Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Not Blogging but Still Running

Last June I competed in a USATF track meet.  Apparently I pushed too hard, and pulled the right “proximal hamstring tendon.”  I have seen my sports doctor at least twice and an excellent therapist many times, and mostly have followed their advice, but the injury persists.  In fact the radiologist examining a PET scan in September found no significant myeloma lesions, but did report the hamstring injury as an “incidental finding.” 

For now I’m walking and jogging, several times per week, trying not to cause pain in that injury.  I had hoped that it would go away within a few weeks, as muscle injuries do, but it’s a tendon injury and it’s taking a LOT longer.  I have no choice but to cool it until the injury is fully healed, and then to ramp up more carefully than I did in June.

We have a new place to do that.  The local high school has recently opened a brand-new indoor walking/running track, priced quite reasonably.  Nine laps per mile (very nice track!).  We three have been there several times now, and lately I have been walking one lap and jogging the next, for a total of three miles, 27 laps.  Next I could increase the distance to 4 or 5 miles, or increase the jogging to two laps, then three, until I can jog the whole three miles.  Maybe I’ll do some of both.  No hurry.  We plan to be there several times a week, more as winter sends us indoors. 

According to  my therapist I should not run two days in a row, but I can walk all I want.  In fact, we do walk from home to the co-op grocery and back every week, a hilly trek of six to ten miles, depending on the chosen route.  We really enjoy those hikes, climbing back up the hills with groceries in our backpacks.  We did one last Monday. It may have been our last for this year because we won’t walk those hills when the trails become icy, but I hope that we get a few more.

Today’s indoor track mile splits: 12:34, 11:58, 12:20, total 36:52, pace 12:17.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

If It Hurts, Stop Doing It!

That's pretty much the bottom line from my sports doctor today.  For more than two months I've been dealing with an injury of the right proximal hamstring conjoined tendon, at the point of attachment to the ischial tuberosity (i.e. where the hamstrings connect to the butt bones).

It seemed to be getting better and I had been running a little faster, without pain, taking 200m sprints at up to maybe 70-80% effort.  Then suddenly about two weeks ago some part of the tendon connection failed during a sprint like that. Big ouch. Since then I haven't been able to run without pain at any speed, even though walking is pain-free.  Instead, my girls and I have walked almost every day, about 25-30 miles per week.

I have not been able to find the injury by poking around in the area with my fingers, so my therapist (Katie) and I thought maybe it was the sciatic nerve, rather than the hamstring tendon.  However, the doc said that the sudden mid-stride reinjury was not typical of an irritated nerve.  More important, he did an ultrasound which seemed to show a dark region where the tendon should have been connected to the pelvis.

In the doctor's written report: "Diagnostic ultrasound imaging reveals a partial tear of the right hamstring conjoined tendon at the ischial tuberosity. Don should avoid sprinting for the fall months as I think this would put too much stress on the conjoint tendon.  He is cleared for continued walking and jogging, as long as there is no significant increase in pain."

Since the normal condition is no pain at all, I understood this to mean that if it hurts I should stop, period.  I plan to walk nearly every day, and test every time to see if it hurts if I jog.  When it doesn't, perhaps I'll start doing a walk/run every day.

We three have a race next Monday, Labor day, called the MDRA Victory 10k, named after the neighborhood in which the race is run and after the beautiful Victory Memorial Parkway in Minneapolis. We have done this race many times, and it's a very nice, flat, out-and-back route.  Further, it's one of the 13 Grand Prix events. I don't know how much of it I can run, if any, but I'm pretty sure that I can finish in the 90-minute time limit even if I have to walk the whole way.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Uh Oh Achilles

Thursday, August 10, 2017:

I ran with some of the SCV Runners today at the Middle School track.  That’s fun - we run together or individually or whatever feels good.  I ran an easy warmup mile with other people, then started on my own regimen of sprints, eventually doing 200m in 49 seconds, maybe 80% of full effort and the fastest 200m since Katie gave me the green light to ramp up the speed a little.

Unfortunately, though, I started right out with some tightness and a little pain in my left Achilles tendon.  I stopped between sprints to try to massage it out, and again to stretch it out, to no avail. No problem with the right hamstring tendon today, though I doubt that issue is gone completely.  But at the end I was going to do one more 400m lap, and quit instead because of pain.  The Achilles tendon is nothing to mess with.

