This site is super-new. I'm still building it and setting it up.
Click here to read URB's first post, which really doesn't tell you too much about me.
But, worry not, all will be revealed in time. And I do mean all. (OK, not really.)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Getting my mojo back

Today I went running for the second time in three days.

On Thursday, I did a fast, hilly couple miles -- my regular 2 1/8-mile loop, but at a 7:42/mile pace that had my lungs burning. I had felt a twinge or two in my knee that morning, and ran pissed off. This is a loop that loses and then gains back close to 300 feet of elevation. The knee felt fine.

Today, I did the loop twice at a more sustainable 8:26/mile pace. I even did negative splits on the two loops (18:06 and 17:44), keeping my heart rate over 180 for the last mile and a quarter.

I still questioned my knee with every other step, and at one point thought it was starting to act up. But again I was just too pissed off to care, and kept going. And you know what? My knee was fine.

So it feels awesome to maybe, just maybe, be done with whatever the hell was the problem and start to get back to where I was and go forward again. I'm not quite ready to declare myself 100 percent, but getting there.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Turning a corner?

Quick post. Tried running again, went for three miles Thursday at a decent pace -- somewhere between "comfortable" and "comfortably hard." (Maybe that's "hardly comfortable"?) I wanted to be sure that my slow pace last time out wasn't the reason I made it as far as I did before the pain started. This time, I made it to about 2.5 miles before the knee acted up. This pissed me off, so I decided to finish the run, even picking up the pace the last one-third mile and all-out sprinting the final 50-100 yards. Total time was 26:02. Had minimal soreness afterward.

Oh, during my latest hiatus, I got an X-ray on the knee, which turned out negative, and went to a seemingly worthless physical therapy session where they gave me easier exercises than I'd already done. I might do them anyway in case I have to try to talk my doctor into an MRI. Although it does seem like my knee is SLOWLY getting better. Whatever.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Adding a new feature

As I've mentioned, I'm definitely lacking in motivation to post since I can't really run. So I've decided to add to URB in a tangential, albeit previously planned way: links to other non-running blogs. Take a look off to the right side of the page, and check out the "Titled Non-Running Blogs of Interest."

As the name clearly states, these are blogs about topics other than running that I find interesting for one reason or another, and it's possible you may as well. I originally conceived this as a "Random Blog of the Day" feature, which I may eventually adopt or incorporate here. But let's not get ahead of ourselves.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Glass half-empty or half-full?

Today was the day I've been waiting for. Or at least one of the days I've been waiting for. I went running again. It wasn't the I-kicked-ass-on-my-run-today day, but the other one.

Anyway, my uncharged Garmin didn't even survive the 5-minute drive to my starting point, so there would be no tracking this run. The best I could do is start the stopwatch on my cellphone, which I was leaving in the car. (I like to run as unencumbered as possible.) Having no clock ended up freeing me to run slow, which probably was good for my knee.

How slow did I run? Over 10:00/mile, for sure. Slow enough that I breathed through my nose for the majority of the time.

But what of my knee? And how many paragraphs will I start with questions? Unfortunately, my knee did start to get sore. The good news is this didn't really happen until about 2 miles in -- better than my last few attempts. On the other hand, I was running slowly.

So what did I do? (You knew there would be another question!) I stopped running when the soreness was somewhere between "ever so slight" and "yeah, it's there." On my other recent runs, I kept going another notch or two, until "unmistakable" or "it's gonna get worse if you keep running."

If I want to be optimistic, I can tell myself my knee is getting better. If I don't, my longer distance before the pain was only because I ran so much slower. Hmm. Optimistic, it is.

So now what? I guess I'll hold off on the running another week or two and continue to catch up on TV (but I'm running out of
Hell's Kitchen episodes) and see my doctor again. Maybe he can refer me to an orthopedist (heck, I'd settle for an orthopaedist!) or at least give me a cortisone shot.

I'm not a doctor, and I don't even play one on TV, but I've self-diagnosed myself (all by myself, btw) with
runner's knee, based on the location of the pain and the fact that I'm more likely to notice it going down stairs. What I don't like is how vague runner's knee is and how it could be any number of things causing it. Oh, and I don't like the fact that I can't freakin' run. How about that?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Gotta get back out there

I haven't run in two weeks. Wow. It's been nice in a way, and I've gotten some other things done that I needed to, but it also sucks. It feels like all my fall goals are just going away. This week was originally my plan for Whitney. I learned that the Philadelphia marathon, which I had been favoring, is sold out. And I've completely lost all motivation to post here. You're welcome.

The knee seems fine, but it also seemed fine before my last few runs. I've been icing it occasionally (not sure why, it feels OK) and stretching occasionally. Now and then, I feel a very slight soreness, but it could be my imagination. I'm definitely hyperfocusing on it, sometimes asking myself with each step if I felt something abnormal. Oh well.

The time for me to go running again is drawing nigh. That's right, nigh. Could be as soon as tomorrow. Or maybe Thursday.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Rx for running

So Monday I went for a run. I figured nine days off would put me in a good spot. Nope.

I headed out on the same flat course I did the time before, but at almost exactly 1 mile, I started to feel it in my knee. I went another half-mile just to confirm that I didn't simply need to loosen up. Then I walked back, dejected, kicking a tin can. And maybe a kitten or two. (
No, not really.)

I went to the doctor Wednesday for an unrelated (and, for the record, non-infectious) matter and mentioned my knee. I was advised to rest it, ice it, stretch it and yada-yada it. Not exactly what I was hoping to hear, but realistically what I expected. We'll have to see about that. I can't exactly train and rest at the same time, right?

Then again, resting does further my not-so-parallel goal of being lazy. Like I said, we'll have to see about that.

Unrelated laziness update: A while ago, I promised posts about my training for San Francisco and an acutal race report. Yes, I know it's been over a month since the race. Let's just say I've been putting extra effort into this, all because the eagle eye of history is watching. At least, let's say it if you're willing to believe it. Either way, expect to see at least a few coherent sentences on those topics soon enough.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Getting the message, loud and clear

In sticking with the plan to deal with my uncooperative left knee, I scoped out a nice flat course and went for a run on Saturday. Since I normally run on hills, I didn't really know what to expect, but I hoped it wouldn't involve pain. Since I REALLY wanted a convenient answer about my knee, I wore my old running shoes (As Spike Lee used to say, it's gotta be the shoes.)

What happened was I ran pretty fast without too much effort -- or so I thought. It felt so good, I stupidly decided to make my run longer, even after my knee protested.

"Hey, idiot," knee said, "I know you can hear me!" In response, I stuck my index fingers in my ears so as to drown out the noise. That didn't make it any easier to run, by the way. (OK, maybe it happen exactly like that.)

Only after about 3 miles, when I turned back the original direction and into a stiff headwind (probably 20-30 mph) did I learn why the first bit of the run had felt so good. When I tried to sprint the last quarter-mile, I felt it in my knee every time my left foot hit the ground.

This time, I learned my lesson. It's three days after the fact, and my knee feels OK in normal use. But "normal use" is a far cry for running. So I'll take the suggestions I've gotten to do stretches, cross-training and leg strengthening. Then I'll begin to think about something else after at least another week.

(For the record, my splits were 7:58, 7:52, 8:13, 8:32, 9:37 and 9:32 (partial). I liked this course, through an industrial area not too far away. That wind will probably always be there, though.)