Saturday, May 31, 2008

Northern Lakes 30k

And two other runs.

Saturday, May 31:

The Northern Lakes 30k is three weeks ahead of Grandma’s Marathon, and with a little warmup and cool-down it makes a good 20-mile run. I finished in 3:02:30 by my watch (no online results yet) which is a pace of 9:49. In the past I have been about a minute per mile faster in most marathons, but I’m out of shape. Nevertheless I’d be happy with today’s pace in a marathon right now - it’s about a 4:17 finish. Actually, I’d prefer a 4:15:59 finish because that’s a Boston qualifying time for 65 - 69 :-) But it doesn’t really matter because I’m not going to run Boston anyway - been there and done that. There are SO MANY marathons to run :-)

Pains: The left hip flexors started to hurt a little almost right away, but didn’t get much worse over the 18.6 miles. Same with the left knee. I did wear a protector/warmer on that knee - maybe that kept it from getting worse. No other problems, and neither of those slowed me down. I walked quite frequently in the later miles, either because I was out of breath or because muscles were just plain tired. Out of shape.

Splits: 9:15, 8:54, 9:24, 9:24, 9:29, 9:17, 9:52, 9:44, 9:49, 10:15, 9:38, 10:14, 10:00, 10:22, 10:49, 9:50, 10:04, 10:00, 6:08. After the race I ate a big breakfast and then spent two and a half more hours mowing the lawn with a push rotary mower. Does that add on for the equivalent of a 26-mile training run? I think so. At least my calves thought so - the left calf cramped up during the mowing. Ouch. Maybe better hydration after the race would have helped that cramp.

The race itself is OK. I’m not enthusiastic about the 30k course, because it was on roads that were open to traffic, and almost a quarter of it was on a busy access road immediately parallel to a freeway. Noisy and a bit dangerous - there were places with no shoulder except a narrow strip of soft dirt next to the pavement. Sheriffs deputies more than once instructed us to run the entire race on the right side of the road, but in places the water stops were on the left side and in many places the left side was safer. The water stops were all working, though, and the finish line was great. My two sweeties ran the Northern Lakes 10 mile race at the same time, finishing well ahead of me.

Thursday, May 29:

After returning from Mayo with good news, I ran 3.3 miles on local roads in 27:26, for a pace of 8:19. Oddly, this is exactly the same pace that I ran in the Brian Kraft 5k race on Monday. That was a very flat course, and today’s run was quite hilly. Something was wrong on Monday, most likely just the dex that I took the night before. And maybe the good news helped today.

No pains or problems. I had intended to run four miles, but cut it shorter and scampered home when thundershowers appeared in the west. Running in lightning is just as dumb as golfing or boating in lightning.

Tuesday, May 27:

Gateway Trail, eight miles in 1:08:20, for a pace of 8:33. Faster than intended but no pains or problems. This was just one day after the Brian Kraft 5k that I whined so much about, and the pace really wasn’t much slower. All in all a delightful run.

Splits 8:48, 8:48, 8:08, 8:42, 8:17, 8:34, 9:12, 7:51, total 1:08:20, pace 8:33. A masterpiece.

Breakfast at 1:30 pm
Post-30k Breakfast. First a yummy plate of eggs (not shown), then gluten-free oatmeal with organic flame raisins and cranberries, organic strawberries, blueberries, banana, mango, organic walnuts, nonfat organic milk, organic pomegranate juice. Man I love that stuff.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Three Days in a Row

Monday, Memorial Day, May 26:

The Brian Kraft Memorial 5k is a well-regarded USATF race with a rich history. Today, as in most years, 5k records were broken. See results on, with women here and men here. It’s almost a who’s who of Minnesota running, with the fastest runner finishing in 14:47.

My splits: 7:40, 8:19, 9:47 (1.1 mi), total 25:46, pace 8:19. I did not do well, finishing a minute slower than yesterday and ninth of 14 in the official listing of men 60-69. I’m not fond of 10-year age groups, but would have finished fourth of four in 65-69 if they had used 5-year age groups. Maybe ninth of 14 sounds better! We have some very fine runners in my age group, of which I was not one today; the next-slower runner, Jared, age 65, finished in 21:38, more than four minutes ahead. My friend Jim, 63, led the 60-69 group with 19:07. Marvelous.

Lots of excuses for me though. I ran a 5k yesterday and five miles the day before, which is plenty for me. Perhaps more important, I took my dexamethasone last night, so today was “dex day,” and dex interferes with “glucose transport,” which means that my muscles were somewhat less inclined than usual to take up glucose from my blood. However, I slowed in the last mile because I was out of breath, not out of leg power, so maybe oxygen was the problem and not glycogen. Anyway I don’t like racing on dex day.

NO PAINS AT ALL! Whooee! Maybe the ITB program (see May 25, below) is working? Perhaps I’ll test that theory tomorrow with a longer run. Meanwhile I’m keeping that knee warm at all times and stretching both sides.

Sunday, May 25:

Charities Challenge hosts a series of nice 5k races on the trails around Lake Como throughout the outdoor-running season. Today’s race was ”Challenge Hearts and Minds," to celebrate people who are challenging their heart disease or mental health issues by running and other exercise. Everyone welcome, of course, even those of us who have neither of those diseases. Nice little races with a lot of support and encouragement for everyone. Maybe 100 runners, with finish times ranging from 16 minutes to over an hour.

Having run five miles the day before, with some knee problems, I had decided to take this one easy. You know how that goes - how can anyone run slow in a race? I can’t. So I started a little slowly but gained speed throughout. Friend Rick was ahead, and I tried to keep up, but eventually fell a couple of minutes behind anyway.

As an experiment, I wore a foam rubber knee support/warmer/cover on my left knee, the one with ITB problems. A half mile into the race I was regretting this choice, as the ITB started to hurt. I had thoughts about stopping and waiting for my sweeties to catch up, then to run with them at an easier pace. But another half mile later the pain was gone. Huh. So my current treatment for ITB is threefold:

  • Keep the knee warm at all times. When I’m not wearing long pants I wear a homemade knee warmer made of old sox with the toes cut out, even in bed;
  • Now I’m wearing my rubber warmer on that knee whenever I’m running; and
  • Probably most important, I’m assiduously doing my ITB stretches three or four times per day.
We’ll see if that ITB program works.

Splits: 8:11, 8:03, 7:51, 0:45, total 24:50, overall pace 8:01. I’m not unhappy with this time, and I think I could have done just a little better if I had tried from the beginning of the race, but certainly not more than a minute.

Saturday, May 24:

The St Croix Valley Runners regular 5-mile Saturday-morning run, enjoyable as always because of the people. I mostly ran with Roy, but fell back when the left knee started to hurt, because of ITB issues I think. Nertz. Anyway I made the five miles in 45:18 for a pace of 9:04 even with the poor last mile. No pain after the run, and as before I can’t find the pain by palpating the place where it seemed to hurt. Maybe it’s ITB, and the doctor thinks so, but maybe it's not.

Today's breakfast
Today's exotic-fruit breakfast, after the Brian Kraft 5k. Irish oatmeal with organic flame raisins and dried cranberries, blueberries, organic strawberries, freeze-dried rambutan, dried dragon fruit, dried lychees, organic pomegranate juice, organic nonfat milk. The exotic fruits are all from Trader Joe's. Rambutan chews a little like corn curls but tastes sweet and fruity as if it contained two or three different fruits mixed together. Dried lychees are chewy with a pleasant, somewhat familiar fruity flavor. Dried dragon fruit has a marvelous chewy texture and a nice flavor.

Recent lunch: Organic chard with dried cranberries, macadamia nuts, organic apple, organic chicken breast, organic pomegranate juice.

Dinner: Turkey-breast curry, organic strawberries, organic green beans, very nice porter.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Twelve miles

Wednesday, May 21:

Randy and I, both recovering from injuries, set out to run 14 miles on the Gateway Trail. We didn’t hurry and we stopped our watches at least twice to empty shoes of rocks and swap water bottles. After 9 miles I started to feel a little warning from the left knee, so I turned around early and ran only 12 miles. In the last mile I also had some hip-flexor pain on the left; that mile was very slow as I walked and ran. I’m probably just pushing the mileage too hard - perhaps I’d be better off starting at 8 miles and increasing mileage only 10% per week like everyone says. We’ll see. Nothing hurts now, though, after the run.

Was today’s knee problem really due to ITB? Pro: It did seem to hurt as much when lifting the knee as when coming down on it, the pain was on the very outside of the knee, and it started after quite a few miles as ITB problems often do. Con: I was unable to find any place where I could make it hurt by poking it with my finger. To be honest the hip-flexor hurt more than the knee in the last mile. I’m thinking the hip flexor is just a fitness issue - need more miles, building appropriately.

Total time 1:51:50, pace 9:19, but even that pace is better than it should be, because we stopped our watches a few times. I took water at every even mile and Clif Shots twice.

Salad: Organic romaine, cucumber, pumpkin seeds, homemade guacamole, blue cheese, organic red wine vinegar.

Bison dinner
Dinner: Free-range no-antibiotic no-hormone bison, onion, organic carrots, pepper & salt.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Dead Cows and Sports Doctor

Monday, May 19, 2007

Runners Have Stories To Tell:

As I ran on my favorite but little-used dirt road along the RR tracks this morning, the smell of death was strong in one remote place. On the way back I smelled it again, went past, and then thought "that's how the crime dramas start - a runner finds the body". So I stopped my watch and walked back on the tracks themselves, where I could see into the deep ditch on the other side, finding two dead cattle (beef animals I think) at the bottom the ditch. A lot of expensive beef. I saw nothing that would suggest what killed them, and didn't crawl down the steep embankment to inspect more closely. After a call to 911 and a call-back by an officer, I finished the 8-mile run. On my next run along that trail I’ll check to see if the animals are still there. I'll be able to tell without looking.

Splits 8:54, 8:46, 8:41, 9:17, 8:55, 9:51, 13:06 (call from cop), 9:17, total 1:16:47. Pace for the seven non-cop miles: 9:06. Good enough for that dirt trail. NO PAINS! That's wonderful. I've been doing my ITB stretches; perhaps that’s helping.

This was “dex day;” I took the dexamethasone cancer treatment the night before, so I had high blood sugar today. I’ve learned that dex interferes with the body’s uptake of glycogen, which is why the blood sugar goes high - it’s not transferred easily from the blood to the organs of the body, especially the muscles. Seems to me that would make it harder to run, or do any extended exercise that requires more glycogen than is already stored in the muscles. If true, I did OK today!

Sports Doctor:

I like him, Dr. W, the sports doc at Stillwater Medical Group. He knows his stuff. I told him about both the right hip and the left knee. He did the usual checkout and opined that both of the problems are due to tight illiotibial bands (ITB). He advised me to run down the middle of the road where possible and otherwise avoid running surfaces that slope either way, to keep doing my stretches, and to come back for other therapies if those things are not enough. He's sure enough about the ITB that he didn't even suggest x-rays.

I was doing those things anyway, so I didn't get huge value from this visit, but now he's my touchstone for these problems and his diagnosis gave me more incentive to do my stretches regularly. He did say that he thinks my joints are otherwise basically quite sound. That's nice.

Post-run breakfast: Irish oatmeal with organic flame raisins and dried cranberries, fruit mix of pineapple, kiwi, and mango, organic strawberries, organic walnuts, banana, dark chocolate, nonfat organic milk, organic pomegranate juice.

Dinner: Wild-caught Alaskan salmon, organic vegetable mix with asiago cheese, organic lemon.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Making Tracks for Celiacs

We’re eating like celiacs (gluten-free) these days, so we were interested in this race. Unlike many races, it was primarily an expo event with product booths and a walk, and by the way, a race. The purpose was to raise money for celiac disease research. We did see a lot of gluten-free products, including several that we hadn’t seen before.

My own race was slow but pain-free. Splits: 7:24, 7:56, and 8:39 (1.1 mi), total 24:00, pace 7:45. The race was not certified, so I have no idea how accurately it was measured.

I’m SO pleased that nothing hurt, except I have an appointment with a sports doctor on Monday and now I have nothing to tell him! I’ll probably go out for a nice long run Monday before the appointment and see what that brings on.

Gluten-free meals, as always:
Today's breakfast, eaten at lunch time because of the morning race: Irish oatmeal with organic flame raisins and dried cranberries, organic strawberries, organic walnuts, mango, blueberries, banana, organic pomegranate juice.

