Thursday, September 30, 2010

Collateral Damage

Today I was planning to run solo, but the +1's reindeer games got cancelled, so we ran together.  My foot was probably the worst it's been before we started running, but, in the past, I've felt like running loosened it up a bit.  I think the slow pace helps keep it in check too.  The ground was still very wet and muddy with standing water on either sides of the trail.  This made a great soft surface for my VFF's, so I pushed the pace in the beginning, but the foot just got worse and worse.  I finally stopped before we reached the start, but we only walked for 2 minutes in the beginning, so if I had done the full 5 minute walk, I think we would have reached the start.

9/30 run 25ish minutes continuous sub 10min/mile

I hated to stop, but I think the benefits are no longer outweighing the damage.  I'm limping so bad it's starting to make my right hip hurt.  I took a diclofenac, which is what my doctor prescribed when I had the foot x-rayed.  I'm going to make a point to take them every 12hrs for the next week or so and layoff the foot.  I hate to not run, but I have to do something to let it heal or I will never be able to really push myself.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Rainy Days

9/29 lift power clean 3x205 deadlift 3x320 incline dumbells 7x75 and some curls

Everything felt heavy today, I didn't have much pop on the cleans.  I actually wasn't planning to deadlift over 275, but I was too lazy to take off the plates, so I ended up doing 320.  My plan is to stick to 5lbs a week, in the hopes I don't pop my back again..again.  I could definitely feel it kind pinching after the 320 set.  I went up on the incline presses, as we were doing 85's until we got the extra dumbells.  I figure with my shoulder starting to feel good again, I should pick it up.

I found something that makes my foot hurt worse than running!  It's standing, I had to stand around for about 3 hours on Tuesday and today, even walking a few feet has me in a world of pain.  I plan to run tomorrow, so I hope it heals up tonight.

Day Off

I ran out of time to workout on Tuesday, but it was probably for the best.  Not a whole lot to report.  My knees and foot are still kind of beat up from the Mud Run.  Looks like we will be doing the Palmetto State O-run on March 26th.  This is another team based obstacle course.  The obstacles seem to be more team oriented and there are no intentional mud pits, so I should be able to get away with wearing my contacts.  It's another 4 mile course, so I think we will be shooting for the one hour mark, this time.

Monday, September 27, 2010


9/27 lift box squat 3x325 towel bench 3x265 plus the regular pullups with 35lbs and dumbell snatches 5x65 and 3x100

This is actually the first day my shoulder has felt good again on the snatches.  I still struggle with my back on the squats, but I started raising the box up a notch due to my height.  I think the limited depth of the rack is making it hard for me to come off the box properly.  Next time, I plan to sit further forward on the box and really push my chest out to keep my back in alignment when I start to come up.  The bench felt pretty good, as this was a 10lb increase over 4 weeks ago.

My right knee is doing a bit of clicking from the Mud Run, but I think it will work itself out after a few days of taking it easy.  I don't think I will run tomorrow, but I might do something else to stay active.  I got my left heel and ankle x-rayed today, due to the pain and swelling all around it.  The x-ray didn't show any fractures (which is pretty normal even with a stress fracture) so I plan to keep running on it but at a slow pace.  I will definitely be adding some more stuff into the schedule to improve my aerobic and anaerobic conditioning.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

USMC Mud Run Report aka Obligatory Long Post

1- Leatherneck Welcome
5' Wall (x3) - each team member must navigate over
I remember thinking as I hit the wall, "I hope my foot doesn't come apart on my landing." Thankfully everything held the together.  The walls looked really high, but I was able to explode over them pretty easily.  I do remember getting over the last wall and thinking, "holy shit, I better save something for the other thirty plus obstacles."

2- The Perfume River
Wall Climb with Rope - each team member must navigate creek and use ropes provided to exit creek
This was more of a fun obstacle than a challenging one, although it was the beginning of the heavy wet shoes.  The climb out wasn't high, so the rope was more of just an assist.

3, 4, and 5- Funchilin Pass
#3 Under Bar Slide (15' length, 8' high) - each team member jumps up and grabs the bar and slides down the bar feet first; 
I was afraid the bar would be hard to hold onto, but it wasn't too bad.  Good thing we got our legs wet on the obstacle before, as this allowed me to slide my legs and just use my hands to push myself along without excess abrasion.

#4 Mud Hole (under logs - each team member crawls under the logs through the mud;
I think this was the low bastard that fucked up my contacts.  The water was thick with mud and sand and it was too low for me to keep both eyes above the water, so I had to dip one side of my head under to clear the logs.  I came out half blind but still able to jog to the next obstacle while waiting for my tear ducts to kick in so I could unclench my eye.

#5 Culverts - each team member crawls through the tunnel on hands and knees
The sewage pipes were more of an annoyance due to the abrasion factor and the mud kicked up by the person in front of you.  I had to be careful about how closely I followed people on obstacles to protect my contacts. 
6, 7 and 8- The Ho Chi Minh Trail
#6 Rope Swing - each team member runs up jumps to grab a rope and swings across the water to the other side
I realize now that I should have come running at full speed and jumped onto the rope and used my momentum to carry me across, but instead, I did like everyone else and ran into the ditch grabbed the rope, ran back up the hill and then swung across.  I think we were all wanting to do our Tarzan impressions.

#7 Low Crawl under cammie net - each team member crawls on their chest underneath camouflage netting
This obstacle sucked for the wrong reasons.  The problem was under the net they had laid down tarps and poured sand on top of them, but the sand was mostly dry and the tarps were much too low to bear crawl, so you couldn't help but tear up your knees and elbows.

