Tuesday, December 22, 2009

12/21 - Kenyan Way Hills - 9 miles

I had a decent workout, but my left hamstring was still bothering me. I need to be careful and make sure I don't do something that would really injure it. A little over a year ago my dad was having some nagging hamstring pain and ended up hurting his hamstring pretty bad and missed quite a bit of training. I went to the evening workout directly after work and got there right before the group was starting the workout. I had only gotten about 1/2 a mile warmup in, but I saw Sam and he was running the first loop pretty easy as a warmup so I did another mile warmup with him on the hills. He was running a little easier on the hills since he had run 24 miles on Saturday. The first harder lap I stopped after each hill to stretch for 10 seconds or so and let Sam and another new guy catch back up and then I'd start the next hill with them. After the first lap I went ahead on my own and did a total of 5 hard laps (20 hills).

I was still having issues with the ligaments on the back of my knees feeling funny as I pushed off hard for part of the run, but I discovered the last couple of laps that if I really concentrated on keeping good form it didn't bother me. When I get tired and my form starts to fall apart my legs tend to kick out to the side and flop all over the place instead of moving forwards and backwards in a straight line. When I concentrated and kept good form I could run hard up the hills without the strange feeling on the back of my knee. I think what is probably happening is my form gets bad and then I end up using different muscles than I should normally be using and they can't hold up to the strain. I talked to Sean a little bit after the workout and he said it sounds like I have chronic hamstring problems and need to to more work to strengthen them. I did some lunges and squats after the workout and then ran a 3 mile easy cooldown with Sam. It was good chatting with him and talking about our goals for the marathon next month. After I headed home, I spent about 30 minutes doing lots of stretching and foam rolling and my leg seemed to feel pretty good after that.

I'm going to be pretty careful with my running the rest of this week and ride the bike/crosstrain on some of my recovery days if I don't feel like my hamstring is improving. I'm planning on trying to run mile repeats Wednesday and then run a 24 mile run the following Tuesday or Wednesday as my last really long run before the marathon. The long run is the key workout I really want to get in and be able to run well so I will scrap some of the interval work if needed to make sure I am healthy enough to get that workout in.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sunday 12/20 - 6.5 miles

Today was a much better day than yesterday. I went out and ran over to the park and ran a couple of laps at about 7:10 pace. It was in the low 50's and I was pretty cold the first couple of miles. The good news is my ankle din't bother me at all. I was a little surprised because I could feel it while I was inside stretching before the run and when I put pressure on it with certain stretches it was pretty tender, but I didn't feel it once in a couple of laps at the park despite hitting a couple uneven spots and stumbling a couple of times. My left hamstring was still a little tender, but it didn't feel too bad. I did quite a bit of stretching afterwards. I would have tried to get closer to 9 miles in, but I didn't head out for the run until after 6:00 pm and I'm planning on running the hill workout in the morning. My total run time was a little over 46 minutes.

Saturday 12/19 - 15 miles - terrible run

This ended up being one of my worst long runs of the year. I guess I'd rather have a day like this 4 weeks out from the marathon instead of during the marathon. I went into the run planning on doing anywhere from 18 - 24 miles. Sam had emailed me Friday and said he planned on running 24 with the last 6 at marathon pace and was wondering if I would be there. Since I went 23.5 last weekend, I said I'd run at least the first 18 with him and I'd give the last 6 a try if I was feeling ok. I'm planning on doing my last 23 - 24 mile in about 1-1/2 weeks when I get back from our Christmas trip.

I was a little late getting out the door of my house and it was almost 6:00 by the time I was ready to leave so I decided just to run from the house and meet up with the group since the route was heading towards my house. I met up with the lead group, but Sam wasn't there. I don't know if he didn't make it out or if he was well ahead of the group and I missed him. Hopefully he wasn't waiting around the base on me to show up. I was feeling ok through the first 6 miles or so and running with Rob and Jena and couple other guys I didn't recognize. About 6 miles in I knew that I'd only be doing about 18 because my legs weren't feeling the greatest and we'd only been running 7:20 - 7:25 pace. I was wearing my worn out shoes and most of the route was on roads/sidewalk so my legs definitely were getting pounded. A little after 6 miles we stopped at an intersection trying to determine the best route to go since we needed to get across 610 and we either needed to run north or south in the feeder road until we could get across it. As we were stopping, I stepped on the edge of a curb or the road and rolled my ankle. It stung a little, but didn't feel terrible and I decided to keep running towards the next water stop and see how it was feeling. The ankle didn't really bother me the rest of the run, but my legs were aching more, and I was dropping off of the lead group. Between miles 9 - 12 the lead group put some pretty good distance in between the group I was with and themselves. I was doing low 7:00's by this time, but they were probably running sub-7:00's. At the mile 12 water stop, my hamstrings hurt enough that I had to take some extra time to put some Ben-Gay on. I've used it on a couple of long runs, but I've been able to get to 17 or 18 miles before my legs started feeling bad enough that I wanted to use it, and today I was in pain by mile 12. That took away some of the pain, but the group I was left had taken off and I wasn't feeling good enough to try to run them down. I made it to the next water stop at mile 14 and had slowed down to about 7:40 pace. I contemplated running an extra loop of the park before heading home which would get me to 18, but at the pace I was running and the way my legs felt I decided to just head home and call it a day at 15. Since I only did 15, I think my legs should be ok to run a hard hill workout on Monday morning.

