Thursday, August 28, 2008

Galloway Method

Sort of. And by golly I think it works! Today I ran 20 miles using what I thought was the Galloway Method. I ran 9 minutes and then walked one minute, though after returning from the run and reading Jeff Galloway’s web site it appears that he would suggest a 4-to-1 ratio of running to walking at my pace, not 9-to-1. Nevertheless, the pace overall was 9:26, which is slightly better than the 20-mile run three weeks ago and darn near as good as the 9:23 pace for the Rochester Half Marathon last Saturday. Huh. I wonder if I’m slacking off a little in the races. The doctor reduced my dose of dexamethasone from 20 mg/wk to 12 - maybe that’s helping already after only one dose. Hope so.

Best of all, the pace for the last ten miles was actually a little better than for the first ten. I’m not getting fast, but the endurance is building. Almost ready for a marathon, and indeed this is the last 20-mile run before the first fall marathon.

I ran on the Gateway Trail again, very convenient for long runs, covering the distance between miles 8 and 18 twice, parking in the middle. Today’s weather was OK but not perfect for running. Temperature was fine at 63, but the humidity was 100% which makes running a bit harder. In fact, the trail was shrouded in a light fog, with mist, for the first 15 miles or so. I kept expecting the sun to break through, but the clouds, fog, and humidity won the battle until after the run was over. We did get almost three inches of badly-needed rain last night.

I wish I had asked some friends if they wanted to run with me, but I never got around to it until it was too late to ask. Should’ve called Randy and Tom anyway. My bad.

Splits: 9:47, 9:01, 10:05, 8:39, 8:29, 9:14, 10:36, 9:56, 9:54, 9:59, 9:47, 8:43, 9:14, 9:59, 8:51, 10:06, 9:42, 8:48, 8:52, 9:04, total 3:08:43, pace 9:26. Water every two miles, gels every four - mostly gels with caffeine, salt once. Breathing was four footfalls per full breath almost the whole way, except perhaps in the last mile or two when it went up to three footfalls per breath. 38 miles this week - not quite 40. Should I run the other two tomorrow? Nah. Leave well enough alone.

Monday, Aug 25:

Local roads, two miles, somewhat hilly. The idea was to keep the muscles in shape. I think this run did it. Pace 9:05, which is fine. Splits: 9:17, 8:52, total 18:09.

Breakfast   Breakfast: Gluten-free oatmeal, organic raisins and cranberries, organic grapes, organic plum, organic nectarine, macadamia nuts, organic fat free milk, organic pomegranate juice.
Salad: Organic romaine lettuce, Sunshine's organic guacamole, pecans, organic plum, mango, organic red wine vinegar.   Salad
Dinner   Dinner: Wild-caught Alaskan salmon with organic yogurt, organic peas, onions, two kinds of organic sweet potatoes.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Rochester Half Marathon

Saturday, Aug 23, 2008:

I’ve never run the Rochester Half Marathon before , even though it’s a Minnesota Grand Prix race. It’s a pretty nice race, with a much better course than either Mora or New Prague, because a lot of the race is on shaded bike trails. Today was about as good as it gets in August, 61 degrees with a cooling west wind and low humidity. My only complaint (if I were to complain) would be that I missed most of the mile markers. They are stuck to orange cones, there are a LOT of other orange cones on this course, and my attention span is modest at best while running.

But volunteers were super, organization seemed competent and experienced. We three stayed at the Holiday Inn Express overnight, after visiting Mayo Clinic the day before, and that was perfect. The start line was right at the hotel’s front door, so we literally used the bathroom in our room five minutes before the gun. And the race-special room rate was quite decent. To top it off, when we needed a late checkout they gave us an extra two hours.

I finished the race in 2:03:05, about ten minutes slower than I ran the New Prague half marathon in May and twenty minutes slower than my PR. I’ve been able to train harder for this one than for New Prague, though, so I think the the difference in time is entirely attributable to the medicines that I am taking for the myeloma. Pace: 9:23 here, 8:39 in New Prague, I did walk occasionally in both races. I was fifth of nine in my age group here, right in the middle. Best of all, I’m still alive and feeling well. Life is good - I’ll take it. Live one day at a time ... and you know the rest.

I raced in my new Brooks Ghost shoes, and they were fine. But there is a little foot-slap, so I still like my old Brooks Burns better. Sunshine recently found some leftover Burns for me on the internet, so I can postpone making a final decision for another 300 miles of running, at least two months.

After the race I had a beer and then went back to run in with my sweeties. It’s a masterpiece.

Thursday, Aug 21:

This morning I ran with friend Rich, who hadn’t run much since Grandma’s, so we took it very easy. Four miles in 44:50, for a pace of 11:13 or so. Some walking, especially up hills. I’m feeling tightness in the right hip flexors now when NOT running, but I didn’t feel anything during the run. I hope they’re not going to be a problem.

