Monday, November 27, 2006

On The Injured List

No more experimenting or testing out my limits–I’m taking at least a two week break from racewalking. Once all the pain is gone I’ll consider getting back into it. In the meantime I’ll check into getting orthotic inserts for my shoes.

Yikes! What does this mean?

1. Also, orthosis. a device or support, esp. for the foot, used to relieve or correct an orthopedic problem.
2. of or pertaining to orthotics.
[Origin: 1960–65; adj. deriv. of orthosis (on the model of psychosis: plychotic, etc.); see -tic]

or·thot·ics (ôr-thtks) n. (used with a sing. verb)

The science that deals with the use of specialized mechanical devices to support or supplement weakened or abnormal joints or limbs.

[From New Latin orthsis, ortht-, artificial support, brace, from Greek, a straightening, from orthoun, to straighten, from orthos, straight.]

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Long Slow Road to Recovery

The plan this morning was to do a slow 12 miles and see if my knee can take it. I split it up into two halves. The first half I did very slowly and just carried a 16 ounce bottle of water. At the 6 mile mark I stopped the clock for about 2 minutes, switched to a 24 ounce bottle of water with a peanut butter Gatorade energy bar. I was feeling pretty good so I pushed a bit harder on the second half.
Mile  1 - 13:18          Mile  4 - 13:57
Mile 2 - 13:31 Mile 5 - 13:41
Mile 3 - 13:37 Mile 6 - 13:10
Average Pace - 13:32

Mile  7 - 13:05          Mile 10 - 12:57
Mile 8 - 13:15 Mile 11 - 12:45
Mile 9 - 12:56 Mile 12 - 12:23
Average Pace - 12:54

Total Workout - 2:38:41

At times I was feeling like I was doing more damage than good, but once the endorphins kicked in somewhere around mile 5, the pain nearly went away. However, later in the day I was limping around so maybe it was a bit too soon to get back on the road.

The puzzle is, how did I injure myself and what to do to keep it from happening again. As far as I can tell the problem is with the adductor muscles on my right leg. Although the pain is in my knee, I also feel tightness where the adductor attaches to the hip. The other end of the adductor attaches to the inside front of the knee and that's exactly where it hurts. My guess is that when I hit the wall on the long walk a couple of weeks ago, my right foot started hurting fairly early and in an attempt to relieve the pain I was rolling my foot inward thus putting excess strain on the adductor. According to "Heal Your Hips" by Robert Klapper, M.D., the orthopedic surgeon who diagnosed my knee problems when I was running, the treatment is to stretch the adductors and strengthen the abductors in order to get these opposing muscle groups back into balance.

Hopefully the tight shoe problem won't happen again. I got another pair of Loco Banditos but they didn't have a half size larger so they sent me a full size larger with the option of exchanging them once their new shipment came in. Surprisingly, these size 11's seem to fit me just fine. I must have been using a full size too small all this time!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Slow Comeback

Injuries are such a nuisance. All week I was trying to do exercises that wouldn't aggravate my knee. The strength training seemed to help and so did the heat/massage pad I used every morning and evening.

Bicycling is supposed to be good but the first day I tried it the front tire was low and the hand pump didn't work so I strapped the bike to the car rack and took it to a gas station to inflate the tires. The next day the front tire was flat, guess I overinflated it and ruptured the inner tube. Following day I got a new inner tube but it had a different valve and I needed a new pump. Here we are a week later and the bicycle is finally ready to ride so what did I do? I went racwalking.

Today was workout day with the Southern Cal Walkers and I talked my wife, Rosie, into coming along. Not wanting to over do it and make things worse I used the excuse of coaching Rosie in order to take it really slow. I probably could have gone faster but my knee was telling me not to. The bottom line is that I got out there and didn't make the injury worse. In fact I'm actually feeling much better after the workout. Guess it is time to start getting back into the program--albeit very slowly.

Rosie and I were always bringing up the rear in the 800 meter repeats so if you're interested in how slow the slowest walkers were doing, here are the results:
1st 800 Meters - 7:59 - 15:58 min/mi pace
2nd 800 Meters - 7:34 - 15:08 min/mi pace
3rd 800 Meters - 7:56 - 15:52 min/mi pace

Not very impressive, but we got out there. Rosie is just getting started in racewalking and I'm getting back to it--slooowly. Tomorrow I should pick up where I left off and do 12 miles. At this pace it will take about 3 hours but the idea here is to go the distance now and work on the speed later. Hopefully my knees will agree with that.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Will you have R.I.C.E. or M.E.A.T. with that injury?

