Friday, February 8, 2008

No more running, but some swimming!

Finally got in to see a sports-med doc a couple of weeks ago about the continued discomfort with my stress fracture. They shot some new x-rays, but couldn't really figure anything out, which is pretty typical with this kind of injury. However, since I've been having issues for so long, my insurance will now cover a bone-stimulation device which will in theory speed healing. So yesterday the extremely helpful (and attractive) product rep delivered the device to my house (how's that for service?) and got me all set with using it. The machine is a small box and transmitter that puts out low-level ultrasound waves. Ultrasound is used a lot in rehab these days, and this is essentially a low-power (~5%) version of the devices that doctors use in the office. So twice a day I am supposed to hook it up for 20' and let it do its thing. In the mean time, I am also not supposed to run until I see the doctor again in late March.

So instead of running, I've been doing some spinning and swimming. We got some top-of-the-line trainers at work that are really good for workouts. The bikes are highly adjustable and measure power and all sorts of other things. It is still mind numbingly boring, but E and I have been doing some decent interval work a couple of times a week. I have also finally dragged myself back into the pool, and I am pleasantly surprised at how well that has gone. I need to start coming up with some actual workouts - all I've been doing so far is a few k of regular pull & swim sets. I am pretty slow in the pool, but at least I'm back in there.

We got a huge dumping of snow this past Tuesday and Wednesday - 13.3" which is the second largest singe storm in Madison history. At this point we are about 2" shy of the all time season record, and snow is predicted on 6 of the next 10 days. It seems to be never ending here! The only good thing about the snow is that it means it is actually warm enough to snow, and not absolutely frigid out. Although it is in the mid-20s right now, we've got more nose hair-freezing temps on the way again this weekend....

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Good lord it's cold!

My two weeks of work in Florida has sadly come to an end. Actually, I wasn't all that sad about it as I strongly dislike Florida and was ready to sleep in my own bed again, but at least it was warm there! When we left Cocoa Beach on Friday it was close to 80 degrees, and when we rolled into Madison Saturday night it was hovering around -10. That's a good 90 degree swing over about 30 hours - certainly the largest swing I've ever experienced, even when flying. It is supposed to stay in the single digits for most of this week, but then creep back up to the teens and twenties by the weekend. Needless to say, any running that occurs will likely be indoors.

I've got an appointment with a sports med doc to discuss the continuing problems I've had with the stress fracture in my left leg on Friday. I was able to run fairly successfully in Florida with minimal pain (in my leg that is, my lungs were another matter!), which is a good sign. Hopefully progress will continue. In the meantime, I am excited that we are getting some new high-end spin bikes at work that should be good for workouts, and I am also going to start swimming a couple of times a week. If I can get in one or two runs, bikes, and swims a week I will be pretty happy!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Warm running!

So I'm in Cocoa Beach, Florida for two weeks for work right now. I wasn't all that excited about the trip other than the warm weather, but I'm actually enjoying it a fair bit. The weather has been absolutely gorgeous with plenty of sun and highs around 80 each day.

With no excuses about bad weather I've been getting out for runs nearly every day. My leg has largely been feeling fine, but I'm still planning on seeing the sports med doc when I get back to Madison. What I have discovered is that I've gotten pretty damn slow! Last year down here when I had done similar training over the fall semester I was able to crank out a ten mile run at 7:11 pace - this year I'm working all out to hold that pace for half that distance. I am hoping that my motivation holds once I'm back in the snowy cold north and that my form will start to return fairly quickly. I also ordered a new training swim suit before I left town with the plan of swimming a couple of times a week. We'll see how that goes....

Monday, December 31, 2007

A new start for a new year

Wow, I've really fallen off the band wagon with the blog here, but I guess that is just a reflection of my training this fall. Some of the problem was a general lack of motivation, some of it business with school and work, and some of it continued problems with injury. I actually ventured back in to my general practice doc today to discuss pain and discomfort with the stress fracture still, and I'll be seeing a sports medicine doc and some others in a few weeks.

