Achilles fix? Maybe!

93 miles in 2 weeks.

43 miles last week.

13 miles on Sunday.

That is a lot of miles for a 50 year old who has been running just over a year.

Many of you know that I have suffered with achilles issues for some time now.  I haven’t been writing about it because my ice baths for my foot after running has been keeping the problem in check, but it has still been difficult at times.  One bad moment was when I was getting up from sitting and hit my heal into the back of the chair I was in.  That sent me through the roof.  An hour later I was out running and the run was okay, but I had more pain.  That was Friday.

I had been thinking about the logic of stretching my calf to relieve the pain in my achilles. Everyone says to stretch by leaning forward with the foot on the ground.  Yes I can feel the stretch in my calf, but I also feel the pull on my achilles.  Then I thought, many people will tell you to take time off from running and let it rest to get past the issue.  So why am I stretching and pulling against it if it needs to rest?  Finally I got a foam roller to roll on my calf.  I am to roll until I feel a knot and then hold the knot until it releases.  This I did.  But it is hard for me to spend more than a few minutes doing this along with other stretching, running, family, work, dog, etc.

All that to say, I did something Saturday night that allowed me to begin my run on Sunday with NO pain in my achilles.  I ran 8 miles until I began to feel a little pulling.  It was amazing to me.  It is like when it is hot outside for weeks and one morning you go out and it is cool.  Wow, what a difference.  You notice it right away.  That was my run yesterday.  Zero pain.  Ahhh.

So what did I do?

I laid in bed while TJ and my Lovely Wife and I watched the first Spirit of the Marathon.  I put my left knee up with my foot on the bed.  I took my right leg and set my calf directly on top of my knee.  Then I dug in.  I could apply as much pressure or as little pressure as I wanted.  I finally found a spot on the outside of my calf that hurt a lot, so I worked that area for over an hour.  It hurt, but it was easy to continue.  I just watched a movie and did about 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off of allowing my knee to massage and kneed my sore calf muscle.  That was it.

The next morning (Sunday), I got up out of bed for the first time in a long time with no pain.  I knew I did something right – finally.

I’m not saying that I am fixed.  After my run yesterday my achilles was pretty sore, so I did some more work on it last night, but not much.  I feel asleep too fast.  Still, I now know an answer that I hope will permanently fix my achilles.

Time will tell.

It was a good long run by the way.  I did well until the 12th mile and then stated to fade.  Much better than last week.  So I am making progress.

12 weeks until the Lehigh Valley Marathon!  I hope I’m ready.

My virtual coach – a big help running

Yesterday’s run went well.  It was a bit tough since I had run so late on Friday, but not too bad.  No walls which is good and since I ran early in the day, it was cooler.

I have been really trying to follow my virtual coach’s instructions on my run (from the iSmoothRun app).  I think this will be a huge help in my marathon.  I have issues with starting too fast and then burning out quickly.  Since I have been using it the past two days, I not only start slower, but I keep a fairly consistent pace throughout  my run.  This has helped me conserve energy and be able to finish much stronger than I used to.

Today will be a good test.  I am going for my long run of 13 miles (TJ did 21 yesterday – wow!).  I am going to do the first mile slow to warm up (especially my achilles) and then try to keep about a 9:30 mile.  That has been my pace as the heat has hit.  I did get up early so that I can get my run in while it is still the cool of the day, but in the South, mornings can be hot even before sunrise.

Anyway, I will use my virtual coach today and see how it goes.  I hope to finish my 13 miles feeling good and get my confidence up for longer long runs as our marathon is just 12 weeks away.

On a side note, the cooling shirt that TJ got me for Father’s day that I was so excited to use for the first time on my long run was way too small.  Very strange as I got a large.  It wasn’t even a comfortable tight.  So I’ll take it back today and hope they have an extra large.  I am disappointed, but at least I am running most of my run before the heat kicks in.

Happy Fathers Day to all you dads.  Go for a run and everyone have a GREAT DAY!!!

5 reasons my run went so well yesterday

No walls!

It was a much better run yesterday and I never had the moment of, “I can’t go on”.  It felt so good to me and was the first time in weeks (other than my trail run last week with @BigBigGeek) I had such a great run.  What made the difference?  I think it was several factors; some changes I made and some circumstances.

1) The weather – It was about 5 to 10 degrees cooler when I ran, but still humid and felt hot to me.  Though going from mid 90s to mid 80s must have made a difference.

