Marathon Life

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Roommate Searching Sucks/Run tally week ending Aug 30, 2009

Craigslist is where I have always found roommates and apartments. It's a great free site but very frustrating sometimes. I have seen some great places advertised only to receive no response whatsoever. I have also seen some CRAZY posts. One such ad said, "NO DRUGS, ALCOHOL, SMOKING, GUNS OR PETS!" Wow, that neighborhood must be really safe if a past roommate felt the need to bring a gun! Needless to say I moved on to the next ad. Then there are the ads that want you to share a room. Um, let me think for a minute...NOT! I'm not 20 years old anymore going to undergrad. I won't share a room. The main issue is there are so many UC Irvine students in this area so they are all willing to share a room near UCI in order to save money.

Then there are the ads Where Every Other Word is Capitalized (???) or WRITTEN IN ALL CAPS. Oh, and I can't forget the ads that say, "Kitchen privileges only" or "no overnight guests". That's just lame. If I am paying money to rent a room in your home or apt, I should have the right to have guests over every once in a while. I should have to right to "live" in the house. I'm not going to scurry over to my room like a mouse to eat my food just to stay "out of the way." If you are going to rent out rooms in your house then you should let your roommates have access to the common areas of the house. I need a home where I can feel comfortable. 

The other thing I can't stand about this process is the fact that it's Aug. 30 and people are STILL looking for Sept 1 roommates. I can't believe people would wait until the very last minute to get a roommate. Since I don't need a place until Oct 1 there have been very few situations that would work. I do have one lead for a place for Oct 1. It's $50 more per month than I am paying now in Costa Mesa. It's a very good location in terms of it being close to Trader Joe's, 24 Hour Fitness and other eateries and cafes. We will see.

I can afford to buy a small condo. I am not ready to do that until J** moves to SoCal. Then we can buy a place together in a more desirable area than I would otherwise afford on my own. I just hate having to go from one roommate situation to the next. Everything is always so uncertain. I almost feel like a nomad. Since college graduation I have lived in 7 different apartments/houses - 4 in Boston, 2 in San Diego and 1 in Newport. It's getting old very fast having to constantly search for roommates online. Hopefully my next search will be a home with J** to live permanently. 


This week was almost identical to last week. I ran a little less. I had 2 PT sessions on Tues and Friday. Next week should be my last week of PT hopefully. The massages on my problem area in my calf are helping, along with the electro-stimulation and ultrasound.

Below is what I did last week.

DateTimeMileageMin/ MileNotesHR MaxHR Ave
Aug 24, 200937:025.287:00I did the Back Bay again. Nothing too exciting. I ran slower. HR was inaccurate for Max. Another misreading. I think I need to wet the sensors more with water before the run. If it's too dry it doesn't read correctly. 156 (84%)---
Aug 27, 200929:023.897:27I wasn't able to run on the Bay Bay due to staying late at work and not having enough time. I ran off Balboa Island a little and my HR monitor was malfunctioning per usual.169 (91%)144
Aug 29, 200951:097.157:09I ran from Balboa Island up through Corona Del Mar, which is a very nice neighborhood of Newport Beach. I ran along roads adjacent to the ocean. It was nice. The temps were in the upper 70s when I started the run and probably low 80s by the time I was done. We have a heat wave here as temps are usually under 80 most of the summer months on the coast. I did a hill/path the went down to the beach called Inspiration Point. Overall I felt good, the pain wasn't too present until the very end and beginning mile. It seems to numb out for a good portion. 171
week ending Aug 30, 2009---16.32---I wanted to run over 20 miles but certain things got in the way. It's ok. I may as well slowly creep up. I won't be able to do much unless I add another day of running. I'll be able to do that next week I think, or the week after. I ran slower this week to not aggravate my calf injury. ------

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posted by Anthony at 3:46 PM 0 comments

Monday, August 24, 2009

Possible move and weekly running tally ending Aug 24, 2009

I've now had 3 PT sessions with another scheduled tomorrow night. I believe they are helping immensely. I don't "ache" as much on my runs and I am stretching BEFORE and AFTER running for at least 5-10 min, something I have never really done before. I used to just stretch for like maybe 1-2 min. Now I am more conscious of WHY I need to stretch certain muscle groups, especially my calves. Since my hamstring injury and all the PT I went through earlier this spring, I have done a good job of stretching that muscle group. Below is what I did last week.

