Monday, March 31, 2014

Update on "Long run recap? "

I decided to go in and see Dr. Kevin at Lyn Lake Chiropractic. I figured if it's my meniscus he still might be able to help, if not, then for sure he would be able to.

He checked things out and believes it's an inflamed bursa just below the knee or possibly a strained MCL. He said with the swelling it's a bit hard to tell but he said the pain point was below the meniscus and probably the bursa. He said it's the  "pes anserine bursa." and agrees that I probably injured it when I missed the step out in San Jose and landed hard on the knee (at the time I was quite happy that I didn't roll the ankle). I then ran 3 days in a row while in San Jose on a mixture of concrete and asphalt which probably caused it to become more inflamed.

Anyway, they worked on it with a combination of stimulation, something else, ultrasound, he adjusted the knee and taped it. He said with what they did and then following up with ice that I will be running pain free in no time. So that's the plan, rest, ice, aleve, see Dr. Kevin for additional treatments if needed, repeat.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Long run recap?

The plan for today was to get a 19 mile long run, it didn't happen. As I posted last time, somehow I have injured my knee and the injury is eerily similar to one from the past with one very good difference. The injury, a possible medial meniscus tear, the problem is I have had it in the past, had surgery which means less meniscus so if I have injured it again, well not good.

Why have I jumped to this conclusion, the pain is on the inside of the knee, right at the joint line. I may be wrong but I am not sure what else it could be and based on two past meniscus tears (both knees) it seems similar. Maybe it's bruised, strained or ?.

Anyway, the plan for today was to continue with the Galloway run walk method which is a good approach if you have an injury anyway. All was going well until after 4 or 5 miles I meandered over to Apple Valley and ran a few miles on concrete, shortly after that the knee went from manageable pain to uncomfortable pain. I tried to work through it but as my form started compensating and not in a good way, I decided to abort at 14 miles.

What to do? Ice, stretching, ice, maybe see a doctor? The problem is I have 4 weeks until the first marathon of the year, one final long run in 2 weeks so I have just a few weeks to heal (optimist :-) or to see a doctor or both I guess. The problem is other than another surgery which I don't think is needed, although there is swelling and pain, it hasn't caught or buckled so I think it is minor, just painful at the moment. The main concern, is that I am not sure what they can do except tell me to rest it which doesn't fit my plans. The other problem, we are in vacation next week so getting in to see a doctor isn't real feasible either, so ice, compression and shorter runs are the plan.

Stay tuned...........

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Yet another experiment - 2 runs in a day

Ok, for as long as have been running and not following some wisdom from experienced runners, I may be learning a few things this year. Today I continued to play with the run walk technique and I split my run up.

I went into this weekend planning to get in a 17 mile long run, I had two problems though, the first was an extremely sore knee and the second was when to get it in. I thought about trying to get the run in on Saturday but it didn't work out. It was a good choice as I hobbled through 5 miles thinking, oh no, what is going on as I had no idea why my knee was hurting.

The other reason was that my daughter was home from college and she needed to get in a longer run and asked if we could run at Nokomis on Sunday. How could I say no, the only problem was in the time she would run 9 miles, I would get in best case 7  but the last time she was home it worked out as I kept running and she went to Caribou. Same plan today except she needed to get back to school so I decided to split up my run with 11 at Nokomis and 6 after she left for school. I have only done this like twice and it's been so long that I don't remember if it worked. Well it did as did the run walk.

Matter of fact I added an extra mile since I was feeling guilty for having recovery time. The other thing I did today was I increased my running time versus walking and didn't have issues, during the first run, I used a 2 to 1 ratio, for the second run I used 1 1/2 to 1. You can see that since the goal is simply sub 13, it worked and the 2nd run was done at a faster pace.

One other thing during the first run, I may have figured out why my knee is hurting. I was in San Jose last week and the first day when I was heading to my car, I missed a step and landed hard on my left foot. I remember at the time thinking that my proprioception is better as I didn't roll the ankle. But in hindsight, I think I may have strained the knee or bruised it as it did absorb the impact. Anyway it did hurt during the run but not enough that it made me stop.

So 2 more long runs before Run for the Lakes and things seem to be working out.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Run - Walk Experiment continues

Since I had success using the run-walk 1 minute method for an 8 mile run, I decided to use it for today's 15 mile run. I downloaded a free app (Run-Walk Interval Timer) from Google Play which was easier to use than the previous one I had downloaded. I debated how I would tolerate the stopping and starting and to my surprise it was not a problem. The one minute intervals always seemed short for running and the walking intervals were long enough that I could drink and fully recover. So the result is I am still on track.

I should provide some back drop for those that will look at my times and wonder why I am so slow. My fastest marathon is 4 hours but I haven't broken 5 hours in 10+ years. The last sub 5 also was before my last knee surgery which was followed by a 20 lb weight increase which now is closer to 30. My focus instead turned towards running trails and finishing short to mid distance ultras. My theory was that as I added distance I would lose the weight and with the weight off I would get faster. It was a good theory that has been complicated with years of dealing with injuries. So this year is simply about getting my distance in without pushing hard especially on uneven surfaces (trails) which I hope will reduce my chances of injury. I also believe the run-walk method will reduce the stress on my legs as they get used to roads again, and at this point in time, I am pretty much injury free so it's working.

