Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Tuesday Wrap Up: The Worst Kind of Update

It's been awhile, and mostly that's because the news ain't good - I'm waving the white flag on this hip thing and taking a(nother) full week off from running.

To recap (and this is as much for me to take to the doctor as it is to bring you up to speed): the first week in June, my hip locked up in a 90 degree angle for a few seconds (which seemed like hours) and it did not feel awesome. I took 8 days off from running, and then was able to run a half marathon without pain the last weekend in June. Pretty much since then, though, while I have seldom experienced overt pain, there is a periodic pinching in my left hip joint, both while running and while walking. Twisting motions reliably produce this sensation. This has increased in frequency over the past several weeks, though there seems to be no connection between speed or distance and the pinching.

To combat it, I've been doing squats and reverse lunges, as well as some cross training (SoulCycle and yoga). It is unclear what if any effect this has had, though I better be getting a nice ass out of this.

Symptoms seem consistent with hip impingement or acetabular labrum tear. Both are manageable with PT and rest (according to the internet), and while I'm extraordinarily bullheaded when it comes to these kinds of things, I'd rather bail on Chicago, or have a fun, easy run in a city I love, than grind my hip cartilage to a pulp in the name of racing Chicago, only to wind up with arthritis as a 31 year old.

I'll be reaching out to my old pal Dr. Jordan Metzl today to see if he can see me in the coming days. To that end, this might be the last weekly mileage wrap up you'll see for awhile...

Number of Miles Run Last Week: 21. I was traveling for work again last week, and these miles were a mix of treadmill and Charles River runs. I bailed on a long run last week, because by Saturday, it was pretty clear that my hip was not getting any better. Neither was my hangover, but there's more on that below...

Number of Beers Consumed Last Week: Just 4. Oh god but I had a tequila shot on Saturday night (yes, on a business trip...) and it was horrible. I was hungover until Sunday night from that. Never again.

Types of Beers Consumed Last Week: Lagunitas IPA, Shipyard IPA, and something else whose name escapes me.

Any experience with hip impingement or acetabular tear? Any recommendations for how to heal this shit ASAP and still enjoy the Chicago Marathon, 10 weeks from now?

Friday, July 18, 2014

Join Me in the Bronx

My mom, native Washington Heightsian that she is, read that title and promptly got in the car to drive down from Connecticut and ask me what, exactly, I plan to do in the Bronx.  Hear me out, Mom.  And the rest of you reading should listen up too.

The Bronx is known for several things.  The Yankees, of course.  Fordham University, alma mater of my parents and, ipso facto, the reason I am here on this earth (vague sex reference involving my parents - barf).  Jennifer Lopez.  Imperial, the liquor store conveniently located off I-95 that sold beer and wine coolers to 16 year old girls in the early 2000s, and where one kind and friendly fellow produced a slim jim from his pants after one of the aforementioned 16 year old girls locked her keys in her Jeep (I swear I was at home studying when that happened, Mom; the girls just told me about it.  Also I never drank before I was 21).  And also, Van Cortlandt Park.  But I wouldn't know, because I have never been there.

I know; that's kind of embarrassing, actually.  Van Cortlandt is known among runners in New York as the closest point of trail access around, and someone who once went all the way to Colorado just to do a little trail running, I should be taking advantage of trails that are just a subway ride away (well, technically 3 subway rides away, since I live on the East Side).

This is taken from behind because I'm sure I was crying. 
So when the folks at VERT Race Series reached out to me about joining them in Van Cortlandt Park on August 16th for the Trail Master Killah 5k trail race, I jumped at the chance.  The VERT Race Series is designed for folks who don't have a ton of trail experience, so you don't have to be a badass trail runner who summits 14ers like I did in Colorado (momentarily I'll get a call from my buddy Rafter, reminding me that on that trip, I made it about 10 minutes into our first run before I begged for a walk break and also asked if maybe I could have his water bottle because I'd already finished mine.  Badass indeed...).  I hear Van Cortlandt is pretty hilly, but it's only 5k, so even if it's the hardest thing ever, at least it'll be over soon (that's what she said).  If that doesn't sound appealing, you can enter as a team.  Or sandbag the race and save your strength for the post-race dance off, for which prizes will also be awarded.

Best of all, registration includes free beer at the finish.  You're welcome.

The folks at VERT hooked me up with a free registration, but they'll give you $10 off if you register by August 10th using this code: WILLRUNFORBEER (bonus points for creativity, VERT people).  That's $28 for a tshirt, a race, and beers that are free.  I drank $28 in beers alone for breakfast this morning (just kidding, employer!).  If you sign up, tell me, and then we'll have beers together afterwards (again, they're free!).

Who's with me?

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Sunday Wrap Up: Camping and Tramping

OMG! Two wrap ups for the price of one!