DateTimeMileageMin/ MileNotesHR MaxHR Ave
Aug 17, 200937:005.4
6:50I ran along the Bay Bay in upper Newport. I love running here. It is very peaceful and serene. I 158 (84%)175 (93%)
Aug 19, 200940:195.866:52I'm able to run longer distances now. My leg felt ok on this run but was a little sore since yesterday I had PT and the massage is still a bit rough. My HR monitor is screwed up. It read 213 at the beginning of my run. I think battery within the strap needs to be replaced. UGGH158 (91%)---
Aug 22, 200950:017.077:04I was in Huntington Beach so I ended up running along the boardwalk next to the beach. I ran from the Brookhurst intersection on PCH all the way up to the main Pier. Then turned around to face a really bad headwind. I slowed considerably, but was probably good. I was happy to do over 7 miles for the first time in a while. HR still broken but I think the average was correct. 165
week ending Aug 23, 2009---18.33

---A solid week of running, despite not doing over 20 miles. It's just going to take time. I need to focus on the quality rather than quantity. I think I could do over 20 next week. Slowly build. Then the week after perhaps 25?

In other news, I may need to find a new place to live for Oct 1. Not sure yet since my roommate doesn't know if she's staying or going. It all depends on if the owner raises the rent back up. I wanted to stay longer on Balboa Island but my time here is coming to a close I think. It's ok. I have accepted it. I am at peace with it. You can't have it all in life. This coastal lifestyle was bound to end. And it's probably for the best. After I move I can have hopes of surviving a tsunami.

I've been searching for other places at least in the Newport Beach area. I REFUSE to live in Irvine or close to my office. I'll have to fork out an additional $150 to $200 a month if I want to stay in Newport Beach. There are some situations that are less of an increase. I wish my life was settled and I could just buy a place. I can probably do it financially, but there are certain things holding me back from making such a big purchase. I would like to buy something with my significant other. We have to live in the same city first.
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posted by Anthony at 11:49 PM 0 comments

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Car accident and changing my marathon plans

Today I got into a car accident on Balboa Island just a few blocks down from my apt. The island is made up of very narrow streets and alleys (kind of like some European streets). I was driving around 8:15am on the main street Park Ave. I was only going about 20 mph and an older gentleman in an SUV came barreling out of a side alley on my right-hand side. He clearly didn't look to his left as he would have seen me. It's hard to see though if you don't inch your way out enough to see past the cars parked on Park.

After he sped out of the alley I immediately saw him and I reacted quickly, swerving to my left and over the median. I definitely prevented a much larger accident as I only braised his left front bumper. If I had tried to stop I would have gone right into the driver's side of the car, potentially hurting him or even worse. I was lucky since there were no palm trees on that particular stretch of the median strip. My front left tire didn't fare as well. The wheel was bent from driving over the curb and the tire was ripped to shreds in certain spots. I called AAA since I have the AAA Premier membership. I get free towing up to 200 miles per incident and a free rental for 24 hours! It only cost $102 a year and IT IS WORTH EVERY DIME!

They came out within 30 min and changed my tire to my spare instead of towing it. Then I drove to the Firestone in Costa Mesa. I got picked up and brought to the Enterprise and selected my car and drove to work by 10:30am. What a morning! I pick up my car tomorrow at Firestone. The repairs came to over $400 since I had to replace both front tires, the wheel, get an alignment and a new hubcap. He said he would pay for everything. I am lucky as I needed new front tires anyway. Sometimes these situations work out.

Running Update

In my previous post I said I would try to do the Carlsbad Marathon on Jan 24, 2010 in order to re-qualify for Boston Marathon, which is on April 19, 2010.

I found out about the Surf City Marathon in Huntington Beach only a few weeks later on Feb 7, 2010 (SuperBowl Sunday). That is only 15 min north and much more convenient. I was at physical therapy last night and was chatting with my therapist about my plans to do Carlsbad. Then this other patient there said the Surf City Marathon was a lot faster and flatter than Carlsbad. I definitely agree.

I must re-qualify for Boston Marathon at this race by running a 3:10:59 or faster. If I am healthy it shouldn't be a problem considering I have run under 3:10 at 6 of the 10 marathons I have run so far, with two of them under 3:00. I just need to stay healthy and LISTEN TO MY BODY!

I feel confident that my PT sessions are helping me. I am doing all the right things by running every other day. I am stretching and I am icing. Everything I should be doing. In a few more weeks I may be able to add another day to my training so I will be up to 4 days of running per week... hopefully.

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posted by Anthony at 9:50 AM 0 comments

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Physical Therapy and running tally ending Aug 16, 2009

Last Tuesday (Aug 11) I had my first physical therapy session for my injured lower calf. You can read more details here about my doctor's visit on July 31. It was hard to pinpoint exactly where the pain source was since I hadn't run in a few days. We eventually found it. My physical therapist did a deep tissue massage on that leg for about 15 min. It hurt like hell. She said my calf is extremely tight and as it gets looser the pain will not be as bad. Also, I will need to do sets of stretching exercises for my calf before I run. Each stretch I have to hold for 30 seconds and do it at least 2-3 times. I will have to really focus on stretching BEFORE and AFTER each run. I have to admit that previously I would stretch, but not to the extent that she wants me to do now.

Here is my run tally but I will not total it until I am consistently running. This is what I have not posted since the last chart that was posted on my July, 20, 2009 entry.

Min/ Mile
HR Max

HR Ave

July 25, 2009
Not sure my pace was accurate as I have had calibration issues with my Nike +. I have to re-calibrate I think. Also the HR watch was off. I don't think I was at 177 bpm!
177 (95%)
164 (88%)

July 29, 200929:034.07
I ran slower today. I wasn't feeling it.
159 (85%)
149 (80%)

Aug 1, 2009
Doctor said to run slower so I did slow down a little. I ran mostly on grass.
174 (93%)
162 (87%)

Aug 4, 2009
I fixed the calibration issue and re-calibrated. I think this was more accurate now.
165 (86%)
156 (83%)

Aug 6, 2009
On doctor's orders he told me to run slower. So I did. It felt ok. Ran mostly on grass.
162 (87%)
151 (81%)

Aug 8, 2009
Ran too fast. I think the watch was off still.
177 (95%)
159 (85%)

Aug 9, 2009
Ran slower but wanted to be around 7:00 pace, a tad fast. HR was not working on watch so I estimated. It was reading 213 bpm, which is an error or I would not be typing this right now. I would be dead.
170 (91%)

160 (85%)

Aug 12, 2009
After stretching extensively for 3 min each calf (per my PT) and also doing my hamstrings I ran along the Back Bay in Newport up through UC Irvine and back along the river/back bay. It was mostly on dirt. My leg felt better after a mile. It was a rough run as I have not done over 5 in a while so I was fatigued. I iced the calf after and felt ok. I thought I would be slower. I need to consciously slow down for now on.
174 (94%)

161 (86%)

Aug 15, 2009
After 2 days off from running and one day from complete exercise I felt ok on this run. I was in San Diego so I ran down through Balboa Park and back up to Hillcrest. I felt ok and stretched a lot before and after. My HR got too high but it was a bit warm and I ran at 11AM instead of a lot earlier as I had planned.
176 (94%)

160 (86%)

I have determined I won't be able to get my mileage up to complete the full marathon at Long Beach Marathon, so I will most likely do the half (13.1 miles). Then I will train to do Carlsbad Marathon on January 24, 2010. Then hopefully I can run a time to get me into Boston Marathon for April 2010 since my qualification expired this year since I didn't use it. That's the plan. I hope my body can cooperate.

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posted by Anthony at 9:24 AM 0 comments

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Grievance Victory!

I knew the day had come. On my way to pick up the mail at my PO box I was extremely nervous to receive a letter from Anthem Blue Cross. It had been 30 days since I filed a grievance with Anthem concerning my emergency larparscopic appendectomy I had in NYC on June 9. Apparently the surgeon they used for the surgery was "out of network" so I would have to pay for anything they deemed above "Usual, reasonable and customary". So I was slapped with an overage of $1200 and filed the grievance since it was so unfair. See my post here to read the entire background.

The letter I received on Friday stated, "Upon review of the above-mentioned claims we have found that services have been processed according to your in-network benefits. The provider of service, Dr. *****, is a participating provider. The claims were originally processed under your HMO group number and this provider does not participate in the HMO network. We have adjusted the claims to be processed under your PPO plan group number. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused."

This entire ordeal is so strange since I was told directly from an Anthem service rep that the surgeon was NOT in the PPO network and I would have to pay the overages. That is why I filed the grievance in the first place. Why was I told one thing and now this letter is reflecting the opposite? I guess I am not going to question this further. Frankly, I would like to keep the $1200 I would have had to pay. It's just a clear example of a severely screwed up health care system.

