Tuesday, June 26, 2018

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

Isn't that the way it goes sometimes? 

So last week, after my Runspittle whinefest (http://runspittle.blogspot.com/2018/06/clarity-through-whining-makes-winning.html) , I actually had a pretty good running week. Got in 56 miles and some of them were as close to pain free as I think It could possibly be at this time. All in all, I was pretty jazzed up. A definite step forward. Then, it happened.

Sunday, we (my son Ryan and me) were moving some stuff from the garage to the basement in an attempt to make some room in several places in the house. Up and down the stairs with couch pieces, desks, and other assorted stuff. Now, I should mention here that I am pretty cautious on steps since my knee surgery. I go up carefully, and down gingerly. No hurry and no need to have an issue, right? Well, all of the actual moving went without a hitch. Then I was walking through the kitchen, just walking, and BAM..... knee totally buckled. Not good.

Immediately, I went in to monitoring mode as to whether something structural had happened. Didn't seem like it. So, ice was the answer (well, actually, frozen corn was the answer). I gimped around most of the evening hoping that the next day would be acceptable. Hmmmmm.... not so much. I Rock Taped myself and shuffled my way through four fairly uncomfortable miles (although slightly better than I expected) and spent most of the rest of the day frozen corning.

This morning I decided to head to Tagawa Gardens and run strictly soft on the trails around the area. I taped up (trying a new meniscus wrapping I had seen on youtube), and shuffled off again. I won't say there was no pain, but I will say it began better than yesterday. By two miles, it felt fairly normal, and after four I was tempted to keep going. Decided to NOT. Safety before miles, right? I'll be corning for the next few days to keep the inflammation in check (got some Great Value frozen corn wrapped around as I type). In the end, I'll chalk this up to it being an easy week.

In the meantime, there were some great races to monitor over the weekend. The USATF National Championships were on Thursday through Sunday and it was fun to follow some of my favorite athletes. Probably the best races were the 1500's. Both Men and Women had tight races with quite a bit of depth. Shelby Houlihan impressively beat Jenny Simpson on the women's side (and came back to win the 5000 meter run as well), and Matt Centrowitz pulled off one more tactically awesome victory. Was also excited to watch Evan Jager, Paul Chelimo, Lopez Lomong, Rachel Schneider, Courtney Frerichs, and others. Just fun to watch some track and field.

Then, there was the Western States 100 where Jim Walmsley finally had the WS100 that everyone knew he was capable of having. He broke the course record by over 16 minutes and defeated Francois D'haene by way over an hour (and he's one of the best in the world). Technology and great sites like www.irunfar.com make "watching" these races possible and ALOT of time was spent on Twitter refreshing updates.

So we trudge on ever so gingerly towards the next mile. I hope your miles are relaxed and fun.

Run on.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Clarity Through Whining Makes a Winning Combo

Only need one, actually
Two weeks ago, I ran the Dexter to Ann Arbor Half Marathon. It was okay. It was slow (that's what old, tired, fat guys do, they run slow). Mostly, it was eye-opening. I thought I could run faster. I didn't. Of course, I have been doing this long enough that I am quite aware that when you train slow, you race slow (and I train slow). So.... no surprise. The surprise (although it really isn't) is that I just don't care at this point.

It's been a year and a half since my knee surgery. While it isn't worse, it's certainly not much better. Every day is a mystery, not of WILL it hurt, but how much. Getting tired of that (by the way, if you read this and are wondering why I do not seek other medical help, that will never happen again. Every doctor I have ever seen for a running related issue has botched it up. Every one since Dr. Schroeder in the tenth grade. Don't get me wrong, I seen some good PA's, PT's, and some good Chiros. Doctors? You can have them..... all). 

Anyway, while running Friday in my favorite woods, clarity hit: this knee thing has drained me. I am no longer a fan of pretty much any kind of running discomfort. When the going gets tough and I get into discomfort, my option is don't fight, don't push, slow down. And the problem is that for the last year and a half, it is ALL discomfort. The result of this? No discomfort, no speed. No discomfort, no fast racing. But what's amazing is that once that awesome realization hit, I experienced a nice calming sort of feeling and see the running thing much more clearly than I have in quite some time. Mindset alteration in progress.....

By the way, without choosing to deal with discomfort, real racing is not an option. Racing, I said, not races. I can still shuffle my way through a 10K or a Half and have no issue with my detachment from "racing." Simple deal, mindset alteration. 

But some other things have to change too, if for nothing else, my own self-respect and sanity.

First and foremost: marathons. If I am uninterested in 13.1 miles of discomfort, who in the hell wants it for 26.2? Not me, that's for sure. SO, the Chicago Marathon? Probably not. I will more than likely defer my entry until 2019 and hope that by then maybe the mood will resurface. If not, that'll be okay too. Cal International in December? Doubt it.

I had a goal of finishing 26 of them. I'd like to think that I still might do that. Then again, maybe not. I'm okay either way.

Realization: I never really was a good marathoner. I've probably run three decent ones and the other 14 have just sucked: completely mediocre. Given my 15:09 5K, 32:21 10K, and 1:12 Half, my marathons should have always been faster. They weren't, and it's been decades of frustration until my present ah-ha moment: I am not a marathoner. FINALLY, I am okay with that. 

Next, you know what? No next. The rest of my issues are for me and you really don't want me to head down that road. Let's just say that it has been a very discouraging last couple of weeks as far as other parts of life are concerned (maybe disappointing is a better word). Suffice it to say that in my sunset years I will strive to make things easier and go out of my way not to get entangled into everyone else's bullshit. Too much of life is spent focused on the "wall of no control." No more.

In the meantime, Eliud Kipchoge's words are more meaningful than ever: "Run with the run."

Run on (your way).

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Enjoying a Little Kicking Back And.... the Bolder Boulder

Bolder Boulder 10K
With it having been a hair over a month since Eugene, I have been enjoying this time to sort of kick back and run some lowish miles and not think about much. The weeks have averaged 40-50 miles and with the exception of one tempo run, nothing significant has happened. 

Well, almost nothing, there was the Bolder Boulder. Once again I have followed the masses to a race with whom I have a Love/Hate relationship. Followed the masses? For more on that, read http://runspittle.blogspot.com/2012/02/zombies-cows-and-me.html. In the meantime.....

HATE. 1) I hate the crowded roads. Don't get me wrong, the Bolder Boulder has done a great job creating one of the most effective wave starting systems in the sport. And don't get me wrong, I love that so many people want to run the streets of the People's Republic of Boulder. It's just too crowded. That's all. 2) Hate might be a bit strong, but I've never cared for the course. Again... don't get me wrong, I love finishing in the stadium. The rest of it.... eh.... no big deal.

LOVE. The event. Despite all of my dislikes (and there are a bunch of other minor gripes I've neglected to write about), I Love the event itself. It's a place where people of ALL abilities are welcome, including pro racers. And ESPECIALLY.... it is a wonderful celebration of Memorial Day. No matter how the Bolder Boulder has evolved in the past 40 years, oner thing has stayed true: it is a Memorial Day extravaganza and that has yet to be forgotten.


Thank you, thank you very much
So anyway, I sort of ran the thing, was unable to breathe at any time, slapped a high five with Elvis, and that was enough for a Monday. Maybe next year I'll run this thing seriously, but I doubt it. My last serious BB 10K was in 2000 when I ran a hair over 41 minutes two days after a 1:25 half marathon in Michigan. Speaking of half marathons in Michigan, that's where I sit tonight: Michigan, awaiting tomorrow's Dexter to Ann Arbor Half Marathon.

I have run Dexter to Ann Arbor two other times. I ran the previously mentioned half marathon in 2000 and ran it when it was longer, the first one, in 1974. Now, let's get this right, the half marathon wasn't longer in 1974 (it's always been 13.1 miles - a half marathon). Originally, the race was a fifteen mile race. Maybe it's farther from Dexter to Ann Arbor than it used to be? Whatever.

It's this 13.1 mile jaunt that will be the springboard into my eighteen week buildup for October's Chicago marathon. Three six week macrocycles, each focused on a different training component. Hoping my knee improves, hoping to run well. We'll see, right? The beginning always supports optimism.

Nonetheless, here we go. Run on.