This isn't about diet. It is about what to do when injured. That's an important subject for me right now because I injured my right knee. But isn't racewalking an injury free sport? Says who? Maybe injuries aren't as common as in other sports but they do happen.

So--what to do about this sore knee?

R.I.C.E. stands for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. This is probably the most widely known injury treatment. It starts out with as much rest as possible. Next, put something really cold on the sore knee. What that does is make the blood flow away from the injury and numbs the nerves in that area. Compression, like wrapping up the knee, gives it some support and also constricts blood flow. Elevating is also perscribed to keep the blood from pooling around the injury. So it looks like the main thrust of this treatment is to take it easy and stop the blood flow.

M.E.A.T. is for Movement, Exercise, Analgesics and Treatment. I just found out about this when searching around the Internet on the Caring Medical & Rehabilitation Services website. (By the way, while I find some of their work provocative some of it like Prolotherapy and the Hauser diet looks suspect to me.) It isn't something totally new to me, when I had my knees looked at by Dr. Robert Klapper I was introduced to his book, "Heal Your Knees," and he perscribes exercise as a way to prevent or at least postphone surgery. Movement and exercise don't mean to keep doing what got you injured in the first place, it means keep active. Dr. Klapper recommended that I cross train. This morning I rode around on my bicycle and my knee was fine--until I got off the bike that is. I also did the stretching exercises and that went fine. Tomorrow I plan to do strength training. In other words, I'm continuing with all activities except for racewalking until my knee stops hurting. I'll get back to analgesics for a moment and get into the treatment. My self-diagnosis is that I stressed my ligaments and caused some tearing. In order to the body to rebuild these tears it needs a good blood supply--wait, that's the opposite of what R.I.C.E. is doing. In order to try this out I ran to the pharmacy and bought a heating pad with vibrating massage action. It sure feels better than a bag of ice on my knee!

Oh, and one treatment to avoid if at all possible is cortisone shots. That's the first thing Dr. Klapper told me when he found out I was there with sore knees.

Now what about analgesics? The most common pain reliever for knee injuries seems to be ibuprofen and that's exactly the type of medication that is not recommended in the documents I've been reading. Here's what is on the Caring Medical website has about pain relievers:
Although cortisone shots and anti-inflammatory drugs have been shown to produce short-term pain benefit for soft tissue sports injuries, both result in long-term loss of function and even more chronic pain by actually inhibiting the healing process of soft tissues and accelerating cartilage degeneration.

If that isn't scary enough, here is an excerpt from a USA Track and Field document called Fluids On Race Day:
Recent medical research has shown that non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) like Advil, Motrin, Aleve, ibuprofen, naproxen, etc. may be harmful to runners' kidney function if taken within 24 hours of running; acetaminophen (Tylenol®) has been shown to be safe. These NSAIDs are thought to increase the possibility of hyponatremia while running long distances due to their decreasing blood flow to the kidneys and interfering with a hormone that helps the body retain salt. Therefore it is recommended that on race day (specifically beginning midnight before you run) you do not use anything but acetaminophen (Tylenol®) if needed until 6 hours after you have finished the race, are able to drink without any nausea or vomiting, have urinated once, and feel physically and mentally back to normal. Then, an NSAID would be of benefit in preventing post-event muscle soreness.

And to think I was popping ibuprofen pills and the slightest tinge of pain. Acetaminophen isn't giving me the strong pain relief that I was getting from ibuprofen but I'm going to stay on this new course and hopefully my knee will repair itself stronger this time.

In the meantime, I'm not doing any racewalking--hopefully for just a little while.

