Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Weekend in KC

I spent the weekend in the Kansas City area. I needed to do some painting at the "house-that-won't-sell" in Overland Park, as well as a few other home maintenance tasks. It also gave me a chance to spend a little time with our son in Lawrence.


I flew from Boston to Kansas City early Saturday morning. The kid (our son) picked me up at the airport and we stopped for some brunch on the way to the house. We met our realtor at the house and took care of a couple minor issues first, then went out to pick up the paint and a few supplies. After that I dropped the kid off at work. I spent the rest of the evening prepping the downstairs. I was pretty tired and ended up watching a movie while waiting for the kid to get off work ("Ice Harvest" -- interesting, but I prefer my movies a bit less gruesome). Then he and I drove out to Lawrence where we spent the night.


The next morning I was up early, as DGC and I had made plans to run together. I drove back and we met up near the trails around 9:30. DGC started her Garmin and off we went. We did 8 miles out and back and according to the Garmin averaged 8:45 per mile. It was a good pace for me - just a slight pushing, but not so much that we couldn't keep up a conversation. And I think we talked constantly through the 70 minute run. It was great talking about past races, injuries, training, families, jobs, etc. The coversation then continued as we went for breakfast nearby.

I'll just say this about DGC -- she has no business looking so good after an 8 mile run.

I think only one of us looks like he ran 8 miles. Anyway, we had a great time and I look forward to meeting up again sometime.

I spent the rest of the day priming and painting. I was, however, distracted at one point in the afternoon when I looked out the window and saw this...

I believe it is a Cooper's Hawk. Anybody familiar with hawks? That's a squirrel it's nibbling on.

I stayed at the house that night as the kid had brought an air mattress over with a sleeping bag. It was almost midnight and I was ready to collapse. I unrolled the air mattress and began looking for the air pump. Nowhere to be found. I was so tired, I just crawled into the sleeping bag on the floor and fell asleep.


I woke up Monday morning a bit stiff, but rested. I almost immediately resumed painting. I knew I had a lot to do before I headed back to Boston. I took one break around 11:30 for lunch and then spent the rest of the day painting and then cleaning up. It was almost 9:00 pm by the time I had wrapped everything up and snapped a few pics. (How does it look?)

Drove back to Lawrence again, had dinner with the kid, and slept 4 hours on his sofa.


Early morning, we headed back to Kansas City to the airport. Seven hours later (14 hours after finishing the painting) I was back at my desk. Despite being dead tired, I went out for a 6 mile run in the early evening.

My left hamstring had been bothering me for a while (a literal pain in the butt), but seemed to be getting much better with my reduced training. But all day Tuesday I kept feeling twinges from it. I realized later that the slight flare-up was NOT due to Sunday's 8 mile run (followed by lots of painting and squatting down, etc.), but was aggravated by sitting on the airplane that morning. The hamstring felt GOOD both during and after the run. I can live with that. Slept very well last night.

Anyway, things are still going well with the rebuilding. Today was a bit of cross training (about an hour in the workout room at work).


Friday, September 22, 2006

Autumnal Equinox

Technically, the Autumnal Equinox is tonight at 11:02 (Eastern). Just thought I'd throw that in there as a public service announcement. And because I couldn't think of another title for this post.

Yesterday's easy 5-miler was quite nice. The weather has turned cool and it finally feels like Fall (early Fall, anyway). I continue to alternate between easy runs and a mix of cross-training, circuit-training and running, with a medium/long run on the weekend. The hamstring issue is, for the most part, behind me (no pun intended). I'm aware of it, but it doesn't bother me and seems to be getting better each week.

As I mentioned previously, I'm now into the "rebuilding my base" phase. That means I get to start increasing my weekly mileage! I am so looking forward to that. I really can't wait to get out on some longer and harder runs. I'm feeling good and the weather has been spectacular.

This weekend I'll be in the Kansas City area to work on the "house-that-won't-sell". I need to make a few repairs and touch up some paint (actually repaint a couple of rooms). While there, I'm looking forward to getting out on some of my old trails -- and meeting up and running with DGC for a run on Sunday. I expect she'll kick my ass.


Monday, September 18, 2006

Anybody Running Austin?

Sunday was the last run of my "recovery" phase. I did an easy 7 miles along the Charles River trails. I felt my left hamstring tighten up around mile 5, but it didn't last long and miles 6 and 7 felt great. I'm getting antsy to start building up my training again.

And so, today was the first day of my "rebuilding" phase. And ... I did some cross-training (1 mile warmup, circuit training/cycling, 1 mile cool down), about one hour.

I'm planning 4 or 5 weeks of rebuilding before I start marathon training. During this period I'll increase my mileage from about 24 miles per week to about 34 miles per week. My Sunday medium to medium-long run will increase from 8 (this week) to about 12 at the end.

Haven't decided on my marathon yet. I'm looking to do one in February and I'm considering either Austin, TX or Hyannis, Mass. (Oh yeah, Cape Cod in February). I'm sure Austin would be a lot of fun. It's such a great city -- the music, the food. But Hyannis is a bit closer to home (and therefore quite a bit cheaper).

Any other bloggers out there doing Austin?

Thursday, September 14, 2006

More Easy Running

flash of blue and white
a jay seeking shelter
from the late summer rain

Another nice easy 5-mile run today on the trails. It was a little bit warmer (though still cool), and more humid than the last two days.

I would say I have definitely recovered from the fatigue. All the residual soreness is gone. My runs feel relaxed. I feel relaxed. But I still have some twinges in my left hamstring. I'm hoping by next week those will have passed as well and I can start rebuilding. Until then, though, I'm happy to just be enjoying these easy runs.


Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Premature Autumnation?

warm meadow grass
rustles in the cool breeze
and summer's last crickets

Yesterday's run was an easy, and absolutely beautiful, 5 miles along the Minute Man trails. The sun was warm, there was a gentle cool breeze. It was nice to just enjoy the run through the woods. No thoughts of mileage or speed or training. Just an enjoyable run.

And leaves starting to change???

When did this start? A few trees turning various shades of yellow, bronze, and a kind of violet-rose. Just a few. And quite beautiful. I know it's been cool lately, but it's hard to believe summer is over.

I do love the Autumn season. It's something I never appreciated growing up in Phoenix; where Autumn usually occurs on the Tuesday between Christmas and New Years. Living in the Kansas City area, it quickly became my favorite season. Now that we're in New England, I get to enjoy this amazing foliage every Fall. This will be my second Autumn here. If it's anything like last year's -- it ought to inspire some decent haikus.

Today will be cross-training, and then George Mumford is speaking at the Cambridge Insight Meditation Center.


Sunday, September 10, 2006

Feeling Better

This morning was a nice relaxed run along the Charles River. Just over 7 miles. It was quite nice. I could feel my hamstrings tightening up after about 5 miles. I stopped to stretch for a bit and continued on. Felt good for the entire run. I'm thinking another easy week like this last one should do wonders. I'll add on a little bit more cross training (some circuit training), but that will be about it. I'll re-evaluate everything next week to determine whether I'm ready to start moving back up the mileage chain or not.

It does feel nice to have a life again. Short runs, not much overtime at work -- I've actually got time to do a little reading as well (some new Sci Fi short stories). Oops, I'm still supposed to be working my way through all that great literature. I'll get back to Ulysses as soon as I finish this story.

Or maybe the next one.

Friday, September 08, 2006


OK, seriously, I'm back now. So what was that all about? Part of it was another brief heavy work period (another 80 hour week). There was also the distraction of "almost" selling our house back in Kansas (more on that later). And then there was dealing with yet another injury of sorts...

As you may recall, I was ramping back up to train for my next marathon (Tucson in December). The training runs just weren't going that well, though. It seemed every long run was just a bear to complete. And I'm talking about the easy 12 to 14 mile runs here. I've never had that much trouble completing them. And less than two months prior I did a 50 mile week with a 21 mile run with no problems whatsoever. Also, after every fast or far run, my hamstrings were flaring up (both legs, but especially the left).

So were the hamstrings the problem? No. I finally figured it out last week (chalk up another new experience).

Overtraining fatigue.

Let's see. After June's marathon (but not quite marathon because I got dehydrated), I decided to try a double and two weeks later did my 50 mile week. So let's see, that was a marathon - one week recovery - 50 mile week. Brilliant.

So I trained for a second marathon (that never happened because of work overload). Then I did a two week recovery, didn't I? Well, apart from the 1 mile time trial. OK, so I did some speedwork and a race when I should have been recovering. I had a good race, though.

Then I started ramping back up the miles to get into marathon training again. Too quickly. Not enough recovery (especially given the double marathon attempt).

Then I started marathon training, and there was another heavy work week. So, additional work stress.

Then we thought we were going to sell our house. We had buyers. We had a contract. But the buyers were evil. After the house inspection, they decided they wanted an allowance to do some more (cosmetic, but unnecessary) work. They provided a bid for the work. They totally forged it. We told them to get lost. More stress from the unsold house.

OK, so we have:

Inadequate recovery after the marathon (plus additional high miles) - check.
Speed training and a 1 mile time trial during recovery - check.
Work stress - check.
House (not) selling stress - check.
Building miles too quickly - check.
Low grade hamstring injury as a result - check.

Yeah, overtraining fatigue. Too many factors got stacked up here.

So ... the Tucson marathon is out. On tap is two weeks at half mileage, no long run, no fast training. I'm doing the recovery I should have done after the last marathon. Two weeks of very easy running alternating with some cross training. Then I will (a little bit more slowly) build the aerobic base back up. There will also be more sleeping, and making sure to get enough protein in my diet. And only then will I begin training for my next marathon. Marathon training is now 5 weeks away - minimum.

Disappointing, yes. But it's like Craig says, reacting to your situation doesn't get you very far. Far better to respond intelligently.

PS - I have been reading your blogs -- I just haven't had the time to do much in the way of thoughtfully responding. Hoping that's changed now...