So tomorrow starts a new year, and with it, I'm hoping for a new start on a number of fronts. I have a number of goals for the year, but the only big one I'm shooting for is better health and wellbeing in all parts of my life - something that deliberately can't be measured. I started 2007 with a run up a mountain with my best friend - tomorrow's start won't be as exciting, but I'll find something to do to kick the year off right.

Happy new year!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

My legs are shot!

I don't know what is going on, but for the past week or so, my legs have been totally shot. It is everything I can do to keep them turning over at 7:45 pace on runs; my short, nearly flat bike commute is killing them; I have had no power in them on my fixed gear for the past couple of rides. I'm not sure what the problem is, but it's not good. I'm hoping to start mixing in some basic weight training next week and up my protein intake - maybe that will help out a bit.

My workouts have been rather infrequent the past week or so. Part of it is a lack of motivation, but part of it is also a lack of time. I'm getting into exams and whatnot in school, and things just seem really busy. Couple that with the lack of motivation, and I'm not getting in the basic steady-state work that I need to be doing.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

50% fatter!

I hit up the mighty BodPod today for a body composition analysis. You may recall that I first did this last February to get an idea of my lean body mass and body fat percentage. Let me say that the summer has not been kind to me: over the past six and a half months I managed to increase my bodyfat by 50% and decrease my lean mass (muscle) by 2.3%:

  • Weight: 133.114 pounds
  • Body fat: 8.0% (10.604 pounds)
  • Free mass: 92.0% (122.511 pounds)
  • Thoracic gas volume: 3.867 liters
  • Resting metabloic rate: 1453 kcal/day
  • Weight: 132.293 pounds
  • Body fat: 5.2% (6.880 pounds)
  • Free mass: 94.8% (125.413 pounds)
  • Thoracic gas volume: 3.862 liters
  • Resting metabloic rate: 1480 kcal/day
In running the test today we used the Brozek Density model and in February we used the Siri model. I'm not sure exactly how this changes things, but it adjusts the algorithm that the computer uses. This may have resulted in some of the change, but I'm not sure of that. Also, in both tests we used the Predicted Thoracic Gas Volume Model, so those numbers may not be accurate.

I was pretty sure that this would be the result before I went into the test: I haven't been logging nearly as much run volume (or workouts in general) as I was in February, so I didn't expect my body fat to be as low. Also, I was fairly sure that all of the distance running last spring actually ate away at some of my already minimal muscle mass, and I have not done anything to build this back up. It was still a bit depressing to see that I have considerably more fat and less muscle than six months ago though.

I haven't been good about my running recently, but hopefully this will kick me into gear a bit more. Also, I want to find a good lifting program for endurance running and cycling and start getting into the gym a couple of times a week - hopefully the extra muscle will actually make me faster!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

How fast is your bike?

130.7 mph. That is pretty damn fast.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Tasty ad

Erik points to an ad that recently came under fire in Houston and was subsequently dropped by Comcast Cable.

Alicia Silverstone’s Veggie PSA

I'm not sure if the beef people were offended by an ad promoting vegetarianism, the bible-thumpers were offended by a woman's behind, or the fat people were offended by a slender woman. I personally don't see anything controversial about it, and think we could use more ads promoting vegetarianism on TV, especially if they continue to star Ms. Silverstone.

Order a free vegetarian starter kit at

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Brett Dennen

I've posted about him before, but I'm about to walk out to see him again. Go see Brett if he is coming to your neighborhood!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Holy Goodnight!

Man have I gotten slow! The runs the last few days (and a few over the last few weeks) have averaged in the upper seven minute range, with heart rates in the 160s, which is damn slow, and damn high! When I first started running last winter it was after a period of relatively long inactivity, and my runs were almost immediately in the low sevens with heart rates in the 150s. Why is it that after a relatively active summer with lots of cycling things are so bad with the running? It doesn't really surprise me that my times are off, but I wouldn't have guessed that my heart rates would be so high. Hopefully it will all come back quickly!

