Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Fire Down Below

Yes, it's the title of a bad movie starring Steven Seagal (actually, I never did see this but ever since "Marked For Death", I just couldn't take him seriously anymore - wait a second - I never took him seriously. I just wasn't entertained anymore). However, the title for this post refers to other "fires" currently going on in my world.

The first intended meaning for the title refers to the incredible amount of fires that are currently burning all over California. This is causing the central valley (a notoriously bad air quality area to begin with) to become filled with ash, soot and smoke from all over the place (the winds push the air in but can't push it out over the Sierra's). That means no running or swimming outside right now. I went outside this morning and I almost couldn't see the sun. Yuck. Add this to the out-of-nowhere allergies that have hit me and I'm a complete wreck on the inside. Good day to head into the gym for some Crossfit.

The second intended meaning of the title is the ongoing BS that is going on in my knee - the previously mentioned ITBS. The fire being the burning pain that comes on at the 7+ mile mark on my runs. Yes, I've become a bit lazy on my stretching and I still haven't gotten a foam roller for massaging the heck out of my legs ("you dumb bastard"). I guess I was really hoping for the injury ferry to come and take my pain away in the middle of the night. Maybe leave me an entry fee for an upcoming race under my pillow. I think at this point, I might need to just take a complete week or two off from running and concentrate on Crossfit and swimming to keep me conditioned. And just when my body feels fresh again this crud keeps me down.

Ok, no worries right? Time to readjust the priorities, reset the focus, modify the goals, reset...(cue noise from record needle scratching off the record) Alright, shut the hell up Mike. I'm pissed but I'm not giving up on the Skyline 50k in August just yet. Since I can't run for long distance right now, I'm gonna blast my insides away in the pool with some killer workouts from triathlon-land and hit the 3 days on, 1 day off pattern of Crossfit. This will actually improve my conditioning overall and at the same time, strengthen my core and upper leg muscles, which will be beneficial to my knee issue down the road. Will I actually stay off my legs? Probably not. I will probably stick to low mileage and wait to start ramping up the miles again.

These guys make me forget about ITBS

Last T-Ball game for the year. Way too hot for these little guys.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I've Got a Dart in My Neck

Some random thoughts...

  • What an amazing finish to the US Open golf tourney. I like rooting for the underdog as much as the next person, but WOW, watching Tiger Woods win that tournament on Monday in a playoff was something else. Turns out, he was playing with a torn ligament and will need to miss the rest of the season.
  • On a recommendation from Bob Gentile, I've been reading the book, The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook. It's basically a book on self-treatment for pain relief, using trigger point therapy. I just finished reading about the essentials and techniques of the practice and I'm starting to get into the actual sections that focus on specific pains and treatments. I think this is gonna be one of those books that I start wearing out the pages. Thanks for the tip, Bob.
  • I've been running in the late afternoon/early evening for most of my runs lately and I really need to stop doing that. Yes, it's great for heat training but what the hell heat am I training for anyway? I'm feeling so beat up after these runs. I really need to get back to running in the AM or I'm never going to get any significant miles in.
  • I'm still not sure if I'm going to enter the Skyline 50k on Aug 3rd. This Saturday, I'll attempt to get in a nice 2 - 3 hour run and see if my body holds out. I'm really hoping this sluggishness I'm feeling is due mostly to the heat and running early will allow me to get out further and test my knee a little more. I've been wearing a strap above my knee for the ITBS and I'm already sick of that thing. If I decide to jump over something or squat down low, the stupid band comes ripping off. Lame. However, my knee hasn't hurt yet and that's saying something.

Workouts since the weekend:
Mon (6/16) - 8 miles @ 8:30 pace (turned to 9+ final two miles due to heat) - No problems with the knee again. I wanted to run a couple more miles, but I was completely out of fluid. The normal water cooler on the golf course by the trail was unfortunately empty, so I couldn't refill my bottles.

Tues (6/17) - Decided to head to the gym to avoid running in the heat again. Did the 6/16 Crossfit WOD:
(For time)
50 Sit-ups
50 Double-unders
50 Sit-ups
Walking Lunge, 50 steps
50 Sit-ups
50 Burpees
50 Sit-ups

Ended up taking 20:54 to do this. I can't remember the last time I did 200 situps...and it showed.

For Today...
Since I didn't bother to get up early in the morning to run (for the 30th day in row), looks like I'll be out in the heat again. Think I'll do a little swim-run brick workout--> 1 mile EZ swim followed by 6 mile EZ run up the levee. Should be a severe butt kicking since I haven't done any double duty since last year. (And of course it will be hot outside again). Lessons learned: none.

Have fun out there.


Sunday, June 15, 2008

Father's Day

Happy Fathers Day everyone (especially to my dad). I'm looking forward to bbq'ing and lounging around the pool today with my boys and the rest of the family. I'll probably watch Tiger Woods win another major.

Update on the knee: Went out for a 6.5 mile run at the hottest time of the day on Friday and I'm happy to say that the knee was pain free. Probably try an 8 - 10 miler tomorrow as the next test.

Have a great day everyone.


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Damn You, Knee!

After a failed long run on Saturday and another attempt at some bigger miles on Monday, I've come to the conclusion that my left knee is suffering from Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS). On each run, at about the 6 - 7 mile mark, the outside of my left knee would start hurting, getting slowly to the point where I needed to almost shut it down to a shuffle - something you should be doing at the end of a 50k, not halfway thru a 16 mile run.

This pain started coming on the last couple miles of the Ohlone 50k and at that time, I was just hoping this was some muscle fatigue that would eventually go away. Well, minus the treatment and stretching, I really haven't done anything to help alleviate this condition. So yesterday, I did some research (along with bothering GB for advice) and found a good set of stretches to do 3x per day (e.g. Walt Reynolds's ITB Special & Running Times ITB stretches). I'll also add some ice treatment and more stretching following all of my runs from here until whenever.

