Thursday, June 28, 2012

Lisfranc Ligaments

Thursday June 28, 2012:

What a lovely morning!  We expected to walk out of the door into another muggy, sticky welcome, but instead it was 72 degrees with a low dewpoint and a nice breeze.  A lovely morning indeed.  I walk/ran 3.93 miles in about 50 minutes (forgot my watch, used my cellphone instead).  Good enough though.

Whining:  None during the run.  The Lisfranc ligaments of the left foot didn’t hurt then either, although they did just a little later in the day.  The hernia repair was fine, and I even took out the compress for the last mile or so, just to see if it made a difference.  It did not.

Tuesday June 26:

Oops - I twisted my foot.  Durn.  I love running on trails, and normally willing to take the risk of turning an ankle or a foot, but I made a mistake today running on a trail with a marathon less than two weeks away.  The good news is that the foot didn't hurt while running, but the bad news is that it did hurt a little afterward.  The injury was in the Lisfranc ligaments of the left foot, happily not in the ankle.  I iced it, and it didn't hurt the next morning.  We’ll see, but right now I definitely don’t think it will interfere with the upcoming Vermont marathon.

We ran just 35 minutes or so today, just three days after the last marathon.  I went about three miles, doing the usual walk/run, 40/20 seconds, which normally results in a pace of about 12 minutes per mile.

Whining:  Other than the twisted foot, nothing hurt.  Most particularly, the hernia repair was almost totally silent.


Sunday, June 24, 2012

Mayor’s Marathon, Anchorage, AK

I finished my 64th marathon and 45th state today, in Anchorage Alaska.  Finish time 5:42:15, good enough for third of eight in my 70-74 age group.  I’m OK with that time.

Weather: We did not expect hot weather in Alaska!  And it wasn’t too hot - just 69 degrees - but the Alaskan sun at solstice was unrelenting and the combination did slow me down a bit.  On the other hand, it could just as well have been raining and cold, and  I liked this better.

My race: I had a wonderful time.  I was hoping for a 5:30 finish, and missed that by 12 minutes, but I’m happy.  Porta-potty stops and cramps made up the difference.  Mostly cramps.  So why the cramps?:  (1) I wasn't trained properly.  The hernia surgery in April made it hard to get in enough long runs; and (2) I didn't anticipate the heat and didn't take enough water in the first two water stops.  That's all it takes.  Once you're thirsty (and I was), it's too late, no matter how much water you take later.  I should have known, though, because I felt comfortable at the start in just my race shirt and shorts.  It’s better to feel cold at the start.  The course was a bit “challenging,” too, hilly and rough, just as I like it.


Hernia repair: It didn’t hurt much, but it was there throughout the race.  I wore my “hernia briefs,” which apply a slight pressure on the surgical area.  Also, in the beginning, I pressed a hand against that area on the downhills, when the belly-bouncing is at maximum, but that seemed to make  the pain worse, so I stopped that and just ran.  The hernia pain was never even close to a limiting factor.

Cramps:  I can't think of a single major leg muscle group that didn't cramp at some time or another.  Calves (front and back), quads, hamstrings, and more, both legs.  Generally I know what to do about a cramp - you stop at a light pole or whatever and find a way to put tension on the cramping muscle, pulling against the cramp.  Stretch it out.  That hurts at first, but then it stops the cramp.  Some of these muscles I've never heard from before though, and I found myself having to invent ways to pull against them.  Oh well, that was not a problem until I got within about two miles of the finish.

Other: None.  The knee was fine, hips and feet were fine, everything fine.  I'll be good to run a little by Tuesday I think.  We have another marathon to think about.

The Mayor's Marathon:

You have to like trail marathons to enjoy this marathon.  I do, and I did.  Most of it is on paved bike trails, but eight miles or so are on a coarse-gravel road called the “Tank Trail,” so called because it’s on Richardson Army Base and the Army drives military tanks on it from time to time.  I enjoyed it, not so much because of the surface, which required attentive vigilance to avoid a twisted ankle, but because of the woods, hills, and creeks that we passed.

A shorter portion was on a real trail, just a path through the woods, just wide enough for one person to pass another.  I love that kind of trail, though of course it calls for even more vigilance, to avoid a face plant.  The 900 runners were well-spaced by the time we walk/runners reached this trail, so passing was not a problem.

Very little of the course was on actual city streets or paved roads.  A few miles were on bike trails adjacent to noisy, busy, multi-lane roadways, and it felt good to be done with those miles.

These Alaskans have done a marathon before.  It was well organized, to the point where we even received an email before the race with the URL where the results would appear later.  Better yet: The race results were available immediately, even during the race.  At one time after my race I was third of five, but later third of eight.  RACE DIRECTORS TAKE NOTE.  Runners LOVE immediate results. I would never go back to a race that didn't post results until the next day.

