Monday, February 25, 2013

Posting Miles and The Millrose Games

After doing 71 miles miles the previous week, I needed a serious cut-back to let the blisters between my toes heal and to let my body recover. I did 24 miles as a recovery week and then got up to 50 miles last week. It is a slow progression, but I appreciate the fact that I am making progress forward.

Monday 1/11-0 miles
Tuesday 1/12-5 miles treadmill
Wednesday 1/13-8 miles outdoors (felt good for a change)
Thursday 1/14-0 miles
Friday 1/15-8 miles outdoors
Saturday 1/16-0 miles
Sunday 1/17-3 miles Freeze Your Buns 4 5K 24:10 on a cold, windy, and slippery day

Total miles for the week: 24 miles: 2013 total 206 miles: February total 109 miles

I skipped two snowshoe races I would have liked to have done both Saturday night and Sunday morning to see if I could improve my time at the 4th Freeze Your Buns race and it almost turned into a snowshoeable run. It was very cold with gusts of wind coupled with a light slushy slippery snow over some of the roads used in the race. In other words, the race was slow and miserable  I got passed by someone in my age group who put about 30-40 yards on my with about 3/4 of a mile to go. Then Bill Newsham ambled by me (while taking it easy). I recall having some good races against Bill in the low 18 minutes a few years ago during another Freeze Your Buns series and so when the footing got better, I decided to try to catch the guy in my age group ahead of me. I used Bill as a slingshot and caught back up to him and then went by him on a dry section of the road and then caught up to the guy in my age group and went by him too. I haven't had much drive (or speed) in any races post surgery, so it was good to get somewhat of a competitive drive back. Bill passed me back and I stayed ahead of the other guy by at least a couple of seconds. That was until I saw the results and they had him beating me in a tie. This is the second race in a row they have me in a tie with someone that was at least 10 yards behind me at the finish. The finish time was slow and the results don't matter, but I worked hard to get ahead of this guy and the results don't reflect that. The good news is that I am starting to feel competitive again! 

Monday: 1/18-10 miles treadmill
Tuesday 1/19-5 miles treadmill
Wednesday 1/20-5 miles treadmill
Thursday 1/21-10  miles treadmill
Friday 1/22-5 miles treadmill
Saturday 1/23-8 miles outdoors
Sunday 1/24-7 miles treadmill

Total miles for the week: 50 miles: 2013 total 256 miles: February total 159 miles

If you didn't get a chance to watch the Millrose Games last week, here are some videos of some very exciting and record setting races. 

Here is another fantastic race by 16 year old Mary Cain finishing second at the 2013 Millrose Games in another high school record. She is not only a super talent, but she is a great racer!

Here is the Millrose men's Wanamaker mile where Lopez Lomong sets a new Millrose record over Matt Centrowitz.

Here is the Millrose 2 mile. Bernard Lagat set the American indoor record and Edward Cheserek broke Gerry Lindgrin's 49 year old high school record.

The men's 600 was supposed to be a race between Nick Symmonds and recent record setter Duane Soloman, but the new American record went to the largely unknown Eric Sowinski. 

Alysia Montano also set an American record in the rarely run 600 meters.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Ron Clarke Documentary

Last night I watched this documentary on the great Australian runner, Ron Clarke. While the film is old, it was just uploaded to youtube. Ron Clarke was considered the premiere runner of his day and he set 17 official world records, but is just as well known for  never winning an Olympic gold medal.

 This video has some great classic video. Ron Clarke as the young torchbearer at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics. Ron Clarke getting tripped in a race and having the great John Landy stop and help him up before going on to win the race.