Here is the entire text of the MEAT vs. RICE Treatment article and here is the science that supports it.
MEAT vs. RICE Treatment
Traditional modern medical treatment for acute injuries, such as those that occur during active sports, usually receive the RICE protocol. In fact, it’s become a standard for sports injuries and pain management. RICE, by the way, stands for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. A “P” is occasionally added to the equation. It stands for Protection, and consists of bracing or taping the area. In addition, most injured individuals are also encouraged to take anti-inflammatory medications. Unfortunately, in order to help heal injured ligaments and tendons, there couldn’t be a worse approach. Read on to find out how the RICE protocol came about, why it’s counterproductive to healing and why the MEAT (Movement, Exercise, Analgesics and Treatments) protocol is the best way to heal weakened and injured ligaments and tendons.

The RICE protocol
Ligament sprains are often accompanied by quite a bit of painful swelling, also called edema. A key premise of the RICE treatment is that this swelling is harmful to the tissue and needs to be minimized. In fact, sports medicine specialists and athletic trainers have fallen into the trap that muscles are like tendons and that tendons are like ligaments. Yet that couldn’t be further from the truth. Understanding the difference between ligaments and muscles is crucial to understanding why the RICE treatment is totally inappropriate for healing tendons and ligaments.

Muscles, because of their good circulation, heal quickly and rarely cause a long-term problem, whereas ligaments, due to their poor blood supply, often heal incompletely and are the cause of most chronic sports injuries and pain. And while the accumulation of fluids, or edema, can in fact be harmful to muscles in the form of compartment syndrome, this does not apply to ligament and tendon injuries. Compartment syndrome occurs when swelling due to an injury places pressure on the muscle tissue, which decreases circulation and healing, which cause further swelling due to fluid accumulation, which decreases healing even more. This vicious cycle can lead to permanent muscle, nerve or circulation damage, which is why the RICE treatment has become an established protocol for muscle injuries, but unfortunately has inappropriately been applied to ligament injuries as well, which operate under an entirely different set of circumstances.

Ligaments are the small and mighty bone binders – they bind together bones at the joints. They are made of collagen, one of the strongest substances in the human body. Ligaments normally receive blood vessels from small arterial plexuses from the joints, but they themselves have essentially no blood vessels. If the blood vessels from the small arterial plexuses are sheared as the result of an injury, the limited blood supply that ligaments get is completely cut off. Furthermore, the blood supply to the ligaments is the poorest at the point where the ligament attaches to the bone, called the fibro-osseous junction. This point is also the weak link in the ligament-bone complex, and the area most commonly injured during sports and responsible for most lingering sports injuries. And this is the exact site where Prolotherapy is administered! But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Let’s briefly review why the RICE protocol is inappropriate for ligaments.

Why RICE prevents healing
All of the components of RICE – rest, ice, compression and elevation – are designed to decrease swelling, and pain, by decreasing the circulation to the area, which is exactly what ligaments need to heal faster. Rest, compression and elevation, that is, immobilization, is extremely detrimental to joints and ligaments. It lowers the metabolic rate in the area. Ligaments heal slowly by nature, and they take twice as long to heal if immobilized. The fibro-osseous junction, the principal site of Prolotherapy treatments, heals even more slowly. Ice has a similar effect. And while lowering the temperature of an area is critical for certain surgeries and limb-salvage operations, where a lowered metabolism can mean the difference between success and failure, this is not so for injured ligaments. Ice leads to lower temperatures, which leads to lower metabolism, which leads to slower healing! And to make matters worse, injured athletes often continue their activities after getting “relief” from RICE, making themselves susceptible to further injury. Here’s why. The colder a ligament, the less force is needed to deform it, which is one of the reasons many athletic injuries occur in cold weather. In summary, anything that decreases the metabolic rate or blood supply to ligaments, such as rest, immobilization and ice, will further promote the decline of the ligaments, and profoundly delay their healing.

