Saturday, March 27, 2010

Ankles are still sore

I slept in today, and then went out for my long run.  This week's long run was another 5 miler, I had to gut it out a bit, and then once I got home, iced both of the ankles.  The left is sore from Sunday's run on back roads.  I hugged the side of the road and my left foot was constantly striking on the edge of the road, and thus my foot was angled to the side.  This stressed the tendons and the joint.  It may be a bit sore for a few weeks, but I think I can work through it, we shall have to see.

So today's run was around town on city streets and sidewalks.  That makes for a nice place to run, and our little town is pretty quite in the mornings.  There are very few cars that one has to contend with during the runs.  I stay off the main drags so I only see a handful of cars even when starting out at 9 am.  Later on in the summer, that course will be filled in town with the Saturday market crowds, and I will have to adjust my routes a bit, but by then I should be in full Pikermi training, so my long runs will be incorporating a large hill and back roads more and more.  I will need to get out a bit earlier to work around potential traffic on the back roads so that I can keep my ankles off the edges.  I don't think it will be too much of a problem, but still, I would like to live to see the race.

I just read an article about how much water to drink during the day, and it seems like a crazy amount.  Here is a link to that article: LINK.  I would say it is safe to assume that we all do not drink enough water.  It is easier if you carry a water bottle, but that is a lot of water.  I need to be drinking about 100 ounces a day according to that, and if I adjust for my caffeine: I need 95 ounces for my weight, plus an additional 20 for my coffee habit, makes for 115 ounces of water a day.  For those of you playing along at home, that means I need to drink a gallon of water every day.  I already drink three bottles about everyday, so I need to add in two more.  That won't be too hard, but that is still a lot of water.

Next week, starting Tuesday to give my ankles some rest, is 4 miles, 2 miles, 4 miles, a day off, then 5 miles.  So I am adding 2 miles to my weekly total next week.  Run days are Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday.  I just hope my ankles heal up while I move forward.  I really don't want to take time off.  But, at this point, I am early enough in the cycle, that I would still make it through the next two races, it would just be harder to finish with good times.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

This morning's run

Was scheduled to be 4 miles on a hilly course, run hard on the uphills and easy on the down.  It was also very dark on that lovely back-road.  I may need to get a clip-on light for my hat in addition to the hand held flashlights.  One worked flawlessly, the other not so much.  I will be writing the manufacturer and seeing if there is a repair kit or new batteries for it.  It just did not want to run both bulbs at full brightness, so I ran with just the "glow-stick" portion on.  That reminds me, the new flashlights are cool.  They look like over-long glow-sticks.  At the front they have a bright white LED for forward light, and the back is a colored LED to illuminate the glow-stick.  I have green and red.  I ended up with the red one tucked into my reflective harness (vest is the wrong word for it as it is just a few straps).  The green one worked great and cast way more light than I would have thought.  I think I would still like to have a little more forward light than these produced, but I was able to point the light where I wanted as I was running.  I may not need the extra lights if I can get the red stick to work correctly.

I do not know how effective they were at signaling to drivers that I was there, as I only saw three cars between the time I left the lighted, sidewalked sections of my run and my return to those same sections.  And they were all in front of my by 1/4 mile or so and going the same direction as I was.  However, that doesn't mean that as I approached an intersection that my lights did not alert the driver approaching that intersection from my left that I was there and moving into that intersection in front of him.  And on mornings that I go out when it is still dark, I will carry them with me.

My ankles tightened up a little on the last long downhill, but by the time I got done running hard on the last uphill they had loosened up again and as I type this are not feeling too bad.  The pain this morning is a more expected inside the ankle and not outside the ankle pain, so I am certain that it will go away by tonight with a little random stretching throughout the day.  I also scared the hell out of some unseen animal that was in some tall grass near a stream.  It moved, I hissed very loudly and there was lots of splashing in the water.  Nothing like a quick shot of adrenalin at just about 2 miles to make the rest of the run seem pretty easy.

