Monday, October 31, 2005

Halloween - a day off

Happy Halloween readers! Today was a total day off -- mostly to rest my left calf. Yes, I said "calf". The pulling/pain I was feeling yesterday behind my knee has turned out to be located in my upper calf. It feels like the muscle is just really knotted up. Not sure why, but this is certainly better than pain "in" the knee. I've been stretching and massaging it throughout the day. I think it should be good to go by tomorrow, if not for a full workout at least a light one.

Well, only a few kids showed up at my door demanding swag. Now I've got way too many leftover candybars. The office will be the beneficiaries of the leftover goodies (hey, I don't eat that stuff anymore). Well, I did carry one around today. We had a costume contest at work and I came as Howard Hughes -- complete with Hershey's bar (rumor has it that Hughes subsisted for over a year on Hershey's bars, milk and pecans). Can't believe I didn't win for best celebrity -- probably way too obscure.

As I am now suffering from a tremendous headache, I am going to sign off and get to bed.


Sunday, October 30, 2005

Gingerbread 5K Race Report

This was my first race since San Diego last June. In my marathon training for that race, I only did one organized race, a 10K in Olathe, Kansas. So I decided to follow the recommendations of many marathon training programs and try to race every 2 or 3 weeks as part of my training for the Arizona Rock and Roll Marathon. So this was my first race in this training period. In the back of my mind I was hoping to at least get under 24 minutes.

The Gingerbread 5K in Wellesley/Dover Mass. was, I believe, an inaugural event. It took place on a weekend with about 6 other organized races in the Boston area, so needless to say, it was quite a small race. It was a benefit for some children's literacy group. There were a lot of kids there. A lot. Like, half the participants were probably under 12 years old. Total number was less than 200.

Registration started at 10:30 and I arrived before 11:00 and was quickly registered -- number 89. The race was scheduled to start at noon. Now yesterday was an interesting weather day for Boston. It snowed. Today it's in the 60's. Beautiful clear blue sky. A great day for running. I stashed my bag and started in on my warmup (1 mile jog followed by a lot of stretching).

Warmup raised a huge concern. I immediately felt some pulling behind my left knee (below the knee/top of the gastroc.). I was very concerned it might be related to the other pain I would occasionally feel in front and below the same knee. Or maybe it was related to the new shoes. Plus the race course was supposed to be hilly. Oh well, what happens is what happens (and of course if it got serious I would drop out).

The course started at the Elm Bank Reservation in Wellesley but the vast majority of the race went through Dover. I started fairly strong. No big hills in the first mile and my first split is 7:44. The next section does have some fairly steep hills and I can feel myself slowing due to the hills. Around 17 or 18 minutes, two women and I running about the same pace realize that there was no 2 mile marker (or we all missed it). One of the two pulls ahead (significantly). With maybe a half mile to go, the other woman starts picking it up and I stay with her. We gradually keep accelerating until we are moving at a pretty good clip (I'm guessing about a 7:00/mile pace over the last 1/4 to 1/2 mile). We're slowly catching up to the first woman who pulled away from us and we pass a guy who has just run out of steam. The two of us are running side by side and I push the pace even harder and the woman drops back. I end up finishing about 20 feet behind the first woman. My time is 24:10.

I'm OK with the time (Hey, there were enough hills that I figure on a flat course I could easily do 24:00). I finish 7th in my age group and 36th overall. As soon as I catch my breath, I jog another mile to cool down, then grab a towel and my race shirt from my car. And it is a nice shirt for such a small race -- long sleeve dark brown with bright orange graphics (a gingerbread man, "run, run as fast as you can..."). Post-race goodies include water, bagels, energy bars and a "designer" gingerbread cookie for each finisher (nice touch). But I am left worrying about the pulling behind my knee. It's still just a generalized sort of dull pain/pulling.

When I get back to the apartment, I ice the back of my knee. Actually I use a bag of frozen succotash. Anita says, that's all it's good for -- she hates lima beans. I spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing. I need to do a little shopping so getting out and walking around a bit feels good. My training plan, however, calls for another run today. By 5:00 I talk myself into doing 4 more miles. I carefully stretch again and run from the apartment South towards the Charles River. I can feel the pulling behind my knee for the entire 4 miles. When I get back there is more stretching and I get out the succotash again. That seems to help it a bit and I follow it up with a hot bath. As I'm massaging it I realize it is not the popliteus tendon that is probably the source of my other pain, it's the lateral side of my left gastroc. I've logged 40 miles for the week and tomorrow will be a day off (time for a day of complete rest -- no cross training either). We'll see what happens with my knee over the next couple of days. Next weekend is an 18-miler.


Saturday, October 29, 2005

Snow?! What the...

OK, it snowed today. First snow of the year is always exciting. Kind of strange. It was about 40 degrees and it just started snowing. Flurries on and off for a couple hours. Then the temp dropped to around 37 or 38 and the snow just came down. Very cool.

I didn't want to get the new shoes dirty yet (just in case I decided I didn't like them and wanted to take them back), so I went in to work just to use the treadmill. After an easy 5 (I hate doing anything more than 3 on a treadmill) I showered and left. I had thought about doing some actual work, but...

The shoes feel fine. They are comfortable. I don't feel like I need the motion control that I used to have, and the cushioning feels very good. I think I will be quite happy with these shoes. (Brooks Radius in case the reader hasn't been following my posts) I've got wide feet and Brooks shoes have always fit nicely. I've worn Brooks shoes for quite a few years (Brooks Chariots were my first -- that probably dates me).

Was also able to pull together the Halloween costume for work. I'm going as Howard Hughes (the reclusive billionaire and founder of Hughes Aircraft -- I work for an avionics company so it's kind of fitting). Will try to post pic sometime soon.

Tomorrow is my first race since the San Diego fiasco. I have no idea what to expect, but I plan to go out pretty hard and try to run negative splits. I'll report back tomorrow night.


Friday, October 28, 2005

Easy day - New shoes - What Kurt Really Needs

Today was an easy day. Tried out the new shoes on the treadmill at work. First mile they just felt like really new shoes. Like, these aren't my shoes. Did a bit of cross-training (rowing and cycling), with some weights mixed in. On the cool down run, the shoes really started feeling comfortable. "Ooh, these feel good on my feet!" Tomorrow I'll probably go in to work just to use the treadmill again (it's supposed to rain, and just in case the shoes don't work out, I could still return them). However, at this point I fully expect to be running in them on Sunday at the Gingerbread 5K in Wellesley.

Not much else going on. Oh, and here's what Kurt really needs: Kurt needs a new hard drive for one of the spare PCs so he can load Linux on it (and hack the kernel), Kurt needs to practice guitar at least as regularly as he runs ( do that in all keys), Kurt needs to hit the thrift store tomorrow to complete the Halloween costume (Howard Hughes), Kurt needs to find a new apartment in Boston (cuz this cave is depressing), Kurt needs to drink less coffee (no way, man!), Kurt needs to get more sleep if he wants to run fast on Sunday (c'mon, the race doesn't start until noon), Kurt needs to sign off NOW (OK, fine).


Thursday, October 27, 2005

Nice Day for a Tempo Run

Six miles today through the Minute Man trails. An easy 2 to get warmed up, then the next two at a quick pace (just over 8 minute miles), and an easy 2 to cool down. All of this over hard dirt trails through the woods. The air was still pretty cool, but the sun was shining. Colorful leaves cover the trails in the more heavily wooded areas. The Fall colors are still quite impressive, and watching leaves twirl in the breeze as I'm cruising along the trails is just fantastic. A thoroughly enjoyable run.

As I've racked up the miles this week, I'll be easing off tomorrow. Some cross-training with at most 2 miles of treadmill running on the new shoes. I'll do an easy 5 on Saturday, then a 5K on Sunday.

Eleven weeks until the Arizona Rock and Roll Marathon.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Kurt Needs...

Kurt needs you

Kurt needs a new pair

Kurt needs a new bowling ball

Kurt needs continued support & direction to attend AA/NA [meetings]

Kurt needs to add and subtract some matricies

Kurt needs to get back in the title hunt because he hasn't had title shot since January

Kurt needs to sit on the shelf for a while and rest after all the shit that's been done to him

Kurt needs A Family

Kurt needs a donor with a rare blood type

Kurt needs to change something

Kurt needs to learn in order to go back home

Kurt needs deep pressure to calm down

Kurt needs to work out to get rid of the belly

Kurt needs a hit

Kurt needs to use his muscle against him and keep him out of the paint

Kurt needs your support at

Kurt needs to get a better writer

Kurt needs to move the driveway to meet Ordinance 20

Kurt needs a wife to convince a judge he can provide a stable home for his son

Kurt needs to practice more before putting out an album

Kurt needs a publicist

Kurt needs to download and install both Ad-Aware SE and Spybot Search & Destroy

Kurt needs a Generator

Kurt needs to find her a muzzle or lock her in a closet

Kurt needs to learn how to GET RID OF THE DAMN FOOTBALL

Kurt needs to show up sometime relatively soon

Kurt needs a new machine

Kurt needs to stepdown and receive his ass-kicking out of the federation

What do you need?

New Shoes and a Little Tendonitis

Today was an easy run at lunchtime, 4 miles along the Minute Man Park trails. A bit chilly going out the first mile or so, but very nice coming back.

After work, drove over to Marathon Sports in Wellesley to pick up a new pair of shoes. The employees there really are great. They do a great job fitting customers to appropriate shoes. The guy helping me could have sold me another pair of Adrenalines (Brooks), but talked me into the Radius (also Brooks) for $10 less. His opinion was the Adrenalines had too much motion control for me. In fact may even be contributing to my current knee issue (more on that later). So I went with the Radius, a more neutral shoe. It seems to have plenty of cushioning. His feeling is that the Adrenaline, in order to prevent overpronation, prevents my legs from properly aligning during my stride. I'd like to do at least one run with them on a treadmill before taking them out on the road, and since tomorrow I'm scheduled for a tempo run on the trails, I won't be trying them out until Friday. Will report back on how they feel.

OK, so I've been researching the knee issue I mentioned before. To refresh, there is no pain when I run, and no pain afterwards. It doesn't hurt when I wake up in the morning, or when I walk up and down stairs. But, when my left leg is bent 90 degrees or more, and I rotate my leg perhaps 90 degrees (for example, sitting, put my left foot on my right knee), I can feel some pain below the knee, and to the outside (lateral). Or, if I kneel on my left knee, I will feel pain. Sometimes it's just a pulling, sometimes it's a sharp tearing pain. Really odd. But from what I've read, it is most likely Popliteus Tendonitis. At least it has a name. It's a tendon that wraps around from the back of the knee and has an attachment to the tibia in front. It helps stabilize the knee. Running downhill is supposed to aggravate it (i.e. avoid running downhill). So I'm trying to keep downhill stuff to a minimum. I am wondering, though. I first noticed it after moving into my apartment in Waltham. It's about 50 steps down from the parking lot. I've been walking up and down a lot of stairs. And I recently added hill training to my schedule. Can't do anything about the steps (until I move out in another month or so), but I can do my hill workouts on the treadmill so as to avoid the downhill part. Sure do hope the inflamation doesn't get any worse. So far, so good.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Weekend in Kansas and a Bunch o' Running

Haven't posted in a few days, so here goes. Friday was a day off from running. After staying up way too late Thursday night, got up at 4:00 am to catch the first train to the airport for a 6:30 am flight. Flew to Kansas City (via Milwaukie). Helped Anita a bit getting ready for the garage sale on Saturday, but zonked out not long after 9:00 pm.

Saturday morning, after helping to get the garage sale going, went for an easy 3 mile run in the neighborhood. We had some rain on and off that afternoon and evening. And the temperature was dropping.

Sunday morning got up at 5:00 for a long run. Plan was 16 miles. Lately I've been filling my water bottle with Gatorade (or a 50/50 mix of Gatorade and water). Not having any in the house, I left with just water and one gel. I was also wearing a long sleeve shirt, but no windbreaker. And I forgot my hat. All of which I'm regretting a few miles into my run. It's frickin' COLD! Temperature was actually in the 40's, but there was also a stiff breaze. After 8 miles, and turning to head back home, I realize I'm going to be running against the wind most of the way. This is going to suck.

At 10 miles, I'm feeling whipped. And cold. And a little nauseous. I force myself to suck down the Power Gel (Vanilla -- not my favorite). I take a short walk break, then resume running. Around 14 miles, I walk up and down a steep hill, then pick it up again, still not sure if I'll make the whole 16 miles. Another hill just before mile 16 and I walk once more (up the hill). I grit out the last 2 miles.

OK, I've never liked the idea of taking walking breaks. I almost ALWAYS run continuous on my long runs. Even 20 or 22 mile runs. But even though I took 3 short walk breaks, I at least made the 16 miles. So what was the problem? Affected by the cold? Running the day before a long run? Not enough energy replacement? Racking up mileage too quickly? I suspect a little of all of these. We'll see how the next long run goes. That will be in two weeks, next week I plan to do a race. Plus it's time to back off a bit on the long runs.

Now, despite the crappy run on Sunday, I still got out and ran on Monday. An easy 4 miles. Legs felt quite stiff, but the run did wonders for them. By the time I finished, I was feeling great. Then, that evening it was back to Boston. A bit of turbulence flying into Logan, New England is getting an early Nor'Easter.

Today (Tuesday) called for a Hill workout. Yeah, right. It's cold, rainy and windy out. But there's always the treadmill in the fitness center at work. So that actually worked out better. Did a 5 mile hill workout on the treadmill at lunchtime, then in the evening before I went home, did another easy 4 miles (9 total for the day).

And so now it's late and I'm pretty tired, so it's off to bed. Tomorrow will be an easy day (and weather forecast says a chance the rain will break for a while).

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Fall Colors and a Great Run

Yesterday (Wednesday) was an easy (recovery) day. Ran 4 miles along the Minute Man trail at lunchtime. Legs were a bit stiff.

My sense is that the Fall colors are pretty much at their peak now. The trees are absolutely stunning. Kansas never had such spectacular colors. We've got an ash tree in our backyard in Overland Park that every year turns a particularly magnificent shade of orange, but it's usually the exception. Maybe some maples will go to red, but most trees just go from green to yellow to brown to barren. Here in the western suburbs of Boston there are so many different colors. Just beautiful.

Today was a 6 mile tempo run. Again, ran through the Minute Man trails. First 2 miles (warmup) I took easy -- 19:01. The next 2 miles I tried to gradually accelerate from start to end, time was 16:15 (averaged just over 8 minute miles). Surprisingly, my cooldown 2 miles was 19:02 (one second longer than the warmup). Each section felt perfect and I was pleasantly tired at the end.

Tomorrow is a day off as I fly back to Kansas for the weekend.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Hill Workout

This evening I did a hill workout. Warmup was 2 miles then did 7 X (90 second sprint up the hill and 2:30 recovery downhill) followed by 2 mile cooldown. About 7 miles total.

I love the way I feel after a good workout. The last uphill sprint I barely made it to the same spot as the previous sprints, and I was totally out of breath. The 2 mile recovery run following that just felt right. By the last mile I was picking up the pace already.

The weather has been cool, but not too cold. The Fall colors here in the Boston area are nearing their peak. It's good to be a runner.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Easy day - some cross training

A little stiff today from yesterday's long run. Just did a variety of cross-training/weight lifting stuff. 1 mile warmup, some rowing, cycling and a 1 mile cooldown, with a bit of weight lifting and some crunches thrown in between. Like magic, no more stiffness.

Seemed a shame, though, not to be out running in this beautiful weather.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Long run -- no rain

Sunday long run: 14 miles. After ten days of rain it was wonderful to wake up this morning to a clear sky. Temperature was in the low 50's, and it was a bit breezy, but almost ideal conditions for a long run.

Drove to Watertown, to the Mt. Auburn bridge where I started my run. Two miles into my run I realized I had left my PowerGel in the car. Oh well, at least my water bottle had a 50/50 mixture of Gatorade and water. The additional energy would have to do. A few miles later I found myself running among some straggling walkers for a local "Race for the Cure" run/walk. The further I went, the denser the walkers got. By the time I reached the Harvard Bridge and made my turn back to Watertown, the walkers were so thick they were clogging the path. "Who let these people onto my path!" It was nice though having the occasional cheerleader encouraging me ("And I'm not even wearing any pink ribbons."). I finally reached their turn-off and ran the remainder of my run by myself.

After 2 hours of running (I was probably doing just a little under 10 minute miles -- maybe 9:45) I picked up the pace for a while. For the next 10 minutes or so I pushed myself a bit to maybe a sub-9:00 pace. I finished the 14 miles in about 2:19, which included numerous stops for traffic (and a bit of zig-zagging around walkers). Could feel a bit of lactic acid build-up.
After stretching a bit, and driving back to the apartment, my legs were just feeling a little tired. In the afternoon, I walked around Harvard Square for a bit and by the evening my legs felt great again. I feel like I'm getting my "far" legs back. But I think the "fast" legs may be a while coming back.

Then there's the knee pain. Feels fine when I run, walk, climb stairs -- just about everything. Except when I kneel on my left knee, or lift it and twist my leg. Then I feel a sharp tearing pain below and on the outer side of my knee. I'm trying not to do that for a while and see if it improves. At this point there doesn't seem to be any correlation with running. Let's hope it stays that way.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Cross-training and Rain

Friday was a cross-training day. After a 1 mile warm-up on the treadmill, alternated some rowing and cycling with weights. Did a 1 mile cool-down. All of this in the workout facility at my work. Nice that we have it there since it's been raining for more than a week.

Saturday was going to be a short easy run but I ended up spending the afternoon walking around Cambridge. Lots of walking. And poking around bookstores, etc. Not going to worry about missing today. Tomorrow is a long run (14). And FINALLY this evening the rain let up, the clouds started breaking up a little, and I saw a few stars for the first time in over a week. Tomorrow, though it promises to be windy, should be a great day for a long run along the Charles River.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

First Hill Workout of the Fall

Ran almost 7 miles this evening from the apartment. Warm-up was about 2 miles then did 6 hills. The apartment complex is built on a good-sized hill so I was able to do 90 second sprints up the hill, then 2:30 recovery jogs down (six times). Ended with a couple miles cooldown. Total time about 1:04. Felt good. Felt like I could have done more hills. For the remaining hill workouts, will stretch the sprint time to 2 minutes with 3 minute recovery.

Tomorrow is a recovery day -- maybe some cross-training and some weights. We've had so much rain lately that I've been lucky to get my runs in between rain showers.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Breezy recovery day

Today, after taking Anita to the airport, I went for an easy run back at work. 4 miles on the Minute Man trail. It was a little breezy and chilly, but thankfully not rainy.

There is an interesting tweak in my left knee. Doesn't bother me when running, but I fold my knee up and twist my leg (left foot toward my right), I feel it pull below and to the outside of my kneecap. Must be some sort of ligament. Actually, doesn't the ITB stretch across that area? I will endeavor to stretch more prior to and following all my workouts. It's most noticable when I kneel on something.

Tomorrow is the first hill workout.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Good Tempo Run

Tempo run today at lunchtime. 6 miles. Started with an easy 2, then over miles 3 & 4 gradually sped up. By the last half mile I was probably running about a 7:30/mile pace. Felt very good. Took it easy for the last 2 miles. Tomorrow will be an easy day.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Birthday Run

Long run this morning. Actually cut it a couple miles short, only did 12. A little chilly, breezy and drizzly. Could have been worse. Felt OK, though. Around mile 9 my legs were feeling whipped, sucked down a powergel and within half a mile felt much better. Thought about going the 14 I originally planned, but mile 11 had a lot of uphill so I decided to just do the 12. Yesterday was a day off -- thought I'd feel a bit better today. Friday was cross-training.
I'm 48 today.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Good 6-miler - In the zone

Great run today. Did 6 miles through the Minute Man park trails. I was trying to take it pretty easy, but by mile 4 the endorphins were starting to flow. I was in the zone by mile 5. At which point I passed a couple guys from work and one of them says, "Look. He's in that running zone!" Don't know how he could see it. But that runner's high was peaking right then. I love that feeling. Running through the woods, feeling like I could go forever.Then by mile 6 I was getting hot and starting to tire a bit. Felt so good. Stretched a bit before and after.So then, after running 6 at lunchtime, and having one apple, one orange, and a 6 oz yogurt for my entire lunch, we have a champagne toast at work to celebrate a major delivery. Half a glass. I'm such a lightweight now.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Cross Training

Easy day today. A little warmup (1 mile on treadmill), rowing for 20 minutes, and a 1 mile cooldown. Legs are stiff today (especially hamstrings). Feeling better this evening.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

First Long Run in Boston

Long run this morning. 12 miles. Started near the Arsenal St. bridge in Watertown. Ran East along the Charles River (North side). The trails are quite nice - I'm sure I'll be doing plenty of long runs along the river.At around mile 4, across from the Citgo sign, the trees cleared a bit and I had my first panoramic view of the Boston skyline. I have no regrets about moving here. Seeing the sunlight sparkling on the Charles, rowers silently passing by, and a great city skyline under a bright blue Sunday morning sky, was just beautiful.Ran all the way to the science museum (and the giant R2D2), crossed over to the South side and returned along the South side of the river. I was originally going to cross on the Longfellow bridge but I must have missed a turn somewhere. By the way, the towers on that bridge are way too phallic! Had one energy gel around mile 8. Nice to see the water fountains on that side of the river (I was running low). By mile 10 I was feeling whipped. This was my first long run since the San Diego marathon (almost 4 months ago now). But I did 12 miles without too much difficulty. Didn't really feel much lactic acid build-up. Just kind of tired and a little sore.

Drove back to the apt., quickly showered, then went to church (late!). Picked up a bagel on my way home. Went out for a very late breakfast and to listen to the Red Sox spank the Yankees (10-1).

So now I begin training for the Arizona Rock N Roll marathon in January.

Still a long road ahead.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Day Off - Marathon Sports

Stupid NYY's. So if the Red Sox win tomorrow, they clinch the AL Wild Card, otherwise they may have to play one more.Stopped by Marathon Sports today -- picked up a water bottle and a running shirt. Looks like a good running store. Today was a day off, tomorrow morning will be 12 miles. I scoped out the start for my long run -- Arsenal St. bridge over the Charles River. Looks pretty nice down there. At least in that area there were trails along the river. Should be a good one. I'm only looking to do 10 minute miles -- 2 hours total. Will report back tomorrow on how it went.