Sunday, February 19, 2012

Tampa To Tulsa

Off of Rainy Day Music, the title song is one of all time favorites. Not too sure why. Maybe just the simplistic idea of the song.
I'm a bit bummed out because the Jayhawks played last night at the State Theater and I missed them. Maybe, just maybe I will see them in the future if at all possible. So, this is the last of my Jayhawk song/blog titles for the week. For some of you, I hope I gave you some new music to add to your library.

For the weekends running I managed to get out both days and continue to be baffled by the hamstring issue i'm dealing with. Lot's of What the !?? throughout the weekend.

Saturday I hit the trails of Hartley and I was just going to do the main trail and exit on the other side and run some Woodland area roads before making my way back home. Well, instead I managed to stay on all trails and do a short loop past the gasline and return home. I felt really good and only had a hint of tightness in the ham. I DID realize though I couldn't have strided out and ran fast as I felt my limit with the shorter trail strides I use.

Total: 44:18  5.3 miles  trails

Today I decided to venture out and hit some new terrain. I really wanted to run a new section of SHT and I decided, on what I will call the Fox Farm Road Section. I really didn't know what to expect from my hammy so I kept my options "open". I started out by running the trail east (up the trail) and soon found a few reasons to turn back for the truck.

 There are very few times in my past when I felt unsafe while running. For some reason I never feel like I am vulnerable as a runner. That may be a bad thing, but I chalk it up to being very "comfortable" while I run and if harm finds my way while I am on a run than I guess it was my number and I get to depart this world while doing the one activity I love the most out of life. I mean, I have run in inner cities while attending work conferences and never really feel threatened. Maybe because I usually run at 0600 and there is little harm awake at that hour. But the feeling I had today out on the SHT was completely unexpected and I was taken back a bit by it. I was running under complete sunny skies and still air. As I was out only 10 or so minutes from the lot I began seeing small tracks on the trail, as there was fresh snow from a day or two ago and not a single walker had made their way up the trail in that particular direction.  Soon after seeing what I would expect to be coyote tracks, they stopped, and soon a much larger track appeared and I soon knew what I was involved with. Soon one track led to two, and three, and get the idea. I was following fairly fresh Wolf tracks and I expected to see a pair of eyes staring at me on my next climb. The feeling of "being watched" never left me but soon I was very comfortable with actually seeing a Wolf. I had a camera and was ready to take my best shot of the bugger if he/she would show up. The trail soon began to offer a bit too much snow, I know really, but I just couldn't settle in any rhythm and I was forced to make my turn back to the lot. I was 27:00 out from the lot and after dashing back through the wolf pack I was soon at the truck and making my way down the trail in a westerly direction. This section was packed from a lot of walkers and I was able to maintain good form and run a decent section. I soon had to call it quits as the hamstring was calling my name and I didn't want to go into a full spasm. The run ended up being fairly successful from a hamstring point and really eye-opening in regards to Wolf and how close they are to us! Wow!

Total: 1:15:00  ~8 miles trails

Weeks Total: 37 miles
Years Total: 319.6 miles

Pics of the day:

  Trailhead FF Road

 Trail flooded by stream

 Wolf track compared to my hand. drrrr. right?
 Trail going east (up)
 Trail westerly (down)
More proof the wolves are here. Hairy poop!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Say Your Prayers

This song is labeled as a "demo" and is off a double album with this specifically titled More Rain.

After running for a few days with minimal ham issues I was slapped in the face on Thursday morning with a good ol' fashion ham spasm that reduced me to walking home yet again. Frustrating to say the least. When I am injured I tend to A) Get Crabby and B) Focus all my energy on the injury and want to get better. Well I accomplished (A) quite well and failed at (B). I thought I was working hard at stretching and strength work but to no avail on the injury at hand. Just when I think I have the source of my issues it comes up empty. I thought it was my calves and I have them very loose and still the ham problem.

So, for now I am just going to keep doing my strength work and try to sneak back to running and see where it takes me. I have a marathon on my mind for late April but that is slowly becoming doubtful. At this point I guess it's what they call "one day at a time".

Total: 47:00   5 miles
          (4 running/ 1 slow mile walk home)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Stick In The Mud

Sound of Lies, 1997, was the first album after the departure of co-founder Mark Olson and the blog title track was a good one. I felt like I was a Stick in The Mud this morning as I had a repeat run of yesterday.

