Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Weekly Post: 30-Jul to 5-Aug-2018 - Maine Vacation!

Ah, vacation.  It’s what we live for, right?  A well-deserved respite away from the daily grind of work, not having to dress up, being able to wear shorts and running shirts every day, no schedule to follow, perhaps some down time with family or friends, and maybe going away to a fun place.  For me, the ideal vacation is spending some time in the great outdoors, preferably in a new locale.  We have had two back-to-back awesome summer family vacations (Alaska in ’17 and Iceland in ’16).  This year with so much money going into needed house repairs, the prudent approach was to slash vacation costs and make it a driving/camping vacation. 

Cape Breton Highlands National Park (northern tip of Nova Scotia) was my original thought, but even that takes some money with the ferry crossing from Maine, so that will have to stay on my bucket list for now.

Monday:  5
Let the vacation begin!  Drove up to Camden, Maine. 

After setting up the campsite, Matthew and I went for a run around the campground (Camden Hills State Park).  I was already winded from the hills in the campground, but after our “warmup”, we started the ascent up Mount Battie Auto Road.  1.2 miles and about 700’ of climbing, with two relatively steep sections.  Matthew waited for me at the top, and after a short climb up the tower and taking in the views, back down it was.  Matthew rocketed down the auto road, while I tried hard to back off and run a manageable pace that wouldn’t exacerbate the nerve issue.  Caught up with Matthew at the bottom (only “caught up” because he stopped for 5 minutes or so), and then we took it leisurely for the rest of the run.

Went to dinner at a seafood place in Lincolnville, ME,
and ate outside taking in the salt air.  Fantastic.
Back at the campsite.  First time camping in about three
years.  Just fun and relaxing to be in the outdoors.
Who doesn't love a good campfire?
 Tuesday:  3

So nice to sleep in without any alarm!  Woke up in the tent about 7am and lingered for a bit before going out to run.  Up until now, I’ve been under “orders” from my physical therapist to run no more than every day, but now I can slowly try to ramp it up.  First time I’ve run two days in a row since the injury in early June.  Easy two miles with Jana, and then an easy solo mile.

After a leisurely breakfast and breaking camp, we went into Camden (one of my favorite towns in Maine) and then to Lake Megunticook for a swim.  Spent a week here most summers of my childhood.  Love swimming in the colder waters of Maine lakes.  Headed north to Baxter State Park for the first time in my life.  Route 95 is pretty much deserted and isolated north of Bangor.  Speed limit is 75mph.  After reaching the Togue Pond Gate at Baxter State Park entrance and checking in, it was a long six miles on a dusty washboard dirt road to get up to Abol Campground, where I had booked the only remaining site, a lean-to.  Ranger Dave checked us into the campground, and we cooked dinner on a charcoal grill and propane stove, before sitting around the fire, where I’m now typing my blog on my 5-year old temperamental Surface.   (There’s no cell service for miles, so I’m typing into Word to post later.)

No paved roads, electricity, or plumbing out here in the wilderness.
This cold clear running stream 50' from the campsite would be our source
of water for tonight's stay.

Tonight's sleeping quarters.  Comfy.

Our campsite at Abol.

One of the few things I don't like about my "new" car is the
dearth of space as compared to my old Volvo wagon.
Fortunately I was able to add cross-bars and put my cargo
box on top of the car to carry much of the camping equipment.

Wednesday:  11 mile hike - Mt Katahdin!
There is a time cutoff of 7am for getting to trailhead parking lots in Baxter State Park.  Add in the maximum 20mph on long, winding dirt roads in the park, time for making breakfast and packing up camp, and that meant an early start.  It was a nice 55 degrees when I got up at 5:30am.  Shortly after driving out of the campsite, I thought Matthew was joking when he said he saw a moose in Stump Pond on the side of the road.  No, there she is!
Magnificent moose having her own breakfast
After 16 miles traveling a bumpy dirt road
(from Abol campground to Roaring Brook),
we were ready to exit the car, sign in, and start our hike.

Trail intersections were very well marked.  Our route up would be via
Helon Taylor Trail, and return via Saddle Trail/Chimney Pond.

Matthew had to wait often for his elderly parents
to catch up.  In my defense, you can see at points in the
trail (such as this photo), it was getting really hard
for me to push my walker uphill.

