Monday, May 30, 2005

The Ache That Wouldn't Go Away

That leg seizure I mentioned in my last post has put me out of action. I took Sunday off to rest up and tried again Monday (last week). No go. In the pouring rain, by 2.5 miles I had to stop and stretch out the leg. It's the kind of pain that I can't run through. It only hurts when I run but not when I walk. I suspect the origin of the pain comes from the pain in my left foot. I must have been favoring it somehow and now the disabling pain is in the lower quad. This reminds me of last December when I ran two 80 mile weeks in a row then had to deal with a quad and calf injury for the next two weeks. This is very similar. At least I'm on familiar ground.

So for Monday I got in 4.4 miles in 37:28. This was an aborted 10.4 mile workout due to the leg.
Tuesday I rested and the same on Wednesday. Thursday I tested the water with 5.2 miles in 46:05 w/Eric. It was apparent that it is going to be a long slow build back. I could feel the muscle tighten near the end of the run. Weather was rain and wind. Friday, I tempted fate with a 7.2 mile run on the Sipayik Trail in 1:03:48. I was pleased that the leg didn't get tight until the end again. However, trouble again on Saturday as I had to beg off the scheduled 10.8 mile run at the 3.6 mile point. The leg was acting up. It was a very nice morning out on the Sipayik Trail and while Eric finished out the 10 miles I walked along the trail enjoying the birds and the view of Passamaquoddy Bay. Sunday I took off again. Total mileage for the week was 19.4 miles. Very disappointing.

This week, I am going to try to do 5.2 miles each morning to see if the leg will hold up. Just to stretch the elastic to its limit, I will also see if I can fit in some short lunch time runs as well. This morning, I got in 5.2 miles in 44:35 and felt good. Eric & I got so engrossed in a conversation that the 5.2 miles disappeared before we knew it (and before my leg knew it). So this morning I am pleased with my prospects. However, I will cancel my participation in this coming Sunday's Cobscook Bay 10k race in Pembroke, ME. It is a beautiful race along the Cobscook Bay and ends at Reversing Falls Park. I can't take the chance of aggrevating the injury since my real goal is to successfully manage the high mileage of my marathon training program. Secondary to this is the entry into the summer races.

Weather wise, this was the select week to reduce my mileage. It has rain almost non-stop for a week (if not more). I can't recall the last time I saw a clear sky. As I type, the rain is coming straight down out of the fog. I believe they will hold Memorial Day services inside this year.

Congratulations to local runners Stephanie Allard and Brian Schuth. They ran the Vermont City Marathon yesterday. Stephanie finished 6th in her division in 3:29:22 (gun time) and 279th overall. Her goal was sub 3:30 and she hit the number dead on.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Hey! Where'd the pain go? Oh, there it is...

Friday was an amazing day. I awoke to no pain. The legs weren't sore, I wasn't limping around from sore feet or painful groin muscles. The calf muscles weren't tight and I felt great. What a complete change from the previous four days! I picked up Eric at 5am and we headed out to the airport for a fast 10.5 at 3/4 effort or 6:28 pace. Not only did I have no pain, it turned out that wherever the pain went, it must have taken my speed with it. Top end was 6:45 per mile and at 5.25 miles I was ready to call it a day. But I hung on and finished out the 10.5 averaging 6:45 per mile in 1:10:36. All the miles have put a crimp in how fast I can go just now. At the end of the run I sat down in the middle of the runway and did some stretching. This felt very good. The sun was out, the air was cool, the tide coming in, birds chirping, slight wind and deer wandering about the adjacent fields. Very nice. Even my supplemental 6 miles at lunch felt good. Lately, these supplemental miles have been the pits. Just a bear to get through. Not Friday, I felt great! I emailed Marc and told him of the breakthrough. I suggested that I felt like I may be in the eye of storm. And was I right!

