Tuesday, August 26, 2008

How hard can it be?

So I ran 20.12 miles on Sunday.  I figure if I can run 20 I should be good for 26.2.  After all it's only another 6... how hard can it be?  ;>)  M

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Almost Cacked

Tough workout on the hills today; almost cacked several times.  I last ran hills on August 6. Here's a comparison between the two sessions:
August 6/ August 21:    Distance 5.6 miles/ 6.4 miles, Av. Pace 9:28 mm/ 10:18 mm, Av. Heart 146 bpm/ 155 bpm, Max Heart 169 bpm/ 179 bpm.
What gives?  Normally my heart recovers to about 145 bpm on the down side and max's out at about 170 bpm on the upside.  I've been running the same hills for several years so I knew something was amiss today.  I felt horrible.  It was all I could do not to walk it in and call it a day.  I had to walk several times just to bring the heart down to a semi-comfortable level and came in on a wing and a prayer.  Yuck!  What happened?
Here's my theory... in three part harmony:
1)  The heat, humidity and wind were intense.  I purposely chose the hottest part of the day to run hills to acclimatize myself to the heat (I hear Minneapolis can be brutally hot in October).  Maybe this wasn't so smart after all.  Running downhill full force into the wind didn't help elevate the spirits.
2) Coming off nine days of forced rest didn't help matter either.  I think I lost some endurance (how quickly it goes... scary).
3)  We celebrated our 25th last night with a very nice bottle of wine from Vancouver Island.  One fishbowl of wine... good, two fishbowls... bad.  Hmm, maybe this was the biggest factor.
Oh well, tomorrow's another day.
Later, M

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A little cross training...

Jen and I just returned from a sea-kayaking, eco-tour off the coast of Tofino, Vancouver Island.  We did the same trip last year and enjoyed it so much that we decided to return for a second (and longer) tour this year.  Last year's trip rang in my 50th birthday and this year's tour was a celebration of our 25th wedding anniversary. (We're thinking of returning next year to celebrate our dog Annie's 10 birthday... hey, in dog years that's 70! That's a big deal eh?!)  The trip is organized by 5 star chef/ wilderness kayak guide, James Bray.  His company is called Blue Planet and he specializes in gourmet meals complete with amazing British Columbia wines, organic vegetables, fresh sea-food all prepared and served in a remote wilderness setting. The paddling is not too serious, but some experience is a huge advantage.  The other day we hiked into a gorgeous deserted beach on the Pacific side of Vargas Island where I managed a 2 k run. Running barefoot, on the shore line of a foggy deserted beach, with the tide lapping over your toes is as about as close to heaven as one can possibly be on this planet.  This particular trip was 4 days and based out of a old lodge on Vargas Island (about an hour's paddle from Tofino).   There were 11 guests on the tour and we hit it off like nobody's business.   If you appreciate good wine, amazing 5 star food 3x/ day, and eco-tourism from a kayak view, I would highly recommend Blue Planet.  Tell James that Mike and Jen sent you!
After 9 days rest I completed a slow 3.6 mile run this morning in the blistering heat.  It felt good. The calf has healed (touch wood) and now I have to concentrate on putting in the miles... the endless miles.  I figure the best strategy is to just write those 9 days of rest off to recovery and re-energizing the bod... doctor's orders.  I'm now back on schedule and I'm still aiming for a 4 hour marathon on October 5.  So far so good.  One day at a time and all that stuff.  Later,  Mike
... one more picture for the road.... me and Jen, day 2.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

and another reason...

Why I run... reason # 4.  
Upon finishing my first marathon I received a congratulatory letter from my niece, Miranda.  The letter included a quote from a book Miranda had recently completed.  It read "He didn't tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it."  (Clarence Budington Kelland). At the time I was moved by the elegance of the words and the simplicity of the message.
Through modeling positive behaviour we effect positive change in those close to our hearts. Only the misguided and foolish will attempt to demand or coerce change; it must come from within for it to truly blossom.  Parents and teachers understand this concept all too well. We model the change we want to see in our children and we set non-negotiable tenets... and then we hope and pray they will follow. Modeling is a significant impetus for positive change and yet it is so simple, subtle, almost undetected, barely a blip on the radar, and yet modeling has the potential to create powerful and life-long consequences.  The most challenging students in our schools are often the children without positive role models.  These are the kids that are gang affiliated, the rebels, the car jackers, the dealers.  These kids are the product of their environment and -9 times out of 10- they're environment lacks a positive adult role model.  They are lost at sea.  Sometimes all that separates them from the police is a dedicated coach, a sympathetic counsellor, or a teacher willing to go an extra mile; someone to model a positive alternative to the road they're on. Sometimes we can save them, often we can't.
My son Max is the product of our modeling.  He has become his own person and yet his foundation was laid years and years ago through the process of modeling.   Max is traveling and working in Japan since early January.  He left as our boy and will return in a few short weeks as a man. He's now ready for university and is better prepared to negotiate life obstacles.  I think we did OK. 
I run to model positive behaviour to my family, my friends, and my students.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Down For The Count

Between rotations of ice and heat I've been reading up on the calf muscles. Why am I doing this? I'll get to that later, first the lesson. Seems like the calf is actually two muscles, the gastrocnemius and the soleus.  The gastrocnemius is the big muscle and the soleus is a much smaller muscle located lower down the leg and under the gastrocnemius.  Both the gastrocnemius and solius are attached to the Achillis tendon.  A strained calf occurs when either the gastrocnemius or soleus is pulled from the Achillis tendon.  When it happens you know it!  You'll feel a sudden burst of intense pain in your calf (think baseball bat to the back of the leg) and you'll hear or feel a "pop" sound.  You're dead in your tracks... 60 to zero in a nano-second.  And the pain... more on that later.
There are three grades of injury: 
  • Grade 1: stretched muscles causing micro tears, full recovery up to two weeks.
  • Grade 2: partial tearing of muscles, full recovery up to 8 weeks.
  • Grade 3: complete tearing or rupture of muscle, full recovery 3 - 4 months, possible surgery.
I joined Naomi, Bernice, Onkar, Sandra, and Lorie this morning at 7 AM for a comfortable 10 mile run.  Everything was dandy until about mile 6 when I felt a tiny twinge in my right calf which I didn't exactly ignore, but in retrospect I should have pulled out then and there.   I remember thinking "hmmm, what was that... oh well, it's gone now" and plodding on.  At about mile 9 we met up with Terry, Mone, Shelley, Scott, Murray, Annette, Debbie and a whole host of others. Lots of cheerful howdees and high fives... everyone in top form, feeling good, happy to be alive.  At mile 9.26 (I looked at my gps just before it happened), cruising comfortably along side Sandra, thinking of coffee at Starbucks when suddenly my right calf exploded.  I'm not sure if I heard a pop, but I sure felt it pop.  The pain was excruciating; it stopped me dead.  It felt like a bone was poking out the side of my leg... yup, that intense.  I told the others not to stop, keep going,  I'll be ok... on the outside I think I managed a half-smile, but wow, the inside was screaming bloody murder.  I stretched lightly and took a few steps.  The pain jolted up my leg.  Stopped and stretched a little more and took a few more steps.  The pain was focussed on a knot in my lower gastrocnemius which I managed to massage, stretch, and walk-off until it was bearable to walk without intense pain... just the plain old garden variety pain.  The walking seemed to help a lot so by the time I met the others at the ten mile mark it was feeling ok as long as I stepped gingerly.  After coffee I scooted home and used the shower wand to alternate between heat and cold.  I've been alternating between ice and heat for about an hour lying on the couch.  It's feeling a lot better, but still very stiff and painful when I walk.  Guess my 18 mile Sunday run will have to wait a while.
From the descriptors it feels like I have a grade 1 calf injury... up to 2 weeks recuperation.  The good news is the swelling has subsided and there is no bruising.  It sounds like the only sure cure is lots of ice, heat, light stretching, and REST (yuck, I don't do 'rest' very well). Yes, this will definitely impact my training, to what extent I'm not sure.  The sub-4 hour goal is looking like a long shot.  Oh well, aside from a bruised ego, I'm alive and well... no complaints.            :>(  M

