Monday, September 20, 2010

Running again and a pain in my butt part II

I was able to get 5 runs under my belt this week. I kept everything in check by starting slow and just cranking out 3-5 mile runs for the first 4 runs. Saturday I did my usual Mount Doug course. The amazing thing is just how consistent I am on the Mount Doug course. If I take more than a week or two off from running, the first time I come back to Mount Doug, I always end up getting a 1:06. Usually within two weeks from that time I can shave off 10 minutes, but my first run post-hiatus is always the same. I have decided to do some more miles on flats and roads to prep for the H2H; so I have kept the runs around 30 minutes but I am slowly turning up the heat. I should be nearing 40 minutes come Friday. I am also doing some speed work. My idea of speed work is 4 kms at as fast a speed as possible with a 90 second break and then another chunk of distance as fast as possible. The idea is to increase my speed and stamina without going too far into oxygen debt so I can get used to walking that thin line.

Tonight is a speed night so I will just hit my 4.1 Km run at 6PM after I am done teaching my lab and see just what these legs can do. I am excited but a little nervous. I am just not that fast of a runner even when I am fit. I hope I can improve in this category over the next 6 months and come into the spring with some sustainable speed.

I blogged previously about a pain in my butt. I came up with several hypothesis and did some adjustments to try to remedy the problem. I still have the issue, and even after 6 weeks of not running; my butt hurts worse than ever. Usually if it is a running-related injury 6 weeks rest works miracles, but this was behaving in the opposite way. I finally broke down and visited a sports medicine specialist and after a quick run down of my running history and a series of small tests he concluded it was my Gluteus minimus/medius. I most likely injured the muscles years ago and have never properly rehabilitated or improved the muscles. Since these muscles become more sore when blood flow is decreased my hiatus and constant sitting was causing all the pain. When I began to run this week I felt much better as my blood flow increased. He suggests I see a physio, but at the moment funds are such that this is not an option. I have googled it a bit and have a few ideas on how to strengthen these muscles and stretch them on my own. This will have to do for now but it is nice to be zeroing in on the problem and a solution.

This week will consist of speed work tonight, a 34 minute run on Tuesday, a x-train day on Wednesday, 37 minutes on Thursday, 40 minutes on Friday and my long run will be 1:15:00 on Saturday, with a rest day Sunday. I hope I can keep to the schedule and stay consistent. Each run is a little different in regards to terrain, and running surface, and consists of different levels of exertion and speeds. My hope is that by really mixing things up I can be slightly more well-rounded and perhaps decrease the possibility of injury or plateau. I must admit I really love running in the fall. It is my favorite time of year for running. The colors and temperatures just seem to inspire athletic performance. Well off to class and then to run.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Back from my writing hiatus - The H2H is when?

I can't believe I finally wrapped up the first draft of my 50 page PhD proposal. It was a beast to write with hundreds of references. I basically sat and wrote for 6 weeks with little else to offset the academic-induced coma I found myself in. The worst aspect is I basically had to kiss my training goodbye for the summer and hunker down on my project. I knew that it was a matter of time before school pushed ultra training aside for various stints during my program. Alas, I came here to study Geology and leave an impact on how geologists' think about my area of interest. So I had to push my running aside because to run at all would be to take away from time that had to be spent sleeping or writing.

Excuses aside, I am back at it again. The main motivation is I just realized that I am less than 2 months away from the Haney to Harrison 100 km relay race in which I am a member of a 6 person team. I just realized that I am completely out of running let alone racing shape and I have a team depending on me. So I have developed a plan in which I add 3 minutes to my daily runs each day and 15% to my long weekend runs. This should get me close to 1.5 hours of running a day with long runs near 3 hours once a week. Since it is a road race (yuck!!) I have been incorporating flat road and gravel trail into my training to get me into better shape for pounding the pavement.

Even though I have had a two month break I have found my running coming back fairly quickly (for this first week anyhow). The first run was a bit brutal as my capillaries opened up again and I busted the lungs back in, but since I have comfortably found my breath and air. I really need to kick about 12 pounds as well so it is time to chill out on my eating. I am afraid that the pressurized writing scenario may have allowed me to find solace in snacking and late meals to accompany during late nights of writing. The lack of inactivity and overeating was a simple equation for rapid weight gain. I am glad to be back to burning some calories and eating less and more thoughtfully.

Last night was awesome. My 4 year old son wanted to accompany me for a short warm-up run. It was dark and foggy so we each strapped on the headlamps and hit the dark tree choked trails. What a trooper! He cranked out an awesome pace for a little dude and we ran about 1 km in about 9 minutes which was pretty cool. Perhaps the most amazing aspect of it was sharing this aspect of my life with him. I look forward to future running exploits with my family. I love that I don't even have to push him to do it. He sees me running and the joy and passion I get out of it and he naturally wants to run like dad. It is really cool. Who knows he may have a natural talent that can carry him far. I guess the key is I let him do it on his own without me forcing him. After all if I didn't enjoy it I wouldn't want to run.

I guess I have just a short 31 minute run tonight and I am looking forward to it.

In the spirit of my lack of preparation for the H2H I am including a song appropriately named "Not Prepared" by a group called Mesh. It is a classic song. The first time I heard it was on a napster copy of Depeche Mode's Exciter album. This leaked copy of the album included this track by Mesh and also "Pony Tail Girl" by Brian Hazard of Color Theory (another of my favorites). Apparently the person who put the Exciter album up on Napster around the year 2000 thought these two artists sounded similar to Gore and included them with the album, fooling many people (not me I could tell the two tracks weren't Gore). Well now that I am not prepared remotely in any way, shape, or form, for the H2H this song might light a fire so perhaps I can salvage some sort of a slightly below average time and not completely disappointed my team.