Sunday, July 29, 2012

Week 8 Recap

Total Milage:
3 Tuesday outside
5 Wednesday treadmill
4 Thursday treadmill
15 Saturday outside with marathon training group
Total: 27

I was able to get all the runs done this week and I was pleased with myself.  Also, I was only supposed to run 13 Saturday, but I decided to try for 15.  15 miles is the most that I've ever run at one time.  I'm happy that I completed the run with minimal issue, but I'm scared since I'll have to run 11.2 more in order to complete the marathon.  But, the marathon isn't until October so I have plenty of time to get comfortable with longer distances.

Also, I ran all the miles without tape on my right knee.  My physical therapist told me not to use the tape anymore.  He told me that the tape is only effective up until about 6 miles.  The sweat from your body mixes with the tape and makes it less effective I guess.  So, technically I ran 7 out of the half marathon without tape.  I figured I'd give it a try and see how my legs would hold up.

Tuesday's 3 miler was a sub 9 minute per mile effort and I felt pretty good about it.  The weather was somewhat cooler at night so I ran around the lake by my subdivision.  I felt good throughout the whole run.  As per usual, I felt my ITBs get tight post run, but the tightness went away after walking and using the foam roller on it.

I was supposed to run 6 on Wednesday.  I also got gait analysis done as well so I was able to leave work early, take an earlier train home and hit the gym for 4 miles prior to an appointment I had that evening.  It was really awesome how that worked out honestly because I don't know how I would have gotten it done otherwise.  I got one mile done while getting gait analysis done so that helped out as well (see more below).

I didn't have any issues on Thursday's treadmill run so that was good.

I highly recommend that all you runners out there get gait analysis done.  It's as important as having proper fitting shoes.  It's very hard to see how you are running unless someone films you.  For me, I hardly think about my form when I'm running because I'm just worried about completing the run usually in a certain amount of time.  

NovaCare has a facility in the Fitness Formula Club in Union Station where they have therapists who do gait analysis.  The therapist had me run through some tests.  The tests included muscle strength and balance.  He then put some tape on my heels, calves and knees so he could see them better on the film.  

He had me walk on the treadmill for a few minutes and then he had me run.  He filmed me from various angles.  After the run, he provided me with some commentary on my form.  Here's what I found out:

1. My kick does not go back far enough.  So, I'm landing too far out front instead of landing more underneath my body.
2. My left leg is coming out to the side and I'm striking on the outside of my foot.  My leg should be coming out straight and I should be landing on the middle of my foot more.  I also heal strike.
3. My weak hips and gluteus are contributing to parts of this.

The therapist will write a report which will be given to my physical therapist.  We will review it and he will give me some tips on how to correct my form.  I'm looking forward to it!

So, I was only supposed to run 13 miles on Saturday but I decided to try for 15 instead.  We ran along the Des Plaines River Trail south and we ran by the business areas in Vernon Hills.  I don't know exactly where we where when we turned around, but I think we ran past the entrance to the trail from Milwaukee Road by the LifeTime Fitness.

Our main group leaders decided to turn around and go back a little past the 6.5 mile marker.  We had reached a hydration station.  There were a handful of us that decided to run 15 so we kept going until we reached the 7.5 mile marker. 

Mentally, I struggled toward the end of the run.  My calves were burning and my IT bands were starting to pull a little, but nothing too painful.  And, I had to use the bathroom about 3.5 miles into the run, but I foolishly decided to try to hold it despite passing the bathrooms a few times.  

Also, it didn't help that our pace group leader went way too fast for a little bit on the run.  We were running 9:30 miles instead of 10:00 minute miles.  I probably was more tired at the end since I tried to catch up with her.  There were about four of us toward the front of our pack.  Two runners went faster toward the end whereas I fell back.  Thankfully, another runner, Emily was running with me.  She kept me motivated since I really wanted to just start walking.  She told me that we only had .4 to go so we ran it in together.  We stopped as soon as her Garmin hit 15 miles.  We congratulated each other and started to stretch while waiting for the others in our group.