#8 Wall Climb (15' height) - each team member climbs to the top of the wall and up and over then down the other side 
This wall was my first realization that a lot of people could get seriously hurt doing this course.  The wall has no safety nets and the ground on both sides was pretty firm.  It's just a big wall of wooden slats cover in wet, slippery mud.  I had to be super careful not to get too close while surveying the wall and to not look up once I started climbing due to the amount of dirt falling off of everyone.  I used to love to climb stuff when I was younger and I think it really showed on some of these obstacles, as I could clear them very quickly for someone with no practice.

9, 10, and 11- Bunker Hill
#9 Log Crossing - each team member walks the length of the log across the top of the pit to the other side without falling
I had actually thought about balance obstacle training and had made a point to walk along the wooden beams edging the gravel path by the parking lot we use on the ATT.  It's alot harder with regular shoes covered in slippery mud, but I made it across on my first try with only one or two close calls.

#10 Mud Hole (over under logs) - each team member crawls through the logs alternating between going over and under the logs
This one is kind of awkward to complete, as you leap over one log and then drop onto your back or stomach to go under the next log.  I would drop onto my back, as it allowed me to keep my eyes better protected and I could negotiate the log with my hands.  I believe going under on my back is the quickest way due to my height, as I would have to get much flatter than most people if I tried to go under on my knees.

#11 Rope Bridge - each team member crosses the pit by walking across the steel cable and not falling in
The rope bridge was a true team work obstacle, as the rope you hold with your hands has a ton of slack in it, so they have long pieces hanging down on both ends for your team members to grab and pull tight while each member crosses the steel cable with their feet.  I was the last of my team to go, as I think we all used the same one and I had a few close calls as no one on the next team held the rope for me on the starting side.  I remember one instance in which the slack caused me to go over, such that I was almost parallel to the ground but my team mates pulled the slack out of the rope, which righted me.  Once across, I held the rope for the next team's first member to complete.  We made sure to pay it forward for every obstacle, not all teams were as courteous.

12- Mud Hole (over under logs)
Each team member crawls through the logs alternating between going over and under the logs 
This was another over/under obstacle.  I think there was more space between the water and the logs on this one.  Some of these obstacles ran together a bit, so it's hard for me to remember any particulars about this one.

13- Parallel Bars (8' high)
Each team member grabs the bottom bar, pulls themselves up to the top bar must go over the top bar and lower themselves back down to the ground (Marines will direct maneuvering) 
I remember these bars, not for the difficulty, but for my confusion about which way to go over.  In retrospect, it didn't matter, as long as I got over the top bar and back down in one piece. 
14- Monkey Bars
Each team member grabs each bar in their hands and swings from bar to bar without falling in the pit. 
These bars weren't too bad for me.  They looked pretty formidable as many teams were struggling with the incline and the distance between bars.  I was afraid they would be too slick to hold onto, but I guess I got lucky with where I gripped.  My long arms helped too.

15- Rice Paddy With Logs
Each team member crawls under the logs from one end to the other
I don't remember if this one was another contact killer or not.  Some of these low logs didn't give you enough room to keep your eyes above water.  I got better about picking which spots to cross as the race went on.

16- Parris Island Grinder
Each team member must pass over the top of each log 
These logs were a real pain.  I remember my teammate in front of me leaping onto the first log and sliding off due to the slick surface and the height.  It took a good amount of explosion to get onto the high ones and trying to control your dismount was an exercise in pain, as the harder you clenched the log, the more the sand and dirt ground away your skin as you slid down the other side.  I had some hard landings on my bad foot from these.

17- Parallel logs (3' high x 5)
Each team member must pass over the top of each log 
I think these were lower than the last set of logs, which alternated between high and low.  I don't have a specific memory of these being too bad. 
18- Hamburger Hill
Triple Hills (10', 15', 20') - each team member runs over the top of each hill
These hills were a pretty big cluster f... as you had a large number of people trying to run up and down these steep, sandy hills all at the same time.  It was nearly impossible to control your descent and you couldn't see what was on the other side until you hit the top.  I had a scary moment coming down the back side of the second or third one, as I was coming down the middle and the hill dropped off halfway down and there was just a giant pit.  I had girls on either side of me and I didn't want to take anyone out, so I leapt, flying into the air and I landed in a full squat, parkour style.  The thought of a knee, ankle or my foot blowing apart flashed through my mind on the landing, but I sprung back up and shot up the next one.   I bet it made a spectacular photo, if someone got it.

19- Chosen Reservoir
Water Hole (10' deep, 48' long) - each team member jumps in to the water and swims to the opposite end and exits the pit (if you can't swim you may take a penalty of 1 min and walk around)
I remember my teammate jumping in before me and he completely disappeared.  I made sure to do so in a more controlled manner to protect my contacts.  This was actually a ton of fun, as the water breaks were stacked at the beginning of the course and we were getting super parched by this point in the 95+ degree heat, plus the trails between had become clouds of dust.  I remember being surprised at how light my feet felt, in water logged shoes.  I started on a side stroke and quickly switched to my back, which I've always been pretty fast at and it allowed me to protect my contacts.  I was able to pass some people on the swim, which felt good as I don't recall the last time I went swimming.  The submersion revived me, as the heat was brutal.

Enter Belleau Woods
20 and 21- Pusan Perimeter
#20 LAV Trench low crawl - each team member crawls under the LAV from one end to the other
I guess we crawled under a vehicle, I think I was having eye trouble here, as I don't even remember the vehicle.  I would have bouts of eye problems on the whole course due to the constant drying and wetting of my eyes and face causing stuff to periodically fall into them. 

#21 Z trench (2 lanes of mud) - each team member runs through the trench from one end to the other and climbs the hill at the end of the trench
This was another fun one.  You had to be a little careful as the trench floor was uneven and would drop off unexpectedly, but the water helped keep us from overheating.  I remember the hill being very slippery on the exit.

22,23 and 24- Hellfire Valley
#22 Parallel logs (5' high x 5) - each team member must pass over the top of each log 
This was another crotch grinder.  I did my best to keep from landing too hard but that meant sacrificing my inner thighs and calves to more abrasions. 

#23 Cargo Net - ( 12') each team member must climb the net to the top and over climbing back down the other side.
The cargo net was kind of a mess as certain section had ripped away and it seemed quite a few people were struggling, so I had to wait awhile just to get a spot to climb over.  The climbs were easy, I was always a little freaked out on the transitions as it was a long way down and my muddy shoes didn't have the best traction.
#24 Mud hole (waist deep) - each team member must run through the pit
I think this was the sewage pit.  It looked like a narrow hog lagoon.  I remember coming up to this HUGE crowd of people just waiting to go in and the mud was so deep and thick it nearly pulled my shoes off several times.  The Volunteers told us we could go around the channel with no penalty.  I think people were just hanging out in it as it was only wide enough for 2 people side by side.  What was inside looked like raw sewage, but I guess it was just thick, thick mud.  Walking around it wasn't any better as the mud was so deep and thick every step you risked losing a shoe.  We all went around. If we had waited to go through, it probably would have cost us another 20 minutes.

25, 26, and 27- DI'S DELIGHT
#25 Weaver- each team member crawls through the logs alternating between going over and under the logs without touching the ground
This one was a real bitch, the logs were pretty high above the ground and they were slippery.  I know most people were falling off or using a teammate to assist them.  I made it across without any help, but it took some strategy and a lot of strength.  The logs were ascending and then descending and there was a groove in the structure between them.  I would go over the one and throw my leg around the next log while I dropped down and grabbed with both hands, this seemed to be a good way to do it.  Then I would throw my leading arm over the top of the next and use the grooved structure holding the logs to post up and over to the next one.  I think at least one of us had a fall.  This one would really tear the skin up on your legs and under your arms.

#26 10' Wall- each team member must get all members over the top of the wall and down the other side
This was another real killer.  The wall was on a hill, so it felt even higher than it was.  I still think it was more like 12 feet.  The whole wall was completely slick and there was nothing to hold onto or post off of.  I was the last to go, as you needed someone at the bottom to boost you up and one or two people at the top to pull you over, as they had done away with the grab slots from last year.  A guy from the team behind us tried to boost me up, but I fell flat on my ass.  I'm not sure if he gave out or I just slipped off of him or what.  Then he and his teammate gave me a boost and my teammates grabbed me and pulled me up.  I made sure to hang out and help pull up one of their team members before we moved on.

#27 Mud Hole (under logs) - each team member crawls under the logs from one end to the other
I think this one was a super low crawl.  I believe I had to go flat and float under using my hands to pull myself along.  I remember the last log was so low I wondered if my big ass would get stuck.  I remarked I felt like Winnie the Pooh trying to get out of his honey hole and one of the DI's barking at the side of the obstacle made some rather hilarious off color remarks in relation to my comment.  It added some nice levity to the situation and got a few of us chuckling.

28- Mt. Suribachi
Stairway to Heaven (15') - each team member climbs to the top of the wall, over, then down the other side
I remember there being another scary high and slippery wall climb, but I can't remember if it was boards or steel poles or what.

29, 30, and 31- Heartbreak Ridge
#29 Tire Flip - each team must move the tire by flipping it end over end the length of the obstacles
This tire wasn't nearly as big or as heavy as I was expecting.  It went flying over on the first flip, but I missed my grip on the second and had to regrip.  It was pretty easy and we moved on quickly.
#30 Arm Walk - each team member must walk the length of the obstacle on their hands without falling or touching the ground
I'm still pissed at myself about this one.  I started to do it on my own, but I slipped on one of the transitions to the higher bars, so I did a partner assist, where we shoulder carried each other.  I think my lifting partner actually got across without an assist on his second try.  I wish I had gone again, and done it, but I guess it was better for our time to do it the way we did.  Makes me want to drive all the way back down there just so I can do the damn bars again.
#31 Switch Backs - each team member must run the length of the obstacle back and forth across the top of the hill
These were brutal and there were a lot of them (maybe 5?).  The downhills were controlled chaos.  I do pretty good running short, very steep hills.  I think this is because I always make a point of running up stairs two or three at a time when I encounter them.  I was afraid for my knees and feet on the descents, as you can only control but so much.

32- Sandy Run
Stretcher Carry - (100 yards) 3 team members carry the 4th team member on stretcher across the finish line. 
The stretcher carry wasn't too bad.  There were two of us holding the back side and the only sucky part was the uneven load this put on my back.  I tried to compensate by switching hands a few times during the carry, but I think I would do better to just take both handles of whichever end I get next time.  It didn't help that our entire team is made up of fatasses. 

The run to the finish was longer than you would think, as was the run to get to the stretcher carry.  There were also some brutal incline runs in between some of the obstacles, but I can't really remember which spots.  We got a nice sprint to the finish and made sure to cross as a group, in case anyone was taking photos.

What would I do differently?
I would wear some lighter shoes with a thinner sole, but just as much traction, like a cross country shoe.  The trail shoes felt very heavy and I wasn't used to such a high, slanted platform after running in the Vibrams for so long.  I would also make sure my foot was healthy before doing another one.  If it was another mud run, I would want to get Lasik first.  I would also make sure to drink more on the water breaks early in the race.

