Taking some time off

Like Dale and Derek suggested, I've taken a little more time off. I'm excited to try to run again, to see if there's any improvements. This last week I think I've made huge improvements with the chiropractor. I honestly feel like my hips are "different", and the left one (normally the healthy one) feels lower & a little awkward. I'm hoping it's getting used to moving in the "correct" place now. The right hip actually moves normally when I walk now, so that's great. Ye-ha!

Anyway, the plan is to BIKE until I'm able to run. Bike like it's my job. I'm also trying to do some groundwork so I'm ready and have a plan when I'm able to run again. I'm reading a few books on training over the holiday weekend, and am going to map out a strength/cross-training/stretching/food/preventative chiropractic care plan. So excited! I'm still not sure on the running part of the plan yet -- I'm going to sketch out what I think might be good and then go meet with a couple of people. I need to be as smart as possible this time around... I'm not completely naturally talented, so everything's going to have to go right if I want to have a shot at the trials.

I've decided that the main goal for the fall will be Chicago. I'm really excited about it! Derek was the one who planted the seed. I applied for their elite development program & am waiting to hear back. That allows me to register as late as September 1st. If by late August I'm running and racing well, then it'd be worth the trip/expense. If not, I have a free/elite entry into TCM. That'll be the back up plan.

Until then, gotta do whatever I can to get myself to be able to run!


Good reminder

Response from Derek L. Hope he doesn't mind me posting here, but it was exactly what I needed to hear.

"if you don't mind me saying, looking at you weekly mileage that I had seen on your blog, you are an injury waiting to happen...training is ALL about consistency...doing the same thing over and over...build/race/recovery...you can't have weeks of 35 followed by weeks of 100, 80...consistency, Nichole!"


"...as it pertains to your hip, I would take some time off...NO running for the rest of the week...5 minute 'test' run on Sunday? Stay fit by pounding the bike/ski/core...and lift...if you play your cards right, you can come back stronger/faster...but you need to rest that hip...if an activity bothers it, DON'T do it! "

Ok, Ok, I'll take some more time completely off. And yes, I need to make some changes. Good to realize it now.



What a breakthrough week for me. 1 minute last Sunday. 11 minutes this Sunday. YES.

The first 5 minutes didn't feel great. Residual pain (not sharp, like before) with most steps. I stretched for a while afterwards. Then decided to run for another minute or two to see how it felt after stretching. It actually felt pretty good! Still doesn't rotate like the healthy one, but no real pain. YEAH! So I ran for 6 minutes. For a total of 11!

To make it a "day", I then went out and did a 17 minute double pole and then a 30 minute bike. Nice to get an hour of workout in. I'm actually getting to be a pretty good biker (well -- by that, I mean: able to get the HR up pretty high/work hard on the bike). I like it! One thing I will say about the injury: it's totally made a competitor out of me. You should see me down on the bike. I'm biking with purpose, with passion! I'm not going to let this injury get in my way. :)

I have no real idea if what I'm doing is good/bad/etc. I hate that -- I feel pretty alone. By that, I mean that I'm constantly thinking about it, but have no one to really tell me yes or no -- change it/go harder/go home/etc. So I decided to email my college coach and Derek Lindstrom, who has worked with one of my Run N Fun teammates. What should I be doing? Should I just take a week off and nip it in the butt? Should I continue to try to stress it each day, doing a little more?

Dale (college coach) wrote me back this morning already. He said: 3-4 days off starting today. Then run 1 day, bike 2, run 1, bike 2. I can add biking after the run on the running days. Use the bike days to simulate what I would be doing on the roads (long/easy, then a tempo or interval workout). Even though I hate the idea of letting myself become more out of shape with more rest days, I'll listen... I really trust what he has to say. Once I'm back on board, I'm going to try to use someone to help with my training plan. I know I need to change it, just not sure how. Plus I think I need a little more 1-1 coaching if I'm going to make the trials a true goal of mine.

So, that's the plan.

