Sciatic Nerve Back to Normal Three Days After the Marathon I Didn't Run

The Channel Islands seen from Newbury Park the night of the 2014 Los Angeles Marathon.

After bailing out of running the 2014 Los Angeles Marathon due to a lingering sciatic nerve issue in my right hamstring, I thought about driving downtown to pick up my number as a momento, as well as to pick up my t-shirt and goodie bag and scope out the vendors.  I really wanted to go, but it was a Saturday, and between the several hour round-trip drive and dealing with traffic and crowds, I decided to ditch the idea and spend the day with the kids.

From an economist's standpoint the $170 entry fee was a sunk cost since the entry was non-refundable. Some would argue, how can you NOT pick up your t-shirt and goodie bag!? You PAID for it! Sure, I would have loved to get my 2014 LA Marathon t-shirt. But the cost of retrieving that t-shirt would be about $20 in cash, wear and tear on the car and about half a day's time. And my kids didn't want to go. I passed.

On Sunday, marathon morning, March 9th, I ran for about an hour. Though I was still impeded by the injury, it wasn't quite as bad that day.

I turned the TV coverage of the marathon on and, as usual, was disappointed.  There was way too little coverage of the race, tons of commercials and lots of fluff. I may not be in the majority on this, but in the rare times that a full marathon is televised, I want to see the top runners, both the elite athletes and the faster amateur runners. I'm a purist. I want to see runners and running when watching a televised marathon. There are other shows for human interest stories.

But watching the marathoners in the heat made me a bit thankful for my injury, as I would not have enjoyed running in the 80+ degree heat the runners experienced. My injury was a convenient excuse to kick back and relax that day and to steer clear of the unseasonable heat.

Three days later, on Wednesday, March 12th, I awoke, laced up my shoes, headed out the door, my annoying pain in my right hamstring. I ran cautiously down the street, thinking the respite was only temporary. But lo and behold, the pain was gone.

By the following weekend, I felt like I could run a fast marathon, but there were no other marathons to run and I had other plans. The injury gave me an extra week of taper. All rested up and nowhere to run.  This week I'm not quite 100% as the loss of an hour's sleep due to DST my body is still revolting against. But for the most part I'm running injury-free.

Time to start pondering when and where to use my current level of fitness. Or at least maintain it.

The 559 local Ventura County area runners who completed this year's L.A. Marathon is at THIS LINK.

Highlights and Lowlights of 2012 and My Cumulative Lifetime Mileage Update

Since my training is directionless right now as I have no particular race plans set for 2013, why not talk about my 2012.

Last year had the makings for a comeback year after a 2011 that was lacking a marathon performance due to encountering a detached retina. But a follow-up procedure in early February 2012 led to what is probably my most consecutive days without running in 20 years...39 days.

Thirty-nine consecutive days off can do a number to one's fitness level, so I made sure not to go back at the running too quickly. It took me nearly 4 weeks to get back to an 8 mile run, and about 2 months to achieve my first double digit run.

Even with all those days off and slow but steady comeback, I managed to run 1,885 miles in 2012, taking me to a cumulative lifetime odometer reading of 48,800 miles. Might be time to change my transmission fluid and air filters. Although 1,885 is my lowest annual total since 2006, when I ran 1,789 miles and zero marathons, I was pleased to achieve it.

While my only marathon of the year was one of my lousiest ever, at least I had an "excuse" of a left calf issue that impacted my training in the final weeks pre-marathon. My training had been pretty decent prior to that.

Nice little highlight was a decent showing in a low-key local 5K race in Camarillo.I was pleased to run a 1:23:51 half marathon a month prior to the full marathon, and a decent 5K a month prior to that. Having not raced much over the last several years, I underestimated the impact of that half marathon on my body and decided to go long a week later. Big mistake. My body needed a recovery weekend. My calf strain halfway into a 20 miler led to another personal record in 2012...most miles walking/limping on a long run. Lousy!

So let's see what 2013 has in store. I'm keeping my expectations low for the time being!

What Have I Been Doing Since Running a Marathon Four Weeks Ago?

The Malibu Marathon was exactly four weeks ago and my training has not been focused on any particular goal. And that is a good thing, as I could use a physical and mental break.

Candy grabbing with the kids this holiday season. Darn you, WalMartI've been asked a number of times what my next race is. My answer: I dunno...yet. Gotta get my head back in the game, and that may not happen until the new year. Just too tired to think about it at this point. I was hoping for a more solid marathon performance (for me) that would propel me towards a Spring 2013 marathon. But since that didn't happen, I'm in "wait and see" mode.

The good news is that I feel I'm pretty much over all my nagging little injuries...calf strain that messed with my final marathon preparation...and nagging knees. Now I'm running just fine, but tired. Physically tired due to inadequate sleep. But I'm running and happy about that!

