Saturday, November 29, 2014

cross-training mode

I'm in full-on cross-training mode. Discovered yesterday that the elliptical doesn't hurt :). That's HUGE :). So now I can spin or do the elliptical; I could possibly swim but I know it'd hurt to push off the wall with both feet, and I'd probably have to use the pull buoy - not sure I could kick. Besides, I don't really enjoy swimming that much, and would rather do the elliptical or bike. I enjoy reading novels and/or the newspaper on the elliptical (on my Kindle), so that works well. Exercise AND reading at the same time! Hard combination to beat, if you've got to cross-train.

I'm trying to avoid asking "Why me?" questions, and instead just focus on "What will I do with these circumstances?". It's a better and more useful question anyway. I'm thoroughly enjoying the extra sleep that I'm getting on this long weekend, and the chance to do a bit of housework (toe permitting...periodically I have to stop and ice it, as it gets really sore). Yesterday I did the traditional day-after-Thanksgiving turkey soup and tree decorating with my family, and though my toe did require that I stop after a while, I still very much enjoyed the day.

Training -

Friday: 30 min elliptical; 15 min stationary bike.

Today: 45 min elliptical; 15 min stationary bike.

Foot photos, and a few others:

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Limping my way through the Cold Turkey 6K

I thought I'd done this race every year since 2006, and I have, except for 2009 (off 2 months with sesamoiditis). I was SO determined to do it today in order to not break my streak...that wasn't a streak! Oh well. Determination counts for something?

I decided I'd walk the race briskly, or as briskly as I could given my infirmity. Calvin was running it, and wanted to win his age group, so he jaunted off ahead and I limped along. Pretty soon I heard someone say, "Tammy?". It was a new Wasatch Walkers club member, Jeri, and I walked with her for the whole race after that :). So nice to have company! I would have enjoyed walking slowly alone, too, but it was better to be chit-chatting and encouraging her. At left is a photo of us at the finish.

It was super nice out today - upper 40s and partly cloudy, and no wind. Lovely. I was glad to be able to limp through the race, because it would have been so depressing to just stand there and watch, especially with the weather just right.

I finished in 1:03-ish, much slower than my previous slow time of 39-ish minutes. But I didn't care at all, which was kind of nice :).

Calvin finished in 32:09, a new PR for him, and he was first in his age group. I'm a very proud mama!

My toe was only a bit painful, and after cooking all day it's more swollen and uncomfortable, but it's not much worse for the wear. I'm not at all sorry that I got some exercise, even if it was super slow.

In case you were wondering, it's even prettier these days...

I'm debating going to the doc to 1) make sure there is no joint involvement, and 2) to get a walking boot, because that would make my life a bit easier. Just not sure I want the hassle...going back and forth as to whether it's worth it or not.

OK, time to make the gravy for Thanksgiving dinner! Have a happy Thanksgiving, everyone :).

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

feeling a bit better

My toe is still really, really ugly. Last night is the top photo; this morning is the bottom photo. But I am feeling a bit better, and can limp carefully now. Hopefully won't need the crutches today at work. I went to the gym and did 15 min on the stationary bike, and it was do-able. My legs tired quickly, and I didn't want to push it, so I stopped. I tried the spinning bike too, and that seemed fine. So hopefully I can try spinning tomorrow?

Monday, November 24, 2014


My toe is really ugly right now. It was extremely painful today - had to use crutches most of the day and/or wheeled chair at work and/or lean hard on shopping cart in the store to gimp around.

Prognosis for Thursday's turkey trot? Very bleak. Oh well!

I am hoping to feel better in 4 weeks, but realistically it might be 8 weeks. Geez. Trying to wrap my mind around that and deal with it in a functional healthy adult manner rather than curling up in a ball, crying, and giving up. So far I'm dealing with it OK, but I suppose that will wax and wane.

For now: ice, naproxen, rest (HAHAHA! like I can rest at home or work!!!) as much as possible. Needless to say, I was unable to spin today. I might try tomorrow but only if it feels better than it did this morning.

Dangit. Blogger is malfunctioning and won't let me upload the photo. You'll just have to trust me that it is even worse than my FB photo from earlier today. It's very purple and swollen, with bruising over an inch from the toe :(.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

ouch :(

I hurt my toe this morning; stubbed it really hard on the leg of a bookcase in our room. I am quite clumsy (which is why I don't ski!).

I think I'm off RW for a little bit. If I'm lucky it'll just hurt for a few days and I can train again. If not, and it's broken (which I think it might be, judging by amount of pain and bruising), then it might be 4 weeks or more.

