Sunday, May 25, 2014

Med City - New plans

I went into Med City with expectations and hope. The hope was that it would go so well that I could continue on to Minneapolis and then Grandmas with no concerns. My expectations were that it would go well enough that I at least would have a decision to make.

I love the Med City marathon, it is exactly the type of event that I enjoy doing. First it has great volunteers, a nice course with enough variety to keep me entertained, a great race director and very easy logistics. All in all it is a great event.

For today's run, my day started at 3:30 am as I needed to leave by around 4:30 to 4:45 to get to Rochester in time to catch the bus. Around 4 am, I had a minor crisis arise as we lost power, kind of hard to get out the door when you are walking around with a flashlight. The worse part was I didn't get my second cup of coffee. I got out the door and made it Rochester just before 6, parked within a 100 feet of the bus and before I knew it, I was heading to Byron for the start. Picked up my packet with no issue other than they were out of shirts in my size. Since I had dropped from the marathon and missed the expo, I was ok with that.

I started the race at the back of the pack and ran with the 5 hr marathon pacer, not by choice but it just happened. The reason I say not by choice, it has been my experience that pacers are just a bit too encouraging for me. I was again running and walking and I expected that I would maintain the pace through at least the first 10 to 12 miles. By mile 6, I knew that I would hold my surgery appointment for Thursday. Similar to Lake Wobegon, I could not hold a consistent pace, the difference though was that it happened even sooner, I watched my mile times slow from 11 1/2 to 12 to 12 1/2 to 13 to 14 to 15 minute pace by the end. It was a bit warm but my issue was pain and push off, as the pain wore on, I seemed to lose the ability to maintain the running at a decent pace and the walking slowed as well.

Oh well, it is what it is. I do hope the surgery goes ok, I am more than a bit worried about the amount of meniscus I will have left, I think last time the surgeon removed about 1/2. The main concern is what he tells me for resuming running.

It may surprise a few folks but in the back of my mind I am still thinking of running Grandmas, it will be 23 days after surgery so there is a chance. Again, I will wait and see, other than Grandmas, I am definitely planning to resume with marathons at Eugene Curnow (44 days post surgery) or worse case St. Paul Urban (86 days post surgery).

Of course I will follow my Doctor's advice on when I can resume running, at least for the first week or two :-).

Stay tuned.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Reset time

Well, the good news is that I got my MRI results, the bad news is it revealed a medial meniscus tear and hamstring bursitis along with some arthritis. I meet with the Doctor on Tuesday to figure out options.

I have gained some additional insight this week whether my decision to drop from Lake Wobegon was a reasonable one. Last Sunday, I ran the Race for the Cure 5k, both my wife and daughter questioned the wisdom but I got through it. Then I played a couple of softball games on Thursday which caused a lot of tweaks and pain so that probably wasn't wise either. Yesterday, I went for a short run and pulled the plug after a mile and a half. Today the knee felt slightly better so I went for it, I was hoping to get at least a 6 mile run in and maybe extend it to 9 miles. The run instead turned into a replay of LWTM, even though I started with a run-walk, it just was a struggle. I started with some knee pain, got more as I went along until the pain slowed the pace even more after only a couple of miles and I had to reset.  At least at LWTM, I made it 10 miles until the wheels started falling off. So I am now looking forward to my Dr's appointment, never thought I would say that.

The good news is that I believe one way or another, I will be able to run many of my marathons yet this year.

I am pondering a couple of race options for the remainder of the year:

Option 1:
Run or attempt to run:
  • Med City 1/2 marathon
Surgery if required (late May or early June, or ASAP) which means
  • Probably will skip Minneapolis marathon or might be able to attempt to run depending on Dr's advice
  • Skip Grandmas
  • Probably would need to skip Eugene Curnow
The run the rest of the races:
  • St. Paul Urban
  • Moose Mountain
  • Walker
  • Twin Cities
  • Mankato
Option 2:
Run or attempt to run:
  • Med City 1/2 marathon
  • Minneapolis marathon
  • Grandmas
Surgery if required (late June or early July) which means
  • Skip Eugene Curnow
  • Probably skip St. Paul Urban
The run the rest of the races:
  • Moose Mountain
  • Walker
  • Twin Cities
  • Mankato
Now the truth is I am not sure option 2 will work at least in finishing Minneapolis and Grandmas but since the money is paid, I have nothing to lose but a little more pride.

It's also possible that the Dr will suggest another option altogether or discourage me from running until I am pain free.

