Treading Lightly
Treading Lightly

Training update 3/1-3/22

It turns out when my PTT flairs up, I give up on writing these updates. Which is sad because my life doesn’t stop, I don’t stop training, it just looks a little different.

So here it is, in all of its injury-interrupted glory:


I started March feeling pretty good. I had a solid plan for how I was going to slowly ramp up my mileage in time for the 10k I’m “racing” in April. I wasn’t worried about only having a month to go, and my body was handling the slow increase in mileage well.

Until it wasn’t.

Between a lot of balance work at CrossFit and the “extra” distance I was running, my feet fought back. I had started the week of 3/2 feeling strong with an accidental 3.5 mile run (I was shooting for 2.5-3). I followed that up with a CrossFit workout that had a lot of overhead work, and I never really bounced back. My short run on Thursday went alright, but after doing the 15.2 CrossFit Open workout that Friday, my feet were toast on Saturday for my “long” run. I had 4 miles on the schedule, but within a few steps my feet were killing me. I hobbled home after less than a mile and proceeded to feel sorry for myself for the rest of the day.


I accepted (mostly) the sate of my feet and took the week off from running. I did my best to reduce the strain I put on my feet at CrossFit by cutting out jumping and going a bit lighter on weights so I didn’t have to drive as much through my calves or struggle to stay balanced.

I also spent the time I would have been running working on my olympic lifts and strengthening my feet and hips to help stabilize everything when I run. Glute bridges, side steps with a band, ankle exercises with a band, and calf raises are all the rage these days.

I miss my morning run, but I can’t complain about starting the day with a nice quiet lift. #LikeAGirl #crossfitgirls #oly

A photo posted by Mandy Ferreira (@treading_lightly) on


I started hesitantly running again. I’m still playing around with pacing, distance, and even taping my ankle/arch to figure out the best way to move forward. I did another whopping 7.8 miles for the week, but I didn’t get pain while I was running, which seems like a win if you ask me. I made it through my “long” run of 3 miles without incident and even woke up feeling alright the next morning. I’m calling it progress.

The real bummer of the week was the discovery that yoga is definitely contributing to my PTT symptoms. All of the balance on bare feet kills me. My arch can’t support itself well enough, and all of that tugging on my tendons gives me pain that starts in my feet and keeps going up my ankles. I have been taping my ankle and arches when I go to class, but it’s still not enough. I’m going to take a few weeks off to let my body calm down before I try it again (modifying poses of course to reduce the tugging on my inflamed tendons). Fingers crossed it works and I can run all three days this week.

SeaWheeze Sunset Festival

One of the reasons I wanted to run SeaWheeze was because the night of the half there is a huge sunset festival in Stanley Park with yoga and music. After seeing all of last year’s pictures I knew it was too good to pass up.


After finally recovering from the run (see my race update here), I stumbled down to the Vancouver Convention Center to take a complimentary shuttle to Stanley Park for the festival. I have never been so happy to sit on a school bus before in my life.


The first thing I saw when I entered was a huge trapeze. It looked so cool! I heavily considered trying it, but after finally overcoming my injury and being able to complete the half, I really didn’t want to blow the Nike Women’s Half in October with a broken ankle. Instead I spent a great amount of my time watching everyone else swing and flip (and listening to all of the yells of sheer joy/terror). While we waited they had a running slideshow of photos from the morning’s race which was really fun (and thankfully didn’t include me).




The festival kicked off with yoga and it was so fun. The instructor, Eoin Finn, clearly hadn’t ever run a half before (really Utkatasana? Dude, no.), but his jokes and general relaxed demeanor made it part entertainment, part relaxing yoga, and part get to know your neighbor (really well if you took his advice to slap your neighbor’s ass as a congrats for running).

SeaWheeze-sunset-festival-2014 BwSeaWheeze-sunset-festival-2014-the-clourist After yoga The Colourist took the stage and played a fun set. I liked their music, but it wasn’t until they played their last song that I realized I had heard them many times before on a Songza playlist I listen to at work. (Since then I have been obsessed with this song.)

Capital Cities played next, but I was so beat that I only stayed for a few songs. When I was getting ready to leave I decided I didn’t feel like waiting in line for a shuttle. I convinced myself it would be faster to just walk back (HUGE MISTAKE). I hobbled the few MILES back to the hotel, kicking myself the entire time for not taking the shuttle. Every time a school bus would drive by me (which was frequently since I walked back along the shuttle route) I wanted to beg them to let me on. But if I had done that, I wouldn’t have seen how beautiful Vancouver was at night. Stunning.


