Saturday, February 28, 2009
My lungs were burning.
I thought I would throw up.
But I ran most of it. Oh yes, I did.
I felt my IT Band a bit towards the end, when I was running downhill. Then it was dark, and so I stopped, and walked home.
Then I did the burny stretch that my physical therapist showed me, felt better.
I ran, actually ran, at a faster pace than I did a few days ago.
I'm back. I can run.
[okay, with conviction, now...]
I'M BACK. AND I CAN RUN.
Friday, February 27, 2009
This wasn't a grab bag, either. or a "snack," although that's where I listed it for my calorie intake for the day. I mean, it's not like it was lunch, or anything.
It doesn't, you know, matter that I'm 5'6". 3000 calories is still 3000 calories. A banner day for the eating machine known as me.
<-- Oh, and PUFFY. yes, I woke up, feeling like this.
Friday, February 20, 2009
I haven't lost any more weight, but my clothes are fitting better, so that's something.
The best help I’ve gotten for the IT band thing has been this fact sheet and exercises for my “gluteous medius” (Abductors) from this web site. The fact sheet has an stretch that brought instant relief. I do use ice, and feel worse after using it, but then I stretch, and I feel better. I have also brought the dreaded FOAM ROLLER to work. Because, you know, there aren’t enough hours in the day to do something that, as my friend Mike G puts it, makes you just about bleed our your eyes.
The best news is, I ran yesterday! True, it was a 3.2 mile run/walk for 3.2 miles, but the most I've done in 4 months. It was hard to do. In all honesty, I had forgotten how to run, and my body is not used to the jarring that goes with running. It was, like, okay! Here I go! Wow! Ow. That shouldn’t hurt like that. Have I always run like that, landing on my heels that way? No? Okay. Let’s start this again, slowwwwllllly.
So, I guessing I'm starting over, using that shuffling jog from 2005, but I have hope now. Even if WeightWatchers and SparkPeople don’t consider my pace running, I ran. Yes, it hurt, but not so much, and it didn’t get worse as I moved. So for now, short (3-5 mile) walk/runs, and a weekend long walk/hike in the hills. I’ll start PT next week, too.
Oh, about the WeightWatcher's card above? I just bought that book. You should, too. (click on the picture).
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Bike, Run, Ski, Snowshoe up...then snowshoe, ski, run, bike back down
Thursday, February 12, 2009
And you know, msr Garmean is so much fun: the maps, elevation profiles, and mounds of data. But, it has its drawbacks: In hilly locations and locations with heavy tree cover, it skips some data points, causing it to vastly under report the distance traveled. For instance, at my first 50K, which is 31 miles, it reported that I had traveled about 28 miles. DISAPPOINTING!
Other drawbacks 2) expensive, 3) the battery only holds a charge for 8 to 10 hours, meaning that if you are as appallingly slow as I, the battery will stop before you are done. 4) the garmin is HUGE. I am a delicate flower. I cannot wear a laptop computer strapped to my wrist, and I'm always accidentally bumping those stupid on/off buttons without realizing it, and then next thing I know, it's stopped recording my motion.
Okay. the Tech4o uses a watch battery, and though I don't know how long it lasts, it lasts at least several days, since it was running when it arrived at my house 2 weeks ago, and is still running now.
Test #1: Is it easy to use?
I figured out pretty fast that if I pushed in the
I looked briefly in the book and fiddled around some more, and used the 12" squares on a gym floor to measure my stride length while walking and running. I plugged those into the setup, along with my weight (it calculates approximate calories burned) into the personal profile 8 of 10 menu.
In pedometer mode, it shows number of steps, with additional information above. You choose the additional information: Calories, elapsed time, current time, distance, speed (MPH). All this is based on the length of your stride and how many steps you've taken, which it registers as you walk. I found it pretty easy to set up without the book. I glanced at the book, and it seems pretty straightfoward, so it passed that test.
Test #2: Is it accurate?
I wore this to the Rocky Racoon, my first 50-miler. I would consider anything less than 5% error to be successful. The course was reported to be 50 miles, three 16-2/3 loops. I occasionally left the course briefly to take care of the call of nature, and twice I walked over to my bag at the changing tent. Sometimes I walked normally. Sometimes, I staggered. A couple of times, I trotted.
The total distance, according to my Tech4o watch, was 51.018 miles. That is a 2% error, well within the acceptable range for mine (and most people's) needs.
