Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Med CIty Re-cap

Med City MarathonI decided last Wednesday to go ahead and take a gamble at trying to complete the Med City Marathon. My thinking was  that on Wednesday I was able to run 6 miles on a bike path and I was able to manage the foot pain and had minimal achilles pain so why not go for a marathon. For that run, I walked every mile for 2 minutes and I was able to maintain 12 minute pace. More importantly, the walk breaks seemed to keep the calves and foot manageable.

So I signed up and told no one I was doing it. I chose not to tell anyone as I was trying to mentally get myself into the mode of doing it for me. Going into it, I wasn't sure that I could finish and the thought of another DNF wasn't something I wanted to deal with. I also knew that Grandmas is coming up and that if I am to have a chance at it, this run could be pretty important.

So Sunday morning got started with my alarm not going off but thankfully I still woke up in just enough time to get out the door and head to Rochester. It did add some stress I didn't need. For Med City they bus you to the start line in Byron about 10 miles away. I went into it pretty relaxed with an attitude to take what the day gave me and to work on getting in at least 20 miles. That was my minimum distance to have a chance at Grandmas. I wore my marathon maniacs shirt which led to my syncing up with many of my fellow maniacs.

All went well until I went down a steep downhill around mile 8 or 9 which had me hobbling from achilles pain. Since it was the last really significant downhill I told myself to work through it after the hill which I was able to do. It turned out that that was the last of the achilles pain, which pleased me to no end. The race proceeded rather uneventful except we ran into a wind for a large part of the race and then the rain started which had me thinking "I left my arm sleeves in the car, why???". I slowed during the 2nd half of the race which was planned as I expected more foot pain which happened. The pain increased from mile 15 until the end. Miles 20 to 26 were the hardest and slowest which made sense based on my training and health. At mile 25 I about had to sit down and let it calm down. Instead I tied my shoe as tight as I could and proceeded to finish out the race. As to shoes, I wore my Brooks Pure Cadences and they worked well.

The pain in the foot post marathon has been manageable, struggled on Sunday, ran short on Monday and ran normally last night but only 3 miles each night.

What did I learn, I have to get the extra weight off, the pictures (and they took a lot of them) showed an old fat guy, no wonder I am slow.

This was a fun race, with very enthusiastic volunteers, a fun course with lots of turns, fairly easy all things considered. My thanks to the race director and his volunteers. Hope to see you all next year.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Update time, on second thought

Went out over the weekend with plans to run longer on Sunday and if it went ok then maybe still go for Med City. In attempting to prove my heel drop theory: "The theory was that having a higher heel drop would take the pressure off the calf which would relieve pressure on the posterior tibial tendon", I put on my old Montrail Rockridges, and quickly disproved the theory, plus I had additional issues.

The goal was to run 12 to 15 miles but after only 4 miles my left foot was hurting and even worse my right achilles was screaming at me, you know those nice sharp pains like someone stabbing you. So I walked a lot  more than I ran to get back home. The other issue I had which started earlier in the run was that both calves seemed to tighten up as I went along and I was not running hard. I was walking every mile but just couldn't get them to loosen up. So the theory for this run was that the right achilles was due to either the foot causing a change in stride or the right calf tightening up and pulling on it or a combination of both. Previously when I have had foot pain, I have not had any right calf issues or achilles pain.

Brooks PureCadence Running Shoes - Minimalist (For Men) in Anthracite/Black/Lime Green/Pavement - CloseoutsSo tonight, I wore my Brooks Pure Cadence's and got in a 6 mile run with no achilles pain and manageable foot pain. It seems that the foot does better after a day off so I was pleased tonight as I had run yesterday. BTW, these are the brightest shoes I have ever worn and frankly ever seen (the picture doesn't do them justice, trust me if I wear them you will see them before you recognize me). They are comfortable, have a decent anatomical last with a decent width in the forefoot, have a 4 mm drop with some overpronation support. I have become a fan of the Brooks Pure series, too bad they don't sponsor me. I think they could really benefit from an old, slow, overweight guy as one of their shoe testers.

