Don’t Panic

Last Friday I met some friends at the local high school track in the wee hours of the morning for a speed workout. It was dark, 40ºF, and midway through it started to rain. The whole ordeal seemed very Oregonian. I haven’t actually looked back on my splits until now, so here’s how it went (you may recognize this as a modified version of the Michigan):

1600m @ 10K – 6:18 / lap rest

1 road mile steady – 6:54 / 100m rest

1200m @ 10K – 4:41 / lap rest

1 road mile steady – 6:42 / 100m rest

800m @ 10K – 3:06 / lap rest

1 road mile steady – 6:43 / 100m rest

400m @ FAO – 76 / DONE

It was a monster workout! There wasn’t pressure to hit a certain pace other than going by a 10K effort for the track portions and an even effort for the road miles. The constant switching gears from “steady” to “race pace” was what made it really tough. Toward the end I could feel my stomach starting to churn, something that often happens in a race situation, but hard to mimic otherwise. So, well done, coach!

Earlier in the week I had hoped to race the mile in a local all-comer’s indoor meet, but it got canceled due to ice and snow. I opted for a workout on the treadmill in its place, as Portland was basically a giant sheet of ice. 4 x 5 minutes @ 6:22/mile w/1 minute off. A few days before that, a 12 mile progression run also on the treadmill. I was feeling super self-congratulatory about making my runs and workouts happen despite the terrible weather. On top of that, I was feeling excited about getting fit so early in the year.

The day after the Michigan workout, last Saturday, I ran really easy on the trails for a recovery run. I felt great- not even sore! The day after that, Sunday, I set off for an easy long run. I remember thinking how nice it was that my only agenda was to log some easy miles. No progression run like the week before, no pace goal. Then around two miles into the run I noticed some tightness/discomfort in my hamstring. I thought maybe it was a weird twinge that would go away once I warmed up more, but it just became more and more pronounced until I started questioning whether I should even be running on it. Always better to be safe than sorry, I took the street car home (hurray for city living).

I got it checked out right away by Dr. Hohensee at Kinetic Integration at the recommendation of my coach. He spent a long time with me doing a thorough assessment of how I move and identifying my weaknesses and imbalances. I showed him the exercises that I’m already doing as part of my 2x per week strength program via PACE. They’re all very running-specific as they mimic running motions. He took it a step further by giving me more lateral, non-running specific movements to add to my routine. He said the good news was that I’m strong and have good body control. Yeah! He thinks what I have is a minor strain, that I should let pain be my guide, and that I may (may) be able to start running again by the end of the week.

The bad news is that I’m sidelined at the moment. And all that self-congratulatory stuff for getting my workouts in despite ill conditions, well, that’s all about to get a lot harder because if I want to keep my fitness up I’m going to have to cross train! Ugghhhh. So far I’ve made a pitiful attempt to cross train on a recumbent bike, the only available bike in my gym, which lasted all of twenty minutes. But then I got outside on my single speed bike the couple of days after that which went a lot better. It’s actually fun! Nothing can replace running, and I don’t have a fancy bike to train on, but I’ll certainly use the opportunity to log some miles and venture out farther than I’d be able to on foot. Training (safely) through an injury is certainly a true test of will… I hope it’s one that I can pass!

In other news I wanted to highlight some great gear in my life right now:

Why yes, I did match my headband to my sports bra.

HankOrange headbands, aka Hankbands! Created and designed by Amy Upshaw, the hankband is a nonslip headband. I use these on a daily basis whether I’m working out or running errands. They keep my hair out of my face while staying put (they really don’t slip) and looking fabulous. Amy makes them in all kinds of fun patterns but I find myself leaning toward the more simple, solid colors. She recently did a custom order for me with bands in burgundy (pictured), mauve, and dusty rose. You can purchase the same three-pack here.

Oiselle just dropped their spring line and I couldn’t help but purchase the Striped Tank (also pictured), Luxie Tank in plum, and New Jogging Tights in navy. I’m a sucker for simplicity as noted above. In fact, it was Oiselle’s simple and refined style that drew me to their apparel in the first place.

I’m psyched because I just received one of the very first Light Phones today! I helped fund them on kickstarter a few years ago and it’s so cool to finally own the final product. It’s a lightweight, credit card-sized phone with just one function and one function only- to be a phone! This is perfect for runners. You have the ability to “unplug” by getting away from the distraction of a smartphone while out on the run, but the option to make or receive a call is there if you need it. You don’t need a new phone plan to use it- it comes with a sim card (US only) and you can simply set up your regular phone to forward your calls. I tested it out and it works beautifully.

The Light Phone! The numbers were hard to get in focus on camera; they’re much sharper in person.

That’s all for now. Til next time!




3 responses to “Don’t Panic”

  1. ktanruns Avatar

    The light phone looks awesome, I really want one now. Also, I just made an appointment at Kinetic Integration yesterday, crazy!

    1. Liz Avatar

      I took it out on my ride today and had André call me just to test it out. It works great! Is that just a coincidence about Kinetic Integration? Did someone refer you or how did you find out about them?

  2. Ioana Avatar

    every of your rides seems unique and inspiring. thanks for posting. I’m training for half marathon with SportMe running app which calculates distance, pace, time and calories and adjusts running plans to my progress.


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Who is Mercury?

Liz Derstine, trail name “Mercury”, is a distance runner, endurance hiker, writer, and musician residing in Boston, MA. She holds fastest known times for women on the Appalachian Trail (supported, northbound), Long Trail (self-supported), and Pinhoti Trail (self-supported).

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