February 28, 2012

3:08:22 — Not Great, But Not Bad

Week of Feb. 20 ~ 26

Ran: 8/0/7/6.8/0/0/42.195

Tokyo Marathon week. Main object was to take it easy enough so that my piriformis/butt/hamstring would not hurt during the race.

Very easy 8K. Hamstring sore, but not much.

Rest. Physical therapy.

Club track workout was 1000 x 6, I did 600 x 6 at MP (abt. 2:36).
A bit sore, but not too bad.

6.8k easy, inc. 400 x 3 at a bit slower than MP. A bit sore.

Rest. Physical therapy. Massage + kinesio taping.


Tokyo Marathon. 3:08:22. Goal was 3:05 but I would have been surprised to run that as the leg soreness the past two months limited training somewhat.
So I am happy enough with 3:08. If these were 35k races I would do great (wouldn't we all?).

5K splits were 21:36. 21:39, 21:51, 21:36, 21:55, 22:21, 22:40, 23:56, 10:49
Average per km: 4:28
21:40 (4:20/k) is a 3:02:51.

First of all, the hamstrings and buttocks were fine - no pain at all.
Lined up 45 mins. before the start, but still only in the middle of the A group (about 3,000). Had planned to get near the curb so I could sit, which I did (clever!). Being in the first group, the start was no problem. Took it easy, but was on pace by 2k (course was marked every km). Felt fine for the first 25k, just clipping along at pretty much the same pace. Was running with another club member for most of that, and was cheered on by club members at various points. They were out in force, which was great — and we had 35 members running the race.
The weather, by the way, was great — about 7C/45F, but it didn't feel cold, even before the start. The forecast had been for strong wind, but fortunately that didn't happen, and there was only a slight headwind from 15 to 28K.
Started to tire after 25k and fell off the pace a bit. Would have fallen off more after 30k, but a guy went past me at about 31k going just slightly faster, so I latched onto him and focused on his back until about 36k, when he spurted and I lost him. But that helped a lot in that section. By then (from 35k) my quads were getting painful, and they got more so with each k. Tried to shorten my stride to pick up the pace and also to stay with people passing me, but just couldn't pick the legs up. There are a few up/downs in the last 7k also. The ups were fine, but the downs were torture. Had to slow going down, as the quads felt like they would seize up. Managed to pick it up slightly the last k, after a downhill at 41.1k, but it was not a very rousing finish. Still, I was able to walk ok after the finish, which was nice. (Today, Monday, I _cannot_ walk ok, and can barely get down a flight of stairs, or even out of a chair.)

Did heavy carbo loading the day before, as a British study showed that that is the best thing to do, which seems logical to me. It might have helped. Stomach was fine, didn't feel bloated, so I may do even more next time. Ate a few runner's gel candy things during the race and only had two small drinks of water, but didn't feel thirsty. I don't need much liquid, especially during cold weather races.

Calves were also fine during the race. I think I finally found the right shoe - Adi Zero Japan, with insoles, which is light but not _very_ light.

So all in all, not a bad race. The time was my second fastest since I started running marathons again six years ago, and was only 5 seconds slower than the LA marathon in 2010.

Plans for the future: Rest until everything is completely healed — 2 or 3 weeks? Then a 10K in April and a Half in May. Hopefully an overseas marathon in the fall. And I need to strengthen my quads. I think more intensity is the key. I think you have to run hard enough so that twice a week, your quads actually hurt. I do workouts that tire me out, but very rarely do they make my quads hurt. Maybe run hard two days in a row (intervals, tempo, long, whatever), so that at the end of the second day you are really hurting. Then rest for one or two days. No easy runs! Maybe I'll try that. Also, I want to get my 10K time down further, and of course intensity is the key for that. If you can't run a fast 10k, you can't run a fast marathon.
Onward and upward!

