Failure to launch-Running unwell

     Last week,  I wrote all about “My Next Journey.”  In a very typical turn of events for me. I didn’t get off to the running (haha !) start I wanted too. I had a very solid start to my week but the Midwest allergens came though like a freight training and darn near knocked me on my a..bottom. Finally giving in and visiting a doctor, I was diagnosed with an ear infection, sinus infection and bronchitis. Ugh!

               I am beginning to feel much, much improved. As the week progressed I had to battle what every runner will face. Am I too sick to run? When should I push through and when should I sit out? I always error on the cautious side. I don’t want to sacrifice long term goals for short term success. Plus, I really am not completing any structured training, at the moment. So now was a great time to back off and let me body heal. I’m glad I did.

To run or not to run, that is the question! Here are some general guidelines I follow when determining if I should proceed with my run as planned, modify it or scrap it all together.

  • Primum non nocere- “First, do no harm” Runners are a stubborn lot. Taking time off can be a curse word to someone who has built up a substantial “streak.” The bigger picture, however, what is your goal. What are you working toward? If running will do more harm than good, than taking a day or two of shouldn’t be the end of the world. You aren’t loosing fitness if you take a day or two to allow your body to recover. You may actually benefit, in the long run. As you will be able to reach 100% more quickly and begin getting back to workouts that will improves your fitness. I learned this the hard way last year, when a sinus infection and my annual case of bronchitis spread and I was sidelined with walking pneumonia.
  • Something is better than nothingIf you are feeling under the weather, grabbing a killer track workout may not be your best option. However, you may get by with a shortened easy run to maintain fitness without overly stressing your body. If you have a mid-long or longer run. You may be able to cover the distance by breaking it up a bit through two shorter runs. This may not be ideal over a long marathon cycle. You need those longer runs for various psychological and physiological benefits. Doing this once maybe twice to get in the miles during a rough patch, is however, a great option.
  • 10-15 minute ruleDon’t make decisions on the couch. The couch is evil! The couch has a way of making you feel lethargic, drained and flat out unmotivated. If I am questioning whether I should run or not, I can only do so after a 10-15 minute jog. I can usually figure out within that 10-15 minutes whether running is a good idea or bad idea without causing too much harm. If during that 10-15 minute window I am struggling, counting down that time to finish and symptoms are getting worse. Its an easy call for me, 8 need rest. There are many runs, that I was certain I wasn’t going to complete, but after 10-15 minutes of easy running I felt well enough to go through a planned long run or workout.
  • Congestion-Above or below the throatThis rule isn’t 100% set in stone for me. Mostly, because I have chronic seasonal allergies that would sideline me for weeks at a time if I totally followed. The idea is allergy symptoms and congestion above the throat, it’s usually okay to continue with a run. It’s time to work on your snot rocket form! If you are completely stuffed up, don’t get too hung up if you’re slightly off your splits for the day. Symptoms below the neck typically are more severe and you should consider taking the day off.
  • FeverStop! Do no pass go! Do not collect $200. Your body needs rest and fluids. You will not gain anything from your workouts that day and will most likely only further to fatigue your body and immune system as it fights off whatever it is causing the fever.

Remember the main idea behind the training process. You are stressing specific components of your body. When you do, the body is forced to recover, and then it tries to overcompensate. Making it stronger so that it can handle a larger stimulus later. This calculated stress/recovery process doesn’t work if your body is already broken down from illness or injury. Pushing through does not make you tough and will most likely put you further behind in your training cycle as you have fatigued it, even more.

In case you missed my last post…check it out here

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My next journey…

It’s my birthday! I am not going to lie, I am a big kid at heart. I love celebrating birthdays and I love cake. So, today is a great day. It’s early in the day and I have already been spoiled by my amazing husband. He surprised me with an Air Relax Leg Recovery System! I can’t wait to put those on after my birthday run.

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I am also giving myself a “present.” Today is the first day. I am letting go of the fear of failure, letting go of caring about what others think. I am setting big goals and chasing them. Today I begin my journey as I chase my goal to qualify for Atlanta 2020, Marathon Olympic Trials. I’m am well aware this is a pie in the sky kind of dream. I am aware that the chance of failure is much bigger than the chance of success. So much more can and probably will go wrong, more than things will go right. I don’t care! I am letting go and chasing this goal. I am sure there are people who see my times or who run with me who will see this and think “she is nuts.” I am! Ha! However, I have absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain. Writing down your goals and sharing them with others is supposed to be a big step towards achieving them. I’ll admit, I get nervous about wanting to share this goal because I know it’s kind of farfetched and I don’t want to hear the negative. Openly admitting my goals, makes me feel vulnerable for some reason.

