30 mile run weekend. Where did that come from?

I needed 20 miles yesterday.

The Lehigh Valley Marathon is in 3 weeks.  I hadn’t run over 17 consecutive miles in one run.  My awesome fellow bloggers and my family keep telling me that I have the base and will do fine in the marathon – But I needed 20 strong miles… for me!

I got them!!!

Here is the breakdown:

  • 20:02 miles
  • 8:53 pace
  • 1659 elevation climb
  • 1 excited runner

I ran at the same park my friend Neill and I ran 10 miles the day before.  It was raining and in the 70’s  when I started at 6:30 AM.  I ran a 5 mile stretch of road that allowed me to hit the “zone” and be back at my car for a gel and gatorade.  I took some advice from comments on this blog last week and muted my iPhone.  No coaching from my app.  No mileage.  I just ran the way I wanted to run.

Other than the fact never walked, I am encouraged that I finished strong (last mile was an 8:35 pace) and my elevation climb was almost 3 times my previous high.

So I now look toward Lehigh Valley Marathon with a bit of excitement rather than dread.  I wonder after yesterday, might it be possible for me to qualify for Boston at this marathon?  I had let that thought go a couple of months ago as the heat of the summer set in.  Now, maybe…

Finally, THANK YOU.  Outside of my family, this blog and you who choose to read it each day is what keeps me going in this journey.  I am so glad I started it 8 months ago.  Your comments, suggestions and encouragment means so much to me, you will never understand.

3 weeks to go.  It isn’t over yet.  But I am looking forward to my race for the first time.

The ups and downs of running this week

It has been a very strange mileage week for me…

Here is a basic look:

  • Monday – OFF
  • Tuesday – 2 miles
  • Wednesday – 9.5 miles
  • Thursday – 4 miles
  • Friday – 3 miles
  • Saturday 10 miles

I have never had a non long run over 8 miles and I had two this week close to 10.  I felt great about those days.  The other days… Ugh.

  • Tuesday we had storms and I had to stop.
  • Thursday I did steady state workout but had to stop because of a muscle cramp.
  • Friday I felt horrible.  I didn’t get to run until nearly 5:00 PM and was exhausted before I started and hungry.  Not a good combination.

Yesterday I had what I would call a much needed run.  I met Neill at the park and we ran.  We ran at a slower pace which I really needed.  The weather was perfect around 70 degrees.  We just ran and talked.  The whole run was just easy and fun.  Finally we ran our last couple miles.   Neill was going to stop at 9 miles total, but as we hit 8.5 he decided to keep going!  We got to 9 and began our run back to the cars and he picked up the pace.  We did that last mile near a 9:00 pace!! He really ran well and I really enjoyed it.

I needed that run.

So, today I am heading back to the park and going to run my long run.  I was all messed up on training for the next couple of weeks.  This week is my last 18 – 20 mile long run.  Next week will be about a 16 mile run and then a 12 mile run a week before the marathon.  I don’t know what I was thinking when I said that today was my last long run.  I guess it was wishful thinking.

I will say that after yesterday I am not dreading today.  In fact, other than the rain outside, I am looking forward to it.

I had better get going.  I really want to be in the park and running by 6:30.

Hangin’ with The Dog and then Runnin’ with Neill

Sitting here before dawn about to go to breakfast with TJ and then meet Neill  (@BigBigGeekBigBigGeek.wordpress.com) at the State Park and run 9 miles.  Should be a lot of fun.

When I first started running with Neill, 5 miles was his longest run and 11:00 pace was pretty fast for him.  Now he is below 10:00 and running a 9 mile long day.  He has a Half Marathon in September two weeks after my Marathon.  It is so much fun watching someone really push forward and, as my friend RunningToHerDreams would say, “run like a boss”.

"The Dog" waiting for me to throw "The Stick".

“The Dog” waiting for me to throw “The Stick”.

So I sit here with “The Dog” and wait for the sun to rise to start my day.  I must post a picture (my Lovely Wife insists on it 🙂 ) each week.  This one was actually from yesterday after my (not so good) run while throwing “The Dog” “The Stick” in the back yard.  The stick is in the upper left corner of the picture.  She is so intent on that stick… Sort of like me at the start of a 5K (ha!).

Have a great weekend and, as my Lovely Wife says to me everyday before I leave for my run:

“Run fast, don’t get hurt, have a good run”.

Tomorrow – the last long run day before my marathon…

Aches and pains and the coming taper

I don’t have a body made for running.  I realize this and I wonder sometimes how I do what I do.

I was born with hips that turned inward.  They turned in so much that I had corrective shoes and a bar to hold my hips outward.  To this day if I’m tired my feet turn inward when I walk.

Most days that I run I am in pain.  It got better after my rest weeks following my half marathon, but as I built up mileage for my upcoming marathon the aches and pains returned.  I know, I am 50 after all and I have only been running for 17 months, but I face the fact daily that moderate pain is something I have to deal with.  At least it is pain I voluntarily inflict on myself, unlike so many people who are in pain that they have no control over.

I say all that to say this.  I HATE WORKOUTS.  I am not one of those runners who run a tempo, steady state, or hill workout and think, “wow, that was fantastic.”  Maybe no one likes workouts, but they hurt me physically.

I have used the heat of the summer to avoid workouts before this marathon.  I know, not a good idea.  Well the weatherman laughed in my face this week as the temperatures in the mid afternoon have been in the high 70’s.  Okay.  My excuses are now gone.  I know what I have to do.  Hmmm…

So yesterday I did a steady state run.  I warmed up one mile and then went into my run.  I probably should have warmed up two miles, but I didn’t.  It didn’t go badly.  I got 3 miles under my belt and only had some slight pain in my inner thigh.  My achilles has been acting up also.

So after the 3 miles under 8:00 pace I stopped for a break.  I went inside my house and drank some water and used the bathroom and went back out.  More pain in my inner thigh.  It was to the point that I could have pushed myself, but what if I really pulled something that would affect my upcoming race; so I stopped.

I know tapering is called one of the hardest parts of training for a marathon, but I’m looking forward to it.  I run so much better after an off day.  I assume tapering will help also.  Tomorrow is 3 weeks until the marathon and so I really only have another week or so of pushing it.

Today, hill workouts.  Tomorrow, running with Neill (@BigBigGeek, BigBigGeek.wordpress.com) and Sunday my long day.  I probably won’t have much time to write this weekend, but I will try to “Hang with the dog” at least one day.  🙂

Have a wonderful (pain free) weekend!!!


My iPhone is hurting my running

Okay, what am I talking about.

Really it is me, not my iPhone.

I think too much!  My mind is constantly thinking, analyzing and running and just doesn’t stop.  This is something I didn’t realize until I started running, especially my long runs.

As I run, I am constantly thinking.  It didn’t used to be that bad.  But lately I think about EVERYTHING regarding my run.

  • Where am I going?
  • How far will I be running?
  • How am I feeling?
  • Am I running too fast?
  • Am I running too slow?

Yesterday I tried an experiment.  I’ve talked about this before on my blog some, but I wanted to really put this into practice.  I really wanted miles yesterday.  I took off Monday. Tuesday I ran 2 miles.  Yes, 2 miles.  Tons of things got in the way of my run.  I finally got out and started way too fast.  Then as I was at the 1 mile mark, I got a warning that serious storms were coming.  So I stopped and just couldn’t get started again.

So, yesterday it was important to me to not only do my run, but try to make up for some of Tuesday’s miles.  I left my house and began to run.  I thought about how I was feeling, would I be able to run further, was I starting out too fast, etc.

Finally I just stopped thinking and began running.  I started looking at the trees, grass, houses.  I ran at what ever pace I felt good.  I ignored my pace, I ignored how far I went, I ignored everything.

I ran.

It was great.  I ended up running over 9 miles.  The most weekday miles in one run ever.  At mile seven I started getting thirsty, but I kept going.  It was cooler, which really helped.

It was awesome.

Okay, how does my iPhone hurt my running?  I didn’t start my constant thinking until I got my iPhone.  I notice that I am always looking at it.  I pull it out at stop lights.  I look at it during meetings.  I am constantly distracted by it.  My mind never stops.  It doesn’t even stop at night.  I wake up in the middle of the night and my mind is reeling.  Moving at the speed of light.

So I am going to try to ween myself from my phone.  I need it, but I am going to try to no look at it as much.  I am going to try to stop the distractions, the bombardment of all that is happening in virtual world.

Funny, but I would not have put two and two together without my need to be able to run far.  To be able to get into the zone.  To be able to not think.  I never thought I would say that I don’t want to think.

I need a break from my mind.  I am starting with my iPhone.

WordPress Family Award

THANK YOU to one of my favorite bloggers, RunningToHerDreams for nominating me for this award.  I am honored and am very grateful,  Honestly, if you can, visit her blog often.  There are few people in this world who can go through the wringer and still see the value in the lessons of life.  Her blog is positive and yet real to life.

I enjoy awards, but hate the part of nominating others.  I know that sounds selfish and it probably is, but the reason is that there are so many great blogs out there and nominating 10 specifically is very hard for me to do.

So, here I go.  Check these peoples blogs out.  They have worked hard and deserve some recognition.  Also remember go by and to say hi to RunningToHerDreams!  You’ll be glad you did!

  1. BigBig Geek’s Blog
  3. CRISTI RAE (New blog I follow)
  4. THE HUNGRY NURSE (New blog I follow)
  5. EARLY TO RISE RUNNER (New blog I follow)
  6. Paul Smuts (New blog I follow)
  7. mimi’s getting fit
  9. Gaining Pace

Life is crazy at the moment, so forgive me you all if I don’t get around to letting you know about this nomination, but I enjoy your blogs and if you want to accept, that would be awesome.

Tomorrow… More running!


Running has taught me a lot about life.

I was getting ready to head out for my long run Sunday and not looking forward to it.  It was 5:15 and I was getting my water and GU together to put in my mailbox for my refill on my 4 mile loop.

I looked at twitter and saw something that stuck with me the entire run.  At the time, I read it and moved on.  I thought it was insightful, but I didn’t retweet or favor it.  I wish I had.  I looked again and couldn’t find it.

So here is the gist of that tweet that I pondered during my run and that helped me go 20 miles:

You’ve gotten this far
You’ve suffered this long
Don’t quit
Finish the course

As I said, I passed over this tweet, but I still cannot let it go.  Funny how things like this stick in your head and you don’t realize the implications until you are in that situation and it pops up before your eyes!

My run on Sunday was the most difficult physical experience of my life.  I am not athletic.  I wanted to quit.  I wanted to give up.

  • At mile 10 I was thinking, “Maybe I should just tell TJ that I am going to run the marathon and then at the last minute not run it so that he will enjoy the race and I wont spoil it for him.”
  • At mile 12 I thought, “If I feel this way after 12 miles, how can I do 26 in 4 weeks.”
  • At mile 16 I thought, “I got this far, I have to do 20.”
  • At mile 18 I thought, “I don’t care if I have to crawl, I WILL MAKE 20 MILES!”
  • At mile 20, walking in the early morning heat, exhausted, literally soaked from my hat to my shoes, I wanted to cry.

I made it.  Never in my life did I think I would one day make my body travel 20 miles on foot.  It wasn’t pretty.  I walked the last two miles, but I made it.

I want to end this post the way I started it.  Running has taught me a lot about life.  Life isn’t easy.  In fact, many days (before I started running) I lived my life at mile 12…  “Maybe I should quit.”  “This is too hard.”  “How am I going to get through the day?”

Now, I live my life at mile 18, “If I have to, I will crawl though this life to finish this race!”

Lesson learned.  By the grace of God I will run this race, I will finish 26 miles, I will run or crawl, but I will finish.

Obviously that last sentence has a duel meaning to me now.

Running has taught me a lot about life.

20 mile run – The good, bad and ugly

The Good

I did it!  20 miles.

Last summer I was amazed to to 6-8 miles and yesterday I made 20.  That is a milestone that I had to reach yesterday for my own knowledge that I could make those miles.

I got out before dawn to try to beat the heat.  I’ll be glad when training is over and I can actually sleep in past 4:00 on the weekends.  🙂

I don’t know if it was my body or my GPS, but my pace was way down.  Saturday I ran 6 miles at 8:35 pace and yesterday, early on in my run, it was hard to get below  a 10 minute pace.  I have been told not to worry about pace on my long runs, but psychologically it was confusing.  I decided to let it go and just run.  I ran 4 mile loops and drank water and ate GU at the end of each loop.

The Bad

I’m trying to figure out what exactly happened, but I really hit a wall at 16 miles.  Last week I ran 17 miles pretty strong and the last mile was close to a 9:00 pace.  Yesterday I ran 16 miles okay.  I ended up running/walking miles 17 – 18 and just walking the last two.  I really don’t know what the difference was yesterday from a week ago.  In fact, I started earlier, so it wasn’t hot and I kept to a 4 mile loop which should have helped.

When I finished, my shoes and clothes were soaked.  My feet were pruned and had some blisters.  I did mess up in one area.  I started with a new pair of Saucony Fastwitch shoes last week and put them on for my run yesterday.  So I ran 20 miles in shoes that only had 11 total miles on them.  That could have been an issue.

I wonder, if I can barely get to 20 miles and my marathon is 4 weeks away, do I even have a chance?  Boston qualification is not in my mind at this point.  My goal is to finish my first marathon.  If I can do that, I’ll be ecstatic.  Boston will have to wait for another day.  Sort of sad.

The Ugly

Me after a 20 mile run.  🙂

Post run – Hangin’ with The Dog

My Lovely Wife wanted me to post my “Hangin’ with The Dog” picture since I didn’t post one this morning.  Of course it was 4:15 AM and I was trying to get psyched for my run.   She requested I ask forgiveness for the kids game console mess!!!

I had a good run – More tomorrow!

The Dog

The Dog

Quick post before my long run

It’s 4:15 AM and I’m up getting myself going so I that I can be out before the heat today.  I have a (hopefully) 18-20 mile run to do today.  If everything goes well, I’ll be done by 9:00.  The forecast is for it to be under 80 until 10:00, so it shouldn’t be bad.  Although it is hard to get up at 4:00 on my day off…  Only 4 weeks left.

Strange, my hip hurts quite a bit this morning.  Hopefully as I move it will loosen up!

That is about it for today.  I need to get going and get my mind set for my run.  4 mile loops.  Hopefully 5 of them.

Until tomorrow…


Summer is hot.

Okay, not the most astute comment I’ve ever made on this blog…

Yesterday was rough.  I really am tired of running in the heat and I didn’t want to go out.  Fortunately it was a bit cooler and it began sprinkling as I was running.  When it started raining, it got very humid and hard to breath and then it cooled off.  I never thought mid 80s would be considered cool, but it was nice.

Half Marathon Mama expounded on “The Voice” post I wrote on Monday.  It is so helpful knowing that others suffer with negative thoughts and how they overcome those thoughts.

This summer has brought out the negative side of me.  I think it is training for a marathon in the August heat of the South.  Also the fact I have to run in the afternoon at the hottest time of the day.


No, it isn’t about football, it is about determination!  It is about getting through the summer.  It is about doing more than people think or expect you can do.  Watch it before your next run, before your next workout, before you set out the door!

We all need motivation at times.  We all need to remove the negative thoughts and voices from our heads.


Just do it!