Sunday, 30 January 2011
Saturday, 29 January 2011
I had a strange feeling in my foot sporadically, not so much pain as a gentle tug. There was no explanation for it, such as the conditions on the ground. Like I said, no logic. I had planned on running maybe 14-15 km, so when we got back to the start after 12 km and the others went on to run another round, I looked for the 2,5 km path. Unfortunately, it was an ice rink there. So instead of risking breaking a leg, I got in the car and drove home to give my aching foot an ice bath. I love the tingling sensation as warmth returns to my toes afterwards.
The rest of the day will probably be spent in a horizontal position, enjoying my book and the giant chocolate muffin that J was kind enough to buy for me, to cater for my calorific needs. Hurrah for Saturdays!
Thursday, 27 January 2011
I tried jogging in them too. I increased to 1,5 km jog after last time's 1. It felt natural and easy. Well, apart from the fact that I was jogging in my thick winter jacket, jeans and with a scarf around my neck. What a sight I must have been. I can't wait till I can run the whole way home in my VFFs!
Wednesday, 26 January 2011
I made the mistake of going to the swimming pool when they opened this morning at 6.30. Me and about 20 pensioners. One old fellow swam around in a circle in the middle of the lane. An old lady almost planted her elbow in my stomach in a rush to get to the showers before me. It was a jungle in there this morning. A jungle of fierce, elderly predators.
Had I gone half an hour later, the pool would have been almost empty. Most of the early birds leave the lane then to join a water exercise class. Lesson learned.
I envy the real swimmers in the fast lane, splashing about with their goggles on. They can practise their backstroke without worrying that they'll hit someone (like I did).
The dream of joining the fast lane might not be far from becoming a reality. I swam 1,5 km in just over an hour, and I didn't have to take a break as often, which means that I must be getting faster. I suspect I am not ready to join the Olympics team just yet, but in a couple of months I might at least be able to swim the distance without any breaks.
Monday, 24 January 2011
Well, I am a masochist when it comes to training: if I don't get tired exercising, it doesn't feel like I've gained anything by doing it. Unless it's running, because then the actual run is a reward in itself. So after I came home, I put my yoga DVD in the player and did an hour of yoga. Now I'm tired and satisfied.
Later, however, as I was registering this training on my online log, I saw the awful truth right in front of my eyes: today was the 9th day in a row that I've done some form of exercise. In other words, not a single day of rest since Sunday last week. The exercise was varied: I've gone climbing, I've done strength exercises, I walked in my VFFs, I did yoga, and of course I ran. I feel like I am supposed to have a bad conscience because of this lack of rest, but I don't. Somehow the variation in training makes up for it. Or does it? If I go running one day, and climb the next one, do I not train different muscles? Do I wear my body out, even with alternative training?
I had planned on running to and from work tomorrow, a total distance of 9 km if I take the shortest route. Then swimming on Wednesday, and running / climbing on Thursday. It sounds like a lot, but it doesn't feel like it. Rather it feels like just about enough. Will a rest day on Friday leave me in good enough shape for a "long" run on Saturday, together with our running group? Or should I take an extra rest day? How much training is too much? Is any training too much, when it's so much fun?
Sunday, 23 January 2011
Climbing went well. No new routes were conquered, but I did have a bit of fun on a 6b+. I would have managed to climb the whole way, if only I'd had wings. Towards the end of the session I felt weak, as if yesterday's tiredness was catching up with me. On our drive home, though, the sun was shining and I couldn't resist dragging along J for a short, easy jog to lap up some vitamin D.
Saturday, 22 January 2011
We met at 10. It was chilly but the beauty of the frost-decorated trees and the warmth of sunlight more than made up for it. We knew that more people would join us than ever before, but we never expected that we'd end up being a group of 17.
We ran around the lake while the mist slowly lifted from it, gracing us with a beautiful view. It was a typical winter morning; a couple of degrees below zero, a struggling sun, something in the air reminding us that spring is on its way.
but I did get to take this lovely photo of their backs!
Thursday, 20 January 2011
Our running group will meet on Saturday for a long run and I'm thinking about joining them. I know that my foot is not ready yet for the whole distance, but it will be nice to see them again and run together for a few kilometres. Weather forecast promises -3 and overcast. Looking forward to it!
Wednesday, 19 January 2011
After a couple of near-death experiences on my morning run, I can share this knowledge with the Internet. Spikes don't work that well on smooth ice. Unfortunately for me, pretty much the whole path around the lake was covered in smooth ice.
This, and the bird song (oh, the beautiful bird song), and the fact that it's still light at 4 in the afternoon are good signs. Signs that we are, in fact, heading towards spring. We might still have 2 months of icy rain, slippery pavements and freezing wind ahead of us, but the birds have spoken. Sooner or later, spring shall come, and it shall be glorious! Rejoice!
So how did my morning run go, other than that I unwittingly auditioned for Disney on Ice, the part of Bambi?
I ran 10 amazing kilometres. That used to be my usual distance session, nothing to write home about, but I am ecstatic. The last time I ran 10 km was over a month ago. Granted, I only ran at a spectacular 6,30 min/km. I know, I should tattoo a hare on my forehead. But I enjoyed it immensely, scary as it was. I let my thoughts drift (even though they never drifted too far. Rather, they focused on which kind of ice was the most slippery. The grey kind? The yellow kind? The brown kind?).
Once I got home, I attacked my foot with ice, massage, stretching and Voltaren. It doesn't seem to like my spikes. I don't blame it, I hate the spikes too. But they do give me the freedom to run in the woods on an icy winter day. Ineffective as they are.
Ice covered the pavements but I had spikes on my shoes. After some initial awkward moments of trying to figure out how good a grip my spikes had on the ice, I found a very easy pace I was comfortable with. I even tried to implement the right technique, though it was hard to do that and try not to fall on my butt at the same time. You could definitely hear me coming, in any case, what with my spikes clicking and clacking. It was a discrete way to let others know of my presence, but still sounded like a jet plane in comparison to my ninja-stealth VFFs.
As a result of my super slow pace, my pulse was relatively low. I let myself observe my surroundings. I was running in the dark, with the full moon lighting my way. It was by far the easiest session in months, and a very enjoyable at that. A hundred metres from my door I had passed the 5 km mark, so I stopped and did some running drills instead.
It left me longing for more, so I'm heading out for a run in the woods in a while. Tonight, climbing. It will also be very interesting to see if the latest issue of Runner's World arrives in my mailbox today, seeing as everyone else seems to have gotten theirs by now...
Tuesday, 18 January 2011
The day was not exercise free. I did some strength exercises in the morning: abs, legs and feet, balance, arms. Sunday's walk in my VFFs had left my feet and legs pleasantly tired. Today, however, is going to be a rest day, as I have a 10-hour work shift.
Energy is at an all-time low. There are too many things in my life right now that are very demanding energy-wise, and not good things either. I am living in interesting times. My go-to medicine for that, my way to find balance, is running. But all I want to do is crawl back to bed and stay there for a few days. Good thing I'm off work tomorrow.
Sunday, 16 January 2011
Lately both J (my husband) and I have felt that we haven't been making any progress at climbing. He was stuck on 6A level and I on 6B. Today, however, something happened. J flew up a 6B and I made considerable progress on an overhang 6A that I've been failing at for months. I didn't climb it in one go - in fact I had to take a break about 15 times - but I did climb it.
Before going to the climbing gym we also got ourselves a balance board, which will hopefully not only help with balance, but also with foot strength. I also bought some toesocks, to go into my VFFs so that my feet don't freeze so much. I'm planning on putting them to good use later, when we go for a walk in the woods. That is to say, if we can go for a walk. Last night's rain has turned snow into ice and I suspect that putting spikes on my VFFs might be missing the point.
