Saturday, November 28, 2009

I stress-fractured my foot.

So, I apparently stress-fractured my foot, likely due to the pounding on pure roads for all but the very first and last tiny bit at helen klein. I had it x-rayed and they found nothing, but it still hurt nearly 2 weeks later, so I got it checked again and they found new bone growth (but no crack since you apparently have to hit it at just the right angle to see the crack), which means i had fractured it. IE, it's been broken for around 3 1/2 weeks now and I'm supposed to rest completely for around 4 qwwka after diagnosis which was 1 1/2weeks ago, mostly since I didn't entirely rest for the first 2 weeks after they convinced me that it was just a sprain or something. Either way, my fall racing schedule basically didn't happen. No half marathon last weekend and no Vegas marathon next weekend. It's definitely getting better and based on the current rate of progress, I expect the discomfort to be entirely gone in regular walking and daily activities within a week.

I should be completely healed and able to start running again in around 2 1/2 weeks, which hopefully gives me enough time to throw enough base back in to my legs to go at least 100 miles in 24 hours in a new year's eve 24 hour run down in Phoenix. If it doesn't work out, it doesn't work out, but I'm going to try. There's no better way to build my base up quickly then to have a few weeks to do TONS of slow but long mileage and then test myself in an attempt to do 100 miles and then whatever else I can manage in a 24 hour period.

I'll probably not really post much until I'm healed, but things aren't all that bad I guess. I was getting into pretty sick shape, so I'm obviously extremely disappointed that I couldn't run my fall marathon, which I imagine would've knocked 10+ minutes off my pr, but a good bit of rest will be useful going into a long string of races and hard training that will basically have to last from February until July.

In the mean time, I've been swimming for at least a half an hour 5 or 6 days a week so I will be able to fulfill my obligation of completing an Ironman Triathlon in exchange for Ryan McGrath running 100 miles. Additionally, I've been lifting pretty hard. I've got a 3 day split in the gym of chest/triceps, back/biceps, and shoulders (never done any legs since it interferes pretty severely with running if I work hard at it at all). My main focus has been on chest/triceps lately and I seem to be gaining faster than normal now that I can't run for a little while. When I came out to Utah in June, I was decline-pressing a max of about 180 and as of today it's up to 260 (I typically decline press rather than flat bench to get as much chest definition as possible with the minimum body weight gain). It looks like I'm on track to hit my yearly goal of 275, which would be pretty cool. I'm sure no-one that runs cares about my lifting goals, but it's still pretty fun to work hard in the gym and see the numbers go up. Lifting and adding extra mass to my body obviously isn't beneficial to running, but my body fat has decreased since I started lifting pretty hard last year, so I really haven't added that much overall weight and I've never noticed it affecting my running at all, so I'm going to keep doing it.

So yeah, foot = fractured, but I'm not going crazy about it. That's about it for now.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A few other new things... (sort of injury, cross training, etc)

After HK50 (or HK51.5 as I have been calling it... haha...), I felt pretty recovered after 2 days, so I started running again last monday with a short run on Monday and Tuesday. I pushed way too hard on Wednesday, warming up for a couple miles and then hitting an extremely hilly 7 mile course (over 100' gain and loss/mile average) at 5000' in about 7:00 for the first mile and then 6:00/mile after that, which kind of beat me up since my body was still somewhat in recovery mode. Thursday I took it easy for 8 miles, but on Friday, I woke up with a fairly sore right foot.

Walking around on it on Friday, it felt generally disagreeable, but not anywhere near enough to keep me from running. I jogged from my house to the University field house to do a quick 8x400 workout on the very tight unbanked 211 meter indoor track and felt fine on the way, doing the exactly 3 mile route I take in just over 19 minutes with extreme ease (average heart rate 155) due to the fairly huge downhill from my house to campus. Starting in on the 400s, though, my foot started to feel a little finicky. Wanting to do them all in around 69 or 70, I did the first one in 70, feeling fine. On the 2nd one, my foot started to get irritated and I had to let up a little on the very sharp turns, so I ended up hitting a 71. On the 3rd one, it hurt a little more and I had to let up even more for a 72. On the 4th one, the pain became extreme and I nearly walked my way through the turns to hit a 73. I decided after that that something must be seriously wrong, so I quit the workout before serious damage could be done. I sat down and massaged my foot for about 15 minutes, debated asking someone I knew for a ride home, but decided not to be "needy" and that I could walk the 3 miles home. That proved to be a rather bad idea as walking 3 miles on it ended up being rather painful. When I was sitting there massaging it, someone had said "better make sure you don't get a stress fracture with all that running!" and I started to realized while walking home and experiencing pretty bad pain that I might have one. When I got home, I looked up the symptoms for a stress fracture and realized that I had everything except the bruise.

I went to bed and woke up on Saturday with a huge purple/red bruise over my sore spot, which seemed like really bad news. I took Sat/Sun off running and hobbled around in pain all weekend before Sunday night, when I started to realize that it wasn't QUITE as sore as before. I woke up on Monday, feeling slightly better, and went into the doctor, who x-rayed it and found absolutely no evidence of even a slight hairline crack. His official diagnosis was that it was something tendon-related, maybe a sprain. Honestly, that kind of sounds like crap to me since the bone itself was pretty sore, but who knows...

As of today (wednesday), I'm feeling mostly better but still a bit sore. I'm going to try a very short run tonight and do it on something very hilly that will keep my pace super slow (probably just up and down a small mountain for like 3 miles total running).

I've picked up swimming in the last few days as a means of getting some cardio work in and found it to be incredibly tough (not to mention that my triceps, rear deltoids, and hamstrings, are all getting pretty sore). My sense of pace is pretty much terrible and I can't really seem to do more than 100 yards at a time without getting my heart rate up in the 180s and having to rest a minute, so I've just been doing about 1000 yards a day, but I can feel that it's working my body relatively hard. I guess I'm going to have to learn to swim at a legitimate effort level at some point if i want to actually be able to do an Ironman next year as part of the "I have do an Ironman, you have to run 100 miles" bet I have going with Ryan Mcgrath. haha... Honestly, I think we're both a little bit screwed for this...

Totally late race recap for Helen Klein 50

Race recap from Helen Klein 50 (51.5).

Flew out to Sacramento for the HK 50 on Halloween. Before the race they announced that it would be "a little bit" long due to construction that they had found out about 2 days before the race, causing a last minute course re-route. I'm pretty sure I had heard someone say that it was supposed to be .25 miles long, but I was in the bathroom when they were announcing stuff, so I never heard the official scoop. Anyway, talking to 6 or 7 people with GPS watches at the finish, everyone had it between 51.24 and 51.8x, so it was probably around 51.5.

Anyway, the race started out and Chikara Omine, the Japanese-American 50-mile superstar just took off at somewhere just a little above 6:00/mile, IE a totally ridiculous pace for 50 miles for anyone other than him. No-one else wanted to go fast so I settled into 2nd for the first couple miles. The race was on real trails for the first 2 miles or so and we hit the first aid station when my watch said a little over 3 miles (though their splits were instantly off and it said something absurd like 2.2 miles).

After doing 7:30s for few miles, a couple guys caught me and passed me, which kind of made me feel a bit relieved, since I was kind of worried about being a fair amount ahead of everyone other than Chikara. After 5 miles, I went off course for .1 miles, which really pissed me off. There was a ribbon going into the woods, but I guess it was from another race or something. I had been pretty sure that the race never touched "trail" trail after the first 2 miles, but I knew there was some sort of construction, so I had guessed it may have been a detour. Anyway, when I got back to the correct parkway, a couple other guys had caught me, one of them being Sean Lang, who apparently had run probably just slightly ahead of me for a good chunk of Cascade Crest 100 until I totally blew up at 76 and he continued in to finish in the low 21s (me barely surviving my way to a high 26s). Sean had done 6:50 at American River, and I thought this course would be faster, so I figured running near him seemed smart. We continuned to go around 7:30s for awhile and eventually we found ourselves running in a pack in 4th to 8th with Sean, 2 guys he knew, and Adrian Shipley, a recent college grad who had run some totally sick 10k times collegiately (31:40 PR). After maybe 15 miles, Adrian and I decided that Sean and crew were pushing slightly too hard so we let them go and continued at 7:30 pace or so.

The aid stations mileages continued to be horribly off, fluctuating between too long and too short (for example, at one point, the markers between stations stated somewhere right around 3.0 miles, but my watch put at nearly 5). On the other hand, the aid that said 21.1 or 21.2 to the turnaround (which was supposed to be at 24.7 due to an extra .6 miles run past the beginning of the course on the way back) took around 15 minutes to run, so it was only 2 miles or so. In total, though, the marker came up as 25.55 on my watch instead of 24.7, which mentally did not help things. When running at a relatively decent pace for many many hours, each extra mile tacked on to the course mentally hurts quite a bit, so I was not excited about the fact that it would be 51.1 total just to get back to the start plus a bit more after that. I don't recall the exact time that Adrian and I hit the halfway point, but after standing around eating for maybe 2 minutes, we went back and hit the marathon in around or slightly under 3:20.

