Bayshore Week 2: Heat Wave

18 weeks out from Bayshore! My goal at the beginning of the week was to get outside for more of the midweek runs. While the weather wasn’t awesome at times, it was certainly MUCH warmer than the week before. It also got better and better as the week went on, leading to some really great running weather by the weekend.

Monday

  • Planned: Tempo run w/3M @ 7:00 – 7:10
  • Actual: 7.25M @ 7:54 avg. (Tempo: 7:24, 7:11, 6:56)

What I should have done was run early in the morning. What I did was go back to sleep after dropping Brad at the airport and then work + procrastinate until much later. The manageable winds from the morning turned into 21+ mph winds in the afternoon. I felt like I was running into a wall during the 1.2 miles of the tempo going north, then like I had a sail when I was coming back south. And yes, I cheated a little by making the downwind portion a little longer. #noshame

Tuesday

  • Planned: 50 – 1:00 Easy Run + Yoga
  • Actual: 7.3M, 8:12 avg.

It was almost like a heat wave with 18 degrees and very low wind. When the sun was out for portions of this run, it felt gloriously warm. Yoga never happened because the daytime classes conflicted with my work schedule and then I went to the dentist and it definitely wasn’t happening after that.

Wednesday

  • Planned: 1:00 Cardio Cross + Strength Workout
  • Actual:  50 min Live DJ Spin + Jenny’s Strength Workout (minus side lunges & pistol squats)

This was a little short of the hour prescribed by Coach, but let’s just assume the intensity of the spin class made up for it. The class was a sweat fest, but the time flew by! I ran out of time before class to do the entire strength workout so I conveniently left off the two exercises that make me the most sore.

Thursday

  • Planned: Speed w/12×200 @ 47 – 50 sec. (+10 min drillz added to warm-up)
  • Actual: 6.2M, 8:26 avg. (200’s: 46, 47, 45, 46, 48, 48, 46, 47, 46, 47, 49, 45)

Run commute home from dropping my car off to get serviced meant a slight tailwind for the majority of the repeats. The weather cooperated, but I should have worn thicker socks because my tootsies were cold! These 200’s are a nice boost of confidence for my turnover, since I felt like that has really been a struggle in speedwork lately.

Friday

  • Planned: OFF
  • Actual: OFF

5 year Anniversary! Food, wine, rest. And walking dogs in boots.

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Saturday

  • Planned: 1:45 Run
  • Actual: 13M, 8:04 avg.

The forecast called for almost 40 degrees, but with high winds that were supposed to increase as the morning went on. I got up early to try to beat the wind, but by 7:30, it already felt like a wall with some of the gusts. But I felt good and strong and even against the wind, it felt warm and there were swarms of runners out.

After the run, I took an epsom salt bath, which definitely beats the hell out of an ice bath (thanks to Jenny for the recommendation!) then headed downtown for some shopping with friends.

Shopping sometimes requires wine breaks.

Shopping sometimes requires wine breaks at department store bars.

Sunday

  • Planned: OFF or 45 min Easy Run
  • Actual: 5.3M, 8:26 avg. + yoga

Nice and easy miles with Walter. Just as warm as Saturday, but without nearly as much wind. This weather is absolutely glorious for January!

I showered right after the run, but then remembered that I really needed to get another strength or yoga session in for the week. I reluctantly dragged myself to a 4 p.m. yoga class and was SO glad I did. I felt amazing after and my body was happy.

  • Run: 39 miles (woah!)
  • Cross Training: 1
  • Strength: 2
  • Yoga: 1
  • Treadmill runs: 0!! (total treadmill runs = 3)
Posted in Chicago, friends, Goals, running, Strength Training, swimming, training, Treadmill, Weather, weekly recap, Yoga | Leave a comment

Friday Fun XVI

Happy Friday Everyone!! Today is a very special day because…

  1. 5 years! Today is our 5 year wedding anniversary. It is amazing how time flies, yet our wedding day seems like so long ago. We have had a ton of fun and been through many life changes (including 3 moves!) over the last 5 years, but there is very, very little I would change. I only wish I could go back and relive January 16, 2010 all over again because it was a truly incredible day. wedding1We watched our wedding video today and it was fun to relive the moments and to remember little things that faded away from our memories over time. And of course to laugh at how we sound on TV. We are celebrating with dinner then drinks tonight at The Publican and The Aviary. Two fancy-schmance places that we both have been wanting to try for a while now.
  2. The Bachelor. I know, I know. Trash TV. But I love every bit of the producer-instigated, not-real-life, probably-won’t-last minute of it.
  3. Winter trip. I finally booked flights earlier this week for another quick jaunt out to Keystone for some snowboarding during the last week of January. Brad booked his trip a while ago, but I was holding off to make sure work things wouldn’t interfere. I am not brave enough to try to take the whole week off during these busy times, but I am going for 3 solid snowboarding days. We have some friends from across the country that are planning to be out as well so good times are inevitable.
  4. Ragnar Florida Keys. Also finally booked flights for this! As my Turks & Caicos tan fades, I am looking forward to running in the warm sunny Keys more and more.
  5. Clean Jewelry. Over the holidays, my cousin (who also happens to be a brilliant dentist) gave me advice on how to clean my wedding rings and other diamonds. She got married about 18 months ago and her rings are always sparkly clean. The secret is a Sonicare toothbrush and a water/ammonia mixture per this video. I cleaned my rings this week and they sparkle like new! (I tried to take a picture but the iPhone really didn’t do justice to the before and after).
  6. Live DJ Spin. Jenny posted about this last week. She has been trying to get me to join her for one of these classes since she first started going. Finally my cross training day aligned with the Wednesday evening class and I went. Now I get why Jenny raved about it so much! It was an intense workout that FLEW by. The music was great, the instructor made me want to work harder and I got in a good no-impact sweat session. All around A+.
  7. “Get Shit Done” Week. This past week has been dedicated to getting a bunch of life things done that I have been putting off because of work craziness. It feels so good to cross things off the list and feel like I have my life under control again. My list included things like getting the oil changed in my car, getting my ice maker fixed, booking flights (see above), calling about missing/stolen packages, scanning and emailing insurance papers, taking dry cleaning, grocery shopping, paying bills…it goes on and on.
  8. Three Day Weekend. Monday is a holiday for my company and even though Brad has to fly back to Virginia to work, I will thoroughly enjoy an extra weekend day to sleep in and lay on the couch watching Netflix before starting back up again for the week.

Who else has Monday off? Any big plans for the weekend? Have a great one, whether it is 2 days or 3!!

Posted in Chicago, Ernie, friends, life, Races, running, swimming, training, Travel, triathlon, workout clothes | 3 Comments

Bayshore Week 1: Treadmill Central

As I mentioned, we are 20 weeks out from Bayshore Half Marathon. That is currently my goal race for this spring, but I am hoping to add some shorter races in the mix over the next few months. This week was defined by absurdly cold and windy Chicago weather that drove me inside for almost all of my runs. Last year when I was training for Boston, I would have definitely done more of the runs outside (Tuesday in particular). This year feels different and I don’t seem to have the same motivation to run in bitter cold temps. Maybe because I am not marathon training or maybe because I got burned out on the cold/icy runs last year?

Monday

  • Planned: OFF or 20 – 30 min Recovery
  • Actual: OFF

This was our last half day in Turks & Caicos. I got a text from Coach mid-morning that I could do an easy 20-30 min recovery from the 12-miler I did the day before if I wanted. I knew that I would regret not running one last time in the warmth, but it was really hot and sunny and I was already in my swimsuit and sunscreened up for one last time, so I chose to stay poolside for the last few hours of vacation instead.

Tuesday

  • Planned: 3-mile tempo run OR Treadmill Hill workout
  • Actual: 6.65M, 9:00 avg. w/Treadmill Hills

I opted for the treadmill because even though it was a bright sunny day, my body wasn’t ready to brave 17 degrees with 15+ mph winds and real feel temps in single digits. The workout was 4x 1 min @ 2%, 4%, 6%, 8% incline. The workout is all done at “easy” pace with 2-3 min walking rest between sets. I ranged between 8:12 – 8:27 pace. I love this workout because it goes by really quickly, but that 8% incline, even for one minute, is tough. I took full advantage of indoor time to watch the first hour of the Bachelor premier on my iPad.

Wednesday

I still had another hour of The Bachelor left so I didn’t hate it that I was forced indoors again by double digit negative “feels like” temperatures. Another bonus of already being at the gym is that it makes it really easy to go upstairs and do some strength work after the run. I did Jenny’s strength workout (also known as “Grandma Hips”) and it makes me sore every.single.time.