On another note, I was supposed to do a ride of portions of the Ironman course today with Jim Vance, one of the top triathlon pros in the country. Unfortunately he had major airline issues yesterday, and although he finally arrived, his bike did not. We may get a ride in tomorrow, but that hasn't been sorted out yet. While I'm worried about how painfully hard I will have to ride to keep up with Jim on an easy day, it would be cool to get out with someone at the top of their sport.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Happy Labor Day!

Hope you are enjoying the unofficial end of summer! I had a nice relaxing weekend of water skiing, tubing, and lounging about at a friend's cabin a couple of hours north of Madison on the Mississippi. It was nice to take it easy before the chaos of school, coaching, and more running really kicks off tomorrow. After a rather slow summer I am definitely ready for things to kick off, but I'm not so fired up about all of my free time disappearing.

Ironman Wisconsin is this coming Sunday, an event that I enjoy watching. Every year that I watch the race I am strongly tempted to enter for the following year, but I haven't done it yet. Part of that is obviously the huge time commitment required to train properly for an event of this length - I don't know that I could do it to the level that I would want to. Being a huge bike geek, I would also want to make a substantial financial investment in a good tri-specific bike and wheels, and I don't currently have $5,000 sitting around to spend on such a machine. With the uneventful summer that I had this year, this would have actually been the year to do the race given that I had tons of time to train. Oh well....

Enjoy the end of summer!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

I'm back at it

Well, after a summer of not working out as much as I should have, school is back upon me and I'm going to start running again. This summer should have been an ideal one for me to get into great shape: work wasn't all that time consuming, and except for the last couple weeks of monsoons here, the weather has been great. This is actually the year that I should be doing Ironman Wisconsin, but I failed to get an entry a year ago.

So it's back to the running again. My hope once again is to race the Sunburst Marathon in South Bend in June of 2008, but this year I am getting an earlier start on my training. With a more gradual build of the volume and mileage, I hope to actually make it through to the race this time without any serious injuries. To start things off I am beginning training for a 10k Turkey Trot near Madison that had some surprisingly fast times last year. We'll see how things go!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Well, I'm out

Hey all! Sorry again about the crappy, crappy updates to the blog. Actually, they aren't crappy as there haven't been any.

I've concluded that I'm out for any racing on June 2. I haven't been running much, by which I mean not at all. I haven't run in weeks. Papers and finals put a good smackdown onto most working out, and then the weather got all nice here (unusual in Madison where it is usually far too cold or far too warm), and I've been out on the bike. So no running for me. It has all been for naught.

I originally planed to get re-BodPodded right about now to see how the body comp has changed, but I can tell you just from a simple squeezing of my belly or a glimpse in the mirror that my body composition has changed, and not in a manner that I'm happy with. I guess when you go from running 40-50 miles a week to not doing much, getting stressed out, and then having a goodly number of end-of-semester happy hours that is to be expected.

There may be a few more blog posts, but this site will likely disappear in the near future so as to not serve as an eternal monument to my failure!

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Wow, I'm a crappy blogger!

So looking at the blog today, I realized that it has been weeks since I have posted anything. This is mainly due to the fact that there is little to report on, but is also because I have been busy with school. Really busy. In one 36 hour stretch later this week I have a 15 page, a 12 page, a 3 page, and a 2 page paper due, as well as a homework assignment. I should be working on all of those right now, but I'm really having a hard time with the 15 pager, so I'll update you instead!

My leg continues to heal and I actually went for a three mile run this past week. The leg felt fine during the run, unfortunately the lungs did not! My physical therapist thinks that I can run the marathon, but probably not at the pace that I was hoping for. However, I think I am going to take a pass on it. Since the stress fracture I have had a very hard time motivating for any sort of training, and have also been pretty busy. I think that I could do the race, but it would not be pleasant for me, nor would it meet my goals and expectations. With that in mind, I think I'm pulling the plug on it. I may still go down to South Bend that weekend and run either the half-marathon or the 10k, but I am still not sure about that.