And then their is Ron Clarke in the Olympic 10,000 meters running his heart out literally in the elevation of Mexico City trying to stay with the altitude trained Africans. He claims to have nearly died that day and to have suffered heart damage in his efforts. While the interviews with Ron are two decades old, you can hear him talking about things such as the cinder tracks of his day. Heck, I trained on a cinder track in high school! You can also hear his great story of the legendary Emil Zapotek and how Ron finally got an Olympic Gold medal. For those who like to hear about the history of our sport, this is a documentary well worth watching.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Exceeding Expectations

The last two weeks of running have been fantastic! Let's' just say, I think I have finally turned a corner. It has taken a lot of work beyond the hip surgery. I think the Muscle Activation work last fall was the big key. I knew that  it allowed me to balance my left foot on the ground without the first big toe joint giving way and sitting up in the air and I also knew that true tissue change takes a couple of months, so I was hoping to see some improvements happening even though I haven't been in for any therapy since Novemebr. I also think that the hip exercises I found last week finally pushed me to a place where my hips are in a more balanced and strong position.

Two weeks ago I was thrilled to hit 30 miles for the week. Here are the totals for the last two weeks:

Monday 1/28 0 miles
Tuesday 1/29 7 miles treadmill
Wednesday 1/30 7 miles treadmill (after getting the hip ebook and doing the exercises)
Thursday 1/31 7 miles treadmill
Friday 2/1 10 miles treadmill (2nd longest run since surgery 1 1/2 years ago)
Saturday 0 miles (felt great) Boston Indoor Games
Sunday 4 miles Freeze Your Buns #3 5K (fastest 5k post surgery despite snow on ground by about 10 second)

weekly miles: 35 miles, total miles for year: 111 miles, January total: 97 miles

Monday: 1/4 10 miles treadmill (still sore from race, hoped to do about 3 miles, but kept going)
One of my students from last year saw me stretching in class Tuesday morning and said. "Mr. Hansen, what are you doing?" OK maybe it looked awkward. I said I had run 10 miles the previous day and that was the only second time I did that due to my hip surgery. He said, "Mr. Hansen, You are exceeding expectations!" That is a line I had learned, tell my class to strive for that in all they do, and have it posted front and central in my classroom." I liked how he turned it back on me!
Tuesday: 1/5 10 miles treadmill (again only hoped to do about 3 miles, but kept going)
Wednesday 1/6 10 miles treadmill (by now bloody-due to my right knuckles hitting the control panels every once and awhile-still rotated wrong at times- but something special is happening- I can run and my hip is so much more balanced and my stride is smoothing out).
Thursday 1/7 10 miles treadmill
Friday 1/8 10 miles treadmill (wicked blisters between my toes seems to be the only problem I am having)
Saturday 1/9 11 miles treadmill (was going to take the day off  after lots of shoveling after the blizzard as I was a bit tired, then decided to run a couple of miles- did 10 and 1 more not to be in a rut)
Sunday 1/10 10 miles treadmill (OK held back a bit. I thought I may try 14 miles to also get my longest run in post surgery, but decided not to be greedy and to just enjoy completing a 70 mile week)
RUNNING ON A TREADMILL IS BORING! but it gets easier with practice.
Total miles for the week: 71 miles, Total miles for the year: 182 miles, February totals: 85 miles

And yes, I will back off now, but this week was for my head! Here is what I can report.
Last week was the first time since the mid 1980s that I could run and not be in some type of pain, discomfort, or twisted up in some way after a run (or even if I wasn't running-it made no difference). My hip was fine this week with no limping and both hips are starting to feel quite balanced as I run (still have work to do, but what an improvement). I still lack strength in my hip flexor (lifting my left leg up to put on socks or shoes, but I don't feel that running). I did maybe 5-10 minutes of the hip strengthening movements each day, and rolled out my legs with the Roll Recovery R8 device. This is so helpful and easy for the quads, hamstrings, and it bands. My quads have loosened up a great deal. My Hoka One One shoes are getting worn out and smelly, but they are such a key towards running without damage. They just roll nicely as I run. Over on Slowtwitch there has been a long thread going on about the Hoka One One shoes this week in reply to an article by Dan Empfield calling them, "...the most revolutionary thing to hit running since the waffle." Pro or con, it seems that lots of older long time beat up runners are finding new life running in these over-sized monstrosities. I am one of these. They are also a bit hit in the utlrarunning community. My third pair of Hoka One Ones should look like this, which is a big improvement over the colors on the ones I am wearing now.