Watch: 1:59 (400m), 0:54, 0:53, 0:58, 0:51, 0:49, all 200m except the first.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Long Time No Blog

I do keep the log, just haven't taken the time to put it on the internet.  Still running!

Monday, August 7, 2017:

Wayne and I are fairly well matched right now.  He has been doing less running than I, but he’s younger and he’ll be faster than me if he keeps at it.  At the middle school track today we warmed up for a couple of laps and then ran 200m sprints together, for a couple of miles total.  Run 200m, then walk the next 200m, making it a full lap, and repeat for a total of 7 sprints.  Then I ran one full 400m lap.

I could still feel the pulled hamstring tendon, if that’s what it is, but not too painfully.  I ran about 50 - 60% of maximum effort, as advised by Katie, my therapist.  I’m sure that the injury will be more painful as I try to increase the level of effort toward 100%

The pulled hamstring tendon has been an issue now since June 9.  About two months.  That’s too long, and I’m less and less convinced that we have really figured out what the problem is.  Sometimes it feels like it’s a very small injury, painful enough, but not large enough to be the hamstring tendon.  Further, the pain sometimes radiates down the hamstring when I sit for too long, as in a car ride.  In addition, I’m not able to palpate the injury - can’t find it with my fingers.

Time for another talk with the Doc.

Watch, 200m sprints: 1:03, 1:02, 1:01, 0:55, 0:54, 0:55, 0:55, 1:53 (400m)

Saturday, Aug 5:

Saint Croix Valley Runners.  Wayne and I ran 4 miles, walking only a little.  I think we went about 10 min/mi. A nice time.

Thursday, Aug 3:

Middle School track.  With rain threatening, Rod and I were the only ones to show up.  We got in a warmup run and then I did six 200m runs at about 70% effort.

Watch: 55.98, 57:67, 57:33, 55:02, 51:48, 55:15.

Monday, July 31:

High School Track, running at maybe 50%  effort.

200m sprints:  1:02, 1:01, 1:00, 56, 55, 59, 1:00, 400m 2:01

Saturday, July 29:

SCV runners usual Saturday run.  I finished 3 miles again, mostly by myself.

Thursday, July 27:

Middle School track.  I didn't bring my watch, but I did run sprints for most of an hour.

Monday, July 24:

Today the air conditioning was out, so I had reason to stay close to home in case the repairman called.  I found a 1.6-mile loop starting and ending at our house, with a lovely hill, perfect for some hill training.  I ran three of those loops and got the call during the last of them.  Happily, the A/C repair was a simple one and we're back in business.

My sweeties crossing the finish line

Saturday, July 22:

Challenge Cancer 5k    Another 3 miles!  Katie, my running therapist, said that I shouldn’t sprint until I can run three miles without walking.  I did that last Saturday and again today.

This 5k is one race in an annual series of races hosted by Charities Challenge, an organization dedicated to helping others achieve improved health through exercise.  This particular race was held in a wonderful county park in Andover, MN, less than an hour from our home.

I ran without walking for the first three miles, then walked for a few seconds up a small hill, and finally pushed the last 100 meters at a higher pace.  Looking good at the finish line :-)  I feel great, no pain.  First in my age group.  Also last - I was the only one in M75-79.

Since I got to the finish before they did, I got a photo of my girls finishing their 5k.

Watch: 10:35, 10:23, 10:30, 1:24 (0.1 mile), total 32:50.  I can do better.

Thursday, July 20:

Good attendance this morning at the Middle School track, eight of us, running a 2-mile warmup and then a few 800-meter intervals.  Some of us are faster than others, but on a track we're still sort of together, as we can meet up whenever we want.  I ran with the girls for a while and with the guys for a while, though the guys were faster.


I didn't feel much like running today but I did anyway, going about 4 miles before we headed home.

Tuesday, July 18:

USATF Summer Meet # 4:  Minnesota USATF held the fourth of their five Summer Meets, this one at a high school in Woodbury.  I love the atmosphere at those events!  Runners from age 4 to 76 (me), doing every distance offered and every field event as well.  People are happy and excited just to participate.  I admire the parents who bring their children, introducing them to a wholesome life of healthy exercise. In just one event, the 400-meter dash, there were 13 heats, most of them with a runner in each of the 9 lanes.

