Finally, an update on running, racing, hills and bikes!

It has been a long time since I last wrote.  Honestly, I just didn’t have the time to get a post out.  Life has been rolling at a thousand miles per hour for the last month, but I did get to run a race, run most days, do a huge hill run and bike some trails.

Red Shoe Run (formally the Red Nose Run)

This was the 3rd time TJ and I ran this race for the Ronald McDonald House.  It was a great race for us.  RS joined this year for his first year running this 5K and a coworker of TJ came also.

Cool things about our race:

  • TJ came is second overall out of 340 runners of the 5K.  Wow!
  • I came in 2nd in my age group (the old guys) and 19th overall.
  • RS ran his first race in 6 months and beat his last time by 10 minutes.  He has just started taking up the running mantle again.
  • TJ’s coworker ran his first 5K.  TJ has been running with him once a week and the guy went from out of shape, to running his first 5K, first 3 mile run and best time he had ever run.  TJ was so excited to have such an impact.
  • It was 18 degrees and windy at race time.  Okay, that wasn’t cool… it was cold.  I couldn’t feel my fingers in my gloves by the time I finished.  Alabama isn’t supposed to be that cold, EVER.

It was a good race and as always the Ronald McDonald House did a great job and raised a decent amount of money.  We joined the race too late to do any fund raising, however it was a great event to be a part.

Running in general

My running is picking up a bit.  In December I hurt my heel (heel spur to be exact) and had to slow down.  It still hurts from time to time, but I can and do run each day.  I am trying my best to get out of running 4 miles.  I have been stuck in a rut since summer and need to get some distance.  Last week I ran a 5 mile and 6 mile run, so that is a beginning. Running in the cold isn’t my favorite thing to do, but it is better than the heat.  The last few days it has been between 60 – 70, so life has been quite good for running.

Hill Run

I told TJ over the weekend that I really needed a hill run.  I haven’t run hills in a long time and I could tell.  My legs have felt tired during my daily runs and my hip/back hurt much more over the weekend after I picked up my mileage last week.  He asked if I wanted to run the hills in a nearby neighborhood and I agreed.  It was insane.

We ran a total of 8 miles (my longest run in a long time) and 700 feet in elevation.  He stayed with me though and I made it through without stopping.  The day before RS and I road bikes on trails at our state park for an hour and my legs were already tired.  So the hill run wiped them out.  Toward the end of the run we ran the biggest hill around.  I almost didn’t have the strength to make it.  My breathing was labored, but my legs had nothing left.  I plowed through and made it to the top of that hill, but I’m sure I wasn’t moving very fast.  The last quarter mile I put everything into the run I had left.  I can honestly say I have never felt so tired since my marathon.

The good news is that my legs feel better today.  Yesterday, the day after the hills, my legs still felt off.  My 4 mile slow recovery run was very slow and not fun.  Today, after a good night sleep and some time between me and the hills, my legs feel better, my back is better and my hip doesn’t hurt.  I don’t like running hills,, but they are worth the pain, at least for me!

Conclusion

Life is beginning to return to normal.  My work has been insane (14 hour days at times) and as a result, life was stressful.  Work is still hectic, but I feel like I am beginning to get a handle on things.  I hope to possibly run the Shamrock Half Marathon in March (was trying for the marathon, but… NOT).  If I can stay healthy and increase my mileage, I should be label to do it.

Virginia Beach, here I come!

 

Tom

PS – My weight got up there after the holidays and injuries.  I was near 200 lbs January 5th.  Today (Jan 21) I am back to 188. I hope to continue this downward trend in my weight for about another 10 lbs.

My 2 mile run and quest for slow running

2 miles.

I ran a 2 mile run for the first time in two weeks yesterday.

My heel has been hurt.  Might be my achilles.  I stopped all running until I thought I could give it a good try and yesterday was the day.  The run went well.  Of course I paid a bit too much attention to my heel, but I had no problems.  TJ bought me new shoes that have more of a built up heel and I could really feel the support.

I honestly think this latest injury was caused by 3 things…

1) I had new shoes.  They ran great.  I won’t mention the brand here, but I loved them and felt like I could run much better then ever before in them.  Sadly, about 20 miles into wearing them, I felt a tug of pain on my heel.  Not wanting to give up on shoes after 20 miles I kept going.  I tied them differently to try and give more support.  Finally, one day the pain wasn’t feeling better. I ran one step too far and something sprang in my heel. No more running for two weeks.

2) Speed.  The need for speed.  I’m an old man (not really, but older then most of you I’m sure).  I have been on a quest to run faster and farther since I started my running career almost 3 years ago.  I’ve done well.  I’ve won my age group in many 5Ks.  I finished in the top 4 percent of my age group in my Country Music Half Marathon.  I ran half of my only marathon at an 8 minute pace (and the second half at a 12:00 pace).  Speed is fun, but for me, it causes injuries.  So I am giving up on speed and going to start running for distance.  I want to run another marathon, an ultra marathon, perhaps a 50 miler.  There are far more goals for me to achieve beyond being fast and taking chances at getting hurt.  I still hope to BQ one day, but for now, that dream is set aside.

3) Cycling.  God gave me the wisdom to buy a fairly cheap bike on Black Friday.  If it weren’t for that purchase, I’d be walking everyday because of my ankle and hating it.  So, instead I’ve been riding.  Not everyday as I’ve been out of town some and had other commitments, but several times I’ve gotten out an ridden with my kids.  Sunday was awesome.  RS and I road trails at the Mountain State Park for 6 miles.  I probably should have thought differently when I saw the sign to “Rattle Snake Ridge” and let RS talk me into going on that trail.  We made it, but it was a bit above my comfort zone.  Also, after our 6 miles with RS on the trails, I got to ride with JS for 13 miles at a small park near our home. She suffers from fibromyalgia and to be able to ride that much at one time was quite a victory.

RS at the top of Rattle Snake Ridge

RS at the top of Rattle Snake Ridge

So, all that to say, speed is out (except on the bike) and running long and slow is in.  It is a new chapter for me and will take time to get into my head (don’t run fast), but I think it is the way to go, at least for now.

Hey, maybe I can get to Boston running for a charity.  Who said I have to kill myself to reach my dreams.

Have an awesome week.

Tom

 

The agony of de-heel

I was feeling good.  The day before, I just had the best 5 mile run, coming in under an 8:00 mile.  This day I chose to take it easy and not push it.  As I ran, my heel spur began to bother me.  It has been bothering me a lot lately.  So I concentrated on my form and tried to relax.

The run continued and I sped up a bit.  I was really wanting to have another good run.  I shouldn’t have done that.  My heel began hurting more and I kept relaxing and running.  At the 4 mile point, it hit.  The pain.  There was definitely something wrong.  I stopped immediately and began to walk.  Shortly the walk became a limp.  I had to walk a quarter mile back to my car and it took almost as long as it did to run the 4 miles.

I then limped for 4 days.  I had a lot to get done and didn’t ice it like I should have.  I still don’t know if it is my achilles or heel spur.

The good news is that I bought that bike over black Friday.  My heel didn’t hurt at all riding the bike.  I rode with my only daughter one day.  She has suffers a lot from Fibromyalgia and it was great riding slowly through the neighborhood with her.

Sunday was also good.  I went riding at the State Park with RS.  We rode a lot.  We rode mountain trails and roads.  The trails were really hard to get used to at first, but by the end, we were riding hard and having a lot of fun.  We rode some roads for a while and then headed back to the car.  Going up the hill to where we parked was hard as my legs were rubber.  Funny that I can run 5 miles hard and fast, but I can’t ride 5 miles without major effort.

Today, 5 days after my injury I am doing better.  I walked without a limp and have little pain.  I won’t have time to run again until Wednesday, so I should be good to go.

I was just thinking a week ago that what has kept me from running most lately has been other health issues (stones, mainly), and then this…

Either way, I will be back.  I will run.  I will keep the edge and, Lord willing, I will run another marathon… Boston maybe!

Tom

Running with a stone!

Running has taken a back seat at times over the past couple months to physical issues.

First, a couple (or the same) kidney stones that put me down for a week.

Then a mass on my kidney was found that ended up being a cyst.  No big deal after all.

Finally a week ago Friday I had a good run.  It was only 4 miles, but I felt good and enjoyed it.  I got home and went to the bathroom and had very visible blood in my urine.  Ugh.  Not something else.  So I went to the doc in a box and they said I had no infection, but if it continued, I should go to the ER.  Fortunately it stopped quickly and I was fine.  I took Saturday as my day off of running as usual and then went out Sunday for a longer run.

The weather was cool on Sunday and lots of rain, but the run was good.  I got to 7.5 miles when the thunder started.  I texted my son to come pick me up (as I do not run in storms) and by the time he got to me, it was thundering and lightening all around me.  I got home safely and totally soaked and went up to get in a shower.  I used the bathroom and… yes… bloody urine again.

So now I realized, this wasn’t a one time thing and it was connected to running.  I’ve had lots of injuries over the past few years of running, but this one took the cake.  So Monday I made an appointment with a urologist and waited to see what was happening to me.

Fortunately it wasn’t something horrible.  I had a stone in my bladder and when I would run, the stone would literally cut my bladder and make me bleed.  So I had to stop running until I could get this stone out of me surgically.  My doctor was able to schedule me for last Wednesday, so I went in, got it out and came home.

Finally yesterday I ran and had no problems.  It was such a relief to run and not bleed.  Crazy me writing that, but it is true.

I hope that all these seemingly unrelated problems are now over and I can get back to training for my half marathon at the end of December. I have new shoes, a fixed up body and am ready to head out.

One cool thing is that my urologist commented that it is incredibly rare for someone to lose nearly 100 lbs by diet and exercise. He said in all his years of practice he only knows of about a dozen people who have done that successfully.  I admit, that made my day.

Tom

Running, hurt, better, running, happy

Somedays running can be ordinary.

Somedays you think your run was ordinary, but it really wasn’t.

Somedays running is fun and you feel like you can run forever.

Somedays you get two miles into a run and know you need to stop or risk getting hurt.

Monday I ran my 4 miles.

Tuesday I ram my 4 miles.

Wednesday I woke up and my ankle hurt so much I could barely walk.  Strange that I was fine during my Tuesday run.  Of course it was HOT and I was tired.  I hadn’t slept well the night before and the heat, though not as bad as at other times, just got to me.  I ended up walking several times.

So I woke up Wednesday and limped out of bed.  At work I had to walk slowly and favored my other foot.  It hurt so much, I wondered if I had sprained it.  I had visions of having to take weeks off of running and just keep weight off of it all together.  That afternoon I decided to walk through my neighborhood.  I figured it would work its way out of make it worse, but at least I’d know what I was up against.  So I walked a couple miles and headed home.  To be honest, it was better after a while.  I still couldn’t run on it, but I could walk without issue.

Yesterday I woke up and felt fine.  No pain.  No limp. All was well.

So I went for my run yesterday afternoon.  It was awesome.  Not only did my ankle feel fine, but I felt like I could run forever.  I ended up running 5 miles, which was longer then I’ve run in a long time.  I felt comfortable. It was cool outside (I love the polar vortex in the summer) and all was well with the world.

This morning I am back in the 184 range for my weight.  I have been creeping up past 184 off and on since my vacation.  184 is not where I want to be as a goal, but is acceptable to me, so that is good news.

Ultimately, somedays are good and some are bad.  I’ve said this before, but if you have a bad day, know that a good one is coming soon.  If you have a good day, don’t be shocked at the next bad day because it will happen.  That is the way we are made and that is life.

I’m glad I had a good day yesterday.  I really needed one.

Tom

 

Summer running update!

I haven’t posted in a while, and yes, I feel guilty about that.

Basically it has become hard to post for a couple of very good reasons:

  1. I run 4 miles a day and 7 miles on Sunday with Saturday off.  Not much variation happening with this routine.
  2. It is hot and so my runs are rather slow and exhausting.  I usually have to stop after 2 miles and once or twice on the last 2 mile stretch.  I don’t stop long, just enough to be able to catch my breath and walk for a few seconds in the shade.  All in all though, I’m not breaking any records out there.  In fact, I don’t even take my Pebble watch with me because I don’t want to feel I have to run hard in the heat of the Southern summer.
  3. I have few races ahead.  I am going to run a 5K with TJ (and maybe RS) in a couple weeks, but nothing major for which to train.

So here I am.  Mindlessly running 4 miles a day at 3:00 in the afternoon.  My knee is better and I haven’t had to stop a run again since I walked down the mountain, so that is good.  And I took off the weekend of the 4th to head to Chattanooga with my Lovely Wife.  I left my running shoes at home so I could take a break.  Wouldn’t you know that it was some of the best weather we’ve had all summer.  Cool mornings and low humidity.  Pretty much I have figured out that if I want it to cool down outside all I have to do is not run and… BAM – it gets beautiful out.  I started running again on Monday and, yes, it was hot and humid.

So all in all life is as monotonous as a slow 4 mile run in the heat.  Work is very busy and home is just about as busy with things breaking (like our central air).

I can’t complain though.  Other then my knee issue, I haven’t really been hurt much lately.  In fact the last time I took a week off of running was several months ago.

Finally, I honestly haven’t had time to read too many blogs lately (another guilt trip for me).  I think that adds to my monotony.  I get motivated by reading other blogs and by skipping them, it just isn’t the same.  Hopefully life will slow down a bit and get back to normal.

Have an awesome weekend and enjoy life.

Tom

Walking down a mountain

I finally ran 6 days in a row last week.  Other then my long day, I only ran about 4 miles a day.  I figure until I can be consistent with running 4 miles a day, why go farther.  So I ended up with 28 miles for the week.

Then, Friday happened.  I was running well, but it was hot and I was tired from the week.  I was about 1/10 mile from home and my knee got a shooting pain that made me immediately stop running.  It was on the inside of my left knee.  I’ve had that pain twice before in the past couple of years and it has never been long term.

Sunday, I went to the mountain with RS to do my weekly run.  It was my first mountain run in my new shoes and I was excited to see how they’d do.  As we parted ways to begin separate runs, I handed RS the clicker to the car and I took the key.  He then asked me, “What if you get hurt, how will I get you”.  I just smiled and said that wouldn’t happen.

Hmmm.

I got to the top of the mountain and felt fine.  I had a good run and took my time.  No issues.  As I began my decent, all was well and then, after about a half mile, that pain came back.  I limped to a stop and let out a cry of pain.  I texted RS and told him I was walking back and then I tried to run again.  I know that was stupid and I new it at the time, but I didn’t want to walk 3 miles back to the car.  So I started and stopped about 3 times.  Each time I ran okay, but then the pain hit and I couldn’t continue.  Finally I resigned myself to walk down the mountain and give up my run.

About a mile after I began my walk, I spotted RS coming toward me.  He ran up the mountain to meet me.  He offered to go get the van, but I declined. We walked back and had a good talk.  Thanks RS!

Now I’m off running for a bit.  Back to ice and heat and stretching.  I don’t know if it was my shoes or just fate, but it is frustrating (although running always seems to be frustrating).

Maybe I should start biking.

No pain is gain!

I ran yesterday.

Normally I wouldn’t write such a crazy first sentence to open my post on my running blog, but I haven’t been able to run much lately.  Between back problems, hip problems, and lots to do, I just haven’t kept up with the running.

That’s the bad news – On to the good news.

My back and hip are doing awesome.  I wrote Tuesday about the new seat cushion that I purchased out of desperation at Target.  I figured I’d take it back if it didn’t help.  Monday I had almost no pain.  Tuesday was about the same.

Yesterday was the real test… My run!

Actually, I wasn’t worried about the run itself.  It was the “after the run” pain that I feared.  My back and hip rarely give me problems during my runs.  I don’t know why.  I guess it would be better if they did since that would give me a warning to stop.  But nooooo, I feel good during my run and then about 60 minutes after the pain sets in.  I try heating, icing, stretching, and just about everything to stop the pain, but it just keeps coming back.

Okay, “back” to my run yesterday.  I ran 4 miles at just over an 8:30 pace.  I was happy with that, but worried.  HOWEVER, I am here to tell you that afterwards I had very little pain and today I have none.  In fact I felt so good this morning that I didn’t even remember to take the anti-inflammatory that my doctor had given me.  Yes, I am exciting about this.  I think my issues have all been due to posture and the way I sit.  This new seat holds my body up and level so that there isn’t pressure on my hip or back.  I also use it in my car.  I have a stick shift and usually by the time I get to work or home I am in such pain that I can barely walk.  Not now.  I have almost no pain from the car.

