Stretch It Out

After taking over a week off from any form of workouts I finally got back into running and it felt great. The stomach/body bug just keeps morphing into something else which is frustrating. I just want to feel healthy again. Last week’s runch was so great that I ran a negative split at lunch last Thursday – not sure if it can get any better then that!

Thurs Nov 19 Run

However, Friday I woke up with lots of pain in…….my hamstring. Seriously! I thought I was over this injury but clearly I’m not. WTF {sorry Mom}. It hurt a lot. It hurt more then my other tired and sore muscles that were screaming at me every time I walked down the steps at work or home. It hurt more then I thought it should.

Saturday was all about swim lessons, craft fairs with the girls and some time with Grammy. I even managed to do some shopping on my own. Sunday was a busy day with both girls at soccer {no tantrums for Hilary – WIN}, Christmas pictures {tantrums for Hilary and I} and lots of frustration. I was mentally and physically needing to run Sunday night to shake off the frustrations. Since my husband is away for work (5 days, 6 nights on a rotating schedule), I usually find running helps curb the stress, ya know!

Once I knew the girls were asleep I jumped on the treadmill and was hoping to run 4-5k but stopped at 3k. My heart just wasn’t into it however the sweat dripping from my body could tell you otherwise! I should have just kept going but I wanted to stretch out my leg and soak in some epsom salts. The stretching alone helped and the pain had decrease significantly. I wasn’t sure if I was dreaming the pain went away or if stretching actually made the pain go away. The epsom salt bath made my leg feel a lot better as well.

Piper's Asics

Today I woke up and would normally cringe when bending over with my sore hamstring but it wasn’t sore. In fact, it feels pretty darn good today. So is it the fact that I’m not stretching enough after my last run outside while at work or is my hamstring just messed up? I’m really hoping it’s the fact that I didn’t stretch as much as I normally would – similar to my half marathon in October.

So what now? I have no friggin’ clue. Do I go back to physio which will take 3-4 weeks potentially to get back “in”. Or do I just keep plugging along and focusing more on stretching post runs? Don’t get me wrong, I can sometimes spend 15-20 minutes stretching post run but that’s not always the case when I run at lunch. Or there is something seriously wrong with my hamstring. It’s been almost a year.

All I know is that I’m taking it one day at a time. Run when I can, do better at stretching, strength train, do yoga once a week which I am LOVING and rest.

How was your weekend?

Anyone race? 

What’s your number one hamstring stretch?

What’s In A Running Photo?

That’s a good question! Those who attend races know that at some point you are going to have your photo taken. We don’t always know when that’s going to happen or sometimes the camera is right in front of us. You finish your race, celebrate and then a day or two later remember a photo should be waiting.

You check your email for the notification, double check the website and BAM…..there’s your photo. Only it didn’t turn out the way you had imagined. I’ve got a handful of those – actually most of my race photo’s are horrible…ha ha! However, I recently entered a contest where you had to submit a photo of you reading Canadian Running Magazine’s recent publication. Since I have a subscription anyway…I had already read the entire thing.

The contest is for a LIFE TIME registration {Yes, you read that correctly – LIFE TIME} to Maritime Race Weekend’s Tartan Twosome (double race). This is what I submitted:

“Read Canadian Running Magazine on MRW, must start training to avoid injuries”

Piper's Run MRW Contest

Though I didn’t win the contest, I love having these photo’s taken by my running buddy! She did an amazing job…all I did was run back and forth, back and forth…back and forth 🙂 A few more for you…..

Gotta run…

PR Read article Must train.jpg

And….

PR Arggggggg MRW Canadian Running Magazine.jpg

Last but not least…

PR Running Running Running Must Train for 2016.jpg

Don’t I look like a happy runner?

Now for a few funnies and bloopers….

MRW photo bloopers

Do you have good race photos?

Ever enter a contest like this?

Do you ever wish you had a personal photography along all your good runs?

I’ve Been Down & Out

It’s been a full week of nothing. Well, nothing but feeling absolutely miserable. I think I had every symptom in the book: nausea, head ache, sort throat, stomach problems, light headed, dizzy….did I mention nausea? I seriously wasn’t sure if I was ever going to get better. It started Nov 12th and I only started to feel better yesterday.

It’s been a long time since I’ve taken a break from running/working out for this long but my body had some other plans for me. I would start to feel better and then BAM…all the symptoms would hit me hard for hours on end. It sure isn’t fun being sick and trying to take care of two little girls on your own since my husband was away for 5 days.

Monday night I had planned to do some baking but all that happened was cooking up some home made chicken soup and laying on the couch next to the fire watching a show. I was getting annoyed with feeling ill so before bet I did a 1:25 minute plank since I stopped doing them last week.

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Yesterday, I decided to go to yoga class at lunch. As I ventured off to studio in town, I wasn’t sure how I would feel but I was determined to go and enjoy it. Luckily, most of my symptoms were gone yesterday but my stomach is still yucky today. Yoga class was GREAT! I even managed to hold the “birds of paradise” pose for the first time on both legs – this is progress!

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I was hoping to get back to the 21 day fix with my co-workers today but I’m not sure if my body is up for that…I did bring my running clothing to work as well. We’ll see what happens.

How’s your week going?

Anyone else sick right now? Sure hope you don’t get what I have.

 

 

Running: What I Love About Training

Training is a key piece to running a race, to compete in a duathlon or hitting the trio of a triathlon. It’s can be over looked, critical or it can become a normal part of your daily routine. Some people have a love-hate relationship with training or some don’t train at all. To each his/her own but for me, training is a critical part of running at race.

In case you missed last week’s post in the series, check out “What I Love About….Volunteering”.

What I Love About….Training

Running What I loved About

The Plan

For me the most important part of training is having a plan. There is no way I would run a race without training for it in one way or another. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve gone out and run a 5k race without specific training and it wasn’t pretty. However, for those 5k races that I did have a training plan for, I did better and felt better afterwards.

So for me, it’s critical to have a good training plan, one that suits your needs not someone else’s. I’m a big fan of Hal Higdon’s training plans though I did use a different 10k training plan in 2014 that a co-worker (Iron Woman) gave me and I loved.

PR training plan 2015

I love printing the plan, marking the weekly dates on it and yes…crossing each day and week off my plan. There is some satisfaction after each “check mark”, after each week passes by until you are at the end of your plan with only your race day to go. Training plans are meant to be followed to a T or tweaked to meet your needs. I try to stick to my training plan as much as possible but know there are days when I need to switch things around or try something different.

Lessons learned: Put your training plan in a place that you will see it every day. For me, it was the fridge – at eye sight.

Variety.

There are so many training plans out there that can suit your needs. Maybe you can only run 3 days a week or maybe you want to run 150 km a week (oh my goodness!) – there is a plan out there for you.

I loved the variety I had in my training plans. This past year I went for Hal’s Novice 2 half marathon plan vs his Intermediate plan I used the year before and I LOVED IT!. I loved having two rest days on Monday and Friday. I loved having my long runs on Saturday and I loved having a cross training day on Sunday.

There was no speed work, tempo runs or 400/800’s etc. However, I did managed to add those in once I got comfortable with running again. You see, those first few weeks for me was extremely hard running. Oh, I struggled with my 5k runs for a while but my body was just starting to recover from my hamstring injury.

Lesson learned: Make sure you have a good variety of workouts in your training. Don’t be afraid to change-up your workouts to add in more or less.

Weekly Updates.

Yes, I loved writing about my weekly runs here. Being a “running blogger” you tend to write a lot about your training or at least I sure did.

For me it was a way to look back and reflect; sometimes laugh or cry about the workouts I did or didn’t do. It gave me time to see where I was improving, where I was weak and always kept me focused on the final goal of completely my race. The biggest lesson for me as a blogger would be that I would become extremely motivated by other people’s comments. Encouragement, insight and new ways of doing something. It made me feel like I had access to a larger runner community because in reality people around the world would leave a comment.

Lesson Learned: Share your weekly training on whatever platform you use. It keeps you accountable and even better, it can motivate you to keep moving forward.

Training Log

I have the most old-fashioned log book – at least that’s how I feel. It’s not fancy, it’s not even a running book but a journal that I bought at Costco years ago for “something”. When I started running more in 2014 I wanted to log everything so I could keep track. I’m now on my way to having two year’s worth of running/workouts in my log book.

PR Running Log Book

It’s awesome to look back and see how many kilometres I’ve run each month, each year. It’s a little hard to look back at some months and see low…LOW…numbers and remember how much I was struggling physically with my hamstring. It’s been great to see what “cross-training” I’ve done and how that’s changed my running.

Lesson learned: You don’t always have to have an app for that! A simple log book can do the trick.

The Long Run:

Last but not least, “The Long Run” is by far my favourite part of training. I might even be able to write a blog post on this alone. The long run has many names: long slow distance {LSD} run, the dreaded run, the group run, the long haul or distance run. I’m sure I’m missing a few but you get the idea. It’s your once a week, long distance run at a slower pace than your tempo run or fartlek’s.

For me long runs where about getting focused. Setting out my gear the night before, jumping out of bed at 5 am with excitement {this skill was lacking during the work week} and eating the same “long run breakfast” week after week. Sometimes meeting up with my running buddy or a group of runners to pound the pavement or trails together. Sometimes it was about braving the darkness of the streets as the sun rose up on your own.

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Each long run is different from the last and I’m not just talking about the change in distance. Each week, you laced up and had no sweet clue what was really ahead of you. Would you run the same route, would you have to deal with a new blister or pain, would you end up running further than expected or would you want to call it quits because the heat of the rising temperature was just too much to handle?

The long run for me was a time to just “be”. It was a time to think about everything and nothing all at once. It was a time to talk to my running buddy about life. It was a time to appreciate those around you that support your journey, your goals and your accomplishments.

Yoga/Stretching post long run :)

The best part of my long run wasn’t always accomplishing the new distance but coming home to my family. The yells’ of “Mommy’s home” to “ewww, your sweaty Mom” to “you should go shower”…I’ll leave you to who said that one! Or the post run stretching sessions that the girls would end up doing and then it would turn into yoga on their own. And those days when you get back to your “second breakfast” … you know the one you didn’t think about but was made as you entered the doors to your house.

Lesson learned: Your long runs are key to your training – don’t skip them.

Worst Part of Training:

Being injured. Getting injured or having set back. The week before your BIG race and you injury yourself without knowing you did so can make all those weeks come crashing down around you. The “why me questions”, the “what did I do wrong” along with the frustration and disappointment. Injuries happen. They suck but life goes on.

I truly love training for races. It’s like a Christmas countdown where you give yourself the gift of an active lifestyle and then BAM celebrate all your hard work over whatever distance you are racing. You receive a medal for your race but really it’s also about those multiple weeks of training you put in. You eat “all the food” because you are so rungry you can’t even explain what rungry is at that point.

PR VHM Finish photo

You’ve trained, you completed your race, you’ve earned it!

Now…what’s next?!?!?!?

What’s your favourite part of training?

Do you love or hate long runs?

What’s your favourite training plan or go-to book/website?