Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Bubble Wrap

Well it must almost be June, because my ankles and knees are feeling pretty crunchy. Maybe it's also because I'm 30 now, but I know I'm training hard when my joints sound like there filled with bubble wrap. It's mostly my ankles, but lately my knees are feeling pretty hammered too. Don't get me wrong, I'm not injured at all. It would be nice to be immune to all aches and pains, but in some twisted way I enjoy a little bit of wear and tear. It lets me know that I'm doing the work that's going to pay off in just one month.

I don't want to jinx anything, but I have to say that I'm feeling pretty good about my current level of fitness. I've raced a little less this spring, but I've made the most of what I have raced, and my training has been solid. It's quite amazing that a couple big hard weeks back to back can completely change one's mindset. Just a month ago I was feeling like my training was utterly schizophrenic. When I look back at this month as a whole though, I really feel good about it. I've done long runs of 40, 70, and 34 miles. Each of those runs was preceded a day earlier by hilly threshold runs.

On top of feeling great about running, I've still been managing some quality time in the gym. My sauna sessions are getting longer and feeling more comfortable. The problem is that the sauna at the new gym is always more full than it ever was at my old gym. Therefore, I feel a little awkward doing pushups and jumping jacks in front 2 or 3 other guys. I've continued to hit the weights too, with most of the focus now being on core and legs. On a whim today, I decided to measure my body fat with the goofy electronic hand-held device. I put no stock into it's accuracy, but when I last checked three months or so ago, my body fat percentage was 11%. Today it was measured 7%. So regardless of the accuracy, it still shows an increase in fitness. It's always nice to have some measurable numbers to back up the way your feeling.

In a moment, I'll stand up and grab a glass of water. Inevitably my ankles are going to snap and crackle, but I'll be smiling thinking about the runs I did to get to this point. I love this time of year.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

At Last

Kiwi finally has a diagnosis. The results from her endoscopy came back from the lab, and it turns out that she does indeed have IBD. There's good news and still some lingering questions that come with her diagnosis. Evidently the labs revealed that she has MILD irritable bowel disease. That's good as far as treatment goes, but the specialist said that a mild case may not explain everything that Kiwi has been experiencing. That's a little frustrating, but at least we can start treating something. Kiwi will be on prednisone for the next month or so, and supposedly we should see some pretty immediate results from that. According to the vet, once we get the inflammation down, Kiwi should be able to resume a pretty normal life, which includes running.

Speaking of running, I've been doing a little of that. It's amazing how much weight has been lifted off my shoulders with Kiwi's improvement. Last week was my biggest of the year. Friday and Saturday combined for my biggest back-to-back ever. On Friday morning, Adam Lint and I headed out to North Bend for a double ascent of Mt. Si (my first of the season). Both times up were under 50 minutes and felt great. On our way back from Si, Adam and I flagged the five mile course for Saturday's Cougar Mountain race. Then on Saturday I took part in the Watershed Preserve 12 Hour. 12 hours of running a 5.3 mile loop was not my idea of fun, but I felt like it would be a great opportunity to figure out my nutrition plan for Western and get some solid time on my feet. I actually only ended up running 10:37. In that time, I ran 69.88 miles. With 80 minutes or so left to run, I could have pushed well into the mid 70's, but I didn't want to put myself into too great a deficit. I feel great about having run 90 or so miles in two days. My week ended up at 127 miles. I know that's become quite pedestrian these days, but for me that's a HUGE week. With about 4 weeks of hard training left, I'm feeling really good about my current fitness.

And the last little bit of good news comes from the Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien. His debut is June 1st, and his first musical guest will be none other than my favorite band PEARL JAM. They will evidenty be playing new songs from their forthcoming album. That rocks!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Consistently Inconsistent

Training and blogging have been mediocre at best this past month. I've been as inconsistent as Kiwi's stool, well formed and solid one week, sloppy and unstructured the next. Please pardon the comparison to my dog's waste, but it really speaks to what I've been dealing with now for well over a month. As I've alluded to in previous posts, Kiwi's health has really been set back for the past two months. She's more or less fine, although she can't run with me at the moment. We still don't know what exactly is causing her GI issues and lethargy, but it is suspected that she has Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD). Sounds really pleasant, huh? I've realized a couple things over the last month or so. First off, I must have lived a pretty stress free life up until now, because I never knew how much stress can screw things up. And second, I don't handle stress very well, especially when it is stress related to my dog-child. I've literally worried myself sick over Kiwi. I've definitely made her my top priority for these many weeks, at the expense of my running. That sucks, but it puts things into perspective a bit too. Obviously, Kiwi takes precedent over any race, yes even THE race.

Things aren't all bad though. Last week I hit my biggest mileage of the year, topping out over 100 miles for the first time. I even managed to get out for a hard 40 mile run with Jurek and some others. I realized that he's in better shape than me, but I don't feel like I'm that far off. There's still a handful of weeks to really hit it, so if Kiwi can continue to show small signs of improvement, I feel like I can get back on track to run my best at States.

So where do things stand with Kiwi? Well she underwent an endoscopy last Thursday, and we're awaiting the results from the biopsy. Theoretically they'll diagnose her with IBD and then we can began the proper treatment. IBD is a lifelong condition, but not a life shortening illness. Evidently it can be successfully managed with diet and medication, and she should even be able to start running again. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we get a diagnosis and can begin treating something. So far, the vets have only told us what she does NOT have.