Monday, September 29, 2008

Update...Still No Running

I'm biking like crazy, but I haven't run in some time.

The bones in my feet are still sore, so I'm not running. Bones. Baaah.

OMNI Physical Therapy is doing everything in their power to get me ready to run the Marathon. They're blasting the area with ultrasound, a massage therapist is working on the muscle around the bone, etc.

When it comes down to it its a race against time. How quickly can my feet heal?

If I can run the race, I don't think I'm going to do too fantastic. I haven't run more than a couple miles since the beginning of September. I'll just have to run it slow. But at least I'll be able to finish it...hopefully.

Monday, September 22, 2008

No More Training For Me

I've given my feet weeks to heal, and it's clear that they need more time.

I've been running extremely lightly (2-3 miles 10 min/mile pace) every other day and the results are pretty consistent- I run, and the pain worsens. I even tried running on grass and dirt trails to see if it would make a difference, but no dice.

At this point I don't know what's up with my feet, but I feel I can't train anymore. I'm not willing to risk permanent injury. I still plan to run the marathon, but I'm not going to be in the kind of shape I'd like to be in when I run it.

Hopefully my feet are completely healed by then. They've got 19 days.

Until then, I'll be doing a lot of biking. It's not nearly the same thing, but at least it gets the heart going.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Running...a little

At the advice of OMNI physical therapy I'm running again, but I'm taking it easy. After some warm up biking I ran about three miles this morning at a slow pace. By the end there was pain in my foot, but not severe. It was just sort of a vague ache. I hope it's healing up.

I'm going to try to run a bit every other day and see how it goes.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Ode to Endorphins - And More Foot Trouble

After nearly two weeks of resting the sore talus bones in both feet, I took to the road for a modest 5-mile jaunt Saturday.

Let me tell you, it feels incredible to get the endorphins flowing again after just stagnating for two weeks. My muscles also felt pleasantly stretched as well.

Often people who don't do much exercise will shake their head when they hear that I'm training for a marathon. To them it seems like I'm putting myself through something grueling- and to an extent it is. But there is definitely a bonus to exercise. You feel so much better than you would.

On the downside, the bones started aching mildly after a few miles of running, which tells me that I'm not healed yet, and that my training will have to be put on the back burner yet again.

It's incredibly frustrating. The Marathon is 26 days away, and I was planning to use this month to get in one more long run and also to work on my speed. My plan was to run the race at a pace of 9/min miles or less.

Now I can't train, and the gains I've made over the last three months are probably deteriorating.

I may have to settle for just finishing the marathon and not worrying too much about my time, but we'll have to see how things go.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

When All Else Fails, Impale Your Foot

Yesterday I indulged in some logic that goes like this: the bones and muscles in my foot aren't moving properly, so let's jab some needles in them until they do.

Worked pretty well.

I was back at OMNI Physical Therapy in Wallingford to let them get another look at the issue. Besides my bones/cartilage ache, which has been giving me problems, from the beginning they've been saying that my foot doesn't really move smoothly. It probably has something to do with the fact that I'm flat footed combined with the extensive mileage I've been dragging them through.

They've been manually loosening up my foot/ankle, but it's always a temporary fix, and after a run it gets caught up again.

So this time Dr. Richard Powers mentioned that he could do some acupuncture as an alternative treatment.

I tend to be a bit skeptical about such things, but on the other hand I'm ridiculously curious and willing to experiment.

He turned both of my feet into pin cushions and left them that way for 20 minutes. When he removed them, I have to say that my feet were moving better. I could flex my feet and feel them go through their full range of motion, as opposed to getting caught on bone and muscle as they had been.

Will it stay? No idea. I'll find out when I start running again this weekend.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Emasculating Meat

Your Virility and Meat

When I gave up meat, dairy and eggs in college, it was the end product of several years of research on the subject. I drew the conclusion that it was the smart thing to do in terms of health, so I just did it.

I didn't really tell anyone, but my friends caught on that I hadn't eaten meat in quite some time, and I admitted that yes, I was now a vegan.

They started ribbing me over it, making references to my girly food as they were downing their manly burgers, etc. I put up with this for maybe a week or so before I'd had enough.

In the middle of lunch at the dining room I cut one of these comments short and launched into a five-minute diatribe explaining that I was in fact statistically more manly than they were.

When it was all over, one of my friends dropped his chicken nugget and said, "man, that was really bad ass. He just gave us his manliness as a PERCENTAGE"

I've basically distilled that diatribe, with the addition of scientific citations, on my website.

If you're interested in why meat, dairy, and egg eaters are basically emasculating themselves with each bite, you should read it.

On the other hand, if you're coming from the paper's site and you're not comfortable reading about the male reproductive system, don't follow this link.


The bones in both feet are still a bit sore, although better. I'm willing to give them a few more days of rest, but I should really get back to training soon.

Went for a fantastic bike ride along the coast near Madison on Friday, followed by a swim at the beach. I rode through a pristine golf course because all the little hills were fun, though I'm sure I broke some rule there.

Sunday I went for a hike at Hubbard Park.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Resting My Dogs

I'm taking it easy, frankly. I'm a firm believer in rest when you're dealing with pain. As I mentioned in Tuesday's story, a bone/cartilage on the inside of both feet is a bit sore, though it's pretty much better now. I'll be sticking to biking until I'm feeling completely pain free and healed up.The last thing I need is for that pain to become a major injury.

When I'm healed I'll start experimenting with my stride and hopefully developing something that won't hurt those bones in the future.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The New Haven Road Race

This article ran in Today's Record-Journal:

For a guy who's never run a race before, and who hasn't engaged in a serious athletic competition since high school, I was pretty pleased when I crossed the finish line of the New Haven Road Race ahead of my goal time and in front of more than half of the other runners.

You might have seen me running around Meriden, Cheshire and Wallingford over the past few months as I prepare for the Hartford Marathon on Oct. 11. The 12-mile New Haven race was my first taste of actually being completely surrounded by a sea of runners, and it was a good way to see if I could hold my marathon pace with the press of bodies and the adrenaline of competition to deal with.

People - the ones I ran with and the ones on the sidelines- made the run equal parts worthwhile and frustrating.

When the starting gun echoed, I was ready to go. But, trapped at the far back of the surging mass of contestants, there wasn't really any place I could go. Three minutes after that I was still running way below my goal pace of nine minutes per mile. I weaved through runners for what seemed like forever. When there was space I would hop up onto a sidewalk and sprint by as many as I could.

Finally I was out of the press and away, but I was convinced that I was lagging quite a bit, so I really picked up my pace. My GPS watch was not cooperating and I had no time to stop and adjust it, so I was pretty much left guessing as to how fast I was going.

Convinced that I was going to miss my goal, I eventually just settled into a nice pace and zoned out. My breath went in and out, the scenery rolled by, and everything seemed OK.

Runners are a funny group, I observed.

Unless you're an elite runner, the only person you have to compete against is yourself, so none of the rivalry of other sports shows during a race.

Some run in solitude, but others use the run as a social event, gabbing like there's no tomorrow.

From epic tales of a dog's bravery in foiling a robbery to feisty debate over proper interpretation of Franz Kafka's "The Metamorphosis," I heard it all. I mentally dubbed the later the most intellectual conversation ever to take place between athletes during a sporting event.

Especially at the beginning of the race, I saw runners bolt by me. I was impressed by their speed until I passed a number of them three-quarters through the race. Anyone in reasonably good shape can run a few sixminute miles, but if you're walking at mile 10 with a stitch on your side, you've wasted your time.

I never expected to say this, but I really liked the cheering fans. I didn't imagine running to be a spectator sport, but in periodic clumps, the denizens of New Haven were out there cheering for us with surprising gusto.

I especially liked the rather plump old woman in a lawn chair who had rigged her garden hose up to spray the runners as they went by.

"Come cool off, honey," she told me as I splashed through.

A few movements after my "thank you," a runner behind me actually stopped running to get soaked. "This ain't a shower, skinny," she told him. "There's lots of ya that want water, and you gotta get back on the road if you're ever gonna finish this thing."

After a few seconds of chuckling, I took her advice as well, and picked up my pace.

From the New Haven Green, the 12-mile course took us past Yale University, numerous residential neighborhoods, the waterfront and several large parks. By the time I was on mile 10, I was pretty tired, but determined to make up for lost time, I speeded up a bit. We rounded the final bend and it was a straight shoot down Whitney Avenue Whoever had the idea to blast Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger" around mile 11, I can only say thanks. You just can't

Please see Running /8

From Page 7 ~ Running Raw: 12 miles done

run slowly with that song ringing through the air.

At one point, the top of my water bottle flew off and went rolling back the way I had come. I sprinted after it with a curse. I secured it before long and started sprinting to get back to my old position, which very nearly exhausted me. I got back into a steady rhythm just before the finish line came in sight.

Along the final stretch, the crowd was thick along the sidewalk, and everyone was cheering loudly or calling out encouragement. It made for a pretty memorable finish.

When I finally saw my official time, I was pretty surprised. I had managed to overcompensate for my earlier delay and finished in 1 hour, 46 minutes, and 16 seconds. I'd averaged an 8:33 pace, and came in 923rd of the 2,090 runners who finished the race.

The winner, James Carney, finished in 59 minutes and 11 seconds. The last runner to cross the finish line clocked in at two hours, 56 minutes, and 34 seconds.

I'll grant that my diet of only raw fruits and vegetables gives me a slightly different view on things, but I found it hilarious that beer and doughnuts were served at the after party. My ability to recover from exercise seems to be based on how quickly after lengthy exertion I take in simple sugars from fruit, so to see beer and doughnuts as recovery food seems a bit off.

It was a good run, and I'm glad I did it. Now I just need to figure out how to run 26.2 miles at about the same pace.

One thing that I need to change is my stride. I've been working on it with the goal of making it more efficient and reducing wear and tear, but over the last week I've been feeling some pain from the bone or cartilage on the inside of my feet. I'm hoping that the guys who have been helping me at Omni Physical Therapy in Wallingford can assist me in fixing I up before it turns into an injury.

Edward Bellows over at Innovative Massage Therapy LLC, in Wallingford, has also been a big help. Massage probably isn't the right word for what he does, which is to help people with severe muscular pain to find relief without surgery. He uses a technique called pain reflex release to push into knotted muscle and get it to smooth itself out. The technique is slightly unpleasant, but effective.

I have no chronic problems, but he's been working out on numerous knotted muscles that I've built up. He also does this amazing thing to completely clear my head. He just pushes into the back of my neck in a couple of spots. It's surprisingly effective.

I'm creeping closer to the Hartford Marathon, and I've still got a lot of training to do, so I will heed the advice of the old woman with the sprayer and get back on the road.