Headed to Boston Sunday morning to pick up my number and get ready to race. Really looking forward to this, as my training and race prep has been about a thousand times better than last year. Starting in the third corral at 10:40 with the rest of the charity runners and slowpokes. If you are so inclined, you can follow my progress at baa.org. My bib number is 22247. Still hurting mildly from various strains and sprains from a difficult training program, but feeling pretty good about my fitness and readiness to run. My goal is to break four hours.
More importantly, I will be running for The Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge to raise money for The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute's program for innovative basic cancer research. Much like Traut's inspired vision of raising money for the Jimmy Fund, The Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge asks athletes to dedicate themselves to both running a marathon and to raising funds for basic cancer research. I have dedicated this year's efforts to my father, currently recovering from radiation therapy for his cancer, and to my beloved aunt Liz, who is battling multiple myeloma. I will also be running in honor of my father-in-law Donnie, who we lost to cancer several years ago. As much as my selfish desire to improve my marathon time drives me, I am always reminded that, in running a marathon to raise money to fight cancer, my task is the easy one.
There is something extraordinary about running a marathon when you dedicate the effort to something greater than yourself. I mostly do athletics for selfish reasons; Monday I run for my dad, for my aunt, for Donnie, and for cancer patients everywhere who rely on institutions like Dana-Farber for the research and treatment without which cancer would stake a greater claim in all of our lives. Cancer touches almost all of us. Raising money for Dana-Farber gives me hope that we can do something about it.
If you are athletically inclined and haven't signed up for Traut's Jimmy Fund program, you should. It can change not only the lives of those for whom you raise money, but your own life as well.
Listen to your body. A little soreness is no thing. Especially when you're starting it is to be expected. Little nibbles of pain here and there are no thing, either. I get concerned about pain when (1) it's really bad; (2) it's constant; and (3) it hurts when I'm not running.How do you guys handle soreness? Little nibbles of pain here and there?
How do you guys handle soreness? Little nibbles of pain here and there? Do you chalk it up to the exercise and go out a day or two later? Do you self-diagnose? See a doctor? Right now I'm putting away 15-20 miles a week with the intention of building that up over the coming months either just for my own fitness and body conditioning or if they draw my name for the NYC Marathon, there's a much bigger goal ahead. Yesterday I went out running and had a bit of soreness behind my Achilles. That led to reading online about tendonitis and taking today off. 30 hours later the soreness is basically gone and I'm wondering if yesterday's panic was just me being a hypochondriac.
I know this is going to happen. I know there's going to be little things here and there. My college roommate became a physical (or occupational?) therapist. Last year, I told him about my tight calf and the compensatory issues it causes, and he said "everyone encounters some sort of pain. It's all about how you can manage what you're feeling" which I took to mean that nobody runs for miles every week and wakes up fresher than before.
I've really taken to running, but I know that I am not an athlete in the true sense of the word, meaning I don't think I am built like some warrior who can withstand shedloads of physical impact.
I don't like relying on the internet for diagnosis. I've hung around a running message board and they seem to want to shut everything down the minute they feel something risky, but I also realize that these threads are often just one or two vocal posters sharing their experience and easily influencing others.
Are there good books to read on this subject? Practitioners to see? Ideally, I'd like to see someone who can examine all of my running muscles and tell me what I need to look out for. I know my calves are tight, and strict attention to post-run stretching has alleviated the side effects.
Thanks Sass. That was infinitely more helpful than anything I've read on the other boards. It's odd, but for some reason I feel more trusting of advice from SoSH. I guess being a member for 8 years will do that. I certainly haven't felt anything as debilitating as what you're describing. I don't often feel pain in my muscles. I would describe the feeling more as the muscles feeling tired or a little weak. For example, this morning there was a hint of that on my right foot. It's already dissipated, which I assume is thanks to a bit of walking to work and around the office. I think this is all tied to my right calf being very tight. I'll probably wait until this weekend to run again, and I'm going to continue all of my stretching while introducing ice baths and yoga to my routine. I may start sticking my foot in a bucket of ice every night for 15 minutes.I've dealt with Achilles tendonitis and super tight calves for a long time. When I first started running, I had tons of aches and pains that seemed to go awayeventually. When the Achilles pain first started, I wanted to power through it because I'm incredibly stubborn and just assumed it was something I had to overcome. It didn't hurt so much during my runs as afterwards. It eventually got to the point where I was having to walk on my toes throughout the day after a long morning run because the motion of lifting the heel to walk hurt too much. That should have been my clue, but like I said - I'm stubborn. I eventually went to a podiatrist who knew nothing about running, and his advice was to stretch and wear sneakers to work. This was terrible advice and ended up setting me back several months. After another few months of annoying pain and limping, I finally found a podiatrist who is a marathon runner. She got me a night boot to sleep in, forced me to take 2 months off while getting therapy on my legs, and eventually got me healthy enough to run my first marathon.
