Barefoot running

May 7th, 2017

While I really like the idea of barefoot running I much prefer (and need) to wear shoes. I do run in zero-drop shoes to get as close as I can to actual barefoot running, but my right leg is about a half inch shorter than my left. To correct for this I wear a lift in my right shoe. This makes actual barefoot running difficult for me at least as a full-time method. I have gone for occasional beach runs sans-shoes and it is great.But long term I would miss my lift!

A barefoot runner recently reached out to me with an article on barefoot running that I thought I would share with you all:
https://www.jenreviews.com/barefoot-running-shoes/
Take a look and please let me know your thoughts on the concept.

Another 4-day-in-a-row comeback

June 30th, 2016

Once again I find myself completing another four runs in four days comeback. Looking at my running records it appears that I took 3 months off, thought that seem awfully long and I may have not recorded a few runs in between. My Garmin watch, as much as I love it, has been giving me trouble again and not recording things properly. My first two runs I did without the watch at all as it was out of juice for the first one and froze on the second after my janky watchband repair fell apart and it smacked the concrete. The third run (actually the second in a row) was a little better and simply took 1.6 miles to record the first mile, so I felt ripped off! But the new Garmin online software allows me to edit my runs, so today I was able to get my numbers where they should have been! The last two runs have been accurate as far as I can tell, so maybe the watch needed to wake up from its slumber too?

I usually start these reboots slowly by running less miles at the start. But this time I jumped right in and ran 6+ miles my first day back. It felt great though my legs were a tad rubbery afterwards. I added two performances to that as well as shoveling and moving bark dust and I was bushed. But after the two performance days I got right back into it and ran my four in a row for a total of nearly 20 miles. The first day of the 4 in a row was super hot and I struggled to finish, but finish I did, well with a few walking breaks. For the last two runs I cut out the extra walking breaks and only walked the hills. I feel pretty good about that. The only real issue I am having is the start of a blister on my left ankle, I’ll live. Bandaids will get me through the next one.

My feet were quite sore for the first couple of runs pretty much throughout. But in the words of my friend Kraig I powered through. I tried to concentrate on having pillows for feet and through meditating on that I was able to deal with the pain. The last couple of days the soreness has lessened quite a bit. Maybe I just need to get them used to the pounding a bit. I am sure they will never be all that happy with the running, but it is good to know I can get myself to deal with the pain and I am really glad to see it lessening.

Today I cut my miles back and ran the canyon, a 3.7 mile run. My time always slows running the meandering path, I often wonder if the trees are the issue. Perhaps some other weird reed vortex is causing problems. Or perhaps I just ran 3.7. Whatever, it was a nice run and good to see the canyon again.

4th run in 6 days

March 27th, 2016

Like the title says, 4th in 6. Feels pretty good with some oddities. I wasn’t sure I was going to get the run in today as I was feeling a bit run down and sore from working in the yard yesterday and having a desperate food need forcing me to go grocery shopping this morning. But after getting back from the store I decided I should really do this, so off I went. Pretty typical run in that I did my normal 5+ mile route with a sub 10 min mile pace.

Now for the oddities. My awesome excuse for not running on Thursday was that I just didn’t feel like doing anything after my visit to the urologist for a cystometrogram. Basically the test fills your bladder up with saline as well as your rectum (to offset the pressure on the bladder), when full the pressure is checked on the plumbing and how well it deals with the full bladder. I was under the impression that this was going to reveal some insight into some of the bladder issues I have been having over the years (both frequency and incontinence issues, which was confusing to the doc as usually it is one or the other, but ms works in mysterious ways). So the first step is a catheter is inserted into the urinary track to empty the bladder with the help of some numbing gel. Off we go. The PA inserts this first catheter without issue. Now comes the fun, after the first one is removed a second catheter is then inserted into the bladder. It was smaller (thank you) and flimsier. Well she tried and tried and tried without success and asked me if I could feel it kinking up. Well I was feeling something, but kinking wasn’t it. So she stopped and called the doc. She came back and asked me how bad my symptoms were to which I said “well bad enough so that I am here!” to which she replied that the test was just to establish a baseline to test against in the future to track any further complications. She said it was a really good sign that I was able to completely empty my bladder via the first catheter and that I could come back in three months to try again. Ugh. Or, (and usually the “or” is a worse situation, but not this time) I could blow it off and she would give me a prescription for whatever symptom direction I felt was worse (frequency or difficulty urinating). Finally, this is what I was hoping for in the first place four months ago when I first saw the urologist. She gave me two weeks of samples of a med called Rapaflo. I was told to not expect to see anything for a week or so while I built the med up inside my system. If I see positive results and want to continue, then she would write a prescription.

