Saturday, January 31, 2009

Pain how much is too much

Today, I was writing about pain because it is presently in the fore front of my mind.

As you know, I have ITB in my right knee and have been working through the recovery process.

Well today, I needed to do some testing on my knee. I really want to run the Uwharrie 20 miler next weekend but I am not sure if my knee will carry me for 20 miles.

So it was my goal for today to see how my knee felt after running 14 miles on the North Meck. Trail.

For the first 3.5 miles everything was pretty good. Then through the 2nd loop my leg started to sting really bad.

I was smart enough to not run any harder. Rather, I just slowed down and continued to run on it.

As the run progressed, my knee just became numb to the pain. It didn't hurt any more but it didn't hurt any less. But, yes, it did hurt badly.

But I accepted this is part of the test and worked my way through.

When we endure pain, we learn a lot about our selves. I learned that during a training I am willing to accept a lot of pain, but I don't feel that I want to race through that type of pain.

So for Uwharrie, I guess that I am out for this year.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Stick before Stretching

I bought my first Stick in the mid '90 and have been using it regularly ever since.

But recently, I was listening to a video on the stretching which suggested everyone should warm up for 5 to 10 minutes before stretching.

I don't typically warm up before stretching but I do regularly use The Stick before stretching.

It is my understanding that The Stick perform two functions.

First, before workout The Stick can be used to warm up the muscles by rolling The Stick over the muscle - 20 to 30 times.

After the workout, The Stick can be used to help work tightness out the muscles and promotes the removal of Lactic Acid from the muscles.

I wonder if my time using The Stick before stretching could be spent taking a quick walk around the house.


Towel over that Treadmill display

My recent injury has redirected when and where that I workout. I now spend more time riding the bike, using the Stair Master, and Elliptical machine at the Y.

During my most recent visit, I found my self looking around to see what other people were doing while they exercised.

A lot of people have the iPods attached to their arms so they can listen to their favorite music; I assume. Others have little radios that can be tuned to the over head televisions.

While others simply just stare straight ahead.

What I found most interesting is that a lot people cover up the machine's display console and I wondered why.

I looked down at my display and I hadn't covered it up. I wanted to see the miles that I had ridden. I wanted to know the number calories that I had burned.

But more importantly, I like watching my heart rate. Most of the machines have a Polar Heart Rate interface so I just have to wear my hear monitor and it all works.

So why do they cover up the display. Do they just not want to know how much they completed or how much they have left to complete.

Do must people just to get on the machines and workout at one pace for the entire workout. Most the machine have a ton of stuff that you can change during your work. I would think they would want to tweak the settings.

Maybe next time, I will just walk up and ask. I hope they don't think that I am being rude. But I am just curious.

Friday, January 23, 2009

An injury can force us to reassess our goals

Yesterday, I received my February issue of the Inside Lane. As all ways, I read Steve’s comments before browsing through the remainder of the newsletter.

Steve had emailed me a while back that my article for the January newsletter was going to be postponed until the February newsletter.

I had forgotten all about it until I flipped to the article of the month page and started reading which brings me to my point for this article.

In that article I talked about setting goals for the coming year and I laid out my goals and race plans. What I didn’t factor in was injuries, but then who really factors in down time from injuries into their training plans.

It was the first weekend in January and I had just finished running an 18 mile. After cleaning up, I was in the kitchen putting away the dishes from the dishwasher. Being lazy, I just twisted and reached over to put away a dish. In doing so, I felt a sharp pain in my right knee.

It hurt for a few minutes but then the pain went away so I didn’t think any more about it. However, over the next week it became more and more sore. It was also started swelling down my shin.

This was not what I needed if I expected to run a marathon this spring. For about a week and half I pushed through the pain until I reached a point where enough was enough. Pushing my self any further was not going to help my knee heal. And, if I continued to run through the pain, then I would be trying to run through it for 26 miles. Certainly, this was not the best way for me to produce my best effort.

So I set down at my desk and took a deep breath. From there, I canceled my spring marathon plans and slashed the number of miles that I was running. Recovery was now the immediate and foremost goal in my mind.

Over the next week, I began to revamp my goals for the year. Looking for the best way, I decided to set some short term goals and some longer term goals. My first goal was very simple. I just wanted to run more a mile. Once I am able to run without pain, I would slowly build back my weekly mileage. As I felt stronger, I would then to add in some simple strength building workouts to my schedule.

Being one that I cannot stay away from races very long, I decided the Shamrock 4 miler in March would be a nice goal race for me. I could use the race to really test out my knee and adjust my goals for the remainder of the year.

Point being, goals are just that goals. While it gives us something to work towards, they can be changed and adjusted when life events come into play.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

North Meck Trail

This morning the temperatures were in the teens, but the wind was not blowing and the sunny was shining.

I made it to the North Meck Park about 7:30 AM.

It took about a mile and half before I felt warm. Always, the first 15 minutes of running are rough on cold days. Usually my hands are the toughest to keep warm, so today I opted for mittens and some of those little hand warmers.

I was able to run pretty much the entire first loop pain free. Then, during the 2nd loop I started to feel some real stinging on the outside of my knee and down my leg. At this point, I was unconsciously letting my body compensate for it because my hamstring started to sting as did my calf.

While running was painful, I didn't have to stop. To manage the pain, I just tried stay relaxed and let my body run normally.

Patients is not something that I have in huge quantities. But I will need to be patient if I want to get over this injury quickly. And, might I say "quickly" is a relative term.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

So goes the recovery

With just about a week into my recovery, things are starting to progress. Since I tabled all of my marathon plans and have pretty much ruled out going to Uwharrie, I have been floating along while I figure out what I can and cannot do.

Since last Thursday, I have been living on the treadmill since it is flat. It also helps that the treadmill provides a very soft landing and that I can control the speed and incline. For the record, I try to set the incline at 1% and get the pace close to 8 minutes.

Last Thursday, it was all that I could do to just run 1 mile. By the time I reached 3/4 of mile the entire outside of the knee was aching. Disappointed, I climbed off the treadmill. I probably looked the most dejected that I have looked in my life.

But in keeping with my motto for this year, I searched for a bright side. I looked around and saw a free bike at the Y. I jumped and proceed to ride 10 miles. It was not perfect, but when you are in need, a bike is a good 2nd option for me. Afterwards, I tried the elliptical machine and then lastly the stair master. The elliptical machine could be a good workout machine for me. However, I struggle to keep my feet planted on the pedals. Like in running, I want to pick up my feet. Also because of the arm bars, the elliptical machine gives the upper arms a good workout.

But least we forget the Stair Master. I am guessing the Stair Master machones are getting a little out of style. The University Y only has 2 and they put them on the inside of the upstairs track. Maybe having to climb stairs to get to the Stair Master should be considered as part of the workout.

Through all of these workouts, I found that only running caused my knee pain. I even got my bike out for a ride on a 20 degree day. It really too cold to ride a bike outside. But, I was not to be denied. I bundled up and went anyway.

Since last Thursday, I am up to running 2, and then 4 miles a day and biking 20 miles. If I feel like it, I fill in the other times with the elliptical machine and stair master.

At this point, I am able to run 4 miles before my knee really starts to sting.

I just have to remember to be patient. It is not easy when you just want to go run.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

ITB for sure

After my run this morning, I am fairly certain that I have ITB now. That is, if I didn't have it before, I ran hard enough this morning to ensure that I do now.

A long time ago, I was running with this guy and he told me - "If it is hurting, just keep running on it. And, one of 2 things will happen. Either it will get better and you have trained through it or it will hurt to the point where you cannot run".

In the years since that run, I have pretty much lived by that credo. If I can run, I will try to run through it. In almost all cases, I have been pretty success except when it comes to ITB.

The 2 other times that I had ITB I had to curtail my running workouts to the bare minimum.

After my run today, I am going to do just that. I am pushed off the marathon training for now.

