Evolution of a Man

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I’m Jacked UP!

Well, F.

My left knee is pretty messed up.  The day of our 12 mile run, it was achey, but not unbearable.  The next day however (even with appropriate stretching, nutrition, and manual removal of lactic acid buildup), my knee was more than just achey.  It hurt to bend it, particularly when lifting as well (think stairs and walking).

Pain in a knee. sports trauma




The run was on Sunday, and it’s Wednesday now, and I’m still hurting.  Not as much, but it’s still there.  I bought a knee brace and have been wearing it.  It helps.  I also have a hot gel pack to let the pain soak away with.  I had to miss a training run this morning, which sucks…and i’m worried that I’ll miss the 14 miler this weekend.  It isn’t a huge deal if I have to, I’m not married to the idea, I just would rather run it than not (or rather, I’d like to be healthy enough to run it than not).

I scheduled an evaluation appointment at Loudoun Sports Therapy Center, to begin physical therapy on my knee.  Hopefully they’ll have some good tips or answers for me with this part of the journey.

My thoughtful wife Jessica sent me an article, with some highlights too.  Here they are.

Strengthen The Quadriceps.

Leg curls using a weight machine is a good way to do this, but make sure you start out with light weights until your strength increases. Another exercise is simply knee bends. Here you hold onto a table or something similar for support and gradually bend the knees until the thighs are almost horizontal. Then straighten up and repeat. Using the front of your feet makes this more effective, and do not go beyond the horizontal, which just puts extra strain on the knee joints.

Wear Stability Shoes If You Pronate

Check with your local running store (or physiotherapist) if you suspect that you have a foot strike problem. Then buy the appropriate shoes to correct this. I also like to wear cushioning shoes for marathon training, but this is a personal choice and might not suit everyone.

Avoid Sloping Running Surfaces

If you frequently run on paved roads, try to pick a flatter area where possible. Even the sidewalk is preferable although it is often a harder surface. Running tracks in gyms are usually banked, so try to avoid these as much as possible.

Be Wary Of Speed Work

Although speedwork is often called for in more advanced marathon programs, it can be a major contributor to knee problems. If you decide to do this as part of your training, go for the longer (slower) intervals rather than the short bursts of fast running. Most of us can run a successful marathon without including any formal speedwork in our training.

Take It Easy On The Hills

Hill work is a great way to improve your leg strength and aerobic capacity, and should be part of your marathon training. However too aggressive an approach, and going too fast on the downhill, can be very detrimental to your knees. This is where the ‘listen to your body’ advice comes in. If you have been strengthening your quads, and you are wearing the right footwear you are probably OK. Just ease off the moment you start to feel any discomfort.

I’m going to focus on the PT and strengthening my quads.  Hopefully I’ll be up to running, and not limping around my house before too long.


Week 15, where I learned that running 12 miles is hard.


The run of the 6th of January was my 49th training run, the last run of the 15th week!  (Week 15: Dec. 29th-Jan. 6th)

49 runs in, 15 weeks down, 10 weeks to go and I’ll be running the Saturday Rock N’ Roll Marathon in Washington, DC.

Week 15 Statistics!

Average Run

  • 00:58:17

Average Pace

  • 8:55 /mile

Average Distance

  • 6.51 miles

Notable week 15 information:

  • We ran 12 miles on Sunday…technically it was the the first run of week 16, but we really just pushed our Saturday run to Sunday…bygones.  We took the W&OD trail for the first time, which is a trail in Virginia nestled in the right of way of the former W&OD railroad tracks.  It’s straight and level, and goes on for MILES.
  • The run was good, and I wasn’t having any problems at all, until around mile 10.  At this point, my leg was starting to dully ache, and my knee was as well.  Plus, you could see down the trail for miles, and I could see the overpass that marked the ending of our route.  It was torture to see it so far away, and never feeling like it got any closer.  Those last miles were like standing and intently watching a pot boiling when you’re starving.
  • Along the trail, EVILLY, there is a restaurant called Carolina Brother’s Pit Barbeque.  I’ve never wanted barbeque so badly as I did when passing this joint.  I’ve put it to Chris, I’d like to park next to the place next time, and start on the trial FROM there, so we can end there and pig out (no pork puns intended).  Plus, next week it’ll be 14 miles, which means we’ll complete, for the first time, a half marathon!  Well, more than half actually, half is 13.1, but whatever.
  • My wonderful wife had cooked a delicious fish for lunch, and it was served with a salad and some gluten free pierogies, and it was all delicious.
  • I had the power gel for the big run, and it was OK.  Much more liquid than the last, but still mostly shitty.  Chris had these gummy things with gel inside, much better and easier to eat.  I’m going to have to get a pack I think.
  • balins-tomb2As has been my usual, while running I was listening to the Lord of the Rings, unabridged, on my iPhone.    The fellowship of the rings is deep in Moria, and the drums have been sounded.  They’re surrounded, and the words written by Ori in Balin’s book are looking doubly grim.

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Week 12 – 8 miles is a long way to run.


“Don’t judge each day by the harvest that you reap, judge it by the seeds that you plant” – Robert Louis Stevenson

The run of the 15th of December was my 39th training run, the last run of the 12th week!  (Week 12: Dec. 9th-Dec. 15th)

39 runs in, 12 weeks down, 13 weeks to go and I’ll be running the Saturday Rock N’ Roll Marathon in Washington, DC.

Week 12 Statistics!

Average Run

  • 00:45:23

Average Pace

  • 9:03 /mile

Average Distance

  • 4.98 miles

Notable week 12 information:

  • My injured leg is feeling much better.  It still gets a little sore after a run, but not sore enough that I have to quit, nor sore enough that i can’t make my following run.  I am going to stick with the stretches and keep it limber, and keep going to the chiropractor for adjustments.
  • I ran 8 miles on Saturday.  8 miles seems like a long way to go and it is…but I never felt like it was too far, or that my leg was going to give out on me.  I remembered seeing a commercial on television during the Olympics, where a guy was doing running and was listening to books on his iPhone.  I have tons of audio books, I used to listen to them while I worked, so I put the unabridged Lord of the Rings on my phone, and have been listening to it.  What a difference it makes!  I can zone out to the book, and even though i’m running it feels almost like I’m curling up with a good book to get entertained.   I’m almost ready to go run again, if only for the chance to hear the next chapter in Frodo’s saga.

“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” – C.S. Lewis

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Running Wounded

“Relish the bad training runs. Without them it’s difficult to recognize, much less appreciate, the good ones.” 
-Pat Teske

The run of the 1st of December was my 34st training run, the last run of the 11th week!  (Week 11: Dec. 2nd-Dec. 8th)

36 runs in, 11 weeks down, 14 weeks to go and I’ll be running the Saturday Rock N’ Roll Marathon in Washington, DC.

Week 11 Statistics!

Average Run

  • 41:13 minutes

Average Pace

  • 9:13 /mile

Average Distance

  • 4.52 miles

Notable week 11 information:

  • Injury.  After my five mile run on week 10’s saturday, I had some pain in my hip.  It got pretty bad on Saturday night, but was gone Sunday.  Before my Monday morning run though, during my sleep, my leg hurt and throbbed all night, keeping me up.  I had done stretches and such, but it didn’t really help.  The pain was still there on Tuesday and on Wednesday (leading me to decide not to run on Wednesday, although I had planned to earlier).  I decided to go to see my chiropractor.  Dr. Joe did an excellent job.  He massaged the muscle, put on some penetrating gel (and provided me some for home), and used a cold laser on the area, as well as the typical adjustment.  My leg felt great, the pain was gone, and I ran with no problems on Thursday morning.
  • I ran 6 miles on Saturday!  From my house to Potomac View High School’s stone entrance and back.  It seems like a long distance to run just thinking about it!  It felt really good though, and the weather was perfect for a run.  My leg started getting a little sore at around the 3/4 complete mark, but I took an easier pace the whole way (8:53), and seemed to have saved my leg from severe pain.  I stretched it out extra when I got home, put on the gel Dr. Joe had given me, and my pain slowly faded away.

“Run when you can, walk when you have to, crawl if you must; just never give up.” 
-Dean Karnazes 


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Training week 9 – done!

The run of the 24th of November was my 31st training run, the last run of the 9th week!  (Week 9: Nov. 18th-Nov. 24th)

31 runs in, 9 weeks down, 16 weeks to go and I’ll be running the Saturday Rock N’ Roll Marathon in Washington, DC.

Week 9 Statistics!

Average Run

  • 30:29 minutes

Average Pace

  • 8:57 /mile

Average Distance

  • 3.40 miles

Notable week 9 information:

  • WELL, even though Chris and I knew it was upcoming, we failed to follow the schedule we have been following.  Week 9 was supposed to be the switching point from time trainings (we’ve been running 30 minutes for a while) to distance trainings.  We will start running the distance training Monday; with 3 miles being the goal, Wednesday; with 4 miles, Thursday; 3 miles, and Saturday; 5 miles.  Each Saturday from here until quite near the end, an extra mile will be added on, so in 5 months we’ll be running 10 miles on Saturday.  I’m a bit worried, but not from a running/fitness perspective, but more in a mental one.  I’m worried that I’ll be bored to tears running 10 miles.  I might be loading up the iPhone with an audio book to keep me company.

