Saturday, April 24, 2010

I'm still here

Today is April 24th and I feel good. Following the marathon I had trouble getting back into running. My knees just wouldn't hold on long enough for me to complete a long run. After fighting in early March I went on vacation for 2 weeks, during which i tried to run once or twice but had knee pain. Again coming back I tried running and did get a few runs in, about 10k being the longest, but there was always nagging knee pain. Now, I am taking it slow, doing 3-5k runs which is working out well and now I am back to running at least 3-4 times a week. In June I have set up a 10k with a few friends, we are going under the team name of Southeastern University. In July I am hoping to run a half marathon with my friend Jon. He is training towards doing a full marathon this fall. Its been nice sharing what I have learned with him.
Golden week, a 10 day holiday in Japan, is rapidly approaching. For the past 2 years I have done hiking during golden week, but this year I don't know if I will get a chance to. The weather has been pretty cold yet and the peaks are not thawed out. That picture is on top of Adatara last year, about 1800 meters up. There was snow on the way, but not enough to stop me from reaching the peak, but this year, I don't think that will happen.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Week 19, 47k

This week was the marathon, so with the 5k I did last Monday and the 42k I did on race day that brings my total to 47 for the week.Its amazing to me writing that, 47, just about all of that from one run. Crazy. I only did 5k on Monday because two spots on my left leg, my lower calf and my knee, were feeling a bit tender. Being that it was race week I weighed the options and decided it would be better to stop running (and just do bike/eliptical in the final days), instead of pushing on and possibly injuring myself. It seems I made the right decision because I made it through the marathon relatively injury free. Right now my legs are broke down sticks that I can only slowly walk on, but in another week or so I imagine they will be up and running again and I intend to push them some more. About the marathon there are a few things that I would like to note. First about eating and then about the finished product. Race morning I had a bit of the jitters and of course went to the bathroom about 4times just to make sure that I was as fully empty as I could be beforegetting into my block for start. I did about as expected during therace and only went to the bathroom twice, both times just to take a leak. Both times I was on target for amount and consistancy. I feel like I planned my fluids before the race pretty well. As far as food,the night before I ate rice, salad, a little cheese, and tea. All foods that I figured were light and wouldn't give me trouble. For breakfast I had some nuts,
oatmeal, and just a few sips of coffee along with about 10oz of sports drink and 10oz or so of water. I would have skipped the coffee, but I always have a little bit and it never has affected my running before so I figured it was ok. Better to keep to routine in this case. I never had to go #2 during the race and didnt have any problems after the race either. In fact after the race I wasnt even especially hungry
or thirsty and I think this had to do with good spacing of eating and drinking during the race. I took my first drink at 5k and then regularly took about 5oz every 3-5k as the race provided. I ate for the first time at 10k as I was standing in line to pee, it was a Gu packet. Next I ate a Soy Joy bar at 17k, a couple pieces of banana at 23k, a piece of sugared plum (offered by fan) at 30k, and a few pieces of chocolate around 35. I felt like I could have eaten anything during the race just because I was burning through energy so fast. The only thing that concerned me was the sugared plum just because it was kind of acidic, but everything turned out fine. As far as after the race,it took me about 100oz of sports drinks and water to have a good amount of nice colored pee about 15 hours later. That is not to say I didn't go before then, but I wasnt back to normal til then. Today,Tuesday, I measured my weight at the gym and I was 68.5 kilograms, 1k lighter than usual.I imagine, based on the input and output of food from my body since, that I must have burned through about 2kilograms, or roughly 6lbs of stored engery and water while racing. That is also strangely interesting to me. 6lbs! that's a lot of weight.

My body did ok.

My muscles held up remarkably well. Today I am a bit sore in the hips and inner thighs, but the places you would expect to feel pain, the calves and hamstrings, those feel fine. My calves are completely pain free and my hamstrings have only a hint of soreness. Suprisingly my upper back and biceps are feeling a little sore. Being in runners stance for 5 hours, arms half cocked, did a number on those muscles. My left ankle, somewhat as I expected, swelled after the race,but I didn't notice until the next morning once most of the swelling was done. I dont know exactly what happened there. At 13k it just started to hurt and even though it never got worse the pain stayed there the rest of the race. Now its a tender fluid filled ankle, but I am pretty confident in a few days it will be looking normal and a few more will find me abusing it again. The worst part of my body are my knees. They really hurt. I never expected that. It doesnt feel like muscle pain, though it might be, it feels like joint pain. I'm ok with that, but I do have to wonder if I can train myself to take that kind of knee use better. If this is going to happen whenever I do a marathon that may be a reason to not do marathons. Knees are damn important in life and I don't want to ruin mine. Side note; my nipples chaffed a bit despite the vaseline I put on them.

Now for the race itself. It was so fun! Lining up with 30,000 other people in the freezing rainy morning was more fun than I think anyone could imagine. The anticipation was awesome and when that gun went off, far in the distance, all of us felt a jolt of purpose. I was so happy to be running with so many people and being that there were so many and the race was so long I never took the time to compete with anyone or care about timing. As Dan told me before the race, just have fun, and I took that advice to heart. Every step of the way was fun. I also took another racers advice to not walk at the end of the race because it would be that much harder to run again. I think he was right. Walking is not the root of all evil, but when you get to that point where you can't go on any longer do not walk! Just keep running, keep running to the next lampost, the next block, the next mile marker, just don't stop. If you are feeling exhausted and you stop you may not be able to start again.

Overall, this was a great race. I learned a lot about the marathon and about me as a runner. I intend to use that to improve my running and my marathon running in the future. So you may be asking what now? Well, now I recover, but after that more running. I don't know what the future holds for me or this blog. I think, without a clear race ahead of me, I won't do a weekly blog, but I will check in every few weeks to update what I am up to. I hope to run a half marathon in May, but have to find one first. If that happens I will track the progress here.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

week18, 42k

This week I am right on track for distance. Did a few shorter runs during the week, cross training Friday and a 16k on Saturday. I am getting anxious for next weekends run. Two things to talk about, my left leg. Ok, I guess that is only one, but there are two things wrong with it. First, my knee, which stopped me short 3 weeks ago, still feels funny. It hasn't stopped me since, but it never feels normal. I hope nothing comes of that. Second thing, my achilles is getting tight again. This is not such a worry, it seems to happen to me all the time, but this time its pretty stiff and has worked its way a little higher into my calf. There is also a sore spot this time too, not just general, like place I can put my finger on and push that is where it is tender. I guess this week I will just take it as easy as I can. By this point, training isn't going to do anything more for me. I just have to keep loose and well rested for next weekend. Fingers crossed.
Other than that I have been running outside more and more. The weather is getting good. It got above 10C today which is like... well, not that cold. I'm really looking forward to finishing the marathon, taking a week off, then getting back to some aikido, new training, and my trip to Australia and New Zealand (hiking!).

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Week 17, 54k

This week’s running was fair. I did three straight days of 10, 10, and 12k with the usual mix of hills, fartlek, and easy running. Friday night moseyed along and I was planning for my Saturday morning long run when Aya told me that we had to get up to help her brother move at 9am. I knew that I would not be able to get in a morning run because to run/stretch/shower would take near to 3 hours and there was no way I was going to be able to wake up by 6am. It was around 10pm when she told me and I'd had a few beers. So Saturday I helped her brother move, was tired all day and didn’t get to eat lunch till 2pm by which time I was really hungry and I ended up stuffing my face with pizza. Fast forward 2 hours and the sun is soon to set. I am now home and quickly putting on my running gear so I can get in at least half my run before it gets dark. So I do 10k while it’s still light out, but it’s awful. Every 5 minutes I am pushing down pizza bile, freezing my butt off and tired. At 10k I say screw it and take a few steps toward home before I say screw that and run again, but only for another couple and then give up. I was just too tired. So Sunday, normally a short run day, I ended up doing the rest of my long run. I ended the week with enough distance to be happy, but a bit peeved my long run did not go well.

At the end of Sunday’s run that familiar tenderness in my knee returned. Again, I think it has to do with the road as I never get it on the treadmill. I guess I will just keeping plugging away at the road, weather is getting better for it, and hope that things work out. However, I think there is a distinct possibility that I will be 25 or so k into the marathon and have to give up because of a sore knee. That would really suck.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Week 16, 65k

Yeah week 16! 65k is the most I have ever done in a week and the reason for that is I took the longest run I have done yet, 30k. No injuries this week, nothing special to report as far as gear. This week I lightly came back to full throttle after hurting my knee a bit last weekend out on the road. I am pretty sure it was the roads fault that I got hurt so I will be making more attempts at road running. I did 7k on the road this week and hope to get out for another 20 or so in the coming week. I can't expect to run the full marathon if my knee is getting tender at 20k.
Just a bit to note about the 30k, I think I am going to have to revise my estimated finish time. I got to 25k ok, right on schedule at about 2hrs 20min, but after that I started to get slow. Right below my butt my tendons where starting to get tight and give me trouble. Getting to 30 was hard and I did it right about at 3hrs, but that means that the 5k from 25-30 lasted almost 40 minutes. Thats no good. If I took that time I would be finishing the race at 4hrs and 30minutes or so. I think this is a realistic expectation. I wouldn't say I hit the wall, my legs were killing me and I wanted to stop running, but I wouldn't say that I was out of energy. I Just couldn't shake that pain in my legs. I guess in the next few weeks I will take special care to stretch out my hamstrings a few times a day, hopefully loosen that up.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Week 15, 49k

This week’s running; a few things to talk about. I only did 49k this week and you are saying what? Only 49? and yes, you are correct that I was aiming for more. Let me give you the break down. During the week, as usual, I had some good medium runs at the gym. All of them around 12k. No problems there. New shoes are still good, old shoes back in rotation. Friday I had a birthday party, but still managed to get to the gym for an hour of lifting before hand. Saturday, once I had shaken off the previous night’s beer, was good. I was out ON THE ROAD by 12. Yes, the snow has slacked off enough that my paths are open. Joy.
So Saturday, which was my actual birthday, I went out for what I hoped to be a 20k run in the balmy 3 celcius weather with overcast skies and rain spitting on me. Despite the perfect weather I was feeling great. Do you have any idea what it feels like, after 6 weeks of treadmill running, to be liberated to the outdoors? It was awesome, happy birthday to me. Plus I had my REI OXT jacket which kept me mostly dry and mostly warm. Got a nice reminder of how hot I get running in winter gear and how cold I get if I stop even for a couple minutes. Thanks winter.
Unfortunately around 15k my left knee started to feel a bit of pain, so I stopped to walk for a bit, felt better and kept going… for about 2 minutes then had to walk again. I repeated this a couple times, each time thinking; ok, just working out a kink. Not so.
I ended up walking the last couple of kilometers and even that began to be a bit painful on the knee. So the rest of the day Saturday I spent keeping my leg up and keeping ice on and off (watched The Book of Eli). I'm pretty sure it has to do with switching from a soft surface treadmill to a hard surface road. In the next couple of weeks I will be forced to make my runs outside so I am fit enough to do the marathon on the road. Blessed be the road. Sunday and Monday felt ok, but I wasn’t taking any risks. I only counted 15k of that run because the last 5 were more like a run/walk/hobble. Here I am Tuesday, ran 5k today and feel ok. But hey, that’s this week. Not week 15.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Week 14, 58k

This week, super. Super because I made it through without an unusual amount of pain and hit my goal. Super because these new shoes are working out pretty darn well. Super because I figured out that the shoes I bought this fall, which I thought were wasted, are not. Super because I feel an injury starting, but I know how to treat it, I think, and that makes me feel in control and optomistic. In a way, it was super because just 7 days ago I thought I might be facing the end of the line. My feet in constant pain, barely able to make my miles for the week, I thought it might be time to throw in the towel. That is something that I love and hate about running, the highs and the lows. This week high, last week low.
This week I did the 20k Monday, which doesn't really count for this weeks total, but last weeks. Then I did 7 Tuesday, took wed off, Thursday 12, Friday 7, Saturday 25, and Sunday 7. What does that give the week? 58, if you weren't already adding that together. Its a few kilometers short of what i was hoping, 60, but what is 2k? Screw it. I had a good week.
I continue to mainly run on the Asic Gel 16's, but I put the NB 993's back in the rotation. Unfortunately the Saucony Shadows are dead. I tried running on them Sunday, but they clearly were out anything good they ever had to give me. Thanks for the kilometers Saucony Shadows. Sayonara. The other two pairs of shoes are a bit heavy as far as running shoes go, but they all make me happy which is what I am aiming for. If I get a little extra money and happen to be near a good shoe store, I will pick up a pair of lighter shoes, something geared towards running 10k and not really long runs.
Today Aya and I were talking about how my running is going, we went to a sold out movie so had a long drive home to talk. I think after this marathon I will scale back for a bit. Two reasons for that. First, I am getting a bit bored having to run. I guess, that is part of training, but when you face 3 hours of running that you don't particularly take enjoyment from it starts to grind on you. Second thing is that in about 6 months we will be packing up our life to move somewhere else and I don't want to be in the middle of a great program just to lose it to 2 weeks of inactivity. I think, the next step, is aim for about 30 or 40k a week and focusing on making my 5 and 10k stronger. Quality, not quantity. Maybe, just maybe, I will do another marathon next spring, but I think this summer I will focus on taking my 5k and 10k beyond my best times.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Week 13 (54k,kind of)

This week has some things to talk about. Yes, I reached 54k which is what I was aiming for (7,10,7,10,20)and I am happy about that, but it didn't come about exactly like I expected it to and I thought, right up to the end,that it wasn't going to happen.
Those aches I felt in my feet became way more intense. By Tuesday last week I was feeling dull aching all the time, both feet, like in my sleep aches. It got me to thinking, both feet? For real!? Which got me to thinking, both feet? hm, problem solved, I need new shoes. While in Tokyo I went to the Asics store, which was way over staffed and really really busy, but also hit the nail on the head for me. There I took a little test where they popped some sensors on my foot then stuck one foot at a time into a box and scanned them as I stood. They took readings of how my feet are shaped and how I was standing. Presto, information. So I pronate, and my left foot is a bit flat, and both my feet are narrow! I knew about the pronation, but wow, I feel like I huge jerk for spending all this time running and not taking the time to do this very simple, and free, test. So I broke the bank and got some new shoes that they recommended, hoping hoping hoping that these would help the pain in my feet and maybe be nice shoes to boot. I just got 6 more weeks, I can make it! (right?)
Long story short, they are awesome. I got the Asics Gel Kayano 16's which is funny because I was just reading about them this past week. I can say they are good because I have already put 27k on them (its wed night) and my feet have no pain at all and haven't from the moment I slipped those on.
Second story, I didn't exactly get 54 within the confines of the week, I did my long run Monday instead of Sunday because Sunday I was too hung over to get up in time to run around the palace which is awful, I know, but let me explain. I went to Tokyo to meet up with my friend Yoshitsugu, whom I met on the farm in Shizuoka, the farmer's son. We promised to meet up in Tokyo. We did, and I met a few of his friends and pretty early on I decided it would be better to have a good night with all of them then run the next day. You have to understand, for a foreign person living in the country like I do, finding a good Japanese guy friend is like finding a coelacanth swimming in your bath tub. So I didn't run Sunday, but I put 20 in Monday on the new shoes, then 7 the next day, and today I biked and lifted weights to give my walking sticks a break. Tomorrow 12, then 7 Friday, 25 on Saturday, 7 Sunday, I hope. Feeling good, I hope it lasts.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Week 12 (45k)

This weeks running was good. Coming out of the shadow of an injury is never a pleasant time and although I got 45k in this week I am not feeling very happy about my running right now. Its been... oh, maybe 3 weeks since I have had a chance to run outside. Being hurt and then with all the snow we have had here, there is not good chance to get out. Sometimes the sidewalks are clear enough at noon that I would consider running on them, but then by night when I can go out they are frozen over or it has snowed again. This weekend I am going to Tokyo to meet up with a friend so I am hoping to get in some outside running there around the empirial palace, maybe do my weekend's long run there and make it worth it.
Otherwise my foot feels fine. Both feet have some dull aching that I havent really had before, but I dont think much of it, just normal ache I think. Race day is about 6 weeks away. I plan to do 55 next week, then 65 the week after. The next two weeks after that I am revising my running plan to a few short runs during the week and a monster run on the weekends reaching a peak mile week. I think 3 and 4 weeks from now I hope to hit 70 and 75k with a 30 and 35k long run at least, maybe I will go to 40. I would like to, but things havent been going as planned so maybe I shouldnt go that far until I have to. i would rather make there slow than not make it at all.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Week 10(5k) and 11(5k)

Week 10 and 11 were awful. Period and. First, during week 9 I had a really long run on Sunday, 20k, and felt good after, little pain in the feet but nothing I was too worked up about. Long runs leave you hurting a bit, I wasn't worried.
Come Monday I got right back on the horse and went to the gym to do a little lifting and a 5k warm up. As soon as I got my shoes on I noticed my foot was tender on the side, like... the outside of the foot opposite of the arch. Despite being tender I thought that I would give it a go anyways. I did the 5k and after spent the rest of my lifting hobbling around the gym on the ball of my foot because my foot was so tender. Obviously wasn't a good idea to run I guess. So I thought I would take a few days off, which I did, and tried to run again on Thursday. I got about 1/2k before I could tell my foot was sore and swelling again. Boy was I pissed. Week 10 and 11 fell during my winter vacation, which means I had tons of time to run, but was not able to. Despite wanting to pound my foot into oblivion just to teach it a lesson I sat it out for 10 days.
Today was the end of that ten days and the end of week 11. I went back to the gym and did 5k and lifted today. The foot didn't hurt or swell, but it did feel a bit funny. Now for the source of the pain. I don't know. It was not a gradual pain, it just appeared after the 20k, and then really throbbed when I ran on it the next day. I think it might be from the shoes I have been wearing, so I will try to get some different ones, trying to order some tonight, but otherwise I guess i will just stick to the shoes I think are good and ice my feet like crazy.