Aug. 28th, 2012 01:04 pm
Is anybody a member?

I just signed up today. It's basically a workout tracker/program/app designed by people who play RPGs and D&D and MMOs. It's fitness set up like a video game. You can start at any level, fit or unfit or whatever, but recording your activities gets you points, and improving gets you more points, and you can undertake "quests" and complete "feats" and stuff like that. You can gain levels!!!

I've signed up because I start fucking physical therapy today, and I'm joining the new gym, and so it's a good time for me to start a new method of tracking stuff. The physical therapy will be assigning me workouts, and telling me what other workouts I can do, so it's a good time to get a baseline down. Plus, I like the idea of learning points and gaining levels, because I am a nerd.

Check it out, become a member, and go on bad ass quests with me!! Apparently it is a lot more fun when you have friends - we can "challenge" each other and get points doing it. It doesn't even matter if all you do is walk or bodyweight pushups or whatever - I think there's stuff for all levels.

My user name is sevdrag. XD
seventhe: (Quistis/Rydia: Yeah I Ship It)
#1: I have arthritis, at 30. It's what broke my toes off earlier this year; it's part of what's causing my neck problems, as it has moved into my spine. I'm 30. With arthritis. In my spine.

#1.5: I'm currently having anxiety attacks over whether this is rheumatoid arthritis; I haven't gotten the blood test yet, but i have other symptoms too (constant inflammation of tendons on equal sides of my body, constant pain/ache, etc); an autoimmune disease would explain why my body has never actually worked correctly, and I'm terrified that that's going to be it. I hate self-diagnosers so I'm trying to ignore it, but it isn't working.

#2: One of the fundamental reasons I work out - including weight lifting - is because it can prevent the osteopenia that hit my mum at an incredibly young age and the osteoporosis that is tearing my gramma apart.

#3: Lifting heavy weights is the most efficient way to weight train. Heavy weights, few reps >> little weights, lots of reps in terms of efficiency, bone strengthening, muscle gains, etc.

#4: Heavy lifting and high impact activities are probably what's aggravating my arthritis so badly.

#5: I don't like having to choose between arthritis at 30 and osteopenia at 40. I don't want either.

#6: I guess maybe this is a good time to try that gym with the pool.

#7: physical therapy is expensive, I don't want to do it, and I don't need another thing taking up my already limited time. However, I would like to not be in high levels of pain every day.

#8: Ugh.

on the gym

Aug. 16th, 2012 07:39 am
seventhe: (Rydia: whyt)
I've been doing moderately better at getting my workouts in. I say 'moderately' because I've been hampered by my neck -- I've had the stabbing can't-turn-my-head type of pain on and off but more or less consistently for the last 6 weeks. Some days my neck will move and it's just pain, maybe a 4 on the pain scale; other days it locks up and I can't look over my shoulder or touch my ear to my shoulder, and that's somewhere like an 8 or 9. It's easy for me to ignore lower levels of pain - I haven't had a pain-free day in at least seven years - but this is severe and hampering enough that I'm finally taking steps to get it looked at. My chiropractor says it's a pinched nerve. My doctor gets to weigh in this afternoon. More on that later; the point is, I've been fighting whatever this injury/malady is, and many days, I don't feel right doing any kind of full workout when I'm in that much pain.

The real point of this post is that I'm thinking of switching gyms.

Right now I'm a member of RPFitness and I don't really have any problems with it. It's a very nice gym. The equipment is well-kept, it's rarely too crowded to do what you want to do, and it's about $38/month. They offer some classes for free (yoga, some body pump type classes, spinning), and some you have to pay for (the "FIT" classes, which are kind of like 30 minutes of BodyRock with a trainer), but with my schedule my ability to attend classes is limited. Right now I only visit once, maybe twice a week, to use their weight machines, freeweights, and other equipment, because I'm running outside so much. I've already been considering alternatives, because $38/month is only a dollar a day from one point of view, but if I only go 4-8 times a month, isn't there some other way I can do those exercises and not pay for it? You know?

The new gym that I'm looking at is $53/month, but it has a pool. Recently, for whatever reason, I've really been missing swimming. I was a state-level varsity swimmer for all four years in high school, and I taught swim lessons during the summers I was a lifeguard to help put myself through school. I love swimming, I always have, and as I get older and these fucking injuries get worse and worse, I've started thinking about it more and more. I may have come to terms with what running does for my body but that doesn't mean I like it. At all. And I won't know until I try, but since swimming is a known quantity, a known positive, I feel like I'd be more likely to stick with a workout routine that incorporated swimming than I have been with running - I can train for races, but I've proven that left to my own devices I rarely run (until I start feeling gross). Consistency has always been my problem and it's stupid to assume that will just go away with a simple switch, but at the same time, if it's something I enjoy more, I should be less likely to skip it.

So for $15/month more I would have everything I have now, plus access to a track, plus access to a pool. And a hot tub and sauna.

In September I'll be done with my race commitments, and I have really been thinking about putting running on the back burner and trying three months of using swimming as my cardio. I called RPFitness, and I can actually "suspend" my account for up to three months - I won't use their gym and won't pay for a three-month period, but if I decide to go back, I can do so without having to pay their initiation/enrollment fee again since my account was suspended rather than cancelled.

Of course, to join the other gym I will have to pay an enrollment fee, which is... usually it's something like $275 which is ha ha ha no, but right now they're running a deal until the end of August, and the fee is very highly discounted. So on one hand right now seems like a great time to try it out - I can suspend my RPF membership, pay a lower fee, try the other gym out for 3 months, and make a decision in November.