Saturday, 15 January 2011
I have now changed the title of the blog to one that better represents where my training is heading. I am no longer training for Stockholm Marathon, or at least not for this year's event.
This blog started off as a way for me to keep track of my training, and document the journey towards Stockholm Marathon. Since then it's grown to encompass other training because of my foot injury, hopefully without losing its focus on running. Because that is an accurate description of how my training is in real life: my focus is still on running, but I do do other activities.
So now the title of this blog is ”Running for life”. It's a title that I've toyed with before, in the days before I entered Stockholm Marathon and it became the main goal with my training. I like this title, because of its double meaning: that I want to keep running all my life, and that running gives this life better quality in so, so many ways. It's a broader title, because running for me is a lifestyle and not the means to a single goal.
A little late in the day to be formulating New Year's goals perhaps, seeing as the first month of the year is already half gone, but a few running-related things that I would like to accomplish in 2011:
- Be healthy and injury free
- Improve my running technique
- Eventually start running in my Five Fingers
- Increase the training amount back to 200 km per month, but be smarter about it and not rush into it
- Run a couple of races for kicks, one of which Prinsens Minne half-marathon (loved it last year)
- Keep up the alternative training, build an all-around stronger body. I'm more than just my legs.
- Do some ”adventure” runs with my running buddies. Alingsås – Gothenburg in the summer, for instance.
- Do a triathlon (ahoy!)
- Run a marathon
- Keep running!
Friday, 14 January 2011
Wait, back up. I should be using capital letters: I RAN home from work. Last time I used my legs to get home from work was over a week ago, when I struggled through new, unploughed snow - but I wouldn't call that running. Today, not only did I get a sense of getting in a nice flow, not only did I work on my technique (though not all the time - it's still too hard), but I ENJOYED IT. And I ran 7,5 km. I haven't run this far in over a month.
Wednesday, 12 January 2011
A visit to the physiotherapist left me pretty pleased. In fact, I'm doing somersaults. I don't have plantar fasciitis. The problem is an overstrained tendon. I will run again. Predictably, the prescription was Voltaren, ice, massage, stretching, strength exercises. Oh, and orthopaedic inserts. And she was doing so well, up until she mentioned those.
Don't get me wrong. Anything that will help my foot get better soon is great. It's just that I'd rather build up my strength and not need things like that. I'm a barefoot enthusiast in the making.
I asked carefully when she thought I could go running again, and she dodged the question by saying "Swimming is a great form of exercise", and then "Talk to the orthopaedic specialists that sell those inserts, and they'll let you know". In other words, if I don't buy those inserts, I can forget about running for a long time. We booked another appointment for two weeks from now, to see how my foot is doing.
It comes as a surprise to no one that I dropped out of the marathon. I had about a snowball's chance in hell of running it. My mind is already spinning in all directions trying to find new goals to set my sights on. There's Gothenburg Marathon / Halfmarathon in October, for instance. No need to apply 9 months in advance for that one. Depending on my form, I could show up on the same day and run it if I wanted to. Then I have the running seminar to attend in March, that will hopefully improve my technique. And then I have some very vague, very long term plans about a sport that includes running, swimming and cycling. And saying "ahoy" a lot. All on the same day. And I do plan on running long distances again, once my foot lets me.
Speaking of swimming, my first Wednesday at the pool went really well. I had to find the car in the parking lot and dig it out of all the snow that had fallen over night, and finally made it to the pool at just after 6.30. The pool was reasonably quiet, half-dark, warm. I swam one kilometre in just under 50 minutes. I beat almost all the pensioners who were there. I'm on fire.
Now, what to do about the title of this blog. Any suggestions?
Tuesday, 11 January 2011
I've written about having mixed feelings about this before: disappointment because I wouldn't get to run this, relief because the pressure would be off. My foot has also been giving me mixed signals, from hardly making a fuss to making it impossible to even walk. Rest doesn't seem to be a factor in this; I haven't been out running (or walking, for that matter) for almost a week now, but my foot hurts more than ever.
