Sunday, September 28, 2008

Crystal Fog

The shin seems to be holding up. The shin support, affectionately known as the "shin thingy" seems to be helping out immensely. The right leg was diagnosed with the stress fracture earlier this year. It seemed OK until I had a couple of weeks above 25 miles in the books and then it started hurting again. I got a little aggressive with the ice and self massage and things seemed to get a little better. I even have some pain in the left leg as well. I am almost considering going back to the regular insoles from the orthotics to see what will happen. I've decided to stay the course for now, either through Memphis or after the doc appointment I have in a couple of weeks.

Monday I headed over to Bonelli after working out with the trainer. I ran the picnic loop 2x. Thanks to the changing seasons I finished up in the dark. While I am always happy for the cooler weather, the early onset of darkness is always a little bit of a bummer. I had forgotten to pack the shin thingy so I ran the 4 miles without it. Everything seemed OK.

Thursday was 3 miles on the equestrian trail. I wore the brace and used a 4:1 run:walk ratio.

The big run for the week was the 11 miler on Saturday with the CA Cruisers in Crystal Cove State Park. We met at the Sherman Library in Corona Del Mar. The run takes us over the Goldenrod footbridge to Ocean Blvd, then to Coast Highway and eventually onto the beach at the Crystal Cove State Beach. About 5 miles of the run is actually on the sand. We usually do this run in the summer months. Today the tide was higher than in the summer which left us very little hard pack sand to run on. The other big factor today was the fog. It was so thick you could barely see more than 100 yards ahead. The fog collected on my glasses making visibility even worse. I had to continually wipe them off to be able to navigate the beach. While tech shirts are good for keeping the body cool they are worthless for cleaning glasses. Besides the fog the temperature was just about perfect; not too warm while running and not too cool when standing still. The turn around point is the promontory at El Morro. The tradition is to touch "the wall" before turning around and heading back. There was an abundance of plover running around the surf and we got to glimpse a seal near the shore playing in the waves. The sand running kept the pace well over the 11:00 mark for the second weekend in a row.

Because of the shin pain, I've been trying to avoid hills. Running downhill aggravates the pain noticeably. This morning trying to decide where to run my 4 miler, I gave into temptation and ran an out and back route over in Bonelli on the trails. I kept the pace easy (I'm not sure at this point if I can really handle much of anything but an easy pace, but that's OK) and avoided the bigger hills on the back part of the loop.
This is the first week in the last three that I did all four planned runs. Next week I am taking another business trip so I think I will only get in three runs for the week. The weekend holds an 18 miler so giving the leg a little extra rest may be good.
With my run tomorrow morning before heading out to the airport I will finally break the 500 mile mark for the year. I hit 500 in March last year and in April in 2006. Ten weeks to Memphis.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Running Late

I started for bed around 10:00 last night. Then I checked the blogs and found I had missed a couple of people when I transferred from bloglines to blogger's list, so I fixed that. Then I decided to update the play list on my ipod shuffle, so by the time I hit the pillow it was nearly 11:30. I set my watch alarm for 5:30 with plans to meet the CA Cruisers for another go at the 2 Parks-2 Loops route. We had last done this route four weeks ago.

I awoke this morning on my own to more daylight than I expected. I jumped up to find that it was already 6:20. I never even heard the alarm. 6:20 still gave me enough time to get the bare necessities done - brush the teeth, eat a pb&j, get dressed, grab all my stuff and be on my way. I would still make it to Brea to meet everyone at 7:00.

I was about 3 miles from home, about to get on the freeway, when I realized that I had forgotten my new shin thingy. So back home I went. I had used the support on my 5 miler on Wednesday with good results. I didn't want to try to run the 16 miles without it. With the extra trip there was no way I was going to make it to Brea on time. I considered going to the beach or to the Santa Ana River Trail instead but finally decided to go to Brea and see if I could catch up with anybody. The 2 loop course offers a couple of chances to run into folks on their way out and back.

Apparently I was not the only one running late today. As I drove into the parking lot, Michelle was just taking off. I gave a shout but she didn't hear me. We've run together before, our paces used to be about the same. Just as I was about ready to head out Renee pulled into the parking lot so we joined forces.

She wasn't familiar with the route so I took on the guide dog responsibilities. Renee is coming back from little running over the summer and with kids in school is struggling to find time to run mid week. She was afraid that her slow pace was holding me back, but in my current situation it was just fine. She even took walk breaks with me on the 7:1 schedule I was using.

We did two circuits of the 2 Parks-2 Loops route, about 10 miles, and she called it a day. We did run into a couple of the other Cruisers out there. I then headed off on my own and added the Summit Hill Loop and another lap of park #1 (Craig Park) to get in my requisite 16 miles.

I didn't keep strict time overall, but by pace was somewhere beyond 11:00 minutes per mile. This is slower than I'd like but the good thing about it is that I had plenty of gas in the tank at the end of 16 miles and the pace and run:walk combo seems to be good for the leg.

