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March 31, 2008


The plan for today was recovery, whatever it entailed and however long it took, so I can complete the next Important Thing, a 2.5-hour run Wednesday morning.

This morning when I woke up, I had a lot of trouble walking for the first several minutes. After some advil, stretching, and coffee, I went out for an hour. Just...an hour. Of whatever I could manage. At first I thought this would be strictly walking, but things loosened up enough to throw some running in, so it turned into an hourlong gallowalk with increasing spates of running. 5 miles in 59 minutes, yeah boyyyyee.

I should've kept running, because once I stopped I got stiff quick, and exquisitely tired. At work I gave the absolute worst massage of my entire (brief) career. My bad leg hurt and neither leg had any strength, so I could not trust myself to lean without falling and had to use my arms, which never have any strength even on a good day. At the end of the massage I asked the customary "how do you feel?" and the patient just looked at me for 10s, then shrugged his shoulders and said "ok, I guess." Le pauvre.

As the day progressed I felt better (though still very tired), and after work I went for a walk, an hourlong trudge around the neighborhood that turned out not to be so fun. Once back home, I showed my husband how to work on sick hip flexors (ow!), and now my leg is much much better, but I'm still exhausted. Luckily I can rest this evening, and probably most of tomorrow too.

So I got through the 18-mile Big Workout yesterday, and I got through 2 hours of aerobic exercise today, and I have no doubt I'll feel better tomorrow, so I'm about as optimistic as I can get. But something tells me that if I were truly healthy, it would take more than an 18-miler to knock me silly.

Posted by joe positive at 5:16 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 30, 2008


running (and other stuff) week:

M: 12.81mi bike (1hr)
T: zero aerobic (per husband's request: "please, just skip one day, ok?"); core strength
W: AM walk/run 20min, run 20min, w/r 20min, yay! PM: walk 3 miles; core strength
R: w/r 1mi, then run until 60 minutes is up (6.2mi total)
F: w/r 1mi, then run until 70 minutes is up (7.4mi total)
Sa: w/r 1mi, then run until 60 minutes is up (6.47mi total); core strength
Su: w/r 1mi, then run 17 miles including 2x[2mi @ MP, 1mi easy], 1x[1mi @ MP, 1mi easy]

total: 12.81mi bike, 3mi walk, 43.4mi run including the longest run since the marathon in December.

My hip/leg seemed to respond well to the non-running and then to the gradual re-intro to running. Doing the walk/run thing for the first mile really seems to help too. Yesterday's run was the closest to pain free in over a week, and I was pretty encouraged. Now I'm sitting here icing my hip and various parts of my leg, wondering if I really trashed myself today, or if this is just the usual post-long-run soreness settling into whatever part of my body is weak at the moment. It's been so long since I've had a real long run, I can't quite remember.

For the moment, I'm pretending I'm going to Cleveland in May.

In other news, I've moved another inch or so into the 21st century by buying an MP3 player! Of course, it's for the office, where I'll hook it up to these little tiny speaker so my client(s) can enjoy non-Enya, non-cosmic-energy-windchimes music during their massage(s). It's been a painful process: first I bought a refurbished iPod shuffle only to find it wasn't compatible with w2k, or rather iTunes wasn't compatible, or maybe Apple's exacting some kind of revenge because I hate their snarky Mac vs PC commercials. Anyway, my patience lasted about six hours before I returned the damn thing to overstock and bought an unknown-brand Chinese player that works just fine. Loaded it up with a bunch of various stuff I felt like listening to, excluding anything too punk or sad or atonal, or with the words "jesus" or "fuck" or overt sexual references. I'm listening to it all just to make sure the quality's ok, and it blows my mind: the player's better-quality than most of the stereos I had when I used to listen to music all the time, and listening to this stuff through headphones reminds me of listening to music high, back when I used to get high.

And I also remember one of the reasons why I hardly listen to music anymore: it transfixes me; I'm riveted; I can't tear my attention away. I can't get anything done. Just writing these sentences is a huge effort.

Oh, I love Robyn Hitchcock. I even forgive him for getting old...

Posted by joe positive at 2:46 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 26, 2008

walla, viola

Sunday: 2 miles walk, 2 hours bike, a little core strength, lots of whining. Tinman says to stop training and bag the marathon.

