Thursday, March 24, 2011

Three Things

Bad things happen in threes. Like my three stress fractures. To combat this, I have decided to make good things happen in threes too. In fact, here are three sets of three:

1. Three Types of Cross Training
My cross training has consisted of using the elliptical, pool running and swimming.

I typically use the elliptical twice a week, with one of these times being at tempo effort. I monitor my heart rate closely and usually I am at the top of my tempo zone, if not above it (the gym is really hot, so I think that account for an elevated HR). During easy elliptical workouts, I amuse myself by listening to podcasts from How Stuff Works. I've chosen a variety of topics including the the origin of Christmas, the economic bailout, FDA regulation of supplements, contagious laughter, blood pressure, the sun, memory, population studies, the lottery and many others. I am interested in a lot of different things! During tempo workouts, I have to listen to very pumped up music to keep me going.

I'm also a huge fan of pool running, and I have mentioned this in the past. I usually do pool running 3 times a week, with one of those days being a "long run" of at least two hours and another day being an interval day. The third day is easy pool running combined with swimming. For those of you who don't know much about deep water running, here is a video of me:

The third type of cross training is swimming-- always freestyle. I don't do any other stroke or any type of drill. I just swim back and forth freestyle because it's what I'm comfortable with and I think it provides a challenging workout. I typically swim about 2-3 times a week. I almost always accompany my long run with a swim so that I am in the pool for well over two hours. On my easy pool running days, I am also sure to swim so that I can get my heart rate up. 

Swimming is tough for me during the first 5-10 laps but gets remarkably easier as the workout goes on. I think it's because I find that "sweet spot" of speed and form that works for me. My longest swim with this injury has been 1500 yards (30 laps). Usually I do around 20-25. Swimming comes naturally because I grew up as a dancer, so the bilateral breathing thing that a lot of people struggle with is just like a dance movement to me. I was never on a swim team, but I was a lifeguard and taught swimming to small children. The only thing I dislike about swimming is that sharing a lane is tough for me. I have to watch out for that other person so I can't focus on my form, my breathing, or remembering what lap I'm on. I would hate to be taking a gasp of air right at the moment when that person is splashing and swallow a huge mouthful of water. 

2. Three Fun Challenges/Distractions
I'm a very goal-oriented person, and since I don't have my weekly mileage goals to fulfill that need, I have other hobbies and associated goals. Playing chess, singing Glee Karoake, and tiling the kitchen floor. 

Kitchen Tile
Tiling the kitchen floor isn't something that I am going to do myself, but picking out the tile, finding a good contractor and deciding on a pattern is quite a task. We are also re-doing our powder room which involves picking out a new toilet, sink, and lighting fixture. Shopping for a toilet with my new husband isn't the most romantic thing we have done together, but it's been fun. We finally made all of our decisions, now we just have to purchase the materials and wait for the work to start in early April. We ended up going with large 19" by 19" tiles in a slate color. Like a blackish grey, and with a lot of texture. We have light cabinets and light hardwoods in the neighboring rooms, so we though the black would be a good contrast.

The next challenge/hobby is Glee Karaoke for the iPad. This app is extremely addictive and can be very good or bad for the ego. I've downloaded about 10 songs that I can sing and be rated on. My two best songs are "No Air" originally by Jordan Sparks and "Hello" originally by Lionel Ritchie. My main goal was to be ranked in the top 100 of all time for No Air, out of over thousands of performances. I started out in the 900's and now I have worked my way up to 116. That top 100 is so close. There are also daily rankings, and my performance of No Air was ranked #1 for the day at the time I sang it. There had only been 81 other recordings at that point, but I think 1 out of 81 is pretty good! My "Hello" ranking once reached #4 for the day out of hundreds and I would like to see that one do as well as No Air.  Songs I suck at are "Take A Bow" and "Total Eclipse of the Heart". But they're still fun to sing.

Perhaps the biggest focus for me has been playing chess. Greg got me a really nice set for Christmas, like I have always wanted, and we have been playing all the time. On the weekends it's not uncommon for us to play 5-6 games. Sometimes more. I've also joined some tournaments on and playing people from all over the world. Another major opponent is Greg's dad, who we both play online at

Chess is another hobby that involves rankings (I am so competitive) and my ranking is slightly above average.  I've been playing since I was six years old but I've never really studied it, and there have been long periods (years) when I have gone without playing it.  Usually because I lacked an opponent. But now I am discovering new ways of thinking about the game and I'm a much stronger player than I was before this recent obsession.

3. Three Consolation Gifts
I'm very upset about this injury ruining my spring racing season, so I bought myself a few presents-- jewelry, clothing and a car stereo w/iPod.

New Earrings
I went to a jewelry party a few weeks ago where they have jewelry on display and in a catalog and you buy stuff. Like the tupperware parties, but with jewelry. I splurged and bought myself two new necklaces and two pairs of earrings. And then a few days later, I went to White House Black Market and bought myself three more necklaces and another pair of earrings. I usually wear the same three necklaces that I've had for about 10 years, so it was time for a change.

During my White House Black Market trip, I also bought myself two new outfits. New, stylish clothing always makes me feel so refreshed and puts me in a good mood. I wore one of my outfits this week and it just felt fun.

The major gift to myself was the new car stereo and a Nano to go with it. I've always wanted the ability to listen to my iPod from my car, so I bought a stereo that has both an auxiliary input and a USB input. Since my iPod Nano "lives" in its waterproof casing and isn't synced with my iTunes library because of a computer virus that wiped out a lot of the songs that are now exclusively on the Nano, I treated myself to the new Nano. The new Nano has a touch screen and can clip on to your clothing. Of course, none of these features matter when controlling it through the car stereo, but they are cool anyway. Considering I have three shuffles, an iPad and an older Nano, this purchase was a bit irrational, but I wanted it as a consolation gift.

So those are my coping strategies and they've worked decently well. I'm now to the point where I am running every other day, about four miles at a time. Not enough to keep my fitness where I want to be, so I am still cross training almost as much as when I couldn't run at all. 


  1. Hehe...cute there in the pool! Reminds me of Deena Kastor pool running in Spirit of the Marathon when she was injured. She came back from that to finally win her first major marathon. :)

  2. Ooooh I need to try that podcast. and wow on being able to tempo on the elliptical --I've never been able to.

  3. Thanks for the podcast tip! I love listening to podcasts when I'm running. You should have been able to use your Nano as a flash drive and transfer the songs back to your computer. Did the "geniuses" tell you it couldn't be done?

    Thank you for sharing your injury recovery plan! I need to get myself back to the gym. I'm going to the orthopedist on Tuesday, but need to keep my legs moving in the meantime. I'm just too lazy.

  4. I like the "stuff you missed in history class" from how stuff works as well.

  5. I would venture to say almost everyone but Bonnie Tyler herself, would suck at Total Eclipse of the Heart! Go get that 100, that is so cool! My dad was a huge chess player when we were kids, so we would go with him every week to his chess team matches, and we would have to play against these brilliant people. I tried to get Hub to play with me for awhile, but it's been years since I've played. Very cool hobby!

  6. Cris & George - it's but you can get it in the iTunes store.

    Geroge- I haven't asked the geniuses yet, but I researched it online and my only option seems to be to pay for software, which I wouldn't mind if I knew it would actually work.

    William- I saw that on there as an option. I feel like I get a lot of history in the podcasts I choose, especially that one on Fascism.

    Dash- so neat about the chess! We'll have to play sometime.

  7. Great post! I love chess and may or may not have been on the chess team, though not with Dash's dad. I miss playing!

  8. what a fun post! and tempo on the elliptical, that's awesome!

  9. When I see "shopping for toilets" I thnk of the scene in Old School where vince vaughn is shopping. Good times :)

  10. Have fun w/ your kitchen tile. We're going to redo our bathroom soon, so I'll be picking out tile too. I'm jealous you've got an iPad, mine doesn't ship until 4/1. :P

  11. Dori- I will be jealous of you when you get your 2nd gen iPad. I want one so badly!

    Amy- cool about the chess! It doesn't surprise me that runners are into it because it's all about strategy and competing!

  12. Elizabeth! Love your video! How did you do that?! And the WHBM earrings!!!! I used to work there/spent all the money I made there! Have a great weekend!

  13. I am sure that in no time you will be out there running again.

    Love the earrings you posted. They're beautiful!