Category Archives: pain

Week in Review 7.6.15 to 7.12.15

It seems like I just wrote my Week in Review for last week, but apparently another week has passed! I lived through one week on Gyn Surgery and managed to get my runs in. They weren’t pretty, but they happened. Since not everyone goes to medical school, I thought for this week I would include the other bit of my schedule to give a more “full circle” view of my not-so-glamorous life.

Monday: Orientation from 7:30 til 3:30. 6.9 mile run afterward with Joey then studying/prepping for the rest of the evening.

Tuesday: Orientation from 7 til 2, break to run 9.7 miles in 70 degree dew point with 5 by 300 hard on the track. Incredibly miserable run. There was sweat pouring into my eyes and I wasn’t sure I could move. Then back to school from 6 to 8 for pelvic boot camp. It was what it sounded like…

Wednesday: Up at 4:30 am to prep for the day. 5 cases for the day, so I stood for 12.5 hours in the OR. Home at 6:30 and since my legs were throbbing, decided to take my scheduled rest day (prorated 7) for the week. Prepped until I couldn’t keep my eyes open.

Thursday: Up at 5 but only 3 cases today. 8.8 recovery miles afterward. SORE/ACHY.

Friday: Up early but no scheduled cases. Studied in the library with my legs up until we were released at 1. Napped, went to Burlington Beer Company with my best friend and her husband who were passing through then ran 8 miles home from there. Gotta do what you gotta do.

Saturday: 10 miles with 4 by 5 minutes at T pace (170 HR) on the Causeway and a lovely lake soak afterward. Legs at night.

See the trees on the horizon to the left? That's the incredible Causeway.

See the trees on the horizon to the left? That’s the incredible Causeway.

Sunday am: 15 mile with Annie absolutely dying in the heat, even at 8 am.

Sunday pm: 5 miles with the team. River soak planned!!

Total Miles: 70.4

This week was brutally painful on my legs. I wore compression socks and running shoes and tried to focus on good posture in the OR but am still in just an enormous amount of low grade pain from concrete floors. Just working on being kind to myself and going on effort with the reminder that in 5 weeks, I’m off to focus on training until Philly.

Leftover picture from last week on the Rail Trail. 16 miles of this!!

Leftover picture from last week on the Rail Trail. 16 mile trail, for 32 miles of amazing running if you need it.

Race Report: 10th Annual Montpelier Mile

Alternate Title: Years of marathon training do NOT prepare you for a road mile.

I made the last minute decision to run the Montpelier Mile instead of Clarence DeMar earlier in the week, in some part because I wanted a new experience and in some part because there was a lot of cash on the line. Regarding the latter, I should learn that if in any other year I would have won going away, assume that if I’m there, at least four other faster women will show up. Sarah Luck. Anyway, with a $15 entry fee and the opportunity to race through my hometown in front of tons of people, I signed up to donate my lungs to the streets of Montpelier.

Since I’ve never raced a road mile and my last 1500 meter run was literally in the 90s, Will and I hit the track on Wednesday to try to calibrate me for a 5:30 mile. My job was to run 3 200s in 41 seconds. I was not successful. The first was a 36, the second a 39 and the third a 38. Eff it, we’ll do it live.

I will admit to being incredibly nervous. I spent most of yesterday worrying about how to approach the race. I realize that the plan is to run as fast you can for a mile but I worried that I’d either go out too fast and suffer for 300 meters or go out too slow and run out of real estate. The course was set up well with two turns and a round-about. The best part, however, were the crowds. I’ve never run a race with so many people out to cheer us on! Brilliant to have the race just before the parade.

I didn’t wear a watch because the course wasn’t marked, so I have no idea what my splits were. There is a “Dash for Cash” built in for the first 400 so I just tried to stay clear of all the people sprinting for that line. The top 4 women (of which I was a part) were all within steps of each other at the 400 meter mark but a high school girl (she’ll come back into play later) got there first then as we rounded the turn, dropped back quickly. I had my eyes on Christina’s back (ok, her braid, it’s swingy and easy to watch) and the woman in 2nd but was just trying to stay calm. Just before the Roundabout and 800 meter mark, I heard my godparents cheering. As I moved around the Roundabout, people were dropping back quickly and I actually felt pretty good. Somewhere in here, however, Christina and 2nd Woman got away from me. I’m not sure if I was slowing down or they were speeding up but I lost contact big time.