Monday: 1 hard hour on the bike, some core, assessment/adjustment (SI joint, I guess) courtesy of the chiropractor I work for. Some pain in the morning, fades as the day progresses. Biking has no effect on pain level.

Tuesday: nothing but a tiny bit of core/stretching, per my husband's request. Some pain in the morning, fades a bunch during the day. Tempted to take a brisk walk but I promised not to do any exercise for one day.

This morning: 20min walk run (increasing running), 20min run, 20 min walk/run (decreasing running). Some pain this morning, faded as I warmed up. Running felt better than walking (less thigh pain) but caused the hip to tighten some.

Now: 10 minutes after "running" the pain is completely gone, voila. I feel relatively fine. Of course, I have fresh legs from not running for 3 days, and we had great weather this morning, and there's that omg-I'm-actually-running-again-and-maybe-don't-have-a-sfx-after-all thing going on too. I wonder how long this will last.

I am tempted to try the walk/run thing again this afternoon, but part of me thinks I should wait until tomorrow. Likewise, I'm not making any decision yet regarding the marathon.

Posted by joe positive at 8:48 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 23, 2008

I had the blues because I had no shoes

until upon the street, I met a man who had no feet.

It could be worse. Way, way worse.

I could have no job, or a job I don't like. I could still be working 24/7 in IT. I could still be working at the clinic in St Pete, driving an hour each way (and now, with gas prices what they are, paying $6 for the privilege) to sit idle and unpaid for 5 or 6 hours a day. I could have no home. I could be a "victim" (heh) of an ARM that's about to bankrupt me, and unable to hold on until the gov't bails me out. I could have an unreliable car. I could be without my very cool husband and my very cool dog to be my greatest true friends. I could live in a crappy neighborhood that's not safe enough to let me run (or now, bike or walk) without carrying a handgun. I could smoke cigarettes. I could refuse to see anything of value in my life so far, and I could have nothing but a great big empty void to look back on, if it all ended right here and now.

Posted by joe positive at 6:46 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

what a drag it is getting old

By the end of the day yesterday I was walking with a limp. The pain in my hip woke me up this morning for the second day in a row. As I drank my morning coffee I read tale after tale of femoral-neck stress fracture, and I learned that it is not like a regular sfx you just leave alone to heal. Often, folks are sentenced to bed rest while they await the very invasive pins-and-screws surgery that seems to be the tx of choice. Scared me silly, it did.

Still, I decided to approximate some kind of workout (just not a Big one), so I walked briskly 2 miles, then biked 2 hours, which is the longest I've ever spent on a bike. In the early Easter-Sunday morning there was very little traffic, and I found some long straights to charge up and down - "charging" for me being 15-16 mph - so I could get the heart rate up as much as possible. It wasn't remotely like running, but it wasn't like sitting around eating Easter candy either. On my travels I saw a couple of pet bunnies running loose in someone's yard, and heard - but didn't see - a brass band by the river at dawn. They were either on the bank or on a boat, but they were definitely doing the sunrise-service thing. The "workout" left my hip feeling better, but after sitting a half-hour it stiffened right up again, and the limp is back.

The dilemma: if this is a stress fracture, I need to be off it as much as possible, because according to the Internet it can develop into a full break, which has bad consequences, and requires treatment I can't pay for and time off work that I can't take. But if it isn't a stress fracture, I need to xtrain as much as possible so's not to lose fitness while I'm waiting for whatever-it-is to heal.

And of course, the Big Question: at my age, if I have to take significant time off running, won't I lose absolutely everything?

Posted by joe positive at 11:33 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

March 22, 2008


First of all, to everyone who's offered me advice about biking and saving my hands and arms: thanks. The whole idea of keeping weight on my pedals has been really helpful. I know I should probably get the bike set up properly, but it's my husband's bike (even though he doesn't ride it) and may just be too big for me anyway. I might get some gloves if I can get to 18+ miles a week and make a habit of it.