On the other hand: I have to do it before the end of August, and the Akron Marathon Relay we always run is at the end of September, so in September I'll still be heavily running because I'll be training for the race. Also, even the discounted enrollment fee is still a lot of money and I won't get that back, whether I stick with the new gym or return to the old: it's lost on the chance that I'll like this gym better. Even though I have a good job and solid savings, poor!Sev still lives in my backbrain, and I don't like just throwing money around simply because I have it available.

Pros and Cons because I love lists )

So that's what I'm musing on today.
seventhe: (MAC Batman)
Something strange is going on with my running this year. It feels good.

Not the actual running part; the physical act of running is still full-on pain - I've got asthma, one ruined ankle with no remaining ligaments, two toes basically broken by arthritis, and horribly annoying recurring tendinitis in my ankles and knees: and you expect running to feel good? HA. TROLOLOLOL, says my body. No, the act of running itself still hurts like it always has.

(So why have I been a runner for so long if I hate it? A combination of factors: a) running is a good workout; b) I like racing with my friends; and most significantly c) the deep underlying fear of my medical family history and not being in control of my body as I age, which is my number one motivator for any and all of the exercising I do.)

But for the first time, I'm coming back from runs, and I actually feel good. I feel better than I did going out on the run. I don't think it's a direct endorphin rush - it's not quite as dramatic or overwhelming as most people describe the "runner's high" - it's more comfortable, more subtle. I don't know what it is. But post-run actually feels good on my body now.

It's a little ridiculous that this is the first time this has happened since I started running again more than 5 years ago.

I don't know why: between injuries, travel, alcohol, and laziness I'm probably in the worst shape this year that I've been in 5 years or so. So maybe it's just that I've (finally) learned how to run, or learned how to train. Maybe it's a combination of the minimalist shoes and my crosstraining that makes everything feel better. Maybe it's the fact that my body chemistry seems to be reversing itself. I don't know. But I don't mind it.

Also a new thing this year: my penchant for purchasing the brightest and most obnoxious horridly lurid neon sports bras that I can find is proving to be a horrible life choice. It's been so godsbefucked hot outside, and since I'm running harder I'm sweating more, and apparently even after several washings if you sweat enough you end up with bright pink or bright blue bosoms? I don't know. Because I wasn't classy enough already?
seventhe: (Ohayo: THAT GUY)
Female Olympians fight back against shamers and haters

The Olympics may have provided us with a global exhibition of some seriously retrograde ideas about athletes and femininity, but they have also provided us with something even more important, and that’s the sight of female athletes fighting back.

This entire article and all of its accompanying links makes me want to cheer and weep at the same time.
seventhe: (Rydia: sparkle)
I've struggled a lot with working out / staying fit / being healthy in 2012. My biggest problem has been consistency.

On the short term, my mindset looks like this:
  • [Sunday] I'm going to be so healthy this week and work out all the time! I go to the gym. I go to the grocery store and buy awesome high-protein breakfast and lunch ingredients, and awesome fresh simple high-protein dinners, and do a lot of cooking.
  • [Monday, Tuesday] Still kind of motivated! Hit the gym! cook more.
  • [Wednesday, Thursday] I'm getting burnt out and exhausted from my stupid exhausting job!! I don't have the energy to go to the gym today. I'll eat these leftovers. Maybe have some wine. Sit on my ass. Today sucked though.
  • [Friday, Saturday] I'm still exhausted! And I deserve a weekend break from life! I'm not going to the freaking gym, these are my days off!
  • [Sunday] I'M STILL A CHUBSTER? HOW DO DIET. WHAT ARE RUNNING. Okay. Fine. I'm going to be so healthy this week...


On the long term, I've been set back by arthritic busted toes, my trusty neck/shoulder knot, a lingering bad ankle, a travel schedule that just won't quit, and the overall underlying sense of exhaustion, fatigue, and hopelessness that you find at the bottom of the barrel of fucks.

Neither of these situations are good for consistency. If I can't get momentum up over a week, I'll never keep it going long-term; if I can't stay healthy and motivated, what's the point of even doing a week.

I can't build up a decent running base because of this -- every time I get up to even 8, 10 miles a week, something happens - either exhaustion, injury, business, or busy-ness - and I'll go a week without running at all. And you can't do any kind of weight training program without a consistent schedule and a consistent base. I'll up my squat load 10lb, but then I won't make it back to the gym for 8 days to do more squats, so I'll stall and gain nothing except pain and more exhaustion.

Workout weekends )

Not that anyone but me cares about this lololol. But hey. If I spent as much time actually working out as I did reading about fitness and training plans, I'd be an award-winning marathon runner and a certified yoga instructor whooooooooooooooooooooops
seventhe: (Cats: I LIKE THEM)
Last year, Katy, Jeff, and I ran a 5K. I know it was in early May because a) I remember it as a week before my half marathon which was 15 May; and b) I wore the shirt from it today and checked the date and yes it was like 8 May 2011. I've been intending to run it again this year, but, assuming it would be in early May again, I figured I had time to kick it back into running.



Please keep in mind that I haven't run -- have barely worked out -- since the first week in February, when my toe almost broke off. I've been healing. Doctor's orders. (and in all fairness i hadnt really been working out too much before that due to holidays and laziness, so... I am really not in good shape right now, my friends.) So I have absolutely zero base to build on here. I wasn't even really sure I COULD STILL RUN 3 MILES.

So I decided to try. Because that's a great idea with no base and recovering from an injury that still hurts and when I'm already an asthmatic cripple who hates running anyway. I decided to try AND TO DO IT WITH INTERVALS. cause great ideas are great. Don't look at me like that.

and here, i'll just copy this from my email to Katy, because I'm lazy:

>> So last year I ran the 5k in 28:10

>> Just now I got to 28 minutes and I STILL HAD A HALF MILE TO GO

>> final time 33:20 and that's on a treadmill... Aka no hills or people or anything

>> On one hand I'm pretty proud that I just pulled a 5k out of my ass when I legitimately haven't run an inch since the first week of February

>> On the other hand, JESUS CHRIST

So. I've got two things to ask of y'all.

1). If I post tomorrow that my toe hurts, do not let me run this shit. Do not let me run at all. Comment and say "I told you so." Comment and say I told ME so. Bring your friends. I don't care. Rip on me hard enough that I don't try to run this if my toe is still being arthritic and painful.
2) if I am not in severe pain tomorrow, help keep me motivated? Because I haven't run in forever and it's going to be hard to be positive when I'm so much slower than last year even though I know I can rationalize all the reasons.

And now, to bed.
seventhe: (Laguna: I lost my moomba)
image of a cactuar and a tonberry from Final Fantasy with the word Versus in bold between them

The October Prompt-a-Thon is underway for Chocobo Racing at [community profile] ff_exchange / [ profile] ff_exchange! The mighty TEAM CACTUAR is ahead for September, so let's not let evil Team Tonberry catch up ...!

2. I'm going to another career fair tomorrow. Whee...? Although this time I actually get to recruit a co-op, fuck yeah! Downside: Dealing with Mr Douchebag. Upside: free lunch.

3. I officially got a FLU SHOT yesterday. This is my first flu shot, so, here's hoping it works. I realize it won't ward off my usual strep throat and chronic bronchitis (yearly visitors, yay?) but maybe it can keep away some of the other shit flu weeks I deal with every stupid winter. All fingers crossed.

4. And because I really did need another medical ailment like I need a hole in my face, I have TMJ problems. Temporomandibular joint disorder, to be exact, is inflammation of the guy that connects your jaw to your facebone. My mother has suffered from TMJD before, and I've had it once in the past, so I was pretty sure that was what was going on, although it took me a while to put the clues together.

My symptoms were jaw pain and snapping; sharp/severe occasionally when chewing; jaw sensitivity; weird noises in my ear; the feeling of water being stuck in my ear when there ain't; tinnitis; and loss of hearing.

Went to the doctor yesterday, got the TMJ-D diagnosis confirmed, and now I'm on a steroid nasal spray (to tamp down inflammation from the inside) and a handful of other over-the-counter stuff (to attack it elsewhere).

TMJ problems are often brought on by stress. A few weeks ago I was eating nachos with Becky when my jaw did the initial (severely painful) pop-snap. A few weeks ago I was under a ton of stress: shit at work, my move, Becky's move, Ira's everything, Dad's job, Gramma's surgery, ~relationship~ stuff, the marathon, PLUS two handfuls of "lesser" things eating at me. No fucking wonder. Jaw grinding and tension in the neck. I know I need anxiety pills.

Although this from Wikipedia made me froth in rage:
Regular exercise such as running for 20 minutes 3 times a week, is extremely efficient in alleviating TMD brought about through stress-induced bruxism. Exercise essentially burns away the chemicals like cortisol and norepinephrine that cause stress so the unconscious mind no longer feels the need to relieve its stress through jaw-clenching.

JESUS FUCKING CHRIST, IT DOES NOT WORK THAT WAY FOR EVERY PERSON. When this happened I was running 4x/week, a total of like probably 5 HOURS OF RUNNING/week, and I was STILL so stressed out I popped a ligament IN MY FUCKING MOUTH. God in heaven, nothing can set me off quite like preachy people who think "exercise cures all! Fix your anxiety easily! What are you waiting for?" NOPE. SORRY. I THINK I KNOW MY BODY BETTER THAN YOU DO, AND IT DOES FUCKNUTS NOTHING. Running has never done a single fucking thing for my stress levels or my anxiety attacks. I should know; I've tried to give it every last chance I possibly could hoping that it would do so. Extremely efficient my gigantic ugly ass.


5. I am up for a new phone and am really pretty severely ogling the new Blackberry - it's a combo touch-screen and keyboard model, it ran really sleek in the store, and it is getting fabulous reviews. However, I can't help but feel like Blackberry as a whole is on its way out, and I can't pull the trigger on a new phone for 2 years just yet when I feel like the company isn't going anywhere. The thing is, I... I don't really want an Android or an iPhone. They both just feel way too freaking zazzy and fancy and flashy and complicated to me. What I like about my Blackberry is its business-like simplicity (I am a boring person okay). I went through the Verizon store and played with all the phones and they just didn't feel like what I wanted.

6. I require more coffee.
seventhe: (Default)

Well, we basically owned this race. Our goal was to come in under 4:00 - a pretty challenging goal, honestly, and I had been pretty worried going into the race... but every single team member showed up and tore it up on the road. Our final time: an ass-kicking 3:47:21. That's under a 9 minute mile pace. Everybody beat their goal time significantly, and together we basically shattered our overall goal.

It was a pretty exhausting and emotional day. :)

As you can see in the screencap, we placed 116/753 - top 15% - in our division (mixed M/F team), and we placed 208/1110 - top 18% - out of all the relay teams. That's ridiculous.

I'm so proud of our team.

(And I came in at 71.4 minutes for my leg, meaning I ran 7.9 miles at a 9:02/mile pace. I have absolutely no idea how this happened.)
seventhe: (Ohayo: Hose This Down)
The Akron Marathon (Relay) is only 2 days away! I am starting to get excited/nervous about it -- last week I was ready to just have it over and done with, but now, I'm preoccupied with how I am going to do and whether the 200 miles of training I've put in are going to show up or not.

Jeff and I both got free shirts from Bridgestone, though - Bridgestone's a sponsor of this race, and because we're employees, we get Bridgestone running shirts. I will, of course, be running in my J-Squad shirt, but I will never say no to a free tech shirt. They're really nice. (That means that for this one race, I'll have gotten 3 shirts: the official Akron one, the Bridgestone one, and our Team J-Squad one. Sweet!)

I can't decide how confident I am about the race. I did my half marathon (13.1 miles) at a 10:00/mile, so I should be faster than that for a leg that's only 7.9 miles, plus I have trained a lot since then. However, the training has been a lot of long slow miles, and when I do faster tempo runs, I feel like I'm going to die - and they're only 4 miles long. So I have absolutely no idea how to predict my performance. My 'goals' are, in order:
  • Beat last year's time of 81 minutes
  • 75 minutes (~9:30/mile)
  • 73 minutes (minus one minute per mile from last year)
  • 71 minutes (~9:00/mile)

It may sound dumb to have this many goals, but I am pretty sensitive to "how I am doing" when I'm running. If I feel like I'm doing well, I get motivated to go harder. If I feel like I'm going poorly, I get upset, and that interferes with my breathing and makes me run worse. So, I try to have levels of goals that include things I am pretty sure I can do, so that I don't get too upset. Running is just as much about the mental as it is about the physical, you know.

I've been trying to go to bed early-ish this week, and tonight and tomorrow I'll be in bed very early. #loser Then again, I have to be up at balls-o-clock on Saturday. #yuck

Anyway, wish me luck! Soon you'll all be free from my talk about training, ha ha ha.
seventhe: (Snorlax: fuckin owns)
There are 10 days left until the relay. This week has started my wind-down / taper / whatever:
  • 6 mi, 4 mi tempo
  • 4 mi easy
  • 8-10 mi very easy
  • 4 mi easy

...putting me at ~22 miles for this week.

I've worked as hard as I can for this race, and I've run more miles than I did training for the half marathon, so I am really hoping that I'll do well.

However, based on yesterday's run -- a 6 mile run (actually 5.7, I had to cut it short because it got too dark to see on the towpath) with 4 miles at "tempo" pace of ~9:20/mile -- I'm not going to be running my leg of the relay at a ~9 min/mile pace like the training plan seems to think I will.

Even 4 miles at 9:20/mi was exhausting, and that's only half of my leg. At the end of the 4th mile, my heart rate was 181 bpm - that's way too fast especially for an asthmatic; that's really close to the "max" that's "healthy" for me to hit, basically, ever. There's no way I could have done ONE more mile at that speed, let alone FOUR. It isn't going to happen.

I realize that on race day there will be adrenaline, and there will be a different kind of warm-up, and that I'll be going all-out, and that's fine, I understand that. But the plan implied that I'd be running 9:09/miles at the end of it, and that just literally isn't going to happen.

It's okay - a 9:30/mile puts me in at 75 minutes, which cuts 5-6 min off of my time from last year, and I'll be more than happy with that. It's just sad because it proves that my stupid asthmatic body needs to train differently than 'normal' runners to get faster.
seventhe: (Life: stress out and die)
I haven't posted about training in a while, and since I've run 9 miles in the last 2 days and am exhausted from it, I think it's time for a catch-up post. Here's what I've done in August - I'm in the middle of Week #7 right now.

week 5: 18.3 mi total 5 miles: warmup / 3 mi tempo / cooldown 3 miles easy/recovery 8.3 miles, long/easy 2 mi easy/recovery
week 6: 20 mi total 5 miles: warmup / 3 mi intervals 4x[0.5mi fast, 0.25mi jog] / cooldown 3 miles easy/recovery 9 miles, long/easy 3 mi easy/recovery
week 7: 22 mi total (target) 6 miles: warmup / 4 mi tempo / cooldown 3 miles easy/recovery [10 miles, long/easy] [3 mi easy/recovery]

I'm already at the highest weekly mileage that I was training for the Pittsburgh Half Marathon - my highest week then was 21.5 miles, and if I complete this week (22 mi) I will have beaten that. And I still have 5 weeks left!

I'm still not sure I'm getting much faster - there's a lot of slow running in this plan, between the long slow runs and the slow recovery runs - but with my weekly mileage so high and the fact that I'm getting out 4x/week to run, I'm hoping I am going to be able to gain speed without injuring myself. I can also make it through the tempo runs and intervals the plan has set up for me without dying (which was not true at the beginning of this plan) so... hopefully I am actually getting somewhere.

The whole goal is to not injure myself. As such, and since my leg of the race is 7.9 miles - long, but not absurdly long - I won't be doing any of the training runs that go longer than 2 hours. The plan has me going up to 13 mi of long slow running, and I don't think that's necessary - and I don't want to have to fit it into a Friday!

My legs are really sore. The thing about this plan is all that long slow running - I'm not having asthma attacks because I'm going slow, and that means I'm actually able to run to the point where my legs hurt. Before I learned so much about training, when I was just running for fitness, I would try to do 3 shorter and faster runs every week - which I am sure is good for you, but for an asthmatic runner like me, trying to run fast triggers an asthma attack. So I never "hit the limit" on my legs because my lungs would give out first. With long slow running, my lungs are still an issue, but not as bad, and I'm finally "hitting the limit" on my legs. And oh god, the limits. Who wants to go get massages with me any time after 26 September?

The team's goal for the race is to beat our time from last year, in which the 5 of us did 26.2 mi in 4:21:13 (which was actually JUST ABOUT a 10:00 pace). We want to come in under 4 hours, which means on average, we've got to run a 9:09 mile.

When you're a dumpy runner like me and you're asthmatic, that's a fast fuckin' mile. And I have to run 8 of them.

Now, granted: the rest of the J-Squad runners are really fast, and we'll gain some time just knowing the format of the race (we lost a couple minutes in a relay handoff), so it's still a reasonable goal. But it isn't a wimpy one!

My personal goals for this race are pretty ambitious, but as always, I've got "levels" of goals so that even if I can't hit the top, I still feel moderately accomplished. In order, here's what I'd like to see:

  1. Beat last year's time of 7.90 mi / 80:33 (10:11 pace)

  2. Come in at 7.90 mi / 75 min (~9:30 pace)

  3. Come in at 7.90 mi / 71 min (~9:00 pace)

I know I can do #1, as long as I can stay healthy (not sick AND not injured). I am pretty sure I can get to #2 - it'll be a stretch, but I've been training well and hard, and even if I'm 'only' in the shape I was when I ran the half marathon, I should be able to do that time. #3... is a stretch. It's going to be a stretch for my poor broken body no matter how hard I train. But you need a stretch goal, right?

Honestly I think the best part of training this year is... knowing that I'm going to take a long and serious break from running starting Monday 26 September. >.>
seventhe: (Internet: I know exactly what it is)
So it's shutdown week at work. This means the steam's down, and they turn everything off for once-a-year maintenance and upkeep and fixing. It means it's a pretty boring week, so usually I try to schedule some doctor's appointments and stuff.

I went in for an eye exam today, and to get evaluated for corrective laser surgery. For those of you who may not be aware, I toe the line of legally blind (ie, non-correctable (not actively blind)). I needed to get my glasses looked at anyway, but I have been thinking about the laser surgery for years. My script is -11. Even if all they can do is cut it in half, down to a -6, that makes my life a lot easier: less expensive lenses, opens up more lines of contacts I can try for added comfort, has the possibility of being 100% correctable rather than the 80-90% I'm getting right now. (There is only one line of contacts that offers lenses in my correct -11 prescription and at my level of astigmatism. Only one.)

The first thing the doctor told me is that - how ironic! - my eyesight is actually too bad for a standard LASIK clinic. That's right, my eyes are so bad a clinic won't accept me - I'm past their cutoff point. Ironic bitter laughter goes here.

There are individual doctors who can make the yes/no call on nonstandard patients, though - and my eye doctor (Dr F) said there was only one in the area who would take someone like me, but that he was one of the top 5 laser eye surgeons in the eastern US, and he'd done over 37,000 surgeries in his career. Dr D. So there was potential enough there to go through the evaluation, so we did.

And it turns out that - probably because my eyesight is such crap - my corneas are just barely thick enough for the least recommended thickness level of LASIK. As in, they're like 425 [units] thick and the requirement is 415. There is not a lot of leeway there. Dr F said that while sometimes Dr D will still be able to work on patients who are that close, it would be entirely Dr D's call, and it was a very narrow comfort zone.

What I am eligible for, however, is PRK surgery.

[potential TW: eye grossness?]

LASIK shapes your cornea by lifting the upper layers and peeling them back, and then reshaping the layers underneath and laying the cornea 'flap' over it. PRK is more like a grinding and shaving of the upper layers, and then the use of a reconstructive contact lens bandage as the very top layer grows back.

[/grossness I think]

From what I have (very very incompletely) found from research so far, PRK actually has a lower complication(/fuckup) rate because it isn't as invasive into your eye. However, it has a MUCH LONGER RECOVERY TIME than LASIK. With LASIK, you can walk in, zap zap, maybe a day or two and you're good. With PRK, you literally and legally cannot drive your car or go to your job for 7-10 days afterwards. You may be in large amounts of pain, on Vicodin. It takes a few days for your eyes to grow back into their new shape, so your vision may not hit even 20/40 for up to 2 weeks. It's a much bigger deal.

I have an evaluation with Dr D on 23 August, so that he can look at my situation *hand gesture* here and make his professional decision as to what to recommend: traditional LASIK, PRK, or "You do not want to do either of these with those eyes." I am open to hearing any of them.

But it's hard to get a surgery time because Dr D is so good. And there's an opening on 26 August. That the secretary at Dr F's office had them tentatively pencil me in for, pending Dr D's evaluation.

So I've got a chance here, if I'm approved, to jump on something that could really improve the quality of my life. I am also holyfuck terrified of this surgery. I am ALSO thinking that maybe this is NOT A GREAT TIME IN MY LIFE TO HAVE A SURGERY THAT COULD LAY ME OUT FOR UP TO A MONTH WITH ALL OF THE CRAPS I HAVE GOING ON - but I'd have Becky AND my local friends to help me through it, too, and when WOULD there be a 'good time', really?

So, yeah, there's that.
seventhe: (Ohayo: Hose This Down)
So I ran the Pittsburgh Half Marathon on Sunday!

Before I went into the race, I had decided that my goal times were 2:20 (low end) and 2:10 (high end) - I would have been perfectly happy with the low-end time, about a 10:40 mile, and the high-end goal (a 10:00 mile) was for if I felt really good going into the race.

Well, I'm not really sure I felt all that good, but I pushed really, really hard, and I pretty much made my high-end goal time for myself. 13.1 miles in 2:10:56 was my official finishing time.

yes, I am still a little weird sharing my real name online (even though like 75% of you probably know it anyway)

[HM] Pittsburgh Half Marathon by seventhe on Garmin Connect

All the nerdy facts, stories, reports, and graphs! )
I haven't taken a week off of running since January 1st.

I am really proud of [ profile] jennyclarinet and I -- we talked about doing this while dressed in togas and drinking Four Loko!, and look what it turned into. Without Jenny I probably wouldn't have been able to stick with this, but knowing that Jenny was training hard and that we were going to do this together (even though we didn't run together) made me stick to my training plan during the hardest semester I've ever had, when it would have been really easy to quit. I had Denis training too, and I knew Jim would be playing, so there was a lot motivating me to keep up the work. It certainly wasn't easy, but hey, if I can work a full-time job that makes me endure 11-hour days and hold a full-time graduate semester workload and train for a half marathon...

And that's the story of how I ran 13.1 miles. My legs hate me now. The end!
seventhe: (Cats: I LIKE THEM)
I have run about 212 miles in 2011. According to my Garmin FR-60, treadmills, GMap Pedometer, and my own records.

That's a lot!

On Sunday, I'll be running 13.1 miles in one go, at the Pittsburgh Marathon. I've worked really hard for this race, but I also hurt myself, so I'm trying to come up with some goals that are reasonable. At the beginning of the year, I had a set of goals, but as my training has changed (and my injuries have set in and not gone away), well. I know (barring serious unforeseen problems, of course!) I will be able to finish under 2:30 (that's an 11:30/mile avg), and I know I won't be able to finish under 2:00 (that's a 9:10/mile avg). So.

I did some thinking, and some math, and some looking at my past runs, and here is what I am going for:

Low End Goal
  • Finish the half marathon in 2:20. (10:41/mile pace average)

High End Goal
  • Finish the half marathon in 2:10. (9:55/mile pace average)

There are a lot of factors that can come into play here: it's supposed to rain Sunday morning. I'm going to need to stop for water. I might have to go to the bathroom, who knows. My calves are still sore. I don't know how those things will affect me, and really, the difference between my two goals is only 10 minutes -- over 2 hours, that's not a huge difference, so I think I'll be happy either way. The "low end goal" will still be pretty awesome for me.

I plan to start out slow, at a 10:30/mile pace - reasonably slow, but not so slow that I'll have a ton of time to make up if I feel okay and decide to go for the faster time. There's a pacing group for 2:15, however, and I am still mentally debating whether I want to run with them - it would put me right in-between my two goal times, and it might be easier to stick with a group. But I really don't like running with other people, sometimes; if I start to falter I get frustrated and that actually triggers my asthma. So I may start out without them and then if I catch up to them, hey, cool... I can't decide.

I'll be getting on the road tomorrow to pick up my stuff at the expo, and then I'll be sleeping at my brother's to be up at like 4 am the next day. But I'll be checking my phone, so if you've got any motivation or love to send me, I'd love to have it! :P
seventhe: (Life: stress out and die)
Yes, I realize it was probably kind of silly to run a 5K the week before I run a half marathon. But it was a fun little charity event, some people from work were doing it, and I had a chance to run with Jeff and [ profile] katmillia, which I was really looking forward to. Plus, $20 reg including a tech shirt? I'm down with that.

My goals for the race were pretty simple:
1. Don't injure self (half marathon is next week, dummy!)
2. Have fun!
3. Without injuring, time of 29:00 or below (~9:21 pace)

and in that order. I really was trying to not put an ideal time on it -- I've been training specifically for 5 months now, and I know what I *can* and *can't* run, so I knew what to expect, but I didn't want to push too hard in a silly little race and hurt myself for next week.

[5K] Just a Run in the Park by seventhe at Garmin Connect - Details

Final time:
    28:10 for 3.17 (watch)
    28:20 for 3.1 (chip)

Discrepancy explained: The chip started when the gun went off, but the actual start line for the 5K was a little ways away from where we lined up. I started my watch about 10 seconds after the gun, and only a bit before the start line. The difference in the two puts me between 8:53/mile and 9:08/mile. Based on my memories of the layout I think the most accurate measurement is 3.1 miles in 28:10, which is about a 9:05/mile pace.

The Just a Run in the Park 5K was very small and I kind of liked it that way. I heard only ~250 people were signed up, and I would honestly estimate that not all of them ran the 5K either (there was a 1mile run before the 5K). It was a little charity run for the local YMCA, and it was really cool: the start was laidback; we didn't have to get there too early or anything. We had time to walk our bags back to the car, and before the race started we all just hung our sweatshirts on a fence and trusted that they would be there when we got back (they were) (to be super safe, I did stick my car key in my sports bra, so if my nasty jacket did get stolen I was only out my inhaler, not my car). It was a very up-and-back-type course, lots of looping around things, with a bit of an incline in the middle and a pretty nice downhill at the end.

I had intended to start out at a 9:30 pace and then push at the end if I could, but the "pack" took off fairly fast and I really just kept up with it until I realized it felt ok. I'm pretty happy with my time; no, I'm not great, but it's pretty much in line with my training runs, and it's faster than I had in my head. I wasn't expecting to ~magically~ drop 3 minutes off of the times I saw in training or anything, so I feel pretty good about it. I was expecting to be slower mostly because I haven't been able to run very much in the last ~2 weeks due to these weird calf injuries -- I'm surprised (pleasantly) that I am this fast because I had expected to lose some fitness. But I guess that's what over 200 miles of training in 5 months does for my running ability! My speed has mostly stayed intact, I guess; let's hope my endurance has, too...

My legs were still sore going into the race, and I could feel all the places in my shins and calves (and left hamstring!) where the bad/injured spots are. But it was ok to run through, and hopefully tomorrow I won't be in too much pain. It does seem to be getting better with ice and rest, so I think I'll be okay for next week if not great.