That's all for now, back to the paper....

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

My body is much happier

So since I haven't run in about twelve days, my body is much happier with me - no more random aches and pains, and things just feel generally better! Everything except my belly that is, where my abs have gone back under cover - the body fat is noticeably up since the run mileage fell off. I am increasingly convinced that while running may provide some cardiovascular benefits, it really isn't all that good for you!

PT - It's on!

So on Monday of this week I got in to see a physical therapist with the local sports medicine department. Katy spent some time watching me walk, doing range-of-motion tests and strength tests, and then video taped me on the treadmill. Her conclusion from working with me was that there is nothing wrong with my gait or any physical issues, and that my injury was likely just from over use. Cyclists don't have the greatest bone strength as cycling isn't totally weight bearing, so shifting to a heavy running load just over stressed my left tibia.

The good news is that Katy thinks I will have no problem running the race. She wants me to continue with non-impact aerobic work (I have been out on my fixed-gear bike a lot) and to begin doing some specialized stretches and strengthening routines. This weekend I will begin running a little (very little at first) and will slowly ramp back up. One good thing about my training is that I have already done a couple of decently long runs (18 and 20 miles), so the is confident that I will be able to do the full race. I will get in to see Katy three more times before the race to assess how things are progressing and to make any needed changes in the plan. In the mean time I certainly don't mind being back on the bike a lot!

Thursday, April 12, 2007


Hey all. Sorry I haven't been keeping things a bit more up to date here. I've been in a bit of a workout funk with the leg injury and I'm back at school now and seem to be constantly pressed for time.

The update on the leg is that it is definitely a stress fracture of the left tibia. I saw my doc on Monday and he confirmed what my trainer thought, but ordered an MRI to ensure that it wasn't anything else like compartment syndrome. I had the MRI on Tuesday, which took forever. Apparently lower legs are not a commonly imaged area and the techs had some problems getting the images they were looking for. Laying on one of those MRI beds for 90 minutes isn't all that comfortable in case you were wondering!

Based on the MRI results my doc thought it would be beneficial to meet with a physical therapist to look at continued training and recovery options. Hopefully we can work out an adequate training plan that still allows me to do the race.

My leg doesn't feel that bad now that I'm not running (actually most of me feels much better without the constant pounding...). There is some dull aching in the leg, especially toward the end of the day, but not bad. I have been hitting the elliptical machines for about an hour a day to keep my aerobic base up, and that doesn't seem to bother the leg. Hopefully I will be able to start adding some running back into the routine pretty soon!

Saturday, April 7, 2007

The end is nigh

I knew that something wasn't right with my leg. After waking up on Thursday with my lower left leg in substantial pain, I went to talk to my team's athletic trainer, T. She did some poking around and squeezing and gave her assessment that I most likely have a stress fracture. T is really good and really knows what she is doing, so I have no doubt that she is correct. I have an appointment next week with my primary care physician who will hopefully order an MRI to confirm (most stress fractures don't show up in x-rays).

The fracture is on the inside of my left tibia, about four or five inches below my knee. It doesn't hurt all the time, although it does seem to hurt when I get up in the morning, and it is pretty sore by the end of the day as well.

I'm not real sure what this means for the race yet. Everyone I've talked to has said that I need to get into a pool and start water running, but I don't know that I have enough pool access to make that work. It didn't seem to be bothering me biking to work this morning, so the bike may be OK. I am going to head to the gym shortly here to try out an elliptical to see if that bothers it at all; I figure that is as close as you can come to running without any impact. If I can keep up my aerobic base I will hopefully be able to still do the race. I would hate to have done all this training and not be able to run the event!

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Something isn't right

Greetings from beautiful Oak Ridge, Tennessee! I have been down here in the Volunteer State since Friday training with the women's rowing team that I coach during our spring break. The trip so far has been pretty good from a training perspective, but the rest of the trip hasn't been great for me from a school or running perspective.

On the academic side of things, I just haven't gotten enough done. I've done some reading and some writing, but no research on the two big papers that I have to do. Between two extended practices a day and trying to get in some runs, I don't have all that much motivation left to study. Oh well, it is "break," right?

On the running front, I haven't gotten in as much as I should have. I missed a little running with the travel days down here, and I will miss some with the travel back. The bigger problem, however, is that I'm having a goodly bit of pain in both of my legs. The right shin is a bit sore, but I'm not too worried about that. More concerning is the pain that I'm having in my left calf/shin area; the pain here is much more acute. Today will be a day off and I need to have the team trainer take a look at it and see what she thinks. My guess is a strain of some sort, hopefully nothing more severe than that. Odd that this would happen when my mileage has actually dropped off.

The running down here hasn't been great as there isn't much of anywhere to run. There is a small park near our hotel that has some nice paths on it, but you are essentially running in circles all over the park. There is also a nice new bike/run path near the river here, but the 4.5 mile run over there is on busy shoulders with strip malls and redneck good-old-boys passing you too close while leaning on the horn. And the girls on the trip with us who go for runs get it even worse. Ahhh, the South, sometimes I wonder if we should have let them go....

Early tomorrow morning we pack up and head to Indianapolis for a day of training and a day of racing, then it's back home to Madison where I hear it snowed over night. Not cool - it is April, it shouldn't be snowing any more!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

This week is a mess!

This week is the last week of school before spring break. Now many of you are probably thinking to yourself "Spring break, man, I wish I got a spring break!" Well I'd be happy to trade you for whatever it is you will be doing next week. I coach for my school's women's rowing program, so we are headed to beautiful Oak Ridge, Tennessee. I'm no fan of Tennessee, but it is warmer than here, so that part isn't so bad. What is bad is that I will be coaching three practices a day, doing the team's video editing work for another couple hours a day, trying to fit runs in, studying for an exam, and writing two lengthy research papers - that isn't a break!

The lead-up to this "break" hasn't been good either as this week has been packed with school work and work work for me. I missed my run yesterday and know that I will miss tomorrow's run, so I've been shifting the workouts around to avoid losing too much mileadge. Hopefully I'll survive the next ten days, and then will get back into a more regular routine, although that seems unlikely given that we will be into our race season and traveling a lot.

I need a sugar-momma to pay for my schooling so that I don't have to do this work thing! Hell, even a sugar-daddy would be acceptable if the benefits were right!

Monday, March 26, 2007

I hate this

Yesterday my friend B expressed his doubts that I really hate running giving the training that I am doing. I tried my best to reassure him that I did, but I'm not sure that he bought it. I wish he had been there for my 20 miler today. It was pure misery.

I don't enjoy any of my runs, even the short ones. At best they are unpleasant. Somewhere around eight miles they transfer to miserable, and over twelve or so they are into the unbearable zone. Every step after mile twelve is misery, and it is hard to keep the feet turning over.

Today's run started a little fast, but that's not why it was so bad. It was primarily bad because the first twelvish miles were into the wind, and slightly up hill. That was a bad way to start off. Then it was compounded by some pretty severe dehydration. It was around 80 today which is well warmer than we are used to up north here, and I was a bit dehydrated when the run started, but I didn't think too bad. I drank 32 ounces of Gatorade Endurance Formula during the run, which wasn't enough. By the end of the run I was about five pounds below my normal weight, while still wearing sweat-soaked shorts and a shirt! Not good. Not good at all.

Every step of every one of these runs has me questioning the wisdom of doing this race, and as of right now the only thing keeping me going is knowing how much shit I will get from all of you, my dear readers, if I don't do it. If I do the race I will likely never run another day again after that!

I hate running.