“The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Week 8 – The importance of a training partner

I’ve never been one to overestimate myself.  I’m pretty ‘real’ when it comes to my shortcomings, as much as I am confident in my abilities.  One of my main shortcomings in life is sustaining drive.  It’s hard for me to keep momentum going.  I get really amped for a little while on something, and end up giving it up when I’m later bored with whatever it is I was amped about.  Two months ago, I was amped about running a marathon, and about training for it.  I was worried though, that I wouldn’t succeed.  That I’d give up training for it, and not finish what I had started.

I set up built in failsafes.

  • I signed up and paid for the marathon.
  • I publicly set up a blog to keep me accountable to myself
  • most importantly though, I found a training partner.


I was discussing my goals with my neighbor Chris, who mentioned he had the same problem with working out.  He’d get all motivated, but that motivation would taper off and he’d stop doing it.  He asked me if I minded if he joined me on my marathon quest, and I was jazzed right away.  Having someone on the same path, waiting for you outside in the cold at 5:30am is a serious motivator.  We both know we want to run, we both know we need to run to train for the marathon, and the fact that we’ve both decided to do this thing together keeps us both still doing it.  Sometimes though, your partner has life stuff, and can’t race for a few days.  This happened this week, for Chris.  His wife was out of town, which meant he couldn’t leave in the morning on Wednesday or Thursday to run.

This shouldn’t have been a problem.  He’s missed a couple of other days for other reasons before, as have I, but we’ve made them up, or run by ourselves for the day.  This Wednesday, I heard the alarm go off, and looked at it.  My internal dialogue told me to turn it off and go to sleep, it’s just one day off.  My conscious mind – already bored-ish with running, agreed, and that’s what I did.  I was guilty all day long.  Thursday morning, the alarm went off, and my internal dialogue was similar.  Just as Wednesday, I went back to sleep, and didn’t run.

I agonized all day Thursday and Friday about it.  I should have gone.  I should have had the willpower to get off my ass and go run, but I didn’t.  I chose not to.  Without Chris to run with, I had a way out, and in a weak moment or two in the morning, I opted for it.

I’m so happy to have Chris to run with in the mornings, because he helps keep me on track – and I need that right now, while I build the habit stronger.

All that said, I did get two runs in this week; Monday and Saturday.

The run of the 17th of November was my 27th training run, the last run of the 8th week!  (Week 8: Nov. 12th-Nov. 17th)

27 runs in, 8 weeks down, 17 weeks to go and I’ll be running the Saturday Rock N’ Roll Marathon in Washington, DC.

Week 8 Statistics!

Average Run

  • 30:01 minutes

Average Pace

  • 8:33 /mile

Average Distance

  • 3.51 miles

Notable week 8 information:

  • I learned this week that I should NOT eat anything before going running.  I had a major cramp on Monday’s run, from about mile 3 til the end.  I need to do some research into how runners deal with abdominal cramps while out running.

“Stay on Target” – Jek Porkins, Red Six

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Week 7!

The 10 am run of the 10th of November was my 25th training run, the last run of the 7th week!  (Week 6: Nov. 4th-Nov. 11th)

25 runs in, 7 weeks down, 18 weeks to go and I’ll be running the Saturday Rock N’ Roll Marathon in Washington, DC.

Week 7 Statistics!

Average Run

  • 31:04 minutes

Average Pace

  • 8:59 /mile

Average Distance

  • 3.45 miles

Notable week 7 achievements:

  • None, really.  Week 7 was pretty run of the mill.  It was nice this week, the weather was warmer than usual.
  • Chris and I discussed the future training as the winter inevitably comes on.  We both dislike the treadmill, especially now that we’re used to running outside.  I was hoping to find an indoor track to run at in the mornings, and we found Claude Moore Recreational center, in Sterling, that has one.  The track is small, and there is the possibility that it could get repetitive and boring if we’re doing miles on it at a time.  While this is true, the same can be said of treadmill, and at least we’re running at our own pace on a track.  I’ve been trying to find information on other indoor tracks in Sterling, but have come up blank. Anybody know of any other ones, perhaps longer?

“Our labour preserves us from three great evils — weariness, vice, and want.” – Voltaire