I just know that one way or another I will get through some of the runs still this year and the ones I can't do I will do next year or who knows, maybe I will just use this year as training to run them all next year.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

End of the dream - DNF at LWTM

Ok, maybe the post title is a bit over the top. I sat a goal for myself to get healthy and to reestablish a marathon base by running all of the MN outdoor marathons. I was not concerned with how fast but figured that as the year went on, the base would return and times would improve.

Lake Wobegon Trail MarathonA funny thing about the goal is that I messed up the first part by tearing my medial meniscus (again) in my left knee about 6 weeks back. Using a conservative Galloway method and a cortisone shot I got through the first marathon and went in concerned but optimistic for today's Lake Wobegon Trail marathon.

For anyone considering Lake Wobegon Trail, it is a runners marathon, a nice relatively flat course, great volunteers and a low key event exactly what I love. The course was bit more enjoyable than I expected and the aid stations were often and the volunteers were very encouraging. Before every aid station they had signs with positive sayings, I love that kind of thing as it helps reinforce why I do marathons, to take on something that requires the mind to stay positive so that your body does what it's capable of.

Back to my plans for the race, I had tried to increase my running from 75 to 90 seconds in some test runs leading up to the marathon but quickly learned that was a bad idea as the pain would increase with each run-walk iteration such that after a couple of miles, well it just wasn't much fun. So the plan was to go back to 75 seconds of running and then 60 seconds of walking and hoping it would work again.

The plan worked for 9 or 10 miles but then kind of fell apart as the miles went on. I dropped at mile 18 although I had plenty of time to finish in under their 6 hr time limit as the knee pain had caused me to alter my gait such that I was having hip pain which led to my hamstring tightening up which led to my lower back tightening and as I continued to compensate both of my calves decided to whine too and I was just not capable of running and walking wasn't too pleasant either. The bottom line was I knew that I needed to let go of the MN marathon goal and to go and get the knee repaired or fixed by taking time off of running. So I will be making an appointment with an Orthopedic doctor to see what my options are. I am more than a little leery of another surgery as I am pretty sure that they removed about 1/2 of the medial meniscus in my surgery back in 99. If they remove more will I be able to run at all?

Ok, since I always over analyze things, I figured I should do it one more time, so I need to concede that today's DNF although caused by my knee, I did make a couple of minor mistakes that probably didn't help. In the week going into the marathon I did not take aleve to keep the swelling down, I don't like taking drugs of any sort and the pain was manageable but a little less swelling might have helped. I also had my run-walk app stop about 5 miles in which led to me running for probably 3 minutes and based on my previous runs any extra running more than the 75 seconds had always seemed to cause more swelling which would cause a pain increase and once it did it never decreased. I reset the phone and got the app going again and didn't think about until a few miles later when the pain had started to increase consistently and then everything kind of came apart. After mile 9, my mile pace slowed as I wasn't getting the same push off from the left leg and that's when the hip pain started. Another thing I debated doing that may have helped but I chose not to do, was to wrap the knee to try and keep the swelling done, who knows maybe it would have helped. It's also possible that none of these things would have made a bit of difference.

Am I disappointed, absolutely yes but not about the DNF or not being able to finish all of the MM marathons this year, I am bummed to have to deal with the knee. To know that if I try and run, I will have pain is not fun and I am again set up for a bad year of running. Hopefully the doctor can tell me something that doesn't require surgery or for me to stop running and I can reclaim the year.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Goodbye Lebanon Hills for now :-(

I proved something today, what you may ask? Well that's easy, I need to say goodbye to Lebanon Hills and trails in general for at least a little while as today I proved we aren't a good combination.

I was feeling pretty good about getting through Run for the Lakes and thought my recovery was going great but I still took things slow. I ran short on Tuesday and it felt ok, I gave myself a couple of extra days as things didn't work to get out for any runs and since I had convinced myself everything was doing ok and maybe my knee issue was behind me. So, I decided to do an easy 5 miler in Lebanon. After the first mile I knew I had made a mistake so at 1 1/2 miles I turned around and hobbled on back. Apparently Lebanon has just enough stuff on the trail to cause my knee to wobble or something and even the short downhills around Jensen Lake were an issue and for those that know Lebanon, you know how short and not steep the downhills are there.

So for the next few months I will be running on paved bike paths, hopefully that will give my knee a chance to recover and I can get through the next four marathons. I am happy that I have a chance to continue with the marathons but I will miss the trails. It is on trails where I can find true peace and solitude.

The way I figure it, I have until after Grandmas to get back to trails as I will need to do something so I have a chance at Eugene Curnow in July.

On to Lake Wobegon.........................


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