Sunday, September 23, 2012

11 Miles and Counting!

Before I talk about today's long run, let's back up a bit.

After the awesome time I had at the race last week, I knew my runs immediately following would fall into one of two categories: awesome or horrible. Guess which one I experienced?

I completed my cross training on Tuesday, pushing my run to Wednesday. Not a big deal. Unfortunately I didn't manage my meals well that day. Who knew trying to run 5 miles on less than 500 calories might be a bad idea? I felt so bad I only walked (yes walked) about half of my scheduled 5 miles. Horrible. I felt so put off by it all I didn't bother running Thursday. That meant I wouldn't really run until my long run over the weekend.

Which was great! Sometimes not following a training plan to the letter is okay. Not that I've really been following one this go around anyway but still. The weather was cool this morning for the first time in ages, and I tried out Rex's hydration belt. I've come to realize something about my long runs: I like water. 16 ounces of water gets me pretty far, but I really max out around 8-9 miles before I really feel the pinch. When I ran the 15k I not only took my hand-held water bottle and polished it off but I also drank at nearly all the water stops. How do people who run marathons do this?

So the hydration belt is simultaneously liberating and annoying. It takes a bit to get used to the sloshing sounds it makes, and for some reason the whole belt kept moving. The bottles, pouch, and belt were nowhere near where they started out on my hips. It was really nice, however, to have my hands free. I felt like I could focus better on the arm swing when before I could be too easily distracted by the bottle. I might have to get one for myself to use in the future.

So now it's just under two weeks until the big day. I'm excited!!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Ironhorse 15k!

So part of the training plan I've been loosely following involves races, and it called for me to run a 15k this weekend. Lucky for me there was actually a 15k to be run! Part of the Locomotive series, the 15k today was a great practice race leading up to the half. The course was just challenging enough with some hills that I handled better than I anticipated, and the water stops all had cold water which was really nice!

Let's start at the beginning.

Picking up my race packet was pretty good - no confusion with t-shirts, names, or whatnot. Port-o-potties were available (good since I had to go!). The only hiccup was they delayed the start of the race due to the crowds needing to use the restroom, but that's okay. I was anxious to get started but it all worked out.

The 5k started at the same time as the 15k, and we ran together on the same course until about mile 2.5 where we split off. There were more people running the longer portion than I anticipated. Usually the 5k is the super popular race. That was still true today but it was nice to see a decent turn out for the longer portion.

Hills! I knew there would be some hills, but I didn't think about them too much until it came time to actually run them. My tactic: keep running no matter what but take the ascent slower while reasonably making up time coming down. I checked my heart rate on my watch to make sure I wasn't pushing myself too hard going up. I feel pretty confident about running the course in October now.

Finishing was great! I got my finisher's medal right away and was able to get some water (again nice and cold!). The walk to the car was short since everything was being held in the mall parking lot on a Sunday, so no one else was there.

The race was well organized, well planned, and (in my opinion) well ran! 9.3 miles in 1:46:30.

After the race, I grabbed brunch so no icing my foot right away. I traded my running shoes for my casual sneakers with the orthotics in them and used my compression leg sleeves. Both seemed to help quite a bit. My left heel is still pretty tender but nothing like the hobble I had to engage in last week after my long run. I think I'm on the path to a healed foot soon but it will take some time. At least I'm seeing some improvements, and I'm still able to run.

Phew! Now that the race is done, it's time to focus on a couple more weeks of training and then the big 13.1!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

My Heel Really Hurts

So I have been experiencing a pain in my heel since around April when training for the Chicagoland Half Marathon. What started as a bruised feeling after long runs morphed into pain after most runs and has finally evolved into "yeah you're not gonna want to walk now".

After finally caving in and agreeing to see a real podiatrist about it (instead of playing Diane MD right down to the limp - that was a reference to the TV show House MD if you didn't know), he confirmed what I had already suspected: I have plantar fasciitis. Treatment includes wearing a boot at night on the affected foot, orthotics in my shoes*, taking anti-inflammatories and a neat trick with a frozen water bottle after runs.

*I'm only wearing the orthotics in my casual shoes as they don't really fit in dress shoes and I'm not putting them in my running shoes. Call me stubborn, but I run better in the less supportive shoes and this all stemmed from the more supportive ones I trained in last time. Hmph.

The boot seems to really help, although it is about as far from sexy as you can get and is a little uncomfortable to sleep in. I tend to rip it off in my sleep a few hours in. Taking ibuprofen is already something I was doing for various reasons, mainly headaches. After today's long run I did try the water bottle trick.

What is the water bottle trick? It's awesome! Freeze a water bottle and after the run, take your shoes off. Then roll your affected foot/feet on the frozen bottle. Works really well! I used it on both feet, even though it's my left that is causing me problems. Because I'm sitting a lot after the run my foot still gets stiff so when I took my obligatory post-long run nap today I slept with the boot. I also took more ibuprofen than I normally do after a long run. I usually take a few for exertion headaches.

So why the stubbornness about putting the orthotics in my running shoes? They really do help with my casual shoes. Because the Brooks Pure Cadence shoes have helped my form so much I am running much more efficiently than ever before. I'm afraid that if I put something in my shoe it'll alter my foot strike, which will alter my form overall. I'm not sore anywhere else but in my heel. Even after running 10 miles today. The last thing I need is to trade heel pain for back and hip pain, which has caused issues in the past.

So we'll see how this goes. I have a couple more weeks until race day, so I'm not easing up on the running until then. I still want to run a half on Thanksgiving Day, but if my heel doesn't agree with me it just doesn't agree with me. We will see.

In the meantime, I'm going to ice my foot every evening, wear the boot, and work on cross-training again. I let that part of my routine slip a couple weeks ago and haven't brought it back. I felt my abs working hard today, which means I need to focus on core workouts again. Planks really help!

Happy running, and try the frozen water bottle!