Wednesday, May 29, 2013

"Hi honey it's me (sob), can you come and pick me up..."

It was a beautiful morning, I had been to yoga and felt rejuvenated, and I set out for my run - 7km along the waterfront to the Judge's Bay overbridge and 7km back home again.

It was about the 6km mark that my iliotibial band started to irritate.  This was new.  I stopped and massaged it with my hand held drink bottle and that helped a bit so I continued on.
For another 50m.
When the same thing happened again.
I know I should have turned back there and then but I was in running-injury-denial and had to make it to the stupid overbridge for very important reasons only my ego knows about.

I got there, turned around and walked most of the way back to downtown, fighting tears privately under the brim of my cap, getting passed by lots of blue-bangled Powerade runners with iliotibial bands that functioned normally, and finally when walking became a painful hobble I made the phone call above to my husband.

So if you saw a poor runner looking like her hopes and dreams were dashed waiting on a seat outside the Ferry Building today - well, that was me.


So - that was written on Sunday night soon after it happened, but by the next day I was over feeling sorry for myself.  I'm going to beat this thing.  I've been resting, icing and elevating, and it is already feeling a lot better.  Yesterday I almost forgot about it until I went to climb some stairs, and today I walked the 10 minutes home, so it is vastly improved.  Plus it has been so icy cold I'm secretly glad I didn't have to go running!

I've been doing a bit of online reading - and there is a lot of conflicting information:
     ? to ice - or not to ice (I did for the initial inflammation)
     ? to foam roll and stretch - or to not foam roll/stretch (I'm too scared to try!)
I'm just going to wait until Friday when I visit the physio.  I imagine he'll give me exercises and stretching to do, and I'll do whatever it takes.  After all I have a half marathon to train for in November!

"It is not what happens to you, 
it is how you deal with it that matters"

Have you ever had problems with your iliotibial band?  Tell me all about it because I'm kind of interested in them at the moment!
Have you ever had running-injury-denial?  I can't believe how strong the will to go on was - when I 100% knew I shouldn't!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

A New Running Watch!

The last few weeks I've been running blind, since my Nike+ GPS SportWatch stopped functioning after running in the rain.  It was still under guarantee so I returned it to Rebel Sport where I purchased it from, and I have to say the staff were really great throughout the whole process.  They returned it to Nike, who didn't fix it but offered a replacement or refund.

I considered using the refund to invest in a more sophisticated watch, but decided to replace the SportWatch.   It does most of the things I need it too, and as a relatively new runner I'm going to wait until my body proves it can run a half marathon before I consider upgrading!

So - here it is:

I chose the blue version which doesn't have the footpod but I never used that anyway.  And being slightly cheaper than my first watch (which was on sale), it gave me a tiny refund which I subbed for a GU Espresso Love.

In the new watch a few features have been refined - the wrist band is more supple, the buckle is less bulky, and the buttons are textured and beep when pressed.  It even beeps when the GPS signal connects, which is great because a few times I've forgotten to click start until I am well in to my run!

Could you do without your running watch?  I have to say I am really glad to have it back.
Do you purposely choose not to wear it on some runs?  I quite enjoyed my long runs without it, but I really missed my stats and the maps!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Race Report: Blackmores Xterra Auckland Trail Series #1

Otherwise Known As:
The Hardest Run In My Life...

In the weekend we drove to Shakespear Regional Park about an hour north of the city, where the first race in the Blackmores Xterra Auckland Trail Series was being held. I entered on the day so I hope that still means I can be part of the series, as you accumulate points over the six races to determine your eventual placing, and I'd love to do all the rest.  This year I am concentrating on the Mid Course runs which vary from 10-14km, and this one was 10.7km long.

Event Base Camp

Halfway through this run I was cursing Total Sport, the event company that organises it. Grinding my way up yet another hill, and looking across the stream of runners in the distance ascending and descending many more hills to come, and I seriously thought of taking down the "I love Total Sport" in my blog side bar and replacing it with "I loathe Total Sport". But funny thing, the moment I crossed the finish line I wondered why I ever thought such ridiculous thing, and now I can't wait for the next event in Riverhead Forest.  Apparently it's muddy.....

These races take you to amazing places that just make you want to jump in the air, and they always leave me on a runner's high for a few days afterwards.

At the giant hill halfway through the course, I looked up to see my family taking a photo of me walking up the hill.

Well, yeah - doesn't every runner want a photo of themselves walking to show off to friends and family?!  I didn't feel so bad when I saw this photo of the leading men walking too!

There really was no other way up that hill.  At one stage I pulled to the side for a quick breather, and a guy behind me doing the long course said "C'mon, let's do it!", I replied "OK, no stopping!" and carried on climbing.  His encouragement gave us all a burst of energy.  

C'mon, let's do it - it's my new mantra.

I'm making this part of the post really long and drawn out - like the hill itself...

Thankfully there was a drink station at the top.  The rest of the course continued undulating along the ridge to the end of the peninsula where there were fantastic views.

I came a gutser twice.  First my foot slipped out from under me on a muddy downhill and I earned a sexy slick of mud up my right side.   That fall was kinda fun.  The second fall kinda wasn't.   Descending the wooden steps to the beach, I slipped on a U-turn and fell on the 'non-slip' netting.  I'm so glad the netting was plastic and not wire!  And big thanks to all the ladies behind me who checked I was alright - trail runners are awesome!

The final stretch was along the beach, and I admit to taking a quick walk break halfway along.  Then you run up, over the small sand dune, and down to the finish.

