Archive for March, 2007

For the next three weeks I am … Aqua Jogger!

Well, the calf is back to square one. So, I figure my only chance of running Boston – and at best this would be a training run now – is to rest the calf completely. I decided this was the only thing to do.

In the meantime, I discovered some stuff about aqua jogging. The Y that I belong to has the aqua jogger equipment (a flotation device that goes around your waist) and the pool. I read some articles and studies that indicate that many runners have used aqua jogging to maintain fitness while recovering from an injury and then running a race. I think Joan Benoit Samuelson did this before the 1984 Olympics. If I recall correctly, she had knee surgery about two or three months before the marathon and was still able to run and win. That is a pretty remarkable story and gives me some hope (ignoring the fact that I am 43 and recover much slower than Joan Benoit ever did).

So, the idea is to aqua jog in place of running. From the aqua jogging/running I have done so far it does not seem to place any stress on my achilles or calf. I began this new regime (my final hope for running Boston) on March 17. This is how things have gone so far:

March 17: 45 min aqua jog; 3/4 mile swim
March 18: 60 min aqua jog; 1/4 mile swim
March 19: 45 min aqua jog
March 20: 60 min aqua jog with a 10 min warmup and then 10 x 3 min hard pickups with 2 min rest in between.

The first three days were getting used to the aqua jogging and todays “run” was much harder. I really felt like I got my heartrate up and I feel the effort in my legs this afternoon. I think I need to run a bit harder on the days I don’t do pickups. I found an aqua program from Pfitzinger. Here it is.

This is the plan. It is my last hope at running Boston. Let’s see how it goes.

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Boston is up in the air…

Well, I re-injured the calf this morning.  I had been running for four days and things were going well, but admittedly my calf was only feeling about 90% and I felt as if I went any faster than 8:00 miles it would knot up.  That is what it did today.  I am not back to square one but it is a definite setback.

Enough fooling around.  I plan on not running for 10 days – maybe more if need be.  Boston will not be a race, assuming I will be able to even run it as a training run, it will be a run just to do it.  I will run another marathon either in the fall or see how things feel and maybe run the Vermont City Marathon.  But, right now, I just need to get this calf problem fixed and it looks like rest is the only way.

I am bummed but I will get over it.  Maybe my body is telling me that it can’t handle 70 mile weeks and I should have been less ambitious and done Pfitzinger’s 55 mile a week plan.  Live and learn.  Right now, I just have to heal.  That is going to take some time.  With any luck I will heal in 10 days, jog for a week, run for a week and then run a relaxed Boston as a training run.  Oh, well.

I think I will look into doing some yoga and swimming just to keep the fitness level up and work on my flexibility.   This is a setback, but I will get over it.  Now, it is time to get better.  I don’t know how often I will post during this injury recovery phase, but I will try to do some posting.

Catching up …

Well, I took my week off, got a massage, did some more massage of my own, and took it easy. I decided to really do the recovery easy and did some walking and jogging at about 9-10 minute pace. I took Monday off, and did a medicinal run on Tuesday, then took Wednesday off and did medicinal runs on Thursday and Friday. I gradually increased the mileage from 3 to 5 miles. But, half of those miles were spent walking because I alternated between walking and running. By the time Friday rolled around I felt like things were feeling better and went for a run outside on Saturday.

I managed to 6.4 miles at an 8:24 pace and things felt pretty good. Then, on Sunday I ran 8.5 miles at an 8:10 pace and again things felt good. Today, I ran 7.4 miles at an 8:05 pace and four of those miles were 7:58, 7:58, 7:50, 7:54. Not that those miles are awesome running, but they are progress in this injury recovery. I must say, though, that I felt a little tightness in the calf the last mile and I slowed down to 8:30 pace. I am concerned that my calf will not hold up to 7:20 pace for an extended period of time. I guess there are still 5 weeks to go so there is more recovery time I can build in. I think this week will be more of the same but I think I will slow it down some. No point in reinjuring the calf and the extra 15 seconds a mile are not going to make that much difference in my conditioning.

I was thinking of running the New Bedford half this weekend; with a 10 mile effort at marathong pace and then see how much I can pick it up for the last three. This may not be a good decision. I will have to see how the rest of this week shapes up.

I think some racing is needed but I don’t have that many options. There is another half marathon on April 1 and maybe I will do that as a MP run. We’ll see how the calf feels this week. I am afraid to run much faster than MP because I am not sure my calf will hold up.

A step backward?

I don’t know about the health of my calf. I was going to run on the treadmill Sunday afternoon but things got in the way and the Y closed before I could get the run in; so, I had to do it outside. I jogged at about 9:00 pace for the first mile and felt okay, but not great. After the first mile, I jogged most of the time but did stop a few times to walk because the calf was feeling tight.  I don’t feel like much progress has been made.  My calf feels tight still and I have the sense that if I tried to run any faster than 8:30 pace it would tighten up into a nice little knot and put me out of commission.

So, I’ve decided to take today off and do another medicinal run on Tuesday. I will see how that feels but I am getting a bit worried that more down time is needed. If that is the case then I will be lucky to run any tune up races before the marathon and will be lucky to get in any kind of serious mileage before the marathon. This really sucks. There are only six weeks of training to go to the marathon (and one of those would be a taper week). If I eat up two more weeks of recovery that will leave me with three weeks of training. That doesn’t seem very promising. I will have to hope that the ten weeks previous were enough to get me through this. I am skeptical.

Back at it …

Well, sort of. I did a “medicinal” run this morning on the treadmill. The calf feels nearly 100% but I will do another medicinal run tomorrow before I just start putting in some miles next week. Nothing fast planned for the mileage next week, just basic get back in the flow miles – HR @ 140-145.

This morning’s run was on the treadmill. I walked a half mile (all walking sections at 4.1 mph), jogged a quarter (all jogs at 8:57 pace), walked a half, jogged a quarter, walked a half, jogged a half, walked a half, jogged a half, walked a half, jogged three quarters, walked a quarter for a whopping total of 5 miles in about an hour. The calf seemed to respond well and I got the blood flowing; which was the purpose of this run. I just need to get this calf working again and then I will be set. I don’t know if this will be a huge setback in my attempt to run under 3:10 but it is what it is.

Tomorrow I will try to do the walk/jog thing again but for about 7 miles.

The end of this injury downtime is near…

This is the last day of no running, I hope.  The calf is feeling much better, nearly 100% but I won’t know that until I try a “medicinal” run – walk a mile, run 1/4 mile easy, walk a bit, run a bit etc. until the calf feels tired and then stop.  I will see how that feels before I decide on how much to run on Sunday.  I don’t expect any kind of lengthy run on Sunday and the running next week will be easy but gradually an increase in distance.  I will try to get a longer run in on March 11 and then the next weekend I will do one of two things:

1.  Saturday long run (16-18 miles), Sunday New Bedford Half.  The object here will be to try to simulate being tired for the end of the marathon; or,

2. Saturday run Holyoke, MA 10k and then Sunday 16-18 miles.

I have not decided which one I will take.  I guess it will depend on how I feel during these next two weeks, if my calf holds up, and if I feel like I need the quick jaunt of the 10k or the longer race of the half.  If I run the half, I plan on doing MP for the first 8 or 9 and then pick it up to 15k pace the last 4 or 5.

I am looking forward to getting back at it.  Not running for a week (and in essence really for two weeks) has been difficult and has me on the edge – I need to run.  I guess that’s a good thing.


March 2007
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What I am reading:

Again to Carthage, Robert L. Parker

Music I am listening to:

LCD Soundsystem, This Happens Gorillaz, Plastic Beach