Bracing For It

21 02 2008

Hello… well they don’t call it the off-season for nothing! I was shocked to discover I’m still getting some readers despite the two-month wait since my last post. Things are looking up now and it feels like spring might be around the corner. I should be a lot more active on the blog again soon. For those who are curious, here’s the “keep it short” version of the past two months:

1) Ran a race with my wife for the first time on new year’s eve (Resolution Run, Halifax). It was in the dark, after a major ice/snow storm (those running types are loathe to cancel anything), over 5k of icy sidewalks and shoe-soaking puddles of slush. Around the 3k mark I also realized that my left knee injury was here to stay, so I had to walk at least half of the final 2k. I don’t think I’ve marked down the time anywhere, but it was over 30:00, which is slower than my first-ever 5k back in May, 2007.

2) Depressing realization that my left knee still hurts (yes, it warrants a separate item). I haven’t run outside at all since the Resolution Run. Since the original injury at the end of October, 2007, the treadmill was a part of my “take it easy on the knee” strategy, but I realized at some point this month (February) that even on the soft, flat treadmill my knee will still start to hurt after about 22 minutes of slow running. I have subsequently been doing only about 10-15 minutes of treadmill mixed with 20 minutes on a recumbent bike

3) Glorious revelation that a knee-brace actually helps. Last night, I picked up a lycra knee tensor with plastic bracing on both sides. I have no idea why I waited so long, because this had my knee feeling downright bionic. Previously, I would mope and concede to my wife that a brace might help a bit, but I felt certain that something more drastic (surgery) would need to be done to either repair a torn tendon/ligament or remove a bone chip. Surgery might still be the only long-term solution, but I ran a solid 25 minutes with the brace on last night and it was fantastic.

4) Re-kindled dreams of the Bluenose International Marathon. Well, not the marathon itself, but I had indicated in a previous post that I would like to run the half marathon at the 2008 Bluenose in Halifax. This would be a lofty goal even without a bum knee, as I’ve only raced in 5ks before and only run a full 10k in training twice. With the knee problem, this was a complete impossibility. 20 pain-free minutes doesn’t buy much progress in a 21.1Km race. With my trusty brace (need to think of a name for it or something), I’m thinking big again. Maybe the half is still just a bit nuts, but I think I’ve got a couple weeks to decide what type of training plan I’ll be on. I would love to do the half if I can ramp up to it without further damaging my knee, but I think a 10k would be a nice goal too since I’ve never raced in one.

Well, there you have it. Two months of pain and pessimism, undone by one run with an elastic around my knee. My short-term goal will be to test the knee by running outside (with the brace of course) at least once over the next week. Stay tuned!





Target Practice

29 10 2007

Since this is my first year of running, I’m a little leery of losing momentum when the cold comes. The “off season” here in Halifax will probably be from January to mid-March, which doesn’t sound too bad, but extended hibernation can be tempting. I think it will be important to keep a few carrots dangling in front of me; or at least to spell out my intentions so it’s not as easy to backslide. Here are some of my immediate and not-so-immediate running goals:

2007:

  • – Join Run Nova Scotia to score a t-shirt and get ready for some friendly competition for the 2008 season.
  • – Register and race in the Halifax Santa Shuffle 5k on December 1 (goal time sub-25:00)

2008:

  • – Compete in at least 7 Run Nova Scotia races (year end standings based on your best 7 finishes)
  • – Complete Bluenose International Half Marathon (just double my current furthest distance)
  • – Complete a marathon (if I can do the Bluenose half in May, I’ll probably feel this is within reach)
  • – Finish in top 5 for my age class by 2008 season end for Run Nova Scotia

One Day/Year:

  • – Complete New York Marathon
  • – Complete Boston Marathon
  • – Complete Comrades Ultramarathon in South Africa (ya right!)
  • – Complete Spartathlon in Greece (okay, now I’m really just kidding! It’s 246km for pete’s sake!)

I think today’s post-run high is making this list a tad ambitious, but that’s what goals are for anyway, right? Just to show how there’s always a longer and tougher race out there to tackle, take a look a this elevation profile comparison which humbles a lot of people’s ‘Holy Grail’ race: Western States vs.┬áBoston