Harder, Faster, Stronger

What can I say, other than everything related to running is a glorious, rainbow spiked dream with the perfect back ground music and no pain.

Yep, that’s pretty much it. I did Week 1 Twice, then Week 2 on my 3rd week of running, and this last week I did Week 3 on my 4th week of running. I did about double the running times I was supposed to on the running intervals, and had no problems whatsoever. Basically for all 3 workouts last week I broke the 20 minutes down like this- I did 3 minutes of running at 5.5, 2 minutes of walking at 3.5, repeat 3 times. The last 5 minutes I just ran straight, at a 5.5. I did all of this at a 1.5% incline.

Again, please, I know that those aren’t crazy impressive paces or distances. The point is, I was a girl with crippling hip and back pain, who could hike and bike and yoga all day long, but running destroyed me due to the injuries. Now, I’m enjoying running. I’m looking forward to it. I’m pushing myself, and daydreaming about things like half marathons… this is HUGE.

I’m going to be proud of every measly little mile, dammit!

Oh, and speaking of measly miles- as it turns out, the hike was 8 miles round trip instead of 6. Oh, and it gained 2,300 feet in elevation instead of 1,000 :) But at the end of it we were on top of a mountain, so I’d say it’s worth it.

This is us, after hiking to the base of Grey Rock. We ate lunch in its shadow, contemplating how crazy it was that soon we’d be on top of it….

On top of the previous rock. Incredible views! From the previous picture to here there isn’t too much of a trail, and more than half of it you are on hands and feet, scrambling over and climbing rocks. Great day :)

So, About Last Week…

Monday the 21st through Friday the 25th was insane. Bobby and I have lots of once a year to do things coming up- registration, for one- plus all sorts of other random to do’s like getting new tires, getting emission testing, failing emission testing, signing new leases, turning in “no thank you” letters to the old apartment, etc. On top of all that I had a doctor’s appointment, I’m studying for the PLACE teacher certification exam, I had a project and a meeting for one of the non-profits I’m interning with, and I had to clean house and get ready for my friends to come in from Texas (today they made it, hurrah!)

OH, right, and we also drove to Boulder on Tuesday night so that we could snowboard all day Wednesday for a last run of the season. I took an all day lesson since I’ve only done one run back in January (my first snow sport, ever). So that was 4 or 5 hours of snowy, sunny, snowboarding fun.

I also did my regular Tues/Thurs yoga class, plus yoga on Friday for an hour. I did a full body weight workout on Monday as well as doing ab work on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday. I did C25K on Monday and Friday, but since I went snowboarding all day Wednesday, I did not run that day. I plan to do my 3rd run of Week 2 tomorrow (Sunday).

For now, we’re about to pack up and head out to the Poudre Canyon for some camping tonight, and then tomorrow it’s a hike to Grey Rock (about 6 miles round trip). After sleeping on the ground in 30 degree weather and then hiking all day this last run might be very, very interesting…

As t this week, my feet have been fabulous. Zero pain, anywhere. I think they’re definitely getting stronger and stronger. On Friday I got bored  with having to keep changing pace to walk/run, so I just decided to run the entire first 10 minutes straight, at 5.0 pace. It was perfect. Felt like a dream. I know 10 minutes straight is NOT a lot, but it’s about 3 times what I’m supposed to be running during the week and my feet/calves/toes are doing great in the Vibrams.

For now we’re off into the woods!

End of Week 1 Repeat

So in my last post I was about to skip off to W1D3 of C25K. I mentioned how I was having no pain. Well, apparently I jinxed myself.

No worries, it wasn’t a big deal, but as I was running my right foot, around my ankle, started feeling super tight, like it really needed to pop- not in a terribly bad way, but in a way that gave my foot some instability. I ended up taking it on the very, very, very safe side and cut my Day 3 run short by 7 minutes- I walked them at a 3.5 pace instead. I did an hour of ashtanga/vinyasa flow yoga right afterward, which included a lengthy standing series, and my right foot did just fine. It was a bit sore, which was strange. I finally was able to put my finger on it- my foot was sore like any other muscle that had been worked. I had just never felt that feeling in my foot before.

