Friday, July 31, 2009

I'm Sorry I Didn't Believe in You

Well, I must come clean.. I strayed.. I ran in a pair of another brand of shoes this morning. Their name is not important and before you storm out, never to talk to me again. Know that I am back and solidly in my Brooks Adrenalin 9s .. well sort of.

I am a die hard Brooks Adrenalin fan. Being wearing them since the 6 model when they helped me overcome my over pronating tendencies resulting in a back injury and some rehab and a bit of break from running...but I digress.
I also have to add in Superfeet such is my pronation. I developed a serious affection with the 7's until the 8's came out and then there was no turning back. The 8's were amazing and perfect and of course a newer younger model. The 8's took me through my first half marathon, and the next six after that, Countless 5K's 10K's and training miles were logged in my beloved 8's. I rotated pairs of course and even got a pair of ASR's. My closet was filled with Adrenalin 8's with various levels of miles as I prepared for my first marathon (Eugene 2008) and then when I set my sites on my personal holy grail, The Marathon de Paris in April of 2009.

Along the way there adventure relays; Reno Tahoe Odyssey, The Relay, Whiskeytown Relay, Redding Marathon Relay and a couple of California International Marathon Relays. My Adrenalin 8's and I were inseparable and we logged each training and race mile as a happy couple collecting bibs and finishers medals all over the place.

Until of course the 9's came out. I was forced to come to grips with the break up but was happy in my confidence in the tried and true Adrenalin line.
..but it was not to be. The 9's just didn't ride right. They felt sloppy and the support seemed "off." The Napa to Sonoma Half came and went and while it was ok.. I longed for my beloved 8's and even tried to run in an older pair but they were just too far gone. What was I to do? The fall marathon training season has realistically begun and I have started my run up to C.I.M this year with an eye towards a Boston Qualifying time. With heavy heart and credit card in hand I visited my faithful Fleet Feet and broke the news. I had to try something else, the Adrenalin 9's just werent working out.
After much hemming and hawwwing. (They really thought I should stay with the one who brought me to the dance) we settled on a shiny pair of another brand of shoes with similar features in stability. I set out for my first run in them this morning and they felt good... for about half a mile. By one mile I was in honest discomfort and turned back. by 1.75 miles I felt like there was a steel plate under my heel, my shins were on fire and I opted to walk the remaining couple of yards home.
I removed the Superfeet and did another couple of miles. Big difference but I could tell I was missing out on the stability I needed.
Despondent, I trudged back to Fleet Feet with the new shoes and my Adrenaline 9's as well as my last pair of 8's.
There had to be something amiss. The whole staff gathered to watch me run up and back along the running path. We tried other shoes, and suddenly a bright eyed young staff member asked; "what if its the Superfeet? what if they aren't the right size?"
SHAZAM!! Checking my new 9's the Superfeet were just a tad short. But wait, they are exactly the same as the Superfeet I wore in the 8's As a matter of fact, the exact same Superfeet from the 8's fit differently in the 9's. How can this be? I have faithfully and confidently ordered my 9D Adrenalins for years without even having to bother with trying them or the Superfeet on such was the consistency in fit.
Seems that the new 9's are just a tad longer than the 8's even though they are both a size 9. The changes made from model year to model year were enough to throw things off such that I developed a wandering eye and strayed from my tried and true partner. I thought of the Adrenaline's the whole time I was with the other brand, really I did. I wanted things to work with my Adrenalines but something was different and I figured we had just grown apart.
It took a competent third party to help us find our way back together and see that I just needed to adjust the fit. My 8 1/2D Adrenalines' should be here any day and I am anxious to feel that familiar feel and partnership as we head into the fall racing season and I can once again, "Run Happy!!"
Next year I have the 2010 Athens Marathon in my sites and I am sure the Adrenalins will help me celebrate the 2500th anniversary of that crazy run that started all this!

Tight laces!
Howler Monkey

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Muscle Pain, Statins and Running Oh My!

