Doing things the right way – Part 1

*my spine, circa 2008.

What’s interesting to me is there is some semblance of a debate on health and nutrition when it comes to this sport.   In retrospect on my training, I really wish I had focused on this, because it would have saved my legs from the Chicago Marathon.  My thing is, there is a reason why science and medical advances exist.  There are experts out there who have done this before, so why not consult them?

There is also the notion of insurance, which is always tricky.  I’d prefer to have everything on record so that I don’t die prematurely.  But I digress, some have recommended to me to find a way to find out everything without involving an insurance company.  On top of this, I’m sure that most doctors far and wide will lean away from anyone participating in long distance sports, but I digress.

One of the main reasons why I keep up with my health is because I have a plethora of ailments to which I have to pay attention to.   Mind you however, the worst of all these symptoms (asthma, insomnia in particular) actually got better the more I trained.  I never felt better than I did in my life almost two weeks before the Chicago Marathon.

As part of my training this year, I recruited various members of the health and wellness community.    Their expressed purpose is for peak performance during my training and racing this year.  Thankfully, most of these people are my friends that I’ve developed relationships over the years, and I finally get to use their services.

To start, I met with Dr. Michael Rosen, who practices out of West Loop Chiropractic here in Chicago.   I attended the clinic before for a back issue, but I never got a chance to see him for any of my training.   I chalk it up to being extremely busy during the summer, but I should have made time.    After a short re-acquaintance, I mentioned that I did the marathon last year, and what ‘injuries’ I had sustained during so.

Thankfully, I made the right call.   For starters, I run with orthotics in my shoes, which I received last year from Dr. Rosen.  I attribute having them to keeping my gait neutral and my heels from not hurting like hell.   It always surprises me during informal gait analysis clinics how many runners have shoes to compensate for an imbalance someplace.    What I didn’t realize however was that while my gait is neutral, the rest of my body was compensating for an imbalance someplace else.

It was somewhat awkward discussing my eventual knee X-rays, but the bottom line is that I need to get an MRI.  Dr. Rosen stopped short of telling me that my endurance career is over before it started, but he did make some good remarks.  Along with one of my trainers, David Hardin, also mentioned the same hopeful good news.   I definitely have an ‘instability’ issue, and I have to focus on rehabbing (or pre-habbing in this case) my knees for the next 3 weeks or so.   I know that I’ve had tight hip flexors and quads, and regulary have IT band issues in the past.   From both Dr. Rosen and Dave, once I get in the swing of things, this will help all of that.

In the meantime, I have to put the brakes on my upcoming plans for the ING Miami Marathon and the Austin Half-Marathon.     Which sucks, but I’d prefer to come back stronger and ready to go.  In the meantime, I signed up for the Shamrock Shuffle, which I may later regret. . but I need to do something to jumpstart the sping.

My New Years Resolution

So as I sit here, I have a major problem.   Well, it’s not a problem per se, but it’s definitely something I didn’t expect.

So, my life post Chicago Marathon has been a gradual slope down a very steep hill.  I didn’t realize how much I benefited from Training over the summer for the Marathon, until I sat down a few months ago.  I furiously tried to plan my Race Calendar next year, sticking with safe bets and smaller distances.

However, as I sit here, I haven’t been in a gym or trained since running the Marathon.  It’s one of those things ‘Yeah, I’ve been meaning to’ or at the very least, I could enjoy the diet I had been consuming (which is crap food for the most part) for a few months and get back on the horse.   After all, I should be at a fitness level to bust out half-marathons without thinking, right?

But as it stands right now, I’ve lost all of my energy, I’ve regained some of my insomnia symptoms, and the kicker? I can’t deal with stress as easily as I used to do.    It’s very weird, but my fitness regimen has to stick somehow, because the benefits outweigh almost everything.