For the first time ever, I raised my hands in victory at the finish - I was so relieved to be done!  The photographer didn't quite capture it, but you can see my relief in the race photos.

I finished in 1:14:03, 30th out of 61 in my age group. I'm the classic mid-packer!

Oh, and after the race, in the long queue for a Jimmy's organic sausage and Speight's, I got talking and both the runners ahead of me slipped on the same hairpin bend on the steps!  Although I had the best injuries:

My shoes performed well - I didn't notice them at all so I suppose that means a pass.  I know I fell a couple of times, but one was in a really muddy spot, and the other - well, I knew that foot plant was risky in the microsecond before I took it...

So that's my 4th trail race this year in Jill's 13 in 2013 challenge - only 9 more to go so I better hurry up.

Happy running!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

The New Trail Shoes That I Forgot To Tell You About...

In March I bought my first pair of trail shoes, and I haven't mentioned them yet because I wasn't sure about them and I wanted to give them some time.  They are Salomon XR Crossmax 1 shoes, part of their Door to Trail range.

Although I love running trails, I also run pavement, and I was also looking for something to alternate with my Adidas Supernova Glide 5s, so I thought these would be a good compromise.

They have a rather cool quick-lace system - you pull up the laces to tighten, then slide the toggle to secure, then stuff the ends into the stretch mesh pocket at the upper edge of the tongue - quick and no laces to trip on!

Athough they are super comfortable, my first run in them felt much harder, and that seems to be the general trend.  They feel light, they're streamlined, they're really well built and tough, but compared to my slipper-like Supernova's they feel less agile, a bit clunky and inflexible.  Of course that can be a good thing on rocky trails to prevent bruising your feet!

Hey rock, don't you mess with  me!
I forced myself to wear them on my short easy runs once or twice a week, and I find after a few weeks I am enjoying them more.  They are a totally different feel to my Supernovas, but it can be good to vary shoes to strengthen your connective tissues in different ways.  Maybe now my aging muscles and tendons are adapting to the change, my Salomon's feel easier to run in!

Another thing I have noticed is that they are less permeable than my Supernova's.  When it was warm and humid my socks became damp, so blisters may be a concern in the heat.  But on the other hand they repelled rain well during a downpour, so they might be a wet weather winter shoe for me.

The reviews for this shoe are very positive.  I have read a review that these are better on trails than pavement, and to be honest no shoe is going to do both 100%.  I have to admit that so far I have only run around town in these, on pavement and a few short local tracks and parks.  I haven't given them a good trail outing yet - as you can see they are still relatively clean!  I hope to give them a good workout tomorrow up on the Whangaparoa Peninsula, in the first of the Blackmore's Xterra Off-Road Series.

I'll let you know how they go!

Have you ever bought running shoes that don't quite work?
Have you ever returned shoes for that reason?  I was tempted, but it just didn't feel right!
Do you have a trail shoe? Tell me about it!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

I Think I'm A Yoga Convert...

Around the beginning of the year I jotted down a few things I wanted to do regarding running, and one of them was to try Yoga.  I'd read so many other runners saying how it had really helped them with flexibility and things and I wanted to give it a go too.

Until this week the only action I had taken on this front was getting some magazines out of the library ...

... bookmarking a few sites/blog posts that took my fancy ... and getting a bit tangled up as I tried to do a pigeon pose for the first time!

On Sunday I jumped in the deep end and wandered along to Lululemon in Ponsonby for one of their complimentary sessions.  The usual clothes stands were pushed to the side and the floor was covered with the multiple hues of yoga mats, which were filling fast.  I found a spot where I made sure I could see the instructor because that was going to be very necessary.

Amanda from the Yoga Sanctuary was taking the class, and I thought she was pretty amazing - fun personality, really clear instructions, and encouraging to all levels.  I've never done yoga before and managed just fine - although it helped that the woman next to me knew what she was doing, as I could glance across at her when I was in upside down positions like the downward dog where I couldn't actually see Amanda!  We did lots of downward dogs!  Also child poses, pigeon poses, warrior poses and those are merely the ones that I remember the names of.

Before I knew it the hour was over, and we were gathering up the mats.  I headed home feeling a bit younger.  Most of my life I've been quite flexible but in latter years I know I've really stiffened up.  After a single yoga session I felt that my spine and pelvis had been reawoken and I instantly felt more agile.

not quite this agile though!

My glutes felt a little shattered, but guess who's going back next weekend?!

Have you ever done yoga?  How has it helped you and your running?

PS - a big thanks to Lululemon and Amanda from the Yoga Sanctuary!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Come, Run With Me To The Fairy Falls...

The Fairy Falls lie nestled in the Waitakere Ranges half an hour's drive from central Auckland (off Scenic Drive somewhere between Swanson and Waiatarua), and are about half an hour's walk into the bush.  We went there last week:

Get me on a bush track and I just want to run!  I couldn't resist running ahead with the phone and taking some "dizzying footage" of the moment.  Wanna come run with me down through some NZ native rainforest to the Fairy Falls?

I am sure those hikers wondered what crazy was running through the bush filming - it's tricky looking at the screen and the ground!  In that video I stop at the top of the falls, then there are a ton of stairs to descend to halfway:

the upper falls
The falls are multi-tiered and halfway down a bridge crosses over them, then you can continue descending right to the base of the lower falls - that's in this clip:

It's a great little hike to squeeze into a morning or afternoon  - only 4 km there and back.  But for every downward step to the falls there is an equivalent upward step back to the car, and I have to admit my quads felt a little tired on my real run later that day!

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