The fee is $5.00, payment for as many events as anyone can run - even to run the same distance more than once.  Because of my hamstring-tendon injury I decided to run only one event, the 400-meter dash, the slowest (longest) dash on the menu.  I meant to run at 75% of full speed, but the injury felt OK and I finished in 1:46, a bit faster than I had intended and about as fast as I've run any timed 400-meter so far this year.  This would be a 7:10 mile if I could run four of those in a row.  Not yet, but working on it.  Maybe someday.

Monday, July 17:

For some reason I didn’t feel like running today, especially outdoors where the temp was 90 by the time we got home from a trip to Duluth.

The girls didn’t either, so we trekked off to the YMCA, where I ran two miles without walking and then felt like going home.  They did too, so we headed off to Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods.

Miles: 10:00, 9:35

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Three Miles!

Katie, my therapist, has told me that I may not sprint until I can run three miles without walking.  I did it today, three miles at a pace of 10:37 per mile.

During the regular Saturday morning run of the St Croix Valley Runners I ran the first two miles with Dave and Candy, who were running just a little slower than I usually do.  Perhaps that helped - they paced me correctly.  The pace did feel good, although I saw that both Candy and Dave could talk more easily than I, suggesting that I have a bit farther to go before I can comfortably run with them over a longer distance.  I was working harder than they.

The three miles ended just before the only hill on this route - a trail bridge over a major road.  So I didn’t stop at the 3-mile marker, but kept going for another minute and a half to the top of the bridge, then finally walked a bit.  I was very happy to stop and walk, but glad that I still had that much gas left after the three miles.  And hey, the miles were measured according to trail mileposts, which are not necessarily dead nuts accurate, so I wanted to be very sure that I actually did the three miles.  I did it Katie!

Yours truly top center w green visor

That’s two nice runs in a row: the Park Point 5 Miler race in Duluth last Thursday, and the three-mile run today, both with energy to spare at the end.  I feel new strength and endurance in my legs, a quantum improvement this week.

The right hamstring tendon injury is still there, however.  Katie didn’t tell me to wait for that to heal completely before trying to sprint again, but she would say it if I asked.  I know I should wait.  And even then I will have to go slow, take it easy, and not jump out of a crouch until it seems thoroughly healed.

I saw Katie yesterday, and was embarrassed to admit to her that I hadn’t done ANY of the special leg exercises and stretches that she had prescribed at our last appointment three weeks ago.  She soberly informed me that if I don’t do those exercises, I will get injured again for sure.  “For SURE,” she re-emphasized, in case I hadn’t heard her the first time.

I have no problem doing my runs, I like to run, but don’t seem to find the spare half hour for the exercises.  So we agreed that I will not allow myself to run unless I have done my exercises at least once since the last run.  Oof.  OK.  Let’s see how that works.

Watch: 10:36, 10:45, 10:30 (average 10:37 for 3 mi), 13:06 (walk/run last mile).

Thursday, July 14:

Park Point 5 Miler.    I loved this race!  I'm still trying to recover from an injured hamstring tendon, and took it easy on this run, but did better than I expected anyway,  finishing the five miles in 52:58.  Second of two in my age group, but hey, the guy who finished ahead of me is a pretty classy runner and I'm happy for him.  He's 76 as well, but I'll need to train for a while before I can finish a race alongside him.  If ever.

Throughout the race I ran 60 seconds, then walked 20-25 seconds or so, as fast as I could walk.  Hopefully sometime soon I will be able to keep running, no walking, but until then this is working OK.  I actually felt better and better as the race went on, and was able to finish the last mile faster than any of the others.

The race was held on Park Point, a narrow spit of land (sand) that runs between Duluth MN and Superior WI, separating Lake superior from Superior Bay at the very western tip of the big lake.  The course is on Minnesota Avenue, the only road to go the length of the point, entirely paved, and flat as pee on a plate.  I swear there can be no flatter race on the planet.  But today, the best part was the weather.  This is an evening race, starting at 6;30 PM, which is normally near the high temp of the day, and it is usually a hot race.  But today that high temp was in the 50's, perfect for a great race.  I loved it.

My sweetie got an age group award in the two-mile race!

10:46, 10:40, 10:57, 10:38, 9:57, total 52:58, average pace 10:36.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Two Miles

Running without any walking, the longest such run in years.  Katie and the doctor both say that I can run (gently) despite the hamstring tendon injury.

Several friends and I ran on the 8-lane Junior High track today, 400 meters per lap (inside lane), which is within 6 feet of a quarter mile per lap.  First a lap of warmup and another of walking and dynamic stretches, then eight laps of easy running.  Time 19:51, for 3200 meters, pace 9:59 min/mile.

I probably could have run another lap, because I was able to run the last a little faster then the others.  I'll try one or two more next time.  Katie says that I can get back to a little sprinting when I can run 3 miles without walking.  I'm working up to it.

After the 2-mile run, I walked a lap  and then did several laps of 200m walk (fast) and 200m run (not fast).  I timed one of those 200 meter running jaunts at 62 seconds.  Faster than the 2-mile pace, but slower than a sprint.  I sure do enjoy the 200 meter distance.

Watch: 2:32, 2:34, 2:33, 2:30, 2:29, 2:28, 2:25, 2:20 (3200m total 19:51), 1:02 (200m slow)

Tuesday, June 27:

USATF Meet # 2, Woodbury.  "Ran" some in warmup, and ran the 100m slowly.

Monday, June 26:

Ran to the HS, around the track a little, back home past CUB, brought home some groceries.

Saturday, June 24:

I went to run with the SCV Runners, but didn't run because of pain.  Saw the sports doctor
last Thursday, who says that I have an injury of the proximal hamstring tendon.  I saw my therapist Katie yesterday, and she agrees with the diagnosis.  Both said it's OK to run, but today the pain said no.

Not yet.

Tuesday, June 20:

USATF Meet # 1 St Louis Park.  It hurts to run, but I did a little warmup running, no racing.  I have an appointment with the sports doctor.

Thursday, June 15:

Track "training" at St. Paul Academy, a little running, but not without pain.


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Odd Day at the Races

Sunday, June 11, 2017:

Just when the USATF Outdoor Masters Championships were scheduled to begin in St Paul this morning, a thunderstorm intervened.  USATF doesn't run in lightning!  They even have rules about when they have to stop and when they can start again.  After several hours of lightning, the morning of races became an afternoon of races.

I loved it though.  I've never competed in an outdoor track & field meet before, and I'm intrigued by the assortment of events.  Every running distance from 100m to 5km, plus long jump, high jump, triple jump, shot put, hammer throw (bring your own hammer), pole vault (bring your own pole!), and more.  It seemed there were at least as many people competing in the field events as in the track events. I'm learning a lot and having fun.

Finishing the 200m Sprint

I competed in three events: the 100, 200, and 400 meter sprint distances.  I finished last in all three of my heats, but I don't feel bad about that because all of the runners were younger, many much younger, and I finished first of one in my 75-79 age group at each distance.  In fact at age 76 I was the oldest competitor at the meet except for my friend Rick, 77, who competed only in the 1500 meter event and finished in a very good time.

My finish times:  100m - 21.07 seconds; 200m - 45.82; and 400m - 1:44.90.  These are OK times for an old marathoner just getting into sprinting, but I'd like to improve the 100m time by at least 5 seconds, 200m by 10, and 400m by 20.  I have time to work on it, so we'll see.

Here are some reasons to think that I might be able to improve:
  • Any runner could do better running just one of the distances instead of three.
  • I stumbled a bit on at least two of the three starts.  How can that happen? I don't know, but I can doubtless gain a second or two just by practicing the start.  Remember, this is all new!
  • Another day I might feel better - I wasn't at my best today, a bit lightheaded.  Hydration, food, something else?  Anyway it will get figured out.
  • I was also running injured today - having pulled something in my right glutes or hamstrings or the connection between those during today's warmup.  It hurts more now than it did during the races, but I might not have hammered quite as hard as I would have without the pain.
That injury has been lurking since I first did some crouching starts a few weeks ago, and I need to do whatever it takes to heal it.  I have nine days now before the next outdoor track meet - those days will help.