Sunday, March 29, 2015

2014 year in review

Back in December of 2013, I had a really good idea, ok at least it seemed like a really good idea. Run all of the Minnesota outdoor marathons in 2014. So I proceeded to sign-up for 11 of 12 in order to save some dollars with the intent to sign up for the 12th before it's price increase but a few things happened along the way.

In late February I mis-stepped and my knee went from being sore to painful. Diagnosis was a torn medical meniscus. I got through the first marathon (Run for the Lakes) after a cortisone shot by using the Galloway run-walk approach of running a minute, walking a minute. I was shocked how well it worked and ran possibly my most consistent marathon. I had pain but the run-walk approach worked.

Marathon 2 (Lake Wobegon Trail), I dropped with significant knee pain after 18 miles and the thought that continuing might damage it permanently. You see, my wife had had meniscus surgery and after removing the tear, her Surgeon diagnosed her with Osteoarthritis and yes that did way on my decision as I had been told in the past that running in pain could accelerate it.

I scheduled surgery but attempted the 1/2 at Med City with the hope that it would work, it did not as I had pain early and intense pain later. Had knee surgery 4 days later, 2 days after surgery Minneapolis canceled their marathon for fear of thunderstorms. 3 weeks later I ran Grandmas. That might not have been by best decision but it worked out. I skipped Eugene Curnow as I knew my knee was not stable enough to handle trails. Then at the end of July I tore my plantar fascia (basically a plantar rupture), 6 weeks off which meant no St. Paul Urban and Moose Mountain,  After 6 weeks, I resumed running and with 1 week of training I ran Walker, two weeks later, I completed the Ultra Loony Challenge which means Twins Cities Marathon. Two weeks later I was able to complete Mankato. I should admit that that running the marathon distance after the plantar tear did not allow it to heal completely and when I attempted the 50k at Surf the Murph, I am pretty sure I tore it again,
Here are my final running stats for 2014:

Miles - 866 miles
High mileage month - October, 116 miles
Low mileage month - August, 24 miles 

Weekly Avg. - 16.65 miles
Longest run - 26.2 miles

Average run - 5.89 miles
Consecutive days - 11
Max days run in a week - 7

Average days run/week - 2.77
Total days run this year - 147

Days not run because of injury - 103
Weekday runs - 28.3% of available days
Weekend runs - 71.2% of available days

Events Participated in
Run for the Lakes - Sat 4/26th
Lake Wobegon Trail Marathon - Sat 5/10th - DNF at mile 18
Med-City Marathon - 5/25th - Completed 1/2 Marathon
Minneapolis Marathon - 6/1st - DNS - Knee Surgery & Race Cancelled
FANS 12 hr - Sat 6/7th - Volunteered

Grandmas Marathon - 6/21st - 14th Grandmas in 2014
Warrior 196 Memorial 5k - 9/13th
Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon - Ultra Loony Challenge 
Mankato Marathon - 10/19th - Completed
Surf the Murph 25k - Sat 10/26th - Did a single loop, need to regroup for next year, 
Gobble Gait 8k - Thur 11/26th

 All things considered I am happy with what I was able to work through in 2014 and I hope for better results in 2015. One thing I have changed is I have only signed up for 6 marathons early and then plan to add a few more after I complete the initial ones. I am looking forward to working my way to pain free running this year. So, I am running smarter, cross training and am going to avoid things that aggravate my past injuries like softball and for the short term (I hope) trail running.

Sunday, January 11, 2015


I have lots to wrap up with regard to 2014 but I wanted to map out my plans for 2015.

Cross train, run more, lose some weight and get and stay healthy.

As to races, I have signed up for the following marathons:
  • Lake Wobegon
  • Med City
  • Minneapolis
  • Grandmas
  • Twin Cities (Ultra Loony Challenge)
  • Mankato
I am sure I may add a few more races as things unfold during the year. At this time I am not planning on running trail races or playing softball as both have caused me issues in getting healthy. The one resolution I did make is that I will not post about injuries as I am tired of doing that even if it's been my reality. I will find other things to write about or I just won't post.

I did find a new quote for 2015, it's from a Jimmy Buffett song called Barometer Soup,

Go fast enough to get there
But slow enough to see
Moderation seems to be the key

With regard to cross training, we joined LA Fitness in November which is allowing me to develop a cross training routine. 

So stay tuned for a 2014 year in review post and additional details on the plans for 2015.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Motivation for winter training

One thing that I am taking away from this years Surf the Murph experience is that I need to make corrections this winter if I am ever going to make it back as an ultra runner.

I think it's safe to admit now, that each of the fall marathons were a bit more painful than I had hoped but within a few days things were feeling better so I continued to think that I wasn't doing myself further harm. During Murph the knee hurt early on and the plantar pain came later and forced me to stop at 25k. The decision to drop was a good one as after Murph, walking was painful as my plantar felt like it had been re-torn (not as bad as before but each step hurt) so I took a week off from running. I tried to run last Saturday and did get in 4 miles with Karyn. During the run the plantar was still tender so I have taken more time off and will probably not run until this Saturday. If that doesn't do it then I will probably check into physical therapy or ?. I do think that this is fixable, I just need to be patient and ramp back up carefully.

My other issue does concern me and may not be fixable but I hope it will be. Since my knee surgery, my knee has been unstable. I don't have pain normally but if I mis-step at all it wobbles or feels like it's giving way which provides pain. I also have not been able to run steeper down hills as they have been painful too. Because of these issues, I have not been able to run trails without issue. Add in the fact that I am carrying too much weight (which I know doesn't help) and it all means, I have some work to do.

So this winter, the plan will be to lose the weight, give the plantar time to heal and strengthen the knee.

If this works great, if not then I may have to face the reality that running long on trails might be over for me.

This year I learned how much I treasure my ability to run and I will not risk losing running if the trails are my only issue. If I can run roads I will. If I can do marathons relatively pain free, I will. If I can run ultras, I will. If I can't then I will be ok with running shorter distances as I don't want to push myself so hard that I take away my ability to run. I missed too much this year and frankly too much over the last 5 years. I need to fix things this winter. I love trail running so I hoping that my winter off season is productive and that my knee regains strength to handle the torquing I experience on trails.

The lesson I learned this year is that running is gift, cherish it and protect it as you never know when it might be taken from you.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Surf the Murph 2014

Well, as predicted it was a 25k and a slow one at that.

The northern section exposed my knee, I couldn't run down hill and going up hill was a problem too. I almost turned around after the first down hill but figured it would get better once I got going. I did get to feel like a trail runner about 2 miles in, as I was approaching another steep down hill, I tripped over a rock and did a very nice superman. No damage from that but I had pain on every hill and I did feel like my knee buckled a few times. I wore my Hoka Mafate 3's hoping that they might help with their wider base, good idea, just didn't make a difference and by the end I concluded I really don't like them. Anyone want a pair of Hoka's, size 13 1/2 with about 125 miles on them?

I felt a little better when I got to the southern section. I stopped just past the horse trail aid station and took this picture, the park looked great and it was another beautiful day for Surf the Murph. Over the next few miles I started feeling better, amazing what a decent running surface and no hills can do for you. As my run continued my plantar was starting to ache and it was at that point I knew I might be done after one loop. To run on an unstable knee and sore foot just makes for a long day and I did not want to cause anymore damage to either one. If I had an even a glimmer of hope after Natchez it was dashed by the reeds section along the road, On a good day, it is by far my least favorite section of the course and on this day the unsteady footing did in both my knee and foot. I thought about just sitting down and calling it a day, as it was it took me almost a mile to recover from that section. After that I just ran when I could and walked as I needed to as I just wanted to finish the loop. Ultimately I did but it wasn't pretty at any point during the day.

Last year I was bummed when things didn't work out, this year I was just happy to be out there and am totally ok with a single loop. Yes, I wanted two loops but I knew coming in it was unlikely. It was fun to see a few friends and the volunteers were great. My thanks to all that put on this race. I am looking forward to making it back next year, hopefully as a healthy trail runner and if that is not possible than I will be a happy volunteer.


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