So off I go, hopefully “going” in more ways than just that. I looked onto the side effects and see that there are a few somewhat rare side effects. One of the more common ones is dizziness due to lowered blood pressure, one of the odder and less frequently mentioned (I wonder why) symptoms is what is known as retrograde ejaculation. Wtf? Basically it means when a male orgasms the semen doesn’t leave the penis and instead goes into the bladder. Supposedly the person still orgasms, just not outwardly. It is not a huge deal and you just urinate it out. Great. Something to look forward to. Well I didn’t have to wait long and it happened the next day after I took the first pill. It didn’t have quite the same feeling either. Not a fan, but I will give it a week and some more research to see if this is temporary or permanent before I say no to rapaflo.

Another thing I noticed after a couple of days is that it seems to be effecting my running as my HR is elevated and I feel quite a bit more tired once I hit about 40 minutes of running. I have had to stop and walk these last several runs at times. I am not sure if this is due to the lowered BP, but I suspect it is. Looking at my Garmin numbers I see that my avg HR is a bit higher, but not nearly as high as I thought it would be. Today my HR hit 182 at one point before a walking stretch. The effort to get there didn’t seem that crazy, so again I suspect the low BP. Something to watch out for for sure. Yesterday working in the yard I experienced a similar bout of tired as well. I am going to make an appointment with my GP and see if there are some different solutions. I am sure there are.

A run

March 23rd, 2016

Well my editor skills are suffering today as I could not for the life of me figure out a post title for this post. Should it have been something witty? Maybe a bad “spring” pun? Ugh, just don’t have it in me today. A day where I don’t have a bad pun in me? I may need to call the doctor.

Today was the second run in a row for me after yet again allowing for another somewhat lengthy running break. For the first part of my break I was recovering from a pulled back muscle, well that’s not really it, more of a pinched nerve? When this happens to me it really puts me down and my entire back seems to get stressed out and painfully tight. My doc has given me a prescription for what I had hoped were muscle relaxers, but really were more a heavy duty anti-inflammatory. They worked pretty well but seem to have lost their potency, the pills are probably four years old or so so I guess it is not surprising. Then I was housebound for a week while my wife was in AZ (don’t ask it is how we roll, one vacation at a time). I could have gone for a run then, but I used my isolationism and house guarding as my excuse. The flip side of that was that while I was home that week I go quite a bit of yardwork done, so that was very cool.

So yesterday I decided to go for a run even though I had a rehearsal that night. I figured it would be a part of my exhaustion experimentation that I have been doing. I thought I’ll just go for a short run. Good plan, but it didn’t last and I went for nearly five miles. It was just so good to be running again! We are going through a tough allergy season in the NW and my breathing was really labored. But I slogged through it and just enjoyed myself. After I felt great, but as rehearsal approached I started to get really tired. I laid down for a little bit and that seemed to help somewhat. During rehearsal I was a little spacey but I found myself able to concentrate, at least enough to play my normal bari parts. Overall it was a good practice and I am really glad I didn’t use it as an excuse to not run. And that makes today’s run two in a row!