One other toy that I bought for myself and am enjoying a lot is a Garmin 310XT, yes Wayne, you were my motivation, along with the fact that my 205 seems to be having trouble holding the charge when I leave it my car for the day. I did get the HRM and am planning on using it to follow the Maffetone training plan during the summer to help me re-develop my training efficiency. Check out Phil Maffetone's website for more information.

On that note, I listened to him being interviewed on the Trail Runner Nation Podcast, he was featured on their January 22, 2013 podcast.  If you haven't listened to their podcast, give it a listen as they do a great job and all of their shows are interesting.

So what am I going to do with regard to future races and the foot, great question, I think the best thing for me to do is work on stretching more than anything else. Which I am sure will have my wife telling me, it's about time.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Update time

Med City Marathon
Ok, here is the story, I was hoping to run the Med City Marathon after the failed attempt at Chippewa. To do that I needed to be able to run relatively pain free. So I bought some new shoes, Brooks Pure Cadence and I love them, I have enjoyed running in my Pure Grits as well except they aren't good in mud, snow or anything that requires traction and they weren't really intended for pavement. Over the weekend I figured if I was going to do Rochester then I needed to be able to do a 20 mile run. I was going to wear my new new shoes but I had decided to head to the river bottoms and thought that my Pure Grits would work better.

First I should back up just a bit, the night before I had run the Rave Run with my wife and the running group from church, not exactly an event that I want to do again. Although I do have to admit it was entertaining in it's own way and it only caused a little pain. The morning of my planned long run I ran 3 miles with the church group and intended to run another 17 miles afterward. Since it was windy, very windy, that was why I had decided to head to the River Bottoms. I parked along 13 right at old and new 13. My plan was to run to Lilydale as I figured running on pavement would be easier on the foot initially and I do like looking out over the rivers from the bike trail. I figured I would then come back and head into the River Bottoms at the Sibley house. I made a decision to instead just run on the bike path, it's 4 miles from 494 to Lilydale so if I ran it twice I would be at 16 miles for this run, 19 for the day which would get me close to what I wanted. I felt good for about 9 to 10 miles, ok good should be defined as being able to manage the pain. I had twinges in the early miles and then it got worse, I tried to walk and run through it but finally admitted defeat after a couple of more miles.

The next day walking hurt, frankly just sitting the foot hurt, so as I was continuing to do the ice, compression thing, I had a light bulb moment. It occurred to me that the tendon seemed to get more painful when I either ran on uneven surfaces or went longer than 10 miles. Ok, not a great revelation but then it become clear, my problem had to be my shoes. Now I have been only wearing 0 to 4 mil drop shoes and I have enjoyed them but the foot has been an issue for a while. In my mind the pain started at Surf the Murph, in looking through my logs, turns out that wasn't all together true. I did hurt my foot at STM but that is not where I have pain now and I did note some pain especially when I wore my NB 110's where I have pain now.

Turns out it's the leg I tore the calf muscle. That was my moment of clarity, I am wearing shoes that require my calf to stretch further, my calf was torn and since I do no stretching it probably is a bit shorter than it used to be . I did PT on the foot and the calf, when he resolved the calf this foot pain went away. So the last two runs I ran in some older shoes, and I was pain free. Ok maybe not pain free but reduced pain and I may be on to something. Thankfully I didn't follow Wayne's advice and throw out all of my old shoes.

Have I given up on minimalist running, nope but until I am pain free I am going to go back to old shoes for longer runs and see if they help me continue to run longer with less pain, if they don't work then I can always go to PT. Am I doing Med City, maybe but probably not. If I do it I will have to finish as I can't tolerate another DNF.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Chippewa 2013

It's been awhile again between posts. That's because our weather hasn't been good and I have had a lot going on which has kept me distracted from my blogging and to be honest my running motivation has been poor because of the weather. So with that in mind, it's no surprise that my training has been sporadic, I had managed a couple of long runs and went into Chippewa under-trained but trained enough to get through the event.

