Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Another break in the routine

I went to class this morning, but didn't run. my knee is still bothering me. it felt "better" when i went to bed but was quite stiff and sore this AM. I will probably do some running on the elliptical machine tonight to get some low impact excercise in. I'm resting and icing when i can, but it's hard with family and a full time job. i'm going to research more on knee braces. there are all kinds out there and i have a couple myself, but i want to find one specifically for my needs (assuming i have "runners knee"). the pain feels like it encompasses the entire joint behind my kneecap. in the beginning i just had some pain below the knee cap and around the front but the pain felt more 'exterior' - not "inside" the joint but more surface pain. but now it feels like it is deep inside my knee joint, through to the back of my knee. it comes and goes. Like i said before, inactivity actually makes it feel worse. it usually feels a little better as i walk on it (but not too long).

i am going Thursday to get fitted for some custom orthotics. the over the counter ones felt good for the 30 seconds i wore them in the store, but they just aren't providing me the arch support that fits "my" foot. but seeing how even those orthotics seemed to help, am i even more optomistic about the custom inserts. It takes about a week to get them in. That's all for today! I'll try and post a picture tonight, so check back if you are reading this without a picture at the top.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

almost had it all



Tracy took Josie back into the doctor Saturday morning while i was running. i took her in thursday and her ears were fine. Friday morning she complained of ear pain. And Saturday morning they still hurt. Tracy took her in and she has a double ear infection! how do those things develop so fast?! so besides the infection, nasty cough and runny nose.... she's great. nothing slows her down.

It's probably a good thing that i wait half a day to post a blog following my runs/workouts - at least the Saturday runs. Because, right after the run and for the following few hours i still feel pretty good. But once the high of a successful runs wears off, all the discomforts and pains set it. And Saturday was no exception...

Saturday morning i got up late so i was worried about getting my food and liquids down with enough time to degest before the run. then i drank too much on the way to the run and began to feel bloated. Luckily the feeling went away. It was about 25 degrees out, but with that wind whipping around it felt every bit as cold as last week - and the first third and last sixth of the run was running into the wind.

I had my orthotic inserts in place. i had been stretching multiple times a day and it was all paying off. i never had significant lower leg and ankle pain!! i still had some discomfort, but very bearable. question of the day: what do you get when you wear a brand new pair of orthotics too long? if you said blisters, you are right!! and guess who wore his a tad too long? right again. at mile four and began to feel a painful spot just behind the ball of my foot. prior to that i did feel some general pain from the inserts and knew i needed to take them out. but finally, at mile six i sat down and took them out and carried on. within minutes my left arch began to hurt - so obviously the inserts were doing their job. but the sharp pain was gone. it was only when i got home and took my sock off that i saw the result of my choice to leave them in too long. not a big blister but an uncomfortable one all the same.

But i'll fast forward to the end. the nine miles felt pretty good. i was definitely "shot" by the end (actually at mile seven i was ready for it to be over) but i felt good and was so pleased that i wasn't fighting through excruciating leg and ankle pain. i also had the bright idea to try an "ice bath". i filled the tub about half full and dumped in three bags of ice i just bought. all it took was to put my first foot in to realize this was not for me. i lasted about ten seconds in that water. i didn't even get fully sat down. the pain of the freezing water was excruciating on my feet. i promptly drained the water and took a very warm shower instead (after letting the shower melt all the ice away).

a couple hours later my right knee bagan to hurt, and hurt bad. it didn't hurt at ALL on the run. but i iced it off and on all day yesterday. i'd like to think it was the five miles i ran without the orthotics that contributed to it, but who knows. Today it still hurts a good bit. sitting, or not moving is the worst (sitting on the couch for a while then getting up). i'll ice it some more tonight and tomorrow when i can. now that i seem to have found the culprit to my leg and ankle pain, the only thing that is causing me grief or worries about the marathon is this knee. i am resting it as much as i can and icing it when i can. the pain goes away, but returns after each long run. i will keep you posted.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Hope in view

I took Josie to the Dr. today cause the fever and other symptoms have continued. he wrote her a new script for Albuterol for her breathing treatments and feels that with her Pulmocort (another breathing treatment med) should knock this out.

