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August 29, 2008

hi-diddly-i, neighbor!

Two ladies of very late middle-age with a very athletic Pekingese.

Redheaded woman with a schnauzer.

Woman I can't ever see clearly because it's always dark, with a well-behaved dog I also can't see clearly. They're friendly; she waves but never forces me to say anything.

Husband and wife with what look like 2 Jack Russells on stilts. The dogs are related somehow and one is named Diego. The husband sometimes rides his bike in circles and circles and circles around the neighborhood, just like me.

Tall willowy lady with a bullterrier mix and two huge blonde Bouviers (to me they're Patty and Selma, though that's not their real names) she rescued from somewhere. The woman drifts down the centers of streets, stops to talk to neighbors, stops when the dogs stop to lie down in the middle of the street, stops to stare up at the sky, stops for no reason at all. She stops and the dogs stop. The dogs stop and she stops. I've seen clouds move faster than this crew. They take up the entire street. She says she appreciates my "behind you on your right!" advance warnings. Good, I'm glad.

Guy around my age or a bit younger, used to have a nice Irish Setter until a few weeks ago, had to put her down, did the sensible thing and got a 4-month-old black puppy who's quite the handful. He knows my name and apparently follows local road racing, as he's congratulated me on a few races. Which is kinda disconcerting as I'm plodding on foot or whizzing by on the bike at 5:30 in the morning.

Blonde lady with schnauzer. She vaguely reminds me of my mother-in-law.

Middle-aged guy who smokes cigarettes and walks a tiny but fierce soul named Freddy. I have run or gallowalked or biked past this Chihuahua for nearly 7 years and every time, he growls and pulls and strains at the leash like he wants to kill me. I will sometimes taunt him (whisper: "heeeeyyy, freddeeeee....") but mostly ignore him. The guy has watched me suffer through speed workouts and long runs, and finally, a few months ago asked me "you must run those marathons, right?" For a few months the guy walked without the dog, and when I asked, told me Freddy was resting inside watching Good Morning America on TV.

Woman of late middle age with two tiny dogs on retractable leashes that she never, ever, retracts. She's on one side of the street and the dogs are on the other, and the leashes are stretched taut in between. She thinks it's really funny when someone's coming and she has to reel in the dogs just in time, or maybe not quite in time, oops, my my.

Vaguely South-Asian-looking guy with a one-ear-up, one-ear down shepherd mix like mine. Gallowalks lately. Dog has never liked me, just like mine.

Guy with older Weimaraner, half-grown husky and now a white spitzlike dog, all walking together, pretty well-behaved bunch but can be a handful when a cat's around.

Late-middle-aged woman with cancer who lets her shitty pom-yorkie mix and larger retriever-type mix run around her front yard, her side yard, everyone else's yards, her street, everyone else's streets. The woman has a fenced back yard but prefers to let her dogs out the front door instead. The dogs run barking and snarling at anyone, even when they're blocks away from home with no territory to defend. Everyone in the neighborhood cuts the woman slack because she has cancer, but she's been letting the dogs run loose since before she had cancer and she just doesn't give a shit. When confronted by passers-by (well-meaning or angry), she'll swear she didn't know how the dogs got out, didn't know the dogs run at people, didn't know that people ever do walk or run or ride by her house, she's just taking care of the dogs for some poor soul who's having a hard time. She just lies or makes shit up. Having cancer doesn't make it ok to lie or make shit up.

Lady with cute black pug.

Elderly husband and wife, used to walk together every morning. I don't see them much anymore, hope they're ok.

Pre-elderly husband and wife, man smokes cigars and carries a little transistor radio.

Ragpickers: people in mostly falling-apart trucks coming round on trash day.

Ragpicker, Jr: old guy on a motorized scooter, picking through peoples' recycling bins for aluminum cans. He goes out early, sometimes before dawn, and doesn't seem to care if people walking or running or riding or driving by can see well enough to avoid hitting him. In his mind, he's the only one there.

Lady with bulldog who doesn't like anything, including the sight of a small person walking or running or biking toward him. When confronted with this, he plants his butt on the ground, much to the dismay of the person walking him.

There are others, and if I can think of any worth mentioning, I'll mention them here.

Posted by joe positive at 7:21 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 27, 2008

joe positive, human eggbeater

It's been two and a half weeks since I last ran on land, and the motherfucker still hurts. There are good days and bad days, and good times on bad days and bad times on good days, but the damn thing is still sore. Sometimes it's the tendons of the two peroneal muscles; sometimes it's the extensor muscles in front of the peroneals; very rarely it's the little spot on the fibula that started the whole thing. But I am starting to wonder if I'll ever get any better, and this is downright depressing.