The next day it was fine, and we celebrated my birthday all day long- we went to the St. Pat’s parade, we had lunch with friends, and then that night we went out to Jumpstreet, followed by dinner and drinks at Boulder Cafe and then dancing until 2 a.m. at The Catacombs. For ease, I’m going to refer you over to my personal blog if you want some pictures to go along with the day’s recap- there is also a video of my execution of a pretty awesome back flip+ toe touch.

Anyway, Sunday I woke up pretty sore after hours of jumping and dancing- literally, I danced for about 2 or 3 hours straight, it was awesome. Monday I just didn’t feel like back and hip were up to do a run, so I took the day off and re-started Week 1 on Wednesday instead. My right foot did much better, no problems, and just to head anything off at the pass I iced it when I got home. The run on Friday went very, very, very well- I went ahead and tried to do intervals of 90 seconds walking at 3.5 and 120 seconds of running at 5.0, instead of just 60 seconds. It felt great, no pain anywhere, and my breathing and stride felt really smooth and easy. I decided to do the last 5 minutes of the workout according to Week 1 parameters, but all in all I felt great. I went to yoga later that day and everything was great there as well.

The run on Friday really gave me confidence that a) I made the right decision to play it safe and repeat Week 1 and b) I am definitely ready to move onto Week 2 tomorrow morning.

I also found “Born to Run”at my local library and for a non-fiction, informational book it is one of the best stories I’ve ever read in my life. Equal parts hilarious, inspirational, insane, and thought provoking. I highly recommend it. I started it yesterday and I’ve already almost finished it. I’ve bookmarked about 5 different places in it, but here is one of my favorite excerpts, about ultrarunner Scott Jurek (a name I was familiar with before; I had no idea he was a part of this story):

Strictly by accident, Scott stumbled upon the most advanced weapon in the ultrarunner’s arsenal: instead of cringing from fatigue, you embrace it. You refuse to let it go. You get to know it so well, you’re not afraid of it anymore. Lisa Smith-Batchen…talks about the exhaustion as if it’s a playful pet. “I love the Beast,” she says. I actually look forward to the Beast showing up, because every time he does, I handle him better. I get him more under control”. Once the Beast arrives, Lisa knows what she has to deal with and can get down to work.” pg 124-125

2 Down, 1 to Go

Yesterday yoga went really well- I can feel the difference in my hip already. I’ve also started a nightly stretch/foam roller/pressure point ball routine that I think is helping immensely. I wasn’t nearly as sore the day after Day 2 as I was the day after Day 1. I have yet to do Day 3, but as soon as I finish uploading some pictures and posting this blog I’m heading to the gym.

A bit of a tangent- my favorite yoga class is on Monday nights, but this month Bobby and I are taking our intermediate West Coast Swing lessons, which are only on Monday nights. I was bummed about missing the yoga classes, but then the instructor, Kimberly, told me she was also teaching a new class on Friday afternoons. I was so stoked, because seriously she teaches an amazing class. So today the plan is to do my 20 minute W1D3 run with 5 min warmup/5 min cooldown, giving myself about 30 minutes space between that workout and going to her yoga class. I figure I’ll bring an apple and a book to keep me busy.

So far I still don’t have any pain anywhere, and as I said the soreness is started to be less acute after each run. I’m going to put some bandages on the pads of my feet right below my big toes to lessen the rubbing before I run, but other than that I’m looking forward to seeing how Day 3 goes. Oh, and I nixed the plan of running in my regular shoes on Wednesdays, I’m not in pain, nothing is sore/pulled, so I just need to stick with the Vibrams and continue to build up my calf strength. From everything I’ve read that is the big difference between barefoot/Vibram running and running in shoes- the way your calves work. Because of this I’m thinking of repeating Week 1 just to be on the safe side with building up my strength and feet slowly. We’ll see how today goes before  I make a final decision on that, but I’m pretty sure I’m going to repeat it.

With this yoga class and run today I’ll be over my minimum goal for yoga and I will have met my goal for C25K Week 1. This weekend will involve birthday celebrations, a parade, and a bowling and lunch meetup, so I’m glad I won’t have to worry about scheduling in my workouts to meet my goals. But we’re hoping to bike to the parade since the weather is getting nicer (round trip that’s about 18 miles) and I’ll probably go to Sunday morning yoga, so I’ll still be active this weekend.

Until next week,

Gadget Cat/Cortney

You Say It’s Your Birthday

My 3rd birthday, shoveling that cake.

Today is my 28th birthday. I’m feeling pretty grateful to be alive and so far the birthday has gone well. I’ve received birthday wishes via mail, FB, texts, and phone calls, so altogether I feel sufficiently showered in recognition that 28 years ago today I appeared on the earth scene. The official birthday celebration will take place on Saturday night at Jumpstreet- indoor trampolines! Trampoline walls! Trampoline trampolines!- but tonight Bobby is taking me out to dinner for an official “it’s your birthday, yay!” dinner.

I hit the gym for W1D2 today. I was lightly sore from Day 1 and from yoga yesterday, but I foam rolled the hell out of my entire body last night which definitely took the edge off. Again, the workout for today was just like Day 1- 5 minute warmup, 20 minutes alternating 60 seconds jogging/90 seconds walking. I took the incline back down to 0, but in exchanged I upped my walking speed from 3.5 to 3.8, and upped my jogging speed from 5.0 to 5.5 and sometimes 5.6.

Things I noticed- directly below both big toes rubbed persistently against the inside of the Vibrams. I didn’t notice this at all the first run, so I’m thinking that I’m just going to have to develop some callouses as my feet get used to them. Like any new shoe, they need to be broken in. I didn’t experience any of the Achilles soreness I had the first run, although I am noticing just how much more work my feet/ankles/calves are doing in the Vibrams. I know this is a good thing, because I’m not heel striking and I’m using my legs correctly, but it makes me feel like  a total wuss to get off of the treadmill after a mere 20 minute jog/walk workout feeling like I’ve done approximately 3,456 calf lifts.

Things I’m over the moon about- even with upping the speed I’m still doing great cardio wise. This helps me focus on good form, and will hopefully prevent injury. Speaking of injury- so far, so good on the hip front. I talked to my yoga teacher about SI joint instability exercises, and she gave me some great tips and advice on modifying certain moves.

The plan for tomorrow is my usual yoga class, lots of water, and another date with the foam roller. For now though I have to get ready for my birthday date with someone who isn’t a foam roller. I generally avoid dairy (for a variety of reasons, but let’s just say it has improved my life in several different areas) but I’m looking forward to a pasta ‘splosion at one of my favorite places. Lemon caper cream sauce will be had. Oh yes.

Dear 28,

Welcome to being my age for the next year. Try and keep up. I plan on wearing you out.

Love,

Gadget Cat/Cortney

 

Yoga and the Aftermath of Day 1

Today I went to my normal Tues/Thurs yoga class. This is a vinyasa flow/ashtanga type class that is just challenging enough to be a good workout, but easy enough on the cardio to be a good recovery day/strength option. The teacher is great, and really knows what she’s talking about. Unfortunately a lot of people have tried to profit off of the explosion of interest in yoga, and sometimes you can find yourself in a room with a whackadoo who has little more credentials than a 24 Hr Fitness weekend seminar. Yoga was great and my arms feel awesome after all of those sun salutations (seriously, the best arms of my life are courtesy of yoga. No amount of basketball, weight lifting, or kick boxing/punching came close to getting me here. Thanks yoga. Nama-fucking-ste).

To back up a little- I noticed this morning that my feet and calves were a lot more sore than they usually are after a run. The 20 minutes I alternated walking/jogging in the Vibrams worked my calves a lot harder than my previous mile to mile and a half runs in my Sauconys. It’s not a bad, painful sore, but a good “oh, hi, I’m your muscle, and I got a great workout, so if it’s ok with you I’ma be sore for a bit, thanks” kind of feeling. Nothing is twinging or giving me cause for concern. My feet feel… I don’t know how to describe it. Maybe “stretched in all directions, in a good way” comes close to what I mean. Have you ever had a really good foot massage, where the masseuse (or awesome friend/partner whom you conned into rubbing your feet) really worked in between the tendons and stretched everything out and you felt a lot more space afterward and you wanted to give them a hug or send them flowers from your feet to them with love? Yeah, kind of like that. My Achilles soreness is totally gone as well.

I’m curious to see how W1D2 goes tomorrow. Oh, one last thing- I have a tiny blister on the end of my middle toe on the right foot. Other than that the Vibrams feel like heaven and I don’t notice them rubbing anywhere. Part of the reason I went with the Bikila LS is because the lacing provides equally distributed pressure, whereas the Bikila has the traditional over the ankle velcro strap. It felt a bit like someone was firmly clasping my foot, which was uncomfortable. I definitely made the right choice for my foot, and for my weird aversion to feeling like someone’s clasping it while I’m running.

Right now it’s shower time, and then a few hours of studying for my teacher certification exam. I love my local library and any chance I get to spend more time there is a good day indeed.

Do good things,

Gadget Cat/Cortney

Couch-to-5K Week 1, Day 1, or, C25K W1D1

I completed W1D1 this morning- a workout consisting of a 5 minute warm-up followed by 20 minutes of alternating 60 seconds jogging and 90 seconds walking. As I suspected, this was not hard for me cardio-wise. I did get a bit sweaty, and my heart rate was definitely up, but I wasn’t panting and crying and praying to Sweet Baby Jesus to release me from my torment. As I also suspected, it was VERY hard for me to get out of my ego and allow myself to do the jogging/walking intervals, because everything in me was saying “oh, COME. ON. You can do so much more than this! Just run, it’ll be fine”. But I know I have to start slow for two reasons- I’m transitioning to running in Vibrams, and my hip is a cranky ole’ bitch who seems to revel in derailing my plans. I had decided not to do any incline, but it was just too easy, so I put the treadmill at an incline of 1. I also made myself go slower than I wanted to- 3.5 speed for the walking, 5.1 speed on the jogging.

As far as running in the Vibrams goes, my initial, first day reaction is that I prefer them over my Sauconys. I had 0 pain anywhere in my body, most noticeably no pain in my hip/knees (which is where the running goal killing pain usually comes from, even on the first day out the gate). The one thing I did notice was that the tendons in the back of my ankle felt a bit sore, and I could feel them being stretched a bit. It didn’t hurt, and I wouldn’t say it was uncomfortable, and in fact it wasn’t even unfamiliar- I’ve felt that same subtle soreness in the back of my heel/ankle when doing standing balancing poses in yoga. I’ve also felt the same subtle soreness in the tendons in my wrists when I first started doing yoga. I don’t believe it’s due to the Vibrams though, because if memory serves me correctly I had the experience when I started C25K the last time, in my Mr. Athletic Store approved Sauconys. I think I’m going to run in my Saucony’s on Wednesday just to compare the two. Plus, I might need to work into Vibrams even slower, so 2 days Vibrams/1 day Sauconys might be a good move to make anyway.

I’m looking forward to Wednesday. 20 minutes goes by in a blink, and because I’m not struggling with my breathing/heart rate I can really focus on my form, as well as the audiobook I’m listening to. So far, so good.

The plan for this week is:

Mon/Wed/Fri- C25K Week 1 Days 1,2,3

Tues/Thurs- my normal one hour of ashtanga/vinyasa flow yoga

Every day- an ab routine I made up that combines Pilates ab work with random traditional exercises and planks. I love it and everyone I’ve taught it to says it’s a beast, so I guess that’s a good thing. Will be referred to as Ab Work on the blog from here on out.

I have plans to include more activities as the weeks progress, but for now I’m going slow and trying to be all respectful of my body, blah blah blah, honoring my abilities or whatever.

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