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BOSU ball squat selfie. This is my favorite of all the exercises. Also, I think the mirror is scratched…not sure what the blur is on my inner thigh?!

Thursday

  • Planned: Easy Cross Training + Yoga
  • Actual: 35 min Elliptical + 1 hour hot Vinyasa yoga

I debated all day what I felt like doing for cardio. Eventually I headed to the gym in the last 45 min I had before the yoga class I signed up for and squeezed in 35 min on the elliptical while I watched Scandal on Netflix. Even with the distraction of Olivia Pope, I was pretty bored.

Friday

  • Planned: Speed workout w/4×800 @ 3:20ish
  • Actual: 6.65M, 8:11 avg. (3:20, 3:20, 3:19, 3:18)

Once again, the high never got above 7 with winds of almost 20 mph so I was back to the treadmill. The plan was to get up and do this workout before my meetings started, but I woke up early to a sick pup so I waited until the vet opened and took him straight there. After that I had back-to-back meetings all day and didn’t get to the gym until 5 p.m. rush hour. I have always thought speedwork on the treadmill seemed really hard, but somehow these 800’s seemed like the treadmill was doing all of the work for me. They felt much easier than outdoor 800’s.

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Sick puppy (notice the IV shave) + big bone (that he stole from his much bigger brother)

 

Saturday

  • Planned: 1:30 Run
  • Actual: 11M, 8:13 avg.

It got up to 15 degrees by mid afternoon, but it was super windy, making it feel more like -3 during the run. Originally the plan was to meet Jenny for a treadmill date, but after much debate we decided to take advantage of the sunny weather and get outdoors. We randomly ran into each other right as she was starting her run on the path so we ran a solid 6+ miles together. The company made the time fly and I ran much faster than I would have otherwise. Win-win!

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What you can’t see is the layers upon layers that were under these clothes!

 

Sunday

  • Planned: Body Pump + Swim Training Class
  • Actual: OFF

I laugh thinking that I was planning to get up for an 8:30 a.m. class and swim. We had a dinner party with a bunch of Brad’s friends from high school and many glasses of wine and an almost 2 a.m. bedtime were involved. I slept until 10, went to brunch (with Jenny, Chanthana & Liz), then to see Wild. Not quite the workouts I had in mind, but a lovely Sunday!

Totals

  • Run: 32 miles
  • Cross Training: 1
  • Strength: 2
  • Yoga: 1
Posted in Chicago, friends, Goals, running, Strength Training, swimming, training, Treadmill, Weather, weekly recap, Yoga | 3 Comments

Why Running is Better than Everything Else

In November I posted about how not running/exercising for a week had a huge affect on my body. It threw my sleep, bathroom routine (TMI?) and appetite completely out of whack. Once I was home from traveling and was able to swim, I started to feel somewhat back to normal, but that also made me think about why I would rather be running than doing anything else. Now that winter (and this crazy polar vortex) has set in and I am confined to the treadmill for many of my runs, it seems like it would be natural to explore other workouts, but I still find that I would rather be running (even if it IS on the treadmill).

So, this is why I think running is better than swimming, biking, elliptical-ing (?) and any other type of exercise:

  1. The runner’s high beats every other “high”. Sure I get some endorphin-like feelings from swimming or riding a bike, but nothing tops that feeling I get after a good hard run or zoning out while time flies during easy miles.
  2. Running doesn’t make me constantly smell like chlorine.
  3. I can do it anywhere. When I can run, I don’t have to research where a public pool is located and how to get there or whether my hotel will have a gym. And I don’t have to worry about pool schedules or whether the gym is open. I put on my running shoes/clothes and just GO.
  4. Walter can join me when I go running. While I was injured (and now while I am running indoors more), Walter is bouncing off the walls because he isn’t getting any real exercise. For a dog that can run 7-miles without blinking an eye, a short walk around the neighborhood doesn’t really do much to put a dent in his energy levels.
  5. I don’t get bored when I run. When I am at the gym or in a pool, I tend to get bored and cut the workout shorter than I would otherwise. When I am running, I may not love every minute of it, but I generally never find that I am bored. (Treadmill running excluded).
  6. Running is training, not exercise. Of course I will never complain that one of the benefits of doing what I love is that it also happens to burn lots of calories and be good for my body. But that isn’t WHY I do it. When I was injured, I went to the pool to swim just to get exercise in the only way that I could without pain in my foot. That isn’t really sustainable motivation for me.
  7. Fresh air & Vitamin D. Sure the weather right now sucks. It’s cold and dark and all of that, but there is something to be said for getting outside in the fresh air for a run. It burns my lungs, wakes me up and makes me feel alive. Plus, at a time when I am not getting outside much otherwise, my runs would be the only time I would have any shot at some natural vitamin D.

