Saturday, September 28, 2013

Tis the Season

Autumn in Seattle:

A perfect morning for a run! The temperature was a cool 58 degrees - on the edge for running shorts and a tech T-shirt but I was comfortable as I started the run straight from the car. No time to get chilled, and running kept the core temperature up from there.

another 5 degrees and I would have switched from shorts to tights. I love this cool weather - the trail is much less crowded and you can't overheat as easily when you are being water-cooled!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Testing the Water - Running again

Knee Issues turn into Non-Issues

After last years busy schedule I slacked off running due in part to knee pain. I was seriously looking at hanging up the Brookes and moving over to Clip-ins. This was a big change for me. If you've followed the blog for any period of time you know my love for running is immense. I get a lot out of it, mentally, physically and spiritually. I half way resigned myself to running 5Ks every week or so and making due with a half hour of my favorite pastime.

Time heals all wounds

Apparently my knees needed rest. The time I let my running slack off allowed for some healing as I have now resumed a moderate level of running. At work we have a program challenging employees to complete two months of exercise. If you perform an average of 30 minutes a day over the course of the program you are rewarded with $100.00 amazon gift certificates - being a "Prime" member this was a great incentive and serves as motivation, but having recently returned to running I am wary that I might overdue. 

Appease the Knees

The knee issues seemed to be the result of running downhill without providing them with enough isolation. and as my favorite local route, (right outside my door) has a bunch of hills, I need to be very careful of the stride impact. 

The downhill stride is much different from running uphill or on level ground, the force of gravity is pulling you to go faster and your stride which on level ground is attempting to sustain your speed now must resisting this pull. The force of impact is now directed opposite of the force you normally exert. Maintaining the same technique you would use for level running will cause large increases in impact force to the knees.   

Reduce the Force and Expand Impact Area 

Reduce the force by increasing the pace - not the speed. Shortening your stride reduces the overall impact by increasing the amount of steps over a given distance - each step must absorb less of the overall energy.

Expanding the impact area is more complex. move the strike further up the foot - mid foot at a minimum, keep your heel off the pavement, running downhill with heel-strike is a recipe for disaster. Lean forward slightly - yes it's counter intuitive you are trying to control speed so you lean back, but leaning back again focuses the impact of your body directly on the knees. If you lean forward slightly more of the impact force is absorbed across the spine and hips dividing the overall impact many times.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

What your Coach Never Told You about Running!

Sometimes as we progress through life we experience issues that can scare the bejeebers out of us. One of these happened while running last week. First off - What a wonderful run! 9:30 pace for a 10K, and No knee pain! I was a happy runner! At least until I went home.


This is all well and good but when I got home I experienced something I had never experienced before and it scared me silly - Blood in the urine! Yes, it is very, VERY disconcerting when the toilet bowl is RED, not a pink, but a bright deep angry red. Did I mention being scared?

I waited for my wife to get home and consulted her. She thought my assessment was quite valid and apropos. She went with me to the doc's office.

Doctors are not omniscient, and doing some research on your own can help ease the tension of a mind running through all sorts of dreadful diagnosis Since blood in the urine is determined by exclusion - ruling out what might cause it - Doctors are careful to make sure it is NOT the worst things ( bladder, prostate, or kidney cancers) or something easy to diagnose, like an infection. If all the blood tests come back negative, then an ultrasound will be scheduled. That's where I'm at now - no sign of infection. No signs of prostate issues. So they are going to look at the bladder itself. I'm thinking they are not going to find anything. Three days out and I am back to normal but I will go through the ultrasound just to dot the 'i's and cross the 't's  

Running on an empty stomach - good. Running on an empty bladder? Not so much!

Raise your hand if you go to the bathroom and empty your bladder before running. We all do. Who wants to run when you got to go? It appears that a study was performed by a british Naval surgeon named Blacklock. Cpt Blacklock was wanting to know why some of the cadets were having this malady. Using a cytoscope, he saw that the bladders of the men were all bruised and bleeding. This was caused by running on an empty bladder. the issue does not present itself on a half filled bladder. 

So how does this help us? I will still empty my bladder before running, or else I won't be able to run as far - We are not talking about 50yd dashes, we are talking miles and miles. I am hoping that this does not happen often - this was the first time for me and hopefully the last. But not to worry If it happens again, I now have the knowledge not to freak out. And if you read this, hopefully you will too!