Here I am training for my second marathon and the pain is creeping back (but not nearly as bad), so I'm getting A.R.T. done and after the race, will be taking some time off. I'm told that because of the way my body is built (every one of my muscles is insanely tight), Achilles discomfort is something I may always have to deal with to an extent, but that I can help manage it through the use of epsom salt baths, post-run ice baths, stretching, a foam roller and a trigger point massage ball, etc.
My advice: if pain ever gets to be so bad that it is keeping you from running, forcing you to cut runs short, or affecting your gait in every day life, you need to see a doctor. And I can't emphasize enough how important I think it is to see a doctor who runs or treats lots of runners.
If you have any other Achilles related questions, PM me. I can't tell you anything about knees or IT band issues, but I'm happy to share my Achilles injury knowledge and experiences.
I found my tendon type issues for me were caused by a few things:How do you guys handle soreness? Little nibbles of pain here and there?
Congrats on running the race you planned on. Was it another runner or a spectator? And who the heck is cutting people off a mile from the finish?4:01 and change. Looked like a lead-pipe cinch to make it under 4:00 but someone cut in front of me at around mile 25, causing me to stumble and severely sprain my right foot. Basically had to hop to the finIsh looking like Quasimodo. Oh well. As long as the foot is not severely damaged I can be pleased that I ran exactly the race I trained for and planned.
Awesome, awesome, time, Kremlin. I'm so happy for you. IIRC, that's like an hour better than last year's time?4:01 and change. Looked like a lead-pipe cinch to make it under 4:00 but someone cut in front of me at around mile 25, causing me to stumble and severely sprain my right foot. Basically had to hop to the finIsh looking like Quasimodo. Oh well. As long as the foot is not severely damaged I can be pleased that I ran exactly the race I trained for and planned.
Nice! I saw some guy on the news taking Heartbreak barefoot.Thanks Traut. Wore the VFFs.
I spent a fair amount of time training on hills this season, so was able to work on the downhill stride in the VFFs quite a bit. First, take the basic barefoot stride: high cadence, short stride with a pronounced forefoot strike, minimal heel/ground contact, rapid leg turnover, head high, chest forward, kind of running downhill on level ground. To accomodate hills, I try to shorten the stride a little, speed up the cadence, point the toes, over-pronounce the forefoot strike, and try to minimize the leg lift. I imagine that it looks like I am shuffling my feet when I go downhill, kind of like a penguin. But it seems to work. The problem with running downhill is that you fall farther with every step and it just sucks energy from the legs. By shortening the stride and minimizing leg lift I find that I can reduce the pounding sensation that is so energy-intensive. There is no way to eliminate the energy depletion of hills, but I have found a way to mitigate it to an extent that seems to work reasonably well.Nice! I saw some guy on the news taking Heartbreak barefoot.
When you get a chance, I'd be curious what you do with your stride on downhills. I find I much prefer uphill to downhill in VFFs. One of the WBZ guys pointed out that Kim Smith is a forefoot striker, and thought that the overall downhill of the marathon course put too much stress on her calves.
KremlinWatcher and I both wear VFFs. I don't know about him, but I'd only had three years of running experience and was an extreme heel striker with a very heavy footfall and long stride before I started. I can't even fathom going back, but I will say: start completely from scratch. I lost last summer to stress fractures in my metatarsals from getting ahead of myself. It's been about a year and a half now and I'm just about to run my first half marathon in them. It takes a while for your feet, ankles, and calves to reconfigure after a lifetime of doing it wrong.Fast forward 6 years and I'm thinking about getting back into it and trying VFFs or other minimalist shoes. My concern is that I have somewhat low arches, I'm a natural heel striker, and I'm carrying considerably more weight these days... Bad idea?
