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Marathon Training Week 15 Recap: The 20-Mile Run

0015_1 by Andreas Cappell from Flickr

0015_1 by Andreas Cappell from Flickr

About a month ago, I started getting chest pains after my long runs. A few weeks ago, my cardiologist told me that I have 2 holes in my heart. These holes may or may not be related to my pain. My doctor needs to refer me to a surgeon who can further evaluate my situation and determine whether the holes in my heart should be patched. For the time being my doctor said I’m allowed to run as long as I can handle the pain and I don’t have a stroke.

With his blessing (sort of), I’m back to running, and thank goodness for that because last week had my longest run of my training cycle – 20 miles. I did not want to walk that. Here’s how this week of training went.

Monday: Rest Day.

Tuesday: I had my first run in the real world since beginning to deal with my health issues. I ran 5 miles and it felt so awkward to run on pavement again. I felt like a baby deer just learning to walk, though it got better as I focused on my running posture. I had a touch of chest pain during mile 1. I worried it might continue throughout the run, but it seemed to settle down by the end of mile 2. I felt like I was running more slowly than before my running hiatus but I also felt like I could easily increase my mileage.

Black Cherry GU Chomps

Black Cherry GU Chomps

Wednesday: I ran 10.5 miles – 2 laps around Tempe Town Lake. I wanted to get used to this route because I planned to run 4 laps for my 20-mile run on Saturday. I had a bit of chest pain during miles 1-2 and 8-10 but it wasn’t bad enough to make me stop. I also had some pain in my left leg during the second lap. I could definitely tell I was slowing down by the end. I wasn’t sure how I was going to manage 20 miles on Saturday.

I also discovered my new favorite flavor of GU Chomps: black cherry. These things are caffeinated candy. They’re an awesome pick-me-up.

Thursday: I ran 5 miles while listening to the Dr. Drew Podcast with guest lawyer-turned-comedian Paul Mecurio. I laughed out loud several times during my run. It was a good run but I had some calf pain because I hadn’t been as diligent about my post-run stretching earlier in the week.

Friday: Rest Day.

Saturday: I was reminded that I don’t like running in the cold. I ran 20.5 miles – 4 laps around Tempe Town Lake – starting at 7:45 am on Saturday. It was 35 degrees when I started, and I was dressed in shorts, shirt, hoodie because I knew it would get warmer by the end. One of the upsides of running laps around the lake is I get to stop at my car every lap to get water and a snack if I need it.

My sweatshirt came off after first lap. It was still chilly in the shade but otherwise just a bit cold. During Lap 3, I refueled a bit with some strawberry GU Chomps and an apple pie Larabar. I kept myself entertained with an episode of the Dr. Drew Podcast during lap one and listened to my race day playlist the rest of the time. I finished my 20 miles in about 3.5 hours. I had some calf and quad pain in both legs by the end. It was definitely an act of masochism, but the pain was manageable.

I think there were some other runners who were training for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon and running laps around the lake. Every time we passed, we’d smile and wave. It was nice to know I wasn’t the only one torturing themselves that day.

Sunday: Rest Day. I was supposed to cross train today, but I’m freakishly tired. I’ll hit the elliptical at the gym tomorrow.

Weekly Totals:
Running: 41 miles

Marathon Training Week 12 Recap: WTF is Wrong with Me?

12 by Jalil Arfaoui from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

12 by Jalil Arfaoui from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

My training had a major setback this week. My chest has been killing me since last weekend. At first I thought it was just costochondritis, which I’ve dealt with off and on for years. The pain was bad on Sunday night and it extended into my neck, head, shoulders, ribs, and arms. I started having night sweats over the weekend too. And I mean sweating – I had to change my shirt two hours after I feel asleep because my shirt was soaked from the neck seam to the waist seam.

Monday: Holy shit my chest hurts. It hurts to take a deep breath, laugh, bend over, and sit up straight. I called my doctor as soon as the office opened and got a same-day appointment. They ran an EKG, which was normal (yay). My doctor listened to my chest and referred me to get a chest x-ray and to see a cardiologist. My doctor recommended that I walk instead of run my miles this week. (I suspect he’d prefer I not work out at all.)

Tuesday: My chest and head still hurt but it’s not as bad as yesterday. The idea of walking this week’s miles make me cringe. I run partially because I don’t have the patience to walk. I walked my 4.5 miles this afternoon. My foot hurt a bit and my chest and ribs hurt a bit. I kept myself entertained by listening to multiple episodes of The #AskGaryVee Show.

I got my chest x-ray results: normal. I’m glad the news was good but it’s annoying not knowing what’s wrong with me.

This is my night shirt after a night of night sweats. I took this photo 6 hours after I took this shirt off and it was still drenched!

This is my night shirt after a night of night sweats. I took this photo 6 hours after I took this shirt off and it was still drenched!

Wednesday: My chest and head still hurt but the chest pain is continuing to improve. Walking is boring and I don’t like how much time it takes up. It took 2:10 to walk 8 miles today. I entertained myself by listening to the Dr. Drew Podcast and Evo at 11.

Thursday: I had to get my car serviced and pick up mail from my office. When I realized they were 2.7 miles apart, I opted to do 5.4 miles instead of the 5 miles I was assigned to do. Yay for killing 2 birds with one stone. Boo for the fact it was raining. I wore my raincoat from when I lived in Oregon but that didn’t prevent my jeans from being completely soaked by the end.

Here’s something that’s weird. When I run, my left leg and my right hip hurt. When I walk, my right leg and my left hip hurt.

Friday:  Rest Day.

Saturday:  My plan for the weekend was to skip cross training and walk the 12 miles I was scheduled to run on Sunday. That didn’t happen. I was pretty run down on Saturday and by Saturday afternoon, I was feeling weak and warm. It turned out I was running a fever. I slept from 5pm on Saturday evening until 6am on Sunday morning, waking up twice to change my sweat-soaked shirt.

Sunday:  I may be a masochist, but I’m not an idiot. My temperature was back down to normal by 7am, but I was still weak from the previous day. Plus something in my liver/lower lung area was hurting. I opted for a mellow day and did housework instead of walking for 3 hours.

I’ll see my cardiologist on Monday morning. Hopefully we’ll get some answers and I’ll be back pounding pavement soon. Being sick sucks.

Weekly Totals:
Running:  0 miles
Walking:  17.9 miles
Push-ups:  0 push-ups

Marathon Training Week 10 Recap – Masochism Begins

under 10km/h by kssk from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

under 10km/h by kssk from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

I am 10 weeks into Hal Higdon’s 18-week marathon training program. I needed KT Tape last week and after a few days, my leg felt well enough to run without it. Yay for that! I’m still having ongoing hip pain but my physical therapist friend suggested a stretch that helps a lot.

Here’s the recap from last week’s training:

Monday:  It was a chilly 46 degrees this morning. I didn’t feel like running in the cold and I definitely didn’t want to take the time to find my cold weather running gear. So I ran on the treadmill for 4.5 miles, and I ran my face off. I was done in 37.5 minutes. I wanted to be done so badly I cranked the speed up to 8.5 for the last few minutes. Hat tips to The Creative Giant Show and The #AskGaryVee Show for keeping me distracted and entertained.

Tuesday: Rest day.

Wednesday:  I ran 7 miles today. It was 52 degrees outside when I started so I ran in long pants and long-sleeved shirt. I was warm enough that I could have been in shorts and t-shirt by the end. I was entertained by an episode of the Dr. Drew Podcast with guests Anna David and Mike Carano. I laughed out loud several times.

When I got back from my run, I cranked out 100 push-ups: 4 sets of 25.

Thursday: It was another chilly morning, and since I worked from home today, I waited until 9am to run my 4.5 miles so I could run in the sun. I made the mistake of listening to my Christmas playlist today. Although it has some awesomely powerful songs, there were way too many ballads in the mix to be good for running. Plus it made me sad because it reminded me that I’m away from my family on Christmas.

Friday: Rest day.

Saturday: I ran 15 miles today – the longest run I’ve ever done. Ever. I filled the 2.5 hours by listening to episodes of The Dr. Drew Podcast, The Daily Show Podcast without Jon Stewart, and a repeat of Profiles with Malone and Mantz featuring John Hughes. My hip handled the pain pretty well but it still hurt, as did my foot and my knee by the end. I started hating myself around mile 11. The last few miles were not pretty, but they got done and that’s what matters. It takes a true masochist to voluntarily run this far “for fun.”

Sunday:  I did a 19-mile bike ride today for cross training. It was only about 50 degrees when I started and I was only wearing shorts and a t-shirt, so it was pretty chilly. On the upside, it was like I was icing my body as I was inflicting pain on it. I can definitely tell that my quads are getting stronger and have more definition.

When I got back, I finished my push-ups for the week with 4 sets of 25.

Weekly Totals:
Running: 31 miles
Biking: 19 miles
Push-ups: 200 push-ups

Marathon Training Week 8 Recap – Running Hurts!

Looking for Answers? by David Bergin Photography (Creative Commons License)

Looking for Answers? by David Bergin Photography (Creative Commons License)

Week Eight of following Hal Hidgon’s training program has been about managing pain.  This week I was scheduled to run a half marathon on Sunday and I was bummed that I couldn’t find a local race. It’s much less painful to run with the fanfare of a race around and it’s nice to have people cheering for you along the way. In case you wondered if it matters that you’re on the sidelines – it makes a huge difference. Here’s how last week’s training went.

Monday:  I didn’t have a workout scheduled for Monday but I was preparing to lead a 4-mile hike in Papago Park as part of a continuing legal education lecture on Friday. I wanted to make sure I knew where I was going, we went out and walked the route.

Tuesday: I’m not sure I’m going to keep hitting the gym for my Tuesday run. I was annoyed to see that both treadmills weren’t working when I got in there this week so I did my 4.5 miles on the elliptical again – in 31 minutes. I kept myself entertained by listening to three episodes of The #AskGaryVee Show podcast. The only benefits of working out in the gym is I tend to get my miles done faster and I can periodically glance over at my reflection in the mirror to check out my slowly increasing muscle tone.

After my “run,” I cranked out my first 100 push-ups of the week – 5 sets of 20. I’m thinking I’ll but up to 4 sets of 25 by Week 10 and might try to push myself to increase my push-ups to 300/week from 200.

Wednesday:  My hip and feet hurt getting out of bed this morning. Determined not to let that stop me, I headed out on my usual 6.5-mile run. The pain let up after the first mile and returned around mile 4 when I was going up the hill for the second time.

I went to the Injury Clinic at Runner’s Den to get my hip looked at. Matt from Endurance Rehab is always so helpful and super knowledgeable. He poked and prodded at me, had me walk and run a few steps (and said my gait looked good so thanks to Eric my physical therapist for fixing my running form).  He said I don’t have hip problem but a glute problem. He suggested I heat my muscle before I run and roll it on my foam roller afterwards.

Hanging out with my heating pad wrapped around my hip and butt is easy. Working it on the foam roller hurts like a bitch – it’s like self-inflicted deep tissue massage. It helps but geez it’s painful in the process. I’m glad I’m a masochist, but I much prefer to have someone inflict this type of pain rather than having to do it myself.

Thursday: This was my first run where I put heat on my hip and glute before heading out to run 4.5 miles. It helped a lot. Right now my 4.5-mile run has me turning around in the middle of the Mill Avenue Bridge. Something about that seems incomplete. I’m looking forward to my training program bumping me up to 5 miles on Thursday so I can run the whole length.

When I got back, I finished my push-ups for the week: 4 sets of 21 and 1 set of 16. I like seeing veins in my arms when I do them.

Friday: No official training today but I had my 4-mile hike. It was a nice mostly-flat walk.

Saturday: My training program says to run a half marathon on Sunday so I got today off. I’m really bummed that there wasn’t a half-marathon race in my area this weekend.  The race environment is so much more fun, and strangers cheer for you.

Sunday:  I ran a half marathon by myself today. I let myself wake up a little more than usual, had a bagel and a banana for fuel, and put in my contacts so I could enjoy my surroundings more. Despite these allowances, this was a pretty painful run. My feet and right glute hurt from step one. My shins started hurting around mile 4. By mile 8 it seemed like everything from the knee down hurt on both sides. Around mile 10 I had to pick up the pace a bit to cross the street before the light changed. Based on the reaction from the car that was waiting at the intersection, I think I actually grunted. (Sexy I know.) The last mile was pretty brutal. But it got done and that’s what mattered. I finished in about 2:15. Hat tips to Scott Mantz and Alicia Malone of Profiles and the Dr. Drew Podcast for keeping me entertained.

After my last half marathon, I booked a two-hour massage the next day. The only thing I have scheduled after this run is several sessions with my foam roller and work.

Weekly Totals:
Running:  28.6 miles
Hiking: 8 miles
Push-ups:  200 push-ups

Marathon Training Week 7 Recap – And the Pain Begins

Lucky 7 by Jim68000 from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

Lucky 7 by Jim68000 from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

When I was in college, my friends and I were frequently flyers at the piercing parlor. (I’ve had 14 piercings in my life but I’m back down to 2 currently.) After my last piercing they gave me a sticker that says, “We put the ‘f*ck’ in ‘That hurts.’” That was theme this week.

Monday:  I had early plans on Tuesday this week so hit the gym today. To my dismay, the treadmill was taken so I jumped on the elliptical instead. I did 4.5 miles in 32 minutes (~8.5 mph). The last time I ran on the treadmill average, my average speed was 7.1 mph. I burned fewer calories than running but I was super sweaty by the end of my workout. Hat tip to Dr. Drew and Gary Vaynerchuk whose podcasts kept me entertained.

When I got back, I knocked out 100 push-ups: 5 sets of 18 and 1 set of 10.  It was challenging at first but got easier by the third set. I hope to be up to 5 sets of 20 next week and build up to 4 sets of 25 within 3 weeks.

Tuesday: No workout today. I spent the day at Shankminds Phoenix.

Wednesday:  Back to running in the real world today, but I accidentally ran 6.7 miles instead of my usual 6.5 because I told a wrong turn into the condo complex next to mine and I got half way around their parking lot before I realized what I did. I did some speed work until I experienced a bit of hip pain around Mile 4 and took it easy for the rest of the run. If this issue keeps up I’m going to hit the injury clinic at Runner’s Den next week.

After my run I finished my push-ups for the week:  4 sets of 19 and 1 set of 24.

Thursday: I went super pathetically easy on today’s 4.5-mile run. I’ve been trying to research hip pain related to running and I wonder if my pain is caused by doing speed work and running on hills. Everything from my waist down seemed to hurt today with a 2 or 3 out of 10 on the pain scale. Hat tip to The Daily Show Podcast without Jon Stewart for entertaining me today.

Friday: Rest day.

Saturday:  Holy crap today’s 12-mile run was hard. My right hip and left post-tib hurt from step one. My goal for the run was just to finish without stopping – except for stoplights. I felt pretty pathetic sometimes but I got through it. The last three miles with the hill were really hard. That’s when my knees and quads really started to hurt and I was running so slowly. It barely counted as running. My thanks to Profiles with Malone and Mantz for their extended show about Alfred Hitchcock that kept entertained and distracted from my pain.

My New Shoes

My New Shoes

After today’s run, I checked my running log and saw that I’d run over 330 miles in my current pair of shoes. That doesn’t include wearing my running shoes out and about or walking Rosie. This pair of shoes has probably walked 400-450 miles since I got them in July. My post-tib has probably been hurting more because my shoes are dead. While I was out running errands, I hit REI for a new pair of insoles and Runner’s Den to replace my shoes. Nate at Runner’s Den said the wear pattern on my old shoes (Asics GT-2000) looked “perfect” so I’m definitely in the right shoes for me so we just replaced them. (I’m glad they still had them in my preferred color because it looks like next season’s colors for these shoes are ugly.) I also hooked myself up with another pair of Asics running shorts with the built-in brief and Feetures seamless socks.

Sunday:  The increased muscle tone in my quads definitely came in handy on today’s 19-mile bike ride. I’m able to ride harder and faster than before. (Wait, that sounds dirty.) More endurance + less pain = happier Ruth. And it was nice cool 68 degrees this morning – perfect for a bike ride.

Weekly Totals:
Running: 27.7 miles
Biking: 19 miles
Push-ups: 200 push-ups

Marathon Training Week 3 Recap – Getting Better

3 is the magic number by DanBrady from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

3 is the magic number by DanBrady from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

By the end of this week, I can say my body is adjusting to training pretty well. I feel stronger and I’m noticing more muscle definition in my quads and shoulders. And I’m not going to lie – one of the benefits of training for a race like this is I get to look better naked.

Speaking of how I look naked, I spent the last week with a gash on my arm from my fall during week 2. It’s still healing and showing significant improvement in the last few days. Up until Friday it looked pretty gross while my arm was trying to regrow my skin and the bruises got darker and more yellow each day. We’ll see if there’s going to be a scar. I hope not.

Here’s a quick recap of each aspect of my training from the last week.

1005141834Running
I had four runs this week – 4.5 miles on Tuesday and Thursday and 6.5 miles on Wednesday and Saturday. This was the first week I ran the full distance of what I thought I’d been running for the last month. My left quad let me know it could tell the difference in the distance – not pain, just a little sore. Sometime this week I noticed how comfortable I’ve become with my new running posture. I’m averaging about 10 min/mile without pushing myself that hard (though I was inspired to kick it up a notch when I was passed by another running this week) and my pain is still minimal and transient.

It’s a well-known fact that I’m not a fan of stretching. It’s a necessary evil in my world. I stretch before and after each run, but not so much when I ride my bike. I can definitely tell on my Tuesday run that I didn’t stretch on Sunday. My lower legs were more sore than the other days of the week.

So far, I prefer to listen to podcasts when I run. This week I listened to the Dr. Drew Podcast, three episodes of The Mistake Podcast with Peter Shankman and Peter Keller, an old episode of Evo at 11 featuring Joe Holt, and the latest episode of Profiles with Alicia Malone and Scott Mantz. The conversations on the shows keep my brain more stimulated and distracted than music. The one downside is I don’t like fussing with my iPod to flip between shows if I finish the show before I finish my run. I have a 20-mile run coming up in December. I really want to convince my friend Evo Terra to have our friends over to sit in ShEvo Studios, drink beer, and record a 200-minute podcast of their standard nothing-and-everything conversations to keep me entertained.

Biking
I had an awesome 18-mile bike ride at sunrise this week. (I also learned that I need to replace the batteries in my bike light because it was looking a little dim.) I still get a little tired towards the end but I my stamina and leg strength are increasing. I love my padded butt shorts. I feel bad that Rosie the basset hound hasn’t figured out that when I put these shorts on, it means I’m going out and she’s not coming with me. I’m moving next weekend so I’ll be changing up my route and beginning to explore Papago Park.

Push-Ups
The push-ups are going well. It doesn’t hurt to put my arms up anymore. I did 6 sets of 12 on Monday, 6 sets of 13 on Saturday, and finished up with 4 sets on Sunday alternating between 12 and 13 push-ups per set. This week the plan is to do my 200 push-ups over two days instead of three, doing 8 sets each day, alternating between 12 and 13 push-ups per set.

Weekly Totals:
Running: 22 Miles
Biking: 18 Miles
Push-ups: 200