Friday, June 8, 2007

Two-a-Day To-a-day

After several weeks’s worth of listless mornings in which I awoke at 6:30 a.m. but didn’t get my butt out of bed until 7 a.m., I got up when my eyes opened on Thursday morning and took to my latest thing: Namaste Yoga.

It was the “yoga for distance runners” program, and while it involved plenty of stretching and hammy work, I didn’t quite seeing the direct benefits to runners. And while it is a great yoga program, it’s a little too esoteric to explain why this particular episode is gear toward runners.

Nevertheless, it was a great way to kick off a morning. I must admit, however, that between my early-morning stiffness and extended absence from yoga, I have lost much of my flexibility. I’ll have to increase my stretching during the day and pre-yoga to see if I’ve just gone eternally stiff or if there is still hope for these achey bones.

Yet they weren’t too achey for an afternoon swim. I’ve been getting nervous these past several swims—because of the distance between each of my workouts—that I’ll suddenly forget how to swim or not be able to swim more than a lap at a time. But that’s the thing I’ve always like about swimming: I never seem to lose too much in the way of shape. Sure, my endurance wanes, but I never lose my technique or feel like a fish out of water… in the water.

And thus, on what I hope will be a longer stay in a swimming regiment, I swam an 1,800-yard ladder:
200 yards free
250 yards free
300 yards free
350 yards free
400 yards free
Warmdown: 200 yards s-l-o-w IM and 100 yards butterfly kick

During that first 200 yards, I actually thought my arms were going to detach themselves from my body in protest to what I was doing to them (it was less about the swimming pain threshold and more the more-intense weight training I did for two days before). But as pain thresholds have it, I loosened up about 150 yards into the second set and cruised for the rest of the way. Granted, I was a little more tired than I was swimming these distances a couple weeks ago, but I’ll be back to un-tired soon!

I was un-tired enough last night to take an evening run around 8:15 p.m.—it was meant to be my pre-Cavs-superstition run (they needed a warm-up game anyway!), but tip-off was at 9 p.m., and I didn’t want to run too late—for 3.54 miles, which puts me at 70 miles on my 100-miles goal with 11 days to go. I’m fairly confident that I can complete 30 miles in 11 days. I’ll just have my fingers crossed that neither my body, uneven sidewalks or inconsiderate vehicles stand in my way!

It was, thankfully, a wholly uneventful run—even with the late-evening mugginess and waning heat. And it’s uneventful hot-runs like this that make me wonder whether I’m breathing better when running because I a) am in better shape; b) have improved the way I breathe during exercise; or c) haven’t seen nothing yet! Then, of course, there is hidden option d that suggests my breathing wasn’t the problem, it was my brain. But I’m willing to argue it’s a little of each option. Although I hope the building summer won’t get so bad I regret ever thinking there was some semblance of improvement!

You know what’s not getting better? My stitch. Almost every time I have run over the past several weeks (except the track run a couple days ago) I have ended up with one of those irritating, run-stopping stitches that crops up out of nowhere and just won’t quit. I’ve tried to get rid of it every way I know (i.e., stretching my sides, deep inhaling and exhaling on my left-foot stride, hopping on one foot while sacrificing small animals), but even if it fades, it comes back with a vengeance. What’s up with that?

When I first started running, I had the most difficult time reaching my first mile because I would get crippling side-stitches that not only bad it impossible to run, but made me uber paranoid about the mysterious things. So, I looked it up.

Most resources say that stitches are: “caused by stretching the ligaments that extend from the diaphragm to the internal organs, particularly the liver. The jarring motion of running while breathing in and out stretches these ligaments. Runners tend to exhale every two or four steps. Most people exhale as the left foot hits the ground, but some people exhale when the right foot hits the ground. It is the later group who seem more prone to get side stitches.” And they suggest breathing deeply, stretching and exhaling when your left foot hits the ground.

Today I tried massaging the stitch as I ran (so, really, it was just me poking at it from stride to stride), and it went away! It was a great accomplishment until I felt a more painful cramp immediately below where the original stitch had been stabbing. Grrr.

I guarantee a Nobel Prize for anyone who can find a cure for stitches.

And, finally, the KNEE REPORT:

Both of my knees (knock on wood) are back in working order this week. I still have some external discomfort on my left knee, which is sporting some pretty youthful-looking scabs from last Saturday’s wipeout. I was really afraid that the fall would put me back a few weeks with my knee health, but I’m beginning to think that despite the initial soreness, that big bang might have just knocked something into place.

I am, however, having a difficult time trying to justify my nice trip to my shoulder, which is still dark with a bruise and some scrapes. Boy, do I feel like a clumsy-but-spunky-and-scraped kid again!


Jim said...

Go Cavs! (As opposed to, Go Calves, and Hammies, and Quads!) Your talk of swimmage has me realizig I have not been able to make it to the pool in a looooong time - more than a month. I need to work on that.

TRI Vortex said...

I hate that untired threshold, it's so onesided. You get all beat up to get passed it, but god forbid you don't workout for 3 days, then its back to the drawing board.

The Salty One said...

First--good luck improving your flexibility while being a runner. I spend an obscene amount of time stretching (an hour a day?) and I feel like it keeps me the same (which is definitely better than say, my hammy snapping in half!), but I never seem to be more flexible!

Second--dude. The stitches. UGH. I had one for almost my entire long run on Sunday. Sure, I drank myriad alcoholic drinks and stayed out dancing until 3AM in 3 inch heels, but still! It blew. Hey, maybe there's something to that liver theory?!

Hope those scrapes and bruises heal up soon (at least before Neil starts getting dirty looks--heh).