Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Shoe Time



Perhaps the best investment I have made this year is a pair of trail running shoes for my Winter running. Last Winter, in the limited running I managed to get in, I just used regular trainers and I suffered from the cold and wet as a result - not to mention the lack of traction I had.

Enter the trail shoes I am now wearing (pictured above). Increased traction and the water resistance means that the wind doesn't blow through them and slush, for the most part, is repelled. They are a little clunky, but that is a small sacrifice for the other benefits they provide.

Oh, by the way, I managed to get them for $59 at a local running store as they are a previous year's model. Cheap on the pocket book with plenty of benefits. I will never run in anything but trail runners outdoors in Winter again.

Duel In The Sun

For those of you unfamiliar with the Duel In The Sun, I offer the following link:

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

What Has He Been Doing?

It has been a funny time lately when it comes to this blog. Since running the Valley Harvest Marathon in October I have only posted twice... which is woeful. So I figured I might as well bite the bullet and post something before too much time passes and it gets too hard to post.

So, what have I been doing from a running perspective? Miles... and lots of 'em - at least for me. The last two months have been the highest mileage months of the year for me. I ran 177 miles in November, for example, and am on a pace to eclipse that this month. You may be asking yourself why, am I increasing my distance at a period in time in which I am not even racing, and should be resting prior to increasing intensity of training for the Boston Marathon.

I really feel, that this year I was not racing under ideal conditions (who does). But hear me out. I only started running in earnest in July of last year and was felled by an injury most of last Winter. As a result, I did very little running from January to April of this year and I think I ended up running without a base of miles that I would have liked to have had. So I have been trying to establish an aerobic base this past couple of months before I begin to up the intensity with intervals and tempo runs. Currently, the distance I have been running has been increased, however, the intensity I am running at is less than normal. As opposed to a 6 mile tempo run on Thursday's, for example, I am now typically running 9 miles focusing on keeping my heart rate below 140.

Up until the last week or so I had been noticing improvement. Running at the same intensity (by heart rate) I was noticing that my avg minutes / mile pace decreased by about 20 seconds on the same trail. Lately, however, that has reversed itself - but I think that says more about footing on snow covered sidewalks than it does about conditioning.

You may be asking yourself, why would I be subjecting myself to this. I submit to you the following link:

http://undecider.blogspot.com/

I will be racing... yes racing the Boston Marathon against this man. It will be a friendly race when all is said and done, however, for the time being I do not want to risk embarrassing myself and feel the need to be as prepared as I can for our "Duel In The Sun". I will be starting from a disadvantage, as I will be carrying about 40 extra pounds than him on race day, however, I am hoping sheer determination will provide me with some sort of buffer.

Anyway, I plan on becoming far more diligent at posting in the New Year as I train to slay the man with a PR 10 minutes below mine. I am David to his Goliath in a role association that belies our physiques. Here's to hoping I can pull off an upset of biblical proportions.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Tortoise and the Hare

It has been a while since I posted anything on the blog - I have been trying to pay a little more attention to other things in life and right now, while I am really enjoying running, it would be really boring to create reports on a regular basis - at least more than it normally is. Here is why it would be so boring to report on. I am currently base training for the lead up to the Boston Marathon. With this approach, I am running all of my runs at a pace in which I can remain conversational the entire time. Read, no real speed. What I am doing is trying to get a good aerobic base in over the next couple of months with an aim towards speed specific training in the 2009. So for now, I am the proverbial tortoise.

This leads me to the Hare. For those of you who have read my profile, or the earliest of my postings, you will recall the reason I got into this whole running thing is to become competitive with my childhood friend. In our first race together, he paced me and almost got me to a Boston Qualifying time. That first marathon was completed after only 9 weeks of training - the result of him seeing a picture of me in a 5K I had signed up for on a whim without real training and making the comment in response that my time was "not bad for a guy carrying two hams around his waist". I took the comment as a challenge and as a result of the relative ease in which he paced me, I felt the need to at some point challenge him.

So here we are one year later. I have qualified for Boston and we are going to run it together. The intention at this point is for us to run the first 24 miles together pacing each other and then, in a form of childishness that is rampant in middle-aged males, we are going to race the final 2.2 miles in a fight for bragging and/or Last rights. Seriously, I am really looking forward to this. Running has allowed us to share something in the past 1 1/2 years that would not have been possible otherwise given our geographic dislocation - goals. So while I will be pushing myself as much as possible from the start in Hopkinton to the finish in Boston, I will also be in the moment with more than a few memories of when we were side by side on the same line playing hockey as kids. Who knew we would be still competitive in sports 30 years later.

Perhaps the message in all of this is that running is my mid-life crisis - if it is, I think I could have chosen worse.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Valley Harvest Marathon Race Report (Steve Gets Hit By A Car)

First of all, if anyone is familiar with the Valley Harvest Marathon, this isn't the same race as run in the past. For 2008, the race was run on a completely different course. While more picturesque, it was a much more difficult race this year with some tough hills.

Mile 1 - 6:50
Mile 2 - 7:10
Mile 3 - 6:53
Mile 4 - 6:59
Mile 5 - 7:02
Mile 6 - 7:06
Mile 7 - 7:12
Mile 8 - 6:59
Mile 9 - 7:39
Mile 10 - 7:04
Mile 11 - 7:09
Mile 12 - 7:06
Mile 13 - 7:01
Mile 14 - 6:59
Mile 15 - 6:59
Mile 16 - 7:24
Mile 17 - 7:10
Mile 18 - 7:23
Mile 19 - 7:26
Mile 20 - 7:18
Mile 21 - 7:17
Mile 22 - 7:56
Mile 23 - 7:40
Mile 24 - 7:46
Mile 25 - 8:44
Mile 26 - 8:55

I had planned on running at 7:15 pace all the way through, but got caught up in the day - you couldn't ask for better weather and set out at too aggressive a pace. Not to much to report in the first 14 miles, I felt strong and was running great - just too fast.

Right around mile 15 payback for ignoring my plan began to occur as I began to feel quite nauseous. I fought the urge to purge from mile 15 to around mile 20. Just as I was getting things back under control we hit a long hill that simply took all of the starch out of me. Feeling fresh, it probably would not have been too big a deal, but having just finished 19 miles at too aggressive a pace, it turned out to be killer.

From here on in I was in survival mode, just trying to keep one foot in front of the other and focus on form. At this stage, I also borrowed a mantra from my 5 year old son Simon who at a kids race this summer started spontaneously calling out "I'm Tough, I'm Tough". I thought of this and started to do the same. Around mile 24 I took a walking break for a few hundred yards as my legs were cramping big time. I repeated this in an uphill on mile 25 as I was pretty much shot now. Heading into the home stretch in mile 26 is when things truly got interesting. I was running along and came to an intersection where a driver pulled up, looked in the opposite direction and then gunned the car without looking for oncoming runners (at a point when I was in the middle of the aforementioned intersection). I happened to see the car coming out of the corner of my eye and straight-armed the bonnet of the car. The impact propelled me in a 360 degree spin such that I ended up landing on my feet in the same direction as I was originally going. This is not a recommended maneuver to be attempted 25 1/2 miles into a marathon. I looked back to see the car speed away, so I continued on my way toward the finish line.

I had been hoping for a 3:10 and fell a little short at 3:13:56 (which is still a PB and BQ for me). That said, I learned some valuable lessons about sticking to the pre-race plan and not getting caught up in the moment. I also learned that no matter how great the pain during the race, it all feels worth it when it is all said and done.