All in all, I would say it was a good run, and I will try very hard tomorrow to get up and go to the Y.  I feel I need to start working with some weights in the hopes that they will help with the ankle issues.  I am trying to find some quality information on that, but all I have found so far is how to treat the issues, not how to train away from them.  I will spend more time on that as well.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Been a busy week

Last week went well.  I did not, however, get up to the Y and do any cross-training.  I really need to start that.  I got in my three mile run on Tuesday of last week, and then Thursday I got up and chugged out 5 miles!  By the end of that 5 miles I was actually surprised in that I felt like I could push a little more if I had needed to.  But, after clocking in the 5 in a 10:40 pace, I went home, stretched and showered, and got ready to get to work.  I am now shifting my schedule a little to move my "long run day" to Saturday.  I won't be able to continue getting up progressively earlier just to keep tacking miles onto the end.

I tracked out a couple of 4 mile paths to run and then I bought some spiffy cool lights to run with over the weekend.  I am a going to keep talking about carrying lights when runners are out in the dark until I get a movement started.  I see lots and lots of reflective material out on the street, but that means the car or truck has to have its lights on you for the fabric to do its job.  If you are approaching an intersection, the driver won't necessarily see you until he is making you into his new Saucony-clad hood ornament.  If you carry a flashlight for visibility that is great, the moving light catches peoples attention.  But too often I see people out without any sort of light, and they are relying on their reflective clothes and street lights to keep them safe.

Sunday morning dawned slightly overcast and I waited for the sun to clear the Cascades before I headed out onto the streets.  I wouldn't be needing my new lights for this run.  I wanted to see what I would be running on in the daylight on the new path.  After about 3/4 of a mile, I left the sidewalks of my development behind and trucked out onto country roads.  Complete with nice goats, cows and llamas to run along side.  It will be a GREAT path for the days that the Nike "coach" wants me to "on a hilly coarse, run hard up hill and easy on the down" as this route has about 4 good little hills that I "get" to run up and down.  This should be good for helping to build speed.

When I finished my run, my left foot, specifically my ankle, hurt.  I applied a little ice and kept it elevated for about a half an hour.  I stretched about three times on Sunday and just could not seem to get whatever was hurting to stop.  I limped around a bit the rest of the day.  Monday came and I had the same pains in the outside of my ankle, but I gave my foot a couple of REALLY good manual stretches and that seemed to help, so I knew that it was tendon related.  So, I went to work limping a little and stretched as often as I could.  I got home and the ankle was still bugging me a bit, so I decided to look it up.  And there, right on the Internet, was what the issue was.  Since I was running on back roads with no sidewalks, and it was during the day, so I couldn't see cars coming via headlights, I was sticking very close to the shoulder of the road.  This meant that my left foot-strikes were below and angled away from my right.  This in turn stressed the tendons and the joint, which were doing their best to get my foot back to square.

I gave my foot the day off today, and I will go out tomorrow for another 4 mile run in the morning.  It will be dark, so there will be two differences right off the bat.  One I will be able to run more in the road, as I will be able to see the cars coming from further away and around corners, and I get to try out the new lights.  Look for a light update tomorrow.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Shamrock Rocked!

Today was the big day.  The Portland 32nd annual Shamrock Run.  To say this is an event in my little burg is an understatement.  There were 21,500 participants in the various events today.  They had to stagger the starts so that everyone had a clear stretch of pavement to get sorted out on before the first turn.  I gathered up with the 9-10 minute mile group and settled in for about a bit of a wait.  The horn sounded and the 5-6's took off, then they moved the 6-7's up, then the 7-8's then 8-9's, then us.  All told it was easily 7 minutes after the horn that we were allowed onto the track.  So my official time is "horn to finish" but they do use chips, so we also got our net-times, which is pad to pad for each runner.

I started off towards the front of the group by dint of my just kind of not moving to the back of the line when we were gathering up.  I dodged and wove my way through slower runners, faster runners, people asking about the kilt, and the general throngs of people that comprise that many people participating in an event.  My official, "gun time" was 37:03, my actual "net time" was 29:20.  So my estimation of how long we were waiting is just about accurate.  It was a little cold at the start, the weather people getting it wrong again, so it was about 6 degrees colder than the predicted 40, but I went with the event shirt (short sleeved and my kilt.  I, hopefully will have photos from this one soon, although there wasn't the same level of photo ops as during the Jingle Bell Run.  I need to get a photographer to come out to a race so I can get some good shots, maybe in May. 

