2 Runs, 2 Strength Workouts, 1 Day

On tonight's 4+-mile trail run with Renee.
On tonight’s 4+-mile trail run with Renee. Testing out this outfit for Saturday’s race.

Holy sweat, Batman! I got in a bunch of workouts today even though I didn’t fall asleep fast enough last night to get up at 5 and exercise before work. But it all worked out. (Haha. Get it?)

My co-workers went running again today and so I tagged along again. We went at 11:30 a.m. and it was probably close to 80 degrees. We aren’t used to that kind of heat (I say that with a wink because I grew up in the Sacramento area where it gets up to the triple digits this time of year), so we ran pretty easy. Guys are funny because I feel like they are very concerned about their pace and if they are running fast enough. Or if they were faster than last time.

We ran 2.87 miles in just under 28 minutes or so.

Then I got home and it was too hot out to do anything with the kiddo outdoors (he’s a true Northwest kid: “I hate the sun!”). He LOVES, like LOVES, American Ninja Warrior. So we caught up with that and I got in my Metabolic Effect workout that I’d intended on doing at 5 a.m. This time I used 20-pound dumbbells and I didn’t die! Which is nice.

I did the circuit 5 times in 20 minutes:

  • 8 lunge/row
  • 8 chest press/crunch
  • 8 static squat/row/extension
  • 8 squat/curl/press

Then 5 minutes, AMRAP, of: push-ups and shoulder presses with 10-pound dumbbells.

After that, I did my running strength circuit because I knew I was going running later with my friend Renee and I didn’t know if I’d have time to do it when I got home. It goes like this:

It is Week 2, Day 2
Pedestal Routine:
20 sec prone (plank)
20 sec lateral (plank)
20 sec supine (plank)
20 sec lateral (plank) other side

Myrtl Routine:
Clamshells x 10 each side
Lateral leg raise x 4 (neutral toe, toe in, toe out) each side
Donkey kicks x 10 each side
Donkey whips x 5 each side
Knee circle forward x 10, Knee circle backward x 10 each side
Hurdle Trail Leg forward x 10, Hurdle trail leg backward x 10 each side
Lateral leg swing x 10 (keep hips and shoulders quiet), Linear Leg Swing x 10 bent knee each side

After that I played Jenga Angry Birds with Karsen and we ordered pizza! But I only had a breadstick because after the hubs got home, I headed out to the nearby trails with Renee!

Have I mentioned how much I love trails?!

These are in a new growth forest area like 5 minutes away. It is an area where I’ve seen a bear before. But our bears are more scared of us than we are of them (I doubt it). SOMETHING was moving in the bushes twice on the run and I about jumped out of my Lulu skirt. “Save me, Renee!”

I did have my pepper spray, but halfway through the run, discovered I’d put the strap on backwards and so if I’d try to spray it, I would’ve sprayed myself. Brilliant. Anyway…

Trail Selfie!

Renee, my trail guide, and me.
Renee, my trail guide, and me.

We ran 4.24 miles in about 53 minutes. I talked loud the whole way to scare away the bears. Really not that different than how it usually goes on runs with me…even without bears.

It's official. I have trail shoes. And also some scrapes from berry bushes on the trail tonight and some dust! Yah! Dirt!
It’s official. I have trail shoes. And also some scrapes from berry bushes on the trail tonight and some dust! Yah! Dirt!

I’m SO stoked for Saturday’s trail run.

My First Trail Race is Saturday, Exclamation Point

First things first. I signed up for my first trail race last night! Before I could change my mind, I registered for the 5-mile Grand Ridge race, which is Saturday morning. Turns out a few friends will be there, too! I ran the course (in a different direction) a couple of weeks ago with Jen, and it was hilly! I’m excited! Can you tell! Use all the exclamation points!

The scenery along the Grand Ridge trail in Issaquah. Are you tired of pictures of trees yet?
The scenery along the Grand Ridge trail in Issaquah. Are you tired of pictures of trees yet?

But, seriously, I’m really into trail running right now. I’m like the Depeche Mode of trail running. I just can’t get enough.

On to today’s workout:

Today’s plan: Assuming I got 7 hours of sleep, I would get up and run before work.

