Friday, September 21, 2012

The Importance of Not Running

Recently, Level Renner shared an article on Facebook about Bernard Lagat and how he stops running entirely for over a month (read it here).  Five whole weeks?!?!  I know that most competitive runners would find this very, very difficult to do (myself included). Yet, after I read the article I thought about it a lot and I am intrigued by the concept.

No, I don't plan on ever taking an entire month off but I like the idea of scaling back and resting briefly.  Disclaimer:  I'm just a serious beer drinker with a running problem so there really isn't much of a need to scale back from my "monster" 50 mile weeks.  However, over the last week and a half, I've cut back my mileage from the unorganized, chaotic, up and down, yo-yo training I've attempted over the last couple of months (e.g. 63-57-20-60) and it's been fine.  I'm always worried that reducing my running will make me antsy and worried.  It hasn't. In fact, it's reminded me that it is actually important to not run sometimes.

Today, instead of getting home from school, snacking like a pig, and then lacing up my trainers and heading out the door, I simply sat on my front steps.  I laughed and played with my (almost) 2 year old daughter and waited for my other two children to get home off the bus.  Then Mason and I headed out on the water and crushed stripers outside of the center wall in Pt. Judith.  They were stacked up like pancakes and as a result, we were busier than a one-legged man in an ass kicking contest.  Simply awesome.

Did I gain any fitness from this evening?  Absolutely not.  Did my mileage stats increase?  Nope.  But it sure is awesome to not run sometimes.  Besides, when the alarm goes off tomorrow at 0500, I know there are lonely, dark, double digit miles waiting for me.

I wonder if Bernard Lagat likes to fish.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Week of 9.10.12 - 9.16.12

MON.-6mi. (road) -- surprised myself again with "base pace".  [40:53]

TUE.- 8mi. (road) -- amazing weather. Ran in the afternoon.  Felt a little fatigued but still kept up decent pace for most.  I could use a day off already.  Tired from running but also from crushing false albacore in East Matunuck with Mason earlier in the day. Fat Alberts everywhere!! Very few things beat a 9 year old boy's squeal when hooked into a tuna torpedo.  Good times. [58:31]

9 lb Euthynnus alletteratus

WED.- 0

THU.- 6mi. (road) -- continuing to surprise myself with regular pace on these runs. Not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing. [41:37]

FRI.- 5mi. (road) -- forced myself to go slower given my recen "base pace" runs.  Thought I was turning out 7:45 but it turned out I was off in my estimates by about 20 secs per mile.  Oh well.  [37:00]

SAT.- 3mi. (road) -- this time slow and easy for sure. Easy shakeout before race. [22:48]

SUN.- 17mi. (road) -- "Surftown Half Marathon"The second year of this race.  Great course just somewhat lacking in organization and production.  I ran really well and I'm pleased.  I think I finished 7th OA in 1:19:33 (still waiting for official results to be posted).  Gazelle PRd and all of WTAC apparently represented!!  Awesome.  However, space watch confirmation from several others that the course was actually 13.25 miles.  WTF?!?!?  Upset with the Hartford Marathon/ING group for several reasons.  Still no results posted yet (24 hours later) so not sure what the exact details are.  Guess I'll follow up with more specifics in another post at a later time.  Good race either way....


-->Surftown was a pleasing test of my abilities.  I felt really good (until the final mile but that's to be expected).  Still....wrong measurements bother me.  Easy week coming up with very easy week to follow before DeMar.  I guess I'll try to squeeze in 1-2 medium uncomfortable runs @ MP to keep me honest.  I've really no idea what I'm doing but whatever.  It doesn't matter anyway. I'm having fun, feeling good (other than that pesky abdomen/nut thing). 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Week of 9.3.12 - 9.9.12

MON. - 6mi. (road) -- a.m. - Why not?  No pain, just standard dull ache.  Just go with it. [42:58] ///// 4mi. (road) --p.m. - legs a little tired but just a filler run to get out of the house. [29:44] 

TUE. - 9mi. (road & trails) -- some awesome exploration (awful dense, humid air) in the new, unofficially "opened" Grills Sanctuary, part of the Hopkinton Land Trust.  A ton of cleared single track trails in there but I'm not sure how large it is or if I was even in the actual sanctuary the entire time or trespassing.  Either way it is cool to have more trails, along the Pawcatuck River, only 2.75 miles from my house. A-town, what? [67:22]

WED. - 10mi. (bike path) -- from Kingston in the miserably warm and humid afternoon.  1 mile w/u then 8 miles @ MP.  I hope DeMar is about 30 degrees cooler and much drier or I'm seriously fuct in 3 weeks. Splits: [6:39/6:27/6:17 (oops)/6:34/6:44 (stupid climb up the ramp back onto bikepath)/6:32/6:25/6:35].  Continuing to run with this abdominal/groin "toothache" [68:01]

THU. -0

FRI. - 6mi. (road) -- quick sweat fest in this disgusting humidity.  Back at school?  Bring on the fall weather.  Pleased and very suprised with pace. [40:37]

SAT. -20mi. (road & trails) -- from home in a creative run to end at Ninigret for Mason's first "football" game.  Looped through Richmond and some Carolina Mgmt trails before grinding out Kings Factory Road and into soccer craziness.  Miles 17 and 18 at MP (13:12) but unbearably warm and humid on the exposed, crumbling tarmac of Ninigret. Chafing is Mother Nature's gift.  Still a good run overall.  Recovered really quickly.  Love that 20 miles followed by no downtime is not a weekend wrecker.  [2:33:12]