Forty miles this week, and planning forty more next week, which will be the last 40-mile week for a couple of months if our marathon plans work out as we hope. We have several marathons scheduled, and I don’t run 40 miles during a marathon taper or the week of a marathon. We’ll see.

Salad and dinner

Salad and dinner: Organic romaine lettuce, avocado, organic seedless grapes, free-range chicken, organic red wine vinegar.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Good Runs

Tuesday, Aug 19:

Ten miles on my favorite dirt trail along the railroad tracks. No train came by today, sad to say, but the east-facing signal light was red when I left the tracks, so I suppose a train was coming along soon from the west. 70 degrees, nice cooling SE breeze. Just a good summer morning to run.

This was one of those days when I felt stronger at the end of the run than at the beginning. I really like that! I’d love to figure out how to have it that way on every run. Perhaps it’s just a natural benefit of the 40-mile weeks and 18- to 20-mile runs I’ve been able to put in recently, now that I’m running injury-free.

Splits: 9:28, 9:00, 9:33, 46:09 (5 mi), 9:25, 8:32, total 1:32:06, pace 9:13. Huh - that’s not a bad pace for the soft, rock-strewn trail. No pains at all - especially not the ankle ache that appeared yesterday on my day off from running. Stretches afterward, as I always intend but don’t always get done. Experience teaches that those stretches are very important to me in preventing future injury.

Sunday, Aug 17:

After 18 miles yesterday I just ran four today, on the shaded grass trails in the park, walking up most of the hills. There are lots of hills. I just ran for 20 minutes and then headed back for the car, though by a different route. 40 minutes is four miles in my book. No pains, no problems. Already 22 miles toward 40 for the week, life is good.

Breakfast   Breakfast: Gluten-free oatmeal, blueberries, plum (one), walnuts, dark chocolate, nonfat organic milk.
Salad: Organic romaine lettuce, Sunshine's homemade guacamole, organic blue-corn chips (from Target, of all places), organic apricot, jicama, organic red wine vinegar.   Salad
Salmon dinner   Dinner: Canned wild-caught Alaskan sockey salmon with jogurt, organic mixed vegetables, organic nectarine.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

33 Miles and a Dog Bite

Saturday, Aug 16:

Saturday, if there is not a race, it’s time to run with the St Croix Valley Runners, who assemble at Northland Tennis Courts in Stillwater at 7:00 am. This morning I ran from home to Northland, then ran with the group, then back, for a total of 17.8 miles. I didn’t feel too energetic for some reason, and the 9:59 pace showed it, but the run went OK with no pains of any kind. Charlie and I ran with George today, who was alternating seven minutes of running with one of walking, and we were more than happy to accommodate him on the walks. I walked other times on the solo portions of my run too, whenever I felt like it. Gels three times, water every mile or two.

This was the first really long run with the new Brooks Ghost shoes - they were OK but I still like the Burn better. There’s a little foot-slapping, and one toe hurt more than usual. The Ghosts will do, but they don’t quite delight me. Too bad Brooks stopped making the Burn. Maybe I’ll look around for another shoe brand.

Thursday, Aug 14:

Dog bite - sort of. Again my sweeties and I went to the Gateway, though in separate cars because we had different goals. I started at the Hwy 96 horse bridge and went south first, intending to run just to milepost 13 and then reverse up to milepost 18 and back. On the way to 13, I was intercepted by an unattended, playful, but powerful pit bull dog, which thought of my arm as a chew toy until a few stern words calmed it. The dog didn’t really clamp down, but its sharp teeth did scrape some skin off, with enough blood to drip a little. The dog had a collar but no nearby owner.

Concerned for the many children that use the trail, I called 911 and officer Joel came, but the dog was gone. The next day we three trolled the nearby neighborhood for a young calico-colored pit bull, coming up empty. One of the residents said that a dog can get on that trail and go for miles, and of course that could have been the case with my happy-go-lucky friend.

I also called my doctor, to discover that he takes Fridays off. A nurse called back, but had no useful advice: "Well, if you want to have the rabies shots, you can go to the hospital to get them." She seemed less knowledgable than I about WHETHER to get them, which is hard to imagine. I’m assuming that a rabid dog would not be happy and playful as this youngster was, so I’ll skip the shots and take my chances - I’m sure there is a risk to the shots too. Meantime the injury is not at all inflamed.

I’ve considered bringing a weapon (knife with locking blade) on future Gateway trips, but I suppose I won’t. Even a pepper spray would teach a dog the wrong lesson. As always the real problem is not the dog but the owner, and this is the first trouble I’ve had on the Gateway in hundreds of miles of running.

Otherwise the run was a complete success. Ten miles in 1:35:25, for a pace of 9:33, which is comparable to other recent runs. No pains! Splits: 9:36, 18:08 (2 mi), 9:03, 10:30, 8:37, 9:11, 9:24, 10:17, 10:40.

Wednesday, Aug 13:

My sweeties and I went to the park and I just ran for 25 minutes, then came back. By the time, 49:29, I assume that I ran at least 5 miles, so that’s what goes in the log. This was a warm run, but no problems of any kind. I did walk occasionally, which seems to be normal these days.

Lunch   Lunch: Two low-fat bison bratwursts with organic mustard on a bed of organic lettuce, organic mixed vegetables, and an organic nectarine.
Salad: Organic romaine, hydroponic cucumber, giant stuffed olives, organic strawberries, blue cheese, and organic red wine vinegar. Salad
Dinner Dinner: Grass-fed bison, spinach quiche with lots of organic spinach, sweet potato, organic strawberries. I went back for seconds.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Perfect Weather

Sunday, Aug 10:

For running. Ten miles today, mostly on my favorite dirt road alongside the railroad tracks. 52 degrees when I started, ideal for a t-shirt, shorts, shoes, and a visor to handle the rising sun. Cool enough I almost wished I had gloves - this is the weather I wait for all year. I flushed up two coveys of pheasants resting in the weeds along the tracks, saw plenty of bunnies and red-winged blackbirds. Running doesn’t get much better.

Following 36- and 40-mile weeks, this next week will be a cutback week, only 30 miles, intended to help consolidate the benefit of the previous two weeks of training and to encourage the body to recover and heal if any injuries have started. With five miles yesterday and ten today, the 30 miles are already half-completed. No pains today - all is well. I think maybe I can stop using the hip flexors as an excuse to walk up hills now - time to run up a few hills and see what happens :-)

Splits: 9:16, 9:03, 57:06 (6 mi), 9:02, 9:03, total 1:33:30, pace 9:21, very good considering that more than six miles of the run was on the soft dirt trail and I slowed four times for water. Further, I stopped once for a pee break, without stopping the watch, and reversed briefly to run with friend Luke who happened to run by in the other direction. I’m happy with the time, and best of all I found myself getting stronger in the last miles, rather than weaker. That is a happy sign. On the advice of our naturopath I have started eating more meat recently - perhaps that helps.

Saturday, Aug 9:

Saint Croix Valley Runners, five miles as always. Several of our group ran the Gopher to Badger Half Marathon today, and I had visions of having to run alone. Not so! Cal showed up for the first time in over a year, along with Burr and Luke, Mary, Roy, Dave1, Dave2, Doug, plus my sweeties, we had a decent size running group.

I felt tired this morning, and attributed it to the 20-mile run just a couple of days ago. That could be a reason. Roy and Dave ran my pace, and we three finished in 45:12, for a pace of 9:02. I like to be under 9:00, but today this will do.

Breakfast Three breakfasts. On top of the oatmeal: organic walnuts, blueberries, organic strawberries, organic cashews, mango, Dove dark chocolate, papaya, organic nectarine, banana, organic brazil nuts, organic nonfat milk.

Friday, August 08, 2008

That's More Like It

Two very nice runs, including a long one.

Thursday, Aug 7:

Friend Tom joined me for the first 8.7 miles of a 20-mile run on the Gateway Trail. I like to start near the middle, run about five miles in one direction and back, then about five in the other direction and back. Doing it that way I can get water and gels from the car at the halfway point, and I can fairly easily cut the run short if need be. That’s what we did today, running between mileposts 8 and 18, eventually covering all that ground twice.

What a great summer morning to run! Average temp about 66 degrees with a dew point of about 55, it felt cool in the shade and warm in the sun. Happily, that part of the Gateway offers more shade than sun. At one point a full-grown doe walked out on the adjacent horse trail and watched me run by not ten feet from her. She looked to be in better shape than me, though maybe a little more nervous.

After about ten miles I did feel some pain in the right hip flexors, and I considered shortening the run, but it actually went away in a mile or two. After about fifteen the left calf tensed up a little, as if if might cramp up, but it didn’t, and I stretched out that tenseness when the run was over. In all, I felt wonderful after finishing the 20 miles. Tired is a good feeling.

Splits: 9:50, 8:49, 9:46, 8:19, 8:34, 8:58, 9:49, 9:34, 9:59, 9:12, 10:40, 8:29, 9:13, 9:36, 10:56, 10:26, 9:43, 10:11, 9:23, 9:31, total 3:10:56, overall pace 9:33. Tom and I ran the first 8.7 miles at a pace of 9:11, but I slowed a bit in the second half of the run. I did stop the watch a couple of times at bathrooms. I walked to take water every two miles and gel every four, and several times on short hills, but kept the watch running for those of course. This was a 40-mile week, and hopefully there will be more.