The MEAT protocol, and why it promotes healing
The more conservative, and effective, treatment for acute injuries to ligaments and tendons is the MEAT protocol. As mentioned earlier, MEAT stands for movement, exercise, analgesics and treatment. While immobility is detrimental to soft tissue healing, movement is beneficial because it improves blood flow to the injured area, removing debris. One of the effects of movement is the generation of heat, which increases blood flow. This is why the application of heat is also recommended for ligament and tendon injuries. Gentle range-of-motion exercises also help improve blood flow to the injured area. Natural analgesics, or painkillers, such as proteolytic enzymes, which break down proteins, aid soft tissue healing by reducing the viscosity, or stickiness, of the extracellular fluid. Examples include bromelain (from pineapple), trypsin, chymotrypsin and papain (from papaya). Reduced viscosity of the extracellular fluid in turn increases nutrient and waste transport from the injured site, reducing swelling, or edema. In other words, natural analgesics decrease the painful swelling of soft-tissue injuries but do not stop the natural inflammatory reactions that lead to healing, unlike anti-inflammatories, which can actually hinder healing. Narcotics such as codeine may also be prescribed short term for very painful injuries. In the short term, they are very helpful because they relieve pain without interfering with the natural healing mechanisms of the body. In fact, our bodies produce our own narcotic, called endorphins, which are released in response to an acute injury to reduce pain. Other options for pain control include pain relievers that are not synthetic anti-inflammatories, such as Tylenol or Ultram. They help relieve pain without decreasing inflammation, a critical part of the soft-tissue healing process.

And finally, treatments are used to increase blood flow and immune cell migration to the injured area that will assist ligament and tendon healing. Treatments include physical therapy, massage, chiropractic care, ultrasound, myofascial release and electrical stimulation. All improve blood flow and help soft tissue to heal. If the treatment has not healed within 6 weeks, more aggressive treatments, including Prolotherapy, should be considered. Of course if time is of the essence, Prolotherapy is quite effective as an initial treatment for acute pain, particularly in the case of acute sports injuries. In summary, the MEAT protocol is more effective and expedient than the RICE protocol when it comes to healing ligament and tendon injuries.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Half of a Long Walk is better than Nothing

The day started out sunny and warm and kept getting warmer and warmer. It is currently about 90 degrees F here in Los Angeles. I had all of my gear set and ready to go this morning but for reasons beyond my control, we never got to our usual long distance course at the beach. I did have a plan 'B' and that was to do my newly measured 6 mile course around the neighborhood. Except I wanted to do a 12 mile workout so despite some knee pain that has been dogging me since last week's 22-mile crash and burn, I set out to do the new course twice.

It is one thing to drive out to a course mentally prepared with a game plan and another thing to go out in the heat, with a sore knee and walk right past my nice cozy home halfway through. The heat, knee pain and temptation was too much for me--I only did half of the scheduled long walk but at my predetermined 30 seconds per mile over marathon goal pace. Here's how it went:
Mile 1 - 12:05
Mile 2 - 12:23
Mile 3 - 12:38
Mile 4 - 12:49
Mile 5 - 12:58
Mile 6 - 12:47
Average Pace - 12:37 Minutes per Mile
Total Workout - 1:15:42

I tried some new tricks that will hopefully help improve my endurance. Just before starting I took a packet of GU with some water. I started out well hydrated so I didn't begin taking in fluids until 30 minutes into the walk. Instead of the usual water and Gatoraid I filled my bottles with Gookinaid Hydralyte and took one 8-ounce bottle every 30 minutes. An hour into the walk I took a second GU packet and washed it down with some Hydralyte--yeah I should have used plain water but I didn't want to carry any more than necessary.

I could have put up with the heat and exhaustion but I didn't want to blow out my knee. Last time I went to the doctor to have my knees checked I was advised to cut back on running and cross train, I don't want to be told to stop walking too--I'm not quite ready to start marathon training in a wheel chair!

Speed Workouts are Working Out

I did some speed work with the Southern Cal Walkers this morning and even though I was telling myself I'd take it easy, today's workout was a timed 2k and I couldn't resist giving it a good shot at it. Here's how it went:
Lap 1 - 2:29 -  9:56 min/mi pace
Lap 2 - 2:33 - 10:12 min/mi pace
Lap 3 - 2:34 - 10:16 min/mi pace
Lap 4 - 2:40 - 10:40 min/mi pace * 10:16 Mile *
Lap 5 - 2:39 - 10:36 min/mi pace
Total time for 2k - 12:55
Average lap time - 2:35 - 10:20 min/mi pace

I didn't better my 10:09 mile from October 25, but since that was before I remeasured the course and found out it was a bit short of a mile--today was probably my fastest mile yet.

Joshua came along with me so we took the camera and here are some shots he took of me with the Southern Cal Walkers doing the 2k at the Cal Tech track.

Looks like I've got to do some more work on my technique!

