A run for the dogs

Yesterday’s run was… Different!

Okay it was 95 degrees and 104 heat index.  It felt hotter than that.  Also I had worked all day and had my Chiropractor yank on my leg and my hip for a while.  I decided to take it slow and not even worry about mileage.  Just see how it goes.

It didn’t go well.  I was sore, tired and hot.  Also I only drank 32 oz of water (but the day before I drank 180 oz).

A new friend

A new friend

As I ran, I debated giving up after 2 miles.  I don’t want to run a hard run and take a chance of getting hurt this close to my marathon.  But I decided to run at least 2 more miles.  Storms were on the horizon, but seemed far enough away to make a go of it.

Then I saw a dog running in the roadway ahead of me.  A car was coming down the road and fortunately saw the dog and almost came to a stop as the dog ran in and our of the road carefree.  I called to it as I ran by to get him out of the street and he moved out of the way of the car and I kept running.

Then I heard a voice of someone behind me saying, “You’ve got a friend with you”.  I looked back and the dog was running right behind me.  He ran up to me and just kept with me.  He ran beside me, ahead of me, behind me, in and out in the street, but was always near me.

At one point we came up on some children with their puppy playing in their yard.  The dog running with me ignored their dog, but their dog ran after “my” dog and the kids (age 7ish) ran after both.  Then “my” dog started chasing their dog.  They screamed and panicked at this point.  So I tried to distract the dog running with me and that didn’t work. Finally I called to him and got him to come to me and I held its collar for a few seconds while the kids scooped up their dog and ran into the house.

And away we went!

Up hills, down hills and throughout the neighborhood we ran together.  I had to point him out to a few more cars and he kept right up with me,photo 1 in the heat, for 2 miles.

Finally we went past a house with people outside.  He ran to them and they called to him.  I never saw him again.  I can only assume he was theirs.  He was a bit mangy and dirty though; like he had been outside on his own for a while.

Then I ran home and threw the stick with “The Dog” outside.

Isn’t it funny how you can have a difficult run in a thousand degree heat and a stray dog can make it a fun run!

Going out to run 11 miles with @BigBigGeek.  My last “long” run before the marathon.  It is 78 degrees at 5:15 AM.  Should be fun!!!

Running and help for my aching body!

I actually ran yesterday!  I am so thankful I chose to take Wednesday off (see yesterday’s post).  As I waffled in indecision, my Lovely Wife stepped in and helped me to finally decide not to run.  She is always supportive and wise.  I should listen to her more often!

Yesterday was a good run overall.  I got in my 5 miles in 95 degree index temperature.  It seemed hotter than that to me.

The run went well.  My hip and achilles started out hurting quite a bit, but after a mile or so of warm up they loosened and then no problem.  My first mile was at 9:46 and my last was at 8:23 so as I got loose, I got faster.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, I am not using my phone to tell me my pace.  In fact yesterday I didn’t even look at it.  I just ran what I wanted to run and it worked out.  I ended up with an 8:56 overall pace.  Not bad in the summer heat.

A coworker and fellow runner gave me a massage ball to try using on my hips and back.  It is about the size of a tennis ball but harder.  I gave it a try last night before bed as we watched some TV.  I just put it between the bed and my hip and put pressure where the pain was.  I moved it some and also put it between the bed and my calf muscle some.  This morning I am moving better than most mornings.  I think this might have really helped, but I can’t tell for sure until I try it for a few days.

I have a foam roller but don’t use it much.  This ball was convenient and easy to use.  I could pinpoint my pain and just let it sit in place for a while. It is called a Trigger Point Massage Ball.  He purchased it in a local running store for about $20.  I assume a tennis ball would also work, but this was much denser and was easy to dig into my hip even on the bed.  Time will tell.

A week from today we leave for the marathon.  Wow, it will be here before we know it.

An amazing run that never happened

Listen to your body…

How many times have I heard that over the past few weeks!

Yesterday I was at my Chiropractor and I was glad to be there.  The track run the day before was horrendous on my body.  My good hip hurt so much that it was hard to walk.  I got up in the middle of the night and limped to the bathroom.  Work wasn’t much better.

After my last few blog posts there seemed to be a theme from the comments and that theme was, “Listen to your body”.

As I was waiting for the Chiropractor to come into the room, I had made up my mind I was going to run after the appointment.  Yes I had been in pain and I was tired, but it was to be an easy run and only 5 miles.  I could do this… But in the back of my mind were the “what ifs”.  What if I run and my hip gets worse?  What if I hurt myself and can’t run the marathon?  All those miles and all the pain would be for nothing.  Then came the other “what ifs”.  What if I don’t run and that would have been “the” best run?  What if I don’t run and in some small way it affects my marathon?  It is only 5 miles after all, I can do that much.  Finally, if I ran all my planned  runs this week I’d be at a 200 mile month which I’ve gotten close to before, but never actually achieved.  “I can’t give that up”, I thought to myself.

The doctor came in.  He adjusted me and asked about my running.  He said I was really stiff and spent extra time trying to loosen me up.  Finally he asked if I was going to run after my appointment.  I told him I was waffling back and forth as to whether I should run or take a day off to recover.

His response…

“Listen to your body”.

Alright, I might be a little obsessive about my running.  I need to be.  If I weren’t I would have stopped long ago.  But eventually hearing all of your comments on this blog and his response got to me.  I knew I had to take the day off.  Sometimes things are said in such a way, and so many times, that I know it is wisdom and not just a coincidence.  This was one of those times.

So I went home.  I got in bed.  I read your blogs.  I rested with heat on my back and hips.  I slept.  I got up this morning and felt great.  I’m still a bit sore and it was hard when I first got out of bed, but I almost beat “The Dog” down the stairs for the first time in weeks.

So yesterday was an amazing run.  I ran it in my head and not on the streets.  It may have been the difference between a good marathon and a great one for me.  It might not make much of a difference.  Either way, I’m glad I didn’t run.

Ten years from now when I am reading blogs and posting comments to help new marathoners, my advice will be:

Hi IrunBecauseIwantTo (made up blog name).
Years ago I was preparing for my first marathon.  I had trained a lot and had a rough couple of weeks toward the end of my training.  I got some of the best advice from fellow runners that I had received in my year and a half of running.  They told me over and over, “Listen to your body”.  Finally I listened.  My marathon was awesome and I can look back and see it was that advice that made all the difference.  So I leave you with the same advice.  Listen to your body and have a great marathon!!!

Yesterday’s split run

Yesterday was a strange run.  I ran in the afternoon and it was pretty hot.  I realized that for the past 4 days I’ve run in the morning (except for Monday which was my off day).  Since I needed to try and run a tempo run, I decided to try a public track and see how I would do with something flat.

This track is really nice and has a “rubbery” surface (I don’t run track so I don’t know what it is called).  Unfortunately, it really hurt my hip.  I guess the feedback from the track must have messed with me.  I ran one mile at 9:00 pace and a second at 7:35.  Then I had to stop.  I felt disheartened and headed to my car and drove home.

By the time I got home, I thought I would just try to get the mileage in so that I would have my 5 miles for the day.  So I went out slowly as to not aggravate my hip further.  I ended up running 3 miles at 9:25, 9:01 and 7:57.

So it wasn’t even close to a tempo run.  In fact, I would just call it a strange run (oh yeah, I already did).

As I ran I kept thinking to myself, “Don’t over do it.  You have a race in 10 days.  Listen to your body”.

Today I go back to the Chiropractor after work and then run an easy run.  Tomorrow I’ll probably run the bike path near work again.

I admit I’m sore and tired.  I’m close to a record month, but don’t want to overdue it before my marathon.  To be honest, I would probably just run about 20 miles this week and 10 next if it were up to me.   I may take off an extra day this week just to recover a bit.  Next week I start my vacation Wednesday, leave for PA on Friday and run the race Sunday.  Right now the weather is supposed to be in the 50’s when the race starts with a high in the 80’s for the day.

Marathon tapering comments from other bloggers

I am getting ready for the Lehigh Valley Marathon on September 8, 2013 (I put the year in there for posterity sake). BTW, also the day of my mom’s 85th birthday!!!

My blog post on tapering created a great list of comments that I thought would be helpful, in and of itself, as its own post. So I am posting those comments with links to the sites of those who commented for everyone to read.

I really appreciate those who take time to help and encourage me in my quest. Even if you couldn’t comment on this post, know that I appreciate you and don’t take your reading my blog for granted.

Get Going, Get Running!


Most marathon schedules would have a two or three week taper. As a weekly 50miler you shouldn’t need 3 weeks. Perhaps try to do 30 miles this week and about 15 miles next week, with 2 rest days before the marathon, with a 1 mile run on the day before to keep loose, with another 1 mile before the marathon to warm up and get your head right. All the best for your race!

