Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Weekly Reads: Infinite Sea

One of my favorite young adult books is The 5th Wave . I have been waiting with bated breath for the sequel to come out, and so has every teen in my library that I have recommended read The 5th Wave. I finished The Infinite Sea in just a few lunch breaks and it was great. Yes, these books are about aliens, but it's a very believable alien invasion, which makes it just OMG GOTTA READ.

The 5th Wave summary from goodreads:
After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker.

Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

My rating: 5 stars.

The Infinite Sea summary from goodreads:

How do you rid the Earth of seven billion humans? Rid the humans of their humanity.

Surviving the first four waves was nearly impossible. Now Cassie Sullivan finds herself in a new world, a world in which the fundamental trust that binds us together is gone. As the 5th Wave rolls across the landscape, Cassie, Ben, and Ringer are forced to confront the Others’ ultimate goal: the extermination of the human race.

Cassie and her friends haven’t seen the depths to which the Others will sink, nor have the Others seen the heights to which humanity will rise, in the ultimate battle between life and death, hope and despair, love and hate.

My rating: 4.5 stars.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Bemidji Blue Ox Marathon Training Recap Week 15

Monday I went to a new massage therapist and it was like night and day from last week's experience, thank god. He said that he didn't ever want me to be in pain that I couldn't tolerate for 10 seconds. There were a few times that I was uncomfortable for a 10 count but nothing like the week before when I wished we had established a safe word. 

He actually thinks my issues are stemming from my feet and worked my arch as well as a muscle that runs from the bottom of your foot to the inside of your calf and attaches at the inside of your knee, then starts up again and wraps around to the hip. My right leg was also considerably shorter than the left leg, so when he was done working things, that was back to normal. Apparently my right leg is my strong leg.

I left the massage feeling loose and optimistic about Bemidji.

Tuesday I had a book club with some friends and mexican and margaritas is not good pre-run fuel so I had another rest day.

Wednesday I set out for an easy 3 miles. I had some tightness in my left calf, but no pain. I'll likely just be doing easy 3-6 mile runs during the week and my taper-length long runs on the weekend up until race day.

I had planned to do my long run on Friday (I worked Saturday at the library this week), but I was really nervous that it was going to hurt. So I just enjoyed a lazy day with the pug. I wrote a ton of blog posts, read a book, and did some core work. So it was equal parts lazy and productive I guess.

Saturday I worked and then went out to one of Kyle's fishing buddy's housewarming party. While at the party I started having some stabbing lower back pain on my right side. My heart rate was crazy high and I started to feel nauseous. Neat. We ended up leaving around 10pm.

When I woke up on Sunday I was still feeling short of breath, and I thought it had to do with my allergies. They've been a pain the behind for the last few weeks. I did my usual hip/glute exercises and while I was waiting for my garmin to find a signal, I realized I was panting like a pug. That's when I realized I probably had a rib out that was effecting my breathing.

Luckily for me I had 12 pain free miles. They weren't anything speedy, but it was nice to run instead of hobbling like last weekend. My breathing was really off, and my heart rate was really high, but I'm hoping things will sort themselves during my massage tomorrow.

Most importantly: Bemidji is a go!!!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Lessons Learned from Marathon Training Cycle Seven

I've had quite a bit of time to reflect on my training cycle since I'm not spending a lot of time running. Harumph. I wanted to put my reflections in writing for my future marathon training planning.

  • Marathon training cycle length:
I've had failures with the Pfitz 18/55 plan, but I thought it had to do more with the number of tough workouts during a week and not enough time to recover in between them. I decided to keep the length and do a plan from runners world with a speed workout/week and a long run/week. Attention: 17-18 weeks is way.too.long. to train for a marathon. In the future I'll stick to 10-14 and plan to be in solid shape before starting. I think I was in great half marathon shape starting the training cycle, and I feel like I was at my peak at the beginning of August. Oops.

I also struggled with motivation in mid to late August, and I think that's why my body broke down.
  • Injury prevention instead of maintenance:
I totally remember this every time an injury comes around and then when running is all fine and dandy I forget. I need to make regular massage appointments, and I need to be better about cross training with cycling and yoga.

  • Less frequent racing:
Because my training cycle was so long, I threw in quite a few races throughout to keep myself motivated. I think 10k should be my max distance. I raced my half PR during a marathon cycle so I keep thinking I need to do it again, but I need to remember that I sacrificed my first legit shot at sub-4 for that half PR. Tune up races--good. Goal races within a goal race training cycle--not so good.

Friday, September 26, 2014

15 Day Forecast

Today marks 15 days out from the Bemidji Blue Ox Marathon and that means one thing: 15 day forecast!!

But I have to admit, I've been cheating, thanks to Danielle, who's been sending me weather updates for the last couple of weeks. #obsessed

Looks like race day perfection to me. Let's hope my body gets the memo!!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Bemidji Blue Ox Marathon Training Recap Week 14

I already briefly mentioned in a previous post how week 14 of training went, but for the purposes of looking back on this for future planning/training ponderings, I'd like to do my regular weekly post. Apologies if I'm a bore.

Monday I received the massage from hell.

And I spent Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday recovering from it. I was honestly more sore after the massage than I am after marathons. Brutal.

I would've liked to extend my long run to the weekend, but I worked Saturday and I had a friend's bachelorette party Saturday night, so I knew I'd be in no condition to run long on Sunday. Had I known that the evening wasn't going to be quite so crazy, and that the temps were 30 degrees cooler on Sunday, I surely would've waited.

As it was, I set out for my long run Friday morning around 8. I felt great until around mile 9 when my hip started to tighten. And then things quickly went downhill after mile 12. I finally threw in the towel at 16.25 and walked the last 1.75 home. Womp.

