Training Log: April 2022

Wait…after basically abandoning my blog for the last 18 months I’m writing another post?! I know. Crazy, right? While we are still sort of at the beginning of the month, I wanted to document what I have been doing over the last month so as to have a baseline to compare to. Spoiler alert: I haven’t done much. I also want to sketch out a few general goals to guide myself moving forward.

First up, my April training log!

Tuesday, April 12th: Walk. The weather was absolutely gorgeous today and I wanted to take advantage of it. I’ve been oddly achy lately, so I wanted to get out and move. Distance: 1.75 miles; Time: 30:34; Avg pace: 17:33; Avg HR: 141

Friday, April 15th: Walk. Nothing notable. Distance: 1.5 miles; Time: 27:21; Ave pace: 18:11; Avg HR: 129

Tuesday, April 19th: No workout, unless you count runDisney registration this morning. My adrenaline was certainly going! Now that I’m signed up for the half, I guess it’s time to put “get in shape” onto the top of the “To Do” list.

Saturday, April 23rd: Walk. The weather was nice and I found myself taking the longer route around my neighborhood. Distance: 2.5 miles; Time: 44:28; Avg pace: 17:45; Avg HR: 136

Monday, April 25th: Walk. Today I was really tired in the afternoon and absolutely didn’t want to go. Made myself go anyways. I kind of wanted to keep going, I kind of really wanted to stop. I told myself I had to go for at least 20 minutes. Mission accomplished. Distance: 1.5 miles; Time: 26:55; Avg pace: 17:52; Avg HR: 122

Wednesday, April 27th: Walk. This walk was a lot windier and chillier than I thought it was going to be. Like, I’m glad my top had a hood because I pulled it up to keep the wind from hurting my ears. It only sort of worked. Still kind of tired, but I want to start getting into a habit because I want to get back to running this summer and it will go a lot smoother if I have some sort of aerobic base. Distance: 2.0 miles; Time: 35:38; Avg pace: 17:47; Avg HR: 128

April totals: 5 walks; 9.3 miles; 2 hours and 44 minutes

So all in all, not a lot. While I was starting to get into an every other day routine, sadly, the weather flipped and I had migraines for the next few days after my last walk and haven’t gotten back on track. Then we had a lot of rain the last few days and the storm off the coast has caused my TFLs (hip flexors that have been problematic for me in the past) to seize up and have been super painful. Like, had to adjust how I was sleeping for a couple of nights because the pain was keeping me awake. My TFL on the left side is the one that I injured back in 2020 that stopped my running. While it doesn’t really bother me when I’m not working out, when I am, they get really sore. Meaning it’s going to be on ongoing problem if I don’t take care of it. Looking back, it’s probably been an issue since I started running 10 years ago, in varying amounts. I might try some hip and core exercises on my own first, but I have a feeling I will be seeking out a PT before I actually get back into running.

I’m hesitant to set any real goals right now because my body seems to be extra unhappy lately, but knowing I have the half marathon in January, I want to set some general intentions for what I would like to happen. Working backwards from the race, my true race training and long runs will likely start the first week of October. That gives me just about 5 months to build some sort of base. I think so long as I start getting back to running by July 1st, I should be okay, meaning I have about 6 weeks to remind my body it likes to move and be active. While having a half 8 months from now seems like a reasonable timeframe, especially for someone with a running history, for me it will probably still be a little tough. But hey, I have to start somewhere!

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Whelp, that didn’t go as planned….

Hello, friends! In my last post, I ended it saying I hoped it wasn’t another 6 months before I posted again….and here we are a year later. *whomp whomp* You may be wondering, while I haven’t been posting, have I at least kept to the plan I proposed last time?….also no. Folks, it’s been quite a year.

Somewhere around early March each year my Seasonal Affective Disorder dissipates with the cold weather and by April I come out of hibernation and crave being outside and active. I’m a Pisces and a dreamer, so of course I start making big goals and plans (and often bite off more than I can actually chew, lol). In 2020 I started making more of an effort at being active because I had signed up to run the runDisney Wine & Dine Two Course Challenge in November before COVID cancelled everything. I had my most consistent year ever until I pulled something in my hip when I ran my virtual Main Street Mile that fall. At that point I took some time off, fell off the wagon, and never got back on.

I had high hopes of making things work last spring, but when I last posted, it was right before I realized how much I still needed to do to finish out the semester AND get my dissertation proposal on track to defend over the summer. I was taking three classes last spring and they were not the best three classes to take together, but I needed them to complete my coursework on time. They were all assignment heavy and had big projects due at the end. On top of that I was developing and writing my dissertation proposal and preparing to defend it in July. Being one of the first people through my doctoral program, there wasn’t a lot of direction yet, but there were a lot of expectations. While the dissertation proposal is certainly a big part of the doctoral process and definitely requires time and effort, I’m pretty sure I put in more time and effort than I really needed to because everyone wanted to make sure the two of us that were the first through the gate set the bar appropriately for the program overall. Basically, everyone involved was anxious and wanted to make sure everything was perfect. #nopressure I ended that semester burnt out and exhausted.

