Monthly Archives: March 2011

Starting back slow, trying to be patient

After walking all over Washington D.C. last weekend and spending way too many hours stuck behind the wheel driving, I’m back home and back to running.  In an effort to keep myself injury free I am starting back very slowly.  Today I took my time warming up and then did one mile.  I think it took more effort to make myself run this short little run than running a long run.  Everything feels fine, just an odd feeling when running just up to the point where I was feeling warmed up and then stopping.  Oh well, if that’s what it takes then that’s what I’ll have to do.

I’ve also been doing a lot of reading on minimalist running.  Not that I need to try something new and further injure myself, but, it seems that there might be some good lessons and some value to this.  I’m going to try adopting some of these ideas.  First, I picked up a pair of water shoes from WalMart the other day just to wear walking around in when I’m at the grocery store or around the neighbourhood.  Second, removing inserts from shoes in order to reduce the amount of height they add and the cushioning.  Trying both of these a little at a time should help build up the muscles in my lower legs and if all the research and the articles are right this should help me run with fewer injuries.  Tune in to see what happens.



I did an 8 mile run on Saturday, the run went fairly well.  I managed to really make my Achilles tendon sore though.  I’m really getting frustrated with this minor little injury causing me so much trouble.  That and my own pig headed stubbornness that has kept me from staying off of it.  I have not run since Saturday, though I have worked out and tried to lightly work out my calves.  I’ve done a good bit of walking and will be walking a lot this weekend in Washington, DC.  I’m going up there with my girlfriend and my son for the National Epilepsy Foundation Walk.  My girlfriend has epilepsy, so we try to get to DC each year for the walk.  I’m also looking to pick up some aqua shoes to walk around my neighbourhood in to try to strengthen my lower legs.  Man, it sucks getting old!

Hydration, my take on it

I have had a fair amount of experience with hydration issues over time.  I don’t remember really having much of an issue with dehydration until I got into the Army and in the first 2 years I was a heat casualty several times.  Long road march/runs in the heat and humidity at Ft. Bragg, NC caused me to pass out from dehydration.  At the time the unit I was in had no training on how to avoid dehydration and it was seen as a sign of a lack of physical fitness.  This caused a gread deal of frustration on my part, and I’m sure on my leaders parts as well.

When I transferred to the 7th Infantry Division (L), at Fort Ord, CA, I found a very different culture.  I think the main difference was that the 82nd’s mission was 5-7 days and the 7th trained for missions up to 25 days sustained operations.  I was introduced to the Overdrink system, created by the Israeli Army after the Yom Kippur War.  What they found in this conflict was that if your body was near dehydration at the start of long term physical exertion, you could not drink enough water to catch up or get ahead of your bodies  use of water, and you would become a heat casualty.  In essence this system was designed to increase the level of hydrostasis in your body.  The idea being that if you increase your daily water intake slowly from the small amount most of us drink every day, to near 1 gallon of water per day the body will begin to retain more of this and increase the level at which hydrostatic equilibrium is reached.

Now, most of us walk around on a daily basis at or very near dehydration.  Now, if you were to immediately start drinking a gallon of water a day it could have some very serious effects on your body, the main impact is the loss of electrolytes and minerals.  If taken too far this can lead to death from water intoxication.  However, if you slowly work your way up to it you will not have to worry about this.  Now, as most of us know, when you start drinking more water you wind up having to run to the bathroom more often and this is where most people back off because of the inconvenience.  But, if you stick with it this side effect will slow down as your body gets used to having more water on hand, and it will make use of it.

One other thing to keep in mind when looking at your hydration level is food intake.  A normal meal takes about .5 liters of water for your body to digest it.  Sodas or soft drinks take about the same volume of water as the soft drink in order for your body to digest it.  If you do the math for yourself you will see that most of us should be drinking close to 2 liters of water a day in order to stay hydrated.  For those of us who exercise regularly particularly during the warm months we need close to a gallon of water a day just to break even.

That’s my take on it, YMMV

Beautiful early spring day for a run

The trees here are in full bloom, flowers are starting to bloom, 75 degrees at lunch time… not great for all the allergy sufferers, but great weather for a run.  Did just over 4 miles today at just over a 10 minute pace.  Achilles tendon is feeling pretty good, just a little tight.  The big lesson for the day; tuna for lunch before a run is great as long as you want to taste tuna for your whole run :).  But, seriously, it’s time to start watching hydration closely.  Spring here in South Carolina usually doesn’t last long before we start hitting summer temps.  As it gets warmer drinking lots of water is a necessity.  Another necessity I’ve found is replacing salt and minerals on long runs.  Last summer was the first time that I had run far enough to run into this problem.  I found that the Camelbak tablets in one of their 20oz hand bottles does the trick nicely and tastes pretty good too.

Good ride today

19 miles in 1.5 hours on my mountain bike today.  Really good feeling ride, weather is great, Swamp Rabbit is still pretty empty during the day, best of all… my Achilles tendon feels great.  Didn’t notice it at all during the ride, even when I got off the bike to walk my cool down it felt good, just a little tight.  I cannot express how good it feels to know that I’m going to get past this injury quickly.  I really pushed myself on this ride, tried to keep up with a road bike for a couple of miles, managed to pass him just after one hill.  The only reason I caught him was an unfinished portion of the trail is still gravel.  Still felt good to pass him.  Then tried to stay ahead of him as long as possible.  Kinda a losing battle, but it kept me at 95% for a couple miles.

Can’t wait to be running that 19 mile course instead of biking it!

Cross promotion

Just a quick post to cross promote my two other blogs:

My Journey, thoughts and reflections on my walk with Christ

Unconventional Worldview – international relations and world politics blog

Recovering… slowly

A little over 3 miles today just under a 10 minute mile pace.  Didn’t even feel my Achilles tendon for the first 1/2 mile, then it was just tender after that.  On a couple of the uphill portions of my run I tried to push off with the ball of my foot from habit.  Yeah, that didn’t work out so well.  My tendon let me know it was having none of that just yet.  No swelling after the run, so I think I’m on track and pushing just about as hard as I can without hurting myself further.  Also, upon further consideration, bicycling has no relationship to running at all, no how, no way.  But, it does seem to help with my recovery and it keeps me moving in between runs, so it’s certainly not a bad thing.

Light run today

Still struggling with some Achilles tendon issues.  The biking has helped for sure, along with doing calf raises and staying out of my boots.  Today’s run was short and slow.  I could feel my tendon pretty much from the start.  About half way it was tender and I had to me careful to not “push off” on it.  I tried to keep in mind my form, leaning slightly forward, short strides with my feet striking just under my center of gravity, and lifting my legs instead of pushing off with my calves.  It seems to have worked fairly well.  While I did have soreness I don’t have any swelling after completing the run.

Back on the bike tomorrow.  I think I’m going to slowly work my way into my alternating routine this week.  I’ll keep the runs short and let my body take the lead on speed and distance.  On the bike I’m going to push it and try to hit some distances around 20 miles each ride and a little longer.  Though there is not real comparison, I’d guess 5 miles biking is about like 1 mile running.

More cycling…

Well, still riding the bike more than running.  My Achilles tendon is still bothering me.  On the positive side I think I’ve figured out why I’m having such trouble with it when I never really have before.  It’s been a rather cold winter and I’ve been riding my motorcycle all winter.  As a result of that, I’ve also been wearing my old Army boots all the time.  While these do help protect my feet and ankles I think they have also reduced the typical range of motion for my ankle and have made it hard on them to start back to running.  I still have some soreness even riding the bike, but not near as bad.

So, I’m going to do my best to stay out of boots and in low cut shoes and continue riding the bike as much as I can to continue increasing my cardio fitness.  I’m also continuing my regular running type workout prior to each ride so that I keep my hip abductors in shape for when I can tolerate running again.  I’m also focusing on strengthening my calves.

Cross Training

I’ve seen it written that there is no substitute for miles run.  I’d have to agree from my own limited experience.  However, cross training does have it’s place.  I got my mountain bike out for the first time this year today and took it for a 8 mile ride.  It was a good workout, still a little cold out to be real comfortable in shorts and a t-shirt, but it felt good.  35 minutes of good cardio workout and good for the quads.  Another plus is that it gives my Achilles tendon a bit of a break too.  It’s feeling much better, but, I didn’t want to run on it again just yet.  I figured the bike would give it a light workout and would be a good test.  No swelling or pain, so it passed.

Last year I rode my bike about twice a week in between running sessions.  That tapered off when I started to hit really high milage.  That may not be a bad way to go for the next couple of months.  Run, bike, run, bike, rest, run, rest.  So, I’ll bike again tomorrow, then back to running Wednesday.  We’ll see how it goes…

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