Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Pain free miles!! Yes!!

           Here are my new/old pair of sneakers. I have these sneakers to thank for running with NO pain....very exciting stuff. A few more pain-free days and I will decide to cancel my MRI appointment in August. 

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Morning after 4 miler.....

            Today I feel a lot better than I had in the past few weeks after having run several miles. I am starting to suspect that the main cause of my pain was made worse by my old sneakers. I guess my plan of turning my sneakers into minimalist sneakers by simply not buying new ones ever is not quite working. Yesterday, for my run, I used another pair (Brooks Pure Connect3) and voila! pain over.

        I am trying not to celebrate quite yet. Tomorrow is day 7 of my 1st week of marathon training and it's a five miler. If after THAT run I feel okay-ish THEN I will celebrate. But now I am still cautious about calling myself healed. In the meantime, I have an MRI appointment in a month for this issue. Hopefully it will be fully resolved by then. But one day at a time. Right now I am just trying to focus on making tomorrow's treadmill run successful. 

         Today I did weights at the gym. For the first time it occurred to me that the one most significant gift I've received from this injury has been my new awareness of other forms of exercise, such as weightlifting, uphill walking, swimming and of course, the dreaded elliptical. Nevertheless, I LOVE weightlifting so much that I will continue to do it even when I'm fully healed. 

        Here is the 16-week plan I am following for marathon #7, The Marine Corps Marathon in October 2016. Yes, I know, it's a one 20-miler marathon training plan. With all that's on my plate this fall, from extra after-school classes to working on getting Nationally Certified; I am not trying to even PR, just trying to finish. I am also looking into possibly doing a flat 50K race in December somewhere south of the DC area. 

Friday, July 15, 2016

4 nonstop miles baby!!!

                 Day 3, week 1 of marathon training done. I feel amazing. My sweet hubby suggested that maybe, just maybe my foot is not as bad as I feared and that I should go for a run...a real run. So, instead of walking my miles today I ran them. I feel amazing. Because I had been training so much with uphill walking the running miles went by MUCH faster than usual, so that was an extra treat. 
Tonight I will take some Advil, stretch some more and maybe even put some heat on my foot to avoid getting stiff tomorrow. I had to let go of my heart-rate training as suggested by Primal Endurance, (one of keeping my heart rate at 180 bpm minus my age)...it just too annoying hearing the beeps on my watch so often, and while at the gym. I did exactly what I know best and that is straight out run, no breaks...oh, and a touch of loud music. Off to take a hot shower hoping to divert the pain that will invariably come in the morning....then again, maybe not for I HAVE been working out....maybe not running, but daily for the past 2 months I have been doing something 'aerobic' almost daily, not to mention weight training every other day. More later...headed to bed. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Men at the Gym.....commentary bout power dynamics in space

           I've been now going to the gym for about 2 months, about 5-6 times a week. Currently, I do weights every other day, although that is a new development. It took me about a good month to even consider venturing past the ellipticals and touching the weight machines. It took me another whole week to actually read each machine's instructions and learn how to do them right. Now I am all set to continue this routine until my foot shows zero signs of pain for about 2 weeks, then I will be running again on my cardio days. 

           What I really wanted to write about was the men at the gym. Please know two very important things before I embark on this more silly, than serious piece, one, that all of what I am sharing are simply opinions based primarily on body language and facial expressions I have observed in men I don't know. You see, I hardly talk to men at the gym and most of the time I am even wearing earphones and listening to some hard stuff like AC/DC or Beasty Boys so as to pump myself up for the workout, but I am very aware of some undercurrent of power dynamics happening hidden in plain sight. Second, and this one is very important fact to remember; I am in no means interested in these men romantically. For me it's  more of a sociological commentary in men behavior and more specifically, power dynamics between men and women. As a woman who has gone to an all-girls' high school, then attended an all women's college and now teaches at an elementary school that is 99.9% women, I find men behavior very different than women behavior and nowhere is that more pronounced than at the gym. 

