Training Log, Week of 8/14/2017

Oh hey, what’s that?  My first training log in two months?  Don’t mind if I do.

Monday: Nothing.

Tuesday: 2 mile walk.

Wednesday: 3.3 mile walk

Thursday: My first attempt at running!  3.1 miles total with two miles running.  The two miles I ran were between 10:40-11 mm.  It didn’t feel easy (it was hot, humid and gross outside) but I felt like I could have done more.  I didn’t wear my HR monitor for this first run because I didn’t want to get discouraged, and based on the numbers I saw later I’m glad I didn’t.

Friday: 2 miles of a couch to 5K workout with a friend.  This was more walking than running (it was one of the earlier workouts in C25K), but it was good for me to be social and take it relatively easy.  Average pace 14:40.

C25K

Saturday: I did the local parkrun for the first time.   This is a free 5K (ish) series with chapters throughout the world, and one started at a park very close to my house a few months ago.  This was my first time trying it.  It started at 8 am, which is later than I’m used to running, and the weather was terrible.  The dew point was 73, and according to this widely circulated handy dandy chart, one should “expect pace to suffer greatly” in those conditions.  Plus, the course has some very challenging hills.

parkrun

My run was not great.  My watch had just under 2.9 miles at an 11:30 pace.  My average HR was 163 bpm and per Garmin I spent most of the run in Zone 5.  Not where I want to be, especially since I wasn’t trying to race this run.  But I got it done, which is more than I could have done even a week ago.

Sunday:  This was a MUCH better run.  3.4 miles, average pace 10:27, average HR 151 bpm.  This run showed me a couple of things.  First, I’m in better shape than I thought.  Second, I probably need to do most of my runs by myself for a while.   My HR is reflecting the fitness I’ve lost, and to train the way I want to train, I need to slow down a good bit.  Even when people say they want to run with me, I’m naturally going to push myself to the pace that I feel like I “should” be running.  I’m thinking what I will do is pick one day a week where I will try to stick with the group, and the rest of the time I will do my own thing.  I know that with time I will get back to the place where my easy pace matches my friends’ easy pace.  I’m just not there yet.

scuffed garmin

Totals: 16.6 miles, although at least 7 of those were walking.  All things considered, I’m very happy with my first few days back to running.

First Run Back

I ran this morning!

I did a quarter mile warm up and then ran for two miles.  I was aiming for at least one mile and no more than two, so I made myself stop at two.  I kept it slow and easy, around 11 minute miles.   I felt like I could have kept going.

My collarbone felt fine.  The run didn’t feel awesome, mostly because it was hot and HUMID, and any heat acclimatization I had developed before my injury is now long gone.

This afternoon I had physical therapy.  My usual therapist is on vacation so I had to work with his protege, which scared me a bit because I have trust issues when it comes to physical therapists.  But the protege worked out fine.  My range of motion has improved substantially already; I can almost lift my left arm straight up over my head with no pain.  I’m a bit more restricted when I try to bring my arm out to my side.  But not bad.  Certainly a huge improvement from just a few weeks ago when I couldn’t dress myself or put my own hair in a ponytail.

As far as my training, after this morning’s run the training plan I discussed in my last post still seems doable.  Tomorrow I’m going to walk/run with a friend who is doing Couch to 5K.  This friend is an experienced runner but is coming back from an injury and starting slow.  Will be a nice way for me to get out and move and run a little bit without doing too much.  Sunday I will run 3 miles with Other Liz.

Cleared to Run!

Today the doctor cleared me to run!  Or, to be specific, to do some “light jogging.”  I was happy enough to be cleared that I didn’t take issue with his terminology.   The bone is healing well.  My activities are still somewhat restricted in that I can’t lift more than 10 pounds and I can’t do any body weight-type exercises, like planks or push-ups.  But I can go back to business as usual in most respects.  He also wrote me a prescription for six weeks of physical therapy, two times a week.

In anticipation of this milestone, I talked to my physical therapist yesterday about returning to running.  He said to start small, with only a mile or two, and build slowly.   He said that my natural tendency might be to restrict my arm swing on my left side, which could make my stride lopsided, so he said I should focus on keeping my core strong and tall to prevent that.

Tomorrow morning I will test the waters with somewhere between 1-2 miles.  I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared.  Will I even be able to run a mile?

