Monday, June 29, 2015

Ankle Magnet: Log Week of June 22

Ankle Magnet
If you look at it, it's not a big deal. When I was younger and ran faster, it happened more often. In fact, I don't think I've had it happen in, gosh, maybe ten years. Unfortunately, it's back: the ankle magnet is back.

The initial occurrence (and it only takes ONE) was on Friday's long run on the East/West Regional trail in Douglas County. I was moving down a fairly steep decline and without warning my right foot, instead of smoothly passing through as it has millions of times before, decided to clip/bang/smash my left ankle bone. Ouch! But ouch was only the beginning.

Many experienced, and not as experienced runners, know what happens next. The ankle, in some masochistic manner begins to act as a magnet, constantly drawing the foot back to the scene of the crime. It returns without warning, but for at least a couple of days, it always returns. Bang - ouch; bang - ouch, bang - ouch. 

East/West Trail
On Saturday's run, the attraction between ankle and foot was considerably strong. Sunday, a bit less. This morning, none. I hope this phenomenon is over (at least for another ten years).

Nonetheless ankle magnet was one of the few negatives in a very good training week. After a poor start to the week (8 miles Monday, 6 on Tuesday and Wednesday, and 8 on Thursday), I found that I felt good and just wanted to RUN!

Friday was sixteen on the aforementioned East/West trail. It was a challenging run featuring the three H's: heat, humidity and hills. The first thirteen were downright easy followed by the big hill in mile fourteen. Feeling good, I decided to push the hill and did so rather nicely. Unfortunately, that pretty much did me in for the final two. 

Saturday, I ran twice. Nine easy ones in the AM and another four in the evening. All of a sudden my week was taking a mileage upswing. It would all depend on how I was feeling Sunday morning.

Being the smart guy I am, I decided to run a bit earlier. We've had a bit of heat lately, following a month and a half of rain, so early is good. I left the house ready to conquer the loop around the Cherry Creek Reservoir with the temperature reading a nice 59 degrees. 14 miles later, it was up to 78. Yikes! Other than the heat, I actually felt pretty good. Good enough, in fact, that I went another four with my wife, Linda, in the evening. 18 for the day. AND....... 75 for the week. The most in quite some time.

Another milestone was hit on Sunday. After three months of no soda and a mildly regulated diet, I finally cracked 200. I began this journey weighing 228.6 and now dropped to 199.2. Halfway there!

This coming week I expect to back off a bit, something in the 50-60 range. Planning either a long run over the weekend (I'm thinking Magnolia Road in Boulder) OR running the La Sportiva Vail Hill Climb on Sunday. Either way..... fun.

Run on!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Nothing Special: Just miles Week of June 15

I wish there were something cool or unique to report from this past week. I mean, I suppose it's good that I got in 70 miles. Mostly though, it was just a week of run, run, run. Work, work, work.

The day's mileage went 6, 14, 11, 9, 7, 12, 11 = 70. Ran a couple times in Colorado Springs, but they were runs on the Pikes Peak Greenway, not anything cool like the Barr Trail up Pikes Peak or the Garden of the Gods.

Don't get me wrong, no complaints here. The steady day after day repetition of running creates fitness. Fitness without injury is a beautiful thing. I suppose one could complain about putting only a little money in the bank everyday. After a while, though, you look and those little, consistent deposits transform into MONEY.

So, consider my deposit for the week being 70 miles, with more to come. First withdrawal from the account in just a little over six weeks.

Run on (and on).

Monday, June 15, 2015

PNS: A Nipple Problem Runner's Log June 8-14

You didn't really think you were
getting a nipple pic, did you?
After living through bad hamstrings and falling off ladders, I was anticipating a nice, safe 60+ mile week. It began, just that way. I felt pretty good the first four days racking up a not so impressive 29 miles. Then Friday hit.

