Status. Alternately: Injuries Suck

This is a hard post to write.

My last post was nine days ago – which is inexcusable – and in it I spoke of some pain that I was dealing with in my left foot and lower leg.  I self-diagnosed peroneal tendonitis and hypothesized that it was new shoes that were giving me the problem.

Well – I’m not sure if it was the shoes, but I know that the tendonitis, it is real.  After a rest I did a couple of runs on my old Beasts, and things were fine.  And then on the third run I felt things tweak, and afterward I was back to not really being able to comfortably walk. The pain, which started on the side of my foot, now follows a path from my foot, back around my ankle, and all the way up to the base of my calf.  Those areas are by turns sore or downright painful, and when they aren’t those things they just feel weak.  Something is not right, and the only way I know to make it better is rest.

The timing could not be worse.  I’m registered for a half marathon on May 18th, and I’m not even close to trained for it.  Given that right now I’d be nervous about running 2 miles, that race is all but ruled out.  This will be the first time I’ve been unable to run a race I’ve registered for.

Yeah – I’m not feeling great about that.

I’m not sure what I want to do about the streak.  May is a month that is full of shorter race opportunities, including a race about 10 minutes from the house that I did last year.  The way my summer / fall schedule shakes out should allow me to basically take 2 or 3 weeks off and then start at the very beginning of a half-marathon training schedule to prepare for the Freeport Half Marathon on September 7th.  Anything I do in May will have no purpose other than extending the streak … but I think I’m OK with that.

I’m learning that injuries suck.

I don’t intend to go away – there are several posts that I’ve got in mind.  But for awhile I won’t be running.


I think it is the shoes…

So, two weeks ago I talked about taking a zero because of self-diagnosed peroneal tendonitis.  Last week I strapped ‘em on and got back to it – and felt good.  The week was a bit different because my family had to travel and I had a couple of days off, so I got to do some short runs on more “fun” courses that I need to drive to.

And then on Friday, I did a 4-mile run along the Bronx River Parkway that really was nice.  I went late morning, the weather was perfect, this is one of my favorite stretches to run.  And I felt generally good and everything was nice.

Until I got out of my car at home.  When I put pressure on my left foot, things basically buckled.  The pain ran from the tendon’s connection with the bone all the way around my ankle up near my calf.

Le <sigh>

So I didn’t get to do my long run this weekend.

Here’s what I think is going on – I really believe it is the shoes.  This is described as an over-use injury, but my mileage hasn’t increased recently and is well below the peak from last November / December.  So I don’t think it is that.  And I never had this problem until two weeks after the half marathon in March … and the only thing that has changed has been my shoes.  I switched from Brooks Beast to the Adrenaline GTS 14s, and I think this is about those shoes.  They are putting me on the outside of my foot.

So what I’m going to do is this – tomorrow, I’m going to go for a run.  Things feel much better, so I think I can handle a short run.  BUT, rather than use my new shoes, I’m going to use my old Beasts.  They’re worn out with 400 miles on them, but they’ll be better than the new ones.  If I don’t have any problem – it is the shoes, and I’ll be acquiring a new pair of Beasts.

And I’ll never stray again.

And … a music post

If you had the over on April 15th before Matthew did a music post – you win!

But wait – this isn’t one of those “ZOMG you GUYS I just HAVE to tell you about this TOTALLY RAD music I’m listening too when I run” (or whatever the kids are saying these days – I quit trying to keep up a few years ago) post.  Instead, this is a “here’s a sample – looking for some suggestions” post.

So, this is the playlist I’ve put together for when I run a 5K race – the timing comes out to just under 30 minutes, so I can judge where I’m at when Psycho Killer or Lose Yourself comes on.  But this is a pretty good cross section of what I’m listening to:

fa-fa-fa-fa, fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-fa

And, seriously, Psycho Killer has one of the best bass lines I’ve ever heard.

So – I’m looking for new stuff, and when you’re looking for new running music … well, isn’t the obvious answer to ask the internet?  So, internet, I’m asking you – what should go into my playlist?

I know you won’t let me down.

The Call

For the better part of an afternoon, he pretended he couldn’t hear them.  After several hours of near torture he strapped on his shoes and tried a short run.  He heard them, even over the miles; they never stopped calling.

“Damn cookies,” he sighed on his way to the kitchen.



For the Weekly Writing Challenge

RR# 14 – JFK Runway Run

You are not having déjà vu, and there is nothing wrong with your television set.  This 5k14-0002morning, for the first time in my running “career”, I ran in a race that I had competed in previously.   Last year’s JFK Runway Run was my second ever race, and I was coming off of an ankle injury that I’d sustained three weeks earlier at my first race.  All of which means that it was slow.  This year I was, barring injury or something weird, a lock to better last year’s time by several minutes, be competitive as hell with my PR, and hopefully even take a shot at a 30 minute race.

This is a rather unique race because of the setting – they actually shut down one of the runways at John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens for the runners.  Both times I’ve run it we ran from the same place:  you run out about 200 yards and then hang a right, run for a bit less than a mile and a half in a straight line, and then turn around and run back.  There is no scenery at all (it is a huge airfield), though airplanes are landing over your head throughout the race, which is pretty neat.   The course is also perfectly flat and generally pretty windy – though this year the wind was not as bad as last year.

JFK Runway Run Course
JFK Runway Run Course

Because of the perfect flatness I decided to push hard and see what I could do, and that strategy worked out.  Other than the congestion in the first couple hundred yards my pace was remarkably consistent throughout the race – +/- 10 seconds at any given time.  This is a course where you can hit a groove and just go with it, and that’s what I was able to do.  My finishing time was 30:39, which is a 9:53/mile pace and a new 5K PR for me by 36 seconds!  For awhile I had hopes that I could seriously threaten an under-30 finish, but that was not meant to be … which does not do one thing to take away from my excitement at a new PR.

I consider this to be the first race of the season (as opposed to the last race of winter, which is what the USA Half was), and I’m ecstatic with how things have started.  I currently don’t have another 5K on my calendar for the year, so this PR will stand for several months – and I’m good with that.  The next time I take a crack at the distance it will be under-30 minutes or bust.

Start / Finish Line - I actually took this last year, but the setting was identical
Start / Finish Line – I actually took this last year, but the setting was identical


– As cool as the setting is for this race, the logistics are a bit inconvenient.  They obviously can’t let people just randomly show up out on the airport runway, so all of the race infrastructure (check-in, prize stage, etc.) happens at an office building and they bus the runners out to the runway.  In order to make sure you get out there with plenty of time, though, you wind up killing quite a lot of time out on the runway with no shade or windbreak.  And this also discourages spectators, so the wife and child didn’t make the trip.  That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t run it if you’re in the area … just know that there are challenges.

– The other thing about this one is that the organizers are kind of at the mercy of the TSA and Port Authority police.  The runners actually wait behind a barricade a few yards from the starting line, and then when we’re released we go line up under our pacing signs.  We wound up starting nearly a half-an-hour late, but I’m convinced by the way they acted that this had nothing to do with the organizers.  That stunk – it was chilly and windy –but comes with the territory for the cool setting.

– This race is an absolutely fascinating slice of humanity.  There were all ages from little kids up to elderly runners.  There was an ethnic mix that would actually be hard to put together outside of Queens.  Several teams run this race – a local martial arts dojo, corporate teams for airlines at the airport, that kind of thing – and that brings with it a bunch of people that clearly don’t run many races.  Many people there, in fact, weren’t there to run at all but to walk the course and get a look at the airport.  Several people were wearing jeans, and one walker was wearing a shirt that said “Airplane Spotting is NOT a Crime”, which gives away his motivation, doesn’t it?  There were half a dozen guys that ran the race at a sub-6:00 pace and many people that took well over an hour.  There was a guy in a wheelchair and two girls in full-on ballet tights with tutus.  Just a fascinating group of people.

Somebody tell these two girls they're officially blogged...
Somebody tell these two girls they’re officially blogged…

– All of that, of course, means that many people had NO idea how to line up even though there were pace signs.  When I line up at the back of 9:00 group and spend the first half mile passing people that are walking it takes all I can do to not scream “why did you line up so far up in line?!?!”

– One of my favorite things in these out-and-back (or loop) courses is watching to see when I see the leaders.  In this case the leader came by me at just past the mile mark for me and just past the 2 mile mark for him – just over 11 minutes into the race.  This same guy won the race last year, too, and he absolutely crushed it.   I couldn’t even see second place when he came through and he wound up winning by nearly a minute and a half.  Just impressive to watch.

– Basic swag – a cotton t-shirt, a bib that is unique to this race (which I love) and that’s about it.  There was water right past the finish lines, and bananas when we got off the buses back at race central.  They also had a raffle, which I didn’t stay for.  Photographers were at the start/finish line, and I’ll add pictures when they get them posted.

– That was April’s race, which means my streak of running at least one race or event per month has now been extended to 14 months.  I am registered for races in May & June, have targeted races in July, August, & September, and am registered for two events in October.   That would get me to 20.

– Next race:  Superhero Half Marathon, Morris Township, New Jersey, May 18th.  I’m debating buying Batman stuff – we’ll see.

Random people as we approach the finish line...
Random people as we approach the finish line…

Let’s talk about March

In the month of March, I went for a run 15 times for a total of 73.22 miles.  For the year, I’m at 154.69 miles, which is a piss-poor start if I ever saw one.  My non-resolution resolution was to get to 1,000 miles run this year … at this point I’m through 25% of the time but only 15% of the mileage.

You know … behind.

But let us try and be more positive, shall we?  Last year in March I ran 32.11 miles and felt like one-million-damn-dollars for having done it.  This year’s mileage represents a 228% increase over last year’s which is, not to put too fine a point on it, a lot.  So even though this month feels light by new standards, the year-over-year growth is happening, and that is encouraging.

March also included my second half marathon, and it was a blast.  That race – the Rock ‘n’ Roll USA Half in Washington DC – now stands as my official 10K, 10M, and half marathon PR.  I’m hoping the 10K and half PRs fall before the end of the summer, but that 10-miler might stick around for awhile unless one of the upcoming halfs (as opposed to halves) does an official 10-mile split.

Capitol picture that came with my Rock 'n' Roll USA picture package...
Capitol picture that came with my Rock ‘n’ Roll USA picture package…

Also encouraging is that I seem to be getting faster.  On March 30th I ran 6 miles at an overall pace that was only 45 seconds per mile slower than my 5K PR pace … and I felt strong at the end.  I think that the improving weather and the lower stress load (my next half isn’t for several weeks) has really relaxed things and helped out.

And April is off to a good start – on April 2nd I’ve already run twice, and I’ve got a 5K this weekend I’m going to use to try and crush my PR.  Assuming everything goes well with the calendar, I’ll run around 90 miles in April and start getting some of that lost mileage back.  I’m encouraged.

Lets go running…

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