Saturday, June 29, 2013

Plans for July

I decided today that instead of worrying about the next race or the current injury issue, instead I would focus on what I can and need to do over the next month.

I did have a lot of potential thoughts going into Grandmas, I was thinking run in Duluth, then run Twin Cities, the 50k at Surf the Murph, and then run either the Zumbro 50 or Potawatomi 50 and then go for the Savage 100. After simply enduring Grandmas, I had to accept where I am in and do something about, hence my 30 day plan. Have I given up on all of the above races, no, not yet but if I do the work I need to do in July, then they could happen if I don't then they won't. It's my move.

I did anticipate issues at Grandmas and had already chosen to skip running at Afton and instead volunteered as I knew I would need some time to work on getting healthy. Now I was surprised at the extent of the issues or said correctly when the issues started. I was comparing my times at Med City to Grandmas over 5 to 6 mile chunks and it's kind of interesting. I was within 30 secs through the first half of the races over the 5 mile chunks and at the halfway point it was actually only 17 secs, I was thinking I would be 5 minutes ahead at Grandmas. From miles 13 to 20, I was 13 minutes faster at Med City, I had planned on being 10 minutes faster at Grandmas. From miles 21 to 26, I was 10 minutes faster at Grandmas. Overall I was 4 minutes slower at Grandmas but had expected to be somewhere between 15 and 25 minutes faster as I expected to be faster through the first 20 by about 10 minutes and then another 10 or so over the final 6. Oh well maybe next year.

So what's the plan, it's simple I am not intending to go in for the foot until at least mid July. In doing my self diagnosis I am convinced the solution will be relieving pressure off the tendon in my foot. When I plantar flex, I feel the calf and ankle do things. The ankle seems to catch and the calf almost spasms on the left leg, no issues on the right leg. When I dorsiflex it, similar issues. I also notice some issues as I apply pressure as I take the foot through some inversion and eversion movements. So the plan is to work on strengthening the calf and foot by using therabands, balancing activities plus a handful of exercises I got off the web. If after 2 weeks if I don't see improvements, then I will go in as I will need someone to help me work on the trigger points.

The other thing I read is that having a good range of dorsiflexion is a by-product of having a strong tibialis posterior muscle and tendon.

I am still unsure of which calf muscle I injured back in 2010 (one Dr said the Plantaris, one said gastrocnemius, who knows maybe it was the tibialis posterior) but I am reasonably convinced that this current issue is caused by that calf tear, aggravated by too much weight and increasing my mileage too fast and oh yeah, probably not a proper rehab by you know who.

The other thing I need to do is to work harder on diet and improvements to my core. So July is about putting up or shutting up. If I do the work, I can be back in the ultra game maybe even this year, if I don't then I won't be. One thing I have learned is starting races in pain makes for very long days.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Grandmas 2013 Recap

It's over, I endured and my wife and daughter excelled.

Our day started out great, getting up at 3:30 am in order to get to the buses in time, we drove over from our campsite at Pattison State Park, parked quite easily (much to my surprise) and we had no problems getting the girls ready and onto their bus. I meandered a bit since I had extra time before my bus would leave, I double checked what I needed for the race as the weather looked to be low 50's, mist with a chance of rain. I headed over to get on my bus and instead was directed to the train, I thought this could be cool and proceeded to the front of the train where I was able to sit quite comfortably. It was a totally different experience, relaxing and enjoyable all in one. I was thinking that maybe we should come back in 2014 as this had worked out pretty well logistically.

My wife and daughter both went into the Gary Bjorklund 1/2 marathon under-trained with some concern over how their day would go. My wife has had a slower recover from her knee surgery and had been slowly trying to increase her mileage but she had continued having trouble with a bakers cyst which caused additional knee pain. As the race neared her other knee was having issues so I was asking if she thought she should run it. Of course she brought up my foot and I said that was different as I don't think it will get worse by running, it just might not get better. Long story short, she ran and did great and seems to be recovering quite well.

For my daughter she was originally thinking she would shoot for running it in under 2 hours that was until she had her wisdom teeth removed followed by a vacation with no running (this affected my wife as well). So my daughter had modified her thinking to slow down and instead was thinking she should go for 2 1/2 hours. She did much better than that, finishing in 2 hours 2 minutes and 25 seconds. She ran a negative split and just missed out on her original goal. A great effort and her consistent mile times were impressive.

