Monday, January 26, 2009

The Countdown

1/26/09 D-6
Went for a quick 30 minute run. Ok, somebody explain this to me. How come, just yesterday I couldn't even land on my left foot because of my hip pain, yet this morning, I was running just fine with some tightness towards the end of the run? How can things change just overnight? I mean, thank God it did, but I'm a little confused. Granted, I spent most my afternoon yesterday on the foam roller and using *The Stick* to rub down my hips and legs, but what a drastic change (i'm not complaining, i'm not complaining)!!!

Pain was pretty severe in the morning in the office, but now it's manageable. I'm still trying to figure out why i've been in so much pain lately.

1/28/09 D-4
Had a great stretching session on Power Plate this morning. My body so needed that relief - my hips feel a lot looser. I'm going again to meet with my trainer Friday, to do a final fluff-up-those-muscles session.

Pain has subsided greatly. I have been taking heavy loads of vitamin B complex pills, which seem to be helping me with the energy levels. Been sleeping like a rock (thanks to Total Sleep).

My mind is now psyched about the race. Still nervous, but more excited, not as terrified as I was this past week.

1/29/09 D-3
Moderate pace run for 30 minutes. Did some final speed work at the end (30 seconds at incresing speed to maximum, 1 minute cool down, repeat 4 times), stretched and that was it. During the run, the right foot and inner-knee area (kinda the lower end of the adductors) were hurting, tried fixing my landing, but hey that's just going to have to fix itself magically on race day at this point. Post-run, left hip is back to normal (i think), right hip is a bit tight while sitting. Really looking forward to my Power Plate session tomorrow.

3 Days! Really??

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Mental Prepping.

My half marathon race is exactly a week away, on the morning of Super Bowl Sunday.

I tried running 5 miles this morning. Very unfortunately, my left hip was tight and I was in too much pain. Argh. I have no idea what happened here, because it has always been my right that have caused me problems, although I did have a couple of days of left-hip weakness. Perhaps I was focusing too much on my right and my left has been the compensator. I don't know. I tried pushing through but my left hip only felt worse - so I had to just bite my tongue, swallow my ego and walk back home. Discouraging.

I have been home, reading positive messages from my favorite books, meditating/praying (i consider them the same thing), and visualizing in my head how i will finish the race next week. What I need to do is focus on loosening up my tight muscles and getting my mind together to prep for the race. I figured, even if I ran today it wasn't going to contribute to making me any faster or stronger, especially at this point of the game. I've done my work, and I have a week to keep my heartrate going via short 30-40 min runs, to tighten some loose ends and just focus on the positive.

It has been an exhausting week from 12-14 hour work days, all week long. I was exhausted on Saturday, and I'm feeling a bit better. I need to store up my energy, be smart and be prepared. Ok, at this point I sound like a broken record.

I am pretty nervous about this race. I am excited to be out there with my friends and doing my first half marathon in 2 years since the hip injury. If I can maintain a slow start for the first 30 minutes, manage the pain (i.e. take advil around mile 6) and just keep myself distracted from the pressure, I will be ok.

Pray for me people, I know that I have never finished any of my races on my own might. I promise to remember that this race is not for myself, but for all those who suffer too much from the pain and cannot freely move as much as they would like to. I definitely know what that feels like - and I look forward to crossing that finish line and giving this pain a goooood kick in the butt!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

10 miles. Somehow I made it.

Yesterday morning I got up feeling so much weight on my shoulders. 10 miles of running was in order on my training schedule. Oh darn. I knew that my entire morning had to be spent on warming up my body, in whatever form.

All morning, I ran errands, cleaned the house and ran around to get my body loosened up while mentally preparing myself. I was scared to death, to be quite honest. I was dreading it and was thinking about any other ways I could get the same training effect without having to run it. The more I thought about it, there was no way around it.

Around 115pm, my running began. I warmed up as usual, for 15 minutes, alternating runs and walks. After the first 15 minutes, I kept running very easy, very VERY easy. I kept thinking about the miles I had to run and where I was every 5 minutes, and then realized I was driving myself insane by doing so, when I had so many miles to go. I just stopped thinking and started day dreaming about random things, visualizing the race and pretending that i was at mile 12 (10 times), and I was carefully observing my body, how my hips were feeling, my legs were feeling, etc... checking my form, etc... whatever I could do to distract myself from the long distance.

The first 4.5 miles were run on a rather boring course going east from where I live, away from the ocean. Then when I finished that course I moved on west to get on the beach to finish up the rest of my training. Sorry to those who live out in the east, but it was annoyingly hot at 80 degrees, I was burning up. Thankfully there was some breeze here and there that helped me cool off. I had a bottle of water with Cytomax mix and a bag of energy gels to sustain myself through the ordeal.

The first 5 miles or so, I was ok. I was feeling pretty good, my hips were holding up, I wasn't feeling too much pain. Around mile 6, pain in the hips started kicking in, around mile 8, I was groaning with pain but my lungs were working like magic and I wasn't out of breath at all. The last two miles were all a blur, going back and forth between focusing on my posture (what posture?) and almost crying from the hip pain. DAMN that hurt. I have to say, about the last 0.5 mile up on the hill back to my house, I just had to walk it, and every time i had to stop at a light or something before crossing the streets, I was in even more pain. Note to self: on race day, take advil around mile 5.

When I got home, I was beat, my calves were numb yet burning all at the same time, ankles were screaming, my hips were just hating my guts, and I had salt all over my face. I re-hydrated myself with water and stretched myself silly (calves, glutes, hip flexors, lower back, hamstrings, quads, IT band, piriformis... just google stretches for runners in these areas, you will find a ton of resources online!) and then iced my hips and upper quads (my usual problem areas) for about 15 minutes each.

Had some post-training food (carbs:protein 4:1 ratio), rested while catching up on some 24 (this season is like no other), felt like a human being again and then jumped into a hot shower while massaging my right piriformis (right butt cheek) muscle, which tightened up quite nicely (i'm being sarcastic). After the shower, I crashed for about 40 minutes and took a nice and relaxing nap. Kinda awake, but still a nap.

I went to a very fun dinner with a dear friend, ate like there was no tomorrow. It was good to have a nice fun relaxing time with a friend and laugh the day off instead of just staying in and going to bed with pain. I still had pain, but I was able to forget it a little bit. And moving around actually helped.

Today, I feel ok - definitely tired, tight around the hips, calves were completely stiff this morning but loosened up easily after a stretch (amazing!), upper shoulders are actually pretty tight from the run too. But I feel energized and relieved for the race, which is coming up in 2 weeks.

Tomorrow I will go for a fast walk/light jog for about 40 minutes to shake off the lactic acid build on my muscles.

I feel blessed. I mean, I'm tired and tight and in pain and all that fun stuff, but still I feel so blessed that I could run the 10 miles I was sooooooo dreading to do. If you think about it too much, the thought itself could just exhaust you. The best way to do it is to prepare yourself for whatever you need to do, and then without much thought, just open the door and get the heck out of the house and get moving.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Some Facts FYI.

I have been getting some questions about my training methods, philosophy, running speed, etc... Please allow me to list several not so exciting facts about my lack-of-athleticism:

1. My running speed is anywhere from 9 - 13 minute per mile. On average I hang out around 11/12, while I mix in some 9/10 minute milers periodically for about a minute or two. When I mix in walks when I'm injured, forget it, i don't even look at my timing. I really don't care.

2. I stretch for at least 10 mintues before AND after a run, or any kind of exercise. Even if means I have to cut out actual training time. I'd rather be safe than injured.

3. I warm up at least 10 mintues before i start running, that is AFTER i stretch. So in order for me to do a 30 minute quick run, I still need to time at least and hour and 15 minutes (10/15 min stretch + 10/15 minute warm up + 30 minute run + 5 minute cool down + 10 minute stretch).

4. I get up at 5am - 6am every morning. almost every. In peak training season (summer), 430am sometimes. Yes, I'm a freak.

5. I don't run with big groups, because I'm way too slower than everybody else. It only frustrates me and discourages me to run with people that have no idea what my body requires, and I am not going to overdo it to keep up with them and pay huge later. I bike with a small group that is still faster than I am but not too much faster. I acknowledge and accept my realities and train within those boundaries, with the hope that I could catch up with others in the near future.

6. I don't mind training alone. Without music. There is a lot to focus on (technique, posture, things to do, people to call, day dreaming, etc.) to keep me going. However, bike rides are an exception, I do need a riding buddy. It's safer and more fun. Oh yeah, and ocean swims too. Please do not ever go out ocean swimming alone.

7. I'm slow, I get passed all time. It's ok. I can still finish a race, while 80% of the population is still sleeping or just getting up.

8. I take pride in my training and races. No matter how small or slow i may seem to others. However, I do have massive respect for those who are naturally athletic and doing something with it.

9. I do my homework - I read about pre and post training nutrition, I learn about the science behind fibromyalgia, I read articles about athletes and what they do to stay fit and focused, etc...

10. I listen to my body. If it doesn't want to do something, I modify my plan and do something else, or not do it at all.

11. Most importantly: I don't rush. I keep trying to find the right solution. All I have learned so far is through trial and error. I think in months and years, not in days or weeks. This is a life-long endeavor.

Have a wonderful day.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A good morning.

I ran for an hour this morning. I ran.

OK, let's start from the beginning. I got up, TIRED as heck, got dressed and went downstairs to warm up a little. I warmed up by blasting music and dancing around the living room (hey, why not have fun?). Then I moved on to stretching. I got warm enough to want to get out of the house at 545am, still dark and a bit chilly (not as cold as it has been in the East, but hey, everything is relative).

I started jogging very easy, for 5 minutes - then I walked to stretch out my hips more for the next 5 mintues, and stretched my quads twice along the way, and then to wrap up my extended warm up, I jogged again for another 5 minutes.

I focused on my warm up this morning because of the fact that I hadn't really *ran* in 3 days or so, and I wanted to make sure that I could maximize my running while I was in fact running.

The warm up paid off. I was running smoothly 10-15 minutes into my main run, and towards the end of the 4th mile (i think) I didn't feel like stopping - I could go on for another 3-4 miles (what a relief, i have a half marathon in 3 weeks!). I was able to change my speed more swiftly too, which felt great. We all know there are days we can't tell if we're going faster or slower or what.

Some people can just start running. I can't. I could, but I wouldn't last long. I have to take the time to warm up properly. I have to take the time to get my body to be ready to run. Yes, I would like to be like those some people that can just get up and get running. But I am not. Big deal. Take some extra time and make sure YOUR run is right for YOU. It's YOUR run, it's MY run, not somebody else's.

Anyway, I cooled down for 5 minutes after 4.5 miles, and then stretched and got myself on the foam roller after the run. It felt good. What a good run this morning. What a relief that is, too.

Tomorrow I will attempt to do a shorter run but faster. Friday, strength training and recovery. Saturday (or Sunday), a big 10 miler.

Have a nice day.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Easing In

I had about 9 hours of solid sleep. I woke up with lingering pain in my shoulders and tired legs. I knew I had to get up and get moving. I stretched and started walking outside. After about 8 minutes of walking, I started running really easy, I felt some discomfort in my hips and left quads, but I figured that's natural for someone who hasn't ran in over a week.

I warmed up for about 15 minutes with a light run. Then, I just kept doing run/walk intervals of 4 mins/1.5 mins for about 2 miles. The discomfort did subside over time, but I have to admit not to a point I'd liked it to be. But I felt comforted by the relief, no matter how small it was. I knew that there was no way I could run over 5 miles without feeling pain later, so I slowed down on the way back and walked fast to stretch my hips and monitor my pain. My mind was still running wild, one minute positive and another minute negative and gloomy. I was worrying about my ability to do a half marathon in 3 weeks. I was feeling antisocial and worrying about a dinner commitment i made for tonight. I was at times telling myself I will have a great day. I was at times telling myself my life was over - my head was very very unstable! These mind tricks could fool us to making us believing that we are worthless and our lives are pathetic. But I know even this mind battle is part of the process. Whenever my mind plays tricks on me, I have to focus on the positive. I know those negative thoughts are not real, and they are driven by lower serotonin levels, especially on high-pain days. When my body is about to feel better, my mind struggles even more before it gets back to its positive state...brain chemistry runs the gamut.

I'm going in to the office today for about 5 hours to get a lot of work done, which stresses me out, but I will just push through and get it done.

Tomorrow I will attempt to get up early and do a real run, since I managed to warm up today from a week long streak of pain and fatigue.

I can turn this around. Even when I think i can't, I know i just have to.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


Today was one of the toughest days i have had in a long time.

The pain through my shoulder blades are so severe that I cannot even turn my head, and the pain keeps me completely helpless. I've tried many times throughout the day to push through it and be active, but i couldn't. The thing that kills me that it probably is just tight, but I'm feeling it so much more because of fibromyalgia. I've been tired and overworked, and even over-active. This pain is what gets us down not just physically but also mentally. I am in a dark place.

i pray that tomorrow i will be better. i pray that i will get through this. i pray that i will not feel like i'm all alone on this earth. i pray that tomorrow I will get up and get moving. i pray that tomorrow i will have better news to share.

Surf City Half Marathon, 2/1/09. I will still make it there.

I'll be ok. God bless you all.