TG and I spent the Fourth of July weekend canoe camping in the ADKs, which was a new experience for me, and only deepened my love of a part of the state for which I already had fond feelings. We had an awesome trip, except for the part where I spilled dinner all over the ground at the campsite. We did no running, except when I saw a leech and ran in a small circle screaming for 2 minutes, because ugh leeches are worse than cockroaches. We did, however, do about 5 hours of paddling everyday, plus a couple hours of hiking, because surprise! Canoe camping involves carrying your canoe over land. Thankfully TG is a rugged mountain man and knows that my arms are just for decoration, so he shouldered (literally) that responsibility.

We drank a couple of beers in the woods, but only 2 a piece because I used up all the space in our packs bringing hot dogs.

Number of Miles Run, 2 Weeks Ago: 23. Treadmill distance PR, but otherwise a light week on the running front.

Number of Beers Consumed, 2 Weeks Ago: 4.

Types of Beers Consumed, 2 Weeks Ago: Magic Hat Elder Betty, Blue Moon, and a local ADK beer consumed at the weirdest/best BBQ pit after we came out of the woods on Sunday.

Hot Dog Count, 2 Weeks Ago: 2, cooked over a fire, and holy cow, were they delicious.

I got back to New York late on Sunday, sunburnt and bug bitten and muddy, and had a few days to recover before my next adventure. One of my recovery to-dos was attend a yoga class, which I did with my friend Caroline, of Bikram yoga fame. The class we took last week, at Lyon's Den, was also conducted in a 95 degree room, and I'm not sure why Caroline and I keep doing this to ourselves. Class was actually quite good, if very sweaty (full recap to come, probably...), but left me largely unable to lift my arms all week. They were so sore, just holding them bent at the elbows to run was challenging. While I had the best intentions of getting in a long run Friday before I hit the road again, I was too sore to tackle more than six.

On Friday morning, I dumped the camping gear out of my bag and replaced it with my trampy finest for Abbe's bachelorette party in Miami this weekend! Most of the girls arrived a day before me, and warned that it was too hot and humid to comfortably run outdoors, but I wrote them off as wimps and planned for a long, beachy run. Instead I spent an hour and a half on Saturday morning sweating out my champagne hangover on the treadmill, looking longingly at the palm trees outside. Actually, I wasn't even looking all that longingly; Miami is hot as hell. But it's also pretty crazy and glamorous and a great excuse to dress like hooker and get away with it. As you might imagine, we did a fair bit of drinking, as well as a fair bit of things that can't be shared with the internet masses.

Number of Miles Run Last Week: 31. My Saturday treadmill run was 11 miles. I actually felt great and considered running a full 13.1, but the prospect of setting a treadmill distance PR two weeks in a row was too depressing.

Number of Beers Consumed Last Week: 12.

Types of Beers Consumed Last Week: Adirondack Mountain Lager, Tsing Tao, Blue Moon, Bud Light, Heineken, Fat Tire, Michelob Ultra (stop judging me; I wasn't the one who went shopping).

Hot Dog Count Last Week: 0. Hot dogs and bottle service do not mix.

So, two awesome weekend in a row that were very, very different.

Coming up in the week ahead: I don't have to travel anywhere! I'm so excited! I'll also share some information about a fun local trail race I'm doing, along with a discount registration code for you to do it with me. If this post didn't indicate that I am fun in a wide variety of situations, I don't know what will.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Personal Records You Shouldn't Chase

Some people love the treadmill. Many more people, however, hate the treadmill and would rather wrap the emergency stop cord around their necks than run on one. I fall somewhere in the middle; I can tolerate - nay appreciate - the occasional hour on the 'mill given particularly unpleasant weather conditions or the football schedule on Sunday afternoons. But that's about the extent of it. Or at least it was, until yesterday.

Yesterday, I set a new personal record. It wasn't for my 5k performance. It wasn't for the shortest inseam in my running shorts (I set that one ages ago). It's actually sort of something I wish I did not achieve. Yesterday, I set a new personal distance record for the treadmill: 12.25 miles. I do not recommend it.

I found myself in this position when, on Sunday evening, as I usually do, I compared my training calendar with my work and personal calendars with the weather for the week and started slotting my workouts. My upcoming camping trip this weekend meant I would definitely have to get a long run in during the week. But the weather forecast for most days was hot, humid, and thunderstorm-y, and my work calendar indicated there weren't any days I could show up fashionably (if "sweaty and disheveled" is a synonym for "fashionably") late. If I wanted to get my long run done this week, it would have to be after work, on a treadmill.

