More Injuries and Addiction

I’ve been reading a lot of books on running and the personal stories of various runners.  They have been written by various levels of runners, although they are all faster

and perhaps more serious than I am.  From the instructional 80/20 Running by Matt Fitzgerald and Endure by Alex Hutchinson to the historic Born to Run and Natural Born Heros by Christopher McDougall to the inspirational North by Scott Jurek, and Let Your Mind Run by Deena Kastor, and the combination of inspiration and instruction of Run Forever by Amby Burfoot. Then my personal favorite, the humorous and inspirational The Incomplete Book of Running by the host of NPR’s Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, Peter Sagal.peter-sagal-the-incomplete-book-of-running

All these books have had some great advice and given me things to think about on my own running journey.  While I’ll never be going for an FKT on the Appalachian Trail, or any other trail for that matter, or competing for a chance to podium on an international race.  I’m still extremely surprised when I get a podium in local 5ks and that is usually because they are small races.  It has made me realize that every runner, regardless of level, has a story.  Whether it is a health scare, overcoming addiction, therapy, or any other host of reasons, we all have something that got us started.

But, for all the host of reasons that we get started we all seem to have one thing in common, other than running of course.  The year that no matter what we did we were plagued by injury.  Sometimes it’s not a whole year, sometimes it’s longer.  For some of us it signals an end to running, some come back even stronger.  Almost all of us realize what running means to us and reflect on what running has brought us, especially those who have been doing it for a long time.  I mean what else do we have to do but think about running while we aren’t able to.

All my life I’ve battled things that, according to most, should have stopped me from running. Inflamed growth plates in my heals, the flattest feet known to man, knee problems, a list of injuries three pages long. I was told during my junior year of high school track by a doctor that I should stop running forever due to a back problem. And last but not least, asthma.  And not just the mild variety. As a kid I was as bad as they get.  I could only play outside for a couple hours a day at one point because I couldn’t be out in the pollen for longer than that without my lungs seizing up.

I actually think that the asthma and back issues are what have driven me to continue running for as long as I have.  And even with all the of injuries, most of which came through my own stupidity and lack of self-preservation, I’ve always recovered and carried on.  They have never strung themselves together in any way that would keep me down for more than 3 weeks.

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Unfortunately, I’m not as young and able to heal as I once was.  I talked in my last post about having plantar fasciitis for the second time in my right foot.  That stopped me from running completely for 3 weeks and then, at the advice of my physical therapist Charlie, a very slow return.  I’m very happy to report that my right foot feels amazing.  It’s not completely recovered as I still feel a little fatigue toward the end of 3 mile efforts, but it is less each time out.  I have been using a walk run method again suggested by Charlie of 2 min on and 2 min off.  This has been extremely effective and I’m maintaining an average around 11 minutes per mile.  Given that I walk for a good portion of the run is pretty good. It’s also further pointed out that I have no sense of pace.  Some of the runs are well under 8 min/mile and some are around 9:30. And it’s not that the first run cycles are really fast and then they slow down.  They seem to be random.

donut-1024x1024 About a week ago I went to Tortoise and Hare for the monthly donut run.  I was having a really good run.  I was even gaining on one of the faster runners when it felt like someone stabbed me in the calf.  Luckily, it was at the end of a run cycle, so I stopped and tried to stretch it on the curb, then walk it off.  However, at the next run cycle it was back within a few steps.  Did I stop and head back?  Hell NO!  I adjusted my foot strike to land on my heel and that seemed to help.  So, I soldiered on, albeit a little slower.  It also felt super awkward.  I finished my three miles with a noticeable limp.  Later that day, I found myself in my in-law’s pool swimming laps with a 4 and 6-year-old taking turns riding on my back.  Nothing like swimming with a moving 40 lbs weight on your back.

