Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day breakthrough!

Headed back to the gym on Wednesday and ended up in floods of tears after not even being able to run a mile. I decided to give in and rest for a few days to try and figure out what to try next...So far I think I have figured out the following:
  1. I nearly always have shin splints after running on concrete and need at least 2, more like 3, days of rest afterwards.
  2. Stability shoes and/or running barefoot doesn't seem to make any difference.
  3. Landing on the fronts of my feet seems to help a little.
  4. You can't just ignore shin splints and run anyway - it makes them worse.
  5. Rest works wonders but you lose confidence, time and aerobic capabities.
  6. I haven't tried ice yet because it sounds like it wouldn't work.
I spent the weekend reading running magazines and found an article that really resonated with me. It said that instead of visualizing a perfect run each time that you should visualize a terrible run, anticipate and prepare for set backs. This way you will have a plan when they happen. So this morning I hit the gym at 7am imagining the worst - terrible pain (I'll switch to the cross trainer), lousy time (that's OK - I'll keep it slow and be happy with being able to do anything at all), negative thoughts (I'll shake them off and celebrate just staying in the gym and sweating for 30 minutes), boredom (I'll listen to comedy on my ipod).

I had a fantastic run in the end - 5K in 33:33 and I felt like a rockstar! I even iced my shins when I got back to Tampa. At this point I'll try anything because when it goes well, running is just the best feeling ever:).

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Fed Up :(

Not sure what's going on but despite my best efforts it's going horribly pear-shaped in the running department at the moment. After a couple of indoor runs in the Vibrams I braved the outside for the first time at the weekend. We treated it as if it were a race and got up at 7am, did our stretches and hit the road. Maddy took her bicycle and it felt really great to be exercising as a family:). I took it really slowly and used the pavement on the way out. My legs started to hurt a bit so I switched to grass on the way home. It was actually really nice to feel the blades of grass beneath my feet and I had to focus so hard on the ground to avoid holes and anthills that the time passed really quickly! So last night I hit the treadmill but for some reason just couldn't finish. After 28 minutes my legs were in so much pain I just couldn't carry on. I'm not sure if it's shin splints or calf pain from the change to landing on the front of my feet which Vibrams forces you to do. Mike asked me whether the pain was in the front or back of my legs. To be honest I couldn't even tell - it all just HURTS! Is this why they say it takes a while to get used to the barefoot thing? Was it the concrete? When am I going to be able get back to running 5 miles again? Why can't I break a 33 minute 5K when I was doing under 30 minutes just 3 months ago? Right now my legs hurt, I can barely finish a run, when I can I'm slow, and I've gone from feeling like a rockstar to a crazy monkey woman. So I'm back in the shin splint guards today to relieve the pain. I've no idea what to try next - I'm too fed up to even think about it :(.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Miles for Moffitt 5K

Had a good week preparing to get 'back in the game' in time for the weekend 5K. My original goal was to run in under 33 minutes but my as my confidence waivered throughout the week I decided I'd be happy if I just ran all of the way without stopping. On Monday I couldn't resist trying out the new Vibrams on the treadmill and it went really well aside from some strange looks in the gym and irritating some of last week's blisters. Mike wore his outside and absolutely loves them! On Tuesday I celebrated my birthday. Mike gave me the cutest card (don't you love the way he labeled the people just in case I didn't "get it"?)...

...and he made a cake from frozen fat-free Cool Whip...

...and gave me a Body Bugg to track calorie expenditure...

I wore the Body Bugg to the gym on Wednesday to see how accurate that calorie meter on the cross trainer really is. After an hour, the machine said 576 and the Body Bugg said 440 so basically it's a Tall Light Frappacino off - good to know :). I was just starting to feel mildly confident as I left the office when I was caught in the lobby by a coworker who shared that she was also running but she couldn't believe how slow her 5K times were and she had even said to her girlfriend "can you believe we are actually going to get beaten by Clare!?" as if I was some kind of slug! Just the determination boost I needed :).

Mike woke me up at 6am on Saturday to the theme tune for Rocky and I got ready. Over 5,000 runners turned up and there were lots of booths, live bands etc. and a great atmosphere. Met up with Emily for some positive vibes before the race:). The first half of the run was great but I must have been overdoing it because the second half was really tough. I did manage to run the whole distance (albeit very slowly at times) though.

Got home, checked the Body Bugg (the run was worth 450 calories or a nice big bowl of low fat icecream) and took a lovely snooze. The results came in later - 33:03 :)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Vibram fivefingers for two!

This morning we took a trip to Fit2Run at International Mall on the way to the beach to pick up some Vibram fivefingers. These shoes are supposed to give you the whole barefoot running experience but with a bit of foot protection. Even the Tamahumara strap bits of rubber tires on their soles sometimes! The store guy told us that they are actually selling out in many of the styles and they are really growing in popularity. Well, if that's true they must really help you run fast because they look absolutely hideous!

And here's the other problem... "monkey boy" Mike loves his new footwear so much he's now wearing them everywhere. Here he is in Clearwater later this afternoon...remind you of anything?...

Anyway, blisters are still on the mend so it's the cross trainer for me tomorrow and I'll try out my new "foot gloves" on Wednesday - wish me luck!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Barefoot Running Experiment...

Mike read "Born to Run" by Christopher McDougall about the Tamahumara tribespeople who can run literally hundreds of miles at a time. One of the key differences between them and the rest of us is the fact that they run barefoot. We thought we try it out at LA fitness on the treadmills first:) and heading off this morning...
First of all, the treadmill is hot (Mike thought at first that it was his feet that were generating a lot of heat:)). Not too hot though and both of use started out really well. It felt natural and easy - just warm that's all. My foot strike adjusted right away and I naturally didn't land on my heels at all. I took it really steady and ran about 1.3 miles in about 14 minutes. I even had a little runner's high kick in and the time flew by. We both stopped, however at the same time for the same reason - blisters. Loads of them and some big ones. (I didn't realize just how many until I could properly assess the damage later). So we put sneakers on and got back on the treadmills planning to do another couple of miles. I had to stop after 1.6 more miles when I felt two blisters burst at exactly the same time - one on each foot! It happened right in the middle of another little runners high so I was dissappointed but it was a great experiment and I was pleased at how well it went for the first time. I will definately try it again and next time I will end a run barefoot instead of starting out that way. Mike is going to invest in a pair of the oh-so-glamorous 'foot gloves.' I may even try that myself, it's not like I'm single or my husband cares...:)
I also tried to lean forward more today to move my center of gravity ahead of where my feet land which I read on a blog about "Chi Running." This was very successful immediately (although I kept forgetting to do it:)) since gravity helps you propel forward. I tried this towards the end of the run and actually had to increase the speed to stop the feeling of 'falling.' Anyway, I feel good and ready for the Moffit 5K at the weekend and no shin splints at all (I've just got to get these blisters to heal now!)

My feet...

Mike's feet (obviously)...his verdict..."I felt like a monkey boy - and I like monkeys"

At least the tops look OK:)...