Half Marathon “Training” Plan and Hip Update

I’ve been averaging about 18-24 miles a week for the past month or so — but I unofficially kicked off half marathon “training” (for the Lighthouse Loop Half I am doing October 25th) last Sunday with a 10-miler. What you don’t run 10 miles when you kick things off?

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I put training in quotes because I have a hard time training for halfs. That sounds so ridiculous, but in the past half-marathon training has consisted of me running a lot and then making sure I get at least one 12-miler in before the race. Or in the case of the Tomoka Half in March, don’t do any long distance running for an entire month and then feel disappointed when it sucks.

This time might be a little different, thanks to my running crew. Not only have I been regularly running, but I have regularly been doing speed work, tempo runs, and “hills.” I see small improvements when it comes to speed and the hills feel easier every time I run them. It’s amazing how that works, huh? I guess the experts ARE RIGHT.

My biggest challenge is getting my butt of bed during the weekend to do a long run. I remember when I hated running with other people and now here I am worrying that I would have a hard time finding a new running buddy now that Tyler moved far, far away. I’m happy to say that I have found people equally as crazy as me – if not crazier. So the long run continues!

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As I said, I kicked off with 10 miles. Chances are my mileage will slowly go up — and I might even run a few higher mileage long runs with my friends running marathons (no more than 16 though — that’s kind of my cut off– until I write that post “The time I ran 20 miles when I wasn’t even training for anything”). It’s too hot right now to really focus on goals for this half marathon, but I would really like to get back into running sub-2:00. I feel like if I keep pushing myself (and stick to a quasi-plan) throughout the disgustingly humid Florida summer, I will do well. Maybe. Kinda. Don’t quote me on it. Here’s my current plan. I expect it to change, so this is really the rough draft. Note that the next two weekends won’t include long runs, so the REAL training doesn’t start until the week of the 23rd — so I have 11 weeks to find my speed! LighthouseLoopPlan World’s  smallest font. You’re welcome. As for my hip… It feels better than ever! I’ve been diligent about doing my exercises and my Dr. has been killing my hips and hip flexors (in a good way). I’ve actually been in NO pain since my 10-miler on Sunday – and I even ran 6 miles of hills today.

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In case you ever questioned me when I say I am 5’10 — here is your proof.

I also switched to running in Hoka’s, so they might also be contributing to the improvement in my hip. The verdict is still out on them, but one thing is for SURE — they are like fluffy clouds to my feet, even if they are completely fug.

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Yes, my sock is on inside out.

So far, I’ve decided to alternate running in them and my Mizuno Wave Riders. I don’t think I can sprint in these beasts, but they are good for hills and longer runs. I actually wish I had tried these last year for marathon training – but I’m dumb.

And that’s pretty much what’s going on here… anything think I’ll actually stick to my plan??

TLF…WTF Is That? {And Other Fun Stories}

About 3 weeks ago I ran 4 miles of “hills” — hills in Orlando typically equals an overpass — which is exactly what we ran. Back and forth for 4 miles. You can imagine how much fun that was.

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Yes, this is a “hill.”

Thankfully, I have been running with such a fun and motivating group of ladies.

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Things were all good until later that day when I got up from my desk to go to a meeting and it felt like someone stabbed me in the side  — right on the iliac crest of my hip. FUUUUUUUUDGE.

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(Except… it’s the other side that actually hurts)

Later that night I massaged, foam rolled, and stretched the crap out of it. However, the next morning it was still a little sore so I skipped my run (YES, I actually listened to my pain – plus it was a holiday at work so I enjoyed “sleeping in”). The next day however (aka July 4th) was my last run with this guy…

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*sob*

Of course, I wasn’t going to miss it for some silly hip pain. Despite it hurting when I walked (really, when my left heel struck the ground) – it really didn’t start to bother me until the end of our 8 miles — so I thought maybe I was just overdoing it. The next week I ran and worked out like usual, and while it was still sore, I could manage. It continued to be more of an issue when I WASN’T running, so I was hoping that I just need to stretch more — so stretch I did. Unfortunately, it has continued to hurt after I run, and that pretty much freaking sucks.

So…I did what any runner would do… I Googled the crap out of what could be causing is and then did nothing about it.

