Fitness update

I know everybody’s been waiting with bated breath to know more about my training regimen, so I thought I’d end your anticipation.

For those not waiting with bated breath, or who have forgotten, or just didn’t care much, I’m in the midst of a transformation from a desk pilot (kinda like a couch potato, but without the couch or TV quite so much) to a desk pilot who’s going to run a marathon. This started with walking somewhat briskly the first of the year (and getting sore muscles from that) to a very little bit of running with my walking in March, and building from there. I started the Bellingham Fit program the end of May, and have been working with that program since.

Well, my program and my body took a major hit two and a half weeks ago when I went to a roller skating party at work. I hadn’t been on roller skates in something like five years, and it took a while to get my balance back while skating. Just as I was getting to that place, one of the kids in our program who is a speed skater, but doesn’t have the best record of thinking ahead about the implications of his choices, passed me on a corner very closely. I caught him in the neck with my right arm (or he hit my arm with his neck, depending on how you look at it), and, when I tried to pull away from that so it wouldn’t hurt him, I lost my balance and fell onto my left side, primarily on my hip, shoulders and hand.

Since I’m not 30 anymore (more about that later), this hurt a lot. I sprained my wrist/thumb, pulled a muscle on the back-left side of my calf, and broke a blood vessel in my hip that caused major swelling (my hip looked like someone had stuffed a half-grapefruit under my skin by the time I got home).

This happened on a Friday, and was one of two reasons I didn’t attend my Saturday morning Bellingham Fit meeting (the other being that my car had blown one of the two cylinder-heads and it was in the shop for a week across that time, and I hadn’t arranged to borrow a car for that trip). I applied ice to the area and the swelling went way down by the end of the day, but I was really sore and moving was painful. The following Monday and Tuesday were training days, so I went and did my runs on each day. My hip hurt from being jolted by the running, but the pulled calf muscle isn’t a primary running muscle, so it only hurt when I stepped wrong, and the endorphins hit after a few minutes of running, which eases the pain a lot.

While this was going on, all the blood that had gone into the half-grapefruit shape was working its way through the rest of my leg, causing the most spectacular bruising I’ve ever had in my life (the second most spectacular bruising is recorded on the web. The bruise started just below the belt-line on the side of my hip, and traveled down the side and back of my leg, eventually crossing the back of my knee to the top of my calf, with a break-through on the front of my thigh. Which is why you’re not going to see pictures of this bruise on the net — nobody wants to see pictures of my deep-purple butt.

While the bruising was spreading, I opted to not do my Thursday run, in case the running was keeping the broken blood vessel from healing completely (I knew it wasn’t bleeding steadily, or my leg would have looked like a huge blood-sausage, but I thought it might be seeping just a little bit). I did go to the demonstration team rehearsal for Scottish Country Dancing that night, but I did all my dances at a walking step, because the dancing steps would be too hard on my pulled calf muscle. Mary (the instructor) wasn’t happy about this, and made me promise not to do any more roller skating until after the Skagit Highland Games (which were held this last Saturday — more on that in a minute).

I noticed that my leg hurt more on the days that I hadn’t run than it had on the days I had run. The bruised area was getting larger, but the bruising was getting fainter at the top — the pool of blood was just working its way down my leg, just under the skin.

That Saturday I had intended to go to the Bellingham Fit meeting, but I had a 1:30 am wake-up (not an emergency) that got me awake and I didn’t get back to sleep until about 4:30, and it just wasn’t possible to get up at 7:00 and get out for the run on that amount of sleep, So I took the day off from running just to make sure I was healing the blood vessel.

By that time, the car was fixed and back — replacing blown heads is expensive, btw, especially on a v-6. But the car still runs very smooth and should have lots of life ahead of it.

Last week went about like the previous one — got my runs in on Monday and Tuesday, went to Dem Team rehearsal on Thursday. This time, I tried doing some dancing step, because my calf hadn’t been hurting all day. I found that I was okay for Strathspey step, but the faster steps, especially the slip-step we use for circling, were painful, so I went back to walking for those things. I had intended to try to get my run in after the rehearsal, but didn’t.

