My ART appointment went really well with Dr. Tim Keyes. The diagnosis is that I have scar tissue in my Achilles, Calf and Quad, and my IT band is tight. All on my right leg. He said the tissue felt like little grains of sand when he worked my Achilles! The good news is that Dr. Keyes thinks this can be fixed in 2-4 sessions. My first session went really well. It's pretty painful at times when the knots in your leg get worked on but I felt amazing after. Dr. Keyes said I should run on it a few times before my next appointment and those workouts have gone well. The Achilles feels a little tender when I run, but it's 100% otherwise. Thursday I did an easy 5 miler and that felt other than feeling a bit clumsy since I hadn't run for 11 days before that. Yesterday I did an easy 6 miler and that was much better. Plan is to do 6 or 7 tomorrow and slowly work my way up until I can run comfortably for 90 minutes. Once I can do that, I can think about adding some tempos etc. No hurry though. I don't need to force the fitness. In high school and college you always had clear racing seasons so an injury could be devastating. When you're older you can find races every week all year round so I can afford to be patient.
Today is the first day that I feel good enough to run, but with 9 days off already I'm just going to make it a full two weeks to play it really safe. The ART appointment on Wednesday should hopefully get me back to completely normal. Outside of the Calf and Achilles feeling much better, I've noticed that other aches and pains that I always thought were normal have disappeared. Competitive runners do a good job managing recovery in their micro-cycles (i.e. taking easy days in between weekly long runs, tempos etc.) but we don't always do so well with the macro-cycles (i.e. taking down time in between competitive seasons). We worry too much about losing fitness that we can never regain. In the past I've taken 2 weeks off after club nationals in December, but this year I didn't because I missed a lot of time due to injury last Spring. One thing I always seem to forget is that it's really hard to get out of shape once you are in shape. Roger Bannister took 4 or 5 days off before running his first sub-4:00 mile. As long as you can maintain your racing weight or not gain too much, it's not hard to get back into it. Normally when I take two weeks off, it only takes me a few runs to get back to normal everyday training pace. So I'm just trying to chill like the monkey in the picture and will be more than ready to start running again next weekend. Not trying to force when I'll race again, but I'm thinking earliest possible would be Memorial Day weekend but realistically more like mid-June.
Just a small update. Each day has been better than the last and I can finally walk almost pain free -- my achilles is still pretty tender and my calf is still really tight. I have a sports massage tomorrow so hopefully that will help get out some of the kinks. I'm guessing I'll be able to walk normally by the weekend, so right now I'm thinking I will need a full 2 weeks off of running to play it safe. I'll see how the ART goes next week. At this point I can't see myself racing again until at least Memorial Day Weekend. In retrospect, I probably raced a little more than I should have this Spring. Over the last year I've been constantly retweaking my training to stay healthy. It's a frustrating part of amsters running. When you're a kid, it's as easy as run a lot and you'll get better, but as masters guy it's all about the recovery. You can do the same kinds of workouts but you need a lot more time inbetween.
I probably won't try running until after the two sessions and only if I can walk completely normal with no pain whatsoever. An old friend once said that you have to ride the waves of life like the Silver Surfer so I'll just roll with this wave.
Back at it for my Mile Club. After last weeks 4 x 400 session, my key workouts were a 5K race on Saturday and an easy 11 miler on Monday. Yesterday I went out to the track to do another mile specific workout. Rich Stiller, who publishes the Last Chance Runner blog (see my sidebar for link), has given me some amazing training advice over the last 6 months or so. When he was 50, he alternated a series of 4 different weekly workouts and in a 6 month span lowered his mile time from 6:07 to 5:19. The workout I opted for this week was to do a single timed mile at about 10-15 seconds slower than what I could do an all out mile in on that day, so basically 2 mile race pace. The winds were especially strong and the temps were a bit on the cool side (about 40F) when I ran so I knew I wouldn't do anything blazing. I ended up hitting a very evenly paced 5:33, not killing myself but hitting it decently hard. The weird thing was that my heart rate only got up to 90% of my max -- I'm guessing it was due to the wind as it was very hard to push beyond a certain effort. In any case, that felt right for the day. Funny how my 5:38 opening mile in Saturday's 5K felt so much easier. Shows how different it is in a race as a opposed to training by yourself. The key though is to continue to work on the mile once a week without sacrificing my 5K - 10K training.
Next up is the Meteor 10K in Michigan on Saturday. The video above is of Filbert Bayi's 1975 mile world record race where he edges out Marty Liquori. I'm pretty sure I saw this as a kid on ABC's Wide World of Sports. What an amazing show that was.
As for the sub-18 monkey reference, back when I started running again in 2005 at age 40, after a very long hiatus, I set my goal for my first year as sub 18. My first race that year was a 19:14 and I thought that would be a good challenge. I ended up with 17:52 that year and I have been under 18:00 every year since, this being year number eight. Some years have been better than others, but I'm really happy with the consistency. I want running to be a lifetime sport and I feel like I'm in a much better place than I was in November 2004 when I woke up hungover and stoned and depressed after my 40th birthday party. About a month after that, I got my act together and decided that I wanted to compete again and the rest is history.
Next up for me is the Meteor 10K in Michigan on April 14. Really looking forward to this. I always run really well in that race -- fast, flat USATF certified course with a very deep field. I seem to have figured out a good training pattern for myself and this week will be more of the same. 10 or 11 easy miles on Monday; a 'mile club' workout with a decent cool down on Wednesday; and an easy shakeout before driving to Michigan on Friday.
Germany's Lost Rivers blew me away with their debut EP on Northern Star Records last year (more like a mini-album since it contained seven songs). Their new full-length, Sin and Lostness (also Northern Star), is even better. The band's trademark is an immense wall of sound that makes even the Jesus and Mary Chain sound quaint. Like A Place To Bury Strangers you can hear hints of goth in The Lost Rivers sound, but it's the cool early stuff like Sisters of Mercy, not the poseur dance club garbage. It makes sense that The Lost Rivers are fans of old school groups like The Dead Boys. They have the menacing attitude and the cool looks. If The Stooges formed today they would probably sound something like this. Effortlessly cool rock 'n' roll. Is there such a thing as punkgaze?
Next up for me is a 5K on April 7 and a 10K on April 14. I'm feeling pretty good though as I'm getting older I've become really in tune with what works for me and what doesn't. I seem to respond really well to tempo workouts and semi-frequent races, but intervals always seem to set me way back. Light fartlek type workouts seem to help though. Last summer I was doing stuff like 10 x 1 minute on / 1 minute off in the middle of longer runs and that seemed to get the wheels moving enough without killing myself on the track.
As for the rock 'n' roll part of this blog, I've bought some new CDs by the Lost Rivers and Strawberry Whiplash that are amazing so I'll add some reviews soon.
Below is a song called "Endless Summer" by one of my favorite groups ever, Honeyrider: