C. Beth.
C. Beth run.
C. Beth smile.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Race Report (& Run #178)!

Well, it's Halloween...and race day! Hubby, the kids, and I all headed just a few miles from our house for our races. The kids were cold. And tired. (And in costume.)

My not-too-enthusiastic Batgirl & pirate before the races started:

First was the kids' 1K (0.62 mile) race. Zoodle (age 2 1/2) started slow but finished strong...

...while Chickie ran the whole way, keeping this superhero stance for the last quarter mile:

Then a friend of ours took the kids, and it was time for The Engineer and I to start our 5-miler. We won't have any photos of him until the professional ones are available, but he did awesome. He got 3rd place in his age group with a time of 37:03 (7:24/mile)!

Best of all, my IT band did great. I focused on keeping better form based on some stuff I read on the ChiRunning website; massaged the problem areas before the race; and taped it with KT Tape. I don't know exactly what did the trick, but it felt fantastic. I'm still keeping my appointment tomorrow because I want to keep this from coming back if possible. The only thing that worried me was that my right arch started hurting again for the last couple of miles, but it wasn't bad. I'll keep massaging it and working on my form (LIFTING my feet instead of pushing off), and I'll ask about it in my appointment tomorrow.

Here I am feeling good and looking weird (with my Vibrams and my crazy KT Tape!)

I placed really low in the rankings; I'm not fast! But I got a PR (personal record) for five-mile time! I was way faster than I thought I'd be, and I was thrilled with my time. Here are my stats:
Time: 50:34 (10:07/mile)
Mile 1: 11:29
Mile 2 & 3: Average 10:37
Mile 4: 9:05
Mile 5: 8:46

Mile 5 was my fastest timed mile ever! That floored me! I love running negative splits (starting slow and speeding up) but I bet I could improve my overall time if my my splits were a little less drastically different.

I got a burst of adrenaline at the end and sprinted to the finish. What a great race!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Run #177

Well, hello there, IT band. Thought I'd conquered you, but apparently not. Thanks for making me stop my run early and walk home.

At least this time I made myself stop instead of just running through it. In the past, running through it has made it a lot worse. I'll work on those trigger points more diligently, and use KT Tape for my 5 mile race Saturday. If this starts acting up one more time, I think I will go to a place that does both PT & chiropractic (including Active Release Therapy) to see what can be done. I don't want my stupid IT band stopping me from running my half marathon.

1.21 miles running, 1.48 miles walking (warm-up plus walk home)

EDITED, Friday morning: I went ahead and made an appointment at a rehab place I've heard great stuff about. The appointment is for Monday. This place does PT, chiropractic, ART, trigger point therapy, and massage therapy. Surely with all that they can help! :)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook (book review)

I just wrote this review for the Barefoot Runners Society forums, and thought I'd post it here too. I've already written about the book on this blog, but this review goes into a little more detail.


I just got this book, and I LOVE it:

Trigger points are (and this is very much an unscientific layman's explanation!) these little tight spots in your muscles that tend to cause referred pain. Sometimes it hurts where the trigger point is, but often it hurts somewhere else. Muscles and tendons and bones are all connected so sometimes the area that is hurting isn't actually the area that needs to be worked on. Trigger points can be gotten rid of over time with targeted massage, and this book helps you FIND the trigger points and shows HOW to do self-massage on them.

I've written a lot here about how much I love my foam roller. But this book is helping me make better use of the roller, and showing me other ways to find and work on trigger points.


Example 1: my IT band seems to be my biggest recurring problem area. I get various trigger points in my upper legs and/or hips, and that makes my IT band tighten and gives me that distinct pain on the outside of my knee.

I was working on some areas I'd found (upper thighs/hips) with my roller but was having trouble really getting past the issue this time. This book suggests using a ball (I use a tennis or golf ball) to massage the side of the hips/glutes against a wall. I followed their advice to put the ball in a sock so I could hold the end of the sock, and so if I dropped the ball it didn't roll away. Using this technique, I immediately was able to target those sore spots SO much better than with my foam roller. My IT band seems to be doing really well now. (I also used some KT Tape on it for my last long run, which may have also helped.)

Example 2: After a 5-mile run last week the back of my left knee was sore. I really didn't know how to get rid of it. This book helped me find some deep trigger points behind my knee and at the very top of the back of my calf, points that weren't being targeted with my foam roller. I was able to work specifically on those points, and my knee pain didn't last long. I was able to do my 9 miler on Saturday without having any major issues in that area.


I still love my foam roller and am using it to work on various trigger points and just general sore spots. But this book is helping me be more targeted in working out my pain. Because I'm training for a race, I'm pushing my body more than it's comfortable with right now. I've cut down my mileage a bit, but I still get sore as my body adjusts to these longer runs. I'm a DIY type when it comes to running pains, so I love that this book helps me keep going instead of my aches and pains getting the better of me!

Run #176

This run felt great! I wore my Vibrams again, and they felt good. No major aches or pains, just a good run.

3.1 miles, 33:25 (10:46/mile)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Run #175

For Run #175, a milestone--my longest run ever! Very exciting!

I have a new philosophy for long runs. Sometimes stopping to rest is a good thing. I stopped several times today.
  • I was wearing my Vibram Five Fingers (VFFs) for the first time, and needed to stop a couple of times to adjust things--putting bandages places they were rubbing. I plan to get some toe socks to wear with them so that the seams inside don't bother my feet like they did today. (Other than that, I mostly liked running in them.)
  • I brought (in a pocket of my Camelbak water backpack) a tennis ball in a sock. That's one of the massage tools suggested in The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook--a book I'm finding very, very, very helpful with the tight spots I get. Two miles in, I felt like my IT band was a little tight. It wasn't hurting, but I thought it might help the run go better if I rubbed out some "trigger points" on my now-warmed-up legs. I stopped and used the tennis ball...and my IT band felt great the rest of the run! Hallelujah! My biggest fear for this run was that my IT band would give me trouble. I had also had my husband use the KT Tape on my IT band before the run. I don't know which helped the most--the tape or the trigger point massage--but I'm just so glad to be finding ways to deal with my particular running challenges, ways that allow me to keep running!
  • With barefoot or minimalist running, it's important not to flex the foot too much. That can cause arch soreness, among other things. I wasn't keeping my foot flat enough, and my right arch was cramping about 7 miles in, so I stopped, took off that shoe, and used the tennis ball to thoroughly massage my sole. That got me through the final couple of miles. It did still hurt some after that, but only a little. I was able to keep the pain minimal by focusing on keeping my foot more flat. By doing that for the entire run next time I'm out, I am hoping my arch will once again be just fine.
  • I had multiple stops at stop lights, which gave me nice little breaks.
So all those stops added to my time, but they helped me work on sore spots and have extra energy to keep running, and that's what it's all about. So I think I'll use at least a few of the water stops on my half marathon, to stop and rest briefly before going on. Some people like to take walking breaks. I just don't like walking during a run. But I guess I do like stopping during a run! Whatever gets me through my goal distance is a good tool to use!

The result of today's run? I feel like I can do a half marathon. The book I got, and the KT tape, have made me feel more in control of my body. I'm learning how my body works, and how to take care of it. That's a great feeling.

Nine miles was challenging...but very doable. Next weekend will be a shorter run, a 5-mile race my husband and I are doing. I'm looking forward to that break from long runs. I'm also looking forward to my 10-mile training run two weeks from now. Bring it on!

9.04 miles, 1:51:56 (12:22/mile)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Run #174

I think this was my best 5-mile pace ever!! How exciting! The run felt challenging but my body felt great. I got advice from Steph (here on this blog) that sometimes IT band issues are caused by pointing your feet outward as you run and swaying your pelvis too much. I focused on that (especially my feet) and not only did my IT band feel good (looser at the end of the run than the beginning), but I also felt like my knees were more stable. So, Steph, you ROCK--thank you!!!

I'm still wearing my ZEMs with the extra sneaker insole until this spot on the bottom of my foot really feels good. They worked nicely today.

Taking Tuesday off was a very good thing for me.

5.08 miles, 54:19 (10:41/mile)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Day off

I had a rough night last night, thanks to a coughing kid (who at one point briefly turned into a vomiting kid.) Good times. I decided to sleep this morning instead of running.

And I'm realizing, I needed that time off. I remember being told by someone I trust, "It's better to under-train than to over-train." I think a lot of my issues lately are due to overtraining, and I'm finally finding myself willing to train a bit less. I'll be switching to three days a week instead of four.

I really hate that my mileage won't be as high as planned, which means it'll be awhile before I hit that "most weekly mileage ever" milestone. But I've got to give my legs more of a break. They've been telling me that for a long time, and I'm finally listening. I want to be healthy for my race!

I'll prioritize my long runs, and adjust the frequency and distance of my short runs as needed. My first book and my KT tape should be in the mail tomorrow, so we'll see how all these new strategies work together!

Monday, October 18, 2010

I'm taking this bull by the horns....

The bull named "ITBS," that is.

This IT band stuff is really frustrating me. It was doing so great, but I just pushed too much today--an eight-mile run WITH hills. It would be easy to say, "Well, I'm just overtraining"--if I didn't have a half-marathon in seven weeks.

So I just spent some money on Amazon (thankfully only a bit since I had leftover gift certificate money and bought one book used) so that I can attack this thing on multiple fronts. I'll report back later on how all this works for me.

Here's what I ordered:

Since I'm so in love with my foam roller, I think this book will be right up my alley. It should help me identify trigger points I don't know about it, and should teach me more about working them out.

This book has excellent reviews (as does the first book) and looks like it'll give great, practical advice on getting my muscles healthy and preventing injury. (This one will take longer to arrive, as I ordered it used.)

While I'm hoping the principles in the books above will help me get permanently past this IT band stuff and other annoying aches and pains, sometimes before a problem is totally fixed, you just need to get through a workout with less discomfort. KT Tape will hopefully help me on my long run next weekend so that I don't end up with IT band pain at the end of it like I did today. I've heard great things about this stuff, and while I know it doesn't work for everyone, I hope it works for me.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Run #173

Rough run! I had to stop about 7 million times for 5 million different reasons. But I got in my miles (actually a little further than I'd planned.) I'm happy about that.

I put some old sneaker insoles into my ZEMs because I have this little bruise on the bottom of my foot. The insoles gave me just the right amount of cushion, but they insoles didn't fit well in the ZEMs. A lot of my stops were to adjust the shoes, take socks off, put them on, etc. I think I'm going to get some Nike Frees or some other type of minimal shoe that has a bit of cushion just for those times when I need it. Not sure which I'll get. I love the Altra Eve that is coming out but it's not available yet. (As I'm writing this, their site is down, but hopefully it'll be back up soon.) The Terra Plana Evo is supposed to be great but the price is not right! I need to look at my options and decide what I want.

Honestly it was a rough run. There was the shoe stuff. And I had to stop in the middle to go home for 5 minutes to (ahem) answer nature's call. My knee bothered me a bit but I put on a new knee wrap I have which seemed to take care of that. Then at the end, that same IT band tightness came back; I think it was just the distance hurting me. Maybe I still need to stick to mostly flat routes for these long runs; I don't know. It wasn't BAD today but I did have to stop and stretch several times in the last mile and a half or so. I did notice my body just wasn't as relaxed as it was last Sunday; I wonder if that is what led to my issues today.

It was the type of run that discourages me. It makes me wonder if I can handle long distances. Why can't I just get past all these aches and pains? I think I'm increasing mileage more quickly than my body wants me to, but I have a race coming up. Can I even handle the half marathon in seven weeks?! I really wish I had more time to train for it.

I have to remind myself that last week's long run was wonderful, beautiful, awesome. Hopefully this was just an off day and I'll feel great next weekend (9 miles, if all goes as planned!) I'm also recommitting to doing those hip exercises I was doing so regularly for awhile; I felt like they helped stabilize my knees. And the foam roller and I will continue to spend lots of quality time together. I'd like to get past this IT band issue once and for all.

And beyond that...all I can do is take it one day at a time, try not to freak out about the adjustments my body is making, and try to be smart about my training. Hopefully it'll all work out well in the end.

8.05 miles, 1:41:18 (12:35/mile)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Run #172

Short little Saturday run.

1.55 miles, 16:30 (10:45/mile)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Run #171

Great run, and I'm happy to see my time under 11 minutes a mile. I didn't push much until the very end. I'm back on hills with not even a twinge in my IT band. Knee is totally recovered too. Feeling good!!

I'm looking forward to my long run Sunday--hoping for 7.75 miles. I'm a little nervous but also excited! Tomorrow I'll probably do my short, 1.5 mile run, just so that I'm totally back on track with mileage this week. And next week I'm looking forward to my schedule being more normal, running on all my regular days, and getting in my Saturday Starbucks run. If all goes as planned, my 10/23 long run (next Saturday) will be 9 miles...my longest run ever, with OR without shoes!

4.01 miles, 43:38 (10:52/mile)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Run #170

Wow, run #170! Always fun to hit another "round number." In a couple of months I should be up to 200!

Had a nice run in downtown Kalamazoo, MI, where I'm attending a blogger summit for Kellogg's. It's a really pretty area!

I was barefoot for about 2/3 of the run, but I had a really sore spot on the ball of my foot, so I put on my ZEMs (which didn't help much.) I think it's just a bit bruised or something, not a big deal. The 6.6 miles on Saturday was a lot for me, so my body's still recovering! It'll be fun when those long runs are just normal and don't affect me much, but I'm not there yet.

3 miles (est.), 33 minutes (11:00/mile est.)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Run #169

What I wrote this morning on DailyMile after my run:

Bliss...starting in the dark with almost no one else on the streets. Warming up my legs as the sun gradually lights up the world. Praising the One who paints the morning sky orange. What a wonderful run!