Dropping out is now rapidly becoming an unavoidable reality. The clock is ticking, counting down the days to the marathon. I'm back at square one, struggling through 5 km. I mean, realistically, how can I ever manage 42 km with only 4 months of training left (and that is, if my foot magically gets better)? If I had years of training behind me, it might be possible to overcome a short break. But I don't.
Besides, even if I managed to run the distance, what price would I pay? How much higher would the risk for further injury be?
My disappointment right now is not because I'll have to drop out. It's because I can't bloody run.
It's time to lick my wounds and admit defeat, to see this as a valuable lesson learned. Yes, I still LOVE running far, but I can't go from half-marathon to ultra over night. I need to be wise about this from now on. Take inspiration from others, but also know my own limitations. Take the time my body needs to adapt to longer distances. Listen to any signals it might be sending. Focus on technique, improve it. Run less on tarmac (even if I love how I get into a nice flow there). Do other sports.
I'm waiting to see what my physiotherapist thinks about this injury before I send the withdrawal email, in case she's able to wave a magic wand and fix my foot, but everything points to 2011 not being my year to run a marathon.
Sunday, 9 January 2011
I started feeling funny an hour after I got home from the swimming pool, but I didn't really realise that I had the stomach flu until we sat to watch a film last night. It felt like someone was stabbing me with a knife all over my torso. Then I finally threw up. It was the beginning of a hellish night. Lying in bed was ok and didn't make me queasy, but I felt parched. As soon as I got up to get some water, the nausea came back with a vengeance. This went on all night; I drifted in and out of sleep, not really able to get comfortable. I must have had a fever too. Then this morning I moved from the bed to the sofa and got some real sleep, with my cats curled up at my feet.
Thankfully (and knock on wood now, because I'm not healthy yet), I'm now able to get up without throwing up. I've already called in sick at work. I'll probably be spending the day tomorrow watching films.
Saturday, 8 January 2011
I was there a few minutes before opening time, only to see a long queue consisting of small children (and their parents) waiting to get inside. Horror scenarios of screaming, splashing, peeing small trolls in the 50-metre long pool went through my head. I mean, some of these children were in diapers. When I got to the counter, however, the clerk assured me that most of them would be going to the adventure swimming pool next door.
She was right. The swimming pool was almost deserted and a smile finally found its' way to my face. I started slowly and increased the intensity after a couple hundred metres, switching between badly executed swimming strokes. Regrettably, more and more people (and their children) started dropping in. I kept bumping into other swimmers and getting water into my eyes from the cannon balling kids at the shallow end of the pool. When there were so many people in the pool that I couldn't move without giving someone a black eye, I decided to call it a day.
Problem was that I'd lost count of how many lengths I had swum. I figured it was between 800 and 900 metres. They took me approximately 45 minutes. New swimming distance record for me! That's going to hurt tomorrow...
Friday, 7 January 2011
The day didn't start out so well. We drove my parents to the airport at 5 in the morning. Our goodbyes are always sad. Then I went home intending to spend the hour I had before work doing some strength exercises - abs, back, that kind of thing. I ended up doing nothing. In addition to this, my foot hurt enough to make my vague plan to run home from work evaporate. That put me in a funk.
This injury is making me schizophrenic. It has been causing my attitude towards running to fluctuate between apathy and a strong sense of longing. When it's the first, I suffer, because I don't recognise myself. I am a runner. Apathy isn't like me. When it's the latter, I'm hopeful about the future and see my injury as something temporary. I feel then that I only need to be patient and do other activities until I'm better. I dream about long runs on summer days.
Unfortunately I am currently in a state of apathy. Maybe it's self preservation, because I know that if I go running with my foot feeling like this, it will only get worse. I know I'll only get disappointed. But somehow I have to get my motivation back, if not for running, then for other sports. I have to get out of this funk.
