Runner’s Knee

Running Challenges

I am so glad I am back to being able to run on a regular basis! I LOVE it. Swimming is my #1 happy place–that is where I feel the most relaxed and happy but running is a close second. Running makes me feel strong, powerful, and happy. It boosts my mood. It reduces my stress level. It helps me manage my anxiety. It really is the best thing for healthy living, in my opinion.

Recently there was some guy on twitter, I can’t remember who–I think he was a professional runner or coach–who said that if you weren’t running less than a 10 minute mile, you weren’t a runner. There was a huge backlash, rightly so, and I hate to admit that his asinine comment has stuck with me since I read it.

I was very offended by that comment. I’ve never been a fast runner. Back in the day when I was about 20 pounds lighter and 10 years younger, I was running between a 9.5-10 minute mile and I felt pretty good. Then I had a series of running injuries. THEN I had a baby.

I was slow getting back to running after having Logan. I was working on strengthening my core and my pelvic floor. I was sleep deprived. I was breastfeeding…so I started slow. I’d go for long walks with Logan in the stroller and eventually I’d start jogging intervals. Eventually I built it back up.

But guess what? I’m still slow. I’m REALLY slow by most people’s standards. I take walk breaks. I don’t push myself to over-exert myself. WHY? Because I would rather be a SLOW RUNNER than an INJURED RUNNER who can’t run.

There are a lot of challenges with being a runner. One of them should NOT be the offensive, negative comments of “elite runners” judging us slow runners.

Anyway, I currently run twice a week during my lunch break at work. I’m back to running the waterfront loop in downtown Portland, which is around 3-3.5 miles long. If the weather is crappy, I use the treadmill. Not my favorite but it’s better than nothing. Right now I am sticking with twice a week but maybe by the end of summer with try 3 days a week.

Running Challenges

Being Slow

Does it matter? Like I stated above, is it THAT important to be fast? Or is it more important to just being able to do it at all?

One of the things I’ve noticed most about when I’m feeling extra slow, I look to my diet. When I was trying to limit the amount of carbs I ate to lose some weight, my runs were AWFUL. I was slow and tired and lethargic. My legs felt like lead. But I’d eat carbs and have a better run.

 

Being Sore

I would cross-train before I even knew it was a word. I think it’s really important for your body to do DIFFERENT types of workouts and vary it up a lot. It’s especially important mentally, too. I don’t know about you but I get bored doing the same thing over and over.

My current routine is – 

Sunday – Swim

Monday – Run

Tuesday – Rest Day

Wednesday – Weight lifting & Elliptical

Thursday – Rest Day

Friday – Run

Saturday – Big weight lifting day & cardio (bike, elliptical or stair-master)

I switch things up according to schedule stuff and if the weather is nice, I will run outside. If it’s bad, treadmill. Also, in the summer we usually do a lot of hiking. We’ll see if we do that this summer!

I also think including weightlifting in your routine is really important. Don’t skip it and just do cardio! Lifting weights has made me stronger and healthier and has kept me from getting injured running. Rest days are crucial as well, and I also space out my runs. I never run two days in a row. Having at least one day in between my running has been very beneficial for me.

 

Boredom

Sometimes running is really boring. Especially when you do the same routine all the time. Before I had my baby, I went to the gym after work and had a similar routine. One day I’d lift weights and the next day I’d run on the treadmill. After having Logan, I stopped going to the gym after work so I could spend time with him. Now I work out during my lunch break at work. It’s helped a lot and gives me more time for fun stuff after work plus it breaks up the work day!

The downside? I get bored doing the same thing. Running the water front is great, especially in summer! It’s sunny and warm and pretty. But the same route can be a snooze. So I switch it up each time. Since I do a loop, I go a different way each time. I’m basically doing the same run each time, but changing where I do it and I how I get to the waterfront. Sometimes I run on different bridges, or go a different direction. Whatever works to break up the routine.

Other tips are to run to a destination (which can be hard if you are on limited time), doing intervals, trail running, hill repeats, or run with a friend. I’m too slow right now to run with my friends, but I USED to run the waterfront with coworkers. It was fun! And they always pushed me to go a little faster than what I usually did.

