Tuesday, August 22, 2017


Did you manage to survive the eclipse?? Hopefully no squirrels speaking to you with the face of a child or cats & dogs living together??

We had about 76% totality here & although my camera refused to fully cooperate, there were some cool pinhole leaf images.

There's a partial eclipse in there somewhere....

Running-wise, week 8 wasn't a *terrible* week, but it also wasn't exactly the week I'd planned. As usual, things got off to a pretty decent start with morning strength work and karate on Monday and a solid speed session (9.5 miles) at the track on Tuesday. All paces were hit and nothing felt weird or off.

That is, until I got home, and noticed that some of the painful spots in my shins from the week before had returned. And there was one tender painful spot in particular on the left side that did not get better as the evening went on, and in fact the pain was bad enough to be actively annoying and keep me up half the night and irritate me the entire next day at work.

Generally, I don't freak out too much about painful shins. I've always gotten shin splints, and after years of seeing a wide range of professionals and trying every imaginable intervention on earth, I've come to the conclusion that they're largely due to tight calves, so I do try to roll and stretch them out as much as possible (y'know. When I think about it).

It used to be that the possibility of a real-life-honest-to-god stress fracture was a kind of bogey man that scared the crap out of me any time the shin splints got bad or started to feel a little more localized, but it always went away without ever showing any of the really tale-tell signs of a stress fracture. So shin pain became sort of this ritual where I'd wring my hands and whisper to myself, "Gee, I hope I don't have a stress fracture" but then also roll my eyes at myself going, "For the last time, chill, you so do not have a stress fracture." But, that was before I lived through two of them, so these days they feel a lot more like a legitimate concern.

(For the idly curious: PTs guessed that the first sfx--fibula, left leg--was a result of using my left leg to compensate for worrying about the recently torn muscle in my right hip, and the second--tibia, also left leg--was a result of trying too hard to shift my form to running on the middle of the ball of my foot rather than the outside, which is more my natural tendency (and once left me with tendinitis in both feet). In neither situation was I running even *remotely* a lot, nor had I made any changes in terms of footwear or running surfaces, which I just mention because although those are the most common reasons for stress fractures, they can happen for other reasons, too.)

This pain on Tuesday and Wednesday was weird in that it definitely felt like bone pain (once you've had a bone injury you will never mistake it for anything else) and definitely felt localized to one spot, but I did not have pain while walking, running, or hopping on one leg (key sfx indicators). Also the spot felt as if it was right behind my tibia, right where the muscle attached, which made me wonder if it was some kind of weirdness where my (inevitably over-tight) calf muscles were pulling on the bone in some way and that was what was causing the pain.

Cue allllll the rolling

There was no karate on Wednesday so I'd planned an easy 8-10 miler, but given that the spot on my shin had been aching all day, I figured it was smarter to skip the run and instead take a big dose of extra calcium & then grab a nap. (Fun fact: Not sleeping enough increases your risk of stress fractures, because deep sleep is when your body releases a lot of the hormones that do the work of rebuilding tissue damage from exercise.)

Thankfully by Thursday everything felt normal, though I still felt really, really tired. (Fun fact #2: Lately I've felt like I'm running 60 miles a week rather than low to mid 40s, for which I blame stress, lack of sleep, and not eating as well as I should be largely due to lacking a kitchen.) Friday and Saturday went fine, and on Sunday I had a 14 mile long run schedule; alas, it was cut short due to basically giving myself donut poisoning that morning (don't ask) so I ended up with only 10.3 miles.

So, yeah. It's been a week!

* * * Rock 'N Roll San Jose Half: Week 8 of 14 * * *

Grand Total: 42.4 miles + 2 hours strength work.

    * 32.73 easy
    * 5.5 speed
    * 4.17 tempo/threshold

Monday 8/14: a.m. strength work / p.m. karate

    Great start to the week! (I am really great at great starts to weeks.) Also I'm officially up to squatting triple digits for reps (105 lbs to be exact), so that's cool.

Tuesday 8/15: 2.25 warm up, 6 x 200m / 200m jog, 2.5 @ MP, 6 x 200m / 200m jog, 1.75 cool down = 9.5 total

    Really tried to focus on NOT hammering the 200m's like I'm training for the 400m and instead playing a game of "how slow can I run these and still be in the 0:45-0:48 target range." Ultimately nailed them all between 0:45-0:47 (yay) though my left hamstring still felt a little off. The marathon pace miles, on the other hand, felt weirdly easy, considering how exhausted and trashed I've felt lately.

Wednesday 8/16: Rest

    Arrrrrgh shin pain #dodgingbullets

Thursday 8/17: 8 easy.

    I really wanted to do this run on dirt but thus far have been unable to find a nice, gentle trail nearby that is soft, relatively flat, and not too windy or rocky. I gave Edgewood Park in Redwood City a try and abandoned it after less than two miles (too hard, steep, uneven, & windy for babying the legs on an easy day) and bitterly resigned myself to finishing the rest of the run on my usual (concrete) route in SF. There is supposedly a cross country course near my office so I might give that a try sometime.

Friday 8/18: a.m. strength work / p.m. 2.35 warm up, 2 x 2 @ HMP / 2:00 jog, 2.08 cool down = 8.6 total

    WOW, was there a nasty headwind on my outbound trip! In general, the outbound half of my run is more or less due west & the inbound half is heading eastward. There's often a headwind going west, but it's been worse than usual lately and on Friday it was kind of insane. I'm not good at estimating wind speed, but this was one of those barely-moving-foward, tuck-your-head-down-and-plow-on-through kind of head winds. 20 mph? I'm really a terrible judge, but just know that it sucked.

    The westward/outbound section is also mostly uphill, so my tempo/threshold intervals are usually a little slower going that direction, but this was much tougher than usual! My target pace was 7:30ish and I was *well* off of that for that first 2-mile interval. (On the other hand? The inbound ones were a cake walk.)

Saturday 8/19: 6 easy

Sunday 8/20: 14 long 10.3 easy

    The sequence of events on Sunday unfolded as follows:

    10:00am: Wake up desperately craving donuts. 10:30am: Acquire donuts & eat two. 12:30pm: Head out for 14 mile long run. 1:00pm: Commence disgusting donut burps & minor stomach unhappiness. 1:30pm: Barf donuts in GG Park, continue feeling awful. Decide against car service because that seems like a bad idea when your stomach is revolting.

    Honestly at that point I could think of no better option than to run back home via the shortest possible route, so 10.3 truly awful miles (stopping every few minutes or so to let the nausea subside) it was, with pretty much any strong smell I encountered on the way home (hot dogs, booze, sunscreen, dogs, coffee, laundry exhaust, sugar of any kind) triggering even more nausea. So, y'know. That was AWESOME.

I was hoping to hit 50+ miles this next week before tapering for Race to the End of Summer, but man, I don't know if that's going to happen! So much for peaking at 75. At this rate I'll be lucky if I even manage to kiss 50...


  1. Donut poisoning?! Do you think it was the donuts or something else?

    1. I just always want to believe my body can handle donuts even though I know the answer is "no." :-P

  2. You know what? Donuts always make me feel like that, running or not. They just make me ill for some reason - but then, fried food of any kind does that to me (yeah, and I live in the fried seafood capital of the world).

    1. Yeah, me too. My stomach is extremely picky about fried food.

  3. How're you doing? Spot pain always makes me nervous. How does that roller thing work for you? I've been tempted, but I don't want to get one and then have it sit around collecting dust.
    Also, only two donuts? I thought it was like, half a dozen or something! I can't handle donuts at all, though. There's just too...much there.

    1. Seems to have gone away, so...yay? And yes, that pretty much sums up my feelings about donuts. I always think I want one but then they're just too...much.