Running Again

I started the long road back to running this week – 3.5 miles of run walk combination completed in 38:40 for an average of a 12:54 mile. It was slow, it was boring, but it was running, pain free running and it has been a long, long time since I have run without pain.
At the beginning of 2012 I though I had recovered from my last set of injuries (groin, ankle). I started to build up the miles again little by little. I thought I was doing it slowly, but clearly it wasn’t slow enough. On March 17th I wrote this in my running journal after a ten miler:

Felt strong through the first six or so then the left PF/achilles started acting weird. Always something.

After that I spent a couple of weeks barely able to walk. Hobbling around New York, wincing in pain every time I had to walk anywhere. I tried running again three weeks later. It was too early. Then more time off, with little improvement. Finally I made a doctor’s appointment, started physical therapy, and a commitment to stretching, icing, and the strengthening exercises the PT prescribed. Three months after the injury, I think I am on the mend for real. Pain is almost entirely gone and Wednesday run was entirely pain free.

I plan on heading out there again today for a very slow run/walk of 4.5 miles. I’m going to keep it at that for a while. Two days a week, 9 sad little miles. I’ll supplement with all the other activities I’ve been doing to not get fat, biking, rowing, rock climbing, lifting, bodyweight stuff. Then, maybe a month from now, if all goes well, I’ll add a little more. 2012 is clearly a bust running-wise. I won’t be racing anything, but if I do this right, if I take it really slow, and keep up the exercises and strengthening work, I might after two years of shit running, actually be back in the game by the fall 2013.

Looking Back / Looking Forward

Looking Back:

2010 was a year of unfulfilled potential. I started the year off with an injury, bounced back for a strong spring and summer, and finished the year with two serious injuries and a very disappointing fall racing season. I ran 1582 miles this year, roughly one hundred miles fewer than I ran in 2010. I set a PR at the 5k, but failed to PR or meet any of the time goals I set for the year. I did not even run a marathon.

Statistically, this year was a profound disappointment, but there were a number of intangible successes. I joined a local running club and raced more often than I ever have before. I ran too much and too fast, but I learned a lot about the science of running and what it takes to stay healthy. I made a whole bunch of mistakes. I got smarter, and, for a while there, faster. Now it is time to take the hard lessons of 2011 and put them to work.


Looking Forward:

As I’ve written about here before, I need to acknowledge that I am old and injury prone. I have consistently upped my mileage, or my speed work, too quickly, and I have consistently paid the price. No more. From here on, I am going to be smart. I am going to follow the ten percent rule; I’m going to take cut back weeks. I’m going to be patient, consistent, and disciplined and I am going to work very, very hard to stay injury free.

That right there is my major goal for 2012 – stay healthy. But me being me, I have to set a couple of concrete goals as well. I am trying to keep these modest, but challenging and focused on the events and aspects of the sport I enjoy.

First, I hope to finally hit 2,000 miles for the year. I enjoy the long run, I enjoy racking up the miles, and I hope by building my miles slowly and safely, and not taking on any speed work for some time, I can stay healthy enough to make this a reality.


Second, I’d like the break twenty minutes at the 5k. My current PR is 21:49. A minute forty nine in a year is a challenge, but doable. The 5k is a great distance. You can race them almost every weekend through the spring, summer and fall. I plan to race this distance a lot and finally understand this distance.

Third, run a 1:35 half marathon. This is also a stretch, but not unattainable if I stay healthy.

No marathon goal for now. I’m not sure I’ll race the distance this year. We’ll see. A lot depends on how my fitness is come the summer. For now, I’m excited to just be running again pain free. I hope to keep this up, adding the miles little by little and eventually, someday, years from now, towing the line at Boston.

Training Totals Week Ending 11.20.2011

RECAP: This week was the Philadelphia Marathon and Half Marathon. Initially, I had signed up for the full marathon, but injuries upon injuries this fall made me back down to the half. It was a gorgeous day for a run, but I just wasn’t in shape. I finished the half in a disappointing 1:54 and change.


By mile eight, everything hurt. My groin injury came back, my ankle was killing me and I all around felt like shit. At this point, the less said about the whole thing the better. I’m already plotting for next year.


I also need to note that, tragically, two runners died this year at the marathon. That is very sad news. MY heart goes out to their families, I just hope that in the coverage of these unfortunate deaths running is not portrayed as an overly risky endeavor.

Anyway, here’s the week in numbers:


Run Streak: 26 days

Average Weight –186

Running Miles: 31.6 in 4:42:56

Bike Miles: 0

Strength and Flexibility: 2:40:00

Erg: 8500 meters in 41:30

Total exercise time: ~7.75 hours

Daily Breakdown:

Monday – 4.5 in 41:46; 20:00 S&F; row 6k in 28:56

Tuesday – 3 in 26:59

Wednesday – 3 in 25:38; S&F 45:00

Thursday – 4 in 36:03; S&F 20:00; Row 2500 in 12:36

Friday – 3 in 29:00; S&F 1:00:00

Saturday – 1 in 9:30

Sunday – 13.1 in 1:54:00; S&F 15:00


Goals for Last Week:

  1. Ice ankle everyday – DONE!
  2. Run everyday – DONE!


Looking Ahead:

I am signed up to do the concept2 holiday challenge, that’s 200,000 meters of erg rowing in a month. I’m hoping it’ll function as a nice break from running all the time. I still plan to get out there every day and get in a couple of miles, but for now, rowing, stretching and pampering the ankle are the priorities. That and planning for next year.


Goals for Next Week:

  1. Start Holiday challenge by rowing at least 15K
  2. Ice ankle everyday
  3. Run Everyday
  4. Make a plan for being a better runner.




Training Totals Week Ending 10.23.2011

RECAP: Well holy shit, a week of running! Seems like it has been a long time since I could say that. 34 miles in five hours isn’t high level training, sure, but it is better than what I have been doing for the past month. I’ll take it, and build on it.

Alright, the numbers:


Run Streak: 10 days

Average Weight –185

Running Miles: 32.2 in 5:12:44

Bike Miles: 0

Body Weight Work: 0

Total exercise time: ~5 hours

Daily Breakdown:

Monday – 4.5 in 43:46

Tuesday – 4.5 in 41:25

Wednesday – 8 in 1:10:00

Thursday – 3 in 24:57

Friday – 1 in 8:15

Saturday – 3.25 in 30:00

Sunday – 10 in 1:34:10

Goals for Last Week:

Run every day – DONE!

Looking Ahead: I hit bottom in my training two weeks ago, but I feel like I am on the way up now. This week will be about building up a few more miles and toying around with the paleo experiment. I am going to keep the goals modest, I’ve got time.

Goals for Next Week:

  1. Experiment with the Paleo thing and see if it works
  2. Run at least forty miles
  3. Do all physical therapy exercises everyday

Training Totals Week Ending 10.16.2011

RECAP: This week was the turn around, I can feel it. I hit rock bottom in my running, thought about giving it up for a while, and then rebounded and ran through the streets of Columbus, Ohio of all places loving the feel of covering ground. It was not a great week numbers wise, or even “feel” wise, I was sore, my ankle hurt, I felt fat and slow (even though I wasn’t nearly as slow as I thought I would be). But I ran. And I felt much, much better.

There is not much point in recapping the week day by day. I went twenty miles in five runs. That isn’t much but it is the start of something. It was not a strong week and I didn’t make any of my goals but all of that seems secondary. What is important is I am running and soon enough it will feel good again.

For this week, there is only one goal – get out there and run. Everyday. Enjoy fall in New York and rediscover why I do this stupid sport.

Training for the week ending 10.2.2011

RECAP: Ugh, I was really hoping to put together a good week, but incessant rain, family obligations, and just an all-around down attitude about running made this week more “eh” then “yeah!”. Still better than last week.

Alright, the numbers:


Run Streak: 6 days

Average Weight –183.5

Running Miles: 29 in 4:34:00

Bike Miles: 0

Body Weight Work: 0

Total exercise time: ~4.5 hours

Daily Breakdown:

Monday – 4.5 in 43:00

Tuesday – 4.5 in 43:00

Wednesday – 1 in 9

Thursday – 10 in 1:36:00

Friday – 6 in 55:00

Saturday – 3 in 28:00

Sunday – Off

Goals for Last Week:


Looking Ahead

I’m starting to get worried about the fall marathon. I haven’t gone long in almost a month. This coming weekend will be the test, if I have a good long run I’ll keep at it, if not, I might have to bag it.

Goals for Next Week:

  1. Run at least 50 miles
  2. Run a decent long run of at least 18 miles
  3. Reincorporate stretching
  4. Schedule physical therapy appointment
  5. Lose a pound


Training Totals 8.28.2011

RECAP: Another week in suck city. I had to have a routine medical procedure this week which laid me up for two days. Then there was a goddamn hurricane. All in all it sucked, and the less said about it the better.

Alright, the numbers:


Run Streak: 4 days

Average Weight –186.7

Running Miles: 34  in 5:26:23

Bike Miles: 0

Body Weight Work: 2 times

Total exercise time: ~6 hours

Daily Breakdown:

Monday – 5 in 49:00; W3D3 (16, 17, 14, 14, 24) for a total of 81

Tuesday – 0

Wednesday – 0

Thursday – 9.5 in 1:26:00; Max rep push up test – 31

Friday – 5 in 1:00:00

Saturday – 10 in 1:33:59

Sunday – 4.5 in 36:24

Goals for Last Week:

  1. Three days of body weight work – FAILED
  2. Run at least 45 miles, ideally 50 – FAILED
  3. Survive to fight another day – DONE?
  4. Lose a pound – DONE

Looking Ahead

This was another tough week in what has been a tough and disappointing month. At this point, I just need to put it behind me and concentrate on salvaging my fall marathon. Its going to be balls out from here on out.

Goals for Next Week:

  1. Run everyday
  2. Run at least fifty miles
  3. Exercise, including bodyweight work and stretching, for a total of ten hours
  4. Lose a pound