Monday, February 27, 2006

A Great Weekend, a Great Day Off (from work!)

ORN: 12.2 miles, 1:57:31, 9:34/mile pace

I didn’t run over the weekend, as Gretchen and I attended a
fantastic marriage conference. Spread from Friday night to Sunday afternoon, it was a wonderful time to pull away, consider significant issues of communication, clarity and integration of values into a marriage. Well worth the time. It struck me while there that we spend time keeping our car operating well; those of us writing running blogs sure pay attention to the ups and downs of our quads, diets and training regimens; dare we take our marriages for granted? I hope not. I don’t want to see on my tombstone “He had a cool blog” but rather “He died at peace with God, his family and his community.” I recommend it highly to those of you who are married or planning to be.

Since we got home late Sunday night, I planned ahead (for once!) and scheduled a vacation day for today, Monday. And what a treat it was to not have to rush around after a weekend away. The weather turned beautiful for my long run. Sunny, with temps in the low 50s, it was a marvelous shorts/long sleeve shirt day. My intention was to hold back around a 9:45 pace, my target for the first 20 miles in St Louis. And I did feel like I was holding back the whole way. Felt good at the end, though my back was a little sore. That’s a potential concern.

So I now have less than six weeks to go until the marathon. This Saturday has 18 miles on the schedule. If successful, that will be the longest run in 25 years for me. I’m a little concerned as I move into new territory. And that’s why I’m doing this. Right?? Right.

Here are my splits from today. I can tell where I stashed my Gatorade along the route and where I ran into an old friend and talked for a bit. The numbers don’t lie…a good run on a beautiful late winter day.

9 05
9 32
9 22
9 31
9 24
9 48
9 53
9 18
10 02
9 36
9 43
9 24
2 45 (9 16 pace)


Tuesday, February 21, 2006

5 Years Later

ORN: 4 miles, no watch, felt OK

My mom died five years ago today.

Marge Ely was quite a woman. Born in 1917, she lived through the Depression, married before WW II, raised four kids (I'm #3 and the only son) and enjoyed 55 years of marriage before Dad died in 1993. She saw a lot. And never grew bitter.

While Gretchen and I worked overseas from 1976-1981, she took out a subscription to Runners World for me and would collect a couple months worth of issues, put them in a box and mail them to me. Always a treat to get that package every couple of months in the boonies of Africa. What she really liked, though, was how RW shared her name with other advertisers. She laughed and laughed at offers that came to her stating "Marge, as a serious runner, you need to ....." A great example of her sense of humor and sense of service to me.

Her faith, love, service and joy are fundamental to who I am. Her example of a wonderful marriage meant the world. I miss being able to pick up the phone and talk. But she's with Dad, together smiling at their family, spread all across the US.

Thanks, Mom.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

On the Road Again

ORN: 8.2 miles, 1:19:46, 9:44/mile

After seven days off, I got out and ran again today. I didn't really know how far I'd go when I set out. As I got near the four mile mark on my route, I decided to head back as the legs were starting to show the layoff. Turned out to be about right, as I got back fine and felt as if it was a good run but not too much.

My back really feels back to normal. I still have a sense of something a bit sore in my right quad, fairly deep. Yet it is absolutely no worse after the run than before. Dianna is urging me to stretch...which I'm doing...and it must be helping. I need to focus on core strength of the lower back and abdomen I'm thinking as well.

I do wonder what this will do to my marathon prep. Seven weeks from this morning I line up in St Louis for 26.2. I sense I lost a lot of momentum this week. I was set to do a 16 miler this weekend; that obviously didn't happen. I'm going to stick with the schedule, though, as this next week is a reasonable one, capped with a mere 12 miler next Saturday. The following week notches it up further, with an 18 mile run set for March 4. That will tell me a lot. I hope the message is positive.

But, hey, was it great to be out. Even though the thermometer said 25, it felt more like 15. Yet it was good to just move and be out on a sunny day. Sorted through a couple of work issues in the hour plus outside and just remembered how great it is to keep moving over a long distance.


Saturday, February 18, 2006

What a wierd Saturday!

ORN: Zero

I'm really feeling somewhat disorineted with no long run today. I looked back in my logs and this is the first Saturday since last August (when I was away umpiring a Little League baseball tournament) I haven't had a long run of at least 10 miles. So, to sit around has seemed oh so odd.

The back feels normal. My right thigh still has a bit of a twinge. I might have run today anyway, but the -5 wind chill did little to help me get out. So, I decided to give it one more day's rest and give a go tomorrow afternoon, when we should be in the upper 20s, quite acceptable for February in Indiana.

Going nuts somewhat, I actually did run a bit today. I had to park in the boondocks while on an errand to Wal-Mart this afternoon. So I ran to the store from my car. Felt good. Remakably good, blue jeans, parka and all.

It has been fun this week to watch the Olympics. I enjoy seeing other sports which only pop up every 4 years. This afternoon, NBC ran a 20 minute retrospective on the 2x10km cross-country skiing relay from the 1994 Games between Norway and Italy. A well-done piece, combing some great footage with wonderful human interest. As a runner, you have to really admire and identify with these "runners of the snow." We seldom see such Nordic coverage in the US...I'm grateful to enjoy it.

Hopefully, a good run report tomorrow.


Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Probably off the rest of the week

ORN: Zero, nada, zip.

