Tuesday, May 30, 2006

California Dreaming

Just got home from a short vacation in California. The weather all weekend was phenomenal and I managed to get in 4 good runs over the 4 days I was gone.

Saturday: Costa Mesa – I left the hotel near the world famous “South Coast Plaza” at 5:15AM heading south down Bristol Avenue and linked up with Newport Beach Blvd. Newport Beach Blvd is an odd street that is little more than an access road running along the 55 freeway south towards Newport Beach. I was pleased to find a bike lane on the asphalt as I turned the corner, but this petered out after less than a mile and I was forced back on the concrete sidewalk. After a couple of miles, the 55 freeway ends and Newport Beach Blvd becomes a real street. I continued south on Newport Beach Blvd until I reach 15th (or 19th, don’t remember), made a right and then an immediate right on Harbor and headed north for another ½ mile. Some brainiac placed a street sign at shoulder height along Harbor Blvd and I managed to scrape my elbow on the bottom of the sign as I ran by. Looking at my damaged elbow caused me not to see a large puddle near the curb, until I had stepped in it. At 5 miles I turned around and headed back to the hotel with a sore elbow and wet socks (for those of you keeping score at home, I brought my running socks on this trip and was not wearing the dreaded cotton “gym” socks).

By the time I turned around, the sky had lightened up, but the dense marine layer was keeping any hint of the sun at bay. I pushed it a bit on the way back trying to make up for the 1:30 I was down against an 9:00/m pace at the turn. Things were going fairly well and I was having great luck with the street lights. There just aren’t a whole lot of people out and about prior to 6 AM on a Saturday morning. I was forced to stop at my first traffic light just south on the 405 freeway overpass on Bristol. This wasn’t any fun after 9 miles of running. I took off fast after the light changed, determined not to stop again.

I ran over the 405 freeway and past South Coast Plaza and turned right on Sunflower. I was doing around an 8:00/m pace feeling good on the 10th mile when the last traffic light I would be faced with turned red. Since there wasn’t a car in sight, I ran through the red light light. Not 2 seconds later, I was stunned by the sound a police siren blasting in my ear. It was, of course, one of Costa Mesa’s finest police officers. He was probably 20 to 25 years younger than me and gave me a lecture on running street lights and threatened to give me a ticket the next time. I held my tongue – not wanting to argue with anyone carrying a gun. I sprinted the rest of the way to the hotel and completed the 10 miles in 1:30:08. I had made up the almost the entire deficit on the way back

Sunday: Costa Mesa - 1 found a one-mile loop course near the hotel in Costa Mesa that didn’t require me to run through any more street lights. The skies were clear on Sunday morning and I got to watch the sun come up on a cool Sunday morning. 5.55 Miles completed in 48:28

Monday: Manhattan Beach – My sister in-law lives near the north end of the Strand in Manhattan Beach (see picture on left). At 5:15 AM, there is no one on it (I am starting to think that it is illegal to be outside before 7:00 AM in Southern California). Monday was yet another gorgeous morning at the beach. The marine layer was nowhere to be found and watching the sun come up and light up the hillsides along Palos Verdes Peninsula was breath-taking. I ran from the north end of the Strand in Manhattan Beach south to the pier in Hermosa Beach, and then out to the end of the pier. Not a soal around. I returned via the same route; however, there were signs of life on the return trip. I probably saw 10 people along the 3.5 mile route. Total Run: 6.74 miles, 1:00:01

Tuesday: Carlsbad – My sister-in-law also has an apartment in Carlsbad California. The apartment is only a mile from the beach, so I got another nice 5.75 mile run in along Carlsbad Blvd running parallel to the ocean. Once again, no marine layer to speak of and another glorious sun-rise on a very cool morning.

We drove back to Phoenix this afternoon. The temperature at sunset was 92, so I can only imagine what I’ll wake up to in 5 hours. I’m fairly confident that it will be a bit hotter than 57.

Keep running


Sun: Rest (actually – toe recovery)
Mon: 3.3 M Easy – 9:08 Pace
Tue: 5.0 M Easy – 9:15 Pace
Wed: 5.0 M Easy - 9:00 Pace
Thr: 5.0 M Easy - 9:08 Pace
Fri: 5.0 M Easy - 9:00 Pace
Sat: 10.0 M Long - 9:00 Pace

Total for the week: 33.4 Mile; 9:02 Pace

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Making progress

The fundamental change to my training regime seems to be working. For the past 3 days I’ve run 5 miles a day at about a 9:00/m pace with no ill health effects. In the past, I could have never run back to back 5 mile days without something hurting. The biggest factor appears to be the more relaxed pace. I use to get so worked up about keeping my “easy” pace under 8:45/m. But I think all I was doing was hurting myself.

I also got a bit of good news on the bathroom scale this morning. I hadn’t wanted to bring this up if it was a fluke, but I’ve weighed in every morning since Monday UNDER 180 pounds. I was a solid 177 this morning. I think I can safely say that I weigh less than 180. Not much less mind you, but still less than 180. I haven’t been under 180 for over a year. Perhaps the fat man is really fading away. I now feel as if I have a fighting chance to get under 170 pounds.

I know it can be done, My younger brother managed to drop his weight from 200 to 160 over the course of the past year mainly through bike riding, less beer consumption, and cutting back on the fried foods. I’m very proud of him leading the way for me.

Finally today, I found a couple of cool web based calculators over the last couple of days (yes, I do do some research between posts).

The first is a really cool “ideal” pace calculator from McMillan Running. Enter your desired race time for a 5k, 10k, ½ marathon, marathon etc. and it will compute the ideal pace range for up-tempo, easy, long run, and so on. It will also compute your best equivalent pace for any race based on your performance in another distance event. This is pretty cool when trying to design a running program for yourself.

The second site is a simple Body Mass Index (BMI) calculator. There are a ton of these on the web; however, this one also provides your weight percentile. For example, at 6’ tall and 178 pounds, I’m heavier than 24% of men 50-60 years old. I don’t know what this means, but it does tell me that I can drive my weight much lower if 24% of the guys my age in this vastly overweight nation are lighter than I.

Keep Running


Sun: Rest (actually – toe recovery)
Mon: 3.3 M Easy – 9:08 Pace
Tue: 5.0 M Easy – 9:15 Pace
Wed: 5.0 M Easy - 9:00 Pace
Thr: 5.0 M Easy - 9:08 Pace

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The days after

I survived another attempt at the canyon and came through the experience suffering only two blisters on the right foot and one blister on my left foot. I took Saturday and Sunday off to give my toes a rest and started running again on Monday morning.

For some reason, the gods were smiling on central Arizona over the last two days and the morning temperatures have been blissfully cool. I got in a 3 mile run on Monday and a 5 mile run this morning. My toes were a bit tender for the first mile on Monday, but didn’t give me any trouble this morning.

I’m going to be out of town this weekend and will miss the first race of the Arizona Road Racer’s 5K summer series. This race is gender / age handicapped. Each gender / age class starts the race together delayed by a prescribed time after the gun goes off. Everyone gets to toe the line and take off together. This is the only race of the year where I get a chance to see the fast people as they blow by me in the first two miles. The course is very wide and provides able room to pass people all along the route. I was also looking forward to running in this event to see if any of this increased aerobic training is doing me any good. I know I feel much better and feel like I’m running stronger, but I won’t really know until the adrenaline kicks in during a race.

Training for the week:

Sun: Rest (actually – toe recovery)
Mon: 3.3 M Easy – 9:08 Pace
Tue: 5.0 M Easy – 9:15 Pace

Keep Running

Sunday, May 21, 2006

The Grand Canyon - A stroll through the park

Gentle readers,

I managed to get across the Grand Canyon on Saturday with a fun group of 8 hikers without any major difficulties. My only mistake was wearing cotton socks. My feet got wet crossing a creek in "Devils Corkscrew" on the hike out and I managed to get several nasty blisters on my toes as a result of walking in wet cotton socks. Other than that, I had a great time.

The Sign to the right is found at the top of the South Rim. I took this as we were exiting the trail. The sign warns everyone passing this way that one must never, never, never, attempt to descend to the river and back to the top in one day although hundreds of people do it every day. You will note however that the sign does not include a picture of a woman. For some reason, I always see obviously over-weight guys do stupid things in the canyon. On the other hand, I never see out of shape women on these trails. Some are more fit than others of course, but they all seem to be well prepared for the grueling task at hand. There most be something in the male psyche that drives us (by us, I mean males) to over estimate our capabilities.

My best time across the canyon is 7:32 (as in 7 hours, 32 minutes). I did this 15 years ago using the shortest south to north route; South Kaibab – to the River, North Kaibab – from the River to the North Rim. Total distance for this route is about 20.5 miles. However, I am all to well aware that my fastest time is long behind me so I resolved at the beginning of this hike that I was going walk across at a much slower pace and simply enjoy the experience. So instead of blazing across the canyon and pushing my heart rate into blood vessel bursting territory, I stuck with a friend of mine along the easiest route across the Canyon; North Kaibab from the Rim to the River (14.2 Miles) and Bright Angle from the River to the South Rim(9.5 Miles). Our total time across was 11:33. 4 others in our group got out 30 minutes earlier and the two others were only 30 behind us.

For those of you who have never had the opportunity to cross the canyon, it is difficult to imagine just how big this place is. Most tourist drive to the south rim, take a few pictures, buy a tee shirt or two and drive off to the next site-seeing opportunity. I feel a bit sorry for these folks since they never get a chance to really experience the canyon. I realize there are many other phenomenal places within North America and across the planet, but there is only one Grand Canyon. I’d encourage anyone who is reasonably fit to try this at least once. If you do this once, it won’t be your last trip.

With my sincerest apologies, the rest of this post is about to disintegrate into a rambling travel log of the hike. Be forewarned, it might get a bit sappy.

This is the North Kaibab trail head. It looks innocent enough. Notice the tall pine trees and the gentle slope of the trail. We left this point at 5:15 AM with the temperature just below 40 degrees. You can’t see the canyon from the trail head, only an inviting walk into the forest. This will change very quickly.

The trail starts dropping quickly after leaving the trail head and gets to the actual edge of the canyon in no time. The first view of the canyon peeks through the trees just before sun rise.

The sun starts to rise over the canyon splashing light on the west wall of the side canyon we are descending. Although the temperature at this point is still in the low 40s, it won’t last as the sun continues to rise higher in the sky. For the moment, we are just enjoying walking down hill in the shade. Our pace at this point was a steady 20/m. You want to take it a bit easy during the 5,800 foot descent since your knees will be taking a pounding and you'll need them on the way out.

The sun continues to rise. I apologize for the over exposure on the top part of this picture. My tiny camera isn’t capable of capturing what this really looks like. When you’re there, you can see the sharp, distinct line between light and shadow. The canyon wall to the left remains cool and inviting. The canyon wall on the right is glowing under the first rays of light. You just keep thinking about what is going to happen to your body when the sun gets high enough over the canyon to start blasting you with heat.

After dropping 4,000 feet or so, we get our first view of the South Rim. At this point, it looks real close. Actually, I think it is only 12 miles away. That sounds real close, we should be able to get there in no time :)

Shortly after passing Cotton Wood campground, the North Kaibab trail enters Bright Angel Canyon. This is a small side canyon containing Bright Angel Creek. All the way down the trail from the top, the trees get smaller and smaller and desert plants are popping up left and right. At this point in the trip, we enter into a full blown desert. The trail continues to slowly descend another 1,600 feet along this canyon from Cottonwood to the Colorado River 7 miles further. This is one of my favorite places in the hike. Our pace increased slightly to 16/m since the sloop is very gentle and there is no need to worry too much about banging up your knees. The temperature is rising quickly and this is the first part of the trail that is fully exposed to the sun; however, Bright Angel Canyon narrows as it descends and we’ll be back in the shade in no time.

We had very little snow in northern Arizona this year, hence very little run off. Bright Angel creek is running very low compared to last May when I was here last. You can see that the canyon is much narrower here and provides able shade.

Bad rider! I run into horses all the time running trails in Arizona. For the most part, riders are very courteous and friendly and work with you get their horses by you without spooking the horse or trampling the runner. This guy was not in the courteous rider category. I have no idea what this pin-head thought he was doing riding a horse through Bright Angel canyon on the first weekend that the North Rim was open. The trail is very narrow (as you can see) and one wrong step would be fatal for the hiker, the horse or the rider. In this picture this butt-head is gesturing wildly for us to get out his way and stand still. If he didn’t want to run into hikers, he should have chosen one of the other million miles of trails available in Arizona. This is the type of guy who gives horse riders a bad name in running community. Not that he cares.

Finally, the Colorado River. After 14 miles of hiking, we reach the bridge crossing the Colorado River. This is a narrow suspension bridge leading from Bright Angel Campground to the Bright Angel trail. At this point, we are in the “inner gorge” of the Grand Canyon, approximately 1,000 feet below the Tonto Plateau. The trail continues to the right after crossing the bridge. The temperature is now very hot. The near freezing temperatures experienced in the cool pines earlier this morning are but a distant memory.

The texture of the trail changes fast on the South Side of the river. Right after we cross the bridge, we run into a lone Joshua tree by a very sandy trail. 2 miles further, as we start the climb out of the inner canyon, we are fording a small stream.

Right after we crossed the stream, we entered a brutal 1,000 foot climb through an area called “devils cork screw”. The picture of several riders in this mule train was the only decent picture I manage to take during this time. The temperature was up over 100 and we were fully exposed to the sun. Our pace dropped to something close to 30/m or slower. At least we got to take a break as the mule train past us. The mule trains are one way tourists have of getting to the river without breaking a sweat. Although I’m not a big fan of mules (at least not a big fan of the stench of mule piss), these animals are well trained and the wranglers are courteous.

I “borrowed” the picture of the Devil’s Corkscrew from Suzanne. Her pictures are awesome. If you have a few hours, you might want to click on her name and check out the rest of her pictures. The woman is a prolific photographer and well traveled.

After what seemed like hours, we reached the top of Devil’s cork screw and headed up through a slot to Indian Gardens. It was at this point that I saw the first cactus blossom of the trip. There were no doubt others, but the heat was scrambling my brain.

Indian Gardens is the first water stop on the way out of the canyon along the Bright Angel trail. This spot is 4.6 miles from the end and 3,000 feet below South Rim. It is usually a cool oasis with abundant shade trees. I was a bit surprised to see that the temperature was hovering near 100 in the shade! I can only imagine how hot it was at the bottom of the canyon 1,400 feet below. We sat here for 45 minutes to cool down a bit and refill our water bottles.

Both these pictures were taken looking back at the North Rim as we continued our ascent to the South Rim. You can see Bright Angel Canyon in the middle of the photograph as it winds its way deeper into the north wall of the Canyon. By this point, we had been walking for well over 9 hours and my toes were starting to feel the effects of the wet cotton socks.

I took a bunch of other photos along the rest of the climb, but they all look like this one. The Bright Angel trail isn’t my favorite trail in the Grand Canyon. It heads up a large U-shaped indention in the south wall that blocks the views to the west and east. The only decent view is directly north. The sliver of green in the middle of the picture is Indian Gardens. The trail you can see in the left part of the pictures takes you to a dead end at Plateau Point. Bright Angle trail descends from Indian Gardens into the void you see to the right of Plateau Point.

The South Kaibab trail is much more scenic; however it is a bit steeper than Bright Angel and there is almost no shade all the way to the top. In addition, there is no water along the 6 mile trip from the river. The group decided it would be best to stay on Bright Angel considering the heat.

Your author at the top of the south rim after an 11:33:00 stroll across Grand Canyon National Park.


Back to primary subject of this blog - Running

My blistered feet put a bit of crimp in my plans for a long run on Saturday. I could walk without a problem, but the additional pressure placed on my toes during a run was very painful. I decided to take Saturday off and heal the toes before moving on.

My total training for the week ended at:

Sun: 3.36 Miles - Easy - 8:55/m pace
Mon: 4.56 Miles - Easy - 9:01/m pace
Tue: 3.35 Miles - Easy - 9:02/m pace
Wed: 3.38 Miles - Easy - 8:53/m pace
Thu: 4.97 Miles - Easy - 8:51/m pace
Fri: 23.7 Miles – Easy – 27:50/m pace
Sat: Rest
Total for the week: 44.3 miles

Keep running

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Grand Canyon - minus 1

Just one more day until my assault on the Grand Canyon. Of course, my experience in the canyon tells me that it will be more like the Grand Canyon's assault on me. The high temperature at the rim is expected to be 80 degrees () on Friday, which means it will be approaching 100 at the bottom.

I always enjoy the National Foreset Services dire warnings (as in the picture to the left) concerning Rim to Rim day hikes. They do pull a lot of people out of the canyon who take a stroll down to the Colorado River and then can't make the 5000' climb out. Fortunately, I don't look anything like the guy in the picture and I usually don't hike bare chested wearing only a pair of tight jeans. However, I will post again on Saturday and let you know if I did any better than this fellow.

Total Training for the week (Sunday through Thursday)

Sun: 3.36 Miles - Easy - 8:55/m pace
Mon: 4.56 Miles - Esay - 9:01/m pace
Tue: 3.35 Miles - Easy - 9:02/m pace
Wed: 3.38 Miles - Easy - 8:53/m pace
Thu: 4.97 Miles - Easy - 8:51/m pace

I am not doing very well keeping to my 9:30/m pace goal. The legs feel good, although my right calf cramped last night and woke me up (felt reaaaaal good). Stretched a bit this morning after my run. I have a "long" run scheduled for Saturday. I'll have to see how I feel on Saturday morning before I commit to running it.

Keep running

Monday, May 15, 2006

Grand Canyon - minus 4

This Friday at this same time, I'll be dragging my sorry butt out of the Grand Canyon. Although I know several people in this group, this will be the first time I've hiked with all of them. We are planning to take the easiest route across the canyon: the North Kaibab trail south to the Colorado River (5,850 feet down along 14.2 miles of trail); cross the river and hike out on the Bright Angel Trail (9.6 Miles and 4,460 feet up). I'm planning to use this as a cross training experience and won't be pushing too hard.

Today's Training: 4.56 Miles @ 9:01 Pace - I'm still pushing a bit harder than I need to at this point in my training.

Keep running

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Santa Catalina Mountains, Arizona

We took our extended family to Tucson today for a Mother's Day hike in the Santa Catalina Mountains north of Tucson. We cheated a little since we took the chair lift at Mt. Lemon Ski Valley from 8,225' to the top of the lift at 9,100'and walked down the 2.0 mile trail back to the car. I included a few pictures from the trip including a picture looking south towards Tucson showing the devastation left from the 2003 "Aspen" fire.

Keep Running

Happy Mother's Day

30 Min Easy: 3.36 Miles; 8:55 Pace ... too fast, but it was such a nice morning.

Hope you all have a great Mother's Day!

Keep Running

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Who turned up the heat?

I’m back in Phoenix. After spending a week in Seattle running in sub-50 degree temperatures, I’m back to running in the sun. Actually it wasn’t too bad this morning. Although the temperature should reach 103 this afternoon, it was only 78 or so when I started my “long” run 6:30 and 82 when I finished. Not too bad for May (I can hardly wait for June)

Once again I returned to my new favorite running location; the Reach 11 recreational area in north Phoenix. This morning I followed the southern trail from Tatum to Scottsdale road and started looping back on northern trail. Once my time reached 42:30, I turned around and headed back along the same route. For the most part, I kept my pace under control for 9 miles with splits of 9:29, 9:11, 9:23, 9:25, 9:21, 9:25, 9:24, 9:24 and 9:08. I felt some numbness in my right foot around mile 5, but the feeling went away after a mile or so and I finished without incident. There weren't any horses on the trail this morning and I only saw two mountain bikers, two runners and one walker in the 85 minutes I was out there. I more or less had the park to myself.

My training schedule for next week calls for 25 miles of easy running. This might be tough to do with Mother's Day on Sunday, early moring commitments in Tempe and Tucson on Monday and Wednesday and a Grand Canyon hike planned for Friday, but I'll do my best. This week felt really good and I definitely need to keep up this conditioning regime.

Total mileage for the week: 31.15; average pace: 9:08

Keep running

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Seattle - Day deux

Two runs are better than one. Per my running plan for the week, I took an easy 30 minute run this morning. Once again, I didn’t pay much attention to Mr. Garmin and ended up running 3.45 miles at an average pace of 8:45 … a bit fast. Fortunately, I suffered no obvious side effects.

This evening after an early dinner, I contemplated how I was going to run 40 minutes on Thursday, eat breakfast, pack, check out of my hotel and get my Redmond office by 7:00 AM unless I got up before 5:00. Since Washington is now on day-light savings time (something we know nothing of in Arizona), the sky is still bright at 8:30 PM. Since I still had daylight to burn tonight and no time in the morning, I went out and ran my 40 minute run this evening. Again, I headed north along Route 520 past 51st street. I soon discovered that decent into down-town Redmond along 520 is rather steep north of 51st street. I ran a little over ½ mile down the hill, hit the 20 minute mark on my watch and trudged my way back up the hill, huffing and puffing. After passing 51st on the way back, the trail flattens out. I managed to catch my breath and continued the run back to the hotel. Run total: 4.72 miles; Pace: 8:44 – again too fast.

I certainly admire you folks that do real “hill work”. I got a little taste of it tonight and know I need to do a lot more work on my conditioning before starting any sort of training on hills. 2500 feet of hill was all I could handle.

One last thing. I ran across an interesting blog yesterday written by a novice runner in England. Andy, just bought his first pair of running shoes and managed to pull a calf muscle by starting out way too aggressive. If anyone has a chance to drop in on his blog (Run like the wind, Bullseye) and leave him a note of encouragement or a bit of advice, I’m sure he’d appreciate it. We can’t get too many dedicated runners on this planet and I’d hate to lose this one.

Keep running

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Day 3 - Seattle

More correctly, Day 3 – Redmond Washington – home of Microsoft

I managed to get my butt out of my hotel bed this morning at 5:30AM and take my first run in Seattle since starting the new program. I selected a nice route along the bike path that parallels Route 520 through Redmond Washington. It was light outside with the sun just coming over the horizon, but the temperature was sitting at a brisk 41 (remember, 70 feels cool to a Phoenician) The first ¼ mile is a steady uphill and I felt as if every muscle was dragging on the pavement. I was sure I wasn’t anywhere near my desired 9:30 pace however, I resisted the urge to look at Mr. Garmin every few seconds. After the intial climb, the path north is net down hill, not real steep, but I remember feeling the hill slightly on my way back the last time I ran this route. I reached 50th street in 16 minutes and decided to turn around and head back up the hill, not wanting to extend the run too much further than my planned 30 minutes this morning. I was a bit shocked when I stopped the watch upon returning to the hotel and saw that I had run the 3.5 mile course at an average 9:03 pace. I thought I was going much slower.

Tomorrow is a real early morning for me and my running calendar is telling me to take the day off; however, if the weather is as nice as it was this morning, I’ll probably go out for a quick 30 minute run.

Keep running

Monday, May 08, 2006

First day went well

I started the first real day of my new (and improved) general endurance program. Instead of my standard 3 mile course, I ran a slightly modified course that I knew would take me more than 30 minutes to complete. I had targeted this morning for an easy 30 minute run at a 9:30 pace. I actually ran a 34 minute run at a 9:18 average pace. I felt great at the end. Very little soreness after running 18 miles in three days. This is going work.

This afternoon I flew to Seattle for a week's worth of meetings. I'll see if I can stick to the program while I'm out of town (this will be a big test for me).

Keep running

Sunday, May 07, 2006

The long road ahead

After last weekend’s running disaster, I’ve decided to change my entire training focus. The fact that I was unable to run 9 miles on Saturday and follow this up with 8 miles on Sunday without hurting myself points to a general conditioning problem. Looking back over my running log for the past 3 months, I see that I’ve got plenty of days running an easy 3 miles with a longer run of 5 to 6 miles sprinkled in; however, most days are limited to 3 miles.

I spent a bit of time reading up on conditioning on Friday night and I’ve decided to spend the next two months on general conditioning and not worry about my speed. I’ll bring my target “easy” pace down from 8:45 to 9:30 and start increasing the weekly totals and increase the distance of my "long" runs.

The first weekend using this approach worked well. I ran 8.4 miles along the eastern side of Reach 11 Park on Saturday and followed this up with a 6.6 mile run on the same trails on Sunday. Average pace on Saturday was 9:17 and Sunday was 9:15. Unlike last weekend, I didn’t come home with any injuries. My pace was a bit faster than the 9:30 target I set, but most of this was do to the “trail horse heading to the barn” syndrome; I kept speeding up as I got closer to my car. I did keep my pace above 9:00 throughout the entire run to ensure that I didn’t find myself with anymore injuries.

So far so good. I’m targeting 22 miles this week (a 10% increase over my 4 month average). I know it is way too early to declare victory, but this approach feels right. We'll see if I can keep it up as the time commitment increases.

Keep running

Friday, May 05, 2006

Slow and easy

I ran an easy (and slow) 3 miles this morning. Splits: 9:00, 9:11, 8:44. Hip is still feeling ok. I'll start extending my mileage again next week.

Keep running

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Hallux Rigidus

I went to my orthopedic doctor today to figure out what is going on with the large toe on my left foot. The pain in this toe has gradual become worse over the past year. Nothing that would stop me from running, but enough to make me take notice; especially if I try to run hills or do anything else that causes me to move up on my toes.

His diagnosis was simple: Hallux Rigidus (stiff toe). In simple terms, I’ve got arthritis in the joint of the large toe. You can clearly see in the x-ray that I have very little cartilage left in the joint.. The surgical options aren’t pretty and don’t work well on runners anyway. He told me to keep running and take an anti-inflammatory regularly (like Celebrex). He also recommended 1500 mg of glucosamine per day. This is the same stuff we feed our 11 year our lab mix to help with his bad joints. Seems to work for him, I imagine it will work for me.

Other than the toe, everything else seems to be working again. I ran a very easy 3 miles this morning at a 9:10/m pace with no problem. I’ll slowly build up the miles again in preparation for the Grand Canyon on 19 May.

Keep running

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

A day without running

A day without running sucks. I kept ice on my left hip for several hours last night and again for a couple of hours this morning. At this point, I'm not feeling any pain in the hip. I'll try stretching tonight and let my hip tell me what we'll do tomorrow morning. My brain is telling me to take another day off. I'll see if my hip and brain can reach an agreement before 6 AM on Wednesday. Whatever the decision, I'll do no more than 3 miles per run for the next few days,

Keep Running

Monday, May 01, 2006

Dumb, dumb, dumb

Yesterday's hip flexor soreness didn't improve overnight. Upon my second step this morning, I realized that all was not well with my left hip. After a 1/3 mile, my body started screaming at me to stop and stop NOW!

Running 30 miles in one week after averaging less than 20 for the past several months was perhaps the dumbest thing I’ve done in years and I know better. I’m going to take the next couple of days off and let this heal.

To all those smarter than me … keep running