But that fear hasn’t stopped me from putting together a whole training plan for the Norfolk Harbor Half Marathon.  I’m just not a play it by ear kind of girl.

I’m planning to start with a 3 mile “long” run (possibly run/walk/run) this weekend and then slowly build from there.  3/4/5/6/8/9/10/8/11/12/10/14/10/race to be specific.  That’s a similar schedule to what I used for the Shamrock Half Marathon earlier this year and I really liked having several 10+ mile runs and going up to 14 miles.   I’ll run 3-4 additional times during the week and work on getting in two strength training sessions a week (which will be somewhat of a challenge given that I can’t lift more than 10 lbs on my left side for at least another six weeks).  For the first month or so I will keep at least 90% of my  running very easy.  After that I might throw in some hills and/or tempo runs.  And I will keep my fingers crossed that I can stay healthy, because being injured sucks.

Recovery Milestones

Lots of recovery milestones in the last few days!

Last Friday was my first day out of the sling.  My left arm feels heavy and floppy, and extending my elbow kind of hurts.  All of that has more to do with being in the sling for six weeks than with the injury itself.  My collarbone doesn’t hurt most of the time and as of now the hardware isn’t bothering me.

I am back to driving short-ish distances, but I wouldn’t want to drive very far.  Using my left arm to turn the steering wheel is doable but hurts.  Which brings me to my next milestone: I’m starting physical therapy tomorrow.  I don’t have a prescription from my doctor yet, but I knew my PT would see me direct access for 30 days, and I’m assuming that I will get a prescription (I will push for one if not offered) at my final follow-up with the surgeon.  I want to do everything I can to get back as much functionality as possible as soon as possible.

Tomorrow I am back in the office after five weeks of working from home.  I never thought I’d be so glad to go back to the office.  There were certainly some positive aspects to working from home, but it was lonely and often dull.

Even though I had access to a car all weekend, I didn’t go to the gym.  The weather was beautiful and I’ve really been enjoying my walks, so I stuck with that.  Without the sling I was able to walk a little bit farther and a little bit faster than I had been.

Stuff I Learned During My Layoff

Tomorrow is my last day in the sling.   Hallelujah!  I am more than ready to bid it farewell.

I’m hopeful that the departure of the sling will mark my return to life as normal.  I’ll be able to drive again, which is huge.  I won’t have to answer the “what happened?” question a million times a day.

But there are a few changes that I made during my almost six weeks in the sling that I hope I can hang onto.

  • More sleep.  Because I haven’t been commuting, I’ve been going for walks after my husband takes the kids to school.  This means I’ve been waking up two hours later than I used to.  Don’t get me wrong; I love running with my fellow zombies (my running group’s term of endearment for pre-6 am runners) and I’m excited to get back to that.  But I think I can arrange it with my husband so I don’t HAVE to work out at 5 am every day.   Sleeping an hour or more later one or two days per week will make a difference.

 

  • More rest.  Yes this is different from sleep.  Before I got hurt, I dreaded rest days.  I would go through my entire day feeling “off,” I think because I was worried that I would (a) lose fitness; and (b) gain weight.  Intellectually I knew that was stupid, but I couldn’t shake it.   This forced layoff has shown me that it’s okay to rest, especially if it’s just one or two days a week.  I still don’t know just how much my fitness was affected, but I’ve been able to manage my weight just fine.  And a day or two is nothing when compared to eight weeks.   If anything it’s necessary to improve my fitness.

 

  • More relaxation.   Also different!  Prior to my injury,  I felt like I was constantly rushing to get everything done.  When I would get home from work, I felt like there was always a timer ticking in the background, seeing how quickly I could get through the dinner/bath/bedtime/prep for the next day routine, all so I could get to bed super early and do it all again the next day.  By rushing around I missed a lot of good times with the kids.  Since my injury I’ve still been moving things along, but I’m more relaxed about it.  The rushing around *might* save me 20 minutes a day, and that’s not worth it.  Our family time during the week is so brief, and I was missing a lot of it before.  I’ll make up the lost sleep on the day or two that I sleep later.  😉

 

  • More cooking.  When I put effort into meal planning, I manage it pretty well.  But my consistency stinks.  I’ll do well for a week or two and then it all goes to hell and we’re scrounging for heat-and-eat convenience foods or getting takeout.  Since I’ve been working from home, it’s been relatively easy to have dinner ready to go by the time my husband and kids get home.  Even on days when I didn’t have something specific planned, I’ve been able to work with what we had and put a reasonably healthy and edible meal on the table.  I’ve taken a lot of pride in doing that since it’s one of the ways I’ve been able to contribute the last few weeks.  Although it will obviously be harder when I’m not at home all day, I am hopeful that I’ve turned over a new leaf and can continue to plan and make good meals without losing my sanity in the process.