A lot of people start by wearing more minimal shoes - no raised heel, flexible sole (especially flexible along the short axis - so you can twist the toes clockwise and the heel counterclockwise, for instance), no arch support, like Nike Frees or the equivalent. A lot of my runner friends wear what they call "racing flats" which is basically what all running shoes were before Nike changed things in the 1970s.Thanks, that link was an interesting read. Do you think it's a better idea to start from scratch going 100% barefoot/minimalist or to start off still wearing regular trainers and gradually mix in more time in the VFFs?
It's going. Spent Jan-April mostly running and in the weight room. Tried to balance the running between volume and lactate/speed work. Had a few minor injuries that slowed me down but ran a great half in Hyannis in February (1:45) and had a pretty good day in Boston. Got a new bike and a new indoor bike trainer so have been spending some good time on the bike, but the run was #1 until last Monday. Also went to a swim clinic to work on my stroke efficiency and think I have that figured out. The plan was to come out of Boston in tip-top running shape, which I am pretty happy with apart from the sprained foot. So I am now moving into the next training period, which will be more bike-centric, with both huge volume as well as speed and lactate threshold work on the bike, increasing intensity with the weights, less running focused more on speed and lactate threshold work rather than volume (injury avoidance), and as much open-water swimming as I can manage. Working on a race plan and fuel strategy, which I think I have more or less figured out. I have bad cramping problems, so in-race fueling is critical for me. If I get that wrong I'll be toast halfway through the run. It's three months to go now, and the plan calls for increasing intensity and volume in all disciplines and the weight room up until about July 10-12, when I will have my last Big Day, basically a simulated Ironman less about 10%. Then it'll be a taper of about two weeks, polish the race strategy and fuel plan, some lower-volume but high-intensity maintenance leading up to the race, drive to Lake Placid on the 22nd, rest for a day, and then get out there on July 24th and find out something new about myself. Should be an interesting day. I am really enjoying the challenge of preparing for an Ironman. I hope I enjoy the race as much. I think I will.
This isnt crap if the shoes lose some of their cushioning. Granted, what you're running in is entirely different, but for those of us running in regular shoes that 300-500 mile range is where we have to be careful. I'd imagine heavier runners will pound on their shoes more.I remember when I actually bought into that "get new shoes every 3-6 months" crap.
Right, I'm just saying, and only from my perspective, not only were shoe companies/stores telling me to wear shoes that were hurting my knees and hips, but that I also had to buy new ones 3-4 times a year so that they didn't start hurting my knees and hips even more.This isnt crap if the shoes lose some of their cushioning. Granted, what you're running in is entirely different, but for those of us running in regular shoes that 300-500 mile range is where we have to be careful. I'd imagine heavier runners will pound on their shoes more.
I picked up a pair of VFF's over the weekend along with Asics DS Trainers (what I was used to) and I'm going to mix in the VFF's and work on moving to a forefoot strike.Right, I'm just saying, and only from my perspective, not only were shoe companies/stores telling me to wear shoes that were hurting my knees and hips, but that I also had to buy new ones 3-4 times a year so that they didn't start hurting my knees and hips even more.
Any initial thoughts on how three waves worked vs two waves?For those that ran on Monday: please post any and all critiques and comments as the memories come flooding back this week. A great portion of my time (too great, if you ask my wife) goes to making sure you have as positive an experience as possible. Early feedback looks like this year might have been the smoothest and most 'enjoyable' race in memory (near-perfect conditions help), but we look to improve every year.
I'd love to hear what you liked, disliked and remembered about your day.
Edit: congrats, KW!
I would add that if you run with a pronounced forefoot strike, in effect mimicking the barefoot stride but while wearing shoes, you can get significantly greater mileage out of a pair of shoes because you are not depending on them for cushioning. For most people considering barefoot/VFFs, a lighter, lesser-padded shoe like Nike Frees are a good way to start and they will pretty much last until they fall apart.This isnt crap if the shoes lose some of their cushioning. Granted, what you're running in is entirely different, but for those of us running in regular shoes that 300-500 mile range is where we have to be careful. I'd imagine heavier runners will pound on their shoes more.
Most local races should have signs at the start indicating pace - there should be a sign at the front saying something like "6 minute miles", then one a little further back saying "7 minute miles"' etc. So then you just start in the group of people planning to run at your pace and you should be fine. Unless there are thousands of racers it should thin out pretty quickly, allowing you to stretch it out if you want. Just be mindful of not cutting other runners off and be careful at aid stations - there's a lot of congestion and slowing down at the water stops.So I have my first-ever 10k race this Saturday. Training has gone well, even better than expected, so I feel physically ready. The only thing I am unsure of is how to handle running in large crowds - I have never done this before - the only competitive running I have done was on the cross-country team in high school many many years ago, and that was never more than a couple dozen people at once.
Any advice from seasoned runners on how to handle the crowding aspect, especially at the start? Just go with the flow until things open up a bit?
Apologies, just saw this post. It seems like three waves went about as well as planned. From where I was, there seemed to be a bit of a back-up between waves 2 and 3, and we could have used a few extra minutes (literally just 2-4 more) in between waves, but we anticipated that and had extra folks on hand to help the runners get to where they needed to be. In a perfect world, we could stage regularly-scheduled waves well into the afternoon. But that would create far too much of a burden on the cities and towns, as well as on the support staff down-course.Any initial thoughts on how three waves worked vs two waves?
I could be wrong, but I feel like ~10% is the average. Yes, it was great weather, but someone planning on skipping the Boston isn't changing their mind the Friday before the race because there's a 50% chance of a tailwind (see: 2007 Boston Marathon). Still, to be average this year, with the registration policies generating so much attention, is a bit surprising.I noticed 10% of the entrants didnt start the race. That seems pretty high especially because the conditions were just about perfect.
I believe the ratio's more like 80-20 qualified runners to charity runners. You must live in a fat, philanthropic town.I read that only 25% of the runners get in because they are representing a charity, but 15 out of 25 in my town got in that way. Is the total number still 25%?
Even before it was official that the application for WR status was denied, I didn't think it'd get credited. As much as I'd like to say I was a (VERY) small part of a world record, I thought Amby Burfoot made a compelling argument:Any chance Mutai gets the World Record? Obviously Boston is a net downhill course, but the up and down nature of the course has to negate that advantage. I've seen studies on how uphills hurt you much more than downhills help, especially when the uphills are late in a race. Same with headwinds vs tailwinds.
This doesn't mean that Boston has faster average times than other marathon courses. In fact, it doesn't. This doesn't mean that Boston is always faster than other courses; it isn't. It simply means that on rare and wondrous days, such as this past Monday, a tailwind can push Boston runners to times significantly faster than they would ever achieve on a loop course...The Boston Marathon would do well to celebrate its historic course for what it is, and not make paltry attempts to turn the course into something it's not.
I'm thinking the simplest thing to do is to consume more protein. For example, I ususally have an apple. Today, I'm having an apple with natural peanut butter. I'm replacing chips with things like hardboiled eggs. Instead of a banana, it's going to be a banana with peanut butter. Ideally, this leaves me more full and I stop craving shit like pretzels.If you can find a way to drop some weight while training I'd be excited to hear it. I'm too damn hungry these days running 30-40 miles per week.
Thanks Kremlin. I've read and thought a lot about the Paleo-diet for athletes. A colleague of mine has had great success with the regular paleo diet. Your performance in Boston has inspired me to eat better. I've started down this road before but this time, I'm going to make it work.You don't need to go all Paleo to make it work, but cutting your processed carbs by 75% or more will really help. And when you work out a lot, fuel with a maltodextrin-based drink or gel - it is vastly more effective than glucose, sucrose, or fructose-based fuels.
It seems from what I have read that 1 oz of shoe is approximately equivalent to 1 lb of weight in terms of affecting pace (both are good for 1 sec/mile). That said, I agree with loosing weight being overall better for you than buying lighter shoes. I'm going to try the same along with more frequent eatin. I find the binging when starved is when the calorie counter goes nuts.Yeah, it's like the triathletes who buy $600 wetsuits, $300 racing suits, $5,000 bikes and $150 running shoes and all the fancy aero crap, then wonder what the problem is when they are getting dropped halfway into the swim. It's the engine, not the wheels, that make you go fast. And engines that move less weight are either faster, more efficient, or both. Ten grams isn't going to make a difference, but yes, ten pounds will make you measurably faster, as long as you do it at a gradual pace so you don't hurt your fitness during the weight loss. Good luck.
Thanks. Really a remarkable experience.It seems from what I have read that 1 oz of shoe is approximately equivalent to 1 lb of weight in terms of affecting pace (both are good for 1 sec/mile). That said, I agree with loosing weight being overall better for you than buying lighter shoes. I'm going to try the same along with more frequent eatin. I find the binging when starved is when the calorie counter goes nuts.
BTW, a hearty congratulations on your Boston effort. Really tremendous especially when considering your charitable entry meant helping someone else's life while making you feel proud of the accomplishment.