Hilly trail work tonight

October 30, 2007


That’s the elevation profile of the trip up from the Marquam Shelter to Council Crest¬† and back down again. I’ve described it before as “straight up for 1.7 miles,” which isn’t quite true – there are a couple flattish sections and even a short downhill or two. Still, I used to consider this a bear of a trail to hike up. It was, certainly, a lot harder than laying on the couch. This trail got me started running, too — after one hike back in January ’07 I decided to try running down, and it was fun.

Today, 10 months and one marathon later, I decided to give running up it a shot, too. Well, jogging up it anyway. And I made it all the way up! This might say as much about my ability to gauge a reasonable pace as it does about my fitness, but it’s still saying a lot. I’m as proud of this slow 3.4 mile run as I have been of a lot of 13-milers.¬† Reaching the very top of Council Crest, never having slowed to a walk along the way, felt great.

This route is the same as run #6 in Trail Running Oregon, which rates it a three out of five on both the “pain” and “gain” scales. Only a three! Then again, it says it should take between 45 minutes and an hour, and it took me 39 minutes, so there!


Monday Night Run

October 30, 2007

Strangely enough, even though it’s getting darker and colder, more and more new people are showing up at the Portland Running Company’s Beaverton location Monday at 6:00 for their free group run (plug plug). I didn’t count, but it was more than 10 people last night. I ran in the middle-speed group, which started off around 9:45/mile and gradually picked up speed, hitting 8:30 or so the last mile. I also ran a warm-up mile on my own before the group run, making my total distance 6.8 miles. I felt great, but I should have run a little slower — I’ve foolishly bought into the theory that slow runs build your red blood cell count and teach your body to burn fat instead of carbs more effectively than fast runs do. All hogwash, I’m sure. But I’m trying to do the whole “base building” thing for a few weeks as I come out of marathon recovery, and that means slow runs.

Eyeball: much better looking. The last of the burnt-skin flaking has fallen off. Well, been rubbed vigorously off. Whatever. Still a little swollen. Still a little blurry vision too, which I think (or hope) is happening because there’s still some oozing stuff coming out of the lid and coating the eye with an optically-nongood film.

Willamette Run

October 29, 2007

Saturday morning I woke up early and went for a planned 10-mile run. I wanted to take it pretty easy, so I did a flat waterfront loop on the Willamette. I started just east of the Sellwood Bridge, followed the Springwater trail north along the river until it hit the east bank esplanade downtown, then took that to the Steel Bridge. After crossing the Steel, I ran south along the west-side waterfront until it petered out under the Marquam bridge, then followed Moody Avenue past all the new South Waterfront construction until it hit the Willamette Greenway trail (just past the trolley station). The Greenway trail winds past condos until it hits Willamette Park; after running through the park, it was a short hop skip and jump to the Sellwood Bridge, and across back to my car. Ten point five miles at a ten-minute-per-mile pace.

Detailed MapMyRun Map of the route

Eyelid report

October 29, 2007

Friday afternoon, I headed over to my eyelid doctor for the third time in three weeks. All day the lid had been feeling a little better — up until then it had a huge painful pressurized seeping lump in it, but that day it was just a huge lump. Oh, and the lid’s skin was burnt from all the hot compresses I had been doing, as instructed. Anyway. The doctor looked at it and declared that it didn’t seem too infected anymore, and (unlike last Friday) he was able to clamp the lid inside out and inspect the inside. And, huzzah, he decided to cut it open (from the inner side of the lid) and drain that sucker. I’ve had this done at least four previous times, so this was a relief.

The Novocaine shot into the lump hurt like a mother this time. After that, it all went normally, but with a bit more elbow grease during the “scooping” part than usual — evidently there was quite a bit of stubborn solid matter in there he wanted to get out, in addition to the easy-to-handle liquid filling. It’s kind of interesting having your eyelid clamped inside out during all this, since it means that you can’t close your eye. You can do the muscle movements of closing your eyes, but the one they are prying and scooping at? Still open. Ah well.

After that’s done, they pack the now-closed eye with a lot of gauze and tape over that. You need to leave this patch on for about an hour. I’ve actually gotten reasonably comfortable at driving home with my left eye patched close, but it still isn’t exactly fun. An hour later, I took off the patch to find my eye the oozing bloody mess that the doctor told me it would be. A lot of the blood-laced ooze was actually coming out of the spot he’d shot the Novocaine into, on the front of the lid, an effect I don’t recall from previous incisions. We decided to stay home that night, instead of attending a Halloween pub crawl.

The next day, it was clear that lid was getting better rapidly, and I felt happy enough with it to go out of the house without sunglasses. This morning it is still a bit swollen, terrible bruised, flaky and burnt looking — in other words, enormously improved.

Hit those trails

October 24, 2007

Bloated pressurized eyelid or no, I needed a run this evening. I went all out and donned my new Ultimate Direction Wasp hydration pack, filled with 48 oz of tap water with a dissolved Nuun tablet. The best thing about the pack is how much storage is built into the front of the straps, with easy mesh pockets for my MP3 player and a cell phone, and bigger pockets for gels or whatever else. There’s a lot more storage in back, of course, but it’s great to have the room up front. The worst thing about the pack, so far, is the awkward machinations needed to refill the bladder. Straps, the tube, a Velcro loop — it’s all a little unwieldy.

So with the sun setting, I hit the trails around OHSU and in the Marquam Nature Park for an hour:


Only five miles, but three and a half were on trails with significant hills. I jogged slowly, but I never stopped jogging. I had a clip-on LED flasher to be seen by and a handheld flashlight to see with, which I needed by the second half of the run. The trails were wet but not too muddy, and the rain held off while I was out. Once I got back to Terwilliger (that last little uphill in the elevation map above), running suddenly seemed easy enough: kind of funny, because that “little” uphill has seemed pretty big in the past.

This was the first time I’ve run on trails in the dark. It may sound like a really stupid thing to do. Maybe it is. But if I’m ever going to run 100-mile races, I’ll need the practice. And it’s kind of fun.

Blearg, part the second

October 23, 2007

I haven’t been running for quite a while now, because of my eyelid infection and the antibiotics I’ve been on for it. I look awful and feel awful. It has been hard — I’ve failed, actually — to keep a positive mindset about the whole thing. I’ve been lashing out at people left and right and I don’t feel good about that either. Sorry, folks.

The only sign of improvement is that my eyelid is no longer completely swelled up like some grand Zeppelin experiment gone awry. No, now it’s only about a half to two thirds of it that is. It’s a subtle difference in practice, since the parts that aren’t swollen still have to stretch out to connect with the parts that are, so the entire lid still appears gargantuan and Quasimodoesque.

The treatments? Antibiotics (pills and drops) — who knows if they’ve done anything. (Certainly not with the predicted speed.) Hot packs, to melt the waxy deposits that cause the blockages in my eyelid that seem to start the whole thing. The idea is to put as much heat as you can stand, for as long a time as you can stand, directly onto the swollen, tender lid. Sound like fun? Yeah, well, contrary to most people’s expectations, not all runners are masochists, and neither am I.


October 18, 2007

I’ve had an infected eyelid since Monday and it’s kept me under the weather (and more hideous-looking than usual) ever since. I did run Monday night, 5.8 miles averaging 8:34 minutes per mile, a pace that nearly killed me — but if I let the lead pack get any farther out of sight I would have been lost in Beaverton somewhere. Good motivation, I guess.