12 Weeks Out

You know, some people are talented and just “destined for greatness”.  Others work hard and reap immediate rewards.  I am neither of those people.

 

But I will tell you this…I have been working really really hard recently and I am seeing changes in my overall performance.  I don’t have the ability to quit my job and do proper workouts, but I’m trying to integrate small changes.  Basically I’m doing the same thing that I did with food when I really put forth an effort to change my eating habits back in 2013-2014.

 

When I changed my “eating style” I stopped eating wheat and meat.  Stopping wheat was pretty abrupt, it had been making me food-poisoning-type ill for a while when I ate some pasta and actually had to CALL OFF WORK and realized that I had to get a hold on myself.  I had to quit.  So I did it cold-turkey.  I messed up a lot.  Then I tried harder, did full-on food prep, told everyone to hold me accountable.  I tried all kinds of things and what didn’t work for me I just didn’t pursue any more.  The things that worked, I still do.  My point is that it was simple, but not EASY.  Try stuff.  If it works,. do it.  If it is not at all sustainable for your lifestyle, chuck it.  Revisit it later if you want.  It’s the same with working out.  Or trying a new wardrobe.  Or hairstyles.

 

I’m not going to break my neck over working out, literally or figuratively.  I am going to find ways for me to fit it into my life and I’m going to do it.  Simple.  Still not easy.

 

So I get up before the crack of dawn and I run.  When I need to do a “workout”, I still get up before the crack of dawn and I run.  I don’t have time to go to the track, on a typical day…so I do my intervals on the road.  They’re not pretty.  I don’t always like them.  But it’s a workout that is accessible and sustainable and I am seeing  feeling results.  My long run this past weekend felt pretty good, and it was in terrible weather conditions.  My sole mile yesterday was fast (for me) and felt amazing.  My splits are looking good, I’m clearly gaining endurance and strength.  I’m keeping the intervals.  I’m keeping the bounding drills on my Wednesday run.  I’m definitely keeping with my piriformis strengthening and stretching.

 

Mileage for the Sunday to Saturday week, my plan was:

 
1-4-6-2-4-2-11

 
The leadoff “1” was actually a “2” last week, but everything else followed the plan.

 

 

I still haven’t added squats and deadlifts, but I’m not beating myself up over it.  I’m going to stay proud of the fact that I’ve done my versions of workouts for two weeks straight, and I even did them today when I definitely wasn’t feelin’ it.

 

Next weeks goal, Again Sunday to Saturday, will be

 

1-4-6-2-4-2-12.

 
Feel free to streak along with me and give me any pointers!

A Runner’s Christmas List

I’m seeing these pop up everywhere this time of year, so I thought I’d throw my two cents in.  In my opinion it is hard to shop for any kind of outdoor enthusiast, because sometimes the gear specifications, although perfect for some, are not for everyone.  If you find a super convertible fuzzy hoodie thing, you might want to pass – or consider gift cards at local stores so your runner can find their perfect fit.  Check return policies.  Or consider swiping what is clearly and old favorite piece of gear and simply replacing it with a new version.

Or maybe I’m just a really picky pain in the ass, I don’t know.  But here goes…

 

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The HydraQuiver Vest Pack 2 by Orange Mud.

This is clearly the best pack ever built.  Shown here in bright pink, this is the one piece of gear I’m coveting over all others.  TWO bottles, pockets everywhere, bungee for extra storage…I don’t know what else there could be.  I have the Single Barrel and I absolutely love it but just want more hydration capacity.  The design is what caused me to switch from bladder-based to bottle-based hydration – I can’t stand sloshing, and I never felt like I was cleaning the container properly.  Then I found Orange Mud, and I can’t imagine any other type of pack.

You can find the HydraQuiver Vest Pack 2 here.

 

 

spibelt

The SPIbelt

I have two of these, but they’re so cute and available in so many colors and combinations that I want them all.  This is definitely a on-size-fits-all item.  I don’t know ANY runner who at some point hasn’t thought it would be convenient to have a pocket for their phone/gels/keys/whatever.  Even if it’s not used daily, when you need this little gem, it’s perfect.  Heck, I’ve even used it at the laundromat for my quarters when I didn’t have a pocket.  Not only does it do its job, it does it well.  This pack will not be bouncing all around or sliding or riding up.  All function, no annoyances.

Check out the SPIbelt here.

 

lightstreak

The Nathan Lightstreak

This is the kind of thing that will save your (or your runner’s) life.  It’s not necessarily about being cute, although it has a non-restrictive cut so you won’t look disheveled.  Lights on the front and back keep you safe and visible to everyone on the road, from vehicle to other pedestrians.

The Nathan Lightstreak is available here.

 

tipsygoat

The Tipsy Goat by Blenders Eyewear

If you’re a day runner, you don’t need the reflective vest – but you probably need eye protection.  Blenders Eyewear offers affordable eyewear that will protect your eyes from the sun’s rays…and they’re stylish, too.  Gift certificates are available, and the site has sales and promotions quite often.

Check out the entire collection here.

 

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Myssage Balls

Last but not least…these are integral for me, and I would recommend them for any runner, hiker, cyclist, waitress…hopefully you get the idea.  Any person that may have repetitive stress issues and/or sore muscles will appreciate being able to effectively give themselves a massage.  I often talk about active recovery, and these babies are my #1 go-to !  From a kink in my neck to relaxing plantar fascia, the Myssage method is crucial.

To purchase Myssage balls or learn more about the method, go here.

 

What are the pieces of gear that you’re drooling over and wish Santa would bring you?  Do you have any brands that you swear by?

 

No matter if you’re naughty or nice, I hope you have an awesome holiday season full of trails, cocoa, and time with your family and friends.

13 Weeks Out

This week I did what, for me, is unthinkable.  I integrated strength and speedwork into my routine.  I did my first fartlek in twenty years.  I did bounding drills.  Somehow I still haven’t found a sustainable hill workout…does the 1000+ feet of gain during my long run count?  As for the non-running bits of this madness, I’ll get to that below.  Mileage for the Sunday to Saturday week, my plan was:

 
1-4-5-2-4-2-10

 
The “1” is more like a filler since I’m streaking…but it seemed like a pretty balanced week.  I have felt pretty good mentally and physically every day.  The weather has been in the 30s for the lows so that has been in my favor too.

I posted about getting a new routine, and I’ve been sticking with it.  The only night I skipped out was the night I fell asleep early!  I start with Myssage balls, applying pressure to the tops of the hamstrings (essentially sitting on them) while I use a resistance band to strengthen my feet and ankles.  I put the band under my foot and on top of my knee, pointing and flexing my foot and then side to side, finishing with ankle rotations.

Then I lay on my back and do outer hip stretches.  After I feel pretty “opened up”, I put the Myssage balls under me toward the top of my pelvis to release that pressure and get a deep stretch.  I apply even more pressure by doing figure-4 stretches, relaxing the entire hip area.

After this I roll to one side and do clamshells, both standard (feet together, spread knees) and reverse (knees together, spread feet).  I repeat this on the other side then roll to my back again and do resistance band abductions.

This week I’d like to add some squats with the kettle bell and maybe some deadlifts.
It’s all a bit technical and boring, but I’ve got to keep a record of what I am experimenting with so I can recreate victories and eliminate failures.

 
Next weeks goal, Again Sunday to Saturday, will be 1-4-6-2-4-2-11.

 
Feel free to streak along with me and give me any pointers!

New Routine

I, like many runners, have weak glutes.  This manifests in calves, knees, hamstrings, and in my case…hips.  I fall victim to piriformis syndrome as a result of my hip weaknesses.  The over compensation by my piriformis to correct the imbalance leaves it inflamed.  The nature of this bitsy little muscular blob is such that the sciatic nerve passes through it, so if it gets puffy it squeezes that lovely nerve and then all hell breaks loose.

priformis

I call it “getting a butt knot” which is not at all technical, but that’s the best way for me to describe the discomfort.  I am lucky that it isn’t mimicking sciatica and causing even more pain issues:

buttknot.PNG

The whole point of me telling you about my ever-cramping butt is to let you know about the new nightly routine I’m adding to the mix.  It includes stretching AND strengthening exercises and doesn’t take a lot of time.

Read about them here.

They go over foam rolling exercises, too, but I already use the Myssage balls instead.  I find them more portable, pretty, and proven than foam rolling.  The balls are designed to get in between tissue so you can really find the sweet spot.  It’s the same myofascial release but more concentrated and, in my opinion, more effective.  Just go slow and increase pressure when you find the right area.

Myssage is a technique developed by Juniper Bowers as way to soften the connective tissues in our bodies.  It is a lifesaver for me (and my S.O.).  Anyone who has repetitive stress…heck, anybody who is aging can appreciate using Myssage as a way to keep those tissues engaged, flexible, and happy.  I’ve linked to the Myssage site, but here it is again.

I use “the balls” every night.  I cannot express how strongly I suggest using this method as part of your active recovery routine.  They used to live in my recovery bag – with my ultrasound machine and TENS unit.  Now I use them so often that I just leave them out.  Check out the videos and read more about the method, then get yourself some balls!

myssage

14 Weeks Out

So…this weeks plan was pretty basic stuff, especially with the weather taking a turn for the frigid.  I didn’t have any crazy workouts.  It was essentially an extension of foundation miles.  For the Sunday to Saturday week, my plan was:

 1-4-5-2-4-2-9

The “1” is because I’m streaking, it’s technically my cross-training day.  The “2”s are my quasi-rest days.  I was hoping my “4”s would be workout days but I have this nagging fear of snapping a tendon in the cold weather.  So this week, Friday was somehow warm (a whopping 35), so I was able to make it into a tempo run.  

Blah blah, boring I know.  But here’s the real issue: how will I get speedwork in during these cold months?  I feel like I will have to play it by ear.  Luckily I will always be incorporating hills by the nature of where I live.  Or, maybe my mileage will be greater to accommodate really good warm ups.  The cool thing about this experiment is that I get to learn as I go.  My end goal is completion, any finish is a PR/PB, and I just need to live to run another day.

Next weeks goal, Again Sunday to Saturday, will be 1-4-5-2-4-2-10.

Feel free to streak along with me and give me any pointers!

The beginning.

It sounds daunting.  Any time I utter the words of my goals, when I finally put life into them and send them off into the universe, I shudder and think, “What have I done?”

Of course this only applies to those of us that think words are powerful, that once they are said they invoke the very meanings they embody.

But, here we are at the beginning of my newest goal, running an ultramarathon.  Earlier this year I said that I wanted to run an ultra by the time I was 40.  Then a running friend of mine turned me on to a semi-local race that is reasonably priced and for a good cause and I thought it was pretty pie-in-the-sky to believe I could do this coming year, but it made me feel all sparkly inside to think I might be able to.  I “just” might.

I just about accidentally and probably out of spite ran my first half marathon a little over a year ago (another story entirely).  I fell off the running wagon and my long runs were only at about 5 miles, my pace only admirable for molasses.  Could I do this?  Could this really be the beginning of my ultra career?  A month before my 38th birthday I was considering committing to the goal I had set for myself TWO YEARS DOWN THE ROAD.

The thought became stronger, like an obsession, and then turned into an idea.  And then I said it aloud, on some random weekend after breakfast.  I told my significant other (S.O.) that I was going to do it.

“I am going to run an ultra trail run.  Not like, the long one, just like the 18 mile one.”  Yeah, I said it with that much conviction.  I was nervous (still am).  I wasn’t sure what I was dreaming myself into (still don’t).  I was somewhat pretty much determined (and am moreso each day).

The footwork (ha!) just began two weeks ago, after setting up some sloppy foundation miles over the summer.  I frankensteined three race training plans from various places on the internet and I’m sticking to it.  This is going to be a learning experience.  I figured I should document it because of all the things I learned during half-marathon training I have retained maybe a handful of things after countless lessons learned.  I guess the most important thing I learned is that I’m at the age that when I think, “Oh, there’s no way I’ll forget that”…is exactly the moment I should take a freaking note.

As much as I want to say that this will be an expertly crafted blog that will so immerse you in my life that you will learn my taste in music, appreciate my quirky personality, and fall in love with my sense of humor, I’m pretty sure it has the same likelihood of being a lot of banal minutiae about running and an occasional crochet pattern.  I’m going to shoot for somewhere in the middle.

 

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