Thursday, January 26, 2012


Yes, I've been a bit AWOL. Briefly, I was snowed in all of last week, so I took the week off (i.e. no running). This week, I've had a cold with a nasty cough, so I've taken this week off as well. Next week? We'll see. My heel has been acting up ever since my 5k, to be truthful. There were more hills on that course than I expected.

Now, for the topic du jour. Lately, I've been receiving emailed solicitations from folks who want me to tout their cause or make my readers aware of an event or a far-away running adventure on my blog. While I certainly have nothing against these causes and/or events, I make it a policy to not give away free advertising. In fact, I wouldn't accept paid advertising, either. The purpose of this blog is to chronicle my ongoing relationship with running; the struggles and successes, as well as my thoughts on training, racing, injuries and the like. It's usually a personal reflection, but I also hope to entertain (and possibly inform?) from time to time.

So, those of you whom have a cause/product/event you'd like me to post about, I respectfully decline*. I do wish you well, though, and thank you for your interest.

*unless you're advertising a Ferrari 458 Spider and would like me to test-drive it for a month...

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Nookachamps 5k

Before I elaborate a bit, here's what I wrote in my Daily Mile post about the race:

Cold, rain, sleet, snow, wind. That pretty much sums it up. I was literally drenched to the bone, from head to toe. I was humbled this morning. Did not have a good run at all. Went out at 7:23, followed by the same time for mile 2, then my lungs & throat tightened up to where I couldn't breathe well. Slowed down for a 7:36 mile 3 (23:13 finish). Aside from pacing my daughter, I've never run a 5k this slow. Even though it was miserable and I couldn't breathe, I expected to run faster than this. Perhaps 12 miles of running per week isn't enough? ;-)
Next up will probably be the Smelt Run 5k in La Conner on Feb. 25th (unless I retire. Only half-joking).

It took me about 20 minutes in my truck after the race (with the heat all the way up) to thaw out, even with fresh, dry clothes. Since it's about an hour's drive home from where the race was (Mount Vernon, WA), I had some time for reflection. I concluded that, even though I've gotten back into running (after a LONG fight with an injury) in a restricted and minimal way, I just don't feel like a runner right now. I know that just getting out for a run — period — defines me as a runner, but I'm so blasted goal-driven and time-focused that when things don't go well, it's hard to accept.

Running and I have a one-way co-dependent relationship (I tend to depend on it, but it certainly doesn't depend on me). Right now, I'm not particularly happy with this relationship. I've tried to slowly bump up the mileage and intensity, but more mileage right now doesn't agree with my injury. So I'm sort of stuck in a "Runner's Pergatory," where I can run just enough to whet my appetite, but not nearly enough to perform the way I did prior to the injury.

So...what to do. I'll tell you one thing I'm doing immediately, and that's taking next week off from running, entirely. I don't want an activity that has brought me so much pleasure the last 28 years (well, the times I wasn't injured) to be something I dread or fight against. I'll do some rides on my bike trainer and lift some weights next week, along with a few dog walks...but the running shoes will go untouched.

Speaking of the dog, I'm still suspicious that I may be allergic to him. I wheeze a lot when I breathe deeply, and I've really had some respiratory issues during the last several runs. Might have to visit my doctor.

As far as effort goes, maybe I'll back off during my next race (Smelt Run 5k, Feb. 25) instead of fighting it. I'm nowhere near being able to bust out a PR, so it might be best to run the first few 5k's this year more as training runs. Can I really do that and not push? I don't know. But today's race unfortunately left a foul taste in my mouth and, like I said, I don't want an experience like that to define what running means to me.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Article on Overtraining Syndrome

Here's an interesting article on Overtraining Syndrome, courtesy of a Facebook friend. Been there, done that, so I can relate.

Monday, January 2, 2012

A Look Back, A Look Ahead

As far as running goes, 2011 was a struggle for me. A good part of the year involved no running at all. Even when I was able to begin some short runs, I'd bump against the wall frequently, still experiencing residual pain from my heel/Achilles injury, along with some "new" injuries (i.e. old injuries coming back for a visit), like my knee. Rehabbing from my injury has been an amazingly long-term process. It's hard to believe it started in the middle of 2010 — a year and a half ago!

At the beginning of 2011, I posted that the year was going to be about balance. Did I achieve that goal? Partially. I always struggle with not going all-in when I have a desire to improve on something. Keeping many balls in the air is a challenge for me. Even though I was only running 3 times per week later in the year, that became my focus. Consequently, my strength training took a back seat. I even lost my desire to hit the pool, and my training on the bike trainer lacked passion (although...can ANYONE be passionate about riding on the trainer?)

Here's a look at the numbers:

Running - 247
Cycling - 130
Bike Trainer - 145
Swimming - 14 (23,900 yds)
Walking - 102
Schwinn Airdyne - 336

Total cardio hours - 119

Races run - 4 (3 with daughter, 1 solo 5k)

Pushups - 3768 (max:  53)
Pullups - 4500 (max: 18)
Situps - 4022 (max: 40)
Dips - 3227 (max: 38)

Deadlift lbs. - 187,273 (max: 313 lbs.)
Bench Press lbs. - 193,479 (max: 205 lbs.)

I did manage to reach the goal of achieving 6-pack abs early in the year, but as you can see, my mileage was pretty paltry. My weight also fluctuated a lot. I dieted down to 145 lbs. during the abs project. Then, hit the weights (and food) hard and bulked up to 173 within a matter of weeks. As the running returned, the weight started dropping off and I ended the year at about 160 lbs.

I was fortunate enough (and surprised) to be invited back as a Brooks I.D. member in 2012. This will be my third year with them. I'll be shamelessly displaying their running gear at the many races I plan on running this year.

Races, you ask? Yes, even with my limited ability to train, I do have a fairly modest goal in mind. I'd like to break my 5k PR. Since I never ran a road 5k at my peak as a runner (in high school), my PR is rather soft (21:15). If I can manage to build enough of a base and — most importantly for a 5k — speed...then I'll take a shot at it. I'll have to average better than 6:51 per mile in order to do so. Even if I can do no more running than my current 3 runs per week, I should be able to achieve this, assuming I can keep the injuries at bay. As 2010 and 2011 showed, that's a BIG if. I'll be basing my training on a modified FIRST program.

The cross-training on the bike and in the pool will continue, as will the weight training. I plan on resuming my weekly swim very soon. I still plan on participating in a sprint triathlon sometime this year. 

I hesitate to set any numerical goals for 2012, as this injury menace just won't completely go away. Like I mentioned above, I'd like to break my 5k PR. I'd also like to run at least one 5k race per month. 

Even though I currently can't run at the same level as many of my running colleagues, you all inspire me. I wish you all a very successful and happy new year. May you run effortlessly and joyfully.

(Wow, that really sounded cheesy. Did I just write that?)