Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Since last Monday

Wow it's been a week since I've blogged. Easy to let time pass when there's not so much to report.

I cross-trained a good bit last week, except for Thursday when I warmed up with Adriana on the track for 1600m before deciding a 3km fartlek was not happening for me. Adriana did a very nice fast one, though - she did 16:47!!! She is improving a lot, and would improve more if she had time to work out more frequently.

Saturday I intended to do some racewalking, while we were camping at Yellowstone National Park (we were there Friday-Sunday). However, when I woke I felt awful and knew it would be a waste of time. I contented myself with a bit of light hiking around the geyser basins.

Sunday I woke feeling a bit better and decided to do an easy 5K. Yellowstone is at altitude (7700ft, about 2360-2408m on my walk, according to my Garmin). The campground had gently rolling hills - enough to notice and affect my walk, for sure. I still managed 31:55 for 6:23/km with ave HR 148. Not great, but not awful. My legs hurt A LOT though. Seriously painful. Add in an 8-hr leisurely drive home through the Tetons, and it was not a pleasant leg experience. Garmin data here.

Yesterday I cross-trained on the elliptical and rode my bike to work. My legs felt a little better, but not great. I did an experiment though. I lifted some weights with my upper body only to see how my upper body muscles respond to training. Will they get as painful as my legs? It's mostly my glutes that hurt, so I wonder. It's just so odd. Anyway, I did dumbbell bench presses (only 25 lb each arm...weak!), rows on the machine (60 lb), upright rows (20 lb each arm), military press (17.5 lb each arm), bicep curls (15 lb each arm), and tricep extensions (12 lb each arm). 3 sets of 8-12 reps each exercise.

Today, not surprisingly, my arms are sore. Not ridiculously so, but definitely sore. We'll see how I recover. Normally I'm sore for up to 48-60 hrs post-workout for lifting, so we'll see.

My legs felt decent this morning - almost pain-free! - so I decided to go for a little walk. I did a nice 6K around Liberty Park, and the first 5K felt not-too-bad, and I got to 5K in 30:11. That was decent! But then my legs crapped out and the last km was a tough slog up the slight incline home. I finished in 36:52 for 6:09/km with ave HR 156 (yeah, I was pushing). Garmin data here. My legs feel OK right now - sore, but not too terrible. We'll see what tomorrow brings. I'd like to do a 3K fartlek Thursday if possible.

Oh, and I rode my bike to work today, after doing the 6K. That might not have been smart, but I had some GI distress after my walk and hung around the house too long trying to calm my insides, so I missed the bus and had to get to work somehow!

Monday, September 16, 2013


Yesterday was a rest day.

I'm getting very discouraged. It hurts so much to racewalk that I just don't want to do it any more. But I DO want to do it because I love it. I miss being able to walk without muscle pain. It's so frustrating...I know it's a first-world problem, but it's a real problem nonetheless, and it affects me in a lot of ways.

Today I planned to cross-train, but then Adriana texted me last night wanting to walk. I decided I would go with her, and we'd try to do 8K. I was so glad she was with me - it made the pain more bearable, having someone chatting about other things. It did still hurt just as much, especially from about 5.5km onward. My legs just burn in the glutes - it's hard to explain. They just hurt deeply, like I've walked about three times as far as I actually have. Just pain and aching. And then after I walk, for hours or even the rest of the day, it hurts when I sit, walk, go up stairs, whatever. It's like I'm being punished for exercising. Then there's the fatigue - that all-over tiredness/sleepiness/exhaustion that envelops me especially later in the afternoon. I'm writing this to remember how it feels and make notes of it, not to complain.

We were averaging about 6:15/km until 6K or so, when we slowed down because of me. It's embarrassing... but Adriana was OK with it since she's not in great shape right now either. I think she could have gone faster, though, and I felt bad. We finished in 51:03 for 6:23/km.

Garmin data here.

I should hear my test results in a day or two. Meanwhile...waiting...and trying not to give up.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

really tough week

Backing up a few days... got behind on my blog - too tired to maintain it well. To my few readers, sorry. Actually, I write this mostly for myself, so should I apologize to myself?

Wednesday: Was supposed to walk 5-6km but woke up really sore and figured it was better to do the elliptical. Still having cold/sinus symptoms. Did the elliptical, took Grace to school, took Calvin to get his cast off then back to school, then I took the bus to work. In the afternoon I took the kids to the state fair. They had been begging me to go...really begging, all week. I was so tired that I fell asleep on the bus on the way to their school, but I still took them to the fair. They absolutely loved it, which made it worth it to me even though it pretty much wiped me out.

Thursday: Too tired to move, and I felt sick. Took a rest day. Debated taking a sick day from work, but managed to drag myself in, and made it through the day.