The only upside I can see of swimming more is that there is zero laundry related to swimming! I shower in my suit right after I swim and then put it in the suit dryer and done.

I am sure many of you have other reasons why you think running is better than other workouts…so tell me about them! (Or tell me why I should give some other workouts a little more credit?!)

Posted in bike, injuries, running, swimming, training, Travel, walter | 4 Comments

Alive & Running

Wow. 2015. Time got away from me! Last time I posted was right before Thanksgiving. At that time I wasn’t running because of mystery foot pain. That seems like ages ago! Shortly after that post, I saw a doctor, was diagnosed with Morton’s Nueroma and got a cortisone shot. I was back up and running (pun intended), albeit very short distances, a few days later.

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Brad and I before an easy 3-mile Turkey Trot around his parents’ neighborhood.

I was a bit frustrated in the first couple of weeks after the shot as the numbness and tingling in my toes lingered. But with a little time to let the cortisone continue to work its magic and lots of stretching, by the second week of December I was back to running “normally”.

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Running normally means strength & ab work before my runs. Walter likes to get in on the action.

 

Now you know…the lack of posting wasn’t an injured running with nothing to write in a running blog! It was merely that before the holidays, it was all I could do to squeeze in a few runs, some sleep and some meals in between travel and work.

There was a trip to Keystone for a little snowboarding in there somewhere. (I say “little” because Brad and I both spent more time in the condo working for the first 2 days than we did out on the slopes.)

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I also got in a few runs while I was in the mountains, including a “long” run of 8 miles. The altitude and snow running is killer and most of the runs include several “oxygen breaks” (walk breaks).

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Running is hard, but the views are stunning!

Things were overall crazy with work in December. Between the travel and stress, I got sick for about two weeks. For the first time in as far back as I can remember, I had to take time off of running due to being sick. I missed a couple of easy runs as well as a long run.

Between illness and injury, I think the last two months of 2014 could be summarized as “the time my body wouldn’t cooperate”. It seemed like every time I started to get some momentum, something else happened to set me back. It was slightly frustrating, but it was also the first time in several years that I wasn’t training for anything major in the spring, so the timing couldn’t have been better. In retrospect, I think my body was sending me a message that it needed rest and if I wasn’t going to do it voluntarily, it forced me into it.

The good news is that by the time Christmas week rolled around, I was back to 100% and able to get in some quality runs. Major bonus that we were in Houston visiting family so all the runs were in shorts and tank tops. The wind in Texas was nearly as bad as Chicago, but when temps never dipped below 55, no one will hear me complain! I learned that week (thanks to a few very short speed/tempo workouts) that my fitness had major room for improvement from where I was in October, but hey…that’s offseason, right?!

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With Brad & my Mom on Christmas Eve.

 

We left directly from Houston and headed (via a stopover and wonderful meal in NYC) to Turks & Caicos for a week+ vacation with Brad’s family. Turks was incredible. It was incredibly warm & sunny all week and the relaxation worked wonders for me.

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New Year’s Day. This is the view from the back porch of the house where we stayed. Incredible.

I did quite a bit of running in Turks. It was (gloriously) HOT and after a few days of sweltering on my runs, I learned that getting up much earlier (then napping later) was the best way to get the most out of my runs. I capped off a 35 mile week with a long run the day after we arrived, then ran 37 miles total during the full week that we were there.

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Super sweaty and happily showing that I ran 10+ miles for the first time since Chicago Marathon.

Being on vacation where I could lay around the pool or beach and relax in the hammock all day makes running more miles really easy. We also drank wine while watching some incredible sunsets in the evenings and then went to bed before 10 p.m. every night, including New Year’s. That’s truly my kind of vacation.

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And, of course, we snorkeled and had some fun with our new GoPro. And chased our 5 nieces and nephews around enough to know that we are still happy to come home to our quiet kid-free house :)

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Now we are back in the frozen tundra that is January in Chicago. It felt like a shock to my system after a mild December and then over two weeks of warm weather. I haven’t ventured out to run in the bitter temps yet, but I am guessing I will at least attempt an outdoor long run this weekend.

What are the miles leading up to? Well, there’s Ragnar Key West next month, but most importantly, I registered for Bayshore Half Marathon in May. There is a big group of some of my very favorite people running this race and it should be a memorable weekend. We are 20 weeks out and I have never had a dedicated training cycle for a half marathon so I am excited to see what I can do. I am also hoping to work on some speed before going after the marathon again next fall. I am sure I will squeeze in some 5k’s and 10k’s some time this spring as well, but with this Chicago weather, it will be a while.

That was a lot of words (and pics!) and randomness to tell you what I have been up to for the last few months. I have some other posts drafted that chronicled how I was feeling when I couldn’t run that I may dig up and update. I think I will get back to posting weekly workouts again too. Then you can all follow along in my very painful quest to get back in shape and hopefully gain some speed!

Happy New Year everyone! Stay warm!

 

 

Posted in family, Goals, life, running, the boys, training, Travel, Treadmill, Weather, work travel | 7 Comments

An Injury Update & What Life is Like without Running

Last time I posted, I talked about my sore foot. At the time, I was confident that it was a fairly minor and very temporary situation that would be fixed with a few days off of running. I “rested” for 5 days and then ran an easy 5 miles with friends who were in town visiting. {By rested, I mean that I did yoga (not good for the foot), spin (not great for the foot, but not bad) and finally swimming (great for the foot!).}

During the test run, my foot was sore. It felt similar to how it did during the week that I ran on it after I first felt the pain in Miami: 2-3 on the pain scale and completely tolerable, but after the run it was super sore for 2 days.

I decided to go back to resting, this time promising myself a full week to 10 days off of running. The timing was good because I was also leaving for a European work trip, where the workload would be heavy and time to run would have been limited. When I got to Norway after flying all night, instead of my usual slog of a run (which is actually a really good way to cure jetlag), I went for a walk around the beautiful city of Bergen.

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Looking down on Bergen from the mountains that surround the city center. My foot was not happy with the walk up to get this view.

This would have been a great substitute…except my foot hurt. I cut the walk short and headed back to the hotel.

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This super cute row of colorful buildings was right next door to my hotel.

The next morning, after a great night’s sleep (<–this is important), I woke up to ride the stationary bike and do some strength work…but my foot hurt. Once again, I stopped almost immediately. So that night, without any decent exercise, my body decided that it didn’t want to sleep. And so the swim planned for the next morning didn’t happen and again, without any exercise, this cycle repeated itself for THREE days. By Thursday, not shockingly, I got sick. And well, I guess the universe really knows what the hell it is doing, because then I rested. Like completely fully rested with the most activity being the 100 yard walk from the elevator to my hotel room every night.

And while I felt like crap, because no exercise + no sleep meant no appetite and just general sluggishness, my foot was feeling pretty good. But on the 9th day in a row with no running, (7 of those days with complete rest), my foot started hurting again. I traveled home in the same boots I had worn over with no problems, but for some reason, they killed my foot this time. The next day (yesterday), my foot was sore just walking around the house and standing and felt like it did the first weekend it started hurting.

So now, back at square one, I have a doctor’s appointment at The Running Institute tomorrow. The doctors there are foot and ankle specialists and, (obviously by the name), they specialize in seeing runners. I am super disappointed and frustrated, but hopeful that I can get some answers and direction on treatment from real doctors that don’t have Google behind their credentials.

I have always known what an important role running and/or exercise in general plays in my life, but I am not sure that I could have anticipated just how much of an impact it would have on my body when it was taken away. In the past, my ability to flip time zones when I travel internationally was on point and I never could empathize with coworkers who suffered badly from jetlag. I always just assumed that it was because I like to sleep and can sleep almost anywhere that I did so well. But after this week, I am starting to believe that my just-off-the-plane runs and forcing myself into a schedule by getting up early to run before work has more to do with it than I thought. And the trickle down of it all affected my appetite and, um, (TMI alert) bathroom-related things. Now that I am back home, I have settled back into a normal sleep pattern (if you call 10+ hours a night normal…catching up) and have been able to swim a couple of times and voila! all is right with my body again.

