Tuesday, May 27, 2008

CBC Radio Interview

I was interviewed by Michael Bhardwaj for the CBC Ottawa Radio One program In Town And Out last week.  The interview revolved around why I was doing my first Marathon, the reasons for doing it, what I have done to prepare, etc.

Michael sent me the interview as an MP3 which I have posted in case you'd like to hear it: Mark's Interview



Recovering is going well.  We started the recovery immediately after the race with some sports drinks for electrolyte replenishment, some food including chips to get back some of the salt we lost, some YoPro Ice-Cream (check this stuff out, ice-cream with the nutrition requirements of athletes taken into account), and lots of rest.

Yesterday there was a lot of hobbling but today Scott and I are both doing excellent.  Sitting for a long time leads to some stiffness which is usually gone after a little bit of movement.  Additionally, I am doing some stretching to limber up the muscles.

Both of us have a few sore spots that will take a little longer to recover.  Like my left knee which is still weak/sore, my right foot (arches) which are sore/tired, and Scott's knees which are a little sore.

Overall though, we are pleased with our performance, pleased with the recovery, and the fact that we did so much better than we thought possible given our state going into the race (we had both missed some large blocks of training due to illness and we both dealing with injuries).

Now we are talking about what will be next.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Marathon Breakdown

Split by km
DistanceLapTotal Time
1 km6:33
2 km5:54
3 km5:58
4 km5:52
5 km5:56
6 km5:44
7 km5:44
8 km5:44
9 km5:35
10 km6:001:01:12
11 km5:39
12 km5:43
13 km5:44
14 km5:44
15 km5:48
16 km5:57
17 km6:07
18 km5:53
19 km6:02
20 km6:03
21 km6:012:06:52
22 km6:09
23 km6:28
24 km5:58
25 km6:03
26 km6:19
27 km6:50
28 km6:09
29 km6:09
30 km6:333:02:54
31 km7:14
32 km6:21
33 km5:42
34 km9:24
35 km6:22
36 km7:14
37 km6:21
38 km6:54
39 km6:53
40 km7:57
41 km7:29
42.2 km9:294:28:14

Sunday, May 25, 2008

It Is Done!!!!

A Marathon Virgin No-More!!!

Scott and I ran the entire race together and both finished with a time of 4:28:14. An average pace of 10:14/mile or 6:21/km. Yes, just 42.2 km in 4 hours 28 minutes and 14 seconds.

First, yes, it hurt and I would have not achieved that time without Scott to cheer me on, push me when I needed it, and kick me in the ass (he actually did for good effect once).

We paced ourselves well, never totally blew up, but I was getting hot and felt like I was going to get sick after 36 km. Scott keep pushing me to give it all I had with such inspirational quotes as "You can walk in 30 minutes man" or "Come on, we can beat 4:30 on your first Marathon."

All in all, it was a great race. We had fun, we laughed a lot, we formed salt crystal grim on our faces which felt like sand, we made it all the way, and we can still walk. Though more shuffle than walk, something similar to a classic zombie shuffle.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

One Sleep Left

Well, it's been a while since I last posted. Here is an update:

  • Ran the last few runs during my taper. Nothing eventful still some calf tightness.
  • Missed my last 2 runs since I was feeling sluggish and figured better to not run than get in 2 more short runs.
  • Did an interview for the CBC Radio One show In Town and Out with Michael Bhardwaj about preparing for and why I want to do my first Marathon. When I get permission to post the interview I will. For now check out the home page and look for the First Marathoner story.
  • Picked up my friend Scott who egged me into doing the ING Ottawa Marathon this year and I egged him into joining me.
  • Played running bum with Scott and hung out for a long time at the Running Expo.
  • Relaxed and hung out with Scott and my family.

So everyone asks what time am I aiming for. I have no real idea what I can do the Marathon in. I have had calf cramping issues and a tight hamstring. Everything feels better now and hopefully the two taper weeks have done me good. That said, the calf cramping has been a major mental wall that I have had to deal with. This had made me doubt my ability to do the entire race running (something I strive for, minus the occasional water station walk break).

I fell strong and have been increasing my potassium intake which should help reduce cramping. I have even gone out and gotten a sports drink with more potassium to try to help with that killer 16 mile point when the cramps hit.

Ok, gotta go to bed and get some rest.

I'll post an update tomorrow night.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Heat...Give Me Heat

Ok, so today I had my first of 4 ART visits before the race. Dr. Geoff (as he is called by many) went to work on my calfs and found a couple big scar tissue areas. My right calf was super tight and he found a BIG knot in that group of muscles.

Dr. Geoff started in on my calf and after some good digging into the muscle he struck gold. What type of gold? Well, my calf cramped up like when I run and the pain I experience when I run was on me strong.

It's crazy, when he hits the spot, the power of the knot being worked out can break you out in a sweat. At least that's what happened to me. Let's just say, it was intense.

Last night was 30 minutes in the sauna with lots of stretching using a long belt (old karate belt) over my foot. With my leg in the air while lying on my back I use the belt to get better leverage to really stretch out the hamstrings and calf muscles. Tonight, was more heat and more stretching.

The calfs are tender where Dr. Geoff worked on them but I am hoping that with his work, my stretching, and yoga I will be able to work out the knot and stretch my calfs. Not to mention my daily use of The Stick to help rolling pin out the knots as best I can.

Here's to more more heat tomorrow night to help get my stretch on.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Continuing Calf Saga

Well, after a Sports Medicine Doctor's assessment, it looks like the only thing I can do to help with the calf cramping I am getting at about 15 miles is to continue what I am doing. Running, stretching, ART (Active Release Therapy), yoga, and maybe add some massage.

After my 19.25 mile run ended in a long walk after cramps/pain set in at 15.5 miles I scheduled a visit to a Sports Medicine Doctor at PSI Sports Medicine, at the Palladium (home of the Senators). I had the appointment yesterday and it went well enough. My symptoms do not show signs of Lower Extermity, Compartment Syndrome, a blood clot, or a stress fracture.

The Doctor did warn me that if the pain moved from the entire calf region to the front of my leg and became acute then I need to stop as this could be a sign of a stress fracture. A broken bone while running is not cool he informed me (ya, I could guess that).

In general he said it is probably just a cramp brought on by muscle exhaustion or any number of other items that could cause a cramp. The pain and radiating into my knee does not sound like a problem since it goes away once I rest the leg for a while or if I walk it off.

So, plan for the next two weeks. More ART, more stretching, more yoga, and maybe a massage or two.

After the marathon, it is back to the drawing board as I work on a new training schedule and strengthening regime to improve the endurance and length of my calfs (length equating to less tight calf muscles). It's stay on track and continue training since that is part of my overall healthy living plan and I don't intend this first marathon to be the last.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Middle of the Road

Today I crossed the 500 km mark for my 2008 goal of running 1000 km in 2008. It was pretty cool because I was not thinking about the goal at all today during my run.

I had a Tempo run today and was about 30 seconds/mile off my Tempo speed. This is due to the longer recovery after this past weekends 19.25 speed run (Yes I did about 14 miles at race pace and then the last 5.25 miles at easy/zombie walk pace).

So there I am, I have just finished my run today and my iPod is speaking to me the stats from my run. After the stats are completed, on comes Paula Radcliffe to inform me that I had crossed my second 500 km mark on my iPod (Yes, Paula Radcliffe and Lance Armstrong come on occasionally to announce achievements such as fastest mile, longest run, or major distance milestones). That means I have run 1000 km with my iPod on, while using my Nike + iPod.

Then I realized, hey I had not only run 1000km in the past 2.5 years, I have run 500 km in just over 5 months. Wicked cool!!!

Needless to say I felt pretty good today, riding on that accomplishment.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Yin Yoga

I tried some Yin Yoga this weekend (Sunday night after the big run) since I have heard rave reviews that it is great for runners. Reasons while it is supposed to be so good for runners:

  • Longer held poses (about 5 minutes) help create a deeper stretch.
  • Supposedly works well to realign the body thereby helping reduce injury.

Check out info on Yin here:

I found I was able to stretch some of my muscle groups quite a lot. The instructor warned that if you experience some residual (dear I say pain) aching the next day then you need to lay off a little and not go as far into the stretch next time. The poses use gravity, body weight, and breathing techniques to help stretch the muscles.

Apparently I went a little too far into the back stretch and the stretch with my left leg. My back was stiff on Monday and my left knee was aching. Today things are better though with no back ache and only a little knee twinge.

Remember though, I ran a 19.25 miles (31 km) on Sunday as well so the backache and knee could have well been from that. I don't usually have left knee pain though and I don't get backaches from running these days (I used to get a backache from running without a good posture).

Ok, now go try some Yin Yoga if you are looking to align you body and can listen to the instructor when they warn you about going deep into a pose ;-)

Sunday, May 4, 2008

20 Mile Wall

I still have not gotten past the 20 mile wall.

16.6 miles and leg locked up again.

Turned and walked (ran a little) back to car for total of 19.25 miles today.

Overall pace 10:12/mile (with a must faster pace on the first 14 miles, slower running on the next 2.6 until I mostly walked the last 3).

Here's hoping the taper, extra yoga, stretching, and pool running will have me ready for race day.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Cross Training

Ok, I know I should be cross training on the days I am not running but what the hay. Tuesday I had to drop the car off so I took my bike to work.

Today I took my bike again. 10 km to work, 10 km home and then a 5 mile (8 km) run once I got home. My legs felt like rubber for the first 1.5 miles and I felt sluggish but the pace picked up as I got into running form.

It felt great and it made me think about triathlons again. So far I have done one Sprint Triathlon and rode the bike leg of another Sprint for a team relay (we came in 3rd). Next objective with Triathlons will be an Olympic, mostly due to the need for me to build up my swimming skills.

Anyways, that is for a long time off. With our second son due in 2 months, time is going to be squeezed, so I figure I will get most of my exercise in via biking to work and running.