Monday, July 22, 2013

Unlucky 13

I've been so "on and off" with my running this year that it's been hard to sit down and write anything about it.  (I started a few times but just couldn't get anything to stick.)  But, I would like to keep my blog alive and make at least one post this year.   Besides, I've found that it is good for me to keep a journal of my running as I enjoy going back and reliving some very fond memories.

After Adrienne's birth, last November, I took a four month hiatus from running to just get used to the idea of being a father and gained a good 10 pounds in the process.  By mid-March, I wasn't snowboarding much either (but did get a couple superb powder days on the mountain and one, sick bluebird day on Buff Pass with the crew) so I really started to miss just getting out and getting the blood pumping on regular basis.   However, I didn't feel like I had the time in the day to really start up again and I remember sending a message to my high school friend, Matt Baldwin (who is also a new father and runner) and asking him how he was getting in his miles.  Watching him prepare for a marathon via Facebook really got me believing that I could be a dad AND find the time to run.   Finally, I decided it was time to get motivated so I started getting up at 4:00 a.m. and running a few miles before work, often in the most heinous weather imaginable (in the first 30 days, it was always dark and cold and snowed, sometimes ridiculously hard, about 20 of those days).  

The first two weeks, I started with slow 3-4 mile runs and added a longer 6 mile run  a few weeks later.  I was running 2 days in a row and then taking one day off.  In mid-April, I got sick for about a week (first time in about 3 years!) while my parents were visiting and missed a few days of running (it snowed almost every one of those days) but got rolling again after that and finished the month with some more intense workouts and really started focusing on running faster.  I registered to run the Spring Creek Memorial 9 miler, in July, and Continental Divide Trail Run, in August, my favorite trail races in the Running Series, with the goal of being the 1st Masters (over 40) in each race.

In May, I was feeling really good and laid down some good runs with a lot of low-7 minute/mile pace running (not fast but fast for me!).  I think I had a long run of around 8 miles in there at some point and I was really enjoying getting up early and running now that I was getting a sunrise and the weather was warmer.  My most memorable run that month was a strong climb and descent of Emerald Mountain from the horse stables to the summit.  I managed to climb to the summit in around 35 minutes and posted 6:33, 6:11, 7:02/mile pace for the descent.  I stuck with the 2 days on/1 day off schedule through the month and kept my distances between 3.5 and 8 miles. 

I expected to keep building on my effort and distance through June but got totally derailed the second week of the month (12th) by plantar faciitis.  In BOTH of my feet.  I tried a rather mellow 3.5 mile run on the 17th but the next morning my feet were in pain and I decided that I needed to quit running altogether until I could honestly say that my feet felt normal, pain free and ready to go again.  My only exercise since then has been walking my dogs a couple of times a day.

By June 29th, I felt good enough to give it a try and walked/ran 3 miles at an exceedingly casual pace.  My feet felt fine the entire time I ran.  The next morning, the pain had returned and lasted throughout the day.  I went and saw David Lieberman, D.C., on July 18th.  He was able to make an adjustment in my right foot from the numerous times I have sprained my ankle and he also made an adjustment to my left knee.  He also pointed out that my right arch is higher than my left, which is why the faciitis is more acute in my right foot.  We discussed making adjustments in my back but decided to wait.  We also discussed using acupuncture on my feet but decided to wait on that as well.  We opted to start by using some rolfing on my fascia and I received a good 20-30 minute session on my feet.  He also recommended that I start a yoga regimen and lose 10 pounds (my baby weight!) as well as continue with working out the fascia damage by rolling my foot on a hard surface to break up scar tissue.  Also, ice my feet a couple of times a day.    I could start running again but it would have to be a very gradual build up and I would have to keep treating my fasciitis agressively.

Afterwards, I felt alright but it was hard to tell if the rolfing did anything because my feet actually felt good going into the appointment (unless the precise area of injury was probed).  The next morning, however, the difference was remarkable.  I went for a run that afternoon and still felt good the rest of the evening.  The soreness returned the next morning but certainly to a lesser degree.  I felt that at least now I know that treatment will allow the injury to heal, I just need to give it time and be reasonable with my output.

Saturday morning, I lined up to run the Spring Creek Memorial Trail Run but moved down to the 5 kilometer distance.  I had already registered and couldn't resist showing up at this race even if I wasn't going to do the full 9 miler.  It's just such a fun time with lots of locals.  I kept telling myself to take it easy, maybe even just walk or hike and enjoy the morning.  Instead, I bolted off the start like an idiot and found myself running in first for about half a mile before I started fading, fading, fading.  I eventually dropped back to 7th by the 1.5 mile turnaround and I think the next person, about a half a minute behind me, was a 12-year old kid.  I hadn't run for a month, my cardio was suffering big time and I was just running on instinct hoping the downhill would pull me to a merciful finish.   I was feeling humbled.  At the finish, I was lifted by the sound of Katy's voice.   I looked over and saw her and my beautiful little Adrienne and remembered that there are more important things than myself.  I was happy to be finished but that felt like the toughest 3 miles I have run in a long time.

My feet were, of course, inflamed afterwards but, after a day, the pain calmed down and this morning I felt good (relatively pain-free) after 10 a.m.  I've decided to stop running regularly for a while and focus on rehabing my feet and doing alot of stretching and yoga to get stronger.  I will probably do some short hiking around the area to help me lose more of that baby weight.  I doubt very much that I will attempt the Continental Divide Trail Run in August and don't think I could get into shape to run any of the races that I'd be interested in doing in September or October.  Bummer.  Tough luck this year but, honestly, I'm more interested in staying home with Adrienne and watching her grow.  Guess I'll give it a few months and then start thinking about 2014.   Happy trails!

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