Wednesday, August 29, 2012


Nope. No Ragnar.

Wow. Astounding example of not understand what was going on with my body. After my 14 mile run on Saturday and two days off, I went out for a run on Tuesday.

A paltry 1.5 miles in , my right calf 'let go' with another spasm. I was reduced to walking home unless I wanted to beat the crap out of the poor muscle (I did not).

I was VERY SHOCKED. Lots of bad vibes radiating in all directions. Surprised no earthquakes reported 8/ My conclusion is that I've been pushing the recovery from my strain and its just NOT HAPPENING. I need to give my leg a solid block of time to recover. 

So, painfully, reluctantly, I let the Ragnar team know I just could not run in 2 weeks. 23 miles would probably open it up again and then I'd be screwed for Berlin. Fortunately they found a replacement right away. 

So 4 weeks of down time, no running only cross training. That's what I've found you need to do for a strain. Even then, it's a bit short but I don't think I have a full tear (which is 6 weeks, not 4) so hopefully I'll be fine.

I don't really worry about the loss of conditioning. lots of XT will be ok, and running a 4:15 pace is not that fast for me. The main thing is to get the muscles HEALED. 

It's amazing how vulnerable we are to a pencil-thin set of muscles. 


I signed up for the Tacoma marathon in May, it's the 10th year anniversary of the Marathon Maniacs......Arthur, my awesome runner friend, are you going? Love to see you there.  The new course there is reasonably flat-ish so I figured what the heck...lets visiting the MM home-world!  

I also want to let people know (being polite so you don't wonder about me) that I just don't have any time to do blog reading or writing much these days. Don't worry, I'm still here and ok but I have a lot of stuff going on at work and at home and just don't have time for the blogosphere as much as before 8(.

I'll miss you all but that's how things have to be right now....I'll be posting but mostly just for logging purposes. 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Gettting better..

Monday was a rest day as per usual, and Tuesday rather than running I did my 10-10-10min workout (bike-ellip-row) followed by lower body exercises. This workout is really satisfying and takes about one hour.

I have been self-massaging to work out my calf trigger (ouch!) and also using the spa every night and it has helped a lot. 

Wed I took it easy and did 3.3 easy miles. I felt really good but kept the speed down. I was wearing a new pair of Brookes Launches turns out my old pair (from 5/13)  although not worn down much on the forefoot, has about 400 miles on them. The foam is pretty shot. I am also wearing a new pair of CEP calf sleeves, more on those in another post.

2012-08-22 Wed
  Split     Time Miles  Pace     HR  Cad Elev+Elev-   YPB

I had zero lingering problems after Wednesday's run..not during after or the morning after so I went out the next day for a slightly longer run.

2012-08-23 Thu
  Split      Time Miles Pace     HR  Cad  Elev+ Elev-  YPB

Sigh, I did this run way too fast..but I had two excuses 1) I felt no problems at all 2) I was wearing another new "mystery" shoe that is much lighter than the Brooks but has excellent forefoot cushioning. 

Saturday I decided to do my longer run of the weekend as Sunday morning would be short on time. I didn't know if I'd go as far as 16-17 but thought I might if everything cooperated.

2012-08-25 Sat
Split       Time Miles  Pace     HR  CadElev+Elev-   YPB

When I started this run it was 61F and overcast. By mile 5 or so the sun was out and it gradually warmed up.  I did a good job hydrating and even had to stop at the Shoreline bathrooms at mile 10 to take a leak. By then it was too hot for doing 16 and decided to cut straight for home which would be 14 or so. 

The right calf was making itself known a bit  after mile 10 ..I thought I might have to drop the pace (mile 11 slower) but eventually I found that if I reverted to my super efficient shuffle stride I didn't notice it anymore, so I did that for the rest of the run. When I got home I iced the calf by putting some ice in a ziploc inside my sleeve and that helped a lot at preventing any lingering effects.

I was happy to run that well in such sunny and warm conditions (for me! I know some of you have to deal with much nastier stuff!).  I'm a bit worried that Berlin is going to be's only about a month away and they just had some of the hottest days ever in Europe...Yikes!

Later that day we drove up to Lick Observatory @ 4200'  and had a picnic lunch on a small deck looking out over the open spaces of Mt Hamilton open space preserves. This is the view I had sitting with my legs crossed and sipping a nice rose wine and eating a picnic dinner 8) There is no sign of human habitation and barely any roads in this shot. (We were there for their "Music of the Spheres" concert series). 

The next day we visited our friends at their house in Pacific Grove (on Monterey Peninsula) turned out to be a beautiful day! We did about 8 miles of walking which was perfect for me! The photo above is Asilomar State Beach.

So  it seems my calf is getting better reasonably quickly ..still not 100% but a few more days and I think it will be fine for non-speedwork paces at any distance. Ragnar planning is heating up..we are figuring out the details now with the help of our fearless leader! My current plan is to take the legs at 9:30 average or so...maybe slower if I feel like it. It's my first relay and I don't want to kill myself for Berlin.

