Saturday, November 21, 2020

Hip Impingement Help

I wish I'd have found a list of advice like this when I initially found out I had hip impingement, so in case anyone else is struggling with this issue, I wanted to share:

*Stop running anytime you have pain. With this issue, pain begins before any damage occurs (our bodies are that smart!), so I have never had any injury to my labrum or hip cartridge because I have not run through pain.

*Stop sleeping on your side, which sounds so simple yet is challenging if you love your side sleeping like I do! I have changed to a back sleeper, although occasionally if I wake up a little before my alarm I'll give myself the treat of sleeping on my side for an hour or less.

*Start working on your proprioception by learning to stand on one leg with your eyes closed. I can stand on one leg all day with my eyes open, but when I first started working on this just a couple of seconds with my eyes closed was game over. I am now up to about 30 seconds on my weak side and 60 seconds on my strong side on good trials, but I want to get more predictably consistent.

Single leg balance!

*Start doing traction with a band to "pull" your femur bone away from your pelvis. This is kind of hard to explain, but see photo blow and feel free to comment with questions.


*Strengthen your psoas and adductor muscles, as well as the internal and external rotators of your hips. Learning exercises to isolate these areas seemed to be a game changer for me.

*Hit single leg strength, balance exercises, and core work hard - I was already doing these but I think we can all do better on extras like this! The more running-specific the better.

*Stop yoga. I think yoga was helping my hip in the short-term but hurting it in the long run (same with stretching my hip flexors aggressively).  My yoga time seems to be better spent on strength training, which is unfortunate since I like yoga better.

*Use a standing desk - I was already doing this often but have been more vigilant about it.

*Stop holding tight to running goals (this is a nicer way of saying "give up"). The first time I got over this hurdle I'd acquiesced that I would not be able to really run again & I was training for a century bike ride. This time I gave up real quick & decided I'd train to ride my ElliptiGO 100 miles. It sounds counter-intuitive, but I really do think that giving up was helpful to me on this journey.  This may not be the case for everyone though!

I doubt my story with this issue is over, but I am thrilled about how much I have learned about it and that I am currently running (after just 2.5 weeks off this time) - researching it was seriously my part-time job for about 10 days! I hope that my work can help someone else who feels hopeless about having weird hip bones.

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Odd October

October 2020 in review!

Total mileage for the month:  220.2
  • Sep. 28-Oct. 4:  67.8
  • Oct. 5-11:  81.1
  • Oct. 12-18:  69.1
  • Oct. 19-25:  21.8 
  • Oct. 26-Nov. 1:  (it was a pain-free mile - I'm just being super cautious and waiting until Monday, Nov. 2 to truly try to start back because I cannot need 4 months off again)
Yes, I look odd and don't care!

  • I'm pretty sure 2020 is going to remain the year that I ran only one actual race (the bronchitis Houston Marathon in January).  Let's move on!
  • October 2:  3 x 3k with 2:00 recoveries in 11:23, 11:18, 1:18 (2 warm up, 1.2 cool down).  Paces for 1.86 for those who think in miles (this workout drove my husband crazy; I told him that the next time he ran with us we would run 3 x 2 mile instead, hah):  6:05/6:08, 6:02/6:06, 6:02/6:05.  The target pace range was 6:11-6:19 and Christian and I swore we were starting at 6:19, but we both felt good, we ran a fast course, and the weather was spectacular.  Each time we came through the mile too fast we said we were backing off but didn't slow down much for the second half.  6:02-6:05 sure felt like 6:15 on this one!  I'm filing that away for another day when 6:30 feels like 6:15, since we all know that will happen too.
  • October 6:  2 x 20:00 at marathon effort with 4:00 jog between, in a 13.1 mile run.  The marathon effort paces were 6:33, 6:34, 6:32, 6:30, 6:36 (incline), 6:24 (decline), and based on my heart rate it was really good pacing.  The course we ran had light rollers the whole the way.  Christian and I ran this together, which probably made it feel easier, but we were also planning to work together in the marathon.
  • October 13:  2 x 2 mile tempo, 2 x 800 m faster, 2 mile tempo, all with 2:00 recoveries in 6:18, 6:18, 6:15, 6:21, 3:03, 3:04, 6:26, 6:24 (2.2 warm up, 2.7 cool down).  This one was a doozy!  My target tempo pace was 6:20 and my 800s were supposed to be sub-6:00.  I succeeded on the tempo with 6:20 average on the nose, but I couldn't find that faster gear for the 800s.  I felt strong but not fast on this one.  Christian, Sean, and Casey ran part of the workout with me, and we all decided we should have run it on a flatter course!  I was totally shot after the 800s and the others all stopped by that point, so I ran the last tempo with my heart (but also feeling like I was tanking to 6:50!) and was pleasantly surprised I managed to stay in the 6:20s while dead.  The workout course we recently switched to is a good 10+ seconds/mile slower than our fast workout course (we did the fast one on October 2), so it's not quite the same confidence boost but there is probably more benefit.
  • October 17:  18 with a 15 mile progression run, dropping 10 seconds/mile.  Christian had a 10 mile progression run scheduled for Thursday but I told her if she did it within her long run I'd run it with her since I had a progressive fast finish scheduled (although not this much).  She was in, and we planned to do 5 easy then 10 progression (then 3 cool down for me), but I realized that if we started at 8:40 we could do a 15 mile progression.  Our splits were 8:33, 8:22, 8:08, 7:47 (lots of downhill), 7:47 (likewise), 7:45, 7:13 (more downhill), 7:20, 7:16, 7:05, 6:55, 6:40, 6:34, 6:41 (incline and headwind), 6:29 (incline).  As you can see, we did not select the best route for this, but we ran miles 9.5-23.5 on the Bass Pro marathon course so this is just what we got!  It was reminder that long stretch down Jefferson from about 22-24 is always against the wind.  I am not sure exactly where the corresponding uphill was to the early downhill, but I am sure I will find it the next time I run that course.  My cool down miles were 7:27, 7:26, 7:32, so it was nice to not be totally dead (my cool downs are usually in the 8s).
  • October 20:  4 x 1 mile tempo with 2:00 jog, 6 x 200 m w/ 200 m jog, 1 mile tempo in 6:15, 6:21, 6:21, 6:33, 0:40, 0:42, 0:41, 0:42, 0:42, 0:46, 6:21 (2.1 warm up, 2.2 cool down).  I think I was still tired from the October 17 workout for this one - I told my coach she could tell me "That's why you should stick to your schedule and not run someone else's workout" (hindsight is also 20/20)!  I struggled some on the fourth tempo mile, which also had a lot of incline/uphill, and then on 200 m rep 5 my hip started hurting so I eased back on the last 200 m.  This wasn't exactly what I wanted (goal pace on the tempo was 6:20 and I would have liked all of the 200s to be 39-40, although Garmin isn't terribly accurate for that short of a repeat anyway), but I chose to run on the rolling hill route over the easier workout loop again, so I was proud of myself for that because I think it produced greater gains but made it harder to hit my paces.
  • Doubles on Oct. 1, 5, 12, 14, 19.
  • Strides on Oct. 1, 5, 8, 14.
  • Elliptigo:  as a double on Oct. 4, 8, and 18, and as a workout most days from Oct. 21-31.
  • Strength Training:  weekly totals of 1:35, 1:50, 1:10, 1:00, 1:35.
  • Yoga: weekly totals of 2:50, 2:45, 2:35, 2:15, 0:25 (I'm stopping yoga at this point because my hip may actually be too loose).
After a successful workout

After a successful easy run :-)

Long Runs:
  • October 3:  20.3 miles (7:56) with Christian in Joplin before Albani's cross country meet.  I had to wake up at 4:00 a.m. to make this happen, but it ended up working out nicely and it was fun to run long in a different location.  I have become very fond of the workout Friday plus easy long run Saturday this season!
  • October 10:  23 miles (7:39) that felt great!  Missy and Colin ran the whole way with me, Casey did 14 with us, and it flew by.  It took me 2:56:11 to run this, my goal being for it to be my longest time on feet this season - and it definitely was since I am not running a November 1 marathon as planned.
  • October 17:  18.3 miles (7:24), with a 15 mile progression in 8:33, 8:22, 8:08, 7:47 (lots of downhill), 7:47 (likewise), 7:45, 7:13 (more downhill), 7:20, 7:16, 7:05, 6:55, 6:40, 6:34, 6:41 (incline and headwind), 6:29 (incline), described in workouts above.
23 miles of endorphins

bRUNch post-long run

I want to eat this meal every day

Running Highlights/Lowlights:
  • Hitting 80+ miles again was great!  Since July/August I've been itching to run more miles and bigger workouts nearly every week, but I really held back and listened to my coach...
  • Unfortunately, sometimes you can do everything right and things still go wrong.  After limping my cool down after my October 20 workout, I could not comfortably run, and I haven't run since except for a very easy mile with Jon (which was pain-free though!).  I wrote a separate blog on this, but the hip issue I dealt with from February through May is back and I am not running the local marathon I planned to on November 1 nor the local half I'd hoped for on November 21 (it filled up a few days ago, and I wasn't going to register while I was not running).  I am hoping to start back to running on November 2, but TBD.
We call this one Octypus October

Dark o'thirty on Christian's birthday

My running club accidentally tagged
me as a 2:45 half pacer, & the
responses made me laugh & grin

Life Highlights:
  • Albani finished out 7th grade cross country.
  • I became a masters runner on October 26.  I was pretty pumped about this, because in some larger races that I have no chance of finishing on the podium I can hold my own in the old lady category, if my hip allows that is (that really seems like an old lady thing to say!).
  • Halloween - it was the first year Albani has been allowed to dress up at school, and of course the cats enjoyed the day.
7th grade school photo

In the process of passing

Pre-meet team prayer

Post-meet brunch

Latest cross-stitch
Dragon on the shoulder

Dragon wings in back (but I'm not
actually sure what she was...)

Hot dog #1

Hot dog #2

Chiefs fan

  • Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell
  • The Beatrice Letters (A Series of Unfortunate Events) by Lemony Snicket
  • Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
  • And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
  • The Glitch by Elisabeth Cohen
  • The Girl You Lost by Kathryn Croft
  • American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins
  • After You by Jojo Moyes
  • The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
  • What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
Theme for the month:
Bipolar.  Just when I felt like I was getting back into pretty good shape and was feeling good about running around 2:52 for a fun local marathon, my hip impingement pain returned with a vengeance.  Being unable to run the marathon was disappointing, but because of the circumstances (a small local event, not being in PR shape) I got [mostly] over it quickly.  Being unable to go out and knock out easy mileage daily and the fear for the future has been much harder on me.  

I was also really sad for my training partner Christian, who got injured and was unable to run Bass Pro, which was set to be her first marathon and would have been a smoking fast debut!  We ran many workouts and long runs together this season, and then we biked/elliptigoed together once we could not run.  No one wants to be in the injured runners club, nor do we want any of our friends to join, but if it has to happen to both of us it's nice that it happened at the same time.  Here's hoping we can both return to running at the same time - we have another marathon picked out if all goes as we pray it will!

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

What Hippened

Sometimes you do everything right but things still go wrong. You foam roll every day, activate your glutes before every run, do yoga 5-7 days a week, strength train 2-3 times a week, run conservative mileage and workouts compared to previous recent marathon builds, and even skip a few workouts out of an overabundance of caution.  We like to think that there is always a reason when bad things happen, especially when they happen to other people, since we need to rationalize why that won’t happen to us, but that’s not always the case.  My hip pain has returned (history here), but I really don't think there is anything I could have done differently, and my doctor agreed.
When you are so in sync with your training
buddy that you have pains that require
cross training on the same days...
Ever since I returned to running in June after 4 months off dealing with a hip impingement, I've had tightness off and on with the same hip.  It's always loosened up within a few minutes, sometimes within a few steps, and hadn't impeded my training until last week.  I was super cautious with it and even if it was just a little too tight I'd skip a workout or plyometrics, but I also figured it might always be a little "off" because hip impingement doesn't go away - but what is also puzzling is that I've always had it, yet ran for years without knowing it.  I'd also noticed that my left side is weaker and lacks power compared to my right side, which I never felt when running but could tell when I did things like single leg hops.

On October 17, I ran a long progression run, and my hip tightened up afterward, but after yoga and foam rolling it felt fine.  No problems on October 18, then on October 19 I ran twice in cold drizzle/rain (it was raining pretty much all day, plus being a work day I didn't have much flexibility in run timing), and it was tight on both runs - enough that even though I thought it was the weather, I told one of my running buddies I might skip my workout the next day.  I felt 100% on my warm up for the October 20 workout, so I ran it and felt fine doing so, but on my cool down I really limped in.  I stretched and foam rolled when I got home, which seemed to help some, and then I had to travel for work and spent almost 3 hours sitting in the car.

On October 21 I got up to run and did not want to go, which almost always means I shouldn't (I have finally learned this!).  I foam rolled and did some glute activation, then did a trial run across my hotel room to ensure I wasn't just being a baby, and went back to bed.  I thought maybe it would feel better after work when it was warmer, so I tried a run then but stopped less than 100 meters in due to sharp deep pain.  The same thing happened on October 22, and then I really acquiesced that this was An Issue.  I made an appointment with a new sports doctor who came highly recommended by a friend, and also asked my previous sports doctor to call in another PT order.

I saw the new doctor on October 26, and she confirmed a hip impingement, pincer type. She said I have it on both sides, but my left side is hurting because of other factors including my left leg being a little longer than my right and the ways my legs have slightly different external/internal rotation and pronation. Impingement refers to the shape of my bones.
Pincer type is on the far left
The doctor adjusted my hips to be more even. She told me to work on proprioception every day (balance with eyes closed), and to work on loosening up my hip flexors and quads, especially on the left, as well as the IT band on the right.  She also said that I didn’t do anything wrong to cause this (no training errors) and that even a millimeter change in movement patterns can cause pain like this with a hip impingement. That kind of makes sense because both times I've developed issues with it were after running in cold rain, when I may run slightly differently. She said to just go by pain level on returning to running.

Everything she said made sense and was logical.  Running is a series of single leg hops, it's all a chain, and running is repetitive so even a little bit of "offness" multiplies.  I’ll work on my balance a lot and take it day by day on returning to running. I'll pay even more attention to my hip flexors and continue to strengthen all surrounding areas.  It's good to know I didn't do anything that caused it and it's nice not to have any restrictions on running, but I wish I knew more about the timeline.  I'm really glad I have my ElliptiGO now though!

The marathon doesn’t owe me anything, nor does marathon training. I’m disappointed that I won't be lining up for my planned race on November 1, but I’m a lot more concerned that this hip impingement issue is something I’m always going to have to deal with now. Sometimes bad things happen, because God cares more about our character than our comfort.  I've already gotten over missing my marathon (the circumstances made that pretty easy - it was a small local one and I'm not in PR shape), but I just don't think I could ever get over an end to my running career and I pray I won't have to try!

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Speedy September or Sluggish September

September 2020 in review!

Total mileage for the month: 291.4
  • Aug. 31-Sep. 6:  71.2
  • Sep. 7-13:  70.6
  • Sep. 14-20:  65.9
  • Sep. 21-27:  76.3
  • Sep. 28-Oct. 4:  67.8
  • Sep. 1:  7 x 800 m (track) with 2:00 recoveries in 2:57, 2:58, 2:58, 3:10, 3:16, 3:15, 3:18 (2.1 warm up, 3.6 cool down).  I strained my hamstring between lifting on Aug. 27 and my Aug. 28 tempo run, and 3 days of easy running wasn't enough to heal it (I didn't know it was actually strained until I had it looked at on Sep. 3). I started the workout and planned to just stop if the hammy acted up, but instead I backed off to tempo effort for the final 4 reps. The first 3 were on pace, but my hamstring hurt more after each one and it wasn't worth the risk! It was also raining and half of my running group didn't come to this workout, which in the end I was glad about since that meant less people to see me slowing down!
  • Sep. 3:  6 x 200 m (road) with 200 m jog recoveries after a 7 mile easy run in 42, 42, 43, 42, 42, 43.  I was hoping my hamstring would be back to normal, but it wasn't completely so I was tentative on these. A few hours later I got my hammy checked out and treated with ART, and was advised not to run fast again until it felt 100%.
  • Sep. 7:  4 miles of 0.5 at 6:00ish/0.5 at 7:00ish with half mile splits of 3:01, 3:25, 3:04, 3:26, 3:03, 3:31, 3:04, 3:28 (2 warm up, 3 cool down).  The biggest victory of this run was that my hamstring felt great!  Hitting the paces was a struggle on the faster parts and I had to stop for about 30 seconds after my third faster half mile to be able to complete the workout, but it was warm and humid, and I hadn't been sure if I'd be able to run this so I wasn't mentally focused as much as I should have been (I'd planned to stop if my hamstring wasn't 100%).
  • Sep. 10:  Fartlek of 3 x (3' on, 90" off, 2' on, 60" off, 1' on, 30" off), 2 warm up, 3 cool down.  I went out hard then died hard on this one!  My Garmin told me my paces for the 9 ons were 5:26, 5:14, 5:20, 5:43, 5:35, 6:00, 6:28, 6:22, 6:08.  I'm not sure I totally believe those, but I did push early and fade.
  • Sep. 15:  2 x 8:00 at 20kish pace in 6:29 and 6:18 pace during a 9 mile run.  Mentally I needed an easy workout so this one was perfect.
  • Sep. 18:  20k time trial at 6:29 pace, details here.
  • Sep. 22:  3 x 1 mile at 5k effort with 2:15 recoveries in (about) 5:55, 5:51, 5:59 (3.5 warm up, 3 cool down).  I ran this workout with Christian and Casey, and our watches read pretty differently.  Casey finished 5-10 seconds behind Christian and I each rep, but her watch had her faster than us on every repeat.  Christian's watch had her a little slower than mine despite us being side-by-side.  I sure felt like the final rep was in the 5:40s (per Casey's watch I was 5:45ish).  I have no idea what was happening!  But we all put in a very good effort and found that 5k pace gear that is easy to lose during marathon training.  I would not have run sub-6:00 without those girls with me; we are definitely better together!
  • Sep. 25:  3 warm up, 15:00 tempo (6:20, 6:20, 6:16), 3:00 recovery, 10:00 tempo (6:18, 6:21), 3 cool down.  My pace goal was 6:20 for this so I was right on. We ran this on the same course we'd done the 20k time trial on the week before, and it was a harsh reminder of how much difference 10 seconds per mile can make!  I feel like I could run 6:30ish pace all day, but 6:20ish is a different story.  I felt average on this workout but was pretty proud of my metronome pacing!
  • Doubles (running) on Sep. 7, 10, 14, 21, 29.
  • Strides on Sep. 9, 17, 21, 29.
  • Elliptigo-ing:  as a double on Sep. 6, 9, and 15, and as day off running on Sep. 11.
  • Strength Training: weekly totals of 2:10, 1:56, 1:45, 1:55.
  • Yoga: weekly totals of 1:00, 0:47, 2:25, 1:25.
Soaking wet September (after a
rainy track workout)
Stretching September

