Chicago, Jacksonville, Boston marathons – Information overload

Information overload last night.  TJ and I are trying to decide where to run our first marathon.  RS will go also I assume, if he can stay well.  Anyway, our choices are between the Chicago Marathon or Jacksonville Marathon.  In the end, money may make the decision.  I love Chicago and my lovely wife and I have friends up there as I have mentioned in the past.  But we also have great friends in Jacksonville, although I’ve not been to Jacksonville in a long time.  Anyway, it ends up that Jacksonville’s marathon is over $100 less a person than Chicago!!!  That is $300 more that TJ, RS and I would have to spend to enter the Chicago marathon; let alone travel and accommodations.  Both offer a fast course and the average temperature is about the same at the time of each race.  Jacksonville’s is in December, so that would give us a couple of months longer to get ready.  Remember, TJ is trying to qualify for Boston on his first marathon.  I dream of qualifying for Boston on my first.

So, if there is anyone in Chicago who reads this, could you run by Ballydoyle Pub and ask Phil if he would like to sponsor us?  Just tell him our favorite song is “Sweet Home Alabama” and he’ll know who we are.  I know, it is a pipe dream, but isn’t that what blogs are for???

Finally, onto yesterday.  I LOVE running the day after a tempo run.  It is like my body has said, “hey, as long as you aren’t going to run as fast as you did yesterday, I’ll do what you want”.  I ran 6 miles at an 8:30 pace and could have gone for more.  I stopped because of today…  The dreaded hill day.  It feels like this hill  goes straight up for about 5 miles, but it is only about 1/8 – 1/4 mile.  It is straight up though.  My goal is to make it 3 times, as I did 2 last time.  TJ can do 6 – how does he do it?

So on to another day of work, looking forward to heading home to my lovely wife, kids and dog.  I’ll say hi as I head out to run the mountain.

I love running.

Tempo run #2 – Half marathon training

I am working on my speed lately and doing different types of training to get my speed and endurance up for our half marathon in 18 days.  Yesterday was tempo run day.  It was very interesting to run.  This was my second tempo run as I ran one last week also, but I approached this one differently to see if I could get a better result.

First, I ran it my first day back to running this week.  TJ, RS and I take Monday’s off to rest, but it all starts again Tuesday.  TJ likes to run a regular run on Tuesday, and that is what I did last week, but as I mentioned yesterday, I think I need more time between my hill run and my long run, so running my tempo run on Tuesday will make my hill run on Thursday and I’ll have 2 days before my long run on Sunday.

So how did it go?  Well, I decided to run 2 miles before increasing my pace to the ~7:00 mark.  I felt good and think it was beneficial to run 2 miles before rather than last week when I only ran one.  The tempo part (starting mile 3) seemed easier than last week.  In fact it seemed much easier for the first 1.5 miles even though I was running the same route.  Then the last half mile was a killer.  I end my second mile going up an incline, not large, but it does hit hard after running that fast.  By the time I got the second mile completed, I was spent – just like last week.  I decided rather than going down hill to my home, that I would continue straight and see if I could make 3 miles – nope.  I got about a 10th of a mile further and had to slow down.  So I just ran mile 5 at a slower recovery pace.

My goal is to make 3 miles at my tempo pace, but just doing this for 2 weeks I know it will take more time.  So here is the interesting part – I ran my first two miles at a medium fast regular pace and my tempo miles slower than last week but still under 7:30 pace.  In the end, I finished the 5 miles two seconds slower that last week.  Two seconds.  Here is the breakdown for anyone who is interested (or for me to look back on to compare):

Mile 1 – 8:46
Mile 2 – 8:34
Mile 3 – 7:19
Mile 4 – 7:21
Mile 5 – 8:52

I ran all five miles in 41:08 this week and in 41:06 last week.  So I guess my tweaking didn’t make much of a difference, except the fact I felt better during the tempo part for a longer time, but I also ran it a bit slower.

That is it. Another run down

I love running.

“Running head games” or “The psychology of running”

On a quick note… I changed my run plan around for this week.  TJ likes to run his first day back for the week as a normal run and then on Wednesday do a tempo run.  I did this last week, but found that by doing this, my hill run was on Friday and then I only had one day before my long run.  I wonder if that was my issue on Sunday with my hip and legs hurting so much during my long run. So, I’m trying my tempo run this afternoon and see how it goes.  I think having 2 regular days before my long run should help.

