Considering I raced Saturday, this should probably be a recovery week but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity — I took vacation around the holidays so I have 16 consecutive days off! Last week was a lighter mileage week so I feel okay building back up this week.

Sunday ended up being an off day because of family obligations, and Monday was scheduled as a non-running day that I almost took back because I felt guilty about not running two days in a row. But, with the race Saturday — that I could definitely feel in my legs on Sunday — I decided to stick with my plan and spin on Monday instead.

Dean Brooks is a legendary spin instructor who teaches at Milestone and I believe another place or two in Louisville. He’s so positive and motivating and I always leave class feeling accomplished. Some teachers are more aggressive and more drill sergeant-y. Not Dean. He’ll say things like, “You’re here to get stronger. Push yourself.” Or, “You set your goals and then you work harder to reach them.” I wish I could record his classes and listen to them while I’m running!

Right after spin I sped off for an appointment at Kentucky Sports Chiropractic with Kyle Bowling. I’ve had this ongoing right-side issue, mostly surfacing in my hamstring insertion and my achilles. Kyle had me do some functional strength and mobility exercises and came to about the same conclusion as my PT had in the spring: I have a lazy butt. My gluteus medius doesn’t like to fire, and that starts the chain. It makes other muscles have to work harder, even all the way down to my outer calf, because the other muscles working in my glutes pull my right foot into a “duck” position — toes pointed out.

Kyle spent a lot of time assessing and evaluating and we talked through how the issues were related. He gave me a ton of opportunity to ask questions. He did some stretching, a little bit of adjusting with my SI joint and some targeted deep tissue massage. His advice was for me to focus on recruiting that glute medius to work first, then adding strength training in later on. I have two specific foam roller exercises and then some hip raises/lateral work, both intended to wake that muscle up before I start running. In total, just about 5 minutes, so easy to work into my routine. I’m excited to see how it goes.

And unlike many specialists, he didn’t want me to come back. I was actually a little confused. He told me to send him updates via email over the next couple of weeks, but that he didn’t see anything that warranted recurring appointments.

After the visit, he emailed me a website login that allows me to see the recommended exercises as step-by-step photos and videos. It also allows me to record when I do them and if they cause any discomfort. Pretty awesome system.

I also got a full-body massage on Monday … and got my nails done … so a pretty good start to the week!

Tuesday it was back to running. We’re still having crazy weather here — it’s going to be 60+ degrees on Christmas. It was 57* and humid Tuesday morning and I was on the fence about running before Pilates at 9:30 or just waiting until after. But, the wind died down and I was feeling good, so at the last second I decided to go for it. My goal is to stop talking myself out of workouts.

Of course, you don’t know in advance if a workout is going to pan out or not. I had taken two days off running, but I had raced Saturday, spun and had some serious deep-tissue work Monday. I also didn’t have a lot of time before I needed to leave for Pilates. (The struggle is real.)

Like normal, I presented myself a couple of bail-out opportunities. I’d run a 2 mile warm up and then attempt my 3×1600 workout. If it was terrible, I’d just do 6-8 easy and save the workout for tomorrow. (Which will probably be a treadmill day because I think we’re getting thunderstorms. In December. We got the storms but I managed to stay off the treadmill all week!) And, if I did do the workout, I gave myself permission to cut the day down to 6 miles if I needed to meet time constraints.

I also had to decide between running a mile to the track (my original plan) or doing the workout on the road. Roads sounded more interesting so I dropped a water bottle just across the street from our house to hit my normal loop. It’s sort of a figure-8 but more like two letter Ds with the backs connected, so I never have to wait to cross the street or anything. And I can run it a few different ways.

I felt good on the first 2 miles, although my watch seemed to be having issues — the first mile seemed way fast and the second way slow. I decided to go for it on the mile repeats.

The first one was okay, felt hard. But then I reasoned I only had two left, and two is just not that many. Also, I had run faster in a 5k just a few weeks before, so I knew I could do it. Time to suck it up, buttercup.

