Monday, November 30, 2009


Since my IT band keeps frustrating me, I've decided to switch gears for a while and try some other things to help it heal. I'm worried about losing cardiovascular fitness, gaining weight and losing my endurance since all I can seem to run is 2 miles before I have to stop. Not to mention this band needs to heal so I can start training again in January. Solution? I joined the local community center so I can swim. It's under construction right now, so there is a 25% discount. Plus you can do a pay-as-you-go monthly membership with no fee. So it is a really good deal for a place with a pool!

There are two pools in the facitily. The Leisure Pool has a lazy river, kid water things, a big tube slide, and oddly enough 3 lap lanes. The other pool is the Competition Pool, which is shared among the community center, high school and middle school. It's very nice, but I think it's going to be harder to get a lane there most days. Plus I learned after my first swim on Sunday that it's kept at 76º while the leisure pool is kept at a bath-water temperature of 88º. I'll take warm over cool, I'm not a competitive swimmer by any means.

I haven't attempted lap swimming since I had a membership at Lifetime Fitness. I have never had lessons or anything, so I'm not really sure I'm doing it right. I have looked up some pointers online for freestyle on triathlon sites and just try to keep those principles in mind while I'm swimming. Who knows. It feels OK. The hardest part is the breathing. It's hard for me to get the rhythm down. If any swimming readers have pointers, I'd love to hear them!!!

Sunday I went for the first time. The center opened at noon, so I went a little early to be sure I'd get a lane. A bunch of high school girls went to the competition pool side, so I went into the leisure pool side so I wouldn't have to compete for a lane. I don't mind sharing a lane, this was usually how I had to swim at Lifetime since it was always crowded. However, no one else was on the leisure side yet so it was just me and the lifeguards. I got a lane (the only one open because swim classes were about to start) and warmed up a little. Since I was the only one there, all 4 lifeguards had nothing to do but watch me, which was not what I wanted since I am self-conscious about looking like a flailing gorilla in the water. Soon the swim class started, so I began my freestyle crawl down and back, breathing every 3 strokes and trying not to look dumb.

Overall I think it went well. I ended up being able to go 50 yards before I had to take a breather. For 25 yards I could breath every 3 strokes. Coming back about midway down the lane I'd have to switch to breathing every other stroke. When I tried swimming before at Lifetime, I could barely make it down the 25 yards. But I also think I was going too fast. It's hard to swim slow, in my opinion.

I was in the water for about 50 minutes. I warmed up with the breast stroke and side stroke, or my interpretations of them anyway. I did a clunky freestyle for a while and then grabbed a kickboard and kicked for a few laps. Then I did more freestyle. I'm not sure how many total laps I did. Either 8 or 13 down and backs, which is 50 yards or meters each (not sure which the pool is yet). So I totaled somewhere around 400 - 650 yards or meters. I have no clue if that's good or bad. I figured to have my heart rate up for 50 minutes was a good start.

Back in the locker room after I was done, I snuck a picture of how goofy I look in a swim cap. My swimsuit is bright, construction barrel orange. No one will ever miss me coming.

After the pool I went to the dreadtreadmills and ran for 1.75 miles. I just had to see how my band would feel after the swimming. It felt fine. I began to feel the very early twinges, so I stopped when that happened.

So overall, I'm very excited to swim for a while! I wish I had someone who could give me some pointers in the water. Maybe I'll meet a friendly swimmer one day. I know there are classes offered too, so maybe I can check that out. Who knows, if I'm ever able to swim more than 50 yards at a time, maybe I can do a triathlon this coming year!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Soccer: A Variation of Speedwork

Last Friday night I subbed in on a couple of friends' soccer team. They were lacking in girls and had a double header, hence the desire to have more flexibility on the team for subs. Since marathon training was over (never wanted to do this while I was training because I figured I'd be pretty sore), I did it. I have never played soccer in my life, not even a pickup game. So I was a little very nervous I'd make a fool of myself. While I didn't make any game-saving plays (in fact we lost both games), I was pretty good at putting pressure on the other team's ball carrier and running all over the place. I tried to kick a goal once – that was dumb. Overall, it was so much fun.

It is absolutely amazing how much running you do in soccer – and this was only indoor, so a much smaller field. My first time out, I starting bounding all over the place and quickly got winded. We didn't get a chance to warm up before the game, so that didn't help. My chest burned. I was breathing as hard as I can breathe. It was crazy! It was a speed workout like no other.

Playing soccer makes me want to go to the track and just run as fast as I can over and over. It was definitely eye opening about what kind of a runner I have become: long distance endurance, slow and steady. I'm not a sprinter. But I do want to get faster and work on that kind of strength because I know it would help distance running. Soccer players are amazing!!!!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Evil Foam Roller

My IT band is getting slowly better. Yesterday I ran for 23 minutes before it started to hurt at all. But it needs more help.

So I got one of these: (the short one in the upper right on its end)

Let's just call it what it really is, a torturous piece of foam.

I worked on one of these when I went through the short physical therapy for my hip hurting during the marathon training. It was 2 minutes each side of hell. But, it ended up helping a LOT. So I decided it was about time I'd get one so I can start running normally again.

What you do with it is lay on it on your side, starting at your hip. Then you roll yourself along it all the way down to above your knee. Then back up. For a long time. On both legs. Ouch.

So here I go to roll away...

Monday, November 9, 2009

IT Band

IT Band. (ii-tee • band) 1. Iliotibial band.   2. Super tight piece of crap in my leg stretching from my hip to my knee that causes my knee to hurt.

Two runs now have been cut short. But I hope that my knowledge gained from Oxford Physical Therapy, some ice, some rolling with the rolling pin, and the resurgence of my stretching (I have been bad) will get me back in a couple of weeks to regular pain free running.

In the meantime, maybe I'll hop on my bike trainer to keep up the cardio. Though biking has always hurt my knees... so maybe that won't work. We shall see!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Slow Recovery

Well it's been a slow recovery from the marathon. I have done a couple of runs, the one at Sharon Woods hurt my knee. The trails are quite off-kilter there and I don't think my post-marathon legs were ready for it. And then I got the slightest cold, which has turned into a giant sinus snot-fest. Which has in turn made it very difficult to sleep/breathe. And then there's the humongous amount of work I've had lately. All of that = running not so much. So the Mason Mini this weekend is definitely out of the question. No biggie. It's OK, a break is good.

I'm feeling a lot better today and will see about going for a little run tonight after the hubby gets home. We're going to test the track conditions in the dark. We're not sure if there is enough ambient light around the school to run now that 6:00/6:30 track time is in the dark. (Thanks stupid planetary movement!) Track time just might have to be done solo for me this winter if there isn't enough light. Or we might be able to go on the weekends. I am the only one during the week who can leave work willy nilly (ok not really willy nilly, but I have a much more flexible schedule).

Operation Shrink the Beagle should be starting up soon too, maybe today or tomorrow. Dexter weighs a whopping 35 pounds, 5 pounds heavier than our bigger dog, Harley. The vet said as she pointed at him, cocking her head a little, and I quote: "Uh... no more weight gain for this one. He's lost his waist." He's a butterball. He is lazy and doesn't find much joy in exercising himself, so I'm going to start walking him a mile or so a day and see where that gets us. Beagles are known for having heart problems as they get older, so I don't want this chubby-wubby to have anything more going against him.

35 pounder, sulking after I told him he has to start exercising