Thursday, February 26, 2009

Why Runners Usually Make Great Employees

Through Twitter post from @just_finish (who was linking it from @virtual4now), I discovered a great article that says a lot of things about running that I really agree with.

Whether you’re training for a marathon, a century or the Ironman triathlon, one thing you quickly find out is that there’s no room for bullshit out there on the pavement. You either do the work or you’re screwed. Politics won’t get you to the finish line. It doesn’t matter who you know or how well you can work the system. When you’re out there, every weakness bubbles up to the surface and stares you in the eye. Lack of preparation, lack of motivation, lack of dedication will all come back to bite you in the ass. there’s nowhere to hide. They will all find you and jump up on your back to stop you dead in your tracks. The choice becomes this: Do you let them stop you, or do you accept them and keep going?

The title "Why Runners Usually Make Great Employees" is an argument I will neither defend nor attack. But the discussion the article lays out to support the claim really hits home for me.

Take a read if you have a moment.


Congratulations to TNT West Side member Eliana for receiving a $20,000 donation today for her fundraising efforts. That's AMAZING. Certainly the biggest one-source donation I have heard of in all my seasons with the program. She's definitely in the running, if not leading, the race for the highest fundraiser in the nation!

Week Four of West Side training is approaching fast. Sunday's run will have us completing 6 miles down in Santa Monica. Rest up for a wonderful Sunday morning run at the beach!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Quick knee update - it's feeling great today. Minor, minor twinges here and there, but nothing bad.

My job occasionally requires me to do a little manual labor, like carrying around storyboards and pinning up panels (surprise, I'm not yet the CEO), and today I had to do a lot of crouching. The knee didn't even protest!

I love it. I'm excited to get back to running tomorrow morning. So excited, that I've sort of exhausted myself for today.

So I'm looking at the routine training regime, 9 miles tomorrow at 5:45am. Cross your fingers it goes off without a hitch ... or twinge.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Attacking the Injury

"Good things come to obsessive compulsives who fixate"
-Igby Goes Down

I write this now with a week's perspective, approximately half of the time it takes for one to recover from a common/nagging running injury. Okay, so falling face-first on cement is not exclusively a running injury, but at least if I think of it as a two-week setback, I don't go totally crazy.

The pattern of last week probably shines a big bright light on my relationship with running...

Saturday: 27 miles. Tired but wonderful.
Sunday: 13 miles. THEN I FALL. And then 5 more miles. I don't feel the extent of the fall then as I would in the coming days.
Monday: President's Day. Maybe I'll go for a bike ride. I do. An extremely painful one. 10 unenjoyable miles. Knee hurts.
Tuesday: Knee can't be that bad. Let me try running. 2 miles of moderate pain. 15 minutes of reluctant ellipticalling. 10 minutes of frustrated upper body lifting.
Wednesday: Disabled List. I'm out. Knee hurts.
Thursday: Still out. Knee progress.
Friday: Still out. Knee feels better.
Saturday: Normally long run day (20-27 miles). Time to experiment. 14 miles on trails. I made it! Moderate pain toward the end caused me to cut short the 18 mile plan. But I'm feeling a little more sane.
Sunday: 14 miles is looking like less of a good idea. Knee is swollen right on kneecap. Pain is localized and annoying. Walk 2.5 miles at Team in Training Practice, then I stop. Knee hurting a lot. Wonderful physical therapist and teammate Liz evaluates the injury, offers sympathy and advice. Ice, rest, leg lifts, and Kinesio Tape that we can't find on a Sunday morning.

Decision time. I get home from practice and make up my mind that I need to attack the injury with rehab of sorts. I spend my Sunday doing the following:

Contrast icing: 20 minutes icing, 20 minutes in hot shower, 20 minutes icing.
More icing: About 6 Dixie Cups worth. All through the Oscars.
The Stick: I roll out my quad and IT band because they feel oddly tight on the injured leg.
Foam Roller: Again, I really roll out my IT Band just to make sure it's not tightening on me.
Elevation: I sit upside down with my leg up on my table to drain the fluid.
Recovery Food: Blueberries, Salmon, Emergen-C Joint Health Packets x2.
Bending: Liz suggested that the fall may have reawaken (not her word) the scar tissue in my knee from The Great Kneecap Dislocation of Oct 2000. So between icings and during an episode of House, I bent my knee back and forth for full range of motion. Snap, crackle, pop...and I'm not talking about the cereal.

