Spring Scramble 5K pre-race update

I had a great run yesterday.  5 miles with no pain and a lot of fun.  It was the perfect run to have right before my big 5K race on Saturday,.

I must admit that I am still a little nervous about Saturday’s race.  I really want to PR it and I would love to get below 21:00.  My race PR is 22:10 and my neighborhood PR is 21:29.  Time will tell.

Today is my off day before the race.  I usually run much better after an off day and I hope that will help.  The unknown is my running shoe.  My Saucony A5’s had to be returned with a hole in the sole, so I am going to be running in Asics Piranha’s for the race.  I’ve run in them twice so far.  Once was last week as we ran the course to get the lay of the land.  The other time was 2 days ago when I did a hard workout.  The shoes seemed to be sloppy on my feet and started causing a lot of pain on the bottom of my foot.  I think I had them tied too loosely and when I tightened them, they seemed better.  It is a little concerning though since I don’t want to be in the middle of the race and be in pain from and unknown shoe.

Tonight we do our pre-race routine.  Chicken caesar salads with macaroni and cheese.  I can thank by big brother for that since at a 5K we ran last year in Pennsylvania he and his wife made that for dinner the night before and we have eaten it before each race ever since.  We’ve since added watching Seinfeld, “The Race” during dinner – just to get motivated :).

TJ and I are healthy but RS and HM are getting over a bug as is my Lovely Wife, so I don’t know who exactly will be showing up tomorrow.  Either way, it will be fun and hopefully I’ll be prepared.  There will be several people running from my work and @bigbiggeek is coming so that will be fun.

I’ll try to post a short update after the race.


Final running workout before our 5K

One day left to workout before the Spring Scramble 5K.  It’s funny, TJ likes to run the day before a race and I don’t.  My best runs are usually the day after a rest day, so I’ll be running today and taking tomorrow off.

Yesterday I completed a hard workout (finally).  I feel it has been forever since I was able to do a workout.

I started out slowly and got in my 2 mile warmup with no problems.  I remembered my KT Tape this time and was able to use my new headset which was nice so that I could see how it did before the race.  I also wore my Asics Piranha shoes for the first time in a workout.  I did my sprints to get warmed up and then started my 1/4 mile repeats.

There were a lot of distractions and obstacles yesterday as I ran my repeats.  School was letting out and buses were all over the place.  Kids were riding bikes and playing.  In fact at one point, I was running up to a 4 way stop and a little girl was in front of me riding her bike.  She started to turn around and noticed me and got distracted.  Right then a car turned onto the street and she did not see it.  I yelled, “watch out” and the car honked its horn and she got quickly out of the way.  It was scary for me, but gave me some adrenaline to run on for a bit.

I completed all 8 repeats and averaged about a 6:30 pace which is what I wanted to do.  It was tough near the end.  Also, I didn’t tie my shoes tight enough and half way through the repeats the balls of my feet started killing me as they moved around in the shoe.  I could tell I was getting blisters.  Good to find this out before the race.  So I paused my workout and tightened my shoes and started up again.

Finally after I completed the workout I ran a mile cool down and headed home.  My achilles did great until the cool down.  For some reason (probably the workout) I could feel some pain, so I stopped after one mile cool down and just walked home.  I immediately put my foot into a bucket of ice water and let it soak for 15 minutes.

So all in all it was a good day.  I’ll be glad when this 5K is behind me.  There is another one in 2 weeks I am interested in.  I may run it – just for fun. 🙂

Running workout – Not yesterday!

The best laid plans…

I went out yesterday for my workout (1/4 mile repeats at 6:30/mile).  I was a bit hesitant since I had almost no sleep the night before and I was tired.  So I decided to set out for my 2 mile warmup and play it by ear.

Well I messed up.  I started way too fast.  About a half mile into my run I could feel my achilles again.  I got a bit overconfident and pushed to hard to soon.  By the time I got back home at the 2 mile mark, when I should have been putting on my racing flats, I decided the workout wasn’t going to happen.  My achilles wasn’t too bad, but I could feel a tug and I just don’t want to mess things up this close to the 5K.  I was wearing my Saucony Fastwitch shoes (which are becoming my favorite everyday shoe), so I changed into my Saucony Mirage since they have more support.

