Adventures In Running

Monday, August 26, 2013

Scary Bathroom Mirror

Back home there is only a little mirror by my bathroom sink. Nothing in the small room where the tub/shower and toilet are.


This week I am staying in a hotel room with a huge mirror in the bathroom. I took a bath tonight and then looked in the mirror and realized something scary. I am fat. Not just overweight, but fat. It was not a pretty sight.


I need to do something about this. Not sure what (other than lose weight). Not sure how. But it is time to turn things about and get back into good shape.


And maybe, just maybe, I can avoid turning on the lights in the bathroom the rest of the week.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Volunteering at the Sapper Joe 50K

Taking a little downtime between marathons (Park City last Saturday and Layton next Saturday), I agreed to volunteer at the Sapper Joe 50K race this morning. Why not? I already had my alarm set for an early Saturday from last week.

I was on base at Camp Williams by 4:30 a.m. and met my two National Guardsmen and followed them out to Aid Station number 2 on Camp Williams. It was pretty dark and I couldn't see much ahead on the drive out other than the back of their vehicle and the sparks it was shooting off. They lost a pin for a porta potty leg and it dragged the whole way, so I kept an eye out to make sure they didn't start a fire.

Dropped the vehicle off at the aid station and drove the Sergeant out to the gate to unlock it. This was the gate into the live ordinance section and we had to warn all the runners to NOT LEAVE THE TRAIL for any reason between the two green gates.

We quickly set up our aid station and I layed on a cot and enjoyed the starry night and sunset.

At 7:01 our first runner came through. Most of them were fairly self-sufficient and just chatted with us as we helped fill bottles and bladders (the running pack kind and probably the other kind too). Someone forgot to put TP in the portapotties, so luckily the paper towels were nice and fluffy.

Visited with Steve Kissell and his brother near the end of the race and enjoyed cheering on Jen Richards (who went on to win the female 50K). About 9:45 we drove out and locked the gate and picked up trail markers and were done for the day. It was very interesting seeing all the areas of the base that I had driven by in the dark with complete ignorance.

Looks like a beautiful but tough race. I want to experience these trails one year – but need to have more climbing legs on me before I can do that.

Thanks to the Army National Guard for allowing us to invade their territory and use their trails. Go Army!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Park City Marathon 2013

August 17th was my fifth adventure with the Park City Marathon. This should have been my fifth or sixth race of the year, but in reality was my first (not counting sweeping at half marathons). My foot injuries are finally getting under control and it was time to see how the foot would hold up.

Going into the race I had not done over 20 miles in a run this year. Not the condition I wanted to be in and I'm still overweight, so it was planned that this would primarily be a long training run. I switched over to the 5 a.m. early start a couple of weeks ago because it was questionable if I could even finish and this marathon is a "slow" marathon because it is a tough one.

I like Park City Marathon in a perverse way. It is up in Park City, so you have some altitude to deal with. It has some easy trail sections thrown in and it winds a lot. Not the setup for a fast race in any way, shape or form. In addition, it has a few uphills. Okay – more than a few. Most of the first 15+ miles have gradual uphills and then top it off with running up to the parking lot of Deer Valley Ski Resort. Throw in a few more uphills after that in case you have not had enough fun on the hills.

Going into the race I had my usual A, B and C goals. A plan – sub 6:30. B plan – sub 7:00. C plan – finish.

Nice quiet start a few minutes before 5. The RD said that we would have a 5:00 start assigned to each of us, but we could leave then if we wanted to. Why not? I'd just use my Garmin for an official time. I started out the race on a 2:30 run/2:30 walk schedule. Made some slight adjustments on the longer uphills, but pretty well stuck with that until we started up the slog through downtown Park City and to the ski resort. After that I turned off my Gym Boss for about 5 miles.

It was a beautiful morning to be running. Cool but not cold, so I didn't take along my sleeves or gloves and figured I'd just cope when the temps dropped right before dawn. They did a better job of marking the course with signs in addition to markings, so made it easier to find the turns in the first subdivision in the dark. I was hoping to see the hot air balloons, but they were just getting filled when I passed them at mile 10 and never saw them up in the air.

Fritz cruised by me at mile 12. I could tell he was running well and would easily win because the second place male was more than a mile behind him.

At mile 14 I gave in and put on an audiobook to help me make it through the rest of the race.

Aid stations were much better in the past. They had food offerings available at every aid station. Probably not necessary until after mile 10 – but it was nice. Only complaint – the pretzels seemed stale. I carried a handheld water bottle, so cruised through most of the aid stations and occasionally grabbed a Gatorade and had the water bottle refilled twice.

Around mile 20 my left IT band started bothering me. I would run for 50-100 or so steps until it started hurting, then speed walked 100 steps and would try again. It never eased up, but I was able to run at that level for the remainder of the race.

I crossed the finish line at 6:19:57. Beat my A plan and I am satisfied with that. I never saw a finish arch to run under, so imagine they took it down early in anticipation of storms that were heading in.