Races I’m Thinking About

As of right now, the only races I’m signed up for are the Norfolk Harbor Half Marathon in November and the Shamrock Half Marathon in March.  But I’m thinking about lots and lots of races.  Such as:

Blue Ridge Half Marathon.  This is one of toughest road marathons (and half marathons) in the country.  It’s not just hilly, it’s mountain-y.  The course also goes within a few hundred feet of my in-laws’ house, so travel-wise it would be very convenient.  I like the idea of focusing on taking on such a challenging course and removing all pressure to PR/run a certain time.  Training for it will force me to do a lot of strength workouts and hill repeats, both of which can be a struggle for me.  Plus it’s really pretty.

Ragnar Trail Richmond.  I ran this race the first time that Ragnar did it in 2016.  It was my first relay, period, and the first trail relay for just about everyone on my team.  We had fun but made lots of newbie mistakes, so I like the idea of a do-over.  And because it’s in our backyard, lots of Richmond runners do this race, so it’s like a huge Richmond running party.  Because this race will almost certainly be the weekend after Blue Ridge, I would have to choose one or the other.

Pittsburgh Half Marathon.  Lots of people I know were signing up for it today, and I’m highly suggestible.  Plus vulnerable because I’m not running and  haven’t signed up for a race in a long time.  And I hear it’s a good race.  Do I really need a better reason?  Conflicts with the King Crab Challenge, below, and is the weekend after Ragnar Richmond.

King Crab Challenge.  This is a series of three races: the Frederick Half Marathon (May), the Baltimore 10-miler (June) and the Baltimore Marathon or Half Marathon (October).  If I complete all three, I get a giant medal.  Unlike some people (cough Other Liz cough) I’ve never been terribly motivated by medals.  But I have always like the idea of this series.  Another pro to the series is that I have family nearby all three races.  The downside is the level of commitment it would take.  I’ve just been reminded how quickly one’s race plans can go out the window, and committing to three longer distance races over a period of five months scares me quite a bit.  Also, it is very possible that the date for any one of these three races will conflict me out of doing something else I want to do.

I’m sure between now and spring I will find many more races that I want to do.  Which is why I am signing up for nothing, for now.  Too many times I have made the mistake of committing early and often.  None of these races is likely to sell out, so if I have to pay a little more for registration while ensuring my sanity, so be it.

 

 

 

Weight Loss Update

When I realized that I wouldn’t be able to run for several weeks, one of my fears was gaining weight.  I knew that I would lose a substantial amount of fitness by not running for eight weeks, but I didn’t want to make things even harder on myself by having to cart around extra weight when I started running again.

In the month since my crash, I’ve lost a few pounds.  Even though I’m burning fewer calories, I’m also satisfied with a lot less food.  Initially I’m sure the weight loss had a lot to do with the trauma and the painkillers.  But I’m hardly taking anything now and my appetite is still much lower.  Plus, I no longer have that “I ran X miles, therefore treat yo self” mentality.  I have read so many articles about how distance running is not all that great for weight loss, and my experience in the last month seems to support that idea.

progress pic
January 2017 versus July 2017.  Down 12ish lbs.  Any difference in lighting/pose/whatever is completely unintentional. 

I have been at least loosely tracking what I’m eating and trying to stay below my much-reduced calorie output.  I temporarily abandoned sadness days, although now that things are a bit more normal I’ve gotten back to them.

I’m smaller than I’ve been in the last several years, and I wish I could say that I felt awesome.  But my general reaction is just “eh.”  I think/hope my relative inactivity and houseboundedness is a big part of that.  I never feel better about my body than when I’m pushing it to its limits, and I haven’t been able to do that for a month.  I also worry that some/most of the weight loss is muscle. But I took measurements as well and I’ve lost another couple of inches since I last took them.  Although I might have lost some muscle, I have probably lost some fat as well.

I fully expect to put a couple of pounds back on once I start running again.  For now, I’m mostly just relieved that I haven’t been gaining weight during this layoff.