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A look back

I was browsing the site and noticed that my last post was in October.  At the time I was struggling with foot pain and my Achilles, but I had lofty goals.  So now, nearly 7 months later, where do I stand?

Well, the foot pain is still there.  It happens only when I squeeze my foot the wide way across, or if I kick a ball with that foot.  It seems to vary in intensity, but never when I’m running, and as I type this I squeezed my foot hard and it barely hurt at all.

My Achilles has still been bothering me, but not nearly as much as before.

I have been working out with weights and doing some HIIT workouts.  My legs feel strong as a result, and I have put a bit of muscle on my upper body as well (nothing really all that significant, but I do notice a change).

I have been running since late winter, and have gotten some good distance (I’ve gotten to a 10.5 mile run).  My Achilles aches slightly until I warm up, and then feels fine through the run.  It is always sore the night that I run, but by 24 hours it isn’t sore anymore.  I have been stretching and foam rolling my calves and using a field hockey ball to roll my feet.

Lately I have been more consistently doing the eccentric heel drop exercises, and I have even started adding some weights while doing so.  I also bought a night brace and have been using that the last few days. My Achilles seems to be improving, and I’m hopeful that I can beat this condition once and for all.

For what I’m guessing is a related reason, I have also been experiencing less foot pain.  Perhaps my Achilles was putting some sort of pressure on my foot as well, not sure.

This last weekend I completed an indoor sprint triathlon (.5 mile swim, 13 mile spin bike, and 3.1 mile outdoor run).  I did fine considering my lack of bike and swim training, and my Achilles wasn’t too bad the next day.

As to my goals, I am scheduled to do the Iron Horse half marathon in a couple of weeks.  I have also registered for the Spartan Beast, which will be a real test of how well my Achilles is healing.  I have a century on the horizon, and am planning on doing a marathon in the fall of my body holds together, and if I can get my swim together I may be doing a half iron man in late summer.

In between I may do a sprint and perhaps even an Olympic tri if the swim training goes ok, and budget and schedules allow.


It’s been a long time!

I’ve been plagued with injuries which seem to be unrelated to working out. My left foot has been bothering me for months despite the fact that I have not been running at all. I did start to run in June, but shortly after starting very smoothly I hurt my Achilles on the same side, I’m thinking it was related to the foot pain.

I’ve been to two doctors, and they both feel that I should continue working our, so now it starts again. I plan to work on some strength training with some short light running to get me started.

Hopefully I can build from there. My goal is a half marathon, a half iron run relay, and an Olympic tri. If all goes well I’ll build to a full marathon by next fall.

I’ve written it, so now I need to follow through.


I’m not dead yet

So the last 6 months has been very busy.  I have a new job, which is keeping me busy.  We have also purchased a new house and I’ve been working on some remodeling work there during all of my free time.  So I have done no working out of any kind since last summer.

Prior to that I was plagued with injuries stemming from a back injury, and as a result I put on about 15 pounds from my lowest weight back at the start of last year.  Since February I have been eating better, and I”m now down about 11 pounds, so I’m close to my fighting weight. 

The good news is that we are moving in this weekend, and I hope to pick up the training once we settle in.  I’m most likely going to start with some weight training to get myself ready to do some running.  I still have a goal of completing a marathon, and we’ll see if this is the year for that.

I’ll try to keep up with my posts, because, honestly it is a good record for me of what I’ve done right, and more importantly, what I’ve done wrong.  Wish me luck, I’m going to need it.


I’m baaack

OK, so I was out of the water for about 4 weeks with pain on the top of my foot.  I stopped all running just to be safe, and then last week I finally visited my doctor.  He said rest was the right direction.  He recommended new shoes (which I already had ready to go) and to ice and use Aleve if I needed to for pain.  He thinks it’s just tendonitis and that I should be able to run through it, so, yay!

 

I went running 3 miles the next day, then 3 miles at the Color me Rad race the next day.  I ran again (4 miles) this past Saturday.  I plan to start picking up the distance training again this week.

