Thursday, August 19, 2010

Bronx 1/2 Marathon

So here it is another Sunday another 1/2 marathon, another day to get up at 5am. BLEH! Lord knows why I run these things, not that I don't love the run itself but everything else that goes along with it. 5 am to run 13 miles at 7 am on a Sunday? that even sounds crazy to me, but even at that god forsaken time my significant other and myself managed to get to the race late thanks to the NYC Subway. Yes folks the train arrived nearly a half hr late and then decided to kick a train packed full of runners out the said train just 3 stops before our destination in order to go express. Why? to make up for lost time of course. I had to wonder if the train would even be a 1/3 as crowded the rest of the day as is was at that moment.
So along with maybe a couple of hundred tired and annoyed runners I arrived at the Bronx half just as the horn went off and started at the end of the corrals which meant lots of weaving to get through the speed walkers and the other 3 hr finishers.
I ran the race quite well considering my injuries the first sign of my endurance slowly returning, I finished in 1:52 not my best but not my worst. That award goes to the recent Queens half in which I hobbled in the near 100 degree weather in 2:16.

After finishing this one up and limping home I decided I needed to see a proper doctor about my foot. Actually I was advised by the doctor in the med tent. She had said that if I had neroma that a doctor could give me a shot of cortisone and it might clear it up. Woo Hoo!! That was enough for me to forget acupuncture for the moment, not that it wasn't working but every time I went for a run it acted up again (though a little less each time.) And to be honest I had something else irritating the side of my foot and I just wanted an xray to be sure I was OK.

Turns out my neroma successfully went away with acupuncture but I did have some serious inflammation. So the Doc jabbed me with a needle between the joints of my toes (where the pain was) and told me this may hurt a little. After letting out a wail that I 'm sure they heard in Kansas the doctor joked and said "hey it didn't hurt me a bit" (it was painfully funny) So after what seemed like an eternity if having having my foot speared with this instrument of torture he advised me to use arnica tabs ( for more info) The other problem on the side concerned him more. As I maybe mentioned before I over pronate so I wear special running shoes for this more than common dilemma. The dilemma within the dilemma is that the part of the shoe that keeps me from over pronating is irritating a bone one the inside of my foot and could cause tendinitis. Greeeeat. What to do? Get new shoes. "But I just bought these shoes less than a month ago and used them maybe 5 times" I cried out in
despair. Who said running was a cheap sport? What's good about this? I have an excuse to get new running shoes. Awesome.

On a side note I did have a discussion about the infamous 5 fingers with him. He was obviously a fan because he was wearing them around the office and said he walks (WALKS) everywhere with them. He did say it made his feet and legs stronger, he also agreed they are not for everyone, especially when it comes to running. Why? well there's a little thing called concrete here in NYC, also it takes some time so build up the strength to wear them. He's had people in his office with running related injuries as a result of wearing these 5 fingers (Ahhh sweet validation.) We also talked about this other shoe craze as in shape ups. He said they were good for ankle strength and balance. Well now off to plan C of my marathon training,which is less than 12 weeks away. Seems like no training is the new training.

" When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don't adjust the goals; adjust the action steps."

Monday, August 16, 2010

Life is a Beach ( written August 14th)

As I lay here on the beach listening to bits of 90s brit pop (in the form of Supergrass) I ponder on my various new found running injuries. These injuries seem to like me. They linger and sort of go away but they return like an old friend when you least expect them.
Just who and what are these injuries ad why do they like me so much?
Injury #1: Left leg.
Yes this one really seems to be making up for lost time, over a dozen marathons and ultra marathons and not one single boo boo, in fact not even a break between running or speed work or anything. But that all ended when I overloaded my training schedule with too many projects and replaced yoga with biking. Which turned into a terrible mistake, but hey I was training for a triathlon. This led to last November me walking the last ten miles of the NYC marathon.
I never did recover from that even though I ran an ultra 3 weeks after, plus a spring marathon and a hand full of half marathons.
Injury #2:Neroma.
This one stopped me from running for a month and I blame switching to light weight trainers. They felt great just over time my weak imbalanced right foot and over pronating gave way to a pain that had me limping while walking . Of course being the trooper I am one month later I returned to running and my 2nd run after a tough 3 miles? a half marathon in mid 90s temperature (hurray for summer) Of course this led me to my worst half ever ( 2:16 ) and a visit to the med tent for ice (which worked miracles)

So what have I done aside of rest? Acupuncture! I started treating my right foot with great results the swelling went down and I was able to run a good 7 miles of that half before I began to really fade (due to the heat) being on my feat that long only aggrivated my foot and brought the pain back but it was still manageable compared to how I felt pre acupuncture.

I write all this knowing I'm not in the greatest shape to run yet another half marathon tomorrow in the Bronx, but you know I signed up for it and thats enough to make a runner risk it all. At least its a healthy addiction.

