Chicago Marathon Training Week 7

Sunday, July 20: Rest.

Monday, July 21: Cross Training.
After being forbidden from running until I saw my PT again thanks to my back pain, I dragged myself to the gym and withered away on the elliptical once again. My back felt a little sore, but not at all like it had felt Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. Moving in the right direction!

Tuesday, July 22: Dance.
My back didn’t bother me at all on Tuesday, which was great! My knee, however, was a disaster zone. I sat too much at work and paid for it. Moving around helped a bit, but my knee was sore throughout dance, after dance, and actually stayed sore through Wednesday morning. Not ideal. BUT BUT BUT you guys! Let’s not worry about my knee. Let’s talk about the REAL news from Tuesday.

As I waited for hip hop to begin, my teacher called me to tell me he was running late and wanted to know if I could warm up the class. These sorts of things have happened before, but there were always dancers more advanced than I in class that he’d ask to do the warmup. None of them are in class this session, though, so the responsibility fell to me. This, in and of itself, would’ve made Tuesday the best day of my life, because all I’ve wanted for so long was to feel like a legit dancer, and nothing makes you feel legit quite like having your teacher trust you to warm everyone up. BUT THEN, when I went to turn off the music I had playing on my phone:

subhiphop

;alskdfjasl;dkfjasdl;fkjasdflksdfjasldkfjasl;dkfjasdlfkajsd!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My teacher ended up not making it to hip hop at all (but did show up for breakdance, thank goodness), so I subbed for him for the entire length of class. aka Tuesday was, without question, THEE biggest moment of my dance life up to this point, and possibly of my life just in general. taught class! ME!! It was so exciting, you guys. I’m still not over it.

Wednesday, July 23: Cross Training + Physical Therapy.
By this point in the week, my back felt a lot better, but since both my PT and the PT I saw last Saturday told me to not run until after my next PT appointment, I, once again, put in some time on the elliptical. On the bright side, I’ve read so much Runner’s World over the past few weeks thanks to all my elliptical time. I’m still wildly behind, but at least I’m making progress!

After the gym, I went to the PT. He didn’t seem all that concerned about my back, but since my PFPS didn’t magically go away over the course of the week, he told me I needed to make an appointment with my sports doctor. Boo, hiss, etc. So long, hard earned money. I barely knew ye.

In addition to giving me a nice collection of bruises along my IT band, my PT hooked me up to the E-stim machine on Wednesday. I long ago lost track of how many visits I’ve paid to PT, but never in my time there have I had E-stim. To be honest, if I never have it again, that’d be quite all right with me. Maybe I’m just crazy, but I didn’t enjoy having electrical currents shot through my legs on five second intervals for 10 minutes. It was weird and uncomfortable and I didn’t like it one little bit.

Thursday, July 24: 6 miles in 1:03:03 for a 10:30 pace.
Meh. My PT said it’d be fine for me to run on Thursday, so I did, but it definitely could’ve gone better. My patellar tendon in particular was quite sore, and my toes went numb, because of course they did. I really debated whether or not I should do all six miles, but I didn’t feel injured enough to not do it, soo…I did it. Having such a lousy run after a week off put me in a rotten mood, though, and did not do me any favors in the confidence department.

Friday, July 25: Physical Therapy.
Good thing: I did not acquire any new bruises at PT, and my PT gave me permission to run on Saturday. Bad thing: my PT did Astym on the bottom of my foot, which is THE WORST. Guh. Astym is this rehab technique where the PT basically scrapes at your muscles/tissues/whatever, and while I’d never use the word “comfortable” to describe Astym in any location (and I’ve had it all over the place — my hip flexor, my knee area, my IT band, my calves, my foot), it is FAR AND AWAY the worst on the bottom of my foot. Somewhere in the growing up process being ticklish stopped making me laugh and just instead made me wildly uncomfortable and squirmy, and that’s basically how I feel when I have Astym on the bottom of my foot.

