Thursday, July 31, 2014

Feeling a Little Better

Some of the numbers are a little better.  I'm going to post any additional info on the pneumonia on the myeloma blog:

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Pneumonia Again

July 30, 2014

CRAP! Pneumonia certainly puts a crimp in marathon training. I have a marathon coming up in early september, with a good plan for ramping up carefully to a 20-mile long run three weeks ahead. That's what you do. Setting aside the obvious life-threatening aspect of pneumonia, however, at the very least it puts a big crimp in the training plan.

I've had pneumonia five times in my life now; three times it was viral, once bacterial (last February), and now as-yet undetermined. In February the high-power IV antibiotics took effect within a day, and got me out of the hospital in two days. This time I've been in and out for two days already, and there is little evidence of improvement. I still have a little fever, low pulse oxygen level, a high pulse rate, and a high respiration rate. If it's viral instead of bacterial, previous experience suggests that the resolution will take weeks instead of days. Grrrr.

Maybe I should just stop whining and be glad I'm still alive. Eventually I will be running again, but that's not the top priority.

I'll know more in the morning. Perhaps the pneumonia will take a sudden turn for the better, or the doctors will try something different.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Runner's World Cover Contest

I have entered a contest by Runner's World Magazine to determine who will be on their December cover. I hope you will click HERE and vote for me. You can vote every day, and that would be marvelous. The contest goes until mid-August.

You can help even more by spreading the word on your own facebook or twitter page - let's make it viral! Be sure to include the magic hashtag #RWCoverContest.


Don W

Running Again

Thursday, July 24, 2014:

The adductor injury was a week ago.  I took it pretty easy on that muscle, with one nice bike ride and no running in the six days following the injury, then running about three miles yesterday without pain.  Today I ran a solid four miles on the hilly grass trails in the park, again without pain.  It's getting better, but experience tells me that it couldn't be completely healed yet - a pulled muscle or tendon just doesn't heal in a week for a 73-year-old man.  I'll keep ramping up the distance, five miles tomorrow, but I'll be prepared to drop to a walk immediately if I feel pain.

Adductor muscles are intended to help with sideways motion - they pull the legs sideways, inward, toward each other.  In the past, I've injured an adductor by running on indoor tracks, which can have many, many turns, all in the same direction.   I've been thinking about how an adductor muscle can be stressed in straight-ahead

With kids in the house, kitty takes to
the stairs to avoid being underfoot.
running, because this injury happened on the Gateway Trail, which is on an abandoned railway - quite straight and reasonably flat too.

I suspect that I may have stressed the adductor while mowing the lawn the day before the injury.  One part of our lawn is steeply banked, and I do mow it from side to side, walking one foot up and the other down, because that is safer than mowing up and down the hill.  Maybe I pulled that adductor muscle a little bit and didn't notice it then.  Anyway it's getting better, and I'll be more aware of the issue next time I mow.

Today's run was 4.03 miles in 48:48, for a pace of 12:07.  I definitely could have gone faster, but held it back out of respect for the adductor.  Same tomorrow, only farther.  I hope it doesn't rain tonight - I do like the grass (and dirt) trails, but when they are muddy I choose the paved trails.

Wednesday, July 23:

First run since injury.   I'll start short and increase the running distance gradually, a mile or two every day, while recovering from the adductor injury.  From past experience, the trick is to stop running immediately if any pain shows up.  Today I did about a four to five run/walk most of the time, and no pain appeared.  Longer run tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 22:

My 55th high-school reunion was yesterday and today (yes, on a Monday and a Tuesday - after retirement all the days are the same, so we choose weekdays to get venues that are in demand on weekends).  I couldn't make it Monday, because of a Mayo Clinic appointment, but Tuesday was fine.  We three all went, and had a nice time, including a 3.4-mile hike, a long boat ride, and an outdoor picnic, all with my high school classmates.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Adductor Injury

Sunday, July 20, 2014:

Since the adductor injury still hurts, I cross-trained on the bicycle today, going about 6.5 miles in about 45 minutes, using both the paved and the grass trails.  I must admit that was fun. If I ever reach a point where I can no longer run, I sure hope that I can still ride a bike.  These hilly trails provide a wonderful mix of hard-work uphills, level pedaling, and refreshing downhills.  The rutty "grass" trails are actually grass, dirt, and gravel, so the ride is a bit rough, but that adds to the charm.  I hope my old $160 Target bike holds up.