I am sure many people have written about the psychology of running, but the more I run, the more I am convinced that 50% of running is in my head.  What I mean is that my mind will tell me to stop, tell me to slow down, tell me my legs are tired, etc.  My mind will tell me, “don’t run today it is too cold, it’s raining, it’s snowing, it’s hot and so on”.  I think the psychology of running is as much of telling your mind to shut up as anything else.  There are times to listen though.  If I am running and my hamstring starts to pull, or my knee hurts, I’ll tell my body to relax and slow down a bit until the pain goes away.  But for the most part, running is a mental activity in which I run best when I do the opposite of what my head is telling me to do.

This is the reason I get home from work and immediately get on my running clothes and go out for my run.  I say hi to my lovely wife and pat the dog and wave at the kids and I’m off.  If anything interrupts that schedule, my chances of making my run for the day goes down dramatically.  Habit is as important in my running as anything else.  In the summer when it is 107 degrees and 90% humidity, I have to run anyway.  In the winter when it is 22 degrees and 20 mph wind, I have to run anyway.  6 days a week 52 weeks a year, on vacation or during a holiday, I cannot give my head an excuse not to run.  If I do it once, then I’ll do it again and before I know it, I’ve stopped running.  Then the momentum is gone and it is twice as hard to get going again.

These are my thoughts on the head games I play with myself to make myself do something I’ve not done in 49 years.  Run.  I’m up to 40 miles a week now.  The half marathon is in less than 3 weeks.  My body has to contol my mind, not the other way around.  I guess what I am talking about is discipline.  Also wisdom to know when to stop or when to ignore what I am feeling.

I love running.

13.1 miles yesterday, but it was not fun

Sunday was our long run day.  My goal was to do 13.1 miles in under a 9 minute mile.  I did it.

It was tough!

I ran 13.14 miles in an 8.58 pace.  I don’t know how, but it was a personal best for me.  TJ ran 18 miles at a 7:18 pace – how does he do that??? I am totally amazed what he can do.

Now to a question.  Why is it so hard for me to run in the morning?  I guess it is because I run in the afternoon 5 days a week and only run in the morning on weekends.  But this is crazy.  At mile 3 of my long run, I felt like I’d been hit by a truck.  My legs hurt, my hip hurt and I just wanted to stop.  This was mile 3!!!  I have been running 5-6 miles a day for a long time now and don’t have much of a problem doing that.  I don’t know if it is the thought of going 13 miles that is my problem or if it is the fact I get up and eat some eggs and grits and then go out, but I have to figure this one out.  Most races are in the morning and I don’t want to get into the middle of my half marathon and feel like I can’t go on.  To be honest it was a miracle that I made the mileage yesterday.  Most Sundays I try to run about 10 miles, but with the race coming up in 3 weeks I figured it would be a good day to give the full mileage a try.

It was a victory to finish under a 9 minute pace.  And once again, TJ continues to amaze me.  We’ve only been running about 10 months and he is burning it up on long run days.

Today is our off day.  I am thankful for that.  Then Tuesday it all starts over again.

I love running, but I don’t know why some days.

My first hill run

Okay.  It was not as fun as I thought it would be – Actually I really didn’t think it would be fun, but this was a rough hill.  TJ says it is about an eighth of a mile, but I think it might be further.  It goes straight up for a long time and then levels out a bit and then up more but at a slower incline.  TJ ran it 6 times.  Not me.  I ran it once and then ran other areas of the same neighborhood that were hilly and then I ran it again.  So all in all I ran it twice and then another few miles to make 5 miles for the day.  It was crazy though.  After running the hill/mountain twice, I could barely keep a 10 minute pace.  My legs were shot.  So I guess it did what it was supposed to do.  Hill runs are supposed to help your speed similar to 800m intervals but since you don’t have to run as fast or as hard, it isn’t as hard on your body.

As TJ and I were going to get the pizza for dinner we talked the half marathon.  He really wants to run it in 90 minutes. I told him I want to beat a 9 minute pace.  He said if I can make it in an 8:23 pace and we do the Chicago Marathon, I’ll be about to be in the first 14,000 runners.  Hmmm.

I think I may be in over my head.

I run my first 13.1 miles tomorrow since October. I’ve been doing about 10 miles on my long day, but with the race close at hand, I figure I need to get another one under my belt.  I’m going to try to run it at the same pace I would like to do the half marathon in, so we’ll see how it goes.

I love to run!!!

Best fall marathon? TJ wants to qualify for Boston!!!

First, yesterday was a great run. I mentioned in an earlier post that I tend to run faster after exerting myself in a 5K race. I started doing tempo runs this week with the input of TJ and it made a huge difference. I had a record 10K run yesterday in 50:55 total time. It really wasn’t much effort, except at the end when I was trying to get my 10K in under 51:00. I know it was the tempo run from Wednesday that made the difference.

The training continues for our half marathon. Today is a hill day (ugh) – my first. TJ says it helps a lot, but I’m not looking forward to it.

After our half marathon in February, we look for a marathon in the fall. TJ mentioned finding a fast marathon as he wants to qualify for Boston. He also wants me to qualify, but at this time I don’t see that happening.

Right now we are looking at Chicago or Jacksonville. Both are considered fast marathons. The advantage to Jacksonville is that I have a friend there we could stay with. The advantage to Chicago is that we also have friends there and we love to go to Ballydoyle’s Irish pub and also get some Giordano’s pizza. Another option that would mean a lot to me is the Marine Corp Marathon. The main reason for that is that this is the marathon my Dad and siblings always ran. It would be great to make my first marathon the same one my dad ran in years ago – also since <a href=”; he is the inspiration for my running.

I don’t know if anyone has any suggestions. It is still early, but I know that April is when sign up begins for the Marine Corps Marathon and last year they filled up quickly.

Half marathon prep – 24 days and counting

Yesterday was hard…

To begin with, I did an incredibly dumb thing and reduced that amount of Ibuprofen my physician told me to take.  My thought was that since I was feeling better and taking some really good fish oil, maybe I could reduce the amount of Ibuprofen I take.  Bad thought.  My back hurt so much yesterday, I wasn’t sure I could run after work as has been my habit.  The good news is I didn’t let that stop me.  I have learned over the past 10 months that if I want something or someone to talk me out of running, then I won’t run.  With all that I have, I want to finish a full marathon (planned for this fall) and be able to add my name to my siblings as having completed such a feat.  Of course it will be about 20 years later than they, but better late than never.

Okay, onto the prep.  According to the run plan that TJ helped me develop, yesterday was a tempo run.  My plan was to run 3 miles between 7:23 and 7:29.  I must say I was a bit worried with the way my back felt, but after work I got on my running clothes and shoes (Saucony Type A5 – great racing flats) and started my mile warm up run.  At the end of the mile, I kicked into my tempo run.  Here are the splits from my run:

Mile 1  – 8:87
Mile 2 – 7:05
Mile 3 – 7:06
Mile 4 – 8:31
Mile 5 – 9:14

My plan was to run 3 miles in the mid 7 minute pace.  I made it 2 miles and had to slow down.  I try to always keep my goals I set, but as TJ said, I ran my miles too fast and much faster than my plan.  It was really hard to do 2 miles, but three… not gonna happen.

I did get my 5 miles in and did an overall pace of 8:11 which is good for me.  Also I ran a 5K based on the middle 3 miles in 23:34 which is my second fastest time and that without anyone around me for motivation.  Overall I’m happy and now my goal is to get to 3 miles next week.  It gives me something for which to prepare.

Today is a regular run for 6 miles and then tomorrow, hill runs.  Why do I punish my body this way!  I guess it is because the pain of the run is long forgotten after the results come in.  I want this half marathon to be my best.  Of course being my first one it will be, but still I don’t want to look back and say, I could have done more.

My half marathon training plan

TJ has been helping me with a plan for our half marathon that is coming up on the 17th of next month.  Yesterday morning before work he came by to pick up something he had left the night before and we eat brownies for breakfast and talked running.  I finally put two and two together and now have a plan rather than just running 5-7 miles a day.  You can read my plan on the “Run Plan” tab above the top picture on this page.

Basically our plan is to run regular runs mixed with tempo (fast pace) and hill runs.  I really think this will be a good thing.  I’ve noticed that after I run a 5K, I generally run at a faster pace the following week.  I am sure there is a scientific way to explain this, but it seems that expending a lot of cardiovascular effort in a race helps me run my later runs easier.  Before this last 5K, I was running in the 9:00 pace.  I ran my 5K in a 7:08 pace and now, with general ease, I am running about an 8:30 to 8:40 average pace.

All that to say, adding a run that is at a fast pace (with warm up miles and cool down miles before and after) and running hill runs should make a big difference.  Just to make it clear, everyday is a hill run in our neighborhood.  However about a mile from home is a hill that is almost a mountain.  It goes straight up for what must be a quarter mile.  It is hard to run up, but harder to run down since it is so steep.

Today is my tempo run.  It should be interesting.  I don’t think I would have much issue with it, except that at 50 years old, my hips and back tend to hurt a lot after running.  If I remember to ice my lower back afterwards, it isn’t as bad, but I’ve been forgetting lately.

26 days and counting until our half marathon!  Now I’m not just running, I’m training.  Life is good!!!

Why I run

I have a couple of reasons that I run.

To begin with, I always regretted not running with my Father and siblings back in the 80s and 90s. My dad began running around age 55 and ran upward of 15 marathons before he stopped around age 74. He eventually passed away due to lung cancer. My late sister and my brothers also ran and all ran marathons with him. I was in college when he started and then ended up 800 miles away raising my family later on. Well here I am now dad, 50 years old and running my first half marathon. Here I am now KT. You always encouraged me to at least get on a treadmill once a day as you saw me gaining weight and getting sick more often. Here I am. I run because of you. I wish you both were here to see.

Secondly, I run because it is the one competition I can enter that has a level playing field. Sure there are those like TJ that are naturals. But for the most part, I know that if I run 6 times a week and slowly increase my mileage, one day I can be good, at least for my age. I am not an athlete and never was. I was the last to be picked for teams when I was a kid. Really, sports didn’t interest me much. Now at 50, I run. I’ve run almost a thousand miles in the past 10 months and am one of the 10% of runners that get through the year without getting hurt. Each run I pray for God to keep me from getting hurt. He knows I have to run and why I am running.

Running, as I said, makes a level playing field. Thus I started running 10 months ago and this month came in 22nd out of 690 in my last 5K. I didn’t come in 22nd and 3rd in my age group because I am a natural. I did so because I run 6 days a week whether it is hot, cold, raining or snowing.

I cannot make an excuse.

I just run.

Preparing for our first half marathon

TJ, RS and myself are going to run in our first half marathon in a couple of weeks.  It is really exciting to be preparing for something longer than a 5K.  I asked TJ, my running partner and coach, about what he was doing to prepare and he sent me this link:

TJ really knows what he is doing when it comes to training.  I am a little less methodical.  My prep until now has been running between 35-45 miles a week.  I run 6 days a week and take Monday off.  Sunday is my long day.  So overall I run 5-6 miles a day and 10 on Sunday.  I created an app for my iPhone using FileMaker Go that helps me prepare my week and for the most part I keep to my plan.

Now, I need something more than just running my run.  I want to run my first half marathon under a 9 minute pace.  The fastest I have run 13 miles is 9:20 pace. So now I need a plan for the next few weeks.  I can run the mileage, but I also want to run the time.

Today is my off day so tomorrow starts the plan.  Lord willing it will be a great race.

“I like pizza”

You might think running can get boring… and sometimes it does. But if you look for the little things in the journey, it can really make it interesting.

Yesterday, TJ and I were out together on our run. I went 5 miles and he continued on for 3 more. About half way through we came across a few neighborhood kids sitting near the road. I’ve seen them before on other runs, but I don’t know them. Anyway, as we ran past, this approx. 6 year old girl look up at me and simply said, “I like pizza”. I replied, “I like it too!”

How random was that?

Life can seem random and running can seem like a long boring journey, but it is the random things that happen that can make your day. I thought about that random comment the rest of the run. I am trying to notice more things and enjoy those little random things that happen. It makes a “boring” run, much more tolerable. For that matter, it can make a difficult life more tolerable. How many random things do I miss during the day? They don’t seem to mean much, but who knows what it can add to my day?

I bet that little girl had no idea that random thought she expressed to me would make me think all day and then become a post on a blog.

I’m about to go out running. I’ll try to pay a little closer attention to the journey.