Tuesday, December 31, 2013

end of year

I'm glad 2013 is almost over. I know it's just another day tomorrow, nothing really new, but mentally I can pretend that a new year might mean something new and better?

Yesterday I walked at work in the afternoon, which is usually a sluggish proposition at best, and this walk was no exception. I struggled to push at all, and my legs felt heavy and tired. I did 6km in 37:22 for 6:13/km with ave HR 147. It is a slightly hilly route at work, and I'm sure that contributed to the heavy/aching legs, but some of it was the mystery illness I think.

This morning I woke feeling ugh-ish and opted for elliptical; after 30 min I'd had enough - my legs were tired. They have felt OK the rest of the day though - not too achy even though I drove a bit after work today, taking my mom shopping up to Park City and driving to and from Sandy.

I totaled my miles for the year --- pretty pathetic compared to my usual totals, but it was the best I could do given the circumstances. I did 614 miles (987 km), all of it hard-earned.

***Mileage update - forgot miles done in part of June & July that didn't make the blog. New total: 643.5 miles, or 1035 km.

I am hoping and praying for a better 2014 for racewalking and for health in general.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

challenging week

It was a challenging week. Vacation is always interesting - with more opportunities, but also more difficulties.

The soccer game on Sunday with Calvin did change my week a bit. It definitely left me sore and off-kilter, and then I followed that up with a hilly walk Monday (which actually was good, in retrospect). After that I felt I needed a day off racewalking, so I used the hotel elliptical. Big mistake. It was so different from the ellipticals at my gym! I don't know what it was about the angle of the foot plates or something - but it used my calf muscles way way more than I am used to. By that evening they were screaming, and continued to be excruciatingly painful for several days. It hurt just to walk across a room. A lot. They were tender to the touch and extremely sensitive. This left me in a quandary. I wanted to exercise - let's face it, food was going to be difficult this week, and exercise was essential - but exercise was also painful.

If you have been reading this blog any length of time, you won't be surprised that I went out and exercised anyway. Mentally, I needed it. It was painful, but on Christmas Day (Wednesday), I race walked 6.86km at a slow 6:55/km pace. My average HR was only 136 --- you can see that the problem was my sore legs, not my cardiac conditioning! To make matters worse, I had consumed a fair amount of chocolate prior to going out (hey, it was Christmas!), and I got nauseated about 2/3 of the way into my walk. That slowed me even more, but I was still glad I went out. When I got back to my brother's house (we were visiting him in northern California), my mom wanted to go for a casual walk with me. I rested up for a bit and the nausea subsided and then enjoyed a very nice walk with her. The weather was SO lovely - mid 60s (17C) and sunny. I was almost hot on my racewalk, even though I wore shorts and a T-shirt. Ahhhhh. The warm weather was fantastic.

The next day, my calves were still screaming, but I knew I had to try to exercise. The elliptical was out of the question. The kids wanted to swim in the pool at the hotel, and I wanted to walk with my mom. Solution? The exercise room had a window to the pool, so my mom and I walked on treadmills in there while watching the kids in the pool. Awesome, except that I hate the treadmill. I lasted for 30 min of good racewalking at a very slow pace (5.5 mph - 10:54/mile, which is just under 7min/km --- keep in mind that RW on the treadmill is IMO ridiculously more difficult than RW on the street) before I quit. Later that day, because I am crazy? Stupid? Forgetful? I did a very hilly hike with my brother, his wife, and Calvin. It was an awesome hike and I'm glad I went, but it did make the calf problem worse for sure. We hiked up and then did some trail running on the way down. Calvin and Alex were waaaaay ahead of me but it was still a good time.

On Friday my calves were certainly not any better for having done the trail hike/run. So I race walked anyway! I enjoyed a somewhat painful racewalk on a lovely trail over to Discovery Park in Sacramento, near our hotel. I managed 6K in 38:01 for 6:20/km with ave HR 139, which was not bad at all considering the amount of pain I was in for the first 500m. You'll notice that split was rather slow… as was the 2nd 500m because of a hill up over a bridge. Mostly the route was flat (Sacramento is very flat) but there were a few inclines on the road due to overpasses etc.

Saturday I took a rest day, because I knew I had to sit in the car all day while we drove home (10 hour drive). My legs don't tolerate car rides after RW these days. They don't tolerate car rides much at all, come to think of it, though that seems to be improving slightly.

