Sunday, May 31, 2009

This Week in Running 5.25.09 to 5.31.09

The month of May ended much better than it started. This last week of running went as planned. I made all of my scheduled runs and hit my mileage goal for the week. All of these runs are easy-paced; that's part of the plan right now. Next week I want to start progressing the pace down to a steady push on a couple of them. Here's how the week wrapped up:

Thursday 5.28.09
AM: core work
PM: 9.25 miles in 69:39
This run started off real slow. Maybe it was something about the weather or maybe I was just a bit tired. The middle got closer to 7 min pace, and the last three miles were in the low to mid 6:50s. No ill affects on left calf.

Friday 5.29.09
AM: lifting routine at gym
I'm becoming more and more of a fan of the early morning, pre-work gym routine. It's actually crowded there at 05:30. Highlight of the routine: 4 x 10 pullups/chinups with 30 second recovery.

Saturday 5.30.09
AM: 12 miles in 86:28
Still starting slow to properly warmup the calf. The run started close to 7:40 pace for the first couple, and I was at 7:00 pace or slightly under for most of the rest of the run. I felt like I could've kept going, but I didn't want to press my luck. Finished with stick and ice and lots of stretching (not in that order).

Sunday 5.31.09
AM: core work and 7.25 miles in 51:23
My usual Sunday morning Adams Farm run. I really find myself looking forward to this run when I wakeup in the morning. Calf just a smidge sore at start, then it dissipated to nothing. That was a relief. A relaxing run (as much as runs can be relaxing). Ended with stretching, sticking, icing (in that order).

The Numbers
43 1/2 miles in 5 runs
1 pool workout (swam a mile)
1 lifting sequence
4 sessions of core work

The 3rd Date

The two lovebirds had their third date yesterday: dinner and a diaper change. They smiled at each other and even talked a little bit. No formal plans for a fourth date yet, but I think they'll be texting each other.

If you'd like to see more pics like this one, you can click on Kerin's link. Her newest album is Kerin10. Featured in this album are a bumbo chair, smiles, and Phillies gear.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

It's Hard to Run Slow

It's hard to run slow, and when I say slow, I don't mean it's hard for elites or world record holders to run slow, I mean it's hard for anybody to run slow--anybody who for one reason or another is running intentionally slower than his normal pace. We all have to do it from time to time whether it be nursing a hamstring back to health or forcing ourselves to take an easy day, and it's difficult.

Here are my top 5 reasons why it's hard to run slow:

1. Tripping
There's something about a slow pace that relaxes your awareness of the terrain. When I'm running fast, I never trip, fall, or roll an ankle. Only when strolling through the woods at a leisurely clip does a tree root or rock jump out and slap at my feet. I think, too, when we run slow, our biomechanics change a bit, maybe our strides are a bit shorter than usual, triggering a susceptibility to tripping. Or maybe we just drop our guard because we think "hey, I'm going slow. What could happen?"

2. Thinking
When you're moseying along a road or trail, your brain starts speeding up. You start to think about things your brain can't process when your body is running fast. Usually there are two slow paced thoughts that come to mind: 1) how slow you're going and 2) how fast you could be going. The second thought is the dangerous one. For me, this is where illusions of grandeur are born. I start to think about all the glorious workouts I want to conquer--8 x 1 mile at 5:30 pace with 60 seconds recovery. Or maybe I start to think about all the races I want to run or the PR's I hope to improve. Before I know it, my pace has progressed from saunter to gallop. Oh man, time to put on the bridle and pull on the reins. You see it's hard to run slow, which leads me to my third point...

3. Disciple
Running slower than normal demands discipline. It's hard to do. Some may say, "No way! How can slow running be difficult?" To you I say, "You're not running slow enough." I'll reference the elites here. Ryan Hall, for example, extols the virtues of running easy on easy days. Why the emphasis? Because it's hard to do. Still skeptical? Try typing on a keyboard or talking on the phone slower than you normally would. It's laborious. It's nearly impossible. It's anything but a respite. Same goes for running. To run slower than your natural pace takes good old fashion discipline and that's hard to come by.

