“eulogy for a father that owned a car lot”
I liked this one. A lot.
Here it is — May already — and I’ve yet to have posted a single training log. That hasn’t been a deliberate omission. I just haven’t really been training lately. My next goal race, the Fifth Avenue Mile, isn’t until late September, and I’m not going to train for five months for the mile. So…
I’ve been running consistently, usually six days a week, although my mileage has been at an historically low average of 30-35 mpw. I’ve been racing occasionally and recently bested my previous 10K PR. But I have also been injured for the past two months, although for most of that time the injuries have been mild enough that I can at least run easy most days. I’ve had three issues: a left hamstring tweak (which finally went away about a week ago) and Achilles issues and plantar fasciitis on my right side. It’s only in the last couple of weeks that the latter two have let me do any hard workouts without paying for it for at least a week afterwards. The Achilles problem is nearly gone and the PF is so mild that it’s more an irritation than pain at this point.
I baby the hell out of both of them: icing, massaging, rolling and NSAIDs. That discipline has paid off, as has only doing a workout once a week and only then when I’m pretty sure it’s not going to make either of those two areas of my right foot blow up again. Racing the Scotland 10K probably delayed healing, but it was worth the PR. Now I can say that I am doing something resembling training again. I’m still just doing one workout a week, but I’ll be increasing the frequency of those efforts pretty soon, with three workouts every two weeks. Eventually, assuming my body holds up, I’ll move back to two workouts a week.
I’m doing rough 5K training now, with the idea that I’ll go into mile training later in July for Fifth Ave (on Sept 22), using the Percy Sutton 5K in August and the Tuckahoe Mile (which I won last year…but, hey, it’s in Tuckahoe!) in early September as tune-ups. I may throw in a few track races at Icahn if my schedule permits (and perhaps the Van Cortlandt 2×2 relay), but I will not over-race, especially if I’m injured. Making that mistake in March is what got me into the injury hole I’m just now crawling out of.
I’m doing some fast running in Central Park every couple of weeks, interspersed with track work. I did my first track workout on Sunday after nearly nine weeks away from it. I’m only slightly slower than I was at the peak of my pre-Houston 5K buildup, which both surprised and delighted me. Plus my right foot feels better after track work — also a nice surprise. Walking to the track with no small degree of trepidation, I was prepared to both run badly and get re-injured in the process.
It’s good to be running fast again. I missed it a lot.
Speaking of missing things: I will miss the NYRR Club Championships in early August for reasons that I will detail in another blog post very soon. Let’s just say that I’m looking forward to a very interesting and adventurous summer, and that I’m glad my passport doesn’t expire until October.
I’ve acquired some new stuff. Let me tell you about it.
First, some shoes.
Right before I got injured a month ago I ordered a pair of the Saucony Type A5 (because I’m a Type A kind of person). My inherited racers, the Asics Hyperspeed 3s, aside from being man shoes, were going on three years old. So the Sauconys, which are ultra light and are not man shoes, are meant to replace those. Even though I raced today, I opted not to wear them because I have yet to have done more than a 4 mile easy run in them. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned in all my horrible running lessons, it’s that you should never try out a brand new model in a race. I’ll give you the lowdown on those after my next couple of speed workouts. I sized up a half size from my usual running shoe size, incidentally.
Today, instead, I wore my other new pair of shoes, the Brooks PureConnect. I wore these for my semi-fast 10 miler in Central Park last weekend, so I figured it was safe to wear them in a 10K over the same course. I am not brand loyal at all. I will try any model of shoe by any maker if it looks like it will fit my foot shape and is light. The lighter the better, in fact. When I first looked at the PureConnect I worried that it would be too narrow in the toebox and that it might break down quickly. They look narrow on my feet, but they fit very well nevertheless (I had to go a half size up in these as well). They are very comfortable, light (though not as light as the new Sauconys) and they suit my midfoot strike. The purple color paired with raspberry-colored laces is way rad. I don’t know how long they’ll last, but I typically replace my shoes after about 300 miles anyway. They have been good for easy runs and they were outstanding in a race situation today. I’ll bet they would make a good marathon shoe. Not that I’m ever going to run one of those again.
Next, outergarments. Or an outergarment.
I couple of months ago I realized that my two midweight fleeces (Mountain Hardwear) were looking very shabby indeed. I have been racing and training in them since 2007. It was time to replace them. So I bought the Nike Dri-Fit Wool Half Zip and let me tell you, this shirt is the bomb. It’s a mix of wool and (inner lining) polyester fleece. It’s not too heavy, and it breathes very well, so it’s versatile. I wore it over a thermal base layer on 25F days this winter and it was fine. But it’s also worked well over a tech tee in 45 degree weather. It has thumbholes and, for when I forget my gloves (which is frequently), these handy little retractable finger-covering flaps. Nothing up your sleeve? I don’t think so! Top it off with a zip side pocket, reflective highlights and a zip neck that’s actually comfortable and we have a winner. It’s on sale now too, so I’ll probably pick up another one. Also, the colors are not the usual garish, barfworthy shades that seem to be all the rage.
For my birthday I received Oiselle’s Rundies from a runner friend who knows how important and gratifying it is to wear your love of running even in places where no one except your significant other (or, depending on how drunk you get on the weekend, a few strangers standing on the sidewalk as your cab speeds by) can see it. You can wear your heart on your sleeve. Or you can wear your workout on your ass. It’s your choice. With Rundies, you’ll have underpants to cover all seven days of running and underpantsing. I like the retro look of some of them (I’m wearing the very 70’s yellow-with-blue-piping model today, the one that says “race” on the ass). Rundies are comfortable and well made. They are 100% cotton, so they’ll shrink a little bit in the first wash. But the colors don’t run, even if the panties do. I am happy in my Rundies.
It’s more than a little ironic that my inexplicable improvement in running speed coincides with my plummeting interest in writing about it.
I got injured about a month ago after racing Coogan’s and the McCarren Park Track Classic back to back (and was already slightly injured going into both). Three days after that track race I did a track workout (15 x 300m at 67-71 per) and then the two days after that say “Injured.” For a few weeks I puttered along at around 9:15-9:45 pace on a hurting Achilles and hamstring (opposite legs). Then, last weekend, I got up on Sunday morning and felt pretty good, so I headed into Central Park thinking I’d run a 6 mile loop at around 8:30. Instead, I ran 10 miles at 7:46. No real pain to speak of. Well, alrighty then.
This morning I raced Scotland for the third year in a row. My 10K PRs are all on the roads and since I haven’t focused on that distance those are soft PRs. Still, I was happy to break 45:00 by one second last year. This year I ran 44:44, a 15 second PR. I didn’t look at my watch, save for the fourth mile, which is the one that hits the two huge hills at the top of the park. That was an abysmal 7:40. Between that and the very crowded and slow first mile, I figured I’d come in somewhere around 45:30. Needless to say, I was surprised and happy when I looked at my watch at the finish.
I have no idea what’s going on. I ran easy for three weeks at 31 mpw average. Then I did a hard 10 miler in the park, followed by a couple of moderate progression runs this week: a 6 miler ending with 2 miles at 8:10 on Tuesday followed by a 4 miler with one mile at 8:00 yesterday. I took Friday off. So some faster miles coupled with a mini taper of sorts. That seemed to work.
I will get back into “training” (whatever that means) after a week of recovery. I learned my lesson a month ago. The next race is the Mini 10K, which I’m not even sure I’m running since doing so means I will have to go to a three hour class immediately afterwards and inflict my rank self on a roomful of other humans. Baby Wipes will only get you so far.
It’s not the most important thing right now.
Jonathan said to me the other day, “You seem fairly content with your running.” I thought this was funny since I’m sort of injured at the moment. I’m still trying to get my left hamstring and my right Achilles to calm down. Fortunately, I can run through these issues, although I’m not daring to do anything fast, or anything on hills. I just plod along for 5 or 7 miles most days. Yesterday I did 10. I was running slower last week because I hurt with each step. But now I’m back down to 8:15-8:45 pace.
I don’t really care. I wasn’t that motivated to train for anything in particular this spring anyway, so the timing for this is good. I want to do well in the Fifth Avenue Mile and that’s about my only running goal for this year. That and avoiding serious injury. I will skip the Scotland Run in a couple of weeks if anything still hurts.
In other news, I spent Friday afternoon and evening over at Hilary Lorenz’s (aka Adventure Artist) home printing studio, learning how to make my first linoleum print. Hilary is professional artist as well as a printmaking educator (she is currently chair of her department at Long Island University in Brooklyn). Every few weeks she opens her home and schedule for something called PrintSocial.
This was, quite honestly, the most fun I’ve had in quite awhile. What happens when you combine four runners, wine, sharp objects and a printing press? You get some pretty impressive prints. And some pretty impressive bleeding. I managed to stab myself twice with some expensive Czech carving tools. So did my equally inexperienced cohort, Melanie Jones. Jonathan, who (aside from having no online presence) actually listens when someone tells him to cut away from himself and keep his non-cutting hand behind the one doing the cutting, did not shed any blood.
Hilary is a good teacher. She has nice dogs. She fed us about two pounds of chocolate-covered acai berries. If you are brave and not afraid of sharp objects, look into doing a PrintSocial. Hilary showed us some amazing prints produced in previous socials by artists and non-artists alike.
We ended up with some kickass prints. I am not showing Jonathan’s because he is shy. But I’ll show mine and Melanie’s. Mine has a misspelling. Can you spot it?
Here’s the whole album of photographic evidence showing our fun afternoon.
I now officially have too many websites.
I’ve also created a Facebook page for this new venture, although right now it’s a little sparse.
Long-time readers of this blog will recognize some pieces that have appeared here over the years. But, going forward, I’ll author most of those kinds of personal pieces over at Modern Stories rather than on this site. After the life hiccups of the past few months I’m getting back to the performing end of things too. If the next six months turn out to be as interesting as I’m hoping they’ll be then I should have lots to write about.
I managed to run pain free for about eight months. But I’m afraid I’ve broken my streak.
It was probably not a great idea to go out and do a track workout four days after doubling in a track race, especially when I already had a slight issue after Coogan’s (right Achilles) going into that race. Yeah. So the track race was a dumb idea. That brought hamstring pain afterwards, probably because my stride was off because of the pain in my Achilles. So now I have a messed up left hamstring and right Achilles. When I get up in the morning I also have pain under my right heel bone.
I took Thursday and Friday off. Yesterday and today I jogged 7 miles each day at around 9:30-9:45 pace. (I’m typically running 8:05-8:30 on my easy days, so that is ssslllllooowwww.) The hamstring is merely stiff on the runs, except when I go up or down hill, at which point it yelps. If I try to extend my leg, as would be required for faster running, or, say, walking up stairs or lifting my leg in the shower to shave, it hurts like a mother. The Achilles hurts with every single step.
I’m icing 3-4 times a day, slathering on Voltaren and hoping for the best.