Bunchgrasser’s World

My unique filter on life

Posts Tagged ‘portland fit’

Completed the 13.5 miler

Posted by bunchgrasser on August 26, 2008

Happy days! This past Saturday morning I ran a 13.5 miler which is my new personal distance record. I’ve done 3 half marathons in the past, but never actually ran further than the 13.1 mile distance. I’m happy to report that, other than the general post-run soreness, my feet and legs felt pretty good. It was a little tough climbing out of bed the following day, but so far my heel pain has remained tolerable.

Next up is the 15 mile benchmark, which I hope to run this coming weekend. If that goes well, I’ll move on to the 30k (18.6 mile) benchmark and then (hopefully) run the 21 mile benchmark with my Portland Fit group on September 13.

Wish me luck…

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10 miler – hurts so good!

Posted by bunchgrasser on August 21, 2008

Alright, I’m aware that I’ve been negligent in my posting duties. Life gets crazy…blah blah blah.

I went out for a run last night after work. It was the first time in awhile that my legs & feet actually felt good. I paced around my kitchen for 30 minutes or so waiting for the dark black rainclouds to disperse. I’ve been thinking a lot about the Portland Marathon lately (I registered a couple of weeks ago – so I’m committed, or at the very least $90 poorer now). I started counting the days left to train and I realized that…I’m screwed. It was vaguely similar to feelings that I had back in my college days. You know, realizing that you needed only a week to study for a test, but unfortunately the test was in 2 days… Anyone? Anyone?

Due to my various injuries and soreness, I’ve managed to miss a lot of training over the past few weeks, including both the 15 mile and 30k benchmark runs. My Portland Fit training group members will soon be doing their 21 miler and I’m not going to be ready for that either. What to do…

Anyway, back to my run. So knowing that I had less than 2 hours of daylight left, I quickly dressed myself in black shorts, black shirt, black hat and dark sunglasses. I slapped my Garmin on my wrist and headed out the door into a heavy rain shower. Did I mention that I was trying out some new arch support insoles (more on that later)?

I normally walk for the first 10 minutes so that my muscles warm up. Since it was raining pretty hard, I decided to just start running right away. I’m not sure why I did this actually. It certainly didn’t help me outrun the rain and my left calf muscle complained for awhile. I kept my pace slow (like 9-9.5 minute miles) and settled into an easy rhythm. I eventually got out from underneath the rain cloud and the glorious late evening sun bathed me in its warmth.

Two things that I normally carry with me on longer runs: an Ipod Nano (full of techno tunes) and a hydration belt with a water bottle were not with me today. My long run course does take me close to 2-3 parks, so I stopped off for a quick water break whenever I could. I will say that it was an interesting experience running without music. I’ve always relied heavily on the extended length, thumping bass beats of techno music to put me into “the zone”. This time I focused in on my own breathing rhythm and I was amazed to find a “parallel zone” of sorts.

After 5 miles or so, I was feeling good about my pace. My heart rate was stable and I had no soreness or pain anywhere. I was thinking “This is what running is supposed to feel like”. I wasn’t much further down the road when I started feeling a little heat and friction coming from the soles of my feet. Specifically my arches. I mentioned earlier that I was trying out some new replacement insoles which offered a little more midfoot support than the stock foam insoles that came with my Asics Gel Kayano’s. Well, it was clear that my feet weren’t used to that extra support, and after 6-7 miles they were letting me know. Yep, I probably should have tried those out on a shorter run. Another lesson learned.

As expected, my knees were the next body part to start complaining. It was a subtle complaint at first – I’ll give them that much. It was kind of like, “Excuse me, but we are ready to stop running now”.  A little later, somewhere between mile 8-9, the complaints were more like “If you don’t stop running now, we’re going to make your life hell for the next 24-48 hours”. I went back to my parallel zone and pressed on. By the time I cruised into my neighborhood at mile 10, I had a full on mutiny happening, with feet, ankles, knees and hips all conspiring to make me stop. It was pretty much dark at this point, so I limped into my house and collapsed into a chair.

I’m writing this post less than 24 hours later, and yes I’m still pretty sore. Getting out of bed this morning took a little longer than usual. I won’t be running again this evening, but I think I’ll be ready to hit it again by tomorrow evening. Maybe I’ll take my Ipod next time so that I can drown out the complaints.


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Heel pain sets me back a few days

Posted by bunchgrasser on July 14, 2008

Well, for the first time in a long while I’ve had to stop running. Some time last week, most likely after that 12 miler – my heel started hurting. At first I thought maybe I’d just bruised it, but on subsequent runs it showed signs of the dreaded plantar fasciitis (PF).

Reading up on PF on the net was somewhat depressing. if I do indeed have PF (I still hold some hope that I don’t), the recovery time could potentially wipe out my plans to run the Portland Marathon. Wait. Take a deep breath. Think positive thoughts. Yes, this is just a temporary setback and in no time at all I’ll be back on the pavement – pain free.

