Monday, December 5, 2011

I'm Blaming Last Week

I missed my long run on Wednesday because of my typical sore ankle. I ran a quarter mile and then walked back home. So...
  • Monday - 2 miles easy plus the usual pushups, situps and pullups.
  • Tuesday - 5x2k in Twila Reid park - for the first time. The local Larwin park is torn up a bit after the city removed 3 trees - why, I don't know.
  • Wednesday - 0.25 and out.
  • skip to Saturday - 4 mile tempo on the track
  • Sunday - about 15 on Maple Springs Truck Trail (2.6k or so of elevation gain)

So I've reverted to run hard on Tue/Sat and long on Wed/Sun. I'll do another week or so at status quo and then lengthen the Sunday workout.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Not Perfect But Not Bad

I missed my Tuesday workout and Sunday didn't go as hoped but not bad.
  • Monday - Usual easy 2 with calisthenics
  • Tuesday - Missed my 5x2k workout
  • Wednesday - 18 mile road run
  • Thursday - Easy 2 with calisthenics. Probably will double my pull-ups next week.
  • Friday - 4 mile tempo run
  • Saturday - 14 mile in mountains - Maple Springs Truck Trail
  • Sunday - (only) 7 in Whittier Hills. Quads were dead. I was adding this workout (replacing an extra easy day on Friday) and I hadn't run hills for a few weeks. So it isn't surprising that I struggled. When I've struggled like this in the past, often things go just fine the next week.

Google Earth view of Maple Springs Truck Trail (in red)

Plan for next week:
  • Weather is good so track should be in good shape for Tuesday. Looks like rain on Thursday so may do Friday workout in park by work (1k loop on firm grass). May explore a different park near home since the local park (Larwin) is a bit torn up due to removal of some trees. That makes it a little sketchy to run hard in the dark.
  • Don't know weekend weather yet but hope to run 14 on Saturday and 7 or so on Sunday, both with plenty of vertical.
  • Planning to do sets of 8 pull-ups and more push-ups.

Monday, November 21, 2011

I'm Happy

Missed one of my long runs due to working long hours on Wed, but I'm still happy. Longest run yet - 18 miles.
  • Monday - 2 miles easy plus 3x16 pushups, situps, pullups
  • Tuesday - 5x2k on dirt loop in Irvine (hard on the flat, uphill, jogged downhill)
  • Wednesday & Friday - worked late, Thursday - went to happy hour (or so) for my departing boss.
  • Saturday - 4 mile tempo run
  • Sunday - 18 mile road run.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Weeks in review - 10/24/2011 through 11/13/2011

Here's the last three weeks of workouts since I moved my long run from Thursday (where it wasn't working out) to Wednesday. This move made Tuesday/Wednesday and Saturday/Sunday both fast/long pairs of workouts (fast for me, that is).

10/24/2011 - 10/30/2011
  • Monday - 2 easy pm, 3x16xpushups, situps,3x4 pullups
  • Tuesday - 2 (warmup)+ 5x2k
  • Wednesday - 10 (road run) To El Dorado park
  • Friday - 2 easy
  • Saturday - 2+4 (tempo run)
  • Sunday - 14.2 on trails - Whittier 3 loops

10/31/2011 - 11/6/2011
  • Monday - 2 easy pm, 3x16xpushups, situps, 3x4 pullups
  • Tuesday - 2+5x2k
  • Wednesday - 12 (on river route) to Edison Park
  • Thursday - 4 easy
  • Saturday - 2+4+1
  • Sunday - 11.33 on trails - Rowland Heights (cut short because it was raining)

11/7/2011 - 11/13/2011
  • Monday - 2 easy pm, 3x16xpushups, situps,3x4 pullups
  • Tuesday - 5x2k at Larwin (10 total). (Running on) grass gets me to drive more.
  • Wednesday - 14 on river. Rolled lt ankle just before turn around but apparently no problem.
  • Thursday - 2 at lunch
  • Saturday - 2+3
  • Sunday - 16.6 on river - Left knee a little touchy, probably from running in grass

  • I've been consistent about missing an easy workout on either Thursday or Friday.
  • I have not been doing pushups/situps/pullups on the second easy day of the week.
  • Sunday has been deviating from plan the last two weeks (partly due to weather).

  • This is really quite consistent for me, certainly more so than before I had heart problems.
  • I've dealt effectively with weather and conflicts (like today).
  • I'm increasing my workload roughly according to plan because the plan is based on how well I've been able to increase the workload.
  • I got the road run pretty much up to the full distance.

