Monday, October 25, 2010

I swear I'm not dead!

So I actually haven't stopped training. I just hit a snag. Well. Two of them.

A couple of weeks ago I, who have *never* had knee pain despite having done some quite high impact forms of exercise regularly for most of my life (jump kicks, anyone?), suddenly developed some soreness around my right kneecap.

It was pretty bad. It was bad enough that I felt it would be most unwise of me to run, because just walking was actually pretty painful. Oddly, it didn't really hurt when I *ran*. It hurt before, and after--often quite a bit more after.

So I laid off for nearly a week and iced it, and went back to taking a day off between each run day (the running schedule I was following occasionally had me running two days in a row, and then taking two days off.) The pain has not reoccurred.

I was quite chipper about being back on schedule, until weekend before last. I do my long-runs on the weekend, and that weekend I got laid up with a four day long sinus migraine, which is basically just a normal migraine in all ways except rather than having a throbbing head, I feel like somebody took a hammer to my eye sockets. Normally these last a few hours, but I've had ones go on for days. Sadly, this was one of the later.

Since keeping the pain down was taking an impressive mix of pain-killers laced with caffeine and decongestants--and the fact that when I got up to take more of said drugs, the mild elevation in my heart rate would cause the pounding to become even more insistent--I didn't do a long run that week.

I did one this week, though--going six and a half miles in an hour and fifteen minutes (not counting about ten minutes of a brisk warm-up walk and five minutes of a brisk cool-down walk). I felt fine yesterday (the day after I did it) and fine today, so I think I'm really back on track now.

I'm bummed that the middle of October wasn't as full of running as I'd like, but I am proud of myself for resting the knee rather than trying to push through it, and I'm also proud that I got back into training as soon as I wasn't being held hostage to a creaky knee or migraine.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Of Melons and Tiny Dogs

I was half an hour into a projected hour and twenty-five minute workout, and all I could think was that I couldn't decide what was worse: the melon flavored endurance drink in my water bottle, or the tiny white Pomeranian who was utterly determined to chase me out of town.

Yes, everyone, it was time for Long Run Number Two. I was doing intervals today for an hour and fifteen minutes, not counting the five minute warm up walk and five minute cool down walk I do. I went six miles pretty much exactly, which, yes, means I was moving at the blazing average speed of 14 minutes per mile.

Naturally I was actually *running* faster than that, because I run for three minutes and then walk for two, and there's ten minutes of just walking. Most of my run times averaged eleven minutes per mile (which is what I am for) although a few in the middle were more like twelve to twelve and a half.

Memo to Self: I need to pick up my walk speed, which averaged 18 minutes per mile pretty consistently. I can do 16 and still recover adequately.

Today I had two particular adventures. The first adventure involved my hydration belt, which I was using for the first time on a longer run today. The second involved my encounter with a very small dog.

The hydration belt was, well, pretty dorky. It's like a reverse fanny pack that holds a water bottle and has a few zipper compartments for keys, gels--that kind of thing. I'll put gels in it when I start getting closer to two hours on my feet, but as of right now, I figured an endurance drink would do me fine. I had a sample of one--Hammer Nutrition's HEED--and figured, heck, why not try that? Gatorade and I don't get along, and HEED is low in all the stuff I try to avoid, like crazy artificial colors and stuff. I'd heard it wasn't awful.

My nose wrinkled the moment I got done mixing it. I then checked the flavor.


I don't like melons.

I don't know WHY I don't like melons. I wish I did. Melon is very good for you and I keep trying it, hoping this is the magical time I will take a chomp out of a slice of cantaloupe and go "Oh, yummy!" rather than "UGH! UGH! SOMEBODY GIVE ME SOMETHING TO WASH MY MOUTH OUT WITH!!!"

I like most fruits and vegetables. I am a fan, for instance, of the much maligned brussel sprout (try roasting it in the oven with olive oil and garlic). I willingly put spinach in my fruit smoothies. There are two members of the plant kingdom I just can't bring myself to love, though, and that's 1. anything melon and 2. onions. The onion thing is mostly a texture problem. The melon thing might be a texture problem, too, but I don't much care for the taste either. I just don't like it, man.

I hate to waste things, though, and I didn't have anything ELSE I could use as an endurance drink handy. So I figured, well, I'll tough it out with the *gag* melon HEED.

The hydration belt takes some getting used to. For one thing, it bounces a bit until it finds a place to settle around your hips. At least I think that's what happens. It might be the case that I just learn to ignore it, rather like I ignore my heart rate monitor.

Drinking out of it isn't hard, but I don't try to do it when I run; I do it when I walk. I took a mouthful every walk break or every other walk break, and I think it worked well because I got through the run without getting thirsty. I also managed to learn to ignore the melon flavor, more or less, though I'm seriously not going to buy my marathon training stockpile in melon, though I think I might buy HEED instead of Gatorade or PowerAde. I'm of two minds since they tell you to "train with what you're going to get on the course" but I'm running Disney, and they will offer me PowerAde, and I HATE PowerAde.

The most useful thing the HEED did for me, honestly, was give me something to flick at Cujo the Pomeranian, who decided I was a vile intruder who needed to be chased into traffic.

I've been running for two years but I've NEVER been chased by a dog before today. This was a little dog that was just sitting in his (unfenced) yard. The dog charged me and then began to chase me while barking and growling in his very best "I AM A FIERCE DOGGY!!!" manner, while the owner yelled at me for yelling at her dog.

My town does in fact have a leash law and I am getting very tired of people yelling at me for getting annoyed because their dog/child is behaving badly.

Said small dog ran after me and ran after me into the street (and into oncoming traffic) with no attempt by the owner to restrain said dog, for more than two minutes, until I flicked some HEED at the dog and it stopped to lick it off its fur, and then decided that taking a weewee on the hoodies of some kids who were practicing on the middle school track was more fun.

I feel bad for the kids. If the dog chases me again, though, I'm calling Animal Control. I wasn't sure what concerned me more: that I might get bitten or that the dog might get hit by a car, since the owner made no attempt to keep it from chasing me and it was running in a busy street.

I did manage to get through this run without getting lost, though, and I feel pretty good, which is great, because NEXT week I have to run for an hour and a half (which means I'll be out there for an hour and forty minutes). Joy!