Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Don't run with ribbons

Last week I promised I'd let you know if I won the Best Speaker award at Toastmasters. I'll do that...after this break. (Do I watch too many reality shows?) First I want to give you a running update. In this post I described the issues that have dogged me when trying to run long distances through most of 2009. Since then I've had physical therapy sessions and many, many stretching and strengthening sessions at home. I've increased my flexibility and strength in some of the key areas. I still would like to see more which is why I'm still at it. In August I went out and ran 5 or 6 miles a couple of times. Though I was improved over where I had been, I was still getting IT band irritation after 3 miles or so. So I took some more time off and decided to come back slower yet. In September I ran 3 miles one weekend and 4 miles the next. The soreness was even less than August. But I wasn't satisfied so I backed down even more. Two Saturdays ago I ran 4 miles but alternated running and walking in an 8/2 minute pattern. This past Saturday I did the same thing except I alternated 8/1. The amount of soreness on these last two runs was the lowest yet. It was so mild that I don't take advil or ice it afterwards. I could almost say it was non-existent, but not quite. I'll come back to that. The reason for my latest strategy is that I felt like fatigue was causing my running form to deteriorate and contributed to the irritation. So the quick walking breaks were designed to keep me fresh. I am also doing some cross-training during the week to increase my stamina. Naturally because I haven't been able to run very long distances for months now, my endurance has suffered. When I'm out there I feel like I could do 5 easy but I'm determined to keep working my way up slowly. My goal is to get up to 7-8 miles with no pain. The strange thing is I don't feel like I'm cured completely. I sometimes feel like something "funny" is going on above my right knee. In particular on Sundays (after I've run the prior day.) But it's so subtle and undefinable that it's hard to know whether to take it seriously or not. (i.e. it may be in my head) I'll keep an eye on it obviously. That's another reason I am keeping up the strengthening exercises. I suspect once I've built that up enough along with my stamina the IT Band will stop stiffening up and rubbing against bone and stuff. Here I am cross-training today. I actually spent my time on the bike but that did not make for a good photo. The sweat is real though. Photobucket Break done, back to Toastmasters. My assignment was to give a speech based on a technical paper. I bent the rules slightly and used a chapter from a scientifically-minded book as the basis for my talk. The story I retold was about a man who's short term memory capacity was reduced to a mere 7 seconds after a tragic brain infection. Oddly enough, though his life was tremendously changed after the brain injury and he couldn't do things like carry on a normal conversation, his musical abilities were largely unaffected. So he could perform a piece on the piano that lasted several minutes just as before. His wife wrote a memoir. I haven't read her book. But the comments over there on Amazon give a sense of the craziness of this family's story. The book I read was Musicophilia which I've mentioned here before. For those who care, I did win Best Speaker for today. But Trion, if you're out there you did great too! Finally, my contributions to the picture of the day have been on the lame side lately. I'll try and do better next week. To make it up to you, I'll share this awesome video. Enjoy!

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