4. More Thinking
If you're disciplined enough to stay slow on your jog, you often encounter doleful thoughts. One in particular comes to mind: I'm getting out of shape. You fear that you are becoming permanently slow. You convince yourself that you can feel it in your body. Right now on this very run I can feel myself losing conditioning. It's scary. Then you start to get fatigued and you can't help thinking: "Why am I so tired? This pace is slow." You've just given birth to a self-fulfilling prophecy. Ignore it. Be mentally tough.

5. Ignoring the Little Things
When you've been running slower than normal for a number of consecutive days, you start to skimp on the little things. You don't stretch quite as much; you don't watch your nutrition as fastidiously; you opt out of throwing an ice pack on your calf while watching television. Because of these slow days, runners have the tendency to slip up on the burdensome but necessary tangential activities, but the irony is that we are running slow because we need to do them. Running is so enigmatic in this way. It's a constant test of mind and body.

Am I forgetting something? Do you have a reason why it's hard to run slow? Feel free to post a comment. (I am aware that I often used "slow" instead of the adverb "slowly" throughout the article but I felt the -ly too clunky to use throughout the whole article. Don't tell Lynne Truss on me.)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Left Calf is Feeling Better

Wednesday 5.27.09
AM: core work
PM: 8.75 miles in 61:24
Felt good today. The first run in a while in which I had a little pep. I felt the pace get progressively quicker as the miles passed. Probably started over 7:30 and ended under 6:50. I'll take that at this point, especially if there are no repercussions. The calf felt the best its felt since the knot tied itself into my muscle. The knot is dissipating. I keep sticking it and icing it and stretching it, and I finally think those things are working. Pace is still relatively slow. I hope to do a run like this where I start at 7:00 pace and end near 6:00 pace. Baby steps toward that end were taken today.

Tuesday 5.26.09
AM: Dr. Mika appt
PM: pool workout
Dr. Mika gave the calf a good working over. He did some deep tissue massage and then focused in on the knot with ultrasound and stim. I really felt good after the treatment. He also spoke words of encouragement. No 400m repeats yet, but he said it's time to start moving a little faster. His diagnosis: the calf is ready for a little more work now.
In the pool, I swam what my friend Font tells me is the "swimmer's mile." That's 1650 yards. I haven't gone that far before, and it's been my undisclosed goal for a while now to swim a mile. However, it wasn't continuous. I started with a 50 and then did 4 x 400 with some drills in between. Still drinking a lot of water in the pool. My goal is to swim a mile without any breaks.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Not Sunday

Here's what I did running wise on the Memorial Day:
Monday 5.25.09
AM: core work and 6.5 miles in 50:26
I've been meaning to check out this trail I've cycled by for a while now. Today I finally did. It was a disappointment. I biked it there, and it was about 5.5 miles. So one good thing was the extra exercise on the bike. The trail was a dud. It was all of 300 meters, and after 50 of them it turned to asphalt. Didn't see that coming. The end of the trail opened up to a horse farm. That was cool. Horses are very big when you are up close to them, and they look like they can stomp you at will. I'm not messing with Rachel Alexandra. Anyway, I about faced it and found another trail that was pretty good. My first sequence of three runs in a row since late February and it went well. I'm looking forward to my calf treatment tomorrow am.

More Pictures


Here's the latest picture of KJ:

For those of you who are members of her fan club, a whole new album, Kerin9, has just been uploaded. Just click on her link to access more pictures of the happy little clam. And there's more! In addition to Kerin, you'll also see pictures of some of her closest, and I mean closest (see pics and you'll know what I'm talking about) friends.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

This Week in Running 5.18.09 to 5.24.09

A slow week but one marked with progress. The left calf is feeling a little bit better with each run, and it has reacted well on the back to back runs. I plan to run tomorrow to make it a back to back to back trio of jogs. My pace this week probably hovered around 7:30. I'm trying to tell myself not to run for speed right now, just run to get some base in and let that knotted left calf work itself out. I stayed pretty true to that plan this week. I have another appt. with Dr. Mika on Tuesday morning. I really feel that one more deep tissue massage on the knotted area will really help the muscle release. I'm hoping after Tuesday's treatment I'll feel that I don't have to run as tentatively as I am now. I've been doing balancing activities on the bosu ball fairly consistently as well as extra stick massage all in an effort to help improve the calf. That's my primary concern right now. Next week I hope to complete 5 runs w/out any setbacks. I also plan to increase my mileage by 5 or 6. I got to build that up first then put on some speed.

