Tuesday, September 30, 2008

No Pains

Lovely fall run with Rich before work, just 3.3 miles but that’s enough this close to TCM. The best part: No pains of any kind, especially the right knee. Temp: 50 degrees and breezy, time 36:42, pace 11:07. It’ll do just fine.

Dex lunch
Dex lunch: Organic romaine, cucumber, organic red wine vinegar, organic cottage cheese, cashews, sheep's milk cheese, organic sausage, organic mustard. "Dex" lunch because it's low in carbs, which is good for Monday, the day after I take dexamethasone.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

MMRF Race for Research

Sunday, Sep 28, 2008:

This is my race! I have myeloma, and they raise money for myeloma research. I had to be there and I wanted to be there. It’s quite a nice 5k, once around Lake Phalen, entirely on paved trails, well organized. Misty and cool this morning, 55 degrees, but we can’t change the weather.

Still worried about the right knee, I started off pretty carefully, wearing knee wraps (foam rubber tubes) and running on the flattest part of the trails. Hallelujah, no pain. None at all, not even a hint, all the way to the finish and beyond. I was able to pick up the pace a little as the mile markers went past, and finished in a respectable 26:09. Not good, but the goal was to run as gently as possible on that knee, with TCM looming just a week away, and that goal was met.

What happened to the pain? Why did it appear in the first place? Is it gone for good? Did the stretches fix it? The wraps? Running on the flat? Would it have shown up in a longer run? All questions, no answers, but I’m happy - it’s a masterpiece.

Splits: 9:10, 8:16, 7:59, 0:44 (0.1 mi), overall pace 8:26.

Carrie Tollefson’s grandmother died from myeloma, and Carrie comes to this race as a celebrity. As in years past, she started at the back and glided past many of us with encouraging words, a magnificent smile, and no apparent effort at all. She represents Minnesota very well.

Wednesday, Sep 24, 2008:

I attempted to run with the Woodbury Runners, planning for 5.2 miles, but after less than a mile the right knee hurt and it was clear that a longer run was not in my best interest. Rich circled Carver Lake once with me, and I stopped and came home.

Chicken dinner
Dinner: Organic roast chicken, onion and spices, watermelon, a good beer.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Six days off!

Saturday, Sep 20:

For various reasons I didn’t run for six days, and I needed a long run to prepare for TCM after the Lewis & Clark Marathon was shortened to ten miles. So I ran to the SCV Runners, ran with (behind) them, and then went to a local 5k race. Total miles 18, time unknown, though I did run nine-minute miles in the 5k.

Slight problem: Fairly serious pain on the very outside of the right knee, appearing about halfway in the 19 miles and continuing to the end. In fact, that pain is still there Sunday, the next day, even a little worse. Furtunately, though, the pain is not caused by putting weight on the knee but by motion of the knee.

My diagnosis: Illiotibial Band (ITB) Syndrome. I have been neglecting my stretches, so this is what I get. Prescription: Do the damn stretches, you moron! I have a short run scheduled for tomorrow, but I will cancel it if the knee still hurts. Must let the inflammation subside.

Lunch: Organic chicken, organic mustard, organic plum, organic chard with dried cranberries.

Lewis & Clark Marathon

Sunday, Sep 14, 2008:

Lewis & Clark Marathon. The marathon that wasn’t. They explain it here.

Hurricane Ike delivered six inches of rain in the hours just before the marathon, flooding out parts of the course and forcing the organizers to shorten the race to 10 or 11 miles. No marathon, no half-marathon.

I discovered:

  • Drenching rain coming sideways at 35 mph hurts more on the side of the face than on the front;
  • It’s sufficient to watch the feet of the runner in front - no real need to look up very often;
  • In a race such as this, there is no need to waste water by pouring in on the head;
  • Volunteers are truly heroic;
  • Spectators are totally amazing. Hard to believe, but there were a few;
  • A Timex really does take a licking and keep on ticking;
  • 66 degrees is plenty warm for running, except in drenching rain and a strong wind. I was glad I put a short-sleeved shirt over my singlet.
Hey, I won my age group! Four other old farts slogged along just a little slower than I did. My time: 1:43:06, for 10+ miles. Of course we all thought we were running a marathon until about mile eight or nine, so none of us was in a hurry.

We three were all pretty disappointed, after driving for nine hours and paying for a car and a hotel, but I suppose we can’t fault the race organizers. Except: It would have been nice if there was a way to finish a marathon, even by circling the block however many times or whatever, so that those of us who wanted to continue could rack up Missouri as a marathon state. Something for marathon organizers to ponder - contingency plans.