Second: I've been sitting on an injury for the past two weeks. Literally sitting on it - seems like a very tight adductor magnus, with glut max involved as well. Either that, or a femoral neck stress fracture. Since I have no health insurance, we will just have to go with Dr Joe Positive's X-ray Eyes and Intrinsic-MRI-Sense. Anyway, I first noticed it the week before the race, but since it flared with hard effort and calmed with rest, I didn't think anything of it. After the race it hurt, but I expected that. I didn't expect it to linger through this mostly-easy-running week, and I really didn't expect that yesterday's slightly-faster run would leave me feeling so much crappier today. It hurts to walk. It hurts less to run, and even less to run fast, but I don't think that means I should run fast all the time. I have a Big Workout scheduled for tomorrow - an easy hour followed by 5 miles of HM-paced intervals - and at this point I'm really not sure how to go about it. I had planned an Easter morning run+breakfast with some friends up in the hills north of here, with the HM stuff worked into the uphills somehow, but now I think I should stay here in case I need to quit. And I wouldn't want to slow anyone down.

Posted by joe positive at 4:35 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 16, 2008

not a day for rabbits

I'll get this out of the way:

M: 75min v slow, w/8xstrides at the end
T: 1hr slow
W: 2hr ez
R: 1hr ez
F: 75min ez, w/8xstrides at the end
Sa: 1hr slow-ez
Su: 17min wu, 12k race in 49:52, 25min cd. May bike 30min later

total: 63.3 miles, 3 core-strength sessions

You'll notice I didn't bike this week. I'm having a dilemma with the bike: it hurts the bejesus out of my arms and hands, and since I'm doing so much more massage these days, the last thing I need is more stress on the arms and hands. It's not like I'm hanging on for dear life, but I must be doing something wrong on the bike. If anyone has some advice, please let me know. I hate the bike, but I need the xtraining, and the bike is all I've got.

Today's race went much better than I thought it would. It was supposed to be a Big Workout - 95% effort - though I wouldn't know 95% if it hit me in the head. Based on last Sunday's workout (6mi of 6:47-pace intervals) I decided to try to run steady 6:45s. Weather was unlovely - about 68F, overcast and misty, with a constant 7-9mph tailwind that gave no push but just felt hot. It would not be a good day for anyone going out fast trying to bank time. It was turtle day today.

I'd planned a very thorough 30-min warmup, but due to ultra-long john lines I had to make do with about half that. Still, the goal pace turned out to be easier than I thought it would be. I was able to go a little faster than goal pace and still have the presence of mind to run little pickups every mile. I ended up with 49:52 chip time, which was 5th woman and 1st masters. I won a bag (the Old Bag bag, I guess) It was also a PR at this distance, but best of all I beat my 5-mile PR and came very close to my 10k PR.

I am so happy with this that I will actually post my mile times: 6:35, 40, 41, 41, 42, 42, 34, 6:36p (.51mi) Yes, the GPS called it 6.51mi.

Posted by joe positive at 3:11 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

March 15, 2008

the way my mind works, part II

Yesterday morning I was running along in dee-lightful upper-50s, pretty much on top of the world. My legs felt great; recent aches and pains - all minor to begin with - had subsided into memory. I did quarter-mile pickups every mile, and had fun with the very short very fast strides at the end of the run. In non-running life, we were getting our kitchen sink fixed after something like 18 months of not-quite functionality, and you will just have to trust me when I tell you that is a huge wonderful thing, something to get very happy about. It was Friday, and since I work a normal week it was *really* a Friday, with some rest ahead of me. I was about to complete my third week at the new job, and was busy, tired, and happy, and earning about double what I earned at the job I left. My private practice had one client this week (break-even, yay!) and will have two-countem-two next week, and one of those may become semi-regular. Top of theeeeee world.

Top of the frickin' world, and then I thought: what if they fire me? On the heels of that thought came: you idiot, why do you do this? If this weren't so funny it would be sad, but luckily it is pretty funny, so it's not sad. When I told my husband about it, he said "why do you do this?" (very diplomatically leaving out the "you idiot" part). I don't know why. It's completely involuntary, and unwanted. Used to be that a rogue thought like that would bug me for hours or days. Now something - middle-age or somesuch - allows me to laugh and blow it off.

This morning I paid for yesterday's good run. Nothing terrible, but some of the aches were back today and a warm front made things hotter and stickier. Back when I played regularly in a band, we used to say "bad practice, good show." I hope today's mediocre run presages an ok race tomorrow morning.