Anyway the bike riding may not last for very many days.  I'll be running again as soon as the adductor injury heals sufficiently.

Thursday, July 17:

Adductor Injury   Adductors are the muscles that pull the legs together.  They don't move the legs forward and backward, so I have no idea how they get involved in running forward, but they do - I've had trouble with adductors before.  This time it's a small muscle high and deep within the left thigh.

I ran about six of the intended 14 miles, doing my usual 1 to 1 run/walk, feeling an ache in the inner side of that left thigh during the last mile or so.  Then the ache disappeared entirely, and I thought I was home free, but a minute or two later the ache became the sharper pain of an actual injury.  It even hurt a little to walk, so I strolled slowly back to the car, about three miles away.

Looking at previous log entries (see, this is why a log is good), in the past I have dealt with ths injury by gradually ramping up the length of my runs, each time stopping just when the adductor starts to complain.  The last time, in January of 2012, it took just a few days to start running, and I ran six miles a week later.  So that's a plan.

11:30, 11:32, 11:04, 10:52, 11:13, 11:40, 13:53, 20:11, 15:03, total 1:57:00, about 9 miles.

Wednesday, July 16:

After five miles with no walking yesterday, and with a planned 14-mile run/walk tomorrow, this was an easy day, just a nice little 3-mile romp through the grass trails.  Lovely weather - cool, sunny, very little wind.

Time 37:12, distance 3.01 miles, pace 12:22.  No whining to speak of.

I took a good look at the "post hole" that I stepped into 11 days ago - it does look like a post hole.  It's only about two inches deep, but of course that's more than enough to cause an injury.  It could actually be a post hole that someone tried to fill with dirt, and that dirt has compressed somewhat.

Tuesday, July 15:

Five miles, no walking    I haven't done that for a while!  I'm trying to extend my long run by a couple of miles every week, while also extending my no-walk distance a mile or so every week.  Next week I'll try to run a 10k with no walking.  I'm due for a 14-mile run/walk long run yet this week.

5.03 miles in 49:02, for a pace of 9:45.  At that pace I should easily be able to finish a 5k race in 30 minutes.  Maybe I should sign up for one and see.

Indeed this was a race pace for me, as judged by the breathing.  I know from experience that when I take a breath every four footfalls, I'm running a sustainable, long-term pace.  For the last half of this run, however, I was breathing once every three footfalls, a race pace for me.  I was able to charge the last hill, and enjoyed that, but I won't claim that I finished with much energy left over.

Whining:  None!  Nothing hurts.  It's possible that the strange tibia pain will bother me tonight, we'll see.

Monday, July 14, 2014

We Miss Caroline Shallman

After a courageous three year battle with ovarian cancer, our sweet daughter-in-law Caroline died Saturday evening, July 12, 2014.  Here is a link to her husband David's heartfelt goodbye message on CaringBridge:

Information about the memorial service is listed here:

Here is her obituary in the Minneapolis paper:

Tibia Trouble?

Monday July 14, 2014:

Probably not.  I ran a shorter route than usual today, running fairly easy, and felt no pain in the tibia that has been hurting in bed for two nights.  Whatever that pain is (or was), it's apparently not aggravated by easy running.  Time will tell whether it will be a problem.

Distance: 3.17 miles, time 35:58, pace 11:21, not as slow as I meant to go.  I was especially careful on the downhills, but did push a little bit on a few uphills.  What a wonderful morning for running - 62 degrees with a brisk wind, and sunshine alternating with quick little warm showers that didn't appear to come from any cloud that was currently overhead.  Just fun!  It's a masterpiece.

Saturday, July 12:

A little pressed for time this morning, I started with the St Croix Valley Runners but ran my own route, 3.82 miles, in about 41 minutes (I forgot to start my watch).  I tried to go a bit faster than usual, doing a 3 to 2 run/walk rather than 1 to 1.  Unfortunately, I also ran down a couple of steep hills, instead of walking, and may have hurt my right tibia.  It didn't bother at the time, but kept me awake Saturday night and even a little on Sunday night.

The pain is not in the kneecap, hence not PFS, but close to the knee on the medial side of the top of the tibia (I think).  It may not actually be in the bone, but in a nerve or some connecting tissue.  I've felt this pain before, in about the same place, and it has gone away, so hopefully it will go away this time too.

Interesting - I had a conversation with a good friend Sunday in which I averred that running was good for my bones, not bad for them.  Hmm ...

If the time was 41 minutes, then the pace was about 10:44.  That sounds about right.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

12-Mile Run

Thursday, July 10, 2014:

And all is well.  We drove to the Gateway Trail early this morning for a shady and fairly flat run. The Gateway is an old railway right of way, now actually two parallel trails, one wide and paved, the other wider still but mostly grass and gravel.  The first is used by runners, bikers, skaters, and walkers, the second is for horses but is also used by runners who eschew the hard pavement.  Both trails were busy but not really crowded today.

My run was mostly on the paved trails, though I did take the gravel a few times when it looked attractive.  The feet like it.  I carried water, taking some whenever I felt the need, and I also took three Clif Shot gels along the way.

Splits: 11:22, 11:08, 10:55, 11:00, 11:26, 11:04, 10:56, 10:45, 10:40, 10:41, 11:43, 11:03, total 2:12:45, pace 11:04.  If I could do 11:04 for 26.22 miles, that would be a 4:50 marathon.  Wouldn't that be nice!  I did feel strong all through to the end, even charging up the last hill (a bridge) because it felt good.

The sprained right foot with the Lisfranc injury is fine.  No whining!  It's a masterpiece.  14 miles next week if all is well.

Wednesday, July 9:

I ran the same figure-8 route as yesterday, except backward, finishing the 3.53 miles in 38:07, eleven seconds slower than yesterday, for a pace of 10:48.  I'll take it!  I felt very strong at the end.

The sprained right foot didn't bother at all, and although it is still a little sore when I press on the stressed joint, there no longer any visible swelling or inflammation.  No whining!  I'm good to go for a longer run tomorrow, possibly 12 miles on the Gateway Trail, working toward a 20-mile run before our next marathon.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Foot Is Better

The injury in my right foot is visibly less inflamed than yesterday.  Pressing on it, the pain seems to be located in the fourth tarsometatarsal joint, between the fourth metatarsal bone and the cuboid bone.  I was wrong in yesterday's post - this is in fact one of the Lisfranc joints, of significance to me because I previously injured these joints on the other foot several years ago.  That injury was worse, involving more than one joint (there are five, one for each toe), but it
healed completely.  Unless this is actually a cracked bone I expect it to heal promptly, and while healing I am apparently able to run on it with minimal pain and probably without interfering with the healing.

Today's route was almost the same as yesterday's, just a little longer.  3.53 miles in 37:56, for a pace of 10:45.  I felt much more ambitious than yesterday, and the pace shows that.  It's a masterpiece.

Monday, July 07, 2014

Injury Scare

Sunday I awoke with a painful right foot, some swelling, and some redness, with the injury located in a joint between bones leading to the fourth toe, or in the bone itself.  This is forward of the Lisfranc joints.  Although I didn't feel any problem at all during Saturday's 10 miles of running, or afterward that day, the problem certainly arose during those runs.   Two possibilities:

  • An overuse injury, caused simply by too much running; or
  • An injury from a slight twist of my foot as I stepped into the post-hole-shaped hazard that I blogged about yesterday.

I certainly prefer the second choice, because I don't want to cut back on weekly mileage.

Don't you love fresh-fruit season?
Sunday (yesterday) I didn't run and didn't even walk any more than necessary for daily living in the house.  Sunday night I wore a wool sock to bed on that foot, because I believe that warmth promotes healing, especially in extremities which may otherwise function at lower temperatures than the body core.

Good news today!  The swelling and discoloration were less this morning, so the girls and I went out for a 40-minute run, and I went 3.19 miles with very little pain.  I can make it hurt by stepping on it wrong, but it seems almost fine doing straight-ahead running and walking on a flat paved trail.  This suggests to me that the injury is not from overuse, because that would likely affect body parts that are necessary for walking or running.

Therefore the injury was probably caused by the post-hole hazard.  It still could be a broken bone, but I don't think that would have improved so much overnight.  I'll continue to keep it warm and take great care when running on it, no grass trails for a while, and hopefully it will heal quickly.  Yesterday I had visions of my foot in a cast, but now I'm sure that won't happen.

The time for today's short run was 38:50, pace 12:10.  No hurry today.  It's sort of a masterpiece, close enough!

Saturday, July 05, 2014

July Fourth Runs

Saturday, July 5, 2014:

The St Croix Valley Runners meet every Saturday morning at the Brown's Creek Park on Neal in Stillwater. 7:00 am sharp, don't be late

I ran with Charley for the first mile or so, and then we split up because I wanted to run a 3.82-mile route, while he was running shorter.  For that first mile I ran continuously, but then, considering yesterday's high-intensity run, I dropped to my more-usual 1 to 1 run/walk.  Three of the five-milers passed me as I ran, but most finished after I did.  Finish time 43:29, pace 11:23.  I would have thought faster, because of that first mile, but it's OK.

No whining.

After the nice run with the St Croix Valley Runners, I picked up the girls and we went to the park for more running.  I took a 6.05-mile route and did my normal 1 to 1 run/walk, finishing in 1:10:49, for a pace of 11:42, not bad at all for miles four through ten on the day.

This was such a perfect day for anything but running, temperature in the high 70's, bright sun, stiff breeze, it felt very good just to be outdoors.  Plenty warm for running, but now that summer is here I am handling the heat better and felt like charging some of the hills and running continuously down some of the easy slopes.  That happens - the body accommodates after a few weeks.  This was a very enjoyable run.

Oatmeal breakfast, Fourth of July
motif, but not yet fully assembled.

Whining: (1) The right-knee PFS mumbled a little but didn't slow me down;  (2) There is a hole in the trail, deep and several inches in diameter, like an empty post hole, hard to see under the grass.  I've accidentally stepped on it / in it twice now without injury, but I was just lucky, so I'm going to have to etch it into my brain and remember in for any future trips down that trail.  Maybe I should bring a shovel and fill it in myself.  I wonder how fast I could run carrying a shovel.

Friday, July 4:

I felt like pushing today.  For the first three and a half miles of a four-mile run I ran continuously, with no walking except down a couple of steep slopes.  Then I realized that I was hot, quite tired, and not having fun, so I slowed to a 3/2 run/walk for the last half mile.  I lost track of the finish time while putting a new band on my old Timex, but I think it was about 41 minutes.  If so, the pace was about 10:15.  My July 4 "race."

No whining.  It's a masterpiece.
Same breakfast with more colors
added.  I love nectarine season.

Thursday, July 3:

Warm Five Miles   After an easy run yesterday, I ran a little farther and faster today, 5.16 miles in 1:02:40, for a pace of 12:09.  That's an acceptable pace for the grass trails in 77 degrees.

Nice run.  I saw a pheasant scuttling into a fence row, and two turtles, one laying her eggs and the other apparently looking for the perfect place.    I suppose they like the sandy dirt of the trails.  Usually I see deer, and always some great white egrets.  This trail goes right past a cornfield, too, and despite all the rain, the corn is indeed knee-high by the Fourth of July.

No whining.

Wednesday, July 2:

Cool, breezy, cloudy morning.  Because I ran ten miles yesterday, I wanted to run short and slow today.  I took the shortest grass-trail loop, 3.01 miles, and did a slower run/walk than usual, finishing in 38:18, for a pace of 12:49.

This was a lovely run, very enjoyable, in perfect running weather.  No whining.

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Magnificent Ten-Mile Run

Typical wet spot in the trail
They don't get much better.  Temperature  68, wind 17-22, mostly cloudy but with occasional blue skies, spotty light showers, but, happily, no thunder.  Fun, enervating weather.  I ran (1 to 1 run/walk) 10.0 miles in 2:01:34, pace 12:09.  That's a good pace for the grass trails in their current condition.  I felt strong throughout, and ran the last mile a little faster than the first nine.

The first hour took me past at least a half dozen wet spots in the trail, one large and deep enough to host a great white egret, a shy bird that immediately said a graceful goodbye as soon as we saw each other.  Otherwise, for that hour, the grass was free of dew and no rain fell.  In the second hour, though, a few spritzes of rain felt good but got the grass wet, and thus my shoes.  Not really a problem. The second hour included a few additional wet spots but all were easily bypassed.
Native summer flowers. I love these trails!

I carried water and drank some every 20 minutes or so, and I took two Clif Shot gels along the way.

Whining: The right knee's PFS niggled a little from time to time, and actually brought me up short and
in pain one time after a long downhill run.  It felt as though my knee might bend backward, but that resolved quickly and didn't return.  The knee didn't really slow me down.  I'm sure now, though, that the Nike Wildhorse trail shoes don't protect me from the PFS.  I doubt any shoe would.  I have to do my therapy exercises to fix that problem.