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RR: Chase Corporate Challenge

Friday, June 01, 2012

Last August, when I started training myself to be a runner, my first goal was to run the entire 3.5 mile course of the 2012 Chase Corporate Challenge in Rochester, NY. I had participated in this event every year since 2005, and had never been able to keep running the entire way. The best I did was run the first 2 miles; the worst, I didn't make it through the first mile.

More ambitious goals followed that one, as it became apparent that I could do more than just keep running for 3.5 miles. Before the CCC rolled around, I ran a 5K , then a 10K, then signed up for a half marathon, then got injured and had to back off to the 5K associated with that HM. Lately I've been bothered by running more than I should at my current state of leg development, and having my calves take turns telling me so.

A week before the CCC, I had a great run. That was my last blog. Then I ran out of time to write blogs. The short version is: Thursday, great run. Saturday, good run. Monday, decent run cut a little short because of that same left calf. Intentional rest till Thursday, the day of the race. Calf feels okay, not great.

Get my packet from the team captain on Wednesday. This year, the bib is a nice bright red, and my number is 730. Hmm. I've never seen a 3 digit number on this race before. The team captain must have got in really early.

It turns out there were some changes to how the race was managed this year. Instead of a single mass start for about 10,000 runners, the start was staged. First stage was for racers and fast runners, with red bibs. Second stage was for runners, with yellow bibs. Third stage was for walkers and non-competive runners, with green bibs. My team captain had asked what time I expected, and I told him my goal was 24 minutes. That qualified me as a "fast runner."

From my perspective near the front, the staged starts (yellow 2 minutes after red, green 2 minutes after yellow) was a smashing success. It didn't take very long to get to the start line, and while there was traffic to run through early on, there weren't a whole lot of really slow people to go around. In the entire course, I only passed one person who was walking. He had a red bib, and I think he took himself out for injury.

At mile one, the timer called out 6:30. That's too fast for me to sustain. At mile two, the clock said 13:20. That second mile turned out to be close to my average for the course. By then my left calf was bothering me, and if this had been a training run I would have slowed to a walk. But there was that goal of running all the way, so I just ran a bit slower. I think the clock at mile three was somewhere around 20:30, but I don't remember exactly.

I do remember coming into the home stretch and trying to pick it up to beat 24:00 at the finish line. I didn't make it, gun time. The clock said 24:05 when I crossed. But this is chip timing, and doesn't start until I cross the start line. A co-worker with a smart phone scanned my bib and showed me the 23:58 chip time. I made my goal, and that was good! It was also the fastest score on my company's team, which gives me some office bragging rights.

Miscellaneous race notes: The web site tells me there were 9,967 participants from 399 companies. There were plenty of people finishing ahead of me; the overall winner was a familiar name from the local running shop, at 17:33. The fastest female finished at 19:44. This year, the event shirts from Chase were tech shirts instead of cotton. Everyone I spoke to was happy with that. In fact, up near the front at the start just about everyone was wearing a tech shirt from their company. I think I only saw one runner up there in a cotton shirt.

The aftermath: Today that left calf really bothered me. I skipped much of my normal morning exercise routine, and my normal lunch walk. I did get a 30 minute walk in late this evening to get my 10K steps for the day, but that's about it. No running for me today, and no running tomorrow. Sunday running is doubtful at this point. If I do get a Sunday run in, I need to strictly limit it to 5K. The next important goal is to get the legs healthy enough to support running 3 times a week, even if the runs are only 20 minutes long.

I will probably enter more organized races before next year's Chase Corporate Challenge, but I'm in no hurry to sign up right now. Work is crazy busy, and it will be enough of an effort to get regular informal running in. If I take another week to write another blog, it's not because I don't have anything to write about; it's because when I only have so much time, blogging loses to planning food and getting the exercise in.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PAULOBRY 6/7/2012 1:03PM

    Nice blog! I felt like I was watching the race on TV!

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HEALTHIERKEN 6/7/2012 10:45AM

    ". . . smart phone scanned my bib and showed me the 23:58 chip time. I made my goal, and that was good! It was also the fastest score on my company's team, which gives me some office bragging rights." EXCELLENT!

Your careful injury healing strategies over the past weeks have paid off in spades.


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NWFL59 6/2/2012 4:32PM

    Congratulations on achieving your continuous run goal and doing it under 24 minutes! WooHoo. Enjoy reading your blogs but it sounds like you got your priorities aligned properly for your lifestyle. I look forward to reading your sharing of future experiences. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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RG_DFW 6/2/2012 7:09AM

    Good to see your time... congrats

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ONEKIDSMOM 6/2/2012 5:32AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

You're #1 in my book, brother! Now, gotta write your nephew about your time so he can use it in his bragging rights banter with his officer. Apparently said officer can outlift him in the gym, has "that kind" of body build. But son brags on the family running... including your times and my distance. LOL! Guys and bragging rights... it's tradition.

Take care of those legs... clearly you have found something you ENJOY doing for exercise, and preserving the ability to DO it is important to an aspect of "happy". And I agree about the blogging... real life trumps the virtual, and doing is more important than writing about. But I still enjoy every word you're willing / able to share!

Have a great weekend.

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KRISZTA11 6/2/2012 4:13AM

    emoticon to meeting your time goal!

Sorry about the calf - looking at the bright side, your busy working schedule will prevent over-exercising.
I hope you can be back to running 3 times a week soon.

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MSLZZY 6/1/2012 11:05PM

    Blogging is like adding frosting to a cake. It looks nice
but isn't always necessary. Take care of your legs, take
time to plan your meals and do what needs to be done.
I can skip the frosting~can you?

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What a difference a long rest makes!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

After last Saturday's calf problem, I planned to rest from running till Tuesday. Tuesday came, and the calf still felt sub-par. Plus the old bad foot was making itself known. I decided to skip Tuesday's run. Wednesday was a non-running day anyway due to scheduling constraints.

Today is Thursday, a work at home day. Time schedules are tight, so I needed to keep a lunch run short. I figured 5K would be about right.

It was sunny with a hint of future higher humidity. My remote thermometer told me it was 82.9 F when I started. Ran most of my standard, flat 5K route, but couldn't resist adding a short detour near the end to add distance. That short detour took me back over a very minor hill, more of a bump, late in the path; I wanted that bump because there is a small hill on the course of next Thursday's race.

Had a bit of gas left in the tank for a little extra speed as I approached my driveway; but it wasn't really enough extra speed to be called a sprint. The run timed out at 21:41, and I figured I was running about a 7 minute mile because I wasn't making any effort to run slowly. It mapped out to 3.19 miles, for an average pace of 6:48 per mile.

Best of all, the legs felt normal when I stretched. Yes, I can still tell that the left calf is a little tighter than the right calf. Yes, I can still tell that the right foot isn't 100%. But it's close. More importantly, the legs and feet aren't keeping me from doing anything. If there was a limit on speed, it was more due to cardiovascular conditioning and temperature than legs.

I do have to think about taking a water bottle with me now. I would have used one on this run if I'd had it. That might have slowed me down a little, but it will be worth it as the weather gets warmer and the runs get longer.

The plan now is two more short runs on Saturday and Monday mornings, then take Tuesday and Wednesday off from running to be fresh for the race Thursday evening. Pre-race info is out, and it says that "the front rows of the start are for runners planning to race at a pace under 7 minutes per mile." This year, I can legitimately line up near the front.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NWFL59 5/29/2012 7:43PM

    Glad to read your calf and foot are much improved and you were able to maintain a good pace. Hope you do well in the race and have some there taking your victory shots. emoticon

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MSLZZY 5/25/2012 9:05PM

    Getting back into running and having your leg issues
behind you. Get to the front of the line and I'll be
cheering you on!

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RG_DFW 5/25/2012 8:31AM

    Great job

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ARCHIMEDESII 5/25/2012 5:10AM

    Glad you're leg is feeling better, but do take things nice and easy. Keep stretching, that will help with the tightness. Also, do look into some compression socks for some extra support while you run.

Quickie question, what have you been doing for cross training ? You might want to add some cross training activities to mix up your routine so that you don't end up with repetitive injuries.


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KRISZTA11 5/25/2012 4:41AM

    emoticon for the foot and the calf for behaving themselves!
I'm glad your run went well and you enjoyed it.

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NEWKAREN43 5/24/2012 10:37PM

    Great job! I'm glad to hear that you are feeling near peak and will be a front runner! Doesn't that sound great?!?!? Yep!!!

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WATERMELLEN 5/24/2012 10:29PM

    A front runner: that's you! Glad that the rest was effective!

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ONEKIDSMOM 5/24/2012 8:09PM

    emoticon Love that you are lining up at the front! Have a great race, if we don't see you here before then.

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Calf Injury, a day later

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Yesterday I was all bummed out about my left calf getting hurt while I ran. Those who were paying attention to detail will have recognized that this was my previously healthy leg, the right one having given me issues most recently. That aspect was particularly frustrating.

So I rested the leg. Among other things, I didn't even think about mowing the lawn yesterday. But the grass still needs mowing, and there's no one else to do it. So about 6 pm, with my handy remote thermometer telling me it's 90 F (32 C) outside my window, I started the routine to mow the lawn this evening. Go down to the basement to get cords for the electric mower. As I reach the main floor with the cords, I realize that I didn't notice my calf on the way down. Hmm. Go down and back up, paying attention.

Today is not a day to run on that calf, but it's much better than it was yesterday. I'd say there was a fair chance I'll be able to run again on Tuesday. *Maybe* I could get away with it tomorrow, but I don't think I'll chance it.

Now to go mow the lawn, which might put me over my 10K steps for the day. Yeah, it's been a pretty sedentary Sunday, mostly working on my work computer. And I need to do more of that after I mow.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RG_DFW 5/21/2012 7:51AM

    fingers crossed...

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HEALTHIERKEN 5/20/2012 6:27PM

    ". . .I'd say there was a fair chance I'll be able to run again on Tuesday. *Maybe* I could get away with it tomorrow, but I don't think I'll chance it. . . ."

*Very* wise. I'm pretty sure you'll be better off over the long haul to give the leg a little additional recovery time. Just my 2 cents' worth. (btw: the Canadian mint has quit making pennies, so before long 2 cents won't be worth anything around here)

Anyway, sure glad you got to run a couple of times, and your plan for the Corporate Run is sound, so good luck being able to run it!


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ONEKIDSMOM 5/20/2012 6:11PM

    Listen to your sister... your corporate run is ten days away. It might be a good thing to taper NOW... as in lay up and rest that calf. Better part of valor and be able to participate in the event fully, with no fear.


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A tough blog to write

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Today I ran 4.93 miles in 35:04, for a 7:07 pace per mile. The only problem with this was, it was a planned 5.20 mile run.

I started my Saturday by taking the luxury of moving slowly in the morning. Yeah, I was out of bed at 6 with the alarm; but I didn't hustle. I dawdled through breakfast, and went light on the morning exercises in anticipation of running. Got out on the road a bit before 9, and set out to run a very familiar 5.2 mile course.

Right now, 5.2 miles is further than I've been running. Thursday I ran 4.31 miles with a couple of small hills, so I figured stretching the distance to a course with only one minor hill would be okay. I made no attempt to run particularly fast, even on the modest downgrades in the early part of the route. A pace of a a bit over 7 minutes per mile felt sustainable. It felt good. The weather was beautiful, 64 F when I started, with sunshine and intermittent light breeze. I concentrated on paying attention to my legs, and making this sustainable.

Everything felt great. I got to the last downgrade a bit over half a mile from home, and picked up the pace just a little. Got to the corner to my street, and wham! Sharp pain in the left calf.

Well, I've seen that before. Stop running, look at watch, fish out iPod, stop the stopwatch, look back at watch to see how many seconds to subtract. Treat the remainder of the course as the first part of the walking cooldown. Stretch, take care of the legs. When stretching, the left gastrocnemious seemed to be the issue; but the way it hurt to go down stairs felt more like the soleus.

Sigh. As I'd been moving through those last 2 miles, I'd been thinking this would be my longest run for the next two weeks. The plan was to run less than 4 miles next week on Tuesday and Thursday, about 4 on Saturday, and limit myself to a 5K the following Monday before resting up for the 3.5 mile Chase Corporate Challenge on May 31. A real training plan, complete with taper!

Well. After being mostly sedentary the rest of the day, with some shopping to walk off whatever stiffness will walk off, the calf doesn't hurt all the time; but it's not in shape to run on, either. Maybe I can try again Tuesday, and maybe I'll need to wait longer.

When things go like this, my natural inclination is to hide from the online scene. It's a lot easier to write about running when the run goes well. But, I guess this is part of life. Sometimes, I have to find out how much is too much the hard way.

Oh, well. At least I can still do pushups and pullups.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TRUE-NESS 5/21/2012 10:12AM

    Yikes! Hope you recover quickly.

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MILLERGIRL719 5/20/2012 5:05PM

    I hope it doesn't last long and throw a big wrench into things!

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RG_DFW 5/20/2012 7:57AM

    Ouch, wishing a speedy recovery for you

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ARCHIMEDESII 5/20/2012 7:12AM

    Ouch ! Moby do be really careful with that calf. Have you been doing any sort of stretching ? If not, I'm going to encourage you to keep stretching that calf especially if it's tight. Have you been icing the leg ? Ditto, get some ice packs on that leg and rest it up for a few days. Can you walk on it without any pain or are you feeling some twinges ? I'd rec0mmend laying off any running for a few days just to give the calf sufficient time to heal. If you try to run while it's still weak, you risk making the injury worse.

While that minor hill may have seemed harmless, if your calf was already in a weak state, that might have been the straw that broke the camels back, so to speak. So, baby that leg for the next few days. don't assume the leg is okay if it feels fine tomorrow. one run and you're limping back home. don't I know that.

Do you wear compression socks when you run ? One thing you might consider for future runs is wearing compression socks to protect your calves. They might need a bit of extra support for a short time.

Hope your leg recovers soon. I do feel your pain.

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ONEKIDSMOM 5/20/2012 6:19AM

    Ohhhh! So sorry the plan isn't going like clockwork. Sigh.

Back to goal #1: don't get injured.

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KRISZTA11 5/20/2012 5:04AM

    It was tough to read too...
: (
I hope your calf will recover quickly!

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AUNTRENEE 5/19/2012 10:56PM

    That's pretty good on how many minutes you did per mile. A classmate of mine from high school (graduated in 1997) could do that in track. I wish that I could do that. Maybe one of these days when I get a bit more fit I can.

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Back to running regularly?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

With a question mark, because I don't trust it just yet.

Today was a work from home day, which meant I could squeeze more time to run at lunch. I ended up squeezing a bit more time in than I intended.

Temperature at noon was in the low 60s F somewhere; I didn't look when I started, but it was 64 F (18 C) when I remembered to look later. There was a light breeze and sunshine. Good running weather.

I set out on my basic around the neighborhood run, adding two small hills to the known 5K distance. Today I added a different pair of hills than last time, to avoid training to the precise route. It also avoids knowing whether I'm faster or slower than the last time, which helps me not to second guess myself.

Got a bit of a late start, so I didn't warm up. I just figured to run easily at first and speed up when it felt natural to do so. I ended up trying to run a little faster on the downhills, and just trying to run at a sustainable pace on the near level stretches.

When I got near home, it was clear that I would be over 28 minutes and pushing 29. Can't resist that; clicked lap at my driveway to note the time, and ran up the street and back far enough to make 30 minutes for that 6th Spark Point. The total route mapped out to 4.31 miles in 30:10, for a pace right at 7:00 per mile.

Best of all, pretty much everything felt normal. Yeah, the bad foot isn't 100%. Yeah, there was some mild intermittent grumbling from my right ankle. Yeah, I'm still developing good runner's calluses, but the bottoms of my feet felt better than they did after Tuesday's run.

This is progress. Perhaps this weekend I'll try to run a bit further, maybe the known 5.2 mile route. My self-competitive nature wants to go for 10K, but my head says I shouldn't be there yet.

Two weeks from today is the 3.5 mile Chase Corporate Challenge. I've paid, and the team captain has ordered shirts. From a motivational perspective, when the captain asked what time I expected I told him 24 minutes if my legs were healthy. Looks like they're healthy, and I don't want to do anything to mess that up in the next two weeks.

And if I'm really going to run 3 times per week, it's time to start eating like a runner again.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RG_DFW 5/18/2012 8:18AM

    It's been a long recovery... good luck

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KRISZTA11 5/18/2012 4:08AM

    I'm happy for you!

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WATERMELLEN 5/17/2012 8:50PM

    The "eating like a runner" part sounds appealing!!

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ONEKIDSMOM 5/17/2012 8:47PM

    emoticon Good luck & run safe!

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