20 June 2011


DNF at km 7.

I knew that I had a remote chance of finishing a marathon, but didn't expect to pull out so early :(

Tried to run early in the week, but leg was too painful. Decided to rest for the rest of the week and was also on anti-inflammatories diet, hoping that everything will come good on Sunday.

On Wednesday, about 30mins before our flight was supposed to take off, Qantas decided to halt all flights to Perth for 24 hours due to Chilean volcanic ash.

Qantas offered full refund for the tickets. I was very tempted to take the cash since the marathon was virtually a no hoper. Contemplated Gold Coast in 2 weeks time, but there was no guarantee that I'd recover in time, and more importantly, I haven't been training much for the last month so I wasn't gonna be in tip top shape anyway.

At the end, I decided to keep the ticket betting that everything will be alright on race day. Flew to Perth the next day.

On Friday, ran 9k in Perth at 4.45 pace (including a mile at MP) and legs seemed to hold up. Feeling a bit more optimistic, and hoping 2 more days on NSAID diet will reduce the inflmmation in the posterior tibialis tendon.

Meet the Perth gank for pasta dinner on Friday. It was a good boys night out, talking about running !

Sunday morning: did 1k warm up with B'man (who eventually ran 2.49) at 5+ pace and legs seemed okay. Lined up at the start with Epi (who finished in 3.00.30) and felt great for the first couple ks running at 4.12-4.15 pace.

Then I came undone in a flash. There was a steep downhill after Windan Bridge and the force sent shock waves to my legs - ankles, and posterior tibia as well as the anterior tibia. Legs were burning like hell. Hold on for another k but another steep downhill in East Perth put the nail into the coffin. Run, walk, run, walk for a while, before deciding to pull the plug at approx km 7.

If the pain happened say after 30k, probably I wouldn't mind grinding it out. But the shit happened so early and running another 35k or so it will not be an enjoyable (& rewarding) experience and akin to climbing K2.

Nevertheless, it was a good holiday. Been 4 years since the last time I was there. Visited all the restaurants we used to eat before, took my son for a walk in Kings Park, and managed to catch up with the Perth running crew.

So what's next?

The same injury (posterior tibialis tendon) has now caused me to pull out of two marathons (DNS Melbourne 2010 and DNF Perth 2011). Both of them were caused by over-worked muscles due to excessive heel striking (the tendon contracts eccentrically during heel strike)

The short term solution will be to rest before resuming normal training again. It took me about a month of total rest to recover last year. I managed to put in a good 4-5 months of training post-injury before breaking down again.

The long term solution is to alter my biomechanics into a midfoot striker. Not sure how easy this will be after running for 7 years and clocking about 25000 km  LOL. May have to look at options such as barefoot running, Newton shoes, learning about proprioceptive cues (falling forward running style) etc

In addtion to to the above, I might also have to look at altering my training regime. It seems 2 speed workouts a week is too much for my aging and aching body. I trained well during Melbourne and Perth preps but all came un-done in the last 3-4 weeks before the race (maybe Pfitz regiment of one speed and more medium long runs are more palatable??). Another modification is running more on softer surface. Last month I bought a car, and this would make travelling to training venues much easier. Once I gotten over my injuury, I might look at doing my long runs in Macritcihie forest trail or doing my tempo on the gravel surface of Bedok Reservoir - all of which would reduce the pounding.

If things go well and I can quickly recover from this shit, Melbourne Marathon on 9-10-11 will be the next marathon. That's less than 4 months away, so not very long to go !!

Gonna hang up my running shoes and go cross-training crazy for the next couple of weeks !!

12 June 2011

Week 12 of 13

1 week left !!!

35mins easy (5.08) - painful !!!

60mins easy (5.23) - PAINFUL !!!!

90mins XT (60mins arc trainer, 30mins stationary bike)

45mins XT (arc trainer)

AM: 13k in 60mins (4.37)
15mins tempo @ 4.06 min/km
15mins fartlek, alternating 90secs @ 3.50s, 90secs float @ 4.40s

PM: 45mins XT (arc trainer)


21k long run in 100mins (4.46)
(11k @ 4.55, 3k @ 4.45, 3k @ 4.30, 3k @ 4.15, 1k cool down)

Total 55k of running + 3 hours of XT

Week in Summary:

Life is a roller coaster.....

