Athlete Journal: Julie Warren, Entry 6 – A Week of Highs and Lows

I got great times on my 5K and hill run this week. Unfortunately I also experienced some of worst lower back pain in my life. Forecast for the coming week: lots of heat, ice, stretching and yoga!

EDITOR’S NOTE: Along with Andrew Read and Narisa Wild, Julie Warren will be sharing her training experiences for upcoming endurance challenges. Follow Julie as she prepares for her next adventure – the Great Wall of China Marathon! Julie’s journals will be posted on Saturdays.

Athlete Journal: Julie Warren, Entry 6 – A Week of Highs and Lows

I went out of town this past weekend to visit a friend in Minneapolis, which could have spelled disaster for my weekend training plans. Fortunately, my friend is also an athlete and therefore understood completely when I told her first thing Saturday morning I would need to get in my 5K time trial as per my CrossFit Endurance training schedule. (It’s good to have friends that understand and enable your crazy addictions.) Even though it was cold, it was a beautiful run along the Mississippi, and I knocked out my 5K in 22:07. I was hoping to keep it at 7:30min/mi or faster pace, and that worked out to a 7:27min/mi pace, so it was right on the money. I’m getting faster, and I’m running less. Just as I was hoping!

I mentioned last week in my discussion of nutrition that I am a little more relaxed on the weekends. This weekend was no exception! I wasn’t particularly well behaved on the nutrition front, but I make no apologies for the burgers, bacon donut balls, or cheese bites that were consumed. Not exactly paleo, but hey, you only live once, right? I told myself I would just deal with the consequences, as there were sure to be consequences.

Once I returned back to Colorado Springs on Monday, I almost immediately headed to the Incline. I needed to get the weekly hill workout accomplished, plus it was 55 degrees versus the -31 degree windchill temps I’d left behind in Minnesota, so it felt nearly tropical in comparison. I reluctantly started my stopwatch at the bottom of the climb, and just told myself I wouldn’t look at it until I reached the summit. This would certainly not be a PR day, not after the amount of ridiculously delicious food I’d consumed over the previous two days. Turns out, I was wrong. I didn’t just PR the Incline, I PR’d it by two minutes (35:32)! I could not have been more thrilled with how my weekend workouts transpired. This was really a test of how maintainable and flexible this training plan is for me long term. I think this helped solidify in my mind it’s working very well.

Unfortunately this week wasn’t entirely a success. I failed to get in any yoga sessions. I was then promptly bitten by karma on Wednesday morning, when I started suffering from the worst lower back pain I have ever had in my life. I am not someone who typically has back pain, so to have it come on so suddenly and viciously was just totally unexpected. I ended up leaving work a little early (because I was walking around like a geriatric) and headed to my massage therapist.

After 90 minutes of the least enjoyable massage ever, he told me I was experiencing back spasms and that it’s all directly related to my posterior chain tightness. Basically he told me I should be stretching every day, doing yoga as much as possible, and then doing more stretching. Great, mandatory yoga, I can’t tell you how much this excites me (yes, massive sarcasm here). Fortunately I was able to walk upright leaving the massage appointment, but twenty minutes later the spasms came roaring back. I’ve spent the last 24 hours basically not moving except to change out heating pads, ice packs, and do my prescribed stretches. All this because I have consistently failed to take the time to really stretch. Lesson learned. Don’t make this mistake. Not worth it friends.

So because of this new small setback in my week of training, I’m not sure how the coming week’s training will look. I’m scheduled to participate in an 8-mile race this weekend. I don’t want to push myself to the point of a serious back injury, so I will have to re-evaluate how I’m feeling on race morning. I do know there is a healthy amount of stretching, yoga, and heat/ice packs in my immediate future. I intend to report back to you next week with a healthy back and a new appreciation for stretching. Turns out, I’m truly not getting any younger!

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