What actually happened: My alarm went off at 5 a.m. I noticed it was sort of dark, I stumbled to the alarm clock and hit “snooze.” Then I went back to bed where I talked myself into getting up (win!). I fumbled around for running clothes, changed and went downstairs where I noticed the clock in my room is at least five minutes slow. Then I remembered I was going to go to work early so I could leave early to get to my dentist appointment on time this afternoon. Ugh.

I stood there, blinking, trying to do the math to see if I had enough time to run. It was 5:20. I needed to leave my house by 6:15. I wanted 3 miles. So that would have me back by 5:50ish, then I need to stretch. That’s almost 6. Then a quick rinse-off in the shower: 6:10. Getting dressed, throwing my lunch together…so a collapsed on the couch for 15 minutes instead (lose).

Okay, in retrospect, I might’ve been able to pull it off, especially if I’d planned. I should know better…but I was watching an episode of Boundless (which I’m hooked on thanks to my friend Michelle) Tuesday night in which they run the Caballo Blanco Ultra, and then I went to bed. I just sort of…forgot I was planning to run in the morning.

And you know what else. I’m also sort of afraid of running so early in the morning in the dark by myself. I will have to bring Mace and wear a headlamp or bring a flashlight. I need to get used to this. Also, I hope to get a gym membership so if I’m not feeling brave, I can go treadmill it up inside.

The actual workout:

Since my treadmill is still out of order, I had no running options this afternoon. It was hot anyway. So I rode my bike on my trainer in my air conditioned house while watching yet another episode of Boundless (this time it was endurance SUP–ouch). I wanted to get double the miles I would’ve gotten with a run, so I just aimed to get more than 6. I did 7.8 in 35 minutes and called it good.

Grilled chicken, broccoli and quinoa for dinner. And I did not gorge on Cheetos when I got home today! (Because they are all gone and the bag is in the trash.)

Today’s Workouts: Weights, Running, Walking

My son and I went hiking on Friday, too. My favorite part was this hill we ran up and he said, "These hills are no match for me!"
My son and I went hiking on Friday. My favorite part was this hill we ran up and he said, “These hills are no match for me!”

Some poor eating habits over the past week coupled with no Metabolic Effect weights circuits have left me feeling and looking bloated around the middle. So, I had planned to run twice today: once at 5:15 a.m. and once during my lunch break with co-workers. But I decided I needed a weights workout more, and so I did that before work this morning.

Here’s my workout:

The goal: Do 8 reps of four hybrid moves with heavy dumbbells, and do as many intervals as possible (resting when your heart rate gets too high) in 20 minutes with the goal of getting up to at least 5 intervals. Then, do 5 minutes AMRAP of two moves.

I used 15# dumbbells. I’d been using 20#s, but sine I took a week off, I wasn’t sure I could lift 20s. The 15s were too easy, so I guess I need to go back up to 20. Sometimes, though, it does depend on the move. For example, side arm raises are super wimpy and I have to use 12s.

What I did:

  • 8 lunges with a row
  • 8 chest presses with a crunch
  • 8 rows with a tricep extension while in a static squat
  • 8 squat, bicep curl, shoulder press
  • AMRAP: bicep curls (used the 15# DBs because I forgot to bring 8s downstairs—you are supposed to use half the weight) to failure; tricep dips to failure.

Run workout:

A couple of dudes at work have been running, and they didn’t care if I came along, so this is the second time I have gone running with them. They are just sort of starting out, so the runs are nice and easy. Conversational running. Last week, we went on Wednesday and it was dumping rain. This week, it was almost 80 degrees without a cloud in the sky.

Last Wednesday's running weather.
Last Wednesday’s running weather.

I’m learning to take miles where I can get them. Not every run has to be a specific workout.

Lately, I’ve been doing my running strength routine after each run. I don’t have time when I run at work, so I did it this evening. It’s a routine from Coach Jay Johnson. Here’s what I’ve been doing:

This is Week 2, Day 1 –
Pedestal Routine:
20 sec prone (plank)
20 sec lateral (plank)
20 sec supine (plank)
20 sec lateral (plank) other side

Myrtl Routine:
Clamshells x 10 each side
Lateral leg raise x 4 (neutral toe, toe in, toe out) each side
Donkey kicks x 10 each side
Donkey whips x 5 each side
Knee circle forward x 10, Knee circle backward x 10 each side
Hurdle Trail Leg forward x 10, Hurdle trail leg backward x 10 each side
Lateral leg swing x 10 (keep hips and shoulders quiet), Linear Leg Swing x 10 bent knee each side

Hiking:

Me and my son met a friend and her kids for a hike through the trails around here. We walked pretty slow, going at the kids place, the entire time…until we came to a hill and they sprinted up it. Kids are weird. 😉

Here’s the plan for the rest of the week:

Tomorrow’s workout: As long as I get 7 hours sleep, I will get up and have a run before work. God willing! Hopefully, I will have enough time to do my strength workout afterward. If not, I will do it either during my lunch break or after work.

 

Thursday: Full body strength workout from Rob Krar before work. Easy run during lunch.

Friday: Metabolic Effect circuit; maybe some light running.

Saturday: I might be running a 5-mile trail race on Saturday. Haven’t decided.

Sunday: Easy, short run for recovery or no run depending on how I feel. Or a long run if I don’t run Saturday.

I’m trying to get used to doing morning workouts again since my work schedule will change in about a month. Once school starts, I will be the one getting the kid up and ready for school and to the bus stop before I leave for work.

I will then be able to get up a little later than I get up now to work out before I start the day. But I need to make getting up and exercising a habit again since I’ve been doing my workouts in the afternoon for almost a year now! Definitely going to be an adjustment!

Since I have accepted that I really am passionate about running, it makes it easier to get up and do it. I get to run. I get to exercise. I am lucky to have an employer that is letting me shift my hours around. I am blessed with this life.

Passion, Running Longer and a Prayer Request

My newest niece, Faith, needs your prayers.
My newest niece, Faith, needs your prayers.

Prayer Request

We need some prayers, guys. If you don’t hang out with me on Facebook, then you might not have heard that my sister had her baby way too early: at 23 weeks and 2 days to be exact. Faith’s premature birth was, in my opinion, mishandled and she is truly a miracle baby.

My sister, her fiance and her young boys are in need of prayers, too, as they go through this with little Faith, who weighs just over one pound right now. They also are in need of some financial help as you can imagine. You can read the whole story on her Go Fund Me page.

Thanks in advance for the positive thoughts and prayers.

Faith's big brothers, my cute nephews Jordan and Caden.
Faith’s big brothers, my cute nephews Jordan and Caden.

 

On Passion

A quick note on writing…I was really writing a book. It was so exciting to announce that and I was actually doing it.

But, at the same time, I found the process extremely boring. I was very unmotivated. And it forced me to take a long, hard look at my so-called passion for writing.

Is writing truly my passion? Or was it something I felt I had to do because I’m a writer in my day job?

I did a lot of reading on the subject and after thinking it to death, I came to the conclusion that I am not passionate about writing a book. At least not right now. Maybe when I’m older.

I guess I just wanted to leave the world with something when I’m gone. You know? Some sort of legacy. But why? The only people who will matter when I’m gone are my family and friends, and hopefully I will leave the legacy of many good (and I’m sure some bad, nobody’s perfect) memories. I feel almost panicky writing this. The fear of letting go of something you’ve been thinking about for a long time…

However…I still am thinking about a children’s picture book, which is what I originally wanted to write. I feel very passionate about kids and reading. My youngest sister and I (not the one mentioned above) are 14 years apart. Reading to her was my favorite thing to do when she was little.

I started reading to my son the day he came home from the hospital. He loves books. Six years later, we still read almost every night. I hate nights we have to skip it (if we get home too late or something). And, even though, he’s reading way above his level, he and I still both love sharing a picture book together. So I might work on one. Maybe just write one for him. Who knows.

So what IS my passion?

I hate to say this, but I think it’s running. Why do I hate to say that? Because running is a hobby and I guess I sort of hoped I could make a career out of my hobby. Doesn’t everyone want that? Find something you are passionate about and do it all the time. But, we have bills. It’s not that I hate copywriting. I actually really like it. And I like where I work, too. So, I’m happy. Running is my hobby that I’m really, really passionate about.

