Sunday, January 31, 2010

20 Minutes

I was pretty nervous to get out and run yesterday. I didn't want the pain to come back and realize that marathon training was over this year. I knew that I had done a good job resting my little injury, so that gave me some confidence.

Last weekend during the slightly warmer weather I had been craving a run. Of course the day I finally get to run it looks like this outside...

We're at the part of the year that sucks the most in Boston. It's that February/March stretch where winter has gotten old and spring isn't close enough. Marathon training at this time of year is BRUTAL. The 2 times I ran the Boston Marathon it would, of course, be that freaky 90 degree day in April. You can imagine how prepared I was for that!

I decided to walk to the gym and warm up on the bike for 5 minutes before running.
Since I don't have any fun running routes to take pictures of, I thought I'd share my super exciting walk to the gym (yes, that's sarcasm).
Up the hill

Down the hill

There's the Y!

It's much better in the daylight than at 5am in the pitch dark, like I usually do it.

The walk there was so painfully cold that I figured this "run" would be interesting.

I kept it on flat flat road around the gym.

The first few minutes were tough since I couldn't keep my mind off the thought of shooting pain in my leg. I kept anticipating for it to come.

Thankfully another fear took over my mind: FROSTBITE.

I was fricken COLD! My hands and toes were going numb. I looked down at my watch and I was only at 8 minutes. I did not think I could last another second. But then, I turned into the sun. My hands started to burn as feeling came back. I wish I could say the same for my feet.

Before I knew it, I was at my stopping point and pain free :-)

Woo hoo! I definitely felt tension in my calf and hardly consider myself home free, but this is a start.

I stayed at the gym to get some more of a workout in (bike, weights) and then went home to foam roll the muscles.

And ice while watching some quality programming

I love my housewives :-)

The plan is for another 20 minutes on Wednesday and 40 on the weekend. I would typically take things slower, however I don't have the luxury of time.

Here's hoping for another pain-free Wednesday!

Friday, January 29, 2010


Tomorrow I will attempt to run again. I couldn't have picked better timing with temps below freezing?!

I'll be doing a very light 20 minute jog on flat ground around my house and gym. I plan on doing some foam rolling exercises beforehand and the same afterwards.

I haven't experienced any pain at all since the run 2 weeks ago, however I can't say my calf feels totally normal. It's definitley still tight at times and ironically feels best after light physical activity. Go figure that sitting at a desk all day is very unnatural for the body.

I'm nervous. If tomorrow doesn't go well, then I'm obviously not going to continue training. I won't have enough time to heal and then restart. However, I am STILL raising money for charity and psyched to be at 20% of my goal!!!

Any creative ideas to raise money are welcome and encouraged so comment away!

In the meantime, check out my fundraising page:

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Tight Muscles

I wonder if some people are just more prone to tighter muscles than other. If this is true, than I am definitely one of them. I've never taken my warm-up/cool-downs or stretching seriously. I suppose I'm learning this the hard way.

I haven't ran since the disasterous long run on Saturday morning. I knew it was a simple case of "too much too soon." I'm airing on the side of cautioun and waiting to run until next weekend. This week has been full of my old friend, the bike. I don't mind it when it comes to a spin class, but when you're just on the stationary and counting the minutes, it can be even more hellish than the treadmill! I've also been getting back into weights and today finally stepped on the elliptical. I felt great, but still stopped myself at 20 minutes and hopped on the bike to finish up.

Not running is killing me, but running and getting hurt again tomorrow would be worse.

I'm trying to focus on what I CAN do to help my leg.

First up, and probably the best thing ever, the foam roller!

(By the way, that's not me). After using this bad boy for just a few minutes, my calves felt so loose and relaxed. A far cry from after yesterday's bike/weight workout where I felt as if I had rocks in my legs.

Second, I'm icing at night. It makes me feel like I'm actually doing something productive while watching my favorite bad boy on TV. On a side note, 24 rocks this season!

Third, thanks to a coworker of mine, I bought this soothing, anti-inflammatory gel which is supposed to work wonders. Even the gentleman who helped me find it at Whole Foods raved about it.

I've found myself gazing longfully at other runners, wondering how they're doing it. I'm jealous. I want to be out there too. Patience is a virtue I have NEVER possessed. I'm trying real hard.

I'm considering an endurance bike ride on a stationary this weekend. I realize that won't help my running endurance, but it might help my mental sanity and make me feel in the game. I also want to make sure I don't do more damage by crosstraining. I hear water running is excellent for injuries, but I don't have a nifty aqua belt. Anyone want to lend me there's???

Saturday, January 16, 2010


I suppose it's normal to get over zealous about training when you're excited about an event. Ironically I toned down every marathon training plan I had read up on because I knew my legs couldn't handle more than 3 days of running a week. I also didn't jump the gun on distances, at least I didn't think I did. I guess I was wrong. I'll fill you in on the gory details in a bit (I'm a tad bit dramatic, so bare with me)...

Since I've been busy at work I've been doing my long runs on Sundays, however this morning I chose to wake up super early and get my 10 miler in before my day. I've found that the busier I've been, the more on top of my training plan I've stayed. I haven't missed a single workout and I think the focus from work has translated over to my focus on training. I don't think I'm alone in that though. I think many people find that they are more accomplished the busier they are, and the opposite is true. Boredom is the devil's playtime!

I got some coffee ready the night before so all I would have to do is flip a switch when I got out of bed.

I made some quick whole wheat toast with almond butter, a banana, and some honey on top.

It was delicious, even at 6am!

After watching a DVRed episode of "The Real Housewives of OC" since 6am is the only time I can sneak in some of my guilty pleasure, I got dressed for the run.

And acted silly as usual.

Last night I downloaded a whole bunch of new music off itunes and decided to bring the ipod along for the run.

So now I had my tune belt

and my fuel belt

I found this amusing.

I got out around 7am and the sky was still in its beautiful sunrise form.

I was also able to dress a bit lighter today since it was a "balmy" 27 degrees.

It was a whole 10 degrees warmer than my 7 miler on Thursday morning and I felt it. It felt amazing!! I almost hate days like today because they give you glimpses into spring that won't come until a few more months. Dear January, stay cold and don't give me false hope. February, maybe towards the end. And March, go for it!

I decided to incorporate running along the Charles River for my run today since it wasn't too cold. I ran down towards BU campus, crossed over the T tracks

Crossed over the BU bridge

Got a cool look back west towards home

and ran along the path by Memorial Drive.

I think these are some of the best views of the city.

I definitely remembered why I loved running in college. I used to run here a few times every week and forgot how much I missed it!

I crossed back over the river at the Mass Ave bridge

You get some stunning views from up here.

This bridge is measured in "Smoots."

I suppose this is an MIT folklore story of some kids who measured the length of the bridge in a student's body lengths. The "Smoot" distances mark the distance from Boston to MIT campus, spanning the Charles River, and have been there ever since I started college.

With Panera, Upper Crust, and all of these other chains being spewed across my alma mater's campus in recent years, it's nice to know that some things haven't changed :-)

And then all hell broke loose. Well, not really, it kind of crept on gradually and I chose to ignore it.

My right calf started to feel tight while crossing the bridge and it only got worse and worse. I kept running (like an idiot) because this has happened before and I've stretched it and then it's subsided. (And because I'm super stubborn).

Anyway, it didn't subside, it only got worse, and by mile 7 after stopping to walk and stretch 5 times I gave up and phoned home.

To keep running would only make it worse. I knew finishing today's run was not seeing the big picture.

And here I am now in all of my pathetic glory...

I did NOT want to write anything about this today. I'm not going to lie, I'm really bummed and worried that I might not be able to run the marathon. There's a chance I can rest for a week and my calf won't bother me again. It might also recur over and over again and I'll have to stop. I just know that I have to be careful and rest before I do more damage.

I figured that this is also a part of the training. Injuries are real and they happen often when training distance. To write only about the good isn't very accurate, so here's the SUCKY!

Good news is I have a gym membership, I can ride a bike, take sping class, do intervals in a few days on an elliptical, I love to lift weights...basically, I'm not nervous I'm going to fall out of shape. I've had this injury before and got into better shape than ever by being creative. I just might not be able to do the marathon.

And then I turn on the tv, see the devastation that is Haiti, and remind myself that if this is the worst thing that can ever happen to me, then I'm a LUCKY girl. I've dwelled and now I'm done.

I still will definitely be raising money for an amazing charity so please don't stop the love from coming...

Now time to go thank my husband for cleaning the entire house today since all I've done since getting home from work is sulk and complain. I know, I know, me complain??? Never!!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Difficulty Breathing

Perhaps going for a 14 mile run in below freezing temps wasn't the best idea this morning, but what other options do I have? These long runs have to be done outdoors and unless it's pretty catastrophic outside, I should suck it up and go. I think a lot of other runners felt the same, b/c I was not alone out there today.

Last night we had JP's lab's holiday party which is usually held in January. I'm also usually coming from work since it's our busy time in January.

Work on Saturdays + Long runs on Sundays = Unhappy Heather

Reason being I have to get up at 6:30am on a Sunday morning just so that I don't kill the rest of the day. After my nap which I just woke up from at 4:30pm, I managed to kill it on my own.

I started up the coffee right away and had some banana oatmeal with, YES, half a chocoloate chunk cookies. Wanna know what? Because I can and I felt like it. (I have to give myself perks about running 14 miles somehow).

When I checked this morning and saw that it was 3 degrees and felt like -9 outside, I knew I had layer.

First off, Under Armour top, leggings, and a dry fit running top.

Next up, a fleece

After that I had two layers of gloves, my headband, and I almost brought my neck wrap which I regretted not bringing later. It can be annoying to wear, but it would have come in very clutch today.

I also decided to bring along some nutrition since the run would go over two hours. On the list...

1 packet Vanilla GU Energy Gel

1 bag Luna Bar Pomegranite Moon chews

I also brought along the standard gatorade/waters in my fuel belt. And today, since it was nice and dry out, I could also bring along my camera.

Ready to run!

I swear, how these teenage girls do their selfies in the mirror I will never know. I guess I'd be a horrible sexter.

Once heading outside I realized, crap, I have to run 14 miles. The start of a long run, while I realize it's going to be tough physically, is so mentally challenging.

The watch is at zero and you have a LONG ways to go. I probably don't get truly into a long run until at least 5 miles. Those first 5 are pretty depressing, especially alone, but after that I'm usually on such a high it makes it all worth while. I guess it's like having kids?

I started my FRIGID run around the Resevoir right by Boston College.


A very distant Boston in the background.

My run today would take me beyond those buildings (The Pru and John Hancock) and to the theater district and back.

The beginning of the run, aside from being cold, went by rather quickly to my surprise. It wasn't until 45 minutes in, when I hit the Citgo sign on the horizon...

that I realized things might get intersting.

When you're running in nature's freezer that means that everything in it can freeze. Bye bye fluids, hello icy slushies.

I was so distracted trying to pick the slush out of one of my bottles, that I forgot to restart my stop watch. Soooo, I had no clue how long I had been gone for exactly for the entire run. It usually helps track my progress and mileage, so I had to say goodbye to that.

Aside from the cold, itwas beautiful out this morning. The lovely Back Bay

The mandatory Cheers photo

A minor snafu in my planning, not realizing that taking Beacon St. all the way down would mean running UP Beacon Hill.

I actually met those runners in the distance when they were on a break. They were part of the L- Street running club, one of Boston's biggest running clubs based out of Southie, and helped keep me encouraged. I needed it!

I'm in the city!

I decided at this point to take a GU and some water. Unfortunately my plain water bottle had frozen shut so badly, I couldn't open it up. A gatorade slushy it would be.

The Gu actually tasted much better ice cold and did not freeze.

I figured I had to prove I was actually in the Boston Commons today and got there by foot.

I got some photographic inspiration and snapped up some pics.

Now it's time to head back! But uh oh, I have to pee. I've had to pee the entire run, but it's at this very moment where I HAVE to pee.

Thankfully this hit around Comm Ave. and Mass Ave., an area I lived in for a couple years in college. Nearest Starbucks, no problem!

When I stepped inside I felt like someone had laid a pound of bricks on my chest. I could NOT breathe. The air inside was so warm and unbelievably heavy. I couldn't stop hacking up a lung in the bathroom.

I got back on my way quickly, but my chest was hurting a bit. I wish I never stepped foot in that starbucks but I didn't have a choice.

My run back was full of pain, but not the usual pain that accompanies a long run. My legs are usually sore and the main focal point of my aggrivation. Today it was my breathing and the bitter cold.

As I'm thinking these thoughts in my head, this girl runs by me.


I typically applaud the short-wearing runner in the winter, however this chick was crazy!

I ran back along BU campus

I got a kick out of this sign at the Paradise Rock Club

Only 2 more miles, which went in slow mo. I forgot about my Luna Moons since I never felt hungry or thirsty on the run. Not normal! I decided to just try one since I wanted to test them out.

Verdict, yummy but very very chewy. It took more energy to eat them than they probably provided me. I only had two because, like I said, I was not hungry at all.

Finally I was at Chandler Pond, the best backyard every, and time to walk.

Some fun with shadows.

A well earned 14!!!

This run really tested me today. I don't think it can get much worse than this. My lungs were on fire and my chest hasn't been the same all day. Every deep breath has been accompanied by a hacking cough.

I literally had to force some Thai leftovers down because my appetite was non existant.

We also went out to Shabu Zen for Japanese hot pot since all I wanted was hot tea and soup.

My normal post run cravings are meat, burgers, greasy anything. Today, tea and soup? I'm not myself.

I just crashed for a two hour nap and now it's dark out. Long runs suck away your day.

At least next week's run is back down to 10.5.

And then I remember why I'm doing it all...