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Posts Tagged ‘cross-training’

I had 17 needles in me during my 1st appointment. Call it brave, crazy, fascinating...whatever it is, it's thousands of years old and it's working!

It’s been a while since I blogged, so let’s just skip the long list of excuses as to why (they are good, solid excuses though, I assure you!), and get down to it. As most of you know, I’ve been sidelined for almost 4 months. I stopped keeping track because that was bumming me out. In the meantime, I’ve become a swimming fool. I say fool because I do silly stuff and think silly stuff when I swim. While it’s great exercise and I really do love it (no really), I keep it at arms length in a way because I still feel like a runner at heart and that swimming is a ‘meanwhile’ thing. In other words, I still want that swimsuit that reads “I’d rather be running” across the butt. In a flattering way, of course.

Along with swimming, I’ve been doing acupuncture for my plantar fasciitis and tendonitis in my right foot. PF started creeping in after long runs this past March/April, but, along with other injuries that popped up, I ignored it. Fast forward to June and I was practically out of commission. I finally had to quit running. In milder cases (which I’ve had before), it hurts after running or when getting up in the morning, but not so much during a run. Every step walking or other-wise hurt. PF, the ankle, the ball of the foot and even my middle toe were screaming. By evening, I couldn’t walk and had to plant myself somewhere with piles of ice. It still hurts with every step, but not as much, I’m not as stiff and I have bouts of almost pain-free time…that time is after acupuncture!

I had heard of the success my dear running partner had with acupuncture while she was being treated for a torn PF last summer. I guess this is my summer for treatments. And Debbie Nash-Galpern, our Chinese Medicine guru, acupuncturist and herbalist is AMAZING! With or without needles, I feel so loved and cared for in her office. Anyway, moving away from Western Medicine after months of icing and taking WAY too much Aleve, felt like the right thing to do. Am I scared of the needles? Nope.  I’m way more scared of a big hill at mile 20. I figured if I could run through popping blisters and the feeling of my toes turning black during a marathon, I could hack an hour of sharp objects.

My appointments have also had other benefits… Like I’m learning to relax. I remember taking a meditation class while in college and wanting to cry every time because I was so amazed by my lack of being able to relax. When I did, it was like a river poured out of me. I had a horrific case of shingles a few years ago (stress-induced) and the only thing that helped with the pain other than massive doses of vicodin was pretending the gravitational pull of the earth was 10 times stronger than it really was and all of my body was forced to relax into the bed. That’s how bad I am at relaxing. I tried this approach on the acupuncture table, but my thoughts kept getting in the way…..what should I make for dinner? How long should the dog go without a bath and oh, let’s not forget…wow, I have needles stuck in my head! I’m trying though, really I am.

Tonight was my 4th treatment. I walked out slightly stiff, but quickly my foot turned creamy warm and it feels like it’s been massaged. It’s magical. I still have sore days, but overall, I’m on an upswing, have been Aleve-free for several weeks and the mobility and strength it feels is remarkable.

Have you tried acupuncture? For what ailment and how did it go?

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I seriously thought about buying stock in Flav R Pac with all the peas & corn I was strapping to my body!

I decided that for fun and because the approaching summer season (read swimsuit weather) to start counting calories while I am injured. What? Injured? Oh yeah, there’s that. Let’s back up….

Once up on a time, in a land far far away (and by this I mean my brain, it was so far far away), I thought it would be a good idea to have a weekly mileage goal. It was modest. 40 miles a week. This would go up as I trained for the Forest Park 50K set for May 29th. I’ve never had a weekly goal, I just ran what felt good then glommed onto to a training plan when preparing for a race. If things got too hairy with my schedule or something body-wise got out of whack, I took it easy.

Then I decided to stop thinking about thinking less and start thinking more. As we all know, thinking leads to over-thinking. Before I knew it, I was thinking about my new mileage goal All. The. Time. How do I squeeze in 3 more? If I ran an extra 5 today, I only have to do 14 tomorrow. If I skip my run today, good lord, I’ll have to double-up on Saturday. Even though I was thinking about it all the time, I was becoming dumber by the day. Pretty soon I was doing weekend 15-20 milers with a few 10 milers mid-week. Sometimes I would sacrifice sleep, get up at 4:30 and do 15 before the kids got up. This isn’t that bad. Lots of folks have this kind of schedule and many folks run many more miles a week. The dumb part is that I didn’t really use the “bump up mileage by 10% per week” rule, I was doing my shorter runs faster and didn’t work in any cross-training. Voila! The poster child for “how to get injured in 30 days or less” was born.

But wait folks, she gets dumber…. Stoked about meeting the mileage goal, she ignores the tight hamstring, the achy achilles, and the sore calf. As we know, if your body speaks softly and you don’t listen, it will scream until you do.

Stepping off the curb 10 days ago leaving my favorite coffee house, I heard the scream. My calf let out a rip and I let out a holler. Oh, but wait, there’s more! I was grabbing coffee on my way to a run. Yes, I ran ANYWAY. 5 miles later I knew my calf was going to be toast for a while. I immediately decided to take a week off of running. Normally, being injured means I’m an emotional wreck.

But something saved me.

Swimming.

In the middle of the last crazy-mileage-tempo-running-up-before-dawn week, I made a 50K training plan that included swimming. I wasn’t sure how I was going to work that into the mileage goal schedule, but what the hell. My running partner has been trying for 345 years to get me in the pool, so I carved out Mondays. Little did I know that I would go 4 times that first week and LOVE swimming. I threw in a few days of pilates (thank you Netflix instant-watch) and was actually have a nice go of it despite the fact I couldn’t run.

I turned off the over-thinking. I was at peace.

