Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Deep Tissue Massage

As I walked back in the house, I handed my husband her card, uttering three little words: "I. Dare. You." On it was the name of a massage therapist who specializes in deep tissue and sports rehabilitative massage.

Just two hours prior, I was laying face up on a table, answering the cursory "first massage" questions.

"Have you had a massage before?" she inquired.

"Yes." I answered.

"I see you've requested a deep tissue massage. Have you ever had one of those before?"

"Yes." It really wasn't a lie. Seriously. At least a dozen, if not more. I thought I had anyway.

Forty-five minutes later, I was laying face down on sweaty sheets. I'd have been crying from pain, but was too exhausted. Sweat was pouring off of my body so heavily, her hands were slipping. And I started out cold, with goose-bumps. I've never sweated from the pain of a massage before.

"You're handling this better than 90% of the men I do."

"Really," I gasped, as I was trying to imagine the sanity of any man, woman or child willingly putting themselves through this. It was like childbirth. Trust me, I know. I've had four. And by now, she'd taught me how to breathe through it to help the muscle under attention stay relaxed. No matter than every OTHER muscle in my body was as tense as a nervous racehorse. I kept telling myself to "embrace the pain." A key tactic I'm going to use to get through those final 6.2 miles in Chicago.

Once finished and able to speak clearly again, I noted: "You've redefined 'deep tissue' massage for me."

"Yes, I get that a lot. Most places that offer deep tissue massage give more of a deep Swedish massage. I'm specially trained to give the therapeutic deep tissue massage, and it does go very deep," she explained.

I'm not sure really what I was thinking. But, let's hope there some benefit from all this!

IMPORTANT POST SCRIPT, Sunday, September 28, 2008. The first and second day after this massage (previous Wednesday), I noticed swelling continued and I had some bruising and extreme tenderness on my legs (among other problems directly related to this massage). This also hampered my runs for the next few days, and I ended scaling back a few runs and ultimately taking a day off as a result. I thought it was worth noting Vince's reaction at this point (I will never request "deep tissue" again):

"The woman that massaged you should never be allowed to put her hands on another human being again. If you have bruising, there was damage done to the tissue (she went hard enough to cause internal bleeding). This may not ordinarily be a problem, but your body is already trying to recover from the 20 miler, and is now forced to recover from the massage. The same benefits of deep tissue massage can be accomplished over several sessions of lighter massage, gradually working into the tissue. There are several schools of thought on this but believe me, this woman's technique was old school. There have been very few (if any) studies done to show any benefit to this type of work. There was absolutely no way for you to know this, but it makes me very upset when I hear that people are practicing this type of work on athletes. I followed a 10k a few years back with a "deep tissue" massage that landed me a torn hamstring and 2 months off. I've work with lots of therapists, and the most effective never had to go hard, they just knew the body."

Sunday, September 21, 2008

First Hammergel before we started left me dry heaving, and I was pretty sure it was going to end up on top of the wrapper at the bottom of the trash barrel. Not a good sign to start.

But, as the run began, things clicked. I managed 3 more fuelings at mile 5, 10, 15 without puking (good)! In fact, the warmer it got, the better it tasted (go figure).

The last half was a strong negative split, and I had more left! What a great feeling :-) last three miles at race pace without really trying.

My worst problem is a blister that has reformed on my left foot. No big deal, I can run through that kind of pain.

Thanks, Rick and Karen for supporting me on this run! It wouldn't have been such a success without you--your pacing (Rick) and water stops (Karen)!

