For the past week, I’ve been getting better, running-wise, at about 1.5% a day (an obviously arbitrary number). Logged 17 miles running and walking for the week, 22 miles cycling, and I worked out at the gym twice. Next week I’ll do 10%-15% more, if all goes well, and add some swimming. I sure would like to have an endless swimming pool, as pictured below, but I’ll make do with either the regular outdoor pool at my condo complex or the indoor pool at the gym.
A week ago today, I had quite a setback. I’d been for a 20-minute walk, following my chiropractor’s suggestion that I not run, and felt ok. When I got to my door, I casually reached down to untie my shoe, and got a spasm in my right hip the like of which I’ve never felt. It was so painful I was crying, and I felt so disabled I thought I’d have to call an ambulance. But managed to get inside and back upstairs, where (thankfully) there was a muscle relaxant and a pain pill and an opportunity to lie still — half hour later, I was ok-ish, but the pain lasted the rest of the day.
However,lucky me — a week later, today, just got back from a 27:30 run\walk session, in which 20 minutes was running (slow running, maybe an 11 or 12-minute mile pace).And then, after showering and a bit of food and a little rest, rode my bike 5 miles to a meeting. And an hour or so late rode the same distance homeward, to breakfast with 3 friends in the neighborhood.
Getting better — slowly but steadily. Maybe Monday morning I can get in 4 miles.
It’s been awhile since I’ve posted, and the reason is (wait for it, wait for it).
Well, I had a little accident involving a ladder on June 30th– didn’t fall off backward, just slipped coming down the steps and hit the ground hard, on my feet, after a fall of maybe 4-5 feet. Now, you wouldn’t think that such a “fall” would even have noticeable effects, but in this case I must have jammed a few discs in my lower back. Which expresses itself as pain radiating out through my right hip and into my right leg, which is quite numb below the knee. Maybe it’s a pinched nerve, pinched between the lumbar discs–that would account for the weakness and numbness in the right leg.
Running has been nearly out (though end of last week I managed a mile or two on successive days, bracketed by walking.) And today I went out for 31 minutes, mostly walking but also 12 minutes of running — very slowly, with numbness in my right leg, which feels as though it’s going to give out. Well, maybe not exactly “give out,” but it is sort of numb.
And, sans running, I’m sans endorphins, which has strong and negative effects on my mental health. So in about an hour I’ll try a short and relatively slow bicycle ride.
This situation, which has gone on since my initial tumble, makes me greatly sympathize with running friends who are unable to run because of injuries –some for many weeks and months. Realistically and actually, I was only completely unable to run for 13 days, and since then been doing a little, mostly walking but some running.
If my running career is truly over (unlikely but possible), I can accept that — God give me the grace to accept the things I cannot change. We’ll just have to see if I can substitute cycling, swimming, and working out at the gym. Been to the gym a couple times since the injury, just doing things that don’t hurt, which pretty much means upper body, a few leg exercises with lighter weights than before.
LATE GOOD NEWS: A mere 2 days later, and I’ve managed 2-3 miles the past two mornings; mostly walking, but today was 28 minutes total, with 15 of those minutes running. Hope for a bit more tomorrow — could even get to 20 miles for the week (Yay!!)
Right, right, right — my blog has gone all to hell if I’m actually writing about the weather. But no, I have two things on my mind, which I’ll share with you forthwith. (Always wanted to write a sentence using “forthwith”!)
The first thing is, thankful to a benevolent Creator for living in Florida this week, as the weather mounts to catastrophe in many other parts of the country, looking especially drastic and dire in Georgia, the state above me, and both North & South Carolina, just north of Georgia. I’m lucky that my life has not been affected in any way, really, by the current weather situation; gone out running three mornings this week, cycling the same three days.
The second reason I’m posting tonight is to share this remarkable photo with you. It’s from a Slate live blog on the weather — Twitter poster Eric Halthaus
Not only do we have gridlock on what might be an interstate, but we have a car on fire, etc. I’m particularly taken with the woman walking away from the scene (and her stranded car, no doubt) talking on the phone, likely updating family or friends and seeking what help is available.
Someone needs to help out there; someone needs to take an interest. Let’s all check our news sources tonight and tomorrow to see if help arrived at the crisis in Raleigh, NC.
I know all sorts of people who train for marathons and halfathons and a few ultra runners (mostly runners in my group, the Dead Runners Society, which you could google and join).
For me, the longest race I do for these days is a 15k, and generally I’m satisfied to be able to train for and compete in 10ks or 5ks as well as sprint triathlons. So my running is usually in the 22-25 miles a week range, cycling around 30-40 weekly miles, a little strength training, and some swimming when the triathlons are more imminent (first one this year is mid-May). Here’s a picture of the Nocatee Duathlon from a couple of years ago — 2-mile run, then 11-mile cycle, then another 2-mile run. It’s like a triathlon, but without the swim (as the race organizers said).