Yesterday I finally emailed the Akron people telling them I wouldn't be running. Not the end of the world for anyone, I know, but it's final now. Ugh. I still have to cancel the hotel stay and wrangle with hotwire over the airfare, but I'll save that for later this week.

And still I churn up the water in the pool, and spin around the neighborhood on the mountain bike every day, because I don't know what else to do. In the pool I do all speedwork, all the time, because, well, Pfitzinger recommends it, and because I can get away with that kind of effort since there's no pounding involved, and because it helps pass the time. And hey, maybe I'll end up with the most awesome cardiovascular system ever. But if I can't use it to run with my own two legs, on land, so what?

Anyway, here's a look at last week, for anyone who's interested:

M: AM 1:05 pool, incl 2x[7x[90s v hard, 30s v easy]], 22min hard,
wu/cd, call it 8mi. PM 1hr mtb, 14.6mi

T: AM 1hr mtb, 14.6mi. PM 1:08 pool, incl 8x[5h/1e], 10x[45h/15e], wu/cd, call it 8mi

W: AM 1:10 pool, incl 1hr steady (1min hard each 3-4min), wu/cd, call it 8mi. PM 1hr mtb, 15.2mi

R: AM 45min mtb, 10.8mi. long workday, no PM workout

F: AM 42min pool, incl ladder workout 1h/1e up to 5/1 and back, wu/cd, call it 5mi. PM 50min mtb, 12mi

Sa: 2:48 pool, incl 59min easy (1-3min hard every 5), 53min hard
(3-5min hard ea 5), 56min kinda hard (2-4min hard ea 5).

Su: 1:01 mtb, 15 miles

total: pool running 50mi, mtb 82.2mtb

This week will probably end up with 44mi in the pool and 105mi on the bike. Will it help? Someone, please tell me it will. And I promise to write about happier stuff tomorrow. 'Cos there is some, actually.

Posted by joe positive at 6:07 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 20, 2008

lies I've been telling myself

1. a periosteal reaction suggests a healing stress fracture.

2. spending a lot of time pool-running and biking doesn't just maintain fitness, it increases fitness.

3. spending a lot of time pool-running and biking doesn't just increase fitness, it helps heal stress fractures.

4. it is possible for a soon-to-be-45-year-old woman to regain enough fitness to be a mediocre runner once again.

5. my mouth doesn't hurt when I chew.

6. it really doesn't matter that I've spent about $700 this year on airfare that I ended up not being able to use.

7. spending upwards of $2200 to attend an ART (active release therapy) workshop the weekend of the Akron marathon is not throwing good money after bad.

8. I really, really, really enjoy doing massage when it hurts to put weight on my leg and move around on it.

9. I really didn't want to meet Salty, mrp, and peanut anyway. Hell with 'em.

I'll post more whoppers as I think of 'em. As in...

10. riding a mountain bike on the road at 14-15mph is equivalent to running around 8:30 pace.

11. riding won't give me huge hunky thighs that will be a nuisance to haul around once I start running again.

Posted by joe positive at 12:25 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

August 17, 2008

a name that does not start with a number

The two Olympic events I was most interested in - swimming and the women's marathon - are over, and I am sort of glad. We were on the point of starting a drinking game based on Dara Torres (every time she's referred to as 41-year-old Dara Torres, take a drink) except I'd sworn off hard liquor until after Akron. Well, watching Paula Radcliffe's race last night changed all that. She has a stress fracture; she xtrained like a demon; she emerged from her 9-hour pool and antigravity-treadmill sessions to toe the line in Beijing. And for what? From the look on her face as she limped that last 400m, I'll wager her leg's pretty badly fucked up. She won't be called a quitter this time, but she's bought herself another stretch of time in the pool. Anyway, if the best runner in the world can't pull off a marathon purely on xtraining, a midpacker like 44-year-old joe positive sure as hell can't, either. Somebody buy me drink over here.

On the other hand, this blog is all about me, so here is my xtraining week:

M: 52min pool running, easy
T: AM mtb 45min (10.34mi), PM 55min pool running, easy
W: AM pool running track workout: warmup, 4x400, 1200, 3x400, 800,
mile, cooldown, ~8mi total. PM mtb 1hr (12.4mi)
R: mtb 1hr (14.72mi)
F: AM 43min pool running ladder workout: wu, 1/1 --> 5/1 --> 1/1
(hard/easy), cd, ~5mi total
Sa: AM 2:05:00 pool running: 34min easy, 29 hard, 10 easy, 15 harder,
30 kinda hard, 5 cd, I'm calling it 16 miles. PM: mtb 55min (15.1mi)
Su: mtb 61min (15mi)

total: 40.5mi pool running, 66.5mi mtb

Much thanks to my friend Ray for letting me come over just after dawn Saturday morning to spend 2 hours thrashing around in his pool.

