Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Rain... Pain... Go Away...

"Rain... pain... go away!"
I’ve been laying low the past days since I was pretty messed up after the Los Angeles Marathon. The sore in my foot I tried to downplay as manageable caused me a lot of pain during the race. Despite my condition and the heavy rain, I was still able to hit my goal of beating my time last year; and PR at the same time setting my new marathon best at 4:19:45s.

This however did not come without a price. I could hardly walk after race and the pain in my foot got worse the days that followed. I was limping so bad my back was starting to hurt.

So, Thursday I went to see a local podiatrist here in Glendale. Right off the bat he told me I was a runner (the smell was a giveaway). What impressed me the most was to learn he was part of this year's LA Marathon medical team, and has done so on and off every year. As expected, the consultation turned into a lot of discussion about running. In the end, his report wasn't as grim as I though it would be – the x-ray showed no broken bone (whew!), no stress fracture (good!), no significant muscle tear (boo ya!); I was all ears when he said no running until I get better. He prescribed me an anti-inflammatory med to help with the swelling and was instructed to continue to ice the affected area.

The podiatrist told me however that I have a genetic foot disorder called, calcenous varus (nyah!). My heel is narrow compared to normal so most of the impact of running is transferred to the midfoot section, hence the source of my pain. I was advised to get a shoe with a higher heel or to use an orthotic heel insert. This is apparently common to many people but since it is not a disability, the condition is generally insignificant to affect physical activities - that made me feel better. Overall, it's still good news for me. As soon as I stepped out of the doctor's office, I felt I was whole again. My stinky feet were bouncing happy ready to sprint that very moment.

at the LA Expo, trying to look tough before the race
I feel much better now although I haven't run since. I'll allow myself two more weeks of complete rest before starting any serious training. I'm contemplating doing cross-training while recovering - swimming, maybe, we'll see. But definitely, I am not looking forward to seeing the podiatrist anytime soon.

This year’s LA Marathon will be memorable to many due to the unforgiving weather - the rain was relentless from beginning to the end. I know many people got sick as a result. This I have to mention - the sight of hundreds of young students from the SRLA program running the course in this weather were inspiring to witness. Running alongside them made my worries that day seem so small. I also give big credit to the volunteers and families that cheered and supported the runners throughout the course despite the freezing temperature. My only comment was distance of the reunion area that seemed unreasonably far from the finish line. I know this will be addressed next year.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Rest day before LA

We wrapped up our training for the LA Marathon with a 9-mile run around Hansen Dam Park last Sunday. I should be glad I made it through the end of training but I came home that day with a sore on the bottom of my right foot. The discomfort is similar to plantar fasciitis when you make your first step in the morning. In my case, what hurts is the muscle along the border of my foot. I could only guess what it is but I might have pushed myself a little too hard Friday during my last scheduled speed workout. I'm icing it on and off, so far I'm able to manage it; hopefully, it gets better before Sunday's race.

It's essential to plan ahead if you are driving to the marathon since the point-to-point nature of the course will start and end at two different locations. You can park at the start line, Dodger Stadium, and double back after the race. I will do the opposite and park my car at the finish line in Santa Monica then commute to the start line. It's a bit stretch but I'd rather do this than worry about the commute after the race which by then I'll probably be wasted. I just have to be on the road as early as 4am to do this.

Here's the image of the medal that runners are talking about. After reading the design context on their blog, sorry to dispute the naysayer but I gave this one a thumbs-up:

Many in our running group are aiming to better their personal record (PR) in this race. I wish I could say the same of me but I will settle on a much simpler goal of beating my last year's time of 5:29:22. A sub 4 hour is still a long way for me, someday maybe; we'll see. You can track the live result of the race at http://www.xacte.com/templates/la.html

On a side note, I went to traffic court last week to settle my speeding ticket. The judgment was - not-guilty;) With all the bad news happening around the world I'll take it as a blessing. This one though I will give credit to my baby daughter who tagged along with me because the sitter called in the day before my appearance in court. OK, I won't deny her prescence might have influenced the judge's decision but, hey, that wasn't my intention.

With just a few days left before the race there's nothing to do but rest. For me, that means cleaning the garage, car wash, yard work, laundry, play with kids and, uhm, probably malling with my wife since it's her weekend off. Rest time for distance runners simply means time-off from running - no more, no less. We are not special people. Work, and chores at home are still on schedule, and yes, even at rest day before the LA Marathon, there's no break for me and my stinky feet.