Running quote of the week

“I finished Boston last year with my hands over my eyes wiping away the tears. The people lift you up the entire race.”– Sam Ryan

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Runsketeer birthday surprise at Starbucks

Happy birthday to me!
Today's run (street): 3.3 miles
Yesterday's run (treadmill): 3.2 miles

Last weekend the ER family celebrated my birthday with a dinner, even though my actual birthday was this past Wednesday. Mrs. ER informed me that we were going to bookend things with a walk on the trail in Bethpage today. What she didn't tell me was that she and the Runsketeers had concocted a plan more devious than you could ever imagine. Actually, it wasn't devious at all. It was really very nice.

Knowing that we would be heading to Bethpage fairly early, I got out at 7:30 AM for a neighborhood run. Yesterday's rain kept me indoors on the treadmill. Despite this morning's threatening skies, I wanted to run outside. The weather was a mild 50°, with enough wind to cool things into the 40's. Humidity was high, but with the low clouds blocking the sun, it didn't feel uncomfortable. I added a little more distance to my standard 3.2 mile route and felt great throughout the entire run. Friday's treadmill session was similarly positive and I'm hoping this trend will continue.

Pre-surprise walk on the Bethpage trail
We made our way to the Bethpage trail and parked on Colonial Road, just north of Haypath. I knew that SIOR was leading a Life Time run on the bike path this morning and wasn't all that surprised to see her and TPP bounding down the path. They were in quite a hurry and TPP was uncharacteristically impatient to go. I wouldn't have noticed at all if SIOR was the impatient one. I learned later why, and that the ER family was in on what was to come.

We finished our walk and made our way to Starbucks. Mrs. ER told me that she and the kids wanted to us to visit Bethpage and Starbucks just as I often do with my  running buddies. I was happy to comply. When we approached the shopping center that houses Runsketeer Starbucks, Mrs. ER's phone beeped and my daughter grabbed it before I could see it. That turned out to be SIOR texting her to say that they had arrived. While the ER family made their way into Starbucks, TPP and SIOR were right nearby, sneaking behind pillars and garbage cans to hide their presence. There's even a video of that. I'm surprised it wasn't Livestreamed.

Starbucks was packed and there wasn't even room for the four of us to sit down. I popped into the men's room and when I came out I saw TPP and then SIOR who yelled "surprise!" It turned out that Mrs. ER had been planning with these two since February to arrange coffee with my Runska-friends. It took me a moment to figure out that this was not a coincidence. We arranged ourselves around a table that had opened up when its occupants saw that the Runsketeers needed it more. We have that kind of power.

I was really happy to see my friends. SIOR was wearing her 2017 Boston Marathon jacket that she earned on Monday, completing her second Boston effort and qualifying for yet another Boston race. Check out her entertaining race report to get the whole story. TPP has recently started a new job and I was very glad that she was able to join us. The D'Artagnan of our group, KWL, also ran Boston last week. He's in Hong Kong right now, but he was with us in spirit.

The official Runsketeer coffee mug
While Mrs. ER collected coffee and food orders, TPP and SIOR presented me with birthday cards and presents. I loved the cards and TPP gave me a potential fortune (lottery tickets) and SIOR gave me an awesome coffee mug with my favorite Runsketeer picture. Emblazoned on the other side was the motto, "All for one and Run for all!" It will be my post-run Starbucks cup going forward. I'd been too intimated to scratch off the lottery tickets because I hadn't held one since the 1980's and wasn't sure how they worked. I let my daughter do it. Despite some close calls, I will not be winning $1,000 a week for life.

Once coffee was served (along with that chocolate cake that I've been thinking about since SIOR and TPP ran on goat-less mountain a few weeks ago), the six of us spent a couple of hours talking and laughing non-stop. As much as I like the running part, it's the post run time that I value the most. We covered an awful lot of subjects and I took advantage of the fact that SIOR is a certified elite running coach and trainer. I interrogated her about the best approach to getting back into racing shape and will probably do a 5K with this crew in July.

