Stop thief !

Tuesday, November 29, 2005
45:00 | soft sand Wow, the stormy and chunderous seas of the last couple of days have eroded my beloved beach away. How rude ! I arrived down at the beach about 8.30pm and I immediately noticed the roar of the ocean and the huge storm swell coming unusually high up the sand. It wasn't until I got out of the car that I realized that the once deep lush sand of Bondi Beach was reduced to only about 30 metres to the water line at best. The erosion over the past few days has been massive and the storm surge had caused havoc with the Lifesavers' facilities built along the boardwalk as they were all open and drying out. I run along the line of garbage bins which are about 10 meters inside the sea wall (the blue line on the map above), which is usually high and dry. Amazingly, I was turning around the last garbage bin at North Bondi ankle deep in water. The roar of the crashing waves was so loud that the domestic aircraft flying overhead approaching the Coogee flight path, flew in silence above the headlands. Lets hope that Mother Nature can return the sand to the beach very soon. My run was without incident and I finished feeling a little weary but injury free. I iced and stretched the shins when I got home. My walk to work this morning was pain free - which is a change ! Mood: --->

Early morning park run.

Saturday, November 26, 2005
14km | moderate | no watch My run today was at first light. Amazingly the park was full of runners and cyclists. Why are these crazy people all out at 5.30am ? The weather was cool and overcast which was perfect for a run (and everything else it seems). My shins felt OK and I felt average to fair for the first lap of the two parks (7km). From there I started to feel much better and finished the run feeling pretty much on top of my game. Just as I ran into my driveway the heavens opened with a heavy downpour. Excellent timing ! Based on my run today - I'm in for the Central Coast Half next Sunday. I will run on the soft sand on Monday (45:00) & Wednesday (30:00) down at Bondi, then static bike on Friday to finish the taper. Not sure how I will go trying to hang on to the 1:50 train, but nevertheless very much looking forward to it all. Mood: --->

Bondi at dusk

Friday, November 25, 2005
35:00 | soft sand I had to zip down to Double Bay yesterday afternoon to see a client and rather than get a taxi home I decided to walk home to Queens Park. Note to self - don't walk for more than 1km in your work shoes ! Arrgh ! By the time I got home my shins were inflamed and very agitated. So my run down at Bondi later on was not as great as it should have been. I struggled to finish the last 10 mins and decided to pull the pin to save further strain on the shins. I iced and massaged with Voltaren gel (thanks Wobbly Man - its great stuff !) and am feeling OK today. I plan to run 14km in the park (50/50 grass/road) on Saturday morning and will decide after that if I will run the CC 1/2M on Sunday week. Mood: --->

Sand and lightning

Wednesday, November 23, 2005
33:07 | soft sand I had the watch set for a 45 mins workout on the sand last night at Bondi however I had to cut it short because of the dramas in the sky. I arrived about 8.30pm and the boardwalk was thick with tourists and locals enjoying the mild spring night. By the time I was on the sand the sky was flickering brightly both to the south and west. About 20mins into the run the lightning was moving closer and becoming more frequent. At one stage it was like being under and annoying fluorescent light tube that was on its way out. Soon the thunder became louder and I could see huge banks of tall cloud roll towards the beach. The angry sky was obviously getting closer (this assumption purely based on a scientific practice of saying one hippopotamus, two hippopotamus etc between the lightning and thunder claps) and it was when the hairs on my arms stood high to attention that I decided to wimp out and head for the car. Oh, the running ? No problems. Shins are a little sore but still on the improve. Mood: --->

Sunday in the park

Sunday, November 20, 2005
14km | grass | no watch A step up today in the distance felt really good. I needed to open the lungs up and just run for longer than the small stints I've been doing lately. Luckily, then shin rehab program has been paying dividends and I reckon running on the soft sand was a masterstroke. Go Larry. That combined with the fact that I've had ice on my shins morning and night for the last month. I started off today with lots a creeks and groans in all the joints which lasted until about the first 7kms. After that they seemed to settle down. I was feeling pretty good with about 4km from home that I upped the pace to finish at about 10km pace (no watch but it felt nippy anyway). Tuesday and Thursday I'm back on the sand. Mood: --->

Enter the Sandman

Saturday, November 19, 2005
45:00 | soft sand Dawn on Bondi Beach is a special time. A fresh north east breeze provided a little chill to the early morning walkers and surfers. I was feeling pretty strong and finished the run with no real issues. My shin is still tender, but at least running on the sand doesn't aggravate the problem, unlike the road run on Wednesday which left me sore on Thursday/Friday. Having said that, things are still improving. I am hoping that a grass run tomorrow morning will be gentle enough to let me rack up a few kms. If things go well I will try and run two laps around Centennial Park/Queens Park. Oh, see the UFO in the top right hand corner of the pic ? Spooky ... ;) Mood: --->

Just a quickie..

