Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Freezing our arses off

It is currently a "RealFeel" of zero degrees, according to AccuWeather. Tomorrow morning, it will be a -5. This is way to frickin' cold to enjoy running. My resolve to run in the winter is being tested.

It is definitely colder here in the Chicago 'burbs than in CT. Current temps prove it. It's a wimpy 27 degree RealFeel in my former residence of Norwalk, CT right now. What was I thinking with this move?

Yesterday, it was a mere 7 degrees RealFeel, so I knocked out my planned four without incident. I had the full shebang of wardrobe: skin tight running pants, overpants, hat, headband, thick gloves, running coat, underlayer in Polyester, two pairs of sox. Name it, brother!

4 miles - Avg pace: 8:10

Today, I said "no way" to going outside and headed to my local gym early morn. I rocked out 5 miles on the 'dreadmill (quite an accomplishment for me), and managed to incorporate at least four or five steady intervals of 6% grade for 0.15-0.25 miles. My research tells me I need to run hills for Boston.

5 miles - avg pace: 7:51 - HILLS!
Don't know what I will do tomorrow. Driving to the gym at 6:15 AM is a pain in the arse. I'm supposed to 4 mile easy.

WTD: 9 miles

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Steady does it

With today's treadmill workout at the gym, I successfully completed a 33 mile week. This total surpassed my goal this week of 32 miles.

Yesterday's run of 12.6 miles at the Morton Aboretum with the CARA group went very well. I did not experience any pain at all, and I felt like I glided through the workout with relative ease.

Bear in mind that the MA course loops (both east and west side of the park) are somewhat hilly. Not quite as hilly as the towns of Ridgefield and New Canaan, Connecticut (where I used to run this time last year before moving), but hilly by Chicago area standards. This run even included a 4.7 mile loop completed in 35:00 (7:22 pace), during which I felt comfortable and strong.

Mon - 3.1 mi. - local neighborhoods
Tue - 4.6 mi. - local neighborhoods
Wed - 3.4 mi. - local neighborhoods
Thu - 5 mi. with 2 at LT pace - local neighborhoods
Fri - Rest
Sat - 12.6 mi. - Morton Aboretum - total average pace of 7:48
Sun - 4.4 mi. - treadmill - with some hill work (incline up to 5.5% for 30 sec intervals)

Total: 33 mi.

I will continue on with Hal's Boston Bound Plan, with the minor adjustments as usual. This coming week will be extremely cold. The forecast has the "Realfeel" in the range of -5 to 10 over the coming days.

On the positive side, today's treadmill run wasn't as horrible as usual. Usually, I am mentally challenged to endure the monotony. I think I learned to condition my mind to think about other things. This is good progress, since I will likely be inside a few days this week.

I am regaining confidence on the stability of my left leg. I am continuing to strengthen my glutes.

This week's mileage goal: 40 miles

There are 7 weeks until the March Madness half marathon, which will be my first race in months. I am one of the fortunate 1,000 participants in this sold out event.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Mid-week update

First, I admit I am struggling to blog to my fullest potential. Truth is, I embarked upon another passion recently: Writing. I am taking an online writing class and, on top of work and running, it is taking up some spare time. I do love it so far, though. I feel really inspired.

I am on track here with Hal's Boston Bound program - Week #1 of 12. Well, almost, except for one minor detail within yesterday's workout. I'm supposed to do hill repeats every other Tuesday.

Folks, I live in the FLATTEST place in the world. My subdivision is 4 years old and was built on top of endless miles of corn fields out here the Chicago suburban sprawl.

The nearest respectable hill that I know of must be at least a 10 mile drive. I can't pull that off before work. SO... I ran flat and a little bit faster than usual yesterday.

Good news is that the ITB seems to be coming around. I'm feeling better. My PT was right on, the more I read. My damn gluteus medius were way too weak for my running level. How in the hell did it take this long to feel the pain?

The program is fairly, shall we say, novice here in the beginning - in terms of total mileage. Honestly, however, it works for me right now. I cannot do the 50 mile weeks right now until we heal the ITB entirely. Until then, I am enjoying the shorter runs mid-week.

This weekend's 10-12 miler on Saturday will be the test.


Mon - 3.15 mi -7:57 avg
Tue - 4.61 mi - 7:25 avg - Mile 2 at 6:33! All felt good.
Wed - 3.41 mi - 7:42 avg


Thu - 5 miles tempo (just slower than 10k pace for 2-3 miles, around 6:40 for now)
Fri - Rest
Sat - 10-12 miles 3/1 run (target 1:20-1:35 running time)
Sun - 6 miles pace

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Life will be changing

I didn't rest the entire time that I had planned. I made it about 10 days without running a step and then decided to get outside and run a few on Thursday.

On Thursday, my first mile after 10 days of rest was a 7:32. I took it easy after that and finished 3.6 at about 7:50 per mile pace total.

I wanted to do a full 4 miles but (a) it was freezing cold, and I wasn't dressed right, and (b) the knee was slightly annoyed and I didn't want to push it.

I can't tell as yet if my hiatus helped my cause. Who knows. I cannot afford to wait any longer.

Yesterday, I ran outside here with the hope of doing at least 8 miles. It was 20 degrees and very sunny. I felt strong enough to do 9 miles. The knee felt OK, but the fact is I can still feel the ITB issue. I will continue to do my exercises.

On to the big news: my wife is pregnant! Her due date is in September. It's still early, so I am cautiously optimistic. If all goes as planned, here comes the life of baby joggers and sleep deprivation for my runs!

Recap of 1/15/07 week

Monday - Speed walk - 3 miles
Tuesday - Rest
Wednesday - Rest - travel to Norwalk
Thursday - 3.6 miles - First run in 10 days - Norwalk, CT - felt the knee
Friday - Rest
Saturday - 9 miler - 7:55 avg pace - all went reasonably well
Sunday - Gym: Stretches/strengthening - leg presses - 2.4 miles on tread - 8:20 avg pace

Total mileage (incl. speed walk): 18 miles

I will be starting up Hal's Boston Bound Program, which is a 12 week plan.

Week #1 plan

Mon 1/22 - 3 EZ
Tue 1/23 - 3xhill, 1 down - est 5 miles - where I'm going to find a hill?
Wed 1/24 - 3 EZ
Thu 1/25 - 5 Tempo
Fri 1/26 - Rest
Sat 1/27 - Timed 3/1 run of 1:20 (est 10 miles) - Run w/CARA group
Sun 1/28 - 6 mile pace run (3 or 4 at pace)

Goal mileage: 32

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Not running increases thinking about running

I am on my fifth day of non-running. I am coping reasonably well. But it is hard to think about another entire week of not running. I think it would be easy to not run if I wasn't signed up for a fairly big marathon in 13 weeks from now.

I have been doing my stretches every day, which have been interesting for me. I feel like a yoga dude. One of the important exercises that the PT told me to do are leg lifts for my glutues medius. It feels really funny to do them. It's like I am taping a Suzanne Somers exercise video.

One benefit of not running with the CARA group today was that I had extra time to paint my basement. I busted my arse all morning cleaning, organizing and painting. I feel like I accomplished a great task today.

When you are not running, I have found, you think more about what you want to achieve when you are running.I thought about the goal that I set with my New Year's plan to run a 3:05 in Chicago. Wow, that sounds fast. I know I can do it, but I will need to change a lot of things and increase my commitment from last year.

The other goal, one that is brand-new, is to run a 65 or more mile week in 2007. That is a new one. Some of the hardcores that I read about would laugh at that goal. But it is a serious challenge for me. My best ever weeks are in the mid-50's.

The other random thought relative to the fall marathon was about our plans for a family. Jen and I have been trying to conceive. She's away on a vacation right now with her mom (some quality time for the mother-daughter relationship). We're hoping to have good news this week. If she's pregnant, it is quite possible that the due date with coincide with the Chicago Marathon. Wouldn't that be interesting.

