Monday, March 28, 2016

Chilly HM and Upcoming Season

Kim after the Chilly HM

Chilly Half Marathon and Pikes Peak Qualifier
Chilly Half Marathon was a big success for Kim. We set a target time of 2:15 which slightly slower than her half PB even though there was really no proper training for the race as Kim hadn't started doing any quality runs in her program yet.

We had a really good day weather wise and the race started off well in the early going. We ended up running with our friend Ryan and I got to spend the first 5km of the race listening to him explain to Kim how Sith Lords are really not as badass and evil as they should be. Seriously I kid you not, my wife is such a geek sometimes.

After that Ryan took off and we settled into a steady 6:20 pace for pretty much the rest of the race. Kim ended up running 2:14:46 so pretty much right on the plan and less than a minute off her PB. Also this was easily good enough for her Pikes Peak qualifier.

As some of you know I am not a big fan of VRpro races and lets just say that I am still not a big fan of their races.  I will continue to try and avoid them in the future that's for sure as I had lots of issues with this race (again). I really don't want to get into details much here but having runners running in the middle lane of the road with live traffic on BOTH sides for the final 5km of a race is a big safety issue particularly when the sweepers on the out and back course have picked up all the cones that were separating our lane from the outgoing traffic lane. Live traffic on both sides and no cones separating the traffic on one of those sides. Golly guys what could possibly go wrong in that scenario.

Racing Season Looking Clearer
The plans for this season are starting to take shape. What I know for sure is I will be running Hynerview 50km, Pick Your Posion 50k and Seaton 50k as training runs for a return to 100 milers. Right now I am thinking I will run 100 miles at Sulphur Springs in May but that will be dependent on where I am at as far as my fitness level goes.

We have registered for the Pikes Peak Ascent in August and I plan to run 100 miles at Lean Horse in South Dakota the following weekend. I fully expect to also run Dirty Girls, Creemore, and Haliburton if my legs are feeling good. Not sure about distances but I expect that I will do semi long to longer distances.

The last race of the season has already been decided as Kim has signed up to run 50km at Oil Creek again this year and she is super excited about this. It was no easy task to get signed up as the registration was open and closed at random  for short windows of time in order to try and keep the servers from crashing. When I say short I mean short, I am guessing 3 -5 minutes. I will return to OC as well to try and get myself another 100 mile finish there. Both of us really love this race. The course is beautiful but it's a tough one particularly so late in the season and the 18,000 ft of climb can
be challenging.

Oil Creek 2014

Current Training
My current training as I work my way back from injury is going about as good as expected. I have settled into 100km weeks which feel fairly comfortable now although I'm not yet at the 120 - 130km volume that I usually like to be at.

I have not started quality workouts yet as I wanted to be careful upping the mileage however starting last week I have added some very hilly runs on the road. I also returned to the trails for the first time since the injury. Nothing gets me back in shape quicker than running some hilly trails. Things went okay on the trail but I got a lot of work to do. The uphills were not so bad but I found that I was having to think a little bit about picking my lines instead of it just happening naturally. I was horrible on the downhills though but I am sure that will all come back soon enough.

Still slow and still got some weight to get off but progressing so I can't complain. Bring on the summer.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Here is a short update on the follow up after the discovery of my DVT and my attempt to get back into shape. Most of its good news but also there is some not so great news.

In December the Hematologist that I saw about my calf told me that she suspected based on the blood work that my clot had become scar tissue in the vein and so the symptoms that I was experiencing were most likely not going to change. That meant that if she was correct the swelling in my calf would always be there due to the restricted blood flow. Also the tightening up of the calf when I walk or run would also be with me for life. Good grief.

The good news is that she is also a marathon runner so at least I felt like I was talking to someone that actually got how big a deal this was for me. She also cleared me to start running as there was no worry about doing any further damage to the leg. I was put on blood thinners for the next three months with a follow up after that.

I immediately put together a schedule to rebuild my mileage, a slow realistic build up to begin to get my base mileage up. I also really needed to get rid of the 25 pounds that my friend Mr. Beer had given me over the past 6-8 months of inactivity.

Week 1 of running consisted of  two 4km runs during the week. In all seriousness these may have been the most difficult runs I have ever done in my life. I was overweight, out of shape and my calf was a maddening painful ball of hate. I have not been this heavy and also this out of shape in at least 10 years. I was breathing like a freight train while running so very, very slowly and at 4km I was completely spent. Adding to this was a great deal of frustration as I had no idea if my calf would get better or worse as I went to longer distances. The reality is that I began to think distance trail running might be a thing of the past.

Oh yeah, one other thing, I forgot just how hard running can be. Man this running thing is tough sometimes. I found it hard at the end of week 1 to even imagine that at some point in the not so distant past I enjoyed going out for my runs or would enjoy going out for runs in the future.

Here is where I count myself extremely lucky. I have the good fortune to have a fantastic support system of  other runners in my life. My wife Kim (who is also a distance trail runner) was unbelievable over my down time and also dealing with the assholiness that came along with the aggravation and depression that I was feeling. Besides Kim my co-coach and running buddy Chris H. was great at helping to get me out for daily runs as were a number of other runners that I had been coaching last year. They were all kind enough to run really slow and listen to me complain about how out of shape I was.

Last week I had my follow up with the specialist. As expected the vein is scarred which happens in about 30% of all cases. The cause of the original blood clot is unknown which I was told is the case in about 50% of patients. They have no reason to expect that there will be a recurrence and I no longer need to be on blood thinners. That's great but still with a calf that will probably never feel normal it is a bit scary.

Last week was also my first week of getting in 100k of running for the week as well as my first long run over 30k. Everything seems to be going okay so far and I have managed to shed 15 of my beer pounds. Still I am trying to be careful and so far am sticking to building up the base so no quality runs yet and not a great deal of running on hilly courses which are usually a staple of my training. The plan is to begin adding more climbing over the next few weeks including some step mill or stair workouts. If all stays fine I most likely will ease back into tempos/hill repeats in 2 or 3 weeks.

 If things continue as they have been I should be in pretty decent shape by the end of April. To celebrate we will be headed back to Hynerview, PA to run the 50k with the hope of getting into 100 miler shape by mid May. Thats the hope but we will see how it goes from here.

Up next - pacing Kim in the Chilly Half Marathon on Sunday.
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