I’m depressed now because I had to miss my Portland Fit 25k benchmark run last Saturday. You know, I really wasn’t a runner when I was younger. I played other sports of course, but just running for the sake of running held no interest for me. Back then, I needed a reason to run – driving for a layup, stealing second base, running from my girlfriend’s dad (jk).

Today things are different. The concept of “Me Time” is much more prominent (and necessary), and running solo miles is just the ticket for that. Just me and the road. Just me and my Ipod. Just me and the…heel pain? Wait – something isn’t right here. All I know is that running used to be something that I forced myself to do. Now it’s something I can’t live without. Running is insidious the way it gets inside of you. Like a parasitic monster that must be fed every couple of days. If you starve the monster – it makes you pay, but I digress.

where was I? Oh yeah, so I’ve got this heel pain and I haven’t done any running for a week. I’m considering going out for a short, light run to gauge my recovery. I know it’s too soon but I just can’t help myself. It’s like pulling on a hangnail – you know it’s going to hurt like hell but you can’t stop yourself. I have to know – is it a heel bruise? Or something worse? Wish me luck…


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My Helvetia Half Marathon personal results

Posted by bunchgrasser on June 25, 2008

First, let me just say a big thank you to the event sponsors and the folks at Run With Paula for putting on a great race! This was my second half marathon, but first time running the Helvetia Half and I thought everyone did a great job. The weather was perfect, the event seemed well organized and it almost made destroying my legs for 13.1 miles fun.

How did I do, you ask? Well, I’m pleased to say that I ran it in 1:56:54, which means I averaged an 8:55/mile pace. I placed 75th out of 145 for my age group (40-44). Now that may not seem too impressive to many runners out there, but I did establish a new PR and I beat my last half marathon time by several minutes. I do like the trend here…

Some observations about the race…

First, I really enjoyed running through the rural setting. Most all of my running (training and races) occurs in an urban setting, so cruising down the 2 lane roads past hay fields, trees & farmers was a refreshing change and I’m already looking forward to running Helvetia next year.

Second, the Jamba Juice smoothies placed into my hands the moment I crossed the finish line were a life saver. Although I wouldn’t recommend sucking down two of them quickly right after running 13 miles (as I did). The cold headache was almost enough to make me pass out.

Third, the water stations and portable toilets were distributed well across the entire course. I did make one pit stop, but I waited until I came to an unoccupied unit so that I could dart in/out quickly. I think I may have set a new speed record – can someone verify that for me?

Finally, I have some constructive suggestions for the organizers for next year. These are not, I repeat, these are not complaints – but merely my opinions on how to improve an already fantastic race.

 First, please consider replacing the cotton t-shirt with a technical shirt of some kind. The rest of the athletic world has moved away from cotton, so I’m amazed that race organizers still give them out. If cost is the issue then please at least offer both choices to participants. It would be nice to actually use race t-shirts for running rather than stuffing them in a box or sending them to Goodwill.

Second, please reconsider serving tepid hamburgers to race participants that just ran 13 hard miles. Maybe I’m in the minority here, but my system just can’t handle that kind of gut bomb after a long run. Perhaps some kind of pasta and/or vegetable dish would be more universally appealing.

Finally, Ugh – the parking issue after the race. The last thing people will remember about this race is sitting in their hot car for an hour trying to get out of the parking lot. I can assure you that I will find an alternative parking option next year. But I’m guessing some may avoid this race next year because of this reason.

I’d also like to thank the folks at Portland Fit for running a great training program. Although registration is closed for this marathon season, I would highly encourage anyone looking to run a marathon, half marathon, or simply improve their running to sign up for this next season. I’ve really enjoyed the group runs on Saturday mornings and the accountability has truly helped me ratchet up to double digit mile runs and beyond.

What’s next for me? Well – I just registered for the Pacific Crest Half Marathon to be held June 28th in Sunriver, Oregon. I’m looking forward to the flat course, but Sunriver’s higher elevation may have a noticable effect on breathing. Stay tuned for the post race report.



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Running the Helvetia Half Marathon tomorrow…

Posted by bunchgrasser on June 13, 2008

Well, tomorrow is the big day. I’m willingly going to subject my body to 13.1 miles of pavement pounding abuse by running the Helvetia Half. I had been logging plenty of miles up until June 2nd (both on my own and with my Portland Fit group), when I spent a week in Orlando for work. I planned to run during that week, but the soaring heat (mid 90’s) and my work scheduled ruined that plan.

So, I missed an entire week of running and (unsuccessfully) attempted to catch up this week here at home. Normally tapering is a good thing, but when you do it a week too early – it can be a major problem. I’m always amazed at how quickly your body loses its edge when you back off the miles.

I also took the opportunity to drive the course yesterday. You know, the rolling hills always look so small when your in a car. I suspect those hills between miles 4-7 will feel much larger tomorrow. Well, wish me luck and I’ll post my results soon.



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