Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘cross training’

Issues of the core


I once thought of 2012 as “year of the distance.” I did two marathons in 2012. I ran even more half marathons. I trained hard. I worked harder. I pushed and pushed. And I ended up in a place physically and mentally I didn’t want to be in.

All of that action in 2012 meant that my body was overtaxed come Jan. 1 when a gallbladder attack landed me in the hospital begging for pain medication. The doctor that day didn’t know what to do. This episode was my third time in three years in the emergency room for this pain. I felt like my abdomen was exploding. I was projectile vomiting. My husband felt my head on the less-than-a-mile drive to the hospital. I was burning up.

Four hours later I was dosed up on Dilaudid, because Morphine makes me feel like I’m on fire, and sent home. After months off of work in late 2012, I made the dumb decision to go to work and tough it out.

I spent the entire week in pain. The sharp side soreness stayed with me for the entire week. I was throwing up my breakfast every morning. I was trying to get an appointment with my then general practitioner. But with New Year’s and everything else, the pain just got worse. Seven days later, I woke up in the middle of the night and tried everything I could to make the pain go away. At 3 a.m. I collapsed on the stairs.

By 9 a.m. I was being wheeled into an unexpected surgery to remove my gallbladder.

I spent all of January and much of February recovering. In the process, I noticed something right off: My core was not bouncing back as quickly as I would have liked. I just kept feeling, more and more, like I got kicked in the stomach.

Then in March, right when I was starting to do some core work and build my midsection strength back up, I fell and broke my arm.

Needless to say, any exercise that involved my arms was out.

I kept feeling “pressure pain” when I applied any sort of force to my left arm. I’d catch myself pulling back if I tried to lift something too quickly. All  this time, my core was losing every bit of strength I had built up in three years of running.

Since June, I’ve noticed a significant impact on my running ability due to my core issue. I also realized that I had let the problem go for so long that I was lacking motivation to actually do something about it. That’s when I started asking my friends if they had suggestions.

One gave me pretty clear guidance: Yoga.

It’s good for the body, mind and soul, she told me. That’s kind of a win-win, because I’m in need of healing, even after all this time, from the damage I did to myself in 2012. So I made the first step to regaining my core official when I purchased a Groupon deal for a 20 drop-in sessions at a yoga studio in my city, right on the edge of town.


This is the view from the parking lot. It kind of invokes the calmness I was going for.

I stepped into a yoga studio for the first time in more than six years last week. I was pleasantly surprised with my performance. I’m not nearly as agile as many of the other students, but I held my own.

I’ll admit that it hurt. I was afraid my muscles were going to lock up  and then cramp up at a couple points during the hour-long class. I slipped a little on my yoga mat, which I’ve actually owned since 2006 when I did an internship in Colorado and took a couple yoga classes there (because I got to do yoga at a place called Garden of the Gods and you can’t go wrong with those views either).

I’m not calling this move a success just yet, but I did feel better about my core after the first time. I was able to balance myself well. I didn’t fall flat on my face. I struggled, but for a beginner I felt like I gave it my best. And, according to my yoga instructor, that’s what it is about.

A view from the water

Ever since we were married in May 2008, my husband has talked about buying a kayak. But it was never really a reality because even if we purchased a kayak, we’d have no way to transport it. Or, prior to moving into our current house in 2010, had nowhere to put it. The biggest part of it, though, was transportation.

Then we bought our Jeep last year.

And the “talk” turned into plans. My husband has spent the past eight months, since we bought the car, doing research and comparing prices. On Friday, he asked to take the Jeep to work.

Only later in the day, when he told me he’d be home a little later than usual, did he spill the beans about finding a good quality used one in the Bay Area. So he came home with a 17-foot, two-person kayak. He also had two paddles and two life jackets.

And he had me help him take it off the racks of the Jeep, which we purchased with part of our tax return. It was heavy. Since my January surgery, I haven’t done as much to strengthen my core as I could be. I’m going to need to work on that if he’s going to have me lifting the kayak in the future, which it sounds like is in the plans.

This morning we ventured to Del Valle Regional Park in Livermore. It’s one of the closet bodies of water to us, plus it’s a beautiful place to run.

So today we went out in the water. We kayaked three miles into Badger Cove, the place the Brazen Racing race is named after.

Today’s two-hour voyage left me a little dehydrated and my hands sunburned. My stomach was actually on the fritz all this week. I’m not sure why, but it’s becoming bothersome. Things that were making me queasy a couple months ago have been for the past month. I was told I’d have to “rediscover my normal” after having my gallbladder removed, but this late? I think the heat, or the back and forth of heat lately, has something to do with it. It hasn’t really impacted my running that much. More annoying than anything.

But my husband offered to make this a regular thing. He’ll go kayaking for a couple hours. I can go run the trails at Del Valle Regional Park. Or I can join him. He said it’s up to me.

Sounds like a plan, either way.

Meet me Monday: Fitness plans

I’m training for a marathon.

That’s my biggest priority right now. I’m upping my mileage. I’m adding in resistance training. I’m pushing to make sure I have rest days.

I’m trying to be aggressive in my training for this 26.2 and hoping I can make it the whole way.

Part of that is my new foray into swimming, which began this week.

Part of it it also the purchase of some new wheels, and not the car kind.

On Saturday, I ventured to Performance Bike in Dublin (about 25 minutes from my home in Tracy), just to “take a look.” The problem with me is that once I see something I like, I tend to buy. This is especially true since I took my part-time teaching job. I paid off my car last year, put more money in our savings account and, every now and then, have some extra money to spend.

Two months ago I bought an iPad. I use it for all my long treadmill runs, like my 15-miler on Sunday.

