Sunday, March 30, 2008

Favorite Trail Is Open Again

Sort of. Almost. There is a narrow sand/gravel road along the railroad tracks in Lake Woebegone - my favorite run. No hills, of course, but the road is soft with rocks strewn about, and thereby takes a special little toll of its own. In fact I may be the ONLY one who appreciates it :-) Today it was extra soft, moist underneath, but no standing water. I spent most of the run on the edge between the road and the rocks that slope down from the track itself - a little more firm. A lovely run. I felt energized on that trail. No trains passed today, but I’ll see some this summer.

Fifty degrees with a modest wind. Six miles in 52:30, pace 8:45. Splits: 8:47, 8:50, 9:06, 8:52, 8:31, 8:24. Plenty good, no pains, it’s a masterpiece. 12 miles coming up soon.

Today's breakfast: Irish oatmeal with organic flame raisins and cranberries, banana, organic strawberries, cantaloups, blueberries, organic nonfat milk, Dove dark chocolate, pure organic pomegranate juice. Ho hum, a typical "Don" breakfast.

Today's lunch: Homemade mac & cheese with organic gluten-free brown rice / wild rice pasta and parmesan cheese, orange, more parmesan cheese melted onto part of a gluten-free brown rice rollup, organic chard with cranberries, homemade guacamole, organic braeburn apple. We use a lot of tasty cheeses like parmesan and asiago because we get plenty of flavor with less cheese.

Tonight's dinner: Organic chicken breast with shredded cheeses, organic beans and organic corn with delicious homemade pasta sauce a la Sunshine containing interesting ingredients like cocoa powder and cinnamon, organic romaine lettuce, organic yellow mustard, all on a gluten-free brown rice rollup. Plus a nice porter.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Five Miles with Friends

St Croix Valley Runners 5 miles in 43:30, pace 8:42. Good enough! My legs felt heavy today for some reason. Could be the dexamethasone I took last night, though dex is supposed to make me “peppy.”

Good company though - very enjoyable run, with Wayne, Candy, & Roy, chasing after Steve, Tom, Jim, & new Dave. Roy & I left Candy & Wayne at about midway & had a nice chat. Hope to run a 12-miler this week sometime - having to schedule that around a trip to Mayo where I will find out if the new CC-4047 study protocol is helping against my myeloma.

Saturday's breakfast: Irish oatmeal with organic flame raisins, banana, organic strawberries, organic walnuts, blueberries, organic medhool date, organic nonfat milk, Hershey dark chocolate, organic pomegranate juice.

Saturday's dinner
Saturday's dinner: Organic brown rice and wild rice pasta with wonderful homemade pasta sauce and assorted cheese, asparagus, leftover rutabaga, organic beet, & organic sweet potato, organic squash, cantaloupe.

Friday's dinner
Friday's Tex/Mex dinner: Organic romaine, blue corn chips, homemade guacamole, organic cashews, organic medjool date, organic sunflower seeds, mango, organic red wine vinegar.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Successful Ten Miles

Yee-haw! Longest run since mid-January, getting back in the groove! Ten miles in 1:28:56 for an overall pace of 8:54. No pains whatsoever. Steady as she goes, not fast, but that’s the way to build the base. Hopefully a 12-mile “long run” next week.

Splits: 8:59, 8:47, 8:58, 8:48, 9:12, 8:47, 9:01, 8:49, 9:04, 8:31. Water & brief walk after each even mile, gel after mile 4.

The food, by the way, is all prepared by Sunshine. I assemble it on the plate, take the picture quickly, then sit down and devour it!
This morning's breakfast: Irish oatmeal with dried cranberries, organic strawberries, Don's nut/fruit/berry mix, organic walnuts, blueberries, organic nonfat milk, banana, Hershey's dark chocolate, pure organic pomegranate juice.

Tonight's dinner: Moroccan lamb tagine (potroast) with organic brown rice and organic carrots, cucumbers in organic red wine vinegar, roasted organic beets, good brown ale.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Carbon Copy

Of yesterday: NSPCC indoor track, four miles in 34:13, pace 8:33. No hint of any pain or cramp, nothing! Very nice. Felt better as time went along. Splits: 8:52, 8:39, 8:29, 8:13. Ten-mile run next.

Tinnitus is loud today - probably because of the aspirin that I’m taking with the myeloma treatments. Might have to cut back on the aspirin.

Today's breakfast: Irish oatmeal with organic flame raisins, organic strawberries, organic dates, Don's nut/fruit/berry mix, organic walnuts, organic nonfat milk.

