Thursday, May 31, 2012

Free Swag from Brooks!! (this is torture i can't run!)

So, as I'm sitting around doing as much as I can (while seated) due to my injury, wishing I could be outside running in this gorgeous weather, I get tortured by a package I get in the mail from Brooks ... a free running kit!

(please note: I have absolutely no financial or other relationship with Dicks Sporting Goods or with Brooks Running.  I am merely a consumer).

I almost forgot about this, but a few weeks ago (before I was sidelined with a femoral neck stress fracture) I purchased a pair of Brooks Pure Flows from Dicks Sporting Goods.  There was an ad for a website for something called Run Happy University .  I suppose I registered and weeks later I get this cool running kit ... full of stuff I can't use because I'm not allowed to run right now.  ARRRRRRRGHHHHH!!!

(btw, looking back at the website, looks like purchase IS required.)

Well, if I can't use it now, let's see what's in it:

1). a welcome letter further promoting this Run Happy University thing.  Haven't explored the website much,
2).  A nice blue tote bag -- I guess to put all this stuff in.
3). a water bottle -- one of those cool reusable, foldable water botts.  16oz.  I have never used one of these, but you can't have too many water bottles.  need a couple for home, one in car, one in bag, etc.  (I'd been reusing poland spring bottles, aquavida bottles, and the like, hehe)
4). an official brooks run happy training log, with some stickers inside to mark "race day," etc.
5). Strawberry GU chomps energy chews.  definitely have to try these (next long run, come on!).  I've been using Clif Bloks myself, which I like.
6). Chocolate Outrage GU energy gel. -- haven't really used gel in runs, I don't like the idea of mess, and so far I like energy bloks.
7). Lemon Lime GU Brew electrolyte drink tablets.  to make your own while running.
8). Body Glide balm -- will save for marathon
9). Body Glide powder -- ditto
oh, here's something I can use now:
10). Perform Pail relieving gel!!

oh, and there's one more thing in the bag ... what's this, no:

11).  a booklet entitled, "A Step by Step guide to running INJURY FREE."
Well, thanks Brooks, maybe I could have used you a couple of weeks ago, before I got injured.  haha.

No, all in all a nice little sample package.  not bad for free.

Walking a few steps now without crutches, but I still need it most of the time.  Will keep updated.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Baby steps

The beauty of many beginner runner programs, most notably the Couch to 5k program, as well as a run-walk program like runDisney's training consultant Jeff Galloway's, is that they start slow and simple, and build up your mileage (or time running) slowly.  Danny Dreyer, of Chi Running, calls this Gradual Progress.  

Baby steps.

This is beautiful.  Take Cool Running's original couch-to-5-k program.  You start with a lot more walking than running.  In fact, on Day 1 you only run (actually jog) for 60 seconds at a time.  60 seconds!  interspersed with longer periods of walking. Then day by day (with ample rest in between), you increase the running time and eventually decrease your walking time until (if all goes well), eight weeks later you are running 30 minutes continuously, or 5k.

This progress has many advantages.  The steps are challenging enough to keep you motivated, and help you celebrate "small victories," and give you a sense of accomplishment each day!  However, they are not so challenging that you give up.  The gradual progress also allows your body to become accustomed to exercise, to become conditioned, to increase physiological thresholds (VO2 max, etc) so that you can "tolerate" harder exercise for longer.

This was a wonderful feeling when, for me, in the the midst of my initial couch to 5k training, I felt I could keep running.  and I did.  even when it was hurting. (and maybe that's why I got a stress fracture).

In any event, today I'm taking my own baby steps...

Yesterday my orthopedic surgeon told me I can start weight-bearing on my injured leg, and start to try to walk.  Next week I should be off crutches.  Then in a couple of weeks I can start non-impact exercises, like the elliptical, then eventually running again!!

Baby steps.

I hope I learned my lesson.  Today I took my first steps without crutches.  I am limping along, one shuffle at a time, but it feels good to not have to ask for help carrying everything, cleaning up, making a meal.  I still need crutches most of the day, but, although I'm still looking ahead to run the Walt Disney World marathon and then the Goofy Challenge, I am so happy today because yesterday I was unable to do this without a huge ordeal:

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Change in Hope

When I started running 6 months, I hoped that I would get to a point that I could run 20 minutes continuously. I did. I hoped that I could finish the Manasquan midwinter 2 mile beach run without stopping.  I did.

I hoped, that with the c25k program, that I could run 30 minutes and run a respectable 5k race time.  I did.

I hoped that would feel fit, healthy, and lose 20 pounds with this new, enjoyable habit of running.  I did.

I hoped that my long runs would increase to a 13.1 mile half marathon. I did.

Today, I have a follow up appointment with my doctor, and my hope now is that I will be able to put weight on my leg and walk, and eventually rehab myself to run again, and train again, to a half marathon, then to run the Walt Disney World full marathon, and then the Goofy Challenge. 

I definitely will.

Monday, May 28, 2012

One week.

It has been over one week since my last run.  This is my longest lay off (I think), since I caught the running bug 6 months ago.

Injury, O injury, why must you hurt me so?

I reviewed my running log which I had kept from day 1.  Pretty meticulous at times, stating distance, location, time of day, temperature and conditions, hills, which shoes I wore and if with any inserts, how I felt physically and mentally, if and where there was pain, what technique or form focus I tried, what fuel if any, and self suggestions of what I could try for the next run.

I figured I could go back and analyze it somehow.

Now I'm injured, and reading back I could pinpoint it to the first run I wore my then new Mizunos (which Ive since returned for other reasons), but I'm not going to blame them.

Did I get injured from the classic "toos?"

Too much too soon.  Too fast too far, they say. my case it was too stupid.  I ran, it hurt.  I kept running, it hurt more. So what did I do?  I ran even more.

That's what I did one week ago.  And now I'm lying in bed at 8:40am with my leg propped up...(oh yeah, we took a trip down to the ER last night to rule out a DVT.  Good news, no clot).

By this time most weekends I would have gotten my long run in. 

Oh how I miss you long run.  13.1 was the last I saw of you, can't wait to see you again.

Now I worry about deconditioning, I worry about gaining weight, I worry about atrophy.

But stop!

No more worries, stop!  Patience.  Patience will heal this.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Swell! Swelling!

Day #6 of crutches for me.  Big thanks to my wife and family for helping me get around, and just little things that I was taking for granted.  Picking up a pile of paper on floor and walking a few steps to put it in the garbage is an ordeal on crutches.

My calf (same side as femoral neck fracture) has beem swollen the past couple of days.  I figure it's because it has been hanging because of the crutches and no weight bearing, but I don't want to take chances with any deep venous thrombosis, so I just placed a call to my orthopedic surgeon.  Waiting to hear back.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Thank you, Meghan Rabbitt!

On the night that I found out I had a hip stress fracture and that I wouldn't be running for a while, I came upon an article totally by chance, written by Meghan Rabbitt for Runner's World, entitled The Bright Side.

The Bright Side,7120,s6-241-286--13490-0,00.html

It's about coping with injury when you're sidelined from running, and primarily looking at the upside and learning from the situation.  Absolutely a worthwhile read for any runner, or any athlete for that matter.  Without going into detail (since Meghan Rabbitt has done a brilliant job in the article which you should read), the learning points are: cross training, listening to your body, coming back slowly, and being positive.  Seemingly basic but absolutely important points that unfortunately sometimes takes an injury to learn.

In it, Rabbitt quotes injured runner Allison Lind, who was then training for the NYC Marathon, "Just wait.  You're going to appreciate running so much more."

I love it.  This article could not have come at a better time, and at around midnight after I read it I went ahead and emailed the author Meghan Rabbitt thanking her.  (she responded very nicely, which made my day).

So enough of this.  Today I'm going to feel good.  While on crutches, I've been carrying around this little 5k swag backpack that I got for my last run (and injured myself).  I nixed it and exchanged it for Disney's Castaway Club pack that Disney Cruise Line gives to repeat Cruisers, because it reminds me of Castaway Cay and the awesome time I had on that 5k run.  I put Mickey stickers (the ones they give away to kids in the Walt Disney World parks), on one of my crutches, I put on a tech T-shirt, and will be wearing my Nike Pegasus 28, the shoes that started it all for me.  (I had 1997 version of the Nike Pegasus, got away from running, and when I got back into it 6 months ago, I got the new edition.)

Thank you, Meghan Rabbitt.  I will be appreciating running more!!!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Disney's Castaway Cay 5K run!!

Today is Day Off #2, not for vacation, but because of my injury and crutches.  It's getting old real fast, and it's hitting me that it's real.  I'm selling my Spring Lake 5 mile run entry today, very sad that I can't run it and I looked back at my confirmation from back in February when i got up at 5:45am just to get in before it sold out in hours.

In any event, today I want to talk about one of the most fun events I've run, Disney's Castaway Cay 5k!

There can be a whole blog dedicated to the Disney Cruise Line, and really one could go on and on about every aspect of every ship they have, and the service, and the attention to detail, and the fact that it's the best vacation ever!!  But my favorite part of the Disney Cruise (including the sail away party see above), is, on the Bahamas itineraries, you get to stop at Disney's private island, Castaway Cay!

Castaway Cay is Disney's gorgeous private island in the Bahamas just for Disney Cruise Line guests.  Activities range from doing nothing but lounge around on the beautiful clean beaches and swim in the pristine crystal clear water to bike rides, snorkeling, and ... something I decided to try this time around in April 2012, the Castaway Cay 5k run.

Now, as far as I know, the 5k run is held every time one of the disney ships docks at castaway cay.  overall, it's pretty casual, laid back, and overall fun, but it appears over the years they made it more official.  Here's how ours went:

The Navigator (schedule of the next day's events), showed the 5k starting at 9 or 9:30am I think, and instructed runners (12 and over) to meet at 8:30am at the 687 Lounge, a cool sports bar on the Disney Dream.

There, based on previous online reports of the 5k, I expected 5, maybe 10 other runners.  But it got popular I guess because there were about 30 of us!  Fellow cruiser runners ranged in age from late teens to I would guess 50.  The official navigator had an age minimum of 12.  I also expected more casual runners ... there were definitely casual runners who looked like they wanted to try it out, but I would say 60% or more at least looked like serious runners, with tech shirts, t-shirts from previous races, including marathons and half marathons, running shorts ... and they were stretching and warming up.  But don't get me wrong, the overall atmosphere and mood was casual, and casual runners/walkers would feel very comfortable here.

Cast members Dan and Angela (great job guys) were there registering runners, and distributing bibs! (that's at least one new addition, there were no bibs before as far as I know.)  They brought out a big map of the course route and showed us where we would be running on the island. (more details below).

We were all led out by the cast members through our own gangway (had to bring our key to the world card id thing), and guess who was waiting outside for us but Goofy!!  So we all took an official picture with him and walked down to the start line.  And, as another new addition, there was an official clock there too.

The route:

 Basically, the start line was at the bike rental station:


Then we made our way to and down the airstrip, yes, a cool airstrip:



(According to the Behind the Dream presentation I attended on the ship, before castaway cay became the sanitized private island by disney, it was a popular island for drug running, and this was the airport they used for transport, pretty cool.) ...

Then around a one mile loop to the observation tower:


There were both manned an unmanned water stations along the way (some, in classic Disney theming,  disguised like crates:)


then we proceeded down the other airstrip and back again around the loop back to the finish line, where we all got a medal saying "winner."

Some running notes:  It was warm and sunny, heading into the 80s, no breeze.  Course was extremely flat, mostly blacktop asphalt.  Most confusing part was this loop that you had to do twice.  There was a cast member at the loop directing you, but you could go either clockwise or counterclockwise, and since not everyone did the same thing, could be confusing.  In any case, it was a lot of fun.  I though that the warmth would bother me, since I had been running in relative cold since November, but really I was just happy that I was running Disney!  I remember looking around and just trying to take it all in, that yes I was in Disney, I was on vacation, and I was running!!

and knowing the beach would be waiting for me at the end.

On this particular cruise (5 nights) we actually had two stops at castaway cay, and yes, we ran two 5ks!!  The second run was my PR at that time, 25:15, unofficial.  (since beat it at the OMC 5k).

Atmosphere: casual, and disney!
organization: not bad, it was casual anyway
swag: the bib, the medal, and in your stateroom they dropped off a certificate! (i don't have a pic of mine). but you had to buy a t shirt if you wanted it.  hey, the run was "free" anyway.
would I run it again?  everyday if I could

here's our official pic with goofy:

**pls note a few photos above are from Google and  were not taken with my camera.  If anyone knows the original source, please let me know so I can credit appropriately, thank you.**

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Cereal, Spirit of the Marathon, the Spring Lake Five

So here I am.  Sitting, 'cause I can't do any weight bearing.  Walked around a little on my crutches.  It's not my first time on crutches (I've sprained my ankle a couple times in the past), but I don't remember it being this much of a pain...

Carrying anything (like a drink or something) is an ordeal.  I'm actually now hobbling around wearing a backpack ... ironically the swag bag they gave out at my last race, the Ocean Medical 5k.  It's got my ipad, phone, and chargers.  all i need for now I guess.

Sucks.  Two weeks ago I ran 13.1 miles and now walking a couple steps to put cereal back into the pantry is a challenge.

I flipped through Netflix and by chance I came across "Spirit of the Marathon,"

Looks good.  I got through about 6 minutes of the actual movie, and yes, it's good so far and looks inspiring, but I had to turn it off all of a sudden when I realized I couldn't run.  Yes, I know I WILL be able to run, but i can't run now.  And today is the first full day on crutches, and first day really that it's hitting me.

yes, I know there are more serious health issues out there.  but I really wish I could get around.  i feel bad too that people are covering me at work, indefinitely.  This is no vacation.

I also realized fully that I will not be running the Spring Lake Five.  This is a tradition here on the Jersey Shore.  It's a five mile run around and through the picturesque shore town of Spring Lake, beautiful really ... that kicks off the summer.  I've lived here my whole life and it's a big thing.  I think I read somewhere that it's the biggest five mile race in the country (10-15,000 participants).  I even got up early on the day of registration to get in.  (registration was sold out and closed within hours!)

I was so proud of my entry.  I got in!! and not just that, I was running it!! and I knew I was not only going to finish it, but maybe have a decent time, for me anyway.  My maintenance runs past 2-3 weeks had been about 5 miles each, so this race was going to be fun.

And the swag was cool so far, a nice Tech t-shirt, a pint glass, and the top 100 male and female finishers get a stoneware mug!  all finishers get medals.

wayyyy looking forward to the race.

but then this happened.
and i can't run it.

I've already gotten offers for my entry.  It was $40 and there's a $15 transfer fee.  fine, I guess i could sell it (and give away the swag, because i don't want to wear the shirt if I didn't earn it).  But it just hurts not being able to run it.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Couch to Crutches to ... ?

So I saw my orthopedic surgeon today, and he confirmed, I have a compression side femoral neck stress fracture:

(not my actual MRI).

So I have to be on crutches and non-weight bearing for at least 2 weeks, and no running for at least 4 weeks.  Reports are variable, but recovery time can be much longer than that ...


Yes my hip and groin hurts.  Yes it hurts to walk on it.  Yes it hurts to not be able to carry my own dinner plate because I'm on crutches.  It hurts that my family has to help me with anything, and that my coworkers have extra duty to cover me.  but.

but what hurts the most is that I can't run.

I actually found something, a sport, an activity, that I truly love.  I had no idea how much I would like it, and look forward to it, and be addicted to it!!  A few months ago I was a verified couch (and desk) potato.  Literally no excercise.  Then two weeks ago I ran 13.1 miles on my own, not for an official half marathon, but for me!  and it was great.

I know it's not over.  Not at all.  This is nothing in the long run.

But I want to run now.

I'll do the right thing though, I'll rest, I'll stay off that hip, I'll recover.  I'll do physical therapy or whatever it takes, and slowly get back into training, and I will complete the Atlantic City Half Marathon, the Walt Disney World full Marathon, and ultimately,  the Walt Disney World Goofy Challenge.

This blog is not over.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Good News, Bad News

Gonna make this short and sweet for now ...

Ran a PR during this past weekend's Ocean Medical Center 5k! (23:48.31),


hurt myself and MRI today shows a femoral stress reaction.

Going to see ortho tomorrow and see how it goes.  Will keep updated.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

NEW Walt Disney World Marathon Course for 2013!

Some quick news, today Walt Disney World revealed the new course route for the 2013 marathon:
see the official video of the "suprises!"

Have never run the previous course before, but this looks awesome ... you get to run through the 4 Parks as usual, but in addition get to run the Speedway and through the Stadium at the Wide World of Sports.  Plus entertainment along the way.

here's the link to the new course map:

Monday, May 14, 2012

Shoe Adventures

Ok, it's official ... I love my Brooks Pure Flow shoes!  I did a 5 mile run today (Point Pleasant Beach, my go to place ... nice and flat, ocean breeze, no crowds yet pre-summer, heaven!), at a 9:00 pace.  Shoes felt light, with enough cushion to be comfortable, and the perfect amount of support (for me).  Cushion felt like marshmallows without being too soft and pillowy, if that makes any sense.  I should do a full review later.

After my run, and went down to Road Runner Sports and exchanged my Mizuno Wave Creation 13 for the Brooks Ghost 4.  I needed something less stiff, with less heel, and lighter than the Mizuno, but with the durability and support for a long run.  Will try it out this weekend.

Next of the list tonight is for me to head over to DISBOARDS!  I should devote an entire post to this wonderful community of Disney Fans ... actually, more specifically Disney Park Fans, mainly Walt Disney World.  I'll check out the Disney Marathon 2013 thread again.  At this point it's 44 pages long, and I'm coming into the middle of the party.  Although my goal is the 2014 Goofy Challenge, I wanted to get a full Marathon in first.

I haven't registered yet, but I wan the 2013 Walt Disney World Marathon to be my first full marathon!

Stay tuned: future post's topics will include: my hobby -- Walt Disney World, as well as running, and some runDisney events!

feel free to comment or message me!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Awesome Recovery Run ... with Brooks PureFlow

What a great recovery run I just had.  Sure, just a nice easy two miles down and around the Point Pleasant Beach (NJ) Boardwalk ... but overall felt good:

After my long run of 13.1 miles yesterday, I was looking forward to this morning's recovery run.  There seems to be some controversy lately on what exactly a recovery run's purpose is.  To loosen up muscles?  To get rid of lactic acid?  To increase fitness by exercising fatigued muscles?

Whatever the purpose, I always find them just plain fun ... you get to relax, you get to run while you're relaxing, your muscles don't get tight, and you can use it to explore a new area, and you can check out a new running route without worrying about time or distance.

After my long run yesterday, I had two point of pain: my left lateral knee, and my right groin.  I felt great today after my run, with much less pain.  (but not too sure if it was also because I slapped some Voltaren gel on my knee and took Anaprox this morning too.  Or maybe ... it was my new shoes!)

Today, for my run, I tried new shoes (not sure if I should have done that with a recovery run, but it worked:)
Shoes that I have been itching to get for some time now:  The Brooks Pure Flow:

When I got fit-tested and gait-tested at Road Runner Sports (great selection, great staff, but prices not so sure)... I was labeled a "neutral+), and I was matched up with four shoes initially:
1. Nike Vomero+7
2. Mizuno Wave Creation 13
3. Asics Gel Nimbus 14
4. Brooks Ghost 4

(yeah, naturally they were pushing the latest models).

