Tag Archives: Running

Tuesday’s Thought

I turned my knee slightly over the weekend, and was struggling on my run this morning.  It probably would have been the smarter thing to take a rest day today, but it was just too nice this morning.  I decided to take the shorter loop as my knee was a little tight when I left the house, and it was just about the halfway point (where I start back uphill) in my run that I seemed to struggle the most.  I have said before that i do not run with headphones, running in the early morning I tend to find it easier to hear what is going on around me, so the only music I hear is what is going on in my head.

One thing that I have noticed recently is that when I am struggling on runs, the same lyrics seem to pop in my head.  I seem to always hear part of the chorus of “one foot” by Fun.  It’s not even the entire chorus, just the same line of it repeated over and over…”I put one foot in front of the other one”.  I find this a little odd for 2 reasons.

The first reason is that I don’t know the lyrics to this song, and I have never really looked at/thought about the lyrics.  I probably could not give you more than that line from the song.  It is not the most motivating of songs in my opinion, It would not be on an iPod if I used one for a run.  I could easily name at least 10 songs off the top of my head that I would use to pump me up, or motivate me.  But for some reason these are they lyrics that seem to come into my head when I have been struggling.

While there are plenty of songs that would be much better motivation, these lyrics have been helping me to focus through those areas where I am struggling.  Essentially on a run that is what you are doing, putting one foot in front of the other.  However, the tempo of the song does not really match the pace of my normal run.

Whatever it is, it has been helping me push through the points in my runs where I have been struggling.  It is interesting to think about what goes through my head when I am out on a run.  So the question of the day is, what goes through your head on a run?

Why I run (Part two, the journey)

At the time a broke my leg I was weighing around 275-280, and the one thing I was thinking was that if I was in better shape, I might not be sitting in this hospital bed.  I knew I had a long recovery in front of me, and I decided to make the best of it.

Me before I broke my Leg
Me before I broke my Leg, Sometime late 2010

The recovery process was a long one.  It started with 5 days in the hospital, and I started PT at home the Friday after the injury.  I actually only took a week off of work.  Though this was mainly because I had just started my job in December and had not accumulated that many sick days at that point.  I was cleared by my Dr. but was also told that I could not leave my desk.  This made things a little interesting when I needed a glass of water, I had to find a coworker to go get it for me.  The first few months of PT was not much more than mobility exercises with the ankle.  I was not able to actually put any weight on the leg until June, and by the end of just I was able to move around without crutches.  Though it was exhausting to walk around for any length of time.  (On another note I was out in Lake Tahoe and San Francisco area in June for my cousins wedding, neither of those places is any fun on crutches).

Once I got back from California I ditched the Crutches for good.  Progress was slow, but I was able to get out and walk after work.  Much better than previously where all I did was go to work eat and read (but it did allow me to read the first 5 books of A Song of Ice and Fire in 6 weeks).  It took a few weeks to be able to walk more than a mile before coming home and having to ice my leg, but eventually I was able to get a 5 mile walk without having to stop.  About this time I was starting to do some running at PT as well and was cleared to start running on my own.  That was a challenge, I was able to run for a little over 1.5 miles without stopping, and I was not even keeping record of my pace.  But then again that was not the point, I had a lot of strength and endurance to get back to where I was before i broke my leg.  It took a few weeks, but it was gradually coming back.

My last PT session was in late August, which was a big milestone as I had been there 2-3 times a feel for the better part of 5 months.  That was also the time practices were starting up, and while I was not able to play that Fall, at the time I was debating if I would ever step on the field again, I knew this would be a good time to get out of the house and do some running.  I would run to the field twice a week and do as much conditioning work as my leg would let me.  For the drills I would not do I would do sprint work on the side of the field if I could.  This continued all fall, and because I could not play that season I got back in to refereeing youth soccer on saturdays to get in more running.  Come that winter I made sure that I went out a few times a week for a run.  By Spring I was easily getting through 5 mile runs and starting to work on speed on those runs.  I also decided that I would give Rugby another shot that spring (The incident did not happen in a set play, but a bad play in open field, so I wanted to give it a try and not regret in years down the line).  A big part of me was very hesitant, but I knew that I would know very quickly If I would be able to play again.  I stayed out of contact for the first few practices, but realized if i kept doing that I would never get back in.  The first tackling drill I jumped in I had no hesitation in hitting or taking a hit, I knew I could play again.  The spring season was rather uneventful, but I was running more and getting faster and stronger.  I had lost a few pounds after the injury as I was being more active, but I decided i wanted to lose a lot more and get in better shape.

That spring I had a few friends run the Pittsburgh Marathon and seeing that I did not have anything to do that sunday I went down to cheer people on.  Seeing as I needed a workout I decided to take the bike down and try and see friends at a few places along the course.  I enjoyed it enough that I decided I would give it a try in 2012.

Looking back on my training for the 2013 Half marathon I had even less of a clue about what I was doing than I do now.  I figured my normal 4-5 mile runs, 4-5 times a week, would be good enough training.  I did a few slightly longer runs as well, but those were few and far between.  I was lucky enough that my friend Chelsea over at http://www.pittsburghcitygirl.com convinced me that I probably should do a few longer runs in preparation.   It was nice pushing myself, it also helped me eat better and overall become a healthier person.  During this training process I lost a bit of weight.

Taken about a month after my first half marathon.
Taken about a month after my first half marathon.

My First Half Marathon was the Pittsburgh Marathon in 2013, tomorrow will be my third.  I was very happy with my first, still a PR to this day 1:52.03.  I should have beat that last year, but I pulled a hamstring about the half way point.  I finished but was rather disappointed with my 1:57 finish.  When i signed up for this year my goal was a sub 1:40, and if this race was two months ago I think I would have hit it.  I am still hoping that tomorrow will be a new PR, but if not I know I have 2 more races coming up and I will break the 1:50 mark this summer.   As for the weight loss, I have put some back on in the last year or so, but with the warmer weather and being outside I know that I will take most of that off again soon.

Why I Run (part one, the incident)

Everyone seems to have their own story or reason they run.  A few people I know got into it as a result, or because of weightless, some people because they thought it would be a less expensive sport to get into (the joke is on them).  But everyone seems to have their own reason as to why they started, and enjoy running.

I have always been an athlete, in middle school I even ran cross country, I was not the best but I did enjoy it.  High school I played soccer and swam.  With soccer i did a lot of running and sprint work as part of training.  When I hit college, that kind of stopped, I was not playing any organized sport the first semester I was on campus and started to put on a few pounds.  I tried out for the soccer team, and if I would have done any running over the summer I would have made it.  One of the last things we did for the open tryout, I think there were 3 of us left at this point, was a 2 mile run.  I saw i ran it in about 18 minutes and knew I had no chance.  By spring semester I missed the aspect of being on a team, so I joined the rowing team.  This did keep me in shape for the rest of college, even though I was not eating the healthiest, the amount I worked out kept me from adding on the pounds.

However after graduation I did not really do anything for about 8 months, the most I could say I ran was many a 2-3 mile jog in a week.  I knew I wanted to give Rugby a try, but I also knew I would not step on that field without health insurance, so that had to wait until I found a job with benefits.  Once I found a job with benefits, I joined the Pittsburgh Rugby Club.  This got me back into somewhat of a workout schedule, 2 practices and at least one match each week during the season.  But I still was not really working out all that much on my own.  That all changed with an incident 4 years ago today.

The Pittsburgh Rugby Club was playing the Detroit Rugby Club.  If you remember spring 4 years ago you will remember that it was a really rainy spring.  It was in the second half of the B side game.  Detroit had the ball, My teammate was going to make a tackle and I was running in support.  Instead of making a tackle, The Detroit player was hit then swung around…his hip into my shin.   This occurred in a very muddy area of the field so at this point my foot was basically buried in the mud.  When I was hit, my leg had no where to go so the Detroit player basically went through my shin.  I knew my leg was broken before I hit the ground, the sidelines said it sounded like a shotgun blast.  Both bones, well 4 because they were broken in half, were sticking through the side of my leg.  We are lucky enough to have an orthopedic surgeon, or one of his fellows, at all of our home matches.  He was able to somewhat clean off the area and splint it up the best he could under the situation.  While we waited for the ambulance, and we did wait for about 45 minutes, Dr. Sam was on the phone with the surgeon on call at Mercy letting him know what was heading on.  It took about 45 minutes for the ambulance to get to the field, and I’m not exaggerating much on that, Dr. Sam later told me that he was about the call in a life flight as he thought if I waited much longer I may bleed out of the field.  One thing that I am happy about with this is that I never saw the actual injury, other than x-rays, and I do not believe any pictures exist of it.

When I saw the surgeon in the ER, the first thing he told me was a worst case, as he had not yet seen the x-rays, and this was the possibility of an external splint and a few weeks in the hospital.  Lucky for me he cam back a short time late and said that I was lucky and it was a clean break, I should be out of the hospital in a few days.  The Surgery went fine, and I now have a to this day I still have a rod through my Tibia and a few interesting scars on my leg.  I spent the better part of a week in the hospital because they were worried about infection due to the muddy conditions which I broke my leg in.  But those 5 days in the hospital gave me some serious time to think, even if it was because of the drug induced state.  I was laying in a hospital bed with a broken leg, at the time I weighed 275-280lbs., and looking back I can honestly say I was not exactly happy with the shape I was in.  Something had to change, I was thinking to myself that if I were in better shape, I probably would not be sitting in the hospital bed.

(to be continued tomorrow)

Five Things Friday (4/17/15)

Happy Friday everyone.  I hope everyone is as ready for the weekend as I am.  Anyway here are to weeks 5 things.

