Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Most Awesome Awesomeness

My wonderful wife gave me a Valentine's Day gift. It was an unusual gift. It involved a two night getaway to a cozy cottage on the Wenatchee River, just outside of the quaint Bavarian-styled village of Leavenworth, WA. What's unusual about that?'s a getaway for ME ONLY. It took me a couple of months to cash in on the gift, due to my workload. In fact, that's what the gift was all about – giving me a chance to decompress after 5 months of craziness with my business. At one point, I threw down a stretch of 40 days without a day off. Let me just say that I'm having a blast enjoying the scenery, solitude, and the hot tub on my deck overlooking the Wenatchee River, watching Osprey flying by in search of a juicy fish.

Nice, you say, but what does this have to do with running? Well, today I took advantage of the dirt & cinder trail by the river and got in my longest "run" in my current rehab cycle. It was two miles of a run/walk (1 min. each). It was incredibly satisfying, even aside from my compliant heel. During this run, I had a bit of a revelation. Not incredibly profound, but a moment of clarity about my immediate future as a runner. This ties in with my "Balance" mantra I wrote about at the beginning of this year. Running is still my passion (exercise-wise), and will remain so. But, knowing that I'm typically an "all-or-nothing" type of person, I'll be focusing much more on staying strong overall with a varied approach...and for the first time in awhile, I'm perfectly okay with that. In fact, I plan on building up, gradually, to a point where I test my speed in shorter races, using my approach of no more than three runs per week (along with a long bike ride and a swim, plus two days of weights). I wouldn't use this approach to train for a marathon (or even a half), but I won't be training for those anytime soon. I'm actually excited about this, whereas before I looked at it as a necessary evil in order to not re-injure myself (or not stay injured, as the case may be). I'm not there yet, but by later this year, I hope to start upping the intensity a bit, while moderating the volume and frequency of my runs.

So, unless it's the elation of this head-clearing getaway talking, I'm excited to see what happens!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Getting the Family Involved

When I first had to set the running shoes aside due to this injury, I was in a really bad place mentally. I had recently finished my first marathon, had run the Ragnar Relay last July (already injured) and was planning on training for my first 50k in October, followed by my first 50 miler a couple of weeks ago. Having to not only shelve those plans, but to stop running since November brought out a bunch of negative thoughts. It has literally taken months to change my outlook and attitude.

Now that I'm doing short run/walk sessions, I hope I'll be able to at least participate in a few races this year. I know, however, that truly racing them will be out of the question.

I have two daughters — one almost 12, and one 9-year old. The older one ran cross-country last fall and is currently running track (although as a 6th-grader, she's unable to run in all but one meet). My youngest plays basketball, but also enjoys running. You may remember that I ran a 2-mile fun-run with my oldest last November (my last run until my recent run/walks), in which she won her age group. Both girls routinely outrun nearly all other kids in the respective PE classes.

I had a lot of fun pacing my oldest last fall, but I know that if I was in top condition, I'd rather be running my own pace at nearly every race. So, since I have kids interested in running, and I can't currently push myself, what better opportunity to plan a couple of family-centric races! We'll all (maybe even my wife) run a local 5k in July, then we'll once again run that fun-run in November. My kids are really looking forward to it, and I'm thankful for the opportunity to do it with them, instead of being somewhat selfish and seeing what I can do, personally. Besides, it won't be too many years until both of them leave me in the dust anyway!

Sometimes we need to focus on turning lemons into lemonade. I admit I'm not good at it, but every once in a while I somehow get it done.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Human Express

I just watched a documentary on Universal Sports called Human Express. It's about ultrarunning legend Karl Meltzer's running of the Pony Express trail last fall. It's an hour long and pretty interesting. I wish no ill will toward Karno, but it's nice to see another ultrarunner getting some face time on TV. It airs again today. Check your local listings.

