Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Learned & Loved! January 21-27

What I Learned & Loved! 

This is a delayed post from last week. I was sick and out of work for four days so have been playing catch-up on my life since then!

Learned: The flu sucks. But it's awesome to have your coaches checking in on you, asking how you're feeling and not having to worry about how you're going to make up for the lost week. Last week while I was sick (from Tuesday-Saturday), Derek and Allison checked in on me every day, which was so appreciated! I felt bad and was frustrated because I got sick on the FIRST day I was supposed to do one of their workouts, but was obviously not in any condition to run for a few days. And when I was ready to run again, they were there with a revised training plan for me so I could ease back into running! Thank you, Derek and Allison! (I promise I'll still learn what VO2 max is, I just didn't have it in me last week to look this up in between sleeping, blowing my nose and sweating. While sitting on the couch. Ew.)

Loved: I loved getting in my first good run after being sick! On Sunday I went out for 6 (snot-filled), glorious miles. I took it easy and didn't look at my Garmin, except to slow myself down a few times!   I returned from this run feeling very grateful that my body repaired itself after only a few days of feeling horrible.  On Friday, I was completely exhausted after just getting groceries and unloading them, and on Sunday, I made it out for a run, to NJ to see "Silver Linings Playbook" and even out for a friend's birthday! It's amazing what the human body can do!

Now that I'm back to normal this week, I'm loving following my training plan and getting in some good runs! Bring it on NYC and Eugene Half Marathons!

What did you learn and love this past week?

Monday, January 21, 2013

Learned & Loved! January 14-20

What I Learned & Loved! 

I learned that I'm not the invincible sleeper that I used to be. Until recently, I've always been able to sleep anywhere, anytime. 2am, 2pm, 9pm, 11am....whenever. In a bed, at a Dave Matthews Band concert, with someone playing an instrument in the same room as me, in a car, in a bar (yes, that has happened...more than once.) Anywhere. But twice in the last week I've taken naps between the hours of 6-9pm, woken up for a few hours then gotten back into bed around midnight. Both times, I've failed at falling asleep until at least 1am. Last night was one of those nights, so thankfully today is a rest day because I'm beat! I need to commit to an earlier nap after work, or just going to bed earlier. Today I'm planning to get into bed for a nap as soon as I get home from work. Aka in 20 minutes. Rest is just as important as running so I intend to put as much importance on my nap today as I do my runs! :)

I loved finally committing to get a coach(es) and getting my training plan for the rest of January! It has me really excited to 1) do some actual speedwork on a real track...which I've only done once since middle school 2) incorporate some speed into long runs 3) finally figure out (and remember) what VO2 Max is! :) I've read about this so many times and I always forget it immediately since I've never seen it on my training plan before.  But now that it's on my schedule, I'm determined to read about it again and actually remember what it is and why it's important! That can be what I learned for next week! :)

What did you learn this week? What did you love?

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Thank You Finish Line PT!

On Friday, I went to Finish Line PT for a Peak Performance Analysis. Let's back up a bit; after taking a week off of running over the holidays due to knee pain, I treated myself to a run on Christmas day. I made it half a mile before my knee started hurting. When I got home, I tweeted something like "HELP ME! MY LIFE IS OVER! I CAN'T RUN!"  Abby (and maybe Jess- can't remember and the tweets are too old to find now) tweeted back that I should go see a Physical Therapist, and recommended Finish Line PT.  My insurance is less than stellar, so I was discouraged when I saw that Finish Line doesn't take it, and basically gave up that hope.

A few days later, I got an email from Sara at Finish Line PT, who handles the social media for the office.  She offered me a Peak Performance Analysis, which included an Injury Assessment and a chance to run on their AlterG! I was so amazed that she contacted me after just seeing one tweet about my knee pain!  We emailed back and forth to set up a time, and I ended up going in on Friday.

