David’s Still Right

I run plenty. Several marathons under my belt, average 15 miles/week most of the year.

But still there are days like today – warm, humid, and breezy, when the legs just work, and I think to myself that I don’t run nearly enough.

Lunchtime run; shouldn’t have been anything special. Rained all morning. I’m in the middle of training for Hartford, pumped for the New Haven 20K, and getting busy as all get out. This should have been a “Get ‘r’ dun” run, not trascendence.

But yet…

I headed up hospital hill for the first time in months, instead of straight up the river. Little later in the day for a lunch run than usual, but, hey, it’s still good to get out, right? Today was supposed to be an easy day.

I’ve been doing my first post-weekend run in New Balance Minimus. It feels like I’m both reducing my chance for PF recurrence by really stretching out my achilles on the first post-long-run day an also increasing it by tempting too much mileage in minimal sneakers (I think I broke myself doing that a couple years ago). So, I’ve built up to about 3 miles at a time in the Minimus, and don’t really want to do more until after the marathon.

Halfway up the hill, I realized I was still running, still feeling strong, and not yet puking. Which didn’t really square with most of the times I’ve run this hill in the past.

At the turnaround point, I checked my watch – 30 seconds/mile faster than I’d been averaging for the last couple months. Interesting. Sweating like crazy, but breathing easy.

Cruised on in with one of the fastest 5K times I’ve had on an “easy” run all summer; <27 min which, while not stellar, makes me happy, and makes me think that this may be a good fall. Long run times are still crazy slow, so I don’t know if I’m going to go for a sub-4 hour marathon.

Anyway, I’m moved to remember Dylan/David’s words (adopted for my masthead) – “You always find joy in running. You should try it more often.”

Juneathon 2/30

Not much to crow about today – three TOUGH miles in the cold and wind. Had no gas, which was fine after the day of Joy i’d had on Friday. Just no gas at all.

Marathon Fallout

June. Man, life is good up here in New England. Blue sky, low humidity, morning fog. Lovely. Ought to be like this for another 4 months. Come visit

Still way behind in writing up Gran Fondo NYC and another Vermont City Marathon. But, as this is (theoretically) a running blog, here’s some red meat for y’all:

Marathon fallout

Usually the nail’s gone before race day. I was hoping I’d keep it this year.

It’s the freakishly long second toe – I’ve tried shoes ranging from 8.5 – 10, so it’s not a toe-box matter or something like that – I’ve lost nails from both hitting the end of the shoe and having the toe box fold too soon. Just a cost of doing business, I suppose.

Can’t say no

Got home from work on Saturday. N, the youngest boy, says, “Hey Dad, how ’bout running around the block with me?”

Awesome.

Bike Month Day 4

Fog, cows, stone wall

Friday wasn’t quite a work day – had some admin to take care of in Newport first thing in the morning, but made it back to Mystic in time to take another ride with my lovely wife, who’s starting to ride. And was reminded again of why I love riding in rural Connecticut.

Out of the house, and within 20 minutes, we’re on thin, low-traffic two lane, surrounded by walls of Connecticut’s state flower, granite, and bucolic bovines.

Rode easy for two hours, fog rolled in off of Fisher’s Island Sound, and back home to meet the kids after school.

I threw in another 4 miles up to the top of the hill near the house. Feeling pretty good, but dreading the last long runs before Vermont City.

Next Year in Burlington

Well, it’s official.

Deferral

Went to see the doctor yesterday – acute case of PF, no fracture or whatever. Official ruling is no running until June. Which means that I’m Cycle, Cycle, Cycle, Swim, Swim, too until then.
(I’m also officially fatter than I’ve been in 5 years. Joy.)
Hmmm, now to plan.

Running, cruel mistress

I’m a middle-aged distance runner.

Which is translated as I’m old and slow.

I’m also a Navy Reservist, which means that twice a year I get graded on how fast I can run a mile and a half.