February 19, 2012

10K — Same, but Different

Week of Feb. 13 ~ 19

Ran: 0/10/10/0/10/0/10 - 40K / 24.8 mi.  3:29

Rest and massage (to try to heal the piriformis-related problems).

11:30 - machines and core at the gym
2:00 - 10k in a very easy 57:00. Butt sore. Cold rain.
Weather: 6C/43F, rain

7:30pm - Track workout  1200/1200/1000/1000/800/800
Ran them all at about 4:25 per 1000m, slightly above marathon pace.
Hamstring sore.
Weather: 8C/46F, but windy and felt very cold.

Went to physical therapy. Electrical stimulation of the muscles and ultrasound. I don't think it helps much, but thanks to national health insurance, it costs very little, so might as well go. And the sensei is a runner and friendly guy.

11:30 - to the gym
2:00 - Easy 10k in 57:09. Hamstring sore.


9:30 - 10K race at Ome. The 46th year of this very popular race way out on the western outskirts of Tokyo, just before the hills/mountains start. There were 15,000 in the 30K and 5,000 in the 10K (which only has high school and masters divisions).
Last year I ran 38:10 and came in 4th. This year I ran 39:04 and came in 4th. The 4th was nice (out of 703 in the 60s men's division), but the time was a disappointment. The hamstring was a bit sore, but not painfully so, if that makes sense. I think it slows me down some, either physically or mentally or both, however, I think a bigger reason for the slower time is that I haven't done any real 10K training for quite a while. Actually, I ran 38:08 5 weeks ago, but have not really trained hard since then. On the Wednesday night intervals, I always run marathon pace. So today I was up near the front at the start (due to 4th place last year) and of course everyone blasted off. I felt like I wasn't going too fast, but after 400m I was huffing and puffing. I thought, "Wow, breathing hard already, this is going to be a tough race." Actually, it was just because I'm not used to running a 3:48 pace for 1k. After about 2k, my breathing was fine, and I was running ok, but just didn't feel smooth and strong. The second half I tried to pick it up, and felt like I had quite a bit (and had other people to run with, which always helps), but in fact, it was only slightly faster (19:35/19:29). So I worked hard and felt like I ran pretty well, but was a minute slower. If you think you are going fast, but are going slower than previously, that's not a good sign. However, I'll chalk it up to lack of hard training. Hopefully, marathon pace next Sunday will feel a lot easier.
The weather was perfect! About 7C/45F, but sunny so it felt warmer. No wind to speak of.
Maybe next year I will actually train for this race, then run a marathon in March or April instead of a week later.
The 60s winner, by the way, was 37:15. Prizes down to six (towel and medal, wow). Best of all, the guys in 5th and 6th were guys who always used to beat me. HOWEVER, the winner of the 30K 60s ran 1:53:11, which is a 37:42 10K pace, my friends.

February 12, 2012

No Better But No Worse

Week of Feb. 6 ~ 12

Ran: 0/7.5/12.5/15/15/0/30 - 80km / 50 mi.  6:58

My head is ok. Thanks for the concerned comments.
Piriformis is no better but no worse. Able to run.


10:30 - Cold rain, so at the gym: 30 minutes on the treadmill, machines and core, then another 15 minutes.
 Wanted an easy day anyway.

 7:30pm. Track workout. 5.5k warmup. 600/800/1000/1200/1000/800/600
All at about 4:20 ~ 4:30/k pace (about marathon pace). Left hamstring is sore. I've been stretching a lot - maybe too much.

3:30 - 15k in 1:15:10 @5:00/k
26:27/24;43/23:59 @5:30/4:57/4:48
Legs felt fresh. Started slow then ran 5:00 pace from 3rd km. HS slightly sore, but felt better second half. Just decided to do a decent run.
Weather: 7C/45F, 10%, sunny
Weight: 61.2kg

11:30 - machines and core at the gym
2:00 - 15k in 1:20:11 @5:21
28:50/27:21/23:59 @ 5:45/5:28/4:48
First half easy, then picked up 2.5k, then some more last 5k.
Left HS sore, but ignored it. Went for a massage afterwards, which was good.
I'm sure the massage is more effective than acupuncture for this problem.
Weather: 8C/46F, 20%, sunny

Rest (after 3 fairly good workouts in a row)
I think it's better to rest than stress the leg with junk miles. Plan a good run tomorrow.

2:00 - 30k in 2:23:25 @4:47
Weather: 8C/45F, 20%, sunny
Weight: 61kg
Originally planned 15k at MP, but just before the start decided to try 20k. Left HS slightly sore from beginning, but didn't get worse. Legs felt ok at the end. A good run for the last long/hard run before Tokyo in two weeks. (Except for the Ome 10K race next Sunday, but that's only 10K. Last year had a good race there, running 38:10 for 4th in a very competitive 60s age group.)

February 6, 2012

Bob Goes Down for the Count

Week of Jan 30 ~ Feb 5

Ran: 0/20/6.2/0/14/11.8/0 - 52km / 32 mi.  4:50

Had a strange incident on Saturday - read on.

The "good" news is that I discovered that my butt/hamstring problem is actually neither - the problem is the piriformis muscle, which is actually in between those two areas. The symptoms of an inflamed piriformis are exactly what I have: pain in the butt  (it's also called Runner's Butt), in the upper hamstring, in the area between them, and sometimes radiating down the leg, which is because the piriformis presses on the sciatic nerve.
So I am doing lots of piriformis stretching and strengthening exercises.


11:30 - machines and core at the gym.
3:30 - 20k in 1:54:35 @ 5:45/k
Legs tired and lower hamstring sore last 10k.
Weather: 7C/45F
Weight: 61.4kg

5:00 - Acupuncture
7:30 - 5000m TT in 22:24 4:25/24/32/32/29
Running a little above marathon pace, but didn't want to go any faster. Legs very stiff and a very cold wind.
Actually, you shouldn't run after acupuncture - the sensei even recommended that I take Thursday off. Oh, well.

So I took Thursday off.

11:30 - machines and core at the gym.
3:00 - 14k with 9k of hills. Each k had a short, steep hill and a 150m gradual hill.
I was running abut 5:00 per k, and then got slower from the 6th, as the leg got more sore. Planned 10 but stopped. I did this workout because I didn't want to do a long run, but it was not a good idea! Hills aggravate the piriformis (didn't discover the problem is piriformis until Saturday).

10:30 - 11.8k in 1:08:29 @5:48. Easy run in Yoyogi Park with Jim Weismann visiting from the US and Steve, Gareth and Colin (who also has a piriformis problem).
So after running, we had a beer (no water), then ate Italian food and drank 3 bottles of wine. Then had another beer. Then I went to acupuncture. He puts you under a heat lamp, so I got very warm (and dehydrated). As I was standing at the counter paying, I fainted. Suddenly the sensei was picking me up off my knees. Surprise! I sat down and drank some water and felt better. Went down the elevator and decided to wait a bit near the mailboxes to make sure I was all right. Suddenly I was on my back, looking up at the mailboxes. How did I get here? Very strange. Got up and noticed a puddle of blood on the floor. Thought I had been there for 2 or 3 seconds, but by the size of the puddle it must have been 10 or 15 seconds. Put my hand to my head and it came away bloody. Apparently, I had hit my head on a metal knob sticking out from the mailboxes - hadn't felt it at all since I had been unconscious. Sat down on a convenient low wall and drank the rest of the water bottle. Used two packs of tissues to clean the blood off my head - and covered it with my hat - too bad I hadn't had that on when I fell. Felt ok after a bit and walked to the station and got home with no problem (fortunately didn't faint on the train).
So no more drinking after running and then acupuncture. Who knew?

Rest - for the piriformis and for the head. (Lucky I only hit my head, which is not a vital body part in my case.)