The ENTIRE TIME no one at Anthem Blue Cross could have simply looked up the surgeon's name in a fucking database and found out he was "IN NETWORK" according to my PPO plan??? This is the US health care system at its worst. Unproductive. Wasteful. Inefficient. Unsatisfactory. Note to President Obama, please fix this! I really hope a heath care bill can get passed in 2009. I already know that not everyone is going to be happy with this reform but this country needs something. There are too many people who have no insurance and then end up in the ER with a $28,000 bill and no way to pay it.

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posted by Anthony at 8:36 PM 2 comments

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Too Much Too Soon - Running Injury Update

I haven't posted a training log for the week ending July 26 since I haven't done a lot of running since then. The issue I was having with my lower right calf has been identified. Basically I caused this injury from overuse and there is soft tissue damage. I did too much too soon too fast after not running for 3 weeks straight due to my appendectomy on June 9.

The sports medicine doctor who I saw yesterday (7/31) told me that I have a strain at the junction of the gastrocnemius soleus muscle tendon. I really need to study more leg anatomy so I can self-diagnose and save a doctor's trip. Kidding. Anyway, he said I can still run but I need to take it easy. He ordered physical therapy for 6-8 weeks going 1-3 times a week. My insurance will cover this at $20 per session. Each session is 1 hour 15 min. I'll probably just go once per week. He said they can massage it and do an ultrasound as well as iontophoresis. I didn't even know what it was so I checked Google.

In layman's terms iontophoresis is "a technique generally used in physical therapy to get drugs such as lidocaine and dexamethasone into one's body by using an electric current. The benefits of using this technique are that a smaller amount of the drug is used, but a higher concentration reaches the affected area. The main use of iontophoresis in physical therapy is to reduce inflammation in a musculoskeletal injury." Credit to the Associated Content site where I found the info. I'm not sure how this will all play out, but it can't hurt to try it and I am glad I have insurance that will cover a procedure like this. Although, the physical therapy center may or may not follow the doctor's recommendations.

I started out going very easy on my run today but felt this surge of energy. It was probably from the coffee I drank. Usually I drink decaf but I ran out, so caffeinated it was!. I ended up running 4.57 miles at a 6:50 pace. I should have gone slower but felt too good. My heart rate got too high at 174 bpm (93% of max) and I averaged 162 (87%). I ran mostly on grass sections of a park, but half the run was on concrete and streets. My elevated HR was due to running at mid-day in the sun. Higher body temps= higher HR while exercising. I should have ran earlier but was on the phone with a friend on the East coast so I had a later start than what I am typically used to.

I asked the doctor what my chances of doing the Long Beach Marathon on Oct 11 were, and he said to just take it day by day and see how I feel in a month. I do need to hold off on the miles now. I decided I will run every other day or so depending on how I feel. I may run again tomorrow since my leg feels fine and I iced immediately after. The ice therapy seems to work. I need to ice immediately after for 15 min for it to be effective. So far so good.

I definitely yearn to get back to my sub-3:00 times. I know I have it in me. I definitely think I am capable of a low 2:50 marathon. I haven't competed in a marathon since I ran 2:57:41 at the Rock n Roll Marathon on June 7, 2007. You can read more and see a finish photo on this post. I hope I can get back to this level of competition soon. I know I will, it's just going to take time to get my miles back up and remain uninjured. The good news is that running paces around 6:30-6:50 per mile are not difficult now so the chances of me finishing another sub-3 hour marathon are very good (in my opinion!). I've done it twice so far so hopefully 3 times a charm!

I recently changed running shoes. As of early June I have been running in the Mizuno Wave Inspire 5. Previously I was used the Mizuno Wave Nirvana 4, but the guy at Road Runner Sports told me that I needed a shoe not at the top of the stability scale. He said the Nivana is too much shoe for my gait and pronation. I had been wearing the Nirvana for over 4 years. It seemed to be working for me. Now my gait has been corrected. I was so pumped when I ran in the Inspire for the first time. I felt like I was running on clouds. I felt light on my feet. I guess the Nirvana is a lot heavier at 12.9 ounces compared to the Inspire's 11.3 ounces. It does make a big difference. I can feel it.

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posted by Anthony at 5:35 PM 0 comments

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