Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Four Miles in the Grass

We went to the park for a short run, and since it hadn’t rained in a couple of days I took the grass trails.  That was a good choice - except for one short piece, the grass trails were perfect.  I walk/ran 3.8 miles in 45:36, for a pace of 12 minutes per mile.  I felt strong going up hills, and stronger at the end than the beginning.  I enjoyed that run very much.

Whining:  The hernia repair ached for the first minute, and was totally OK after that.  The knee with "runner’s knee" (PFS) mumbled a little, but not much.  That’s it!  It’s a masterpiece.

Gluten-free meatloaf:

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Chainsaw Running

Monday, May 28, 2012, Memorial Day:

Windstorms roared through last night, and when that happens, trees are often blown over onto the trails, so I think about bringing a chainsaw with me on the run.  That’s ridiculous, of course, though I suppose a hand saw isn't out of the question.  Sure enough, this morning the Gateway trail was completely blocked at one point by a fallen tree.  There was no way around it without going through heavy brush, but thankfully it wasn't too hard to step over it.  Apparently the bike riders were lifting their bikes over it too, because there were a lot of bikes coming through  this Memorial Day morning.

I ran 15 miles, my longest run since the sports-hernia surgery.  Time was 2:56:38, for a pace of 11:47.  That pace would finish a marathon in 5:09 if it could be continued for another 11 miles.  Maybe it could - I felt good at the end of the 15 miles - but I probably shouldn’t have gone that fast and will try not to go that fast in the upcoming Anchorage Marathon.

I ran 15 to 20 seconds of each minute, as I’ve been doing lately, but that hasn’t brought my pace below 12 minutes per mile until this run.  I think I walked faster, paying more attention to walking form.  I carried water, since water is scarce on the Gateway Trail, and took Clif Shot gels at mile points 4, 8, and 12.

The weather was actually warm and humid, not calculated for best speed, but far better than predicted.  The brim of my visor was dripping from sweat within two miles, though a smart crosswind did make the heat seem less.  My sweeties and I watched a mother turtle laying eggs in a sandy margin at the edge of the trail.  We saw herons, egrets, rabbits, smaller turtles, smaller birds, snakes, and, on the way back home, saw llamas and goats.  We had such a good time and a good run.

Whining: The surgical area ached slightly, on and off, during the entire run, despite my wearing the hernia briefs.  It was never even close to a limiting factor, however, in fact not even annoying.  The right knee with PFS (runner’s knee) mostly behaved itself, and everything else was fine.  It’s a masterpiece.

We have one more long run to do before the Anchorage Marathon, and hopefully we will do that on the Lakeshore Trail in Chicago next week, just before we hop on the train for home.

Mama turtle chose this spot to lay her eggs, and she's going to lay them despite all the walkers runners, dogs, skaters, and bikes going past on the trail:

Sunday, May 27, 2012

St. Croix Valley Runners

Saturday, May 27, 2012:

Every Saturday morning we start from Stillwater’s Northland Tennis courts at 7:00 am sharp. Some people run, some walk, and lately I’ve been in between, mixing running and walking.  Today I went four miles in 48:09, for a pace of 12:02 or thereabouts, starting and finishing with the others, and passing some walkers along the way.  No pains.

Post-run breakfast. Even organic blueberries are in season now - I love this time of year. There is oatmeal under there somewhere:

Friday, May 25, 2012

Four Miles in the Rain

We ran in the park again, on the paved trails because of recent rain.  In fast, we were treated to a brief shower during the run.  Four miles in about 50 minutes, pace about 12:30.  Nice easy run.

Whining: The sports hernia repair ached for the first couple of minutes, and that’s all.  The right knee with PFS (runner’s knee) hurt a little before and after the run, but not at all during it.  No whining today.

Volunteer trillium in the deep woods:

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Hernia Briefs Again

Since the surgery about 9 weeks ago my hernia repair tends to ache a bit, but it helps a lot if I press my hand on the repair site as I run. The doctor suggested compression shorts, but I didn’t want something that goes down to cover my thighs, so I tried this:

  • Good polyester running briefs, Brooks Runderwear
  • Under that, over the injury, a cotton washcloth folded in thirds and in thirds again
  • Over those, a pair of cotton briefs one size too small (polyester might be better?)
  • Over all, regular running shorts with yet another liner.
A few days ago this seemed to work wonders, holding off the ache almost completely.

This time though the ache was back, but I realized that I hadn’t done things exactly the same way. I had placed the washcloth pad right over the surgical incision, which is lower on the abdomen than the actual hernia and patch. So at about the fifth mile I moved it up, and things got better quickly. That thing really works. Maybe I should improve it and sell it on the internet.

Twelve miles in 2:25:13, pace 12:06, running 15-20 seconds of each minute. That’s faster than I need to go. I still have 15-mile and 18-mile runs before the next marathon, so I should run a little less and walk a little more. Whining: The hernia repair ached more than I had hoped, even somewhat after the run. And the runner’s knee (PFS), long dormant, showed up in the right knee. But I’ll be happy enough to run with PFS if the surgery heals well.

Gateway trail, miles 11 to 17 twice, total 12 miles. We often start near the middle and go one way and back, get fresh water or whatever from the car, then go the other way and back. This time I started out going south, from mile 13.7 toward mile 11. Splits:

Mile     Mile     Total
Marker    Time     Time
13.7     0:00     0:00     start at car
13     7:52     7:52
12     ----     ----     oops didn't click watch
11     23:52     31:45     south turnaround
12     12:20     44:04
13     12:15     56:19
13.7     8:04     1:04:23     back to car, water
14     4:05     1:08:28
15     12:28     1:20:56
16     11:08     1:32:54
17     13:06     1:45:10     north turnaround
16     13:13     1:58:23
15     10:30     2:08:53
14     12:13     2:21:06
13.7     4:07     2:25:13     back to car, home

Overall pace 12:06.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Two 4-Mile Runs

Sunday, May 20, 2012:

We went to the park again today, where I walk/ran 4.33 miles in 52:58, for a pace of about 12:14. I ran 15 or 20 seconds of each minute, more uphill and less down. I wore my hernia shorts, and felt a slight ache in the surgical area only at the start of the run. It’s a masterpiece.

Saturday, May 19:

St. Croix Valley Runners. We definitely have two groups now, runners and walkers. I don’t fit into either of them yet, because I am still doing a walk-run. Today I "ran" the normal route backward for two miles, and then forward from there, so that the other runners would catch and pass me.

About four miles in 47:42, just barely under 12 minute miles, but the distance is approximate. No pains worth mentioning.

The meat loaf is gluten-free, made with oatmeal instead of bread.  Sunshine is a mighty good cook.  Everything is organic, of course, except the oatmeal itself, which is gluten-free.  We haven't found a good source of oatmeal that is both organic and gluten-free.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Easy Ten Miles

It’s not really very far, but it’s the farthest I’ve run since the hernia surgery eight weeks ago.  Ten miles in 2:03:44, no significant pains or problems - I’m not even very tired. Pace 12:22, plenty fast. That pace would finish a marathon in 5:24, better than most of the marathons I ran last year. It was only ten miles, of course, but I felt very good at the end and could easily have kept going for a while.

I carried water this time, because of the distance, and took one Clif Shot gel at about mile 6. I wore my homemade hernia shorts, as described here. I think they help a lot, though they don’t entirely solve the problem. I’ll keep building the distance gradually. Twelve mile long run next week.

Whining: I could barely feel the hernia ache a few times. That’s about all the pain there was. It’s a masterpiece.

Post-run breakfast oatmeal:

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Hernia Shorts

Yesterday Doctor BR suggested that I might be more comfortable running in compression shorts. What I find on the internet, though, are shorts that compress the tops of the thighs (why on earth?!?) but maybe not so much the abdomen. So I tried this: (1) Polyester running briefs; (2) A folded-up washcloth underneath, placed right on the surgical area; (3) Old “tighty-whitey” cotton briefs one size smaller than I am now, over those, and (4) running shorts over all.

It worked! Zero pain. I ran 15 seconds of each minute, more uphill and less downhill, as I’ve been doing. But sometimes I would get past the 15 seconds and keep right on running, because there was no pain to remind me that it was time to walk. None at the start, the end, or anywhere between.

 However, this was only four miles, 4.1 actually, in 50:30, for a pace of 12:19. I’ll try the homemade “hernia shorts” on my 10-mile run Thursday. Today is a masterpiece!

Puppy pine cones:

Monday, May 14, 2012

Surgeon Visit

Monday, May 14, 2012:

I ran on the grass trails for the first time this month. The trails were perfect - green and dry, not even dew on the grass. Furthermore, the temperature rose from 60 to 68 during the run, excellent T-shirt weather, even a bit warm. We ran in the morning and avoided temperatures in the 80's later in the day.

 I ran 15 seconds of each minute, and went 6.3 miles in 1:17:15, for a pace of 12:12.   I held one hand or the other against the area of the hernia surgery whenever I ran, and that worked perfectly in holding off the pain from the surgery.

Whining: Not only was there no pain from the surgical repair, but the left hamstring that I thought I strained last Wednesday and Thursday is getting better fast. It’s not a hamstring pull at all - I think it’s the left hip joint, which has bothered off and on for ten years. That hip just wasn’t ready for 90 flights of stairs, but will get over it. All is well.

