Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Four more miles at the Y

Just a fairly easy run today, keeping warm for a longer run sometime soon, probably at about the same pace.

I forgot my watch (again), so I used the clock on the wall instead.  That does a good enough job.  I ran one lap in each of the 13-lap miles, finishing in about 50:35, for a pace of 12:39.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Four Miles Faster

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Not a lot faster, but this time I ran three laps of each 13-lap mile at the YMCA, walking the other 10 laps as fast as I could.

A week ago I tried this, but running two laps per 13, and achieved a pace of 12:08.  Today the pace was 11:41 - no surprise.  Every lap that I run instead of walk saves about 20 seconds.  Evidently my running pace on that track is about 9 minutes/mile.

I felt great throughout, no complaints.

We're now thinking about a marathon at the end on January, and the longest run I've done since the Seattle marathon a month ago has been a modest 8 miles.  Time to ramp up!  Maybe 12 miles later this week, after some medical stuff at Mayo Clinic.

Splits: 11:53, 11:39, 11:38, 11:34, total 46:43, average pace 11:41.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Eight miles at the YMCA

This is the longest walk/run since the Seattle marathon and since the start of my new myeloma treatment regimen a little over two weeks ago.

Whining: None!  This run went perfectly.  I walked (fast) 12 laps of each mile, then ran the 13th.  My pace slowed just a little (despite my efforts) in mile 7 and especially mile 8, but I ran the last lap of mile 8 pretty fast, so that one doesn't show as much.

I enjoyed this run, especially that last high-energy lap - a great lead-in to Christmas eve and Christmas day.

Splits: 12:41, 12:34, 12:27, 12:29, 12:30, 12:34, 12:40, 12:36, total 1:40:29, average pace 12:34.

May you have a wonderful Christmas season and a great 2016.


Monday, December 21:

Three miles in the soccer dome.  This seemed like a fairly easy run, though the average pace was 11:58, close enough to 12 miles per minute exactly. 

I walked three sides of the soccer field, and ran the fourth.  I must have run a little more than that in the third mile, though, because I saved almost 30 seconds on the mile.  I do like to finish hot when I can.

11:59, 12:20, 11:35, total 35:54, average pace 11:58.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Four Miles Slightly Faster

Back at the YMCA again, walking/running on their nice track.  Last time I walked most of the 13 laps per mile and ran one, but this time I ran two.  The idea is to increase the amount of running, but quite gradually, because in recent years my muscles and ligaments have tended to break down when I pushed even a little too hard.

No problem today, no pains, no whining, and a little faster pace than last week.  I have been on the new myeloma therapy for almost two weeks now, and so far I haven't detected any side effects.  I feel great!  Time to start planning more marathons pretty soon I think.  Maybe next week we'll take another look at marathonguide.com and marathonmaniacs.com.

Splits: 12:16, 13:08, 11:03, 12:03, total 48:30, average pace 12:08.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Six Miles at the YMCA

Thursday, December 17, 2015:

This is the longest run I've done since starting the new myeloma treatment regimen, and it went very well.  No pains, no whining.

I walked 12 laps and ran the thirteenth lap of each mile.   The pace per mile was surprisingly consistent until the sixth mile, when it dropped off slightly during the walking.  The split times don't show that because I ran the last lap of that mile a bit faster than I had run the last laps of the previous miles.

The overall pace was 12:42, and I am certainly happy with that pace, though I am a bit suspicious that 13 laps might not be quite a full mile.  If there were 14 laps per mile, that would make the pace 13:41, which wouldn't be quite good enough, considering that I ran some of the time.  I think that the true distance is probably about 13.5 laps per mile, but I'll use 13 because it's more convenient and makes me feel faster :-)

Splits: 12:42, 12:44, 12:40, 12:43, 12:43, 12:42, total 1:16:14, pace 12:42.

Sunday, December 13:

Four miles at the YMCA   I forgot to bring my watch again, so used the ole clock on the wall.  At 13 laps per mile I pass that clock a lot.

Time about 51:00, distance 4 miles, pace about 12:45

Friday, December 11, 2015

New Cancer Regimen

Friday, Dec 11, 2015:

Tuesday, after giving up 30 vials of blood (along with other fluids) for lots and lots of tests, I received an infusion of one medicine and capsules of another, to start the regimen.  So far I have taken six of those capsules.  I am quite anxious to find out what impact the combination of infusion and oral drugs has on my running.

So far the news is good.  My run two days ago was great, and this morning I ran in the local inflated soccer dome, finishing three miles in about 34 minutes (forgot to bring my watch) for a pace of about 11:20.  That's pretty good for me these days, much better than usual.

I did feel a bit sluggish, and thigh muscles were a little uncomfortable at first, but I was traveling faster than usual and the thigh muscles settled down after the first mile or so.  I ran along the short sides of the rectangular soccer field, and walked along the long sides, probably resulting in about a 40/60 ratio of running/walking.

It's good.  So far I'm doing just fine.  Soon I would like to go six or eight miles at a somewhat slower pace and see how that goes.  Within a couple of weeks, if all goes well, I will start training for the next marathon.  I have some ideas for improving my training, with the goal of better overall fitness and a faster race as well.

Wednesday, Dec 9, 2015:

This was my first run after starting the new treatment regimen, and it went very well indeed.  I ran/walked 3.96 miles from home to Kwik Trip and back, in 47:59, for a pace of 12:07.

I ran when I felt like running, and otherwise walked as fast as I could.  The weather was cool and nice, and I certainly did enjoy the run.  Yesterday I had an infusion of one new medicine, and since that time I have taken two capsules of another, separate medicine.  I don't know if the drugs are working yet, of course, but so far they aren't preventing me from running.

Two-mile splits:  24:30, 23:28, total 47:59

Earlier in December:

I ran two different post-marathon recovery runs, one by myself and another with a group of friends.  I didn't write anything down, though, so now I've forgotten the distances or times.  No matter - anything is good.

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Seattle Marathon Review

November 29, 2015:

My Race:

Whew - My 91st marathon is finished, and I did OK, finishing in 6:40:47.  That time compares well enough to the most-recent three marathons, all of which were mostly walking, as was this one.  Also, I notice that the second 13 miles took only 4 minutes longer than the first 13, and the second 13 were by far the hilliest.  Cool.

Before the race at the TNT booth
This is a fun marathon, especially if you like a challenging course.  ("Challenging" is runner talk for hilly.)  Soon after the start, we ran out on the center lanes of the I-90 floating bridge across Lake Washington, then turned around.  Then we headed south along the shore of Lake Washington to do a loop around a lovely park, continuing north under I-90, still along the shore.  Here comes the challenging part - zig-zagging up to Ravenna Park, another beautiful and natural area, where the course undulated up and down until we began final the downhill trek.

The finish was inside the football field in Seattle Center, only a few hundred yards from the Space Needle.  Very nice, and the after-race party was indoors in the warmth.

Today that warmth mattered.  This marathon is often rainy, but today the weatherman promised a cold start with bright sun and light winds.  What happened, though, was a cold start with fog and surprisingly brisk winds.  Neither of those let up for the entire race, with the temperature starting at 30 and topping out at 38.  I wore my Minnesota Distance Running Association (MDRA) wind jacket over three thin technical shirts, running pants under running shorts (for the pockets), ear cover and visor, mittens, and thin Wrightsocks in my Brooks Launch shoes.  I opened and closed the wind jacket as necessary, but never felt tempted to remove the jacket or a shirt.

Finished!
After the race I have nothing to whine about.  I expected to feel very tired leg muscles, and probably some ache in back muscles, and sure enough - no surprise!  But nothing else hurts - not knees, hips, hip flexors, or feet (much).  It's all good!  Now relaxing with jambalaya, chocolate ice cream, homemade pizza, and eventually a sip or three of beer.

My girls had a good race too, finishing their half marathon a few minutes sooner than expected.  Yay!

The Seattle Marathon:

We ran this same race in 2011, and it hasn't changed much. It's a great race. Here is the link: Seattle Marathon Review 2011 .

Signs Along the Way:

Life is short - a marathon makes it seem longer
Obi-Wan Kenobe says "May the course be with you"

My Thanks:

I'm always amazed at the spectators (and volunteers) who will come out in the rain, cold, or fog and cheer for those of us who are silly enough to run 26 miles in a big circle, eventually ending up where we started.  Thanks Seattle!

Splits: 14:22, 29:03 (2 mi), 29:24 (2 mi), 18:11, 14:04, 15:27, 16:40, 14:24, 14:09, 17:28, 14:02 (3:17:06 at 13 mi), 14:36, 14:32, 14:51, 16:00, 49:37 (3 mi), 15:14, 14:32, 15:26, 15:08, 15:15, 15:48 (6:38:05 at 26 mi), 2:46 (0.22 mi), total 6:40:52 by my Timex.  The results web site says 6:40:47. Average pace 15:17.

Next:

We three don't currently have our next marathon scheduled, because I'd like to settle on my next myeloma treatment first, as I am not currently on treatment and the myeloma is growing.  I still intend to finish 100 marathons, though, and we already have a list of 17 possibilities for the first half of 2016.  If I'm lucky, I'll run 4 or 5 of those, and a similar number in the second half of the year.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Cool Taper Run

The weather in Seattle is currently predicted to be  sunny and cool with temps in the low 30's at sunrise, and middle 40's in the afternoon.  Wind at 5 mph.  Dry will be most welcome if it actually happens.  Cool is fine.

Today's run was meant to test clothing in very similar weather, 36 at the start and 40 at the end, wind at 12 gusting to 16.  I wore a short-sleeved and a long-sleeved shirt under a wind jacket, with tights below.  Gloves, visor and ear cover completed the gear.  My usual light WrightSox were fine, with the newest pair of Brooks Launch shoes.  I may exchange the tights for running pants in the marathon, because the pants have pockets, but otherwise the gear was perfect.

Because of last Wednesday's bone marrow biopsy I felt more comfortable walking today, and did very little running.  Nevertheless the pace was good at 13:43, even though I had to slow way down for ice on the trail for maybe 100 yards.

Two-mile splits: 26:07, 28:44, total 54:51, pace 13:43.  I'll keep it.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Suspenders

Myeloma lives in the bone marrow, and one of the best ways to learn about a patient's myeloma is to extract some marrow and examine it.  Last Wednesday I had marrow extracted from the top of the right rear side of the pelvic bone, just about where my belt rests.  It's called a bone-marrow biopsy, and I have been wearing suspenders since Wednesday, to avoid discomfort in that area!

Unfortunately, I didn't wear suspenders during my run today.  Because the outdoor temperature was below 20 degrees we went to the YMCA today.  I wore regular running shorts with a laced waistband, which annoyed the sore place throughout the 3-mile run.  Suspenders on running shorts?  In public?  New fashion trend - I should have worn them!

The next marathon is just a week away now, and I do believe I'll bring my suspenders along just in case that spot is still sore.

Otherwise zero whining.  I had a little knee trouble yesterday (Saturday) while walking with friends, so I turned around and went home.  That may have been a good plan, because there was no knee trouble today.  The sore hip probably slowed me a little, but I was still able to maintain a good pace.  All walking, no running today:

One-mile (13-lap) splits: 13:49, 13:37, 13:31, total 40:57, average pace 13:39 minutes per mile.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Four Quick Miles

Tuesday, November 17, 2015:

With a battery of medical tests on tomorrow's schedule, to determine whether I am eligible for another myeloma treatment study, I needed to get in a good run today, and it was a good run indeed.  About 50 degrees and light rain, just like our next marathon is likely to be.  But in a way that's quite nice weather for running.

I ran 3.96 somewhat hilly miles in 52:23, for a pace of 13:14.  Mostly walking, too.  Just a little pain in the back, otherwise I felt fine.

Today a technical long-sleeved undershirt and a short-sleeved technical T-shirt were perfect for the job.  With a little more wind I would have needed a wind jacket in place of the T-shirt.

Two-mile splits: 26:39, 25:44.

Monday, November 16, 2015

The Ides of November

Sunday, November 15, 2015:

But not really - the Ides of November is not the 15th but the 13th.  Who knew?  See Wikipedia.

Whatever.  I had a very nice run today, 7.98 miles in 1:46:11 for a pace of 13:18.  Not bad for mostly walking, and this was a very hilly route.  Like the next marathon will be.  Tapering now.

We enjoyed a scrumptious November day today, high 50'sm clear skies, dry as a bone.  I wish the rest of winter could be like this.  Oh well, rain and cold tomorrow.

Whining: My back doesn't know which side should complain. Today both sides complained, but not enough to be a problem.

I tried out my brand new Brooks Launch II shoes today.  I have run 90 marathons in Brooks shoes, and these are my 14th pair of the Launch I and II.  Like all those before, they were just fine.  A neutral ride, soft enough but not too soft.

Two-mile splits: 25:28, 28:09, 52:34 (4 mi), total 1:46:11 for 3.98 miles.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Feeling Good

Because it was cold, we three went to the Bubble (nearest inflated soccer dome) to run this morning.  It wasn't much warmer in there, because the furnace isn't on yet, but at least there was no wind.

I just felt so great today.  No hint of any issues (NO whining), so I moved a little faster than I did on Sunday, speed-walking three sides of the soccer field, but running one short side.  Finally, in the last lap of the third mile I ran the last half of the lap, actually speeding up almost to an all-out sprint (for a 74-year-old) toward the end because it felt so good.  Dogs love to run, and when it comes to running I'm most definitely a dog.

Mile splits: 12:30, 12:29, 11:57, total 36:56, distance 3.0, pace 12:19.

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Magical Marvelous Run

Perfect weather and a problem-free long run.  We three all went out to run for about four hours today.

I actually ran four different loops, each starting and ending at our home, each about 4 miles in length, with an actual total distance of 16.05 miles and a total time (excluding nature breaks) of 3:48:00.  Pace 14:12.

I would have liked to do just a little better, under 14 minutes per mile, but this course is pretty hilly, I ran a marathon two weeks ago, and 14:12 is close enough!  Almost all walking, very little running, hence very little whining.

I felt just a little pain in the left back, peaking at about 3 miles and decreasing after that.  No problem!  What a great run.

This was the long run leading up to the next marathon - tapering from here.

Two-mile splits: 26:31; 29:29, 29:38, 28:14, 28:43, 29:16, 28:13, 27:56, total 3:48:00.

Saturday, November 07, 2015

New Route

Friday, November 6, 2015:

Most of our runs start on a trail that leads west from our house, but today I had a job to do (set up a dental appointment) and incorporated that into the run, starting out east and north instead.  From there I did a little extra running (mostly walking), investigating two possible new routes and then ending back home in 4.53 miles and 1:06:00 hours, for a pace of 14:34.  Distance is exact, time is approximate.

Whining:  This time my right knee was fine, perhaps because I gave it two days off, but my back hurt instead.  The pain is in the middle top to bottom, and off to the left side.  Because it's not in the spine itself I doubt that the pain comes directly from a plasmacytoma (myeloma hot spot), even though a PET scan does show two small plasmacytomas in the spine.  It could be caused indirectly from a plasmacytoma pressing on nerves which serve that region, but I rather think it's actually a muscle, made sore by poor running (walking) posture perhaps.  It's not new, just worse than before.  It's fixable!

I enjoyed the walk/run anyway.  Exploring is always fun, and now I have mapped out another 4-mile route that I can mix and match with the others.

Long run coming up Sunday, then start tapering for the next marathon.

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Knee Now

November has been beautiful so far, with every day better then the one before.  Today we started running at about 11:15 am, with bright sunny skies and a temperature of 62 degrees.  Because it was so nice we went to the park, for one of very few remaining chances to run on the grass trails this year.  I ran 4.03 miles in a forward direction and about a mile up and down.  Just kidding about the mile, but it is hilly there.

Jazmine
Our sweet Jazmine died yesterday.  Here she is at work,
relieving my stress but watchful nevertheless. We miss her.
Nevertheless I enjoy those trails more than any other kind of running, and pushed harder than usual, running up nearly all of the hills, then walking down the other side to protect my knees.

Whining:  My right knee actually did bother a little today, more when running than when walking, and more going downhill than up.  In the past I have been diagnosed with PFS (patellofemoral syndrome) in that knee, and this could be a little of that showing up because I ran harder than usual yesterday and today.  Happily the twitchy, weak ankle did not show up today on either side, but it seems there is always something to fret about.

Despite yesterday's eight-mile run and today's knee trouble I felt very strong today - a wonderful feeling.  Perhaps the trial drug that I was on for six months is losing its grip on me.  Now if I can just build back a little strength ...

Distance: 4.03 miles.  Time: 56:58.  Pace: 14:08, actually not bad for these trails.

Symmetrical

Monday, November 2, 2015:

The marathon was just eight days ago, so this was not a day for a long run.  I pushed fairly hard in the first four miles today, mostly walking fast but running a bit now and then, and then eased up a little in the second four to admire some very beautiful dogs (retired greyhounds) and otherwise enjoy the walk/run a bit more.

Whining: I haven't mentioned it much, but for some weeks now my right ankle has had occasional twitches which make it hard to lift my foot.  Or something - I'm not sure - the ankle feels very weak, but it always goes away in a few minutes and I can get back to full speed.  Until today it was always my right foot, but today the same thing happened on my left!  So the bad news is that it can happen on either side now, but the good news is I'M SYMMETRICAL!  Yay  (:

Splits: 25:05 (1.96 mi), 27:25 (2.04 mi), 26:15 (1.90 mi w stairs), 29:02 (2.14 mi), total 1:47:46, 8.04 mi, pace 13:24.

Monday, November 02, 2015

YMCA 4 Miles

Friday, October 30, 2015:

First run since the marathon five days ago and I've taken plenty of time off.  My girls have colds, though, and I'm trying to fight one off, so we delayed running outdoors and finally decided to run indoors, despite the driving distance from our home.

The YMCA track is reported to be 13 laps per mile.  I think 13 may be too few and 14 too many, but I use 13 and acknowledge  that my apparent speed may be slightly higher than my actual speed.

Today I walked 12 laps of each mile and then ran the last lap, finishing in 51:30 on the YMCA's wall clock - I forgot to bring my watch.  No matter - I do obsess on time and pace too much anyway.

If the distance was four miles and the time was 51:30, then the pace was 12:53 minutes/mile.  But who's counting?

Monday, October 26, 2015

Marine Corps Marathon Review

This was the 40th running of the famous Marine Corps Marathon (MCM).  About 25,000 of us lined up nervously just north of the Pentagon building in Virginia, ran through a little of Virginia and much of Washington DC, and finally finished back near where we started in Virginia.  It's a great marathon, one of the best.

My Race:

The 40th MCM was also my 90th marathon, all but one of those since my cancer diagnosis.  I finished in 6:32:37, within the 7-hour time limit by 27 minutes, number 51 of 67 in my 70-74 age group.  Mostly I walked, with a little running in the early miles, especially downhill.

My girls met me just after Mile 5 to cheer me and collect a few items that I no longer needed:  Extra shirt, gloves, and ear cover.

Handing the shirt to Sunshine

The MCM has a special feature called "Beat the Bridge," a race within the race, requiring runners to reach the 14th Street bridge in Washington sooner than 5 hours and 20 minutes after the starting gun.  If you lined up in front and crossed the start line in the first minute you could do this with a pace of 16 minutes per mile.  If you were the last runner to cross the start line, however, you would have about 23 minutes less and you would have to make a pace of 14:51, including all nature breaks, photos, whatever.

The race does not force runners into corrals at the start, as some races do, but has signs indicating where runners should line up, according to their expected finish time.  I lined up with the 4:30 group, even though I didn't expect to finish with them, because I was quite concerned about beating the bridge.  Indeed, I eventually arrived at the bridge with 17 minutes to spare, but if I had started at the back I would have had only about 3 minutes to spare, much too close for comfort.

After the bridge I slowed a little, feeling pain in my feet and legs.  My pace up to the bridge was 14:25 including all nature and photo stops, the pace after was 16:46, and the overall pace 14:58.  Toward the end of the first 20 miles I was passing almost everyone, even though I was walking and some were running.  After I slowed down I still passed quite a few.  I suspect that many runners had gone out too fast, concerned about beating the bridge, and now they were dragging even more than I was.

Whining: The only problem was pain in my feet and legs.  In most of my previous races my legs would ache a little toward the end, and afterward too, but I didn't experience that ache as pain.  It just felt as though those parts had been used a lot.  That feeling changed in this race, and I think it is neuropathy from the most recent myeloma treatments.  It did go away a few hours after the race and after a short nap, changing back from pain to ordinary muscle aches, a feeling that I really don't mind at all.  It comes with the territory.

Patients Rising and TNT:

I ran in support of Patients Rising, a new organization that fights for faster regulatory approvals for new medications, and for insurance coverage.  New, targeted medications don't do us patients any good if we can't get them.   To get into the race I also had to team up with a charitable organization, and I chose Team in Training (TNT), a fundraising wing of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS), which also supports myeloma research.  I loved running with them, cheering the many TNT runners and being cheered and supported by them as well.  Almost all of them are running because of a family member or friend with blood cancer.

Publicity:

Through the efforts of Patients Rising, my story was reported on the internet and on the air by Washington DC station WTOP-FM several times over the weekend, and by WJLA TV Saturday night.

The Marine Corps Marathon:

It doesn't get any better than this.

Except for the first four miles it's a flat race, winding through Virginia and Washington at the peak of fall color, almost as picturesque as cherry blossom season.  They close a lot of Washington on MCM day; we ran along the Potomac, then up and down both sides of the mall.

The race is extremely well organized, with hundreds (thousands?) of Marines and other volunteers making sure that every runner has the best possible chance of making it.  They've done this 40 times now, and they're getting good at it.  23,297 of us actually did cross the finish line.
Don looks happy at the finish

Just before the start, six parachutists dropped out of the sky, each flying an enormous American flag.  Soon after that a vertical takeoff & landing aircraft flew by with its two propellers facing up & down to make it a helicopter.  Soon it returned, flying faster, with its props facing forward & back like an airplane.  Cool stuff to an aircraft nerd like myself.  After that, until we got too close to Reagan National Airport, rackety military helicopters of various sorts flew overhead, as if to remind us that this was the Marine Corps Marathon and not just some ordinary, namby-pamby marathon.

I'd like to do this again some time.  I did it in 2011, so a third time.

Along the Way, Worth Mentioning:

  • Sign: "I'm well over 30, but I'm feeling 26.2."
  • Sign: "You run better than Congress does!"
  • Sign: "Free Advice."  As I ran by, I heard the man by the sign shout "Call your mother!"
  • There were other cute signs - I never can remember them all.
  • A man passed me skipping rope.
  • Another man passed me juggling 3 footballs and carrying a sign advising that they were fully inflated!
  • I cheered and was cheered by dozens of runners and spectators wearing purple shirts like mine.

Splits: 

41:21 (3 mi), 13:49, 28:15 (2 mi), 13:58, 13:24, 18:17 (nature break), 13:25, 14:04, 13:55, 14:09, 15:37 (nature break),13:31, 15:57, 14:31, 29:27 (2 mi), 14:39 (4:48:19 at 20 mi), 16:12, 17:30, 36:16 (2 mi & nature break), 15:33, 16:20, 2:43, total 6:32:53 on my watch, 6:32:37 on their clock.  I like their time better.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Three Runs, 13 Miles

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Tapering again - today I went five miles, almost all walking, very little running even when I felt like running, and still finished with an overall pace of 13:02.  It felt good, no problems with the right ankle, in fact no whining at all.

36:53 (2.9 mi), 27:07 (2 mi), total 1:03:59, 4.91 miles, pace 13:02.

Friday, Oct 16

Four miles at a pace of about 12:30, I think.  I forgot to record the splits afterward.

Tuesday, Oct 13

My right ankle twitched in the first mile, decreasing to no twitching in last mile.  I think that's a leftover effect from the recent chemo.

Two-mile splits: 26:20, 24:07, total 50:27, four miles, pace 12:37.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Eight Miles

Less mileage, but equal or greater intensity.  This was a taper run, of course, just half the distance of last Monday's longish run.

What a beautiful morning it was, cool but not cold, sun shining, with the trees now really beginning to showboat their dazzling fall plumage.  I stopped briefly a few times for photos, and stopped my watch for those moments as well.  I love fall color, and Minnesota color is as good as any in the country, better than most.

This was mostly a walk again today, but I did run now and then when I felt like it, usually downhill but uphill a few times.  I wouldn't do that in a marathon, but this was a training run and sometimes an uphill haul is fun.

Whining:  (1) Both feet hurt a little on the bottoms, from the current myeloma treatment; and (2) The right hamstring twitched a few times, painfully enough to make me drop from a run to a walk, but I think it was a nerve and not muscle injury.

Nevermind the whining, on the whole this was a delightful run.

Two-mile splits:  23:32, 25:10, 25:10, 23:32, total 1:37:24, pace for 8.04 miles 12:07.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Taper the Distance

But not the intensity.  That's my training after the long run leading up to the marathon.  Today I went only four miles, mostly walking as usual, but I ran whenever I felt like it, usually down hills but sometimes up too, just for fun.

The result was a pace of 12:23, more than good enough for today.  I'll try not to go that fast in the early miles of the upcoming marathon.  Steady as she goes.

Two-mile splits:  24:03, 25:29, total 49:32, pace 12:23

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Sixteen Miles, No Problems

Well, almost none.  Mostly walking, with occasional short runs, I achieved a pace of 12:54 over 16.02 miles.  I'm very happy with that.

I stopped at our house every four miles for a nature break, to shed clothing, and to refill the water bottle.  I stopped my watch during those breaks, something that I cannot do in a marathon.  The temperature was 39 at my start and 54 at my finish.  I took a clif shot gel and a salt tablet at miles 4, 8, and 12.

At the end I actually may have been speeding up a little; the last two miles were the quickest.

In three weeks I will have to get to Mile 20 of the Marine Corps Marathon in about 4:57, before they close the 14th Street bridge to runners.  If my pace is consistent, that means I'll have to get to Mile 16 in 3:57.  Today I did that distance with 30 minutes to spare, so if the marathon goes as well as today's run, I may have time for two or three nature breaks if needed.  After  Mile 20 the required pace will relax to 16 minutes per mile.

In the last six miles of this run I did have a little trouble with the top of my right foot, right at the opening of the shoe, as if my shoelaces were too tight there.  I re-tied the shoe a couple of times and it got a little better.  These are the same shoes that I wore in the last two marathons, and the same feet, but the socks have changed.  I use Wrightsox Running Light sox, to avoid blisters, and these are the same model, but they are a brand new pair.  Hmmm.

Two-mile splits: 26:07, 26:16, 25:09, 26:28, 26:59, 25:08, 25:55, 24:34, total 3:26:34, distance 16.02, pace 12:54.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Hello October!

Life is wonderful.  Leaves are turning, the air is clear and brisk, it's a season to celebrate.  My run (walk) today was magical.  I walked just as fast as I could, and ran a little too, for an overall pace of 13 minutes per mile.

Setting up for a long run Sunday or Monday, three weeks before the marathon.

Two-mile splits: 26:08, 25:55, total 52:03, 4.01 miles, pace 12:59.

We sold our house yesterday!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015:

After eight months on the market we handed over the keys and garage door remotes, and we are down to just one house.  It feels great.

Today's run (walk) was pretty good too.  Just 4.05 miles, but in 52:23, for a pace of 12:56.  I did run just a little of the time, but 95% walking.  This was DEX (dexamethasone) day, and sometimes those runs aren't so good, but this one was fine.  I enjoyed it.

Two-mile splits: 26:06, 26:17, total 52:23, pace 12:56.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Twelve Miles

Monday, September 28, 2015:

At a pretty good pace.  Sunday I had some annoying pain in the large muscles of my legs, probably from the cancer medications.  This morning, though, most of that pain was gone and it didn't bother at all during the walk/run.

Mostly I walked, just as fast as I could, trying to keep the footfall rate as high as it is when I run.  I ran a few times, mostly to cross streets.  The time for 12 miles was 2:38:03, for a pace of 13:10.

I was tired at the end, but not exhausted.  I think I could have kept this up for another 8 miles at least, and then slowed a little perhaps for the last six miles of a marathon.  Actually I intended to go 14 miles today, not just 12, but decided to stop when rain began.

2-mile splits: 26:30, 25:41, 26:49, 27:48, 25:03, 26:12, total 2:38:03.

Saturday, Sept 26:

Nice walk with Karen and George of the St Croix Valley Runners.  All of us can run a little, but we preferred to walk today.  We went east this time, to enjoy walking past the rapids of Browns Creek.  Nice walk, good conversation.

Splits: 25:14, 27:14, total 52:28,  about 3.7 mi, pace about 14:10

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Three Runs, 16 Miles

Thursday, September 24, 2015:

Same as yesterday (see below), but no chest symptoms.  Yay!  Temperature was about 63, ten degrees lower than yesterday, with a threat of rain, though none appeared.

This was a walk/run, mostly walking fast but occasionally running for 20 seconds.

Splits:  26:27 (2 mi), 24:48 (2 mi), total 51:15, distance 4.01 mi, pace 12:47.

Wednesday, September 23:

I ran just as I did on Monday (see below), and achieved about the same speed, but had a slightly worrisome occurrence.  Doing a four-mile walk/run I was walking as fast as I could, and occasionally running for 20 seconds or so.  In the fourth mile, after two of those running periods, I felt a tightness or pain in the center of my chest, beneath the clavicle, very similar to a feeling I've had before when running and breathing too much cold air.  However, this morning the temperature was 73 and the dewpoint 64.  The pain evaporated immediately when I stopped running and resumed walking.

On the run I just kept going (silly me), but afterward I got scared.  After talking to the doctor I'm not as concerned.  It may just have to do with a witch's brew of prescription drugs and supplements.  And there is a plan for figuring that out.  I've blogged more about this on my myeloma blog .  

Splits:  26:37 (2 mi), 24:45 (2 mi), total 51:23, distance 4.01 mi, pace 12:49.

Monday, September 21:

We have only a few weeks now before we leave for the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington DC, so I did a fast-paced walk/run this morning, eight miles.  After that I mowed the lawn with a walk-behind mower for another two hours.  After that a shower and a nap!  

I walked faster than I have ever walked, I think, almost running.  The test of walking versus running is that  one foot must always on the ground, and I'm sure that I violated that rule a few times, not quite running but not quite walking.  In addition I did actually run for 20 seconds about every five minutes. Pace for 8 miles was 12:51 min/mi - I need 14:00 for the upcoming marathon.  Longer run next week, maybe 14 miles.

The medicine that I am currently taking to fight the myeloma does cause some neuropathy in my feet, however, and right now they are pretty tender.  One of the minor disadvantages of staying alive!  The feet will get better.

Splits: 12:52, 12:36, 13:11, 12:18, 26:16 (2 mi), 26:20 (2 mi), total 1:43:34, 8.06 miles, pace 12:51.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Four Miles at the Y

This was the first run since the Dick Beardsley Marathon, but by no means a recovery run because the marathon was six days ago and I have long since recovered.  This was not a run but a four-mile walk, just as fast as I could, for 12 of the 13 laps that make a mile on the YMCA track.  Then I ran the last lap.  Total time for four miles was 50:14, for an average pace of 12:34.

Steve & Don 3 Weeks Ago
All of this depends on the accuracy of the YMCA's claim that the track is 13 laps per mile.  I've run there dozens of times now, over several years, and never seriously questioned that figure, though I sort of suspect that it the true figure would be slightly higher than 13.

In any case I found it easy to count laps today, even without a counter, because it took almost exactly one minute for me to traverse a lap, sometimes 59 seconds, so the end of a mile occurred at the end of the lap that occurred after 12 minutes.

Today I ran the 13th lap of each mile, instead of walking, and each of those running laps took 39 or 40 seconds. That means that the running laps  took almost exactly 2/3 as long as the walking laps.  Therefore, if the walking laps are 13 minutes/mile, then the running laps are  8:40 /mile.  Faster than I thought - maybe faster than I should go.  But the result today was just fine!  No pains, no complaints.

Splits:  12:39, 12:34, 12:32, 12:29, total 50:14.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Dick Beardsley Marathon Review

Saturday, September 12, 2015:

Now I have finished 89 marathons since the diagnosis of myeloma 12 years ago.  The Dick Beardsley Half Marathon in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, has a 20-year history, with many people who like it and come back every year, but this was the very first full marathon.  We chose it partly because I'm slowing down and it was advertised as having a seven-hour time limit.  The girls ran the half marathon and finished in good time.


My Race:

I had walked a marathon in 6:03 just three weeks ago in Edmonton, for an overall pace of 13:51 minutes per mile, and hoped to do almost as well here.  I finished (yay!) but didn't do nearly as well as I had hoped, finishing in 6:41:28, for a pace of 15:19.  This course was hillier than Edmonton, to be sure, and for that reason I had made a special wristband for a 6:10 finish, but obviously fell far short of that expectation.

Analysis is demanded here, because the upcoming Marine Corps Marathon (MCM) also has a seven-hour time limit, but more importantly a requirement to "beat the bridge," the 14th Street bridge at the 20-mile marker, which closes to pedestrian traffic at 1:15 pm, 4 hours and 57 minutes after the last runner (possibly me) crosses the start line.  That calls for a pace of 14:51.  Then the finish line closes at 3:00 pm, actually six hours and 42 minutes after the last runner crosses the start line.  Based on my finish in this race I would get there with 32 seconds to spare.  Much too close!

What caused the 38-minute time loss between the Edmonton and Detroit Lakes marathons?
  • The course is hillier but not really hilly.  7 minutes lost?  The MCM is just as hilly - nothing to gain there.
  • Our hotel was right on the race course and I stopped there twice, on the way out to drop no-longer-needed clothing, and on the way back to take an Aleve and pick up my water bottle and carrier.  More later.  12 minutes lost.  At MCM I will just toss the clothing.
  • I stopped 12 times to take snapshots and text them to my team (see http://www.facebook.com/ERACECANCER ), once for a volunteer to take a short video of me running, and four times to receive texts.  10 minutes lost?  12?  I loved doing it, but will do much less of that at MCM, if any. 
  • For some of the distance I simply didn't run/walk as fast as I did in Edmonton.  Eh?  Focus, dude!  
  • I may have been slowed by the pain in my right foot.  More later. 
  • More than once I arrived at an aid station unprepared - it was time to take a gel or salt tablet (and wash it down with water at the aid station) but I didn't have the gel or tablet ready because my head was somewhere else.  Tsk. 5 minutes?  Again, focus! 
  • Weather was not an issue at either race, Edmonton or Detroit Lakes.
Near Mile 9, photo by Ardis,
who was going the other way.
At the start I was a little chagrined to see that I was already the very last runner - no other walkers at all.  In the first mile I did catch up to three very experienced marathoners who were doing a run/walk at about the same speed as my walk, and ran with one of those three, Henry Rueden, for most of the first nine or ten miles, enjoying the conversation and companionship.  I mostly walked and he mostly ran, but at about the same speed.

Henry is 65 and has run more than 1000 marathons, including as many as seven in seven days. This was a Saturday race and he was headed off to another marathon the next day, either in Sioux Falls or Sioux City - he wasn't sure which.  I checked - the Sioux Falls Marathon was the next day, Sep 13, so he probably drove to South Dakota rather than Iowa.  I lost him at a porta-potty and never caught up - I think he had been slowing a little for me.

The other two of the three were Jim Simpson, 73, who was the first in the nation to run 1000 marathons (Henry was third), and Bettie Wailes, 71, with over 300 marathons.  Bettie and I chatted briefly early on, and when I told her I was still working toward my 100th marathon, she advised me that her 100th was very sweet and I should really look forward to mine.

Together these three have more than 2300 marathons to their credit. They finished almost together, about 21 minutes ahead of me.  In fact Bettie and Jim finished in exactly the same time.  Jim lives in California and Bettie in Florida, but I understand that they are running partners in the race and sweethearts outside of it.  How cool!

Whining:  

I have a plantar wart on my right foot which really hurt a lot in the race.  I had prepared it by sanding it down ahead of time, but it wasn't enough - the wart is especially tender right now because of the myeloma and its treatments.  On my second trip past our hotel I stopped to take an Aleve (naproxen sodium) capsule, and that did help a lot.  I rarely (never?) take naproxen or ibuprofen in a race, because it can mask an actual injury, but in this case the risk seemed outweighed by the benefit.

NO other whining.  Nothing hurt, and nothing seemed unusually stressed after the race.  Obviously I can go faster than I did this time - just need to focus.  MCM is a much bigger race and I will be surrounded by other runners the whole way, making it easy to focus, whereas in this race I fell behind and never saw another runner after mile 11.  Not one.

The Dick Beardsley Marathon:

They did it!  The very first Dick Beardsley Marathon.  I salute the volunteers, the police, and especially the kids at the aid stations and along the course.  

It's a pretty course, in view of Detroit Lake for much of the way.  I would do this race again.

Two issues this year: (1) Right-side running, and (2) Early closure of the aid stations:
  1. Almost all of the marathon course was on the right shoulder of a road or street which was not closed to vehicle traffic, which meant that (a) if the road was crowned, the slant was always the same way; and (b) vehicles always came from behind.  Runners don't like either of those things.  Happily the slant didn't bother either my knees or my hips this time, probably because I was walking instead of running.  Also, vehicle traffic was mostly light except for four miles on County Road 22.
  2. At Mile fourteen I discovered that the aid station had closed down early, before the last runner (me) had passed.  No water.  I decided right then to pick up my water bottle and carrier from our hotel room just a mile further down the road, and was glad I did.  For the rest of the race, aid stations were unreliable:  Two were still manned, at least two were abandoned but with a few glasses of water left on a table, and some were simply gone - porta-potties yes, but nothing else.  This is unacceptable - a seven-hour race needs to support the last runners who are on pace to finish within seven hours, or they actually put those runners at risk.  I hope the race organizers understand this next year.
Happily for me I had picked up my own water carrier, so I had water the whole way regardless of aid-
Finished!
station support.   Also a very dear man on a bicycle rode with me for several miles toward the end, even taking my picture at the 22-mile marker.  He had water for me, and he did refill my bottle from that, and he only left me when there was less than an hour to go and he saw that I could finish OK.

The finish line was still open when I crossed it; they kept it open for me and were very gracious.  I got my medal, my time, and a water bottle - marathon completed.  Thank you DB Marathon.

Splits:  26:59 (2 mi), 14:47, 27:54 (2 mi), 15:13, 14:05, 14:50, 17:28 (nature break), 13:34, 22:43 (hotel), 57:30 (4 mi), 35:46 (2 mi & hotel), 44:35 (3 mi), 47:19 (3 mi), 46:11 (3 mi), 2:34 (0.22 mi), total 6:41:28, the last 0.22 were faster - that was downhill!

September 1 - 9, 2015

Five short runs totaling 19.2 miles, fastest pace 12:44 for four miles.  Marathon next ...

Monday, August 31, 2015

Easy Run

Or so I intended, because I worked pretty hard the last two days.  But going slow is hard - I tend to push because I don't want to be disappointed in the result.  Maybe I should just not even wear my watch.

I did wear it today, though, and went 3.94 miles in 55:29, for  pace of 14:05, a little slower.  S'ok.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

The Park Rocks

For the first time this year we ran in the huge Lake Elmo Park Reserve, where we have spent so many hours in recent years.  We took the grass trails and I did a walk / run, walking as fast as I could and running a bit whenever I felt like it, which was fairly often.  What a precious and high-energy event.  I love that park - why is this the first time we're run there this year?

I love trail running - (selfie)

Along the way I remembered why I haven't usually run on the grass trails in the few weeks before a marathon - there is a risk of twisting an ankle on the edge of a rut in the grass trails.  And sure enough, I did twist my right ankle a little when I took my eyes off the trail to consult a map.  It didn't bother in the rest of the run, but I feel it now as I write this in front of the TV.  I'll take tomorrow off and it will be fine.

Distance 6.05 mi, time 1:22:00, pace 13:33.  That is real, but the number would be even better on pavement because: (1) These trails are hilly; (2) The ground is soft, especially in the rut that is the best path; and (3) the long grass and weeds grab at a runners shoes a little. It's all good, enjoyable running, but not quite like pavement.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Getting Closer

To a sub-13 walking pace.  Steve and I pushed each other for two miles out and two miles back on the Zephyr Trail this morning, going about as fast as I have ever walked.  It felt good!

More tomorrow on a grass trail.

Two-mile splits: 26:27, 26:03, total 52:30, pace 13:08

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Walking Faster?

This afternoon I got in the second walk/run since the Edmonton Marathon, and tried to go a little faster, but with little success.

Splits 27:35 (2.01mi), 27:02 (2.01 mi), total 54:36, 4.02 miles, pace 13:35.  If I could sustain that pace for a marathon, the finish time would be 5:56.  Not much faster than the marathon I just ran (walked) in 6:03.  Maybe it's too soon after the marathon.

I still want to figure out how to walk faster.  Goal is sub-13, sustained.

Wednesday, August 26:

Photo Shoot.  My sweet girls took photos and videos of me as I ran.  This was the first run since the Edmonton Marathon and I took it fairly easy.

Four miles plus a little back and forth for the photo shoot.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Edmonton Marathon Review

They don't get much better than this.  I loved this race, number 88 since my myeloma diagnosis.  Edmonton does a great job.

My race:

I entered the Marathon Walk, a walk-only division in the marathon which allowed a one-hour earlier start, and finished in 6:03:16, way ahead of my expectation of 6:30 to 7:00.  That's actually a pace of 13:51, and I am quite happy with it.  Truth be told I did run a little bit, but maybe just a dozen times or so for about 15 seconds (45 footfalls) each.  I doubt that my running could have advanced me by more than a minute or so.  I finished 4th of 14 in the Marathon Walk and first (of one) in my age group in the Marathon Walk.

Pre-dawn start
This finish was a solid 20 minutes faster than my last marathon, Columbia SC, in which I tried to run as much as I could, and 11 minutes faster than the Lost Dutchman Marathon in Arizona the month before.  Perhaps there is a message here.

By golly I really did enjoy this marathon.  People were wonderful, the course was very flat, weather was excellent, and I felt great throughout.  Now my muscles are tired, as they should be, but nothing hurts except, just a little, the bottoms of my feet and a bursa on the outside of my right hip.  Something new but temporary I'm sure.  Better in the morning.

What doesn't hurt:
  • My calves.  No cramping this time, always such an issue when I run a marathon; and
  • My hamstrings, which have raised such a fuss in recent months.
My girls did well too, in my opinion, finishing in good time.


The Edmonton Marathon:

John Stanton is the founder and CEO of the Running Room stores (and magazine), and godfather of this marathon.  I met John in Woodbury, MN, when he was opening a store there, and yesterday he introduced me to a crowd of runners in Edmonton's Shaw Conference Center, the epicenter of the marathon.

It all happens at the Shaw.  Expo, start, and finish of not only the marathon but the half, the 10k, and the 5k, maybe more.  That's quite convenient.  On the advice of friends who live in Edmonton (thanks Nelson) we parked at the bottom of the Shaw and only had to walk a hundred meters to get into the Shaw, then the escalators, and up to the start.  People staying at any of several nearby hotels would have it just as good.

The marathon course itself is two out-and-back 10.5k routes, mostly on little-used residential streets, often along the bank of the Saskatchewan River.  With today's clear air the view was very impressive - at several points we could see  Edmonton's downtown skyline in sharp relief over the river.

Police were everywhere, always polite and often smiling.  One laughed out loud when I told him he looked like he should be a Mountie!  (He had that square jaw and strong face I remember in paintings of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.) Wherever there were no police, there were volunteers instead.  I thanked a hundred of them, and there was never any question of which way to turn.  They really did the job.

Despite the river with its impressively high banks, the race is up on the plain and quite flat.  That might account in part for my good time, who knows.  I spoke with people after the race who had just run their personal best.

I would run this race any time.


Stuff:
  • The overall men's winner was Tom McGrath of Edmonton, finishing five minutes ahead of Thomas Omwenga of Kenya.  
  • The women's winner was Emily Potter of Alexandria, VA, fully 18 minutes ahead of the next woman.  Indeed, Ms Potter was sixth overall, besting all but five of the 365 men.  I saw her three times, and she was hauling! 
  • Sign: "Blisters are part of the game."  Indeed.  But none for me today.
  • Sign: "Toenails are unnecessary." 
  • I wish I could remember more of the signs ...
Canada is metric, so my splits are in kM:  25:10 (3k), 8:34, 8:28, 8:32, 8:45, 7:39, 9:20, 10:09, 8:14, 18:09 (2k), 15:53 (2k), 8:13, 8:01, 16:54 (2k), 8:18, 8:59, 9:35, 7:56, 8:23, 8:25, 8:41, 17:37 (2k), 16:60 (2k), 17:16 (2k), 17:23 (2k), 8:26, 9:05, 8:56, 8:39, 8:43, 8:34, 8:59, 10:20 (1.2k), total 6:03:33, pace 13:51.  The finish clock says 6:03:16, I'll take either one!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Too Far to Swim

Saturday, August 15, 2015:

My sweeties & I are on the right
So said my friend Tom this morning.  The air was so warm and humid that he and another runner decided to cut short their usual six-mile run, turning around early and running about four instead.

Steve and I walked four miles and, because we were just walking, we weren't bothered quite as much by the sticky weather.  We finished at a pace just under 14 minutes / mile.

Splits 27:18, 27:24, total 54:42, 4.0 miles, pace 13:41.

Friday, Aug 14:

12-mile bike ride.  In Minnesota, these are the dog days of August.  I had things to do in the morning, so had to delay the bike ride until afternoon, when the temperature was in the low 90's and the dew point in the low 70's.  Barely livable!  Running would have been out of the question, but bike riding is possible because the rate of energy output is elective, and there is a self-created cooling breeze.

I rode from home to Zephyr park, then the Zephyr Trail to Gateway, then back, for 12.2 miles in 1:01:19 and a speed of 11.9 mph, actually faster than I intended to go.  My legs were a little sore the next morning, which tells me that I need to do this more often, at least once a week.

Wednesday, Aug 12:

Hurried 5K.  Lots to do today, so I just did a 5K this morning.  Splits: 21:51 out, 22:28 back, total 44:20, pace 14:18.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Twelve-Mile Taper Run

Actually mostly a walk, but it felt like a run.  In accordance with recent custom I did 4-mile loops, three different ones,

Starting the third 4-mile loop
each beginning and ending at our house, so the problems of nature breaks and water refills are entirely solved.  I love that our new house is just 60 yards from a trail!  (One of the several reasons why we chose it.)

I did very little running, except for a 20-second jaunt at the beginning and end of each 4-mile loop, and a few more short jaunts in the last quarter mile of the last loop.  I feel like I could keep up that pace all day.

As you can see it is a lovely day, about 70 degrees, bright and sunny, breezy toward the end when I needed cooling the most.  I started at 6:05 am, because I have a lot to do today, and finished at about 9:00 am.  I stopped my watch when I took nature breaks and fetched water - the split times and pace are shown below.

Whining:  none!

2-mile splits: 26:40, 28:24, 28:36, 29:01, 27:25, 28:12, total 2:48:18, pace 14:02.

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Walk with Steve

Saturday, August 8, 2015:

We went east instead of west on the new Zephyr trail this morning - haven't done that before.  We turned around at the Mile One marker, about 1.8 miles from the park where we start, making the round trip about 3.6 miles.  I clicked my watch at 50:59, so the pace was about 14:10.

Steve & I sort of pushed each other I think, walking just as fast as we could.  Great walk, good company, no running, no pains!

Splits: 25:04 (down hill), 25:55 (up hill), total 50:59, pace 14:10

Thursday, August 06, 2015

Tartan Terrible 2015

This is a fun 4.3-mile evening race, advertised as "A non-certified, non-boring, non-conforming, non-exact 4 mile run over grass, sand and asphalt...and through water, weeds and mud."  I just love this race!  It's two loops, mostly on grass or dirt, mostly along the edges of a non-flat golf course.  Definitely non-boring.  Indeed there is a water hazard as well, a bit of a swamp in fact, and this year the water was calf-high if you stayed to the right on the "path" through the weeds, otherwise if you slid to the left, anything in your shorts pockets was at risk!

With a marathon coming up I mostly walked, but ran some of it, probably more than I should have,

At the Start
considering the risk of injury.  Nevertheless I got away with it, nothing hurts, I had a great time.  I do this race every year and this was certainly my slowest, but I was careful and finished in about 57 minutes I think.  (I forgot to click my watch at the finish and results aren't up yet.)  The first loop took 30:31, but I ran a lot more of the time in the second.  If 57 is close, then I did the 4.3 miles at a pace of about 13:15, faster than I have been training for the upcoming marathon.

I had decided NOT to run, just walk, but that's very hard to do when there are runners just ahead.  Inevitably, in the last half of the race, I start to catch up to some runners who went out too fast.  That's fun - I just have to pass them!.  This year I was concerned about finishing last, but other people took care of that for me.

Shoes, sox, shorts, & shirt went right in the wash, Don went in the shower, now all cleaned up.

Monday, August 03, 2015

20 Miles & Plenty Left

Monday, August 3, 2015:


Pace 14:21 - not bad.  If I never needed to stop, and could go just another 6 miles at that pace, I would finish a marathon in 6:17, a little faster than my last one!  
Of course I do need to stop for a nature break now and then, and the last 6 miles are the toughest, but I felt good at the end of this walk/run.  It was a perfect 20-mile training run - even the weather was perfect, 55 and calm at the start, 72 and breezy at the finish, mostly sunny.

The course consisted of five different 4-mile routes, each starting and ending at our house, making nature breaks and water refills easy.  I ran very little of it - just 15 or 20 seconds at the beginning and end of each route, and slightly more than that in the last quarter mile.  The pace was consistent - every mile was slightly faster than 15 minutes.  I stopped my watch during nature breaks, and can't do that in a real race, but still finished the 20 miles in just five hours elapsed time, 6:00 am to 11:00 am.

I took five Clif Shot gels along the way, several salt tablets, and 16 ounces of water every four miles except the first four.

Whining:  My right hamstring hurt a little after mile 3, a feeling which reminded me of a time in 2004 when a part of that hamstring actually did break during the Twin Cities Marathon, requiring me to walk to the finish.  Today it got better as I went along, though, and by the end I didn't feel it at all.  I think if I actually DO the stretches that I know how to do, every day for the next three weeks, that hamstring will be fine in the walking marathon.

2-mile splits:  26:23, 28:51, 28:57, 29:20, 29:28, 27:36, 28:50, 28:48, 29:59, 28:47, 4:46:57, pace 14:21 

Saturday, August 1:

Today we policed one mile of the new Zephyr trail, walking at a modest pace and picking up trash along the way.  We found very little trash!  We went a little beyond our scheduled turnaround, probably walking 2.5 miles total.  Easy.

Thursday, July 30:

Four miles, no problems.  Pace 14:01.  Two-mile splits: 28:10, 27:53, 56:02

Monday, July 27:

Twelve miles.  No problems.  Two-mile splits:  27:08, 29:27, 29:36, 31:07, 29:19, 29:32, total 2:56:10, pace 14:41.

Saturday, July 25:

Best four miles.  Two-mile splits: 27:34, 27:58, total 55:33, pace 13:53, sub-14!  I walked with Charley on the Zephyr Trail this morning, and we pushed it.  Thanks Charley.

Wednesday, July 22:

Better than last week.  This is DEX day, the day after I take my dexamethasone.  Last week on DEX day I did a longish run (walk) of 14 miles and experienced a lot of pep, a known DEX feature, but tired muscles.  Today I had the pep but muscles were fine, despite the 16-miler two days ago.  Go figger.

No problems.  Time 56:27, distance 4.00 miles, pace 14:07.  Not bad at all, since I'm shooting for sub-14.  Might get there!

What was different?
  • Shorter run of course, but last week even the first two miles were slower than they should have been.
  • I did start out from the house with a short run this time - maybe that stretches ligaments & things.
  • I took my DEX later in the evening last night - maybe that makes some kind of a difference.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Sixteen Easy

Monday, July 20, 2015


All walking except for three little runs in the last quarter mile.  No pains at all.  Zero whining, and the last 4-mile loop was almost as fast as any of the other three.  This is a good thing.  Maybe my problems with the right hamstring are behind me (*wink), though I'm close enough to the next marathon now that I'll just keep walking, with very little running, to avoid an injury.  

Maybe 18 miles next week?  Maybe shorter than 18 but longer during the week?  Then 20 the week after.  That should do it.

Splits: 29:52, 29:39, 29:02, 29:12, 29:33, 29:15, 30:03, 29:30, total 3:56:05, for 16.04 miles, pace 14:43.  I'd like to get to sub-14, but I'll take what I can get.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Never Again

Will I do a long run on DEX day!  I took my 40 mg of dexamethasone last night, as part of the new weekly myeloma treatment regimen.  DEX makes a person feel peppy all day the next day, as if seriously over-caffeinated.  That feeling is misleading, though, because DEX actually interferes with the transfer of glucose into muscles, so my legs felt weak and tired after the first mile. 

Result: I can usually walk faster than 15 minutes per mile, but today the pace was 16:01, even though I tried to go as fast as usual and it felt like I was.  True - there were some distractions; I stopped three times to chat briefly or pet a sweet dog, and was on the phone (possibly walking slower) for 15 minutes, but those don't account for the 14-minute difference.  I walked all but the last 60 meters, which I ran just to see if I could.  A little stiff, and yup I could, but I'm glad I didn't run any more than that because the right thigh was feeling it.

Whining:

  • Back:  No problem with the usual place on the right side, but I did feel a little pain on the left side, a little higher up.  It's a familiar pain from long runs and marathons, though, so I'm not concerned about it. 
  • Thigh:  The right thigh that usually gives trouble lately didn't bother much.  At about mile 7.5 I felt a sharp pain toward the inside, perhaps in an adductor muscle or ligament, but that went away.  Yay!
Based on today's walk I believe that I can run the next marathon at a 15- or 16-minute pace and finish it within the time limit.  I'd prefer to do a 14-minute pace, with a little running, but I'll make that judgment on race morning.

Saturday, July 11:

Another 4-Mile Walk   With the St Croix Valley Runners.  Out two miles on the Zephyr Trail, then back.  It's a very pleasant walk on an old railbed, now nicely blacktopped, with a lovely bridge over the only busy road that the trail crosses.  It's the kind of trail that a person could do every morning without getting tired of it.  Four miles in 56:30, pace 14:08, all walking, no running.  

My back didn't hurt during the walk, though it did hurt a little afterward.  The right thigh bothered a little, but not too much and it didn't get worse.

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Easy Day

Just joking.  At 7:00 am four miles of walking in 56 minutes, then two hours of lawn mowing and another hour prepping a wall for painting, and in the afternoon 12 miles on the bike in 60 minutes.  

  • Walking: I can't run right now.  The original hamstring injury may be mostly healed now, but another has appeared in the same right thigh over the next few days, more toward the adductors.  This feels familiar - a pain that I have experienced in marathons if not in training.  It's not a stopper, but for now it's best to try to heal it.  I tried running once today and decided not to run any more.  14-minute miles is not bad, though.
  • Mowing and wall prep: Oh I wish we could sell our sweet house on the lake.  We're comfortably ensconced in our new townhouse now - I'd love to be done with the ongoing work and expense of our previous home of 36 years.  The mower is a walk-behind btw.
  • Bike: Riding is continuous work, mostly on paved trails with a steady grade, rarely downhill steeply enough to coast for a bit.  Very good for the leg muscles - entirely apart from running, the dexamethasone that I take tends to disassemble the leg muscles, especially the quads, and biking will help to reduce that damage.
My back hurt a little after all that work.

I slept well Saturday night.

Last Wednesday & Thursday: Two more 4-mile walk/runs, running not more than 20 seconds of each 5 minutes, and on both days I did feel the new pain in the right thigh.  Sigh.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Longest, Fastest Bike Ride

In recent memory, that is.  24 miles at a pace of about 13 mph.  The first ride over 18 miles, and the first over 12 mph.

I don't think I worked any harder on this ride than I have before - it's just a slightly easier route with fewer hills, mostly on trails that were once railroad tracks, hence not steeply graded.  Also the wind was not strong and, as with hills, wind hurts more than it helps.

Walk tomorrow if there is an opening in the rainclouds.

Splits: to BC Park 14:36, to GW 14:20, to GW Mile 12 - 6:36, reverse to PPK 25:11, reverse to Zeph 21:40, to BC Pk 11:52, to home 16:01, total 1:50:16 for about 24 miles, speed 13 mph.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Blogging Again

Since the most-recent hamstring injury on June 3 I have run very  little and blogged even less.  I have been busy, though, mostly biking, one ride of 18 miles and several shorter ones, working hard.

More important, I have been walking.  For some reason the hamstring doesn't hurt when I walk, only when I run, so there is a possibility that I could actually walk a marathon with no running at all.  For now that's my training plan, walking (fast) and only a little running, maybe 15 seconds per mile.  That's all!  It feels so good to run that it's hard to run that little, but for now only that much, and only uphill, because the injury has occurred twice now while running downhill.

Today I walked 6.13 miles in 1:27:48, for a pace of 14:19 minutes per mile.  That's not bad at all - if sustained for a whole marathon that would bring in a finish of 6:16, and would actually allow for two or three bathroom stops in a marathon with a  6:30 time limit.

I walked four miles yesterday, and five the day before that, all at a pace faster than 15 minute miles.  It's a training plan and it will work.  Bike tomorrow though - I don't want to push my luck.

Sunday, June 07, 2015

Crap Crap Crap

The hamstring injury is back.  So much for being careful.  The hamstring failed last Wednesday at about mile 3 of a 4-mile run/walk, running just one third of the paces.  I was indeed very careful, by the way, still building up slowly from the initial injury.  I haven't blogged about it until now because I'm so disgusted.

Unfortunately I didn't recognize the injury right away - it seemed to be in the back of the knee or even below the knee at first - so for a short distance I kept trying to run, thereby exacerbating the injury somewhat.  Unlike the first time, though, I had no pain walking the last mile home, so perhaps I haven't set it back completely.

The first time, the injury happened as I was running downhill.  I thought that was probably a fluke, because hamstring injuries are supposed to happen as the hamstrings pull us up hills.  This time it also happened running downhill, though, so I'm not sure what is going on.  Maybe it's just the pounding on ancient muscle, or maybe I have the basic principle wrong. It feels like the injury is in one very small strand of muscle, or in a small ligament, toward the bottom right of the hamstring muscles.  It's a stopper though - when it happens I can't run any more.

What to do?  I've tried to wait it out and build back slowly - that hasn't worked.  If I take it to the sports doctor, s/he will probably prescribe a program of exercises and stretches and tell me to take at least a couple of weeks off from all running.  I've been around the block a few times, though, and I think that I can create that program myself.  I'll do that.

In the meantime, since Wednesday, I have gone out biking three times and walking once.  Today I biked almost 18 miles in 1:27, for a speed of 11.7 mph.  With a hilly route and 78 degrees today, that speed is good enough.  I feel quite physically satisfied after a ride like that.  And nothing hurts.

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Six Mile Run

Monday, June 1, 2015:

I'm still gradually increasing the mileage of the runs, keeping the 1 to 2 run/walk ratio the same and mostly not running two days in a row.  In this case two days passed, plenty of time to heal.

6.13 miles in 1:12:02, for a pace of 11:45.  Not bad.  No Pains.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Nice 5-Mile Run

Building back up from the hamstring injury.  Today I ran/walked in a ratio of 1 to 2, five miles in 1:01:41, for a pace of 12:19.  It seems like the pace should work out to be a little quicker, especially since I pushed the run/walk ratio a little on downhills, but the figures don't lie.  

Anyway that run/walk ratio and pace are fine for a marathon and good enough for my current training.  I'd like to reach a level where I can comfortably do a marathon in less than six hours, in decent weather at least.  But first I have to get past the current hamstring injury, and to do that I'm increasing distance slowly and running only every other day.  

Biking is good too.  It may not be good training for running, but it's great exercise and helps preserve an overall level of fitness.

Thursday, May 28:

New Bike Trail   Freshly paved, but open for traffic.  It's so new I didn't see anyone else on it, as I rode it both directions.  For me it's a nice one-mile connection between Kwik Trip and the Zephyr Trail, with a safe crossing at a traffic light.  I may find this pretty useful.

Then I took the Zephyr trail to the Gateway and back home on the same route, for a little more than eleven miles in a little less than an hour, an average speed of 11.5 mph.  Good enough for an 80+ degree afternoon, especially after mowing the lawn for two hours in the morning

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Four Miles No Pain

Dex day today - I took my dexamethasone yesterday with dinner and I feel great!  The down will come  tomorrow night.  I ran 4 miles, to Kwik Trip and back, this time doing a run/walk of 1 to 2.  Time was 48:29, for a pace of 12:08.

That compares with a pace of 12:53 Monday, when I was doing a 1 to 3 run/walk ratio.  Today's run equivalent miles: 0.7.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Eighteen Miles on the Bike

I felt a need for a little longer ride today, so I found a route that adds up to 17.8 miles.  I pushed about as hard as I could, finishing (home) in 1:34:01, for a speed of 11.4 mph.  I've done better, but I worked pretty hard yesterday too, so not today.  Also I did stop twice to drink water.  Can't find my one-handed water bottle.  It'll show up.

I got my CBC today and neutrophils were 7.4 k/uL, amounting to 86% of the white count.  That's bizarre - I haven't had a neutrophil count that high in my memory.  Maybe it's caused by the 90 minutes of vigorous exercise.

Run & Bike

Monday, May 25, 2015

My own personal duathlon today.  I did a 4 mile 1 to 3 run/walk, with no pains, and later in the day did an 11+ mile bike ride.  Exercise is good.

The run/walk without pain is a very good sign - I will gradually increase the distance and perhaps the run/walk ratio.  In order to avoid overtraining, I will try to keep track of "run equivalent" miles, meaning the miles that I actually run in my run/walk.  Today's run equivalent miles were 0.5.

The bike ride was interesting - 15 minutes to the park, and then Zephyr trail east to the only cross street, up to 2nd, back to the park mostly on city streets, then home.  11.3 miles in 1:02:07, not fast but I did have to walk the bike for about three blocks.  Too steep.


Sunday, May 24, 2015

First "Run" After the Hamstring Injury

Saturday, May 23, 2015:

I started with a run/walk ratio of 1 to 3, which went well for about two miles. Then I felt the hamstring pain, just a little, so I walked the rest of the 3.4-mile loop at a modest pace.  Total time 50:06, pace 14:44.

That was pretty slow, but in a couple of days I'll try again and hopefully go farther before having to walk without any running.  Easy does it.  I do not want to aggravate the injury

Friday, May 22:

I  rode my old bike to the park, 3.2 mi, then the Zephyr trail to Mile zero, messed around at the river a little looking for my buddy on the Lady Chateau charter boat (didn't see him), then back to the park and home.

Total time 1:03:43, but serious miles 11.84, serious time 58:20, pace 12.2 mph.  That's fine. The trip from the park to Mile zero (2.80 miles) includes an elevation loss of 184 feet, and the return then includes that much gain.  The ride took 11:04 going down and 15:42 going back up.  The overall incline is 1.2% (an old railroad grade) but there are parts that are more, probably 3% or 4%.

I liked it!  I may do it again.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Injured

Not badly, but enough to take me out of running for maybe a couple of weeks.  Eight days ago I started out on a fairly energetic (for me) 5-mile run.  I felt strong and ran pretty hard, but when I reached about mile three I felt a pain in the right hamstring.

I stopped and walked a bit and tried running again, but the pain reappeared.  Another try, and it was worse yet.  I walked home, actually fairly slowly, because by then it even hurt to walk.

Six days later, last Tuesday at Mayo Clinic, I tried to run two blocks from the parking lot to the Hilton Building for my morning blood draw.  I made it, but the thigh was hurting a little at the end, so it's not really ready to run yet.  I'm waiting a few more days.

In the meantime, I'm hitting the bike fairly hard.  Today I rode about 13 miles at about 10 mph on my not-so-speedy old hybrid-tire bike.  It might be a little faster if I inflated the tires to their recommended pressure, but the trails are bumpy and I prefer the softer ride and less stress on the tires.  Plus I'm training - who cares how much I have to work to make the bike move?

Why did this injury happen?  I think I pushed too hard.  Fourteen fairly ambitious miles on Sunday, followed by four on Tuesday, then five (became three) on Wednesday.  I have been increasing three things all at once: the weekly miles, the distance of the weekly long run, and the run/walk ratio.  Putting those together, I have probably increased the total running too rapidly.  Ten percent per week is the maximum recommended by marathon trainers, and I will have to do a better job of keeping track.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Fourteen Good Miles

Sunday, May 10, 2015:

I am training for a marathon, even though I don't really know when the next one will be.  This is a change.  I have run marathon after marathon, getting slower and slower, so now I'm trying to do it right, actually training for one.

Fourteen miles today, maybe fifteen or sixteen next week, slowly building strength to run a 20-mile training run and then perhaps, after a few weeks, to run another, until a 20-mile run is easy.  Easier, anyway.  Then perhaps I can do a marathon without worrying whether they will close the finish line before I get there!

In the last few weeks I've lost ten or twelve pounds, intentionally, using my modified Weight Watchers method.  I have more to lose, perhaps another ten pounds, and then we'll see if that's a place to stop.  In the meantime, I seem to be getting a little faster week by week.  "They" say that a weight loss of 1% can correspond to a 1% increase in speed or endurance.  It can't hurt.

Today's run was as good as it gets, no pains or problems, still strong at the end - in fact, the final miles were the fastest.  I stopped at our own home twice along the way, to visit the bathroom and pick up water, two five-mile loops and one four-mile.  I love our new place, where we can run safely right from the front door.

Fourteen miles in 2:45:54, overall pace 11:51, doing a run/walk of 3 to 5 or faster the whole way.  I carried water, of course, and gobbled three caffeinated Clif Shot gels along the way.

Running through neighborhoods, the smells are interesting.  Early I smelled a wood fire - someone was taking the edge off the cool weather with their fireplace or stove.  Then I smelled bacon frying and felt just a little hungry - no breakfast before this run!  And, of course, there are always the smells of laundry in the drier, almost anytime, even on a Sunday.

Friday, May 8:

Five miles in 55 minutes.  No problems.