The organizers of this race do a lot of stuff right.  I’d run this one again any day.  Except tomorrow.

This was a “destination” marathon (and half) for hundreds of Team-In-Training (TNT) runners, raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, which does cancer research on blood cancers including myeloma.  I love talking to those people - they always have a story, and it’s usually about a loved one with cancer, sometimes in honor of that person and sometimes in memory.  One young woman was celebrating the eighth anniversary of her dad’s leukemia treatment.  “Oh yeah,” she said, “he’s still alive.  He’s running the half marathon.”

Splits: 13:01, 11:38, 13:23,, 12:30, 11:19, 12:51, 12:27, 11:58, 11:40, 12:15, 13:24, 11:39, 28:37 (2 mi and major natural break), 13:58, 10:35 (really?), 16:31 (really?), 12:43, 11:42, 11:57, 11:50, 12:33, 11:47, 13:43, 16:31, 18:50, 2:55 (0.22 mi), total 5:42:15.

Tank Trail, looking back Real trail, looking ahead

Monday, June 18, 2012

KSTP Channel 5 Story

Last week KSTP TV, the Twin Cities' ABC affiliate, interviewed me and my gals for a 2-minute piece about our running, 50 states, cancer, and whatnot. That story showed on the news Sunday morning, June 17, and is now on the internet here.

One of the reasons we run is to raise money for Team Continuum and Tackle Cancer Foundation. If you feel inclined.

Steamy Days

Monday, June 18, 2012:

We had 3/4 inch of rain last night, which is usually followed by cooler, drier air the next morning, but no luck this morning.  75 degrees with a dewpoint of 70 - that’s muggy.  I ran 3.93 miles on the paved trails in 46:05, for a pace of 11:44.  Same walk/run, except I did start out speed-walking for a full minute before I did any running.

Whining: Zero.  Maybe the walking start is a good idea.

Saturday, June 16, 2012:

Minnesota weather still seems to be several weeks ahead of schedule.  These days, with 60+ dew points even in the early morning, are typical of July, not mid-June.  This morning a surprising number of the St Croix Runners showed up for our run, even though it was the morning of Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth.  Temperature was 66, dewpoint 64.  Yuk.

But we had a good run.  I finished my four miles in 46:06 for a pace of 11:32, faster than last week, still doing a walk/run with a 2 to 1 ratio.  Mostly.

Whining:  The hernia repair hurt just a little all the way through, though it was less at the end than the beginning.  Maybe I shouldn’t have started out by running a full minute with the guys.  I should probably start out walking.  I’ll try that next time.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Two Days Off

Friday, June 15, 2012:

I don't often go two days in a row without running, but yesterday we just didn’t find an opening in the thunderstorms long enough to run safely.  We DO NOT run in thunderstorms.  That’s as silly as golfing in a thunderstorm.  Of course I might also take two days off after a long run, especially a marathon.

Today 3.94 miles in 47:20, for a pace of 12:01.  I intentionally ran just a little slower than I had run on Tuesday.  Just a nice little taper run.  It’s fine - this pace would still finish a marathon in about 5:15 if I could sustain it for 26 miles.

Whining: None.

Tuesday, June 12:

Yesterday we met on the Gateway Trail with John Gross of KSTP TV, who is working up a story.  If that story happens, it will probably be aired on KSTP TV between 6 and 7 am this Sunday, June 17.  Huh - that’s Father’s Day.

Today was 25 degrees cooler, but the trail was just as inviting - maybe more so.  We parked at the Hwy 96 bridge, where I ran south to mile 13, then north to 17, and back to the car again.  Eight miles in 1:33:03, pace 11:38.  Plenty fast, actually faster than I expect to run the next marathon.  Tapering now ...

Whining: The hernia repair did hurt a little for the first 2/3 mile, a sharper pain than I’ve experienced in weeks.  But it went away, and the rest of the run was fine.

Egrets in the park.  I heard a loon, too:

Sunday, June 10, 2012

84 in the Shade

Sunday, June 10, 2012:

If you like warm, sunny mornings, this was a perfect one.  79 when we got to the park at about 8:30, and 84 an hour later when we finished the run.  Oddly, though, the air didn't feel humid to me, and even in the sun I didn't really feel too warm, perhaps because of a delightful breeze.  Just nice.  The grass was perfectly dry, probably because of that same breeze.  A very enjoyable run.  I did the usual 2 to 1 walk / run, finishing 3.89 miles in 46:17.  That’s a pace of 11:54, a bit faster than the marathon pace I expect to run in Anchorage two weeks from now.

Whining:  No pains!  I wish that marathon was tomorrow.

Actually, I’m seeing a KSTP TV sports reporter tomorrow morning, which will be fun.

Saturday, June 9:

St Croix Valley Runners.  I wish I could run 100% of the time for 5 miles, because that’s what my buddies do.  This morning I started out with them, but only for one minute, then slowed to the walk/run regimen.  Toward the end of that Dave joined me, and we finished four miles at 46:40, for an overall pace of 11:40.  I may have run a little more than the 2 to 1 walk to run ratio I had planned, especially after Dave joined me, because that was slightly faster than any other four miles since the hernia surgery.

I’m in the taper for the next marathon now, two weeks away, and "they" say that a runner should reduce mileage but maintain intensity during that time.  That’s been my practice for 63 marathons.  I’d love to run faster, of course, increase the intensity, but I sure don’t want to mess up the hernia surgery or cause any other injury before the upcoming marathon.  This run was just right.

Whining:  None.  Yay.

Photo:  Fountain on the back (east) side of McCormick Place in Chicago, site of the ASCO Conference last week.  This is visible only from Lake Michigan and the Lakeshore Trail.  No real road goes past it.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Muddy Shoes

The grass trails at the park are a bit wet some mornings, from dew or rain, and it sprinkled a little last night.  The wet shoes pick up sand and dirt, and get a little messy.  Running shoes are waterproof though - you can just hose them off or even put them in the washing machine.  Mine are clean again, and I used old ones anyway.

I ran a new route, 3.67 miles, in 44:20, for a pace of 12:05 minutes per mile.  That’s fine - I did my usual walk/run.  Weather was perfect, mid-sixties, and we were treated to a spectacular cloud formation to the west.  I could feel a little fatigue in the legs, left over from Tuesday’s long run, but by and large I felt really good.

Whining: Nothing from the hernia repair or the knee.  That's really good news, considering I ran 18 miles just a couple of days ago.  The right ankle was a little sore at the start, and after the run, but settled down for most of the run.  I think it’ll be fine.

Leftovers (except the strawberry).  I love leftovers:

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Long Run on Chicago's Lakeside Trail

Tuesday morning, June 5, 2012:

Today was a good day to do the long training run for the Anchorage marathon coming up in three weeks.  And since we found ourselves in Chicago, why not take advantage of their beautiful Lakeshore Trail?  We started at Michigan Avenue and the river, took the Riverwalk trail to the lake, followed the Lakeshore Trail for half of the time that we intended to run, about an hour and 50 minutes, then came back.   I’m quite impressed with that trail.  In many places the bicycles and pedestrians are on separate trails, and in some places there is even a third option, the sidewalk or breakwater right at the shore.  The only problem I had was figuring out where to go - the trail is not well marked at intersections, and it’s easy to make a wrong turn and end up in someone’s parking lot or even a park with no outlet.  I did both.  This would only be a problem for newbies like myself, of course.

I took whatever paved surface was closest to the lake.  Often that was a breakwater, built to withstand the pounding storm-surf of Lake Michigan, but totally dry today.  The trails were well-used today, but the breakwaters were hardly used at all, even though they have more room for runners than the trail.  Also, there is something about running right next to the cool, clear (looking) water of Lake Michigan.  At home we have the trails in the park, and the Gateway Trail, with their woodlands and ponds, but big Lake Michigan certainly has charms of its own.

I ran for 3:36:00 or so total, at about a 12-minute per mile pace, for an approximate distance of 18 miles, probably a bit more.  I ran 15 to 20 seconds of each minute, usually 20.  On the home stretch I ran the last six tenths of a mile (the Riverwalk) without any walking, the longest continuous run I’ve done since the hernia surgery.  It felt REALLY good!  I had more steam left in the engine after 18 miles, too, and I feel ready for the Anchorage marathon.  I’ll go a little slower, though.

Whining: Nothing hurt enough to mention.  After I got back I happened to sneeze once, and then the hernia repair let me know about it, but that’s all.  I’m good to go, and the tapering starts now.  It’s a masterpiece.

Not only did we have a good time, it was also a lovely morning, cool with a little breeze off the lake:

Chicago Riverwalk and Lakeside Trail

Saturday, June 2, 2012:

From the Comfort Suites hotel, I had an enjoyable run along the Chicago Riverwalk trail, and then the Chicago Lakeside trail, and back.   I had no particular objective except to enjoy a nice walk/run, and that certainly happened.  No pains of any kind.  I went about 50 minutes at about 12 minutes per mile, so I probably ran at least four miles.  A lovely early-morning run.