Friday, June 28, 2013

Spartan Beast 2013 Killington

Sometimes a lot happens between posts. This is one of those times. Here are the highlights:
  1. new MS medicine starting soon - Tecfidera, no more shots!
  2. new goal race for the year!
  3. new training program and app!
  4. FUN new gadgets, shoes, and stuff!!
Clearly the most important thing for this blog is my new prescription for Tecfidera - which is one of the new breed of MS drugs which are taken orally and no longer require injections. I've been suffering from shot fatigue for more than year - really ever since stopping Rebif. I was on Avonex for a year, which was a nice change from 3 times/week to once per week injection. However, I had a hard time sticking with it. Which is odd because IM (intra-muscular) shots really hurt a lot less than SC (sub-cutaneous) shots overall. But I couldn't get past the side effects, fever and stiffness. When Tecfidera came out I knew I would switch some day. My neighbor was a marketing director for the drug and had been filling me in on it for years. Efficacy is high and I have good expectations -- how else should I go into this? :).

Anyway, it was really hard being on the Avonex and staying on my fitness plan. Spasticity was getting really bad, getting in the way of my choice to be highly fit. Not sure if I was going to be able to stay on track for a marathon and complete one of my Year 40 objectives. Now that I have been off it, unfortunately, there are more obstacles to overcome. I'm not nearly spasticity free, my muscles are tight in my legs and back. As either a cause or affect of this, my knees are sore. It doesn't help that I have osteo-arthritis in my knees.

Which leads me to another decision-point. I have decided to aim lower distance-wise and instead of focusing on the marathon I'm going to try to achieve much greater overall fitness and complete the Spartan Beast at Killington. For this, I'm hoping my place in the NE Spahtens obstacle racing team will provide me with camaraderie to push through the pain and complete the race! I saw these guys earlier in the year at the MS Muck Ruckus and it was inspiring to see such a large group of people helping the cause for MS. Previously I had created a team and 9 of my family, friends and coworkers joined to raise over $2200. What an experience, I'm 2nd from the left, top row!  

Alright, so on to the next item of interest. Since talking to an old soccer friend from high school who has been through more than a dozen knee surgeries, and seeing some interesting articles. I have been trying to find Hoka One One running shoes to see if I can give my knees a rest. So far, I'm using the Bondi S for my street runs, and not exactly feeling the knee relief I was hoping for. Perhaps because I am so used to minimalist shoes now? Not sure, but too late to return them. Still hoping to order a pair of their trail shoes since the majority of my runs are on trails now. However, two different sizes of the Mafate 2 didn't work, so that is a dead end so far. I may have to try some New Balance minimalist trail shoes. Who knows, in the end I may decide my Merrell Trail Gloves (favorite shoe of all time) are actually the best option for me, on the trail at least! I expect to try another Hoka One One trail shoe middle of the summer. Zappos has been a great place to order with easy free return shipping.

With the Spartan Beast as my goal race for the year I have been able to dial back my road running, bump up my trail running and a LOT of strength/cross training. This has been great, no separate muscle building/marathon programs. I got a 16 week program from Training Peaks. I'm in the middle of week 4, a bit of a rest week, about an hour less time than last week. I think last week was the hardest I ever trained. Double sessions most days a lot of jump rope and squats. My knees are suffering a bit, hence I gave myself and extra rest day this week - iced them... Not sure what else to try, this could be a limiting factor, or the jump rope and/or squats could just be too much for them. Time will tell.

Alright, I'm still super-motivated so I got one of the new Fitbit Flex bracelets because I thought it would be fun, and I'm interested in the sleep tracker. Only a few days in so nothing to report, but it should prove interesting and I just can't resist gadgets. Now I have a lot of bling on my wrists. Watch/flex on one, RoadID on the other!

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