And then, there is something else.  I talked myself out of a Triathlon last year.   While it was a good decision at the time, I’ve been sitting here literally DREAMING of doing one.  I didn’t expect this, but again, it comes from a lifetime of putting my dreams on hold and accepting perceived limits.

So, as a New Year’s Resolution, I don’t want to commit to something that’s going to fizzle and fade out by February.  I have to commit myself to something very large, plan it out and follow through.

Therefore, I’ve got this goal in mind for a Resolution.  My promise to myself, and my friends.


Right now, I’ve got my eyes set on Ironman Racine, which is in July.  However, I might not be ready by then and there are not many smaller Triathlon’s before the Racine Race happens.  Ironman Austin is in October, but if I do that race, then peaking for the Chicago Marathon is out of the picture.

This is going to require changing a lot of things up.  This is going to require a major investment in a Bike, and more time outdoors than I’m used to.  Some of my social obligations may have to take a backseat.

But I’m sure that I can do it.   I’ve got the support.

Race List 2012

So I’ve been ruminating on my ‘plans’ next year, knowing around June I’ll have to train hardcore for the Chicago Marathon.  This is also quite nerve-wracking for me, because I have to plan ahead so far, and I normally don’t.  So, I’ve put together a list (and a wishlist) of events I plan on participating (and covering) for 2012.

Race to Wrigley 5kApril
The first race I ever did, would like to return and PR my original time (which is at 1:00, but I crossed the line very late)

Ravenswood 5kApril
I like Ravenswood, this was a fun race, plan on doing it again.

Soldier Field 10 MileMay
I did this race last year, and while I’m not a Bears fan, finishing on the 50 yard line is a very good incentive to run over Memorial Day

North Shore Half MarathonJune
At the suggestion of my coach, I’m swapping this for 13.1 Chicago (which is the next day) in 2011.

Bigfoot Triathlon  – June
This will also be a first time for me.  I’m going to train for a Sprint Triathlon and based on my experience / performance, might go for longer distances.

L.A.T.E. RideJuly
This was AWESOME last year.  Riding on Chicago streets at night, watching the sunrise in the morning, and drafting bikers at 25+ mph?  Hell yeah!

Chicago Half MarathonSeptember
Was awesome running on 9/11 last year, willing to do it again this year.

Newton 20 MilerSeptember
Of course the last training run before the Chicago Marathon, will definitely be on next year.

AIDS 5k Walk / 10k RunOctober
Did the 5k walk last year, but I plan on running the 10k and walking with my friends for the 5k portion.

Chicago MarathonOctober
Fall Classic.  World Major.  ‘nuff said.  Going for a PR, which shouldn’t be too hard.

Malibu Half MarathonNovember
This will be my second traveling trip, at the suggestion of my coach.

Rock and Roll Las VegasDecember
Missed this for 2011, definitely on deck for 2012, especially if they are on the strip at night.


So far, 11 Races with 1 Marathon and 1 Triathlon in the mix.

Below are a list of races that are on my ‘wishlist’.  At the behest of over-commitment and physical exhaustion, I’m keeping these races off my schedule, for now.

Shamrock Shuffle – Been advised against this race because EVERYONE  does it.
Lakefront 10 Miler – Conflict with another event. . might do it anyway
Indy Mini-Marathon – Conflict with another event. . might do it anyway.  Would have to travel.
13.1 Chicago – A day after North Shore, and Windy City Challenge? Very tempting.
Half – Ironman Racine – Yeah, I know, insane, right? But I have friends doing said race, might be tempted to try just to crash and burn.
Rock and Roll Chicago – Didn’t care much for it last year.  If I have some compelling reason to go, yes, if not, will pass on it.
Hot Chocolate – Been advised against this race too for various reasons.
Disneyland 2013 – Mixed reviews on said race.

I’m interested in other stuff next year as well.   There are Century Rides, the ‘mud’ races (Spartan Race, Mudatlon, etc.), larger Triathlons, and other stuff that I will have my eyes out on.  I would also like to try races outside of the Chicago area.