Thursday, July 22, 2010

Turn Of Events

Tuesday morning I woke up feeling quite good considering my overall fatigue on Monday. I've done this enough to know that once you wobble through a recovery run like I had, the next day usually feels good. Thank goodness I was right. The schedule called for a warm up, hill workout, warm down. The chosen hill was on UMD campus on Niagra. After a near 4 mile warm up I started the repeats and totaled 5 along with 5 striders on top of the hill. (Niagra street is the main street running through the topside of campus) My legs were performing well and I was starting to feel some nice turnover in the legs. After the warm down things were looking good heading into the mid-week.

The details are: 1:12: 36 9.6 miles
5 times hill, rest 30 seconds, 30 second striders,
jog back down, repeat.

I went to work like I usually do and had my lunch about 1230. What would happen over the next twelve hours would be a huge surprise and one that has left me pondering the rest of the summer racing season.

About 2 PM I started feeling some mid-abdominal cramping that seemed to be what I considered "gas pains". The discomfort didn't let up and after two Tum's I didn't feel any better I was wondering if I had a case of mild food poisoning. (I had a major bout of food poisoning when I was about 14 years old and will never forget that feeling!!) Once I got home the pain was a bit worse and caused me to hit the bed in the fetal position. As I waited for the "gas" to pass I just lied there wondering how long would I have to wait. The Tums were given another try with no help, as was the small sip of juice and graham cracker I tried to ingest. It wasn't too long after this that I started thinking like a marathoner. (you never stop comparing life's experiences to your marathon experiences, as the marathon can develop some true character) My thoughts would go on something like, "this is the last 4 miles and you hurt. Just put up with it for a little longer and it will pass." Four hours later I was still trying to talk myself into "waiting it out". The last thing my wife offered before heading to bed was a trip to ER. I looked at her and told her I was just going to lie on the couch and wait a bit more. About an hour later, I wrote a simple note and left it on the kitchen counter. "I went to ER."

Abdominal pain is probably one, if not the most common complaint for ER admissions. Driving down there I kept thinking, "what a goober, I am going to go in there, pass a big fart and have the ER staff wonder why I wasted their valuable time." I was roomed quite timely and soon I had, blood work, urine sample, and a abdominal x-ray. Before heading off to the tests I did get an unbelievable shot of Dilauded. Take this if you can! What a rush, and much help!!

(Oh, first I have to mention a funny side note. When the ER doc came into my suite he looked at me puzzled and said, "I see when you last saw your primary doctor your heart rate was 38. Today it was 37, 38. Can you explain that to me. I politely said, "yes." "Well, why is it?" "Because I run about 75 miles a week training for marathons." "Oh, I see" he said. That was all it took for explanation, as I know he too runs often, and also why I found it odd for me to explain. I guess he was just doing his job. For the rest of the night that was the traveling joke among staff. "Here comes the guy with the heart rate of 38", or "Hey I hear you run a lot". Isn't it funny and sad that in america today I'm the odd guy out there? It's too bad more people aren't active to where something like a healthy, low heart rate goes unnoticed.)

So, after I returned from the X-ray, a good ten minutes passed and the ER doc returned to my room. As he was thinking he said, "all of your labs and Xray's came back perfectly normal." Abdominal pain is very broad and it can be hard to figure things out and often you find a problem by ruling out others. It was at this point where I was thinking to myself there is no way I am going home without feeling ALOT better. It was like he could sense this and asked to palpate (feel) my abdomen once again. He was able to make the discomfort worse when pushing on one area and he quickly told me he was sending me to CT to get a scan of my abdomen. Flash back to a Seinfeld episode where George was hospitalized to get his tonsils out. I'm thinking of him lying there, "what is it doc? Cancer, lupus, am I going to die?" Crazy things started going through my mind and I actually thought I was going to have my gall bladder out. The CT was quick and back to the ER. Less than five minutes passed and a new ER doc shows his face unannounced and says "the CT shows you need your appendix out and it hasn't ruptured yet". "there is good news and better news. the good news is it's a simple procedure that a monkey can do. the better news is, the monkey is on vacation and you get a general surgeon to do it." Hah, funny shit doc, I'm not in the mood to laugh. (no I didn't say that but was really close) Soon I was talking to the surgeon and he said I would be in the operating room in less than an hour. Wow! What a change in events.

After a couple phone calls to wake up Kari I told her what was up and I would see her in the am. (just a side note here, don't leave a note to your wife you are going to the ER, then wake her up and tell her you are heading to surgery. To me that made perfect sense, not waking up our 5 year old son at 2 am, but Kari just wanted to be with me to support, I fully understand, but sometimes I think way to practical.) I was in the OR by 3 am and on the post surgical floor by 4:30 am. (my times may be off a bit, lot's of drugs you know?) I had my appendix out via laproscopic device which is much better than the "open" technique.

I made my way home yesterday (WED) afternoon and I am impressed with the amount of discomfort I had. The bad news for me is I am off of running for 2 WEEKS. Wow, do I feel sorry for Kari...

My summer running plans are altered a bit but I remain hopeful that I can still toe the line at TCM in October fairly fit.

Lastly, I have included a link to a sweet, short video of what they did to me.

video link above.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Death March

Wow. I'm not too sure I could have felt much worse for a recovery run. There are times where I wonder if I should just have stayed in bed but I know come Tuesday and Wednesday I will be thanking myself for getting out and crawling through the loop. My legs and low abdomen were so tired I found myself running 8:15's for the first couple of miles just to warm up. I managed to keep the pace near 8:00's and that was just fine with me. I hope I can eat and drink enough for good recovery and be able to hit some hills tomorrow.

Total: 1:02:30 8 miles

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Take It To The Hills

This weekends long run, and many more in the future, took me to the hills of east Duluth and rural city limits. Awakening was a bit of a chore as I was more tired than usual so I took advantage of a sleeping son and slept in until 0800! Once up I made a few texts and got ahold of Dave H. and he joined my for the loop on his mountain bike as he was in recovery mode fresh off a 21 mile run on Saturday. A big thanks to Dave for joining me as it made the time go bye so much better than a solo effort.

The heat and hills kept the HR a bit higher than I wanted but for the majority of the loop felt good and only had a few rough miles in the closing thirty minutes. In the end, I was very pleased with this run. A few good steps in the right direction.

Total: 1:56:00 15.8 miles

Weeks Total: 60 miles
Years Total: 1568 miles

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Out Of The Comfort Zone

Last evening was the Park Point 5 Miler. The race has a long history in Duluth. I've lived here for 14 years and have ran the event only in the last two years. There is a reason for that. One, I don't run well in the afternoon/evening. I am an early riser and usually am done running by 6:30 am. Second, the weather in Duluth during July is our best and that means hot and humid. Here in Duluth we don't have many days that scorch us past 85F. Although I don't have the official readings, yesterday may have been one of those days.

The temperatures at race time were 80 F and windy. I managed to cruise a slow warm up and I was just dripping in sweat. Once I got all the race gear ready and after a few striders I actually thought I may be OK and race a decent run. With the headwind on the way out I wanted to run 5:25-5:30 for the first two miles and then use the tailwind to cruise to the tape. Mile one= 5:14. Too fast!! I slowed the second to where I wanted and pushed the third as half was now with the tailwind. The fourth mile was beginning to feel real hard and slow and I covered it in 5:25. It was at this point I was starting to feel a stomach stitch working it's way on and I was hurting bad. All I wanted was a bucket of water to pour over my head. There were a few sprinklers on the course, thank you Park Point residents, but I could have used a dozen more! With the push to the tape I managed to salvage a 5:30 mile and stopped feeling like death. For a little 5 miler I couldn't believe how difficult it felt. The marathon legs were not ready to fly on Park Point Friday night but I will press on. The next week will focus on getting in the mileage and start working on some light workouts. The 5K next weekend will be a last minute decision.

Total: 11 miles
5 mile race 27:11 / 7th overall
1st 40-44 age group

This morning I hit the trails of Rock Hill and Hartley/SHT and felt really good in the climbs. The steep climbs made my glute muscles work and stretch a bit and that is what I needed. Kept the pace slow and man did it feel good in the heat.
Total: 6 miles

Thursday, July 15, 2010

12 Hours

Amazing how one can feel so different in twelve hours. Last night, less than twelve hours ago, I was referring to the constant fatigue I have been feeling during my runs. Fast forward to this morning and I'm a new man. The legs felt fresh, my breathing was at ease and I was running a decent pace for a recovery type run. Whatever the reason is, I'll take it! It's always nice to have a run where you don't really have to think, just go forward and cruise....

Total: 1:01:30 8.5 miles

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

More Issues

I have been feeling a bit of tightness in my back lately and Sunday night it really let me have it. I woke up Monday morning and was so stiff I couldn't look down at my feet. The right scapula region was spasmed so bad I had to tip toe around for an hour or so until it started to loosen. A super hot shower helped but I soon spasmed after the shower. I needed ice and it was time to head to work so icing wasn't an option until after work. A quick call to the Chiropractor and I had an appointment in the afternoon. Work wasn't terribly busy so after my visit I went home and called it a day. No running. I had 4 thoracic vertebrae out, two ribs, both hips, and one side of my neck needed adjustment. By the sounds of it you would have thought I had a car accident or something. That is what happens when I go too long without a visit.

Tuesday I was feeling much better and made my out for a nice warm up before making my way to the track to do 8 laps with the 100 meter straights at 5K or faster pace. After 16 repeats I was starting to really feel good. My legs appreciated the effort and things may be ready to get moving again. The only other issue that I am in the process of addressing is my lower abdomen muscles being constantly fatigued to the point of some serious tightness. Hopefully as I do more strength work this will iron itself out as well.

This morning I did my Kenwood loop and was a bit confused by the data I was receiving from my GPS device. I had a nice ultra low heart rate but the pace was quicker than I am used to seeing, but I felt like shit. Slow down? I tried that and it didn't work, I still felt poor. Nearing 45 minutes into the run I started to feel a bit better and the HR actually went up where I thought it should be. Not too sure what was going on there?
The right foot is tender but I can run. I continue to ice and that seems to keep it at bay.

Here is the last two days:

Tuesday: 1:07:48 9.7 miles
8 laps, straights at 5K pace

Wednesday: 1:00:00 8.4 miles HR: 128

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Finishing Weak

I made my way out to Jer's house and met with him and Chris for an undetermined "long run". I wanted to hit at least 90 minutes and possibly two hours. The day started off really slow and really never materialized into anything special. The pace was uncomfortable for some reason, I usually don't mind any of the paces we run and today I was just plain ol' uncomfortable. When we circled back towards Jeremy's house I called it a day and hit the watch at 95 minutes. No energy, and fatigued legs were the conversation between Chris and I.

I guess the week was fair at best. My foot pain is minimal and I can run, but I am not pain-free yet. I can't wait for that. I also believe things are not fully recovered from Grandma's and it may take another week or so. The bad thing is I have a 5 mile race on Friday night and I may be running yet another sub-par race if things don't improve quickly.

today's total: 1:35:18 12 miles

Totals for the Week: 43 miles (5 runs)
Year: 1508.4 miles

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Not Quite Right

The foot is feeling better and I am able to run. The last three days I have run an hour and while running I experience little to no pain unless I step on a pointed object like a rock or root.
Yesterday I finished the run at 5:50 pace for a half mile or so to get a little leg turnover and I was surprised to be going that fast considering how terrible I felt. That's a good sign for when I do begin to feel better. For some reason, besides the foot thingy, I continue to feel a lot of overall leg fatigue and stiffness. I have a feeling that once I get the foot injury out of the way I can do some more structured work and my legs will come around.

Here are the last two days of running:

Friday: Ran the loop out to Martin road and home via Vermilion.
58:46 8 miles HR: 127 bpm

Saturday: Ran the trails of Rock Hill and Chester Bowl. I kept the HR as low as I could even with the climbs. Felt super, even with the increased temperatures. Dipped the visor in Chester creek a couple of times to keep cool.
1:02:04 7.2 miles HR: 139 bpm

Thursday, July 8, 2010


Ever hear of it? I haven't. I contacted one of my sports med doctor friends and explained the symptoms to him. He thought the probability of a stress fracture was low and was leaning more towards metatarsalgia.

I like the sounds of that much better than a stress fracture. It seemed to calm down quite a bit yesterday at work so I gave running a try this morning. A quick loop in upper Kenwood and returning from Skyline was the route. I even gave an increased effort and ran 6-7 repeats of 100 meters on at 5k pace just to stretch out the legs a bit. Afterwards a good ice for the foot and I seem to be feeling quite a bit better. I hope I can progress from here, as I have a week until the Park Point 5 Miler and man is it going to hurt since I haven't been able to do any speed work since the marathon.

Tuesday and Wednesday were off days with as much icing as I could do.

Totals: 54:00 7.7 miles
6-7 x 100 meters at 5K pace

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Keepin' The Fingers Crossed

Monday morning went very well, just slow. I managed to get out and do the old Monday morning loop out to Martin road and for some reason felt very tired the first two miles that I covered in a pedestrian 16 minutes. I was OK with it as my HR was very low and that part of it felt good. My right foot was fair and after the run I did a series of stretches and exercises. I hoped things would be improving and this morning I was not in good spirits. The right foot thingy is bothering me like hell when I first rise in the am and I am beginning to wonder of the possibility of a stress fracture in my second or third metatarsal. Not good! I was going to ice for one more day and try to get in contact with the Sports Med doc in the am. Wish me luck!

Monday: 59:30 8 miles

Tuesday: 0 miles

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Back To Heart Rates

In the past I have used my HR monitor to track my rates during all runs. Recently I have gotten away from using it unless I was looking for specific zones in LT runs, but mostly during this last phase I have omitted it. While coming back from the marathon back on June 19th, I have had my share of good days and not so good. Early this week I was running decent but had this feeling I was pushing too hard. On Saturday I dusted off the HR strap and put it on for my run and was determined to keep ultra-low HR's for the duration. I had to figure in the heat index and the fact I may still be carrying some fatigue from the marathon, so I gave myself an extra 5 beats higher than I normally would let the HR rise. Once I got a mile or so of running in I realized quickly that I had been running most of my runs way too hard post marathon. I wanted zones in the 130-135 bpm and I was running 150's. Drrrrrr. I now have had two days of running with low HR's and I am starting to have some good energy in the legs. The next week will be the true test as I will include some pick-ups and a longer LT work, then a medium distance run on the weekend.

On a side note, I have really struggled with low, low abdomen and piriformis tightness and have incorporated my lower leg workout routine 3 days this week and will work up to 4-5 days next week as long as I don't find myself extra sore. The other problem I have picked up is a sore or "bruised" feeling in my right forefoot. On the foot pad just before my second and third toes. It feels like I smacked it on a rock or something and I don't really remember doing anything out of the ordinary. Hmmmm, not too sure what to do. It doesn't bother me at all while running, just walking on hardwood floors or the such. I guess I will just keep an eye on that one. I gave myself a good soak in Lake Superior today and that was like a good ice bath.

Here are that last three days of running:

Friday: I just wanted to get out in order to avoid a zero for the day. Once I got out I was feeling pretty good and rolled through a 7 miler that included Kenwood, Arrowhead, Chester and home.

Saturday: I wanted to get out for over an hour and test the legs a bit. Keeping the HR low I did a mixture of roads and trails. Down the SHT to Hawks Ridge and home via the trails by Northland CC and up Ticher Creek trail before making a loop in Rock Hill. A good day despite the heat of near 80F at 10:30 am!! I managed to nail just about a 90 minute run at 1:23:00, good for 10 miles. HR's at 135 bpm

Sunday: Forefoot very sore this morning upon awakening but much better once up for a bit and no discomfort at all while running. I managed to hook up with an old running pal Kooks, and he and I did an out and back on Skyline. I wore the Brooks Green Silence and they felt super! 53:00 7 miles /HR's at 130bpm

Weeks Totals: 45 miles (6 runs)
Years Totals: 1465.5 miles

Thursday, July 1, 2010

New Challenge

It's really not a new challenge but one that I have been ignoring and needs attention STAT! I'm referring to my piriformis/hamstring issues. I will be getting a bit more diligent and performing my hip/lower leg exercises at least three times a week in hopes to rid any weaknesses I have. It's a must or my next marathon will be a bust!

This morning I ran out Woodland and felt the muscles I have mentioned above become very fatigued. They don't hurt, just fatigued. Stretching afterwards feels great, but no cure by any standard. Once I get those muscles back in order I will be able to fly! My legs are feeling very recovered and ready to start hitting some volume and workouts again.

Yesterday I stayed in bed to gain a little extra sleep and one day of rest this week.

Wednesday: 0 miles

Thursday: 1:03:00 9 miles