What I’m Working Out to Wednesday

Could Have Been Me
The Struts

20131107-131103.jpgThis week’s song is added to my rotation (and maybe to yours) courtesy of my husband! And no, he is not a member of The Struts. He plays the drums in a band with his brothers and some friends and they play this song. I’d heard of The Struts before but was completely unfamiliar with their music. He was walking around the house a few weeks ago singing this song, and I asked him what it was. Actually, I asked him if it was one of his new songs, since his band does have a few jams of their own. He couldn’t believe that I hadn’t heard it before and that he knew some music before I did! I forgot about the song and it came on in the local dive bar that we frequent the other night when we were eating dinner. I downloaded it, and it’s been on repeat ever since. Just a warning, the video is pretty fun but the music doesn’t actually start until about 1:22.

“Don’t wanna live as an untold story
Rather go out in a blaze of glory?”

What music are you listening to this week? 

Indianapolis Monumental Training, Week 17: 10/19-10/25

Yep. Things are going that well over this way.

This week began the day after the Runner’s World Half Marathon, where I completely tweaked my calf. I put off writing it because each day I keep hoping things get better, but honestly this has become a nightmare. Here was my week:

  • Monday, 10/19 – Pole Fitness
  • Tuesday, 10/20 – 6 Mile Recovery Run + 5 Minute Plank
  • Wednesday, 10/21 – 5 Mile Recovery Run + Pole Fitness 
  • Thursday, 10/22 – 3 Mile Run + Crankiness 
  • Friday, 10/23Pole Fitness
  • Saturday, 10/24 –  Pole Fitness
  • Sunday, 10/25 – Rest

So that happened. 14 miles. I am so screwed for Indianapolis. FML. I ran on Tuesday and took it very easy – honestly, it didn’t feel bad. It felt like the pain in my calf was present but it didn’t worsen as I ran. I went for a massage, and I felt like I was on the mend. On Wednesday, I ended up with a beautiful lunchtime 5 miler. It felt awesome and almost like I was completely back to normal. My leg felt better as I ran and things loosened up.

Then, Thursday. Started my run. Felt great – I didn’t feel like I was altering my stride, basically like things were back to normal. Until about a mile in – I began to feel the same tightness in my calf that I felt at Runner’s World. I stopped, stretched, and ran another mile. At the two mile mark, I turned around and walk/ran it in for a total of 3 miles running, one mile walking. It was miserable. I was crying like a baby and just miserable. Mostly because I felt like I was doing a walk of shame, and since I’ve been married for 10 years I thought those days were behind me.

I rested the rest of the weekend. I went to pole class, but I didn’t bike or swim. I just don’t have it in me. I can’t go through this again – where I get injured and turn my world upside down to try to fix it. I just rested in hopes that it would help. And it helped a little, but not much. I did run yesterday – 4 miles. It wasn’t worse, but it was there. I am at a loss. I’m supposed to pace a half marathon this weekend and I have Indianapolis next weekend. I have no idea what I’m going to do.

I guess what’s really upsetting me is that it doesn’t matter what I do – I get injured. I know why it happened this time and I had no business running that race. But honestly, it doesn’t seem to matter what I do. This has been going on since June 2014 and I just don’t know how much more I can take. I’ve tried less miles, more miles, less intensity, more intensity. Training with a coach. Training by myself. More racing. Less racing. What gives?

I’ve been excited about Indianapolis since June. I was signed up for that race well before Hartford. I don’t know what the outcome of this will be, but all I know is my body just needs to hang in there for two more weeks and then it’s all over. I did the mature thing this year and scheduled 5 weeks of recovery, which is great – just seems like my body isn’t having any of it this year. 2015 truly has not been my year!!! I will try not to disappear from the blog world through all of this…I think I did that over the winter when my Achilles was giving me hell.

In other news, I did learn a pole pose called a Marion Amber that I’m now obsessed with:

image

Figured I should TRY to end on a positive. 🙂

Swim:  0 meters ♥ Bike: 0 miles ♥  Run: 14 miles

How was your week? How do you handle injuries? Me? Obviously not well, lol!

Photoshop Friday: Photoshop Hacks, Part 1

Hack # 5: Enhance a photo by crossing it with another photo with a better color palette.

Any of my blogger peeps out there using Photoshop to enhance graphics? I don’t normally use it for my blog and usually opt for some simple Instagram effects. If there were more hours in a day I’d skip the Instagramming and go straight to Photoshop to add filters and adjustments myself just to enhance colors and make photos more vibrant. In my life outside of running, my real job is teaching Photoshop and Web Design to high school students. It’s a lot of fun. When I can get the kids to buy into what I’m teaching, they seem to like it (as much as they can like school, I suppose). I don’t like to use textbooks (boring) but they are often a necessary evil teach a concept initially, and then we can do cool projects from there. Enter today’s lesson. I swear, I have a point relative to blogging.

My Photoshop class was getting a little stale this year, and I came across an article with 21 Incredibly Simple Photoshop Hacks Everyone Should Know. Buzzfeed is good to get their attention because I know they’re familiar with the site. Of course, Buzzfeed is blocked for my kids at school. But computer geeks like myself know how to print to PDF and get a saved copy of a web site that kids can reference online without having to visit the site. I’m tricky like that. Take THAT, district technology department.

Today’s assignment started with the kids reading the article and simply responding to a forum asking them which of the hacks they want to try in class. I knew we could easily do #5 on the list today because we covered the concepts in a previous chapter. I have tons of camera raw graphics in desperate need of a lighting fix on my phone that I could use as an example. I put together a fun assignment where they got to use their own pictures and try hack #5 and they seemed to really like it.

As I was reading through their responses to the writing portion of the assignment, I realized how many of these tricks and tips would be useful to any bloggers out there that use Photoshop. While I watched them complete the assignment with minimal instruction, the kids could do it with little difficulty. Even with no special training, many of these fixes are super easy and really fun. If you’re a Photoshop user, you should check this article out. We have CS5 at school, but I’m sure they would be easy to do with any version.

Since we did # 5 in class today and my example for the kiddos was a picture I took on a run, I figured I would share it. Here is the before and after:

Hello fall colors!! I realize my results are a bit dramatic, but you have to be dramatic to keep the attention of a 16 year old. I merged the color palette from the piece of artwork below – lots of vibrant colors to make a seemingly lackluster photo more vibrant:

image

It’s simple. Have both graphics open, but have the picture you are trying to improve as your active graphic. Visit Image –> Adjustments –> Match Color and start playing with the settings. The effect is so basic but pretty incredible! Stay tuned for more Photoshop hacks over the next few weeks!

 

Race Report: Runner’s World Half Marathon

I ran Hartford on 10/10 and felt good when I woke up the next day. My training partner and friend, Kathy, asked if I would run the Runner’s World Half with her. In the midst of my runner’s high, I signed up. Besides, she found a code for 20% off, so how could I resist? Now that it’s over, I can honestly say I’m glad I did it and I realized that this is a half marathon that needs to be on my schedule every single year. I love the course. I run most of the course regularly. Why would I not sign up for this race? Oh right – because of the marathon I ran just a week before. Oh, I should have listened to my gut and not my runner’s high. Ahhh, but I still don’t regret running it!

Race Week

As the week wore on, I was tired from the marathon. I slept a lot. I ate a lot – and not the good, feed your body great nutrients to recover kinds of things. I wish I could tell you everything I ate last week, but it would probably gross me out (or, more likely it would make me hungry again). I did everything you should do after a marathon, except the part where I went and signed up for a half marathon the following weekend. I ran for the first time on Tuesday, and it felt good.

In fact, all of my runs felt good last week but there was one common theme: my calves were sore. Both of them. I wasn’t worried – I just ran countless high mileage weeks on tired legs. It also didn’t help that every single run last week was supposed to be recovery paced, and they were too fast. I knew it was too fast. I just felt so good, and it just felt good to be able to go run without looking too closely at my watch. And it would have been fine, if I would have just not added in an effing half marathon!