Over most of the last decade, I’ve taken a smug satisfaction in being able to be pretty competitive in running that mile and a half twice a year. It’s not tough to excel at the run – anything better than 12 minutes (8:00/mile) is pretty competitive.

So, two weeks ago, I turned in an 11:04 for the mile and a half. I also ran a mile from the gym to the track before the run, and then did about 3 miles after, ’cause I needed to add mileage as I had been expecting to run the Vermont City Marathon on Memorial Day weekend.

Well, I woke up on 4 April with a stabbing pain in my left heel. F*sck, I said, and blew off my long run that weekend.

I tried cranking out a mile on 6 April, and 3 on 9 April – both times I woke up hurting.

So I took off a WHOLE WEEK, and tonight I tried running again. The first half mile rocked – my legs are fresh, I’ve been riding a bike all week – man, I thought I was good. Woke up with no pain, walked a lot today.

But, about a half mile into the run, I started twinging each step.

And at 3/4 of a mile, something “snapped”, and I limped back home.

My heel’s been throbbing for the last 4 hours, despite a fair amount of barley malt, yeast, and hops as medication. I’m really upset (p!ssed), ’cause the weather in Alabama is phenomenal for running. Man, I want to run.

I rented a bike and have been riding like a madman. I’ll likely do 40 or 50 miles tomorrow morning. But I’m crying because it hurts to run.

Stupid marathons.

One Week Down

Man, 2011 is going to be my year. Good stuff the rest of the week, including another spin class on Friday, more bike-fu, and a pretty decent run Thursday.

Good late afternoon run with KC on Saturday. Waited at Gym 109 for him; he didn’t show, so I started without him. Original plan was to run to downtown Newport, but there was a cold wind blowing out of the north. I was feeling marginal to begin with, and didn’t want to run against the wind after I was tired and sweaty. So, I headed north. About a mile and a half in, KC calls.

So, head back, pick up KC, and head down to the pier. Somehow missed Colors, and had to stop at the porta john about a mile before the end. Only drawback to the whole day was forgetting to restart my GPS after the portapot, but other than that, life is good.

But, long run felt great. First week ends as a success.

Next week we start working on weight.

Saturday was an interesting experiment. Completely unanticipated, I ended up with a meatless day. Lunch ended up being a veggie omelet, and supper was a guacamole burrito. Not completely healthy, but no meat. Felt good on Sunday morning. Eating well is good.

2011 kickoff

Ah, blogosphere, if there’s any left.

The end of 2010’s been rough, running-wise for me. I completely failed at Fat Cyclist’s lose 10 pounds by Christmas challenge. The start was good; but the finish left a whole lot to be desired. For a variety of reasons, primarily work-related, I fell off the wagon and finished off on Christmas Eve right where I’d started.

Which I suppose is a large part of the story of 2010.

I didn’t really make any real resolutions for 2010, so there’s no real way to sum up the year. I suppose I could chunk my dailymile.com feed (Love, love, love that site) to figure out how this year compared to last year, but, frankly, I’m afraid it’d depress me.

I ran the Vermont City Marathon in May, and then pretty much sat up in the saddle for the rest of the year. Vermont City was a great race, but, as usual, my training was sub-par, and I faded hard at the end of the run. What was different, though, was that I felt completely compelled to finish the race when I cramped at 16 miles.

Melissa ran New Haven this year instead of me, which was completely fair, and about which I have no regrets other than pure jealousy. But I think that without that as an end of summer goal, I kind of wandered…

My alternate goal was to lose 20 lbs between Memorial day and the end of summer – absolutely no progress there.

Overall, though, I’m cool with it – this was a tough year at work, and I’ve pulled through with general success. My fitness hasn’t lost anything since this time last year; my relationship with Melissa has probably never been better, and my oldest kid isn’t getting notes sent home from his teacher on a regular basis, and actually got a smokin’ good report card this last marking period.

There are prospects at work that look promising both professionally and in terms of work-life balance, and I’ve been selectively de-committing from some of the non-work stressors that I have.

So, I’m upbeat but realistic about 2011.

Enough so that I think I’ll set some goals:

1. Run Vermont City again. Loved the race, and Melissa wants to run Flying Pig. Which means if I want another family weekend in Burlington over Memorial Day, I need to suck it up and run. Oh, the sacrifices I make.
2. Finish FatCyclist’s 10 lbs plan by the end of January. Frankly, it was working while I was able to reschedule priorities. January looks to be somewhat less chaotic than December was, and it’d be nice to roll into training for Vermont City at 175 instead of 185.
3. Tri, tri again. I really regret not doing an olympic tri last summer. I especially regret not doing one with my buddy Dave W, who is no longer working at the same place with the part-time job. So, hopefully, I can do a win-win here and keep in touch with someone who’s been a good friend (something I’ve been notoriously bad at in the past), AND work out my tri demons. I’m also good for the NAVSTA Newport tri in August – it’s a sprint, and I’d love to see what I can do with some good training and 20 lbs less baggage.
4. Not get onto Jon’s list of dead blogs. I really miss posting as much as I had in the past. I also need some inspiration – who’s writing well?

Here’s hoping to get back to you all in 364 days with a great 2011 wrap-up.

Tips for Avoiding Plantar Fascists

Got a comment from the wayback machine – an old post I’d done for completerunning.com (Iochelli, I miss you, blogfather). Jenn is recovering from Plantar Fascitis, which is my old bugbear. Remembered pain got me to reply. I really hope that Jenn isn’t a bot. But, I’m putting my faith in mankind and the interwebs tonight, ’cause I’m feeling optimistic, and don’t want to lose the promise of Hope and Change…

Here’s what I said:

The good news is that my PF hasn’t reoccurred in about 2 years. I’m not sure if it’s dumb luck, but here’s what I’ve learned:
  • Make a gradual, gradual reintroduction to running. I blew it in 2007 – started training for the 2008 OKC Marathon and wasn’t consistient enough. I tried to jump back in, slacked off in the fall and winter, and tried to make up mileage the two months before the race. I ended up dropping from the whole to the half, and while I had a good race, it wasn’t enough.
  • STRETCH! From spring 2008 until spring 2009, I tried to maintain pretty consistent running volume, and added cross training. One thing I focused on was learning PF stretches, chief among them the toe stretch* and also the frozen water bottle **
  • Cross Train: Spring 2009 I did a half ironman triathlon, and my chief gripe was not doing enough bike/run bricks to get my back ready for the second transition. PF was not an issue.
I’m not a doctor or a physiologist, but what seems to have worked was:
  • Build training volume by adding non-running activities. If you want to sweat, get on a bike, or in the pool, or anything that doesn’t stress your tendons. Your heart and lungs build capacity much more quickly than connective tissue.
  • Be a 10% stickler: Start with about a mile or two a run, and be strict about the 10% rule – don’t increase weekly mileage more than 10% a week. IE, if you do 5 miles in a week, 6 might be too much for the next week.
  • Stretch: Do the stretches several times a day. I’d do them immediately upon waking up, at lunch, and before bed.
  • Avoid treadmills like the plague: I’ve got nothing scientific on this, but I did a lot of my winter 2007-2008 training on the treadmill. I’ve been studiously avoiding them since, and have been less injury prone. My theory is that the treadmill doesn’t listen to your body, it just starts carrying your foot straight back as soon as you make contact.
Good luck!
Bill
PPS – water bottle stretch:
  1. Go drink a drink in a plastic bottle.
  2. Save the bottle and cap.
  3. Fill the bottle most of the way up with water.
  4. Put it in the freezer.
  5. Let it freeze solid.
  6. Pull the bottle out of the freezer.
  7. Put on socks.
  8. Sit in a chair.
  9. Put the bottle under the arch of one foot, push down, and roll the bottle back and forth from toe to heel until your foot begins to feel really, really cold.
  10. Switch feet and repeat until bottle becomes squishy, or until feet become too cold.