Before you do anything else, go over and read my recap on volunteering at the Griffith Park Trail Marathon.
After the race on Saturday, we spent the afternoon at the pool and it was perfect weather for it. Now for the best part... I learned how to swim! Yep, I can now swim for more than 20 minutes without becoming completely exhausted. Whoo hoo! Thanks to my dear friend who not only lets me borrow her pool but also gives me lessons, I now feel like I could actually swim in public without looking totally ridiculous. I swam for about an hour and I think I was only totally wiped out because of the early morning wake-up call and the heavy lifting from earlier in the day.
I also feel that I am making great progress in physical therapy. My ankle, while still in some pain, has shown improvement in strength and flexibility. I will be working with my physical therapist to determine which races will make sense to prepare for this year. I am hoping for a 50k and a 50-miler, and would also like to run a road race, whether it's a half or full marathon.
Since I was learning to bike and swim I thought to do a triathlon. I am struggling with this decision for so many reasons, but it seems to come down to having to commit so far ahead of time because they sell out so fast. The Classic distance at the Nautica Malibu Triathlon is already sold out and it's still six months away. I would have to commit to the (longer) International distance of a 1.5k swim, 40k ride, and 10k run by putting up my $200 very soon, and I just learned to swim three days ago. That's A LOT of cash to not get back with no option to defer to next year in the case of injury. The second part of the equation is while I'm sure there are plenty of beginners in every event, this is a major triathlon in Los Angeles and I especially don't want to go into the International distance unprepared. Conclusion: I would want to do a Sprint triathlon a month prior to test out my skills - another $125.
Once I pow-wow with my physical therapist, I can make a decision. If I won't be able to start running in the next few weeks (to prepare for Bulldog in August), I'll bite the bullet on the tris, and MAKE myself ready. Having a race on my calendar is just the added pressure I need to push myself!
Why, yes, it has been a long time since I have written a post. Thanks for noticing.
There is so much that has happened, just none of if has been running. Or hiking. Or walking.
So let's temporarily change the name of my blog to Now I'm Not Running and just get on with it, shall we?
So I was chugging away at the stationary recumbent, as you recall, and decided that it was just a darn good time for me to buy that bicycle I have always wanted. Making a long and not-very-interesting story short, I got hooked up on a 2015 Giant Alight 1. It's a pretty sweet "fitness hybrid" just meaning it's great for pedaling fast and getting a workout but doubles as a commuter. I haven't actually commuted anywhere, but I have been getting in some fun (though shorter than I would like) rides. There is a substantial network of bike paths in my area - the entire path I took (below) is comprised of designated bike paths and though I used to run these exact same loops, I definitely appreciate it differently now.
I'm still getting the hang of it (steering, using the gears, etc.) but I will definitely post more updates.
When I was a kid I swam on a swim team. I was never very good, but I was competent, at least at the breast stroke. Fast forward to adulthood. It's been 20 years (literally) since I swam laps. And let me thank my dear friends with a pool in their backyard who saved me the utter embarrassment that would have been me swimming in public. I think their pool is maybe 10-12 yards. And I could make it to one end and back before resting. Basically I would have been that person stopping in the middle of the junior Olympic pool to hold on the the side, or - even worse - the rope. Can you imagine?
I realized later (after watching a man twice my size effortlessly swimming laps at the pool in Vegas) that I was not floating, and instead, when swimming freestyle, each stroke felt like a combination of moving forward and staying above water. I was better at breast stroke, but my shoulders are definitely weak, and I wasn't able to pull all the way around on my stroke. It was still a great 20-minute workout, but I am way below par for reaping any sort of aerobic benefit.
It's supposed to be nice and toasty in So Cal this weekend so I will definitely be hitting up the pool for some more workouts!
I started physical therapy for my ankle and it's quite lovely. Twice a week I get up early and go to work on my hip/core/leg strength and get some stretching on my calves and ankle. It's definitely not what I expected when I started. I expected heel raises and some stretching. I have been doing a lot of hip bridges, some planks, and have been getting on the Reformer. The dorsiflexion in my left ankle (which is the angle at which I can pull my foot back towards my shin) has gone from -5% to 7%. By comparison, my right ankle is 15% and at least 10% is required for normal running biomechanics. I know I am losing running-related fitness, but when I come back to running, I will be strong in areas I was previously weak, and will be able to focus on getting back that endurance instead of wondering what my next injury might be.
My Fitness Pal
I was not overweight to begin with, but I definitely had a few more pounds on me than I would have liked and it was only going to get worse if I continued my current habits. I started logging my food and exercise on My Fitness Pal. What a world of difference it makes. I lost the first 2 pounds almost immediately, and those were the biggest problem. It sounds backwards, but I really wanted to use this time I'm not running to lose weight. When I run, I get extremely hungry. When I'm not running, I really can live off 1200-1500 calories a day easily. Granted, I am eating a lot of soup. I might write an entire post on my MFP experience.
So that's the major updates. I hope to elaborate on them all one day at a time, since I'm not changing back the name of my blog any time soon.
I was determined yesterday afternoon to run for ten minutes to gauge how I feel and to get a little bit of time on my legs. I ended up running three miles at marathon pace. Oops.
How did I feel? I had varying degrees of arch pain in my left (injured) foot the entire time. It would subside to a manageable level mostly, but would randomly spike in intensity. My calves felt extremely tight. They also felt tight before I got injured. I do not know whether this is related or if it's the shoes. I ran in the Saucony Virratas (0mm drop) and even though I ran in them last summer with no related calf pain/tightness, every time I have ran in them this winter I have had this response.
I kept checking in on my form and I felt like I was doing it right. I definitely need to strengthen my arches. I have abnormally high arches and that is likely the reason for my injury and will make me injury prone in the future if I don't have the strength to support that.
I am an intentional midfoot striker (and to be clear, the arch is not the midfoot. The midfoot is the fleshy ball of your foot) and ever since I switched from heel striking I have had no knee pain which was an enormous problem for me before. Sometimes I feel like I am landing on my toes, but when I ran by the floor-length reflective windows of an office building yesterday, I watched my feet. They looked perfect which was a nice surprise.
Since my doctor visit, I have noticed the over-supination my foot makes. It's actually quite exaggerated. I expect the 0mm drop contributes to this. For my next run (whenever that may be, definitely not today!) I will wear the 4mm drop Kinvaras and check in with my form again.
In the hour or two post-run I did have some pain on the outside of my ankle at the injury site. It went away after sitting on the couch and watching a movie for a couple of hours. This morning it doesn't hurt but is a tad bit tender.
So what does this all mean? I am pretty clueless as to how bad my injury actually is. I have ran through arch pain before and complemented with eccentric calf raises, hamstring stretches, and lots of foam rolling. So that part isn't scary. The pain post-run is more concerning and coupling them together concludes, at least from my perspective, that they are related.
I am seeing a Sports Medicine doctor who runs (!!!) tomorrow morning. I can't wait to get a little guidance for clearing this up quickly.
Running in Australia
How to Volunteer at a Race
Running in NYC Part I
All my recaps
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