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Archive for the month “August, 2010”

New Life

Measured steps, but steps all the same. I got out the door for 5 miles on a tricky knee. All seemed fine although I was cautious. I used two knee sleeves that seemed to offer enough support and my knee didn’t give me any guff. It was a little sore afterward, but nothing I can’t live with.

True test will come on Sunday when I attempt 20 miles. I may be off the original plan, yet I feel I still may get this marathon in this fall. People with much larger hurdles to face succeed everyday, I am not about to quit in the face of minor adversity.

Quit?

The idea of giving up sickens me. Setting the goal of running a marathon and not being able to follow is unthinkable. I need to find a way to have my knee be stable enough to complete the task at hand.

Today I hit the stationary bike for 30 minutes at lunch. I then hit the heavy and speed bags for a boxing workout after work for an hour and 10 minutes. I will try to run tomorrow on a soft surface (gravel probably) and see if I can avoid the knee instability.

This issue with my knee is a classic trick knee type situation. My knee feels great, but I don’t know when the sharp pain and slippage will occur. Before last week, I thought those days were over. It had been almost 5 years since the last uprising of the issue. Last time the bike worked well to balance the quads to the hamstrings. I tend to run way more than any other exercise working those hams and neglecting the quads. My problem lately maybe that I haven’t been hitting the hills, which tend to employ the quads when the flats neglect the same.

We will see if the adjustments will put me back on course. I am not ready to quit!

Injured

After 2 months of injury free running, I tweaked my left knee this last week and my long run was cut short today due to the injury. This the same knee I had the medial meniscus scoped after a tear back in 1991. Running had been an activity that didn’t seem to bother the knee over the years and I was surprised when I  hyper extended it on a flat surface running straight forward. It seemed fine with no pain after the event.

I had a track workout on Wednesday that went off without a hitch. Friday, I ran twice once in the morning for 40 minutes and again in the evening for 40. The second workout ended with the knee tweaking with a short sharp pain and then 5 steps later it shifted into the inside. I took yesterday off from running. I put a knee sleeve on for today’s scheduled 20 miler and gave it a shot. Everything felt great for 6 miles and then the sharp pain came back. It hit me 4 times, none of which were are bad as Friday, but I cut the run off at 10 miles.

My plan for this week is to hit the stationary bike and not run as many miles. This is a similar problem I had shortly before my 4th Chicago Marathon and the bike helped alleviate stress. I was able to finish the marathon without any occurrences of the knee pain.

I am now 50/50 on whether I will run my scheduled marathon. I haven’t given up complete hope, but at 44 I want to run with more confidence than my knee is providing at this time.

800 Repeat Speed Blog

Hit the track for my best speed workout of the year. 800 repeats at 3:22, 3:18, 3:16, 3:12, 3:11 and 3:07. Hum? Maybe a 3:20 marathon is possible this year.

20,22,20

The home stretch is here. 32 days and three 20 milers over the next 3 Sundays. Confidence will be gained. These long runs are key for me and I am looking forward to having my most successful training leading into the marathon. In years past, bad patches and/or missed long runs have put some questions marks in my thinking going into my marathons. This time around I have had 2 great months of training overall. I have stayed healthy and have competed all scheduled workouts. If I have 3 strong long runs, I believe I will have another sub 3:30 marathon and qualify for the 2012 Boston Marathon (to qualify for 2011 I would have to go sub 3:20).

Positive thinking will get me there. Hard work always leads to strength of mind and body. I will be riding both to success.

18 Miler

The heat and humidity were up from last week causing more fluid loss on my long run this morning. The first 10 miles were fine at 8:30 pace. The last 8 were a blow up and an extreme effort to complete.

I did the first 10 on an out and back. Refueled on gatorade and a GU pack then headed back out, but the fuel didn’t sit right so I walked for a while during the 11th mile. I was able to recover for a 4 mile out and back. More Gatorade and water then back out for the last 4 miles. More walking, but I was able to run for 80% of time and finish strong on the last 1/2 mile. Mentally I went back and forth whether to deem this run a success. I do feel that race day should be cooler and the aid stations closer together than what I experience in training. I will put this training run on the plus side for that reason as it was a less that ideal day for PR type performance.

Body Types

Many think that they cannot run. They just don’t have the body type for running. Well there are so many different body types that can run, how do you know until you try?

The group of people I run with represents several different body types and only one could be classified as a classic runner. Josh R. has a six pack abs and very low body fat. The rest of us are Joe Averages or looking to lose more than a few pounds.

What separates runners is not the outward look of the runner, but the heart that lies within. The desire to push themselves and lead others to reach their goals as well.

Whether it be weight loss, overall health or race success, anything can be used as a reason to run. Set goals and the excuses like body type go away leaving only the goals.

Improv your Run

Even with a well written script, sometimes the actors just need to improv to make a scene work. Running is much the same way. Tuesday could be the day you plan to go to the track to do some speed work. Tuesday comes and your body says to take in slow.

Your legs and lungs can dictate what is appropriate on any given day. Listen to your body for signs of when rest is needed or when you can go guts out.

Today was day 8 in a row for running and my left achilles is saying you need to take tomorrow off to be ready for Sunday’s 18 miler. Enough said. Tomorrow off it is.

Thanks Jill

Having a family with 4 kids (3 from a previous marriage) training for a marathon would be impossible without the support of my wife, Jill. Since the day we met she has been my biggest fan. We have been together for my last 2 marathons and she created inspirational books for me before each one. She campaigned for and collected supportive notes from friends and family to be in the books. Her level of caring is unlike anything I have experienced in my life. She is my one true love.

Every Sunday she stays home with the kids, while I am gone for 3 hours running. To be a family person and a marathon runner, you are only as good as your support system.

I proposed to her before the 2006 Chicago Marathon and wore gloves during the race that said “Jill will you marry me?” My oldest 3 kids and Jill watched the race. Jill had made shirts that said “Team Steve” in bright yellow that made it easy to find them on the sidelines. I saw them at mile 26 and went over hugged my kids and gave Jill a kiss before finishing the last .2 of the race.

The year before I had the idea to propose to Jill at a marathon as I ran by her near the finish of the 2005 Chicago Marathon. I was tired and blew her several kisses. I almost ran over to her right then and proposed, but I didn’t want to cheapen the moment by my weakened state, so I just starting planning the proposal for sometime in the next year. My original plan was to carry the ring during the race, go over, kneel and propose during the race. I started to fear that I might lose the ring, so I proposed to her before the marathon on the drive into Chicago. The gloves were worn during the race for posterity as I flashed them to the cameras on the course.

We got married in Las Vegas a few weeks later on Las Vegas Marathon weekend.

My hope to my readers is that if they have someone in their lives like Jill, be very thankful. If you are single find someone who shares your love for running or at least is supportive of your very healthy hobby.

It was her idea that I start a running blog. If she wasn’t so awesome, I would be a far lessor person. Thank you Jill. I love you very much.

Drive when there is no Drive

Somedays you run out the door and nothing feels right. You just don’t feel IT today. Today was one of those days for me. My legs felt heavy and my mind was not doing the pushing. I could have turned around and gone on home, but I didn’t.

A switch went off somewhere in the grand scheme of running (I not sure when or where), but I started to feel great. My strides were quickening and I felt fast like the me of 4 or 5 years ago.

Just because you don’t feel it right away, doesn’t mean IT won’t happen for you. Sometimes greatness comes out of the murky beginnings.

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