Spending one hour and 42 minutes on the treadmill is a daunting prospect even once you've already started it. Almost immediately, little annoyances become nearly insurmountable. One mile in, and I was furious I had picked a machine with no fan. 1.5 miles, and I realized the incessant squeaking was coming from my own feet, and I'd be forced to listen to it for the duration of my run. At 3.5 miles, the US Men's National Team lost to Belgium. Not only was my sense of nationalism deflated, but now I had nothing to watch on TV.

This post needed a photo, so here is a tangentially related one of me at the World Cup in Berlin in 2006 with Nina and Megan. You'll note my entire head of hair is spray painted to resemble the German flag. Lifelong soccer fan, right here...

I switched on "This American Life," which was so depraved I wanted to turn it off, but then what would I do for entertainment? At one hour, the treadmill automatically shut down, at which point I refilled my water bottle, and ran to check that I had in fact locked my locker, a question that had been nagging at me for the last 25 minutes (I had). I cued up Netflix on my iPad and hopped back on for round two.

That's 3 different electronic stimulus, plus the treadmill itself, required to finish my workout. Anyone who says running is a low tech sport is a liar.

Throughout my run, the people on the treadmills on either side of me changed several times (because oddly, no one else was running 12.25 miles on a Tuesday evening). When my treadmill finally, finally indicated I was done, I let out a tremendous sigh of relief. Then I realized the man next to me was probably curious as to why I was behaving as though 5 miles was some special accomplishment. I wanted to tell him "you can't see it here on the display, but I swear this is actually more than 12 miles, because I did an hour before I did these 5 miles! I did 12 miles on the treadmill! That's so many treadmill miles!" But I didn't, because it's inappropriate to say things like that to stranger. But not to your blog.

You guys, I did 12 miles on the treadmill. That is so many treadmill miles.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Monday Wrap Up: On the Run in Fire Island

I was in Kismet, on Fire Island, this weekend for my friend Liza’s bachelorette party.  I had ample running opportunity.  Most of it entailed running from the bar back to our share house to pee when the bathroom lines were too long.  But some of it was actual, sneaker-shod running.  Running on the beach is no joke, and I’m thankful I had the foresight to do my long run on Friday morning in Manhattan before I left.  Both because 10+ miles on sand over the weekend would have probably killed me, and certainly enhanced my already significant sunburn, and because I drank so much on Saturday night I thought I was paralyzed, which would have made for challenging workouts.

Let's get a little closer, shall we?

I’m so sad because I forgot how to work my legs.  Sincere apologies to Liza for ruining the only group photo from her bachelorette party weekend.

But yes, miraculously despite the sunburn, psychosomatic paralysis, and Bud Light intake, I did a little running in Fire Island.  Our first morning there, I ran onto the beach, thinking I would find some hard-packed sand near the water’s edge and pound out a few out-and-back miles.  I made it 0.8 miles in sand that came up to my sock line before I thought I’d better look at a map and see if I could find an alternative.  Kismet is closed to cars, so there weren’t exactly roads on which to run, but there was, parallel to the beach, a sandy path that was a bit firmer than the actual shore.  I earned myself a blood blister nonetheless, but was pleased to at least have gotten my prescribed run in.

My second run of our stay (not counting those aforementioned bathroom jogs) was fueled by 60 Bud Lights and a blister pack of Advil, but when I finally got myself out the door, I at least had already identified a route that wasn't soul-crushing nor calf wrenching.  Best of all, I finished in the ocean, stopping only to remove my socks and kicks before taking the plunge.  A better hangover cure does not exist.

You'll note the red "end" point is in the ocean

Number of Miles Run Last Week: 28.  Week one of Chicago training is in the books!

Number of Beers Consumed Last Week: 13.  I have a firm “no shots” policy (Turn down for what you ask, Lil Jon?  Quite a few things, including being 30 years old.  Also oh my good God I’ve never watched the video at that link before, but I recommend it, as it features a man breaking pottery on his sweatpants-clad weiner). That said, I have no policy against rose or sangria, all of which are available in abundance at a bachelorette party.

Types of Beers Consumed Last Week: Brooklyn Lager, Coronado Islander IPA, Tiger, Tecate, Bug Light, Beach Haus Pilsner, 203 Lager, and Mosaic Session IPA.

This week is a shorty before another weekend away (#soblessed #willberentinguntilIdie).  TG and I are going canoe camping, since our first foray into paddling went so well. Canoe camping is unlikely to involve any running at all, so I'll try to get another mid-week long run in before we depart.  Once we're there, I'll be switching things up from the norm and using my arm muscles a lot, both for the canoeing (and portage...) and also for slapping away mosquitos.  The more I think about it, the more this sounds like a wonderful trip for which I am definitely adequately prepared...