  • I'll try to cut the grass runs back to once per week for a while.
  • I'll focus on getting in the Sunday workout (keep it on trails and hills/mountains, coordinate in advance), especially since increasing that to the 19 to 20 mile range is the next change planned.

Here's the Google Earth image of my beach/river run. I ran to just the 8.3 mile point on Sunday (end of the bike path).

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Running in Grass

We're getting rain now and I run on dirt tracks so I've had to find an alternative. The nearest all-weather track at Cypress College is often crowded with walkers so I ran my 5x2k workout in the park the other night. One figure-8 lap around the park is 3/8ths of a mile so each interval was 3 laps plus. One thing I really liked about the workout is that I needed to drive more with my flexed leg in order to not wallow or lose form. I really liked that so I'm going to continue running sometimes in the grass. Some slightly negative aspects (although the first might be viewed as a positive) are 1) the ground is uneven - I try to route around major holes 2) I got a pin stuck in my shoe and 3) I got cat crap from the feral cats on the bottom of one shoe.
Last night, I ran 14 on the beach route. This ultimately will be 18 miles. I might have gone for 16 last night but just before the 14 mile turnaround, I stepped on the edge of the path and rolled my left ankle. However, it seems like no damage was done and it is not painful nor stiff at all today.

Monday, November 7, 2011


Things have been going well. I'm increasing my work load gradually and I have a schedule to which I've been able to adhere. Here are some things that have been keys for my return:

  • Rest - I take a nap after work,before my workout.
  • Walking at lunch
  • Stay hydrated - The trick I use is to drink plenty of non-caffeinated tea, like mint tea, ginger tea, rooibos tea.
  • Consistency - I don't change much from one week to the next.
  • Don't get exhausted - I used to have practice sessions which I would characterize as RTF - Run To Failure. Not anymore. Now I stay within myself.
  • Don't worry much about miles. Don't worry about missing a workout now and then. If I miss a workout, I don't try to make it up.
  • Don't stress out
  • Warmup - My warmup on Tuesday and Saturday is 2 miles. This starts pretty slowly.
  • Stretching - I'm trying to incorporate stretching AFTER workouts into my routine.
    Soleus, Gastrocnemius, touch toes, quad, IT, piriformis
  • Schedule - I took a schedule from a book on Kenyan running and modified it a little to work around my schedule. The result is
    • Monday - Easy (2 miles) plus pushups, situps and pullups.
    • Tuesday - 5x2km intervals. Will eventually change to shorter intervals but I'm in no rush.
    • Wednesday - Long run, currently on the road. This is the workout I'm increasing at the moment (by 2 miles per week). Once I get this to 18 miles, I may run it on the track at times.
    • Thursday - Easy plus pushups, situps and pullups
    • Friday - Easy
    • Saturday - 4 mile tempo
    • Sunday - Long trail (mountain or hills), currently 14 miles

    So two sets of a more intense session followed by a longer session, separated by about 2 rest days.

Things I'm not doing

  • A lot of exercises like core, med ball, etc. I was lifting but that's not a priority now.
  • Hard stretches. I'm leaving hurdle stretches out for now.
  • Yoga. Not my thing.
  • Sprints or dragging the tire. I did some earlier and it seemed to bother my heart.
  • Two a days - I'm already getting up at 4:40 on weekdays. It's too much stress to get up earlier. I haven't bothered running in the afternoon on weekends.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Fin de semana

Just watched the Obea Moore video again. His kick is unbelievable.
Just finished up my first week running and I'm taking today (Sunday) off. I ran 3x800,1x400 on Friday and a new (steep) hill loop on Saturday. In general, I was pleased with the week but clearly I have a lot of improvement to make - I hope. I'm going to simplify a little bit. 2.5 is the goal mileage for the entire week rather than incrementing in the middle. I'm planning on running on the track on MWF and on hills on TThSat.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Optimism Springs Eternal

6th day running - This was my first day on the track. I wore my watch just because I wanted to track my progress. After riding my bike to Oxford Academy, I did some drills and then ran 100 barefoot. Something poked or stung my foot so I went back and put shoes on. It was a hot day and I had taken a nap so I was feeling rather lethargic (maybe the anemia - due to my medications - has something to do with that). Anyway, I took off on the first lap at a moderate pace - not really pushing it. 1:59. I ended up doing the planned 6 laps in 12:03. Running 8 minute pace on the first time out makes me very optimistic that I will be able to run 7:30 pace for 8 to 16 miles with not much of a problem. We'll see but this first workout makes me optimistic.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Running Again

This is my 4th day running. I've been running doubles but only 1 mile at a time until today. The baseline workout is running to the local park and running laps. One lap of the park is 3/8ths of a mile. With the commute from my house, it's a mile. I'm adding a lap or 3/8ths of a mile every Monday and Friday, so adding 3/4 mile per week. Most of my running has been barefoot so far. My rib cage has been feeling pretty good, especially in the afternoon runs. That was what I expected to be the chief limiting factor. I tried running for a few days in mid-June and I had a rib get sore. Other than one little blip, no problems this time. When I'm warmed up, I have been running faster than the usual shuffle.
Also, since I started back to work, I've been napping when I get home. I'm going to continue to do that.
As the distance gets long enough to incorporate specific workouts, I'll start doing those. For instance, I expect to be able to run one hill (repeat) on Thursday. I'm anxious to get back to hills and trails.
My weight is still down at 145 so I didn't balloon up to 150 post-surgery.
So far, so good.

Monday, June 27, 2011

OK'd to run

I'm quite happy because my doctor told me "Start running" today. I'm going to start on 7/1 with 1 mile runs although I reserve the right to run twice per day. Also this past weekend, I got the GT Tequesta fixed gear bike fixed and rode 9 miles on that. It was great to get on a real bicycle again.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Heart Attack, Triple Bypass

I had a heart attack on 3/12/2011, undiagnosed until 5/3/2011. I went in for an angiogram the next day. They woke me long enough from the angiogram to tell me that I needed a triple bypass and get my consent, then they put me back to sleep. I woke up in the ICU, gagging on a breathing tube. They took that out a little after I started breathing on my own. I spent a little less than 2 days in the ICU followed by 2 days in the Direct Observation Unit (DOU) and then got to go home. I've been recuperating at home since then and plan to go back to work next Wednesday, 4 weeks after my operation. I started walking once I got out of the ICU and didn't have cables attached. I had a couple of days where I got up to 8 miles of walking. However that seemed to have taxed me somewhat. So right now, I am walking 2 miles per day and getting on the stationary bike for 20 minutes. Otherwise, I am pretty useless around the house since I can't pick up anything heavier than 5 to 10 pounds and can't drive a car.

My cardiologist told me repeatedly that I don't know how lucky I am. He finally explained this by saying most people drop dead who run after having a heart attack (and with 2 coronary arteries 100% blocked and one 95% blocked). After having the heart attack I eventually ran the same workout where I got the attack. I ran 8 miles on Harding Truck Trail. I rode 24 miles home from work on my bike - twice. My last workout before the cardiologist appointment was 4x400 meters. However, we suspect that my running history helped me survive possibly by developing a somewhat redundant set of capillaries from other coronary arteries. Also my running history made it easier to operate on me (less than 4 hours where they sometimes take 6 hours) and helped my recovery. As to "Why me?", my cardiologist blames heredity (my father had a heart attack at 62 - but after decades of smoking) and I blame at least partially my affinity for stress.

I'm told that i have no other blockages other than those they fixed (bypassed). My ejection fraction was measured at 65% (normal) the day after my surgery. I never got an answer as to whether this (advanced atherosclerosis) could be detected without first having a heart attack.

My symptoms prior to the heart attack were
  • Decreasing running abilities over the last 3.5 to 5 years.
  • The general feeling that eating cheese strains my heart.
  • Pale at the end of runs (at least when I end at the house).
  • Angina (now I know what it is) 2 days prior to the heart attack.

Symptoms of my heart attack

  • Tightness across chest
  • Sense that it would be a really bad idea to keep running.
  • Immediate drop in cardiovascular capacity. I had to walk slowly back to the car with several stops to sit down.
  • General feeling of discomfort. The drive home was really a challenge.
  • Flu-like symptoms the next few days.

Symptoms after my heart attack.

  • Continued diminished cardiovascular capacity.
  • Wierd EKG - dips instead of peaks - once I had it taken (on 4/4).
  • Angina when jogging on flat ground. Oddly enough, I had light to no symptoms when riding a bike, running trails, running sprints up to 400 meters.
  • I definitely improved over time. A 10 mile bike ride early on was tiring whereas 18 and 24 mile bike rides later on were not a problem. I ran the same route that I had run when I had the heart attack without a problem.

Expectations and Hopes

  • Given my ejection fraction of 65% post-op and the fact that I could actually do something prior to my bypass, I expect my capabilities to return to what they were a few years ago.
  • I expect to have little anomalies with my chest like popping ribs (due to the operation) for at least a year.
  • I hope to be able to run by 8 weeks after the operation (end of June). I hope to be able to run hard 4 weeks after that.

Moral: Running does not prevent heart attacks but it did help me survive and recover faster.