Monday, February 24, 2014

Three Good Runs

Monday, February 24, 2014:

Five miles Saturday, three yesterday, and six today, on the YMCA track. Ready for the marathon, or as close as I'm going to get.  My "long run" will be the New Orleans marathon three weeks ago, and these short runs are just my way to keep things going and maybe rebuild just a little after the pneumonia a couple of weeks ago.

No problems today, no pains, and only the expected amount of fatigue.  Tapering now ...

Splits today: 11:52, 11:47, 11:40, 1144, 11:55, 11:44, total 1:10:42, pace 11:47, running one lap and walking two.

Sunday, Feb 23:

2.6 miles in 30 minutes.  No problems.

Saturday, Feb 22:

Five miles.  I did my 1 to 3 run/walk again on the YMCA track, finishing five miles in about 60 minutes.  No problems, no more fatigue than I would expect.  No problems.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Four Miles

Snowing now, shoveling tomorrow
Today was another run on the YMCA track, again running 1/3 of the distance (not the time) and walking two thirds.  Like yesterday, the resulting pace was very close to 12 minutes per mile, a bit too fast for the next marathon but fine for a short training run.

No pains or complaints, except I felt a little more tired toward the end of the run than I would expect to be after a mere four miles. So I came home and took a nap.

Splits:  12:08, 11:55, 11:45, 11:58, total 47:45, 4 miles, pace 11:56.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Ramping Up the Running

Wednesday, Feb 19, 2014:

Marathon-pace run/walk at the YMCA.  Three miles on the YMCA track, running one lap and then fast-walking two.  The pace ended up about 12 minutes per mile, which figures out to a marathon of 5:15 plus nature breaks, if I could sustain the pace for 26 miles.  Really?

I definitely don't want to go that fast in this upcoming marathon - I'm still recovering from pneumonia.  The doc says that a relapse is unlikely and I should be guided by my sense of fatigue.  However I've had pneumonia before, many years ago, and it DID relapse, so an abundance of caution is my attitude right now.  After all, I have two marathons coming up in March and I want to finish them both. Easy does it.  I hope the weather is decent.

Whining:  Zero.

Splits: 13:00 (probably an extra walking lap in there), 11:56, 11:54, total 36:51.

Tuesday, Feb 18:

I tried the treadmill today, to convince myself that I'm really going 4 mph (15-minute miles) when I'm walking fast.  In one mile at 4 mph I found the walking brisk, but it felt good, as if I could go much farther.

After the treadmill I ran/walked another 1.6 miles or so, running about 1/3 of the distance.  This was the first real running since the New Orleans Marathon (and flu plus pneumonia).  It felt fine.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Good News from the Doctor

No pneumonia breath sounds, normal CBC, normal energy level.  Although Doctor S showed me what he thought was still a slight shadow of the pneumonia remaining on the x-ray, the radiologist’s report says "resolution of pneumonia on prior x-ray, with lungs now clear."  Hoo ha!  Anyway, two doctors now have told me that the x-ray results always trail the actual resolution of the pneumonia, so even if Dr. S is right and a little bit shows, the actual pneumonia is probably gone.

Dr S gave me the go-ahead to do whatever I want to do, including a marathon in two weeks, guided only by my sense of fatigue.  I will still take it easy and will get as much sleep as I can from now until then, just to be sure.  Maybe I’ll walk most of the marathon, who knows.

Yesterday I walked on the YMCA track, for the second day, again for two miles.  No problems.  Longer walks and runs are coming up.

Splits: 14:31, 14:37, total 29:09, pace about 14:34.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Back On The Track

Literally, on the track at the YMCA.  I was sidelined by a brief flu-and-pneumonia stop in the ICU (more here), and I haven't run since the New Orleans Marathon, almost two weeks now.  For a while I could barely walk without gasping for air, but I feel much, much better now.  Much.

At the YMCA I walked, almost no running, at a "race pace," about as fast as I can walk.  I can do this without breathing hard, which was the idea.  Two miles in 29:12, no pains, no problems.  This is a very sustainable pace, and if I had to do it, I could "run" a marathon at this pace in just over 6.5 hours.  Happily, the upcoming marathon (in two weeks) allows up to 8.0 hours, and of course by then I expect to be able to run a good deal of the time, so there will be no problem finishing.

On Monday I will see my primary care doctor, the guy who clapped me in the ICU a week ago.  I feel quite well now, and expect that he will find little if any pneumonia remaining.  I'll let you know.

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Rock n Roll New Orleans Marathon Review

Great!  Marathon number 78, on the way to 100.  I felt strong all the way.

The worst fog was in the
French section
Runners have strange taste in weather, and this was (almost) as good as it gets.  Mostly low- to mid-sixties, heavy overcast, refreshing breeze, a bit foggy for the first half, and humid throughout, with maybe one mile of light rain early.  Hard to beat that weather for running, especially after being figuratively toasted in November and actually frozen out in December, when the Memphis Marathon was cancelled by an ice storm.

