Friday, August 31, 2012

I remember MY marathon times

All of them. Now while I may not be in the 1% in an economic sense and don't know diddly about budgets and deficits (probably should you know), I do have very clear recollection of my first marathon, Mile High in Denver on Mother's Day 1983.

1 mile 5:42 (oops that was too fast)
10 miles 59:4x
13.1 miles 1:18:10 or so
20 miles 1:58:40, including two stops to lie down and stretch cramping quads
26.2 miles 2:35:49

It will be interesting to see how the current marathon recollection inquiry shakes out.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Taking Ownership of Injuries

We all hate injuries. But if you're going to train to compete in  running dealing with some pain and injury is almost inevitable. Unfortunately.

Neverthess, don't you envy those who seem to have the ability to rack up unbelievable miles and workouts and they never seem to get hurt? As one who has had just about every common running injury in the book--let's see, stress fractures, fractures and sprains from tripping, plantar fasciitis, achilles tendonitis, runners knee, all sorts of tendonitis (foot, knee, hip), shin splints--possibly compartment syndrome, arthritis, illiotibial band of knee, illiotibial band on hip, piriformis. Those are the ones that I can remember over 35 years of running that have knocked me out from weeks to months and a couple times a year or two of training.

I've seen three time Olympian Dathan Ritzenhein run--back when he was in college at CU Boulder--and I'm no Ritz, but when it comes to injuries I do feel like an older and much slower parody.

All that said, how you approach an injury or setback can be a mirror of character.

When feeling an injury coming on runners take several common approaches: run through it and hope for the best; back off or stop until it goes away; and then something sort of in between dyad--a passive and an active approach. A passive approach is to cut back or stop training and wait and see, to be active is to take a little time to figure out what is happening before treating the symptoms, and if needed to find alternative training while recovering. I've tried both of these and much prefer the active approach, even though it is seldom pleasant. Who wants to spend hours doing boring little excercises that may or may not work, or experience the discomfort and inconvenience of icing, and this anathema to some--gasp cross training to keep fit?!

Suck it up I say. Stop whining. Do the work to rehabilitate your injury. Sometimes that involves measures to find medical attention and physical therapy. Not fun--espcially when the majority of doctors (even sports medicine docs) will look at you, shake their head and say "Well stop running, take up another sport." I've heard that at least seven or eight times going way back to my freshman year of college, into my 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s. Take your verbal lumps, meds as needed, and jump into your rehab and cross training with the same verve as a 70 mile week doing your favorite workouts on your best routes.

However, if there is one silver lining to combating an injury it's a reminder that how much you enjoy running, training, racing, so when you do make it back you appreciate it that much more. In fact, I often  get a boost in motivation--and drop in race times--after coming off an injury.

So don't just sit back, feeling sorry, get out there and fix it and do what it takes keep fit while you're working things out.

All that said, what? Am I injured?  I'll plead the 5th on that, or just stay in denial.

The nagging foot pain--going back to tripping on a root at the 11 mile Musk Ox trail race a year ago, and subsequently twisting the same foot on the same section of trail this May--has been a bother all season and in May and June of this year "it was there" something I could feel and it after a hard workout or race but it would go away after a day or two of easy running or rest.

I ran easy for a week or two after the Midnight Sun Run and entertained the idea of a fall marathon but I ended up with two sore heels after a single 15 miler in early July. I muddled through the rest of the month, logging in adequate miles for the half marathon, but the pain level was creeping up each week but recovery wasn't happening. The Santa Claus Half in the first week of this month rendered me hobbled for a few days, so I cut back (running every other day), and did a little icing, which was enough to allow me to line up for the Senior Games 10K. I did that, but that effort--which was only at tempo run pace-set me back even more. So the only choice was to take a couple weeks off.

I cross trained with rollerskiing, weights, and cycling, took NSAIDs as needed, but only iced a few times. A semi-active/semi passive approach. After two weeks, enough! So I've added the daily ice bucket for my foot, higher dose Naproxin for a few days, and exercises to rehab my foot (both actually).

It feels better already I'm heading out for a five or six mile run this afternoon.


Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Santa Claus Half 2012 Age Grade Rankings

If I had more time, I'd go to 70% instead of 75, maybe later this week.