Race Weekend

Fast forward to Saturday, when I went to watch the 5K and 10K and go to the expo with my friend Cassie. We ran our shakeout run way too fast (7:33 pace) but we were jetting around the course to spectate and see friends, so it was more like “can we make it to the 5 mile mark of the 10K before the leaders get there” instead of an honest shakeout. I still felt good though. My calves were sore, but nothing alarming. I know I posted this already, but I think it’s too funny:

image

Race Morning

Sunday morning came entirely too quickly. Since I live about 4 miles from the start, I slept until 6 and left my house a little before 7. I was so relaxed about it: stopping at Wawa for a bagel on the way, casually looking for parking and keeping warm in my car. It was freezing (literally, it was 32 degrees) so though I was wearing shorts and a tank to race, I had throw away clothing on over top. I headed to gear check. Even though I live close, I knew I wanted to hang at the finish line because Runner’s World sure does know how to throw a post race party.

The Start

I easily found Hollie and the rest of my local running crew and headed tot he starting line. I ditched my throw away clothes and started to get excited. I had been nervous since I was afraid I didn’t have enough recovery from the marathon, but now I was excited. After the national anthem and hugging my friends, we were off.

Miles 1-5

Kathy wanted to go sub-1:30 and knew I just did that recently and wanted me to try to keep that pace. She was going to try to hang with me. We were a little fast on the first mile, but nothing crazy. I knew one thing. I felt GOOD. Like way too good for having run a race the previous weekend. As we headed over the Fahey Bridge and to west Bethlehem, I wasn’t sure what to expect.

image
Not my most flattering moment!

This was the section of the course that I knew was the hilliest but I was unfamiliar with it. They’d changed the course since I ran it in 2013. There are some good climbs here – but honestly, I finally had that unstoppable feeling. I was consistently in the 6:45-50 range and I felt comfortable. My breathing felt controlled.

Kathy had slowed her pace a little and I was running with Hollie through this point. We would chat every so often, and we passed another local runner, Lauren C. Lauren is super speedy and had won the 5K and took something like 3rd or 4th in the 10K the day before, so I knew it was likely I’d see her again. I was running whatever felt comfortable at this point and having a blast. Around mile 3, we began to descend a hill and I felt my left calf tighten a little. Just a cramp, I thought to myself. We hit north Bethlehem again and started to head toward the monster climb at mile 5 and I felt it worsen. I laid off the pace, and Hollie passed me. I wanted to follow her so badly! I felt so good, but my calf was not so happy with my decision to run this race. I kept her in might sights in hope that my calf would decide to loosen up. We crested the monster hill and headed towards one of my favorite parts of the course.

Miles 6-10

Illicks Mill Road is my favorite part of the course, but it’s also home to one of the hilliest segments. As we cruised down the road, I’d hoped to use the downhill segment to open up my stride and catch Hollie. I could still see her, but every time I started to push the pace I’d feel my calf more. I was getting frustrated but I reminded myself: you were not supposed to be here at all, and you just ran a freaking marathon a week ago. Cool it, use this is a marathon paced training run and enjoy running an awesome course in your hometown. My pep talk worked because though I wasn’t moving as fast as I wanted to, I was having fun and I felt strong. By mile 10 my pace had settled into the 7 minute range and I was comfortable. Lauren C. came cruising by me looking super strong – so impressive and inspiring! She just smoked both races the day before and she was on her way to a third awesome finish. My calf was cranky, but by this point we were on Washington Street and I love that neighborhood. I couldn’t be angry even if I tried.

Miles 11-13.1

We hit north Bethlehem again (my other favorite segment) and did a loop to get us back to the Fahey bridge. I started to look around on the bridge to see if Kathy was near so we could finish the race together. I knew I wasn’t going to PR and I would rather enjoy the rest of the race with my friend. Also, I knew her PR was 1:31ish, so I knew we could possibly break that and get her a PR.  She was close, so I slowed down enough that we were running together. I felt good enough that I could two-step her, so I stayed just a little ahead of her to keep her chasing me to push her. If I lost sight of her shadow, I would look back and point to the empty space next to me to push her more.

