Thursday, September 30, 2010

It is about time...

...for an update! I realized yesterday that I never updated after the Philly Half Marathon, mainly because we left for Germany a few days later and this week has been mostly recovery from that. I can't believe so much has happened in the last 11 days. The Philly half was tough and we didn't hit our goal of sub 1:40, but Elyssa and I were both fine with that. It wasn't meant to be, we have bigger fish to fry in 5 weeks! (NYC Marathon looms...) Check out her blog post for the scoop if you haven't already here. It is too far gone for me to post a race report.

The Thursday after Philly my hubby and I flew over to Munich for the wedding weekend of a dear, dear friend of mine. I optimistically packed some running clothes (including gloves!) and trail shoes with thoughts of a mountain trail run in the back of my mind. Sadly, my knee gave me trouble on the ride over and throughout the weekend so that and the packed schedule kept me from running from Thursday through Monday. Eek. Despite my jetlag and head cold, as soon as I got home on Tuesday I put on my shoes and hit the streets. I didn't have time for a long run, but I needed to do this as a test for my knee anyway so I snuck in 2.77 very hilly miles in Fort Tryon Park in about 23mins. It took nearly 1.5mi for my knee to stop hurting, but the important thing is that it DID stop hurting. Whew. While I still have pain in my knee every morning when leaving the apt and walking to the train. The approximately 90 steps to leave my apt and 15 more in the subway station leave me cringing in pain each morning. It sucks, this is a repeat of what happened to me 2 years ago after NYCM. Damn.

In addition to the knee pain, I started having some pain in my SI joint- the sacroiliac joint is the point at which your spine connects to your pelvis. If you think about it, it is probably one of THE most important joints in your body, and it isn't even technically a real joint, its more of a "connection" between two bone surfaces by very thick ligaments. I knew right away that the low back pain I was having was the result of some friction in my SI joint because it has a unique burning/searing type of pain that spreads down to my hip and up to my ribs. Normally I've been able to take care of the discomfort in my SI myself, but it began interfering with my work these last 2 weeks. I may be stubborn, but I know better than to mess with my back and pelvis considering my line of work. One bad twist or slip and I could be out of work for weeks or months! So... I did the adult thing today- I made an appointment to see a PT. I know boatloads of PT's in the city, but I took the advice of my Orthopedic Doc and went with a well known sports PT practice in Chelsea. I'll update after next Wednesday's first visit.

In the meantime, I'm still cautiously playing soccer and running, swimming and doing CORE work. I know I need to step up the CORE and upper body work, so I hope to get back into the routine tomorrow after my swim. Things are changing...and hopefully for the better. I'm sick of being injured or on the verge of injured.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Heading to Philly!

I'm headed to Philly this weekend for my first (and probably last) in the Rock 'n Roll half marathon series. I say that because it is very expensive, there are no bands in the lineup that I've EVER even heard of and they charge $5 for athlete tracking (which no one I know will be using!) and I think that these things are enough to keep me away in the future. That said, I'm still looking forward to having a good time and a great race on the flat course with excellent fall weather. It certainly doesn't hurt that my host for the weekend (and best friend!) lives just steps from the starting line. Woot!

I've been having obnoxious knee pain for months (years actually) which intensified this Tuesday when I gave it a good whack on the sorest spot at work. The pain was so awful because it is an already very uncomfortable spot to even touch, so I spent the rest of the week icing and resting it. I guess you could say I tapered for the half. I've been pretty consistent with my knee rehab which consists of lots of hip strengthening, but I still have pain on and off and I also have some irritating nerve pain in my right SI joint (where your sacrum attaches to your pelvis) which needs tending to. At this point I'm going to do maintenance work on all of these things but after the marathon I need to address them fully so that they don't come back again. Ever. I may even go see my favorite PT for another round of torture because some things aren't self-treatable.

I hope you have a great weekend, enjoy the beautiful weather and have a good run, swim, bike, hike, walk, or whatever tickles your fancy.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Swimming around uptown

As you may or may not know, I have an allegiance to swimming that began many years before I started running. After a recent change in my twitter name from "runamyrun" to "runamyswim" I got my butt back into the pool after a while away. I spent much of the summer doing open water swims in the ocean, Hudson River and Lake Sebago and staying away from the busy pool at the gym. The gym has a sundeck, so the pool gets icky with people jumping in with sunblock on and whatnot, so I try to stay away as much as possible. The insane heat of July and August also caused the water to heat up to probably 85 degrees, which is intolerable for real swimming.

