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Keeping her Head Above Water - HumanNomad trains for 50 miles part 2 of 3


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This post really has nothing to do with swimming as the title might suggest. Instead the next month will be about keeping some good habits I formed last month, working on some weak areas I observed, and generally trying not to get overwhelmed by my work and training load(s).


I only have two months until I toe the line at American River 50 Mile and to be honest, I'm freaking out! The next six weeks will be the most important training block, but will also overlap with two separate week-long trips, trying out a new position at work, and taking two night classes. Whew! Things are moving, but they seem to all be coming to a head at the same time. As a result I'll likely have more than four standard goals.



Goal # 1: Increase weekly mileage. Run 4 days weekly.

Right now I'm comfortably running close to 35 miles each week. Over the next six weeks I'm going to add 10% mileage increase each week until I'm running 50 mile weeks in March. The breakdown will look like this.

Week 1 - 37

Week 2 - 40

Week 3 - 44

Week 4 - 48

Week 5 - 53

Week 6 - 55


Goal # 2: Pack Lunch and Breakfast every work-day during February.

This was a great success last month, and definitely saved me some money that can instead go to paying down debt and saving for travel later in the year.


Goal # 3: Strength train twice weekly.

Again, this was part of my last challenge, and I think it's valuable to being a good ultra-runner and important for overall fitness. I'll be following stronglifts 5x5 which I enjoy, is a simple program, and produces results.


Goal # 4: All the little things!

I have a really hard time remembering to foam roll, do hip and glute strengthening, basically all the little things that help me not get injured. The goal for this challenge will be to develop a 20 minute session that I can do most week-nights before bed that will help me to get rid of some nagging pains and be a more resilient runner.


Goal # 5: Dinner time is winner time.

Last challenge I noticed that my eating habits really deteriorate around dinner and the weekends when things are less structured. This challenge I'm going to focus on no grains, dairy, or sugar around dinners. And on the weekends I'm going to allow myself only one "off plan" meal. I'd love to get to my race 5-10lbs down from where I currently am and I know this will help.



Goal # 6: No skipping!

I will now blow off class unless I'm traveling, I will not blow off my homework, period.


Goal # 7: Try really really really hard at work, and be really really really nice to everybody.

I'm being given a trial run at work for the position I want to move in to and I really want to impress everybody and show that I can hold my own and deserve the job. This challenge will be about knocking it out of the park when it comes to work. In addition to that I know one of the biggest things holding me back is how I present myself and how I work with others. My review from this year was stellar aside from that so it really is the only thing holding me back. I need to revive the old version of me who taught snowboarding, could take crap all day from dumb clients and do so with a smile on her face and the air that made everybody think they were having the best time ever. 


This challenge looks like a lot, and it is. But there is a season for all things, and this is the season for simplifying life outside of a few key areas, working really hard, and embracing the challenge. Come April I'll have more time on my hands to relax and decompress.

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Alright, super fast check in here! I'm allowing myself 10 minutes after I just finished eating to do an update.


Tuesday -

Good things: Ran 5 miles of speed session, stretched at home after the run, ate packed meals except for an apple I bought, went to class and loved it! And went out of my way to be helpful at work which also meant doing some work at home before bed.

Things to improve: had a beer when I got home, didn't foam roll, still haven't shopped or meal prepped after travel so I'm seriously running out of food.


Wednesday -

Good things: Didn't hit the snooze button at all! Great foam roll session, did my glute and core work, and 45mins as cross training on the elliptical, lots to do at work but I'm trying to smile more, be eager, and be super efficient.

Bad things: as of dinner I will be out of food! Need to shop tonight after class, ugh. Didn't do 5x5 because my knee was bugging me so I prioritized foam rolling and form exercises and feel way better now.


Aaaaand that's about it! I feel like if I can just hold everything together a little while longer things will suddenly get much easier. I'm trying to not think about everything I have to do, and instead just work on moving from one task to the next with purpose. I know I'm going to be a little low on sleep, so I'm going to try and be really good about no screens in bed and no TV during the week period. Quality over quantity.


I also learned that my IT bands are really tight and if I don't foam roll often then my right knee and left hip can really ache. The good news is this is something that's totally in my control and not an injury.



What an awesome challenge! Good luck with it!

Thanks so much! Also, your user name is amazing!

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Oh man, just looking at my list of goals seems overwhelming right now. Let's do a week 1 wrap up and we'll see where I can improve this week.


Goal 1 - Increase milage. Week 1 - NOPE! I don't really have a good excuse for this one other than we went to my boyfriends holiday party on Saturday and on Sunday my legs were tired and I was burnt out from the week so I just lazed around, went climbing, and then went into office for a few hours later in the day. This week I'm swapping the elliptical for walking with the idea that it's more of a transferable skill to ultras, and it will help boost my weekly mileage.