My run started off much like yesterday and I had a wonderful 4 miles. At about the 5th mile I started to feel the hammy tightening and I stopped right away to stretch the calf muscle to see if I could keep things at bay. It helped a bit but soon I was feeling quite a pull and I stopped a second time for a good stretch. After this one I began to stride out and soon I was running symptom-free. What the? Towards the end I was running sub 7:00 pace and feeling well. So....I don't really know what to say. I am still baffled and trying to find the source of this menace. I'll keep you posted.

Total:  1:13:37   10 miles  Enger and back

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Stumbling Through The Dark

Jayhawks album- Rainy Day Music produced the blog title hit listed. I really enjoyed Rainy Day, could be one of my favorites of all. That is too difficult to say as I love all their music but you know what I mean...

I didn't run yesterday as I focused on some really deep stretches and exercises in preparation for my evening visit at Muggymoose. A local studio that didn't disappoint. I was not too sure what to expect, as my exposure to Yoga, and Thai Yoga Massage was limited to zero. Since my weaknesses in my running have surfaced yet again in the form of a bum hamstring I figured it was/is time to really focus on stretching and strength work as a staple and not as a fix. I want this to be part of my daily routine. Yes, it adds time to what I do, but so what. If I have to give up one sitcom a night to accomplish this I will. I need to take care of my body or I will not be able to partake in the training and running I enjoy so much. Anyhoo, the massage session was very beneficial and I will be going back at some point for another session.

This morning I "stubbled through the dark" on an easy hour run. I had the best feeling for 4 miles then I could feel my hamstring getting ready to get ugly. I did my best to relax and adjust my stride and soon I was running pain free again. That made me realize I have something triggering my hamstring to tighten. I knew this but was trying all options. I didn't figure it was my calf but I sure may be. They are tight and I need to focus some days on them. Too many things to think of...

Total: 1:03:47   ~8.7 miles

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Trap's Been Set

Although not a true Jayhawks song, the song title listed is off of Mark Olson and Gary Louis album titled Ready for the Flood. A nice mellow album put together in early 2009, the music is a bit slower than past albums yet still has the Jayhawks feel and powerful lyrics that I can relate to.

Now this song may not be related to my run in any way, I liked the title and can make a connection thru it.  I feel like my "trap" has been set for the next year or so. My wife and I have decided to make the effort to run Boston 2013, which is a two year project to get there and now I am "trapped" into training marathon-style. Not that that is a bad thing, I tend to get into really good shape, as most would, but it's a different life style than just "training for the next 10k". Don't get me wrong, I love it, but at the same time we are all trapped into the lifestyle if we are gonna meet our goals. Right now I would not have it any other way, as I am super pumped to run the 26.2 on April 28th in Brainerd.

As for my hamstring, things are better but still bothersome. I feel like for right now all I can do is dawdle and run easy paced runs. If I were to crank up the intensity I feel like the hammy would get cranky and just spasm and thus piss me off! I have a massage tomorrow and I am hoping for a little bit of a miracle. I realize that one hour will not change the world dramatically but the end result of what will come out of it, I remain hopeful.

Today's run was another successful hour plus without a spasm and allowed me to muster up a nice 9 miler. No frills, just mileage at 7:30 pace or thereabouts.

Total: 1:06:33   ~ 9 miles

Weeks Total: 17 miles
Years Total: 282.6 miles

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Waiting For The Sun

I have been in a Jayhawks mood lately. A Minnesota born band that always seems to make me smile. The are touring again and possibly making a showing in the Twin Cities very soon. Hopefully I can attend. They don't tour too often and it's one not to miss. In their honor I will title each blog post this weekend and next week with a song of my choice. Hopefully my run or events of the day will in some way reflect the title.

As for this morning I woke up to temperatures in the negative digits. That wasn't all that bad but the windchill made it close to -30F and I wasn't willing to go for a short "chance run" to test the hamstring on what might end up a walk home. So, I made the decision to run on the treadmill. I started off easy, paying close attention to my ailing leg and soon was up to a respectable pace. As I was warming up I quickly realized I had the shades closed so I ripped them open only to see a blinding sun come shining in. As this month passes and the next one arrives I will be Waiting For The Sun to shine once again on my morning runs  as for now it's still the moon and stars.