Wednesday I made my return to the pool after almost 2 weeks of NO swimming because of the rough surf in the ocean and my focus on marathon training. The pool kicked my butt on the first time back, but it was much kinder during my return today.

I swam for a solid hour this evening around 5pm which was a nice time to swim because there weren't too many folks there. I had to share the lane with a couple of yahoos (aka bad swimmers) at times, but managed to do my speedwork without company. In total I did around 2600 yds and felt really great afterwards.

As I was sweating up a storm in the steam room and sauna after my swim, I got thinking about swimming vs running. I am going to say this- Swimming is just as fun as running. I know plenty of runners that either can't swim or "hate"swimming for whatever reason, but I feel the need to defend swimming as an equally fun and challenging endurance sport. Some people suggest that swimming in the pool is "boring" or compare it to running on the treadmill, but I beg to differ. I often liken lap swimming to track running. It is definitely nothing like running on the treadmill/hamster wheel where you aren't actually moving your body in space. Like running on a track, you complete the same loop over and over again while challenging yourself and the clock. The thing I love most about swimming (indoors and out) is the way you're alone with your thoughts in the swishing water. Just like running, I can work through most problems or ideas while I'm swimming, I've made lots of friends through swimming, and we all have in common one thing- we're athletes. We train just the same- we all do speedwork to get faster, do long open water swims to prepare for long distance events, and do maintenance swims just to keep things moving. There is nothing, NOTHING as liberating as conquering an open water swim in an ocean, lake, pond or some other body of water. I think if many people who dislike swimming took the time to see that swimmers are JUST like runners, they'd be more likely to embrace it or at least give it a try. Maybe the reflective goggles make us look less friendly...

Anyway, as I write this I'm toggling between typing and watching the tail end of the Manhattan Island Marathon swim as Mark Warkentin attempts to break the record set by Shelly Taylor-Smith in 1995 of 5:45. It is unbelievable to watch his little glo-stick moving up the Harlem River towards the finish at 112th in the pitch black. His attempt at the 28.5 mile swim has to evoke some sort of camaraderie among the running types who can certainly appreciate the hard work that goes into this type of race.

While I won't be tackling the Manhattan Island marathon swim or English channel anytime soon (or EVER for the channel), I do have some plans for longer swims in 2011 and I'm really looking forward to kicking up my swim training over the winter. I hope to have a little company for the training (even if you're in a kayak!)

With that, I have to go watch his final 45 blocks or so.. he has 30 mins and a 6 knot current on his side. Go Mark, Go!

Autumn in New York

It is one of my favorite Sinatra songs and although I try to resist, it is one of my favorite times of year. I love the summer with it's fresh fruits and sunny, warm days that make people just a little friendlier. I don't even mind running in the heat and humidity, I'm a sweaty girl, but the heat simply doesn't crush me like it does to many others. My asthma enjoys the warm, moist air and I barely use my inhaler all season. Even though it is really hard to let go of summer, I told myself that this year I won't mourn the loss of summer like I usually do, there just is no point. I love the fall, so I've opened my arms and was getting ready for it to slowly creep in.
Yesterday and last night the weather surprised me a little, when I got off of the subway at 5:30 I ran into a running friend and mentioned that I felt almost "cold" in the breezy street. I wore long pants yesterday for the first time in I don't know how long, since June maybe? As I headed out for my evening run with the Inwood Hill crew, the wind was strong and cool and a man outside my building said "wow, great day for a run!" I knew he was right, fall is the best time for running. As I snaked through Fort Tryon park, the wind was strong off of the river and I nearly lost my hat a few times, but I smiled at the cool breeze whisking away the sweat. We had a nice group run along the Greenway and along Inwood Hill park as the sunset gave us quite a show with it's puffy glowing pink clouds and firey horizon. Since it was very cloudy, my run home got dark quicker than normal, but I know that the time is coming when I'll have to wear my light for the run home and carry my mace because the amount of foot traffic will dwindle in the park.
I trotted home at a quicker pace because I was hungry and because the lingering sunset over the George Washington Bridge was pulling me along. It was beautiful, as many fall sunsets are. The fall offers an opportunity to enjoy my neighborhood in a new way, like starting with a fresh slate. The city transforms with the changing of the seasons, this time I won't resist because to do so would make me miss the best part of the season- the in-between.
First Fall Thursday night run: 6.63 miles, 58:08 (some stopping and chatting included)
avg Page 9:13
Fastest: 7:57 (mi 1)
Slowest: 10:59 (mi 5) walking/chatting

Good stuff. Now I'm off to swim again today, I can't wait. Wednesday's swim was tough after being out of the pool for a while, but I'm ready for more today!