Aha! I found it: A week without excuses! After guests, rhinoviruses, and some IT band hypochondria the past few weeks, things clicked into place this week. So now it’s Sunday (when I started writing this, although NOW-now, it’s Wednesday, oops?), and my legs are tired. [Funny how a “good week” is synonymous with tingly-tired legs, isn’t it? Athletes are a strange breed, indeed…]
Here’s what went down:
My IT-band is my Achilles heel (ha, ha), so when it tightened up on me during last weekend’s long run, I crossed my fingers that it merely needed a bit of TLC, not a three month running break (See? Over-reaction.). So I spent some quality time with my torture devices on Monday.
Let me stop for a second here and be very, very, crystal clear: I am hyper sensitive to how my IT bands feel. Last weekend, it was a bit tight. It didn’t hurt. It hardly even “twinged”. My hips were tight, my IT band was tight, and I could feel that in my leg and knee. So I stretched a lot, and cut my run a bit short when I didn’t like the way it was feeling, and dedicated myself to more resting/running this past week. But if your IT band is actually hurting (like, OUCH hurting) and you run through that pain, I can pretty much guarantee that you cruisin’ for a bruisin’, and a long running break while it heals. So watch yourselves. I do not advocate running through injury pain. Please. Don’t do it.
I’ve been on a hunt for a dash of aerobic cross-training that makes my legs move outside the sagittal (front-to-back) plane of motion. I love running and spinning, but also recognize the importance of giving the under-used muscles on the sides of my legs some love, too. I thought BodyAttack would be something like the Tae-Bo I loved many moons ago (ask my college roommate). While there wasn’t much punching or kicking, we did do plenty of hopping, jumping, and grape-vining from side-to-side. The class didn’t push the limits of my aerobic capacity, but it did provide plenty of lateral movement – and even some arm work! My brain also got a workout, trying to learn and execute some new (to me) choreography. The hour flew by, and although this may never be a workout staple, I’ll be back when I want to mix things up a bit and exercise my peroneus muscles (the muscles on the outside of your lower leg).
Wednesday: AM Run, PM Spin
I do most of my running solo these days, so having GCA for company on this run kept my pace easy and the miles flew by (or maybe that’s because she was measuring in kilometers, which always pass faster…). Best of all, the IT band didn’t give me any trouble.
Thursday: BodyPump, Yoga, & Run
I arrived home after yoga around 8:30 PM. There was a light drizzle, and the air was really humid. I was hungry. I really, really wanted to eat my dinner and relax. But I convinced myself that a dark, rainy run would be fun (?) and headed out. But the joke was on me because…I was actually right! The rain got harder as I ran, and while the weather wasn’t exactly cool, the moisture was refreshing. Of course, I wasn’t sorry I went.
I remained diligent with my dedication to rolling and stretching. I know that these are the “dues” I must pay to do the sports I love. So, the foam roller and I spent 20
painful glorious minutes together. In fact, I spent a total of 75 minutes on the roller this week, plus a few yoga classes, plus some extra stretching. I was GOOD to my hips. And, as you’ll see, they were good to me! Reciprocity rocks.
Saturday: Hike & Swim
On Saturday, I joined a group of local runners for a trail clean-up on some of my most frequently-frequented trails, McRitchie Reservoir. I’ll write more about this in a separate post, but we ended up walking/hiking for about 5 miles (plus I did a 1 mile run to where the group was meeting). And, since Jeano has requested photos of Singapore, and I do like to brag about this swatch of green in the midst of a city of >5 million people, here’s a photo looking out over McRitchie (admittedly, from a different day):
Sunday: Long Run
Despite a late night on Saturday, I was strangely excited about the next day’s long run – I had 16 miles planned. This would be my longest run since moving to Singapore. I was so excited that I stayed up even later to set out my nutrition, hydration and apparel on Saturday night. In the morning, I grabbed some cereal and pulled on Clothing Set #1. I debated on wearing a cap, but decided that it was early, and the trails are shaded, so I’d be OK until I circled back to the house about 2/3 of the way through the run. This would have been fine – except, about 3 miles into my run, the brightening sky suddenly started turning dark, as a storm rolled in.
It is possible (possible) that I rocked out one unplanned tempo mile, while trying to get through the most exposed section of the trail and back under tree-cover. I made it, just before the rain started in earnest. But Singapore rain doesn’t mess around, and there was no way that some trees were going to keep me dry! As the rain grew heavier, I ran for the Ranger Station, where I knew there was cover (and water fountains!). I made it, and spent about 5 minutes running small loops near the station, in case the storm got bad enough that I really needed the safety of the shelter. But that got boring quickly, and I was starting to get some odd looks, so I popped under the awning, had some nutrition, and dripped all over the place.
At that point, I was 5 miles into my run, and had 11 miles ahead of me. I didn’t have time (or the desire) to hang around until the sun came out. I knew that the next shelter was just over one mile ahead, so off I went. The half mile that followed was the most fun I’ve had running in Singapore thus far. It was on a low-lying section of trail, so in the middle of a heavy rainstorm, the entire trail was covered with water. I splashed through puddles that came up over my ankle. I sloshed, hopped, splashed, and basically had a grand old time. The trail is mostly covered in gravel, so although it was extremely wet, the conditions weren’t that muddy (dang!). Just wet. And so fun.
The rain continued, and as my eyebrows were unable to stop the flood of water into my eyes, I was definitely regretting my decision to leave my cap at home. But that was the ONLY thing I regretted. The thunder and lightening moved further away, so I stopped worrying about how close the nearest shelter was. The next 4-5 miles flew by. I love running in summer rain, and this was glorious! The rain helped keep me cool, and with so much rain, I hardly noticed my sweat. Plus, this kind of storm prompts a bit of camaraderie on the trail – all of us who’d ventured out were united by a love for adventure and a dash of crazy. We waved, laughed, and kept on moving as we passed each other. [There was one group of folks with umbrellas, which….really? This was the kind of storm where an umbrella might – might – have kept the top of your head dry, but that’s about it.]
Before long, I’d finished my trail loop and arrived back at home (11 miles down, 5 miles to go). The rain tapered off to a light drizzle. I had some Nuun, changed into Clothing Set #2, and plugged in my headset. I was going to use an audiobook to help me through the last 5 miles on the road. And off I went! My legs were starting to feel tired, but the change to the road guaranteed easy footing and pancake flatness. I listened to my book (The Brothers K, by David James Duncan), bribed myself with sips of water every half mile, and let my legs do what they do best!
I finished up with 16 miles on the dot, and felt awesome about life. But I didn’t have much time to revel – it turns out that, on Sundays, my workout doesn’t end when my long run ends. First there’s stretching and hydration, preparing some refueling food, grabbing a shower, and zooming out to catch the bus for church. It’s like a sprint after a long run. Extra training?
Trust me, I put on actual sandals when I leave the house. That makes things better, right? Right? Whatever. I actually don’t care. I’m a runner. I’m not ashamed. I will proudly parade around Singapore’s Little India, a white girl in compression sleeves, without worrying what people say. Life is too short for that! I don’t know whether it was the calf sleeves, a solid refueling plan (that continued with masala dosai in Little India), or the fact that my training is actually working – gasp!, but I felt remarkably good for the rest of the day. My legs were a bit stiff, but there was little soreness, and I felt fine going about my daily activities. Also, the cooling rain, plus 2 salt tabs, plus 2 Nuuns, plus 1 package Honey Stingers, did the trick on the electrolyte front, so I remained headache free for the rest of the day. Excellent.
So, 1,700 words later, that brings my total workout time last week to 11 hrs, 44 minutes + Hike (~2 hrs, 30 min).
Not too bad. I’m aiming to keep up the stretching and rolling this week, and will be trying to sneak in at least two swims, as well.
‘fess up: Do you ever choose a workout outfit because you find it confidence-inspiring?
Do you try to hide your calf sleeves/compression socks in daily life, or do you wear them loud and proud?
If we were to go out for Indian food (North OR South Indian), what dish(es) would you choose?