Dropping the novel-writing pressure was a huge weight off my shoulders. I feel much happier now. And I really enjoy being in the moment…especially out on the trails lately.

During my 6-miler on Sunday.
During my 6-miler on Sunday.

 

On Running Goals

So, this brings me to running goals. I feel like my goals keep changing…because they do. First, I wanted to go for that sub-1:50 half (which I still want) and then it was a sub-24 5K (and I still want that). The problem is that it seems like every time I ramp up the speed work, I am flirting with injury. My big toe (the Hallux Limitus one), shin and ankle were hurting really bad last week. But the soreness usually went away after a day of res. Still, I’ve slowed my running way down because I’m scared of getting injured.

I just really don’t want to get hurt. Having been there before, I know how much not fun it is.

I don’t know. I hate to really “announce” any new goals since I feel like they keep changing. But I will say that I’m really, really getting the urge to run long again and I’m definitely thinking of doing a marathon in 2015.

 

About this Blog

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, I’m sure you’ve noticed a change in focus over the past couple of years. It started as a journal, but after several years of that, I wanted to be more helpful to new runners.

While I love being helpful, there are so many great blogs for new runners out there, that I don’t know that I can add anything extra special. Maybe if I didn’t have a job and a young son…then I could spend more time interviewing people, researching and offering something new and exciting to the running scene.

So, I’ve been thinking about it and I want to go back to the old way, which is simply a daily journal of my running journey.

What do you think?

 

 

Running, Non-Fiction and Fiction Books I’m Reading Now

I must be the only person who doesn’t care about the 50 Shades of Gray trailer out today.

I didn’t read the book and I probably never will. (I say probably because I swore I’d never read The Hunger Games, but I gave in to peer pressure, and I ended up liking the series.) Anyway, 50 Shades just doesn’t sound like something I would like.

I’m reading a bunch of books right now. I’m the kind of person who reads lots of books at the same time. Kind of like having a lot of different TV shows on the DVR, I tune in to whatever interests me at the moment.

Running, Non-Fiction and Fiction Books to Read
Reading is a big deal at our house.

Here are the books I’m enjoying right now:

Unbreakable

I love this book, but I was getting overwhelmed with the heaviness of WWII. Doesn’t help that I have to watch a lot of real film footage of the war at work.

I’ve Got Your Number

Sometimes I like fluffy, girly fiction. I believe it was formerly known as “chick lit.” And Sophie Kinsella is one of my favorite writers of this genre. I laugh out loud a lot.

Eat & Run

I wasn’t sure I would like this book. I thought it would be all about veganism. It isn’t. And it is aligning perfectly with my current trail running obsession.

Running, Non-Fiction and Fiction Books to Read
Me and Jennifer on an 8++ mile trail run on Sunday.

Run Faster from the 5K to the Marathon

I’m loving the philosophy of this book. Loving. I’m trying to zip through it so I can get to the part where I create a training plan.

Mastery

Wow. This book is blowing my mind. It’s really helping me think about what I want to accomplish with my life. I’m about to be in my late 30s, so it’s about time.

Elite Minds

I’m not reading this right now. I read it last month, but I would recommend this book to anyone, not just runners. The mind plays such an important part of everything we do.

With so much book talk on this blog lately, I feel like I should change the name. Can’t help it. Books and running are two of my favorite subjects.

What are you reading right now? Do you read a lot of books at once or do you have to finish a book before starting a new one?

7 Self-Treatment Options for Runners Cursed with Hallux Limitus (Like I Am)

7 Self-Treatment Options for Runners with Hallux Limitus | Mom vs. Marathon
Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville Half Marathon aftermath. Can you see the bump over my left toe joint?

My big toe problem used to just be annoying. Now it is troubling…well, enough so that I looked up my symptoms on Pinterest. Surprisingly, it was easy to self-diagnose the pain in my big toe.

The pain in my big toe joint is called Hallux Limitus. I swear this is really a curse from the Harry Potter series.

So What is Hallux Limitus?

Hallux Limitus is an arthritic condition of the big toe (aka the Hallux, yeah I looked that up). The cartilage in the big toe joint that attaches the big toe to the foot is gone, or mostly gone. The joint bones and the tissue surrounding them become irritated over time from the grinding of the joints.

