Saturday, November 26, 2011

Running and Tech Part 3

Gear that Gets You Going

Runkeeper v2.9 Review

Anyone with an  iPhone or Android based phone can attest to their "swiss army knife-iferousness" they can call, surf,  play, snap, and many other one syllable verbs. After getting a Sprint HTC Evo last may I found that there is one application no Android ( or iPhone) should be without. This lil app is called Runkeeper. It sounds simple enough, but the wealth of information the app coaxes out of your smartphone is awesome.

Activity Type

Activity Type is where you set Runkeeper's calculations for your workout - there are many activities to choose from that set Runkeeper up to accurately calculate the amount of work done ( i.e. 30 miles of biking burns less calories than 30 miles of running)


Google Maps, Google maps that you can draw on, Google maps that you can draw on that save the drawings and tell you how far you've drawn. Is this cool or what? Everybody has their old comfy routes that they know like the back of their hands, why not document them so you can share them with others? I've found this feature useful now I can tell friends that want to go running with me exactly what they are in for. 

Real Time Data and Feedback

Real time data, without having to look at your device. This is a nice feature and in Runkeeper it is VERY configurable - You get to choose the audio data and when you hear it. Pace, speed and distance can be provided at the specific interval; you choose if you want to hear it every 10 minutes or every 2 miles. On a personal note, I really like hearing the cues, I have mine set for every 5 minutes. Runkeeper delivers them seemlessly - it will operate transparently with any other audio you have running.  The info is nice and allows you to focus on the activity, not checking your watch every moment or so. Depending on the speaker phone power of your device, you may be able to hear the cues without too much difficulty while doing other activities as well. It's pretty much a non-issue, but can be an issue if you keep it in your pocket on bike rides

The Website
From the webpage, all the information is at your fingertips, a very nice way to show pace and elevation. Breaking out the split times in mile intervals is helpful in building consistency and seeing the effects of adjustments you make during your run.

I did not have a heart meter for this review, but I am looking into them - heart rate is a very important stat in training.


Runkeeper does one thing well - it is an awesome app for measuring fitness progress, but even smarter than that, they leverage the 200 ton gorilla that is Facebook to increase their networks reach and leave the "social" to the experts, but you can also link directly to your friends within a feature called Street Team.

The folks at Runkeeper realize that everyone is social on twitter and facebook - you can choose  to let built in connectors post your activities to  the social networks.

Runkeeper was not satisfied just to let you tell folks what you have done, they want you to be able to tell them what you are doing, right now without having to fumble for your keyboard on a long run

This is so techy-cool, your friends can track you live, They will see if you fall down a well, Lassie is now redundant

Well, Doesn't That Just Frost You!

Knee pain is a quirky, stupid, and aggravating thing!
Sometimes the waiting game doesn't pay off, some times it does. This time it turned out to be the waiting game that paid off. I waited until the pain was a memory and started again, first 4 miles, no pain. 6 miles, no pain. Another 6 miles and a little warning pain. ARRRG!

Frosted Flakes fortified with Essential Insights!

Then came the fateful Sunday morning, I wanted to get a run in before church, it was a foggy, icy, frosty, cold November morning. You could tell the sun had grudgingly rose by the slightly less dark 50 meter circle of world the fog permitted you to see. The thermometer in my truck read 27 but the ashpalt running trail appeared only slightly damp I'd have to test it, but the path did not look to slick. I was running a 5 mile course Auburn to Kent and back. The start of a run in always a time to check out your body - before I get started I usually stretch out Achilles, but since I'm not going too fast I let the beginning of the run serve as warm up. The trail is not slick at all, but I notice white patches of frost in the distance. there is no chance of  measurable precipitation, but the occasional flake falls through the fog, condensing in the 500-1000 feet of fog above my head. I hit the white patches of trail carefully, not too slippery. I see other prints in the frost trail off ahead of me. I wasn't the first one out? wow, early runner! At least there's only one set of prints, I feel like less of a slacker. Crossing the train tracks just past 277th  I exercise extreme caution, the hardened rubber plates dividing the track are slick!

The run feels good, but I'm starting to feel the tell tale twinge in my right knee as I'm crossing the green river bridge - I'm being really careful as the bridge was covered in a thick coasting of frost. The frost is pretty much covering the trail - I take this time to critique the preceding runners tracks - great form, straight steps, but the stride is way long, either he's 8'5" or he's setting himself up for problems, or he's sprinting the whole way.
I reach the turn around at Willis and head back. My knee is telling me it's hurting, but not to intensely. as I look back across the path to the now two sets of tracks in the frost. My stride is an easy 8-10 inches shorter, then EUREKA!!!!!!

You Run Like a Penguin!

My stride may be perfect for maintaining the proper cadence ( 180 steps per minute) but I'm running like a PENGUIN! I just figured out why the inside on my right knee is hurting - GAS PEDAL FOOT! While you are driving, your right heel tends to sit between your brake pedal and the accelerator but the top of your foot rests off at an angle - over time that becomes an accustomed rest position for the foot, and when you are running, if you maintain that position the end of your right stride puts additional pressure on the front inside of your knee joint.

The rest of the run I concentrated on the now unnatural feel of straight in line footfalls, it felt wierd, but NO MORE PAIN!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Back in the Saddle Again

And so it ends...

The chapter of my life dedicated to meniscus pain that kept me from running. Today I ran a half marathon - at an easy 12 minute/mile pace but nonetheless I feel that the act of completing the long run puts me back into the "runners" mode. I will go back to 10ks for the forseeable future with another 1/2 here or there as the situation requires. This is happening at the perfect time of year. Summer is winding down, even though it fitfully just begun. Cooler temps will allow for more afternoon runs, cloudy/rainy days will obviate the need for sunscreen

I have started to feel the delicious stiffness and soreness of calf and Achilles: the good soreness, where you know that a mile down the road it will be a memory - until you stop again! Today  I will rest-day it tomorrow I will do a 10k and see if it feels as short as I remember :)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Three after Eight

A Matter of Time
"Two weeks" is what the doctor said, "You could be running two weeks after the procedure" I take Dr. Hunter at his word but a couple of days before I hit the magic mark I dump my Harley on my ankle. Ouch. well, it's just a minor thing, I limp for a week and get over it. the next week was too busy to even try to get in any running so we are out 4 weeks after the procedure - TWO MONTHS since I've ran. I am burning up for a run and a free Saturday could not happen at a better time.

Vacationing in Lovely Nirvana 

The morning of the run I knew it would be a hot day, so I hit interurban at 7:00am. I'm not sure how my knee would react to running, so I plan to run my short run - a 10k. the run starts off easy, I forgot my heart meter strap, but wore the Garmin anyway. I can turn around at the first notion of pain and if it's too bad I can walk back. A mile into the run I am reliving all the pleasure that I had been missing these two months now. In the back of my head the dreaded 4 mile pain is looming large in my mind, but it never starts at mile two, mile three I would start to feel the beginnings of the pain, and I was so focused on it that I think I was imagining it - by 3.25 my imagination was in check, I definately would have felt something, but all I felt was my stupid ankle that hurt a bit but did not worsen as the run progressed. I decided at the 10K turn around point that I would extend the run to my "medium" run of 8 miles since there was no sign of knee pain. At mile 4 I felt nothing but satisfaction that there was no pain. I prayed thanksgiving that God could put such awesome surgeons in my life. I was looking at stretching the run into a 1/2 marathon, but at mile 6 I considered that might be overdoing it, especially since I had only hydrated with two cups of coffee, and the heat of what would be a 90 degree day was starting to climb quickly. Mile 7 convinced me that 13 was too optimistic but that is fine, 8 miles was heaven, I AM BACK! Bliss has been recaptured.

Diversions in Hades

Then comes the next morning, on waking I notice that my legs are quite stiff, as I start to get out of bed I set my feet on the floor *ow* I try to raise myself out of bed *#%€£¥* I can't put any weight on the leg - the knee is screaming, and even hopping on the other leg hurts it. Ok, hit the bathroom, go downstairs, get food and down 800mgs of ibuprofen, sit with icepack and watch the morning news. I attempt to get up again and the knee is still screaming, "ok, time for stronger measures" I grab the vicodin and hope for some relief. A little, but more ice is needed. This went on for the rest of the day the next morning I head into work and limp all day, but the limp gets slightly better as the day progresses. More ice in the afternoon, and by the next day the limp is almost gone, I call the doc and he says that 8 miles was a bit much, he doesn't think any more damage is done and rest ice and ibu should help. A scary couple of days but I am still jubilant that running 8 miles was a possibility again. Fast-forward 1 week and I star over, this time with a little more moderation - 3 miles around a track, my pace is decidedly faster than normal, but I'm feeling good, after about 30 minutes I'm done and heading home to ice and ibuprofen. The next day ( today, actually) I'm feeling good, tonight I will go for 5 and see how that works... Wish me luck!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Now Don't Jump the Gun!

OK! Swelling is going down quick! 4 days out of surgery I HAVE A KNEECAP! my limp is almost gone and I'm feeling very spunky. Thursday I may try my elliptical and if all goes well I may run Saturday morning. I will most likely run at a high school track so I can stop if I start to feel pain. This may be a bit quick but I'm feeling EXCELLENT. An icepack on my knee is taking care of residual swelling and tomorrow I won't wear an ACE bandage. I have refrained from taking ibuprofen, but if I could I know the swelling would be gone.

RUNNING! I am SO mentally ready, I think it is setting my mind  on only one goal, if I do 16 laps at the high school track, I will be at four miles. I should start to feel pain if the meniscus isn't the issue. Of course if the meniscus isn't the issue the pain will only be minor.
However if I do regain a slight bit of composure I may opt for a bike ride Friday. That will be much less impactful on my knee.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Healing and Waiting

It's getting better all the time....

Surgery on Friday was great. Annette came and visited me during the preop wait - which was awesome because my surgeon, Dr. Hunter, was running late - sometimes stuff happens, and if he needs to take more time with a procedure ahead of me, I am sure he would do the same for me if needed. Annette showed me pictures of the "Warrior Dash" she participated in, looked like fun, I have a couple of friends that did it, the next one I will be up for.

I am now (according to Dr. Hunter's estimate) 12 days away from running. I NEED TO RUN, I cannot state it more clearly, my mind is frazzled and nothing would help it more than miles and miles and miles (and miles and miles)

A Slide =(
Oy, I should have known, my discipline has been nil. I've eaten and gained - fully dressed i'm tipping the scales at 236 and I am sure that even with my celphone, my clothing does not weigh 16 pounds. Running will not address this, it's all discipline and self control. Running may make it easier to get rid of, but I need to get my mind right  food /= comfort. Only being right with yourself brings comfort, and sometimes to get there you need to be uncomfortable - so be it. I'm not ready for any type of relationship but no one want a fat pig for a boyfriend.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Waiting for the Knife

Meniscus tear *or* Clean up on aisle KNEE

So I have arraigned for surgery - it happens Friday, an arthroscopic procedure to trim away the torn meniscus and get me back in the run again.  So far biking hasn't aggravated it at all, and walking is no issue - even Dance Central on my 360 is fine, it's just running : /

I have been able to keep some exercise going, but I want, no I NEED to run and the prognosis is that two weeks after the surgery I will.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Running Through the Pain

My Knee is Bringing Me to My Knees!

For the psat couple of months I have developed a pain in my knee that debilitates after a certain distance - I ran through the pain today and completed my first 10k in a couple of months, but I need to get something done about it. Biking is fun and all, but I live to run.

Although I busted my lower femur in tae kwon do, I have had no issues with it and that is not where the pain resides. Looking at the diagram above the pain is coming from the left side top of the tibia or the miniscus The pain does not start immediately, it happens slowly after about 4 miles I become aware of it, then at five miles it is a constant thrum at mile six I am wanting to stop. once I stop and walk the pain is gone, but it returns quickly if I begin to run again. I made it the whole 10K and thats what I was praying for, now it's time to go to the doctor and get something done about it

UPDATE: the doctor recommended an MRI which revealed a torn meniscus, and the orthopedic surgeon said it's a simple procedure - I should be running again in two weeks after the procedure... I CAN"T WAIT!!!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

It's been a while...

Changes are not always good, but how you deal with them can be.

April 2nd my wife passed away from cancer - specifically Glioblastoma Multiform. This was a race we could not win. This was a race that we needed all our strength to finish. Cancer is evil, but it taught me what love means, what family means, and what is important in life. I am blessed to have faith - this gift is more powerful than most people can imagine and has saved me from despair.

During this time, my ability to fit running into my life has been somewhat constrained. Running has been a large part of my life for the last year or so. It is my tool for dealing with stress. During the final phase of my wife's cancer, I was blessed with inner strength, I was not able to run much at all, that's OK, I was there for my wife as I should be and looking back, in that time I found the truest love of all, I found it in caring for someone I love - caring beyond my own ability and growing in love that is beyond any I have felt before. I thank the Lord for my 26 years with Evi and know that now she stands before God and is singing with the saints.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Running into the new year

Start it off right.

My return to sanity began on Christmas Eve with a much needed half marathon, no real worry about speed, just time to run and run and run.

NOTE: this was two runs - a 5 mile run earlier in the week, and my Half-M on Christmas Eve - I forgot to reset the Garmin between runs (doh!)

It was slow, cathartic, exultant, and so needed! You can't replace the feeling that endorphins bring at the end of a frazzling week!
My employer provides for a block of time off between Christmas and New Years Day, I used this time to great effect. After that run I had a few days of being busy, but I tried to use the morning times to recharge my base. , I've been very busy at work and home life presents lots of challenges, so it was nice to be able to string together a few 10Km runs. I ended up doing a little over 31 miles in total, which was very theraputic. Although maintaining an aerobic heart rate was not in the cards. for the majority of them, I was in close proximity for a few.

I took new years eve off to rest up for a group run that never materialized on new years day, so I went and dropped another 10K into the books

No need for a resolution about running, it's like saying "I resolve to breathe this year." Runnning is more therapy than fitness now. The rates for this therapist is quite reasonable.