We're from Minnesota, where lately it's either 15 below zero or it's snowing.  This weather was a treat.

My Marathon:

Bagpipe Band
Better than expected - I was a bit anxious about this one.  I was shooting for 6 hours and beat that by about 17 minutes.  I did my usual run/walk, this time running 20 triplets (60 footfalls) and walking 40.  I walk fast.  I was prepared to go to 60 triplets in the walks, but never had to do that.

The second half of the marathon took me only about four minutes longer than the first half - not bad.  No one passed me in the second half, and I passed lots.  I didn't train very well for this marathon - my longest run was just nine miles - but I sure did shovel a lot of snow and maybe that helped?  Apparently it didn't hurt.

At the beginning of the marathon I walked my 40 triplets and just couldn't wait to run again.  Toward the end of the race it was the exact opposite - during a run I couldn't wait to walk some more.  This is normal - it all works out!

My girls did fine too, finishing the half right on time.

After the race
Whining:  A little pain in the right tibia, just below the knee joint and slightly to the outside, worse when the road surface slanted to the right.  I tried to stay on surfaces that were not slanted either way, and the pain did not limit my run at all.  I've had other pains in that tibia in the last year - maybe it's time to ask my doc for an x-ray of that bone.

Cramps:  I've had painful cramps in my calves for years now, especially in the last miles of a marathon but sometimes even in bed at night, severe enough to actually bruise the muscle so it hurts later.  A few months back I started taking a modest dosage of magnesium, 125 mg twice per day, as magnesium taurate.  That stopped the night cramps, but not the running cramps.  Today I took two caplets, for 250 mg magnesium, just before the race.  After the start I took water any time I could, often two cups (they don't always get them very full), and about ten salt tablets, one every two to four miles.  That, and comfortable temperatures, and a sensible pace, kept the cramps away entirely.  Yay!

In a previous blog, someone commented that magnesium oil rubbed on the cramping muscles can help too, probably without the risk of inducing diarrhea, though that risk is small with magnesium taurate.

The New Orleans Marathon:

Excellent - I have no complaints.  Good stuff:
  • We never had to compete with vehicles for the same road space.  I love that.
  • More than enough water stations.  Perfect.
  • There was a mix of music - we liked the jazz and the bagpipe band better than the rock & roll.
  • Lots and lots of police, troopers, sheriff's deputies, and volunteers manning the intersections.
  • The only hills are bridges, and none of those are very high.
  • I highly recommend this race.  It's run by professionals.
  • 9675 finishers in the half marathon, not including relay runners.
  • 2749 in the full.
I ran this marathon in honor of two favorite survivors, Caroline and Sharon.

  • Two women ran with only their bras above their shorts, but the bras were gold in color and made of something very stiff and slightly open at the top, offering a bouncy view of feminine tissue as they ran.  Being happily married for 50 years I only glanced, of course, and didn't stare or get out my camera.  Like other people did.
  • One woman was running the marathon on crutches.  She seemed to be slowing as I came up on her, and she got a lot of encouragement from the rest of us.  I hope she finished.
  • I saw more Team in Training coaches than I've ever seen before.  The TNT runners are raising the money, and their coaches are giving advice and encouragement.  Lots and lots of the runners too, of course.
  • Brooks Running is a sponsor of the race and had an amusing inflatable character at about mile 10, a guitarist I think, huge, towering over the street with his head in the fog.  We all ran through his legs, or under his crotch you might say.  Was that Elvis?  Was he an ambassador from the Memphis race that wasn't?  That would sort of make sense.
  • Because we had registered for the Memphis Marathon, we were invited to a VIP tent after the race where the early finishers got some jambalaya or gumbo, whatever.  That was nice.  When the girls got there the jambalaya was gone, though.  I got in even later and skipped it - the fast runners get the good stuff.
  • The race was mostly two out-and-back parts, so we got to see many of the other runners twice.  On the way back from the second turnaround I saw the very last marathon runner, still going out, but closely followed by the cleanup crew.  That consisted of a street sweeper and several large trucks, City of New Orleans equipment I believe, and when they had passed, there was no evidence that a marathon had ever been held on that side of the street.
  • I thanked one woman who was a TNT runner and told her my story.  She responded that she also has cancer, CLL, and we shared good wishes before I ran on ahead.
Splits:  12:49, 24:47 (2 mi), 13:29, 12:21, 13:03, 55:22 (4 mi w nature break), 12:31, 13:18, 12:37, 11:40, 28:08 (2 mi), 12:59, 38:52 (3 mi), 39:18 (3 mi), 12:24, 12:45, 14:15 (slowed for photographer), 2:36, total 5:43:06, pace 13:05.