Friday, September 28, 2012

2 days to half marathon

So much running, so little time to blog!

School started and so did soccer for my son. I'm the coach so there goes one afternoon, soccer is mostly at 2pm so there goes another whole day! Ok, enough of that, onto the running which is my reason for the blog!

Since it has been almost three weeks my major update has to be that I managed to complete the entire training program and all that is left is the half-marathon! I have been feeling for weeks that I will not be able to make my goal of a 2:00 marathon. Most of my long runs are like 10:20-10:40 minutes/mile. I can run faster, but I tire out quicker - no big surprise, right? My friend is encouraging me, saying that the taper-down at the end of the program will help and I should be able to run 30 seconds faster easy. I dunno, I certainly don't feel like it - I am at the point where my mind may be my worst enemy. Which would be different - I am an optimist, and i'm confident in my running ability. For some reason running faster than what I settled into for my long runs is harder. Maybe it is just because I am racking up more miles weekly than ever before.

I keep going back and forth on whether I should set my goal lower, or start slow and finish faster, or try to stick to one pace. I suppose I am going to go by feel on the day of the race. It looks like it will be cold and rainy - not bad running weather! My pace for 2:00 should be 9:09 minutes/mile - I managed to do a few runs at that pace, 3 or 5 miles and even faster for a 2 miler this past Wednesday.

Since this is my blog and relates to my health challenges - here is the latest. My MS is doing good, losing weight and getting fitter have been everything I've hoped  they would be - I just feel great most of the time, and not suffering any fatigue. My spasticity and parasthesia have been firmly under control, no balance problems, no vision problems with intense exercise - remember, when I didn't know I had MS I couldn't play soccer at times because my eyes felt like they were crossed. That, thankfully, was resolved in the first steroid treatment.

On top of the MS I have another concern that is back up on my radar. Since birth I have had a heart defect - a bicuspid aortic valve. So where normally there are three 'leaflets' closing the heart valve and preventing blood from leaking back in, I only have two. So there is a gap and a leak - the heart murmer I've had since childhood. Now, as a good parent who realizes he has to take care of himself - now more than ever. I have been seeing my cardiologist yearly. But this most recent year he was concerned. The valve diameter has increased from 4.7 to 5.0 cm. This is caused by an aneurysm, which is thinning of the walls of the heart. What the hell! I met my quota of medical conditions, no more please! He is not concerned, just wants me back in 3 months, no need to change my exercise patterns...

Hoping for a good run on Sunday, and that I will surprise myself. I have to remember to be happy to finish either way, it is 13.1 miles after all!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Surprisingly good week!

I never thought I would be able to say at the end of my short runs for the week - that I feel great!

Sunday I ran 10 miles in 1:43 and that felt great, I even pushed my last mile and it was the fastest mile of the ten, so I was feeling really good. Tired, a little sore, but no real knee or plantar pain. What a great feeling :).

The next day is where I ran into several problems and learned some lessons that I will not be in a rush to repeat. This was Labor day but my Avonex nurse was coming out to help me with the Avonex Pen for the first time. The past few months I was using the pre-filled syringe and manually injecting. I had done one, with problems, last week after just viewing the video. I didn't get the needle on tight enough and when I turned the injector over to get it ready for my leg... the needle dropped onto the floor! Needless to say I couldn't use that needle, so I did the injection using one of the other packages the next day.

She went over the usual, mostly I knew what to do already, did the injection and took two Advil. Still felt good, the shot was completely painless, I almost didn't know if it had gone in until I took out the injector and saw the needle. I capped it and made notes to self:

  1. contact biogen to try to get a new syringe for my 4th week instead of refilling the script early
  2. order a new sharps container that has pre-labelled shipping
Next on the agent, short hike with kids and dogs. Sister and two dogs, wife and son, friends and their twins and one dog. We were a pack! This was a good 2.5-3 mile hike in Upton State Forest, obviously we took it slow because of all the kids and dogs. But the 2nd half was purely uphill. I was starting to feel it in my legs. Back at the car I was wiped, and started to feel hot. Temp was spiking from the shot, seems to be harder to get under control than the Rebif was, and not only that - once home (temp 100.1) it kept going up even after taking 2 Tylenol. After 40 minutes I checked again (temp 103.9) and took 2 more Advil. About 1.5 hours after that it started to subside.

Well, two important lessons in my blog post of lists:

  1. pre-medicate and post-medicate vigorously and possibly the next day
  2. don't do a 3 mile hike on an off-day after a 10 mile run
That ends my lessons for self!