I am running the roads not the trails to avoid causing issues, once the snow melts I will run the trails as a few of the marathons are definitely off road. Here is the elevation profile, the route is in Rosemount and Eagan, basically I head from Rosemount via Diamond Path up Pilot Knob, down Cliff to Lexington to Wilderness to Dodd to Shannon Park.

I adhered to the run walk method regardless of going up or down hills, it was hard not to run down the hills and my ultra brain sure thought about walking up some of the hills. My plan was to run sub 13 minute pace which would be a 5 hr 40 minute marathon. Remember my goal is to finish uninjured, yes I want to go faster but first I need to have my legs fully back. I will admit that I do want to see at least 1 of the 12 marathons to be sub 5 but that will be weight, weather and day dependent. The overall pace was around 12 minute, 50 second pace and since this includes stoplights and stopping to get water bottles out of my nathan, I am having to admit that the run-walk method is working. I did struggle over the last 3 miles but I think that was as much related to the cold air, fueling that I did today. I am cutting back on gels and blocks as much as possible and am not using Heed or S-caps. I am using Nuun tablets but it seemed like after I ate some Clif Shot blocks my energy felt better. I also think part of my issue today is my legs adapting to the pounding of my weight on the pavement. 

I also have a pace (blue) versus heart rate (red) chart and it shows my heart rate never going to high but going up as the miles increased. I also can see that my recovery pace as shown by the lower HR average during the walking breaks trended up as well.

The higher spikes on pace were from messing with the Nathan, stop lights or my initial start.

So next week I will push the long run to 17 miles and use the same process. After that I will have just 2 more long runs before the first marathon. And after the first marathon no more long runs, just marathons.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

An interesting run - walk - run experiment

I have tried many different ways to extend my long runs mostly through adding in walking breaks. On Sundays run I took a minute walking break every 5 minutes for the first 5 miles then I switched to time the walking break when the runkeeper app told me my distance and pace which happens every 5 minutes so effectively it was like 1 to 1 /2 minutes of walking to 3 1/2 to 4 minutes of running. My overall pace wasn't impressive but I had no issues getting in the distance so I figured it worked.

Anyway, during that run I listened to a podcast where the guy talked about using a gym boss timer which he sat to 1 minute of running and 1 minute of walking. I have heard Galloway talk about this approach and even decrease the interval to 30 seconds running and then 30 seconds of walking. I have never tried such short intervals but I thought it might be worth trying as I have heard Jeff Galloway talk about it often and it always seems to work for those he convinces to do it. Since I didn't want to buy a timer I went to Google Play and downloaded a timer for my phone.

So on today's run I went to the Big River Regional trail and decided to give it a try. I was amazed at how easy it was and much to my surprise, two things happened, I ran faster and I walked faster which led to faster mile time than I expected. My times are below and the only mile that is quite a bit different was the first one and that's because it took me a few minutes to get Runkeeper and the timer going on my phone as initially I didn't have the voice on for the timer and it's pretty hard to hear a timer inside of your coat when the voice isn't turned on, so I stopped and figured out how to turn it on. After that I waited to hear "rest" or "repetition x - workout", it was pretty mindless which led to the time passing quickly. You can also see the pace changes and again I was surprised at how consistent it looks.

Since it worked so good, next weekend I will try the shorter intervals on my long run and see how it goes. If nothing else it will keep my mind occupied in a different way although I am still not sure I like the idea of doing it during a marathon. Of course if it works, it might be worth doing even if I don't like it.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Back on track, maybe :-)

I had laid out a reasonable 10 week plan and all was going well until I returned from San Jose to below zero temps and a nasty cough last weekend. I had to abort my long run as I couldn't breathe in the cold air without causing an instant (not very pleasant) reaction, so that led me to re-juggle my schedule yet again and today I sloshed, slipped and even ran on occasion to get in a 13 mile run on an absolutely beautiful day. The temp hit the mid 40's, what a difference a week makes, now it just needs to continue to warm gradually to melt all of this snow and ice. I love spring.

So I am close to be being where I wanted to be I just consumed a weekend with a shorter long run, oh well, who needs a step back week. Anyway, here are the plans for my long runs over the next 7 weeks to get to my first marathon of the year:

I have built my mileage faster in the past but I had a better base and yes I was also in better shape. The good news is I have 6 hours to complete the marathon and I may need every minute.

One thing that I thought about today is how much I love running and pushing myself to get through longer distances, the other thing is that I didn't have any real pain during the run, just very wet and cold feet and legs that kept telling me, are you sure about this?

No calf pain on a run longer than 10 miles is a delight. I wore my New Balance 870's which have a 9 mm drop, I had bought the NB 870's hoping that the higher heel drop would help, they are a supportive shoe with a decent amount of space in the forefoot and for this run they worked out great. My only complaint is that they are so blue and I like my shoes to look dirty and with all of the water I ran through they still look like brand new shoes. I hate running in what look like new shoes, normally I will run into the woods and find some mud but there is still too much snow and no mud is visible, maybe next week I will get a chance.

You gotta have hope, the nice part is that spring is coming and within a month or so, I will have my wish and if we get lucky maybe in just a few weeks.

Bring on the rain and the mud, go away snow and ice, I know I can't wait!!!!!!!!


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