Sunday, October 31, 2010

Surf the Murph

Beautiful day, fun event and it appears no additional damage was done to myself. It was fun to see so many friendly faces. The weather was perfect and the course was in great shape, I liked the changes that Les made, it will be nice to have a simple loop (x3) for the 50 milers to run even though it made for a slightly longer 25k or 50k course.

I took my time, ran when I could, walked when I needed to and enjoyed myself. In looking at my SportTracks info, I was stopped for 18 minutes, most of which was spent at the aid stations talking to the volunteers. I didn't care too much what my time was as I knew I wasn't in race shape or health and I wanted to simply take in the park. There was more than one time where I simply stopped and looked around. I know the snow will be falling soon (I am totally ok with being wrong on this one), so I wanted to have the memories of Murphy packed away for the winter. For me it's always easy to pull out memories and images (of warmth) to help me get through runs during those cold, dark and snow-packed winter days.

A few pictures from the course, all of these were taking with my phone in the southern section.

Just past the horse park

looking back across the lake around mile 7

Just passed the 9 mile aid station

So my thanks to Les, Cindy, Jim, Molly, Lisa, Bill, Londell, Helen and all of the other volunteers and runners (Wayne, Karen, Mark, Kel, Steve, Kelly, Vicky, Mike, Dane and so many more) that I met during the day for another great Surf the Murph event, can't wait until next year when I hope to get back out there for the entire day.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Surf the Murph?

Normally at this time of year I would be focused on the weather forecast for Saturday instead I am at the point of not really caring. I am only planning on participating in the 25k as my ankle and calf will probably not be able to tolerate any more.

From this point on, I am merely documenting my situation as sometimes when I write things down, the answer appears, if it doesn't, well then my bitching and whining at least make me feel better, so feel free to ignore this post as it like most of my other ones is written more for me than anyone else.

Back to Murphy, actually I think the calf might be able to handle the 50k and who knows maybe even 50 miles but the ankle is not where it needs to be and will bug me within a few minutes of the race start. This might be the most frustrating injury I have ever had as it is just sore most of the time. It was more sensitive a few weeks back. So I would like to think it is getting better except today after running Sat/Sun/Mon it is sore again (it was actually sore every day, today it just continued). I say run but my outings were more walks than runs. When I run, it isn't sharp pain, just a constant ache that adds up after a few miles and takes all of my mental energy to push through. Then after an hour (at best) I really can't seem to run through it and I end up having to walk and then run and then walk and so on.

I ran on Saturday with Wayne and Karen in Murphy and I had to walk a lot, they had already run 6 miles before we met up so they may not have noticed it as much as I did but I wasn't happy about it. I did make it almost 9 miles with them, so Saturday won't be an issue to complete but it won't be fun if I try to run it like a race, heck what am I thinking, I am sure I can't even if I want to. So I intend to meander my way through the course and just enjoy myself. I love Murphy and I will enjoy it regardless of the time it takes as who knows this may be my last time there this year without snow, please tell me it isn't suppose to snow soon.

Back to the ankle, I know I have not done the right rehab or even sought timely medical care and evaluation (I am sure my wife and/or Lisa would scold me on this so I figured I would say it up front) but that is because I still don't think I really injured it to where it should be still bugging me. Would you go to the Doctor if you could walk and the swelling was not severe? As a point to my defense when the calf muscle snapped/ruptured and I couldn't walk I went to the Doctor and followed his advice. Of course what does he tell me? He say it's a comfort injury and it was up to me to when I could resume running as I couldn't do any harm to the muscle, so it was just my ability to deal with the pain (yes he did advise me that I should wait 2 weeks but a comfort injury when I can't bear any weight on the leg). I hate being told something is a comfort injury, to me it means I am a wimp if I don't push through it.

I have had a severely sprained ankle that required me to be on crutches and I think I recovered from it faster (actually I have had multiple ones from playing basketball). Yes I did immobilize it but I couldn't walk on it so I didn't have a choice. This injury I ran through at Superior or attempted to, but kind of like now it wore me down to where I couldn't run after 10 miles or so and yes truth be told, I wanted to stop running on it after 4 or 5 miles. The next day, it was a little sore but only really bugged me when I walked up a slight incline. Even that pain seemed minor and I expected it to go away, it almost seems the same today.

With the ankle, I did go and see a Doctor (yes it was four weeks after the injury), she checked it out, did not do X-rays, we discussed doing them but since she couldn't cause me pain by moving or manipulating it, I didn't see any reason to. She did not give me any exercises, I just left, thinking yet another comfort injury. I have looked up exercises and will start doing them, hopefully they will help. So, my guess is that the ankle will be fine in another week or so but I have thought that before and it is now over 6 weeks. I want to run pain free. Ugh. I hate not being able to run this time of year. Enough said.

