Back out pounding the pavement, hopefully…

It had been 96 days since my last run. May 17th to be exact. The plantar fasciitis was so bad I had to shut down.  On August 22nd, having not run for over 3 months, I finally felt good enough to test my right foot again. It was a slow, 25 minute trot, but a good one that gave me some very cautious optimism for the future.  I’ve run twice since, 30 and 35 minutes around the neighbourhood and I am relatively happy with the physical results.

What I missed about not running; cars that glide through stop signs making right turns, my music, the freedom, cars that stop almost all the way through intersections, the sweat, foam rolling and post run coffee.

Fortunately for me, despite the increased quantities of beer consumed over this hot summer, added together with my lack of running, I only put on about 5 pounds over where I was when I stopped running. I had done a fair bit of bike riding as well as a couple of long camping related hikes. I hope to keep the bike riding up (30 minutes to work) as long as I can until winter won’t let ride anymore.

My recovery from PF, although in no way complete was aided by a pretty intense physio program. That has ended and I am now trying to follow a self regulated program of stretching the PF and strengthening the foot and ankle. I was also told I needed to wear orthotics. I had some custom made and have worn them pretty much all the time except when wearing sandals (which really has been most of the time). I am however, not convinced I need them to run, or to wear them on a permanent basis. Having done a lot of research, I am of the mindset that an orthotic, while it can provide immediate, temporary relief really doesn’t cure the problem. Hence my strength and stretching program to get my foot up to grade. Right now, I have no pain from the PF, but my ankle feels like it has a sprain. I believe this is from turning my foot outward to compensate for the pain of the PF when it was at its worst.

I am confident enough about my ability to continue running that I went into a new shoe. I was due for a new pair anyway. I had worn Brooks Ghosts for the training period leading up to my aborted attempt of the Calgary marathon and prior to that I was an Asics guy. When I was looking at shoes this time, I was hoping to go into an Asics Nimbus but the shop didn’t carry them. I was asked to try a New Balance Vazee Pace. Wow! Light, comfortable and a much lower price than the Nimbus. I took the bright orange ones point to note is that I have moved from a stability shoe to a neutral one, of which both the Ghosts and Vazee are.

I believe the reason the PF started in the first place was because I had put too much mileage into my training. I really liked the program, and if I can get to the point of training for a spring marathon again, I will just back it off a bit and follow a less intense level of the same program.  My nutrition on the other hand is questionable at best and is the one area that needs the most improvement. But beer is so darn good!

Fryatt Valley Trail, Jasper Alberta

Went for a 2 night trip up the valley. Here’s the report…

Pyramid Mountain bike and climb…

Still not being able to do any running because of my on going plantar fasciitis problem, I took off to Jasper for a couple of days.  Here’s what happened on one of the days;


Plantar Fasciitis Wins…

Two weeks before the Calgary Marathon, 856 training km’s, 90 training hours, 16 weeks into an 18 week training plan, I have to shut it down.

You know you have to shut it down when you have to go down the stairs in the morning on your butt because you can’t put any pressure on your foot.

I thought I could run through it. Running wasn’t really the issue, until yesterday. It really only hurt when I was inactive. I was getting used to feeling that marble in my right heel. Yesterday started out good. A little cool, sunny with a light breeze. My foot was a bit sore to start but that usually worked itself out as the foot warmed up. About an hour and a half into my long run I noticed my gait had changed, I was limping slightly and my foot was noticeably sore. I started to think about what I really didn’t want to tell myself. I kept going but at about the 2 hour mark, my heel was feeling like a ground up meatball. I stopped and walked a couple hundred metres then started my run again. It only lasted a few strides. I knew it then. I cried a bit.

Then I did something I have never done. I called my wife to come and pick me up. I cried when I got in the car. The pain and frustration hit me.

16 weeks and 856 km’s over 90 hours!

I noticed my foot getting sore mid to late March. I’ve been through this before. But I wasn’t training for anything back then, it was just running. And I was able to fix the problem and get back running. But this time I was doing so good, my training was working. My weight had come down. I was encouraged. But that heel slowly got worse, and I wouldn’t listen. I tried to fix the problem while still continuing to train. But we all know that is hard to to. The only way to fix the problem is to shut it down. So I have.

I am hanging onto a very small glimmer of hope. I will not run for the next week and a half. I will ride the bike and I will treat my heel accordingly. If, on May 27 I cannot run without pain I will throw in the towel. That’s the date I can cancel my hotel without penalty.

Was it too much mileage? Was it a change in shoes? Stubbornness? Of course it was all three combined.

My focus now is healing my right foot. Getting good to run on it again. Then possibly to think about the Okanagan.

A separation of the unguis from the digitus secundus…

Yeah, I peeled off the toenail from my second toe on my left foot at the beginning of the week. I think the big toe may be next!

Lucky week 13 ended with a very invigorating Sunday morning “Long Run with Speed Play”. This was a 29 km jaunt that consisted mainly of 16 repetitions of .402km’s in HR zone 3 followed up with a 1.2km run in HR zone 2. Sixteen times! There was some warm up and cool down distance as well but all told it was 29km in about 2 hours and 50 minutes.

I had considered running in the Edmonton Police Foundation Half Marathon but gave up that idea after running last weeks St Albert Road Race which was 16km. I ran that at a great pace so I didn’t want to overdo it two weeks in a row. Besides, my training run was about 8km longer than the half and I felt I would benefit from the training run over the half.

Some milestones today.

After the Sunday run I got on the scales and hit said 208lbs. That was my weight goal from the very beginning. I was 220 the day training started, but had got to that number with some work in the preparation leading up to training.

I’m up over 800km for the year which is awesome for me. I’m relatively injury free, a bit of PF creeping in on my right foot but with my history of PF, I think I can keep it under control. It usually doesn’t bother me when I run so I can live with that.

And it is my granddaughters 1st birthday today with a large family celebration planned, at which point I’m sure the 208 will increase slightly!

St Albert Road Race, formerly the 10 Miler..

I took the opportunity to take what should have been a Long Run with Speed Play training run into a 10 mile (16km) race today. My thinking was to try and push the pace to see how my training is paying off. I had no expectations, I had never ran this race before and I would just see how things went. In my mind, a 1:30 or so time would have been nice.

This was the 31st running of the event and with such a beautiful morning ahead of us, me and 238 others lined up for the 10 mile run. I was surprised by the course. It had some nice hills (there is such a thing) that were not too steep. They were easy to get up, it was nice to pick off a couple runners on each one but coming down the hills was much better. I used my ample gravitational force to propel myself down and the gradual slope of the hills took little toll on my legs and knees.

I went waterless and took no gels on this run. I would not have taken anything with me if I had done my scheduled training run. I did consume a gel about fifteen minutes before that start of the race, something I had never done before. It was just a test to see how it would affect the start of the race as well as my stomach and I don’t think it did any harm.

The long run with speed play training session I was supposed to do consists of several sprints taking me into my HR zone 3 during a 20km run. I chose to do the Road Race at a faster pace and try and maintain that pace throughout. In the end, my average pace was 5:08. I was surprised, and encouraged by this as it is not a pace that I am accustomed to maintaining for a lengthy time. That pace if I could sustain it, projects to 3:36:36 marathon time, well below my best time of 4:01. But, I’m also realistic and understand that a 16km race is far from a 42.2km race.

At the end of the day, I finished with a 1:22:13 chip time, 111th out of 239 runners, 68th out of 108 men and 19 out of 36 in my age group (M50-59). I’m happy with this result.

Here’s the data…

Thanks to Joel Maley, the Race Director, STARRT and all of the volunteers who looked after the runners and made this a great event!

All in all, I am pleased with the way training has been going. My weight is coming down and with my average pace of this race, I’m encouraged that the 80/20 training plan is working for me.

You want me to run how fast?

An interesting week just came to a close. Seventy five km’s with a couple of runs that included sprints and elevated heart rates.

Friday’s Short Interval session wants me to do 10 minutes warming up then 12 repetitions of 1 minute in HR zone 5 and 2.5 minutes in HR zone 1 with. Zone 5? You’re kidding right? Zone 5 for me, as I have calculated is 161 or more beats per minute. For a minute and a half? Got it.

At best I hit was 151 bpm for about a minute on each run (x12). I am not built for speed, let alone long speed. I don’t know if it’s a good thing I can’t hit 161 let alone maintain it for 90 seconds or not.

Then Sunday’s Long Run with Fast Finish called for 23km in zone 2 then a 2.4 km finish in zone 3 (146-152). I could hit that target, it was tough after 23km, but a lot of it was into that strong wind we had. Luckily I went out early this morning before the winds really picked up.

Finally, after 20 consecutive running days, Monday is a rest day. It’s also my monthly massage with Nadine at Got Knots.