Sunday, October 27, 2013

Interesting Documentary

I'll admit to being a full-fledged running geek. I would have loved to do a study like the one the Danes did in this documentary. I've heard many theories over the years about why the Kenyans are superior distance runners, but I had never heard about this particular theory.

I won't spoil it, in case you're interested in watching this (and if you do, you're a fellow running geek, for sure!), but I will say that I was surprised by their conclusion. This was filmed in 2001.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

232 Miles

That number is what I need to run to reach 10,000 miles in my running career. I've actually been pretty close to 10k for quite some time. These pesky injuries have made the last 1,000 miles a very long and slow journey. I will reach it, though. It may not be by the end of 2013, as I was hoping, but the milestone will be reached, rest assured.

In the meantime, I'm in "Do What I Can Do" mode. I put in 37.5 miles in two bike rides this week, while the nice weather hangs on. It looks like it'll cool down at least 20°F next week, so I'll either be riding while being bundled up, or I'll dig out my trainer and try to stave off boredom. I'm also trying to get back into the weights more, minus deadlifts, which severely injured my back a few weeks ago. Or, I should say, they pushed my already temperamental back over the edge.

I may opt for some very short runs here and there, just to keep those muscles familiar with running, but if the hamstring objects, I'll stop.

Which leads me to a tangent. Like a good sports geek, I play fantasy football (for fun & bragging rights, not for money). I have two fantasy teams. I was noticing lately just how many of my players are coming down with hamstring injuries, and have been reading the notes about just how long those injuries take to heal. Trust me, I'm no professional athlete, but I can relate. It feels like this injury could take a very long time to heal (it already has), and I'm 15-20 years older than these athletes...who have the very best medical care available.

I wish there was a way to instantly fix it, but that day hasn't yet come 8-)

Thursday, October 17, 2013


Well, I tried.

I had a couple weeks of decent mileage. Felt some minor pains, but not quite enough to convince me to pull back.

Until now.

Or, Monday, to be precise. Having run a couple of six milers and a seven miler in the last two weeks, I decided that—come hell or high water—I was running 8 miles on Monday. And so I did.

I felt clunky. I never got into that comfortable groove. In hindsight, I think the tightness in my hamstring was causing me to alter my stride slightly. At around mile 5, both my right hamstring and my right knee started aching. Oh, and my right big toe, too. I ran the 8 miles at a faster pace than I should have (although not terribly fast).

I iced the knee and hamstring, then applied heat to the hamstring.

I had an easy 4-miler (with the dog) planned for Tuesday, so off I went, curious about how my body would react. I made it through the run, but later that day, I knew I was done for a while.

This has been a tough year for this old (feeling) body. I'm also nursing some other non running-related injuries, so my body is currently a mess.

Aside from a short & slow pre-donut run I promised my youngest daughter this coming Saturday, I'm taking a few days off from all exercise. Then, I'm going to basically start over. Everything will be short, light and easy for a while. I'm going to vary my workouts quite a bit. I may do a short run one day, bodyweight exercises another, ride my Schwinn Airdyne on another, lift light weights on another, skip rope, ride the bike trainer, etc. Basically, it'll be a general fitness program until I can get past these aggravating injuries.

Oh, I'm not done as a runner. My body just wasn't ready for what I was asking quite yet.

Until it is, I'll see if I can slowly get this body back to where it should be...i.e. not hurting!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Vitamin I

I'm not a big fan of downing ibuprofen on a regular basis (least of all before a run...which I avoid), but the end of this week provided enough pain for me to resort to a few rounds of vitamin I.

Here were this week's totals:

M - 7.0 mile run
T - 4.0 mile run
W - off
T - 6.0 mile run
F - 4.0 mile run + weights (ouch)
S - off (ouch)
S - 17:00 spin on the Airdyne

Miles Run: 21.0

The positive news of the week was starting off with a 7-mile run, which is my longest run since early March.

On the flip side, Friday wasn't a fun day for me. My hamstring had been feeling more or less okay during the week. Friday's run was no different. After the run, however, it was bothering me quite a bit. After that run, since I had been neglecting it, I decided to do a short workout with the weights. I did some pullups, bench presses, then moved on to the deadlift. I haven't been deadlifting a lot of weight for a while due to a cranky lower back, so I figured I could handle this with no problems. Oh, how wrong I was. During the third rep, I felt and heard an audible pop in my lower back. I immediately dropped the weight. I did finish my workout (dumb), and my lower back proceeded to hurt and lock up quite a bit.

Upon waking up the last two mornings, I can barely bend. Putting on my socks is agonizing (and nearly impossible.) Thankfully, my back gradually loosens up a bit as the day wears on, but it's going to take a week or two to mend.

As for the hamstring, I'm not sure what to do. I rode my neglected Schwinn Airdyne today, since I'm able to sit upright on it (as opposed to my racing bike, which would kill my back), so I at least got in a short cardio workout. I'll play it by ear as to whether or not I'll run soon. In the meantime, I'm doing the usual: ice, heat, stretching, for both my back and hamstring.

Getting old is getting old.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Good Week

I just wrapped up my first 20+ mile week since the beginning of March. While I'm still injured, I think I can manage the issues and still run, as long as I keep it slow(ish) and flat.

Here are the numbers:

M - 6 mi
T - 4 mi
W - off
Th - 6 mi
F - 3 mi
S - 3 mi
S - off

Total: 22 miles

Mmm...pumpkin spice post-run recovery!

I had a fun morning with my daughter. My wife and youngest daughter are out of town. Natalie has been injured and unable to race with her cross country team, so this morning I took her down to the Centennial Trail (paved) where we did an easy out and back. After the run, I treated her to a donut & hot chocolate at Krispy Kreme. It was a fun morning. She's a freshman in high school, and I know she'll be gone before long, so I want to get in as many of these "daddy dates" as I can over the next few years.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 3, 2013


My Stick arrived two days ago, and I've been putting it to the test on my right hamstring.

First of all, it's quite an upper body workout! To hit the hamstring effectively (when it's not tense), I lay on my back and bend my right knee straight up (foot on the floor). Then I roll up and down on the hamstring. The Stick is meant to really dig in, so that's what I do.

I can tell you with confidence that my right hamstring is a complete mess! When I roll over it, it feels like a bumpy road, especially compared to my left hamstring. My guess is that I've got a lot of scar tissue built up, which may be why it's taking so long to heal, and why it often feels tight & like it's pulling during some runs.

I've decided to stop stretching it for the time being (which usually felt uncomfortable, anyway). I'm also going to hold off on the ice and heat. I really want to see if I can break things up in there first, so I'll have a good idea whether or not the Stick is making a difference.

So, after a couple of days of really working it over, it's pretty sore. I'm going to run on it in a couple of hours. I'm sure it's too soon to feel a significant difference, but over the long term, I'm optimistic that I can undo most, if not all, of the damage.

Fingers crossed...