After seeing my doctor a few days after Christmas, we concluded that my knee pain was caused by my IT band, which my doctor described as feeling "like a rock." I don't think that was a compliment. While I've been lucky enough to get back to running after an extremely painful, but obviously effective, sports massage, there must be an underlying issue that caused the IT band pain to begin. So on Friday, I was happy to get some expert advice from Tom at Finish Line!

First I ran on the treadmill for a Gait Analysis for Tom to analyze.  Then I walked around for him to see how my feet land. He thought that my feet/legs seemed to look okay for the most part, but noticed that I'm hardly able to bend backwards and determined that the issue must be coming from my hips. Now that I'm writing this, I'm remembering that once I started running again after the marathon my left hip (which is the leg that has had issues) felt super tired/sore after every run.  I've also had the urge to stretch my hips out a lot in the last year so this all makes sense!  Tom gave me some hip stretches to do that give a much bigger stretch than anything I was doing on my own, and he let me video tape him so I won't forget the exercises. Awesome, because I forgot pretty quickly so was glad to have the video to reference!  I also bought myself a new torture device, shown below. My previous foam roller was too forgiving- I'd get off it and it would be dented from my body weight so this is definitely better/more painful/what I needed.

After Tom was done showing me the stretches, I got set up with the AlterG! You put on these funny shorts that feel like they're made out of wet suit material and have a huge circular zipper around them.  You zip yourself into the machine, then it weighs you. While I have been running outside without pain, obviously at 100% of my body weight, it was nice to get a break from that on the AlterG!  Tom set the machine to 80% of my body weight, but said I could play around with it. I took the machine down to as low as 50% of my body weight. The lower the percentage of body weight, the higher the machine suspends/lifts you! It inflates with more air to the point where you feel like your legs are almost dangling. It was pretty fun to play around with it and experiment how it felt to run at different levels! I can tell why many pro runners use this when injured; you can still get your miles in but without the high impact on your legs.

I ran a three miles on the AlterG at 8:00 pace. While my lungs felt like they were running at an 8:00 pace, my legs felt great! I've been curious about these machines for a while now so I'm so glad I had the opportunity to try one out!

This was the best experience I've ever had at Physical Therapy (and I've been to a bunch of different offices for non-running related injuries).  The space is huge and open with tons of different equipment and the people working at Finish Line PT are the nicest and most helpful people I've come across in NYC. Everyone went out of their way to make me feel welcome, answer any questions I had and be extremely helpful in every way possible. I can't wait to go back later this month!

THANK YOU Finish Line, and Abby and Jess for tweeting about them!!!

Have you ever been to Finish Line PT? 

Friday, January 18, 2013

Announcement! I Got a Running Coach, or Two!

Ever since I ran the Philadelphia Marathon, I have had a huge urge to get as fast as possible, as quickly (and safely) as possible. While trying to figure out what was next after running Philly, I blogged about possibly getting a running coach. These were my thoughts: 

For getting a coach:
- All the cool kids are doing it
- All the cool kids are running awesome races with the help of their coaches.
- My times would probably (hopefully) drop faster than without a coach
- I love following a plan. Probably especially when it has been made just for me.

For not getting a coach:
- I have been getting faster on my own, and know I still have more to give. Part of me wants to see how much I can do on my own.
- Adding more speedwork/days per week/miles per week on my own will make me faster
- I don't know exactly who I'd want to coach me
- Costs money, that I don't really have (least of my concerns, but still a factor)

Until last night, they were still my thoughts. Over the last few weeks, I researched coaches that were recommended on Twitter and on blogs. I still wasn't 100% sure I wanted a coach, and really wasn't sure who I wanted...

Finally, yesterday I took the first step in getting a coach (or two): I emailed Allison DeLancey. Allison (an Oiselle Elite team member!) and her husband Derek coach together and are both insanely fast! Within a few hours after I sent my email, Allison had written back a very nice email and attached a training schedule of someone else they coach with the same goals as me. As soon as I opened that plan, I knew they were the coaches for me. The detail, the variety in the runs and the way a plan like that would push me were exactly what I was looking for. I was giddy with runner-nerd excitement!  By the end of the night, I made a complete switch from MAYBE wanting a coach to absolutely wanting them as my coaches!

I can’t wait to get started and work towards my goals for my Spring races! I’m excited to have someone to report back to, get advice from and work directly with me to help me reach my goals and set new PRs! I plan to follow the training schedule to a tee, push myself to the required paces, and take it easy on easy days! 

So, here's to an awesome 2013! 

Dream Big 2013. Lucky '13.

Do you have a running coach? Have you ever thought of getting one? What's your favorite part of having a coach?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

What I Learned & Loved!

I have been so bad at updating this blog recently! I don't like to write posts just because I feel like I need to write something, but while trying to fall asleep last night, I came up with a new weekly idea:

What I Learned & Loved! This will likely be a short and sweet recap of my previous (running) week: ideas of what worked for me so I can do it again in the future, things to change and highlight(s) of my week. This will be something I can reference down the road in training cycles, when I'm struggling, when I feel like things are going well. Obviously I'm a bit late for last week but here's What I Learned & Loved! from January 7-13.

Learned: Running Thursday evening, doing a circuit workout Friday night, Yoga Saturday morning followed by a run and a long run on Sunday, while getting over a cold and not sleeping enough, is SUPER tiring. This training cycle (for the NYC Half Marathon) I'm trying to add in an additional day of running (to make it 5), while still cross training. I need to better learn how to spread out my running days and/or cross training days. What I did last week was not effective and made me so tired for the start of this week. Maybe doubling up on runs one day, to allow an extra rest day, would be better for me. Or, maybe I just need to have a set day for cross training every week. I'm hoping to run Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday so cross training either has to happen Monday or Friday, but NOT Friday AND Saturday like last week!

Loved: There were two things I really loved from last week:
- I love running fast. This can mean something totally different to everyone. "Fast" is relative and that's what's so great about running. Everyone runs different paces, races and number of miles run, but everyone can get the same highs and lows, confidence and joy from running. Last week I ran my first sub-8 miles since the Philadelphia Marathon and I was reminded of the pure joy of running. I felt like I was finally back at it (after an angry IT band) and felt like I was flying!
- I love running with friends. I love running alone too, but running with friends makes the miles go by so quickly while keeping you entertained. Last week I ran with Ashley and Jess (twice) and Lora, and Fiona when I jumped in for a few miles during a race they ran on Sunday. I was tired (see above!) and wanted to stop since I wasn't running the race anyway, but I didn't because we were all together and were having fun. Thanks for keeping me going, ladies!

Post NYCRUNS 10 Mile race with Ashley, Fiona, Erica, Leticia, me, Susan and Lora!

What was your favorite part of running last week? What did you learn?

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Top Three for 2012 & 2013!

Happy New Year!!! I can't believe it's already 2013!  I had big plans to do a 2012 wrap-up post, and a 2013 resolution post. But, as it always does while on vacation, time got away from me! Since I'm leaving for the Bahamas tomorrow(!) and have a lot to do today, here's a quick version of both!

Top 3 Favorite Running Moments/Things of 2012:

1. Finishing my first marathon! Crossing that finish line was one of the best feelings in the world.
2. Meeting, and running with, so many new friends! Starting a Twitter account and this blog has introduced me to so many amazing runners and friends that I wouldn't have met otherwise!
3. Being accepted onto the Oiselle Team!!! I am continually impressed by Oiselle and the team members and am so honored to be a part of the team!

Top 3 Running (Related) Resolutions for 2013:

1. Be healthy and injury free. Listen to my body and take breaks when needed.
2. Stick to my 2013 Workout Chart below! The cross training will help with number one, and will help my running as well. I love checking things off so I'm hoping that it'll make it easier for me to stick to this chart, knowing that I can cross something off every time I complete something :) It starts today, right after I go for a run!

3. Run a sub 1:40 half marathon and set a new 5k PR!

I hope your 2013 is off to a great start! What are your 2013 workout/running resolutions?