Sunday, July 20, 2014

Crossfit isn't to blame. Look in the mirror if you want blame.

November 17, 2012. I remember the crossfit WOD extremely well. I was pushing through one of my least favorite WODS -- anything that included thrusters -- and I felt something tug. I'd felt that tug before and figured it was yet another pulled muscle. While doing crossfit two to three times a week, running 40-50 miles a week along and biking a ton this wasn't a first. All I needed to do was slow it down for a week before I started training for yet another marathon. This time, the pain didn't go away. In fact, the burning and ache was really intense. A few weeks went by and I figured it was just a slow healer. The burning intensified. I couldn't get out of bed without rolling. This wasn't going to stop my training though. I jumped into my marathon training full speed ahead and went even harder on the crossfit workouts. I wasn't going to let the thruster get the best of me. Thanks to a great run coach I hit a personal best in May 2013 but it wasn't enjoyable. It was painful. I am certain the pain resulted in missing my ultimate goal of qualifying for Boston. The pain from November 17, 2012 had dogged me for six months. I should blame the workout, right?

Post marathon I relaxed for a week hoping the pain would go away. In addition to the ibuprofen that had become my candy store I was seeing a chiropractor and a variety of massage therapists. I was trying anything. One thing I didn't try was slowing down. It's crossfit's fault, right? My next marathon training session began in June. Shortly after the pain began in November my runs started with a burn for the first mile or so. By this time the burn was constant and it ran into my groin and adductors. Slow down? Nah. I need to qualify. I should blame crossfit. 

As August rolled around the pain was at an all-time high. I felt like I was running how Frankenstein walked. I couldn't move my hips. Chiro visits slowed the pain but nothing slowed me. I should have blamed crossfit at that moment since I had to stop after finding a job that didn't fit my crossfit workout schedule. Say what?!?! I know. It was certainly crossfit that did it, right? Late August, I bagged my marathon training. I just didn't have it in me. I still ran but my usual mind-clearing 6 mile runs were like the last few miles of Ironman...only worse. I would hate getting out of bed, getting out of the car and pretty much anything that involved getting up and moving forward. Yet, I continued to run and bike.

Fast forward to July 20, 2014 and the pain has yet to go away. The biggest difference between today and the last 20 months is I finally have a diagnosis. The potential remedy involves needles into my hips and pelvis. I am needle averse so you can only imagine how much I am looking forward to this week. I should blame crossfit, right? No, I am not blaming crossfit.

Unlike the masses who try something and get hurt or disappointed I am not blaming something or someone else. The injury was my fault. My coaches at the crossfit box did exactly what they were supposed to do. They couldn't slow the drive or insanity. My coaches knew I disliked anything that involved squats so they took extra time with me to make sure the movements were right. I just pushed...too hard. Everywhere you turn you read that crossfit 'ruined me' or that it's 'dangerous'. No. It's not. The only danger is yourself.

Listen to your body. If you don't you'll end up like me. Don't blame crossfit. You only have yourself to blame.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Overtrained, undernourished and Anna the Dietician