So I intend to go and have fun this Saturday and after that I will give it more time if needed and go from there.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Shirts and sweatshirts?

In the past couple of years I have had the distinct privilege or the unfortunate circumstance of DNF'ing in multiple races. I have a DNF'd at the Afton 50k two years in a row and now the Superior 50

Why a privilege? When I have DNF'd it's a reminder that the races I do are not easy and you can't just phone it in by showing up. For shorter races I can do that. My times may not be good but I can get to the finish line.

Why an unfortunate circumstance? Failure sucks and not finishing always feels like a failure even if the reason for the DNF is a good one.

Why did I DNF at these events? At Afton, I started the races injured and made the choice to drop at the 25k point as the injuries were getting worse. Probably the right call but I still have regrets and at times wish I had tried to push through the pain. So my question is it ok to wear the Afton shirts? They are given out at the start not at the finish so I have worn them but I always flinch when I put them on, as I feel I am non deserving.

This year when I was given the sweatshirt at the Superior 50, I felt great to receive one. It was the event I had most wanted to do for the year and my decision to drop at Afton was part so that I could get healthy for this event. When my day fell apart with injuries and I wasn't able to maintain the required pace and missed the cutoff, I felt like a failure. When I look at the sweatshirt I don't feel that I am deserving to wear it and have yet to do so.

Am I wrong with my attitude for either Afton and Superior? Why do I view them differently? i know the answer to that, I knew going into Afton I was injured and I chose to try to run versus not running. So when the pain got intense I allowed myself to drop. I know that part of my thinking has been that I have finished the 50k there so it's ok to acknowledge both failure and success and that by wearing the shirts I am simply advertising the event and my participation in it.

At Superior, I went into it with a few issues, training and some back pain but it was different than Afton. I was running fine until I rolled my ankle but since I didn't collapse, I simply have viewed the issues that followed as weakness in myself. It's possible that I did well to make it as far as I did but to me I went there with the intent to finish the race and I did not get it done.

So I guess for consistency I should either quit wearing the Afton shirts or I should view the Superior sweatshirt as a participation sweatshirt and feel like I can wear it. Am I the only one who struggles with this?

Regardless, my primary goal for 2011 will be to finish both events.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Future - Admission of who I am?

Some good suggestions and observations were made in my last post. In order for me to rectify my past mistakes and failures, I need to admit how I got here this year. Truth is that is a long story but all I need to do is look back to 2009, I stepped up my training, had an injury, slowed down and then focused only on finishing the Surf the Murph 50. I did finish it but it wasn't easy so I knew I needed to do train differently in 2010, I started to create a plan but ultimately I just tried to run more races as my training plan, I missed many days of running and basically had no plan. My plan was to run Superior, FANS, Afton, McNaughton a couple of marathons and just watch myself improve with all of the miles. Of course I missed running on many days as work or my attitude kept me from executing and on the days I did run, I just meandered my way through them.

The bottom line in 2010 (and yes many other years) is that "Commitment and Purpose" are what I have lacked. I need to change this but obviously I need to figure out something that gets me there so I figured being an engineer I would start to plan my 2011 from an engineering perspective.

My problem is that engineers are trained to solve problems logical and generally we do but some engineers take different approaches to problem solving. Years ago when I worked at Sperry/Unisys I was part of a test engineering organization that had close to 30+ engineers in the group and our admin had us all take a Cosmos personality test to see how we solved problems. I am sure it was done more as a joke than anything serious but the results were insightful. The test categorized your learning style as Logical, Practical, Intuitive and Imaginative. To give you an idea of the problem solving traits of the categories, here was an example given to as an explanation after we took the test.

If you purchased a new bike that needed to be assembled what would be the approach you would take:

Logical - carefully unpack the bike from the box, find the instructions, read them thoroughly from from to back, layout each part, start at step 1 and then follow each subsequent step until reaching the final assembly step.

Practical - unpack the bike from the box, note that there are instructions, reference as needed until assembly is complete.

Intuitive - dump the bike from the box, assemble it, after bike is assembled, note there are instructions and probably a few extra parts and throw them away.

Imaginative - look at the box and then go and sit under a tree and think about how much fun you will be having when you ride your new bike.

Out of the 30+ engineers, we ended up with 1 practical, 2 intuitive, 1 imaginative and the remaining 25+ engineers were logical.

What does this have to do with my training, well I was one of the intuitive types, that means I like to do things by feel, I like to skip steps, I don't follow instructions, I lose interest in following a plan, I take risks, I excel at procrastinating, I try to always find the easy way to do things, I take shortcuts. I also love challenges, problem solving, planning new things and am capable of analyzing new situations with not a whole lot of info.

For me to create a plan that I commit to that has a purpose goes against my nature. That said, I did follow a plan for my first marathon. Ok, I should be honest and say that even with the first plan, I wasn't too good on those midweek longer runs, speed workouts or hill workouts after the first few weeks but other than those issues, I followed the plan. After that race, I would make my plans and I usually will get in the mileage just not those specific workouts that were in the plan so quite adding them to a plan. So you see, I can follow general plans, you know the ones that say I need to run 20 miles this weekend with maybe a few midweek runs. I will do that but nothing else that is unless I feel like doing them. I do love spending time creating plans and schedules, I just am not good at execution. Truth is at work I am much better at strategic thinking than tactical implementation. At work though I can hire folks that are good at what I am not, hard to do that with my running.

Ok my self examination is over, now I need to think through my faults, issues and obstacles and then figure out what I am going to do next year to mitigate them or probably said more correctly, compensate for them.

Any ideas?

Friday, October 15, 2010


My latest injuries have caused me to step back and say what am I doing, how did I get here, what is my new plan?

Last year, I tried to run through an injury until I crashed at Afton, I took a few weeks off to heal up, then trained slowly and carefully towards running my first 50 at Surf the Murph. I succeeded at STM but my training was designed to complete the event, not to race it. It worked but this year I wanted to race at Surf the Murph and I have failed as I will be luck to make the starting line. What went wrong? Well a few things come to mind, inadequate training, no cross training and a bit of bad luck.

So what am I going to do? Good question, normally I would map out a plan or said correctly some great intentions. I would follow it for a day or two and then work or life or my self defense sabotage system would engage and then I would go off plan. I would think I had time to get back to it and then I would sign up for a race that would force me to ramp up my training, I would get to the start line and finish but wouldn't take the time to train properly.

You want an example of this, well 2010 supplies it, I drifted all winter after STM with no plan or goal other than Chippewa, this meant I barely ran in November. In December. Chippewa gets canceled so my motivation goes as winter descended, no reason to run, right? I drift into January and then in February I sign up for McNaughton. Instant accelerated ramp of mileage. I hit the start line in just good enough shape to run the event. I suffer some dehydration, strain a calf/achilles and endure for 15+ hours but finish. I was probably lucky that I didn't do any damage by walking/running on the calf for 20+ miles.

I regroup a bit in May and run a couple of marathons with my wife, those weren't too bad, actually maybe some decent training if only I had added some cross training my summer might have turned out different. I go into FANs feeling confident but have back issues and end up only running for 10 hours ultimately being pulled for hypothermia. I go into Afton knowing that the back will become painful within 5 miles and it flares right on cue and I drop at the halfway point. I then reset myself and go and get some physical therapy, start the strengthening and cross training only to abandon it as I have to ramp my mileage for Superior. Which gets me to the start line with just enough base to think I can go 50 miles. I roll an ankle which leads to straining my calf, add in my insufficient base and I don't make the first cut-off. I thought at the time that if I had had a stronger base I would have made the cut off. That said, in looking back over the last five weeks, my calf took weeks to get to where I could walk let alone run but the ankle is still an issue so maybe I wouldn't have made it even if I had a better base and instead am lucky or was dumb to go as far as I went.

Anyway, where does this self exam leave me?

It means that I have work to do this fall/winter if 2011 is going to turn out differently otherwise I am sure I will repeat it again. So time to look inward and decide where I want to be next year and what am I going to change to get there.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Yet another medical update

Well, another Dr visit, where she confirmed what I thought but didn't really understand, I have a sprained ankle and it will be another 2 to 4 weeks before all things are back to where they should be.

The reason I didn't understand it, is because I really didn't have that much swelling and with the calf shutting me down completely, I thought I was resting but I guess the sprain was a bit more severe than I thought. She told me that the type of injury I have could normally take 4 to 6 weeks and up to 8 weeks. The fact that I ran 20+ miles on it combined with not icing for a day may have put the recovery out longer. My theory is that by continuing to run on it, it kept the swelling down, might not be true but it works for me. My theory would make more sense if the pain was gone now that it has been 4 weeks.

So my plan is still to participate at Surf the Murph (the 25k), notice I say participate as it might be a walk through the park versus a training run or a race but it will beat sitting at home wallowed in self pity lamenting my disappointing fall season. If it wasn't for winter following fall, fall would be my favorite time of the year to run. I love the cooler temps, the beauty of the fall season, snakes disappearing, the normally great trail conditions. Suffice to say, it has been hard to not be able to run.