1) This weekend my rugby team plays Cleveland.  This is basically a playoff game for us, so we need to come away with a win.  We would still make playoffs if we lose, but it would most likely mean a long road trip next week against as higher seeded team.  Hoping to have a longer recap on this game.

2) The Pittsburgh marathon is quickly approaching, and I feel that my trainning lately is really off.  I’m not worried at all about finishing, and I should still break 2 hours, but I really wanted to break 1:40, and I don’t think that is going to happen.  My legs just seem too tight this week to keep a decent pace for any amount of time.  Hopefully I can figure out what is going on and fix it ASAP.  If anyone has any suggestions I would love to hear them.

3) Two months from tomorrow I will be starting my alaska adventure 2015.  I can’t wait to get up there and see more of the state than I have had the chance to in the past.  

4) I have decided this summer I will be finishing my back yard, hopefully by the time that I get back from Alaska to have a cookout wi all the fish I plan on bringing back.  This is going to be a bit of a project, and one that I will not really be able to do on my own.  So don’t be suprised if you hear a little more about this project in the near future.  I need to get on it if I’m going to get things done in the next few months.

5) It’s finally starting to feel like spring.  Which makes it that much easier to get up and go for a run in the AM.  While it is still dark on those runs, it is star tending to brighten up before I get home.  I’m really hoping that this helps break the funk I have beeni in lately.  I am sill waiting to see the sun rise while I am out on my morning run, but I know that will be here before I know it.


I have always been someone who has had very tight hamstrings; however, it has never been too much of an issue…until recently that is.  The last few weeks the have been both tight and sore.  It is starting to get to the point where I think it is starting to affect my runs and other activities.  I know my gate has changes slightly (at least based on blisters in places I normally don’t get them), this has had an effect on my speed and stride, and overall tightness in my back.

While I said that my tight hamstrings generally do not cause issues, it would not be the first time.  Back in college when I was on the Rowing team, there was a period where I as having knee issues.  By the time i went to the trainer to see if there was anything that he could do, i was told two things. First was that the knee issues were probably being caused by my hamstrings, and the second thing was that I probably had the tightest hamstrings that the individual had ever worked on.  I was given some stretches that helped and was told to come back if the issue persisted.  After a few days of doing these stretches the issues with my knee seemed to go away.

Fast forward to today.  I still do most of those stretches, and I have added in a few others over the years…and recently I have found the foam roller.  The only real difference recently is that i have not been getting in my normal morning run, or gym workout.  While I do stretch out a little before a run or workout, I have never been a person to stretch out before a workout or stretch cold for that matter.  I just do not feel like I get a good stretch unless my muscles are warmed up first.  that being said i do get in a light stretch when I wake up and before I go to bed along with after any workout.  Now that my schedule has gotten back to being a little more normal, I am starting to get back into the morning runs/workouts.  I’m hoping this helps as I get a really good stretch in after these runs.  If not I could be in a little trouble as the weather is becoming nice again and I am looking forward to building up the miles to catch up for a rather disappointing January and February.

Does anyone else deal with Extremely tight hamstrings?  Other than stretch more, what do you do to help keep the hamstrings loose?

Five Things Friday (3-27-15)

This year seems to be flying by.  I can’t believe its already the end of March.  Hopefully that means that there is warmer weather just around the corner…I’m getting tired of running in the 30’s.  Now that Rugby is getting back to it’s normal practice schedule, hopefully I can stay on top of this blog.

1 – This summer I am going to Alaska to run in the Mayors midnight Sun half marathon.  My Friends Chelsea and Lauren are doing up as well.  At this point we have a loose agenda, but we are still looking to book things.  If you have any suggestions in the Anchorage, Kodiak, Denali area please feel free to let me know.  I’m really pushing for a Halibut fishing trip, though my travel companions do not know this yet.  After all Who does not love fresh seafood.

2 – I’m looking to become a half fanatic this summer.  After I complete Anchorage I will qualify for Neptune, but if I can find another around the end of May, I will be able to jump up to Saturn (I will have PA, WV, and Alaska in 7 weeks).  I should be able to find one in Ohio in that timeframe.  I just need to choose a race.

3 – Rugby starts this weekend with a warmup tournament in West Virginia.  Not sure I am really ready for the season to start up, but its here.  Two league matches after Easter and them playoffs.  The season will be over before I know it though.

4 – This summer I really need to get some work done on my backyard.  Even if i don’t get the patio finished, I need to get a retaining wall built and make the area more useable.  My new neighbors who moved in back in December, have been working overtime getting their yard ready.  I feel like i need to accomplish something in the backyard this summer.  Hopefully you will see some pictures of the progress as soon as the weather warms up.

5 – I am strongly considering signing up and training for the Pittsburgh Triathlon in August.  I have never done one, and really don’t know where to start training for it.  I would not do the international, but the sprint.  It would only be a 600M swim, a 20K bike, and a 5K run.  I still have some time to decide, but it I am very tempted to sign up at this point.