I have some pain in my shoulder right now from the impact of the car driving my arm up into my shoulder joint, but it appears to be muscular so I am pretty much fine. In some ways I am impressed that I could pull off the defensive move I did giving how I was feeling at that time. Anyway, that is a sketch of how the Valley Harvest Marathon went for me.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

I'm In


It wasn't a wise race, however, I did qualify for Boston with a 3:13:56. Full report to come later. In the meantime, here is a pic of me about to cross the finish line.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Start your engines

Well it is just a few more days until the race and I am feeling pretty good. I am still fighting a nagging cold, hopefully, it will keep at bay. I am not getting enough sleep, but will have to make a concerted effort to get more sleep tonight and tomorrow night.

I have really tapered this time around. I last ran on Tuesday morning (6 X 400's) and am looking at running a 3 miler (1 mile warm-up and 2 miles at marathon pace) tomorrow morning in my last run prior to the race. I am itching to get the event on and am feeling a bit like a caged tiger at the moment - hopefully, this is a good sign.

One thing I will have to watch is to start out under control as I have had a history of breaking out too fast and abandoning my plan. This means keeping myself somewhere 7:15 and 7:25 min / mile to start. I have 3 goals in mind for the race. My minor goal would be to simply qualify for Boston - at my age that is a 3:20. My medium goal would be to go sub 3:10. This is a time that would qualify me regardless of age and is my true target. I have also created a stretch goal, however, that one I am keeping to myself as I don't want to put undue pressure on myself. Stay tuned post-race - I will share it if I make it.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Less than 2 Weeks to go

It has been a while since I last posted. This is probably due mostly to a series of less than ideal runs I have had in the couple of weeks since my last post.

My long run last week (my final 20 miler) was not quite what I had anticipated. Running more slowly than I intended, I found myself still having a difficult time around 18 miles - my body started to slow down and I had some cramping in my legs when I finished the run. Since that time I have felt quite sluggish - energy levels have been low as well as my overall desire to run.

I have decided to take this as a sign, rightly or wrongly, that it may be time to back off. And, as a result, I am tapering for the big race on Oct 12th. This past week I only ran 33 miles, down from 40, 41 and 51 in the previous 3 weeks. I have always felt that getting to the line healthy is half the battle. I don't have the miles under me that I would liked to have had due to the issue with my feet. That said, with such little time left, I am not going to stress about not getting as many miles in as I would have liked. The workouts I have had have, for the mostpart, been of less intensity than I would have liked as well. At this stage, it is what it is and we'll just have to see what happens. Right now the plan is to head out at about a 7:15 min / mile pace on race day and dial it down from there if things don't feel right. If things feel great, I may increase by 5 seconds per mile, but right now I don't think the likelihood of that happening is too strong.

As an aside, I feel compelled to comment on Haile Gebrselassie's new world record in the Marathon: 2:03:59. As my friend Keith pointed out, if I have the race of my life I have a shot at coming in just 1 hour slower than Haile. Absolutely insane how fast this is. For some perspective, those of you who have treadmills, just think of the following. A 2:03:59 converts into 12.68 miles per hour. Most treadmills on the market only go up to 10 miles per hour. Not only is he running at that pace, he is able to sustain it for over 26 miles!!!!! Try cranking your treadmill up to 10 mph and seeing how long you can hold it there... it will really provide some perspective as to how fast the elites are running. Sometimes it is easy to forget this as their form is so good that they do not appear to be moving as fast as they are. Anyway, it is an incredible feat.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

16 Mile Marathon Pace Trial

I was reading recently about the Brooks - Hanson running group and their approach to Marathon training. One thing that interested me was finding out that many of the runners on the team run a simulated marathon about 5 weeks out from their race. In this simulation they run 26.2 Kilometers as opposed to 26.2 miles and they run the distance at anticipated race pace. The thought behind this is that the distance is an excellent test of your marathon fitness, however, the distance is not too long to run a high risk of injury.

I gave the workout a try today out of curiosity and found it to be quite good. I ran the distance in the pace I hope to run (7:15 min / mile) and do not feel any worse for wear this evening. The great thing about it is that I didn't feel on edge at any point in the run so I find that having run this has increased my confidence about running the real race in about a month. I had found myself questioning my fitness recently and the pace I would strive to run. It is nice to now have the confidence that my plan is achievable.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

The A.R.T. of Running

As time was a ticking and I hadn't heard back on my bone scan, I decided to go back to the less orthodox route to healing, Active Release Techniques. I had my first treatment on my feet on Wednesday and already can feel some improvement. It isn't perfect yet, but I did a 19 mile run this morning with very little difficulty. As to the issue, my Chiropractor feels that it is due to a weak muscle in each foot. So I have exercises to strengthen them and he is administering the treatment. Things are finally starting to look up.

Considering how little running I had been doing as a result of the foot issue, I have had a pretty big week. I didn't run my long run on Sunday last week as we were having a torrential downpour and ended up doing 17 miles on Labor day Monday. I took Tuesday off, ran 6 with intervals (3 X 1 mile) on Wednesday, 3 miles on Thursday, 6 miles with 4 at tempo pace on Friday and 19 this morning. I normally would have taken today off, but we are expecting a tropical storm tomorrow and I didn't think I would likely get out for my run, so I moved it up a day. If my addition is not failing me, that would be 51 miles in the last 5 days which considering how things have been recently is quite heavy. I will wait until tomorrow to pass judgment as to lingering effects, however, at this moment things seem fine and not a moment too late.

Buoyed by how I have felt the past few days, I have finally signed up for the Valley Harvest Marathon. All I need to do now is get to the start line healthy and have a good day. If that happens, hopefully, I can qualify for Boston.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Laboured Day

Well I finally got a long run in - at least distance wise. I ran 17 miles yesterday and, while I could feel my foot, it wasn't bad enough that I had to shut things down early. Recently 13 miles was about the extent of what I could muster without having to give things up mid-run.

A few weeks of low mileage, low pace running have definitely had an impact - which became painfully obvious during yesterday's run. While I wasn't pushing things, my 8:00 min/mile pace was a lot worse than I had been able to do recently. It is now a mere 5 weeks until the Valley Harvest Marathon and I feel woefully prepared. If you would have asked me about a month ago how I was feeling about it all, I would have responded enthusiastically as everything was going just about perfect. Today, however, I am questioning my ability to do well in the race - essentially, well for me would be to run between 3:05 and 3:10. Right now, I am adjusting my expectations with the hope of just beating my time last year, which as long as it is by 11 seconds would give me a Boston Qualifier.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Long Tempo - No Troubles

I ran a pretty long tempo run yesterday morning - 10 total miles - 1 warm-up at 8:30 min/mile, 8 at long tempo pace 7:13 min/mile and a cool-down mile at 8:30 min/mile. I wanted to test things out a little and see if my feet would handle the stress. I must say that things went relatively well. Thus far, the issue has only manifested itself at about mile 12 or 13 of long run - that said, it was good to be going at a faster pace for a fair distance and not have any issues pop up.

One thing I have to watch is weight gain in the next little while. I have ticked up about 5 pounds over the Summer and need to take these off if I am going to run a good marathon in the Fall.

