Running Reboot

Disclaimer: I’m an engineer, not a doctor!

The Return From Injury Plan

I’m back to running!  I have a race on September 19 – the Hudepohl 14k – that I registered for last year (I paid for all three of the Beer Series races and got a nice shirt outta the deal).  I wrote this early and figured I might make edits and adjustments as necessary, but I wanted this as a plan-in-progress just in case.

There is a lot of advice out there regarding getting back, but a lot of it is for shorter off-times with less ‘fitness maintenance’ while injured.  And that’s not a bad thing – many of the posts I’ve seen are for getting back from stress fractures in legs or feet or IT Band Syndrome.  You cannot run while suffering from any of those.  My injury was different because I could and did some running while injured.

Prior to being given the release to go back to full time running, I was doing walk/running that went like this:

  • 5 minute walk warm up
  • Alternate 2.5 minute run/2.5 minute walk for 40 minutes
  • Finish with a 7.5 minute run that later increased to 10 minutes.

This ended up with 36 total minutes of running.

In starting back, I did the following, all at an easy pace and on not-terribly-hilly routes:

  • Week 1 (8/30/2015): 15 minute run Su*, 20 minute run M, 30 minute runs T-Th, 45 minute run Friday
  • Week 2: 40 minute runs M-Th, 60 minute run Friday
  • Week 3: 50 minute runs M-Th, 20 minute run Friday, 14k race Saturday (which could take me as long as 90 minutes)
  • Week 4: up to 20 minute run M (as determined by feel), 45 minute runs T-Th, 60 minute run Friday
  • Week 5 and 6: 60 minute runs M and W, 45 minute runs T and Th, 75 minute run Friday
  • Week 7 and 8: 7 mile runs M and W, 4.5 mile runs T and Th, 75 minute run Fridays
  • Week 9 and after: begin transitioning back to my standard weeks prior to hurting my back in February (which started the downward spiral)
    • Start with moving Mondays to hills
    • 2 weeks later, add in speed work
    • 2 weeks after that, move Fridays from 75 minutes to mileage and ultimately increase to 10 miles (75 minutes should be around 8 miles).

.* = This was an “ease in” run that was really to test sustained running.  Very easy pace.  This was based on the day I got a spinal injection.

The “standard” week for me:

Monday: 7 miles hills (from my office across from Sawyer Point, go up Eggleston, the FP Half Marathon course through Eden Park)
Tuesday: 4.5 miles easy + 5 strides
Wednesday: Speedwork
Thursday: 4.5 miles easy + 5 strides
Friday: 10 miles long slow distance

I rotate speedwork through the following:

  1. 1 mile warmup, 12*1/4 mile intervals with 1/4 mile easy run between, 1/2 mile cool down
  2. 1 mile warmup, 8*1/2 mile intervals with 1/4 mile easy run between, 1/2 mile cool down
  3. 1 mile warmup, 4*1 mile intervals with 1/2 mile easy run between, 1/2 mile cool down
  4. Tempo run TBD

Note that the tempo run is TBD.  The last speedwork I did before injury was a very long tempo run.  I believe this very long tempo run is what set me up for injury, so I may do something like 32 mile tempo runs or 23 mile tempo runs, each with a 1/2 mile (roughly 5 minutes) easy run between.

Things to Look Forward To

My running year is generally the following:

  • Bockfest 5k
  • Little Kings Mile
  • Flying Pig *something* (the last two years it was a half marathon, I’m considering changing it up this next time)
  • Brian Rohne Memorial Run (5k up until 2015, when it was a 3200m actual cross country run and part of a series)
  • Hudepohl 14k

Beyond these “bare bones”, I will do at least one, maybe two half marathons this coming year.  I might do a full marathon in fall of 2016.  And I want to add in a few 10ks, because I’ve run ONE.  In 2013.  Since then I’ve run thousands of practice miles and I KNOW I can run faster and better than that 1:08:37!


The 5 Stages Of Running Injury Recovery

Like the 5 Stages Of Grief, there’s 5 Stages Of Running Injury Recovery.

Note: foul language throughout.  This is not well researched, either, so if you’re a runner and skipped any of these stages, I sincerely hope it was the first one.  If not that, then the 3rd one is a good stage to skip too, since it didn’t work for me and doesn’t work in the 5 Stages of Grief either.