The Numbers:
35 3/4 miles in 4 runs
50 mins in the pool
90 mins on the bike
1 lifting session in the gym

Sunday 5.24.09
AM: core work and 7 1/4 in 54:45
The above comments typify today's run. I'm staying on soft surfaces and running at an easy pace. I finished the run with stretching, stick work, and ice. I may do a contrast treatment (ice/heat/ice/heat) later tonight. I live quite an exciting life you know.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Hot Then Not

Between Thursday and Saturday, the temperature has varied thirty degrees. It was 90 on Thursday and for my run this morning the Savings Bank clock read 62. The one constant this week has been the pollen. Stuff has been flying through the air and coating my body, especially the eyeballs. I've actually sneezed a few times on my runs this week. I had to blow my nose into my shirt. It's a delightfully true runner experience. The one good thing in these days has been the left calf. It's slowly getting better and continues to loosen up. I'm running so slow, but I'm not reinjurying it. I need to build the speed up through progression runs as opposed to straight up track workouts or fartlek runs. Once I feel comfortable with the progression runs, then I can go to fartlek pickups then the track. That' s the plan. We'll see.

Saturday 5.23.09
AM: 10 miles in 76:34.
I started this run around 8 minute pace then got it down to 7:20ish. I kept it easy and slow. My energy level was strong. A piece of advice: don't eat multiple veggie burgers the dinner before an early morning run. Not pretty.

Friday 5.22.09
AM: Lifting Routine
Another early wakeup to get in a lifting session pre work. Glad to get it done. Ended the routine with leg stretching, as usual.

Thursday 5.21.09
AM: core work
PM: 9 1/4 miles in 74:19.
This run wasn't pretty. My stomach was upset. It slowed me down. I was thankful that it was my stomach and sinuses (from all the pollen whipping around in the air) aching me instead of my calf. The calf was generally good. I felt it around 52 mins then a little more at 67 mins. Finished with stick work (extra on calf) and ice.

Wednesday 5.20.09
AM: core work
PM: outdoor bike: ~26 miles in ~90 minutes
Didn't really time this one or reset the odometer. Biked by some big houses. An old lady in a CR-V almost hit me. I had to yell at her. I felt bad afterwards.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Symmetry

Last Sunday I picked up a baseball bat to hit some grounders to my brother who's playing in a 30+ baseball league. We're both a little rusty, me more so than him; I haven't picked up a Louisville Slugger in a good ten years. And I'm feeling it now. My whole left side is sore from shoulder blade to hipbone. How could this be? A victim of my own hubris after only 40 or 50 swings of a bat?
All the swinging and catching and throwing over the weekend led me to a deeper appreciation for running, specifically the symmetry of running. Foot racing belongs in the most regaled spot in the pantheon when ranking the purest of sports because it exemplifies beauty, purity, grace, and perfection, which are all defining characteristics of symmetry. Witness the faces of those most beautiful, the Jolies and Pitts of this world. Their faces (and if you look lower, their bodies too) are perfectly balanced. And what is the archetypal symbol of perfection: the ring, the circle, the sun in the sky? Yes. Cut each one in half and the other side will fold itself neatly into the other.

So, a syllogism.
Perfection = Symmetry
Symmetry = Running
Therefore, Running = Perfection

Only running and the two other triathlons sports, swimming and biking, offer such balance and harmony. You can discount every single ball sport immediately. Baseball, basketball, football, tennis, golf, even hockey require a dominant hand, which leads to favoring. Such asymmetrical movements are balky and slovenly. I think of ping pong, racquetball, volleyball, soccer, lacrosse: no, no, no, no, no. All are asymmetrical, yet the symbol of perfection, the ball, is the central object of their game. Oh the irony. Players of ball sports covet control of the one thing running inherently has--symmetry. And these sports use running and sprinting (as already noted, both symmetrical activities) to attain the symbol of symmetry.

But enough about these subaltern hobbies. Let's get back to running. Watch Carl Lewis or Florence Griffin-Joyner or Usain Bolt bolt from the starting blocks to the finish line of the one hundred meter dash. It's a thing of beauty. (My only complaint about FloJo was her one-legged tights--so asymmetrical.) Their symmetrical form can be all the more appreciated from the straightaway camera angle. Each knee fires to the same height, arms swing as if they are mirrors of one another, even nostrils flare evenly. Yes, symmetry is easiest to recognize in these sprinters, but you can see it in distances up to the marathon and beyond as well. The best of the best are machine like, maximally efficient harriers that don't waste an iota on anything other than forward movement. See Hall, Culpepper, Goucher for proof of my symmetrical claim.