I got a massage Saturday afternoon and my massage therapist told me my hamstrings and hips were the tightest that she had seen them. My legs are feeling a lot better today after lots of stretching and a massage, but my ankle is kind of sore. We'll see how it feels on my run this afternoon.

Friday 12/18 - 8 miles

Ran a nice easy 8 miles at ~ 7:15 avg pace on Friday afternoon. I had contemplated doing the hard workout I had missed on Friday, but I had thoughts of going up to 24 miles on Saturday and decided it was more important to try to be relatively fresh for that than getting in one more speed workout. I ran through the park and out to the Polo fields and ran around the perimeter of the fields. It was nice getting most of the run in on a grass surface, but I could still feel the tightness across the back of my knee on the grass.

I also have a little bit of a shoe conundrum. I train in two different pairs of shoes - the adidas supernova glide and the adidas adizero Boston. I'm planning on running the marathon in the adizero Boston and I really like the shoes the most, but they are pretty lightweight (~10 oz.) and I wanted another shoe that was a little more solid to wear on some of my recovery days since it seems like my legs take a little more pounding from the lightweight shoes. I recently replaced my old Supernova Glide's with a new pair and for some reason the new pair seems to bother my feet a little more. My big toe seems to rub more in the toebox on the side and I get these big calluses on the side of my big toes. As the calluses get bigger, they rub more and irritate me more and then I have to cut part of the callus off when it gets big. It doesn't really bother me too much for a 6 - 8 mile run, but by the end of 8 miles I can definitely feel it. My adizero Boston shoes need to be replaced, but I've been having trouble getting a new pair since it seems the model has been discontinued and the replacement model isn't coming out until after January 1. I went in to Luke's Locker on Friday night to see if they might have a pair that I could get and wear on Saturday's long run. They were able to track down a pair at a store in Dallas, but I won't be getting it until Tuesday. I can't do a long run in my Supernovas so I'll have to wear my worn out shoes for the long run and hopefully I won't run into any major issues.

Thursday 12/17 - day off

Busy day at work and legs were feeling pretty shot today.

Wednesday 12/16 - 8.25 miles

I had a meeting run through lunch, but I went out for a late run around 12:30. The weather was really nice out - upper 40's and cloudy. I was a little chilly to start, but felt really nice once I got into it. My splits were 7:18, 6:56, 6:48, 6:44, 6:38, 6:34, 6:28, 6:26, 6:25, 1:38. With the nice weather, I didn't even feel like I was having to put that much effort into it.

Tuesday 12/15 - Hills

We met up at 5:15 am for a hill workout and had a good sized group - Sean, Bill, Luis, Dan Kahn, Joe Flores and Vaughn Gibbs. We ran about a 4 miles warmup and then did 16 hills ~3.5 miles on two of the hills on the cloverleaf. For a while I thought I might actually be able to stay with the group. Sean was running the hills hard, but walking for part of the recovery so even if they beat me by 2 or 3 seconds on the hills, I could stay with them. I think I hung close for about 6 hills and then everyone started jogging more on the recovery and I needed more recovery time. Joe Flores had dropped a little off and we were running about the same pace, but midway through I think he may have skipped one of the hills to get some extra recovery and catch back up with the group so I ended up running the rest by myself. The one thing that concerned me is the tendons or ligaments across the back of my left knee seemed kind of tight and I didn't have any explosiveness or feel like I could push it as hard as I wanted to on some of the hills. I think that my tight hamstrings/quads/groin/calves/anything other muscle group in my legs are getting to me. I think I really need to work on my flexibility some because I felt like my range of motion was a little limited. I've experienced this tightness before, but it seems like I could do some easy stretching which would help and as I would get warmed up it wouldn't be an issue, but I could feel tightness throughout the entire workout. It seems worse when I'm running the hills where I'm trying to get really quick turnover and the footing isn't as solid as the road. After the workout I did a 2 mile cooldown for ~9.5 miles total.

Monday 12/14 - 7.5 miles easy

Got out for an easy 7.5 miles at lunch in 54 minutes. Weather was fairly nice out. I needed an extra day of recovery before a hard workout and I planned to run hills Tuesday morning with Sean.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

5 miles easy

As bad as my legs felt at the end of yesterday's run I wasn't sure how this run Sunday evening was going to go. I needed to get out and get some miles in so I planned to run 5 miles easy. Just before I went out I read Bill's blog and saw that he ran well the day after a 23 miler and with my uber-competitive nature I felt I had better have a decent run. Surprisingly, my legs felt really good. The first mile was kind of slow like it usually is after a long run, but I settled into about 7:25 pace for the rest of the run. Unfortunately my stomach didn't fare quite as well as my legs. I had gorged myself on bbq brisquet, sausage and pecan pie and blue bell ice cream at lunch with second helpings of all the aforementioned items. It was a great lunch, but it really didn't taste as good when it was coming back up during my run. Fortunately Sunday evening at the park is rather lonely and I don't think too many people witnessed my little incident. I finished the 5 miles in 37:40.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Saturday 12/12 - 23.5 mile long run

After being sick most of the week and not doing much running, I knew that I needed to get a long run in. I wasn't sure how far I'd be able to go, but I wanted to give it a shot and try to run for 2:40 - 2:45 and get 22+ miles in. I started the run with Sam and told him I wasn't sure if I'd be able to hang with him because I was going to go a little slower if needed just to get the full time in. The route was a new route and we knew the streets we needed to turn on, but we weren't absolutely certain of exactly where all the streets were so Sam decided not to push it too hard and we ran together. We ran an ~11 mile loop through the heights and over to near Memorial Park and then back to the base. Then we ran a 7.5 mile loop through River Oaks. I was actually feeling pretty decent and we got down into the mid 6:40's for a while. We got back to the base again and I was at about 18.5 miles. My hamstrings and calves were a little sore so I put some Ben-Gay on and then headed out for a 5 mile loop around the bayou. Sam had run a little before the start so he was just going to do a partial lap of the bayou. He started picking it up on his last mile and I think we were running 6:15-6:20 pace for a while and then he turned off to head back. I still had another ~3.5 miles to go and I kept going, but it was really tough the last few miles. The trail was really muddy - I guess it had rained more last night than I realized - and the short relatively steep hills were wreaking havoc on my quads. I remembered what Sean had said about pushing through the pain and so I tried to stay at about 7:00 pace. I probably could have cranked out a faster time, but I didn't want to injure myself doing something stupid.

I fell a little below 7:00 pace the last mile and a half, but I didn't totally blow up and it was my longest run of the year by over 1.5 miles. I have plenty of speed, but I just need to get in a couple more long runs to get used to the hours of pounding my legs will take during the marathon. I felt pretty good and I didn't have any respiratory issues I thought I might have with my cold. I don't feel like I'm still sick right now, but I'm hoping that I don't relapse and feel bad the rest of the week. My legs were pretty shot after the run, but they should recover over the next couple of days.

My splits were - 7:29, 7:19, 7:15, 7:10, 7:06, 6:56, 7:01, 7:04, 7:02, 6:53, 7:05, 6:53, 6:47, 6:45, 6:47, 6:55, 6:47, 6:39, 7:04, 6:33, 7:00, 7:01, 7:17, 3:45 for last 1/2 mile. My average pace for the 23.5 miles was 7:00. It was a rather chilly day out. I wore a light long sleeve shirt and it was cloudy and humid and the temperature was in the upper 40's and breeezy at time. I was comfortable while I was running, but as soon as I stopped it was freezing out. Just stopping at the base to get water and eat my energy blocks for a short while was long enough to start getting chilled. When I finished, I was getting cold within a couple minutes so I had to head back to the car pretty quick. I was glad I was able to get the full run in and that I had somebody to run with for most of the run, because it would have been tough to get more than 20 in by myself.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Been sick, not too much running

Last Saturday I was feeling ok and ran 9.5 miles since the Kenyan Way long run had been postponed to Sunday morning due to the risk of icy roads. I ran the 9.5 miles in about 67 minutes and felt ok, but my legs were kind of achy during the run. I'm not sure if it was the cold or the first signs of me getting sick.

Sunday morning the alarm went off at 5:15 and I got up and went to the bathroom and I felt so exhausted and out of it I just went back to bed. I've felt kind of cruddy ever since and didn't run Sunday, Monday or Tuesday. I was feeling marginally better today and ran 7.5 miles at lunch today in 54 minutes. I wasn't pushing it too hard, but my legs felt kind of achy again. It wasn't a hard run and I wasn't working much aerobically, but I was hoping my legs would feel better after a few days off. I still have a runny nose and scratchy throat and head cold so I'm off to take some Nyquil and hit the sack. Hopefully I'll be feeling good enough to run 23 - 24 miles this weekend since I missed my long run last weekend.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Wednesday 12/2 - 6.25 miles easy

I got down to the locker room at lunch to go for a run and one of my co-workers who I run with sometimes was heading in at the same time. I pulled my running clothes out of my bag and I thought I had grabbed some black running socks I had, but somehow I had grabbed a black pair of my wife's socks in the dark before I left for work. I'm not quite sure how they ended up in my sock and underwear drawer, but I had to run without socks. I had seen the temperature was in the upper 40's so I headed outside wearing a short sleeve shirt thinking it wouldn't be too bad out. I got about 10 seconds into the run and got blasted by the arctic jetstream and turned around and made a beeline back inside to grab a long sleeve shirt I had in my bag. My co-worker has the same job that I have, but in a different area than I work and we had a good chat being able to vent about some of our similar frustrations. My hamstring and piriformis didn't bother me at all today on the run which was a good sign. I spent about 15 minutes stretching and doing some strengthening exercises after the run. I'm just planning on doing easy miles the next couple of days and then running a 24 miler on Saturday with potentially 12 miles at marathon pace. It may be below freezing and we might have snow on the ground here in Houston Saturday morning so we'll see if I do the marathon-paced miles this week or postpone it.

Tuesday 12/1 - Hills with Sean

Saturday after the long run I was chatting with Sean and told him I wasn't going to be able to make it out for hills on Monday morning and I thought between the race Thursday and ~22 miles on Saturday I wasn't going to be ready to thrash my legs more on Monday. He told me to come out Tuesday morning since he was going to be running hills then and he was going to be running them a little easier. I knew that I'd probably struggle to keep up even if he was running a little easier but since I had just run a great 10k I thought maybe it's just all mental and if I believe I can run with them in the workouts I won't have any trouble keeping up.

We met up at 5:30 am to start the warmup. It was about 50 degrees and a little breezy out but fortunately no rain. Sean, Bill Blancett, Dan Kahn and Luis Armenteros were all there. It was like a who's who of Houston running and me. We ran a 5 mile warmup over to memorial park and back to the park at Jackson Hill. My hamstring and piriformis were a little tight, but I spent a while stretching them. The workout plan was to run 16 hills (4 miles). We took off at the start and I was keeping up with the group the first couple of hills, but I could tell I was definitely breathing harder than everyone else. By the end of the 4th hill, I was still in relatively close contact but I knew I wasn't going to be able to keep up. I could keep pace on the uphill, but I needed to run slower on the recovery than they were going. After the first lap when i relaxed and decided not to try to keep up, I was able to run smoother and push the hills hard and take a little more recovery. Sean said afterwards since he was running the hills a little easier, he was going a little quicker on the recoveries. We did about a 1.5 mile cooldown for about 10.5 miles total.

Monday 11/30 - Day off

I had been planning on running hills with Sean on Tuesday AM and as bad as my legs felt on Sunday I took a day off to rest.

Sunday 11/29 - 7 miles

I went out for a run Sunday evening to try to do 7-9 miles. My legs felt it today after the long run. My first mile took more than 8 minutes and I knew it was going to be a tough run. My hamstring and piriformis were pretty tight and sore the entire run.

In case you were wondering what the piriformis is, it is a flat muscle, pyramidal in shape, lying almost parallel with the posterior margin of the gluteus medius. It is situated partly within the pelvis against its posterior wall, and partly at the back of the hip-joint. It arises from the front of the sacrum by three fleshy digitations, attached to the portions of bone between the first, second, third, and fourth anterior sacral foramina, and to the grooves leading from the foramina: a few fibers also arise from the margin of the greater sciatic foramen, and from the anterior surface of the sacrotuberous ligament. The muscle passes out of the pelvis through the greater sciatic foramen, the upper part of which it fills, and is inserted by a rounded tendon into the upper border of the greater trochanter behind, but often partly blended with, the common tendon of the obturator internus and gemelli. (courtesy wikipedia)

By the end of the run, I was favoring my leg and I decided to call it quits at 7 miles and about 54 minutes so I didn't end up injuring something. After the run I spent about 30 minutes stretching and foam rolling which seemed to help some.