Races

The End of the Run or At Least a Significant Hiatus


I got the results from my MRI today and it look like my running career  has come to an end due to Cervical Disk Disease. At a minimum, we are talking a year or two with physical therapy or other treatments with no guarantees that the pain won’t re-occur if I start running again.

cervical disk mri

 

 

CDD

 

A possible resolution is surgery to either fuse the affected vertebrae or replace the disks. In either case no running for me for at least a long time. I’m going to really miss running.

Some other things I can do is use an elliptical, a spinner, ride a bike, light weights, and swimming. I’m not really into any of those right now but I’m sure something will piqué my interest and get me off my butt. I’ve already gained 17 pounds in a month of no running. I have some soul-searching to do and find a way out of the funk I’m in. At least I finished a marathon before I was sidelined. A goal I’m very proud of and it was worth every one of the approximately 1,899,200 training steps I ran to get there for a total of 2,004,000 steps.

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Categories: Injury, Marathon Training, Races | Tags: , , , | 18 Comments

MRI Yesterday, Results on Tuesday.


Image

Plenty of pain meds in between.  Hoping everything works out for the best. At least I got to run the Marathon. 🙂

Categories: Post Race Recovery, Uncategorized | Tags: , , | 6 Comments

Post Marathon Week Zero


My post marathon week zero for recovery has not really started. When I finished the marathon, I thought I was relatively injury free. No problems with my knees, feet, back, etc. But something kind of unexpected.  You see, I’ve had a chronic stiff neck since around the end of June or beginning of July. Nothing too bad though. Everyone gets stiff necks from time to time. After seeing my Doc in July, I was prescribed PT to loosen and strengthen my neck.

After the Marathon, everything hurt, quads, calves, glutes, and shoulders. Over the next couple of days, everything got better, except my old neck pain. But now the pain was a lot worse and had radiated to my right shoulder and down my arm with numbness along my arm to my thumb and a little to my fingertips. I started taking Acetaminophen, naproxen, and what remained of my flexeril from my first appointment but it barely took the edge off the pain.  So I went back to the Doc and it turns out I have Cervical Radiculopathy (Pinched Nerve) on my right side.

cervical_radiculopathy

 

I guess I have had a minor case of it since June but I must have really aggravated it during the Marathon. He upped the dosage of my meds and off I went.  As the days progressed it got more and more painful to the point that no matter what position I was in, standing , sitting or lying down, which was the worst, was pretty much unbearable.   So I called in sick on Friday and after being up all night pacing, taking meds, ice pads, heat pads, and anything else to find relief, my wife, who has much more common sense than me, said we needed to go the ER. My Doctor isn’t available on  the weekends. So 5:00 am we headed to the ER where they confirmed the diagnosis and prescribed some stronger pain meds. Finally I was able to sleep.

The pain is much less now and I have a follow-up next Friday. The BIG down side is no running!  😦  I can ride a bike or use an elliptical but as you know, it’s just not the same. Here’s hoping for a speedy recovery and fixing whatever the cause of this is so it won’t happen again.

Categories: Post Race Recovery | Tags: , , , , | 21 Comments

ING Hartford Marathon Recap


Friday night I got everything ready and packed and got to bed around 10:00. I set my alarms for 3:30 and 3:45 and got up at 3:45 of course. Got dressed got my stuff and had a light breakfast and a big glass of water. Then My wife, eldest daughter, and I left for Hartford around 5:00 to get there around 6:00. I was afraid I was going to get caught up in traffic or not be able to find a parking place or something that was going to stress me out.

We got there around 6:00 as planned and found a free parking lot a block away from the starting corral  and next to a long line of porta-potties which was pretty sweet. Since the Pace Groups were not going to meet until 7:30 and it was in the high 40s, I decided to wait in the nice warm car for a while. After a couple of bio breaks I went to the Pace Group meetup. I didn’t bother to use the baggage check since it was about a half  block from where I parked which was nice since the lines were way long.

I found my pace group for a 4:45 finish and met some really nice people. I figured I wanted to run with some experienced marathoners, the pace group leaders, during my first one. I didn’t stretch but jogged in place to warm-up. I took a GU at 7:15 and 7:45. At about 7:45 we moved into the corral. It was hard to stay with my group but I was able to see the sign the leader was holding.

CAM00142

 

It was a beautiful day for a run. With the sun now up it was in the low 50s, low humidity, and a nice breeze. I think I probably got spoiled a bit but I’ll take it.

I was a little nervous but excited and confident at the same time. I hadn’t run for a week and a half trying to get my knees to feel better and this morning they felt great, but for how long, I wondered. After all, 26.2 miles is a long way. I got settled in as close to my group as possible. The opening ceremonies were great. I was surprised that when they asked everyone who was running their first marathon to raise their hands, it looked like half the people there did. At one point we all sang Sweet Caroline in honor of Boston. Once the race started, it only took about three minutes to get across the starting line since my group was pretty far up.

Once we got across the starting line and moving, it was very exciting. I was actually running in a marathon! The full and half marathoners were running together at first and then split up after a couple of miles. We ran through downtown Hartford, through a nice park and the into some nice neighborhoods. Water stops with both water and Gatorade were setup every mile and a half, GU Gels available at about mile 8 and 14 and race clocks at every odd mile.  I walked through every stop and took a GU at 8, 14, and 21 miles. At about mile 9, I took another bio break and lost track of my pace group. I wanted to try to catch them but I was afraid to run too fast at this point. I kept track of my pace using the pace band I picked up with my packet and was about a minute or so behind, a pace I was able to maintain.

My knees were a little sore for the first few miles but were fine after that. Somewhere around 11 miles in the bottom of my right foot was starting to get sore. After a couple more miles I thought maybe my shoelaces were too tight so I stopped to loosen them and immediately felt some relief. Everything else felt fine.

I hit the halfway point at 2:20:56 with a pace of 10:46. I still felt great and was on track to finish around 4:45. The volunteers, police, and residents cheering us on were great! I made mile 20 at 3:34:00 with a pace of 10:42. Still doing great. I was pretty tired but the gravity of what I was doing and thinking of every one of my followers and family kept me going. I now only had a short weekly run to go and knew I could do it. At about mile 22, the bottom of my left foot started hurting as well as my right. It felt like I was running on fire but it didn’t feel like I was injured. I think my pace slowed here though. A lot of people were walking or run/walking at this point but I just kept going except for the water stops.

The last couple of miles got me back into the city. I smiled and raised my hands in victory for every camera. Finally, I saw the finish line and had the biggest smile, thanking everyone for cheering my on. Then I heard my name as I approached the finish line, something I hadn’t expected. Hands raised up and a big smile, I crossed the finish line. 4:48:05, pace 11:00.

I’m now a Marathoner!

Walking now, I got my medal, a water bottle, a goody bag, and mylar blanket.

CAM00147 (2)

 

They had lots of good food available but sadly with my wheat allergy, I couldn’t eat most of it. I did get a complementary massage though and decided to get a nice steak on the way home.

This was one of my best days ever!

The day after the race my legs, hips, and shoulders were sore all day. I felt like I was walking like a penguin. I escaped pretty much injury free though with only a couple of blisters on the toes of my left foot. Monday, I did some foam rolling and everything is feeling much, much better.

20131012_150735

Categories: Races | Tags: , , , , , | 20 Comments

Finished My First Marathon


ING Hartford Marathon Results 2012

 

Finished the marathon! I’m a bit tired but relatively injury free. I felt real good throughout the race and kept really close to my goal pace of 4:45. I’ll give a full recap later. I thought of you all often and it really kept me going. Last night I read a great post about marathon advice by Kris Lawrence (no relation that I know of) that also really helped me out.

Best of luck to all those running in Chicago tomorrow and in other places.

Categories: Races | Tags: , , , , | 30 Comments

Taper is Done, Race in the Morning


Well today I finished my taper. The last time I ran was Wednesday a week ago. I felt I need to really pamper my knees and they feel great. I wore knee braces for a few days and have been icing them every night.  I’d say they are about 98%. I’ve also been fueling up over the past week. I had a big Carb dinner last night and a smaller one tonight. I’ve gained six pounds during my taper but read that is not necessarily a bad thing if you are tapering and fueling correctly before a big race.  I have no worries about my strength or endurance. I’m positive I’m strong enough to go the distance both physically and mentally.

Today I picked up my race packet!

20131011_185053

It was really awesome seeing all those people who will be running with me tomorrow. Bib number 1919, easy to remember and a nice long-sleeved shirt. They also had Pace Bands. I was thinking about buying one online but I’m glad I didn’t since they had them for free! I’ve decided to join a Pace group for a 4:45 finish. That way I won’t get too carried away, plus I’ll get to run with some experienced runners for my first marathon.

All I have left to do is get everything packed up and laid out tonight so I don’t forget anything. Hartford is about an hour away and I want to get there about 2 hours early to find parking, account for unexpected traffic, and meet up with my pace group an hour before the race. That means leaving about 4:30ish.

I can’t believe tomorrow is the big day. The year has gone by so fast. Thank you for all the encouragement during my journey. I will be thinking of all of you during my run and I’m sure I will feel your spirit with the whole way.

 

Categories: Marathon Training, Races | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Surftown Half Marathon Recap


Today I ran my first half marathon, the Surftown Half Marathon and it was GREAT!

Yesterday afternoon I picked up my race packet which came with a very nice technical shirt, a bag and a bib. I got number 676. I could have picked it up this morning before the race but I was in the area and figured it would be one less thing to worry about.  Last night I got all my stuff together and ready to go. I set my alarm for 4:45 since I wanted to leave by 6:00 and get there about 6:45 and the roads were going to close at 7:00. Start time was 7:30 and it would give my time to warm up and stretch out. I didn’t get to bed until about 10:30, later than I wanted but figured it wouldn’t be a big deal. I woke up at 4:45 and before I got out of bed it all of a sudden was 5:20. Still plenty of time though. Luckily, I had everything ready to go. I got up, got ready and had some water and a breakfast bar. Walked the dog and got my daughter Melissa who is my support team. Out the door at 6:10 with plenty of time. at about 6:40 with 8 minutes to go I hit traffic. Bumper to bumper traffic. Great! I have 20 minutes until the roads close. So slow! The intersection where the street was going to close was three cars away and the light turned red. Then green and it is 7:00. Road Closed! Now what? So I go in the direction we were being redirected and my awesome daughter found a back way to the parking lot. Luckily, the roads were not closed and we made it at about 7:10 with a long line of cars behind us. I actually think we made it faster than if we would have stayed in the traffic, so it worked out. I was pretty nervous about making it at all though. I’m really glad I got my race packet the day before. There were people running to get theirs.

I jogged a bit to warm up and made it to the starting area in time for them to call the runners up. I found the 2:30 pacer and fell in behind him. My fastest half during training was 2:24. I had decided to not bring my phone since I wanted to see how I would do without it in a race. I also didn’t bring my water bottle.  The race started a little late I think. It might have been because of the traffic problems, which was nice of the race officials. I say I think because I didn’t bring a watch either.

Once the race started, I started to run but being in the back of the pack, I quickly realized I needed to walk. By the time I got to the starting line, about a minute had passed. As there were race clocks along the route, I knew I could take a minute off each one. I started off just running an easy pace not wanting to get caught up in the excitement and go out too fast too early.

The crowd started thinning out pretty quickly and I fell into a comfortable pace. At the 1 mile marker the race clock said 11:07 which I knew for me was about 10:07. I passed the 2:30 pacer a little after that. There were water stations about every 2 miles or so water and Gatorade was no problem. There was one station that had GU at about mile 7 which was OK since I bought 2 with me.

At about mile 3, I was still feeling really good so I decided to pick up the pace a bit. Before I hit mile 4, I was passing the 2:15 pacer but still feeling really good. My knees were great and my feet were too. I kept that pace and realized I was slowly passing more and more people. I felt really encouraged about that but resisted just taking off. I really had no idea how fast I was going since I didn’t have my phone or a watch. I did take time to walk through every water station which is something I read about and I feel it worked out well for me.  It was easy for me to catch up to where I was in the pack and I gave me time to drink a whole cup of water and Gatorade at each stop. I highly recommend this method.

At mile 5, the race clock said 50:12 which was 49:12 or so for me, a little under 10 min/mi, really good for me. I guess training exclusively on hills and then running on a basically flat course paid off.  This is when I took my first GU.

At the halfway point I was still feeling great and hit it at 1:03:54.

Halfway!

Halfway!

 

On to the second half!

On to the second half!

Great pictures by my support team, Melissa! The second half was a little more hilly. But they were not bad at all. It was a beautiful neighborhood with lots of shade. Good thing since I chose to wear my long sleeves. I was afraid 48 degrees and the ocean breeze would be too cold. It was pretty chilly but it warmed up. At about mile 8 I still had a lot left so I really picked up the pace. Nice long strides and passing more and more people. It felt really good and I was in a nice rhythm. I took my second GU at mile 9.

At about mile 10 there were 2 rather steep hills in a row but they were short. I just powered up them, passing a lot of people and hearing cheers of encouragement. Once it leveled out, I caught my breath for about a quarter mile and the resumed my previous pace which I was judging by effort. The last water station was at about 11.5 miles. I walked through it, got a drink of water and Gatorade, and the took off. I picked up the pace again and really felt like I was moving. I was getting tired running this pace but knew I only had a little over a mile left.

With the finish in sight, I really started to kick it! The cheers and the applause were great and very motivating during that last 400 yards. Crossing the finish line was the best feeling! YAHOO!

FINISHED MY FIRST HALF MARATHON!

FINISHED MY FIRST HALF MARATHON!

 

Personal Record!

Personal Record!

YEAH!

YEAH!

Nice Medal.

Nice Medal.

 

The is my first PR and it was also a personal best. I actually set three PBs on the run.

15 September 13 PB Half Marathon

15 September 13 Surftown Run 3 PBs

I really felt great after this race. Knees, feet, legs, all good. I guess a half marathon late into your full marathon training plan works out pretty good.

Surftown Half Marathon Finisher!

Surftown Half Marathon Finisher!

The medal is really nice and it is like a sun catcher or stained glass.

Surftown Half Marathon 2013 9

This was a good race with great volunteers. It was well organized and had plenty of water stations.

Next month, the Hartford Marathon!

Categories: Races | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Last Run Before the Half


My last run before my first Half Marathon.  After my Tuesday run I had decided to skip my mid-week run. I had to decide whether to run the 9 miles I missed or stick with the scheduled 5. I was feeling a lot better as were my knees. So I figured I would go out and play it by ear.  I took it nice and easy at first to see how things were. Everything seemed fine. The only problem was it was super humid, almost like a fog had rolled in. Visibility wasn’t that great. Luckily, it wasn’t hot but it sure didn’t feel cool either. After the first couple of miles I decided 5 was going to be enough.

http://www.endomondo.com/home

 

After the run, I felt great. A teeny bit of soreness in my knees but much better. I’m feeling much better about the Half Marathon now.

This Sunday will be my very first road race, the Surftown Half Marathon!

2013 Surftown Logo Options

 

I’ve never even run a 5K or 10K. I’m super excited and can’t wait. Of course, I’ll let you know how it went.

Categories: Marathon Training, Races | Tags: , , , , , , | 10 Comments

What a Week So Far!


It actually started last week on Saturday. I had an amazing time at my first Spartan Race. It was a 4 mile sprint at the Tuxedo Ridge Ski Resort in New York.

Before

Before

 I had to run up and down the mountain at least four times. Carrying, dragging, lifting, climbing, pulling, and crawling.

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It was an awesome experience!

After, a SPARTAN!

After, a SPARTAN!

The result?  

Spartan Sprint Stats

I was super sore after that race and utterly exhausted. I took a few day off to recover.

After that on Wednesday I went for a run. I was shooting for 4.5 miles but was feeling inspired so I went for 5. I went a little later than I normally do and it was a nice change.

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I felt really good and I think it showed in my times.

5 June 13 Run

My next runs are on Friday and Saturday. Not sure if the weather will support but if not, I’m hitting the dreaded treadmill AND getting back into my morning workouts!

 

Categories: Races, Road Running | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Been a Good Week


I got to workout a couple of times and had a very nice run. I’ve been sort of taking it easy and mentally preparing for the Spartan Race tommorow.I’ve never done a Spartan Race. This one is a Sprint. Four miles and twenty five obstacles. The miles are no sweat but the obstacles could prove challenging. I need to get up at 4:00 and drive three hours for my starting time. I’ll pack tonight and go to bed early. Luckily I only have to get up thirty minutes before I normally do. Plus I’m bringing my eldest daughter for moral support, and to hold my stuff. 😉 I’m expecting to finish in about an hour or hour and a half.

Categories: Races | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

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