Friday: Still very tired, but did 25 min elliptical and rode my bike to work. I was just sick of being sick, and figured if I rode my bike to work it might make me feel better mentally. It did, sort of. I thought I'd try and finish up my work a bit early and go home and get a nap before the symphony last night, but that didn't happen - work was busy as usual. Had a bit of trouble staying awake in the first half of the performance, but still really enjoyed it.

Saturday: Slept in until 8:30. Seriously, unheard of for me to sleep that late, ever. Felt rotten when I woke up and debated what to do. Decided that a nice racewalk might make me feel better, so I dressed and went out to do 6K or so, figuring that would be all right. My legs were a bit sore (they never recovered at all this week - just felt sore all the time at a basal level). The first 2K went OK, but after that my legs just HURT. Hamstrings and glutes were fatigued and dragging. I just felt awful. I love racewalking, but right not it's just not fun. At 5K I was in more pain, and stopped for a second to regroup. I actually stood there in tears for a minute, trying to muster up the strength to continue, and also just feeling sorry for myself and how lousy this all is. I really miss being able to do my sport pain-free.

Here's the Garmin data from today's walk. 38:17 for 6:23/km with ave HR 145.


Doctor update: the wheels of medicine turn slowly. On Friday, I finally got blood drawn for some additional labs my sports medicine doc wants (vitamin D, creatine kinase, and liver panel). Now I wait for the results and analysis before we decide what to do next.

I'm still not over my cold. I'm tired. I'm whining, so time to stop writing.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

rest day

I woke up with pretty sore legs and a cold. Last weekend in Idaho I had a bit of a sore throat and attributed it to dry air. Since I got back, I've noticed a runny nose, which has increased in intensity to become rather annoying. Normally I work out when I have a head cold, as long as it's not in my chest. But with how my legs are feeling, I decided to forego the workout and do some reading for work instead. I had a few papers to read to try and figure out some things related to some projects, and it seems there is never quite enough time at work. I'm 30 hr/wk, which means I have to cram a lot in to get everything done. But I digress...

Bottom line: rest day. Cold + sore legs + tired.

Monday, September 09, 2013

one foot in front of the other

Just keep going. Put one foot in front of the other.

Saturday: Was in Salmon, Idaho (photo from our hotel grounds, at left) for the weekend with my friend Sarah. She got up at 4:50 am and therefore, so did I. Not being one to waste an early morning. I put on my reflective vest and headlamp and went out for a walk. Just past the downtown area, I met a couple of elderly ladies out for a walk and chatted with them for a few minutes. Then I walked on, going up a small country road. It was pitch black outside and the stars were vividly bright; I even saw a meteor! I was sure glad I had my headlamp - couldn't see a thing except the occasional light from a farmhouse.

I walked up the road to the 6K mark, slightly uphill. My legs were tiring, but I figured I had another 6K in me. By 7.5 or 8K, my legs were really tired and I was worried my right hamstring/glutes were going to do what they did last week and give out. Fortunately, they didn't. I wasn't able to go any faster on the downhill and was about the same speed as last week: SLOW. 1:19:50 for 6:39/km with ave HR only 137. Yup, tired legs.

On the way back it was lighter out and I saw horses, cattle, and bucolic country scenery. Lovely! Oh, and the temperature was lovely too - so nice and cool at 50F (10C) and refreshing after a whole summer of 70F in the mornings in Salt Lake.

Garmin data here.

After that, I volunteered for the marathon, directing traffic at mile 25. That was actually pretty entertaining, and I cheered Sarah on to the finish when I saw her.


Sunday: rest day.


Monday: warm-up 1600m in 9:43 with strides. Then 3K fartlek in which my legs tired at 1.8km, but I still made it to the finish. It was a bit faster than last Thursday, probably because I went in with a day off instead of 6K on my legs. I did 17:21, with ave HR 161. Splits were better to start as I felt good, and it was nice and cool (60F). At 2km I fatigued and they were slower. Oh well.

2:44, 2:47, 3:01, 2:48, 3:06, 2:56. Ave HR on last split was 169, with max 171. Definitely working hard, for all the good it did me :(. 

Garmin data here.

I rode my bike to work after walking the kids to school. Legs are quite sore now, and will x-train tomorrow.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

3K fartlek; doctor visit

This morning I met Adriana at the track at the U for a 3K fartlek. She's a student there, and I work there, so it was perfect. I took the bus to campus, and after our workout I walked up to work, and she walked to her class. We'll probably do this again, because it was pretty convenient.

She'd never done a 3K fartlek before, so as we warmed up (1600m in 9:43, with strides), I explained the workout to her. 1K hard, 500m medium effort, 500m hard effort, 500m medium effort, 500m hard effort. She got it.

We got started - I let her have about a 5-10 second head start, figuring she'd probably be faster anyway, since my legs were still hurting from yesterday a bit. I took an Aleve last night which really helped, but they were still sore this morning and the warm-up didn't feel too good. At left, a self-portrait at the track after my warm-up.

