Sunday, November 30, 2014

Run Streak Day #4 - 2 Miles - Sunday - 11-30-2014 - Details

Run Streak Day #4 - 2 Miles - Sunday - 11-30-2014 - Details

My Holiday Running Streak started at the Subaru Distance Classic 6K on Thanksgiving morning. It was a cool morning and I covered the 3.65 mile course in 34:01 minutes or 9:19 minutes per mile. Not a bad time for me although it really didn't feel very quick at the time.

On the 2nd day of the streak I thought I'd run my 4 mile neighborhood loop. My right hamstring was still very tight from the prior day's run. A little past 3/4 of a mile I felt a little tinge in my right achilles. I immediately turned back and ended the day with 1.55 miles. Later in the day I iced followed by heat and got out the heel lifts for my shoes for the next few runs to take the pressure off the sore achilles.

On run streak day number 3 I thought I'd explore a section of beach I have never ran on before. At the east end of Atlantic Blvd. I turned north and headed toward the Mayport Navel Base and the jetty at the inlet near the base. I thought the jetty was a mile or mile and a half north of my starting point but didn't know if I would be able to get all the way there. After running a mile north on the beach I still saw no jetty or navel base, just beach, ocean and residences on my left. Before long I had run 2 miles north and still had not found a jetty or naval base.

Somewhere between 2 and 3 miles north of Atlantic Blvd. the land on my left changed from developed residential structures to barren sand dunes with what I would call natural vegetation. As I ran north I kept studying the beach ahead looking for an inlet or jetty. It seemed to look a little different up ahead, I just couldn't tell how far ahead I was looking.

Finally, at exactly 4 miles north of Atlantic Blvd. I came to a row of posts across the beach as if someone were going to put up a very high fence. There was no fencing but there was a gate with a big blue sign that said PROPERTY OF US GOVERNMENT - NO TRESPASSING. I surmised that this might be a good place to turn around, after all, I had already gone a lot farther than planned and had not brought any water or nutrition.

Before I headed south though I thought that a selfie in front of the big blue sign would be a great exhibit for this blog post. I guess I've only tried one other time to shoot a selfie. Well, on this day, with the sun in my eyes and not being able to see the image very well on camera, I didn't do very well. I did get one that showed part of my sunglasses and squinted eyes with part of the big blue sign in the background. Certainly not good enough for a blog post. I guess this is a skill I need to work on.


Saturday, October 25, 2014

Allan Running - 2014 Year to Date

Since returning from Chicago I've been a bit lazy. I've slept in until 6AM many mornings and haven't been to the gym even once. As I mentioned in my last post I have this little issue with what I will call a stress response on the top of my right foot. I visited my doctor this week so she could have a closer look. She carefully poked each bone in my right foot until she found the one on the top that wasn't happy. She then sent me down the hall for an x-ray. The good news is that after her email later that day I was able to put the air cast back in the garage. She did suggest that maybe I take a bit of time away from running but cleared me for most of my other gym activities. 

Of course I'm not happy about taking time off of running. As I was ruminating on this unfortunate development this week I remembered that it was this time last year while recovering from surgery that I was sitting in the den pouting because I couldn't run when I discovered the early morning yoga class on the YMCA group exercise schedule. I've really come to enjoy this yoga class and feel that I have benefited from it. Had I not had surgery I may never have found the yoga class. Funny how things work out. Wonder what I might stir up this year?

Also during my ruminations this week I started thinking about what I wanted to accomplish this year while running. I remembered that I had set a few goals for the year and realized I had achieved a couple of them. I revisited my goals for the year and sure enough one of the goals was to complete a full marathon. Earlier this month I completed the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. Sure my time was slower that I would have liked but I did complete the marathon. Check that one off. 

Another goal this year was to implement the Galloway run walk run method. I am going to say that I did implement this method since most of my long training runs were Galloway start to finish. Also, I did use the Galloway method in Chicago even though my interval timer was hard to hear because the crowds were so large and loud almost the entire distance of the course. A few of my group runs at Jacksonville Running Company were without the benefit of the Galloway method but since Mr. Galloway says it's the group leader's responsibility to enforce the walk breaks I am going to blame the group leaders for this. You know who you are.:) So I am checking this goal off as well. 

My third and last running goal for 2014 was to run 700 miles. I figured I was getting close so today I pulled up my calendar and did a little math. Turns out that from January 1st, 2014 through October 12, 2014, the day of the Chicago Marathon and my most recent run, my mileage totals 699.94. Right now I am not planning on running until Thanksgiving Day but will certainly accomplish goal #3 on that day. I know a 700 mile goal is pretty minor league but since I didn't accomplish last year's mileage goal I wanted to set a goal that was very doable. So as I try to get my weight training and yoga practices re-established over the next month I will try not to pout since I've had a pretty good year running so far.

