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Friday, July 1, 2016

A Bit Of Painful Reflection!

As I said in my last blog post, The Friday after my Thursday sub 5K race pace intervals brought lots of back issues, and this week, calf issues that I am not 100 percent sure are spine or calf related. After going easy for 8K on tuesday and wednesday while struggling with calf issues,  today was my last attempt at an easy run in anticipation of  at least going to the race sunday night and just running it. At 2K in upon making a turn, my calf exploded like a calf tear. Like I said, not sure if it is calf or back stuff, but it doesn't much matter. I will probably need a good week off or more. Will go to the gym and lift weights, and later next week may try the recumbent, but my running has been shut down again. 
This past week I have been looking at the past 4 years training logs (that I will throw away shortly!), and there is a difficult pattern that I hate to accept, but probably must if I am going to attempt to just keep moving forward. In Joe Friel's book "Fast after 50", he first indicates that athletes from 60-69 have, by far, the greatest decline in Vo2 max of 30.5% for that decade. Now, by going back to the first months of turning 60 and racing before my meniscus snapped, and comparing race AND general run paces each year thru my last race at the Las Cruces Senior Qualifiers in early April, my decline in both race and training pace is around 8%. Now, the falloff will get greater in the last 5 years of this decade, so hitting and exceeding that 30 minute plus 5K and 60 minute plus 10K will probably happen soon. But the much more disturbing finding from my review, is how many times I injured myself after attempting to do fast speedwork or after hard races. In 5 races over the last three years, and three times doing fast speedwork,  my back has gone out sometime within the week after. That is just too steep a price to pay for a 50 cent medal. Also, when I look at race results, the new guys coming in at 60 are running times around the 8:30 5K pace I ran back then, but not the 9:05 pace I have devolved to currently. I obviously don't know what the inside of my spine looks like until I get an MRI next year, but I have to assume there are problems both with the stability of my spine and reduced disk spaces from the 8 levels of  disk bulges that were noted in my last MRI from 2 years ago. They get worse, not better. Now one of my two long term running hero's, Frank Shorter who is 69, has, in the last decade, gone thru a meniscus tear, knee surgery, and spinal surgeries,  and has decided to quit attempting to race. Now he still works out  two hours a day, but runs only about 4 times a week for 45 minutes to an hour easy, keeping his heart at below the 75% max heart rate limit, and adds elliptical, bike, lots of free weight and body weight exercises, but recognizes that he can't TRAIN for racing anymore. So, when I return from this current mess, I will just give up the ghost of trying to TRAIN or  race, certainly at least until  I see a spine specialist next year. I will adopt the Shorter plan, with only one difference.....I will probably try to come back to once a week tempo intervals of 4 by 5 minutes at a heart rate not exceeding 85% of my heart rate max, just because I think it is worth it  for heart health. I will still do some sprinting on the recumbent, but not as hard, and I will start to extend my weight workouts to do more lower body exercises. I will also try and add another spine stabilization exercise my boy recommended to me on the  phone the other night. And if I ever race again, it will either be as a fun run, or it will be at a race that actually has a 65-69 age group, and I will just run it easy in the event it is a very small age group. I think 36 years of racing out of 40 years of running is probably more than enough.......

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