Doctor Visit: Sunshine and I met this afternoon with the hernia surgeon, Dr BR:

  • I expressed disappointment at the slow progress of the healing, but he emphatically assured me that it was on schedule.
  • He asked if it was better than before the surgery yet, but I don’t think it is yet and said so.
  • I mentioned that the ache from running is less if I hold my hand against the surgical repair while I run, and he suggested compression shorts. I’m not sold on that yet, but looking online for the right kind. Most of the ones I see are designed to compress the upper thighs, and I need the compression at the abdomen. Maybe I should make some out of a pair of tight polyester athletic undershorts. I have three pairs - maybe just put on all three at once?
  • I asked when I would be able to just let fly and sprint, and he didn’t really have a response to that. I’ll have to be guided by how it feels I guess.
  • He would like to see me once again two months after the Anchorage marathon. Huh. Definitely if the surgery hasn’t solved the problem (sports hernia pain) by that time.
Saturday, May 12:

St Croix Valley Runners, 7:00 am every Saturday at Stillwater’s Northland Tennis Courts.  Now we seem to have a regular group of walkers, as well as the usual group of runners.  I’m in between, so I took the walkers’ route but went out ahead for 24 minutes and turned around.  No problems, no pains.  I did hold a hand against the surgical area, which is slightly awkward but which seems to make a big difference.  I think I went almost four miles in about 47 minutes.

In a nearby woods, the little three-leafed plants in the middle are poison ivy. Surrounding those are jack-in-the-pulpit plants:

Friday, May 11, 2012

Everything Aches

Thursday, May 10, 2012:

It’s a good thing.  I worked pretty hard on the stairs yesterday, and ran eight miles today.  Now all the muscles are telling me about it.  That’s OK - I’m the boss, and this is how they gain strength and endurance..

Distance: 8.27 miles, time 1:52:30, pace 13:36.  That’s barely fast enough to finish a marathon in six hours.  The good news, though, is that the Anchorage Marathon (called the Mayor’s Marathon) has an eight and a half hour time limit. I just discovered that.  Start at 8:00 am and finish by 4:30 pm.  That requires a pace of only 19:27, barely over 3 miles per hour, which is a 26-mile stroll.  I could do that without any running at all, and stopping for a beer or two along the way.  I’d much rather finish in six hours or less, though, so training continues.

Whining: I was stupid yesterday.  It felt so good on those stairs that I just kept going up and down to exhaustion, but my left hip hurt a bit in the night, and after today’s run I now have a strain in the left hamstrings.  It’s nothing new - I think it’s the semitendinosus muscle, which attaches to the “sitz  bone,” and which has been a problem in the past.  Indeed, it hurts to sit, nevermind walk or run.  Darn. The good news is that this will probably go away, if slowly, as it has before.

The really good news is that the hernia repair didn’t ache much today, even though I walk/ran eight miles, the longest run since the surgery.  This time I often used my hand to support the surgical area while I ran, pressing in and up just slightly.  This is a little awkward but it seemed to help - or something helped, and I am less anxious about making a six-hour marathon in seven weeks.

Weight: 160.8 this morning, still down almost two pounds from the start a few weeks ago.  That weight was taken just after getting out of bed, as is usual, but just for the fun of it I went back to the scales after the 8-mile morning run, weighing in at 158.0.  Thus I lost almost three pounds on the run, mostly sweat, equivalent to well over a quart of water.

That happens to all runners every time they go out.  As a personal practice, I don’t run more than eight miles without carrying water, or at least knowing where I can get water on the course.  Then I drink about five ounces every two miles, which is not enough to fully replace the loss, but my stomach can’t handle much more, and it’s enough to keep the engine running and the cramps away for 26.2 miles.

Next run Saturday, probably 3.8 miles. Long run next week: 10 miles.  No more exercising on stairs for a while.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

90 Flights of Stairs

Wednesday, May 9, 2012:

Maybe a few more. I ran yesterday and will run long tomorrow, so running was off the program for today, and I walked up and down stairs instead. I haven’t done that in quite a while. They are wooden stairs, from the main floor to the upstairs in a more-or-less normal house, 13 steps.

I need about 15 seconds to travel up and down them, four trips per minute, wearing sticky-foot socks and guided by a strong railing on one side. Thus, in 24 minutes I would make 96 trips, except that I did get tired, and slowed a little toward the end. I have an eight-mile run on the agenda for tomorrow morning - I wonder if I’ll still be tired.

Whining: Absolutely no pain from the hernia repair. In fact, no pains of any kind. My leg muscles did shake a little after the 24 minutes, and for quite a while too. I may have pushed it bit too far, and should have stopped sooner, but stairs are great for building muscle and I did my legs some good today.

Triliums grow wild in a little woods near our house. They have three of everything:

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Soggy Park

Tuesday, May 8, 2012:

I didn’t think that the park’s grass trails would be in very good condition today, because of the recent rains, so I used the paved trails again.  This was a little longer, walking/running 6.1 miles in 1:14:40, for a pace of 12:14, probably a little faster than I needed to go.

Whining:  I felt the surgical ache at the beginning, then very little until it returned somewhat in the last mile or so.  It bothers me that it got worse during the run.  The next run is supposed to be eight miles - I wonder how that will go.  Easy does it.

Weight:  160.3 lb this morning, down from 162.5 at the start.  It’s not quite three weeks yet, but a little over two pounds - probably - there is some day-to-day variation, of course, and 160.3 is today’s weight.  Anyway it’s an acceptable rate of weight loss.  I don’t want to lose too quickly when I’m healing from surgery and training for a marathon.  Down is good.  It’s a masterpiece.

Sunday, May 6:

The park is getting a little soggy, with lots of rain in the past few days, including two inches yesterday and last night. So we definitely ran on the paved trails today and amused ourselves by watching and hearing all of the frogs and waterfowl enjoying little ponds where there is usually dry ground.  I ran my usual 4/1 walk/run ratio, running more uphill and less down, finishing 4.33 miles in about 55:00 for a pace of 12:42.  Good enough.

Whining:  I felt a slight ache in the area of the hernia surgery, deep under the skin, especially at the start.  Otherwise, no pains.  It’s a good day.

This post-run breakfast was so good that I couldn't resist taking pictures from two angles. The other one is with this post.

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Training Plan

We ran with the St Croix Valley Runners, 7:00 am Saturday at Stillwater’s Northland Tennis Courts, as we usually do when we’re in town. I ran the 3.5-mile loop and added a little, making it 3.8 miles, in 46:41, for a pace of 12:17, plenty fast. I ran about 15 seconds of each minute, but more if it was uphill.

We’re developing a plan for the next seven weeks leading up to the Anchorage Marathon. I’ll try to follow these guidelines:

  • About 24 total miles per Sat - Fri week, but not more than 30 in any contiguous seven days.
  • Extend the longest run in each week from 6.5 (last week), ramping up to 16 or 18 miles two weeks from the marathon.
  • No running the day before or the day after any run eight miles or longer.
  • Keep the speed down. Running 15 seconds of each minute gives enough speed - no need to increase it.
  • Do not enter any races. The temptation to go fast is simply too great. Sigh.
  • Taper the last two weeks.
Whining: Just the usual slight ache in the region of the hernia surgery today. It’s almost seven weeks now since the deed was done, and there is still a small scab remaining at the incision, but that will be gone soon. My fingers can feel a hardness right under the incision, but nothing unusual farther north where the actual patch was placed along the abdominal muscles. No other pains.

Life is good. It’s a masterpiece.

This "tropical beach" is actually in Pennsylvania. Care to guess where in Pennsylvania?  Clue: We ran a marathon there:

Friday, May 04, 2012

Nineteen Miles this Week

Thursday, May 3, 2012:

Last night we had rain again, so today we ran on the paved trails in the park. I ran exactly the same route as two days ago, but finished more than three minutes faster. That’s good, and it’s fast enough now. 6.5 miles in 1:22:09, pace 12:38. This pace would finish a marathon in about 5:31, which is plenty fast, giving a little cushion in a 6-hour marathon. Now I need to go longer at that speed. I ran 10 to 20 seconds of each minute (20 uphill, 10 or less down), otherwise walking at my best long-distance pace.

Nineteen miles this week. That’s good - I’m thinking that I should probably keep mileage down to 24 miles in any Sat-to-Fri week, at least until after the Anchorage marathon, and no more than 30 miles in any contiguous seven days. The sports hernia appeared when I violated that 30-mile rule last summer, and I don’t need any more injuries.

Whining: I did feel a slight ache in the region of the hernia surgery, never a sharp pain. I think it was less than I felt two days ago, and sometimes it wasn’t there at all. In any case it was not enough to make me want to slow down, and it didn’t feel like I might re-injure anything.

Tuesday, May 1:

We ran on the paved trails in the park today, because the grass trails were soggy from rain. I’m trying to do six-mile runs this week, starting with the one in New Jersey last Sunday, and I actually ran 6.5 miles, in 1:25:33, for a pace of 13:10. As always I did a walk / run, running 10 to 15 seconds of every minute, running more on uphill stretches, but not over 15 seconds, and less or none on the downhills. This pace is easily fast enough for a 6:00 hour marathon, if it could be sustained for 26 miles.

Whining: There was a slight ache in the area of the hernia surgery, as usual, but never anything like a sharp pain.

Weight: 160.3 this morning, more than two pounds lost. However, we were traveling over the weekend and yesterday, mostly eating on the fly, and I don’t trust a weight until we’ve been home for a couple of days and everything has settled out.

Post-run breakfast. Salmon omelet with organic eggs, canned wild-caught Alaskan sockeye salmon, and a little cheese, organic mango salsa, frozen organic strawberries, and frozen organic blueberries: