"It's a treat being a runner, out in the world by yourself with not a soul to make you bad-tempered or tell you what to do." - Allan Sillitoe

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Running semi-regularly but without confidence in my knee

Monday - ran with Rox for a very gentle 5km or so.  Knee felt great so very happy with that.

Wednesday - was going to run again with Rox but she organised to run with a friend who is keen to start/increase her running.  (An indicator of how Rox's fitness has improved is that she found this way too easy).  I did 8.4km easy by myself instead.  Not sure of the actual time as I stopped and walked with Gary Carlton for approx 5 mins discussing knee injuries.  Knee was not too bad but could feel it a little bit over the last 3km.

Thursday - planned to do 2km warm up; 4 or 5 x 1km @ 3.45/km with 2 min walk recovery between; 2km cool down.

Did three 1km reps as follows: 3.35; 3.43; 3.39 so a bit all over the place with my pacing.  Could feel the knee a little bit on the second and third reps and then when I started the fourth one, it was bit worse so I pulled the pin and jogged home (approx 1.5km).

I have iced the knee, taken some ibruprofen and put voltarin gel on it.  It's not swollen and it's not painful (it wasn't painful when I was running either) but it is more of a discomfort and just doesn't feel right and it makes me think that I need to be careful or it is going to get inflammed and swollen again.

I'm just going to continue to take it easy and not push the envelope.  Because of the development of my knee issue throughout the taper and then on the marathon day, I feel like I have this big aerobic base that I haven't really exploited.  Apart from the knee, I recovered from the marathon very similarly to my recovery from the 35km long run I did in training (not surprising as the average pace was pretty much identical).  I didn't wipe myself out at Rottnest simply because I wasn't able to run to my capacity having lost some condition over the "taper" and then because the knee blew up at 30km.

I'm hoping now that my knee can improve to the extent that I can still exploit some of that aerobic capacity before I lose it through de-training and at the same time add a bit of sharpness through some speedwork over shorter distances.

I'm using the foam roller every night and am now adding some core strength and other exercises.  Just looking forward to getting back to having enough confidence in my knee so that I can go out and thrash myself in an interval workout and know that the only damage I'm doing to myself is fatigue and muscle soreness.

In other news ... New York City Marathon is on Sunday night Perth time (9pm I believe) and there will be a streaming telecast on universalsports.com.

Also - after a couple of seasons off, I'm looking to make a "comeback" to Masters cricket with Perth CC.  Next game is on 8 November so will definitely need to get down to the nets for a trundle before then.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

First run post marathon and knee update

Friday - went for 5.2km with Rox Friday morning.  Ran at her pace apart from about 50m where I ran more of my own easy pace and definitely felt my knee more then.

Saw my doctor later that morning and discussed the outcome of the marathon.  He believes that with patience and sensible ongoing stretching and massage there is no reason why I shouldn't make a full recovery over the next few weeks.

Had another cortisone shot straight into the bursar and a bit of tendon needling.  Not much fun when the local wore off as I was driving home and limped around for most of the day at work but since then it has recovered a lot better than after my first cortisone shot.

Bought a firm foam roller on Saturday morning and have had a three long stretching sessions with it since then and can certainly feel the benefit of it.  Quite different from the cricket ball which was more focused whereas the roller seems to give a more dispersed stretch.

I'll run again with Rox tomorrow morning and probably Wednesday and see how I'm going then.  I would like to be running every second day by the end of next week and gradually pick it up from there, more in relation to regularity rather than distance which will stay moderate for a few weeks.

If all goes well, I may target the Peninsula Run (5km) on 15 November for a tempo effort.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

More Rottnest

Forgot to congratulate Sugar (3rd in 10km) and Sandgroper (2nd in 5km) on their runs at Rottnest.  The clouds had cleared by the time their race started and with the humidity and the wind, it made for pretty tough going but they were both flying at the end - really strong performances.

Heaps of kids ran, particularly in the 5km and it was fantastic to see them putting in the trademark sprint at the finish.  Absolutely flat out - I can almost remember when I did that ...

Should also menton that we had a couple of great meals after the marathon was over and done with.  On the Sunday evening, we had dinner at Aristos on the Waterfront.  Great view and great food.  Rox and I had the special - Snapper and prawns with a creamy garlic sauce.  The kids meals, particularly Sammie's calimari were great value.  Real calimari, not those chewy squid rings either.  Definitely recommend it.

Monday we had lunch at the pub.  I had a great steak sandwich which hardly touched the sides.

Looking forward to our holiday on Rotto in January and some relaxed early morning running.

Off to the doctor about my knee on Friday.  I'm half hoping (actually more than half hoping) for another cortisone shot so I can start some easy running next week.

Sugar took some photos at Rottnest as did Rox (I've been told the baggy shorts need to go ... )

At the start with Nick and Ben

Drink station helpers

After the finish with ice
The start

Monday, October 19, 2009

Rottnest Marathon Race report

Pretty disasterous apart from the fact that I managed to finish and hold on for 5th place. Under estimated how tough the course and the conditions were and set my time goals too high and then went out a bit too fast. My knee held until 30km and then went from OK to stuffed within a minute. Limped through the next 5km before settling into a chopped stride for the last 7km to the finish. Got passed with 2km to go to slip from 4th to 5th.

Splits as follows:

4km - 15.45

10km - 40.50

20km 1.23.21 (previous 10km in 42.30)

Half 1.28.11

25km - 1.45.05 (previous 5km in 21.03)

30km - 2.08.22 (previous 5km in 23.16)

35km - 2.34.10 (previous 5km in 25.48)

40km - 2.59.38 (previous 5km in 25.27)

42.2 - 3.09.55 (2.2km in 10.17)

Pace already dropping to 4.30/km pace before knee went but knee pushed me out over 5.00/km.

Pleased I didn't drop out but annoyed at a poor performance and my least enjoyable marathon by far.

Despite all the problems I had with my knee, I was running pain free by the time of the race and decided to trust my training to get me through at 4.00/km pace.  I had got myself into a groove where I felt that at my race pace I was running comfortably below my threshold at that pace and that even if I couldn't hold that pace, I could hold that below threshold effort.

Lead up to the race was perfect.  We travelled over on the Friday afternoon and stayed at the Rottnest Lodge in one of the quod rooms (the old prison part).  Bit of a squeeze with all four of us in one room but very nice and cool with the really thick walls of the old prison.  Our room was 4 cells which had been converted into a big bedroom and ensuite.

My brother and his family came over as well staying at the Winnit Club camp with the huge benefit being that we could prepare our own evening meals.  I cooked pasta both Friday and Saturday night, a spaghetti bolognaise on Friday and a Tuna Penne on Saturday.  Along with my traditional footlong Subway roll for lunch on the Saturday and the same pre race nutrition from Boston, I felt like I was perfectly carbo loaded and hydrated.

Despite the good forecast, the very hot 37 degrees on Saturday produced humid conditions on Sunday and stronger winds than were forecast.  In hindsight there were a lot of signals that I should have reset my goals but I managed to ignore all of them.  I wish that I had sought out the advice of more experienced marathoners (or a coach) the day before and discussed my race plans rather than ploughing on regardless.

6am start and I was very surprised (and more than a little embarrassed) to find myself well in front for the first 200m without feeling like I was doing anything more than running.  Thankfully this was only brief as Stephen Courtney (State Marathon champ), Steve McKean and Mark Page (6 time Rottnest winner and twice second at Comrades) soon came to the front.  We went through the first km in 3.55 which was quicker than I wanted but I was prepared to go a few seconds faster (or slower) so that I could run in a group.  A good theory but I picked the wrong group to do it with.

We went through 4km in 15.45 and while I still felt comfortable, they had just been warming up and Mark Page led through 5km as a small gap opened between myself and the other two.  By the time were heading out on the Causeway for the first time, I was running on my own and I saw Mark Page slow to allow the other two to catch him up and then they pushed on as a group into the headwind.  There was a big gap between myself in 4th and the runners behind and I wasn't in a position to run with anyone else.

So it was a lonely slog through the first full lap as I went through 10km in 40.50.  By this stage I wasn't running by my watch at all, I was runing purely on that below threshold race pace effort that I believed I could maintain (or would try my hardest to maintain for the full distance).  My pace dropped a bit further over the next 10km as I went through a bit of a bad patch from 13-18km and I went through 20km in 1.23.21 and then the halfway mark in 1.28.11.  If I had run an even pace to get to half way in 1.28 I would have been very happy but I hadn't, but my pace was still under 4.15/km pace (ie sub 3hours) from 20-25km.

Jon Pendse (who ran a very smart and perfectly paced race - by my calculations 1.28/1.32 splits) passed me just after the half way point and put a few hundred metres on me over the next 8km.  By the time we were getting close to the 30km mark, my too quick start was starting to take effect but once Jon was gone and I stopped stressing about thinking that I should be pushing on to try to close the gap, I went through a couple of kms where I felt that I had settled into a rhythm and pace that I could maintain hopefully through to the finish.

As the course approaches Geordie Bay there is a long but gentle downhill before a long but gentle climb up to the cottages at Geordie Bay (where we had stayed in January).  Over the course of a minute on the downhill, my knee went from feeling fine, to the complete deep stabbing pain that I had experienced a couple of weeks ago.  It just came out of nowhere and although I continued running, I was now limping and my pace slowed accordingly.

The big downhill from Geordie Bay was very painful and I was contemplating pulling out when I got back to the settlement as I wasn't sure I could limp my way through another full lap for the last 10km.  Mark Page had pulled out at the start of the third lap so although Jon had long since passed me, I was in fourth place and couldn't see the fifth place runner when I glanced back.  I'm not a quitter and my doctor had told me that I couldn't do any permanent damage and that I could continue to run if I could put up with the pain so I decided that while I could keep running, I would keep going.

There was a small lap that we did every time we came back to the settlement before heading out again and as I went out on the last lap, I saw Kevin Matthews in fifth place starting that small lap.  I estimated that was about 700-800m in front of him with about 10km to go.  By chopping my stride considerably, I was able to run without limping but because I couldn't open up my stride I couldn't go any quicker.  Aerobically I felt great although my body was pretty much at its limit.

It was basically just a hard grind on the last lap, waiting to be passed.  Kevin passed me just before we headed down the hill from Geordie Bay with about 2km to go.  I tried to pick up my pace to peg him back once we got onto the flat stretch around the lake before getting back to the settlement but I couldn't make any ground and in the end I decided to conserve something in case the 6th placed runner appeared.

I finished in 3.09.55 so not my slowest marathon but definitely my least enjoyable and hardest.  I really was kidding myself thinking that I could run with the lead pack and all I did was put myself into a position where I was running on my own once they picked up the pace.  Maybe if I hadn't had such a disrupted taper, I would have been able to hold it together for longer but I suspect that I was always struggling once my ITB injury occurred a few weeks back and when it came on during the race, it wouldn't have mattered how fast I was going, it was going to wreck my race.

So on the one hand, I'm disappointed but on the other I'm pleased I didn't drop out and pretty pleased to have finished 5th which is my highest placing in a WAMC event.  It was fantastic having my family there, including my brother and his family supporting and cheering me on and that was a major factor in me not dropping out (especially in front of my own kids).  I've never been so pleased to stop running though which will make for a very average finish line photo.  My knee was very sore at the finish even after I got ice onto it pretty much straight away.  Tender to touch and now pretty swollen despite a decent amount of ibruprofen since the race finished.

Rottnest is a hard, hard course.  I think it is tougher than Boston and I'm not sure I would do it again.  I'm never going to be the sort of person who does more than 1 or 2 marathons a year, so I can't imagine that the masochistic element of testing myself on a course like that is going to be an attraction in the future.  I've done 3 marathons now, the last two being pretty hard ones so I'm pretty keen to do a flat fast one or two next.  At Rottnest, it's always going to be windy and you're probably going to be running on your own.  For me, that's not much fun.

For now though, it's going to be a longish period (I suspect) getting rid of this ITB injury so I envisage I'll be sticking to shorter distances for a while.  We have airline tickets to the Gold Coast coinciding with next year's marathon (July) but luckily there is a half and a 10km as well if my knee takes longer than it should to get better.

Sorry this isn't a more positive report but it wouldn't be an honest one if it was.  Thanks to all my family for their support and getting me through this one and also to my friends through running in person and through this and other blogs.  I think putting yourself out there on a blog makes you accountable in one respect but it also gives you the chance to benefit from the encouragement and advice of others and I certainly have.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Rehearsal run, trigger point massage and easy run - ready for Rottnest

Wednesday - 3 km warm up, 3km @ MP (12 mins) , 2km warm down.  Ran the 3km into the wind (and into the sun).  Missed the actual 2km and 3km markers so didn't get an exact time for the exact 3kms.  I was looking for them and knew pretty well where they should be, but they have faded a bit and running into the sun made them very hard to spot.  Felt like I was running well under my threshold at MP so I'm hopeful of maintaining that for a significant portion of the marathon if my knee holds up. Still no hills and I'm not going to risk any now - will give my knee the full last 3-4 days to recover with only easy running on the flat and rest.

I wore the clothes I will be racing in and my racing shoes.  I have contemplated doing this marathon in my 2130 training shoes for the extra cushioning and stability but think I will go with the Ohana Racers.  Although light, they are not a minimalist race shoe and still provide enough support I think.  Psychologically the lighter shoes also help, probably more than physically but every second counts.

Forecast for Rottnest is looking promising 16-20C with light winds in the morning. Now if only those hills would disappear too ...

Early afternoon, I got a massage from the masseur recommended by Sugar.  Glad I was face down for most of it as I didn't have to try to hide the tears in my eyes!!  Confirmed the ridging/fused muscle fibres in my right thigh - huge difference between my left and right.  Looks like I am going to need ongoing deep massage to break that down to prevent a recurrence of my knee problems.  Full hour of pretty painful massage but felt good for it.  Very much focused on trigger points - ouch!

Thursday - 6.2km easy to Mends Street and return.  Wore Skins as precaution after yesterday's massage session.  Met Kim and Sugar at Mends Street and had a chat for 5 or so minutes about Rottnest mostly.  Looks like they will both be running the 10km and are staying close to the start as well. 

I didn't wear my heart rate monitor for this but ran easily at what would have been a very conversational pace (if I had someone to talk to).  Felt like I was running a reasonable pace without any effort at all which was re-assuring.

Travel to Rottnest tomorrow and have decided to take a rest day.  I've run the past 8 days and although nothing was further than 8.4km, I had a rest 2 days before Boston and it seemed to work well.  I had a swim in Boston so as long as the water isn't too cold, I might even have one when we get to Rottnest. 

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Great Keith Kelly interview

One of my favourite blogs to read is Keith Kelly's blog which I have now added to my blog list.  Keith Kelly is an awesome runner from Ireland who unfortunately has had regular major injury problems since he finished college (where he won the NCAA cross country championship in 2000).  He keeps coming back though and earlier this year, he won the Irish cross country championship before getting injured again.

He also has great taste in music and you can always find something worth listening to (and watching on his blog).  Below is a fantastic interview with Keith as well as some vision of him winning the NCAA championship in 2000.

Track and Field Videos on Flotrack

Keith Kelly Wins 2000 XC Championships from runprovidence on Vimeo.

6km easy - felt sluggish but knee good

Easy run to Mends Street and return - did 1km @ MP effort (4.04). Felt a little sluggish this morning but knee was good and got better as I ran.

Starting to get excited again ...

Monday, October 12, 2009

Easy 5.2km - another physio session

Monday - just ran an easy 5.2km in 23 minutes this morning.  If I was doing a normal taper, today would have been a rest day after 21km yesterday but I think I am going to do little bit every day except Friday.  I'll do my rehearsal run on Wednesday but shorten the non MP part considerably.

Went and saw my physio again this evening.  She believes my ITB is nowhere near as tight as it was and has improved more since Friday.  We spoke quite a bit about the tendon soreness and bruising and likened to a cork.  That's actually what it feels like now when I run, very similar to afer you have had a knock at soccer and are trying to run it off.

I'll be doing another short and easy run again tomorrow and trying not to get stressed at work.  In fact, I refuse to get stressed at work this week.

Bad luck to Clown who developed a foot injury at Melbourne and had to drop out after 12km but that sub 3 at Boston next year will be even more rewarding now.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Another small step

Sunday - 2km warm up, 4 x 1km @ MP, 2km warm down. (3.56/3.53/3.58/3.58). Deliberately eased off on the last 2 but still ran quicker than MP. First and third reps into the wind.  Knee discomfort solely in the tendon rather than the deep pain from before.

Huge congrats to Simon for his 2.48 at the Melbourne Marathon.  I got a text from him in which he said he was on 2.42 pace until severe stomach cramps at 27km.  Great first marathon which should easily place him in the first corral at Boston next year.

Was able to find TB in the results (4.11 - which I think is his best for a while) but not Clown so hope that is just a technical glitch and not because of anything else.

Missed the half marathon champs as we were kid-free so went to a movie but I see Dathan Ritzenhein ran 60 flat for third place.  Have to try to find some video of that.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Don't forget World Half Marathon Champs and Chicago Marathon tomorrow

Both on http://www.universalsports.com/

Half Marathon Champs from Birmingham, England @ 4pm Perth Time, Chicago Marathon @ 8pm Perth Time.

It's a big day with Melbourne on that morning as well.

Gradual improvement continues

This morning I did the workout I mentioned yesterday.  Easy 2km (approx) warmup then 3 x 1km @ MP with 2min walk recovery between.  Didn't need the recovery for anything more than reducing the consistent time I was running and I was pretty happy with how the 1km reps went 3.57/3.55/3.55 which is a bit quicker than MP but felt very comfortable (as it should but still re-assuring).

Wore the pat strap that Epi mailed me.  Not sure if it did any good but my knee felt a bit more stable/secure so think I will stick with it as it can't hurt.

The soreness in my knee was solely tendon related rather than the ITB soreness which is deeper into my knee so I am counting on continual improvement in the tendon soreness and hoping that the ITB/inflammed bursar doesn't flare up again.  Still no hill running but was able to walk a little more comfortably (well, hobble less) downhill today.

2km (approx) warm down for total of about 7km running.

Not sure what I will do tomorrow but it will be another easy one.

Good luck to Clown and Simon in the Melbourne Marathon tomorrow.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Ran another 8km

This morning I ran the same 8km as I did yesterday, slightly quicker overall and slightly quicker on the MP 2km stretch.  Actually timed myself accurately this morning 4.07/4.04 for the each of the two kms.

Knee was slightly improved on yesterday but still felt a bit proppy walking downhill, although I did walk down four flights of stairs this afternoon and it felt good.  Not game to run downhill yet and will leave that for later next week I think.

Saw my physio this afternoon and had some more deep massage into the ITB which was painful but makes me feel like I am getting somewhere.  Also just spoke to my doctor on the phone.  He recommends short work only (ie 1km intervals at MP) and nothing long now to give my knee the best chance to settle down (or not flare up).  He said it sounds more promising than he thought it would be which sounds good to me too.

So tomorrow, I think I will do an easy 2km warm up, 3 x 1km @MP with 2 min walk recovery between, 2km jog home.  Nothing I do aerobically or anaerobically now will hve any effect on my peformance, I can't risk going for a longer run just for psychological benefit (although I'd love to go for 21km on Sunday) so the best I can do is remind my body what it is like to run at MP and then hope it holds up on the day. 

The main worry I have now is hills and the effect of running downhill and that's probably something I won't know until the day as I won't be testing it properly over any distance or repetition beforehand.

More physio and massage on Monday and Wednesday next week and I'll keep on with my self massage/masochism with the cricket ball.

Also thanks to Epi for sending me the pat strap - I'll give that a try from tomorrow as well.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Ran 8km - first run post knee treatment

Thursday - 8km in 35 mins (4.23/km pace).  Still sore in the knee - mostly it seems from the cortisone shot and the tendon needling. It's a bit bruised and tender.  Difficult to walk downhill so don't know how I could run downhill. Soreness was different from ITB soreness when I was running though . I felt a couple of twinges of ITB type soreness when I picked up pace to around marathon pace (more likely 4.10/km than 4.00/km though). Still generally sore now so don't really know where I am at as far as Rottnest goes. Ongoing assessment I guess.  The pain running today was tolerable to the extent that I think I could put up with it for a marathon as long as it didn't too much worse.