Today’s run felt a lot better, especially in the breathing department. Beforehand I was feeling a little bit of tightness and pain in my hips. As the run went on the tightness still nagged at me. So I attempted to straighten my posture and get my hips aligned with my steps and that seemed to help quite a bit. So I think I will focus more on that in the days and runs to come. Also when I got back I made an extra effort to be more precise on my hip stretches that I do after every run. Everything feels pretty good at the moment, so I think I may be on to something. Now I just wish I could solve my foot pain issues. I am not convinced that I don’t just need a little toughening up and that if I keep at the regular running that it will lessen. I am also considering using my hepi-pad inserts instead of the ones that came with my new shoes (this is only the third or so run on my replacement Altras, so I am somewhat skeptical that I need to replace them. I actually think I will give it some time first before switching.) BTW, I ran a sub 10 min mile pace today, made me happy.

Tomorrow I go to the urologist for a cystometrogram that is used to measure the pressure in the bladder to give the urologist some insight into what is happening with my plumbing. He is confused by my symptoms as I seem to be all over the place. I was hoping that my neurologist would send me to someone who has some experience with ms, but he (aptly named Dr. Richard which cracks me up to no end) apparently doesn’t and was even a bit irritated with me. I am not looking forward to the test, but it should be over somewhat quickly. And hopefully he will have a better idea of what I can do to get my bladder issues taken care of (frequent urges, difficulty passing urine, rushing to the toilet but not all the time). Very annoying.

Another day, another run

February 18th, 2016

To follow up on my previous post, my exhaustion experiment was a moderate success. After the shorter run I hit practice up and it went ok. I was a little tired and had some moderate focussing issues, but it wasn’t too bad. Part of that could have been due to the band working on some new and difficult pieces, but I do think the run had its affect. I am going to attempt this again and see if I notice some patterns (well more patterns than I already see).

On other notes I am having an issue with my Altras and am exchanging them. First about two weeks ago the logo pealed off. I didn’t really care as it was just a decal that floated on the middle of the side, I actually applauded the logo falling off, but hoped it wasn’t an indication of some sort of glueing defect. Everything else seemed fine and properly attached. Then today on the same side of the same shoe another part started peeling off and this seemed more structural than decoration. So I will try another pair and see how that goes. I hope it will be ok as I really like this model.

This week I have been battling a cold I brought back with me from our Reno trip, mostly a head cold and a bit in the lungs. On Monday I went for my first run in two weeks after the trip and the cold. I chugged along but it felt pretty good. About halfway through I was getting warm so I stripped off my jacket. I usually don’t stop to unzip it and just pull it over my head on the go, which I did again. All of a sudden I felt a sharp pinch/cramp in my upper back. I stopped and walked for a bit hoping it was more of a stitch and would go away, but it didn’t in fact it just got worse. Figures I was at the halfway point of my run, quite possibly as far away as I could be on this route and I slowly made my way home. That night I took a anti-inflamatory that I had laying around and smoked some indica, a strain meant for pain relief and threw in some icing. I think both helped tremendously as I felt a bit better the next day, so I repeated my relief the next night as well. I was really worried that I was going to have a longer recovery, but my se;f prescribed methods seemed to do the trick and I was able to run today. I also kept active after I did whatever I did and went on a couple longer slow walks.

Today’s run went well, somewhat slow (10 min miles exactly), actually probably a bit faster, but my first 1.25 miles didn’t register as I had turned off my watch instead of disabling the watch bevel (it was raining a bit and leaving the watch face active tends to cause trouble in the rain, my jacket sleeve sometimes causes issues too.) So I had to edit my run on Garmin.com and I just went with the same speed as the rest of the run. The run itself was a good one and I felt strong throughout. I was not so happy with the rain and cold (it was warm for the last couple of days when my back was out, grrr) but it wasn’t too bad.I took a short walk at one point, but jumped back into normal pace pretty quickly up a hill that I could have easily walked. Good run.

