Tag Archives: Running

Colchester Half Marathon 2016

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For the first time in 4 years, I returned to Colchester for the half marathon.  It is a hilly course with over 800′ of elevation change. The temps were in the mid – upper 30s and the wind wasn’t too bad this year.  My “minimalist training plan” showed with my slowest time on this course of the 4 times I have run it. I ran a 2:06:31 and that’s fine with me. I’m happy to be back in the groove and look forward to more races this year.
It was great to see my fitness friends. The picture is with my co-worker and friend Hank Brightman. The “tree pose” is a yoga pose that is his trademark after a race. A special shout out goes to my friend Chris Calhoun, who isn’t a runner, but came out anyways. With a 1:56 debut for a half marathon,  I think we might have to upgrade him to runner status. Now it’s on to a weekend full of horse activities.  Maybe right after I stop for a cup of coffee.

What fixed my sciatic nerve pain

At the Naval Academy in the late 90s, I ran a lot.   I ended up with a double Achilles injury at one point. I also ended up in PT (physical therapy) for sciatic nerve pain. Then I went to the fleet, gained weight, quit working out, etc. In 2009, I got into triathlons and lost 30 lbs. For about the first 2 years, everything was great. No real injuries or problems.
Then, in 2012 injuries started. Subtle at first. More tightness than normal. Then the sciatic nerve pain returned, in particular, after a fast run like a 5k race. I started stretching more and tried to get around the problem. By the fall of 2012, I was back in PT and completely off running trying to fix the now constant sciatic nerve pain. The PT didn’t really help. The stretching provided only a short duration of relief. After 3 months of no running, I was given the OK to return to training, SLOWLY. I did. But 1 month later, I suffered a serious concussion and running was put on hold again.

Fast forward to recently. While I am not over the concussion, I have decided to give up on waiting and just run anyways. The intelligence of that approach can be debated. However, I was still having sciatic pain, and I wasn’t even running. Then, one day in the gym, I was on a treadmill with a mirror in front of me. I noticed my right foot turned to the outside at about a 20 degree angle as I ran. For the next few minutes, I forced myself to twist my foot straight. When I got off the treadmill, I could feel how dramatic the difference was in the improvement of my sciatic nerve pain. So I started trying to understand what was going on. I was already in the process of listening to “Born to Run” on an audio book and then followed that with “Running with the Kenyans”.  The more I read about “barefoot” running, the more I thought I wanted to give it a try.

So, I went to a local store and found a pair of Merrill M Connect shoes, which are a minimalist shoe that encourages a forefoot strike instead of the heel first strike. I took them back to the gym and ran for a few minutes on the indoor track. It was amazing. I immediately transitioned to a forefoot strike. And it felt awesome. It felt easier and faster. I was careful not to overdo it, but over the next couple of weeks, I kept doing some easy runs of 20 minutes or less. However, the most amazing realization was, my sciatic nerve pain was gone. The first day I ran in the new shoes, I had NO sciatic nerve pain for 48 hours. Since then, I can actually feel the stretching in my right hip as my foot is realigning with the natural motion it had lost.

What fixed my sciatic nerve problem? Forefoot running.

how I ran 2 very important miles today

This afternoon, the temps were about 54F.  So, I put on my running SHORTS! and strapped Amanda into the jogging stroller.  Alex hopped on his bike, and I got out the nicer leash for Mack to come along.  And then, we ran (Alex biked) for just over a mile, turned around, and ran back.  It was at about a 9:30 pace, which is pretty slow for me.  My legs are already a little sore.  Oh yeah, that is the FIRST time I have been running since my concussion in early January.

The past two weeks have been significant improvements for me.  While yesterday, I did come home from work with a migraine bad enough I needed to take some meds and head to bed, that was the first time I had to nap in over a week.  In fact, I have only taken meds for a headache about 2 times in the past 2 weeks.

While I know I am not back to 100% and I don’t intend to rush things, it is nice to finally feel like I am making progress.  I am also happy to report that I no longer need the reading glasses prescribed by the optometrist.

What is a RAGNAR?

A couple of months ago, some running friends asked me to join their Ragnar Relay Team. From the Ragnar website:

“Ragnar is the overnight running relay race that makes testing your limits a team sport. A team is made up of 6-12 individuals; each individual runs 3 legs. The legs of the race vary in difficulty and distance, from 3-8 miles, allowing elite and novice runners to run together. Over 2 days and 1 night, teams run across 200 miles of the country’s most scenic terrain. Pair that with crazy costumes, inside jokes, a great finish line party and unforgettable stories. Some call it a slumber party without sleep, pillows or deodorant. We call it Ragnar.”

So today, I will join a large number of people who have decided to pay people for the privilege of running a lot. We are running Cape Cod, from Plymouth, MA to Provincetown, MA for about 186 miles.

I am runner #7 on our team and my total is 24 miles. Hopefully I will still be able to walk when this is over.

Half marathon PR

This morning I ran my 3rd half marathon in Colchester, CT. The weather was nice in the low 40s, but there were winds of 25-30mph. On the first half of the course, the winds were not too bad. However, the last 2.5 miles was completely exposed, uphill, with a head wind the whole way. Did I mention the hills? Despite the challenge, I finished in 1:43:12 for an average 7:52 min/mile (my previous best was 1:49).
Along the way I burned about 1800 calories and my average heart rate was 188. I think the HR was a little skewed because of a poor connection (not enough sweat) for the first few miles.
Regardless, I’m extremely pleased with the result since I was hoping to run a half marathon in under 1:45 by the end of 2012.