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Sunday status musings

Sunday, January 20, 2013

First, an update for those who commented on yesterday's blog. You all gave me a lot to think about, and that success story might get written. But today, I need to think about my running status.

I didn't run Thursday because of the sore hip. I didn't run Friday because of the hip and because I didn't want to mess up the running schedule. Saturday I maybe could have gone for a short run, but I decided to give the hip another day of rest on the chance that I could transition the long run to Sunday. That didn't happen.

Sunday morning, it was around freezing, but the wind was 45 mph and gusting higher. I might have thought about running under other circumstances, but my body had soaked up eight and a half hours of sleep and I didn't have time for a run before church in any event. The forecast was for falling temperatures and gradually diminishing wind, with snow starting in the early afternoon. By 2 PM, it was 25F and the wind was down to 30 mph. I thought about a short run, maybe 5K. Did a few experimental paces up and down my hallway, and I could feel the hip. Maybe I could have run on it, maybe not; but the thought of flaming out in the middle of a run and having to walk a mile home in 30 mph wind while dressed for running wasn't appealing. I walked instead, and it was nice enough walking weather.

If the hip had been healthy, I would have run anyway. Maybe tomorrow, maybe Tuesday, maybe it will take longer. I find this waiting frustrating, and try to focus on how the hip is better today after a brisk 3.5 mile walk than it was two days ago after a brisk 3.1 mile walk.

The interesting thing is how I was looking at the weather. I was finding excuses to stay inside and be inactive, because I didn't want to walk in this weather. And I was afraid to run, lest I flame out too far from home to get back before I cooled down. I suspect a walking cooldown in 30 mph wind at 25 F wouldn't need to be very long to get me to the point of shivering.

But once I got out and walked, it was a pleasant day. It helped that this was one of the days when snow was over-forecast. I saw a few flurries, but nothing accumulated before I got my 10K steps in.

I wasn't concerned about bad weather when I was unquestionably healthy enough to run.

I cut my calorie range down to where it was when I was in the run/walk interval mode. I'll give that a week to see what the scale does or if I'm able to run again, then revisit that issue. I had a couple days of wanting to eat where I was eating when running, then today added 3 grams of almonds in the evening to make my new and lower minimum calories. I can do the weight maintenance thing while not running. It's the not running part that's frustrating, not the eating less part.

Tomorrow is Martin Luther King Day, a holiday to my employer. It's also the first day of tax prep season. I'll put in 4 volunteer hours tomorrow afternoon, and otherwise play the day by ear. It's a given that I'll eat to plan, get 10K steps, and do my pullups and pushups in the morning. What else I can do, remains to be seen.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HANSBRINK 1/21/2013 5:16PM

  Don't feel bad about skipping a planned workout. Sometimes the body speaks to us and we need to listen extra hard to hear it.

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MEXGAL1 1/21/2013 9:41AM

    good listening to your body.
Have a great day off today.

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RUN4FOOD 1/20/2013 9:56PM

    I don't think I would need any cool down in 30 mph winds and 25 degree temperatures.
I washed the car and worked in the gardens today, couldn't stay inside.

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LJCANNON 1/20/2013 9:07PM

    emoticon I am glad that you are taking it easy and not pushing the hip too hard too fast. If we could just figure out how to get the weather to cooperate a little better we'd be in great shape!!

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MAGGIE101857 1/20/2013 8:58PM

    I will have to go back and read the earlier blog; sorry the hip is acting up. This getting old stuff is for the birds! emoticon

Glad to hear that you did get outside though! The fresh air is good for clearing the head!

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Success Stories

Saturday, January 19, 2013

This was a tough blog to write. It took me two days. It's pretty easy for me to write pep talks reminding myself of what I need to do. This isn't one of those blogs. It's an introspection to figure out how I feel about my success. I've sorted some stuff out in the writing, but I don't have any conclusion on what I'll do about it.

Last week, I got an email from SP inviting me to submit my success story. I clicked the link, read the questions, and decided that I needed more time to think about them and answer them well. I haven't done that yet.

The next day, my sister posted a blog mentioning that she got a similar email, and wrestled with her emotions after self-identifying herself as a success. I told myself I'd get to that success story the next day, but I didn't.

Yesterday I got a SparkMail from the At Goal & Maintaining + Transition to Maintenance team pointing at a message board post soliciting success stories from team members. The post was substantially the same as the email. I am reminded that I still haven't done that story.

Why not?

Part of it is inertia. I get used to doing what I'm doing, running or working or wrestling with a sore thigh and trying to figure out how much rest it needs, or trimming the last 100 calories I added to my nutrition plan because I won't be running as much as I thought, and so forth. The success story falls through the cracks.

Part of it is mental energy. I get busy at work, and at the end of the day I don't want to work that hard mentally putting things in a decent order to tell a success story.

Part of it is that I don't feel all that successful when I'm resting a sore hip instead of running. But that's an obvious red herring, because the non-response predates the hip flaming out.

If I do a surprise inspection of my emotional closet, the biggest part is that I don't really think I'm a particularly inspiring story. A few years back, it was said of a noted politician that he was born on third base and thought he hit a triple. From a weight loss and fitness perspective, I know quite well that I started on third base compared to many other people here.

Life is not fair. When it comes to weight loss and maintenance, the deck is stacked in my favor. How is it stacked in my favor? Let me count the ways.

1. I'm male. That gives me a margin of error that the ladies don't have. In the weight loss phase, I was typically eating 1900 calories per day. That's a lot easier to manage while still learning to give up junk and deal with fresh produce than 1200 or 1400 calories would be.

2. Not everyone has a fast metabolism. I do. I read other folks' blogs about having a bad week and gaining 5 pounds. I have to have a bad month to gain 5 pounds, and it hasn't happened since I started tracking food. I'd rather not think about how many calories I had to eat to gain 5 pounds in a month.

3. I'm an empty nester. This means I control what food is in my house, and I don't have to deal with anyone else when I prepare meals or snacks. This is HUGE. If I can avoid social situations, it's very easy to stay on plan. There's no case of a wife or child wanting a favorite high-calorie meal that I also love. Granted, I think I could deal with the social pressure now; but not having to deal with it was an enormous benefit during the weight loss phase and while slowly transitioning how I ate from optimized for low cost to optimized for health.

4. I've never been morbidly obese. Three times, I've been obese by BMI standards. None of those times lasted long, as I was able to get back into overweight land simply by exercising more (sometimes, just walking) and trying to eat only when I was hungry. This is probably a benefit of being a male with a fast metabolism; I did not suffer as much from terrible eating habits as other Sparkers did.

5. I run fast. I didn't know this when I started with SparkPeople; it came out of the 5K Your Way training. I trained to be able to run for 30 minutes, and had a 7:43 or so pace per mile the first time I did. By the time I finished the 5K training, I had a training pace of 7:10 to 7:25 per mile. That has got faster with practice and a few more pounds dropped; and running that fast certainly helps with keeping the fat off. But I can't tell you how to train to run fast, because I didn't train to run fast. The pace is just what happened when I trained to run continually.

6. I didn't have that much weight to lose. My initial weight loss goal on the Spark was to lose 21 pounds, from a starting weight of 196.6 to 175. In hindsight, I probably ate less than I should have in the weight loss phase; but I got away with it because it didn't last very long.

So, the big picture is: I'm a guy with a fast metabolism who can control what food is kept in the house, doesn't have to contend with an immediate family creating pressures on what's for dinner, can run at a pace that burns a lot of calories, and didn't have that much weight to lose in the first place. All I really had to do was track what I ate and be a bit more consistent getting physical activity. Is it any wonder I achieved my goal? It's like starting on third base, with a world class bunter at the plate to help me get home.

That's how I was successful, and I don't see how it's useful to great masses of people. A lot of what made me successful was simply my nature and where I started from. Life is not fair, and I recognize that I had the weight loss journey much, much easier than many other people.