Over the next couple of days there was a dull nagging pain, so I decided that I should rest it and took 5 days off until the Thursday Arrowhead loop.  Which come to think of it is where the plantar started.  Hmmm…

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Anyway, I was glad to be back running and Coach V even came with Molly in a carrier to walk while we all ran.  I intended to take the 3-mile cut of the 4-mile loop, but during the first 2 min run something stabbed my calf again, but this time the pain was more intense.  I walked the rest of that run cycle and the next trying to stretch as I was walking.  I also decided to turn around at the mile mark and head back.  A smarter person would have turned around right away, but I’m not too bright when it comes to injuries.

The new part is that I noticed some bruising around where the pain was.  Since no good can come of that I called Charlie and will get it looked at tonight.  I fear that he is going to tell me to lay off running for a few weeks again.

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The issue is that it’s going to start getting difficult to be built back up for the Swiss Days race and the speed I would like to do that in if I can’t get back to training soon.  In the meantime, I now have a carrier for my bike, so I can join the group for rides to try to keep\rebuild my fitness.

Coach V and I have been talking about addiction recently.  This have been mostly due to helping a friend who realized that she had a problem and has decided to get some help.  Meaning she must move across country.  So, we helped her sort through, pack and load her stuff into a U-Haul for the move.  We have also talked about the number of endurance runners who have had similar type problems in their lives and how running, in some cases extremely long distances, have helped them manage the addiction and overcome it.  There was an interview once where Robert Downy Jr. claimed that he simply replaced one addiction, namely drugs, with another, going to the gym.  He apparently will go workout 2 to 3 times a day, sometimes more.  Maybe that’s what those runners are doing.  Maybe that is kind of what I’m doing.  I’ve had a couple of issues in the past.  Poker being one of them.  I nearly failed out of Purdue because I was playing so much.  I never viewed it as an addiction because I was able to decide to quit playing one day.  After a letter from Purdue stating that if I didn’t get my grades up they would kick me out and meeting a girl that told me she wouldn’t be interested in someone who failed out of school,  I just stopped and didn’t play again for 3 years.  And I’ve never played with the frequency or stakes that I used to.

A couple of other things developed after poker that I’m not quite ready to go into on a forum that is as public as this, but there were things that replaced poker.  I never thought of them as an addiction, but they could be.  I never got involved with any kind of drugs.  Not for lack of opportunity, just never interested me.  Coach V has suggested that perhaps running is an addiction I have.  According to her I get irritable, moody, and jittery if I haven’t run in a few days.  I don’t think that I’ve taken it to an unhealthy level, but it does explain some things.

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It might be somewhat telling that I’m not scheduled in a road race until the end of July and its driving me a little nuts.  I’m scheduled to do a Spartan Stadium Sprint at the Arizona Cardinals Stadium in a couple of weeks with my Chiropractor, 

so maybe that will take the edge off a little.

Until then…C-YA!

Injuries and Cautiousness

Being injured sucks.

Now, I’m sure that seems like an obvious statement but there it is. I’ve been down for almost 3 weeks now with plantar fascitis.

Arrowhead LoopIt happened on an unscheduled Monday morning run around the Arrowhead Loop with Jon and Courtney. Sunday Courtney posted on the FB group that they were in town and asked if anyone wanted to join them for a run Monday at 5:30 am. I jumped at the chance to run with them because I hadn’t seen them in awhile.

I was the only person, other than Jon and Courtney, to show up. We started out fairly slow about a 10:30 pace the second mile sped up a little to around a 10 minute pace. At that point Courtney told Jon and I to take off and not worry about staying with her. So, Jon and I took off and went down to a 9:20 pace.

It was in this third mile and chatting with Jon that this run had a shot at negative splits. I’ve never done negative splits on any run of any distance. I was pretty excited by the prospect. So, as we crossed the 3 mile point Jon kicked it up a notch and I went with him.

Jon does a fantastic job of pushing without getting annoying about it. We were cruising along just a little under 9 minute mile pace and I started feeling a twinge in my foot just in front of the heel. Normally I would have stopped and walked a little to feel out what was going on but the prospect of being so close to negative splits for a 4 mile run I pushed on. With about a quarter mile left it was starting to hurt and I changed my gait a little to try to relieve the pain without slowing down. By the time I finished I could barely walk. BUT we got the negative splits finishing the last mile in 9 minutes!

