Sunday, November 29, 2015

Look Out NYC, Squamish, and Imogene! I'm coming for ya!

In one week, I will run my final race of 2015, the North Face Endurance Half Marathon near San Francisco, CA. It was supposed to be my first ultra marathon, a 50K. Unfortunately, when the knee injury hit, plans got changed. I missed the Hot Chocolate 15K and the Back Country Half Marathon completely. The 50K becomes a Half Marathon. No problem, adaptability is a human characteristic and I have plenty.

With a short, broken, unsuccessful racing season in the rear view mirror, I look to ramp it up in 2016. Sixteen races make up my calendar for the coming year and they come in all shapes and sizes. Several have significance.

First and foremost, I need to get into the New York City Marathon. Nothing would be cooler than to celebrate my 65th birthday (yes, they're holding it on my birthday) running the streets of New York. SO, let the universe be aware..... I'm getting drawn in that lottery! 

Next, I registered for the Squamish 50K in August in British Columbia yesterday. The course is challenging, the course is beautiful and I am excited that I was able to get in. 

Last, I have unfinished business on Imogene Pass provided I can get in that one as well; (see http://runspittle.blogspot.com/2015/09/the-many-faces-of-dnf-log-week-of-sep-7.html to understand). Of course, there are others. Those, however, are the biggies.

So knowing that schedules are fluid, here's what I have planned for the coming year:

March 6              Napa Valley Marathon (this one is still up in the air)
April 24               Cherry Creek Sneak 5 mile (qualifying for a good Bolder Boulder wave)
April 30               Greenland 50K  (1st Ultra)
May 30                Bolder Boulder 10K  (redemption)
June 18               Leadville Heavy Half  (50/50 on this one)
July 3                  Vail Hill Climb (7 miles)
July 16                Kendall Mountain Run (12 miles, maybe, maybe not)
July 31                San Francisco Marathon  (have put this off forever)
August 6             Georgetown to Idaho Springs Half Marathon  (love this race)
August 21           Squamish 50K   (never been to British Columbia)
September 10     Imogene Pass Run (17 miles. Revenge sought)
October 4            Hot Chocolate 15K Denver
October 16          Denver Rock n Roll Half Marathon  (maybe, maybe not)
November 6        NYC Marathon  (it's on my birthday for crying out loud)
November 19      Nike Cross 5K  (this looked like a blast)
December 3        North Face 50K or 50 mile

So, that's it. Planning to train smarter and make it through the year without illness and/or injury.

Speaking of injury, while I am still aware that my knee exists, it has not bothered me on a run for five days. Yay! 51 miles for this week. Double Yay (I guess that would be Yay, Yay).

Run on.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

One of Those Days...

First and foremost, Happy Thanksgiving. In this topsy turvy world, there is much for which to be thankful. Not today's run, however.

I awakened this morning to thoughts of a longer run, something in the 11-14 range. I even plotted a few various courses allowing for wind direction changes. I was a man on a mission. Then, I didn't head out the door. And the longer I didn't head out the door, the more my long run, became a medium run, and soon thereafter, a short or even non-existent run.

Often times the mind is willing but the body balks. Today was the opposite. My legs felt rested, my knee was fine, but I did NOT want to run. So I put it off a little more. When 9:30 came, I had no choice but to face my nemesis.

My phone said it was 42 degrees "feels like" 32. They had that right. It felt COLD. Just what a non-motivated procrastinator needed on the day before Thanksgiving. BUT, being the hardy soul I am, I trudged out into the deep freeze, risking life and limb, to log the daily run. After all, once I get running the juices will flow and I will feel great. Right? Yeah, whatever....

8 slow, miserable miles, and I was done. And to quote the philosopher Forrest Gump, "That's all I'm going to say about that."

Run on.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

The UP Side of Downgrading

Suunto Ambit2 Yay!
The “final” decision was made today. I have opted down at the North Face Endurance Challenge on December 5. Originally, the plan was to run the 50K. With the prolonged knee issues and the loss of training therein, I am instead running the Half Marathon. I consider this an extreme disappointment. Yet while hovering at the bottom of that decision I have found the road to an optimistic outlook for the coming year.

Firmly imbedded in a routine of stretching and preventative exercises, I am hoping to tackle 2016 without injury or illness. The plan is as follows: 2 marathons on the road, a 50K or maybe two (roughly 31 miles) and a 50 miler. 2500+ miles run, and a few days off, but NONE of them because of injury.

Presently we’re in the middle of a 40+ mile week, the most in about two months. While the knee pain/stiffness is lingering, it is much improved each week. The hope is to be completely pain free in a couple more weeks. Long runs at this point are around eight miles and exclusively on trails. Optimism reigns supreme!

I am writing this blog post while on a flight to Phoenix. We are on our way to the Nike Cross Regional Championships as my Grandson Mason is running. His best this year (he is a Sophomore) is 16:04 so he is hoping to crack the 16 minute barrier on the fast course and be helped by the incredible competition (nearly a dozen under 15 last year).

On another note, for my birthday Linda presented me with a Suunto Ambit2, a fantastic GPS, heart rate, and everything else including the kitchen sink watch that I am absolutely loving. More on that later. In the meantime….


Run on.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Knee Stuff

The more things stay the same, the more they stay the same. Not exactly how the saying goes but it captures the current status of my running life. In the last three weeks or so, I have gotten in about 60 miles. That’s it. That is less than a normal week under normal conditions. I suppose it’s better than zero, right?

I began treatment by gimping around the house, figuring that when I could negotiate the stairs like a regular human being (not one leg leading and the other following), then perhaps I could get out again. Upon completion of that test, I graduated to a sort of speed-walk/shuffle-jog thing. First time was three miles in which 2 ½ of it was walking. Then went to 4 miles of half and half, and finally the full 4 jogging (I won’t insult runners by calling what I was able to do running).

Even during this slow return, it was clear to me that my injury was more than just Popliteal Tendonitis. The tendonitis had kind of peaked during my twenty mile run. The significant injury happened three days later when, I believe, I hyperextended my knee. THAT is what is taking forever to heal.

About a week ago, I returned to see Dr. Carly, the wonder-woman, who dry-needled me and gave some drills and exercises to do to quicken the process and strengthen the area (as well as the surrounding accomplices). Slowly, on it’s own lazy timetable, it is coming around.

I missed the Hot Chocolate 15K and, unfortunately, it looks like I will miss the North Face 50K, my Ultra Marathon debut. My knee is still not comfortable on the run. Sitting for long periods of time (like this moment blogging on an airplane) seems to be the worst. And it is consistently less stable in the morning. The lack of running has halted the weight loss and, in fact, I feel like I have gained about 100 pounds in the last month (okay slight exaggeration). In short, if I wasn’t working a bunch right now, I would be absolutely miserable.

On the bright side, I turned 64 today. In one more year and I will move up an age group (always a good thing). I’m excited to open my gift from Linda tonight, which is a Suunto GPS run watch. And, as usual, I’m excited about the future. I can run that 50K later, I can re-lose whatever weight I have gained starting right now. I can keep doing my exercises AND be a better stretcher AND be better at monitoring my body. In short, as Scarlett O’Hara said, “tomorrow IS another day.”


Run on!