Now, success at maintenance . . . that's an interesting thing. I think I still have it easier than many others, but my advantage might not be as great as it was for weight loss. I still have that fast metabolism, which gives me an incredibly generous maintenance calorie range. I do have to change that range in response to how active I am, with the scale passing verdict on whether I get the changes right. But even at the lowest that my maintenance range has been (70% of the highest it's been), the range was higher than what most female maintainers report. And it's a whole heck of a lot easier to cope with mistakes and fit all the necessary nutrients in if you have more calories to play with.

Now that I think about it, there might be something in here to make a success story; but it will be a lot of work to tease out the themes that might be generally helpful from the pure blind luck that doesn't apply to everyone.

I don't know if I'll respond to that request for success stories or not. It will be really hard to do so thoughtfully and helpfully instead of just bragging about results that weren't as much work for me as they would be for a lot of other people.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MAGGIE101857 1/20/2013 9:07PM

    As they say in the NIKE ads...JUST DO IT! You are a success and regardless of whether or not you have the "home team" advantage (watching a football game right now), you have battled demons just like the rest of us and have been successful! You inspire other Sparkers on a regular basis and will hopefully continue to do so. Going through my own injury phase (and not doing it well, by the way), I thank God every day that you (and your sister!) are here for me!!!

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WATERMELLEN 1/20/2013 10:41AM

    I liked this blog . . . have to say it's my fave blog of yours to date! *And you've written a lot of great blogs*

I had a very similar response both to the initial "invite" and to the follow up email from AGAM:TM.

In addition, I prefer to preserve some of my anonymity (this has to do mosly with my general dislike of "social media narcissism": I'm not on FaceBook or LinkedIn or Twitter!!) and, I suppose, not to be caught up in the "commercial" side of SparkPeople (although very very grateful for SP sponsoring this free site which is so helpful for so many including me).

But your reasons are elegantly expressed and genuinely humble and . . . yeah. Weight loss IS easier for some than others, for the reasons you set out. And maintenance, which is tough for just about everyone, is still easier for some than for others . . . "Success stories", if they are to assist in boosting overall maintenance success, will benefit from the kind of candour and integrity you articulate here.

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KANOE10 1/20/2013 10:17AM

    I think you are a success. Each of us has their own life to follow and you are showing great strength by staying focused on maintaining your weight loss and on exercising. I am sorry about your sore hip.

Great blog.

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MEXGAL1 1/20/2013 9:57AM

    I got the same requests and haven't responded either. for me it's all abou the "mental energy" I would have to spend....Have to be in the mood for that. Not inspired to write it yet. You should be proud though for what you have accomplished and especially your disapline to run and work out.
Good for you!
Have a terrific Sunday.

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SWEDE_SU 1/20/2013 8:22AM

    sparkpeople is filled with so many different people, with so many backgrounds - and you and your success definitely represent some of them! like you, i came to sparkpeople with 20 lbs to lose (though i didn't know it, i thought i'd lose 12 and be happy), not 50 or 100 or more. but sparkpeople and this weight loss have made a huge difference in my life, too. and it's learning the tools - as you say, tracking - that have made the difference. and that will make the difference in maintenance - which is another chapter in this journey altogether.

the funny thing is, i've always thought it was "easier" for people with more weight to lose because they generally have something "easier" to give up - like soda, for example, loads of empty calories, that if you just stopped drinking, there is instant weight loss. while those who have healthy habits, and have already quit all the "bad stuff" have a harder time figuring out how to lose the weight. and that was, of course, where tracking came in.

spark on, friend - you are a success in my book and share your story for others like us, who did not start out obese but nevertheless made a huge change in our lives and have to figure out how to keep things this way!

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TINAJANE76 1/20/2013 7:31AM

    Thanks so much for this blog! I anticipated that some people would have mixed feelings about submitting their success stories and I think you've nicely summarized yours.

If you can find the time, I'd strongly suggest submitting your story. In my opinion, each and every person who loses and maintains their weight/health/fitness is a success story. Yes, some people may have more things working against them in their process to get healthier, but just think of how many people who have similar circumstances to yours that could benefit from seeing how you've done it. SparkPeople and our maintenance team feature a wide range of people so that everyone can find a story they can relate to. Just because some might not have a lot in common with you doesn't mean there won't be others who will and can benefit from the motivation reading about your success will provide.

I say "go for it!"