Am I discouraged? Yes. Am I feeling down? Actually, not really. I've decided to look at it from a positive side - I really had no business completing that 50k with such limited training time, so I probably should have expected something bad might happen. Also, compared to other folks with this, I really feel like I have it easy. Once I start stretching it and treating it, I think I will be good to go (that could be wishful, optimistic thinking but that's ok - everything now for the rest of the year is bonus time.)

So now what? Well, I'm too stubborn to quit running so here's my strategy going forward for the next couple weeks: For the remaining few days this week, I'll keep the miles at 6 miles or less while doing the stretching exercises 3x per day and icing after the runs. Next week, I'll see how the knee feels and start increasing the mileage if it feels better. I'll also add some regular swimming starting tomorrow so I can keep myself in shape at the lower miles.

If none of that works and the pain is unbearable when running longer distances, I'll probably have to shut down the running for a couple weeks and stick to 100% swimming workouts while the knee heels.

Can't wait for this to go away (fingers crossed) and get those miles back up. I've been reading about some great (and inspiring) performances this past weekend (Rick Gaston, Bob Gentile, Mark Tanaka, Jean Pommier, Scott Dunlap, etc.) - I'm more than motivated to get out there and run.

Have a great end of the week and stay healthy.

[OK, I just got done reading Rick Gaston's Kettle Moraine 100 race report. After reading that, my injury feels more like a sliver. That dude is awesome. Way to go Rick. I'm gonna shut up for awhile.]


Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Progress Intelligently Planned (Or Not)

I think it's safe to say I'm officially back on a training plan now. The body seems to have cooperated so far this week so I'll continue on as planned. Since I'm targeting the Aug. 3 Skyline 50k now, I'm basically at less than 9 weeks to go.

For the Ohlone race, I used a modified 16-week "rookie" version of a marathon training plan (from RW)- meaning it was designed for runners that ran consistently but rarely took their distances past 6 miles. Seemed to work well considering I was able to finish the marathon distance plus a bonus five miles on a ridiculously hilly course.

So for this next 50k race, I've decided to use the final 9 weeks of the "veteran" plan (man, I'm getting cocky). Last time, I did borrow the same quality and tempo runs from the plan, but held back on the long runs (to avoid overuse injury to my calf). We'll see how it goes this Saturday when I go out for my first scheduled long run - a 16-miler (I will definitely pull back the reins on the distance if my body starts to complain).

Sunday will be an easy 5-miler or I'll hit the gym for Crossfit if my legs says "screw you" to running.

Couple of last items...

  • Be sure to check out Runner's World online. Our good friend, Glorybelle Lillie is the Reader of the Week! Well deserved.
  • My middle toe nail on my right foot is now officially gone. Time to move on.

The latest training...

Today (6/6) - Rest

Thur. (6/5) - Tempo run - 7.5 miles - (included 1 mile warmup and 1 mile cooldown) - I'd actually label this as more of an in-between run (faster than EZ but slower than normal tempo pace) - I needed to tread carefully here out of fear of moving too quickly to the fast stuff. Whatever the label, it was rough. I think after this upcoming weekend, I should be able to be more aggressive next week. Body kicked my butt on this one.

Wed. (6/4) - Ran 6 miles with the dog (Miles) along the levee. If it weren't for the 30 MPH winds that somehow managed to be head-on for 70% of the run (weird on an out-and-back), I would have really loved this run. Felt good to get some more mileage on the legs. Felt a little sore in on the outside of my left knee on the last 200 yards of the run. This was the same place I was feeling pain on the last descent at the Ohlone race. My 3-mile split was 23 minutes and I think I was headed for a similar second-half split until Miles hit the wall. I forgot he hadn't been out for a few weeks while I recovered. He slept for 20 straight hours, passing silent, disgusting doggy gas bombs.


Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Sluggish, Like a Wet Sponge

It's week 3 of the recovery from the Ohlone 50k and everything appears to be on track health wise. I've been doing a couple workouts each of the past couple weeks, combining Crossfit with small runs. I think it's the right amount of work up to this point (recap of last week's worth below). My body is still a bit sluggish but no muscle issues have popped up yet. I'll be out for a 6-miler tomorrow so we'll see how that goes with my first run of any significant distance. Looks like the middle toe nail on my right foot will be the winner for falling off first. Looks pretty disgusting but not as dramatic as I thought it would be. My other toes look like I painted them with black toe nail polish. It's my new Goth look.

Today: Did the following Crossfit workout (from 5/31), followed by a 5k on the Treadmill...
For time:
135 lb Thruster, 10 reps
50 Double-unders
135 lb Thruster, 8 reps
40 Double-unders
135 lb Thruster, 6 reps
30 Double-unders
135 lb Thruster, 4 reps
20 Double-unders
135 lb Thruster, 2 reps
10 Double-unders

Time for the Crossfit workout was 11:26. I flew through the double-unders but the thrusters were tough. My body is only used to the 95-lb thrusters in the Fran workout. Did the 5k in a comfortable 26 minutes - not in a hurry.

Sunday - Played golf - walked 18 (even did some shuffling/jogging down the long holes).

Friday - Did the 5/27 Crossfit workout:

Run 1 mile
Two minutes of each:
30 pound Dumbbell thrusters
20 pound Medicine ball cleans

Total time was basically 18 minutes --> 8 minute mile + 2 minutes for each of the 5 exercises. This was a great workout. The pull-ups were rough at the end. I forgot to count my reps for each of the different exercises.

Well, time to go watch some shows on TV while I stretch. I'm looking forward to upping the miles tomorrow to see what I have in the tank.


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