Let’s play pretend…

I set this big, maybe kind of ridiculous goal, and I don’t reach it. Along the way, I am likely to reach so new personal bests and will travel to some cool races along the way. Sounds like a pretty awesome worst case scenario, to me. If I don’t try, I will wonder “what if.”

Words without action are meaningless 

I want to do more than talk about it.   I am taking steps toward improving myself in many ways. Creating a fluid action plan to improve. Obviously, running will be a huge component. I have become a huge book nerd and taken time to absorb as much information as I can. Studying the works and philosophies of coaches like Lydiard, Daniels, Magness, Hansons and Fitzgerald. I am taking a brief break from content rich books and currently reading “Running with the Buffaloes” for a bit of inspiration as I begin my first phase of my marathon training. I am also taking steps with many non-running components of my training. I am working with a new strength training partner and we are kicking off a program that I feel very good about. Coaching is always a great reminder to do those small things early, like hurdle hip mobility drills and form drills before speed workouts. Building consistency early. Weekly yoga sessions, massages, Epsom salt baths and foam rolling are going to be a priority. My new Air Relax boots will be a great additional to my recovery process.

Surrounding myself with positivity

img_4820I have made some huge personal growth this year, in being more selective about the type of people I choose to be around. Some people are toxic. Instead of building others up, they are putting others down. I always made excuses for them, and I allowed the negativity to take over my own thoughts and create a lot of self-doubt. I won’t be rude and I won’t treat them poorly. However, I will actively seek out friendships and training partners who build those around them up and I will focus on the same for them in return.  I am super lucky.  I have been given the opportunity to coach an amazing group of young ladies.  The distance girls are a wonderful example of what a great teammate and training partner looks like.  I want to carry what I have learned from them into my own personal training.

When are where?To be honest, I am not 100% sure at the moment. I would love to go to California International, but logistically that doesn’t really match my family/work calendar this year. Chicago has a great course but the unpredictable weather gets me a bit nervous. Plus, it’s right in the middle of Cross Country season, so it can become a bit difficult to take off the needed time. I think CNO Financial Indianapolis looks like a great opportunity. The weather is usually pretty good, the course is awesome and I believe they offer some great opportunities for sub-elite runners. Obviously, I would need to apply and qualify for such benefits. For me, the biggest would be starting as close to the front as possible, because gun time is what is used for OT qualifiers. I have never contacted a race director (outside of the ones I know personally in Kansas City area) to request such things. I am a bit nervous.t_1_6792_SNG_1500

Follow my journey!

I would love to share my successes and many failures I have along the way. I NEED the accountability.   Let me know your goals and we can cheer each other on along the way. No matter how big or small!  I have been greatly inspired the hard work, tenacity and growth of Sarah.  (I wrote about her in my Rock the Parkway Race Review).She is also chasing the Olympic Trial Standard.  You too can follow her blog here.

As I have grown my love for learning and running, I am always looking for book recommendations. Let me know what running literature you recommend.

Rock the Parkway 2018 Race Report

Let’s start by acknowledging I took a long time away from my blog.  However, I am back. I have already have a huge head start on content and I am feeling really good about my upcoming training.  I hope you are ready to follow, as I am to write. I have some big plans and goals up ahead!

Rock the Parkway is one of my favorite races in Kansas City and this year did not disappoint. Every aspect of the race is well organized, it’s a good competitive field and the running community is in full support. Rock the Parkway usually has a pretty good expo that I look forward to going to find great race deals and sales on running gear.  I didn’t get to take advantage of this because of coaching obligations. So I made sure to get to the race even earlier to ensure I wouldn’t be waiting around in line at packet pick up.

Runner tip, if you can pick up your packet early, do it! No matter the race, it one less thing on your race day to do list.

I have been having an onslaught of stomach/digestive issues for almost a year now.  I have finally been getting things settled and under control.  One of the things I have done is waking up a 2:30-3:30am in the morning of races and long runs to get a head start on breakfast.  I like PB&J toast or uncrustables. Then I relax, or most likely, fall back asleep.  This has helped me stop the race day throw up sessions.  Which is both gross and non-ideal for race day fueling.  I rolled out of bed, put on lots of layers and headed to the race bright and early.  The interesting thing is, I was not all that anxious about this race.  I felt a weird sense of calm.  I didn’t make my usual 27 potty stops and was somewhat social.  For my warm-up, I still chose to head into the empty neighborhood for my warm up and drills. As I got warmed up I began to shed layers and questioned if I needed gloves.  I decided to wear them.

The many friendly faces at the line, turned waiting for the start into a fun social event.  I love the running community in Kansas City.  All the new KC Running Company Jerseys looks pretty good, I should add.  As the race started I found my pack.  I was really excited to see Sara racing.  I have been following/stalking her racing and training. Check out her blog (hereHere).  We chatted and were planning on hitting similar paces.  The first 6-7 miles went off relatively uneventful.    The course has a gradual climb for the first 3 miles so we started slightly behind pace and picked it up when the course leveled out a bit.  As we picked up the pace a tad, Sarah a gentleman name Andrew and myself were running together.  Unfortunately, Andrew had found himself with some plantar pain earlier in the week which had ended up slightly tearing during the early miles of the race.  Leave Sarah and I running much of the early and middle miles mostly just the two of us.  We caught a few guys and 2 girls along the way leaving us in positions 2nd and 3rd place overall female before the half way mark.

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Sarah and I running through the neighborhood during Rock the Parkway

The course has gently rolling hills through the neighborhoods and it didn’t really phase me much until we turned into the wind around mile eight.  I tried to close the gap between the two of us and some gentlemen ahead so that we could draft a bit. When we caught they, however, their pace was a bit slower than what we were wanting to run.  Quickly, I would begin to struggle. I just couldn’t keep the same pace.  I was struggling more when we would climb the hills through mile 10.  I had to focus on keeping close.  I knew, mentally, running with someone was a lot easier than trying to run solo. Sarah has a lot better endurance base and I could tell that in those last miles. We took turns having our moments of struggle but I am pretty sure my lack of endurance was showing quite a bit. As we neared the last mile marker we began to pick up the pace.  As we continued our pace continued to increase.  We hit a pretty solid pace through mile 13 and with just over 200 meters left, it was kick time.   I had tapered for this event, and Sarah had not.  She is a stronger runner than I , but I think the fresh legs allowed me the advantage in the final kick of this race.  I finished 2nd overall female with a 14 second PR!

When I finished many people were telling me I had gotten second.  The results had me listed as 3rd.  I wasn’t sure.  I must have gotten 50+ messages from people that afternoon about the incorrect results.  I didn’t stress too much about it, I knew it was a situation the race directors were aware of.  That evening the results were updated and I was contacted about it.

It’s such a great race, one that I look forward to every year. I will definitely put it on my race calendar for next year. My next goal will be tackling another marathon.  I haven’t decided between Chicago, Indy Monumental and Cal International.  Currently, I am leaning toward Indy. Although, that changes even more often than the Missouri weather.  Hopefully, I will get a clearer picture as my summer base mileage phase progresses.

3 Common Misconceptions about Running Injuries- Guest Post by RunningMate Physical Therapist & Performance Coach

I am super excited to introduce Guest Blogger Nathan Carlson, from RunningMate.  Nathan is a physical therapist that has helped me through multiple running injuries, including my freak out ankle injury shortly before the Boston Marathon.  I will be working with Nathan, again, through the summer on performance training. I can’t wait to share our adventures!

Until then Check out this awesome Guest Post from Nathan.

Trying to manage a running related injury can be incredibly frustrating. There is a lot of information out there, both from credible and non-credible sources, on how to manage various injuries. Because of the large amount of information that is available to the public, there are a lot of misconceptions as to why runners get hurt. I’m gonna go over the three most common things I hear runners say when I chat with them about why they got injured.

  1. My lack of flexibility is causing my injuries

Many runners have been told that tightness in their lower body is leading them to get hurt. For most, this is completely untrue. If you can do day to day tasks without issues, you have enough flexibility run. You only need a little bit of motion, at a few different joints, to be able to run. I did a video a few months back on how much motion you actually need to run.

Check it out here. * Running Flexibility Requirement by RunningMate

Because of this, I haven’t told a runner to “stretch” anything in at least three years. If you like to stretch, feel free to. There are a lot of runners that complain of “tight” hip flexors that have normal hip flexor length when assessed. Just because something feels “tight” doesn’t mean it needs to be stretched. If stretching doesn’t make it feel better you probably need to try something else. Sometimes when something feels tight, it actually needs to get stronger.

  1. My Foot Alignment/Arch Height/Posture is causing my injuriesNathan 1

Every runner that has bought a pair of shoes in the last 30 years has been fit into some type of foot shape/posture category. The original thought was based on the idea that based on the posture of the foot, we would need to prescribe a shoe to either provide more or less support so that arch doesn’t “cave in” and cause overpronation. This is a nice idea in theory, but in practice it doesn’t add up. We have very little evidence to support the idea that we need to prescribe footwear in this manner, or that it will reduce our risk of getting hurt. There a lot of runners that have A LOT of pronation that don’t get hurt. Haile Gebrselassie is a great example. He was a fantastic distance athlete and displayed a lot of “undesirable” mechanics when he ran. His tissue adapted to training and he was able to have a very successful career.