Judging from how tired I felt this morning while running just 3 miles (after a mere 2.5 yesterday), I might be overdoing it a little this week. Ran 11 miles total on Monday & Tuesday, did a 2-mile walk\run with Pam (my lovely wife) Tuesday evening, have another jaunt planned with her tonight, so seems I need to conserve energy a bit — over 20 miles by Thursday is a bit steep for this 62-year-old runner. Especially when we add anothr 20 miles or so cycling and one strength workout at the gym.
Not a big problem — it’s not like I hurt my knee or am actually experiencing any pain, just feeling a little tired during my morning run. Always like to kinda check in with myself as to whether I’m being lazy, experiencing what my good friend Jim Puckett calls a lack of gumption, or am actually tired and need to dial back the mileage.
So it’s 3-4 miles tomorrow morning, maybe even less if being tired is an issue. (And btw, I like to always give it 10 minutes of running before I make a decision — let my body get over its resistance to a changing state, its inertia. Ya know, a body at rest tends to remain at rest.)
So, I did it — realized that running 3.5 yesterday and 4.5 today would give me 100 miles for the month. And I managed to run the miles, and have a good start to 2013 with 100 miles in January.
My ultimate yearly goal is 1,000 miles of running, which requires 83-84 miles per month. And 100 miles in January gets some mileage in the bank, mileage that I’ll be grateful for come July and August, when it’s hard to get 83-84 miles per month because of the heat — even if I go out running at 6:50 A.M., when it’s barely light, the temps will be around 72, anyway, not to mention humidity around 80%. Some people, I know, go out running at 4:00 A.M. or 5:00 A.M., but that’s just not gonna happen in my life.
And there’s plenty of runners who do 200-mile months, even more — but once again, that’s not me, not gonna happen. (Almost certain to get injured if I did that kind of mileage — or maybe that’s just my lazy brain telling me a lie. Oh wait — just finished 100 miles for the month, so I can’t be too lazy.)
My Dead Runners Society brothers and sisters are in Day 31 of this year’s 100-day challenge, which one of our members started in 2010, beginning an ongoing tradition. The requirement is at least 2 miles of running per day for the first 100 days of the year. I did it in 2010, somewhat reluctantly because of my own longstanding tradition of taking Sunday off (for rest reasons, no religious ones). A hundred days in a row is just asking for trouble, IMHO, but my best wishes go to all who are participating — hats off to the DRS 100-Day Challengers.
BTW, if you look at the captions on the picture, “Clearly Dead,” “Nearly Dead,” and “Sincerely Dead,” maybe you’ll remember the Munchkins’ song in The Wizard of Oz. After the Munchkin coroner examines the Witch of the West on whom Dorothy has dropped a house, he determines that said with is not just “merely dead” but “clearly and sincerely dead.” (Or does he say, “nearly dead” instead of “merely”? Hard to tell by listening.)
Haven’t written about running\racing or cycling lately, what with writing about other things. But 2013 is off to a good start. As of today, I have 87 running miles for the month (and for the year), with 3 more days of running in January, which means a 100-mile month is possible. (That’s always a goal for me, and trust me, much easier to do in January – March than in the summer months, when it’s 72 degrees at 6:30 A.M., with humidity of about 72 or more as well.)
No races coming up really fast, but soon. The Newnan’s Lake 15k was Saturday (2 days ago), but I wasn’t trained for it. The Trail of Payne 10k is March 16th, and I’m planning on that.
I ran the first version of it 3 years ago in March 2010, and it’s a fun race — out at the beautiful Paynes Prairie, mostly on trails, possibly even a little mud (depending on the rainfall).
And there should be a local 5k at least once a month or more for the next 5-6 months. I oughtta try one of those. And then in May, June, and July, the Beaches Fine Arts Triathlon Series in Ponte Vedra Beach, near Jacksonville. It’s a sprint tri — quarter-mile ocean swim, 11 miles cycling, 5k running– and I’ve done it before, looking forward to doing it again.
So that’s today’s running news.
No data points in this Salon article by Caleb Daniloff (a name I don’t know), but it does make sense on the issue of why and how former drunks can turn into excellent runners:
If you don’t want to read it all the way through, here’s a key quote: “In fact, you’ve spent a good chunk of your bleary-eyed, morally dubious days and nights developing the perfect toolbox: single-minded focus; endurance; tolerance for mental and physical distress; prowess at spending time alone; aptitude at navigating embarrassment. You can use these tools to build a new house, rather than deepening the ditch.”
It’s hard for me to imagine that the “single-minded focus” that I used to spend on getting the next bottle and consuming it could transfer to a single-minded focus on running, but I do manage, when sober (and for the past 58 days) to run 3-6 miles a day, 6 days a week.
Here’s my executive summary:
1. Former drunks are used to spending a lot of time alone (certainly true in my case, though I get it that some people are bar drinkers).
2. And are used to\inured to discomfort (hangovers, stress, anxiety, fatigue, et.)
3. Used to setting goals (how to acquire the magic elixir, how much to use, and also how to control their drinking — for me, attempts to control never worked, at least up until now).
4. Can plod on and on repetitively.
Well, well, well. Maybe Daniloff is on to something. I’ll have to see — never managed to be a former drunk before.
Just kidding — I’m the last runner in the pack who’s gonna win a title, other than “Slow Old Guy.” But, like The Dude, I abide. And keep at it. And sometimes see some progress.
Take this week, for instance. I did pretty well last week, with 22 miles and a good bit of cycling, some strength training at the gym, one swim, one kayak trip.
As I was thinking about the beginning of the training week on Monday (yesterday), I calculated that if I upped the mileage gradually, I’d be ready to run the 15k I’m registered for on December 8th. Maybe do 6 miles yesterday — and I did, it felt fine, so good that I got in 5 miles this morning — the thought is, if all the pieces fall in place (and no body parts fall off), to go over 25 miles this week. That would be good.
A shorter run tomorrow (it’s a mid-week break I give myself), then maybe 5 again on Thursday, and my total will be 19 or 20 miles with Friday and Saturday to go. Yay. And keeping up the cycling (5 miles yesterday, 9 or 10 miles tomorrow), with strength training already in the bank today and a kayak trip planned for Thursday (roughly equivalent to strength training at the gym, in my way of thinking about training — no need to push machines at the gym if I’ve gone kayaking, done some paddling as well as wrangled boats on and off the roof).
Have to see how it goes — daughter Becca is playing tonight at High Dive, opening for Laura Marling (who, it’s been explained to me and checked out on YouTube, etc., is sort of a big deal, not in the sense of course of Lady Gaga or Adele, but a big deal in the indie rock circuit). This means I’ll be out late tonight, maybe even later than 10:00 P.M. Still hope to get up at 6:30 and run 2 or 3 miles.
Well, folks, I’m not actually bleeding, at least right now — but as I crash through the woods occasionally on runs, I sometimes intersect rose bushes or similar sticker-rich plants. I’ve got about a dozen minor scratches on my ankles and shins, a few more on my hands.
But the training is going well — today a 7-mile run, my longest this year, at about 8:41 pace. So I’m on track to do a 15k January 28th (the Newnan’s Lake Run, which I haven’t done for years; signed up for it 2 years ago, but it was 18 degrees that morning, so I decided against running). The link is here: http://www.active.com/15k-race/gainesville-fl/newnans-lake-15k-run-2012. And then there’s the Austin Half-Marathon February 17, as part of the Dead Runners Society World Conference (here’s the link: http://drswc2012.blogspot.com/).
Though not bleeding, I’m feeling a little beat today. Didn’t sleep really well, blasted around campus getting things done, including giving a final exam to 21 students (already graded, final grades entered in the system). Then a quick 5.5 mile bike ride this afternoon.
Tomorrow will be an easier day — 3 miles running in the morning, 20 minutes swimming in the late afternoon, giving 2 finals in between.
Maybe it’s the weather, maybe I’m getting in better shape, maybe there’s another explanation, but this week’s running seems to have slowly ramped up — which is good, ’cause I’m scheduled to run the Austin half-marathon, during the Dead Runner’s Society World Conference in Austin February 17-20.
Ran 6.5 miles on Monday, and it went well; then 5.5 on Thursday. In between 4.5 miles and 3 on Wednesday (I typically run the shortest run of the week on Wednesday, sort of half-a-day off in midweek).
Totals for the week are 26 miles running, 20 cycling (a little low, but if I’m ramping up the running, something’s gotta give). I also started back swimming, doing 450 yards on Wednesday and 650 on Friday — this is barely swimming in the context of “real” swimmers, but I rarely do more than 1,000 yards in a session, and I haven’t done any swimming for months. (Since I’m only doing sprint triathlons when I do tri’s, and the swim is 440 yards, it doesn’t seem like such a good use of time to train more than 1,000 in a session — can more than hold my own in the swim at that level or training.)
My new Merrell Trail Gloves have worked into the rotation — ran 2 on Monday in them (then switched shoes!), 3 on Wednesday, 2 today. They took a little getting used t0 — I may have shared that I stupidly ran 4.5 miles the first time I ran in them and suffered calf pain all week.