Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day BBQ

Gotta have a BBQ on Memorial Day! We did it up right, and ate healthy food, too. Grilled chicken breasts, fruit salad, green salad, corn on the cob, oven fries and sweet potato fries. Yum! Calvin's response? "Make this AGAIN, Mommy!"
 
 
 
 
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a little bike ride

From biking
I was up in the air as to whether I'd work out today or not. My hamstrings and obliques are sore from Saturday's effort, and I want to be fresh enough to do a hard 4x2k workout tomorrow at the track. But about 4 pm, I was sleepy and feeling out of sorts, and I was cranky with the kids because they'd been fighting and driving me crazy all day. I knew I had to get out of the house (this is SO different than what I would have done 5 yr ago - I would have taken a nap!) and get some exercise.

From biking
From biking
I hopped on the bike and went up to Emigration Canyon and rode up as far as I could in 30 min, then turned around and rode back home. It's uphill all the way, so 30 min out was = 15 min back. Total time: 45 min. Ave HR for ascent (230m total) was 133 - low, I know, but I was taking it easy on purpose, and ave HR for descent was 127 (I actually pedaled hard just for fun, and hit 46.3 km/hr on the way down. On the way back, I biked through the 15th & 15th neighborhood, and took a few photos of our favorite restaurant in SLC (The Paris Bistro) and favorite bookstore (The King's English).

From biking
From biking
When I got back, the kids were riding their bikes, so I took a few photos and a movie.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Geese at Liberty Park



Here are the promised photos of the geese from yesterday's walk; photos taken with my cell phone, so the quality is not so great. But you get the idea - LOTS of geese!

slow 20K

My legs were tired when I got out of bed this morning, so I had an inkling that this might happen. I guess the 4 days off RW plus the hard effort yesterday got to me.

By 4K I knew it would be a hard day; everything hurt and I was pushing too hard to maintain pace (this is not really reflected in HR but let me tell you that the effort level was higher than it should have been). I did the first 10K at the goal pace of 6:30/km (or just over that), but at that point I was quite tired and I knew I had to decide what to do - to push really hard and finish at 6:30/km, or to back off and save it for another day. My coach advised that if I just didn't have it that I should back off, so I did. I stretched my calf a little (no pain today in the foot, just the toenail, so that's good) and went on. I was already aching by 10K - legs just felt so heavy - so I knew just finishing today would be my accomplishment. At 15K I seriously entertained the notion of going home, but knew I couldn't live with myself if I didn't finish. I resolved to slow down a bit, enjoy the incredibly beautiful morning, and finish. I was really hurting by 20K, but finish I did. My legs feel like lead weights now, despite a very thorough stretch and liberal use of the foam roller.

The good? It was beautiful outside - 43F (6C) to start and about 50 (10C) at the finish. I wore tights and a long sleeve & gloves, and only wore the gloves for the first half of the workout; once the sun peeked over the mountains I didn't need them. No wind, just calm & beautiful. I saw some very cute goslings at Liberty Park and took a few photos which I will post later.

The bad? My splits :). I'm actually laughing at them, and after 14K I stopped caring, so there aren't any.
2K 12:58, ave HR 139 (6:29/k)
4K 12:46, 146 (6:23/k)
6K 13:06, 147 (6:32/k)
8.03K 13:23, 147 (6:36/k)
10K 12:59, 145 (6:37/k)
12K 13:37, 144 (6:48/k)
14K 13:55, 144 (6:58/k)
20K 42:36, 139 (7:06/k - uphill, but still...ugh!)
TOTAL: 20K, 2:15:20, ave HR 143, ave pace 6:46/km

Off to enjoy the rest of my day now :). In the fine Memorial Day tradition, we have 2 barbeques to attend, one after church and one at my parents' house. I'm also going to make 2 pies, apple and blueberry, and do a whole lot of nothing else. I'll probably nap if I can squeeze one in :).

Saturday, May 29, 2010

10K kickdown at Smile Center 10K race


This morning I got lots of company for my 10K kickdown! Sarah, Sarah, and Jess were all doing their very FIRST 10K, and I got to come along too :). We met at Sarah's house at 6 am and drove to Orem for packet pick-up. This race had some seriously nice schwag! I know I said that at last week's race, but it was true this week too. Entry fee: $23 (including the active.com surcharge), and I got a technical T-shirt, 2 bracelets, Wheaties, 2 energy bars, aquaphor, lip balm, sunscreen sample, pen, and of course a toothbrush (the race was sponsored by a dental group, hence the name Smile Center 10K). Not bad! Add to that a free post-race breakfast of french toast (which was VERY good, BTW), and I'd say there was good value here.

The weather had threatened showers, but it ended up partly sunny/overcast. Most of the race was partly sunny, and it became overcast at the end of the race. It was in the upper 40s (probably 9C), and I wore capris on the bottom. I had planned on a long-sleeved shirt, but with the sun out I switched to a short-sleeved shirt, and that turned out to be good. About mile 4 or so, I was actually hot - not too bad, but a bit warm, and thankful for the slight breeze. Didn't need my gloves at all (but had them pre-race just in case).

My coach wanted me to do today's race as a 10K kickdown. I was to start at 6:25/km for the first 2.5k, and then do 6:15/km, 6:05/km, and all-out for each subsequent 2.5km. I started a bit fast, at probably 2:45 for the first 500m, but then settled into a nice rhythm on the slight uphill, getting to 2.5km right on target at 16:04 (ave HR 152 - a little high...adrenaline?). I did notice my HR was on the high side today; not sure why, but it wasn't a big deal. Continuing on the slight uphill, I got a little excited on the next 2.53k (oops, missed my split by 0.03k!) and did it in 15:33, with average HR of 161. Despite the high HR, I was feeling pretty darn good at this point (5.03K in 31:37). I was a little worried about the HR but figured I'd just go with the flow.

The last 5K was much harder, naturally. I felt really good and so sped up a bit too much from 5-7k. I got to 6.0K in another 5:49 (5:57/km - remember, the last split was 5.03K not 5K!)...oops, was supposed to be doing 6:05/km (ave HR 167!). Pretty close, but I'd pay for this later. I was still feeling like I had another gear; I held back a little but was going pretty hard. Got to 7.0K in 6:03, right about on target (ave HR 167 again!). I was feeling all right despite the high HR, though - I would've guessed it was more like 160-162 if I hadn't had the HR monitor. The next 500m were in 3:01 (ave HR 168), so the third 2.5k was a total of 14:53, about 20 seconds faster than the 6:05/km that I was supposed to do. Oops. I did pay for this, though.

On to the last 2.5K, which was rather painful. Around 8k, there was a guy running with his girlfriend; she was struggling and he was cheering her on very kindly. I asked him if he'd cheer for me too, and about 30 sec later he did - saying "you can do it, ma'am!" Uhhhh, ma'am? Oh dear...guess I'm showing my advanced age ;). Oh well, it was good for a laugh, and it was fun to watch him cheer for his girlfriend. I got to 8K in 2:54, continuing my blistering pace (ave HR 172), for which I was soon to pay. As we rounded the last corner, there was a slight uphill and strong headwind to the finish. Yes, 8-9K was not fun at all. I squeaked out a 6:07 (ave HR 173), and it was a very painful km for sure. At least there was only 1K left, and I really did give it my all. My Garmin measured the course as 9.97km total, so the last 1K was 970m on the Garmin, and I did it in 5:57 (Garmin said ave pace was 6:08/k) with ave HR a whopping 174 (max 178). I really felt this...and was SO happy to cross the finish line. Jess's husband Nate took some great photos of me, which they said they'd e-mail to me tomorrow. I'll be curious to see how my form looks - I was trying so hard to have good posture at the end. Total for the last 2.5K was 14:58, slower than the third one. Yeah, I know, I was supposed to be faster, but I screwed it up. Hopefully my coach will forgive me :). Last 5K was under 30 min, at 29:51.

Total time 1:01:29 on my watch; the race timing had 1:01:28; I did wait a second to push the stop button. Ave HR was a whopping 163 for the race. The last 2K were very painful, but the rest wasn't that bad, so I'm not sure why my HR was so high, except maybe race adrenaline? In any case, I did finish 5th of 14 in my age group, and if I had been racing, I might have finished higher - 2nd place was 58:50, an achievable time for me if I'm in good shape, and that is against RUNNERS!

Still, despite that, I'm a little disappointed. I wanted to have more to give in the last 2K. I am worried that I don't have the strength or endurance I need to race well. I will also confess to being anxious about my weight again; it's up to 152 again :( and I haven't been eating well at all (which is why the weight is up). I really feel like I'm not in prime shape yet, and my important races are only 8 weeks away. I feel a new motivation to fuel myself appropriately, but I have this feeling that will disintegrate in the face of amazing food like the pie I promised my mom I'd make for the family bbq tomorrow. I hope that I am able to maintain some self-control in the face of the looming deadline. I also hope my fitness takes a turn for the better. If I'd started faster today I might have managed a sub-60 10K today, but I doubt it would have been under 59:30 - I just didn't have it. I ran out of gas at the end. That's not typical of my racing (last week was the first time this really happened to me; it was better this week but still...), and I'm disappointed and confused.

I've also been realizing that I probably don't have a whole lot more speed in me. I love the sport so much, and am willing to work very hard to improve, but there seems to be a limit, and I seem to be close to it. I wonder if I will be able to eclipse my 5K and 10K personal bests set 2 summers ago? Or am I getting too old to expect to be faster? My friend Sarah very kindly and sensibly pointed out that all I can do is do the best I can with the body that I have, and that I really do need to just focus on doing what I can do and leave the chips to fall where they may. No matter who you are, this is good advice. I'm going to sit and think on that for a while, and enjoy the fact that I get to racewalk again pain-free :).

Speaking of pain-free, the only thing that hurt at all today was my stupid toenail, which is still (obviously) not 100%. My right calf was a little tight but I never had any foot pain. And best of all, I did not even THINK about my left foot even once during the race - didn't consider it until after the race when I was talking about injuries with my friends. This is good news!!! I'm back, racewalking, and enjoying it. Now I need to relax and have fun, stop stressing, and just love my favorite sport.

MORE PICTURES HERE

Edited to add:

Friday, May 28, 2010

more cross-training

This being my easy week, there was more cross-training today. Too bad I haven't been able to enjoy the easy week more, with my toe surgery and all. The next three weeks are going to be very intense training; I hope I'm up to it. I'm still not really used to 3 days of hard training PLUS a long day, and also not used to my long days being relatively fast (6:30/km vs 7:00/km). But what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, right?

Today I did 35 min on the bike and 30 min on the elliptical. Usually on MWF I also do at least 4 good supersets of weight training, but today I got up late and so I just did a few exercises for my legs. I did one-legged squats, with the rear leg on the exercise ball (these are difficult, and good for my foot too, as they require lots of balancing), one-legged VMO squats (to train the vastus medialus - part of the quadriceps), sideways walks with a resistance band (for gluteus medius), and asymmetric squats with 30 lb weight in one hand (for core and glutes). Last I did a bunch of core exercises with Lisa and stretched everything out thoroughly.

Tomorrow I'm doing a 10K race with my friend Sarah, but I will be doing it as a kickdown workout rather than racing it. I sort of wish I was racing it, because I feel like I have a mental block after last week's race. I promised my coach I wouldn't think about it any more (and I'm really not!), but when I think of the 10K distance I just feel dread inside. Kind of hard to not think of the 10K distance when you're doing a 10K the next day ;).

Thursday, May 27, 2010

quite the international sensation?

I have sitemeter to track my blog hits, and over the past few days I've been quite interested to see that I have a lot of international visitors to my blog. I am guessing they are racewalkers, but I don't know for sure. If you are lurking, and you're from far away, it would be fun if you commented on where you are from and why you are visiting my blog. Please, go ahead! I want to "meet" you! I'm so excited to have so many international visitors, and surprised, too.

Here's where my last 100 visitors have been from (some are me, checking my posts):

NORTH AMERICA (60):
United States 57 (Utah, Virginia, California, Kansas, Ohio, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Washington, Oklahoma, New Jersey, Oregon, Michigan, Texas, Florida, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire)
Calgary, Alberta, Canada 1
Wheatley, Ontario, Canada 1
Distrito Federal, Mexico 1

UNKNOWN (13)

OCEANIA (12):
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia (my coach) 8
Upwey, Victoria, Australia 1
Perth, Australia 1
Hamilton, New Zealand 1
Auckland, New Zealand 1

EUROPE (8):
Jyvskyl, Western Finland 1
Malm, Skane Lan, Sweden 1 (my friend Lani)
Brussels, Belgium 1
Privas, Rhone-Alpes, France 1
Oldenburg, Niedersachsen, Germany 1
London, UK 1
Keighley, W Yorkshire, UK 1
Leeds, UK 1

ASIA (5):
Hong Kong, China 1
New Delhi, India 4

AFRICA (1):
Tunisia 1

SOUTH AMERICA (1):
Brazil 1

Thursday at the track

Yay! Back to racewalking! OK, that wasn't what I was thinking when I got up. Rather, I was concerned about how my toe would feel, and I didn't really want to do a hard track workout. I was thinking an easy 8k would be nice to ease back into things. I also thought I'd be really slow, but I wasn't, surprisingly. And of course now that I'm done I'm glad I did it.

I warmed up for 1600m easy in about 10:20, then did some dynamic flexibility drills. Then I started in on the workout. I was to do 5x (800m, 30 sec rest, 200m) with 3 min rest in between. I hadn't done a workout quite like this before, so wasn't sure what to expect. I actually liked it. I could do the 200s pretty fast even after only 30s rest, before my HR really recovered! That was surprising. Most of them were about 1:00. The 800s were 4:32-4:36, with the last one at 4:38. That last one did not feel good...I was breathing super hard like at the 10K race on Saturday and yet felt I was moving nowhere; HR wasn't really lower, though, so i guess it was OK.

Injury update: toe was OK; didn't bother me too much (maybe a little). Right foot felt a tiny bit sore after the 2nd 800 but then was fine; I stretched the calf in between each 800/200.

Splits and lots more details here:

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Cross-training day

I still felt a bit weak this morning, but once I got going, things were fine. I did 20 min on the bike, 25 min on the elliptical, and then weight training. One-legged squats against wall w/ball on back/push-ups on ball; hip abduction on cybex machine/lat pull-downs; eccentric calf exercise/shoulder press while sitting on ball; PT balance exercises/easy RW on treadmill (just tried a minute or 2 to see how toe would feel; it was OK though not great); then lots of core: V-sits, crunches on ball, oblique exercise with 15 lb weight, leg lifts/isometric holds for lower abs, "ski" crunches for lower abs. Stretch. Ahhhhh. Done!

Toe is better today but still pretty tender. Hoping for enough improvement for a track workout tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

bye-bye, couch

 We have had this couch for almost 17 years. My mom's friend Doreen gave it to us when we got married (used!). It's a queen sleeper sofa; the sleeper part is not too comfy but works in a pinch. When we got new furniture for Calvin's room, we moved his old bed (queen futon/couch) into the living room, and now there is just not much room for this couch, so we posted it on Craig's list and gave it away.

The thing we will most remember about it is just how EVIL it was to move. It is very, very heavy, and the sofa part tends to pop open while moving. The first time we moved it was when we moved into our apartment in Davis, CA, just after getting married. We had all of my stuff from my place in San Diego in a moving van, and this was the last thing to get unloaded, at about midnight. There was a post about 3 ft outside the apartment door plus a wall 3 ft inside the door that made moving this in almost impossible to begin with, never mind trying to move it in while tired and exhausted. Our new neighbors must have wondered at the quantity of 4-letter-words that I seem to remember spewing forth on that memorable occasion. Needless to say, neither of us were that sad to see this go.
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naptime!

 Calvin usually doesn't nap any more. But the other day at my parents' house, he did fall asleep on their couch, in the middle of watching TV & talking with my dad. Too cute!
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another rest day

The toe hurts more than advertised. The good news? It doesn't really hurt any worse than before the surgery, at least right now. Last night was a different story - very painful. I took a Vicodin before bed, then 2 in the middle of the night. It says on the label you can take 1-2 every 4-6 hr; they do have 500mg acetominophen, so you really can't take more than 8 in 24 hr safely, but I wasn't planning on it. Regardless, the Vicodin did not agree very much with me last night. I woke extremely nauseated and weak. I had to go into work for a time point, and it took me over 2 hr to get ready to go in, because I had to keep lying down. Once at work, I was barely functional. I did my required duties successfully, but after 2 hours I was still exhausted & nauseous. I don't get paid sick leave, but I didn't care. I went home.

I went to sleep and now I'm awake and feeling slightly better, but still nauseous. Exercising today is pretty much out of the question, as my toe hurts in addition to the nausea. Needless to say, at this point I am not taking anything for the pain - the nausea is worse, and I want to feel better!

I did take a photo of the toe, post-surgery (this morning) for those of you who are curious. WARNING: it's really really gross, so don't look unless you have a strong stomach.

Monday, May 24, 2010

ahhhh....relief

I should have gone to the podiatrist weeks ago, rather than the urgent care, when my ingrown toenail got infected. The urgent care merely treated the infection, not the underlying cause, and left me in pain. I put up with it for a while, thinking it would get better, and then realized it wouldn't. Finally my husband told me to get in to see my podiatrist. When he says I should do something, I pay attention, because usually he minimizes these things (like the time that I broke my ankle and he said I was OK and questioned whether I really needed to go to the ER). But I had the race on Saturday, and really wanted to wait until my easy week to get it fixed. So I waited, in much pain. It didn't hurt too bad in the mornings, but at night the pain got severe, despite soaking in salt water, etc.

Today I finally got it fixed. My podiatrist took one look and said, "How long have you been sitting on this one?". Um, yeah...I was a bit embarrassed, but told him of the urgent care visit, the race, etc. He offered to do a little surgery to fix me up, and I was MORE than amenable. He would remove that side of my toenail (just a few mm), and treat the nail bed with 10% sodium hydroxide to prevent regrowth of the nail on that side, and then rinse with acetic acid to neutralize. Oh, and he also had to trim away some granuloma tissue that had grown in around the nail. He noticed that the nail was a bit loose, so I told him that I thought all this started from my black toenail last summer at the Seattle RNR marathon; the nail didn't fall off, but it was really loose on that side and when it grew out it just didn't do it right.

An hour after the procedure, I'm feeling great. Nothing like anesthetic to relieve the pain :). He said that when the anesthetic wears off I shouldn't have too much discomfort though, and I'm glad about that. I can resume normal activities right away, too. I hope to be back to racewalking by Thursday :).

SNOWY cross-training morning


I had to double-check the calendar. It's May 24th, right? Memorial Day is next weekend - BBQ time, sandals, swimming, summer, right? Apparently not. This has been the coldest spring I remember since moving here in 1999. One could hardly call it spring. Yes, we have had a few nice days, but not very many. Mostly it's been cold, raining, or snowing, or all three at once. I am SICK OF IT. ENOUGH ALREADY. More snow pictures here.

Fortunately I had planned to hit the gym anyway, so it wasn't that big of a deal. I wasn't feeling so hot when I woke up, but I decided I just had to get some exercise no matter what. I drove to the gym and did 1 hr 5 min of cardio; half on the bike and half on the elliptical. I am reading a pretty entertaining/humorous/insightful book "The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible" by A.J. Jacobs, and so the time passed quickly.

My toenail was killing me, though, and I'm very grateful to be visiting the podiatrist later today. Other than that, and the snow, it was a pretty uneventful workout.

at least the race T-shirt fits

 
Race T-shirts are often too big, because they're unisex. But not this one! It's a small, and it fits just right :). At least I got something good out of a rotten performance!
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Sunday, May 23, 2010

rest day, unintentionally...

I was planning on cross-training today, but I didn't feel so good. I don't feel awful, but I don't feel exactly good either. I felt lightheaded, weak, and a bit dizzy most of the day, and I needed a nap. I probably could have done a bike ride, but I just didn't feel like it. Maybe I was being lame; usually I work out if I just have a cold, but I just didn't feel like it. I think I needed the rest. I am supposed to x-train for the next 3 days, then, since I rested today. However, that might not be possible since I will be seeing the podiatrist about my ingrown toenail and expect him to do surgery to remedy my problem. If I can, I will do the stationary bike on Tuesday, toe permitting, but if not that's just the way it is.

I did manage to make it to book club, which was quite enjoyable. We took the kids and put them in front of the movie "Wall-E" while we discussed the book ("The Devil in the White City" by Erik Larson; very interesting read), and they were actually well-behaved. It's wonderful what we are able to do now that they are getting a little older.

Tomorrow, assuming I feel a little better, I plan to x-train and lift weights before I have my toenail attended to at 1 pm. Wish me luck!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

why it's really good to have a coach

I could go on about this for a long time, but after several years of self-coaching, I have to say that the alternative is much better (for me anyway). I especially notice it on the bad days, like today. Hey, have a crappy race? The coach is there to help you pick up the pieces, see it for what it is, and move on.

I got a call from my coach just before 1 pm today (Saturday). Keep in mind that he lives in Australia, so there it was just before 5 am (Sunday). OK, now that is serious dedication! He had read my sorry race report and was calling to help me see what was really going on.

I have had a really challenging week of workouts: 20K moderate-moderately hard on Sunday, 5x1K hard at the track Tuesday, 15K moderate-moderately hard on Wed, 8K fartlek Thurs, and 10K race Saturday. Add in a bunch of weight training and some cross-training, 3 days at work, dealing with 2 small children, teaching piano lessons, and trying to keep everyone eating and wearing clean clothes, and that's a lot. Plus the husband has something nasty which I may or may not be coming down with.

So, the smart coach has me look at my splits. I did 5K in 29:46. If I'd only been doing 5K I'd have gone faster, even feeling as I did today, which would most likely put me faster than my fastest 5K this year, even feeling crappy like I am today. Translate that to a non-crappy day, and I could have come in under 29 for the 5K and been close to a PB. If I had a good day, I could have done about 29 for 5K and at worst another 29:30 or 30 for the 10K, putting me at 58:30-59:00, which would be stellar (for me, not for an elite!).

Looking at the last half of my race, it's clear that I just ran out of gas (carbs). The biggest clue is that after a while my heart rate went down, despite my continuing hard effort. Why did this happen? Probably because I was overworked, tired, and possibly under the weather physically from incipient illness (this last still to be determined, but let's just say that I have pretty much been a couch potato the rest of the day because I'm too tired to move).

So, why do I love having a coach?
1. More hard workouts to push me.
2. Personal feedback re: injury from a smart guy who knows his stuff.
3. Encouragement when I have a bad workout or race.
4. Enforced x-training (on my own I didn't do this very well) and easy weeks (I never gave them to myself). Both are necessary.
5. Cultural exchange/humor and the chance to chat about all things racewalking with someone knowledgeable (let's face it, there aren't many people to discuss this with in Utah!).
6. Great info about stretching, core work, strength training, etc.
7. Technique analysis is still possible even from a distance...the magic of video :).

So, what are you waiting for? Get yourself a coach if you don't have one; I know that Jim is taking new clients. Enough said!

CHOKE!

I did a 10K today. Or maybe I should say that the 10K did me in. It was VERY ugly.

Before I get all negative, I want to point out the positives:
1. I am healthy and I was able to get out there and do a race.
2. It was for a very good cause (you can donate if you want at www.operation61.org), to help stop human trafficking by supporting 2 agencies (operation 61 and the Utah Health & Human Rights Project, www.uhhr.org) that are doing good work to help victims of human trafficking.
3. I got to see a few friends there.
4. The race had a great goody bag with lots of good free stuff (including headphones!).
5. The weather held out OK for the race; showers were predicted, and though the ground was wet, it didn't rain on us, nor was it windy. It was 39F (4C), calm, and overcast for most of the race. The sun did peek out at the end.
6. My injuries were not a problem, and both feet feel fine (this is probably the best news).

I slept OK from 10 pm (lights out) until 4 am (woke to use the bathroom; ingrown toenail hurting). I put some salt on the toenail (to help the swelling - as recommended by podiatrist's office - it hurts initially but really does help!) and got back in bed. Slept fitfully until 6:15 am and then got up to do a few dishes, get dressed for the race, and have something to eat. I felt a little shaky this morning, uncharacteristically. I chalked it up to low carbs, so I ate a banana AND 1c Cheerios (fast carbs) with a little vanilla soy milk. That's more than I usually would eat before a hard 10K, but I felt I needed it. Within 30 min, I felt totally fine and ready to go. I was optimistic that I could have a speedy race.

I drove to Liberty Park and picked up my packet. This race had the BEST schwag! Free Skull Candy headphones, a nice technical T-shirt, a Snickers Marathon bar, and a plastic Operation 61 wristband. Very nice. I took the stuff back to my car, racewalking to get warmed up. I racewalked back to the sign-in, and realized I had forgotten my bib. Racewalked to the bathroom, used the facilities, then racewalked to my car to get the bib and back again. It wasn't that far, and it all felt like the perfect warm-up; I threw in a few fast pick-ups to get things going, and everything felt smooth.

We walked over to the starting line about 8 am. The race started off just fine. I kept comfortable in tights, gloves, a long-sleeve shirt, and my short-sleeve Wasatch Walkers shirt over that (gotta make sure people know what I am doing when I enter a running race!). The first 2K went pretty well, and I felt decent enough. After that, the wheels started to fall off. Perhaps a more appropriate metaphor is what happened at about a little over 1K into the race when I grabbed some water from a volunteer (my mouth was dry and I just wanted a sip); I tried to swallow but it all just went down the wrong way and I started choking. CHOKE pretty much sums up what happened after that.

I was planning on going out at a 5:50/km pace and seeing if I could hold it. The first 2K was fine; I got there in 11:40 on the dot. The 3rd km took 6:01. Uh-oh...I thought to myself that I had better speed up. The problem was that my average HR for the 3rd km was 170 (!). No gas in the tank. Serious problem. I did manage to hold the pace and got to 4K in 5:59, but again, my ave HR was 170. I knew at this point that I was in BIG BIG trouble. I was sucking wind, and breathing very hard. Around 4K I got a side stitch which dogged me the rest of the race, on and off. I rarely get these, and usually changing up my breathing fixes it, but today, I didn't have any breathing room. I was breathing so hard there wasn't much way to change the pattern. Ugh. I felt awful. I figured at least I could get in a decent 5K...but that wasn't so great either, as I made it to 5K in 6:06 for a 5K of 29:46.

I knew I was in serious trouble, because my legs were SO tired, and I was breathing WAY too hard. I just felt rotten, and I had 5K to go. I was miserable. My legs were hurting, my wind was non-existent, and I was definitely NOT having any sort of fun whatsoever. I was just in serious pain. But I was determined to finish. I kept pushing but there was just nothing there. There was a runner in a hot pink top that would pass me, and then I'd pass her, etc. She finally passed me for good about 7K, and she was only maybe 20 ft in front of me, but I just could not muster the strength for a pass.

My 6K split is actually 6.02K (missed it), but it was 6:22 (!so slow!) even though my ave HR was 169. I think I mentally gave up at this point, at least a little. The negative thoughts started pouring in "Why am I bothering to train so hard if this is all I can do?", "My hard work has gotten me nowhere", "I'm terrible today", "What is wrong? Why don't I have any strength?". I promised myself to keep trying hard and to not give up, despite all of that. I kept pushing hard but my legs were Jell-O. I made it to 7K in 6:03 (but remember, this was only 980m because my 6K split was long), ave HR 166, and feeling AWFUL.

The rest of the race was just hanging on, miserably and painfully. My HR went down even though I swear I was giving it all I had left; I think my legs just gave out and then my lungs/heart didn't have to work so hard. I got to 8K in an unbelievably slow 6:25 with ave HR of 165. Obviously I was totally falling apart; normally with HR of 165 I would be doing a 5:50 or even 5:45. I just hurt so much that I didn't even care anymore about trying to pass hot pink lady. I only kept pushing hard because I wanted more than anything for the race to be over so I could be out of my misery. I managed to push hard enough to get to 9K in 6:14, but my ave HR was down to 163. Legs were trashed. And, to add insult to injury, the race was not properly measured...the last K was 1.37K on my Garmin. I finished the last 1.37K in 8:48, for 6:25/km, with ave HR of 164. I was frowning and shaking my head in dismay at the time as I crossed the finish line: 1:03:39. That will be captured on film, as there were a ton of race photographers there. UGH. I'm sure the pictures will show my pain only too well. Assuming my speed was constant for that last 1.37K, my actual time at 10K on my Garmin (which is more accurate than however the race organizers managed to measure the stupid thing) was about 1:01:16. That is only the smallest amount faster than my 10K kickdown a few weeks ago (1:01:32 I think was my time for that).

On the positive side, my left foot (hurt last summer) did not hurt AT ALL, and my right foot was fine too; my right calf felt pretty tight at a few points during the race, but the foot never really hurt, even after the race (I was very careful to stretch a lot when done). That is great news, and that is probably the best thing that happened this morning.

So now I'm sitting here trying to figure out what went wrong. Obviously I had a bad day. I know I am in much better shape than this time reveals. Sadly, this is definitely my worst 10K race ever, by a LOT :(. My best guess as to what went wrong is that I am coming down with something. My husband has been sick as a dog since Thursday night with a very nasty cold. I have felt basically fine as far as I can tell, but after the race, my lungs felt terrible; once I got home I was coughing constantly for probably 20 minutes, and I got that nasty bloody taste in my mouth from coughing really hard. I took a shower and had something to eat and now I feel really cold and really exhausted. I'm just lying here doing nothing and that feels good, but I'm still cold.

Anyway, I'm not sure what went wrong, but I'm just glad it happened now and not in July at the race I really care about. Still, it's hard not to get discouraged; all those hard workouts and look at my dreadful performance. UGH!!! And the worst part is that the race itself was so horribly miserable - other than the first 2K, it was extremely painful. Not fun at all. It just hurt horribly. Races are supposed to be fun, aren't they? I usually do find them fun, even if they are hard, but not today. I'm just glad it is over and that I can move on.

Friday, May 21, 2010

cross-training; race prep; funny

Today I was to do some cross-training. I opted for 30 min on the elliptical...normally I might x-train longer, but I was pressed for time, AND still hurting a little (muscular aches) from the hard week. My right foot bothered me a little from 20-30 min, which is disturbing because I like the elliptical the most of my cross-training options. Actually, the foot has hurt on the bike too (while spinning), which isn't great either. I might have to swim, which sadly, still doesn't excite me that much. But whatever it takes, I suppose.

I'm trying to get mentally psyched for a hard 10K tomorrow. I don't know why, but that distance is difficult for me. You have to go almost as hard as a 5K, but for twice as long. It's just pretty brutal. On the other hand, I really want to see where I'm at, and hopefully will have a good race, so I'm looking forward to it in that regard. I was chatting w/my coach on Facebook yesterday about the race, and I said I'd imagine him there rooting for me. That turned out to be a poor choice of words. Totally innocuous in American English, but very bad in Australian English. Rooting means having sex in Australia...oops! Fortunately he knew what I meant, but still...I was embarrassed. So then he told me about another word just like that - "fanny pack" is a harmless enough word in the US, but in Australia "fanny" refers to female anatomy, and not the behind. So, be careful when you speak with your Aussie friends :). It was good for a laugh anyway.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

just noticed

I was updating my racewalking log (a spreadsheet I keep track of everything in, including mileage on each pair of shoes, etc.), and noticed that I had a new milestone this week - hit my highest weekly mileage so far this year at 42 miles. That's actually getting to be a respectable amount of training; last year when training for the Portland Marathon I had a few 50-mile weeks, so 42 is good in light of my injury recovery. Hoping for continued recovery for my OTHER foot now...

8K fartlek

I have to be more careful with what I eat.

Yesterday, I ate the following: Kashi GoLean Crunch (1c) with 1/2c vanilla soy milk and 1/2c mixed berries (breakfast). For lunch, 1 vegan tamale, green salad with mushrooms, carrots, & artichoke hearts with some spray balsamic vinaigrette, and a few slices of watermelon. Snack: about 50 goldfish crackers (here's the problem...I cannot eat these because they have cheese/milk...but I give them to the kids and then have some), Fiber One oats & chocolate bar. Dinner: brown rice (1/2c) with 2c spinach/lentil/carrot/misc soup (a friend made it, so not 100% sure what else was in there, but no dairy), 1 piece whole wheat pita with about 3-4T hummus. Dessert: 1 pumpkin chocolate chip cookie (med-size), and 1/3 ginger molasses cookie (large).

Total points - about 4 for breakfast, 5 for lunch, 5 for snack, 10 for dinner, and 4 for dessert; 28 points total, but also earned 14 activity points for my 15K plus weight training. The total was not the problem. That was a reasonable amount to eat given my activity level. The problem was my choice of goldfish crackers (dubious at best) and the chocolate chip cookie (probably OK, but maybe questionable). I KNOW that dairy gives me GI problems...yet I keep eating it before hard workouts. Dumb! Must STOP! (But also...I'm wondering if there is something else I'm missing that is problematic, because sometimes I have trouble when I don't remember eating lactose-containing food; I posted the rest of the food in case someone can help me troubleshoot this).

This morning my intestines were not happy even before my workout. But I did actually (surprisingly) feel OK through 9km (I added a 2K w/u and 2K c/d so total workout was 12K). However, at 9 km, I suddenly HAD TO STOP. Good thing I was near a bathroom. I only had one more 500m hard, but there was no way I was going to make it! I did feel better after stopping (have been fine since), but my legs got a bit jello-like and that last 500m wasn't my best effort (nor the one before it). I tried hard...but didn't have it.

I did 1K hard followed by 7x(500m medium, 500m hard). Most of my times for the 500s were 2:55ish, with one 2:52 and the last two just over 3:00; my first 1K was 5:49 or so (slowish...not sure why). I did remember to eat a banana before I went out, so doubt it was the carbs, but who knows?

My right foot started to hurt about 6.25km, so I stopped to stretch it; stopped again at the bathroom break to stretch for 30 sec, since was already stopped. Now it's still a bit sore, but not too terribly awful. Next week is an "easy" week, so my coach is having me x-train for 4 days to try and get rid of this nagging foot thing. I also scheduled an appt with the podiatrist (well, with his partner...my podiatrist had a bike accident and will be out for several weeks, poor guy) to have my ingrown toenail fixed on Monday morning. UGH, but needs to be done; the infection is gone after my urgent care visit a few wks ago but it is still swollen and painful, especially in the evening & night.

Here's the workout w/splits, elevation, HR, etc. You can see it in metric by clicking "view in metric" link at upper right.


edited to add: My legs were tired and a bit sore when I started today; muscles are just a bit worn-out from the hard training, weights, who-knows-what. Glad that tomorrow is x-training so I get a little break.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

15K

Today I was to do 15K at a 6:30/km pace.

Here's my report - I'm trying the Garmin Connect feature, and it's pretty darn cool. It will even play back the workout displaying HR and elevation, and showing where you were on the map. Awesome! It has the split data, with ave & max HR, etc. so now I don't have to type all that in here anymore. Just click "View Details" at the bottom to see splits and all other interesting data.

All I have to do is write about how I felt - I felt good to start; the weather was pleasant (48F, about 9C) and overcast, though it did rain lightly for about 15 minutes about 2K into the workout. That was no big deal, though; it stopped soon enough and I didn't get that wet, just a bit damp.

About 5K in, I knew that it was going to feel a bit tough. My HR was not that high, but I think I should have eaten something before going out. Usually for less than 16K I don't eat while I'm out, but I really should have eaten BEFORE. By about 12K I was heavy-legged and hurting, but I did finish just fine, including the slight uphill at the end. Notice that I was a bit faster to start (downhill slightly - you can see this on here!) and slower to finish on the uphill.

I finished pretty tired in 1:37:08 with ave HR of 147. My right foot really bothered me from about 5.5K (you can see I stopped to stretch around there) to 8K or so, and I did stretch again at 12.5K when stopped at a stoplight. It's a tad sore now but not bad. The ingrown toenail hurt a little but not too much to RW, thankfully. I still haven't called the podiatrist though...busy today. Need to do that ASAP and hoping to get in early next week.