The treadmill treated me well and I ran for an hour at 7:30 pace with minimal hamstring issues. I had some tightness but no real pains to speak of. Thank You!!! I only hope to back that run up with another just like it tomorrow.

1:00:00  8 miles (treadmill)

Sunday, February 5, 2012


Since I managed to get out or a little over an hour yesterday I figured I could do for 90 minutes and see how the hamstring would handle the load. I made it 3 miles then I was walking again! I did the walk/jog program back to the house and that was it.

A bit disappointed to say the least, I decided it was time to really focus on a weeks worth of strength exercises and stretches in order to get the hamstring under control. A week now will not make a shits worth of difference come late April and this summer when I want to be crankin' out some race performances.

I do realize this is something I need to focus on and stay in tune with. I plan on seeing a massage therapist soon and see what kind of ugly "woosie worms" (aka: tight muscles that hurt like a bitch when worked on)we unfold in my legs and hips.

45:00    ~5 miles

Weeks Total: ~42 miles
Years Total: 265.6 miles

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Looking goooodddd....YEOW!

On Monday I posted that I was feeling my Sunday's long effort and I may need an additional day of recovery before heading into more up pace efforts. I did that. I knew I would thank myself and give my legs another 24 to reap the benefits of easy aerobic exercise in the form of soft, snow-covered trails in Hartley.  I headed that way Tuesday morning and proceeded to do one complete loop along with some other short loops and a short section in Rock Hill. That felt great.
On Wednesday I woke up plenty early to hit my 90-100 minutes with some steady state running in the middle. The weather was rather warm at 25F and the roads/paths I chose were very clear of any debris. After my usual 3 mile warm up I started to work into the steady state miles. At first it was a bit more difficult than I wanted the pace to be. I ran this pace so easily last week and this week it was actually beginning to feel like work. I decided to stop looking at my gps and really focus on body effort and breathing. Coincidentally that was about the time I started to feel better. To ensure I would have a decent run I took my Powergel in hopes to make the last half hour of this SS period go smoothly. Not long after my "good" mile I started to feel my right hamstring tighten and get that "heavy" feeling. I did few short and long strider-style moves in effort to relax the bombing muscle. No luck. At the end of the next mile I was stopped and stretched over a guardrail at the Lester River some 5 miles from my warm house. I had to walk for a few minutes and then slowly worked into a very subtle shuffle in hopes to keep me from freezing and get home. My leg allowed this shuffle until the hills of Tischer Creek. I walked up to the streets and then ran the rest of the way home.

The next two days and today I have been focusing on keeping my low back, piriformis and hamstrings loose and it seems to be working. I have a Chiropractor appointment on Tuesday and I hope to keep some form of respectable running until then. My hope is that this is just a minor bump in the road and a reminder to vary my running terrain. I have been putting in quite a lot of miles on the single track this January and I think my back finally said, "enough". Once things loosen up I may return to the awesomeness of those trails but by then they might be a big pile of mud.

Here are Tuesday and Wednesday's running:

Another easy, recovery style run in the wonderful single track trails of Hartley Park. No complaints and many more miles to do there. Legs did appreciate another easy day and I hope all systems go for tomorrow.
1:16:13   8.1 miles (trails)

Out to Lakeside on the bike paths for some up tempo running. I did close to a 3 mile warm up then worked into my steady state. The plan was to run 50 minutes at 600-605 pace. As I started the session I felt a bit flat and soon ran on effort and didn't look at my gps for pacing. I then started to feel better and took a gel soon after only to have my right upper hamstring tighten up on me and force me to a walk. A slow hobble home and I had self-prescribed a couple days off of running. Lot's of stretching and strength work for the low back and hips.
Total: 1:33:45   12.4 miles

Thursday and Friday:
off, no running. just stretching and strength work.

Hammy Test

In brief, I had a minor set-back this week and ended up taking off two days to let a ailing hamstring heal. It's source, I believe, is my low back and piriformis causing my hamstring to howl a bit.

I ran a slow out and back with Dave this morning and things were just "OK".

I will recap the week soon and possibly run a medium long effort tomorrow.

1:12:30   9+ miles easy pace