The best of the best are always symmetrical, but the slow are often that way too. Go to your local gym, and you'll see one of two things in front of a treadmill: either a television or a mirror. The mirror isn't there for us to admire our own Adonis bodies. It's there so we can relish in our own symmetry. And if we are not symmetrical, the mirror is there to help us correct our form in an effort to become more symmetrical.

So if you're considering rugby, hai lai, or water polo as your sport of choice, please reconsider those incongruous options. If running is your sport, cherish the symmetry.


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Serendipitous Find

A serendipitous find occurred on my run today. I was just entering Adams Farm and I bumped into my neighbor who was just finishing up her workout. She was looking all around the tall grass at the edge of the trail. I said hello, and she told me that she had dropped her cell phone. She needed to get going to pick up her kids and asked me to keep an eye out for it. Well, I did. I proceeded to run the trail with a newfound resolve to find a silver cellphone. I found it! It only took about five minutes. She gave me great directions as to what paths she traversed, but it was still so satisfying to find that cellphone. Forty minutes later as I was egressing the Farm, I saw my neighbor and two of her kids searching for the cell phone. One was complaining about mosquitos, so my neighbor was extra thankful when I showed her what I had found. She has pledged to buy me a beer. It made my run. Here are the details of that run:

Tuesday 5.19.09
AM: core work
PM: 9 miles in 69:13
Still slow as molasses but the calf felt much better today. I'm trying to keep it slow, but it's not easy when I'm rearing to go due to only running every other day. The motto for the week could be "keep the reins on." Between Sunday and today I could feel the difference in my calf when I was stick massaging it. The knot has released somewhat. That's a good sign. Finished the run with stick, stretch, ice.

Monday 5.18.09
AM: core work
PM: pool workout
Aqua jogged for 20 minutes and swam continuously for 30. Absolutely no pain in the calf while in the pool. Not the best of workouts, but a good alternative to get some cardio in while not doing any further damage.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

TWIR 5.11.09 to 5.17.09

The running is getting better. Still slow but better. The left calf is improving each day, and I'm happy about that. It reacted well to the back to back days over the weekend. In a bit of a rush so here's a quick recap of the weekend.

Saturday 5.16.09
AM: core work and 8 miles in 60:38
Bookended this run with 3 1/2 miles on the bike on either side. Did that so the run would be almost exclusively on trails. The calf was good.

Sunday 5.17.09
AM: 6 1/2 miles in 49:32
Bit of an oxymoron here: it was raining but it was nice out simultaneously. Maybe I'm just happy to be running on a steadily improving calf. I feel the soreness, which is diminishing, move to the middle, meatier part of the calf. I'm taking it as a good sign.

Numbers
24 1/4 miles in 4 runs
1 bike workout (92 mins)
1 pool workout (50 mins)
1 lifting session

KJ Takes a Holy Bath


Above are two of the fifty plus pics from KJ's super fantastic weekend. The floppy headed monster would like to say thanks to everybody who came to visit and hold her over the weekend. She had so much fun.

Friday, May 15, 2009

X-Training Day

5.15.09
AM: Lifting Routine at the gym
PM: stick, bosu ball balancing, stretch, ice
I'm hoping for an hour plus run tomorrow, so I'm taking precautions today. I did do some cardio in the yard (mowed the lawn) but that doesn't count for anything. I'm hoping the calf is loose enough for back to back runs this weekend. Here's to hoping!
Point of concern: I actually didn't mind waking up at 04:30 to hit the gym before work. It was nice to have that thing that usually hangs over my head done with by 06:30.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Spirit of the Marathon

