Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Miracle Miles 15k Race Report

Anonymous said...
“well, how did it go? How is the knee? Are you back on your marathon schedule?”

I’m thrilled at your interest.

Is it possible to be simultaneously happy and dissatisfied with a race performance? That about sums up my feelings about this race.

I had high expectations looking ahead to the Miracle Miles 15k, right up until the point my knee started to flare up a few weeks ago. I debated not racing at all but days before the race I felt I had made enough progress with my ITBS that I decided to go for it. Whether or not that was a poor decision is yet to be determined.

I finished in 1:30:14, that’s about a 9:42 pace. I placed 656 out of 1715 and 68 out of 118 in my division.

I know that is much slower than I am capable of and my time relative to the field is much slower than I have been doing in recent races. In that respect, I was disappointed in my performance.

On the other hand, my knee flared up significantly during the run. Dealing with the pain, which included stopping twice, and still managing a 9:42 pace made me pretty happy.

The first three miles went fairly well. It was about 75 degrees at the race start and was lightly drizzling. I planned in advance not to push myself too hard this race so I lined up just ahead of the 9 minute mile pace signs. On my training runs over the past week I had been able to run at about that pace and manage my knee. I figured if the race went well I would be able to pick up my pace for the last few miles.

Mile one went well and I reached the first mile marker at 9:27, a little slower than I would have liked but it was pretty crowded. I finished the second mile in 9:24 and by then an ache had settled into my knee. It wasn’t bad, but I knew it was only going to get worse. I resolved to just maintain that pace and finished the next mile in 9:31.

By the time I hit the midpoint, that ache turned to pain. I stopped twice in the middle third of the race to try to stretch my ITB in the hopes that it would relieve some of the pain. It did, but only temporarily. My splits for that portion of the race were 9:35, 10:16, 10:01.

I don’t know if it was endorphins or thanks to my never ending struggle to find the right stride to stop the pain, but miles 7 and 8 were virtually pain free and I was able to pick my pace back up, 10:35 (which included my last attempt to stretch just after the 6th mile water stop) and 9:25.

I continued accelerating through the ninth mile and I reached the last mile marker in 9:08, my fastest split all morning, and I wasn’t even breathing hard. Unfortunately, the road surface also changed from asphalt to brick at that point. I noticed a lot of runners moved to the sidewalk to avoid the miserable surface. I elected to stay put and avoid the crowd. I maintained my pace, but the pain returned with a vengeance. I was able to keep that pace through the finish and crossed the finish line at 1:30:14.

My knee was pretty sore for the rest of the weekend, but it’s been getting better with each day. I’ve been icing it and using my foam roller every day. The pain has diminished to about the point it was in the days leading up to the race, but I have yet to test it again except for a slow, easy 3 miler on Monday. I’m hoping to run my first “real” long run in the three weeks on Sunday, 17 miles. If I can make it through that, then all is well.

The race lived up to my expectations in just about every other respect. Logistically it was one of the most organized events I have run. There was one too many water stations. The last one was less than a mile from the finish and I had no interest in slowing to drink at that point. Some of the volunteers were a little overzealous, crowding the course from both sides.

This race benefits the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Arnold Palmer Hospital so there was a lot of local corporate support, including to my great pleasure, some of the best local restaurants in town. The post race feast was incredible. In addition to the traditional bananas, orange slices, water and powerade there were such treats as mushroom stuffed ravioli with a lobster cream sauce and prime rib sliders. Not to mention sweets like ice cream, smoothies and popsicles.  I ate to my heart's content.

WVR had 36 runners in this race making it the best attended event since I joined the club. It felt great to be a part of that.

Would I do it again? Definitely!

Monday, September 27, 2010

DoppelLaufer Virtual 5k ver. 2.0 Results

The final results are in and the winner is:


Here are the final standings:

We grew from 3 racers to 13 and out of that 13, 11 set new PR’s. The ability of the runners were widely varied with 5k times ranging from 19:00 to 44:00. Despite that variability the handicapping worked well and the adjusted times were very tight with many runners mere seconds apart.

