April 30, 2008

Not setting distance records, but I am running this week

I did another 0.6 mile again this afternoon. My legs have felt fine (still a bit stiff when I first get up but not bad) since my short run on Monday, and I'm expecting them to feel fine between now and Saturday.

April 28, 2008

Ran a short test-run

I decided to do a short (0.6 mile) test run this morning to see how my right leg reacted to it. I ran around the block from where I live, and so far, my leg feels fine. However, my leg usually feels fine after a run,and it's the next day when the soreness comes in. So, I'll see how I feel tomorrow.

Update on my right leg

It's been 18 days since I decided to take a break from running to give my right leg extra help in recovering from an injury that occurred last November. My leg is feeling pretty good. It isn't completely healed yet, but it has improved during the 18 days.

Two of the conditions that I monitor to gage how well my leg is recovering are if I can kneel without pain and if I can stretch my quads by grasping my right ankle and pulling my leg up next to my buttock. When the accident occurred, I couldn't do either one, and during the almost 5 months since the accident, I've progressed so I can now kneel, and I can pull my leg closer to my buttock. I can't pull my leg quite as far as I can with the other leg, but it is getting better. During past weeks, I've had to grasp my pant leg or my stocking to pull my leg, but this morning I actually grasped my leg and pulled it. A few weeks ago when I was running three 5-mile runs each week I reached the point where I could kneel without pain. Then I started to increase my distance, and I started to feel pain when I knelt. So, my 18 days without running has helped me recover from the effects of increasing my distance.

On Saturday afternoon my wife and I went to a home-repair show and spent about two hours viewing the exhibits. By the end of the tour, my right leg was starting to be sore, and I was hobbling around the house and at church yesterday (Sunday). The leg feels much better today. Two hours of walking at the show had about the same effect on my leg as two hours of running.

Running and brain activity

I've mentioned in previous posts that I'm syncing my arm movement with my legs. When my left foot goes forward, my right arm goes forward. And likewise with the other leg and arm. I was thinking about this during a recent run, and I realized there is an important benefit from moving my legs and arms this way.

In explaining this, I'm going to refer to a theory of brain activity that was popular a decade or so ago. I don't know if this theory is still in vogue, but I like the theory because it is easy to understand. So, here goes.

When I move my left arm or left leg, that movement is controlled by the right side of my brain. When I move my right arm or right leg that movement is controlled by the left side of my brain. This means that when I run, because I'm syncing my arms and legs together both sides of my brain are active at the same time, rather than alternating being active as would be the case if my left arm and left leg went forward at the same time.

The conclusion that I draw about this is that I'm getting twice the brain activity because I'm syncing my left foot and my right arm.

April 21, 2008

How to train for running

Along with the serious part of running, it's good once in a while to have a good laugh.


Q: I've heard that cardiovascular exercise can prolong life; is this true?

A: Your heart is only good for so many beats, and that's it... don't waste them on exercise. Everything wears out eventually. Speeding up your heart will not make you live longer; that's like saying you can extend the life of your car by driving it faster. Want to live longer? Take a nap.

Q: Should I cut down on meat and eat more fruits and vegetables?

A: You must grasp logistical efficiencies. What does a cow eat? Hay and corn. And what are these? Vegetables. So a steak is nothing more than an efficient mechanism of delivering vegetables to your system. Need grain? Eat chicken. Beef is also a good source of field grass (green leafy vegetable). And a pork chop can give you 100% of your recommended daily allowance of vegetable products.

Q: Should I reduce my alcohol intake?

A: No, not at all. Wine is made from fruit. Brandy is distilled wine, that means they take the water out of the fruity bit so you get even more of the goodness that way. Beer is also made out of grain. Bottoms up!

Q: How can I calculate my body/fat ratio?

A: Well, if you have a body and you have fat, your ratio is one to one. If you have two bodies, your ratio is two to one, etc.

Q: What are some of the advantages of participating in a regular exercise program?

A: Can't think of a single one, sorry. My philosophy is: No Pain...Good!

Q: Aren't fried foods bad for you?

A: YOU'RE NOT LISTENING!!!... Foods are fried these days in vegetable oil. In fact, they're permeated in it. How could getting more vegetables be bad for you?

Q: Will sit-ups help prevent me from getting a little soft around the middle?

A: Definitely not! When you exercise a muscle, it gets bigger. You should only be doing sit-ups if you want a bigger stomach.

Q: Is chocolate bad for me?

A: Are you crazy? HELLO . Cocoa beans! Another vegetable!!! It's the best feel-good food around!

Q: Is swimming good for your figure?

A: If swimming is good for your figure, explain whales to me.

Q: Is getting in-shape important for my lifestyle?

A: Hey! 'Round' is a shape!

Well, I hope this has cleared up any misconceptions you may have had about food and diets.

And remember:

"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways – a coke in one hand - chocolate in the other - body totally worn out and screaming, Whoo what a ride!"

April 14, 2008

Who are you running against?

One beautiful summer day a lawyer, a doctor, and an accountant were on a nature walk through the woods. During their walk, they suddenly noticed a large Grizzly bear in the distance. The bear, not liking it's territory being invaded, starts moving aggressively towards the trio. The doctor and accountant start to panic, not sure what do. However, the lawyer calmly sits down and starts to lace his running shoes.

The doctor reacts to this and shouts " You can't out run a bear!!"

The lawyer turns his head to his friends, smiles, and says "I only have to outrun you, not the bear".

April 12, 2008

Taking a month off from running to let my leg heal

I decided I'd better what I probably should have done when my accident first occurred last November: stop running to let my leg heal.

After my accident, I had to decide whether I would continue running or would stop running and let the leg heal. I reduced my running from 4 days per week to 3 days per week and my mileage from 33 miles per week to 15 miles per week. Running that reduced mileage didn't seem to make the injury worse. I monitored my leg and knee every day to see if the symptoms became worse. The symptoms didn't become worse, so I continued running. In fact, during the next 2-3 months, I could see definite ways that my leg was improving. Things looked pretty good during my weeks of running 15 miles per week. However, when I started to increase my mileage from 15 miles per week to higher distances that ended up being 25 miles per week, I could tell the soreness in my leg was becoming worse.

So, I have to decide if I should cut back to 15 miles per week, or stop running for a few weeks. I've decided to stop running for a month to let my leg heal, and I will reevaluate what to do at the end of the month. During the coming month, I will do upper body workouts and use my cycling machine to help keep my body toned up. The cycling machine is the pedal part of a stationary bike but no seat or handlebars. I sit in a comfortable chair and peddle away. An indicator tells me my pedal speed, the "distance" I've "traveled" and the number of calories I've used. I can adjust the resistance of the pedals to change the level of the workout.

So, unless something important happens, I won't make many, if any, posts in this blog during the coming month. See you in the middle of May....

April 10, 2008

I ran 1 1/2 miles and then aborted

I started my run planning on running 5 miles, but after about 1/3 mile I could tell my right knee was weak. By the time I got to 3/4 mile the knee was feeling sore each time the leg hit the ground. I turned around and walked about 1/4 mile and then jogged the rest of the distance back to my car. By the time I got to the parking lot, the knee was feeling fine. I probably could have kept on running, but I didn't want to take chances with the knee, and I'm glad I aborted.

It was a beautiful but a bit cold day with the temperature in the mid 40s (F) and a 3-4 mph wind. Lots of sun and nice clouds.

April 5, 2008

Decided to give my right leg a break for now

I've discussed in the past that I injured my right leg last November. The knee was swollen, and it hurt to bend my leg. After the injury, I reduced my running but did continue to run because the running didn't increase the pain. In fact, I had no pain during my runs or afterwords, just when I would bend my leg by sitting in a chair or kneeling on the floor.

The current swelling in my knee is gone, and my leg feels fine when I don't run. However, during the past few weeks, I've increased my running from 15 miles per week to 26 miles per week, the long run going from 5 miles to 10 miles. I've noticed that during my longer runs my right leg is starting to hurt while I run, and my leg is sore for about 24-48 hours after the run.

One problem that I've had as long as I can remember, I was probably born with it, is that when I sit down my muscles become stiff, and it takes about a minute of walking for the muscles to relax. During that minute, my right leg is sore, more now than a few weeks ago due to my running longer distances, and the leg feels fine after the muscles loosen up. Fine, that is, until I do another long run. As I mentioned above, the leg is sore during that run but feels fine after a day or two of rest.

I now realize that my leg is suffering from the longer distance that I've been doing during the past month, and I've decided to reduce my distance and run a shorter distance for a few weeks to let my leg heal. I thus didn't run today to give my leg some rest. I did walk about 1 1/4 mile round-trip to a church meeting, and my leg felt fine. During the coming week, I will try 5, 6, 7 miles for my three runs. If my leg is still sore during or after the longer runs, I'll go back to the 5, 5, 5 miles that I ran after the accident.

April 2, 2008

My improved performance continues with a 10-miler

I ran 10 miles on the Jordan River Parkway today. The run took me 2 hours 22 minutes, compared with slightly more than three hours for the same distance on Saturday. I had significantly more energy than I did on Saturday but not as much as on Monday. The 48 hours rest after the Monday run wasn't quite enough. I now will have 72 hours rest before I run again on Saturday.

I forgot to take an eGel or sports beans with me, and that might have caused a slight loss of energy. The temperature was in the high 40s (F), and the sky was cloudy with not much sun, and not much wind. It was a nice day for a nice run.

I've reached the first part of my goal -- 10 miles

Today was a significant milestone in my training. My goal listed in the left sidebar is to return to my midweek 10 mile and weekend 13 mile runs. I now have reached the first part (10-miler). Rather than take my Saturday run up to 13 miles, I'm going to leave it at 10 miles for a while to let my body (especially legs & feet) get used to the higher mileage that I'm doing.

April 1, 2008

Boy, what a run!

I really had a fast run today. I ran 18 miles on the Jordan River Parkway with an average pace of about 6:45. I got a good 12 hours sleep last night, and I think that energized me. I haven't run this fast since I was in marathon training 25 years ago. Wow! I'm still on a runner's high! I should be able to run the Salt Lake City Marathon in three weeks and qualify for Boston. Then it'll be Boston in 2009. Whoopee! Oh, by the way, happy Aprile Pazzo as my Italian speaking son-in-law would say.