Without going into a full review of each shoe (as much as one can review trying them out in store without a real run), I settled on the Mizuno Wave Creation 13.  Honestly I had some buyer's remorse, but hey, for VIP members there's a 90 day guarantee if you run in mud ... so I figure how can you beat that?

As I mentioned in a previous post, I wanted to hate the Mizuno's, just so I could return them.  The Mizunos are heavy, they're clunky, for my taste anyway.  I am by no means a barefoot style runner, but maybe I'm trending towards minimal, but not completely yet.  The concepts and physics make sense to me.
I had been wearing Skechers GoRuns, which are awesome in that they are super lightweight (6.9oz in a size 11), and had this weird midfoot cushioning which some reviewers didn't care for, but that I actually liked precisely because it changed your mechanics to promote that midfoot strike.

But lately my feet were hurting in Goruns.  When I tried the Mizunos, yup, they were way heavy (12 point something oz!), and stiff, and with a big heel that seemed to get in the way.  But, guess what, my feet didn't hurt.  My feet felt pretty good afterwards.  And after a couple of runs I appreciated the heel.

But today was a different story.  The Brooks PureFlow (my impulse buy the other day), felt light, yet sturdy, and the cushioning was perfect, not too much at all.  Yes, it was just a slow, easy, flat 2 mile recovery run.  but I think I love them already.  We'll have to see how they hold up in longer runs, tempos, speedwork, etc, for a better review.

But for now, the thought on my mind is, should I exchange my Mizuno's for another pair of PureFlows (would love to have two to rotate), or maybe try another model?  Like the Brooks Pure Cadence?

Already looking ahead to a little 5k run I have next weekend, and unless something changes, I'll be wearing my PureFlows!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

My first Half Marathon!! (unofficial)

So, I did it today, I ran my first half marathon, and ran too ... all 13.1 miles of it.  (in 2:04:23).
But it was unofficial.
It was in training.

That's ok.  No big exhilaration, no crowds, no medal.
Just a personal sense of satisfaction.
And really, proof to myself that I can do it ... and I can look forward to the Walt Disney World Marathon, and hopefully, the Goofy Challenge.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Why am I doing this?

I'll be honest.  I did NOT want to like my new running shoes, the Mizuno Wave Creation 13.  I wanted to try them out for a moderate run, and say they were heavy, and that the heels got in the way ... just so I could return them to Road Runner Sports and get some a little more minimal, like the Brooks Pure series... but I guess I have to trust my feet...

Six months ago (from today) ... I started running.  Seriously, anyway.  I tried to do it the right way, going to a running store, having them video my gait/stride, etc, and settling on a trusty age-old classic Nike Pegasus pair. They were great ... and running was great ... from the Couch to 5k program (thanks to Robert Ullrey's podcasts ) to get me through ... to my first 2 mile race (yay Manasquan MidWinter Beach run!), then three successive 5k runs ... the most recent of which is just a hint of why I am doing all of this ...

Behold, Disney's Castaway Cay 5k run! :

Yup, the awesome Disney Cruise Line (including the Disney Dream!)  makes a stop on their own private island in the Bahamas, Castaway Cay.  And they have a nice little 5k run to go with it.  (note: all finishers get the medal that says "Winner" on it.)

Can't wait for my next 5k, then 5 mile run, then half marathon, then full marathon, then ... (more to come)

Anyway ... I'm having a grand old time and absolutely loving this running thing.  Sure, I experienced knee pain (had to see an orthopedic surgeon), foot pain, hip pain, cold weather, hot weather, wet weather, strange looks from people on lawns, cars, etc.

But, the question I get most, especially from people who've known me as not the most athletic person ever, is:



It's this:

The Walt Disney World Marathon

yup, 26.2 miles through all 4 Disney Parks in central Florida.
To say that I love Walt Disney World ... geez, I can't even explain.

But, wait, there's more.  :


That would be running the Disney Half Marathon on Saturday, then running the Full Marathon on Sunday.  2 days, 2 races, 4 parks, 39.3 miles (and 3 medals to boot).

That's what I want.  And that's why I'm doing this.