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Deb Leads

Another great run this morning (must be the company).  Scott, Ted, John, Rod, Mike, David and Deb.  Thank you Deb for taking lead and setting pace.  We ran to the Fort Whye Centre through the forest, return, clocking in at precisely 10 miles with a comfortable 9:54 pace.  With lots of laughs and Ted singing Johnny Cash tunes, it was a blissful little jaunt through the forest.
Regular readers of this blog know that I'm compiling my top ten reasons for running, one per week for ten weeks... boring, yes, but it gives me something to think about on those long solo runs.  Reason number three has to do with the people with whom I choose to spend my recreation time, that'd be my running and cycling buddies.  Several years ago I was on my third Habitat For Humanity Cycle of Hope.  The Cycle of Hope rides are two week, thousand mile bike rides through the back roads of USA.  Living in tight quarters (i.e. sleeping in church basements, school gymnasiums, once even in a brand new hospital not yet open to the public -they put us on the psyche ward... I kid you not!) you tend to get to know each other very well.  At the start of the Denver ride we took turns introducing ourselves to the group of 50 riders and 12 support staff.  I remember one rider standing up and saying something to the effect of "I'm here because I can't imagine anything finer than to hang out with a group of winners for two weeks."  Some of us heard "whiners" which isn't too far from the truth, so good laughs were had by all.  The point is, at least to a certain extent, we are defined by the people with whom we associate.  We can hang with winners, hang with people who exude positive energy and supportive energy or not.  By in large, it's choice.  I can honestly say I've never met a runner  I haven't liked; regardless of their size, shape, or speed, they are good people with goals, dreams, and aspirations... winners.  Runners are focussed, driven, and measure achievement not by the number of finish lines they cross, but in the journey. I like to run because it provides me the opportunity to hang out with winners, plain and simple.
The picture above shows myself and Diane at the completion of our first "Century Day" (100 miles in one day)... I never thought I could do it, but since this initial achievement, I have accomplished several Century Days.... it's the cycling equivalent to a marathon and could not have been achieved without the help of the winners with whom I ride. 
Ted's Word of the Day: Viscous: adjective; having thick, sticky consistency between solid and liquid; having a high viscosity; e.g. Scott's breakfast had a viscous appeal.  ;>)  M

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Great run this morning!  Met up with Bernice, Gwen, Ted, and Onkar at 7 AM.  It's nice to be running with people again; the ipod can take you only so far before you go a little nuts (many say I'm there already, especially the wif).  Bernice, Ted, and Onkar pulled out at about 10.5 miles while Gwen and I continued on for another mile or so.  It was pretty muggy but a cool breeze and light rain provided some relief for the last few miles.  We met up with the Corydon/Wentworth Crew just as they were finishing up their run and we all went to Second Cup... err, make that Starbucks for a good chat.  It was nice seeing Annette who's been nursing an injury for the last little while.  Looks like she's back in good form.   Also good to see Mone, my very first pace leader when I took the plunge into running many years back.  A tip of the hat to you, Mone; thanks for getting me off to a good start.  Bernice is looking amazingly strong; between running, cycling, and kayaking she's good for the cover of Runners World.  I bumped into Mario last Wednesday on the hills, where else?  He's training for the Victoria Marathon on October 12 and, like me, is chasing the elusive sub-4 hour.  He's so there!  I'm so not!  I'll be joining Scott, Gwen, and Debbie tomorrow at 8:30 AM for a slow-ish 9 miler if anyone's interested.  Also, this just in from Shelley.... a number of runners have booked into the Ramada Inn for Fargo 2009.  If you're interested in running Fargo this is the hotel to stay at... glad I'm not the manager!. Bye for now.  Y'all come back now.  M