No sense worrying. Can't change it.

I think I'll try spinning tomorrow and see if I can do that. Walking (even casual walking) is impossible right now.

Edited to add: darn it. My legs are good today - I am recovering very well from the 1hr postal, which means if this hadn't happened I might be able to train hard again. Bummer.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

1hr postal

Today was the Utah Association USATF 1 hr postal racewalk. Basically, walk as far as you can in 1 hr (judged) and compete against racewalkers all over the country in the event via mail (hence, "postal").

Coming off a relapse of the mystery illness and a bad head cold, I knew this was going to not be ideal. However, I had hopes of maybe getting 10K? If I'd felt good the last few weeks this might have been attainable, given that I did a 28:50 5K at the end of October. But, I didn't feel good, and it wasn't attainable. That's the bad news. The other bad news is that I was hoping for 22 laps of the Olympic Oval (442m/lap) as a secondary goal, and I didn't reach that either. Almost... I was at 409.8m of the 442m, so I missed my secondary goal by only 32m. Oh well.

The good news is that I had no weird soreness in my legs at all until about 45 min into the race, and even then it was quite mild. Afterward at breakfast, sitting didn't hurt much at all! I'd say very slight discomfort (1 of 10?), and it's hardly hurt at all the rest of the day, though I have been doing housework, cooking, etc. Saturday chores!

So while I am disappointed at not reaching my goals, I am very happy that I'm feeling better, because that means that maybe I will be able to reach my goals next year. And maybe I can train again. Besides all that, I enjoyed time with my friends and I was able to do a very hard 1 hr workout for the first time in a long time. That's all good.

My lap times gradually got slower as I went, despite my best efforts to the contrary. I tried to keep a 2:39 per lap pace (6 min km) but after only about 7 laps it was clear that wasn't going to happen. Then I focused on my secondary goal, and at about the 6K mark I knew that was going to be close as well. However, I worked VERY VERY hard the whole race - my average HR was a whopping 168! That's very high for me for a (basically) 10K race. So I know I gave it my all. My all just wasn't very fast today. But like I said, I'm OK with this, because my mystery illness relapses seem to be farther in-between and less severe and shorter. I'm thankful for that.

Oh, I almost forgot to post my total distance: 9691.8m. It hurts to type that, but I am hoping for better in the long term.

Garmin data here.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

3K fartlek!

I actually did a whole workout. Haha, so it was only a 3K fartlek...I did it.

The bad: it was quite slow, and I felt like I was breathing through a straw. Thank you very much, upper respiratory infection.

The good: I finished it, and my legs have hardly hurt at all today. Only a tiny bit of weird soreness (1 of 10 maybe?) even with sitting in lab meeting. I am a little sore, but it's the good kind of soreness.

I was snuggled up in my warm bed this morning, and I really did NOT want to go do the workout, because I was sure I'd be physically punished for doing it. In addition, it was dark and cold, though as it turns out, it wasn't too dark by the time I got to the track around 7 am, and it wasn't that cold either, at 31F (-0.6C), with no wind at all. It was lots warmer than it has been in the mornings lately. (Though it's supposed to get cold and snow Sunday & Monday, and then get really cold on Thanksgiving next Thursday).

As usual, I'm glad I did the workout, though it didn't feel that good. At least I wasn't punished for it with leg pain all day. I'm grateful for that.

Total time was a slow 17:50, with a high average HR of 164. I was pushing and breathing but it just felt so hard to catch my breath :(. The medium effort 500s were 3:11 (slow!!!), and the fast 500s were slow too at 2:49, 2:53, 2:55, and 2:52 (managed to work the last one - not sure how - felt I was falling apart totally). But hey, it's done.

Now on to the 1 hr postal walk on Saturday. Hahahahaha that'll be interesting.

Garmin data here. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

rest days (sick); 5K plus 3x200m

Sunday & Monday: rest days. I planned to rest on Sunday, so that was fine, but noticed I had a cold. The cold got worse (despite lots of rest this weekend), and Monday I woke feeling awful. My legs had some of the weird soreness on Sunday & Monday, but not too much. Anyway, I decided that it would be stupid to try and push things and walk on Monday, given that I felt just terrible and wasn't even sure I could get through my work day. I did manage, but went to bed early.


Tuesday: felt better this morning when I woke up, so decided to go do 5K with 5x200m as Jim had suggested. I was slow but got it done no problem. Only a bit of weird soreness in my legs, which got worse as I was doing the 200m intervals, which is why I stopped at 3 of them. It wasn't bad, though - I was just being cautious. My breathing was a bit of a problem too, especially on the 200m, probably because of the cold. Hopefully I will feel better soon.

It was very cold this morning at 19F (-7.2C), and though my dog Sugar didn't seem to mind, I did. My legs were too cold in my warm pair of tights, so I have to remember to wear some long underwear underneath them when it's this cold. This is more like January weather...sigh...we are paying now for the nice fall we had? The rest of me wasn't cold with gloves, hat, long-sleeved shirt, and warm running jacket.

Total time for 5K 33:14 for 6:37/km (slow! but I am being nice to myself about this) with ave HR 146. Garmin data here. 

The three 200s that I did do were slowish at about 1:05-1:06 for 3:17 total. I felt like I was going really fast, too...this cold is a killer. Garmin data here. 

Leg soreness report as of 1:25pm: mild soreness on prolonged (>15min) sitting and none after standing. Feels decent.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

cross-training; 6K

I've been taking it really easy, to try and rest up and start feeling better.

Thursday: 35 min elliptical, and felt OK. My legs were still sore, but the elliptical didn't seem to make it worse (or better, for that matter).

Friday: 30 min elliptical, and my legs felt a bit tired after, but OK. I had to sit and inject fly embryos at work for quite a while, and sitting still was quite painful. It starts as a slight ache and builds in intensity until it's painful achy - hard to explain - and I get relief only by standing up or shifting position, which is hard to do when you're looking under the microscope.

My coach called me on Thursday, and that was really super of him. I know he's concerned, and I really appreciate that. He basically said that I need to relax, as the stress can only make it worse. He's right of course, and I am taking his advice to try to relax and not worry about it as much as is possible.

All that being said, a number of people in various spheres of my life are all saying the same thing - they are telling me that the stress is to blame, which is a bit difficult to deal with for several reasons. 1) There is some organic cause for this, and perhaps the stress does make it worse, but the stress is not the root culprit, I don't think. 2) Saying that the stress is the cause places the blame on me for my illness, and while I'm sure that's not what people mean to do, it's how it feels. I know it's a contributing factor, and I acknowledge that, but it's hard enough to navigate this without the additional guilt.

Still, I do need to deal with this appropriately, and I am trying. I really have been more relaxed the past few days, because there isn't anything I can do to fix it.

Today: I wanted to racewalk, and so I did. I went out for an easy 6K, and though my legs (naturally) didn't feel good, I did it in 39:31 for 6:35/km with ave HR 147. My legs don't feel any worse now (mid afternoon) than they did yesterday, so I am hopeful that means an easy walk didn't make things worse.

Garmin data here.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

coffee with Kelly

I went to the track to do a 3K fartlek. It seemed windy when I left home, and my legs were sore going up the stairs from our basement. I should have paid attention to both.

I arrived at the track and it was SO windy that my car door blew open forcefully when I opened it a few inches. Not a good sign. Plus, it was only 23F (-5C). It was really, really cold. And windy. And you guessed it... I knew the 3K fartlek was impossible, so I went to have coffee with Kelly.

Despite the rest day, my legs still hurt this morning when I was sitting at work for even 15 minutes straight in one position (looking in the microscope). I am demoralized, fatigued, and tired of this whole thing.

I had a pity party eating fest last night that only succeeded in making me feel worse (DUH!). Not sure how to proceed other than that I have to get back up and keep going somehow.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


Sunday: rest day. Legs very achy and painful upon sitting.


Monday: coach said to do 5K plus 5x200m. I went out and got going and my legs were hurting within the first km. I did 5K and I was DONE. No 200s for me. The 5K was all right; slowish at 32:02 but OK otherwise. Legs were really annoying the rest of the day - just dull aches and sore. Garmin data here. 


Tuesday: spinning class with Kelly. I took it really easy, but I think it might have been too much. Legs bothering me a bit all day; achy and sore. Tonight after dinner I am super fatigued and just want to go to sleep early. I think I will.

Saturday, November 08, 2014

cross-training; 8K; relapsing?

I am trying to recover and feel better, and unsure of how to proceed.

Thursday: took it easy with 30 min on the elliptical. Oddly, I felt good and did about 4.35 miles in 30 minutes; on this elliptical that is a bit above average for me. Ave HR was 139, so I wasn't pushing too hard. Garmin data here. 

Friday: 1 hr spinning class, but again took it pretty easy and watched my heart rate so I wouldn't push too hard. Kept it mostly between 130 and 145, with a little between 145 and 150. Average was 139. Garmin data here. 

Today: Coach said I could try to RW today and see how it went, and he said to go as I felt I could. I had in my head to do 10K, my legs thought 6K would be good, and so we compromised with 8K. My legs had some of the weird soreness in the last km, and after I RW I took my son to his futsal (indoor soccer) game and then to breakfast. I really noticed the soreness while sitting at the game and at breakfast. It's not the worst it's been, but definitely there.

On the positive side, I was very glad to be able to racewalk, and did 8K in 51:18 for 6:25/km with ave HR 150. OK, all things considered. I guess.

Garmin data here. 


Random thoughts.

What to do? Apparently I need to manage my problem as a chronic illness. This is the message I'm getting from my husband and also from my coach. I really wish I could figure out what was wrong, but I just do not know. Sometimes "why?" questions are just not helpful. At this point I feel I need to focus on what I can do, be grateful for the little things and thankful that the fatigue is not as severe as it was. It's hard to maintain a good attitude, but the alternative is not helpful.

I need to narrow my focus as well. My eating has been out of control lately, and since I can't exercise as much as I want, it's been more of a problem. I also haven't been attending my Weight Watchers meetings. Hmmmm, not smart. I've had good excuses (out of town, watching a friends' kids, etc.), but obviously I'm not focused on the right things right now. I can't train like I want, and so there's not a lot of point investing a huge amount of energy, both mental and physical, in training. It makes more sense at this point to train as much as my body allows, which isn't much at the moment, and spend more energy on my eating habits and the psychological habits that will help me feel better and treat my body better. I've been reading a book on parenting that suggests that choosing two things at a time to work on with your kids is a good idea (i.e. getting them to do just two behaviors that are desirable), and I think that is a reasonable principle for adults as well. So for right now, one behavior for me to work on is weight management via eating habits/psych habits. Along with that, another useful behavior is good sleep hygiene vis a vis less Facebook and more reading. This feels right as I consider it.

Any input from my few remaining readers is welcome :). I know now that my coach, my mom (who's out of the country and therefore not reading it right now), Nyle, and Ollie still read this.

As for the future, I'd still like to do a half marathon in March. I don't know if that will be possible. I hope so, but I'm not sure, so I am not signing up for it yet. I did already sign up for a half marathon in April, so we'll see how that goes. In two weeks I have a 1-hour postal, which seems ludicrous right now, but if I feel better I think it could go OK. I was in reasonable shape before all this happened (again).

Our family is trying to budget to go to World Masters in Perth in 2016, but it's going to be very expensive, and if I'm not feeling better then it doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Sad, but true. However, I don't have to make any decisions about that at this point except for budgeting and saving like it's going to happen, which isn't a bad thing to do in any case.

Thanks for listening.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Spinning; partial fartlek

I was going to entitle this "fartlek fail", but I am trying to be more positive and talk to myself the same way I'd talk to a friend. Cognitive therapy has its benefits :).

First, yesterday I went spinning. I was VERY careful this time and had an ave HR of 137 for the workout. I didn't go over 150 except for once for about 15 seconds. I was super cautious. Garmin data here. 

Last night I turned off my lights at 8:35 pm and I slept until 5:35 am, 9 hours. I felt good when I woke up. I say all this to show that I did everything possible to take it easy on myself and feel good for today's 8K fartlek, which I was very apprehensive about doing given what's been going on this week. But I figured I was feeling better and could do it.

I warmed up and felt so-so, doing my 1600m plus strides in 10:10 but not feeling terribly energetic. I didn't feel bad, though. I was wearing a brand-new pair of NB1400 shoes (my current fave model) and felt ready to go.

I started the fartlek conservatively, knowing I had 8K to go. I did 2:52 and 2:54 for the first 1km and felt OK. Then for the 500m medium effort I did 3:07, and that felt all right too. The next 500m hard was a 2:55, and I think the wheels were starting to fall off. By the medium effort 500m (3:11), I knew it wasn't good. My legs had some weird soreness and I just didn't feel right. I wasn't sure if or when I should stop, but I told myself I'd know and to not worry about it. The next hard 500m was in 2:58, taking me to 3km in 17:58. My legs really hurt. I stopped. I reconsidered. I rested a minute and did 200m medium effort in 1:16, and called it quits when my legs hurt more. Garmin data here. HR was in the low 160s, which seems normal, and all that felt fine. It was just my legs, not my breathing or cardio.

My legs really bothered me today at work, sitting at my desk working on a power point for lab meeting tomorrow (I'm presenting data). So now, after work, I'm at home at my kitchen table trying to figure things out. I am SO frustrated. I am ready to throw in the towel for a while. I know overall I'm still getting better, but maybe I should just wait and let my body recover 100% before I try to train more? But on the other hand, there is a club 1hr postal in 2 weeks that I *really* want to do, plus a half marathon in March I want to do, and besides that, I miss racewalking the long ones and would love to do a marathon or 50K again. ARRRRRGHHHHHHH.

But my legs hurt. I am mentally not 100% due to some factors that I can't make public on the blog. Plus it's going into winter and I'm definitely feeling that. Dark and cold are approaching. I just don't feel good, and feel I don't have any energy to put into training right now.

So, I do want to do it, and I don't. I'm divided. It's creating more stress not knowing what I should do. I've worked so hard to come back as far as I have, I had a good race 10 days ago, and I'm not sure I'm ready to give up. But I can't seem to put a good workout together. Oh, and add in that I'm struggling big-time with my weight and eating right, and I am worried about putting more energy in there. And Christmas is coming. And I'm a mom. And I have to run choir practice at church. And make sure the laundry gets done and that we have healthy food on the table. And work is demanding, even if I like it.


Rant over. Not sure I feel better, but I got it out there. So much for being positive, and cognitive therapy, etc. :)

Monday, November 03, 2014


Today I managed 8K and my legs did all right; the last km they were definitely not great, so I opted to skip the 5x200m. I felt a bit guilty about this, but my coach specifically has told me to really listen to my body right now and to not do things if they don't feel right, so I stopped.

Up until then I felt pretty good, and did 50:45ish for the 8km (watch says 8.17, but the first 500m was NOT 500m - the watch screwed up badly; I know where 500m is on that route and I also know my first 500m was NOT in 2:17!!! Now that would have been fast!) for ~6:20/km with ave HR 149.

Garmin data here. 

We finally switched back to standard time, which is a huge relief as it wasn't quite so pitch black this morning (though in a few weeks it will be again...sigh.....). I know I blog a lot about the light and the weather, but it affects my mood a lot and is very relevant to my racewalking because of that. It was 37F (2.8C) for my walk this morning, which is seasonally chilly, but comfortable. It wasn't windy, and with a long-sleeved shirt and tights and gloves I was perfectly happy. One added side benefit of long hair is that I can leave it down in the winter and it helps a LOT to keep my head warm. Feels great!

Tomorrow ... either spinning (I will take it easy! I promise!) or possibly 8K fartlek. Not sure... leaning towards spinning, though my legs might be good enough for speed work? We'll see. Stay tuned. Not that anyone still reads this besides my coach and my mom...

Saturday, November 01, 2014

10K and OK?

I did 10K this morning, and I *think* I'm OK. Probably?

My legs definitely had some weird soreness yesterday (rest day) and a bit today during my 10K, but afterward they seem OK. I think. I cancelled my afternoon piano student so that I can get in an extra nap - I definitely need some sleep to try and nip this in the bud in case it worsens.

The 10K was all right other than the leg soreness. At 4km I did take about a 15 min break to chat with a friend and introduce her to my dog, but when I started up again my legs actually felt *better* than they did before I stopped. Whatever! Weird, but good. I finished up OK and my time was decent; 1:02:55 for 6:18/km with ave HR 150. It was oddly warm and windy, as a storm is blowing in. It was 66F (18.9C) just before 10am when I finally walked out the door (I had to take Calvin to an indoor soccer game this morning at 8am so didn't walk until after it was over). That didn't seem to bother me, though, and other than extra dog slobber (Sugar has a warm fur coat and gets hot) it was no big deal.

I admit I'm a bit anxious that I'm having another relapse, but if I am it seems to be minor in comparison with previous relapses. I'm hoping this is not a big deal and that I'll feel good next week. All the same, I'm wondering if I should take some more time off? I have had a bunch of personal stress lately and training on top of all of this is not easy. Perhaps all the stress has contributed to how I'm feeling. Regardless, I have a 1-hr race on November 22 that I want to do, so I should at least walk at some minimal level until then? I feel a bit unsure of what direction to take. I also have a half marathon I want to do in March, and if I'm feeling good, there's a marathon I want to do in June, and of course the 50K next year... but I can only do these things if my body permits. It's confusing and frustrating.

Garmin data here.