I could probably improve the error if I set up the stride length by walking a known length, say 600 feet, and counted the number of steps, averaging to get a stride length but no matter, I'm satisfied with this result.
I will admit that I have not tested it yet while running, because I can't run. Supposedly, the watch has some sort of logic that allows it to understand the difference between when you are running and walking, so that it then switches to running stride length and records that.
I discovered that at midnight, in exercise mode, it starts a new set of data. This may or may not be a problem - just something to be aware of. It keeps the previous day's data.
- Accurate, for most people's purposes - for me it the error rate was 2%.
- Cheap! The model I tested retails for about $70.
- It comes in pink!
When I can run, I'll do a second, shorter review.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
It took a long time to do, so it will take a long time to write.
The Rocky Racoon 50-mile Trail Run-- which should be called, the "Rooty Racoon" but somehow that isn't quite as catchy, I suppose--is three 16-2/3 mile loops through Huntsville State Park, and the first thing *I* noticed upon arrival is a small, almost unobtrusive sign off to the left side of the road, so small as to be almost an afterthought:
I only saw this sign once, but ruminated on it continuously the last 1/3 of the race.
Or maybe it just said, "Alligators Exist." That would be almost existentialist. Alligators exist, and I exist. Thus, I will be eaten. I put it out of my mind until late in the race, which is when the silliness of the late-race dillerium sets in.
So, three loops. The forecast was mid-to-upper 70s, and humid. I would be walking.
The first loop was not bad. I walked it, carrying on a conversation with a woman who was also walking, although her pace was a bit faster than mine. I was able to keep up for a while because she'd done a marathon less than a week ago LESS THAN A WEEK AGO and had to stop at aid stations and stretch.
On the first loop I passed people, though they passed me back later, for good. A nagging pain started on the ball of my right foot. When I came into the finish/start/turnaround station at 11:30 am, I took off my shoes and socks and was surprised to find a nice little pile of sand adhered to the bottom of my foot. Huh? I cleaned off my foot, and applied a bandaid to a spot on the inside of the same foot that was starting to feel a little raw. My time on the first loop was about 4.5 hours, and nearly 20 minutes in the aid station.
I headed back out just before noon, leaving my jacket behind, with my shirt tied around my waist, and my hand-held full of gatorade. Ironic. GATOR-aid.
Which exists. IN THE PARK.
The second loop was harder. It was hot, and my feet were softening. Things were starting to hurt. I knew from experience that usually I start hurting, and then things get better around mile 20. Except, this time, they didn't. And, not only did my feet hurt, but it was HOT and HUMID. I started wondering about the sign. You know the one. Say it with me, now:
IN THE PARK.
I sat down at the aid station just before the finish/start/turnaround station, and had a cheese sandwich. It was awesome.
I found out they were serving HEED, and I don't know why, but once I started drinking it my stomach, which had been queazy, started feeling better. My legs even stopped hurting. I headed into the finish/start/turnaround station feeling pretty good, convinced my painful times were behind me.
Right before the finish/start/turnaround station, there was a group of people sitting by the path, cheering. For some inexplicable reason, as I went past, all five or six of them fell silent. SILENT. One of them said, weakly, in a normal speaking voice, "Good job."
Then they cheered wildly for the three or four runners 20 yards behind me.
PEOPLE, Do not cheer for people unless you're going to cheer for everyone. That's all I'm saying.
When I headed out to the third and final loop, I stood up and knew I was in trouble. Oh, boy. I sat back down for a moment. This was going to hurt.
Should I quit? I don't remember doing anything that hurt this much before.
All I have to do is make it from aid station to the next, right?
It was just before 6 pm, and the sun was going down. I had my headlight. I had just put on my compression socks, for whatever reason. I knew this would take a long time. The aid stations were 3 miles, 3 miles, 2 miles, 4 miles, and then finish. I put a water-proof patch over the ball of my right foot, which was showing warning signs of forming a blister under the callous. There was a hot spot on the inside of my heel on the same foot, and I put a blister shield on that.
I drank a Slimfast. I stood up. OW.
I headed out. The sun set. I turned on my headlight.
I stopped to adjust my shoe, and that's when a man in his 60s or so ran by me and patted my backside. Startled, I straightened, "sorry, I guess I was in the way."
He called back, "it was quite nice, actually."
