Friday, November 14, 2014

Run Journal - #52 aka: The Knee

For the whole 'two" of you who follow this blog, you will have noticed a severe lack of posts lately. The main reason for this is a severe lack of running. I had a long 14 mile run almost two weeks ago and about 5 miles in, my knee began to ache. This isn't unusual. My knee flares up at least once or twice on almost every long run, but then it settles down and things are fine. Not this time. It slowly got worse as time wore on until I finally had to run through my last couple of "walk" intervals because I worried that if I stopped, I wouldn't be able to start up again. I did complete the run, but my knee has been trashed ever since.

It's the same knee that I injured at the beginning of 2013 but I'm not sure if it's the same injury. It does feel a little different. After a few days rest, I tried a short 30 minute run and while I felt pretty good for about 15 minutes, at around minute 20, I knew that I had to stop or risk making things worse. After another week's worth of rest, I tried again and this time made it the full 30 minutes, but the knee was super sore for the next day or two.

So, what does this mean. What I'm fairly certain of is that running the full marathon that I was training for is out. I'd like to still try for a half marathon, but that will depend on if my knee starts to heal. I'm going to stay off it through this weekend and try a short run on Monday. If all goes well, I'll rejoin the training schedule on the half-marathon plan. My goal will then be to complete the half with a better time than this previous race I ran in October. Then, I can try to work up to a full marathon sometime in 2015. It's not the way I had planned it, but I'm actually Ok with this turn of events. When I hurt my achilles, I was extremely annoyed that my big picture plan might be disrupted, but I've come to terms with the fact that these injuries are out of my control. On the positive side, the knee injury only seems to be aggravated by repetitive stress like that from running. My crossfit workouts are not too badly affected so in the worst case scenario, I can simply switch the majority of my training from running to crossfit a little earlier than I planned - the original idea was to do this after the race in February, but if I have to make the switch now, so be it.


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Run Journal - #50-51

#50 Details: 2 x 1600 meters/4 min
Shoes: Nike Free 4.0 Flyknit

These speed runs are getting weird. 1600 meters is essentially a mile so today's "speed" run was for a whole mile with a 4 minute recovery walk/jog before doing it a second time. I managed the speed sections at 7:45 and 8:05 but that's not exactly speed, even by my standards. Still, I imagine these days server a specific purpose. They are quite hard; I'll say that, and maybe that's part of the point.

#51 Details: 20 easy
Shoes: Hoka Huaka

Just an easy 20 minute run so not much to say. The only thing I'll make note of here is that I did get a stabbing achilles pain about 5 minutes into the run. I haven't had that happen in well over a week so I was not pleased to see it return. I'm hoping that this was a not a sign of the issue returning or worsening.

Tomorrow is a 40 minute tempo run. That's one of the "long" tempo runs that usually kick my butt. Should be fun. ;) 

Houston Half Marathon

Details Official: Official Results
Details (Garmin Connect) : Half Marathon
Shoes: Saucony Kinvara

I ran the Houston Half Marathon this weekend and had a great time. It was a bigger event than I imagined it would be. There were well around 4500 runners. Here are a few pics of the meeting grounds early in the morning:

It was a nice cool day, but quite humid. The race started around 7:00 and I finished in 2:04. My overall pace was around 9:30 min/mile which I'm pretty happy with as it's my best ever pace on a long run. It was tough to maintain my run walk rhythm as there were very few people using that strategy. When I would stop a huge number of people would run past me and then I'd start again and as my run pace was pretty quick, I'd pass all of those same people, only to repeat the pattern again and again. It's probably silly to let that bother me as I finished pretty much dead center in the pack of 4500 which great for my first ever long distance race, but I may see if I can start to switch up my strategy to longer run intervals but at a slower pace. I don't know. We'll see. Maybe I shouldn't mess with something that seems to be working for me.

The event was a lot of fun. There were people lining the streets for almost the whole length of the course. They weren't thick, except at the beginning and end, but they were pretty much everywhere. Everything was handled extremely professionally and well organized. The race volunteers were terrific. I was impressed. The course we ran was, for the most part, quite nice. We started running through the tall buildings of downtown, and then headed west to, and through, Memorial Park. The only downside was that because most of the first half of the course slightly downhill, most of the second half was slightly uphill. That was a little brutal and the second to last mile before the finish was, by Houston standards, a not insignificant uphill grade. I would definitely have preferred things to have been the other way around. Still, we're talking about Houston here, so none of the hills were terrible.

My achilles held up just fine. No issues at all.  The humidity was a little high so I sweat like a son of a gun and thus got a little chafed but that will heal. I am going to have to figure out some of this chafing stuff as my weekly long runs are just going to get longer and longer. I don't want to go into detail but I'm not chafing or blistering in the normal areas like thighs and feet. Anyway, I'll get it all worked out somehow. The sweat is also taking a huge toll on my shoes. I have no idea what to do about this. I can wash them every week, I guess, but there's just no way that's good for them. Oh well.

Here's a picture of my sweat soaked self after the race:

When I started the running group training program, a half marathon was a legitimate option for the "final" goal. I'm super pleased to have already reached that milestone this early, and, if my achilles holds up, I'll have the full marathon to look forward to at the beginning of February. 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Run Journal - #48-49

#48 Details: 3 x 1200m/4min
Shoes: Hoka Huaka

This was a weird run. As usual, Tuesday is speed work, but instead of short repeated bits of speed mixed with rest, this was a very small number of 3/4 mile speed sections mixed with long recovery runs. It was a huge challenge to keep my speed up for that long of a distance, but ultimately, I was pleased with the result. I was able to keep about a 7:10 pace for all three intervals.

The Hoka's were, again, kind to my achilles. Theses shoes have finally found a place in my rotation as I've really come to appreciate their feel during this injury recovery.

#49 Details: 30 tempo
Shoes: Hoka Huaka

I intended to run in the Kinvara's today in preparation for Sunday's half marathon, but they were still wet from the previous day's stint in the dishwasher, so the Hoka's got the call again. I didn't get my run in until much later than usual, but it was still wonderfully cool outside and I was able to push my pace to it's best ever for a run over a of more than two miles: 8:09 min/mile! That's marathon pace for some people but for me, it's super, super fast.

Have I mentioned that I LOVE the cool weather! :)

The Kinvara's should be dry tomorrow. I may take them out for a quick mile or two just to make sure the washing had no ill effects. It would suck to find something wrong on race day, but they should be fine.

One note; I've had a little soreness on the outside of my right ankle the last few days. This is something I've encountered before, but it's a bit worse this time. I'm icing the ankle for my achilles so hopefully that will also help this other bit of discomfort. It's nowhere near bad enough to impact Sunday's run, but it has made some of the yoga I've been doing a little uncomfortable.  

Monday, October 20, 2014

Run Journal - #47

Details: 20 easy
Shoes: Hoka Huaka

Short, easy run today but it was cool so I pushed the pace a bit and had some fun. The Huaka's continue to be extremely kind to my achilles for some reason, so I'll probably continue to run in them this week. I'll switch back to the Kinvara's for Thursday's run and for the half marathon, of course. I'm excited about the coming weekend!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Run Journal - #44-46

#44 Details: 20 easy
Shoes: Nike Free 4.0 Flyknit

Not much to say. Simple short run.

#45 Details: 40 tempo
Shoes: Hoka Huaka

Ran in the Hokas today as they, for some reason, seem to give my achilles the least trouble. It was a good run at at 8:41 pace which is great for me for it being 40 minutes.

#46 Details: 11 mile long run
Shoes: Saucony Kinvara

I crushed my previous best long run times today by over 20 sec/mile. The cool weather was certainly the main reason with my achilles that was almost perfect playing a role as well.

Next week is the actual half marathon. If the weather holds up, that should be an fun event and if my achilles holds up, I should be able to recommit to the full marathon.

After the run today I tried something new: acro yoga. I had no idea what I was getting into, but it turned out to be a ton of fun. Basically one person provides a base and the other person is called the flyer. The two people work together to lift and move flyer into various acrobatic positions. That's a massively oversimplified explanation, but it's the best I can do here. The bottom line is that it was great fun and tested both my strength and balance and I'm looking forward to doing it again.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Run Journal - #43

Details: 6 x 1min/2min
Shoes: Nike Free 4.0 Flyknit (not a good choice for today)

I actually did two runs today. I prefer to do the speed intervals on a track which isn't easy to get done before work, but this morning was the coolest yet and I woke up early enough before my meetings that I decided to do a very quick run in the wonderfully cool temperatures. I didn't even bring my watch. I just went out for about 20 minutes and ran a couple of miles. It was fantastic.

My actual scheduled run was for 6 intervals of 1 minute run and 2 minutes recovery. The track where I normally do this work was having an event today (soccer match, I think) so I had to head out a little further and where I ended up was actually a dirt track with lots of pebbles. The Nikes are awful for this as their tread pattern sucks up pebbles like a vacuum to the point that it actually impacts the feel of the shoe. Anyway, the run went well. My achilles doesn't seem to be getting better but it's also not getting worse, so I guess I won't complain. A few nice cringe inducing pains in the first warm up mile, but after that nothing too bad and I feel fine afterwards.