We three have had some interesting times:
  • The Chicago Marathon last year was cancelled because of high temperatures;
  • A three-alarm fire broke out along the course of the Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon this spring, forcing the organizers to change the course in the minutes before the race start;
  • Ike clobbered the Lewis & Clark Marathon;
  • High temps caused Grandma’s Marathon to be black-flagged two years ago;
  • The Boston Marathon temperature was 85 at the start and 86 at the finish when I ran it in 2004.
Race directors are having second thoughts about inviting us to enter their race.

Splits: 8:52, 10:39, 9:55, 9:52, 10:14, 10:01, 43:54 (4+ miles), total 1:43:06. Total distance was between 10 and 11 miles. No pains, the body held up well.

Breakfast: Organic oatmeal with organic flame raisins and dried cranberries, blueberries, organic plum, organic nectarine, dark chocolate, pecans, organic nonfat milk.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Life Happens

I do NOT like Ike! We drove eleven hundred miles to run eleven miles. The Lewis & Clark Marathon was rained out. Flooded out, actually. Ike paid a visit to St Charles MO, leaving six inches of rain behind, and some of the race course ended up under water. Race organizers apparently had no alternative plans, so those of us who braved the horizontal rain ran a flood-shortened eleven-mile "half marathon" and got a half-marathon medal for our trouble. No marathon.


But it was a new experience, nonetheless. More tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

City of Lakes 25k

Sunday, Sep 7:

I’ve never run a 25k before, so in a sense this is a PR, 25k in 2:21:28, pace of 9:06, finishing 15th in a field of 31 men 60-69. Many of the fastest runners in the state showed up, so I got beat by the best. I’m happy with the result and especially with the race and how it felt. It was a masterpiece.

A 25k is about 15.5 miles, which is about 2.4 miles longer than a half marathon. I like both distances. 20k is nice too. Long enough that it’s not a grueling, gut-wrenching near-sprint, yet it isn’t totally exhausting like a marathon can be. In this case the organizers (MDRA) had a clock positioned at the half-marathon point so we runners could record our splits at that distance. My half-marathon time was 2:01:00, which is two minutes faster than I ran the Rochester Half Marathon two weeks ago. I like that for sure.

Overall this is a very good, well-organized race. Negatives: (1) It’s two and a half loops around lakes Harriet and Calhoun, so you see the same scenery more than once. I don’t mind, but some people do; (2) It’s slightly hilly, though not a lot. Positives: (1) Very well organized, with race numbers even mailed out in advance to pre-registrants; (2) All but maybe a mile and a half of the race is on roads that are closed to traffic, and that remainder is in one carefully-coned lane of Lake Street; (3) Lots of enthusiasm by the 1000 runners, many of whom come back every year; (4) Some of the most beautiful urban scenery to be found anywhere.

This year the weather could not have been more perfect. Though the forecast threatened rain showers and even possible thunderstorms, the sky was blue at the start with a few puffy clouds, temperature 55 at the start and 59 at my finish. The clouds grew thicker as I ran, so the sun was never a problem. Wind was modest and cooling; a technical short-sleeved shirt proved ideal for me.

Splits: 10:06, 9:07, 9:14, 9:07, 8:54, 9:35, 9:27, 8:42, 9:12, 9:08, 9:12, 8:51, 9:05, 9:30, 8:26, 3:53 (1/2 mi), total 2:21:28, pace 9:06. That pace would make a 4-hour marathon if it could be continued another 10.7 miles. I doubt I could, but maybe I can do a 4:15 marathon, which would be a Boston qualifying time. According to the splits on my watch, the pace for the last 1/2 mile (actually 0.5343 mi) was 7:27. Maybe it was - I did run like heck then, passing a lot of people, and even had a nice sprint with another 60+ runner in the last 200 meters or so.

Organic romaine lettuce, cucumber, Sunshine-made guacamole, organic plum, organic strawberries, organic red wine vinegar.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Three In A Row

Friday, September 5:

Three excellent miles with Rich and Jim, at rather a slow pace, but exactly what I needed today after 10 miles yesterday and a race coming up. Cool, 52 degrees, good conversation. Splits: 10:10, 11:06, 13:54 (1.3 mi), total 35:10, pace 10:39.

Thursday, September 4:

Sublingual B-12. Is it making a difference? My blood tests at Mayo show a low red-cell count and low hematocrit with red cells larger than normal. This can be a symptom of a vitamin B-12 deficiency. For a little over a week now I’ve been taking sublingual B-12 "dots" (tiny pills) just to see if it would make a difference. I won’t see another set of blood tests for a couple of weeks, but I did have a very good run today compared with some other recent runs. Ten miles in 1:29:30, pace 8:57, mostly on my favorite rock-strewn soft dirt trail, which feels slightly uphill in both directions.

