Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Hitting the Hills

Cross country practice was a short one today, which afforded me plenty of time to get in my own run afterward. I took advantage of some major hills near the school. Plenty of long, grueling climbs made this workout a good one. Felt quite comfortable all around out there and was very pleased.

Garmin Forerunner 305 was finally sent in last week to get fixed. I should have it back in time for the MDI Marathon, which is great. I've been using my old Forerunner 201 in the meantime, and... well, let's just say I really miss the 305 and can't wait to get it back.

Ran 8.1 miles @ 7:52/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Extremely hilly.
Lower 60s, mostly cloudy.
Shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Monday, September 29, 2008

MDI Marathon Thoughts

I've been pretty quiet on my blog regarding the upcoming Mt. Desert Island Marathon lately. This is a pretty accurate reflection to my mindset, as I really haven't been giving it too much thought. This was due to the plantar fasciitis almost constantly reminding me it was inhabiting my feet. It was a big distraction, and while some days were better than others, even those better days had me weary of the days that weren't going to be good.

I don't mean to sound overly dramatic though. The PF hit its worst point several weeks ago, and aside from some moderate flare-ups that weren't too bad, overall the pain has been pretty low. It's just been annoying.

However, the Superfeet insoles along with the new shoes have really done wonders the past two days. I haven't felt it at all during my runs yesterday and today. Another good litmus test, waking up in the morning, has also seen good results with just a very, very dull ache in the heels that was barely noticeable. At this pace, the PF could be licked by the weekend.

So... now my attention is really turning towards the MDI Marathon on October 19th. The aerobic base is there but the speed work has been pretty lacking and with just three weeks to go, not much more can be done. I don't have high expectations for it as a result. However, I still think breaking 3:30 is a good, realistic goal, so that's what I'm shooting for.

As for today's run, felt good and strong. I was able to get in a little over six miles before the team's XC practice began and then I tacked on another three afterwards. Felt great. Not having that ache in my heels is really, really nice.

First run - 6.2 miles @ 8:02 mile/pace.
Second run - 3.1 miles @ 7:40/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Moderately hilly.
70 degrees, mostly cloudy.
Shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

New Shoes and Insoles

I took the past three days off, so it was little wonder why I felt great for today's run. The legs felt fresh and I was full of energy. Pretty hyper, in fact. I kept the pace slow, but I still almost felt like this kid:

I also bought a new pair of shoes, Asics GT2130s, and this was my first run in them. They feel just like the discontinued GT2120s I've been running in the past few years, thankfully. I can't tell the difference. One thing is it looks like the top of the shoe at the toes is a bit more reinforced. This is good, as my last pair of GT2120s developed a hole at the top where the fabric meets the rubber.

I also bought a pair of Superfeet insoles for my plantar fasciitis. Whatever shoes I wear, whether for running or work, I plan to put use these in them. For today's first run with them in, they felt comfortable. I didn't feel the plantar fasciitis at all, and could tell they were offering more support. Of course I want to say that this will kill the PF for good, but that's the emotional side talking. Logic dictates only time will tell, but still good to know this first run was a big success.

It was raining throughout the run, but nothing too heavy. Hurricane Kyle is off the coast. It won't mean much for my area other than adding to our already high rain totals for the weekend, but further up the coast, two other Maine bloggers and a Canadian have a bit more to worry about.

Ran 11.3 miles @ 8:11/mile pace.
Paved and dirt roads.
Very hilly.
Lower to mid 60s, light to moderate rain throughout.
Shorts, shorts sleeved shirt.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Home Meet

Our team's home cross country meet was today. Both teams did well, with the boys coming in second out of three and the girls third out of four against some tough competition. I continue to be impressed with their positive attitudes and love for the sport. Great kids!

The meet did run late, which thwarted my running plans. I ran the two miles up to the ridge to the meet, and had planned on running another five or six afterwards, but alas, I only had time for two more. I ran pretty much the same route back, enjoying a quick, downhill cruise back to the school.

Uphill: Ran 2.2 miles @ 8:50/mile pace.
Downill: Ran 2.0 miles @ 7:18/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Extremely hilly.
Lower 60s dropping to upper 50s, sunny.
Shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Five Miles and the Crazy PF

Squeezed in a quick five miles before XC practice. Actually, it was really 4.2 miles before the practice and I tacked on the other .8 during the run back to the school afterwards.

The run went well. What continues to baffle me is the plantar fasciitis. In my last post, I think I might have inadvertently made it sound like the PF was pretty much going away. I wish that were true, but not the case. As Mark pointed out, PF can come and go. Yesterday morning, it did flare up again and I was glad I had planned a rest day anyway. It wasn't horrible, but it still made itself known. However, today I barely felt it. Overall, I do think it's going away, but I still think I have a ways to go before it's gone for good.

Ran 5.0 miles @ 7:46/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Lower 60s, sunny.
Shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Twenty One with Chuck

Chuck and I met up at Pineland Farms this morning and got in a good 21 mile run. Though I've seen Chuck at most of the group runs, I haven't actually run with him for a good stretch in quite some time, so this was nice.

We had a grand ole time chatting away and also spotted two hawks. One was unidentified, but pretty cool since it was carrying off it's prey (couldn't tell what it was) as it flew off. The other was unmistakably a red-tailed hawk. It was perched on a sign post and flew away as we approached.

I felt okay during the run. Not great, not terrible, just so-so. I felt the PF more during the start of the run, but less so as the run went on. Even then, it wasn't too bad. Energy-wise, I've felt better but have felt worse. Was glad to get in the miles though and not really struggle, though I did feel tired at the end.

Ran 21.0 miles @ 9:40/mile pace.
Very hilly.
Upper 30s to mid-60s, sunny.
Shorts, short sleeved shirt, Moeben sleeves (morning).

Friday, September 19, 2008

Great Weather, Great Run

The bad news is a symposium I had to attend today regarding a new school meant I had to miss the XC team's meet this afternoon. On a selfish note, the good news is it did leave me time to get in my own run. Weather was what I consider perfect for running: mid-50s and sunny.

Perhaps invigorated with the weather, I ran at a pretty good pace today on an extremely hilly route and it felt easy. I really enjoyed the long climb to the top of the ridge. Actually, I think taking the past two days off from running also contributed. The good news about that is that the plantar fasciitis continues to fade away and now the shin splints appear to be making an exit as well. Could I finally be turning the proverbial corner? Man, I hope so.

Worth noting that the veggie wrap I had for lunch didn't sit too well in my stomach, and I puked a little upon reaching the top of the ridge. I didn't stop or slow down for it though, just turned my head and ralphed while running. Felt better after that.

Ran 8.0 miles @ 7:46/mile pace.
Paved roads and trails.
Extremely hilly.
Mid 50s, sunny.
Shorts, long sleeved shirt.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

2008 Vermont 100 Video

My good buddy Stephen gave me a copy of the footage shot by his crew during the 2008 Vermont 100 and I slapped together a little video. I also incorporated some of the photos taken by Neighbor Kate. Check it out, why don't you?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Orchard Run

Today we ran up to an apple orchard where we'll host our school's home cross country meet next week. It's a grueling, steep climb to the ridge where the orchard is located, and from there we ran most of the course, stopping several times to clear the paths of sticks and other debris courtesy of mother nature. Afterwards, a return trip down.

Plantar fasciitis was felt more today than yesterday, but still within the "minor" category. The shin splints were more prominent, but not a real concern.

Tomorrow will be a rest day as a precaution and good timing as it's open house at our school. Thursday is grad school, so I may have to run in the early morning. I'd like to avoid taking two days off in a row.

Ran 6.7 miles @ 8:39/mile pace.
Paved roads and technical trails.
Extremely hilly.
Mid 60s, overcast.
Shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Western States 100, Here I Come!

Today the Western States 100 race officials sent out the email to would-be 2008 participants asking them to confirm their entries for 2009. I went ahead and confirmed and paid the entry fee. A nice surprise was they reduced the price from $295 down to $195 for us. I thought that was very decent of them. I'll gladly take a $100 savings any day!

Now that I'm locked and loaded for WS, I'm feeling a renewed vigor towards running again. I still have the MDI Marathon next month, and I'll see how my training progresses before I make any goals for that race. But knowing that WS is on the horizon and I'm in again for that sucker has given me a good mental spark.

Speaking of progress, today was extremely encouraging. The plantar fasciitis seems to be fading away pretty quickly. I've barely been feeling it at all the past few days. I can't tell you how happy this makes me. I know, I might not be out of the woods yet. From what I've read and heard, this is one of the trickier injuries that can quickly reappear. But I'm optimistic. The continuous stretching seems to be doing the trick more than anything else, but that's hard to verify.

The only downside now is that I have a mild case of shin splits. This isn't that big of a deal for me though. I've had it quite a few times before, and the worst case scenarios have lasted just under a month and the pain has never been that bad.

As for today's run... wow, it went really well on several fronts. I ran the first three miles as a warm-up with the XC team. The workout today was mile repeats (along a very hilly course) and you either pulled someone or had them pull you. This consists of a faster runner teaming up with someone who is not as fast, and the faster runner leads them a little and encourages them along. I got to pull one of the girls on our team and she did great, coming in at 7:18 for a 25 second PR.

