes well.
In other news, I read a blog over the weekend of someone who was excited to have done a full push-up that included touching their chest to the floor at the bottom. I felt rather envious and decided I need to try and see if I could do it, too.
I tried it on Sunday and I was excited that not only was I able to do one full push-up including touching my chest to the floor, I was able to finish a full set of 10 and felt like I could have done a few more! But, I held off to make sure I didn't over-do it and hurt my back. But, I still did 10! Very cool!
And I also did a couple of pull-ups without feeling any twinges in my back. I definitely am holding off on doing many of those, too, but one or two is more than none.
Definitely seeing some good progress, tho. Very encouraging.
Saturday, March 24, 2012
This morning I ran 1 mile.
Baby steps to get back to running for my races in 3 weeks.
I made sure stretched out my back beforehand. Something I usually don't do, but I wanted to take every precaution.
I have to say that I was very scared (nervous?) when I started running. How would my back hold up? Would it hurt right away? Would it tighten up turning my run? At the beginning? The end? Would it tighten up after my run?
As I started off I was conscious of every single step. Hoping that each one wouldn't lead to a twinge or a cramp in my back.
At the halfway point I stopped and walked a couple steps, then turned around to head back. This was the test to see if it had tightened up unnoticed. When I started running back there was no tightening. So far so good.
When I finished, I had run my mile in 10:30. Nothing fast, but not too slow. Just an easy pace. I did feel like my back was a little more tight and sore than when I started, but when I started I wasn't 100%, and if it had tightened up, it wasn't so much as to be obviously more than before. I was able to walk around and bend over and pull some weeds and pick up some trash that had blown into the yard.
I was sure that my back had tightened up, some, but not that much. As I walked around the house and did the laundry and a few odds and ends, I constantly took stock to see how my back was doing. Within an hour or so, any lingering soreness from my run seemed to be gone and I was none the worse for wear.
So, I don't think I'm completely out of the woods, yet, but I think if I take it slowly, I should be okay. Tomorrow I run two miles, then Monday is a rest day. So, we'll see how that goes and then decide what I will do on Tuesday.
I don't foresee running my scheduled 12 miles next weekend. So, instead of a taper down to my races in two weeks, I will probably have to build up to my races to make sure I don't do too much too soon. But, 1 mile is 1 mile closer to being back.
Friday, March 23, 2012
I've dutifully abstained from running for the past 2 weeks. I've seen the chiropractor 3 times, with yesterday being my last visit. My back is in alignment. It's feeling much better - tho not yet 100%.
So, tomorrow I will attempt to run 1 mile.
If I can do it without aggravating my back, it will be a big step forward.
If I can't, it will be a huge set back that will throw all my plans into a tailspin.
So, I'm trying not to stress about it. Whatever happens will happen. But, it's so frustrating that just two weeks ago I was heading out for a 9 mile run and tomorrow I am going to see if I can handle just 1. Three weeks ago I ran 12 miles, and 29 total miles for the week.
The last two weeks I've run zero miles... and if I can run 1 mile tomorrow, Sunday I will see if I can run two. Baby steps.
I know I won't lose all of my training, but it still makes me so frustrated and nervous.
But, I've got to be smart and take it slowly. So, more back exercises and less running until I can build back up over the next week or two.
I'm keeping my fingers crossed. One mile at a time...
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