Anyway, I will give it a few more days and do some cross training and try to run again this weekend and then go from there.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Some good news and some not so good news

The good news is my calf is getting better and I was able to get some runs in. The bad news is the ankle seems worse and my runs barely felt my description of running. I ran/walked/hobbled 3 miles on Friday, 6 yesterday and 3 today.

On Friday, the ankle was tender probably best described as a little sore and bugged me trying to run uphills as did the calf so I walked the inclines. The ankle is weird to me as it has been sore since Superior but it didn't really swell up or bruise much. It feels stiff and hurts when my foot flexes and on landing. Some more good news, I did discover another place to run, I ran along nine mile creek in Bloomington, it looks like you can get in around 5 miles on this trail but it looks like I might be to pick up the river bottoms (flooded out right now) in the future. I started along 106th street and since it's on my way home, it is an alternative for a short run.

On Saturday, I decided to go over to Lebanon Hills and I felt ok for the first couple of miles, the ankle again was tender with every step and subsequent push off causing a flinch, the calf seemed fine, after 2 miles I hit a couple hills and the calf and ankle agreed that I should walk these. The ankle seemed more bothersome, again no strength to push off and pain on each step. I tried to pick it back up over the last 2 miles and I picked up the pace but I more or less just pushed through the pain. I am starting to beat myself up a lot less than I was as I now know why I had issues with my pace at Superior. My calf and ankle just don't allow me to run.

Today, I went back to Lebanon hoping I could work through the ankle, I could not and ended up quitting after hobbling on it for 3 miles. My calf felt good though, so I am happy about that.

So, not sure what this means, but I think I will need to get the ice back out and take it day by day.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

He's back

This time the title sums it up, I went for a run, two runs actually, well kind of, sort of, more on that later.

First, for those that ran the Twin Cities Marathon what an absolutely perfect day to run a marathon. I debated coming out to watch but just wasn't up for it. I hate it when I can't run and this was only the second marathon that I did not make it to the starting line and yes, the other time was due to injury as well. I wanted to run it but if I had started it, I would have DNF which maybe I should have had but I would have been miserable around all of those cheery runners knowing the pain that would await me and the likely hood of not being able to finish it.

Back to my weekend, I did however get in a couple of runs which is great news, the first one came Saturday and it marked my first run since Superior. Now I am being generous to call it a run. I wasn't sure I could run so I rode my bike to Lebanon Hills, about 5 miles or so, I figured it would be exercise at least. Then I tried to run, it didn't go so good but it wasn't a disaster. I had pain but it wasn't sharp pain more of a constant strong ache with an occasional sharp twinge. It felt like the calf was cramping and each step caused pain but it wasn't unbearable, now the thought of running 26.2 wasn't too thrilling. I actually did have thoughts that if the run went ok that I would go pick up my packet and go for TCM, that thought left me fairly quickly. I debated making this next comment but since the goal of this blog is for me to look back now and again and remember things I would forget, I felt I should even if I don't like the info but I am sure my wife will smile about it. The pain I had on this run was very close to the pain I had at Superior, so I guess it is possible I did injure it up there. Anyway, I had hoped that I could run around Jensen Lake but decided after a 1/2 mile to turn around so my first run was just a mile. My pace was slow as I had to walk all uphills and when the calf cramped/tightened up which was more often that I would have like. I then biked home so 11 miles of biking and 1 mile of kind of running. I do have to admit, even with the pain, I loved being back in Lebanon Hills.

Today, I woke up a bit sore so I figured I would take the day off. As the day unfolded, I kept looking outside thinking how much I love to run in the fall and that I should go for it, no, I told myself give yourself another day or two. A few hours later, I couldn't take it and I headed over to Lebanon Hills, I decided to wrap up the calf to maybe take some of the tension off. It was an absolutely beautiful fall day and as I ran I had a constant ache but no significant sharp pain and I thought maybe I should just push through it so I made the decision to just keep going. After a mile, I thought I would just loop around Jensen then I came to the decision left or right and I went right. After another mile, I figured I better head back as the calf was tightening up and getting a little bit more bothersome. I again walked the hills and around every 1/4 mile or so I walked. I did not bring my watch so I don't know how slow the pace was but I know it was slow. My running style was kind of a hobble as opposed to something that resembled running but I was moving and in the park.

So now the plan is to ease back into running and you know what I will enjoy each and every run.


Related Posts with Thumbnails