I had decided to head out into a very light sprinkle. The weather dudes and dudettes claimed that this light sprinkle would depart quickly and leave me with sunny skies and a lovely little run. Being naive, I headed out the door unprepared to face the adversity that was soon to come my way.

I confess. I have a nipple problem. Yes, it's true: a nipple problem. How could nipples be a problem you ask? Well, mine never seem to flatten out. And especially when I run, they like to stick themselves right out there like headlights guiding the way. When I run long, Body Glide and I care for them and there is seldom a problem. But in the rain, with no protection; Houston, we have a nipple problem. Protruding Nipple Syndrome: PNS.

Two miles into the run, the skies changed. The sun which was previously attempting to break through, went on a see ya later break. The skies opened up with a steady stream of the PNS sufferers worst nightmare: precipitation.

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE running in the rain. In Michigan, there was nothing better than a hot August day and a steady rain during the afternoon run. In my later years, however and with the onset of PNS, I must go out of my way to prepare ahead of time. Most often, I wait for the rain to ease. Today it was too late. 

By five miles it was perfectly clear that the chafing was getting to be too much.  And as any sufferer from PNS can attest, once the discomfort has hit, the damage has been done. This damage, characteristically stays around for 3-5 days, depending on further runs. The problem here was that I had miles to run including a long run in the hills set for Sunday.

We finished with 11 on both Friday and Saturday. Then ran 14 on the Mesa Trail Sunday. A steady dose of Body Glide, Vaseline and Band Aids has minimized the discomfort, but the problem needs a remedy.

I realize that several things could have been done differently. First, I could have greased up before the rainy run. NEVER trust the weather people has always been my motto (if the rest of us were that consistently incorrect at our jobs, we'd most surely fired). In fact, greasing up should probably be a daily ritual. Second, I could have waited for it to stop. Well, it didn't stop and when you want to run, you want to run. Last, I could have removed my shirt and stopped the irritation and alleviated the PNS issue. Sorry, no way I was unleashing THAT visual to the world. Call it ego, call it preventive non-humiliation, my shirt is best left ON!

In the end, I logged 65 miles this week, the most for any week during this year. My legs feel good (like they're getting used to the mileage) and my spirits are soaring like the hawk. Eight weeks until the Georgetown to Idaho Springs half. Just got to get those nipples under control.

Run on.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Imogene Pass Run and the Woods Call: June 1 - 7

Somehow I ran 50 miles this week. I'm not completely sure how. After the ladder incident (I guess falling off of a ladder counts as an incident) and then moving boxes, furniture and everything for my Brother, there wasn't a single day in which I didn't feel injured. Nonetheless, it is complete.

The only real highlight was Thursday. I meant to run an easy four in the Cherry Creek State Park, but somehow, just kept going.

It was one of those runs where you (I) just get in a zone, of sorts. I never felt awesome, never felt lousy. For the most part, I don't remember feeling. I just ran. Before I knew it, I was entering the woods. Once there, I never pass up the chance to play with the several loops contained within. 

The woods in the Cherry Creek State Park are the closest thing to a real escape from the urban jungle that currently is (and probably forever will be), the Denver Metro area. There is really only three and a half trails, a total of maybe three miles, but I could just keep going and going once I enter. 

Sometimes there are hikers, walkers and the occasional runner. More often than not, I am alone winding my way around the wooded path of seclusion. I absolutely love it. The run, by the way, ended up being ten miles. In my log, I called it "cleansing."

I suppose the other highlight of the week was right at the beginning: on Monday, I got into the Imogene Pass Run in September. Registration opened at 6 am (no sweat for me as I RARELY sleep past 5:30). Last year it sold out in 58 minutes, so I was ready. Others complained online (mostly on the race's Facebook page), about terrible experiences,
duplicate entries, being cut off. I can't complain. I was on at 6:02, off by 6:08 and registered. According to my confirmation, I will be #559 (and proud of it).

I've had a plethora of friends run Imogene, but I never have. It's 17+ miles from Ouray (7811 feet altitude) to Telluride (8820') over Imogene Pass (13,114'). You could call it a bucket list thing. Mostly I just got the Imogene bug and it spread to actual registration. Hopefully that bug will spread to completion. Preparation will include lots of miles, bunches of hills and some peak running, probably commencing this weekend with Bear Peak near Boulder.

So that's it. Looking for a healthy, happy 62-65 mile week. We'll see you on the other side,

Run on.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Bolder Boulder Week: 2015 (A Race Report?)

HE 169, not HC 169
Because my running week begins with Monday, Bolder Boulder week begins with, well, the Bolder Boulder. I didn't really decide to run until Saturday, but didn't consider that any kind of an extra burden (other than financial as it cost more money). My "racing," at this point, is purely for atmosphere and ambiance. Certainly not results.

Post time was 8:15 am, so about 7:30 ish the warm-up process began. A mile and a half and some light stretching and then finding my wave. HC, HC, HC, looking for wave HC. Ah, found it (more on that later). HC, by the way is in the non-seeded section. That means that you set no qualifying time for the race and are placed with all the other people who claim they are running, but have no qualifying time either (NEVER will do that again).

The gun fired and we were off. In the olden days, I would have settled into race pace quickly. With no 10K races under my belt in a LONG time, I have NO idea what race pace is/was. So, I fall into default setting: fast enough to feel fast, slow enough to know it's not too fast. My goal is simple: get to the finish line under 60 minutes (pretty lame for a guy who once ran in the 32-33 minute range and blazed a 37 and change at this very race) and not damage my seemingly healed hamstring.

The first 2 1/2 miles were a maze of people, dodging, weaving trying to find a way through the walking/jogging wave liars. The mile went by in 9:09, the next in 9:13. The third mile, through the neighborhoods and mostly uphill, was the slowest: 9:33. The issue was just before the three mile mark: POP goes the hammy (sounds like a children's song, right). Not a pull, but a distinctive clutch where a part of your body is saying, "take it easy there, fella. We're in charge." The hammy was tight, and a little painful so I ran the edge between discomfort and pull. 9:20, 8:52 and 9:22 then into the stadium. I met with Angie my Step Daughter), Brian (her husband) and Mason (Grandson and sub 40 minute blazer), chatted a bit and then cooled down.  10 miles for the day. 

All in all, okay considering. Except for that one pesky little detail. My number was HE 169, not HC, SO..... I ran in the wrong wave, and because I moved up in waves, I am officially DISQUALIFIED from the 2015 Bolder Boulder. Good thing they didn't check me for reindeer milk.

Tuesday and Wednesday: 6 easy miles and 8. Tight hamstring. Went in for a needling treatment with Dr. Carly May and YIKES, she found the spot all right. Thursday's run was 9 and I flat out just bonked at 7. Overheated, underfed. Just plain BONKED. Backed off to an easy 7 on Friday and seemed to feel somewhat better, setting the stage for Saturday's long run.


Highline Canal
Originally, Brian and I were going thirteen on the Highline Canal. A few logistical issues made it fifteen, but hey, who's counting, right? This run was one of those where I never felt terrible, but never felt anything close to good. It was just L O N G! We began cautiously slow but worked it better after the first 8. My heart rate was fine, the pace was okay, NO hamstring issues at all. So, I have to count it as a good sign.

So, I'm healthy, right? 

HA! Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water...... trimming the branches of a tree damaged by the snowstorm recently and stupidly took a dive off the ladder. I totally get how people break hips as mine got pretty banged up with little or no effort on my part. Nonetheless, Sunday's morning run was a bruised, gimpy 5 miles to get me to 60 for the week and close the month at 225. Not bad considering.

Weighed in at 204 and that's down 24 pounds in the last nine weeks. Not bad. A long way to go to get to 169. But.... one pound at a time. In the meantime, June is bustin' out all over.

Run on.