If the B-12 is making a difference, it would do that by increasing red cell count, thereby increasing hematocrit, which in turn would provide better oxygen transport to the muscles. Or maybe it was just a good day. Breathing was normal most of the way, four footfalls per full breath.

Mostly cloudy and cool, about 55 degrees, my favorite trail, running doesn’t get much better. I love fall. It’s a masterpiece!

Splits: 8:35, 8:24, 9:08, 8:39, 35:42 (4 mi), 9:25, 9:36, total 1:29:30.

Wednesday, September 3:

Gloves felt good. Four and a half miles this morning, 52 degrees at the start and 53 at the end. My clothing chart says gloves only below 50 degrees, but with a 10 mph wind they felt good this morning. I have a very light pair that go easily in a pocket if my hands do get too warm. Long-sleeved shirt was nice too. Good run, mostly on low-traffic residential roads, no pains.

Splits: 9:05,30:35 (2.5 mi), 9:03, total 39:38, pace 8:48. Huh. Faster than it seemed - breathing was quite relaxed.

Breakfast   Post-run breakfast: Gluten-free oatmeal with organic flame raisins and dried cranberries, organic nectarine, organic walnuts, mango, banana, dark chocolate, nonfat organic milk.
Lunch: Curried free-range chicken, organic rice, Jim's tomato, blueberries.   Lunch
Dinner   Dinner: Leftover roast bison, organic carrots, baked salad a la Jim with Jim's veggies and more including tomato, egg plant, onion, rutabaga, broccoli, parmesan cheese, cottage cheese.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Victory 10k

Monday, Labor Day:

Hey, two minutes faster than I ran the Hennepin-Lake 10k. That’s great! Probably due to the reduced dosage of dexamethasone, down from twenty mg/wk to twelve. This was a warmer day, too, 70 at the start, humid and sunny. Perfect weather for Red State Republicans, who are in town for their Gustav-abbreviated convention. Does God really favor Republicans? :-)

Splits 8:09, 8:08, 9:16 (5k mark), 7:04, 8:28, didn’t record the rest, total 52:03 from the gun, pace 8:22, better than I thought I’d do. Sixth of 16 in my 5-year age group. I’ll take it! I did slow for the water stop on the way back, and took several other short walk breaks as well in the last mile. Had to. But no pains or other complaints.

The Victory Races are possibly the best of all for kibitzing with the other runners. The start and finish are the same place, there is a nice area for people to mix, and the frequent racers all show up, some of them even if they’re not running. Lloyd came down from Pine City for the 10k, this time to make a Minnesota 10k record for 85-year-old men, 56:49. He’s my hero, and he finished less than five minutes after I did. GO LLOYD!

The Victory 10k is an MDRA Grand Prix event with about 500 runners, and there is also a popular 5k starting 90 minutes later. In addition, for those who just can’t get enough, a double-header (run them both, add up the times). It would be hard to find a flatter course, except maybe the Park Point Five Miler in Duluth. If I only went to one race all year, the Victory races would be an excellent choice, second only to the MMRF Race for Research, a 5k that’s especially popular with me because it raises money for research on myeloma, my particular cancer.

Shoes: I tried the brand-new Brooks Burns (discontinued model) that Sunshine scrounged up on the internet and bought for me. They were just fine, my 18th pair. These are red-orange; all the rest are blue. I have enough Burns now to carry me through the next several marathons. I’ll use the Brooks Ghost shoes too - maybe I’ll get used to the pavement-slapping sound. The Burns are pussy-cat quiet; you are likely to hear my breathing before you hear footfalls.

Saturday, Aug 30:

St Croix Valley Runners, five miles in 45:11, pace 9:02. Ran with George and Mary today - George was doing 8 minutes running and one walking - Mary and I were plenty happy to walk each time the nine minutes were up. All in all I think we had 14 runners for a pleasant run on a nice 60-degree morning. No pains. It's a masterpiece.

Breakfast   Breakfast: Gluten-free oatmeal, blueberries, organic strawberries, cashews, nonfat organic milk.
Leftover lunch: Organic chicken breast, bison bratwurst, onion, organic mixed veggies.   Lunch
Dex dinner   Dex (low-carb) dinner: Curried organic chicken breasts and thighs, organic chard, organic strawberries, sparking water.