Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Sincerely, Waterlogged In Michigan

Hoo-boy - a two month absence from blogging means there is a lot to catch up on:

1. When Last We Spoke...or How A 100k qualifier turned into a 50k and a break from running

I never went over how my solo 100k attempt played out, so here is the condensed version. The weather at the start on August 2 wasn't so bad, considering the forecast. Of course it was 5 a.m. and pitch black out. In other words, it was too early to tell for sure what daylight would bring. We had 6 starters: Myself, Keith, Mark, Paul, Sonya, and Wynn. There to support us were Katie, Paul's wife Amy, my parents, and race-director Kurt.

We took off a little after 5:00 and right away I was feeling pretty heavy. A lot of that could be attributed to running at 5:00, but in general I didn't feel comfortable until around lap 3 or 4. Luckily for us starting so early meant the traffic around Lake Calhoun was light. I was doing pretty well with aid and what not, but as the laps wore on I started feeling really beat up in my quads and hamstrings. Now I didn't expect to feel smooth as silk for 100k, but the soreness and fatigue I was feeling around 40k was more than I should be feeling that early in a 100k race. Between 40 and 50k the pace started slip to 7:15, but it wasn't by choice. I wasn't conserving energy, I was putting in more and more effort and slowing down considerably.

To make the 100k team I was going to have to run somewhere in the 7hr-7:15 range. When I hit 50k at 3:31 and felt as wrecked as I did, I knew that I would not be able keep my loses to a minute/lap the next 50k. I was spent, not so much energy-wise, but muscularly. Everything was cramped despite drinking profusely. So 50k was all I was capable of for the day and I pulled up a chair to watch others finish. Sonya, who also had hopes of covering 100k, was talked into stopping at 50k as well since she was suffering the same fate as I. As we marked the laps for the rest of the competitors the temps kept rising and by the time Mark called it a day 1 lap short of 50k, it was sticky hot and I was reassured that my decision to stop was the right one.

Looking back, I don't think there was anything I could have done differently (besides not trying to run 100k). I feel like my aerobic system was ready for the requisite pace, but with the surgeries and injuries of the last year, I just didn't have the miles on my legs to handle to beating for 7 hours and that proved to be my undoing. I took a few days off to relieve the soreness and started some easy jogging by the end of the week. Time to refocus.

2. The Wife Leaves and I Stay.

The day after 100k Katie and I packed up the Subaru with as much stuff as we could and she made the move to Houghton, MI to start her new job, Coordinator of COMPASS (first year student orientation and programs) at Michigan Tech. Because we signed a year-long lease for our new apartment in June (grrr..) and August/Sept are easily the craziest time in Payroll at the UofM, I stayed behind to help my office transition and hopefully rent our apartment. I'm no Dr. Phil, but I would not recommend this living arrangement for married couples.

3. Wherin I Join the Wife and (hopefully) Start Down A New Career Path

Due to said difficulties with the long-distance marriage I put in my official notice at the UofM about 2 months earlier than planned. My last day was Sept 12. Initially I was moving to Houghton with no job plans. Seeing as we hadn't rented our apartment yet, I was a little stressed about continuing to pay rent on one income for a place we no longer living in. But on the flipside I was looking at a nice long vacation and since Katie's job allowed us to live on-campus for free, the financial loss would be bearable for a little while.

Luckily (I suppose) a job opened up at the Portage Lake District Library in Houghton . When Katie initially got the job at Michigan Tech, I considered what I wanted to do career wise: stick with the Human Resources/Accounting field or go a new direction. For a long time, being a librarian has interested me. I know that sounds boring, but I think its a pretty cool job that offers a lot of variety. Career-wise there is working in a library, which pretty much anyone can do, and then there is obtaining a Masters Of Library and Information Science, which allows one to claim the title of Librarian with a capital "L". The job at the PLDL is part-time which will make it easier to complete graduate work provided I choose to do that and (more of an issue) get accepted into graduate school. If anyone out there who has any advice on librarianship I'm all ears.

4. Hills Help...and Hurt

What an absolutely crappy year its been running wise. After the 100k I struggled on and off with running. I would have a good week running 5-6 days and then a bad week where I might not run at all. Some of it was due to the fact that I was working around 60 hr/week in August trying to train my co-workers on my job duties while handling the large volume of work coming in (I still feel bad about leaving them at the absolutely worst time of year). But my body has just seemed out of whack since the 100k attempt. Specifically my left side has been sore and weak. Hip, hamstring, foot, you name it. The last straw was an excruciating foot injury that popped up a couple weeks after getting to Houghton. I did some research on the inter-webs and found that a sudden increase in hill running can cause some problems in the foot/ankle region that was similar to what I was experiencing. Houghton is pretty hilly, compared to Minneapolis/St Paul so that caused me to take another week off. I tried running a couple days after it felt better, but my left hip was just not working right. That was three weeks ago and since then I have put the running shoes away. I'm running in the pool, swimming, and doing strength work. I'm also working with another PT up here so I'm still hopeful that I'll come out of this winter healthy and running (even if its only a little bit).

We'll if you managed to read this far you get a gold star for the day. I'll be more regular about posting going forward. I haven't touched on how distressed I am about the current state of America (hint: very).

PS- Since I'm working only part-time at the moment, I thought I would take the opportunity to learn a little Web programming. Any recommendations on self-teaching resources/software?


Gregg said...

good to hear from you. moving causes a great deal of stress, in many ways... Looks like a good time of the year to build strength. Hope you continue to adjust to Houghton and keep up the posts.

keith said...

Wow...you've got a lot on yr. plate! Glad to see you posting again! New beginnings are great!!! Enjoy it!

I am a runner. "We are what we repeatedly do" said...

PR, thanks for the update. Having just moved and stopped a job myself I can sympathize with you. Stay active and get healthy- that will make everything better. As for the MLS- I too think that is a really interesting way to go. My wifes sister got hers at Maryland U, and my mother in law went for hers at Syracuse....that program is mainly a on-line distance program that allows you to work as you go. She really enjoyed it. Good luck

Kurt said...

Go to see you on the blog once more man !!

WynnMan said...

Hey PR- good to hear from you again. Ahh yes injury, indeed you will come around. I remember kindly last year when I was seemingly swamped with trying to put together a race and not being able to run for 5 months. Inevitably you will get through it and things will all find their place. I have useful information about MLS. My neighbor is one of the many Librarians at University River Falls, she is Librarian of all local and national Government texts and references. My cousin is A Librarian at Luck high school, I believe she received her MLS at UW-Superior. Rewarding career, benefits, pension, and probably much like teaching, allows you time to enjoy other important things in life.

take care,

crowther said...

Re web programming, htmlgoodies.com is a site I've found useful.

EgoRace said...

Great to see you are back at it.

Im in the middle of a knee injury myself so i've been down for 2 months myself.

O to be free again.