After my workout, I went to the gym and lifted weights. And no, I didn't eat first, but felt OK once I stopped racewalking :). I did hip abductor machine/one-arm row w/dumbbells; one-legged dead lifts/chest press machine; glute machine/bicep curls; calf raises w/eccentric lowering slowly/lateral raises; then abs. I threw in extra lower ab stuff as per coach's orders. V-sits, roll-outs in plank position w/elbows on ball, sideways rolls in plank position w/elbows on ball, hip-ups on mat, supermans (for back), side plank w/lowering to ground 20x/side. Maybe some others but don't remember...then stretching.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

assessing the competition

OK, I admit it...I like to know who is out there and how fast they are, and where I am stacking up. It's part of what makes the sport fun. Yes, ultimately, it is about me and the clock and my own personal best, but it's fun to compete, and I feel like racing others does bring out better performance.

So I noted with great interest the results of the recent 15K in Riverside, CA. It was for masters only (over 35), in 5-year age groups. The female winner, Vicki Pritchard, 51, finished in a very respectable 1:34:56. John Magnussen, 57, who racewalked the Portland Marathon just a bit slower than me last October, finished in 1:33:52.

On Sunday morning, while they were racing, I was doing a moderate 20K, and got to 15K in 1:36:54, or 2 min slower than Vicki. Not bad. I wonder how I would have done in a 15K race? I sure would have liked to go, but with my foot iffy when it was time to decide, I just wasn't ready to commit and buy the plane ticket; besides, I care the most about the 5K and 10K in Sacramento this summer, so I had to gear my training to that. Oh, and the financial end of things...$ for plane, car, food, hotel, etc. was too much to spend.

So I was pretty sad I wasn't there last weekend. Lots of online RW friends there that I would have loved to hang out with and race with. I know it would have been a lot of fun. Oh well...too many races, and not enough time and money to go to all of them.

track workout

Tuesday track time! I was to do 5x1K at 90-95% with 3 min recovery.

It was threatening rain at the track at 6:30 am when I arrived, but it never did much. The weather was actually not bad - about 60F, fairly windy, with the occasional drizzle but no real rain. The wind was somewhat annoying, but not too much to seriously affect my workout.

I warmed up with 1600m in 10:15, ave HR 144. I sped up at the end to get the legs going. Then I did a bunch of dynamic flexibility drills and stretched out my right calf really well.

The first 4 intervals were at about 95% effort, and the last one was all-out. I felt OK after the first two, but after the 3rd I knew I was hurting a bit, and after the 4th I really just wanted to hold on for the 5th. But I also really wanted to keep my times fast, so what the heck...I gave it my all for that last one.

Here are my times; about like last week, maybe slightly faster, but with higher HR too, so probably comparable. Times are followed by HR ave/max.

5:41, 160/169
5:43 161/170
5:46 160/170
5:49 160/171
5:45 163/171

I did pretty much exactly 3 min rest in between each.

What's interesting is that my times are not really that much faster for these than for the last few 1Ks on my kickdowns. I'm not sure why but I have a few hypotheses:

1) My GPS is off by a little (this is likely)
2) When working out on the track I slow too much on the curves (I have a feeling I do this but no way to know for sure)
3) Fast-twitch muscles are not up to speed after my long layoff; need more speed work on the short stuff (which is coming up in my schedule, never fear...).

OK, I'm no exercise physiologist so maybe I should stop there. My coach will probably have some more ideas.

Speaking of my coach, he got back to me about my racewalking video, and thought it was basically pretty good. He says that I sit back on my hips too much - i.e. posture not all the way there yet. I need to straighten a little more, tucking the butt under and thinking of pulling up the pubic bone a bit. He thinks this is a leftover bad habit from the days when I walked with that horrible forward lean. In any case, this is going to take a little time to correct; it is probably mostly bad habit but also has to do possibly with weak lower abs. I'll throw a few more lower ab exercises into my routine and that should help - can't hurt anyway.

Injury update: Left foot is 100%. Have not had nary a twinge from it. Yay!!!!!!! That is fabulous news after so many months. Right foot is doing better but is still bothering me a little. I stretched it after each 1K today, but now that I've been at work for a while it's a bit achy. Still, that's not a big deal, just something to be aware of. It's not getting worse, anyway. Will keep doing additional calf exercises at home and the gym and continue to use the stick, and hopefully it will improve with time.

Monday - optional day

I took it easy on Monday, with just 30 min on the elliptical (did about 4 miles) and then weight training & core exercises. Weights: one-legged ball squats 3x10 each leg, alternating with bench press 30 lb dumbbells each arm; next abductor on hip cybex machine 3x10 each leg, alternating with military press 3x8 w/25lb each arm (this made me sore!); next eccentric calf exercise (fast up, slow down) 3x15 each leg, alternating with tricep pull-downs with rope 3x12; balance exercise on dyna disk (3x30sec each leg, w/bouncing ball) and something else which I can't remember right now. Then abs: ball crunches, then an exercise from Pilates class - plank position with one foot on ball, drawing knee into chest and back again - 8 on each side (these are hard!). We also did oblique crunches on the ball w/feet braced on baseboard of the wall, V-sits (15), and back extensions on ball (20). Then stretching :).

Sunday, May 16, 2010

racewalking video for technique analysis

Video of me racewalking this afternoon, taken for technique analysis. Notice that Calvin is running with me :). He insisted!



Watching this I definitely am thinking a little weight loss could help; of course video adds 10 lb, so maybe I should just relax. Part of the problem is the loose skin I have left from losing the weight. But I really like to eat...so quite dubious that I will be able to lose much.

20K workout

I usually like long days. Today was not that pleasant, mostly because my old friend the GI issues crept in. I am pretty sure it's from eating birthday cake (contained milk in cake & frosting) and also the rather copious amount of potstickers consumed at the birthday party. Sigh...I really will learn not to eat a lot the day before a long racewalk, someday...painful lesson.

Anyway, I was to do the 20K at a 6:30/km pace (about 10:30/mile). That figured to be some work, but not too painful I thought.

I started out downhill a bit from my house, and planned a fairly flat route for the rest (except a little uphill at the end). Things went more or less fine until about 14 km or so. I did stop briefly to stretch my calf at 6K, 8K, and 12K. At 12K I was feeling tired, but not too terrible. By 14K I had some serious intestinal cramps. Uh-oh. Fortunately, Liberty Park was nearby, and I was going to go right past the bathroom. I stopped at 15K (where the bathroom was), used the facilities, and stretched my leg. I was feeling pretty crappy (pun intended?) at this point but figured I could do 5K more. I didn't really want to, but I thought I could do it, and I didn't want to wuss out on my workout. I didn't have any more problems (thankfully), and actually did find another gear at 16-20K and worked hard to finish in 2:09:30, for just under 6:30/km (2:10 would have been 6:30/km).

Not bad...except I started to think about how the IAAF racewalking World Cup 20K for women was held yesterday in Chihuahua, Mexico, and the winner finished in 1:31 in hot conditions (and at altitude, but the altitude is only very slightly higher than Salt Lake City, so that is comparable). Hmmm, that is 40 minutes faster than me, or 2 min/km faster. Wow! They do 20 km at 4:30/k...sigh...

OK, I am never going to be an elite, but I can still be a good amateur. I am cheered by this thought :).

Here are my splits, ave speed for that split, and ave HR. Note that the stretching and bathroom breaks were off the clock. Sorry, some of them were off by a little...and this is all by Garmin (GPS) so accuracy is good but not perfect.

2K 12:47.70, 6:24/km, 140
4.06K 13:18.57, 6:28/km, 144
6.01K 12:37.39, 6:28/km, 144
8K 12:46.07, 6:25/km, 145
10.04K 13:41.51, 6:42/km, 145
12K 12:40.82, 6:28/km, 145
14K 12:43.58, 6:23/km, 147
15K 6:28.38, 6:28/km, 147 (did this split because I wanted to compare to the 15K masters' national race in Riverside this morning; still no results from that yet, but my total time to 15K was 1:36:54)
16.03K 6:55.71, approx 6:45/km (pushed lap button too many times so had to add up/average and this is a guess), 141 (really slow here - coming off the bathroom break, and felt kinda lousy)
18K 12:36.87, 6:24/km, 148 (kicked it up a notch)
20K 12:53.00, 6:27/km, 154 (slight uphill, working it)

Total: 2:09:30 and 6:28.5/km average speed.

I felt quite tired when I stopped; I stretched a lot but still felt everything stiffen up quite a bit. Now that it's evening I'm feeling OK, though - not really stiff or sore, thankfully.

dishwasher


We got a new dishwasher. I guess all our appliances match now. I wasn't going to get one yet, but the old one died, and let's just say that dishes from 4 people by hand gets really old really fast. It was a total bear getting the old one out (2 1/4 hrs; my dad and I did that) and then it was a lot of work getting the new one in, too (Loren got to do that part, with my dad). Sigh...old homes are well-built but have some issues with modern appliances fitting right, etc.

Saturday cross-training

I thought about swimming, but wasn't sure I was up to the 1.5-hr masters' workout. And I wasn't in the mood to get wet. So, I opted for a spinning class (the weather was great but later that day I had other stuff to do, so an outdoor ride wasn't going to work) for 1 hr 20 min. It was a good, hard workout. One interval set was particularly intense; the instructor said that we should be sure to go anaerobic. Oh, yay! So I pushed hard and got my HR in the low 160s for several hard intervals. I'm still not a huge stationary bike fan, but spinning beats doing it alone. I like the video bikes, too, but the company in the class is good.

Following the spinning class there's a Pilates class. My coach says I should start doing it 2-3x/wk, so I thought I should take a class. It was pretty tough on the legs after the spinning. Yes, Pilates is core work, but we did a bunch of stuff on the exercise ball that did involve some leg stuff, and it was hard. I liked the emphasis on balance and on strength, and am motivated to try some mat Pilates at home now. The class went 45 min, and that was about right for this beginner.

I felt pretty worked when I left the gym. Mission accomplished.

catching up...first, a birthday party




I have a few things to catch up on here. First, some photos from the birthday party we went to yesterday :). Good times!

Friday, May 14, 2010

12K kickdown

I like kickdowns a lot more than track workouts, for some reason. I get the impression from my coach that others don't like them, but I do. OK, I admit I do not enjoy the last part, the all-out part, but the first 3 parts of the 4 parts are not bad, and I always feel so good when I'm done.

I was reasonably fast today, but HR was not as high as last week when I did the 10K kickdown. I did eat a banana before I went out the door to make sure I had some carbs in me before starting. I felt like I was pushing quite hard and my breathing was very hard the last 3K, but the HR was not quite as high as usual. I was still fairly fast, though, so I'm not complaining.

I drove to Liberty Park and parked on the north end of the park. I went to weight training afterward, so it made more sense to drive; besides, this way the whole workout would be fairly flat. There are some very very slight hills on the route, but they are pretty negligible. There's a slight uphill the first 3K, slight downhill the 2nd 3K, and then I did the same route for the 3rd and 4th 3K.

I paced myself much better this week. I did the first 3K in 19:33, ave HR about 143ish (HR monitor not wet enough when I started, so it was reading my cadence for a while; 143-145 is a fairly good guess for average HR). I was pleased with this, since I wanted to do 6:30/km and this was 6:31/km. The GPS does help with pacing, I'll admit. I was also spot on for the second 3K in 18:58 (goal 19:00 or 6:20/k); ave 148/max 153. I was still feeling pretty darn good and going about a moderate pace for that second 3K. The only problem was that my calf started to cramp, and my foot got achy. I know I'm not supposed to stop during this workout, but I was at my car and I'd brought the stick, so I took a minute (really, just a minute!) to massage my calf. I was worried I wouldn't make it through without doing that.

I did the third 3K in 18:15. That was a little faster than my target pace of 18:30 (6:10/km), but I was feeling pretty good and I decided to just go with it. HR ave 155/max 162, so you see I was not pushing as hard as I could yet. I could feel my calf tightening up again and by 9K the foot was sore and I really needed to stretch again (drat!). I felt that I had to or I would not be able to finish the workout.

Time to race the fourth 3K. I was breathing very hard for the whole 3K, and I was really working it...OK, well, until the last 1K I was really working it. The 10th and 11th km were in 5:50 (ave HR 158/max 163) and 5:52 (ave 164/max165), an amazing pace for that point in this workout. But on the last 1K my foot started to actively HURT, and I did slow a little. I could have pushed harder but I think I was a little scared, and a little tired. I know I had a little more left than I gave, but I was anxious; I finished the last 1K in 6:01 (ave 164/max 166 - definitely could have done this one harder), so my fourth 3K was 17:43; ave 162/max 166 for the whole last 3K. I feel a bit guilty now about not pushing harder on the last 1K, except that I really was concerned about my foot and the pain.

Total time for the 12K: 1:14:29. 6:12/km, ave HR 153/max 166.

When I stopped I IMMEDIATELY stretched my calf and then walked slowly back to my car. The foot was hurting for sure, but not as bad as last week. As soon as I got to my car I stretched it again and got out the stick and massaged the calf. It really helped a lot! I felt significantly better and was able to get back in the car and drive to the gym.

Upon arrival at the gym, I did some PT exercises for my foot, but did them on both feet because I think that will help with the right leg calf issues. I did eccentric heel raises (fast up, slow down) one leg at a time. Yeah, that could have made the calf worse, but it didn't, and I think I need to do those to help it get stronger. I think I got a little unbalanced by only doing them on my left leg for all that time (right is noticeably weaker now, and that might be part of why this is happening). I alternated those with balance exercises on the dyna disk. Then my friend Lisa (who meets me at the gym MWF for weights) suggested I try the glute machine. Oooooh, I LIKED it! It's one leg at a time, which is awesome, and you push back to work glutes and quads get some work too. Niiiice! I alternated glutes with some shoulder presses. I didn't have a lot of time left (will have to do some more weights tomorrow to make up for that!) so I did some of the hip exercises on the ball & showed them to Lisa. We agreed that they were really good (thanks, coach!). Finally we did a good hard series of abs and stretched.

I'm icing my foot now, but I think it is going to be OK; I'm not worried like I was last week because now I know what is going on and know that it will be all right after a little rest.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

rest day cancelled :)

Couldn't resist a 30-minute swim while the kids had their swimming lesson tonight. I just felt in the mood, and so I wore my suit to the pool and we all got in together, me in the lap pool, and the kids in the leisure pool with their teacher. The teacher brought them over to me when their lesson was done. I did about 28 laps or so (1400yd) on about 1:00. I didn't pay THAT much attention to the time or # of laps so that's a guess. There were some seriously FAST swim team types in the lanes adjacent to me. I am a tortoise in the pool, but that's OK. It was just nice to do something while the kids swam.

Rest day

I'm taking a rest day today. Not because I feel like I need it physically; I feel totally fine. I'm slightly sore from yesterday's weight training in my back (from the rowing machine) and hips (from the ball exercise I think), but it's pretty unremarkable. I just needed a mental break. There was a little lure from the pool this morning, as my masters' swim class is meeting in the 50m pool this morning and this was a good chance to join them, but I was just not in the mood to swim. I wanted to be unhurried, get to work early, and not stress. So I slept in until 6:30 or so (woke at 6 and dozed on & off), did some laundry, and got ready for work. Arrived at work early and had a good morning doing plastic sections of zebrafish & attending a dissertation defense. Now I'm avoiding the post-dissertation defense party, because the food will be too tempting.

Speaking of food, I had 2 really good weeks and felt great, and even lost a couple lbs. Then came this week. The stress of thinking I was injured became an excuse to overeat. I'm sure some of it is water weight, but I'm up a few lbs again :(. Trying to have a good day today & tomorrow and redeem the week, but a bit nervous because I'm going to a goodbye party for a friend at a restaurant on Friday night. Ugh...could be challenging and I'm not sure I'm up to it.

My coach says I don't need to lose any weight, and I think he's a bit concerned that I will go crazy and lose too much (really, I doubt that is possible...I'm not that disciplined!). He's right that I don't really need to lose weight, but I do have these pants I really want to fit into (I was wearing them last fall), and I know I can if I just lose a few more lbs. I know, that's pretty silly, but it is what it is. I know I can race strong at this weight or at 5 lbs lighter; have had good races in this weight vicinity, so either way will be OK for my racewalking. But for some reason I just feel more in control and happier when I'm a few lbs less. I'm not going to torture myself like a dog over this, but I would just like to be more in control over my night-time eating. I'm sure if I get a handle on that then the lbs will come off.

OK, time to clock back in and finish my work for the day.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

track workout

I was relieved that my foot was feeling OK and I could do a track workout. I was hoping it would stay OK, and it did, with a little TLC.

Rain was threatening a little, but it stayed dry for my workout. The track was wet, however, and I felt I wasn't getting quite as much of a good toe push-off as I'd like. At least one thing is guaranteed in Sacramento this summer - it won't rain! It never rains there from June-September. It's just hot (but dry). But I digress...

I warmed up with a very easy 1600m in 10:40. I thought about accelerating a bit the last lap, but 1) I was lazy, and 2) I was a little worried about my foot. After I warmed up, I did my dynamic flexibility drills, and massaged my calf with the stick. Foot and calf both felt OK.

I took off my jacket (it was 42F or about 5C, and somewhat windy, so I wanted it for the warm-up; I had on tights and a long-sleeved shirt and gloves on for the remainder of the workout) and got to work on the 1Ks. I was supposed to do 5x1K at 90-95% effort. I thought maybe I'd shoot for 5:40/1K and see where that put me, effort-wise. Turns out that was too fast for today, but I'm OK with that. I gave it a great effort (really, 90-95% on all 5 intervals) and felt good about the workout.

Here are my times and HR (ave/max):
5:44 (153/163),
5:44 (158/165),
5:47 (158/168),
5:48 (158/168),
5:50 (159/168).

At least they were pretty consistent; the last one was tough - I tried to accelerate so I could have a faster time for the last one, but just didn't have it in me. That was a little disappointing as I do like to finish faster and can usually do so, but with the injury I am just happy to be out there at all, so I am very pleased with the workout.

After walking a few min to cool down and stretching the calf a bit, I drove to the gym for some weight training. This is what I did (supersets indicated with /):

Straight-leg hip circles with chest on ball (Jim told me about these last night - they are hard, and excellent!); 2 sets of about 8 on each leg
Hip abductor machine 80 lb/rowing machine 70 lb
Back extension machine 150 lb/push-ups on exercise ball
one-legged dead lifts 45 lb/Arnold press with 2-20lb dumbbells
eccentric calf exercise (foot PT, on both feet)/balance & bounce ball on dyna disk (foot PT, both feet)
abs: ball crunches; roll-in & roll-out in plank position w/elbows on ball, then circles each direction, then sideways for obliques; finally, put feet on ball and hands on floor, in plank position tucked knees in to chest then back out to straight legs again.
Stretching: lots of good stretching for hamstrings, glutes, quads, calves. Felt nice :).

