Gently Back to Running

Filed under: Keto,Running — Shu @August 4th, 2019 9:08 pm

I’ve started running again, gently coming back for two reasons – the butt muscle issues, keto, and social commitments (ie, happy hours and parties left and right).

The last two weeks were pretty much the same. Two nights of running per week, just shy of 8 miles the first week, then almost 11.5 the second. First week was 3.25 miles then 4.5. Second was 5.1, 2.85, 3.66. Total pace on the runs have been anywhere from 9:30 to 11. No gyms. I won’t be going back for a while.

Stamina-wise, I’ve been fine. There is a bit of oddness, but I think it’s more of the muscle and butt issues, not pulmonary or heart. My legs are just damn tired afterwards. Maybe that’s the keto. I can’t rule it out. I’ve been icing and stretching after runs pretty religiously.

I Pulled an Ass Muscle

Filed under: Keto,Running — Shu @July 18th, 2019 9:42 pm

About ten days ago, I was on the incline squat machine when I felt a sharp, sharp pain deep in my left butt. I had to immediately stop and basically limped out. My left butt and hip hurt with each step. The next day, on what was supposed to be my last physical therapy day for my ankle, I told my therapist about this injury, and I’d probably need more sessions to fix this.

She said, “You didn’t tell me you were using those machines. Those things aren’t good.” I was kind of sure I did, but fuck. Great.

Her opinion is basically any leg machine, including abduction and adduction machines, at the gym is bad news. They force your body into a dangerously rigid position. Good form is crucial for protection and effectiveness, but some flexibility is necessary. That’s one of the reasons joints are the way they are.

She poked around, had me move, and I have what appears to be classic piriformis syndrome. I screwed up a muscle deep in my left butt. It directly affects the hip, too, so my rotation movement is all wonky.

So yeah. Her recommendation, and what I’ve been reading online, is at least two weeks of rest. This definitely throws a damper on things. I was about 40% into the marathon training program (about 17-19 miles/week) so now I have to pause that. Side note, the new stride is mostly ok, but I keep hitting a wall with it between miles 3-4. That’s why the leg strengthening. Leg endurance is just not that great to do a full half with this stride right now.

The most immediate problem though, is I have Iron Horse Half in a little over a month. Two weeks will give me just under a month of training, plus it’s supposedly a mostly downhill/flat run. I should be fine.

New Stride

Filed under: Running — Shu @July 2nd, 2019 9:28 pm

Finally, my physical therapist, who is also a runner, took a look at my stride on a treadmill. She said it looked fine in terms of pronation. This was nice confirmation of what multiple running shoes sales people have said. Overall, my stride length is ok, but she suggested kicking my legs back more. I have to shuffle less and spend more time in the air. The idea is to move the of impact from strides to more exertion and work by the muscles.

I tried it tonight and guess what? I *flew*. It often did feel like gliding. I only did 3.5 miles because it definitely is more physically taxing on my quads and calves. I started to feel the lactic acid in my quads at around mile three. However, my pace was 9:23/mile. Normally in training runs, I’m right at 10:00/mile. If I can keep practicing this and strengthening my legs, I might break two hours on a half marathon.

Second Keto Run

Filed under: Keto,Running — Shu @June 30th, 2019 12:19 am

A little bit better tonight. 4 and a half miles, and pace was down to 10:00. Still feeling it in my legs, though.

Spent three days this week at the gym. I usually do a mile or two on the treadmill at a 9:00 pace, then cycle through leg machines and upper body. No issues whatsoever in terms of stamina.
Treadmill runs are incredibly boring, but I make myself do them because it gets my legs used to a faster pace.

First Keto Run

Filed under: Keto,Running — Shu @June 23rd, 2019 11:19 pm

I knew this was my first keto run, I know I’m not performance fat-adapted, I knew how I felt (good, but not great), but somehow I couldn’t make the connection in my head of what this all meant. I set out to do eight miles on a Sunday night like I usually do.