I had a great appointment with the physical therapist yesterday. My gastroc tendon in the back of my legs (achilles, etc) is very tight so i can't lift my feet real far (pointing my foot up as i plant my heel), so the tendon(s) in the front of my foot have to work harder to pull the foot up. this obviously makes them tired very fast and begin to burn/hurt = all my lower leg and ankle pain! also my arches, that appear normal actually flatten out when i step down and i over pronate to some degree = arch pain.

so the treatment..... a lot of stretching my gastroc tendon throughout the day and to try a good set of orthotics (shoe inserts). If the over the counter ones don't do the trick, he'd custom fit me a pair (like your comment Susan)He feels this will eventually alleviate my pain. That is fabulous news, except, with only two months to go, i'm not sure how much more flexibility i can get before the race. Oh, and the cause of my knee pain is most likely directly related to my over pronation that pulls my lower leg out of allignment with my upper leg, causing my knee cap to basically come out of it's normal groove with every stride = inflammation and pain.

So, although the knee pain is somewhat "injury" related, it all stems from a biomechanical imbalance i have, plus tight tendons = all of which is correctible!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i had a feeling it was more in the mechanics of my stride than an over use injury. as of right now, i am feeling GREAT about the prognosis and i'm looking forward to more productive runs and workouts.

i'll let you know how the 9 miler goes Saturday morning.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

First off, Josie is sick today. She started a dry cough Sunday morning. Yesterday she coughed all day (every few minutes) and she had a fever by evening. Tracy stayed home with her today and took her in to get a strep test. it was negative but they said her tonsils were swollen. no meds at this point. I called to check on her and Tracy said she just out of it and about to fall asleep again (after sleeping half the evening and sleeping in until 9:30 this AM.).

As far as the run this morning, it was okay. i only did 2 of the 3 runs because my right knee and groin were starting to hurt again. my ankles were hurting like crazy, but i had Bob running next to me to talk with, to 'will' my way through it, but once my knee started hurting i knew i better stop. it is now the afternoon and my knee is hurting much more than this morning. this may mean taking off Thursday again (trade the regular workout for some other cross training activity) because we've got 9 miles to run Saturday. If i didn't say so on my last post, because the weather was so cold and we stayed close to "home base" to keep out of the cold, we didn't get a full 9 miles in, so we are redoing the originally planned run this weekend. We originally had about 40 people in the class. 18 showed up for the "artic run" last saturday. today i counted just over 20 in class. some people may have just been absent, but there must have been some more that have dropped the class. Again, i am striving NOT to be one of those so i am being extra cautious with my knee, etc, making sure i can still make the long runs (Saturdays) which is vital to marathon success.

I have an appointment scheduled with the physical therapist tomorrow after work. i am hoping for some answers and maybe some corrective things i can do to aleviate the pain in my lower legs and feet.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Battle of the Will

If my car's thermometer factored in the windchill, it would have read 14 BELOW zero! And check out Washburn's frozen waterfall this morning. It's pretty spectacular up close and in person.

Today was miserable - but not cause of the cold. Actually, the bone-chilling negative 14 degrees was no big deal. i was dressed in several layers; two on my legs and four on my upper body, and a hat and earmuffs. My body stayed warm the whole time, even when i was seating a ton - which was the whole time. My fingers, now those i couldn't seem to keep warm, even with two pairs of gloves. Next time i'll just wear my ski gloves. Dave gave us surgical masks to wear over our face to combat the chill and to slightly warm the air before it entered our lungs. The problem was that the mask quickly became saturated with moisture from the warm air coming out of my mouth. Then it became hard to breathe in cause the mask would suck up against your face. So i would pull it down for a little bit - then it was frozen solid when i went to pull it back up. everyone had 'icecicles' on their eyelashes which caused the outer corners of our eyelids to freeze together as the lashes stuck together. But again, for me, the frigid air was not a big deal.

What WAS a big deal was the pain that i continue to have in my feet. at least my lower legs weren't hurting this AM, but my ankles and arches made it difficult for me to want to continue on. I am becoming more and more convinced that it is a sturctural issue with me.... it's just the way i'm made, for good or bad, that causes my hips, legs, and feet to track a certain way when i run. it's my "pattern" of running if you will. we all have one. unfortunately, mine may be such a way that causes pain because my feet don't hit the ground the way they should. Biomechanics is basically what i'm talking about (i think). The reason i feel it's more along these lines and not an injury is that the pain never gets worse or last beyond the run. it begins hurting soon after i start running and quits soon after i stop. But it's painful enough that 'psychologically' it would be detrimental for me to "work through it" for 26.2 miles; i probably wouldn't make it.

Taylor has a schoolmate who's dad is a physical therapist and a certified athletic trainer. I was talking with him about my "issues" Friday night and he said they perform free consultations and he'd evaluate me, check me out walking, running and other stuff to see if they can see something "mechanically" wrong with my running, or sturcturally wrong with my legs/feet in motion. I will be calling him first thing Monday morning to get in there. i've gotta get this figured out!

all else is well with the family. Josie is next to me making fart sounds with her mouth on her arm... nice. I'll let you know more when i do.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Handling marathon fatigue

I took it pretty easy this morning because my knee was just a little aggravated; very mild, but i've got to be ready for the 9-miler Saturday morning - which by the way, is projected to be even colder and nastier than last saturday. But running in the frigid cold is so much better than running in the exhaustive humidity any day! Today's weather is actually very cold with drizzeling rain that is freezing on the cars. Good thing we worked out inside.

Today's plan was to simulate what our legs will feel like come mile 20 of the marathon. it was a lower leg work out consisting or cycles of running and leg exercises (squats, claf raises, lunges, etc, between each 4 minute run). the intent is to completely exhaust your legs and get the lactic acid building up in the muscle. we also did the seated chair against the wall; with your back against the wall and your feet out a couple feet from the wall, you squat down as if you were sitting in a chair. boy, that got the thighs burning!

the frustrating thing about my lower leg pain is that it starts shortly after i begin running, never gets worse, and stops when i stop running (or within a few minutes). i just don't get it. Professor Dave suggested maybe it was a foot/leg pattern i had - the normal (but problematic) tracking/positioning of my feet/lower legs when i run. i will continue to explore answers.

i noticed from the last post that the "comment" option is indeed working now. Thanks Bob for testing it and thanks Steve for your encouragement.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Keep up the pace!

Yesterday we worked on pace - maintaining it, mile after mile (actually in our workout it was checked every quarter mile). Last tuesday the class got a baseline time (for each quarter) to be used today. But, since i didn't run that day due to my knee... i ended up just guessing what pace i was going to keep. i usually trained at a 10 1/2 minute mile for the half marathon. so i used a 10 min. time - which breaks down to 2 minute-30 second quarter mile intervals. so i ran with the "2:30" group.

it went well. near the last half mile my groin started to hurt a little (it was really hurting at the end of my Saturday run), and still had a little lower leg pain... but over all the pace was good, and actually, i potentially could have run a little bit faster pace. it felt like my normal marathon pace, but we were supposed to be running a little faster than that. but oh, well. as of right now, my goal is to run a 9:50 (minute per mile) pace for the marathon.
when factoring in the walk breaks, my half marathon broke down to about 11:30 minute miles. so even if i can run this marathon in 10:00 min. miles, it's a big improvement.

This Saturday is the first real marathon prep "long run" of the class. It's nine miles. Earlier in the semester, Dave said that the 9-miler will be a deciding factor for some as to whether or not they can hang with the class. already a few people have dropped for various reasons. My goal is to not be one of those. And the key will be staying injury free. so i do take these little aches and pains seriously. i know i worked through them for the half marathon, but this race is a totally different beast.

