Well, this morning's run felt a bit more labored than hippy trippy happy, but oh well. I got in 5 miles on the Homeplace loop, a loop I haven't run in so long that I forgot to add the little Mt. Ararat trail loop before continuing out on the powerlines! Oh well, added it on at the end and all was good. It was raining when I started out, but stopped soon after, leaving the air feeling soupy and heavy. Nothing like 99.99% humidity! I'll chalk up my slightly raspy breathing to the humidity, although in all honesty, I'm sure it's from lack of conditioning too. I've consciously kept the past 4 weeks of running very easy so as to keep any injuries at bay, with my weekly mileage starting at 7.0, moving up to 10.5 and 13.5 the past two weeks, and ending with 16 miles this week. While it pains me to admit that I feel slow and out of shape, especially with the Scuffle coming up, I know that the low, slow mileage ramp-up was the right thing to do. The plan is to let the mileage creep up through the 20s during July, and then hope that some solid mileage in August, September and October will put me in good stead for Stonecat.
Normal is all relative, I realize, and honestly, I know I am anything but normal :-) But that's not the point. The point is that, during this morning's run, I actually felt like a normal runner, not a rehabbing runner. Perhaps it was just a matter of time, or perhaps all the different tweaks Dr. Jamie has done on my foot, hip, butt and ankle are finally kicking in, but for whatever reason, this morning's run just felt good. Since returning to running earlier this month, I've felt awkward, like my stride was off and I was clumsily running along, which just took some of the joy out of things for me. I felt like I was worrying about every footfall and couldn't get in a rhythm. And so today, when I realized, as I was running along, that things just felt, well, normal, that made me feel very happy indeed. Perhaps I am on the right track after all!
This morning, while Sam and I were doing our normal early morning routine, I was thinking about my day and what needed to get done. I realized I might be better off running before I dropped off Sam, so around 6:30 we went upstairs to wake up Ryan. I totally threw him for a loop, but he was gracious enough to get himself out of bed after a bad night's sleep and some allergy issues, and hang with Sam so I could go out for a 3 mile run on the powerlines. It was sprinkling slightly when I left, but felt pretty nice out. I stopped to pick some blueberries along the powerlines - can't believe they are getting ripe and sweet already! In the dip between Highland Green Road and the hill headed down to Topsham Crossing, the air smelled like that wonderful scent of ferns, and I scared up a big deer nosing along in the brush. On the return, as I was cresting hill, I heard the hollow tap tap of a Pileated Woodpecker, and looked up to see one of them high up on one of the high tension power line poles pecking away. The towhee was singing as I ran back down to the high school, my leg and foot felt great, and it seemed that all was right with the world. Hurray! We'll see if this hippy trippy happy feeling lasts through my next run, but for now, I'll take it :-) Sometimes, it's good to feel normal, even if it's just a state of mind!
I went to see Dr. Jamie yesterday, so I was feeling more than a bit creaky this morning. But I wanted to get out today just to make the rest of the week's runs fall into place. Ryan was planning on an early morning run before a meeting, so we went out together after I dropped Sam off at daycare. We ran Ryan's 3-mile Patriots Common loop. It was drizzling at the start and steadily progressed to a harder and harder rain as we ran. Still, it wasn't hot and there weren't any bugs, so can't complain too much!
Ryan had signed up for the Bands on the Run 5k before his whole training meltdown, so he decided he would go up this morning, pick up his shirt with a, and I quote, "60% chance of running the race." Hmph. Turns out he did run, and ran well enough to get third place. Yes, it was slower than he would normally run, but hey, 3rd is 3rd! :-)
So, with Ryan away, Sam and I met up with Morgan and Kristen at Wolfe's Neck this morning for some mud and sand fun. Low tide was at 9:00am this morning, and it sure was low! The sky was a brilliant blue, the osprey were chirping in their nest and I even caught a few glimpses of their little babies (2 or 3, I'm not sure), and the kids had fun sinking into the mud, squealing as the little crabs ran over their toes and playing around in the mid-calf deep water. It was the perfect morning for it!
Headed down to the water
Morgan looking at the snails and crabs
Snacktime with a view :-)
Once we got home, had lunch and Sam went down for her nap, I went out for my run. Nothing like running at 1:00pm on a hot, cloudless day! I headed over to the Commons to get in 5 miles on some nice, flat trails. It certainly was warm, but it didn't seem quite as humid as it has been, and there was a nice breeze. In the shade, I was fairly comfortable. In the open stretches, the sun was beating down on me and the deer flies were buzzing around my head. Ah, summer running :-) Anyway, I felt out of shape, but the foot felt fine. Today's 5 miles are the longest I've run since that Monday back in early May when I decided something wasn't right and made my first appointment with Dr. Jamie. It is both exciting to be running "long" and slightly depressing that 5 miles is a "long run." Good thing there are 4+ months until Stonecat!
Sam seems to have turned a corner in the sleep department, and is pretty regularly sleeping through the night - hurray! However, she appears to have her internal clock set for a 5:00 am wake-up, so we are up pretty early almost every day. It isn't all that bad now that I can go to bed between 9:00 and 10:00 pm and sleep through myself until she wakes up, plus I've always been a morning person so I can go from dead asleep to wide awake pretty quickly. Besides, it means I have a little more time with her in the mornings, which is always nice. This morning, we worked on some of her puzzles, read a book, colored with her markers on the easel, ate breakfast, spent some time with the kitties and watched a bit of Curious George, all before 7:30am when I headed out for my run. Whew. Busy busy :-)
It was overcast and not quite as warm, but man, it sure made up for it with the humidity! I ran the short Highland Green loop and was very sweaty when I got back, even after only 26:xx minutes! The deer flies and mosquitos are out now - boo!! - but I also saw a little Red Eft, which made up for the nasty buggers a bit, and picked a few ripe blueberries from the bushes along the powerlines - yum! I guess it really is summer!!
We followed up my run with a trip to Frosty's Donuts. I don't think my three miles quite justified the two donuts I had, but they sure were delicious!! :-)
Turns out Sam has yet another ear infection. Sigh. Poor kiddo. Back on antibiotics and probably in line for tubes at this point. Sigh #2. At least she should feel better after a few more doses of antibiotics. As for me, I got out for a short three miles this morning at 7am. It was 75 degrees. I felt like I was melting. Foot felt fine during the run. Surprisingly though,it felt a bit achey before the run, maybe from the shoes I wore to work or maybe the toe/calf raises I did as part of my exercises last night? Planning on a day off tomorrow and a run on Saturday but I will certainly be monitoring things closely just to make sure I'm headed in the right direction.
The weather people were predicting a heat wave starting today. And you know what, it turns out that this time they actually predicted the weather correctly! Imagine that!
I had intended to run yesterday, but on Monday as we were preparing to head home from Massachusetts, it became apparent that poor Sam had a cold/cough/allergy thingy. She was very unhappy. She took a long nap once we got home, and then went to bed early on Monday night. She woke up once at midnight and then didn't get up until I woke her up at 8:00 am (!). That is a sure sign our kiddo is feeling off. Sleeping until 8:00? Unheard of in our house! I managed to sleep in too, waking up at 7:00 am, looking at my watch and feeling amazed that I was still sleeping at such an hour. Then I rolled over and went back to sleep until 7:45, when I finally got up and took a shower, while Sam slept on. With such a late wake-up, I didn't get her in to daycare until 9:15, and then I had to take off for work. So no running.
Sam is still a bit off, but was cheerier this morning and up right on time :-) So I got her to daycare at her regular time and headed out for a run at 8:30. It was already getting warm (75 degrees when I got back home a little after 9am), and the air was heavy. I ran 4 miles around the Heath and called it good. Tomorrow will be another test, as I'm planning to run 3 miles in the morning, the first time running two days back-to-back since my running layoff. Keeping my fingers crossed that things will feel fine with two days of running in a row!
Yesterday, we celebrated Father's Day early with Ryan's parents, grandparents, Meghan and Chris. It was great to see everyone! In the late afternoon, after Sam's nap, we went to "the farm" (which around here means Tendercorp Farm). Sam loved having the chance to pet Blue, the miniature horse. He was just her size :-) We also fed carrots to the llama and of course, went into the farm store and purchased some goodies!
Today, the plan was to hit the Zoo. Since we knew Sam wouldn't really care, and it seemed like a more 'do-able' zoo with a 2-year old, we went to the Stone Zoo, out in Stoneham. It was the perfect size for a kid Sam's age! There were some good animals on exhibit - the Bald Eagle (HUGE!), Jaguar (beautiful!) and Snow Leopard (Very cool! So neat to see!) were my favorites, while Sam liked the monkeys and the goats in the petting zoo area best. She literally ran through some of the areas, just so excited to be somewhere new, but hey, she was happy, so what the heck! She also loved the train and rides they had right before the exit. The train was only for kids, and she just had a wide grin on her face the whole time she was riding that little train around as we smiled and cheered and waved to her from outside the fence. So cute :-)
Time for "a picnic"!
Petting the goats
Enjoying the rides
On the train
Ryan and I managed to sneak out for a short run during Sam's nap. It was a bright, beautiful blue sky afternoon, warm but breezy. Unfortunately, after a morning at the zoo and a burrito for lunch, I can't say I was feeling very spry, but we managed to run the 3.25 mile loop about 30 seconds faster than I had on Friday, so I guess it wasn't all bad. And the best thing is that the foot isn't hurting, and neither is my hip. Hurray!
I finally had to wake Sam up around 4:00pm, and we went out back to enjoy the rest of a beautiful Sunday afternoon. We played ball and rolled around on the grass, and Sam helped us shuck the corn for dinner. She loves corn, so that was very exciting :-)
Daycare was closed today so we both decided to take a long weekend, and do some fun stuff with Sam. This morning, we went down to Portland to the Children's Museum. It's a nice little museum, with some cute exhibits, and we spent a few good hours there, playing in the pond, looking at the turtles and bees, reading books, getting groceries at the grocery store and putting "haybales" on the conveyor belt at the farm. They also had a little outdoor area with some neat musical gongs and a garden, and Sam decided she needed to pick a few sugar snap peas to eat :-) Whether she was supposed to do that or not, I don't know, but I'm not complaining - she was voluntarily eating vegetables!
Playing in the pond
Being silly at Silly's :-)
We followed up the museum with a delicious lunch at Silly's. Sweet potato fries, a homemade quinoa/bean/veggie burger and a "Bee's Knees" milkshake (Honey, cinnamon, graham cracker and vanilla ice cream) - YUM!
Sam and I both fell asleep in the car after lunch as we headed south down to Ryan's parent's house. Dana is working as a ranger on Fridays at a nearby golf course, so we stopped there to say hello first. Sam had fun running around the putting green and rolling the golf balls into the holes :-)
Did it go in?
I think these flags need to go over here...
And then finally to finish off the day, at around 4:30, I figured I should get a run in. I put on my road shoes and headed out on the 3-mile loop. The combination of the time of day, heat and a still-full belly from my lunch made me feel a bit sluggish out there, but when I downloaded the Garmin data, I was happy to see I had managed to run a rather respectable 8:25 pace, and my leg and foot felt fine. Hurray!
I'm doing my best to keep my runs short and sweet, but wanted to test things out on a slightly longer run today, so I headed out this morning to run around the Heath. I figured that would get me 4 miles and be just about right. It was raining steadily as I ran across the road, dodging puddles covered with yellow pollen. The woods were green and the air was heavy. The bog bridges on the loop around the Heath were slick with moss so the going was a bit slow, but it was great to at least be doing a bit of my run on some technical trails! As I rounded the edge of the Heath near the beaver dam, I noticed a Painted Turtle sitting in the grass. I stopped to watch her (?) for a while, thinking I might get to see her lumber off, but nope, she just stuck her head into her shell and sat there. Perhaps she was getting ready to lay her eggs? Neat.
I was happy to again have no foot pain during or after the run, and leads me to believe that as long as I am careful over the next few weeks, I will be able to continue to build up my mileage without re-injuring things, and hopefully be back into the groove of things soon! Hurray! The only issues still remaining are 1) that I cannot seem to loosen up my right leg fully. It felt great last week after seeing Dr. Jamie on Monday, but has tightened up again, despite my regimen of stretches, rolling and strengthening exercises. Something to continue to work on, I guess, and hopefully another visit with Dr. Jamie will help too; and 2) my legs simply feel like concrete out there! I guess when I look back at my training log, excepting TARC, I've had 6 weeks of either complete rest or very low mileage. I suppose only time and more miles can fix the heavy-legs feeling, but I am certainly looking forward to an effortless feeling run sometime soon :-)
Daycare is closed on Friday, so I took Sam in today. She wasn't all that excited to leave me when we got there, but hopefully she forgot all about me about 2 minutes later! I'm attempting to take advantage of the day to get some things that have been hanging out on my to-do list for too long, but so far all I've managed to do is grocery shop, get in a run, get a few loads of laundry done and have lunch! Ah well. There are still a few hours left before I pick her up :-)
Ryan joined me for a run in the Commons earlier, which was fun. He was testing out his achilles and me, well, I'm just looking to run and feel no pain and hopefully get back into shape soon enough! It was bright and sunny, and felt cool in the shade of the pine trees, but out in the open it was warm and a bit humid. We ran through the woods, getting in 3.25 miles in 30:20. It was a bit more effort than I would have hoped for the pace, but I'm hopeful that pace and fitness will come back fairly quickly. The foot was not an issue, so I think I'm on the right track.
The one good thing about not running much is that there are a lot more free Sunday morning time to spend together as a family! And since Ryan ended up staying home today and forgoing the Baldface Loop with some of the Trail Monsters, we were all free! It was supposed to be such good weather that I proposed we head down to Reid State Park and enjoy a day at the beach. Low tide was at 10:45 am too, so it would be perfect timing! We started off the day with pancakes at Mae's in Bath (yum!) and were on the beach by 9:30. We were one of the first cars in the lot. Ahhh...
We could smell the pink beach roses as soon as we got out the car. The sun was shining, there was a nice breeze and the sky was a brilliant blue. The waves were lapping the shore, and there were just a few other families out enjoying the sun, water and sand. We set up our little shade tent and headed down to the water. Sam had a blast, and we spent over 3 hours soaking up the perfect beach day!
Digging in the tidal river
Looking out to the "Lagoon"
At the water's edge
Mama and Sammy taking a water and snack break
She was so tired out after all the sun and water and activity that she konked right out for a late nap when we got home! Hurray for that :-)
We woke to a warm, sunny and breezy day - hurray! After all the rain we've had, a bright, blue sky day just feels heavenly! Ryan and I were thinking of getting out for a run with Sam in the BOB, but we didn't quite have our act together, meaning I headed out alone around 8:45 so that I would at least get in my run before work. He can always go out with Sam later, or run after I get home if need be. I decided to head out on the powerlines and see what happened. I was hoping the legs and foot would be up for three miles, but I could always turn around if not.
The swamp irises were blooming in the wetlands, the swamp azaleas, 'butter and eggs' wild snapdragons and bunchberries added to the color along the trail's edge and the air was thick with the smell of honeysuckle and the flowers on the crazy blackberry brambles. The Towhee was singing his tune from amidst the now fully green bushes, hidden from view, and the sparrows were calling too. The trails had seen some serious erosion from last week's rain and there were some big mud puddles to splash through. Looks like they've closed the trails off to the ATVs for the time being to avoid more damage, which is good.
I was happy to have things hold up for the full three miles. When I looked at my watch at mile 1, it read 12:06, leaving me thinking, wow, this is going to be one slow three mile run!, but I finished up in 28:56. Perhaps I was being a little too cautious on the two downhills in the first mile? Or maybe I just needed to warm up! My legs were definitely feeling a bit rusty. Regardless, it is great to be out running again! Next week will be another week of three short runs, as I know I still need to be cautious at this point, but I'm looking forward to building back up the mileage and strength in the weeks to come!
I've been trying to be a good girl in this "return to running" thing I'm currently doing. After all, it's only been a few days :-)
I had an appointment with Dr. Jamie on Monday. He was happy to hear that I was having no foot pain, and worked with me on some of the pain/tenderness I was describing in my shin and up along my IT band to the hip. In fact, it appears that the pain was stemming from my glute muscles not playing nicely. The gluteus maximus that I've been working on strengthening is better, but a very tight gluteus minimus was what was causing the pain that I thought was my IT band. Who knew? Some deep ART stuff later and a few cracks and crunches to straighten out a slight imbalance in my pelvis, and I was feeling amazingly better!
Yesterday, I was still feeling good, and wanted to run but figured I would hold back. So, I worked on my core/glute strengthening exercises and stretched. And then today, I headed over to the Commons for another short run. I could have run from home. I mean, I drove for as long as I ran. But, I felt the need to get on the trails.It was great to be in the woods! The trails were soft beneath my feet. There were pink ladyslippers, bunchberry, false lily of the valley and goldthead blooming, and while the rhodora had passed, the pink swamp laurel was starting to come out amidst all the greenery. I took the twisty, narrow singletrack that was just on the verge of getting overgrown as it does in the summer months, and meandered, slowly, through the quiet forest. I was out for 20:10, stopping once the garmin beeped exactly 2.0 miles and walking the final few yards back to the car. The foot held up fine. No pain. Hurray!
Ryan asked how the run went, and if I was happy, when I got back home. I told him I was, but that it was tempered. I was happy to be running. I realize how much my happiness depends on being able to be active, to be out in the woods, to enjoy the silence, to work things through as I run along. But while I wanted to run comfortably and freely this morning, at the same time I felt that I had to be conscious with every step. Was there pain? How was my foot striking the ground? Was that a twinge? It was not an entirely carefree 20 minutes. I felt nervous. I do not want the pain to return. On the other hand, I am impatient, anxious. I want to be able to run, really run. But for now, I am trying to be "smart" and "safe" and be patient, patient, patient.
And so with that, another day off tomorrow and another short run on Friday. Slowly but surely, I'll get there...
Despite the deluge that had turned our backyard into a lake, not to mention the continued rain and wind during the morning hours, I was determined to get out for my test run. I figured the Bowdoin fields and trails were no doubt flooded, as was everything else, so I just decided that I would lace up my shoes (using Emma's fancy technique to keep the pressure off the top of my foot - thanks Emma!) and head out the door and across the street. I had originally planned to walk a bit before starting my run, but in this weather, well, I just wasn't feeling it, so I hit the pavement running (slowly, of course!). The foot held up for the whole 2 mile loop - hurray!!!!! - although my legs felt awfully creaky! I stuck to the very water-logged grass when I could, but otherwise ran on the pavement. I was only out for 18:50 so there couldn't have been too much pounding. In fact, it was probably better than trying to jump and dodge the inevitable lakes along the trails. Anyway, I came home a very wet, but very happy, lady! I would call the run a definitely success and although I realize that only time will tell, I am certainly hopeful at this point!
I'm going in to see Dr. Jamie tomorrow, and am hoping he can help me work out the tightness in my right shin and the upper part of my IT band/joint below my hip. If the foot holds up, and I can work the tightness out, I think I will be back on track! Keeping my fingers crossed!!
OK, so I just got a text from my mother-in-law... She said, you haven't posted since Monday, is everything OK? Ha! Guess it's time for an update :-) Sorry, Irene! No need to worry... The reason I haven't been posting is, well, there isn't much happening... When I'm running, there is always something to talk about! But since I haven't been running, there isn't a whole lot of import to report. Let's see. What have I been up to? Hmmm... the quick report from this week is pretty much this: I've had two massages (ahhh!), my parents have been visiting, work has been busy, Sam has been cute but not sleeping well (hey, that's new!) and oh yes, I picked up strawberries this morning at the farmer's market (seems early to me, but hey, I'll take it - YUM!).
AND, I am very much looking forward to a short run this Sunday. HURRAY! Sunday marks 4 weeks since I last ran, which seems like an eternity ago at this rate. I am keeping my fingers crossed that I'll be able to run without any foot pain. The foot really hasn't been an issue for a few weeks, but my right leg is still pretty tight. The massages have helped that, but I have another appointment with Dr. Jamie on Monday and I'm hoping he can do a bit of alignment or something to get things back on track. I am sure it is all related, and hope that I can figure out a way to get the leg loosened up so that it isn't putting extra pressure on my foot. I have to work Sunday afternoon, and Ryan is planning a Bradbury run Sunday morning, but I'm thinking I can sneak in a 1/2 hour over at the Bowdoin fields, where I can do a bit of walking to warm up, and then run a lap or two around the field loop, depending how things feel. Hoping for two, of course, but we'll see how it goes...
So, that is the update! Exciting, eh?!
But before you go, here are a few photo that my parents took yesterday at the playground with Sam. Sam sure is a handful, but darn, if I don't think she is just too cute :-)