I think we could have gone on for two more hours, but practicality prevailed and we needed to say our goodbyes. We did remember to get our selfie, using my daughter's new iPhone that takes much better pictures than my Android phone. I had a great birthday, thanks to Mrs. ER, and it was fun to be surprised twice by my Runsketeer buddies.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

A thousand runs within a mile

Didn't seem like the same old route when I ran it today
Today's run (street): 4.3 miles
Yesterday's run (street): 3.2 miles
Tuesday's run (street): 3.2 miles

Last weekend's run with goats was an unusual break from my quotidian weekend workouts. I always appreciate the runs I do that go beyond the constraints of my local roads, trails, parks or the track. More often than not, I find myself running on the same streets I've covered a thousand times before. So far this week I've managed to get in three runs, all within a mile of my house.

Sometimes I ask myself why I used to be so quick to jump in the car and head out to Stillwell Woods, Bethpage, Eisenhower or Belmont State Park every chance I had. I do that occasionally, but usually it's because I'm seeing my buddies. That trumps tops any laziness that keeps me neighborhood bound. This morning I ran through all the possible venues, but ended up taking the easiest route. That was the one that begins at the end of my driveway.

Besides expanding my running geography, I also need to work on increasing my distances and consistently getting my heart rate into and above the 80% max rage. I didn't make much progress on any of that today. I went out in 50° weather to run close to my home. My one concession to the mundane was to follow a new route. On the map, it may look like every other run I do. But today I ran it in a different direction. 

Tomorrow is supposed to be another nice weather day. It's Easter and I'm hoping that will mean quiet roads and empty trails. I may run outside my neighborhood this weekend after all. Meanwhile, Runsketeer buddies KWL and SIOR will be in my hometown to run the 121st staging of the Boston Marathon. I'm excited for them. They have both trained hard and I'm hoping that they have great experiences. If I were ever to run a marathon, it would be that one.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Not my finest run

A few tired miles around the 'hood
Today's run (street): 3.7 miles

Despite better weather, today's run didn't go all that well. I'm either run down or I pushed too hard on yesterday's run. I'm not a fan of running uphill and my legs reminded me of that today.  I was hoping that (sort of) keeping up with SIOR and TPP at the NJL park might have activated my fast twitch leg fibers. I actually think they were deactivated.

My goal every weekend is to do at least one run outside of my neighborhood. Since I did that yesterday, I figured a run around my local roads would be just fine. I started out well, although I did experience sinus pain when the wind hit me head on. Thankfully that went away once I'd warmed up. I began to feel lethargic the more I went on and I noticed that my heart rate was showing less than 75% max. Despite the fatigue, I picked up the pace until I was in the low 80% range. That was all I could manage today.

Yesterday's run was understandably challenging because I ran about 10% faster than I normal do. Plus there were some hills. Today's difficulties are a little harder to explain. I never struggled, but I did get tired. Perhaps it was getting up at 4:30 AM this morning that did me in. I'll get some rest tomorrow and try this again on Tuesday.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

The Runsketeers fail to see goats

ER, SIOR (with Easter Bunny), B, S, TPP
Today's run (Norman J. Levy Park): 3.2 miles
Yesterday's run (street): 3.2 miles

According to Google Maps, getting from my house to Norman J. Levy Park (NJL) in Merrick, NY is fairly straightforward. Three short highways and then a right off a local road. Just to be sure, I used Google Maps navigation to ensure that I'd get there without a problem. However, when I got close, the navigation started to panic: "turn right, make a U-turn, turn left, take the ramp to the Meadowbrook..." and I ended up missing the entrance. I made the further mistake of letting navigation take me through the back streets that led nowhere. I ended up arriving fifteen minutes late after SIOR talked me through the landfill.

That's right, NJL is on a landfill. More specifically, it's landfill adjacent. The park itself is a circle within a circle of paths with 360° views of NYC, eastern LI and the ocean. Reaching the best view takes a little work. I'll get to that in a moment.

Today's run was organized by SIOR who is a run leader for Life Time Fitness. Today we were joined by a very nice couple, S and B, who have recently returned to running. SIOR and Runsketeer buddy TPP had been to NJL before, but the other three of us had never been there. SIOR promised us that we'd see goats, but none were around today. I wonder if they are used to trim the grass at the park.

S and B took off before I arrived, and SIOR, TPP and I proceeded south where we caught views of the Stadium Park Canal in Freeport before rounding back north. I was doing well and mostly keeping up with my buddies (or at least keeping them in sight). At one point the path split with the right trail following a downward direction and the left trail going up. And up. And up. I wasn't really expecting that and TPP assured me that the incline would end soon. I have a different definition of soon. We did finally reach the top, shortly after meeting S and B on the trail.

Middle loop is the highest point
There is a spot at the park's highest point (115 feet) where you can see for miles in every direction. That was cool and I wish I took a picture when we got there, but I was too concerned that SIOR was going to find an even bigger hill. For some reason, both TPP's and my Garmins registered the peak elevation at only 23 feet.

Happily, the route back was mostly downhill, although it did rise up again near the end. We covered about three miles, not the four that I expected we'd do. All the same, it felt like a good workout. That was due (I think) to keeping a faster pace than I've been running these days. Depending on if you accept my Garmin's read or Gmaps, I ran slightly more or slightly less than 10 minutes a mile. Given my frustrating experience with GPS navigation this morning, I'm going to give it Gmaps.

We finally gathered at the starting point and decided to head to Starbucks on Merrick Road. I drove the mile it takes to get there, while SIOR tricked the others into running there by saying it was only a half mile run. She also lied about the goats. Just saying. I got to Starbucks first and the others soon followed. We grabbed coffee and pumpkin bread, which TPP supplemented with a piece of chocolate cake that tasted amazing. Next time I'm getting that.

The Bethpage/Massapequa Preserve trail
We had our usual wide ranging and often ridiculous conversations that included city running, Brooklyn hills, scary Jeep stories and the origin of the name "Dirty Sock" (don't ask). Before we left for Starbucks we talked about the length of the Bethpage and Massapequa Preserve trail. I said the distance top to bottom was about 14 miles and SIOR said it was 7. TPP suggested I map it and saw that it's about 10 miles. So I was right.

I played Uber driver after Starbucks and dropped everyone off back at the park. Next weekend is Boston and SIOR and KWL will be running it. I'm going to get out tomorrow in what should be very nice weather. I'm taking Tuesday and Wednesday off next week and hope to get in a couple of runs on those days. It will be nice to run again sometime at NJL park, especially now that I know which entrance to use.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Going with the flow isn't very exciting

Going with the flow
Today's run (street): 3.4 miles

For no good reason, I had a lot of trouble getting myself out the door for this morning's run. I knew I had to do it and that I would, but I spent a lot of time internally debating what my run would be. Normally on a relatively mild and sunny day, I'd consider my options and choose the most appealing option. Today nothing reached the level of appealing. I considered the treadmill because it's easier to throw on shorts and shoes and grind out a few miles than gear up for the outdoors, adding layers, a hat, gloves, SPIbelt, phone, Road ID and sunglasses.

The sun influenced me enough to go out, but not enough to get in my car and drive anywhere. That left me with routes that would start from the end of my driveway. I thought through all the places that I run: adjacent neighborhoods, the business park and even the northern end of the Bethpage bike trail. I took the easiest option and did yet another run in my own neighborhood.

I've been running in my ASICS Kayano 20s which are well cushioned and don't aggravate my plantar fasciitis. Just for a change (and because my PF has much improved) I went back to the NB Zante 2s today. I really like these shoes that are light as Kinvaras but have even more response. Today's run was easy and I remembered to look at my watch to make sure I was hitting my targeted heart rate. I didn't quite get there, but managed to stay around 81% of max.

Same old, same old
While I struggled to get my butt out the door to run three and a half miles today, my Buddies KWL and SIOR were running 13 to 20 miles respectively as they begin to wind up their Boston training. How do they get it done every day with all their other distractions of life? I know in the past I've followed a regimen that involved tempos, intervals and weekend runs as long as 12 miles. But marathon training takes a lot more dedication and motivation. My next frontier is to simply get back to 5-8 mile runs on weekends.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

April fooled by the weather

Wind chilly
Today's run (street): 3.1 miles
Yesterday's run (treadmill): 3.2 miles

It being April Fools day, my daughter offered me a bite of her vanilla ice cream with caramel sauce. That turned out to be mashed potatoes with turkey gravy. Instead of being repulsed, I was inspired to add the rest to my lunch. The real April Fools joke seems to be today's weather trying to make us think it's still winter.

Yesterday started out rainy and cold and I didn't hesitate a moment before getting on the treadmill. That run was fine and I worked my pace into the mid nines by the end. I appreciated having the indoor option, especially on days like that.

This morning I was ready to get back to the road. The local news station was showing 37° and the view outside looked mild. The roads were still wet from the recent rain but it looked pleasant. I had just read an article in Runners World about Iditarod runners who drag their gear behind them along the 1,000 mile route. One runner mentioned the value of keeping your neck warm as that's an area where heat can drain quickly. I took another look outside and saw the trees were swaying a little so I put on my bandito buff to keep that area covered.

It took over five minutes to acquire a GPS signal through the overcast sky but soon I was off and running. I'd worn light track pants and a long sleeve quarter zip. That was fine until I changed direction for the first time and encountered a 19 MPH wind. Those blasts instantly brought the temperature down ten degrees. The buff helped, but my face was freezing. It was so bad that when I finally reach a point where I turned from north to east my glasses immediately fogged up from the sudden warmth combined with 93% humidity.

I took a roundabout route circling the neighborhood and covered my distance at a moderate pace. I was surprised to see that my average heart rate was below 80% max. I really need to look at my Garmin during the run to see if I should be picking up the pace. Tomorrow is supposed to be a lot nicer and, since I have a limited window to get in a run, I'm going to try to do it a little faster.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

This run was out of sight

Alone again, naturally
Today's run (track): 4 miles

Most of this weekend was spent celebrating Mrs. ER's birthday. That included a darn good dinner prepared by me and my daughter. My polenta, mozzarella and veggie crumble appetizers, along with garlic sautéed broccoli, were a big hit. My daughter rocked her chicken parmigiana and Francesco's provided the cake, napoleons and rainbow sponge cookies.

Needless to say, we all took the day off from watching our calories. I've done a good job reducing the amount of processed sugar I consume and expected to wake up feeling like I'd overindulged. I actually felt great this morning and ready to cover a few miles. That may have been due to having a full supply of glycogen in my system.

The outside temperature was in the mid-30's with a light wind that made it seem even colder. I didn't feel like running around my boring neighborhood streets again, so I headed over to the high school to run boring laps around the track. In truth, I never find the track boring. Despite the repeatable view and unchanging surface, I appreciate the serenity of the place. That was especially the case on a day like today where I had the entire track to myself.

One likely reason that I was alone (besides the early hour and overcast sky) was the cold. I wore track pants and a couple of sweatshirt-weight top layers that kept my core warm. Even though I brought mid-weight running gloves, my hands were freezing for the first twenty minutes.  It was especially bad when rounding the southwest corner of the track where the wind hit me head on. I didn't bring el bandito mask today and regretted it until I finally warmed up.

Since there was no one else on the track, I was free to run in whatever lane I wanted. Better still, I was able to close my eyes for a few seconds as I ran without fear of collision. I thought I was running straight and was surprised to see that I'd crossed over into the next lane. I've always thought running that way would be a Zen-like experience. Now I know not to try it on the treadmill.

Eyes open is recommended
I ended up doing 16 laps and running the last mile much faster than the first three. When I picked up my pace I felt like my running got somewhat easier. Is there something to that? Is there a threshold of efficiency when running slower actually takes more energy than running faster? I would have put that further to the test but I hit my targeted four and called it a workout. On my next run I'll increase my speed a little more than my natural pace to see how long I can sustain that. It's worth a try and probably a better idea than running with my eyes closed again.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Run interruptions, indoors and out

Tether and lace
Today's run (street): 3.6 miles
Yesterday's workout (elliptical): 30 minutes
Thursday's run (treadmill): 3.3 miles
Last Sunday's run (street): 3.2 miles

This week has been busy. For a change, it wasn't due to work. I took Wednesday and Thursday off for some family stuff, but that didn't give me much workout time. I did manage to squeeze in a treadmill run, but accidentally pulled out the safety tether halfway through. That brought the machine to an abrupt halt. I was upset for a moment because it caused my time and distance to disappear from the display. Fortunately, I'd set my Garmin for an indoor run that captured all that information.

The worst part of interrupting a good run is the drop in heart rate that follows. I've had occasions when a perfectly good workout became a struggle after an unscheduled stop. A few years ago I was on a brisk lunchtime run in Central Park with a friend who asked me to stop so he could shed a top layer. We were at the halfway point on Cat Hill when we stopped. I struggled from that moment on, and ended up cutting our five miler to three.

This morning I was anxious to get outside after yesterday's elliptical session and Thursday's treadmill run. The weather was pleasant, 52° and overcast, and the pavement felt good under my NB Zantes. I hadn't run in them for over a month due to their low platform and my plantar issue. I figured that I'd made enough progress to try them again. They really are great shoes and I had no post run heel problems.

Like the treadmill tether problem I had on Thursday, I found myself needing to stop a couple of times on my run. I hadn't double knotted my laces and they were whipping annoyingly around my ankles. It was no big deal, but I did feel light headed after bending down to retie the Zantes. My recovery from those stops went better than that time in Central Park but it did throw off my momentum.

Today's run
This morning, around the time I was doing my little run around the neighborhood, Runsketeer SIOR was running the Sleepy Hollow Half Marathon. She snagged an age group award and next month SIOR and KWL will be in Hopkinton, MA for the Boston Marathon.

Tomorrow will be colder than today and I'll decide in the morning whether to brave the outdoors or retreat to the treadmill. Either way, I'm hoping to get through my run without any tether or tying issues.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

The Runsketeers add a new member

L to R: ER, KWL, Bossy McBossy, AA
Today's run (street): 3.75 miles
Yesterday's run (treadmill): 3.4 miles
Last Sunday's run (treadmill): 3.4 miles

Spring is just around the corner, that is if you consider Sunday a corner. But you'd never know it from the weather we've had this week. The "biggest storm of the season" turned out to be about 5" of snow that transformed into 3" of heavy slush once the rain came into the mix. The town plows turned that into a thick wall of ice that took us over an hour to clear. We're getting more snow today, but it doesn't look like it's going to stick.

Yesterday I worked from home and had a great run on the treadmill. I've definitely made my peace with the machine, but I far prefer running outside. This morning I participated in the Syosset Life Time group run that is led by Runsketeer SIOR. I was looking forward to running outside for the first time since late February and excited to see my buddies. We missed TPP who had to work today, but we were joined by a great guy (AA) who fit right into our group.

The plan was to meet at Life Time Fitness at 9:00 AM, but SIOR and KWL, who are training for Boston, were finishing up their "pre-run" at SUNY OW and were running to the gym from there. AA and I arrived at 9:00 and, after we met, I told him that our run leader was on her way. That gave us about 30 minutes to chat before SIOR and KWL arrived. After quick introductions and a hydration stop for SIOR and KWL, we were off.

My Garmin had a little trouble acquiring a GPS signal but our bossypants run leader had us running through the lot and into the adjacent neighborhood before I could start recording my data. I finally began capturing distance, pace and HR after going half a mile. SIOR and AA took the lead and KWL and I followed. Even after running 14 miles earlier (they ended up doing 18 miles today), KWL and SIOR were still raring to go and I appreciated  that he hung back with me.

Today's full Life Time route
Although KWL was taking it easy, I was actually running 84% of max heart rate which resulted in a pace in the high 10:00 range. I never felt overworked but did fade a little close to the end. I managed to spring back enough to finish the last quarter mile in the 9:00 range. Once we'd all arrived at the gym, we made the decision to break tradition and have coffee at Life Time's café rather than Starbucks. It was a perfect place to cool down with plenty of space and good coffee.

Runsketeer graphic by KWL
It turned out that AA is an experienced marathoner and he has done three of the US majors (Chicago, NYC and Boston). KWL has done NYC, Berlin, London and Tokyo and will add Boston to the list in April. SIOR has done Boston, Philly, and a couple of others and is on track to meet her NYRR 9+1 to gain entry into NYC next year. I'm not in their league but I have done three halfs. I'm thinking of doing one race this year to see if I'm ready to return to competition.

One other positive today, besides getting to run and hang out with three great people, is that my plantar fasciitis seems to be abating. I ran in my Kaynos today and used the PF orthotics I bought a few weeks ago. No pain during the run and only mild soreness afterward. I'm hoping that conditions are okay for another outside run tomorrow, but if today's light snow makes for icy roads tomorrow, I'll be back on the treadmill. But as I said earlier, I'm good with that.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Stir frying and treadmill flying

Hot Hibachi on a cold day 
Today's run (treadmill): 3.6 miles
Yesterday's run (treadmill): 25 minutes

A year ago I was writing about running in 59° weather and now we are bookending two March snowstorms. Friday's nor'easter turned out to be kinda lame but it did produce a couple of inches on Long Island. This Tuesday we are due to receive another 12"-18" which just doesn't seem fair. Because winter has been acting like winter I've continued to do my runs on the treadmill.

Although Friday's storm didn't cause too much disruption, it did delay my running schedule. I ended up fitting in a mid-afternoon 25 minute run between meetings. Not much to say about that except I made the mistake of selecting the classic rock channel and enduring back to back songs by Pink Floyd and Rush. On the plus side, my plantar pain was hardly noticeable.

This morning I considered getting outside but the temperature, with wind chill, was in the teens. Running in extreme cold would be fine if I could protect my face as well as the rest of my body. Even with a balaclava I didn't think being outside was worth the sinus pain. I elected to stay indoors which turned out to be a good decision.

My run was great, probably due to taking Pseudoephedrine earlier in the morning for a slight sinus headache. I started out at a moderate pace. After realizing I could handle more, I upped my speed and did the remainder of the run at about a 9:30 pace. That may not sound very impressive, but for me these days it was pretty good performance.

One buff, many uses
Midday the Emerging Runner family met up with Runsketeer buddy KWL and his sister HC at a local Hibachi place for lunch. HC is a master seamstress and the designer-creator of my beloved bandito mask. We had a great time and it was great meeting HC who, like KWL, is awesome. I'm looking forward to our next food adventure.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Hoping for some plantar relief in the Futuro

The futuro is now
Today's run (treadmill): 3.3 miles
Yesterday's run (treadmill): 3.3 miles

Earlier this week I was complaining to anyone in my office that would listen about my foot soreness due to plantar fasciitis. I am fortunate to work in a place that has many experts on health (along with other subjects) and one of them told me she got great results from something called the Futuro Night Plantar Fasciitis Sleep Support brace. The next day she brought it in so I could use it. Some people are really nice.

The brace seems designed to hold the foot in a way that prevents you from pointing your toes when you sleep. Apparently we all do that. Pointing toes aggravates the plantar fascia. That explains why every morning my heel feels like someone hammered a nail into it overnight. Unlike my "night sock" that yanks back my toes, the Futuro brace does its thing gently. I wore the brace extensively on Thursday night and on Friday (because I worked from home) and started feeling some relief.

I was encouraged by the improvement but felt concern that I'd undo my progress if I went for a run. I decided that it was worth chancing a relapse and did a treadmill workout on Friday morning. While I did feel a few pangs of soreness at different stages in the run, I experienced no residual pain. I've continued to wear the brace while in the house and it seems to be helping.

This morning I decided that 20° weather plus wind chill are not an appealing combination. Once again, I did my running on the treadmill. My current routine is to put on a music station and set my speed to a brisk but sustainable pace. No treadmill hating these days as I've learned to appreciate the more forgiving surface compared to pavement. Plus, did I mention the 20° plus wind chill outside?

I've often said that treadmill minutes seem twice as long as regular minutes. Today the time went by quickly. Instead of watching my time or mileage, I now run by songs. Roughly three per mile. Psychologically, it's a much better approach and probably why every runner but me listens to music when they run outdoors. I'm still not doing that.

My buddies SIOR and KWL have been tuning up for the Boston Marathon in April by running NYRR races the past two weekends. This weekend they're running the Salsa, Blues and Shamrocks 5K up in Washington Heights and will be adding another 13 miles on top of that. With all those hills and a real feel temperature of 13°, it's going to be interesting. That is so beyond anything I'm prepared to do right now. I'll stick with the treadmill, a temperature controlled room and my borrowed brace.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Night socked and soda blasted

This won't hurt a bit
Today's run (treadmill): 3.5 miles
Yesterday's run (street): 1.5 miles

Before you judge me for for my abysmally low mileage this week, please know that I had plenty of excuses why that was the case. And by plenty, I mean two. First was my work schedule that required me to come into the office on Friday. I normally work from home on Fridays, but I had my buddy KWL come for a visit. It was great having him at the office, but I didn't get a chance to do my usual Friday run.

Plantar fasciitis is the other excuse for my five mile week. Despite my purchase of a compression sleeve and plantar orthotics, the pain in my heel hasn't gone away. This discourages longer runs because I'm concerned that I'm doing damage with every step. I don't know if that's true. Even though the Internet has plenty to say about the condition, I've found very little useful information about it.

Saturday morning I followed my usual routine of waking up and limping downstairs to make coffee. The limping hasn't always been usual, but this has been my experience over the past month or so. After I took a few hundred steps, the pain reduced from pointedly sharp to mildly uncomfortable. I started thinking about my morning run and considered driving over to the track where the surface is more forgiving. Then I remembered that I had my six month dental checkup in a couple of hours and went back to drinking coffee.

My dentist recently left the office that we've been using for the last 15 years but we've followed her to her new practice. I met her hygienist who turned out to be one of those judgy types who assume that no one flosses or brushes correctly. There aren't too many things I do well, but one of them is take good care of my teeth. I enjoyed listening to her compliment my excellent "home care" and prepared for an easy cleaning. I wasn't prepared for her.

My foot issue had made me a little grouchy and my annoyance increased when this woman started aggressively going through her routine. I thought about how running has made me patient about situations like this, where you have no choice but to ride out the discomfort. Then things got a little weird. The hygienist used what I can only describe as a miniature sand blaster to power wash the inside of my mouth using baking soda. Ouch and yuck. My tongue felt like it was being hit with shotgun pellets. I was really hating this woman by the time I heard the machine winding down to a stop.

I left the office feeling sorer than when I'd limped in. I headed over to a nearby CVS to buy their equivalent of a Strassburg Sock. The sock pulls back your foot and stretches out the plantar fascia. This is supposed to relieve the pain caused by tightened and inflamed tissue. I put it on when I got home. It was hard to tell if it helped, but I kept it on for about an hour.

Socks of the night: (left, CVS, right, the Strassburg Sock) 
Later in the day I decided I was ready to try a neighborhood run. The outside temperature was in the mid 50's and overcast. Pretty good running conditions. I geared up and headed outside, not sure how I'd feel once I got going. The answer was not very good. My plantar pain was influencing the way my foot was landing and my stride felt awkward. My legs were heavy and my energy level was low. I did my best to put the discomfort out of my head, but I eventually reached the point where I felt I was doing more harm than good.

I decided to cut the run short and hobbled home, discouraged by my poor performance and feeling concern that this pain would prevent me from running for a while. I figured I'd take it a day at a time and hoped for the best the next day.

This morning brought improvement, possibly due to sleeping with my stretchy thing. My energy level was better and I again debated running at the high school track. We had plans to get out mid morning so I elected to use the treadmill and see how it felt. I thought that running with a decline might take some pressure off my heel but that actually made it worse. I switched to a 2% incline and noticed that my landing shifted me closer to mid-foot. After ten minutes, the pain was barely noticeable.

Less pain is not the same as no pain so I kept it fairly short to minimize possible damage. I was happy with my stride and glad I could bounce back from the really bad run I had the day before. I ended up running only five miles this weekend. All things considered, I did what I could.
 

blogger templates | Webtalks