Friday, September 29, 2017

Breaking3ProjectPhilly - CANCELLED - Rehab So Far

Hello fellow Runners,

I haven't posted here for a few (non-running) life got really busy and I've been hurt.  Haven't really had much to say regarding running, except that I've been injured and not getting better.


Rehab Update -

So, yeah - my big plans for a Fall marathon under 3:00 has gone up in smoke, thanks to a bad glute med that has refused to heal.  I feel like I'm finally making progress though....but it's been a meandering road to get there.  Below are more details than anybody would probably want, but maybe it will help another runner who is injured....

  • August 20 - I stupidly race the Leesburg 20k, and my right glute med which is already not 100%, completely gives up and I have to walk 5 miles back to the start.   Since then, can't run more than 2-3 miles before it starts hurting.
  • August 22 - Sept 6 - I go to a local (non-running specific) sports PT who performs ART and Dry Needling for a few sessions.
    • After each session I'm told "go for a run and see if it's better".  It never was.
  • I get depressed and don't do anything for a week, thinking that will cure it.  It didn't.
  • All the extra strength work I was doing didn't help.
 Fast Track Physical Therapy and Sport Performance to the rescue
  • Over a month after I got injured I had my first appointment with "Fast Track Physical Therapy and Sports Performance, LLC".  They are an endurance athlete specialist - (runner, cyclists, swimmer, tri-athletes.)
  • I held off going to them because it's a long drive from my house (close to DC), and they are expensive.  However, in the two sessions I've had so far, I've learned more about my running than I have in the past 2 years.
  • First visit (Sept 25) - Full evaluation of my injury and my flexibility with exercises and gauges and various geometry tools employed.  Found out....
    • I have very bad flexibility in my calves (dorsiflexion), and hamstring, and TFL.
    • Strength is okay, but flexibility in my ankles is probably why I've gotten calf strains and to a lesser extent Achilles pain in the past.
    • Confirmation - glute med is the culprit.   
    • Various weaknesses identified.
    • I'm given specific strength work and flexibility work to do twice daily.
    • I do them....religiously.
  • Second visit (Sept 28) - running evaluation.
    • I bring in two pair of running shoes and I'm videotaped running indoor on a treadmill and outside in the parking log.  I'm sure when I see the video I will look just like Kipchoge, or maybe Mo Farah.  Either would be fine.  Nope.  Here's the full list of my flaws:
      • My hips drop more than ideal from side to side - putting pressure on my...glute med!
      • My pelvis is tilted forward (kind of semi-squat position) - so I can't use my glutes major when running.  Probably because of tight TFL and weak lower abs.
      •  I over-stride: typical over-stride, not a lot - but a little too far out in front of my body - good for that wonderful "braking" effect it creates.
        • Interesting side note - when wearing Kinvara's I slightly heel landed.
        • When wearing Nike Streak 6 more of a mid-foot, flat foot landing...
      • I over pronate - due to my tight calves I can't "dorsiflex" enough so I compensate by over pronating (I have pretty high arches, so I was sure I wasn't doing this).
      • My arm swing is high and tight and across my body.  Not the best pattern.  Lower and more forward and back is better.
    • Besides that, all is good! (I did have a 180 cadence, so yay for that).
    • I was given a lower ab strength exercise and a different glute med exercise to add to what was prescribed on my first visit.
    •   Instructions: DO all your exercises, DON'T run for two weeks.  Bike or swim only.
    • Next week, the work starts to fix my ailing butt and the long list of "form" errors.  I'll be doing drills at their location (so they can correct me) and they'll be working on my glute med to it back in order.
I'm glad I'm finally figuring this stuff out.  Maybe I can stop getting hurt once I get above 50 mpw.  I'm also frustrated because by the time I start running again it will be about 7 weeks off.  That means roughly 14 weeks to get back to where I was.  I've already written off Fall racing, but I also just miss running.  Hopeful that maybe after I go thru all this I'll end up a healthier / faster runner.

I don't know how much running form can be "fixed".  But I sure as hell am going to try!  I'm also realizing I'm not as strong I think I am.  I've been doing some exercises incorrectly, and not targeting lower abs / glute med as much as I thought.....


Saturday, August 26, 2017

Breaking3ProjectPhilly - Week 6 (Rehab)

Hello Runners. week.  After the DNF in last Sunday's Leesburg 20k I've spent most of this week doing rehab / strength / stretches for the medial glute.  (For the record, I ran 6 miles at 6:35 200 ft. uphill...and aerobically I felt I have (had) some fitness).   At 6 miles, the right medial glute just suddenly hurt like the dickens, and that was it. running this week.....

I've taken this opportunity to do some extra strength / stretching other running muscles (hamstring, main glute, calves, etc.).

Monday / Tuesday - heat; cold, strength work being careful not to over do it on the medial glute.  Find the right amount of effort to rehab, but not hurt it more.  Pressure point work (baseball on the spots that hurt), and lotsa foam rolling twice daily.

Wednesday - heavier strength work.  Found a good stretch band exercise to target the medial glute.  30 minutes on stupid stationary bike.

Thursday / Friday - 3 mi "speed walk".  All of problem with hip / butt during the walks that are about 15 minute pace.

Saturday - 3 mile "test run".  Jog / walk as needed.  First mile was good, around 8:30 pace.  Then, resorted to walk / jog the last 2 miles.  No sharp pain, but definitely still "there".  About where I was before I stupidly ran the Leesburg 20k on Sunday.  I "could" have run 4-5 miles today or more without any sharp pain, BUT that would be stupid and I'd be taking myself backward with the injury.

So...that's my sad update this week....

It's just running, and only a small part of my life. sucks!

Hope all you are doing well....and are on target for your Fall races!

Monday, August 21, 2017

Breaking3ProjectPhilly - Week 5 (Yeah...I'm An Idiot)

Hello Readers.

Going into this week my right "Gluteus Medius" still hurt, but not bad.  I moved last weekend's normal Saturday LR back a day to Sunday.  So, I adjusted this week's workout back a day too, to give enough recovery.

My regimen for keeping the "glute" in check is foam rolling and using a baseball to "hit the spot" every day, Aleve, and "Badger Sore Muscle Rub" which puts some heat on it.  I really feel like an "Old mand with this Gen Gay" using this stuff, but it actually works (for a few hours at least).  I don't like relying on Aleve or the rub, but hopefully I don't need it too long.

Tuesday Workout - "9 with 4 @ tempo" actually went pretty well, considering hip issues mentioned above.  The tempo miles were 6:43 (uphill), 6:27/6:19/6:21 (last down slight down hill).  Funny, my hip hurt LESS when running faster.  Also noted that if I work on my form and really try to stand tall, it hurts less...

Wednesday - Friday: No running to let my hip "calm down", not overdo it.

Saturday's easy run felt pretty good, so.....

I raced the Leesburg 20k on Sunday.  Doing pretty well thru 5 miles at around 6:30 pace, and then just after mile 6 SHARP pain in my hip and I have to STOP and stand for a few minutes, when walk all the way back to the start/finish.  Really sucked since I had to watch all the folks behind me pass by....over an hour of walking....

So, yeah - I'm an idiot.  Shoulda' known not to try and race when I'm not 100%.  So, now I'm back to square one.  I plan not to run next week.  The week after that is a cross country road trip to drop my Son off at I will probably not run that week either.

Hopefully two weeks off with daily work to strengthen the "Gluteus Medius" will do it.

Writing this on Monday...because really I was too depressed to do it yesterday. 


Weekly Mileage: 23
Long Run:  N/A
Weight:  ?

Every run: Leg swings / Lunge matrix before and foam rolling / dynamic stretching after.
  • Monday:  2 miles easy.
  •  Tuesday: 9 mi with 4 @ tempo.  Pace consistent with prior tempo run.  Avg. 6:28 pace...about right.  Hip holding up, but not 100%.  Strength work.  Extra rolling, digging, on hip.  Goblet squats with KB / pull ups / dumb bell bench press. 
  • Wednesday:OFF
  • Thursday:OFF
  • Friday: OFF
  • Saturday: 5.5  + strides. 
  • Sunday: Leesburg 20k (well 6 miles of 5 mile walk)


Sunday, August 13, 2017

Breaking3ProjectPhilly - Week 4 (Pain In The Ass)

Hello Readers.

Update:  World Championships:
  • Jenny Simpson taking home Silver in the 1500 with a blazing finish.  Great race!
  • US Can Steeple or What?!
    • Evan Jager - Bronze.
    • Emma GOLD / Courtney Frerichs SILVER!  US goes 1-2.  Biggest surprise, and best finishing celebration of the meet!  Worth finding the video online if you haven't seen this one. has it.
So, this weeks' injury is literally a Pain In The Ass.  Officially diagnosed by the PT as "Right Gluteus Medius".  I started feeling it after Tuesday's MLR that was faster than planned, I feel it more on side and above to the rear of the "hip joint" (That's as technical as you're going to get).  Went to PT Thursday and Saturday.  Cut down Thursday's run, took Saturday off - moving LR to Sunday.  LR cut down a few miles.  Hoping I can keep it "under control" by cutting down the mileage some and get back to full strength next week.

I looked up all the recommended strength work and stretches for the Gluteus Medius and I'm already doing all of them.  Only thing I did read is to focus on the eccentric portion of the exercise, which I don't do - noted.  So, I guess it's a combination of getting older and over-doing it; building up the mileage too fast and at pace this is too fast.  Maybe someday I'll learn.  Maybe not.  Frustrating, self-inflicted injury.

Side Note:  Marathon fueling - while I was watching the WC Women's marathon the commentator (Josh Cox), noted that in training you need to practice fueling "at race pace".  In my last marathon build-up, I did practice fueling, but at a slower than race pace and had "problems" during the race - noted.


Weekly Mileage: 55
Long Run:  N/A
Weight:  ?

Every run: Leg swings / Lunge matrix before and foam rolling / dynamic stretching after.
  • Monday: GA 9.1 @ 8:00 pace.  Feeling okay.  Core work.
  •  Tuesday: MLR 13.5  @ 7:17 pace....a little too fast.  Running with a friend and talking the whole time, so maybe not?  But, yeah...probably too fast.  Strength work -  KG swings / pull ups / dumb bell bench press / single leg squats. 
  • Wednesday: 5 Easy @ 8:30 pace.  Yesterday took more out of me than I realized.  Lesson learned.  ITB rehab work.  Extra hip mobility stuff.  "Right butt / hip" not right.  Damn it!
  • Thursday: MLR 11.  GA 9.  Hip not right, cut back from planned 11 miles.  Core work.  Hip mobility / myrtle.  PT - worked on right hip.
  • Friday: 5.2 Easy.  Hip works.  Probably should have taken today off.  Only a recovery run anyway.
  • Saturday: OFF.  PT.  Work on Right Gluteus Medius.  Found the spot...and it hurt like the dickens while he worked on it. 
  • Sunday: 13 MLR.  Cut down from planned 17 miles.  Hip doing better.  I was ready to shut it down as soon as it got beyond a slight annoyance.  Never did.  Strength work - except skipping single leg dead lifts and squats in case if aggravates the injury.  Hip strength / myrtle.  Couldn't really "feel" the injury during the exercises - either it's not that bad or I'm not doing it right, or both.


Sunday, August 6, 2017

Breaking3ProjectPhilly - Week 3 (AMY CRAGG + Recovering)

Hello Runners.

Update:  World Championships:
  • amy cragg. Amy Cragg. AMY CRAGG.  AMY CRAGG!! Taking down the WC Marathon bronze metal, with a huge push, and big finishing kick.  Motivation.  I actually got up from the couch and stood in front of the TV, yelling "Go Amy" for the last 800m.  My wife was slightly amused, but not really.
  • Mo Farah - ANOTHER Gold metal.  Guy is insane.  My wife not amused at all as I prance around the living room doing the Mobot.
Injury - Recovering:

My "rehab" process goes something like this; 1) Go to physio; 2) Go for a run; 3) Report back to physio how I'm doing - improvement / pain in new spot / hurts more / etc.  4) Modify treatment; 5) Rinse and repeat.

Details of the rehab: 

Last week - Wednesday:  ART, STEM.  Thursday - dry needling / STEM.  Saturday same as Wednesday.

Monday rehab was like Saturday - EXCEPT on Monday I also got "traction" (hanging upside down) and work on my lower back and hamstring (all on left side).  This is after I noticed that when he "pushes down on the left side of  my lower back to stretch is out some my Achilles "tightens".  So, maybe tightness in lower back is doing something?  Dunno - but he worked on that too.  ("Hip bones connected to the....thigh bone....").

I'm making progress.  After not really being able to run on it at all Thursday - Monday (1/2 mile efforts to determine that "Yes, I can't run on this), I was able to run 5 miles easy on the TM Tuesday morning.  Yay!  Calf still hurts, but the pain is dull and not enough that it changes my "gait" (I don't think) or that I want to stop running. So...progress!

Wednesday I increased my run to 7 miles, and had another treatment like Monday.  Wednesday also included a new "treat" - working on my ITB.  Shit, that hurt!  But, I think it helped.

Thursday - Saturday; feeling back to normal.  Thursday did a pretty good tempo workout, and 15 mile long run on Saturday with 5 miles at MP (although I have to re-learn what MP feels like).

Guess who's back, back again
Shady's back, tell a friend    
~ Slim Shady

Not being able to run for a few days gave me a new appreciation for my health.  Re-focused on injury prevention.....

Side Note:  I forgot my watch Friday morning, so I ran my "6 miles easy" by following a known route, and just "going for a run".  Quite "freeing" actually.  Might try it again on future easy runs.


Weekly Mileage: 43
Long Run: 15
Weight:  ?

Every run: Leg swings / Lunge matrix before and foam rolling / dynamic stretching after.
  • Monday:  NOPE.  Can't run.
  •  Tuesday: 5 mi easy on TM - around 8:10 pace.  Calf is dull ache, but much better.  Kettlebell swings / pull ups / dumb bell bench press.
  • Wednesday: 7-8 mi GA.  Physio.
  • Thursday: 9 miles with 4 @ tempo (6:23 / 6:16 / 6:27 / 6:18).  Pretty fast tempo pace for me, probably due to having so many days off (slight taper effect?).  Core work.
  • Friday: 6 mi. easy. No watch.
  • Saturday: LR - 15 w / 5 @ MP (6:31 / 6:58 / 6:38 / 6:53 / 6:40).   Goal MP is 6:50 - so I have some work to do on MP feel.  Strength / ITB work.  Heat got to me, feeling pretty beat the rest of the day.  Physio visit, probably last one (for a while).
  • Sunday: Walk recovery.  2 miles.


Sunday, July 30, 2017

Breaking3Project Philly - Week 2 (And Already Injured...F*@k)

Hello Runners.

Week 2 of my 18 week plan following Pfitz "Advanced Marathoning" which maxes out at 70 mpw.

Last week started off with an LT run.  This week I don't have any "faster paced" runs, but do have a 12 miler mid week and 16 mile LR with 8 @ MP on Saturday. 

I came into the week feeling pretty much recovered from last Saturday's LR, and ready to roll.  The temps are still pretty high, so I have to remind myself to keep the paces on the higher end of the least not at the fastest end (like I did last week).  And then.....I got hurt.

So....I'm only on week 2, and ALREADY hurt.  Damn it!  Now I'm second guessing if I was ready for the Pfitz 70 mpw plan.....but this is probably more frustration talking than anything else.  I've done this mileage before...

 Injury Details Blow by Blow

At the end of Tuesday's MLR, my left calf started to hurt some - in a new spot from prior "hurts", not bad, but also NOT right.  (Last Fall the came calf had a strain high on the outside - this is more in the "belly" of the calf muscle where the larger part of the muscle tapers down to the smaller part).

Then, about 3 miles into my easy run on Wednesday it started to hurt again.

Last Fall I waited WAY too long to have it worked on, and it took quite a while to get it resolved.  This time, I'm heading in right away to see if I can "Nip in the bud" (as Barney Fife would say.)  So, went to see physio Wednesday afternoon, he grinded away on it (ART), and did some STEM.  Calf felt better (which is usually the case after a treatment), but I'm thinking that's as much psychological as physiological...

Thursday, I went for the planned 9 mi GA run.  About 1.5 miles in calf started hurting again, kind or worse, and a "sharper" pain.  Feels like in the main "belly" of the muscle.  I walked back to the car, and scheduled another appointment Thursday afternoon with the physio and got some "dry needling" done.

Dry needling did the trick last Fall, so I'm hoping this will give me some relief.  If you've never had dry needling, you're missing a "treat".  Using acupuncture needles, the therapist tries to find the spot that is hurting and jabs needles right into it.  This is supposed to "break up / relieve" the inflammation / impingement, etc.  I know when he hits the right spot, because it hurts.  If he hits a spot that is not injured, it doesn't hurt.  Well....he hit a couple "good" spots.  (It actually looks worse than it feels).  Then, some STEM, cold pack, and go home.

Saturday treatment like Wednesday....ART, STEM, cold pack.  Doc says "try running on it tomorrow to see if / how we're progressing".

Sunday - I "try" to run.  Still hurts.  I do about 1/2 mile of jogging / walking and call it a day.  Damn it!

The physio I go to is interesting - he told me last year he NEVER tells runners to NOT run.  His experience is, once he says this to runners he never sees them again.  So, I can't really ask him "should I run".  I think he's good at what he does, but he's not a "runner specialist".  Last time, when I was hurt I tried to run through it, and I'm sure that prolonged the injury.  So, this time I forcing myself to NOT run Friday thru Sunday.  Don't care if it "feels pretty good" while I'm laying on the couch, I'm still NOT running.  The way I can enforce this rule is to tell my wife "I'm not running this weekend cause my calf hurts" - this way I KNOW I'll get "the look" as soon as I put my running shoes on.  "The look" is enough to keep me from heading out.

I have some comfort from Pfitz regarding missing a few workouts - to paraphrase his Advanced Marathoner book "If you miss 2 1/2 weeks and you have 14 weeks to the race, it's no big deal".  By taking Friday - Sunday off, I'm "only" missing one workout, which was scheduled for Saturday.  That workout is a biggie - "16 w / 8 @ MP".  But, better to skip that and get back to pain free running sooner....

Hopefully I can get back to running this week.  But, right now it ain't looking good....

I'm TRYING to stay positive and NOT be a total ass to those around me - you runners know what I mean.  My wife has already put me on "attitude warning".  She is great about my running, when I'm not running is when I'm harder to live with. (and even then, she is great).

Spent too much time Sunday obsessively reading about how much conditioning runners lose from long periods off due to injury.  Doesn't really matter, because if I can't run pain-free, I can't run....nothing I can do about it except "aggressively" try to solve it.  It will heal when it does.  This is one of those times when being an older runner is a real disadvantage...we just heal slower.

Weekly Mileage: 23
Long Run: N/A
Weight:  ?

Every run: Leg swings / Lunge matrix before and foam rolling / dynamic stretching after.
  • Monday:  GA - 8.2 mi. with 7 x 100m strides (I was supposed to do 10 strides, but just got kinda tired and cut them short).  Found a new route, nice.  Pace = 8:05.  Feeling "recovered" from last Saturday's LR.
  •  Tuesday: MLR 12 miles on WOD.  Avg pace = 7:32.  Still a little too fast, I think...but felt okay.  Temps are better this morning.  Strength work including kettle bell swings and leg curls emphasizing the eccentric phase...maybe I can "fix" hamstring cramps late in a marathon?  Left calf started to hurt toward the end of the run....
  • Wednesday: Recovery - 5 mi EASY.  8:23 pace.  Left calf started to hurt again about 3 miles in.   Got in to see the PT grinding on it and then STEM.
  • Thursday: GA - 9 mi.  Calf started hurting around 1.5 miles in.  Stopped immediately and walked back.  PT - dry needling.
  • Friday: Recovery - OFF.  Resting leg. 
  • Saturday: LR - 16 w / 8 @ MP.   Strength / ITB work.  Heat got to me, feeling pretty beat the rest of the day.  Physio visit.  ART / STEM.
  • Sunday: Recovery walk.  Light core work.  Foam rolling and stretching.

