Nov 28 2012

“No shoulder ride?”

Aaron
"No shoulder ride?"

In late September in the first 1/10th of a mile of a 20 mile long run I stepped on a rather sharp pebble about 3/4″ in size that hurt the ball of my right foot but it felt better quickly so I kept running and went onto finish the best long run I’ve ever had. Upon sitting down to eat lunch afterward, my right foot started getting wicked sore so I iced it for 15min and it felt perfect. Case closed. Then a month later the same spot began hurting for no apparent reason. “Overtraining” I thought. I’d already forgotten about the pebble. I ended up going to see an ortho surgeon at the local foot/ankle center about two weeks before the race because I didn’t want to run the race and make things worse. He said it was either the cartilage band around the base of the big toe, or the tendon that runs under there. Ice, Ibuprofen, and tape it and you’ll be fine. So I did, and everything went great up to the race day.

Saturday 11/3 was the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon. I started the race and hung at the reserved and proper pace I was easily capable of for the first 16 or so miles. In fact, within a few seconds I was dead on target for my goal finish of 3:25:00.  Then I noticed my “good” foot, the left one, was really tightening up. Very rapidly things fell apart and by about the 16.5 mile mark of the race I sort of fell back from the pack I’d been with most of the race and took a really long walk break to try and flex the foot into feeling good again. I felt great and energetic otherwise. This happens sometimes in training, you just lose your steam for whatever reason (sore muscle, tired, mind wandering, etc) walk a little and you get back into it. No big deal. Except the more I walked, the more my left foot hurt. So I took turns running and walking, mostly walking. At this point I’m thinking about quitting. Except I refuse to do that, I trained very well this year to just give it up, I didn’t feel that bad. Besides, it started sleeting and I wasn’t really dressed to sit in drizzle while waiting for a few hours for the trailing “bus o shame” to pick up stragglers.

As I alluded to in my last post a few weeks ago I decided at this point to just make the most of the experience and put on a smile, be glad I am blessed enough to be running a doggone marathon, and finish the race as well as I could. I ended up mostly walking the last 10 miles with a tad of running tossed in for pride’s sake and to try and keep warm. Nothing like freezing to motivate you! I finished the race in a time respected by many runners as desirable but for me it was defeat.

So, time to fess up. As it turns out I fractured my left foot in the marathon. I see you out there. This is where you non-runners secretly gloat about how pointless running is and exclaim how it just begs to break and damage the body. Not so fast!! Because if running is done correctly it doesn’t hurt you, it makes you stronger not weaker! The arch ache ended after the race, but a pain in my heel picked up the next day and wouldn’t go away for a few days. Marathon +5 days I went for a short 20min run to loosen up and see how things were and the heel pain came back full force and then some. I felt perfect except the left foot. The sharp pebble bruise on the other foot was fine by this point and never did bother me during the marathon or since.

I immediately called the ortho doctor’s office and got in the next Monday. An X-ray discovered an avulsion fracture of the plantar side of my cuboid bone. An avulsion fracture is where a soft tissue like a tendon/ligament/cartilage so fiercely pulls at an anchor point on a bone that the bone peels/splinters off. It was small but bad enough to stop me from even walking without a crutch that we had in the closet. Fortunately my Doctor is not what I’d call a hypochondriac. In fact he’s so nonchalant in a positive way that he makes you feel like it’s no big deal. His best case scenario was that I’d be able to get back to running in a week or two but I needed to chill out in the mean time. Ibuprofen, ice, rest; same old stuff. No cast or braces needed, just take it easy. The bad news is the fracture will never heal. The bone fragment will be loose for the rest of my days. The good news is it shouldn’t bother me, freaky huh?!

So my follow up appointment was Tuesday 11/27 and though I ran a little bit last week and the pain subsided, the good news is I’ve been released and declared good enough to get back to normal life. He agreed that what likely happened is after the pebble bruise from September, my healthy foot subconsciously started doing most of the work in walking, playing, running, etc. That led to the left foot being overtired and during the marathon it just said enough is enough and fractured. So you now see the great news is that had I not stepped on that stupid rock all would be well. It wasn’t overtraining, overexertion, or just the simple act of running that caused the fracture.

On a side note, the Doc noticed in the X ray of the fractured left foot that I have an extra bone in my foot on the inner side of my foot below the ankle. It is about the size and shape of a kidney bean. A review of an older X ray of my other foot shows the same bone there too. So, I have 2 extra bones in my body. Weird! Apparently about 20% of the population have this extra bone. I asked the Doc if it will somehow make me have superhuman powers or anything and he crushed my hopes and said it actually makes me prone to having a certain type of tendinitis. Oh well.

