Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Starting 2017 with a 10 week break; a half-assed running plan if I've ever seen one

After a nice slow December post-NCR Marathon, I began the new year with a full slate planned. It included: the Mid-MD 50K this weekend, the DC Rock n' Roll Half and the B&A Half in March. Unfortunately, my colon didn't cooperate with my feet.

Starting on New Year's Day, post-parkrun, pizza and beer with friends, I started having pretty severe gut pain. It came and went - I'd be doubled over with pain one moment, thinking about running the next. It was an 8 on the pain scale at its worst, and came with other symptoms that landed me in the ER on the 12th with a diagnosis of post-viral irritable blech.

But: it continued. On and on, through a gastro appointment that confirmed the ER diagnosis. Another week of suck. And I hadn't run since January 8, adding to the mental train wreck.

Luck would have it, the symptoms expanded (I will spare the detail here, but if you want gory details leave a comment), and I got back in for a visit on the 27th where the doctor booked a colonoscopy on the 31st. 

I certainly wasn't thinking much of it - went into it fairly blase but thinking they'd send me on my way with a prescription of something or other. It was a real shock to wake up and get the news from the gastro that they found an ugly golf ball size thing causing my right colon to telescope inside itself, explaining the pain and the other symptoms. It was just too big and complicated to get out without surgery - which I underwent two days later and which was a complete success. I turned out just to be a giant benign tumor that sprung up fast (within the 10 year window of my first colonoscopy) and made trouble quickly. It, and a foot of neighboring colon, got the bums rush, stat.  Six days later, I'm back to walking around the block and returning to normal.

What lessons did I learn? The best laid running plans and life plans for that matter are always best to be taken with a grain of salt. In the past, stuff has gotten derailed by other obligations, and it happens. But it never got derailed because I just couldn't. A good and humbling reminder that sometimes you just can't and don't sweat it. And sometimes you dodge a bullet, sometimes you don't, but the world spins anyhow.

So where do I go from here? Basically nothing more than getting rested and ready, slowly but surely. Two weeks out of work, then another couple of weeks taking it easy. A lot of walking and then getting back to the running thing again in mid March. Hope to see everyone outside real soon where I'll be more than happy to be out midpacking and even better once again.


Saturday, December 31, 2016

Running recap 12/31/16 (blah blah on top, year in review DC running photos at end)

Not many running regrets for the year past. I managed to avoid running-related injury (though I did get felled by a couple of cold viruses aggravated by lack of rest days in April and again in October). 

I kept a marathon-or-longer annual streak going for the fifth consecutive year. It was the first year since 2012 that I didn't run multiple marathon or longer races. My body thanks me for the break.

I ran a copious number of shorter races. No PRs, but came close enough in the half and 5K that I didn't feel I came up to short.

1 34K
1 20 miler
1 metric marathon (26.2 K)
8 half marathons
2 20Ks
1 10 miler
2 10Ks
2 8Ks
8 5Ks (raced)

I developed a relationship with parkrunning, running 20 of them at Fletcher's Cove, Roosevelt Island, and College Park. (I narrowly missed making one at Crissy Field - maybe next year). 

I beat my mileage totals for 2015 and 2014.  

- 2016: 1733
- 2015: 1722
- 2014: 1716
- 2013: 2135
- 2012: 1222

Goals for 2017:

- Stay healthy. There's a fine line at any age, but definitely once you get into your 50s, between running as much as you want and as much as your body can handle. I think an average of around 150 miles per month is about as much as I can handle month in month out.

- Keep my 100 miles per month minimum going. I missed out in April of '16 when I got a bad cold, but have done it in 55 of the last 57 months. It means more rest days when feeling like a bug is coming on to prevent a full blown illness digging in.

- More down weeks, and not just after long races. I need to mix in low mileage stretches (20-25 mpw) now and then, especially in the heat of summer, to prevent getting over-fatigued going into fall.

- More trails. I'm just not willing to put in the intensity to bring down my road racing times, so I have to get my jollies out through longer distance races. I prefer 20-50K distances (my pain and boredom tolerance runs out after about six hours) but maybe this will be the year I go longer just to do it. I always find an excuse not to do a 50 miler, but the time is probably right.

And looking forward to hitting 10,000 all-time miles on Strava! Halfway around the world will have to wait till 2018.

Thanks for reading, and for helping keeping me honest and motivated. Peace love and understanding for everyone in 2017.

And: this post would suck without photos.


MCRRC New Years 5K
SF run
Seneca Greenway - January

Second Fletcher's Cove parkrun

Carderock post JFK 20 DCRRC

Icy Potomac River trail MD side

Potomac River deep freeze

C&O Canal - where's the hockey players?

Crap ton of  January snow 10 pm run

Good plowing MC Parks Dept!

The snowplow county line on the CCT

From Beach Dr

On my way to a trail race in February!

Civilian Conservation Corps marker on Cabin John Trail



Some East Coast winter relief in Palo Alto 


Looks like we are melted out for the year - Potomac River trail MD side
Chain Bridge spring sprung



Rock Creek Park




Frederick Half Marathon parking lot

High water, everywhere. C&O towpath

Pre-race at Maryland Half, Fulton

From the Conn Ave Bridge- Rock Creek Park in full bloom


C&O towpath east of Glen Echo Park

Pre-race at Alexandria Running Festival

Roosevelt Island parkrunners


C&O towpath looking east towards the Beltway

Crissy Field SF

Monterey Beach CA

CCT underpass, Massachusetts Ave

Prospect Park, Waltham Mass looking at Boston



Beautiful Sugarloaf sky post MCRRC Comus Run

Fletcher's Parkrun crowd gathers

My favorite Potomac view from the C&O towpath, near the dam

Low water on the Potomac, summer on the Potomac River trail, MD


Fall on the C&O towpath

Fall view of the Potomac from the C&O towpath near the dam

Election Day run 

Election Day Run: Indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

From the Jackie O Reservoir, NYC, Central Park

On your mark... Fletcher's parkrun

Glorious fall on the C&O towpath, east of Glen Echo 

Fall day on the Potomac from the C&O towpath near the dam.

Is that Councilwoman Mary Cheh (b left)? Pre parkrun at Fletchers.

Potomac River trail


Gorgeous fall morning on the Berma Road, Great Falls MD

DC Waterfront from Hains Point

Muddy Branch Trail after snow squall, 12/30