Missed runs and Refocusing

20180427_110636.jpgSo, its been awhile since I posted anything. That’s partially because I haven’t ran in over two and a half weeks. But I have a fairly good reason. At least I think it is.

Two days before the race I started to get a little bit of a sore throat. Not a big deal I thought. I started pushing vitamin C pretty hard and decided to take it easy. Friday I had a little bit of a sniffle but again didn’t think much of it.

Then came the plane ride to Indiana.

Flying with sinus issues is never fun. But, I’ve survived it before and was confident that I would again. As the nearly 4 hour flight wore on I began feeling worse and worse. I was getting colder and colder. Even my three year old daughter cuddling up next to me wasn’t warming me up any.

OK, I have a fever.

Then came the uncontrollable shivering.  Coach V was getting pretty worried about me at this point and started mentioning that a half marathon in less than 12 hours might not be a best idea.  I dismissed that thought at first because I’m stubborn and hated the idea of all this training and not taking my shot at a sub 2 hour half.  I was sure that the fever was about to break and that with some sleep I’d be fine.

We landed, got our bags, and I made the very tough decision that it would be better not to drive to Illinois get 3 hours of sleep and then run.  The better plan was to go to our friends in Noblesville and be able to sleep in the next morning.

When Anna pulled up to take us to her place she thought that I “looked like hell” and that it was a good call to not do the race.

They took my temperature right before we went to bed and I was still at 102.  Honestly, I thought it had come down quite a bit from earlier.

So, I slept until 10 I think.  Temperature when I woke up was still 102.  But it broke shortly after I took a shower and I was feeling somewhat human again.

The decision not to run was the right one.  Even though it killed me, metaphorically speaking, to bail on a race.  I think that it may have come close to literally killing me if I had run it.  Best case I would have been extremely disappointed with the result.

So, I suffered though the next week with a horrible cough, sore throat, and I completely lost my voice.  Which is fun when a lot of your job includes being on conference calls.  I was coughing so bad especially at night that I was waking myself up and couldn’t get back to sleep.  A whole week of only 3-4 hours of fitful sleep is not a great idea. Finally the next Friday my boss came by and told me to go home and see a doctor.

So, I did. and that’s when I was told it was an upper respiratory infection and that it would be a good idea to take a couple of days off work.  They also gave my antibiotics and REALLY good cough syrup.  Well, I call it really good but it was really effective.  It tasted absolutely horrible.

Now in week three of the illness that won’t quit.  I still don’t feel great.  my throat is still sore and I can’t hardly stand the thought of running.  And at the same time I am very eager to get going again.

I’ve taken this time to really think about where my priorities are in running.

I need to get faster.

Like I want to be ALOT faster.

That started with shorter distances and working on my form.  I’m going to incorporate hill training into my weekly routine and I am looking to find a track to do some speed work like pyramids and intervals.  If anyone reading this has ideas on increasing speed I’m open to try things.

I’m also doing more short (5k) races over the summer.  The race schedule for the year currently looks like this:

5/26– ARIZONA SUNRISE SERIES – KIWANIS PARK

6/9- ARIZONA SUNRISE SERIES – SCOTTSDALE SPORTS COMPLEX

6/23- ARIZONA SUNRISE SERIES – FREESTONE PARK

7/7-Spartan Stadium Series Sprint – University of Phoenix Stadium

7/7- ARIZONA SUNRISE SERIES – ARIZONA FALLS

7/21- ARIZONA SUNRISE SERIES – RIPARIAN

8/4- ARIZONA SUNRISE SERIES – RIO VISTA PARK

8/18- ARIZONA SUNRISE SERIES – FOOTHILLS

12/2 Hot Chocolate 15K

12/9 Buckeye Marathon

12/15 Estrella Trail 10K\5K Challenge

Most of them I will do in person, 3 I’m going to do a virtual run since I can’t be there on race day.  I’ll probably add some more to fill in September through November.  Although that will be the height of the Marathon training so it might be best to lay off the races for a little bit.

Its a neat series with each race adding to a point total that makes you eligible for a drawing in the fall.

Hopefully my throat calms down soon and I can get back to it this weekend.  Until then…C-YA!

 

Flights and strollers

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So, I’ve gotten a little behind. Last weekend I went to Indiana to pick up my daughter for the week. I’ve been a little distracted.