During all of this my family and friends have been praying for my foot to heal swiftly and I’m grateful. The boys took it pretty hard though. The first night after the news of the fracture, Abel asked me to give him his nightly shoulder ride which ends with me plopping him in a heap on his bed. I said, “I’m sorry dude but my foot is broken, so I can’t give you a shoulder ride until it heals.” He was destroyed. While crying he just looks at my foot and accusingly says,”No shoulder ride?” and takes my hand to be dragged off to bed. Every night since then he has asked if tonight was the night for a shoulder ride. Tonight, I was able to say “YES!”


Nov 3 2012

I run marathonS

Aaron
I run marathonS

It wasn’t pretty but I completed my second full 26.2 mile marathon today. I can now assuredly tell you that I run marathonS. I badly bruised the ball of my right foot back in September and for the most part it healed but recovery required that I cut back substantially the last few weeks. Between that and the freezing rain today made for a race that was less than desired.

Oh well. At a certain point I decided that I could get bent out of shape about it and drop out, or just be thankful that I am blessed to able to run (regardless of speed today) and plant a smile on my face, make the best of it and finish no matter what.

I am very glad I opted for the latter.

In running, just like in life, there are good days and not so good days. The difference in the outcome is how we decide to deal with the days as we live them. For me there’s always next time, and at some point I will have a great day on marathon day. Really, I’ve had 2 years of good races so to finally have one not so good day is, in my opinion, a blessing statistically speaking.

“This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24


Dec 30 2011

2011 Recap and Visions for 2012

Aaron
2011 Recap and Visions for 2012

I would like to provide an update/review of a few things I’ve learned this year and a list of 2012 running goals. I give praise and glory to Christ that I exceeded all of my 2011 goals. For me I was grasping beyond capabilities when I initially set them 12 months ago. Setting easy goals just to say I achieved them is not my style. Below I will cover: things I have learned this year running, weight management and nutrition, and new goals for 2012.

Injury prevention, Correct Form

1. 180 to 190 strides per minute is almost magic. It relieves stress from the joints and lets the natural elasticity of your tendons and muscles carry you forward faster than if you struggle along at a more natural average stride count of 160 to 170. It therefore helps reduce injuries and soreness.

2. Land on the forefoot/midfoot and land with the foot directly under the knee, not reaching out front with the foot. This foot reaching is what will cause a heel strike and the subsequent shin splints and eventual chondromalacia.

3. A good forward lean at the ankle with a straight body posture will let gravity create forward momentum and require less effort to move forward.

More info on this see Good Form Running or The POSE Method.

Weight Management and Nutrition

1. I have lost 25+ pounds since January 1, 2011. I’ve lost a total of 60 pounds (probably more if I had owned a scale during a the heaviest part of my life) since I started taking fitness more serious in 2007. I reckon to achieve a body fat level that I would be entirely pleased with in the long term I have about 10 pounds to go. The general rule for excess weight and running is 1 pound = 2sec/mi so if I want to qualify for Boston Marathon those ~10 pounds of fat have got to go. I can gain some practical muscle weight but anything too bulky is still excess weight to carry.

2. My weight successes I attribute to a renewed discipline in what I allow into my body, and changing what I allow my eyes/mouth/hands to define as “food” and “nutrition”. Things that I have increased several-fold in my diet are fruits, vegetables, and whole/raw, unrefined carbohydrates in general (organic when possible), and white/green tea. Things I have reduced substantially that I consumed quite a bit of previously are nuts, refined carbohydrates, far too much snacking, animal protein, oils/dressings. Things I have cut out almost entirely: Dairy, beer/wine/alcohol. Notable benefits are that I now go days on end without needing allergy meds that I previously took multiple doses of each and every day and still felt terrible. I am rarely sick. Unless I overdo it, I recover from workouts very rapidly. I need less sleep and have increased energy levels. And best of all, it didn’t require starvation. In fact, with fruits and veggies, I can eat until I am stuffed (satiation) and be nothing but happy about it.  See books The 80 10 10 Diet or The China Study for more info on whole food nutrition, improving quality of life, and prevention/reversal of diseases through food.

3. Supplements: For the most part, don’t need them. This is a huge reversal for me. A good multi vitamin, perhaps a quality Omega-3 supplement, and that’s all. Eat as many raw, whole fruits and vegetables as I desire and get all of the micronutrients in the correct chemical formulas the natural way that God designed. It isn’t easy, nor have I mastered it yet, but it is more fun than swallowing pills.