Let's see, I really didn't train for anything this year but I'm overtrained. How can this be? Well, Before I move forward I must look back. Thanks to the iphone being unable to stop uploading runs to RunKeeper I took a look at my noon 'events' this summer. The first thing I noticed was the temperature. My runs were HOT! Second, every run was between 4 and 6.2 miles with an average pace of roughly 7:30-8:15 min/mile. With the exception of a few tempo runs during late spring the majority of these runs were just 'runs'. The most striking number was my heart rate average. Since the majority of my runs were in the heat of the day there was barely a HR number that didn't average over 150 bpm. That was really bad. I had no base training. It was all or nothing on what should have been leisure workouts. In other words, I was overtraining to do nothing...all summer. Brent at Mercy Acceleration warned me about my lack of base training but I just needed to run and I ran with a much faster guy than me. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed my runs but my body didn't. There were many days when both Mike and I mentioned that the noon runs weren't all that great for training, yet neither of us wanted to give up the routine. It wasn't until 4 weeks ago when I finally told him to run and leave me behind. There were days when I'd run and leave him behind. We are starting to do that a few days a week and it's paying benefits. I've played with speed work and different tempo runs and I've slowed the pace way down a few days a week to make sure I just get base days in. Granted, I don't get the low down on his wedding plans or latest cyclocross adventure but my legs and heart are thanking me. One other major 'duh' moment came during the monthly conference call with my dietician (paid for by my employer). Anna is a Cat 1 coach and dietician - bonus! The first 10 minutes of the conversation is the standard protocol - weight, how do you feel, generally what are you eating, etc. Then she digs in. "What are you doing and why are you doing it?" "Give me specifics on what you eat each day and before and after each workout." "How many calories and why?" That's the last 20 minutes. Since we only meet once a month Anna suggested I use to track my food intake...don't analyze it...just record it. I did that for 3 weeks and I logged in so we could review it together. The numbers were humbling. On a given day my intake wsa between 1200 and 1600 calories. Needless to say that was WAY TOO FEW if I wanted to continue doing anything (like stand upright). The data said I needed 3000+ if I was going to continue to do my biking, running and crossfit. She also questioned my pre and post workout snacks/meals at lunch. As much as she dislikes supplement shakes she finally recommended looking at a whey isolate protein shake. Something that would absorb much faster than the little bit of food I was eating before and after lunch. I'm still searching for the right protein shake and she's pushing me to get it done soon. I'm not sold on one particular brand but there are a few out there that are 'yuck'. Unfortunately, I started my additional intake a week before my nutritional day went haywire with diverticulitus. Losing 11 pounds in a matter of a week was a major setback. On the final day of weight loss I was at my 9th grade weight, weak, but I was still running. Stubborn? Stupid? A bit of both? I'm finally gaining the weight and have shifted my eating habits away from wheat after reading Wheat Belly. While it's only an experiment I have found myself to be less bloated, more alert and much calmer through the day (not that I was over the top anxious before...just calmer). I'm almost ready to share the drive...

Losing the personal competitive drive and...

Warning! Before you read this please understand that I realize I'm a middle of the pack, weekend warrior. I feel my ego is in check and use running, biking, etc as an outlet for stress relief more than anything...this year more than ever. With that said... I laced up the Nike shoes that my brother gave to me for my birthday and we headed out for a 30 minute adventure. 1 minute run, 5 minute walk - until we reached 30 minutes. We reached a 30 minute run and then we ran for distance. We'd both enter events and once in a while we'd end up placing in our age group. Honestly, I have no idea how it happened considering I was a weekend warrior and Tim was just helping his older brother. Years went on and I knew I'd never contend for the outright 'win' for any event. I had too many other commitments. That would take actual training. I was content entering and finishing. Of course, each time I'd cross the finish line I'd kick myself because I didn't give it my all. I was always 'saving it' for the next race. Even through the years of just entering events, there was always a race where I'd place in my age group at least once a year. I'd never finish first in my age group, but I'd always sneak onto the 'podium'. As many of you know, Ironman came and went for me last year and after that I backed off triathlon training. I visited the Marshall pool twice between October and February and focused on enjoying my lunch runs with a very gifted and driven athlete. My co-worker made me a stronger runner in early 2012. He pushed me. It wasn't that I was driven to become a better runner. The honest fact is that if I didn't keep up with him I wouldn't be able to continue our guy chats during the noon hour. That was my motivation. I had no plans to enter any event whatsoever in 2012. My plan was to take it easy. The problem with this plan was I was running with a guy who was training for Ironman. I'd get the daily question, "Why aren't you signing up for this event or that event?" I finally gave in and signed up for the Monona 20K in early May. I only did it so I could meet Mike's friend Franz. Franz was sort of a legend of our 'guy stories' during our lunch runs. I had to meet him, right? I lined up next to Mike at the start line, he looked at me and asked, "What's your plan?" I thought, "Plan? My plan was to meet you, Jeanne and Franz here so we could run. I really didn't have a plan." He sensed that's what I was thinking and he laughed - "see you at the finish line loser" was the next comment I heard. It's OK, that's how we spar at noon in Delavan. The gun went off and he bolted. I kept at sub-6 pace for about 1/2 mile and then watched him dart into the crowd. There was no way I was going to get 'guy chat' during this event. I settled in and actually did fairly usual middle of the pack 1:35ish finish. Mike looked totally refreshed after I found him. Low 1:20's for him. One of the first comments that came out of his mouth, "you're slow". It got under my skin. Yep, that's how we roll. Once again I pulled into the finish line with way too much in my tank. It bugged me even though I ran with bronchitis that day. In hindsight that wasn't the smartest thing to do. Subsequent lunch runs were slow and my body took a bit to recover from the last of the winter 'gunk'. Mid-May came and I'd settled into a slow pace. I signed up for what was my 'guaranteed age group place' at the Beloit Duathlon. This year I knew I wasn't going to get the trinket medal. I was gassed and it was mid-May. I came through the finish line with way too much left in the tank. This time it didn't bother me at all. Meanwhile my co-worker entered the event (his first multi-sport event ever) and took 3rd overall. I stated, he's something else. He razzed me to no end for about a week. I took it. It didn't bug me at all. Looking back, this is where I started losing that personal 'drive'. As early June came, I knew my middle of the pack had fallen further back. I entered the Lake Mills Triathlon and trotted across the finish line. My first thought was not hydration or food but saying 'hi' to the owners of the Sand Bar and catching up with a few old and new friends. Next, my focus was turned to Rev3 and finding a "Last Place Finisher" to help with Multisport Ministries. Again, many of you know that I helped coordinate a number of things for Rev3 in the Dells this year through the Ministries. My friend's Alison and Ann were gracious enough to place last. I decided to enter in the last week for the 'heck of it.' My focus was to help and that's what I did. I stopped and tried to help a guy with his chain and gave a tube to someone at about mile 30 of the bike. They were either too proud or just frustrated but they wanted to do it 'by themselves'. Still, that was a good 10 minutes out of my day. On the run portion I paced a gal from Chicago from mile 2 to mile 9. She talked about her tri life and how her husband thinks she's crazy. Meanwhile her husband rock climbs and she thinks he's crazy. It was a good conversation. I walked up a hill with a few participants who were struggling and I stopped about 1/4 mile from the end to help cheer in those that were behind me. It was an inspiring day. It wasn't about the time and honestly, I'm not sure how much faster I would have been that day even if I would have trained. So, I'm now attached with a 'last place finisher' label at work and I was ready to take it to the next level. Instead of watching my co-worker compete in Ironman Wisconsin I was going to travel to Ohio to be the Last Place Finisher for the full IM at the Rev3 event. Weeks prior to the events Mike would ask, "I don't get you. I get the ministry part but don't you have the drive to do 'better'? You don't always want to finish last." I told him that it really didn't bother me where I finished in an event. I really felt good with that comment. Well, the Last Place Finisher thing never panned out and Danielle and I headed up to watch Mike on Ironman Sunday. His goal was to beat his brother (who was also racing) and to blow my 13:04:and change time away. He did both. 11:40:and something. I was very happy for him but beating me by almost 90 minutes didn't sit well. It must be our friendship but a little bit of my drive came back. It wasn't competition because I know I will never beat him. It was the fact that he wanted to push me and I wasn't willing. He didn't understand. After Ironman, Mike cruised to some incredible cyclocross race times, blew some 5 and 10Ks away and asked me again, "What's your plan? Certainly it's not just trying to keep up with me at noon." Yeah...I had nothing on the calendar...nothing at all. I'll stop here for now...

Friday, June 15, 2012

So excited!!!!

It's Friday morning before a normally 'ho-hum' weekend.  This weekend is different.  I'm so excited!  The weekend starts bright and early tomorrow morning with the YWCA Pancake 5K.  I'm excited about a 5K?  Yes I am.  Excited and nervous.  The event is the first for Danielle and I have the honor of pacing her during the 5K.  It's the same course that I ran my first 5K back in 2006.  Best of all, the proceeds go the our local YWCA -- and there's pancakes afterwards!

The second big event is Father's Day.  It's really special this year because Ian and Lauren just got back from a trip to Texas to see their Aunt and it's been 3 weeks since we've last seen each other.  Oh, Sunday is so needed.  We don't have any specific plans but a trip to the lake or a nice bike ride may be in order depending on the weather.  They both love riding and with Lauren's new bike she can finally keep up with her brother :)

Finally, I mentioned to a number of my friends that I'm giving up Gen-X in Janesville.  It's time.  I started writing a blog this morning, was a few sentences in, and just deleted it.  I'm going to enjoy writing as Icarus Steve again.  Marty KC gave me that nickname as I threw myself into running.  I'd always get just a little too close to the sun.  He didn't want my wings to burn :)  Thanks for the many, many tips Marty!

Enjoy your weekend!  I know I will!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

I'm laying of the Newton's

I was an Asics guy. Aside from my first pair of Nike running shoes given to me as a gift I've gravitated toward Asics to help propel me...mile after mile. There were some dogs in the mix (Jeers to the Kayano 15) but most of the shoes I've worn in the past 6 years have kept me injury free. Until late last year.

