Wednesday, December 30, 2015

10K on indoor track

I could've gone outdoors; I was able to go midday when it wasn't as cold, and though it was snowing a bit this morning it was clear by late morning and the roads were OK. However, I wanted to get cross-country skis for the kids and the rental facility is in the same building as the track. Besides, I thought a soak in the hot tub post-workout would be relaxing. Finally, the indoor track is less distracting and I need to concentrate hard on my form right now.

So I went up to the track and did all my glute activation exercises and got started. 10K is just over 34 laps of the track, and I figured that 9948.7m would be enough :). I decided to do 9 laps and massage/do activation exercises, then 8 laps + same, then 9 laps, then 8 laps. I'm doing much better, but it still helps to re-activate several times during a workout. As for my injury, today it only bothered me a little bit on and off. I felt I was really good at maintaining my posture and using my glutes more. Hopefully in the long run this will pay off with fewer injuries and more speed. I am noticing that my glutes are fatiguing by the end of the workout, so I can tell I'm doing something differently.

While I was at the track I noticed that I was in the company of greatness. Nobel-prize winner Mario Capecchi was there doing a bit of running and some ab exercises. For 78 years old, he's in good shape, though I did pass him racewalking...and then he passed me back :). I haven't seen him there before but I also don't usually work out at the lunch hour. I recognized him because I've heard him give a number of very good talks and also see him occasionally on upper campus near our lab.

Back to my workout...I did very well. Total time was 1:04:28 for the 9948.7m, which works out to 1:04:48 for 10k. Yay! I did 6:29/km :). Still slower than pre-injury, but working my way back.

Post-workout, I wanted to soak in the hot tub, but it was closed :(. They have closed the pool for a few days for maintenance :(. Then I went to get skis for the kids. Well...didn't matter that I know their height, weight, and shoe size. They needed to try on the skis in person to be sure of the proper fit. Geez. More complicated than I thought. Hmmph. Maybe I should've worked out outside? Oh well :). I brought the kids back later and got the skis rented. We plan to have some fun cross-training tomorrow.

Garmin data here. 

Tuesday, December 29, 2015


Today my coach told me to do 5x400m @85% effort. Well....the track is under snow. And the Olympic Oval is a 25 min drive away. Soooooo....I went to the indoor track at the U instead. It's only 292.6m, so 2km is a bit less than 7 laps. I decided that 7 laps would do the trick.

I did a nice easy warm-up - super slow on the first 2 laps, concentrating. Plus I did lots of glute exercises and massage with the ball before starting on the workout.

I felt pretty good! My piriformis was bothering me a bit on the first warm-up lap, but then it was fine as I got my technique under control. Then again at the end it was a little annoying, but after the workout it felt just fine. I think I had pretty good technique throughout and was concentrating very hard.

And guess what? My speed was decent. I did mostly 1:40 laps, with one 1:42 and the last one 1:38 or so. 1:40 per lap is 5:42/km, which I think is great for 85% effort for now with injury recovery. I'm very pleased. HR was maxxing out at about 160.

Garmin data here. 

Monday, December 28, 2015

10K with Calvin!

Yesterday: rest day....felt a bit fatigued from all the house guests (though it's fun!!!!!).

Today: 10K easy with Calvin. He ran, I racewalked. I started off pretty fast (slight downhill) and maybe shouldn't have; my piriformis is a little more sore and I know I wasn't concentrating quite as much as I should have. I slowed down in the second half and that helped. Calvin wanted to stop and rest a bit 4-5 times during the walk because this was his FIRST 10K ever! He's done a good amount of running but has only run 8K as his longest distance. He did a great job today and it was perfect for me because then I could stop and massage and loosen things up periodically.

I wish I had a picture of the two of us out there today. It was great fun.

Garmin data here. 

Total time 1:05:48 for 6:35/km with ave HR 151.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

doing better :)! x-country skiing, then 10166m at the Olympic Oval

Yesterday: cross-country skiing in SugarHouse Park while the kids sledded and my mom snowshoed. Excellent!!! I am really a terrible skier but I do enjoy it a lot. I hate downhill (too fast, too cold!) but love x-country, because I don't get cold, and the technique is quite similar to racewalking in some ways. I skied for about 45 min; went around the park but then went up and down the hill by the sledding hill while I watched the kids sled.