Here are some of the other Southern Cal Walkers during the 2k workout--enjoy!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Pure Clear Water

Today was my strength training day. The exercises are getting more comfortable and it seems that my knees feel better after warming up.

So--what's up with water? Sure we all know that water is essential to life and lack of it will hinder athletic performance, but how many of us drink enough water?

I have a 24 ounce bottle by my bed which I start drinking as soon as I get up. I'll finish my morning bottle before going for the walk or sip it through strength training. In addition, I've been making it a habit to have a 32 ounce bottle of water on my desk and take sips all day long. I usually go through one bottle in the morning and one in the afternoon. If I'm working late I'll go through another bottle, but I always make it a point to take in at least two bottles per day. Of course there's also some liquid for meals and sometimes I'll add a sports drink, but that's in addition to the daily 88 ounces of water.

Is that enough? Well, I'm sure that water requirements vary according to the weather and level of physical effort during the day. I guess I'm taking enough water because I usually take lots of pee breaks in the afternoon. Sometimes it can get very uncomfortable trying to get home if there is too much traffic. I've also gotten into the habit of sitting on an aisle seat when watching a movie.

Now what about keeping hydrated during the long walks? I have a few Amphipod belts and for the really long walks I can load up to six 8-ounce bottles. I'm still experimenting with different mixes of water, Gatoraid and other concoctions, but basically I'm going through one bottle every 4-5 miles. That's about 8 ounces of fluid per hour. Is that enough? I found this table in "Eating for Endurance" by Ellen Coleman:
Hydration Guidelines

Drink 14 to 22 ounces of fluid about 2 hours prior to exercise.
Drink 6 to 12 ounces of fluid every 15 to 20 minutes during exercise
Drink 24 ounces of fluid for every pound of body weight lost after exercise

Yikes! If I go by this table I'm barely taking in half as much fluids during exercise as I should. In addition, I haven't been weighing myself before and after the long walks so maybe that's something that I should be doing.

So if I take one 8-ounce bottle every 30-minutes and it takes 5.5 hours to complete a marathon that's 11 bottles--no way I can carry 88 ounces on my belt. Funny thing is, that's the amount of water I'm drinking every day.

Back to re-thinking my long walk strategy. Maybe I should start relying on the numerous drinking fountains on the course--but I hate stopping!

But my quest for the ultimate guide to hydration doesn't stop here. I checked out the library at the USA Track & Field coaching area and here's something interesting on the USATF Self-Testing Program for Optimal Hydration paper:

  1. Make sure you are properly hydrated BEFORE the workout your urine should be clear.

  2. Do a warm-up run to the point where perspiration is generated, then stop. Urinate if necessary

  3. Weigh yourself naked on an accurate scale

  4. Run for one hour at an intensity similar to your targeted race.

  5. Drink a measured amount of a beverage of your choice during the run if and when you are thirsty. It is important that you keep track of exactly how much fluid you take in during the run.

  6. Do not urinate during the run.

  7. Weigh yourself naked again on the same scale you used in Step 3.

  8. You may now urinate and drink more fluids as needed. Calculate your fluid needs using the following formula:

A. Enter your body weight from Step 3 in Pounds ____________
B. Enter your body weight from Step 7 in Pounds ____________
C. Subtract B from A = ____________ x 15.3
D. Convert your total in C to fluid ounces by multiplying by 15.3 = ____________
E. Enter the amount of fluid you consumed during the run in ounces + ____________
F. Add E to D = ____________
The final figure is the number of ounces that you must consume per hour to remain well-hydrated.

Looks like I've got my work cut out for me!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Need to Revise The Workout Schedule

Not that I always have much control over my schedule--my job at DreamWorks Animation has been taking up lots of time and energy these past few days.

Anyway, did some strength training on Tuesday and the daily 3-mile walk this morning. That failed long workout on Sunday left me hurting but just resting doesn't seem to speed up recovery. On Monday I thought I'd have to take the whole week off but here we are on Wednesday feeling pretty good. This is how it went:
Mile 1 - 11:45
Mile 2 - 11:53
Mile 3 - 11:40
Average Pace - 11:46 Minutes Per Mile
Total Workout - 35:18

What I was thinking about doing is to increase the weekday walk to 6 miles and do it every other day. What would probably work best is instead of doing 3 miles on Tuesday through Friday (Monday is my day off) I'd do 6 miles on Tuesday and Thursday. This wouldn't increase my weekly mileage but it would make each workout longer. On Wednesday and Friday I'd do strength training. Of course stretching would be included on every day--perhaps even the day off. This would require setting the alarm a half-hour earlier.

And guess what--tomorrow I've been asked to come into work an hour earlier. Ugh, guess I can't start the new schedule just yet.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Crash and Burn

Today was my long walk and well, the title tells it all. It was my first attempt at racewalking the marathon distance and here's how it went:
Mile  1 - 11:39          Mile  8 - 11:46          Mile 15 - 13:08
Mile 2 - 13:16 Mile 9 - 11:55 Mile 16 - 12:08
Mile 3 - 13:01 Mile 10 - 12:50 Mile 17 - 12:17
Mile 4 - 13:02 Mile 11 - 12:36 Mile 18 - 13:26
Mile 5 - 13:00 Mile 12 - 12:47 Mile 19 - 13:24
Mile 6 - 12:44 Mile 13 - 12:54 Mile 20 - 13:52
Mile 7 - 12:57 Mile 14 - 12:41 Mile 21 - 14:09
_____________________________Crash and Burn --> Mile 22 - 14:52
Average Pace - 12:55 Minutes Per Mile
Total Workout - 4:44:24

Apparently I used up my glycogen stores around mile 20 and my body had to switch over to burning fat. You'd think that's a good thing to burn fat but it takes more energy and it slows you down. In addition, it can play tricks with your mind. To quote from British Journal of Sports Medicine article, Cognitive orientations in marathon running and “hitting the wall” by Clare D Stevinson and Stuart J H Biddle:
“The wall” is a term used in the context of a marathon to refer to the point, generally at about 20 miles, where glycogen supplies have been exhausted and energy has to be converted from fat. This is a slower process than with glycogen and the consequential shortage of glucose to the brain may result in hypoglycaemia, the scientific term for “the wall”. This can be an extremely unpleasant experience with symptoms including a lack of physical coordination, dehydration, paraesthesia (tingling or numbness in the toes or fingers), nausea, muscle spasms, dizziness, an inability to think clearly, and extreme physical weakness.

At least I was thinking clearly enough to stop the workout.

Even though I didn't read this article before the workout, I was sort of expecting something like this would happen. I haven't been doing enough long distance work and even though I had a few "forced" days off during the week due to my job workload, I might have pushed it a little too hard the day before this long walk.

I was feeling pretty good through most of the walk. In fact this was the first time that I was able to keep Joshua, my running nephew, within my sight for almost 8 miles, but Joshua had to quit at mile 10 because of a side ache. I might have done better if we had started earlier but it was a nice sunny day at the beach and the warm temperature brought out quite a crowd. By the end of the workout it was getting difficult just to weave through the masses on the boardwalk.

In addition, my feet must have swelled up because the right shoe was feeling tight in the toe box. I didn't blister but a toenail got enough pressure to bleed slightly. I must have been trying to keep the weight off the foot and as a result I hurt my right knee. Once I gave up the workout I took off my shoes and walked barefoot on the wet sand--that felt so good! I still like the shoes, Loco Banditos, but they seem to run small and I'll need to try out a half-size larger.

Overall it wasn't a total disaster. Up until mile 17 my average pace was 12:37 min/mile and I feel that I could have gone faster. The big question--is hitting the wall a matter of distance or time? In other words, was that wall at mile 18 or at hour 4?

The only way to find out is to do more distance workouts. But there is a saying that goes like, "long slow distance workouts creates slow distance runners." Maybe push some more on the long walks? Hit the wall a little harder or walk through the wall? Better yet, move the wall out of the way.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Little Workout Before the Big Workout

Today I worked out with the Southern Cal Walkers at the Cal Tech track. I kept it easy so I wouldn't burn out for the long walk tomorrow.

2x 300 meter repeats
1st repeat - 1:47 - 9:30 min/mi pace
2nd repeat - 1:47

3x 800 meter repeats
1st repeat - 5:52 - 11:44 min/mi pace
2nd repeat - 5:50 - 11:40 min/mi pace
3rd repeat - 5:33 - 11:06 min/mi pace

I tried for a good effort on the 300 meters and an easy, marathon pace for the 800 meters, though I did push a bit harder on the final 200 meters of the workout. Overall it felt good.

Tomorrow is the long, 26 mile walk. The plan is to keep it easy and complete it without breaking down.

By the way, the reason why I list the minutes per mile pace is because that way I can compare my progress with the L.A. Marathon results list. Once the marathon is over I'm considering switching over to kilometers instead of miles.

Friday, November 10, 2006

160 spm = 160 bpm = 12 minutes per mile?

This morning I tried something different. I took along a portable metronome, a Seiko DM-50 like the one pictured above, and figured out how many steps per minute I'm doing at my "normal" 12 per mile pace. It took the first half mile to get the foot falls in sync with the metronome and it came out to 160 steps per minute. Checking the heart rate monitor near the end of the walk it was reading just under 160 beats per minute. I missed marking the second mile accuratly but the overall workout did average out to 12 minutes per mile so now I've got a rough formula:

160 Steps Per Minute = about 160 Heart Beats Per Minute = 12 Minutes Per Mile Average Pace

Now for the interesting part. According to the chart from Curt Sheller's article, at 160 spm and 12 min/mile I don't even have a 3 foot stride! Here's how it calculates out:

12 min X 160 spm = 1,920 steps per mile

5,280 feet per mile / 1,920 steps = 2.75 feet per step

I guess that before trying to increase my steps per minute I should look at extending my stride. I'm 5 foot 10 inches tall so I should be able to step out more than 2 feet 9 inches!

Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Indecision after Election Day

It took me quite a while to go through all the races and ballot measures for yesterday's election. I even took a training day off and made it to the polls first thing in the morning.

So much for decision making--this morning I started out doing just a quick mile, maybe 12 minutes? Not much of a workout but I had an early morning eye doctor appointment and didn't want to take another day off. Halfway through the mile I was feeling good so I picked up the pace.

10:32 minutes per mile

Not a PR, but I did have to go 50 yards further than my mile PR because I remeasured the course. Maybe I did just walk my best mile.

However, if I was going at a 12 min/mile pace for the first half, what did I do on the second half? Sounds like one of those math word problems. Let's see, 1/2 mile at 12 min/mile = 6 minutes and 10:32 mile - 6 minutes = 4:32 min second half which comes out to 4:32 x 2 = 9:04 min/mile pace.

I was hoping to break 10 minutes for a mile but now it seems that I should set a goal to break 9 minutes. That's not as crazy as it may seem at first. According the the age grading card some of the Southern Cal Walkers were carrying, a 51 year old racewalker in good shape should be able to do an 8 minute mile. Now that seems crazy at this point in my training.

Monday, November 6, 2006

Relaxing at 13 Minutes Per Mile

The main thing I wanted to do this morning was to warm up and do some stretching. I did the three miles at a relaxed, comfortable pace. Something that I'm pretty sure I could keep up all day. Here's how it went:
Mile 1 - 13:01
Mile 2 - 13:07
Mile 3 - 12:55
Average Pace - 13:01
Total Workout - 39:04

Not bad, I wasn't pushing myself at all and it was feeling like what 14 minutes per mile felt like just a few weeks ago. I should be able to do the 26 miles next weekend at this pace--we'll see.

Sunday, November 5, 2006

Exceeded Yet Another Goal

On Thursday I passed my goal pace of 12 minutes per mile for the 3-mile daily walk, today on the long day I bettered my 11:33 pace by 33 seconds. In addition I also bettered 12 minutes per mile on the whole 8-mile long walk.

I didn't start out the day with these goals in mind. In fact I wasn't feeling up to doing the walk at all when I started. That fast 3-mile walk on Thursday got my knees aching and since I have had knee problems before I didn't want to push it so I took Friday off. On Saturday I went to Cal Tech with my wife, Rosie, and worked out with the Southern Cal Walkers. There weren't many people there because they were staging a one-hour postal on Sunday. I wasn't up to competing and wanted to stay on a marathon schedule. In any case, doing some accelerations on the track gave me confidence that I could do a long walk. In addition, I changed the lacing on my shoes to snug up the heel now that I don't have blisters to deal with. This morning I couldn't make up my mind if I wanted to do a full 8-miles or cut it short. My nephew, Joshua, is back to running after his shin accident and he was up to doing 8-miles. Anyway, I took off fast figuring that I'd stop when I felt like it.