My original plan was to round the last corner and kick for home, which seemed like a lovely plan when I was talking it out with Will. When it came time, however, I rounded the corner and wanted to die. The finish banner was SO SO SO FAR AWAY. And by so far away, I mean 400 meters. I just tried to keep it together but my legs were done with the idea of a mile. As we closed in on the finish, suddenly the high school girl from the start was back and before I could respond, we were over the line. 5:31 for her (and $125) and 5:32 and $0 for me.

To say I spent the first few minutes (like 30 minutes) seriously effing pissed is an understatement. I actually took my singlet off and threw it. Dramatic. I don’t know why I expected to have an amazing mile in the middle of a 70 mile training week, after years as a marathoner but somehow I did. I was more frustrated that instead of staying focused and kicking it in, I just let someone by me in the last 10 feet. Yes, the prize money would have been nice but I was (and am) more frustrated that I didn’t fight all the way to the line. Definitely a race lesson that I need to learn and improve upon…

All in all, it was a great experience to race a totally different distance and I’d actually like to continue to do more short races, both because it hurts in a completely different way (I mean seriously, what’s with the lung pain?) and because it forces me to be razor-focused from the start. I’m already looking forward to the next track meet to keep honing my speed skills!


There’s a quote that states that insanity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting a different result. A similar sentiment is captured by if you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten. I got to thinking about these two quotes when I was running around the track on Tuesday, dreading my next 200 meter repeat. I’ve been training for marathons so long that speed is almost theoretical at this point. I am still adjusting to running fast enough that I have to bend over at the finish to catch my breath.

This Spring has been/will be a marked deviation from my normal training. I’m happy with my progress in the marathon thus far, but also frustrated. I’m an endurance monster, I always have been. But it’s taken me 6 years to go from 3:17 to 2:54 and I recently had to admit that much of that is attributable to the fact that I haven’t developed my speed. With two surgeries and an almost annual marathon on the schedule, I’ve gotten really good at running moderately fast for long periods of time. The fact remains, however, that my 5K and 10K PR are way slower than my marathons would predict. It’s not I’m not capable of running fast; I can dummy Will in a 200. I just haven’t used those systems in a very long time.

In the past few weeks, my workouts have been a total deviation from normal. Instead of 2 hours at marathon pace or tempo miles, I’ve had workouts like 5 by 300 meters or 2 by 200, 200, 400. When I get my workout assignments, my reaction is almost always WHOA, that will be easy. Halfway through, however, my quads and lungs are burning and I temporarily miss tempo pace. All of my races for the first part of this season will be (relatively) short, with nothing over 15K on the schedule. The hope is that by working on my speed now, marathon pace will feel significantly easier (and get faster) come this fall.

In a couple of weeks, I’ll be racing a 4 miler. After that, it’s a collection of track and road 5Ks, a 10K and a 15K. And as much as these workouts hurt, I’m really enjoying the change of pace both literally and figuratively.

Have you done a training cycle that focuses on something completely different from your normal? What’s your reaction to short, fast stuff?

First Steps

I don’t have kids, so I have no idea what it’s like emotionally when your child walks for the first time. I do suspect, however, that my walking ability mimics that of a brand new walker. Nonetheless, here are some of my first crutch free, awkward steps. And yes, I’m wearing shorts. You just can’t see them because I forbade Will to capture my facial expression as I concentrated on walking.

Can’t even walk

Hi I’m Tim, I’m stepping in to blog for Sarah for a few months.  I met Sarah this year at a GMAA team race where I finished 3 seconds behind her (net time) at the New Bedford Half Marathon in March.  Going into the Vermont City Marathon we had a friendly match to see who’d beat who and Sarah won again, by 13 seconds.  And even at a fun 5K this summer at the Clarance DeMar, Sarah beat me again by 9 seconds.  So we kinda got a little rivalry going.  Sarah owned me in 2012 but I’m determined to beat her at least once in 2013.  So when I read that she was stepping away from her blog for a while I sent her an email asking if I could sub in with the hope that maybe I could steal some Mojo for 2013.  So here I am.