So, today's run counts as my first run towards my training for the two 10K's.  Tomorrow I will hit the Y bright and early and get in some serious stretching and some weights.  Nothing fancy, nothing over the top, just toning weights and reps.  I am thinking that since Mondays will become a light run day as well, that I may have to look at the whole program and figure out which day(s) will be for rest and which will be for weights.  There is a limit to what I can do given my work schedule, but that will be part of the process of this blog, figuring what works and what doesn't.  So far, I am very happy with both my efforts and my results.  Now, I want to redouble my input and hopefully get that back.  I am holding at about 190 in weight, and I ran an 5K today without having to walk at any point during the race.  Three months ago, that was not possible, and I was 205 easy.  I look forward to the challenge I have given myself, and look forward to the seeing the results.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

C25K is finished!

So today marks the end of my Couch-to-5K training.  Cool Running is where it is from and here is the link to the training plan.  This is a great starting point for anyone wanting to start running.  They also have a Facebook presence and it is large and supportive as well.  Everyone wants you to succeed in getting going.  There are people from all levels there, including folks training for marathons offering advice and encouragement.  Plus it is a great place to brag about your morning run.  I am now in the rest period for my race on Sunday, and I will get photos from the race and I will post them here for all to see me in my kilt at the race.

So now is the planning stage for the next two races.  Since they are so close together training for one is training for the other, so into the breach I go.  Sunday's race will be the first "training run" of the next training cycle.  So I have cobbled together the following rough schedule, combining some from here some from there, and tracking it with the ever present and encouraging Nike+ site.  I do like that I can look back and see how far I have come in terms of both distance run and time spent doing it.

So the following schedule will be started on Sunday, and I will update this as we go forward, so next week will be:
    Sunday ---        3 mile run
    Monday ---       stretch and light weight work out.
    Tuesday ---      3 mile run
    Wednesday --- stretching and light weights
    Thursday ---    5 mile run
    Friday ----        stretch maybe some elliptical time.
    Saturday ---     rest -- the all important rest day.

Now before everyone flips about the 5 miles on Thursday, this will not be run at 10 minute miles, I am thinking probably more like 12 minute miles, and it will take over an hour to do.  This is fine with me.  I will just have to get up earlier.  The two 3 milers will be at a faster pace, so Thursday is just to log the distance in.  Since the goal is to get up to 10K by May, and be able to post a good time in both, I think I can push a little harder than I have.  Keeping in mind that I am all about being flexible with this whole thing, I will not go until my feet are bleeding, but I am finishing up my runs feeling pretty good right now, so finishing one a week feeling spent should help me get faster and better as we go.

One of the things that I noticed this morning on Facebook this morning was someone in the early stages of the C25K program asking for advice on leg pains.  I have had the knee issues, but actual leg-aches, I have been surprisingly free of them.  I owe this, I think, to the amount of water that I drink during the day.  I drink at least 2 liters of water everyday, and most days it is closer to 3 or 4.  I carry a water bottle with me everywhere, and after my morning coffee is gone, I switch to water, and that is all I drink for the rest of the day.  Hydration is key to keeping your body in good shape.  That and paying attention to the little aches and pains and not ignoring them.  Ice is your friend, those achy knees got wrapped after every run, and now they aren't bothering me at all.  Even my ankle is not complaining as much as a couple of weeks ago.  I am still mindful of them and am working on strengthening the muscles that support both, you would be surprised at how weak your legs really are. 

Well, until the race!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Monday Morning Runs

Monday morning runs, kinda hurt.  Often I don't get enough sleep, and last night was no different.  It doesn't help that Number 4 was awake often and loudly last night, but at 4:40 when the alarms went off, I dragged myself from bed and got ready to go pound some pavement.  I did the 5K loop around town as I wanted the hills this morning.  The half-way point is just before I leave my neighborhood proper, and drop down into a city park that leads to "old town" and the long hill.  So I could, in theory just turn around and retrace my steps back from whence I came, and still clock the 5K.  But hey, where is the fun in that?  That long hill is a nice training climb, and as most of the races I am likely to do will have hills in them, there is no reason to shun them now.  Even if they don't believe in Candy Mountain.

My knees no longer hurt when I finish, it is now just my right ankle.  And it feels like it just needs a really good POP to fix that.  I almost got a good solid pop out of it this morning and it feels much better.  Oddly, it only starts hurting after I stop running and am walking the cool down "lap" in front of the house.  In fact, my legs feel good enough that I am wearing my boots again at work in stead of my old sneakers.  Also, I ran this one slow enough that I was listening to Wagner at the end, which I hadn't done yet up to today.  I have been running at the 10:30 mark for the last two weeks, and I knew I was slower this morning, but I didn't push when I was going downhill and I didn't try to "kick" when I got the "300 Meters left" notification from the voice in my head.  I maintained a steady pace and I am pleased that even on barely 5 hours of interrupted sleep I was able to maintain my pace.