Finally, we reached our last hill on 3rd street, about a half mile from the finish. I pushed as hard as I could up that hill, and as we descended towards the finish I looked at her and said, “Hang in there, you’re going to PR!!!” We were flying down the final stretch, and I continued to two step her until about the last 50 yards, where I fell into step with her, grabbed her hand, and crossed the finish line. It was 1:30:59 (her time was 1:31:00, I think based on when we crossed the start) and she PR’d by 34 seconds! She took 2nd in the master’s division, and I took 2nd in my age group. Even with my calf crankiness, it was my favorite race finish to date.

Post race, I was limping badly and had a tough time walking. I found Hollie (who kicked ASS with a 1:28!) for a post race photo:

image

Finally, I changed into my warm, clean clothing, got my award ( a Runner’s World pint glass!) and a much awaited beer with great friends…

race_1619_photo_27286712

image image

And then THIS happened…Deena Kastor!!!

image

As for my calf…it’s a work in progress. I spent the rest of the day after the race on the couch icing, taking ibuprofen and resting. I slept with it in my night splint that I used for my plantar fasciitis. I’ve run slowly since the race and I am hoping for the best. More on that in my weekly workout post next week! The Runner’s World Festival makes a great addition to any fall race schedule. For me, it’s a great, local bunch of races and I will have it on my schedule next year again – only this time, I won’t run a marathon a week before!

What I’m Working Out to Wednesday

Disclosure ft. Lorde
Magnets

20131107-131103.jpgBecause Lorde. That is all.

No but really, Disclosure dropped their new album, Caracal, on September 25 and Lorde is featured in their hit single.

As for Disclosure’s album, well, I don’t know. They are an English electronic duo from Surry. I haven’t listened to the album enough to give the whole thing a review. It sounds like it could be catchy so I will give it another try but nothing else jumped out at me just yet.

But the new Lorde song…yes. Just YES.

What music are you listening to this week? 

Indianapolis Monumental Training, Week 16: 10/12 – 10/17

Well, the name of the the game has changed but the game is still the same: yes, I just ran Hartford but that was not my final goal race for the season. Hartford, while I wanted to bust out a good time, was always meant to be more of a barometer. I learned a lot that day. I learned that I’m not in 3:02 shape. I also learned what pace not to go out when I show up at Indianapolis in a few weeks. I took the first few days post marathon easy and rested a lot. That’s what my body wanted. While running felt good and I only took two rest days from running, my calves felt a little sore once I got back to it. It’s all part of the recovery process.

I still have several weeks and several races before I finish out my season with Indianapolis. My training is now in the hands of Mr. Pete Pfitzinger (really, who I used for most of my training) and I’m following his “4 Week Multi-Marathoning Plan”. Well, sort of following. I kind of signed up for the Runner’s World Half Marathon, and it was a week after the marathon. Pretty sure Pfitzy wouldn’t approve of that…but it’s in my hometown. It wasn’t sold out. My friends were doing it. Hollie was doing it. I had 10-12 miles on the schedule for that day anyway. I needed to do it! It might have been a bad move because I’m now experiencing some pain in my left calf that I’m not happy about, but I’ll get to that.

Monday, 10/5 – Rest 

Zero workouts were planned, zero workouts occurred. I did, however, set a new PR. I think I PR’d in the Netflix Marathon.

Tuesday, 10/65 Mile Recovery Run + 5 Minute Plank

image

I left work just not feeling it, but I’m so glad I did it! My legs had a hint of fatigue at the start of the run, but once I got moving I felt awesome. I went a little too fast for a recovery run – I actually was texting and running in the last mile to slow down. I just felt really great. Overall pace, 8:16. A little faster than my recovery zone, but it was like my legs needed to prove something. It was a bit humid out, but the temperature was pleasant. I was running in Lehigh Parkway, which is a great loop in Allentown. I couldn’t help it: I saw a pole, and I hadn’t been at pole class since before the marathon and had to bust out some moves!

Wednesday, 10/6Pole Fitness

Headed to pole class, even though I felt like sleeping but it ended up being really fun! It’s always really fun, I just didn’t think I’d have the energy to do much. Maybe taking a break from pole for a few days was a good thing, because I learned a few new tricks and played around with a few things that had been giving me trouble previously. I don’t know the name of the pose and it isn’t the most flattering, but I learned a new back-bendy one:

image

Thursday, 10/7Recovery 6 Mile

Another gorgeous day at Lehigh Parkway, and I felt great! I went way fast in my first half of this run because I was chasing the boys cross country team from a local catholic school. Thankfully, they turned off the trail a little before the third mile and I continued on alone. I slowed down, and ended up averaging 8:11 overall. Not really recovery paced, but I felt good and it was really nice out.

Friday, 10/84 Mile Recovery Run + PM Pole Fitness

I’ve been having this problem where I can’t drag my ass out of bed in the morning lately. Since I only wanted to do 3-4 miles, I was able to sneak it in over my lunch! I never get to do that, but it was a really nice afternoon. I felt like crap running, but it was so nice out that I didn’t care:

imageAfter work, I headed to the pole studio and had a great class. I went with my sister in law. We worked on some combinations and new moves we learned on Wednesday night. I finally got this move called a Marley. It’s not hard and I even did it on spin pole (we learn the moves on static pole, and then once we master them we do them on spin pole because it looks prettier), but the last two times I’ve attempted it I had trouble. It always seemed really painful and hard to hold, but somehow it felt fine today. It’s really like a basic leg hang, but you bring your body off to the side of the pole and just hang from the back of your knee. It looks so pretty in combinations and there are lots of great moves you can do from this pose.

image

Saturday, 10/9 –  4.6  Mile Shakeout Run

I hate not running an even 4 or 5 miles – it drives me insane. But, Cassie and I went to the expo to pick up our bibs and cheer on the runners at the 5 and 10K, so we parked on the north side of Bethlehem and ran there. We ran to different locations on the course and cheered, visited the expo and ran to points on the 10K course to cheer again. We’d been on our feet for awhile so when we ended at our cars at 4.6, I stopped. Overall pace for the shakeout was 7:33, and that was too fast for a shakeout but were trying to get to different points on the course and see our friends so we got a little excited. We had a blast that morning cheering everyone on and hanging out at the expo.

imageI finally got to meet Hollie, who had an INCREDIBLE weekend of races – you should definitely head on over to her site and read all about how she crushed it this weekend!

image That night, I picked up Hollie and we headed out for a pre-race dinner and coffee, which was so fun! I love when blog friends get to meet in real life.

Sunday, 10/10 – Runner’s World Half Marathon

Check back tomorrow for a race recap!

Swim:  0 meters ♥ Bike: 0 miles ♥  Run: 32.8 miles

So I mentioned my calf, and I’ll really get into it when I write my race recap. In the days after Hartford when I was running, my legs felt fine. My only complaint was my calves got sore and felt really tight, but nothing I haven’t experience before. Not something I’d even think twice about normally – when you run lots of miles, something is always sore and tired. I put in much higher mileage weeks in the past, so I didn’t think it was an issue. They calmed down a bit by Saturday, and I didn’t think it was a big deal.

On race morning, everything felt okay – just a little soreness in the left one but nothing to be concerned with (or so I thought). Now, the left one is really mad at me. Now, I’m concerned. With Indy just a few short weeks away, I need to keep a close eye on this and focus on staying positive, rehabbing it, and getting in easy mileage. I have 20 days until race day, so there isn’t too much more I can do to prepare but there is a lot that I can do to screw this up. While I’d like to get to the track once and possibly run a 5K before the race, my focus is now on making sure I am completely recovered.

How was your week? Ever run two races in one week?