Saturday, July 31, 2010

Week 6, Run 2 (18th overall)

Again, I am a day late with this run. I was going to do it the day before, but it was thunderstorming like crazy. Instead, I did it yesterday. This will push my final week 6 run to tomorrow.

I did a hell of a good job with this one. I went at a faster pace than before and did the first mile in about 10 minutes. Definitely not a world record, but pretty good for a beginner, I think. The best part is that I am having little to no pain during my runs now. This is fantastic. I have dealt with blisters, shin splins, and tendonitis. Now, I am feeling good.

Today, the day after, brings me some aching in my feet, toward the heels and Achilles tendons. This is just the muscles and tendons doing their thing, getting stronger. I am happy that both feet hurt equally today, meaning that I am doing something right. A little ibuprofen knocks the pain right out too.

The next run is a 25-minute continuous run, a step up from the 20-minute run that ended week 5. I don't think I will have a problem with it. Let's hope the rain holds off. It is supposed to be wet this weekend.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Week 6, Run 1 (17th overall)

I did this one last night instead of on Tuesday like usual. I had the day off work Tuesday and for whatever reason just didn't feel like doing it. It was the first one I missed due to laziness, and I felt bad about it.

Anyway, I did it yesterday (Wednesday) instead. It was two 5 minute runs and an 8 minute run with walking segments between them.

After having a whole 4 days off since the previous run, I was going pretty slowly on this one. My calves were burning pretty good and I was sweating like crazy. It was after sundown, but still around 90 degrees outside. Breathing wasn't too difficult, but I did get a stitch in my side at one point, which indicates that I wasn't getting enough oxygen.

My calves are pretty sore today, in a way that feels pretty good, like they are getting stronger. They even look to have gained some definition. So, that's exciting.

Since I delayed doing the first run, I am going back-to-back again and doing day 2 tonight after work. It is two 10 minute segments, so I hope I can finish. Considering I pulled off the 20 minute continuous run last week, I think I will finish this one relatively easily. Let's hope so.

Onward I go!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Week 5, Run 3 (16th overall)

This run was by far the most challenging to date. It was simply a continuous 20 minute run. It seems the formula for the next couple weeks is to end with a long continuous run, and then go back easier beginning the next week.

Considering the above, and the fact that I did not take a day off to rest this week, I'd say I did a fantastic job. I did the whole thing without stopping, except for a 5-second delay while waiting for a car to cross the intersection. I was never out of breath, and felt like I could have kept running.

The very best thing is that my tendonitis did not bother me before, during, or after the run. Even today it hasn't hurt. Is it gone? Healed? If that were true, I would be one happy camper. I will still wear the ankle brace and ice the foot, but maybe not much longer if it continues feeling good.

The run was actually an option. Either run 20 minutes, or 2 miles. I decided to run for 20 minutes, but I wanted to come close to the 2 miles also. I don't want my pace to be so far off that I am not actually ready for a 5k at the end of the program. So, thanks to, I found out just how far I would need to go to get the two miles. Basically I just did a mile out from my house, and then a mile back. At the half-way point of the run (10 minutes), I had run about 8 tenths of a mile. After the 20 minutes of running, I had run over a mile and a half. Which is about a 13 minute mile. So, I'm a little off pace. If you read this nice review of the program, you will find that this might just be a flaw in the program's design. While it is nice to go the distance in the same amount of time that the program suggests, you don't have to. And you certainly shouldn't be discouraged if you can't.

All that being said, I know I could have gone at a faster pace. I really started out slow knowing that 20 minutes of running lay ahead. Next time I think I will try to speed up my pace for a couple minutes at a time, and then slow back down for awhile. Just to see if I can make the correct distance.

I am very happy that I have THREE DAYS OF REST! My feet and calves deserve it.

I need to make my mp3s for week 6. And then I will tackle it head on.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Week 5, Run 2 (15th overall)

Just got out of the shower after doing this run, got my foot on ice, and could not be happier. I kicked this runs ass! It consisted of two 8-minute running segments with a 5-minute breather in between. I was nervous about it, because I had previously only done 5-minute stretches. I was pleasantly surprised by how well I did. I actually wanted to keep going when it was over! It caught me off guard a little when my music changed to the "run is over" segment at the end.

If I learned anything tonight, it is DON'T NEGLECT THE HEEL. Barefoot running (or minimalist running with vibram five fingers) is all about the fore-foot strike. And it is true, the forefoot hits first. But the heel must come down! I realized tonight that I have been running too much on the front of the foot, leaving the heel often never touching the ground. I started bringing that heel down tonight, and it is amazing how the arch of your foot just propels you forward. You literally don't have to put any effort into pushing off. It just... does it. And when your feet are doing the work for you, you can go much farther and longer than otherwise.

I haven't put it in the blog, but I have been taking a bottle of water with me on my runs. It really keeps my throat from drying out, which in turn helps me breathe better. Of course, it keeps you hydrated too. So that is a big help.

I have another schedule change at work that will keep me from my Saturday night run, so I am going to do the final run of week 5 tomorrow night, without a day of rest between. I know this is not recommended on a regular basis, but doing it just once shouldn't be a big deal. It is a doozy, though. It is a continuous 20-minute run. We'll see how it goes!


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Week 5, Run 1 (14th overall)

I just finished the first run of week 5, comprised of three 5-minute running segments with nice 3-minute walking breaks between. It could not have gone better.

Where is the final run of week 4, you ask? Well, I didn't run it. An unexpected schedule change at work derailed my plans of running Saturday night. Sunday, I was planning on making up for it by riding my bike around a local park, but alas, it started to thunderstorm just as I was getting ready to leave. I don't feel bad about it. After all, I did the week 4 run four times... it was just in a span of two weeks.

So, I felt ready to go ahead with week 5 starting tonight, the usual schedule I follow.

It really felt great. The foot was feeling great. My form could not have been better. You just get a good rhythm going and simply KNOW you are doing things right. The other day, my wife was driving by and saw me running. When I got home she said, "I didn't recognize you until I got close, you didn't look awkward at all!" Thanks, honey. I choose to ignore the underlying insult and instead focus on the positive: my form looks good. Or, at least, "not awkward." :)

Currently my foot is elevated on a pillow with a bag of ice under the ankle, as the doctor ordered.

Oh, and I wanted to mention that I followed my own advice and sat on the porch for awhile before going inside after the run. Cooling down while still outside in the warm air is less shock to your system than going right in to the air conditioning inside. It really seemed to help.

The next run of week 5 is different than the first one, which is the first time that has been the case thus far in the program. I have two 8-minute running segments to look forward to Thursday night. I don't think it will be a problem. I am feeling good right now.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Week 4, Run 2 Re-run (13th overall)

Again, this run hurt my foot. I had my ibuprofen, ankle brace, and it still hurt like hell. This is surprising to me because I just did this same run two days before and the foot felt fantastic. After this one, I was limping home.

After I got inside the house, I began to have some major chills. This is probably due to the air conditioning in conjunction with the foot pain. It just made me feel sick. It also might have been a result of not cooling down enough after the run. I did the 5-minute cooldown walk, but I still had a pretty high heart rate by the time I got home. Next time I will probably sit on the porch in the summer air until I recover, and then go inside.

The only thing I could do when I got inside was lay down in bed. I wanted to do my post-run stretches, but I just felt awful. My beautiful wife offered to get me a bag of ice for my foot, which I accepted. The ice really helped. I would have gotten it myself, but like I said, I didn't feel like doing anything.

Today at work the foot aches, but not as bad as last night. So that's a good thing. I suppose this is how it will be. I am not going to stop running because of this. The doctor said I didn't have to. So I won't.

The only thing I can think of that caused it to hurt more this time was that I ran a different direction, with lots of hills compared to the relatively flat route the opposite way. It is strange, but going downhill actually hurts more than going uphill. It is very difficult to not get a heal-strike when going down a hill. The last running segment was uphill, and I ran it hard. The foot didn't hurt at all during that part. Go figure.

One more week 4 run to go and then it is on to week 5. C'mon, foot. Give a man a break!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Week 4, Run 1 Re-run (12th overall)

After getting the news from the doctor that my foot pain was only tendonitis, I started running again. I had only missed 1 day from the week, but decided to start week 4 from the beginning.

It went well. The ankle brace that was recommended to me fit nice and tight, and kept the pain down during the run. The ice I applied post-run kept the swelling down and allowed me to sleep peacefully. The next day at work, the foot was hurting like usual, but tonight, it feels really good.

I am optimistic that if I keep applying ice after my runs, and wearing the brace, that I will be able to complete the program.

As for the run itself, it was pretty good. I felt a little out of breath at times, probably due to the extra time off since the last run. All things considered, it went well, and I felt great afterwords. It started to rain during my cool-down walk, which cooled me off, and made me happy. A sign from above? You be the judge.

Tomorrow night is the day 2 "re-run". Bring it on!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Update from the Doc

Today I went in to get a check up, and asked the doctor (actually a nurse practitioner) about the ankle. She did some pressing on it, asked if it hurt when she did this and that, and had me roll the foot around, etc. She told me that it is most likely tendonitis. She recommended a particular ankle brace from the drug store, basically just an ACE bandage in sock form, that is very tight fitting. I am to use that while I jog, and even at work if the ankle still bothers me the next day. Also, I am to ice the ankle immediately after the run, and keep taking ibuprofen. So, basically, I have been doing everything correctly already. Instead of taping the ankle, I will just slip this brace on and be on my way. It is very thin and has a cut-out for the heel, so it won't affect the fit of my KSOs.

But, the best part, is that I don't really risk any further damage by continuing to run. So, I am going to start week 4 anew. If anything, this small break from running will probably only make me stronger and more equipped to handle the program. Very good news.

Week 4, Day 1 re-run (clever?) is tomorrow. I am excited/nervous. Let's hope things go smoothly.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Week 4, Run 2 (11th overall)

Ok, this run did not go so well.

First, the core-strength program that I did the night before was MUCH harder than I thought it would be. I could not do the plank lift, and could only barely do the side plank lift. So, I was discouraged about that. Perhaps it will get easier? Hopefully! I have yet to give it a second try.

Then, during the run, the dreaded foot pain became worse, and worse, and worse...

I had taken ibuprofen, wrapped the ankle, and eaten an energy bar just like before, but this time it didn't help. By the time I finished the run, I was limping home very slowly.

I am seeing a doctor on Monday. I am going to skip the final run of week 4, which was scheduled for tonight. I just don't think it is a good idea to keep running through pain. I will find out what the problem is and what I can do about it, and go from there. If I can continue running, I will have a week 4 re-do. Which is fine with me. I really want to finish this program, so I don't want to hurt myself and end up failing.

Damn the injury. All else considered, I am doing very well up to this point in the program. Such bad luck.

The next blog will have an update from the doctor, and hopefully news about a continued bid at the couch-to-5k program.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Week 4, Run 1 (10th overall)

Last night was the first day of week 4, which introduced two 5-minute running segments in addition to two 3-minute running segments. Let me say, it felt as if there was a step missing between week 3 and 4 because it was much, much harder than I expected. There is far more running time, and far less walking time. In fact, it is the first week with less walking than running. Up until now, it has been about even. All that being said, I finished the run, and it felt great.

There are a couple reasons why I did a good job last night. The first is the music. I made an mp3 mix of The Offspring and Alice in Chains for the run. I ran during The Offspring, and walked during Alice. I was particularly inspired by the last walking segment of the run, before the final 5-minute running segment. It was "Rooster" by Alice in Chains. "Ain't found a waaaaay, to kill me yeeeeet. Eyes buuuurn, with stingin' sweat. Yeahhhh, they come to snuff the Roosterrrrr, ah yeah. Yeahhhhh, here come the ROOSTERRRRRR, YEAHHH!!!" And then it was time to run. They still ain't found a way to kill me. :)

Another reason for the successful run was the physical preparation I did for it. I had a powerbar an hour before. And I took a couple ibuprofen to help the pain that I've been having in my left foot. I also bought some athletic tape and wrapped the ankle. All that being done, I was more than ready to succeed. It just goes to show that if you set yourself up to succeed, you will. It's that simple.

When they tell you to drink water before a run, they don't mean chug an entire glass 5 minutes before you hit the road. I had a bad case of the water-burps which, while you are running, feel like you are about to vomit. It was very distracting. Luckily I managed to complete the run without getting sick.

The day after the run brings me the same ache in my left foot that I have been having. The wrapped ankle helped me get through the run okay, but apparently didn't stop the injury from hurting today. I have a doctor's appointment on Monday the 12th, so I will ask about the foot, see if there is anything I can do about it. I also have a nice blister on the heel of the right foot. I assume this is just due to the increased workload, and will toughen up just like the other blisters I've had.

Tonight I will be doing this simple core strength program. It is designed for runners and should only take about 15 minutes. Hopefully it will help me in the future, if I stick to it.

That's about it! I am glad I conquered this run, as I was worried about it. Now my only concern is the foot pain. Please go away pain!!!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Week 3, Run 3 (9th overall)

Two nights ago was the third and final run of week three of the Couch to 5k program in my Vibram Five Fingers.

Music: A self-made mp3 including Metallica for running segments and The Beatles for walking segments.

Weather: After sundown, so it was about 78 degrees. Very pleasant.

This run/walk wasn't my best, and it is all because of the pain in my left foot, below the ankle. After browsing the web, I have concluded that I have some issue with the peroneal tendon, possibly a peroneal dislocation. My ankle does click when I walk, and the pain becomes amplified when I try to run. I took ibuprofen before the run which helps with the swelling. By the last running segment, I was really having difficulty with the pain, which angered me because everything else felt great. My knees have no issues, and my lungs were treating me well also.

After the run, I iced the area, put my foot up, and just rested. This really seemed to help the pain. I am going to see the doctor about this issue, but until then, I think I will try an ankle wrap when I run, followed by the RICE technique. That's about the only way I can deal with it. I am not wanting to stop running, since I am doing so well. And I am really looking forward to the new week 4 challenge tomorrow night. We will see how it feels after that one. I'm a little nervous about it...

Last night was a beautiful 4th-of-July holiday, complete with fireworks and beer. Tonight is more resting.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Week 3, Run 2 (8th overall)

The second run of week three went very smoothly. It was much cooler than it has been, and it was a beautiful, clear, starry night that had that crisp smell of Autumn, even though it was only the first of July. Getting through the run was quite easy.

One thing that still concerns me is the pain I have in my left foot, under the ankle on the outside. It feels like it might be connected to the achilles in some way, but I am not sure. It generally goes away by the next run, but still, it makes me wonder if I am doing something wrong. Maybe I am running more on the left side? Who knows.

I am going to start this core strength training program on the two off days between days 1-2 and 2-3. So it will only be twice per week, which still gives me a two-day rest from both running and strength training to really catch my body up for the new week. I haven't done the program yet, perhaps I'll start in week 4.

That's about all I have for this post. One more run for week 3, tomorrow night. Then, it's time for week 4. That reminds me, I need to make an mp3 for my week 4 runs!