Stay tuned...comments welcome.

Monday, July 24, 2017

2017 Half Year Review

Wassup Runners?!

Well, 2017 is a little over half gone.  I tend to be very much "in the moment" with my running and lose perspective on the gradual progress that happens as the weeks pile up.  So, it's good for me to every so often look back at a decent stretch of time and see if / how my running has improved (or not), what I've right and wrong, and generally "take stock" of where I am. 

Now is a good time to do this, since the Spring / early Summer races are over, and I'm starting my Fall marathon build up.

Highlights So Far This Year:
  • Injury Free
    • My main goal this year, and every year, is to avoid injury.
    • I figure if I can avoid injury, I'm better off overall with every aspect of running.
    • I've learned / been able to notice when little niggles start and back off / strength train to avoid it becoming an issue that keeps me from running.
  • Consistency
    • I've run very close to my planned mileage every week this year.
    • Only weeks off were after a marathon, when I should be off....
  • Fun
    • Yep.  Still having fun.
  • Learning to "Feel" pace
    • What is "Easy" pace?  Well, I've learned (for the most part) to let how I feel dictate my easy pace.  I've had a tendency to call 8:00/mile "easy" pace.  Easy has no pace. 
    • What do the various race paces feel like?  Can I go faster?  Am I gonna blow up?
      • Getting better at feeling where I am with my effort.  Very much still work in progress, but I am making gains....
  • I don't know (yet) how to pace and fuel for a marathon.
    • Pretty big crash and burn in my first marathon attempt....
    • BIG TO DO:  Figure this shit out.  I have some direction, now I gotta find what works for me and NOT be an idiot on race day.
 Each of the above things, I think, help with getting fitter and faster, and improve race times.  And, I think I did get fitter the first half of the year.  I also learned a little more about my limits....
I've run a number of new (for me) race distances this year.  I like the challenge of figuring out how to run these various distances. Below is a summary of my 2017 races so far this year:

  • RNR DC Marathon (March)
    • First marathon
    • COMPLETE crash and burn after 23 miles - walking the last two miles @ 15:00 /mile
    • Was on pace for about 3:02 time, and cramped up, crashed, disoriented, and the whole bit during mile 24.
    • What did I learn?  
      • Marathons are nothing to mess with.
      • My pacing was stupid
      • My fueling didn't work
    • Next Step:  Don't forget what happened.  Find solutions.  Try it again.
  • GW Parkway 10 Miler (April)
    • First 10 mile race
    • Executed well.  Finished about 1 minute faster than McMillan predictor based on last HM
    • What did I learn?
      • I can push harder when I'm competing directly against other folks, much better than "time trialing" at a "set pace".
      • What it feels like to be "just below" the red line, and stay there.
    • Next steps:  Remember "that" feeling, the feeling when a race goes well and I exceed my expectations
  •  Apple Blossom 10k (May)
    • Got sick the week of the race, still sick when I did race.
    • The course was tough (lotsa hills / some pretty steep)
    • I got down on myself for not meeting my expectations - took me a few days to get over it.
    • I PR'd by 13 seconds 
    • What did I learn?
      • I need to adjust my expectations based on circumstances (like being sick / slow course)
      • A friend reminded me with this quote "Hey Dumbass, you were sick, the course is notoriously slow and you PR'd" (Dumbass added by me).  Words to live by.
  • Twilight 4 Miler (June - PM race)
    • First 4 miler - first time EVER running after 12 noon.
    • 7:30 PM race...and I didn't die.  Actually had some fun.  Nice experience.
  • Firecracker 5k (July)
    • 5k PR is 18:41 set on this course in perfect March weather last year.
    • Last July 4, finished in 19:15.
    • This year on July 4, finished in 18:50.  I'm calling it progress.
 Bottom Line:  My consistency and higher weekly mileage this Spring has resulted in some good race times and improved fitness.  (I need to read this line back to myself once every few weeks)

Next up:  Philly marathon on November 19 with a few races along the way.