Physically, the legs were sore, but the soreness went away pretty quickly, but were still fatigued a bit throughout the rest of the day.  My legs are not sore now and I did use the foam roller and stretched after the run.  So hopefully no delayed onset muscle soreness happens later!

Next week, our long run is only 10 so that will be nice to cut back.  However, we have 7 to rum on Wednesday so that will be interesting.

Overall, good week of running and I'm glad to have gotten all the runs in without any issue!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Alexian Brothers Fitness for American Sports Festival Half Marathon Recap

First, the past two years have been terrible weather wise.  Thunderstorms hit the area the day before the race so it was very wet and somewhat cold.  This year, the weather was hot.  So the weather can be a bit strange for this race!

This race was my second time running a race with a pace group and I was pleased with the run and my results.  My physical therapist told me to look at the run as a training run instead of a race.  So, I immediately put aside my ideas about a PR.  Plus, I wasn't feeling good about my running this week so I decided to take it easy.

Ideally, I wanted to run 10 minute miles, but the pace group was for 9:55.  5 seconds wasn't a big deal to me so I figured that would be my pace group.

Our pace group leader Kerl was awesome!  He has run 19 marathons and is a coach for Chicago Endurance Sports.  He also has paced the Chicago Marathon and will be the 4:00 hour pace leader.  So, he definitely knows what he's doing and what's he's talking about.

His leadership was a big relief for me.  I knew that all I needed to do was follow him and not worry about anything else.  He gave us tips on how to handle any inclines and declines.  Also, he got us to focus more on our form, breathing and staying relaxed during the run.  It was so nice because normally, I would have my music blaring in my ears and a PR as the only thing on my mind.

I was able to stick with Kerl the whole time.  If I wasn't running side by side with him, I was no more than 2 rows behind him.  Parts of the path were a bit tight, but somehow our little pack managed to stay together for most of the run.

And honestly, the run was more difficult for me mentally than physically.  Physically, my legs were feeling pretty good.  My left ITB was a little sore prior to the run and I was debating on getting it taped since there were people taping people with Rocktape.  I decided not to do it since I've never used that type of tape before and also that I have never taped my left knee.  I didn't think that a long run like that was the time to start trying new things.  In the end, I'm glad I didn't tape it.  My left ITB did not pull during the run.  I taped my right ITB per my physical therapist's instructions.  The tape held up well and the ITB did not hurt during the run.

Mentally, I had a hard time from mile 11 to mile 13.  The heat was starting to get to me, my hydration was running out and I wasn't efficient about getting any/enough during the hydration stations.  And, I wanted to be done.  I didn't have my music on to distract me.  But, I was able to focus and get the run done.  Kerl's positive motivation definitely helped out.

I finished in 2:11:01.6 for an average pace of 10 minutes per mile.  I successfully achieved my goal and hope to duplicate this success during the Chicago Marathon in October.

Website for Race:

Week 7 Training & PT Updates

Total Miles Run: 13.1 (3 and 13.1 half marathon)
Week 7 Miles: 25.1

Week 7 was a rough week for me.  I was only able to get 2 out of the 4 runs in.  My ITBs weren't the problem.  They are doing OK though the left one is a lot tighter than the right now (more on this in a separate post).  I was honestly just lazy, not motivated and sleep deprived.  Plus, the heat did not help since getting the runs done early in the morning or late at night wasn't a possibility.  And honestly, I was just lazy.

I ran 3 miles on the treadmill Tuesday after PT during my lunch break.  I've been trying to train myself to run 10 minute miles so I set the treadmill to 6.0 with a 0.5 incline.  The ITBs were kind of sore, but not painful.  The run wasn't as good as I wanted it to be and I think I let that get me down.  So, I skipped Wednesday and Thursday's runs for reasons listed above.  I really did not feel good about myself for skipping so much mileage, but I needed a break.

Saturday's long run (the half) went a lot better and I'm thankful since I feel re-energized now.

As for PT, I only saw my therapist once because I took Friday off to rest for the half marathon.  The session went well and he told me that I'm making the right amount of progress.  He hoped to wean me off the tape and reduce my sessions.  Also, I had gait analysis scheduled for Wednesday (more on that in a separate post).

