Tomorrow – our first half marathon

Tomorrow morning at this time (as I write this post), we will be approximately 2-3 miles into our half marathon.  Wow, all this work will finally come to fruition for TJ, RS and myself.  It has been hard and fun and difficult at times.  I plan on taking it easy next week and then I am taking a week off from running starting next Friday.  It will be nice to recuperate and let my body heal.

I want TJ to know how much he has helped me getting to this point.  The workouts that he had me do have really been invaluable.  It has been fun when we run together and comparing notes at the end of the day.

I also am so impressed with RS.  He has had wisdom teeth out and about 4 running injuries in the past few months and he still keep plugging away.  It would have been easy for him to have given up, but he didn’t, he persevered.

I’m still not sure my lovely wife can come because of her back.  I hope she can, but understand if she cannot.

Anyone wanting to watch live at 7:00 central time tomorrow morning can here

Thanks for all the support.

I love running.

What warmup should be done for a half marathon?

It was a different type of workout yesterday preparing for our race on Sunday morning.  The training is called a Fartlek and for us, it began with a warmup, then 1:00 at half marathon pace and 1:00 at regular pace.  I did this 5 times and then headed home.  It was good and I ran the workout well, but I think I was a bit worn out from my excellent run the day before and I didn’t want to overdue it.

Now on to my question.  I don’t normally ask questions that I want answers to, but if anyone has a suggestion, I’d appreciate it.

We run our first half marathon on Sunday (our longest race to date is 5K) and I would like to know if anyone has warmup ideas before the race.  For our 5Ks we usually get there an hour early and run a couple of slow warmup miles (we like to run the end of the race back and forth so we know what we will face at the end of the race), then hit the Porta Potties and head to the starting line and do some stretching.

This seems to work really well for the 5K, but is it the same for a half marathon?

Does anyone have a warmup for a half marathon that works well?

Today is my last run before the race.  I’ll take tomorrow off to be fresh for Sunday morning.  2 days and counting.

I love running a lot.  Races make it even more fun.

It was the best of runs, it was the best of runs

Guess what?   Yesterday was the best run I have ever had.   I ran 4 miles at a 7:54 pace and 3 of those miles averaged 7:48.  I wasn’t tired.  I wasn’t pushing it.  It was just great.

Now to my question.  Why was yesterday so easy when Monday was one of the worst days I’ve had running in a long time?  I don’t know.  I was using the same shoes.  It was a similar day, other than no rain.  The only thing I did do differently was eat a piece of plain bread right before I left (something I remember my dad doing before his runs).  Surely a few carbs couldn’t have made that much of a difference.

Well I guess I won’t question it.  It was supposed to be an easy run for 4 miles since we are tapering for the big day.  It was so easy I thought my phone might be wrong.  I know some days are better than others and TJ said he has had similar days, but this was about a minute faster than my normal pace about a month ago.

On to training for Sunday.  TJ said today I should run a minute at half marathon pace and a minute jog and alternate back and forth.  That is what he is going to do.  It sounds good and I can make my phone tell me when to switch so that won’t be too hard.

3 more days to the half marathon.  I was talking with a sales rep the other day who has run this race for 4 years now and he said it is very well done.  Being my first I didn’t know what to expect.  He said they have pacers who will run the half marathon (and the whole) at different paces so, for example,  if you want to finish in an hour and 30 minutes, someone is setting that pace. Or if you want to finish in 2 hours, someone is setting that pace, and so on.  I guess I’ll start in the two hour group and then try to pull ahead in the last few miles.  He also said there is lots of food, beer (9:00 in the morning?) and massages given to runners.  I am hoping my lovely wife comes to cheer us on, but I understand it might be a bit difficult for her to sit for 3 hours with a bad back.  I’ll understand if she doesn’t go, but it would really be special if she did.

That is it for now.  This is so exciting, it is like Christmas is 3 days away and I’m an 8 year old kid.

I love running.

4 days to go until our first half marathon…

Wow, only 4 days until our half marathon.  To be honest, I wish we were running the full marathon, but that will come in the fall or winter.  I know I’m not there yet physically, but it would be so cool.

TJ has helped me this week with my run plan.  The idea is to still workout, but not as hard since we want to be fresh for the race.  So yesterday I did “cruise intervals” where I ran 1K at a steady state pace and then 200m at a slower jog to recover.  I did this 5 times.  It went really well.  Considering the day before was so difficult, yesterday was much more fun.  It was raining pretty hard though, but for some reason that didn’t bother me.

I use iSmoothRun for my running app.  I was able to set it to kilometers rather than miles and set up my intervals so that it would tell me exactly when to start them and when to jog.  I haven’t used this part of the app before, but it was great.  Also, at the end of the run it not only showed me my spits, but also my intervals so I could see how I ran them.  I ended up averaging about an 8 minute pace for my intervals and 8:24 overall.

Although I didn’t think it possible a few weeks ago, I am going to try to run an average pace at 8:23 for the half marathon.  At least it is a goal for now.  I am not going to push it too hard, but if I could do this, I would be happy that I gave it my all and that this training has paid off.  I hear that this event is really done well and that we should have a good experience.  Right now the weather is going to be sunny with a high of 48 and probably about 27 degrees at race time.  I really can’t wait.

I know that TJ and RS will do great.  I hope I can also.  After next Sunday, I am going to need a break, but all in all, this hard work will make a difference.

I love running.

Everything worked against my run

Everything worked against me running yesterday:

I forgot my Ibuprofen for my back
It was raining
It was cold
It was windy
I got home late
I was tired
I was sore from my long run yesterday
I forgot my run plan for the day from TJ

So I did the only thing I could do under these circumstances…

I ran.

It was only 3 miles and felt like 10.  Honestly I could not have run any more or any faster.  I just kept telling myself that the fact I ran anyway under all the negative conditions was as important as running far or fast.

I love running (usually) 🙂

Final week training for the Mercedes Half Marathon

Well, my experiment yesterday proved to be a success!  I chose to take Saturday off to see how my long run day went.  Normally I take off the Monday after my long run day to recuperate, but my thought was that since I run early in the morning on Sunday and don’t run on Monday until mid-afternoon, there is quite a lot of time between the two runs.

Yesterday I ran 10 miles in preparation for our first half marathon next Sunday.  TJ encouraged me to run the first 7 at a good regular pace and the pick it up for the last 3.  Usually I have been pretty worn out by the end of the 7th mile and just push through the last 3.  Yesterday was different.

To begin with, I never hit the psychological wall about having to run so many more miles than my norm.  It just didn’t bother me for some reason.  I don’t know if it was the fact I didn’t run on Saturday and so my body was more rested or what, but it was nice to just run and not worry.

Second, I was able to pull it out for the last three miles.  I was averaging about an 8:40 pace for the first 7 miles and finished the last three in about an 8:10 pace.  In fact, I felt better during the last three than I did on the first 7.  Don’t get me wrong, I was tired and ready to stop at mile 10, but my body felt better picking up the pace. Ultimately I was able to set a new PR for the 10 miles, shaving off over 4 minutes from my last best time.

Today starts more tapering and our workouts aren’t as difficult.  TJ has some good ideas for this last week.  I’ll write each day what we did and how it goes.

T minus 6.

I love running.

I chose not to run

Yes, I borrowed the (altered)  title of this post from my favorite episode of Seinfeld, “The Race”.  The funny thing is that the episode is all about running and it was my favorite long before I started running.

So my run plan was to run 6 miles yesterday.  As I’ve said here, I try to always run my plan.  In fact there have only been a few planned days where I haven’t run in the past year and 2 were from in injury and a couple because of extenuating circumstances where time just wasn’t available.

Yesterday was neither.

Yes, for the first time yesterday, I chose not to run and had no good reason.  I guess I’m not as obsessive about running as I thought!

I got up early 4:00 am (and not on a work day – ugh).  I did some things around the house and then my lovely wife, RS and I went to Starbucks and to run errands.  My plan was to run in the afternoon as I do during the week.  But while sitting in Starbucks, drinking my grande blond roast coffee, I realized that perhaps I needed a day off.  Monday is usually my day off, but I ran 3 miles since I had taken the Friday before off due to a painful knee.  So it had been a while since a day off and the next day (today) was my long day.  Soooo, I made the radical decision to just play hookie from running and have a day with my lovely wife and kids.  I’m glad I did.

Now…  T minus 7 days until our half marathon.  This week will be our prep week.  If my long run today goes well, I’ll take off next Saturday also.  TJ doesn’t like to take the day off right before a race as he tends to feel a bit stiff.  I usually run better on my day back, so I’ll test that theory today.

It is so exciting to be so close to our first half marathon.  If we can all stay healthy this week, next sunday at 7:03 (don’t ask my why they picked that time) in the morning, all the work will pay off.

I love running!!!

For your entertainment, here is a clip from “The Race”

Another reason I do tempo runs

I like the effect tempo runs have on my running, but they are torture to me while I’m running them.  Yesterday was my third tempo run and for the first time I made my goal of running 3 miles at a tempo pace! Thanks TJ for encouraging me to do this run.  I really was dreading it.

About half way through the run I starting feeling tired and my body was saying it had enough.  This time I didn’t listen to my body and I pushed through.  I kept telling myself that I was in charge of my body and that my body wasn’t in charge of me.  It reminded me of something I read in the Bible where Paul says, “…I beat my body and make it my slave…”

I think this year of running has made my body my slave where in the past I was enslaved to my body. Contrary to what my body tells me, I drink a gallon of water a day, I eat less, I run more and I have given up pizza.  Okay that last one was a lie.  I love pizza.  My body wins on that one.

So, although I hate tempo runs, they make my mind stronger then my body.

I guess some people call this being disciplined.  I waited 49 years to achieve this.  I guess an old dog can learn new tricks.

I love running.

Running and marriage

Yesterday I got home late…  Well, later than usual.  I left for work at 5:00 and got home at 5:00.  It was a long day.

I didn’t want to run.

I don’t talk much about my lovely wife on this blog.  She probably wouldn’t want me to and it is about running after all.  She doesn’t run.  Well, she can’t run as she has two ruptured disks in her back.  She finds it hard to walk without pain, let alone run.  Let me say this in regard to her – she is an amazing woman.

We have been married for over 25 years.  We’ve had our ups and downs.  We’ve lived through new life and through the death of a sibling and parent.  But through everything she has always supported my decisions.  What does this have to do with running you ask?


My running takes a lot of time.  I guess if I could get faster, it would help, but then I would probably just run further.  Anyway, as I mentioned in the beginning of this post, yesterday was a long day.  I got home and dutifully put on my running clothes and shoes and said goodbye as I headed out the door.  I was so focused on getting my run in before it got too late, I didn’t say much to my lovely wife.  I didn’t kiss her hello.  I came in, got changed and left for an hour run.  However as I left, as she always does, she said, “Have a good run.  Run fast”.

I started running last March and my runs took about 24 minutes a day.  Now they take between 1 – 2 hours.  She could rightfully be upset that it is taking too much time.  She could be upset that I don’t say much between coming home and leaving for my run.  She doesn’t.  She just supports me and makes sure I don’t feel badly for taking the time to run.  She knows it is important to me physically and because of my late father.

I really can’t say more.

I love my wife.

Is running an obsession?

This is the question I have been asking myself lately; is running an obsession for me?

Answer: Of course, it has to be!

What 49 year old would go outside 6 days a week and run the same route in rain, snow, cold or hot?  Who would do this for almost a year and take between 1 – 2 hours a day doing it?  Who would want to wake up in the morning and have the first feeling one of pain as they get out of the bed?

Running takes almost 100% of my free time.  Running makes my body hurt.  Running is boring.  Running pushes my cardiovascular system to the edge (sometimes).

If running weren’t an obsession, I WOULDN’T DO IT!

But let’s look at it from another perspective…

Running has helped me loose over 85 lbs.  Running helps me sleep better.  Running helps me deal with life’s stresses in a way I never had before.  Running has brought down my heart rate, blood pressure, blood sugar and in general added years onto my life.

Everyone has an obsession.  I am glad that running is mine.

I love running.

A new workout to prepare for my first half marathon

Okay, 11 days left until our half marathon and things are getting exciting.  We are working hard at our workouts along with tapering them somewhat so we are fresh for the race.  No hill runs until after the big race (yay), but I had a new experience in my running yesterday.  TJ and I ran together and I did a steady state run.  Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t anything new, but it was new to me.

We started with a warmup mile and then we proceeded to run 4 miles at an average of 7:50 a mile.  This is TJ’s normal pace, but for me it was hard.  By the time I made the 5th mile, I told him that I thought I should stop.  He that I could try one more mile at a cool down rate and then see if I could pick it up after a half mile.  Well, I decided to go with his advice and ran the last mile at an 8:57 pace.  Overall we ran 8:06 which got me a PR for my 10K.

RS got hurt again while running.  He says his foot felt swollen and wisely walked home rather than trying to run on it.  We need to figure out how to keep him healthy so he can continue to run.

Thanks TJ for the help.

I love running.