Saturday July 26: 5.8 miles in 1:00:18 for a 10:24 pace + 6.2 miles in 1:03:17 for a 10:11 pace.
I ran the BTN Big 10K on Saturday (the 6.2 — recap coming tomorrow), but had 12 miles on my schedule. At the delightful hour of 5:15 a.m., I met up with another girl in my CARA pace group, and we ran from Fullerton to the race site at 18th Street to make sure we hit 12 miles for the day.

sunrise3

I did this last year as well and really don’t mind breaking up the run this way (I also think telling my PT, “Well, yes, I’m running 12 miles, but they’re not 12 consecutive miles,” helped my cause for getting clearance to run ;) ). Not only does it make me feel SUPER hardcore to arrive to the race and be all, “Yeah, I actually ran here *brushes shoulder off*,” but this year in particular it was fun to do that with company. We kept each other on pace and chatted the whole time, which made the hour fly by. Most importantly, I experienced zero knee pain or foot numbness on the run (and the subsequent 10K). Woo! I also went to dance later in the day, because obviously 12 miles was not nearly enough activity for one 24-hour period (and I needed to use up my last class credit before it expired).

So. Who knows what’s going on with my body. I have an appointment with the sports doc this week, where I’m hoping I’ll get a simply confirmation diagnosis of PFPS (and be sent back to PT, I imagine) and be on my merry way. Though my knee has started to cooperate more on runs (Thursday being an exception), I still have a lot of trouble sitting for extended periods of time. I was on the train for a little over half an hour on Saturday, for example, and when I got off I genuinely didn’t think I’d be able to walk the few blocks to my destination.  Even though my knee pain isn’t impacting my running all that drastically at the moment, it’s definitely impacting my general life, and I’d prefer for that to not be the case.

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Thursday Things

1. When I graduated college, I couldn’t have been happier that I was done with school. I was a good student, but to be honest, I hated school. I hated assignments, I hated feeling like I never had time off and the perpetual stress that came with that feeling, and, more than anything, I hated–loathed, despised, abhorred–exams. Really, the only thing I enjoyed about school was that I could do it well. I never, ever wanted to go back to school.

I kinda want to go back to school.

I don’t know what’s come over me lately, but on Sunday I found myself in a poetry mood (this has happened exactly once in my life: Sunday. Haha) and all of a sudden longed for a Norton’s Anthology and a seminar-style class. I can think of approximately zero good or even remotely logical reasons for me to pursue a graduate degree in anything related to English, so chances of me acting on this impulse are essentially nonexistent, but it was so strange to miss–legitimately miss!–actively studying something.

In case that weren’t insane enough, on Monday I found myself researching what it takes to become a physical therapist (much to my surprise, nowhere on any website did it say, “Must be beautiful.” Given my experience in PT offices, I thought this must be a requirement for the job.). Chances of me actually pursuing a DPT are even slimmer than chances of me pursuing an MA in English Literature, because while an MA in English Lit would be mostly to entirely useless unless I decided to become a full time academic and/or college professor (LOLNOPE), I at least have a transcript that could get me into an MA program. I’d have to basically re-do all of undergrad to even fulfill the pre-reqs for any DPT program. This is what I get for cheating my way through my liberal arts undergrad program, taking joke gen-ed math and science classes (“History of Science,” anyone?) instead of actual, legitimate classes to fulfill my math/science requirements.

Meanwhile, these DPT programs are all, “Two chemistry classes! Two physics classes! Anatomy and physiology! Calculus!” etc. etc. You know the last time I took chemistry? As a junior in high school. You know the last time I took physics? As a seventh grader. (So by “physics” I mean “We learned Newton’s principles and that leverage is magical.”). Which is to say I never took physics, neither in high school nor in college. And calculus? Man, I didn’t even make it to pre-calc, let alone the real thing.

My dreams of being a PT will likely never be realized. Ultimately, I suppose this is for the best, as I’m not really a science person (see: my college transcript). But I so like the idea of being a PT. Treating patients, doing different things every day, not sitting at a desk all day (omg not sitting at a desk all day…). Alas.

2. Patellofemoral pain syndrome, though often known as runner’s knee, also has another less-sciencey name: moviegoer’s knee. It gets this name because sitting for extended periods of time causes strain on the patella, thus aggravating the condition. I work at a desk, so I’ve often struggled to move throughout the day, but OH BOY is PFPS a good motivator. I can sit in a chair for about 30 minutes or so, but if I don’t move for an hour, as soon as I stand up I have sharp pain in my knees. Because I prefer to be pain free, I’ve tried to get up frequently at work, and man, my activity tracker is so proud of me. Over the past week, I’ve received five total inactivity alerts (all of which I instantly regretted, especially on Tuesday, where two of those five came from. My knee hurt all day after that :( ). Prior to last week, there were times where I’d log five inactivity alerts in one day. Thanks, PFPS!

3. I bought peaches at Trader Joe’s last Friday (July 18) and had every intention of coming on here and raving on and on about how excited I am that peaches are in season again, how peaches are probably my favorite summer fruit, how I’d love to make my mom’s peach pie, so on and so forth. And then…

Screen shot 2014-07-23 at 10.30.15 AM

FAIL. And so sad. Now I have to get rid of my peaches :(

Have you ever had food recalled? This is actually the first time this has ever happened to me. If it’s the last time it ever happens to me, I won’t complain :P
Do you ever think about completely switching careers? 

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Chicago Marathon Training Week 6

Sunday, July 13: Cross Training.
I returned to what has started to feel like my second home, the gym, for yet another elliptical session. I spent 40 minutes on the same elliptical I visited twice during my “long run” last week, and experienced no knee pain whatsoever! Hooray! I struggled through the workout, though. I felt tired and sluggish until the cooldown, but it’s entirely possible I just have no clue how to operate the machine and had it on too hard of a setting. I’ve only used LifeFitness ellipticals up to this point, but my gym doesn’t have any of those, and clearly the learning curve on the equipment the gym does have is steeper than one may have expected :P

Monday, July 14: Personal Training + Physical Therapy.
Two PTs in one day! Haha. I neglected to e-mail my trainer to tell him about my possible PFPS, so he ended up restructuring Monday’s workout on the fly. My bad :/ He took it easy on my knee, though, and instead gave me all sorts of core and upper body work to do. As it turns out, he had PFPS in high school, so fortunately he’s familiar with the condition and, I imagine, will be able to work around it.

Later on Monday I paid a visit to my other second home, the physical therapist, where I was beat up, per usual. My PT essentially did an injury screen on my knee and said it looked like I do, in fact, have PFPS, along with some possible patellar tendon inflammation (it felt “gritty,” the same word my PT last year used for my hip flexor). This may sound weird, but it was kind of nice to go through the injury screen, have my PT mess around with both knees, and truly feel different sensations in my right knee than my left. I know I’m a hypochondriac, and I don’t want to be too “girl who cried wolf” about my aches and pains, if you will, but doing all that confirmed that I’m not crazy (well…that’s debatable ;) ), just falling apart. Haha. He told me to continue with my runs as planned this week, however, and after that we’d reevaluate and see if I need to go to the doctor for a PFPS confirmation and/or additional PT script.

Tuesday, July 15: Dance
I somewhat questioned whether or not I should go to dance on Tuesday, but I knew we were learning new choreography and I didn’t want to fall behind, so, somewhat against my better judgment, I went. My PT hadn’t specifically forbid me going, after all…not that I asked or mentioned it in any way, but let’s not get caught up in the details. My knee was a bit sore after hip hop, and I planned on more or less sitting it out in breakdance, and then out of nowhere my Saturday teacher showed up at my Tuesday class, which was just as awesome as it was unexpected, but also made me feel like I needed to, you know, try. So I did, but not too much, and my knee didn’t give me quite as much trouble as it had during hip hop.

Wednesday, July 16: 4 miles in 39:48 for a 9:56 pace.
Oh, you guys. This run. Everything went so well! The weather was gorgeous, and when the weather is that nice I like to try to run as close to the lake as possible.

skyline3

^^ Because obviously.

My knee felt fine, my toes felt fine, and I walked away from this run feeling happy and confident about training going forward.

Thursday, July 17: Physical Therapy.
Acquired some new bruises, did some exercises. Nothing too out of the ordinary here. My patellar tendon was sore for much of the day after this, but the rest of my knee felt all right.

Friday, July 18: Personal Training (and Bad Things).
My trainer is on vacation this week, so he had me come in twice to make up for it. We did the metabolic conditioning circuit he originally wanted me to do on Monday since my knee felt all right. It was tough: cable presses, kneeling chops with a ViPR, TRX rows/curls, some “rainbow” something or other (glute/hip work) and ropes, followed by a cooldown row. We did that five times, I believe. Not my normal Friday rest day, that’s for sure!

