Thursday, November 12, 2009

Boston 2010

Call me crazy (ok - I'll do it - your crazy) but with the Marathon looking like it's going to fill up within a few more days and my Boston qualifier race ready to expire (no good for 2011) - I signed up (it so happens to fall this year right on my 43rd Birthday).

5 months away - I am optomistic about my odds to finish - but it most definately will not be a race - to have fun and cross a finishline is all I want at this point.

Prior to signing up I did go get another MRI - my 4th of the year:
1st - 1/2009 - indicated a stress fracture
2nd - 4/2009 - indicated I'd aggrevated the stress fracture adding a crack trying to come back too soon (at the time I could barely walk for a week and feared not just my running carreer but perhaps my walking carreer was over)....advise was to expect 3-6 months to heal.
3rd - 7/2009 - indicated significant improvement (I'd hope so as I'd done nothing at all exersizing since the prior)....but not perfect.
4th - 11/2009 - no indication of any problem whatsoever (Yahoo!!!!).

This doesn't mean I'm ready to go out and run miles and miles and in fact I am only very very slowly pregressing back this time. My schedule which I copied from Kate recovering from the same injury with what appears excellent PT guidance on such things has been something like this:

3 weeks - ~10 miles total split up thru the week - 4 minutes walking, 30 seconds jogging - max ~3 miles at once.
3 weeks - ~12 miles total split up thru the week - 4 minutes walking, 60 seconds jogging - max ~4 miles at once.

I've just finished the above and now I'm moving on to 90 second jogging and a little more mileage.

Add to that a local PT has given me a bunch of strength training to do ~25 minutes per day that I've been doing about a week.

With this there is some soreness in the hip and buttock but with the MRI clear I'm more convinced it is soft tissue stuff that can be rolled out and deminished with the PT.

Its going to be a long road to get to Boston but I'm looking forward to it.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

This is getting really old........

Rehashing my history again....

Last "Real" run.....11/16/2008 - San Antonio Marathon

Rest Breaks and attempts to come back:

1st - 12/28 - 2 weeks off
2nd - 2/2 - 4 weeks off (some swimming) - attempt up to 3 miles then uncomfortable so stopped
3rd - 3/18 - 5.5 weeks since 2nd (lots of biking some swimming) - attempt up to 5 miles - re-sfx'd worse than ever before - clock starts over.
4th - 7/11 - 15 weeks since 3rd (no biking or swimming) - very short (.6 mile) test runs - slight soreness next day.
5th - 8/1 - 18 weeks since 3rd (some swimming) - still counting from 3rd as 4th I don't think really re-aggravated......slowly progressed thru the month totalling ~60 miles for the month maxing out at 7 miles with a walk break in the middle. A little sourness but seemed to be getting better but then seemed to be getting worse so stopped again 9/2...

..pain initially wasn't quite in the right place - lower in the glut - maybe at SI or piriphormis......but after some days the soreness started again back higher where the SFX was. I tried a weekend of biking (30,55 milers) then it seemed sore again for a few days. I recently switched to pool running ~20-30 minutes a day but now that seems to be making the soreness increase too so I guess I'll stop doing that......I'd really like to get some fitness back but it seems whatever I try is just going to extend my outage.....

Still looking for something that can get me some general fitness - not sure what to try next.

Now the question at hand - when to plan for Attempt #6 ... 18 weeks last time wasn't enough but I don't think I'm as bad off as I was at the end of March - do I count from my last run, my biking or my pool running - I guess since I'm as sore now as I was at my last run I should count from now so 9/17 + 18 weeks = makes January 14th - yikes that a long time away ... this is really really getting old :<.

Guess I'll go do another round with the doctors to see if they can give me other options..

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Update - Return to Running - Attempt # 5.

Started running as I started vacation last week. Vacation was a weekend in NYC followed by a week in mid-upper New York (Corinth to be exact) followed by a week on the beach in Cape May New Jersey.

8/1 - 1 mile
8/4 - 1 mile
8/6 - 1.5 miles
8/8 - 2 miles
8/9 - 2 miles
8/10 - 3 miles (barefoot)
8/11 - 5 miles
8/13 - 4.5 miles (barefoot) ---a little soreness at the end
8/17 - 2.0 miles (barefoot)
8/18 - 3.0 miles (barefoot)
8/20 - 3.0 miles (barefoot) - sore feet from the vibrums on gravel
8/22 - 1.5 miles
8/23 - 3.8 miles
8/24 - 3.0
8/25 - 3.0
8/26 - 3.0
8/27 - 3.2
8/28 - 7.0 miles with a walk break in the middle - no soreness at all
8/29 - 3.0 miles (barefoot)
8/30 - 4.0 miles
*9/1 - 4.4 miles - felt a little sore, 3 mile walk in the PM - felt more sore.
9/2 - 0.4 miles barefoot on grass - soreness not deminishing - bail..

* This one seemed to be the turning point to bad - prior to this the slight soreness I sometimes felt seemed to be deminishing day by day .... maybe because after a day off I was a little tighter? don't know but the double (counting the walk) I think was too much. Soreness wasn't quite in the right place so I wasn't convinced SFX was involved but just thought I needed to get rid of the soreness feeling.

Started doing some strengthening exersizes most days with the thinking to try to strengthen the Glut's to take pressure off the piriformis while running.

9/6 - 35 miles bike ride
9/7 - 55 miles bike ride

noticed a little soreness next couple days around the sfx site so stopped biking.

9/11-9/15 - pool running building up from 10 minutes to about 25 minutes in the last one.

9/16 - a little soreness at sfx site
9/17 - soreness is stronger - even limping a little - at the sfx site as well as lower :-(....

..attempt #5 is over

Monday, July 27, 2009

Return to Running.......Attempt #5....on hold

Was planning to take two weeks off and try again - which would have been this last weekend....figured why not make it 3 instead so I'll try next week. I'm kinda reluctant to try as its failed so many times now what I thought I was done with this but I guess I've gotta get out there sometime.

This thing as been very de-masculating.....I used to pride myself at pushing to the limits thru the little and sometimes not so little pains of running and went 3 years solid without more than maybe a week off due to injury. Now going on 9 months off for something that has barely even been very painful (the word "pain" is a gross exageration) for much of any of it (except for a week in April). Now the very slightest hint of maybe kinda sorta something and I'm heading for the couch.....I so much preferred the prior near indestructable self image...

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Nope - not yet

Very slight bit of soreness at the sfx site as I awoke this morning - I wasn't even positive I might be imagining it but after about 10 steps into starting a run and still feeling - well - I'm going to follow a 2 week off protocol and try again.

kinda feels like I got to eat two chips out of the bag and now I have to stop ... better that than start another 3 months off like last time ...... I just want to run - this is taking FOREVER :( ....

Saturday, July 11, 2009

New Beginnings

Day 2 of running. Yesterday and today I ran around the block (0.7 miles). A glorious run - longest (actually only runs) I've had in over 3 months. No pains whatsoever.....

7/2 MRI results (received yesterday):
"This examination was compared with the patient's previous study performed on 4/13/09. Mild marrow edema is seen in the right side of the sacral ala. This is significantly less pronounced when compared to the patient's previous MRI."

Dr's response - was - ok to try to run a little - let pain be guide - or alternatively to be absolutely sure all healed wait another 4-6 weeks. Decided to give plan "A" a try.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

One Metric Marathon Years Old - 26.2 = 42.2k = my age on 6/28/09

Highest swim day yet was today at exactly 42.2 laps which happens to equal my age today.