Overall, rough week, but I was glad to go through it and get through it.  You have ups and downs when you train for races and I happened to experience that during Week 7.  But there are several weeks to go and lots of time to get a good game plan in place.

Website Credit for Image:

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Marathon Training Week 6 & PT Updates

- Tuesday: 3 miles without tape in 26:28 (8:50 minute mile pace)
- Wednesday: 5 miles without tape in 50:00 (10 minute mile pace)
- Saturday: 9 miles with tape with the training group (10 minute mile pace)
Total: 17 miles.  Program mileage: 18, but I missed Thursday's 3 mile run so I ran 9 today to make up for it.

New Shoes!!
Long Run Gear:
- Nike Legend Red Short-Sleeved Tee
- Black and Red Nike Tempo Track Shorts
- SmartWool Socks (new)
- Brooks Adrenaline GTS 12 shoes (new)
- White RunningAway Multiport hat

My runs this week went well.  I got fitted for the new shoes on Sunday after the race since mine were approaching a year old.  The shoes are great!  I haven't had any issues with them at all.  Also, I tried wool socks for the first time and I like them a lot.

The weather for the long run was really nice - it was raining for the first part of the run so it was a lot cooler than normal.  I personally love running in the rain!  It got hotter toward the end of the run, but it wasn't as hot as it has been the past few weeks.  We ran along DPR and went south toward Route 60.  Halfway point was past this bridge by one of the shopping districts at the most southern part of my town.

We were originally supposed to run 7, but we ended up running 9.  I felt great the whole way through and stayed toward the back of the pack throughout the run.  I didn't pass up my group leader toward the end of it either.  My legs felt good for the most part.  I could feel my both ITBs starting to pull a little toward the end of the run, but nothing too bad.

Marathon Training Week 6
Long Run Tape Job
PT Updates:

I'm going to PT on Tuesday and Friday mornings.  I have to go to PT in the city since I can't get to locations conveniently in the suburbs.  I like my PT a lot and he is very helpful.  He puts me through a variety of exercises to strengthen my hips and quads.  I also do exercises to work on my balance.  So far, I think that it's been working.  However, the left ITB seems to be more sore than the right, but I use the foam roller to help that out.

Tips I Learned:
- Alternate shoes so you have a good pair for the marathon.  The guy at RAM suggested that I buy another pair in 3-4 weeks so that pair will still be in good condition for the marathon.
- Shoes should be replaced every 400-500 miles.
- Do not run in cotton socks since you are more prone to blisters that way.

New Gear, Fuel and Hydration:
New socks!
- Smartwool socks are awesome!  I am going to get some more of these!
- I recently tried Nuun for hydration and I like it a lot!  I bought the strawberry lemonade flavor.  Yummy!
- I tried GU Watermelon Chomps for the first time today.  One women in the marathon group offered some to me during the halfway point of our run.  They were delicious and I didn't have any issues.  I had issues with the GU gel so I stopped eating that.  I may try these chomps since they worked out ok.

Overall, great week of running!  I can't wait until next week and I will keep you all posted.  The marathon is still on the agenda and so far all is going well!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Arlington Heights Frontier Days Stampede 5K Race Recap

I really enjoy this race and am beginning to run this yearly.  The course is fast, flat and residential.  It's also very organized and recently implemented chip timing, which is even better.  And, I love how some people who live along the race course will turn their sprinklers on so we can run through them.

I finished in 25:06 which was good enough to get 3rd in my age group.  I won this super cool race themed glass.  My time was disastrous, but thankfully, not my worst time ever.  *WHEW*

Mile 1: I really HATE how the 5k and 10k runners start together.  The start is VERY crowded and it's really hard jockeying for position.  Also, we arrived at the race with about 25 minutes to go.  I really didn't get a chance to warm up since I had to pee prior and the lines were somewhat long.  It was so weird since there was a huge line for all the potties.  Usually, each potty has a line of people.  I found that a little weird. 

Anyway, I couldn't really get into my usual speed on mile one.  In the past races I've done, I get there in around 7:30 and that's me being "conservative".  Today, I got there in 8:18.  Oh shit!  Way too slow!!  So, I immediately revised my goal to running 9 minute miles as opposed to running sub 8:00s and breaking 25.  I really doubted that breaking 25 would be possible with that slow of a start. 