 

I also did my first open water swim of the year this past Sunday,  and it went ok.

One last update, I signed up for the Amica Ocean Beach Triathlon on Sunday, and I’m going to have to get serious with my training now or it’s gonna hurt.

Happy training!


Wow, it’s been a while

Work has kept me very busy, so, although I have been maintaining my run schedule, I have not been posting about it.

 

This past weekend I had a 13.1 mile training run.  I was super excited to be able to run that distance without knee pain.  Unfortunately, the day before I had moved my grandparents to a new home, and re-injured my back.  It was sore the morning of my run, and I considered bailing on the run, but I went for it anyway.  My neck and shoulders were also sore, but my back was my biggest issue.

My back was fine throughout the run, but oddly, my neck got stiffer and stiffer.  I suspect that I was favoring my back, and therefore tweaking everything else.  My knee was sore a few hours after the run, and I suspect that was a result of my back as well.  It took a couple of days for my knee to feel better, but even now my back is still pretty sore.

 

I hope to squeeze an easy run in this afternoon if I can swing it, and see how my back does.

 

Bike and swim training have gone by the wayside at this point as I focus on the run.  I have a lot of projects going on at home too that are eating up a lot of my time.  I plan to continue the running, and if all goes well I’ll be doing the Iron Horse Half Marathon in June.  Wish me luck!


Shin Pain and Treadmills

As I build up my run distance I have been required to run during the week.  With daylight in short supply, and work in high demand, my time for running has been limited.   Undeterred I have been running on the treadmill at work.  In the past I’ve had issues with my shins hurting while running.  In fact, last night I reviewed my run long from my first year of running, and even then I noted that my my right shin hurt while running, and that I thought I was landing harder on my right leg.

I had no shin issues while running last year, all of those runs were outside for short distances.  Even earlier this year my shins didn’t bother me at all while running outside.  Interestingly, however, the problems with my shins (especially my left one) started right away when I ran on the treadmill.  From about .5 miles to about 2.5 or so, my shins would kill.  They felt really tight, and really sore.  After 2.5 miles or so they would loosen up, and the pain was more tolerable.

On my quest to fix it, I found some comments on a running forum about increasing the slope of the treadmill.  I tried going to a 1% incline, and that seems to work.  My shins have been much better.  It isn’t perfect, they still get tight, just not as bad, and totally tolerable.  So, hopefully this trend can continue.  Next week I’ll reach 7.5 miles for my run (though I have an indoor tri next weekend, so we’ll see how that impacts my ability to actually get a full run in.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed that everything will work out alright.  Here’s to an injury free year.


Weekend workout

As of last week I was admitting to lack-of-dedication-syndrome. The only known cure for lack-of-dedication-syndrome is get-off-your-ass-therapy. Last Thursday was the first day of therapy and I managed to put in a VERY painful 3 mile treadmill run. I have such a hard time running on a treadmill. My shins get really sore and tight, I hate it! The first half mile was fine, then my shins tightened up, and for the next 1.5 miles it was making a deal with myself that I could make it to at least (fill in the blank). By the two mile mark my shins stopped hurting and then I was just slugging it out. I made it to 3 miles and was glad I did.

Then Saturday I did a short swim (about a 1/4 mile) and followed that up with an early morning (for me) group run of five miles on Sunday, and then another 1/2 mile or so swim.

The 5 mile run was surprisingly refreshing. I really got into my zone and had a relatively easy 10 minute mile zone 2 run. I pushed up the pace slightly over the last half mile or so. I was really happy with the results.

Now, this morning, I am surprised to find myself not sore at all. Woot!

Today is an off day from running, maybe some stretching is in order, what a concept.


Oh Fine

Wow, since snowpacalypes 2011 I have been too busy to get any runs in.  That is sad…and pathetic.  Really, there will never be, and has never been, time to get runs in.  So, now that phase two of my marathon training plan has started (this is the first week of phase 2) I have no more wiggle room, and I have to make the time-like it or not.