Running Goals 2012

To sum it up, ultra-runner Ed Roshitsh recently said it quite well:

“Setting a big goal and failing is better than sitting on your ass watching the world go by.  I highly recommend to everyone to set a huge goal and work towards it.  Even if you fail – You learn.  You get better.
  1. 10K (6.21mi) of 44:59 or better. (7m 14s pace).
  2. Half marathon of 1h 40m or less (7m 38s pace).
  3. Average 21mi weekly, or put another way average 3mi x 366 days = 1,098mi total for leap year. 2011 goal was 14mi weekly, and ended up at 18.9mi weekly. 2012 will be my first year of 1,000mi+
  4. 3h 25m or less in a marathon (7m 49s pace)

Perhaps it is somewhat foolish since the FAA may end up sending me to OKC this year, but I’ve already registered/paid for the following races:

  • 5K on 2/11
  • 10K on 3/3
  • 15K on 4/7
  • Mini Marathon half mara on 5/5

I stopped registering when reality sank in about the FAA. If they don’t send me, I’m probably going to do the Geist Half mara on 5/19, and I’m still on the fence about which marathon to do in the fall. I may start toward my long term goal of completing all 5 of the World Majors and do the Chicago Marathon in October. There’s a 50K race in North IN in December I’ve had my eye on, though I may hold off entering into the crazy world of ultra-marathoning until I complete the 5 majors.

So, if you’ve read this far thanks. I hope you have something crazy planned for yourself next year. If not, definitely reconsider reaching beyond what you think your limits are. You might surprise yourself.


Nov 2 2011

Monumental Marathon this Saturday

Aaron
Monumental Marathon this Saturday

Well, the big day is almost here; my first full length 26.2mi marathon! This Saturday, 5-NOV, is the 4th running of the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon. Packet pickup and the convention are on Friday (I am bib #983) and the race starts promptly at 8am Saturday at Missouri St & Washington St downtown.

Not that I really think anyone cares that much, but if you want to track my race results in real time you can signup here to receive emails or text messages. Messages will come in as I cross the halfway point (13.1mi), 30k, and finish. Anna and the boys will be crewing for me, the plan is to meet me where the race course passes the Christian Theological Seminary (~18mi mark, near the aid station at the NW corner of Haughey & 42nd St) to have spare socks, jacket, hat, food, and drink should I be needing anything. Hopefully I’ll just stop for a quick  photo op and a tasty recovery drink and keep on trucking. I’m right at my intended race weight (not my ultimate goal weight, but it adds up as every extra pound = 2 seconds/mile) and I feel better than ever. This will be my first of many marathons, coming soon will be a post announcing my long term fitness/health plans, and it has potential to involve the entire A-Team :)

Prayers for the safety of all 7,000 or so runners and walkers + all of the volunteers this Saturday are much appreciated. The weather forecast looks almost perfect; a tad cool to start off with at 36F , but a nice high of 61F. Regardless of how I do this weekend, I give God all the glory in getting me to this point!


Jun 28 2011

No looking back now…

Aaron

I put my money where my mouth is and registered (finally) for my first marathon. Good thing I’m running a 20 miler later this week in preparation. The 4th Indianapolis Monumental Marathon will be on November 5th, they are also doing a 5K and Half Marathon that day as well. If interested, sign up here. Don’t delay as early registration ends on June 30th and fees go up after that. There’s nothing like having a race on the horizon to motivate me towards keeping to my healthy eating habits and sticking to my training regimen. This being my first marathon I have no real expectations, I want to finish under four hours and I’ll be excited.


May 16 2011

Exercise accountability gone public & Mini Marathon Results

Aaron

Back in January I made a post on a web forum I frequent, the topic was my run plan for 2011. I put it out there because I knew if I did it would help keep me accountable. I’m now making it even more public so now there’s no looking back!

In 2011 here are a few things I will accomplish, God willing:
  1. Complete my 5th half marathon, the Mini, in 2hrs or less. Preferably <1h 48m but this year I’ll take <2hr.
  2. More than double 2010’s mileage goal and step it up to 730mi. Though I only run a max of 3 days each week, that is 2mi x 365 days.
  3. The route may be too dangerous, but if I can do it safely, run from my house to my friend Zach’s house. It will be around 18-20 miles.
  4. And here is the kicker, of which I don’t even know why I am posting this or how I will achieve it, but here it goes: Run 50km (31.06mi). All at once.
  5. Run my first full marathon. The Indianapolis Monumental is what I’ve chosen on 11/5.

So, goal #1 is knocked off the list. #2 as of today is +20 miles. Without injuries I’ve been battling I’d have well over +150 miles, but I’m happy with +20. Goal #3 is scheduled for the morning of Saturday July 2nd with maybe a cookout or brunch afterward? #4 is on the calendar for September or October… I don’t have my schedule in front of me. As for the marathon, I’ll be signing up soon.

I am depending on you people reading this to hold me accountable to this list unless my legs fall off.

Oh, and without all of the boring details here are my results for the 2011 Mini Marathon that I worked so hard for the last 9 months. Pictures and videos are here: ->LINK<- Long story short, when I began training, I simply wanted to finish under 2 hours. Then with the training series it became evident that a new personal record (PR) was going to be likely (previous PR was 1h 54m). Then with the 10K race in March I met my 2012 goal of L3 seeding. So, my overall goal on race day was to complete the race in 1h 48m or less without injury. I did it in 1h 47m 30s. The photo says 1h 48m 28s but that is because it took me 58 seconds to get from Corral C to the start line at the beginning which is subtracted with the advent of RFID chipped race bibs.

Strong Finish!

Sweet Victory!

I thank my beautiful wife and children for waking up at 5am and sticking it out for the race beginning; waiting until the end and partying in the cold rain afterward. Thanks to my great parents for shouting at me over the din of the crowd at mile 10, that lifted my spirits at a critical point and I was able to ride that boost all the way to the finish line.

I’m already signed up for next years’ 500 Festival Training Series and Mini Marathon (bib #1,372), I encourage anyone capable to do the same whether walking or running it is more fun than you might imagine and a great way to get/stay in shape. I’m gunning for a L2 seeding of sub- 1h 40m (I’ve already secured L3 for 2012). Maybe that is too lofty, but I’d rather aim high and fall short…who knows, I may aim high and strike the bulls eye?


Mar 8 2011

500 Festival Training Series 10K results

Aaron

A quick history. I am not trying to come off as a braggart by posting my race results. I merely want to share the amazing restoration of my health and strength with the hope that this story may act as a means of inspiration to one of you readers, or perhaps someone you know that you tell this story to. I am not the best runner in the world, but my comeback surprises even me regularly.

I praise the Lord for granting me the strength and health to be able to continue to improve without serious injury. The miracle in my eyes is that not 5 years ago I was 51 pounds overweight and diagnosed as having adult onset asthma by two different Drs and a respiratory therapist. I was weak, felt terrible much of the time, and couldn’t run to save my life. Today I am only 9lbs overweight by BMI standards (and still falling), and if I did in fact have asthma it is long gone and I am completely restored. In my opinion the rebuilding of my body is nothing short of a miracle and there is still more to come. I grant the glory to my Lord Jesus Christ.

Now, onto the 10K results….

A tired smile of saitsfaction!

I am honestly stunned right now. I ran the 10K race (6.215 miles)  this past Saturday morning and finished @ 7:42/mi pace (47:48 total). What this means, is that my time qualified over one year ahead of my plan for Level 3 seeding for the Mini Marathon!!! Level 3 required 48:00, and recently my best 10K at home was around 51:00. I had no intentions in my training to be able to achieve L3 this year, and yet I did it!  What is so great about L3 seeding is in theory it places you in a certified group of people that are your speed and only faster people will be in front of you, which means less meandering through the crowd to pass people; it is safer and more enjoyable.

My darling wife and sons wanted to be at the race, but it was windy, raining and in the 40F range outside on Saturday morning so they stayed home since Abel was mildly sick. Immediately upon finishing the race I rehydrated, bought a t-shirt, and then jogged back to the parking garage to retrieve my cell phone from the Jeep and call in the results to the family back home. I had told Anna before I left that I was going to try and push it a little bit, within reason, in order to make L3 seeding, but that I would be happy if I didn’t get L3. So when I called home with the news, Anna and the boys, unbeknownst to me, began decorating the house for a congratulation party since they missed me at the race finish line. It was a great surprise!

God is good all the time.

All the time God is good.

Balloons and whooping it up!


Feb 12 2011

My 500 Festival Training Series 5K results

Aaron

Getting ready for the upcoming Indianapolis Mini-Marathon, this morning was the first of three optional training runs. My 500 Festival Training Series 5K by OrthoIndy – 5K results are in. I turned in a 7:45 min/mi pace (5K=3.11mi), my goal was 8:00 min/mi so I am super happy with the results of my training through this entire winter (see photo below), missing only one run due to the insane ice storm. My left hamstring is telling me I overdid it, but I have been nursing it for a week or so anyway. Regardless, with the warm weather today (relatively speaking) I just got in from a 3.04mi afternoon recovery run just because I wanted to wear shorts and get out in the sun while everyone was taking a nap.

The next training race is on March 5th, and it’s a 10K, the final training race on April 9th is a 15K. I am really looking forward to these, maybe you will join me in walking or running? These things are really fun regardless of fitness or experience level.

Running Ninja

Ninja-style for sub-zero windchills