But I stay with some friends in Indiana who are huge into Crossfit. They enjoy nothing more, that may be an exaggeration, than taking their friends to classes at there gym when they visit. SO….I went to the cardio class with Anna at Three Kings.

Three kings

It was diffidently challenging. the thing I found interesting is that I had a really hard time getting my heartrate into the target zone that the workout prescribed. I think that I’ve got my conditioning to the point that a 30-90 second burst, even when I go all out, isn’t enough to get my heart going.

Anna tells me that Matt, has the same issue. I suppose that its a good thing. I also didn’t feel as dead afterward as I did the last couple of times they took me with them. It was a good workout and pointed out that I need to do a little more than just run.

So, on the plane ride back I did a little research. I figured out that I need to start the marathon training on July 21. Which means between next Monday and then I can change my focus a little bit.

Strength training is one of the things that I need to work on more. Coach V is more of a lifter and she can help me with that. I’m hopping to build strength in in arms and core. When I was in high school I didn’t have to worry about lifting as much since I was helping on the family farms. there was a point when I could carry 225 lbs and squat lift 150 lbs in the form of feed bags. The crazy thing was I could essentially do that all day because I had to. I could also throw 90 lbs well over my head repetitively for 14 hours a day for several days in a row. Hay is heavy. I think that now I could maybe manage one hay bail and I would pay for it for a week.

I also want to concentrate my running more on speed and form than distance. I know from the videos that Coach V takes on the long runs that I have a couple of problems with my form. Tortoise and Hare has good form running clinics about once a month hopefully I can go to that and get a little help with my form.

As far as speed is concerned I think keeping to shorter distances and hill work will go a long way toward improving my speed.

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Sunday, I went for an 8 mile run. It was hot and slow about an 11 minute mile pace. But had the newest member of my support crew along in the trailer behind Coach V. It was great having her along. A little voice saying “good job daddy” every time we passed was great. Coach V also said that she said good morning to everyone they passed.

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Today I went for a short 1.5 mile run just to stretch out and move a little. I put Amelia in the trailer and pushed it. All I have to say is that I know have a TON of respect for all the parents out there who run pushing a stroller on a regular basis. That is some seriously tiring work.

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I’ve got one more run before the big day Saturday. I’m getting pretty nervous but having my daughter here this week is a good distraction from the running stuff. I’ll be doing 4 miles Thursday morning with the group. Until then….C-ya!

A donut and Bike Attempt 2

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So, its been an interesting week.

I felt really good after the long run last weekend.  And then Tuesday I got sick.  I could barely eat.  I think I had a handful of fries Tuesday night and I had to force myself to do that.

Needless to say I didn’t run Tuesday.

Thursday I was feeling much better so I got up and went for the 4 mile run with the group.

That felt amazing.  I was able to get into that same groove that I found on Sunday during the long run and just went.  I was almost disappointed when I got to the end of the loop.  I held a pretty consistent 9:10 mile.  If I can hold that pace for the half I’ll finish in 1:59:59.   So I rewarded myself with a blueberry donut!

I actually don’t think that I’m going to meet the under 2 hour goal.  Skipping forward 4 weeks in the training plan was just too much.  But I’m going to take a shot anyway.

I’m also a little concerned about the weather on race day.  The high for Champaign, IL next Saturday is 65.  They probably think that sounds amazing after the “spring” that the Midwest has had this year.

Today in Phoenix the low is 60 and I’ve heard people complaining about this recent “cold snap”.

Add in some humidity and it should be interesting.

So, Thursday night Coach V decided that we needed to go on a training ride for her tri on May 5.  So we set off on a 12 mile training ride.  I finally after having it for years attached a water bottle to the bike.

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I’m still not a biker.  And maybe I’m doing it wrong.  Is it even possible to bike wrong?  I know that its suppose to be easier on the joints due to the low impact as compared to running.  But it hurts my knees.  And my back.  And my hands. And especially my butt.  Seriously how do people sit on those hard, little seats?

Anyway…….

This weekend I’m flying to Indiana on Friday and back on Saturday.  Then Sunday we will have a delayed Easter with my daughter and an easy 8 mile run.  Until then….C-ya!

NOT a biker and Sub 8 miles

This week’s schedule got a little weird on me.

Monday despite all the running around over the weekend I felt GREAT. I was itching to run all day. But I needed the recovery. So, I went on a bike ride with Coach V and the kids. She is training for a tri the first weekend of May so the kids trailer was hooked up to my bike.

I have not rode a bike in almost a year. I have a vintage Schwinn from 1973. Its a heavy all steel bike. Add to that the 2 35 pound kiddos and the weight of the cart and I had my work cut out for me.

I am not a biker. I’ve always kind of wanted to be but it can get quite expensive and those seat! OMG those seat are the worst things (pause here for dramatic effect) in the word!

On top of it being uncomfortable about 3.5 miles into the ride the darn thing came loose.

Despite all of that it was a little fun. The kids at one point just started signing. Which was cute. And it was a good non-running workout.

I’m going to keep periodically trying to bike but I’m still skeptical.

We finished the evening with a 1 mile run so that coach could work on the transition from bike to run. She thought it felt awkward. I most felt relieved to be off the darn bike and back to something I know.

Generally on Tuesdays I run during lunch. I don’t particularly like getting up early and I was still recovering from the weekend. Besides on Tuesdays I normally run during lunch anyway. Well this Tuesday I had several meetings get scheduled over lunch fairly last minute. So I didn’t get to run. I have other commitments on Tuesday night so no joy there either.

SO I moved the run to Wednesday. It was suppose to be a hill training run. For other reasons I worked from home and there are no hills nearby. So I decided, since I’m running a 5K this weekend to see what a 3 mile run would look like.

I made a couple of mistakes.

  1. I waited until 11 am. Its starting to get hot here in the valley of the sun and 11 am was already approaching 90 degrees F. But its a dry heat right?
  2. I, for reasons I’m not really sure of, decided to eat several pieces of beef jerky and a cheese stick before heading out for a speed run. This is dumb, don’t do it. about mile 2.5 my stomach started to cramp hard.
  3. Its trash day. So what does that mean? It means that once I left the major roads that all the neighborhoods back up to I had to run right by everyone’s trash cans. I found myself in a debate over whether the full but closed cans or the emptied but open can had a worse smell. I eventually decided they were both really bad and it didn’t really matter so I would hold my breath as I went by. This is extremely hard to do while running.

Despite these mistakes that was the fastest 3 miles that I’ve ran since high school. For those of you who follow me on Strava you may have seen that I averaged 7:57 min/mile. that’s a little ridiculous since when I started this I was really excited about a 9:30 min/mile for just 2 miles.

Mile 1 was 7:33. I don’t’ even know what to say. I’m supper excited by that.

Saturday I’m running the Cookies and Cream 5K in Scottsdale. Coach V wants me to see how fast I can burn it. I’m both nervous and excited.

But before then I have another training run tomorrow morning. So, until then…C-ya!

Injuries and Holding the Form

I’m really hard on myself.

I don’t so much mean mentally, although I am that too, I mean physically.

This became pretty evident on Thursday’s run.

My calves are beginning to have issues. The area directly behind my ankles have become extremely tight to the point that I had to stop and walk for a little bit on my Thursday run.

I mentioned this to my physical therapist on Friday and she did some soft tissue work and used a cold laser on it. It feels a TON better now. Thank you Optimal Living

I was talking to someone earlier in the week about the injuries I’ve had over the years. These are just the major issues. I’ve dislocated my right shoulder 3 times and my left 2 nearly 3. I’ve broken my right ankle. Severely spranged my right wrist. Dislocated my pinky finger. I’m fairly certain I’ve broken several toes, although I can’t confirm that one. I’ve dislocated my knee and I’ve had 5 concussions. And I have some defects in my lower back.

I’m a little beat up.

The knee is a funny story. Ok, I think its funny.

My last year of college I decided to join the Purdue Marching Band on the drumline. For those wondering I am NOT a drummer. They needed cymbal players and since that’s what they needed and they claimed they could teach me to march and play I agreed to help them out in that position.

I enjoyed the heck out of my marching experience although I am glad I only did it one year. its a HUGE time commitment. I also don’t think that my body could have taken another year of it. 2 of the shoulder dislocations and the knee dislocation where during that one season in the Purdue AAMB (All-American Marching Band).

So, the team was pretty good that year and we went to the Sun Bowl in El Paso Texas over Christmas break. We did countless parades, pep rallies, rehearsals and other random gigs over a 5 day period. I loved my bandmates and am still great friends with many of them. Spending that much time with them all was incredible but exhausting. Athletically speaking the marching band is no joke. And on top of that I felt like most of them weren’t taught much about the importance of stretching, nutrition, and especially hydration. As a student athlete in high school I was taught to stretch before and after activity, I was given some basics at least about nutrition and that hydration doesn’t mean a large glass of water right before an event. The band, at least when I was in it weren’t really talked to about that type of thing. But that’s a tangent that I may go on later.

After the parades, rehearsals and other gigs the game itself was upon us. We did amazing during the pre-game drill playing a show filled with music from Queen. as we where in the stands I knew that my knee was getting close to its limit. it was sore but not to the point that I would consider not going on. During halftime we did a patriotic set that was a huge crowd pleaser finishing in a shield on the field. I just happened to be in the middle of the field on the 50 yard line. And I knew that my knee was hurt. It was screaming at me but all I had left to do was play the school fight song, “Hail Purdue” and get off the back of the field. This turned out to be final straw.

“Hail Purdue” starts off with an intro that was march in place then all at the same time start marching at a pretty good clip. Normally we would just march forward and the form would collapse into the sideline until we where all off the field and the song was over.

On this day, due to things with the bowl game we needed to go off the back of the field. Which meant we marched in place. took one step forward flipped and marched off the back. It was a maneuver we called a TTR (To The Rear). I’ve done this hundreds if not thousands of times at different points through the season. BUT never on artificial turf.

Purdue shield

So I played the intro, thankful that we would be done soon, stepped off, and made one little mistake.

When one does a TTR is important to stay up on the tow of the foot you step off one and shift your weight to that foot as your turning. Keep in mind that this happens VERY fast. I planted my whole foot with all my weight. So when I did the flip turn MOST of me turned. My foot stayed pointed at the press box as the rest of me tried to turn. Something had to give. Since I marched in combat boots my ankle was safe. the next joint that could give was my already strained knee. And it did.

I’m told by the rest of the drumline that they could hear the POP/CRACK over their playing and I was down.

I did quick evaluation of the situation as I was falling. “I’m falling. There is ALOT of marching band still behind me that may or at not see me. If I can get back to my spot I can hold the form and people won’t notice. I MUST get back to my spot and hold the form.” And with that on a dislocated knee I got off the ground and got to my spot. It was perhaps the most excruciating thing I’ve ever pushed through. But I held the form. Until I crossed the sideline. Then I passed out. I’m told that I managed to fall on my back.

When I came to there where a bunch of people around me stripping my uniform off. A guy in an ASU (Arizona State University) shirt told me not to move and that they would take a look. A eerie calm came over me. there was nothing for me to do but lay there.

Once the uniform was off, we wore shorts and a t-shirt under it, they looked at it. The guy came up to my head, introduced himself as a doctor with the ASU team and told me that it was dislocated. He also said that he could get it back in place but that it was going to hurt. ALOT! He asked if I wanted a count or should he just do it.

“Just do it.”

And with that he nodded. Suddenly I had a guy holding down my chest, a guy on each arm, two people on my left leg and one on my right thigh. He then grabbed my foot by the heel and ball. Without warning it felt like he twisted it and shoved it in all at once.

I screamed.

I screamed so loudly that the teams on the field stopped and looked over to see what was going on.

It hurt. It hurt a lot. When asked to rate pain on a scale of one to ten that’s my 11.

Luckily, they then gave me a shot and I don’t remember the rest of the game.

I’m told that I had a hilarious running commentary. I wish I knew what I said.

So, why tell this story here. Well, I’ve taken a couple of lessons from it.

1. “Whatever pain I’m in it could be worse.” Of course there are different kinds of pain and not everyone reacts to it in the same way. There would have been no shame in stopping and waiting for the injured player cart to get me off the field but that wouldn’t be my style.

2. “Half of everything is luck, the other half is timing.” Good doctors are amazing. Turned out that was one of the top knee specialists in the country. So I go pretty lucky there. If there was a time to injury my knee that was a pretty good one. and I had an entire semester that I didn’t really need to do much athletically to rehab it.