Hopefully, I can get back to training with consistent intensity and distance soon. For the past few weeks, my long runs have been pretty short (13 - 15 miles) and pretty slow pace-wise as a result of the injury. If it continues, it will be tough slogging come marathon day.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Agony of De-Feet

I haven't been blogging for a while. It has been a combination of a couple of things actually. Vacation actually proved to interrupt the normal flow of my days which meant that I didn't report to much of what was going on from a training standpoint. As well, I have been putting up with some pain in my feet that has really put a damper on my training - to the extent that I haven't been able to train as I would like... which gave me a whole lot less to report on.

So the problem. I have had pain that starts out as what feels like a cramp on the bottom of my foot during a run and then transitions to a pain on the bone on the outside of my foot. This started in my left foot only, however, recently has been starting to appear in my right foot as well. I have been to my doctor and was sent to get a bone scan on Friday. I am not sure what the issue is, but it comes right as I was getting serious about my marathon training. For example, yesterday, I ended up stopping my long run after 13 miles as opposed to the 20 I had intended. As I am feeling great from a cardiovascular point of view, this is really frustrating.

I did run a race I didn't report on earlier this month. I actually ran Natal Day 6 Miler on the morning of my return from vacation. The journey to the race is almost a marathon in itself. We left Corner Brook, Newfoundland to head for the ferry back to Nova Scotia at 7:30 am. After a 2 hour drive we got to the ferry terminal, waited for 2 hours and then boarded the ferry. Seven hours later we arrived in Nova Scotia and started our drive to Halifax. After a slow drive from the ferry terminal (eating and car troubles got in the way) we arrived home at 10:30 that night. Unpacked the car, got to sleep at around midnight and was back up at 6:30 am to get ready for the 8:15 race start. It was an exceedingly humid day and I have to admit to not running very well finishing the 6 mile race in 40:08 - it may have been the hardest 6 miles of my life. I have an issue with starting races too quickly.

So, all in all, training has been frustrating lately. I am being cautious toward running right now, running slower and decreasing my distance in an effort to protect myself. That said, my attempt at a Boston Qualifier may be in jeopardy as it is extremely difficult for me to train like I would like.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Been a While

I am currently on vacation so the opportunities to attend to my blog are few and far between.

With some input from Keith, I have changed my running philosophy for the short term and am focusing a little on long slow distance for the time being. Last weekend I did a 17 miler and this week my runs were 8, 10 and 20 miles - all at my long slow distance pace. There was one exception.

On Thursday night, I returned to the scene of the crime - the place where I started last Summer - the Downtown Dash in Corner Brook, NL. It is a 5K race. I didn't feel great during the run - too much food while visiting relatives on vacation - but managed to pull off an 18:55 which I am happy with. This placed me in 11th overall and 2nd in my age group (40 - 49). I would like to note that I was first in a few categories that were not reported on - first in the 180 pound plus category, first in the non-resident Newfoundlander category and first to cross the line without racing flats ;-)

If you have ever cared to look at my bio, you will have noticed that I was hoping to become competitive with my childhood friend in running a Marathon. I think that day is getting closer.

Friday, July 18, 2008

365 Days - Approximately

I came to the realization that it is about one year since I started running after taking several years off. My latest incarnation as a runner is much different. In the past I simply ran to keep in shape. While ultimately, that is the same reason I run today, I have incorporated races into the overall scheme of things which I must admit has enabled me to be a lot more focused on things.

Last year at about this time, I was preparing to go with my family to Newfoundland for a family vacation when my Father-In-Law Archie mentioned that there was a 5K race taking place and that he thought I should consider entering. While I hadn’t been running for a few years, he knew that I used to run and made mention of it to me. As it was a relatively short distance, I figured what the heck; I should be able to gut it out with little training. So I ran the race, finishing in a pretty pedestrian 21:24. I wasn’t sure, whether or not I was going to continue running in any great fashion, but posted some pictures of myself running the 5K to show my friend Keith who is a regular marathon runner – one good enough to perpetually qualify for the Boston Marathon. His reaction, and it is seared into my mind, was “pretty good time for a guy carrying two hams around his waist”. He then mentioned my continuing running and that we could do a marathon together. So we looked at a couple of options and he came to Nova Scotia, where I live, and ran a local marathon with me serving as my pacer and coach. I didn’t have a bad race either as with a distinct lack of training I ended up missing qualifying for Boston by 11 seconds. That said, given that lack of training, I really didn’t deserve to qualify. Since that race I have caught the bug and this year have run a couple of half marathons with an eye to building up to a return to the same marathon I ran last fall.

So since last year I think you could say I have changed my physique enough through running to say I am now carrying Cornish Hens around my waist as opposed to hams. So thanks Archie for getting me started by mentioning the 5K and thanks Keith for providing the focus to carry on, by mentioning the hams and supporting me in the marathon. Finally, thanks to my wife, Joanne, for taking care of the kids at time when I am either training or running races – without the support the running would not happen at all!!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Recovery and Tempo

After Tuesday's Intervals, I ran a nice easy recovery run on Wednesday - 6.25 miles at a 7:59 pace. It felt good to slow down and not push myself. To be truthful, I don't think I could have pushed myself even if I had wanted to, the intervals of the previous day ensured that.

I took yesterday off and went for a nice tempo run this morning. Seven miles in total including the warm up and cool down.

1 Mile @ 8:01 warm up
5 Miles @ 6:56
1 Mile @ 7:50 cool down

I must say that I am feeling like I am getting better. Running the Johnny Miles 1/2 in June while sick took more out of me than I thought it would. Note to self, it is ok to skip a race if you are not feeling well. This is a hard lesson for me as I feel I have lost a few weeks of training just getting over the cold I have had. As well, for those of you who follow this blog, my IT Band problem, which was flaring up a little, seems to be under control. I have been diligently stretching and while I can still feel it a little, the sensation is very faint.

Up until a month ago, I had been pretty diligent about doing abdominal exercises, however, since getting sick that all kind of got put aside. I have gotten back on the supplementary exercise bandwagon this week though. I am doing a little circuit with an exercise ball - squats, push-ups, dips, lunges, crunches, planks and a couple of more. I am hoping that if I can stay diligent about it this will help me out overall.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The Never Ending Cold + Intervals

I haven't been posting much lately which is the result of a lack of training. The cold that I have been fighting continues to bother me. That said, I felt a bit better today so I went out for an interval session. Here is what I did this morning:

15 min warm up jog
1200 m
200 m Resting Interval
1000 m
200 m Resting Interval
800 m
200 m Resting Interval
600 m
200 m Resting Interval
400 m
10 min cool down jog

I initially felt sluggish - I guess that my lack of running is responsible - however, by the end of it I was feeling pretty good. It was nice to finally blow out some carbon.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Yoga for Runners

Something that I have found beneficial since struggling with an IT band injury is Yoga. I have been participating in a class for some time now. With summer upon us, however, my class is taking a hiatus. With that in mind, I found the video below to be quite good for runners. Check it out.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Day 3 of Marthon Training - All Is Not Right

After an day off yesterday, I ran a tempo run this morning:

2 miles @ 7:50 / mile
2 miles @ 6:29 / mile
2 miles @ 7:50 / mile

I started out in a typical foggy Halifax morning, however, about a mile in it started to pour from the heavens. My running shoes felt like they weighed about 5 pounds each by the end of it. My split times were right about where I wanted to be and I felt comfortable at the pace. I did, however, feel some tightness in my hip and knee which I will get to next.

After running on Wednesday morning, I went for a walk at lunch time as it was a beautiful day. A few minutes into my walk I felt something pop, for lack of a better word, and a sharp pain in my knee. This all went away quickly although I did feel some discomfort in my knee when lifting a box at home later that evening. Anyway, I decided to run this morning to test it out. While I can't say that I felt any real pain during the run, I am feeling some tightness now. I will have to make sure I stretch out well again tonight and re-evaluate from there.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Days 1 & 2 of Marathon Training

Yesterday was Day 1 of my Fall Marathon Training preparation. I ran a 10 minute warm up run and then ran the following intervals:

1600 @ 5:48
1 min Resting Interval
1600 @ 5:55
1 min Resting Interval
1600 @ 6:01
10 min walk cool down


I must say that it was a tough run. I am still suffering from congestion due to a nasty cold I caught just prior to the Johnny Miles 1/2. Right now I have little energy, however, it is good to get the workout completed. For the record, I wanted to run each 1600 at 6:01 or less so I did meet the goal, though it was more difficult than I had envisioned.

Today I ran a 7.5 mile recovery run. Essentially, I am going to complete one run each week in which I simply go out and run without any concern as to what pace I am running. I must say I felt much better today than yesterday.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Johnny Miles 1/2 Marathon


Well, what has become to be a bit of an inopportune habit struck again this weekend just prior to the Johnny Miles 1/2 Marathon.... I got sick just a couple of days before. Anyway, this time it was a chest cold which in some respects may have been good in some ways. While it was difficult for me to breathe properly, running while sick forced me to start out slow.

As a matter of fact, I had kind of decided this morning to just go for a training run. I was looking at using it as my long run and would focus on my running form. Once started, however, I found myself trotting along at about a 6:40 pace after about 4 miles and decided that I might be able to hang in there.

Seeing people you know on the course is also a big help. I saw my wife and kids at the 6 mile mark and found that I was buoyed by seeing them just as I was starting to struggle a little. From this point forward, I simply tried to run consistent 6:50 - 6:59 miles. Doing so allowed me to finish in a new PR - 1:29:28. The funny thing is that I was so intent on hitting my mileage splits and running with form, that it was only late in the game that I realized I had a shot at a PR. I may pay for it tomorrow, however, as my chest is really congested now. With that said it was worth it.

The true highlight of the weekend though was watching my kids participate in the kids runs the day before the adult events. Both ran extremely well and did their Mom and Pop proud. They were extremely excited to get their finishers medals.

Kudos go out to my wife, yet again, for looking after the kids while I engage in an activity.

Monday, June 9, 2008

5 Days and Change

It has been a while since I last posted. The following is a little bit of what has been going on lately and the schedule for this week.

Last week started out a little rough. To start the week I did some 5 x 1K intervals at a track and was WAY slow. I was off my pace by about 10 seconds for each kilometer interval I did. I also began to feel some pain in my right knee again. Ran a slow recovery run on Wednesday and that went ok, however, I did have some discomfort in my knee. I went to see the chiropractor on Wednesday and he declared that all is well - that the knee issue was unrelated to my earlier problem and is just a normal ache.... I guess I am a little sensitive right now.

Friday I went for a Tempo run - 2 miles at easy pace of 8:07 / mile, 3 miles at 6:34 / mile followed by 1 mile at an easy pace of 7:49 / mile. Great run and I hit the splits perfectly. Another easy recovery run of 5 miles @ 8:50 / mile pace on Satureday and finally a longer run of 8 miles at 7:10 / mile on Sunday. I finished a little above 7:10 in this one coming in at about 7:14, but I will take it.

The plan heading into the Johnny Miles 1/2 this week is to do some 400 m intervals tomorrow morning, run a 4 mile recovery run on Wednesday and an easy 3 miler on Friday.

On Sunday, when running the race, I am planning at running 6:50 / mile for the first 3/4 of the race. If I have anything left in the tank after mile 8, I will try to pick it up slightly to see how I can do. The real goal is to see if I can run sub 1:30:00 in this one after having run 1:31:06 in the Blue Nose 1/2 last month.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Post 1/2 - One week

Well, it has been a week since running the Blue Nose Half Marathon and just shy of 3 weeks before running the Johnny Miles Half Marathon. The first week post race had its ups and downs.

On Wednesday, I ran 4 easy miles @ 8:30 min / mile pace just to get my body moving again. It felt pretty good all things considered.

On Friday, I ran a tempo run with a mile @ 8:12 min / mile pace, followed by two miles at 6:52 min / mile, with a mile @ 8:12 min / mile, with another two miles at 6:52 min / mile, finishing with a mile at 8:12. Overall it wasn't a bad run.

Yesterday, I ran a 15 mile long run at 7:39 min / mile pace. For about the first 11 - 12 miles it went pretty well, however, the final 3 miles were pretty tough. I could feel my hamstrings tighten a bit during the run and post run my hamstrings were quite sore - they are today as well. I guess I could be accused of doing too much too soon.

Trying to balance two races of significant distance only one month apart is tough (at least for me) - how much or how little training to do. I think that next year I will refrain from such a schedule. I think people like Frank Shorter and Lasse Viren had it right in training for a limited number of well selected races each year allowing for enough recovery before focusing on the next race. That said, I am going to try and train by feel for the next week or so to ensure my body is completely recovered. As well, I am going to heed my own advice - once finished the Johnny Miles race, I am looking at a 5 K in late July, with perhaps a 10 K in August and finally a marathon in October. The 5 K and 10 K will just be an opportunity to fine tune before the marathon in the Fall with a desire to peak at the marthon.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Race Splits

The above is my splits for the race yesterday. I had a pretty dodgy period in the middle of the race, however, my finish was encouraging.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Blue Nose Race Day


The picture that goes with this post is of myself and my Sister-In-Law, Jennifer, just after the Blue Nose. It should be added that Jenn ran a great race finishing in the top 1/3 of her age group. Way to go Jenn!

My race was kind of a mixed bag. Up until the morning of the race, I was unsure as to whether or not I was going to run or not due to a stomach virus I have been fighting for the past week or so. When I woke up this morning I decided to give it a shot.

When I got to the start line I must admit to being unsure as to what to expect, but figured the best way to go about it was to run to my original plan and make adjustments on how I felt. Things went pretty well until I hit a big hill at about 7.5 miles in - from this point I struggled to contain some nausea and a general lack of bounce in my legs for the next 3 miles. At about 10.5 miles, I decided to risk putting some gator-aid in to my body as I wasn't feeling great. As it turns out, I probably should have done this earlier. My body didn't reject it and I actually began to feel a bit better and was able to pick up the pace again and kick it pretty good from this point in until the end of the race.

So the damage is as follows
Time - 1:31:05
Good for 25th overall and 5th in my age group.

Prior to the race I had been hoping to go under 1:30:00. That said, considering how I felt and the fact that due to injury, I didn't really start training in earnest until about a month ago I'll take it. It is a funny thing about this running thing - I never seem to be completely satisfied. That said, thanks for the email Keith - when things started to go sour, I focused on form - I really think it helped me get through.

One other point of interest. There is a gentleman by the name of George Pothier, who is pretty much running royalty in these parts. Well, George had a run for the ages today. At 70 years of age, George finished the full marathon in 3:13, good enough for 7th overall. He really puts the rest of us to shame and I have the utmost admiration for his ability and dedication. What a performance!!!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

2 Days, 12 Hours, 45 minutes

Well the time is ticking down now - unfortunately, I am suffering from a stomach virus that is going through our house. About the last thing on my mind right now is running a 1/2 marathon at speed. I am just hoping my body can recoup by Sunday morning but right now I feel pretty wiped and have not run since Tuesday.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Disaster???

One of the key elements that has been missing in the limited training that I have had for Sunday's 1/2 marathon is the inclusion of interval training - I only had so much time and coming off of injury did not want to stress my leg too much and so opted for tempo runs. I would have preferred to be doing both each week in addition to a long run, but it wasn't meant to be as I didn't want to put too much pressure on the leg.

Anyway, this morning I decided to throw in a 6 x 400m set of intervals at 1:20 pace to get in some quicker stuff just prior to the race. Not such a good idea - on my last lap I felt a twinge in my knee again. Hopefully, it is something minor. I am going to take it easy for the remainder of this week. I will probably just run an easy 3 miles or so on Friday to see how I feel. Hopefully, this is just a minor tweak and nothing major.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Tempo, May 6 - Pacing

Ran a decent tempo run this morning - 2 sensible warm up miles, followed by 4 miles at tempo pace and ending in 2 cool down miles. I must admit to having felt sluggish through the run. I hope some down time over the next 10 days will help me feel energized come race day.

I have also come to realize that like all my races, I am seriously undertrained. That said, this really started out as being a training run due to my injury so I have to try to keep that perspective as difficult as that may be.

For the race, I am considering running the first five miles at about 7:00 / mile, the second five miles at 6:50 / mile and then just trying to see what is left in the tank for the remainder. I am not sure if anyone out there has any experience running 1/2 marathons, but would be curious to hear about any experiences people have had with pacing as I have zero experience to draw from at this distance.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Pre Race Jitters


It is funny how I react in the pre-race period each time I get ready to run. Invariably, I find myself filled with self doubt. Is the pace I am planning on running right? Do I feel a twinge in my leg? Is that a cold I feel coming on? I feel tired, I hope I feel better on race day. And so on. Perhaps this will change once I run a few more races, or is a more permanent condition. No matter.... it is what it is.

I had a really iffy week from a training point of view - I felt really tired - as implied in my myriad of complaints above, however, my long run was pretty good - I have included the splits.

Anyway, race day will be what race day will be. Not much longer to wait until I find out if my plans were on target or not.

Splits
MilePace (min/mile)Speed (mph)Heart
Rate
Elev
Gain
actual+/- avgactual+/- avg
17' 22-0' 138.1+0.2134-43 ft
27' 39+0' 047.8-0.1136-53 ft
37' 17-0' 188.2+0.3141-49 ft
47' 21-0' 148.2+0.2146-10 ft
57' 24-0' 118.1+0.2154+112 ft
67' 26-0' 098.1+0.2151+39 ft
77' 43+0' 087.8-0.1151+43 ft
810' 16+2' 415.8-2.1143-79 ft
97' 14-0' 218.3+0.4149-23 ft
107' 06-0' 298.4+0.5149-69 ft
117' 36+0' 017.9-0.0148-16 ft
128' 11+0' 367.3-0.6149+115 ft
138' 27+0' 527.1-0.8145+49 ft
147' 58+0' 237.5-0.41420 ft
end7' 55+0' 207.6-0.3144+6 ft
Versus average of 7' 35 min/mile

Monday, April 28, 2008

3 Weeks To Go - Body is Holding Up - Run Benoit Run

It is three weeks until the Bluenose Marathon. I am only running the 1/2, but so far, after a long period of injury, the body is holding up. This past week I ran about 35 miles and the week previous about 34. This number is not too far short of the overall distance I was putting in on some of my training weeks last year while training for the Valley Harvest Marathon.

Recovering so late has left me a little short in terms of fast pace training. Thus far, I have only run one tempo run and have yet to run an interval run. As a result, I will be short in the speed aspect of my training. Oh well, the real focus of this race is to see how my body will hold up and whether I can begin to train for a Fall marathon in earnest. We will see what cards get dealt on race day. With that in mind I am going to stick in a tempo run tomorrow morning, but may not do any speed work after that to let my body begin to rest up in preparation for the race.

Congratulations go out to Keith Benoit on his recent Boston Marathon. He finished in 3:12:20, which is a great time considering the hills in Boston and the size of the field which invariably slows you down during the early miles. Besides, it gives me a good time to shoot for this Fall :)

Keith is the one in the yellow shirt in the photos.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

All Geeked Out



I have my wife to thank for the above. For the non-runners amongst you, it is a Garmin 305 - a GPS enabled watch that allows one to keep track of such things as current pace, overall pace, heart rate, etc. The great thing is that all of that information can then be downloaded to a computer for analysis later.

The graph shows some details of my run today - heart-rate and pace over the distance. I have to admit that it is ultra-cool to be able to click anywhere on the graph and be shown on a satellite image exactly where I was running at that time.

I am continuing to run at a much better pace in training than last year. Take today for example, on my long run (13.1 miles) I ran at about a 7:30 min/mile pace - almost exactly 1 min/mile faster than last year. Amazing what a few lost pounds can do.

The 13.1 miles were chosen for a specific reason. Up until recently, I harboured no hope of being able to compete in the Bluenose Marathon or 1/2 marathon, however, over the past couple of weeks things have made me much more optimisitic. The objective of today's run was simply to prove that I could run the 1/2 marathon distance before signing up. I am happy to report that I finished the run without any big issues and as a result have signed up for the Bluenose 1/2. I still wish the injury would not have cropped up as I would have liked to run the full marathon. Oh well, the key is that I will be out there for the half and looking forward to it... perhaps moreso than if I had been able to train without issue all Winter. Perspective is a wonderful thing.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Spring - In My Step

There is a little bit of Spring in my step this morning. Last night I decided that the time was right to start easing back into some real training. With that in mind, I set out for an Tempo run this morning. For those of you who are reading this and don't have a running background, a Tempo run is essentially running a hard, but controlled, pace. Physiologically you should be right around your anaerobic threshold - the highest effort level at which your body can perform without building up lactic acid. Now with that out of the way, the following is from this morning's training log:

First Tempo run since getting injured. Felt good although I did struggle a little between miles 3 and 4 of the Tempo.

The breakdown:

2 warmup miles @ 8:10 min / mile
4 miles @ 6:26 min / mile
2 cooldown miles@ 8:08 min / mile

I am pretty excited as I haven't run a tempo run since last Fall and to be able to go at a 6:26 pace for 4 miles first time out is certainly helping with my mental outlook and has put a Spring in my step.

Monday, April 14, 2008

A Life More Ordinary


I am happy to report that my leg continues to improve and, as a result, my mileage and running consistency continues to improve. I am moving towards a more ordinary state of training which is great!! The following is from last week's log:

Tue 7 miles - 7:48 min / mile pace
Wed 6 miles - 7:47 min / mile pace
Fri 5 miles - 8:04 min / mile pace
Sat 9 miles - 7:41 min / mile pace
Sun 4 miles - 8:30 min / mile pace

You will notice that everything is being run at a pretty consistent pace. As I am still coming off of my injury I am just thinking about getting my mileage up and getting back in the groove as opposed to any specific hill, tempo or interval training. Right now, it is just about getting out the door and getting some miles in. The exception to this was Sunday, when I deliberately slowed things down a bit to make sure I recovered from the previous 9 mile run on the previous day. I also slowed my pace down this week on the other runs by about 10 - 20 seconds per mile as I want to avoid re-injuring myself. So far things are looking pretty good.