Fluency’s Folly


First, congrats on the progress in your health and running! So great! Next, I love what Jay Johson, Jack Daniels, and the Hansons say about tapering, which basically boils down to a few things. 1) think about it not as “tapering” but as “peaking”…that is, you’re looking for that balance between getting a full recovery without loosing any of the physiological adaptations you’ve worked so hard for. Essential you want to cash in on as much of your fitness as possible 2) The 14-21 days taper concept is designed for elites who are training up to 12hrs per week or more and 100 miles per week or more, not us age-groupers, and three 3) don’t forget the mental preparation

From the studying I’ve been doing, talking to lots of experienced runners, and some self-experimentation, it looks like a safe combo for you would be something like a moderate decrease in mileage 2 weeks out (say from 50mi to 35-40mi) with your last hard workout/run (e.g. repeats, tempo etc) 10 days out from race day (that’s how long 100% recovery/physiological adaptation takes), and long run with some strides thrown in there (12mi?), then the last week 3-4 runs between 3 and 8 miles, again with some strides here and there to keep your turnover practiced, totally something like 20-25 miles for the week by the time you get to the start of your race.

The day before, I usually like to run an easy 3 miles, but you could get the same benefit more or less doing some leg swings and light dynamic stretched when you take pit-stops during your car journey…you’ll want to protect your back and hips nice from getting tight from all that driving.

And finally, visualize. Prepare your mind and expectations.

So, that’s the longest comment I’ve ever left, I hope there is something in here that will be helpful! Clearly, I’ve been thinking about this stuff a lot this year! And, I’ve got a marathon in 8 days! Gah!

Best of luck!


(no link to site)

I’ve found that keeping legs fresh while tapering is strangely hard – so while I cut back on my miles, I’ll end several runs each week with strides/accelerations – I’ll do 4-6 that are between 50-100 meters long. These are not a sprint – rather a build up to a tolerable fast pace (thus the name “acceleration”!!)
And congrats to you and your wife on the massive changes to your health/life!!!!



Have to be honest – I SUCK at tapering. Mainly because I can’t taper my appetite to save my life so I keep running to keep the weight off. With that being said, since your body is feeling fatigued already, I would cut your miles down to 30 this week. And the next week I would run Monday and Wednesday – no more than 6 miles. When you get to your destination on Friday, go run 2-3 miles just to loosen your legs up. Saturday, I would probably do another 2-3 miles very EASY.
The key is this – at this point, you aren’t improving your fitness level. You are trying to rest your body and get your head on straight, while reminding your muscles of the job they have to do. Do what feels right for you – if you are fatigued, dial it back. If something hurts, stretch and take an off day. Now’s the time to begin fueling your body with good food choices and lots of water. And try to squeeze in some extra sleep (something else that is darn near impossible for me).
You can do this! Just think of that cooler weather you will be heading to!

sf road warrior


At some point someone I trusted suggested 80%-60%-40% (of peak mileage) for the last three weeks before the race, so that’s pretty much what I’ve always done & it’s worked fine enough for me. But I also think it’s way, WAY smarter to err on the side of tapering too much rather than too little — when I’ve had particularly sore or heavy legs during taper or something was hurting, I would take extra rest days without a second thought (since fresher legs are always better, & at this point missing one or two shorter runs is pretty much guaranteed not to affect your race).

I’m Going Slightly Mad


I’m sure it’s different for a full marathon vs a half marathon, but I did 48 miles this week and for my last two weeks of tapering, I’m supposed to do between 30-33 miles each week. (This week, my third to last, is about 36 miles to run). You may need to recover more for the much longer race.

My altered running plan

I’m walking slowly today.

I’m sore from my weekend runs and I’m also glad that I am beginning my taper this week.

I started thinking (worrying) about my weekday runs this week.  I am only averaging between 5 – 6 miles a day during the week. I hear from others that they run 8 – 10 miles a day and I started freaking.  Finally I brought myself back to reality.  I just don’t have the time or ability to run more than 5 -6 miles a day during the week.  I get up around 4:00 AM and most days can’t begin my run until after 4:00 PM.  By then I am tired and it is usually about a million degrees outside (okay, that is an exaggeration).

So without really thinking about it, I’ve created my own running plan.  I run about 20 miles during the week and 30 on the weekend.  I think this will work for me and even if it doesn’t, I have no choice.

