Monday, February 28, 2011


With the longer days and warmer temps, I'm back to running at my old stomping grounds. It's a 5-mile trail (packed sand and gravel) with slight hills, gorgeous scenery and clear markers at each mile. I haven't been able to run there for the last two months because it's not lighted and because there's been a ton of snow.

Yesterday's change in venue motivated me to do my longest run yet... 13 miles. The weather was perfect and the trails were pretty clean with just a few muddy spots. The last mile was fairly ugly-- I walked a little here and there... but I did make it. I ran the 5-mile loop and then ran it again up to the four-mile mark and turned around. That's 5 + 4 + 4 = 13. It was definitely a challenge.

Next week, I'm supposed to make it to 15 miles. I can't fathom that I'll be ready, but I'm willing to give it a shot. Bill's last hockey game was last night, so I'm hoping to get at least three weekday runs in this week. Maybe the extra conditioning will pay off.

I ran with the Lemon-Lime Gatorade for the first time and skipped the other fuel products (Gu Chomps/Gel). The other stuff didn't seem to be making much of a difference. The problem with these products (and the Gatorade) is that it makes me even more thirsty. My water belt holds 24 ounces and it's always all gone by the end of the long run. As a side note, my six-year-old iPod is barely holding its charge. More miles, more problems.

I just made an appointment with an orthapedic doctor at a clinic that specializes in sports medicine. My feet are killing me and I'm really worried about the dreaded p-word... plantar fasciitis. Running the length of the sole (plantar aspect) of the foot is a thin layer (fascia) of muscle. If this layer gets injured in any way, a fasciitis can be started. My feet have been hurting since last week and I basically ran through the pain yesterday.

The fascia helps to support the longitudinal arches of the foot, especially the medial (inner) arch. Anything which causes this arch to flatten or distort will have an impact on the plantar fascia. Unsupportive sneakers can have a major impact on the onset of this condition. The long arch must be supported by the shoe, both inside with arch support cushioning, and also by the inner edge of the shoe itself.

I know for a fact that I have very high arches. The customer service rep at RR sports warned me that I could develop PF without using supportive inserts. I've tried to buy "over-the-counter" orthodics inserts to support the arches-- however, none of them have fit correctly and they've caused a host of other problems. I've been running for three years without inserts, so I just hoped to continue without any problems.

I'm going to see the doctor tomorrow and I have a good feeling that he'll outfit me with some custom inserts. In the meantime, I'm hoping that he doesn't put me on the DL.

I can't imagine taking time off now that I'm so close to the end of training.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

2 Weeks

Two weeks have come and gone with nearly no spare time to update this blog.

I did get my two long runs in... both 11.2 miles (or seven 1.6 mile loops). Each time, I was aiming for a full 12 miles and each time I couldn't get it together for that last mile.

My weekday runs haven't been as regular as I would like. Each week, I've only gotten an additional two runs in. Each one totalling four or five miles. Bill is wrapping up the end of his coaching season, so I'm hoping to get more time to run during the week.

I've switched over to using an energy gel for my long run. I'm really not convinced that it's actually doing anything. I mean, I don't actually feel a burst or replenishment of energy. This week, I'll be replacing one of the water bottles on my belt with Gatorade. Hopefully, this will make more of a difference.

The challenge in getting to that 12 or 13 miles in the long run doesn't seem so much to be an issue of energy though. I've adjusted my pace so that I'm not out of breath and the run is, for the most part, comfortable. At the end of the tenth mile, what's really failing me is my leg muscles. My legs are just tired.

For anyone whose been keeping up with these posts, the leg pain is entirely (knock on wood) gone! Also, not a single blister since I got the new socks and Body Glide. Unfortunately, this last long run brought on some pain beneath the arches in both feet. I'm hoping this is just a temporary glitch and not another long-term issue to struggle with. It made the last mile on that long run very uncomfortable, but it didn't bother me today on my 5-miler.

Another challenge has been the wind. Over the last two weeks, the wind has been so strong and cold. Once I complete that 10th mile, my first layer is pretty soaked with sweat and the wind just freezes me. Also, running against the wind is just hard.

Last week was a big week for fundraising though. I helped out with a student council event at my school and (although the final totals aren't in as of yet) I'm hoping to have raised at least $1,000 for LLS. The students did nearly all of the work and I'm so grateful to them for their help.