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ARCHIMEDESII 1/20/2013 6:56AM


I think you should submit your success story. We're all different and while you may have a slight advantage over many women, the "struggle" to keep the weight off is something everyone can identify with. There are millions of people who've taken off the weight, but only 5% have actually been able to KEEP that weight off for a year or more.

So, reading the story of someone who has been able to find the right balance of nutrition and exercise to keep the weight off would be a blog many people would want to read. I've said this in past, taking the weight off is one thing. keeping it off is another. So, even if you do have a fast metabolism, you know that you still have to eat right and watch your portions.

We need more people who've taken off the weight to share their stories.

I think you should consider sharing your success story because you are a success at keeping the weight off.

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KRISZTA11 1/20/2013 6:15AM

Indeed you have those advantages over the average Spark population,
but I still believe you have an inspiring maintenance success story, and you truly deserved the nomination.

First of all, the foot injury you struggled with for so long was a great disadvantage, but didn't throw you off the track at all. You adjusted your food and found alternative ways to exercise. That's not easy!
Also, fast metabolism is an advantage during weight loss phase, but it makes maintenance tricky when you have to fill a huge calorie budget with healthy food.
And last but not least: there are many guys out there with the same advantages, who stick with their poor habits and stay overweight and inactive forever.

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RUN4FOOD 1/19/2013 11:19PM

    Kevin, have you been successful? Yes.
Therefore your success story is worth sharing.
I've been inspired by your constant work and your continuous success.
Being a guy on SP I think we need to be able to read more success stories about guys. I have trouble relating to females that have lost over 100 pounds. Their story is great, but it's not close to my story. Your story is much closer to mine. If I could loose 15 to 20 ponds that would be great. If I could run longer and maybe even faster, that would be great. If I could consistently eat healthier and do my strength training more consistently that would be great.
I think it would be great to read you whole success story. I'd bet I could relate to you story.
I'm looking forward to reading your success story someday.

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ITSMATT 1/19/2013 9:32PM

    Hey there - how are you doing?

I don't think someone needs to have been morbidly obese and struggled and lost it to be inspiring to others but I understand what you're saying about having a fast metabolism and being a guy and all that. I also know that it is easier for me than it is for some other folks.

Whether you decide to submit a success story or not just know that being a positive influence here is helpful to someone like me and I'm sure it is to others.

Make it a great day!

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ALLISON145 1/19/2013 9:25PM

    You know, I don't think you're giving yourself enough credit. Sure, there are folks around that have the odds stacked against them more than you do for a myriad of reasons (raises hand as a female with PCOS, insulin resistance, and gluten intolerance). HOWEVER, the steps (that is, the WORK) remain the same regardless of how long one must work at it. I can lose just like you can, but it may take me longer because my body resists my efforts more than yours does. That doesn't make your effort any less than mine, it just means your body responds more quickly.

From another angle, look at it this way; yes, you can eat more calories than I can as a 5'7" female, but keep in mind that your larger frame asks you for more food every day than mine does. So just because you eat more than me doesn't mean you're not hungry like I am when you reduce calories by a similar percentage of your original maintenance range. And just because you can run fast doesn't mean that you burn more calories - it means your body is unusually efficient at running so you can do it well. My huffing and puffing may actually give me a calorie burn advantage as long as I run for the same amount of time each day as you do because I'm less efficient at it.

The biggest factors here in success (for all of us) is the initial momentum to get moving and the motivation to keep going. I think where you may have the most to offer this community is by describing what drove you to get started and what kept you going along the way when it would have been easier/more pleasant to revert to old habits. ESPECIALLY since you didn't have a lot of (any?) health problems from being severely obese that would have driven you. Folks that don't have a health scare staring them in the face could really use some insight from folks in a similar situation that chose to change for the better anyway.

Just my two cents - long time lurker, first time responder. :)


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MERRYMARY42 1/19/2013 9:22PM

    good blog, makes me a bit jealous,
slow metabolism
have to cook for my DH
he loves my cookies (and so do I)
I had great luck losing to goal, but am now 11 pounds more than I was at my low
I have to get my act together, and you do,

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HANSBRINK 1/19/2013 8:31PM


Let me count the ways.
1 - same
2 -nope
3 - same
3 - same
4 - same
5 - nope, but similar with another type of cardio
6 - same

My feeling is that just because you didn't win a valiant struggle against impossible odds under difficult circumstances, does not mean you're not a success. TinaJane76 is championing the idea that maintenance is as much "work" as weight loss. Perhaps that's your story angle. A good lifestyle is as important as weight loss.

(And I am jealous of your 7:10 to 7:25 training pace!)

Good luck with the decision.

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PEZMOM1 1/19/2013 8:15PM

    I feel the same way about my weight loss and I lost 40 pounds.

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ONEKIDSMOM 1/19/2013 7:52PM

    It took me a YEAR of thinking about it before I finally decided to call myself a success. Now, a week later, I ponder whether I'll remain in that category! This is the danger of "getting cocky"...

So... will let you know in a month or two if I still feel I qualify!

Comment edited on: 1/19/2013 7:52:46 PM

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DALID414 1/19/2013 7:42PM

    IMHO you should answer the questions honestly and let the SP staff decide whether or not to publish it. If you feel like you'll be bombarded by haters, I don't the the SP community has it in them.

Comment edited on: 1/19/2013 7:42:39 PM

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RG_DFW 1/19/2013 7:39PM

    Interesting perspective... thanks for sharing what's in the closet!

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Listening to the Body 102

Thursday, January 17, 2013

I spent much of the fall of 2012 learning to listen to my body. That paid off with a transition from not running, to walk/run intervals, to running 3 days a week, all without a major reinjury. I can think of that as passing Listening to the Body 101.

It now appears that this learning experience is continuing into the Spring 2013 semester. Call the current process Listening to the Body 102.

It's Thursday, a work at home day and a scheduled day for a run. The run didn't happen.

The light jogging up and down my hallway this morning showed that I could still feel the sore hip. It was better than yesterday, but not quite as good as Tuesday before running. So it wasn't a tough decision not to run today. It wasn't even a tough decision not to run tomorrow instead of today. I definitely need to take the day off, and not run before Saturday. I'll see whether I can run Saturday, which is not a sure thing at this point.

This breaks a streak of running 3 days a week at 6 weeks. That's sad, but it makes me reflect on why I track that streak.

Originally, I set up the goal of running at least 20 minutes 3 times a week when I finished the 5K Your Way training. I was concerned that without the structured training plan, I'd let the running slip. The memory of pushing myself to finish a 40 minute run was fresh in my mind, and I wanted to be sure I ran enough to be in shape for the 2012 Chase Corporate Challenge.

Well, times change. It turns out I love running, and I don't need the streak to motivate me. It's kind of fun to track the streak, but if I let the streak be a STUPID motivational trick, it could get me injured. So I need to break the streak this week, because I'd rather not have a long break in the streak like I had in 2012.

So far, this is review from Listening 101. Listening 102 is asking for a bit more discernment.

My bad foot is better now than it's been in a couple of weeks. Resting a sore hip also benefits a slowly recovering foot.

Instead of running today, I walked. It was 25F with light snow flurries and an 11 mph wind out of the north. I layered up well, and my torso was comfortable; but my hands still got cold, even in ski gloves. It was definitely better weather for running than walking; but proper listening insists that today is not a day to run.

Because it was cold, I kept moving pretty briskly, completing 3.08 miles in 40:48, for an average walking pace of 13:14 per mile. I'm pleased that the bad foot was not bothered by the aggressive pace; the last time I walked a 13:30 or so pace, the bad foot complained.

And then there's the subtle things the body is saying. The past few nights, I've slept 8 hours or till the alarm, whichever came first. The body is whispering that it needs to heal. Before the hip acted up, 7 to 7 and a half hours was all I could sleep.

And speaking of sleep, I'm having to re-learn how to sleep. Pre-spark, this was easy. Sleep till the alarm, nap through three snooze cycles, and get out of bed. On Saturday, turn the alarm off and sleep till I wake up. Now, it's a bit different. Go to bed when I get tired, aiming for 9:30 though usually not getting there that early. Wake up before the alarm. Now I can get up, but I need to pay attention. Am I really that well rested, or will I benefit from rolling over and napping a bit more? My emotional state with respect to what's going on today can get me to wake before I should, and sometimes the right answer is to go back to sleep anyway.

Tomorrow is a day off work, the last of the leftover days from 2012. I think I'll just turn the alarm off if I sleep that late, and see how much more sleep the body is willing to soak up. That can't hurt the sore hip, and could help it get better faster.

And now, off to bed. The fact that I can sleep in tomorrow is no reason to stay up late tonight, particularly when the body is telling me that it needs a bit more sleep than normal right now.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BLITZEN40 1/18/2013 10:03PM

    Way to play it smart. Hope the hip is better soon!

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PLMITCH 1/18/2013 1:30PM

    You are so much smarter than I am. Thanks for sharing!

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MEXGAL1 1/18/2013 1:00PM

    enjoy the day!

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MSLZZY 1/18/2013 10:26AM

    Hope sleeping in had the desired effect.

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GIGI4AUSTIN 1/18/2013 1:05AM

    Sounds like you passed both semesters with flying colors and have a good plan in place!


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_LINDA 1/18/2013 12:00AM

    Fantastic job of paying attention to all that your body needs. Sleep is when your body does have the chance to heal, repair and recover -that is great you are able to get more sleep to meet your body's needs!
I sure wish I could sleep like you!! 2-4broken hours isn't cutting it! I can only imagine how I would perform if I could get a decent's night sleep!! Bone scan on 24th will hopefully eliminate cancer as the cause of the back pain waking me up constantly.
Keep up the great wotk, may your injuries heal fully!

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ONEKIDSMOM 1/17/2013 9:31PM

    Refresher courses of previously learned lessons... a good thing. Need to go examine that for myself, too.

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DALID414 1/17/2013 9:19PM

    Most people forget to factor in sleep (as part of training).

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Tuesday Short Run, Recovery Musings

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Today is Tuesday, a work at home day. After getting an odd sore muscle in my hip Saturday, it was a day to be careful on the run.

My light jogging up and down the hallway showed that I could feel the hip, but it wasn't very bad. I decided I could run on it today. However, doing Turkish getup/windmill combos with a 45 lb. kettlebell turned out to be too much for the current state of the hip. I did one on each side, paying attention to where the sore hip complained. Hmm. Windmills would be a good stretching move for this muscle. When it gets better, I need to be doing the TGU/windmill combos more frequently than I have recently.

Because I wasn't so sure about the hip, the plan was to run a twisty 4.3 mile route around the neighborhood, with several opportunities to bail out for a shorter distance. This is possible because the warm weather last week, culminating in a high of 69 F on Sunday, got rid of all the snow that was closing off the side roads and sidewalks to running. I still have a small patch near my mailbox, and we could get more later this week; but road conditions are good today.

The spring weather is gone, but it was still pretty nice winter running weather at 34 F (1 C) with SW wind at 7 mph. Since this is a short run, I figured I'd go a bit faster than a 7 minute mile. Sure enough, mile 1 announced itself at 6:42. My pace slowed a little when I got to the three small hills, but it was comfortable running for the first 18 minutes.

Then I began to feel that sore hip. I thought about it a while, and decided to keep running till 20 minutes. The hip felt a bit better, but it seemed wise to take one of the opportunities to turn toward home sooner than planned. Not long after that turn, I decided I'd just run to the 5K mark and stop. So that's what I did. Pulled out the iPhone, and watched the app. When it got to 3.1 miles, I hit stop and slowed to a walk.

That timed out to be 3.11 miles in 21:06, for an average pace of 6:47 per mile. The hip was not as bad as Saturday, but it was worse than when I started running. I walked home and thought about things.

With that short a run, it hardly felt like I needed to stretch. I stretched anyway. For the hip, I did three slow windmills on each side, using an 8 lb. dumbbell to be a reminder weight so I'd hold good form. I may do more of those tomorrow, assuming the hip isn't good enough to support using a real weight.

I freaked out just a little when I went to shower, and saw in the mirror that my hips didn't match each other. I had visions of a displaced joint, but it turned out to only be a swollen muscle. I should have known that from the fact that I could put weight on the hip. And the swelling wasn't all that obvious with clothes on, even with just underwear; it was that nude view in the mirror that was startling.

Worked the afternoon with an ice bag kinda sorta on the hip, off and on. It's a difficult location to ice when I need to be sitting and working at a computer, and I didn't have the ice bag in the optimal position most of the time; but it was better than doing nothing.

Now is the puzzling part. This is kind of like deja vu all over again. A year ago, it was a thigh, I kept running, and I ended up with a foot injury that was probably the result of an altered gait and pushing myself too hard. I'm not pushing as hard this year, but I wonder how much is too hard? I may need to take Thursday off from running, sigh. I'll see how the hip is by then. I only have two days to rest, instead of the three from Saturday to today; but I don't think the hip is as bad now as it was after I ran on Saturday.

Longer term, I wonder if a half marathon is just too ambitious for me right now. I definitely look at running differently with a goal date of running a half than I did when the goal was just to keep running 3 days a week.

I don't know yet what I'll do for running the rest of the week. Possibilities include keeping the Tuesday - Thursday - Saturday schedule, if the hip reacts well; taking Thursday off entirely to give the hip a couple extra days to recover; taking Thursday off, running on Friday, and moving the long run to Sunday; or just cutting back on distance.

Oh, well. First I need to see how the hip reacts tomorrow and Thursday. Then on Thursday, I'll have a decision to make.

Reminder to self: Running three days a week in May is more important than running a half marathon on April 28. Act accordingly, Kevin!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ONEKIDSMOM 1/16/2013 7:09AM

    Ah, those questions of "what is my body telling me" and "what is my lazy telling me" and "what do I really, really want out of this". I think in my case it's a normal part of the training process... the doubts of biting off more than I can chew... right now, it's not injury related.

In your case, I'm with the guys who say "Pay attention! And maybe get it looked at by the medical dudes if it doesn't heal up pronto!"

Hang in there. Remember the major goal!

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BLITZEN40 1/15/2013 11:10PM

    Wow, sounds like you got a fairly severe muscle injury if you can visually see the swelling, especially if it's to the point of being alarming. I'm not sure what the rule of thumb is when you're dealing with injuries while attempting to train, but you might want to talk to a sports trainer or a physical therapist to get some medically solid advice so you don't exacerbate the injury further. Good luck and I hope you feel better soon!

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RUN4FOOD 1/15/2013 9:43PM

    Sorry your hip is still hurting and sore. I always find it difficult to decide if I should run or not. I've heard it's okay to run when something hurts, as long as there is no pain. I have trouble distinguishing between the two.
If there is swelling I think no running would be wise, at least until that goes down.
I agree with you that it's better to keep running rather than run a half marathon and then not be able to run afterwards.
Hope the hip improves soon.

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Busy Saturday, Long Run Cut Short

Saturday, January 12, 2013

The past few weeks, I've had a Saturday routine. Get up early, go through the breakfast and minor exercise routine, interspersed with laundry. Go for my long slow run in the morning, and get my laundry out of the way before my daughter shows up to do her laundry. Lunch with daughter, nice chat catching up on what's going on with her life.

Today, the schedule was made more challenging by tax training from 8:30 to 4:30. If I got up at 5, I could fit the long run in before training; but then I wouldn't get the laundry done. That decision was easy because I slept in till 5:30. Got the last mandatory load of laundry into the dryer before leaving for tax training, and lunch with daughter stayed on schedule. This forced the long run into the afternoon, starting at 2:45 to be sure I had daylight.

The good thing about this was that I got near-perfect running weather. 56 F, SSW winds 9-11 mph, and it felt so good that I told RunKeeper it was sunny. I later realized it was only hazy sunshine and being in a really good mood.

I was in such a good mood that I started out just running. When the app told me my pace was 7:22 per mile after the first minute, I made a conscious effort to slow down, but didn't really slow down as close to an 8 minute mile as I have in past runs. I need to work on that.

