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The human body is definitely something to marvel at. No doubt about it. I find that it can be running as a smooth well oiled machine, then suddenly something small turns into something larger; like an outbreak of sorts. I find this said outbreak to be the latest case.

After my run on Saturday I noticed this area behind my knee to be a bit tight (okay, a lot tight) and a bit painful (okay, at times a lot painful). It feels like it’s an extension of my calf muscle. I figured I’d take Sunday off and take it from there. Well, it’s currently Thursday and still no running.

It’s not so much that it’s painful, but when I take stairs up and down I can still feel it enough to have me concerned about a casual run. Maybe some sort of cross-training like the elliptical machine, but, again, I don’t want to strain anything a week before the race. It does indeed feel like if I would do the elliptical, I’d feel it afterwards. Hell, for that matter, even if I did the bike I’d feel the same way. I don’t know for sure, but I’m just going off the feeling in that strained muscle.

If I don’t get as many miles as I’d like this week, that’s neither here nor there as far as I’m concerned. And besides, I should be tapering. I realize this doesn’t mean “don’t run,” but if there’s a pain that has me concerned, I won’t take a chance. I’ll do around 30 next week and see how it feels. But this will be an easy 30 for obvious reasons.

If the pain persists until late next week, I’ll be really concerned about the race. I’ll still run, but I may stop at the marathon length. I hope it doesn’t have to get to that extreme. I really want to push through the 50 with only “normal” pains, not ones that I am bringing to the race with me.

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I’m a huge animal supporter, especially ones that are in shelters. I, along with millions of others, picked up my cat from a shelter and that was the best decision I have ever made. Honestly, if it weren’t for them, my cat, Andy, wouldn’t be around (he was terribly ill being several weeks old and alone in the world). Therefore, I’ve decided to make my running count towards something in this world that could perhaps help others. So the upcoming Free State 40M race in April will be for the Lawrence Humane Society. I’ve started a firstgiving fundraising site with a small goal of $200. You can read more about it at the site.

I hope this goal is possible. If not, that’s fine. Anything will help those helpless little guys who deserve it. So if you’d like to give, that would be greatly appreciated. ๐Ÿ™‚

If I’m gonna suffer, I might as well make it count towards something useful.

Feel free to drop me a line if you have questions.

Stay strong,
Mircea

Friday was personally a rough day for me, in many ways. I never managed to get a run in, but I knew this weekend would be long runs so although I was upset, I didn’t feel as bad as I may have.

When I have bad weeks, I need to get my aggression out in some way. I try to never get too angry in situations and sometimes I tend to hold it in until I feel like I’m going to explode. That said, running really helps me reorganize. However, I cannot do so with other people. I clear my mind and cleanse my soul out in nature on my own. So I did not run with the Nerds this morning for that reason. I hope nobody took it personally, but I needed my solo time.

I went into today’s run knowing that I’m going to run until I hurt, simply because of my week. I feel when one has a bad week, go hard and get your aggression out without yelling or involving anyone else. I have never done a complete loop at Clinton and so I knew today was as good a day as any to discover the full loop. I’m not sure what the full distance is; maybe something like 24 or 24.5 miles. It did feel good going into unknown territory and having new scenery. The sun was nice and warm, but nothing excessive. I was able to maintain a moderate pace even though I got a little thrown off at a few point. One in particular is at the very end because it doesn’t look like the end. So I kept on, which brought me up a hill to an apparent party zone. Not seeing any trails from that point, I knew that the point I had passed was the turn-around.

Another point was still on the west end when you follow the blue trail back and somehow it disappears and merges to white. This was no problem as I just took white back to an open road which you need to travel on to get back to blue anyway, so this wasn’t too confusing.

As I closed in on reaching Land’s End from blue, I came across a guy, Jonathan, who was out there for the first time and new to Lawrence. He just wanted to know where to go to get between 18-20 miles. After giving him directions and speaking for a few minutes, I was on my way.

When I reached LE, I took my break to have my Clif Bar and some water. I sat on the log for this and I think this was a bad move on my part. I usually never sit, but for some reason I did. When I got up I could feel some strain in my right calf but thought this would heal itself as I started running. Not so much. For a few extra suffering miles, I decided to take white trail back. Of the 6+ miles or so on white from LE, I walked about half of it because of that pain. It wasn’t terrible, but I ran what I could on it just so I could make sure I suffer some but not wanting to get hurt. I’d say I was pretty successful since I was hurting, as I initially wanted to feel, but it wasn’t anything serious. Most of it was probably my two days off again–yeah, again!

Overall, I ran about 26M and it felt really good to run to the point where you hurt. It’s good for the soul, if you ask me. It’s good for our well-being. I’ll be out again tomorrow morning for another 12-15M but I don’t plan on as much suffering since I feel much better after today’s run. I’ve also gotta prepare for the April 4th Rockin K. I hope I feel as good for that race as I did for WyCo. Assuming all conditions normal, I think I’ve come up with a time to finish the race in: 9:45:00. I haven’t had a time up to this point simply because I didn’t know what to expect form myself and the course. I think my 9:45:00 is reasonable since that makes about 11:43 mile averages. Totally doable. But, again, assuming all conditions “normal” (with myself and the course).