 

Treadmill Boredom

The treadmill sucks. There’s no way around it. But sometimes that’s your only option. My suggestion? NETFLIX.

When I run on the treadmill during my lunch break I watch Netflix on my phone. I rarely have time to really watch TV these days, so it’s a nice thing! I recently watched the newest season of Bosch on Amazon Prime. I watched “The Five” on Netflix (outstanding!) and currently working through “Safe” (Dexter with a bad British accent but it’s pretty good). That’s really the only suggestion I have. Because the treadmill sucks.

QUESTION: What are some running challenges you face? Any other suggestions?

Laurelhurst 5k

I ran my first 5k of the year on Sunday.

Did I train for it? Not really. Have I been running? Yes. So when last week arrived and I realized the race was coming up, I wasn’t too worried. For months I’ve been running every Wednesday with Logan 4.5-5 miles and then on Fridays at work during lunch, I run 2.5-3 miles on the treadmill (depending on how much time I have).

So for the spring and summer, I have been running around 8 miles a week. I figured a 5k wouldn’t be a big issue. I was looking forward to this race. I signed up for two 5k’s last year but I wasn’t quite ready to run them postpartum and ended up skipping them. The last 5k I ran was when I was pregnant with Logan!

Here is a post from 2 years ago when I ran the Laurelhurst 5k. I had been newly pregnant and had just hurt my back, so I was surprised I was able to run it at all. My time that time was 39:41.

The plan for this year was to run the 5k as a family. I was going to run with Logan in the running stroller and Michael was going to run with us. Well, we seem to have bad luck with races–this year? We all got the stomach flu last week. Of course!

Logan got it Tuesday, I got it Wednesday. Michael got it Thursday and was sick all weekend, so he didn’t run and stayed home with Logan. I was solo this time. Which was kind of a bummer.

I woke up Sunday and had breakfast of two fried eggs, half a bagel with cream cheese and coffee. It was dreary out. After months of sun and hot hot hot weather, the weather was rainy and gray. We definitely need the rain, and hopefully it will clear the air of the wildfire smoke, but it was kind of a bummer for race day! It turned out to not be that bad. The rain stopped for most of the race, and just misted a little bit.

They changed the race route this year. The last few years we’ve done it, it was three laps on the pavement through Laurelhurst Park. This year, they made it two laps and it was partly through differently terrain: grass, hills, bark dust, dirt, plus the paved trails.

Laurelhurst Park is really pretty. Lots of trees and plants and there are ponds with ducks and geese. The trail was pretty good this year. I did like that it was only 2 laps through the park. But I wasn’t super excited about running on uneven ground. There were parts of the trail that had tree roots coming up out of the grass and if you stepped wrong, I could see a sprained ankle happening.

I started out pretty good on the race. I just listened to my music and set a pace. I wasn’t in a mood to try and break any records of mine. I just wanted to run the race and hopefully not have to walk for most of it!

I ran the first mile of the race without any walk breaks. I wasn’t particularly fast but I was doing pretty good. There were two hills, one was gravel, that I did walk on during both of the laps.

Sweaty, blurry run selfie!

I started the second lap of the race feeling really strong. I wasn’t tired, despite having the flu for four days leading up to the race. My left knee was a little achy but overall, my body felt good. There was about 1/2 mile left of the race. I sped up a little bit to finish strong.

I crossed the finish line and got my ribbon! I felt really great! Especially for not having to take many walking breaks during the race.

I grabbed half a banana after the race and drank some water, stretched, and then headed home. I didn’t hang around for the raffle. I was sweaty and wet from the drizzle rain during the race and looking forward to a hot shower.

Here are my stats:

So I’m confused as to why the mileage is off. I’m not sure if the race was off or if my GPS was off. I don’t get it. But despite that, I was really happy with my pace and my time. 36 minutes is my best 5k time! I felt super happy about that!

I feel strong and happy with my race and my time! I’m so glad it went well! Next month is my next 5k!