I bought my bicycle, a rather hefty expense, this weekend. Outside of the fact that I literally haven’t rode a bike in 10-plus years, it seems to be a good fit for me. I have to say, I’m a little scared of it, though. It’s a nice bike. Nice as in there’s no kick stand.

Maybe too nice for me. I couldn’t remember how to shift. I still need to buy some shoes for it. It will be a learning process, definitely.

But I have a goal in mind here. My running buddy Sam ran her first half marathon last weekend. Now she is eager to tackle a triathlon.

I’m apparently doing it with her. (That’s fine, I think she partially volunteered me and I partially volunteered myself.)

We’re aiming for one in Napa at some point in April. So my goal after the marathon is to train for this triathlon. I only have the Oakland Running Festival booked for March so far, though I may look into some Rock ‘n’ Roll running events as well (again, prompted by Sam). But after the marathon, I’m going to take on triathlon training aggressively.

I picked the bike based on it’s fit for me, which is good. I also picked it because it’s lightweight. It’s very agile. And it’s a road bike, which is what everyone suggested I get. It’s a far cry from the Magna bicycle I had throughout high school (the last time I road was sometime when we were vacationing at the beach in 2002, my husband confirms that he road it at some point and it was uncomfortable). And it’s beautifully light.

I can pick it up, as proved by this photo my husband took after we got home and he took it for it’s maiden voyage. He has a tendency to want to test all my new fancy toys. I remember him taking the keys to my then brand new 2002 Camaro so many years ago to “break it in.” He didn’t realize I’d already done that.

So my fitness plans for the coming seasons are just that: run the marathon and then do a sprint triathlon.

I have the running down for the triathlon (it’s only three miles). I doing the swimming lessons. Now I have the bike.

Let’s go.

Swimmer, kind of

I started swim lessons today. Not the kind where you learn to swim. I did that a long time ago.

I remember learning more by osmosis than actual lesson. I grew up in Stockton, Calif., which is where I commute to everyday for both my jobs. I lived in a neighborhood with a not-so-great park (serious, a teenage boy was shot and killed there only a couple years ago). My parents would always opt to send us down the other way on our street to a park that was further away, but in a safer neighborhood.

Victory Park in Stockton is home to the Haggin Museum, one of the greatest establishments in the city, and Victory Pool. It was also right down the street from my elementary school.

I learned to swim at Victory Pool. I didn’t want to hang out with the “babies” in the shallow end anymore. To get to the 4-6 foot end, we had to swim across the pool back and forth to prove to the lifeguard that we could do it. My sister took swimming lessons at the local YMCA. I never did. I think my mom picked up that I was slightly afraid of water (I still am, actually).

So I learned good enough to swim across the pool back and forth and make it to the other side. And then I picked up more, because my sister and I would spend the summer down at the pool with nothing else to do. It only cost $1 to get in at the time. My mom would drop us off and come back four to five hours later. That was the time when you could do that sort of thing.

I haven’t swimmed much since. My friend Sam apparently decided after me torturing her with long runs she would return the favor.

We’re now doing swim lessons twice a week, Tuesdays and Thursdays in Tracy.

So I packed up and headed about five-minutes from my house with a new swimsuit and goggles stuffed into a Nike running bag.

I grabbed a towel and my Amphipod running water bottle. The lesson was 30-minutes.

We did “bubbles” and glided across the pool. No kicking. We’re not supposed to kick. I have a feeling we’ll be getting yelled at a lot. And I ended up having to use a little blowfish toy to keep my chin down. My chin was supposed to be touching my chest. I wasn’t do it right. The instructor was patient with the both of us. The lesson went by quick.

I walked away realizing how much work we have to do for the triathlon it now looks like we are doing in April. We have another lesson on Thursday. I’ll be coming back from a run in Sausalito with my Nike Women’s Half Marathon team at 3:30 p.m. I’ll be blogging about the run after my lesson hopefully. About a month ago I won a spot on Team Somersaults to run the Nike half. Words can’t express how excited I am to run with the group of women I’ve been reading about.

So I’m stoked for my Thursday afternoon run (I took a day off work to be involved in it) but a little worried about getting back by 7:30 p.m. for swimming lessons. I’m crossing my fingers.

Gearing up

I’m in the midst of total marathon training, slowly ramping up my mileage over the next few weeks. I’m averaging about 30 miles of running a week right now. That’s great for a half marathon training schedule, not so much for a marathon.

So as I’m working on that, and running three half marathons this month, I’m also supposed to be starting swimming with Sam at her daughter’s swim school in Tracy on Tuesday. Why? She wants to do a triathlon.

Also why? I need to cross train.

I’ll admit that I haven’t done any cross training during my half marathon training. I’ve only recently actually started taking days off as “rest days.” That’s made a huge difference in my runs. The quality has increased. I’m running long. I’m hurting less. I was tempted to come home and run tonight, which is an off night, and I resisted. I’ll do a five-mile recovery run tomorrow before work instead (which will bring me to 103 miles for the month of September).

In any case, I’m starting swimming. I’m nervous/excited at the same time.

But unlike my high school self, I didn’t have the necessary equipment to get going. I turned to and two-day shipping to order a pair of Speedo goggles (pictured above) and a TYR bathing suit (recommended by instructor).

In total I spent about $60 on supplies so far. The lessons will cost $100 a month. I’m not learning how to swim, I’m learning how to swim better. That’s a big difference.

So we’ll see how it goes. I’m not sure when or if this triathlon will happen. But I think it will add strength to my upper body and maybe work out some muscles I’ve been neglecting by just doing long distance running.