Here's how it went:
Mile 1 - 11:06
Mile 2 - 10:55
Mile 3 - 10:58 * New PR for 3 miles 33:00 minutes, Average Pace - 11:00 Minutes per Mile
Mile 4 - 12:28
Mile 5 - 12:26
Mile 6 - 12:51
Mile 7 - 12:42
Mile 8 - 12:16
Average Pace - 11:58 Minutes per Mile * New PR for 8 miles
Total Workout - 1:35:46

I knew I started too fast and was pleased with the time on the first mile. The second and third mile surprised me, I didn't feel like I was pushing that hard. On the fourth mile the heart rate monitor got up to 180 bpm and the it the weather was really warming up. Hot and dry, great. I was also walking with the breeze so it seemed even hotter. I decided to slow down, maybe four miles would be enough for today. However, that slightly slower pace was enough to recover. At one point on mile four a great looking blond woman smiled at me and yelled out that I walked like a woman. "Oh yeah?" I yelled back, "try to keep up with me." I'm glad she didn't take me on on it because I was getting really tired at that point. The next game I decided to play was to see how far I can go in an hour, just to see what would have happened if I had entered the Southern Cal Walkers' event. By the hour mark I was at around 5.25 miles--good, but not great. Uh oh--with the hot dry weather and the extra effort I was putting into this walk I ran out of Gateraid. I only filled up two 8-ounce bottles and that was obviously not enough. At that point I figured that even if I crawled the rest of way I'd still have a pretty good time so I relaxed on miles six and seven, yet still did better than the 13 minute per mile pace that was my goal pace just a few weeks ago. Finally I gave it one more push on the last mile, just enough to finish strong but not exactly a 100% effort.

So what's up next? If things go as planned my nephew and I will do a slow 26 miles next week--just to get a feel for going the distance and to make up for lost workouts. My goal is to finish it without blisters and feel good when it is over.

Thursday, November 2, 2006

Finally Exceeded Daily Goal Pace

This morning I tried to do 12 minute miles on the 3-mile walk once again. This time I warmed up and gave it a good effort with the heart rate going around 168 bpm. Here's how it went:
Mile 1 - 11:23
Mile 2 - 11:35
Mile 3 - 11:40
Average Pace - 11:33 minutes per mile
Total Workout - 34:39

I also found that you can map out a course on the USA Track & Field web site so I mapped out my 3-mile neighborhood course and found that it came out shorter than I measured it. So--I might be faster than 11:33 minutes per mile. Humm--maybe I'll get a GPS after all.

My right knee was feeling slightly sore, but not too bad. It was probably due to compensating for the blisters on my right heel for the past few weeks but now that it is better I'm hoping that the knee pain will go away too. Another issue was that my right shoe seemed a little loose on the heel. Again that was probably because I was trying to take the pressure off the heel but now that it is healed I could snug it up a bit.

Wednesday, November 1, 2006

Racewaking Clinic Classmates Do Big Sur Half

Several classmates from Dave McGovern's Solano Beach racewalking clinic participated in the Big Sur half-marathon. Here are their results:
Jim Paschall------2:25:47
Karen Byrne-------2:28:51
Trisha Petraglia--2:29:19
Deanne Edwards----2:29:41
Jules Fox---------2:35:11
Pat Paschall------2:38:02

Wow, that's pretty good. The fastest average pace was Jim Paschall's 11 min/mile and his wife did a very respectable 12 min/mile. That in itself is impressive but add to this the hills in Big Sur and it is quite amazing. Congratulations to Coach Sloan Zsiro and her "Walk This Way" club.

How am I doing? Well, I finally got rid of those blister pads and after taking a day off I'm feeling pretty good though I still have a slight case of wobbly knees. Once again I jumped out of bed (after hitting the snooze button about a dozen times) and hit the pavement.
Mile 1 - 12:23
Mile 2 - 12:35
Mile 3 - 12:15
Average pace - 12:24 minutes per mile
Total Workout - 37:15

So, I've got a long way to go before I could consider myself up to the level of my classmates, but then again I've been slacking off these last few days. Time to push myself a little harder.