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Google pretty much told me that my hips where probably misaligned, and I figured Google was pretty right since I have a 27 degree curve in my spine (thanks scoliosis!). I also figured I needed to visit a chiropractor, but I was in total procrastination mode and I kept putting it off. I just have so much free time – I don’t know what to do with it! Fast forward to last Friday… I ran 4 miles with my group and attempted to kick up the speed a bit. I’ve been running a 9:45 pace lately (sometimes slower depending on the humidity), but I KNOW I have some speed in me, so I tagged along with someone I knew was a little faster than me and pushed myself to keep up with her. It was a TOUGH run – the humidity was intense (we’re talking at least 1000000% here), we  felt like we had run 8 miles, not just 4. I had a tiny, tiny tinge of pain when I was running, so I was hopeful that maybe, JUST maybe it wouldn’t hurt later. Yeah, that was a stupid thought.

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It actually hurt MORE. Shocking, I know.  

So, I finally got my shit together and called a sports chiropractor. I could have called my old chiro, but to be honest – I don’t know that he would have done anything helpful. He didn’t seem to special in sports injuries and I didn’t feel like he was going to get to the bottom of my issues. I did my research (more Googling) and decided I needed to find someone who focuses on my spine, but also realized that there are a gazillion (accurate estimate) of other muscles, tendons, and bones in my body that work in conjunction with my spine – and I managed to find someone really close to work who also happens to work through lunch. Yes!

I called and they were able to fit in me at lunch that day. After providing the Dr with my history and my sob story on why I was there – he did a bunch of fun assessments (including the Ober Assessment). For starters, my left hip (painful hip) is higher than my right — which I expected. He said I am firing from my right hip and overcompensating for my left hip (the trouble hip). When I started running “hills” it probably knocked me off balance and locked up my left hip. *You probably didn’t read this paragraph because I said the word hip 830998 times.

One significant thing he noticed that is contributing to this injury is that I have extreme flexibility in my hips. He asked if I took ballet growing up — and yes, yes I did. Although, I think my flexibility is also related to the hypermobility  I have in several of my joints (I can hyperextend my knees, thumbs, and wrists — and apparently my hips).

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This is normal, right?

This is a big deal and it’s causing my hips – particularly my tensor fascia lata (TFL) muscles to be incredibly tight. The TFL is a short, pain in the ass (LIT-rally), muscle situated right at the pocket of your jeans. It’s part of the hip flexor family and works together with various other muscles to keep your hip in motion. It’s small, but important.

While I can do a perfect pigeon yoga pose, I cannot extend my leg behind my back to save my life. The reason I am so tight (That’s what he said? God, that was awful.)? My hips are “too flexible” to get a good stretch. *mind blown*

I always wondered why certain stretches never worked for me (runner’s stretch is one prime example) – and this is why. Because I love researching this shit, I have since learned that if you have hypermobility in any of your joints – you really shouldn’t attempt to stretch them, because you won’t make your body happy. And once they are stretched past 104 degrees — there’s no going back. There’s just not enough tension to make the stretch worthwhile. It’s essentially like trying to stretch cooked pasta. Instead, I should be focusing on stability and strengthening.

There are two exercises my Dr. assigned to me. One is a simple leg swing. On the swing out, I turn my leg out (like I’m kicking a soccer ball) and on the swing in, I turned my leg in (like I’m pigeon toed). To the surprise of nobody, I’m great at the turnout, but the turn in is pathetic. You can’t even tell I’m turning it in!

The other exercise is lateral walking in squat position with a resistance band (aka monster walks).

(It was so hard for me to find a video of this! I watched at least a dozen before I found this one and they were all using incorrect form!) This exercise is a bitch — but I can feel a major difference even after a few days.

Because I’m seeing a chiropractor, I’m getting adjustments – at least for the next few weeks. The focus is on my hips (obviously), back, and legs. At the first appointment he could not adjust my left (trouble) femur. The right femur popped without a problem, but the left leg/hip just felt like it was stuck. At the 2nd appointment, he had to abduct my hip slightly, but after 3 attempts, he was able to get the femur to pop. Woo-hoo, progress!  I took the weekend off of running – but I don’t intend to stop, and thankfully he didn’t tell me I needed to, so I’ll be back at it this week and weekend (although, I will not be pushing it TOO hard. Promise.).

I’m also working on how I sit during the day. I know that my posture when I’m sitting in front of the computer for hours is atrocious. I also read that sitting in an office environment can lead to weaken glutes, which leads to glutes misfiring, which then leads to back, hip, and knee issues. So I’ve taken it upon myself to strengthen my glutes as well with a few of these exercises every day:

Glute Bridges

Glute Marches

Modified Clam

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(Credit goes to Breaking Muscle for this lovely collage)

What I find funny is that I’m running half as much as did last summer (according to Facebook, at this point last year I had just run a 16 miler!), but my body is falling apart. Maybe this injury has been a few years in the making? I guess I’m glad it’s happening this year and not last year. Part of me is also bummed though. I’m so damn motivated to run and THIS happens!

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Yep, that pretty much sums up how I feel right now.

Ever have a TFL injury?? How did you get over it? How did you cope??? 

Suck It Up, Buttercup 10K {Race Recap}

Oh hey there. Yes, it’s true… I’m still alive. Not only that, but I have my first official race recap of 2015 — because I love running again! I’ve actually been itching to post again about… something… anything… but I just haven’t had the time or energy or something. #excuses

So yeah… back to this race thing.

For the 8+ months I have been missing my racing buddy. She was injured. I hated running. Racing just sounded miserable. The races I did do were fun, but there were missing something. Really someone.

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#favoritepicture

So, for her 29th birthday (it’s a big year!) I bought her the BEST GIFT EVER — a race registration. Not only that but a race register in the middle of the hottest summer we’ve had in YEARS. Oh, and did I mention there were actually hills? (I know, it’s amazing to hear that we actually have some here in Orlando that aren’t just overpasses) Sounds like a great comeback race if you ask me! I started this race weekend making very healthy choices. We went to a fantastic Imagine Dragons show on Friday night in Tampa.

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Bedtime = 2am

I followed it up by going out for drinks and a showing of Magic Mike XXL with a bunch of my lady friends on Saturday night.

Bedtime = 12:30am Healthy choices guys. It’s a priority for me, obviously.

hodakathyleeanderson This means I slept maybe 8 hours in 2 days. I’m smart! So, it’s not surprising that I LITERALLY had to forced myself to get dressed and out the door to pick up Paula by 5am. Yay. Thankfully, race adrenaline kicked in (oh, and an iced coffee helped too!) and by the time we got to the race site, about 45 minutes away, I was wide awake.

We easily picked our bibs and t-shirts, dropped them off at the car, and then had plenty of time to use the porta potty (see Paula’s post for more on this) and mingle. I got there early so I could get into an East Orlando MRTT picture. I’ve only been running with them for a couple of months — but I already love them!

Paula and I also found our co-worker, Leah, who I might have talked into running this race.

We then stood around for a LOOOOONG time. The Race Director was MIA and apparently she needed to be there to kick this shindig off. We were supposed to start running at 6:30 – and it was closer to 7 when we started. But, I guess the good news is that it finally started and we were off.

And it was HOT. So, so hot and SOOOOO humid. It was like running in mud.

Suck it up, we did.

My only complaint (other than the late start) is that the 10k and the 5k started together and it was a cluster. The first mile was such a strugglefest – not just because of the hills (I secretly love hills — my legs can get some good traction!), but becuase of all of all of the bobbing and weaving. However, I kept pushing.

Around the 1st mile the 10K and the 5K split and things got a little easier. By easier, I mean there were less people. This course was still tough. I also managed to catch up with two of girls I run with during the week and chatted with them for a little bit (which I NEVER do during a race — who am I??) before an elastic on one of my braids snapped. EFFFFFFF! I suppose I could have continued on looking like a crazy person, but I was already really gross and sweaty and everything was sticking to me — so I pulled over and stopped (AGAIN — SOMETHING I NEVER DO). Thankfully, I was wearing a hat and I quickly pulled it up into the hat. I still probably lost about a minute. BUMMER.

Even though I lost my girls, I fought hard to keep them in my line of sight. I actually almost caught up to them, but we hit a loooooong incline between mile 4 and mile 5 and I slowed down a little. I was so happy to chase them though because I REALLY think I would have stopped to walk at least 8 times. They seriously kept me going.

After what felt like a million hills, I finally hit the decline towards the finish and all I could think about was how happy I was that this wasn’t a half marathon.

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I finished in 1:02:26 and while that’s a far cry from my PR, I was happy. I am happy.

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A happy person who looks like a toolbag with Paula’s sunglasses on.

I figured that I the humidity added at least a minute per mile to my pace (obvious statement: humidity is a BITCH) — and stopping to fix my damn didn’t help. I’m really just excited that I’m running and happily racing again. I also know that there are PRs to come. I was also excited to celebrate with some lovely running ladies.

That’s Paula’s favorite porta potty right behind us…

While we didn’t have beer (sad!) there was Dunkin Donut and munchkins (and unlike other races – they didn’t run out).

Overall, I really enjoyed this race. Summer races are hard to find here (for obvious reasons!) and I look forward to running this again next year — at an even faster pace.

My next race is still up in the air. I’m thinking about running the Stone Island 10K in August, because it can’t be any worse than the one I just ran! It will probably be just as humid, but at least it’s flat (and the 5K and 10K starts are at different times). After that I have the Lighthouse Loop Half Marathon in October. Could it be a PR?? I’m not holding my breath. But next year?? It’s on.