Continuing the theme of my last entry: I still don't know what I'm doing, though I'm a little more sure I'm not actually training for an imminent marathon. My leg is still sore even after a week off (land) running, and though it feels better, I can make it worse just by staying on my feet 5-10 hours at a time (i.e., a typical workday). While it's healing, I can either sit on my ass or do a lot of xtraining, so I might as well try to stay aerobically fit. In this article about pool running Pfitzinger explains that steady pool running just doesn't equal steady road running, and he recommends doing a lot of interval stuff in the pool to get the heart rate up (and keep from going nuts too). So I've started going a bit harder in the pool, and on the bike too. We'll see if this helps. It certainly can't hurt.

Posted by joe positive at 5:40 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 13, 2008

I don't know what I'm doing

And I hate it. I haven't run a step on the road since Sunday, but I've run lots of steps in the pool, and I've done a little time on the bike as well. I'm trying to stick with the spirit, if not the letter, of the marathon-training schedule, which means coming up with creative ways to get workouts without actually running them. Still, I don't know if I'm

something even less than maintaining.

I still don't know what's wrong with my leg, and I don't know if what I'm doing is the best thing for it, or even a good thing at all. That's a lot of "I don't know"s, which is very frustrating. I've heard story after feel-good story about people training almost exclusively in the pool, then lacing up to run some incredible (or at least completely adequate) marathon. I figure those people were pretty gifted anyway, but in the back of my mind I'm thinking "maybe, just maybe..." Then again, I stress about marathons even when I'm healthy, so the idea of training (and running) injured only looks like a whole lot more stress, not worth the mediocre result.

If I were not training for anything, I'd certainly stay in the pool the rest of the week, maybe longer. Then I'd slowly start trading pool and bike miles for road miles, and even more slowly trade pool workouts for road workouts. But that's if I were not training for anything; right now I don't know what I'm doing, and I hate it.

Posted by joe positive at 11:01 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 10, 2008

don't mention it

Every time I start talking or thinking about the Akron marathon, my leg gets sore or I have a bad run (or both), so I'm just going to stop talking or thinking about it.

A week ago I successfully gallowalked 5 miles, so I declared myself cured and started back on my regular schedule, for the most part. I shaved one MP mile off Monday's task list, and I did Wednesday's track workout in the pool, and I skipped one easy 4-miler and actually rested on the rest day Dror keeps putting on the schedule (and which I regularly ignore).

My leg felt sore a couple of times during the week, but I chalked it up to working, or driving, or anything but running. Yesterday I ran 9 miles much, much faster than I'd planned, and it felt great. This morning I went out for 20-22 easy, and I managed 18.5, and it sucked. There are some valid reasons for the suckiness, but there's no denying my leg's sore again, sore enough that the thought of a workout tomorrow is somewhat off-putting.

The race is, what, 7 weeks away, and I'm starting to feel like I'm running out of time.

I've never been invited to a marathon before, and I would hate to go there and just suck.

Posted by joe positive at 4:49 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 2, 2008

vibes and mojo and curly braces. please.

This week I (mostly) obeyed my coach and tried diligently to do nothing weightbearing so that my leg might heal. It hasn't, at least not all the way. It has (mostly) felt a tiny bit better each day, but I'm not sure if that's because it's healing or just because I'm (mostly) not running on it. I don't know if a good run will crank it back down again. I also don't know if it's a really tight peroneus longus or extensor digitorum longus, or a fibular stress fracture. And alas, my xray vision and MRI eyes are on the fritz.

This week I've biked about 70 miles, and done all my workouts (track and tempo) in the pool. Coach said to wait on running until Monday, but this morning after the ride I couldn't resist. Today happened to be the first day in a while that I woke up kinda sore, so maybe I just wanted to immerse myself in misery. Anyway, I did about 20 minutes gallowalking: 4w/1r, 3/1, 2/1, 1/2, 2/3. And I felt pain with every running step; it was bearable, but I definitely felt it. And it was annoyingly sore all morning as I hauled my dog off to dog PT (she gets to go on an underwater treadmill, lucky dog) and did other errands. And then, at some point, the pain faded with no warning.

So the upshot is I still don't know where I'm at, don't know if I can resume training on Monday, nor whether this week of (relative) inactivity has trashed the marathon for me anyway. Don't know whether to shut it down and pick a later fall marathon, or a winter one, or a spring one, or stop spending $$$ altogether on plane fares I'll never get to use.

Posted by joe positive at 6:40 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack