Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Pneumonia Take 2 ugh...

So just a quick update, after taking time off a couple of weeks ago due to the stupid pneumonia I ran on a Friday and then raced the Shamrock 5k. I took a day off and Ran that Monday, two days off then ran 9 miles last Thursday. I felt great during the run Thursday but started to notice Friday my throat was feeling a little scratchy again. I loaded up on the vitamins and OJ and took it easy over the weekend hoping it would go away on it's own if I just acted appropriately. No such luck, the scratchy throat was red by Sunday and the nose was plugged and running all at the same time. Sadly last night the cough returned so I phoned the Doc this morning and he wrote me another prescription and again told me to take it easy. So... here we are again... takin it easy and off from running for another week... at least. I want to make sure this thing is licked this time so I'm going to be sure give it the time it needs. Hopefully since I got meds before it got crazy bad this time it'll be gone quicker and not come back so easily. Needless to say this blows. Grrr stupid immune system.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Take that Pneumonia

I've never had pneumonia before so I had no clue how long it lasts. Every other time I've had a cough/cold it would last for a couple days maybe 4 or 5 tops. So when I kept hearing from friends that they've had it last weeks and even a month before needless to say I was a little worried. Only a little because I tend to think of myself in fairly high regards and surely my immune system coupled with the antibiotics would have this thing under control and out of my system within a week. Well we are going on almost two weeks now and there is still a linger of cough. This has not been good to my training. Not good at all seeing as how the wheezing and coughing forced me to take 11 days off! Not cool pneumonia...not cool at all. Being the stubborn person (stupid) I decided I was feeling better enough on Friday that I would try a couple mile run after work and if that went well then I was going to run my first race of the year on Saturday. So work came and went on Friday and on went the running clothes. We have had pretty good weather lately which has been so refreshing. I knocked out 2.5 miles being sure to not over do it. I felt good, no burning of the lungs or anything and only a couple little coughs after it was all over. (by the way if you're sick see your Dr. and let them tell you when you can run again don't take my story as any bit of advice. I'm no professional) I ran a couple of 50 meter sprints after the run to get my legs used to a quicker pace again since they've been dormant for almost two weeks. I stayed in Friday night and watched a movie. Not necessarily because I was resting up and being responsible but more because when I sat down on the couch to kill some time I fell asleep and didn't wake up until 11 o'clock lol. That happens more than you'd guess too. I woke up for my alarm Saturday morning and had slight mental debate on whether running the Shamrock 5k was a good idea or not. Again being stubborn and remembering how bummed I was that I missed the race last year due to the flu I decided it was a good idea. I wasn't going to let illness get the better of me this year! I had originally been planning on shooting for a PR in this race but I knew that was now a long shot and basically out of the question after my interruption in training. I think most people would say that's a good thing because it takes some of the pressure off but I'm stubborn and still was going to push myself to run my best. The weather was decent, a little chill in the air with temps only reaching 34ish at the start of the race so I wore a thin longsleeve base layer and my longsleeve Nike halfzip, shorts and a hat. There was a decent turnout of people decked out in green, almost 600 runners which was good because this is still a fairly new race and I'm pretty sure that's a record high. I recognized a few of the faster guys who always kick my butt in races toeing the front of the line so i lined up a few people back in the pack. The gun went off and I realized that right behind the "local elites" was the always present group of kids who sprint the first 50 meters and then slow down to a crawling pace and have now become running obstacles. After avoiding running over any little ones and a few more minutes I crossed the mile mark at 6:10! I felt good, strong and no problems. I was passing people still and was happy with my pace. About a half mile later I started to notice a little bit of congestion but kept trucking on. I could hear feet behind me and I was determined to not let anyone pass me. At 12:30 I crossed the 2 mile mark and my amazing arithmetic abilities told me that I had slowed down slightly. The negative thoughts were starting to creep in and I kept thinking about the 11 days I hadn't run and wondering if my lungs would hold out. I could see the next runner ahead of me and just kept focusing on not letting him get any smaller in my vision. The course has a few hills and of course the biggest one starts at the 3 mile mark. Fantastic large hill + tired legs + tired congested lungs = pathetic kick finish. Lucky for me the people behind me weren't speedy finishers either and they didn't pick me off. I crossed the finish in 19:39! Hell yes I'll take that! They soon after posted the results and I found out I was second in my age group so I was gettin a medal! Take that pneumonia! Today they posted the full results online and I was surprised to find out that I finished 12th overall out of 579! Needless to say I'm happy with the results of my race and my lungs/body still feels pretty good today so it looks like I can resume training for the marathon. Obviously I'm going to have to modify my plan slightly to make up for the time off. I'm not sure how yet but I'm going to try and find a happy balance of easing back into it and still getting in enough miles to get me ready for the starting line.  There's only 48 days to go! Hope everyone else that ran this weekend had some awesome adventures!
Sweet AG second place medal

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Really! Again!

St. Paddy's day is Thursday and seeing as how it is my favorite holiday of the year and just two days later is the first race I've got scheduled this season I should be pretty pumped. Right? I should; yes but I'm not as excited as I was last Monday afternoon. So let's back up to last Monday afternoon and see where things went south. Monday work went well, my legs were a little sore from Sundays 15 miler but I was okay with that because the run went in my opinion fantastically. After work I went out for my planned 5 mile run and it too went well, no pain in my shin or anywhere else so I was feeling pretty good. As I was getting ready for bed Monday I started noticing my throat getting scratchy... No biggie I thought just a little dry from the cooler weather. A restless night of tossing and turning was followed by an equally as pitiful Tuesday. The scratchy throat had now become a full on cold with all the fixings. Cough, congestion, sinus headache, runny nose etc... So I made struggled through the rest of the work day, being as careful as possible to not pass on my germs to co-workers. I got home took some nyquil and began the second straight night of tossing and turning. Welcome to Wednesday where things started to seem better, but as the day dragged on the cough started getting worse and was now starting to feel like my lungs were burning with every hack. On a plus note, all this coughing almost counts as a decent ab workout.
At least it felt that way! Wed. night went the same as the last two and as I laid in bed wishing I was asleep at 4 am I decided I was going to have to call in to work and go see the doctor. I forgot to mention I had read an article in the newspaper Wed. that stated there was an extremely high amount of Strep and hay fever cases reported in Kzoo. The funny part was when I called my manager to let him know I wasn't coming in I got his voice mail and since I hadn't uttered a word in at least 8 hours the first thing that came out of my mouth promptly after the beep was about 5 seconds worth of the nastiest hacking and coughing you have ever heard. I had to pause for a moment after I finished because I totally forgot what I was trying to tell him in the message. After finally spitting out the fact that I was not coming in and was going to the doctor I hung up and decided it would be a good idea to text him and advise him that in the best interest of his hearing he should probably ignore the first 5 seconds of the message lol. I was able to get into the Dr. Thursday morning to find out that not only did I have a fever (which explains why I kept waking up sweating in the night) but I also have pneumonia :-( F me. So the good Dr. put me on antibiotics, gave me a note to take Fri off work and advised me to take it easy this weekend and see how things were on Mon. No problem because I didn't feel like doing anything this weekend but getting over this crap.

So now it's Sunday night and I spent the  weekend doing just that, laying on the couch watching movies and whatever sports were on t.v. I'm not a big fan of basketball but thankfully there was no shortage of games to watch to fill time. For the most part I'm feeling much better and my fever is gone. I still have a wicked cough and a fair amount of chest congestion which I'm hoping will pass soon, but I keep hearing from people who have had pneumonia that has lasted weeks and weeks so I'm hoping I just special and a quick healer. Needless to say I haven't run since last Monday, which has been one of the hardest parts of all of this. I can't wait to get back out there and get back to knocking out some miles but at the same time I don't want to do too much too soon and end up back on the couch. Grrr. I'm also severely bummed that it looks like Saturdays Shamrock 5k (which I was going to try and PR at) isn't in my best interest. I'm UBER bummed because last year illness sidelined me from this same race! The quick version is the night before the race I came down with the flu and spent the whole weekend hurling my guts out! Have I totally ruled out running Sat? No not totally, because I'm stubborn and I'm not ready to concede defeat just yet, so we'll see how the week goes. Here's to hoping this hacking and coughing clears up sooner rather than later so I can get on my merry little running way!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Extra! Extra! Read All About It! I Bought New Shoes!

I recently realized that I had been running in the same shoes since roughly....last March... I know! holy long time Batman! Granted I didn't do a whole lot of running over the summer but they were still over due for retirement. I think they definitely may have had a hand (foot?) in causing my shin pain that showed up in recent weeks. So I'd been doing research online about all the new shoes that are on the market. The last pair I bought were just the same as my previous pair of Brooks Glycerine 7's but I was unable to find any in my size this time around. Not surprisingly though since the 8's have been out for over a year now and their replacement is already due to come out this summer! I had grown rather fond of my Brooks and have grown to like most of their products that I've tried so I was hoping I could try on a pair of 8's and fall equally if not more in love with them as I was with my 7's. Life though does not typically work out this way. Not even with running shoes. Not for me at least. In fact of the four different pairs of shoes I tried on they ranked second to last with the mizuno's only being worse due to a funky strap that holds the tongue of the shoe down that felt awful on the sides of my foot. So now that my lead off favorite was out, surely I would end up with a pair of New Balance shoes because they've always fit well. EHH! Wrong again, better than the Brooks but the heel felt awfully loose and tall on the 1080's. This is quite the quandary, the two shoe brands I've been happiest with over my entire running career  which goes all the way back to 7th grade have failed me! Before trying on any shoes I would have even thought that a pair of Mizuno's could have been in my future because I've had decent luck with them in the past but as we already learned they were quickly dismissed.  So what's left you ask? Quite possibly the last brand I would have ever guessed. No it has nothing to do with the age of the company because they've been around the block many times. Simply because I've never, I repeat never enjoyed a pair of their running shoes and it's not for lack of trying. So what brand that was once dead to me has possibly been given new life, or at least a shot at new life?????? Adidas! I couldn't believe it and I was almost shocked and taken back when the side by side comparison left one clear winner. The underdog of all underdogs. I've put three good runs in on the new kicks and I'm very pleased to say that so far so good! They felt great all throughout my 15 miler yesterday (14.92 miles as my sister was quick to point out grrr...), which I must add went better than I could have hoped for all around! The weather was great with sun shining, and a gentle breeze. To top it all off no shin pain while running since the beginning of Friday's run which went away within the first 1.5 miles! Here's to hoping this is the start of a beautiful friendship between me and my new (already not so shiny anymore thanks to today's mud puddles) Adidas Adistar Ride 3's. Well at least until these one's wear out and I'm once again back to being completely wrong about what I thought I knew about running shoes!
picture source

While picking out my shoes I also picked up a couple of energy gels. I've primarily used GU brand in the past but the guy helping me out with my shoes said that if I like honey (duh who doesn't?) then I should try out the Honey Stinger brand gels. So I took one along on yesterdays long run and I've got to say I'm a fan. I had the "gold" flavor...(is gold a flavor?) Guess what it basically tasted like honey (sorry GU but sometimes your flavors are a little nauseating especially mid run in my opinion) so that was an immediate plus. I could also feel a nice pick me up after ingesting the sugary treat so I'd say that's a W! Oh and another first for me, I took my camelbak out for it's maiden voyage. Apparently I didn't clean it well enough before the first use which was evident by the not so great chemically/rubber taste to the water. My ignorance aside it worked well and I was pleased to not have to stash bottles along the course or plan ahead to stop at random businesses mid run and beg for water! I have the Camelbak Fairfax and it holds up to 50 oz of fluid which I feel is a good size because it carries enough at least I think enough so far and it's not overly cumbersome or awkward to wear while running. This may change during the heat of summer but I'll keep ya posted.  Oh and I'm still considering getting some trail shoes soon too because I'd like to get in a lot more off road running this summer for a change of scenery. I'll keep you posted on any new developments on that front as details emerge!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

So That Was February...

2  months down, 66 days to go! How did the shortest month of the year go? Well lets just say I'm glad it's short and I'm glad it's over! It started off well enough, the weather was actually warming up a bit and it was looking like spring was almost here. Then one dark and Tuesday morning I was at the indoor track all geared up and looking forward to my half mile repeats. They had become a nice ritual and the feeling of accomplishment that accompanied me throughout the course of the day was pretty awesome. About half way through  my warm-up I started noticing my left shin was feeling tight and somewhat sore. "No worries" I told myself, it's just a little sore from the weekend runs is all. So I stretched out and while I stretched I noticed it was progressing from somewhat tight and sore to an actual pain. Grrr. So I jogged an extra lap as an extended warm-up and it seemed to loosen up. "Score" I thought. So I started my repeats and didn't notice the pain in the straights so much, maybe a tingle. In the turns on the other hand I could definitely feel more than a tingle. Not cool! While at work that day I started to notice that if I was crouched down in a squatting position (which lately has been necessary at work more frequently) F me the pain in the shin is 10 times worse than it had been that morning! Well I certainly found a way to get the job done without crouching down! Now my mind was trying to think of what it could be. I came up with two most likely culprits. Not excited about either but praying for one over the other. I decided it was most likely shin splints (please oh please let it be shin splints!) or a stress fracture beginning... I've had both before (stress fractures were in both feet in high school so slightly different). Luckily Wednesday is an off day anyway so Tuesday and Wed. I wore my compression socks for some time at night and iced the hell out of em! I jogged a little Thursday but could still feel a sharp pain in the front of my shin. I decided at this time that some rest was in order. So I took a couple days off and then resumed running again the following Mon. This time on the treadmill though. Much to my enjoyment I only noticed the tight feeling for the first half mile or so and then it was gone. It came back a little a couple hours later but I took the fact that it didn't hurt while running as a good sign. I decided to take some time off from the indoor track and opted to do my repeats on the treadmill, thus avoiding the almost constant left hand turns that make up half of the track. I'm beginning to think the two things may be related since it's only that inside leg that has been troublesome. I decided to up it on the treadmill from half repeats to full mile repeats. They went great and running them on the treadmill was almost entirely pain free which was a good sign. again I took some days off and rocked out the compression socks and kept up with the icing. I returned to the roads Monday night for 4 1/4 miles and then mile repeats again on the treadmill last night. I felt pretty good on both runs and haven't noticed to much discomfort anymore so hopefully things are getting back on track!

With the extra recovery days and the short month my mileage was down considerably from January but here's the numbers from February anyway.

Miles Ran - 72

Longest run - 10.10

Highest Weekly Mileage - 28

Races - goose egg

Treadmill Runs - 4

Current Shoe - Brooks Glycerine 7 (to be updated this week...also a good possible cause for the shin pain)

Most Listened to Pandora Station - Zac Brown Band

Looking Forward to the Most - St. Patty's Day and Spring!!!!!!

Upcoming Race - Shamrock 5k 3/19/11

Days til Marathon Numero Dos - 66