Tuesday, November 30, 2010


My sweeties and I met Jim in the Stillwater Dome today (the Bubble), where Jim and I and ran for 50 minutes at a pace just slightly slower than 9 minutes/mile. That’s a little over 5 miles. I wanted to work my left hip/buttock before going to see the sports doctor in the afternoon. The pain was there, soon after the beginning, but never became a limiting factor. I quit at 50 minutes, though, because it felt like I had done enough damage. Jim is such a good sport - he ran with me the whole way even though he could run three loops of that dome in the time it takes me to do two.

After a shower and lunch, Sunshine and I went to the doctor.

I have had this pain in my left buttock since the Tulsa Marathon ten days ago, and possibly before that. Dr Ronald Yee, new sports doctor at SMG, examined my left hip/buttock and determined that the pain is in the medial hamstrings, likely the semitendinosus muscle. Really, that is a word and it is spelled correctly! The pain is near the top where the muscle attaches to the "sitz bone." He thought it most likely that it would heal without intervention, even if I continue to run, because it has improved over the last few days. His recommendations:

  • Avoid painful running.
  • Use ice for pain control, and Tylenol if necessary in a race.
  • Avoid ibuprofen or naproxen because:
    • It may inhibit the healing process,
    • It can mask the true nature of the injury, increasing the risk of a more-severe injury,
    • It may injure the stomach, which is especially vulnerable in a long race, and
    • It may harm the kidneys, also under stress in a long race.
  • Come back soon if it gets worse.
  • Come back eventually if it doesn't heal.
If I come back, he may take pictures of it and possibly prescribe some kind of therapy.

I asked whether it could be piriformis syndrome. It was a reasonable thought, he said, but there is actually some debate in the medical community about whether piriformis syndrome (irritation of the sciatic nerve by the piriformis muscle) actually exists or if it is a symptom of something else. I think that's what he said; anyway, he was content with the semitendinosus diagnosis.

There is oatmeal under there somewhere

Monday, November 29, 2010

Pain In The Butt

Monday, Nov 29, 2010:

Yesterday I really couldn’t run well, because of the pain in my left hip/cheek. Today was better, butt it still hurt.

I have an appointment with Dr Ronald Yee at Stillwater tomorrow, and wanted to be able to tell him which activities would hurt, so we went to the North St Paul Community Center to try various exercises. You guessed it: Only running and walking hurt.

Thinking about the symptoms, though, I'm leaning toward piriformis syndrome, which is when the sciatic nerve is irritated by the piriformis muscle. All of the symptoms fit. If true, that means it is NOT: (1) The hip joint failing, or (2) A muscle, tendon, or ligament in distress. I sort of hope it is piriformis syndrome, because maybe I can keep running while it's treated. I hope. Runners do not like to stop running, even if there are alternatives.

I did get in some nice aerobic exercise at the club:

  • Running: 3 miles, finishing the last mile in 8:26. I count that as 125 calories per mile, total 375.
  • Elliptical: 150 calories.
  • Bicycle: 120 calories.
  • Walking: 50 calories.
Total 695 calories, divide by 50 for Weight Watchers points = 13.9 points, round up to 14. I need to lose 10 or 12 pounds to get back to proper running trim, so I’m back to WW. These are points that I can eat and still be on track in the program.

Sunday, Nov 28:

I tried to run in the park, on the paved trails, but had to walk much of the time because of the pain. Am I hurting something when I run? I don’t know, but it certainly does get worse when I run. About 3.2 miles in about 38 minutes. Huh. Sunshine thinks I should make an appointment with a sports doctor, and she may be right.

Saturday, Nov 27:

Regular run with the St Croix Valley runners, except my left hip (butt) hurt so I ran the shorter 3.6-mile route while the others did their usual five. About 10-minute miles, a little walking but mostly running.

Thursday, Nov 25 (Thanksgiving Day):

Thanksgiving morning "run" with the St Croix Valley runners. Dave and I were both injured, so we walked about 2.5 miles while the others ran their usual five. Left hip joint hurts, even while walking, but more when I run.

Real food:

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Where the Wind Comes Sweeping Down the Plain

And up the river valley! Tulsa Route 66 Marathon review. This one is as good as they get.

