Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Enough about your butt already!

Monday 4/18 (6.5mi, 54min, 8:24/mi) I took it easy for a partial loop around the Bridle Trails (I run there a few times a week but never get tired of it), then down to Grass Lawn Park and back to work. Even though I took it easy my Piriformis was still agitated quite a bit afterward. Anyone getting tired of reading about my ass? I'm sure getting tired of writing about it. I'm looking for some good PT exercises for Piriformis issues. Know any?

Tuesday 4/19 (2.0mi, 17min, 8:40/mi) Just an easy 2 on the Treadmill before lifting weights to give the Piriformis a break.

Wednesday 4/20 (2.0mi, 16min, 7:50/mi) Another easy 2 on the Treadmill before lifting. See Tuesday.

Thursday 4/21 (6.0mi, 51min, 8:30/mi)   Back out to the Bridle Trails. The running felt okay but the Piriformis was predictably pissed off. I think I found a stretch to help with it, I'll know more next week after trying it out this weekend.

Saturday 4/23 (9.2mi, 1h 20m, 8:41/mi) The boy needed a nap so I took him out in the jog stroller for a 7 mile loop around home. The tunnel trail had some big mud puddles that I had to lift and carry the stroller through the best I could. A good deal of mud was shared among all involved. Getting out of the house at 10am made for less traffic which meant running on roads with little or no shoulder was much easier. The boy slept for about 40 minutes and woke up half a mile from home. As soon as I got home I pulled him out of the stroller, handed him off to my wife as my daughter put her shoes and her new running skirt (to match my wife's) on. A minute rest and we left for a short run. We ran a two mile out-and-back route with several walking breaks. I'm happy running her pace, it's slow with several walking breaks but worth getting out on a run with her. I hope these runs continue and at some point a few years in the future that I'll get out to run with both kids at the same time and show them where the good running trails are.

Another sub-par week of running due to an annoyance (sub-injury? mild-injury?) that's holding me back from any kind of tempo running. I'm having good luck with the stretches I found for it and bought a new Foam Roller after my old one was starting to break down and sag. The new one was a bargain at $8. It's a 3' long piece of PVC pipe, the kind typically used for residential sewer lines. I bought it at the local hardware store and plan to glue a piece of Yoga mat around it for a little bit of comfort. It's rated at 3,000 lbs crush strength so it doesn't budge at all when I roll with it.

I'm sitting at 75mi for April with 6 days to go. I hope to get another 40 miles in to match my march total of 115mi. That'll be a stretch but possible if I can get a double in one of those days.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Pain in the ass... er... Piriformis

Not a good week for running. After my last tempo run my right Piriformis muscle is still quite sore. Add to that the pain I get in my calves from running up on my forefoot in my minimalist Merrell Trail Gloves. I'm not training for any races right now and have been getting the bare minimum amount of sleep (kids are sick) that I can handle before I start to crumble so I've been slacking on my running. If I could knock those two things out I'd be golden. I've had a couple of chances to get a good run in at home lately but instead chose to take a 4 hour nap.

Monday 4/11 (5.9mi, 50min, 8:30/mi) I didn't have any training plan and my legs were feeling pretty good so I ran out to the Bridle trails at an easy pace but sought out all of the hills on the East side of the park and ran a hard tempo pace up each one. The longest was maybe 400m and I ran them hard enough that I was gasping for breath by the top. I jogged easy to recover on all of the non-uphill sections. Short hill sprints are supposed to be a really good training tool according to Running Times. They sure can hurt.

Tuesday 4/12 (2.3mi, 22min, 9:33/mi) My Piriformis and calves were really sore from my short hill sprint workout on Monday so I just went for an easy plod around the block to get some blood flowing in my legs. I debated skipping it entirely but I'm glad that I got a couple of miles in and spent the rest of my lunch hour stretching.

Wednesday 4/13 (2.0mi, 18min, 9:03/mi) I ran a slow warm-up jog at a 4.5% incline on the treadmill before I lifted weights.

Thursday 4/14 I went Curling at a work-sponsored event. It's nothing to do with exercise, but I just wanted to brag that I did it. Much more fun that it looks.

Friday 4/15 (7.5mi, 1h 1m, 8:08/mi) Still dealing with the annoyed Piriformis. My calves stopped complaining about their millions of micro-tears from all of the strain of the Trail Glove transition at least. I took it relatively easy, going down to Grass Lawn Park, up Old Redmond Rd, then ran a half loop of the Bridle Trails and back through the Corridor trail to work. It was a little longer than my usual lunchtime run but I needed a little more time away from my desk.

Saturday 4/16 Rather than going for a run I thought I'd give the bike trainer a try. I'd never ridden one other than getting fitted for a bike or having my VO2 tested. I'm borrowing a trainer from a cousin because I didn't know if I'd like it or be bored to death by it. So far I lean more toward liking it. With a DVD playing or watching something really good on TV, I can see how one could almost enjoy it. I rode for 45 minutes and did probably 5 or 6 hard 1min efforts in there to work up a nice sweat. It was a good workout on my legs as they've all but forgotten how to pedal a bike. It was the first time they've pedaled the thing since August 2009. Sad.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

zero drop and a weekend race.

Monday 4/4 (5.2mi, 35min, 6:48/mi) I just finished reading a book called Natural Running written by the guy that started the Newton Running shoe company. It goes over the benefits of running barefoot and with shoes that closely mimic barefoot running ("Natural running"). I didn't feel that there was that much information in the book that I hadn't already seen elsewhere but there were some good sections on transitioning to barefoot / natural running, barefoot running techniques / form, and exercises to help the transition. With this fresh in my mind I went for a run at lunch with my Merrell Trail Gloves (0 heel-toe drop and thin rubber soles) without socks. I'd been wanting to try the shoes sockless for a while to see if it was possible with my feet in those shoes. It worked out except for one small abrasion on the top of my right foot. The other thing I did on this run was focus on running up on my forefoot and working more on lifting my knees to begin each stride rather than pushing off with my back foot/leg. The two things I noticed the most were that 1) my heels weren't even touching the ground. I was running up on the balls of my feet, and 2) my pace was much faster than I thought it was based on my perceived exertion. I felt like I was running at about an 8:00 - 8:30 mile pace but my watch told me that I was running a little under a 7:00 pace. I was running at what felt like a conversational pace, when I should have been breathing very hard barely able to spit out a short sentence.
I stayed on the sidewalks and ran down to Grass Lawn Park. I ran a little over 2 miles around the track before returning to work. I wasn't trying to kill myself with a fast pace but the sub-7 miles came easy to me. I spent most of the run questioning the accuracy of my Garmin's numbers. So what's the catch? As I ran back to work my calves were starting to feel tight from running up on my forefoot the whole time and I figured that I'd be in for some soreness on Tuesday. I might have overdone it running so far up on my forefoot that my heels hardly touched the ground.

Tuesday 4/5 (3.2mi, 30min, 9:15/mi) My calves were on fire when I woke up Tuesday morning. I had definitely overdone it with Monday's run. I thought that with the amount of barefoot running I'd done that I would be okay but instead I was hobbled and had to carefully go up and down stairs with the gait of someone who'd just finished their first marathon. I'm sure my calf muscles were just full of micro-tears. That didn't stop me from getting out for a short easy run though. Hair of the dog and all that. I just ran around the block near work in a rectangle using the four nearest streets and took the pace easy, running some up on my forefoot and some on my mid-foot. I was a little bit limited by the calf pain but I thought that getting the blood flowing would help my eventual recovery. I'll have to keep working on the forefoot transition until my calves are strong enough to take the work. As I ran I experimented with my foot strike and felt just what a difference the forefoot strike made on my bad knee. That was a good reminder of my I'm doing all of this.

Thursday 4/7 (4.8mi, 36min, 7:38/mi) My calves were still sore but I figured that getting out for a few miles would soften them up. I wasn't in the mood to run slippery muddy trails with my aching calves so I ran out to Grass Lawn Park again. I ran a mile around the track while I was there and then ran out around the short trail system (gravel paths) that they've recently completed at the park. I ended up a bit short of 5 miles but that was okay because it gave me more time to stretch my legs back at the gym before showering and getting back to work.

Friday 4/8 (2.0mi, 17min, 8:36/mi) Another two mile warmup on the treadmill at the fancy gym before lifting weights at lunch. The more I'm running in the Trail Gloves, the more I want to run in them and feel the closeness to the trail/pavement/treadmill/whatever. I even enjoy wearing them to lift weights. I need to start looking for some shoes with a minimal sole like these for every day use.

Friday 4/8 (8.3mi, 1h 4m, 7:44/mi) I found time to get a run in after work and headed out to the Bridle Trails for a full loop in the Trail Gloves (what else, right?). I've been wearing them without socks lately and enjoying the feeling. I don't think I could go sockless for a big race but for an hour I've had no problems. The wide roomy toe-box on the shoes makes it that much easier to leave the socks at home. I did mostly a standard loop around the park. I started out at an easy pace and then once at the park I picked it up to the low 7:00/mi range for the next 3 or 4 miles. Instead of doing a complete outer loop I ran the reverse of the Bridle Trails loop from the middle of the park (the Horse stadium) which took me up a couple of short steep climbs and just sapped my energy. I was battling the ascent and the fatigue that my legs felt while my brain was telling my legs to keep going or pick up the pace. It was an interesting feeling when I didn't think I could go any harder but still trying to force it out of my legs anyway. I kept up the hard pace until I started to feel a sharp pain in my left calf. I backed off the pace about a minute per mile the rest of the run just to be cautious. I don't want to find out that it's easy to snap an Achilles Tendon with my new found love for natural running.

Saturday 4/9 (0.6mi, 7m 52s, 13:06/mi) Race day! I took my daughter to her second kids 1K race. Oddly this one used the exact same course as her first 1K race did last October despite a difference in race organizers. We lined up near the back of the pack and ran hand-in-hand down the dead straight out-and-back course. We passed quite a few kids and were passed by a few ourselves to come in about midway through the field. I was again impressed with my daughter that she A) was excited to run this race and B) beat the PR that she set at the last 1K race we ran. In the car on the way home she asked why she didn't win. I told her that it was because some of the kids were twice her age (she's 4). She said that she wanted to do a race that was all 4-year-olds so that she could win next time. As long as she has fun doing the races I'll keep taking her. It's a blast for me. I hope to be able to take both kids to races in a few years.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Just another week. Nothing to see here...

Monday 3/28 (5.6mi, 48min, 8:34/mi) After short runs on Saturday and Sunday I just took an easy run out to the Bridle Trails. My Piriformis was a little sore from last week. I think the problem stems from me putting more stress on my good knee (the one with the intact Meniscus) and hamstring when I push off. I wish I could find someone in the greater Seattle area who is a runner and could help diagnose specific problems like this. The Googles have come up empty for me so far. I'll keep tinkering with my running form in the mean time.

Tuesday 3/29 (6.6mi, 55min, 8:30/mi) Same place as Monday but a different route. I took an easy to moderate paced run in the Bridle Trails and didn't feel that great. I was happy to get out for a run but the weather and my stomach haven't been very good lately.

Wednesday 3/30 (2mi, 16min, 8:16/mi) Just two easy miles on the treadmill at the gym before lifting weights.

Friday 4/1 (2mi, 16min, 8:06/mi) Another two miles on the treadmill before lifting weights. This time I set the treadmill to a 3% decline for fun.

Friday 4/1 (6.2mi, 44min, 7:09/mi) A rare 2-run day. After work I got out for a tempo run around my old work loop in the CCW direction. I pushed a hard pace from the start and was gasping for breath much of the last 5 miles. All of the rain lately made for slippery trails that slowed me down. I felt my Piriformis acting up and knew that I'd be paying for it over the weekend with some soreness. I also had a return of the Gingerbread Man mid-run which required a quick hike through the brambles to find some privacy. That's what I get for being lazy about restocking the Acidophilus after I ran out last week. Stupid flora and fauna in my gut!

With a sick family (everyone but me again) I never got out to run over the weekend. I had the chance on Sunday but chose a much needed nap instead of a run. I'm not training for anything right now so there's no strict schedules to follow.