Monday, October 29, 2012

Mini Milestones

Just a couple of quick things here to update those who wish to be updated:

  • I just completed day 45 of my current running streak. For the most part, I've felt great during the streak. I've felt a few niggles here and there, but surprisingly less than I was feeling before the streak. I'm still only running 23-26 miles per week, but that's a good bit more than I was running earlier this year. So...the streak will continue until my body tells me otherwise.

  • I just went over 100 miles running for a month for the first time since July of 2010. It's also an October PR (this was the only month in which I hadn't recorded at least 100 miles in a previous year. It also breaks my oldest standing monthly mileage PR, going back to...wait for it...October of 1983! Yes, I'm that old. And, yes, I'm that anal about running records.)

So, after two years of mostly complaining about injuries and how I wish I could run more, things are finally turning around. Why? I honestly don't know. I think it's a combination of things. My idea behind the streak was to slowly rebuild my base with a lot of short, slow runs, filling the gaps between my three 'real' runs per week. Since I can't run terribly long, I thought I'd run more frequently. It seems to be strengthening the muscles surrounding my injured area(s). Again, I still have days where the pain shows up pretty noticeably, but they're fewer, farther between, and more manageable. I'm also doing a lot more stretching, self-massaging, and icing (either with wraps or by taking ice baths. Which I enjoy. I'm sick, I know.)

All I can say is that it's working. For now, anyway. My next goal is to very gradually build up my long run (currently at 7-8 miles,) along with trying to bring my 5k time down even more.

Onward, my running friends!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Fire Prevention 5k, Snohomish, WA

Rain before and after, but fortunately it held off during the race. Temps in the low 50's.

Although I'm still not back to where I'd like to be, I'm very happy with the time—my fastest 5k this year so far (out of 7, to-date.) The irony is that, after winning my AG two weeks ago, in a slightly larger race with a slower time, I placed out of the awards (4th of 10) in this one. This race went with 10-year divisions instead of a 5-year spread, so I was in the 40-49 group (rather than the 45-49.) Two of the guys who beat me were 40 on the nose (the other was 44.) Still, I'm much more focused on what I can somewhat control—my time—which is coming along. Finally.

Final time - 22:18
6:55 (1st sub-7 mile in a 5k this year)
(6:05 pace for last .1)

9 of 71 overall 
4 of 10 age grp.
8 of 31 men 

I pushed well into my 'pain cave' the last half mile or so, trying to catch two guys in front of me. I passed one, but couldn't catch the other. Hopefully I'll have an interesting finish photo. Spit was flying from my mouth quite impressively.

Next up: The Fowl Fun Run 5k, Nov. 10th.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Finish Photo - Summer's End 5k

Yours truly, finishing the Summer's End 5k, in Covington, WA on Sept. 30, 2012. This is the track where I used to run in high school nearly 3 decades ago. I wish I could still run as fast now as I could back then!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Shhhhh...Making Progress

I'm not a superstitious person, but I'm almost afraid to talk about my current situation when it comes to running.

It's going...well. In fact, it's going REALLY well.

Man, it's been a LONG time since I could say that.

As I write this, I'm on day 25 of a running streak. I also ran 7 miles yesterday, which is my longest run in over two years. Even just a month ago, a 6 mile run would leave me with a sore heel for a couple of days. This time, after KT tape, a post-run ice bath and compression socks, my foot and heel feel fine.

I'm slowly inching my mileage upward. Granted, it's still low (low 20's per week), but it's about double what I was running earlier this year.

As for pain...oh, it's still there. Currently, though, it's manageable (and flighty.) I've got just a touch of plantar fasciitis in my right foot to go along with the heel and Achilles pain. I've been doing more consistent self-maintenance, though, in the form of stretching, icing and massage.

Back to the streak. I'm not doing a running streak just for the sake of a streak. I'm doing it because I had a hunch that I could increase my base mileage without stressing my heel too much if I ran every day, while keeping many of the runs short and slow (i.e. 'dog jogs', with my lab Apollo.)

To summarize, I still do three "main" runs per week (Monday, Wednesday, Saturday), with distances ranging from 4 to (now) 7 miles. The other four runs per week are currently 1 or 2 miles with the dog. Some might argue that those are junk miles. On the contrary, aside from giving the dog some exercise, I believe they keep my body in "running mode" and may even slightly improve my fitness. After 3 1/2 weeks of it, I feel stronger and more fit. I'm choosing to believe the anecdotal evidence.

I'm still not sure how far my body will let me go. I have a faint hope that I can return to where I was pre-injury, but I don't want to get my hopes up too much. I've been hurt before (ha!)

Right now, though, I'm enjoying this bit of progress.

We'll see if I can stay the course and see what happens from here.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Shameless Self Promotion

Hey, a guy's gotta buy running gear, right?

The third, all-new collection of running parody songs is now available! Click on the PayPal button to the right of the uppermost blog post on this page.

Click here to listen to the tenth track of the collection (only for a limited time.)

You know you want to. It's only eight bucks. Don't you think your mental running health is worth it?

Oh...and if you haven't purchased the previous two collections, you can order ALL THREE for a mere $20.

I thank you, and my children's children thank you.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Summer's End 5K...or...You Can Go 'Home' Again

This past Saturday, I ran a 5k race that started and ended at my old high school. It was a bit more than a 2-hour round trip from home, so it's not a race I'd normally sign up for. I graduated from Kentwood High School in 1985, and probably haven't been to the school since around '87, so I was eager to see it again, as well as the entire area. Not surprisingly, things have changed. Neighborhoods have popped up, scenery is different, and even the school has some new additions. Honestly, it was a bit surreal walking and running where I once did the same nearly 3 decades ago.

The race itself was a well organized event. Given the total number of finishers for both the 5k and 10k (153; there was also a kids 2k race,) the vendors nearly outnumbered the race participants! There was free: Starbucks coffee, sub sandwiches, whole bananas and oranges, bagels, sports bottles, post-race massages, etc. Prizes were given out randomly. They awarded medals to the top 3 age group finishers...and they went with 5-year divisions! To top it off, there was a guy on a PA system announcing the name of every runner as they crossed the finish line. Overkill? Probably. But it made the race all the more enjoyable.

What also made it enjoyable was winning my age group. Granted, there were only four guys in my division, but somebody had to win it! Oh—staying upright made it enjoyable, too.

Cutting to the chase (is it really 'cutting to the chase' four paragraphs in?), here are my official results:

Time: 22:56
Pace: 7:24
Splits: 7:28, 7:24, 7:31, 5:52 pace/last .1
Overall: 5 of 109
AG: 1 of 4
Men: 5 of 39

The course, which wound its way through various subdivisions, included a big downhill at the half mile mark, and a challenging uphill at 2.5 miles. The race finished with 3/4 of a lap on the school's track. Once I hit the track, I gave everything I had left in an effort to get under 23 minutes. Pre-injury, that would have been an easy task. Now, as I'm trying to slowly build back a base, it takes quite an effort.

Next up—and much closer to home—is the Fire Prevention 5k, in Snohomish, WA on October 13th. Hopefully I can stay under 23 minutes once again.