One of many times that I got stuck behind "Jeans Boy".
At this point he looked at the rock incredulously, let out a "WTF",
but somehow figured out how to get up.
At twenty-something, he should be scrambling up these
rocks, but instead the only thing he mastered was non-stop whining and heavy breathing.

Who hikes in jeans?!  Even in northern Maine, the temperature warmed up quickly, and that combined with the sun and climb-inducing sweat made me glad I opted for shorts and a tech shirt.  After one-half mile of easy walking along the Roaring Brook (and it lived up to its name!), we turned off on to the Helon ("Heel-on") Taylor trail, named after a former Baxter State Park supervisor, and the trail got more technical and certainly more steep.

Snack/water break once we got above tree-line

Yes, this is the trail (blue marking), and yes, it's
getting progressively harder.
Jana, just below summit of Pamola Peak,
looking back from where we came

On top of Pamola Peak, now looking at our final ascent,
via Knife Edge (left to right, with Baxter Peak about one o'clock)

This sign is a little weathered, but legible.
1.1 miles to go, but it would be the slowest mile of the whole hike by far, taking
about an hour.

And here's why it will be slow!
(Matthew starting Knife Edge)

So steep that even Matthew is using his hands for
balance here.

Slow going through boulders up the Knife Edge.
It was getting pretty windy up here exposed.
 At a little over 3 hours of moving time and 4,200+' ascent, we made it!  Quite a few people at the top, most having lunch like us (Jana had made sandwiches on grinder rolls the night before), discussing their hike, and taking in the views.  Matthew had arrived earlier than us (of course he had!), and was pointing out a guy about 30 who had just finished up his Appalachian Trail through-hike from Georgia!  His parents were there, and had accompanied him on the last climb.  On the top, there is a plaque recognizing former Maine governor Percival Baxter's donation of the land in 1931 to the State of Maine, with awesome conditions codified into state law, including:

  • "shall forever be used for public park and recreational purposes"
  • "shall forever be left in the natural wild state"
  • "shall forever be kept as a sanctuary for wild beasts and birds"
  • [my favorite:] "no roads or ways for motor vehicles shall hereafter ever be constructed therein or thereon"

Katahdin:  had long been on my bucket list, well worth the hike.
In my simplistic boiled down interpretation, if you are standing here at Baxter Peak, you earned your stay here.  No roads, no trains, no chairlifts; you hiked it.  It wasn't easy, but you did it.  No one is here in flip-flops and no one is waiting for a tourist van to drive them back to the base of the mountain.  No deference to the fine state of New Hampshire and our region's highest peak of Mount Washington, but when you stand atop the mighty Katahdin (Abenaki for "the greatest mountain") and you gaze out on the Maine wilderness, with the exception of the weathered wood sign atop Pamola Peak, you see no signs of human civilization in any direction.  No roads are visible, nor buildings, nor other man-made artifacts.  Peaceful and awe-inspiring.

Thursday:  5 run, 4 hike, 1/4 swim
Ran in Lamoine State Park, including run down to Lamoine Beach Park.  Completely winded and beat from yesterday's hike.  Showered and headed into Acadia National Park for the day, where I had more enjoyable activities:
Beehive hike:  Matthew on cliff

Beehive hike:  Sand Beach at Atlantic Ocean in distance
awaits me
55F water temp in Atlantic Ocean did not stop me from running and diving in.
So refreshing!
Hike #2:  Boulder field on the Precipice Trail
View from the top of Precipice Trail on
Champlain Mountain

Friday:  5 run, 2 hike, 1/4 swim
AM:  Hiked Beech Mountain from Echo Lake.  By the time we broke camp, and got breakfast, we had a rather late morning start.  It was already in the mid-80s, so I opted for my thinnest of singlets for the hike.  Quite a few people on this hike.  We got stuck behind a bunch of people on the iron rung ladders, but were able to get past them once on more traditional trails.  Followed up the hike with a dip in Echo Lake, before hitting the road.
Packing up camp for the final time.  I think some of us need to
have sleeping bag rollup class.

Beech Mountain hike:
Matthew waiting at the top of one
of the iron runs

Beech Cliffs:
looking down at Echo Lake beach (to Matthew's left),
where post-hike swimming awaits us

Views from the top of Beech Mountain
PM:  Maudslay Park, Newburyport, MA.  I was getting sleepy on the drive home from Maine, and this was a nice break to wake me up.  Had never even heard of this place before, but Matthew looked it up and found it.  The skies opened up on the way back, and we got drenched.  Back in the parking lot, I just stood in the downpour for a couple of minutes to wash off, before changing into dry clothes for the ride home.

Saturday:  3
We got home very early Saturday morning, somewhere around 12:30am.  Straight to bed and crashed right away.  By the time I got out for a run, I ran into rainstorms again.  Ran in Wahaneeta for the first time in a few months.  Trails in good shape; hopefully the bugs will be gone for the race in 2 weeks.  5 DFKs.

Sunday:  5
Run 4 Kerri.  This was the 17th edition of the race honoring Kerri Bessette, a SK runner who died tragically from meningitis in her college freshman year in 2001.  Pre-race I caught up with Dave Schaad, who told me he had run every single edition of Kerri.  I believe that Mike Crutchley has as well.  I certainly don't have the impressive run that either of the two of them have, but I have run many of the years at Kerri, with my 4-mile PR coming in this race at the age of 51 (23:43).
Just before the start with long time running friends.

Today I would not get close to this pace (5:56), but I had my sights on my first sub-7 run since my injury in early June.  Lined up about 8 rows back and went out at about 6:45 pace.  It was very hot today, but one of the few advantages of recovering is that if you're not going 100% racing, then you're not suffering like the majority of runners out there. 
Other than the sun blinding me, feeling pretty
good on Cards Pond Road at about Mile 2

I ran fairly consistent paces through the first three miles (6:44, 6:43, 6:47).  Starting about 1 mile in, others around me were slowing down and although I just kept the same pace, I started passing a lot of runners and none passed me for the remainder of the race.  That was kind of neat.  So what happened in Mile 4?  Fell apart, right?  No, that was the expectation I had for myself, especially with the uphill run, but I felt pretty good and picked it up a little bit to run a 6:28 mile. 
Steady finish.  Form even looks decent compared to
my usual slumping it in.

Final results:  26:49, 46th out of 456, even grabbed a 3rd place in age group.  Nothing to write home about, but this was my fastest run since the injury two months ago, so I was psyched!  Full results here.
We got to take home some loot today.  Left to right:
Matthew keeping his distance from this questionable crew.
Chris could add a pound or two.
The fat guy on the end could lose a few.  Maybe I can transfer some to Chris?

Later that day:  Finished out the week very happy to save this scared critter
from the blades of the riding mower as he slithered out
just as I cut the engine
Weekly mileage:  
Run 28  Inching up
Hike 17 miles!  Legs are sore
Swim 1/2

Weekly synopsis:  Just a really fun and cool vacation in the state of Maine.  On a national level, Maine is quite small (12th smallest state in the US), but it's obviously the largest state in New England and really offers quite a diverse mix of terrain and features.
The hikes were really fun, and certainly conquering Katahdin was the highlight.  On the run side, both the mileage and pace are slowly improving.  Hoping to see some improved results when I go back to PT next week.  So, no how matter how you slice it, a great week!

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Weekly Log 23-Jul to 29-Jul-2018: Blessing of the Fleet

Monday:  10 ride
Easy solo AM ride in the fog in Misquamicut.

Tuesday:  1 walk, 5 run
Walked and wheel-measured the new Bottone Mile course with Paul.  August 15, free, but please pre-register online if you're coming.  Interest in a track mile had dropped way off, so after 24 years on the track, we're switching to a road format.  We'll see how this goes.
Since I had the day off and everyone was still sleeping,
I continued just a little further down to Weekapaug, got an iced coffee
and walked across the street to enjoy it at the breachway.
Pondered retirement and how I imagine it.

Off to a somewhat annual family trip to Beavertail State Park, that we take around my birthday every year.  My great-aunt often told me that she doesn't want or need any more physical gifts, but would just like to spend time with us.  Not sure I appreciated that then, but I do now.  Anyhow, took the day off, as Mark is returning to Florida tomorrow.  Enjoyed a lunch on the grass, playing on the rocks, and some frisbee with Mark and Matthew.  Missing from this year's trip were a visit to the Beavertail native aquarium (it was closed due to roof damage) and a swim.
Leaving aside the religious quote, I thought that this hand-painted
rock was really neat.  Surprised that someone just left it behind on
the seawall.

Picture is too dark, but probably one of the few family pics we'll have of the
four of us together in 2018.  Tempus fugit.

PM:  Ran the Stonington Fun Run, plus 2 miles warm-up, for 5 total.

Wednesday:  3/4 mile swim
Solo swim at Watchaug Pond.  Felt really good.  When I finished up, and elderly lady in the water (she was in a group of 3 doing some kind of exercise and clearly enjoying the social time) came up to me and said something to the effect of "That was quite the swim.  I used to be a lifeguard and had my eye on you the whole time.  You were doing everything right with your strokes."  She was either being overly kind, or her eyesight wasn't too good, but either way, it made my morning.

Brought Mark up to Green Airport for his flight back to Florida.  He won't be back until Thanksgiving now.  Sigh.  I'm actually doing better with it the more times he comes and goes, but I foolishly told him on the ride up that I wish someday he returns to RI to live, to which he retorted, "Dad, there's a 100% chance that I will never live in RI again.".  Soul-crushing.
So many international destinations with a cheap direct flight from RI now.
Definitely interested in any of these for a future trip.

Thursday:  0, PT only
John Ward asked me not to do any other activities on PT days.  I thought I was progressing nicely (which I still think I am overall) until he had me stand with one foot on the edge of a 6" high wooden box, then gradually lower my other foot and back up.  Repeat 10 times.  Piece of cake.
OK, now switch feet.  Stood on my "bad leg", started to lower the other foot, and the knee on the bad leg instantly buckled inward, and my body collapsed towards the floor as I let out a profanity.  (I apologized to the staff and other patients, but they didn't care.)  I have some definite weaknesses I need to work on, and came away with a new set of exercises to be done 3x/weekly.  It may sound silly, but after this 30-minute PT session, I left exhausted.

Friday:  1 walk, 10 run
The Blessing!  No Mikey joining us this time around, as he and a number of other WTAC'ers would be missing this edition, due to injuries, other plans, etc.  My warm-up would ended up being a 1.2 mile walk, as with this injury, it's just so hard to start running again after I've stopped.

Mile 1:  I had bib #27 tonight, which means I'm entitled to start in the front corral (anything less than 100).  I debated starting way back, as I was intending to run 7:30 pace or just under, but I took Mikey's advice and started in the front (maybe 5th row back) instead of weaving in and out of people.  The gun went off, and I thought I was doing a good job holding back until 1/2 mile in when I saw I was running 6:20 pace.  Ugh.  Backed way off, but still finished Mile 1 in 6:48.  Saw Jana and then my Mom spectating.

About 1/2 mile in:  Can you find me in this picture?
Smack dab in the middle of ... not a single runner that I recognize.

Miles 2-4:  I got it a little better under control in Mile 2 (7:05), but then unwittingly picked it up again in Mile 3 (6:57).  Well, clearly 7:30 is not going to work, but how about 7:15?  At the beginning of Mile 4 on Ocean Road, someone called out to me.  It was Patrick Marcum, a LaSalle high school runner from Cumberland who came down to run one of our Pumpkins trail races.  He was injured as well, I fell into his pace talking to him and that slowed me a bit to 7:16.  Finally!

Miles 5-7:  My pace and run with Patrick fell off, as he said he was going to walk the hill up to 108.  Route 108 is always my most dreaded part of the race.  I was drenched by now from the humidity, but at least it had turned cloudy.  I went under every hose and sprinkler I could, and ran the next three miles pretty consistent at 7:01, 7:04, 7:01.

Mile 6:  Waving to Seb as I'm immensely proud of my awesome accomplishment here
of finally catching up to and passing my competition (the three ladies behind me).
Pic by Chris.

Miles 8-Finish:  Often I have a second wind in the last few miles, but I'm starting to get tired now, especially with my dearth of running over the past month.  Dave Principe calls out to me from the side of the road in the shaded neighborhood.  Normally I'm happy to see him NOT running Blessing :), but obviously this year doesn't matter.  I go back and forth with a few familiar runners in the last few miles, including new WTAC'er Eric Ciocca, Turtle Pat Quinn, and NRA's Peter Barbera.
... and we're done.  One of my slowest times ever,
but I got it done.

Full results.  Happy to finish my 16th straight Blessing.  Caught up with friends and frenemies briefly.  Tommy had to head out right after the race, then I talked with Michael Narcissi, Mike Daniels, a few of the Chariho guys, Mac Ordonio, Clay Howland, etc.  Hung around for awards ceremony, and this time it's all Matthew, taking 6th place overall, plus the age group win in a 55:30!  As for my time, trying to stay positive, it's actually faster than I thought and sought, with a 7:09 average pace for 1:11:29.  Next year, it's going to be different.  Next year, I tell you ...

Saturday:  0
Very sore from Blessing.

Sunday:  17 ride
Early morning coastal ride with Mike.  Iced coffee stop at the Innlet, Weekapaug.  Always a good time.  Soreness has dissipated.

Weekly mileage:
Run:  15
Ride:  27
Walk:  1
Swim:  0.75

Weekly synopsis:  So glad I was able to run the Blessing, and I wasn't nearly as dejected with my running time and performance as I feared.  Making gradual progress in my healing/recovery, but as you can see from the July 2017 to July 2018 comparison below, I have a ways to go to get anywhere near my former self:
July 2017:  Solid!

July 2018:  Ugly

Monday, July 23, 2018

Weekly Log 16-Jul to 22-Jul-2018: The Road to the Blessing is Looking Better

Monday:  0
Really sore from Sailfest 5K.  Depressing.  John (PT) did ask me to take a couple of days off after this.  Continuing with the specific stretching exercises thrice daily.

Tuesday:  0

Wednesday:  7
AM:  Ran 10K in Needham, MA on a mix of roads, grass fields, track, and artificial turf.  This was my longest run in a month.  Actually felt pretty decent on track and artificial turf, but anything the slightest uneven or downhill was a little painful.  I guess I have to accept that I won't be doing much trail running in the immediate future.

PM:  Ran 1 mile at Westerly Fun Run.  This did not feel good at all.  I'm only supposed to be running every other day, so I should have just swallowed my pride and sat on the sidelines.

Thursday:  0
Am so sore from yesterday's runs, and not happy with myself on pushing a second run yesterday.  Went for PT evaluation #4 today, and while progress is definitely being made, it was depressing to see how weak I am.  Standing on my right (injured) leg while bouncing a ball off the wall, I had to reach out to grab things several times to avoid completely falling over.  Got a new set of exercises to also strengthen the hip area; John said to count PT sessions as cross-training and not run or cross-train on these days.

He asked me to try to run 10 miles this weekend, and if I can get that done, when I see him next week, to discuss Blessing plans, but to also take two days in a row off prior to Blessing.

Friday:  0

Saturday:  10!
So nervous about being able to complete this run.  Picked the flattest and most even surface I know:  Ninigret.  Started out with a road loop in Arnolda before jumping into the manicured flat trails at Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge.  The discomfort was there (as always lately), but somewhere about Mile 8 I "forgot" about the discomfort.  Is that possible?

Sunday:  0 run, 1 mile walk
Walk on beach in afternoon before turning back in the rain.  Pounding surf.

Weekly mileage:  17 run

Weekly synopsis:  I'm just going to keep it positive and focus on the improvement.  I've gone from 3 weeks of non-running, including 1 1/2 weeks of limping in pain, to this week where I not only ran, but finished both a 10K and 10-mile nonstop.  Solid progress. 

I'm looking forward to the Blessing next week.  I don't know if I'll have to mix in walking or run the whole thing but finish in 80 minutes, but either way it will be good to be out there and much better than sitting and sulking on the sidelines.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Sailfest 5K 2018: A Different Kind of "Race" for Me This Year

New London, CT
Sunday, July 15, 2018

One of my favorite 5K races that I like to come back to regularly.  Certainly haven't made every year, but I average a visit at least every other year.  As Matthew pointed out, it's not a PR course with its hills, so that's not why I come.  So why do I?  A few attractions for me, in no particular order:

  • For a small local 5K, there are always a few very fast runners (you might think I would prefer those races where I might have a shot at a V, but those can be boring and tough to run alone).
  • Any race that SNERRO puts on, you know the timing is going to be quality without hiccups.
  • Finish through the vendor carts at the festival is unique and fun.
  • Always run into a bunch of runners that I like to catch up with, and a decent representation from WTAC.
  • In the age of increased water conservation efforts, the fact that the fire department hose shower remains in awesome.

This year I'm injured with a nerve injury that has largely kept me out of running for a month, so I thought I wouldn't even be in the race.  Since I had signed up some time ago and my physical therapist gave me the OK with certain caveats, the pendulum swung back the other way and I was in!

