Thursday, October 30, 2008

Graston Technique

I had a chiropractor appointment this evening. Dr. Olivacz is a certified chiropractic sports physician. He asked how I was doing and I told him that I strained my calf last weekend, but was recovering well enough that I thought I was ready for a short run tomorrow. When he looked at my calf he said that he had an instrument that could speed the recovery. He said the Graston Technique is analogous to using a comb to straighten tangled hair. I felt some resistance when he rolled the instrument over my calf. It didn’t hurt, but I felt a kind of tingly sensation like when your leg falls asleep. Afterward I did some calf stretches and he told me to ice at as soon as I got home. My calf wasn’t super sore when I went in for my appointment, although I could still feel it was not 100%. It feels pretty good though now. I’ll see how it does tomorrow during an easy run. If you have any painful muscles or tendons, you may want to further investigate this technique as a remedy. I’d be interested to hear feedback from other people who have had this treatment, especially from people who have had much more serious pain than that of a strained calf.

From the Havre De Grace Chiropractic website, “Dr. Olivacz is trained in using the Graston Technique® which allows him to better detect and treat these areas because it uses a stainless steel instrument that glides along a patient’s muscle, tendons or ligaments and acts like a “scar tissue” stethoscope. When knots or bands of scar tissue are encountered, both the doctor and the patient sense a restriction or a granular feeling. The instrument can then be used to “break up” this restriction or adhesion. Stretching exercises are then used to promote re-alignment of the fibers so that they behave more like normal, healthy tissue.”

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Strollers Allowed!

I heard back from the race director for the Eagle Pride 5K today and she said, “You are more than welcome to push the stroller along if you would like!” There has, however, been a change of venue. Rather than a road course, the race will follow the high school’s cross county course, which traverses hilly fields. Knowing that, I will take the course conditions on race morning into account before pushing my son along – hopefully no mud. Aside from that, it looks like he’ll be ready for his first 5K. I think there is even a shirt for this too. I’ll get a small shirt so my son can wear it.

My calf is still sore, but getting better. A few more days off from running and I should be able to get back onto the road and trails!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Pumpkin Patch Day

Today we made the short drive to the Applewood Farm for a morning of picking pumpkins and getting lost in a corn maze. After carefully looking at numerous pumpkins, after which my son would usually declare, “just keep looking,” we finally found the perfect Halloween pumpkin.

Following a quick hayride back to the main barn to weigh (a 27 pounder) and pay for our pumpkin, we were ready for the corn maze. I’m usually pretty good with my sense of direction, but keeping up with an energetic two-year old does tend to throw my internal compass for a loop. Even with several dead-ends, missed turns, and backtracking, we eventually found our way out.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


I got up early this morning for a run in the dark. I like running in the dark, in the middle of roads ordinarily too busy to cross. How different the town looks without the hustle and bustle of day time activity. Once I got the VA grounds, where the street lights cease and I run along the Chesapeake Bay, I was startled by a few cats as they’d wait until the last possible moment to scurry across my path. When I got to the park, a warm wind picked up off the bay, which I thought unusual after yesterday’s cooler temperatures. Around this point I began feeling soreness in my left calf. I made it home all right, but my calf has been sore throughout the day. I’ve iced it several times and will have to take it easy for a few days and see how it feels.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Joe Louis Redeems Himself

My son, dog, and I went for a very enjoyable run this evening. Joe Louis must have taken the talk we had earlier in the week to heart, because he ran like a champ. My son was eager to go too, no tears today! It was a cool, gray day; the kind of fall day that I love, although had it been about fifteen to twenty degrees cooler it would have been absolutely perfect. I grew up in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, which isn’t the coldest spot on earth, but is colder than Maryland. I miss the cold, overcast days of fall and winter. My wife, on the other hand, thinks I am a bit odd for looking forward to cold, gray days. As she is from a warmer clime (Virginia Beach), she requires a daily dose of sun – like a house plant I joke. But yes, she is right, I seem to be the odd one because I find bright, sunny fall and winter days to be depressing, while cold, miserable, gray days are invigorating.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Unfit for Duty

Preparing for a run at my house is an ordeal. From the dog getting all worked up and in the way at the first thought of running to my, as of late, wishy-washy son. Today he was a wash and did not want to go for a run because he wanted chocolate milk instead. However, the report I heard upon returning was that after approximately two minutes of my departure, once his chocolate milk was all gone, my son realized I had left and began screaming that he wanted his dad and his dog (cute, kind of… even cuter being told the story rather than witnessing it first hand – or ear).

So the dog and I set out on what I thought would be a fairly uneventful run. We even went further than we would have had my son been with us. The problem was, I don’t recall when the last time I ran with just the dog. In hindsight, I believe the stroller keeps the dog somewhat in line. Tonight, the dog started running in front of me, then to the left and to the right. That in itself is not too problematic. Although not conducive to good running form, I still have control of him when he runs out in front of me, for the most part – passersby beware. It’s when he begins to run behind me that I worry, and when he laps me – with only a six foot leash. I lost count of the number of times he clipped my feet from behind me. Once we got home I demoted him and declared him unfit for duty, which is a shame because I just praised his running prowess yesterday. After dinner, the dog and I had a long heart to heart talk and decided to take a step back and dedicate some time to remedial running obedience and etiquette (no tripping, no lapping). On second thought, I hope that before the next run we don’t have any chocolate milk and that my son will want to run with us.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Back on Track

Running in the cool fall weather makes the post marathon recovery easy. I’m getting back on track and feeling great. Tonight my son, dog, and I went for a three miler in a brisk wind. We could have gone for a lot longer if it weren’t for the darkness setting in. I think our dog enjoys the cooler weather too. I can’t remember the last time the two of us were running stride for stride rather than one of us (the four-legged one) trying to get ahead by a mile while on a six foot tether. I have an email in to the race director for next month’s 5K asking about strollers in the race. Hopefully strollers will be tolerated and my son will participate in the race.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

What's Next

I went on a short run this evening with my son and our dog. The legs are still a little sore, but not too bad. I think I am recovering well, which, aside from not hurting everywhere, is encouraging because it indicates that my training prepared my body for the rigors of a marathon and built it strong enough to recover quickly. So where do I go from here? Running a marathon is what got me up and out the door all those early mornings. For the next couple of weeks I will focus on rest and easy runs. I did sign up for a 5K next month (15 Nov) that is being held as a fundraiser for one of our local high school cross country teams. I do not aspire to run as fast as I absolutely can at that race, but it should be fun. If the race director allows, I'll even push my son in the race. He'll like that.

A couple of my friends are registered for the National Marathon (21 Mar) and will begin their training cycle next month. I’ll probably join them on some of their long runs because I do want to maintain this fitness level, but mostly because I like the long run.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A Quick Look Back

I looked back through my training log and my marathon splits. Obviously, I overestimated my ability by about ten minutes. However, this is one of the aspects I find alluring about marathoning; until I gain more experience, I won't know the maximum pace I can maintain for the entire race. With shorter race distances, I can push the pace over the race distance in training to get a feel for my race capabilities, yet still adequately recover within a few days. During the marathon evolution, I get one shot – race day. I've been in email contact with one of my friends since the marathon. He is a 2:40ish marathoner and says that a good rule of thumb is to take a recent half-marathon time, double it and add ten minutes to get a realistic marathon prediction. That rule applies well to me. About two weeks prior to Baltimore, I ran a half-marathon training run in 1:40. Doubling that and adding ten minutes is 3:30, while my actual time was 3:32.

I was pretty sore on Sunday, although I was still able to move around and take care of some work in the yard. I was less sore yesterday and feeling better today. This is the first time this year that I have taken three consecutive days off from running. I am going to go for a short and easy run tomorrow to test drive the legs.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Baltimore Marathon - Race Report

Running strong for two-thirds of a marathon means coming up one-third short. I executed my race plan beautifully over the first eighteen miles and ran near even splits at a 7:40 per mile pace. Shortly into the nineteenth mile I began having fatigue, dehydration, and energy issues – or to put it another way, I was on a crash course with a wall. I still finished, just not in the energetic fashion I envisioned, although I did manage to throw my arms up for the obligatory finish line photo. With a time goal of 3:20, I completed the twenty-six point two in 3:32. Aside from that, I have a lot of positives to take away from the entire marathon process, which for me began in May when I registered for the event.

I thought the entire Baltimore Running Festival was well organized and an enjoyable event. The course is very challenging, especially the second half. Running through the neighborhoods was a lot of fun and I tried to slap hands with every little kid who had his or her hand up for a high five. The lap around Fort McHenry was nice and serene before heading back to the large crowd at the Inner Harbor. A couple of my friends volunteered at a water stop near the half way point, and because of the layout of the course I got to see them twice, which was cool. Apparently, they even saw me finish, but by that point I was oblivious to anything other than the food and water on the other side of the finish line.

A BIG THANKS to the Gummy Bear People near mile 23. Those guys rock! And then there was a guy dressed in a tiger suit dancing on the top of a car with Survivor’s Eye of the Tiger blaring from a radio near mile 24. Hey, you don’t see that every day, but that’s one of the many things that make marathons fun.

My wife and son did not attend the race because I left well before their normal waking time – and it is best to not wake sleeping two-year-olds, or at least my sleeping two-year-old. When I got home, I showed my son my finisher’s medal. He was impressed. Tomorrow he is going to help me pack it up so I can donate my medal to Medals4Mettle. M4M gifts donated marathon finisher’s medals to people displaying strength and courage while dealing with a disease or handicap. I ran a marathon yesterday and experienced some discomfort, but I think people that put forth that type of effort every day are more deserving of a medal than am I.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Marathon Week!

Marathon week is finally here and I can’t wait to get started on Saturday morning. Physically, I am as ready as I can be given my fitness level. I have familiarized myself with the course as best as possible without actually running it – much thanks to google maps. And now I am just going crazy in this phase of training called the taper. My legs, however, have not complained about the reduced mileage over the past two weeks. In fact, they feel pretty good, and I can’t wait to see how fast they will carry me over the twenty-six point two! If all goes well, I will be off from work on Friday and be able to take my son to the race expo. Should be a good time; the expo is in M&T Bank Stadium - Home of the Baltimore Ravens.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

A Wail of a Run

My son, dog, and I went for a quick run in the cool October air last evening. Unfortunately for the rest of the town, my son was taking advantage of his last month in the “terrible twos.” Nothing that either my wife or I did was satisfactory to his desires (that must be rough). Anyway, I thought the best thing for him would be some fresh air while he was strapped into the seat of his running stroller. And it was, except this two-year-old filibusterer was wailing about his parents’ perceived injustices for most of the run. Even the dog was howling. So, to the town of Perryville, I apologize for last night’s outburst. Funny thing is, when we got back home, he wanted to know why we were done so soon.