Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Surgery is a Go

Well, turns out that there was an opening tomorrow so I'm heading in to get the hernia repaired. I am definitely nervous but from what I have read it is a simple procedure and I hope to be back to light training in two or three weeks.

I did get in a couple of runs recently, one on Sat and one yesterday with Jen.

Saturday - Seven miles
Total Time: 57:11
AP: 8:11

Monday - Five miles
Total Time: 37:10
AP: 7:34

Both were great runs - would write more but I have to finish up a couple things at work then head over to the surgeon's office to get my Rx and get some things to keep me busy at home for the next few days.

I'll try to get in a quick post-op post on Thursday or Friday (I'm sure tomorrow will be full of sleep and more sleep).

Friday, February 22, 2008

First Full Week in Quite a While

Wed – am Spin at 24hr.

Thurs – Ran 5mi in am
Total Time: 41:40
AP: 8:20

Fri – Swam in am at 24hr
1000m – 19:28

This was the first week in a long time where I worked out every day and it felt great. The hernia hasn’t been bothering me during my workouts which is good but that makes me wonder what the surgeon will say about it next week. I can still see the bulge when I look down but it’s not too big and it doesn’t hurt. I haven’t been messing around with it (flexing my stomach muscles to push it out, coughing to push it out, etc) but I can still “feel” it from time to time. Part of me wants to get it over and done with and another part of me wants it to not be bad enough to repair yet (so I can compete in the races I had planned on competing in); but like I said before, I would rather just get it done, recover, then get back to training instead of waiting and having it get bad right in the middle of the season.

When I was at spin class on Wednesday the instructor kept saying “tighten up those abs” and I kept thinking “no chance in hell”; overall the class went well and it was nice to be back. It was a full class when I got there but at around 6:30 people started leaving and the class was only about 2/3 full at the end. I think after a couple of weeks I might try to get to the 5am class but we will see how that pans out (sleeping in is nice after all).

Thursday’s run started a bit late but it wasn’t that big of a deal since I am now riding my bike to work and that saves me a good 20 minutes (I was previously walking). The sky was just starting to get light so I ran on the Iron Horse Trail instead of on the streets. It was very peaceful out there; lots of ducks, some egrets, and a hawk were the only living things I saw for the first three miles. The shins didn’t act up but I did start slow again (I think it was around 8:44) so hopefully if I don’t push it too hard to quickly I won’t have that problem again. The biking and swimming might also be helping since they both work my legs in a different manner than running.

Today I was at the gym around 6:15 and got in 1000m before hitting up the steam room. I’m starting to feel a bit stronger in the water again but I still have a few 50m that are over one minute. Next week I add a swim on Saturday after my run which will bring my weekly total up to 2750.

We are heading to Phoenix this weekend to visit some friends and family. If the weather is nice when we get home I might try to get out for a ride (it has been raining for the last couple of days and it’s supposed to continue through the weekend).

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Well - Shit

Well - I have a hernia. I went to the Dr. today and she said that I definitely have a hernia; she said that she would recommend surgery but since she's not a surgeon I am going to see one on Monday. She did say that it is not bad at this point so there is no rush to have it taken care of............doesn't she know that tri season is upon us!?!?! I wanted them to open me up today and get it over and done with!!

I asked about swimming, biking, and running and she said if it doesn't hurt then it's ok to do. I have a feeling that I will not be able to do the NAPA Tri in May but I guess that's the way it goes - I suppose since I was not counting on the prize money to pay my bills it's not that big of a deal.

Now I wonder when they will choose to do the surgery. Like I said my Dr. thinks it's probably best to get it done sooner rather than later but it just depends on how bad it actually is when it's checked out on Monday. It sounds like they can't really do anything if there is no hole in the abdominal wall other than wait and see what happens. I was told that it does not heal itself so eventually I will have to have it fixed. I suppose I could go the whole season without having to have it fixed but I really don't want to be out in the middle of a freakin lake or 30 miles from home on my bike when that baby blows.

I'm also entering a busy time at work and after discussing it with the others in my group the best time would either be next week or sometime in late March, but not too late because it's busy again in early April. Freakin quarterly close process! I think I did score some brownie points by asking when the surgery would be most convenient for my company which is cool.

Oh yeah - I ran this morning. No problems with the shin muscle but I did start out slow, I think my first mile was around 9:10. Total time 33:19 for an AP of 8:20. I had a few little pains in random places on my leg but nothing to really complain about. Tomorrow I think I will head up for a spin class then run on Thurs and swim again on Friday (I might flip flop those two) - I suppose I should get in as much training as I can at this point.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Let the Training Begin!

Now that I’m feeling better I’ve started training for the upcoming tri season. I was supposed to start last Tuesday but illness kept me on the sidelines until Friday. That morning I headed up to the gym to swim 750m. My swimming has definitely suffered while I was out of the pool but I am hoping that after a few weeks I am back in a groove.

Saturday morning I ran six miles on the Iron Horse, the first three I ran with Jen then turned around and headed back to the house. She was running 16.5 so she kept on going up the IH and we met for breakfast a couple of hours later. I kept a relaxed pace during the run since I had not ran for two weeks. My final time was 53:36 for an AP of 8:56. I think my splits were something like 9:47, 9:22, 9:10, 8:34, 8:15, and 8:04 - i’m totally pulling those from memory but the gist is that I ran faster every mile but never went too fast.

After enjoying a nice breakfast of crepes and coffee we stopped by Sports Basement and bought our wetsuits. Both of us got Blue Seventy suits – I went with the Helix and Jen went with the Reaction (both of us went with the Farmer John style). Of course I was right in the middle of the size chart so I agonized over which size was better (L or ML) for an hour or so – I finally went with the L but I’m sure I will question if that is the right size for a few months. It was one of those moments when I really needed someone to just tell me which one to get because I really couldn’t make a decision. I think I went with the right one because the ML was pretty tight around my chest and neck and the L is snug but not overly tight.

On Sunday the Madone finally saw the light of day after a two month hiatus; it was great. I was planning on riding 20 miles on the trail but I felt so good once I was riding that I ended up doing 31 – I think my avg mph on the last 10 miles was probably around 22/23 mph. I noticed that the strange clicking noise I heard when riding in the past is still there and still annoying as ever so I stopped by the bike shop to have them check it out. The tech said I should bring it in this week sometime and they will dig into it a bit and see what they can find. The first place they will look is in the bearings because I only hear the noise when I am on the bike and pedaling. Since it is still fairly it shouldn’t cost me anything to have it fixed which is great.

This morning I was back in the pool for another 750m – I felt a bit sluggish in the water but I pushed through and ended up doing the distance in 14:24. This year I am really going to focus on my swimming and I hope to be able to bring my time down quite a bit.

Overall it feels good to be getting back into a routine – tomorrow I am running and I think on Wed I will go up to the gym for a spin class. This weekend we are going to Phoenix so I’m not sure if I will run on Saturday but I would like to get a ride in on Sunday when we get home.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Just Missed a PR! - Or did I?

KP Half Marathon Race Report - Sunday, Feb 3rd, 2008

10:56 (Includes 1:20 to cross the start line)
1:48 (.24mi)

1:47:27 Official Time

As I was putting my things together the night before the race the wind was howling and the sky was dumping rain. I really didn’t mind if I had to run in the rain but running in a headwind was not something I was looking forward to. When my alarm went off on Sunday morning the first thing I did was listen for the wind; once I determined it was not windy I started listening for the rain – no rain either. I got up and got dressed, heated up my oatmeal square, then checked my stuff to be sure I had everything I would need for the race. We headed into the city and noticed that there was a bit of blue trying to peak through the layer of grey which was nice to see. Jen dropped me off at the bus pickup down by the beach and wished me good luck and I walked over to get in line with all the other people. The wind was really blowing and it was cold so I jumped in the first line I came across and was able to get one of the last seats. The drive to the start was only about ten minutes long but it was a very warm and wind free ten minutes which was great.

The bus dropped us off in the middle of Golden Gate Park and we had to walk about a half mile to the starting area which was a nice thing since it was pretty chilly. There was no rain falling at this point, just an overcast sky. I walked to the start line to be sure I knew where it was then I spent about a half hour walking around to loosen up my legs and keep warm. The lines for the bathrooms was really long but fortunately there was a permanent facility tucked back in the trees by the starting line that no one seemed to notice – I would say there were three hundred or more people in line for the temporary bathrooms but not a single person standing in line for what came to be known as the “secret bathrooms”.

About 20 minutes before the start a light drizzle started but it only lasted a few minutes and by the time everyone was lining up it had stopped. I lined up at the eight minute mile sign and waited for all of the speakers to say what they had to say before I pulled off my throw away shirt and got ready to go. The race started about five minutes late but it seemed like 20 minutes standing there in the cold. Once the bell rang (trolley car bell) everyone started moving but it was in a jerky manner – I would run three or four steps then have to walk again for a few steps. This went on until we crossed the starting line then finally everyone was running (well, of course there were those folks that line up at the very front not understanding that 5:00 means your per mile time, not the time of day you plan in finishing) – it took me 1:20 to cross the start line and get on the course. When I crossed the start and looked up I had to shake my head to keep from getting dizzy because everyone’s head was bobbing up and down as they ran and it looked like a bunch of bb’s bouncing on a drum.

For the first three miles I really tried to focus on keeping my pace slow to avoid any shin pain which wasn’t too difficult given the large number of people that were around me; to pick up the pace I would have had to weave in and out of them. Once I started mile four I decided to pick up the pace a bit which was a bit difficult for the reason just mentioned. This was by far the largest race I have run in and I was amazed by the consistent crowd of runners. I picked up the pace a bit for this mile and still felt good so I knew I could really kick it into gear at this point and start running some faster miles. At this point I just felt like I was out for a run and not really in a race which was sort of strange; once I picked up the pace I definitely got the race feeling.

The course exits the park at approx mile 7.5 and goes along the Great Highway for the majority of the second half (the last .25 mile is in the park again) – I saw Jen cheering on all the runners and then she saw me and ran along with me for a little bit. It was perfect timing because I was just eating my cliff blox and didn’t want to throw the plastic baggie on the ground so I just handed it off to her. After a few minutes on the highway it started raining again but it didn’t really bother me because I was in a groove and was passing people left and right. The road was split down the middle for the out and back so I ran right in the middle to avoid getting bogged down in the crowd.

We turned around at mile 9.6ish and WHAM, we were nailed by a strong headwind. I had planned on trying to pick up the pace a bit for the last three miles but decided instead to just maintain the pace I had given the headwind. I was getting a bit tired at this point but knew that the finish was coming up so I just kept on going and pushed through the wind. I saw Jen again at around mile 12.5 and she screamed some encouragement at me and took a couple of quick pictures as I ran by. At this point I just tried to dig deep and maintain since the last .25 or so is uphill to the finish. I looked at my watch and saw my PR time tick by but I knew I had run a good race, especially considering my slow start due to my shin, so I was happy. I crossed the line in 1:47:27, tore off my bib stub (no chip timing), and got my medal.

After walking through the expo area I found Jen and we walked a few blocks over to the Sea Breeze Café, one of our favorite breakfast spots in the area. I had my usual, the Chorizo Scramble, and a nice big cup of coffee. I kept thinking if it had only been chip timed I would have a new PR but I was not disappointed at all, I had ran a good race. Well, once we got home I was looking back at my running journal from the Napa to Sonoma Half last summer and it turns out my time was 1:47:48, so I did get a PR!!! We spent the afternoon relaxing before heading to Yoshi's in Oakland to see Chris Botti - if you like jazz and you like the trumpet, then check him out (The new CD Italia is great).

Overall I am very happy with the run, my time, and am now looking forward to a few relaxing days before I start training for the upcoming tri season.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Taper Week

Wednesday Evening Run: Seven Miles
Total Time: 1:02:32
AP: 8:56
Avg bpm: 139

I was planning on running on Tuesday morning but I moved the run to Wednesday evening so I could go with Jen since she had eight on her schedule for the evening. My schedule called for six but I ended up running seven at a nice relaxed pace which was good for my legs, shins, and ankle (old hockey injury that still bothers me from time to time).

Friday Morning Run: 4.75 Miles
Total Time: 42:58
AP: 9:03
Avg bpm: 141

This morning we got up and headed out on the Iron Horse Trail since it was getting light out and the trail is a perfect place to run early in the morning. I had four on my schedule and Jen had five so I ended up running 4.75.

My half marathon is on Sunday and I am getting pretty excited. I definitely need to start out slow to get my legs warmed up to avoid any shin cramping (I’m not sure if I would be able to finish the run if they cramped up in the first couple of miles) then pick up the pace over the next few miles. I would like to feel comfortable through mile eight or nine then pick up the pace for the next couple of miles before pushing hard through the end. After the race I plan on relaxing for a bit and maybe catching part of the Super Bowl. We are going to see Chris Botti that evening so I’m not sure how much of the game we will be able to see – but hey, I’ll take a good jazz show and great sushi dinner over the Super Bowl any day (Now the Stanley Cup, that’s another story all together).