This leads me to thoughts that haven't entered my head for some time, training for a marathon. I am beginning to think about writing out a training plan to get me in shape for a PR this Fall. I want to be really prepared this time around as opposed to last Fall when I entered my first and so far only marathon after only 8 weeks training. That time I learned to respect the distance more in future. With that comes the need for a plan. Helmuth von Molke said the following:

" No battle plan survives contact with the enemy"

This will be my credo while I train. I am going to write down my plan, but will not be so rigid as to follow it no matter what. If I am feeling lethargic, or like an injury may be coming on, I will alter the plan to ensure I stay healthy. However, I look at the plan as a base from which I can be successful this Fall. Hopefully, I won't look like the above photo afterward next time around.


Next - good luck wishes to Keith Benoit as he sets out to run the Boston Marathon one week from today. Have a great one man!!! If things go well for me in the Fall, perhaps we can line up together next year.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

A Strange Incident

Slowly but surely, I think I am beginning to round back into shape. I still have some pain in my knee, but with each week it is diminishing - I am seeing progress. Take last week for example, I ran 5 times - something I have not been able to do since getting injured.

Monday: approx 6 miles
Wednesday: approx 4 miles
Friday: approx 6 miles
Saturday: approx 4 miles
Sunday: 8.2 miles

This is not an overwhelming amount of mileage, but considering where I have been I'll take it. All days except for Sunday represent estimates. I was really beginning to get curious about pace and what my real distances were so on Sunday I took the trouble to measure my run online. Lo and behold - my estimate of 7.5 miles was short by quite a bit. Essentially, as part of recovery I was estimating my distances based on my relaxed running pace last year prior to the injury. Typically, I had been running about 8:20 per mile during these sessions. Given that I was running coming out of an injury I had guessed my pace would be no better. Making my calculations, however, I now realize that I am considerably faster right now than I was last year. The 8.2 I ran on Sunday worked out to be about a 7:30 pace. Considering I was running a easy relaxed pace this is much better than I expected. I guess losing 20 pounds has had some impact.

Now to the strange incident. During Sunday's run I had something happen to me that has never happened before. I was running along my usual route when a police car headed towards me with its lights flashing. Thinking that it was going to stop a car for speeding heading in the opposite direction, I remained blissfully ignorant to it. A couple of moments later, I noticed that I was the focus of the officers intentions as the car slowed down and the officer made a waiving motion for me to stop (I can't say pull over as I was already on the shoulder of the road). Anyway, I was perplexed as to what was going on and to make light of things asked the officer, "Am I going to fast?" As it turns out, this wasn't the issue. Currently, there is a criminal in the Halifax area who escaped from prison guards enroute from a prison to day surgery at a local hospital. He is considered armed and dangerous and they, the police, happened to be tracking him a mile or so from where I was running. Apparently, runners can spook tracking dogs causing a potential incident and can be considered "hostage bait" for escapees. So the officer kindly asked me to change my route for the day and rerouted me in the opposite direction. It was all perfectly explainable, but quite strange to come to the realization that your are being stopped by the police while running.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Now We Are Getting Somewhere

I have to admit that I was somewhat... well, largely skeptical when I read about Active Response Technique (ART) therapy on a running forum about a week-and-a-half ago. However, I was desperate, and as the old saying goes, "Desperate times call for desperate measures".

Well, I have to admit that my initial doubt is, thus far, unfounded. After 2 treatments I was able to run close to 5 miles without any discomfort whatsoever. Considering that just over a week ago I couldn't manage more than 2 mile, the bulk of which was painful, I think this represents significant progress. Things are by no means perfect yet, but at least I have hope of recovery on the horizon. One week ago, I would not have thought it was possible.

I am not ready to write about Tempo Runs or Intervals or Long Runs, but I now have hope that I am over the bulk of my injury with real training on my horizon.

Monday, March 24, 2008

The Great Outdoors was Great!!!

Sorry about the long hiatus. Frustration was rearing its ugly head and frankly, I didn't have much to write about as I was unable to run recently. The few times I had tried I had to stop after about 1.5 miles as my running form was way off due to the level of pain I was under.

Since my last report, I have moved on to another treatment approach. I went to see a chiropractor who specializes in Active Response Technique (ART) on Thursday. Without any disclosure from me he was able to detect an abnormality in my right leg that I was aware of but did not think would be implicated in my current problem - he disagreed and who am I to argue. Anyway, I received one treatment from him on Thursday and he seemed confident that I should see marked improvement in 3 weeks. He also gave me the go ahead to continue running - as long as the pain was not too intense.

With the above instruction, I set out for my first run on Friday. I went for 4 miles and it went reasonably well. Yesterday, Sunday, I went for 6 and that too was pretty good. I can still feel pain, but it was not debilitating. Today, Monday, I went again - this time for 7 miles. I feel much as I did yesterday. I have some pain in my knee and my glutes, but nothing I can't handle. This marks the first time that I have run outdoors back to back since early January when this issue began. I am beginning to become a happy camper. Given the duration that this has lasted, while not convinced I am on the road to recovery, I am at least cautiously optimistic. With the way I have felt recently, this is an accomplishment in itself.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Great Outdoors Wasn't So Great

Last week I ran outside for the first time since the injury started - a period of about 2 months. My physiotherapist and I wanted to put in an outside run as a test of my IT Band as it is generally known that running on unlevel surfaces can irritate the injury. Running on undulating terrain would help us to ascertain whether things were truly getting better. I was also motivated by a desire to run outdoors - frankly running on the treadmill is starting to get old.

Well, things didn't quite go as well as I had hoped. While it was lovely to run outdoors again, at about 2 miles in the IT Band began to flare up and by the time I finished (about 6.5 miles) it was quite painful. Due to travelling for work and my physiotherapist being off for a few days, I have not had any treatment since. I have managed a few runs on a treadmill, but must admit that there is currently more discomfort than prior to my jaunt outdoors. We may need to rethink the treatment strategy and, shudder the thought, I may have to take a prolonged period of time off as I am not seeing the progress I would like. With a Spring marathon out of the question, it may make more sense to focus on getting better and seeing if I can get in a position to start training for a Fall race.

Monday, March 3, 2008

A Little Relief - log

Last week was somewhat promising. While my IT Band is still giving me some grief, it is a whole lot better. I was able to complete without difficulty all 4 runs I scheduled (20 miles in total) and was completely without pain on two of them. Last night, to add a little more stress and further test my recovery, I stepped up the pace a little. Up until now, I had been running at 7 - 7.5 mph on the treadmill and last night I increased it to 8 - 8.5. During the run, everything was quite comfortable and I easily finished the run. This morning, however, I do notice some pain in my knee - it isn't too bad, but it isn't quite fixed yet either.

So, all in all, I am doing a whole lot better and am looking forward to returning to my normal mileage/training in the not-too-distant future.

For those of you looking for an online training log, I would highly recommend the log running2win as it is a great site. The site has a great interface, as well as, forums, motivational quotes, and a variety of calculators. The service is second to none. A few quick emails back and forth to Mike at the site and he had my Runner's World data imported and up on their site.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

TWIR



This week in running was somewhat disappointing. I did manage 3 runs for a total of 14 miles, however, had to abandon a run and really don't feel as if I am making any great headway. The knee still hurts and the issue does not seem to be resolving itself to any great degree.

Oddly enough, I truly find myself missing long runs. I used to typically do a 12+ miler on Sunday's. I found that a run that takes me over 90 minutes invariably gets me to a zone where I can clear my brain. As well, it was a great way to catch podcasts I don't otherwise have the opportunity to listen to. I find it to be particularly galling on a day like today, as it is 0 degrees, with no wind and not a cloud in the sky - perfect running conditions for this time of year.