I'm really happy with the shin thingy. My only complaint is that I had to stop a couple of times to get it tight enough to stay put on my calf. It tended to drift down toward my ankle. I think a little medical grade tape might fix that. I may need to consider strategically shaving that leg, a la Donald, to make the tape removal a little less painful.

My primary focus is staying healthy and maintaining the gains with the leg and crossing that finish line sometime before they dismantle it in Memphis. Today's run makes me feel better about that possibility. Today, running late was just what I needed.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A Clean Sweep

Too many hours in a hotel can be a dangerous thing. I occupied way to much of my down time catching up and cleaning up my blog lists. I've used bloglines for quite a while to keep up with all the blogs I like to read. Over the time I've subscribed to far more than I can keep up with on a daily basis. I don't know how Marcy does it, but I see her everyone commenting. I can't keep up with that as hard as I try.

I try to keep up as best I can, but for some of you who post often once your posts surpass 4 or 5 I put you off until I have some more time to get caught up and before I do then the post total rises to 10 or even 20 before I get back to you. I hate not reading everything, but sometimes I just can't. This last week I was able to get caught up with everyone.

I even went through my list and deleted people that haven't posted in months in an attempt to streamline my list. I also took advantage of the new "My Blog List" feature and added that to my side bar to replace the old list I had. There have been some additions and deletions from the old list. I then used that feature to add myself as a follower on all your blogs (if you are with blogger). Officially Wes is the my only blog follower. I followed his lead and decided to follow along (yuck, yuck). It would be cool if you decided to add yourself to the list so your little pics would show up in my side bar right next the the Code Geek over there.

I'd like to think that now that I'm caught up I will be able to keep up, but if history is any indication I will be playing catch up more often than I'd like.

I've also read some Internet resources on my leg pain. I ordered a shin brace from that should arrive soon after I get home. Hopefully that will help some. I also made an appointment with an orthopedic doctor in the clinic we use. His practice is busy so I couldn't get in there for a couple more weeks. My hope is that he will be able to give me some kind of diagnosis and treatment plan that will bring me back to 100%.

I will do an easy 4 to 5 miles tomorrow afternoon upon my return to California. I've got 16 planned for this weekend. Memphis is getting ever closer.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

The past week has been a flurry of travel.

Airplane to Newark
PATH train to NYC, subway around NYC
private car to Long Island
Amtrak train from NYC to Providence, RI (my first time on an Amtrak, I was impressed)
taxi and airport shuttles as well
and finally another flight to Philadelphia.

I started the week off with a 4.4 mile run by hitting the Bonelli Picnic Loop twice. I did the 4:1 walk thing. I took the remainder of the week days off as a way to give my leg some time to recoup.

Saturday morning was a cloudy, humid morning in Providence, RI. I had mapped out a tentative route here before I left home. I took off from the hotel and ended up on Angell St. This street runs near the campus of Brown University. I was headed out to Blackstone St. but I missed it at first but I go a little section along the river and made my way back. Blackstone is a great running destination. It is old town street with a large greenbelt running down the middle with lots of trees and benches. There were quite a few other runners out there. I headed back to the hotel by going down Hope St. Hope is great because there are a lot a smaller, eclectic neighborhood restaurants. I broke the run up with 5 minutes runs and 1 minute walks. I saw a pretty cool looking dog. The owner said he was a mutt, but that he was mostly Sharpei and Dachsaund.

I really enjoyed this run. Providence is an historic city. There are a lot of trees and many varieties compared to my usual SoCal neighborhood. The larger homes on Angell and Blackstone were predominately stone and brick, usually three stories. As I moved to the interior of the town the houses changed noticebly to mostly wood siding, only 2 stories and much less land.

The run around Providence gave me 7.3 miles on the books. I completed them in 1:11 or 9:44 pace.

I awoke to ran in Providence today, Sunday, but I was leaving for Philly. I had no official duties today so I was definitely planning on filling the day with a run. I arrived in Philly around noon. The temp was in the high 80's and very humid. The heat index put it well into the 90's but I couldn't let the free day go without getting in some semblance of a run.

Because of the heat I modified the pace for sure but started to the 5:1. In my research before the trip I realized that my hotel was within 1.5 miles of the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge. I headed out at 1:30 in the afternoon. There's well kept trail that encircles Lake Brady in the refuge. The run over was hot and wet. Once I hit the park the first part of the trail was shaded. That helped cool things down a little but the humidity was huge. The second half of the trail is more exposed. By then the heat and humidity were taking their toll. I took some liberty with the 5:1 schedule, even modifying it to 1:1 for the last 0.5 or so. After the completing the loop I decided that I'd accomplished my running goal for the day so I walked the 1.5 miles back to hotel.