Saturday came and my plan for 22 miles was thwarted by mile 6.7! My left leg seized up with pain that I couldn't run through! Man did that hurt. I don't know what caused it but the outside of my left leg rebelled from the abuse. Definitely a sign for a day off. So here I sit Sunday morning tapping on the blog instead of running a fun 15 miler. Just as well. The weather is nasty this morning. High winds with gusts to 60 mph and horizontal rain. I took some ibuprofen when I came in from yesterday's run and the leg hasn't hurt to walk on or exhibited any other "lasting" pain. It will be interesting to see how it takes tomorrow's 10 miler at 7:11's.

So to recap the week: SORE! Here's the day to day:

Monday: 10.4 mile in 1:13:00 or 7:02 per mile. Wx foggy and cool. Left foot sore.
Monday: 6 miles supplemental w/Eric in 53:10 or 8:52 per mile.
Monday: 6 miles supplemental @ lunch in 48:47 (8:08/mile). New shoes & sore all over.
Tuesday: 15.2 miles in 2:05:52 (8:17/mile). Tough run. Right & left feet hurt horribly. Fatigue.
Wed: 12 miles in 1:31:20 (7:37/mile). Sore. Couldn't do 7:11's. Had to give legs a break.
Wed: 6 supplemental 49:31 (8:16/mile). Sore & left foot hurting.
Thu: 18.6 2:28:23 (7:59/mile). Felt ok.
Thu: 6 supplemental 50:11 (8:22/mile) Groin sore! Tough run.
Friday: 10.5 1:10:36 (6:44/mile). Felt good, no pain. Couldn't go faster though.
Friday: 6 supplemental 49:38 (8:17/mile). Felt better than yesterday.
Sat: 6.7 miles 54:36 (8:10/mile) Left leg rebelled. Long run aborted. Horrible pain.
Sun: 0 miles. Rest day due to Saturday disaster. Feeling ok, no pain.

Total: 103.4 (Avg pace 7:53 / mile)

On to next week. I am going to hold off instituting the "strong 10k & 5k's" called for in the Lydiard plan until I can handle the mileage better. Good running to all.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Body On Ice

My body is welcoming me to the consequences of high mileage one pain at a time. My first visitor arrived from the calf region bringing tightness with him. As the tightness subsided, I found it "slid" up onto the side of my calf (near the bone) and represents more of a bruise then anything. Symptom is soreness. Ok, visitor #2 declares than any motion other than perfect running form will be painful in the groin muscles. So, no turning, jumping, twisting, side stepping, etc. On Monday I found my left foot hurt from the "pounding" which I attributed to the used up sneakers. Pain was centered in the bottom of the foot with slight pain reaching up to the left side. Changed into new shoes for this morning's 15 miler and the right heel started sending out signals of sharp pain intermittently. Unfortunately, I was 8 miles from the house when this occurred. Should an arm fall off tomorrow, I won't be surprised.

Frozen peas today. Yesterday it was cauliflower but I got hungry. Canceled my lunch supplemental 6 miler for an ice regimen. I was expecting to be besieged with aches and pains and indeed I am. My concern is two-fold: 1) lasting injury and 2) reduction in mileage. I need to avoid #1 while minimizing #2. I have experienced all of these "injuries" before and I have found nothing satisfies like rest and ice. Today I have iced both feet and I am hoping tomorrow's 12 miler won't be painful. If it is, I'll have to start taking whole days off instead of reducing the supplemental. We shall see.

Speaking of tomorrow's 12 miler: it is supposed to be "hilly" but I haven't had a chance to measure out a particular course where there are hills about 7 miles outside of town (what we refer to as "up country" or "off island"). Therefore, I will do the same course as my 10 miler but add in the required 2 miles. The course is hilly of a sorts - just short hills. The thought of driving 15 to 20 minutes to get to the start of tomorrow's run doesn't appeal to me tonight. I think this is mainly due to the sore feet. Once I am feeling fresh again I will consider going out of town.