My training plan has 3 phases.  The first was to get a base going with short runs, nightly stretches, and core workouts.  I started strong, but things ended when I had to take a week to clear trees, keep power going, and tend to the other insanity that inevitably crops up as a result of 9 days without power.

After that, worked kicked in, and a vacation popped up on the horizon as well.  Where did that come from?  Anyway, work is busy as ever, and I’m also doing a bit of remodeling work at a house for my grandparents.  Between that and all the kid activities, there is just no time to run.  So what am I going to do?  Actively make time to run.  I’m not going to let this year pass me by.  last year was pathetic.  Without a goal race I just let the year go, blah.

Phase 2 of my training plan has me building up the distance slowly to get to a spring half marathon.  Then phase 3 kicks in to prep me for the longer miles needed to make my marathon distance.  The third phase builds off the second phase and starts adding speed work and other niceties.  The good news is that the first phase had some wiggle room in it, and although I don’t have as strong a base as I wanted going into phase II, this still hasn’t interrupted the overall training plan.  Taking any more time off would really change that and put my marathon training in jeopardy.

I started the year off with a short run, and I hope this will get 2012 off to a great start.


Garmin Forerunner 305 GPS watch repair

Within a few weeks of buying my Garmin FR 305 I managed to crash on my bike with the only injury being to my pride and the LCD of my watch.

This is what the watch looked like after my smash fest:

The watch still beeped, and it synced to the computer just fine.  I did have a weird issue with the file for that ride, some data was missing.  The miles were right but the map data was off.  I’m not sure what happened there.

 

At any rate, my options were limited.  I didn’t want to buy another watch, but even in the short time that I owned this watch it had really grown on me.  I decided to try to fix it.  I did a quick search for fixing the watch, and found a number of people who spoke generally about replacing the battery.  The most important piece of information I found was that the watch had to simply be pried open.  Apparently it is sealed with some sort of glue.

DISCLAIMER: Opening the watch may ruin it permanently, and it will definitely void the warranty.  I figured that I would take the chance because it was broken anyway, but if you aren’t comfortable cracking open electronics you shouldn’t try this at home. 

I tried a number of things but ending up using a watch back opening tool from a watch repair kit that I have.  It looks something like this one:

Image from www.esslinger.com

 

It is a bit sharper than a butter knife, without the serrations, but more dull than a regular knife.  You can pry anywhere along the seam around the middle of the case, but I found that it was really hard to get open until I put the knife near the lower watch strap here:

Note the screwdriver is there only to point out the location, a screwdriver will likely damage the plastic of the case.

The watch case gave a little cracking sound as the glue seal broke, and then it was just a matter of carefully pulling the two pieces apart with the watch knife.  Once it came lose it looked like this:

The blue arrow points to the GPS PCB, the yellow arrow is pointing to the main PCB (circuit board) which includes the memory, and the LCD controller, the LCD is under the main PCB board.  The red arrow is pointing to the battery, and the green arrows are pointing to the connectors that connect the battery terminals to the PCB.  As you can see this is just pressure fit.

The top piece is now completely disconnected from the watch strap which is attached to the bottom of the watch case, which in turn holds the battery.

With the top piece off we need to get to the LCD screen which is under the main PCB.  There is one screw that needs to be removed at the top of the board by the copper terminals.

Once that screw has been removed the PCB will pop off along with the LCD screen.  The LCD screen isn’t affixed to the PCB so it will just pop off and reveal a flexible cable that connects the LCD to the main PCB.  Be careful not to move the LCD too much or you run the risk of disconnecting the cable that connects the main PCB to the GPS PCB (more on that later)

The LCD screen is the white plastic thing at the blue arrow.  The flexible cable connects to the PCB at the connecter (red arrow).  The tape holds the locking clip on the connector down.  Peel off the tape, and with a small flat head screw driver you should be able to carefully pry up the clip and release the cable.  Once the cable is released the LCD screen will come right out.