Those that know me or read this blog on a regular basis know that sometimes things get a little weird. Recently I've become quite intrigued by the whole idea of natural footwear and have become quite fond of my Altra zero drop shoes. Imagine the radical idea of making a shoe in the shape of a foot. I've also become quite interested in the Natural Running Center website. NO, I am not going to start making running sandals out of old tires like some wackos, again I have to say, you know who you are.:) But the whole idea that improper foot wear can damage our feet makes sense to me. So........, I decided to try a product called Yoga Toes. As far as I can tell, Yoga Toes is really a poor man's Correct Toes. I bought a pair of Yoga Toes on their Labor Day sale and they threw in some kind of pedicure sponge thing that the Mrs. grabbed up. The Yoga Toes website states that their product corrects all kinds of foot problems so it must be true. Anyhow it is a sponge thing that is worn for a little while daily when ever possible. A photo follows.





The Yoga Toes are not designed to be worn while walking or wearing shoes. It looks to me like the Correct Toes can be worn with toe socks inside shoes while walking. I may need to try a pair. However; since I have little in the footwear budget for this sort of thing I will have to save up for a pair.

So here we are a week away from Halloween. I've known people that said Halloween is the start of the holiday crazy season. (just can't remember who they were right now) I expect my next post on this blog will be on Thanksgiving Day when I accomplish my third running goal for the year. 

All the best.
Allan



Sunday, October 19, 2014

Chicago Marathon - 10-12-2014 - Details

Chicago Marathon - 10-12-2014 - Details

Last Sunday was the running of the 37th annual Chicago Marathon. I had been to the marathon in its early years as a spectator and this time I went to participate.

As usual we planned for months, we even had dinner reservations made in advance for the 4 nights we were in Chicago to avoid long lines in crowded restaurants. I have to say we had a great time even though my performance in the marathon was less than I had hoped for.

My goals for the event were to have fun and finish uninjured. I also kind of wanted to finish in less than 5 hours. No doubt, I did have fun, from chatting with Scott Jurek during the Saturday expo, hanging out at the starting line with thousands of other runners, briefly visiting the 29 neighborhoods the route goes through and finally crossing the finish line 5 hours and 37 minutes after I started.

Other excitement consisted of me being a little mixed up with the time change and heading out for coffee on Saturday morning at 5AM instead of 6AM. When I got off the elevator in the lobby of this rather nice hotel at 5AM I heard a female voice hollering obscenities. This situation slowed me down considerably. I peaked around the corner and found 2 working women trying to coax a third intoxicated working woman out of the hotel and into their car. I sauntered over to the desk clerk who assured me all would be fine. He just didn't seem to sure of it. As I was leaving the hotel the door man and security guard finally appeared to have the ladies on their way out of the hotel through another door.

With the marathon the day before Columbus Day we happened to be in town for the famous Columbus day parade. As it happened our room had a view of the parade route and after the parade the loud demonstration that appeared to be associated with the racial unrest in Ferguson, MO.

So I did have fun and I finished. My time was over 5 hours and I have this little issue with my right foot that I think we can call a stress response. 


On the details page you will see that I was rolling right along just under 11 minutes per mile through 14. Things gradually slowed down from there until about mile 22 when I walked the rest of the way in. I've been using bungee laces in my shoes this year and they are great once they are adjusted right. It just takes quite a bit of trial and error to get them right. I thought I had gotten there with this pair of shoes and boy was I wrong. My feet were like numb the last 10 miles. This of course contributed to the stress response in my right foot.

Also on the details page you may notice that my average heart rate for the event was 90 beats per minute. Before I looked at the graph I thought it was ridiculously low because I had walked for 4 miles. After looking at the graph I am pretty convinced it is time to replace my heart rate strap. The graph shows that I ran a half hour with what you might call a normal if not a little high heart rate. Then the graph shows my rate dropping to nearly zero for almost the next hour, going back up to near normal and then dropping to nearly zero again between 2.5 and 3 hours. I will be replacing my heart rate strap in the not to distant future.


So we had a great time and I brought home a little more bling as seen in the following photo. 



It seems like every trip has a highlight that we will remember for years. In Chicago invariably the highlight has to do with food and this time was no exception. Our pre-trip research was centered on finding acceptable gluten free dining options for the Mrs. One of the gluten free options we came across was a tiny doughnut shop called Do-Rite Donuts that just happened to be a block and a half from our hotel. Each day they have an assortment of gluten free and vegan donuts. Photos follow. 





So I am likely not running for the next several weeks until the stress response in my right foot is healed. I will probably talk to my doctor next time I see her as to how long I should sit out.



Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Happy Mullet Beach Run - 11.5 miles - 9-14-2014 - Details

The Happy Mullet Beach Run - 11.5 miles - Details

The title of this post, The Happy Mullet Beach Run was one of a couple I was considering. I went with the Happy Mullet because I like a positive title as opposed to one with negative connotations.  


I did feel like something a bit different this week and reached out to Bobby who I hadn't seen in weeks and proposed a point to point run on the beach. Bobby agreed late in the week. We agreed to meet at the finish point, Mickler's Landing Beach Park, at 6 AM to drop off a car. The two of us then rode north to Atlantic Blvd., I think in Neptune Beach, which was the starting point. 


I had visions of running to Mickler's, refilling water bottles and then doing 2.5 miles out and 2.5 back for a total of 16.5. While I enjoyed the all beach run, I was ready to stop with 11.5 miles upon arrival at Mickler's.  


The alternate title that I was considering was Bread Binge Beach Run. I arrived for the run feeling bloated like I was carrying an extra 25 or 30 pounds right in the tummy. I realized during this uncomfortable run that I've just been overdoing it with the bread. I know I haven't gained a bunch of weight because I weigh myself every Monday. It just feels like it.

I remarked to Bobby that I am glad I figured it out now instead of on marathon morning in Chicago. 


I did choose the Happy Mullet title because Bobby made one of the little fellas pretty happy about 10 miles into the run. We were running along and all of a sudden Bobby said there was a fish flopping around on the beach. Off goes Bobby in the direction of the beached mullet. I could see that a bird had snatched the fish out of the water and before the bird got very far, the fish wiggled out of its beak. Unfortunately, the fish was 10 feet inland of the ocean. Bobby scooped him up, ran down to the water and turned him loose. 


Afterward I told Bobby I had been feeling pretty sorry for the fish flopping around on the sand until he rescued it. He said he was sorry for the sea gull that was now going without a meal. That was the extent of our wildlife sightings. Really pretty unexciting considering recent events.


Earlier this week a bear apparently wandered out of one of the nearby conservation areas, took a stroll on the beach and chose a garden at the Costa Verano condominium for a nap. This turned into a below average day for the bear but caused plenty of excitement for local news outlets and Costa Verano unit owners.  


Even thought the bear was rudely awakened from a perfectly good nap, he fared much better than the whale that washed ashore on Tuesday. He was sick, apparently in part from plastic debris in his stomach and had to be euthanized. 


So I am now 4 weeks out from marathon Sunday in Chicago. I bought throw away hooded sweatshirt and warm up pants for the possibility of a cold marathon morning from the Goodwill this week. I've also started packing other items and working on a packing list. 


I'm pretty sure my right leg pain is a tight IT band but will do a little internet self diagnosis to confirm my suspicions. The likely prescription will be foam rolling and stretching. I will try to do 2 or 3 cross training sessions a week but will not run for at least 2 or 3 weeks so the soft tissue inflammation can heal. 


Hopefully by the next time you hear from me I will have conquered the to much bread issue, healed my sore right leg and stretched my IT band to the point that I can run 26.2 in Chicago on October 12th.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Rainbow Run - 18.25 miles - 9-7-2014 - Details

Rainbow Run - 18.25 miles - 9-7-2014 - Details

We finally had a cloudy and overcast morning here in NE Florida which was a welcome reprieve for those of us training for a fall marathon, or longer. I met Dawn and Jenn at Jacksonville Running Company at 6 AM and we were running by 6:15. 


You can see from the map on the details page that we were out to UNF again but turned north on Kernan Blvd. this week and did a little out and back up to Beach Blvd. This section was a nice wide paved multi use trail that Jenn had ran last week. Getting to Beach Blvd. opens up many interesting route possibilities, including Jax Beach, but we opted for turning around and heading to the UNF transportation center where we got to compete with a bunch of scrawny cross country ah.....kids for the restrooms and water fountains. Aren't they supposed to be out running somewhere?

After leaving UNF we headed west toward JRC since our target was around 13 miles. While heading west on UNF Drive, just before reaching I-295, we were rewarded with a very nice rainbow view. Dawn pointed out that there was actually a second very faint rainbow kind of behind the first one, and then a little later that a look to the left offered a view of the other end of the same rainbow. I added that if we had been in our homes sleeping in, we would have missed the view and also mentioned how observant Dawn is. Rainbow view to follow.


After going under I-295 we were running west on Town Center Pkwy toward the turn for the Cow Tunnel which we hit on almost every run. Today though, we passed the tunnel by and continued west to Gate Parkway, where we ran into 3 other members of our group who were running a different route as a virtual half marathon for Marathon High.

As Jenn and I pressed on, Dawn checked on the virtual runners. So did they really run or not? As we approached JRC, and nearly 14 miles of running, it was still overcast and I was feeling good enough that I stopped just long enough to fill my water bottle and then head in the direction of Gate Pkwy. I had already concluded that today was the day to push a bit for a longer run even though my right leg was starting to get a little tender on the outside a few inches below the knee.