Goal 2 - Pack breakfast and lunch. Whew, last week really tested my resolve to eat left overs, but I'm happy to report I made it through! This week I've already packed my lunches and breakfasts for the week so that's taken care of.


Goal 3 - Strength train twice weekly. - NOPE! Knee pain and fear of injury kept me from the weights. This week I'll be back in the gym starting tomorrow now that I know I'm not getting injured, I just need to remain diligent with the foam roller.


Goal 4 - All the little things! Doing better than I feared! I've been doing a little in the morning and evening and while 10mins doesn't seem like a lot, I'm hoping lots of little sessions will add up. This week I want to keep with this trend.


Goal 5 - Dinner time is winner time! This has been a bit of a struggle still. Holiday party food is no good, and one night for dinner I basically ate pop-chips and bean dip which killed my stomach. This week I want to make better choices ahead of time, and remind myself that if I delay dinner a few hours I will not starve, but I will be much happier with myself.


Goal 6 - Personal - No skipping! Went to both classes next week. Booyah! This week I plan to do the same.


Goal 7 - Personal - Be really nice to everybody. Last week I did far better than I expected and didn't allow myself any RBF (resting bitch face). This week I plan to do the same, as well as making an effort to ask questions that prompt people to talk more about themselves.


Week 1 Grade: B+


So I'm doing pretty well, but when it comes to running could definitely be doing better.


This upcoming week should be much the same as last week, except Thursday night I'm flying to Boston and I'll be traveling the east coast to ski and visit family/friends for more than a week. I might need to split my long run into two more equal length days to avoid freezing to death in the New Hampshire mountains.


Good work. And good for you that the foam roller helps on your ITB. When I try, it's kinda just torture. :o


Have fun shopping!

Oh man, it's torture for me too, but it's definitely been helping. I still dread doing it though.

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Somehow I find myself at the end of week 2 without having checked in at all during the week. Ooops. But to be fair to myself, I've been putting work on the front burner in order to really shine at my job and I'm hoping that it will pay off. I'm getting the vibe that I'm doing well in this trial run, and now it's just going to be about waiting and seeing if they have a position to offer me. So I think it's fair to say that I'm doing really well at my two personal goals, and for that I'm very proud of myself. Well, except for one of my classes that I've been too busy to either attend or do the homework for. But I figure that I should be putting my efforts into the work that could get my the job I want, over the class that could potentially provide me with a portfolio to start applying to get the job I want. Make sense?


I'm hoping on a flight tonight to Boston where I'll spend Friday before driving up to a cabin in NH for two days. Then down to CT on Monday for four days, and then over to CO for two days, and then back to Los Angeles next week. So I'm going to do my week 2 wrap up today and then talk briefly about augmented goals for the upcoming week.


As for fitness goals I've been doing as well as I can, and when it's all said and done I think that is something I can be happy with.


Goal # 1: Increase weekly mileage. Run 4 days weekly.

Monday I walked 2 miles, Tuesday I had a kick ass hill run of seven miles, Wednesday I worked 18hrs and only managed a 20min walk so let's call that one mile even though it was probably a little more than a mile, and today (Thursday) I did a three mile run that was supposed to be a speed session but really was more run/walk because I'm so incredibly tired. To date I'm at 13 miles. Yikes! Not sure I'll meet this goal again with travel :( I'm going to have to break up my long run this weekend into two equal days. It's supposed to be very very cold in NH so I'll need to adjust.


Goal # 2: Pack Lunch and Breakfast every work-day during February.

Doing well here. It's easy when I make my breakfasts and lunches on Sundays because it's so much easier to pick up my tupperware in the morning than try and figure out a lunch plan mid-day. This has been especially valuable as I've been so busy at work that I haven't had much time to even go outside during the day. I think I'm going to continue this down the line, maybe not as a challenge, but as a habit that makes it easier to save money and eat well :D


Goal # 3: Strength train twice weekly.

Ooops, not doing terribly well here. I did one solid day, and then today I was so fried from the work week that I barely did some core work and phoned it in. I'm pretty sleep deprived and fighting a cold and I just had no energy after my run. But I'll be climbing tonight so at least that's something.


Goal # 4: All the little things!

I've actually been doing well at this! Yes, this surprised me! I typically blow this off, but now I'll just plop down on the floor to foam roll or do core work while my boyfriend watches TV. My knee pain is decreasing and my hip pain is easing up a little too.


Goal # 5: Dinner time is winner time.