Thursday 5.14.09
AM: core work
PM: bike on indoor trainer for 92 minutes
While on the bike, I watched Spirit of the Marathon, a documentary about, well you guessed it, the marathon. Similar but not the same as other running documentaries like Endurance and the one about the ultra in death valley (it was so good I can't remember the title). These documentaries seem to follow a quotidian formula: trace the stories of a few different runners: an elite one, a subelite but not slow one (trying to qualify for Boston), a slow one, a first timer, a really slow one, one that gets injured (hey that one could be me). Seems to me like the directors are trying to pander to a mass audience, but in doing so estrange hardcore runners. I don't much care about someone walk/running a marathon. I want to see the knitty, gritty details of an elite or subelite busting his chops and chipping off his own teeth (see Paul Hammond) in order to make a PR. I want to see workouts, cross training, perspectives and philosophies. I want to see how a runner works through the last 10k of a long run when she wants to sneak out the backdoor. I think what gets me the most is the absence of the good but not great runners in these types of things. Yes, the Deena Kastors of the world have every single running amenity that they need. I would love one, but I'll never have an underwater treadmill to augment my training when I get hurt. I can't relate to that. But I can relate to a guy like Ryan Carrara or Crosby Freeman who works full time and is making a PR his true life's work. I want to see what these people go through on a day to day basis. I'm rambling and ranting. I guess I just want to watch a top shelf running documentary. Does anyone have any suggestions? Now with all that being said, I still watched the film and will likely watch it again. Watching Kastor dance the skeleton dance and still eek out a victory in Chicago gave me chills. The movie helped me through 90 minutes on the hamster wheel.

Wednesday 5.13.09
AM: core workout
PM: 5 3/4 in 46:43
I probably ran 6 miles, but I'm not giving myself the benefit of the doubt. Calf felt much better. Best it's felt since 5.2.09. I really felt the positive effects of Dr. Mika's deep tissue massage. The knot is getting smaller. I'm still running painfully slow. If I ever get the time, I plan on dedicating an entire post about how hard it is to run slow. And I don't mean slow for fast people (I'm not that fast), I mean slow for anybody who is forced to run significantly slower than the pace that they are used to running. Some day.
I've been hitting the outside of the calf pretty regularly with the stick. I find it more effective than the foam roller. Bosu balance drills continue. Contrast treatment (ice/heat) continues. Stretching stretching stretching continues.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

All Knotted Up

Tuesday 5.12.09
AM: Doctor's visit
PM: Pool workout
Saw Dr. Mika this morning to get more deep tissue massage on my knotted left calf. The experience wasn't nearly as eye-popping as last week. He commented that the calf was still significantly tight but improved over last week. I concur with his assessment. He instructed me to do "contrast" treatment. FYI (I had to ask), that means alternate between ice and heat on the calf. He also told me to keep working over the knotted mass with the stick and, of course, keep stretching out the muscles. I'll keep working on balancing exercises on the bosu ball. In regard to running, he said to try it every other day. Increase the time in ten minute increments. Do nothing with speed. Keep it slow. Over the weekend, attempt back-to-back runs. Until then, either bike or swim on non-running days.

The pool workout was pretty good. Swam a little less than a mile in four sets. Didn't drink too much water, but my nose has been running from the chlorine intake I presume.

Monday 5.11.09
AM: core work
PM: bike and run 4 1/4 miles in 35:14
Felt better on the run than last time I hit the trails. I biked to and from Adams Farm. It's not that far. I kept the pace slow and easy. I could feel the left calf but the pain wasn't unrunnable like it was last Wednesday, so I guess things are improving. I finished the run with stick work, stretching, and ice.


Sunday, May 10, 2009

TWIR 5.4.09 to 5.10.09

This week in running was hardly that. The left calf loosened up a bit, but it's still pretty tight. The highlights of the week were the pool workout on Monday and the bike ride on Sunday. Those bookends enclosed an otherwise unsatisfying week. I tried do some light running on Wednesday but my calf was having none of it. After that grim experience, I decided not to attempt running on Thursday or Friday. On Saturday I ran three easy miles at Adams Farm. I felt better but was going at a snail's pace. I'm going to the doctor again on Tuesday to have the calf worked on by Dr. Mika. He killed me last week and will likely do the same again. One thing that I have been doing is bosu ball work. The good doctor recommended it; he indicated that using it could prevent such tightness/knotting from occurring in the future. Here's to hoping next week will be better than this week.

