Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I've been back outside running for the last few days, thinking about the past two years of running and it's role in my life.

In short, I believe I've been wrecking my body and spirit by training too much for the marathon. Ever since the fall of 2003, when I ran 3:13 in my second Twin Cities Marathon, I've thought the sub-three was a sure thing. Then I missed a few years of competing, and 5 years later, here I am, with a bad back, knee troubles and a stale attitude. A lot of "what's the point?" self-talk.

When health-care people ask questions about my habits, I'll tell them I run a lot. But that doesn't tell the ugly truth. To most people, 5 days a week at 3-5 miles would be a lot. 7 days a week at 60-plus/a week on chronically sore legs is battering me down. The long runs, speed-workouts and trails are painful. But I need the long runs; I need to run fast sometimes, and trails are fun for most runners. The marathon IS a long, hopefully sort of fast run, after all.

But, I think I'm going to let the marathoning slide after this year. If I run one, it will be more fun and less punishing than the last few years have been. I like half-marathons, and will focus more on them for now.

I may run the full next month, but I shouldn't train this way in future years. For the last two weeks, I've felt like I have some grave disease. Doctors are talking about all the modes of treatment: drugs, massage, PT and surgery. Yet I know with 95%certainty that some extended rest and a lighter training load would be the best remedy for what ails me.

I love running, but I used to feel better and healthier for doing it. Not any longer.

I'll keep running and racing. But my legs are telling me not to run the same way any longer. They've been telling me for two years. I hope I listen this time, but I've been deaf to the messages in the past. So...I might wind up writing the same thing next year.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Today I was downstairs eating lunch when it occured to me that I'd forgotten to apply deodorant after my shower. Not that I smelled; it takes a long day frought with anxiety and chaos to get a real "BO" smell out of me. But it's a part of my routine: I run, shower, shave, brush my hair and add a pinch of "product" (I love calling hair stuff "product", it's so much better than gel or goo), and get dressed. The deodorant comes in during this whole "toilette" process.

Well, I forgot today. Not that I needed to make an impression on anybody. It's just a part of my hygene, and to be frank, I like the scent. I just couldn't focus on my lunch-it was really bugging me. So upstairs I went to be one with my deodorant. I've been feeling like an old man lately with all of my back troubles, so I took my muscle relaxer and anti-inflamitory meds and put on my compression belt. Then I put together a load of laundry, went back downstairs and started up the machine. What happened to the deodorant? I spaced on it...totally forgot. The I went upstairs and got sidetracked with the mail. But...I knew there was some reason I went up, so I thought. After a minute or so, I remembered.

Now I had to choose. Right Guard aerosol, Old Spice stick, or Speed Stick. I love the scent of Right Guard, and aerosol works better than stick. But I grabbed the Speed Stick since it's my least favorite of the three. No social interaction pending, so I used the SS. It was a fine lunch afterwards. I even had another freak occurance: my salad--favorite lunch-- had around 15 dice sized croutons, but one enormously long crouton; it was the size of a sharpie...that long!

I like my back meds. the pain pills don't do much for the pain, but they make me happy. The others help the muscles relax. I'm becoming #1 shaped rather than #2. Still I've got some #7 influence. So the marathon is on hold. I'll run a late fall race...but what? More later, I'm in a fog from my meds and it's bedtime...

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Non-Running Topics Coming Soon...

Due to my lame back and all the troubles it engenders, I'll be posting about other things for awhile.
Music is my love and area of expertise.
Humor is fun to write as well.
Old stories about me might spill out if I take too many pain pills.

Who knows?
You'll just have to stay tuned...

Saturday, September 13, 2008


My back troubles returned last week and got so bad, I couldn't sit for longer than an hour or so. I went to the doc today; he was shocked at how twisted and convulsed all the muscles and vertebrae were.

That is related to all the nagging injuries I've brought up. But they won't disappear until the back is properly treated. It will take a while to see what works and whether or not I can run the fall marathon. But I'm still planning on it.

My back's been bad for probably 18 months now. It's a little worse today because of a large training volume--especially long runs, which are slower and require many thousands of foot strikes (30,000 per 20-miler).

Last year, I could barely walk after trying some speedwork after a back flareup and it ruined my season. The good news: I'll feel better at some point. I'll be able to run more freely, as I did a few years ago. And at race pace, there's little stress on the back.

But the last two weeks are about healing--not training. I'll run enough not to decondition, but maybe 3-5 miles a crack. Then we'll see if I can race on the 29th.

READER BEWARE!!! All those footstrikes compress the back. Make sure you're not driving with bad alignment, or you'll end up like me!

Monday, September 8, 2008

A good rationale for the three-week taper:

My feet, ankles, shins, knees, hips, glutes and shoulders are on fire 24 hours after my last 20-miler. In three weeks, I can regain the spring in my step while training in reduced amounts. Two weeks? I'd be afraid. Very afraid that I'd not start the marathon on fresh legs. Right now, I run like a true geezer.

I'm starting to think my next avocation will be bowling in the winter and golf in the summer. I know I can go sub 300 in bowling...and still walk down stairs the next day.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Last Long Run

On Saturday I'll get out there and run my last run of 20 miles. The last three months, I'll have had 6 of 20-plus and another 4 of 17-plus. I've done very little intense speedwork, just 4-8 mpw at faster than marathon pace, and only one race.

There have been marathons where I did a lot more speedwork, and marathons where I had more long runs (10 runs of 20 miles or more last time)but none where I had as high a total mileage building up, plus several long runs plus some speedwork. I've had two weak marathons when I had several long runs that were also fast(7:00/pace), but I trained at only around 45-50mpw. My two best marathons were supported by 4-6 20-milers.

So one more 20-miler should be enough, combined with the 60-plus mpw training to have a strong endurance base. The speed is going to have to take care of itself; I've been slightly hurt a lot and decided to forgo half of the normal speedwork. At this point, I don't care about my 10K speed as much as my finishing speed after 20 miles. But after this weekend I'll have to let my body heal and strengthen during the final three weeks.

But the long runs are nice in the sense that you get to pamper yourself afterwards. I like the refueling part of those Saturdays. Then again, there's something to be said for feeling no soreness. I still have a rough time taking an off day. But I'll work some in...