Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Schwinn Elliptical Again

The sports hernia did get a little irritated by last Sunday’s race, so it’s back to the elliptical, which seems to have no effect on the hernia. I do miss running, though.

Stats: 25:44 minutes, 6.74 avg MPH, 2.89 "miles," 67 avg RPM, 373 calories, 121 avg heart rate. That’s what the machine said at the finish. Let’s do some calculations:

67 RPM x 60 = 4020 revs per hour. Divide by 6.74 MPH to get 596 revolutions/mile, or 8.9 feet per revolution. That’s 106 inches per revolution, or 53 inches per “footfall.” However, one foot actually travels only about 17 inches per “footfall,” so the makers of this machine somehow figure that the elliptical motion can be multiplied by three to get equivalent distance. Are they doing bike distance? Naw - I could go a heck of a lot farther than 2.89 miles in 25 minutes on a bike. I wonder if that calculation changes with the resistance setting - so far I’ve only used the machine on the highest setting.

373 calories in 25:44 is 869 calories per hour, which is a very high rate for me. I wonder if it’s true. I was sweating pretty hard though.

25:44 minutes = 0.42889 hours. Multiply by 6.74 avg MPH, get 2.89 miles. OK, that calculation is as expected. The HR of 121 is about what I would expect. It should be in the 130's at that level of effort, but medication holds it down a little.

The Schwinn A40 made a lot of noise this time, a creaking noise on every left-foot downstroke. Later I moved the machine slightly, to a different spot on the floor, and the noise went away. More research required.

Stacy died today. What a tragedy.

Mostly organic:

Monday, September 26, 2011

MMRF Race for Research

Once a year the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation holds a money-raising 5k run/walk around Lake Phalen. It’s a fun event. I’m still trying to get past a sports hernia, so I only ran 30 seconds of every two minutes, but that amount sure felt good! The course was re-routed slightly because of construction, so it was probably about 2.9 miles instead of 3.1. I finished in 36:56, for a pace of 12:44. Not speedy, but enough to finish just ahead of the only other guy in my age group.

It felt SO good to run, but I won’t run again until the marathon next Sunday.

For the record: The “sports hernia” is still there. No pain, really, except a little in the first 30 seconds, but it’s lurking there. Also, the right knee with PFS did hurt a little. Ah well, the price of an enjoyable life.

I’m discovering that some people don’t think that a sports hernia will heal by itself - that surgical intervention is usually required, as with other hernias. I hope not - I’m working on the stretches, exercises, and massage.

Splits: 11:08 (probably about 0.8 mi), 12:31, 13:17 (1.1 mi), total 36:56.

Sunshine and myself with our medals:
Sunshine & Me

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Walk with SCV Runners

Saturday, Sept 24, 2011:

St Croix Valley Runners, every Saturday 7:00 am, Stillwater’s Northland Park. This morning I walked briskly with George and my sweeties for just over 41 minutes, probably about 2.5 miles. Lovely walk, nothing hurt.

Tomorrow is the MMRF Race for Research in Phalen Park. Registration begins at 9:30, race/walk at 11:00.

Friday, Sept 23, 2011:

Another “run” on the A40 elliptical today, 25 minutes, 328 calories, 2.81 miles. That’s a lot of calories for just 25 minutes, a rate of almost 800 calories per hour. The highest rate I reached on the expensive machines at Anytime Fitness was 650-700 calories per hour, so I’m not sure whether to believe the A40. On the other hand I did work pretty hard and got quite sweaty. Further, the A40 was set to the highest resistance setting, so maybe ... The machine is new to us, and it may take a while for me to have confidence in it.

Dinner: Chicken with mustard, tomatos, sweet potato, squash, relish, cherries, all organic:

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Three Days Later

I feel great! We three had planned to a "double" in a couple of weeks, a marathon in New Hampshire on Saturday and another in Maine the next day. But last Monday, the day AFTER the Presque Isle marathon, I really didn’t feel strong enough to run another one that day. Would it be any different two weeks from now? Probably not.