This morning I wasn't feeling much in the mood to work out. My calves were still fairly sore, believe it or not, and my mood wasn't the best. A week of eating a bit too much combined with muscular pain had me wondering if I'd ever feel back to normal again. It's been a long year. But I got out there anyway, and as usual, felt MUCH better for having done a walk. Today I did 6.27km total in a relatively speedy (for me, lately anyway) 6:13/km for a total of 39:01 with ave HR 151. My legs actually felt quite good for most of the walk, and the odd pain I've had the last 6 months only showed up at about 5km or so, and even then it didn't sap my strength much. I finished well and wasn't sore from sitting in church afterward, either. It was cold, though… sigh… I really miss the warm weather in CA. This morning it was 18F (-8C), which isn't too terrible for here in the winter, especially since it was calm and foggy-ish, with good footing.

I'm glad I am feeling OK today, and that my muscles seem to be recovering. I am hopeful that with my return to a more normal routine this week that I will feel good and continue my improvement despite last week's stall-out.

Monday, December 23, 2013

made it through the week

Wow. About all I can say about this one is that I made it through the week. It was a bit over-the-top, with work insane, holiday preparations, getting ready to go on vacation, etc. I burned the candle at both ends for too long, and come Thursday & Friday, I had had it. I took rest days.

But let's back up a bit.

Sunday, Dec 15th: after my lovely 10K on Saturday, I decided a rest day was a good idea.
Monday: my legs felt rested and ready to go, but my 8K didn't feel good. It felt OK, but I was dragging a bit and my legs got pretty tired at the end. I still managed 50:45 for 6:20/km with ave HR147, and the good news is that later that day I felt OK and I recovered well.
Tuesday: I felt much better on Tuesday and cranked out a good 8K. 49:27 for 6:11/km with HR 150. Finished strong with a 3:01 and 3:07 for the last km. Awesome.
Wednesday: Here it began to go downhill… woke late because was up late working on holiday stuff and then only managed 30 min on the elliptical.
Thursday & Friday: tired/felt sickish (probably just from being sooooo tired)/didn't sleep enough/worked too hard. Didn't exercise. That was probably a mistake. I felt lousy.
Saturday: Got in a nice 45 min elliptical before we left on the long drive to California. We drove 12 hr from Salt Lake to Castro Valley where we visited our friends Dean and Debbie.
Sunday: played soccer with Calvin for 26 minutes before tripping and almost falling and pulled a muscle in my right glutes somewhere --- ouch. Definitely had to stop playing and was super annoyed because 1) I was having great fun even though Calvin was totally killing me, 2) I was worried about how bad it would be, and 3) darn it! I just want to be able to do stuff like this with Calvin! Walked it off and took ibuprofen and felt OK the rest of the day; a bit sore, but OK.
Monday (today): Decided to try to racewalk. I was slow and cautious and did not push at all, and in addition it is really quite hilly here, so it was a very challenging route. The good news is that I did almost 6K at 6:50/km with ave HR just 129. My right glutes were somewhat sore, but it didn't seem to do much except slow me down a bit, and they didn't get worse with racewalking. Good news. I might be slow for a few days but hopefully that's it.

Today it's on to visit my brother in Davis, CA. Hopefully I can bicycle a bit there, as well as racewalk/trail run/who knows what. My brother is a runner and it'll be fun to do some active things with him. Calvin brought his running shoes too, so perhaps the 3 of us can do a trail run.

In other news, I saw the rheumatologist (finally!) this week. They looked me over and aside from my Reynaud's phenomenon, they see no signs of autoimmune or rheumatologic disease. But because Reynaud's phenomenon is associated with some autoimmune disorders, they did some blood tests to rule them out. Interestingly, my anti-SSB/La titer was a bit high, which by itself means nothing, but does raise the index of suspicion. I have no other clinical signs of autoimmune disease though, so they just want to see me in 6 months for follow-up. There's nothing to worry about, but just need to keep tabs on things. The attending's conclusion was that I might indeed have protein deficiency - she thought my hypothesis was a good one. So I'll keep eating more protein and hope it helps. Other than the blip this week of overworking, I have continued to feel better overall.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Feeling better!

I haven't blogged in a couple weeks, but it's only been because of busyness. I have been feeling much better overall, and have been walking a lot more. Though I'm still not feeling totally normal, it's much improved.

It's been ridiculously cold and/or snowy, so it's been hard to walk outside as much as I'd like. Good thing I have the option of the indoor track! Sometimes, I've walked outside anyway, and it's been slippery; hence, my times were slower those days.

