Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Contingency Plan

My friend & fellow running blogger Mark and I had a recent email exchange. As always, his comments are both encouraging and thought-provoking. We talked about...what else...running. But we also got into dealing with my inability to run and how to fill the void that it has left (and might continue to leave for some time).

There's an addiction component to endurance training, or there can be. In my case, there was/is. After more than 5 months of no running (until my recent run/walk sessions), I think I've mostly broken the addiction (and have made my way through the stages of grief, which I've posted about before). With that said, I still love running, and miss it.

What will I do about this (aside from putting on weight...yes, the abs are gone)? I think I have a contingency plan that's simple. And it might work, for the time being, anyway.

I recently started swimming again, after about a 16 year layoff. I swam for awhile during a period of no running back in 1995. Today was my second swim. I'm not fast. I don't have much endurance yet. But I'm actually enjoying it. I like how refreshed I feel afterward.

I also started cycling outdoors again. Thanks to our colder and wetter-than-normal spring (and me being a fair-weather cyclist), I've only got one outdoor ride under my belt, with another coming this week. Those will increase.

I'm still lifting weights three days per week. Pretty heavy weights (for me), actually. I've bulked up considerably in the upper body. When I was running a lot of miles, that's where I'd drop it first. And I'd look pretty darn gaunt and underfed. Not that I want to balloon up now, but it's kind of nice to fill out my shirts for a change.

So, that's the plan in a nutshell. Swimming, cycling, weights...and a little running, when the heel allows, hopefully building back up GRADUALLY the rest of this year. The variety should keep me injury free and strong. When the time comes to shift the focus to running (fingers crossed), I'll at least have plenty of strength and some aerobic fitness to draw from.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Podcast Theme Songs

Since I've shamelessly pimped my running parody songs on this site numerous times, you know that music is one of my hobbies. I'm an amateur, to say the least, but I enjoy playing and recording when time allows, and when the mood strikes.

You also may know that I've recorded some theme songs for a few running-related podcasts.  If you produce a podcast and would like a custom theme song, hit me up! Below, you can listen to three recent ones (two for Run, Run, Live and one for Early Morning Cruizin')

Friday, May 13, 2011

Scolded...A Little

I just returned from my latest visit with my sports medicine doctor. I told him that I've been having a little soreness in my heel and Achilles; kind of a dull, burning ache, off and on the last few weeks (more on than off lately). I gave him my run/walk report: three per week, with the longest being 3 miles (only once...but there have been a couple of two-mile jaunts). He recommended that I back off to 1.5 mile jaunts and hold steady there until the pain diminishes. It's the old routine of "doctor, it hurts when I do this..." with a reply of "well, don't do that." He asked if it had bothered me like this before I started the run/walk sessions a few weeks ago. No, it didn't.

So, when I told him of my tentative plan to do a sprint triathlon late this summer, he was a bit skeptical of the idea, saying that my heel will be fatigued coming off the bike and into a 5k run. I also admitted that I have so far been unable to participate in a race "just for fun" (with exception of pacing my daughter) without pushing it. With that said, I'll be playing it by ear (heel) to see if I'm relatively pain-free and able to bust out a 5k (with maybe a couple of brick workouts in training) before I commit to any triathlons.

However, I'm good to go with cycling and swimming, so at least I can build my aerobic fitness and be more ready when I'm good to run more.

Thus, 2011 looks to be a rehab and recovery year, with 2012 hopefully being a rebuilding year, with a return to competition. I still hold out hope that I can race to some small degree later this year, but not at the expense of delaying progress or re-injuring myself.

To end on a positive note, my 6th grade daughter continues to improve her running. For those of you I'm not "friends" with on Facebook, she brought her mile time down from 9:06 last October to 7:49 yesterday at track practice. She said she wasn't even going all-out. She was excited about it (as was I), and this should continue to build her confidence. She has her first and only track meet next Friday (6th graders only get to compete in one meet). Should be a fun time!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

26 Years Ago Today

...I ran my fastest 10k to date. It was called the Boeing Fun Run (long defunct) and I was coming off of my senior track season. I was coming off of several weeks of relatively low mileage, but had a lot of speedwork under my belt (my coach didn't believe in a lot of mileage during the season. In hindsight, it was TOO little). The race wasn't large. I don't have the numbers, but if I had to guess based on a foggy memory, I'd say between 500-1000 people.

I went out fairly quickly and was able to get into a pretty comfortable groove. I remember staying comfortable the entire race, not really pushing too much. I would settle in with a group of runners, see that their pace was a tad too slow, then move up to another group, then another.

"Do you have splits," you ask? Why, of course this anal-retentive record keeper has splits!

Mile 1- 6:10
Mile 2- 6:21
Mile 3- 6:18
Mile 4- 6:24
Mile 5- 6:21
Last 1.2- 6:16 pace

Total time: 39:06 (6:18/mi)

Impressive? Not really, especially for an 18-yr old guy coming off track season. I probably could have shaved close to a minute off of that had I been racing hard...which still wouldn't be too much to crow about. But at the time I had no idea that it would remain my PR all these years. Oh, to run that fast again.

Back to the present. I'm seeing my sports med doc again on Friday for our monthly visit. I've had some ups and downs with the heel since starting my run/walk program a few weeks ago. I put in 1.6 miles today and the heel felt okay. Yesterday, however, it was pretty cranky. This could be a pattern for awhile. We'll see...

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


Just a quick post to let those of you who purchased my parody songs this past month know that I just donated 50% of the proceeds to the Salvation Army, specifically for tsunami relief efforts in Japan. Thanks again for your purchases!