For that reason, and because we have several more marathons on the schedule this fall, we have scratched the New Hampshire marathon and will focus on the one in Portland, Maine in eleven days.

We now have a nice new Schwinn A40 elliptical trainer, which arrived Monday and which we assembled yesterday. This morning I put in 20 minutes of fairly vigorous exercise on it, racking up 213 calories. Neither the machine nor I experienced any problems. There was a little bit of squeaking (I think it was the machine, not me) but it went away. After a little more experience with the machine, I may post a review of it. So far it’s pretty good.

As I think back on my blog posts it seems like there has been a lot of whining about injuries, especially lately. I do need to log that information for future reference, but at least for a while I’m going to put it at the bottom of the post, unless it really is the headline. As of today, the pain in the right-side adductors / hip flexors is entirely gone, as expected. The sports hernia (abdominal wall strain) on that side is detectable but not painful. That’s the one of most concern in the long term. I have located a couple of web pages describing sensible, appropriate treatment for the sports hernia and have put together a recovery program which includes stretches, specific exercises, and self-administered massage. We’ll see how it goes and if I stick to it.

Meanwhile, today is a masterpiece!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Presque Isle Marathon, Erie PA

An unqualified success. I was worried about this one, because of injuries that might reappear, but so far so good. So very good. This was the 55th marathon and 37th state since my myeloma diagnosis in 2003, and the 28th marathon and 21st state since starting on the pomalidomide investigational drug in March of 2008.

The Marathon Itself:

  • Very well organized - it went smoothly.
  • Aid stations were a mile apart, twice as good as the two miles offered by most marathon.
  • Race officials on bikes passed me many times - they were doing a good job.
  • Parking was totally organized - follow the flashlights, shut up, and park! No one got their choice of a place to park, but that was no problem, because every spot was close to the start.
  • Some of the aid stations had a theme: At Mile 5 (and 18) it appeared to be a hillbilly theme, and at another location the Boy Scouts ran the station.
  • The course follows the paved roads circling Erie’s Presque Isle, a state park, and is exactly a half marathon in length. Marathoners just do it twice. As the T-shirt says, marathoners do it longer.
  • The park is incredibly beautiful, covered with huge trees, mostly cottonwood, but there were large acorns on the ground here and there from a type of oak that I didn’t recognize.
  • We saw a flock of wild turkeys, flocks of geese honking overhead, lots of squirrels, and, though we didn’t see them, there are beavers and opossums on the island too. With all of that prey, I'm thinking there must also be predators like foxes.
  • The island was created initially by the action of waves on the shores farther west. It seems to be entirely sand, though some soil has built up within the forested areas.
  • It is actually a peninsula, connected to Erie by a narrow strip of land just wide enough for a roadway. In French, “presque” means “almost.”
  • I was put off by the amount of vehicle traffic on the roads that we ran, but I'll get over it. Lots of people use the park, not just us marathoners.

My Race:

I had an unexpectedly good marathon. I’m still on top of the world. I ran (& walked) slowly, shooting for six hours, and finished in about 5:52:16. This took almost an hour longer than my last marathon in July, but I went slow out of concern for a sports hernia injury (not really a hernia) that I have been nursing for four weeks, and I fully expected it to reappear somewhere in the 26 miles. It didn’t! No pain at all during the first half marathon. Later I did have a lot of pain from tendons or ligaments of the hip flexors or maybe the adductors on the same side as the sports hernia, even during the walking, but that went away whenever I stopped. This is not new - hip flexor pain has appeared in many previous marathons and is not likely to be a limiting problem.