I recommend it to anyone:

  • Plenty of time to finish, for either the full or the half marathon.
  • Well-organized expo with lots of vendors.
  • Enough spectators to make it interesting.
  • Not a single car to be seen on either route - the roads were totally closed to vehicle traffic. Yay!
  • Fall color was at its peak, and there really are trees in Tulsa, especially in the neighborhoods. Very pretty.
  • Aid stations were well-managed, porta-potties were actually plentiful after the first few miles.
  • The race was organized into three corrals, started about seven minutes apart. That worked fine, even though my sweeties and I started in the last corral.
  • It was warm and VERY windy, but you get whatever weather happens on marathon day.
  • Music of one kind or another at MANY places along the course, mostly NOT obnoxious. You could dance to some of it.
  • I have no suggestions for the race management except more food at the finish - they ran out of the best stuff.
My race: Not so hot. I finished in 5:19:02, eighth of 12 in my age group. I hadn’t trained very much since my last marathon five weeks ago because of a cold and fever. Also some joints hurt, the course was hilly and windy, and the weather was pretty warm, going from 63 at the start to 73 at the finish. But mostly it was my lack of trim. How much can you lose in five weeks? A lot, I guess; this one took more than a half hour longer and that one was hilly too. Nevertheless, I FINISHED my 48th marathon in my 31st state.

My left hip hurt quite a bit after mile four or five, enough to slow me down, but got somewhat better after I took a naproxen (Aleve) around mile 10 or so. That hip problem is new, and I hope it’s not a harbinger of oncoming arthritis. Others in my family have had hip replacements and I’m not interested! Several other parts hurt as well - left lisfranc ligaments, both hip flexors, right toes, yada yada, it’s a marathon, duh. Happily, though, the calves both complained a bit but neither cramped up, not even after the race. I did take six gels and six salt packets along the way, with at least 5 oz water at every aid station. That helps a LOT.

This race did offer a rare treat: Just after mile 16 the marathon course converged briefly with the half-marathon course, and the timing was perfect: I caught up to my two sweeties and was able to run with them for more than a mile. We never get to do that in a real race, only in training, so we stayed together and made the most of it. Then they turned around with about a mile left to go, and I jogged on ahead for my remaining eight miles or so. Needless to say they finished first, but they always do.

Along the course:
  • Young woman wearing a T-shirt: “Balls are my business.” I might have asked, but she was going faster.
  • Signs “Up With Trees” all along Riverfront Drive. Tulsa plants trees. Indeed, the maples were in technicolor.
  • Sign propped in front of a boy in a stroller: “This is a really boring parade!”
  • Shirt: I’m older than you, more devious, and I train while you sleep!”
  • ”Banana Man,” a sharp young Texan who had run another marathon the DAY before, taught me about organic bananas.
  • Bumper sticker on a rusty pickup: “A dead Yankee don’t tell no lies.” Same with a dead redneck, you neanderthal.
  • Otherwise, Tulsa was warm and welcoming.
Splits: 11:55, 10:42, 10:49, 10:47, 11:08, 22:01 (2 mi), 22:09 (2 mi), 23:14, 24:52 (2 mi), 24:40 (2 mi), 13:25, 16:44, 14:02, 13:15, 14:22, 12:12, 13:25, 23:58 (2 mi), 11:38, 12:10, 1:40 (0.22 mi), total 5:19:02. Uffda. I can do better and I will.

Tuesday, Nov 16, 2010:

Jim and I ran together in the Stillwater Bubble, 1000-foot loops, at a pace that I’m sure was 9-minute miles or so, for 50 minutes. It was my first run in almost a week, and Jim’s first in even longer, so we took it easy. After three miles I was actually having trouble keeping that pace, so we walked one of the short sides of the rectangle and ran the rest. No problems, no pains.

One of Tulsa's many parks:

Thursday, November 11, 2010

More Romps in the Park

Wednesday, Nov 10, 2010:

Yet another run in the park today, hilly grass trails, temperature 63 degrees. I took it easy, partly because I had just eaten lunch, and really enjoyed the run. My cold is getting better, though by no means gone. It doesn’t bother when I run, though, and running 5 or 6 miles doesn’t seem to make it worse. Time 52:00, 4.9 miles, pace 10:49.

Monday, Nov 8, 2010:

Lovely run in the park again, is this the last of the season? This time I explored a little and ended up running 5.8 miles in 1:01:00, for a pace of 10:30. Great day, good run, nothing hurts, it’s a masterpiece.

Poplar trees shimmer in the November sun. It's beautiful here any time of year:

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Ten Days Since The Last Run

I’ve had such a miserable cold that I haven’t even felt like running. Today, though, temperatures reached 60 degrees, with a warm sun, and we couldn’t resist going to the park, where I had one very nice 4.8-mile run on the grass trails, perhaps the last run there of the season. Time 50:00, pace 10:27, can’t expect better after 10 days off.

I do hope to get in a few more runs here before the snow covers the trails, though. The park doesn’t allow snowshoes on those trails - they are reserved and groomed for skiers who pay nice fees.

I’ve tried everything to kick this cold, now going on 20 days. Extra sleep (lots), chicken soup, menthol chest rub, extra warmth day and night, freshly washed pillows & cases, new toothbrush, some exercise, no exercise, intense exercise; so far it hasn’t changed much. Head and chest, slight fever in the evening. I’m open to ideas, thinking it might be time to call the doctor.