A few hours later, my right foot (new injury) is a bit sore after but not bad. Left foot (the old injury) is totally fine.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

not a very enticing advertisement...

Recent e-mail on the racewalking Yahoo! group -

Sunday May 9, 2010. Mother's Day
Coconut Creek, Florida
"Hot and steamy morning in the 80's
humidy 90 %"

and at the end:
"IF YOU WANT AN APP. FOR THE NOV 14
NATIONAL MASTERS 20K, PLEASE E-MAIL ME"

Um, no thanks. I really wanted to do that race when it was going to be in CA, but you lost me when you moved it to Florida, which is too far away and WAY WAY WAY TOO HOT. Next year it's going to be in CA in March, so I think I will just wait!

easy 10K

I wasn't sure I was up to an easy 10K this morning, but my coach said I should try it, and I trust him. My foot was not hurting, but I felt paranoid when I walked out the door. It was 44F and threatening rain, but the rain held off until I finished, and it felt really nice outside - very enjoyable.

I chose a fairly flat route. It was a bit downhill to start and a bit uphill at the end, but the middle 8K was pretty flat. I didn't want any extra stress on my right foot. I decided to stop and stretch my calf frequently to try and prevent a recurrence of Saturday's horrible pain. I stopped after the first mile (1.6K) and then probably stopped another 4-5 times during the 10K, for about 30 seconds each time.

That strategy seemed to work - I didn't have any pain while I was out there, just some warmth and general added awareness of that part of my foot.

After the first mile I was feeling pretty good so decided to see if I could shoot for a 6:30 pace; my coach wants me to try and do that on my easy days if possible. Things continued to feel fine, and so during the last 1-1.5K (the uphill part), I pushed a little to keep the pace.

I finished in 65:45 (6:35/k) with an average HR of 140; the time does NOT include my stretching stops, so I guess I'd have been a bit slower w/o them.

I stretched a LOT and used the stick on my calf. I wore shoes with a 1.5 inch heel to work as well, because a small heel is supposed to help with peroneus longus tendonitis. I even brought the stick to work and have been using it periodically. Whatever the case, it seems to be working. I'm doing OK - no pain so far. Well, I take that back - my shoes w/the 1.5 inch heel are giving me a blister on my left foot, so now that it's lunch I'm trading them for my RW shoes instead. Usually the shoes don't give me blisters (I've had them a long time) but I also haven't worn them since I injured my foot last summer. Anyway, so far, so good, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a pain-free afternoon as well.

Oh, and it POURED on me while walking from the parking lot into work. At least it didn't rain while I was racewalking :).

Monday, May 10, 2010

still a bit sore

I did 45 min on the elliptical this morning to see how my foot would do with weight-bearing activity. It felt fine beforehand (really, not even limping at all), and it didn't hurt while I was doing it. After I stopped, I walked around the ice rink a few times to cool down (walked, not racewalked). It's nice & chilly in there, and you can watch the skaters. Then I stretched both calves as thoroughly as I could.

Oh, I also did a few PT exercises for my L foot (the other foot, that was previously injured). I was going to do weight training but too nervous about tweaking something in my leg. I guess I could have done just arms/chest/back, but I woke up late and so I bailed on it. Later tonight I will do some abs.

Now, 1.5 hr later, it feels a bit sore but not bad. I'm not sure I'm ready to racewalk, but we'll see. My coach has suggested an easy 10K tomorrow depending on how I feel.

I will continue to stretch a lot today, use the stick (massage stick), take my anti-inflammatories, etc. Hopefully I will be up for RW tomorrow.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

From Mother's day
From Mother's day

From Mother's day

From Mother's day

From Mother's day

From Mother's day

From Mother's day

I've had a fabulous Mother's Day! Great weather, good workout, lovely brunch w/the family. Here are some more photos.

20k replacement

You guessed it...time to get wet. At least the outdoor pool is open now; I took this photo last summer, but this is where I swam this morning. I swam for 45 min; I have really no idea how many laps I did because my counting was totally off. It's a 50m pool, so it's a very different feel than swimming in a 25yd pool. Slower, by far, because you don't get to push off as much, but very nice because you don't get interrupted so often. Plus I enjoyed being out in the sun and being able to see the mountains a bit with each breath. I did all freestyle except for 2 laps of breaststroke, just to mix things up. I didn't really try to go hard or do anything fancy; the Masters' workout was at 11:30 and we had brunch reservations at 1 pm in Midway, so I had to swim earlier. So it was a bit boring, perhaps, but it was very low key, which is what I needed.

i followed up the swim with a 35-min ride on the stationary bike, which is all I had time for. Wish I could have biked outside, as the weather was great, but again, no time. I amused myself by reading while biking; I still have to finish this month's book club book.

My foot is still sore today when walking (not racewalking, just walking). Not like yesterday; I don't think I'm limping much if any, but it's a tad sore. Interestingly, wearing heels is more comfortable. I read online that peroneal tendonitis feels better in shoes w/a heel lift. I took it seriously and wore high-heeled sandals to brunch; it felt better that way. Seems I have a culprit, then...but how long will this round take to heal? I had peroneal tendonitis on the other foot but on the medial side, where it attaches into the 1st metatarsal. On this foot, it's on the lateral side, where the tendon goes under the cuboid bone. I really hope it doesn't take months to heal like the other foot, but it's a different injury so maybe I'll get lucky. I massaged my calf with "the stick" and plan to take another day off RW.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

guardedly optimistic

Got a call from my coach just after lunch today...it wasn't even 6am in Australia, but he'd already read my blog entry and was calling to see how I was doing. Wow, talk about on the ball! (Seriously, if you are looking for a coach, he is amazing!). He suspects a muscle spasm in my calf could be causing some peroneal tendonitis. It's possible that this might only keep me out of commission for a couple of days. I'm keeping my fingers crossed, icing my foot, resting, taking anti-inflammatories, and stretching my calves. Hoping for the best!

from high to low in mere minutes

It started off as a great morning, and it all came crashing down in a matter of minutes.

I was to do a 10K kickdown, which means 4x2.5K with each one progressively faster. Jim wanted me to start the first one at 6:30/km and then do 6:20/km, 6:10/km, and all-out. I was nervous about this workout because he wanted me to start so fast, and I didn't sleep well because of the anxiety. Pretty silly, no?

I ate a banana because my legs felt a little shaky from the coffee I drank last night, and headed out the door. I drove to Liberty Park, because I was going to a Weight Watchers meeting right after that and didn't want to have to walk all the way home (slowly) again. I also didn't want to do the last 2K home as the end of my kickdown because it's uphill.

I started at the north end of the park and walked through the center and kept going south on 600E to the 2.5km mark (just shy of 2100S). I took a brisk pace, a tiny bit faster than I intended to start but pretty close. I did the first 2.5 km in 16:08 (goal was 16:15) at 6:27/km with ave HR of 147. It felt very good - I felt so smooth and wonderful this morning!!! I believe that this was a very slight uphill (very very slight!).

The next 2.5K I turned up the heat a little, but still felt quite comfortable. I went back to my starting point, so it was a very slight downhill. I really did keep it comfortable, with an ave HR of 152 (max 159) but when I pressed the lap button at the 5K mark, it said the 2nd 2.5K was in 15:33. Uh-oh, I thought, seriously uh-oh, that was too fast. But I felt great and thought, well, let's just see what happens.

The last 5K I did just going around the park, which is pretty flat but does have some slight uphill (the south end) and slight downhill (the north end). I have 1 and 0.5 km splits for the last 5K. I got to 6K in 6:05 with ave HR of 160 (max 164) and thought "Wow, I'm fast today" and "I hope I can hold this pace". I was breathing hard, but comfortably hard at this point, so kept going. I got to 7K in 6:06, ave HR 161 (max 167)! Wow! I started having thoughts of finishing this well! The next 0.5km was in 2:54 (um, that was FAST!) with ave HR of 165 and max 167.

I still felt like I had another gear, though. I was ecstatic that things were going so well, and felt like I would have an amazing 10K. I pushed harder, taking it to the max. I was still breathing comfortably hard through 8K; that 0.5K was in 2:52 with ave HR 168 (max 170), but then took it up a notch through 9K and was breathing very hard and giving it my all. I got to 9.03K (missed the split a little) in 6:16.1 with ave HR of 170 (max 171) - apparently I slowed here, probably because this was around the south side of the park where there is a hill; I was giving it the same effort. The last 0.97km I blasted out in only 5:37 (got to do the slight downhill on N side of park on this one) with ave HR of 171 and max of 174.

Incredible. I was so fast today, and it was the most amazing feeling. The last 5K was in 29:51 (or thereabouts!), and the first 5K was in 31:41 (and that was taking it relatively easy!) for a total of 61:32!!!!! If I had raced the whole thing, I might have broken 60 min for the 10K!!!

Sadly, that is probably not to be. Within 1 min of slowing (I turned around and started racewalking very very slowly back to the car), my right foot was excruciating. I had to stop racewalking and just walk. Even that really, really hurt. I limped very slowly (9:41/km) back to the car for the 416m back (according to my Garmin), sobbing and screaming "NO NO NO" the whole time. Tears running down my cheeks, I stretched on the car, sobbing and continuing to say "NO NO NO". I'm sure if anyone walked by (and maybe someone did - I was unaware) they thought I was nuts.

