Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Around the Bay "race" report, injury update

Before ATB
Injury Update part 1
So eight days ago I headed out with the running room clinic I am coaching to test the hip. The plan was to do 6-8k easy and pray. Things went better then expected and my 6k turned into 12, sweet. There was a little discomfort but nothing I felt I should be worried about. I was fine the next day so followed it up with another 10k.

The following day I was ready to go again but I got a couple of emails from friends reminding me that I had been on the shelf for 6 weeks and should come back slowly. Sage advice really but so hard to follow as  all I wanted to do is run again. I like running, I don't like the elliptical, every minute running means less time staring out the window of the gym. Even so I decided to make an attempt to behave at least somewhat.

I kept my runs shorter then 10k and took a day off between each run which meant more cross training. The elliptical is such a pain in the ass but somehow I managed to stick with the plan. What torture, every minute seemed like an hour as my brain had begun to feed me a steady diet of a new mantra. "You could be running, You could be running". Yes brain I know that now please shut up will yeah, I am trying to be responsible here.

Before I knew it Saturday had arrived and I had a decision to make. Sunday was Around the Bay and what was I going to do? Racing it was a non starter. Should I run it at easy run pace as a 30k long run, probably not as I haven't run longer then 12k in 7 weeks. I decided I would pace my wife Kim which would mean a speed that is a little slower then recover pace for me and see what happened. I could always drop at any point if I felt like it was to much. As I pounded out my 2 hour elliptical session on Saturday I really hoped this would be the last time I had to spend half my day on that infernal contraption.

Around the Bay 30k
I was really looking forward to racing this. Last year I treated it as part of back to back long runs as I hit the trails at Sulphur Springs for 5 hours the day before. This year as I ramped up my training I was feeling great and felt that I would be able to put up a solid time until the injury. Oh well at least I got to do the next best thing and run with my wife.

running clinic runners

Kim hiding behind Christian

 Kim has been training hard for her upcoming trail marathon at Bear Mountain and had already PBed at 5k and 8k this year. I hoped I could help her get a PB in this race as well. I also need to find out if I was going to be able to get the long runs I need in before the start of Ultra season which is fast approaching.

We lined up well back from the start line but a little ahead of  the 3:20 pace bunny hoping to seed ourselves properly. I was pacing Kim but also 2 other runners, Sharon and Paul, from the clinic who were also running around Kim's pace. The plan was to run right around 6:20 per km and stay as close to an even split as possible. I hoped to get Kim in around 3:12 - 3:16 for a decent PB.

The race started and we where off and by off I mean slowly walking towards the start line. It took us about 6 minutes to make it to the start but once we did it was crowded but moving at around the pace we had planned for.

Things went well right from the start as we stayed together as a group and stayed on pace. I knew I would have to be careful and keep it in check as my legs automatically wanted to go faster which would spell disaster for our little group. They would need all their leg power for the second half.

Paul, Sharon and Kim

It was fun running along with Kim which is something I almost never get to do and before you knew it we had passed the 10k mark. Everyone seemed to be doing well, working hard and our pace was consistant. We hit 10k on pace for a 3:14 finish. No pain in my hip.

The next 10k which mostly follows along the lakeshore is the section which I find the most difficult. That might seem strange to some of you that have run Around the Bay. Everyone always talks about the hills in the last section but they don't bother me at all in fact usually its a nice change of pace. Kim feels the same and we had to be careful not to drop any time along here. This is also the place where if you are racing hard you start to feel some initial fatigue. There was a KM or 2 along here where I began to worry a little as Kim struggled just a bit to keep the pace and had a little tightness in her leg but some gels and a little advil seemed to straighten everything back out.

A picture of me taking a picture

We hit the 20k marker still in great shape keeping a consistent pace and still looking at a 3:15 finish. Everyone in the group continued to run well. Still no hip pain so no need to drop.

Finally we were into the meat of the race, the rolling hills. For our little group this should be no problem at all. Those that train with me know that one thing that is different about my coaching than a lot of others is we run a lot of hills. We run hilly easy runs, we run extremely hilly long runs and of course we run hill repeats. If I could find a 400 meter track with hills on it I would make my runners run it.

Sharon and Kim

Everyone did great along this section and as we got deeper into the rollers we began to pass a lot of people. I began to push Kim here to try and speed up just a little which kept her working hard and before you knew it we were down the big hill and climbing up the last "killer" hill. No walking for our little group however Paul got a calf cramp and was forced to slow down a little after we crested the hill. He told us to leave him so we did. Our pace had been really consistent up to now but at 27k I decided to really crack the whip and push Kim and Sharon to run it out as fast as possible. Both of them ran awesome putting up their fastest KM splits in the final 2k.

Kim passing the reaper at 28k

We finished in 3:14:14 which was an 8 minute PB for Kim. Paul ended up coming in just a couple of minutes behind. I was really happy for Kim but also very encouraged by her awareness and keeping her pacing super consistent. That will bode well for her in future marathons although not so much at Bear Mountain with its 4000ft of climbing and tough single track trails.

Well done Kim, Sharon and Paul, congrats.

Kim and I at the finish

Injury Update part 2
No hip issue during ATB and no problem the day after. I had a little quad soreness but that was to be expected having not run any real distance in so long. Now its time to start slowly ramping up the training again. Should be able to build up the mileage but I don't expect to attempt to do any quality runs for a few more weeks as I want to make sure I don't have any setbacks.

Next blog - 2013 racing plans

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

I Broke My Ass, February Training, Race Plan Changes

It's official, I have broken my ass. What at first appeared to be a slight hip strain has become a full on case of bum breakitis. I should have been more careful but it seems that I inadvertently poked the running gods. When my friend and co running clinic instructor Chris Henderson pulled up lame in January with a glute problem I joked about his broken ass. I know better but I just couldn't help myself.

Did you know that bum breakitis was contagious? Neither did I but it is. It has to be because my butt was totally fine until I ran together with Chris at Robbie Burns. All was great until 6k and then blammo I was hurting. I guess 6k is the gestation period for this kind of thing.

That was a month ago and still no running. I did a test run on Monday and there is still significant pain. Not as bad as it was but its still there. At PT they advised me to hold off running for a little while longer. I am left wondering what will happen first. Will I be able to run or will I end up going completely insane instead of holding onto the partially insane label that I usually wear.

Actually its not all bad. I have read many a runners blog where their struggles with injury are much worse than my little hip problem. I can at least sort of, kind of see the light at the end of the tunnel. So in the hope of staying positive here is a few good things that have come out of my down time.

I have because of the nature of the injury been able to cross train like a maniac. Biking (indoors) is fine, pounding away on the elliptical no problem, doing weights sure thing. One good thing about my test run the other day was that I realized that my aerobic fitness level is excellent. Since I need to go to the gym to do cardio my 4 days a week of weights has become 6. I am as strong or stronger now then at any point last year already.

I have also managed to drop 14 pounds of off season weight since the start of January and  gotten my body fat back down to around 10%. For me that means I am in mid season form (except for the actual running). I expect to be a little slow once I can run again but at least I will not be lugging around extra pounds as well.

Here are my February training totals.

Weight Training - 24 workouts -  28hrs
Elliptical - 25 workouts - 23hrs 55 min
Cycle - 25 workouts - 22hrs 13 min
Run - 3 workouts - 2hrs 13 min
Arc Trainer - 20 min

Race Plan Changes
Of course the injury has caused me to have to change a great deal of my spring racing plans. The half marathon I planned to run last weekend was a no go. This saturday I was suppose to run a 5k and that is not happening. Around The Bay (30k) is a couple of weeks away and I see it slowly circling the toilet bowl. I will not be racing it but still hold out some hope of using it as a long run.

The biggest casualty is my plan to try and run a BQ marathon in mid April. No way that is going to happen and once my ultra season starts in May there will be no room to fit in a hard marathon effort.

One thing I have come to realize is that if there is a hell and I end up there I figure it will involve me looking out the window at runners happily prancing along as I grind it out minute by minute on the elliptical machine for all eternity.
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