Today, Records Fell.

The older two kids went to my mother’s last night, so this morning husband and I had a little bit of a sleep-in with the baby.  It was quite nice, actually.  We all ate breakfast together and after my second coffee, I started to get the itch to go for a run.  It’s been four days since I last ran – the last one was a hill repeat and while my legs felt pretty good, I knew I wanted to try for another 10km this week, so I took a few days off to rest.

After the baby went down for his nap, I set out on my run.  As usual, my legs felt tight for the first few kilometers, and once they loosened up a stupid stitch in my right lower ribcage started nagging me.  Around 5km, I started to need a few extra 20-30 second walk breaks which were annoying and I felt like I wanted to just throw in the towel.  But I kept going, walking and stretching when I needed to.  Then, around 7km, I headed toward a splash pad that I knew had a water fountain and I prayed it was still working.  (Our city closes most water parks after Labour Day.)  To my absolute delight and utter relief, the splash pad was running.  So, not only did I stop for a drink of water, I also ran through the water a few times to cool off.

waterparkmewetsplash

I felt energized after that and kept going.  The damn side stitch came back though and made the last 2km tough.  It wasn’t until I got home that I realized I beat my first two 10km times by almost 3.5 minutes!  Say whut?!?!  I have no idea how that happened.  I certainly didn’t run a negative split, but I suppose a few faster splits made all the difference.  I also wonder if the hills I’ve been doing once a week may also be helping.  You tell me!

split1split2

fast10kTo say I was surprised at my time is a bit of an understatement.  Shocked is more like it.  I felt so incredibly sluggish through most of this run, not to mention having to abandon some of my intervals to walk a bit extra here and there, I feel like I can hardly say this was a solid 10km.  But then again, I did travel a distance of 10 km and overall ran about 85% of it, so I should probably stop beating myself up about it.

Then, about an hour after the run, husband wanted to go for a bike ride with me and the baby.  A couple of friends of ours joined us and we had a fantastic afternoon.  I saw a blue heron, a crazy mudslide, and we rode 21.9 km.

mudslideblueheron

cycling

After a much-needed shower, I took a nap.

On this Saturday, records fell, indeed.

Recovery.

Last week, I ran 5 days out of 7.

You can probably guess that my knee has been feeling a lot better.  Except for the little “click” I keep hearing on the opposite knee every time I walk down stairs. But it doesn’t hurt, so I’m going to ignore it. In fact I think it might be gone today.

Now that I have run my goal of 10 km (okay, so only once, but still, I did it!), I feel like I need to set another goal.  While I fully intend on running that 10 km again, I want to improve my endurance.  Before all the injuries set in, I was running 5 km at a steady pace, with no walking.  I know that running:walking is a common practice for even the long distance runners, but there is still a small part of me that thinks that if I call myself a runner, I should be able to run a distance, you know?  Must be that type-A personality coming through.

Last week, I drove to the waterfront and had a fabulous run on the boardwalk.  I don’t know if it was the scenery that helped, but I found some energy the last kilometer and had my fastest kilometer in quite some time!  I was so excited.  I even had my first negative split!

neg split

So, the last couple of runs, I have changed things up a bit (yet again!).  I ran the first kilometer straight, it was about 7.5 minutes. Then I walked for a minute.  Then I ran the next kilometer straight, then walked for a minute.  Repeat x 4 km.  I have no idea if this is even a thing, but there you have it. After two runs like that, my legs were feeling the strain.

Being the good girl that I am, I took the last 2 days off. My legs needed it. I was really tempted to run last night, but I didn’t.  Partly because I was so damn tired, but mostly because I was too busy eating these little guys.

cookies

So, of course after eating far too many of these cookies, I really felt like I needed a run, but instead I sat my butt down on the couch and cross stitched for the rest of the evening. I had every intention of waking up this morning and going for a run. I don’t work on Mondays and thought it would be good to get the run out of the way and before it got too hot.  Yeah, well, it didn’t happen.

I blame the cookies.

Am I Losing Ground?

I haven’t run in a week. I wish I could say the ankle feels better but it doesn’t. It feels really, really tight and there’s this one spot that hurts when I massage it – the spot where the tendon inserts on the calcaneous.

I’m seeing a physiotherapist tomorrow. She helped me a lot when I developed an IT band issue a few months after I started first running.

I really wanted to test the ankle today but when I woke up and looked outside there was about 10-15cm of snow on the ground. Didn’t seem like a very good idea to test the ankle in those conditions.  Instead, I got on the exercise bike for 40 minutes.  So not the same.

Just when the injury hit, I could run almost 40 minutes straight without stopping. My cardiovascular endurance is the best it’s ever been despite having the extra 15 lbs I’m carrying around. I worry that all of that will be lost when (not if!) I start running again.

My mood has been shit this past week. I thought it was just from not being able to run but I think it’s also hormonal. The baby hasn’t nursed in over a week now. I’ve been more emotional about it but not in the way you’d think. Instead it’s coming out as frustration and impatience, particularly when it comes to the older two kids. And that makes me feel guilty.

Dammit, I just want to run.

I really hope this physio does the trick.

Sunday Run.

I took a two-day rest after my first run with the cleats.  All of my lower leg muscles (the “stabilizers”) were on fire and I knew I should rest.  I few doses of Advil helped a lot and this morning I set out for my self-imposed “easy, steady 30 min run”.

As often happens, the distance/time that I intend on running is not what actually happens, for better or worse.

Today it was for the better.  It was starting to snow a little bit so I put the cleats on and set out.  After the first few minutes I knew that my legs felt stronger already; I felt steadier on the cleats this time.

