Saturday, January 15, 2011

Running on the Alter-G

When we push our bodies to the limit all the time, something is going to give.  After the workout from the last blog post, I have been struggling with my left achilles tendon.  Although I knew something was up, I kept running on it, last weekend doing a 14 mile long run, a 10 mile tempo, and part of my 5 and 8 mile day on Monday before realizing that something was not right.  I finally let my coach know what was going on and she had me finish my workout on Monday on the bike at her house (while watching the BCS National Championship, and repping my sisters' school, OREGON).

The next 2 days I chugged it out in the pool.  Running in the pool with no aqua belt and with a pair of running shoes on.  Speedo and running shoes: such a hot look!  It gets pretty boring using the deep end part of the lap lane, but it just makes me hungry to get back outside and run!

On Thursday I warmed up in hopes of doing a track work out, but after 20 minutes, my achilles started to seize up and I was sent back to the pool.  Yesterday I was able to run on the Alter-G machine, which is an Anti-Gravity treadmill.

I love this machine because it allows me to RUN through my injury.  Here's how it works:  you put on a pair of neoprene (wet suit material) shorts that have a tutu-like top with a zipper.  Then you step into a big bubble around a treadmill and zip yourself in.  The machine calibrates your weight and then you can begin running.  You can set the weight at as high as 100% (your total body weight) and as low as 20% of your body weight.  I generally run at 90% if I am not injured, but right now I am running at about 75% to take enough pressure off of my achilles while I run. 

Here's how it works, from their website:

Unweighting is achieved in the AlterG by using air in a pressure-controlled chamber to gently lift the user. Precise calibration using our patented technology allows for very specific unweighting from 100-20% of the users body weight in 1% increments. Something no other unweighting modality can do.

Today I am back on the Alter-G for a 90 minute long-run.  I will take my trusty podcasts: This American Life, Fresh Air, Planet Money, and Stuff You Should Know and chug away.  I much prefer the Alter-G to pool running!

I'm doing RICE (Rest Ice Compression and Elevation) and physical therapy for my achilles.  Hopefully it will be healed soon and I can get back on the pavement soon!

One good thing that comes out of injury is that is definitely makes me appreciate running injury-free and motivates me to get back to running and training hard!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Back to the Track 2011

Back in Colorado and back to work.  This week has been pretty brutal: hill workout on Sunday, killer fartleks on Tuesday (on an uphill route), Wednesday I ran hard on the Alter-G, and today I had a 5 x 1,000 track workout.  I am smoked!  

The worst part about getting back to work is that I feel like I've lost a great deal of my acclimation to the altitude, which makes everything harder!  Getting back into things is never fun.  In this way I can totally relate to everyone who made a fitness resolution this year.  It's HARD work when you're starting out, but it gets better, I promise.  It's easy to want to throw in the towel when you first start, but when you stick with it for a few weeks it gets much easier and the end results are incredible!  

Hard work pays off!  

On tough workout days like this I have to constantly remind myself of that!  During workouts like this, I often find it hard to keep my thoughts positive.  It's easy for me to drift down a negative path when I am struggling to hit my times, I have to make a conscious effort to erase those negative thoughts and turn them into positive energy for my workout.  One tip I learned from Dr. Z is to envision the negative thought on a chalkboard, then wipe it clean with a mental eraser, and finally fill it's place with a positive word or phrase.  

I love this pic because it looks like I'm beating the pants off of Kenny.  The reality is that he was lapping me!

My teammate, Kenny was super-motivating today.  He was really running strong and pushing himself to the limit.  He had to overcome an nasty illness this fall and is now back and better than ever!  It's great to workout with such a motivating person!  Thanks, Kenny!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Resolutions 2011

I'm not too big on New Year's Resolutions, because I like to think I can make a change for the better at any point throughout the year.  But I've identified four things that I can improve upon in life and in running in 2011.  Here they are:

1. Floss Daily-As a child I flossed every single night (seriously, you can ask my mother) and I've never had a single cavity.  Since I've become a mom myself, I've let my oral hygiene slip a bit.  So, I am getting back in the habit.  The goal is daily, but 3 times a week will be sufficient.  So far so good.

2. Drink More Water- I do really well in this area during the summer and while its warm.  But when it's cold outside the last thing that I want to do is grab a large glass of water (no ice).  So I tend to skimp on H20 and we all no that's not good for you!   So, I will do my best to carry around a water bottle, and maybe even buy some propel or Crystal light packets, because I'm more likely to drink it if it's tasty.

3. Strength Training- It's not that I avoid strength training (okay, maybe a little), but I don't have a formal strength training program right now, and I know that it would greatly benefit my training.  Starting tomorrow, I am going to meet with the WCAP Strength and Conditioning Coach to create a workout plan that I can incorporate into my training.  

4. Get Organized- My middle sister was born organized.  Her apartment is spotless and always looks like a design catalogue.  Unfortunately, I did not get this gene.  This is by far my most difficult resolution and I will do my best to stick to it.  I am going to get organized!  First, I have to cleanse myself of all of the "stuff."  That means going through the junk drawer and weeding all of the closets.  Then I am going to logically reorganize things so that it's easier to just put them away.  I'm heading out to buy some plastic bins right now.