Nonessential Numbers
5 miles in 2 runs (lame)

Sunday 5.10.09
AM: core work and cycling for about 75 minutes (about 20 miles)
The calf felt good on the bike today. So that's a step in the right direction. My plan is to keep pounding the knot with the stick and stretching. It's gotta give at some point.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Pilgrim's Progress

Saturday 5.9.09
AM: about 3 miles in 24:46; biked about 9 miles
Rode to and from Adams Farm. Wanted the entire run to be on soft terrain. Took the advice of Lady J and did not approach this run as a run. Took it as a jog. It helped my mindset as I ran as slow as possible without aggravating the left calf. It's hard to run slow. It's hard to run intentionally slower than you're normal pace. The calf stayed moderately tight for the 25 minutes I was out there, but it wasn't nearly as bad as Wednesday. Hence, this post's title "Progress." Finished the run with extra stick massage on calf and ice.

Friday 5.8.09
AM: Lifting Routine
At the gym by 05:30 to get in my weekly lifting routine. I know the weather is getting warmer when I sweat through one of these workouts. That doesn't always happen in the colder months. I hope that means my heating bills go down too. Did a little cardio in the pm and sticked the calf. Finished the day with ice.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

K meets J

What a day for the little one. She traveled to the big city to meet her new bff, James. It was a first date of sorts. Of course, the event is recorded with pictures. If you click on the right side link, it's the web album entitled "K meets J." The both of them made for an adorable couple. One has chubby cheeks; the other has a double chin. Some of the pictures are hilarious. A good day was had by all. KJ is hoping to get a call from James in two days, you know the accepted amount of wait time in our dating culture.

Still Sore

Thursday 5.7.09
AM: Core work
PM: stick work
May have taken a step backward yesterday with the running attempt b/c my calf is sorer today than it was yesterday. I reluctantly decided not to run or do anything for that matter. Even when biking yesterday, I could feel the tightness in the calf, especially on hills. I'm initiating myself to the bosu ball and working on balancing activities that will hopefully prevent future calf woes (once this one gets fixed).

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Left Calf Woes

The training has been literally lame for the last few days. Here's what I've been doing:

Wednesday 5.6.09
AM: Core work
PM: 15 minutes of running; 30 minutes of cycling
Tried to give it a go, but the left calf still has a tight knot in it. It felt better when I was walking around today, but when it came time to run, the knot outed itself. I could feel the rock hard tightness on every step. I told myself that I would give it 15 minutes to see if it would loosen. It didn't so I bagged it. Jumped on the bike for a less than satisfying half hour. My body had energy and was rearing to go. That's the most frustrating part in all this.

Tuesday 5.5.09
AM: Chiropractor visit
PM: core exercises and foam roller
Dr. Mika certainly worked the calf over in an effort to loosen it up. He did make some progress and did acknowledge that it was pretty tight. He executed some pretty painful deep tissue massage on the knotted area. As he dug in, he made me push in and out with my foot. That was intense. After a few seconds my nose started to water. Snots started dripping onto the floor. I managed a bit of a reprieve from the agony when I asked him for a tissue so I could blow my nose. We joked for a second then he had me jumping off the table again. I gripped the handrests and held on for dear life. For the first time ever, I realized that when people use the term "eyes bulging out of his skull" that it isn't always an exaggeration. I literally felt my eyes popping out when he got into the deep tissues of my calf. I thought I may've burst a blood vessel in my eye. When he was done, he told me "we" made good progress with the calf. He concluded the session with some ultrasound then some electronic stim and ice. The good doctor also suggested some remedies for my calf.
1--lots of stretching and not just the same stretch over and over again; he recommends doing various calf stretches
2--ice or cold water baths; he recommends submerging the legs into cold water after runs to promote the healing of the microtears that happen during a workout
3--balancing exercises; to strengthen the calf and supporting structures he recommended using a wobble board or bosu ball. I am fortunate enough to own a bosu ball. I hope it helps.

Monday 5.4.09
AM: Core exercises
PM: Pool workout
Didn't attempt running today. The calf is still sore. Am looking forward to the doctor's visit tomorrow. The pool workout was a combo of aqua jogging and swimming. I tried to focus on form as much as possible while aqua jogging. I feel I get a much better cardio workout when I'm swimming. I'm a horrible swimmer, but I'll keep working on it.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Kerin Loves PA

KJ is back from her first trip to Philly and had a great time. Highlights include sleeping in a car seat, drinking from a bottle, and being held by Joanne and Grandpa. A new trip means new pictures and you can find them by clicking on the link in the lower right hand margin of this page. I'm trying to make this blog exclusively about running, but I've recognized that I'm just going to have to write some posts about the donut (she's outgrown munchkin; she's heavier now too--like she's been eating donuts) from time to time. Overall, a great but tiring weekend. The little one has slept almost the entire day, only waking up to have a snack. We're all tired. Time for bed. Enjoy the new pictures.