The second mile was solo running, and though I had originally planned for a 6:30/mile pace. I ended up running it in 5:45. That was a pleasant surprise!

The third mile I pulled the same girl again, and she was off of her old PR by just two seconds. Thankfully, she didn't appear to hate me for pushing her.

Ran 7.0 miles total.

Warm-up: Ran 3.0 miles at 7:37/mile pace.
Pull: Ran 1.0 mile in 7:18
Solo: Ran 1.0 mile in 5:45
Pull: Ran 1.0 mile in 7:47
Cool-down: Ran 2.0 miles @ 8:22/mile pace.

Paved roads.
Warm-up/cool down: Mostly flat.
Mile course: Very hilly.
Upper 70s, sunny, windy.
Shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Running for a Cure / Bradbury Bruiser

A day off for me, so I thought I'd use this time while I'm procrastinating doing some research for grad school to cover a couple of other running related items:

I'm asking any readers out there to check out Kelly's (wife of my good friend, Stephen) Team in Training Fundraising page and make a donation. She is raising money to fight blood-related cancer. Stephen himself is a cancer survivor, so this is a cause that is dear to both of them. She is running the Nike Women's Marathon next month, and she is pretty close to reaching her fund-raising goal. Please help her reach her goal if you are able to! Every little bit helps and the cause is a very worthy one.


Today was the Bradbury Bruiser 12-mile trail race. In the craziness of my life I forgot to give this race a plug earlier. I'm still adjusting from basically doing nothing but running and taking naps during the summer to teaching, coaching and grad school all at once. That's not a complaint, I'm enjoying all of it. It's just a matter of getting used to the new schedule.

But I digress.... the race went well. It rained throughout the race, but nobody complained. Things went very smooth, thanks to the race director, Ian. As many folks know, he really knows how to put on an awesome event. Everyone appeared to have a lot of fun, thanks to his efforts.

I had a lot of fun working the registration table and timing the finish line at the race. If you don't run a race, helping out at one is almost just as fun. It's always nice to give back to the running community, which has definitely given me a lot.

Big congrats to Emma for being the first woman in not just the race, but the entire three race series as well! Way to go Emma! :-)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Kind of Run I Needed

The head cold is gone and a very busy past couple of days are now behind me, which made this run feel great. With the recent rains, it was fun wading through the creeks and splashing through the mud. Also felt great to climb the hills and glide down on the descents. Perhaps best of all... no bugs.

The PF, while still present, hasn't been too bad lately. I felt it some towards the very end of the run, but it wasn't bad. I really think stretching the feet is helping. Something I haven't been doing which I should be doing is icing. I'm going to start that today. I'm hoping that combined with the continued stretching and taking NSAIDs will put it away for good.

Saw two forest rangers out while running and stopped to chat with them a bit. Very friendly guys.

Ran 7.4 miles @ 8:54/mile pace.
Trails and fire roads.
Very hilly.
Lower 70s, partly sunny.
Shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Super Short

Today's run almost isn't even worth mentioning. Just ran the first and last leg of warm-up and cool downs with the XC team, and one 400m lap over hilly and technical terrain thrown in.

I've had a head cold the past few days. Yesterday it was at it's worst, today it's still present but much better. Probably wise I took yesterday off and today was easy. The PF has been very minor the past two days, almost not even noticeable. That's good.

Next two days don't look good for training. I have grad school tomorrow evening and we have a XC meet on Friday afternoon/evening. I could run in the mornings, but given the cold and waning PF I think it's probably wisest I don't run again until the weekend just to help the body along. Plus, this grad school class looks like my toughest one yet and I want to be awake for it. My straight 'A' streak will likely come to a halt if I don't keep on top of things. After this one, I have just two more classes and I'll have my Masters in Educational Leadership.

I really look forward to eventually getting my training back up. I don't think I'm too far off from that, perhaps this time it'll be for real. Good thing, as I'm starting to go a bit nuts.

Ran 1.6 miles @ ~7:20/mile pace average.
Paved roads and trails.
Moderately hilly.
Upper 60s, sunny.
Shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Cross Country

Today I began assistant coaching with the high school cross country team. This is a great gig that I really enjoy and we have a really great group this year. Today I ran the warm-up with the team and then tacked on an extra mile. Then I helped time the team as they did mile repeats. Followed that up by running the two mile cool down. All in all a good little workout.

The PF felt okay today. I'd rate it as moderate. I didn't notice it during the run, only during the day when I was teaching.

Ran 5.0 miles total.

#1: Ran 3.0 miles @ 7:27/mile pace.
#2: Ran 2.0 miles @ 7:46/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Mid 70s, sunny.
Shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

This is War

I have begun waging war on my plantar fasciitis. It will most likely be a long battle, but today was a victory of sorts. I had very little discomfort when I woke up this morning and had a successful, pain-free run this afternoon. There will be good days like this, but I also realize there will be bad days ahead. I'm not out of the dark yet. Probably far from it. However, today was one of those good days to enjoy.

I think today might have went well in part because of some aggressive therapy. I'm quite pleased with an idea that I had that seems to be working out. Yesterday, I devised a way of tying long, wide Ace bandages to stretch the foot out. I looked at splints used for plantar fasciitis and also the Strassburg Sock, and the concept on how they work is pretty simple. My "Ghetto Plantar Fasciitis strap" seems to mimic the same principle. I'm hoping this will work out, but only time will tell. So far, so good though.

Note in the below picture how the bandage is wrapped around the ball of the foot, and the strap comes between the big toe and the other little piggie next to it. This can get uncomfortable after a while between the toes, but you don't have to go between the toes. However, I think this does give a little bit of a better stretch since it's coming over the top of the foot (skull added for dramatic effect):

More of a side view:
I wore these all evening yesterday and also to bed, though they did become a bit uncomfortable in the middle of the night and I took them off. I also wore them around most of the morning and afternoon today as well. I'm getting better at tying them comfortably.

In addition to this, I've been taking Ibuprofen and also rolling golf balls along the arch of my foot. Yessir, I'm taking beating this thing quite seriously, especially since I don't want to cut back on my mileage too much and I feel if I can go into overdrive in other areas I can hopefully make up for it.

As for today's run, I put the pedal down a bit and flew along the transfer station route at a good pace. The bridge just down from the transfer station was washed out, I guess from the five inches of rain we got last night from what was leftover of tropical storm Hanna. No biggie, just waded through it. There were some ATV guys on the other side who looked somewhat impressed I was doing that. They were very friendly and all, but c'mon guys, it's only water.

Ran 5.6 miles @ 7:21/mile pace.
Paved and dirt roads.
Very hilly.
Lower 70s, sunny.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Plantar Fasciitis

Just as I felt I was getting back on track, now I've come to terms that I've most likely developed a case of plantar fasciitis. Ugh. Felt it coming on about a week and a half or so ago. Frustrating for sure, but I'm determined to lick this thing. Unfortunately, that means cutting back on my mileage for a while. I'm also going to do lots of stretching and put myself on NSAIDs treatment. I'm also considering the Strassburg Sock.

That aside, today's run felt great. Every other part of my body and mind is raring to go, just the stupid heel/foot discomfort from the plantars. We ran at Pineland Farms. About 10 of us in all. I mostly ran with Ryan and Jim, who were great company. All three of us are running the MDI Marathon next month, which will be fun.

Ran 13.4 miles @ 8:51/mile pace.
Very hilly.
Mid-upper 60s, overcast, light rain.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Another Good Run

Today I ran the same route as yesterday (railroad bed trails near the school) and it also went well. I'm finally feeling a lot more like my old self again. Runs of this distance are simply feeling easy once more. Cool.

It is with regret that I take a rest day tomorrow. Thursday evenings I have grad school. I could get in my run in the early morning, and I may do that soon. But as I adjust to the new schedule, I'd prefer not to do too much. I'd like to be somewhat alert for the first day.

Ran 8.2 miles @ 8:20/mile pace.
Slightly hilly.
Upper 70s, sunny.
Shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

After School Run

Students don't return until tomorrow, but today was a teacher work day and it still felt nice to return to a schedule where most of my weekday runs will take place in the mid-afternoon. I'll begin helping coach cross country next week, but still have this week to do my runs on my own.

I had totally forgotten that I still owned a Forerunner 201 and had loaned it to Neighbor Kate a while back. We'll just share it until I get my 305 back up and running. I tried to call Garmin's tech support today, but the wait was over 30 minutes according to the robot-voice lady, so I hung up and will try again tomorrow, but during the morning hours.

Today's run felt great. Hamstrings felt pretty darn good, almost a non-issue. However, the bottoms of my feet have been aching the past few days. That went away a few miles into today's run however.

Aside from that, the run went pretty stellar. The pace felt effortless and my energy was great. I think I'm finally starting to turn the corner on my prolonged recovery, but I'll still proceed with caution.

Ran 8.2 miles @ 8:01/mile pace.
Slightly hilly.
Mid 70s, partly sunny.
Shorts, short sleeved shirt.