Thursday, November 17, 2005
7/8km | easy ..before the World Cup Qualifier started. No real problems. Iced with a cheer and a beer. Go us ! Mood: --->

Life's a beach

Tuesday, November 15, 2005
30:00 | soft sand I didn't run on Sunday. My official reason is that I was resting my shins. The unofficial reason is that I was hungover after a Saturday arvo BBQ for my daughter's 4th birthday and then after that a fundraiser at her Rushcutters Bay Pre-School on Saturday night. So having (just) recovered sufficiently I popped down to Bondi last night at 9.00pm for half an hour in the sand. It was a warm night with a nice on-shore breeze to cool you down. I pretty much had the beach to myself apart from the odd tourist on the boardwalk and two treasure hunters with metal detectors. My shins had settled down so much so that by yesterday afternoon I had no pain when walking and the inflamation had reduced to a small spot about the size of a 10c coin. This meant that I could run pretty much without any pain last night. Same goes for this morning - no pain walking to work. So its all good. I finished the 30 mins feeling quite fresh and iced up when I got home. I plan to run on the road on Wednesday for about 7kms and then back on the sand Friday night. Sunday will be a longer run on the grass if things are going OK. Feeling positive that I may have turned the injury corner. Fingers crossed that I feel the same way come Sunday night. Mood: --->

Another light run

Friday, November 11, 2005
4/5km | easy | no watch I managed a quick lap last night once the kids were fed, read and in bed. I am still getting pain in the shin when I walk about. On a scale of 1 to 10 (where 10 is being mauled by a bear) at the moment its about a 3/10. Having said that the inflammation has subsided somewhat, so I guess its improving - albeit slowly. I massaged the shin with Deep Heat just before I stretched and headed out. As I ran I tried to concentrate on my stride and foot strike. I don't know if it made any noticeable difference really. The pain stayed with me for pretty much the whole run. I finished in no more pain than I started so I guess that's a plus. I don't know why this patch of shin splints have occurred. It could be over use and also tired shoes. What I do know from past experience is that I just have to work through it and allow the body to repair and adapt. Guru Larry had me running through the past injury rather than having time off. In time my body adapted to the problem and strengthened the damaged area with a web of new muscle. I just have to wait for the body to stengthen the weak area. I will run on Sunday on the grass at Queens/Centennial Park as the soft surface will do me good. I wish I could find a grassy stretch somewhere close to home that I can run on at night. I have tried Queens Park in the past however it was way too dark and I'm scared of turning my ankle - and the boogie men ! ;) This Sunday is 3 weeks till the CC 1/2M. Whilst I'm still keen to run, I am wary of the hard concrete pathway around the lake. 21km on concrete is quite unforgiving so I am unsure if I should run or not. Part of me says I should just pop a neurophen plus and run it anyway, the other half of me is a little more sensible. No rush as entry is on the day so I will leave my decision to run or not, right up to the last minute. Mood: --->

A light run

Wednesday, November 09, 2005
4/5km | easy | no watch I ran last night for the first time since Thursday. I broke out the new shoes and hope that they at least make some difference in the short term. My left shin was still tender but at least not as swollen as it had been. I took it easy and tried to take the flattest route as possible. As usual I felt great from the waist up. If only my legs could keep up with the rest of my body I could run a marathon tomorrow. At the moment I feel like a Ferrari with 4 flat tires. OK, maybe a beaten up old Holden - but you get my drift ! I stretched and iced afterwards and notice that the shin swelling is not as pronounced this morning as it has been. Another light run on Thursday is on the menu as I ease my way back into it. Mood: --->

Home Remedies - Shin Splints

Tuesday, November 08, 2005
I found this on a US Athletics Coach's website. I do most of these daily, but I will make sure I add the few that I don't. Put ice on your shin. You can soothe sore shins by rubbing them for 20 minutes with ice that's been frozen in a paper cup, says Dr. Hersh. Or fill an empty bread bag with ice, wrap it in a towel, and strap the bag to the front of your shin with an elastic bandage for 20 to 30 minutes, says James M. Lynch, M.D., team physician for Pennsylvania State University in University Park. If you apply ice quickly, it reduces inflammation and eases pain, says Dr. Lynch. Mix in massage. Although a shin massage may not produce long-term benefits, you might feel at least temporary relief, says Dr. Lynch. The best approach: gently stroking the top of the lower leg with your thumbs for 15 to 20 minutes. Walk before you run. It's always best to warm up the muscles of the lower legs before you go on a run, according to Stone. One way is to ride a stationary bike for ten minutes. Or take a brief walk before you break into a full-paced canter. Pig out on hamstring stretches. Tight hamstrings--those tendons on the underside of your thighs--can literally knock you off your stride, says Stone. To keep hamstrings loose, she recommends the hurdler's stretch. After warming up, sit on the ground, extend your right leg forward, and place the bottom of your left foot on the inside of your right leg so that you're making a P with your legs. Slowly lean forward, reaching your hands to your right foot and keeping the small of your back down for a count of ten. Switch legs and repeat. Stretch your Achilles tendons. One of the best ways to avoid shin splints is to stretch the Achilles tendon--the tendon that joins your calf muscles to your heel. Here's how: Stand about three feet away from a wall and lean against it with your hands. Start with your legs shoulder-width apart, then move your right leg forward while keeping your left leg straight. Gently lean toward the wall until you can feel the stretch on the back of your left leg and hold for ten seconds. Repeat with the other leg, says Stone. Strengthen those shins. Shin pain is often caused by weak lower leg muscles. To build those shin muscles, Stone suggests the following routine: Sit on a table with your legs hanging over the edge. Hook one ankle through the handle of a backpack that has a book in it. Without moving your upper leg, flex your foot upward for two to three seconds. Repeat 10 to 12 times. Then switch feet and repeat. You can also strengthen your lower legs by performing basic lower leg exercises such as drawing each letter of the alphabet with the big toe of each foot in the air. Give your calves a moving experience. Your calf muscles can use some attention, too: With your shoes off, stand erect. Slowly rise onto your toes and make like a ballerina for a count of three. Lower and repeat 12 to 15 times. If that's too easy an exercise for your calves, you can make it more challenging by performing the same exercise while standing on a step and allowing your calves to stretch over the edge of the step. Be sure to hang on to something, so you don't fall down the stairs. Save your best stretch for last. Because research shows that your muscles are more elastic after they've been warmed up, a thorough stretch at the end of your workout will help eliminate any shin pain, says Stone. "The best time to work on flexibility problems that can cause shin splints is when you're finished exercising," she says. All exercises for hamstrings, tendons, shins and calves should be done after as well as before you begin your workout. Mood: --->

If it's OK for D K Lillee, it's OK for me

Monday, November 07, 2005
I was watching the cricket yesterday morning with my son and on came the Denis Lillee's ad about Glucosamine Sports showing a runner grimacing with pain. Then after taking the pills he runs about happy as Larry. Gronk Jnr pipes up and says "Dad you should try that !". He worries that I'm forever icing various bits of my legs and limping about. So taking the advice of D K Lillee and my 7 year old, I bought a pack ! In all seriousness, I had previously read up on it and was contemplating taking them for my metatarsil injury (amongst other things) that still gives me grief. The SPORTS preparation includes willow bark which is supposed to aid in recovery and have anti-inflammatory properties. We'll see in a month if Denis and Gronk Jnr are on the right track. Mood: --->

A free weekend

Saturday, November 05, 2005
I bailed out of Striders this morning as my shins were still tender to touch. So I will continue to ice, stretch, blah, blah. If I can manage a run on Sunday I'll give it a go, but I'm thinking that it might be best to leave it until Monday or Tuesday and kick off the week with new shoes and fresh shins. So its a nice day and I'm going down to the beach with the kids instead. Mood: --->

A quick lap

Friday, November 04, 2005
7km | 35:21 | Moderate I didn't get out of the house until about 9.30pm and really didn't feel like doing hill reps. So just did a quick lap from my place to Waverley, through the Junction a bit of Woollahra and home was all I could muster. I ran at a good pace and wasn't really troubled by any major niggles along the way. Having said that I did pull up a little sore on the upper shin, so I hit it with the ice and the voltaren gel before I went to bed. This morning it feels OK but there is noticable swelling. So if this run was a test to see if I could survive a run at any half decent pace, then I reckon I failed. We have the last race of the Sydney Striders 10km series tomorrow morning at that nasty Lane Cove National Park. My decision to run will depend on this shin injury which is being quite stubborn at the moment and just won't go away. I'll make my mind up later tonight. I think I'll crack open a new pair of shoes and ditch the 2100's (they have 550kms on them now) and see if that changes things. As I was running last night I was concentrating on the foot strike. Trying to hit with a flatish foot so that the heel was only lightly before the ball and toes. Towards the end on my run I felt a little pain in the upper shin at the point of the heel strike. Looking at my current shoes, there seems to be some compression and wear on the inside of the hell. I've got a new pair of Adrenilines under the bed so they'll do fine. As this injury has just "appeared" in the last week or two, I'm thinking that it may be triggered by old shoes. Worth a try I guess. Failing that I may have to go back to see Andy the Pod for adjustment on the orthotics. Unfortunately there seems to be no easy answer apart from just being patient. In the meantime, I'm stretching and doing the exercises given by Larry the Physio. Why do simple things sometimes have to be so complicated ? Mood: --->