OK they still look silly, but I don't care as long as they work for me.

I heard this song on my iPod last Friday when I was doing that first 10 miler on the treadmill. I am quoting words out of context, but these words jumped out at me as I ran and agreed:

"I feel better, now there's nothing wrong ...I got better, I got better, I got strong!"

and I still feel that way! and it feels great!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

If you have bad hips, knees, or ankles

Ironman Triathlons and the damage
 being done back in the 1980s.
If you have bad hips, knees, or ankles then listen to this. I have read everything I could find to try to solve my running imbalances and bad hip. Since the 1980s when I jumped into triathlons from a running background, I have been constantly sore, tight, and imbalanced after most runs and have spent a great majority of that time in constant discomfort. After five years of doing triathlons and five Ironman distance races,  I was even having a hard time standing up. I went to my first doctor (and was told never to run again) and got my first PT because I was worried I would not even be able to stand up painlessly for my wedding ceremony 25 years ago. Sitting in chairs killed me and driving in a car for an hour would set my back off for days. I was spending so much time cracking my back to try to get relief and stretching every which way possible for hours a night when sometimes when I could not sleep. Ask my wife, I am not making this up.

Eventually my journey led me to many types of therapies. Some provided relief and I got more control over the pain, but I also started running in an even more twisted up fashion. Eventually, when I had exhausted every therapy I could find or afford, I had read enough to believe I had a labral tear in my hip. I was correct and one year later, I had surgery to repair the hip. That was July 2011. I bounced back quicker than any other labral tear person I have heard of and was running within 3 weeks of the surgery and did an 8 miler within two months. However, I never got running more than 8 miles again, except for a 13 miler right after my one year surgery anniversary (and after a cortizone shot).
Totally twisted at the 2009 Applefest 1/2 Marathon.

My hip and body feels so much better since the surgery, but I still had a tightness surrounding  my hip and tight adductors, hip flexors, and glutes. Last fall I had lots of Muscle Activation Technique work which has pretty much dealt with strengthening my feet and toes and flattened my toes on the ground again. This was huge for helping my running stride, but I still felt the tightness in my hip.

Last week I got an email from The Ageless Body email list. It referred to a new ebook by Sean Schniederjan called "The Ultimate Hip, Knee, and Ankle Guide for One-Legged Squats." It sounded like a lot of hype, and I have found many ebooks that I have bought to be of limited help, including "The Ageless Body" ebook itself. Now even though, back in 2008 I wrote about pistols (one-legged squats) in this post, they really are not on my radar as for something I can or should be doing, but the email was not just about pistols, but rather imblanced and weak hips.

The email said,

What is the Ultimate Hip, Knee, and Ankle Guide for One Legged Squats?
A 34 page e-book containing a series of corrective strengthening exercises (and one flexibility exercise) aimed at drastically improving mobility and strength so that a person can have very strong and well balanced hips – even to the point of doing one legged squats (more on what that means below).
Well, I know I wanted and was still working on imbalanced hips and weak hips.
Why is hip and leg strength important? 
Hip and leg strength is a sign of vitality and longevity. I quoted Troy Aikman (retired NFL quarterback) in the ad. He said that in football, leg strength goes first and when that goes, everything else starts to go down with it. He had a relatively short career because he didn’t take his leg strength more seriously in my opinion. He and Brett Farve entered the league at around the same time, 1990. Troy retired in 2000 and Brett took a team to the championship game in 2009. If he wanted to, many say Brett could still play in the NFL. Not many people know this, but Brett could squat more than some of the guys twice his size who played on the offensive line. Strong legs=longevity. Now let’s look at a more mundane example.
Hips and legs might be the most important physical quality to have for anti-aging. Here’s what I mean. I work at an estate planning law office during the day. I frequently work with people who are in their 80s, 90s and 100s. I have one client in her 90s who is built like a tank. She can quickly and forcefully get out of a chair without using her arms. She has strong hips. She told me her secret is walking up stairs every day.
I have another client in his 70s. He can’t get out of his chair, I have to lift him in and out of the chair (thankfully I use kettlebells so that isn't a problem like it is for the others in my office). His hips are gone. I don’t know how it happened, but that poor man can no longer move.
I do have a hard time getting out of chairs and that is troubling. From reading more about Sean, he went from being very strong to losing strength in his left hip and they he had to find a way to get that strength back due to his imbalances. I wasn't convinced that I would learn anything from the ebook, but I did not want to give up the opportunity to learn something new, and a lot of what I have learned through the years does not come from the running community, but from the kettlebell-strength community, so I decided to give the ebook a shot.

I have not put up my running mileage from last week, but last Tuesday I ran 7 miles, the next day I got the ebook, did some of the movements (including one in particular that opens up the hips) and ran 7 miles, again, then Thursday I repeated with 7 miles, and still feeling strong and balanced, I ran 10 miles on Friday. That was my second time over 8 miles since the surgery and I felt great the next day too. I took the day off and Sunday ran a 5k. Running fast (in my current condition) makes me sore, so on Monday I got on the treadmill hoping to run 3 miles, but instead because I was feeling balanced, I ran 10 miles again. Whoa! I felt great after this run (except for some developing blisters) and hit the treadmill again on Tuesday. I was wondering if I could run after running 10 miles the previous day. Ever since my surgery, I have gotten weaker on back to back runs. I started out, felt balanced, and did another 10 miler. The biggest problem besides the blisters was dealing with the boredom of 1 1/2 hours on the treadmill. Wednesday, I hit 10 miles again. Thursday, ditto! Friday, well I was tired, and was going to take the day off, but as the day went on I started feeling recuperated again and so I did my fifth 10 miler in a row. That is 50 miles this week and I still have two days to go. I was beyond thrilled to just hit 30 miles two weeks ago. Now, I do know I am not really doing this because it is smart! I am doing this, I guess, because it has been a long time since I could run and not be twisted up and hurting in some way after the run. I run, do a few movements and I am fine. I like the mental aspect of pushing myself. I am an endurance runner, however and I do like tests of endurance. Will I run today and tomorrow, probably. I'd like to see what type of mileage I can hit and I will be so much more mentally strong when I am ready to run more on a weekly basis. I will be cutting the mileage down next week. But, can you believe it? I can train like a marathoner again!

I have been keeping pretty hush-hush about my training this week (don't want to jinx myself), except I  wrote an email to Sean after my first 10 miler telling him how the movements are working for me.

Sean quoted parts of my email in his latest introduction to his ebook:. So this was my response last week that was included.
Thanks for the link to the ebook. I was hesitant about possibly seeing the same old exercises again, but took a chance and ordered it. I have had hip/back issues for years. I am/was a marathon runner. Eventually, I figured out I had a labral tear and had surgery 1 1/2 years ago. I got back to running quickly, but I still had some awful compensations from years of running through the injury. You can see how bad things looked a few years ago in some of these photos taken at a 1/2 marathon where I was so crooked, I don't know how I could run like that (look for red Triad shirt):  
I really enjoyed the ebook particularly the emphasis on the relationship between the foot and the hip. I couldn't get PTs or anyone to tell me why my big toe joint wouldn't touch the ground, until I got some Muscle Activation Technique work done this fall to pretty much fix that imbalance. I still had a tightness high up in my adductors I think, pulling my left (operated hip) in tight which left me unstable and limping after my runs. No one could help me on this. I am enjoying the exercises in the ebook, but the one for "creating space in the hips" was the real deal for me. Immediately after doing this move, I felt my hips pop open and since Wednesday, my left hip is so much more balanced over that leg. I had run 7 miles on Tuesday (which would usually mean I couldn't run much the next day as I would normally be limping at that point and getting weaker in the hip), but no, I ran 7 miles the again after doing the stretches, and 7 miles again the next day, and 10 miles today (2nd longest run since the surgery) and I feel great and more stable as I run (I still have a way to go)! This stretch really works for me and I have looked around and read everything I could find trying to relieve that tightness in that hip. I am hoping that things stay this way and I can continue building my strength in that hip.
There are a few things I really liked about the ebook. I like how Sean tied the feet to the hips. That is my belief and something I have been working on. Neither works in isolation! An imbalance in one leads to an imbalance in the other. I also found his movements to be new and simple! The hip opener seems to be the big money shot for me. So much of the tightness around my hip disappeared the first time I did this simple move. Some of the others like using a kettlebell to strengthen the hip flexor sound so easy. Why didn't I think of that? I am working on this one. While I can run now for a longer distance, I still have a hard time lifting up my left leg to put on socks or just to lift it up. That has been going on since the surgery and I have just ignored it, hoping it would go away, or thinking it is part of an impingement still in my hip. Now, I will see if strengthening the hip flexor with this move will help with that problem too!

If you have some imbalance issues with your hips, or problems with your knees, ankles (and I would ad lower-back) then I would strongly recommend this ebook. As you can see it is adding on to all the work I have been doing and pushing my beyond the places where I was stuck. Here is Sean's link to purchasing his ebook. The ebook seems to come and go. It was offline for a week after I first ordered it and it sounds like the newest offer ends on Sunday, so that is why I am doing this post today, rather than on Sunday, when I would have divulged all the running I have been doing since spending only a few minutes each day on the movements in the ebook.

Here is a new video from Sean showing a couple of the movements: including the kick back and the kettlebell one I mentioned earlier. The book goes into more details and shows the hip-opener that has been key to me.

And to all my running friends who might be inclined to call me an idiot for bouncing my mileage up so quickly, please don't. When someone lets a wild animal out of its cage, it likes to run. That is how I feel. The prison that was my hips are being opened up and I can now run! I have to run!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

2013 Boston New Balance Indoor Games

The 2013 Boston Indoor Games finished with two fantastic races. Mary Cain, a 16 year old high school phenom, raced to her third record of 2013. Just like one mile record she obliterated last week, she again took apart the 2 mile high school record. Here is the video I made of the race:

Not only did Mary win over the crowd, but she finished third overall in the professional field. Imagine what she thought when she stood next to Ethiopia's Turinesh Dibaba, arguably the greatest female runner of all time, before the race.

Here is the official women's twp mile video:

Just after that race, Galen Rupp ran the 2nd fastest American time in the indoor 3000 meter race. He lost to another teen-aged phenom, Hagos Gebrhiwet from Ethiopia, who at 18 years of age just set the new Junior World Record. Here is the video I took of the full race.

Here is the official race video:

Here is the last lap of the Men's Mile where Matt Centrowitz, jr. outkicks Will Leer and his long hair and mustache.

Here is the official mile video:

Centrowitz getting interviewed after the race.
Olympic Champion Aries Merritt showed up, but did not run .
I had some great seats for these races. Usually my wife or one of my kids go with me, but they opted out this year and gave me an upgraded ticket near the finish line. I don't know if that was for my benefit of for their benefit?

In the High Country: Anton Krupick trailer

Here is an official teaser for an upcoming short film about Anton Krupicka called "In the High Country". Anton is a talented ultrarunner who has won the Leadville 100 mile race twice. He looks more like he is doing a mix of running and climbing in the scenes of this video.

Video: In The High CountryOfficial teaser for an upcoming short film about Anton KrupickaPublished January 30, 201 
Frequent RT contributor Joel Wolpert captures the life of mountain runner and free-soloist Anton Krupicka "In the High Country" of Colorado during the summer of 2012. 
Gritty and beautiful, Wolpert's film takes you onto the trails and the slopes, following Krupicka's unique and inspiring days and nights in one of the world's most beautiful places.

Here is a 2010 Competitor Magazine feature on Anton Krupicka.
Here is a 2010 Running Times article on Anton racinig the Western States 100 miler.
There was another film on Anton called Indulgence: 1000 miles under the Colorado Sky about his training in 2007.