Yesterday's evening meal: Organic romaine, organic fennel, cucumber, organic strawberries, pistachios, homemade guacamole, organic blue corn chips, organic red wine vinegar.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Three Runs

Thursday, May 15:

Gateway Trail, four miles. The left knee started to hurt a little just after three miles, so I mostly walked the last mile back to the car rather than pound on it. After the run there was no pain at all, except a little going UP stairs. I still think it’s ITB, but will see a sports doctor. Gotta get past this!

Splits: 7:58, 7:54, 8:05, 12:39, overall pace 9:15.

Wednesday, May 14:

Local roads, one mile out & one mile back, splits 8:38 & 8:17, total 16:55, pace 8:28. No problems or pains of any kind. That’s very good news, but of course it’s only two miles. I’ll go a little longer tomorrow.

Monday, May 12:

NSPCC track, 2/3 mile at about a 10:00 pace. Then the left knee started to hurt a little so I stopped. Not sure what that knee problem is but I’d sure like to get rid of it. Right now I’m treating it as illiotibial band (ITB) syndrome, and doing extra stretches. We’ll see.

Three Breakfasts:
Breakfast 1
Irish oatmeal with organic flame raisins and dried cranberries, fresh blueberries, Don's nut/berry/fruit mix, pecans, banana, organic pomegranate juice, nonfat organic milk.

Breakfast 2
Irish oatmeal with organic flame raisins and dried cranberries, fresh blueberries, pistachios, pecans, macadamia nuts, nonfat organic milk. Very nutty breakfast!

Breakfast 3
Irish oatmeal with organic flame raisins and dried cranberries, fresh blueberries, nonfat organic milk, banana, pinepple, organic pomegranate juice, organic strawberries, mango, organic walnuts.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

New Prague Half Marathon

The New Prague Half Marathon is one on Minnesota’s annual rites of spring. Unfortunately, it’s unfriendly to women and older runners, with a hard 13 min/mile cutoff, but it’s neverthless in the Minnesota Grand Prix series of races, so we went and my sweeties ran the 5k. My time was 1:53:19, almost exactly eleven minutes slower than the last time I ran it two years ago, and I finished seventh of eleven this time compared with second of thirteen two years ago. Oooo - second tier - it’ll take a bit to get used to THAT! Grump grump.

I think the CC-4047 cancer drug is actually slowing me down, in two ways: First, it reduces my resting heart rate by 10-15% and probably also reduces my aerobic heart rate; Second, it has cut my red blood cell count and hemoglobin somewhat, thereby further interfering with oxygen transport. What I notice while running is that I get out of breath before my muscles get overtired, which suggests to me that that the cardio-pulmonary system is trying to make up the deficit. Or not, what do I know? Of course the dexamethasone doesn’t help and I did run a marathon just six days ago, so hey. I’m happy and quite lucky to be running at all!

It would be hard to find better weather for running. The temperature was 50 to 55, no sun, with a slight facing wind for the first half of the run and a tailwind for the second half. It’s a “moderately hilly course” (their words) on open rural roads, absolutely spectacular scenery, especially if you like fields and cows. For the most part the roads were closed to traffic and I could run right down the centerline stripe, avoiding the slanted driving surfaces. And, perhaps because of that, the “trick hip” problem did not appear. Huh. The left knee was sore on the very outside, feeling as if bone-on-bone, though I doubt that’s happening. That’s new as of last week’s marathon; I hope it goes away. The right hip flexors were sore too, but that’s from undertraining and it will go away for sure. I had a severe cramp in the right calf after the race was over, but that’s also from undertraining and pushing too hard, plus maybe a little dehydration, so it’s of no concern.

Splits: 8:10, 8:13, 8:13, 17:30 (2 miles), 9:04, 17:01 (2 miles), 9:37, 8:44, 8:50, 9:18, 8:45 (1.11 miles), average pace 8:39. You can kind of see the hills in there. I had a great last mile with a pace of about 7:53. Don’t you love downhill finishes?! And now I feel just wonderful, as usual after a hard run. It’s a masterpiece. Miller time!