Now you just need to put the new LCD screen in by attaching the cable, and slipping the clip on the connector down.  Then , if you salvaged the tape put that back over the connector.  If you didn’t salvage the tape I wouldn’t recommend using scotch tape because I’m not sure what will happen in terms of static electricity from the tape.  If you have Kapton tape (which is safe to use on electronics) I would use that, but otherwise the clip should be OK without the tape.  Be careful to make sure that the cable is oriented the same way as before.  You can do that by laying out the new LCD screen prior to disconnecting the old one.  In order for it all to fit together without twisting the cable there is really only one way to do it, so I wouldn’t worry too much.

Now clip the LCD screen back onto the PCB.  There are tabs on the LCD that fit onto the PCB so that it is all held on securely.  Put the PCB back down and screw in the little screw.

With that, the hard part is done.  Press the two halves back together and, while holding the two halves together tightly, hit the power button.  If all went well you should get the forerunner splash screen followed by the satellite signal acquisition bar like this:

If the bar doesn’t move at all after a while (try going outside or near a window) you may have accidentally disconnected the cable between the main PCB and the GPS.  Mine was working fine, but then I decided to take it apart again to take these pictures.  The cable got disconnect from the GPS PCB.  You can reconnect it the same way as the LCD was connected.The connector is at the red arrow above.  It is also possible that the other end of the cable got disconnected from the back of the main PCB.  You can see that connection next to the LCD connector two pictures up from this one.

As I said above, the two parts of the watch are pressure fit together and come from the factory attached with glue.  If the two pieces aren’t fully pressed together the battery contacts will lose connection and the watch will shut off.  In my research I found a tip from this site which suggested using clear RTV silicone to glue the watch shut, and to hold it together with electrical tape.  I used the silicone, which you can buy at an automotive store, and electrical tape.  I ran the silicone around the edge of the top half and squeezed it together.  With a paper towel I wiped off the excess.  I wrapped the watch in a clean paper towel and tightly wrapped electrical tape around it.  Electrical tape works best when it is stretched.  You can pull it around the watch, and at every half turn pull the tape until it stretches, and with the tension on the tape complete another half wrap.  Continue that until the watch is completely wrapped like this:

This looks bananas (Yellow tape optional)

 

I used the paper towel just to keep any residue from the tape off of the watch.  Depending on how long it is applied it may leave some stickiness behind.  By using a paper towel any residue will stick to the towel instead of the watch.  The paper towel also has the added benefit of absorbing any excess silicone, and providing some air pockets to cure the silicone.

After 24 hours I took off the tape and went for a run.  It worked great.

I purchased the LCD on ebay as part of a broken watch.  I did note that they had some plain LCD’s for sale too (without the rest of the watch) for around the same price ($35).  At the time I wasn’t sure how the LCD was attached, I thought it might have been soldered, so I figured having the entire parts set was safer.  Now that I know how easy it is to replace the LCD I would say buying the LCD alone should suffice.

That’s that.  With any luck this should last me a long time.


Cycling Concepts Bike Ride

This past weekend my wife and I did the half metric century ride put on by Cycling Concepts in Rocky Hill.  Including the one wrong turn we made, which added about 2 miles, we did about 40 miles of riding with 2700 feet of elevation change.  It was by far the hardest ride I have done to date.

There were so many hills.  I’m proud to say that I climbed them all.  No walking for me.  There was one hill that seemed nearly vertical.  I’m sure that looking back on it it was probably not as big as I remember, but I very nearly didn’t make it up.  It was so steep that I couldn’t get comfortable standing, so I just started swerving left and right and with about 10 feet to go and finally made it up.

It was a lot of fun to ride with my wife, who did really well herself btw, but it was a really tough go.

Having said that, I really really like my bike.  It just feel great on it.  I’m planning another couple long rides before the year is over, but none will be that tough.


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