Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The curse of 80 strikes again

Last week, I mentioned that there seemed to be some sort of curse placed on me to prevent me from reaching 80 miles in a week. I don't know how this came about, because last year at this time I was cranking out 80, 90 and even 100 mile weeks like they were going out of style. Now, I can't seem to get to 80 for the life of me. A couple of weeks ago I came close, 78, and then last week I woulda gotten there if not for the stomach flu, which robbed me of 10 miles and left me with 71. This past week, it was a new, even more sinister culprit: injury.

I also mentioned in my last post that I was going to be playing in a 3 on 3 basketball league with some guys from work. Well, our first two games were last Tuesday night (we went 1-1 if anyone cares). During the second game, I jumped up for a rebound and came down on somebody's foot, which caused my left ankle to roll and dropped me like a ton of bricks. I knew right away that it wasn't a "get up and walk it off" type of injury (although that's what I briefly tried to do). It hurt like hell at first, subsided a bit, but generally throbbed all night. And it swelled like water balloon. So, it was immediately apparent that I wasn't going to get all of my runs in that week. I took the next two days off, during which time the ankle swelled some more and then started bruising all the way from my ankle down to my toes. It wasn't a pretty sight, but by Friday it actually didn't feel too bad and I could walk normally again. So, of course, I went running. And I was surprised to make it through 7 miles with no problems (although it was still swollen, which felt kind of odd running on....like I was running in a snow boot). And, oddly enough, after I ran the swelling actually went down substantially and it didn't get sore at all. So, of course, I ran some more. 10 miles on Saturday and still no problems. I thought I was in the clear.

But then on Sunday morning, I headed out for an easy 6 miles and about 1/2 mile in, my foot suddenly got really tight. Not painful, just tight and it felt like my toes were being involuntarily pulled up and my foot just would not relax, kind of like a painless cramp. This of course threw my stride off, so I started walking. After a short walk, it subsided and I started running again only to have it happen again a short time later. So, I headed home after only 1.25 miles. Monday morning, I tried again and had the same thing happen, but I discovered I could run through it if I slowed wwwwaaaayyyyy down. I finished the slowest 6 miles I've run since my first post-Lean Horse runs back in August. So, great, I managed to grind my way through 6 miles with a tight foot and hobbling gait. What exactly did that gain me? Ultimately, I decided it wasn't worth continuing like that, so I finally gave in and went to the doctor this morning. He actually gave me good news in that it's definitely just a sprain, not a break disguised as a sprain. And, he said it was okay to run as long as I took it easy (I think our definitions of "take it easy" probably differ significantly, but I didn't tell him that). So, I've got an ankle brace to wear now, which I'm hoping will provide some stability and keep that whole foot tightening thing from happening again. I'm not running today, but will probably give it a shot again tomorrow. And, in case you're wondering, I am planning on trying basketball again tonight, but I'll probably just be taking up space rather than running and jumping like a crazy idiot (like normal). Hey, the doc never said anything about basketball...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Still alive

Yeah, I'm still alive and kicking, in case you were wondering. I've just been really lazy about blogging. Maybe I should have made a resolution about that....

In any case, running is going reasonably well right now, although the number 80 seems to be cursed for me. My goal is to hit 80 miles per week unless it's a cutback week, but that number has proven to be elusive. The week before last, I got to 78, which is tantalizingly close and then last week I was on pace for 81, but then got sick on Thursday and missed out on 10 miles to finish with 71. So, the quest for 80 begins again this week (so far, so good).

I'm going to try and get back in the habit of recording my weekly runs on here, so here's how last week shook out:

Sunday - 8 miles. I had hoped to get 10, but about 4 miles in I was experiencing some significant soreness in my left hip, which I had also felt the day before on my long run. So, I turned around and headed in early, hoping to spare my hip any more damage.

Monday - 10 miles. This was a progression run. Started at about 8:30 pace the first mile and gradually took it down to 6:39 pace for the 8th mile and then ran 2 miles easy as a cooldown. The hip felt fine.

Tuesday - 10 miles. Just an easy 10, nothing spectacular.

Wednesday - 14 miles. As is typical of an early morning medium-long run, the first 7 or 8 miles felt pretty sluggish and then my body finally woke up and the last few miles ended up being the best.

Thursday - 2 miles. I woke up and immediately knew that something just didn't feel right. I didn't feel sick exactly, but my stomach felt....odd. I figured the only way to find out if I was indeed sick was to go running, so I did. The intention was to run 12 miles, but by the time I reached the half mile point I was pretty sure that wasn't going to happen and by the time I reached the one mile point I was wishing I had turned around and headed for home after a half mile. When I did get home after 2 very slow, miserable miles, I climbed back into bed and slept for 5 more hours. When I finally woke up, I had no idea if I'd actually run that morning or if it had just been a dream. But, my trusty old Garmin confirmed that I had indeed gone running, plus the fact that I still had my running shorts and socks on.

Friday - 8 miles. I still didn't feel all that spectacular, but again I decided the only way to find out how sick I was was to go running. This one went much better obviously.

Saturday - 18 miles. I headed out on a long loop that features a long, gradual uphill for the first 4 miles, a sharp downhill, some flat running and then a bunch of small uphills before a final downhill. In other words, it's a fairly hilly loop. My goal was to run close to an even split, knowing that I would have to push it a little toward the end to accomplish that thanks to the late uphills. I ended up feeling really good and managed a 20 second negative split, which is the first time I've ever done that on that loop (although I think I've only run it 3 times and this was the first time the wind wasn't a significant factor).

Total - 71 miles

In other news, I'm officially registered and my entry has been confirmed for the Bighorn Mountain Trail 50 mile in June. I ran the 50K at Bighorn last year as a training run for the Lean Horse 50 mile and had a blast. This year, I'm using the 50 mile as a training run for my ultimate goal of finishing the Lean Horse 100 in August.

Also, the 3 on 3 basketball league at the Spearfish Rec Center starts this evening. I'm on a team with some guys from work. We might suck, we might be decent. Hard to say. Depends on how many of the other teams are loaded with ex-Black Hills St. players. Either way, should make for some good cross training.