I haven’t been able to run for about a month. I could barely walk the first week and decided that I should get some help with this. Not so much to get through the acute phase but to figure out why it’s happening and prevent the next time.

Cadence-PT-and-PERF-BlueLetters1500x500So, I decided to set an appointment with Charlie Boeyink at Cadence Physical Therapy. Charlie is a runner and often comes on runs with the EYPAZ group and Tortoise and Hare Running store. I decided that this would be a good idea since he is a runner, so he has a better understanding of the stresses of running and the mechanics involved. Not to mention the mentality of an endurance runner. Namely that we are nuts and go insane when we can’t run.

Charlie has a little different approach to PT than a lot of the other physical therapists that I’ve been to. He doesn’t like the model of seeing the therapist for just a couple of minutes and then getting handed off to a technician who, for the most part, watches you do exercises that you do at home. He is very hands on and looks at more than just the injury to what may have contributed to the injury happening in the first place.

He has also introduced me to a new technique. It involves dry needling and, just to up the game a little, he hooked a TENS unit to two of the needles and started running electricity through it.  Dry needling is odd enough on its own and I’ve had that done before, but adding electricity to it is, um….interesting. And I liked it! I liked it a lot actually.

It also seems to have gotten good results. After 3 weeks, I’ve been able to get back to running. Albeit I’m taking it slow and easing back into it, but last Thursday I ran about 2 miles. At Charlie’s advice I ran 2 minutes then walked a minute with very minimal pain. Actually I wouldn’t call it pain as much as mild discomfort, closer to fatigue than pain.

ICR-2019-EB-BannerSaturday morning I ran in the Tortoise and Hare Sports 4 mile Ice Cream Run. For this run I did a 2 minute on and 2 minute recovery cycle. This worked very well. Although my pacing on the run portions is all over the place. the first two cycles were 7:52 and 7:47 respectively. Then a couple of 8:30ish, a 8:09, a 9:45 and the last one was 6:04. I have got to find some consistency. Of course this is a similar problem to what I’ve always had. I have no concept of pacing. That is something to work on as I re-train from this injury.

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The next real race that I’m signed up for is the Swiss Days race at the end of July back in Indiana. I’m hoping that I can be recovered from this injury and able to average 7 minute miles for that race. It would be a return to my high school times in a race that I ran several times when I was in high school. I also will be running with my cousins, as it’s our annual Steiner Gathering.

Berne-Swiss-DaysThis means that my extremely fast cousin Brad will be there. He mentioned recently coming out of retirement from competitive racing to do one more 5K at speed. He is a sub 18 running and may be even faster than that. My goal is going to be to hang on to him for as long as I can and see if he can pull me into a sub 20.

Currently, I don’t know when my next run is going to be. I’m under orders to report back how the 4 mile run went and wait for instructions. In the mean time I’m going to install a hitch on my car and try to find a used bike carrier.

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Until next time…C-YA!

Virtual races and Spartans

 

 

Wow, so its been a little busy here.  Lots to recap so I’ll just get to it.

 

I have now done 2 virtual runs in the AZ Sunrise series.  The first one I did during the 4 mile Arrowhead Loop Run on Thursday morning.  It was a pretty good run.  finished in 27:22 which is a 8:47 pace.  It really helps to have people that you run with on a regular basis to help pace.  I pushed pretty hard to stay with the lead group for as long as I could.

A couple weeks later we took a short trip to Seattle.  So, with I was up in the cooler weather I did another 5K for the July 7th AZ Sunrise run since I was going to be running a Spartan that day.

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Running in Seattle was great.  Thanks to Coach V’s years up there she knew some good places to run.  She took me to a trail     That was a out and back run with only 1 turn that I had to pay attention for.  I’m calling it a trail because it was heavy wooded with REALLY tall trees but it was paved so no risk of tripping on roots and rocks.  Even though I did it in the afternoon it was beautiful weather for running.  Sunny, warm but not what a guy from Arizona or Indiana would call hot.  I pushed really hard on this one and was rewarded with a 25:46 finish.  Average pace was 8:17 and the first mile was 7:14.  I haven’t had a mile split that fast since high school.  I looked up where that would have put me if I had ran that in the actual race.  I would have been 4th in my age group.  I’m pretty excited by that and am very curious to see what will happened in a week and a half at the next one.

On to the Spartan.  I ran a Spartan Super back in February.  A super is around 8 miles with around 25 obstacles\challenges.  To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t a huge fan of it.  While on the road and trails I’m pretty competitive and have very specific goals that I’m pushing myself to meet I view these kind of runs as just screwing around.  I’m just out there to have some fun.  The Tough Mudders have more that feel to me.  While I do take it seriously, I’m not worried about finishing times and have the most fun when I’m helping others on the course.

Spartan is a little different.  Almost everyone I talked with there was taking it very seriously.  I was criticized for drinking coffee before the race because “the caffeine will make you muscles need more oxygen while your running”.  That’s the first time I’ve ever heard that.  I’ll need to look into sometime.  But, frankly who cares.  I know a lot of runners that have a serious coffee problem.

Des Linden in an interview I think with Runner’s World talks about getting a bag of coffee beans to take home from everywhere she goes on vacations.  And she won the Boston Marathons during the worst weather conditions in recent memory.  She, along with her Husband and another couple run a coffee company, Linden & True Coffee. (https://www.coffeebylt.com/)

Ok, I’ve gone on rants about coffee before so I’ll stop now.

I need a refill anyway.

Anywho…..

This was a Spartan Stadium Sprint which means that it was basically a 5K with 23 obstacles.  I had a blast!  one 2 obstacles that gave me issues. I can’t climb a rope.  I used to be able to but I’ve forgotten how to do it somewhere along the way.  and the “multi-rig” which is just swinging from rings suspended by straps.  The only issue I had is that the rings where so close to the ground that I could reach them while standing on the ground.  So, every time that I swung between rings my feet dragged across the floor.

It took me 1:13:45 to complete. I could have gone a lot faster but since we where winding around the University of Phoenix Stadium I couldn’t tell how far it was between each obstacle or how much more I had left in the run.  So, I keep to a moderate jog to conserve my strength.  Next time I’ll push harder.

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And riding that kind of euphoric, that was pretty easy, feeling I signed up for a Spartan Beast in October.  That will give me an extra “Trifecta” medal.

Yes, I know, I have a running for the bling problem.

Tomorrow I will run my 4th Arrowhead Loop in 4 weeks. which means that I get a doughnut keychain.  I’m really excited about this.

This weekend should be interesting.  I’m on a triathlon team as the swimmer.  I haven’t swam seriously since I was in high school and would swim practices with the girls swim team.  And I’ve never swam like this in open water.  Or worn a wetsuit.

I had a chance at the beginning of the week to go on an open water swim but I got the time wrong.  I was told they where meeting at 4:30.  I assumed PM, they meant AM. Opps!  I’m hoping tomorrow night to go get some laps in at a nearby pool just to see if I remember how to swim.

I haven’t been very good at all with training runs.  As I mentioned I’ve been going to the Thursday morning Arrowhead Loop Runs. I also did a workout with Coach V’s trainer in Seattle, Chris Reilly.  Great workout but it kicked my butt.

I think that after the fairly intense training that I did for the half I needed the break.  Marathon training starts on July 23 and I’ve got a pretty aggressive schedule set up for that.

And now to finish watching England and Croatia!  Until next time C-YA!

 

Camping and Triathlons

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Time has a tendency to get away from us when we don’t pay attention.  Its been a very busy couple of weeks and I have not been the best at sticking to my training plan.

Basically, I haven’t gotten to the plan I wrote about last time at all.  But I still managed some runs.