Would you train differently? 
I want to start adding in anaerobic activities before and after my runs or in between sprints and tempo work.  I could also see running with ankle weights to simulate wet, muddy shoes.  Basically I just need to get faster and run more hills and uneven terrain.  Maybe do some more crossfit type workouts to get that full body burn.  I felt like my strength and explosiveness were good, I just need to become a better runner, up my fatigue threshold and improve my ability to recover from burst of explosion.

I hope this was long enough for the plus one :-) 

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Ding Fries are Done!

9/25 run 4.2 miles plus 32 obstacles aka "The Leatherneck"

My home has never looked so good, after being in a car with two staties and my lifting partner for 15 hours (ok, some of that time was spent wandering around a field playing grab ass).  The Leatherneck is definitely light years ahead of last year's course.  Obstacles 25, 26 and 30 were the biggest challenge as you must cling onto super slippery surfaces without touching the ground while trying not to kick any of the other competitors in the head.  We'll see how I feel tomorrow.  I held my own with the rest of my team, thankfully I excelled at the climbing and upper body stuff.  The run bits weren't too bad until we got into some extremely dusty sections, making it hard to breath.  The number one thing I learned is I need to get Lasik before I try this again.  I could barely see after the the 4th obstacle as you had to crawl through mud, under logs that were too low to keep your eyes out of the muddy water.  From then on, I did my best to manage the amount of dirt going in and out of my contacts.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Last Lift Before Mud

9/24 lift squat 6x205 bench 6x215  3 sets of pull-ups and 1 set of hammers

Yes, you are reading that right, I did more on bench than squat.  I have officially become one of those guys...  My back is still pissed off at me, so I wanted to take it easy today with less than 24 hours before the event.  All the lifts felt a little off, like I'm down on strength and feeling kind of brittle.  Hopefully my body is just loading up for tomorrow.

The course for 2010 is apparently much "improved" over the 2009 course.  I read in an article during the initial trial, a team with a 38 minute time on the '09 course took 53 minutes to complete the new one.  This doesn't exactly inspire confidence, but I'm sure we will get through it together.  I plan to take it easy on any of the drop offs, as I'm pretty sure I have a stress fracture in my left foot.  I did a little more research and it sounds like my symptoms point to a calcaneus stress fracture based on the pinch test.  I went ahead and setup an appointment with my doctor on Monday, I figure it's good to plan ahead :-)  There is no way I will cut back unless I hear it from a doctor, so I'm going to suck it up and go again.  The bills I have racked up since I started running this year are just ridiculous.  I'm going to try and cram everything in before the new year, so I don't have to pay my deductible again.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

last run before mud

9/23 run 28 mins @ 10:30/min in VFF's

I hope I didn't over do it today.  The +1 was ready to move straight to dinner, but my conscience got the better of me.  She rode her bike while I did what I could on the trail.  Lately, I find it is better to not set goals for the run and just see how I feel.  I guess you could say my goal is to heal my foot.

Now I just have a light lifting session on Friday and it's all clear until after the Mud Run.  I figure since we haven't done any obstacle or mud specific training, I should at least try to get a mental edge.  So I pulled up a few videos online of the run.  I think we should be fine, as long as I can keep my contacts in and I don't pop my achilles...  It looks like the nature of the event keeps everyone going at a similar pace, as some of the obstacles can only support a few competitors at a time.  Here is a pretty cool video of the whole USMC Mud Run from '09 done at 2x speed.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Back to Backs

9/22 lift powerclean 2x200 deadlift 3x4x245 plus the include dumbell presses up to 70lb dumbells and alternate curls with 55lb dumbells.  My shoulder is feeling better, I hope to be doing the 85lbers again on the inclines in the next few weeks.

My back is a mess, so I did what I could on the exercises today.  I didn't want to hurt my back again, so I just did 3 sets of 4 reps at 245 on traditional deadlifts.  The soreness is definitely making the back injury worse, but hopefully I can loosen it up some tonight.  I find running actually seems to work out the stiffness too.

I have to write down everything I eat.  My GI doctor set me up with a Celiac nutritionist.  I go to see the nutritionist on Monday, and I'm supposed to record three days of meals.  I find myself making simpler choices, just so I don't have to write down so much.  It also helps that I haven't been grocery shopping this week.  I might just keep writing everything down, as it really makes me think about how often I'm eating and how much.  By writing everything down, I can see when I go too long between meals, this way I can avoid dropping my blood sugar into the craving zone.

This is more of a personal note for me.  My +1 does her midweek run on Wednesday nights after work.  I should really take advantage of this time and get my butt back to yoga for the 5:45 class, especially as her midweek runs get longer and longer.  We would get home about the same time.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


My lifting partner got tied up at work on Monday with a man out, so we lifted on Tuesday.

9/21 box squat 6x305 (spotted) towel bench 6x255 plus the usual pullups with 35lbs and dumbell snatches 5x65 and 3x100

The box squats are still a struggle.  Something isn't firing quite right in the hips to back chain, I've started raising the box one peg on the last set, although this probably just puts me at the same mechanical advantage as my lifting partner, as I'm a few inches taller than him.  The bench is still moving along nicely, so no complaints there.  I felt completely wiped for the snatches, but managed to get a few up.

Fast forward to 6:30pm and it's running time!  The +1 struggled to run slow enough to pace with me...yes that is how slow I was running...  I did pick the pace up a bit on the back half, but I'm not sure by how much.  I did my post run cool down walk barefoot again.  I can definitely tell my feet are adapting quickly to the rocky terrain.  We made it back to the start in probably 1/3 the time it took me to walk back on Saturday.  We were both irritated by the amount of smoke in the air, I guess people have started burning leaves again. When we got back to the car, the smoke was thick enough you could see it hanging over the road.

9/21 run 28mins in VFF's SUPER slow on the way out and faster than last time on the return

My foot is definitely in bad shape, but I haven't taken any ibuprofen yet.  The last few runs I was popping 800mg ibuprofen post run.  We'll see how it feels tomorrow.  I wish it was one of those injuries that feels better after warming up, but that just isn't the case.  It hurts as much on the last step as it does on the first, if not more.  I hit my calves with the stick 1-2x a day, roll a tennis ball under both feet, use a foam roller on the back/itb's and a strap for calf/hamstring stretches.  Hopefully I can get healthy again!

I did manage to give myself some nasty back spasms tonight, while, of all things, vacuuming the house.  I was crouched down trying to get some dust bunnies from under our bed, and WHAM it locks up on me again.  I think I crammed in a little too much activity today, hopefully it calms down before our lifting session tomorrow.  My head cold seems to be doing a little better.  It didn't really bother me on the run, but I notice it at night and getting up the morning the most.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


Doing my best to take it easy today.  Woke up with a wicked sore throat and runny nose.  I'm not sure if getting a full 8 hours would have helped, but I'm pretty sure 3 wasn't enough.  My left foot is about the same.  I was looking at the Nirschl Pain Phase Scale and realized I'm holding steady at Phase 5 and there are only 7 phases.  Hopefully I can back this down a few phases and get through the Mud Run next weekend without being any worse for the wear.  My plan is to stick with the VFF's this week and just take it easy and try to make each run less painful.  I think we will be taking it easy with the weights, as well.  I might even sneak in one of those extra workouts I talked about for last week.

I feel like I've had much better consistency with my training the last few months, but almost to my detriment, as I can't seem to stay healthy.  I'm looking forward to reaching the end of this plateau, so I can push ahead to some of my training goals.  I'll talk more about those later this week.  I don't want to look past the Mud Run yet!

Saturday, September 18, 2010


9/18 run 31 mins continuous at super slow pace in VFF's (11:30/mile)

My left foot is about the same (but not worse!), so I decided to take it easy on the run today.  I was only planning to do 28 mins, but I was so far below my mileage goal that I kept going for a bit.  I just hope I can keep this up and heal my foot in the process.  I ditched my shoes and walked back to the entrance barefoot, which probably took about 20 mins, but I think it really helps me figure out what I should be doing in the VFF's.  I wish there was a good grass/turf area around here I could use to practice barefoot running.  The ATT is just too rocky for it.

Friday, September 17, 2010


9/18 lift squat 2x265 bench 1x255

Not much to report today.  My back wanted to shutdown on the 265 squats, so I stopped there.  I think this was a good idea in retrospect, as now my upper left side has knotted up and I can't break it loose.  I tried to talk the +1 into walking on my back, but she flat out refused.  Hopefully it will loosen up while I sleep tonight.

I really should make a point to focus on the positive, as my shoulder is getting better and my bench is moving up again.  I could have done at least another 5lbs today.  Pull-ups felt good and the overhead presses are getting better, as my left shoulder heals.

I think I will do another super slow running session on Saturday.  I really need to come up with a way to stop the blister on my right foot with the VFF's, if only I could get different sizes for left and right.  My left heel still sucks, but it hasn't gotten any worse.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

rehab run

So today I went out with the +1 and my brother, not really sure what I was going to do.  I had put on my trail shoes and then, at the last minute, switched into my VFF's.  I figured I would try and walk 2.5 miles while the +1 did her tempo work.  I couldn't even keep up with the +1 on her warm-up walk.  I decided I would try and do a little bit of super slow jogging, to really focus on my posture, gait and foot placement.  So I did a super slow jog to the end and back to the start.  This was probably about 20-30 mins, then I took off the VFF's and did some barefoot walking down toward the other end while I waited for the +1.

9/16 run 20-30 mins SUPER DUPER SLOW

The pain was there from the beginning, but I was able to manage it by going very slow and keeping my center of gravity in line with my foot placement.  I just hope I see some improvement, so I can keep a little mileage by running this way.  I've also found that minimalist style running seems to help loosen up my back.  I don't know how squats will go tomorrow, but I hope to complete at least a few sets.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Pop Goes the Back

So I'm getting fed up with this.  My back was sore when I got up.  Probably from my lack of running form yesterday.  My goal was to hit the 365 conventional deadlift I'd missed the last two times.  So I decided I was pulling it up today.  I got the bar above my knees and went to drive the hips forward to complete the lift and "POP" on the right side along with the feeling of something shifting around near my SI joint.  I immediately put the weight down, knowing I had had hurt my back again.

9/15 lift powerclean 1x215 deadlift 2x315 365 injury a few sets of bw only pullups and dips

The deadlift is starting to feel like a broken record.  My back was stronger before I started doing BFS.  Now it seems whenever I try a near max deadlift with any bar, something decides to pop.  This is the 3rd time I've had an issue during the deadlift.  I used to be very strong on conventional deads, having pulled 495 and managing 405 on a regular basis.  Then, I decided to do BFS and started using a trapbar.   My first efforts doing BFS solo, I pulled 385 on the trapbar, but then I backed off with the weights, as I started training with a friend of mine.  So we built up to 405 together, which we had hit a few weeks in a row and then on a 4,4,2 workout I had my first back injury with 405.  This was April, if I recall.  I partially blame the yoga immersion I was doing at the time, as I believe I overstretched and fatigued my back between the yoga and heavy ass weights.