 

  1. My heel striking is causing my injuries

When it comes to running form/mechanics, there is a belief out there that running form is consistent no matter where we are running, how fast are pace is, or how tired we are. Running form is much more dynamic then that. When we talk about foot strike, most runners will change how their foot hits the ground depending on how fast they are going. It is not a static variable. If you are running on a trail, you will move different than running on a treadmill. Most runners in the world hit with their heel first when they run and that’s OK. When Dennis Kimetto set the world record in the marathon, he hit the ground with his heel first.

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Now that isn’t to say that sometimes we might need to change our foot-strike. When we hit with our heel first, it tends to load more to the hip and knee. When we hit with our forefoot first, it tends to load more to the foot ankle. So…if your knee hurts, it might feel a little better to hit with your forefoot. Vice versa, if your Achilles hurts, it might be better to hit with your heel first. It’s just different ways of loading the body.

So why do most running injuries happen? Training errors.

The human body is pretty awesome. We can run marathons in almost 2 hours and can cover 100 miles in a day. We are adaptable, robust and able to do some awesome things in the world of endurance sports. Our body is really good at being stressed, recovering, and then coming back stronger. That is what happens when we train a race. There is a reason why a lot of training plans will increase for 3-4 weeks and then take a step back for a week. As we move towards race day, we are slowing turning up the dial so we are primed and ready to go the day of whatever our race is.

The adaptability of the body is important to remember when we think about injuries. Small variations in foot shape, flexibility and running mechanics are very, very small variables when we compare them to our overall training plan. Most runners get hurt when they progress mileage, speed, or make a large change in training environment (more hills, more treadmill, etc.) without giving their bodies time to adapt. So what does this mean to you as a runner? PAY ATTENTION. There are definitely days to go out the door and push the pace, but if we do that too much we run into trouble. Make smart decisions as you progression training and race day will go off without a hitch.


18644949_408144079569472_1911289356144869376_nNathan Carlson is the owner of Runningmate Physical Therapy and Performance Coaching, a physical therapy and performance enhancement business focused on the management of runners and other endurance athletes. He can be reached on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/RunningmateKC/, by email at info@runningmatekc.com, or in his clinic located inside KC Endurance’s Treadmill studio at 75th and Washington in Waldo.

 

Weekly Recap 6/5-6/11

*Que Nelly* hot in here

It’s getting hot in here! HaHa. The temperature is rising here in KC and my training is too.  Increasing mileage slightly and extending my workout on Tuesday.  I may have went a tad overboard with the weights, but no harm no foul right? I got a little excited about all my extra time that I added a few extra exercises and ended up pretty sore Wednesday-Friday.  Not to mention, summer is kind of exhausting. In that awesome, so many adventures to be had kind of exhausting.

Before I get too crazy with my summer break brags, here is my weekly recap

Monday- 8.13 miles at 8:09 pace, total time 1:06:19f8c39b2d-b208-4d88-a20d-c0c530242f40

Went on a solo run at the Nature Conservation Center nearby.  I had intended to just get some easy running in, and the overall pace would suggest that is what I did. However, there is this darn hill segment on Strava that I just can’t seem to catch.  So I ran up and down that hill 5-6 time and completely gassed myself.  It was a good time, but not something I can do frequently as my training hopefully increases throughout the summer.

Tuesday- 10.38 miles at 7:04 pace, total time 1:13:19

Workout- 2 mile warm up, then 6 miles alternating pace.  Half mile at 7:00 minute pace and then 1 mile at 6:00-6:10 pace. 2 mile cool down

Great workout, a definite step up from last week, basically doubling the time I spent in the faster zone, without changing the recovery at all.  I had a running buddy join me for the first portion and then he rode his bike with me along the second portion. I found a fun Strava Segment to give myself an extra challenge on the last one.  Nailed it! Ha.

img_3347After the run, I headed to the gym.  I included the workouts that my coach sent me, and then added some additional arm and abdominal pieces. I definitely felt that for the next few days.

 

 

 

Wednesday-4.05 miles at 7:38 pace, total time 30:53

                     4.08 miles at 8:05 pace, total time 32:58

I kind of doubled today, but not really.  I wanted to check out the new KC Endurance Treadmill Studio, and they were hosting a group run for Global Running Day.  The route was 4 miles then some light drinks and snacks after.  Mostly, it was fun hanging out with some area runners before they all headed off to work.  Then I headed out for the second portion of my run.