I will begin working on the fundraising info and pledge forms soon. i would like to get them out by the first of March. i will likely send them as attachment to every eamil address i have, but i may also send hard copies in the mail with self-addressed stamped envelops for people to return the form/money as well.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Jack Frost still around


I began getting ahead cold a couple days ago. I can't stand those; running nose, severe head congestion that feels like your head's in a vice; sounds like you're talking in a barrel - i hate 'em. I woke up about midnight, unable to breath through my nose and just felt completely miserable. I thought i might be bailing on this morning's run. but some how between midnight and 6:30 am, i felt a lot better-or at least the same sickly state as i was when i went to bed. So I decided to get up and get ready to drive into town for the run.

I didn't realize we got a dusting of snow over night. Last I heard it was a very slim chance to get anything. But that's the weather man for ya. It was a chilly 22 degrees outside with a breeze to top it off. it was probably about 25 degrees by the time our class ran and i'm sure it didn't get any warmer. I didn't really mind the cold, though my face was read for a couple hours after the run (even after my looooong warm shower). it never stopped snowing either.It was snowing when i left, while i ran, and now seven hours later, it's still spitting flakes now and then.

Today was the first day i got a wonderful gift that will continue weekly until the marathon. A co-worker of Tracy's is trained in therapeutic massage and the Rolf technique. When she read my earlier post about some pain i had, she offered her services FREE, one hour per week to focus on my areas of need. She'll be working some deep tissue massage and manipulation to address my trouble spots. I have never had even a professional "massage" before, let alone this more intensive, focused technique. Man was it awesome. i was already tired from the run, but after she got done, i surely could have taken a long nap. AND, i can also use the jaccuzi afterwards if i want. there was only a couple "painful" spots when she was really working my lower legs over. I am so looking forward to the following weeks. if i can rid myself of this nuassance pains i'm having.... i just might be a recreational runner for life.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

It's all in the timing

God picked a good week to allow this knee injury/soreness. I did take Tuesday off to rest it, but in class Dr. Dave said he would not be here for class Thursday (today), so he encouraged us to do a cross-training day. Awesome, that gives me an extra day of rest since i wouldn't be pounding my knee constantly with running.

So today my friend Bob and i went to the Washburn University Student Wellness Center.... holy cow. It's like being at some elite training center. It's like no gym i've ever set foot in. When i was at WU (10+ years ago), there fitness center comprised of two SMALL rooms. one with free weights and the other with outdated nautilus equipment (which is still there today). Man, has that campus changed since i walked the halls there.

But anyway, today we did 'circuit training' - kind of. we warmed up with 4 laps aroudn the track, then some seated bycicle for 15 mintues, ab machine for two sets, run 4 laps, eliptical machine for 15 mintues, ab machine, 4 laps, treadmill for 15 mintues, and a 4 lap finish. My knee help up quite well. My lower back was hurting, but that's been an issue since high school (and the 8 year old mattress i'm sleeping on). It's been a few hours since the work out and my knee still feels good. my legs are tired so i got a good workout.

Saturday will be the real test as i'll be running for an hour and a half. We see if the knee is okay or not. healing prayers would be appreciated.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Taking It Easy

Not much to report today cause i didn't run. My right knee began getting stiff sunday afternoon. yesterday and today i have some mild discomfort/pain when walking on it. so i decided i better lay off of it now instead of aggravating it further. I may be developing "runner's knee" which is a common problem. or it may just be sore from running Saturday since i ran a hard pace for a longer time than i ever have before. so today i'm resting it an icing it, as much as i can. but that's hard to do at work when you're up and down all the time. i have made it a point to ride the elevator every time today - which is driving me CRAZY. i don't have the patience to wait on elevators. hopefully another day or two off of it and i'll be good to go again.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

"I'm on top of the world!"

first off, several people have said they've tried posting a comment but are unable to. I dont know what the issue is but i apologize for the inconvenience. if you would like to respond to a post, just send me an email instead.

Okay, this morning.... the timed 5k....
As i stated in the last post, according to the good professor, i can expect to run the 5k at a pace of about a minute more per mile than my "all out" timed mile from before. that would be basically 26 minutes and 30 seconds. I then said that i am shooting for a sub-30 minute time to better my last 5k run of 32 minutes flat (Sunflower Games - July 2005).

The results are in.... mile one = 8:40, mile two = 9:15, and mile three = 9:03. add those up and you get a final time of 26:58!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! much better than i expected. Actually i was second guessing myself just prior to the 'race'. i had my timer set at 9 minute intervals. That allowed me 10 seconds more than the professor said we should strive for. But just before we started, i bumped the interval time to 10 minutes cause i got scared. If you average out my mile times, it ends up being right at a minute more per mile than my "all out" timed mile..... imagine that. i guess the good professor knows what he is talking about, ha! (by the way, his name is Dave so i may just start referring to him as that in my posts)

And the kicker is, that i actually felt a lot better when i finished the 3 miles. so technically, as far as taxing out heart rate... i could have really run that 5k faster. but it was nice to not feel like i was going to collapse at the end!

so i've got TWO personal bests today! number one was bettering my 5k time by 5 minutes which is basically 1/6 of my old time. and number two was that i ran it without walking. See, ever since i began training last year, from day one i emplemented the 'run 10 minutes, walk one mintue' routine because that's the way we'll run the marathon basically. so i've never (in my life) run more than one solid mile without slowing down to walk!! Today i ran THREE and still felt great at the end!

so, i am very excited today! of course right now, 4 hours later, i want to go to sleep cause i'm thouroughly tired!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

A Better Day

Things were much better today. Still physically taxing, but without yesterday's pain. Today we ran flights of stairs, jumped rope, steps (stepping up and down from an elevated platform/stair), and then some ab work. Then you repeated that cycle several times... my thighs were about to give out the last time up the two flights of stairs.

Today we also got the results back from some 'testing' last week...
Maximal oxygen consumption - the body's ability to take up, distribute, and use oxygen during physical activity. The better this score - the better your chances to sustain the activity level and effectively use the oxygen you take in. It appears my "VO2max" is in the "excellent" range. As exhausted as i was at the end of that mile run (you pretty much go all out for the mile time - not just a jog) with my heart about to jump out of my chest. i'm not buying my "excellent" ability to maximally utilize the oxygen i take in. it was beating so fast i could hardly count the beats for the 15 seconds. the goal, through training is to get to where your heart beats fewer times at the same activity level. you'll read below that i ran a 7 minute 49 second mile time, and my heart rate was 160 bpm. for me that was a much as i could tax my heart and not collapse (though i wanted to). so as i increase my heart's ability to utilize oxygen more effectively, at the end of the semester i should be able to run that same mile at that same time with a slower heart rate -OR- run an even faster time with a heart rate of 160 still. does that make sense?

Another test was for fexibility - which i already knew i was not, period. And the results confirmed that. if there was a "sub-poor" catagory for my age group, i'd be in it, but "poor" is as low as you can get. guess what i need to work on?

The last test was body fat percentage. i was pleasantly surprised with that - although, the instructor said it's results are conservative - it was still MUCH lower than what my scale at home reads.

Our instructor today said that to give us an idea of what we should be running the 5K (3 miles) in this suturday, we should add about a minute onto the mile time we ran last week. now remember, i thought my chest was going to explode after i "ran" that timed mile. i ran it in 7 min 49 seconds. so i should be running each mile this Saturday at sub-9 minutes. During my half marathon training if i got started out running at a sub-10 mintute mile, i felt it after the first mile and slow down. So if i need to target a 8:49 mile saturday, i suspect i'll be filling the same way i did with the mile. i just can't imagine sustaining that kind of exhuastion.

but there is a method to all this madness. tuesdays and thursdays ar faster, more intense work outs to biuld overall speed and agility to better prepare us for the marathon. iwon't be running the marathon at a pace that produces the exhaustion i feel during these 'time trials'. Last July i ran the 5K - my first race since i was a freshman in high school - was about 33 minutes i believe = 11 minute miles. so my goal saturday it at least a sub-30 minute time. but i should run it in about 27 mintutes according to the calculations above.

Enough boring numbers. i'll check back in after the Saturday run!!