3. “You’ll pass out before you die.” This is something one of my teachers used to tell me before cross country meets but this drove the lesson home. Not sure why but I find that kinda comforting.

4. “Hold the form.” No matter what you are doing others are counting on you to give your best. Even when you maybe fall short of the goal or reaching that PR, others will appreciate that you gave everything you had.

Next run is Saturday. a 10 mile run at 9:45. this will be a tough one. Until then…hold the form 🙂

Backwards Routes and Knee Pain

Thursday mornings I have a group that I normally run with. The only issue, well I say that but there at are couple, is that they run a 4 mile loop. This because an issue when your training program calls for 8 to 10 miles. The other issue is that they start at 5:30 am. I’m told this will make more sense once it gets hot here.

So to solve one issue I had to make another worse. I got up at 4:15 AM so that I could run the loop before the group runs it. I do not like getting up that early as Vicky discovered. Anyway I got to the place and ran the loop. Unfortunately, I didn’t finish the first loop in time to meet everyone for my second loop. So, I decided to run the loop backward and just turn around when the main group met me going the other way.

This leads me to a question. Do you have a route that you run so regularly that you don’t have to think about it? Its just so engrained that you seem to finish and wonder, “did I really just finish?”

Now try to do it backward. Its amazingly difficult. At least it was for me. nearly every intersection I started wondering if I was suppose to turn there. It was so disorienting that I thought I must have missed something and was lost.

Fortunately, I wasn’t and the group found me. I turned around and ended up with a 7 mile run instead of the full 8 to 10.

It wasn’t a great run for me. After several weeks of runs getting stronger and faster I finally had a ‘meh’ run. Pace was 10:42 min/mile I had ALOT of knee and calf pain in mile 2 which took me 12:33. Maybe I didn’t get enough sleep the night before, maybe I was just due for a non-steller run. Maybe I have actually done something to my right calf and knee.

I’m moving the weekend long run, 9 miles at 9:45min/mile, to Saturday. Sunday I’m running in a Tough Mudder with Vicky and a friend from Ohio, Adam. It should be a good time since I enjoy these kind of events and Adam is a fun guy to be around. I’ll let you know how the long run and the Mudder go.

Until then….C-ya

Playlists and Half Marathons

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I went on a 4 mile run during lunch again on Tuesday. This was actually the back up plan. I’ve been told about a group that meets at 5:30 am on Tuesday just down the road from my house and runs 4 miles. Unfortunately, I just missed them because I like to sleep. So, I just went to work early and ran over lunch.

It was a pretty good run. Running beside an airport is fun as I mentioned last week. I’m kinda an airplane nut. I was an aircraft mechanic at one point in my career before moving to engineering. I ran 4 miles at an average 9:12 min/mile pace. But I’m kinda inconsistent. Mile 1 was at 8:20; 2 at 10:05; 3 at 9:40 and 4 at 8:40.

I have a couple of thoughts on why. during mile 2 I had a good amount of pain in my calves and right knee. I actually stopped a few times to try to stretch it out. it mostly worked out for mile 3 and by 4 it felt pretty good again.

Also was my playlist. I noticed that when Oh Yeah by Great Big Sea came on my pace increased. It increased a lot. It played at the beginning of the run and again during the last mile. Something about that song just gets me going. Its got a fairly brisk tempo and it drives really hard.

I’ve heard of people tailoring there running playlist to their running tempo but personally never thought much of it. I’m thinking that it might be a good idea. So, I need to figure out how to find the tempo of songs so that I can try to keep my playlist fairly even. I know that I can be influenced a lot by what I’m listening to so maybe this will even out my pacing.

If any of you out there know how to find tempos let me know. Thanks!

The other topic for this post is my training. After a really long search Vicky and I have determined that there are no half-marathons in AZ mid to late May except trail runs. Don’t get me wrong I like trail runs but I wanted to do a road race. We started looking out of state and found one at the end of April in Illinois. I know that’s a long way from AZ but I’m going to be back in the midwest for a little bit at the end of April anyway.

This has presented a new issue. The training program I’m using (Project 1:59) is set to conclude in mid May. Which means by moving up when the race is I need to move up the training. Instead of being on week 2 I should be on week 4.  So, I need to see if I can jump a couple of weeks.  We’ll see how this goes.

Until then…C-ya!