I’m training for the LA Marathon and have been writing a few blog posts along the way, with “few” being the operative word as of late. Around the holidays I tried to spend more time with family and less time on the computer, then work picked up pace starting week one, 2012. But there’s plenty to report.
Very sincere thanks to Ryan, Kerry, etc who put me over the top of my training goal of $2012 for Pablove. Honestly, having these folks give money to Pablove along the way has kept me training despite injury. I thank you for keeping me going. Let’s not stop here. If you’re reading this and can contribute anything, from $1 on up, to Pablove, please do. My new goal is to be their number #1 LA Marathon fundraiser. I’m currently $6,000 behind the leader. Any help is appreciated and the cause worthy.
Hello from the plane home from MIDEM! Every year the music industry gathers in Cannes, France for a long weekend of meetings, idea sharing, dinners, and drinking. It can be pretty heavily weighted toward the latter of those and this is the third year in a row I’ve taken my running shoes and used them as the balancing point to keep me closer to the former. It’s not easy, but others can be recruited into waking early and coming with. The first year we had a great little run club including Yancey Strickler, Ian Hogarth, and Sydney Wayser. Year two Glenn Peoples was my running pal. This year we had more interest than ever but mis-coordinated schedules kept J Herskowitz, Ian Hogarth, and Tim Heineke out of the MIDEM Early-AM Run Club and my only taker was Cortney Harding. Courtney returned the favor by getting me out for a 7:30am Crossfit class on Monday morning, too (Yes, Crossfit in Cannes! And it was good!), which was an incredible way to start the day and way better cross-training than I’d have accomplished in one of the Croisette hotel gyms.
We’ll do the same thing again at SXSW this year. The LA Marathon is the Sunday SXSW Music ends (poor planning on someone’s part, yes. mine, perhaps?) so it will be a taper week for me but stay tuned if you’d like to join and I’ll post more information in a future post.
It’s been great connecting with colleagues over running on these trips. I got to hear Official.fm’s J Herskowitz’ NYC Marathon story last evening, the tales of the many marathons Thingfo’s Cortney Harding has done on our run, and Cornerstone’s Jon Cohen‘s long (and fast!) run career yesterday (knee surgery kept him one off his 10 NYC Marathons in a row goal last year).
I’ve had more than one person tell me their reading these blog posts has inspired them to get out there and lace up, and nothing could make me happier. Remember what my mom (who herself is a former marathon runner and cross country coach) told me: “The hardest part is putting on your shoes.” Kudos to everyone who can get past that first step, no matter how much or fast you run or walk. Get a Fitbit and get your 10,000 steps/day by any means necessary.
My training has been a roller coaster. Here’s the update:
Training was rolling right along no problem until that magic point that often trips up those who try to pour on mileage, mile sixteen. The week between Xmas and NYE I completed my sixteen mile long run as part of a forty-five mile week total in a brand new pair of Newton natural running shoes (exact same model as my old pair) Santa brought. Saturday was eight miles at pace and Sunday was the sixteen miler. The eight felt great but during the sixteen I had pain in my left knee. It wasn’t terrible and I finished strong but I could tell something wasn’t right. The next day I stepped out to do an easy three-miler and couldn’t go one.
After a day’s rest I finished the week’s workouts without much pain, including the eight miler the following Saturday. But when I stepped out to do seventeen on Sunday I made it four, turned around and walked four home. I knew I was injured and needed to heal this properly.
Damn. I’ve been here before. And for the same reason. Crank up the mileage and the body reacts. After doing thirty to thirty-five miles per week for years I still got tripped up at the forty-five mile per week mark. Textbook typical. I thought I had a strong enough base to skip this step. Of course that was naive.
I wasn’t sure if it was IT Band or PFPS but it doesn’t much matter, the prescription is the same: Rest, Ice, Advil, and try to fix whatever biomechanical thing landed you here to begin with. I went to my sports med doc and we talked it out. Dr. Randy Davis in Marina Del Rey has seen me for countless running and skateboard injuries over the last 12 or so years and like any good sports med doc his attitude isn’t “you’re too old to ride a skateboard” or “you are turning your bones to dust by running” it’s “you wanna get back out there, right? ok let’s fix this and get you back at it ASAP.” He thought my kneecap was ok and that it’s mostly IT band flare-up, which is good news to me. I’ve been through that on the right leg and have overcome it over many years. He prescribed Ibuprofen horse pills and physical therapy.
Next stop was Meredith Soelberg’s office. Meredith is a former competitive gymnast and marathoner who knows about as much about what happens under your skin as anyone. She went Columbo on my injury, put me on the treadmill to study my gait, examined old and new shoes, watched me do box jumps, and interrogated me to try to get to the bottom of what’s really going on. She also put me on a pared back running schedule, prescribed cross training to keep the fitness up, stretched and massaged my legs, and applied ionto therapy.
I started swimming and enjoying it. I get up at 5:30am, make it to the Y when they open at 6am, and share a lane with a friendly older dude named Frankie. I can knock out just over a mile before I have to get back home to start the day with Lucinda. It feels good. It’s not hard physically, but hard from a coordination perspective. I feel like I’m learning something totally new, but getting better.
I picked up a book called Smart Marathon Training by Jeff Horowitz. It takes a different approach than the Higdon program I’ve been following. It tops out at thirty-five miles per week (conveniently the same as my base), focuses on three quality runs per week (tempo, speed, hill, and/or long runs), nd adds cross-training (his preference is biking) instead of the “junk” miles. His take: get into marathon shape and no more. If all you’re getting out of a four or five mile “easy run” is cardiovascular fitness then get that in a way that builds complimentary fitness and doesn’t wind up the same muscles you’re pushing on the quality run days. I am disappointed because I was enjoying running six days a week but it makes sense and given where I’m at seems worth a try.
So now, thanks to Meredith’s help, I’m back in action. I ran twenty-six miles last week without pain, including a ten-miler in Cannes on Sunday morning. I’m going to ease back into a plan that looks more like the Horowitz plan, quality days and cross-training.
Thanks to everyone for the support!