What I didn’t realize at the time was there were two other things at play here. First, I thought I was just feeling extra tired because I was stressed out, but it turns out my thyroid levels were actually off. I didn’t realize it until after I successfully defended my proposal in July, took a couple of weeks off, and didn’t feel any better (#hashiproblems). No wonder I didn’t feel like working out and was falling asleep on my couch every afternoon. I couldn’t get an endocrinology appointment for four months (thanks, COVID backlogs) so that took time to sort out. The other thing at play was my anxiety. I won’t get into the full story here, but the short of it is I didn’t realize how bad my anxiety had become until I started having full on anxiety attacks. I would get chilled, numb, my heartrate would shoot up, it felt like the walls were closing in, and like I was going to pass out. They would come out of nowhere. Not fun. Basically, I wasn’t dealing with feeling stressed, I just kept trying to push through everything without any recovery and my body was letting me know it was done dealing with that. The thyroid issue was likely also impacting my anxiety and ramping it up as well. So suffice to say, I had a lot going on.

The good news is, things are better now. My thyroid is much happier at the moment and being aware of your anxiety is the first step to outsmarting it. I’m also working with a counselor, which I highly recommend. My dissertation program is now up and running and I feel more positive about where I am. While I’m feeling more relaxed with my time and in control of everything, I’m making a bigger effort to get working out again so (hopefully), expect to hear from me again soon. I know working out will make me feel better overall….plus I signed up for the runDisney half marathon in January…after not having run, or worked out much, for the last 18 months. But I’ll save that story for another post. Like I said…big plans.

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Stay Awhile – Let’s Catch Up!

Hello, internet people! Remember me? Yeah, it has been a while. Last I blogged I had taken a week off for my hip, took a break from my running coach, but was still chipping away at some miles. Yeah, that took a nosedive immediately after the clocks changed and it starting getting dark at 4:30pm. I haven’t run since *checks calendar* November. Oops. Those that know me know I hate the cold and we got a lot of snow/slush this winter so I basically avoided being outside. Coupled with outbreaks of COVID and not wanting to go to my gym for some cardio on the treadmill, I basically just stayed in my apartment. It didn’t help that my thyroid always gets more sluggish when it gets darker and cold and some weeks I struggled to have the energy to even do basic life tasks (yay, Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism </sarcasm>). So this rockstar has certainly not been doing much running, or any sort of working out at all!

So what have I been doing? I’ve hit some major milestones with my PhD program and I passed my National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach exam, which feels good. I also resparked my creative side and opened a shop on Etsy (which you can find here, if you are interested). But I’ve gotten to the point that I’m starting to crave being outside again. I’ve also spent way too much time at my desk and my hip flexors have been bothering me, so I have been craving movement as well. Today I went for a 3 mile walk and my anxiety dropped significantly. It’s amazing how that happens. Sadly, I think I’m going to be feeling it tomorrow though! I can tell what little core strength I had is gone because I could feel muscles in my hips and core getting really tired on my walk today, which is just sad. I’m 36, not 80.

I’ve been fully vaccinated so I’m not as concerned about COVID anymore, but my mask really helps block the pollen and my lungs and asthma don’t get as cranky!

While walking, I started to think about some of my goals. I want to get back to running, but with my autoimmune issues, it can sometimes be a struggle. I feel like every time I’ve tried to restart running again, I move too fast for my body (even though I try to start slow) and I end up injured or exhausted. It’s hard to explain to someone without autoimmune or thyroid issues, but it’s like I have an exercise intolerance. It takes a long time to build up any sort of endurance, my body gets crazy sore whenever I try something new (even when I take it easy to start), and it takes me extra long to recover, which is frustratingly annoying. So I’m going back to basics. Before I ever started running, I went for walks on my dinner breaks at work. So for now, I want to slowly build my aerobic capacity and get back to a 3 mile walk feeling easy before I try running again. I also want to strength train to increase overall daily functionality but also to make running easier when I get back to it. I know it in my very core (pun intended?) that strength training will be the key to getting back to running consistently and to getting back to how I used to feel before my thyroid stuff got bad. But I really hate strength training. I can’t tell you what it is, but I get so sore when I strength train that I can’t workout again for a week, even when I cut reps down and don’t use weights. And it’s not just me being a wimp. The workout itself often doesn’t feel that hard, but I can barely move for days afterwards because the DOMS is so bad. It’s then really hard to build any sort of consistency when you can’t workout more than once per week. If anyone has any insight, feel free to drop me a comment because it’s really hindering me.

Then, once those goals have been met, I want to start running again. I want to be able to run (not run/walk) 5 miles as my long run consistently by the end of the year. Sounds totally reasonable but with the autoimmune stuff that’s not always the case, so we’ll see how that plays out. I want to start slowly and do it right this time, rather than always trying to push, because long term, I want to finally break 30 minutes in the 5k. I have been chasing that goal for so long, but haven’t been able to really commit to solid 5k training because too much speedwork (or mileage, or strength work) causes my thyroid issues to flare up and I become super fatigued and really cranky. It’s such a thin balance between recovering adequately and crashing and burning. So since races are still largely virtual, I have the time to take my time and build up slowly. Hopefully now that it’s out there I’ll be able to keep myself on track and it won’t be another 6 months before I post again.

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