Saturday, March 21, 2009

A sh*tty run

As I did last Friday I went to the gym after work yesterday (Friday) with plans to run. I think we were on 8 consecutive days of rain come yesterday. It was raining pretty hard in the early afternoon but stopped by 5:30 when I stepped out of the gym ready to run. I turned on my Garmin watch and stretched while I waited for the GPS to pick up my position. Following that I headed down the parking lot to 148th ave and then North for maybe half a mile until I reached a dirt (mud now) trail that went due West for about a mile. It's mostly flat and muddy which makes it very slippery to run on. The trail has a couple of short very steep climbs and drops. Nothing that you'd have to walk but enough that my pace really slowed as I was working my calves pretty hard to grunt up it or bouncing side to side on the edges of the muddy trail on the way down so that I didn't slide down it on my butt.

Eventually after about a mile and half I hit the NE corner of Bridle Trails State Park. I finally found a trail map online of the basic layout of the area and where the major trails went. My plan was to run around the entire perimeter of the park depending on how well I'd memorized the shape of the park from the map. With all of the rain lately the trails were a bit slow (Did I mention that it was muddy?) and on top of the frequent mud puddles there were frequently piles of horse crap. It's funny that people give you a hard time if you don't pick up after your dog but no horse owner would ever think of picking up after their 2000lb animal and the giant piles that it creates right in the middle of the trails. The downside of the mud and crap was that I had to zig-zag across the trail frequently to avoid the mud that was deep enough to pull my shoe off as well as the horse flop.

I had the place to myself it seemed. I only saw one other person the whole time I was there, a young woman running the opposite direction. It was really nice to just jog around these deserted trails with my iPod in one ear and nothing but trees around me. No houses, no wind, no cars, no horses. I got a little lost coming around the southwest corner of the trail and a little mixed up when I hit the gravel path that bisects the park but was able to make it up as I went because of the orientation of the park. It's a rectangle with a few bits cut out of it and the edges point N/S and E/W. I always knew roughly where I was and what direction I needed to go. Eventually I got around to the South East side where I'd exited the park last week and this time continued North back to my starting point. This was by far the worse section when it came to the mud. The tree cover was the lightest here as well. There were plenty of sections of trail that were all mud and water and I did my best to run along the edges of the trail or slightly off-trail to avoid getting too muddy. Eventually I completed the loop which measured about 4.8mi. I then followed the same path back down the path to 148th ave and back to the Gym.

Oddly I ended up with 8.0 miles right as I stepped foot in the Gym parking lot. This isn't a true measure of the distance I ran though. I was stopping the watch when I'd stop for anything (stoplight, lost, traffic) and then I wouldn't start it up again until it registered a sub 10min pace for me. I do this because my pace/speed graphs get completely skewed otherwise with brief spikes for 1mph input points from the GPS watch. I probably had another 1/10th - 2/10ths of a mile that wasn't accounted for on the watch.

I did keep rough track of my splits for a change though:

Lap Dist Time AvgHR
1 1.00mi 8:03 138bpm
2 1.01mi 9:35 155bpm
3 1.00mi 9:09 149bpm
4 1.00mi 9:23 149bpm
5 1.07mi 10:09 151bpm (hit the lap button late)
6 0.93mi 8:32 150bpm
7 1.01mi 9:20 152bpm
8 0.99mi 8:31 150bpm

T 8.00mi 1:12:48 149bpm

I got back to the gym and had to go to the showers and wash off my legs before going to the weight room for the rest of my workout. Great place to run, I look forward to running there after a few days of Sun when I'm not struggling to find a path through the slop. Great way to burn 1200 calories.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Back in business...

but for how long?

I've been quiet for almost a year now. Here's why:

Knee pain forced me to stop running. I could barely run at all without pain. Here's what happened last summer:

I got Xrays of my left knee: nothing wrong.

I went to a Physical Therapist: It's because of your arches. Come do exercises at my office while I pay no attention to you and buy Orthotics from me. (no change)

I got an MRI of my knee: Torn meniscus.

Knee surgery last July: 25% of my right Meniscus (Left knee) removed. Vicodin sucks.

Knee pain and scar tissue continued until near the end of the year.

I started walking then running 1/4 of a mile at a time at 10min pace. Slow progress.

In January I was up to 1 mile on the treadmill at 9min pace a couple of times a week. I've gone up a bit from then and started doing some outdoor runs as well as treadmill runs. I'm still having pain in my Left knee where the bottom incision port is scarred internally but I can run pain-free every other day.

Friday I took a run through the Bridle Trails park near work. It's a beautiful forest with dirt (some muddy) paths zig-zagging and intersecting through it. There are a few signs but I had no idea where to go so I just headed in a general direction for a while and then turned and headed another direction. I was trying not to get too muddy and avoid hitting any trail-side plants with my healing tattoo on the side of my leg. Great run overall. I ended up exiting the trail and heading south for a bit longer than I wanted to and ran the long way around and back to the gym for a total of just over 7 miles in 1:02 most of it on the trails. I got to the gym and didn't feel winded really or sore for that matter. I'm surprised and happy about this.

My knee was sore on Saturday however. Today though was another story. I got out and ran 2.5 miles in light rain with my daughter in the jog stroller. My daughter didn't care much for the experience all bundled up in her fleece jacket and hat with a warm blanket. She dozed off a couple of times which would have been nice but the rain was starting to pick up when we were heading back home. Right after dropping her off at home it really started to just dump hail. I'm glad that I wasn't caught out in that with her. I waited about 5 minutes for the hail to calm down and then ran the One Store loop with my iPod in the varying rain. Again I tallied up just over 7 miles in just over an hour.

I have to say that I like the Garmin Forerunner GPS watch but the accuracy is crap. I download and view the data and there are spikes galore in my pace / speed graphs. I assume it just loses signal for a second, assumes that I haven't moved for 10 seconds, marks my pace as 1mph and then jumps right back in to sync. Awesome Garmin.

At least I'm running again.