Archive for the ‘ms’ Category

Falling leaves and pace

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

Today’s run was my first in 9 days. I had hoped that the break was sufficient enough to allow whatever I have done to my back to mend. I didn’t feel 100% better but there was an improvement. I took the run through all the falling leaves (and raindrops) really slowly and tried to focus on not jarring my back. My mental focus was on a smooth and soft footstrike and bent knees allowing for a some sort of shock absorption. I think ti helped quite a bit and despite feeling rather stiff when I finished the 7 miles, my back actually feels pretty good. I think some of the back pain I had today was hte result of sleeping for a long time and laying in bed watching a movie before that. I think I need to sit up in bed if I am watching TV there, too much horizontal is not so great for the back.

I have been really worried about the break and the loss of fitness. I know it will come back, but it is discouraging to work so hard to get to a point (and realizing how much better I can get) and then have to start all over again. Actually it is probably a good idea that I back away from the hard training to a certain degree and get back to a more base building routine rather than a training routine (especially since I am not training for a specific event, well not until June of 2011 anyway) since I have no end date (end to the “training” that is). Still I feel great and want to continue feeling that way.

I have been having a some little weird feelings in my left leg recently on this break. I have a spot on the front of my thigh that sometimes really itches or feels like a burn of sorts. Sounds like one of those common odd ms tingles to me. The question I have is does it have anything to do with not exercising? Does the abrupt break from training and the shock to my system have anything to do with the increase in s weirdness? Does anything actually contribute to it? Does it just show up out of the blue? Who knows? Maybe I’ll find out?

Pints to Pasta 10k 2010

Monday, September 13th, 2010

Yesterday (we had to get up so early for it I almost want to say “last week”) my running partner and I headed over to the Old Spaghetti Factory for the Pints to Pasta 10k. Parking was well organized and we quickly got a spot and headed to packet pick-up. My running partner’s packet was missing, but they quickly got her another number assigned. So far so good.

The course was a one way route from the Adidas headquarters to the Old Spaghetti Factory. Race organizers had many school buses ready to haul us up to Adidas. After a loud (the bus radio was only turned down after we departed the bus) but safe trip we found ourselves 6.2 miles away from our start. The race offered dry clothing transfer which I used for my new race shirt. They made a point of having us use our packet bags for this so that they didn’t have to waste another bag which I thought was great (unnecessary advice for some, of course that is what we would do, but apparently not everyone is on board with not wasting…) So when I got to the drop off I was shocked that they insisted on putting my bag inside an identical bag. I protested but they refused to use my identical bag for the sticker and hurried me on (which for the sake of the 1000s of runners behind me I did, but grumblely so…)

Next stop was coffee. The race was to supply coffee for waiting runners. Turned out all we found were two small empty tureens. We weren’t the only ones. Runner after runner lined up to attempt to tilt the tureen to get some coffee. No luck. Fortunately, we eventually saw a couple of new jugs coming up to the area and we were able to quickly get in line, yay!

The race started in a relatively well organized manner. There were many obviously slower runner lined up at the start line, corkers! But I am sure everyone figured out how to get in front on them eventually. We followed a line for the bathroom and eventually gave up when the line intersected with the mobs at the starting line. Next year they should move post-a-pots away from the start line. But not too big a foul.

We decided to not push the race too much, neither of us figured to set a PR that day. But it was a race after all and what are you going to do but push it. The first two miles of the course were downhill and we all got a great start. I found myself pushing it a bit and passing several people. Our plan to run together only lasted for a couple miles and we lost each other on the bridge. At that point I decided to push it (and so did my running partner behind me somewhere). In reality my pace picked up slightly from the downhill, but not too much and I was able to keep a pretty even pace throughout the race of 8:24.

After the downhill approach to the BroadwayBridge, we had a slight uphill to get to the bridge. Once across we looped around to Naito on a path similar to all the downtown Portland races. Once we got to the waterfront, we all left Naito and got on the waterfront path and headed South. At the end of the west waterfront we took an uphill through a small festival and then headed to the south waterfront district. Quickly through that area we were on our way towards the finish line. I was starting to feel like I had really been pushing it and my HR was really high and the last 20 mins of the race I spent over 180. I made a small effort to keep it under that, but I wanted to finish fast even though at 5 miles I knew I was behind my PR of 49 mins. The last mile I did slow my pace a bit to around 8:40. The last corner revealed the finish line balloons, but they still seemed really far away! What was supposed to be inspirational wasn’t for me at all (same with my running partner)! I looked away and kept going and crossed the line at 52:16. Not bad at all and better than I was anticipating. My running partner set a PR for the 10K and this after thinking she wouldn’t do that well! Congrats!

The after race party was great with pasta and beer (or root beer for those of us who figured 9AM was a little early to drink.) Pasta and beer lines were well organized and they had plenty of table space for us as well as a band. All in all a really good race that was very enjoyable. I want to do it again next year, I do think I’ll be able to beat my PR here. Things to change for me next year would be to bring some water and to do a get before starting. Both I think would help. Music would help me as well. I know I can do it, gotta shave off 30 secs per mile though…

Labor Day recovery

Monday, September 6th, 2010

Well not a recovery from Labor Day, that sounds more like a hangover. This recovery was from yesterday’s 15.5 miles of hard road. I awoke feeling a bit worn out from yesterday. A bit might be an understatement, I was sore and felt pretty sluggish. So getting up I decided to have my usual two cups of coffee (as opposed to only one I would have right before a morning run) and a full compliment of toast and honey. I think the combination of breakfast and yesterday’s eating I recovered pretty solidly and was able to take off for a 5 mile recovery run by 10:30. Makes me think I am still up for a marathon training program. That said I am still pretty worn from the long run. My big toe (with the torn nail) is still hurting, but not bleeding nearly as much as it has been. Add on general foot weariness and I begin to paint a picture of my biggest obstacle to marathon training.

My feet seem to be the most effected part of my health from the ms. I do place the blame for a lot of that on running. Still I believe the benefits of running (and more to the point the high level at which I am doing it) far outweigh any discomfort I am feeling. I suppose I may have to change that assessment down the road, but for now all is good (well mostly all).

So back to the recovery run. I started out with a high HR often approaching 160 before I had even gone a half mile. As warmed up (and/or my heart monitor received a better signal due to sweating) the HR dropped down to a more normal place. I have noticed the high HR at the start of runs in the past. I don’t think it is a misread by the monitor as my heart rate does feel elevated even though I am not putting in the effort. Interestingly when I first started feeling the major ms symptoms, they would always seem to come on heavy at the start of my runs. At first one of my hopeful theories was that I was allergic to some sort of plant in the area as the episodes would occur on the same stretch of blocks. Could it have been the higher HR that brought the stumbling/mumbling episodes on? Nothing else made sense, so this could have been the trigger? Though hills and picking up the pace later in the runs didn’t seem to have anything to do with it.

Other than the initial spike, not much interesting happened on this run. I kept the HR at an acceptable level pretty much throughout. The last hill out of reed pushed me over, but I was busy keeping a decent pace to run past coeds… I think I may do another recovery run tomorrow and save any sort of speed work until Wednesday. It is sort of a necessity with band rehearsal Tues night, gotta keep the mind mostly alert for that.

Loooong slow run

Monday, September 6th, 2010

Today I set out to do a long run and managed to do it and then some. The 15.5 miles was the longest I have done this year. The run was a lot of fun as I kept adding big chunks to it. I finally had to stop when I turned around at the Springwater I-205 path intersection. I seriously considered continuing on to Powell Butte but I had no water and no goo left. It would have been an additional 3.4 each way. It would have given me over 22 which was what my running-addled mind started to consider after the first 10 or so. It would have been good to do the first run of that length in three years or so, I don’t think I have done one that long since I was training for the Portland Marathon in 2006.

My run started with the route of one of the first runs I ever did regularly in the area. At the Wimbledon I left that route and headed up the train overpass. After a quick uphill I cut south to the entrance of the Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge. After a quick downhill run past the frog pond a mother peeing with her daughter I hooked up with the Springwater Corridor and continued south. At the Sellwood bridge I considered crossing it and heading to downtown, a run I figured would be about 15 miles. Sounded like too much at the time. So I passed underneath instead and headed up to the neighborhood of mystery. After passing through in front of a golf course I exited and met up with the three bridges portion of Springwater. Soon after the last bridge I left the path and picked up a bike route through Milwaukie. Past Providence Hospital and into downtown Milwaukie I doubled back to the corridor and headed towards the i-205 path. Here is where I passed up going to Powell Butte and instead headed back through east county neighborhoods until I found some water at Mount Scott Park. My destination was going to be a pizza parlor and after one moment of deciding to just head home I made it and got my slices. I’m glad I did as I am going to eat the last one right now!

Return to running

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

My break from running was short, but for some reason my body was thinking it was longer. I have run 4 out of the last 6 days with two set of back to back days. I am feeling really slow and experiencing a few minor injury problems. It is as if I brought my conditioning to a pretty high level and after the break my body is rebelling.

I have been having periodic issues with my hip lately. I have had these in the past, but it seems as if they have decided to flair up this week. I have been using the foam roller on my hips and that seems to help quite a bit, so perhaps that is the answer I am looking for.

On Sunday my running partner and I did an enjoyable nine miles in Forest Park, toward the end we decided to pick up the pace as we left the park and headed down the hill. Running downhill is supposed to build strength in the legs and running fast downhill is even better. The hard part of doing the fast downhill is letting go and not holding back. If you can relax your legs and gate to let your body just carry itself forward the downhill run can be a good thing. But if you are holding back you tighten up and can more easily cause injury to your legs and back. I think I was able to relax in our run down Thurman St. and we finished feeling good. My problem came later.

After our run and sushi my running partner wanted to go to the gym for a shower so I decided to bus home. The light rail took me from NW to downtown where I could pick up a bus to my neighborhood. On the train ride I saw that I had plenty of time to catch my bus, or so I thought. When I got off the train I had about a five block walk to catch the bus and when I turned into the bus mall there went my bus. The buses make a lot of stops downtown and tend to go slowly, so I thought I could catch it if I sprinted. Three blocks later I just made my bus! Phew! But as I sat down I realized my left leg was in pain. I could barely lift it. My sprint had been all I could take and I appeared to strain my left thigh. I seriously could not lift my leg, I could walk ok as long as I shuffled.

That evening I did a lot of gentle stretching and foam rolling concentrating on my left leg and it seemed to do the trick. Well that and taking a couple more days off combined with more stretching and rolling. My first run after the strain went pretty well. It was basically a junk run, over 70% of max so no recovery benefit and not nearly fast enough to be a quality run. But I put in some miles, eight of them, and most importantly was relatively pain free. I felt a little bit of occasional pain in my hip, but I was able to align myself and run through it. The only odd issue was feeling somewhat exhausted, like I still hadn’t recovered from my running break.

The next day (today) I started out resigning myself to another junk run. My thinking was that I might need to build up some regular running as a way of getting back into running form. Before I knew it I was cruising along at a pretty good clip with my HR in 160s. I quickly decided that my fear of doing quality workouts was not based in reality and today’s junk run became a slow tempo run, but still a tempo run and still a quality run. I felt pretty good as I maintained my high HR for five and a half miles or so before I slowed to a cool down for the final mile. The run felt great and I was really glad to beat the heat that showed up in the afternoon.

On another note we are considering doing the Pints to Pasta run that goes from the Widmer Brewery to the Spaghetti Station. Free food and beer and a new shirt are all part of the deal. Its a 10k and would be a good way to get another race it this year. My partner wants to do the Race for the Cure 5k the week following, so this would be a good warm up for that for her. More on this soon.

Road trip sans running except…

Sunday, August 29th, 2010

So with my anticipated break due to work load in the past I decided to go on a road trip with my photographer buddy and that became my newest running block. We ended up doing some photo shoots in a wind farm and a tree farm and got some good shots (according to my buddy anyway.) Other than those short sprints I took a nice break from running for the past six days. The air quality has been really bad as there have been many forest fires in WA and OR so another good reason for not running.

Running breaks are really hard to do in some respects, I found myself really wanting to go out for a run. The rest was good even though much of it was in a car. We took numerous photo breaks which broke up the drive really well. We did get a short hike in so that was a nice break as well.

Today I ran for the first time in six days and just did a basic run, nothing special. Tomorrow we’ll do nine miles, probably up Thurman and the Leif Erickson trail. So a good return back! Today’s six and a half miles came pretty easy but I am somewhat sore. I am going to do some stretching tonight and maybe even some foam roller.

There was an additional running moment on my trip. We managed to drive several dirt roads north of Pendleton and managed to find the old pig farm I used to spend my summers at. It was here I got my start at running when I was 13 or so. I used to run up the dirt road to the top of theĀ  rolling hill and then I would run down back to the house, maybe a full mile. I remember my friend’s dad having me rolling my foot form heal to toe and while I try to be as flat footed in my foot strike as I can, I still think about this and apply some of those stride patterns today. It was awesome seeing the old place and even though it has changed a lot since I was last there 28 years ago, it still felt like home a bit. Good ole Hog Flats, OR.

Delayed running break

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

I had expected to not have time for running this week due to some new work that came my way. Turns out the work was less time consuming than I had thought (one job I couldn’t do, the other hasn’t started if I even get selected to do it). So I had plenty of time for running this week and managed to get in five straight days for exactly 40 miles. Of those 5 runs, 2 of them were quality runs as well as an LSD run to close out the week. I feel pretty good about the running and a bit worn out. This week I more than likely won’t get any running in though for sure. I am going camping for the week in western Washington. I am bringing my shoes, but with no way to wash off the grime I think I’ll just take a break instead (unless we wind up near a river or something…)

I think a break would be a pretty good idea as I have really been inching closer to over working. I can feel some slight pain in my feet (new pains, not the old ones!) And some stiffness in my knees as well. I think a schedule of five running days a week is probably the max and over the last 3 weeks I think I only missed 3 or 4 days. Overall the mileage feels good. I would like to start adding in some longer runs to balance out the quality runs I am doing.

Killer hills

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

I didn’t run yesterday as I used the excuse of not having any gels to power through a hill repeat run. Well the gel came that afternoon, so no excuses remained. Actually I was fine with that as I knew I had to do some hills to keep on track with my fluctuating quality run plan.

So a note on the gel: I purchased a 26 serving bottle of Chocolate Hammer gel for $20 on Amazon. I use 3 oz gel flasks and dilute 1 to 1 with water. It takes some shaking to get it mixed up, but it is a lot cleaner and less wasteful than the individual servings not to mention cheaper. I really like doing my gels this way. The bottles I have a weird and are rounded so they don’t stand up but feel good in my pockets. I like the diluted gel as well. The chocolate was a little sweet, I have had espresso as well and I thought that was less so.

So in addition to my diluted gel I also brought a pack of Honey Stinger fruit energy chews. They are a bit like Sharkies only more jelly like, sort of remind me of the old jelly candies my Grandma had. They are ok, I don’t think I care for the Honey Stinger product lines so much. They are a bit too strongly honey tasting for me. I had some gels from them as well that I got as samples at the Portland Marathon and they were the same way, like eating a tablespoon of honey. Good but too honeyey. I had maybe 3 or 4 of them on the run to the hills and then the gel halfway through. I felt pretty good energy wise, good combination of gel energy and electrolytes.

So the hills were tough. My hill route I went on today has 10 or 11 hills about a quarter mile long of varying steepness. I zig-zag up and down along this three block long ridge. So down for three blocks, over one, up for three blocks and over one and so on. Halfway through I turn around and go up the ones I went down the first time through. The workout tapers a bit to the mid-way point with the hills getting easier, but the way back is murderous and by the time I near the end of the hill portion, the final two hills are brutal. Here is the run. I felt pretty strong throughout the run and my HR dipped pretty low on the recovery portions (130-140). My max HR was 185 for the run, but more often in the high 170s. It was a good workout and one I feel pretty rested from now that the afternoon has waned.

I missed my rebif injection yesterday, so I did it today after the run. I have been doing the shots after workouts for awhile now and so far I have bot seen any sort of issue with it. I am not sure if the exercise makes it any more or less effective, but there don’t seem to be any problems. Even today when I did my shot into my leg all pumped up after the hill repeats, no issues. I do notice that when I inject in the morning I sometimes have to take ibuprofen in the evening to cull a headache, but it doesn’t happen often. I do worry about taking so much ibuprofen and acetaminophen and its effects on my liver. But I guess I’ll deal with that when I have something concrete to deal with.

Couple days of rest and running

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

After running for eight days in a row, personal record for me I took two days off. At first I was just going to skip one day, but convenience turned into two. Monday morning I ran out with a vague plan of a tempo run. As I warmed up my pace felt good and I decided to go for it. I forgot to set my lap at the start of the tempo portion so the first quarter mile got factored in with my slower warm up. Miles one and two were almost identical at 8:16 and 8:17. The pace felt good and like I could step it up if needed, but the third mile is just grueling and slow as I slowed down and then did all the uphill at the end. Next time I think I’ll just do laps on the reed college strip until I hit three miles, should be about two laps, maybe a bit more.

Today I felt enthused to go out and run a recovery run. I did a good job of keeping the heart Rate under 70% of max. There is even a hill as I climb away from East Moreland Golf Course that I always get up into the 150’s. Today I did the entire hill under 144. I really focused on breathing from the belly, I think it makes a big difference.

Also I was listening to the moody electronic trance of William Orbit on the first part of the run. Then when I hit the canyon I switched to Talking Heads and there went the HR. But it is a harder run as well, but I still think music has a huge effect on a workout.

Six runs in a row in the NW

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

I say six, but it is really seven in a row as one of the days I ran twice. Since getting back to the NW I have really been enjoying the lower altitude. Breathing has been easier in general and my times seem to have benefited from the 10 days at a mile high altitude.

I have been doing a good job of alternating the quality runs with recovery runs. I think this has had a huge impact on how successful these six runs have been. I don’t feel exhausted at all despite doing a quality run this morning. The other positive aspect has been the cool weather, but I don’t think that has too much to do with things as I ran a couple of days in the heat.

I have been pretty happy with myself and pushing the pace at several times during these runs. The tempo run that I did as part of my two-a-day workout felt really good at the speed I did the first two miles (sub 8 min miles). I also got in a 440 workout that went pretty well. I didn’t really push the speed for that run, but I felt like it went well. I was tired, but not deathly so. Today’s run to Mt. Tabor also had some good fast pace elements. I pushed the first two miles a bit and did solid 8:45 min miles. The two miles of climbing were quite a bit slower, but I was able to pick up the pace for the final portions.

One of the weird things about this string of good runs is that I am doing it with a slight strain to my left upper hamstring. It could also be a gluteus strain, but hamstring specific stretches that I have been doing really seem to pull at the affected area. The strain seems to really only be an issue at the start of my runs, say the first two miles. Then the pain seems to fade away. I could feel myself holding back on a smooth flow, sort of a choppy pace. I think at one point I even was ding some injury to my other side. I have been working on the area with stretching and Arnica gel. It seems to have been working as today I had no pain at all.