Still feeling pretty good, but certainly hurting somewhat from running a marathon in 3:20 (which is over 1:00/mile off my PR, but still not like a totally easy jog), we soon caught up to Sean, who was starting to suffer. I believe one person had passed us in the first half after Sean and crew took off, so when we re-passed Sean, we were running 7th and 8th.

Coming up to about 30 miles, I started to let myself think about how much it was going to suck to do 20+ miles more at this pace and I just started to mentally unravel. At mile 31, I had believed that I was within a quarter mile of the station due to the faulty markers, so I told Adrian I was just going to walk it off to the station to stretch my legs and he said he'd be at the station for probably a few minutes, so I'd just catch up to him. I'd forgotten that this was the supposed 3 mile station-to-station section that was actually way too long, so I ended up walking a mile before I got there since I kept thinking I must almost be there. When I got to the station, I was mentally starting to break, so I sat down for 12 minutes and drank a couple cups of sprite and a can of mountain dew. Sean came through the station still running (just a bit slower) and left before I did, leaving me in 9th place. Leaving the station, I still felt totally mentally down about the rest of the race and walked another 1/2 mile or so, at which point I just suddenly flipped out on myself. I literally started screaming at myself while walking down the parkway and got so pissed at myself that I got running again.

Realizing that an extremely hard effort for the rest of the race could still get me under 7 hours for 50 miles, I started to push once again. I knew I couldn't hit that 7:30 pace for the remainder and it would kill my race if I tried, but I settled into an 8:30 or so pace, which I held for about the rest of the race.

Despite slowing, I started to catch other runners soon. I eventually passed Sean and 2 other guys, getting me up to 6th by mile 40 or so. By mile 40, since I had started to take a little more time in the aid stations (maybe 2 minutes or so every few miles) I had to do 10 miles in 80 minutes to go under 7 hours. I realized this probably wasn't going to happen, but kept pushing to see what I could do. Everything after 31 was pretty painful since I had mentally broken for a little while in there, but by mile 40, my legs were starting to hurt and my feet were just getting tired of the continual pounding on pavement.

I caught back up to Adrian somewhere around 45 or 46 since he had apparently just crashed after 42 miles or so. I knew Sean wasn't far back, so I didn't really get to stop to make pleasentries. From about 40 on, Sean had been running slightly slower than me, but not really stopping in the stations for much time at all and he would repass me when I would stop for a minute or 2 to eat salt, food, etc. By mile 48 or so I thought I had him beat and 5th place secured, but a long hill from 49 to 49.5 got the best of me and I walked a bit at the end. Turning around at the top of the hill, I saw him jogging up and I saw that he saw me, so I took off as fast as I could (at that point about 7:00 minute pace). I kept running hard, but he had seen me walking and realized he could catch me, so, shortly after my watch said 50.00 miles in 7:08, he passed me.

I was pretty pissed at myself for allowing that to happen, but I knew 6th was mine and just didn't care what kind of time I ran for 51.x miles since I had split out the 50.0 on my watch already, so I just slowed down and jogged in to the end, finishing in 7:21.

When I finished, I found out that Sean had won the 18-29 category and gotten a really sweet hand-made clock with an award plaque on it while I got the 2nd place age group award very similar to the generic finisher award (cool, but definitely nowhere near the clock...).

All in all, the big problem was that I went out too fast. 6th overall and 7:08 for the 50 split isn't terrible, but if I had gone out slower, I probably could've gone at least 30 minutes faster if I hadn't been so stupid about my pace at the beginning. I lost 23 minutes just between 31 and 31.5 when I walked 1.5 miles in 11 minutes slower than it would've taken to run it and sat down for 12 minutes, so just chopping that out would've put me at 6:45, just 5 minutes from the coveted 8:00/mile 50 mile.

Karl Meltzer, my coach, had encouraged me not to be so aggressive as to go out in 7:30s, but I figured that the smart plan to be able to hit around a 6:30 was to go out at 6:15 50 mile pace since I'd have to stop a bit more in the 2nd half undoubtedly. However, I think that if I had gone out in 7:50s, I probably could've held on. If things had started to come undone around 40-41instead of 30-31, the prospect of only 10 miles remaining probably wouldn't have been enough to mentally break me down to the point of walking. In my marathon PR, for example, I started feeling pretty crappy 10 miles from the finish, so I know it's doable to hold on for 10 miles at the end of a race without sacrificing much of the pace at all.

I'm not sure when I'll have the opportunity to do another fast 50 miler (probably not until this same race next fall since I probably won't be able to run either the Jed Smith Road 50 or American River 50 next year), but I'm pretty confident I can run a fair amount faster the next time, especially if it is a year from now. Maybe at that point, 7:30/mile pace will be a feasible plan...