Wednesday, August 31, 2005

9/31 Struggle

Today's 1.75 miles were a real struggle. The first real struggle since returning to the track. First of all, the heat and humidity were oppressive. Absolutely no breeze. It was the hottest I've felt all summer. Secondly, these new shoes are really putting some different stresses on my ankle. It really hurt a lot today. Now, lastly, I really wasn't a good boy. One of my training strategies is the hard/easy philosophy. I always follow a hard day with an easy one. Well, yesterday was definitely one of the hardest days I've put in since coming back. I ran 2 miles in new shoes and then lifted weights at the gym. I did some calf work with very light weights and worked out my ankle pretty thoroughly. This was the first time I've done any kind of full range-of-motion resistance on the ankle since the surgery (besides some isometric stuff sitting on the couch). Today definitely should have been a total rest day. Thinking about it now, this is so uncharacteristic of me as I am usually what most would consider overly-cautious (probably just cautious enough!) with my training and especially my ankle rehab. I'll definitely reign in the enthusiasm and go back to my conservative roots.

Stats (not really worth mentioning):
Distance: 1.75 miles
Time: 32:04 (I was barely moving by the end)
Outlook for the future: Positive!!!

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Was today a setback?

Today, I did a couple of things differently. First of all, I dusted off the old heart rate monitor and used it on my run this morning. More on that later. Secondly, I treated myself to a new pair of shoes yesterday afternoon and ran in them for the first time.

As an aside, I kind of cringe every time I say 'I ran' because what I am doing right now, to many, would not be considered 'running'. However, at the risk of sounding pretentious, I must say that I'm really not at all concerned with the vocabulary of other athletes (e.g. 'jogging', 'waddling', 'walking'). Of course, one might say that I must be concerned since I make mention of it here. :) I will admit that there are two sides to this coin for me. On the one side, I'm embarrassed to be out there pretending that I'm a runner...buying $120 shoes...wearing a heart rate monitor...reading Dr. Daniels' running book...joining a running club...and then 'running' 16 minute to only endure 2 miles for a long run...weighing 320 lbs...being passed by all runners and most walkers. I mean who am I kidding? Then on the other side, I know that I just had surgery. But besides that, I know that everybody has to start somewhere. I remember the progress I made last year and how hard I worked. I know that it's not about how everybody else feels about my running. It's how I live my life, how I can honor God, and how I can live for my family, and grow old with them. All those people passing me and looking so fit and trim and healthy only inspire me to be a better man for my wife, Jan, and a more active and involved father for Dalton, Stephanie, and Benjamin. I'm thankful that for the most part, when I go out and hit that track, I flip that coin, it usually lands on side 2, the good side.

Ok, enough of that. This whole hurricane thing has me feeling contemplative but I'm over it now. On the fun stuff. As I mentioned, I treated myself to a new pair of shoes yesterday. I really didn't have the coin this week to do that but I decided to sell my Biology book back to the UHD bookstore. I appears the professor isn't going to be using it much. Besides, I have a friend who has a previous edition of the same book so if I need it to supplement my notes, I'll just borrow it. So, I've always run in an Asics Nimubs. I've run in Nimbus V and VI. The current model is Nimubus VII so that's what I got. I asked the guy at Luke's Locker if there were any changes to the new model and he said no. After getting the shoe on my foot and subsequently home and out of the box, I must say that there are some major changes. First of all, the mesh that covers the toe box does not have a liner at all. It's just that outer 'mesh' material and you can see your sock through the top of the shoe. It makes for a bit cooler foot. I'll have to see how it does in rain. Secondly, and more importantly, the heel has a lot more cushion. I mean you can easily compress the heel with your finger maybe .5 to .75 inches. This is a major change for me, especially with my ankle tending (pre-surgery) to roll to the outside. I do think, though, that with my ankle repaired, it will tend less to roll out. Performance? Like all the Nimbus models, they're like running/walking on air. I love the cushioning and my foot felt good landing and at toe-off. I did go down a half size since I'm not wearing orthotics anymore after my surgery. Of course with the added cushioning and flexibility, there is less support all around for my ankle and I really felt it during today's run. I think because of the smaller size and the increased cushioing/flexibility of the VII, my ankle had to work a little harder and I hurt more than it has been. I listened good though and I don't think at all that it was a bad stress/pain.