The plan was to run for 9.4 miles. This was mostly the same route as last week's 8.3 miles, with an extra detour near the end. Aside from failing to control my pace very well, it was a good run through the first 6 miles. Along about that point, I stopped caring about the pace. After all, it was only another 3 miles or so and I still felt good!

Two days of highs in the 40s and a half day of warm rain yesterday had left the shoulders all clear of snow, and the sidewalks mostly clear enough to run on, given that I could trust the wet spots to be water and not ice. There were only a handful of spots where I was running on sidewalks and had to alter my stride to avoid patches of snow and ice from either total failure to clear sidewalks or a business plowing the sidewalk shut at the intersection with its driveway.

I was composing in my mind a blog about how nice it was, and that this would be the longest continual run I've done in my life; but that turned out not to be the case. A bit after the last opportunity to turn and bail for less distance, I got an ache in my right hip. It's an odd spot, kind of like I just moved hard sideways into a brick wall. I had this same ache two weeks or two ago, and it altered my gait on Sunday. I didn't blog about it because it got better by Tuesday, but I remembered it.

Mr. Testosterone told me it was only another two miles, just keep running. I told him to shut up, stopped, and fumbled with my iPhone to stop the RunKeeper app. Then I turned around and retraced part of my route, walking the shortest way home as my walking cooldown. I listened to Mr. Testosterone too much a year ago. This year, I want to keep running even if I don't stretch the distance as much as I (or Mr. Testosterone) would like. So I did the adult thing, and quit when it hurt.

Back home, I stretched, found dinner, and got distracted by the Denver-Baltimore game. Through the evening, I kept getting up to walk around the house doing more laundry, and various other household tasks. I recalled that last time, the hip got better with gentle use more than with total rest.

So, the total run turned out to be 7.88 miles in 58:07 for an average pace of 7:23 per mile:

RunKeeper shows a total variation of 113 feet in elevation. Running the hills felt good. I got to where the gentle inclines were pretty much like running on level ground. It was all good, except the part about having to stop before I was done. And even then, the bad foot didn't complain any more than anticipated. It was a different ache that stopped me.

But that's the way it is. First priority is, stay healthy enough to keep running. If it turns out that I can't stretch to 13 miles by the end of April, that's the way it turns out. That's my mantra, anyway. I need to keep reminding myself of this, because having paid the entry fee to that half marathon makes Mr. Testosterone's voice a bit louder.

Right now, I'm glad I didn't realize I was only a mile and a half short of done instead of the two miles I was thinking. If I'd been thinking it was that short, I might have listened to Mr. Testosterone. And that would have been a really stupid thing to do.

I think I'll be able to run a shorter distance on Tuesday, and that's Plan A. There is a chance that I'll need a Plan B, but I'll address that if it happens. I think if I had kept running that last mile and a half, there would be a major chance I'd need a Plan B for Tuesday, and some chance I'd need one for the following Thursday as well. Been there, done that. I'd rather not go there again.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RUN4FOOD 1/13/2013 2:49PM

    "First priority is, stay healthy enough to keep running. If it turns out that I can't stretch to 13 miles by the end of April, that's the way it turns out. That's my mantra, anyway."
That's a good mantra.
Being able to run, even though it is shorter than you desire, is better than not running at all.
Hope your hip feels better soon.

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MEXGAL1 1/13/2013 9:06AM

    good job listening to your body....pain is always a sign we shouldn't not listen to.
Have a terrific Sunday.

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MDOTZERO 1/13/2013 8:30AM

    Very good reminder to heed the warning signs by listening to your body!

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MSLZZY 1/13/2013 8:21AM

    Sometimes pain gets our attention for a reason.
Hope all is well today.

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ONEKIDSMOM 1/13/2013 5:51AM

    Good job keeping the reins in the brain and putting Mr. T in his place. emoticon

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RG_DFW 1/12/2013 11:15PM

    Probably a good thing to listen to the body first

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DALID414 1/12/2013 10:20PM

    Good job listening to your body, it's the best thing you can do

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HEALTHIERKEN 1/12/2013 9:55PM

    Kevin 1, Mr. Testosterone 0. You win all the way around! Good decisions, good health, good long-term running!

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