The good natured taunting got pretty intense over the past few weeks, particularly out of our Rhode Island contingent but it was all in good fun. Our discussion thread has often dominated the running forum at active.com. We reached 1400 posts and 53,000 page views. Based on that ratio, I think quite a few people took vicarious pleasure from our nonsense too. New Balance received so many add impressions from that thread I think a new pair of shoes wouldn’t be out of the question. I’m not too shameless to beg - Hey New Balance – anyone reading this? I’d settle for a decent discount.  Forgive the pandering :-}

I think we may have time for one more fall virtual 5k before our northern DoppelLaufers have to retire to their treadmills for the duration of the cold dark winter. When they emerge in the spring, plans are already underway for a virtual half marathon.

Friday, September 24, 2010

T-Shirt Addict

Another race

another trip to Track Shack


and another t-shirt.

Don’t say it. I know, I promised to rest this week, but I’ve been looking forward to this 15k for months. It’s one of the most popular races in Orlando and WVR has nearly 40 runners entered. I was hugely disappointed at the thought of pulling out.

The foam roller appears to be working on my ITB and knee, although I think I bruised my thigh using it. I felt good enough to run 7 miles Wednesday and another 4 today. I got through both runs with very little discomfort so I decided to go for it and registered for the race at the last minute.

My plan is to hold back just a little. I want to use the race to test my marathon pace goal and if the first 6 miles go well then I’ll try to pick it up for the last third of the race. This is my first 15k so I’ll be guaranteed a PR.

If I start whining about being hurt next week then you can all post “I told you so” comments.

You all probably think I’ve developed an addiction to running, but you’re wrong. I only do it for the shirts.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Denial is not just a river in Egypt

I appreciate all of the supportive comments, over the past few days as well as the ones pointing out my obvious training errors. Yes, I admit I have probably been overtraining. I’ve been racking up the miles for marathon training while simultaneously training to PR 5k’s. But I preferred to live in a state of denial about it. So, I promise, no more 5k’s for a while. Just don’t ask me to define what I mean by “a while.” ;-}

I have good news though, thanks to this simple, yet miraculous, device - a foam roller.

My knee pain was likely caused by Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS) and is already much improved today. The picture makes using the roller look simple enough, but don’t be deceived. Using it felt a bit like medieval torture on par with the rack.

I’ll also credit stretching, a much reduced training schedule, ice and Motrin as instrumental in my rehab. I learned a great ITB stretch from club members of WVR. It’s a bit hard to describe, so I’ll try to find some pictures within the next few days to illustrate it.

It’s probably premature to say I’ve put the problem behind me, but I felt well enough today to finish 7.5 miles. The first 6 miles of it were pain free. During the last 1.5 miles I had just a dull ache in the knee, probably 3-4 on a scale of 10, but not enough to force me to stop.

I’ve been despairing the past few days about how long it has been taking to resolve this pain. Now I have hope again.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Back to Basics

I think I have allowed my running form to get sloppy over the past few months and that may be partly to blame for the knee pain I have been suffering from for the past week.

The knee is improving. I ran in a 3 mile “fun run” sponsored by Front Running Sports to celebrate their anniversary on Saturday. Most of the run was pain free and when the pain did start to emerge I was able to control it by focusing on my form, particularly shortening my stride and increasing the turnover. That worked well and I was able to keep the pain in check.

I employed the same strategy this morning for a 4 mile run and didn’t experience any pain during the run, although I could tell that my knee still did not feel “right.” Unfortunately, after the run I had some fairly intense sharp pain when I attempted a quads stretch that severely bends the knee.

I’ve got the photographic evidence of my sloppy form right here from a 5k earlier this month.

You can see the obvious over striding and heel striking. I made excuses for this picture because it was right at the finish line and I was in the midst of my finishing kick.

However in this picture from the fun run on Saturday, you can see the same over striding and heel striking, although not quite as pronounced. There were no excuses this time, this photo was taken at the very beginning of the run.

Just for kicks, here’s my finishing photo from Saturday.  It’s too bad this was just a fun run with no official time. The field was so small I might have had a shot at an age group medal.

My plan over the next few weeks is to focus on the Chi Running basics and see if I can get back to pain free running. I’m even considering some barefoot running to jump start the correction.

I’ll keep you posted.

Friday, September 17, 2010


I think I overdid it last weekend. A PR in a 5k on Saturday followed by a 16 mile long on Sunday = a sore knee on Monday, and Tuesday, and Wednesday . . . .

Needless to say my mileage is way down this week.  I rested Monday and Tuesday, got in a slow 3 mile recovery run on Wednesday, and another slow 2 miles this morning. The first 1.5 miles this morning was pain free, so it looks like its improving.

I’ll take it easy this weekend, skip the 17 miles I had scheduled for Sunday and hope the rest will be enough to put things right again.

All this rest is driving me crazy. I think running has become an addiction.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Running Bird in Flight

Yeah! I finally got a decent race photo.

I was beginning to think I was destined to never have a great running photo to show off. I’m usually pictured in some awkward pose that hardly looks like I’m running at all, but here I was captured with both feet off the ground in the middle of my kick in the last few yards of the race.

The Rock-n-Run 5k on Saturday was a great event and I managed to PR again by a healthy 51 seconds. 23:07!

I averaged 7:27 per mile and ran at a fairly consistent pace throughout the race, 7:19 was my fastest mile. That elusive 7:00 mile escaped me again, but I’m hot on its tail.

The temperature was about 78 degrees and Florida’s usual high humidity made the air feel heavy. I was sweating heavily even before the start. I’m really looking forward to racing this winter. Give me a dry day with temperatures in the 50’s and I think I will be able to run some impressive times.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Sweet Swag

I’m running in the Autumn Rock-n-Run 5k in Casselberry, FL this Saturday sponsored by the Track Shack and Florida Hospital so today I made the drive downtown to pick up my race packet.

The Track Shack has been a running institution in Orlando for decades. It really is a cool shop. If you ever visit you should make the drive up from the theme parks and check it out.

The packet pickup was quick and well organized as usual. I had a few minutes to browse the racks, but managed to keep my wallet in my pocket this time. (If you recall, last time I couldn’t resist a 20% off sale and took home a new pair of ASICS).

The swag was typical for a 5k around here. A handful of coupons, race fliers, samples of power bars and crackers, and of course a tech T. The T-shirt is pretty cool and may even see some wear when I’m not running.

This race is also my entry in the second DoppelLaufer Virtual 5k. If you haven’t been following along, you can see a list of the entrants here.

There are 14 racers this go round with race PR’s ranging from sub 20 to more than 40 minutes. The action will take place over the next three weekends, so watching the standings change will be like announcing a horse race in slow motion. If we designed the handicap system well it should be a photo finish.

You can follow along with the pre- and post-race taunting here.

My prediction, you ask?

johnnysocko:  The fastest among us, jsock, will have the best time outright but will fall frustratingly short of victory in the handicap adjusted standings.

dwm082:  Don will be dq’d for forgetting to post his results in the thread.  It will have been so long since he posted anything, that he will forget where it is.

JimDo64:  Jim will make the classic error of wearing a new pair of shoes at his race, will succumb to a blister, and limp across the finish line.

middleagedrunner will ignore the advice of her doctor, enter her race, shin splints and all, but will exercise caution and finish well over her current PR.

Maryalicia will race without her James Bond stroller, but racked with guilt, will return to the start to pick up her little girl and carry her the 3.1 miles to the finish.

thingmabobby will try to run the race barefoot and like Jim, will end up limping across the finish line on blistered feet.

SurfingVol will develop a run in his stockings, er . . . I mean "Zensah Sleeve," and the uneven compression will be too much of a distraction for him to be any threat on the race course.

WiGuy performed so well in his last race after fueling up with chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream that he logically decided to repeat the ritual. Following the same logic he will eat twice as much ice cream under the mistaken belief that it will mean twice the speed.

Squeakygirl and Papakeith will become so competitive at the starting line because of their little side bet, that they resort to tripping and hair pulling to slow each other down costing them both any chance of victory.

vcackerman – will miss his race in favor of a Hawkeyes tailgating party.

FaithUpHigh will have a camping flashback, get spooked by imagined spiders and snakes, and end up hopping and shrieking her way down the race course.

BowieLinda – Mysterious Linda was quiet as a church mouse throughout much of the DoppelLaufer taunting but will turn out to be the silent threat on the race course that everyone should have been worrying about. She will be a contender, but her downfall will result from throngs of paparazzi blinding her with flashbulbs, trying to get pictures of BowieDavid’s wife’s hot feet.  The result of an anonymous tip tweeted by JimDoGump.

Shona – in a last minute re-entry, Shona will enter a new 5k, but will accidently pack her climbing shoes instead of her running shoes for the race.

and the winner will of course be:

Thursday, September 2, 2010

It’s the little things that drive you crazy on long runs.

These are things that you may not even notice in every day life but become infuriatingly bothersome after miles of pounding pavement.

The tip of your shoelace bumping your ankle with every step

A rough seam on your clothing rubbing your skin.

A wrinkle in your socks under your foot.

Shorts riding up your thighs.

Nipples rubbing on the fabric of your shirt.

I could go on.

Last weekend it was my spibelt.

I was sore after running 15 miles but I pretty much recovered within 24 hours, except for one thing - an abrasion on my stomach rubbed raw by my spibelt.

I’ve worn this belt on nearly every run since I bought it last November. It survived a half marathon and spring training that took me on runs as long as 19 miles. I have close to 1000 miles logged wearing this thing and it never gave me trouble – not once.

For some reason on Sunday it rubbed the flesh right off my stomach and I can’t figure out why. I felt for a rough spot or seam but couldn’t find any. I didn’t carry anything unusual, just a cell phone and the key fob for my car. I have adjusted it periodically as my waist has shrunk over time, so maybe it was just sitting on a new spot on my waist.

It isn’t a huge sore, just a couple of inches long but it’s like a nagging paper cut. It keeps getting rubbed by the waistline of my pants every time I move. It’s not like it’s actually painful, it’s just a nagging irritant that won’t go away, even after four days.

I love this belt. It is one of my favorite pieces of running gear. Like a magician’s hat, the little pouch has a miraculously large storage capacity and holds its contents snugly against your body without bouncing around. So I’m not giving up on it yet. I’ll adjust the tightness a bit and see if it will sit differently on my hips.

I suppose testing gear like this is one of the functions of a long training run. But that doesn’t make it any less maddening.

Post Script

On my next run I looked closely at where my Spibelt sits on my waist and figured out what happened. The belt was flipped inside out so that the zipper and a small label at the corner of the pouch were against my skin instead of facing out. It was the label that rubbed my skin. Since I never had to access the contents of the pouch and didn’t notice the chafing until after I finished running, it must have stayed that way for the entire 15 miles. I am 100% satisfied with my Spibelt and didn’t want anyone to think I was criticizing it because of my whining in the above post.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

DoppelLaufer Virtual 5k Update

The starting gun will fire in 10 more days with what is certain to be the shot heard round the web.

Our virtual race has grown from 3 runners to 14, representing 12 different states from Florida to Washington and all points in between.

Here is the current list of participants, including handicaps:

As always the taunting and camaraderie continues here:

DoppelLaufers Good Natured Taunting and Race Reports Thread

The competition is fierce. At the moment, the most intense rivalry seems to be centered around a father/daughter pair from Rhode Island who are resorting to outright sabotage and dirty tactics to gain an advantage. The details are a little sketchy, but rumor has it that pancakes and bacon were involved