For those of you who still wander over to see what I am doing I apologize if I have not been commenting at your place much. Actually I haven't been reading much either because (a) it is baseball spring training time and my addiction came back and I read all about it all night, instead of reading running blogs; and (b) the one blog I have kept up with is a friend who has been working the Olympics in Turin and keeps posting great stories and pictures of himself with the American athletes. You can go see for yourself if you want. Ask for Derrick.

Oh ... and my sister is coming to town Thursday to join me at the Coldplay concert Saturday. Fourth row, my friends. No nose bleeds for me. I may need earplugs though.


Practice EVERYTHING you preach

That was one of my problems. I didn't. In my book, Rule #1 in marathon training is don't change anything once your training is in full swing (~ ten weeks). Follow the training schedule. Don't change shoes. Don't introduce weird food into your diet. Don't paint the house/lay sod/go ice skating three weeks before the race, etc. Well I was very conscientious in that regard but now as I continue to diagnose my left side problem I remember a few more things I DID change. I mentioned earlier that I unlaced one hole in my shoes. I also tightened the laces a little more around my foot. I am thinking that is what made my foot hurt. The metatarsals were too cramped in my shoe and causing aggravating injury to muscles. I also stopped eating yogurt about four weeks before the race which was my main source of calcium after I switched from a high calcium multi-vitamin to a different one with only 20% daily requirement. At the time I made those decisions it did not register with me that they would have adverse effects.
It's always something. And the farther you run the more the little somethings become big somethings. And the next thing you know, it's a problem.
Oh, and it was winter time so I was off my diet of ice cream cones.

Today I followed Runner Susan's advice and ran easily. And short. I did just 3 miles at just under 10 minute pace. Very easy. And nothing hurts at all. That was satisfying.
Gosh; that's twice this week I've gone for a run. I must be coming back folks.


The ankle did it in the billiard room with the ...

Today at my visit with Sherlene (the massage therapist) we (I) diagnosed all my possible causes for the left side trauma. They included insufficient calcium supply, running with laces tied a hole too low, preliminary arthritis, overcompensative running for another problem, etc. Then I traced all my left side aches backwards in time and now remember that the first place to hurt was my left ankle which, this morning, had horrible flexibility after yesterday's run. It stiffens up a lot and was the root cause of me dropping a hole on the shoe laces, which probably led to the foot aches and the hip pain. My hip was not tight today while the ankle was a wreck. So I am writing the alphabet in cursive with my left foot as I type and it is amazing how often in cracks as I keep it loose. Meanwhile I'm raiding the vitamin drawer for calcium since I never drink milk or other providers of the bone and muscle builder.



I rolled out of bed, pulled on my shorts, shirt, socks and shoes. It was in the low 60s and smelling like spring. Oak trees were shedding leaves off their limbs (a Florida fall) as new growth pushes hard. Azaleas are blooming. It was a fine morning to run. I heard the birds singing and chirping, the distant sounds of traffic moving to work and the sound of rubber hitting the pavement beneath my feet.
I ran five miles rather briskly, by comparison to my marathon training times. I made it in 44:01. It was at mile 3 that the muscle in front of my hip started chatting with me in a very cross tone. My foot was fine. I felt the ITB tendons connected at my knee burn a little. So? I got in a run and it was wonderful.
Tomorrow I'll be back to Sherlene and I'll have to have her write down the name of the muscle at my waist that's so annoying and see what home exercise I can do to pamper it/repair it.


Running Soothes Stress

I know that by the evidence in my voice. When I reach a high level of stress my voice disappears. Today was a clear example of that. I had to re-record a few voice messages I left because I couldn't get my voice to cooperate. Running bleeds that stress right out of me.
What I need to do is run. My foot felt normal all day. I went for a 20 yard jog tonight in my running shoes and it felt so good. Just shoe-horning my feet into my running shoes felt so good. I am sure there is a word for a man in desperate need of a good time but it escapes me right now. Perhaps I'll think about it on the road tomorrow morning when I go for a run.


Sherlene loves me

I went to see Sherlene today who was surprised my left leg was in as bad a shape as it was. She worked it over (and the rest of me) in good order and - alleluia - I can walk. She did some plie movements with my left leg while holding her thumb down hard on the front of my hip and WOW! That was nice. Then she found a messy ITB on the left side and all kinds of weird stuff around my ankle and in the foot. I'm going back again on Thursday to finish up where she left off. I actually jogged a little while walking the dogs tonight and it was delightful. I cannot wait to go for a real run really soon.


I am now where you were

I ran the marathon Janury 29. That was almost three weeks ago. Since then I ran once (10 miles) to wring out my last ounce of racing. Last week I ran four miles. I had plans to run on Thursday to follow my "recovery plan" but I trashed it because (a) of an avoided child abduction near a school that was all over the news; (b) because my left foot hurts again in the same place as before the marathon and before Sherlene fixed it; (c) because I just didn't feel that motivated like I suspected was the case with all you late fall marathoners; or (d) all of the above. As you well know, the correct answer is (d).
So what to do about it? Options include ignoring the media, going to see Sherlene for a massage, accepting the lull as mental recovery and having a beer. As you well know I did or scheduled all of those options. I am a little more worried about the foot though. I have been using my "stick" to roll my foot over it in the morning and evening. It's amazing what it loosens up, yet the pain is still in where the stick doesn't reach. Thank goodness I know Sherlene can reach it.
My weight has held fairly steady since the training and race. It's up a pound or two.
What I am really going to enjoy is meeting up with some summertime pals who are coming to Disney World this weekend. I plan on getting together for some fellowship and enjoying the amazing 80 degree sunny weather with them.


Summer Dreamin'

So I was chatting with Susie the other night and she suggested - from something she sensed - that I was missing summertime. I didn't think I was missing summertime but ever since she mentioned it I have been confronted with all these sensations and reminders:

  • A Grove Dock full moon
  • A jar of Shelter Harbor beach sand
  • A picture of Dianna's awesome Labor Day cheesecake
  • A picture of Jon's truffles and Sarah's chocolate chip cookies
  • A picture of the beach gang posing by the water
  • A picture of Susie staring at boats on the water
I guess I am missing summertime.


Running Smiles

I woke up this morning at the usual work time instead of the weekend sleep-in time. I deliberated whether to run or not. Yes.
I had a bowl of oatmeal with all the fixin's and thought how that would have been better fuel before the marathon than what I did have. I waited an hour to go out so read blogs and other favorite sites to pass the time.
At 800 I was on the streets in low 50s temps and a slight breeze. Four miles was my target.
After not running for a week the sore spots had disappeared but about halfway through this morning I could feel the strain in my left hip and it seemed like my left foot was turning in on each stride - a sure sign of something akilter. But, hey, I was only going four miles.
The most exciting part of the run was coming back through Blue Jacket Park where the Track Shack Foundation was holding their annual Smile Miles races for kids 11 and under (all free). There were tons of kids with their parents cheering them on. The winners in the 11 year old groups were knocking that mile off in 6 minutes and change! I was impressed. So many of them looked pooped at the end. Then I looked up at the clock and realized their times would beat mine on a good day.
I made a few observations: Track Shack is a specialty shoe store and race organizing company. They are great folks and will soon reap the reward of lots more young runners needing running shoes and wanting to race 5Ks or more. That's good business development.
I spoke to a guy name Wayne who is an elementary school PE teacher. He is also a running trainer on the side. At school last year he "recruited" 35 kids to join his running club. They run twice a week in the mornings before school. This year he had 65 come out for the team. That's so awesome. They were all racing this morning. Our high school cross country coach has got to love the prospect of new talent developing down there in the elementary schools.


Lazy is Nice

I have not run since Sunday. Before that it was the previous Sunday. That was a seven day gap so in my mathematical mind I have a new training plan: I'll run with diminishing days between runs. Next will be six days which means Saturday. Then it'll be Thursday, then Monday ... or something like that. I guess I better figure what race to run next too. It looks like it'll be a 12K on the last weekend of February. Mind you, I haven't signed up. In fact, I haven't even been to the running specialty store to see my buds. I've been downright lazy. It's nice to remember what sleeping in is like instead of training my arse off for a marathon.
Okay, time for Project Runway. Gotta check out the latest fashion challenge*.

[*When did I get like this anyway?]


