Sunday, August 24, 2014

Three Miles Running

Walking and running, that is.  Again we went out early, to avoid the muggy heat.  I did my 1 to 3 run / walk, this time 3.17 miles on the paved trails, in 40:11, for a pace of 12:41.  That's slightly slower than two days ago, but still plenty fast enough to finish a marathon in six hours even with nature breaks.

No complaint from the injured right hamstrings today, or from anywhere else for that matter.  No whining!

So the plan now is to run every other day, doing an easy 1 to 3 run/walk like this, but gradually increasing the distance.  On the alternate days, or many of them, a nice bike ride will provide the cardio exercise that I need.  Nearly every day, I will also do a set of hamstring stretches and resistance exercises designed to increase strength and resilience.  That's the plan.

Saturday, August 23, 2014


Friday, August 22, 2014:

I did a 1 to 3 run/walk today, just 2.07 miles like Wednesday.  This time the right hamstrings ached just a little for the first minute or two, then went silent, cooperating fully.  That's a good thing!

2.07 miles in 25:48, pace 12:28, equivalent to a 5:27 marathon if sustained.  Considering nature breaks and maybe a chat with a spectator or two, this would be a good pace for finishing a marathon in six hours.

I saw the sports doctor today, to discuss the recent frequent hamstring injuries.  He thought that the Levaquin was still a possible contributor to the problem, but in any case he really couldn't diagnose the cause.  Instead, he suggested a path forward, knowing that we do have a marathon scheduled in six weeks.  He gave me a schedule for regular stretches and hamstring strengthening exercises, and I will follow that plan.

Stretches and exercises most every day, with running or biking on alternate days, the running graduating slowly to longer and longer distances.  I hope that plan works - I was going to do the alternating bike / run anyway, but the stretching and strengthening may make the difference.

In other doctor news - yesterday morning the Mayo Clinic pronounced my cancer stable again, and in the afternoon my local primary care provider, after a chest x-ray, reported that my latest pneumonia was entirely gone.  Yay!

Wednesday, August 20:

We got up earlier than usual and I got the day started with a cool bike ride.  That felt great.  7.06 miles in 32:20, for a pace of 4.58 min/mi, or 13.1 mph.  This route is somewhat hilly - I think I could go quite a lot farther on the bike if I rode a little slower, say 12 mph, on a flatter road or trail.

Tuesday, August 19:

First run since the Aug 14 right-hamstring injury.  I did a short 2.07-mile run/walk, with a 1 to 3 ratio, trying not to annoy that hamstring.  It did ache a little, and it ached even a little more later in the day.  I probably should have stopped when the ache was apparent, but anyway I don't think I set it back much.  I'll skip another day (ride bike instead) before trying again.

I didn't time the run, but I suppose it was about 13 minutes/mile.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Not Running Yet

I rode the bike a little easier today, for 7.35 miles in under 40 minutes.  I timed one loop at 4.73 min/mi, or about 12.7 mph.  Two days ago I thought that pace was "fairly hard," but today it didn't seem hard.  I guess my bike muscles are becoming conditioned, or I'm learning how to use the gears to better advantage.

I'd rather be running.  Maybe I'll try it tomorrow.  Short, slow, easy.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Still Riding the Bike

I ran just a few steps this morning, enough to assure myself that the right hamstrings still hurt and I shouldn't try a real run.  Back on the bike.  I do like the bike; it certainly helps with cardiopulmonary training even if it doesn't really do much for running muscles.

I rode exactly the same route as yesterday, two 3.53-mile figure-8's, once in each direction, splits of 16:01 lap 1, 16:09 lap 2, for a total of 7.06 miles in 32:10, pace 4.56 min/mi, or 13.2 mph.  That's slightly faster than yesterday, but I felt a little more tired at the end.  I did a lot of yard work yesterday too, so maybe I should feel a little tired.

Except for the right hamstrings, it's a masterpiece.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Bike Again

The pulled right hamstring feels much better today - in fact, oddly, it felt better yesterday after I used the walk-behind mower for an hour and a half, and it's better still today.  It's not good enough to run on yet, though, so I rode a fairly-hard 7 miles on the park's paved trails.  That is really quite enjoyable - I want to keep running, but bike riding certainly is an acceptable alternative when running fails.

Today I rode a 3.53-mile figure-8 route twice, once in each direction, for 7.06 miles in 33:20, pace 4.72 min/mi, or 12.7 mph.  This was hard work but thoroughly enjoyable, and I could have kept going.  Splits: 16:48 lap 1, 16:32 lap 2.  After finishing I did keep riding to fill out the 40 minutes that my sweeties and I had agreed upon.

Except for the hamstring, it's a masterpiece!

Crap Crap Crap

Thursday, August 14

I don't like to cuss in my blog, but I'm thinking some very blue lines.  I went on the flat Gateway Trail this morning, doing an easy 1 to 2 run/walk, and got stopped just beyond mile 3. Another new injury, this time in the right hamstring, feeling like an injury that I fought many years ago, one that kept recurring.  I hope it's not the same one.  Today it hurt when I was running, but not walking, so maybe it will go away in a week or so, as the last two similar injuries have done.  I did turn around right away when the problem occurred, hopefully avoiding further injury.

That's three thigh injuries in less than a month, all in different places.  I have never had an injury severe enough to make me to drop out of a marathon (DNF = did not finish), but any of those injuries would have stopped me if they occurred in a marathon.  Today's happened after barely 3 miles, while running an easy marathon pace.  Am I just pushing too hard?  Maybe so.  I've been trying to keep the mileage to no more than 30 miles in any 7 days, and maybe that's too much.  Also, I've been running nearly every day, mostly because I like it, but running day after day doesn't allow much time for this ancient body to recover from tiny injuries and stresses.

The new plan: No more than 20 miles in any seven days, no hard running for a while, and no more than five days of running per week, preferably four.  Meantime, until I can run on this injury, I'm back on the bike.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Magnificent Run

Oh, I wish they could all be this good.  Perfect weather, I felt strong and invincible.  Five miles, no pains, no problems.  This time I ran on my favorite grass trails, rough and hilly.  I tried for a run/walk ratio of 1 to 2, but found myself running a little more than that, often charging up a hill when I could have walked, and running down the easy slopes too, but also occasionally walking down a steep slope when it was  time to run.  4.99 mi in 1:01:15, pace 12:16.

I think the pneumonia is almost gone, but not quite.  I have a pulse oximeter, which measures heart rate and blood oxygen saturation.  Prior to the pneumonia the oximeter would regularly show 98 or 99% blood oxygen, but now it regularly shows 96 or 97%.  That's up considerably from two weeks ago, but I probably won't be convinced that the pneumonia is completely gone until I regularly see 98 and 99% again.

Meantime I'll keep running - I doubt that the running interferes with that recovery.  I hope.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Post Number 1001

Imagine that - 1001 log entries.

I felt more like myself today, getting past the pneumonia, I think, and this morning I felt more normal than I have for a couple of weeks.

Nevertheless I still have the hamstring injury to deal with, so I did a fairly easy 1 to 2 run/walk on the paved trails, watching carefully for any signs of the injury, especially during the walk, which is where the original injury appeared.  I felt something in that thigh in the first two minutes, but it went away and the rest of the run was trouble-free.

The 3.53 miles were finished in 43:06, for a pace of 12:13.  No whining.  Ramping up now, probably 5 miles tomorrow.

First Run Since Injury

Monday, August 11, 2014:

I haven't tried to run for five days, since I injured the left hamstring.  Today I did a short run, just 2.07 miles, with no pain at all.  Yay!  Maybe I should have tried yesterday.  I did mostly a 2 to 3 run/walk, finishing in 25:13, for a pace of 12:07.  Not fast, but I'm still fighting the last of the pneumonia and I didn't try to walk fast - the hamstring injury appeared during walking, not running.

Now the trick is to ramp up the distance, stopping immediately if the hamstring just begins to hurt again.  I have a marathon in four weeks, and I couldn't possibly run it with the hamstring injury, so I have to ramp up to a pretty long run before we actually go, not only as training but to show myself that I can probably finish a marathon.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Back On the Bike

Saturday, August 9, 2014:

Because of the hamstring injury last Wednesday, I'm riding the bike again for a while.  Today I rode the largest loop around the park that I could on the grass trails.  That may have been a mistake - I'm still recovering from pneumonia, and there is no way to "take it easy" on this hilly trail.  Either I walk my bike up the hills or ride it, and I don't like to walk it so mostly I rode it, and that takes energy regardless how fast or slow I try to go.  Also, today, I had to do an emergency stop at the bottom of a long, steep hill where sand made the bike uncontrollable, and I whacked my left shin on the pedal, raising two welts.

Oh whine, whine.  Truth is, it was a fun ride and I'm glad I did it.  At the tops of the hills, this particular trail offers spectacular views of the park itself and some of the surrounding area.  I won't do it again, though, until I feel fully recovered from the pneumonia, because it required a lot of hard breathing.  Also, next time I do this trail, I'll go the other way and walk my bike up the long, steep hill rather than try to navigate down through the sand.  6.7 miles (estimate) in about 60 minutes, pace 9 min/mi, or 6.7 mph.

Friday, Aug 8:

Bike: Two figure-8's on the paved trails, plus a conversation with Luke P.  One figure-8 included the Klondike extension, total distance 6.7 mi.  I tried to ride easier today, hence the paved trails only.  Time 41:43, speed 6.22 min/mi, or 9.6 mph.  Chat w Luke may have been 5 min, and I didn't stop the watch.

Thursday, Aug 7:

Bike: Figure-8 on the paved trails, plus the 3-mile grass-trail loop, total 6.5 miles in about 45:09, speed 6.95 min/mile, or 8.6 mph.  I go much faster on the paved trails!  I still have pneumonia, may have done a little too much today.  We'll see.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Another Injury

I  hadn't done any running since the onset of the pneumonia, only walking, so today the idea was to run/walk at a slow pace, equivalent to the pace of a 6-hour marathon, a ratio of one to three.  That worked great, for about a mile and a half of the three-mile loop.

Then I began to feel a sharp pain in a muscle or tendon in the left hamstrings, about halfway down to the knee, toward the medial side, fairly deep within the muscle mass.  It seems to be a small muscle or tendon, not a large one.  The pain occurred during the walk portion of the run/walk, not the run portion, and seemed to be worst just as the extended left foot was about to touch down, before weight was applied.

So what caused it?

  1. Lawn mowing.  A month or so ago I injured an adductor muscle or tendon in very much this same way.  That injury occurred the day after some difficult lawn mowing on our very-sloped outlot.  Guess what - I mowed that very same outlot yesterday.

  2. Levaquin.  I'm still taking the last of the antibiotic that is supposed to cure a bacterial pneumonia, even though we don't really know if the pneumonia is bacterial.  Unfortunately Levaquin has a reputation for damaging ligaments and tendons, especially the Achilles tendon, but others as well.  In any case the cure is to stop the Levaquin.  I have only one pill remaining, but I think I won't take it, judging that the risk of tendon injury now seems greater than the possible marginal benefit of one last treatment of the possible (but unlikely) bacterial pneumonia.

  3. Both 1. and 2. above.
Anyway the treatment for the muscle/tendon pull is to wait until I can run and walk without pain, then ramp up the distance every day, stopping for the day if any pain appears.  Meantime, the bike is still on the back of the car, ready to go.  I wonder if I can ride without pain.

Split: 2.24 mi, 28:25, pace 12:41, for the portion of the run up to and a little beyond the start of the pain.  That's pretty good for a 1 to 3 run/walk, and on the grass trails to boot.

First "Runs" Since Pneumonia

Sunday, August 3, 2014:

Walk, not run, and the pneumonia is still with me.  Yesterday I strolled in the park for about 35 minutes, and today I walked 1.73 miles fairly fast, finishing in 29:36, for a pace of 17:07.  Actually I thought I was going faster, but this seemed fast enough and did result in some sweat and somewhat-elevated breathing.

Making daily progress against the pneumonia.  Modest exercise is good. If weather permits, tomorrow is a lawn-mowing day.