2) My virtual coach – I have written before that I use iSmoothRun as my running app.  It really is a great app and I have stopped looking further for anything else.  One feature is that a pace can be set for each mile (I chose 9:30 since that is the average pace I have been keeping in the heat) and the app will tell you during that mile if you need to speed up, slow down or run steady.  I tend to start slow to warm up and then go too fast if I feel good and then I have nothing left after 3 miles in the heat.  This app kept me in the 9:30 – 9:15 range, so I never went too fast.  I think it really helped!

3) My cool hat – No not cool as in looks, though it isn’t bad looking, but cool as in temperature.  It is made by Columbia and really works.  As I got into my run and started sweating I felt much cooler. I then felt my hat and it felt like someone poured cool water over it. It is supposed to lower the heat by 5 degrees.  I’ll take that!  I think it made a huge difference.  TJ is getting me the shirt for Fathers Day – I can’t wait to try it!

4) Eat half a Pemmican energy bar. This bar doesn’t taste good, but does seem to keep the energy going without peaking like gels do.

5) I am just an awesome runner Not there yet, but I am trying. 🙂

So all in all it was a really good run.  I kept waiting for that “feeling” of not being able to go on, but it never came.  It was such a relief.

This morning it is cool and 75 degrees outside so I need to hit the road.

Thanks for reading.

Running into a wall – a great thing!

Yesterday was a good day!

I decided that with my running being difficult, lack of sleep, and staying up late (late for me) to watch “Spirit of the Marathon II” the night before that I should take the day off and rest.  That I did.

I slept 10 hours straight.  If for nothing else, that would be enough to help anyone.  I woke up on my own and the sun was out and I felt renewed.

I got up and soon had a text from TJ asking if we were going to run together – “Yes”, I replied as I thought of the 7 – 9 mile run ahead of me.  I kept myself focused and got ready to go out.  It was going to obviously be cooler at 9:00 in the morning than at 2:00 in the afternoon, but it wasn’t much cooler.

We went out and ran a course through our neighborhood that he runs quite a bit.  It was great running with him and I felt good.  We hit the 2 mile mark and I could already feel myself getting a bit fatigued.  We were not running fast.  In fact he watched our pace and would tell me to slow down at times.  But the heat was beginning to get to me again.  It was so helpful that as I told him I was starting to feel myself getting tired and he said he was feeling it too.  “What, it isn’t just me?” That was a huge relief and kept me going.

By the 4 mile mark I was slowing down.  I knew 9 miles would be out of the question at that point, but I wanted to make it to 7.  I felt again like I hit the wall.  We continued and he slowed to my pace as I slowed down.  We finished back at the house and he ran in to get me some Gatorade as I walked outside a bit.


I know from the movie and what I have read that everyone hits a wall in a marathon.  Usually around mile 20 your body screams to stop running and give up.  That is the reality of my Spring (I can’t believe it isn’t summer yet) so far.  Everyday I hit a wall.  Everyday my body screams that I cannot go on.  I know I am hydrated and I am eating as well as I can, but I hit that wall over and over again.  My revelation…  that is a GOOD thing.  Each time I get to that point of not being able to continue, but I continue anyway, I am teaching myself to get past that point.  My body is learning how to go beyond the dreaded wall.  Not that I should be stupid and run when I am in trouble, but I can tell usually if this is just a wall or I should stop my run early.  Plus I know that I can run more than 2 or 3 miles and that is when this usually happens.

Another thing I learned the other day from reading an article.  When you run or exercise and it is hot outside, your blood moves toward your skin to circulate and cool you down so you don’t overheat.  That means that less blood is available for your muscles and helping your run.  This is the reason you slow down.  It was already obvious to me that I have slowed quite a bit (about 1 -2 miles a mile) since the heat kicked in, but it really helps knowing why it is happening.

Running with someone else is huge.  Had I run that early run by myself yesterday I might have given in and stopped.  Running with TJ was like running on a treadmill.  I kept going because he kept going.  Also, after the day was mostly gone, I got to run with RS (something I don’t get to do much).  We ran 2 miles together.  It was later and half way through it rained pretty hard.  It felt great.

So I got in my 9 miles.  I felt like I accomplished a huge feat just by making the 7 with TJ.  I felt awesome afterwards.  Then the extra 2 with RS and I went to bed knowing I made my 9 mile goal and all was well with the world (or at least my world).

7 miles and 1 wall this afternoon.  I can’t wait!

Marathon training – renewed inspiration

I had a revelation Yesterday.

Marathon training is a lot like running a marathon.  If this is true then I am at the 20 mile mark of my training. I have hit a wall.

I realized yesterday as I was watching “Spirit of the Marathon II” that my training has gotten to me.  Of course if you read any of the past couple of weeks of my blog you could probably have told me without me having to see a movie.  The movie was great and inspiring and really made me think.  Running a marathon isn’t easy and neither is marathon training; especially running in 100 degree heat in the summer.

I am inspired.  I am going to do this.

I plan on methodically carrying out my plan.  I will stop if I need to, but I also don’t want to give up too early on my dream of qualifying this year for Boston.  If I run the Lehigh Valley Marathon in September and finish, that will be huge.  If I run and qualify for Boston, then that will be another mountain climbed and conquered.  Either way, I win.

So I resolve, with the inspiration of watching 7 people training and running the Rome Marathon in this movie, to run and to finish.  It will be hot.  It will be hard at times and I will tell all here on this blog. I will do it.

I recommend this movie; it helped inspire me.  Unfortunately it was only in theaters yesterday, but if you can watch at home sometime, do!

Me, I’ll be running.  Because of the heat, maybe slower, maybe not as many miles, but I will be running.

Maybe one day I’ll be in “Spirit of the Marathon III”.  Hopefully it will take place in Boston! 🙂



That is the amount of miles I ran out of my 7 mile goal yesterday.


I decided at that point to stop.  I hit a wall and could have gone on, but I did that Sunday and decided that I would be opening myself up to injury if I continued.  However this does pose a dilemma.  How do I get to 50 miles this week and ultimately the mileage to seriously run a marathon if I can’t do much more than 4 miles in a day?

I know it has some to do with the heat – probably 80% of what I felt running yesterday was due to the heat.  Part of it was due to a late meeting that meant that I didn’t get out to run until after 4:00 in the afternoon.

I’ve been thinking that perhaps I should run in the morning.  However I already get up by 4:00 each morning so that isn’t very doable.

So TJ helped me with telling me his solution.  He had to stop early also yesterday, though for him early is 10 miles.  His solution is to try running some miles in the morning and the rest in the afternoon.  Sounds like a doable solution to me.

So starting today I am going to try to run 3 miles in the morning and 4 in the afternoon.  That way it will be much less time in the 100+ heat and it won’t seem like such a long run either.  Of course, now I have to get up no later than 3:30 and probably earlier as I have to cool down and soak my achilles in ice water after my run.  However I will give this a try and see how it goes.

Tonight, Spirit of the Marathon II at 7:00.  One night only.  I can’t wait – though 3:30 will come awful early after staying up until 10:00.

Maybe I’ll take tomorrow off.

Inspiration to run

I don’t like the heat.  I never have.

Long before I was a runner, even while a child, I hated the heat.

Now I am a runner and I have to endure the heat.  Last year wasn’t too bad.  I was running 2-3 miles a day.  This year I am running 7-9 miles a day and I would like to keep my pace up.  It is hard to get inspired to keep going outside to run when, to me anyway, it is torture.  This morning for instance.  5:00 AM.  77 degrees and at least 80% humidity.  Today and tomorrow the highs will be close to 100 and I imagine with the heat index, over 100.

So what do I do to keep myself going?  It would be easy to slow down for the summer.  Summer here lasts into October – that is a long time for someone who hates heat.

How do I keep myself inspired?

My goal.  I could wait another year to qualify for Boston, but I made a goal in March of this year to qualify – this year.  It really does drive me.  I wrote a couple of days ago that to go from obesity to a Boston qualifier in just over 2 years would be my largest achievement.  10 years from now no one may remember, but I will. I want to do this and I want to do it this year if possible.  That is my motivation.

This blog.  It amazes me how much this blog inspires me.  I write each day on running or running subjects.  I put my goals and dreams down for anyone to read.  I think as I run about what I will write the next day.  But the biggest inspiration are all the people who read and comment and like.  As I run in the heat wondering how I will keep one foot moving in front of another (as I did on Sunday), this blog keeps me inspired.

Other blogs. Reading others ups and downs and inspirational writings really helps.  It is all about keeping my mind in the game.  I have to keep focused, not on the present reality of tiredness, soreness and heat, but on my goal and other blogs and tweets keep me focused.  Thank you for writing and helping me keep inspired!

Inspirational movies.  The Spirit of the Marathon II comes to theaters tomorrow (June 12) at 7:00 for a one day showing.  When the first movie came out I wasn’t even close to running.  I had the desire, but no inspiration or motivation.   Tomorrow I am going with TJ and RS and can’t wait to sit in a cool theater and be inspired. I need a movie like this to keep my mind focused and my head clear.

I apologize for writing some of the same things I wrote a couple of days ago.  But as I said, I need to keep myself going and writing my blog does just that.  It keeps me inspired and accountable as I head outside into the heat of the afternoon to run.

We all need some inspiration these days.  Think sometime of what inspires you and then do that thing.  It makes all the difference!!!

50 mile week and I felt it yesterday!

They say that the way you feel in your run isn’t the total miles of that run, but the sum of the past three days of running.  This is because of the time it takes to recover from a run.  Well if that is true, then I know what happened yesterday to the end of my run.

The sum of my last three runs (including yesterday’s run) was 27 miles.

It was my long run day and I was feeling pretty good as I began.  I needed 13 miles for the day, which put me at 50 (PB) for the week!  Here is a quick summary or my run:

Miles 1-4: Felt pretty good, surprisingly good in fact.
Miles 5-9: Getting tired and hot, especially toward the later miles.  Ran past the house to get some Gatorade.
Miles 10 – 13: I hit the wall and never recovered.  I slowed down to about an 11:00 pace – seemed like I was barely running. My legs were shot and I did everything I could just to finish.

My Lovely Wife eventually sent TJ to search for me since I was taking so long to get home.  It was nice to see a friendly face driving up beside me as I had 1/2 mile to go.

My philosophy, as I have stated before, is to not worry about speed this summer.  I am training for a September marathon and the speed will come, but my body has to get used to the miles.  So as I run I do what I can, but if I have to run slow to get my miles in, that is what I will do.

We are at 13 weeks before the Lehigh Valley Marathon in Altoona Pennsylvania.  This week the temps get up near 100 and I have another 50 mile week to put in.  Next week I will taper down about 25% so that will be really nice to get a break.

I just have to keep my eye on the prize.  In some ways (forgive me ladies) I feel like I am 6 months pregnant.  I am doing all I can do each day to get by, but I know that it will all be over in 3 months, then I can relax.  Okay, not a good analogy, but it is the best I can think of at the moment.

Off day today. 🙂 Yay!

A new experience for me; trail running!

What a great place to go for a run…

View of the lake right before our run - Beautiful!

View of the lake right before our run – Beautiful!

Yesterday I met Neill (@BigBigGeek) at Oak Mtn State park to run trails around the lake.  I haven’t been to that park in 10 years, I haven’t trail run much at all and I have never run with Neill.  So it was a day of new experiences and a lot of fun.

When I first got to the park, I drove to the lake and there was a triathlon going on. Swimmers were in the water and bikers were on their bikes. I have never seen a triathlon before, so it was pretty cool.  My late sister was training for a triathlon when she passed away in 2003.  I wonder if that might be something I would like to attempt one day.  Perhaps a future challenge?

I met up with Neill and we went for our trail run.  I was hesitant because with all the mileage I’ve put in the past week my achilles has been a bit tender and I was wearing some trail running shoes that I haven’t really used but a couple of miles.  It wasn’t a problem.  The trail was definitely a trail.  Rocks, roots, narrow and other runners and bikers.  We ran over 2 miles in one direction and then the same back.  Funny, it seemed like it was much more than just a couple of miles.  I guess it takes so much concentration not to trip (which I did once) that it just felt longer.  I had a great time talking with Neill as we ran and the lake and woods were beautiful.  I will be running this trail again.  It was fun.

Our path around the lake

Our path around the lake

After we got through with the trail, I ran with Neill back to his car and then I had to run another 1.5 miles to complete the 7 miles I planned the day.  I don’t know what it was, perhaps the trail run, the triathlon, or just all the people walking, biking and playing at the park, but I ran the best 1.5 miles I’ve run in a long time.  I felt like I could run as fast as I wanted and as far as I wanted.  I just felt free!!!  It was fantastic.

Running has been laborious lately.  The heat hasn’t been too bad, but it was really affected me in a negative way.  Everyday the past couple of weeks has been a difficult run other than last Monday with TJ.  Yesterday was such a blessing.  It was fun running with Neill; it was fun running the trail; it was fun watching the triathloners and it was fun running at the end.

It was fun and I am excited about running again.

Qualifying for Boston, making the impossible possible.

I really had no idea how much time running and preparing for a marathon would take out of my life.

As many of you know, I plan on running the Lehigh Valley Marathon in September and I hope to qualify for the Boston Marathon at that event!  It would be a major accomplishment as I have only been running for 14 months (as of now) and have never run more than a half marathon.  Also, 2 years ago I weighed 278 lbs and now I hope to qualify for Boston.

I must be crazy.

I admit this drives me probably more than it should.  I look on it not only a challenge, but also the chance of accomplishing something beyond my own ability.

As a 16 year old, I wanted to become a DJ.  In order to get on the radio you had to get a license and in order to get that license you had to pass a grueling exam. Everyone I talked to said I had no chance at passing the first time.  My sister knew two people who took the test 3 times and failed each time and they were in college.  It became a challenge.  I spent the whole summer studying and memorizing the material.  It wasn’t anything I knew or understood, but I learned.  One day my dad asked me what page of my textbook talked about radio towers (or something in that vein).  I gave him the page number from memory. We looked it up and I was correct.   I went to DC and took the test with 30 people much older than myself and passed the first time.  Understand, my dad once said that I was the first of his children (the youngest of 4) that he was relieved when I brought home a “C” in a class.  Getting this license was way above my ability, but after I passed I felt like I could accomplish anything.

You may be able to understand the parallels between getting my radio license and running a marathon, but just to spell it out…

Qualifying for the Boston Marathon is way beyond my ability.  In fact just running a marathon is beyond my comprehension.  I not only have to run it, but I have to run it under 3 and a half hours.  I have to keep at least an 8 minute pace for 26.2 miles.  I feel like I did going into that exam room with everything against me.  I questioned myself if I had prepared enough.  I questioned everything.  I was nervous and anxious.  I passed.  I want to pass this test also.  I want to, in just over 2 years, go from obesity to qualifying for Boston.  For me, it is making the impossible, possible.  If I can do this, I can do anything.

So I run.  I run 6 days a week and walk the 7th.  I ran 9 miles yesterday, my longest mid-week run ever.  I need to get to 50 miles this week and then into the 60s by next month sometime. My speed is way down, but I don’t think that matters right now.  I feel that miles matter more than the speed.  It is hot and humid and that makes it hard to run fast.  Yesterday I ran a trail for a couple of miles which made the run more enjoyable, but was also harder than running on pavement.

I guess I never finished the opening thought.  Running takes so much time that I really only have time at night to write my post.  I really don’t have time to read other blogs or twitter much anymore.  Even emails go unread for days sometimes.  Right now my life consists of working, running and family.  I say this to say thank you to all you bloggers who read my blog each day and those who comment and like my posts.  Please don’t take it the wrong way that I haven’t been on yours for a while.  I do read them when I can, but until September 8th, it may not be often.  I appreciate the effort it takes to blog and one day I will catch up on my reading, but for now…

I run.

Running in the heat… A blessing and not a curse

Hot and tired.  That seems to be the theme of my runs this Spring (not even summer yet).

Yesterday was National Running Day ( and even though I was going to run anyway, it was pretty cool to be a part of something bigger than just my neighborhood :).

I went out after work and got some pickles.  Pickle juice is supposed to be good for the heat because of the sodium and other ingredients including vinegar.  TJ sent me an article that says that you only need to consume 2 oz of pickle juice before a run to keep the cramps away. So I figured I’d give it a try.

I didn’t cramp.  But the run was still hard.  I ran my 7 miles and then sat outside with the Dog and TJ and soaked my foot in ice water and drank my Gatorade.

I really want to figure out the “key” to running in the heat.  I run, but it isn’t fun at all.  Most of yesterday I was hoping for the storms to come so I could cut my run short.  Not because I couldn’t do it, but I didn’t want to do it.  Just being real.  If it weren’t for the Lehigh Valley Marathon in 14 weeks, I wouldn’t be running this much right now.  But the marathon cometh and I have to run whether I want to or not.

One benefit to running in the heat is my metabolism has seemed to kick in again.  I have been hovering around 182 for several months now, but for the past three days I have steadily been losing weight.  Of course everyone is probably thinking it is water weight, but I drink a gallon of water a day and eat salty pickles and I am still losing weight.  As of this morning I weighed 178.9 which is 2 oz short of my best weight.  So, wether it is water weight or just my body grabbing what it can for me to keep running, I’ll take what I can get. To be honest, I would really like to be in the 160’s by the marathon.  I don’t think I can get there without dieting and it is hard to diet and run, let alone diet and train for a marathon.  So, perhaps the hot weather is a blessing and not a curse.  Time will tell.

Today I will try for my 9 mile run I have to run this week.  If I can get that out of the way, then the rest of the week I can coast on my 7 mile runs until my 13 mile run on Sunday.

Happy National Running Day – one day late!!!