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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Gatorade and Ibuprofen

I handled the heat at the XC meet on Wednesday. At least better than the Stanford meet. I was still wrung out. I stayed in the shade as much as possible and drank some water when I could get it. But four plus hours on my feet plus a surprise school bus ride over and back on bench seats did a job on my dormant sciatica. I was in a fair amount of pain on the way back. I had Gatorade and ibuprofen in my car and I downed both. I was totally washed out by the time I had negotiated the commute traffic and rolled into the driveway of my house. Had some wine, more Gatorade, ate dinner and then slept the sleep of the damned. My back was better in the morning but still sending some errant, random shooting pains up and down my spine. I was walking around like an 85 year old.

Tough but no more buses for me, Not right now. Not until my back is right.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Beating the heat

Big Heater today. Close to 100 or so they say.

I awoke in the dark and slipped out of bed and made a cup of coffee to help me wake up. It was already warm in the house but I opened the back door and let some of the cool early morning air bleed into the kitchen and living room. I brought Sue her wake up cup of warm water (don't ask) and then began getting ready to go out and run before it got too hot. By the time  finally had circled the neighborhood and got out the door the final time it was closing in on 7:30 am.

 I ran over to the college and did big loops. Nothing new in this. I kept it slow. It was relatively comfortable but the morning air was that like a kettle just beginning to boil. The temperature wasn't that high but you knew in a few minutes it would be rolling. The track was crowded with runners and walkers who usually get out later in the morning. They too were fleeing before the coming heat.

By the time I arrived home it was closing on 60 minutes. I could have easily gone further. But I was in shut down mode. Not exhilarated but not tired either. Just finished. An hour was enough.

We have a XC meet this afternoon. If not for this I would stay inside and let the air conditioning keep me on ice. But that seems to be out of the question. I don't envy the kids. If we had any sense we would cancel this thing. Too bad because tomorrow begins the cool down.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Broke Up Sub-Tempo

I drank a tankard of coffee and then flung myself casually out on the roads this morning trying to get a good workout in before the sharp bladed scimitar of heat descended on the South Bay.

And I almost made it.

I ran a slow and purposely lethargic 20 minute warm up and then began a succession of 3 x 10 minutes steady with each followed by a 200 meter walk.  I did run into Charles so I jogged what was supposed to be a fourth steady session but in the end that was probably wise. All in all, I ran 66 minutes with 30 minutes of steady running shoehorned in there.

I am still not quite sure what to make out of this type of workout but the short walk breaks allow me to run stronger and I seem to recover (faster). It is all sub tempo so the run never really gets that hard. I'll get a better idea of the sustainability of this sort of thing over the next few weeks.

No sciatic pain so that was all good.

The heat wave continues

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Double Header

 I got over to WVC early and ran a very 75 slow minutes. There was a big meet today (see below) but late enough I had a chance to both run and grab breakfast.

 Today was the big Stanford Invite XC Race. The last time I had been there was back when I was coaching Julianne Hansen. It was as hot and dusty and crowded as I remembered. But also very well organized given the teeming masses that deluged the place. Here is the varsity team getting their numbers pinned on. Jake is giving them last minute instructions.

Couldn't see much of the races. Unless you are willing to sprint around the course to key vantage points you are best just camping out at one spot and watching the runners go by. I was very warm and had a tough time cooling down. Finally after our two races I hightailed it to the car and embraced air conditioning. I think I was a hit dehydrated from my morning run.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Not quite an hour

I ran 6 minutes around the neighborhood to shake things out. Then I drove over to Forbes and met with Jake who caught me sitting in the car doing email on my iPhone.

Damn that is addictive. 24-7!

We ran a pedestrian first loop in just under 27 minutes. Much faster than last weeks slogging 28 minutes and change. The second loop was just under 25 minutes. We had to pick it up over the last section from the ramp to Forbes. I could feel a tightness in my right hip but it wasn't painful. Just a reminder that "it" is still there.

The total running time was about 58 minutes.

Heat wave coming. Not too bad but still mid to upper 80's.



Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Another De Anza Session

I got out early this morning. At least early for me. I chose to run over to the local college and do big loops over there. School has started back up (fall semester). The track was busy with plump Indian woman in her dark sweat suit and "you can't see my eyes" sun glasses, several guys and other mostly asian women endlessly circling the track.

I ran and walked for about 70 minutes with 5 x 10 minutes at a steady pace with each run followed by a 2 minute walk. I was a bit more tired than Sunday but still I felt relatively strong. I will probably bring the HRM the next time to monitor (excuse the pun) my effort when I am running my ten minute sessions. I can see running easy most days and picking up the effort one day a week but cutting down the duration. There are many ways to work myself into the ground so I need to be careful.

I can still feel the buttinitis but no real pain. I had a mid morning coffee meeting over in Santa Clara afterward and I drove over there with a tennis ball lodged between the car seat and my sciatic nerve. It seems to help but who knows for sure.

The competition

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Van Aaken on the track

Varied workout today. I was out for 75 minutes total with 40 minutes of running and 35 minutes of walking. I walked over to the De Anza track and then ran 3 x 10 minutes at a relatively strong pace broken up by a 200 meter walk (very Van Aaken). Then I decided to head home doing my last 10 minute run on the way. This mornings run felt very different than yesterday's heavy legged affair. Maybe the walk got me going. Each of the ten minute sections felt strong and where I cannot tolerate a short sprint, my sciatica didn't bother me much at all when I stuck to a steady pace.

I can see where going more to this type of program might help me both recover more effectively and also allow me to do some stronger workouts.

More typically would have been 60-70 minutes of 2,000 meter runs with a short walk recovery.

Oh well, who gives a flying ----! Only moi.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Not Ready For Prime Time

I did a 61 minute easy run today over at WVC. I did try a couple of 50 yard pickups down on the track but my sciatica said "not yet." My right legs still feels weak even though I am no longer dragging it around like a sack of garbage. I can run steady and that is something given where I was two weeks ago. But I am not ready for prime time.

I sat on la pelota de tenis on my way down to breakfast. So there were three "globes" down in that general area but only one was doing some work.

Conversation at breakfast ranged from high school cross country categories to the Tea Party. Politics that is. Maybe there is not that much difference between politics today and the tea party in Alice in Wonderland.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Sitting On A Tennis Ball

I must be back. I ran 60 minutes this morning. 5 miles of shakedown at home and another 55 minutes with Jake at Forbes Mill. Only minor discomfort and most of it was from sitting on a tennis ball in the car on the way over. It is supposed to provide trigger point massage for my sciatica problem.

Blueberry pancakes at the Southern Kitchen afterward.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Self Talk for 45 minutes

I went up to see Big Bad Billy. He said things looked good (as he dug his elbow into my piriformis). He really believes that if I am conservative for the next several weeks I will be fine.

When I got home I went out for an easy mid day 45 minute run and had little indication of problems. Every time I thought about walking I said to myself, "Self, you really are okay so why not keep running." And so I did. I just kept the pace slow.

Dare I hope that I can train for the 800? I'll have to be a bit more conservative and smart about it.

Not-A-Cheetah, yet.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


I ran and walked 90 minutes today with at least 40 minutes of running. To be truthful, much of it was broken up by walking breaks especially in the afternoon session. Yes, I did two sessions but much of the running was in the morning and the nooner was mostly walking. The never ending sciatica was minimal as long as I stayed slow. And those who know me best, know that slow is easy for me.

Had breakfast at Bill of Fare this morning with the coaches. Jake wasn't happy with his varsity girls because they were not aggressive enough in getting out early in their respective races. So he'll punish them by doing some interval work on Monday. Okay, it isn't actually punishment. The goal is to teach them to get out faster. My opinion is that they have all had enough work. I would focus on their mindset, not further working their bodies. I would go talk to them both as a group and individually and co-op them into putting out more early on.

Of course I was not unhappy with their performances at all. But that's why I am an assistant coach.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Toro Park

I drove down to Toro Park outside of Salinas for the Early Bird Invitational. Left the house and 7 am and arrived down there before 8:30. Not a bad drive. Luckily ran into Becki who showed me the way in. Could not find my team but that is because they were still in line waiting to pay the toll at the Ranger's gate while I walked past them because I parked on a side road outside the entrance.

This isn't the first time I have been to the park. I used to go there in the late 1970's to run the long uphills to Toro Peak. Really different days. When I showed up mid week back then the place would be damn near empty. Also I was a good deal younger and stronger. Today it resembled that Indian Village I wrote about. Different teams (tribes) camped all over the place.

The races were disappointing. Hard to see as a spectator unless you charged all over the place. And of course spectators and runners were charging back and forth to follow the competition. I finally planted myself in a decent spot which gave a good view of the race with about 400-500 yards to go.

I actually had more fun talking to some of the parents and other coaches. Didn't see Jake too much but we get a chance to talk a bit.

After the last race I jumped in my car and headed home. Lunch consisted of some "health" bars and Gatorade.

This is the upper meadows and trails of the regional park. This is where I would prefer to be. It seems to go up forever.

Down below where the action is. This from 2009 but it looked the same this year.
Hoka Hey!

Friday, September 10, 2010

BINGO! Light Just Went On!

I just realized that my leg and back problems began the week that I had to quick change a tire that had a nail in it. It was the evening SOA (Save Our Assets) met. That was a Monday. It was the following Thursday that my right calf {{{twinged}}} and that incident kicked off a succession of problems that have continued until the present. So speed work probably was not the problem. Changing a tire was more than likely the source of my present "evil".

two story  house with dormers lights animated gif

Yes, the light goes on but then it goes back off.

That's the problem.

First Impressions

My impressions of my first XC meet this past Wednesday

More like a 19th century American Indian encampment. Different tribes arrive, set up their tent circles and visit. Then suddenly they are attacked by soldiers and they jump on their horses and counterattack. The rest of the Indians yell war cries in support.

Hoka Hey! It is a good day to die!

There are many war leaders including White Jake, Two Moon and the half breed Van Zant (Dutch & Wilcoxian).

A new war chief who had no idea what was going on was He-Brew. He is from some obscure tribe located in desert lands.

No one knows where it is but he hangs with White Jake.

Lot's of dust and yelling. Soldiers are beaten off. Tribes celebrate and then disperse.,%20Bev/Beyond%20Negotiations.jpg

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Rehabbing@Forbes Mill

I was back at Forbes this morning tearing off 3 minute runs followed by 1 minute saunters. I did 40 minutes of this. 30 minutes of soft and easy running sandwiched in between the white bread (walks).

The discomfort has really settled into the right glute and upper hammie but nothing more than an annoyance. I can run slowly with minimal issues and I can walk with no problems at all. I told Jake I am rehabbing. I want to stay close so that if I can get past this, I can have a shot at running a fast loop again. Maybe this year. I am just not there yet. Better than two weeks ago but still not "there".

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

More Walk-Run

In the spirit of progress I ran and walked for 40 minutes this morning. I started off with a 5 minute stroll and then ran 2 minutes on and then walked for one minute. I repeated this ten times. I then capped things off with a 5 minute walk.

I can still feel the injury but it is mild. The more I ran the better it felt. I didn't feel it at all during the walking portions.

I am assuming this is a piriformis problem and that it will get better over time. I am breaking a few rules and doing some light stretching.

Stuff like this.

Or this.

Nothing too daunting.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Greek Warriors

I ended up with sciatica (a Greek Warrior..ha ha).

A week ago I could not run (at all) and thought I had pulled a hamstring but each day the pain moved to another part of my right leg and finally settled in the glute. I visited my chiro and he adjusted me twice telling me firmly that it was piriformis and sciatic nerve issues. Those adjustments (I am like a car) really made a difference.

I can now walk and run without discomfort but I am very slowly ramping back up to my usual every other day runs. Right now I am at 15 minutes running broken up by a lot of walking.