If you go by the time conversion I'd be at 1:08:00. I'm not a 1:08 half marathoner, and that's why I don't normally report that (but it's fun to peek and think about it!).

2nd....Melissa Lewis (42).......1:31:08.....75.62
3rd....Dorli McWayne (59).....1:34:56.....88.37
9th....Erika Van Flein (53)......1:42:04......75.87
10th...Jane Lanford (57)..........1:43:...... 79.86

4th.... Peter Alden (43)........1:19:03......79.92
5th....Roger Sayre (54)............1:19:37...... 87.07
14th...Dave Leonard (58)........1:32:35.....77.61
21st...Greg Finstad (58)...........1:34:09.....76.32

Monday, August 06, 2012

Occupy the Age Group! Santa Claus Half

You gotta read this report in the paper to sort of get the subtle funny here, but at least I didn't "round out" the top five.

This remains one of my favorite races here. Low key, quiet, the weather's good, and the off-road portions don't leave you beat you up. Like last year, I came in with uncertain expectations. I wanted to improve on my time from 2011 but after a month of so-so training (about 50 miles a week but only a couple of tempo runs) and a sore foot, I wasn't sure if it was possible. The plan was to go out in 6:10 pace and see what happens. I woke up Saturday morning with the thought, 1:19:46 that would be nice.

The lead pack of Micah Chelimo, Devin McDowell, Steve Chu, and Peter Alden broke out immediately, but unlike the the paper's report Chelimo didn't pull away from that group until after the aid station at 2 miles. We had our own pack of about five or six runners, and I tucked in behind a guy in black wearing headphones while the others were just off my shoulders. We hit the mile in 6:06 and 2 at 12:22. I waited to 2.5 to make a light move to the front and two or three hung tight. We cat and moused for another mile or so, before Mr. headphones dropped off and it was down to me and young Andrew, my son's former high school teammate, and now in college. I was a little off the pace by 4 (24:40s) and worked to keep it right around 6:00 pace. Andrew hung on for a long time and was just 10 meter back at 6 miles (about 36:45).

Alden had fallen off the lead group just before 2 miles and was almost 1:30 ahead at about 3 miles, but by the time we were moving off the dike just before 8 miles he was up by 45 seconds. I focused on gaining and checked every mile or so. The closest I got was about 35 seconds at 10 miles (about 61:05) but my legs were starting to feel a little dead.

I have usually finished fairly strong in this race, but this one seemed to hurt more than usual. He looked just after the last aid station at 11 and picked it up. Just tried to keep my legs moving and avoided slowing down.

I managed that with the last two miles at 5:58 and 5:50 to finish in 1:19:36, in 5th place behind Alden. My 7th SCHM, and 5th time under 1:20 (just missing by a tick last year). Not complaining and 10 seconds faster than my wake up thought. Don't tell anyone, but I enjoy hammering down every summer in North Pole and the Chena Flood Control project.

Friday, August 03, 2012

Remembering Pat Porter

It was a shock and very sad to hear that Olympian and eight time USA cross country champion Pat Porter was killed in a plane crash last week, along with his 15 year old son and another 15 year old boy in Sedona Arizona.

Through the 1980s Porter was THE man in cross country and he was a running icon who also excelled on the track and roads. We would see him at races several times a year in Colorado, and even after we moved away he'd be at big road or cross country races on the East or West Coast. I always felt that he wasn't the most talented runner out there, but no one in the US got more out of the ability they had.

Here is a link to probably his greatest race, a 4th place in the World Cross Country Championships in 1984. The young Porter, never a kicker, took the lead from the gun and pushed the pace throughout, leaving many past, current, and future legends (Craig Virgin, John Treacy, Ed Eyestone) in his wake. Only three other athletes hung with him (Carlos Lopes won the Olympic Gold Medal in the marathon that summer, and Steve Jones would go on to set the world record later that fall).

A couple years later Kenny Moore of Sports Illustrated wrote a long feature that captures Porter's remarkable training ethic and persona.

And here is Porter accepting a hall of fame award from his college athletic conference, just a week before his death.

Condolences to his family and friends. He will be missed.