I did well for the next half mile – no pain and felt good.  Then I felt the tug again.  I threw in the towel.  I stopped at 3 miles, went inside, got a bucket of ice water and soaked my foot for 15 minutes.  TJ asked if I had used the KT Tape, which I hadn’t.  Not because I didn’t want to, but because I forgot.

So I will try my workout today if I feel up to it.  I did get better sleep last night, however my family is passing around a virus that I am desperately trying to avoid and I don’t want to wear myself down and take a chance at getting sick right before the race.  TJ has already gotten over his virus and RS just got it yesterday along with my Lovely Wife.  HM is still in the middle of his infection.  The bad thing is it gets into your chest, which isn’t good for running a 5K.

So I will try to stay healthy and not push too much.  After the 5K on Saturday I’ll probably take several days off and walk or (as Strive Balance suggested) ride a bike.

Nice app for a race and new bluetooth headset

I have written in the past about the iSmoothRun app and how much I like it. I’ve learned to like it even more now that I have begun to understand the interval settings.

Rather than just use the interval option for “intervals”, I decided the other day to use it for my whole run.  So I created a warmup of 1 mile and then an interval of 1 mile at 8:45 a mile (this was while I was getting over my achilles issues).  I then set my app to 1 interval of warmup and 4 intervals of the 8:45 pace.

As I have said before, the app speaks to you to let you know if you need to speed up, remain steady or slow down to keep your pace.  I had thought this was based on the full interval, but I was wrong.  Essentially it seems to be based on your current speed compared to the last time it updated (which seems to be about every 15 seconds or so).  The nice thing about this is that if you are ahead of your pace, you can “bank” that time and still keep to your target pace.  The app actually tells you from time to time how far ahead or behind your pace you are.  So the other day I was “20 seconds ahead”, but the app still told me I needed to speed up to keep the 8:45 pace.  Therefore I knew that if I was able to remain steady, I would finish that mile interval 20 seconds ahead of my goal pace.  It also will tell you your stats for that interval when it ends which is helpful.

I can see how this would be invaluable in a race.  So I decided to purchase a pair of bluetooth headsets that are waterproof (for sweat or rain).  I don’t use headsets since I don’t listen to anything while I run, but I also don’t want to bother other runners in a race with the updates of my time.  This will allow me to hear my pace and keep on target while not worrying about others getting annoyed at me for having my phone speaker so loud.

Motorola S10-HD Bluetooth Stereo Headphones

Here are the headsets I purchased – click the picture to see them on Amazon.  I hope they are good, but time will tell.

Our 5K is just days away, so I hope this will do the trick.  I also hope to use them in my first marathon in September.

Small change to my running form – Huge payback!

I found a possible key to improve my running this weekend.  I was reading an article on Friday about runner’s knee.  The article talked about people who run with their foot slightly turned inward which also means that their whole leg is slightly turned.  By practicing keeping the leg turned out as you run, this takes the pressure off the knee and relieves the pain.

I do have some knee pain as do many runners, but as I thought about this I realized that my right foot in particular has always had an issue of toeing in.  If I sit and hold my legs up, my right foot turns in at a 45 degree angle and my left foot at about a 20 degree angle.

So starting with my run Friday, I tried running and concentrating on keeping my feet pointing forward, especially my right foot and knee.  The result was quite amazing!  First, by doing this I was putting pressure on a different part of my achilles.  So even though the pain had already gotten better, I no longer have to fear pulling it again.

Second, I ran fast!  My run Friday was in the 8:15 pace range and Sunday I was running sub 8:00 miles.  I did have to cut my run Sunday short because of a pain in my left thigh, but I’ve had that problem for several weeks, however this is the first time it bothered my running.  I stopped just to be safe.

I think the reason I ran faster was because by pointing my foot forward, I was actually pushing off with the ball of my foot rather than the right side.  Imagine your foot toeing in while running.  You would no longer have as much power to push you forward. For me, when I pointed my foot forward, I was finally involving my whole arch in giving me a push as I run rather than the weaker right side of the foot.

No mater what the reason, it made such a difference.  I ran faster with much smaller effort. My run went so well, I knew it had to be due to the way I was holding myself.

