Thursday, July 28, 2011

Down Time

After the 18-miler that wasn't due to IT Band issues, I haven't really run that much. Jacksonville was down time and work time (with a round of golf mixed in at San Jose Country Club one afternoon). Have done a 5 and two 4 milers in the past week and a half. But I have started doing almost daily stretching and roller massages for my IT Band and legs. Spent a couple of days relaxing at Bahia Beach with my family. Now headed to the West Coast for a couple of more days in the sun. Ran this morning (4 miles) with no major issues. Good stretch to warm up and cool down. It's key. See you Sunday.

Monday, July 18, 2011


No no...this is not the shinning object glowing inside the suitcase Vincent Vega opens in awe in the movie classic Pulp Fiction.

Last Saturday I set out at 4am for a 18-mile training run. The route went from "Ultimo Trolley" in Ocean Park along McLeary and Ashford avenues, across the new Dos Hermanos bridge (will NOT miss the clanking of the temp-almost permanent steel bridge), twice around Condado Lagoon, twice around Muñoz Rivera Park, out to "Paseo del Morro", and back our starting point. Our Galloway 3-1 running group was 6 runners deep (myself included). It was between 78 and 80 degrees at 4am. There were several late-night stragglers at that time out and about thanks to the Condado Culinary Fest.

Like clockwork, at mile 2.5, my right knee started sending pain signals. By mile 8 the pain was annoying. By mile 13 it was almost unbearable. We already had lost one runner. After mile 14, I decided to shut it down and speed-walk my way in. I tried to start up several times, but the pain was too much. They say you have to listen to your body. Well...I listened all right. I really didn't know at the time what was causing the pain. I had a torn meniscus repaired 10 years ago on that same knee. Maybe that was it. In order not to risk further damage, I decided stop, without knowing what was causing the pain.

I walked the last 3-4 miles in. I was actually feeling good and, aside from the pain, was running strong which made the stopping quite frustrating. Our running coach at VIP Running, Jaime Molina, went on diagnosis mode once I reached the start/finish tent. He figured I'm having problems with my right IT Band. In the afternoon, I stopped by his gym and picked up that sucker pictured above. I will do daily leg massage routines for the next couple of weeks using the foam roller. My next long run (21 miles) is on August 6, almost 3 weeks away. Will see how my knee responds...

I will be in Jacksonville all week working with the US Army Corps of Engineers. Brought that baby up and took up most of the space in my suitcase. Brought my running shoes too. Did a 20-minute workout this morning on an elliptical machine in the hotel's workout room. First time on one of those. It's easier on the knees.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Jimmy V

On Wednesday night at The ESPYs, Arizona St. wrestler Anthony Robles won the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance. The Jimmy V award is given to someone who has overcome great obstacles with physical perseverance and determination - George Karl, the Denver Nuggets coach, won it last year for his battles with cancer. Be sure to check out Anthony Robles' story at the link below.

It's been 18 years since Jim Valvano's inspirational (and now iconic) speech at the inaugural ESPY Awards. That night, March 4, 1993, he was awarded the first Arthur Ashe Courage and Humanitarian Award. His body was ridden with cancer and he knew he didn't have much time left. He passed away less than two months after announcing that night the start of The V Foundation for Cancer Research. I remember watching it live, and I remember being very moved by it. Thinking back, I believe it was my first exposure to cancer awareness.

The V Foundation is a chartable organization dedicated to saving lives by helping to find a cure for cancer. The Foundation seeks to make a difference by generating broad-based support for cancer research and by creating an urgent awareness among all Americans of the importance of the war against cancer. The V Foundation performs these dual roles through advocacy, education, fundraising, and philanthropy. Its motto is “Don’t give up...Don’t ever give up!” Since its inception, it has raised more than $100 million for cancer research.

I'll be moving up to 18 miles on Saturday morning as part of my training. I'll keep Jimmy V's motto in mind.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Just What the Doctor Ordered

After last Wednesday's 6-mile tempo run (cut short by a mile due to right knee pain), I decided to replace my insoles in my second pair of running shoes. I had already done it in my K-Swiss Konejo II. I rested for a couple of days, and this morning went out hoping to complete my 6-mile scheduled run without a glitch. Apparently the insoles worked because the run went very well. No pain. No discomfort. Just plain hot. When I finished at 8am I cooled down with the front yard hose. My shirt and shorts were already drenched in sweat anyway. Didn't join my running group this morning. I overslept by an hour. Maybe I had one too many glasses of wine with dinner last night. Maybe it was the black Sambuca. Had some shrimp "tallarines" (noodles) at Lima in the Miramar district of San Juan. Thinking about doing a short 3-miler tomorrow morning. We'll see.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Recap 6 months in and 3 months out

Before I started to run consistently again mid January 2011, I was tipping the scales at 240...the heaviest I'd ever been. Let's just say I really enjoyed myself from Thanksgiving through New Year's.

I had already decided that I was going to do something physically challenging during the year. Two friends trained and successfully completed the NYC marathon in November 2010, both for the first time. Another friend was training for the Miami Half in late January 2011.

I got the two pairs of running shoes pictured above and trained during 6 weeks for a 10K race held the last Sunday of February. By then I had lost close to 20 pounds thanks to a 3-week diet (with the help of my wife...she was on it too!) and 90 or so miles put in on the road. It wasn't my best performance on race day, but I reached my goal of completing the race without problems and sticking to a training plan in preparation for it.

Midway through training for the 10K race I had already made up my mind (and had a friend committed) to run the Chicago Marathon. I signed up the day registration opened, and plane and hotel reservations quickly followed. October seemed far away.

In March, I joined a running group following a friend's advice. Since then, I have completed long runs of 10, 12 and 15 miles. I've shed 5 more pounds and pounded my knees for an additional 170 plus miles. A couple of Saturday's ago I ran my 15-mile long run. It was brutal towards the end. My knees felt as if they were going to explode outward. I recovered nicely and will do my next long run (18 miles) in 10 days. I've kept swimming once a week and doing short tempo and easy runs on weekdays. It's funny how I can run two 10Ks a week nowadays and not think much of it.

Chicago is only 3 months away. Now I have to get my fundraising groove on (haven't raised a dime yet), and keep on chugging along.

Be sure to visit my LIVESTRONG Fundraising page at the link below. All proceeds benefit the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Why Ask Why?

Before the question reminds you of a failed beer project from the early 90's, let's move on to more productive subjects.

It's a mere coincidence that Lance Armstrong might be preparing to run the Chicago Marathon this fall. That's him pictured above in a recent running magazine while training in Hawaii.

I remember first hearing about Lance Armstrong when he was a brash, young rider, but I really didn’t follow cycling nor him. I was starting college at the time in Atlanta. For whatever reason, I clearly remember him announcing his cancer diagnosis in October 1996 (just months after the Atlanta Olympic Games) and how he vowed to fight it. And my next vivid memory of him was his incredible breakthrough at the 1999 Tour de France. I was in Tucson at the time doing graduate school. I remember being impressed by what he had accomplished, how he had done it and what he had gone through to get there. Since then, I followed the rest of his career, mainly during the summer months for “le Tour”, the crowning achievement of the sport. He won 7 straight TDFs, retired, pulled a Jordan and came back "in order to raise awareness of the global cancer burden". Along the way he did some amazing things and had to put up with many doubters (and still does).

But the one thing no one can question is his resolve to beat cancer. He did it, but now he wants to eradicate it. And in the process, he wants to help people deal with it. It’s as simple as that. That’s why the Lance Armstrong Foundation exists. He recently said in an interview that his goal is to run LIVESTRONG out of business.

So the question is…really two questions: why have I decided to run a marathon and why did I select to run for Team LIVESTRONG and raise money for the Lance Armstrong Foundation. The answer to the second one is evident.

The first one, not so. Call it what you will…early adulthood crisis, unfinished business, curiosity as to what my mind and body can tolerate, friendly challenges…the reasons are several.

Thankfully, I have not been directly affected by cancer, but I've seen close friends having to deal with the disease and, unfortunately in some cases, losing a loved one in the process. But by doing this, I somehow think I can contribute to their healing process and support an organization that serves as a valuable resource to cancer patients and their families, worldwide.

If you wish to support my efforts, I invite you to make a donation in my name to the Lance Armstrong Foundation at the following link.

My goal is to raise $990 (9x10x11...the date of the race). The Chicago Marathon LIVESTRONG Team has already raised over $70,000. I'm confident that with your help my goal will be reached.