I spent around 12 weeks making minimal progress with continual discomfort from any type of sitting or leaning forward.  So I decided to see a friend of a friend who's a chiropractor.  It definitely helped, as my pain was decreasing and my mobility increasing over the following weeks.  Now I am almost back where I was before the injury, but something keeps breaking down on me.  So today turned into an ibuprofen and ice fest.  It sucks being injured and not being able to workout like you want, but I'm tired of it cutting into my daily productivity.  I guess that's the problem with back injuries.  They bleed into everything.  Sitting, lying down, in the shower, brushing your teeth.  The pain is always there to remind you and if you don't rest it, it just gets worse, especially in the first 48 hours.

Things Fall Apart

So I was expecting to have a good run yesterday.  Walking around the house, my foot felt pretty good.  All that changed as soon as I finished my warm-up and started trying to run.  The pain was there and it only got worse with each step.  Maybe I've just altered how I walk in daily life and that's why I thought things would be better.

9/14 run 25 mins continuous run in Brooks Green Silence

Now I'm second guessing myself, are the Brooks making things worse, or am I just past the point of no return with this foot injury?  I felt like my gait and foot placement were all over the place.  All I could think about was how much damage I was doing to my foot with each step.  I finished the 25, but fully expected to see some swelling and hematoma when I removed my sock.  Thankfully, neither was present.  I was shocked at how painful a foot injury can be without any signs outside of a little swelling.

I need to rethink my training for this Mud Run.  I have to heal this foot somehow and keep my running cardio up.  I need to learn to treat running injuries with the same respect as other sports injuries.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Second Wind

9/13 lift box squat 1x315 towel bench 1x275 dumbell snatches 90x2 100x2 pull-ups 35lbs

Everything went pretty good today.  My back and hips still don't want to work together, which makes the squats a bit of a nightmare.  It's kind of depressing to struggle with the same squat weight for over 8 months, but I should just be happy my back is getting stronger again.  I nearly dropped a 100lb dumbell on my head with the snatches.  When I went to lockout my first one on the left side, my wrist flipped forward moving the weight off my palm, so only my fingers were holding the dumbell.  I guess I shouldn't complain, as this was my first time doing 100lbs with my left hand again.  The shoulder felt solid on the pull, but I still can't lower it without using my right hand to stabilize.

My left heel feels a bit better, I plan to run in my Brooks Green Silence again on Tuesday.  I'll be ecstatic if I can get a bit of relief from my foot problems without causing any knee or back issues.  It would be nice to successfully get through these issues without enlisting professional intervention.  This running stuff is getting seriously expensive,  I think I've racked up several thousand in medical bills with my tummy troubles, not even counting the shirts, shoes, socks and foam rollers.  If it works out, I'd like to use the VFF's for my Thursday run or maybe start doing a mid run shoe swap.

My goal for this week is to get in my 6 scheduled workouts (3 run/3 lift) and 2 additional workouts.  I'm not 100% decided on what they will be, but I plan to do at least one yoga session.  I really think the upper endoscopy last week beat me up more than I realized.  I just felt rundown the whole week and struggled with every workout.  Maybe the Fall air is helping with that second wind this week.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Enjoy the Silence

So today was a pretty good little Sunday.  Managed to get some rest after work.  Made pancakes and omelettes with the wife for breakfast (gluten free chocolate chip for me).  Headed out to Bull City Running Company, as I wanted to get some minimalist shoes to alternate with my VFF's.  I'm hoping this way my left foot won't snap off before the 25th.  Ended up with a pair of Brooks Green Silence.  I wish they had a little higher arch, but otherwise a good minimalist shoe.

9/12 run 25 min continuous in Brooks Green Silence @ 10min pace

I did my best to keep my form in check and maintain a forefoot striking style.   I stuck with my Injinji socks and my blister (see photo below) didn't up levels this time.  My left foot still felt like it was getting hit with a hammer on the side of my heel and underneath my heel during every strike.  Running like this makes me think of a quote from Dean Karnazes book, "As my junior high track coach, Mr. McTavish, once told me: 'If it’s fun, you’re doing something wrong. It’s supposed to hurt like hell.'"  Using this type of twisted logic, you could say I had a great run!  Some days are hard and today was one of them.  I managed to gut it out, but I was ready to stop within the first few steps.  We'll see if the Brooks will help me heal up without having to cut back on my training.  I still plan to get in a few days with the VFF's this week.  I wish everyone a successful week of training!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Another work day

Feet are still beat up.  Walked the dogs down the block and back in the VFF's, which at least got the blood flowing again.  I plan to run tomorrow, but hope to pickup some minimalist shoes that still offer some support to alternate with my VFF's.

Tried Outback's gluten free menu tonight for dinner.  Food was mediocre, and both the wife and I had a tummy ache afterwards.  I'm concerned about cross contamination as they initially brought out my plate with the shrimp on a piece of toast (filet and shrimp scampi with a sweet potato).  If we go back I need to just get a victoria's filet and sweet potato and call it a day.

Looking forward to pancakes tomorrow!  Wishing everyone an easy Sunday morning.

Friday, September 10, 2010

True grit

Today was one of those days where every step hurts.  Just trying to get up in the middle of the night was an exercise in pain and suffering.  Lifting weights was the last thing I wanted to do, but I feel better for it and nothing broke off.

9/10 lift squat 5x255 bench 5x215 (could have gone up)  standing overhead dumbell presses 5x55 7x55 pullups 35lbs

The core lifts this week are 5x5's so it's a tough week as all sets are work sets.  My shoulder tendonitis is still bothering my left side, making benches and overheads difficult.  I keep my elbows in tight on the the overheads otherwise I wouldn't have a chance.  The squats were painful but as long as I can keep my form together my back doesn't suffer as badly over the next 48 hours.

I'm not sure how I'm going to run Saturday.  My arch issues are now arch, achilles and heel issues.  My heel is tender to the touch on the inside as well as the bottom and my ankle feels swollen and limited in its range of motion.   I'm going to see about getting some transitional shoes that could help me limp through this without losing too much.  I'm signed up for the USMC Mud Run on the 25th, so I have 14 days left to bring it all together.  My rest and nutrition need to get serious and I'm going to try and mix in some more of my previous activities.

In other news, my biopsy results are negative, although my GI doctor stated the damage can be patchy and easily missed.  Based on my symptoms and the large rash on my right leg, she has me staying gluten free and going to see a nutritionist with Celiacs.   I'm looking forward to cleaning up what I put in this garbage can of man meat I call my corporeal home.  I just hope I can start feeling as good as I did before she had me do another 5 days of gluten.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

What happens when a blister levels up

What happens when a blister levels up
So I promised some pictures of us hobbling along.  Instead I just have this nice photo of my foot post run.  My ongoing battle of the blister decided to level up on tonight's run.  It didn't really feel any worse than it did last time, but I was having enough issues with my back and the arch issues in my left foot to push this into the minor annoyance category.

9/9 run 25 mins hopefully sub 10 min pace

On the brightside, I managed to pump out a decent pace and finish the run with my back torn up and my stomach still jacked from Tuesday.  It was definitely a harder run than last time, but I pushed the pace in the beginning and just dragged out the back half.  Not sure how lifting will go tomorrow, but the run pounded some of the spasms out of my back.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Blah and Back Spasms

So today I woke up feeling lethargic with a killer sore throat.  I should have known I was in for some trouble this morning, when my back spasms as I climb atop my porcelain throne.  The rest of the day it was all I could do to stay awake and try to get some reading done.  My lifting partner was in training today, so we weren't planning to get together until around 7pm, instead of our regular lunch time workouts.  This provided me with ample time to engage in such pursuits as watching "Dreamscape" aka the "Inception" prequel.

So 7pm rolls around and my lifting partner arrives, but in his arrival one of our dogs decides this is her chance for freedom.  In my attempt to grab her before she slips out the door I wrench my back...again.  If he wasn't standing in the doorway I would have called off the lifting session.  It was all I could do to stand up straight and gingerly make my way to the basement dungeon.  I grabbed my foam roller on the way, hoping for some relief from the pain.  I really don't know how I did it, and my back is returning the favor with interest as I type this.  Here are the results:

9/8 lift power clean 5x175 conventional deadlift 5x335 failed 365  incline dumbells 5x55 5x65 7x70
I really don't know how I lifted anything off the ground, as I can barely lean forward to wash my hands in the sink right now.  My favorite back snack is off the menu as well, no ibuprofen due to the upper endoscopy.

In retrospect I can see where I missed the road signs today before barreling off the cliff of back pain.  Dehydration is the number one enemy to those of us with back issues.  I should have worked harder at rehydrating after the 18+ hour fast before the procedure yesterday.  Those pangs I felt this morning should have told me I needed to be more careful.  At this point, I'm just hoping I can pull off a hot shower and a sound sleep.  I've avoided the pain killers and opted for a couple NUUN tablets in water, hoping I can rehydrate after the fact.  Thankfully I've learned I can run barefoot/minimalist style when my back is in pretty bad shape, which was never an option with conventional running styles.  So, hopefully, I'll still be able to get in a run tomorrow.  If I remember, I'll try and get some photos of us hobbling along.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

WTF happened

So I had my upper endoscopy today, or so I'm told.  After taking only three tries to get my IV started, they wheeled me off to anesthesia, where I recall the 2 syringes being hooked up and perhaps the hit of fentanyl, then I was turned on my side for the throat spray and BAM...nothing... 

I return from the Elysian Fields to the voice of my wife asking me if I'm ready to leave, being the smart cookie I am, I mumble something about 45 minutes, as I realize I must have missed the procedure but remember from the paperwork I have to stay in recovery for 45 minutes.  Well, apparently, I missed the 45 minutes too.  Hell, I could have missed a day and I wouldn't have realized it.  I stumble out to the car with her and spend the rest of the day in a fog.  So far all I have to show for my troubles is a killer sore throat.  Now we wait for results from the pathologist.  She tells me I also mumbled something about Locopops, not sure on that one, but the way my throat feels I could certainly use a couple.

No training today outside of some ammonia tolerance threshold training with the cat litter boxes...

Monday, September 6, 2010

Gluten Gluttony

As I type this my time for eating before my upper endoscopy has expired.  I get to down some apple juice tomorrow before 6am, but that's it until after the biopsies are taken.  I guess I should start at the beginning.  Around 6 weeks ago my wife talked me into doing the C25K program.  I've always hated running and I had always prided myself on achieving a high level of physical fitness without it.  It probably all relates back to my Dad and watching all the injuries he went through due to running.  I used to feel man wasn't meant to run or at least not men over about 175lbs.  I started doing C25K more for her than for any other reason, as she is a great runner and I've always wanted to school her at it run with her.  I spent around 9 months of the last year on Fosamax and low impact rehab to repair a bone injury in my left kneecap where I am missing some cartilage from years of contact sports.  When I started the rehab, I couldn't even walk to the end of my street and back without my knee being sore and swollen for the next few weeks.