For the next 2 weeks, I am going to attempt 6 mile runs each day if possible. Then, to maintain my cardio, I am to pick up some other cardio. Possibly, I will add some biking and stairmaster to my daily workouts. Also I am going to expand on my swimming. Although, I am not a very good swimmer. And, I will definitely add some core workouts to my regiment.

The rest of the time, I will be applying ice 3 times per day and stretching.

The previous 2 times, it took about 2 months before I was back running decent mileage and 4 months before I was running full throttle.

So now that a spring marathon is out of the picture, I am going to focus on being ready for some of the Grand Prix here in Charlotte and maybe getting ready for OBX in the fall.

Everything depends on how fast that I can recovery from this injury. I will keep you posted on my progress.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

ITB - Running with Pain

Oh, I had to update my blog and the main thing on my mind right is the status of my right knee.

On the 3rd of January, I had just finished running 18 miles and was feeling pretty good about my self. I was in the kitchen putting away the dishes from the dishwasher when instead of turning to open the cabinet by facing it, I just twisted at the knee. I have done it a 1000 times. This time I felt a strange twinge in my right knee.

I didn't think any more about it at the time. But as the day progress, I noticed that it felt tight and sore. Then, by evening, it seemed to be ok.

Over the next week, I felt the same tightness and twinge as I was running. The pain is not bad but it is just enough to make you notice it.

Now, I am concerned that it might be the onset of ITB.

However, from the reading that I have done on it, ITB just gets worse the longer that you run on it. My knee doesn't really get any worse, but it is pretty much the same. I can even run sections of my workouts with no pain at all.

I will be running along and when step a little akwardly, it spikes with pain.

Being a hardheaded runner, I am runnning a lot miles and wanting to run a marathon in a few months. I cannot really back off the miles without giving up my plans for the marathon.

For now, I am taking anti-inflamatories and icing down my knee. After two more weeks, if it is not better, I will probably just scratch off any attempt at a spring marathon.

Maybe I will be able to run a fall marathon.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Ramping up the marathon training.

The new year is upon us and like many of you, I am starting to ramp up for a spring marathon. Starting on the 1st of January, my training went from the off season of just getting a run in to targeting specific workouts for each day.

And as you may have guessed by now, everyone day between now and the 22nd of March a point.

As the plan is laid out, I am doing 2 hard workouts during the week and a long run on the weekend.

The harder sessions are comprised of tempo runs, mile intervals, 1/2 and 1/4 mile intervals, and hill workouts. My Saturday morning are filled with long runs going up to 28 miles.

But I have made some changes over previous seasons. I went to doing some double workouts during the week. Then, Friday through Sunday other than the long run, I only do 10 miles. The idea being, load up with hard work over a few days and then, let the body rest for a few days before repeating the cycle.

I am working my way through the first cycle and it has been rough. I remember why I abandoned double workouts. Doing one run a day can be hard. But then, doubling up with a 2nd run is harder. You have to watch what and when you eat. And there is the extra clothes and showers. I feel like all I do sometimes is run and take showers. Just so you know, I do and it keeps me clean. I also wash running cloths daily. Take my word for it, you shouldn't let them go multiple days.

That is just about it. I wanted to just download how I was doing. Maybe I will make this a weekly or daily thing. It all depends on how much time is available. A problem we all face.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Mizuno's Body Warming Technology - Take 2

Last week, we had a few cold days here in Charlotte. I dug into my drawer of running clothes and pulled out my new Mizuno running gloves and hat.

With the temperatures hooving around 32 degrees, I was crossing my fingers these gloves and hat would work.

As expected, I was little cold during the first mile. But things warmed up gradually. Although, this could have more to do with the fact that it was sunny and my gloves and hat are black.

Either way, I am going to give Mizuno credit my hands and head were warm.

Normally, I run a loop course and as I turned back toward home, I suddenly hit a head wind. It was not gusting, but it was just enough to be annoying .

And after just a few minutes, I was ready for some heavier gloves. The wind cut right through the gloves. My fingers were freezing.

So enough said. The Mizuno running gloves and hat work fairly well down to about 32 degrees and no wind. But if the wind is blowing, abandon your pride and pull on some heavier gloves.

Your hands will thank you.