If we really want to get rid of suffering, completely and totally, then clinging has to go. The spiritual path is never one of achievement; it is always one of letting go. The more we let go, the more there is empty and open space for us to see reality. Because what we let go of is no longer there, there is the possibility of just moving without clinging to the results of the movement. As long as we cling to the results of what we do, as long as we cling to the results of what we think, we are bound, we are hemmed in. Meditating on No-Self: A Dhamma Talk (Edited for Bodhi Leaves), by Sister Khema(1994)

Friday, March 30, 2012

Arrived! But not suited and booted...

Got up at 2:45 GMT +2.  Got in the taxi at 3:20.  Flew to Frankfurt at 5:25.  Arrived in Dublin at 11:05.  Got on the train to Galway and arrived at 17:05.  Arrived in Clifden, my base, aroun 18:30.  Bought groceries, looked around.

It is very mountainous here, not America or Alps mountains, but clearly there are drastic elevation changes as well as rolling hills all over.  Looks very interesting.  We pick up numbers, chips, etc. tomorrow.  Get on the bus on Sunday at 7:15 a.m. GMT +0.

Lets see what happens huh.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Time to go

Over the past few days I have taken a series of light walks every day, never more than 4k just to keep the legs moving.  I have finished work, and I leave at 3:20 a.m. from my flat and take a taxi to Boryspil Airport.  I take a 5:35 a.m. Lufthansa flight to Frankfurt and then on to Dublin.  I take a train from Dublin to Galway and then a bus from Galway to Clifden Station House Hotel in Clifton.  I should be there by Friday evening around 9 p.m. Kyiv time.

My race number is 39174.  Its time to go.!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Back down to earth

Got cold again.  Ran at night, the weather was about 2+C along with about 30km / hr wind.  All feels fine and it seems pretty relaxed with good posture and steps.  Happy with all of that. 

Nice work with GU also.  Took it 15m before run with water, seemed to be very useful for the exact time frame as advertised. 

We'll see if I run tomorrow.  I feel I'm about ready for just maybe two more days and then total rest and preparation.  This was a good run to get some sense back into it all.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Over confidence here we come

Nice smooth easy 10k today.  Still holding it back and at the same time enjoying this type of running to the point of thinking I can run this pace all day long; which of course is not true, but it is fun to think about as long as I don't get to the point of thinking it will never hurt at all.

Blood sugar good start and finish.  Shoes (Adidas Clima Cool Ride) is going to be the shoe for this run, its all pavement.  Change in socks is good for now, will bring two pair of each type in to Ireland. 

Rest of the week is planned already, sometimes that is good sometimes not so good.  One moment at a time now.  All the arises, ceases. Anything else is definitely bringing the over confidence machine right to the frontal lobe.

But, the last two runs have been really really nice.  "The flow".  See, over confidence See!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Where is that Barn?

Well, well.  Getting there I think.  10k today.  Good blood sugar, start and finish, nothing added before the run.  My GU arrived from abroad and now I have all I need for that.

The run was really really informative.  Smooth, really good footwork, nice quick steps very quiet moving along, great posture and easy to do the miles.  Just floating along.  Caught myself making sure I wasn't going to quick and over running the whole thing.

It looks like the taper is going fine.  It's really important not to get over excited by this run or any other between now and race day.  Mainly because they are short little spurts and nothing like the full patience that will be required over a little less than 6 hours of work.

I still don't have a plan for pace.  I think back and forth between 8:15 and 9:00 a mile.  Interesting.

One week to go, time change tomorrow, need to eat well and put the horse in the barn.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Information Booth

Ran at about time of the race.  9 ish.  checked blood sugar and did not medicine and then rechecked after the run.  During the run monitored everything, time, feelings, each area of the body, steps, form, shoes, how my body warmed up.  I felt like a computer at the Ford repair shop.

Took two days off as part of the taper.  Ran 8k today.  Information:  start slow, don't go straight into race pace, be patient, roll into it by monitoring early.  Even at the early easing pace it was not very slow.  So don't panic about the start, let it go, if it takes three miles to get going, it takes 3 miles, it takes 5 miles, so it goes.

Lots of information.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Worst Streets Ever

I steal the title today from the Simpsons when comic book guy ended an episode by saying "Worse Episode Ever."  Our streets are a complete disaster, really problematic.  Maybe I am making too much of it, but really it is getting difficult to find even pavement or concrete anywhere; there are pot holes, huge holes, moonscapes everywhere.  Very frustrating.

I tried out the new shoes today for 10km at mid morning.  An easy run at almost race pace, no hard work involved at all.  The feet still hurt from the bumps in the road but the shoes are nice.  The minimal drop does make you run more toward the forefoot.  The shoe is very responsive to movement and the fore foot padding seems adequate.  I would not say it is a trail shoe as my work in the sand/dirt of the gutters did not have much traction to it. 

In terms of how I am feeling, pretty good.  I feel the relaxation in my muscles as compared to exhaustion; could it be because I know I will only go 10km or is the taper doing what it is supposed to do?

Worst streets ever, worse than last year and it doesn't look good for the city fixing them.

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Prime Directive

Ran 10km this morning right at race time.  I had bad BS at 8:30 a.m., 304, took 4u, 92 at the end of the run.  This is telling for a couple of reasons, first if I take a 1/2 dose then I have about 10km before I need to dive in to some carbs of some sort during the race.  Based on yesterday and today, I can expect some sort of spike if I have good blood sugar to begin.  However, other data would indicate that if I begin well, I will need to take in carbs at least every 10km (see the 40k and 50k runs).

The run itself was uneventful:  BUT, my feet hurt on these crappy streets and I have nagging pain on my inner knee that is not a problem just there.  Also the right soleus continues to need the wrap.  I am this moment thinking it is because I bought shoes that were too big by a 1/2 size.  The last soleus problem Ihad was a result of that as well.  Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.

I went to the Adidas store and got shoes that fit.  Adidas Clima Cook Ride.  It has a limited drop of about 7mm and is quite light weight but has a lot of front foot padding.  I will run in these the rest of the week and see what happens.

It is entirely possible I am violating the prime directive.  Don't change for the race.  But I think there is time to make sure this is a good decision.  If it isn't I will run in the Nike's that have about 600 km on them that are the right size.  But I won't wear the others at all (maybe on the plane)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

To taper is to relax.

Beginning of a nice easy taper I hope.  10k today, toward the end things really felt loosened up.  I felt uncomfortable tired and tight in the beginning.

The one repeating problem is my feet.  They constantly hurt at a pace that isn't quick.  A lot of this has to do with the bad paved surfaces I run on and the limited amount of trail/dirt available to run on in Kyiv.  This problem always goes away when I find trails to run on in other cities.

Blood sugar 99 to start, 65 to finish.  I ran in the afternoon, but followed the BS throughout the morning.  Good and steady from 7 a.m. through about 9:30 but then there was a big spike at about 11:00 a.m.  Haven't experienced that while running so wondering would it have occurred if I was running at that time.

Hope to do a bunch of 10km's all week to get nice a relaxed and all the dings and niggles cleared up before heading off in about 12 days time.

Tomorrow should feel even better, I have always like tapering, it is so relaxing :)

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Back to work YOU!

After lazing around for two days and perseverating about my right knee until anyone would think I needed serious counseling I got back to work, oops, I mean running.

Good thing about today was it is +10 C.  I've been watching the weather in Connemara and of course have found something else to worry about, the difference in temperature between Kyiv and Connemara; so I was very glad to see it suddenly warm up to Ireland's level.

I put on a long sleeve shirt and a jacket, hat and gloves, at the end, it was all soaked through and through, good, heat acclimation I like to call it.

Uneventful run other than to say all felt very good, no knee pain, the current knee pain is merely light bruising from the fall on Wednesday.

Yet another thing to "worry" about is acclimation for the liver for the time of day of the run.  Now over the next two weeks my runs need to be in and around mid or early morning in order to make sure that my system is used to working at this high rate at that time.  In the past I've had the Sunday long run early in the day so that should be of some help.  For example, today, I was 192 to start, took 1 u of insulin about 1 hour before I ran and finished the run at 195.  This indicates that if I had not taken the unit my blood sugar would have been somewhat higher than i wanted going through 15k on race day.  Given that there will be three very, very light days 5k, 3k 1k before the three days before the race, it is important to track these levels and the time of the run.

Review of the week, which I initially feel was crappy, it turns out I went 25k at the pace I wanted with two major hills, I ran a major unknown hill for about 2km in the dark after the 25k and I got a nice smooth 15k in on Saturday.  Not as negative as I thought.

Let the taper begin and back to work YOU!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Ouch, Ouch, Ouch

Flew home from L'viv this evening and attempted to go out on a nice little run to get lose again.  I only intended to run for a bit, an hour maybe.

So, why not run down to the track and run in circles for a bit.  The rest of the city is pretty free of snow and ice and it was +4 and had been the whole time I was gone so I figured it would be fine. NOT.

Got there and the way to the track was covered in snow and ice, I picked my way through toward the usual entrance that I always use.  Well, it had a sheet of ice on it.  I scrambled down and step on the track and took one turn and face planted violently.  At first I was scared I was actually hurt.  After reflexively turning off the watch I conducted the usual post fall inventory of pain.

I got up looked around and couldn't see anything but black ice everywhere.  Just a miss and I was really annoyed.  I decided to walk a bit and then jog and then work my way home and just get in about 20 minutes of running.

The real issue right now is the right knee.  It seems pretty painful and it may need a bit of a rest.  I'll see again tomorrow.

Ouch that was painful.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Helpful hints when running abroad

I didn't run yesterday.  Rest day.  Pain report, both knees, some soreness in the right soleus but no other pain.  Took a flight late Sunday night to L'viv, Ukraine to inspect one of our schools.  Today worked 12 hours and looked at myself in the mirror and decided I had to get a run in.

When running abroad without Google Maps, or even with Google Maps, take the local tourist map with you.  Take your mobile with you.  Take a little food with you.  Rule number one:  never panic.  Rule number two:  what goes up, has to come back down, its just geography.

My intention, run the stiffness and lack of activity out of my legs, take it really nice and easy and just get a run in.  Issue:  dark, I mean dark, unfamiliar city, not a lot of street lights and my major nemesis, cobblestone. 

Started out nice and easy and immediately encountered cobblestone or stone sidewalk, pick 'em.  I chose sidewalk, but still I had to cross cobblestone streets several times.  When I don't google map a city I usually choose to run in a straight line and then see what happens.  So I ran in a straight line till the road ended and I decided to turn right.  I started up a hill, okay fine, but the street was sort of street and sort of a pot hole infested car crushing festival.  No cars though, strange.  I crested the hill and still no cars, but lots of Orthodox Cristian Icons on the side of the road, interesting, didn't stop to look but kept running and in about 500 meters I started going downhill and could see and actual street with lights on it.  Good, geography lesson learned.  Got to the bottom took a right.

And proceeded to go straight uphill for two kilometers, I thought this thing would never end.  At this point I am channeling Caballo Blanco from "Born to Run", "why take two steps when you can take three?"  This thing twisted and turned and twisted and turned and I knew I was in trouble when I kept hearing cars down shift to get up this hill.  It never ended, but of course it did and that is when the real fun began.  I ran out of sidewalk.  Choices, cobblestone road or dirt on the side of the road/curb.  I choose dirt.  Thus begins a journey in the dark with no streetlights, no headlamp trying to pick my way down a slight downhill that I think will eventually become a big downhill.  Oh no, I run into a park, I look left and see the most beautiful view of an ancient city L'viv.  (wasn't destroyed by the Nazi's, still has all its buildings, old buildings).  This requires a stop.

It also requires taking out the map and seeing how the hell do I get back down.  I take out the map and see that I have run to the top of Vysokyi Zamok.  Translated High Hill, duh!  Well looks like I have to go back the way I came to find a street to get down.  I pick my way back again, at least I had seen it once and took a better path this time.  Finally found a way down and worked my way back to the hotel.

I only ran 7km but it was a truly interested 40 minutes.  Rules 1 and 2 came into play, and the map saved me. 

I love running in strange cities without Google Earth!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Oh my!?

25k early in the morning and I'm flying to L'viv Ukraine this evening to do an inspection of a school there.  The goal was to go at race pace or something close to it and see what happens after three 15kms in a row.

A very interesting run.  Blood sugar again not great in a.m. 281, 3u, 98 at the finish.  I stopped at the halfway point for 500ml of water and a small Snickers bar. 

First things first, for some reason, probably because the plan was to go after it, I was very tight for the first two miles.  I did eventually relax, but more on that later.  Secondly, the weather was miserable, 25-30 km winds with rain/snow coming down constantly.  Sometimes wind at my back, sometimes from the side, sometimes in the front, I guess it all evens out in the end?

The final tally was 8:29 per mile.  The first 1/2 was quicker because the wind was at my back.  Also, the final 5k included two extremely difficult hills that I thought were going to stop me dead in my tracks.  By about mile 11 I would say it was taking a lot of work to stay in it and I had the mantra "give it a little more" going for the final 4.5 miles.  The first big hill was vicious and I thought I was losing time badly, I then thought about the fact this isn't the race, this is race knowledge we are working on.  Same for the second.

Race knowledge?  I believe that 8:30 is achievable, still don't know about 8's.  I also got a good feeling today for what tired legs feel like and areas that may suffer from the hills and how that pain will come up.  I also got some interesting knowledge about relaxing.  Oh my!  I was tight to start.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

in, but not done

Did 15k mid afternoon today.  Starting to warm up.  It was 4 C today.  I intended to do 25k today and tomorrow but didn't, obviously.  Unfortunate, but its done so can't really take it back now can I.  Try again tomorrow. 

Blood sugar again about 265, 2u of humulog, 125 at the finish. 

The run itself was good, fairly smooth, good pace, no real issues to speak of regarding the legs.  The hills did start to get me in the last mile but I don't know if that was just getting it over with or actual tired.  Should find that out tomorrow when the long run is done.  However this long run is only 25k.

At this point I feel strong but am beginning to think about pace and strategy for Ireland.  The information I have is water every 5 miles until we get to 13.1 miles and then we joint the marathon group and at 26.2 we join the 1/2 marathon group.  Two things here.  One, there should be ample water, I'll bring my own GU and Snickers.  Two, alot of people to run through, around?  Is this a good thing or bad?  Interesting.

Initial strategy:  8:00 to 8:15 for as long as I can hold it.  If I did hold it that is between 5:15 and 5:24 total. 
Secondary:  to do that I must find a group of people doing that pace.  There should be around 150 people doing the Ultra, need to stick with them if I find them.

I intend to see what the legs have in them tomorrow and that will be the last thing over 15k that I do.

As they say, after that it will be "in the can"  but I won't be done.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Back in, and back on

Got back at it 20 hours after the last run.  Went 15k.  Time was pretty close to yesterday.  Pain was minimal and there is some niggles in the knees, but after easing into it things went nicely.

Blood sugar 263 to start, 3u Humulog, 126 at the end.

Read a great article by AJW on irunfar.com and tried to write back to him about my experience.  I think the article was timely for me.  I realized that I've come a long way with the previous injuries and overcoming the diabetes.   I also received some nice words from my father regarding the training and I think it is time to start thinking about a race plan now.  Just the beginnings. 

It is all a matter of how much you want to hurt in the end :)

Back into it, back on form, at least for today.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Holidays, observations and monitoring

It is International Womens' Day.  This is a national holiday in Ukraine.  No work for a majority of the city, inf act, most of the city also has Friday off.  Good days to get in mileage in Kyiv.  15km today at around noon.  Very little traffic, pretty good paths, weather about -3C not much wind, Blood Sugar 175 to start. 

In my mind, I've had this great plan all week that has crumbled nicely by not running Monday or Wednesday.  Today's run actually fit in the plan.  Goal has been to get at it at or below race pace.  Today that was done.  This is the monitoring part of this blog. The foot work, turnover and pace were consistent, during the workout there was only one quick period (last about two minutes) where I felt that I might be a bit tired in the legs which then led to panic that this was only a 15k run, blah, blah, blah. 

Really, just take each run as they arise and then cease.  Continue to try to remember that.

Sad moment for the day, I saw a dead dog in front of one of the police stations at about 8 miles in.  Since it was mid afternoon I kind of wondered why, since it was in front the police station, no one had gotten it off the street.  Of course that is how Kyiv works.  Dead people stay on the street for a day, why not a dog.  Not the best selling point for the city, our police department that is.

I work tomorrow, but others don't so maybe a morning run would be nice a quiet?  Monitor some more, observe some more.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Its both I think...

15km this a.m. before going in for a long day that finished at 10:00 p.m.  I really felt compelled to get out there and run regardless, again, I was hesitant and took a bit to get right.  Also a very weird blood sugar day for this run.

The run itself was uneventful except that we are back t running on snow pack and ice in a lot of places.  But, interestingly, this did not slow the time, which was exactly what it was last Sunday.  I am a great believer in breaking through plateaus and believe the 50k did just that in terms of the daily 15k.  Given that the weather was -6C for the run, and the ground conditions, I think there is some weight to that idea.  I am also sure I am not the first idea to say that.

Blood sugar was not good.  Woke at 7:00 a.m., BS was 115.  Woke at 8:30 and BS was 120.  I took no medicine and coffee with honey.  Finished the run and the machine wouldn't even register a number, it just say HI.  I've had this before and I was not surprised that it happened.  I get this about every 8-10 weeks where this is a one day occurrence with the liver, I think.  But it was definitely HI, I took 15 units, my ratio is usually 25 to 1 unit when coming down and 15 to 1 when carb counting.  That 15 units did not even feel like I needed to eat for 2 plus hours, that included a 2km walk to the office, plus a 1 km walk to the Apteka to buy test strips.  Anyway, the remainder of the day was uneventful with BS.

I got out, I got ride of the disappointment, and also listed to my body from yesterday, but my body fought back a bit with the diabetes.  It is always the winner.  So it goes.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Letting yourself down? Or listening to your body?

I did not run today.  I spent most of yesterday trying to figure out why I felt so horrible after what was basically 15k at a fairly simple pace.  My left outer thigh was really tight and continually cramping.  I took a nap in the afternoon, something I haven't done in ages.  I then wrote in the blog about thinking I had let it go too long.  What do I do next? 

Not run today.  I still have soreness in that right outer thigh, a place I never have soreness.  No cramping, I've had lots of water.  I came up with about 10 excuses, but really there are none.  My body had no desire I guess.  What does that mean? 

We've had more snow.  It has gotten cold again.  Tonight's low promises to be -11C.  I have hopes of running in the a.m. before the whole day of work begins.

Did I let myself down?  Or did I listen?  I think I let myself down.  Hope to find out tomorrow.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Paying a price

May have let it go a little long.  Today I ran faster than yesterday, which is not surprising given that the roads and paths are clear despite last nights 3 cm of snow.  It all melts away quickly now and because there is less of it, people seem more inclined to get rid of it also.

But, I got the 'ol upper inner right leg cramp that I get when I try to come back to the same spot after a lot of days off.  In addition post run I am really dehydrated, especially for just 15k, and I have muscle cramping.

This is not permanent damage but yet another lesson on this journey through training for this thing.  In the end I think it won't be too big a deal.  Same thing tomorrow.

It is devastating outside from an infrastructure standpoint however.  Now it is clear, you can see huge holes everywhere.  You can also see them trying to repair the huge holes on the really high traffic streets, unfortunately, they are doing it in the wet and 1/2 snow 1/2 rain and they don't block it off so the cars just tear it up again the next day.

Remember my cartoon caricature of the heat coming out of that man hole?  Well that area is cut away and filled in with broken up read brick!  It is also cordoned off so that cars can't drive on it, but they are and red brick is now going all over the road and chipping the paint on cars.  I'm not sure I understand the engineering behind the approach, but I guess you use what tools you have right?  If there is no tax system and people do not focus on the needs of the group as a whole, the whole system tends to pay a price in its infrastructure.

Much like I did today.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

At some point you just have to take the first step

And out the door you go.  15k today, finally, on a Saturday.  First things first, the paths, roads are in pretty good shape.  I would say all but about 1% of the run was clear of snow and ice.  Very positive.  Secondly, once I got started it really felt very nice, there were two or three very mellow moments where I was just stepping along nicely and it really felt natural.

Hill work went well, the only odd thing is I began to get a little tired in the legs in the last two kilometers.  I hope that is not a precursor to having let it get out of control and gotten a little out of shape. I don't think so, I think it was just five days off.

Blood sugar is another issue.  High BS this a.m., took 7 u, woke late, High BS a mid day, took 1/2 the amount in order to go for the run, and still High BS when i finished the run.  Took another 7u and will test again.  This could be a variety of things.  One, the endocrine effects wore off and without running, the low intake of insulin does not satisfy the body need; two, eating crap (more likely), even when getting in a lot miles if you take all this refined sugar processing is really just not good, but if you stop running for a few days, more than two in my opinion, refined sugar begins to win the battle for BS supremacy. 

Tomorrow it is officially 4 weeks to Connemarra.  Just getting out and taking the first step after the 50 makes me happy.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Fascinating Five Days

Just fascinating.  The whole week has been fully of feedback, failure, and information.  I have not run since the 50k on Sunday.  I have analyzed the run repeatedly and come to the conclusion that it went really well.  It turns out I ran the first 25k quite well and the final 25k I lost some time, specifically 9 minutes off an even split, but there was being lost and other types of issues.

I didn't, don't, have the bilateral outer tendon pain I had for two days after the last 40k, all I have really had was some tightness for two days in my thighs.  But that isn't the most interesting thing.  I never intended to run on Monday or Tuesday, but I haven't run Wed or Thu and don't know if I'll run tomorrow.

I didn't nap on Sunday, but slept very well that night and found myself physically tired on Monday.  That eventually went away.  By Tuesday I didn't feel physically exhausted, but I began to feel what I would call mental exhaustion.  I could not get out the door, every excuse I could find, I have used.  Every twinge that is just a body twinge, nothing important, has been an excuse.  I believe that mental exhaustion is about finished but I'm not sure at all. 

My blood sugar has been fine, so that hasn't been to disturbing, though my diet has not been impressive.  We are 30 days out starting tomorrow.  Certain things will need to get focused.  I hope the goals I am setting here tonight will be helpful over the next four weeks. 

I intend to focus on race pace and below race pace on the 15k's over the next week and then make a decision about Saturday-Sunday next week 10 and 11 March before I head to Lviv Ukraine for an inspection of one of the schools.

This mental exhaustion is really interesting to work with.  I'm very proud to have run 50k with no support by myself and feel that running with people with support is going to be a very different experience.  The thing I am thinking about is preventing mental exhaustion from becoming fear.

All that arises, ceases....  A fascinating five days of thinking.