Archive for Flying Pig

Running: Pigs Fly and states #15 & #16 are checked off

A few weeks ago, Team Flail flew to Cincinnati to take on the Flying Pig marathon (Andrew) and half marathon (Adam & me). I’ve applied the same speed in getting to this recap that I did in the HM, which is to say I was slow in both!

Thanks to some cranky joints, Adam & I both went for the 13.1 instead of the planned 26.2 But while Adam said he felt over-trained for the HM, I got about 4 miles in and knew I was waaaaay on the other end of that spectrum. Two+ months of being unable to run, except occasionally on the AlterG treadmill, left me walking up hills and finishing in over 2 hours (2:05).

Flying Pig HM Kat Adam


BUT, I was frankly happy just to be able to finish, given all the work I’d done rehabbing my SI joint. And the HM course still allowed me a two-fer in my Race in 50 States quest, because we started in Ohio, crossed the river to Kentucky, then came back to finish in Ohio again. So that means states #15 and #16 are crossed off the list – BOOM.

Race in 50 States map


And that’s all well & good, but I still think Drew’s feat at the Pig was far more impressive – for the second time in a row, he shaved several minutes off his marathon PR. This despite his feet going into revolt before he even hit the 20-mile mark, and having to walk several times. He’s fast, and annoying 😉

Bru in the last 0.2

Bru (white shirt) in the last 0.2

Having covered GA, AZ, NV, OH and KY this year, I’m already at the annual average number of races I figured I need to do by 2025 (my goal deadline to run races in all 50 states). So next up for me, running-wise, is to take on a couple PRs closer to home. I’m running the Level Renner 10K in August to see what I can do at that distance without an injured back, and will likely run the BAA HM in October to chase down the PR I set nearly 3 years ago.

Running: Or, how to be a runner without running

So, a funny thing happened on the way to the Flying Pig marathon. And by funny, I mean painful.

By Mikael Häggström via wikipedia, and used under Creative Commons license

I had just wrapped up the 5th week of training with a pretty good 12-miler, and was feeling good about nipping some nascent foot pain in the bud. But on my recovery run the following day, my back and upper pelvis on the left side started screaming at me. Long boring I-went-to-physical-therapy story short, my sacroiliac (SI) joint – where the spine meets the pelvis on either side – was inflamed and HAVING NONE OF IT WITH THIS RUNNING, thank you. The prescription was to stop running & start a boatload of core strength work, to let the inflammation cool and built some support for the cranky joint.

So how does a runner run to get ready for running, when she can’t run?

Run even though the PT told me not to.

In general, I’m a compliant patient. But we’d already booked a trip where I was planning to run the Race for Preservation 10k in Savannah, soooooo… I didn’t completely comply with my PT’s no-running orders.

I was hobbling in pain for two days afterward, but it was worth it – I set a 4-minute 10k PR in that race and ticked off another state from my Race in 50 States list!

Ok, seriously, don’t run.

After Savannah, the look on my PT’s face when she asked, “So, what other races do you think you’re going to run?” meant, “Don’t even think about running other races near-term.” So I quickly went from mid-30s-mile weeks to 0-mile weeks, and awaited a full mental breakdown to ensue. But thankfully, two new tools have kept me sane, moving, and much less homicidal than expected.

Defy gravity.

I’ve very lucky (and a few bucks poorer) because my PT’s office has an AlterG, the anti-gravity treadmill that uses a big inflatable bubble to counteract your bodyweight and reduce stress on joints.

I’ve been doing 2 workouts per week—my LR plus whatever else fits the schedule—in the AlterG and it’s been fantastic. I started out needing assistance equivalent to half my bodyweight, but now I can handle it with only 15% of my bodyweight cancelled out.

Something clever here about elliptical training.

Yeah, there’s nothing really interesting about using an elliptical, but they do provide a cardio workout that is comparable to running, minus all the joint-jarring and fresh air. So I’m logging a lot of miles on those suckers (blue on the graph below) at the gym I recently joined.


Go from no running to a little less running than planned.

My PT gave me the ok to try some road running in very short increments, with the caveat that I AM NOT ALLOWED to do any more than I can do without noise from my back. And she also cleared me to run races, but only “if they’re really important” and with the understanding that I’m likely going to flare up with some pain afterward.

So, there’s no way I can be ready for the Flying Pig marathon in early May, or the Mustang 50th HM in Vegas in a few weeks. But I feel good about running the Mustang 50th 5k, and the half at Flying Pig. I’m now in week 5 of a (rehab-modified) training plan for the FP HM, and doing ALL THE CORE WORKS from PT along with it.

And hopefully by late spring or early summer, I can get back to being a runner who runs.

Running: Flying Pig training weeks 1 & 2

Even before I ran my first marathon, I was planning for that to be my only one. “Just want to see if I can do it once; I don’t need to prove anything after that.”

That lasted all of ~6 months, at which point I lost my mind and decided to run a second. “No, really, THIS time I’m done with them.”

Welp, here I am with weeks 1 & 2 of training for Flying Pig marathon (Cincinnati, May 4) in the bag, making a strong case that I cannot be trusted to stay away from the 26.2.

ETW FP wk1&2

Those two weeks were fairly unremarkable – I ran up & down some hills, sped through some intervals, did a couple 10-mile LRs. I’m using a 16-week training plan from Run Your BQ that is very similar to the one Jason Fitzgerald wrote me for ATX 2013, only I’m going slightly higher mileage this time (peaking just over 50 miles/week, where last time peaked in the mid-40s).

Possibly worth a remark was the weather, which has been doing its level best to turn everyone into meat popsicles.

Greg Laden/ECMWF

I’m already d.o.n.e. with staring at the temperature waiting for it to hit at least 10F (my go/no-go line for running outside), slipping my way through poorly-cleared sidewalks and roads, and battling with my stupid frozen water bottle during frigid LRs. The fact that my Team Flail-mates, Adam & Andrew, are facing the same makes it a little better, I guess.

Adam twitter

On the bright side, I’ll have a couple warmer-weather breaks to help keep me sane, when I cross a few more states of my Race in 50 States list. In training week 6, I’ll run the Race for Preservation 10k in Savannah; and in training week 14 (the last before the taper), I’m planning to run the Mustang 50th HM in Vegas.

Until then, though, my trusty winter running gear will be in heavy rotation.