Today: 23 laps at the Olympic Oval for 10166m. Ashley met me there because it was super cold out at 13F (-10.5C) and she had some speed work while I did my easy 10K. I did do one fast lap with her and it felt OK :). I feel like things are starting to click. However, I did have her take some video and I'm hoping I look better. I think my posture looks better but my arms are still too far in front and my right arm (as usual) is very tense. Geez. It's always something. But the key question is: am I using my glutes more? I sure feel like I am, and I do think I can see it on the video. I am hoping my coach agrees. My piriformis seems much better - it only bothered me a little; I stopped every 6 laps to massage it with the rubber ball torture device, which helped :).

It took me 1:08:00 to do the 10166m, for 6:41/km. Really slow, but MUCH faster than I have been, so I am encouraged that I am starting to get long as the video looks good.

Here's a link to the video in my dropbox.

Here are some photos of yesterday & today.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Eve edition

Monday: elliptical

Tuesday: rest day

Wednesday: glute exercises and a bit more than 5K at the indoor track; all feeling good; last lap was 1:50 which is 6:15km :). Total time was about 6:50/km on average :)!

Today: I went on the JRP with Ashley from Portland, who is visiting her in-laws for Christmas. We had an awesome time together and she was more than willing to walk a bit slowly for me because of my injury. I was able to go 7:02/km for 13km!!! OK, so that's slow, but it took 1:31 and change, and it was super snowy & icy in spots and we had to run a bit and/or slow down. I know I'm still slow, but it seems to be getting better. Not much pain, though I did stop and massage it a few times. It was cold...27F (-2.8C) and a steady breeze of 6-7 mph (11kph) which doesn't sound like much, but when it's that cold it's very unpleasant. But my new Nike fleece-lined base layer made it a lot more comfortable - no cold rear end today :)!

Garmin data here.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

made it 10K! Outside!!!

Yesterday: 1 hr elliptical

Today: Glute exercises and then racewalking. It was supposed to snow, but when I woke it was only raining very lightly, so I decided to try to walk outside! Yay! Missed that a lot. It was also nice and warm this morning at 37F (2.8C) and I can't tell you how wonderful it was to walk outdoors. Loved it.

I was very, very slow, just like a couple days ago, but guess what? I made it 10K!!!! Yep! Pain was minimal, from 0-2/10. Stopped and massaged a couple times but basically felt pretty good. I worked super hard on my posture and activating glutes and I think it's working.

Garmin data here. 

Friday, December 18, 2015

feeling better!

My injury is feeling better gradually. I have piriformis syndrome, but might also have another nagging "something" in the butt. Regardless, it is all improving.

I'm doing lots of strength training for the glutes as well as planks. Then I'm racewalking very sloooowwwwly to give myself time to focus on actually USING them WHILE I racewalk. Revolutionary...I know, right? It seems to be what I've been missing. I can tell it's a very different feeling. I'm not 100% sure it's 100% right, but I am 95% sure that it's a LOT better.

Monday I managed only a few laps RW before the pain kicked in and I had to do the elliptical. Tuesday I did 7-8 laps, and it didn't hurt too much, but I was nervous so got on the elliptical. Wednesday I managed to do 5K!!!!! I stopped every 2-4 laps to do massage with a small massage ball (tennis-ball sized, but harder - ouch! but good!), which helped a lot. It was about 35 min for the 5K, which is super slooooow, but it felt OK.

Yesterday I took a rest from racewalking to make sure things aren't getting overtaxed, and did the elliptical. Then I was ready to try RW farther today - and guess what? I did 27 laps (292.6m track) = 7900m!!! It was very slow at 56:09 (just over 7 min/km) but it felt good and I only stopped twice, after 9 laps and after 18 laps, to do a little massage.

I'm happy to be getting back on track. Sad that I can't do the 1hr postal tomorrow, but oh well! That's how my year has been. Next year is going to be better though :).

Monday, December 14, 2015

injured but fighting back

Sorry I haven't been around. I should blog about this so I can learn from it, or someone else can, or for therapy, or something :).

I thought I had pulled my hamstring, but it turns out after much poking, prodding, etc. by Loren and Kelly (helps to know an M.D. and a P.T.), it turns out it's piriformis syndrome. Oh yay. Well, at least I know how to deal with that.

Down side:
1) I'm injured, just when I was getting back into good training.
2) I've gained weight from traveling and from feeling sorry for myself and overeating (duh!). Lame, but at least remediable.
3) I'm grumpy about it. I'm not depressed, thankfully, just grumpy and feeling like that black space is looming if I am not careful. The eating has a lot to do with that - eat too much, and the black space beckons with self-condemnation and negative thoughts.

Up side:
1) I am motivated to get my eating in gear again, after a week of feeling sorry for myself and realizing anew that the food doesn't make it better. I'm not the same person I was when I was obese, but I still have to fight those tendencies. The fight does get a little easier with time, though it's still a struggle.
2) I am happy to be working on activating my glutes while racewalking. I have been doing lots of exercises that my coach gave me, plus had Kelly watch me do them to be sure I'm using the right muscles. I am :). But those exercises have to translate into using my glutes while walking, which is the tricky part. It means for now that I have to slow down a bit and really concentrate on my technique. Go slow to be faster. I tell people this, and often they don't want to comply, and I do understand why, but I want to go to Perth next fall and that's not going to happen unless I (literally) get my butt in gear.
3) I am also working on correcting the anterior tilt of my pelvis (see graphic). My posture has always been an issue while racewalking, and though it's gotten better, it's not quite there. But I think I really really understand now, in a much deeper way, exactly how this works, and not just in my head, but in my body. I can feel what it feels like to walk with anterior tilt, and how I can't use my glutes, and how it feels tilt the pelvis properly and to use them while walking. I'm optimistic.

Meanwhile, I have been doing the elliptical, doing my exercises, doing the stationary bike, and racewalking just a tiny bit. The first day I only did one lap of the indoor track before calling it quits. Today I made it 5 laps, which is progress. I doubt I will be able to do the 1 hr postal on Saturday though, but it's minor in comparison with getting healthy, getting my head on straight, and training for Perth. It's also minor in comparison with being a good mom, good employee, good wife, and enjoying Christmas with my family. So, here goes!

Sunday, December 06, 2015

6K on treadmill, 3x200; 20K aborted due to hamstring

Yesterday: 6K on treadmill. I noticed that my left hamstring was sore, probably from 1) sitting endlessly in meetings (6 hr Thursday, and another 6 hr Friday) at the USATF annual meeting, and 2) the treadmill, which does really weird stuff to your gait, especially when RW. I did the 6K in 38:20, which was reasonable given that it was on the 'mill, and then headed out to the parking lot across the street for 3x200m @ 85% effort; did the first one in 1:04 then screwed up my watch so I have no idea how fast the second two were.

Garmin data here. 

Today: 20K. Not :(. I felt a little sore in left top hamstring (I think it's hamstring - doesn't seem like piriformis) the first 500m or so but then loosened up and felt really, really great. My first 12k was awesome. There's a beautiful walkway in Buffalo Bayou that goes right next to downtown Houston, and it was so perfect this morning. Low 40s and calm and clear (about 5-6C?). SO pretty. Kathy, who was with me on a rented bike, took a photo of downtown with the sunrise...gorgeous.

But then about 12.3km I felt something pull or spasm in the sore left butt, and I had to stop. I tried to stretch and casual walk it off, and then racewalked another 0.3km, but then it really pulled and I just couldn't continue. I think and hope that it is only a spasm and that it'll be fine in a couple of days. I curled up on the sidewalk and had a good cry. Kathy was very sympathetic as she is a racewalker too. Fortunately, we were close to the conference venue at that point in the walk, and I was able to ride the bike back. I can walk OK as long as I don't racewalk or try to walk briskly. It's definitely quite sore. I am very, very disappointed as I really needed to get in a long walk prior to the 1 hr postal in 3 weeks, and I felt SO GOOD this morning before this happened. SO FRUSTRATING and SO ANNOYING. I was doing 6:20/km before that happened - seriously good! Arrrgh!!!!!!!!!!!

I took an 800mg ibuprofen and am icing it now. Will take tomorrow as a rest day (planned anyway) and then re-evaluate. If I feel good I'll do my planned 10K fartlek on Tuesday. If not, I will rest more and go from there. If it's just a spasm, I should feel good in a few more days.

Garmin data here. 

Friday, December 04, 2015


Yesterday: was supposed to cross-train but spent all day on the plane to Houston for the USATF (USA track and field) meeting (yep, the Utah Association actually sent me here as a delegate!); when we arrived we were starving and ate, then had to rush to the 5-7pm opening session of the convention. After that Kathy (the Utah Association RW chair) and I had dinner with her nephew and didn't get back until yeah, no cross-training other than walking around downtown a lot.

Today: 5x1km. Went to a small park near our hotel and did ~1km loops around the park, as measured by my Garmin, which was wildly inaccurate on those loops. I honestly don't know exactly how far it was, since every time it measured differently :(. BUT the good news is that I got in a good hard workout and felt good and am recovering well. Garmin data here, and my estimated 1km times were 5:38.7, 5:18.3, 5:17.7, 5:34.4, and 5:41.8. Ummmm yeah...that was how my watch measured the 1km. Not accurate at all. The truth is probably somewhere in the average of those times. Maybe! My HR was maxxing out at 168 on the last few, so I know I got a good workout. I have no idea how fast I actually was, which was somewhat freeing. Sorry, coach, but when one travels it's unpredictable what kind of workout conditions you'll have. Tomorrow I'm going to have to do the treadmill because we have to go early, and for safety reasons we will stay indoors. I hate the treadmill...but it's only one day.

The good news is that after that hard workout my legs felt good, even though we SAT in the SAME ROOM from 11am-5pm with only one 30 min break. I didn't have any problems with that, and that would've killed me with pain 12-18 months ago, so at least progress is happening. Yay! The meeting has been pretty interesting and informative, for the most part, though like any meeting it's had its dull moments. Still, I'm learning a lot and thinking of things we can do to promote RW in Utah when we return.

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

3x2k; 10k

Monday: rest day

Tuesday: 3x2k. Went to the track with Kelly, who was doing 60 min easy, but she agreed to meet me there anyway. It was dark and cold (21F, -6.1C), as usual, but I got some fleece-lined long underwear (Champion, Target - very good!) and that helped. Winter is brutal, but warm clothes help. I have a balaclava for my head and wear lots of layers (feel like the Pillsbury Dough Boy when I go out sometimes! 3 layers on top, 2 on the bottom) but I still get cold, sort of. It's weird. Warm underneath and my core is warm, but my skin is cold, especially on my face and on my rear end. Seriously. It's a strange sensation, being warm and cold simultaneously, and not very pleasant, but...well...we do what we have to do.

I warmed up and felt pretty good, so I can't explain why the workout wasn't that good. In fact, it was pretty terrible. I worked really hard and felt like I was going backwards. Granted, it's the first time I've done 2K intervals in 3 years, but I did 1.5km intervals a couple wk ago just fine, so I guess it was just an anomalously bad workout. My 2Ks were 11:39, 11:52, and 11:56. Ouch.

Today: I was worried that today might be really tough after yesterday, but it actually went just fine. It was cold again today (21F, -6.1C like yesterday, with a slight cold breeze), and it took me a while to put on all those layers, but I was glad for them. Met Kelly at the JRP and she was only doing 45 min, so I had to do another 3km after she left (we did 7km in the first 45 min). It went pretty well, and though I could tell my legs were a little tired, they weren't terribly tired and I got through it in good time with a reasonable HR.

Total: 1:03:37 for 6:22/km with ave HR 147.