The last couple as I pushed off the wall at 40 I thought - that was the finish of the first Boston Marathon at 40 yrs old. Pushing off the other end was NYC marathon at about 40.5 yrs old passing two other marathons including Houston before pushing off again at the other side at 41 with another Boston Marathon - Anchorage in the middle somewhere then pushing off 41.5 at the San Antonio Marathon at 41.5 yrs old. Finish that lap then stop just short of midway for the Metric Marathon of swimming - 42.2 laps.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A Shout-out to IRUNFORBEER

A huge congratulations at WINNING your age group at the Boston Marathon (2:43 50-54)....An unfricken believable accomplishment....I'm totally speechless....well not totally :).

Back in 2007 John (Irunforbeer) and I had a common quest to break the 3 hour barrier at the San Diego Rock n Roll Marathon - with the common name and both fans of Dean Karnasas who was referred as Team Dean (a one man team) in some 200+ mile relay race he did all by himself --- we dubbed ourselves "Team John". Team John Failed that sub3 attempt as we both were not quite ready to bust thru but we have each chalked up our own victories and now the other half (Mr. Irunforbeer) has hit the pinnacle - I am so incredibly excited for your victory John.......Go Team John. (Of course I taught him everything he knows :) )...

Saturday, April 11, 2009

How to get a Stress Fracture in your Sacrum

7/6 Edits Leg Length Measurement and MRI

5/4 Edits blood tests clear..

4/18 Edits (add Stats, leg length info and conclusion revision).

In the interested of clearing this white board in my office where I've diagramed and timelined and built a fault tree diagram to try and figure out what happen - I'm going to copy it all down here.

Stats:In a study of running related stressfractures (1978) 55% Tibia, 23% metatarsals (toe bones), 14% fibula (small calf bone), 6% femur (thigh bone) 1% ankle bones, 1% pubic arch bone and 0.1% sacrum. (Noakes - Lore of Running). (I suspect it was underreported back then with fewer means to detect - but still).

Not too common of a place to get a SFX but somewhat common for a high end distance runner from what I've found in my studies on it.........

Root Cause Analysis – Stress Fracture in the Sacrum.

Problem Statement – Injury in the area of my Right Buttock after the San Antonio Marathon caused an inability to race or even run for many months.

Timeline (blogger style – newest first – I wrote this chronological then decided to flip it around so I could add new stuff at the top as things progress – if anyone actually reads this it might be helpful to start at the bottom and go up - might flow better):

7/6 - CT Scan to measure leg lengths - waiting results but I got a copy of the data - by my measurement the the legs are very very close to each other - within a couple millimeters - we'll see what the doc says. Still waiting MRI results.

7/2 - MRI today - waiting results. Tech's words were getting better - not as good as all better but at least better than no change.

5/4 - received blood tests for samples taken 4/14. Apparently Vitamin D takes a while - not done local. Results came back all within normal limits. But just in case I've been religious about taking Ultra-bone vitamins I got at the supermarket for the last few weeks. All pain is gone and I'm walking normal with no limp. Still holding off any exersizing - I'm probably being a bit over cautious in cutting out the crosstraining I was doing but I don't really understand why 3 months between MRI's and the bone doesn't look better - doc seems to think it was the running but there was so little of that - just doesn't make sense to me - I'm thinking perhaps the crosstraining was a part of the slow healing so I'm holding off on that too.

4/15 - Dr. Visit to review MRI result and drill him with questions :). Made me feel much better about having some pain - most comforting words were a broken bone hurts for 4-6 weeks - I was very concerned that with each movement I made that had a little pain I was making the break worse and had lots of bad scenario's ringing around my head - very nice to hear some pain is just normal. Walking is so much easier today - still limping but not nearly so much - feels like the corner is turned :). The thought of a few months off gives me not the slightest disappointment (ok maybe slight) as long as it all heals up normal.

Currious thing - I was convinced leg lengths were the same but my wife assisted me in measuring up to the hip bone on each side and found a full centemeter difference with the right leg shorter - that could explain it all and so easy to fix with a shoe insert. I know someone else who had this same injury and she found the same difference in leg length. Doc's going to do a CT Scan to get an accurate measurement before I start running again.

4/14 - MRI Results - a crack (small line on right side of Sacrum) - treatment - 3 months rest - high likelihood will fix - no repetitive exersize - let the pain guide what's ok shortterm around mobility - maybe bike/swim after 6 weeks or so - depends - take new MRI after 3 months to be sure all is gone then can start running again. Prescribed to get bloodwork to be sure no underlying issue preventing healing. Checking if electrical stimulation makes sense (low expectations - expensive with questionable value and unlikely to be approved for something like this - still pursuing just in case might be helpful), Screw/pin - rarely used in this area - high risk - bone graph would be next option in the unlikely event just rest didn't fix. No mention of sports hernia on the report - I'm hoping this was a false diagnosis related to the abductor pain I had felt a few times only for about 1 week prior to the MRI - perhaps just a mild thing that needed a little healing time.

I was just happy he stopped using words like catastrophic making the healing process seem pretty normal. Although I thought I was being pretty cautious with this SFX over last few months - I can see looking back over this log I was not cautious enough - bone is a very different animal than soft tissue injuries - the slightest extra pushing can be very bad on bones. Seems most likely the crack came from running 3/28.

4/11 – Get another MRI…..awaiting results – bracing for a “crack” result – no idea what would be done for something that he says doesn’t heal – maybe a screw or a pin – who knows but it doesn’t sound like just wait “X” months……..We’ll see – I’m a little worried….

4/10 – progression is getting worse – buy crutches as now I’m limping most every step – the words of the doctor “Cracks in Stress Fractures don’t heal” are ringing thru my head.

4/9 – Visit a different doctor (orthopedic) – much more helpful than the last – goes thru the prior MRI with me and explains the injury better - I had somehow thought the SFX was a very small crack and I had squinted at that MRI trying to see it – he pointed out a whole section of the bone that was swollen from what he described as an extended period of over stress/micro fracture/heal – not like a single crack – guess that is what a SFX is and not a single crack – he explained SFX’s heal slower than a clean break – typically prescribes 3 months of no impact type sports (i.e. no running – biking and swimming are fine since they don’t impact). It’s nice to have a more helpful doctor. He was consistent with the other doctor in downplaying the significance of “Sports Hernia” impression from the radiologists on the last MRI – hope they are right. But he kept using words like “catastrophic” when we looked at the MRI and talking about the difference between a “crack” and a SFX – a crack in a SFX apparently will not heal.

3/29-4/11 – no exercise – initially no pain but progressively each day is a little worse than the prior from normal activity.

3/28 5.0 Ended quite disappointed that the pain in the butt was back and was definitely a building pain that was not going to go away with more miles. Time to stop running again – hopefully I didn’t re-injured by this run.

3/18 1.0/1.7,3/19 1.0, 3/20 0, 3/21 0.56 (after a bike ride – man that’s a tough transition), 3/22 2.6, 3/24 3.0, 3/25 4.6 – All these with minimal discomfort – I considered normal aches and pains of starting run after a time off although I didn’t like that that discomfort was in the area of the injury (clue?).

Running (5.5 weeks since the 5k, 10 weeks from prior “last” run)

3/21 56 (flying fast 21 mph average), 3/22 47

3/15-20 – skiing all week – no problems – a few short bike rides as well.

2/21 55 miles, 2/28 47, 3/1 36, 3/6 16, 3/7 33, 3/8 46

Biking (no pain from this activity around injuries)

2/9,2/16 – swimming lots of laps – much improved.

2/2-8 – 4 weeks off since last run – try to gingerly run (treadmill) – M 0.5, T 1.0, W 1.5, Th 2.0, F .57, S 3.1 (a local 5k I jogged very very slow – noted pain in the butt after 2.5 miles –should have walked the rest but didn’t).

1/26,2/2 weeks – learning swim strokes in the pool (Total Immersion).

Swimming (no pain from this activity around injuries)

1/19 week – nada

1/12 week – nada

1/9 – get MRI results – SFX in Sacrum Ala and Sports Hernia “impressions” (Doctor – orthopedic - unhelpful with any input whatsoever – just says to take time off – not even guidance on how long – so I go google)

1/2 – MRI

1/1 – 2.1, 1/2 – 4.8(upper thigh abductor pain), 1/4 – 5.6(upper thigh abductor pain), 1/6 – 4.25 (upper thigh abductor pain)

12/28 20 miles for prior week – Christmas Day up to 5-6 miles – No more pain in the butt but the upper thigh pain starts again then comes abductor pain shooting down the leg towards end of the run – walk home.

12/21 – no running – XRAY shows all clear – appointment for MRI keeps getting delayed thru holidays.

12/14 – no running

12/7 – 18 miles total – 5 mile max at once – expert massage – also using tennis ball for massaging – someone got me thinking toward piriphormis syndrome that seemed to fit the symptoms so I was self treating for this.

11/30 – 22 miles total for past week – pushed to 10/8 miles on a couple runs – still noted back of hip joint pain then upper thigh pain.

11/23 – tried a run on my own – ended up 13 miles with walk breaks every few miles I notice – I note symptoms of – back of hip joint pain than after a while upper thigh pain.

11/22 – Club run – 10 miles – first few pretty slow then 5 up to ~7mpm pace then dropped off pace of the others and walked much of the last couple miles back to the start as they went on a few more miles – I don’t recall the issues. When I got to the start I asked the club massage therapist for a massage (I’d never done that before) – I recall noted to focus on sore calves and SI joint area.

11/17-21 – M 5, T 0, W 7, Th 0, F 9 – all very slow running guided by – enjoy the run of whatever distance feel good – these post race runs after a marathon for me are much driven by the euphoria of the race and a reliving of dream kinda thing – no pressure to go farther or push any limits. No recollection of any issue abnormal on these runs.

11/16 – S - San Antonio Marathon – Don’t recall anything in the race. I did start the race with 2 IBP so it could be any pain I should have been feeling was masked. Finished race with lots of euphoria so perhaps wasn’t noticing any pain.

11/10 – bailed on a workout – noted in the log “hip pain”.
9/2008 – PT noted I have a weak right hip by having me lay flat and raise right and left leg as he pushed them back down . Along with this I had issues when not running balancing on left foot and raising right foot with pain around the hip.

2/2008 – Groin Pain following a 5k race a couple weeks after the Houston Marathon (right leg abductor pain). Impacted running for a few weeks – I found I could after a slow and cautious warm-up I could run any distance or speed I wanted without impact. (Perhaps the Genesis of a Sports Hernia??)

Causes/Preventions for Next Time
Stress Fracture in the Sacrum causes (and preventions) from my studies are several – I don’t know my exact cause but have lots of risk factors that likely added up to the injury.

Typical Causes:
Quick ramp up in intensity – bones not stressed and strengthened to the new intensity level and vulnerable to SFX due to this low strength:

My Risk Factor on this – Only the San Antonio Race itself lends itself to this description of a quick ramp-up in intensity. In training I had 3x20 mile runs - fastest 6:40 average then going to 26.2 at 6:05 pace on race day (10% faster and 30% longer than anything in training) - perhaps too big a jump at once - perhaps should have had harder workouts in training to prepare the body/strengthen the bones for the raceday stress. Training in general was slower prior to this race than any other of the year due to the heat of the training months prior to the race. Race Day was accelerated over training speeds by the combination of a very cold day for the race and the extra benefit from what I’ve called the turbodrive routine I did prior to the race to give me a little extra race day speed.

Imbalances in running form – Leg length differences have been seen to cause this injury, also running on a slanted road, also an abducted foot (slanted out).

My Risk Factor on this – I run a large variety of running surfaces so the slanted road doesn’t seem to make sense for me. Haven't done the leg length measurement correctly yet but by home-measurements I do find my left hip bone is about 1 cm higher than my right. Also off the MRI laying on my back I found the top of my left femur to be 9 mm higher than my right on the film - need to get that measured right and consider a shoe insert.

An exagerated visual of the impact of leg length difference - extra forces transfered to the point of my stress fracture seems to make visually make sense:

Also I do notice on video footage I happen to have I do have an abducted right toe – I found a perfect scene in 2008 Boston video to see I’m running along the yellow line in the middle of the street where my left foot lands exactly parallel with the line but my right foot is slanted with my toe about an inch outward off center from my heel. I even have a certain whole body sway I see in all video’s I can find that seems to highlight a right side imbalance. I’m also noting nearly all my running injuries have been on the right side so I’m thinking this is root cause of lots of stuff. I do get the impression this is not hard to fix this with shoes and certain strength exercises now that I know to go fix it.

Mineral Issues – Low Calcium – This was apparently what happen to Deena Kastor who suffered a broken bone in her foot a few miles into the Olympic Marathon “I was doing a long run in Colorado while there for the Boulder Bolder, and drank out of a stream. Most mountain girls would know better, but I thought I was at a high enough elevation to quench my 15 mile thirst. I was really sick for 3 weeks (one of those weeks in which I ran the NY Mini 10K) until I finally took medication. In that time I lost 5 pounds that was difficult to put back on in marathon training. My blood was depleted of minerals so it grabbed the nutrients from my bones."

My Risk Factor on this – although I drink lots of milk I don’t focus much on vitamin intake and have never focused on taking Calcium but I do find listed as a preventative for stress fracture to take Calcium and Vitamin D – This is now and will continue to be a focus I will do once I get running again.

Weak Abdomen/Core – Stronger abdomen/core helps to stabilize the pelvis and put less stress on the bones.

My Risk Factor on this – I never did core work – definitely will be a focus area once I get running again and before.


I don't really know what happen specifically but I did have enough risk factors that I was unaware of that in the end I think I was destine for something like this as I got faster - with speed comes harder pounding and with harder pounding comes higher stresses and a weak point is revealed. I suspect the a heal insert to even out the leg length delta, maybe fixing the gait issues (running form) as well as some core strength building and focus on vitamins could have prevented this - I got away with it at slower speeds but at some point I got fast enough that these weaknesses became important. Lesson learned for next time. One of the hazard of not being coached is I'm having to figure it all out myself where a coach probably would have pointed out some of these things that now seem somewhat obvious.

In hindsight recovery has been done all wrong - needed a solid several months off without impact sports and still haven't had it yet. All prior injuries were couple days off or run through and it gets better eventually kinda things - this was was clearly a different animal although it took a while to realize. Better listening to signals and responding could have made this so much less an issue.....probably most important lesson of all - and one I hope to never have to relearn ever.


ps - been thinking of a new handle for my next running life - I'm hoping the comebackkid or some variant might work...

Thursday, March 26, 2009

kayry - signing off

Some rambles of the past few years: 6942 miles in over 2005-2009 (nearly the diameter of the planet) with 2939 miles in this last year - about 18 pairs of shoes, 1 racing flat and 1 spikes and one I call the alligator shoes - two treadmills with over 500 miles on each. 7x 5k's, 2x 8ks, 4x 10ks, 2x 10M, 7x 1/2 marathons, 3x 30ks, and 10 Marathons + 2 relays and 3 track meets (one win over Exxon and one Loss) with at least one T-Shirt for each race. Two Pedometers, One Nike Triax with HRM, One Garmin 305 with HRM - two strap replacements. Tracking Computer Programs by Forerunner, MotionBased, Topofusion and Sportstracks (my favorite and my "official" log). Spreadsheet studies on Speed vs Heartrate, changes over time, changes day to day and trying to identify every possible variable that controls it (heat, sickness, coffee, hydration level, road vs trail vs treadmill, wind, am vs pm, time since a meal, how recovered from prior workout - I've studied and correlated every possible variable :) ). Lab result said 64 VO2max (2:35 marathoner for VDOT) when my best marathon was 3:01 - I nearly got my VDOT to match that lab result since then - 4-5 minutes to go. Other spreadsheets to size up the competition - tracking local Masters and how they do in races - rank ordering them and seeing where I rank - watching for the once just ahead of me when I get to races. Family support along the way including my daughter (and sometimes my son too) riding her bike next to nearly every mile I ran leading up to my first marathon. Cheering squads at races nearly always including my wife and kids but also with some extraordinarily extra effort by my sister and nieces cheering me at two Bostons, NYC and Houston and my brother at NYC and San Diego and my Dad at San Diego and Boston and some extended family also coming out to Boston. The race of great embarrassment to me at my first San Diego with my wife, two kids, brother and wife, parents and even inlaws all out to San Diego with my Marathon cornerstone event of the trip - and I get a DNF because of a stomach bug (I think that gave me a major kick in the butt to be better). Some incredible running experiences along the way - wildlife discoveries (Banana spiders make thick webs, possum can be snuck up on at night by accident, bats like to swoop down into my headlight at night, deer are always a pleasant thing to come across, a full grown Moose will let you run right in front of its nose and doesn't charge, its a creepy feeling to run the back trails in Alaska and see all the evidence of Bears and Moose - got me a little nervous) - best running surfaces - Golf Courses (until you get kicked off) and 1-2" of freshly fallen snow. Best running time - after everyone has gone to sleep at night - very peaceful. Running while travelling - Alaska, Maui, Lake Tahoe, Anacortes-WA, Auburn-CA (along the trails of Western States Race), Seattle thru U of W out to Greenlake and back (where I grew up thru elementry school), San Diego thru my college (UCSD), Denver, Central Park, Times Square, Wellseley College - Boston, Contra Costa-CA, Near Seattle Airport, New Orleans, Hot Springs Arkansas (Where I had to get my VO2max workout in and drove all around looking for a highschool at about midnight - found one and snuck onto the track and had what seemed to the the hardest and most fabulous VO2max workout ever). Sad runs thru destruction's of Lake Tahoe Fires - charred homes. Local running including many miles of fallen trees and damaged houses following the destruction of Hurricane Ike. Hot, humid, winds up to tropical storm strength (no I didn't get out for a Hurricane Ike run although I kinda wanted to), downpours of rain (I got excited to run in the rain - heavier the better), thunderstorms, thru muddy and flooded areas. Wonderfully shaded trails that network all around my house, East End Park a couple miles away with a few miles of dirt trails (great fun in the rain but had to bring old shoes), the local middle school at 4 am with no lights - recall many interval worksouts on a crisp morning looking up to a full moon - once I was surprised to catch an unexpected eclipse on one of those. Setbacks along the way with runner knee early on, Plantar Fasccitis hanging with me for 6 months or so - both feet for some of that time, Achilles soreness (curiously still a bit tender even though I haven't run in months), pulled abductor muscles. Many lost toe-nails - always the mortors toe - btw my toes look pretty nice now all grown back :). Races with mountain top experiences and agony of poor performances - First Boston was the experience of a lifetime - can never be topped I think although many other moments came much closer than I thought could be possible - the surprising unexpected massive 16 minute PR in Houston last year still floors me - Anchorage all on my own running thru hills in a beautiful place I'd never been to before with perfect weather and perfect pacing to leave me with power to the end, San Antonio - finally getting my sub 2:40 I felt was within for the prior 4 races but just couldn't get on the clock - what a perfect weather day and the perfect finishing photo and quickest time from finishline to beer (gotta love VIP). Friends along the way too many to count from online running forums that gave virtual "kin" when I knew no runners to the Local running clubs to fellow relayers in team competitions to other runners at my work to runner commodore among competitors when I see them at races to bloggers to people I don't know me but somehow know me - "oh that hypertechnical blogger guy". The non-runners that really have no interest in my running and hear only blah blah blah with anything I say about it but pretend to be interested - and the ones that actually are interested. The very interesting discussion along the way - debates about using heartrate or perceived effort for racing. The fine tuning of all variables to make the perfect marathon - never really cared about any other distance except as tune up races for the real race - discoveries along the way - Turbo Charge - which I have yet to find any serious runner do more than shake there head and roll there eyes at me about (but I swear - it works!!!).

I'm incredibly proud of what I've accomplished in 2008 and will cherish several claims to fame including:

  • Three of the best four marathon times for a Master Texan on in 2008*.
  • 2 Masters Wins at semi-major marathons (Houston, San Antonio).
  • 2nd and 4th place at a couple smaller races (Seabrook, Anchorage).
  • Fastest time for a Master Texan at the Boston Marathon for this last decade (where I beat Lance Armstrong by a mile).
  • A whole page article in the Inside Texas Running Magazine
  • Youngest winner of the Moose Mug Challenge with sub 2 hr + Age.

*Yeah - I know my co-worker Wilmer should be #1 not #3 - San Antonio adjusted his CHIP time out of the money due to his late start - an outrageous thing to do imo. But at least I get to have some fun with him at work for beating him even though he has me so outclassed its not even close (First marathon ever a 2:37 then a follow up 2:32 in Houston - an incredible master runner).

What a year it was, what a few years it was and I just love this image at the end of it all - a high flying moment.


Now its time to step away......I thought I was on my way back from injury - ran a few times then tried for 5 miles yesterday. As has been true for the last 3-4 months in running - as I get above 2-3 miles - a pain in the butt develops kinda like a piriformis syndrome which I've come to associated with the stress fracture in the Sacrum (ala) that showed up on an MRI back in January. About 7 weeks ago on my last run over 3 miles I felt it, 5 weeks prior to that before I got my MRI I had similar things going on. So - well - its apparently NOT healed up yet again and in fact I fear I've aggravated it in that run yesterday possibly restarting the healing clock yet again. Very frustrating to say the least.

I just can't run and haven't been able to for 4+ months. My running fitness is gone - and I've got to let this damn stress fracture heal which now after that run feels worse than it ever did even when not running. Once it does heal up then I'm still not a runner yet as I have to test out some running to see if I need to do anything about the other ailment from my MRI - the Sports Hernia - which may need to be fixed by one of two doctors in the country by operation which I'm certainly not going to do until I know I have. Unfortunately I can't know if I have to until I'm actually running again to see the extent of discomfort/pain from it.

So - I feel like I just need to close this chapter down - I'm frankly not a runner any more for a while - no longer kayry - running engineer. I'm dropping that handle. When I pick the sport back up for my 3rd running life - whenever that might be - 2, 4, 6 months away or more - I'll choose a new handle and start over.

In the mean time I am enjoying cycling (well - I will again once the pain in the butt stops) - although I don't see how to make that into more than a weekend recreational kinda thing. It's not practical to ride during the week with a job (guess I could get a trainer). Also not very portable for travelling like running. But I enjoy the long bike rides especially with the local cycling group so I'll keep doing that. I really don't think that is aggravating my SFX as there is no pain with it.

I'm most definitely NOT enjoying swimming although I do think I've gotten a lot better. Open water I think I could probably enjoy but this back and forth in a pool and smelling like chlorine all day is for the birds.

Anyway - signing off for now - looking forward to the next chapter whenever it might be.


..........kayry (no more)


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Sports Hernia Investigations...

I thought I'd post this for the benefit of those who are thinking they've got what I've got (but probably don't) or just like to read lots of boring details about such things. Here was a letter to the leader in the country for dealing with Sports Hernia which details my history in the hopes of confirming the diagnosis I got from an MRI. It's got all the variables I could think of that seemed important for his input....

Dr William Meyers
245 N 15th St, MS 413
NCB, Suite 7150 7th floor
Philadelphia, PA 19102

John Hill

Date – 2/6/2009

Please fine enclosed:
MRI Images CD
Radiology Report

Dear Dr. Meyers,

As you can see from the attached radiology report I have been diagnosed with Sports Hernia. I have not been able to locate anyone local that can provide any confirmation of this diagnosis nor to give me any input of what I should do about it. Thru googling I’ve found your name as the one with the most experience in treating this injury so I was hoping get your opinion on the MRI to confirm (or not) the diagnosis and recommend treatment options.

Background on me:

I’m 41 years old. I’ve become a fairly competitive marathoner over the last few years starting running at age 38 after 20 years off from high school. I ran around 60-80 miles per week in training last year including 5 marathons between 2:39 and 2:47. Looking back I’d say there may have been symptoms worth mentioning going back to August/September timeframe:

August/September/October – right hip pains – especially when doing things like getting dressed where I would have to get on one foot for putting on socks or pants. Location of the pain I think was on the front about ½ way between the hip and the groin. There was not typically much pain from this while running or walking except occasionally with some random twist. Heavy lifting seemed to be an aggravator. A physical therapist at my running club did a test on me back in September and noted my right leg is much weaker than my left when I lay flat and try to lift it.

November – Ran my last marathon (PR’d it @ 2:39) – I don’t recall anything particularly of issue in the race – the mild hip pain on twists required a little gingerly treatment but having aches and pains post marathon is normal.

1 week after marathon – I had been jogging a few miles each day but on Saturday 6 days after I tried for 13 and may have done them a little fast – not really that fast but maybe on tight muscles from the marathon it was too fast – ended up walking towards the end although I don’t recall why. Also got a massage right after this run – I’ve wondered if he did something wrong.

For the next few days I could only get a few miles into a run then had pain in the butt, which I came to believe was Piriformus Syndrom.

Went thru the rest of November and December trying resting a few days then running easy but never got more than 6 miles at a time before building up pain got me to stop. Eventually thru massaging and chiropractor help the pain in the butt stopped but as I ran I would start to get a dull pain in the upper thigh and then a sharper pain down the inside of my right leg – after the sharper pain started I would stop running and head home – on a few occasions the sharper pain started again always around 4-5 miles into the run at which point I would stop running.

Once I got the MRI results I connected the piriformis symptoms to the stress fracture in the Scrum - I’ve found few runners in google searches that first thought they had piriformis syndrome then found a stress fracture in the sacrum so that seems to fit. I suspect the stress fracture is related to an abducted toe when I run (right toe goes out about an inch while left stays plum) which I am noting now as I look back on video’s of myself running – that and likely just plain overuse. Not sure if it the fracture happen at the race or in the run the following weekend.

I connected the pain down the right inner leg and the dull upper thigh pain to the Sportsman hernia – really not sure if those symptoms connect to that or not. The inner thigh pain I’ve actually felt once before exactly the same – after a fast, short 5k race back in February – for a couple weeks I had to be quite gingerly about warming up as the pain was a concern – but after warm-up of a mile or so the pain was gone and I could run whatever speed or distance without bother for it.

Stress fracture repair is easy – just rest a couple months and back to 100% - but the sports hernia is a question for which I come to you.

I’ve not run at all during January and all pain seems to be declining including the pain associated with getting on one foot when I get dressed. I did seem to re-aggravate that particular pain lifting something heavy last weekend and for the last several days that same pain when I get on one foot is back again on the right side – that seems to be diminishing. Now I’m wondering if THAT is the symptom associated with the Sports hernia and not that pain down the right leg – or maybe both are associated with it.

Anyway – the pain is not at all debilitating however as the stress fracture should now be about healed I’d like to get back in shape for racing again and I don’t know what to expect from the Sport Hernia.

From what I’ve read it appears my symptoms are mild however I get the impression the injury only gets worse – not better. Since I haven’t tried to run yet I don’t know if it limits my running but I suspect strongly it will.

Looking forward to your input.



Response from Dr. Meyer's office - can't confirm diagnosis - need to fly to Phily for an MRI specific for sports hernia (muscle or other tissue pulls away from the pubic bone) - depending on what's found can have operation same visit. Recovery I've heard from 2-weeks to 2 months. Noted was there does seem a correlation between sports hernia and hip issues.

The operation - Two options - 1) Meyers: Through an inch-long incision, he sews up the tears in a way that tightens some abdominal wall attachments to the bone, and loosens others to restore stability. His patients play again by six weeks. 2) Cattey (in Milwaukee) , operating through quarter-inch incisions, covered the damaged area with an index card-sized piece of mesh that he screwed into the pelvic bone. Scar tissue grows into the netting, strengthening the spot to prevent future tears. Option 1 from my research has been done thousands of times and Option 2 hundreds of times and the success rate appears higher with Option 1 so that's what I'm pursuing.

I'm working thru the insurance issues - clearly not a doctor in my HMO network - but then there is no such doctor since there are only two in the country so it should count as in network anyway as I'm told - but I'm still working on convincing the insurance company this is a necessary thing.

Once I convince them then I just need to convice myself :).

There it all is - all the details.....

Monday, March 23, 2009

Cycling Update

Things are coming along in cycling - seeing some good improvement as seen in a little table below of my longer rides:

Date Miles Speed HR Wind Group/Alone
22-Mar 47.1 17.8 149 5.8 Alone
21-Mar 56.5 20.9 153 4.5 Group
8-Mar 46.4 18.4 158 4.6 Alone
1-Mar 36.4 15.7 155 19.6 Alone
28-Feb 47.6 16.4 XXX 18.7 Group
21-Feb 54.6 16.0 164 10.4 Alone

Nice to see the average HR dropping while the speed is increasing. I think last Saturday's 21 mph ride might have had some extra benefits from altitude training as I ski'd, biked and even ran a little in Colorado Rockies most of last week.

For Running - I've just started gingerly back into that - up to 2.6 miles before the bikeride yesterday - hopefully injury is in the past. Lots of little aches and pains as I get started again that I expect will die away after a couple weeks. I tried a to go around the block after the bikeride on Saturday too - that running after a bike ride thing is going to take some getting used to - the legs don't like that - gave up on that pretty quickly - I'll have to work on that transition...

Next up - Lone Star 1/4 Ironman April 5th -- more just to go thru the motions of it all than to "race". This will probably be my first open water swim....somehow have to get the images of jelly fish and sharks out of my head :).

Friday, February 27, 2009

Let the biking begin :-)

Ok - so I'm starting the biking thing now.

My write-up from last Sunday:

We are all about pushing the limits - seeing where they are - traditionally for me this has been to see how fit I can get and how fast I can go at that fitness. Well today was a little different. Today was a test of how hard can I push myself totally unfit - haven't had a good workout routine in 3 months - the aerobic engine is in a bad state right now - a minimal amount of swimming helps a little but still. The "race" was a biking fundraiser with course options of 4, 20, 46.5 and 55 miles (which one do you think I picked). Now I did about 1 week of biking 5 days that week back about new years. I intended to get in some spin classes this week to prep the legs a little but that didn't work out - so I figure - what the heck - I'll do the bike race anyway and see what happens.

Goal - sub 3 hrs for 55 miles - double marathon distance - surely I can go twice as fast riding as running.

After looking long and hard I discovered I was NOT the only one at the race with a Schwinn Bike - I found 2 others among the thousands of Treks and Cannonballs(oops - Cannondales) and Giants ....... And there were even a couple others out there with toe clips and regular shoes too.

Off we go - no gun - no starting line - just kinda a slow wavish kinda star. I'm feeling good and a little impatient among all the 10 mph bikers so I move my way up - after a while I find there is a certain protocall for passing - a "on your left" shout-out to the biker being passes - also I was told in no uncertain terms I should NEVER pass on the right. The miles click off for a while - then 20 miles or so in there is a big headwind. I learn to draft - much simpler than pushing thru the wind myself - when a group of bikers would come by I'd try to jump on the back end of them and get pulled along - conserving energy - after a few miles of this I find the group I was behind at the time is too darn fast for me - I drop off and I'm stranded with no one to draft behind - that is some tough mileage into the wind.

After several miles of this wind we come on a rest stop about 1/2 way thru the race.....bikers actually do rest at rest stops - not like in a marathon - swoop in - grab a cup and go - they stop, get off bikes, chow down cookies and drinks - socialize - I badly needed a rest stop - biker style and I took full advantage - in fact I lied down for a good 10 minutes trying to get my heart rate down. Interesting thing on heartrate - I was kinda expecting ~150ish since I run marathons 160ish and I've always heard biking heartrate is slower - but a sign of how out of shape I am - I was riding nearly the whole first half in the mid to higher 170s. At one time I even went higher than what I thought was my max heartrate. I badly needed that 10 minute break - truth be known - I wanted to quit right there but I had the small problem of being 25 miles from my car.

I move off that nap-time break and start riding again - all mojo was gone and I could barely maintain a crawl - after 5-6 miles of this I see the covetted words I'd longed to see "Starbucks" - I pull out of the race and go in to get an extra large ice water and call and wine to my wife for a while as I drink it down (slowly). She provide playful mocking words to my torments. Time to go - as it turns out in a 1/4 mile there was another rest stop with bikers all milling around - I skipped it and kept going. Somewhat rejuvinated I'm able to ride a steady pace to the next rest stop where I get off do the biker style rest stop - I'm kinda getting used to this. 15 miles to go - I'm just trying to keep moving. A biker told me a secret trick at these rest stops - eat pickles - who am I to argue - I did - I felt so much better after that rest stop.

Off I go - in pain for the last stretch of the ride - it felt no different to me than miles 20-26.2 of the marathon - just plugging along - in pain.

So I finished - didn't get sub3 - but I did get sub4. Finished in 3:25 minutes of riding time and 30 minutes of stopping time - but I finished - felt good to push thru poor time I think I'd like to be a little trained for it..

Time to Gear Up

Ok - time to go SHOPPING!!! Found some biking stores and I'm starting to gear up - got the gel gloves, the shoes/pedals - searched around for a used bike and got an incredible deal on an awesome barely used bike. And now I get to post it ----- bike porn:

A Giant TCR2 road bike (Carbon fiber seat post and forks) with less than 200 miles on it with computer that I picked up for a song (about 1/3rd the price of new).....I'm off to get it all adjusted to me at the bike shop today - looking forward to giving it a spin this weekend....

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Houston Marathon '09 - DNS - the non-racing Race Report


Houston Marathons over the last few years to me have marked the beginning and the end of the year. Typically Jan 1 is 90% done with a training cycle so it was not a logical finishing of the year - so the Marathon was the finish of MY year.

2007 Started with a 3:10 and ended with a 2:40 Houston Marathon. I had a stretch 2008 goal in the back of my mind to earn a spot as a local elite in the 2009 Houston Marathon. Right off the bat a surprise master's winner at the '08 Houston Marathon earned me the spot - I just love being on that list forever - true that it was among the slowest winning master's time in the last 30 years - but it was a lightning fast race for me.

2008 Started at that 2:40 - had some truly amazing running and racing that thrills me to reflect on ending with San Antonio Marathon in November. The Cherry on the Cake plan/dream had been to come back to Houston in the best fitness ever for another step change in performance (I was planning sub2:35 fitness and I think I had a good plan to get there although weather likely would have slowed a little)- but that was spoiled by injury.

To make the best of this - I elected to make the Houston Marathon 2009 everything it could be without the race......and it was awesome - let me tell you about it:


Plan had been my Sister and Niece (my biggest fans besides my wife/kids - both have travelled to 2 Bostons and NYC marathon races of mine to cheer) were flying in for my big race and I put them in the 5k Houston race along with my son to give them something "fun" to do while I was off racing. No change in the 5k plans but my plans got modified :-).

I figured I'd soak up all the Local Elite Perks I could - even if I can't run. Thursday night I went to a free dinner :-) and got to socialize with a few of the other local elites - even had them all sign my ITR magazine article that had a little bio on each of us that Jon Walk put together as a souvenir. I also got to spend a little time with the Course Director - Stan - who I run with occasionally up in Kingwood. Fun evening and that Greek Lasagna was good...

Friday I get my sister/niece from the airport and really enjoy hanging out with them for a while - we hit her with a surprise birthday party as it happened to be her last couple days of the 3X'er so we had to throw a bunch of over the hill embarrassment at her :-) and planned out 5k race plans and spectating plans - after all - I knew 20+ runners and was eager to live the run vicariously thru them.

Stan give me a call and invites me to be a part of the volunteer work supporting the marathon as he needs someone to ride in the lead police car ahead of the marathon. At first I was tentative about it - I really wanted to see them finish the 5k - but then after I mentioned to the family it became clear it was such an excellent way to kinda experience the race even though I couldn't run it - I couldn't pass it up - and my Wife/Daughter (designated spectators) promised to take pictures/videos. In fact this was very exciting way to experience the marathon.

Saturday we head down to the expo to grab the 5k packets and I figure since I'm there I'd go ahead and pick up my race packet too. I had to go to a special Elite Hospitality Suite to get it where the family raided the food spread they had layed out and I got to chat with a couple of the volunteers. The Race Packet was very cool - I got a special long sleeve shirt that has embroidered "Local Elite Athlete" and was felt really special when I saw my bib number --- NUMBER ONE!!!!! --- Pretty Cool. While down there I try to hook up with Stan by phone to find out my assignment and he turns around and invites me and all I have with me to lunch - we were all hungry and looking to go for lunch anyway so sounded like a fit. After some confusion getting to the restaurant we find ourself at a pretty fancy Mexican Food Restaurant with what seemed to be the Marathon Committee. We had a great time visiting with the Race Director, Brant, and other organizers of the marathon. I got a major ego boost when the Race Director comes up to me and says - "are you the 4:40 to 2:40 marathoner" - I guess Stan had been bragging on me [being the engineer I felt compelled to correct the numbers - 4:30 to 2:40 :-)]. That mega impressed my wife and sister that some stranger who is head of the Houston Marathon would know something about a me. Absolutely awesome company to visit with for lunch - everyone had a great time. And they even picked up our check and expensed it to the marathon - I really wasn't expecting a free lunch in addition to all the great fellowship - how totally cool!!

I learn my assignment for the Marathon - in the unlikely event the marathon route should be blocked for whatever reason - my responsibility was kinda the last line of defence should all other preparations fail - to make up a new work-around course on the fly that does not make the marathon route shorter - longer is ok but not shorter. Of course this translates to - in the likely event things go as planned - I sit in the back of a car and have no responsibilities whatsoever. Images of having to use this responsibility and leading the race into a dead-end street somewhere filled my mind - that would play interesting on the news :-). To get to the police car I would have to use my elite bib, #1 btw :), to get with the elites and get escorted with them a special route around the crowds to the front of the race.

Night before the race played similar to marathon night-befores. I checked the weather - worried about the temperatures/humidities (sympathy taper madness for those running). To bed early but slept poorly, up in the early hours a couple times. During one of these I noticed I could set up alerts on the website so I set up for more than 20 runners I wanted to keep tabs on during the race to get text updates on my phone. On my own I would have moved the leaving the house up probably an hour but with 3 kids/wife/sister - 5:15 departure was as early as I could reasonably ask.

The Race Weather mid50s and Humid with a mild breeze. Seemed to cool and get drier a little at first but by end of 3 hrs it was low 60s.

Out the door 5:15 - get to VIP parking at 6:10 and need to rush a bit to get to the elite area as they were getting escorted at 6:20. I make it just in the nick of time seeing the elites coming out of the elite area and heading for the startline and I jump in line - since I had my bib I fit right in. I kinda walk next to Sell and Ritz (1st and 3rd American at the Beijing Olympic Marathon) and listen to them talk about their pacing strategies hearing lots of 4:xx mile this and 4:xx mile that. I notice Magdalena who I've been a fan of since I saw her at Boston lead by a ton for most of the Olympic Trials Woman's Marathon. Pretty neat to just walk next to these marathon legends. I only regret a little not getting up to the elite area 30 minutes earlier to hang with them instead of just walking out to the startline - but that's OK - sometimes great things are best in a sample size - although a bit larger helping would have been nice.

Get to the Startline area - I walk over across the front of the startline to see if I knew anyone lined up in the front - I saw one of my running club ladies and chatted with her a little - went back and found my Police car I'd be riding in for the race then just kinda stood around and watched the elite marathoners do their warm-ups. As the race time approached I load up in the back of the cop car (like a criminal). The guys up front were all business so there was little chit-chat thru the wall of plexiglass that separates the back seat which was fine with me - I wanted to just look around and soak it all in - cleaner windows sure would have been nice :-).

Gun goes off - I start my watch and we start rolling. Our car was the leader of the pack. Co-pilot in the front passenger seat maintained radio contact to all the other drivers in the parade of vehicles in front of the race and guided them all with descriptions of what to expect as we approached things on the course. He pointed out water stops, pinch points, turns, people that needed to be moved out of the way, which he had the motorcycle cops deal with, and other stuff like that. Behind us was 4-5 motorcycle cops and a couple Press Trucks. There was too much distance and vehicles to see the front runners most all the race except occasionally I could see the front runners off in the distance. A continual sea of eager spectators lined the streets. I was able to keep contact with what was going on with all the runners I was interested in with the text messages coming in for 10k, 1/2M, 30k, Finish splits. I could see the front group of 3-4 runners, then it was 2 runners by the 1/2 (I recall seeing 62:xx for the half and knew the course record was going down as expected) - then by 30k I could only see one runner running alone. The people lining the marathon route from beginning to end yet again impressed me - this marathon rivels Boston / New York in my mind for crowd support (ok not really to that extent - but not that far off either). By mile 24 we speed up to the finish and the job is done - I bid farewell to the front seat couple and make it to the finishline in time to see Merga finish up the race in 2:07:52 shattering the course record.

Meet up with the family and hear excited stories about the 5k race. My son dogged the first couple miles to stay with my sister/niece but then took off for the last mile running what he believes to be his fastest mile ever (~7 minute) to finish-up the race. My niece was excited to have run the entire 5k without walking and my sister was just happy to have the quality time running with her daughter the whole way. Get some cool video and pictures of their finish - Mom is VERY proud of Ryan taking off and putting down a good last mile (and so am I).

Now I get to play spectator - I had a whole bunch of text messages coming in and had some idea when to expect several of the runners I was watching for. We have some time so we move on away from the hussle/bussle finishline and find some open space around the 26 milemarker and wait for people we knew. Except for the Olympic Trials at Boston - this is the first marathon I've been spectator for so I was kinda looking forward to this different kinda experience of the race.

I almost miss the first guy I was watching for - Wilmer Bustillios - he killed my chip time in San Antonio but lost to my gun time so didn't take the Master's Check because of a late start. He most definately would have made roadkill out of me no matter what kind of dream race I might have run with a 2:32 marathon - his 2nd ever marathon I think - incredible - looks to me like he scored a cool $1900 from 3 different prizes - good for him as the late start in San Antonio probably cost him almost that much in prize money there. The 2nd place local master was Gerardo Mora who came in 2:43. There were a couple surprize out of towner masters in the race that came in 2:39 and 2:41. I suspect a good race out of me I might have got 2nd even considering likely a couple minutes slowdown from the wind/heat .... maybe - I will never know but I like to think so.

I continued watching people come in. I was tracking 3-4 competitors, 8-10 from my running clubs, 4-5 from the running times forum and 3-4 co-workers and got to see many of them come by and give them big cheers. A mix of everything in the results from first time marathon awesome races (2:51 from one guy, 3:07 from another) to a co-worker who came out for just a work-out with Austin being the goal race and surprized himself to get a huge PR and almost qualify to go to Boston (missed by 39 seconds :( ). The good, the bad and the ugly - it was all there. What a way to experience the marathon and I thuroughly enjoyed every minute.

Got home and watched the recorded version. Saw the US dominate the 1/2 - Meb 1st, Ritz 2nd, Magdalena 1st for the Half. Saw the course records go down both male and female in the full. And saw a bunch of people I knew in the recording too.

Great race and lots of fun with my out of town guests.

That's all for now - I'll probably add some pictures later.

Thanks for reading......John.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Fueling for a Marathon

Ok - I've had this question 3 times now so I figured I'd just write down my answer to make it easier to reply next time :-).

How do I fuel for a marathon.

I've tweaked my fueling strategy with each marathon but actually for Marathon #10 (San Antonio) I've got no new things I thought of to do better so I would plan to do exactly the same thing at the next race:

Pre-race plan...

Cut all Caffeine for 7 days (to increase the impact of it on raceday - also helps sleeping).
Turbo Charge Run Three days Out (skip to the bottom of this if interested on what I did for this - probably not a good idea to try something you haven't tested in training).
Minimum Protein/Fat for Th/F/Sat - targetting >75% calories from Carbs. Short easy runs on F/S with meal right after - best time to load the muscles - right after exercise.
Hydrate - target clear urine on race day - but don't over do it as too much washes away electrolytes.
Pretzels - carry a bag around on Saturday to munch on to help increase electrolytes.
Dinner - finish 14 hours before race start-time - pasta dinner is my typical.
Keep hydrating until bed.
Awake 3 hours from start-time - 5 minute slow jog (optional) followed by 2x16 oz Ultra Fuel (200g Carb, 800 Calories) - I used to do 4 hours and more Ultrafuel but I've cut to this for last two races without regrets so I'll stick with it.
Airborne - to try to pre-empt the tendency to get sick after a race.
45-60 minutes pre-race - cup of coffee.
10 minutes pre-race - 12 oz PowerAid with 2 S-Caps (I tried 16 oz at Anchorage and had some minor cramps first couple miles, 12 oz at San Antonio and no problems)...
Mile 5 - GU
Mile 10,15,20 - Caffenated GU
Hit all aid stations - drink energy drink if mouth is not sweet (from the GU) and hit water if it is - I get what I can without slowing - much ends up spilt.
Finish - 2xEnsure waiting for me in the bag I checked - down them when I get the bag to help recovery.....get in warm cloths quick...

That is all - fwiw....

Good luck out there guys!!!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Good Luck Houston Marathoners - I'll be cheering from the sideline...

As some of you know - I'm sidelined for the Houston Marathon this year :(. I'm more than a little bummed about this.

Within a week after San Antonio it was clear I could not run - I misdiagnosed for a while trying all the wrong things to get better until finally around New Years with MRI results the diagnosing became Sacrum Ala Stress Fracture (top right of diagram) and a Athletic pubalgia. Quickly I could do the math - 6 weeks out of shape already, 8-12 weeks out with SFX (I've heard the Sacrum heals a little slower than other SFX) and unknowns around extent/severity/importance of the other thing that may not be improved with the rest (I'm exploring the under the knife options but can't see going that way without knowing I have to and I won't know that until I'm actually running again).....The course ahead on running is uncertain with the second thing but at the minimum for the sfx I'm out 2-3 months healing, 2 months build up and 4 months training = 8-9 months before I'm ready to do another race.

First time being injured (really) since I started this marathoning venture a few years ago ....guess I was over-due to experience this side of the sport too...but it will pass....

Again - for those racing next weekend - I'll be rooting for you!!!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Important things I'm learning about Ironman Training

In my new quest (maybe) - I've discovered one of the most important things of this new venture:

how to brag

[I found this online and thought it was too hilarious not to share]

Before I started to train an Ironman, I bought a training plan; I read books on hydration and fuel replacement, I listened to endless hours of advice from elite and pro triathletes. This information did help me finish, but it did not teach me how to correctly brag about being an Ironman.

My friends and I came up with a six phase program which will aid you in bragging about your Ironman . Use this plan from the moment you register until well after the race is complete for the most bang for your bragging buck.

Sign Up Phase: For most Ironman events, you have to register up to one year in advance. This gives you plenty of time to brag about doing an Ironman. During this phase, you must let all of your non-Ironman friends know you can't hang out with them anymore, because you just signed up for an Ironman. If you don't have any Ironman friends, then go to a place where runners or bikers hang out. Look for the Ironman symbol (M Dot) on their training clothes. An Ironman would never be caught running or biking without their Ironman stuff.

Training Phase: Training for an Ironman can be compared to having a part time job. You must let everyone you meet know this. This can be accomplished by sighing loudly at work, mumbling how tired you are because you just biked 100 miles, because you are in training for an Ironman. You can also skillfully steer the conversation with your neighbors and co-workers to your Ironman training. Here is an example:

Neighbor: "Did you hear what President Bush said this week?" Lee: "Were you aware that President Bush is a biker? I just biked 100 miles today. I am training for an Ironman."

Co worker: Lee, are you working late tonight? Lee: No, I have to get up early to do a 20 mile run.

I even once rang my neighbor's door and when he answered, I said "Sorry Bob, can't talk to you now, I am training for an Ironman."

One Week before the Race Phase: You need to let your neighbors and co-workers know you will be gone for a little while, competing in an Ironman. Once again, you can steer the conversation to your Ironman race.

Neighbor: "Wow Lee your lawn looks great!" Lee: "My lawn is going to look bad this next week; I will be competing in an Ironman."

Race Expo Phase: You must buy as much Ironman merchandise as possible. For years we saved our money to send both of my boys to private college, but sacrifices must be made. Both Derick and Ty will be going to junior college now. You must buy enough Ironman clothes to cover every day at work and training. You must also buy plenty of shirts for your spouse and children. They will also spread the word that you just finished an Ironman.

The Race Phase: At you can setup automatic emails and cell phone message notifications of your Ironman timing splits. You can use all of the entries in your email and cell phone address book. Include everyone regardless of whether they remember you are or not. It just does not matter, because you are an Ironman.

Post Race Phase: The finisher medal can be worn for one day per the number of miles raced and everyone knows that an Ironman is 140.6 miles. So wear that medal for 141 days (always round up as opposed to rounding down your finishing time). Your children must be trained to say, "My daddy is an Ironman. He gave me this shirt. He's an Ironman." This must be emphasized over and over with your children. I did not do this after I ran the Boston marathon, and Derick, my oldest boy, told everyone at his day care that his grandma ran the marathon. Your spouse must memorize all of your splits (swim, bike and run). You must also include both transition splits as well. Instead of wearing a shirt which states, "I am with Dummy", your spouse will wear a shirt which says, "I am with a stud Ironman". All conversations must be steered to your Ironman race.

Co-Worker: "Did you hear about the new work policy?" Lee: "Nope, I did not; I was racing in an Ironman."

For at least one month you can say, "Well, I 'm only going to run easy today, I just did an Ironman." When someone brings up a subject of hardships suffered, you need to remind them that you also have suffered through hardships while training and racing in your Ironman.
You can also use these ideas to brag about other races, but please only brag about races which are longer than 13.1 miles.

1. it's a joke, folks.

2. kind of.

Monday, January 5, 2009

2009 look ahead - a new direction

Time for a new frontier - marathoning has been my goal/quest for 3 years now. Time for something new.

The next Quest --- I want to finish a strong ironman - possibly this year (if I can get into one) or at least be conditioned ready this year.

No clue whatsoever how to achieve the goal but that's what I want to do next so I'm going to figure it out.

This last week I've collected some baseline data on my abilities - I've got a long way to go. Appears my steady state paces for the two sports I need to go learn are:

Swimming - ~60-70 seconds per 50 meter
Biking - ~17-18 mph (on my son's schwinn - I guess I need to go get a bike).

Looking at what it takes to get a KQ (Qualifying time to Hawaii) looks like I need closer to 21-22 mph on the bike (for 112 miles) and 60-70 seconds per 100 meter swim (for 2.4 miles)....I've got some major work to do....looking forward to the new journey...