Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Still Painful

Woodbury Runners, regular Wednesday run. Rich and I ran together, about five miles in 58 minutes, not a good pace at all. This was my first run since Saturday’s marathon, and I had problems: (1) The left hamstrings were tight in the beginning, but got better; and (2) Both knees started to hurt after a couple of miles, especially the right. Eventually the right knee hurt too much to run - I had to take a walk break, and then I could run again for a while.

I don’t think it was the knee joint - not even sure that it was the knee itself. It could have been a ligament inside or behind the knee, but it didn’t feel like it was in the joint itself. It could be a bursa on the outside of the knee, too - there is a little tenderness there. I don’t think it’s the ITB because it’s not quite in the right place. In any case, though, the stretches for ITB may help this problem too.

Usually I can keep up with Rich, but not today. He’s getting faster and I’m slowinng down. Ah, well.

Bison chili with onions and mustard, organic sweet potatoes with organic salsa, and chard with onions, cranberries, cashews & more:

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Last Finisher

We ran the Run-A-Palooza Jersey Shore Relay Marathon, a fundraiser for Special Olympics. Not my best day, but I finished. Actually, I think I may have been the last runner to finish!

Lots of problems:

  • Temperature of 45 throughout (!), which is lovely, but the wind was continuous at 20 mph, gusting to 30 or so, and rain off and on for the last hour and a half. We ran mostly straight north along the Jersey shore, and the wind was from the ENE, so it was partly in the face and always a factor. That's my only real excuse.
  • Nursing a sore right knee, I had not run for two weeks, only walked. Maybe that's not a good way to train.
  • That right knee hurt a little in the beginning, then calmed down. Likewise the left hip, which has recently caused problems, was mostly silent.
  • But hip flexors on both sides (muscles connecting the thigh to the hip bones) started to yell during the second hour and didn't stop. They were a limiting factor. Gosh I thought I'd gotten past the hip-flexor problems.
  • And the LEFT knee started to complain about halfway through and just got worse throughout. Pain on the outside, might be IT band. We did run on the right edge of a lot of crowned roads, which could cause exactly that symptom. This became a limiting pain too, even on the flat.
Anyway I was on schedule for a five-hour marathon until the half, then gradually slowed until I was walking (as fast as I could) but not running for the last six miles or so - just hurt too much to run. Time 5:40:05, average pace 12:58. Best I could do that day. Marathon number 50, state number 33. Seventeen more to go.

About the race:

This race is designed to raise money for Special Olympics. The emphasis is on marathon relay teams and on the accompanying half marathon. A team of one runner (like me) is allowed, but not really encouraged, and I suppose the reason is that more runners raise more money. Also, the marathoners don't all start at the same time. We were asked to estimate our pace, and then were allocated a start time, slowest runners first, I suppose so that support teams (water stations, route marshalls, and medical) could be out there for the shortest possible time.

I screwed up here, and seriously overestimated my speed (underestimated my finish time) when I registered back in February. I thought I could run 11-minute miles, maybe better, and ended up with 13-minute miles. That amounts to almost an hour in a marathon. I should have started at 8:00 am with the first group out, but was assigned to the 8:40 group instead. Because of that mistake, and because it was so miserable out that the volunteers quit, I ran behind the support. After the aid station at Mile 19 (or so) I never saw anyone associated with the race except four runners who passed me. No water, no directions (marshalls), and no medical, not even a volunteer on a bike. Zip. In fact some of the directional signs were gone, blown down I suppose, no other runners in sight, and I wasn't entirely sure of the course once or twice. There may have been water along the boardwalk if I had known how to get it, but I didn't and came in mighty thirsty.

What the race committee could do:
  • Be more willing to allow people to start earlier than their assigned time. I wanted to do this, even asked, but was unable to make it happen. I know this is a problem - everyone wants to start early - but obviously, there are problems both ways.
  • This can be made easier in a relay with the use of Velcro-attached leg-wrap chips. Then a team's actual time is known regardless when they start. They use chips for the half - why not the relay?
  • Keep track of the last runner. Perhaps I wasn't the last to finish, I don't know, but I doubt that the race committee knew I was still out there when I arrived. The finish line was down, and inside the post-race-party building there was no indication where a runner should report, people seemed surprised, and they were quite unprepared for one more runner. A race should always keep track of the last runner. Always, for safety reasons if no other. Happily, I did find a lovely woman who did it all for me - gave me a finisher's medal and took down my time.
Flip Side, the Good Stuff:
  • We loved running on the boardwalk, even in this exceptionally-blustery weather. My two girls ran the half, which was an out-and-back entirely along the ocean, virtually all of it on the boardwalk. They loved it. The boardwalk is a wonderful venue, goes for miles on end, and the race makes good use of it.
  • To my surprise and delight, the boardwalk itself was in good condition for running everywhere, bar none. No tipped-up board ends, no cracked or broken boards, nothing but a smooth running surface. There was a little sand, blown in from the beach 50 feet away, but they were cleaning that up even as the wind continued to blow more in.
  • The marathon ran on boardwalk for perhaps half its distance, and on roads near the ocean for the rest.
  • Everything started on time, as far as I can tell, within a minute or two of advertised, even in this problematic weather.
  • Pre-race, lots of good emails with important details.
  • We liked getting the race shirts before the race instead of afterward. I actually wore one in the race.