1. Pain

Let’s face it, if you have time to go through 5 stages and remember them, the injury fucking hurt. If it was like my injury, you were limping and the pain got worse.

2. Despair

Runners run. Injured runners do not. And it sucks ass.  During this stage, my wife complained about me being in a stupor.  Really, it was just that I wasn’t getting that occasional runner’s high.  Worse, I get Runner’s World, so I was unable to run but getting a magazine centered around (guess what?) running.  And of course the cover pic: a runner running.  And if not running, they’re at least dressed in the proper attire.

3. Bargaining

Many runners, myself included, shy away from races that require you to raise money (via sponsorships, as opposed to just paying an entry fee and being done with it) .  I have a family, a full time job, I ran ~34 miles a week when not injured, I brew beer, and I run multiple web sites.  I don’t need to be a whore for some organization that can’t make it’s own money.

Dear Lord,

If I can run pain free by the middle of next week, I’ll do one of those sponsorship runs, and I’ll even try to raise a metric shit ton of money.


No, it didn’t work. I’m lucky. The jury’s still out on whether God gives two shits about sponsorship runs. I think they feel dirty unless it’s like the Boston Marathon, where there is still an option to pay… If you’re fast enough.  And that’s not a complaint – Boston is one of many runners’ ulimate goals, including mine (and preferably before I’m so old the race director says “at your age, if you can run a marathon, you’re in!”).

4. Relapse

Physical therapy only goes so far, and it doesn’t replace the runner’s high. When the physical therapist says “maybe you can start working in some running, but WE HAVE TO TALK WITH YOUR DOCTOR”, you conveniently ignore the part they yelled at you.  And you run.  A 5k is like a joint to a jittery pot smoker that hasn’t had a smoke in a month or more (I’m not sure if that makes sense, I’ve never smoked pot, but that’s what I THINK it is like).

But at PT, that elliptical (something I’ve only seen, never used) becomes a way to go fast… well, treadmill fast, which still feels like a hamster in a wheel. But I’d rather be healthy running in a hamster wheel than injured.

5. Reloading

Treatment plans have an end, which is one treatment after the insurance deductible is met (for me, anyway). In the past week, I’ve been reading more: You (Only Faster) (affiliate link) and thinking more about post-injury training and nutrition. I’ve viewed more YouTube videos on training topics as well.  And I’ve lost 0.6 lbs last week!  Next up is Racing Weight (another affiliate link) , and then Born To Run (yeah, that one’s an affiliate link too).

Next Race: The Hudepohl 14k. Depending on the outcome of what I hope is the last part of my treatment plan, I hope to run the 14k and not drop to the 7k.  This is going to the blog a day after a shot that now has my back all achy.  SUPPOSEDLY, I’ll be able to run full time (none of this run/walk shit) Monday.


Flying Pig Half: The Good, The Bad, The Awesome, and the Ugly

The Good

  • The all-star game stuff is awesome
  • The song playing while my wave started: You’re an all-star and Uptown Funk
  • The song playing at mile ~0.75 (by Great American Ballpark): put me in coach
  • The song somewhere around mile 4: something that sounded like 90% Black Sabbath mixed with 10% of Nirvana
  • During large parts of my run, I felt like Mario Andretti in the Ave Maria Indy car commercial
  • The lady with the large heavy-looking bell.  Seemed like she should have looked around at nearby people with those puny little cowbells and mustered up her best Aussie accent and say “that’s not a bell, THIS is a bell!”

The Bad

  • Getting injured two weeks before the Little Kings Mile.  I got a pull/strain/something in my upper hamstring (AKA my butt) that put me out of commission for two weeks.  I never knew running could be such a pain in the ass sometimes! (lol!)
  • People walking less than a mile in (I totally get it during the hill, but if you were going to walk, don’t start with 2:00 – 2:05 runners!)
  • Someone near mile 5 was giving out small water bottles. I saw no less than 4 of them in the race course. Twisted ankle (or worse) waiting to happen.  I know their heart was in the right place, though.