Silly September
Long Runs:
  • Sep. 5:  17.3 miles (with 20k at 7:19, probably 7:30ish for all 17) mostly with a group of 7!  I was planning to run a 20k time trial for the virtual Dam to DSM race, which I'd entered long before it rescheduled then turned virtual (also before COVID and even before my hip issue), but I tweaked my hamstring the previous week and at my ART/Graston appointment for it on Sep. 3 my chiropractor advised against running fast until it healed.  I knew it was the right call, especially since my hamstring hadn't been right on my attempted workouts that week, so I ran it as a faster easy pace.  I had zero pain in my hammy so was pleased about that!
  • Sep. 12:  20 miles (7:55) of feeling great!  I was excited to do this run and it did not disappoint. I love running 20+s.  Colin ran all 20 with me, and Casey, Christian, Sean, Claudio, and Abby ran most.  It flew by, I felt amazing, and I kept my heart rate 140ish.  
  • Sep. 18:  17.2 miles (with 20k at 6:29plus real easy warm up and cool down).  Since the 20k time trial didn't work out on Sep. 5, I did it on Sep. 18 in much cooler weather (58 degrees) with a 100% hamstring.  Too bad I couldn't count this time for the virtual race instead!  I ended up getting an award in the mail from my 7:19 pace 20k, though.
  • Sep. 27:  18 miles (7:46) that was average to good, to cap off an average to good week!  Like the entire week, I didn't feel amazing but I didn't feel bad either.  Christian ran 16 with me, which made it fly by.  Missy also started with us but she did a progression so left us around mile 6.
Speedy September or Santa September
(I think you had to be there!)

Sluggish September
I can't remember what this one was!

Same September
Running Highlights:
  • I had a very minor hamstring strain, but it never hurt when running easy and really only affected two workouts (Sep. 1 and Sep. 5), plus I didn't do deadlifts or hamstring curls on the exercise ball for few strength sessions.  I definitely erred on the side of caution with it!  My hip also started bothering me after my Sep. 25 workout, and it was so minor that normally I'd have thought nothing of it, but after the spring I had with hip issues, I ended up being extra cautious with it too, and skipping a Sep. 30 time trial.  I am not sure why I'm having these little issues, or maybe I'm just acknowledging every single little thing that I wouldn't have even noticed before.
  • Albani is running cross-country and had several meets!  The current week we are in she has 3, which seems excessive to me (Sep. 29, Oct. 1, and Oct. 3).
  • My friend Liz completed an awesome feat on the Appalachian Trail and visited us driving back home to Portland.  You can read about her journey here!  Talking to her about the details was really fun and my mind is boggled by what she did.
  • I ran the final 10 miles of my friend Amy's virtual Boston with her, which ended up being a lot of fun.  I bragged to people along the trail about her, and then announced that she was the Boston Marathon winner as she finished.
First XC meet!

Amy's virtual Boston

Life Highlights:
  • Jon and I celebrated our anniversary on Sep. 17 then Albani's birthday on Sep. 18.
  • Albani had a slumber party for her 13th birthday...oy!
  • We still mostly stay at home on weekends, and I have really grown to love that.  I have definitely learned to nap more during this pandemic.
Chicks at our local farm store

Bandit helping me work

God's promise

  • Elanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
  • The Reptile Room (A Series of Unfortunate Events #2) by Lemony Snicket
  • The Wide Window (A Series of Unfortunate Events #3) by Lemony Snicket
  • The Miserable Mill (A Series of Unfortunate Events #4) by Lemony Snicket
  • The Austere Academy (A Series of Unfortunate Events #5) by Lemony Snicket
  • Sworn to Silence by Linda Castillo
  • In Five Years by Rebecca Serle
  • The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrkc
  • The Ersatz Elevator (A Series of Unfortunate Events #6) by Lemony Snicket
  • The Vile Village (A Series of Unfortunate Events #7) by Lemony Snicket
  • The Hostile Hospital (A Series of Unfortunate Events #8) by Lemony Snicket
  • The Carnivorous Carnival (A Series of Unfortunate Events #9) by Lemony Snicket
  • The Slippery Slope (A Series of Unfortunate Events #10) by Lemony Snicket
  • The Grim Grotto (A Series of Unfortunate Events #11) by Lemony Snicket
  • The Penultimate Peril (A Series of Unfortunate Events #12) by Lemony Snicket
  • The End (A Series of Unfortunate Events #13) by Lemony Snicket
  • Goodbye Ed, Hello Me by Jenni Schaefer
  • How to Find Love in a Bookshop by Veronica Henry
  • What Are You Going Through by Sigrid Nunez
  • History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund
  • Pray for Silence by Linda Castillo
Theme for the month:
Every day is different.  I had great runs, I had bad runs, I had everything in between, my body felt good, my body felt terrible, some days it flows, some days you're slow.  :-)

Friday, September 18, 2020

2020 20k (Random Friday Time Trial #2)

The idea to run a 20k time trial started because I was registered for the Dam to DSM 20k race.  I'd entered long before it rescheduled then turned virtual (before COVID and even before my hip issue!).  The virtual race window was August 31 through September 7 and I planned to run a hard 20k on September 5, but due to being overly cautious with a hamstring I tweaked lifting I ended up just running an easy 20k that day.  The hammy was back to 100% just a few days later, and for some reason I still wanted to run a 20k, so Christian and I both asked our coaches if we could run it on Friday, September 18.