My next step for fundraising is to write an email to my colleagues at work and to write a letter to the parents at Will and Liam's school. I have about $500 to go, which should be do-able. I also need to write Thank You notes to those that have already donated... this is something I've been wanting to do for a while, but just haven't been able to make the time.

And hopefully this is the week that I make it to 12 or 13 miles.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

4-Run Week

Last week was the first time in a while that I got four runs in.

Ran 3 miles Monday, 4 miles Wednesday, 5 miles Friday and 11 miles Sunday. That's 23 miles for the mathematically challenged.

Felt really good to train so regularly. Bill had a light week with ice hockey and the due dates for our marking period and exam grades were pushed to a week later. It was great to have the extra time.

I don't want to jinx it, but this was the best my leg has felt in a long time. It's not perfect-- still a little sore, still a little weak-- but much better.

Before this week's long run, I made another trip to RR Sports and picked up some supplies.

I Googled "blisters and marathon training" in a desperate search for a cure. Most pairs of my running socks are blood stained in spots where I've had continual problems whenever running more than 5 mi distances. In accordance with some internet advice, I tried some Body Glide (a waxy skin protectant) on the trouble areas and a new type of socks. The socks are called "Wright Socks" and they are composed of two layers so that the two layers rub against each other, thereby lessening the friction on the foot. After running the 11-mi distance on Sunday, I only had a very small blister where I didn't put the Body Glide. So hopefully, this is something I won't have to worry about anymore.

I also bought some "fuel" for the long runs. About 45 min to an hour into my long run, I'm supposed to refuel with an energy product. There were lots of different products at the store, but I settled on the Gu brand that is one of the most popular. I bought two different types-- gel form and chewable form. For this week, I decided to try the chewable "Gu Chomps" around mile number six. There were four pieces in the serving size and they are each about six times the size of a fruit snack-- they also taste exactly like fruit snacks. "Chomps" is the name of the game because it takes quite a while to chew them up and get them down. Since I don't even attempt to eat or drink while running, I ended up taking a two-minute walk break while trying to eat these things and then chase them with enough water to aid in their absorption. Next week, I'll try the gel.

I stored the fuel in my new water belt, which I'm getting more used to carrying. This week, in a brilliant move, I didn't secure the tops properly and I ended up losing a good amount of water before realizing it. This was really inconvenient considering the fact that the Chomps seem to make you really, really thirsty. Also, because it was cold and the water made my ass really, really wet. How I did not notice this immediately, I do not know.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Three Months to Go...

I got three runs in this week.

A 4-mile run, a 10-mile run, and a 3-mile run.

I wish I had more time to devote to training, but I'm doing the best that I can with a full-time job, two kids and on most nights, homework.

This was the third time that I ran ten-miles this month. I carried water for the first time using a belt that I bought at Road Runner Sports. I ran a little over six 1.6-mile loops at a local reservoir and stopped for about 30 - 60 seconds at the conclusion of each lap, to take a little water and rest time. I definitely feel like I'm improving with the endurance required for such long runs. Although, I'm a little disappointed at how slow my pace has become. Based on the fact that the 10 miles takes me a little under two hours, I'm guessing that my pace is a little under an 11-minute mile. It feels more like a jog than a run. Back in my 5k days, I was running close to a 9-minute mile-- which wasn't record setting or anything-- but way faster.

I'm making an appointment with an ortho to take a look at my leg. It's still sore during the longer runs and I'm anxious to find out if there's anyway to improve the problem.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Another Week

I took the week off. The whole thing. Sunday, Monday, Tuesday... You get the picture. I just didn't feel like running. Bill also had a lot of coaching commitments and I had a lot of work to do with the end of the marking period approaching.

I ran five miles on Friday afternoon. I went out at about 4:30 pm and there was still some sunlight. I did a little over four 1.6 mile laps at a local reservoir. On one side of the loop, there was tons of wind and bitter cold. On the other, there was no wind and lots of sun. So for half the run, I was sweating and warm and for the other half, I was ffffffreezing.

My leg was sore the whole time.

On Sunday, I did ten miles. After barely surviving the outdoor 5-mi run on Friday, I opted for the treadmill. Better to be bored to death than frozen to death. With the warm up and cool down, it was close to two hours. This is the second time I've run a full ten-- the first was last week.

