Friday, August 19, 2016


Wow, its been a year and change since lat post.  Not good.  Too much has happened to recap, and life moves on.  SO lets just skip the interregnum...

I have of course fallen out of shape and added weight.  But, for last month or so, been dedicating myself to a new goal: next year (2017) NY Marathon.  That means i have plenty of time to lose weight, to regain form and not to put myself under so much pressure to accomplish too much in short span.

But I do have to run 9 races at N RR  two are down and one is Sunday.  The two races I have run have been my worst races ever as an NYRR member.  It has been hot.  I am not in race shape.  I am older.

But what counts is that I am doing it.  As I have said before, I am not going to win.  I do this for all the benefits that a sustained program brings.  Ease of mind, health, joy, fitness.

Its a long journey to NY Mara 2017

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Hallux Rigidus

Last week, after running on the treadmill at the gym, I did some lunges with my left foot on a weight bench to keep it off the ground.  I have a bad toe, and normal lunges really hurt.  But if I elevate my toe on a bench or a ball it is much, much better.  So, I was doing my elevated lunges and my foot slipped off the bench jammed my toe straight into the floor.  I almost passed out with pain. That really hurt.

I was afraid I had broken my toe.  But it didn't swell noticeably, and wasn't that bad... Five or so years ago, I went to a podiatrist who said I had arthritis in it, and it wouldn't get better, i.e., less painful.  He was right about the pain part, it has always hurt.  What is really odd is that it doesn't hurt when I run. After a run, yes.  Laying in bed, on my back, with bedcovers pushing down on my toes and feet, it is unbearable.  But running 18 miles? No.  There is some science that the stress on the big toe is less during running than in walking, so no pain during a run is not unusual.  Great, I guess.

So, I went to a new podiatrist.  Bad news: it is now advanced arthritis.  Hallux Rigidus.  And it hasn't gotten better; in fact, I now have less than 10% flexion in the joint.  And there was swelling, probably caused by my gym accident. The only real solution is to have fusion surgery, which involves opening up the toe and basically joining the toe joint and letting the bone grow so that the joint is rigid.  There is no functional loss (because the joint has no flexion now), running will be fine, and pain gone.  After all, I have less than 10% flexion now.

Except... fusion surgery entails six weeks in a non-weight bearing boot. Six weeks in a boot. Ugh. There is no good time to be in a boot for six weeks. No running (of course), but I am not worried about that as much as the sheer inconvenience of six weeks in a boot.  There is no urgency to the surgery, but I will have to get it done.  I can't have foot pain for the rest of my life.  My cynical mini plan is to wait for the next serious running injury (strained calf?  PFS?  Pulled hamstring?  Back trouble? Bueller?)  and then get the surgery done while I am otherwise out of commission with the running injury.  Kill two birds with one stone.

For now, podiatrist has given me an anti inflammatory drug, the generic version of Relafen (Nabumetone).  I am very skeptical of NSAIDs, and almost never take them.  But this drug has really, really helped.  Like wondrously so.  I left the pills at the office over the weekend and immediately regretted it.  I just wonder if the drug's side effects will affect my hydration levels and thus training (and weight).  I have looked but haven't found much science on NSAIDs effect on hydration or Nabumetone.  But it certainly cuts the pain.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Marathon Race Report

This race report is more or less to preserve the memory.  I really did not particularly enjoy this run.  Of course, the dominant theme and topic of the day was the weather. Or, more precisely, the wind.  Specifically, the temperature was about 40 degrees, but the wind was 20 mph or so out of NNW -- most of our miles would be run with the wind hitting us at about 10 o'clock, with a wind chill in the 20s.  That was hard.

It also called for a pre race change of plans.  The old maxim is not to try anything new on marathon day.  Well, I broke that in spades.  First, I ditched my traditional baseball style running hat for a stocking cap I bought at the expo.  Much warmer on the ears.  Second, rather than run in a short sleeve shirt with arm warmers, I chose to wear a long sleeve shirt under a short sleeve shirt.  And rather than wear tights, I wore calf sleeves.  So that I could shed layers, I bought a race belt to hold my number.

That was the plan, anyway. The wind was so fierce that it literally whipped my race number like a flag as I was getting ready to run.  So, while waiting for the gun to go off, I pinned my  number to my outer shirt (long sleeved orange Boorks thermal shirt.)  That actually was not the shirt I had planned on wearing.  When I woke up, I realized the black long sleeved shirt I had planned on wearing was too small. Thankfully, I had bought the Brooks shirt some time ago (I don't even remember buying it...).  It was brand new.  And in right place in my closet.  I grabbed it and fit great.

In mile 1, going up the bridge...the wind!  Wow...maybe 40-50 mph gusts.  And immediately one opf the pins holding my number popped out, leaving it pinned in 3 places, with the missing corner being into the wind.  That was bad, and I was afraid the whole thing might fly off.  But it didn't, thankfully.

Miles 1-6 I don't have much to say.  A good cruise, felt good, didn't feel bad, trying to save pace.  I was going too fast.  My goal was 8:20 miles to pull in just under 3:40.  Heart rate a little elevated, but not crazy bad.

Mile 8 I was looking for a friend, and the crowds were everywhere, on both sides.  I read all the signs because that is how I was going to find him!  I didn't though, but was a pleasant diversion for a couple of miles.  Running through Brooklyn was fun, not much to say.

Mile 13 bridge (Pulaski skyway), began to get hard.  Not crazy hard, but like, ...this might be a tough day.  And I slowed down.  The wind really wasn't bad in Brooklyn.  But I also noticed my right glute and hamstring were super tight.  Not good.  But I was looking forward to the Queensboro bridge and First Avenue.

I forgot how lonnnnnng the Queensboro bridge is.  It took forever.  And I really wasn't feeling good... but coming into the city at mile 16 I felt...Ok.  Not great.  Roughly on pace.

First Avenue seemed... subdued.  I don't know, maybe I expected more, but wasn't the crazy zoo I remembered or expected.
I met the family at 17.3 or so....that was great.  I handed off my pink hat, my chapsticks and away I went.  A gel at mile 18, and I decided I was going to make it to the Willis Avenue bridge ...which seemed like it was in Massachusetts it was so far up the road.  And the wind got brutal on First Avenue.  Like 40 mph, and just hit me like a ton of bricks.  This was, by far my hardest strecth. My right leg hurt. The wind was crazy.  I was nauseous.  This sucked.  I took a walk break about mile 18.5 or so.  Ugh...first crack.

I did run all the way up and over the Willis Avenue bridge.  I was taking period walk breaks, trying to stretch out the hamstring.  I guess I was successful, but sheesh, it felt bad.  iknew 3:40 was long I was hoping to crack 4:00.  I had to do that...

I walked/ran through Harlem and Fifth Avenue into the park.  Supposed to meet up with family again around the obelisk and wanted to seem strong for them.  But they weren't there... but that's ok, there is like 2miles left.  I am going to make 4 I want sub 3:50.  I had no idea how close I was, really.  I was just trying to keep going.

Around mile 25 coming out of the park, at Fifth Ave in front of Plaza I just had to walk.  A runner from Harlan County Striders, patted me on back and gave a thumbs up.  Thanks, it helped!  I ran up Central Park SOuth and then got a hellacious cramp about 7th Ave.  Not incapacitating like 5 years ago (at almost the exact same spot!), but enough I had to stop and hobble some.  When I realized I wasn't going to be forced to stop, I started up again and was real real, close.   Ran it out to the finish...3:50:25.  Ate my power bar and the apple in the bag ASAP.

All things considered, a decent time.  The wind was crazy bad.  I was completely spent.  Shaking, quivering, dazed.  At lunch after (Jackson Hole), I really couldn't eat.  Had a milkshake and some fries.  I could not warm up, stop shaking or eat much.

Post my reflections and lessons later...but a memorable day.  Not an enjoyable one.

MILE Time  Pace HR Cadence
1 08:33.5 8:34 144 176
2 07:31.9 7:32 150 180
3 08:08.7 8:09 155 175
4 07:59.2 7:59 156 175
5 08:11.4 8:11 157 174
6 08:03.5 8:03 157 175
7 08:04.5 8:05 160 174
8 08:04.7 8:05 163 175
9 08:08.6 8:09 164 175
10 08:04.9 8:05 161 176
11 08:20.7 8:21 162 174
12 09:37.1 9:37 155 151
13 08:19.0 8:19 163 174
14 08:02.4 8:02 167 175
15 08:35.6 8:36 169 174
16 08:56.1 8:56 169 172
17 08:32.9 8:33 167 172
18 08:46.6 8:47 167 174
19 09:18.4 9:18 166 167
20 08:38.9 8:39 169 173
21 09:37.4 9:37 167 162
22 10:00.4 10:00 161 160
23 09:27.5 9:27 164 165
24 10:35.9 10:36 160 155
25 09:55.0 9:55 161 159
26 10:06.8 10:07 160 159
27 02:49.9 8:07 171 173
 Summary 50:31.5 8:45 162 169


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Three Races...One Weekend

Last weekend, I did something I have never done...three races in two days.  A series of events led me to that sequence, and it was all good.  First, the NYRR 18mile training run was on Sunday.  I did that race last year, and it was really helpful in terms of confidence, training, etc.  3 loops around Central Park, with water, gels, timers, etc., is just a really great way to do a long run.  And, if you can do it well, a great boost of confidence.  The hills...just get you.  So, I was signed up for that one long time ago, and was sort of a "target race."

Second, I learned that on Saturday our little home town was hosting an inaugural 5 mile race.  I had to do that one also.  But the plan was to just run it, not race it, and save the energy for the Sunday 18 miler.

Third, on Saturday was the Fifth Avenue mile.  The timing worked out just right...after the 5 mile race, the mile race was about an hour later, so get in the car,  go, run a mile.  Truthfully, I am no fan of a one mile race.  It is a usually pretty big hassle to get out of the house, into the city, park the car and go run.  So, to do all of that for just one mile really is anticlimactic.  But, I needed the race for my 9+1 marathon entry  next year, and I am beginning to run out of qualifying races.  So, I more or less had to do this race.

The first race on the weekend schedule was the Saturday morning local five miler.  The plan was to take it slow, have a good run and then go to the one mile race about an hour later.  But, of course) the competitive juices started flowing when I saw the other local runners there, and I wanted to win.  I didn't win.  I finish overall in mid twenties, and just outside top three in my age group, losing to at least two people I know.  That bummed me out, but I rationalized it because I was saving myself for my long run on Sunday.  I actually ended up with around 7:20 pace...much faster than I intended.

Second race that day was the Fifth Avenue Mile.  I had zero adrenaline for this run.  I showed up, got my number, and was in the corral.  Bang! The horn started and we were off.  I went... slooooowwww... and finished in the back of the pack.  Surprisingly, as we were getting to the end, I saw I had a chance to run a sub 7:00 mile, so I kicked.  Ended up at 6:53 -- not so bad!  (I ran 6:09 nearly 6 years ago when I was really trying in this race.)  Total elapsed time was 45 minutes. Amazing.  I did get a  ticket though...

I assumed I would pay for that the next morning on the 18 miler.

Sunday morning came early (5:15 a.m.), and I went into the city for the 18 miler.  A gorgeous morning to run...sunny, mid 50s, perfect.  Except, as I was driving in, the garage I usually park at in Harlem was...closed!  Oh no, I had nowhere to park.  I drove around looking and after about 15 minutes ended up in another garage, and had to hustle to the start line.  I made it by about 5 minutes.  I had zero adrenaline going, and was still pretty freaked out about parking, and being late to the race.  I was tying my shoes as the gun went off.  It was weird to have so little "psyche" at the beginning of a long run.  Anyway, the plan was for 9:00 miles (PMP+30).  (And NYRR, why no love to me?  I am now in the third corral (2000's)?).

The first couple miles went 8:45 or so, and then I ended up settling in around 8:30.  The last six mile loop I kicked it in and ran 8:10 or so, and then the last couple miles were sub 8:00.  Very strong.  Very pleased, particularly given the previous day's effort.  And honestly, I felt like I could have made another loop if I had to.  I was tired, but not crushed; (I did have chafe though.  And a GI issue at mile 7, a result of being late to the race. ).  And then, home by 10:30 a.m.  Very strange to have so much under my belt by 10:30 on a Sunday morning, come home and cook pancakes for the little ones.

All in all, a great running weekend. And I took Monday off to rest.  I was sore, but not super sore.  Today is a running day, and I plan an easy run.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

It's Hard Work

As I was running at the gym the other night, I had a medium hard workout, and it lasted about an hour.  As I was inputting comments into my run diary, I had almost nothing to say.  It was...just a workout.  Nothing exceptional about it.  It was a 6 on perceived exertion, running metrics were all OK, and just average.  As I walked out of the gym, it was a great summer night in NYC.  People were laughing, drinking, eating dinner.  And I was tired, a bit cranky, and had just run 6 miles for what?  I am not sure.  It would be much more fun to laugh and throw back some beers. And I thought... those people aren't doing what I am doing, they aren't in the gym.  I wonder why not?  This isn't fair.

And then it occurred to me: running is hard.  It is work.  It is really something that has a lonnnng payoff.  Workout today, and tomorrow I am not better, fitter or stronger.  Skip the workout and I am not weaker or slower.  To push through the average workouts, the unexceptional days, the times when the other path seems so easy -- that is the hard part.  That's the hard work.  "The difference between goals and accomplishments is dedication and commitment."

I should also add I am dieting, and also training for NY Marathon 2014.  So I am literally mindful of everything I eat and drink.  And I ponder over every workout, both from lose weight perspective and from a marathon training perspective.  That isn't fun.  It is mentally taxing, to keep the focus, the commitment, the dedication, over many months.  I forgot that consistency -- that every week matters, and I can't just let 2 or 3 weeks go.  (I actually let two months "go" earlier this year.  It was a health disaster.  Added 10 pounds, and set back marathon training by months.  It wasn't a neutral, it was a big minus.

I am already looking forward to the marathon day, and its 2 months off.  The diet ends.  The self induced pressure ends.  But the payoff, the long term payoff?  That's the prize.  Even if it takes a lot of hard work.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Talking to the future

As I have said before, when I ran my first marathon in 2006, I didn't keep any journal, or blog or anything.  And now I have almost zero memory of it.  I remember getting PFS and going to a physical therapist.  I remember seeing the Fred's Team kids on First Avenue, seeing my then 6 year old daughter too.  But I don't remember the training, the race or really much about it.  So, to make sure I don't forget this one...a training update.

Two weeks ago I ran my long run on the beach at Kiawah Island.   Even though I started early (7 a.m.), it was  already 79 degrees, and humidity was about 90 percent (I looked on yahoo weather.)  The dew point was 74 degrees.  That was sticky hot.  A gorgeous run (pic above) but, man, after about 8 miles, I was dead on my legs.  I crashed, couldn't keep the pace.  Ended up averaging about 9:28 over 12 miles with a crazy high heart rate.  Combination of running on sand and the heat/humidity.  Garmin also crashed and lost my data for the run...airgh...I just wanted my heart rate data to see the stress.  And I did see wild Bobcat tracks on the beach.  Very cool.  But I remember most the crash and burn.  I was really ready for the end of the run.

This last week I ran in the Long Training Run in the Park. Last year, I volunteered to pace a group at 9/min per mile.  After mile 13 or so, I cracked (I had planned on stopping at 11, GI issues, no food or water, etc.), but this year I just wanted to run.  MUCH easier not pacing.  The 9/min pace seemed really slow, but just about perfect training pace. Heart rate in line, not much trouble holding the pace, and felt good.  And the results showed.  A strong training run!  I split from the group to only run 15, so at mile 13 I peeled off and ran last 2 solo.  And faster also, both around 8/min.  Very successful run.  Very sore the next day too, but 48 hours later, not bad.

Been running during the week on the treadmill.  I have been trying to loosely follow the program of 3 "quality" runs per week -- one long, one tempo, one speed.  Speed I have slacked off has caused aggravation in my calf and hamstring.  But the tempo runs.,..1/4/1 (one warmup, 4 at 10K pace, one cool down)  are a kick in pants too.  Two weeks ago I had a super strong 5mile race in Central Park at 7:36 pace, so been using that as temp pace.  That is a challenge for sure.

And the other challenge is losing weight while training.  Watching calorie intake, trying to fuel workouts and recover.  I have been successful so far, but it is another stress point.  But running is much easier lighter.

On tap this weekend: 14 hilly miles around my neighborhood.  Already thinking about it, planning it.

Hope your summer has been great!

Monday, July 14, 2014

New update post

I haven't posted in a while, only because I want to have something to report.  I have been running, albeit more tentatively.  The heat and humidity really gets to me, but it must be good training.

I am in this fall's NY Marathon.  And the training begins this week.  I have run nine miles two times in the last week or so, and both times, I ran faster than I intended.  The HR was in the 153 range, which is too fast for the long runs.  But it has also been super humid which affects it also. And yesterday, I ran 9 miles after running a race on Saturday.  So I came off a pretty stressful workout day before, which affects HR for sure.

This year, for training I am going to follow my modified FIRST plan.  It is basically 3 quality runs a week, (one long, one interval, one tempo), and either easy days or cross training.  And I am going to lift.  As much as I have said that in the past, this time I have already begun that regimen.  Once or twice a week since last month or so.  Oh, and yoga too.

And as I look forward, to the future, my parents are not getting any younger, and have had recent health problems, my Dad in particular.  I run to make them proud, to stay healthy and do what I can for as long as I can.

Some vacations are upcoming.  I go to North Carolina to pick up older daughter from camp (July 25).  A family trip to South Carolina (Kiawah) the week after that.  Should be nice to run and the beach there is great to train on.  And happy anniversary Mrs. Wolve (17 years...)!

The primary focus in the short term remains weight loss.  I need to get to a racing weight of 190. That is doable, but will require a couple months worth of work.  Matt Fitzgerald wrote a book on nutrition and racing  and said that each extra 10 pounds means the body must use 6.2%  more force to lift the body off ground to run.  Wow, ok, so lose weight, get faster.