Revving to Run

I waited all week to run again. I felt good enough to go earlier but I was determined not to go overboard. I thought about running a long distance; something to remind me of the more memorable moments of the marathon (specifically of when I was running strong in miles 7-17). I felt like I still had to finish the race.
The morning dawned and the rain had stopped, leaving a sunny cool morning, perfect for running. I had some breakfast and headed out to Park Avenue to see if my old buds were still showing up at 700. Sure enough, they were there and they were off at the tick of 700 which left me sitting in the car behind a slow poke driver. I parked quickly and jumped out and ran.
Within a mile I had caught the pack of four (Chris, Jack, Bob and Marty), sneaking up on them and saying, "On your right." The conservative Jack saw me and said, "Not very likely that you'd be on the right. Get over here where you belong."
It was good to see them again. We had a nice run in the beautiful Florida winter morning air, about 48 degrees. Chris and Jack turned in at 6 miles. Marty and Bob were going 10. Decisions. Decisions. What should I do? Come back slowly and go short or test that left side muscle up in front of my hip and go all the way around? You know, don't you?
I joined Marty and Bob on the longer run; and Marty was pushing it too. He was a strong runner in his younger days doing 120-mile weeks of training for five years in his 20s. Now he's a recovering overdoer who still pushes. He ran me flat out for stretches that made my left side hurt again but it seems the more I stretched out my stride, the less it hurt. I surmise the injury is a result of poundng at the same short pace for so long, while the speedier pace absorbs the pounding faster and more difusively.
I covered 10 miles in 1:35, a 9:28 pace. Boy, did that feel good. I can't wait to do it again. On the other hand I better go see Sherlene since the hip thing is still a bit knotty and the left ankle continues to have a dull pain. I don't really care horribly. It's just so much fun to run hard again after crapping out in Mile 19 last Sunday. Next marathon, I'll be doing 24 mile trainers and I won't be stopping.


Miami Photo Gallery

First of all this is where I stayed on Miami Beach. My hostess has a very green thumb and plants everywhere. She lives on the intracoastal about a quarter mile walk to the beach and boardwalk. I went there for my day-before warm-up run and my after race stretch and nap.
We also visited South Beach where life is grand, even in the day time.
Nancy took me to the best places to eat, such as the Diner where we had breakfast on Saturday. Banana walnut pancakes with bacon and coffee suited me just fine. The patrons were worth the visit all by themselves.

You will remember I met up with Rachel and Brent for dinner at Rosanella's the night before the race for a little pasta carbo loading. We were very pleased with our dinner and felt pretty darned comfortable meeting up for the first time. They are good fun down-to-earth people. Best of all, Mean Rachel never made an appearance the whole weekend. Naomi called while we were dining and said to meet up at a non-existent first aid tent in the morning. Fortunately we found each other in the starter corral just before the gun and managed to have someone take a picture of us. Notice how relaxed and fresh we look. Okay; save that thought for the end of the race pics.

In the first mile Naomi and I stayed together and she snapped a picture of me and I one of her. Doesn't she look fast? Sadly, you can't see the manmouth cruise ship behind Naomi. There were at least a half dozen of them at their docks right along the causeway, all lit up.

When we reached South Beach the sun was just starting to lighten the sky as you can see here. There were a few of the night before's revelers still about and they gave us a wave as we ran by. Mostly, there were fans and family members with thundersticks, homemade signs and lots of enthusiastic cheering. We could see the beach from where we ran by.

At about mile 8 I caught up to Rachel. She was cruising along over the Venetian Causeway back towards the mainland. She had earbuds in and I startled her when I tapped her on the shoulder. With the lovely island background I offered to take her picture and here it is. No word on whether Brent put an offer in on any of the homes in the background.

As you can see in the picture we were just crossing over the drawbridge portion with the metal grates. One of the elite runners twisted an ankle on the grates and had to drop out.

I really regret not taking many more pictures during the race but once I hit the mainland I was concentrating on returning to the 4:15 pace and running with Diego.

This picture was in Coconut Grove before I stopped for orange slices. I had dropped off from Diego's pace and was poking along not yet aware that danger was ahead. Once my knee and hip cracked up on me I was no longer interested in taking pictures. I wanted to regain form and run. I surely didn't want to look like a friggin' tourist walking along taking pictures.

At the end I met up with everybody and we took a few more pictures. Sitting down was a pleasure. Standing back up for pictures was a challenge.
Join us next year. It'll be fun all over again.


I am well. Grass is growing.

...and pitchers and catchers report in a few weeks.
It doesn't feel like I ran a marathon three days ago. [was it three days ago?] I feel normal. Mind you, I haven't tried to run yet. I did go for a 47 minute walk with a new blogger who I intend to turn into a runner though she doesn't know it yet.
I'm drinking water to get back to "clear." [you know what I mean?] and eating regularly. Sleep was good last night. Tonight will be too short because (a) I stayed up to watch Project Runway. I didn't like the challenge but agreed with the judges' decision to cut Andre; and (b) I worked on my fantasy baseball draft sheets. (we all have our vices now, don't we?)
Tomorrow the governor and US DOE Sec. are coming to one of our schools so it'll be a media feeding VIP day.
I feel like running but can also feel a few sore spots. I'll probably wait until the weekend. I have my eye on the Gasparilla 15K or Half Marathon on Feb. 25/26 in Tampa. There's another 5K to look at in two weeks. Easy does it, huh?

Did I load this post up with enough parenthetic asides? How about italicized thoughts? At least I went easy on the semi-colons.

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