Thursday, 6 January 2011
I found two bathing suits that I couldn't choose between, and they were both on sale. So I bought them both. A sporty one by Adidas...
...and a slightly more elegant one by Warp.
But first, I'm spending my parents' last day here by curling up on the sofa with them and watching a film or two.
Wednesday, 5 January 2011
I certainly wasn't thinking about posture, or technique, or any of those things that are supposed to do my foot good. I was just concentrating on staying upright.
I managed to get home after 5 km and just over half an hour, and even did some technique drills. My pulse was surprisingly lower than last time, especially considering how often I had to jump in order to be able to move forward. Then again, speed was much lower as well.
They say that the only bad training is the one that you miss. So I suppose this session gave me something. It gave me strength, physical and -mainly- mental. I did go out for a run in this miserable weather, after all. Next time it'll be easier.
Tuesday, 4 January 2011
I walked to my meeting in my old Sauconys, but with my new Five Fingers in my backpack. I had planned on sneaking out unnoticed after my meeting and walking home in them. I thought it would have gotten dark by the time the meeting was over. As cool as I think they look, I am aware that most people think they look silly and might throw rotten vegetables at me if they saw me. Or at least point and laugh.
My calculations were wrong. It was still daylight when we wrapped up. I couldn't sneak out either; my colleague saw me putting on my VFFs, then my boss walked past and saw them on my feet, then proceeded to point them out to someone else, who then called out to her colleagues to come and have a look at the spectacle.
My plan to sneak out unnoticed had been thwarted.
I stood there in front of 6 amused people, answering questions about my choice of footwear. A couple of people were laughing, possibly at my feet. I laughed along with them; after all, the VFFs are not exactly beautiful. Ape-feet (COOL ape-feet) is how I think of them.
I finally managed to slip away, the sound of laughter still ringing in my ears. I walked home in the snow. My feet did not make a sound. What's even better, they did not hurt. It was a bit too cold for them, though. Not frostbite-cold, but tingly-cold. I felt like a child, walking barefoot. I could feel every little pebble, every unevenness in the snow-covered ground. I walked for a total for 1,5 km. I didn't feel any strain in my feet, but it might come tomorrow.
Some good news I got today was that my Wednesdays off start next week, hence my swimming does too. I just need to get a one-piece swimsuit. I'm really looking forward to it!
Monday, 3 January 2011
I ran home from work trying to think about technique. My pulse was not as high today, which gave me hope that I'll soon get back to the stamina level I had before my injury. I finally spoke to my physiotherapist and booked an appointment for next Wednesday.
This means, of course, that I won't be able to get an answer regarding how long recovery is going to take before the Marathon deadline on Saturday. I decided to risk it and go for it, and hope that I can somehow compensate for the lost running sessions by doing alternative training. Good thing my finishing time expectations are low.
I love being active. I can't imagine my life without exercise, just like I can't imagine life without oxygen. I've fallen for different sports over the years. I've had a wonderful year of dancing salsa, two years of getting nowhere at the gym (but loving it anyway), and now three years of injury-plagued, on again - off again running. Three months ago I took up climbing, and next week I'm starting swimming. I might even give yoga another go. If only this pesky having-to-make-a-living thing didn't take up so much of my time...
Sunday, 2 January 2011
It's not even two months since my über-thick, extra-cushioned, pronation support, cherry-on-top Kayanos arrived in the mail, and I'm already buying new shoes. I'm terrible. I spend all my hard-earned money on running gear.
Better than spending it on booze and drugs, I guess.
So I got a pair of Vibram Five Fingers, model KSO. As soon as I tried them on, it was love. They are so light and flexible, yet they protect my feet on rough surfaces. Are they any good? I don't know yet. I'm starting very carefully in them anyway. I'm planning on using them for walking first, and then gradually introducing some jogging, once my feet are strong enough. And that is precisely why I bought them: I am hoping to build up my foot strength to prevent future injuries.
On the plus side, I have wonderfully achy calves!