So, I hope you survived without Will Run For Wednesdays this week, and that, for those of you who aren’t preparing for a race, you got out there just for the fun of it. After Saturday’s 10 miler and Sunday’s 10k, that’s how I’ve been playing it, and it’s been exactly what I needed. Sometimes, you just have to look back on your accomplishments and tell yourself that you deserve to scale back on the intensity of your workouts. The world will not end. In fact, it might even make you stronger.
(This did not exist last year.)
Monday: Strength Train, Stretch and Wallow
On any other post-race and post-long distance morning, I’d have planned to squeeze at least a short 2 to 3 mile shake-out run into the day. Thunderstorms and lightening forced my workout indoors though, and so I decided to dedicate Monday to strength training and stretching. And wallowing in the fact that I couldn’t go outside. (Severe fear of thunder, naturally, because I am an adult.)
Being safely indoors, breaking a sweat via yoga mat in front of The Today Show, turned out to actually be quite satisfying. I did many of the videos mentioned in my Living Room Workout , crunching and exhaling for all of about 50 minutes. Maybe a little less when you count those moments I got distracted by the story of that poor bus monitor being bullied. (Though if I could get nearly a million dollars instantly for being called horrible names and pinched, I’m gonna go out on a limb and say I’d take the bait. Isn’t that just amazing? Faith in humanity = restored.)
I was hoping to at least jog home on Monday after work, even if it was just a mile, in order to at least say I made an attempt to loosen my muscles after the race. But I didn’t. Like I always say, there’s a reason why I get my workouts out of the way first thing in the morning; I am simply not a night owl.
Tuesday: Home Sweet Home in More Ways Than One
On Tuesday, I was compelled to visit my old stomping grounds in Central Park from the moment I woke up. It’s on those kind of mornings that I really wish I could capture temperature on camera, because I don’t think anyone who was out there could argue that it was any less than perfect.
The air was cool and crisp, almost like those last days of summer as you transition into fall, and I was in a completely euphoric state as I made my way around the lower loop of Central Park, covering all of 5 miles from my apartment to midtown and back home. It was a beautiful morning, a decent (good pace but achy muscles) run, and an undoubtedly ideal way to start the day. Plus, I got to check out this weird airplane exhibit at the bottom of the park that’s replaced the equally weird stack of suspended tires.
On Tuesday afternoon, I went back to Long Island for a doctors appointment. As a friend said to me, “You know they have doctors in Manhattan, right?” But do they have the same doctors that delivered JLo’s babies? Yea, I thought not. I’ll keep my celebrity MD. (The real reason is that I just like this doctor, but I’m a creature of habit and this logic sounds way more glamorous, don’t you think?)
Wednesday: Return of the Pesky Piriformis Pain
Like Slim Shady, my piriformis pain reared (get it? get it?) it’s ugly head on Tuesday night, and man did it hurt. I tried everything, from making Noah massage the area (jam his elbow into the trigger point) to sitting on my own fists. I stretched, I figure 4-ed, I complained like a 2 year old.
When I woke up on Wednesday morning, the pain was still there, and while the weather really was way too nice to pass up, I had to concede. Rather than my usual 5 miles around Central Park’s lower loop, I got up, did some work, got dressed, went to work sans exercise (what?) and went to lunchtime Jivamukti yoga, where I managed my muscles with a little spiritual warrior bliss.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; I love this little class, even if it’s not really a vigorous workout. The atmosphere is just so unpretentious, and no one is there to lose massive amounts of weight (and yet everyone seems to be thin and fit, so maybe they’re on to something).
I loved the instructor during Wednesday’s 1:10 class. She was informative and instructional, yet not demanding or annoying. She twisted me further when I could be twisted further, but let my body be when I seemed in pain (which, at times, I was) or like I wasn’t really into it.
A good example of what I mean: Jivamukti’s Spiritual Warrior flow has 3 wheel poses that follow a 5-second bridge. Usually, I do my best to attempt to hoist my body into wheel 3 times. On Wednesday, with my lower back pain, I knew that was a bad idea, and so I stuck a block under my back and decided to hang out there while the rest of the class heave-ho’d. Rather than encouraging me to attempt 1, 2 or all 3 wheels, the pretty instructor simply adjusted the block, placed my feet closer together and suggested that I squeeze another block between my feet to keep my body aligned. Easy enough. I obliged, and was grateful for the gesture.
While annoying, I feel fortunate to be experiencing this discomfort while I’m not technically training for anything. If there were a “convenient” time for inconvenience, I think this would be it, and so I plan on taking this opportunity to really listen to my body. I’ll more than likely not run on Thursday, and I’m considering taking a several-day-long hiatus, but I’ll cross that bridge when I get there. Piriformis syndrome once took me out for a full month; I don’t plan on allowing it to do that to me again.
Next Tuesday, I leave for San Francisco and Sonoma, where I plan to do a little running (I cannot wait to see this city on foot!), some good biking (across the Golden Gate? Yes, please!), and some heavy wine drinking. It’ll be a great week to rest both by body and, more importantly, my mind. To be honest, I’m not sure which one is more in need of a breather.
Something good I did for myself this week? (Besides, you know, running and working and resting and seeing my doctor.) I finally lived out my dream of being one of those people who cooks up a large batch of [insert healthy salad-like meal here], leaves it in Tupperware, and eats small unnecessarily large portions of it throughout the week for lunch and dinner.
Sunday evening, Noah and I left the apartment after my epic post-race nap and picked up some fresh goods from the Grand Central Market: mainly produce and lentils for me, and meatballs for him. We’re a very balanced couple.
I’ll leave you today with the recipe for a delicious summer-ready, runner-friendly, vegetarian dish I put together: Balsamic Lentil and Veggie Salad.
As a non-vegetarian who doesn’t really eat meat and is constantly looking for other sources of protein to stay full and strong (that’s a category now), lentils are one of my go-to ingredients. They’re low in fat, full of protein, and really delicious whether you’re a meat eater or not. Enjoy, and here’s hoping that your giant Tupperware-full of legumes lasts far longer than mine did. Portion control is not one of my strengths.
What you need:
1 Package of lentils (these can be pre-cooked to save time, though feel free to turn on the stove and stew them yourself); 1 avocado, 2 cucumbers (I prefer kirby’s), 1/2 a red onion, 1 medium sized tomato, 1 medium sized apricot, 1 yellow pepper, extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar (I like Raos, even though a bottle costs about a pay check), salt and pepper.
What to do:
1. Chop up veggies and your apricot nice and small.
2. Drain lentils.
3. Mix veggies and lentils in a bowl.
4. Add salt, pepper, olive oil and balsamic vinegar to taste.
5. Serve with crackers, on endive leaves, or alone.
That’s it! Don’t you love recipes that require little more than a wooden spoon and the motivation to actually get off the couch for all of 20 minutes? With the package of pre-cooked lentils, I had 2 dinners and 2 lunches (plus a few bites for Noah) and a whole lotta running fuel prepared in under an hour and for less than $13. Now, if only I could eliminate my piriformis pain so I could put that fuel to use.
Have you ever dealt with a recurring running or exercise injury?
What’s your favorite make-it-now, eat-it-for-the-rest-of-the-week meal? (A quart of ice cream does not count.)