Ten minutes into the run I started flirting with the idea of going longer, going further.  My route had some traffic lights, so I had to stop a few times and stretched the legs.  Thirty minutes of running turned into thirty-five, then forty.  I had a distance in mind and my legs (and lungs) seemed to tell me I could do it.  I had a little bit of soreness in both ankles and in the soleus muscles but I pushed through.

How far did I go?

photo(1)

Another Hurdle!

Day 29 – January Daily Blog Posting Month.

I’ve got a cold. My nose is a leaky faucet of mucus and I’m coughing up stuff. My head feels thick. I blame the middle child as he’s had the same for the past 10 days.

I woke up today feeling awful but had to get out of bed to help husband round-up the kids for school. After everyone was dropped off husband and I took the baby downtown to a shopping mall.

You know some days you try on clothes and nothing feels or looks right? Well, today that didn’t happen. I scored some great deals on a few tops and a kick ass pair of CK jeans. Here’s a shot of one of the tops I picked up.

20140129-144658.jpg

It’s so gratifying to try on clothes and not think you look awful in everything. The exercising and healthy dinners and my no-dessert rule has made such a huge difference this past month. Not only am I losing weight but I feel good. The kale salads we are having 2-3 times a week are so hearty and filling that I don’t miss the big meals we used to have.

So, to keep the momentum of feeling good going, I decided to go for a run and focused on hill training. Keep in mind it’s -12°C outside today with a windchill of -23°C. I was bundled up and got warm pretty fast, except for my cheeks.  I might have a touch of frostbite.  I ran to a local hill and took it up and down six times and … Wait for it … I did it (total 3.64km) in 33 minutes with no walking intervals!!!!!

Most of my runs before getting pregnant were 5:1s and 10:1s and the longest I could go without walking was about 20 minutes.  I probably could have run longer, I just never tried.

I am so stoked right now, I can’t describe how happy I am and how proud of myself I am.

Yay me!!!

Nearing the End …

Day 29.  National Blog Posting Month.

As this month draws to a close, I have wondered what my postings will be like in December.  Can I continue the daily posts?  Will I take a break from the blogosphere or will I soldier on?

The decision was taken out of my hands.  I’ve had my first request to write about specific topics and I plan to tackle those in December.  A friend from medical school messaged me the other day asking that I write about sleep training, having more than one child, and balancing work/home life. I am certainly no expert in any of these topics, but I can draw from personal experience and together with a bit of research, I think I can offer my readers some food for thought.   These are all great topics and I thank her for suggesting them.  You know who you are!

So, today I got to sleep in for about an hour and what a blissful hour that was!  I spent the morning at the local electronics store with my best boys to pick up some new cordless phones. It was a beautiful, crisp sunny morning.  For the first time in a week I didn’t feel completely exhausted.

We got back around noon and I decided it was a great afternoon for a run.  I suited up, had my route planned out in my head and went for it.  Twenty-seven odd minutes later, I was home again, having run my furthest distance yet, a whopping 3.4 kilometers.  I ran intervals of 3:1 (run/walk minutes) but the last five minutes I have it everything I had an ran it straight home.  I was so proud of myself!  Despite the cold air and my burning lungs, I was able to run again for five minutes.  That felt great!!!  It’s a sign that my physical endurance is returning and it’s happening much faster than I thought it would.

Yet, despite the great feeling I had during and just after my run, suddenly a profound fatigue has fallen upon me and I desperately feel like I need a nap.

Baby steps, right?

The Road to 10K

Bad blogger.  It’s 13 days into November and this is my first post of the month.  I have had a bit of a writer’s block, struggling to come up with a catchy phrase or topic to write about.  It’s not for lack of interesting cases coming through my office door or hilarious antics from my children.

I’ve been focussed on work and on running.

I haven’t written about running in a while.  Back in September, I developed some lateral knee pain which most of my running friends told me was probably related to a tight IT band.  They were right!  I saw a physiotherapist and after a few sessions and advice on changing my running gait, the pain disappeared and I was back on track.  I continued to run intervals of 5:1 and got my 5K down to about 35 minutes.

Then I saw a patient who is a marathon runner and we talked about running.  He suggested that I run for time, not distance. His feeling was that if I learn to run for 45 minutes, eventually the distance will come.  It was an interesting challenge. I was curious to see if I could run for 20 minutes without stopping.  So one night in October, I had only about 20 minutes to run, so I went out and did it.  The next run was 25 minutes, and the one after that was 30 minutes.  Boo ya!  I could do it!  Damn, those runs felt great.

Then Plaguetober hit and I got into a running rut. I went almost 8 days without running and boy, was I feeling sluggish.  It took a few runs to get back into it and I hadn’t felt the soreness and stiffness in my legs for a while. I didn’t like that feeling.   I had dropped a good 6 lbs from the stomach flu, so I was keen to get back to work and keep those extra pounds off.  However, with a recent mini-vacation away to celebrate my mother’s 72nd birthday, I don’t think that was a realistic goal!  (haha!)

Anyway, I was ready for a good run.  I mapped it out in my head and my goal was 6km.  And I did it by running  6-7 minute intervals (with 1 minute walk breaks).  I can’t describe the euphoric feeling when I looked at the MapMyRun app and saw that I finished 6.2km in 44 minutes.  YES!!!  I am by no means anywhere close to that marathoner but for me, having never run before, and basically getting up off the couch to 6km in 4 months is something I am beyond proud of.  Having my daughter ask me, “Mommy, are you going out for a run?”  – well, it’s the best thing in the world.

My brother asked me recently what my goal was.  A marathon?  I told him I had no set goal in mind.  I am just running to keep healthy and feel good.  But the more I think about it, the more I think I’d like to be able to say I can run 10k.  Maybe when I reach that goal, I’ll say that I want to run a half-marathon.  I don’t know.  All I do know is that I’m just going to run.