As brutal as it sounds, it wasn't that bad. I feel like I'm conditioned enough to do this mileage-- my breathing is good and my muscles don't feel overly taxed. The soreness on my left ankle/achilles is pretty consistent and although it was a nuisance, I was able to power through it. Towards the end of the run, my right knee started to bother me, but I think its because (due to the soreness on my left) I was starting to put more weight on that side.

Aside from the physical soreness, the toughest part is mental. I mean, between a full-time job, a house and two little kids, I have almost no time to myself. Spending two full hours on a treadmill takes dedication and drive when that's your only "free time".

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Ups and Downs

Went to the gym again on Wednesday and managed about four miles on the treadmill. Halfway through, I hopped off to walk a little and assess the pain in my left leg. It was really more of a soreness than a pain.

I exchanged my sneakers at the store and am now running in a more neutral shoe.

On Saturday, I headed to the shore for my long run. Nine miles and it was a total bust. I measured out 4.5 miles with my car and parked. The plan was to run the 4.5 miles and then turn around and head back. After a good twenty minutes of procrastinating on FB and Twitter, I hopped out of the car and was off. Unfortunately, I was running into a very cold, strong wind. This, combined with the soreness in my leg and an uncharged iPod, made for an unpleasant one and a half miles. After thinking it over, I called it quits and jogged back to my car. With the wind at my back, this was a far easier run.

Sunday was do-over day. I found a new location-- with less wind and no snow-- and I managed a tough 9.6 miles. My leg was still sore, but again not pain exactly-- just an annoying, distracting soreness. About halfway through, I was going purely on desire. It was not fun and it certainly didn't feel good-- until it was over that is. I ran for almost two hours and as I expected, the soreness in my leg was worse a few hours later.

Starting to have second thoughts about the marathon distance. I'm not doubting that I can do it. I know that I can. Just starting to feel like I don't want to. Running for almost two hours at a clip and feeling sore all the time just sucks the fun out of something I used to enjoy.

Monday, January 10, 2011


Left achilles has been sore for two days now. Although I suppose that rest is a good idea, the pain is at its worst after not moving around for a while. Stairs are also very unpleasant.

According to the Google Gods, there are two probable causes: either the wrong running shoe or over-training (too much, too fast). I think it's a little of both-- my new kicks aren't working out and are going to be returned shortly AND I did take almost two weeks off, so jumping back into the training schedule has been tough.

I put on my old sneakers and went to the gym with the intention of doing at least a mile or two, but once I bumped the pace up past 4 mph, the pain was pretty bad.

I hopped off the treadmill and headed home with a total mileage of 0.2 miles.

Going to give it another try tomorrow.

Sunday, January 9, 2011


Went for an early run this morning. Tried to beat the little afternoon snowstorm and made it.

Ran eight miles along the shore. It was windy, cold and grey-- but after the first mile I was warm for the remainder of the run. There were so many people out running and the boardwalk was still full of snow and ice from the previous storm, so I was still on the road.

Before starting, my left leg was sore, but I did the run anyway. Afterwards, the soreness had turned into pain. I got home and Googled and I'm pretty sure that it's my left achilles tendon.

I'm resting for the remainder of the weekend. Taking some anti-inflammatories and using ice. Hoping the pain goes away in time for Monday's run.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Getting Back Into It

Ran seven miles today. Due to the snow, was forced to run along the street. It was getting dark and tough to distinguish the wet pavement from potential ice.

Overall a better run than Sunday, but still not great. Feeling unusually sore and tired afterwards. Hoping that this is just a post-holiday slump-- too much cheesecake and Chinese food, not enough workouts.

Really need to start eating and sleeping better.

Running five on Friday and eight on Sunday.

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Break

I ran almost seven miles today. It nearly killed me.

I was supposed to run on the 23rd of December. But I had presents to buy and wrap, a house to clean, kids to make ornaments with and so on. I decided that I would take a few days off and make up for it after Christmas. Then came the snow storm and house guests and before I knew it, I was two days into the new year.

I signed up for today's group run and was encouraged to try for the scheduled 8 miles. Fueled with two weeks of junk food and inactivity, I was rightfully hesitant. The weather was warm and there was a light rain half-way through, so I only made it to seven.

I was huffing and puffing and my legs and arms felt like anchors. Every step felt tough and the idea of quitting crossed my mind on many occasions.

I'm not planning on skipping any more stretches of time in my next few months of training.

Next run is scheduled for Tuesday.