Thursday, July 31, 2008


Mariana told me that her friend told her not to be afraid to be uncomfortable.


I woke up on Tuesday, early, and headed to CP for the torture that is speed work. I didn't give myself enough time to stretch, so I was stressed. The threat of re-injury whispers to me periodically, so I try never to start a run without at least 20 minutes of stretching. When we got to our location I tried to cram in some hamstring and quad stretches, but noticed that my left quad was still sore from the previous week, which seemed strange since it never takes my muscles that long to recover; plus, my right side was fine. I decided to ignore it and go about the business of "gear shifting" around Sheep's Meadow. Basically, we started running in 1st gear and had to work our way up to 5th so by the time we were at the the south part of the loop we were sprinting. (This is a hard exercise, by the way, and I highly recommend it.) So, there I was trotting along in 1st gear until the point where I had to shift to 2nd. Still ok, just a little faster, not bad. Then it was time to shift to 3rd, which is definitely out of the comfort zone. I sped up, started breathing harder, thought about slowing down for a split second, when Mariana's friend's words flashed in my head:

"Don't be afraid to be uncomfortable."

I shifted to 4th gear.

"Don't be afraid to be uncomfortable."

Shifted to 5th and sprinted up the slight incline, then came back down the other side, only putting on the brakes so as not to loose complete control. As I rounded the corner, full speed, Abby told me to keep my elbows at my sides and not let my arms cross in front. She also clapped in support.

We were given time to let our heart rates come down before the next assignment, which was the loop again, but this time running the whole thing in 3rd gear. Halfway through I kept up my mantra "don't be afraid to be uncomfortable", and I was very uncomfortable, but at least I wasn't afraid.

I'd love to say this story ends with the heroine empowered and faster than a speeding bullet, but she was thwarted by the aforementioned quad pain that resulted in a major cramp during the last exercise -- sprinting to a tree and back. I've never felt my leg seize up like that before. It was like that runner at the Olympic trials this year who, during his sprint, just collapsed because his muscles wouldn't cooperate. I have since taken a rolling pin to the offending quad and am hoping for a better result next week.

Saturday will be my first long run since the injury. 13 miles. I'm going to stretch like there's no tomorrow. And, I'm not going to be afraid.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Training Runs

In an effort to get re-inspired / learn something new about running / get faster I've started running with Nike's 26.2 training group on Saturdays and I'm doing Abby's speed work class on Tuesday mornings.

Nike splits you up by pace and designs different running courses every week, which is great for me because I've been married to the West Side Highway / Hudson River and Central Park 5 and 6 mile loops for the past few years. So, learning new routes will be a nice change. Plus, running with a pacer will let me know if my 3:45:59 goal for this year is completely insane or just slightly crazy.

Abby's speed work class is a killer. It's an hour of all kinds of sprints -- sprint up hill, sprint around Sheep's Meadow, sprint to the tree and back, do some crazy leg exercise then sprint to the volleyball court and back. Holy crap. I did it for the first time last week and was in so much pain for the rest of the week. But, I'm going back tomorrow.

My attitude this season is very different from the last two years. I'm not as excited as I've been in the past; I feel like I'm starting over, which is slightly frustrating. The injury has forced me to take a look at everything I do wrong as a runner. I don't use my whole leg -- I use my thighs, but my calves aren't engaged. (Hopefully, the speed work classes will help solve that problem.) And, I don't push through my whole foot. Usually I either run on my toes or I'm too flat footed. Last week I practiced changing my gait to get my calves working and get my feet to do the right thing. It's hard work, though, leaving my comfort zone. And, it's exhausting.

Something that hasn't changed from the past is that my feet hurt like hell. Alison is going to try a more padded pair of Asics to see if it relieves some of her foot pain. If it works I think I'll do the same. I've got a pair of Mizunos right now that I'm not in love with. Why did I feel the need to change shoes? I've been wearing Asics for three years and they've been fine. The idea of something new is almost always better than the reality. Ain't it the truth.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

I'm back (sorta)

(When you have a second check out Recession This! which is a new blog of which I am a founder and contributer.)

After eight weeks of therapy two times a week I'm finally running again! I'm not at 100% yet, and I'm only running about 20 minutes at a time. (I cheated over the weekend and ran 30 minutes. I blame Madonna. I was listening to music and one of her songs came on just as I was coming to the end, so I decided one more song wouldn't hurt. That's probably what A-Rod thought, too.) But, I do feel much better than when this mess first started.

I'm totally inspired by the Olympics this year. It's always pretty inspiring, but Dara Torres is the woman! 41 years old and breaking records. I hope we don't find out in a week or five years that she was "juiced". Not my terminology, btw -- Dr. Amico said that this morning as he's very skeptical of my girl. Every time I start doubting my Boston Marathon goal I think of Dara, who is not only 41, but also a mom. I'm not a mom and I'm not 41. And, my injury is not life threatening or going to prevent me from running 3:45:59 this year, dammit!

Alison is getting ready for the triathalon in less than two weeks. I'm looking forward to being a spectator. I thought I'd change my mind about doing a tri, but I'm still not feeling it. I'm perfectly happy swimming simply to get relief from the heat and have no desire to dunk my head in the Hudson. Nor do I wish to experience the sore butt cycling brings, though I have mad respect for those who do.

July 14: Run in Central Park for the first time in 3 months.