This back pain has really stuck around longer than I had hoped. While ice and stretching are helping, it is still painful, to the point this morning where it hurt to simply walk right after I got up. Today, ibuprofin helped noticibly and it is better tonight. In fact the back is much better, but the right thigh remains painful.

I'm thinking I'll just lay off the rest of the week and see how it feels this weekend. My schedule calls for a key week this week, culminating in a 16 miler on Saturday. Don't think so. If I can get this sorted out and pick up again next week, I'll be OK.

All of this injury stuff is a wonderful teacher. Patience. The good with the bad. Particularly poingiant the last couple of days as the weather has been dry and sunny and in the upper 40s to mid 50s. Wow. And I can only watch it.

Good for the character development! Persevere...yeah, that's the ticket.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Comments Count

ORN: Zero

I commented yesterday about the persistent but low-grade pain in my lower back and thigh. And Dianna commented "Dude, how about stretching?!"

Sometimes it is the obvious that we miss the most.

Di the Running Chick was right and I had missed the obvious. So I spent time today stretching both the quad and the lower back. Added to this was some ice, which I recalled from our local high school sports trainer who's mantra was "ice and stretch."

Amazingly, this evening, I feel so much better...markedly so. I've been icing while watching the Olympics (I have a secret desire to ride the luge) and the effect is very good. I'll not run tomorrow, though I will ice and stretch further. We'll see how it then goes on Tuesday.

Moral of the story: Make a comment, even an obvious one. We need each other and this is part of the joy of blogging.

And, thanks a ton Dianna!


Saturday, February 11, 2006

The Pain neither bothers nor goes away

ORN: 15.4 miles, 2:29:21, 9 41/mile

I'm not really figuring out this pain deal in my right thigh. I laid off Thursday and Friday. Got up this morning and it felt just the same as it has. I go run for two and a half hours and it feels just the same. So, what is it? Seems to just kinda "be there." Similar twinges have simply gone away before. I'm thinking I just keep on training and since it isn't in any joints, just let it be there.

My long runs are now dialing up, heading to the April 9 marathon. Today's weather was supposed to be 33 or so, but it was in the mid 40s when I headed out around noon. This means shorts and a ball cap. The run was unremarkable, other than the fact it was 15 miles. Which, a year ago, would have been amazingly remarkable. Now it's just a nice long run.

I set the Garmin's virtual trainer to a 9 45 pace and that helped; slowing me early, urging me later. I felt good at the end, could have gone farther, which is what I want.

Sixteen miles next Saturday, as the march continues.

If you enjoy numbers, here are my splits for the day:

9 12
9 31
9 46
9 46
9 57
9 53
9 37
10 02
9 31
10 01
9 26
9 42
9 44
9 50
9 36
3 38@ 8 46 pace


Friday, February 10, 2006

Odd thigh pain

ORN: zero

I skipped my scheduled Thursday 4 miler. I have this odd pain running from my right hip down around to the front of my right thigh on top (moving lateral to anterior). What is it?? Doesn't go to the knee., only halfway to the knee.

I tweaked my back on a long, stressful car drive about a week ago. I've had this happen to the back before. But then it settled on the right side of my lower back and sent its dull throbbing tentacle down around my right leg.

It felt better today and I'm still planning to stick with the scheduled 15 miler tomorrow. We'll see what that is like.


Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Hardly a Stellar Run

ORN: 7.1 miles, 1:13:36, 10:20/mile pace

The twitch/soreness in my right quad and lower right back was real this morning and it really showed in my times. I felt like I was running a 9 45 pace and boy was I wrong. When I got up at 5 for this mid-week long-ish run, I thought about not even going out, the pain was real. But I saw the temperature was all the way up to 29, so took the "balmy" weather opportunity and ran.

Interestingly, the back and leg loosened up as I ran. Later in the day, I started to wonder if my wallet in my right hip pocket wasn't triggering something. I shifted it to my front pocket...we'll see.

Splits today:

10 38
9 50
10 11
10 33
10 00
10 53
10 16

Yuck. Some days are like this. But the miles are in the bank and I was out there.

That's what perseverence is about.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The Morning Star

ORN: 4 miles, slow pace

Wow, it turned cold again. Tough to get going out the door. I did something to my back over the weekend and it is slowly improving. But somehow a small ache extends down my right quad. So, sounding like an old man, I still got out the door...the first mile was less than a pleasure between the back, leg and cold wind in the 19 degree darkness. But it settled down, as it always does and was a nice run.

Nicest was a vivid, bright, almost shining Venus in the predawn eastern sky. Reflecting the sun still below the horizon, it just jumped out of the crisp, clear morning sky. Not many saw it, but was a reward for me.

Tomorrow is the midweek long run. 7 miles early and it is not supposed to be any warmer. We get through this week, though and the temp will improve, so they say!

And we keep on persevering.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Midweek gets longer

ORN: Wednesday: 7.1 miles, 1:08:44, 9:39 pace
Thursday: 4 miles, no watch, easy pace

The schedule pushes the midweek run up to 7 miles this week. It felt good to start out yesterday but, about two miles into it, my legs informed me they had yet to recover from the great, hard 13.3 miles on Saturday. So, I accepted that and settled back into an easier rhythm.

Speed is intoxicating. Especially for one so slow, when a 9:03 average is thrilling. And I'm not going to be able to do that every time. Actually, I need to relax with it as I really start ramping up the long runs. After a "mere" 10 miler this Saturday, the miles go up every week until the taper begins.

This morning was just nice...a simple four miler. What a treat.

Which is one of the reasons we persevere.