Sunday, January 28, 2007

Miami Half Marathon

1:56:59. (Another PW, but given the circumstances, I'm pretty happy with an 8:55 pace.)

More to come when I get back home later this week...

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Greetings from Florida

When I started typing in the title for this post, it came up automatically. I must have used the same title a year ago on this computer. Funny...

So anyway, I'm here in South Florida. Actually the weather hasn't been great, but it was sunny long enough to get that picture. The next few days are supposed to be better though.

In terms of my knee, I still feel it bothering me when I walk too fast. (Which is not that fast at all.) On Sunday back in New York, I ran 6 miles. I stopped after 2 because of my knee, and then did the next 4 with some mild discomfort. On Tuesday I ran 4, again with some mild discomfort. This morning here in Florida, I ran 4 miles. It was so hot and humid, that I forgot about my knee. I don't think it bothered me, so that's a good thing.

I'm planning on going ahead with the Miami Half Marathon this Sunday, though I don't expect to be setting any PR's.

A lot of people asked about the stretching I've been doing. My usual routine is to start with some wall pushing. (The computer here is slow, and I'm not going to link any of these. You should be able to figure out what they are.) One with my leg straight to stretch the calves, and one with my knee slightly bent to stretch the achilles. I then do a quad stretch by pulling my foot back up to my butt. What I was doing wrong was not concentrating on getting my thigh straight down below me, and pushing my hip forward. It really makes a difference. I was shown a trick where you use something else to keep your leg up (e.g. an armrest from a chair). That way, you can concentrate on getting your thigh and hip into the right position, and really stretching your quad. Try it, it works! I generally do some mild hamstring stretching by reaching for my toes. This week, I've also done some stretches by putting my leg up on a chair, and then reaching for my toes. Finally, I stretch my ITB by crossing my legs, and bending sideways away from the back leg. It can be done both by reaching down to the floor, and by reaching up. I find that the reaching up variation, where you make a "bow" out of your ITB, feels like it's working better.

(I'm sorry about that boring discussion, without any links. You should be able to google these stretches quite easily. There are many sites out there with pictures, and tips for points to focus on.)

Ok, that's it for now. Heading out to dinner. I'm not going to weigh myself here on vacation, but it's definitely a struggle to stay on the diet. I'm trying though. We'll see how I did next week.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Injury - Progress Report

Thanks for all the well wishes. I should have realized that last post would prompt that, but it's still embarrassing. I don't post my problems in order to encourage comments, only as a way to vent my frustration.

In any case, I saw a physical therapist today. It was an unofficial visit; she's a friend who works in the hospital. Actually I just stopped by to complain, but she checked out the knee anyway.

So she thinks it's not the IT band. It didn't feel tight, and she couldn't elicit any tenderness around the knee. We weren't sure what it could be, until the possibility of quad tightness came up. My quads have felt tight recently, and when she checked them out I got the "oh yeah, those are tight". I haven't done any more reading about this, but it certainly makes sense that tight quads could lead to knee problems.

I've always stretched my quads as part of my pre- and post-running routine, but I haven't been doing them 100% properly. So after a lesson today, I'm going to add stretching my quads to this recovery plan. I'm still not having any pain, but my knee does bother me when I move fast. I want to run tomorrow, but I'm going to resist, and rest until Sunday.

My weight loss has stalled. I'm really not eating much, but my exercise has obviously dropped off. I knew the previous rate of weight loss wasn't going to keep up, but I had hoped to keep it going for as long as possible. Either way, the ultimate goal is still to lose twenty pounds in twenty weeks. (And that's now 13 pounds in 17 weeks.)

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Injured - Definitely

I'm really bummed. I tried to run today, and had to quit less than a minute in.

I spent more time getting ready for the cold, then I did actually running. I was really pissed off when I had to go back home.

My knee just hurt. Not terrible pain, but enough to make me feel that I was doing something bad to it. It had felt a little off over the last few days, but really wasn't causing me pain. I've iced it religiously, and I've been stretching as well. To no avail. At least not yet.

The rest of today, I felt my knee bother me a little whenever I walked fast. It doesn't bother me on stairs, but when I walk on a downward slope I feel it.

I'm really frustrated about this. I never had a knee problem before, and now I'm worried about having a chronic problem. I'm pretty sure it's ITB, although I don't have every exact symptom. I'll definitely keep icing and stretching, and I'll take some more time off running. I'm guessing I'll have to take the rest of the week off. I still want to be able to run the half in Miami next Sunday. I think this coming Sunday will be a last chance to get some sort of "long" run in, maybe 6 or 8 miles. That will probably be the deciding day. Unless any of you have some better ideas...

I had so many running plans for this year that I could see fading away. I'm also worried about losing control of my weight loss plan as well. It's very upsetting, especially since it's been going so well. Sigh...

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


So my knee still bothers me. Not so much as to interfere with work, but enough to keep me from running today. It's on the outside of my knee so I'm thinking ITB, but I've felt hip tightness in the past, and I've got nothing this time. I tried this thing called the Noble compression test, and it's negative. So I'm not sure. In the meantime, I'm icing, and trying various ITB stretches.

