Sunday, July 24, 2011

From 0 to 44

The day I started breathing air.  
I turned 44 earlier this week, and my Mom was kind enough to post my birth picture on Facebook.  I will always be grateful to her for deciding to actually claim that 9+ pound pork roll as her own and take me home from the hospital.  I'm not sure I would have done the same for that goofy looking bundle with a bow in her shock of bright red peach fuzz.  

I doubt that my being a year older has much to do with a shift I've noticed in my perspective on running.  I'll call it a more laid back approach that isn't fraught with angst about the daily details of mileage and pace.  At first, I had a hard time determining if somehow I had lost that fire to push myself, one of the key qualities I often attribute my success to.  I think that is still there, so something different must be going on.

Running the 5000m race at the World Masters Championships was, in a way, a small victory for me over an injury that, when I signed up for the race, I wasn't sure I'd beat in time to even be able to set foot on the track.  After the race, however, I realized that I wanted my next race to be one that I felt ready to run fast.  My next planned race was a road 5k in mid August, but the timing of that race would only allow me to complete 6 of the 8 weeks of my 5k training before the race.  So, I am shifting my schedule to race a 5k two weeks later to get in the full 8 week training program.

This 3rd week of that training program collided with a busy life week that included a musical gig Wednesday from 7:30 to midnight and the start of my annual military tour (think 12 hour days including travel).  To fit in my running, I had to jimmy my schedule and prioritize my workload.  The meat of my training was in the 4 x 1600m (5k pace) workout on Tuesday and my tempo run Friday night and my hill repeats tonight.  All of these quality workouts went better than I expected.  I ran at the crack of dawn and after the sun went down, but I got in the workouts and my easy mileage, managing 73 miles for the week.

How many miles was I supposed to do?  Who cares?  I ran what I could however I could fit it in.  Since I write my own plans, I know that the training level I chose in the Squires and Lehane book was pretty random.  It's all just one big experiment anyway.  I'm finding that I am more proud of myself for making a decision to not do something if I'm feeling tired or sore than I am for gutting it out and risking potential burnout or injury.

Other odds and ends…

My Nike Frees are still a fave shoe.  In fact, I'm finding that my feet feel worse when I run in my regular trainers, so I've transitioned faster than planned to the Frees.  I've had no issues so far and definitely notice a difference in my gait.  I feel like I'm running with better form and my runs are definitely faster for the same level of effort.  I've only done one short run in the Merrell Pace Gloves, but it was great too.  I wear them for dog walking daily now and will spend more time running in them in the future.  If you haven't watched Dr. Irene Davis discuss the research and anecdotal evidence supporting barefoot and minimalist running, you might want to carve some time out of your day to do so.

These last two weeks have seen remarkable improvement in some of the flexibility issues that plagued me before and even after seeing Dr. Ball in May.  Hip mobility on my left side was a major problem that Dr. Ball believed was structural in nature since even 11 days of constant soft tissue abusecouldn't free it up.  Well, about 10 days ago, my left hip became as mobile as a wet dog on a hard wood floor.  I did start, on my own advice, rolling out my hip capsule with a lacrosse ball for about 2 minutes twice a day before doing my hip stretches.  I have a sneaking suspicion this has made the difference.  I'm just glad that it wasn't some sort of long-term degenerative thing that was going to eventually require a hip replacement.

I feel better than ever right now, free of any nagging issues and fresh enough to train hard.  I want to thank Kerry for reminding me that, while it sucked to be out of commission for so long, that time away from running gave my body a chance to heal and regenerate.  If most running injuries come from the accumulation of damage over thousands of miles and a long period of time, then it makes sense that time and rest is what ultimately heals the runner.


  1. Glad the Frees are working out so well, and that you've got a handle on your prior physical challenges. A good 5k race with a full cycle prep in late August should be a great fitness benchmark. Appreciate the link to Dr. Davis' presentation, which indeed is quite good.

  2. Happy birthday, a little late. Cute photo!!

    So how did you determine that your left hip was suddenly mobile?

    I've noticed the same thing with the Nike Frees. I wear mine pretty much all the time now, just for walking around, and notice that "normal" running shoes no longer seem very comfortable. Looking forward to no longer being pregnant so I can actually run in the Frees again.

  3. Thanks, Mark. I thought you'd like that link. I am excited about this cycle of speed training and what it will mean for my marathon early next year. Seems like all the pros are doing the same thing: working on 5k/10k track races this summer in prep for the OTs. See you in Houston!

    Harriet, I know you're lying about the photo. You just better hope that something that looks like that doesn't pop out of you soon:)

    The hip. Yes, well I was given a flexibility test before I saw Dr. Ball in Arizona: simply bring your knee to your chest while lying on the ground (useless for you right now). My right knee would touch my chest immediately, no problem. The left would get caught up about 6-12 inches from my boob. That's the goal: for your knee to smash your boob without force. Even after 11 days of manipulation, my hip kept going back to the stuck position. So, the knee to the chest test is what I use and I am happy to say that both knees are good friends with my boobs:>)