Tuesday, Aug 5:

The schedule said to run four miles today and five tomorrow, but I felt good and decided to run nine today and do resistance training tomorrow.

The northeast 10 miles of the Gateway trail are SUCH a great place to run in the summer, if you don’t need to do hill training. It’s not perfectly flat, there are some long, gentle slopes and even a few short hills. Much of it is shaded and protected from wind, there are few roads to cross, and of course there is NO motor-vehicle traffic on the trail.

Today there were plenty of other people, on foot, bikes, and skates, but not enough to be a traffic problem. Kind of nice, actually, to think that if something happened on this otherwise-secluded trail someone might soon be along to help. I started at Pine Point Park, ran down to the Highway 96 "horse bridge" and back, about 8.7 miles.

I did pretty well, considering it’s just the 2nd day after dexamethasone. Dex interferes with glucose uptake by the muscles. According to what I think I know about dex and me, the effect is maximum on Monday, the day after I take the dex (I take it Sunday nights), about half that on Tuesday, 1/4 on Wednesday, 1/8 on Thursday, etc. Very approximately. So by the time of the weekend races the effect should be negligible. But I don’t think it really bothered me much even today, which is great. My pace was 9:05 overall, not so much slower than the 8:45 pace of the 10k race two days ago. Perhaps I should have pushed harder in that 10k!

The run was uneventful, except I twice met my sweeties going the other direction. That’s nice. 70 degrees, dew point 62, some cross-breeze, it almost felt cool in the shade. But not in the sun. Breathing four footfalls per full breath outgoing, mix of four and three returning, brief walks occasionally to restore a rate of four, then pretty soon breathing harder again.

Splits: 8:53, 8:38, 9:03, 9:52, 9:07, 8:46, 9:33, 8:06, 6:44 (2/3 mile), total 1:18:45 for 8.7 miles, pace 9:05, even with the short walks. Hoo ha. It’s a masterpiece.

BreakfastStandard breakfast: Irish oatmeal, blueberries, organic strawberries, organic walnuts, organic nectarine, organic nonfat milk.
Potpourri lunch, otherwise known as leftovers in a ball gown: Low-fat bison sausage, lamb, organic chard, organic peas, organic sweet potatoes, organic squash, organic tomatoes, organic strawberries, organic cherries. Sorry the picture is not focused - I must have had the wrong setting on the camera - all five shots were bad. But the meal was great.Lunch
DinnerSalmon dinner: Wild-caught Alaskan sockeye salmon (canned), organic baby peas, organic nectarine.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Hennepin-Lake Classic 10k

Sunday, Aug 3:

The Hennepin-Lake Classic 10k is always a hot race, held in the first week of August. I almost dread it because of that, but it’s mostly flat and can be a PR course for some. For a year or two it was my PR course. Today’s race was 72 degrees, overcast, and breezy, about as comfortable as any Classic I’ve run. I ran slowly, but probably could have run a little faster because I was able to speed up in the last mile. Finished 4th of 9 in my age group though, good enough for now. Maybe someday I’ll get some speed back.

Splits: 8:52, 9:04, 8:56, 8:33, 9:06, 8:15, 1:33 (0.2 mi), finish time 54:18, pace 8:45. No pains of any kind. It’s a masterpiece!

Saturday, Aug 2:

I wanted to run easy today, and short, and so did George. While the real studs of the St Croix Valley Runners were finishing their five miles in 37+ minutes, we two loped along and did 3.4 miles in about 34 minutes for a pace of 10 minutes per mile. We actually ran four minutes and then walked one, repeating, so I’m a little surprised that we even went that fast. This morning’s temperature was cooler than it has been lately, in the high sixties, a welcome respite. Humid though - the fast runners were literally steaming when they finished. Slight soreness in my right hip - I don’t recognize it as anything I’ve felt before, and suspect it’s from sleeping badly on that hip. It’ll go away. The new Brooks Ghost shoes felt just fine.

Friday, Aug 1:

About six miles in the relative cool of the morning, running in the park with my two sweeties. We agreed to meet back in an hour, and I took the paved trails this time because, though I like running on grass, the grass trails were very wet with dew. 5.7 miles in 55:48, pace 9:47. I did walk up several hills to spare the hip flexors, at least that’s my excuse. No pains of any kind.

LunchLunch: Low-fat bison sausage with organic mustard, organic plum, Jim's cabbage with tomatoes, parmesan cheese.
Low-carb low-fat dex salad: Organic romaine with cucumber, pistachios, organic strawberries, organic red wine vinegar.Salad
DinnerHigh-protein low carb dex dinner: Wild-caught sockeye salmon, organic broccoli, parmesan cheese, organic strawberries.