Good to be back into marathons for the year. Ice bath last night and the legs are stiff but not sore today. Time to work on the IT band and prep for the Layton Marathon in less than two weeks.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Are the foot problems almost over?

What a year it has been. It was somewhere in July when I started feeling Plantar Fasciitis in both my right and left feet. Still kicking myself for messing with my running stride and trying to shift to being a forefoot runner. I was able to get the PF under control fairly quickly in the right foot, but the left foot (as usual) seemed to be settling in for some fun and games.

Some days I think the left side of my body is cursed. Knee surgery on the left knee in college. A dog brush to the ankle in the early 1990's caused permanent nerve damage and lots of pain for a long time. Stress fracture in the lower leg that I walked on for months before a podiatrist finally figured it out. Tendon surgery + removal of Morton's Neuroma the next summer in the left foot. Ligament surgery the next summer in the left foot. Not to mention having my crutches slip out from under me two weeks later on a marble floor after an unexpected downpour at which point I felt something lovely tear in the ankle. I lived with that for years until it quit hurting – just found out in an MRI that I had actually tore a tendon.

So – when running the Wasatch Crest with Leslie Peterson last August, it was a bit worrisome that every once in a while if I hit a rock wrong, it felt like a bruise on the bottom of my foot. It didn't last for long – but I should have got a clue.

Fast forward to the first Saturday in October. Leslie and I were running the St. George Marathon and I was feeling really good. Strong, healthy, happy. Until mile 9. At mile 9 the bottom of my foot started hurting. By mile 10, every time the left foot hit, I was in pain. By mile 13, I was in agony. Was it a bruise? I had no idea. But my race went totally in the toilet at mile 13 and we switched from me encouraging Leslie every step of the way in the first half to her encouraging me every step of the way in the second half. Needless to say – it was not a good day.

I broke down and finally went to the podiatrist. Turns out that lovely bruising feeling was no longer Plantar Fasciitis, but had turned into Plantar Fasciosis (advanced and chronic PF). He put a pressure pad in my orthotic to keep pressure on the PF and I was supposed to ice it and use BioFreeze three times a day.

At the end of October, I ran in the Ft. Bliss Marathon. My daughter KT Taped my foot and even though I DNF'd the race at mile 19 because the concrete and boredom had made the race no fun, the foot did not hurt at all while running. I was sure I was cured.

No such luck. Pretty soon my foot was hurting even when I was not running, walking, putting pressure on it, etc. Burned. Kept me awake at night. Made me limp. Made me dread running at all because then it would be worse.

So, on my 52nd birthday, I had PF surgery to poke holes in that sucker and get it healing. My doctor says I had one of the most crapped up PF's he had ever seen – it was full of scar tissue. At least I strive to aim high in some things!

Recovery was slow – but I actually followed directions. Dr. Steve told me I would be back to running marathons and 50K's by the middle of March. Nope – my foot was once again hurting from even short runs and standing on it for long caused a lot of pain (amputation was starting to sound like a good option). MRI's and cortisone shots didn't solve anything – but it turns out my calcaneus/ankle bone was out of joint and that relieved the worst of the pain.

Should be good.



The outer left side of the foot had been numb after the surgery. Now it started hurting more and more often. Never had problems with my arch (other than PF) – but now long runs made the arch burn.

Yesterday I broke down again and went back to Dr. Steve. He quickly diagnosed the arch burning as tendonitis from the large toe. The pain on the side of the foot (which got really bad starting a week ago) was also tendonitis.

Treatment – roll the arch and bottom of the foot 3x per day on an iced lacrosse ball – digging in as hard as I can. BioFreeze. Tape the bottom and side of the foot for the other tendonitis. Ice it. After only 24 hours, I am starting to see a difference.

I have to admit I am looking forward to the day that I will actually be pain free for the first time in that foot in a year. I am positive it will be soon.

On the running side of things – 10 miles today on the Porter Rockwell Trail. Mini taper will now occur since I need to fumble through Park City Marathon next weekend. I'm not ready for it – but know I can finish it.

Keep on running. One step at a time. Very true mottos for this past year.

Pipeline Trail

On July 26th – I was feeling the need for some trails and some outdoor time. Took a half day off work (somehow I ended up working almost all of Pioneer Day) and headed to the mountains. I had not run the Pipeline Trail from Birch Hollow up to Elbow Fork for a while – so started out and did that section up to the road. Cooled down in the stream for a few minutes and then headed back down the trail. This first section of the run was pretty nice because there weren't a lot of bikers and runners out – as it got towards evening, more and more showed up.

I was having a good old time on the run – enjoying the heat, listening to management podcasts, loving being outside.

Continued on after I got back to the main Pipeline Trail and ran to the overlook and back. I was surprised at how crappy the air was in the valley. A lot more pollution than I had been expecting. So I was glad I was above it all. I debated going up Grandeur Peak – but decided that would be best for another day. My foot was starting to burn, so called it a day at 18 miles of trails.

No faceplants! Gotta love those days.