Monday, March 28, 2011

If it's not one thing, it's another

After struggling for so long with a chronic "syndrome" (posterior shin splints) that I scarcely remember what it feels like to just run freely, without fear or reservation, I was finally able to get through a couple mile run pain-free on Saturday. It felt good. My speed was good. My breathing was all right. It went pretty well.

Just to be safe afterward, I took Sunday off, and only rode to the movie theatre with my wife to see True Grit (good movie; I recommend it). Today is Monday, however, and as the day has worn on, I've found that I am now having some soreness along my peroneal tendon, on the outside of the my lower leg. So, essentially, the pain/tenderness I was feeling from running a few weeks ago on the inside of my lower tibia, along the posterior tibialis tendon, has moved to the outside of the same leg. I'm a little concerned about it, but I'm maintaining a wait-and-see attitude.

The soreness along the peroneal tendon doesn't seem to occur under the same conditions as the previous posterior tibialis pain (i.e., during eccentric contraction just after forefoot strike), but I'm not willing to push it. Straight-legged calf stretches bug a tiny bit at first, but then it's fine for more stretching. I've noticed it since late yesterday after returning from the movie.

I'm tired of these sorts of issues, which now have forced me to all but give up on the prospect of running the full Colorado Marathon. I'm now having to face the prospect of dropping to one of the shorter races, and if things continue in this way it may be best simply not to race at all. Injuries don't always make sense, I guess. They just always suck.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Work-life balance?

Everyone feels like they're job cramps their style a bit now and then. I've been without a steady job for so long, I had not experienced this for some time, but I am getting my first taste now. During training for my new job, I'm working normal business hours on weekdays. That's great, except that I've had to skip some medical appointments intended to help me get back in the running saddle, and it will likely be a couple weeks before I can manage to get the imaging work needed and discuss it with my sports medicine physician.

Annoying? Yes, but a necessary evil if I'm going to meet my other obligations in life... You know, like paying the bills, and other such things. Back to reminding myself frequently that I can only do what I can do, and practicing staying fully present in each moment, or at least renewing my commitment to these things.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

How we succeed: the good karma machine

Check out my post on the Dailymile blog here. I've talked about dailymile before. I cannot express how much motivation and inspiration can be derived from the dailymile community. I had heard it said that Facebook leads one dislike people they've known for years, while Twitter makes one like people they've never met. I'd say dailymile is more like twitter in the sense that you end up with lots of friends there you've never met, but more like facebook in layout and format. It takes the best of both and integrates them with a workout log, mapping, and Garmin gps and Nike+ sync capability. If Facebook and twitter are social networks, I guess dailymile could be legitimately called a Social Fitness Journal.

The power of this isn't obvious until you dig into it, log some workouts, and give it enough time (it usually doesn't take long) for people to come out of the woodwork to offer words of respect and encouragement, no matter what your fitness level or performance. Indeed, dailymile is so good at inspiring this kind of interaction, that the benefits can go far beyond just keeping your on tack for your fitness goals. That's really what the "How We Succeed" series on the dailymile blog is all about.

Have a look, and whether you just want to walk more regularly, train for an Ironman triathlon or marathon, or just stay committed to your boot camp class, I think you'll find more than enough encouragement at dailymile--and a fair share of entertainment as well... Not to mention a lot of new online friends.

Saturday, March 12, 2011


What is Six?
  1. In miles, it's 5-5.5 more than I can run before I experience pain or discomfort.
  2. It's the numer of days per week I was running easily before my problems began.
  3. It's the number of toes on my left foot (just kidding about this one).
  4. In minutes, it's slower than I should be able to run a mile based on my 5K and 10K race PR's.
  5. It's the number of whole miles in a 10K race.
  6. In ounces, it fits twice into a 12 oz. bottle of beer.
  7. It's the number of beers in a six pack.
  8. It's a factor of 12 and 24, which are the number of beers in a half rack and case of beer.
  9. In weight, it's over one third of a pound.
  10. It's the number of grams of salt that fits in a level teaspoon.
  11. It's the number of weeks since something went haywire with my posterior tibialis, achilles, medial tibia, fascia, or some other tissues of my left lower leg/ankle. 
  12. It's the number of weeks since I last was able to run comfortably.
  13. It's the number of consecutive weeks of training for the Colorado Marathon that I have now missed.
Right now, despite some good things it has going for it...  Six is not my favorite number.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Ignore rules of thumb and build form through experience

Ok, don't totally ignore rules of thumb about running form. Just don't take them entirely on faith. Try to figure out why they exist. How are they supposed to help you? Don't blindly apply them. Be skeptical, but open-minded to direct experience with changes in running form. I recommend this because there are some key general claims you find when you look into running form, and in many ways they confound or contradict one another. They are often floated by proponents of one type of running or another, often who have something to gain if you buy what they say, as universal truths.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Tread lightly with the dedicated self-teacher

When you got out to a lot of music performances, you learn that if a musician begins to take requests, it's usually not long before someone yells out "Free Bird." Most musicians ignore it, some giggle, but one I saw had a good response. He said, "Hey buddy, I don't come to where you work and order a whopper." So, essentially, he was calling the guy a McDonald's employee, right?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Delusions, Optimism, Realism, and Pessimism

For the last month, I have been dealing with a strain and some accompanying tendinitis. After a month, the strain of my posterior tibialis muscle appears to have healed, but the tendinitis simply will not abate. Fortunately, it doesn't hurt most of the time. I can do most everything I used to do, except run more than a 2-3 miles at the most without experiencing some discomfort or pain.

Be here now: the path to finding balance

Balance"If you can think it, you can do it, you can be it. But you gotta be here now. [emphasis added]" - Willy Porter, Musician

When applying for jobs recently, a phrase that came up a few times in interviews was "work/life balance." I'll admit to being a little confused by the phrase, because work is really an integral part of life that few, if any, of us can escape. I hear the term balance used with regard to athletic training and family as well, and I think the only way I can really understand the idea of balance of this type is that it's between something we want to do and something we are obligated to do. When we draw distinctions like this between work and life, training and family time, etc., I think in some ways there is an implied value judgment involved. On one side of the scale, we have something we do because we want to do it, while on the other side of the scale is something we are obligated to do. As we tend to enjoy things we want to do, we may have to fight to make sure we focus enough on our obligations to keep life in balance.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Dailymile Team: Early Experiences - Patience is a Virtue

Well, it's only been a couple of weeks since my activities as a member of the dailymile team started in earnest, and I'll admit to being perhaps a little overly excited about the many opportunities team membership provides to give a little extra back to the the community at large. This time around, there are some seasoned team veterans, and a whole passle of us newbies who I think are just starting to realize two things...

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