Not long after leaving JRC, I was heading north on Deer Lake Dr. and crossed paths with Dawn as she was heading South toward our starting point. A mere 15 or 20 feet later I noticed a wad, a small wad but still a wad, of paper money laying on the sidewalk. I'm glad I was the observant one when it really mattered.:) If anyone reading this lost any money on that section of sidewalk this morning, just give me a fairly accurate description of what was lost and if it matches the small wad that I picked up, it is yours.

You can see on the map that I tacked on the loop around Belfort to Touchton and ended at home soaking wet with 18.25 miles. This week I remembered the plastic bag for my phone which I carried in my new SPIBelt. I bought the SPIBelt with the larger pocket and will use it in Chicago for my phone and a few other essentials that I hope to have along. Gels, cash, room key and Starbuck's card.:)

Sunday, August 31, 2014

JRC Group Run - Pompano Beach, FL - 8.8 miles - 8-31-2014 - Details

JRC Group Run - Pompano Beach, FL - 8.8 miles - 8-31-2014 - Details

The Mrs. and I are in SE Florida this weekend. I realize the title may be a little confusing so please let me explain.

As we were driving south on I-95 Friday morning we made a necessary stop at a rest stop somewhere east of Orlando. As we were walking back to the car I see a guy that looks familiar. As I am looking at him, he is looking at me. Finally I said, Paulo ?, he said Allan ?. I believe, next he said what an amazing coincidence.

He was on his way to Pompano Beach to visit his daughter. I made a brief introduction and then Paulo and I chatted long enough to agree on a 6:30 AM Sunday run at the Pompano Air Park. Since we originally met at the JRC group runs I am considering today's run a satellite location of the Jacksonville Running Company Sunday Group Run. 

After Paulo and I set a time for a Sunday run I reached out to Speedster Chuck. He was happy to join us and didn't seem to mind the slow pace for what was his longest run since March. Chuck and I ended up with 8.8 miles after 2 laps of the air park. Since Paulo ran a mile to the air park and a mile back to his starting point he should have had 10.8.

The good news for me is a week off seems to have given my legs the rest they needed. I completed the run with no real problems. Now I need to ease back into my training regime, build my mileage back up and try to get 2 or 3 more long runs in before a couple weeks of taper before the trip to Chicago.    



Sunday, August 24, 2014

Sunday Long Run - 18.2 miles - 8-24-2014

JRC Sunday Group - 9 miles - 8-24-2014 - Details

The total of 18.2 miles for this morning's long run included 3 separate Garmin activities. I left home about 5:20 this morning and drove to the YMCA where I left my car for pick up later. I left the Y a little after 5:30 and headed to JRC for the official start of the group run. When I got to JRC I stopped my watch and saved that portion of the run which totaled 4.2 miles since others were still arriving.

The route for the group run portion was very similar to last week with a trip out Gate Pkwy. to Town Center Blvd. then east to I-295 where we made the turn and headed back to the cow tunnel. After the trip through the tunnel we completed a loop around Burnt Mill and  headed north/west on Gate to the water stop provided by Jacksonville Running Company. After a good long drink of cold water and refilling my bottle we again headed north/west on Gate. I turned left on Deerwood Park Blvd. in the direction of the YMCA.  Dawn, my partner for this run, continued on Gate in the direction of JRC. When I arrived at the Y my distance for the 2nd run segment was 9 miles for 13.2 miles so far.

I was feeling pretty good as I opened the door to the Y and stepped into the air conditioning. After getting settled and drying off a bit I had a Clif bar, got some more water and headed for the treadmills. I picked out a treadmill with a view of the lake, set the target distance at 5 miles and worked my way up to a 12 MPM pace. I was feeling really good during the first couple of miles.

A little past the half way point, when I felt pretty sure I was going to complete the 5 miles, I started feeling pretty pleased with myself since I was pretty sure I would hit the 18.2 for the day. A real badass?, well maybe. A short while later a woman walked into the treadmill area and I noticed as she was picking out a treadmill that she had on kind of a funny looking headband. She ended up on a mill about 3 down from me and started her run. I looked over a short while later and could see that behind the headband she just had little clumps of hair scattered around her mostly bare scull. My guess was that she is currently undergoing chemo treatment. I thought, well, who's the badass now ya big dummy? To compensate for my inflated ego I hit the up arrow on the incline adjustment a couple times and kept running.

I did finish the 5 mile treadmill segment for a total 18.2 miles this morning. Near the end of this run I was feeling a little pain on the outside of my right leg, just below the knee. I could also tell that both knees have a little inflammation. I am going to try to finish this week with no more miles than last week and then starting next Sunday cut the miles back to give the legs a little break before the final push to Chicago.