I need to give it some more time before I claim victory over the pain, but even 2 or 3 days is just amazing to me.

Finally, with so little running my weight should be back up, but it stayed steady at 184.  In fact today I was in the 183 range – once again I give credit to apple cider vinegar (ACV).  I have NEVER been able to keep my weight steady, especially without running.  I’ve only been able to run 3 times in June (including yesterday) and my weight has not gotten beyond 185.  That is amazing to me.

I hope things keep going in this direction.  It would be nice to run and not be in pain and to keep losing weight.  I need to get down to about 165 to be at my correct weight and haven’t been there in 30 years, so here is hoping that I can keep this going.

Enjoy your day and if I don’t post again this week, have a great weekend.

Tom

Some running and much weight loss

I ran two days in a row.

It seemed to go well.  Yesterday evening my back was sore, but not until I went to bed.  This morning I am fine though.

So I think I am progressing past this very strange injury.  I am trying to slow down my runs and walk slower at work.  I tend to walk between 2 – 3 miles a day at work and have so much to do, I’ve learned to walk briskly.  I honestly think this is much of my problem since the pain in my back is always worse in the afternoon.  I am also making sure I get up from my chair every 20 – 30 minutes to stretch and walk some.  This has also helped.

The body is a complicated thing, especially mine.  I guess 40+ years of inactivity has caught up with me now that I am active again.

I am still losing weight.  This morning the scales weight in at 181.8 which is my lowest weight since before my marathon last Fall.  On top of that, I am wearing pants that wen’t close to fitting me 2 months ago and now they feel fine.  I’m thrilled that I finally am getting my weight under control.. and.. wait for it… yes, I attribute it to apple cider vinegar (ACV).  I started taking my 2 Tbs of unfiltered ACV twice a day a couple of months ago.  Back then I weighed in regularly in the mid to upper 190’s.  So, to be conservative, I’ve lost over 15 lbs in the past few months.  This includes pizza on fridays and burgers on Sundays.  I honestly think the key is exercise and consistency taking it.  It took well over 4 weeks for me to see a weight loss.  The only thing that kept me going was it also gave me energy for my afternoon runs.

The cool thing about ACV is that I don’t feel like I am dieting.  I do watch what I eat, but I am not hungry.  Yesterday I even turned down cake at work!  I’ve never done that before.

So I honestly can’t complain.  Even with my 5 days off running last week because of my back, I am still keeping my weight down.

Now if I could only run as fast as I want to, all would be good.

Have an awesome last half of the week!!!

Tom

The Runner’s Paradox

It was a long weekend trying to rest so that my back would feel better.

I tried, but didn’t succeed.

No, I didn’t run.  That would have been a mistake and I’ve made that mistake in the past.

Unfortunately my Lovely Wife, who has had a bad back for 3 years with 2 ruptured disks, woke up Saturday morning with what seemed to be a pinched nerve in her back.  She was a trooper and went out with me to do errands all weekend.  My only issue was helping her in and out of the car, which was not easy with my own messed up back.  She was better by last night, so hopefully she is on the mend – as much as one can be on the mend with 2 ruptured disks.

Then there was the toilet that broke.  I had to try to replace the insides of this toilet that I “fixed” 3 weeks ago.  That was an hour of leaning over a toilet and without a hangover to enjoy (just kidding).

Finally, between Church Sunday morning (Catholics do a lot of kneeling) and fixing TJ’s broken deadbolt, I don’t think I am in much better shape then when the weekend began.

On a good note, I slept well and am still below 185 lbs, which after pizza on Friday night and burgers last night, I’m thrilled.

Back to running (pun intended), I may try some easy miles this afternoon.  I’ll have to see  how I feel when I get home.  I am in the runners paradox.  Do I try to run to keep in the best shape of my life, or do I keep resting even though it hasn’t done much for me?  To be honest, while I am running I don’t feel any pain.  It seems to come on me after walking all day (I average 2 – 3 miles walking a day at work).  I tend to walk fast in order to get a lot done, but today I am going to slow it way down and see if that helps.

I miss running!

Tom