Posted by joe positive at 10:47 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

March 9, 2008

nothing fancy or clever,

just a busy week that just flew by. I'm getting settled into the new job. I'm busy for a (huge) change, and while that's great, I need to make sure I'm physically prepared. Thursday - my long day - I learned this the hard way when my blood sugar crashed while I was working on a patient, yikes. Luckily she was ultragracious while I excused myself to go wolf down a handful of Pepperidge Farm goldfish, and 5 minutes later I was almost good as new. Meanwhile, I'm still trying to grow the "private" business, as well as anyone who's terrible at promotion can grow a business. I have an appointment - my very second one, yay! - tomorrow.

running: I decided to stick with this tinman training at least through the marathon in May. All y'all who offered advice, either here or privately: thanks, and you're all pretty much right. My week looked like so:

M: 70min really slow recovery
T: AM 90min easy, 5x[3minCV, 3min jog] during the last 30min. PM bike 30min
W: AM 75min slow/easy. PM core-strength
R: 1hr easy
F: 1hr way slow
Sa: AM 1hr easy/moderate. PM core-strength
Su: 11mi incl 6mi HM-pace intervals w/short recoveries. May bike and/or do core later; may not.

I am not going to reveal the total mileage because it's embarrassing.

This weekend I'd planned to run a hilly 10k Saturday as a hard workout, and I would've been delighted with 6:45s. But the storm that dumped all that snow on many of you brought us 22mph winds Saturday, and I was not going to pay money to run hard in that. I opted for an easy hour, though "easy" was faster than usual because I actually had help from the tailwind when I could get it.

This morning the weather was beautiful, 49F and sunny, with just a bit of breeze. I was a little apprehensive about doing HM pace (arbitrarily chosen by me as 6:55 - 7:05) in chunks totaling 6 miles. All for naught, that apprehension - the workout turned out to be a lot of fun. The first mile felt so easy I tacked on another; after a 2min jog I did another 2-mile chunk. It ended up:

20min warmup

2mi (6:48p)/2min jog
2mi (6:44p)/2min jog
1mi (6:48)/1min jog
.5mi (6:45p)/1min jog
.5mi (6:48p)

20min cooldown

I guess all the light mileage has given me some fresh legs, or maybe it was the weather. But this was so close to what I wanted to do in that 10k that I'm very satisfied with the workout.

This coming week has nothing much special save a 12k race next Sunday. It's such an odd distance (and this is the only local race of that distance, and I've only run it once before) that I have no clue what to shoot for.

Oh, and my friend Ray (who has not responded to my tag) is hoping to run sub-20 at a race Friday evening, and my husband and I (and maybe our dog) will probably go cheer him on.

Posted by joe positive at 1:17 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

March 4, 2008

tuesday, yes it's

Still on my own regarding running. Coach Joe Positive says "more. longer. faster." so today was an attempt at that: 90 minutes including 5x[3 on/3 off], "on" being around 6:30 pace. It was windy this morning and my "ons" all seemed to have some headwind stretches, so I ended up averaging 6:40 pace, boo. Still, I'm glad to have done something. This afternoon I rode the bike for a half-hour in more wind and spitting rain. I really dislike the bike, but to keep it tolerable I try to think of it as a free calorie-eraser: no impact, works the antagonists to the muscles I overwork while running, burns some energy.

The rest of the week will look something like:

W: 75min v easy, bike 30min in the afternoon
R: 75min easy, core-strength shit at night
F: 55min easy w/strides, bike 30min in the afternoon
Sa: 10k "race" + 2 wu/2 cd, possible bike in the afternoon
Su: 17 or 18 at a decent clip, hopefully with people. Core-strength shit at night.

Hopefully this will end up closer to 70 miles than I've been in , oh, months.

Posted by joe positive at 5:52 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 3, 2008


Way back last week when it was still February, Salty tagged me. It was the first time I'd ever been tagged, so I had to give it some thought so's not to appear totally clueless about social-internetting. Also, I was too busy last week to think of much to say, except for 3 days' worth of whining about training. Anyway, I am under strict orders to take it easy after some dental surgery this morning, so I've got time to catch up on things.

The first rule of tagging is # Link to the person who tagged you, which I already did. Can you find the link on this page? I thought you could.

Rule #2: # Post the rules on your blog, which I am doing right now.

Rule #3: # Share seven random and/or weird facts about yourself on your blog. hmmm...

  1. From the time I was 15 until just before I turned 38, I smoked between 2 and 4 packs of cigarettes a day.

  2. My mother's maternal family came to the US from Kiev at the turn of the 20th century. Their name got mangled into a very pretty French-sounding one at Ellis Island. After a short stay in New York, they started a socialist commune on some land near Aiken, SC. That land is now part of a nuclear power plant.

  3. I hate black licorice.

  4. I've always been fascinated by languages.

  5. I've played musical instruments of one sort or another since I was 4 years old.

  6. I am a really good draftsman. The old-fashioned kind, on vellum or mylar or linen, done with straightedges and triangles and splines and rapidographs. Drafting helped finance my engineering degree.

  7. oh, and I have an engineering degree.

Rule #4: Tag seven random people at the end of your post, and include links to their blogs. This is going to be difficult, because I don't know that many bloggers, and most of them have already been tagged by Salty. But here goes: Ray, Martin, roots, el duderino, Chelle (though she may have already been tagged), um, um, oh crap I've run out of people for now. I'll add more when I can think of more, promise.

Rule #last: # Leave a comment on their blogs so that they know they have been tagged. This I will most certainly do.

Posted by joe positive at 2:48 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

March 2, 2008

back to what almost used to work

A little less harrumphy today. This morning I went up to the hills of St Leo with some friends I haven't run with a long time. Albert, with his northern-European sense of precision, told me "I will pick you up between 4:55 and 5:00am" so I awoke while the clock still said 3-something to get some sin leche in me and await his arrival at 4:57:30. He got here at 4:43, with our friend Mary Ann in tow. We got to St Leo in plenty of time for our 5:30 rendezvous with another friend, and set off in the lovely cool predawn. Our 8-mile loop included 4 fairly serious hills - actually, any hill is serious to us - and pointed out our various strengths and weaknesses. I tended to fall back on the downhills, catch up on the flats, and run ahead on the ups. Interesting.

We ran 2 loops pretty damn steady, around 7:57 pace. I wasn't totally spent at the end but it was a nice hard-ish medium-long run (I cannot fail to note that two months ago this would've felt incredibly easy). This 16-miler was my first non-solo run of any appreciable length in over a month, and my longest run since before the marathon. It reminded me of other, long-ago Sundays when my friends and I would meet and run together while working toward our often-separate goals. The familiarity, as well as the working-toward part, makes me a little calmer than I was yesterday.

Posted by joe positive at 7:17 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 1, 2008

joe positive's weekly words of wisdom

Do not do pushups barefoot, lest you cause great sadness and tendinitis to your big toe.

Posted by joe positive at 3:15 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


I'll say it: I am not satisfied with the way my running is going. My mileage is meager. My workouts are wimpy. My endurance is execrable, my speed is spent, and worst of all my patience is puny. I feel like I've gone from a middle-aged recreational runner just bumping her head against regional-class performance to a middle-aged hobbyjogger starting down that short slide to menopause, complacency, and butt-flab. My husband says I need to be patient; I need to believe. I've tried, but...harrumph. I've registered for a marathon 10 weeks from now and I've yet to run more than 15 miles in a day! This morning I decided to run a 5k pretty much at the last possible minute. It turned out to be the slowest 5k I've run in a year. There was no real goal, just 1) go and do it, 2) don't freak out at the slightest effort, 3) be sane the first mile. I ran steady hard effort, but not race effort. I had the presence of mind to do what I've been doing in training, i.e. shore up my form at a certain point in every mile. It worked, sorta - no O2 debt, but no get-up-and-go either. Almost caught the 2nd-place woman, who turned out to be 40, dammit.

I swear I've tried to wait patiently for magic, but...harrumph. After tomorrow I am out of a schedule, and I swear I'm gonna go back to what I used to do, what I thought might be somehow holding me back but which did, after all, have me just scraping my head against some level of performance that's way far away now. Oh yeah, and I'm gonna jump into some stupid short race at every opportunity, because that's the only way I'm going to get over overthinking about races.

Lest anyone think I only come here just to whine (well, maybe I do, but it's my blog), everything not-running is, well, great. I started work at the chiro's office this week and I am busy (for a very welcome change) and I like it and the patients like me and actually make future appointments with me. me! Wow, who'da thunkit. And I had my first real-live private client in my real-live office this week. whoohoo! Life is semi-good.

Posted by joe positive at 2:47 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack