Monday RUN: 5K Doughnut Run Redo
If I use a pace calculator and I enter my most recent marathon time, it says I should be running a 5K two minutes faster than I ever have. Granted, those charts are based on optimal training and the perfect racing conditions. I’ve never focused on training for shorter distances and I understand that I shouldn’t hold myself to impossible standards. I also understand there is room for considerable improvement in my 5K time.
I wanted to race 3.1 miles around my six month post-op mark to test my fitness level and to see how far I’ve come from square one. Three months ago, I still had yet to start running again. I didn’t know when that day would come, especially considering the surgical team told me I couldn’t even consider it until 6-12 months out. I couldn’t find any local 5K races on President’s Day weekend so I decided to host my own and redo the 5K Doughnut Run course I ran in December.
I was grateful for my friends who were able to join me. The ice melted just in time for the ‘race.’
I have to be honest, I played it too conservative today and I didn't give it my all. Somewhere around mile 2 I was at my goal pace and I backed off to settle in to my comfort zone. Sometimes I feel like I only have one race gear whether it's a 5K or a half marathon and I can't quite sustain at the next level. 5Ks are really difficult for me mentally, however, I am determined to overcome and make greater strides over the next few months. I spent a year training very conservatively, running lots of junk miles and never really going for it. I learned to hold back. I focused on consistency and endurance over speed and power. I was disappointed in myself for not pushing harder today but I was still able to cut 3:30 off my time since running the course in December, so there's that. And I had fun which is far more important to me than the time on the clock.
Healing: one week, three months, six months.
I drove myself to my six month follow-up appointment with the surgeon at University Hospital in downtown Newark. The whole way there, I thought about how great it felt to have regained my independence. I no longer needed someone to drive me to my appointments, to help me get in and out of the car and to navigate the hospital for me. At my first follow-up, I wasn’t even strong enough to open the door to the bathroom. Brad had to hold it for me to go in and I waited for him to let me out.
From the second I stepped foot through the sliding glass doors, my entire hospital experience was exactly the opposite of what I experienced six months ago. The staff was friendly and smiling. The halls were clean and empty, not stacked with beds, dirty linens and overflowing garbage. I walked by patients in wheelchairs and on crutches, thankful I’ve made it past that stage.
I didn’t have to wait to be x-rayed. The technician took me into a room, sat down with me and explained exactly what she would be doing to get the film series…how she would have to move me, where she would have to place her hands on my body. Maybe I wasn’t the only one complaining about too much touching in the x-ray rooms or maybe my complaints were heard and policies have changed since I met Handsy-Manny.
I thanked the technician and told her she made it through all six films faster than anyone else had been able to. In the past, there’s one angle that’s a little tricky and has had to be retaken every time. She got it on the first try. She asked how long ago my surgery took place. When I told her it was in August, she asked how I was able to walk in so easily, without using any devices to assist me. She said, ‘you must have done a lot of PT.’ I didn’t tell her I raced a 5K the day before.
Dr. Adams greeted me after my x-rays. He reviewed the images with me and said they were exactly what he was hoping to see and they should remain unchanged for the rest of my life. The space between the ball and socket of my left hip joint is exactly equal to that of my right with no notches or rough surfaces from the bone breaks to prevent the joint from moving freely.
I showed him the data from my most recent track workout and the data from the exact workout last January. I’m faster now. He giggled with delight. He said, ‘you know, we [surgeons] don’t see this. This doesn’t happen.’ It’s easy to forget how far I’ve come now that life is mostly back to normal.
Wednesday: SWIM 100s, 100p, 100k, 4x50d, 800s, 4x50d , 400s, 200cd
I learned to swim two years ago. I took swim lessons at the Y. When I was evaluated to determine which level I would be starting, the instructor rated me ‘Beginner 2.’ I’m assuming ‘Beginner 1’ is drowning in the pool and ‘Beginner 2’ is not drowning based on my self evaluation. That’s how terrible I was.
Last summer, when I was training for the Lake Placid 70.3, I wore flippers on my feet whenever I was in the pool. They served as my security blanket. As the length of my swims increased, I was afraid to cross the pool without them. I dreaded swim days.
After my accident, when I was finally cleared to get in the pool, my insecurities were gone. I was able to float. Everything I’d worked on over the last couple years started to click. I find learning to swim is a lot like learning to run, in the beginning you go as fast as you can because you think that’s the only way, then you discover there’s a different pace, the one you could hold for as long as you need to, a comfortable pace. It took me two years to find it in the pool. Mostly because I was afraid I would drown if I wasn’t frantically pushing forward.
Today, part of my workout was an 800 yd continuous swim. It was a longer distance than I’ve swim in a pool before. I think my desire to get the workout completed as quickly as possible in order to be on time to my meeting with the Montclair Police Department eliminated any nervousness I should have felt. Shockingly, the hardest part of the whole swim was keeping track of my laps and counting all the way to 16. The pool and I have a completely different relationship than we did before my accident.
After a quick meeting with the cops to review the safety needs for the 5 Mile Race to bRUNch, the kids, Brad and I took full advantage of their early dismissal.
Thursday: RUN 45:00 easy
As a group, the Fueled by Doughnuts Running Club tries very hard to support runners of all paces but we’ve had a hard time getting beginners to join in the fun. It’s a little crazy considering the biggest thing we do all year is host a 5K which draws a larger than normal percentage of first-timers.
Hillary and I spent the day laying down plans for our June 5K in Branch Brook Park. Even though bRUNch preparations are in full tilt, 5K registration opens on March 1st and we have to get our ducks in a row. We decided, for the first time ever, to host a 5K training program and it’s 100% free to join! I want to share Hillary’s cheerleading (coaching) skills with as many people as possible and I couldn’t think of a better way.
Over 50 people registered before the end of day. What a great way to launch this year’s Fueled by Doughnuts racing season!
Friday: BIKE 55:00
Brad and I decided to order bean bags in lieu of chairs to accommodate more butts in our postage-stamp-sized living room. I spent a little (too much) time (hours) reading Amazon reviews on bean bag chairs before I decided which ones appeared to be right for us. There were six sizes listed. I opted for the ‘small’ which was slightly larger than the ‘extra-small’ because the later was said to accommodate one child and I wanted to be able to do some bean bag lounging too!
The first bean bag arrived. It was a solid brick that weighed more than 50 pounds. Brad carried it into the house and the kids immediately ripped off the packaging. In lieu of beans, our bag is filled with compressed foam. The instructions said it will take 4-5 days to reach its full size potential. When the bag started to swell, the kids helped it along by jumping on it to break apart the foam pieces. That’s about the same time that Brad and I begin to grow weary of my bean bag choice. He told me he didn’t know I was going to order a bougie bean bag. I told him I didn’t want to get something that would fall apart in three days - our kids are NOT gentle with objects, after all.
Within an hour, the bean bag filled the entire living room. If this is ‘small’ I do not ever want to see the ‘large’ version. I would have to find another place to sleep. I imagine it would be similar to the scene when Alice eats the cake that makes her limbs expand out of the windows and door of the Wonderland house. All I could think about was the second bean bag, yet to be unboxed.
Saturday: RUN 30:00 easy, 1 mile @ 8:00, 1 mile @ 7:30, 1 mile @ 7:15, cd
I didn’t do the math but at first glance, it seemed the last three miles of my long run would be faster than the 5K I ran on Monday, if I hit the paces. It was the first time my coach assigned paces since I started running again. Until now, everything has been based on effort and consistency. I was mentally prepared to fail. On the other hand, I was eager to give the workout a try to see how close I could come to meeting the goal paces.
The first mile was tough. I was too fast, too slow, trying hard to find an 8:00 pace. It was my goal marathon pace last spring. I spent so many miles training at an 8:00 pace but today, I just couldn’t quite settle. My watch beeped at the end of the mile - 7:55. The 7:30 was a little easier. It’s just on the edge of my comfort zone. I knew I had to run just shy of ‘all out’ to maintain it and I did…7:29. Thankfully the third mile started with a slight down hill so I was able to easily pick up the pace. I went a little faster than I needed to because there was a pretty long uphill after the down and I wanted to have some wiggle room. I finished out the mile in 7:11, faster than I thought I was capable of maintaining. When all was said and done, I ran the last three miles of my run 47 seconds faster than the first three miles of the 5K on Monday.
I try to keep my actual paces under wraps because it really doesn’t matter if it’s a 5:00 mile, a 9:00 mile or a 12:00 mile, the mental game is all the same. My training run today was a bit of a mental breakthrough. I know my body can handle the faster paces it’s just about getting my mind to recognize it too.