Reframe and Reset

REFRAME definition: A way to change your perspective when overcome by a particular situation, therefore changing your experience of it.  Basically, an act to think positively when a roadblock is encountered

Three weeks with ZERO mileage can wreak havoc in a runner’s mind, especially when scheduled for a half-marathon in late April (approx 8 weeks of training left).  Running is a part of my identity and when it’s taken away, it’s not easy to just let it go.  But I have to move past it and focus on attacking the possible cause of my pain – muscle weakness in my gluteal muscles mainly on the right side of my body. I’ve been aware of it for awhile now, yet I’ve done little to address it.  It’s apparent with my standing posture leaning on one leg which actually causes glute inhibition. I know it will take more time than just these past 3 weeks I’ve dedicated to achieve strength but at least I’ve taken the steps to correct this issue.

In addition to strength work, I’ve also been spending extra time to work out the adhesions in my back and lower body.

My foam roller has been my best buddy at night while watching TV.

Grid Foam Roller

And when I need a deeper massage, I reach for my therapy balls.

Tune up Therapy balls

I’ve always been a fan of the foam roller as it is so effective in kneading out the knots in my body but my hamstring muscles required more pressure.  Fortunately, I was introduced to the therapy balls by my husband who gifted this awesome book last Christmas and I’ve used it as a guide to assist in warding off my hamstring pain. So far, the knot in my hamstring is still apparent, but its size has decreased. It’s encouraging to know I’m headed in the right direction.

The Roll Model is a very comprehensive book emphasizing self-care to maintain suppleness in the connective tissues, and resetting the body’s ability to move minus the aches and pain. It covers every part of the body complete with illustrations and step-by-step instructions. Surely it’s a lengthy process to work every part of the body in a day, but if you spend at least 5 – 10 min to work on particular parts especially problem areas, your body will thank you for it.  I’m grateful I have the equipment to bring relief to mine.

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Time for Recovery

My 4 year old daughter who loves to play pretend, one day mixed up a potion especially for me: “Mama, this is a potion to make you run really fast!”  Oh wow, was I amazed and pleased she knew exactly what mama wanted 🙂  Although right now, I just wish I could take one of her magical wands and conjure up a spell to make all my aches and pain to disappear. Injuries are prevalent to runners who fail to listen to their bodies as I guiltily admit I recently made that mistake.

I should have listened to my body when I woke up Tues morning feeling exhausted (resting heart rate slightly elevated) to skip the track workout of 6x800s and made it an easy running day.  Evidently, because I was not fully recovered from the 10k race I ran a few days ago, my pace was slightly slower than usual.

I should have taken the day off on Wed when my body was still sluggish but I pushed myself to run slow for an hour with the belief I can properly recover the following two days; Thursday is usually a cross-training day but I took the day off and Friday is quality time with my daughters when I take them on a special outing to the zoo or the children’s museum or anywhere I know they would enjoy.

I should have started my long run slow and reduced the prescribed time on my feet instead of forging forward with the guys I usually run with who seemed to have ran a much faster pace and yes I was stubborn to try to keep up with them the first couple of miles.  I slowed down but not significantly enough.  It was a gorgeous run on Sunset Cliffs with the fog recently cleared, sun blazing down on the shimmering ocean – a picturesque landscape every runner was blessed to appreciate and enjoy.

Although, I had less to appreciate on my return journey from that long run when my right ankle became apparently more sore.  I’ve been having issues with my right hamstring – a nagging ache in my upper hamstring at the muscle-tendon junction which I’m fairly certain has caused the pain in my ankle.  Painful enough for me to finally step back and take some time off to properly address the issue.  Tomorrow I think I will ask my daughter to prepare a potion for a FAST RECOVERY.

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9 weeks later…

Training plan derailed.  Here I am with only 9 weeks to go building my mileage cautiously so I can stay healthy and make it to the start line.  It has been a challenge maintaining my mileage with the number of hurdles I encountered the past 9 weeks:

1) foot pain/tight hamstring which forced me to take a week off (week 3 of training)

2) travel to SC due to an unexpected circumstance involving my brother (Still was in recovery but squeezed in several miles to relieve stress – week 4)

3) scheduled vacation to Disneyworld (I had every intention to run but never found the time and energy.  We visited all 4 theme parks in a week which ended to be a very exhausting experience – week 5)

Weeks 6-10, I finally started to consistently increase mileage without experiencing any setbacks. I decided to participate in an 8 mi race and a half marathon as part of my long training runs on the weekends (weeks 7 and 9). It helped me with pacing as well as to assess my goal finish time for the marathon. If I remain injury-free, I have confidence with a 3:55 finish approx an 8:58/mi pace. I know I shouldn’t even worry about time and need to just enjoy the NY marathon experience but having a goal helps me stay focused especially while I’m training and I have a ‘million’ other things on my plate.

So 9 weeks of training left… 6 weeks to build up to two 20-milers and taper the final 3. I never had the chance to do any tempo runs but I continue to train with SDTC on Tuesdays for hills and intervals. The rest of the week will consist of easy running, cross training and rest. Crossing my fingers for staying pain-free!

On a good note, my 4 yr old ran her first race a few weeks ago. I asked her if she wanted to run one after I finished running my race and she was very excited to do it. It was a 1K, a bit further distance for her to actually run so she did a sprint at the start, then wanted to be carried – told her she won’t get a medal for being carried so she walked, then jogged, and finally sprinted to the finish line when she saw a crowd of people cheering for her. Seeing her face lit up when she heard the cheers and applause of the crowd as she crossed the finish line was definitely priceless. I was one proud mama:)

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Running towards the finish line
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One proud mama

Better days ahead

Foot pain and tight hamstrings. Sick fussy baby and never ending demands from my 3-yr old. Sleepless nights. Restless days. Tears and more tears. This was my emotional roller coaster week.

To top it off, while I was running additional miles after my interval workout with the track club, the discomfort in my right foot got worse to the point where I had to stop and walk. It didn’t bother me during the 800 intervals but I must have pushed myself too hard since my split times were faster than any of my previous ones.  So I took two days off, ran 4 easy miles on Friday wishing my foot would stop bothering me, yet it still did.  Saturday was a scheduled 11-mile long run but I made a smart decision to skip and hit the elliptical and bike instead.  I plan to stay off my feet, stretch, foam roll, ice, cross-train and pray I can resume my training next week. Only at week 2 of training and already hurt.  Aaaarrggghhh!!!!  However, I can’t be completely discouraged since  it is only week 2 so I still have enough time to prepare for NY and be ready for it.

On a positive note, baby Iz is no longer sick and smiling again. Eyva managed to make her laugh and hearing them giggle together sent me back to my happy place.  My day is looking better already!…