I'd like to try and run a little tomorrow, as I would still like to run in Miami. I'm already scheduled to fly down there anyway.

In better news, I got a check for $25.95 in the mail today. You see "Club 26.2" in my sidebar under "links"? That's a Cafepress store I set up about when I started this blog. I used to look at it that first week, and there were no orders. And so I forgot about it, but I never dismantled it. (It's not as if there's any cost.) I guess over the last year a few people bought some items, and when you go above $25 in commissions, you get a check.

Although it's always cool to get unexpected money, I don't think $26 a year is going to change my lifestyle. What's more interesting to me, is that there are people who bought a product I created. The design was pretty simple, and not really that clever. Yet, there are a few random people out there drinking out of mugs or displaying bumper stickers with my logo on them. How cool is that???

It makes me want to think up some other designs...

Sunday, January 14, 2007

New Blogger

I made the switch, and I hope I don't regret it. (I didn't really need the new features, but I knew I'd have to get it over with sometime.)

I ran 12 miles today in the dense fog. I listened to 3 episodes of Phedippidations while I ran. I think he says in every single episode that "it's a beautiful day" or something like that. As I ran through the crappy weather today I was wondering what he'll say about today. (Actually, by the time I got to the third episode, I think I figured it all out. In that episode he said it's a "beautiful day", and his son, who was with him, said "no, it's not"!)

So 12 miles. Why? Well, I think I may have neglected to mention that I decided on the Miami Half Marathon, which is in 2 weeks. Last week was the race, so this week was my last chance to get a long run in. I'm on call for my group, so I was nervous about getting this run in. Fortunately, I wasn't busy during the day, so it worked out. Tomorrow I'm on call for the Emergency Room so I may not have the same amount of free time.

I really had a tough time today. Not so much in terms of endurance; I was running comfortably. It was my right knee that was really bothering me. I often have problems with my shins, but never with my knee. I had to get the run in today, but I didn't want to hurt myself. So I stopped a few times during the run. It would get better each time, but then start back up again. A real pain on the outside of my knee. I think it affected the way I was running, since it's now hours later, and I'm still limping. My thighs hurt more than usual.

I hope I'm alright. I iced and stretched, so we'll see what happens. I'm not running tomorrow, and I penciled in a short 4 miler for Tuesday. If I can remember, I'll try and ice a few times before that.

The diet's going ok. For all of you that were jealous of the super quick weight loss, I think I'm back down to Earth. I barely ate on Thursday, and I was up 1.4 pounds on Friday. I guess that whole thing about the first few pounds being "all water" might have some truth to it. I was pretty sure I was really maintaining a huge calorie deficit, and that my weight loss was real. I still think that I'm at least partially right, and I should be able to keep up a good rate of weight loss, even if it's not 4 pounds a week.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Night running

After my stellar performance on Sunday, I took Monday off. I was on call, and ended up operating all night. That went into Tuesday, where I had scheduled cases. By Tuesday night I was wiped, and went right to sleep. So tonight, even though I had somewhere to be, I decided to run first and come late.

It was cold outside and I wasn't into it at first. But by a little before 2 miles I started to feel into the run. I wasn't cold anymore, and I was enjoying the music. The running didn't seem like such an effort. This is the closest I've ever been to that so called "runner's high".

I kept my Garmin below my jacket sleeve, so I wasn't constantly looking at it tonight. I thought I was really speeding at first, and I wasn't. Then I thought I was maintaining the same speed, and I was actually speeding up. Shrug. I sped up on purpose for the last mile.

The splits:

Pretty good for me.

In diet news, I'm doing well. Really sticking to it fo the most part, and I'm down 7 pounds already. In about 10 days. (I know, it's going to slow down.)

By the way, this is my 200th post. Hard to believe I've kept at this for so long. I've definitely slowed down since I've gotten busy, but I enjoy having you out there. It helps keep me on track. So thanks. And just on time for this momentous occasion...

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Smashing a PR

I've felt pretty good lately, so I knew my 5 mile PR was attainable. But today's result was completely unexpected.

Like usual I got to the race pretty late. With the weather so nice, there were a ton of people. (5,000 announced, but 4,174 finishers.) The baggage area was a mob scene, and I got to the race start only a few minutes before the horn. The road was completely packed, and I was left standing on the grass nearby. I had to duck under the tape and join the crown after a minute or so. I ended up crossing the start line more than 2 minutes after the horn.

For the first mile, I was so annoyed at the traffic. I tried to stay on the side, but I really couldn't get any momentum going. I had to stop to a slow jog more than a few times. I remember thinking "Oh well, no PR today". When I got to the first mile marker, after thinking I was going so slow, I was shocked to see my watch reading 8:47. (Which was about my old PR pace.)

I don't know why I never learn. I think if I didn't start in a crowd, I would start way too fast. When I'm forced to run "slow" in a race, I probably run at a speed that's better for conserving some energy.

Anyway, after a mile it started to open up a touch. It was still crowded, but there were spaces to move into. I was happy about that first mile's time, and I knew I could speed it up and set a new PR. I was really feeling it.