The Awesome

  • Signs:
    • “Every Hill is a mountain of opportunity”
    • “Run Like Morgan Freeman is Narrating”
  • The crowd – it never ceases to amaze me how many non-runners come out for this.  People can be awesome sometimes.
  • Not signs:
    • The couple with “1st 1/2 marathon” on their shirts.  I saw at least two people say good things to those two before I did.
    • The PR Bell
  • Ringing the PR Bell!!!
  • Using my own keys to the race to have an awesome race!
  • The finishers area, complete with chandeliers.  There’s something cool about being in a dirty urban setting (the post-race area is the service area for the Great American Ballpark and the US Bank Arena) and seeing chandeliers.

The Ugly

  • Two days of soreness after the race
  • The bar I selected for that post-race beer. I don’t like being ignored.

The Race Report – Little Kings Mile

Race conditions were warm and sunny, race began at 8:00 PM on Friday night.  I had walked to and from the Expo and my office prior to the race (about a mile).  Race was operated in one major heat and two additional heats for 5 elite women and 5 elite men.  The course was new this year.


The Course

My strategy was to start well and kick it in around the corner of Central and Mehring (the last intersection on the course).  Finishing time was 7:17.

The Race Report – Flying Pig Half Marathon

Weather: mid-50s at the start, low 70s at my finish.

Clothing and Accessories: I wore a tank top and shorts.  I wished I had an old sweatshirt to have over me that could have been tossed to the side and ultimately donated to Goodwill (they collect cast-off clothing at the start area).  Only accessories were my phone, three packs of Gu (Root Beer, Vanilla, and Chocolate, the Root Beer one was consumed in the corral), and 3 Advil stapled to/in my fuel belt.

The Race: I spent the first 6 miles just staying with it.  I admired the sunrise and generally kept moving at a good pace without too much exertion.  I kept the same attitude during the uphill climb into Eden Park.  I kept a not-close eye on time.  Took water at 4, 5, 8, and 9.  Took energy shots around mile 5 (in downtown) and 9-ish (in the area where volunteers were handing out the energy bars).  Pushed it during the downhill, but not so bad I couldn’t talk, I saved that for miles 12-13.1.

Lap times.  Ignore mile 1, this started before the race did.

Lap times. Ignore mile 1, this started before the race did.

Looking at the pace, I’m happy with it all.  I didn’t expect the first part to be in the low 9s, nor did I expect the middle part to not break 10 minutes per mile.  And I followed my own keys and saved some for the end, which is where those 3 sub-8:30 miles came from.

Final time: 2:01:11.  PR of 16:23!


Keys to the Race: Flying Pig Half Marathon

Initially while watching the Boston Marathon and seeing them do a “Keys to the Race”, I thought the concept of “keys to the {race|game|etc} was getting overdone.  It might be, but strategy is critically important when you’re running a long distance.

I’ve had the luxury of working near the course and have been practicing on the course, so I’ve come up with my three keys to a successful race.

1. Don’t Bank Too Much During the First 6 Miles

It’s a 13.1 mile race. The first 3-4 miles are somewhat rolling and have a lot of crowd support, followed by a lesser-supported (that I recall) 2 miles through Queensgate and into downtown. Banking too much here would have painful intrest payments through the rest of the race and could cause an energy bankrupcy in the next phase of the race.

Part 1 of the course

Part 1 of the course

2. Don’t Overrun the Hill

Miles 6 to 10.5 are hills. Be aware that people will claim stuff like “the bridge [at m7.7] is the top”. NO. IT IS NOT. It is the end of the worst, but there are still small hills from 7.7 to 10.5.

Note the location of the red ‘Energy” on the map.  It’s around mile 9.  For someone running a 1:30 half, that’s probably a good spot.  For me (~2 hours), I’m taking a shot of Gu at 4.5-5 miles and 9 miles (I’m going by the Gu packet directions of “15 minutes before and every 45 minutes”.  Note that the Flying Pig has PowerGel.

Part 2 of the course

Part 2 of the course

3. Save Some For The Last 2.6 Miles

Around mile 10.5, you may feel like you’re falling off the side of the planet. This is where the race course sets you up for a negative split. I’ve had training runs where the uphill portion (miles 6-10.5) where 10:50-11:50 min/mile, and the downhill was 8:30 min/mile. If you follow key #1, you can hit this area hard for a strong finish.  Miles 10.5 to just before 12 is downhill, things level out on Central Parkway (where the hairpin turn is), back downhill (a little) on Eggleston, and then right onto East Pete Rose Way.  That last 0.2 (or so) of the course on Pete Rose Way is an uphill grade to the finish line – it’s not terrible, but after 13 miles, it can be a bit of a killer.

Part 3 of the course

Part 3 of the course

Good luck to all those running!

Some Kind of Race Report: Bockfest 5k

Not to be confused with the Bockhurt 5k.

Thanks to Old Man Winter and some rodent from PuxatawnICAN’TSPELLTHISDAMNCITY (both of whom should probably stay as far from my truck as possible!), I’ve been dealing with a lot of back pain for the past few weeks (from shoveling snow).  I ran on the dreadmill once since the injury, and it was a successful run.  Two days later, I ran in the snow and made it a half mile before searing pains in my back caused me to stop.

Running vs. walking was a race-day-decision for me, and my back felt good enough to run it.  I should have walked.

My time was good – 26:28.  Not a PR, but second best and considering the injury and I was going easy, I’m not complaining at all.  The new course wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.  I thought it would be much harder going left onto Reading instead of right, but the hill isn’t that bad there (or maybe since I run up Gilbert all the time, I’m not phased by hills anymore).  Also, the Flying Pig Crew did A LOT to ensure the course was snow free and they even had a volunteer yelling to runners about ice on the edge of the course between mile 2 and mile 3 to make sure nobody slipped.

SOAPBOX: if you do any run and you’re not going to run AT LEAST the first mile, DO NOT start in the front half of the pack.  If you’re walking in the middle in the opening area of a race, you’re fair game to get run over by runners (and some of us aren’t exactly lightweights).  Sorry not sorry.

After the finish, I grabbed my water and a banana and headed inside for beer.  In the shitty picture below, one of the beers said “Bockfest Competition Winning Brew”.  Needless to say, I got one of those.  I also got a Red Hop Mess.  Both were very good.




The medal was nice, too.  They got away from the bottle opener design and went with ein Bock und ein Bier.

2015-03-07 10.42.20-2

The unfortunate thing was Saturday afternoon and into the evening my back got worse.   I shoulda walked.  But now (on Monday), it’s much better and I should be back into my regular running cycle this week, just in time for Spring in Cincy.


PS: there’s a reason core routines exist.

Oatmeal Recipe: Blueberry-Cinnamon-Brown Sugar

Wow, a rare running post on!

I’m trying to get off my kick of eating cherry Pop-Tarts, a wonderfully tasting processed food.  So I had my wife buy me some plain oatmeal.  Plain.  No flavor.  She also bought some blueberries for me.  So I decided to make it edible.

Blueberry-Cinnamon-Brown Sugar Oatmeal

1/8 tsp Cinnamon

2 tsp Brown Sugar

A few sprinkles of salt

Small handful of frozen blueberries

1 pack Quaker Instant Oats – plain. No flavor.

Mix oatmeal according to package directions, add sugar, spices, and blueberries.  Microwave for the highest time on the package. Stir. Eat. Enjoy.  Feel free to adjust anything above to taste.

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Spice and sugar mix.

2015-01-20 06.18.11

The amount of blueberries I used.

2015-01-21 07.15.42

Finished product. It’s good.


This will do well to pull me off the processed jelly-filled goodness of cherry poptarts.


Running: 888 Miles In, 112 To Go…

I’ve been doing a lot on the beer side, but not much worth writing about.  On the running side, there’s not much worth writing about mostly because you have to be pretty damn funny of a writer to get people interested in running blog posts.  Since it’s Monday morning and there is no such thing as funny on a Monday morning, I figured I’d at least update this blog with a nice milestone.

I guess I could go to Memegenerator and grab the “ain’t nobody got time for that” meme pic and add “Jokes on a Monday Morning? ANGTFT!”, but it’s Monday morning and I don’t have time for that.

Since starting on my crazy-assed goal of running 1,000 miles this year last June (when I had somewhere around 420-450 miles in), I’ve run an additional 420-450 miles to make it up to 888.  I figure I should break 1,000 around Thanksgiving.  I’ll break 900 this week. Because I’m crazy.


Hudy 14k: Some Sort of Race Report

So Saturday, September 20, 2014 I ran the Hudepohl 14k.  This is one of the funnest races on my calendar – so fun I paid for the 2015 race already!