What I did this month

Being injured is not my jam. There are days where I’m completely calm and rational about it and others where I feel like I am seriously loosing my mind and would do anything to get back to my regular training. For the days when I’m going crazy, I remind myself that every day I’m careful, every time I rest, the closer I am to being able to run again.

swimming speedo women's vanquisher racing goggles treading lightly

The stats:

Ran: 21.4 miles (most of them I probably shouldn’t have run… denial is a strong force)
Swam: 6-7 miles
CrossFit: 12 classes
Yoga: 4 fantastic power classes
+ an hour or more weekly of rehab exercises, foam rolling, and targeted stretching

What you can’t see:

Switching from running to swimming at the end of the month brought me back to my competitive swimming days, and it’s given me inspiration to consider doing a triathlon next year. It has also reminded me that there have been a lot of times in my life where an injury of some sort sets me back for a time, but I always come back and I always learn something while I’m away. So maybe I can’t run right now, but I can pay attention to my body and make it stronger and more prepared for when I do get to run again.

Off Balance

It’s not very often that I feel like my training is in complete opposition to each other, but lately I feel like running and CrossFit are clashing horribly. I’ve been going to CrossFit three days a week and running three days a week for more than a year, but as one activity builds in intensity it throws off the other. With the CrossFit Open coming up fast, workouts have been brutal to prepare everyone who is planning to compete. And although I won’t sign up for the open, I plan to do all of the workouts, so I’m trying to hang in there with the increased weights, increased repetitions, etc., but I’m finding myself increasingly exhausted and unable to keep my schedule up.

linda mar beach pacifica sunset

I had the same problem when I was training for my last half marathon and trying to keep progressing in CrossFit at the same time. I hate to admit it, but sometimes my workout schedule turns against me. I am trying to come back from a winter mileage decrease while keeping up with everyone at the gym, and I have come to realize that what I’m doing isn’t working. Not only am I not able to increase my mileage (or even get my sore, concrete filled legs moving), but I’m not doing my best at CrossFit either.

These past two weeks have been eye opening. I missed runs to instead take a much much needed rest day, but even so I was too tired to run my long run at the speed I wanted to. At the gym there was a workout I would usually crush, and instead I got trampled on. It’s time to take a step back and decide what my priorities are.

While I think about some hard decisions (Do I cut back on running to prepare for the open? Am I willing to get three months behind in running right before jumping into half marathon training? Would I be that upset if I stepped back my weights at the gym and cared less about the open workouts?), I am going to do two important things this week: 1) listen to my body and ease off when I need to and 2) only allow myself a single double day of running and yoga (no more running and CrossFit on the same day). I am also going to make an extra effort to get at nine hours of sleep each night and eat well.

My Gym bag essentials

At least three days a week I pack up a change of clothes to be ready to go at any moment like superman (only I don’t know where he kept his 2nd outfit…). It is now to the point that without my gym bag I feel like 1. I’m missing something, 2. I never have what I need and 3. My purse just doesn’t have enough room.

Between CrossFit, yoga, and running, I need a wide variety of items. When I buy workout clothes, I always make sure I can wear them for two of the three activities at the least, but the goal is always something that can be used for everything, preferably year round. This not only makes packing easier (it means I can decided right before I leave work if I want to run or go to yoga (or both) for instance), but it also saves me space in my bag.

Before when I was able to get dressed at home, I used a small messenger bag for my gym bag. It fit all the accessories (extra hair band, deodorant, etc.) that make the gym more pleasant without taking up too much unnecessary space. But now that I have to bring an entire head-to-toe wardrobe with me, I had to go for a bigger bag. I opted for a backpack because it fits everything in it well, it’s easy to commute with, and it holds up well while being dragged all over the place.

CrossFit running gym bag essentials

What’s in my gym bag:

1. Extra hair ties: I have thick, wild hair. There is no way I would be able to get through a workout with my hair down, or even with just one hair band. I keep extras clipped to my backpack with a carabiner for easy access and to keep me from losing them.

2. After workout layer: In the summer I bring a light long sleeve or another shirt to change in to so the ride home is more comfortable. Now that it’s fall I’m starting to need something to keep me warm.

3. A pair of shoes that I can run or do CrossFit in. I know, it’s practically a sin to not do CrossFit in anything that doesn’t say Reebok on the side these days, but I would rather have one pair of shoes that will do just about anything. It’s better for my closet (less to try to shove in there), my wallet, and the environment.

4. Scissors and athletic tape: I currently use stretchy athletic tape to support my wrists (but I’m working on getting some wrist wraps) and to keep my hands from tearing when I do a lot of bar work or pull ups. I hate having to ask for scissors or try to bite my way through the tape, so I keep them in the bag at all times now.

5. My workout journal: I track all of my CrossFit workouts on paper and my runs electronically with Nike+. I not only write down what I did that day, but I also keep track of my PRs and the weights I have been using in the back of my notebook so I can quickly calculate what weight I should be using in any workout.

6. Nuun hydration tablets: I don’t frequently use them, but in the height of summer when I was sweating what felt like swimming pools, I made sure to get in some extra electrolytes when I was done. These are also what I’ve been using now that I’m getting into high mileage runs for my half marathon training.

7. Quick dry, wicking running socks: I wear these whether I’m running or at CrossFit to prevent blisters and avoid turning my shoes into a swampy mess.

8. Speed rope: double unders were impossible before I bought my own speed rope and adjusted it to my height. At my previous gym they didn’t have any speed ropes, but even at gyms that do have them, I like not having to fight with everyone else my size for a rope.

9. Deodorant: I use a crystal deodorant, not an antiperspirant, before and after every workout (and daily). Because of the recent concerns about breast cancer being linked to the aluminum in antiperspirant and the fact that your body gets rid of toxins and waste through sweat, I no longer wear antiperspirant. I haven’t worn it for years, and it’s been great. The crystal deodorant has by far been the best option for me and not only does it keep me from smelling, but it lasts forever (not really, but I bought a stick 2 years that is 5 times the size of the one in the picture, and it’s still 95 percent unused after two years of daily use) and doesn’t stain my clothes.

10. Clothes: I wear crops most of the year for many reasons, but the main ones are that I get cold easily, squatting in short shorts makes me highly uncomfortable (I’ve seen many shorts malfunctions that lead to accidental (I hope) flashings), and they are great for running, yoga, and CrossFit. I wear crops with tanks in the summer and long sleeves (and sometimes a jacket too) in the winter. I also wear sports bras with all of my shirts instead of buying tanks with them built in because I can mix and match colors and I don’t need to buy them extra to wear in the winter with long sleeves.

What is a must have in your bag?

It’s here! Yoga Journal’s September Fashion Guide

Never before have I worked so hard or so long on a single project. I sent at least 500 emails, pulled nearly 100 lookbooks, unpacked and resent more than 100 boxes, dug through hundreds of samples, got up at at 5 a.m. to make it to the shoots on time, ran around like a crazy person, and had weeks of stress dreams about it, but it turned out so well I would do it all over again (multiple times!).

Yoga Journal September Fashion Guide 2013 issue 258 cover

Yoga Journal September Fashion Guide 2013 issue 258

Yoga Journal September Cover Fashion Guide 2013 issue 258

We put an insane amount of work into this and I’m so happy with how it turned out. You should check it out, it’s out on the newstands now ; )

Listen to your body

“Ouch. Ouch. Bad. Ouch.”

It turns out your body speaks pretty loudly if you listen to it. For the last three weeks I have had a slight “twinge” in my right shin. I had slipped while doing box jumps at CrossFit and completely bashed my right shinbone into the plywood box. If the lump I still have (three weeks later, I swear) is any evidence, I hit it pretty hard. I originally attributed my pain to the throbbing of my new shin growth as I ran, and really, it only hurt for portions of the run on and off. I pushed through it and cursed myself for being so clumsy.
But last week while building into my four-mile run (I’m currently training for a 10k, and this was my longest distance since August) that twinge got a whole lot louder. I tripped and just barely caught myself from falling at the 1-mile mark. Something pulled down the front of my shin into my ankle and I stubbed my toe, but I figured I really only lost a bit of pride to the drivers who watched my flailing and kept going.
Bad idea, I desperately wish I had been smart and walked home then and there. My calf and shin started to hurt and cramp with every step. I took walking breaks, tried to rub out my calf (all while looking around for anything even remotely close to being a foam roller in the middle of San Jose suburbs), and slowed down. It didn’t make a difference, my whole lower leg was suddenly angry, and it was being incredibly clear about it.
I walked most of the rest of the almost three miles before going home and icing. When I woke up the next day with a leg still aching while walking down stairs, I crossed my Saturday long run (set for 5 miles) off my calendar. When Saturday rolled around and my leg was still hurting, today’s run got the ax too.
As much as I desperately want to run and I feel the pressure to stick to my training plan, I decided to play it smart and listen to my body. I want to run the entire 10k in two weeks, but it’s a virtual race and walking isn’t too shameful. I’d rather still be able to at least walk at that point, so the few days of rest is worth it.
Instead of heading out for a run tonight I will be married to my foam roller and ice like clockwork. And after some amazing yoga today, my leg feels a bit better and I’m mentally ready to sit on the side-lines for a few more days.

Meditation Update: Week 2

It turns out people aren’t used to other people lying down with their feet up the wall to meditate. In my work environment it is completely normal to kneel on the ground to talk to someone who is lying on the floor, resting with their feet up the wall, or just stretching. I forget that is not normal to the rest of the population.

legs up the wall meditation yoga
I meditated at least every other day this week. I’ve decided to embrace meditating before bed and throw everyone’s warnings to the wind. For five minutes before going to sleep I rest with my legs up the wall and the lights off for a quick, relaxing meditation. It’s my favorite way to meditate after a hard night at CrossFit or a long run. I can imagine the soreness and exhaustion draining out of my legs, and it keeps them from twitching and aching when I’m trying to relax. Also, because I sit cross-legged nearly constantly (including as I write this), I struggle to meditate in lotus or being upright.