Wednesday, May 25, 2011

one step forward, two steps back

I would much prefer "two steps forward, one step back"!

This past week has been a test of patience and willingness to listen to and stick with my own advice.  The left knee pain that I thought was feeling better at the beginning of last week reared it's ugly head once again.  In the middle of last week after a few days of rest, rehab and recovery I ventured out to give it an easy test.  Within 2 minutes it was back! UGH!  So instead of saying "it hurts a bit, but I can run through it" as a younger me probably once would have done, I simply shut it down and walked home...dejected.

Pain and symptoms reproduced over the
soleus and peroneus longus
 insertion on the fibular head.
So as result of the pain and symptoms I departed from my training plan to work diligently on recovery.  It does me no good to train while goals are just too big. I initially had difficulty pin-pointing the precise point and structure causing me the pain and symptoms.  Typically during the initial phase of inflammation it's difficult to discern between various tissues as the whole area was inflamed.  Is it my meniscus?  The lateral collateral ligament (LCL)? The Calf?  Well after a few days and lot's of ice the inflammation subsided and I was able to get a better idea of what was going on.  you see I really never had pain when I wasn't running.  I could twist, turn, bend, walk etc without eliciting symptoms.  So when Renee (who is a physical therapist too...and yes it's nice to have a wife who is a physical therapist) and another friend of ours (also a physical therapist) were hanging around we investigated (this is what PT's do when they hang out sometimes...we discuss unsolved ailments).  After some poking and uncomfortable prodding...EUREKA!  This posterolateral knee pain I have been having looks to be consistent with a strain of the solues and perhaps peroneus longus attachments on the fibular head.  I spent much of the week applying ice, ultra sound, heat, electric stimulation, stretching, cross friction massaging, night splinting, strengthening followed by a little more stretching.

Over the past 3 days I have run twice, each time on a treadmill to simply test how my leg is feeling.  The first was 1 mile @ 6.0 mph at a 4.0 grade.  The pain or symptoms...I am encouraged, but cautious.  The second was 2 miles @ 6.0 with a few spurts @ 7.0 and @7.5 at a 2.0 grade.  The pain or symptoms.  I actually felt better following the run...whew!  Very encouraged, but not getting too excited yet.  I have continued my treatment each day.

Today, I'll be able to get out and try my first run outside and see how it feels.  Wish me luck!

Monday, May 16, 2011

No, I'm Not A Masochist...It's Just The Name Of A Race!

After a little blogger hiccup, blogger was down for service last week which I found out only after writing and trying to save a different version of this blog which unfortunately became lost in cyberspace somewhere...ugggh, in any event.

So here is my training plan for the next several months.  It took a while to compile and will serve as my guide during my build up the ladder eventually leading to the 2 races I am looking most forward too, the marathon and Mountain Masochist.

Last week I left the idea of a 50 miler up in the air.  Well, I can tell you that my failure to commit didn't last long as soon as Renee looked at me on Mother's day and said "why don't you go ahead and sign up for another ultra."

5 minutes later I was entering my credit card information to secure my spot in this years Mountain Masochist held in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia on November 5th.  There will be plenty of time to talk about the race in future posts.  What I can tell you is that Renee has already been very patient with my almost obsessive talk about it (ok, so it's obsessive, but sometimes I can't help myself!).

As for the training plan I have tried to balance the mileage in order to peak for a lot of different races along the way.  It was more difficult then I first thought.  Creating a training plan for a single race is definitely a little easier, but this was well worth it.  I am focusing on 3 primary workouts throughout the weak which through my research seem to be the important ones.

1. Speed work to increase VO2
2. Tempo/Pace work to increase lactate threshold
3. Long slow runs to gradually build my base aerobic capacity.

On some weeks I will be throwing hill work in to help build power into my running.  I have also previewed masochist's elevation profile and I can use all the help/practice I can get.  I'll also be working some consistent strength training into the week on my off days from running.

Here's a run down of my past week.

Last weekend I tackled the NJ trail series half marathon, although I think it may have tackled me with the way my left knee has felt since.  I bombed a few of the last down hill sections and came up a little achy the following day.  I've been doing therapy and is getting better, but I definitely took a step back following this weeks training with the speed work, tempo run and 14 mile long run.

This week is going to be about getting my knee right even if that means a departure from planned training.  The training plan is only serving as my guide and will be changed if need be to ensure I'm feeling 100% come race time.  Athletes struggle with this all the time and many times don't back off enough to get their body's right.  I'm struggling myself...half my brains says "just push through it" while the other half (the half I'm going to listen to) say's "get this thing right".

So we'll see where my training goes this week while I continue to rehab my knee.  In the meantime it gives me a little more time to focus on the other aspects of the training plan...the Fuel and Recover portions.  I've been known to skimp on sleep from time to time and my body just can't afford it if I expect to keep up the volume of training I have planned.  Along with recovery goes the fueling.  I'll be tracking my calories over the next 1-2 weeks (something I haven't done in a while) to see where I currently am.  My primary goal of this is to be sure that I do not lose too much weight in the early going.  So we'll see what the next 2 weeks show.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Time To Get A Little More Serious With This Thing Called Training.

What a great past few weeks it has been.  The Spring season has definitely lifted the spirits that a long Winter tried to damper.  Over the past two weeks there has been a lot of racing and planning going on.  I along with a group of fellow runner's ran the Clinton Country Run (a group of 3 races 1 mile, 5K and 15K) this past Saturday and an even bigger contingent ran in the Lehigh Valley 1/2 Marathon (I believe it is officially the St. Lukes 1/2 Marathon now, but old habits die hard I guess!)  It was a great weekend from both a intra... and inter...personal standpoint.  I felt strong during my own 15K on Saturday even with the light training effort I have put fourth over the past month, but more importantly I got a ton of inspiration from my wife, Renee, and the other amazing individuals I get to call teammates on our PACER Team.  I won't go back and recap the events, but if you are interested in more check out these blogs to get the run down...

"the timeline"
Getting back to the statement I made regarding my lackluster training, it has been exactly that since the bridge run over a month ago now.  Part of my dilemma, like so many of us, I didn't have a clear least that was until I sat down and sketched out my race schedule.  But like many things in life once you solve one dilemma you are often presented with another.  In planning out my event schedule (a very good thing) I came to realize that the races through September to November are pretty close together.  As for training this will make me have to sit back and think a bit in order to work out exactly how to advance my progression so that I can achieve a few key elements...

1. Stay injury free while holding as true as I can to "The Ladder".
2. Build speed work into ultra training.  (in my last ultra, I could run far, but I was slooooow!)
3. Peak for and run a PR in the marathon while being sure my mileage is on track to run a 50 miler.
***Note to self and to readers***  I am not committed to the 50 mile ultra just yet, definitely to the 50K, but many times I get ahead of myself and require a little talking down off the ledge from Renee who reminds me where I left the part of my brain with the  "reasoning" capabilities!  Need to see how the next month goes before I commit.
4. If the 50 miler is in the to best peak for it so that I can best my previous 50 mile ultra finish.

I haven't worked it all out yet, but will be completing the work on what looks to be a 7 month training plan this week and will hopefully have it for you all to peruse next week. 

In the meantime, I've got a trail half marathon this weekend.  Here's the info in case anyone wants to join me...NJ Trail Series: Lewis Morris Park.  I'm using this as a training run so it should be a nice relaxed day.

Before I wrap this up I just want to officially say "GOOD LUCK!" to Mike Eisenhart who is currently in transit to St. George, Utah to compete in his first Ironman Triathlon "Ironman St. George".  If you have followed his blog, you know he is ready!  Be sure and become a fan of Pro-Activity's Facebook page to follow his progress this weekend, It's going to be exciting!

Time to get back to work on that training plan!