Friday, April 30, 2010

I Think I finally Get it...A Flashback

Farmington Canal Linear Park trail 49 freakin' chilly degrees. 4 miles; Splits: 8:45; 8:24; 8:23; 8:22; 33:54; 8:28 per mile pace...I'm getting faster :-)

*Started this on Wednesday, finished it on Thursday. Re-posted it on Friday. :-)

Physical Therapy (P.T.) works. You knew that, right? P.T.'s have magic hands. Seriously. I've had P.T. for groin (You may laugh) and knee issues before, and have always managed to recover quickly and well. OK, just to clarify the groin part, no, the P.T. didn't use his hands on my groin area. (You may laugh again).
Yesterday I could have run, but chose to take an additional day off since I had P.T. and had used the gym. Not that I couldn't have run afterward, but decided to wait the extra day just to be safe, since my left knee isn't quite 100%. It's probably 98%, but hey, why should I have risked it? OK, I confess that I dogged it. Instead I ran today with a 25 mile per hour wind blowing into my side and a chilly 49 degrees temperature. My attire of the day consisted of wearing both a short sleeved and a long sleeved tech shirt, and shorts. I refused to wimp out and wear long running pants. I drove to the linear trail, figuring the trees there would help block the wind, and also knowing the wind would be blowing into my sides rather than my face. Smart, huh?! Had I run my road route, I would have started my run by running into the wind. Not smart. Call me a wuss if you'd like, but at least I was a warm wuss unimpeded by the wind. I decided to wear my MP3 player so I would focus more on the music and less on the sound of the wind howling.
The trees trick worked, the music sounded great (I ♥ the 70's tunes), and so did my wind strategy. Even more important, I felt fantastic. My knee wasn't an issue at all. Once again I felt the old faster mojo return. Flashback here...A few weeks ago, as I was just beginning P.T., I was looking at my 5K race times and my road run and linear trail run times from a few years ago. Three years ago almost to the day I ran a 23:24 5K (7:32/mile pace) race. At that time, I could run a 7:45-8 minute per mile pace on the road and trail. I never incorporated any kind of weight training, speedwork, or anything extra into my routine. I just ran, and ran well. Then came my running 4 marathons over a 2 1/2 year time period, from May 2007 to November 2009. Again, I was just running, and not doing any extra training. During that 2 1/2 year period of time, I learned how to pace myself in order to survive the 26.2 miles marathon distance. That meant running more of a slower and steady pace. More training meant running longer distances, running longer distances meant being more susceptible to injury (Hey, I feel 23, but I am 53), and lo and behold, I've had foot, knee, and groin injuries the past 3 years. Last year after training for six months for the NY City Marathon using the Jeff Galloway run-walk-run training method, I decided to test it by run-walk-running the Hartford Marathon first. I was afraid of "hitting the wall" while running the NY City marathon, since my previous marathon, the 2008 Hartford Marathon, I had done exactly that with about 7 miles to go. I toughed it out after having a mini meltdown, which consisted of me giving the spectators my "death stare" as they cheerfully proclaimed that I "only had fill-in-the-blank starting with 7 miles to go," and also stopping at the remaining water stations and drinking water and crumbling up the empty cups and slam dunking them into the garbage cans. I finished with my best marathon time of 4:22:19...go figure. So after run-walk-running the Hartford Marathon October 10 and the NY City Marathon three weeks later (November 1), I decided that I was done running marathons forever. Yes, I still feel that way. Anyhow, the groin pain I had been ignoring for the months leading up to those two marathons finally got the best of me, and I ended up going to P.T. and seeing "Nuno/Nemo", Hot Chick, and ADHD Dave for the month of February. For those of you new to my blog, it's all documented in my February posts. After finally being cleared to run, I was somehow able to run and finish the NY City Half Marathon on March 21st, despite having a "long run" of 7 miles. My left knee pain returned from a 2 year hiatus the beginning of this month, so it's been back to P.T. since April 6th for me. I decided that even though I liked Nuno/Nemo, Hot Chick, and ADHD Dave, I was going to go back to the P.T. place I had used before. Today (Thursday) was my last day seeing "Sweet Melissa." She told me I have "graduated" from P.T., since my only remaining problem with my left knee is the stiffness that comes and goes. The "snap, crackle, pop sounds" that I still have are due to crepitus, but that's nothing to worry about. I gave "Sweet Melissa" a thank-you card with 5 scratch off lottery tickets in it. She wants to go to Hawaii, her fiancee' wants to go to Paris for their honeymoon in October. I told her she'll win enough $$ to be able to do both.
All this babbling leads me to the present/now/today. My pace per mile has been improving a great deal since I'm groin and knee pain free. For the first time in a long time, I can run normal, meaning without compensating for having pain. I'm starting to think that just maybe I can regain most, if not all, of the speed that I had three years ago. I'm no longer training for marathons, so the slow and steady running rule can be put to rest. I've always been a better than average runner, meaning I usually finish in the top 60-70% in the 5K races I run in, and around the middle of the pack in longer distances races. I like it like that. There's absolutely no pressure for me to run any faster than I want to or am able to, since I'm "average." Last May I actually finished 2nd in my division, in a 5K that was new. For that I received an award of four 2 oz. bags of Brioni coffee and a "Hotel California Tequila" t-shirt. You may laugh, but I was damn proud to receive that award in front of my fellow runners, and having them clap for me. If that's the one and only time I win an award running, so be it. At my age, I'm more interested in the pure enjoyment of running. As it says on the top of my blog, "I run, therefore I am." Being able to run is a gift; a gift we should be thankful we have, a gift we should always appreciate and enjoy. Being a runner is a privilege. A privilege that not everyone can enjoy. As a runner, we owe it to ourselves while out on a run to do whatever it takes to have fun. Bask in your ability to enjoy the sights, smells, and sounds while you're running. There are no bad days of running. A bad day of running is better than a good day of not running or not being able to run."
P.S. Duct tape does a great job of holding an ice pack to my knee. However, it hurts when I pull it off my skin. So I guess I don't recommend using duct tape to keep ice on your knee.

Tricia said...

"A bad day of running is better than a good day of not running or not being able to run."

LOVED that.

today on my blog I said, "After all...a little bit of running is better than no running at all." in reference to me having to come back slow from an injury.

Running IS a gift. :) Thanks my friend, this was great.
April 29, 2010 9:54 PM
Steel Springs said...

Yeah! Congratulations on your graduation! Great post.
April 29, 2010 10:35 PM
Cynthia O'H said...

Glad you're finding your mojo again.
April 29, 2010 11:15 PM

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Ragnar Relay: May 21-22: CT to MA

I can run on a Ragnar Relay team from New Haven, Connecticut to Boston, Massachusetts if I find one more person to run with me on a team of 12. Anyone interested??

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

"Ketchup" Time

Is there a Slacker Blogger" award? If so, I graciously accept it. I have blogger writer's block. I've been running, but my runs have been BORING. I still haven't seen roller blading, disco dancing, karaoke singing, linear trail lady. (See my May 20, 2009 post about her). I haven't had any of "Rick's excellent adventures." My latest runs were last Thursday, a 4.1 miler at a very fast for me 8:31 per mile pace; and this past Saturday 6 miles at an 8:44 per mile pace. I'm happy to say I have been meeting my goal of running my splits in under 9 minutes. My P.T. "Sweet Melissa" has continued to work her magic by kneading my left knee. My knee pain hasn't returned, and today she had me spend more time in the gym doing strengthening exercises for my left leg and knee. Thursday I will be "graduating" (as she called it) from P.T. and be on my own to continue stretching and strengthening. I'm seriously considering spending $35/month for at least the next two months to use their gym. It's five minutes from work, it's usually empty or nearly empty when I get out of work, and obviously I know what equipment to use and how to use it there. I won't lie, having "Sweet Melissa" around would be a bonus also. Time to go "ketchup" on your blogs and see what everyone's been up to. Thanks for stopping by and leaving your comments.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A Feel Good Post and New P.T.'s Nickname

Welcome new Followers misszippy and SeeGirlRun.

