Wednesday, September 27, 2006

humpf . . . or something like that

Hey all. Yes it has been a while since I've posted. Been out of the mood since I have decided not to run the Portland marathon. The tendonitis, though clearing up, is still bothering me a little bit. After an attempt at a 20 miler a couple of Saturdays ago, I canned the whole thing after 5 bad miles. Enough whining!!! Let me update you on other things.

I have been running a few miles here and there the last couple of weeks. 3, 4, 5 mile runs. Not much meaning to them . . . just miles. I still want to run the Rocket City marathon and after this upcoming weekend (Portland weekend), I'll have 10 weeks to reclaim my fitness and put in the miles necessary to run the race.

I am going to Portland. Even though I am not running the race, I have decided to go ahead and take the trip. It will be good to get away and perhaps take a load of my mind. Perhaps the most important piece of this trip is the fact that Susan is going with me. I asked her to go a couple of months ago and she was excited to go. In fact, she was planning on running me in from mile 20. But it is not to be. However, we will have fun. We have 3 full days and 1 half day to take in as much as possible. We've been studying up and we're going to be all over the place.

Friday we get into Portland around 2:30 local time. We'll head straight to the hotel, check in, freshen up, and hit the streets. We're going to try to get in a little bit of a self guided walking tour. I guess we'll probably find a local micro-brewery for dinner-just a taste of local fun.

Saturday we plan on going to the beach. For those who don't know Portland, the beach is about 1 1/2 hours away. We're planning on going to Cannon Beach, eating lunch at a local beachside pub, hitting the shops, seeing Haystack Rock. Then we'll turn south to Tillamook for some cheese and perhaps another view of the west coast beach. From Tillamook, we'll return to Portland sometime in the afternoon. We need to get back in time to clean up since Susan is taking me to dinner for my birthday. She has picked out the restaurant and it is going to be a surprise. We're going to try to clean up early enough to go to the rooftop restaurant/bar in the Hilton Exective Towers where we are staying.

Sunday. The day I was supposed to be running the marathon. NOT HAPPENING. So we're going to have fun. This is Oct. 1 . . . my birthday. We're going to find a nice breakfast buffet or brunch somewhere in town. Then we are going to head SW to Willamette Valley for wine tasting. A day full of wine tasting. My former brother in law lives nearby and he and his wife may meet up with us for a day of winetasting. Plans are not set for meeting up with them yet (calling him tomorrow) but everyone is up for it. Late Sunday afternoon we are heading back to Cary and Retta's for dinner. Not only is it my birthday, it is Retta's (my former sister in law) birthday. This will be a good chance for Cary and the kids to meet Susan. We have all discussed this and though it may be a little wierd, we are all okay with this. Wish Susan and me luck.

Monday we are planning on spending the day in the Columbia River gorge. We will be seeing a lot of very pretty sites and doing a bit of hiking. Hopefully we can take in a paddleboat lunch or dinner cruise of the gorge. . . still working on that. I'd like to go as far east as Hood River but we're going to play it by ear. If we don't eat dinner in the gorge, we'll head back into Portland and find something downtown or maybe go to the rooftop restaurant in our hotel. Then we pack, go to bed early, and get ready for an early morning flight back to Birmingham.

I do need to tell you about my last two Saturdays. Since I have not been doing long runs, Susan and her daughters E and MA asked me to come to the girls' soccer games. Bear in mind that I do not have kids and have not really spent a lot of time around kids until Susan and I started seeing each other. Her girls are pretty cool. E is 6 and MA is 9 but about to turn 10. They both play soccer, though E seems to be more interested in the grasshoppers and butterflys. MA is a very good little athlete. She really enjoys the game, she takes her coaching well, she practices at home and even lets me kick the ball around with her.

E's games are played on a very small field with only two or three players per team plus a goaltender. It's sort of fun (and funny) watching these six year olds running around, kicking the ball, kicking each other, and getting totally bored after about 20 minutes. E enjoys it after she is there but she doesn't really seem to be too excited about it away from the soccer field. Susan and I both think that she just needs to find what she enjoys and is good at doing. Susan is just giving her a chance to see if she likes the soccer. Personally, I think that E will end up being a swimmer. She is better in the pool than half the adults I know. Here's a picture E that I took last week at the soccer game.

MA's games are a little more competitive. Actually, the games are pretty exciting. These 9 year old girls are all pretty good athletes and they are finally starting to realize what they are capable of and how the coaching is helping them. I guess I may be partial, but MA is one of the better players in this group. Her coach asks her to practice the the older group and with the boys at times. And she can handle (if that is the correct term) the ball. The two games I've seen her play in, she plays the striker position (front middle). This seems to be the main attack position. The coaches do rotate her to the wings occassionally but I think the center of the field is where she belongs. She can handle the ball equally well with her left or right foot and she can pass equally well to either side. In her first game, her team won 2-0 and she scored both goals. In her second game, her team won 5-0 and she scored 2 goals and had 2 assists. The coach moved her to a defensive position in the second half since she was running through the other team like cheap whiskey. It was really fun to watch her-especially knowing that she was having fun. Her's a picture of MA bring the ball down field. She's the cutie with the ponie tail on the left.

I'm planning on enjoying my long weekend with Susan in Portland. I'll be getting back to more serious things (like running) when I get back to town! Wish us luck and fun.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Forward thinking

Forward thinking . . . . Huntsville (Rocket City) marathon. Twelve weeks away. As you have probably guessed by now, my 20 miler didn't turn out very well. The left foot failed me. The tendonitis started flaring up after about 5 miles. I am disappointed but not surprised. I've done this before with similar results. Let this be a lesson to those who think that they can "cram" for a marathon. It will come home to roost, as we say down south.

I am not going to run the Portland marathon. PERIOD. Now that I have made that decision, I can properly focus on Rocket City. I am going to take a week and let the cortisone shot, ice, and rest do their thing. I'll do some bike riding just to keep from going bonkers. I figure since I already have some long runs under my belt, I should be able to restart my training 10 or 11 weeks out. I should be able to pick up with 30-35 mile weeks and 12 mile long runs. That will allow me to build up properly (or at least the way that works for me)-3 weeks building, 1 week easy. I have not worked out my exact schedule but will do so this week.

I am going to take Dom's advice . . . . take the trip, enjoy the scenery. Why ruin a good vacation with a marathon? Thanks Dom for the advice!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

And the Doctor said . . .

"You again?"

Nothing like feeling welcome! Yes, my tendonitis did flare up. Yes, it is back in the same foot. Yes, I am in panic mode about the marathon.

"Overuse injury."

Who, me? No one has ever accused me of over doing anything!

I admit it. I tried to pile on the miles too quickly. Now I just hope to stay in shape for Rocket City marathon which is 12 1/2 weeks away.

"I'll give you an injection but be warned that you will still have some pain and you could still do some damage if you're not careful. I'd recommend that you don't run for several more days."

blah, blah, blah. Just give me the freaking needle

and let me get on with it! I got my cortisone injection yesterday afternoon and also got a prescription for Mobic (an NSAID that is similar Vioxx. Did I ever tell you how much I loved Vioxx while I could get it?). I am taking off the rest of the week. However, I am PLANNING on running Saturday morning. This run will determine whether or not I run in the marathon. I have a scheduled 20-22 miler . . . probably be more like 20 if I were to guess. I have resolved myself to a nice, slow marathon . . . a training run, as it were.

Don't worry-if I fail and bail Saturday, I'll take it easy for another week and then start back with mid-mileage workouts and refocus on Huntsville.

Of course the hardest part now is trying to convince myself that this week of not running has not turned my into a sloth!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Excuse my french . . .


My thoughts every day over the past several days.

I am going to my orthopedist tomorrow afternoon. I have repeated a mistake that I have done in the past. I have increased my mileage too much too quickly while prepping for Portland Marathon and now all is at risk. I noticed the twinge in my foot after my pseudo 20 miler two Saturdays ago. The pain is very definitive and there is no doubt about it. It is not just some vague, general thing. No, this hurts.

It has been diagnosed in the past as tendonitis and it has always been after too many miles too quickly. I know that I need to do the slow mileage buildup like I did for Cincinnati but I really thought I'd be okay. I'm hoping that I can get a cortisone injection. It has worked nicely in the past . . . . read the following off a tendonitis website:

If the symptoms of tendonitis are persistent, an injection of cortisone may be considered. Cortisone is a powerful anti-inflammatory medication, but instead of being given by mouth, it is injected directly to the site of inflammation. This can be extremely helpful for situations that are not improved with rest.

I have not run since Saturday and I've been icing it. The pain starts in the big tendon on top of the foot that turns up in front of the ankle onto the shin. You know the two big tendons on the front of your foot? The ones that make the V? Yep . . . . one is swollen and hurting. The pain goes all the way down to my big toe and my whole foot is swollen. Painful to put a shoe on. I would include a picture of my foot (like Amy does) but my feet are just too ugly to do that.

As much as I don't want to, I will let Dr Gregg Carr tell me GO or NO-GO for the marathon which is less than 3 weeks away. This really drives me nuts but I know that it is the right thing to do. I'm not going to run until I see the Dr. I am still planning on running Rocket City in Huntsville in 13 weeks and I would rather skip Portland, rest up, and not risk Rocket City.

BTW . . . I did run last Thursday and I also did a 14.4 miler on Saturday. Chip ran about 10 miles with me on Saturday and we ran a nice normal pace. 14.4 miles in 2:09:30 . . . that works out to a 9 minute pace (or 8.9930556 pace for you anal engineering types).

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Just sitting here thinking

Hey all,
It is Wednesday night and I just finished some leftover ribs from Monday (yes Phil, they were very good!). This is the first evening in a while that I have not been busy or out or over at Susan's house. Sort of nice, sort of lonely. However, I did get bills paid, laundry done, a 7.2 miler completed, car cleaned out. And I still had time to reheat ribs and bake a potato!