I have no idea why I thought September 18 was a good day to run it; my wedding anniversary is September 17 and Albani's birthday is September 18, not to mention that Albani had a cross-country meet the evening of September 17, I teach an MSU class on Thursday evenings, and I have an 8:00 patient at work on Friday mornings.  Clearly this was not a well thought out plan, and I ended up being pretty unexcited about it.  But I also didn't have any legitimate reason not to run it, and I didn't want to let Christian down since we were planning to work together.  She hadn't felt very good on September 5 so was glad we'd rescheduled, and the weather ended up being much cooler on September 18 too.  I guess the only disadvantage of switching was that we had to start at 5 a.m. and run in the dark due to it being a work day!

Christian, Colin, Missy, and I were the brave souls who showed up to run.  We did a 2 mile warm up, a quick pee stop, and then decided where we should start.  We planned to run two loops of a course we call "The 6 mile loop" that is actually 5.8 miles.  After we finished the second loop we would continue straight until we hit 20k (12.43 miles).  No roads in my area are flat, but this was the flattest course we could think of where we wouldn't have much traffic and that wasn't our workout loop (the workout loop is 0.82 so a 20k would be a lot of laps, although I have run 20 miles on that thing before).  The course we chose ended up having about 520 ft of elevation gain.

We started off with Colin immediately jumping out front as expected, Christian and I falling in side by side, and Missy tucking in behind us.  I figured I could do about 6:30 pace for a 20k on the course we were on, but I wanted to start off a little slower, so I looked at my watch during the first mile and to see the first mile split in 6:38.  I was aiming for 6:40, so was pretty much right on, and I didn't look at my watch again during the run.

It was nice working with Christian, although with much less talking than our easy runs together!  I felt average at the beginning, and the pace felt do-able but my motivation wasn't great.  But the miles clipped by as we chased Colin's blinking Noxgear vest in front of us, and by the time we finished the first almost 6 mile loop I felt fantastic.  Just needed to get those endorphins flowing I guess!  I also started thinking about past half marathon races - fond memories.

During mile 7 I inadvertently pulled away from Christian.  I was feeling good and staying pretty steady, and she slowed just slightly.  I yelled encouragement and continued on, although I didn't push myself nearly as hard for the final 5 miles as I would have if I'd been with someone.  I have always been someone who races (truly races, not pitch dark country road time trials!) much faster than I train, and it always blows my mind to see people run race pace for nearly race distance or to PR in training.  In fact, one reason I wanted to run this was because typically the pace I can do for 12-14 miles in training is about what I can race for a marathon, and I'm probably going to run a November marathon, so I thought I'd have a good gauge on where I was at from this run.

The second loop was just as uneventful as the first, and I felt strong through the finish but never fast, which is pretty much where my fitness is at right now - solid but not sharp.  I ran a little too far, stopping my watch at 1:20:56 at 12.47 miles.  My average pace was 6:29, which calculators tell me is a 1:20:35 20k.  This is technically an unofficial PR since I have only run one 20k race ever, although I have run much faster 20ks in half marathons and my marathon PR is 6:19 average pace.  But!  I'll take what I can get in 2020!  I wouldn't count a Garmin PR anyhow, but one reason we ran a 20k instead of a half marathon was so everyone could unofficially PR (maybe we will do a 25K next, hah!).  I was also pretty excited that I estimated my current capability so closely with my 6:30 pace estimate, although I really don't know what I based that on aside from one 6 mile tempo run at 6:26, hah.

You can see my Strava activity with splits and elevation here.

Colin averaged 6:14 pace and Christian 6:33; both were pleased with their results.  Missy stopped at 6 miles due to tummy troubles, but she is in incredible shape and ready to sub-3:00 this season.  After cooling down to 17 miles I rushed home and went to work!  I didn't have time to stretch or roll like I typically do after runs, but after a lunch break walk and yoga session I felt great.

I'm glad that I did this, because it was fun and I really love long efforts.  I also finished with some gas still left in the tank and ready for more.  Now that I've been back to running for 3.5 months it's becoming harder not to compare to my previous times.  I'm not back there, but I'm determined to chase down 2019 Sara at some point!
We called this #seewhathappensseptember

Monday, August 31, 2020

August Angst or Awesome August

August 2020 in review!

Total mileage for the month:  294.6
  • July 27-August 2:  64.0
  • August 3-9:  60.1
  • August 10-16:  69.7
  • August 17-23:  64.1
  • August 24-30:  64.2
#augustangst - we think we are funny!

Races:  None yet, but I did two time trials, a 2 mile in 12:13 and a 5k+ in 18:35.

  • August 4:  10 x 300 m with 100 m jog/1:00 total recoveries (2:00 recovery after rep 5) in 57, 59, 57, 58, 57, 57, 58, 57, 59, 57 (3.3 warm up, 3.5 cool down). When my coach gave me this workout she told me to keep them under 60, and I told her that was very, very, very ambitious.  She then said under 63, which I still didn't think I could do, but I guaranteed I'd try my hardest.  Rebecca and Sean ran this workout with me (plus 4 other members from our running group ran some workout on the track this morning!), and Rebecca's college miler speed is always very helpful to me during track workouts.  I tried to hang onto her as close as I could when we started, and during the first repeat my body was screaming and I thought, "Whatever this split is will be my goal, I cannot go any faster."  I was really surprised to see the 57 and looked at my watch until it disappeared to make sure I wasn't reading it wrong!  Rebecca was generally 2 seconds ahead of me on each rep, and Sean and I were neck and neck, which really pushed me.  I definitely couldn't have done this workout without my running buddies and the unseasonably cool 58 degree morning also played a bit part, but I also think just having the goal of doing my best helped because I didn't feel pressure to hit a certain time.
  • August 6:  2 x 3 mile (goal 6:50) with 0.5 recovery in 6:41, 6:42, 6:32/6:42, 6:35, 6:33 (2.3 warm up and 2 cool down).  This felt smooth and strong!  A goal of this workout was to see what my heart rate was at 6:50, so we didn't quite get that, but it was a nice cool morning and I had a hard time not cranking it down farther.  It was my first longer workout back that I finished strong vs. dying in the final mile (like I was in last month), so that felt like a victory too.  I ran this one in Hoka Cliftons instead of workout shoes because I was sore from the August 4 track workout.
  • August 10:  4 x 400 m with 200 m recovery jog in 1:28, 1:28, 1:30, 1:32 (2.3 warm up + drills and strides, 6.5 cool down) This workout was supposed to happen on August 11 but due to work travel I ran it a day early.  It was also supposed to be 12 x 400 m starting at 1:28 working down to 1:25, but I had a migraine the evening before and felt weak and nauseous.  I wanted to attempt the workout but called it after 4 because I just didn't have it and thought I was going to dig myself into a deeper hole by forcing it.  Without races on the horizon it scared me a little how easy it was to quit a workout and not care that I did, but once I started feeling more like my normal self I was excited to tackle workouts again.
  • August 12:  4 miles moderate (7:26, 7:25, 7:25, 7:21) within an 8 mile run. These felt nice and smooth and reminded me of when I used to run everything easy moderate!
  • August 14:  2 mile time trial in 12:13 (6:06.9, 6:06.7) + 5 mile progression run (goal 7:30 down to 6:50) in 7:26, 7:12, 7:08, 7:00, 6:47.   I had no idea what to try to for on the 2 mile so I decided to go by effort and was thrilled with my super even pacing without ever looking at my watch!  I guess I was neither excited or upset with the time I ran; it was really just information. 5 years ago it would have been a great 2 mile for me but last year it would have been a very disappointing one.  It was warm and humid (72 degrees, dew point 72) and I felt weak.  The progression felt good but the last mile got hard.
  • August 16:  5 x 0:45 hill sprints within an 8 mile run.  These woke my tired legs up and somehow I managed to run them all in sub-6:00.
  • August 18:  4 x 200, 2 x 400, 1 x 800, 2 x 400, 4 x 200 with equal distance recoveries (2.3 warm up, 3 cool down).  We had a great group of 8 on the track this morning and Casey and Sean both ran my workout and pushed me!  I think I need to remember how to hurt.  My main goal was to be consistent and to not back off when it got hard.  I was happy with my splits of 0:40, 0:41, 0:41, 0:41, 1:27, 1:25, 3:00, 1:25, 1:25, 0:40, 0:41, 0:40, 0:40.
  • August 21:  5k time trial in 18:35/5:56 average via 5:54, 6:02, 5:54 (5:36 final 0.13 - I stopped my watch a little late but figure most road courses with turns read a little long)  + 5 x 400 with 1:15 recovery in 1:27, 1:30, 1:32, 1:31, 1:23 (12 miles total).  You can read the details here.
  • August 24:  4 miles moderate (7:09, 7:08, 7:09, 6:54) in a 7 mile run.  I've decided I like moderate running - it feels smooth without being hard!
  • August 26:  3 x (4 x 400 m) with 1:00 recovery jogs between reps and 400 m recovery jogs between sets in 84, 85, 84, 84, 85, 82, 84, 83, 85, 84, 84, 84 (2.1 warm up, 4.3 cool down). My time goal on these was 86-88, and I was really happy to better that but even happier that I felt so good doing it.  I finished the workout with quite a bit left in the tank; I don't think I could have run any faster but I could have run more reps, which is pretty typical for me on speedy stuff. It was pretty refreshing to feel so strong at the end of the month, after having a lot of workouts when I first started back where I was just hanging on dying.  Christian did 400s as well and running with her helped me tremendously and made the workout fun.  Missy and Abby also ran, and having our group out on the track at dark o'thirty makes track work so much better!
  • August 28:  6 mile tempo at 6:24 average via 6:20, 6:21, 6:20, 6:26, 6:33, 6:23 (2 warm up, 1.3 cool down).  This was supposed to be a moderate tempo at 6:35, per the workout Christian's coach gave her that I coordinated with her to run together, but our group which also included Sean, Missy, and Rebecca got out fast and good luck stopping a group of 5!  I felt the too fast start on mile 5 but rallied to finish strong, which I couldn't have done last month.  This was a good day at 72 degrees/dew point 71.
  • Strides on August 3, 13, 20, 24, and before workouts.
  • Doubles started on August 24 with a 94 degree 4 miler, and continued on August 31.
  • Elliptigo-ing:  Doubles on the elliptigo on August 2, 4, 6, 12, 16, 18, 26 and easy rides on days off running on August 7 and 27 - total mileage of 66.3  (no biking this month).
  • Strength Training:  weekly totals of 2:05, 1:46, 2:00, 2:06, 1:28, including re-introducing plyometrics this month, which make me so sore.
  • Yoga:  weekly totals of 1:37, 1:50, 1:20, 0:52, 1:50.