Elation to despair.

Now I'm icing my foot (almost 4 hr later after WW meeting and kids' swim lessons) and despairing.

Friday, May 07, 2010

cross-training day

Today was a cross-training day. I rode the video bike for 35 min, and then did the elliptical for 10 min. Then I lifted weights for a bit, but not too long because I had to drive the kids to my parents' house before work (every other Friday my parents watch the kids). I did one-legged squats (with exercise ball to preserve good form), one-legged dead lifts, abductor work on the hip cybex machine, balance work (PT) on dyna disk, windmills (PT balance exercise), a bunch of core work, and maybe a couple other things...can't remember now.

My left foot feels OK today (the one that has been injured since last summer, but is almost better) despite the aches yesterday. My right foot, which started hurting a bit at work yesterday, is mildly tender but mostly OK. At my coach's suggestion, I have been doing some extra calf stretching; tight right calf from heel raises may be the culprit.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

when it rains, it pours

We apparently replaced the wrong appliances. Our dishwasher is now broken :(. The water doesn't drain. It's probably a bad pump...sigh. Oh well! We need to pull it out and be sure it's not the drain, but if it's not, and it's the pump, we'll have to get a new one. Grrrrrrrrrr.

Just when I finished washing all the dishes by hand and getting the kids in bed, our dog puked all over the carpet. Twice. ARRRRGH! Good thing we have a carpet cleaner, but still, how aggravating!

My right foot is still quite sore, so I'm putting some ice on it. Hopefully it will feel better in the morning, after resting and being horizontal for a while. I am to do cross-training, so I'll probably bike, as it's low-impact. I am a little worried, but hopefully it's nothing.

I guess bad things come in threes? I know, they can always hurt you more, but I'm hoping that's it for today.

racewalking in Hong Kong

A walker from Hong Kong published this link with photos of a racewalking event held there recently. Things I love about the photos: 1) they show all kinds of walkers - big, small, good technique, and bad technique, elites, not-elites, young, and old; 2) they had SO MANY walkers in their races...it looked like such an amazing time! 3) it made me feel less odd about being a racewalker, knowing that there are so many others in the world who love it as I do :).

8K fartlek

I was pretty worried about working out hard today with all the GI trouble I've been having. But I got lucky :). Things are feeling fine so far today (hopefully they will stay that way!). It's possible that it might be from the antibiotics I've been taking for my toenail problem, but it also could just be a bug or something I ate.

It was actually a nice morning. Chilly, but not too bad. About 38F (3.3C) and sunny (OK, well I started before the sun was up, but it was clear) with a strong breeze. I was a bit cold for the first 15 min or so, but then I was fine, even with the breeze. I walked 2k to Liberty Park for a warm-up, and then started the fartlek. I felt fast on the first 1K, and I was (5:39!) and wondered if I would be able to stay fast. I was to do 1K hard, then alternating 500 medium/500m hard for 7x to make 8K. By the third one, I really wondered if my legs would hold up...but then I started to feel a bit better, and was able to hold the pace well until the last two, when I did slow down a little (but not for want of effort!). Part of that may be that I brought my dog Copper with me, and she got a bit tired so I was pulling her a little bit (not too much, but enough to account for a few seconds).

Here's a summary of my times & ave/max HR:
2k w/u (downhill) 13:16, 138 ave HR
1- 1K hard 5:39, 155/164
2- 500m med 3:13 153/165
500m hard 2:55 163/167
3- 500m med 3:25 155/167
500m hard 2:53 162/168
4- 500m med 3:19 153/168
500m hard 2:50 164/169
5- 500m med 3:31 156/169
500m hard 2:57 166/169
6- 500m med 3:24 156/169
500m hard 2:53 162/168
7- 500m med 3:34 154/168
500m hard 3:01 164/168
8- 500m med 3:31 152/168
500m hard 2:57 162/168
2k c/d (uphill) 16:35, 138 ave HR

A few more things of note re: time. My 5K fartlek was 30:42.4. My 8K fartlek was 49:57.3, almost as fast as my 5-mile (8K) race on March 21 in Canyonlands, when I was pushing pretty hard the whole time. Finally, my time through 10K (including 2k warm-up) was 1:03:13. My best guess is that I'm in shape for a 61:00 10K, which isn't where I want to be yet. My PR is 58:43 and I know I have that in me again. But it may take a while to get there.

My legs were pretty trashed when I was done, but I guess that's as it should be. My left foot ached slightly for the last 4 km of the workout (fartlek km 7 & 8 plus c/d), but it feels fine now. My right foot started to hurt about mid-morning, while at work, on the lateral side near the heel. I hope it's nothing...I could not STAND IT if I was injured again. It's probably nothing...I hope. It's only bugging me while I walk and it's not too bad, so who knows. If it hurts when I get home I'll ice it and see how it is in the morning.

This was a hard workout, but I still feel really good from it, even 6 hr later!

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

GI trouble

Last night I woke up at 2 am with bad intestinal cramps. It was NOT good. I probably lost a couple pounds...but still went out and did my 10K (easy, in 1:08:07) and then did weight training with Lisa. Surprisingly, I made it through the 10K with just a few cramps and that was it. Whew. Weights: bench press w/dumbbells (35 lb/arm - pretty good for me!), lunges with rear foot on exercise ball (those are HARD but GOOD - thanks Jim!), hamstring curls on ball (one-legged), one-arm row with dumbbells, calf raises with eccentric lowering (PT exercise, but did on both legs), pushups on exercise ball, tricep extensions, and a few PT exercises for the foot. Then abs - crunches on ball, back extensions on ball, ball passes (from feet to hands and back again), roll-in and roll-out elbows on ball, then circles, and maybe one more thing but can't remember what.

Later today I had more GI trouble... and right before dinner it did not feel good. But I was hungry, oddly enough. So I ate... that was probably a big, big mistake. I'm hurting now. I hope this gets better or I am not moving out of bed in the morning :(. I am supposed to do an 8K fartlek (ha! there's some irony there...) but we'll see. I hate missing workouts, especially key workouts. I haven't missed any key workouts yet on my new schedule, so I'm hoping to be good enough to try it in the morning. At least I can potentially go to Liberty Park, where there are bathrooms. We'll see...wish me luck...

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

some days you just don't have it

Today was one of those days. I did not want to do this workout. I don't know why, but I just didn't feel up to the hard work. But I did it anyway, and I did work very hard. However, the results were less than satisfactory.

I got to the track, and at least it wasn't raining. It was 48F (8C) with 20 mph winds. Ugh. I did see some snowflakes later in the workout. But I am getting ahead of myself. When I pulled my car up to the track, there was nowhere to park, and I had to park across the street. That meant one thing: the running club was there. Double ugh. They are very nice, but it just gets crowded, and since they are faster, I typically have to move over a few lanes. I briefly thought about going home and doing my workout on the treadmill, or taking it somewhere else outside, but decided I didn't have enough time for that (I still have to get to work on time!). The runners in the club are really good runners - they are quite speedy, and I always feel a bit like a tortoise to their hare.

I was to do 3k/2k/0.5k/0.5k at 90-95% effort with 3 min recovery. I started off with 1600m warm-up (slooooow - in 10:50, despite accelerating at the end), and then some flexibility drills. Then I started the 3k. I figured I could at least do under 18:00. Not! My legs felt tired and heavy, and my form didn't feel smooth at all. Despite giving it what I swear was a good and very hard effort, my heart rate only averaged 159 (166 max) and I finished in 18:12. Bummer. It was crowded, though, and I had to be in lanes 3-4 for a good part of the time because of the runners, so I'm sure that cost me some time. Still, no excuses. It wasn't good.

I kept going, because darn it, I was going to finish this workout even if I did suck at it this morning. I surprised myself by managing to keep the same pace for the 2K (exactly!), finishing in 12:08, with ave HR 160, max 167. I still felt so draggy and my heart rate was not that high for how lousy I felt.

After I finished the 2K I was relieved, and figured I could pull off the 500m with no problem. The first one felt hard, and I had a nasty intestinal cramp in the middle (note to self: you are getting lactose intolerant and cannot eat even a little frozen yogurt the night before a hard workout!) but kept going and finished in 2:59 with ave HR 151 (low! but a shorter interval so that makes sense) and max 161 (this should have been higher...probably didn't push hard enough? It sure FELT hard). Finally, I did the last 500m and gave it everything I had to finish in 2:53, ave HR 154, max 166.

Now that I'm done I don't even really feel very good. Intestines are most displeased, and I just feel tired and kind of lousy. Usually I get an endorphin rush from these workouts...not today. I really felt like I was giving it my best 90-95% effort, and my times were so slow. I feel a bit discouraged, but I am trying as hard as I can to remind myself that everyone has an "off" day now and then.

Maybe it's the weather. I'm sick of cold, snow, rain, etc., and my mood seems to be mirroring the climate or something. Somehow I've gotta turn this around. I have two more really hard workouts this week and my mind is not up to it.

The good news is my foot didn't hurt. My stupid ingrown toenail is still not 100% but everything else hurt so much that I didn't think much about that pain in comparison.

Great. Now I'm going to be late to work, too :(. Oh well...