Slowly creeping up on me is the marathon I was planning to run this Spring. Today marks the date in which I had told myself if I was not training seriously that I would put the idea of running the race to bed. Sleep tight - maybe next year. With 12 weeks left until the race, I don't foresee being able to pull off the training I wish to do. Last Fall, I trained for the Valley Harvest Marathon in about 8 weeks - my first marathon. Finishing the race, however, I vowed to have more respect for the distance, and for that matter my body in the future. With that in mind, I set out a 16 week training program for a Spring marathon. With 12 weeks to go, I refuse to chop off any more of the training regimen. I really have no desire to look as I do in the picture above again.

Looks like it is a Fall race this year.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Patience, or is that patients is a virtue???


Not much to report. I was hoping, by this time, to be writing on different types and durations of training runs in my training plan, but alas, things are not going as I had envisioned.

All things considered, I didn't have a bad week last week. I ran four times for a grand total of 19 miles. This represents about 1/2 the mileage I would like to be running at this time and does not even begin to address the pace issues I am facing. For the most part, I have been running at a pretty pedestrian pace - approximately 7 mph on average. What continues to be disconcerting is that there does not appear to be a great change in my knee. I am not getting any big stabs of pain, which is good, however, the constant dull ache remains and does not appear to be getting any better, which is bad.

That said, I did go for a five-mile run this morning and stepped it up a little bit to 8 mph for an extended period (15 min) and did not suffer any ill effects above and beyond those previously noted.

One source of irritation is my reliance on a treadmill at the moment. I am sticking to running indoors as to lessen the pressure on my knee, as a treadmill provides more cushion than the road does. While I am sure my knee appreciates this, my mind is finding it difficult to deal with the boredom of running while stationary.

So, I guess, the message is to stay patient, which I am finding difficult as time ticks on. Each passing day reminds me that the likelihood of running a Spring marathon is getting slimmer.

On the positive front, at the suggestion of my physiotherapist, I have switched to a cushioning shoe and just purchased the Adidas Adistar Cushion 6. I must say that so far I really like them. Once I get some more miles on them I may post a review or something, but my initial impression of them is quite favorable.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

What is this blog about?

For a blog purported to be about running, there have been precious few posts about the intended purpose. Hopefully, that is about to change. I ran 4 miles yesterday morning and again today. Both runs were at a rather pedestrian 9 min/mile pace but the good news is that I didn't suffer any great discomfort in either. I have quickly come to the conclusion that I have lost some fitness in the last month, but it just feels great to be back at it. I followed up my run this morning with a visit to the physiotherapist's office and received the "go-ahead" from her to begin some longer runs. I'll let you know how that goes.

Speaking of being back at it. Would anyone have a good recommendation for a neutral running shoe for a 180 lb man with flat feet? Input would be appreciated.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Cautious Optimism - Neutral Outlook

I ran three miles on the treadmill yesterday. It was the first time since my most recent debacle in which I struggled to get to an equal distance. Things have changed for the better it seems as I finished the short distance without much in the way of pain.

So what was the difference? At my last physio appointment, the physiotherapist and her intrepid orthodic fitter took a look at my foot structure in relationship to the "support" running shoes I have traditionally worn. I have extremely low arches, which are typically the hallmark of an individual that needs "stability" or "motion control" shoes to control pronation (the rolling over of the foot during a running stride). Well, it appears that I may be an anomaly. After inspecting my feet, they came to the conclusion that, despite my low arches, I appear to have a "neutral" foot strike - one that does not need assistance from a shoe or orthotic shoe insert. When a guy who sells orthotics for a living tells you that you do not need them, you tend to take it as a reasonable position.

During my short run yesterday I wore a pair of "neutral" shoes and ran relatively comfortably - I say relatively as I had some lingering pain from this past Tuesday when I started the run. So while I was not completely without pain, I felt great overall in coparison to my previous outing.

So am I cured? I am not sure yet, however, I must say that the progress compared to my last outing has led me to be cautiously optimistic.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Kneejerk Reaction

Well, the initial excitement has been resoundingly squished. As my physiotherapist mentioned that I could begin to run again in a limited fashion (4-5 miles), I set out to do just that ASAP. Buoyed by the news, I began a four mile run on my treadmill yesterday morning. I was only about 1/2 a mile in when the pain started to come back and I had to shut things down after 3 miles.

Hindsight being 20/20, I should have shut things down after the first pain, but for some inane reason tried to run through it. Yesterday, for the remainder of the day, the pain was agonizing at times and is still causing me difficulties today. Oh well, another lesson learned - listen to your body stupid.

Back to physio tomorrow and I'll update the state of my knee afterwards.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Physio - tight strings and a weak arse!

I had my first physio appointment today and things are looking up. Essentially, my IT Band problem appears to be a manifestation of two other issues. Essentially, my hamstrings in both legs are far too tight and my gluteus minimus on my right side (arse to you) is weak and needs strengthening. In describing the lack of flexibility in my hamstrings, she actually referred to me as "pathetic" in ability. I don't know if I have ever been referred to in that way for anything... however, it is the truth.

I have been given a series of exercises to complete in conjunction with treatments I will go under for the next little while.

The great news is that I can begin running again!!! I have to keep it below 5 miles per workout initially, but at least I am going to be out there. Whooo hooo! Blue Nose, here I come!!!

Friday, February 1, 2008

And the verdict is in.....

Well, not surprisingly, my Doctor has diagnosed me with "IT Band Friction Syndrome".

I like my Doc and I like her approach. She immediately suggested I go to physio, and rely on the physiotherapist to make a determination as to when I can run again. As she said, diagnosis, not rehabilitation is her game. So, beginning on Tuesday morning, I will be going to my first physio appointment to address this and hopefully return to the roads before long.

In the meantime, I am itching to get going. I have now missed a week of marathon training and figure I only have about a 2-3 week window in which to get back at it if I hope to run a Spring marathon. The more I look at it, the less likely it seems it will happen. Oh well, much worse things could happen in life.

Johnny Cochrane said, "if the glove don't fit, you must acquit".

Today I say, "If the knee's in pain, from the road you must refrain".

Have a great weekend!!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

What to do now?


So what do you do if you are injured and unable to run? If you are me, you look for alternatives to try and keep somewhat shape.

I have really stepped up the abdominal work and am doing a lot of stretching to try and loosen up the IT Band if, indeed, that is my issue. I have an appointment with my doctor this Friday to start the process of determining exactly what is wrong.

As well, I have started exercising on a Nordic Track machine like the one pictured to try and keep some measure of fitness. I have been very careful and stepping up my times on the machine slowly as I do not want to re-injure myself, however, after my first workout I felt fine. We'll see what today brings.

Speaking of today, it was supposed to start the beginning of my training for the Blue Nose Marathon. This is not really the way I had planned on ushering it in. Oh well, you have to deal with reality and, hopefully, I will be back on the road soon and this will only be a setback as opposed to the end of the hopes for a Spring marathon.

The following is a promo link for the Blue Nose Marathon:


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

One Freaking Mile

I am slowly degenerating physically. I got up for my morning run this morning and after one mile had to admit that it wasn't going to happen, that the pain in the knee was too strong to continue. So I put my time to good use and did an abdominal workout.

One year ago, the very thought of getting up at 5:00 am would have seemed like a silly endeavor to be avoided at all costs. I have reached the point where I warmly embrace this ritual, at least most mornings, and am already missing it as it has been three weeks now since I last ran in the manner I like.