Saturday was the Skagit Highland Games. Our group was set to dance three sets (one of them a short set because our time conflicted with the opening ceremonies), and I danced in each of the dances we did, except for the ladies step-dances (not being a lady, it’s better that way). For the first set, I walked everything except the Strathspeys. For the second set, I forgot what I was doing at one point and started off dancing in fast-time. This startled me, so I went back to walking while paying attention to see if I was getting any pain. I didn’t, so I started experimenting with more dancing step. It continued working, and I danced the rest of that set and the final set entirely. It was cool.

After the last set, we went to the beer garden to hang out and chat — this being our last time together until the dancing season starts again in September. So I grabbed my bottle of water and went along and was stopped for ID by the guy at the entrance. He checked my ID and put a yellow band on my wrist that would keep me from needing to have my ID checked again the rest of the day. He explained that he was instructed to ID people who were under 30. I was just tickled — it was the nicest thing anybody said to me all day, and I wore that little yellow band on my wrist all day long.

I got home from the Games and had a few minutes to rest before I changed from kilt to running gear and did four laps around the gravel track (aka four “gravels”) before I needed to get changed to run girls into the Outdoor Cinema.

During my training, I’ve been increasing ratio of steps run to steps walked by ten steps run each week. Last week I reached “Scouts Pace” or 100 steps run for 100 steps walked. This was a pretty substantial goal. So, now, I’m increasing the ratio by cutting back on the number of steps I walk each time by five steps each week. This week, then, my run:walk ratio has been 100:95. Also, I decided to try extending my stride a little bit to more of a run and less of a walk than I’ve been doing the past couple of months.

Yesterday, my third gravel (about 0.9 miles, according to Ben) came in at 11:50, which I was pleased with — I think that means I would have passed Emily’s PE class requirements for the semester on that piece. Today I pushed it a bit harder on my first lap, and finished it in 11:06, and finished all three laps in 34:00 even, for a tidy average of 11:20 per lap.

Now, this was pushing it harder than I have been, and I was on the higher end of my aerobic zone than I’ve been used to. However, allowing for that, and assuming that I can continue cutting back on my walking by five steps each week, in the next month or so I’m going to bring my mile time under 11:00, which means I can move from the Red pace group at Bellingham Fit to the Yellow pace group about then. Which I think would be really cool. My next goal past that is to reach “Brud pace” which is 100:50. I would be really happy to be able to run a full marathon at Brud pace. I think Brud pace might give me miles in about 10:00, which would be a 4:20 ish theoretical marathon time (my coach says actual marathon miles take about a minute longer than your training miles do, which would be more like 4:45 ish. That doesn’t really matter to me — I don’t have a time goal for the marathon — I just want to finish it. After that, my goal will be to have each marathon (for a while at least) to get better times as we go along.

This week, I plan to make it to the Saturday Meeting, for the first time in a month. I’m sure my coach and the organizer are convinced that I’ve quit. I think I’ll email them to let them know that I’m still on board and doing well.

Mom, by contrast, has made it to all of her meetings. She’s walking very slowly — about 30 minute miles. This past Saturday she went to do her distance on a hot day without any water, and she got dehydrated and nearly passed out (which deeply upset the program coordinator down there). So, for now, she’s limited to 3 mile training walks on Saturdays and I’m going to be buying the both of us hydration packs so we can carry water with is while running and walking. The packs we’re getting are from Amphlipod, one of the sponsors of USA Fit, and they’re really nice. They should do us for a very long time, as they can have additional holders for water bottles or glucose gel packs added to them, as well as space for keys, coats, CD/MP3 players, and cell phones, all without bouncing. I’m getting them through, one of our local sponsors (our program coordinator works there, and we get discounts there for being Bellingham Fit members). Hopefully, this will keep Mom’s coordinator happy and will keep her from passing out — that’s not exactly a joke for someone her age. It doesn’t look like she’ll be doing any half-marathons this year, but, if she can complete the year doing 3 mile training walks for the rest of the season, that’s more walking than she’s done in that period of time than she has since she was in high school.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *