Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Monday 8/23 -- Monday Mistake!

I knew that I needed rest as soon as I woke up, but the desire to run won out over all logical arguments that opposed it.  I went to what I thought was going to be Plycore class but found out that classes would be canceled for the week due to the gym refurbishing.  Several members from class had decided to show up anyway and planned to do their own class in areas that were still open.  They began with a 2.67 mile capitol run, which I joined.  I felt good for about the first mile, but right after the mile marker my tank hit empty.  I quickly fell behind but was able to keep running.  The next mile was difficult and my achillies were starting to flare up.  The wise thing would have been to stop and walk, but I've never been one to embrace wisdom once I am determined to do something, and by the end of mile two I was determined that I would not give into the fatigue I felt in my legs.  My quads felt like they were made of lead, but I was able to gut out the last bit of the run.  After retuning to the gym, I just showed my face to the class long enough to prevent them sending out a search party then I went and did a good bit of stretching in hopes of easing the discomfort in my achilles.  However, the stretching didn't really do much so I resolved to start taking some Naproxin and rest up over the next two days before deciding what to do next to get past the issues surrounding my achilles.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Sun Aug. 22 Post Race Recovery.

I felt fairly good after my race, but my energy level was really low.  My body had been pushed pretty hard, and I was feeling proud.  However, I couldn't stop thinking about my next race, which is on Oct. 9th, it seems so far away, but it is really right around the corner.  I am not sure what my official goal for that race will be yet.  I will more than likely wait until about a week before the race to set my official goal.  However, I all ready have an idea of where I would like to be for that race, but I need to see how much preparations I can get in before hand.  The achilles is still a big concern, which needs to be resolved quickly.  I also noticed that I had strained a tendon on the top of my foot that was giving me some pain primarily when I was going down stairs, but I knew that it was nothing more than a very mild strain and would work itself out. 

I decided that it would be best if I just did a good stretching session and rest up for Mondays class.  I didn't realize that the Y would having the floors resurfaced the next week, so all of the classes were canceled, but more about that later . . . I have noticed a pretty significant increase in my flexibility over the last few weeks, which is a good sign in my book.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Good Omen: White Deer Dash 5k

I knew that the race would go well for me when the handed me my bib: #29!  I went to look over the course and pick up my packet on Friday before the race.  The course looked pretty good.  It seemed fairly flat, just like my work buddy, who I was running with had said.  So, I felt really good about my prospects for getting 27 minutes.  I am not sure why 27 minutes becames improtant to me, but it had become my goal time and was all that I could think about. 

The morning of the race was pretty much perfect not that humid and my legs felt alright.  The achilles felt good but my quads seem a little tight from the run on Thursday.  But, overall I was still really optimistic, a little nervous but optimistic.  This would be the first timed race for both me and my friend from work, so neither of us really know what to expect.  They were using chips,  so I felt good that I would get an accurate time.  The starting line was not where we thought and was down a little slope, nothing big, but we would still start out with an incline that we had not expected.  But, over all the start was fine, but one difficulty was that someone seemed to drowned themselves in bug spray, and I was running in thier vapor trail for most of the first mile.  Also, my quads felt pretty tight and my legs were heavy at the start.  My legs started to feel better by about a mile and a half, but by now I had begun to notice that the course had more of an inclines to it than I thought.  Still, I was going fine by my watch.  I had done the first mile in around 9mins and the second around eight. 

The third mile went by without me even really noticing, there was a good size slope and two long stright stretches. Once I got to just before the 3m mile mark, I could feel that I was starting to pick up the paced.  I was about to look at my watch when this old guy went by me.  I didn't even here him coming.  He was like a ninja!!! I was right behind him when we turned the last corner, so I opened it up and went right by him and a young guy who was stopped and thowing up alongside the pathway.  I looked at the race clock a little was out and saw 26:26!!  So ,I turned it on and came in at 26:30.8!!!! I am so happy with this time!  Nearly a full 2mins off of my last race time!  I was beat when I finished, but I kept moving because I thought that If I stopped that I would fall over.  My freind came in just over his goal time, but he still did really well.  Most importantly, we are both already talking about our next 5k.  Mine will be on Oct. 9th and my goal will be 26 minutes flat.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Thursday 19th: Practice 5k

***Please Don't Take My Training as the Proper Way to Prepare for a 5K***

For some reason I got it in my head that I needed to run a practice 5K on Thursday, and then rest on Friday.  I wanted to run on the indoor track because of the flat surface and the ability to track the distance.  The track at the Y is 1/15th of a mile, so I figured that 47 laps would be a 5K.  I was afraid that this would get tedious, but it really didn't because I had to stay focused on the count and monitor my achilles, which got a little sore in the corners, but other wise held up pretty well.  I was able to maintain around  9 min. pace for all three miles and didn't see any real drop off, which really encouraged me.  I finished the run in 27:08, surprising the heck out of me and making me pretty optimistic about my prospects for the 21st.  I hadn't really opened it up when I was running on the track; eventhough, the 5k would be out doors and in the heat, I knew that the course was not too hilly and that these tight turns on the track and other people had caused me to slow down a bit, so I felt pretty confident that I would get my goal time of 27 Min's.  My only real concerns were that I would get too excited in the beginning and fail to pace myself and I would falter in the last mile, or that my achilles would give out causing me to have to back off but neither of these were that much of a worry because of how well the week had gone.

Addiction!: Weds. 18th Sports Conditioning (Abs only) And a Run.

The 5k was just around the corner, and I really didn't know how much I should or shouldn't be running, but I just couldn't hold myself back. Some major changes are taking place. I love to run! Pushing myself to go farther and stronger than I thought I could is so appealing. I used to dread the thought of running, not the running itself so much, but the thought of it used to make me ill. I would turn into Ferris Bueller on a fine spring day in Chicago and find myself licking my palms and faking stomach cramps, but now it is more likely that I will be ignoring pain in my legs and trying to convince myself that a short run will help me loosen up the muscles that are strained than anything else. It is crazy, my Netflix queue is full of running documentaries and Steve Prefontaine Movies, and my YouTube history is worse because it is full of inspirational running/sports commercials for shoe companies. Here is my favorite:

The most difficult part of this transformation is dealing with the regret that fills me anytime I think about the years that I wasted sitting on the couch watching Real World marathons or worse sitting in some coffee shop smoking.  Honestly fighting off those thoughts is harder than gutting out the last half mile of any run.  When they creep in and nest in my brain, I just try to remember that regrets are boring but challenges are much more interesting and force myself to think about things to come.

Wednesday morning, I got to the gym early so that I could run before the Sports Conditioning class.  I did the Capitol run which with one lap around the building is around 2.68 miles which I did in under 27 minutes, so I felt good about my pace.  then I joined the SC class for their first 15 to 20 mins. of abs, which was what I had planned, so with two more days to my race I was feeling pretty good about things.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Answer is No!: Tuesday 8/17: One Mile Run & Toning Class

I wasn't planning on running at all on Tuesday, but I got to the gym earlier than I expected and could not resist the urge to run on the track just to see how my achilles would hold up after the insomnia run the day before.  I decided to limit my self to one mile because I didn't have much time before class.  I decided to use the indoor track and as I began running everything felt really good, so I thought that this would be a good opportunity to push myself and see just what I could do if I tried.  By about a half of a mile I could tell that I was running better than I had run in a very long time, and that I could still open things up a bit more without risk of injury.  By the time I finished the run I had put down a 7min. mile, which is a really great pace for me!!  I knew that I could not keep that pace up much longer than one mile, but it still felt really good to hit that pace and not be exhausted.  Granted my heart was pounding a bit, and I was sweaty as all get out.  The tough thing was that I still had to do the toning class and could not back out because my wife was taking class with me, nor did I want to slack off in the class.

The class was really rough and not just because of the run!  After the class my wife and several other members commented that the class seem more challenging that it had been in recent weeks.  We did a couple of new exercises, but for the most part I think that it was because we did longer sets on several of the timed exercises like bicycles.  By the end of class I was having trouble staying up in the plank position because I was sweating so much.  It didn't matter how much I dried myself or the floor.  I really think the combination of a good short run and toning class was exactly what I needed.  And, my achilles made it through fairly well, which gave me hope that I would be able to do well in the 5k on Saturday.  By the way after seeing to picture above, I had to ask myself -- Self, am I beautiful when I sweat? -- Self replied with magic 8 ball certainty . . . my reply is No!

Monday 16th: 3am Insomnia Run

I took Sunday off to rest up for what I knew was going to be a big week.  With the 5k being only a few days away, the plan was to take the morning class Monday, go to toning on Tuesday, do the abs portion of Wednesday's class and run outside, and Thursday run a practice 5k on the track, before taking Friday off to rest.  However, for some reason I just could not get to sleep on Sunday night.  I watched a really good documentary: Run For Your Life: The Fred Lebow Story.  I am not sure if that just amped me up or if I just had a lot on my mind, but I couldn't get to sleep, so at a round 3am I gave up and went for a run. 

It was very peaceful and allowed me to just relax and appreciate my neighborhood.  It felt really good to just give up on the idea of sleep and put my mind to running.  I turned on my I-pod and listened to The : The Black Keys Brothers Cd, which is great for running.  I ran just shy of 3 miles in 30mins.  It was a great run with two decent size hills, and there was very little traffic on the roads, a few cars, some cyclists and a couple making out on a porch were the only other people out at that time.  By the time I got home, I felt pretty good and knew that I would be able to sleep once I stretched, showered, and cooled down.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sat. 14th: Quick Run

After running my practice 5k on the previous day I had planned to take this day off.  However, it was a positively gorgeous day and the temperature was pleasant by noon, which is a rarity in Raleigh in August, therefore I felt that it would be a criminal offence to spend the whole day shut in my apartment.  Also, my achilles had responded pretty well to the practice run the day before, and I started thinking that it might tighten up if I didn't do anything that day.  I decided that around noon that I would go for a short run through my neighborhood.  The temperature was still pretty nice and the humidity was still more than tolerable.   The run was nothing big at all, just shy of 2 miles, and I completed it in around 20 mins.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Friday the 13thPractice 5k!

Last week I was just getting back to the point where I thought that I would be able to participate in the 5k that I had signed up for on the 21st.  I was feeling a bit worried about running that distance because I could feel that my conditioning level had dropped off from before I was injured.  Also, I wasn't sure how my achilles would respond to the pounding of running that distance outside.  I figured that I need to put myself to the test and run a practice 5k on Friday.  The fact that I would be doing this on Friday the 13th did cause my a little trepidation, but my eccentricities  don't normally stray into superstitions, granted I don't normally test my fate by seeking out black cats or dashing under ladders, but other than opening umbrellas indoor, I am mostly indifferent to superstitions, so I decided to run Friday the 13th be damned!!  The Run itself went really well.  I didn't push things too much and didn't feel any real discomfort.  I was able to complete the course that I had mapped out in just over 30 minutes, and I was able to get stronger as the run progressed without any real drop off at the end.  I was pretty tired after the run and made sure to put in some good stretching following the run.  This practice run left me cautiously optimistic about the 5k on the 21st.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Wed. 8/11 Sports Conditioning . . . sort a kind a!?!

The achilles is progressing and I want to get back to normal, but I know that I need to do things in a measured way.  Plus my second 5k is on the 21st, so I don't want to do anything that will put my participation at risk.  That said, I still want to train so that I have a shot at improving my time from my last 5k.  So last week I decided that until the 5k was over, I would only do the ab portion of the Sports Conditioning class.  That's why last week I did the 20 mins. ab portion of the class then went and ran two miles on the indoor track.  I really enjoyed it, and I might do this every once in while once I am healed just to avoid getting bored with the class.  I really need to do the abs, so I am committed to that portion of the class, but a lot of the other things that we do in the class are things, which we do in other class or that I do as part of my solo workouts.  And, recently I have begun to enjoy running on the indoor track, which is better on my body than the hard pavement.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Toning Class 8/10

This class is working for me right now.  Not much about it changes from week to week, but right now with the injury problems this class is pretty risk free, and I pretty aware of those that are there.  I also like Brian (the instructor) does a great job of working every major muscle group.  I am always shocked by the sweat that I get from a non-cardio class.  Also, the class is a good way to get me to really focus on my abs, and the form of each of my exercises.  I always place myself close to the instructor so that I can check my form easily.   

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Monday 8/9 Continued Improvement: Plycore

After Sunday's run I wasn't sure if I would/should attend Plycore on Monday morning, but after going through my treatment routine again, the achilles still felt just as good as it had on Sunday morning.  I decided that I would attend class, but that I would once again limit myself and only do the exercises that I felt comfortable with.  I knew that we would start the class with a run outside and even though I had some reservations about it, I wanted to do the run because I am entered in a 5k on the 21st, and I needed to see if I would really be able to take part.  I once again got there early and warmed up with some simple brisk walking.  Luckily, we decided to alter our normal running course to one that is much more flat, which made me feel much better.  The course was 2.64 miles, and I finished in around 27 mins.  I felt really good after the run.  After this I did a bunch of abs and push ups before stretching.  I was happy that I could do this, but I wasn't sure how I would feel after sitting at my desk all day at work, but as it turned out I still felt good and I promised myself that I would not run at all on Tuesday.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Sunday 8/8: Dramatic Change!

I am not sure how to explain, don't think that I could, but after plunging to a new mental low regarding the state of my achilles on Saturday when I woke up on Sunday, I felt good.  Very little soreness, not to stiff, really such a dramatic turn around that I couldn't trust myself that it was real.  By the time 1pm rolled around and the gym opened up, I was pretty sure that I would be able to run, but I had decided not to use the treadmill but to run on the indoor track.  I felt that it would let me control my pace a little better.  I started with 5 warm up laps .33 miles.  I then ran two miles on the indoor track.  This was the first time that I had ever run more than a mile on the gyms track.  But, I really liked it because I was able to give myself a good run without having to worry about falling of a treadmill or getting hit by a car (nice!).  I think that I'll do this more depending upon the traffic on the track.  Overall, I felt so good after this!  I did some ab work and afterward I stretched but was careful not to over do it. I then went home, iced, elevated, and put on some Flexall, and hoped that Monday would bring another good day and that I could return to Plycore.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Worst Achilles Day Yet! Sat. Aug. 7th

I don't want to dwell on this day because it is in the past, and my achillies has improved greatly since then, but this was a hard day to take.  My achilles was pretty sore when I woke up on Saturday morning, but I thought/hoped/deluded myself into thinking that it would improve as the day went on.  Let's just say that it did not!  I just got worse and worse until I was mentally exhausted by it all and had convinced myself that I would soon be wearing a boot on my foot.  Basically, I am pretty sure that I had overstretched my legs and caused my achilles to flare up. 

The day went badly because instead of just lifting or swimming I tried to run on the treadmill.  I stretched a little before getting on the treadmill.  And I was hoping that after walking for 5mins. my achilles would warm up and allow me to run, but it didn't it just got worse as I began to run and the soreness was so bad that after  10mins running I got off of the tread mill without my customary 5mins walking.

I went and did some abs and stretched, then I iced, showered and went shopping with my wife.  The longer I was on my feet the worse I felt and the more my mental stat began to plummet.  The heat and crowds in the stores were making me nuts and I wanted to cut my feet off with a rusty hacksaw!!  Luckily, when I got home I had the sense to ice my achilles, take some anti-inflammatories, and put on some muscle cream.  I also made sure to keep my legs elevated.  As the night progressed my mood improved a little, but I was still not hopeful that Sunday would bring much improvement.  However, when Sunday rolled around I would be shocked!!  I will save the details for my next post, but I will say this . . . It was a good that came at the right time because I am not sure that I could have taken a repeat of Saturday!  Sometimes the world like to just pile it on, but thankfully, Sunday wasn't on of those days!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

First Friday Bike Ride

The video above is from the July First Friday Bike Ride.  I just wanted to put it up so that people might get an idea of how many people show up for these rides.  We meet the first Friday of every month at the NCSU bell tower and then ride through Raleigh to different art museums and other events.  My wife and I went last Friday and it was really fun but hot!  As you can see from the picture below, I nearly melted!!!!:

This was a really good workout, but between the walking in the galleries and the biking, my achilles was really sore.  Also, I am fairly certain that I have been over stretching my legs, which has just really complicated an already frustrating injury.  I think that I was able to find a proper balance since last Friday.  But at the time of this ride, my achilles was in pretty bad shape!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Start of Something Bad: Wed. Sports Conditioning

I don't regret going to this class.  What I regret is that I didn't use my head and avoid things like step ups and jump rope.  Not really sure what I was thinking, but my best guess is that I just wanted to be better so badly that I tried to push it just a little too much.  The class started out well with a great ab session that I really enjoyed.  But I should have known that the rest of the class would push me in  ways that I am just not ready for at this time.  Also, I should have know that once I started taking the class that I would not back off.  When I go back to this class, I will limit myself to the ab portion of class and then move on to my own thing until my achilles are fully recovered.  Because, Thursday wasn't good, Friday was bad too, and Saturday was one of the worst days I have had yet.  Luckily things improved mightily on Sunday, but I go into all of that later. 

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Day After & Tuesday Toning

Honestly felt pretty good on Tuesday.  A little stiffness when I woke, but the achilles did well for most of the day.  It started to feel a little weird around 4pm, but once I got to the gym a stretched out my legs if felt fine.  I had expected it to fell much worse than it did.  However, it has not progressed as much as I would like, but I know that this is going to be a process rather than a quick fix.  I am still using the foam roller, which really seems to help. 

The toning class went really well, I was able to do all of the warm up exercises without any difficulty.  Last week I had to swap out some of them, but this week it was fine.  The whole class went really well.  We did tons of abs, which I really needed to do.  I used the 18lb body bar and a set of 10lbs dumbbells throughout the class. 

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Back to Class: Monday Aug 2. Plycore.

After a weekend of stretching and and hamstring rehab exercises, I felt good enough to return to Plycore class.  I made up my mind that I would be cautious before I even started the class.  I arrived forty-five minutes early so that I could warm up and stretch my legs.  I felt really good throughout the class.  We began with a 2.3 mile run through the city streets.  I was able to finish the run, but I didn't try to push it.  Also, my conditioning had clearly dropped off from where it was prior to my achilles issues.  I did not take part in any leap frogs or stairs.  Instead, I did dips, walking lunges, and leg lifts as alternatives.  After the class I did a lot of stretching and used the foam roller.  I felt good for most of the day, but I did start to stiffen up towards the end of the day, but my wife help me to stretch and massaged my legs.  Overall, I was pleased with my effort and the class, but I still need to be cautious.  My legs are still being effected by my injuries, but I am optimistic that I can take classes again.  We'll see how it goes.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Break Through . . . maybe !?! July 29 to Aug. 2

Ok. I know that I have said this before, but this time I really do think that I am starting to put this injury behind me. Here is the thing, last we sucked! My achilles was just not feeling good, the rest of my left leg was starting to feel really tight as well. I was freaking out to say the least, so I was on the Internet looking up everything that I could find about achilles injuries. After a long while I ran across the video below: 

Which is really boring to anyone who doesn't have an achilles injury, but what is important about it is that he talks about how even though someone fells pain in their achilles ofter the root of the injury is located elsewhere in the leg, and that doctors often need to treat this other portion of the leg in order to relive the pain.  I didn't even have to watch the whole video before I felt like I know the cause of my pain!! 

I have known for sometime now that my left Hamstring is very tight and needs a lot of stretching.  It has caused me a good deal of pain in the past, but it didn't occur to me that it could be the source of this latest injury as well until I cam across this video.  I immediately stopped trying to treat my achilles and stared focusing upon my hamstrings and response was nothing short of immediate. First off, I really stared focusing on doing long periods of deep stretches and using the foam roller on my legs.  My God, the first time I tried to really stretch my left leg, I thought that I was going to explode and I was basically in tears, but my hammy was so tight.  I bent over to touch my toes, which was impossible, but I tried to keep my knees straight and hold the stretch for thirty seconds.  During that time, I tried not to wet myself and cry like child in the midst of a meltdown,; I could feel the stretch all the was up into my gluts and lower back as well as down into my achilles.  After I end the stretch my achilles felt so good !  better than it has after any of the calf stretches or exercises that I have been doing.  Basically, I think that all the stairs that I had been running tightened up my Hamstring and caused a strain on my achilles, and all efforts to to treat the achilles itself mealy irritated the and caused more stress on the achilles than it needed.  

I spent all of Thursday and Friday stretching my whole leg focusing mainly upon my hamstring, and by Saturday, I was back on the treadmill running a mile, and the difference from Monday was night and day.  It felt so much better.  My leg tightened up some that night, but my wife helped me stretch and gave me and a great massage, and on Sunday the leg felt great.  I took Sunday off just to rest up, but Honestly I feel so much better about where I am.  Cross your fingers, knock on wood, and all that Jazz! 

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Good Riddance July!

Dear July,

The thirty one days that we spent together were rather disappointing.  In fact, I would venture to say that they were for the most part they were aggravating and annoying.  I know that some of this was not your fault.  July, I know you had nothing to do with the chest infection or achilles problems that bothered me for your whole visit, but July -- we had so many plans for those days that were basically wiped-out by these injuries and illness that really made it difficult to enjoy our time together.  However, I must say that what really messed up your visit was your insistence upon doing the same thing day after day!  Last year your visit was lovely, we enjoyed picnic's in the park with a cool breeze, trips to the farmers market, hiking, nice thunderstorms, mild showers, and tons nights outside eating myriads of summer fruit, drinking tons of Japanese teas, and watching stars.  But this year July, all that you wanted to do was lay out in the sun and bake.  I know that I have a dark complexion and tan easily, but skin cancer is not in my plans, neither do I want to spend every waking moment that I am not in the sun bottled up inside with the air conditioner blasting! So, my friend as our visit comes to an end, I say to "Good Riddance".  I looked forward to you for most of 2010, but now I am sure that I will look upon your next visit with trepidation and doubt.  Next year, you mustn't be so unyielding with your plans and considerate of others!


Lifting July 28th:

The Workout:

Dumbbell Press:
12 reps @ 30lbs
10 reps @ 35lbs
8 reps @ 40lbs
6 reps @ 45lbs
12 reps @ 35lbs
Dumbbell incline Press: 12 reps @ 35 lbs.

Pull ups:
12 reps @ level 20 assistance
10 reps @ level 19 assistance
8 reps @ level 18 assistance
6 reps @ level 17 assistance
7 reps @ level 19 assistance DNF
Seated  Cable Rows 12 Reps @ 80lbs
Seated Dumbbell Press:
12 reps @ 25lbs
10 reps @ 30lbs
8 reps @ 35lbs
6 reps @ 40lbs
12 reps @ 30lbs
Front Raises:
12 Reps @ 20 lbs
Preacher Curls:
12 reps @ 30lbs
10 reps @ 40lbs
8 reps @ 60lbs (couldn't get the 50 lbs bar)
6 reps @ 60lbs
12 reps @ 50lbs
Alternating Dumbbell Curls:
12 reps @ 30lbs
12 reps
10 reps
8 reps
6 reps
12 reps
Lying Triceps Press (two handed):
12 reps @ 40lbs