TWIR (This Week in Running) 4.27.09 to 5.3.09

The start of the week was auspicious enough, but it didn't end that way. I ignored the midweek warning signs and by Saturday a rock implanted itself in my left calf. It's Sunday night now and the calf is still tight. I'm going to get it checked out on Tuesday morning. I have a sour and dour feeling that this upcoming week could be "this week in cross training." Truth be told, I'm disappointed. My body should be able to handle this type of running w/out blinking an eye. I consider a nagging muscle ache like this to be unacceptable. How am I going to get into good shape when my body has a proclivity for breaking down? This is where "grit" comes into play. Gritty athletes bear down when things get tough. For me, things are toughest when I'm on the shelf. I'm hoping that the calf just needs a few days of rest.

As for the numbers, I was hoping to hit 50+. The 15 planned for Saturday turned out to be 11 1/2 and Sunday didn't happen for reasons noted above.

Essential Numbers
39 miles in 4 runs.


Sunday 5.3.09
Was originally planning to run, but the calf prevented it from happening. Was then planning on cycling, but the loooong car ride from PA exhausted me. Was then planning on doing some core work, but it just didn't happen. I think it's Edmund Spenser who wrote the famous poem "Count That Day Lost."

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Forbidden Drive and Calf Tightness (help requested)

Saturday 5.2.09
AM: 11 1/2 in 84:13.
Ran on Forbidden Drive in PA. One of the best places in the northeast to go for a jog. Forbidden Drive is a wide dirtroad with 1/2 mile markers that is closed to traffic. The road hugs Wissahickon Creek and it's not unusual to see loads of people, dogs, and horses filling up the path, especially when the weather gets nice. The run started off nice and easy, but my left calf was achy from the first step. The dull throb lasted for the first five miles then slowly exacerbated. The second five miles (Forbidden Drive is 5 1/3 miles long and I run in out-and-back style) I gradually picked up the pace and the pain in the calf got a little worse. After 7 or 8 miles I worked my pace down to 6:24 (body felt good) and that's when the calf really tightened. By 11 miles, I had to slow down. By 11 1/2 I had to stop and walk. I tried massaging and stretching, but it just locked up.

As I write this now, hours later, it feels like I have a rock halfway up my calf. I've been running relatively easy, so to have this type of problem is more than perturbing. If anybody out there can give me some advice on how to loosen up once-and-for-all a perennially sore calf, I'd be eternally grateful. As I look back on it, a couple of factors might have lead to this tightness: 1, Tuesday night I woke up with a muscle spasm in my left calf (this happens to me fairly regularly); 2, the pickups I did on Wednesday might have been a bit too much (seems hard to believe as it was only 15 minutes of quasi-hard running). I've been battling left calf soreness intermittently for over two years now. Again, if anyone has solutions, please pass them along. I stretch pre and post run and ice and self-massage (w/ stick or foam roller). Despite all this, the calf tightness still persists. Help.

Blogging from PA

Friday 5.1.09
Planned off day. Travelling to PA for a wedding.
Thursday 4.30.09
AM: Core work
PM: 9 3/4 in 72:18
Most of the run was at Adams Farm. I'm trying to stay on soft surfaces as much as possible. This was an out and backer and the second half was about 2 minutes faster than the second half. A headwind in the first part of the run likely contributed to the negative split. Again, an easy run. Just trying to get some miles under my belt. Unfortunately, the left calf started "talking to me" about halfway through the run. It was no more than a nuisance, but still gave me something to ponder while I was out there.
Wednesday 4.29.09

AM: Core work
PM: 9 1/2 in 66:57
Fartlek run at Bird Park today. Did five 3 minute pickups with 2 minute recovery. I would not consider this run a workout. The goal of it was to change gears and test out the petallar when the pace got a little faster. The petallar was fine and running on grass likely helped. The pesky left calf crept up on me, though, halfway through the fartlek portion of the run. I finished the run with stretching, stick work, and icing. Extra stick on the calf.