The course

The course is an easy course, which is hard to do given the hills in Cincinnati.  The first 3.3 miles (or so) are nearly flat, and there is a slight hill coming back into Over-the-Rhine via Harrison.  After the loop, there is a major hill up Brighton Bridge (ending around mile 4.5).  That hill is short but steep.  The last hill is Liberty Street hill, and all of us Brew Hogs know that hill well, as it is on both the Hudepohl 14k and the Bockfest 5k.  There is a little bit of a hill towards the end coming from the intersection of Pete Rose Way and Eggleston to the finish line on Mehring.

Screenshot 2014-09-21 20.30.32_1

Marked along the course are the location of several breweries that were once in Cincinnati – some still existing, but many are ghosts of prohibition, which killed the brewing industry in the city.

The course is well monitored by volunteers that make sure that we don’t get turned incorrectly at the 7K/14K split (which is very early on).  This event is put on by same group that organizes the Flying Pig Marathon, and they know how to put on great events.

My performance on the course was pretty awesome.  I maintained a reasonably consistent speed (consistent meaning that there wasn’t a lot of speeding up and slowing down), and I negative split the race.  Of course, with Endomondo (or any other program), the first mile seems a lot longer because I started the timer when I THOUGHT the gun would sound, and I was a little bit off.  I’m sure it had nothing to do with the fact that I was running near a six-pack (see the website) of convicts and suspects including Lindsay Lohan, Ray Rice, and Adrian Peterson (complete with a switch) and my dislike for black eyes and busted bums! 🙂

Screenshot 2014-09-21 20.41.44

One thing that really shocked me was when I actually looked at Endomondo, I told me I had 6 trophies for best distances/times.  I’m pretty shocked I could get my best 12 minute, best 1 hour, best 3k, best 3 mi, best 5k, and best 10k all in one race, but I’m certainly not complaining and it FELT that good while I was running.

Screenshot 2014-09-21 20.42.36

The Weather

Partly sunny, low 60s at the start, upper 60s at the end.  No rain, roads dry.  Wind was light.

Fueling Strategy

Everyone talks about fueling for marathons and half marathons, nobody talks about fueling for a 14k or 15k, although for a lot of runners it is pretty important but not complex.  I took two Gatorade Energy Chews around mile 3.5.  I didn’t want something as potent as Gu, and truthfully the Energy Chews taste better.  That also put me taking the chews just before the second water station, where I ended up with a Gatorade (I wanted water, but I ended up with the green stuff).

Life of the Race and Afterparty

One of the things that makes this race unique is the costume contest.  I didn’t take many pictures, but I did take a few.

The band, Just Add Beer was pretty cool too.  I’d post the videos of them, but truthfully my phone does not do them justice.  Of course being in a runner’s high, having a beer in me, and them deciding to play Gold On The Ceiling may affect my judgement.  Also, one of them was wearing a 7k number and medal.

So the 9:11 min/mi pace was not only a PR for a long race, it was a 10:27 improvement over last year.  So I’m pretty pleased with myself.


620 Miles…

…is how many miles I’ve logged this year.  620.56 to be exact.  I love that I have Endomondo to track that for me.

Today was a 9 mile run in preparation for the Hudepohl 14k (this is “Running on Beer”, after all!).  The H14k is probably my favorite run.  One reason is because it is meant to be fun.

Another two reasons why it is my favorite are that the wimps all run the 7k, and the real runners run the 14k (we lose the 7k runners about 2 miles into the course where they turn back) and the route.  The route has many breweries marked (many in places that are no longer breweries or even buildings at this point) and that we get to go through the Dalton Street Tunnel under Union Terminal.  Also, there are only two decent hills that are not killers – Brighton Bridge and Liberty Street.  These are easy compared to going up Gilbert in the Flying Pig Marathon!

This year I might be prepared a little early, but I’m ramping up mileage because I want to break 1,000 miles this year.  I decided on this in June or so, when I only had 418 miles in.  With recent increases, I expect I’ll likely break 1,000 miles around Thanksgiving.  Also, having a good long run (which will probably be around 10 miles) will put me in a very good position for whatever half marathon I run next year, whether it be the Pig (where my 2:17 is unfinished business because I KNOW I can do better) or something else.

Anyway, below are some pics from last year.