Garmin issues. Since I switched over to the new Garmin Connect system I have had nothing but trouble with the watch syncing with the computer. It is supposed to immediately sync once you are within range, and that is how the old system worked. But with Connect I seem to be a run behind and often it won’t let me re-sync to get today’s run into the system. I have tried to massage the settings on the watch and thought I had it figured out, but apparently not. Still I was able to manually sync today and get the system to acknowledge that I ran today (as well as my last run which wasn’t showing up either). I do like the watch a lot and would probably get another when this one finally dies, but I am starting to get a bit frustrated with it.

Exhaustion experiment

January 26th, 2016

Tonight I have a rehearsal, but I really wanted to run today (though I am not sure why I wanted to so badly as it is freakin’ wet out). So I decided to do one of my shorter routes, under four miles. The run went fine though my legs were a bit sore after doing some cobblestone placement after yesterday’s run. In another effort to avoid exhaustion tonight I kept my pace at a recovery pace of 10:11. The run was nothing to get too excited about, but I am really happy I did it and I am curious to see how I handle tonight. As of right now I feel really good and I don’t think I have over-done it. But time through the day seems to have its way with me a times. One other thing, I did xi gong last night and I do think that helps the next day. After my run I ate a protein heavy Kind bar and I plan to get some replacement liquids into me as well, at the very least a good amount of water.

Sunny run

January 25th, 2016

I didn’t think I was going to be able to run today as I had to go into the office of a client for a big meeting that could have taken all day, turned out it took 30 minutes. As I was sitting in my office I realized that the same reasons I used as an excuse to not run had been changed to a reason to run. And it was sunny out as well! With nothing keeping me from the streets it was time to gear up and make it happen.

I have been working on trying to have a better attitude in general and not succumbing to anger with people. Basically I am hoping to ignore things that just don’t matter. If someone isn’t paying attention or is inconsiderate my hope is that I can let it roll off me. I had a couple of people attempt to push me, but I managed to mind my business and focus on my happy run. I spend way too much time being irritated with people on my runs. Not today, sorry home team but Marco: 1 Portland: 0.

Physically the run felt reasonable good. I was dragging a bit but I kept my pace under 10 min miles for the entire run averaging a 9:49 pace. I am still liking my new Altras. One thing they need to work on is the glue they use to keep their logo on as it peeled off of one side, not that I care. Actually much better this way!

Nice run between squalls

January 16th, 2016

We are supposed to have a ton of rain this weekend, like a record ton. I woke up to wet roads, but it didn’t seem like it was that bad. In fact when I went out I left my hat at home. Normally this would be a death sentence and I would have been drenched after a few blocks , but I got the entire run in without eve getting rained on. The crazy rains never hit until after I got out of the shower. So glad to watch rather than experience directly!

Today was the third run in a row. After my fast lactate run on Thursday I had an understandably sluggish run Friday. In addition to being a tad tired I had just eaten less than an hour before which I initially thought was enough time for digestion. Considering I did my rebif shot that morning I figured that I would get the usual boost I get from it, but I didn’t. It wasn’t a bad run, just sluggish. Today I was also tired, but I went for it despite the feeling. I surprised myself how well the run went. I wasn’t super fats but was under 10 min miles for all five+ miles. It was also warm enough outside to wear shorts with no tights which was a welcome change.

I am really like my new Altras – One 2.5. They are feeling really good on my feet. I do notice that the padding on the forefoot is really thin, but if I focus on landing flat on my feet it feels really good. The initial soreness I felt for the first run hasn’t returned so that is pretty awesome.

