Running Again! And Again and Again

Hello and happy Tuesday! We’ve been having surprisingly lovely weather these past few days in Chicago, and I’ve taken full advantage of it…by doing speed workouts! Ok so I only did one speed workout, which was yesterday, but it felt great wearing shorts and sprinting along Lake Michigan.

(recycled photo, but oh how I love it)

I’ll get back to this speed workout in a sec, because today I wanna chat about running. I stopped running completely after the NYC Marathon back in November because my left foot was destroyed. The cause of the injury is still a mystery to me. The X-ray was inconclusive and the orthopedic doctor didn’t believe that I had a stress fracture despite the lingering pain when walking. The pain persisted for a few weeks and the top of my foot (mainly on the front where the ankle connects to the foot…i.e when the foot bends) occasionally still feels weird, but I never ended up getting an MRI to confirm any diagnosis. And so the mystery remains…

(the prettiest view from my building’s gym)

Truth be told, I was super nervous to start running again. And so I put it off for 2 months until January rolled around and I decided that it was now or never. Thank goodness for the tiny gym in my building because I was not quite ready to hit the cold streets of Chicago. Although I did run 3 speedy miles while back home in the burbs last week…

I’ve now been running about three times per week, and my foot hasn’t bothered me much. I do believe that the shoes I ran the marathon in, Brooks PureCadence 4’s, somehow contributed to pushing oddly on the top of my foot. Nowadays I’m running in the Brooks PureCadence 5’s and don’t feel any pressure on the injury. The Brooks PureCadence 5’s got pretty horrible reviews but I personally don’t mind them at all. Although the new PureCadence 6’s were just released and mine are arriving in the mail today!

(Brooks PureCadence 6 – $110…$10 cheaper than older versions!)

I’ll let you know how they are…

So back to this wonderful (yet torturous) speed workout I did the other day. A certain someone insisted that he would run with me if we did interval training, and so I agreed. Note: 400 meters ≈ 0.25 miles

6 x 400m Interval Workout (3 min rest between each interval)
warmup: 0.25 miles in 2:05 min (8:08 min/mile)
interval 1: 1:39 min (6:16 min/mile)
interval 2: 1:48 min (6:56 min/mile)
interval 3: 1:47 min (6:52 min/mile)
interval 4: 1:45 min (6:47 min/mile)
interval 5: 1:47 min (6:52 min/mile)
interval 6: 1:43 min (6:39 min/mile)
cool-down: 0.25 miles in 2:16 min (8:56 min/mile)

Ouch. I’m surprised at how consistent my splits are, considering how lousy I felt after each one. That post-intense run nausea was oh so real and oh so brutal. But damn was it a great workout and an effective way to cover 2 miles. I probably would’ve given up had it not been for my workout buddy helping me hold it together. I love how much faster I already feel, and I secretly can’t wait to make this a weekly occurrence. The pain and torture are worth it!

I mentioned in my last post that I also >>> finally <<< added strength training and conditioning exercises into my daily life, as well as a few pathetic cross-training attempts, and I swear I’m already seeing improvements. I’m especially focusing on my hips because I’m 90% sure all my problems stem from my weak hips and messed up back (#scoliosis).

So what’s next on my running agenda? Well let me tell you! First up I have the Shamrock Shuffle on April 2nd (my first in so many years! last time = 2012). Then I have the Chicago Spring Half Marathon on May 21st, which I’m hoping will finally be my new half marathon PR (much overdue). The only other definite race currently on my agenda is the Chicago Marathon on October 8th!!! Woooooo I am so pumped for this one!

Who else is running the Shamrock Shuffle, Chicago Spring Half Marathon, and/or Chicago Marathon?

Runners, what cross-training and strength-training activities are your favorites?

♥ Irina

6 Comments

  1. February 7, 2017 / 7:09 pm

    That workout sounds INSANE but speed work is key to getting faster…ah, it’s a love-hate relationship!! I need to start incorporating more interval training! I have plans to work with a coach after my marathon, so I’ll see if he’s a proponent of that and if he includes some in my training program…

    • February 9, 2017 / 12:31 pm

      It totally is, and I have to keep reminding myself how much I’ll benefit from each speed workout. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if your coach incorporates interval training, it’s so beneficial (albeit torturous). I’m so excited to hear more about your experience with coaching btw, it’s something I’ve considered for a while too so maybe you’ll be my final inspiration to go for it!

  2. February 8, 2017 / 2:08 pm

    Man, I did a tempo run today for the first time in goodness only knows how long and I just about died. I can’t even imagine what I’d feel like if I tried to do intervals (which are so much worse in my opinion). Congrats to you for getting it done! And yay that your foot feels better 🙂 I have scoliosis too, and now that you mention it, I wonder if that’s why my hips end up being so weak all the time, too – if it’s some sort of weight distribution thing that results in imbalance. I wouldn’t be surprised!

    I’m running the Shuffle and the marathon (I didn’t realize you were doing Chicago this year!! YAY! That’s so exciting!), and I’ve toyed with the idea of doing the Chicago Spring Half, but I haven’t pulled the trigger yet. I’ve waited too long and now it’s $$$, plus the weather for that day is such a crapshoot. I’ve run that race and the 10K, and both times it was H.O.T. and humid, which is not my scene. On the other hand, they have, without question, the best post-race party I’ve ever experienced. A free breakfast probably isn’t a good enough reason to run a half marathon, butttttt…. idk. And, beyond that, I have two halves in April but then like six weeks off until marathon training starts, and I”m afraid I’m not going to keep my mileage up like I should if I don’t have something to keep me motivated…. We’ll see.

    • February 9, 2017 / 12:40 pm

      Agreed, intervals are pure torture! That was the first one I did in over 1.5 years (hahaaaa so pathetic) and I completely forgot how brutal they are. Tempo runs are up there on my dread-list bc they can get pretty painful too.

      I’m surprised the impact of scoliosis has never been brought up in any of your PT sessions! Come to think of it, I don’t think my PT ever brought it up either, but it makes so much sense doesn’t it? My scoliosis curve is in my lower back on the right side and I’m almost 100% certain it affects my hips and therefore my legs. As a result, my left leg/foot/shin/etc. is always messed up. Interestingly enough though, running always relieves my lower back pain, probably because running strengthens the core and a strong core = strong back.

      I’m nervous about the weather in May too, and your experience confirms my fears. I guess I’ll just have to hope for the best because I really want this half marathon to be a new PR. That breakfast though…yesssss. You’re running Chicago too right?!? I’m not looking forward to summertime training but I absolutely cannot wait to run the course at last.

  3. February 8, 2017 / 2:16 pm

    Yay, I am happy the mysterious foot pain went away! Those are some awesome 400 splits!!!

    • February 9, 2017 / 12:41 pm

      Thank you!! I’m hoping to continue improving (as long as I actually consistently do intervals…), and it’ll be fun to track the progress.