I did 7.2 as soon as I got home from work. Nothing spectacular . . . average right at a 9 minute pace. Normally I like to push a little but I didn't feel like doing that tonight.

I have slightly changed my blog site. I fixed the weather thingy do. I also added my neighbor Dom's blog to my links and I have also added Dawn B's blog to my links.

I forgot to mention that we had a great time at dinner the other night taking my parents out for my dad's birthday. We went to McCormick and Schmicks here in B'ham. Not fancy but nice. Susan did a great job in getting the cake from a local bakery that is well known in these parts-Edgars Bakery. We went back to Susan's house for cake and champagne after dinner. My neighbors Jim and Karen also joined us. We all had a great time. It was a great time to end a Saturday that started with a 20 mile run.

I have less than 4 weeks to get ready for the marathon. I have maybe two more weeks to build and that is it. I am starting to increase my vitamin C intake and I'll start taking AirBorn this coming weekend if not sooner. There are people all around me at work that have sniffles, coughs, colds and God knows what else. Additionally, Susan has had the sniffles and her daughter MA has also been coughing and hacking. I am vigilently washing my hands, spraying things with Lysol, and generally trying to avoid face to face conversations with the "sickies" at work.

My mind has been racing about the Portland trip. I have airline tickets for Susan and me. I have rental car. I have a hotel room. I have shoes that are in good shape. I have confirmation of my registration. This will be a good trip . . . I will be running a marathon on my birthday-a first. Susan will be with me and she has offered to run the last 6 miles with me. I'll be seeing my former brother-in-law and his family. Like I said, my mind is racing.

I'll try to do a faster 5 or 6 miler tomorrow.

Good Wednesday morning

Yep . . . I did it again. Got so busy that I failed to post.

Let me start this post by telling you that I did the 20 miles on Saturday. It was not pretty and I probably would not have done it had it not been for Dom "the Dominator". Of course, if he had not run with me, I would have run 10-15 seconds slower and probably wouldn't have crashed. However, I do appreciate Dom's running with me and providing me with distractions and positive thoughts.

It was supposed to be a cool morning Saturday. It wasn't. Fortunately, I was out of bed at 5:00 and running by 6:00 am. I had already turned about 5 miles when I saw Dom running. Remember . . . Dom is FAST. Dom likes to run FAST. I am doing a LONG, SLOW, run. There was no way to hide from him and we joined up. He said he was going to do a 10 miler so he'd run the middle miles with me. He did good at keeping his pace slow for me. We pretty much ran right at a 9:00 pace give or take a few seconds. The pace was slow enough for him that after his 10 miles he decided to run with me until the end. GEE THANKS! We actually did fairly well until about 18 1/2 miles. That is when the mind and body went bye-bye. Dom was encouraging and trying to prod me on but the fat man won out. The last mile I had to walk but Dom stuck with me and helped me through it. The whole evolution took 3 hours, 7 minutes.

I hate failure. That has been two weekends in a row where I did not do what I wanted to do. I HATE THAT. I am starting to make it a habit-a very bad habit.

I took off Sunday to rest and bounced back Monday morning with a pretty good 6 miler. I ran some fartleks and pickups and felt pretty happy about a couple of 8 minute miles I threw in. I know that I am nowhere near as strong as I was in April but I am working on it. I have less than 4 weeks until the marathon. The real marathon that I am trying to perform well in is Rocket City which is 14 weeks away. I am just looking at what I am doing now as base.

Friday, September 01, 2006


Today is Friday. Woohoo! Another week successfully managed and survived. That means another long run tomorrow. As those of you who follow my rantings, I failed at my 18 miler last week. So what am I going to do tomorrow? I'm going to try a 20 miler. I will run earlier, slower, smarter. Also the the fact that the heat is breaking and the temp is supposed to be down in the low-mid 60s will help.

I ran another 5 1/2 - 6 miler last night. Susan ran the first 3 miles with me and then I took off and ran the second half hard and fast. It felt really good to run hard, especially since it was right before sunset and it was cooling off nicely.

BTW it is officially less than 30 days until marathon.

Big goings on this weekend besides my running. It is my dad's birthday and we're going out for his birthday. It should be a fun group-my mom and dad, Jim and Karen H from next door (they are always good for a laugh), Susan and I. Sunday is a big day . . . 70 years old! I'm still trying to figure out what would be the perfect gift. He enjoys lots of things . . . knives, wine, cigars. Gee . . . he sounds like a gangster. Maybe he needs a new dog (an inside joke).

Also may be going to the lake with some friends on Sunday. Still waiting to see if that is happening for sure.

Monday will be a work around the house and finish up on Susan's deck. We're having friends (Deb and Joe) over for an early evening cookout. Then I will start the ribs. Yes, I am cooking ribs. Baby backs. I use a slightly modified 3-2-1 method. For those of you who slow cook, you know what 3-2-1 means. It should be a fun time and we're looking forward to showing off Susan's redone screened in porch and her refurbished deck. We have been working hard on it.

I'll take time to post the results of my 20 miler sometime tomorrow. Have a great day!