The last three weeks have been HORRIBLE.. I don't know what the deal is but legs have felt like wet bags of sand, achy and my desire to run waning because of it. NOT a good combination as I have begun my run up to C.I.M and am smack in the middle of a 10K training program. At first I thought it was due to the new schedule at work (first having a job.. good thing, and three day weekends every week.. VERY good thing). Perhaps the 10 hour days and heat??? But, alas no. I have settled in and the heat wave is gone. Hmmm, what else? Ahhh. the hydration culprit?? Typical symptoms.. but I hydrated like a crazy person getting ready to run the Marathon De Sables across the Sahara and all to no avail. So, like a good runner I turned the thought process inward and let my monkey mind worry the problem during some rather painful runs. Suddenly last Wednesday I had a true ephinay. Seems the only thing that had really changed over the last three weeks was the cholesterol lowering statin medication I am on.

I have the dubious "honor" of some genetically enhanced cholesterol levels that stubbornly refused to bow to my running, diet regimen. Enter in the local cardiologist, a slew of tests and a nice prescription for Lipitor earlier this year. I will add, err brag, that I have the max heart rate of a 32 year old, and at 48 plus.. I'll take that!!

I was aghast! How could my cholesterol numbers have remained unchanged (by even one point) from my pre running days three years ago to post marathon, half a dozen half marathons and all the miles in between??? After much hoowing and hahing I submitted to the doc (and treadmill tests and blood draws) and began the regimen of those like me, a statin and a baby aspirin a day. Those of you who know me know I was NOT a happy camper and made the doc explain ALL the variables, natural approaches (red rice yeast) etc. We settled on one and I started all this hoopla back in January.

The good news was that once on Liptor my "bad" cholesterol plummeted, and the good stuff went up. Total numbers are now at 137 where I was over 200 before!! Good stuff and all was good with no side effects.
Enter in our corporate America and immutable health care system. Seems that Lipitor is expensive and my current health care insurance provider felt that something else was in order. The doc put me on "Simvastatin" and upped the dose cause apparently it takes more of the synthetic stuff to do what Lipitor does.. ok my first thought is "isn't this ALL synthetic??".. Come on anytime I put a foreign chemical in my body to raise or lower anything (keep your minds out of the gutter) it seems that's synthetic, but I digress.

The possible side effects of statins are widely published, albeit downplayed by the pharmaceutical community, but seriously in comparison a heart attack, quadruple bypass or memorial service hardly seem worth NOT addressing the issue of high cholesterol. But, chief among the side effects is muscle pain, known medically as "myalgia." And lets see.."muscle weakness, weakness in the legs".. yeah DUH... There are a lot of other possible side effects, one of which comes much more quickly to the attention of my male readership but you can investigate that one on your own! :-)

Well this monkey quickly stopped taking the Simvastatin and contacted my medical professional who put me back on the Lipitor (which IS covered under the new jobs insurance). Today's speed workout was markedly better. Even I imagine there was a tad bit of psychosomatic involvement here but after frustrating and painful runs the last couple of weeks I finally felt somewhat back to normal.

There is lots of information out there about fat soluble and water soluble statins and the relation to muscle pain and whether tests for elevated CPK ( creatine phosphokinase) levels are a good indicator. Generally fat soluble statins are thought to be at an increased risk for muscle pain and water soluble not so much. Bottom line is that all the manufactures say it can happen, there can be damage and should be reported to your health care professional right away.

My point fellow monkeys is BE INFORMED.. (Here comes the fine print) Do your research and know what you are putting in your body, the potential side effects and benefits and discuss thoroughly each of your options with your doctor, P.A., Shaman, Wiccan High Priestess or whatever. What works for me, might not work for you, and vice versa. Statins can be actual lifesavers and I had pretty dramatic results. My comments are not a condemnation or recommendation for any of the products listed. All us monkeys are different and your mileage may vary. This advice is worth exactly what you have paid me for it.
Stay tuned and lets see if going back to that little white oval tablet does the trick.
Tight Laces and happy running.