Damp stomp

January 14th, 2016

I’ve missed a couple of days mostly due to not having time to fit in a run but also due to rain, rain, rain. Normally I can deal with it, but it is that time of year when Oregonians get sick of swimming through our daily lives. Still, just an excuse for me and one I’ll work through. Today’s run started out really fast with my first mile logging in around 9:06. I followed this with three more miles around the same time give or take a few seconds. I don’t have the exact numbers as my Garmin still isn’t properly uploading my times out of my Forerunner 405, lame. On the “positive” side the duct tape I used to repair the band is still holding up. Ok, enough bitching about Garmin for today. The run was great and I was feeling really good about the times for the first four miles. They were tough and after mile 2 I was feeling it but I pushed on. After four miles I walked up the hill out of reed and then continued for another 1.25, my pace was not quite as fast but the final miles came in under 10 min miles. Overall a great run and one that makes me feel good about where I am at physically. It seems I haven’t lost too much of it!

2016 running

January 9th, 2016

As I run my way up to being 50 I am excited to get back into a regular routine. I want to be able to think of myself as a runner again! This last year or so I have felt like I am lying when I tell people I run. That is gonna stop, even if I have to stop saying I am a runner. But I’d rather reconnect with my fitness and feel like I am doing some positive benefit to my body.

One of the biggest stumbling blocks has been the music. I can’t play for extended periods of time (re: rehearsals and performance) on days that I run. My concentration gets really unfocussed and I just feel too exhausted. I experimented with running short distances on music days, which was actually doable. But I don’t like to run for short distances so that doesn’t really work for me. But I am not going to need to worry much about that as one of my bands is taking a hiatus and curtailing regular practices. Sad to leave the band, but not so sad to be able to wrangle my life back!

The other big stumbling block for me has been excuses. I have just been accepting them too much. Life often gets in the way, so not all excuses can be ignored but I want to be able to get past them more often than not. I have thought about a race to build a training regimen around but I am just not feeling that, my interest in participating in races is low. I sort of feel I need to find the ambition within myself rather than relying on something external. Some people are great with external input, but personally I’d rather not. Plus if it is just me that is involved and just my fitness that is being improved then I think I have more flexibility to be myself. if I want to take a Zumba class (as if!) for example, and not run, then I can.

So I started running with Altra zero-drop running shoes about 3 years ago. I love them, well loved cause my second pair was a completely different model and I have struggled to enjoy them. They are heavy and bulky and Altra really outdid themselves in the ugly dept. But I bought them and committed to them so I have been using them. As I was thinking about restarting running last week I decided that I had enough and I bought a new pair. I went with one of the lightest cushioning models as they looked a lot closer to my first pair (which by the way have become my favorite pair of daily shoes. I can even put up with the duck look (Altras have a larger toe box so they look a tad funny.) Today was my first run with them and so far I love them. The model is Altra One 2.5. Looking forward to the next run with them!

Another impediment to my running has been my damn Garmin watch. I have had it now for 5 years(?) and it does still work but I have had several issues with it. I have a Forerunner 405. I love the data and have become addicted to the stats. A couple months ago a person would not move on a path and despite my hugging the right side I ran into her. My watch flew off and the band had pulled off. Garmins are designed to be able to swap out the bands with different colors(? Are runners really that focussed on how they look? Ha, what am I saying of course we are!) I say designed to swap them out, but I never said easily. Or even remotely possible for that matter. My Garmin is now held together with duct tape, awesome. Around the same time I sent their tech support and email to inquire about editing my runs as I often forget to restart or the power dies or some other issue and I need to add on an extra mile. They responded that I could do it with the new online system and it is true, you can. However the online system doesn’t work that well IMHO and I have trouble getting the watch to sync with the computer which keeps me from seeing my stats. Oddly, the previous run will be there but not the most recent one. I may have figured it out by changing the “force send” setting. We’ll see as I just did that.

Today’s run, first in a month or so, was almost 4.5 miles at a 10:02 pace. It felt really good to run, but I did get pretty pooped and had to will myself to keep going. My feet got a bit sore towards the end of the run and they are a bit achey right now. I attribute this to my lack of running and new shoes (should have done a much shorter first run, but I always ignore that fine advice.) I am looking forward to a solid night’s sleep tonight!