I walked into my local running store and started contemplating a change. Why? I was a massive heel/toe runner and was working on striking forefront. It was working with my Asics DS Trainers but I wanted something else. The Newtons called.


The Newtons are a designed to help 'force' a mid-to-forefront strike. I tried them on the treadmill, took a run down the sidewalk and decided to give them a try.

The first week was wonderful. So positive! My body positioning and strike were right in stride and my times showed. After two weeks I started hearing a squeak. One of those annoying squeaks that surely wasn't coming from me. It was coming from the shoe.

I took them back to the shoe store and they graciously exchanged them for another pair. Another two weeks passed and another squeak. A lug had failed again. This time the shoe was repaired - with super glue. No joke.

I ran Grandma's Marathon with the Newtons and the lug failed in in the middle of the run. The squeak was annoying. This time the store wasn't as gracious (don't blame them) and suggested that the shoes had hundreds of miles left in them. I bit.

By September I was rotating the Newtons with my traditional Asics. Each time I popped the Newtons on a slight ache appeared in my left heal. Training woes I surmised since I was just finishing the training for Omaha Marathon.

I ran with the Newtons in Omaha and officially felt something went wrong. I rarely cramp and I cramped BIG TIME at mile 13. It was my left calf. My heal ache would normally clear up after a mile or two. That day it progressively got worse. That was late September.

Today wake up and hobble...every morning for about 20 minutes. I've attempted ultrasound treatments, reflexology and massage therapy. These treatments are not working. The heal/foot is not responding. Kineso tape provides only temporary relief. Compression socks help during the run but not for the morning after.

I'm in week four of Ironman training. The swim and bike training are going well thank you. My running? That should be the easiest portion of my training. Instead it's the most painful. I finish the runs but I'm afraid to stride like I normally stride.

I've been pain free for 8 marathons in 4 years. Now I'm struggling as I attempt to prepare for Ironman. Frustrating. The only deviation from my training and equipment has been one thing - Newtons.

I'm hoping this clears up and clears up soon. Oh, the Newtons? Well, since they're designed the way they're designed they aren't even a good pair of mowing shoes. They're just sitting in the basement. I walk by them and curse every time I hop on the trainer.

Has one deviation from your normal training routine caused havoc?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Training and Stewing

I hate to jump on the bash Asics bandwagon but I have no choice. I have tried unsuccessfully over the past 2 weeks to contact a "live" person in their customer relations department. I've dialed 800-333-8404 and dialed Carol at ext. 7215. Her voice mail PROMISES that she'll get to me within 48 hours. Maybe she means 48 weeks or months. I've been a loyal Asics runner for years. I'm starting to question the loyalty.

On the training front my calf isn't as sore as it was a few weeks ago but it's definitely still there. I've been averaging 4000-5000 yards a week in the pool, mid-to-high 20 running miles and about 60 miles a week on the bike. I'm looking forward to the Beloit Duathlon this weekend. It looks like the rain should move away and the only thing I'll have to deal with is the wind...

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Overtrained and Bum Shoes

It's a beautiful Saturday morning. Instead of using the gas and spending $35 on the Monona 20K I decided on an easy 2 hours on the trail in Janesville. This is the first time in 3 years I haven't run the 20K. The only thing I'll miss is the tech t-shirt. They have the most comfortable race shirts -- period.

I've been training but it's been all over the board. I am averaging 25-35 miles a week on the feet, 60-100 on the pedals and 3500-5000 yds in the pool. For what? Right now I'm signed up for the Beloit Duathlon, Madison 1/2 (first time I haven't run the full in 3 years), Lake Mills Sprint Tri, Spirit of Racine and Lakefront Marathon.

I think I'm over doing it. My left calf has been extremely sore and I've finally chalked it up to my new Kayano 15's. "It's gotta be the shoes". For those that don't know, these new shoes have haunted me since December. I had them shipped to me from Finish Line (Kayano 14's) and they were used. Of course I didn't open the box until March when I needed them and they were outside the return policy. The store in the mall ended up exchanging for the 15's but they have a new lace system and I swear it's causing my arch and calf fits.

Time to re-focus. Thanks to Mike Wolfgram and Rich Shew I have come up with a plan to get me through the summer without over doing it. Once I see Carol for my massage on Wednesday I'm confident my calf will be ready to come along with me. Now...about the shoes...