"Now if you are going to win any battle you have to do one thing. You have to make the mind run the body. Never let the body tell the mind what to do. The body will always give up. It is always tired in the morning, noon, and night. But the body is never tired if the mind is not tired.”

- George S. Patton, U.S. Army General, 1912 Olympian

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Injury Update 4/30/2011

So after meeting with the doctor yesterday morning and having him tell me he thought the cause of my pain was a  hernia, I met with the surgeon yesterday afternoon. She went through the same drills of poking, prodding and generally making me want to cry. But she came up with a different diagnostic. Sort of.

"Well, the good news is I don't need to send you to emergency surgery for a strangulated hernia." In fact, she said she didn't feel any evidence of a hernia at all, including the fact that the lumpy bulge runs north/south rather than east/west towards my belly button, like it apparently should if it was a hernia.

She thought the actual lump felt much more like a lymph node and the rest of the bulge was simply fluid build up, easily displaced when pressure was applied.

So the working theory at this point is I probably pulled a muscle, which caused some bleeding in the area (causing the bulk of the swelling) and sent the lymph nodes into a frenzy as they try to filter everything out of the area. Or something like that.

I spent a lot of time last night with a hot water pad on the area and actually woke up feeling a little bit better. I probably could go run a few mile this morning, but they wouldn't be productive at all. So instead I'm taking it easy today, tomorrow and probably Monday. By Tuesday I'll hopefully feel well enough to get back to prepping for Newport, with only two runs really lost, which wouldn't be too bad, all things considered.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Why Now?

I thought cross-training would be a good thing. By adding two intense one-hour spin class workouts per week I was feeling stronger than ever when I ran. I had come off a 20-mile run the previous Saturday and a great 6 mile run on Tuesday. And then Wednesday happened. It took me a while to realize it, but that little feeling of strain during a hard seated climb during Wednesday's spin class has become more serious than I first thought.

As I showered and dressed for work after class, I noticed a lump in my lower abdomen. It was sore to the touch, but I didn't think much of it. Over the next 48 hours the lump swelled a bit and became more tender and while I had no symptoms of illness or infection, I figured it was just a swollen lymph node or something else that would go away on its own.

I got two good runs in on Thursday and Friday and another quality long run of 16 miles two days later Saturday, afterwhich I helped some friends move and shoveled bark dust in my yard for a few hours. When I woke up Sunday, I had multiple sore muscles, but that darn lump in my abdomen just wasn't going away or feeling any better. Quite the opposite actually.

Fast forward four days to yesterday. The lump has continued to swell and the pain is no longer contained to a spot, but more of a general area. An ER doctor client of ours happened to be in our office yesterday so I asked him about it. He said it was most likely a hernia and that I should probably get it check out.

The pain has since increased, but only when I stand up, sit down, walk, cough, lay down, put on my socks or do anything else that requires any movmement. So here I wait, trying to get in to see my doctor today, with a surgery probably looming and worst case scenario thoughts running though my mind. Namely: the Newport Marathon is 5 weeks from tomorrow. And Seattle is three weeks after that. And the Foot Traffic Flat Marathon a nine days after that. Nice timing. I've blown this week of training and next week is probably out too at this point. After that, who knows. I do know that it's pretty depressing though.

More to come...

Friday, April 1, 2011

The Rising Cost of Fuel

Shortly after returning home from Las Vegas, where I completed the Red Rock Canyon Marathon, I took a few days to think about my training schedule for the next few months. I had approximately 12 weeks before the blitz of three marathons in 30 days, enough time to make any necessary changes that I felt might help as I continue to learn about myself and running. It was about this time that I heard an interview by Jonah Keri, author of "The Extra 2%: How Wall Street Strategies Took a Major League Baseball Team from Worst to First" that made me think and ultimately decide to change things up. Without reprising the entire interview or the book, Mr. Keri basically said at one point that to take the next step and get to the next level of performance you need to look under every rock and figure out what else you could be doing. The extra 2%.
For more than 18 months I've been running. Just running. What I mean by that is I've just been putting in miles. Fartlek, Yasso 800's and intervals are not words in my running vocabulary. I focused almost exclusively on hills for the past few months to get ready for Red Rock, but that's about as diverse as my running has been. As I examined each of the marathons I've run, looking for ways to improve, I didn't think I necessarily needed to be running any more miles than I had been, but I knew I needed to be running smarter miles. I needed to find my extra 2%.
So I added an extra day, mixed in two days of cross-training and went to work putting together a training schedule for the run-up to the Newport Marathon on June 4th.
Here it is:
Monday: 1 hour early-morning spin class at YMCA
Tuesday: Tempo run, medium distance
Wednesday: 1 hour spin class at YMCA in morning, 5k speed run in afternoon
Thursday: Hills, medium distance, 30 seconds slower than Tempo pace
Saturday: Long run, 45 seconds slower than Tempo pace
The creators of the extremely popular P90X program contend that gaining strength is all about muscle confusion -- that this concept and strategy forces the body to adapt and thus, become stronger. Perhaps that is what I've been putting my body through the last few weeks, I don't know. But I do know that I feel like I'm running extremely well right now. Smooth, fast, and strong.
The unintended consequences of an increased workout schedule? I've been constantly hungry for the last two weeks. I can't eat enough. The other unintended consequence? My grocery budget has been blown to pieces. Yes, paying $50+ to fill my gas tank is shot to the gut (and budget). Even more though, is the increase in the price of bananas, strawberries and oranges.
For the person buying one bunch of bananas a week and enjoying one per day, the increase from $0.45/pound to $0.49/pound (the lowest price near me, at Costco) probably didn't have much of an effect. When you buy bananas 50lbs at time though, and do so multiple times a month, that 9% increase adds up quickly. Add in the nearly 11% increase in the price of a bag of frozen strawberries and the gas it takes to drive to the opposite side of town to get oranges 3lbs for a dollar at a different store, and you get the idea. (Don't even get me started on the price of tomatoes. Actual sign seen at a store I'll call Schmed Meyer last week: "In Store Special! Tomatoes-on-the-vine $4.49/lb!!!" I love tomatoes, but I'll pass.)
But, as my dad says, I've grown accustomed to eating. And I've grown accustomed to running. And so I continue to do both. I just need to do more of the former so I can continue to do the latter.