Friday, February 28, 2014

Fitness Friday: Florida Favorites


Well, maybe. I've spent the week in Florida, but today we are headed back to the frozen land. Boo!

It's been a great week of active resting, so today I'm sharing some of my Florida favorite fitness moments.

1. Taking walks in shorts and flip flops - I've missed the warmth and the green.

2. Open swim and lounging by the pool - it felt so good to relax in the sun.

3. Laps at the fitness center - this was a great little workout.

4. 5K on the trail - it felt good to lace up my Mizunos.

What was your favorite fitness moment this week?

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Inaugural Newport Night Run

If you read this blog then you already know that I love Newport, but what I love even more is running in Newport. I've already told you about the time I ran across the beautiful bridge and the other time I ran along the mansions. This time I ran through the streets in the dark.

It might be crazy to register for February races in New England, but there are some great ones out there. The Newport Night Run was no exception...crazy February weather and a great race.

The day started with a two hour freezing rain delay in New Hampshire that turned into afternoon thunderstorms on the drive down to Newport. We received an email before 6 o'clock that the race was delayed 30 minutes to allow the bad weather to clear. We picked up our bibs and spent the extra time at Easton's Beach taking some fun photos.

It was an out and back course that started at Easton's Beach, headed up Memorial Boulevard, down America's Cup to the Long Wharf turn around. Even with the wacky weather more than 500 runners joined together at the starting line.

The course was not completely closed to traffic, so we waited in the parking lot before being escorted across Memorial as ONE BIG group to line up at the start. It was easy to stay warm in the middle of the pack and the upbeat music playing made it easy to keep our bodies moving while we waited. I was impressed with the event coordinators ability to keep things fairly organized considering the rain, wind, and darkness.

I've run in downtown Newport many times, but always on warm sunny mornings. Running past the familiar landmarks in the dark with all the Winter Fest lights twinkling was something special. It was fun to look up and see Kilwins, our favorite ice cream shop, the Red Parrot, a choice spot for a good meal, and The Wave, a popular place to rendezvous.

The other fun part was seeing the line of hundreds of runners and walkers with glow necklaces and bracelets light up the streets from start to finish. On the way to the finish line we even got some cheers from the cars caught up in the little bit of traffic.

After the race, we enjoyed a few minutes of the crashing waves illuminated by someone in a parked car. Running some new races is on my 2014 bucket list and this is one I can see doing again in the future.

Have you ever run a night race?

Monday, February 24, 2014

Training Truths: Paper Plates, Crooked Knee Caps and KT Tape!!

Yesterday I ran half marathon #11. More on that in my recap post later. Getting to the starting line was questionable when my knee turned cranky just two weeks out following a 10 mile training run. Last week was another week of trying to balance getting ready for the race while taking care of myself.

Monday - First day of slider step backs to work on strengthening and controlling my quad muscles. These exercises were recommended by a PT for runners suffering from chondromalacia and are better than squats because there is little to no pressure on the knee cap. I don't have gliders, but found that a paper plate works just fine.

Tuesday - Another snow day spent waiting for the snow. Normally I would have jumped at the chance for a morning run, but since I was saving my knee for the fun run on Friday and the half on Sunday, I took myself for a nice long walk followed up with some more slider step backs. 

Wednesday - During my monthly maintenance visit to the chiropractor, I mentioned my crunchy knee problems. Intrigued by my story, he checked it out and announced that my knee cap was literally crooked! So while I have been working on keeping my knee cap IN alignment, it was actually OUT of alignment and STUCK there! Ugh.

Thursday - After my unexpected "knee cap adjustment" I was feeling SO MUCH BETTER. Playing it safe, I kept to my strengthening routine and fought the urge to go for an afternoon run in the balmy 40+ degree weather.

Friday - After a delayed start due to freezing rain and a wild Winter Carnival assembly at school, mrC picked up my youngest stepdaughter and I and we headed to Newport for the Newport Night Run. The athletic trainer at school taped up my knee with KT Tape so I could give it a try during this fun 5K. It felt stable and there was no pain during or after the race.

Saturday - After getting home from a gorgeous sunny day spent walking around Newport, I did my slider step backs and iced my knee for the big half marathon on Sunday.

Sunday - Met up with my step daughter to run the Half at the Hamptons. It was far more challenging than the first time I ran it, but we went in with a plan and made it to the finish with no knee cap issues! (I ended up wearing mrC's knee brace because the KT Tape pretty much unravelled before Sunday morning)

Now, it's time to take a break to let the crooked knee recover. Fortunately it's February vacation and I'm heading to Florida to visit my dad and stepmom, so my recovery week will be spent in the swimming pool! See you when I get back to NH!

Do you take time off after a big race? 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Move Nourish BELIEVE Challenge

The final week of the Lorna Jane Move Nourish Believe Challenge was about believing in yourself and being happy. Staying optimistic while dealing with my cranky knee during the final weeks of half marathon training admittedly has been difficult, so this final challenge week was just what I needed.

Monday - When I spotted my favorite flowers at the grocery, I had to spoil myself. It's hard not to smile with these lovelies in the room!

Tuesday - A "snow blitz" descended on New England leaving behind about 12+ inches. While mrC was taking care of the driveway, I took 5 mindful minutes to just enjoy the peacefulness of the falling snow and forget about the snow day we'll be making up in June.

Wednesday - There are a lot of places I'd rather be at any given time: Cincinnati, Florida, Newport. But, give me a pair of healthy legs and some running shoes and I can make any place my HAPPY PLACE!

Thursday - There are some truly amazing people in my life. On Thankful Thursday I was feeling very grateful for my family, my friends, and the running community for all the kindness they show to me every single day.

Friday - I talk about mrC in my blog posts all the time and I hope it is evident that he does SO MUCH for me. Not much could top the time he helped me finish a half marathon when I was injured, but it's the unfailing daily support and encouragement he shows that makes him deserving of this SHOUT OUT!

This week reminded me to take some time to appreciate all the inspiration I have in my life. To remember that with all the encouragement I get from the amazing people around me, I can do anything I set my MIND to.

How have you been INSPIRED this week?

Monday, February 17, 2014

Training Truths: My Knee is Crunchy??

After reading through all the very helpful comments last week (thank you!), I learned that I am probably suffering from a form of runner's knee or I'm just getting old! So, it was a week of resting and icing the creaky old knee, but I didn't skip working out altogether. My workouts were focused on strength or light cardio that didn't require a lot of knee bending. By the end of the week things were looking up.

Monday - I used my Gymboss interval timer to do my favorite ab workout and then some burpee intervals  430/1000

Tuesday - Another round of the ab workout and burpee intervals 484/1000

Wednesday - More burpee intervals although my knee started to not like these either  538/1000

Thursday - Spent the snow day icing my knee off and on. I did some (awkward) burpees and a short resistance band workout designed to build glute strength. All I heard was crunch, crunch! 580/1000

Friday - Every time I straightened my knee, it would crunch - painfully. So after school I spoke to the athletic trainer to get some advice: can I work my way through this or do I need to see a doctor? She thinks I'm possibly suffering from chondromalacia or arthritis: I have had two knee surgeries. She recommended icing, wearing a knee brace/getting taped, and continuing to train if it didn't hurt. At home I found this sport's medicine video online that describes the causes of chondromalacia and some treatment exercises.

Saturday - After deciding that one more day of TLC for my knee wouldn't hurt, I switched my workout gear from running shoes to a shovel and helped mrC shovel snow leftover from the plow guy.

Sunday - My only run of the week and my first run in the hand-me-down knee brace from mrC was a pain free 30 minutes. I haven't worn a knee brace since my last knee surgery over 20 years ago, but if it helps I'll do it.

This week, I will stick to the TLC approach as I get ready to run half marathon #11 on Sunday with my oldest step daughter.

Which do you prefer, wearing a brace or getting taped?