>Slippery slopes and all that…


Yup – I was nearly there again…  The slippery slope of being so busy I didn’t blog.  But no – I caught myself before I rolled all the way down that hill again.  I’m trying to learn that even though I can’t achieve all I set out to do, I could maybe achieve some of it.  So this week I set aside doing, folding and putting away laundry (something that takes up so much of my time that I never want to find out what it adds up to over my lifetime) to e-mail a friend.  And tonight I’m delaying packing for yet another trip to quickly post to my blog and comment on some of your blogs.  Bits and pieces guys – that’s how my Rome is going to be built. 
So first – running.  Well – up and down.  After last week I’ve had a fairly good week.  I ran odds and ends last week (4 here, 3 there) and then 8 on Sunday with Sally.  All fine.  Then went to see osteo who was happy and gave me some exercises and told me to come back in 2 weeks.  Went out for a blissful 5 on Tuesday morning at 5:30 am – birds tweeting, sun shining, knees not-paining – life was good.  Then went out for 3 on Wednesday and ah.  Could feel those darned things.  Took yesterday off and ran a cautious 2M today which went fine.  For some reason some runs just seem to set something off and then it takes me days for the pain to fade.  But fortune hasn’t completely deserted me – before you wonder – because coming out of my office for lunch with a friend I ran into another friend who is a physio.  She knows about my knees but I’ve never gone to her because I felt kind of funny about asking a friend – I thought it would be awkward if it didn’t help.  But she was so open and thoughtful and then said – as an aside – that she had been practising acupuncture for 10 years and found it very useful for knee pain when other treatments weren’t completely succesful.  I was amazed!  I had found the first practitioner who didn’t just practise one thing!  I always think of physio as being quite related to standard medicine, whereas acupuncture – which I’ve never tried before – seems to belong to such a different tradition.  Needless to say, dear readers, I’ve booked an appointment in 2 weeks.  In the meantime, I’m carrying on seeing my osteopath – the weird things he does to my legs really help, they just don’t seem to be able to prevent things from happening again.  
As far as Chicago is concerned, I am still not sure yet.  My osteopath seems confident – I’m going to wait until I see my other friend now and talk to her.  If she too feels that, with a bit of treatment along the way, I can get into marathon-shape, I will go ahead and book a ticket.  
So this, potentially, brings up the matter of training.  Now I’ve been searching for a program that would suit someone in my particular situation.  I’m (hopefully) in recovery from injury, I’m more focused on running the race than on winning it (ha! fooled ya!  I mean running a PR) and I would just like to make it to the start and finish line in one piece.  Enjoy the run!  So..  In one of of the most recent Phedips Steve read out some race reports (I feel honoured to have heard Jen’s directly from her, on a run) but he also mentioned another runner who said he had used a Furman’s schedule as he was fighting injury.  As soon as I got back from my run I googled this and after a few misspellings (don’t you love it when Google knows what you mean before you do?) I found the website for the Furman FIRST program.  The program is based around the idea that with 3 really targeted (and precisely and ambitiously paced) runs per week (speed, pace and long) and 2 cross training sessions you can run a good marathon.  Their website and book is filled with stories of people who have done extremely well on the program.  Now – as I’ve said I don’t think it’s realistic to treat whatever training program I’m aiming for as one to get a PR.  But the 3 days of running a week does appeal to me – my knees just seem particularly prone to trouble when I run back to back days.  I’ve been enjoying my cross training – particularly the swimming – and in the summer we even have a pool at home that I could use.  I think that, possibly, this kind of program might enable me to get stronger and fitter without risking overdoing the mileage and getting injured again.  So once again my friends, this is where you come in.  What do you think?  what would you do? 
And once you’ve given that some thought, help me out further – if I do it should I do their beginner’s program, their advanced program (which looks like some pretty scary mileage for a low-mileage program) or the runner’s world in the middle program?  For all you triathletes out there – do you find your running prowess decreases when you run less and do other sports?  
So there you have it my friends – knees (still) and training programs. A degree of deja-vu, I appreciate that.  I am about to head to Holland for a week (where my parents live and where I used to live) which has always been great running time for me – my parents live in the woods and it is just gorgeous out there.  So here’s hoping the good karma of the beautiful nature helps my running.  
And finally – on a sadder note.  I have just been to vist a friend of mine in hospital.  She is very ill indeed – a woman my age, with 3 young children.  She is on a very slow and fragile mend – I will probably be looking after her children for some time in the next few months.  If ever I needed a reminder that my particular problems were of limited significance, this visit did it for me.  I would love to be able to run Chicago, I am determined to go at this with whatever I have, but I will, ultimately, surrender to the universe on this one.  We’ll see what happens.  If I can’t make this race, there will be others.. 
Love to you all, and good health.  

15 thoughts on “>Slippery slopes and all that…

  1. >Not only is that cute picture of you, it looks like a damn nice trail!As for your training programs, what have you done in the past and what is your goal for Chicago. That will tell you the basis of your training. Your injury level, or let’s call it your RECOVERY level will tell you the intensity of your training program. Most training programs are about the same: Easy, Speed, Tempo, Long components… it’s really a matter of what your goals and schedule will allow. I’ve always modified my schedule from something else (Higdon, Runners World, etc),so maybe that’s what you should consider.**********acupuncture sounds cool!!!**********As for running and other sports… running does not decrease. Other sports condition the body (cardio) without the pounding on the body. If you went to specific sport, say cycling, you might find some decrease, but if running is your core sport, it won’t decrease much

  2. >Glad your friend is on the (slow) mend apparently. Someone like me who doesn’t get injured often thanks to the grace of God, always does well to consider the tribulations of those less fortunte with their knee problems, stress fractures and worse, whenever I bemoan the after-effects of a wrenched ankle or minor muscle strains. Sounds like you’re back to running, that’s great. Maybe a three day routine each week for awhile is what you need to build up your base before you bump it up. You still have time before Chicago (bring water). That’s a lovely looking country lane you’re on in the pix.

  3. >Hi Petra,I’ve looked at the Furman schedules and if doing the runs at the specified paces do not bother your knees, it sounds like a good program for you. If it does, however, then it’s no good. Another option to consider if run-walking does not bother you is Jeff Galloway’s marathon training programs. It’s also very popular with those who are coming back from injuries or are prone to injuries. Hope you have a great visit with your folks. Look forward to hearing how the acupuncture goes!

  4. >Glad to see you making time to blog with us!I can’t really add to any of the training advice since you have some much more experienced folks weighing in. Sounds like your approach will be to find something that works with your schedule.You are such a good friend to come to your friends aid and pitch in with the kids!I see an acupuncturist right now – for digestive and energy issues. I have noticed results fairly quickly. And the time I spend lying quietly while being treated is a time to relax and meditate.Looking forward to hearing how your visit goes!

  5. >I vote Furman! I was going to follow that prior to being sidelined. I was going to follow it for all of the same reasons you are. Accupuncture — that sounds like a really good idea. Go Petra! 🙂

  6. >Petra, FIRST is what I follow. My marathon training was perfect, and my marathon results more than that… And I didn’t even cross-trained. As it was the first marathon I needed to get the endurance part, so the intervals and tempo were more in the easy pace. I will keep doing FIRST unless I find something better than that… Now I am doing the intervals as it says, but still cannot achieve the tempo pace. With our busy life, being committed to run only 3-days a week is GOOD!

  7. >Petra,Glad you are slowly getting back into running. Keep listening to your body.I have the Furman book and have also considered their program. A guy I work with has used it twice and swears by it. I think I agree with Shirley, as long as you can handle the speed workouts, you should be ok. You could always switch to a Galloway type approach if you feel/see signs of problems.Your friend is lucky to have you.

  8. >I so want to see you in Chicago, but of course if you’re not there, there will be other races… I’m glad overall you’re feeling okay. You are braver than I am. Not so sure I could do acupuncture, although I think you’re at the point you’re willing to try most anything.Take care of yourself, and we’ll see you in Chicago 😉

  9. >Hi Petra.. Thanks for stopping by my blog and for your comment! We sure do have a lot of blogmates in common. Is it ok if I add you to my roll too?I think Shirely’s quite right about the pace issue with the Furman plans. I used it to train for the ING Ga and ended up with a knee injury also. I’m almost back to a 100% now, but thats mostly through a significant drop in mileage that gave me the downtime I needed. Thats one of the reasons I did not register for Chicago yet, though I am considering it.I am going to catch up on your blog to see how you’ve been dealing with your injury. The accupuncture does sound like a good idea! Let us know how it goes.

  10. >I certainly can’t help you much. I am just a humble neophyte runner. I just don’t have the experience or knowledge that can help. AND… I don’t want to hurt.However, I will look at what you are contemplating! I fear that I am a runner, though, and prefer doing just that. I will cross train, but once a week.Accupuncture? It is not for me. I must be really old school. I do hope that will work for you!Good luck and I hope to meet you and watch as you run leaving me behind during the Chicago marathon.After all, what are friends for?

  11. >I’m so sorry your friend is sick, I know what you mean about these things giving us perspective on our little problems. You’re a good friend for supporting her. :)I have tried the FIRST program and I loved it. In fact, the cross training called for in that program is what lead me to triathlon! I modified it a little this year training for Boston (added one day a week for a total of 4) and had a great race. I sort of think I could have ran faster with more run training, but the fact is I felt fantastic throughout the training and never had injuries or burnout. If that is your #1 priority, then less is certainly more. I don’t know if triathlon training is making me a slower or faster runner.. I will find out in July when I run a 5k and a Half Marathon. I’m interested to see how they go. Really though, this Half Ironman in August is my “A” goal race so I’m not too concerned with my stand-alone run pace. Good luck with your continued recovery- you sound like you are making progress! Hang in there. 🙂 Have a great visit in Holland!

  12. >Never tried acupuncture, but I’ve always been open to the idea – I say give it a try!I hope you can find a program that works for you and your knees! I have little experience with marathon programs to weigh in. And finally, you’re an angel to help a friend in need, and she seems like she’s very much in need. I hope your friend will be ok in time!

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