After a while, a bone spur can develop on top of the joint. The toe also loses flexibility. Sadly, I think this has happened to me.

If you have this, then you know Hallux Limitus can cause problems for a runner.

Just ask Sanya Richards-Ross.

The Olympic champion sprinter suffered from the more advanced version of Hallux Limitus called Hallux Rigidus, where the joint refuses to bend anymore. She had surgery last fall to alleviate the pain.

Sanya Richards-Ross Hallux Rigidus - Self-treatment options for Hallux Limitus | Mom vs. Marathon
Sanya Richards-Ross after toe surgery last fall. Click photo for source.

Knowing someone of her ability has a problem like this makes me feel a ton better in a strange way.

Hallux Limitus and Runners

As a runner with Hallux Limitus or Rigidus, you will unconsciously change your stride in order to avoid pushing off of your big toe. But that’s precisely where a runner should push off. Instead, you turn your foot to push off the smaller toes, which not only results in a less powerful stride, but also causes ankle, heel, knee, hip and lower back problems.

Yay. I have all of those on my left side.

Signs and Symptoms to Watch For

Signs of Hallux Limitus usually come on slowly over time. According to this article, “The pain can be mild and temporary or deep, sharp, and chronic. Typically it is a deep, aching type of pain. In some cases, bunions or bone spurs develop at the joint and cause additional pain. When the big toe is not in use, symptoms tend to diminish.”

Symptoms of Hallux Limitus can include:

-Pain in the big toe joint during weight-bearing movement (ahem, running)

-A grating or grinding feeling in the toe joint

-Development of a bone spur

-Limited flexibility and stiffness of the big toe

-Difficulty wearing high heels or flexible shoes (ahem, flip flops, ahem, minimalist running shoes)

-Tightness around the big toe joint

-Inflammation, swelling and redness of the big toe joint (especially on top — oh, hi, this is me)

-Pain in the ankle, knee, hip or lower back on the same side as the big toe that is bothering you (from changing your gait)

-This podiatrist explains all about Hallux Limitus in this video really well.

Hallux Limitus is not to be confused with bunions (which are generally on the side of the big toe) or gout, which is usually a sudden pain that comes on at the base of the big toe. Also, can we get a new word for bunions? One of my least favorite words.

How to Keep Running with Hallux Limitus

I don’t know about you, but a little pain in my big toe isn’t going to keep me from running. But there are ways to minimize the discomfort. (Please note that this post includes affiliate links. Thank you for your support!)

Here treatment options so you can keep running and manage your Hallux Limitus without a doctor:

-Ice the swollen area

-Take a couple days off (hahaha!)

-Shoes with a wider toe box and stiffer soles (Hokas? I have Altras, which have a wonderfully wide toe box, but the soles are too minimal for this condition. In related news, anyone want to buy some used Altra Intuitions? Under 20 miles on ’em.)

-Rocker-soled shoes (oh, hale no)

-Shoe inserts for Hallux Limitus (the Vasyli Howard Dananberg Orthotic is supposed to be good and you can find it on Amazon)

-Vitamin I (Ibuprofin) – I’d save this for really painful, swollen days; don’t kill your kidneys

-Mobility exercises – Go here for Hallux Limitus exercises (these align with what my PT was doing for my toe over a year ago).

-Check out this book — Anatomy for Runners on Kindle or paperback by Jay Dicharry helped teach me about self massage (and flossing the area).

After you’ve/I’ve tried these treatment options, if they aren’t working, it’s probably time to see a podiatrist. My advice: Try to find one that’s a runner. They understand us crazies.

Here are some ways a podiatrist can help your Hallux Limitus:

  • Cortisone shot, which CAN help for up to a year
  • Surgery (shaving off the bone spur that developed from Hallux Limitus or Rigidus, altering the joint, joint replacement, etc.)

I’m going to try to manage mine on my own for a few months, but if it doesn’t get better, I suppose I’ll go ask for a cortisone shot. A few years ago, I had cortisone shots in the bottom of my left foot for neuromas and I haven’t needed one since. Sometimes, the area just needs a little time to heal itself.

Do you have Hallux Limitus or Rigidus? How do you manage it? Shoe suggestions?