I got water after the first one (3 miles in to the run) and took a half-mile easy jog. The second one flew by. Just one more to go! Not as fast as the second but within target pace. McMillan gave cruise interval range as 6:23-6:36; I ran 6:35, 6:22, 6:29. Along the way I had decided I’d check the time of day after the last one and decide how much cool-down I had time for. Plenty of time, so I got in both cool-down miles for a total of 8.

And I still had time to get reorganized for Pilates! I had half an almond butter sandwich before running and drank Chocolate Recoverite by Hammer Nutrition immediately after. Hammer recommends a second serving if you’re not eating for an hour or more, so I packed that into my gym bag. I also filled a water bottle with Hammer’s Endurolyte Fizz — it’s an electrolyte beverage with a light flavor and a bit of fizz, but no calories. I sweated quite a bit during the run and Pilates — with a lot of toe pointing and flexing — can make my calves cramp.

I had a good meeting at New Balance Louisville to discuss the team and some marketing opportunities, too.

Wednesday I started the day with a 45-minute Pilates Strength class, which keeps the core-centric Pilates philosophy but adds some additional strength work (high rep, light weight) including some things I know I need like squats and lunges.

Then I dashed from the gym to the orthodontist, and I wasn’t sure how long that would take. The meterologists were calling for strong storms later in the day, so I was crossing my fingers that I would get out before the weather went downhill.

Lucky me, it wasn’t raining — but it was 65* and humid, so rain might have been preferable.
Thursday was an absolutely perfect run. I met my friend Chelsea at Milestone and we put in 8 quick miles in beautiful 50* weather. I’ll take shorts, a t-shirt and gloves any day. With company, the run went by super-quick. We headed to Pilates after that and were challenged with a lot of hip and glute work (side series), so it was a tough class. But it was a great Christmas Eve morning!

That night, we had my sister-in-law over and hubs cooked dinner — appetizer of seared scallops with pea purée and artichoke purée and roasted corn; main course a shredded beef ragu with rigatoni. I ate later than normal and stayed up late and my stomach has really been confused since then.

On Christmas, I pulled myself out of bed early and got in 4 rainy recovery miles from home. I threw on my trail shoes — New Balance Hierros — because they’re water resistant and the grip gives a little more traction on slick surfaces.

I was excited that morning to hit my goal of 2,015 miles in 2015 (plus 2)!

We had two family events that day and were gone from basically 8 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. There was some confusion on my part — I thought we were having lunch at my sister-in-law’s around 1:30, but it turned out we were having dinner around 4:30. Fail on my part. Commence more weird foods at weird times.

Saturday I slept in and logged 7 miles, in the rain again. It was just drizzly for most of it, and with 50* temps it was pretty comfortable. I wore my trail shoes again, and the rain didn’t get heavy until the last two miles. I had an easy mile to start and then was between 7:30-7:35 the rest of the run — except the last mile, which was a 7:16. Solid day.

However, Sunday was basically the opposite of the rest of the week. It was hot, humid and windy — seriously, 70*, 90% humidity, winds over 10 mph. And my stomach wasn’t happy at all. It was a struggle the entire time. I had Hammer Nutrition Endurolyte Fizz in my water bottle by my car, because I knew I’d need the extra electrolytes today. I did a 4 mile loop, came back for water and a pit stop — bathroom and body glide, which I realized I hadn’t applied and knew with the sweat and likely rain I would need it. Then I did the same 4 mile loop again.  Second stop for water. I knew 12 miles wasn’t in the cards — I felt tired and sluggish. It started to rain around mile 7.5, which actually made it less humid. I ended up doing 10.25, with the rain actually stinging the last half mile or so.

Despite Sunday’s lackluster long run, it was still a solid week. Total of 43 miles, 17.5 more miles in spin, and three Pilates sessions. 

Next week should be fun — I’m off work, so using that time to build my base. Monday is spin and massage, plus a phone call with Matt Ebersole of Personal Best Training, whose coaching services I may be utilizing soon. On New Year’s Day I’m racing the Hangover Classic which will double as my long run (10 mile race plus warmup and cool-down). I also have Pilates planned 3-4 times next week.