Route:--Elev. Avg:743 ft
Location:Blue Springs, MOElev. Gain:-13 ft
Date:09/21/08Up/Downhill: [+1000/-1013]
Time:06:56 AMDifficulty:4.0 / 5.0
Weather:A Few Clouds
 66 F temp; 86% humidity
 66 F heat index; winds S 5

Distance: 20.01 miles
Speed:6.5 mph
Pace:9' 14 /mi
Elevation (ft)
Pace (min/mile)
MilePace (min/mile)Speed (mph)Elevation
actual+/- avgactual+/- avg
19' 28+0' 146.3-0.2+3 ft
29' 23+0' 096.4-0.1-14 ft
39' 38+0' 246.2-0.30 ft
49' 22+0' 086.4-0.10 ft
59' 23+0' 096.4-0.1-10 ft
69' 21+0' 076.4-0.1+20 ft
79' 41+0' 276.2-0.3-19 ft
89' 24+0' 106.4-0.1+23 ft
99' 16+0' 026.5-0.0-3 ft
109' 18+0' 046.5-0.0+6 ft
119' 14+0' 006.5-0.0-9 ft
129' 09-0' 056.5+0.1+17 ft
139' 25+0' 116.4-0.1+7 ft
148' 53-0' 216.8+0.30 ft
159' 07-0' 076.6+0.1-6 ft
169' 02-0' 126.6+0.1-20 ft
179' 06-0' 086.6+0.1+13 ft
188' 52-0' 226.8+0.3-4 ft
198' 41-0' 336.9+0.40 ft
208' 35-0' 397.0+0.50 ft
end8' 20-0' 547.2+0.7-16 ft
Versus average of 9' 14 min/mile

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Friday, September 19, 2008

Book Review: It's Not About the Bike

It's Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life, Lance Armstrong 2001.

I'm not a cyclist; I didn't have cancer. That being said, this is my second favorite book of all time, and there were times I cried with empathy and other times celebrated the comeback right along with the story. I, too, came back from the brink of death, against every possible medical odd--a story someday I'll tell. But, not yet.

Lance tells in vivid detail the harrowing story of his surprise diagnosis (I had no idea it was this severe), every horrible aspect of chemotherapy to become whole, and his triumph against every possible odd along the way. It's a story of friendship and teamwork. If you think you can beat cancer alone, or win the Tour de France alone, you'll feel differently after you read this. If you haven't picked it up, and need some inspiration, this is a MUST read!

Certainly one of the greatest endurance athletes of all time--if not THE greatest--Lance has captured the epitome of the mindset: "Why did I ride when I had cancer? Cycling is so hard, the suffering is so intense, that it's absolutely cleansing. You can go out there with the weight of the world on your shoulders, and after a six-hour ride at a high pain threshold, you feel at peace. The pain is so deep and strong that a curtain descends over your brain. At least for a while you have a kind of hall pass, and don't have to brood on your problems; you can shut everything else out, because the effort and subsequent fatigue are absolute."

And for me, he's captured why I run: "But now I knew exactly why I was riding: if I could continue to pedal a bike, somehow I wouldn't be so sick." "As long as I could move, I was healthy." "Move. If you can still move, you aren't sick." I embrace this thought daily; the fear of being sick again, regressing, somehow letting my illness take hold of me and pull me back down means that I run almost every day. I panic when I don't run for this very reason. If I can still run, everything is OK. If I can run faster than last month, I'm getting better... not sicker.

I'll close on one of his final thoughts: "I would just like to say one thing. If you ever get a second chance in life for something, you've got to go all the way." Enough said.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

20-Miler Coming Up

I look at the countdown to Chicago, and it's only 25 days. Just typing that sends me into a mild state of panic; I feel a rush and butterflies in my tummy. By now, with three marathons down, I have a pretty good idea of what I'm getting into. I may be tipping from "Healthy Respect" to downright "Fear."

Of what am I most afraid? Well.. blowing up at 20 miles. Am I ready? For the second half? The remaining 6.2 miles? I'm not worried about finishing. I've done that. I really, really need to qualify. And THAT is not going to be an easy task.

What am I struggling with the most? My fueling after 16 miles. I'm good up until then (should have been a half marathoner). But I continue to run into GI issues every time I try to fuel and go farther than that. It could be nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps... or worse. With help from my buddy Rick, I'm going to try a new approach on Sunday with some new products that are designed to be easier to digest and no caffeine. We'll also be watching my electrolytes and supplementing those separately. If I can nail the fueling problem, I think I have a good shot.

This weekend will mark my final meaningful long run; my single 20-miler. I wish that I'd had a few under my belt for this race, but I don't. That being said, I've been at 50-ish miles a week for quite some time. Running six times a week, there are plenty of hard working quality miles in there. I've never worked harder for anything in my life. I'm probably running enough (that's Vince's job). It's just ... different from what "everyone else" is doing.

Because it's my one and only 20-miler, I'm taking it very seriously. I'm getting up three hours before, and starting at exactly the same time as race day (8 AM). I'm eating the same food, wearing the same clothes, carrying the same fuel I intend to carry, and even bought the same drink they are supplying on the course (Gatorade Endurance Lemon-Lime). I'm running a course that is largely flat and paved (like the race course).

I'm very pleased to have not only a buddy to run it with, but his wife supporting us on the course itself. That will allow us to refresh on fluid without resting or stopping. This run is about stressing my body as much as possible with race-like conditions. How two people have agreed to help me on this effort is utterly beyond me.

The only caveat: It will NOT be done at race pace. In fact, I'm hoping it will take nearly as long as the race itself to complete; just to be on my feet for that long. We're shooting to keep it fairly relaxed and easy.

Cheers, and let's see how it goes!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Adams Dairy Sunday Morning

I just get a kick out of posting the hills. They used to seem bigger.

This was a nice, easy recovery run for me, which I ran with Rick.

We got stopped by car traffic at one point. Well, I did, he sprinted across.

Very pleasant morning. Felt good.

Route:--Elev. Avg:904 ft
Location:Blue Springs, MOElev. Gain:-26 ft
Date:09/07/08Up/Downhill: [+856/-882]
Time:05:32 AMDifficulty:3.3 / 5.0
57 F temp; 96% humidity
57 F heat index; winds Calm

Distance: 7.46 miles

Speed:6.2 mph

Pace:9' 43 /mi


Elevation (ft)
Pace (min/mile)
MilePace (min/mile)Speed (mph)Elevation
actual+/- avgactual+/- avg
110' 30+0' 475.7-0.5-13 ft
210' 00+0' 176.0-0.2-40 ft
39' 41-0' 026.2+0.0+62 ft
49' 22-0' 216.4+0.2-20 ft
59' 48+0' 056.1-0.1+33 ft
69' 35-0' 086.3+0.1-6 ft
79' 12-0' 316.5+0.3-10 ft
end8' 58-0' 456.7+0.5-32 ft
Versus average of 9' 43 min/mile

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Friday, September 5, 2008

I've never felt better, I've never felt stronger. By mile 12, it borderlined on spiritual. I was flying, I didn't have to dig deep.

My fastest 13 miles ever was my best run ever. I wasn't trying for fast. This was my "whatever" run. I loved every minute of it, and what a difference 6 days make!

Cheers to my running buddy, Rick, who helped make it happen!

Route:--Elev. Avg:748 ft
Location:Jackson, MOElev. Gain:+13 ft
Date:09/05/08Up/Downhill: [+577/-564]
Time:05:23 PMDifficulty:3.4 / 5.0
Weather:A Few Clouds
 68 F temp; 67% humidity
 68 F heat index; winds N 6

Distance: 13.00 miles
Speed:6.9 mph
Pace:8' 39 /mi
Elevation (ft)
Pace (min/mile)
MilePace (min/mile)Speed (mph)Elevation
actual+/- avgactual+/- avg
18' 51+0' 126.8-0.2+16 ft
28' 40+0' 016.9-0.0-27 ft
38' 43+0' 046.9-0.1+16 ft
48' 41+0' 026.9-0.0-10 ft
58' 44+0' 056.9-0.1-3 ft
68' 45+0' 066.8-0.1-20 ft
78' 43+0' 046.9-0.1+16 ft
88' 38-0' 016.9+0.0+3 ft
98' 40+0' 016.9-0.0+3 ft
108' 29-0' 107.1+0.1+6 ft
118' 33-0' 067.0+0.1-13 ft
128' 34-0' 057.0+0.1+26 ft
end8' 18-0' 217.2+0.3-3 ft
Versus average of 8' 39 min/mile

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Thursday, September 4, 2008

Started out with a steady rain that by mile 3 had faded to a mere drizzle. Fun, somewhat hilly run. Fantastic way to start the day!

Thanks, Rick!

Route:--Elev. Avg:902 ft
Location:Blue Springs, MOElev. Gain:-17 ft
Date:09/04/08Up/Downhill: [+770/-787]
Time:05:58 AMDifficulty:3.3 / 5.0
Weather:Light Rain
 60 F temp; 93% humidity
 60 F heat index; winds NE 15

Distance: 7.07 miles
Speed:6.3 mph
Pace:9' 28 /mi
Elevation (ft)
Pace (min/mile)
MilePace (min/mile)Speed (mph)Elevation
actual+/- avgactual+/- avg
110' 19+0' 515.8-0.5-19 ft
29' 51+0' 236.1-0.2-29 ft
39' 44+0' 166.2-0.2+72 ft
48' 54-0' 346.7+0.4-43 ft
59' 32+0' 046.3-0.0+36 ft
69' 23-0' 056.4+0.1+7 ft
78' 32-0' 567.0+0.7-26 ft
end7' 23-2' 058.1+1.8-13 ft
Versus average of 9' 28 min/mile

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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Ran alone. In the rain. Matched my mood perfectly. My hair swung in wet ringlets and my waterproof sleeves gathered water. Maybe it took the edge off.

After the 9 mi, I stripped off all my gear, including my rain jacket, and did strides uphill as hard as I could. In the rain.

Bonus, I only had to add soap and rinse off for my shower. No need to get wet.

Route:--Elev. Avg:912 ft
Location:Lake Lotawana, MOElev. Gain:-3 ft
Date:09/03/08Up/Downhill: [+748/-751]
Time:10:50 AMDifficulty:5.0 / 5.0
Weather:Mostly Cloudy
 85 F temp; 85% humidity
 98 F heat index; winds SE 14 G 21

Distance: 9.00 miles
Speed:6.4 mph
Pace:9' 22 /mi
Elevation (ft)
Pace (min/mile)
MilePace (min/mile)Speed (mph)Elevation
actual+/- avgactual+/- avg
110' 07+0' 455.9-0.5+13 ft
29' 36+0' 146.2-0.2-13 ft
39' 25+0' 036.4-0.0-4 ft
49' 21-0' 016.4+0.0+4 ft
59' 17-0' 056.5+0.10 ft
69' 11-0' 116.5+0.1-4 ft
78' 57-0' 256.7+0.30 ft
89' 13-0' 096.5+0.1-14 ft
99' 04-0' 186.6+0.2+13 ft
Versus average of 9' 22 min/mile

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Monday, September 1, 2008

Great run, got a little lost, but figured it out using the Garmin tracker!

Route:--Elev. Avg:851 ft
Location:Blue Springs, MOElev. Gain:+36 ft
Date:09/01/08Up/Downhill: [+734/-698]
Time:09:29 AMDifficulty:4.0 / 5.0
 79 F temp; 69% humidity
 82 F heat index; winds S 8

Distance: 7.07 miles
Speed:6.2 mph
Pace:9' 41 /mi
Elevation (ft)
Pace (min/mile)
MilePace (min/mile)Speed (mph)Elevation
actual+/- avgactual+/- avg
110' 06+0' 255.9-0.3-3 ft
29' 53+0' 126.1-0.10 ft
39' 42+0' 016.2-0.0+30 ft
49' 24-0' 176.4+0.2-49 ft
59' 16-0' 256.5+0.3-3 ft
610' 42+1' 015.6-0.6+66 ft
78' 42-0' 596.9+0.70 ft
end8' 37-1' 047.0+0.8-3 ft
Versus average of 9' 41 min/mile

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