Long Runs:
  • August 1:  16.3 miles (7:43) that felt really good!  Abby, Sierra, and Christian ran most of the way with me, and this was one of those runs where I felt stronger as I ran longer.  I had a 30 second pick up to tempo-ish effort every 5 minutes starting at mile 10, and it was crazy how much those little pick ups perked my legs up.  The final 6 miles were 7:07-7:27 and the pick ups were 5:44-6:18 (take those paces with a grain of salt, though, because I don't think Garmin is accurate with intervals that short).
  • August 8:  16.2 miles (8:14) that felt really meh.  It was a good group (Rebecca, Christian, Sierra, Abby, and Trae), and a different long run location, but it was also one of those days that running 1 mile seemed like a stretch on my drive to the run, mostly due to non-running life stuff.  I didn't really feel better as the run progressed but I also didn't feel worse, and I got it done!
  • August 15:  16.7 miles (8:17) for a fatigued long run after a Friday workout on a very humid morning with a great crew!  Casey, Christian, Sean, Claudio, Abby, and Rebecca all ran 12-14 with me.  I was supposed to run 16 but miscalculated the add-on loop and got back to my car at 16.7, then spent the rest of the day wishing I'd just gone to 17!
  • August 22:  12.2 miles (7:44), with the first half 8:00+ and second half under 7:30. I also ran a 12 mile workout on August 21, so the line of when long runs begin is getting blurry again.  I was a tad sore from said August 21 time trial/workout, but I also felt really good.  We had another great group showing with Eric, Casey, Elise, Rebecca, Abby, Collin, Christian, Claudio, and Sean, and we explored a trail that I'd never been on before (the connection to it is tricky!).
  • August 29:  17.1 miles (8:11), keeping my HR below 140, the day after a workout.  We had a group of 10 for this long run:  Sean, Christian, Paul, Abby, Sierra, Casey, Rebecca, Eric, and Trae.  It was warm and humid but the miles flew by and 17 didn't feel long at all!  I ran another mile about 90 minutes later with Albani too.
Running Highlights:
  • As of August 1, I'm working with my coach Nichole again, so she is the mastermind behind those time trials plus workouts, hah.  My running group is doing a couple of track time trials in September, and I'm going to do either a race or a time trial on November 1, but I'm mostly working on my weaknesses and longer term development, plus I will never be able to make the smartest training decisions for myself.  She decreased my mileage slightly from what I built to in July and threw me onto the track.  
Life Highlights:
  • Albani started junior high cross-country.  I didn't think she was going to want to run but she decided she wanted to do something and it was better than volleyball (haha).  She hasn't wanted to talk to me too much about practices but I'm excited!  She had a 2 mile time trial on August 29.
  • Albani started 7th grade in-person on August 20.  Our district gave us options and we chose full-time in-person instruction.  It's one of those situations where you have to weigh the risks and benefits and make the best personal decision.
  • I started teaching as an adjunct at Missouri State University (online only this semester).
Fresh produce

Awana awards party

More fresh produce


First day of school, 6:20 a.m. edition

7th grade!

First day of school, 7:30 p.m. edition
Time trial finish

Junior high & high school XC teams

Albani's coach & I running with her
  • Minor Dramas & Other Catastrophes by Kathleen West
  • The Sun Does Shine:  How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row by Anthony Ray Hinton
  • Stolen Children by Peg Kehret
  • The Story of Arthur Truluv (Mason #1) by Elizabeth Berg
  • Night of Miracles (Mason #2) by Elizabeth Berg
  • The Confession Club (Mason #3) by Elizabeth Berg
  • Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult
  • The Case Against Sugar by Gary Taubes
  • The Party Upstairs by Lee Conell
  • Bring Me Back by B.A. Paris
  • The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer
  • The Weight of Blood by Laura McHugh
  • Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad
  • The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events #1) by Lemony Snicket
  • The Help by Kathryn Stockett
  • The Mighty Miss Malone by Christopher Paul Curtis
  • Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt
  • The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes
Theme for the month:
Indecision.  I've figured all along that the reason for my hip issue was probably because God knew I wouldn't deal well with the COVID-19 uncertainty of every race from March 2020 on, but this month made me even more sure of that!  I had a hard time deciding if I should target a race and found it difficult to do that knowing that any given race may not happen.  It's harder than you realize to direct your training without targeting a race, and "be in good shape and ready to jump into a race" is a vague goal.  Also, I like control!  I think that's why I'm embracing doing some time trials: they will happen.