Here's a summary of what I've been up to:
Wed, Dec 4: elliptical, 45 min
Thurs, Dec 5: 8.78km racewalking, slippery - outside, Garmin data here. 6:32/km w/ave HR 141. -13C with wind chill -18C. Cold!
Fri, Dec 6: 6km racewalking, hilly route - outside, Garmin data here.  6:32/km w/ave HR 141 again. -12C with wind chill -19C. Brrr...
Sat, Dec 7: elliptical, 45 min
Sun, Dec 8: snowshoeing with Calvin, 45 min.
Mon, Dec 9: 5K on indoor track, followed by 10 min elliptical. On the indoor track I tend to push harder for some reason. 5K took 30:33 for 6:05/km with ave HR 148. My legs had a bit of the odd soreness at the end, so I stopped.
Tues, Dec 10: 6.25K Liberty Park route. It was really cold again, at -13C (wind chill -18C). I felt tired, and did only 6:28/km with ave HR 145. My eyelashes and eyebrows froze… uncomfortable.
Wed, Dec 11: 30 min elliptical. I needed some recovery.
Thurs, Dec 12: 8K on indoor track in 49:14 (6:09/km) with ave HR 150. Didn't have the odd soreness until about 7km in to the walk :). My legs were feeling great the rest of the day!
Fri, Dec 13: Much warmer outside at just -8C. It was actually not too bad. My legs were tired from the 8K, and so I just did 6.25km at 6:25/km for total time of 40:13 with ave HR 142.
Sat, Dec 14: I felt pretty good this morning, so decided on a longer walk. The weather was decent, too - almost felt warm at -4C with no wind. I decided to try for 10km. I haven't walked that far in a long time. I know, it's a bit sad since that used to be an easy recovery, but I'm just glad to be getting back into things. At 8km I did get very tired, and the odd muscle soreness was bothering me, but I felt strong enough to make it to 10km! At about 5.3km I walked by a friend's house and she was taking out her trash, so I stopped to talk with her for a bit - nice to see her. The break helped me feel refreshed and able to do the 10km. Total was 10km in 1:03:38 for 6:22/km with ave HR 147.

Week of Dec 1-7: 33.8km (21 miles)
Week of Dec 8-14: 35.5km (22 miles)

OK, so the mileage totals are pretty much laughable, but it's the most I've done since January, between illness and injury. I know it will increase as I continue to feel better. Edited: nope, I did more for some weeks in August… but it's the most since then for sure.

Meanwhile, I haven't been doing as well with my eating. It's a hard time of the year to be disciplined, and I have fallen down a bit this week. I lost 1.8 lb over 3 weeks, but then gained 2.2 lb this week. Sigh… I am still above my goal weight for Weight Watchers, so I have to pay weekly fees. You'd think that would motivate me, but it's been challenging. But being able to racewalk again is helping my mood, which will help with my eating, and hopefully start an upward spiral.

There's a lot of work ahead, with eating and with training. Time to get serious.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

3 days in a row :)

This morning my legs felt a bit tired, but the weird pain wasn't bothering me, so I decided I'd have a go at racewalking. Of course, it was snowing as predicted, so I went to the field house and walked on the indoor 211m track. It always seems harder to me to walk there than to walk on a regular track or to walk outside. The tight turns, the warm building (warmer than I'd like for racewalking anyway), and the number of laps make it tougher. So I brought some music (which I don't usually do during workouts) and decided I'd try to enjoy it as much as possible.

My legs felt fine until about 3km, when they got tired, and yes, I had some of the odd pain. But it didn't keep me from working out well, though my HR was a bit high for the speed.

I did the 6K at 6:20/km in 38:02 with ave HR 154. Yay!

Monday, December 02, 2013

Progress! (just before winter...)

I'm finally feeling sure that I am making good progress. Yesterday I did 5K easy, and today I did 8K easy. My legs hurt a bit today in that weird way, starting at 3.5K, but only a little - and it didn't hinder me from a decent time of 49:25 for 8K (6:10/km) with average HR of 149. Garmin data here.

Better yet, my legs only hurt a little bit today at work, even though I spent a good hour sitting at the microscope doing injections, and another hour sitting in a seminar. I feel fully recovered this evening, and in fact, I'd like to walk tomorrow, assuming the forecast snow dump doesn't stop me. I might just go ahead and walk at the field house on the indoor track. We'll see.

I'm really excited that I'm feeling better - finally! Too bad there's a huge storm coming tonight and winter is really here. No matter. I'm happy to be feeling decent at last. Not to say there won't be any more setbacks or problems, because after all I am still not sure what the problem was other than B12 deficiency (for sure) and protein deficiency (undiagnosed - possible not certain).

