Monthly Archives: October 2013


Glimmer of hope.

Glimmer of hope.

Alright, everyone is dying to know how this leg of mine is doing so here is the latest. As I mentioned before, after 4 days off last week, I started back running nice and slow with a couple of three milers. Each one of those started off pretty sorely but at least I was able to run. After about two miles, the pain in my thigh seemed to improve significantly. I did that for four days and avoided the indoor track at all times. I even resorted to hobbling on the treadmill some.

After an unexpected day off thanks to a flat tire, on an airplane, I put in a 7-8 mile test run with some hills. Again, I had pretty significant tenderness during the first two miles. After that, things seemed to gradually loosen up. Unfortunately, my Garmin didn’t pick up reception for the entire run so all I have is the time data. I would guess that I was moving around 8:00-8:30 pace. I felt moderately sore after that and I dared to let my optimism build some.

Well there's ya problem...

Well there’s ya problem…

After another day off, the potential coup de grace came: the long run. Before the first winter storm in Montana could come roaring in with 50mph gusts, I donned my tights and shoes (my old Saucony Kinvara 3’s mind you) and headed out into the frigid temps.

At first, moving my legs was like churning butter outside in Antarctica. I was extremely stiff and my leg killed me. Honestly, during that first 1.5 miles, I was already starting to think my marathon adventure was over. Yet, I just kept going, trying to focus more on making my gait normal (at least for me), rather than speed. Slowly but surely, the pain started to subside more and more, and I began to ease into my form.

Mid way through my anticipated 13 miles, I strived for getting up to marathon pace, after which I planned to back down. Here’s the data:

Fullscreen capture 10272013 30919 PM

During the middle miles, I was able to get close to pace, and it felt decent. Not anything like before, but tolerable. I think I was on pace as for most of the mile as I was slowing down big time in the turn arounds (2 per mile) as I find turning while running, especially to the right, kills my leg. I also reversed the direction of my run every three miles (I was running around my development), to mix up the turns some.  I got some good stretching in after wards, and so far, I don’t feel too sore. Actually, my calves and ankles feel sorer than my thigh.

Only in Montana do you need to make sure your Halloween decorations look good when being blown sideways by 50mph gusts.

Only in Montana do you need to make sure your Halloween decorations look good when being blown sideways by 50mph gusts.

Based on today, I feel that there is a slight chance I can run Seattle in moderately good fashion as long as I don’t do anything stupid between now and the race. I am certainly not going to try to play “catch up” on my missed long runs. I will probably put in two more long runs of somewhere between 13-18 and then taper down. I’ll keep those much slower than before. I will still keep my tempo and hill sessions in the middle of the week to keep my legs used to 8:00 pace. Also, when I run recovery days, I will just “jog” those, concentrating only on a relaxed form.

Diagnosis wise, I think I am dealing more with an iliopsoas injury rather than a vastus medialis injury. The pain I am getting in my knee is likely referred pain . Most of the aches are coming from my proximal/medial thigh just inferior to the inguinal ligament. I’ll be hitting that with some ice and Biofreeze later.

Time will tell what this December holds for me. But I’m not ready to hang up the shoes quite yet.

Event Horizon

Circling towards disaster.

Circling towards disaster.

Well, it had to happen eventually. The past two weeks of training have been a complete disaster thanks to some self-destructive behavior.

About two weekends ago, I had a pretty decent long run of 18 miles. Pretty much right on pace. Not too sore even though I had been running in my Newtons for only a week at that point. The next day I felt fairly sore, but I was able to tolerate my recovery run of 30 minutes with 10X100m strides. My right thigh was already smarting at this point, but I figured that was part of the experience.

The day after that, it was time for 10 X 4 minute intervals with 3 at marathon pace and then 1 under. I was tethered to work that day, and since I had slept in, I decided to put that run in on the indoor track. The same indoor track that is eight laps to the mile. This was the final straw.

While I made it through that work out fine, the next day I was limping worse than a one legged sea captain in a termite convention. Even worse, I couldn’t run. At all. I took a day off and then tried to get in an eight mile easy run. I quit after .5 miles.  It had finally happened. I was injured. Naturally, I tried to take a few days off, but my type A personality made that hard. I put in two rides and kept swimming, thinking the different leg work would ease my injury out somehow. Unfortunately, this was of no avail.

About a week after the injury started (earlier this week), I was finally feeling able to run, so I gingerly hit the track and made it around okay for half a mile. As it was another interval day on the schedule, I immediately went into 2 min at marathon pace and then 2 min at 7:40. I repeated that ten times. This is the definition of insanity. (caution, awesome yet profanity riddled epic monologue from Far Cry 3 lies behind that hyperlink)

The next day, I was even worse than before and barely able to walk. At that point, thanks to a family and co-worker group intervention, I took 4 days completely off from everything. No running. No cycling. Barely any swimming. Taking for granted that my audience is all stubborn triathletes, I think you can appreciate that taking this many days off made restarting the government look as easy as hitting CTRL-ALT-DEL.

But I certainly needed it. I was still limping terribly two days ago. All the pain is centered along the medial aspect of my right thigh, consistent with an injury to my vastus medialis muscle. From my readings, this muscle is injured when making sharp turns while running. You know, like someone make 32 right hand turns per mile on an indoor track. FACEPALM.


Today, full of calories, sweat, and anxiety, I was so close to going nuclear that Kim Jong- un invited me to North Korea for some basketball. Fortunately, my leg was feeling the best yet today, and I finally laced up the shoes with the wife. It still hurt setting out, but things slowly got better as I made it through 3 miles total. And I mean slow; average pace was 11:15. Still, I was happy to be moving at all, and it is was a beautiful sunny day in the valley.

So, here I am about 5 weeks from the marathon and nursing an injury still. I have missed two long runs. At this time, my goal of doing a 3:30 marathon seems far off. My goal is now to just show up, and then finishing under 4 hours. My coach is going to be working with me this week to reassess my schedule. With some luck and self-control, hopefully I can make it to race day yet. Who knows, maybe I will still muster a big Beldar type surprise….


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