Anyway I have realized during my time off that being a fast runner doesn't really matter all that much to me, yeah I know there's Boston and all but I already ran it and yes it was fun but mostly because I ran it as a bandit and there was no pressure to 'PR'.
No what really matters is that we are able to enjoy the process of training and running the marathon rather than worrying about satisfying our egos.
I also learned that being injured has made me a better swimmer, from a lap and being out of breath to nearly a mile.

Next year I'll do another sprint triathlon or a few for fun. I've had ambitions for an Ironman but I'll let that happen on its own, why kill myself? Besides I'm never putting yoga on the back burner again it's always going to be an important part of my training. It kept me injury free for nearly 10 years and the moment I stopped taking care of myself I got injured.
Besides, don't we just do this for fun anyway? Speaking of which I'm going to return to the beach and my lovely lady. Adios'

"I don't think anything is unrealistic if you believe you can do it"

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Born Too Dumb

As bloggers go I must say I’m quite lazy. Or is it that I prefer to write when I’m inspired. Just the same, today’s inspiration comes from running injuries. Yes it’s an ugly thought and I don’t like talking about and I don’t like hearing about it but I have one so now you must read my literary whining.

After maybe 10 years of non-stop running and feeling somewhat invincible I became injured, here’s how it started. Last year I started training for a triathlon while I was training for the New York City marathon and while I was training for a random 50 miler I wanted to do after that and by the way I was also going to run the Steamtown marathon about 3 weeks before NYC, but that was OK since it was in my 50 mile training plan to run 26 miles both those weekends.

Now I know some of you might say OMG, “classic over training” Well that’s only somewhat true. I’ve done this kind of roadwork before and it’s worked out fine for me.

What happened in my eyes is part because the bike that I was training on for my triathlon is way to big on me, and I happen to use this as a commuter bike as well. On top of that I one day put in too many miles in central park while running.

It was a raining day and I was to put in 30 miles that day and I did. In Central Park. You know with all the hills and hard pavement, in the pouring rain. After that my left leg was never the same, turned into mild IT band (never had it before) and I never let it recover.

I had to bail on the Steamtown marathon because I had to stay in town but I did those 26 miles anyway and I was already burned out (thanks to all that biking and swimming) By the time I go to the NYC marathon in November I was calm and mentally ready, hell it was only 26.2 miles and I’m ready to do 50.

Well by mile 6 I knew I wasn’t going to do any personal best. My mind was telling me I was faster but I’ve been training for an ultra (which makes you slower.) Anyway halfway through I was in trouble and by mile 16 the race was over and I did the stupidest thing I’ve ever done, I walked the last ten miles. Yes I finished the marathon but it finished me as well. My IT band was in terrible shape at the finish, my leg couldn’t even bend and I was in pain, I beat myself up about this all the time. “I should have just dropped out,” I keep telling myself, but what did I know, I always bounced back and quickly. I would go on 24-mile long runs then go to the gym and then yoga after that, and sometimes even bike over to a friends place and hang out only to bike back later that evening.

Things are different now. After NY I bailed on the 50 miler and went and did a 40 mile run instead, oh I limped all the way through it but it felt good to finish.

My big mistake is that I ran through the winter, I should have taken time off but I kept going and my IT was now a problem that I would have to deal with on a foam roller before and after every run (joy!)

After running another terrible marathon in NJ (check my race report for that disaster) and not feeling much pain or agony it would seem that I was OK. But wait, did I mention I read ‘born to run’? Yes I did! And it was awesome; I loved everything about the book except what it left in its wake. The minimalist running movement. Well maybe not so minimalist, runners love their gadgets and toys and useless arm warmers (yes useless, put on a long sleeve shirt you look like a dorky super hero.) So then what does it mean to be a minimalist runner? You should where light weight trainers, racing flats, vibrams, or run barefoot.

I chose the safest of all of those options and wore lightweight trainers, and found out that what I was telling the barefoot people also applied to me. “These are the concrete streets of NYC and the endless pounding is going to catch up with you.” Yes it did, and in the form of neroma. This is when you have a nerve that sort of feels like a pebble in your forefoot, except it makes it very painful to run. So I did the only thing I could do, stop running, and for a month. When I returned to running it was because I had been t acupuncture twice (very helpful) but now I am just out of gas running even 6 miles, plus as helpful as acupuncture was I am starting to feel the pain again and though I would like to rest I signed up for the NYC marathon and would like to start training like everyone else.

I am icing every day, and I’m back in my stability shoes and I curse that ‘born to run’ book every time I go out and see some idiot looking for attention by wearing those silly Vibrams or by putting there bare feet on the filthy streets of New York. Grrrrrr!

P.S. running barefoot doesn't make you a better or faster runner it just makes you look like someone who read a book and is now trying to appear like they know some magical secret to being a great runner. Remember everyone in that book wore something on there feet except 2 runners, the 2 that didn't come close to winning that race in Mexico.