Monday, January 28, 2008

Le Premier Jour

Well it's Day 1. I dragged my sorry butt out of my warm bed for a 30 minute walk this morning. It's been raining for the better part of two days and the sky started clearing this morning just before sun rise. It was all very dramatic. Cool, clean, crisp, moist air, fantastic cloud formations as the eastern sky slowly turning from jet black to deep blue. Couldn't beat it with a stick.

Day 1 was OK; no soreness in my left knee during or after; looking forward to Tuesday. As promised, I started out slooooow. Tomorrow, I'll extend out a little.

I'm keeping up with my bicycle commuting and yoga. I haven't seen any positive effects from the yoga, other than falling asleep almost instantaneously using yoga 101A relaxation exercises, but I definitely feel the bike riding in my quads.

On the non-running front, my wife and I headed down to Tucson to visit with our daughter and her boyfriend. While walking to lunch near the University of Arizona I got to see a flying bicyclist. Just as we were about cross the main drag, a body flew by us from left to right followed immediately by a bicycle bouncing along the ground. As my brain slowly comprehended the scence in front of me, the cyclist hit the pavement on his right side and skidded to a stop in 4 or 5 feet.

To our amazement, he rolled over and hopped to his feet. He was shaking up for sure, but nothing was broken and he kept insisting that he was alright. He picked up his bike and explained that his front tired had slipped while crossing the slick trolley tracks in the rain. I don't know how he avoided a broken collar bone and a major case of road rash. I saw the guy hit the ground on his right sholder and skid to a stop.

After he brushed hims self off, he road on down the road ... if we could only be so lucky.

Hope your week is going well and especially hope that all you riders stay upright.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Warning: Sloth ahead

Oh what a good boy am I; no running for me. Nightly icing and regular doses of Ibuprofen has significantly cut down on the pain in my left knee. Although this regiment is accelerating the healing, it's killing my dog. Every morning, my black lab races in circles around me in anticipation of a run. Hope springs eternal for a dog. I was down-right cruel to him this morning when I took him with me in my car to one of the nearby desert parks. He had his nose out the window and went nuts when the desert smells wafted into his nostrels and he gave me that "what gives" look again when we left the park without a run. Poor puppy.

Although I didn't run this week, I did ride my bike to the office 4 times. Total distance: somewhere near 36 miles. I gave blood on Friday morning and bummed a ride to the office from wife instead of riding. I had scheduled this donation to be a week after Carlsbad, a time I had expected to be in a lull anyway. As it was, draining a pint of O- didn't impact my training at all; so I guess I timed it right.

I'll start walking on Monday and see how the knee does and then sloooooooooowly build back up. I also expect my diet to get back on track. I find the relationship between training and eating fascinating. The higher the quality of my training, the higher the quality of my diet. I shudder when I think about what I've eaten over the past 3 weeks. I'm surprised I haven't gone into toxic shock from all the crap I've consumed.

Hope you all have a great week.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Iceman cometh

Again ... thanks for all the comments relative to pulling my blog. I'm
not going to do anything drastic; and I don't think I could actually
pull the blog anyway. Although I can be a drama queen, packing up my
marbles and storming off isn't going to get me healthy.

After a successful 3 mile test run on my left knee last Saturday, I
extended the distance out to 5 miles on Sunday. 5 miles; one loop
around the neighborhood; no problem, I do this course regularly when I
don't have time to run further. Unfortunately, 5 miles was more than
my knee could handle. It was throbbing again by the time my black lab
and I got back to the house. No hills, no sprints, no rocky trails,
just one-foot-in-front-of-another arrow straight black-top. Flat,
flat, flat and an easy pedestrian-like 10/mi pace.. I couldn't even
break a sweat.

After 30 minutes, my left knee started to ache. Not a real pain, but
it was letting me know it wasn't happy. By 4 miles the knee let a
brief bark on each foot fall. It was more of a whimper than a bark. No
pain, just an uncomfortable feeling. Some time shortly after that, I
pulled up and walked home. My black lab immediately reached the end of
his leash and turned around to look back at me with a discernible
"what gives?" look in his eyes. This was only his 3rd run in two weeks
and he was definitely disappointed.

So, I'm back to daily icing and running vicariously through your
blogs. I have continued my short bicycle commute to work and my kids
have stopped ribbing me about biking for the most part. I also started
yoga twice a week. Let's see if I can stick with that. But running
will have to wait a little while longer. If any of you have a magic
cure for classic runner's knee, I'm all ears.

Take care and good luck this week.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

2 out of 3

OK … Thanks the kick in the butt and the numerous threats from all of you. I wasn’t looking for sympathy and certainly wasn’t expecting to evoke the reaction I got, but thank you none-the-less.

I went to our storage locker on Thursday evening and got out one of our road bikes. This bike isn’t built for speed, it’s more of a cruiser, but it’s in good shape and certainly able to cover the short distance from my house to my office in the far north end of Phoenix. After a change of inner tubes, some general dusting, lubing and a quick brake adjustment, the bike was ready to go.

Temperatures were a pleasant 30F (-1C) when I left for the outbound commute. The traffic was too bad and I certainly didn’t try to assert my right of way in Phoenix (not only are drivers in this state often armed, but we are notorious for running over bikes). The ride was uneventful, but I did feel my thighs when I got to work and locked up my bike near one of the side-doors. I took this as a good sign that riding, even riding slowly, may serve to build up my pitiful quads.

The ride home was equally uneventful, although I was huffing and puffing after the final climb up the hill to my house. My 20 year-old-daughter gave me a hard time about bike-commuting on Thursday night and thought she was really funny when she called me at work at 5PM on Friday night to ask me stop and get some take-out.

On the running front, I’ve started up again after taking nearly 2 weeks off to let my knee heal. There’s nothing much to write about on this front. I did a cautious run/walk for 40 minutes this morning; no problems – that’s good. My black lab was extremely thankful to be out running again. When I take a two week break, he takes a two week break and he wasn’t all that happy about the respite.

I still haven’t done anything about the third leg of the master plan for 2008, stretching; although I will get cranking on this over the weekend. I look like Frankenstein's monster when I first get out of bed.

On a positive note, I agreed to volunteer at the Arizona Road Racers' Marathon / Half Marathon on Feb 2nd. The course is an extended version of the course we used for the 30K in December (Pictures). It’s a great run, inexpensive and will have plenty of enthusiastic volunteers to keep you hydrated.

Best of luck to everyone running the Carlsbad Marathon on Sunday. I'd like to give a big shout out to Bex before she starts. I certainly wish I could have been there and I’m sure you’ll have a great run.

Take care.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Return

I made it back from Germany late on Friday night.

Total German Sized meals consumed: 7
Total beer consumed: don't recall
Total Phili Cheese Steaks consumed while in Chicago waiting for planes: 2
Total miles flown: 11,500
Total mileage run: 0

Not my best trip. The hotel I stayed at was less than 1/2 km from the company I was "visiting" and I walked back and forth each day for meetings; however, my knee still hurt for the first few days so I didn't run and I just couldn't get myself out of bed early enough the last day to get in any mileage.

Despite my lack of commitment this past week, our blogging friends were out tearing up the roadways at the Arizona Rock 'n Roll Marathon and half Marathon, including:

Lana: Lana flew in from Tennessee for a try at breaking 4:00 hours for the first time. Under near perfect weather conditions, she clocked in at 3:56:20 (go Lana!)

Mike: Mike is one of the most inspirational runners I've ever met. He just missed a PR at 2:37:40; came in 2nd in his age group and 30th overall ... that's 29 people in front of him and 6,423 people behind him.

Lisa: Lisa ran a PR in the half marathon at 2:48:56. It takes real guts to set out on a 1/2 marathon when you know you've got nearly 3 hours to running in front of you. She just continues to improve race after race.

In addition to the R&R Marathon, the Catalina 50M ran last weekend:

Stephanie: This recent New York City to San Diego transplant completed 44 miles of this brutal course before being forced to drop. 44 miles! Talk about running with courage. I haven't had a 44 mile week in over 6 months and Steph pounded out 44 miles in one stretch. There's a great report on her blog.

As for me, things are still unsettled. Since I decided not to run the Carlsbad Marathon next weekend, I've had a lot of time to think about where I'm going with my running. I nearly pulled the blog on Saturday, but I thought that would be a bit melodramatic. Half of me thinks I just need to start from scratch and build up correctly. The knee problem I discussed last week came out of the blue and coupled with the injuries I suffered through last year leads me to believe that I need to stop screwing around get in better overall shape.

Right now I'm too heavy (185 lbs), lack an sort of flexiblity and generally feel lousy. I need a new direction, a new focus. I know what I need to do; it's just a matter of getting off my fat ass and getting the job done.

Take care.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Gloomy Saturday

I was shocked at the number of people running / hiking / mountain biking through the north end of Piestawa Peak Park (aka Squaw Peak Park) in north Phoenix this afternoon. I would have thought that dark overcast skies with intermittent rain showers on a cold Saturday afternoon would be enough to keep most people inside. Wrong. The parking lot on the west side of the park was packed (roughly 30 cars). It was great to see so many people using the park.

I was out this afternoon giving my left knee a quick spin along the Christensen Trail. This 7.4 mile run is rough with a lot of hills, but the views are fabulous and there is nothing like running in a light rain on a cool afternoon.

I've been having a spot of trouble with a pain along the right side of the patella on my left knee. Nothing hugely serious, just annoying really. I've kept my daily mileage under 5.5 miles (Except for Tuesday) and have been icing regularly hoping it would heal itself; however, I needed to make a decision as to whether the knee would be strong enough to run the Carlsbad Marathon in two weeks ... So I figured a slow run through the hills would be a good test.

By the time I got to the turn-around point, I pretty much knew the answer. I didn't set any goals for myself this year other than to get healthy, get stronger and run injury free. In keeping with that thought, I've decided to bow out of this marathon.

I'm off to Frankfurt Germany tomorrow afternoon for a week. The hotel I'm using doesn't have an internet connection so I may not be able to post again until I get back next weekend. In the mean time, I hope you all have a great week and I wish all the best for those of you tapering for the the Arizona R&R Marathon next Sunday.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

New Years Day Run

I took advantage of my last day off from work to get in a rare mid-week 15 miler. It wasn't my best 15 miler nor my fastest; but at least it was my longest run of 2008. Plus my log looks really cool with 15.5 miles logged for day one of a new week, a new month and a new year.

I ran without my HR monitor, but kept the pace intentionally slow and well within my aerobic zone for the first 5 mile loop. The second 5 mile loop was a little slower and by the third 5 mile loop, there wasn't much hope of speeding up anyway. Plus the temp increased from 40F to 60F (yeah, I know, queue the violins).

On a side note, I can't believe so many of you didn't know that you can get a nasty burn (aka, frost bite) from improper application of ice. My only remaining ice pack is a real cheapo with a plastic cover (my other ice packs have mysteriously disappeared). I put the pack directly on my knee and then wrapped it with an ace bandage to hold it in place. 20 minutes was all it took to get a nasty burn. Don't try this at home.

Have a great week.