And here are more details now that I have time to share! I decided I wanted to do my long run in the morning (had considered an evening run), because yesterday the pulled muscle (or whatever it is) at the back of my knee hurt more in the evening than the morning. That was a good call; it only bothered me a little during my run. As I mentioned yesterday, it isn't a running injury and doesn't seem to be an area I use a lot while running, thankfully.

I spent plenty of time with the foam roller before my run, and stuck to fairly flat ground during the run, with the result being that my IT band handled the miles really well. I can tell that I still need to keep working to get rid of all the tightness, but I'm getting close.

And...6.6 miles. This is a huge milestone to me! My first 10K+ run since going barefoot/minimalist! And no bad pain or anything during the run. Overall I felt nice and relaxed. I think I'll be a little sore tomorrow from all the miles, but I don't think it'll be too bad. I iced my legs afterward, and I'm hoping that will prevent too much soreness.

I wore my ZEMs with socks. I like them better with socks than without, since my feet do sweat in them. I could have taken them off about 3 miles in, when it was light outside, but I was really enjoying running in them so I kept them on.

Beautiful, wonderful run. I loved it!!

6.6 miles, 1:16:20 (11:33/mile)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Run #168

Nice, SLOOOOOW run with Chickie. Lots of stops and starts (which--I'll be honest--I'm not very patient with.) She played in the park for about 10 minutes in the middle, which is good since this was a LONG run for her! I'm proud of her!

My knee felt really good where I "tweaked" it Thursday (by contorting to get toys from under the couch or something.) It seems that the part that is tender is a place that isn't bothered by running! IT band doing well too. Excited to do a nice, slow, LONG run tomorrow.

1.76 miles, 31:31 (17:54/mile)

Friday, October 8, 2010


So, I tweaked my knee yesterday. Nothing serious, and nothing to do with my IT band (which is doing well.) But I'm thinking I might have to skip my run tomorrow. It's a bummer...but my body seems to be just needing breaks this week for some reason. IT band stuff, plus not feeling great at the beginning of the week, and now this. We'll see how it's doing tonight & in the morning but I probably shouldn't push it unless it's a whole lot better.

Edited--Looks like I may have spoken (well, blogged) too soon. Found a trigger point at the back of my knee; after a bit of massage I'm so much better. I think I'll be able to do my long run, but not sure if I'll do it Saturday or Sunday. We'll see.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Run #167

Yaaay! I have been working so hard with my foam roller, and found some fantastic tight spots to work on--one in particular yesterday that "hurt so good." And I've also been PRAYING that this IT band tightness would go away!

I got out today for a nice, easy run. Stayed very close to home so I could stop when necessary. And my IT band felt good! A little tightness but no actual pain while running. A WORLD of difference from a day and a half ago. So thankful!!!

I think I'll be able to do my long run Saturday. Not sure if it will be the 6.6 miles I planned, but I think I'll be fine with 4+ and we'll see from there. Just glad it looks like my IT band hasn't gotten the best of me after all.

By the way...still loving my ZEM booties for running on these dark mornings. I think I'll use them a ton this winter.

I think I'm a running hypochondriac. I get so worried about aches and pains. It's just that I love running, and I have this deep fear that something is going to stop me from meeting my goals (like running the whole way in that half marathon in December.) I have to find a way to relax more and just take the aches and pains as ways to LEARN to stay loose, have better form, etc. My husband said he thinks my second year of running (which starts at the end of this month!) will be entirely different than my first, with things really coming together for me. I hope so.

3.27 miles, 40:45 (12:27/mile)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Run #166

I'm so sick of this stupid IT band tightness. Had to cut my run short. BLAH.

1.43 miles, 16:53 (11:48/mile)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Run #165

Recovery run--first half was with Chickie. IT band still giving me some issues, but I seem to have found the tight spots with my foam roller, so I'll really be working on those this week. This time the IT band/knee stuff seems to be stemming from tightness WAY up high on my leg, and in my glutes.

I felt bad--Chickie wanted to run barefoot and ended up scraping her toe. It started bleeding, and I took her home so Daddy could bandage it. Pretty traumatic for her (though the injury isn't severe at all.) She doesn't want to run barefoot anymore, which I understand! But hey, life is full of calculated risks; if I tried to protect my kids from all of them, my kids wouldn't have much fun.

2.11 miles, 28 minutes (est.), 13:16/mile (est.)

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Run #164

GREAT, long, slow run! Temp mid-60s. Felt awesome, out there in the dark with almost no one else. Until 4.5 miles in when my IT band decided to freak out on me. Stopped several times to massage, but didn't help. Finally sat down and stretched, and that loosened it up really well so that I could end the run feeling great! No Starbucks today--heading out to an early event for church.

5.75 miles, 1:10:54 (12:19/mile)