The final numbers for this run were >90 degrees between 1:30 and 2:30 p.m. I'm giving myself credit for 4.7 miles (not counting the walk back) in a little less than an hour for an 11:42 pace. Considering the conditions and add in the fact that I had little sleep the night before and nothing to eat today, I'll take that.

I won't run again until I return home on Wednesday. As a travelogue note, Providence is a great little city. It is very easy to walk around, although somewhat difficult to drive around. The restaurants are plentiful and good. Saturday night was Waterfire in Providence. It is a very cool experience. I had a great time with my colleagues, but would definitely like to go back with Lisa someday. I wonder if they can make Waterfire and the marathon coincide?

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Old Black Water

I pretty much stuck to the plan this week but I threw in a lot of walking and dialed back the Saturday long run from 16 to 12. I've pretty much decided to condense the schedule a little. The original planned called for 3 runs of 20 miles or more. I'm dialing that back to only 2.

With my first walk/run of the week happening on Monday, that gave me a good 2.5 days of rest before my Thursday run. It has been pretty warm around here lately so I waited until after 8:00 p.m. to hit the roads. It never seems to fail that school starting brings on a heat wave.

I went over to the equestrian trail in Via Verde for 4 miles. To extend my usual 3 miler I add on a nice quite street on a ridge in the hills of Via Verde. The street is a dead end so traffic is always light and there's a great view of the mountains in one direction and of the valley and downtown LA in the other. The houses on that street are well above the million $ price tag. There have been several empty lots on the street since I've started running there 4 years ago. I was surprised to see two new mini-mansions being built. I used a 2:2 ratio. I was surprised at how out of breath I was at the end of the 2 minute run. I'm not sure if I was running faster since I was running shorter or if I've just deteriorated beyond comprehension.

Saturday I went down to Huntington Beach and ran with my friend Terry and Mike. We all ran the Winter Trail Series together earlier this year. A couple of years ago Terry and I ran together almost twice a week, but it has been a long, long time since we've run a training run together. We kept the pace to something around 11:00 utilizing a 5:1 schedule. The leg had the usual pains around the shin and some extra added bonus tightness on the inside just above the ankle. Grrrrrrrr.

This morning I went over to Bonelli (I just can't give that place up) for an easy 3 miler on the trail. I set the watch for 3:1. I have no idea how long it took, but it felt pretty easy.

When all was said and done I passed the 7000 mile mark for lifetime miles (June 2003 to present).

Next week I will be traveling for work. It is a multi destination trip. The traveling will offer me the option of giving my leg some R&R. I do enjoy getting my run on when I'm out of town though. So, I will pack my running clothes and see what kind of opportunities present themselves.

The post title refers to the Doobie Brother song. On the way to the beach I was listening to classic rock. I always loved the harmonies of that song. The song brought back memories of buying 45's at the Ben Franklin downtown. My sisters and I would listen to those records over and over and try to figure out the lyrics. I laugh now thinking about how scandalous the band name was back in the day. Compared to some of the music of today the whole thing seems sort of tame and mellow.

Monday, September 01, 2008


18A - Stick with it
24A - Never say die
41A - Keep on keeping on
51A - Hang in there
63A - Don't quit now

Perseverance was the theme of the August 28 crossword and as usual I'm running behind so I just got to it today, September 1. The five phrases above all had the same clue - "Persevere!"

I took advantage this morning of the Monday holiday and did my training "run" this morning. I've got school tomorrow night and I couldn't pass up the chance to run on a work free day. The schedule called for 5 miles. This would be the first time I've gotten back to that distance midweek since the injury.

To not cause any further stress to my leg I decided to go super conservative and did the "run" at a 1:5 ratio. Yes, I walked for 5 minutes and ran for 1. It was probably a little over kill but it worked. At first it felt awkward doing the run:walk backwards but after a while I kind of fell into a rhythm.

I "ran" my Cotton Tail Trail in Bonelli and even took a cue from Joe's friends Dick and Marilyn and picked up trash along the trail during my walk segments. At one point I came upon 5 mountain bikers on the trail coming toward me. The lead rider yelled out "Runner!". The funny thing is I was on one of my walking breaks. So although I walked most of my "run" I guess I still looked the part.

After the "run" I hit the gym for some upper body work before heading home. I spent the rest of the day cleaning out the garage. Lisa was able to get her car back in there for the first time since I started the bathroom remodel in April. I replaced the last two doors, the hall closet and Bryan's room, the day before. Just trim work and painting to go.

I've reevaluated the plan. I haven't taken any distances out yet but I may minimize the number of 20+ milers before Memphis. I've definitley given new thought to run:walk or walk:run; whatever it takes. I did check the website and Memphis is walker friendly, so one thing hasn't changed - I WILL be in Memphis. If I have to walk half the darn thing I'm getting it done and moving onto to state #14. Someday.

*Thanks to Joe and the crossword for the inspiration.