For Boston, I will run for fun. The real deal is in the fall. There are 38 weeks to the Chicago Marathon - with a little event called Boston in between. How's that for planning ahead?

The plan is to hold out from running for another entire week at least. We'll see if that holds...

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Let the healing begin

Upon reflection, I may have been a bit overzealous about my schedule and running through my injury. Maybe I have been in denial?

I ran on Monday morning. I did 8 out of the 9 miles. There was supposed to be some LT work in there, but, wow, it was tough. It was very cold at 6 AM, the wind was blowing, I had many clothes on, my knee was bothering me, and I was out there thinking "why I am doing this?"

I did 8 miles on Monday AM at 6:10 AM at an average pace of 7:47. Mile 3 was at 7:07 and Mile 4 was at 7:17. I quickly cooled it after that insanity and ran just sub-8's.

My P.T. eval was Monday night. My therapist, Stacey, quickly pointed out a very glaring weakness in my gluteus medius (side ass muscle). This connects to the ITB and she claims this could have contributed to my knee pain. There is no hard evidence, but I am going to trust her that I need to rest, stretch and strengthen.

She didn't tell me to stop running (although it was clear that was what her advice was without saying it), since she knew that wasn't an idea that would be well-received. So, she cautiously advised me to rest as much as I can.

I reflected since Monday night as I went into my first "real" session with Stacey tonight. "I don't want to keep running like this worrying about this knee" my mind told me. And, "if there's any time to take a minor break, why not mid-January when the winds here in Chicago are wicked and it's freezing cold?".

SO... I have decided I will not run until... (drum roll please) ... Saturday, Jan 20th, and MAYBE Monday, Jan 22nd. This will give me precisely 12 weeks to Boston. There's a great Hal Higdon 12-weeker to Boston that I will likely follow (see his site).

In the interim, I will do stretch and strengthen exercises that Stacey gave me two times per day - along with foam rolling the IT band. This will be 12 solid days of no running with therapy.

To sum it up, this sucks. It is psychologically challenging... But I need to do it. I can't limp along like this all year. I want to run Boston pain-free and rock Chicago in October.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

First week of 2007 is a success

Upon reflection, I can see how my last post may have sounded a bit desperate, and thus prompted a few comments with the advice of “take it easy”.

It’s not as bad as I may have implied. Sure, a couple of the runs this week were tough, but that’s going to be the case right now.

Fact is that I am still running. If the ITB were too painful to endure, or I was causing damage to myself, I would take a complete break. But that's not the case. There are good days and bad days. I am hopeful the therapy, which begins tomorrow, will pull me through. I will rest it, as dictated by my PT.

Yesterday was a good day. I went out yesterday to run with the Sat AM CARA group and knocked out a solid 15.3 miles. The Morton Aboretum loops also present some nice rolling hills, which make the workouts reasonably challenging. Running with this group makes a world of difference in my physical and psychological state. GROUP RUNNING IS A POSITIVE CONTRIBUTOR TO SUCCESS!

Average pace was 7:45 over the 15.3 miles, which is very strong all things considered. Heart rate was way up at certain points (mid 180’s) as we blasted up some of the steeper hills.

The run was tough and it was a great workout. I admit that I felt the knee. The point is, after a day of rest, I can run these types of runs and endure what I would classify as discomfort. I stop short of saying “pain”, because I didn’t feel pain. It’s more like a steady soreness.

I finished the rest of my day without much discomfort. The wife and celebrate with a great dinner at the Cheesecake Factory.

I have decided that I will not try and make up this week’s missed mileage. I am going to call this week a success at 36 solid miles.

Boston will not be a PR. I don’t even place to chase a PR. How many Boston first-timers even try a PR there anyway? My goal is to go out there, run healthy and take in the experience. I'm thinking 3:30 or so.

I will be ramping up later this year for a PR in Chicago. Goal on October 6 is 3:05. This knee issue, a mild setback as it is, is the bit of adversity that I knee to fuel me to have my best year of running ever.

