Physical Therapy: Week 2 and Half Marathon Recovery

#RunFTL shirt

One thing I forgot to touch on in either the weekly wrap or the race recap is how much I loved the A1A Half Marathon shirt. Last year’s was cute, but the cut was infuriating and I almost never wore it because I’m forever tugging at it. This year I switched it at the expo for a large (over sizing anxiety) and it fits perfectly. Memo to shirt makers: take note from the mermaid, women have boobs.

I runfess¬†I like to treat myself after achievements like a half marathon. Luckily through #GoTheDist I’ve learned to be more conscious of non food rewards. This week’s damage was two new skirtsport skirts. I’ve enjoyed them, but running in the Lotta Breeze for the Half was just perfection. The cut is cute but the pockets are a game changer. Also, I wore a pair of formerly leggings to PT Friday morning and time to purge what doesn’t look good on me.

Key learning in this week’s physical therapy sessions: ankle stability and balance go hand in hand. I know, DUH! But somehow this never clicked for me. My balance is generally poor – I was laughably bad when Wii Fit was a thing – but better on my left side, normally. Not so much with the whimpering Achilles, but I really love these stability/balance exercises. On the dip into heel raise from a step I really felt the calf shaking with fatigue on the third set.

Speaking of Wii Fit, I wish I still had the board for some of the heel dips and raises as standing on the stairs in my apartment building gets old.

NYRR upgrade

As I work in the cultural world I’m fairly familiar with the membership upgrade offers. Buy now, get x months free; upgrade and get Y benefit. I hadn’t really looked at the NYRR ones beyond basic member until I got an upgrade offer. The cost difference is about $60 and includes a free race registration (value ~$20), but I got to thinking of all that NYRR has given me: the free programming at the RunCenter, the wonderful people I’ve met, the growth of myself as a runner. Because I can afford it, it seems the right thing to do to give back more. Added benefit: it opened up a volunteer opportunity for the NYC Half Expo so I can unlock 9+1 in case I want to do the Marathon again in 2020.

Currently reading: Phil Hewitt’s Outrunning the Demons, barely in time for Runners’ Bookshelf’s February choice. I enjoyed Meb for Mortals and seem to be on a bit of a running kick. That’s helped by the fact that they were pretty much the only books I downloaded to my new Kindle last week.

Also this week: I posted my recap of the A1A Fort Lauderdale Half.

Weekly Wrap: with Wendy and Holly. That this is the last weekly wrap makes me sad. I’ve only done it less than a year. I met some of you who were Cherry Blossom 10M ambassadors when you found my recap, and after Wendy and I met in Runners’ Bookshelf she coaxed me into linking up since I posted my own wraps anyway. I finally joined, and I’m so glad I did. I’ll check out #RIOTS, the new linkup Wendy mentioned and will try to be better about posting in rather than just reading the weekday linkups.

  • Monday: I felt pretty good after the Half, thanks to the swim. Mom and I had some errands to do and I wanted to dip my toe in the ocean for it to be an official Florida visit so we walked to the beach. I felt it in my achilles on the bridge over the intracoastal and by the time we got back to the condo I felt I should ice it. One of the best goodies in the expo bag was a hot/ice pack from Cleveland Clinic. It’s perfect. Overall, felt good and didn’t stiffen too much on flight home.
  • Tuesday: I was off work and took advantage of that with a weekday outdoor run. Yay. The shakeout felt really good and I wasn’t sore at all. I could have gone longer but decided it wasn’t smart to push it if I really want to pull off two long runs ahead of the NYC Half. I decided a much needed mani/pedi was more interesting than steps and didn’t even get my step goal. Funny how much I’m commute dependent on that.
  • Wednesday: hi, winter. So glad I ran outside yesterday because it’s a slip and slide now. 5K row after work. PT in the morning and he was impressed at how my Achilles handled the half marathon but found some huge knots in my calf. I can understand why runners often have massages. Besides the existing, he added:
    • side steps on toes
    • Single leg RDLs
    • “sneaky” lunges on toes. This one was a challenge, I don’t have lunge flexibility
  • Thursday: return of the office run group which in my head just sounded like Eminem’s Slim Shady. Why I thought of that song, who knows?! Our usual lap in quite good time even accounting for a slower mile two on account of the reservoir transverse being a dark, muddy, potholed mess. My achilles felt good as was my breathing through this winter cold.
  • Friday: thrilled to wake up and do my morning commute with absolutely no pain from Thursday night’s run. First in a couple of months. I got a good number of steps in, but took a rest day from the gym because I’m fighting a cold and needed some down time. PT again in the morning. Mine had one of the assistants helping and the assistant asked if I ever did a “single leg RDL” I said I had no idea what that was, but to show me. I had the prior Wednesday, but I don’t quite speak PT acronyms. Those are fun, save for my lack of balance. Added today:
    • Side plank clamshells. Oh those are evil but I kind of loved it
    • Single leg heel drops on a leg press machine.
    • This really complicated one where I bent the plant knee, slid the other foot out to the side and then behind me in a kind of curtsy. It took me about two sets to figure this one out. I’m not sure which is worse, my coordination or my balance.
  • Saturday: complete rest day beyond PT exercises and errands, want to kick this cold to the curb. Could I have run or hit the gym? Absolutely, it’s not a bad cold. But don’t want it to linger. and yes, now do you have to let it linger is an earworm. And then I spotted this Sarah Marie shirt in an eblast. That might have to happen one day. Funny of the day: I was frantically trying to find a charger for my vacuum before my cleaning guy came. I told him there might be an issue. Not to worry, he was coming from another job where the client didn’t own a vacuum (how?!) and he had his on him.
  • PT with a view
kinda like I’m channeling Kim. Did someone say heel drops?
  • Sunday: I wanted to be outside. The weather was overcast but better than forecast. The vague plan was a long run, but I knew that wasn’t happening pretty quickly. I don’t like spitting. I don’t mind it at all when others do it courteously, but I hate the feeling in my throat. What’s one of the side effects of a cold? Crap in the back of your throat that you choke on and… you see where this is going. So I decided to go about a mile and then do my PT laps there. Stretches are fine in my apartment, lunges and side steps not so much. I then jogged back to the stairs for some scenic heel drops. Now time for some quality time with a book and a bath.

Plan for the week:

  • Monday: PT and cross train after work
  • Tuesday: run
  • Wednesday: last? PT or find out whether insurance approves more. Off, after work event
  • Thursday: office run group
  • Friday: crosstrain
  • Saturday/Sunday: long run depending on weather.

#MedalMonday, 2019 Publix A1A Half Marathon

Palm trees make for fun artsy medal shots

I finished. I could still walk after. Atlantic ocean makes for the best race scenery. I pushed on through heat & humidity. I’m a happy camper…errr, runner. But, rewinding.

Fun in the sun on the Fort Lauderdale waterfront #RunFTL Click To Tweet

Tuesday Topics: Linking up with Kim and Zenaida to talk an oceanfront half marathon while they’re posting about cold weather running essentials. Also posting Medal Monday on a Tuesday. LOL.

Friday:

The Expo was a lot of fun. It’s relatively small compared with the Cherry Blossom one and easy to manage. I lined up for the bib, shirt & goody bag (three separate, but only the bib was a line) while Mom & Bob went to get the parking pass. Pre-pay parking for your spectators is a time & sanity saver as the Bahia Mar is right across from the finish and finding parking on a beautiful weekend beach day/traffic on A1A with the race isn’t fun. We spot checked some of the meter apps and the pre-pay in the lot was only about $4 more.

After the essentials, we wandered the four aisles. I knew I had “forgotten” my chews aka couldn’t find them before packing last minute so they were what I needed to buy. I found them quickly, although not from the Running Wild booth. I wish I’d realized I forgot my backup shorts as I would have bought a pair there. As I mentioned in the Weekly Wrap, a four store tour of Delray was not productive in terms of finding shorts. Oh well.

Race Day ish:

avocado toast is the best (only?) pre-race dinner for me

Why do I consider pre-race dinner part of race day? When the race starts at 6am and it’s less than twelve hours before? That’s race day!

Luckily I was relatively tired from a 4a wakeup on Friday and was able to fall asleep by 10 or so. Alarm went off at 3:30 and first step was to check to see if I could get an Uber/Lyft to the start. I knew they served Delray, but wasn’t sure about available cars at that hour. I had a backup in Mom, but luckily it looked easy to get a car thanks to bar closing time/airport runs.

Somehow I didn’t end up with a Flat Cari photo. Oops. I opted for the Lotta Breeze capris despite the heat concerns, a bright yellow shirt from the Manhattan 7 Mile making it easy for mom & Bob to spot me coming and my Yankee hat that I wore for Lebow. Why that one? It’s a random game giveaway and wouldn’t have minded tossing it if it got too sweaty. Rather than the new shoes, went with the Vongo 2’s as I ran Lebow in them but hadn’t taken the new ones out for longer than 4.5 miles. I requested a Lyft at about 4:15 and was at the start by 4:50.

in control and ready to roll!

I wasn’t really sure about how to warm up for this, so I essentially didn’t. I did some of the PT exercises at my PT’s advice but otherwise people watched, joined and re-joined the potty lines and watched the clock crawl to 6. It was too long a wait, but with a 30m drive and I-95 a crap shoot, I wouldn’t risk it closer. If I do this again next year I’ll definitely stay in Lauderdale.

the city starts to wake as we cross the Intracoastal

Seeing and waves were more organized than last year, and I think we crossed the start about 6:10 or so. Why “or so” and no exact temperature and humidity? I decided from the beginning or really even from early last week to take it as a fun run. I had not run more than 10K since my last half and when I went into PT I made the decision to sacrifice the goals for all three spring Halfs in order to heal. This was the right decision.

Plus, it’s easy to treat this as a fun run. The course is (mostly) gorgeous, the spectators are fun and aside from the bridges on Las Olas, it’s a pancake. The latter is why I hope one day I’ll set a PR here.

My fueling strategy was a NutriGrain in the car on the way down, lots of water and chews when they felt necessary. The run strategy was to walk Las Olas Bridge, the water stations as needed, and then when my Achilles asked for it. Both of these worked as planned and were the right decision. I was pleasantly surprised that I kept within sight of the 2:30 pacer until Hugh Taylor Birch Park at mile 5ish. I started really strong, but wasn’t a case of going out too quickly.

we were all walking here

I was dreading the stretch from the Park exit to Oakland Park Blvd. as it always seems to go forever – usually because I’ve run out of water when doing it on my own and am inching to the Walgreens. Also, it goes away from the water for a bit because the oceanfront has some high rises–not scenic at all. It wasn’t as bad as I feared. Other than walking the Las Olas bridge and the water stations, I didn’t walk until after mile ten, which was much later than last year. This was where I found the beer station and happily took the water they also offered. Them, Front Runners really go to town with their water stations. Could also have hugged the table with the wet sponge, which felt magic when she wrung it over my head. As you can see, I was not alone in my decision to walk. It was just too warm here.

MarathonFoto hasn’t finished with the photos but I expect one exceptionally bad one as I didn’t even see him until the women next to me did a jump and I was trudging at that point. Although I’d been drinking enough, I was wilting.

would you like some ham with that cheese?

The thing that was different about this race than any other? Mom & Bob were at the finish and knew roughly when I was coming as I’d texted that I switched to walk/run around mile 11. When I saw them, I turned on the ham. This was right after the only part about this race I hate, the inflatable pseudo finish that isn’t. It’s an evil tease. And yes, Dirt in the skirt is the best movie line.

It was hot, I was tired, I finish smiling. Oh, and my official finish was 2:44:17.08. 2018? 2:50:08:71. Almost a six-minute course PR. WOW. I was shocked when I saw my watch because I was pretty sure I’d lost the 2:45 pace group.

I got my medal, did the obligatory finisher photo and made my way back to mom & Bob.

artsy momsy

Palm tree was my only request. Best post-race decision I made was to leave a bag in their car with a change of clothes, flip flops and my new massage stick. That (and the Dunkin run for iced coffee!) made for a much more comfortable ride back to Delray.

one honkin’ piece of French Toast

And then there was brunch. Original plan was conch fritters at Boston’s, but I wasn’t feeling heavy fried food so we went to Park Tavern. The plan was ahi tuna, but I was hungrier than a starter and it didn’t pair well with anything else, so this became the decision. Tracked and moved on, see also: DQ oreo mint blizzard for dinner. I’m not normally a post-race brunch person, but this was good!

resting my feets

As was this perfect way to rest my feet and then stretch

it’s not a legal trip to Florida unless toes go in the ocean.

and Monday’s walk to the beach to stretch and make it a legit visit.

A few things I’d change, but a really good race weekend overall. I’m in FLL way too often to consider this a race-cation.

On to the next.

What I loved:

  • The Skirt/capris were the perfect choice. Phone was accessible, leaving belt pocket free for sunscreen, extra NutriGrain bar. It was hot, but I think anything would have been hot, and this way I didn’t have to worry about chub rub.
  • I ran a solid 15K in the heat before we lost the shade and entered full sun. I think it was that rather than my recent lack of running that made for a challenging last 5K. Changing to a walk near the end was right, the choice was running or finishing.
  • My running and fueling strategy. Throwing out goals in favor of a race plan sometimes works.
  • At 13.12, this is the best I’ve run an actual course.
  • PT stretches paid off. Although the lack of hills is part of what made this recovery easier, I wasn’t too sore other than walking to the beach Monday. Intracoastal bridges are evil.
  • Reading Meb for Mortals. OK, this has nothing to do with the Half, but I started it on the plane home and loving it.

Things I’d change:

I’m actually not sure if I’m doing this next year, not because I don’t like the race but because it’s moving to January. While Florida > NYC running in January and I think it will be cooler, which solves my major issue with this race, I’m not sure I want to give up Lebow. So we’ll see. Luckily the early registration savings isn’t a decision maker. If I do, or if these help others, some things I’d change:

  • Stay in Lauderdale. a 30m ride to the start is one variable too many on race morning.
  • I’d fly in on Wednesday or Thursday to give myself more time to acclimate to Florida weather.¬† I did this last year, and it also meant I got a run in with the Funky Fun Run group
  • Be a little more detail oriented with the body glide. I missed two spots and oh do they hurt. On the plus side, I know what I’d have looked like if I hadn’t lubed.