I’ve got in 6 runs over the past two weeks including the second in the AZ Sunrise Series.  Several hikes and a short trail run.

We all (Coach V, James, Amelia and I) did a short run for national running day.  and then shared some Italian Ice afterward.  It was a fun little run sponsored by Tortoise and Hare.  They had 2 options, a one mile and a three mile out and back.  Since we had the kids with us we just did the 1 mile.  It was interesting seeing the different techniques the kids came up with for tackling the distance.  James runs intervals.  He would go about as fast as he could for a short distance then walk for a little bit.  Then repeat the process again.  In contrast, Amelia ran slower but didn’t stop, save for a couple of little breaks for water.  Amelia also started the quiet determined chant of “we can do it” with about a quarter mile left. They ended up finishing together and neither have had any coaching which made it interesting to watch.

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The second AZ Sunrise Series race was at the Scottsdale Sports Complex. I was actually a little disappointed with my performance.  It was a little slower than the race 2 weeks before by about a minute.  29:30 for the 5K.  The main issue that I had was when I stopped at the first water station I choked on the water.  Which flared up my asthma and my lungs never did recover.  I was also not in the greatest place in my head for racing.  Nothing bad just a lot going on and my head was in other places.  We were getting ready for a camping trip the coming Monday and my daughter was in town so I was thinking about other things.

I also have been drinking a pre-workout drink, C-4, before the races and I think I’m going to stop doing that.  Since I don’t train with it I’m not sure its a great idea.  Mostly, I was drinking it because of the caffeine content and easier to drink quickly before the race instead of coffee.

Also, its getting hotter here and I think that its time to switch my race shirt to the sleeveless or tank top.

During the camping trip I went on several hikes with the whole crew.  Including a 2.5 mile hike. That I went on a one mile trail run in the middle of.  I know that doesn’t sound like a lot of distance, BUT, coach V and I had two 3 year-olds and a 5 year-old with us.  That’s a pretty good distance for those little legs.  But they were troopers and did it.  Unfortunately, it was discovered that a camera was left on the trail when we took a small break.  So, I ran back about .3 miles to get it and then turned around and ran to catch up.  Overall it took me 14:28 to run a mile over some incredibly rough terrain.

Overall very good trip.  I wish I could have gotten in a couple of early morning runs but that my fault for not getting up.

For Father’s Day my daughter got me some cool clip on reflector lights for when I run in the dark, some Gatorade chews (daddy candy), and a book on using my stick roller and trigger point ball.  She also got me some gear to help when I use my smoker.  I used the clips like night and they are very cool.

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And Coach V came with me!  I always enjoy when she comes with.  It was a slow run but we mostly were analyzing form and establishing a baseline for where she is running.

Tonight we are going to a Good Form running clinic at Tortoise and Hare.  I’ll be really interested in what they have to save both for myself and Coach V.

We discussed a very rough training plan to get her going with running again.  She is mostly a biker. And as she puts it “Really Hates Running”.

The main reason for her needing to get up to speed as it where is that we are both doing a sprint triathlon in August.  It also means that I need to start biking more.  Which means I need a better bike.  I may have a lead on one I can borrow for a little bit before I buy one.

We are also two-thirds of a relay team for a tri in July.  Coach V will be handling the biking duties and I’m going to take on the swimming.  I really need to get in a pool and see if I still remember how to swim.  I was a really strong swimmer back in high school and I know most of the mechanics of good swim form from my time as the manager of the girls swim team in high school.  I’m not overly worried about it but a little practice would be a good thing.

This weekend is the third in the AZ Sunrise series and, unfortunately, I won’t be able to be there.  So, I’m taking their virtual option.  I plan on doing that tomorrow morning during the Thursday morning Arrowhead Loop Group run.  Still trying to decide if I’m going to run in the kilt for that or not.

Hopefully after this weekend my life calms down a little and I can get back to a more normal running schedule.  I’ve been lacking motivation a little recently and hope that its just because its been so busy.

Until next time…C-YA!