Today's lunch: Organic brown rice with organic raisins and dates, almonds, organic cranberry jelly, pineapple, mango, honeydew melon, papaya.

Tonight's dinner: Wild-caught Alaskan salmon (product of USA), with organic yogurt and dill, organic sweet potatoes, organic parsnips, organic blue-corn chips, homemade guacamole, organic rutabagas, another kind of organic sweet potatoes, organic baby peas. Yum!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Another Four Miles

NSPCC indoor track, four miles in 34:24, pace 8:36. Slow at first, felt better as time passed. Maybe a little warning from the left achilles tendon, but I hope it was just a little cramp. Fine now. Hoping for a 10-miler later in the week. Building back ...

Splits: 8:59, 8:40, 8:38, 8:06. It’s a masterpiece!

Some recent meals below:
Breakfast: Irish oatmeal, banana, Dove dark chocolate, dried dragon fruit, Don's nut/fruit/berry mix, organic walnuts, blueberries, nonfat organic milk.

Lunch: Organic wild-rice and brown-rice macaroni with organic mixed vegetables and a homemade jarlsburg cheese sauce, cantaloupe, pure organic pomegranate juice.

Dinner: Fish boil a la Door County with wild-caught haddock, sweet potatoes, onions, & melted butter, organic brown rice pasta with cheese sauce, asparagus, excellent porter.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Successful Run

No Pains! NSPCC track 8 miles in 1:10:36 for a pace of 8:50. Not too fast, but breathing was rapid because I had recently eaten. I tried to keep the breathing rate to four footfalls per full breath by reducing my pace, but after mile six I had to let it slip to three some of the time or let my pace drop well below (slower than) 9:00 minutes per mile. I think this is because my stomach was full of popcorn, which I had eaten not long before the run in an attempt to settle an already unsteady stomach. It did seem to help, but I won’t do it again because it made me run slower and I have a VERY unsettled stomach now after the run.

Last night’s dexamethasone may play a part here too, because upset stomach is the first-listed side effect of dex, stomach irritation the second, and vomiting the third! So far only upset stomach. Happily, I only take the dex once a week and tomorrow is likely to be better.

Why did that hip bursitis not appear today? Thursday the pain felt like an ice pick in the hip joint, then Friday morning it was much better and got better still all day, and today it was gone. Bizarre. If it goes away so easily, why does it appear at all? It’s really quite disabling when it does appear. If it happened in a marathon I’m afraid I might not even be able to walk to the finish. I’ve never been a DNF in any race, but that might do it. Need to google this ...

Splits: 8:50, 8:38, 8:50, 8:56, 8:53, 9:03, 8:53, 8:34.

Today's breakfast: Irish oatmeal with organic flame raisins, banana, Sunshine's teff bread with organic dates and nuts, clementine, organic walnuts, Don's nut/fruit/berry mix, organic nonfat milk.

Recent lunch: Organic wild rice and brown rice pasta, homemade organic pasta sauce, parmesan cheese, stuffed olives, cantaloupe.

Tex-mex dinner & salad: Organic romaine, cashews, organic blue corn chips, homemade parmesan garlic spread, corn bread with local honey, watermelon, homemade guacamole, organic red wine vinegar.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


Nuts. Seems like it’s always something! Earlier this month I had a short episode of very sharp pain in the right hip, right at the bursa. In fact it came on while I was walking the halls of Mayo Clinic of all places. That showed up again today, when I briefly slowed to walk a few feet up a steep hill. That’ll teach me to walk! It feels like an ice pick in the hip joint.

Today it came and went, I could even jog a little now and then, but pretty soon it would bring me up short, hopping on the other leg. So I walked (limped) the last three miles or so of an eight-mile run, after running a decent pace of 8:30 or so for the first five miles. Disappointing. And cold!

The good news is that if this pain behaves as it did a couple of weeks ago, it will be gone by Saturday morning. Just bursitis. I just wish I knew what brings it on. I tried some new stretches Tuesday - perhaps I will forego those for a while.

Today's breakfast: Irish oatmeal with organic flame raisins, organic walnuts, cantaloups, mango, blueberries, banana, papaya, Hershey's dark chocolate, organic nonfat milk.

Today's lunch: Organic chard with dried cranberries and spicy cashews, organic vegetable mix (carrots, squash, sweet potato, onion), organic brown rice & wild rice pasta with homemade pasta sauce, oven-baked parsnips with organic catsup. Those are Thai lemon/pepper cashews from Trader Joes, and they are GOOD!

Salad & Dinner
Tonight's dinner & salad: Organic romaine lettuce with sliced cucumber, "natural" kosher turkey breast, organic cranberry jelly, macadamia nuts, blueberries, clementine, organic red wine vinegar.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Very Nice Six Mile Run

North St Paul Community Center, 6 miles in 52:48, pace 8:48. This was a “recovery” run after Sunday’s 8k race, and it went just fine. No pains of any kind. After the run I met with my personal trainer, who taught me a little about stretches and then set me up with a regimen of exercises to strengthen the bones in my back that are under attack by the myeloma. Tomorrow I’ll try those at home, and we’ll see whether I learned them or not.

Splits: 8:53, 8:48, 8:47, 8:50, 8:52, 8:38.

Orange Lunch
"Orange Lunch" yesterday: Organic 1% cottage cheese, pimento olives, organic squash with organic salsa, organic sweet potato, papaya, mango, and cantaloupe.

Yesterday's salmon dinner
Yesterday's dinner: Wild-caught Alaskan salmon with organic lemon juice, organic sweet pickle relish, Sunshine's gluten-free teff bread with dates and pecans, local honey, oven-baked parsnip slices with organic catsup, mango, organic cauliflower. Seconds, please. Thank you, I did.

Tonight's dinner
Tonight's dinner: Braised organic lemon-pepper chicken on a bed of gluten-free chow mein noodles, cucumber soaked in organic red wine vinegar, vegetable mix of organic rutabaga, organic carrots, onion, and fresh organic basil.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Human Race 8k

The Human Race is a very popular (large) race in St Paul held annually on a Sunday near St Patrick’s Day. Mid-March is iffy in Minnesota, but today the running was fine. A good start to the season. I finished in 38:12, good enough for second of eight in my age group, but many of the best runners did not show up. My time was only a minute and 13 seconds over last year, a little better than I expected considering my current level of conditioning and having run 10 miles in the previous two days. Last year’s time was almost two minutes over my 2006 time of 35:13, which is still my 8k PR.

I wonder if I could have run a bit faster today. The first two miles were good, but I slowed to drink at the water stop at 2 ½ and walked for brief periods up the hills between mile 3 and 4. After the first mile my breathing alternated between four footfalls per full breath and three footfalls, and I could probably have pushed it to three the whole way. Splits: 7:37, 7:23, 8:08, 8:13, 6:52. That last mile is downhill and about 12 seconds shorter than a full mile, but nevertheless suggests that I had some steam left at the end. I can be more confident and push a little harder in the next race. I doubt if Friday night’s dexamethasone had any effect on today’s time.

Weather was 36 degrees and sunny with a south wind that cooled but didn’t bother. I overdressed a little with tights, a heavy shirt, and a windbreaker. But I was glad to have the extra clothing on when I went back to get my two sweeties still on the course.

I’m a happy runner. No pains of any kind. I feel great and today is a masterpiece for several reasons!

Super breakfast
This morning's breakfast: Certified gluten-free oatmeal with organic flame raisins, blueberries, mango, Don's nut/fruit/berry mix, banana, papaya, organic walnuts, organic nonfat milk. Looks like a lot and it was, but good to the last bite.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Nice Pre-Race Run

The St Croix Runners normally run a long-established 5-mile route, but with a race coming up I ran a shortened 3.55-mile route with friend Jim while Roy, Dave, Tom, Art, and Mike ran the full five. My time was 31:40, for a pace of 8:55. Perfect for an easy run. I feel a little buzzed on dexamethasone today; I took the weekly dose last night.

No pains - it's a masterpiece!

Breakfast today
Today's breakfast: Certified gluten-free rolled oats with organic flame raisins, blueberries, banana, Don's nut/berry/fruit mix, mango, organic nonfat milk. I LOVE mango!

Lunch today
Today's lunch: Organic romaine, homemade organic corn bread, parmesan cheese, macadamia nuts, brazil nuts, pimento olives, clementine, organic red wine vinegar. Not shown: Local honey for the corn bread :-)

Dinner today
Today's dinner: Wild-caught west coast rockfish, mango salsa (mango, sauteed shallots, cilantro), organic mixed vegetables w fresh basil, asparagus broiled in organic grape seed oil, Dove dark chocolate, nutritious oatmeal stout.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Feel-Good Six Miles

Friday, March 14:

Local neighborhood streets for six miles. I felt energetic today, and the time shows it. Six miles in 49 minutes, for a pace of 8:10. Maybe some of the conditioning is coming back. No pains of any kind. 36 degrees out; I ran in tights and two light shirts under a windbreaker.