Thursday-*Garmin reads*6.12 miles at 8:47 pace, total time 53:49

Evening run through the high school cross country course and trails.  I am not very experienced in trail running and these seemed like some pretty legit single track trails.  My last adventure on some trails ended with me face first into a tree, and a pretty good knock to the knee.  So I am happy to report a much happier outcome this time around.  As normal, I think the Garmin reading of the trail distance and pace is a bit off.

Friday-7.03 miles at 7:50 pace, total time 54:59img_3294

Met up with a couple running buddies for some super easy and flat miles, then breakfast.  After breakfast I headed to the gym for some more strength training.  Cutting back from my Tuesday session, but still feeling a bit sore when I was done.

 

 

Saturday-15 miles at 7:27 pace, total time 1:51:45

Solo long run for me.  I’ll admit the hotter weather had me dreading this run. I decided to head to a lake trail nearby so that the shade would keep me a tad cooler.  I’ve only been to the trail once and it’s just a couple miles away. There were a couple Strava segments along the course, as well, which helped break up the longer run into fun, smaller pieces.  I did make a mistake and ended up at the wrong exit, making my run about a mile longer than planned.  Oops!

Sunday-Scheduled Rest Day      

Rest day for this girl, I’ll be firmly planted next to the pool all day with some sort of drink in hand. Just got some new draft ciders to try. Summer break is my favorite!

Total Weekly Mileage- 54.7

Another awesome week is in the books.  I am really starting to get antsy for a race. I get a serious case of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) when I see all my running buddies post about their races.

How was your week? What’s next on your schedule?

 

The RunCanvas Giveaway ends this week! Be sure to like our Facebook page to be entered to win.  Tag two running buddies or share the giveaway for additional chances

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Saucony Kinvara 8

Basic Specs (Women’s Shoe)img_3260

Category- Neutral

Weight-6.9 oz.

Forefoot Stack height-23 mm

Heal Stack Height- 19 mm

Heel Drop- 4mm offset

 

The Kinvara 8 is the newest addition the popular Kinvara line.  This Kinvara 8 contains many of the same favorite features from the Kinvara 7 while boasting the new “FlexFilm”.  This is the upper part of the shoes, which is supposed to be strong and lightweight, giving the shoes a seamless and flexible feel. The Kinvara 8 also contains Sauconys “Everun” a lightweight cushioning material that gives a softer landing and more responsive take off.

img_3556received my Kinvara 8, as a perk of being on the KC Running Company Racing team.  I have run a little over 120 miles in them including runs as short as 3 miles and as long as 14. Mostly easy/recovery miles. However, I have also completed one track workout, one tempo run and some hill repeats. I completed all runs on the road or crushed gravel. All during dry weather. I personally, prefer these shoes for a casual everyday run or long runs, over speed work.  The shoes perform just as stated, I just typically use shoes that have less “stuff” under my feet when I do speed work. I think the shoes performed exactly as designed and this was more of a personal preference.

I have flat feet and a slight pronation, so I typically use stability shoes for my everyday run.  My daily trainers also include an 8mm offset, compared to the 4mm offset of the Kinvara 8.  I had no problems in these shoes. I found them very comfortable for all types of runs.  With a tad over 120 miles, there isn’t much wear on these shoes.  I typically get a higher than average life out of my shoes. I think that is partially due to my tiny size/weight.

The Flexfilm upper portion of the shoes, was actually my favorite feature.  I have no idea why, but the tops of shoes REALLY irritate me.  I have bought a handful of shoes I cannot wear because of how the tops sit or rub the tops of my feet. The top of the shoes were able to be tied nice and tight, leaving them secure feeling.  While also, being very flexible and they seem to have a great amount of venting/breathability.

The performance of the shoes felt very natural.  I definitely enjoyed the responsiveness of the Everun.  The shoes were very lightweight. Again, personal preference,  the cushioning of the shoes were very nice for my easy runs and long runs but for speed work I like to feel like there is less “stuff” between the ground and my feet.  So I plan to use these more as daily trainers and not as much for speed. However, I know a handful of runners who love racing in their Kinvaras.  Many runners use the same shoes for all runs, and these would be a top notch choice for that purpose.  They are cushioned and supportive, with a natural feel and very responsive.  A great all around shoe.

I used to shy away from Saucony shoes, for appearance reasons, but their recent lines have been much improved.   I like the bright colors of this pair and the line has a range of options.

 

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