March 23, 2015

Back to Running...Slowly. Hamstring Exercises.

Week of March 16 ~ 22

Hello. I'm happy to say that I ran every day this week. 3k, then 3.5k, then a whole 4k! Just 1k at a time, then a walk break. Slowly, slowly...meaning slow pace and slowly working my way back.
No pain in the hamstring or anywhere. But I'll be very cautious for a month.
Then I'll try to train for a month and then run the Sendai Half on May 17th. Not fast, but pain-free, I hope.

The goal is to never again get injured. Which means being very, very careful. Well, we'll see.

I had the hamstring problem diagnosed at a place called Tokyo Physio, run by two Australian triathletes. The diagnosis was that the hamstring (and glutes also) was too weak. So the cure is to strengthen it. Rest does not help - you have to make it stronger. So I've got a series of exercises that I do 4 or 5 times a week. This is a good idea for every runner, actually, to prevent hamstring problems.

Quick course:
1) Single leg squat. Stand on right leg, touch left hand to right foot, back up. 10x. Then switch. Set of 3.
2) Stand on right leg, Raise left knee, then extend left leg behind you, leaning forward with arms out for balance. Back to standing position. 10 x 3 each leg.
3) Lie on back, feet pulled back to nearly touch butt, pull left leg to chest, push up on right foot. You're working the right glute. You can also just extend the left leg. VERY good for glutes. 10 x 3 each leg.
4) Use a big ball - the kind they have in gyms. Lie on your back with your legs extended so feet are on top of ball. Pull both legs back (bend knees) so ball comes back to you. Then raise left leg and extend right leg which is still on the ball. You're working the right hamstring. 10 x 3 each leg. I've found that at home, this can be done with a chair that has casters so it moves. A big ball is of course preferable.
5) Calf raises. Stand on the edge of a stair or anything so that your heel extends down. Raise up. Use both legs or one at a time if you can. 10 x 3 both legs.

They told me to do these two days, then one day off. I do them four days out of seven.

February 2, 2015

Slight Setback

Another addition to my now comical list of injuries — I managed a week of actual running and then tried the 5,000m time trial last Wednesday. Ran 3k in about 4:15/4:30/4:25 and 200m later my hamstring started to pull. Not the previous injury, just because I hadn't tried to run that "fast" in about 10 weeks. I didn't think it was fast, but apparently my hamstring did.
And it is still sore! So...maybe next week.
Over and out.

January 27, 2015

Baby Steps

Week of Jan. 19 ~ 25

Managed 40k last week, in 5 runs. Easy pace, but was able to pick things up a bit on the Sunday 10k.
Nothing seems to be hurting, far, so good.

Weight is about 61kg, 3-4 over what it was in the fall, so I will work on that.

I expect to be shocked by how slow Wednesday's 5,000m time trial will be.

January 18, 2015

Legs Seem to be Ok

For the first time in a long time!

Here's the timeline:

12 - 10K race in 38:51, felt great.
15 - Right upper hamstring and/or glute got sore after a 1k warmup and an aver pace 600.
16-25 - Remained sore.
26 - Namban 10K fun run - ran 50:00 with sore HS, but it didn't get worse.
29 - It got a lot worse.
No running, then:
16 - Toda Half Marathon - my favorite race so I wanted to run. Ran 1:39 carefully with soreness, but not too bad and it didn't get worse
22 - Easy run in Bangkok, but HS sore, and quads very sore.
Rest 5 weeks until
28 - easy 6k
30 - moderate 8k
31 - Left calf very sore!!
Still sore for 2 weeks! 8k was too much....
14 - 7.2k with several walk breaks - calf ok!
16 - 5k     "
17 - 8k     "
18 - 8k - 2k x 4 @5:30/k with walk breaks. Calf ok, HS ok.

So I am cautiously optimistic. Will try to _gradually_ amp it up and maybe actually become a runner again.

Hope we all have a good 2015.


December 14, 2014

Howdy, how's it going?

That, believe it or not, is the name of a beauty salon in my town. You've got to love Japan.

Anyway, I hope you're all going ok. Just thought I would check in and let you know that I'm still resting. Hoping that six weeks of not running will heal my hamstring/glute problem and any other hidden niggles I may have. I have a race scheduled for March 29, so starting in January would give me three months to get in shape.
I hate running in the cold weather anyway. I shouldn't complain, as a friend in Maine was just telling me about their snow, ice, sleet, freezing rain and other horrors...but I love to complain about the cold.

Just returned from two and a half weeks in Thailand - Bangkok, where my daughter lives, and Phuket, where her new Aussie boyfriend did the Laguna Challenge Half Ironman. He did well and it was a lot of fun to watch. Big race with lots of pros.

So... I wish I was still in Thailand, but when life gives you ice, make ice cream, I suppose.

Since I'm eating a lot and putting on weight, I'll end this with

November 16, 2014

Half Marathon - Made It!

Sunday, November 16

Today was the Toda Half Marathon in Saitama, the prefecture north of Tokyo. Fairly big race with 3,500 in the Half, 2,500 in the 10K and 2,000 in the 5K and 2k "family run."

The weather was close to ideal, cool and mostly sunny, with some wind but not too strong.

This is my favorite race and I always do quite well, 3rd or 4th in my age group. In fact, I have the second fastest time in the 30 years of the race in the 60s age group - 1:23:30.

But not this year. Due to the continuing glute/hamstring problem, I hadn't run hardly at all for 5 weeks...and the damn thing was still sore. But with rest, physio, acupuncture and kinesio tape I was hopeful that I could make it through. Optimum hoped-for time was 1:38:27 (4:40/k) but I thought that 5:00/k or even slower would be more likely. result was 1:39:22 (4:42/k), good for 16th in the age group out of 281, not that that means anything.

I went out a bit cautiously, then picked it up after 6k when it seemed like the glute would hold up. It was sore, but manageable. Still, I maintained a sensible pace (4:32ish). When I got to 10k I was pretty sure I would get home ok, but then I realized, whoops, I'm not in shape to run a half marathon!

In addition to not having run the past 5 weeks, I've only done 3 runs of 20k all year! So the last 4k was pretty tough, and I slowed quite a bit. Then I started cramping in my right calf the last 400m and barely made the finish line.

Anyway, I was quite happy that the glute/hammie held up, and all in all I enjoyed the race. Back next year with a vengeance!
Actually, I might even do the 10k next year. Age group was won in 39:53 and I can do that easily.
Today's age group half was won in 1:25, then 1:27, 1:30, 1:33, so would have been 3rd or 4th on a normal day.

Oh yeah, I was also way above Kenyan-thin weight, having gained 2.5kg the past 5 weeks.

Off to Bangkok on Thursday for 2-1/2 weeks to visit my daughter and her boyfriend, who will be doing the Phuket Half Tri on the 30th, which we will go to watch. So hopefully I'll feel ok after 4 days rest and will be able to run a bit with him. But slowly.....

November 4, 2014

Rest, Acupuncture and Oxygen

Week of 10/27 ~ 11/2

I did two easy runs Monday and Tuesday, then tested my sore glute/hamstring (pain seems to be right in the middle of the two) on Wednesday, which did not go well. Ran 3,000m of the 5,000m time trial, at about half marathon pace, steadily getting slower and more sore, so bagged it.

It seems that "active recovery" is not helping, so I am just going to rest until the 16th, and hope I can run a Half pain-free. Which I am beginning to doubt, since it is still sore today if I try to jog for a few steps.

I went to an acupuncture guy in my town, and he is quite good. It definitely felt better after both visits, although obviously not healed yet.

He also has a hyperbaric chamber, called "oxygen capsule" in Japanese which is much easier to understand, so I tried that for 30 minutes on Saturday (only 2,000yen/$20!). Can't say that it helped, but who knows? The literature on it is contradictory. Of course most of the stuff on the web is very positive, because it's put out by the companies selling these things, but even some of the objective articles indicate that hyperbaric therapy could possibly help reduce inflammation and promote healing (it does in fact seem to help heal wounds). Other pieces downplay any positive effects, and of course, the question is whether just 30 minutes or even an hour will do you any good.

It's like lying in an MRI thing...or like a coffin - appropriate since I did it on Halloween. The oxygen is under pressure (so it's forced into your blood and not only blood but tissues, hence the possible healing effect), so your ears get unpleasantly pressurized, in fact a bit painful for 6-8 minutes. I was almost ready to press the button to call the sensei, but then my ears normalized and I nodded off for the last 5 or 10 minutes. Anyway, interesting, and interesting that this guy would have one, it being just a small clinic out in the suburbs. He says rugby players come in to use it, so I guess the japanese sports world knows about this kind of therapy.

So I won't be running, may not post anything next week.
But I hope you are all healthy!