So this weekend I got to run Saturday with Neill (and a little by myself) for a total of 13 miles.  Then Sunday I ran by myself for another 15 miles.  So for my 50 mile week, I ran 22 during the week and 28 on Saturday and Sunday.  Hopefully the longer mileage weekend will benefit me during my marathon in 2 weeks.

I plan on running about 35 miles this week as my taper begins.  I hope to run 25 during the week and on Sunday and if Neill is running a long run again this Saturday, 10 miles with him.

All in all I don’t think I could have worked much harder to prepare for this marathon.  I hope to never run a marathon in September again as it is way to hard to prepare in the heat of the South, especially since I have to run in the afternoon.  I really think TJ and I are ready for the race and I look forward to finishing it… hopefully in 3:29:00.  🙂

Hangin’ with the dog before my long run…

Great run yesterday with Neill (@BigBigGeek, bigbiggeek.wordpress.com).  We got to run the same route as last Saturday, but I was a bit early, so I ran 3 miles ahead of his arrival.  So all in all I made 13 miles on Saturday and had great conversation and company.

Today is my long run, but I am not going for 20 miles since I am 2 weeks away from my marathon and I did 13 yesterday.  I am going to try for 15.  I am sore, but I had a great night sleep so that will help.

For some reason I’ve noticed that I am usually in a bad mood during the day after my long run.  I don’t know why other than maybe I’m tired?

photoHere is my Hangin’ with the Dog pic for this week.  I cheated and took it yesterday (but I am hangin’ with her this morning).  I think it is funny how she likes to “sit” on the stairs.

Have a great Sunday and thank you everyone who gave insight into tapering yesterday.  It was great help.  I will post my ending thoughts and tapering plan sometime this week.

How much do I taper for my marathon in 2 weeks?

Yesterday I had a much needed day off.  I took a vacation day from work and slept until 7:30.  Of course today I’m back up at 3:45 AM, but I am feeling more awake and less run down.

This leads me into a question I’ve been dealing with and if you marathon runners would like to help, I’d appreciate it.


I know tapering is a difficult thing.  My question is, how much and when.  I am 50 years old and have been running since March 2012.  I’m averaging 50 miles a week.  I want to run this marathon as well as I can and don’t want to under or over taper.  My marathon is 2 weeks from tomorrow.  Also I am physically tired from the workouts and long runs (as I assume everyone is at the time in training).  My hip is still bothering me and my right achilles isn’t doing that great.

So any ideas on tapering for an old guy?  🙂

On to a few other things since I missed my post yesterday.

I went to pick up some vitamins from the doctor that helped my Lovely Wife and me lose close to 100 lbs each.  I hadn’t seen his receptionist in a couple months and I was in my running clothes as I wanted to run a bike path near work.  As I walked in and she saw me, her first comment was, “You are virtually unrecognizable”.  The weight loss and the running seems to have made a big difference.  It made me feel good.

Also, I had a great run on the bike path.  I ran 5 miles, 4 of which were under a 7:45 pace.

That is about it.  I’ve got to get ready to meet Neill (@BigBigGeek) at the state park to run with him on his long run.  Last week it was so nice to run and talk.  I’m looking forward to doing this again.

2 weeks from tomorrow is the Lehigh Valley Marathon.  I can’t wait!!!

Run around life

Yesterday was pretty much an insane day.  Here is how it went…

  1. 1:30 AM Get up
  2. 3:30 AM Dr. Appt.  (Yes that is correct)
  3. 4:45 AM Pick up daughter and take to work
  4. 5:20 AM Arrive at my work
  5. 1:30 PM Leave work
  6. 2:00 PM Find out upstairs heat pump isn’t working
  7. 2:10 PM Take Lovely Wife to our Chiropractor Appt.
  8. 4:00 PM Arrive home and work on getting air conditioning back on
  9. 4:30 PM Run 6 miles
  10. 5:30 PM Finish run
  11. 7:30 PM Get in bed for the evening
  12. 8:30 PM Sleep

Wow, I look at that and wonder how I got through the day.  I almost gave up my run.  I was tired and still sore from workouts and the weekend runs, but I thought that I really don’t have many more runs before tapering and I hate to miss one this late in the game, so I decided to run.  I told my Lovely Wife that I was worried that being tired I might get hurt and she made me promise to run SLOWLY.

So that was my day.  Today I’m still worn out and have a steady state run this afternoon.  I am going to try something different in my quest to run somewhere other than my neighborhood.  I am going to run a bike path near work that is about 2.5 miles long.  It is much flatter than my neighborhood and somewhere different to run.

Just over 2 weeks to go before the marathon.

Have a great day and if your not training for a marathon, get some rest.  🙂

Running Super Juice

Fresh from my confidence building weekend, I actually ran a hill workout yesterday.

I haven’t run a specific hill workout since the half marathon we ran in February. I have run “improvised” hill runs just during my regular runs.

I guess I have some hope of not only trying to finish but also getting into the 3:30 finish for my marathon. Thus it makes it easier to suffer the pain of a workout rather than just trying to rack up the mileage.

Beet Root Juice

Beet Root Juice

One thing I have been doing that I think really helps is drinking beet root juice. I read about this a month or so ago and so I set out to try some. Publix has it in stock in their juice section. It comes in a 500 ml bottle and so I just drink a whole bottle down at one time. The taste isn’t bad. It tastes sweet, but has a beet aftertaste (I wonder why).

I realize psychology has a lot to do with performance in running, so I have given it some time before I wrote anything. I have some 3 out of 4 weeks (about 2 bottles a week) and here are the results:

  • Week 1 – Drank beet juice – Ran a 5K in 22:08 and then the next day ran 17 miles at a 9:15 pace.
  • Week 2 – Didn’t drink beet juice – Ran 16 miles in 9:30 – crashed – jogged/walked 2 miles – walked 2 miles.
  • Week 3 – Drank beet juice – Ran 10 miles on Saturday and 20 on Sunday (Sunday’s pace was 8:53).

Of course these are my own observations and correlations, but I do feel a difference with the juice.

Yesterday I was dragging. I didn’t recover properly from my run on Sunday. I came home from that run and eat popcorn and oatmeal cream cookies. I paid for that indiscretion. Mentally and emotionally I was a mess after my run and into yesterday. I was grumpy and in a fog. I decided to go out and get some beet juice as it also has a kick after I first drink it. It did help, but I was still dragging. By the time I got home though, I got out to run in 95 degree real feel temperature and had a great workout. 10 repeats up the hill and 6 miles overall.

The beet juice has nitrates that help with performance. But for me, it seems to stop “The Voice” that tells me to stop. I didn’t hear that voice at all on Sunday and I didn’t hear it yesterday either. I was tired and thirsty after my repeats and my running slowed down, but I could have gone further if I had some gatorade available. As it was, I thought it better not to overdue it and take a chance of getting hurt.

So that is my “unsolicited review” of beet root juice. I write from experience and I have no health degree, so take it for what it is worth. As for me, I’ll be drinking beet juice at least for the next 2.5 weeks. 🙂

Everyday running is a new day!

Everyday running is a new day!  

That is the great thing about running.  You can have the worse day running of your week, month, year and then go out one day and suddenly you have a PR.

Friday I had probably the worse day running in months.  No storms.  No heat.  Lower humidity.  But I got up at 3:30 AM, worked until 2:00, went to the Chiropractor and by the time I went out to run, it was almost 5:00 PM.  I was tired, hungry and not in the mood for a run.  I ran 3.33 miles and stopped.  I was disheartened and depressed about my upcoming marathon.  Then Saturday I ran 10 miles and Sunday I ran 20 miles.  Bam!  I was back!!!

Everyday running is a new day!  

That is the hard thing about running.  You can set PRs, you can run almost 5 hours in 2 days.  You put your blood, sweat and tears into your workouts and go to bed proud, excited and content.  Then you wake up and it is a new day.  Of course you have your base, but today… you start all over again.

I confess that I am tired.  I have been training for the Lehigh Valley Marathon for months.  I haven’t slept past 5:00 AM in over a month, in fact most days I get up at 4:00 AM.  All I seem to do is wake up, go to work, do errands, go to doctors and then run.  On the weekend, it is different.  I wake up, run, do errands and go to bed.  Now that is a nice change of pace.  🙂

Everyday running is a new day!  

Today is a new day.  The weather is still moderate, not as nice as last week, but not HOT.  I have new confidence after my fantastic weekend of running.  Yes, I’m tired, but that will end in less than 3 weeks.   I have a very supportive family.  They know I’m tired and they really try to help.  My Lovely Wife has been awesome to me and understands what I am going through.  I’m very fortunate.  I have good kids, a blog I love writing and “a hope and a future”.

In the end, I’m glad that…

Everyday running is a new day!