Here's what I've done running-wise since the marathon. Warning, this is quite uninteresting.

11/11: Ran marathon

11/12: Rest day

11/13: Walked 1.5 miles

11/14: Walk/jogged 2.5 miles

11/15: Ran 3.5 slow miles

11/16: Ran 4.5 slow miles

11/17: Ran 5.5 slow miles

11/18: Ran 6.5 slow miles

11/19: Ran 5.5 miles

11/20: Ran 6.5 miles

11/21: Ran 7 miles

11/22 (Thanksgiving): Ran 4 miles

11/23: Ran 5.5 miles

11/24: Ran 5 miles

11/25: Ran 5.5 miles

11/26: Ran 4.5 miles

11/27: Ran 4 miles

11/28: Ran 4.5 miles

11/29: Ran 3 miles

11/30: Ran 5 miles

12/1: Ran 8 miles

12/2: Ran 4 miles

12/3: Ran 2 miles

12/4: Ran 4.5 miles

12/5: Ran 5.5 miles

12/6: Ran 5.5 miles

12/7: Ran 5.5 miles

12/8: Ran 6 miles

12/9: Ran 8 miles

So after 3 days of no running, a total of 133 miles down the hatch since marathon day. This holding pattern will probably continue through December...

Four Weeks Without Running...How to Train When You Can't Run?

One month ago today I called to make an appointment with my optomologist. The next morning in his office he asked me to stick around and meet with the retina specialist. An hour later I was told to prepare for a vitrectomy surgery the next morning. No running for probably a month I was told! How does someone (namely me) that runs 2,000 miles per year deal with such prospects!?

The doc did say that I could start to train with light weights after a week and walk, but the running was off limits. So I walked, not a lot, maybe 20 to 30 minutes per day, and it felt o.k. Not particularly enjoyable running with one eye blind due to a gas bubble in it during the recovery process.

For whatever reason, the detachment didn't heal up 100% and 2 weeks ago I had a follow-up surgery. This surgery was only 20 minutes (compared to the hour long initial surgery) to go in and laser up the detached area.  Uggghhhh....back to square one.

Earlier this week my surgeon told me it looks like it is healing up nicely this time. Fingers crossed. Not to complain or anything because at least I have one eye that I can see out of...but it sure is hell frustrating having only one eye. The doc says don't wear a patch, even though the gas bubble that is slowly dissapating prevents me from seeing fully out of this eye. In fact, as I type this, both eyes are open, but my left eye is doing all the work. (When I close my left eye, my right eye sees a blurry computer screen.)

The lovely green wristband I've worn an entire month now while gas bubble resides in eye.

I'm taking this situation pretty much in stride. There's absolutely nothing I can do about it, so why sweat it. In fact, I think it is actually easier being in this situation - one on which physically and biomechanically I'm ready to run - but to gain back my eyesight I cannot - then a typical running injury. When I tweak a hamstring or my lower back, I'm frustrated as hell when I'm unable to run.

So I continue with my 20-30 minute walks in the morning. I get bored easily while walking, so I bring my smartphone with me. I could bring the iPad but prefer the smaller device. Sometimes I grab the newspaper and read while walking. Maybe I'll stop multi-tasking if I ever run into a mailbox or light pole.

The Boston Marathon is 6 months away. Hoping in the next week or two I'll get the go-ahead to start actually RUNNING again. Chomping at the bit here.

Seven Weeks Ago I Drove Past the Location of the Tucson Shooting

Twenty eight days into 2011 and I don't have a lot to write about. But that's o.k. Funny thing is, I was in the same boat a year ago with this post "Training Without Any Goals in Mind."

Call it my new year's lull. Or just recuperating from my late fall marathons. But really what it comes down to is...running is not high on my list right now. I went through the same thing a year ago.

I was about to write about other stuff when it dawned on me, I wonder exactly where the horrific Tucson Shooting took place on January 8th. It certainly was on my mind the fact that I happened to be in Tucson last December to run the Tucson Marathon but I had not taken the time to actually look at the location of the cowardly attack.

The Safeway supermarket is located at the corner of Ina Road and Oracle Road. To get to my hotel, I drove west on Ina Road and made northbound turn on Oracle Road. So tonight, to my surprise, I discovered that on Saturday, December 11th, I literally drove past the fateful location of the Tucson Shooting, exactly 4 weeks prior to the date of the attack.

View Larger Map

I also drove past that same location, southbound on Oracle Road, after the marathon on December 12th.

This attack sickened me as I'm sure it did all of you. Very, very sad. Let's hope that Gabrielle Giffords continues her recovery. Yet another reminder that any of us could be at the wrong place at the wrong time. And a reason to pursue everything that you want and can in life and to not hesitate in so doing.

Feeling Much Better Two Weeks Post-Tucson Marathon

The Malibu Marathon on Nov 14th gave out finisher towels. Came in handy for those of us cooling off in the ocean after the race!It took me exactly two weeks to feel fully recovered from the Tucson Marathon. Two weeks of holiday preparations, parties, eating, festivities and fun.

What wasn't fun was the sluggish feeling a had last week as I creeped my way through 4 to 6 mile runs each day, not particularly enjoying it. My problem was that I was in a perma-tired state because more than ever I was not getting enough sleep each night. Why am I not getting enough sleep? Kids are up later because they're out of school, Christmas came and went, busy, busy with the new toys and games, etc.

In fact, I'm still kind of in that mode as I write this at midnight.

But something "clicked" yesterday, or I now should say the day before yesterday, since the clock has now struck midnight on Wednesday.

Sunday was exactly 2 weeks post marathon and I ran my longest run since then, 8.5 miles in 64 minutes. A moderate pace that I felt o.k. with. But I still didn't feel GREAT.

The "click" happened on Monday morning, when, even though I was coming off of 5 hours of sleep, there was a spring back in my step. Don't know what prompted it, but I actually felt GOOD even though I was tired.

Same thing today. I only ran 45 minute but I felt like running for hours if I could have. The air was nice and cool outside but not TOO cold. My legs felt fresh. It was enjoyable. Something I haven't felt for awhile.

So now that we are approaching the new year, I will have to figure out what's next for me. My more serious runner friends already have their next marathon on the calendar and are planning to do a 20 miler this weekend. I'm not there yet. But I will be checking my favorite marathon website,, for upcoming 26.2 milers.

In other news, for the 2nd time in one month, I am about to lose another toenail. The middle nail on my right foot. This is a personal first for me. My first loss was on December 8th. For about 4 days now this nail has looked the hood of a car. It is hanging by a thread at this point but I'm not gonna force it so as to allow the newbie underneath sufficient coverage. There's one more nail on my right foot, the toe next to the big toe, that I predict will be gone in 3 months.

Lesson learned: MAKE SURE YOUR SHOES FIT. I was stupid. I went to Road Runner Sports in Newbury Park, short on time. The guy found me a shoe that I liked, but it felt a bit small. He didn't have a larger size. But I thought, why not, just buy thinner socks and it should be fine. The worker didn't try to dissuade me. Wish he had. I now have a pair of Saucony ProGrid Kinvaras size 10 1/2 that I wore 4 times. Anyone want them?

Week of Recuperation Post-Tucson Marathon

It is now 1 week post-marathon and I'm starting to feel better, not 100%, but maybe 80%. Went out today for my longest run since the marathon...only 35 minutes, about 4 1/2 miles, and felt fine. It has been raining literally non-stop today and that included my run. Got fairly soaked but felt good.

Tucson sunset night before the marathonI was extremely sore in my quads the first couple days post-marathon, to the point I couldn't walk down stairs without holding the handrail and going one step at a time. Some people walk backwards going downstairs to ease the pressure on the quads. I was tempted but didn't go quite that far.

The 3rd day post-marathon I alternated walking with jogging for several miles. Still sore and tight, and later that morning my lower calves had a sharp pain. Must have been due to the awkward way I was running.

The 4th day, Thursday, I jogged slowly the whole 2 1/2 miles and ended up with a new pain, this one a sharp pain in the middle of my right quad. Felt like someone stabbed me in the leg. But luckily, it pretty much went away on its own overnight.

Friday and Saturday were uneventful. With the pouring rain outside, I opted to "sleep in" until 8 a.m. and I didn't go out for my run until 10 a.m. Body felt like it was hit by a truck. Extremely sluggish. Guess my lack of adequate sleep caught up to me. Left calf was sore this time.

Today I ran around 8:30 a.m. after sleeping a bit late again. Had a chance to run a 10 miler with some friends who also ran the marathon but felt my body wasn't up for it. While I felt fine for the 35 minutes, I just didn't feel like running further. Two marathons in 4 weeks...I deserve a holiday break :>

Cat's Out of the Bag - Running the Tucson Marathon on December 12th

I guess someone actually reads this blog.

Last Sunday I mentioned I was running another marathon in two weeks and that it would be fun to SURPRISE some friends who also are running this marathon...which happens to be the Tucson Marathon.

Yes sir, today my friend Dave called me up and said, hey, I was talking to Jim, and Jim asked about my training for Tucson...and he mentioned you're running it too. GULP, the cat's out of the bag! Gee thanks Jim! :>

But that's o.k., it was all in fun. Oddly though, I never mentioned  Tucson in last week's post, though I did mention it several times in Twitter.

So yes, 3 weeks post-Malibu Marathon and I am now about a week away from another marathon. Not a lot of tapering necessary for this marathon as I had about a 5 month illness-induced taper for Malibu. Since Malibu, I've been doing very moderate training, with an easy 15 miler last Sunday.