I took last Saturday off to rest my calf muscle that got very sore from last Friday morning's workout with Eric. Sunday, I met up with Marc for our final farewell run. We ran 15 at the Moosehorn in 2:18:28. Calf was ok and we ran nice and easy. End of an era I guess. I can't remember how Marc & I started running together but it was shortly after he moved to the area to build the Downeast Heritage Center. We started running after work together - that is when I could lure him away from a soccer game. I think he played for the Tobacco Titans or the Buzzin' Beer Broncos - I can't remember which. Anyway, I offered a healthier alternative to aging overweight has-beens rushing about booting balls at each other. Eventually, we started running THE LONG RUN each Sunday morning. We ran through heat, wind, snow, rain, sleet, cold, and a herd of deer all the while keeping up a chat that lasted the 3 hours. When I think back, I remember some great times as well as the funny. Here are a few snaps:

1. The run through the blizzard. One day it snowed so hard during our lunch time run we were pushing snow with our knees running down the middle of the street. At one point I fell and disappeared. When I got back to the bank, we had closed due to the weather.
2. The Nova Scotia Marathon. At mile 10 we simultaneously burst out of adjacent port-o-potties like greyhounds at the bell. There was a small crowd cheering wildly for us. This particular circumstance has yet to repeat itself.
3. The continous headwind in the cold rain/snow. 20 miles of cold wet wind in Marc's face doesn't make him happy. My continual optimistic "we'll be out of this in a second" didn't help either.

Mile after mile we stored up long runs for the chance to qualify for Boston. He convinced me that "cotton kills" and introduced me to Gu. I, on the other hand, convinced him that driving the 30 minutes to my house at 5am on a lazy Sunday morning was just the ticket to starting your day right: 20 before 9 was the motto. When we first started running 20 on a regular weekly basis we had to take the rest of the day to recover - it wiped us out. Then we slowly became adapted to the workout and no longer needed to sleep on the couch all day. However, running 20 became a social sport and if one couldn't go, odds were the other would find an excuse to not to run as well. So gone are the days when I pen in the log book "20 with Marc - nice run, good chat". Now it's 20 lonesome unless I can convince Eric he's just aching to run marathons. He assures me weekly he has the fortitude to resist the temptation. How can this be?

So with the Final Run with Marc over, the week ended with 96 miles in the logbook. The new week began on Monday with 10.4 in 1:13:00 (7:18 avg pace), 6 supplemental with Eric in 53:10 and 6 supplemental at lunch in 48:47. Today saw 15.2 in 2:05:52 (8:17 avg pace).

Gotta catch some sleep. Good running to all.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Tightness in Calf (first sign of high mileage)

The first true sign of the high miles showed up today with a tight calf muscle. Came on at the end of a "ramble" about Eastport with Eric this morning. Loosened a little by the end of my lunchtime 6 with Marc but now I have need of ice tonight. We will see how this effects the training. I expect similar ailments to crop up and it's always nice to have the first one over with (to rid the sense of pending doom). Another sore area is the groin muscle. Not affecting my running (yet) but any sharp turn or quick movement is against the rules now. Let's hope the body will adapt in fine style.

This morning was a fun run around Eastport on a non-measured course. I nickname this course the "paper route" as it reminds of my days as a paperboy running up and down every street in Eastport getting the paper to all my customers. The route basically goes up and down every street thus creating a zig-zag from South to North. When we reached the North End we ran out to the airport, crossed it, then ran the trail up to the end of Shackford Head which affords beautiful views of Cobscook Bay. After a short break at the top to admire the view, we headed home arriving in 1:38:+-. Sometimes it's fun to run on time only. Being conservative and estimating 9 minute miles we ran 10+. I had the count-down timer on the watch set for every 18 minutes so we would get our fluids at approximately every 2 miles.

Lunch run with Marc was fun. 6 miles in 48:41 on the River Trail. The trail is 1.5 miles long so we end up doing an up & back twice. We agreed to run our final farewell in the Moosehorn Sunday morning. This run shows just how addicted to running Marc is, since he will be driving 14 hours to Geneva, NY to begin his new life right after our run. And fittingly, I think it will rain.