          The first few days of my exploration into the weight area I know I was clearly sending out signals of total confusion. Perhaps it was in my less-than-confident posture, or my quizzical expression as I stood by each machine and read its full set of instructions. Whatever it was that I communicated, the men in particular were very comfortable, confident. Some were talking to each other loudly, some were openly grunting as they lifted, some just walked tall. As I began to gain confidence in the machines and was able to quickly adjust them as needed to fit my needs I became more at ease, and no doubt this showed through in my posture and my facial expressions. As soon as this newfound confidence set in something else happened. The men in my immediate space (and not all by the way, some) became less loud, and more reserved. Of course, this could all very easily be in my imagination. Yet, it was not a change I was expecting to happen. I did not merely script all these behavior pattens in my head. I slowly came to realize that the more confidence I gained the power dynamics began to change. Of course all these changes are on the mega-subtle level, so subtle in fact that the undercurrent of communications are almost undetectable if you are not paying attention. 

           Just as in the old "which-came-first-chicken-egg?" we'll never know what spurred on what first. What I do know is that I am super proud of myself for claiming this gym space as my own. Like in running outdoors. The mere fact of running the same streets over and over again makes them feel less foreign, less 'other' and in this case the same principles apply....but the mere fact of coming in and using and working in the space daily makes it more familiar, more safe, more smooth. 


Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Mental chatter.....churning and updates

        I am keenly aware of how little interest MOST people have in talking about running. I only need to mention anything above a 5K and most people's eyes check out and quickly throw the focus on other more common topics. For this reason alone I pretty much hold back all running talk with all people in my life. With even my husband, who also happens to be a runner, but not a race guy, I find myself thinking, "oh this is way too boring to bring up with him."

         My latest craze has been searching and finding a destination race worth a mother's sacrifice and enormous planning effort that it will surely entail. I am searching for a race I would not hesitate to spend a good 2 grand on and leave my kids for two plus days for....one I could daydream about for hours on end every week of training and tear up occasionally thinking of crossing the finish line. The dilemma for a solitary runner like myself is who to share this with? I brought up the subject with my hubby and his initial response was of course the cost. I've got to admit, this response was not the supportive response I envisioned but it's one I understand well. Change is tough for all of us. It;'s not up to him to believe in my dreams, that is my job. I learned that long ago and as soon as he began to rationalize MY whole dream into an impossibility I decided I did not need his understanding, not now.....he'll come around I reassured myself...he always does.

         Yesterday, I was at Whole Foods and every month they have a free running magazine at their exit, which of course, I grab and devour while eating my lunch. This article about group running and how they are 'all the rage' made me sneer. I've had my try at group runs and as a slower runner they pretty much suck. Most women who run my pace are doing intervals and intervals just does not work with me AT ALL. How does one manage to zone out and relax into ones run if you need to stop and walk every....what.....30 second!? nope, not for me. There, that is where I came to realize I am a solitary runner and I like it that way.

        I also wanted to give an update on the non-running workouts as I heal from this injury that does not seem to be subsiding. I emailed the podiatrist and asked about my x-rays. Waiting to hear form him hopefully tomorrow. In the meantime, I am having a hell of a time working through my irrational shyness at the gym. I am proud of how far I've come. I can now choose to do the weights and use every machine in the place without feeling self-conscious. I've got to say choosing angry music helped tremendously with this endeavor. One day I will need to write about the benefits of music on ones energy and mood. Surprisingly I have been going to the gym from 6-7:30 every day since my teacher vacation began. I will either walk for an hour and half uphill or do weights for 1/2 an hour and walk uphill for 45 minutes. The elliptical has burned me. I would seriously rather cut my tongue than use one of the things. Let's just say they are NOT made for short people and most of the time I find myself feeling too uncomfortable. The uphill walking is exhausting but at least I can readjust my body as needed when uncomfortable.

       I need to check the calendar and see when I need to start marathon training...the 20 week mark will be here in a bout a week and I may just need to continue to do other forms of cardio and once I heal I can find some short 16-week plan to follow that will help me accomplish my goals. So far I only have the MCM for October but if I can train better I MAY be able to do the 50K leg of the West Virginia Trilogy also around the same time. It just all depends on how my body heals and it's no sense fretting about it now, but, as weeks go by and my foot feels the same dull pain I get more and more nervous.