SUN. -5mi. (road) -- 8-10 turned into only 5 when I realized how tired my legs were. Quit so that I could get back home to watch my fantasy football team devour the souls of those around me.  [36:03]

--> Despite nagging (minor) pain in my lower abdomen and manly parts, I'm still able to go so....go it is.  I'm not sure if it is mental but it seems to hurt a little less.  Sort of makes me feel like a pussy complaining about it when I know it is not even an injury but it is an inconvenience.  Either way, less than 3 weeks until DeMar.  It appears that  my training has been a little unorganized/scattered and as a result, is quite half-assed and less than stellar.  But at least it still has existed.  Surftown this coming Sunday will tell me where I'm at physically and mentally. Also of note, I don't get to fish.  Not sure if my boat is even floating or if it is simply floundering at the bottom of the channel in Jerusalem.  Probably should try and check in the next few days.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Week of 8.27.12 - 9.2.12

MON. - 8mi. (road) -- ran this hilly one at a solid base pace on tired legs.  Glad I did it. [58:44]

TUE. - 0

WED. - 7mi. (road)-- *Roger Schonning 5k* .  Ran this small 5K sponsored by the YMCA that is sort of cool.  Run directly through downtown Westerly, RI.  Pretty neat to have them stop tourist traffic "for me".  I took off too fast and lead wire to wire.  Happy I finished 1st OA but not at all happy with how I ran this one.  Stupid!  Mile 1 in 5:15 (too fast) then mile 2 in 5:55 (WHAT?!?!?).  Fell apart at the end and finished in 17:41 overall.  Gazelle ran a PR in 17:49--pretty pumped for him.  Don't look now but WTAC finished 1,2,3...very cool.  Still, cannot help but be a little pissed at myself with how I ran and with my time. It's rather annoying (non-runners just don't get it/understand at all) to have your name and picture in local newspapers but know that you ran a shit race. 

Even Mason said he didn't run that well and felt terrible.

THU. - 5mi. (road)-- terrible run.  Legs tired and interuppted 2x with bathroom issues.  Great. [untimed]

FRI. -0 -- doctor and fantastic news.  Sulked over beers at an evening beach picnic with family.

SAT. - 0

SUN. - 0

--> Well, what can I say?  No running the last 3 days.  I'm really leaning towards saying screw it and just running again, (starting tomorrow?), regardless of what the doctor(s) find and/or say. If it doesn't bother me really while running and the dull pain doesn't increase, screw it.  There will be plenty of time to deal with it in October.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Ain't That A Bitch?!?

Went to the doctor yesterday and he is pretty sure that it is indeed a hernia (inguinal?).  He's amazed that it doesn't really bother me while running (just that constant dull aching reminder).  Orders:  no long run this weekend (as I type this my counterparts are just finishing up a 20+ miler on trails in eastern CT).  He advised me to not do anything really long or particularly strenuous but he did say that as long as I remain pain free it would probably be okay to go for short, easy runs.  Perhaps a pair of compression shorts would be helpful too.  Although, he really advised me to stop running fully.  Great. This in turn lead to a slightly heated debate between the two of us about the merits of running vs. its detrimental effects (e.g. "See, this is what you longer distance guys get for running so damn much").  I was and remain adamant that this is not a running injury. THIS IS NOT A RUNNING INJURY!! THIS IS NOT A RUNNING INJURY!! THIS IS NOT A RUNNING INJURY!! THIS IS NOT A RUNNING INJURY!! Another visit early next week and if nothing changes, he'll schedule me with some specialists and a surgeon to explore other options. 

So, in turn, I zeroed yesterday.  I also skipped the long run this morning.  I may try something really short and easy tomorrow, simply for sanity sake.  The looming dilemma is:  do I want it to be an operable situation so they can get in and fix it (hurry up and heal) or let it simply be one of those vague medical "strains" and have it take forever to heal?  Also, once again, keep running, run only a tiny bit, or stop running entirely? Not sure.  I'm left holding the bag either way.

The upcoming week will be really insightful as to my options.  If it is not a hernia, and am still able to run relatively pain free and nothing increases, I'll simply grind it out and hang on for Clarence DeMar.  I guess I'm hoping this is what happens. 

In an all too ironic twist of fate, yesterday I received a pair of shoes from Mizuno as part of their Mezamashii Project.  I love the idea of getting to be a test subject and take part in a "scientific study".  They sent me a pair of their Mizuno Be shoes.  They're a little funky and in actuality, they're not even running shoes--really a shoe for runners to be worn when NOT running. They have a strange, "dangling"/overhanging toe set up to supposedly strengthen toe, foot, and lower leg tendon and ligaments.  Sure, I'll be a lab rat.  However, I doubt that in my "Thought Journal" as I record my data and observations I can write: "My running life fu*$#ng sucks right now!!"

Mezamashii: Japanese for "Your running lifestyle is in jeoparday"
So in summary, the paradoxical situation is as follows: 
~ Don't run but you can run but don't run long or hard.  If it hurts, stop but if it only hurts sort of, keep going but stop if you want to. However, I advise you to stop running but do what you want, within reason. Also,  wear your new freak running shoes that aren't really running shoes at all but are for runners to not run in and just exist in a nebulous state of purgatory until who knows when. Hurry up and wait.