I think my leg is frozen, so I'll stop now. Good running to all.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Miles (and miles) of Recovery

I am glad I like to run. It seems to be what I am doing most of these days. I can vouch for the threshold out there of "commitment". It appears on days when 5 miles would have done it, or a day of rest would have been scheduled in a previous life. Now 10 miles fills the minimum requirement - and we're just talking about recovery. I decided I would commit to the high mileage to experience (hopefully) the resulting increase in aerobic capacity that will allow me to run my marathons faster. I am still in the infancy of this commitment but I think I am going to like it. My main concern going in is the injury factor. It is a risk well documented and I believe I have succumbed to it before. On the other hand, I am trying to follow a "Lydiardism" that basically states that it is the speed not the miles that is doing the athlete in. Or plainly stated: running too far, too fast. So with this in mind, I am paying attention to how my body is reacting to no rest days and the increase in mileage. Here are the new signs 1 1/2 weeks in:

* Back of legs tender
* Groin muscles sore
* Very tired at the end of the day
* General fatigue

Not all is bad however. I am experiencing:

** Longer bouts of "mood lift"
** Overall feeling of "fitness" during the day
** I look forward to the next run (I run twice a day now)
** Easier 2nd halves during my runs (the first half basically a warmup)
** Steady paces

The soreness in the legs and groin are signs that I need to pay strict attention to. I believe an injury could occur if I try to run any "quick" bursts of speed or fail to warmup properly. Since my schedule requires me more or less to roll out of bed and onto the street, the warmup must consist of the first few miles of my run. I shuffle along letting the body "stretch" out the muscles and by 5 miles I feel great. However, I have noticed that it isn't until about 5 miles that I get the "feel good" feeling. Seems all this running has pushed the carrot farther out on the course. During my noon run (6 miles) I am just about done before I start enjoying the workout. Funny.

This second week of recovery intentionally brought the miles up to 100/wk level. However, each morning run consists of a 10+ mile portion, and each noon run a 6 mile portion. Since I don't want the body to adapt my fuel burn to these particular distances, I will be glad to start mixing the mileage up starting next Monday using the Lydiard system: 10, 15, 12, 18, 10, 22, 15 for morning runs. My noon runs will remain the same and serve the purpose of "supplemental".

Since the Holyoke Marathon my previous 7 day total has steadily increased. Last week ended with 63. Each day that followed through today increased the moving 7 day total: 79, 91, 97, 103. Did I mention I have been hungry? Here is this week so far:

M (AM) 10.2 ~ 1:30:00 (8:50 pace)
M (PM) 6 ~ 48:04 (8:01 pace)
T (AM) 10.8 ~ 1:28:34 (8:13 pace)
T (PM) 6 ~ 47:54 (7:59 pace)
W (AM) 10.4 ~ 1:28:53 (8:33 pace)
W (PM) 6 ~ 45:32 (7:36 pace)
Th (AM) 10.4 ~ 1:26:48 (8:21 pace)
Th (PM) 6 ~ 47:37 (7:57 pace)

All miles done at recovery effort with the supplemental done maybe a little too fast but the trail is very flat and it takes no effort to run a tad faster. Tomorrow Eric & I will put in another 10+ miles and hopefully I'll meet up with Marc for a lunchtime 6. Saturday & Sunday are up in the air as far as what the actual workouts will be as this will be Marc's last weekend as a resident of Downeast Maine. We're hoping we can get in a run at the Moosehorn Wildlife Refuge on one of the days.

So, am I recovered? Well, yes and no. I think the recovery weeks are meant to allow us to analyze where we are and what lingering effects need to be accounted for. In one respect, I am ready to proceed with training. No ill effects from the marathon, mind is fresh, the plan is set, and I am ready. Flip side: new program will put a strain on body thus creating a need for speed management. Therefore, I am not sure if I'll be putting in the 6:28 mins/mile next Friday. I'll let the body decide just when to bring the pace below 7:00 again.