I also dusted off the old heart rate monitor today. It slowed me down considerably as I want all my training runs to be below 75% maxHR. I kept my HR low by slowing my pace well below what I had 'worked up to' through last week. My avg. pace for this past Sunday's run was 15:33. This morning's avg pace at a good, low, aerobic HR was 16:46 with the last mile being at 17:24 pace. Now some may be tempted to call this a setback. Why oh why, Vic, are you 'going backwards' and running slower? You've been really improving your times. Why go slower? Well, I just really believe from what I've read and what I have experienced in my training last year that the beginner MUST train the aerobic sytem almost exclusively the first 6 months to 1 year. This base of aerobic conditioning is the foundation of all other training. And for the distances I'm interested in participating in (5K, 10K, half, marathon), you almost have to run those at a mostly aerobic level, especially a marathon. So, for me, it's all about improving that aerobic system, increasing those mitochondrial counts, increasing capillary saturation around the muscle fibers, increasing red cell counts. Maybe I'll talk more about this in another post.

So, here are the stats of this morning's run:

Memorial Park
Temp: 84*
Distance: 1.5 miles
Time: 25:09
splits - 16:26/8:42(last .5 miles) Avg pace - 16:46
effort - <75% maxHR

Also, I'm starting today counting my calories. Since I've started running again, I haven't lost much weight at all. I think I'm taking in too many calories so I'm going to get a grip on that problem right away.

God bless...vic

Sunday, August 28, 2005

More Houston Bloggers 5K pics

I'm definitely a digital photo newbie. I got these pics up on but I don't really like the viewing page. In the future I think I'll use something else. I think photobucket may be good for photo storage and linking (like for e-bay or for websites and stuff) but not good for sharing and album viewing and stuff like that. I do like the way the pic looks uploaded right to the blog through this WYSIWYG editor. Anyway, suggestions welcome for sharing pics. Free and unlimited is of course best.

Click here to view pics

Sunday's workout (a few 'comeback' PR's for me)

I was off work last night so I got to do a morning run at Memorial Park this morning. It was a beautiful morning and all the beautiful people were out.

After a pretty long stretching session, I completed 2 slow miles at a converstational pace. The ankle pain was about a 2-3 out of 10, a little higher than the last couple of runs. However, I felt very comfortable with today's run. A couple 'comeback' PR's this morning which you can see in the stats to follow:

Total distance: 2 miles
Time: 31:07 (PR for 2 mile run)
Avg. pace: 15:33 (PR for 2 mile training run, PR for any training run)
mile splits: 15:24 (PR for any 1 mile)/15:42
weekly miles: 6.8 (PR)
avg weekly pace: 15:58 (PR by almost 1 minute)

Link to my route

Happy day for me!!!

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Striders RRCA National Convention Planning Meeting

On Wednesday night, I was able to make it to the Houston Striders information/planning meeting for the RRCA National Convention that we are hosting at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in March 2006. Check out the press release if you haven't already.

We met at Cafe Express which by the way I have never been to. I did not order any food but let me say that the food looked awesome. I really want to go back there and eat. All kinds of salads, pasta, chicken, very fresh. It all looked scrumptious. I haven't been to be involved with the Striders for many months so it was good to some old familiar faces.

Steve Shepard, Barb Shepard, Doug Spence, Brett Riley are heading up our effort and getting everything planned. There are already a lot of things in motion. There are going to be some great speakers at the Convention. Also, the whole thing is the same weekend as the HEB Bayou City Classic 10K so it promised to be an event-filled week.