As usual, I'm behind posting and reading your posts. However, since tax season is officially over, and my wonderful wife Mrs. Marathonman (Kathy) isn't working seven days a week and about 85 hours a week, I should be caught up in no time fellow bloggers.
First, my running. My last three runs have been pain free. No groin issues, no knee issues, no nothing. I'm giving all the credit to my current Physical Therapist, Melissa. Melissa is about 4 feet, 10 inches tall, standing on her tippy-toes. Like always, I'm going to be a typical male and say that I appreciate her nice personality as well as her exterior features. I will go as far as saying she's got better exterior features than my last P.T. interest "Hot Chick" (aka Lindsay). I've come up with not one, but two nicknames for her. First, I'm showing my age here, but in 1972 The Allman Brothers Band released a song called "Sweet Melissa." So, Sweet Melissa is nickname number 1. A less flattering nickname I've come up with is "Negative 15." Negative 15 refers to the fact that I'm 15 inches taller than her. Of the two, I of course like Sweet Melissa. You're welcome to express your opinion when you comment. Anyhow, Sweet Melissa today did her knee kneading (I'll never wash that knee again), followed by having me go into the gym, and doing five exercises, two of which involved strengthening my weaker left leg. Finally, a P.T. who I believe understands my leg and knee issues. Unfortunately I will be on my own after two more visits thanks to my sucky new insurance, which only approved five P.T. sessions. OK, I confess, two more sessions will be enough if (knock on wood) my knee continues to behave.
I've actually been running without listening to music, and for now enjoying it that way. Listening to myself panting and puffing while I'm appreciating the sights, sounds, and smells (good and bad) of spring here in Connecticut has been my "music." It's a beautiful time of the year here. The trees are getting leaves, the leaves and tree buds are a rainbow of colors, and the warmer temperatures means shorts and a short sleeved tech. shirt when I run. It's definitely perfect running weather. It's especially nice running on the Farmington Canal Linear Trail in Cheshire and Hamden. The birds and swans are back, the squirrels are once again scaring the shit out of me by darting in front of me, and occasionally I'll even see some deer. Most importantly, warmer weather means more female ponytail runners. Sorry, I couldn't resist. However, I have yet to see roller blading, disco dancing, karaoke singing, linear trail lady. (See my May 20, 2009 post about her).
In other news, remember the 6K race in NY City that I was going to run this past Sunday? Well, I didn't. Instead, my wife and I drove to Boston for the quick meet-up with Meg and Jill that I talked about in my last post. Three days later, I'm still so happy that it happened. Unfortunately we couldn't stay over and watch the Boston Marathon as I had originally planned. But, I already have a game-plan for next year's Boston Marathon. Today at work I received our school calendar for next year. Guess what? I'm off the entire week of April 18-22. My point is, next year's Boston Marathon is on April 18th. So next week I'm reserving a room at the Boston Marriott Copley Place for the marathon. Yup, THE hotel where I met Meg and Jill, and that has the awesome sports bar, and is close to all the marathon pre-race, raceday, and post-race action. I'm also going to register to run the 5K race there too. (Got that, Jill)?!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Me, Meg, and Jill in Boston

Since I wasn't able to go see the Boston Marathon this year as planned, my wife and I drove up there the day before and had a quick (1/2 hour) get-together Meg and Jill. It was so nice meeting them, and they're as down-to-earth as I expected. Meg kicked the Boston Marathon's ass today, but I won't spoil it for her by telling you guys about it. Jill helped out Katie by walking with her, and again I'll allow Jill and Katie to tell you guys about it.
Invite: If any of my blogging buddies want to run the Hartford Marathon (Or half marathon) on October 9th, you have a place to stay at our house. I'm through running marathons, but will be running the half marathon that day.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Hey Boston Marathon Runners!

The Mrs. and I are headed your way today! I/We would love to be able to meet you. If I haven't already text you (Meg, Jill, Lindsay) or e-mailed you (Ginny, Katie), and you want to meet the one and only Marathonman Runs Again, then please e-mail me at and we'll make that happen today! Unfortunately we won't be able to be in Boston for the marathon, but I figured this was the next best thing.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Attention "Bawston" Marathon Runners

Yesterday's Run: Road: 4 miles; Splits: 9:22; 9:22; 9:05; 8:45; 36:34; 9:08 per mile pace.

This was started: 4/14, completed 4/15...Man, I'm so far behind in this blogging thing...

"Bawston" runners may skip to the end of this post if they'd like. The rest of you must read my entire post first. That's my rule. Deal with it (JK).

I don't know if it was the magical hands of "P.T. Lisa" kneading my knee on Monday, but holy crap I CAN do this road running thing without gasping for breath and having my left knee feel like it's going to implode. I almost wimped out and ran on the trail again, but decided to challenge myself and (gasp) actually run on the road and up some difficult hills. A half mile into my run, as I ascended what I have at times called "The hill from hell." Well, this time it wasn't. I totally expected to be sucking wind and questioning why I still run. I wasn't and didn't. So I raised the bar, as they say, and decided to attempt another longer, more gradual incline (Maple Avenue, for my wife who's probably reading this post). It wasn't difficult at all. It actually went well, and OMG, felt good! Left knee still has issues, but at least the days of experiencing sharp, feels like a knife is stuck in the side of my kneecap, are gone. Hopefully whoever I'm seeing for P.T. this morning will have magic hands like Lisa did the other day. Unfortunately I'm seeing someone different today. Hopefully she will have a weird name, or say or do something entertaining. It's boring laying on a table for half an hour while my knee gets kneaded. My ADD needs to be entertained. I'm not promising to catch up on all your blogs today. However, a comment on my blog guarantees a witty comment from me on your blog. Yup, I'm going elementary school for now. I won't comment on your blog unless you comment on mine. But you won't know that unless you're reading my blog right now. So, never mind.
Attention "Bawston" Marathon Runners...
I want to stalk you. My wife and I are going to be there to cheer you on, and of course to have a few brewskies and watch the Red Sox game if we can get cheap tickets. Anyhow, please tell me your bib number and any other pertinent info. that will help me to possibly catch a glimpse of you running by wherever I happen to end up viewing the course from. In return, I promise to make a complete jackass out of myself by yelling out your name if I see you. Then if you actually hear me, you can ask yourself who the jackass was that was yelling your name out from somewhere in the crowd. Also, if I happen to get near the finish line afterwards, I can actually stalk/look for you, and get a nice sweaty and smelly hug from you. On second thought, a handshake will be fine. Oh, and if you so desire, e-mail me at and give me your cell phone number, and I'll give you mine. This will probably be the one and only chance we can meet. If I haven't scared you away yet, go e-mail me NOW! Oh, and good-luck. I know all of you will do well, even you, "Birthday Girl" Jill. Meg, I'll take a sweaty hug from you. Lindsay, you'll do well, because you ALWAYS do well. Other "Bawston" blogging buddies, identify yourself now. You deserve a shoutout too!
P.S. For those of you running at Boston, and for those of us wishing we were running at Boston, I present a one hit wonder: Hocus Pocus, by Focus. Yes, I'm showing my age here, but I dare you to listen to it. No, I double-dog dare you to listen to it!! I just know you'll be "yodeling" in no time...

Monday, April 12, 2010

Random Stuff, and Free Stuff

Want these hydration belts? They're slightly used, in great condition, the bottles are clean, and they're FREE! Just reimburse me for shipping. Post a comment telling me you which one you want. UPDATE 4/13: Black belt with white and black bottles is the only one still available; adjustable size L/XL (maybe will fit size medium also).

Saturday's Run: Farmington Canal Linear Park trail ?? degrees. 4 miles; Splits: 8:32; 8:32; 8:48; 8:39; 34:31; 8:37 per mile pace.

Thursday's Run: Farmington Canal Linear Park trail 73 degrees. 4 miles; Splits: 9:05; 8:57; 9:08; 8:58; 36:08; 9:02 per mile pace.

I'm WAY behind in posting and reading blogs. It's because of my hard working wife working 7 days a week (About 85 hours a week) now as a CPA. She's pretty much home long enough to sleep, shower, get dressed, and go back to work. The extra hours I'm spending helping our 24 year old disabled son has taken me away from blogging. I'm not complaining, just letting you know why I'm not posting and commenting. Heck, if anyone should be complaining, it's her. The end is near: Thursday is April 15th.
Today was my first Physical Therapy (PT) appointment. I'm scheduled for twice a week for the next two weeks, which should be enough. It better be enough, since I have a $20 copay per visit. I really don't have any good PT stories to tell. I saw "Lisa" today, and she spent the half hour session kneading my knee. I'm going to a different P.T. place than I did in February. I just feel more comfortable going there (I've been there before for P.T.)and that's the reason I went back to them. My knee feels MUCH better. I found out the "snap, crackle, pop sounds" are due to crepitus. From the internet: "Crepitus is really just noise and/or vibration that you can feel when you bend and straighten the knee. When you go to the doctor (or P.T.) and s/he moves the leg with a hand over the knee and head tilted, they are trying to see if there is any noise or vibration coming from the knee. Some have likened the sound of crepitus to rice krispies." Crepitus can occur with or without pain. If you have no pain, then it's usually left alone." Which translated means I'm a lucky man!
I pushed myself and ran faster this past Saturday. I was pleased with my splits, and my total time. My endurance still sucks. That too will improve as my knee pain lessens and my amount of days running increases. I have a 6K race this Sunday in NY City. I'm not driving there, so at least I won't have to worry about getting a parking ticket. Well, I'm out of time. Don't forget to let me know if you want either of the hydration belts. Hopefully later this week I can catch up on how everyone's doing. If not, definitely next week.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Good News Tuesday

I received good news today, and Meg received GREAT news today. Click on Meg's name to read her story. So my good news is that I went to physical therapy today for my "eval," and the P.T. dude's name was "Naga." What's up with that?! First "Nuno," now "Naga?" I must be on Candid Camera (Yes Meg, I'm dating myself here)or something. Anyhow, to make a long story short, it appears I'm OK to run. Best he can tell is that I don't have any meniscus tears or anything seriously wrong. Of course he twisted and turned my leg and knee every which way, and I never felt any pain. I'll be spending some time in their gym doing strengthening exercises and stretching. Oh, and I found out that I've been doing my stretching wrong, and therefore making my knee pain and other pains even worse. More on this late breaking story as details become available...meaning I couldn't schedule any P.T. appointments today, so I have to call and schedule them tomorrow. Thanks everyone for your well wishes-they worked. :-)

Monday, April 5, 2010

Hurts So Good??

Yesterday's Run: Road: (warm) degrees. 3.11 miles; Splits: 8:53; 9:02; 8:54; :51; 27:40; 8:53 per mile pace.

My P.T. appointment is tomorrow. Thank goodness. Running is not fun right now. It hurts; my left knee is hurting, especially when I first start to run. After the first 3/4 of a mile or so, the pain isn't as bad. It isn't bad enough to keep me from running, but it's painful enough to know that if I continue to ignore it, it won't get better. I have the "Here we go again" feeling. My left knee has hurt before, but not the kind of hurt that when I begin to run, it almost feels as if something's not attached, or loose, inside of my left kneecap. Funny thing is, my total time and splits time are the same. Go figure.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

An Uneventful Run

Yesterday's Run: Road/Linear Trail: 58 degrees. 6.1 miles; Splits: 9:36; 9:23; 9:07; 9:24; 9:18; 9:15; :52; 56:55; 9:19 per mile pace.

Welcome new Follower/Stalker Jen

Another run dedicated to someone who's unable to run right now: Jill. Yes, I've dedicated runs to her before, but she has a special place in my heart, because she's so freakin' funny with her comments on my blog, and in her blog. Go check out her wetsuit adventure here.

Interesting run yesterday. I wanted to run before it got too hot to run without water. I like running in the warmer weather (Duh, who doesn't?!), but I don't like wearing my running belt and carrying water bottles. I feel like I'm weighed down too much. Do any of you know a good alternative to wearing a running belt with water bottles? Or perhaps a lightweight water bottle belt? I drove to the linear trail and even at 11 a.m. the parking lot was full. I parked across the street, did my stretches, and off I went. I wanted to run 5 miles, and decided that at least half of them had to be on the road. I had what's lately become my typical slow and whiny first mile. My left knee was letting me know it could "implode" at any time, and my lungs were letting me know that I still had some work to do to regain my stamina. So, my mainly uphill first mile split time was a slow for me 9:36. Mile 2 was a little better and easier, with a slight downhill section to help, and was a 9:23. Finally I felt warmed up, and reached mile 3 and the linear trail at 9:07. While on the trail I had lots of company, including my favorite running companions, pony tail girls, which always helps me run better. I absolutely, positively hate running alone. The running group I joined as of now does 8 a.m. weekend runs, which is too early for me because of parental responsibilities. Anyhow, while on the trail, I decided I was going to run 6 miles total. So as Rachael/Garmin beeped for mile 4, I turned back and headed for remaining two miles back to my car. I was feeling ok, but not as strong as I would have liked. So I took the slow and steady mentality, plus enjoyed the weather, scenery, and company I had. My split times from miles 4-6 improved from a 9:24 to a 9:18, to a 9:15. So overall, I ran 1.1 miles farther than I had planned, at an overall pace of 9:19. Certainly not a great run, but a run I'm very satisfied with since I completed the extra mile, my knee didn't "implode," and my time was decent. My knee actually feels better today than it has in a while. I'm hoping to run tomorrow, and then rest it until my P.T. appointment on Tuesday. Have a great weekend everyone, and Good Luck to anyone out there who's running in a race.
P.S. Go and read and say "Hi" to another running blogger, Erin She's a great gal, and needs to feel the love of our comments.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Quick Update and Shoutouts, Outline Form

Sunday's Run: Farmington Canal Linear Park trail: 38 freakin' chilly degrees. 4 miles; Splits: 9:13; 9:07; 9:03; 8:50; 36:13; 9:03 per mile pace.

Yesterday's Run: Road: 53 degrees. 4 miles; Splits: 9:13; 9:04; 9:05; 8:48; 36:10; 9:02 per mile pace.

Welcome new Followers/Stalkers Jennifer, Jameson, Sherri, and Psyche.

1) The official diagnosis of my left knee pain: Lateral Meniscus pain.
a. Meaning I've scheduled an appointment for P.T. next Tuesday
b. I scheduled it at the P.T. place I used to go, meaning no Nuno or Hot Chick
c. I'll explain why next week
d. Of course it now feels a lot better since I scheduled the appt.

2) I received the Chobani yogurt I won from Denise two weeks ago. It's been gone for a week. I miss it dearly.

3) I dedicated Sunday's run to Jill. Go to her blog, leave her a comment, and tell her I made you do it. Jill rocks, and is bummed that she can't run right now. We've all been there. She needs our support. So again, go read her blog and say nice things to her.

4) I dedicated yesterday's run to Carlee. I found out via Facebook that she went for an MRI to see what's up with her aches and pains. Fingers crossed for you, Carlee.

5) I received a very nice hand written thank-you card from Hannah. She's training and running as a member of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team In Training, and raising money for them. I was happy to donate to her cause. She's raised about $4000 so far, which was her original goal, so has upped her goal to $6500. Go Hannah! By the way, she's my adopted blogger "daughter," and I'm her blogger "Dad." Sweet, huh?!

6) After four straight days of rain (anywhere from 5-10 inches total in Connecticut), it's finally going to be sunny and warm. Hello running in shorts, goodbye long pants.

7) "I Fought the Law, and the Law Won" (The Clash: 70's song). I couldn't have my NY City parking ticket dismissed for them having the wrong color (purple) of my car on the ticket. I was able to pay $25 less, meaning $90 instead of $115. OUCH.

8) I've decided to leave my blog with the same name, and the new layout. Final Answer.