The one issue I was nervous about was my left foot and my lack of specific training on trails. My foot is tender right under the ankle, it's a carry over from Surf the Murph and whether I like to admit it or not, damage done in the past say at Superior and some issues with some of my minimalist shoes. I went through PT in January and he fixed the muscle issue but the tendon and ankle were still occasionally sore. I should say though after PT, it was about 95% pain free, the pain came back as I increased my mileage and of course I blamed it on a certain pair of shoes. The pain was not enough to cause major issues on the roads, some pain during my runs but I was able to get in an 18 and 20 mile run and manage the pain. On one of my long runs, I wandered through Lebanon and the snow-ice, unevenness caused enough pain that I left the park quickly.

Anyway back to Chippewa, my reality is I dropped again, the course was terrible at least for me, snow, ice, mud, sloppy, treacherous, if it had been normal, I think I would have gotten through it, if I had been healthy it would have been extremely hard,  but with the foot it turned into impossible. To the right is a picture they took the day before I think but it is symbolic of what the course was like, I got it from the Chippewa 50k Facebook page.

Around mile 7, I rolled the right ankle for a second time, I had done it earlier and had tripped on a root, gotta love trail running, anyway this time it was an inward roll and as I compensated, it caused significant pain in the left foot. Up to that point I had been just taking my time, I was with a group of other runners and we were maintaining an ok but fairly slow pace. I made the decision that I should pick up the pace a bit to give me a bit more margin with the cutoff and sure enough it was only a few minutes later where I had the misstep. I initially thought, no big deal and figured I would walked it off, after a minute or so the right ankle felt ok, but the left foot did not, I tried to run, not good, I tried to walk longer but to no avail, each mile got slower, I tried packing snow into the shoe, that made it feel better but not good enough to run in such crappy footing, I laced the shoe as tight as it would go, better but not good enough.

I got to the Plummer lake aid station and it was a struggle running on the road but with the even surface I was able to ease the pain, I debated dropping but continued on hoping the pain would settle down even more and the course would get more runnable. It was such a nice day and I so wanted to finish this race. No luck, the course stayed crappy and we had been warned that the section into the turn around was even worse. The highlight of my day might have been when I crossing over some foot bridges and just plopped down on the bridge with my foot soaking in the running water. It is such a pretty spot, I wished I had thought to take a few pictures. I felt like staying there but I knew that I still had 4+ miles to the turnaround. It felt good after the soak but the course continued to punish the foot and I had to face my reality so I called my wife and said I needed to drop.

Disappointing yes but it was  beautiful day,on a beautiful course and I got to see some friends who I have not seen in awhile. Being injured and not being able to do what you want just sucks.

Over the last week, I have iced the foot and am walking better and I have tried a couple of short runs. I have pain so running a gnarly trail will need to wait for awhile. I will work to strengthen the foot, ice, ibuprofen and if things don't get better, see someone.

One thing that I was thinking about during the race kind of helped me keep things in perspective. Two weeks ago my brother was diagnosed with lung cancer, they removed part of his lung and said he is at stage 2A then on the Thursday before Chippewa I found out that an old friend, someone I have known for 30+ years,  was having surgery for prostate cancer the next day., So when I thought about the pain I was in during the race and the fact that I haven't been able to do the distances I want to do, I basically said what are you doing, this is stupid, get the foot healthy and get your rear back out here the right way.

Right now, I am thinking that I might try to do Med City and then if the foot/ankle feel ok maybe do Chester Woods 50k and then Grandmas and if that all goes well, then maybe Afton 50k. I will know in the next 2 weeks whether I can make progress on the foot to attempt Med City, if do great, if I can't, so be it. The main mission is get the foot healthy before Grandmas.


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