I'm very proud to be a member of Houston Striders. It's a great club and offers me, as a runner, a lot of support. The club also does so much for the Houston running community. I'M PROUD TO BE A STRIDER!!!

2 miles at Memorial (Distance PR!) - 'the groove'

I love the nights off work because after a good night's sleep, I get to run in the morning, at the beginning of the day. I love mornings so much.

Had breakfast around 5:30, cereal, milk, and a turkey sausage patty. I decided instead of hitting the track early that I would stick around and help Jan get the kids off to school, sweet, thoughtful husband that I am. After helping out with breakfast, getting the kid's clothes together, 'encouraging' them to hurry up, Jan tells me that my being here 'messed her routine up and now she's running late.' She was being funny, not mean, of course. But my being there made her relax a bit, not hustling like she usually does, making herself late getting ready for work. Funny, huh?

So, I dropped my 4th grader (Stephanie) off and headed over to Memorial Park. After a good stretch routine I set out counter-clockwise from the front of the tennis center. The ankle felt slightly painful walking to the start but once I started, the pain subsided to a 1 or 2 out of 10. We think about a lot of wierd things when we run, or at least I do. I began to think about that little groove that is to the far outside of the Memorial trail. I loved running in 'the groove' this morning. It brought back memories of my first running days, about this same time last year. I thought of how heavy I was back then (still am) and how I just had to stay to the right, out of everyone's way. I remember that being ok with me, that if I stuck with it, I'd one day have to leave 'the groove' and actually pass someone. Still, there's something humbling about running in 'the groove'. It makes me thankful to God just to be out and in motion, like He created me to be. When I'm in 'the groove' it's not about the speed or the distance. It's just a peaceful time. There's peace in knowing I don't have to pass anyone. There's inspiration in seeing so many pass me. I had a great time.

So, a new comeback PR for distance, 2 miles. I really think for a while (maybe the next 2 weeks) that 2 miles is just the right amount of stress for the ankle. I really think anymore would be pushing the limits. Also, after 2 miles, I don't think it wise to run the next day. I'm really going to take at least the next day off, maybe the next 2 days. Today's 2 miles helped me, though, as I'm testing my limits, listening to my body, and trying to plan my future training. I think I'm going to take off Friday and Saturday and do another 2 miles on Sunday morning. I'm off work Saturday night so it'll be fun. Then next week, I'll probably do 1.5 Tuesday, 1.5 Wednesday, maybe walk on Friday, and do 2 or 2.5 on Saturday or Sunday. Of course all my runs for the next 6 months or so will be at a conversational pace. Power in Motion (PIM) starts the following Wednesday and I think I'll be ready to join one of the easier groups. I'll have to get with Pam or Lisa and see what group they recommend. I'm running 2 miles continuously but at a very slow pace. They may want me to join one of the run/walk groups and go a little faster. Personally, I think the continuous running, however slow it is, if I can do it, is best. I may be waaaayyyy in the back of the pack but if I've already worked up to 2 miles continuous running, I don't see how walk/run would be better for me. Acutally, come to think about it, this is pretty much where I was last year when I started PIM, able to run continuously for about 25 minutes at about 15:00 - 15:30 pace. I'll just see what they say.

Here are the stats for this morning's run:
Distance: 2 miles (comeback PR!)
Total time: 31:52
Avg. pace: 15:56
Mile 1: 15:36 (comeback PR!)
Mile 2: 16:16
So far this week: 4.8 miles (comeback PR!)
Weekly avg pace: 16:08 (comeback PR!)
Link to my route: 2 miles Memorial Park

Oh, by the way, I re-learned something today. Visit the men's room before you start your run. :)

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

2nd Consecutive Day Run (feels like 99*)

Knowing I would not be able to run on Wednesday, I went out for a 1.2 mile run today, the 2nd consecutive day of running (first time since I started running again).

Here are the stats:
Distance: 1.27 miles
Total time: 20:44 minutes
Avg. pace: 16:17 min/mile
Temp: 90 (FEELS LIKE 99!!!)
Link to my route

Not much else. Just got it done.

Monday, August 22, 2005

1.5 miles (Father and Son)

Great day all around!!! I started school this morning. I was registered for 2 classes but it looks like with all the other things going on this fall, I'm going to end up taking only 1 class. So, I dropped Differential Equations.

Got home from school (after working all night) around 12:40p and was dead tired. Jan (wifeypoo) had left me a note that she would pick up the kids for me since I was probably tired and we had not found anyone to pick them up on the days I go to school. So, I got to sleep until around 7. I woke up surprisingly refreshed. I really had running on the brain and wanted to get out but it was getting dark.

I've been putting off going back to Memorial but wanted to run so badly and needing a lighted track, so I went over there. My son, Dalton, wanted to join me and we set out aroung 8pm. I was thrilled Dalton wanted to come with me, partly because he needs the activity but also because he's at that age (12) where he doesn't really want anything to do with Dad and Dad's always wrong and Dad's always bugging me. We had a great conversation on the way to the park. We talked about music and skateboarding mostly.

I started my slow jog and Dalton wanted to walk. The plan was when he sees me coming back (I ran an out and back route), he can turn around and start walking back. On the return leg, we were together most of the way. He picked up his walking pace and I maintained my jog. We both were conversational and took advantage of that by talking more about a lot of stuff. It was really a great time for me.

So here are the stats:
Distance - 1.5 miles
Total time - 24:23
Avg pace - 16:15 (down 16:53 avg pace last week)
Link to my out and back route.

Oh, I almost forgot, the ankle felt good again. It only hurt after the run. Funny thing was it was a different kind of hurt. It was sort of an exhaused, workout kind of hurt. Not a stiff, atrophied tendon kind. It's testament to the fact that it's getting better as the 'ankle' subject was relegated to this last paragraph.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

News and Sentinal Half (Beat Jon to the Punch)

I'm not sure if this is rude or not but since Jon hasn't been able to report his results for the News and Sentinal Half Marathon which he ran in West Virginia, I thought I'd post a prelim report for those of us anxious to hear about how he fared.

So here are the results:
Time - 2:42:14
Overall finish - 661 out of ??? (I think 708. Jon's so much better at reading race results than I am)
Place in age group - 65 out of ???

This imcomplete and rather sorry formatting attempt shows why Jon is the race-results reporting extraordinaire.

This doesn't quite seem up to par compared to Jon's multiple sub-2:30 half's and some sub-2:20 ones. I'm anxious to hear his report. Maybe a very hilly course. What's impressive and interesting to me is Jon's progress toward running a half-marathon in all 50 states. I think this is state #16 for him. Way to go.

Jon, here's wishing you and Waverly safe travel and some good father/daughter time for the rest of the trip.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Saturday morning run

I took off work last night for a couple of reasons. One, I'm just tired of working. I've worked a lot of OT the last few weeks trying to put some money away and am just worn out. Secondly, I just wanted awfully bad to get up on Saturday morning for an early morning run. It's really my favorite time of the week to run and it's just been too long since I've even been able to do that.

It was a beautiful morning at TC Jester park. I arrived at 6:30 (first light) and there were only a few cars there. I noted walking to the stretching area that my ankle felt pretty good but I didn't want to get my hopes up. After stretching, I headed south and to my amazement, my ankle felt no pain at all. Well, on a scale of 1-10, maybe a 1 or 2 but I'm used to running at a 6-7. After I warmed up a little, the pain subsided even more. I was afraid maybe I was favoring that right leg so I tried to concentrate on a good toe push off the right (bad) foot and although I could feel it a little more, really it felt great. I actually started 'listening' to other parts of my body (e.g. my left knee, my back, my little toe on my left foot). Ususally I can't hear these because my ankle is yellin' so loud.

I did a little longer run today and actually felt like going a full 2 miles. I just want to continue to be paient and build gradually.

So, here are the stats.
1.55 miles
26:25 minutes
avg. pace - 17:02 min/mile
temp - 77*C
humidity - 92%
Click here to see my route today. It's kind of confusing since I started and ended up at the same place. So at that starting point by the pool, I went out and back to the south, then continued north for a short out and back leg, finishing where I started.

Weekly Stats
Total miles - 4.1
longest run - 1.55
avg pace - 16:53

I hope everyone can see that I'm not too proud to post these times. I'm very proud of not being a proud person. :)

Friday, August 19, 2005

The Dreaded Ankle

I've mentioned several times that I am recovering from ankle surgery. For posterity's sake, I should record, to the best of my recollection the short history of Vic Kaiser's right ankle problems.

My earliest recollection of something being wrong with my ankle was the Spring of last year (2004). As I did every spring, I was flirting with getting in shape and losing weight. This always coincides with my birthday for some reason. I started walking 3 or times per day. As happened every year since I was married and had kids, though, I soon lost interest, this time, partly because of a nagging pain on the side of my foot. I didn't really pay it much attention. For the rest of the spring and summer it was just there.

While interning at UT-School of Health Information Sciences during the summer, I spent a lot of time around a bunch of cyclists. Also, had a physical and my fasting sugar was creeping up, a sure sign that if I didn't do something about my weight (365 lbs.), all kinds of problems were just around the corner (e.g. adult onset diabetes/insulin resistance). So, since I couldn't afford the bike I wanted, I decided I'd run.

Back to the ankle...I started a walk/run program. After 7 or 8 weeks, I became acutely aware of my ankle hurting constantly. It wasn't enough to put me down but it was sooooooooo annoying. I joined Power in Motion (PIM) and it was there that I got hooked up with Dr. Ed Kieke of Koala Health and Wellness Centers here in Houston. Here's where the fun begins and I must be concise.

I began visiting Koala Health and I can tell you, they are great. The staff was so knowledgeable and friendly. Dr. Kieke diagnosed me with tendonitis of the peroneus longus and peroneus brevis tendons. The course of treatment was to get rid of the pain and inflammation and then rehab and strengthen the calf and shin muscles on the cybex machine. During those many weeks of 3x per week visits with ultrasound, electric stimulation, massage, stretching, and cybex, I was miraculously able to keep progressing in my running. The treatments really kept me 'in tune" and able to run.

At the end of treatment, I basically had new, strong, healthy lower legs but this was short-lived. Not long after I stopped treatment, the pain returned. I went back for a couple of visits but Dr. Kieke suggested I see a podiatrist and get fitted for orthotics. I did. It worked for a couple of weeks but I regressed even further. My podiatrist finally said he would try a steroid shot right into the tendon, actually between the tendon and the sheath. If it was just inflammation, the shot would knock it out. If the pain returned, then there were probably other problems (e.g. ruptured tendon) and he would order an MRI. After the shot, I FELT AWESOME!!! By this time, I was out of commission with my running but the shot gave me new hope. I went out and did a few miles and WOW!, what a feeling. No pain at all. This lasted about 10 days. Then the pain came back, even worse.

MRI time. The results of the MRI showed an osteochondral defect of the posterolateral aspect of the talar dome. Dr. said this was causing instability in the ankle resulting in inflammation of that tendon. The radiologist reported no tendon rupture. Dr. Schnell, the podiatrist, said the surgery to repair the cartilage involved going in arthroscopically and removing the defective cartilage. Then they would scrape away any dead cartilage and drill holes down into healty bone. The bleeding would form a matrix for new 'fibro-cartilage' to grow back. One problem, he didn't perform the surgery. So, he referred me to a colleague, Dr. Beckman.

Dr. Beckman scheduled the surgery for the following week, thankfully. He did, however, want to look at the MRI. When he saw it, he suggested to me that the tendons looked 'kinda funny.' He wanted, while I was on the table, to cut open the ankle and just take a look at the tendons. Worst case, they're not ruptured and I'll just have a scar. Best case, he finds that they are ruptured and can fix them.

Well, Dr. Beckman fixed the cartilage but also found that the p. brevis tendon was sliced longitudinally along the entire length of the tendon. Also, the p. longus was frayed. This was all caused by a bone spur which he also found during the surgery. So, he filed down the bone spur and repaired the tendons. It was pretty major ankle reconstruction. I asked him how he got to the top of the talus to fix the cartilage. He said that they actually dislocate the ankle. They kind of just pull it out of joint to get to where they need to get to.

Recovery - After surgery, I was non-weightbearing for 6 weeks. That really sucked!!! Crutches, no driving, just terrible. Then I walked for a week in one of those hard boots, the ones with all the velcro straps. Little by little, I was able to start wearing tennis shoes. The whole time since then has just been painful, dealing with a lot of swelling.

So, my current status is that I am walking completely in tennis shoes. I'm back to full duty at work. And 2 weeks ago I started a jog/walk 3 times per week. This week, I'm jogging continuously (although very slowly) for a little over a mile. It still hurts a lot but is getting better daily.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Thursday's workout

Much of the same. I'm made some progress since my surgery and am being careful not to get too excited (i.e overdo it and add distance too soon). So, today was much the same as Tuesday. 1.27 miles at TC Jester park in 21:11. That's 16:14 pace, 00:14 quicker than Tuesday (not that it matters :) ) It was sure a lovely night. Nice breeze out. Breeze at my back on the return leg. I must have looked funny talking to myself. Just trying to ensure I'm staying conversational. Here's a link to my route.

I need to think about the rest of the week. I want to end this week ro begin next week with a little longer run, maybe a full 1.5 or even 1.75. Sort of a mini-LSD. I want to have something to cut back to for my shorter runs during the week. I think I'll shoot for 1.75 on Saturday and do 3x1.5 runs next week. Power in Motion (PIM) is looming on the horizon. I'll be right back where I started last year, only about 35 lbs. lighter.

What's with the SPAM???

Fellow bloggers. I think I've done too good a job of advertising my blog. I have been inundated with SPAM in my comments. Fortunately, I can delete them. Two things may be have caused this. One, I changed who can post from 'Registered Users' to 'Anyone'. But still, how would anyone find so quickly. Secondly, and this is probably the most likely thing to bring all the spam is I posted my blog address to my forumites on Runners World forums. I wasn't really thinking. I would never, for instance, post my actual e-mail address on there. I would always put something like 'vickaiser1 at yahoo dot com'. I guees it never occurred to me that blogs could get spammed like this. should have a feature to review comments before they are actually posted to the blog. I know Lisa can review comments on her blog before they are posted. She uses another engine, though. Jon said that he get's spam 'occasionally' on his blog. This surprises me since his blog is much more popular than mine and has been around a long time. Anyone have the same problem? Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Thoughts while running

So, during my great workout tonight, I was just thinking and day-dreaming about some stuff. I was thinking about running-related interests...what I like to talk about to my running friends...what I've learned...what I still don't can I contribute to the community...what do I write about on my blog...

I started to think about how I really love to read about physiology and how training affects your body. I've always been one to ask why? when someone tells me to do something. So, they say run slow when you are a beginner. It will make you faster. WHY??? Drink so many ounces of water before and after a run. WHY??? Anaerobic??? Aeorbic??? What does all this mean and WHY???

So, I got to thinking that I'd like to do a series of articles on various exercise/running physiology-related topics. I'd like to reasearch the subject, get different opinions on it, and maybe not even draw any conclusions...just something that could start some discussion or get people to thinking about why we train the way we do. I had this idea that this would be pretty cool coming from a newbie like me. I thought I could really relate to the group I most associate with and want to share this awesome lifestyle with, newbies. So, I'm going to think about it some more and get some feedback, and hopefully, I'll get something going. Also, if Lee Baughman and the Stridelines people are interested, I may ask to publish the article in the Houston Striders newsletter.

Tuesday's workout...

Tuesday evening was very hectic around my house but I was able to get out around 8:00 pm for a run. I still need to post the history of my ankle and surgery but suffice it to say, I've been out of commission for some time. But the last 2 workouts have really gotten me feeling GREAT!!!

I've been walk/jog'n back where it all began for me, at TC Jester park in Houston. It's a 1 mile straight trail of ground granite. There is also a parallel concrete path but it's intended mainly for bikers. I left from the pool/park/stretching area and set out on this familiar path. It was quite surreal. My ankle felt great, first time in many, many months. On the out leg, I was running toward an almost full moon in the southern sky. This is just before dark and it was beautiful. Then on the back leg, I'm running towoard the most beautiful, red sunset I've seen in a long time. I know it may sound wierd but I was really sweating and after being immobilized for so long by that ankle injury, I really appreciate the feeling of sweat and of my heart beating up in my throat.

So, in summary, it was another SLSD. A continuous run (only my 2nd in a long time) of 1.27 miles. I actually timed myself today and it was 21:29, a 16:54 min/mile pace. YIKES!!! I'm not going to say it! I'm not going to say it! OK, that's slow. Well, I said it. I don't care though. That's not the point. I'm not going to make excuses. I did have major ankle reconstruction and am lucky to be even walking, much less jogging over a mile without stopping. I'm really very happy!

Here's my route on that cool gmap pedometer thingy.

Sunday, August 14, 2005


You probably know what LSD is. It stands for Long Slow Distance. Well, for emphasis today, I'm calling my run SLSD...SLOW Long Slow Distance.

I made my way to the park with intentions of completing week 3/day 3 of Couch-to-5K. Upon arrival, I realized I did not have my trusty, dandy chronograph to time the intervals. So, I decided to freelance it, which btw I should do more often. I definitely need to let go once in a while of all the structure with splits, pace, heart rate, all those things that I "worry" about when I'm running and just run. I like that stuff though most of the time. So, my plan was was to just do some unstructured jog/walk intervals, keeping it conversational. I ended up just slowing way, way down and running continuously for 1.2 miles (according to Gmaps Pedometer). By the way, I love this web app. It uses the google gmaps and has a plug-in that you can use to calculate the mileage of a route. I've used it to measure some known distances and it's dead-on. Anyway, I did slow way, way down and completed the out and back in record time (record slow time). It was the first continuous run of any mentionable distance since my surgery 13 weeks ago. I think I'm gonna be ready for PIM.

So, here's a link to my route if you want to see. Zoom out for perspective on the part of Houston I'm running in.

Link to my route today.


Saturday, August 13, 2005

C25K - week 2

I'll post later to catch readers up on my ankle reconstruction. But, I've rehab'd enough to start a jog/walk program. The program I am following is from and is called Couch-to-5K. Funny but it use to be called CouchPotato-to-5K. Guess some people were offended. Anyway, I'm on week 2 of the program. My workout today was


I know, I know...this isn't what is prescribed by C25K for week 2. I got kind of confused with another beginner's workout from Runners World. Anyway, I did the workout and besides the continued excruciating pain in my ankle and the unbearable heat of mid afternoon, I had a fabulous time. No, really, I am so happy after being so inactive for such a very long time to just get out there and sweat and do something. The pain is bearable.

I only was able to do 2 days so far this week. I'll probably do a week 2 workout on Sunday to finish the week and start week 3 on Tuesday. My goal here is to rehab the ankle enough to be able to start PIM the first week of September.


Thursday, August 11, 2005

Where to start?

As this is my first post, I will take this chance to tell a little of my story (at least as it relates to my running and my new lifestyle).

The summer of 2004, I was interning full-time at the University of Texas - School of Health Information Sciences at the Health Science Center in Houston, Texas. I had been going to school full-time at the University of Houston-Downtown for about two and a half years, working toward a B.S. in Computer Science. I also worked full-time, put in about 10-15 hours per week volunteering with the Junior High ministry at my church and was endeavoring to raise 3 beautiful children...oh, yeah, and by the way, trying to be a supportive, loving husband to my wife of 12 wonderful years. Needless to say, both ends of the candle were lit!

With all my ambition and lofty goals, I failed for so many months and years to attend to one very important thing, my health. I decided around June to visit the doctor for a physical. When I received my lab results a few days later, doc informed my that my blood sugar was creeping up into the 'need to be concerned' range. I think it was something like 110 mg/dl (fasting). Oops, at this point, maybe I should mention something. I weiged 360 lbs. Another 10 or 15 lbs. and he said my sugar would be in the diabetic range.

Of course, I yo-yo'd with my weight for most of my adult life (well, after I got married) but I had never been this heavy. So, I decided I had to get this under control or die, plain and simple.

So, I started running. Well, not exactly, seeing as how I could only go 30-50 yards and be completely out of breath. I started reading online about beginning running and running programs and found a beginner's program on called Couch-to-5k. I certainly had to repeat week one and a couple of other of the weeks but I progressed wee and soon found myself able to run 25 minutes continuously (not breaking any speed records, mind you). During these weeks, I tried to learn more about running and sought advice anywhere I could find it. Surfing brought me to the web site of The Houston Striders where I hooked up with a great, knowledgeable man, Steve Shepard, who graciously let me join the Strider's Yahoo group Stride4fun and introduced me to a little of the awesome running scene in Houston, Tx. He told me about a fantastic novice/intermediate running clinic here in houston called Power in Motion, affectionaately known as PIM. So, although a week late, I joined PIM. It was great. I met some really great people and fell in love with running.

Long story short, I ran my first 5K at the end of the PIM session and continued to build endurance and speed in the months following. By January, I had lost 60 lbs. and PR'd by 5 minutes at the Houston Press 5K, one of the races run during the Houston Marathon. I also ran my first XC race in February, the Buffalo Wallow 6K, put on by the Houston Harriers running club. That was a blast.

Well, it hasn't all been roses for me. I've battled since last summer (even before that, if I remember) with a chronic pain in the side of my foot and ankle. The good folks at Koala Health and Wellness Center, downtown, helped me through a lot of pain and kept me on the road for many weeks. However, the problem never got better, despite just about every conservative treatment available. At the suggestion of Dr. K, I went to see a podiatrist. The podiatrist tried orthotics, coritsone injections, and finally gave in and ordered an MRI. Another long story short, I had some cartilage that was crushed in my talus and a sliced peroneus brevis tendon and frayed peroneus longus tendon. The tendons were split by a bone spur that had developed on my ankle.

So, I havent' really run at all since the end of February, 2005. I have since had reconstructive surgery on my ankle and, according to the doctor, all is back to normal. Except for the fact that I can still barely walk. :) No, really, I've been off crutches now for about 6 weeks and have finally, just about a week ago, been able to start a short 20 minute jog/walk routine. I'm definitely back where I started almost exactly a year ago, today. Some more bad news...I've regretfullyl gained 28 of the 60 lbs. that I lost last year. This was due partly to sitting around with my bum kicker but also a little feeling sorry for myself and indulging in old, bad eating habits. It's ok. In the past 2 weeks, I've dropped about 3 lbs and am getting back into my old, new, healthy eating habits. I can't wait to really get back out and back in shape. Hope to see a lot old friends out there soon.