I'm an intense person and I was able to channel that into the rehab yesterday. Now, one day won't cure the knee, but I do get to report that: IT'S FEELING BETTER!! Definitely not 100%, more like 85%. But it's the best it has felt in the past 8 days. My range of motion is back with minimal pain. The local pain area is a smaller one. My quad feels looser, too.

The immediate goal is to be able to run next weekend. The next goal is to complete both our 30 mile training runs two and three weeks from now. The ultimate goal, still, is to race in 5 weeks.

So the plan to meet these goals is: Intense rest and ice for the next two-three days. I'd like to run 2-3 miles on Thursday as a test run for Saturday, but I have made my peace with forgoing them if necessary in order to keep the knee healthy and working. I've also stacked the cupboard with blueberries and canned salmon...which I'm not planning to eat together, but will consume them (and almonds!) throughout the day.

Will I make it through this injury? Of course. Will these protocols minimize my sideline time? I will report back this week.

I live you now with a picture of the puzzle I did this week that distracted me from not running. (Image:

Friday, February 20, 2009


Try, try, try again.

After my fall on Sunday, I thought I’d brush it off and be okay. But I woke up on President’s Day, a day off from work, to find my knee really banged up and in a lot of pain. My attempt at biking 30 miles turned into 10 slow and painful ones and I got 5 miles out on the route and then decided to turn around.

I tried running Tuesday. Two miles in I knew I couldn’t do more. I then tried the elliptical. That wasn’t any easier. I resorted to spending 10 minutes lifting free weights for my upper body.

I took Wednesday, Thursday and today off and I’m getting a little stir crazy. My routine has slipped a little as I’m waking up around 5:45 instead of 5:15 because I’m not out running. Therefore I’m staying up a little later, in bed by 9:30 instead of 8:30pm. I’ve been icing and taking Advil very diligently. My knee is feeling much better than at the beginning of the week, but there still is a quarter-sized area of internal pain that is nagging right to the inside of my kneecap.

If all goes well today with ice and rest, I might try 3 miles tomorrow on the park trails. I hope the soft surface takes some of the stress off my knee. But at any signs of lingering pain, I’ll be stopping. Forgoing a week of +60 miles is a real bummer . It won’t take me out of the race of course. As long as I rest up and recover, I should be right back on track soon (next week is a taper week to easy back into training before our 2 peak week so 70 miles)

The rest this forces me to take is probably a good thing overall. But all in all, I’d rather be running…


Sunday, February 15, 2009

TNT Week #2 Recap & Ultra Training Update

If it weren't for the view of the Pacific Ocean, the palm trees and the million-dollar apartments along our route, I'd think we were Team In Training Nova Scotia. Man, it was cold this morning! Okay, 39 degrees isn't even freezing. But SoCal residents, a group to which I am now (mentally) half-committed, have waif-thin blood a little tolerance for the chill that has blanketed the city.

Okay, enough about the weather. It was cold. But sunny! And about 60 people came out for week two of Training. Four miles up Pacific Palisades Park and San Vicente Boulevard in Santa Monica. Before we got started, one of our Honored Teammates, Laura Maloney, spoke to us about her battle with cancer. As if 3 years of remission isn't enough of an acheivement, Laura is going for her Triple Crown (Marathon, Triathlon, Century Ride) with Team - and the marathon is the final event on her list!

The four miles went by quickly. Some groups may have sped up a little too much for a LSD run (not a drug-fueled run, a Long Slow Distance run), but I think overall it went well.

Poor, poor posture

The Group Along the Boardwalk

California at its Nicest

Go Team!

Some shots from week one courtesy of web captain Marvin.

Although I am there to support, encourage and help the participants, I needed my own help this morning. About half a mile into the run I slipped off the sidewalk and faceplanted. The first fall of the season, I knew it was coming! I scraped my knee very superficially. What hurt, and continues to hurt, is smacking my kneecaps on the concrete. Yeah ouch. I didn't hurt too much at the time, nor did it set in until I got home after breakfast. I'm sort of limping around this afternoon and evening. Its probably a combination of lots of miles (see below) and falling. Either way. I'm happy that I get off work tomorrow!

Post-run breakfast was also well-attended. And I'd liken the pace with which I ate my breakfast sandwich a sprint. Three bites, and I was done! But it was all with reason...


End of Week 9 Ultra Training. This week was a tough one. The first of the build/peak phase. Saturday's 27 miles was a personal best for distance for me. I have never run that for intentionally. After the last two Disney Marathons, Mom and I did walk 3-4 miles around the parks, so technically I have been that far. But to run until the watch hit 27.00 was pretty cool.

