Archive for June, 2007

More of the same …

I stretched todays run out a bit longer than yesterday and ended up with 5.4 miles in 43 minutes.  A good run.

I’ve noticed that my calf feels a bit tight to start and at about the two mile point the tightness goes away.  I don’t know why that is but I am still working on the strengthening and stretching.  I was pleased with this run and have high hopes that I will be able to run 7 miles this weekend.  A slow increase is the plan.

I looked back on my running log this morning and found that my HR and pace are not that far off.  I was, in the past, able to hold the HR at 140-145 for a long time at 8:00-8:10 pace (some 14 and 15 mile runs).   I think that I still have some base building to do and might as well keep on running this Maffetone and Hadd type pace for a while longer – the stronger the base the greater the upside.  Patience is the word I need to focus on.  I want to get out and race as soon as possible but that, I think, would be a mistake.  I should hold off until the end of July, if all goes well, before I toe the line at a race.

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Back from the holiday ….

They don’t say vacation in England, they say “holiday.” So, in the spirit of my cross-atlantic friends, I have returned from holiday.

While on holiday, I did some running. We started our vacation in the Cotswalds. This is a rural area, the roads are narrow and the citizens of the UK drive “wicked” fast all the time. For example, when I was on the highway and tooling along at 65-70 I was passed by other cars doing 80. Small and narrow roads didn’t seem to slow them down either. So, with this in mind, I was a bit cautious when out running. While in the Cotswalds, I found a run with a wider road and discovered that not many people were out at 5:30 AM; I managed to run three time in the Cotswalds, with each run about 4 miles long and done at 8:25 pace.

After the Cotswalds, we traveled to Cornwall. Hard to believe but the hedges were higher there and the roads even narrower. There was a walking trail near our hotel that went along the shore so I ran on that the first day. I found, however, that the trails were very up and down and most of them were made of loose sand; I found the footing difficult and stressful on the calf so, for once, I exercised some judgment and did not run the next two days in Cornwall – in part because I felt my calf after that first run.

We left Cornwall and traveled to London.  Our hotel, as luck would have it, was only a block from Hyde Park. I did not realize that Hyde Park is much like Central Park – only more of a groomed park. It was very easy to run 5-6 miles there and many people enjoyed the park for running. I managed to run 4.5 miles the first two days and then 5.5 miles our last day there. All runs were done at 8:00 to 8:30 pace. The calf felt pretty good.

We returned to Boston on Saturday night and I got up for a slightly longer run on Sunday. It was nice to be home and running on familiar ground. I ran 6.5 miles on Sunday; after this run, it really sunk in that I have lost a lot of fitness. While I can run the first three miles or so at 8:00-8:10 pace and keep the HR at 140, the next two or three miles of the run the HR noticibly shoots up to 145-150 while maintaining that pace. Three months ago I could run 7:50 at 140 HR for 10 miles without much creep. I have some work to do to get back there. After this slightly longer run I awoke this morning with the calf feeling a bit sore and I was somewhat worried. I tried to run slower today and still felt some tightness/soreness in the calf at the start of the run. After two miles, however, these feelings subsided and I finished up a short 30 minute run feeling pretty good about the calf.

I still think I have a couple more weeks of easy running (including strengthening and stretching) before I can move up to the 45-50 mile per week range. I can’t wait to go for a 10 mile run and start making some progress in returning to pre-injury form. I will try to act my age and be smart about this return from my injury. So far, so good.

European vacation …

Off to England tonight.  I will try to continue my rehab there with some slow runs of 30-45 minute duration and continued stretching and strengthening.

Rehab on Tuesday went well.  The physical therapist put me through the paces and really taxed the muscle with no negative results.  She thought that the twinge I was feeling in the calf was probably just some tension and that I should focus on doing some slower running (she thought my sub 8:30 pace was too fast for right now).  At the end of the session I ran 25 minutes at 9:20 pace and everything felt good.  I guess I need to just keep the recovery slow.   Running in a foreign place should make that easier.  I am bringing the Garmin so that I will be able to log my runs when I get back.

I’ll blog again in about ten days.

Day off, day on …

I took Saturday off from running – don’t want to overdo the recovery. Plus, I had to coach my son’s 8 year old baseball team for an all day tournament – that was workout enough.

This morning, I did my strengthening and stretching exercises. Then, I went for a 35 minute run. The pace was 8:22, 8:23, 8:22, 8:36 with HR Avg 138-142.

The running felt very easy, but my calf did feel a bit tired after I stopped; not the same feeling I had when it was torn, but just a more fatigued kind of feeling. I hope that is just a sign that I am slowly getting back into things. I hope this feeling/soreness is to be expected and not a sign of distress. If it is, I will be very bummed if 12 weeks of recovery was not enough. I am not going to get too worked up about the soreness, yet. I see the physical therapist tomorrow for my last visit before my trip. Hopefully, he will give me the go ahead to resume running in a more serious manner. Mind, that is not to say I am going to ramp up to 60 miles a week. I plan on 30-35 miles a week while in England and then slowly progressing up to 55 miles a week by mid July. That sounds like a reasonable plan.

6/3/07 4.2 miles/34:40/8:25 pace/140 HR

And another one down …

More strengthening exercises (calf raises, double and single, side to side movement and jump rope) and some stretching today. Then, another 30 minute jog/run. Pace this time was 8:32, 8:22, and 8:41 with HR 138-142. Overall it felt very easy.

I am hoping that this easy running for the next week or so will be uneventful and that I can be back to 7-10 a day runs by mid June. I think everything is better – I’ve had no tweeks or other pains like I had when I first injured the calf. I am, however, still a bit worried about how it will feel when I run for over 45 minutes. During the period I thought I had recovered I could run for 40 minutes or so and then at about 45 minutes the calf would start to tighten up again. I don’t think that will be the case this time. I mean, it has been at least 10 weeks of recovery; I would hope that would be enough.

The lesson learned here is that I need to strengthen and stretch my calf muscles. I’ve always thought I had strong calf muscles, but I guess there is a different between muscular and strong. When I say strong now I mean flexible and strong. That is what I need to focus on so that I do not have a recurrence.

So far, no pain whatsoever. I feel fat and slow, but that will change with time. At least I’m not starting over again at my old fat weight. Now, my running is not a beginning but from a solid base point of a year of running – 10 weeks of down time due to injury isn’t that bad. And, for most of that time I cross-trained, swam and managed to maintain my weight (I think I only gained 5 pounds). I anticipate that the return to fast running won’t take that long. I just need to be careful about the mileage increase and focus on continued stretching and strengthening.


June 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