Time will tell, but these type of positive changes are really exciting after a year of running.

5K race prep – run the route to learn the route

It was a lot of fun running yesterday with TJ and RS.  We decided to run the 5K route that we will be running next week.  As I mentioned yesterday, it is immensely helpful to run the course before the race so you know what you are up against and can plan how to run it.

The race is in a medium sized town and it begins in the middle of the shopping district, so needless to say it was hard to begin since there were too many cars to run on the road and the sidewalks had lots of shoppers.  But we decided to run the sidewalks slowly and stay out of the way of shoppers as best we could.

The race starts on a rather large downhill run.  It gets your momentum going so that is nice.  In fact most of the first mile or so is either level or downhill.  As we ran, we made a turn onto a busy street with no sidewalks, that was a bit scary as cars were coming toward us.  Finally sidewalks appeared and we ran up and down over curbs and around obstacles.

About half a mile into the run we turned into neighborhoods.  This was nice as we didn’t have to run the sidewalks and we could just enjoy our run.  I had a map on my phone from last year that I used to guide us along the way and I also put my phone on “Map My Run” so that we could have the route for the future and I could give to others who will be running with us.

We wound through neighborhoods and eventually back on the busy street.  I’d say this is the flattest 5K we have run.  Some hills, but most are inclines and not really hills.  The biggest hill is at the end (of course).  No, not the hill we started on thank goodness, but just a medium hill that leads back to the shopping district.  Once you hit that street, it is an easy run for the finish.

All in all it was a really nice run.  It will be nicer next week as we don’t have to run the sidewalks and can run the streets.  If interested, here is a link to my run that I mapped http://www.mapmyrun.com/workout/277053771.

No problem for me running and I used my new racing flats.  Next week I hope to run under 21:00.  If I stay healthy, I think I will have a shot.

Last post… about my achilles.

I guess that ice bath for my foot really helped.  I had no pain all day. I didn’t have to ice my foot (mainly because I didn’t even think of doing it) and when I ran, I had no pain in my achilles.  It was really quite amazing.

Also my run went great.  After the 9:00 first mile, I averaged 8:17 for the last 4 miles.  I wasn’t trying to run that fast, but it was so nice to be able to run and not feel that twinge.  Also I felt great.  I wasn’t tired and my legs felt great.  I could have gone on for more miles, but I am really wanting to continue to cut back a bit before our 5K next week.  I  want to run it well and don’t want to take any chances with getting hurt again.

Today TJ, RS and I are going to run the 5K course to see what it is like.  We ran it last year but it has been a while and it is always nice to know the course before the race so you know how to run.

I hope this is my last post on my achilles.  I am still getting KT Tape today and going to use it as a preventative.  I’ll probably not have time to ice my foot after the run today since we will be far from home, but it should be fine since we are only running 3 miles.

Thanks to all who have been so helpful over the past week of my injury with suggestions and prayers.  It has made a difficult experience much easier.

Ice bath for my foot after my run. Life is good.

I ran my planned 4 miles yesterday and did pretty well.  My heel (probably achilles) was a bit sore during the day so I kept ice on it and kept it elevated most of the day at work.  Actually it didn’t hurt while I moved,  just as I sat.  

I had several people mention ice to me.  One coworker mentioned taking ice baths in college after running (and the night before a race).  A friend of mine also mentioned these compression and ice combos that look very intriguing (http://110playharder.com/shop/).  

In light of these discussions, as I ran I got an idea (this happens a lot to me as I run).  Why not try an ice bath for my foot?   So I got home and found a bucket and filled it half way with ice.  I filled it up with water, sat outside with the dog as I usually do, and put my foot into the bucket.  COLD was my first thought.  I know from past physical therapy on my wrist that when you apply ice to an area, it first stings, then hurts and finally goes numb.  The point of numbness is what you want (but not too long of course).  So after about 15 minutes I took my foot out and let it dry and warm up.  The idea is that while it is cold, it is difficult for the body to get blood to that area, so when you take it out of the ice, blood rushes there.  That causes your muscles and such to repair much quicker.  