I was moderately hungry all day and treated myself to drunken noodles and two sushi rolls for dinner. I may have burned my taste buds off after the noddle dish, but like the run, the pain was worth it.

This morning the alarm went off around 4am once again. Kelley and I met up to run before practice. We were shooting for about 3 hours today (or 18 miles). We ran 10.5 before practice, going along our usual route which, in the past month, we have traversed enough times that I feel like I know every crack in the sidewalk. I logged about 4 miles at practice, and then Kelley and I ran to breakfast to get another mile in. My friend Liz, who also ran Alaska last summer (and ran a 3:50!) jogged back with my from breakfast to the cars, just over a mile. So by noon I tallied 17.3 miles in about 3 hours.

I've iced my knees, taken Motrin and snuck in a 2 hour nap that was way over due. I was considering some Chinese food or Pizza for dinner, but I think I am going to find something better to eat my fridge. Maybe some takeout tomorrow. Tomorrow's easy bike ride is also up in the air pending how my knees heal after the fall. I would love to do some cycling just to give my legs a break from running (sub biking out as crosstraining for a run this week), but I'll see how I sleep tonight.

And the best news as this week winds to a close, I'm sleeping in tomorrow! No 4am or 5:15am wake up call. I think I'll snooze until 7!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Ultra Training Update

Okay, the first of three promised posts is the easiest one. It goes against my delay-of-gratification life philosophy, but sometimes you have to give in. That’s built into my philosophy, too.

Work is slow right at the moment, so I dropped down and did 10 push ups next to my cubicle. No, my coworkers didn’t see me. The cube does have mini walls. I’ve been doing a little more weights work in recent months to compensate for a lot of the long distances that have been cutting down on some of my muscles. I use the pullup bar once a day at least ... I can do one pull up from a slight jumping start. I'm working my way up to one hanging pullup....someday...

Training is going really well. I hit a bit of a wall a couple weeks back. Exercise and work and life got my very irritable. I guess that’s to be expected for long term training programs. Not all of it will be great. Some runs are tougher than others. Some weeks are tougher than others. But you remember why you do it, and keep going.

So I’ve come back out of the fog. I’m still a bit tired. Last week was a taper week that topped out around 45 miles for the 7 days. This week is the beginning of our build/peak phase. It consists of a 26 miler Saturday and an 18 miler on Sunday in addition to normal midweek miles. So that brings us to 68 miles this week, give or take a tenth or two.

I did a tempo run in lieu of an easy run on Wednesday because I ran on the treadmill and figured that would be an easier workout. Next week I will hit the treadmill again (good for resting weary feet), but will probably take it easier.

I’m noticeably hungrier. I do eat a lot more at breakfasts – I eat two of them. Eggs and Breads, then Cereal and/or Oatmeal. Lunch is a sandwich, salad, soup or other company-provided meal. Dinner is salad and fruit, sometimes eggs, and sometimes cereal. I’ve supplemented these meals with snacks like cereal (notice a trend? Right now I’m into Cheerios), almonds and hot chocolate. Still sucking down 3-4 cups of coffee in the AM for both pre- and post-workout caffeine.

I’m 11 weeks into the training schedule. It does feel second nature now. I refer to my 9 mile morning runs as “back pocket runs” because they are convenient and familiar. Ramping up the weekend mileage will soon take its toll I’m sure (the week before I went into a fog, we ran two weekends 24/18 back-to-backs). But I know now what to prepare for. Even though the intensity of the LSDs isn’t high, 4-5 hours of running on Saturday and 3-4 hours on Sunday does add up.

So 7 weeks until the race!! Starting to look at hotels, flights, etc. I can’t believe that its this close. The closer we get to it – the more surreal it all seems.

Following this weekend’s peak workout, I have Monday off from work. Dare I commit to sleeping in until 7am?? I bet I will. That, and a little Wii Tennis cross training.

PS. I’m getting more and more into Twitter, so check the sidebar once in a while, even if I haven’t posted. I’m usually more diligent about the short stuff.

Monday, February 9, 2009

I'm Still Here

I have fallen off of the blogging world for a stretch of days ... but I am still here ...

New posts soon:

-Gels and Goop to get you through training
-TNT Week One - Practice Recap
-Ultramarathon Training Update

It will be a plentiful week of posts, I promise. Until then, I'll be twittering mini-updates on the righthand bar.