It was a mess. About a 10:30/mile pace. I kept the new stride, and by mile three I was feeling the lactic acid in my legs. After four and a half miles, I called it. The problem is solely in my leg strength and endurance, not any sort of cardio or pulmonary issues. That’s good, but also incredibly frustrating. My heart is not the limiting factor, but my muscles are. I’m going to have to do more gym work at least for the next couple of weeks, scale down the running, and then inverse it back before Iron Horse.

I am in Full Ketosis

Filed under: Keto,Running — Shu @June 17th, 2019 2:48 pm

After San Juan, I did 5-6 miles on the Sunday evenings just to keep things up. In Chicago there was much food and alcohol. I don’t know how much we spent at The Aviary, and I don’t want to know. I did manage to get in four miles around Millennium Park. I slipped back into ketosis pretty quickly this week, and the keto flu was nowhere near as bad as the first time.

The first time was about three or four days of misery and fog. I felt drained mentally and physically. This time, it was just kind of a “Hmm, something’s not quite right” feeling for an afternoon.

I physically still feel a bit off, so I’m not going to try another run till Sunday. I’ll have two months of training under keto before Iron Horse at the end of August, no rest but easier the following week, then ramp it back up for Orca at the end of September.

Post Run Treatment

Filed under: Running Gear — Shu @May 20th, 2019 2:23 pm

I’ve been told by my physical therapists I need to take care of my legs and body especially after long runs. No, really. I’ve always *known* this, but like many things, it doesn’t sink in until I’ve been really, really told.

Post runs and non run days, I’m doing PT-assigned stretches and exercises to strengthen my and loosen my legs. After runs, especially right now, it’s icing.

For ankle icing, I got the Elasto Ankle Wrap. If you search for “ankle ice wrap” on Amazon, this is pretty much the only one you’ll find that goes around the entire foot. Some leave either the top, sides, or heel exposed. My ankle problem spreads throughout the whole foot, so this thing has been great.

The most impactful routine, however, is the Hyperice Hypersphere.. An aunt and uncle recommended it. It was a little pricey, but holy cow, it’s worth it. It’s about a five inch wide vibrating ball. I use it at the lowest setting and it’s more than enough. I basically sit in front of the TV with this thing under my calves and hamstrings. It loosens everything up and my legs feel like putty afterwards.

Today was supposed to be total rest, but it was Pokemon Go Community Day, so three-ish miles of fast walking. Ouch.

San Juan Island Half Marathon

Filed under: Races,Running — Shu @May 18th, 2019 2:03 am

What do you call the person who graduates last from med school?

Finished with a time of 2:14. Again, goals of 1) Don’t die 2) Finish 3) Don’t walk were achieved. This was a miserable, miserable, beautiful run. 10/10 will never, ever, ever do again.

I had heard this was a hilly run. We went out there in February to see how bad it was before I committed to it. It turns out that driving the course in an Outback is far easier than actually running the course. I should also mention that I’m specifically forbidden to do hills. My primary cardiologist says if I’m going to run, don’t do hills. I actually agree with her on this, but it’s kind of hard to avoid in the Pacific Northwest.

We took our dog, Sir Remus Valentine of the Lone Star and stayed at a B&B the night before. It was a small crowd, maybe 300 people. The race starts at South Beach, heads west for a little bit, then meanders back to Friday Harbor. The race immediately starts with a slight uphill slope.

Before even the second mile, there’s a 150 foot elevation gain. It then drops 150 feet over another two miles, rises 150 feet again, then repeat the cycle. Throughout the course, you’re either hugging the coast or running by vast farmlands. If you can get past the misery, it is an incredibly scenic run. At the mile 9 water station, the volunteers cheered. I cried out, “I’ve made terrible life choices, and I regret everything.”

After that station, there is a long downward slope followed by another freakin’ sharp hill. In the last races, I pick up the pace in the last mile and empty the tank. However, in this race, I was just trying 1) not to die, and 2) not walk.

Part of my pre-race ritual is that I get a doppio right before the start. On the way to a cafe that morning, Gene Loves Jezebel’s Motion of Love was on Sirius. It psyched me up, so I programmed it into my phone. I started the song as I crossed the starting line. I was so focused on surviving the first two miles of uphill, I never changed it – for the remainder of the run. Two and a quarter hours of Motion of Love on repeat.

I imagined seeing my dog at the finish line excited to greet me. Nope, he was too busy sniffing around the beach. I grabbed a couple of free bananas and found the result station to check my time. Guess what? Third in my age group! Third out of five, but still, I get a special medal for it! What *do* you call the person who graduates last from med school? You call them “doctor.”

I’m going to take a couple of weeks off. First week to rest, a business trip to Chicago after that, then back on keto. I’ve decided to basically follow Hal Higdon’s Marathon training program. Let’s just see how it goes. I expect to have to stretch things out longer as my body adjusts to performance under fat adaption, but why not. Let’s see if I can actually get to marathon distances.

The Story So Far

Filed under: Keto,Running — Shu @May 4th, 2019 8:50 pm

These are the part of my story that are relevant. I’ve tried to limit the emotional drama.

I was a pretty casual runner from about 2003 to 2013. I did maybe 12 miles a week, a couple of 5ks, and a 10k. I flirted with the idea of one day running at least a half marathon, but never seriously trained. In 2013, I got pneumonia and was hospitalized for four days. After a few weeks, I felt pretty close to normal and got back on a treadmill.

I couldn’t run for more than a minute. Thinking it was just because I hadn’t really recovered, I took a few days off then tried again. The next time, it was a little bit better, but not much. 63 seconds.

After a slew of cardiologist visits, I was diagnosed with viral cardiomyopathy. Basically, a virus came in, fucked up my heart, then left. My heart was operating at 30% of normal, and I was told it was going to be like this from now on. I was told explicitly not to run anymore – I was at an elevated risk for sudden cardiac arrest. Based on family history, I was pretty darn sure this was going to happen, and I only had a couple of more years to live.

In late 2014, against doctor’s orders, I started running again, and it felt great. My rationale was that if I was going to drop dead, dropping dead doing something I thoroughly enjoyed was an acceptable was to go out. My first run was 2.25 miles, and I pushed it to almost 10 miles a week. Knowing I wasn’t going to squash this bug, I got an implanted heart defibrillator to shock me back in case I did keel over unexpectedly.

Shortly after that, my wife discovered the ketogenic diet, and we went on it together. I had crept up to about 190 pounds post-diagnosis. Keto dropped me down to 157 after eight months. At that point, I decided it was now or never to check at least a half marathon off the list. I was leaner and cardio-wise, felt great. However, conventional wisdom said that long distance running doesn’t go with a carbohydrate-free diet, and from keto’s perspective, you shouldn’t do cardio. Therefore, I decided to go off keto and focus on the running.

On January 21, 2018, I achieved one of my goals, finishing the 3M Half Marathon in Austin, Texas with a time of 2:07. My goal was to 1) Not die 2) Finish 3) Not walk. All three were achieved.

Later that year, as I trained for 3M again, I discovered Orca Running, a local race promotion company. They put on multiple races per year ranging from 5Ks to full marathons. If you run any three of their races, no matter what the distance, you get a swanky special medal of an orca tail. I needed that medal. Therefore, I’m doing four half marathons in 2019.

I finished 3M this past January with a time o 2:04, better than last year and feeling like I can run at least an extra five miles. I did the Tunnel to Viaduct 8K in February with a pace of 9:04, but that was a mess. I’m not doing fun runs again. I’m in the final stretch of training for San Juan Island Half Marathon in a couple of weeks.

I’ve decided to go back on keto after this race. San Juan will be fine, but I’ve been dodging a bullet with crappy eating. I’m not sure what my weight is. It’s definitely closer to 157 than 190, but it’s not ideal for running. My ankle has been giving me problems, and I’ve been going to a physical therapist. I’m sure the extra ten pounds do not help with joint issues.

So, heart issues + keto + long distance running. Because I’m going against what my cardiologists, keto evangelists, and running experts say, I feel like it would be helpful to document these efforts.

TL;DR – If you want to do something, do it sooner rather than later. You never know when the ability will be taken from you.

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