We also talked about a fall marathon. He's a fan of TCM (the other option is Mankato) becuase it's really well run with more fast people in it. Mankato probably has a better course but won't have the runners around me/support. So, TCM it is, I guess! I emailed in today to see if I can be considered for elite status. Fun!!!


7 minutes

Ran for 7 minutes last night. How great is that? Things still aren't 100%, but they're getting better. There's no pain, the area just feels like it isn't working properly. I wonder if that isn't because I'm using muscles in that area that aren't used to being used? That's what I'm hoping anyway.

I didn't feel as out of shape as I thought I'd be on that 7 minutes. Nate commented that he thought we were going 7:30-8:00 pace. I'm not so sure. All I do know is that I think the biking has really helped maintain my fitness. I know I've lost the top level of fitness, but at least I won't be starting from scratch.

So, after the 7 minutes I went down for a 40 mintue bike (easy). Then lots of stretching and a little core work. Great to actually put together more than an hour of "training"!



3 minutes tonight, followed by 2.5 minutes. Running!

Then 30 minutes on the bike, with a few hard pick ups (thanks, Nate!). This whole getting back into shape thing is going to be tough (but fun :)).

I'm pretty pumped to be able to run more than 1 minute!


Minor setback, but moving forward

Friday and Saturday last week were not good for me. Specific pain came back to SI joint on my 1 minute run on Friday, and stayed with me through Saturday. Not cool.

How could this happen? Was it because of my biking? I had biked for a good amount of time Monday through Wednesday -- was that causing the area to re-inflame? I decided to shut everything down for a couple of days. No walking, no trying to run, no biking, etc. I went back on a higher level of ibuprofen, and stretched a ton.

After thinking about it, I realized that it maybe wasn't the biking that caused the flare-up after all. I think it was actually the mile long walk/jog in heels on Friday afternoon to get to Nate's graduation ceremony. I went with Nate's parents, and wasn't able to keep up well in new heels. So every 10 feet or so, I'd fall behind and have to run/scurry back up to them. Although that didn't hurt at the time, I'm pretty sure that's what irritated the hip. At least I'm hoping :)

So I'm back on the cross-training wagon, with a very careful eye on my running progress. I obviously don't want to bike now and risk postponing the running any more.

Monday I went in to the chiropractor again. Huge movement this time. We talked for a long time about what's good/not good to do. I asked about biking, pool running (someone who reads my blog gave me an article on that -- and they've tried it with great success), etc. At this point I think he's a little baffled by my case & he basically just said that I can do whatever doesn't make the joint worse, with the caveat that doing too many cross training activities makes it hard to point to what's actually causing things to heal/not heal. True... so what's best to do? I like the biking thing because I have one in our basement. I can go whenever, for however long, and don't have to worry about other people/the place closing/etc. I'm intrigued by the pool running idea -- the woman who gave me the article said she did all of her training in the pool for a long time, then was able to get one long run on the roads in before a marathon and was able to pull of a 3:05. It's a good way to keep that running-specific muscle memory.

The other option is double poling. It'd be great to put some hours on the skis. I did one session a few weeks ago and the chiropractor didn't particularly like it. He likes the motions where you're using more running specific motions. Double poling is using your hips more as a hinge.

So... what to do. Little bit of everything? Like I said, that makes it hard to know whether one activity is good/bad. I think biking doesn't make it worse -- stick with that? I've almost (!) come to like biking. Should I add pool running? Double poling?

Wish I knew exactly what to do!

P.S. I ran for 5 MINUTES last night! 1x2 minutes, 1x3 minutes. Slight pain down the leg on the injured side, but not too bad! :)


I am SOO excited to become a runner again

If time off has done one thing for me, it has totally revved me up for the next training cycle.

I've realized how much I truly love running. For me, it's the one time of the day that I'm zoned out, concentrating on nothing but my breathing or the country music on my iPod :). It's a feeling of accomplishment, of purpose. The feeling that you're fit.