In other news, I have taken off a few pounds, weighing in at 158.6 this morning, which is the first time I've been under 160 in about a month (or so...not sure). That's not great, since my goal WW weight is 155, but it's progress toward recapturing my goal. Racing weight is lower still, but let's take baby steps toward that. I'll get back there - just have to get in the swing of training again, and continue being more disciplined with my eating.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

catching up again

I've pretty much been neglecting this blog. Weird, because I've been doing a bit better overall, but life has been more insane than usual. Namely, I got a terrible stomach flu in the middle of the night after Thanksgiving, and spent the entire night worshipping the porcelain god. Yeah, it was ugly. The next day, I had chills and hot flashes, had terrible muscle pain all over, and was weak as a kitten. The good news? I felt OK by Saturday and was able to enjoy that day with my family, cleaning up the house, getting the Christmas decorations out, making turkey soup, and attending the sing-along Messiah at Abravanel Hall with my mom and Grace.

Since November 18, the last time I updated this blog, I've been racewalking a fair amount, and my legs have been holding up OK. I *might* be ready to start light training again soon. Maybe. I did a lot of cross-training from the 19th-23rd --- weather was nasty (cold rain) and I didn't have to racewalk, so I stayed warm in the gym. Last Sunday, the 24th, I did 6.25k in 39:25 for 6:19/km. On Tuesday the 26th, I did 8K (yay!) rather slowly, at about 6:27/km (missing 1km at the start, which was faster than the other km, so perhaps overall this might have been low 6:20s). I was a little tired and just took it easy.

Then on Thursday the 28th, I did the Cold Turkey 6K race, as is my Thanksgiving Day custom. The weather was cold at 33F (1C), but in the sun it felt warmer than that and I was good in just a long-sleeved shirt, tights, and gloves. I knew I wouldn't be able to race it hard, so I settled on doing it at a moderate-moderately hard pace. Garmin data here. I definitely worked it moderately hard, which is harder than perhaps I should have gone, but it was fun :). I did the race with Calvin (SO awesome!) and I knew he'd be able to go faster than me (running, to my out-of-shape racewalking). I saw him about 1.5-2 min ahead of me at the turn-around up the canyon, and it looked to me like he was in good position in his age group. I focused on being happy for him and not being unhappy for myself, since I was hurting going up the hill and knew I'd be slow. In fact, I wasn't as slow as the slowest I've done this race (when I was sick and it was icy, 2-3 yrs ago), and I was satisfied with my time of 38:11 for the 6.23km (yes, the race is longer than 6K, consistently each year) for 6:08/km with average HR 156. I felt a bit sore the rest of the day, but not terribly so. The next day I was VERY sore but I am sure that was from the flu, as by that evening I was a lot better and on Saturday, 48 hr after the race, I was well recovered with just a few sore spots from the race itself (shins a bit, and abductors).

The exciting part of the race was seeing Calvin cheer me on at the finish, and then waiting to find out that indeed, he had placed first in his age group (9-11)! He was first of 7 boys, and at age 9, one of the youngest, AND beat the next boy by almost FOUR minutes. I think he has some talent! I was SO proud of him! He was thrilled, too - and that was a kick to see. He seems excited to do another race, as well.

This was the first race we've done together (besides a Wasatch Walkers 3K when he was 3, and I don't really count that...he ran it instead of walking, because at 3 he couldn't understand - though the club was nice and let him do it). Actually, I guess the VERY first race we did together was in 2005, when he was 1 - it was my first race too. I pushed him in the stroller and won a 3rd place ribbon for the female stroller division :), which got me hooked on racing right from the start. Hopefully Calvin's win will have a similar effect!

I did win the walking division, as well. One never knows about this, because it's not judged and sometimes runners misunderstand and enter and think run/walk is OK. But this year people were honest, and I was happy for the win :). Full results here.

Getting sick pretty much derailed any thought of a Friday or Saturday workout, but by this morning I thought I might manage 5K decently enough. I asked Calvin if he wanted to come with me, and he did! He seemed a bit off this morning, and actually struggled to keep up with me. I think he might have a touch of the stomach virus. We did 5K in an easy 31:33 for 6:18/km, and my average HR was only 133 - like I said, pretty easy, and I'd have been faster alone, but that was OK. I liked the company, even if he wasn't feeling 100%.

My legs are feeling good enough now that I think I will racewalk again tomorrow. That will be the first time I've walked 2 days in a row in quite a long time. I hope I feel good enough! I'm excited to walk again, and the weather has one more good day before we get really cold and snowy (forecast high for Tuesday is only 34F with snow... and it gets colder the rest of the week).