Now I found myself nervous about this race a couple of days out, but for very different reasons than the usual concerns:

  • Am I going to be able to run the whole race, or am I going to have to walk, or worse, incur my first DNF?  (I'm OK with a DNS, and have had plenty of those, but never a DNF.)  [Not in any way knocking the many of us that have had a DNF, but just a foolish thing with me to keep the streak alive.]  Solution:  Take it steady and unless severe pain, be tough through discomfort.
  • On the other side of the spectrum, how am I going to maintain the PT-prescribed pace of 7:30 to 8:00?  Once he gave that range, the 8:00 went out the window, but it's going to be tough to resist the natural inclination to run faster than 7:30.  Solution:  Start far back in the back and check my pace early and often.
  • Am I going to make a spectacle of myself, either through weird running gait ("Mom, look at that crippled old guy running!  He should really go back to his nursing home.")  or have a meltdown like a two-year old over my lack of running prowess.  Solution:  I had many, many talks with myself on the latter of keeping it positive internally and externally facing.

Mile 1:  After checking in, and a short walk warm-up, it's time to go.  I line up at least 10 rows back to dampen the urge to fly out.  At the gun, I think I'm going out fine, but see the pace is high 6's, so back off a bit.  I see Paul Gray and Mac Ordonio ahead of me; good I don't have to witness them passing me.  I keep backing off the pace.  Right at Mile 1, I catch up to Mac and go past him, but only after validating that he's slowing down as opposed to me passing him.
Team WTAC just prior to race start
WTAC men took 2nd, 3rd, 4th overall (Matthew, Chris, Tommy)
WTAC women took 1st and 2nd overall (Brandy and Shara)
It was a treat to have so many WTAC runners today.  Most in the pic above
are Sailfest regulars, but this year we had Tommy, Shara, and Chris.
This race doesn't draw many Rhode Islanders, as it's a good 20 miles into
CT, and us provincial Rhode Islanders aren't very comfortable with going
that far.  I'm surprised Chris could make it all the way from Kingston, but
then I learned he met up at Tom's house first, so that makes more sense.  He
probably broke up that long and arduous trip with an overnight stay.

Mile 2:  Starting uphill, but at the pace I'm going (about 7:20-7:30), it doesn't feel like an effort.  I even ran over to get purposely sprayed by the only hose on the course.  Today is not a hot day, but it is humid.  The right leg feels the "new normal" of very awkward, but no pain.  Towards the end of Mile 2, I catch up with and run with Paul for a while.  I don't mention anything but this downward section of the course is making my stride just a little painful, and the tendency for a longer stride downhill is causing some shooting pain all the way down my leg.  I'm happy to get back on flatter ground.

Mile 3:  The race is almost over.  I keep passing a number of people, but since I'm really holding to about 7:15 - 7:30 pace, it's that others are slowing down.  The usual 2nd uphill that never seems to end is not a bother for me at all at the pace I'm running, but I know the downhill lurking (which I usually love the downhill finish) will be not be well received by the nerves in my leg.  I'm almost at the final turn when I see a young woman (20s?) standing in the middle of the road grabbing her leg.  I asked if she's OK, and she said her legs are cramping and asked if I knew how much further.  I said 1/4 mile at best, and she started running with me.  She looked like she was going to stop again, and I urged her not to stop at this point and assured her this was the final turn.  She sprinted away from me to the finish line.
Chris and Tom told me my gait looked fine (as did my PT),
but it felt off and looks a bit off here.  Hard to really tell.

Finish line
(All photos courtesy of Jana)

Final results:  I feel like writing "I don't know and I don't care", but actual time is a 22:36, which works out to a 7:17 pace.  Not quite my target of not exceeding 7:30, but not far off either.


  • Actually finishing the race, without blowing up or having a meltdown
  • Enjoying the camaraderie of other WTAC runners
  • Saving a damsel in distress (she came up to me post-race and thanked me)
  • And, my perennial favorite highlight of the Sailfest:  the New London FD fire hose shower!

Chris, me, and Tom
cooling down post-race

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Weekly Log 9-Jul to 15-Jul-2018: Return to Running (sort of, kind of)

Finally, after a 3-week hiatus from running due to a nerve injury, I got the clearance this Monday morning to dip my toes back into running.

Monday:  3 miles run/walk
At my 3rd PT session, I was put on the treadmill for observation.  2 minutes walk at 3.5 mph - Pass.  Next 2 minutes run at 6 mph.  Was really nervous about this one, as every time I've tried running in the past 3 weeks, it's been a failure.  This time was much, much better.  Modicum of pain.  I felt really awkward, but I found the whole dreadmill experience awkward, like I was going to fall off on the side or back or keep getting sucked under like George Jetson.
Remember poor George constantly sucked under the treadmill
belt?  That was my fear today.

Despite my uneasiness on the 'mill, John Ward observed my gait, pronounced it normal, and gave me the following plan:
  • Mon:  5 minute walk, 10 run, 5 walk, 10 run, 5 walk
  • Tue:  XT (bike or swim)
  • Wed:  5 minute walk, 20 run, 5 walk, 20 run, 5 walk
  • Gradually ramp up from there
  • No training or long distance until next week
  • Keep up stretching exercises
  • Limit hills, especially downhill
  • No speedwork for 3 weeks
  • Run in 5K race on Sunday, but run easy keeping pace between 7:30 and 8
Went to Ninigret for my 1st run, primarily because it's flat.  Everything went perfect until I got to my second 10-minute run.  There was very mild pain or at least discomfort.  Got home and I was oddly sore.

Tuesday:  0 run, 20 mile bike
Woke up felt fine.  Biked a 20-mile loop out to Bradford and back through Charlestown and then Weekapaug and Misquamicut.  All went well.  Call John (PT) to give him an update and discuss the minor issues from last night's run/walk.  He asked me if I had pain when I woke up.  No, so carry on with the plan and if any issues, give him a call mid-week.  OK.

Wednesday:  6
Doubled Monday's run portions to make:  5 walk, 20 run, 5 walk, 20 run, 5 walk
Ran at Avondale on a mix of grass trails and asphalt.  Despite doubling the runs, this time it went much better.  Definitely discomfort the entire time I ran, but no pain this time.

Thursday:  0 run, 1/2 mile swim
Easy solo swim at Watchaug Pond on the measured course out-and-back.

Friday:  nada
Thought about going to Groton Fun Run and fitting in a walk/run, but ended up not doing it.  Besides, I'm supposed to avoid steep downhills for now (like in the final 1/2 mile).

Since I didn't do any exercise at all today, I made up for it with lunch calories.  That's the way it works, right?  If you can't burn off calories, at least you want to load up on them.  We had an informal work luncheon, and guess what Piggy ate for lunch?  Four slices of pizza from Pizza Place, and then topped it off with an ice cream sundae with hot fudge from Downtown Creamery.  Loved every morsel of it, and then for some strange reason, felt overstuffed and bloated all afternoon.

Saturday:  0 run, 1/3 mile swim, 15 bike
Met up with Tommy and Mikey for a swim at Winnapaug Pond.  Only where we tried to enter at the back of Old Town Beach parking lot was only up to our ankles even halfway across the pond.  Saw lots of neat crabs, but not suitable for swimming.

Take 2:  went across the street to the Atlantic Ocean.  Fought the current and waves for a while, then turn around and flew with the current.

Since Mikey rode his bike down to the beach, I asked him if we want to go out for a ride/coffee.  He was game, so we met up at my house, had a great conversation over coffee outside at Junk 'n Java, and I finished up solo along the beach.

Sunday:  4
Sailfest 5K.  Wasn't pretty, but I did it!  I'll put together a short recap.

Moron award of the week:  Got my chain sharpened and used it this afternoon on
some yard work.  I go to use it and it's not cutting at all.  I'm thinking the local shop obviously
didn't sharpen it well and I push down harder, to no avail.  I'm angry now, and get ready
to take the chain off and bring it back to the shop, when ..
Hmm, what is this diagram and arrow I notice on the chain saw?  Oh, it's showing how the chain links
line up.  I have the damn thing on backwards.  What an idiot.  Good thing I didn't go to the stop to
complain.  Yup, it turns out it works much, much better if you actually put it on right.

Weekly mileage:
Run:  13
Ride:  35
Swim:  1

Weekly synopsis:  Progress.  Ran for the first time in three weeks.  Still quite uncomfortable, so I'm cautiously optimistic about continued improvements.  I do think cross-training and stretching will be part of my regular routine going forward. 
Plans for next week are to ramp up to running a 10K distance continuously.  I know, it sounds ridiculous, but I'm trying hard to heed the PT advice and recover from this painful injury.  Blessing in two weeks.  Obviously a fast finish is out of the picture; I just want to run the whole thing.  Stay tuned ...