Beyond that, I realized how much I love to compete. I want to be back, firing on all cylinders, feeling sweaty and exhausted after a track workout, mapping out a training plan for the next goal race, etc -- SO bad! I've always sort of wondered if it was silly to think that I could even get close to the trials qualifier. Can someone like me really be talented enough? But, even if it is silly, I realize now that I love chasing that "silly" goal. Whether I get there or not, I will have thoroughly enjoyed the process.

So even though I'm injured and completely unable to run, in my mind I've begun mapping out a plan for a fall marathon. More to come :) In the meantime, I've decided that I'm going to really enjoy training on the bike. That's something that I can do pain free, so why not? Every little bit of fitness I can retain will help me get back to where I was that much quicker. So even though I'm not a huge fan of biking, for now, I'm convincing myself that I love it :).

And... I'll keep doing the minute-long runs in the evening. Hoping for quick progress!


Less Ibuprofen = progress?

Gee... it's a wonder anyone would want to keep reading this :). Thanks for checking back, despite my lack of positive or interesting news!!

Some noteworthy changes:
1. I no longer need to be on ibuprofen all the time. In fact, I'm OK to be without now. Before, I was on a prescription strength dose and could immediately tell when it was wearing off. So, guess that's a good sign!
2. I think the pain while running has decreased. Still not run-able, but I'm not dying of pain after my short 1-minute excursions.
3. Last night Nate had me try to pick up my "1 minute" run to a more normal pace. Usually these are a shuffle. So, I'm guessing I held an 8:30 mile pace for about 45 seconds. And I was WINDED afterwards. How SAD! The road back to racing is going to be a long one...

That's all for now. Hoping to have more progress this week!



Can't help it. I'm depressed tonight. I tried to run/walk again tonight, and the hip really isn't better. I know I go through these cycles "I think it's better! No, not really. Maybe?! Etc." -- but this is getting old & I really feel that if I've made any progress, it's been minimal.

Sigh. I really feel lost & sort of empty.


Walking quickly

Gosh, sorry my blog hasn't been very exciting lately. Still injured, but still hopeful... that seems to be the theme of all my posts in the last month. A little boring and a lot depressing, that's what it amounts to.

Anyway, here's another quick update: I'm able to walk quickly without pain!! Huge step forward for me. Just a week ago, I couldn't take very big steps or walk quickly (for any length of time). So, a definte improvement! Tonight I'm excited to try my run/walk routine. Hopefully with each day I'm able to go farther and even run...

On a more personal level, Nate is done with dental school on Friday. WOW. Who would have thought the time would come when he'd graduate? He brought home his cap and gown the other day, and it was surreal -- it's the "doctor" one with the velvet stripes on the sleeves, down the front. So odd to see him try it on... guess I hadn't really thought of the fact that he'll soon be "Dr. Porath".

And, with the graduation comes a celebration (of course!). So much to do around the house! We're finally starting to make the house "home", even though we don't technically own it yet. Still working with the bank on that one (I could write another separate blog just on that topic -- the short sale/foreclosure process is unbelievable). But, we just bought a couch and loveseat set which really classes up the living room (yeah, upgrading from my college futon!!), and are starting to hang things on the wall, organize rooms, unpack more boxes, etc. What a great feeling. I'm excited to go into full-gear cleaning mode this weekend.

So, again, sorry there isn't more on the running front to post about! I'll continue to update with any progress.


Not a speedy recovery

Things are a little better, but still not great. I tried to walk/run last night and couldn't. Bummer.

I headed inside instead and biked for 25 minutes. At least I'm able to do that. The jury's still out on whether that's good or bad for me... I'm a little more sore today because of it. Is that good? Wish I knew.

I'm starting to put on weight now, which isn't fun. The first couple of weeks I lost 5-6 pounds, and easily! That was sort of fun until about 2 weeks when I realized you could see the difference in muscle tone. Noo! And now, of course, my metabolism is terrible, so I'm gaining weight easily. Gross. Guess that's just part of taking time off, but I hate it.

Wish I had more interesting or better news to report! Hopefully I'll be back within the next week. And then - oh joy - it's going to be a challenge to get back into shape :(. I don't think I've taken this much time off, ever!