Thursday, November 27, 2008

An unexpected running partner

Happy Thanksgiving!!

It's definitely not easy to go without running when you have an injury. The knee has been feeling OK, so I was tempted to give it a try this week. Lani and the girls have been out of town :-(, so Boston (our little dog) has been home alone while I go to work. I was feeling sorry for him, so I decided to take him for a long walk just to get him outside. I really needed some fresh air too, and a little bit of exercise. So, out we went. We had only made it around the corner when Boston started trotting along, pulling on the leash. What's a guy to do, especially when he is looking for an excuse to run? Up the road, and down the bike path we went. He was really moving along. Then I got to thinking, "Dude, Boston, you're just a little Shih Tsu. You weren't made for running distances." So, I slowed him down to a walk. Not much longer after that, he wanted to go some more. Who am I to stop a puppy from having a little fun after being so alone all day long? We ended up jogging/walking about a mile and a half. It was great! It felt so good to be moving again. The knee held up just fine, but it still doesn't feel quite right.

The next day, we did it again, and we actually ran most of the way. This time, I noticed my knee a bit more. I've come to the conclusion that it is not my ITB. Feeling around, I was finally able to pinpoint the location of discomfort. Up until now, it has just been general discomfort on the outside of my right knee. It is most sensitive right on the top of the head of my fibula. What could have caused that? The only thing I can think of is over training. I'm kind of wondering if it is a stress fracture, but a stress fracture on the fibula is very rare as it is not really a weight bearing bone. It might also have something to do with my lateral collateral ligament, which connects to the fibula, but damage to this ligament is usually caused by something hitting the inside of the knee, pushing it outward. I'm pretty sure nothing like that happened. So, I'm don't really know what's going on. Any ideas? I should probably go have it checked out, huh?

With Lani out of town, I didn't have to worry about feeling guilty about leaving her home this morning getting Thanksgiving dinner ready (don't worry, I've got a couple brothers and a sister-in-law coming over for dinner, so it won't just be me and Boston). I decided to volunteer at another local race. This was the Thanksgiving Day Classic, a 5k and a 10 mile run. It was raining pretty hard last night, and it was still raining when I got up this morning, so I was a little worried for the runners. But just in time for the start, it had started clearing up and the sun began to peak through the clouds. They had me working the registration table again. I'm getting quite a lot of experience there. I think I'd really like to work a water station sometime. Maybe another time.

Anyways, I hope you all have a nice Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Turkey Trot & Dairy Air Dash Volunteer Report

A few weeks ago, I thought to myself, "Maybe my knee will be well enough by then to run this race." I ended up deciding that I didn't want to risk anything, so I thought to myself, "Maybe I'll volunteer for this race." I was also thinking that this race was going to be on the day of Thanksgiving since it is a "Turkey Trot." As it turned out, it was the weekend before, and I had already made plans to go on a campout with the boy scouts, so the volunteering was out of the question. Well, earlier this week, I found out that the campout had to be canceled. Bummer. I was looking forward to that. Then, with other things going on, I had forgotten about the Turkey Trot until last night as I was getting into bed. Then I thought, "I'm gonna go and volunteer." So I set my alarm and got up early and headed over to the race to offer up my services.

It was a pretty small race (maybe 50-60 runners), so there were already plenty of volunteers. But hey, the more the merrier, right? I was able to help out at the registration table handing out shirts and goodie bags. I was surprised to see how many people from church I saw there for the race. It was pretty cool to see all their friendly faces. After the 5k started, I was given the task of timing the 1 mile fun Runners--all 2 of them. Once they finished, I went over to the 5k finish and cheered everyone on as they crossed the line. I was kind of surprised to see the first place finisher come in just under 23 minutes. I'm used to seeing the winners of 5ks coming in around 15 minutes. Seeing that made me wish I had run the race. Next year, for sure.

This was another great opportunity to help out in the community. This injury has helped me to give a little back to running. I've really enjoyed helping out at these races. I'm planning on another Turkey Trot next week (actually on Thanksgiving Day), and I also signed up to help out at the expo for the Arizona RNR Marathon in January. For those of you running that race, I'll be there Saturday morning. I'm not sure yet what they'll have me doing, but I'll fill you in on the details as it gets closer.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Boy, oh boy!

You may remember this post from a couple months ago. Yesterday, we got this:Looks like our new little runner will be competing in the men's division, and we are stoked! I'm no longer going to be the only male in the house. Boys are a little scarce on my side of the family. In fact, until this last summer when two boys were born, my parents only had one grandson out of the then 11 grandkids. We are all thrilled. I can't wait to get him in some running shoes and give him his very own headband. It's going to be so much fun seeing him run around with his big sisters.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Silver lining?

This knee injury of mine has given me quite the roller coaster ride. I've had this injury for over a month now, but the ups and downs have mostly come today.

I don't even know what is wrong with it. It's not very painful at all, but the discomfort I feel never stays in one place. It started out on the outside of my knee, and since then, I have felt discomfort all the way around the knee cap. But never all at once. At first I thought it was my ITB causing trouble, then I started wondering about a stress fracture, then maybe it was a damaged ligament. I'm just not sure.

This week has been great for running though. The knee had seemed to be getting better, so I tried running on Tuesday, and I had a tremendous run. No pain at all. Getting back to my routine, I went for another run on Thursday. It felt a little sore for the first half mile, but after that it felt totally fine. Later that day, it felt a little sore, though. Today, I went for a really easy jog with Lani and our girls. There wasn't any real pain, but it just doesn't feel right.

While we were running, I started thinking about my running plans. I was thinking about a Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving weekend, and the LA Marathon in February. Those are both likely out of the question as I will now be giving myself some more time off. As much as I want to run that marathon, I also want to run a marathon when I'm 80, and I don't want to jeopardize my future running life. I need to take care of this body as it's the only one I've got.

I started feeling a little depressed when I logged my run this morning. I guess it was sinking in that I won't be doing much running for a while. Winter is the best time to run in Arizona, and I will have to miss a good chunk of it.

While Lani and I were cooking dinner tonight, I tried thinking positively about this injury. I've always wanted to do a triathlon, but I love running too much to take time away to ride a bike or swim. Maybe this injury will cause me to pick up these other sports. I'm likely to go crazy if I can't run, so I'll need to have something to focus my energy on. And maybe when I do start running again, I'll be more likely to cross train on my non-running days, which will in turn improve my running.

I got one of those Marathon Pace Bands from the Runner's Lounge in the mail the other day. Turns out the wrong one was sent to me (if you are one of the other winners, let me know if you got the wrong one, and we can make an exchange). However, the quote on it is very relevant, and helped me see the bright side.
"In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity." ~Albert Einstein.
Pretty good timing, huh?

The other night, I was talking to Lani about what I'd like to accomplish next summer. I want to focus on my speed again. I'd like to break 5 minutes in the mile again, and then aim for 2 miles in under 11 minutes. Heck, if I'm doing that, it's just another 6 minute mile for a sub 17 minute 5k. That seems pretty doable when I look at it that way. Maybe this time off and cross training will make this more likely, and then next fall/winter I can kick out my 3 hour marathon.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Happy run

You may have noticed that I haven't been posting much lately. That's mostly because I haven't been running much. In the last month, I've run maybe 4 or 5 times. My knee has really been frustrating me. I couldn't resist the temptation any longer, so I went for a short run on Saturday. I made it about 2 miles before I started noticing some discomfort. To play it safe, I walked most of the way balk home. I gave in again this morning. I got up planning to just run 2 miles. I headed out to a familiar loop in my neighborhood. I had actually done this loop several weeks ago as part of a tempo run, and I think I must have had that in my head, because I went out pretty quickly. And let me tell you, it felt sooo good to be moving again. I ran those two miles pretty hard, and felt no pain whatsoever. I really wanted to run some more, but thought I'd better stick with two. I ended up doing those 2 miles in 13:09, which eased my worries about how much conditioning I had lost over the last month. I wasn't intending to go so fast, but it just felt so good to be out there like my old self again.

Oh, and it was actually cold enough this morning to wear my long sleeved Boston Marathon race shirt for the first time on a run. It was a happy day. :-)