Monday, January 15, 2018

2017 Review / 2018 Plans

Hello Runners.

2017 Running Goals Review.  2018 Plans.

As a lot us do at year-end, I like to evaluate "how last year went" and make goals for the new year.  So, here we go:

2017 Evaluation:

  • 2017 Goals were: Stay Injury Free/ Have Fun / Consistency / Complete first marathon / PB in 5k and Half.
    • I only accomplished one of those goals:  Complete first marathon.
      • Ran the RNR DC marathon in March.
      • Hit the wall - hard - at mile 23.  But I did finish. So, accomplished - but not well.
    • All other goals not accomplished.
      • I did have two pretty good races in the Spring of 2017
      • Ran my first road mile race a few seconds faster than McMillan would have predicted based on my 5k PR
      • Ran my first 10 mile race about a minute faster than McMillan calculates based on my HM PR.
  • So...what happened in 2017?
    • my last post mentioned, I got hurt - pretty badly - in August/September and that ended my year. 
    • Why did I get hurt?
      • I ignored the initial "something's not right" warning signs - because I had pretty much the whole year "planned out" and was not willing to cut back.
      • I had months of running daily workouts plans, weekly volume totals planned out.
      • I was unwilling to adjust my plans "just because" I felt over-trained, burnt out, and had constant nagging small injuries.
    • My internal 2017 goals are "results oriented"  - race performance numbers.  They are NOT process oriented.
    • So - even though two of my goals were to "not get hurt", and "have fun" the race performance goals were more important to me.
      • I was unwilling to adjust my weekly running plans because I thought it would affect my race time goals that "I envisioned" I could make.
    • So - going forward I NEED to change my mindset to be oriented to daily goals and NOT specific race time performance.
    • Process NOT Outcome.  Last year I fixated on an outcome goal like "Marathon under 3:00", and not let it go - even when I knew I should.
2018 Goals 

  • ONE day at a time - now I sound like an NFL quarterback, or a MLB coach.
    • But really - my goal is to evaluate how I feel today.  How did today go?  Should I adjust tomorrow's run  based on how felt today?
  • EVERY DAY make sure I am doing what is best for my running and health.  Honest evaluation.
  • For this to work for me - means I will NOT make a running schedule more than a week or two out.  
    • This will be VERY difficult for me.  
    • I make plans a LONG way out for most things in my life.  It's just the way I am.
    • Obviously a coach would help.  I'm just ready to take that step (and expense).  Although that might cost less than 3-months of PT!
  • The only race on my calendar is the 2018 Philly Marathon in November.  
    • I had signed up for the 2017 race, but got hurt.  
    • The race organizers were nice enough to allow me to apply my registration fee to the 2018 race.  I have NO time goal.
  • I HOPE I will be able to complete other races throughout the year.
    • I HOPE I will be able to go into each race WITHOUT a "planned" finish time.  Just go race and the outcome is what it is (back to that "one day at a time" thing).
  •  I will TRY to not compare myself to others or my prior self.
    • At this point I don't know what I'm capable of this year.
    • I have to get 100% healthy first.  I don't know what this year will bring.  And, I have to be okay with that.
"Hope" and "Try" are not the usual black and white goals I make for myself.  But, that is where I'm at.  This year will definitely be evolving as I get back to full strength and implement the things I've learned from the injury last year.  "One day at a time", that's the motto.


Sunday, January 7, 2018

Starting The Rebuilding Process

Hello Runners.

So...quick long catch up, haven't posted here in quite a while.

  • In October I started getting proper (running expert PT) treatment for:
    • Iliopsoas tendon tear (attachment to thigh bone)
    • Psoas strain (2" - 3" below belt)
    • "Sports hernia" (which is actually pretty tough to define) 
    • All on the left side.
  • Treatments
    • PRP and prolotherapy injections on the tendon
    • Prolotherapy injection on psoas and hernia areas
  • On-going rehab
    • Crap load of daily stretching
      • PT evaluation showed that I'm super stiff and inflexible
    • Butt load of hip and core work every other day.
      • Turns out I've haven't been the best at keeping good form for my strength work
      • Doing it correctly now - I was actually really weak.
  • I'm getting a lot stronger, have more flexibility, and feeling better - but definitely "not out of the woods".
    • This week I've been able to run every other day.
    • My "runs" have been intervals of  "2' easy with :30 walk breaks".
    • Slowly increasing the repeats - today I got up to 12, which is about 3 miles of running.
  • Warning for all you kids out there:
    • I should have seen this coming.
    • I ignored smaller aches and pains earlier in 2017
    • I adjusted (somewhat) my running gait to avoid "where it hurts"
    • If I would have taken the warning signs seriously, I probably could have avoided most of the injuries.
Running Form Evaluation (Video Analysis):
  •  My running form was NOT good.
    • I "assumed" that since my racing times are decent I must be doing something right.
    • I "imagined" my form is good and that I'm doing my strength work correctly.
      • I over-stride
      • I lean forward from the waist
      • I don't/can't use my glutes when I run (because I lean forward at the waist, they can't engage)
      • I hold my arms high and swing them "across" my body.
  •  So - as I've started back to running I'm focusing on:
    • Engaging my core and keeping my hips "forward" - straight line from ankles to head.
      • I now know what this feels like, thanks to continued evaluation from PT.
    • Arms low and swing from hips.
    • Chest out / shoulders back / head over my shoulders
    • Land foot more "under" my body.
    • Extend my my leg back at "push off" using my glutes.
      • This is only possible now that I've increased my hip flexibility
  • My main focus going forward is to keep good running form.
    • It's actually not very hard to do now, since I'm only doing easy runs while I heal.
    • I'm sure it will be harder to do when my runs get longer and/or faster.
While hurt I've gone thru some depression and listlessness - just don't feel myself having to sit around.

Feel like I've finally made a turn for the better.  Cautious optimism.


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.