Oh… and I also discovered that E still really likes medals.

Guess I need to keep running!

<3 <3 <3

10K Me…Maybe?

While I have once again discovered the love of running… I have also discovered how miserable it is to run in the heat AND 100% humidity (more like 500% humidity).

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I was actually spoiled a few weeks ago (ha – if you want to call it that) and had a chance to run Mississippi (with my coworker) where the weather was PERFECT (yes, it was still a little humid, but the temps were in the 60s). Coming back was a harsh reality, but hey – there was running!

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And then I got back here and WOW. It is so incredibly miserable right now that I am ACTUALLY SWEATING during my run. Mostly in my crotchal region, of which I don’t have a picture – so you’re just going to have to believe me.

Sidenote: I DID finally get to run with this lady in Orlando — FINALLY. Char’s only lived here for 9 months now (and is ironically back in Canada for 6 weeks as I write this). We both wanted to die during our run, but we survived.

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So, while it’s been more miserable than usual, I decided that it would be an AWESOME idea to sign up to run a 10k in July.

I’m a genius!

Not only that — but I’ve convinced a few others friends to run it too. Including this lady (basically because I bought it for her as a birthday gift and I am forcing her . #friendship).

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This is us not sweating or wearing running clothes.

It will actually be our first race together in an eternity (since Space Coast, I think?) and I AM SO EXCITED ABOUT IT.

I’m also excited about running with the East Orlando Mom Runs this Town group. I am still on a runner’s high thanks to them — and currently running 2-3 times a week.

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Some of the ladies are just about to start training for Chicago and I have to admit, I am CRAZY jealous. For the record, I STILL have all kinds of warm fuzzy feelings about Chicago. Anyone want to run it in 2016 with me?

Ummm back to reality… 10Ks are where it’s at with me right now. I actually might do another 10K in August too (which, it’s beyond crazy — more like”you are f*cking insane woman” terrority.) and I’m searching for more. Maybe 10Ks will become my thing? I know it’s definitely NOT marathons and 5Ks. However, 10Ks are long enough where you feel like you deserve the beer — and are less expensive than halfs.

We’ll see.

Unrelated… this kid finally got a haircut.

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I’m in denial that he actually looks like a little boy and not a baby. I’m also in denial that I’m about to turn 37. Where did that birthday come from?

What distance do you love???

How To Get Your Running Mojo Back

Oh hey there running. We’re totally in a relationship again.

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This is actually a very real depiction of what I looked like at the gym on Monday.

It hasn’t been easy getting back to this place. It’s actually been a weird 6 months. I would see people running and feel wistful and nostalgic – and wish I was joining them. But when I actually went for a run it was horrible and I didn’t want to be there. It was as if I was going through puberty again. Running puberty.

But, the magic is back bitches!

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Sure, it’s not all rainbows, puppies, and unicorns — but I feel like I’m back in my happy place, hanging out with my happy little endorphins — and we all know that endorphins are what it’s ALL about.

So, how did I get my mojo back? Here are a few simple steps that I followed.

1. Stop running and drink a lot of wine.

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2. Gain 10 pounds.

Did you know you can gain weight when you stop exercising and drink a lot of wine?

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3. Whine about not running, even though you dislike running.

Have you read my blog posts for the past 6 months? Then I don’t need to walk you through this step.

4. Repeat Step 3.

5. Attempt to regain mojo by running races.

Best Damn Race 2015

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Nice dice, even though the races themselves were great.

6. Complain about not running to your friends and coworkers who are not able to run because they are injured.

I’m kind of an a-hole.

7. Sign up for a race.

8. Sign up to be a Race Ambassador.

9. Get your ass of bed and just run.

It sucked, but hey – something kind of… clicked.

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I heard that everyone really loves this picture of my feet. Feet are awesome!

10. Be your super awkward self and join a new group.

So, I attempted to join the East Orlando Mom Runs This Town (MRTT) group a few months after E was born, but the timing wasn’t right. There weren’t any groups that met at a convenient time. Most met while I was at work or on Saturdays (when Dan had to work). So, I was dropped from the group and I didn’t really make an effort to rejoin. UNTIL I saw a group of women meeting outside my Y on Tuesday morning and THEN I saw an Instagram post about a speedwork run they had done. Then I stalked that poor Instagram friend and found people to run with — I’m still in the super awkward phase of getting to know people (Dear God, please let it pass quickly!), but I feel excited about running again.

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I’m taking it slow though. And no marathons for a long time. Those things freaking kill me.

Hello mojo! I have missed you. Now let’s go find your cousin… speed.