She was fast for the first 500m - way too fast - at 2:34! After that the workout wasn't too nice to her - 2:49 (OK), but then 3:23 for recovery, 2:5x fast, 3:30 (!) recovery, 2:5x and her total was just over 18 min (18:0x) - not bad for her first 3K fartlek! I passed her during her last recovery...and finished about 25-30 sec in front of her at 17:36 for my own workout. Slow, for me :(. I did 2:47, 2:53, 3:05, 2:56, 3:04, 2:53. Something close to that, anyway. My average HR was 162 and max 174, with ave HR on the last interval 171. I was working very hard, but I guess yesterday's 6K was too much for my pathetic legs. Arrrrgh.


Doctor visit yesterday: I saw my sports medicine doc, and she had a resident working with her. He took a very thorough and good history, and did a brief exam, checking heart, lungs, and muscle strength. My doc then did an exam as well, noting only that my left hamstring was a bit weaker than my right (it was more sore from my workout) but that overall my muscle strength was very good. 

They are waiting now on my labs from my family doc - they need a copy of them in order to figure out what tests have been done (I told them, but they still need the labs) and what they want to do. They want to check liver and kidney function as well as creatine kinase (measure of muscle breakdown), and possibly a couple other things. If they can't turn up anything, they will refer me to a neurologist and/or rheumatologist to see what more can be done.

I'm relieved that they are taking my complaint seriously, and hoping that they can find something easily treatable. I'm ready to feel better any time now.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013


I met Adriana for 6K this morning. I wanted to do more, but my legs were not feeling great and I figured 6K would be enough. Besides, I have not gotten a new parking permit for campus (on purpose), and I either have to bike or take the bus to work. 6K plus biking to work is a good hour of cardio, which makes me happy these days.

Surprisingly, despite some residual soreness in my glutes, I did well this morning. I felt good and smooth and was able to go pretty fast. I pushed Adriana a bit, going 30:23 for 5K. She was working it VERY hard at the end, as that is just 1 min slower than her race pace that she did at the 5K on July 4 in Murray. Muahahaha! It was fun to push her, and I don't think she minded. I felt fine, with HR in the mid-upper 150s at the end, and averaging 144 for the whole 6K. We did the last km slowly to recover.

Total time: 37:08 for 6:11/km.

Garmin data here.

Legs definitely feeling it now, between the racewalking and then biking to work. Taking it easy the rest of the day and hoping (maybe against all hope?) that I'll be up for a 3K fartlek tomorrow. Maybe. Meeting Adriana at the track at the U at 8:30am, so I'll have to racewalk at least a little bit!

I had to bike to work today, though, as I have a doctor appt at 3:15pm and it's on campus, but far enough from my work that it makes sense to bike there. I could have taken the bus and walked but that would have been more of a nuisance. Hopefully the doctor will have some ideas that my family doc didn't think of. Hopefully.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

this week so far

Sunday - rest day


Monday - intended to do 8K; ended up doing 5K and then a bit later 1.5K. I was going to do 3K and then 5K with Adriana, but when I started the 3K my legs just felt icky, and I knew it was going to be bad. I decided shorter was better and just quit and waited for Adriana to come, and we did 5K together, in 33:12 (she is just learning so that was plenty fast for her...and honestly, I liked going a bit slower and didn't have enough legs to go much faster anyway). At the start of the 5K my right hamstring (or whatever it was that bothered me on Saturday) felt pretty sensitive, and I was worried, but turns out it loosened up and felt fine. Whew. When we stopped I thought I could have gone farther as long as I went slowly.

After that, Julia, a new racewalker, met us at the park to learn. I taught her the basics and did some video technique work with her and with Adriana. We had a great time, and I walked 1.5km with Julia, bringing my total to 6.5km.


Tuesday - went to the track, planning on a 3K fartlek. I did 1km of warm-up in 6:36 and my legs were not feeling it at all. Just sore and tired, and I knew I'd be wasting my time to try the fartlek, so I gave up and went to the gym, where I did 34 min on the elliptical. Then I drove home and got ready for work, and rode my bike to work. Not sure the latter was smart, but I am feeling OK now. 


I called my sports medicine doctor and made an appointment this morning. The receptionist asked what I wanted to see the doctor for. I told her fatigue and muscle soreness/weakness from racewalking. She asked which body part, and I told her that I was generally tired and it involved all my muscles. She said I was not allowed to see the doctor for more than one body part at a time. I was floored and irritated. I said that I was a competitive racewalker and that it was the exertion from my sport that was giving me the problem, and that since the doctor is a sports medicine doctor, she should be willing to see me for this! Finally she put me on hold to ask someone about it. No one could tell her anything, so she made the appt for me anyway and told me she'd call back to cancel if it wasn't OK. It's 3:30 pm and I haven't heard anything so I figure it's OK. The good news, after all that aggravation, is that the doctor has a 3:15 pm appt tomorrow! I'm not sure that there will be anything she can do that my family doc has not, but a second opinion can't hurt.