I actually woke up at 3.45am this morning and had to go to the loo.  Then I couldn't get back to sleep due to nerves about going for a run.  It was worse than before most races I have done and took me about an hour to get back to sleep.

I'm hoping that the soreness is from the the needling and that it will continue to settle down.  Would have liked to speak to my doctor today to get some advice on how regularly (and how far) I should run now that I can run again but he is not in today so will have to be tomorrow.  I think I will try to do a similar run again tomorrow.  I don't feel like I should be trying to run too far and it's too close for there to be any real benefit in any case.  I do feel like I should try to get my body used to running at the pace I would like to run the marathon at but depending on how the knee improves (or doesn't improve) I may need to re-assess my goals.

At the moment I have no idea and the spectrum of goals ranges from still trying to run 4-4.02/km average pace to 4.15/km (sub 3hr) through to just finishing.  Might have to put this one down to experience as a test of character rather than a test of how fast I can run.

I have been doing the self massage with cricket ball and rolling pin and have a physio appointment tomorrow.  I can't get in to see the massage therapist recommended by Sugar until Wednesday next week so will probably look to get another physio session maybe Monday.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

ITB - the diagnosis

Saw a Doctor at Sportsmed Subiaco today and had a cortisone shot into the inflammed bursar and also some needling of the tendon under local anaethetic.  Doc said he could feel scar tissue when he was needling so thinks that I am pushing it to be able run a pain free marathon at Rottnest (pretty unlikely he thinks). He hopes that what he has done today will result in less/different pain but says my ITB is still too tight. Apparently though, I can't do any permanent damage so the question is if I can put up with the pain.

I am to do self massage with rolling pin and a cricket ball twice a day (not into the knee for 4-5 days) and also get some massage from someone who will "get right in there" on my ITB and is prepared to make it hurt.

I am to run on Thursday morning - nothing long but I'm allowed to try some quicker stuff so probably try 8.4km with 3-4km @ marathon pace.

Also saw the oesteopath this morning - I had the trifecta - ribs, back and pelvis all out of alignment so no wonder I've crocked myself. All lined up now though.  I sounded like a bowl of rice bubbles under manipulation.

Back to the doc after the marathon for longer term solution re the ITB.

I'm going to do everything I can to get to the starting line with half a chance of finishing.  That means being able to run more than 3.5km though which is something that was beyond me on Sunday.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Lord of the Idiots

Saturday - didn't run. 

Sunday - was entered in the Fremantle Fun Run 10km but was unable to race due to ITB issue.  Seemed like fantastic conditions weather wise so hope it was good down in Freo for those running.

Having had a day off, I decided that I would try to get through an easy 27km run.  Although I had been forced to stop and walk on Friday, I was hoping that was a one off and that I would be able to get though a longer run as I had the Sunday before.

Knee was OK when I started but got progessively worse to the extent that I had to stop at the Marathon Club (after about 3.5km) and do the walk of shame home.

No running for me until after Tuesday's sport doctor visit and then only after the doc says I should run so probably the end of the week at the absolute earliest.  If necessary, I won't run at all until the marathon on the 18th but I hope that I will be able to run a bit earlier than that.  I think I am going to have to give this inflammation the maximum opportunity to settle down and stop stirring it up by continuing running.

Really p!ssed off at the moment.  Think I definitely would have run a PB this morning but more importantly (disappointingly) I think there is a pretty good chance that 5 months of getting up at 5.45-6am and the associated hard training have gone down the sh!tter.  Not to mention the approx $1000 spent on accommodation, ferry fares and race entry for Rotto.

Would be nice to get some good news on Tuesday but I'm not really that confident.  If there was a suitable location nearbly (Blackwall Reach maybe?), I would be recreating the last scene of Quadrophenia with the scooter which was undoubtedly the cause of this problem and which I felt like kicking the sh!t out of when I got back from my "walk" this morning.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Knee stuffed

Physio appointment this afternoon.  Not looking (or feeling good).