Mile 2: The legs definitely were feeling sore from yesterday's 10 miler.  But, I figured that I could try to make up for lost time.  I tried my best to run with people so I could just drift along with them.  The strategy must have worked since I ran 7:40 for Mile 2.

Mile 2.5 to Mile 3:  The course splits around mile 2.5 and I was so glad that I wasn't running the 10k because I really couldn't deal with that at the moment.  My legs just felt fatigued and I felt fatigued.  My ITB and knee weren't bothering me, but honestly, I was just TIRED.  And, it was starting to get HOT.  And, we all know how much I HATE running in the heat.  Mile 3: 8:07!

Mile 3 to 3.1: We round a corner and I can see the start line in the distance.  For some reason, long straightaways to the finish really just beat me up mentally.  I had no energy whatsoever to sprint it in.  I started to pick it up as the finish line got closer, but I knew that it would not be a sub 25 effort.  I crossed the line a little past 25.  I sighed, shook my head and walked over to the hydration tables to down some water and Gatorade.  Mile 3 to 3.1: 1:01

I definitely am going to move toward the front the next time I run this race.  I lost a lot of time in the beginning jockeying for position and getting stuck behind slow runners.  I think I'd rather try to go a little faster at the beginning to improve on my time.

But hey!  I got a course PR! :)  And, I got 3rd in my age group!  It was so weird because originally, the results showed that I got second, but I checked just now and I was third.  Thankfully, I was third.  Otherwise, I would have to give my glass back!

Great weekend of running and look forward to next week.  I keep saying that I'm not going to race anymore and that my next race is the Chicago Marathon, but who knows what else might pop up along the way.  Besides, I'm just running 5ks so it's not like it's that crazy!

First Week of July Updates

- Tuesday 7/3: 5 on treadmill
- Thursday 7/5: 3 on treadmill
- Saturday 7/7: 10 on treadmill (this in and of itself deserves a prize!)
- Sunday 7/8: 5k race (see separate post)
Total Miles: 21.1.

We had a severe heat wave last week with temps in the 100s so I wasn't able to run any of my training runs outdoors.  That was somewhat disappointing, but somewhat of a blessing in disguise since I forced myself to run at a 10 minute mile pace (with a 1.0 incline) on the treadmill.  I even had to do my Saturday long run on the treadmill since the group long run was canceled due to the heat.

I saw my PT two times last week (Tuesdays and Fridays).  He has me do exercises to strengthen my leg muscles and stretches for my ITB.  We've been working on my balance issues as well.  Tuesday went over OK, but Friday kicked my ass.  Granted, I ran the day before, but it was tough.  My legs were shaking as I was stretching my ITB on the foam roller.  He stretches and massages my ITB and tapes it up at the end of every session, which is good.

The runs on Tuesday and Thursday went well.  I have yet to run 3 days in a row, but I figured that I would push the 5 miler to Tuesday, skip the three on Wednesday and move that to Sunday's race and just run 3 on Thursday.  I was able to get the miles in, which is what matters.

Saturday's treadmill run was mentally exhausting and I was wiped out for the rest of the day.  It was just so tough to stay mentally focused when all I wanted to do was get off it.  The treadmill at the gym only goes up to an hour so I was super tempted just to stop and use other machines when the hour elapsed.  However, I pushed myself to run the next 40 minutes on the treadmill.  I started to lose it after 7 and the wheels were falling off the bus in the last mile, but I made it through alright.  My upper thighs and glutes hurt so bad.  But, I think that's just because I worked them a lot on Friday at PT.

Oh, and I've stopped running in the minimalist shoes and gone back to my Brooks Adrenaline GTS 11s.  I haven't had any issues with them so far.  And, I'm tracking what I eat the night before long runs so I can avoid any tummy issues post run.  So far I haven't had any of those so all has been well on that front.

So, in conclusion - good week of running and pretty pain free.  Of course, the goal is to be able to run without tape on my knee and hopefully I will get there.

Up Next: Arlington Heights Frontier Days Stampede 5k Race Recap!