And this morning I couldn’t walk.  The past two weeks I’ve been teased with a mild pain in my Plantar on my right foot and this morning it was on fire.  It’s humbling to have to put all my effort not to fall over and create a racket as I limped around the house in the early morning, trying not to wake my wife and kids.  Even after the PF has warmed and stretched a bit I can’t walk without pain in every step, which is not good.

But as bummed as I am, given that I’m 9 weeks out from the Hartford marathon, I see these painful steps as my first steps in my new journey with running.  What will happen I can’t predict, but I plan on being optimistic, listening and finding expert help to get me through this and come out stronger.

Cherish your runs everyone, do you realize how lucky you are!!!

Sisterhood of the Traveling Running Shorts

There’s no doubt in my mind that I would not be successful at and love running like I do without the women I’ve trained with over the years. From my teammates in high school to my training partners now, I am surrounded and supported by amazing female runners who push me along.

Watching the Women’s marathon yesterday was a blast. The definition of “ain’t over Til it’s over,” the best women in the world came to play and put on a gutsy show on a rainy, technical course.

I had to laugh as Shalane and Kara finished, however, because it was reminiscent of Christine and I after VCM. Both in a bit of a fog, I crossed the line where Christine was waiting with an impatient official who wanted her to keep moving. Through my pain I heard her say, “no! I’m waiting for my friend.” Our hug was pitiful and hunched over, but the only reaction after countless training runs and a 26.2 mile test. When I saw Kara pick up Shalane today and wrap her arms around her, I knew just what they were feeling.

Shalane and Kara, we are all so proud.


Keeping the Wheels on the Bus

I’m thisclose to injury, which is excellent timing because I’m also thisclose to VCM. Last Thursday, I headed out for a run and found myself in excruciating pain in my left calf and foot that rivaled pre-surgery pain. I tried to run through the weekend, but found that things only got worse so I canceled my scheduled 20 and hoped for the best. On Monday, however, it was clear that I couldn’t run through whatever this is.

So now I’m in rescue mode. I took Tuesday and Wednesday off, I have a massage scheduled for today and I’m wearing compression socks around the clock. I’ll attempt a short run tonight to see how things feel (assuming I’m not bruised from my massage) and then try to get back on track for a decent weekend of running.

The only saving grace of this is that I’m surrounded by training partners who are smarter than me and excellent at tough love. They remind me almost hourly that I have to be healthy on the start line in a couple of weeks, not healthy this weekend. They remind me that this is the end of 24 weeks of training.

Here’s hoping my rescue plan works out…

The Week Ahead

Last week was one of the best weeks of training that I’ve strung together in a long time and I’m hoping to continue the trend.

The start of every training week is hard. You look ahead at your schedule and think “I’ll never get through this.” This is especially true for me at the onset of my quality workouts. On Friday, I had to run 8 to 10 90-second hill repeats. After the second, I wanted to stop and tried to convince my brain to let me do so. By the fifth, I felt better and the last few flew by with little struggle besides the return of my breakfast. Note to self, protein rich breakfast + hill repeats = disaster. Despite those painful repeats, it feels good to reflect on a great week and to ponder what it will mean for May.

This week is a 100% mileage week so I’m going to be tired. Thankfully, the intensity of the quality workouts is stepped down to accommodate higher volume. Here are my key workouts this week:

Q1: 5 by 4 minutes at 10K pace.

Q2: 30 minute tempo run.

Midweek Long: 12 over the last half of the VCM course

What does your week look like? How do you encourage yourself in the middle of tough runs?

For Claire and Neal

A couple of people who are just shortly post-op have reached out lately to ask about recovery. To be honest, I’ve blocked out most of the misery that went with post-op, so I had to go back to entries from that time and my running log. Here’s what my first two months of running post-surgery looked like:

Looks pathetic now, but I remember being so excited the first day I ran one consecutive mile. It really is all about perspective.

Rollercoaster Run

The rollercoaster run that departs from my childhood home is deceptively difficult, but a great exercise in learning to run hills when tired. Given the level of exhaustion STILL in my quads almost three days later, I think this run did its job in terms of building strength. Here’s the elevation chart:

What’s your go-to run to test and improve your strength?