Because I didn’t have the Garmin, miles, splits, pace to keep my number-brain happy, I started counting calories (something I never do) on MyFitnessPal.com (very nice, free website with sweet iPhone app, BTW).

Time feels like it’s going very slowly. Unfortunately, it’s not going slow enough. I probably don’t have enough time to continue to heal, then work up mileage, then taper to do the 50K I had planned. I’m sad about that, but I’m ok. I’ve been running and racing long enough to know there will be other days for that. In the meantime, I’m enjoying a little less thinking.

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This is my usual poolside look. Smooth, but in a different way.

I went swimming!

Finally!

I consider this a major undertaking. So much so, I think I need an award. I’ll take a extra piece of my favorite thing…stinky cheese, thank you very much.

My acceptance speech goes like this…

I’d like to thank my running partner, Leah, who has put up with my 1,293 previous excuses for NOT going swimming and for very graciously taking me to the pool yesterday and being brave enough to share her lane with the newbie.

I’d also like to thank Terry Laughlin for introducing me to the Total Immersion technique. I heard about this a few years ago, but didn’t “dive in”. (I think I was on excuse 832 that day.) Leah reminded me about this awesome swimming method, so I have started the book and watched the first video. I have a looooooong way to go, but the few tips I picked up so far really helped.

I’d also like to thank Tanya, Chelsea, Carrie and their swimming Facebook friends who make comments about all their training in the pool. Tanya recently found her inner corkscrew.  Evidently this was very exciting news. I have no clue what this means, but I was intrigued.

I’m also grateful for those early morning runs that, of late, have been monopolized by discussions of swimming technique and assorted lingo that go with it as my running buddies head into triathlon season… transitions, bricks, buoys, waves, sprints…ooh, I know sprints! No, not that kind, they say.

A big thanks also goes to my hubby. He LOVES being under water, especially in beautiful crystal-clean rivers. He’s a natural fish and I love watching him swim with our kiddos.

And finally, I’d like to thank my body, specifically my legs, who have been screaming at me in the last couple of weeks to cross-train. Too many 20 milers on the roads lately have left my hammy tight, my calf sore and my hip hollering.

As you may know, I’m a bike dork. The last thing I need is to become a pool dork too. Growing up without participating in sports except a few solo ones (ice skating, skiing), I am always nervous about started something new. Ok, more than nervous. Freaked out. Ok, more than freaked out. We’re talking major anxiety. I’ve been quoted in Marathon & Beyond by Joe Henderson as being so “nervous I could throw up” when I showed up to my first run with other people. (I had been running solo for years.)

I’m happy to report that on my first day of trying a few laps, my goggles only filled up with water 4 times and I only choked on water–followed by a major coughing fit–once. Ok, twice. The coach that works at the pool gave Leah some final tips as she heads into her tri in a few weeks, telling her that she has shaved gobs of time off her laps and that others at the pool have noticed what a good swimmer she is. Wow, cool! Then he looked at me sweetly and told me I’m a very smooth swimmer and understands I’m just trying to breathe right now. He had no tips for me. Obviously, he doesn’t work with beginners, but I took the word “smooth” to heart. I’m SMOOTH! I’ll take it.

So, I’m patting myself on the back via this post because it may seem like a little thing to jump in the pool and try a workout, but for me, it’s kinda big. And did I tell you I’m excited for my next smoooooth session? Wahoo!

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This isn't me, but you get the idea. You just wanna help her, don't ya?

I have Bike Dork Syndrome. I don’t know why really, but I just can’t seem to feel comfortable in bikeland. I suppose I don’t ride enough and usually save my semi-serious efforts for when I’m injured and have to cross-train, like the last two weeks. In case you’re not sure if you’re a dork on a bike, check out my list of blunders. If you can claim more than 3 of these as situations you find yourself in, you too might be suffering from BDS.

  • You notice people look sorry for you, then you realize it’s cuz you’re wearing your helmet really crooked.  That’s me.
  • You wheel your bike out of the garage and give yourself a big, bloody scrape from the pedal. That’s me.
  • You squeeze and squeeze your bike tires before you hop on cuz you think they need air, over-inflate them, then almost kill yourself trying to check them mid-ride. That’s me.
  • You’re cranking a hard workout while your shopping basket is clanking away on your handlebars. That’s me.
  • You take at least 5 minutes locking up your bike because half the time you just lock it to itself and not the rack. That’s me.
  • You adjust your seat a little lower to better reach the curb in hopes of avoiding the hop-stop-hop-stop dance into traffic while pushing the walk signal. That’s me.
  • You shift in the wrong direction and make it much harder to go up hills, but pretend you wanted it to be impossible and convince yourself it’s a better workout that way. That’s me.

This last two weeks of biking, hiking, yoga and core work has really motivated me to do two things…

  1. Learn how to be frickin comfortable on a bike, or at least look like it. I should take lessons from my kids. They are naturals at everything. Or maybe I just need a Hello Kitty bike bell. hmmm.
  2. Cross-train more. Everyone who is anyone in the runner-sphere knows it’s a good idea, but this runner momma, short on time, keeps slipping into her comfort zone of running and running and running. Which is probably why I got injured in the first place.

You only get that dorky newbie feeling when you’re new at something. Getting more comfortable with it will make it more enjoyable. I know this because I have talked to many people who have tried running and say they don’t like it. They then tell me all the newbie uncomfortable stuff about it that makes them feel dorky and hate it. Are you good on a bike? Let’s grab coffee and help each other out!

Keeping my pledge to do more cross-training will be hard. What do you do to make sure you’re fit all over? And how do you squeeze cross-training into a crazy schedule?

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