I’d love to run 7:30's or better in the upcoming Human Race; perhaps I can. As always after a good run I feel wonderful, and today is a masterpiece! Time for my daily bottle of beer :-)

Thursday, March 13:

NSPCC indoor track, one easy mile waiting for my sweeties to talk to their personal trainer.

Today's lunch: Organic swiss chard with dried cranberries and pistachios, "hot dish" with organic brown rice pasta, organic brown rice, tomato, organic lentils and vegetables, organic apple.

Tonight's Tex/Mex dinner salad: Organic romaine, cucumber, pimento olives, homemade Guacamole with avocado, garlic, and organic tomato, organic blue corn chips, organic red wine vinegar.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Not So Performance Enhancing?


Now several days after the first dose of dexamethasone (dex) (see previous post March 8) I have a better feel for the effect that it has on my body. I was especially “peppy” on Saturday, the day after taking the dex. It felt like I had taken a couple of No-Doz, which of course are legal. I’m not sure just why dex is banned during competition (though not “out of competition”) because it doesn’t build muscle. I assume that it is banned because it is a stimulant like caffeine.

I am part of a study that will help to determine whether a drug called CC-4047, taken with the dex, will be of benefit to people with myeloma. I don’t want to mess up the study. But I may do as Kel suggests and ask the doctors if I can slide the regimen just two days to take the dex Sunday night instead of Friday. The trial is divided into four-week “cycles” - I’ll probably wait for the completion of the first full cycle before making that change.

In any case I’m just going to forget about the issue of dex as a performance-enhancing drug, at least for now. I don’t actually think that it will help my performance, certainly not more than extra caffeine might help. I have notified the proper people about the dex, and if anyone thinks that it is an issue then we’ll deal with it.

Today’s run:

61 minutes at the N St Paul Community Center. I forgot to wear my watch, but according to several time checks using the clock on the wall, the pace was about 8:30, so the distance would be a little over seven miles. Lovely run, no pains worth mentioning. Longest run since mid-January - it’s a masterpiece! Hopefully seven more miles on Thursday.

This morning's post-run breakfast: Irish oatmeal with organic flame raisins, dried dragon fruit, Don's nut/fruit/berry mix, organic walnuts, organic blueberries, banana, Dove dark chocolate, organic nonfat milk.

Dinner 1
Recent dinner: Free-range no-hormone no-antibiotic bison, organic carrots, onions, parsnips baked in a little grape seed oil, pure organic pomegranate juice.

Dinner 2
Another recent dinner: Curried turkey with organic peas, organic brown rice, organic wild rice, and organic cauliflower, all with mango. Downed with a delightful dark ale. :-)

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Outdoor Run Feels Good

Very nice run in the neighborhood this afternoon, 4.16 miles in 36:42, for a pace of 8:49. I must admit that it seemed like a LOT of work for that modest pace. I think that the dexamethasone has mostly work off now and is not providing the boost that it seemed to have yesterday.

28 degrees, sunny, hardly any breeze. This is a hilly course, and I was dressed for winter, so the pace wasn’t all that bad but it does indicate that my conditioning isn’t very high yet. NO PAINS though! Ten miles for the weekend. It’s a masterpiece.

No pix tonight - the uploader isn't working :-(

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Ethical Steroids?

More about the steroids below; first the run: North St Paul Community Center 6 miles in 51:16, not such a bad time considering I was trying not to hurry. Best news of all: No pains! None. YAY! It’s a masterpiece.

Splits: 8:49, 8:32, 8:37, 8:34, 8:32, 8:11, average pace 8:33. I’ll take it, and in fact I felt PEPPY this morning, probably because of new medicines that I took last night. Which brings us to the ...

Ethical Question:

I am taking dexamethasone (DEX) 40 mg once a week to treat cancer. More on my myeloma blog. DEX is a “potent synthetic glucocorticosteroid” (Wikipedia). According to IIAF rules, DEX is permitted “out of competition” but not in competition. I am always in competition. My doctor says that it can make one feel “peppy” the day after it is taken, and maybe the day after that. Then another day later I may want a six-hour nap!

I take the DEX on Friday nights because I started on a Friday (yesterday) and the drug trial that I am on says I should stick to the schedule as closely as possible. I usually race on Saturday and Sunday, so I may feel "peppy." DEX has the potential to break down muscle, as contrasted with anabolic steroids, so I doubt there are any long term benefits to athletic performance, but “peppy” may be a genuine benefit. This morning I felt as though I had about six cups of coffee, but without having to pee every 20 minutes. And I ran at the pace my body wanted to go, which was a little faster than expected considering my current low level of fitness.

So I’m a little upset about the ethical issues. Ethics are about ourselves, as I see it - I wouldn't have to speak up about this and I will never be drug tested. Some people might just give the poor bugger with cancer a free pass, but I don’t really want a free pass. How will I feel if I manage somehow to make a good time and finish ahead of my age-group friends in, say, an MDRA Grand Prix event? Are there other people that I should contact, at MDRA or USATF, to get input or a ruling on this? Should I run the races but declare myself ineligible for awards or rankings? I’m tempted in that direction - I sure do want to run the races.

Anyway, I’m conflicted and would appreciate anyone’s input.

Dinner / salad
Last night's Tex/Mex dinner and salad: Organic romaine lettuce, cucumbers, organic medjool dates, organic blueberries (yum), Sunshine's homemade avocado sauce, organic blue corn chips, pistachios, organic red wine sauce. Not pictured: A yummy chicken soup with lots of vegetables.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Feels So Good!

The bad news is I'm out of shape. The good news is that there is no other bad news. No pain of any kind.

We ran at the North St Paul Community Center, six miles in 52:47, pace 8:48. I feel great afterward, like a runner should feel after a nice run. No pains going down the stairs or during stretches. This was the longest pain-free run since January 16, when I injured the achilles tendon. It’s a masterpiece!

Splits: 8:58, 8:47, 8:46, 8:53, 8:57, 8:27. Breathing mostly five footfalls per full breath for the first three miles, then four. This seemed like more effort than the pace would normally require, meaning that my running fitness is not up to par, but perhaps now I can build that back up. Easy does it. Six more miles later this week? Hope so.

Today's breakfast: Irish gluten-free oatmeal, Don's nut/fruit/berry mix, organic walnuts, organic blueberries (they actually TASTE better than convetional), banana, Hershey's extra-dark chocolate, pure organic pomegranate juice. I was literally radioactive yesterday at Mayo Clinic, so these antioxidants and nutrients are great for repairing any damage that the PET scan may have done.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Another Good Run

North St Paul Community Center, 5 miles in 44:58, pace 9:00. That was the target pace, fast enough to sweat but hopefully not so fast as to exacerbate any injuries. I felt a little stiff in the left flexors for the first mile, but then it smoothed out. No pains at all, not even going down the stairs after the run (the acid test). It’s a masterpiece!

Splits: 9:12, 8:59, 8:58, 8:58, 8:50. Breathing five footfalls per full breath for the first three miles, then four. I was running on a fairly full stomach, which does increase the respiration and heart rates a bit.

Hard to say when I’ll be able to run again, with an unknown schedule of medical tests this week, but I’ll run when I can. Six miles next?

Today's post-run breakfast: Irish oatmeal, organic blueberries, mango, walnuts, Don's nut/fruit/berry mix, banana, organic prune, organic non-fat milk.

Today's lunch: Gluten-free pancakes with oatmeal, brown rice flour, corn flour, European yogurt, and organic blueberries; honeydew melon, oven-baked sweet potato slices, organic maple syrup. Not pictured: a glass of pure organic pomegranate juice.

Fruit salad bowl
Tonight's fruit bowl: Pineapple, papaya, banana, honeydew, orange, organic non-fat yogurt, organic prune.

Tonight's veggies: Organic veggie mix with organic salsa.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Running Again

Ran with the St Croix Valley Runners this morning, first time in quite a while. Five miles in 48:25, pace 9:41. This is the longest run since the adductor injury, and it went fine. Maybe a little stiff at first, but all of the troublesome systems were quiet: Adductors, knee, achilles, and plantar fascia. How wonderful! It’s a masterpiece.

I ran with Gauss and George. Two Daves and Roy went ahead, and Charlie took a slightly shorter route. Very enjoyable run.

Breakfast for the Gods
Today's post-run breakfast: Organic oatmeal, organic blueberries (they really do taste better than the regular ones), organic walnuts, Don's fruit/nut/berry mix, organic medjool date, banana, Hersheys very dark chocolate, organic fat-free milk.

Tex-Mex lunch
Today's lunch: Organic chard with cranberries, flame raisins, and pistachios, clementine, Sunshine's special guacamole, Sunshine's gluten-free corn bread, organic salsa.

Light dinner
Tonight's dinner was a yummy salad: Organic romaine, cucumber, organic chicken strips with Carribean spices, large olives, hibiscus flowers, organic red wine vinegar.