Other stuff:
  • Near the end of the race I passed by a runner wearing a Portland, Maine T-shirt. I asked him if he was from Portland, and in the ensuing conversation he revealed that he would be running the Portland Marathon two weeks from now, and also the marathon in Bristol, NH the day before that. Further, he ran a marathon yesterday! I said that he must be a 50-stater by now (finished a marathon in all 50 states) and he said that he was going around for the seventh time! “What the heck,” he said, “I’m retired.” Uff-da. (That’s Minnesota speak for wowzer).
  • A marathoning axiom: Don’t try anything in a marathon that you haven’t previously tried in a long run. I violated that rule today, but got away with it.
    • I’ve never taken video during a race before, but I took 50 minutes of it today. It didn’t slow me up much, because I kept going, mostly shooting during the walking intervals.
    • To carry the video camera, I added a pouch for the camera on my water-carrier belt. I’ve done marathons with the water carrier before, but the pouch was new. No problem.
    • Also, I carried my gels in an empty plastic peanut butter jar, which just fit in the carrier where a water bottle would otherwise go. Also no problem - except that the gels rattled in the PB jar when I ran. Fixable.
  • That left the pockets of my shorts free for whatever. I used them to carry leftover water cups and other debris to the next aid station.
  • Some of the video may eventually show up on a Youtube or Facebook page, maybe even this blog.
  • I took six Clif Shot Mocha gels along the way, every four miles starting at Mile 2, and salt tablets every four miles starting at Mile 4. No problem with energy, and no muscle cramps.
I dedicated this race to my daughter-in-law, who is also battling cancer right now. At the moment, her battle is considerably more serious than mine, and I do so wish her well and wellness.

Further, I ran this race for Team Continuum, a charity which helps families deal with the overwhelming costs of cancer. If you have a Facebook account, I urge you to go to Facebook.com/ERACECANCER, my fundraising account, and “like” it. There is no cost to you, and a generous donor will make a contribution.

Splits: 26:13 (2 mi), 13:18, 12:25, 13:31, 16:49 (natural break), 13:06, 12:36, 11:33, 12:53, 14:09, 26:51 (2 mi), 13:31, 13:03, 27:54 (2 mi), 13:03, 14:49, 13:28, 12:45, 13:46, 14:21, 12:25, 13:15, 16:34 (1.2 mi ++), total 5:52:16, pace 13.26.

Sunshine and me at the start, wearing garbage bags against the wind. Those disappeared just before the start. Isn't she cute?:

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Double Elliptical

206 calories in 20 minutes on the elliptical trainer. Pulse rate reached 120 today - That’s more appropriate than the rate of 113 last Monday, when I spent 259 calories in 25 minutes.

After the short workout, I jogged gently in and out of a nearby grocery store, with no pains anywhere. So here’s hoping for the upcoming marathon. Of course 26 miles is way different from 200 feet.

This is probably the last post before the marathon. This time I’m taking video of the run, with a cute little waterproof pocket webcam. I’ve never done that before, but there will be a video record of the experience - I sure hope it’s a good one.

Almost entirely organic:

Sunday, September 11, 2011

We’re Going! No question.

Should I even try to run the next marathon? What if the sports hernia gets a lot worse - we have seven more marathons this year. Or, what if we didn’t go to this marathon, and the sports hernia showed up at the next one anyway? In the end, the only way to know if I can run a marathon is to start it and try to finish. So we’re going to this one. I love this life!

Right now the injury is still there - a slight tightness on that side of the abdomen and in the related groin area. But the marathon is still a week away.

I’m really looking forward to it too, in a lovely FLAT park on Presque Isle in Lake Erie. The race starts right at sunrise, which is so cool. Sometimes the larger races have fireworks for a sunrise start - we’ll see - in any case, I can’t wait to start the marathon!

Today, September 11, 2011:

We three went to the park for an easy 55-minute walk. No pains, just a little tightness.

Saturday evening, September 10:

Anytime Fitness elliptical machine, 30 minutes at about 500 calories per minute, total 250 calories. Maximum heart rate was 111 bpm, so I need to ramp up the calories per minute, but this was a good enough workout for today.