This is not my first time running the Tucson Marathon, but assuming all goes well it will be my first time FINISHING the race. About 8 years ago I DNF'd (Did Not Finish for those unfamiliar with this running acronym) at Mile 20 due to severe shin splints.

Shin splints is a rarity for me but I had them going into that race. That was a problem because the Tucson Marathon is one of the most severely downhill marathons in the country, with an elevation drop of over 2,000 feet and starting elevation close to 5,000 feet!

So I'm going into this race knowing that I'm nowhere near my peak, nearly 2 months away from any solid training. But having done a 26.2 miler 3 weeks ago and feeling recovered, I know I can cover the distance. The question is, can I go under 3 hours. We shall see. I'm a pretty good downhill runner but I haven't exactly trained for a downhill marathon.

Quite Nicely Recovered From the Malibu Marathon...What's Next...

My recovery from the Malibu Marathon on November 14th has gone about as well as any marathon I've ever run. One week post-marathon, I was running 6-7 miles pain free and my training was pretty much back to normal this past week.

This weekend, I ran 1 hour, 33 minutes on Saturday and 1 hour, 50 minutes on Sunday, a total of 27 miles. There's a bit of soreness in my left leg, but I think that's more due to my half day of yard work yesterday.

The best recoveries mirror the best tapers, slow and gradual. I think I was able to do this. This is one area where experience truly pays off. I've injured myself way too many times the month after running a marathon, thinking I was invicible as my body is struggling to repair all the micro-tears.

My quick recuperation made me feel yesterday that I left "too much on the table" at Malibu. Though I gave it my best effort, a 3:05 for me was slow and reflected the dryness of the day, some dehydration, my battle with illness for a month and some challenging hills on the course. But my recent 5K time told me I "should" be able to run a marathon in the 2:50 to 2:55 range.

Looking back, I've run 28 marathons since 1994. I keep telling people I've run 25, having lost track. Only 2 marathons (Malibu and last year's Santa Barbara Marathon) in the last 5 1/2 years, largely paralleling the growth of my family.

Three times I have run back to back marathons within 6 weeks of one another. The last time I did this was 1999, where I ran a 2:45 Cleveland Marathon then 3 weeks later I ran a 2:40 Rock N Roll Marathon in San Diego. Don't know how I did that.

It generally is not a good idea to do much racing 2 to 3 weeks after running a hard marathon. But if you feel good after 4 weeks, heck why not.

So yesterday I decided what the heck, I'm going to run one more marathon before the end of the year. This marathon is 2 weeks from today. I have the approval of my wife, so I'm good to go and signed up.

I know some other people running this marathon and, unless they read this blog (which they probably don't, since only 7 people read it I think), I thought it would be fun to surprise them when I show up at the race.

Nothing serious...just having fun. Yes, just another nutty marathoner I am.  But all I really want is a 2:59:59 or faster marathon, since it has been 6 years since ran under 3 hours, geezer that I am.

Malibu Marathon Went as Well as I Could Expect

It is now Friday night, 5 days post-Malibu Marathon.  Other than some subtle residual soreness in my lower calves, I'm feeling little effect of Sunday's marathon.

Must have been the dip in the ocean 30 minutes after the race, but I've been able to recuperate from this marathon extremely well. Monday and Tuesday I was sore. My strategy on Monday was to simply walk a mile or so in the morning to get the blood flowing in my legs.

On Tuesday, I walked 20 steps, then jogged 20 steps, walked 20 steps, jogged 25 steps, and so on. The jogging was very slow and deliberate so as not to cause an injury. It felt good.

On Wednesday, I was able to run slowly, pain free. I ran about 4 miles and was amazed at decent it felt.

Thursday was even better and I ran 45 minutes. Today I was slightly more sore in my lower calves, so I took it a bit easier.

One day pre-marathon I tipped the scale in the morning at 138.5 lbs. On Tuesday, I was back up to 144 lbs. I've been eating a lot. I like to splurge a bit after a marathon and eat whatever I want, as often as I want.  But today, I started eating healthy again.

My overall place in the Malibu Marathon was 9th out of 481 finishers. While my 3:05 was one of my slowest finishing times (heck, my first marathon ever was 3:03), I was pleased with my performance given the course, the conditions and my fairly low key training.

The winner of the race, James Nielsen, I discovered was the 50th male in the 2008 Olympic Trials Marathon in Fall 2007 and has a personal best of 2:21. A year ago he ran several marathons in the low 2:30s.  The fact that his time here was a lot slower confirmed the challenging nature of the course. I'd estimate this course in Sunday's warm, breezy conditions is 10 to 15 minutes slower than a flatter course.

All that said, I will soon be pondering my next marathon. This marathon was a positive overall experience and told me that I CAN do a reasonably paced marathon even on mileage less than what I'm used to doing.