Expecting tomorrow morning's run to be below 32F so I need to go and dig out my mittens...

Friday, May 06, 2005



Recovery is going so well I am anxious to start the new program but I have promised myself to do 2 full weeks of recovery running. Wednesday I was able to increase the daily mileage to 10 and I don't intend to go below that if I don't have to. Last Tuesday I did 5 and I felt like I could go further but stopped there as a cautionary measure. Yesterday, Eric and I ran the Sipayik Trail out at Pleasant Point. 3 x out&back = 10.8 miles. Nice easy run and full of good conversation. This morning we'll go out for another ten, but I don't know the route we'll do. Routes are limited here unless you want to jump in the car and get off the 'island' & go up country. Yesterday the new fuel belt I purchased chafed me badly along the waist. I wonder if I had it on too loose. Boy was I sore.


Went out for 10.1 with Eric this morning. Good run with diminishing soreness in the legs. Had periodic soreness that would show in the quads then migrate to the calfs over the length of the run. So far this week I have put in 36.3 recovery miles. Will rain this weekend but I will mostly like get out for a couple of more 10 milers to close the week in the 50's.

When I finally get to do my specific training I will try to do this format:

M 10 miles 1/2 effort ~ 7:11 pace (undulating course)
T 15 miles 1/4 effort ~ 8:05 pace (reasonably flat)
W 12 miles 1/2 effort ~ 7:11 pace (rolling hills)
Th 18 miles 1/4 effort ~ 8:05 pace (reasonably flat)
F 10 miles 3/4 effort ~ 6:28 pace (flat)
Sa 22 miles 1/4 effort ~ 8:05 pace (reasonably flat)
Su 15 miles 1/4 effort ~ 8:05 pace (any course = fun run)

Supplement with easy (pace <8:05) lunchtime miles. Every two weeks I am to include 4 "strong" 5ks, 1 "strong" 10k, 1 session of easy fartlek, and 1 session of 200 meter striding (4 - 8). These miles will be imbedded in the workouts mileage so they are not in addition to the above but rather part of it. The above times were calculated by assuming 6:28 to be my current marathon race pace (a pace just below LT) and using 90% of this pace for the 1/2 effort and 80% for the 1/4 effort category. Over time, I am hoping to see an improvement in "natural" pace when running a particular session. The plan calls for adjustment "according to runner reaction" to the stress (either up or down in pace or volume). I plan on doing this after two 2-week cycles.

I am currently comfortable with ~ 80 miles per week so this will be a commitment on my part to do the increased mileage. I have been out scouting out different courses to keep things fresh with variety. I have purchased a fuel belt so I can stay hydrated and I had two new pair of my running sneakers delivered. So, now to patiently conduct a physiological experiment on an amateur runner in Downeast Maine: can we make him a fast marathoner? What fun ha ha!

My plan with the aerobic condition phase is to keep this phase in progress until I see significant improvement in my LT. I believe that my LT is around 6:15 per mile or so and my marathon race pace is 6:28 (if I could last beyond 20 miles). So this fall, I plan on tapering a couple weeks before the selected marathon, but not do any specific meso-cycle training until possibly the summer of 2006. This year of aerobic conditioning should provide a good launch pad for some successful improvement with the speed & hill workouts. At least, that's what the literature tells me!

Here is an open question for those in the know: Due to the increased caloric requirement from such high mileage training, am I allowed an increase in my daily sodium intake as part of the increased caloric requirement? I ask because some food items like V8 juice has a lot of sodium and I'd like to increase my consumption of this and possibly some canned soups. Any help would be appreciated. Currently I try to limit my sodium intake to the USDA's recommendation. Sometimes I am successful and sometimes I am not.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Quick Update - Success!

No time to fill in the details just now but I am happy to report a successful race at the Holyoke Marathon yesterday. Finished 5th in 3:03:48 ( a new personal best). But most of all, I had a blast! I will give a complete race report when I return to Eastport tonight.