Officially, my training for a Spring marathon was supposed to begin this weekend and I had promised that I would train properly this time as opposed to the 8 weeks that I put in for my first one. Looks like I may have to begin changing my approach and looking towards a fall marathon as I think the next month or two may be about recovery as opposed to training.

The really frustrating aspect to all of this is the new focus I will have to place on my diet in an effort to not gain weight.... just when I was starting to see some gains in this area after a period of frustration. Arrgghhh!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Mixed Bag

I was out of town on business last week and went for a 6 mile run on a treadmill at the hotel. The run went pretty well, with no real sign of pain and I was feeling optimistic about recovering from my injury and taking on a longer run thinking I was over the hump.

On Saturday, I decided to take on a 13 miler and for the first 7 miles it seemed doable, however, the IT band or whatever it is that is bothering me, returned in spades to the point I couldn't go on after 11 miles. At least walking is not an issue as I had to do just that for the final two miles back to my house.

I just finished booking an appointment with my Doc for next week as it is high time to get to the bottom of this.

In the meantime, I have to reconsider my first major goal for 2008, the running of the Blue Nose Marathon as I will not be running it if I cannot train properly.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Technolust


By now many of you will have seen the new Garmin 405 watch that was unveiled at the recent CES show. GPS, heart-rate monitor all in a sleek traditional watch like form-factor.

I noticed today that Runners World has posted a new video of it. You can see the video by clicking here. The watch is actually smaller in size than I had anticipated. I was a little suspicious prior to seeing this video as to the overall size of the watch as all prior videos have not shown it on someone's wrist. However, in this video it does appear to be a reasonable size to be used as an everyday watch.

I am still curious as to how long the battery life is on this thing. What I mean here is how long the rechargeable battery will last before it dies and needs to be replaced. That said, it does seem to be pretty cool... especially for a self-professed techno geek.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

IT Band


I went for a 5 mile run on the treadmill this morning as we had overnight snow followed by freezing rain and the wimp in me said that going outside wasn't an option as a result.


No improvement to report in the knee, nor is it getting worse. I have been doing a little bit of research and am coming to the conclusion that I am having an issue with my Iliotibial (IT) band. The pain is on the outside of the knee and is not terrible, however, it becomes more pronounced when running up, or particularly, down hills. As well, I do, from time to time, have some pain in the buttocks, as opposed to being one.

I have begun to incorporate some IT Band specific stretching into my life as it can't hurt if my self diagnosis is incorrect. Anyone out there have an IT Band issue in the past? What helped you get through it? I am thinking about seeing my doc and, potentially, a physiotherapist in the near future to confirm/disprove my thoughts and provide measures to correct the current situation.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Eternal Frustration of the Injured Knee

Well I decided to go for a little longer run today to see if I could get back on track after missing the better part of a week with an injured knee. I wasn't quite sure how far I would go and was going to rely on my body for feedback.

Things did not begin well - within a quarter of a mile I was having a real bite in my knee.. to the extent that I was about to shut things down. Then suddenly things felt better, especially as long as I kept the pace down. I managed to get to one of my turnaround points (4.5 miles) on a trail I run quite frequently. The second half presented several points in which the knee started to bother me again. Anyway, I managed to finish 9 miles with an overall pace of 8:20 / mile. The pace was not really of any concern, however, the pain is. The odd thing about this is that as long as I am not running I do not feel any pain.

Anyway, the next scheduled run on Tuesday will be interesting. Did today's venture inflame things? I am hoping not. I must admit to being somewhat frustrated that the week off did not present me with any real improvement. I had been hoping that today would represent the beginning of my return to my base mileage. It may have represented the beginning of a prolonged period of rest. Arrrghh!!!

Wait Weight... Don't Tell Me

I was listening to an interview with Lance Armstrong after he had finished this year's NY Marathon explaining his large improvement from his previous entry. He went through a bunch of things including better training, however, he did also mention the loss of 7 pounds. He then went on to say that it is no secret why most of the elite male marathoners are in the 130 - 140 pound range.

Not that any of this is rocket science, but in my endeavor to be competitive with my childhood friend the next time we run a marathon together, I am endeavoring to take off some weight. During my first marathon I was 195 lbs.... hardly a light-weight at 5' 10". Since that race in October I have managed to take off about 10 lbs. I read somewhere that 1 lb lost equates to almost 1 minute over the duration of a marathon. I will hopefully be successfully putting that to the test this Spring. I have close to 20 minutes to make up so I am hoping better training and some conservative weight loss will help me get there.

Heads up Keith, there is a skinnier version of the old me in your rear view mirror.

;-)

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Watching Progress

Up until this point in time I have relied solely on a standard running watch to monitor my running progress. I do find, however, that I would like to have a better understanding of my pace during a run. I am curious if any of the estimated 2 - 3 people that read this blog have had any experience with either the GPS or Footpod enabled watches. I have taken a look at both the Forerunner 50 and the Polar RS200sd. I am just curious as to whether anyone has anything negative or positive to say about either.

My wants are something that would allow me to monitor my current and overall pace while running and provide me with an easy way to monitor more detailed information post-run. I guess the other aspect of this would be if anyone recommends a GPS watch over the ones mentioned above and the rationale as to why.

Note: I am going to test out my knee in about an hour... wish me luck. I'll let you know how it went.

Update: I ran for 1/2 hour this afternoon easily. Good and bad news. First the bad; there has been no improvement in the knee in the past week. I still have a dull ache while running... though not otherwise. The good news is that while running for the 30 minutes the pain didn't get any worse. I think I will stretch things out a little distance wise tomorrow to test it further... unless, of course, things tighten up overnight.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Whoa Nelly!!!

I woke up this morning at 5:00 am, my normal run time, all bright and chipper to begin my run. My knee felt good, and as a result, I was looking forward to continuing my base training. However, as soon as I took my first stride I knew my scheduled run was in jeopardy. I felt the same dull twinge that I felt on my last run. Nothing too intense, but I now know to shut things down when things feel amiss. So I am disappointed - I was bouyed when I woke up this morning and didn't feel any discomfort in my knee as I got dressed to run. However, those first tentative strides told me that it just wasn't going to happen today.

Perhaps this is a blessing in disguise. Since August, I have been training at a pretty steady pace. Maybe my body is just telling me to take a rest prior to beginning training for a marathon in the Spring. Who knows. Anyway, I am going to do my best to take it easy over the next few days and I think I will start to use my Ski Machine to cross train. I have been meaning to start using it... so perhaps this is the impetus I need to get started.

Time to rest, rest, rest ........

Monday, January 7, 2008

Shazzbot!!!

I went for a easy 6.5 mile run yesterday after having run 12.5 the day previously. All was going well, however, mid-run I began to feel a twinge in my right knee. In an attempt to be prudent, I shut things down about 1/2 mile after feeling the twinge and noticing that it wasn't going away. Today, I can feel the same dull ache so tomorrows run may be in jeopardy. That said, it isn't the end of the world. I am still about 20 week's away from the marathon I am planning on entering and I just plan on taking it a little easy for the next while until the knee feels good again. I may go out tomorrow if all feels well in the morning, however, if things don't feel OK, I will take some more time to rest.

I guess the message here is to listen to your body. If it is telling you not to run you probably shouldn't. To try and continue on is likely going to cause more harm than good. So... here is hoping that all feels fine tomorrow, and if not tomorrow then sometime soon.

Halifax Weather