In the beginning of C25K I would carry an icepack in the car and immediately slap it on my knee as soon as we got done.  I would continue to ice my knee the rest of the night and this would help, but I was still having some pain in my knees and back.  I played around with trying to run CHI/POSE/barefoot style in my conventional running shoes, but it's hard to run properly with a heel to toe drop and a thick sole.  I finally decided to get some Vibram Five Fingers and make the switch.  My plan was to only use them once or twice a week but after a few runs in my conventional shoes I just couldn't make myself put them on anymore.  Running in my VFF KSO Treks I am forced to analyze my gait and focus on my foot placement.  This has resulted in dramatic changes in how I feel post run.  I don't have to ice my knee anymore.  My back doesn't hurt.  My calves are sore, but it's only muscle soreness as they adapt.  I am having some arch problems in my left foot, but I believe this is due to doing too much too soon and traditionally over-pronating on that side.  My left arch is lower than my right.  Ok, so to get back to where this is going.  I'll post more on my experiences with natural/barefoot running later.

My guts started hurting.  I thought it was the running.  It felt like I had swallowed a golf ball and it was poking out my left oblique.  That turn into my whole abdomen feeling painful and bloated.  I had no appetite, so I went to the doctor on 8/16 with no real idea on what to expect.  They took a bunch of blood samples and set me up with a CT Scan of my belly.  The belly scan didn't turn up anything, but one of the blood tests came back with a moderate to strong positive for Celiac disease.  My GP suggested I cut out gluten, so for about 10 days before my Gastro appointment I stopped eating gluten.  The change was nothing short of miraculous,  my guts felt fine, my joints stopped aching and it was like a fog was lifted from my mind.  I didn't realize I could feel that much better.  When you are used to functioning at a certain level all your life, you don't realize how much better you can feel.

I went to see the Gastro and she set me up with the upper endoscopy and had me start eating gluten again for the 5 days in between.  The first few days were horrible, but I think I've adapted to feeling cruddy again.  No matter what result I get, I will be cutting out the gluten again as soon as I can start eating after my upper endoscopy.  A positive biopsy will just keep me from ever cheating again.

The nitty gritty

I started my last post to document my physical trials and tribulations, but it kind of took on a life of its own.  My goal with this blog is to keep myself accountable and maybe gain a little insight along the way.  I can't afford a personal trainer or a life coach, so maybe people posting disparaging remarks on the internet will help motivate me.  Over the last few years I've had good days and bad, if these are the result of a lack of mental toughness or something more remains to be seen at the moment.  Hopefully I will have more on this front tomorrow.

Time to start explaining my plan for recording the data.  For my weight training, I will list my core lifts and the top weight along with number of sets.  For my runs,  I will just list my distance, time or pace along with any notes regarding the runs.  I hope to be adding Crossfit, kickboxing, wrestling and yoga back into the mix if my back remains healthy.  I'm still recovering from a severe back injury in April on the trap bar deadlift.  I never stopped lifting, but my core back lifts have not recovered yet and I've still got some mental blocks on trying to deadlift, although I think the magic of the trap bar is gone.  It could just be coincidence but I never injured myself with conventional deadlifts and I've now had two separate incidents while using the trap bar.  I think it still has it's place, perhaps just not for lifts over 90% of max.

9/5 ran 25 min continuously in Vibram Five Finger KSO Treks on American Tobacco Trail (unpaved rail trail)
My +1 has the details on her Garmin, but I think we were close to a 10min/mile pace.  The arch in my left foot has been having some issues over the last few weeks but I'm doing my best to work through it in my VFF's.  The blisters I have on the sides of my big toes from my VFF's were fine up until the last 5 minutes of the run.  I try and manage my pace on these runs and kick it out at the end, but my right foot blister was bulging and throbbing at that point and I didn't want to risk tearing it off trying to up my pace.  Even in the Injinji socks with a bit of Runner's lube on the hot spots, I can't seem to shake these blisters.

9/6 lift box squat 5x260 towel bench 5x230 (up 5lbs on both lifts)
I was solo for this workout, which can be a nice change of pace at times as I have lifted solo for most of my adult life.  I kicked up the pull-ups by 5lbs as well (35lbs).  The left shoulder is still recovering but I was able to hit 4x90 on the left for dumbell snatches and 4x100 on the right.  The shoulder didn't feel like it was separating as badly on the pull but I still can't lower the heavy dumbell on that side without sharp pain.  I was lazy and skipped my rotator cuff auxiliaries but I plan to do them tomorrow.

stop thinking about it

I have a natural aversion to "blogging," as I feel it goes against my attempts to remain humble in my life.  I try not to feed my inner narcissist too much, as he is fat enough already.  The proliferation of blogging isn't really a surprise if you think about what we do to our children on a daily basis.  We start feeding the narcissist in our children at the earliest age possible.  We tell them, "you are special, you are unique, you are better than the others."  They start to believe this crap and that is where the problem starts.  How can a child learn to be honest with themselves if their parents are already lying to them?  They start to catch on when academic and athletic competition begins.  Do not confuse love with praise.  We love and we need to be loved, but we can still be lazy fat asses and someone needs to call us out at an early age when we are.  Too many of us have been allowed to merrily go about eating Cheetos on the couch in our underwear at 2pm while playing video games.  Some of us are even proud enough to share this information with the world.  I can only hope my blog will be helpful to one person other than myself.  We all need to learn praise and success are the results of planning and hard work.  This is my attempt to document both of these in my life.  How many of us can honestly assess ourselves?  We look at our resumes, transcripts and in the mirror, but does the person looking back at us simply say "you are special"?