Monday, March 30, 2009

Last Long Run! – Steve

You could not ask for a better day to train for a marathon. Just like Marathon day, I was unsure what to wear. It was cool and in the low 40s and there was a chance that it might be sunny by the time I finished this long run. My plan was to run from the starting line to Natick. Briefly stop at my house, at the 10-mile mark, reload with fluid, GU and change my attire if the weather had changed. On my ride out to Hopkinton I saw hundreds of runners preparing for that final long run in April. I got to Hopkinton center and there were still groups preparing to run. I was ready for whatever would come to me today; it should be a good one.

My goal was to complete at least 24 miles in any time that it takes. The run from Hopkinton was nice and steady and a bit fast without any discomforts. I was taking fluids every fifteen minutes and GU once on the run to Natick. I was expecting to run just under nine-minute miles but I was consistently running 8:30 or faster. This is always something that every runner is concerned with – starting out too fast and burning up at the hills. I got to my house is less time than expected; refueled, changed to warm weather gear and sunglasses and yes, voided. I was off again like a shot and caught up to many of the people that I had previously passed. I got to Wellesley and the half marathon spot in a time that should qualify me for next year...will that be possible? I continued along through the rest of Wellesley and Wellesley Hills and then the slow climb past the Hospital. Things in my left ileal psoas started to tighten up. I made it to the police station and now the long slow climb up the first of three heartbreaks. I pushed on through the first two and then the monster and Johnny Kelley's Heartbreak. Well I made it up all of them but had slowed quite a bit; would I still be a qualifier? It was 21 miles at the top of heartbreak and now I had to run back to the Hospital for my ride home. If someone offered me a ride I probably would have taken it but no, I must push on. It was hard to run down to the Hospital, especially since there were both downhills and then little teaser up hills. I made it back to the Hospital and found myself to be very dry and then consumed quite a bit of water found in the car. I measured the run to be 25.1, which means I would have only a little more than a mile left. That would be just before Kenmore Square. Now I just have to hope that I can get something done to my tendonitis in my ileal psoas. If I can get rid of that between now and the Marathon then I might be able to qualify again. Now it is easy training and hopefully a bit of biking to cross train.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Getting Closer – Steve

This past weekend was strictly skiing and patrolling, using very different muscles from running and resting my ileal psoas. Tuesday I had an hour run with some good hill work and Wednesday a relatively fast short half-hour run. Today I will run for about fifty minutes and Friday I will take the day off in preparation for my long run on the Marathon course. I will start out with many other trainers in Hopkinton. I plan to start out about 8:30 on Hopkinton Common and run to the top of Heartbreak Hill and around BC to complete a 24-mile run. I expect to stop in Natick at my house (approximately 10 miles), and refuel. The weather should be perfect and hopefully I will have a lot of company for the run.

My “Yoga” Routine – Cody

So this has been another good week of training. The knee has behaved itself and I was able to do a nice 12-mile run without pain. The pace wasn't fast, but it didn't hurt and I felt like I could have kept going. Otherwise, I've been putting in a significant amount of time at the gym with a fairly aggressive hip-strengthening program and I'm encouraged in that I feel like I'm getting stronger. I've also added a dynamic warm-up before each program, which has better research for injury protection versus static stretching, only I don't think it has been studied for overuse injuries. I've found it useful though since I have a tendency to just jump right into things.

I've been told that a few people have been interested in my "yoga" program. I put yoga in quotes, because I'm pretty sure if someone who taught yoga saw me doing it, they might see that its yoga based, but I'm pretty much doing my own thing. I have tight hip flexors and hamstrings so that's the focus of the program. I don't know the names of any of the poses except downward dog so hopefully my explanations make some kind of sense.

Bend forward, back relaxed, knees slightly bend. I feel a stretch in my hammies. Arch your back so your trunk is parallel to the ground, knees bent as needed. I also get this one in the hammies.

This next part happens several times, so I'll just call it "transition to downward dog":

Hands on the ground, body in push-up position. Lower down in a push-up, hold for a second, then push shoulders up while hips stay down. Push back into downward dog.

Step one foot forward and do a hip flexor lunge stretch with knee on the ground.
Step back and transition to downward dog, repeat with the other side

Step one foot forward and do a standing hip flexor lunge stretch. Come back up and go into Triangle Pose (ok, I know the names of two of them). Back to standing lunge on the same side, then transition to downward dog. Repeat on the other side.

Step one leg forward and do what I call a pigeon stretch (don't know if that's the official yoga name). Transition to downward dog. Repeat on the other side. And you're all stretched out.

I never thought I would be blogging about yoga!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Four Weeks Away – Sue

Thanks to Carl for the advice! I certainly was not going to question your good advice – so doing a 16 miler was fine with me! I did do that Monday morning in the cold, with gusty winds! Will spring ever get here? My fear is that after training in this cold, snowy winter, we'll get an 80-degree day for the Marathon! I just have to focus on what I can control and forget the rest.

I didn't have any running friends with me today, but on Comm. Ave, I did briefly run along with a girl who was training for the Marathon also. It turns out she is a nurse on 3 West – small world and good luck!

Now that the Marathon is four weeks away, I am glad to have gotten the longer runs out of the way, and hope it will be enough to get me over the finish line.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A Better Week – Cody

This has been a much better training week than the previous few. I'm still having some knee pain, but on Sunday I was able to do an eight-mile run with no pain at all and I felt like I could easily have kept going. I've been cross training and I've been going pretty aggressively after some lateral hip strengthening, which is where I think the root of the problem is. Unfortunately I don't have the time to build the necessary strength for this to not be a problem during the race, so it looks like I will just have to deal with it. That being said, I've decided to forgo the normal 20-mile effort that most fellow marathoners are doing right around this time. I'd rather go into the race with a less reactive knee than more miles under my belt. I'm confident in my current routine and how I've felt on previous long runs that I will finish. I just need to keep reminding myself that my goal is to finish, not to finish fast. The more I run long distances, the more I am convinced that I don't have the genetic gift of lots of slow twitch muscle fibers. I'm much better at running fast for a short period of time, but pushing something that doesn’t' feel very comfortable is part of the fun of the marathon for me. We'll see if I'll be calling it fun at mile 20 of 26, but right now I'm have a good time.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Checking Off the Boxes – Sue

I was away last weekend, when the weather was mild, so I missed getting in a long run on Sunday. But, I thought I could get it in on Monday, but the change in the weather made it impossible. I went for four miles in the snow, and my feet were soaked! I pushed my long run to last Thursday, which was much nicer. I ran 12 miles with friends, past the Hospital, down Beacon to the reservoir and back down Comm. Ave. That just left another eight on my own, which wasn't too bad. Again, it is good to be able to check that box off.

I did go to see Carl Faust in Physical Therapy at the Hospital, who has given me great advice about my training, as well as recommending I get a “knot” in my hamstring worked out over the next few weeks. If I weren't part of this team, and knowing I have these resources available, I am sure I never would've had this issue dealt with. I would have continued on, which I am sure would have affected my training. I am not expecting it to be 100 percent, but I'm sure it will be improved.

On another note, my parents made hotel reservations to come and see me run the Marathon, so now the pressure is on!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Resorting to Cross Training - Cody

When you are training for a specific event, turning to “cross training” generally means that something has not gone according to plan. I have started cross training. Since my 16-mile run I've had growing knee pain. I've had this pain before and its usually short lived, and then I'm back on the road and feeling fine. Not this time. This time it has persisted and I'm getting sharp pain within five minutes of running. I've got a good idea for what is contributing to it and a plan to address it, but it will likely take some time to resolve. Luckily most other activities feel just fine, except for cycling (which, of course would be how I'd prefer to cross train) I can do a one-legged squat with no pain at all. Any of the gym work I've been doing feels fine. Sprints don't hurt and the elliptical feels fine too. So I have plenty of options to keep building my fitness, and I've also been able to get in two workouts per day two to three times per week as I had originally planned, but I'm having a hard time getting the mileage in. So, this weekend I'm bracing myself for a very boring couple of hours on the elliptical with some treadmill work as my knee tolerates. Hopefully I will have news of a dramatic recovery next week and I will be back outside, but for the time being I'm cross training indoors.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Gearing Up For the Big Day - Steve

Well, contrary to my coach's wisdom (my wife), and many running experts I decided that I should run another long run this weekend. My plan was to run at least fifteen minutes longer than last weekend and hopefully that would be two more miles. The day, Saturday, was beautiful and many runners were out doing their long runs. My course would be the same as the previous week except that I would run about two miles further on the marathon course. It was fun seeing all the runners out. As in the past, it has helped to gear me up for the big day. The run went quite well until I was about a mile from home when I felt something cause pain in my thigh....I was thinking stress fracture, torn quadriceps....just make it home and finish the distance. I completed the run and then went to work at home. It help to divert my mine from thinking about the pain, and it worked. Sunday, I did go out for a short, three mile run with my wife and that helped too. Today, Monday, I feel pretty good. I should have easy runs this week and the weekend will be short too. the next long run will probably be on Tuesday of next week.

Taking My Own Advice - Cody

I am not a big fan of stretching. This may seem a little hypocritical since I'm a PT and spend a fair amount of my day telling people what and why to stretch. But I also tell them that it is boring, but one of those things where there aren't any shortcuts. I've noticed that I've fallen into the pattern, as many of the people I see..... of skipping stretching if I can find any little reason not to. Recently however, my wife made me go to a yoga workshop with her and I actually found it quite helpful. I find it at least more interesting than going through a conventional stretching routine and I've actually done my little group of yoga stretches consistently after my workouts. It may help that I felt very tight after my last long run and I've had a few residual aches and pains from it, which is a good motivator to take better care of my body. I've also noticed that when I do the yoga after normal workouts I feel better than if I don't do it. So hopefully this will be the piece that I've been missing to keep my training going forward while avoiding more aches and pains on the upcoming longer runs. This past week has been a more mellow week after a week of hard workouts culminating in the 16 mile run, but the upcoming week will be a little more strenuous. Overall, I still feel like I'm on real injuries yet, good tolerance of my long runs and I'm getting most of my workouts in. My next big test will be coming up soon with a 20-22 mile run. That will be a good test of my marathon readiness and where I should spend more time in my last few weeks of training.