Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Birthday DNF

Unofficial Birthday Law of Running: Run Your Age

My 32nd birthday was on Sunday, and this lead to some wild postulating on my part.  I thought about my intermittent hip and hip flexor pains and other random sore spots experienced during my last two weeks of running.  I considered that my total mileage during each of these two weeks had been around twenty miles.  

With this in mind, I decided the ideal activity for the afternoon of my 32nd birthday would be running a mile for each year (32 miles) on the IU cross country course.  Ted, Oscar and Alex (good friends and runners) came out to the cross country course on a decidedly rainy, cold and windy day to slog through the wet grass with me for as many miles as they were willing to run with me.

IU Cross Country Course - 5K Loop Map

Six 5k loops later and all sides of both hips felt completely trashed.  I started out with 3 loops in minimalist New Balance MT101s and then switched to my usual Nike Lunar Racer 2 when my feet started to hurt, despite the total lack of traction in the mud of the Nike lunar sole.

MT101: lightweight, minimalist, great rock plate, and probably not the correct choice for my currently beat up feet

Regardless, the bottoms of my feet hurt badly through the entire last three laps.  Katie came out and joined Alex and I for the last lap but it was definitely a lost cause at this point for me.  Although I felt mostly great (despite being very cold and wet), my feet and hips just hurt so much I decided it wasn't a good idea to keep going.

So after almost 19 surprisingly difficult miles of what I thought would be nice and comfortable running on grass I ended up with my first "DNF" (did not finish) of the year.  Even thought this was completely unofficial and not a race I had been pretty set on running the 32 miles.

I have a weird lump on the bottom of my right foot that still hurts when I walk.  Maybe I would be better served to take more time off.  Maybe I could be more observant of continuing aches and pains before proclaiming made up running laws.  

Regardless, it was a fun attempt and a good time running with friends so I think I will give the observation of this "running law" another go next year.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Running Again

I can't really ask for anything more than sixty degrees and pure sunshine.  This is perfect running weather.  I went out for a loop around the stadium and campus this afternoon, totaling probably seven miles.

Sky above the house

This would be a fantastic day to be out at OPSF (Owen Putnam State Forest) for the 13.1 / 50k / 50m races today.  I really wanted to run the 50 miler but will definitely have to wait on that till next year.  I had thought it might be possible before I ran the 24 hour but I definitely underestimated how long my recovery would take.

I really want to put in some longer miles with this perfect weather, but as has been typical of this week after a few miles a new "pain" shows up that I dont remember from before.  As long as these tiny aches and pains shift to different places, I'm satisfied with running again and having avoided any sort of chronic injury.  I definitely have more desire and energy to run than my musculoskeletal system is willing to put up with at this point.

I started running again this week on Tuesday, with a 2.5 mile run with some calf pain after about a mile.  Since Tuesday I've been taking it easy but each day I seem to be able to run just a little further before I feel any pains.

24 Hour Race + 3 Weeks

My biggest worry before I began running again was the calf pain and tightness I had in my left calf.  It remained pretty consistent but has been gradually recovering.  My overactive imagination and incessant google searches have caused me to worry that this calf pain was a manifestation of a blood clot (due to long car ride home after race), compartment syndrome (fluid trapped in muscle compartment), upper achilles tendonitis / damage, a calf strain, a stress fracture, or severe blood vessel damage just to name a few of the ideas I had.  I'm glad it's gone now!

I actually have had some fun with creating some variety in my running again this week.

Tuesday I forgot my running shorts so ran at lunch in sweatpants (had in my cabinet at work) for the first time since likely junior high.

Wednesday I got a nice easy run around town in with Katie.

Thursday I tried a "stair" challenge with 3 sweltering hot miles indoors on the Stairmaster machine at the SRSC followed by 3 miles outside in cold drizzling rain.  I have new respect for indoor stair climbing machines after this workout.  I managed to completely soak myself in sweat, stumble and trip several times and almost fall off the machine, and also push my heart rate up to a solid almost 85 percent of maximum.  I initially was a little put off by the cold rain outside but after the "stairmaster experiment" I couldn't wait to get outside and cool off.

Friday (yesterday) I ran a reasonably hard 3 mile campus loop and was happy to feel like I might actually be able to run faster again.

One thing is certain, I have exactly four weeks till I'll be at the starting line of the Tecumseh Trail Marathon on December 3rd.  How my 28 days of combined recovery and tune up for this race will look I'm definitely not sure of yet.