Monday, May 31, 2010

An update on training and therapy

It's been a while since I've posted, but I've gotten back into running and I think I'm making some progress with my hamstring injury. At Sean's recommendation, I went to the MultiSport Health Center for treatment for my hamstring and to take their FMS (functional movement systems) screen. The FMS screen is a series of 7 mobility/flexibility exercises they have you do and they grade you from 0 - 3 on each one depending on how well you do it. It helps them pinpoint areas of weaknesses or muscle imbalances which can lead to injuries. I scored 14 out of 21 points and they told me that people with 14 or below have a 50% increased risk for injury. The two biggest problem areas that they pinpointed for me were my very tight hamstrings and my hip/glute muscles weren't properly activating so they were weak and ended up forcing my hamstrings to do more work. For shorter runs and races my hamstrings could deal with it and I could get away with it, but for long training runs and marathons this is why they said I was always falling apart really bad at the end. Even in my two good marathons where I've run 2:47 - 2:48, I've really struggled at the end of the race and felt like I was just hanging on and trying to finish. The doctors have been doing active release techniques (ART) therapy on my hamstrings and hips and they gave me a list of exercises and stretches that I work on daily. I can feel a difference when I run and it seems like things are getting better. I haven't done any real long runs or speedwork, but it seems like my legs feel better than they usually do. I can also feel the muscles in my hips working more when I do my exercises before I do a run. I think this is probably a good thing.

I'm not training for anything in particular right now and I'm working on just enjoying my running while I continue to recuperate. I don't think I'm going to run any of the summer 5k's around Houston other than maybe the July 4th 5k. I was pretty burned out both mentally and physically training for Boston and I wouldn't have run it this year if my dad hadn't qualified for it. It was tough training for it because I didn't really enjoy the training, particularly with a bum hamstring, and I felt guilty if I missed workouts. Now that I'm not training for anything in particular, I don't feel bad if I miss a day here or there and it makes it a lot more enjoyable when I am running because i want to be running and not because I feel guilty if I miss a run. I hope to continue making progress and build my mileage back up and be back in racing shape for some of the fall races. I'm not sure how being a new parent and the fall races will mix, but that's my main goal for now.

Friday afternoon Sam called me up and asked if I had been running yet or was going to run and I needed to get a run in so I headed out the door about 4:45. About 5 steps into the run I wondered what I was getting myself into because it was hot out. Sam had left his place about the same time so I headed down Blossom until I ran into him and then turned around and did a little over a lap at the park and then headed out back down Blossom to his place and then I looped back home. I didn't have a Garmin so I don't know how long the run was, but we were doing about 7:00 pace at the park and I think I probably did 9.25 - 9.5 miles on the day in 67 minutes. I was pretty beat when I got home and I checked the weather and it was 95 degrees out. I wouldn't be surprised if the heat index was over 100.

Saturday morning I really wanted to sleep in, but the weatherman on the news had said it was going to be 86 degrees by 9:00 am so I forced myself out of bed to go to the Kenyan Way long run. The temperature was in the upper 70's and it was really humid and I struggled for a lot of the run. I was running with Sam, John and a high school guy who's name eludes me. Sam took off after about 7.5-8 miles and left us behind and I had no desire to try to keep up with him. We'd been averaging about 7:05 pace for the first 8 miles or so and I was just trying to hang with the group to each water stop. We eased up the last couple miles and ran about 7:20 - 7:25 pace the last couple of miles and I ended up at 10.6 miles on the day. I was pretty beat after doing about 20 miles in 2 runs in 14 hours, but my legs felt really good and didn't hurt at all when I was finished.

Sunday I took the day off and Monday I ran 6.5 miles at the park at 9:00. There was a pretty good crowd out this morning with the Memorial day holiday. I averaged about 7:10 pace and finished in 47 minutes. I saw Bill running at the park and passed him going the opposite direction a couple of times. I would have turned around and run with him, but I needed to get back home because somebody was coming over a little after 10:00 and I was running tight on time.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Central Park - New York City

I was up in New York City for the first time in my life last Thursday - Sunday. My wife had been up in the NYC area for work the first part of the week so I flew up Thursday to spend a long weekend in the city. We had beautiful weather most of the time we were there and had a blast. There was so much to do in so little time. Friday went to the top of the Rockefeller Center and then we took a 3 hr bike tour along the Hudson river and over the Manhattan Bridge into Brooklyn and back across the Brooklyn bridge into Manhattan and back up along the Hudson river. I haven't ridden a bike in quite a while and I had a sore butt afterwards. The weather was so nice out that I barely even broke a sweat. I had wanted to get up and go running Saturday but it rained Saturday morning so I decided to sleep in instead. Sunday was quite a bit cooler and windy, but I went out for a run that morning before we had to check out of our hotel. The temperature was about 50 degrees out with 20 mph winds, but it was sunny out. I hadn't brought a lot of warm stuff for running, so I was trying to decide if I wanted to wear my Boston jacket while I ran. It was my only jacket I had packed and I knew I needed it for the rest of the day and I didn't want to get it all sweaty. I decided to head out and take my chances in the cold. It was about 10 blocks from my hotel up to the south end of Central Park and then I ran a full lap around the park. It was a little harder than I expected with the wind and the terrain had a lot more hills than I expected. The Olympic trials in 2007 did about 4 loops around Central Park and that was not an easy course. I forgot to bring my camera to snap some pics while I was running, but I got started late enough that I didn't really have a lot of extra time to be taking pictures. It was a beautiful day out and after about 5 minutes I was warm enough though the blasts of wind were kind of chilly at times. I did learn that when you run along the sidewalks in New York if you stay on the metal grates above the subway, you get a nice blast of warm air that keeps you warm. According to, my route from my hotel and around the park and back was 7.6 miles and I ran it in about 51 minutes which was a little under 7:00 pace. Considering the hills and the wind it was a decent pace. I felt good during the run though my quads were a little sore at the end of the run in the same areas where they hurt after Boston. It was a fun run to do and it's cool to say that I've run in Central Park. I think New York would be a fun place to live for 6 months or maybe a year because there is so much to do, but I don't think I'd want to be there much more than that.