Friday's lunch: Curried organic turkey with organic black beans, organic mixed rices, and coconut flakes, organic broccoli with shredded parmesan and asiago cheeses, orange slices, pickled beets, and organic pomegranate juice. I did have seconds.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Two Recovery Runs

Thursday, May 8:

Four miles to continue the marathon recovery and to prepare for an upcoming half marathon. Total time 34:54, pace 8:43. It felt like more work than that pace should require, but it was just minutes after finishing a big breakfast and that always takes a toll. Breathing was four footfalls per full breath after the first mile. Slight pain in the left knee toward the end (something new?), but no hip pain.

After the run I visited Dr. L, my wise internist, who thinks that the occasional acute hip pain is caused by the illiotibial band (ITB) where it passes over the right hip. I’m not quite so sure, but of course the pain was not present when I could get in to see him. I’m going to do a little research on ITB problems and then probably make an appointment with Stillwater Medical Group’s Dr. W, who specializes in sports medicine.

Wednesday, May 7:

Nice easy two-mile run to recover from the marathon. I did not time it. No pains worth mentioning, including the right hip. Go figger.

Today's breakfast: Irish oatmeal with organic raisins, blueberries, organic strawberries, banana, mango, walnuts, organic nonfat milk.

Today's lunch: "Gourmet" rice (brown rice, wild rice, red rice), parsnips, sweet potato, rutabagas, turnips, organic catsup.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon

Flying Pig Marathon, Cincinnati, Ohio. 5:15:50 finish, definitely not my best day, but I do have excuses. :-)

First the whining:

My “trick” right hip started acting up around the end of mile 8. This is the sixth time it has given trouble, the second while running. The pain is sudden and severe - like an ice pick jammed in the joint. It’s a stopper. For a while I wondered if I could finish, but learned that quick little shuffle steps helped a lot, whether walking or running. As long as I didn’t stretch the joint out too far forward (or backward?) it seemed to be much better, and in fact the pain would go away for minutes at a time. Also, it helped somewhat to press my hand against the outside of my thigh just below the hip joint, though my arm got tired of that.

Interesting: I was offered aspirin, ibuprofen, Aleve, and use of a cell phone. Runners and race officials alike were quite willing to help the old man shuffling along the curb. But when you smile and say “oh, it’s just a trick hip,” they accept that and go on their way.

Even without the hip trouble, I doubt that I would have made my goal of 4:15 (Boston qualifying time for 65-69), because I hadn’t been able to train properly for a hilly marathon and my hip flexors started to bother at about the halfway point. Near the finish they were limiting my speed more than the hip problem.

Good stuff:

I finished a marathon in Ohio, my 17th state and 28th marathon. Sunshine and I celebrated our marriage by running that race on the day of our 45th anniversary. The weather was perfect. Just lovely. I got the chance to high-five a lot of little kids and some big ones. I got in a beautiful long run in training for the NEXT marathon. We had an enjoyable trip to Cincinnati and back, and we’re safe at home.

Splits: 10:00, 18:33 (2 mi), 8:49, 9:50, 9:01, 9:46, 12:22, 18:26, 21:19, 30:40 (2 mi), 14:10, 10:26, 10:56, 10:18, 21:35 (2 mi), 11:30, 11:20, 11:25, 11:08, 25:45 (2 mi), 13:39, 12:59, 1:56. Temperature: 45 degrees at the start, 61 degrees at the finish. The sun shone the whole way, so it felt even warmer. I picked up a little tan!

The hip problem was almost gone Monday, the day after the race, and entirely gone Tuesday. Wednesday I enjoyed a short pain-free run. Thursday I’ll run some more and then go see my favorite internist to see if we can figure out what the problem is.

Tuesday's lunch: Organic brown rice pasta, homemade organic pasta sauce, shredded parmesan & asiago cheeses, organic mixed veggies.

Wednesday's salad: Organic romaine, organic shredded carrots, shredded jicama, cucumber, blue cheese, organic strawberry, pistachios, organic red wine vinegar, pepper.

Wednesday's dinner: Wild-caught Alaskan salmon with yogurt & seasonings, organic peas & carrots with pepper, orange.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Forty Five Years Ago Today

Sunshine and I married in Estherville, Iowa. Best decision I ever made! We're having a great weekend. Lasting love