Then. Remember my designer drugs topical foot meds? Well, try as I may, I’ve found it impossible to get the medicine to absorb fully when I apply it. It leaves behind a bit of residue that’s not much of a problem when I wear shoes and socks, but creates a slick surface on sandal beds. On Friday, I wore sandals to work, and as I expected, my midday med application led to slippery sandals. I tried to clean things up using a paper towel, but my sandals remained slippery to the point where it affected how I walked — not a big deal while in the office, but definitely a big deal when walking from the office to public transportation, which is about a half mile. My gait put strain on my quad and lower back, and though my quad soreness went away almost immediately, my back soreness didn’t. In fact, as I write this late Sunday afternoon, my back soreness is still there.

I injured my back in August 2011, and that injury lingered until I took a full week off running and started back basically at square one of Couch to 5K to return to running (this was very early in my running career: I had only run one 5K up to that point, unlike now, where a usual run for me lasts three to four miles). My back never bothered me again until this past Friday. It’s the same pain in the exact same location, and, given the stubbornness of that injury, led me to have yet another injury-induced 1 a.m. panic attack Saturday morning. Woo. :|

Saturday, July 19: 7.09 miles in 1:14:42 for a 10:32 pace.
My back still ached Saturday when I woke up, but I went for my run anyway, because mentally, I could not stomach the idea of outright skipping two long runs in a row. The run actually went quite well, I thought. My body…eh, not so much. My knee felt great! No pain whatsoever! My toes went numb, though, and there was that whole back thing. I paid a visit to my BFFs, the always-wonderful employees of NovaCare, post-run, to discuss my new back situation. The PT I spoke to told me to not run at all until I met with my PT next later this week, and, given my ridiculous laundry list of injuries this season, to look into scheduling a VGA. She also told me she’d e-mail my PT on Monday to tell him she saw me, which made me irrationally nervous, because I had secretly hoped this would all go away by my appointment and I could just “forget” to mention it (and never wear sandals after applying my foot meds again). I went to dance later in the day because I want to use up the classes I paid for before they expire, but I essentially did stood there and frowned the whole time. I didn’t move enough to break a sweat, so I don’t think this had much of an impact on my back/knee/foot/life in general.

Because I am trying my hardest to stay positive, silver linings:
- My knee didn’t bother me during or after a run at all this week. I can’t sit for more than 30 minutes without pain upon standing, so I don’t think I’m magically PFPS-free, but this at least seems promising.
- The earliest I’ll run this week is Thursday, so if the forecast holds, I’ll avoid running in the heat and humidity predicted for early this week.
- I have four PT appointments left on my current script, so I’m at least set in that department through the end of next week.
- Though I feel like I’ve fallen horrifically behind in marathon training, a look at last year’s log vs. this year’s log shows that I’ve only done three less runs this cycle than I had at this point last year, meaning I’m not nearly as behind as I feared.

Keeping it real, though — I’m beyond fed up with all of this.
- I’m so frustrated with my body for refusing to get better when I’m doing my damndest to treat it well.
- I’m dreading PT later this week, because I’m afraid my PT will think I’m a neurotic fool for coming in with yet another crisis.
- I’m embarrassed to even post these marathon training recaps, not because of the quality of my workouts, but because if I were a blog reader, I would think I’m either 1) an idiot 2) stupidly paranoid 3) overreacting or 4) insufferably whiny. Actually, I’d probably think I was a combination of all four of those things.
- I’m worried that I’m going to have to DNS the BTN Big 10K this weekend, which would be my first DNS (and at a race I’ve enjoyed and PR-ed at twice in the past, no less).
- As time goes on, I become more and more concerned with where I stand in marathon training on the whole. I have yet to complete a double-digit run this cycle, and I’m not entirely hopeful I’ll get in  12 this weekend. I feel enormous pressure to run this stupid race since I registered through charity and have to raise $1,000 for OAR, and I wish I had just gone through the lottery and hoped for the best so, if nothing else, I could at least reassure myself with the idea that fate wanted me to run this race, instead of feeling like I circumvented the process, took matters into my own hands, and cheated my way into the marathon field by going through charity because I was too selfish about my own marathon goals to leave things up to chance.
- I feel like I’m making a mountain range that rivals the Himalayans out of molehills and that I’m being an entitled jerk for feeling like I’m owed a good marathon, and, honestly, for even caring in general, when there are plenty of people in the world suffering from far worse things than persistent running injuries that may or may not derail their marathon dreams.

Carry on with your Mondays. I’ll be over here, continuing to throw myself a self-indulgent pity party, if you need me.

 

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