Date Miles Pace BPM WHR% Cad Elev+ Elev- YPB
2012-08-22 Wed 3.3 10:01 114.0 55.70 85.6 23.6 24.6 1.545
2012-08-23 Thu 4.8 9:08 123.4 63.42 87.4 18.0 18.2 1.568
2012-08-25 Sat 14.0 9:35 124.0 63.97 86.6 76.3 78.9 1.484
Summary 22.1 9:33 122.3 62.57 86.6 117.9 121.7 1.511

Not a bad week, considering. I will take it!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Weekly status

Not a great week. On Tuesday I figured I was all healed up and I was itching for some speed.  After a warm up I did a mile at 8:00 which was tough but felt good. I took a recovery for .8 and noticed a very slight tightness in my upper right calf...a totally different spot than my previous strain...but it was pretty mild so I figured I'd just run it out.

I did a second fast mile..I felt really good for this mile, easier than the first mile. I clocked 7:36, which surprised me.

But after I got  done, I could tell my right calf was a bit sore but didn't seem too bad.

2012-08-14 Tue
SplitMilesPaceHR% WHRCadElev+Elev-YPB

The next day, (Wed), I went out and felt the calf a bit...gradually as I ran it got more and more noticeable (a bad sign when discomfort gets worse during a run). and after 1.8 miles I called it quits and walked was hurting. I did some icing and put my calf sleeve on it to keep the internal swelling down while sitting all day, and that helped a lot.

2012-08-14 Tue 4.8 9:15 125.1 64.82 88.4 36.0 37.9 1.530
2012-08-15 Wed 1.8 9:41 114.7 56.32 86.0 1.0 10.6 1.581
2012-08-19 Sun 2.4 10:13 107.1 50.06 86.0 16.0 13.0 1.614
Summary 8.9 9:35 117.9 58.95 87.3 53.1 61.5 1.562

In 20-20 hindsight it was way too soon to do that fast running on Tuesday after mildy straining my calf takes time to recover from even a mild strain...I have been here before ....I know what to do...I just have to do it. 

I've kept active with cross training, which I don't mind, and have been doing a lot of weights and floor this point I'm guy-shy I'll DNS my Ragnar or Berlin so I'm going to be very very careful. 

We've had several dropouts on our Ragnar team due to injuries (e.g. broken collarbone falling of a bike!) and work I do NOT want to inflict more surprises on our beleaguered captain.  I also need to make it to Berlin of course!...It will be at a slow for me) pace but it's very important to be HEALTHY. So no more screwing around training to peak for the Ragnar...I'm in pretty good shape otherwise just need to be strain-free.

Today, (Sun), I did an exploratory 2.4 at a slow pace and felt pretty good. I'm going to give it another 3 days before another easy run. NO hard running at all for at least 2-3 weeks.

I've been here before and I just need to remember the drill: Let the muscle heal! When I do start running keep the stress (pace) low so healing weak points don't tear again. 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Weekly status

Garden with drinking fountain on my run Sunday.
That 'tweaky' calf muscle that developed on my run a week ago Saturday did the same thing about 5 minutes into my Tuesday run. I know a muscle with a mild strain when I feel it so I quickly aborted the run and hit the upright stationary bike for 30 minutes.

The next day, Wednesday into full XT mode and did 15 min swim, 10 row, 15 min bike + weights + myrtle routine.

The trigger point in my hamstring (very very rare for me) went away with some foam rollering, and the calves are better after some treatment with the stick.

Friday ready for a run..didn't feel any problem with calf at all so I did 2x1.5 miles at HM pace with .5 mile recoveries.

2012-08-10 Fri
SplitTimeMiles  Pace     HR  CadElev+Elev-YPB

Saturday did 9 miles of high base pace. This went well until the sun came HR just pops right up there when that happens. I turned downwind at one point in the run and become totally drenched in sweat...which got in my eyes and proceeded to sting like mad. My glasses were totally wet and I could hardly see through them. Ugh.

Eventually turned into the slight wind and that' s all it took to clear things up. A good solid run (in my Kinvara's by the way, not the Launches).

2012-08-11 Sat

I've learned yet AGAIN I need to PAY ATTENTION to trigger points. When you have one, it reduces the strength of that muscle and makes it more rigid, since less of it can stretch with a big knot in it. Keep running on it and your risk pulling the muscle, or compensating and mess up something else.

This is the third time I've slacked off on wearing my calf compression sleeves and then developed problems. I'm ordering 3 more pair of sleeves so that I always have a pair that is clean and dry and I don't have to rinse and dry by hand after every run.

I will need more pairs for the Ragnar anyway: I will be bringing 3 complete sets of running  clothes for my 3 legs in three big ziplocs..after each run the stuff goes in there and at the end of the race gets dropped off inside some HazMat facility for processing ;)

Sunday I was tired from the 9 on Sat so I did a slow 6..did one pick up at a 7 minute pace just to drive home how tired I was  and then just coasted along at a nice recovery pace.

2012-08-12 Sun
SplitMilesPaceHR% WHRCadElev+Elev-YPB

Summary for the week..2 hours XT + weights plus 20 miles running:

2012-08-10 Fri 5.3 9:08 128.4 67.51 87.0 25.5 23.7 1.511
2012-08-11 Sat 9.0 9:17 128.4 67.54 87.2 31.8 33.3 1.478
2012-08-12 Sun 6.1 10:39 110.3 52.71 84.3 44.2 46.5 1.502
Summary 20.4 9:39 122.4 62.65 86.3 101.5 103.5 1.494

Average mileage has been dropping for the last 60 days..that's due to the 2 marathons (and associated recovery) as well as overdoing things two weeks ago now. Should be ready to push it back up this week.

About 5 weeks to the Ragnar relay and 7 to Berlin. Need to stay uninjured for both of course!

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Sunday fun

This was a fun day. 

First we had a nice ride and lunch on the Napa Wine Train with friends. I don't know if this is the greatest deal in the world, but we did have fun. Seeing the restored Pullman 'Heavy' cars was great.

On the way home, to loosen up our muscles after sitting around, I took Toni to Rodeo beach to show her where the Golden Gate Marathon was. It was a beautiful day with full sun and spanking clean air from across 7000 miles of open ocean!

The blowup of a cell phone photo above shows the Farallon Islands which we could see wiht the naked eye! This is only the 2nd time since 1990 we've seen them from the mainland.

They are 27 miles away!

My leg muscles are feeling better..I think after another day of rest on Monday they'll be good to go!


Tonight at 10:30pm PST Curiosity, the latest Mars rover, will attempt to land on Mars. I am crossing my fingers and toes that it survies the "7 minutes of terror" during landing. They are doing a very risky seeming skycrane method to get the rover down from the 'jet pack'. 

The smaller rovers that have been so successful were very light by comparison and used a 'bouncing ball' method for the last part of landing. But this can't work with a heavy rover like Curiosity that is loaded with much more sophisticated science equipment.

It's hard not to anthropomorphize a one ton machine that is as independent as this one: the speed of light delay to/from Mars means people on the earth can't help with any problems, once she starts entering the Mars atmosphere she's on her own. 

I so hope everything goes well..if so they'll be a ton of learning about Mars and the potential for life having evolved there long ago ....when Mars was wetter and had more atmosphere.

Crossing fingers and toes! Good luck Curiosity!

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Weekly stats and Cheating

Yes, so Tuesday's run was indeed, epic, but in retrospect it was too much in one bite. I was pretty stiff on Wednesday but hey, I've learned you can push yourself through these things if you try so out I went...not easy but did a good 5.8 miles.

Thursday was DOMS day and there was the full brunt of Tues, plus the new effects of Wed. My own stupidity helped  as well: had I been wearing my calf sleeves? Doing foam rolling? Using the spa? No.  That 3.2 was probably best left undone..a muscle in my right groin was now very tight and this threw off my gait quite a bit. 

So, Friday I noticed a soreness in my right hamstring from nowhere which surprised me. Eventually,  I realized I had a trigger point, not a strain,  which has never  happened before. Pressing with the fingers eventually released it a bit and later that evening I did a bunch more  watching the Olympics and that helped (Yay, track starting!)

Saturday I did an easy 3.2 to the farmer's market and then joined Toni to full-filled my roll as Chief Carrier of Goodies and Right Honorable Dispenser of Payments. That run felt pretty good...except the groin was still tight...kept trying to work it out a bit and kept the stride short. Near the end suddenly my lower calf starting twanging like it was going to spasm. Sheesh! 

Date Miles    Pace    BPM   WHR%   Cad Elev+ Elev-    YPB
2012-07-31 Tue 7.4 10:10 126.7 66.17 85.1 16.2 22.8 1.426
2012-08-01 Wed 5.8 10:05 114.4 56.05 85.0 40.8 43.4 1.528
2012-08-02 Thu 3.2 10:38 114.4 56.09 83.6 24.6 24.5 1.455
2012-08-04 Sat 3.2 10:30 107.6 50.50 84.0 31.6 1.0 1.568
Summary 19.5 10:16 117.9 58.93 84.7 113.2 91.7 1.484

Obviously I pushed too hard on Tuesday..that workout was good but the lost intensity in the following workouts shows why it was a bad tradeoff. 

So, taking some downtime.. no run on Sunday or Monday to recover properly and watching some Olympic track!



The current New Yorker magazine has a fairly comprehensive and well written article about a guy named Kip LItton: a dentist and marathon runner for his own charity. He was a pretty fast (by my standards) runner ..that got even faster. 

But, he's  been found by a number of people to be cheating. 

I won't  blab the story or bias your opinion any's rare we get anything like this in marathoning...Rosie Ruiz comes to mind and that was quite some time ago...this is a much more complex case.

If you google his name you'll find out all about it......apparently the LetsRun forums got quite active trying to figure out what he was doing.  A sad and strange affair.