Thursday, October 27, 2011

Double Injury

((sadly not as cool as a Double Rainbow))
Injured again. And it sucks.
Backstory: ran my first marathon, a week later sped through a 5K, developed peroneal tendonitis on my left foot. Went to physical therapy, got stretches/homework to do at home.

Unfortunately, this time the injury is in my right foot. After a 9 miler last week, I got pretty intense pain (only when walking) on the inside (calcaneal area) of my right heel. It faded last week, but after 10 this week flared up again.
I'm not sure what's wrong with it, but it feels like tendonitis. Again.

The physical therapist told me that a very common cause of foot pain is tight calves. When the calf muscle tightens up, it pulls unevenly on the foot tendons and causes injuries. Because of this, she recommended I pick up a Step Stretch.
The Step Stretch is basically a piece of plastic that rocks back at an angle and gives a deep calf stretch. It's intense, but really loosens up your calves. Hurts so good.

Between using the Step Stretch and doing other balance exercises, I wonder if my current "injury" is just my foot tendons becoming used to correctly balancing my weight when I run.

Regardless, I'm icing, stretching and reducing my mileage drastically. The most important thing I learned from my first injury experience: running through pain is always a bad idea.

So today, instead of a 5 miler, I hit the pool. Not as much fun, but alright nonetheless.
How do you deal with injury/setbacks when working out? I'm sick of being out of commission!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Philadelphia Half Marathon Training Week 8

Last week was one of complete insanity. It was wonderful but incredibly busy. I once again managed to stay relatively on top of my workouts though.

Previously on PHMT: Week 1Week 2Week 3Week 4Week 5Week 6, Week 7
This week I started out strong with a solid 9 miles all over Ann Arbor. I kept a great pace and the weather held out. Hopefully tomorrow is just as nice when I tackle 10!
Remember how last week I was babbling about quality workouts? Well this week was less than quality. It was pouring rain, so on Wednesday and Thursday I hit the treadmill. Even when running tempo runs, I never feel as spent after a treadmill workout.

M- 9m long
T- light strength training
W- 4m tempo (2m @ 8:57-9:02 pace) treadmill
R- 3m treadmill
F- off (skipped yoga)
S- off
S- 4m fall run
total: 20 miles

I'm glad I even managed to squeeze in the two treadmill workouts. This week was straight up absurd for science work. UM hosted a microbial pathogenesis conference this weekend and I worked my tail off to get ready.
It was an amazing conference, much bigger than the last one I went to. There are so many fantastic scientists and students in the midwest and I feel like I learned so much. I also got great feedback on my project and am excited to move forward.

Luckily the warm weather is coming back a little bit, so the 10 miles should be smooth tomorrow. Only 4 weeks till the race!

Happy running and studying :)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Philadelphia Half Marathon Training Week 7

Sorry for the late posting! Grad school is totally kicking my butt lately-- but I kinda like it :) Let's take a look back at half marathon training for Week 7...

Previously: Week 1Week 2Week 3Week 4Week 5, Week 6
After running the Big House Big Heart 10K last Sunday, I wasn't sure what to do about my long run. Should I do another, just a few days after the 10K? Skip it entirely? I ended up making my workouts up a little on the fly, but it worked out.

M- 4m arboretum run
T- strength training
W- 8x400m @8:00min/mi pace, with w/u and c/d for 3 miles
R- 5m hill run
F- yoga
S- 3m trails
S- off
total: 15 miles 

While my overall mileage was a little lower last week, I definitely got in more quality workouts. Wednesday I hit the track for a speed session with 400m repeats. I felt awesome after! Then Thursday I tackled one of my hilliest routes today and rocked it out.
Often times I'll run a flat or net downhill route because it's a lot easier. But I find that I don't get as good of a workout, or improve as much as I should week to week. With the race drawing closer (less than 5 weeks!) I'm going to make a conscious effort to focus on my training. In short, 15 miles of hard workouts > 20 miles of flat routes!

And with that, I'm off for another week of classes, work and running in Ann Arbor. There's a microbiology conference at UM this weekend, so I'm working round the clock to get ready. My lab bench tells all:
complete insanity.

happy running and studying!

***Shout-out to all of my friends who rocked 13.1, 26.2 or otherwise this weekend! Including: Linnea, Clare, David H, Keith W, Ariell, Mallory, Pat, Corinne and Ann Marie! What a bunch of champions :)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Somewhat Healthy Apple Pie

In college I finished off many a bad cafeteria meal with a piece of apple pie from the dessert bar. I'd microwave it for 30 seconds, add some ice cream, and forget the mess that was my college life.

Since coming to grad school there's no dining hall open and full of pre-made desserts. Last night I decided enough was enough: I was getting some apple pie! So I consulted Better Homes and Gardens.
This cookbook never leads me astray. It's one I grew up with, and my mom passed down her version to me last year (on the left). In college I bought the updated version to have in my dorm, because I missed the peach cobbler recipe!

My version of the BH&G apple pie is a little bit healthier and pretty quick to make. You're supposed to use granny smith apples for the pie, but I live on the edge, and honeycrisp are the bomb.

Peel and slice those apples (I only used 3 of these guys),
and add to the dry mix of sugars and flour.
Don't have time/energy/crisco to make your own crust? Get some of these.
Lay one in a pie plate.

Put those apples on top,
and then get funky with your top designs. The only cookie cutters I have are from gingerbread cookie making, but I think it looks pretty sharp.
Eat, preferably warm and with ice cream.
This pie was far better than the ones I had in college, and was pretty fun to make, too. Definitely tastes like fall!