Speaking of other ultrarunning legends, Indulgence is also airing a couple of times (about Anton Krupicka). It looks like there are a few other good programs that are part of their Adventure April series, too.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Regarding My Current Plan...and Oh Yeah, Some Little Race in New England

I saw my doctor again last Friday. He was kind enough not to comment on my recent weight gain (okay, it's not THAT my wife likes me not being rail-thin). He was also kind enough to encourage me to continue with my walk/run program. I'll be doing three of them per week, sticking with ten minutes for each session for another week or two (alternating 1 or 2 minutes of running with 1 minute of walking). After 2-3 weeks at each time level, I can add 5 minutes per session, as long as my heel doesn't protest. He cautions against ramping up too much, too soon; preferring that I allow my heel to adjust to each level before adding more stress to it. At this point, I'm patient enough to do that. I shared with him that I have finally gotten to the final stage of grief: acceptance. When I first visited him, he said I may not be the type of runner who can knock out 2 or more marathons (or ultras) per year, and that I may have to incorporate cross-training more than I did last year (nearly zero). When I heard those words, I was still in the early stages of grief (denial) and inwardly flinched. Now...hey, that's cool. If I can put in a lot of running miles again someday, great. If not, hello bicycle and (ugh) pool, along with the running shoes (and probably hiking boots). I'd rather run a little for the rest of my life than run a LOT for a year or two, then get sidelined with a major injury.

Now, on to another relevant event in today's running news: the 115th Boston Marathon. Holy smokes, did those guys & gals tear up the course, or what! Yes, the weather was great. Yes, there was a tail wind...but hey, a 2:03:02 is still a 2:03:02. Kudos to the winners (Geoffrey Mutai & Caroline Kilel, both guessed it, Kenya), and to Ryan Hall (4th, 2:04:58, AR), Desiree Davila (2nd, 2:22:38) and Kara Goucher (5th, 2:24:52, new mom). Way to rock it for the U.S. One of these days, we're going to win this race again!

Congrats also to many of you who ran Boston today. I won't try to list everyone, but I saw via Twitter that many of you had some amazing times, too.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

One Small Step For Man...Well, That's About It

(as posted on Daily Mile)

What's this? A run? Well, a run-walk, to be precise. It's been five months almost to the day since I last ran. As per my doctor's orders, I alternated one minute of running with one minute of walking, for ten minutes.

  1. Man, I'm out of shape!
  2. When I set my Garmin up to beep every minute, I found that my user profile weight was listed as 12 lbs. lighter than I am now (I've "bulked up" since my abs project).
  3. My heel felt okay, but I still noticed a little soreness. It'll be interesting to see how it feels the next couple of days.

Not sure if I'll attempt another run/walk before I see my doc on Friday. But it was good to get out there and run a few steps!

Saturday, April 2, 2011


If I can't run yet, I can certainly take a walk down (recent) memory lane.

It was a year ago this week that I logged my first ever 20 mile training run. At mile 11, the "skies opened up," so says my training log. I recall running in the most drenching rain & hailstorm I had ever run in, soaking every inch of me. I was frozen by the time I finished. I ran the last 10 miles nearly 1 minute per mile faster than the first 10 just to get out of the downpour. I could barely unlock my truck and stick the key in the ignition. I had trouble driving home due to the shivering. Ah, those were the days. I'm not lying when I say I'd LOVE to do that again.

Week 13 of last year was also my biggest mileage week ever (and still is) at 52.3 miles. I did have a 7 day stretch of 63 miles somewhere around that time, but it wasn't within my "weekly" parameters (Mon-Sun). In hindsight, I had just about peaked, since less than two weeks later I ran a 5-mile race (fast, by my standards), then paced a friend for the last 22 miles of a 50 mile ultra the next day. It's funny how you sometimes don't realize when you're at a decent fitness level until you're injured and haven't run in ages. I'd love to be in that kind of shape now.

I know it doesn't do any good to pine away for the "good ol' days," but recently I've started feeling the urge to run again. I admit that the urge faded some after being sidelined for so long. Maybe the change in seasons (not that we've seen much change here in the PNW) has rekindled my fire a bit. Still, I must proceed slowly & cautiously. My heel has responded fairly well to recent exercises, so I'm on course to attempt my first walk-run session in less than 2 weeks. It'll last all of 10 minutes, alternating a minute of slow running with a minute of walking. As silly as it might sound, I can't WAIT to do it.