Early in the week: The posterior tibialis was damn PAINFUL (yes, capital letters). For Monday and Tuesday easy runs, I had to walk, jog, stop, walk etc for the first 20mins of the run. Calf, shins, and ankles were burning. It's the same shit I experienced prior to last year Melbourne Marathon which I eventually pulled out. Told my wife and colleagues that I probably will DNS the marathon.

Middle of the week: Skipped running for two days, did XT, RICE, ibuprofen

End of the week: Pain level declined from 100% to 85%. Did a small workout on Friday, not very comfortable. On Sunday, did a dress rehearsal, by swallowing ibuprofen, wore calf sleeves and marathon shoes. Could notice a drop in fitness on the back of reduced training in last 2-3 weeks (let's call it a 4-weeks taper)

Okay, I think I will be a starter comes next Sunday. The chance didn't look good early in the week, but things started looking up by the weekend. Hopefully in the next 6 days or som, the pain level will reduce to < 80%. Currently, I am no good to run in consecutive days since the muscles and tendons are painful due to the jarring effect. So probably will run 3 times prior to the race to give myself the best possible chance to run.

Not sure about my marathon goal time now because I won't know how the legs going to feel during the first few steps of the race. This will be my first ever marathon start with the legs not 100% healthy. Anyhow, Perth is the place where I fell in love and got obsssed with running, so it's good to come back ! I just need to be daring and do my best to tough things out.

04 June 2011

Week 11 of 13

2 weeks left !!!

OFF. XT: 10mins weights + 25mins stationary bike + 10mins climber + 15mins elliptical

4k warm up, drills/strides
8 x 400m, 100m jog (Padang field)
85, 87, 86, 88, 88, 89, 90,88
4k cool down
Total 12k in 57+ (4.48)

6k easy in 31 (av 5.10), Keppel Marina 1k loop

3k warm up with strides
10k continuous tempo in 40.57 (av 4.06)
3k cool down
Total 16k in 74+ (4.40)

35mins recovery (5.45), treadmill

5k easy in 26.47 (5.22)
5k MP in 21.40 (4.20)
4k easy in 22:10 (5.32)
4k fartlek in 17.20 (4.20), alternating 500m @ 10k-HM, 200m jog
3k easy in 17.00 (5.40)
3k MP in 12.45 (4.15)
2k easy in 11.00 (5.30)
2k of 40secs strides, 80secs jog in 9.40 (5.50)
Total 28k in 2h18m (4.57), excluding a number of stoppages to rest the ankle from pounding


Total 68k for the week

Week in Summary:

The good: This week's low mileage seems to have alleviated my dead legs problems as evidenced by a good tempo on Thursday and a fartlek long run on Saturday. So I reckon there is no issue with overtraining or low iron since my motivation is still there.

The bad: The dreaded tendon-ankle joint injury is back !!!

Similar to the last year's injury which put me on the sidelines for a couple of months, the posterior tendon has spreaded its web of pain to my shins and ankle. I would say the tendon and shin splints issues are currently 'manageable' as the pain is not that severe. Have been icing twice a day, eating panadol, and poisoning myself with voltaren gel.

The ankle is the numero uno problemo right NOW. It is painful and sore and it continuously being jarred from the road pounding. The ankle is also very weak and has very little strength to toe-off. However, it is not as bad as last year where I couldn't run at all. Perhaps the early mitigative measures such as icing, anti inflamatories, and training reduction all help to de-celerate the process before it becomes a bigger scale injury. I just need to make sure that I will nurse it for the next 2 weeks.

I am only able to secure physio appointment next Thursday. I will be leaving the following Wednesday, hence I doubt I'll get any quick fix within such a short time span. As desperate measures, I am currently experimenting with Phiten titatinum tape in order to hold the muscle and relieve pain (hopefully it's not a hoax like power balance).

Given the unexpected injury I would be happy if I can run under 3.10. However, I might go out at 3 hour pace since I don't think going out at 3.10 pace is that motivating. I am just hoping like last year's Seoul Marathon, I only fade by a few minutes to finish in low 3s.

HOPEFULLY my ankle and posterior tibialis can hold up for 42k :(

Clown/Epi/TB - I will arrive in Perth on Wednesday and return on Monday, staying at Medina on Barrack. Perhaps we can meet up for a pasta dinner on Friday and/or a beer or two after the marathon. Also, I don't mind running a bit around the river on Thursday or Friday :)