I plugged my 5K time into some of the online "pace predicting" calculators, and they all seem to think I can do a half marathon in 2:10 -- that's just under a 10:00/mile for the whole half. That seems really optimistic to me; in my head I was hoping for about a 10:30/mile finish, which I think is around 2:20, and planning to be slower than that with water breaks etc. I will probably start out pacing myself for the latter, slower time, so that I don't kill myself early and have massive problems -- but it's interesting that all the predictors say I will be faster, and I am now kind of curious to see what kind of time I turn in. Of course the predictor calculators all point out that you need to be "appropriately trained" - obviously you can't just jump from a 5K to a halfmary without serious weekly mileage! - and I've had two weeks on my ass, so. Challenge noted, pace predictors, but not entirely accepted.

Another thing to note about this run, which is worth noting for next week: my asthma didn't show up. I was certainly breathing hard, but it's the hard breathing I associate with you just ran three miles you fucker, not the impossible shallow breathing that is my asthma. And I think this is because I took three pre-emptive doses of my inhaler: one at 6:30 with breakfast, one at 7:30, and one at about 8:10 right before we lined up for the race. I guess I don't really know if it was a mental thing or if it was effective dosing-of-self, but I'll definitely be doing the same thing for the half next week.

So yup, there it is. I'm glad I did it, and I'm really happy [ profile] katmillia and I got to run a race together before she leaves for pretty much all summer XD. This mostly marks the end of my half marathon training plans... the only thing I would run this week, if my legs feel OK, would be a calibration run somewhere to just perfect my Garmin FR60 footpod before the half... We'll see!
seventhe: (Life: stress out and die)
Week #11 was a serious workhorse week. It showed in my times and my heart rate - I worked a little too hard, and my pace was slow because of it. But I think it was a good thing overall; 3 weeks left of training should be enough to recover and hopefully I gained a lot from kicking my own ass.

Tempo Run / IntervalsLong RunEasy Recovery Runtotaltarget
Week #13.07 mi 5.4 mi 3.2 mi11.67 mi11 mi
Week #23.5 mi 4.85 mi 3.64 mi12 mi12 mi
Week #34 mi 6.6 mi 3.3 mi13.9 mi13.3 mi
Week #43.87 mi 7.5 mi 3.3 mi14.67 mi14.6 mi
Week #54.2 mi 8.9 mi 3.4 mi16.5 mi16 mi
Week #64.5 mi REST
Week #75.5 mi 6 mi 4.8 mi16.3 mi16 mi
Week #84.1 mi 9.3 mi 4.5 mi17.9 mi18 mi
Week #93.1 mi 8.8 mi 3.4 mi 15.3 mi15 mi
Week #10 6.5 mi 11 mi 4 mi 21.5 mi20 mi
Week #11 4.3 mi 10.3 mi 5.7 mi 20.3 mi22 mi

On Week #11:

  • The 4.3 mile run was a hill run. It was a very rainy day and I had to run on the treadmill, so I did increasing hills over each mile, all the way up to 6%. 6% incline on a treadmill while running a 10:00-10:30 mile is pretty freaking hard. I was really sweaty and tired when this was over. I hated it, but I feel good about having done it because it was so hard.

  • The 5.7 mi run was a 'negative split' run, where each mile is done faster than the last. I started off really pretty slow - still tired from the hills, and also this was an outdoor run on a course that has a lot of natural hills too - but each mile was about 15 seconds faster than the last one. The last 0.5 miles of this run was done super fast (for me!), up to an 8:00/mile pace. Exhausting.

  • The 10 mile run sucked. I just worked too hard on other stuff this week, and also I had to bump it up a day because of Easter. It was terrible, I was slow, and it was really painful. The end.

Overall, I'm glad I did this week because I'm sure all of the gross work will make me a little bit better at some point. But it was probably a little bit too much to put into a single week - hills, more hills, negative splits on hills, and a long run. It shows in my times/pace too, which was pretty slow, and I think it's just because I overworked this week even though the mileage didn't climb as I had intended.

I'm in a lot of pain this week, too - my legs are hurting, sharp stabbing pains in a variety of really fun places, and I honestly think it's just me starting to find my body's natural limits. Again: usually in the past when I run it's my lungs that die first, so my legs are really unused to being pushed to their limits (because I can't get to their limits when I'm on the ground from an asthma attack). I've got pain in my quads and my calves and I'm stiff and groaning like I am very very old, and I'm icing and stretching everything like a good girl but I really think this is a week for recovery. Lots of miles, but nice easy ones.

This week:
  • Recover from last week's grossness

  • Easy, medium pace (~10:00 mile) 4-6 mile runs, x2

  • Easy, slow pace 12 mile run

  • Total mileage goal: 22-24 miles
seventhe: (Life: stress out and die)
tl;dr this week I ran 11 miles at a 10:30/mile pace

I am badass

Tempo Run / IntervalsLong RunEasy Recovery Runtotaltarget
Week #13.07 mi 5.4 mi 3.2 mi11.67 mi11 mi
Week #23.5 mi 4.85 mi 3.64 mi12 mi12 mi
Week #34 mi 6.6 mi 3.3 mi13.9 mi13.3 mi
Week #43.87 mi 7.5 mi 3.3 mi14.67 mi14.6 mi
Week #54.2 mi 8.9 mi 3.4 mi16.5 mi16 mi
Week #64.5 mi REST
Week #75.5 mi 6 mi 4.8 mi16.3 mi16 mi
Week #84.1 mi 9.3 mi 4.5 mi17.9 mi18 mi
Week #93.1 mi 8.8 mi 3.4 mi 15.3 mi15 mi
Week #10 6.5 mi 11 mi 4 mi 21.5 mi20 mi

The Story of Week #10:

  • 4 mile / 39 minutes. This was meant to be an easy stretch run but I just kind of found this pace (~9:45/mile) and went with it. It felt good.

  • The 6.5 mile run was a set of tempo miles. Except that I ran the tempos way too fast - more like freaking sprinting interval miles. The goal was 4x(1 mi fast, 0.5mi slow). The 4 miles I ran were 8:38/mi, 9:11/mi, 9:19/mi, and 9:31/mi. Which looks awesome. But I started out with the fastest one, tripped my way right into an asthma attack, and then was too stubborn to give up; I ended up having to walk after every mile. I am sure in the end it was some kind of good training experience but fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck, it hurt a lot. Bad life choice.

  • The 11 miler - it was actually supposed to be a 10-10.5 miler. But I really paced myself starting out - held to the 10:35-10:45/ mile pace - and I could tell I had the energy in me. When I was doing research for my training plan, I read that if a run felt really good, it was better to go farther than go faster, so I added the extra ~1 mile.

The last run really got my confidence up after such a terrible sprinting experience. I may not be as fast as [ profile] jennyclarinet or Denis (my friends who are running with me), but I really felt like I could have done the entire 13.1 miles that Sunday... and I still have 4 weeks left. So I know I'll be able to do the race - barring travesty! - and at what is at least a decent pace even if it's not fast, and that feels good.

This week:
  • Hills and intervals. Both lead to exercise-induced asthma attacks, very easily. So I need to be careful. But I need to do some, this week and next. Shorter "on" periods and better/longer rest periods should help me do this without dying. ~4 miles.

  • 6-7 mile run experimenting with pace. Start slow (10:45), incrementally get faster by mile.

  • Long run: over 2 hours, or 11-12 miles, as appropriate. Slow pace.

  • Total: 23 miles is the goal
seventhe: (Life: stress out and die)

Tempo Run / IntervalsLong RunEasy Recovery Runtotaltarget
Week #13.07 mi 5.4 mi 3.2 mi11.67 mi11 mi
Week #23.5 mi 4.85 mi 3.64 mi12 mi12 mi
Week #34 mi 6.6 mi 3.3 mi13.9 mi13.3 mi
Week #43.87 mi 7.5 mi 3.3 mi14.67 mi14.6 mi
Week #54.2 mi 8.9 mi 3.4 mi16.5 mi16 mi
Week #64.5 mi REST
Week #75.5 mi 6 mi 4.8 mi16.3 mi16 mi
Week #84.1 mi 9.3 mi 4.5 mi17.9 mi18 mi
Week #93.1 mi 8.8 mi 3.4 mi 15.3 mi15 mi

Week #9 was an impromptu rest week to recover from some general pain and minor leg injuries.

  • 3.1 miles - a tempo run, 0.5mi 'on' and 0.5mi 'off', where even the 'off' stretches were fast for me. I did the 5K in 28:40, which for my asthmatic butt AND on an injury is pretty good.

  • The 3.5 miler was supposed to be 5-6 miles, but I had an asthma attack. I blame allergies. Stupid tree sex.

  • So, my 8.8 miler. I wanted to get in a long slow run, but I also really wanted this to be a REST week because if I don't HEAL I'm not going to be able to run this race. So I set the interval timer on my wristwatch, and did 5 minutes of jogging / 1 minute walking, for 90 minutes. It was enough of a workout that I still feel relatively accomplished this week, but hopefully it wasn't so harsh of a strain on my calves that I got into more trouble.

Although that marks the end of Resting. The race is officially 5 weeks of training away!

This week's goals:
  • 10.5 miles, outside

  • 20 miles total
seventhe: (Default)
Week #8 of Sev's Half-Marathon Training Plan:

Tempo Run / IntervalsLong RunEasy Recovery Runtotaltarget
Week #13.07 mi 5.4 mi 3.2 mi11.67 mi11 mi
Week #23.5 mi 4.85 mi 3.64 mi12 mi12 mi
Week #34 mi 6.6 mi 3.3 mi13.9 mi13.3 mi
Week #43.87 mi 7.5 mi 3.3 mi14.67 mi14.6 mi
Week #54.2 mi 8.9 mi 3.4 mi16.5 mi16 mi
Week #64.5 mi REST
Week #75.5 mi 6 mi 4.8 mi16.3 mi16 mi
Week #84.1 mi 9.3 mi 4.5 mi17.9 mi18 mi

Not much to say about this week's runs; the first was the awful one during which I realized my injury; the second was the longest AND the slowest I have run since I started training - longest because I needed miles; slowest because of said injury - and the last, today's, was alternately slow and fast in an attempt to stretch out my leg. I felt really good on the faster bits, but I didn't trust myself going that fast for very long with the injury, so I alternated with slowish jogging.

Now, the dilemma.

This was Week 8. In my original plan, I have myself training at 20 miles for Week 9 and then taking a rest week Week 10 (15 miles). (I just rested during Week 6, for reference.) From there I basically build hard through Weeks 11 and 12 and then begin to taper for the race at the beginning of May.

Now, with this injury, I am wondering whether I should take my rest week now (Week 9) and then build straight through to the race.

This has the benefit of working better with my schedule -- this week is the last lab CLASS (although I'll still have reports) which will magically add a few hours back into my weekly schedule. Long runs will be easier with that bitty chunk of time added in.

However, I just took a rest week two weeks ago, for Week 6. And I'm afraid if I do take a rest week now that it's too soon, and even with tapering I'll be burnt out for the race. Although tapering is like resting, so... I don't know. I'm also worried that if I use my rest week now and DON'T heal up, I am screwed, because I don't have any time in the schedule for MORE rest. I'm not a good enough runner to miss two weeks between now and the race!

I guess 15 miles isn't really that much of a "rest" week. I could back down to 15 miles this week and make sure most of them are slow, and HOPE that it heals me.

asdkka;lskd;laksd;laskd;lkass yeah so holding off on this week's goals until I figure out what I want to do. Crap on everything.


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