I highly recommend this race. Do try for better weather.

The cheesy happy face is on the back of each of the medals, apparently a trademark of the Run-A-Palooza races:

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Not Much Running

Friday, Apr 8, 2011:

We three walked 3.6 miles on the paved trails in the park. I felt a little problem in the right knee still, and decided not to try to run very far. Beautiful day, 60 degrees, spring is really here now. I can’t wait.

Wednesday, Apr 6:

We three had a few minutes between medical appointments in Stillwater, so we went to the outdoor 400 m track at the junior high school to run a bit. My right knee hurt a little right from the start, so I stopped after one lap. Time will tell whether this knee is really a problem, and meanwhile I will go very easy on the knee.

Sunday, Apr 5:

River Falls sports facility. We three went to UWRF to run on their 200 m indoor rubber track, open to the public from 5:00 to 10:00 pm on this particular day. Unfortunately, my right knee started to yell at about a mile, so I stopped at a mile and a quarter. No need to antagonize that knee. I’d rather run the next marathon with no additional training than with a sore knee.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Catching Up on Log Posting

Saturday, April 2, 2011

I ran in the park by myself today, the girls are still under the weather (my cold is gone) and the temperature was over 50 degrees, little wind, a beautiful afternoon to run. Got the taxes done, went out running. The grass trails are still snow trails (FIVE months straight now), so the paved trails were more appealing. I ran out of the park toward the city, turned around at a major intersection, then went past the car for another few minutes and doubled back once again. Five miles total, 50 minutes.

The right knee yelled at me as I turned slightly at an intersection to look for oncoming cars, and it kept complaining for the rest of the run. We’ll see how it is tomorrow. Except for that, it’s a masterpiece!

Friday, April 1:

Stillwater Bubble again, man is it cold in here! 33 degrees outside, not more inside if any. This thing is kept inflated by outside air, of course, so if they don’t use any heat then it’s pretty much the same as outdoors.

Five miles, fifty minutes at the usual 10-minute pace. I didn’t feel like running any sprint repeats today. I went to the dome early, ran 50 minutes, and went home. Just a little pain in the left hip (as usual I guess), otherwise fine. Nice run, I feel good, that’s 20 miles for the week. Tapering.

Wednesday, March 30:

The Woodbury Runners meet every Wednesday night at 6:00 pm (actually 6:10), have for years. I didn’t run with them in the winter, because they run on icy trails, but today a large group of old friends met for a photo shoot and ran their traditional route. I can’t keep up with most of them any more, so I ran a shorter route with Rich and Corey. Five miles in about 57 minutes - not very fast, but Rich is just starting to get ready for his next marathon. We’ll do better. Nothing hurts!

Monday, March 28:

Sixty minutes plus in the Stillwater Bubble. We picked up Jim for his last run before his long-planned trip. COLD in the dome - I don’t think they used any heat at all, so it may have been as low as 35 or so. Jim and I chatted for much of the time, ran some sprint repeats, and then he took off and ran a few miles at his speed - quite a lot faster. Good run - no pain.

Sunday, March 27:

Nice run on the indoor track at UWRF. Ten-minute miles, forty minutes, must be four miles. Slight pain in the left hip, none anywhere else.

Friday, March 25:

Another six miles in the Stillwater Bubble, this time running with Jim the whole time. We talked a lot, the “running philosophers.” Again the left hip bothered just a little most of the time, and later at home as well. I suppose I’ll bring that hip to a sports doctor sometime soon if it doesn’t go away. Otherwise it was an enjoyable run, finishing 24 miles for the week.

Thursday, March 24:

Six more miles in the Stillwater Bubble, running with Jim and then Candy. No problems except the left hip. That has turned into a chronic issue now, hurting a little most of the time while running, and even a little at home.

Tuesday, March 22:

Six gentle miles in the Stillwater Bubble today, a proper recovery run. The left hip hurt a little throughout - I haven’t yet figured out what causes that pain - something is injured, but I can’t pin it down. It’ll get better or it’ll get worse, and if worse it will be easier to locate. If better, then who cares?

A good, enjoyable run nonetheless. Snow tonight, maybe sleet. Winter apparently gets one last shot, but we’ll try to run tomorrow anyway.

Gluten-free pancake with organic yogurt, frozen organic strawberries, blueberries, mango, and pineapple, topped with a little dark chocolate: