Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Two Miles Twice

After the longish 12-mile run on Sunday I was due for a shorter one today.  I have several routes plotted to a Kwik Trip station, all about two miles, so I like to .  I ran a little faster than I have been, run / walk 1 to 1 some of the time, total 4.24 miles.

Unfortunately the battery on my Timex watch winked out as I clicked upon arriving home.  I'm sure that I momentarily saw either 46 or 48 minutes as the watch face faded to white.  I'll pick 48, which figures out to a pace of 11:19, much better than I've been doing lately.  Plenty good enough for today.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Brand New Trail

The Zephyr was a dinner train which ran slowly out from downtown for about six miles, then back, on an ancient track no longer used for regular railroad service.  We rode it several times, enjoying both the food and the entertainers, who walked up and down the train in song.  Finally, when the decaying track bed was no longer safe, and the train stopped running, the track was sold to the state for a new biking and walking/running trail.  Now that trail is finally finished.

We had already tried out parts of the brand-new trail, but today I explored another three-mile section, first going from our new home to the trail, about 3 miles, then running on the trail itself, and finally another 5.6 miles back home using other routes.  I felt good and did a fairly energetic run / walk the whole 11.6 miles, returning home in 2:21:12, for a pace of 12:09.

Muscles are a little tired, as they should be, but I could have gone farther.  Next week I will. No other issues, nothing hurts.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Hard and Soft

Thursday, April 23, 2015:

Day Three of my new myeloma treatment regimen.  I felt fine, and a longish run was due, so yesterday I ran out three miles on roads and paved trails to a nature preserve with grass trails, ran about five miles there, and then three miles back, for a total of eleven or so. Doing my usual run/walk I got home in 2:15, a little slower than 12 minutes per mile.

I felt strong the whole time, did some exploring of the grass trails (a few are on the map but don't exist yet), and loved the feeling of the soft earth under my shoes.  It reminded me of Rocky's Run, a fall cross-country race on a golf course.  I should try to get to it this year - all I do is marathons these days.

No pains.  I suppose I'm still feeling some anti-inflammatory effect from the dexamethasone in the treatment regimen, so I need to be even more tuned than usual to what my body is telling me, but this is the morning after the run and I still feel fine.  Ramping up now toward a genuine long run of 20 miles or so, I hope.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Inspired by Dex

My new myeloma regimen includes dexamethasone (Dex), a powerful corticosteroid, the kind of steroid with an unfortunate side effect: it dissolves muscles rather than building them. We use it because it also suppresses my myeloma, an incurable cancer. I just started it last night, though, so it hasn't had much chance to do damage, and I felt strong, alert, and full of pep, another side effect, typically lasting for a day.  It's like waaay too much coffee, and it's actually banned in competitive running, possibly for that reason.  Tomorrow I'll feel down, and I'll probably be my normal self for the rest of the week, until I take it again next Tuesday.

We ran in the soccer dome this morning, avoiding low temps and high winds outdoors.  Because of the Dex I only ran 3 miles, afraid to overextend myself, but without really realizing it I ran faster, finishing the run/walk in 33:20, for an average pace of 11:07, about a minute per mile faster than usual in that venue.  I felt wonderful, actually and certainly could have run farther or faster.

Splits: 11:21, 11:07, 10:53, total 33:20.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Three Runs Today

More or less.  We did some exploring, walking on a grass loop near our home, where we watched a great blue heron for a while.  Then we enjoyed a little park near our home, for a total of about 2 miles.  There is water everywhere - a smallish lake with inlets and outlets plus ponds galore, all with abundant waterfowl.

After lunch we drove to the brand-new paved Zephyr Trail, where the girls ran on the trail itself and I opted for a set of nearby grass trails that are mowed for hiking in the summer and skiing in the winter.  The girls traveled 2.5 miles, and I ran / walked for the same amount of time, so I suppose I went about 4 miles.

Back home again, I felt like doing more and ran a 3.5-mile circuit around the lake, adding a newly-discovered grass trail section, in 42:53, for a pace of 12:15.

So that's 9.5 miles running and walking today, with plenty of energy and no pains of any kind. What a delightful day. Life is so good.

I built a picnic table yesterday, so we have a great place to sit in the shade and sip a beverage of choice.  I'll have a beer, thank you, then off to bed early with muscles that know what this day was about.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

No Arthritis After All

Monday, April 13, 2015:

Five miles, no problems.  I saw the doctor today and described the left hip problems.  He did some manipulations with my legs, trying to find positions where my hip would hurt, but didn't find one.  Then he did an x-ray of the hip joints and found no evidence of arthritis on that either.

He is sure that the hip pain does not come from a failing hip joint.  YAY!  That means the problem is in soft tissue and it will heal if I treat it right.  I'll see what I can do.

Thursday, April 16:

Busy day.  I mowed for a couple of hours at the old house (the one that's on the market) and then ran about four miles back at the new house.  I felt full of pep today (though I'm yawning now). My cancer treatment is changing - I've stopped the Pomalyst. The new treatment doesn't start until Tuesday, so I get nine days off, and I'm at day four.  Maybe that gives me more energy, or maybe just the idea of it gives me more energy - I can't tell yet.

For more about the new cancer treatment, see my last two posts on Myeloma Hope here and here.

This run included some exploring and a little chatting with new neighbors, so the distance is uncertain - somewhat over  four miles.  The time is exact, 52:09.  I ran more of the time than I usually do, so I'm sure I went faster than usual when I wasn't chatting.  No real pains, but a slight warning from the right hamstrings.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Great Eight Miles

So who knew?  After all my hand-wringing about hip troubles, the pain barely showed up today in an 8-mile run.  Okay, so maybe a little time off helped the hip after all.  The test isn't over though - I'll be really satisfied if sleep is painless tonight.

Splits: 48:03, 52:07, total 1:40:11, distance about 8:02, pace 12:30.

Thursday, April 09, 2015


For a couple of months, since the last marathon and before, I have been bitching about the left hip flexors, but now I think the pain may actually be caused by osteoarthritis in the hip joint itself rather than any ligaments or muscles.  Since at least 2006 I have taken glucosamine and chondroitin supplement almost daily because of sporadic hip pain.

No one thinks that the supplement can prevent osteoarthritis, but many people believe that it can delay the onset, or at least relieve the symptoms somewhat.  In the past it has helped me - when I have forgotten to take the supplement the pain has reappeared, and when I have started taking it again it has gone away.  This time I didn't stop taking it, however, so that treatment may not be enough any more.

This is self-diagnosis, of course, but there is a basis for thinking that it might be osteoarthritis:  My mother had both a hip and a knee replaced, as has my sister, so it's in my family.  Further, the symptoms that I have been complaining about are typical of one of the ways that osteoarthritis presents itself.  For example, the pain may die down during a run, only to reappear that night if I try to sleep on the wrong side.

So what to do?

  • Pretty soon I'll take this to a doctor and find out what's really going on.  There are lots of things that can make a hip hurt. 
  • I hadn't run for a week, hoping to let the hip heal if it isn't arthritis, and then I ran, just three miles, to see what would happen.  There was a slight pain at the beginning, but that settled down and almost disappeared.  Afterward there is a slight ache in that hip, but no pain in bed that night.  A few days later the results from another run weren't that good.
  • I have taken glucosamine & chondroitin for years, and it seems to make a difference.  In the last two months, however, it hasn't controlled the pain, so I changed brands to one that is easy to swallow (capsules rather than hard caplets) and also contains MSM. 
  • Perhaps the doctor will recommend some physical therapy.
Meantime I have still been some running and even a little biking.  Since my 8-mile run on March 24 I have run a total of 20 miles and biked 25.  I do like to ride the bike, almost as well as I like to run, but it's harder to do in the winter and it does very little to train me for a marathon.

We do have a couple of marathons scheduled for next month, but now I'm somewhat doubtful that we will go, especially not the first one.

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Dr Martha Q Lacy for Woman of the Year

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) combats all blood cancers, including myeloma, supporting research as well as the patients themselves.  Every year the LLS holds a Woman (and Man) Of The Year competition, to raise funds and to honor the nominees.  Dr Lacy is a nominee this year.

Martha Q Lacy, M.D.

Dr Lacy has been my doctor for the last seven of my 12 years with myeloma.  She introduced me to a trial of Pomalyst, the drug that has kept me up and literally running for all of those seven years.  More importantly, she is the Chair of the Division of Hematology at Mayo Clinic, a Professor of Medicine, a frequent speaker at conferences of the American Society of Hematology, and doctor for hundreds of other myeloma patients.  She's the real deal.

Recommended reading:  Here is a copy of a letter that we received from her a few days ago: lacyletter.html.

If you would like to honor Dr Lacy in the LLS competition, and help all of us blood cancer patients to boot, please go to her secure fundraising web page.

Thank you!