I then preceded to lay on this foam roller for the next hour or so until my stomach NEEDED Qdoba.

I spent the rest of Friday and Saturday freaking out about the race and if I'd be able to do it or not.

Sunday I searched all the yoga studios in town for a restorative or gentle flow class, and I found one at a new studio about a mile from my place. And your first class is free. See you there! It was magical. The room was still really warm from the previous class and I was there super early to fill out paperwork, so I spent a good 15 minutes stretching on my own before class started. We held various poses for 5-7 minutes at a time, and there were moments I felt like I was actually melting in to my yoga mat. Ahhhhhh so amazing.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Weekly Reads: Rooms

I requested an e-ARC of Rooms without even reading what the book was about. I enjoyed Lauren Oliver's Delirium series, and Before I Fall, so I  just assumed I'd be in to this book as well. Imagine my surprise to learn it was an adult book about ghosts instead of a teen dystopian novel. It took me a little bit to get in to the book because there were so many characters to keep straight, both living and dead. Once I got sucked in to the book, I didn't want to put it down. The story was so well told and the stories of each of the characters were interwoven in excellent ways. And there were several shocking plot twists to keep your jaw on the floor.

My rating: 4 stars.

Summary from goodreads:

The New York Times bestselling author of Before I Fall and the Delirium trilogy makes her brilliant adult debut with this mesmerizing story in the tradition of The Lovely Bones, Her Fearful Symmetry, and The Ocean at the End of the Lane—a tale of family, ghosts, secrets, and mystery, in which the lives of the living and the dead intersect in shocking, surprising, and moving ways 

Wealthy Richard Walker has just died, leaving behind his country house full of rooms packed with the detritus of a lifetime. His estranged family—bitter ex-wife Caroline, troubled teenage son Trenton, and unforgiving daughter Minna—have arrived for their inheritance. 

But the Walkers are not alone. Prim Alice and the cynical Sandra, long dead former residents bound to the house, linger within its claustrophobic walls. Jostling for space, memory, and supremacy, they observe the family, trading barbs and reminiscences about their past lives. Though their voices cannot be heard, Alice and Sandra speak through the house itself—in the hiss of the radiator, a creak in the stairs, the dimming of a light bulb. 

The living and dead are each haunted by painful truths that will soon surface with explosive force. When a new ghost appears, and Trenton begins to communicate with her, the spirit and human worlds collide—with cataclysmic results.

Elegantly constructed and brilliantly paced, Rooms is an enticing and imaginative ghost story and a searing family drama that is as haunting as it is resonant.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Decisions, Decisions

The month of September has not been ideal for me, running wise. I started off the month running an 11 mile mid-week mid-LR and felt like I was flyyyyyying. By the time I showered from the run and headed off to work, my back was killing me. I took the rest of the week off in hopes that I could just complete my 10th consecutive Sioux Falls half marathon. I maxed out in icy hot back patches and daily ibuprofen dosage.

I made it through the race and felt great! I was my normal amount of sore after the race, got a massage immediately after the race, and spent some significant time foam rolling so I could jump back into peak marathon training. My IT bands gave me trouble longer than I had hoped, and I had a random ouchy in my left ankle. So I gave myself an extra day of rest.

And then I set out for my 2nd to last major long run two Sundays ago, and I didn't make it a full minute of running. Knee pain. NBD. I assumed I had some residual tightness in my IT bands pulling my knee out of whack. I'd get a massage Monday and be back on track.

Well last Monday I had a massage, and you know how that went. And I was out of commission the whole week. I attempted my long run Friday. I set out hoping to get in 3 hours/18 miles/20 miles depending on how the legs felt and what my pace was. Once upon a time I heard that runs over 3 hours do more harm then good for slower runners/injury prone folk, so being on the cusp of the 'I' word, I didn't want to overdo it.

My quads felt trashed from the get go. Which is bizarre because they were one of the areas not really worked during the massage. They felt like that tightness you get after attacking downhills (improperly in my case) or that tightness that sets in around mile 20 of the marathon. Not mile zero. Ugh. My pace was slow, but I didn't have any pain, so I was thankful.

I hit 9 miles right around 1:39 and decided 18 would be my mileage for the day. But then my hips started getting increasingly tighter. I stopped to stretch them pretty frequently. My left one was being a huge bear. And then my knee started feeling wonky. And then my stomach started getting pissy (I think I was drinking too much water when I was stopping to stretch). I told myself to just walk/run to get it done. Finally at 16.25 miles and just over 3 hours, I realized I was doing my harm then good because my form was so off. So I walked it in.

Two miles.

Ugh. New walk of shame.

I had a LONG time to think about what I'm going to do for Bemidji, and it's safe to say I had every thought from "this is NBD, I'll still destroy 26.2 miles!" to "I should just eat the $70 entry fee and focus on healing up and being ready for Houston in January."

I emailed the race director on Saturday to check the race transfer policy. I can transfer up until the 30th, but the half is full, so I'd have to do the 26k or the 10k. So I'm glad I have some time to figure it out.

I have another massage (insert the emoji with the teeth in a grimace here) scheduled for Monday morning, and I'm hoping he'll be able to give me some stretching suggestions and be able to tell what's realistic for Bemidji. I know a PR race is out of the question, but I would like to still go and complete the marathon, but only if I can do it mostly painfree. A marathon is painful enough without your joints giving you problems!

So TBD on the race I've spent 14 weeks training for. Ugh. Feel free to send me all your healthy vibes and any stretching/rehab exercises you've done for weak hips/tight hip flexors/tight adductors (my current personal diagnosis...we'll see if I'm right I guess!)