Another 4-day-in-a-row comeback

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.

A run

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.

I keep running, if not blogging

It has been awhile since I last blogged here. The last post I said something about it being hot. Well its still hot, so it can’t have been that long ago. Today when I ran this morning it was actually really nice out. I got a good sweat on, but I didn’t manage to wreck myself. Sunday, however, was a different story in terms of wreckage. I added an extra mile to my normal (these days 5+ miles) route and felt terrible afterwards. I also didn’t really have enough to eat to support any kind of run, so i am sure that had a lot to do with it. Ok, I also did some yardwork before and after I ran. Oh yeah, and I didn’t sleep well that night. And… Ok that’s enough. The run sucked and that was that. But I made the best on it on Monday and went out again and even pushed away the initial thought of doing a short run to accommodate the previous day’s exhaustion. I am really glad I hit the streets and left that crappy run in the dust where it belonged. I even managed a sub 10 min mile pace (which didn’t happen on Sunday!)

Today was the third run in a row and it felt really good. No signs of the pains of Sunday and I even brushed up against my goal pace of 9:30 (9:31, dang it! Five seconds off!) I was in a really good mood too after have several positive transit experiences (unusual due to my usual curmudgeony running bias!) I had done 30 minutes of qi gong before I ran and then several times I have done that before running I have noticed an improved running experience, both mood-wise and physically speaking. And to top it off I am actually blogging about it!

One interesting/different thing that is going on with me right now is that I have taken a break from medical cannabis. Partly to keep a clearer head while by wife recovers form a minor surgery she just had, but also it has been something I have been thinking about doing. It has been a week now which may not seem like a lot of time, but for someone who had gotten used to enjoying his meds every night it makes a difference. Positives I have noticed: waking up is a bit easier (though not as much as I would have thought), I go to bed earlier (though the cannabis seemed to help me sleep better), I wake up earlier (see go to bed earlier), I read more as opposed to watching tv. Negatives I have noticed: foot pain, cramping and discomforting sensations appear to have increased, bad TV seems really bad, slight rise in general irritation with people (very slight, people often already irritate me!). Overall it has been pretty easy to deal with not having the habit, and I enjoy not having to look forward to medicating (oh, let’s call a spade a spade: getting high. I really hate the concept that it is just “medicating”). Oh another positive raises it head, I can be justified in my disdain for potheads (a big reason I do it by myself and don’t really like socializing)! The lessening foot sensations issue has been a major benefit for me with cannabis and I think it is going to win out, the benefits are too high (ummm, pun intended?) I’ll finish out the week with a clear head (and lungs) and then decide if I want to continue. I am leaning to no.

Proud and sad

I’m looking at my running journal for the past two weeks. My ego wins out as I have had it up for several hours and just now decided to leave it up longer. Almost 70 miles in two weeks, two straight weeks of 35 miles, well last week was just 34.1. The weeks were similar in more than just miles. I ran on the same days; Monday and Wednesday through Saturday. I had long runs on both Mondays. This weeks Monday going for 10.25 was the longest I have done in awhile. Many of the runs were extended 10k runs around 7-7.3 miles in must cases.

I feel really good in several ways. First off my feet have gotten through this really well! My discomfort (odd occasional numbing) seems to have subsided and the pain is quite a bit lessened. I suspect that much of this is the zero drop shoes. I think the gate adjustments needed to run flat have had a large part of that. I wonder if I should keep mixing it up by going back to regular running shoes. I think that idea has merit but I think I’ll keep going with the zero drops for now and wait until I have more discomfort issues.

One oddity I have noticed is that my plantar’s wart seems to have moved. Actually it seems to be another one, but the old wart I have had on the botom of my foot for years seems to be getting smaller. This I think really has a lot to do with the change in footwear.

I am feeling good about myself and my health, particularly my weight. I seem to have warded off a potential relapse into largeness. What I really need to do is stop the eating at night, that is my downfall. But I keep telling myself I want to have fat on my body to do the rebif injections. Good excuse for some extra flab.

So, that’s the proud. The sad we all have been feeling this week. One my run today I spied a kid on a bike stopped at the back entrance to reed looking into the air. I wondered what he was doing, he also appeared to be talking on his phone. I silently gave him props for stopping behind the white line and as I turned right into campus he said something to me. “Excuse me?” He repeated that there were bald eagles in the trees. I looked up and spied the first one, a big, huge bird! Twenty feet to the south at the top of another tree was the other one. My friend and I marveled at them as the one took off, wings spread. We both said wow and he looked at me and said “I just wanted to tell you about them.” to which I thanked him heartily and we parted ways.

Moments later I switched from a comercial to the Ducks basketball game set to start in a few minutes. The had a moment of silence for the shootings. I kept my hat off for the National Anthem which quickly followed. It was a pretty amazing and uplifting moment. I really felt like the country was untied in some sort of way. Even if it was just to be in misery, I felt an embrace of the lands and people around me in America. It felt very important.

Sadly some of this evaporated when the jerk in the white car almost hit me. But I live. MF Lives!

Two base runs in a row

I shouldn’t have been running as the air quality has been awful due to firs in Sisters, OR. But I ran both runs in a light haze. Tomorrow is the start of the clear out, but more than likely still bad. But I’ll probably throw caution to the coming winds and run anyway (I hope). So the last two days have both been my 10k base runs. I ran them both slowly and my feet are feeling the recent increase in miles of late.

The foot discomfort really has been making the long mile runs a thing of the past. It seems to be mostly in the balls of my feet and feels as if my shoes are too small. Often I get a slight numbing as well. I do like the zero-drop shoes and how my feet have felt these last two weeks. I have to say that overall I like the flat approach to shoe design. and I love the extra room in the fronts of my Altra Instincts. I have been concentrating on my feet spreading out and flattening on the roads. That seems to help a little. Maybe it is just an acceptance of the discomfort.

Another short break ends with a long run

Well not too long, but longer than I have done lately. This break comes courtesy of my schedule, too much music to keep running regularly. But I can’t blame it all on the music, my laziness has had its place in this as well.Today, I broke through the lazy barrier and slipped on my running shoes and out the door I went.

Speaking of shoes, I have always had a problem with foot sensations. My feet often feel like I am wearing shoes that are too tight. This gets pretty uncomfortable while I am running for sure. Sometimes I just focus on my feet not feeling so uncomfortable and I can trick myself into believing it. I am not too good at it, but I try. It usually works well for short stretches of time. I visualize my feet hitting the ground and how they compress with each step. I often try to feel the entire bottom of my foot hitting the ground flatly and evenly. Its almost as if each step is embracing the weight I am putting on it. This will work or short periods of time, but my brain is smart enough to know discomfort when it feels it! Still, it often gets me through the ends of my runs. Last week I was noticing how particularly tight the fronts of my feet near the ball of my foot and toes. As I was going along and ruminating on it I looked down at my feet and noticed that they look ed a little tight as well. So when I got home I loosened them up quite a bit especially towards the bottom of the laces. This seemed to help quite a bit, especially at the start. After a mile or so I had to tighten them up a bit near the top, but I left the toe area loose. As the run went on they started feeling tight again around mile 3.5. I have noticed this threshold before as well. Probably has to do with my feet swelling a bit as they get stomped on. Still I have to say this really seemed to help. Certainly didn’t stop the discomfort, but hey, us msers are all about small improvements! And I was able to run eight miles today with little issue. At one point I noticed that my breathing felt pretty solid, my legs didn’t feel tired, I didn’t feel tired and it was only my feet that were barking at me. The looser laces seemed to help me with my visualizing of comfort as I felt my feet spreading out and filling my shoes. Overall I think it was a good decision, now I just need to loosen my other pair!

It wasn’t too hot today at noon, but not cool either. I am finding myself really enjoying the hot runs. Of course I have to have water which is sort of a pain, but it isn’t too bad to deal with, especially now that I loosened my water belt a tad too to go along with my shoes! Sweating so hard really takes it out of me hydration wise and I have to really work to reestablish proper levels. Still working on it today…

Coming back from a cold

Cold, flu, whatever it was is still in my lungs a bit, but I am coughing less. I have been meaning to write after taking a week off. I have run through illnesses before but this one was particularly nasty. So my first run back went pretty well, that was four days ago. 10K slow, I felt pretty good through the run. It was hard and I had to push myself along at times. But I made it through it and even ran again the following day. This run was tough and I walked a couple of times, but I got through 5 miles +. I followed this up with a couple days off mostly to perform better (actually played really poorly, kept forgetting my notes…)

Which brings me to today. I started out with some overcast but that quickly burned off and got warm. I didn’t bring water and that was a mistake. But I was going by water fountains on the run and I did ok, still should have had it with me. My pace was fast right from the start. I stayed conscious of my pace trough most of the run and pushed myself several times. For the last mile or so I knew I would make it averaging under 10 min miles. I finished my 10k distance just over 60 minutes and ended with a 9:46 pace, I was happy with that. I felt pretty beat and a shower flet great but I recovered throughout the day pretty well.

My feet have been bugging me a bit lately and today was no exception. Yesterday I had to play a show standing on audio cables which felt really uncomfortable on the bottoms of my feet. Today on the run I was feeling it. Weird feet!

LSD hallucinations

Ok, not that LSD and not those hallucinations. But maybe not that far off. Yesterday my Long Slow Distance run of 16.5 miles brought me to the point of hallucinations around mile 14. The first thing I saw was a cyclist coming at me on the Springwater path with a small terrier running on a leash. I thought to myself, you can’t be seriously making that small dog run that fast, can you? Turned out he wasn’t serious, there was no dog. At that point I knew I was in trouble! I didn’t have to slow down because I was already going really slowly. But I decided I would make a concerted effort to pay attention to reality (and non-reality, but safety was my chief concern.) Other hallucinations I experienced where not quite that dramatic. I always knew where I was, but it seemed like things around me where not quite recognizable, or just slightly off. Like the way things appear when the sun is setting and the light has a warmer glow. Sort of like that. On long runs in the past I have gotten to the point where my environment was completely unrecognizable for moments, a very unsettling feeling. I wasn’t quite there yesterday…

After the run I chatted with my running partner who was at work. She asked the question of the day “Why did you go so far?” Good question. I sort of had it in my mind that I was going to go for a long run and even had an idea of my optimal route (which I ended up doing), but I wasn’t sure. After the first couple of miles I stopped to help someone who was lost at Mt. Tabor. I told her I would walk with her for a bit until we could get to a point where I could show her where she needed to go to get to the main entrance. She asked about my run and how far I was going to go and “16 miles” popped out of my mouth. So there it was, I was committed. Plus, yesterday was the Portland Marathon. Not only didn’t I run it but I wimped out on even watching it (and a run before or after) because it was pouring. So I also had to make it up to myself to go long today.

I brought my phone with me so I was able to take pictures. For some reason I didn’t take any of Mt. Tabor. The run up the volcano went really well and I made it to the top without stopping for a walk. I was a bit worried about the paths being muddy with all our recent rain, but they weren’t too bad although there are several areas where the path is getting eaten away by water coming off the volcano. At the very top victory loop I gobbled the first of my gels and as I headed down the mountain I was feeling pretty good. My pace up the mountain was a slow 11 min mile pace, but on my descent I picked it up to around 10:30. Still slow, but that’s fine and the point of this run. So on to Laurelhurst park, my next route goal.

Laurelhurst Park used to be my favorite place to run when I lived right next to it. I think the loop through the park is a bit less than a mile, but that was plenty for me back then especially if I did a couple of them. It is still one of my favorite places to run, but it has become more of a destination rather than a full course. For some reason I didn’t take a picture of the huge duck pond that they are draining and drudging. And I think I have it bad with our ponds! Through the park, I headed south through the Belmont, Hawthorne, Division and Clinton neighborhoods. Hawthorne featured a surprising number of smokers, seemed like every corner had groups of smokers puffing away. After Clinton I came on the Cleveland High track but on the wrong side to pick up the crosswalk across Powell Blvd. Yes, I could have backtracked a couple of blocks to get it, but I decided to cross further west by the school a quarter-mile away. After another half mile or so south I crossed the railroad tracks on the Holgate bridge which has a wicked hill to make it to the top of the span over the train yards.

Once over the bridge I was able to pick up the trail to Oak’s Bottom, a wildlife sanctuary. The path through the sanctuary leads to Springwater Corridor my next route goal. The path is only about a half mile, but has become one of my favorite places to run maybe due to the fact that the route I usually take is all downhill. Once I hit Springwater, I now had a route choice. I could head downtown which was 3 miles or so away and then head back home another 4.5. I opted for the shorter route to Sellwood and eventually East Moreland (which was my optimal route plan).

The trail to Sellwood is very straight and a little boring. The scenery is really nice, on the left is the lake in Oak’s Bottom and to the right is the Willamette (the photo that is two shots above shows the river in its low state). It is usually pretty crowded with cyclists, runners and walkers. Bikes zoom by without and concern for those they are passing. I get tired of getting buzzed without warning, but some are courteous enough to ring a bell in warning or call out “on your left”.

I realized I was running low on water so I detoured into the park near the Sellwood bridge and filled up my water bottle. Once filled up I headed through Sellwood. Here the Springwater Corridor takes you through city streets for a mile or so. There are plans to create a path that links the two portions of the trail and they have just come to an agreement about it, so I hope to see that soon. But for now, we take it to the streets. Just before I met up with the remaining 20 miles or so of the Corridor I made a mistake. It felt like I had a pebble in my shoe so I sat down on a concrete barrier. My feet were apparently playing tricks on me as there was no pebble (this was the second time today that had happened, the first time happened on Tabor and I felt a hot spot on my heal as if there was something in my shoe. Nothing there and it soon went away. My feet really like their tricks…) The real problem occurred when I tried to get up! What a struggle, but I made it up and continued on my way although very slowly. I looked at my watch to check my pace – 14:52. Wow, I was crawling! I checked again a minute later and I was even slower at 14:55. Then I realized that was my mileage, not my pace. My actual pace was around 12 min miles, still slow, but nor glacierly so.

This portion of the Corridor is called Three Bridges as it feature (of all things) three bridges: one over a creek, another over a large road and the third over the railroad tracks. As I crept closer to East Moreland it felt good to see the end coming closer. I even ran (well sort of ran) out of the Corridor to the neighborhood and continued on my way toward pizza. The blocks were going by very slowly, but I just accepted that and kept crawling forward. I had some hills to deal with at this point and that made the process even slower. The last hill through Berkley Park did me in and at 16 miles I decided to stop running and walk the rest. After a few blocks I realized I still had a half mile to the pizza parlor. It dawned on me that if I ran it I would get there quicker. So I turned the watch on again and ran out the last half mile, well “ran” might be an exaggeration, but I did get there quicker than if I had walked. Once I had my food I carried it home. I decided to put my jacket back on just to keep my body heat in. It wasn’t cold out, but I was really tapped. Fortunately I had managed to drink a lot of water on the run, but I still felt dehydrated. And considering my shirt was dry I must have been. It was good to get home, shower and heat up pizza. Phew, what a run.

Make-up run

It is Friday and I find myself with only 6 miles for the week. Tomorrow we are expecting a day of freezing rain, so I don’t see getting many miles in then. Sunday I have an eight mile run planned, 4 loops of a nature park in Portland. We’ll see if weather permits.

So today I decided to do a long run to make up for my short week and a possible short remainder of the week. I made my way around my base run with added loops and additional sections. I ended up with 9.5 miles and felt really good doing it, I could have easily gone further. But it was cold and I was hungry, so I ended it.

One weird thing happened on this run. About 2.5 miles into it I got a funny feeling on my right heel which quickly felt like I had a blister hot spot coming or like I had something in my shoe (or both). I stopped and adjusted my shoe and the feeling remained, but it felt better. I thought about walking, but realized that a 2.5 mile walk wouldn’t do much better than a 2.5 mile run. My shoes weren’t wet and I have never had any problem like this before with my feet and shoes. So I started up and decided to run with a pronounced mid-strike rather than on my heel or ball of my feet. It felt a bit better, but still a concern. The my running thoughts drifted away and the next time I thought of it was five miles later, this time with no odd feeling at all. Strange and ms-y.

Make-up run

It is Friday and I find myself with only 6 miles for the week. Tomorrow we are expecting a day of freezing rain, so I don’t see getting many miles in then. Sunday I have an eight mile run planned, 4 loops of a nature park in Portland. We’ll see if weather permits.

So today I decided to do a long run to make up for my short week and a possible short remainder of the week. I made my way around my base run with added loops and additional sections. I ended up with 9.5 miles and felt really good doing it, I could have easily gone further. But it was cold and I was hungry, so I ended it.

One weird thing happened on this run. About 2.5 miles into it I got a funny feeling on my right heel which quickly felt like I had a blister hot spot coming or like I had something in my shoe (or both). I stopped and adjusted my shoe and the feeling remained, but it felt better. I thought about walking, but realized that a 2.5 mile walk wouldn’t do much better than a 2.5 mile run. My shoes weren’t wet and I have never had any problem like this before with my feet and shoes. So I started up and decided to run with a pronounced mid-strike rather than on my heel or ball of my feet. It felt a bit better, but still a concern. The my running thoughts drifted away and the next time I thought of it was five miles later, this time with no odd feeling at all. Strange and ms-y.