I've recruited my boyfriend and told him to rules I've set for myself for what I want to be eating around dinner time. So far I'm down 1/2 pound in the last week which is a really sustainable weight loss goal while I'm training. Very happy with how this is going.


All in all I'm pretty happy!


So for this weekend and next week while I'm in much colder climes and trying to fit in training around family and travel I'll plan to do the following.

- Eat as well as I would at home, practice saying no to treat foods and stick to my one "off-plan" meal each week.

- Run more often, but less distance, hopefully this will compensate for milage and prevent me from freezing to death.

- On days I don't run be as active as possible.

- Keep up with nightly stretching and core work.

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Week 3 wrap up.


Mileage - NOPE! Too cold and then too sick to run much. Probably only got in 10miles over the whole week

Food Choices - NOPE! Gosh this was a wake up call, eating the way my family does left me feeling pretty crappy. I'm ready for more veggies in my life!

All the little things - YES! I've been following a rehab protocol for Illiac Crest pain and the Myrtl method for general core and glute strength.

Packing lunch - Irrelevant since not at work, but didn't spend hardly any money on food, so that was nice.

Work/personal goals - Kind of irrelevant, although I did do some writing and sent some e-mails while on my train ride. I really want this job, so I'm trying to be productive/available and work extra.



So now we're on week 4. Today I'm feeling pretty sleep deprived, still moderately sick, and just a little tired overall (do people have vacations that are actually restful?). I'm hoping I can have a bit of a down day at work, get home at a decent hour so I can climb and then get into bed. I'm also going to break my packing lunch streak :( I have no food at work, or at home, so regardless I need to buy food. And I'm just feeling too depleted and tired to go without lunch. My goal for this week will be to get in some pretty good workouts and then rest/walk only Thursday and Friday so I can be ready for my marathon on Saturday.


How did the trip go?

Not as well as I would have hoped, I ended up with a cold... actually it felt like I got a cold, got better, and then got another cold. Rather annoying. So I wasn't running as far/as often as I would have really liked. Even my 2 miles today felt really hard and tiring. But hopefully now that I'm home I can get some good food and good sleep over the next few days and we'll be back on track!

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Actually, 10 miles for the week doesn't sound so bad. It's maybe not ideal marathon training, but it's probably just enough to keep you from losing any ground. Sorry you got sick, though. I know how draining that can be. It sounds like you've got a good plan to get back on track now. Hope you're feeling better!

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Why did I just discover how great walking is! I've been boosting my mileage this week with walks and really loving it so far. And I'm back on track with my eating after being too busy at work yesterday to eat lunch I made it to the store before my class and so I at least have some basic food to get through the remainder of the week. I'd say where I'm really falling short right now is in strength training, but since I have a race this weekend I'm going to just pass and then develop a body weight routine (to implement next week) that is more geared towards maintenance leading into my race rather than strength gains. I'm a little over a month from my A race, so I don't want to bother working on strength that is non-running specific. I think form drills and correcting imbalances will be a better use of my remaining training weeks. So far week four has been:


Monday: 2 miles "hard" I ran and walked and generally felt exhausted

Tuesday: 5 miles at a comfortable pace in the morning. Rock climbing at night.

Wednesday: 3 miles brisk walk. Great recovery session.


Outside of packing lunches I'm generally starting to eat better after my vacation. I have my first months measurements that I'll do Friday morning (although I'm not really expecting much progress I want to keep the habit up).


Good luck! I'd be really interested if you have a link to the iliac crest rehab protocol. I tend to suffer a lot of tenderness around that area.

Marathon on Saturday - wow!

This link is the one I've been following almost daily (I kind of break it up and try and do some parts throughout the day when I have a chance): http://www.sw.org/HealthLibrary?page=Apophysitis,%20Iliac,%20with%20Rehab-SportsMed

I think it's really helpful and it's making me realize that my core is pretty weak.


And this one is good for general hip strength and mobility, again I'll do random bits throughout the day, but try and get at least a few moves in before my run or walk in the morning.



Ultimately what I think I'm learning is that my hips and core a weak, so that when I'm running and pushing off my left foot, my right hip is collapsing and causing strain on the outside of my left hip. It's sort of hard to explain, but standing on one foot and moving your hip around helped me isolate the movement that is causing the pain. But so far I'd say that the training is helping, as well as icing after every run or walk.

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Actually, 10 miles for the week doesn't sound so bad. It's maybe not ideal marathon training, but it's probably just enough to keep you from losing any ground. Sorry you got sick, though. I know how draining that can be. It sounds like you've got a good plan to get back on track now. Hope you're feeling better!

Thanks! That's a good way to look at it, as opposed to being worried that I'm blowing my training. I only have four more weekends (including the marathon this weekend) before I taper, so I guess I'm getting a little nervous.

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