Monday, March 29, 2010

A Fork in the Road?

I had been feeling guilty at not doing a bit more running in the last couple of weeks, mainly due to our weekend away skiing which always leaves me scrambling the following week to keep body and soul together. And this weekend I decided to bump staining our TV cabinet right to the top of my list, meaning that running fell off the bottom.

So this morning when I lugged myself out of bed at 0-dark-hundred, I expected to find it hard work and slow going. What I didn't expect, after a measly three miles, was serious knee pain. Considering I hadn't run for nearly two weeks, and certainly didn't do anything dramatic to my knees while skiing slowly down Northstar's blue routes, I was surprised and alarmed to discover that 30 minutes was my limit.

It's exactly four months since I first became conscious of my right knee being a problem while running. Since then I've gone really easy on it, have bought it special gear, and even, for a short while, started drinking a pretty purple liquid. But it seems to have become worse, not better. I'm wondering now if a marathon is a totally crazy aim, and even whether I'll ever do another half. I may have to get over my British-ness* and go in search of medical advice.
*We don't really like to see a Doctor until something turns green and drops off - that's pretty much how our health care system holds together :)

Meantime, once again I need to re-assess my fitness goals and seek alternative ways of staying vaguely in shape - or at least finding something to stop the pounds piling on. The good news is that spring is here, and Beloved Husband has been muttering about all kinds of wheeled and water-born outings. I may yet have to re-title this blog Crazy Sports I Tried, to Keep My Hubby Happy.

Photo via: the Reputation Doctor

Monday, March 15, 2010

Knees on the Piste

If you come here regularly, you'd be forgiven for thinking I've stopped running.

Happily, this is not so - I'm just struggling a little to describe each and every run in an exciting new way for you - hardly surprising, as 3 miles on local sidewalks before it gets light is hardly the stuff that Olympic dreams are made of. In addition, I'm feeling the pressure in other areas of my life, so a blow-by-blow account of every trot around the block is not viable right now. I am, however, logging updates at Daily Mile which is a tool you might like to check out, if you're not already recording your workouts anywhere else.

I started this blog pretty much as a running diary and while I'm delighted to have a small band of followers and commenters, I won't be at all offended if you float off in favor of more inspirational fitness blogs.

Still here? Oh, OK, I guess I'll update you then. The last couple of weeks have consisted of some basic, short runs; usually I get to about 5 or 6 miles before having a discussion with my knee about whether it's happy and whether I'm imagining any discomfort. It has every right to be grumpy, since not one but two skiing weekends are in the plan for March, and I've always found parallel turns (or any type of turn, for that matter) to be pretty punishing on the patellas.

I took it very easy on our recent trip to Northstar and frankly I'm not sure how much skiing I'll be doing next time we go. Beloved Husband, meanwhile, whose knees are not much better than mine right now, seems to be enjoying bruising his ribs on his inevitable snowboarding falls and is probably doing his joints lasting damage as he gets the hang of carve turns.

This snow-shaped craziness can be solely attributed to our impetuous purchase of cheap-rate season tickets last Fall, back in those innocent days before I realized my body could and would let me down regarding sporting pursuits. It's probably the last time I'll commit to any physical activity months in advance, and could make for a very depressing posting if I allowed myself to dwell on that thought.

So instead, I'm going to keep on trotting (hey, I'm already doing quarter marathons, right?) and will be doing some serious research into the medicinal merits of waffles and hot chocolate at 8,000 feet.

Photo thanks: Marmit

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Good Luck in Napa!

Just a quick shout-out for everyone heading for Napa this weekend, and I wish you the very best of luck, along with some cool, dry weather :)

This was the race I was supposed to be doing before my knee went nuts. To shorten the story that's even longer than the marathon, I'm registered for March 2011 so will be following in your footsteps then.

Meanwhile, warmest wishes for a safe and enjoyable race to Asha, Sheila, Brad, Jon, Chris, and about 2300 others!

Photo thanks: Indagare

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

First Real Soaking

This morning I reached a significant moment in my marathon training: it was the first time since starting all this nonsense(!) that I've had to haul myself out of bed in the dark in the pouring rain. And I do mean pouring.

I've been incredibly lucky up until now - living in California obviously helps, and I was resting my dodgy knee during some particularly smelly weather in January. But for much of last night I was dimly aware that my cheap will-this-thing-really-repel-water? jacket purchased at Target was about to get a serious road test.

In case you care, the jacket is my new best friend, but its owner has a thing or two to learn about running in the rain.

Notes to self, composed during the three wettest miles of my life:
  • Don't wear cheap running pants made of jersey, because your thighs will be soaking within the first half mile. That will creep down your legs and give your fragile right knee an excellent excuse to get cold and grumpy.
  • Your new headlamp is great but doesn't show puddles at all well. Or in some places, at all.
  • When avoiding said puddles by leaping off the path, try to make sure there are no low-hanging tree branches in the way.
  • ...I'm sure there was a fourth point, but the smack on the head from the afore-mentioned branch has made me temporarily forget it. I need to be more careful, else I might still be lying out there enjoying a more intimate acquaintance with the puddle I was dodging.
My pace, of course, was terrible, as I was trying to keep the GPS watch dry and was too busy cursing puddles and seeking alternate routes to pay any attention to speed. Ironically, as a result, I actually quite enjoyed the running part, but only because I knew I was just minutes away from a hot shower.

What tips and tricks do you have for running in the rain? Do you have wet-weather gear would you hate to be without?

Photo thanks: Super Coloring

Monday, March 1, 2010

Twinges & Irony

He probably won't thank me for sharing this with you, but since we're a small and select group of friends here, I will confide in you that I had to run on my own on Saturday....
because Beloved Husband was resting...
a painful knee.

The good news is, it's his left one, so between us, we still have a working set. But nonetheless, I'm shaking my head at the irony that I'm back out there trotting with some level of comfort, and my trusty wingman now gets twinges. Thank goodness we are not running 26.2 miles this Sunday as we'd be a collective bag of bones by the end of it!

I switched my day around and ran in the late afternoon rather than early morning. The forecast was rainy, but instead I was blessed with beautiful Bay Area sunshine. As a result, I was wearing too much and found it a huge effort to hold a 9.5 minute pace for 7 miles. But the important thing is, I held it, and that may just be the fastest I've ever covered that distance.

I had finished the run and was walking the last few yards home when I became aware of a nasty, nasty pain in the arch of my left foot. It wore off after a few hours but I have some fresh hypochondriac Googling to do, to find out what novel problem this might be. I've never experienced anything like it and am hoping it's solely (no pun intended) attributable to my not-broken-in-fully new shoes. As long as it doesn't cost me another $160 in remedial kit, I don't mind too much :)

Photo thanks: Cheeriotown Photography
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