Makes 1 pie, 16 small slices.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 60 minutes

1 box frozen pie crust (or make your own!)
3 large apples, sliced, any kind (I like granny smith and honey crisp!)
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
4 TBSP flour
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg

1) Peel, slice and core your apples.
2) Mix sugars, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg and pour over apples.
3) Unroll one pie crust and place into pan. Pour apples on top and spread evenly.
4) Unroll other pie crust and cut into strips for lattice top, cookie cutter shapes for a shaped top, or cover the pie entirely for a flat crust.
5) Bake at 375 for 30 minutes, check, then bake until top of pie is slightly brown.
6) Let cool, slice and enjoy!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Philadelphia Half Marathon Training Week 6

6 weeks down, 6 weeks to go for the Philly Half Marathon!

A look back: Week 1Week 2Week 3Week 4, Week 5
This week I really ramped it up with some speed! All of my runs were 9:30 pace or under, and I hit 20 miles this week. That's my fastest week... ever!

M- 7m long (speedy!)
T- Strength Training for Runners
W- 4m run
R- 3.5m trail run
F- rest and physical therapy
S- rest
S- BHBH 10K!
total: 21 miles

Ann Arbor has been gorgeous lately, and I had a great time at yesterday's Big House Big Heart 10K (and even PRed!)
But with 6 weeks left to go of training, I'm starting to get worried I won't make my goal! I have a somewhat ambitious goal for this half that I'll share soon :)

Until then, I'll keep running fast and logging those miles. But first, I have laundry and a Lions game to keep track of.
Happy running!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Big House Big Heart 10K Recap

What a lovely day it's been! I woke up and took on the Big House Big Heart 10K for the second time, and nailed a 3.5 minute PR!
The story begins with an early morning breakfast of coffee and banana + choc PB.
We biked to the start, right at Michigan Stadium (aka the Big House). Lining up with the 4,000 other 10Kers (10,000 more would run the 5K later) was exhilarating and the sun rose just before we started.
And then we were off! I had a few goals: start slow, PR from last year (1:00:58) and have fun. I've been struggling with a minor cold all week but it didn't affect me too much.

The loop is nice: you run through campus, downtown residential areas and finish on the 50 yard line at the Big House. The fall colors have really started to pop in Ann Arbor, too. So pretty.
Mile 1: 9:46

Mile 2: 9:21

Mile 3: 9:10

During the second round, I tried to pick up the pace but was really starting to hurt. Running this fast is hard!
Mile 4: 9:20

Mile 5: 8:55

Before I knew it, we were rounding the last corner to head into the Big House! The tunnel in is the absolute COOLEST part-- I get goosebumps every time!

Mile 6: 8:56

Mile 0.24: 8:05 pace

Then it's just a short sprint across the finish...
And I was done with a time of 57:14, a new PR!

Post-run rice krispie treats occurred. And I attempted the Heisman trophy pose.
Clearly I'm not Heisman material.

Once I made it back home, it was egg sandwich and apple cider time. Demolished in 0.005 seconds.
I love this race and was so happy to PR! Can't wait for the rest of my fall racing schedule to get here!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

What I've Been Up To Lately

It's no secret that grad school is hard. This past week has been one of the more insane weeks, but I've managed to keep my head on straight. Here's what I've been up to instead of blogging.

1) Seeing Pretty Lights in Detroit
I first saw Pretty Lights live at Lollapalooza, but ended up leaving early because I was sick. Last weekend we hit up the Fillmore in Detroit for another show and it was rad.

2) Studying, studying and studying some more
With the first big immunology exam yesterday, I spent all week learning about B cell differentiation. It's about as fun as it sounds.

3) Messing up experiments
Enough said.

4) Running fast!
Potentially as a byproduct of all of the stress, I've really kicked up my pace this week. I had a long run with an average 9:25 pace and two 4 mile runs at around 9:19 and 9:37, respectively.

5) Physical therapy
The post-marathon injury lives on. I finally went and got my foot checked out and had my first PT session this week. It seems like most of my issues are from balance/misalignment, so they shouldn't be too hard to fix.

6) Drinking a boot full of beer
After all of the nuttiness of this week, das boot cures all.

This weekend: more work, shopping, cooking chili for my CSA members and my second ever 10K tomorrow!

What have you been up to lately?

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Philadelphia Half Marathon Training Week 5

This week of training for the Philly Half Marathon absolutely rocked!

But first, a look back: Week 1Week 2Week 3Week 4.
The weather in Michigan this week left a lot to be desired. I had rainy runs all week, but achieved a new goal of working out/running 6 days this week! I don't think I've ever done that before, and it felt really good to work on endurance and speed throughout.

Last week:
M- 8m long
T- Strength Training for Runners
W- 4m run (rain)
R- 7x400m sprints @8:13min/mi pace (2m with warm up)
F- 2 quick miles
S- rest
S- 3m with a rainbow!
total: 19 miles

I'm feeling awesome this week and everything's going according to plan. This morning the sun was bright and shining and my evening run was cool and crisp. Plus, I saw a rainbow at the end!
(you can kind of see it if you look right at the X in the wires)

This coming week brings a step-back in long run distance and then the Big House Big Heart 10K on Sunday. I ran it last year as my first 10K and hope to crush my PR this year :)
(BHBH 2010)
Happy workouts, and happy fall!
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