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On the road again . . .

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On the road again . . .

Post  Tom H on Mon Dec 19, 2011 8:15 pm

My training blowup for Chicago hit me pretty hard. I kind of pulled back into my shell and felt a combination of sorry for myself and pissed off at my body for letting me down. I examined my training history over and over again to see what could have caused the issues, and the only “smoking gun” I could see was that I added swimming and biking into my training rotation – neither of which are supposed to be really bad for the AT. But doing the three activities all at once at the level I took them too could have been the deciding factor. So I had some hard decisions to make as I really enjoyed all three. In the end it wasn’t really that hard, running won out. I think I’ve got another PR in there still, and I’ve got Napa in my sights for that.

So, once I made the call that I was discontinuing the biking and swimming for now, that running was going to be what I focused on, I made the harder call - to stop running. For what turned out to be two lonnnggg months. Nada. Zip. Zilch. I was going to give the AT a solid rest at the same time as doing all the appropriate therapies. Went to my Graston guy and had him scrape it good. Did my PT work religiously. Even wore a Straussburg sock at night for a few weeks. It’s a good thing I’d already made friends with the elliptical because I spent a lot of time on it during that two month period with 5x/week 60 minute workouts @ LHR – icing the AT afterwards. In early October I gave it a test run on the treadmill, but found that a one month rest was not sufficient, so bit the bullet for one more month.

I decided that I was going to hit the road again in early November, and start out slowly. To have a low mileage regimen I could stick to I chose to begin with Hal’s Novice 1 and modify once things seemed solid. On November 1, I took the AT for a test drive and found that it was still a bit squeaky, but definitely not painful. Stuck to the plan mileage until the middle of the month when all pain had disappeared, then started bumping up the mileage.

So where am I in the training? I’ve decided to continue with the low heart rate approach (LHR) for a few reasons. It served me well in preparing for Eugene and resulted in a huge PR, it keeps me slow to minimize injury risk, and it requires a fair amount of mental discipline to stay slow when I feel like you can go faster. I do plan to incorporate Mark’s approach with the initial lactate threshold heart rate (ILTHR) runs earlier in this cycle as I saw good results with them late in the Eugene cycle and they help build confidence. Current weekly mileage is in the 30’s with last week’s long run being 14 miles. HR/Pace ratio one that I achieved only a few weeks before Eugene during that cycle (except the 14-miler – but that’s another story). That is very encouraging and it seems to be a new baseline as I don’t seem to be improving on it as yet. I saw the step improvements after I started the ILTHR runs last time, so we’ll see if history repeats.
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Re: On the road again . . .

Post  Joel H on Mon Dec 19, 2011 8:22 pm

Glad to see you are back on the road again and that the AT has healed up for the most part. I agree that adding in that much training stimulus probably caused some of your issues. I look forward to seeing how you do with the Mark approach towards Napa.
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Re: On the road again . . .

Post  Mark B on Mon Dec 19, 2011 8:49 pm

"The Mark Approach?" Yipes!

Anyway, welcome back, Tom. There's little more frustrating than blowing up, big time, as you try to build on some terrific gains. I'm glad you've worked through it to the point to where you feel good starting back at it again.

I think you're wise to have taken a break, and to ease your way back into it. I have a feeling that these low HR runs will get you back to where you want to be while putting minimal strain on your system. Remember, it takes three weeks of steady work before you begin to see a small difference in your speed at the same HR, and six weeks before you see a more significant improvement. Patience will be rewarded.
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Re: On the road again . . .

Post  Tom H on Tue Dec 20, 2011 12:01 am

Thanks Joel and Mark. It is good to be back Quite frankly I was concerned that injuries may resurface early on and cause me to have to back off, and I didn't want to start a blog that potentially would end in a few weeks time. I set the goal of the 14 mile run to get back on the boards here. I completed that one yesterday, and felt pretty accomplished. The run itself was not pretty as I picked up a bad cold earlier in the week that settled in the chest, preventing me from getting a full inhalation for a few days. As a result, I skipped my midweek runs and only got back in the shoes on Saturday for a 7-mile easy run. That run actually went better than I had expected, but later in the day I found I was more tired than was normal.

On Sunday it became clear in the early miles that the LSD was going to be a challenge. I tossed out the HR constraint in mile 2 or 3 because I could tell the lung capacity had not fully returned, and had the choice of aborting the run or accepting the HR hit. I need to stay on track with miles, so chose the latter. At the end of the day the average HR for the entire run was 149, only 6 bpm higher than target, but the last two miles had it up in the 160's. After the run I was really glad I had gutted it out as it gave me a good dose of confidence in pushing through a tough run - something I have yet to encounter this cycle.
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Re: On the road again . . .

Post  Tom H on Wed Dec 21, 2011 12:38 pm

7 miles yesterday were better than the Sunday challenge. Was able to stay in HR range and very close to target pace for the entire run. We are really getting some good weather here with sunny skies, mornings in the low 40's and afternoons touching the 60's.

The cold I've been fighting has now morphed into a sinus infection, so now on antibiotics to try and bring that to an early conclusion. This is really the first time I've had to run through any sort of extended health issue that really seems to sap my strength; I'll be glad to get it all behind me. Looking forward to getting that lung capacity back for sure.
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Re: On the road again . . .

Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Thu Dec 22, 2011 2:51 pm

Great to hear/see that you are back, Tom. Yeah!
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Re: On the road again . . .

Post  Tom H on Thu Dec 22, 2011 9:15 pm

Thanks Michele! Good to be back on the road for sure!

Today was 9 @ LHR. I'm still feeling the effects of the cold/infection as PRE is higher and paces are a bit slower. I've changed my regular running route compared to what I was using for Eugene and the new one incorporates quite a few minor hills. This simulates better the Napa track and a bit later in the cycle I will start running a course that brings a few larger hills in to help prepare for the hills at the end of Napa (not huge hills, but at the end of the race).
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Re: On the road again . . .

Post  Tom H on Mon Dec 26, 2011 3:58 pm

Didn't make it out yesterday to run. Normally, the festivities are done at my house by about 2 pm and I thought I'd have plenty of time, but we had a stream of friends and family until 8 pm. Well, if you have to miss a day of running, that's one of the best reasons to do so!

So rolled my holiday stuffed carcass out of bed this morning, took the dogs on a walk to warm up only to find it was 29 degrees here! For us, that is really cold. Heavy frost on every surface, including lawns, such that I wish it had happened yesterday so that we'd have had a quasi-white Christmas! Dogs didn't mind the cold, after all they have fur coats, so we did the 1.3 mile loop after which I went for my 90 minute LHR run. Turned out to be 9.3 miles, 141 avg HR, 9:36 avg pace.

This respiratory congestion/infection is really bothersome when doing the LHR work. What was a mid-9:20's pace is now mid to upper 9:30's. I have to keep telling myself training is not regressing, it is the respiratory issue, but nontheless, a bit of a bummer. The optimist in me says that this will actually turn out to be a good thing as my body is getting used to operating on lower lung capacity, so that when I get it back, I'll be able to make some good advances.
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Re: On the road again . . .

Post  Mark B on Mon Dec 26, 2011 11:00 pm

You're doing a lot better than I am right now, Tom. Keep it up!

The respiratory issue may be affecting your HR readings, but maybe also the extra clothing you're probably also wearing in that chilly NorCal weather.

So odd that it's warmer hundreds of miles to the north than it is where you are. scratch
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Re: On the road again . . .

Post  Tom H on Tue Dec 27, 2011 1:19 am


@Mark B wrote:
The respiratory issue may be affecting your HR readings, but maybe also the extra clothing you're probably also wearing in that chilly NorCal weather.

So odd that it's warmer hundreds of miles to the north than it is where you are.


No extra clothing here, Kimosabe. Shorts and a tech tee. A little chilly for the first mile and a half, but once the numbness leaves the hands actually not too bad :-) OK, maybe next time a long sleeve tee would be a good idea.

What actually may be contributing to the HR readings is a muscle strain I've been trying to get under control for about 6 weeks now. I developed a painful knot in my right calf early on in this training cycle, one that was harder than anything I’d ever felt before and that I could not get to relax with self-massage. I went to my massage therapist and had him attack it, and he did so aggressively. For 40 solid minutes he was on it with thumbs and elbows, and I was experiencing the deepest massage I had ever had. And by deep, I mean painful. On a scale of 1-10, it was a definite 10, an “I can’t breathe” 10. I knew I had to keep that calf relaxed for him to work on it, and did so, but pretty much every other muscle in my body was as tense as they had ever gotten with the result that I strained/sprained/locked-up one of the major muscles in my left gluteal region – a true pain in the ass. When I got out of bed in the morning, the first few steps were OK, but then it started aching, then tightening, then burning. I found that if I took the dogs on a mile walk then went on a run, everything released and relaxed for the rest of the day. I figured this meant it was a simple strain that would fix itself in a week or so, but this one did not want to go away. I tried massage and a couple of ART sessions, but no relief. I took a week off of running to see if, although it provided short term relief, the running was preventing healing. Nope. So I went in to see my PT and after a few sessions things improved significantly but it is not completely healed by any stretch of the imagination. It could be that it is affecting my form in such a way that I'm losing running efficiency. The good news is that it feels better when I run, so my PT has given me the green light to keep on running!

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Re: On the road again . . .

Post  Mark B on Tue Dec 27, 2011 12:14 pm

@Tom H wrote:
@Mark B wrote:
The respiratory issue may be affecting your HR readings, but maybe also the extra clothing you're probably also wearing in that chilly NorCal weather.

So odd that it's warmer hundreds of miles to the north than it is where you are.


No extra clothing here, Kimosabe. Shorts and a tech tee. A little chilly for the first mile and a half, but once the numbness leaves the hands actually not too bad :-) OK, maybe next time a long sleeve tee would be a good idea.

What actually may be contributing to the HR readings is a muscle strain I've been trying to get under control for about 6 weeks now. I developed a painful knot in my right calf early on in this training cycle, one that was harder than anything I’d ever felt before and that I could not get to relax with self-massage. I went to my massage therapist and had him attack it, and he did so aggressively. For 40 solid minutes he was on it with thumbs and elbows, and I was experiencing the deepest massage I had ever had. And by deep, I mean painful. On a scale of 1-10, it was a definite 10, an “I can’t breathe” 10. I knew I had to keep that calf relaxed for him to work on it, and did so, but pretty much every other muscle in my body was as tense as they had ever gotten with the result that I strained/sprained/locked-up one of the major muscles in my left gluteal region – a true pain in the ass. When I got out of bed in the morning, the first few steps were OK, but then it started aching, then tightening, then burning. I found that if I took the dogs on a mile walk then went on a run, everything released and relaxed for the rest of the day. I figured this meant it was a simple strain that would fix itself in a week or so, but this one did not want to go away. I tried massage and a couple of ART sessions, but no relief. I took a week off of running to see if, although it provided short term relief, the running was preventing healing. Nope. So I went in to see my PT and after a few sessions things improved significantly but it is not completely healed by any stretch of the imagination. It could be that it is affecting my form in such a way that I'm losing running efficiency. The good news is that it feels better when I run, so my PT has given me the green light to keep on running!


Yow! That doesn't sound like fun. Except for the running part. Maybe the low-intensity work will allow it to work itself out in time. Hope so, anyway!
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Re: On the road again . . .

Post  Tom H on Thu Dec 29, 2011 1:31 am

Another run today similar to the last one in terms of distance, duration and results. Had to push myself a bit to get out as I was feeling tired and bereft of energy. I don't truly understand why it is, but I'm glad that going out for a run actually pumps up my energy level and generally improves my outlook for the day.
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Re: On the road again . . .

Post  Peg Coover on Thu Dec 29, 2011 9:21 am

How's the calf feeling? I had great results with ASTYM treatment last year on a hamstring strain I got while shoveling snow. The treatment was painful, but effective!
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Re: On the road again . . .

Post  Tom H on Thu Dec 29, 2011 12:14 pm

Hey Peg! The calf is doing fine now. Never really figured out what brought it on, but after that aggressive massage it eventually went back to normal. Now if that pain in the butt would just do the same.
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Re: On the road again . . .

Post  Tom H on Sun Jan 01, 2012 12:08 am

CRAP! That is the word that comes to mind. Actually, there are several, more potent, words that come to mind, but I refrain from sharing. That glute issue has blossomed over the past 3 days, spreading to my lower back and thigh. Advice I'm getting now is for complete rest. I. Don't. Like. This. At. All.
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Re: On the road again . . .

Post  Kenny B. on Sun Jan 01, 2012 7:53 am

@Tom H wrote:CRAP! That is the word that comes to mind. Actually, there are several, more potent, words that come to mind, but I refrain from sharing. That glute issue has blossomed over the past 3 days, spreading to my lower back and thigh. Advice I'm getting now is for complete rest. I. Don't. Like. This. At. All.

Tom,

Just started following your blog and the AT is a bitch and I found swimming to actually aggravate it when I had it. So I also stopped everything and got custom orthodics. No issue since 2009.

I was happy to read your running approach LHR and see you are logging some nice miles, but then I read the glute issue. Ughh. I hope you are able to resolve it soon to continue training.

Look forward to hearing more of your journey to Napa.
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Re: On the road again . . .

Post  Tom H on Mon Jan 16, 2012 11:51 pm

Two weeks of total rest and just now beginning to see some improvement in the glute area. PT has been for 4 weeks now and I think the rest was more effective than the PT. I see my doctor later this week and was ready to request a soft tissue scan to see if there was a tear or some such and may still ask for that. The bad news is that it looks like Napa is out as it is only 6 weeks away. I won't be running again for a bit, and there simply is not enough time between now and then.
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Re: On the road again . . .

Post  Mark B on Tue Jan 17, 2012 12:11 am

@Tom H wrote:Two weeks of total rest and just now beginning to see some improvement in the glute area. PT has been for 4 weeks now and I think the rest was more effective than the PT. I see my doctor later this week and was ready to request a soft tissue scan to see if there was a tear or some such and may still ask for that. The bad news is that it looks like Napa is out as it is only 6 weeks away. I won't be running again for a bit, and there simply is not enough time between now and then.

Arg. You're right, though: Not enough time to run Napa. But the wine might be therapeutic... Shots

We'll both get ourselves upright and mobile soon, Tom. Then, it's watch out, world!

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Re: On the road again . . .

Post  Tom H on Fri Apr 20, 2012 9:34 pm

It has been a long running drought for me. After many, many doctor appointments, culiminating in an orthopedic surgeon and an MRI, my hip problem was diagnosed as a tear in my left labrum. Quite frankly, I didn't even know I had a lubrum, much less that I could tear it. Turns out this is the lining between the ball and socket of the hip. And this injury is most commonly associated with hockey goalies who spread their ankles while keeping their knees together as they drop to the ice to block a shot. Er, pardon me but hockey is not one of my pastimes . . . Oh well, I managed to get this injury regardless, and the treatment thus far has been a CT-guided injection of steroids right into the affected joint. Quite an experience, and thus far quite effective.



I took two weeks off post injection, then started off slowly running 1 mile, then 2, 3, etc. Orders were to mix up the motion, so run, swim, walk, cycle, pilates, etc. Last week I was on vacation in Maui and ran 5 mile 6x and felt great. The only issue was one of paying attention to where I was placing my feet. Much of the run was on dirt trails along the shoreline under blossoming trees. To the right was the ocean and the island of Lanai, to the left sharply rising mountainside. Looking over the water I could see sea turtles on the surface and waves breaking over the reef. I should have kept my eyes on the path as the last day I managed to do a full tilt faceplant in my final mile where I was pushing the pace to a 7:52 (fast for me!) and caught my right toe squarely on a raised rock. Ow. Both knees, hands and shoulder went down hard on the volcanic rock:







I'm hoping there are no breaks and the knees are fine, so will be able to keep on going. Got back home late last night and today was a rest day, so will test it all out again tomorrow. Feels good to be back in the saddle again.
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Re: On the road again . . .

Post  Mark B on Fri Apr 20, 2012 9:43 pm

Ouch on several counts, Tom! Though I can imagine why it'd be tough to keep your eye on the trail in a place as pretty as Maui. Let's hope your souvenir contusions and abrasions don't last longer than those cans of macadamia nuts you brought back.

Good to see you back. Approval
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Re: On the road again . . .

Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Sat Apr 21, 2012 1:09 pm

Ouch! Glad to hear you are back at it Tom, and I await many more entries.
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Re: On the road again . . .

Post  Tom H on Sat Apr 21, 2012 8:16 pm

Apparently we brought the warm weather back home with us from Hawaii. Today was 88 degrees and not a wisp of cloud in the sky. Took the dogs on a mile walk to warm up, stretched out the legs, filled up a carry bottle and went on a 6 mile run. Right now I'm not really caring about pace or HR, more interested in form and feel. Today was 6 miles at an 8:55 and I could really feel the heat/sun. Downed 3/4 of my 20oz bottle by mile 4 and refilled, put in my last 2 and walked about 10 min to cool down, by which time the water bottle was empty. Took a couple of Endurolytes when I got home to replenish the electrolytes and hopefully, prevent any cramping when sleeping tonight. Kinda feels like I'm relearning a lot of this stuff, but I'm happy to now be able to!
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Re: On the road again . . .

Post  Mark B on Sat Apr 21, 2012 8:33 pm

@Tom H wrote:Apparently we brought the warm weather back home with us from Hawaii. Today was 88 degrees and not a wisp of cloud in the sky. Took the dogs on a mile walk to warm up, stretched out the legs, filled up a carry bottle and went on a 6 mile run. Right now I'm not really caring about pace or HR, more interested in form and feel. Today was 6 miles at an 8:55 and I could really feel the heat/sun. Downed 3/4 of my 20oz bottle by mile 4 and refilled, put in my last 2 and walked about 10 min to cool down, by which time the water bottle was empty. Took a couple of Endurolytes when I got home to replenish the electrolytes and hopefully, prevent any cramping when sleeping tonight. Kinda feels like I'm relearning a lot of this stuff, but I'm happy to now be able to!

Sounds like a nice run. We're getting a warm weekend, too... it might even crack 80 tomorrow!
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Re: On the road again . . .

Post  John Kilpatrick on Mon Apr 23, 2012 9:27 pm

Sounds like a long and winding road Tom - I hope that things settle down/in for you to enjoy running for a while (or whatever you decide is best). I am just beginning a journey "back" after a 2 month layoff and a)I hated not being able to run and b) the first couple of runs so far have sucked! Seems like you work so hard to gain fitness only to have it fly away with an injury. Oh well, if it was easy everyone would do it I guess.....

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Re: On the road again . . .

Post  Tom H on Mon Apr 23, 2012 11:48 pm

John, I hear you loud and clear. What use to be easy runs are now an effort, but I keep reminding myself that I've been here before and it'll just take time. I'm really encouraged that after quite a few runs the hip is showing no signs of even aching, so I'm hoping this diagnosis and treatment got it.

Saturday's run in the heat took more out of me than I had realized. I planned to do another 6 on Sunday, but in the first mile knew the better part of valor would be to reduce that as it was again an 80+ degree day. Took an earlier turn that would trim the 6 to 4 and just ran at a "comfortable" pace. I put comfortable in quotes because my body and mind are conflicted right now on the definition of comfortable. It used to be that the legs would wear out before the breathing became labored, but I guess the legs have recovered more quickly than the lungs and now the legs keep wanting to go, but I find myself breathing harder than I should. I guess it is all part of the the reset one has to go through after a layoff. Probably means that at some point I'll go back to the LHR for a few months, but I'm just enjoying running without constraints right now:) .

Sunday may have been a better run if I'd been able to run in the early morning or evening, but I couldn't because I had the whole family coming over for dinner. The occasion? The first time we all got to meet daughter #2's new boyfriend. I decided I'd use it for an excuse to make a really fun meal - Bacon Weaved Stuffed Smoked Pork Loin, Sweet Corn Risotto, a nice green salad, and for dessert a Chocolate Chip Pecan Pie. Here's how some of this turned out:













Hmmm, maybe the tough run wasn't so bad after all . . .Laughing
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