Killing me softly

Wednesday, November 02, 2005
20:00 | Soft sand I drove down to Bondi last night about 8.30pm. The balmy spring night certainly dragged out the punters as the normally empty boardwalk was thick with tourists and joggers. Thankfully I have a Council Beach Pass which allows me free parking along the beach and I parked as close as I could get to North Bondi Surf Club. I stretched for a good 5 mins at home before I left and did some more calf stretches once I got down on the sand. I ran south along the row of bins and noticed that a few guys were doing the same. There seemed to be a well worn track that runners have made throughout the day so I kept to the left and turned around at the last bin at each end. I can't really remember running much on soft sand before. I think that whenever I have run on the beach previously it was always on the hard sand near the waters edge. Soft sand is certainly very different. Compared to road running, your stance is very much leaning forward and there is a tendency for your toes to dig into the sand. I was trying to run "on top of the sand" as Guru Larry suggested - but it was much easier said than done. I think I was getting the hang of it towards the end. After about 15 mins (which was about 2 laps of the beach) I was pretty buggered so I was happy to call it quits when my watch went off at 20 mins. I'd say that 20 mins on the sand would have to be an equivalent effort of double that or more on the road. It was a bit like running up a gentle hill for the whole 20 mins. As I was walking back to the car I reflected on the guys who run the soft sand marathon at Manly. Amazing stuff to pump away for 3/4/5 hours like that. Anyway, very happy with my workout and love that I have almost zero post run muscle woes. It was nice to experience a change of venue and surface and I'm very much looking forward to next Tuesday when I will try for 25 mins. Mood: --->

Mileage to date

Tuesday, November 01, 2005
A thread on CoolRunning comes up at the start of each month where all the greyhounds post their amazing monthly mileage. This prompted me to look at my LongRun spreadsheet and see what I've been up to. Not much compared to the greyhounds that's for sure. Anyway, I thought that a cool graph produced by this spreadsheet would make my Blog look very professional. So here goes... Not much to say about it apart from the time off for injury around the City to Surf really put a halt to my momentum. More like a crash ! Lets hope that I can build those distances up over the summer and maintain the upward trend. I recall the legendary Ultra Man Mr G logged once that he ran over 400km in a single month. Makes my 800 odd for the year look pretty crappy. Anyway, as I said - cool graph ! Mood: --->

Who you callin' a poser !?!

I met with Larry the Physio last night and we talked about my concerns with the imbalance with my left leg. Larry measured the diameter of my left calf and thigh and concluded that there was a notable difference with the left being much smaller than the right. I was surprised by this as I thought that this was a normal thing (people always have a stronger right hand if they are right handed for example). To the contrary and quite logically, Larry pointed out that the each leg has the same job and should be of equal strength. In one strength test of hopping on my toes on each leg for one minute, it was obvious that my left leg was by far the weaker. So we'll need to deal with that. Whilst treating the imbalance is an important factor of fixing the shin splints, overall its my running style that it causing the damage. It would appear that I am a heel striker. That's not a problem as many runners are heel strikers but my problem is that my heel hits the road hard and too far in front of my body. This has a breaking effect and causes impact stress on my lower legs. Because my left leg is weaker than the right - it suffers first and the classic impact injuries occur. So I need to deal with the imbalance by calf stretching (reps of dropping the heels off a stair) and I have some yoga type positions for hip alignment. I also have a regular exercise of digging my toes and feet into the wet sand until my foot is covered (then uncover & repeat etc) to strengthen my ligaments around my forefeet. This should assist with the recovery of my nagging metasarsil injury. The running technique is going to be harder to get used to. I need to try and flatten the position of my foot so that the heel strikes only slightly before the ball and then the forefoot. As Andy the Pod said many moons ago - I need to learn to run quietly. Larry suggests that I take certain aspects of the Pose Technique on board. I also found Gordon Pirie's website which has a frrreeee book to download called Running Fast and Injury Free. It appears that his ideals are similar but perhaps not as extreme as Pose. Guru Larry says one way of teaching yourself to run quietly and therefore with less impact is soft sand running. It appears that I must attempt to run on top of the sand rather than excavating big holes. So tonight I'm off to Bondi for my first dig (so to speak). Mood: --->