1/1/07 Week recap

Mon - 5 miles
Tue - Rest
Wed - 10 miles
Thu - 6 miles
Fri - Rest
Sat - 15.3 miles
Sun - Rest

TOTAL: 36.3 miles

Plan for 1/8/07 week - Pfitzinger "13 to go"*

Mon - 9 w/4 at LT
Tue - 5 recovery
Wed - 10 G.A.
Thu - Rest
Fri - 5 recovery
Sat - 17
Sun - Rest

GOAL: 46 miles

*I will closely monitor my ability to run this schedule. If the ITB acts up or my PT advises me against running, I will alter the schedule.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Limping along

I felt I was making great progress by building mileage. However, I had a setback the last couple of days with the left ITB. I have been rolling the crap out of my left IT band on the foam roller, and trying to stretch, but I guess it's not healed.

My 10-miler on Wednesday was downright tough the last few miles. I completed it, but my leg was bothering me somethin' fierce and I felt spent. I think worrying about my leg is mentally taxing. This is causing me to fatigue physically.

Yesterday's six-miler was supposed to be 8, but the leg, combined with the wicked winds and my impending GI tract problem forced me home early. The last mile was a near miss from wrecking my shorts.

I am finding that, on rested fresh legs, the first 4-5 miles are really pain-free - and then the IT band starts become aggravated. I then labor through, some times altering my form over the last couple of miles.

On not-so-fresh legs, it takes only a couple of miles to feel the annoying IT band. These runs I can get through.

On the last mile of yesterday's 10'er, a coworker saw me while she was driving into work, and mentioned to me later in the day that I looked like I was limping.

I am at 21 miles WTD. I hope to get in 15 tomorrow morning with the group.

I am excited for my PT Eval on Monday - and follow up appt scheduled for Wednesday. I am hoping I will get a miracle working PT who rehabilitate me to my old running self.


Mon - 5
Tue - Rest
Wed - 10
Thu - 6 - last two miles were walk/run
Fri - Rest


Sat - 15
Sun - Rest

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy 2007 - Ready to rock another running year

And so another year has passed. I would say that 2006 was an outstanding year. We moved from CT to IL, and are enjoying the Chicagoland area. We bought our first "real" house (i.e. not a condo). Career seems be going well enough. And I qualified for the Boston Marathon.

Some 2006 running statistics:

Est number of miles run: 1,628
Number of races completed: 9 -- two marathons, two halfs, one 10M, one 8k, one 10k, one 5M, one 5k - and maybe one that I can't recall
PR's set: Marathon, half-marathon, 8k, 5k, 1M (personal time trial)
States run in: CT, NJ, IL, FL, CO, UT, NV, PA, OH (missed opportunities: CA, MI)
Foreign nations run in: UK, Mexico (missed opportunities: Germany, Switzerland)
Number of pairs of running shoes purchased: At least 6 - all Asics GT-211x or Gel-Kayano
Estimated amount of money spent on race registration: At least $420
Estimated number of GU's consumed: 100+?

Saturday's run 12/30/06

I was able to get out in the cold rain and knock out 13 solid miles in solitude. I was unable to get up on time to make it the CARA run, so I flew it solo. All went well with the knee.

13 miles - 1:42:15 - 7:51 pace - Avg HR: 151

BAPP kindly pointed out on my last post that I didn't complain about my knee. The IT band is doing better. I purchased a foam roller and have been stretching before all runs. The issue is still there, but it is tolerable at this point. I am going to beat it.

Recap of 12/25 week

Mon - 5
Tue - 6
Wed - Rest
Thu - 7 with fast finish
Fri - 5 recovery
Sat - 13

Total: 36 miles

Starting this week, I will hop onto the Pfitzinger training plan. I am little groggy from last night's new year's celebration in Wrigleyville, so I need to decide if I will do the 8 later today or swap it with tomorrow's recovery 5-miler.

Mon - 8 General aerobic w/10x100m strides
Tue - 5 recovery
Wed - 10 G.A.
Thu - Rest
Fri - 4 recovery
Sat - 15 med-long

Mileage goal: 42

Hope all of your new year running plans are coming together. Here is to a wildly successful 2007!