I hope everyone had a better week than I did.

Go out hard.

Lately I’ve been in a rut. In my opinion, it’s not so much body-related, but school. It’s kinda mentally pulling me in weird directions and therefore throwing my schedule out-of-whack. I’ve been able to hit-up the treadmill and get at least decent workouts in, but it just doesn’t feel right. Something is off. It’s like I can’t focus. I’m in a daze.

First I had a very small stress fracture in my right foot which has passed, but now there’s a weird–and I mean weird–pain that comes and goes in the muscle that runs up my right leg starting around the ankle. It feels like it starts at (1) and moves on to (2), as marked on the chart.

The strange part is that it comes and goes! It’s as if my leg wants to collapse when I get the pain while running–because it’s not really a pain, although it kinda is, but more like the muscle is weakened and my right leg wants to collapse for a brief second (sometimes it slightly does). And because the pain comes and goes, I never know whether it’s okay to go running or rest it for the day. My guess is to rest it because I don’t want it to get any worse.

So I’m gonna rest today and run tomorrow morning instead of taking Friday’s off. Then, the plan is to go long this weekend. The weather seems as if it will cooperate to follow through with that plan. I just need to do something because Rockin’ K is right around the corner and I don’t wanna go into it soft. And right now I feel soft. I’m afraid this feeling will persist until the end of the semester in early May. I hope not, but I have a terrible fear this is true.

This week has been crap-ola with regard to running. And it all started with having two days off last week, Friday and Saturday. Ran a little–though nothing like I had hoped to run–and then came yet another day off, Tuesday. Wow. Then thought I’ll sorta catch up on Wednesday with almost 20. Yeah right. A little over 6 was tough enough to run because of time constraints. This thesis stuff is really a time killera. No joke. It’s especially rough when you get to certain spots in the research because stopping will just make it that much worse, so you continue on but obviously your running will suffer. My main concern is the upcoming 50-miler on April 4th. I should be okay, but I need mileage. But I believe I’m not being careful enough with my time management. I’ll tighten-up on that and should be able to still do at least 50-mile weeks.

All that gloomy news leads to slightly better news with today’s run. Ran with the Nerds; Nick, Gary, Greg, Mark, and Pat. Brett was around, but was having foot issues early on so he laid back a bit. Great group. Greg, Nick, and I kicked it up a notch and sorta took off towards the end and I think that made today’s run worth it. It’s nice to have a variation in a run, sorta like running fartleks. We pulled off about 12 miles. And today was the first time I ran the red trail. Very technical and rocky–and beautiful, basically next to the lake. Great run with a great group today. Not sure what’s in store for tomorrow; I guess it depends on how this weather behaves. If it’s not pouring tomorrow, I’ll head out for at least another 10. But we’ll see.

Hope everyone’s healthy and strong.

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a But I’ve also had this weird foot problem. I call it “weird,” but it turns out it’s a slight stress fracture. See, as I’ve said in a previous post: time off is seriously a killer for me. I can’t have TWO days off. I just can’t handle that. My body can’t handle that. It needs the stress of running. But anyway, I think it’s getting better. I can still feel the pain, but fortunately not when I’m running. Being idle is when I feel it more. But it’s all good. Really. I should be in tip-top shape by Rockin’ K.

One thing I enjoy about running is learning about myself and, (i) what I’m capable of, and (ii) what my body prefers. Of course (ii) will change as your fitness level changes, but it’s nice to see this progress.

For example, one thing I learned this weekend is that my body does not really like “time off.” My legs felt incredible going into today’s easy hill workout on the treadmill, but a little into the run they felt a tad stiff in the shins. Mind you, this was only with two days off. With the increase of my runs lately, I haven’t had this feeling in a while until today. I really prefer one day a week off (or, if two, then they really need to be spread out–like Sunday and Friday with a longer run on Saturday).

I guess this past weekend, having Friday and Saturday off from running I felt like a bum. No kidding. I actually felt lazy, which is something I can honestly say I haven’t felt in a while. But you know what else I haven’t felt in a while? The feeling of running again. Ooohh the joy. I felt like a crack-head who has been off crack for a week and finally got himself a new needle in his vein. I felt strong on the incline and I just wanted to go on for hours. But I knew I had two days off in a row and I didn’t wanna push it too much, so one hour was sufficient for today. Super easy run, but I needed that to “get back into it.”

Let’s hope the weather will warm up and stay that way. We’ve been getting teased with high 60’s then -6ยบ wind chills. This is ridiculous. I’m ready for Spring and the shorts to be out for good.

Hope everyone’s well.