Friday, April 11, 2014

A new training plan

...you'd think at this point in my life after running for 39 years (next week is the anniversary) that I would have my training down pat. But as many will find out, you have to change things as you age or will be left sitting on the sofa with tired, over-abused legs.

The past 10 years or so I've been following a mostly Maffetone training protocol that has you run at a low HR for the majority of your running. This keeps your legs and body fresh for continued training, but in order for his system to work, you need to do lots of volume. As I've been learning how to adapt to my aging body (I'm 62 with a lot of miles on me), I have found I need more recovery than training. In comes Scott Jurek's book "Eat and Run". His proclaimed recovery on the vegan diet got me to switch over to this type of eating not quite 2 years ago and I have to say I feel better than ever, but it still wasn't enough. My daily hour and multiple hours on the weekends that I've been doing for years was leaving me flat and tired all the time.

So I got into a discussion with someone I met online who had already gone through this and found a way to make training work. I found Rich through this article and more recently this one and it opened my eyes. We seniors absolutely need to inject more rest days or we're heading for disaster. It's not injury I'm worried about, but total body fatigue as the recovery times need to be increased.

Enter in every other day training...I have been dabbling in this off and on the past year with some success, but I kept making the same mistakes. As soon as I got recovered from the long runs, I'd go back to my old ways because I was now "fixed". Add to this the infection and cipro I talked about in my last post and more disaster, trying to run a road marathon in El Paso and a trail marathon in Salida within 3 weeks of each other last month didn't help either, especially while trying to recover from these things...so while running the final miles in Salida, I decided to take the plunge and run only every other day. I will have to say that after 2 weeks of this, I'm enjoying my running better and the pace is starting to drop a bit. Not long ago my average running pace was in the mid 12's, it's now in the mid 10's and I expect it will drop further, but not as dramatically. I need to have patience through the process.
I still wear the HRM, but run by feel and collect the data afterwards for my log.

Here I will mention that I have 2 goals this year....a sub 20 minute 5K and a sub 3:30 marathon. These times are what the age grades say I "should" be able to run based on my PB's of 16:32 and 2:48 when in my early 30's. I have confidence that as I continue to improve on this training and move into the race pace phase, I'll reach or get close to those goals. The 5K has to come first in order to have the leg speed to run a marathon in a sub 8mpm pace. First I need to recover from my next event and I'll begin this journey.

Typical Zane Grey 50 trail
(in usual 90 degree heat with no shade)

The next event is the Zane Grey 50 miler in 2 weeks from tomorrow. We've been getting some good long runs with the road long runs up to 20 miles leading to El Paso through the Winter and the more recent long trail runs. Last weekend Deb and I ran 26 miles of the Jemez 50K route and I finished the run by running the last 7 miles at a solid pace (mostly downhill, but rocky and/or sandy). I needed 2 days off from that run this week, but I felt great on my 6.5 miler on Tuesday, feeling quite recovered from the long run.
Zane Grey isn't something that will help me with my goals mentioned above, but we entered last year and would like to get this one done after both DNF'ing in 2007. Zane Grey claims to be the toughest 50 miler in the country, but I'm not sure that's still true...but it's going to beat us up. I'm not planning on racing it, Deb and I are going to enjoy the day together and help each other in low spots. I'm looking forward to the journey!

Looking down from Kroger's Canteen, AKA Virginius Pass, 13,000+'
Where we announced our engagement in 2001 and could be where we sleep the first night this year while hiking the course

On another note, my friend Mark Heaphy and I agreed that I will be pacing him on his 16th journey and finish at the Hardrock 100. Mark and I spent most of the run together last year where I ended up finishing just in front of him because he and his wife Margaret stopped in the road before the finish to talk to someone. I didn't even know I went by them and would have pushed them along, if I had known it was them. We became separated when I stopped to take a 20 minute nap at the KT aid station, about 12 miles from the finish...but the nap refreshed me so much that I caught them and several others.
So I'm glad to have my Hardrock plans coming together. Deb and I are planning on hiking the whole course the weekend before the race. We'll take our time and do this in 3-4 days, either sleeping under the stars or staying at a hostel or motel in Ouray and at a friends in Lake City. The first night should be between Telluride and Ouray and we'll camp up high to watch the fireworks as that will be the 4th of July.

We are planning on doing a lot of hiking in Colorado this Summer, rather than run races as it may be our last Summer in the beautiful Rocky Mountains.

So that's it for now, time to get working on our house. One more bathroom to replace and we're almost done!
Steve and Deb

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Healthy again

Had my checkup yesterday along with the accompanying blood test and the good news is the infection is gone! Finally! I've been dealing with this thing (Prostate infection) since I first woke up with a fever back in October...blood in the urine, painful urination, loss of bladder control as the day went on.
A visit to the Urgent Care with a shot in the ass of a powerful antibiotic and a 10 day round of Cipro, known as the tendon killer. Not good for runner, BTW ;-)

Another follow up visit in November showed the infection was still raging, so another round, this time Bactrim to save my tendons...and at this time my PCP told me to make an appointment with a Urologist as he is the specialist with these problems. My PCP was not only concerned about the infection, but the possibility of cancer. (Notice I don't capitalize the word as my Mother had a double mastectomy (still alive at 86) and I lost a sister to the disease back in '95.

So I made my appointment with the Urologist and it was his opinion that cancer was unlikely, but that he wanted to do another large round of Cipro, which is the only antibiotic that can get to a deep infection like a prostate infection. So even with the possibility that I may rupture a tendon or tendons, I went on 21 days of 1000mgs of Cipro...a nuke, as my doc put it. During this time I also went ahead and ran a road marathon in El Paso (a total failure) and also the Salida Trail Marathon, another failure. During both races I did have achilles tendon pains, deep in the calf where it inserts, so didn't feel like I could or should push it. El Paso was too hot anyway, so I stuck with a low HR during that race to keep from overheating and overstraining my tendons. At Salida, I actually had tendon issues in my shoulders and achilles, so I had to run easy.

How has this affected my running? Not too good....I've been working harder, breathing heavier at a much slower pace. Lately my paces have been around 12:30ish, where several months ago I was cruising in the low 10's/upper 9's. The doc said how being on this much antibiotic and as powerful as Cipro is affects everything. It kills all your good gut flora and your gut is the center of your universe, mess with it and all sorts of things go haywire! If my PSA score was still above the norm, then I would need a prostate biopsy to rule out cancer. Needless to say I was sweating out going to the doc yesterday, but it was normal and am clear to move on with my life :-)

So to get back where I was I am now running pure Maffetone (120 BPM) until I start feeling my running coming back. No speedwork whatsoever. I hope this gets me in shape to finish the Zane Grey 50 miler coming up next month.

There's still the question of how this infection came about...it is very similar to a female getting a Urinary Tract Infection. My theory, and something I have mentioned to my doc, is that finishing the Hardrock 100 in July was my most difficult ultra yet, even harder than the Barkley fun run I did in 2001. I think being out on those trails for over 44 hours put my body into a deep fatigue and caused my immune system to get out of whack, thus I was open to illness. Add to that my late summer into fall marathon training schedule (yes, I'm a stubborn runner), there was not much recovery, even though I added in recovery days/days off, with the infection I should have been doing nothing!

I feel like I'm now back in control and like I said in the prior paragraph, it's all easy from here through Zane Grey and also after for at least a month. I then will start training for a 5K old man personal best. Eventual goal is 19:59, which may take me a year or more to achieve ;-)

See you on the roads and trails!
Steve