I watched a show on TV that showed gentle (& calming) yoga-pilates exercises for the core.

I am now incorporating several of them into my weekly routine. They are really early stage stuff but don't seem to bother my back at all.



I walked and ran for about 35 minutes today. 16 minutes of walking and the rest running. I could still feel some minor discomfort but nothing daunting. I will continue to ramp up but break up the running with more walks. Like 2 minutes running and 1 minute walking and do that 10x.

I met with Jake for breakfast. He is giving me the JV's which is fine. I think it will be easier on both of us.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

More walking and jogging

I walked-jogged for 30 minutes this morning. Most of it was walking but 1/3rd was very slow running. So 20-10. If I think about where I was a week ago, I am much improved. There is still some sciatic or piriformis sensation (I don't know what else to call it). Okay, buttinitis. But it is ever so slight as long as I run slow. I probably will need another Big Bad Bill visit next week.

Me. Last week.

Saturday, September 04, 2010


I am walking! The two visits to Big Bad Billy and some real rest this past week have reaped benefits. Of course I am also doing slight bits and pieces of running too. Just 10-20 second increments surrounded by walking.

I got out for 30 minutes both yesterday and today. I hope to go longer on Sunday and Monday.

I also went to the club breakfast at the Collins' home. The club ran the handicapped race. It was good enough fun to just watch and then eat and drink coffee afterward. I saw Dwight (He of the 100 mile weeks) from afar and kept my distance. I have enough stuff on my plate that I need Lu-Lu land stuff too.

Coaching is not a happy experience. Jake is a control freak but also one of my best friends. But he constantly goes non-linear yelling at the kids and sometimes me. Always followed by an apology. What bothers me the most is my not really coaching. Not really. I have talked to Jake about this and he acknowledges that it is a problem. He changes for a day or two and then goes right back to his normal behavior.

So he is just like the rest of us.

We are what we are.

I am not throwing stones but life is short (too short) and I would rather be blundering around the house than being Mr. Extra Hands- Stopwatch Man.

I am going to talk to Jake one last time. if it doesn't change I will have call it a day. It will cost us our friendship if it keeps going this way.

The answer is to give me a sub-section of the team and let me run it. I guess that won't happen but them's my terms.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Because it is there!

We took the whole team to Rancho on this hot and dry afternoon. Mostly on a bus but some were driven. Bellarmine and Homestead were there too. Everyone went on runs that figured to bring them back in about an hour. The 6 top varsity boy runners were supposed to do upper wildcat and the farm bypass. Around 8 miles. I have run it many times.

Well, somewhere along the way they decided to climb Mt. Everest (at Rancho that is Black Mountain..been up there too) and ended going for about 2.5-3 hours. We had to call in the rescue (park) rangers to go out and find them. It was getting towards sundown and there was really no water on the trail past the farm.

Jake, myself and one of the moms (Joan) stayed until everyone was "located". Even Kendrick the Homestead coach offered to help.

The kids admitted that they had lost their heads and Jake gave them a short lecture about doing "the" workout and not being so "creative".

We figured they got in over their heads but not knowing where they were was challenging. This is not the first time this has happened. The varsity girls got "lost" one day but at least that was on the streets of Cupertino and San Jose.

I would have yanked them from a meet or two but in the end it was Jake's call and really their being safe was the priority.

I would have yanked them from the next meet anyway. Redundant. I know. Blah..blah...blah.

But it was Shakespeare who wrote, "All's well that ends well."

Mount Everest: This is where they got lost. They kept going up because it was there.

Because it is there!

George Leigh-Mallory's scoffing remark to the press when asked why he climbed Everest


On the personal, my right leg is healing up. It was the first day I walked around without any significant tightness or pain. While the kids ran Hank and I regaled each other with stories of our fast years. Hank ran about 15-20 mpw more than I did on average and at 55 is where I am at age 65.

So once again, when I come back.

No more quick track work. Maybe some striders but that's it. Otherwise, longer slower runs. I would like to get back up in the hills now and then.