Monday, November 29, 2010

Not Quite Right

My last post was after the Monster Dash 1/2 Marathon. I was feeling very beat up. My legs, hip flexors, back, hamstrings and mostly my desire was beat down to a pulp. I took two weeks off of all activity and planned for a return to slow, easy running along with some new strength work to get myself back into the running routine. That didn't happen because I caught a virus that settled in my sinus and gave me an infection that would call for a 10 day run of antibiotics. So, in total, I took three weeks off of all running. Along the way I had one or two massages and several chiropractic adjustments. My back was slowly getting to where I thought I would see some vast improvements in regards to my running. Not so fast...

Starting on Saturday the 20th I ran 30-40 minutes a day and hurt every step of the way. On the 23rd I was beginning to feel better and then I had some disturbing news at the chiro's office. The x-rays they took showed I have a L5-S1 spondylolisthesis. What does that mean? My last lumbar spine is slipping forward (away from) over my sacrum. Not a good thing. I thought I had heard that term before and I went to work and signed a release to have my xray records sent to me and sure enough, back in 1999 I had the same diagnosis. Now what?

Here is what I take from all of this. Back in '99 I had gone through a really rough patch and I did a lot of rehab work to strengthen the abdominals and such and sure enough, along with regular chiropractic adjustments I managed to get myself back to running pain-free. I believe back in July, when I had my surprise appendectomy, I returned to running too soon and was trying to get back at regular mileage and my abdominal muscles were not ready and I fatigued the rest of my stabilizers and now I am paying the price. So, to get my self back on track I think I may need another month of easy activity and mostly core, strength training to get things ready to ramp up the mileage once again. I sure hope I am right.

For now I will be running very minimally, just enough to keep my foot in the door, and really try to get strong and do other activities as my back and hamstrings allow. I hope to see you on the road!

On the flip side, all this pain and agony gave me a little something to celebrate. For those who follow I have a stronghold on the 2010 USATF Runner of the Year for 40-44 age group.
The results of the races can be found HERE.

Years Total Miles: 2132.6 miles

Monday, November 1, 2010

2010 Season Officially Over

This last week was one long week. I was just counting down the days to the Team Ortho Monster Dash 1/2 Marathon so I could get it over with. Not the attitude one wants when they are lining up for a half-marathon. As I told my wife once I got home, "I will never take a half-marathon so lightly ever again." More on that later. The week was long because we had some difficult weather and more importantly I have been feeling like shit. My back and upper hamstrings/glutes are a mess and I need to get them fixed soon.

My week was something like this:

Monday I had no intention of repeating my Sunday run in high winds and rain so I skipped the run. Plain and simple. I was being a big wuss!

Tuesday I made my way out and had a little precipitation to deal with. The winds were still blowing but it seemed like they let up some. My loop out on Kenwood and surrounding neighborhoods kept me protected as much as I could and the miles clicked fairly well.
Total: 44:00 6+ miles

Wednesday we woke up to three inches of wet snow. School was cancelled and the scramble was on to find someone to watch Lucas for the day. Thank you Grandpa Dick. Once again I hit the wuss button and stayed indoors.

Thursday the snow was gone at our house but remnants remained in the 'upper elevations' of Woodland and such. The loop felt great and I know I was running some quick miles but I kept the Garmin at home to avoid monitoring the pace and pounding myself into the pavement just two days before a race.
Total: 49:00 6.6 miles

Friday I made the short loop out near Kenwood and felt good once again. Maybe, just maybe the race will go well....
Total: 31:30 4+ miles

Saturday was the race. I chose to run the Monster Dash 1/2 marathon because I have not run one in 2010 and needed the distance to gather some points in the USATF ROY points series. It worked for that purpose but nothing more than that. It was my second slowest half marathon to date. I once ran a half a bit slower when I did a pace run after just 4 weeks of ultra-low (HADD) hear rate running just to see the progress, or lack of progress.
The race was blessed with exceptional weather and the course was stellar, with the exception of the third mile as the half-mar runners caught the ten mile runners and it was mass chaos trying to pass all the runners until our paths split some ways up the course. I doubt it cost me any time, in fact that mile was my fastest mile of the morning, but annoying when you are trying to concentrate on pace, rhythm, breathing and all.
I read afterwards there was a lot of "issues" at the race but I'm not going to badmouth them as all races have their low points. It seemed to me they did more good than bad so it was an acceptable race. I'm not too sure I will run it again anytime soon, just because of the time of the year but I will monitor this event and see if they iron out some issues and if they do, I may be back. They won't miss me as there was close to 9000 participants in the three races that morning. That's kinda cool that all those people were out there exercising on such a wonderful morning and I got to participate in a very successful morning of exercise! Don't loose focus of why we are out there people. We love to run and sharing that with one another at a common place is called a race and nothing more. The problem is when you have to pay a fee to exercise, aka "race", one starts to feel like they owe you something. They do. The provide, hopefully, you a safe, secure racecourse. They provide drink at aid stations. They provide mile markers so you can gauge your effort, and hopefully, they provide a refreshing finish line. Monster dash failed at that point but maybe they will work on it. It's easy to get all worked up about a race and what they "didn't" provide, but usually they provide enough. If not, don't go back. Choose another race. That's reasonable. All I can say is Monster Dash had over 500 volunteers! A BIG THANK YOU TO ALL OF YOU!

Here is how my race unfolded:
miles: 5:39,5:37,5:27,5:35,5:41,5:42,5:48,5:44,5:44,5:49,5:49,5:49,5:51,:56

Time: 1:15:15 1st 40-44 age group
4th overall
total: 14+ miles

Sunday was a nice walk in the park with Lucas and trick or treating later that evening.

Weeks Total: 30 miles
Years Total: 2112.6