As for me, after the good morning to get to the start line my day fell apart fairly quickly. I ran mile 2 or 3 with Londell and then we separated. Londell had his plan, I had mine. Mine was simple, walk .1 miles or 2 minutes every mile whichever came first. So when I did my walking break, Londell kept going, I must have passed him a little later.

During the first 6 miles I felt good, after mile 6 though my foot was getting sorer and sorer as I went. At mile 10 I was thinking I should drop but instead thought about why I was there and I tried to step a bit more carefully with the hope the pain would ease. Another thing that was getting me off track is the wet mist was turning into a light rain and I could feel hypothermia coming on, not even 10 miles into the race I was struggling with everything. I was still ahead of the 5 1/2 hr pace group which was my plan, I was thinking if they caught me at mile 18 then maybe they would help me finish it out. Instead they ended up catching me by mile 13 although it was there that they were passing out foil blankets. I tied the blanket around my neck and slowly started getting warmer. Miles 14 to 18 were pretty much mental and physical agony, I had to walk much more than I ran as the pain was kind of intense. The only good part was that sometime around mile 17, it hurt as much to walk as to run, so I decided I should just go ahead and run. It was about then that Lisa (Wildnits) yelled my name, she walked along with me for a ways and helped me get back into a "I can finish this thing" mindset. I was able to run fairly well from mile 18 to 22 but the impact of running in pain for so long had me pretty well worn out. I knew I was going to finish and tried to keep going as best as I could, part of what I was able to do was simply look around, chat with people, pick off the runner in front in me and just soak it all in. I finally finished in just under 6 hours and was glad to be done. I was a bit nauseous after I finished, I think it was more from pain and being chilled then anything else. Today my foot is a bit swollen and tender but otherwise I am good.

One thing that I did conclude is that running long distances on injured lower legs is probably stupid  I have been beating myself up for the struggles I have had in races over the last 2+ years, the reality is I should be beating myself up for signing up for those races in the first place when I am injured. As once I sign up, well I just have to try which have probably perpetuated the injuries longer. My one defense is the latest issue is the fourth issue I have had and the other three  issues seem to be ok now. Yes that doesn't change that I have signed up for multiple races with an injury and thus far none of the injuries got better during the race.

So for the moment, I am done with marathons and beyond. I will figure out something or someone that will help me get my current foot issue resolved and will hope to be healthy by fall.

Who knows maybe I still can do Twin Cities and Surf the Murph :-).

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Grandma's viewpoint and forecast

This coming Saturday I will be running my 13th Grandmas Marathon and my wife and youngest daughter will be running their first Garry Bjorklund 1/2 marathon. They will get to join me in the experience of running along the beautiful lake on old highway 61, moving on to London road, up Lemon drop hill, down Superior street, around the DECC, passing that damn boat and then the thrill of finishing in Canal Park. (Oh about the boat comment, we have always joked that they have us run past the finish line so we can run by the DECC and by the boat just so we don't forget to take the tour of the William Irvin.)

It's also the 20th anniversary of my first marathon which was my first Grandmas in 1993. In that race, I went out too fast and eventually got to the finish in just over 4 hours. I do remember telling my running buddy Scott H., his friend Michael and my wife, that I would never do it again. Of course a few hours later we were discussing when our next marathon would be. I then ran Grandmas for 10 consecutive years until 2003 when I didn't get my entry in, in-time (I waited a week which was too long). I ran it again in 2004, skipped 2005 because of a severe ankle sprain and then ran it one more time in 2006. After 2006 we concluded we could do a marathon in pretty much any state for the cost of going to Duluth and staying in a hotel with their 2 night minimum, our last year we paid over $700 to stay at the Edgewater.

I go into this years event, under-trained, slightly injured and overweight. I am pretty sure I will finish it based on my Med City run a few weeks back. For that marathon, my plan worked for about the first 20 miles (well at least 15 :-) and I held on for 6 more which may be what I do on Saturday. As to my anticipated race time, if all things go as planned I hope to finish in about 5 1/2 hours, if not then in under 6. As I am approaching this marathon with only one main objective: to enjoy myself for every mile. I intend to soak this one in and savor the experience, the only concern I have is of course the weather and here's why:

Forecast from Weather.Com for Duluth

This forecast is from Northland News for Duluth

And this one's from for Duluth

And last by not least from the Weather Undeground.

So it should be somewhere between 65 and 82, humid, with a light breeze and there might be a chance of thunderstorms. The one thing I know about Grandmas is that the weather forecast only matters if it's for the course itself, regardless of the weather it should be a fun day.


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