I hope everyone else is feeling good, sleeping good and getting ready for some Turkey Day miles! I didn’t have a Turkey Trot planned this year, but will still be sad not to join the family for some miles around the neighborhood Thursday morning.

Posted in bike, Food, injuries, running, swimming, training, work travel, Yoga | 8 Comments

Off-Season Aches & Pains

Isn’t it a little odd how sometimes when you aren’t running much or training hard, little aches and pains start to pop-up out of nowhere? I have read at least two  posts about this lately and talked to some friends who were also experiencing post-training niggles. While it seems counter-intuitive, after understanding what’s going on with my body, it makes a little more sense.

As I mentioned, after the marathon I took it SUPER easy for the first two weeks with very little running and lots of yoga. I was feeling really good and my body seemed to be bouncing back faster than ever.

Then two weeks to the day after the marathon, I was making beds in my house and I bent over and felt a sharp pain in my lower back. It hurt to stand up or bend over and I was on the couch for the rest of the day. The next day I saw a chiropractor for the first time in my life. Dr Jen came highly recommended by Jenny and after only one session I understood why. Not only did I feel almost immediately better after she adjusted me, I also had a huge ‘a-ha’ moment when she explained what was happening with my lower back/hip/glute/hamstring. It made so much sense in context with what I had experienced in those areas for at least two years. In short, tight piriformis = pressure on joints/nerves = pain & misalignment. With reduced running + yoga, my quads relaxed and all of that tightness/misalignment pulled on my lower back causing more pain. With some daily stretching and core work, I was 100% after less than a week and was able to keep running through the whole ordeal. No big.

THEN I went to Miami. And I wore heels. And I walked. Alot. Within the first hour, I started to feel intense, sharp pain in the ball of my right foot. I could barely stand on it at the cocktail party, but was stuck in heels all night. The next morning I didn’t think much of it and went for a run. I felt it a little, but could easily run through it. Afterward and the rest of the day the ball of my foot was really sore and walking in heels was excruciating.

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I am smiling but I was limping around in my evil (but fabulous) heels. Also, it was windy (see: Sofia’s veil).

I switched to flats for dancing and it felt fine and I kept running on it all week. It was annoying at times, but not so much that I thought I should stop running.

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My first November Project Workout the week after the wedding. I did the workout plus 6 miles. My foot was fine and only a little sore while box jumping.

When I started to noticed that after my runs it hurt pretty bad and didn’t improve after a week, I consulted Dr. Google. I diagnosed myself with metatarsalgia, which can be caused by running but also by wearing heels where all of the weight is in the ball of your foot. It appears to be not a big deal and is resolved by rest. So…that’s what I decided to do. Hrmph.

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Brunch after the last time I ran (last Saturday). Sore foot but still not thinking too much about it. Also: 9.5M @ 8:02 avg. & felt A-MAZING…to zero week. Womp. (Photo credit: Jenny.)

I am now on day 5 of no running and it seems to be better. I notice a little soreness at the end of the day after walking around on it, but generally it doesn’t hurt. I would go crazy without ANY sweat so I did yoga Sunday and a spin class on Monday. After talking with Molly, I decided swimming was the best way to really stay off of it but still get a solid workout. It’s been good to force me back into the water for the first time since the outdoor pool closed in August. It also feels good to be able to push myself and work really hard in a workout, which I haven’t done since the marathon. I’ll probably try a test run tomorrow or Saturday and then try to still get in a decent long-ish run (~8M) if it feels good.

On one hand, I am grateful when little niggles that keep me from running pop-up during non-training periods rather than during a dedicated training block. But on the other hand, it’s really annoying to have to take time off of running ANY time. Not only because I want to be able to build on the fitness I have gained, but also because, well, sanity. And because honestly, I just would rather be running than doing anything else. But I am trying to practice what I judge others on (not being stupid) and let myself get 100% healthy so that I can run all the miles very soon.

Who else has off-season niggles? Do you take advantage of the time off and REST or are you crazy like me and keep trying to find a way to sweat?

Posted in friends, injuries, running, swimming, training, Yoga | 4 Comments