Well it was something to try.  I don’t know if it did much for me.  My heel is still sore today but not to walk on.  I may take today off and give it more time to rest.  The hard thing is that it doesn’t hurt when I run or walk, so I hate to just sit.  But I do what I need to do.  I Cor 9:24 says, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.”  Why run, live or do anything half way.  I want to do everything to the best of my ability while being wise at the same time.

So that is my latest adventure.  Tomorrow TJ, RS and I are going to run the 5K route we will run next week at the Spring Scramble.  We like to run our race routes ahead of time so we know the ups and downs and how to plan for the race. 

Should be fun.

Finally, a good run! And a new pair of shoes

Well I wouldn’t say I am back to normal (in the sense of running), but I had a good run yesterday with little pain. I did my planned 5 mile run with my iSmoothRun app muted. I kept my app silent so I wouldn’t be tempted to push myself faster than I felt I could go. I had 2 moments of pain, but one was more in my heel than my achilles, so I am not sure that is related. Anyway, for most of the run I didn’t even think of my achilles, so I feel I am getting back on track.

Just for the record, I was able to run at an 8:25 pace which is pretty much my normal pace at the moment / pre injury. I think that I have weathered this injury well and I hope that I don’t have any long-term effects from it. My knees do hurt more than normal, but I also think I have altered my running style to accommodate my injury and that hasn’t been good either. Yesterday I worked on just keeping my run normal and relaxed. I am going to try to get some KT Tape and see if that helps, but I haven’t had time to get it yet.

I did get to try new shoes. TJ and I both ordered a pair of Asics Piranha SP 3 running shoes from Running Warehouse (link).

Asics Piranha SP 3

Asics Piranha SP 3

I was a little apprehensive about running in them since they are racing flats and I didn’t know if it would aggravate my achilles, but I took them for a spin for the first mile of my run. Wow, they are nice. It is amazing how light they are and they didn’t bother my feet at all, but I did take them off after the first mile just to be safe. For $40 (use code FB15D for 15% off) they are worth the money and these are my first non Saucony running shoes to own. It’s funny, after waring the Piranha’s for a mile, my Saucony Mirage felt like bricks on my feet. It took a mile just to get used to their weight.

So, all in all it was a good day for running. I still feel a little sore in my heel area and I will still take my running slow for the rest of the week just to make sure I’m healthy for our 5K next week. I really want to have a great day at the Spring Scramble and am excited about all the people I know who will be running the race.

Life is good!!!


P.S. I was back under 180 this morning!!! I don’t know why, but I’ll take it!

The saga continues – achilles pain vs a 5 mile run

I made the decision yesterday that I would try to run.  I felt well and my achilles felt fine, but I didn’t know what would happen as I got out on the road.  The day before I had to cut my run 3 miles short, not because of pain, but just a nagging tinge in my achilles.

Yesterday as I began to run, I decided that if I couldn’t make my run because of pain, I would just stop the rest of the week and give my injury time to heal.  Of course as I ran I was super conscious of any discomfort from my achilles.  A few times I wondered if I felt something, but then decided it was just “normal” pain.  What I mean by normal pain is that I always have some type of pain while I run.  Either my hip or my thigh or, yes my achilles.  I used to think that the achilles pain was heel pain, but now I know differently. Also normal pain goes away and real pain does not.  So while I ran, if I thought I was having any type of pain, I would relax and make sure I wasn’t running too fast and eventually I felt fine again.

So to finish this story… I finished my 5 mile run.  It wasn’t a PR by any stretch of the imagination.  I ended up running a 9:00 pace, which is just about where I wanted to be.  Slow enough to not get hurt, but just fast enough to feel like I ran.

I got to the last tenth of a mile and I had a tinge of pain in, yes, my achilles.  It was more than just phantom pain, it was real, but it went away and I slowed way down and finished the run.  I got home and elevated my legs and played with the dog.  No I didn’t use ice. Sadly I forgot, but I will today just to make sure all is well.

My goal the rest of the week is to keep at the 5 mile mark until I run several days with no issues.  Sadly our 5K is coming up next weekend and I really wanted a PR.  This may impact that, but it might help by giving me some much needed rest.

All in all, yesterday went well and I can run again today.

I just need to take it one day at a time.