Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The value of biding one's time.

It was a beautiful morning to run, and I felt great walking out the door, despite walking right through a spiders web, full of bugs and all!  Ew.  I brushed the big pieces off of me, and cut in front of two women jogging as they headed toward my driveway.
I felt good for the first mile. Then, things started going south. My calf was just fine, but I was so winded - and I was really starting to feel disappointed. That feeling brought a cascade of emotions I was so not ready for. I wanted to stop about a quarter mile after. I felt so defeated, and hopeless. Would I ever feel that smoothness and strength and the confidence that I could endure the miles ahead of me- ever again? It was so hard to stay positive. I looked at my watch - why was I headed toward 180 bpm so quickly? it was 62 degrees - moderate humidity - I think it was about 70%, but it certainly felt drier.
I wanted to do 5 miles. But I realized I needed to switch my goals up, and fast - before I talked myself into walking home. 
I decided I would try to keep my HR under 160. This way, I could continue to run, train aerobically and keep it easy. It wasn't that simple. As I ended up making my way back home, I changed my goal to keep my HR under 170.
Even that was futile. 
But, changing goals kept me running, and as I got closer to my house, I decided to run the length of my street again, just as a defiant gesture to my negative-thinking self.

Then, I came across this when I got home: How to run faster.

During the day today, I found myself visualizing feeling really good my next run. I remember doing this on occasion when I first started running. I remember thinking I would never run a 5k in under 30 minutes.


Runmeter Data
Magellan took a dump again today, so no HR data. Thinking I should get a HR monitor and cadence chip for iPhone and Runmeter and sell the magellan.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

A new route in the humidity..

It was much more humid this morning, and for some reason, I couldn't keep my heart rate under 170, so I took frequent walk and picture breaks. I love running here..the houses are beautiful, there is plenty of wildlife, reasonable hills and very few cars.

 I think it was the humidity that made the run feel harder than it should have - or, maybe back to back runs.  I didn't stretch my back out before, so I was feeling it in my right adductor and quad.

Geese, rabbits, chipmunks, egrets, oh my!

Bridge house

The tide is going out!

My next scheduled run is Tuesday morning.

Magellan Data

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Let's get busy.

Armed with the understanding of the changes going on inside of me, plus the cooler temps and lower humidity;  I tied up my fears of a potential 'crash and burn' with a glass ribbon and tucked them somewhere out of sight. (no pun intended)

At first I thought I'd park my car at the track and run down through Glen Cove around Dosoris Pond, but decided to stay on a level, softer surface for my first run back after 2 weeks. Half the track was shaded, and the run was uneventful. I stretched afterward. I wasn't displeased with my performance. I'm not even going to say I wish I had run faster, or longer. I'm just glad I'm running. 

Runmeter Data
Magellan Data

Friday, July 26, 2013

What an interesting few weeks it's been...

What a shitty few months it's been. Starting with that calf strain/tear back in April, then the tightness, then weakness, then numbness, tingling. Sounded like a nerve root compression to me. But I've had other weird neurologic symptoms not limited to my lower extremities over the last few years, including the tinnitus I developed at the end of 2012.  I decided I finally needed to see a neurologist. We ruled out some autoimmune things, myelopathy, and Lyme. We had to do an extra test for Lyme, because the first one came back positive. Knowing that there were a lot of false positives, I dropped some more blood, and the more specific test came back negative. I had an EMG done which only detected decrease muscle activity that is supplied by the L5S1 nerve root, although the MRI did not show anything at that level. The doctor feels it could be some stenosis or perhaps a bone spur. This is actually what I was hoping to hear. It certainly is better than the possible alternatives. 

So, during the last few weeks while all this was going on, my vision started to change in my left eye. Thirty years ago I had a detached retina, and that was promptly repaired with a scleral buckle and some laser treatment. It seems that now, as a common side effect of this past surgery, I've developed what is known as a macular pucker. The vision in my left eye has developed less acuity. When looking at an Amsler grid below, I have a combination of areas on the grid that resemble the blurring and curvy line effect. Because the brain is adept at using the better visioned eye when seeing, there is really only a visual disturbance when looking out of the left eye only.  When my vision gets worse so that the brain can't compensate with the right eye enough,  they will consider going into my eye again to remove the scar tissue that has formed over the retina. The doctor says this can happen in less than 5 years, or not at all.

Here are the pictures of my eye. The right eye, (the left pic) is normal.
The other picture shows the puckering and fluid behind the retina, which unfortunately happens to be in the center of my vision. Ugh. The thin white line on top is the scar tissue.

The bottom line: Can I exercise? Yes. I'll have to return once a year to the specialist, and once a year to my regular eye guy. The sensory problems in my leg have abated about 50% - I continue to stretch and watch my posture. I'm going to try to get out for a walk/run tomorrow. The last run I did, I had some increased visual disturbance. Even though the doctor says I can run, I'm going to be careful and not overdo it.

Now, hopefully, back to blogging about running.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Taking a break again..

I'm taking a break again because of the heat, and miscellaneous health stuff.
This was to be my first week of half marathon training.
On Tuesday morning the 16th, it was 73 degrees with 70% humidity, and I was running mostly without direct sunlight because I got out early. It was fairly comfortable.
I took some walk breaks, and from what I remember, I did ok. Still not back to my previous training paces on a consistent basis, but I'm able to run again. 

The rest of the week was a loss because of the heat. 
Work is crazy stressful because of the amount of paper work, early morning hours and a 6 day work week. 
I'm still waiting on doctor appointments and test results. I should know more by the middle of next week now. I have to have some more blood work done.

Magellan Data
Runmeter Data

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Playing catch-up, medical tests, and 'running royalty'

Between running around getting tests done, dealing with the anxiety of spending time with my high school graduating class for our 35th year reunion (our class likes to plan and celebrate - I'm sure they'll be another one before our 40th) - the heat, my computer running soooo slowly for some reason I still can't figure out...my filthy car and house and no ambition to clean them, then my power going out in half of my kitchen, I really haven't had the desire to blog about the paltry amount of running I did on my 3 day weekend. At least Magellan has decided to upload workouts to the website again. After numerous attempts to get the company to upload the erroneous 2 workouts for me (I sent them the files), I've not heard anything.

Friday the 12th I got to the track early. It was overcast with a slight breeze, in the low 70's. Unfortunately, I was not feeling quite as able-bodied. I was tired. I changed up the program to a 7 min run/2 min walk x 5, and although it went well, I was not able to achieve the previous workouts pace. No cramping, no pain, so not worried.

After that, I had about 5 vials of blood taken from me. 

Friday night, there was a get-togther of some of my high school friends at a local bar to welcome the out of towners, and I thought that I would make an appearance there and forego the reunion. It seemed a lot less stressful. I'm pretty sure I've discussed my introversion and some of the problems dealing with it. As it turned out, I was more at ease than I was at our 30th, and with some persuasion from friends, made it to the 35th on Saturday night. It was the best. decision. ever. What the hell was I so afraid of?

But, after staying out way later than I should have Friday night (my intention was one drink and an hour stay) , then having to get up for a 7:30 am MRI appt Saturday, I was in no condition to do much of any thing resembling running. The MRI took about 1:20 because I had my entire spine done. Then I spent the majority of the morning poring over them with my limited medical knowledge of reading them. 

Looks like I have some herniations in my neck, but I've got no symptoms relating to those findings..

 Looks like a mighty fine thoracic spine..

And the BEST case scenario based on all the neuro symptoms I've been having over the last few years, is that they DO find something going on in my lumbar spine.

My sister had dropped by in the afternoon, and after she left I was really debating whether I had the fortitude to carry through with going to the reunion. As it turned out, I did, and I was so happy I did.

The members of our class from Bayville
The gentleman kneeling in the front is actually 'running royalty' as another classmate described him. More about that in another post..

I got to bed at about 1:30 last night, woke at 6:00 with a headache. I took an aspirin and some water and slept another hour. I got up, had a cuppa coffee, threw on some clothes and gear, and headed out into the heat and humidity like the silly person I am. I was suffering from the get go. Could. not. move. The sun shining brightly was making it feel even warmer. I called it quits after 2 miles. There was no reason to suffer, really.

I'm finally getting some cleaning done, I hope to get some food shopping done. It's a long work week as I'm working this coming Saturday. The weather is going to be seriously hot and humid again. We'll see how the training goes. 

Magellan Data 7/12/13
Runmeter Data 7/12/13

Magellan Data 7/14/13
Runmeter Data 7/14/13

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Remaining grateful as I continue to test the waters..

I got out even earlier on Tuesday morning, because my first appointment was at 8:00 am. I went down to the track, and decided not to record the 5 minute walk warm up, so I would have a different perspective on my pace with the run/walk intervals. My initial intent was to increase the run time to 7 minutes instead of 5, and walk time to 2:30 instead of 2:00 - but because I had to be somewhere early, I decided to let that wait until later on in the week.

I was pleased with how I ran. 

Three quarters of the track was shaded this time, as the sun had not even risen high enough to make it over the majority of the tree-lined east side. It was also cooler and less humid, which made it all the more pleasant. I was stoked, and feeling good, although I still had some weird feeling of cold-wetness on the top of my right foot. 'No bother', I thought.  I tried to ignore it, as my ankle mechanics seemed unaffected.

I still yearned for those walk breaks, and as I look at the graph on Runmeter (Magellan STILL won't upload to the site) you can see how except for the first leg, I'm anticipating the end of the 5 minute runs by slowing down somewhat. I'm going to have to change that up soon. Don't want to develop any 'bad habits' !

I ended the run early. I couldn't stop thinking about being late for my first appointment, and it was counterproductive to the run. I just stopped. Abruptly. :)

No calf pain, but some tightness. It felt tight before I even got out of bed. I stretched my low back out before, and everything else after the run.

My overall pace was faster, and I had some pretty good values for the  'fastest pace per mile' too.

It looks like rain tomorrow and Friday morning, and I'm hoping it holds off. I'm off from work on Friday, but I have blood work planned for 9:00 am, (neurologist wants to rule stuff OUT) and I'd like to get a run in before that. The weather is acting downright tropical here on Long Island. I'm looking forward to cooler, dryer air.

Did ya hear that, Mother Nature?

Runmeter Data

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Look, ma.. no capris!

I don't think there is anyone more happier and hopeful than me right now.  I went back to the track today for a recovery run of sorts. It's close, level, and the east straightaway is shaded this time of morning. I continued to run 5:2 x 5 - and I think it was my best run yet. Despite the heat, and although I really needed those 2 minutes walks, I believe my cadence is improving. And NO twinges in either calf! I did get some tightness in my adductor and distal quad again on the right side about half way through- but I can't remember at what point it abated. 

This morning, it's Magellan's turn to be a dickity-dunce. I can't upload from the watch to the website. I am able to see the run on the watch however, and it's telling me that during my running times, I was hitting an 88-93 cadence.  Yay!

oOOoOh.. what a little head I have.

My heart rate got a little high (182) at one point, so I slowed down. At the end of a five minute run I was usually around 170-172 - and the 2 minute walk got me back down to around 132. I found that if I exhaled longer and slower, I could bring my heart rate down faster. I think that's a meditative trick I read about once upon a time.

And since I've been back running, I've ditched the capris for shorts. This is the first time since I started running that I feel comfortable in them. I have no idea why. I've alternated using compressions, and I still feel I have an edge when I wear them.

Runmeter Data

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Another step in the right direction

A successful run for distance this morning. 
Some gadget glitches with runmeter - I had to reset it 15 minutes into the run, because it was telling me I had been running for a day and a half - bizarre. Magellan tells the true story.

My original plan was to run 6 slow miles, slow enough that I didn't have to walk. Then, when I got there, I remembered the prudence of not changing more than one variable at a time. Increase my miles AND eliminate my walking? Not advisable. So, I opted to add mileage only. Even at 7:00am, the sun was about 20 degrees above the horizon, and it was very warm, very humid. The wind coming off the water cooled it some (it was 77 degrees when I parked at Cedar Creek) but as the sun rose over the course of the hour and a half I was there, it was really tough for me. I ended up running/walking 2:1 by the end. What's baffling to me is that I can no longer reach and maintain my 90 step cadence. I don't know if it's an endurance issue, or because my right leg is not moving as effectively as the left.

All in all, 8 miles, according to Magellan. 
I'm happy with the distance, and glad that I'm able to get out there again. 

Magellan Data
Runmeter Data

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Slow, steady gains, as they say in my line of work..

I've been out running twice since my last post. I'm hesitant to blog, because I can't tell from one run to the next how I'm going to feel, and I don't want to get all buoyant and happy, only to report during the next post that I crashed and burned again. I have to say though,  overall my experiences returning to running thus far are more positive than negative, and although I don't feel my endurance improving as quickly as I'd like, (I'm SO grateful for the 2 minute walks) I'm able to run longer before my calf starts to cramp up. The last run I did, 'round the 'hood - I thought I developed either a neuroma or a fracture on my LEFT foot, which led to an awkward experience walking back home. I gave it 2 days rest and used some Voltaren on it - and this morning my run was pain free.

I can say I definitely enjoy running on a track. Too bad all roads don't feel so forgiving. 

I was able to pick up my pace today. During my 5 minute runs, I was able get to mid to high 8's for most of them. I should have gotten down to the track earlier, because the heat and humidity were brutal.  But I needed to spend quite some time stretching before I left. I woke up with my right leg dragging behind me a little. Again.
There is no rhyme or reason to why or when this happens - usually I'm worse just getting up out of bed, and usually better by the end of the day. But not always. I'm making plans to get to the bottom of it.

I needed to cut the run short a little earlier this morning, as my right calf started to cramp up JUST a bit. I had only about 5 minutes to go, but I was not taking a chance. Nope.

I'm hoping to go down to the south shore Saturday morning and run along the water (where it might be cooler) and do a sloooow 6 miler. 

Have a healthy, safe and Happy 4th. God bless America.

June 30th Magellan Data
June 30th Runmeter Data

July 4th Magellan Data
July 4th Runmeter Data