Saturday morning, September 10:

Several of the St Croix Valley Runners were planning to run the Bear Water 20-mile run in White Bear Lake Sunday, so only three runners and five walkers showed up. We walkers strolled for about 2.5 miles while the three speedsters finished their five miles well ahead of us. No strain, good conversation.

All organic, including the leftover turkey:

Friday, September 09, 2011

Elliptical Machine

No exercise yesterday - I had the 24-hour crud. Slept 10 hours straight last night, woke up feeling pretty good, so I went to Anytime Fitness.

After a few minutes on the recumbent bike, 67 calories, working at a rate of about 500 calories per hour, I felt a brief pain in the right groin, possibly related to the sports hernia on that side. So I stopped the bike and went to an elliptical machine, where I ran up 133 calories to make the total 200. That was plenty after yesterday’s issues. It all took a little under 30 minutes and it’s equivalent to about 2.5 to 3.0 miles.

After stretching, I jogged easily about 20 yards to the car. I could tell that the sports hernia injury was still not quite healed, but it didn’t really hurt. At home, the situp test was negative - no pain. That’s good, and there are still 9 days to go before the marathon.

Breakfast after the workout: Oatmeal with organic strawberries, a nectarine, organic frozen blueberries, organic yogurt, walnuts. This should reboot the digestive system:

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

YouTube Video from Rhode Island Marathon

Here’s a video that was taken at the Providence, RI Marathon, several months and a few marathons ago:

If you have a Facebook account and haven't yet "liked" my E-Race Cancer fundraising page, I invite you to do so. It costs you nothing, and Team Continuum gets a donation from an anonymous contributor.

Anytime Fitness has many kinds of exercise equipment, for resistance training and cardio. I have a free 14-day pass to one of the clubs, and used it for the first time today. I ran up 100 calories on the recumbent bicycle and another 100 on the fanciest of the various elliptical trainers, total about 20 minutes. No pain, no strain. The sports hernia and its associated adductor stress were silent. I also stretched gently twice, still no pain. Further, when I got home I did the situp test, again with no pain. The stressed area is barely detectable.

Yesterday there was pain, from Monday’s 3.5-mile run, but today is better despite the brief cardio workout. This is good! Healing is happening, and the two machines don’t seem to cause a problem. Tomorrow I’ll increase the cardio time. The two machines do give quads and hamstrings a nice workout, not the same as running but a lot better than nothing.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Sports Hernia

Dr Yee at SMG is a knowledgeable guy. Today I went to get the scoop on my not-yet-healed abdominal wall strain.

As I recall it, here is what the doctor said:

  • What it's NOT is any kind of hip problem or hernia. It really is an abdominal wall strain.
  • He said it is commonly called a "sports hernia," pointing out that it isn't really a hernia, but a strain at a point where abdominal wall muscles connect. It happens to jocks.
  • It's likely that the problem was caused when I ran 18 miles one morning and then a 4-mile race that evening without warming up again. Muscles tend to tighten after being stressed, and I probably pulled them later when I raced.
  • Since it hurts just as my right foot hits the ground, I suggested that the stress comes from my innards pushing out against the abdominal wall. He thought it it's more likely that the foot-strike is the moment of maximum muscle tension between the muscles of the abdomen and those of the leg.
  • It's encouraging that two weeks off from running has made an improvement - that tells us what to do: Keep right on NOT running.
  • However, I should expect that muscle tone will fall off somewhat after a few weeks without running.
  • He recommended "water jogging" as an alternative cardio exercise. However, we don't have access to a pool.
  • When I asked what would happen if I just went ahead and ran on the pain, he said that the injury would just get worse, and discouraged that pretty strongly.
  • I mentioned a marathon coming up in less than two weeks, and he made two suggestions:

    • Do a short run before driving to the marathon, and consider just not going to the marathon if there is still pain.
    • If I do go, be mentally prepared to QUIT the marathon if there is significant pain. We're talking my first-ever DNF in 55 marathons.
Hmmm. I'm not too comfortable with the short-test-run notion. If it hurt a lot, then I suppose I would not go. But if it didn't hurt much, which is what happened yesterday, then I would go and try to run the marathon, but that test run might undo a few days of healing time. I'll do the "situp test" (try a situp, see if it hurts) and I'll go if that seems OK.

As to the DNF: I do have eight marathons scheduled for the rest of the year, and right now I couldn't run one. I'm hoping, of course, that another 12 days of healing will fix the "sports hernia" problem. If not, in the worst case, it would become quite painful at some point in the race, and I would stop. More likely, though, based on past experience with this injury, it would start hurting at some point, and keep on hurting but not a lot. Then I suppose I'd keep going, even if that put some later marathons at risk.

Right now, though, I would like to get in some good cardio training. Walking is OK, but it doesn't push me hard enough and I think it is somewhat stressful on the abdominal muscles too, especially fast walking. I'm afraid to try the bike, or do stair climbing, because past experience shows that those can cause other "cross-training" injuries. I'd like to try an elliptical trainer, but we don't have one and don't have any kind of club membership. However, Anytime Fitness has elliptical trainers, and I just got my one-time 14-day free pass. I will try the elliptical tomorrow. There might be other machines of interest there too.

Regular breakfast:

Monday, September 05, 2011

Victory 10k & 5k

I didn’t run either race, but we three went to the races to rub elbows with old friends, and I did my first running in two weeks, on paved trails adjacent to the race course. Unfortunately, I didn’t quite get away with it.

The "situp test" (I try to do an ordinary situp) before the run was pain-free. I ran 30 seconds of every 2.5 minutes, walking the rest at a rapid pace. But even that small amount of running did cause some pain at first, in the abdominal wall and also further down, perhaps at the top of the adductors. It didn’t hurt to walk, only to run.

I walk/ran about 3.5 miles in 48:20, and by the end most of the pains had resolved, so I was running rather comfortably. Later at home, though, the “situp test” was a little painful - the injury is definitely not healed. I’m disappointed, because there is a marathon coming up soon.

I do have an appointment with a sports doc tomorrow morning, and we’ll figure out the best approach. One way or another, I will run that marathon.


Saturday, September 03, 2011

Acorns on the Roof

Bonk. Bonk. Another clear harbinger of fall, as if tonight's change in weather wasn't clue enough.

St Croix Valley Runners today, but I didn't run - I walked with my sweeties, strolled actually, for about 45 minutes. More than two miles, less than three. No pain in the abdominal wall, either during or after the walk.

In the afternoon, that was followed by two hours of lawn mowing with a walk-behind mower. Still no pain in the gut. This is good. According to the plan, I'll do more mowing tomorrow and then on Labor Day I'll run a little bit.

I'm starting to think that the injury may have been caused by my attempts to do quads stretches, as directed by a physical therapist. Of course I didn't do it right, if I caused the strain, but this is the second time in my memory that therapy for one problem may have caused another injury.

Tonight's dinner. Oven-roasted vegetables & pineapple surrounding turkey curry with a few organic coconut chips on top. Dessert was organic chunky peanut butter on a banana.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Collaboration With Team Continuum

I'm now running on behalf of Team Continuum, raising money for people living with cancer, while I pursue my goal of running a marathon in each of the 50 states. We three have a full schedule of marathons for the rest of 2011, including the New York City Marathon, the Marine Corps Marathon, and several others.

You can help. If you go to my new E-Race Cancer Facebook Page and "like" it, a donation will be made to Team Continuum by a third party. We invite you to do that - there is no cost to you.

While you are there, you are certainly also welcome to click on the Team Continuum link and make a further contribution to the cause.

Thank you!