I am looking forward to running again on Thursday, I want to see how I do after a couple of days rest--just like on race day.  In only 6 days, I will have knocked out the second 5K race, and the first one that I will have run entirely.  I am now looking forward to the next run in May.  I am working up a training schedule based on several different ones found on-line, so I will be chronicling what I am doing and with what sort of frequency.  I think that the main thing I will be putting forth on here is that there should not be any hard, set-in-stone schedules and that training for the non-professional runner should be fairly loose.  We already have too many things demanding our attention, this is a chosen hobby, it should be fun and NOT work.  I will unveil the schedule next week, and you will see it will be relaxed and loose.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Changed schedule

So, here it is Sunday night.  The Oscars are over and movies I've not seen have been rewarded.  Iran yesterday to make up for having missed my Thursday run.  Flexible schedules and not being too anal about sticking to them is what will help you survive getting back into running.  I had to go to Woodinville on Wednesday and I didn't get home until after 12:00 am on Thursday.  In fact, as I was plugging phones in I noted the time; 1:00.  Four hours until I needed to get up for that run...maybe Friday.  Turns out I'm not as young as I once was.  Friday morning came, alarms went off, and I ignored them.  So yesterday afternoon, after working for a few hours I went for a little run; 3.1 miles to be exact.  For those of you following along at home, that is 5K.

To plot my path through the neighborhoods, I used both Nike's site and LiveStrong's site.  both gave the same distance, but the LiveStrong site shows you the elevation changes of your run in relation to the distance.  So I knew heading out that at 2.5K I would start up a long rise that would take 500M to complete.  Then I would get to decrease my elevation to below my start-point over the next Kilometer.  This meant that my LAST click was spent climbing back up to the starting point.  This loop will be a permanent fixture in my running loops.  I also managed a nice comfortable 10:10 pace over the whole distance.  I look forward to a day in the future when we look back on a 32:00 5K with nostalgia, and marvel at how much faster I am doing that distance.  I'm not crazy and think I will do a 10K in that time, that ship sailed decades ago, but I think a 45 minute 10K is reasonable.  Maybe not in May or June, but by the end of Summer certainly.  I will strive for that Airborne quality speed of 7 minute miles, as I feel that is reachable.

This time next week will be the "victory post."  The race has sold out, I have my team together, not whom I had originally thought, but hey, being flexible is what this is all about.  So this week we have learned that Lance's site is cooler than tha parent site for the maps...elevation info is great for planning a run.  We have also learned that---well actually life taught this one years ago--being flexible with plans is key to not going gray before I'm 42.  The next race is scheduled and paid for, so after next Sunday, we roll right into training for that one.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Sore Knees S-U-C-K

Well, OK so really it is only one knee, but still.  It gets worse as I sit, so I have been trying to keep it moving.  As I sat at work I did crunches and kept the legs flexing.  I ran about 10:40 - 10:50 miles, so I was just under 30 minutes for 2.75 miles.  I kinda like the distance setting on the Nike+; it is nice to hear the voice in my head tell me constructive information for a change.  The last little bit today, I let the voice get the better of me, which is probably why my knee is pissed now.  At 300 meters to go, I kicked it up a gear and finished at a 8:12 mile pace.  A little fast, and now my right knee is mad at me.

I am looking forward to testing the 5K setting next week.  I will have three practice races starting in 5 days.  I am looking to push for 32 minutes on the runs.  I will know if I am under that without the voice in my head.  I created a couple of play-lists that I haven't hit the ends of the "2.5 Miler" is 34 minutes long and I based that on what I was averaging inside doing run-walk-run stuff.  It is kind of nice to think that the time I thought of a few weeks ago would be enough to cover 2.5 miles and it just might cover the entire 5K.

I am sticking to the schedule as I am so close to the race, but on the 15th I will start adding in some cross-training and weights.  I think that I will go with elliptical machine time and weights to get the core and upper body strength up, but also focus on getting the quads and legs stronger as well.  I am going from the thought that with stronger calves and quads, I should be able to increase my ground speed.  We will wait and see how the runs go from here.  I am looking forward to it.