As you can see from my splits, with each mile I felt better and better. I was keeping up the pace, and I knew I was going to be able to hold it for the whole race. It really felt great. I even had enough energy to really pour it on for the final stretch.

I finished with a net time 39:00, for a pace of 7:48. I basically smashed my old PR by almost a minute a mile. I'd be worried that they measured the course wrong, but the GPS data confirms it. Wow.

What's cool about this PR is that it makes me realize how much more I have in me. I don't think I'm anywhere near my potential in terms of speed. I think the speedwork and taking a few pounds off helped, but I'm in the process of doing more of both. I expect to keep upping the PR speeds for each of my distances.

Speaking of my diet, I was pretty good on Saturday. When I went out Saturday night I had a diet snapple, while my friends had shawarma platters. Today was the wedding, and I'll pay for that. But I wasn't too bad, and so I think it's fair to say I "survived" the weekend ok. Now back to our regularly scheduled program...

Thursday, January 04, 2007

So Far, So Good

So this weight loss thing started this week. Sunday was a fast day which was easy, although I think I more than made up for it when the fast ended at night. Monday was a great day. I had some oatmeal in the morning, another type of granola bar at lunch, and then ran 10 miles. For some reason, it wasn't that hard not to go crazy on dinner.

So by Tuesday morning I could see my weight decreasing already. That little victory has made the rest of the week easier. I generally have a coffee (or three) for breakfast, a small lunch or a Slimfast instead, and then a healthy dinner on the early side. No real snacks. No stopping by the cabinet for junk food every time I feel like it. No fries with my chicken shishkebab last night. I'm down about 4 pounds already, and it hasn't even been that tough.

The weekend is the killer for my diets, though. On the Sabbath we are supposed to have three meals. That usually means one large one Friday night, another large one Saturday lunch, and a smaller one Saturday afternoon. The problem is that when I say "large", I mean more than most people serve for Thanksgiving dinners. Twice in one day! Since I'm single, I'm often a guest for these meals, and that further pressures me to eat more. It's really going to be tough not losing control.

This Sunday, I have a race in the morning. I'll probably have breakfast with some of my fellow runners afterwards. Then I have a wedding, after which I have a separate party to attend. Another challenging day! After such a good week, I really don't want to blow it on the weekend. Sigh...

In running news, things have been good. After the 10 miles on New Years Day, I did some speedwork on Wednesday. I did 8 repeats of 400m, with 200m of jogging in between. My splits were pretty much where I wanted them, and pretty consistent. They were all between 1:42 and 1:49. It wasn't superfast, but it had me breathing pretty heavy. My shins were tight too.

I was planning on waiting until Friday to run again, but I was done early today, and felt pretty energized. (I think it's the whole diet and weight loss thing!) So I went out for 4 miles, and was able to pick up the pace pretty comfortably.

That's kind of in the range of my PR pace for 5 miles, which is the distance of this Sunday's race. I haven't felt in PR shape lately, but who knows? My 5 mile PR is out of whack (slower) than my other PR's.

In other news, I finally got all the new shoes I ordered. Three sets of Nimbus VII's, all in different colors. I got rid of all my old running shoes last week, as part of a major cleaning up and throwing out effort.

My roommate thought these were all the same. (Two are.) They're all Asics, and they're all blue.

Just so you know, I didn't just throw them in the garbage!

Nimbus VII x 3. Red, Navy, Orange. (I still like blue the best.)

And finally, here's a video I took afeer my 10 mile run. As I was icing my shins, I could see and feel the muscles in my calf twitching away. I'm not sure what that was all about. I didn't drink anything on the run, and when I got home I drank a lot and ate some salt as well. I'm not sure if that had anything to do with it, but it was kind of weird.

(Just to orient you, at the left is the back of my knee. To the right is my shin, with a blue ice pack on it. Look at my leg just above the ice pack. Freaky.)

Ok, that's it for now. Have a great weekend, everybody!

Monday, January 01, 2007

The Start of 2007

I really didn't want to run in the rain today, but I didn't run yesterday because of a fast day in the Jewish calendar. So I was stuck with the schedule today. I dallied around in the morning while it was really pouring, and then went in to the hospital to see some patients. By the late morning it had slowed to a steady drizzle, and so out I went.

I managed to get my scheduled 10 miles in. I wore my old New Balance 806's because they're supposed to be "all weather". About half a mile in I was ankle deep in (cold) water, and my socks were soaked. So I ended up running the 10 miles in shoes that aren't great for me - for no good reason. My left shin is a little sore, but probably not too different than usual. Also, because of the wet socks the soles of my feet don't feel that great either. Oh well. At least I did the miles.

In addition to all the running, I was pretty good at watching what I ate today. I expect a nice drop on the scale tomorrow.

Below my weight progress button in the sidebar, I've added a training log record. I have to record my data from SportTracks in the Buckeye Outdoors program, but at least I can get weekly and monthly totals on the blog that way. I'm hoping SportTracks adds this function to their program soon.