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Tuesday Wrap Up: Fairfield Half Marathon

On Sunday, for the 7th time, I ran the Fairfield Half Marathon. It would have been the 8th time, were it not for the whole pesky broken foot thing last year. But even at 7 starts and finishes, this is the race I've run more than any other. And with good reason. I love the Fairfield Half Marathon.

Many people do NOT love the Fairfield Half Marathon. For that reason, I suspect, the course changed significantly last year. I didn't know this however, because I had a broken foot, and while I was registered for the race last year, I quickly deleted all correspondence about any course changes I received from the race director and went back to feeling sorry for myself and drinking too much.

So this year's Fairfield Half Marathon featured a new to me course, and as a result, I loved it even more than usual. Gone were the long climbs beside highway overpasses, replaced by flat stretches along the shore in Westport (I presume the race name now refers to the county and not the city). A few signature aspects remained: the big hill at mile 2, the incredible crowd support throughout, the finish line in a gravel pit (that's not the best...), the post-race beach party.  In my view, the changes that were made were all for the better, and the logistics of this race (parking, getting to the start, etc) continue to be awesome.  Special thanks to the Fairfield Police Department, and in particular the cop directing traffic between miles 4 and 5, who had to deal with a violently aggressive suburban dad who was threatening to run us all over.  That's a true story, and I'm glad the police officer kept us all safe.  I hope the dad was arrested.  Um, but don't let that deter you from running this next year...

Old Course

New Course

I won't go into all the details of a race I've run a billion times, but I finished in 1:43, a comfortable effort, and with negative splits, which leaves me feeling good about Chicago Training, which begins this week.  Best of all, my hip didn't bother me once for the duration of the race.  My stomach sure did though; I suspect consuming multiple bottles of wine single-handedly on Friday night didn't exactly leave me poised for feeling great, even two days later...

Oh hi, I swear I wasn't race walking even though it looks like it.

Number of Miles Run Last Week: 20.  In deference to my sore hip, I did just 2 short, easy runs in the week leading up to the half.  This seems to have been an effective strategy.  Or laziness and dumb luck.

Number of Beers Consumed Last Week: 8. And the gallon of rose I drank on Friday night.  Oh God, hangovers in your thirties are atrocious.

Types of Beers Consumed Last Week: Sierra Nevada Summer, Magic Hat Elder Betty, Blue Moon Honey Wheat, and Bud Light.

Hot Dog Count: 0.  Damnit, Walsh.  It's officially summer now.  Step up your hot dog game.

So, here we are in week one of Chicago training.  I mentioned that fact to TG on Sunday night, and he said "see you in November!" which made me sad.  I'm tentatively following the same training plan I used in the spring, but I'm reserving the right to swap it out for something a little less intense; the heaviest weeks in the spring left me unbelievably drained, and overall, I felt like the volume was just a bit more than I could comfortably manage with work and travel and sleep and wanting to see my boyfriend for more than the 10 minutes before I collapsed, exhausted, in bed every night.  Fingers crossed, the months ahead should be a lot lighter on work travel, but I'm trying to remind myself that it's okay if my training plan is more fluid than hard and fast.  That's what she said?

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Futile Fitness Efforts

For the third consecutive day this week, I have put on the same shorts and same sports bra in an attempt to work out. For the third consecutive day this week, I failed.

Tuesday, I planned to go to a yoga class at my gym (a too little, too late effort to engage in some stretching and strength training for my hip). I pre registered and everything! I got there 10 minutes early and peeked into the studio. There was not a single square foot of space to be had, and at least three other people ahead of me looking for a place to squeeze in. It was all very Jerry Seinfeld. "You know how to take the reservation; you just don't know how to hold the reservation." This is why people pay $34 a pop for boutique fitness classes...

Yesterday, TG and I hit snooze a few more times than we probably should have in the morning, so I threw the same shorts and sports bra into my bag with every intention of hitting the treadmill after work. Unfortunately, a "surprise" presentation to 1,000 participants added to ye olde calendar meant that I was a little bit busy and the workday lasted a little bit longer than I'd anticipated. By the time I escaped, PowerPoint in hand, I could barely manage to put Triscuts on a plate and open a tub of hummus, let alone engage in exercise. This is why people work out in the mornings.

Today, I went so far as to get up with the alarm, brush my teeth, and put on the shorts and sports bra on the morning before climbing back into bed for "5 more minutes." Alas, 5 minutes was more like 40, and I had to get to the office early on account of the aforementioned presentation for 1,000 people. This is why people lean out.

Currently, I'm sitting in the shorts and sports bra (I changed out of them for work, only to put them back on at the end of the day), stymied again because my Garmin, which I've been carrying in the same bag with the shorts and sports bra all week, is now dead, since my bag is not, apparently, a power source.

At this point, I'm blaming the clothes, and with begin my effort anew tomorrow. Just in time to rest up before the half on Sunday...