I came into the first aid station and sat down, hard. On the way there, I was really hurting. It no longer felt good just to sit down for a while and then have a short time of relief and recovery. I no longer felt better after standing back up. Sitting down was just a short respite from standing. I was walking slowly, possibly a 30-minute mile. Occasionally, the endorphins from one painful area would knock out the pain in the other areas for a quarter-mile or so and I would pick it up, and then slow back down again.
At each aid station, I took off my shoes and rubbed my feet, both massaging and also checking for hidden fracture.
Dammit. No fractures.
That meant I had to keep moving.
I figured out that if I carried my light in my hand, I could see better. It cast shadows away from me, so that I could see the roots coming. Only when I let myself get distracted did I kick any.
I'd seen people take some nasty spills all day. One girl went down hard in a cloud of dust. I was lucky, though. Or maybe just slow. When you don't have forward momentum, you don't really trip, you just kick everything in your path, which carries its own set of annoyances, but at least you don't go headlong into a tree.
Or an alligator.
Which, as you recall: EXIST. IN THE PARK.
I came into the Dam Road aid station, before the Dam Road loop, which brought it back to me 2.2 miles later. It was a long 2.2 miles. I was really, really hurtin'. I knew I could do this I knew it but boy, it was sure hurting. I wondered if my resolve to never do this again would stick or if I'd be stupid enough to sign up for another one.
I wondered if I'd have some sort of spiritual awakening that comes with pain and suffering. I hoped for it, so that this would all have meaning. That never happened. Just the constant sensation that some evil bastard with a large hammer was beating on my feet.
I wondered what happened to some of the people that I talked to earlier.
I wondered if there were alligators stalking me, the slowest moving animal in the herd, ready to pick me off, Darwinism at its finest: You're too late! I'd shout, triumphantly as I slid down the animal's gullet, I've already passed on my stupidity genes.
Such is the late night thoughts that make you giggle insanely to yourself.
>>rustle, rustle<< whatwasthat??
I shone my flashlight into the woods all around me. Didn't see anything. Most of the time, I was alone.
Shit! I tried to move faster, but it wasn't working. It was hurting. I made deals with myself. Just make it to 12:40, and then you can sit for 5 minutes. So that's what I did: I started walking 10, sitting for 3 to 5 minutes. Then I was walking 5, and sitting 1 or 2 minutes. Giving the rustling noise a chance to catch up to me.
At the last aid station, the volunteer rubbed my feet for me. Then he asked if I'd considered running.
Why, what a capital idea! If only I'd thought of this "running" thing sooner, I'd be done by now!
If I'd had the strength to laugh I would have. I just stared at him. Then I thanked him for the footrub, and stood up.
But then, you know, after a half mile or so, or maybe it was 2 yards, I did a little hopping run on my forefoot that kind of felt better - I think it took the pressure off my arches and such, but I could only do it for so long. I mean, it was after midnight, and I'd been on my feet for 17 hours or more.
Man, this sucks. At least in an Ironman I get to sit on a bike for a while.
Heh. Never thought I'd be jonesing for a bike right now. But I was.
>>rustle, rustle<< WHATTHEHELLISTHATNOISE? I PROMISE I AM NOT WORTH THE TROUBLE IT WOULD TAKE TO CATCH ME AND EAT ME!!
OH. Relief. That was definitely NOT an alligator, unless they're imitating ducks now. But what was the hell were ducks doing up this late at night? Was I hallucinating? Maybe we crazies had disturbed it, running through the woods.
But still, OW. OW. I stopped every once in a while to hold onto a tree, just for a moment, and pull one foot off the ground for a moment, just a moment, and then the other foot.
The last 4 miles were the worst. The absolute worst. Every 5 feet was a mile, and every turn that was to bring me into the bright finish instead, stretched into darkness, more dark woods, more trail. It was endless. I was exhausted. I was crying nearly as much from exhaustedness (is that a word? Well, it should be) as much as I was from pain.
And then, unbelievably, I was done, at about 1:45 in the morning. Or 1:39. Whatever.
Volunteers, at first, came to see if I was okay, being as I sat down immediately on the other side of the mat and refused to move another inch. And cried. One of them gave me a hug, and asked me if I needed anything.
But then some guy came flying across the mat, finishing the 100miler. He pranced from foot to foot, stretching, holding his arms high, doing a little dance--the people attending to me immediately dropped me like a bad habit and ran over to him, until there were 6 people attending this guy while he was saying, "I feel great! I think I'll get something to eat."
Then they hovered around him for a while, following him as he perused the food table, asking him questions.
Eventually, I leaned over and tugged on a pant leg. Could I, you know, could I have a finisher's medal? Please?
One of the volunteers helping the recent finisher looked over at me. "OH! I knew there was something I forgot." She went to get me a medal, and then some soup. I laid down for a while, but eventually got up and hobbled over to our car, running the heater until it was blasting hot in there, and then napped for a few hours, until it was time to go over and tend to Baboo, who came in about 5:45 and nudged me awake, and said, "Let's Go." But I'll let him tell you about that.
197 started, and 174 finished.
So, it's 3 days post, and how do you feel? Ready to sign up for another one?
Well. I'm pretty determined not to do another one of these. I don't like running at night - it's lonely and it's boring and taps fully into my paranoid delusional craziness and fears of being eaten by a bear or something with all the rustlings that make you afraid to pee in the woods. I don't like running until 1:45 in the morning - it's painful and it's tiring.
No, I think the 50K is my race. 31 miles is totally doable. You're done by supper and can get a good, normal night's sleep. You don't worry about wild animals stalking you in the dark.
But, I'm glad I tried it. Now I know.
And you can't ever know until you know, you know?
I wonder what else I can do...
Sunday, February 08, 2009
I tried posting one line on Facebook but the Apple computer, clearly
the cutting edge of what is available here in Huntsville, will not let
me. Each web page takes several minutes to load. Even in this post,
I have no access to formatting functions.
I did finish the 50 miler and I did not enjoy it. I want to first-off
assure you that this has nothing to do with anything that was
controllable by the race director- this was one of the best run events
I've ever attended. Well-organized, friendly enthusiastic volunteers,
ham on it?
Why, sure, hunney! (they say it like that, too, "hunney" in a really sympathetic voice) Are you
saying you want a cheese sandwich?
Yes, please, you say, in your tiny, pained, pathetic voice.
I will tell you that at mile 38 the cheese sandwich you have with
cheap white bread and cheap american processed cheese slices is the
best cheese sandwich you will ever have. EVAR.
I will also tell you that having an old man grab your ass at mile 44
as your bent over tying your shoes is kind-of a pick-me-up.
But back to the race - they had no way of controlling that it would be
the 2nd hottest race they've ever had, or the roots sticking out of
the ground every 1-2 feet.
But more on that later. Right now, I'm headed back to the hotel room
with a Schlotsky's pizza, cup of soup, and salad � I'm driving, as
Baboo cannot move right now. He has decided the 100-miler isn't for
him, either. Of course, he's said that before.
I, though, mean it. I didn't enjoy one second of this. I kept
waiting for the spiritual gifts that are much pain - there weren't
any. The scenery was nice but you spent most of time looking down so
you didn't trip. All I know is that the last 16 miles of this race
were the singularlyly most paintful hours I have ever spend - and I
had three, large, round-headed babies by vaginal delivery, too.
Thursday, February 05, 2009
Hmm. 3 loops, about 16-2/3 miles each. Gonna be dawn when I start out, won't need a headlamp. Gonna be dark when I finish, so, I need a headlamp in my bag.
I HATE the idea of running the dark. Crap. I wish I could run.
Okay, I'll need to put the sides of my hair in two spazzy little ponytails, to keep it off my fair and out of my eyes. I'll need slimfast at the beginning of loops 2, 3, and at finish. 3 cans, in my bag. I'll need a protein bar at the finish. In my bag.
I'll need to take a caffeinated gel 10 minutes before the start, a PowerBar, and a gel, before the start of loops 2 and 3. Also, I need to have some fast-acting Tylenol, and maybe some Advil. Small foot repair kit. Wetnaps. Ziplock bags.
Okay, I'll need my race-ready capris. Need those extra pockets. Aid stations are about 3 mi apart, on average (5K) so I'll just carry a handheld bottle.
Arm warmers. Start out with these, drop them in the bag after loop 1.
Blanket. Around me at the start, and then put in my drop bag. NO--in the car. Then I'll put it on after I finish. Need some clean, dry clothes, too.
Need socks in the bag, just in case the grass is dewy in the morning and at night. 2 pairs. In the bag.
Jacket. Maybe. I'll wear it, and then tie it around my waist when I need to. Drop it off in the bag until sundown.
Sundown will occur during loop 3. I'll need to pick up my headlamp and jacket then.
Carry my knee thing in the drop bag, just in case.
Oh. Chap stick. Gotta have chap stick. Sunscreen. Tube in the drop bag. Vaseline and sportslick. Carry those.
- 3 ziplock bags, labeled "loop 2" and "loop 3" and "finish"
- Loop 2 bag: 1 can of slimfast, 1 power bar, and 1 caffeinated gel, 1 pair of socks.
- Loop 3 bag: 1 can of slimfast, 1 power bar, and 1 caffeinated gel, headlamp, 1 pair of socks.
- Finish bag: 2 protein bars, 1 slimfast, allergy pills
- Loose: Sunscreen, Knee thing, Short-sleeved shirt, Foot repair kit, keys to the rental car
- Race-ready capris with 5 pockets, long-sleeved shirt, non-chafing bra. Possibly a jacket. Sunglasses. 1 gel w/caffein, couple of bandaids, fast-acting Tylenol, Advil, in one small ziplock bag, Wetnaps, ziplock bags in one ziplock bag, Chap stick, Sportslick.
- hand-held bottle, with asthma inhaler in the pocket
Have in the rental car:
blanket, 1 can slimfast, 1 power bar
clean, dry clothes including underwear
that eye shade thing that helps me sleep
Charger for the ipod.
cheap cheddar cheese Ramen.
Okay. Well. I guess that's it, then.
Tuesday, February 03, 2009
I've said before that I. Am. Lazy. Although I will do my best to finish anything I start, it's the starting that's hard. Resistance training is hard. So hard, in fact, that I've avoided it most of my life, even though I will nod affirmitively when you insist how good it is for me. I know how good it is for me. I'm just lazy; don't you get it? I lied when I said "No" to the question, "If there was a magic pill you could take to get in shape..."
I would. I would SO take that magic pill. By the fistsful.
Okay. So, all this is done in my office with the door closed.
During my 15-20 minutes morning break:
Alternate: Forward lunches, 15 reps each side, and Squats with bands, 15 reps. Repeat
- rest, breathing heavily. Go over and turn on the fan. Stretch glutes and thighs.
- Try not to fall over on that last set. Take a drink of water. Do some more stretching.
At lunch, after walking, do the following, in my office, with the door closed.
Using resistance band hooked low around a chair, alternate 15 reps each leg, inner and then outer adductors, or abductors, or whatever they are. Repeat. Stretch adductors. Or whatever they are.
Using the same resistance bad hooked low around a chair, do 15 hamstring curls, each leg. Repeat. Stretch hamstrings.
Afternoon break: calf raises, with toes pointed inward (15 reps) forward (15 reps) and outward (15 reps). Rest, repeat.
- Turn the fan on. Wonder if it's worth it. Stretch calves. Secretly and silently threaten my legs: you better get in shape, dammit, I'm suffering for you.
Things I've noticed so far
1. Lunges are way easier than they used to be. I almost never fall over any more.
2. I've lost another pound, so maybe there will be muscle showing soon.
3. My coworkers have gotten used to the presense of resistance bands and small dumbbells on my office floor. One coworker came in after hours, when I was working out and waiting for Baboo to get done, and although he was initially surprised, he got over it quickly. So, if you're shy about this, just hold your head up. Make them get used to you.
4. Thanks to Steve, I'm wasting a lot of time on GraphJam.
Tomorrow night, at our weekly meeting for The Challenge, there will be an "official" weigh-in and bodyfat measurement. We're only in the middle of the fourth week, so I'm not expecting anything dramatic. I'll post the results.
Meanwhile, I'm doing a bit of carb-loading for this weekend - eating a cup or two of mashed potatoes for this weekend, always after my workouts so that hopefully things get absorbed. I'm still staying within a pretty acceptable parameter and even with the carbs, my diet is staying under 2200 a day. That's quite a feat. If you don't believe me, check here. Go ahead. I dare you. Look and see what a 1/2 of mashed potatoes is.
Three days to the Rocky Racoon 50-miler. I'll be working on drop bags and my ever-important iPod mix tonight. Weather forecast for the area looks good for someone such as myself who will be moving very slowly.
Fri 72°F 56°F, partly cloudy
Sat 74°F 58°F, partly cloudy.
So that's it for today, I guess. I'll post my upper body workout tomorrow.
Sunday, February 01, 2009
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