A good run on a bad day

Have you ever had one of “those days”?

Yesterday was one of “those days” for me.  No issue with anyone in particular.  My work went well and my family was well, but I felt lousy. Angry. Bugged. Unhappy.  Really there was no reason for my mood.  I guess it was just a Monday.

So what could I do? I got home from work and ran as hard as I could. Well not as hard as I could, but hard.

My first mile is usually a warmup mile and not very fast, but yesterday it was run at 8:01 and half of that was up hill (of course the other half was down hill 🙂 ).

photoSunday and yesterday was the first time since March that had two consecutive days under an 8:15 pace per mile.  It really did feel good.  I pushed my run hard for the first two miles making the second mile at a 7:34 pace.  The third mile was slower and I was tired.  However, I was able to keep my pace at 8:46 and the fourth mile at 8:29.  Finally the last small part of my run (about a tenth of a mile) I sprinted at my 5K pace of 7:12.

This is what was so hard about last week.  I had no outlet.  I had no way to work off my mood.  I just had to walk and suffer through.  To be honest for most of my marathon training I wasn’t able to really push my workouts.  It was so hot and humid that I had to take things slow.

Now I feel like things are getting back to normal.  I doubt I’ll keep this pace up.  8:12 for 4 miles is a goal pace, but the heat is returning this week and also my left achilles and top of my right foot aren’t the best.   Still it is good to know that I still have strong running in me.  And with a 10K a month away, I really want to work up to 6 miles at an 8:00 pace.

It is strange to be almost a month removed from my marathon and having so many other blogs I read with people just beginning their taper.  Once again, good luck to you all.  I’m pulling for you!

Better kick makes a better run

It was a cool morning yesterday.  Yes, 59 degrees cool.  I ran well.

I only had 3 miles on my plan for yesterday, so with some encouragement from TJ, I decided to pick up the pace a bit.

I have noticed that at a faster pace my achilles/foot issues don’t seem to be as aggravated, so with the cool morning and only three miles I picked it up.

  • Mile 1 – 8:51
  • Mile 2 – 7:53
  • Mile 3 – 7:44

It felt great.  I concentrated on my form.  However this time I thought more on what my legs were doing behind me rather than in front of me.  I read something a few weeks back on the ShutDownRunner’s blog.  He mentioned about working on kicking back and getting power from his legs that way.  Also I had read in an ebook recently about the fact that it isn’t as important on what part of your foot you land on as long as it is under you and not in front of you.  

So I chose yesterday to not worry as much about where my foot landed and think more of what was happening with my legs as I pushed off.  

Does that make sense?  

Anyway, it was a good run.  That along with some breathing hints given to me by @BigBigGeek on Saturday’s run made my run much better.

My goal for this week is to run 4+ miles each day.  My weight is up a bit so I need to lose several pounds.  I’ve noticed in the past when I run at least 4 miles in a day, I lose weight if I don’t eat poorly.  

A run, a hurt achilles and hangin’ with the dog!

I had a great run yesterday with @BigBigGeek at our local State Park.  Well, the company was great, the run was a tad difficult.

We ran just over 6 miles which is good for me.  In fact it is the longest basic run I’ve had since a week before my marathon (so about a month ago) and I felt the burn.  By the end of the run my body felt as if I had just finished a 18 mile run.

One issue that has come back to life is my achilles.  I thought I had gotten past it with all the time off I’ve had to take, but it is obvious that I haven’t.  After our run on my way home I went to the supermarket.  I got out of my car and I could barely walk.  My right achilles was in so much pain.  The good news was that after I got some Blueberries for my LW and paid for them, the pain went away and didn’t come back.

Later in the day I went to a local running store and checked into getting a shoe with a higher heel/toe drop.  Their advice was to make sure I am really stretching my calf during the day.  So I gave that a shot and I’ll see how my run goes today.

I can’t finish this post without the obligatory “Hangin’ with the dog” picture.  I took this a couple of minutes ago as she was enjoying her morning snack.

The Dog enjoying her morning snack

The Dog enjoying her morning snack

My 3 mile run + Bonus

3 miles!!!

I ran 3 miles yesterday.  It went well (of course it was just 3 miles).  I was pretty tight in the beginning and then I loosened up and ran better.

Heading out to run with @BigBigBeek in our beautiful State Park.  I haven’t run there since before my marathon.  I’m looking forward to the run and getting to catch up with Neill.

Short post today.  Just trying to get back into the swing of running.

As an added bonus ( 🙂 ), below is a picture I’m going to purchase from my marathon 3 weeks ago.  This was taken at the end of mile 24.  I’m on the left and running with me was a neat guy I met around mile 22 and ran together until just after this picture was taken.  It really helped me get through those last few miles.

Mile 25

Mile 25

My Run Plan

Today is the first day of my marathon training…

Just kidding.

In a way I feel like that is the case though.  I haven’t run much since my marathon on September 8th.  In fact I have only logged about 50 miles this month (and 26.2 was in one day).  Today I can finally hit the pavement again.  I hope to run 3 miles today and 6 with @BigBigGeek tomorrow.

My plan for this next month is to build back up to about 50 miles a week.  I’ll start at about 30 – 35 miles next week and add 10% each week until I get back to 50.  I hope that eventually I can make 50 miles a week my benchmark.  Personally, I would like to be up in the high 50’s on average, but I want to take my time building back up my mileage.

With Fall approaching and cool weather less than a month away, I hope my training will pick back up.  Another goal for this Fall is to get my pace down to 8:00 per mile.  Last winter I was comfortably at 8:30 pace, but during the summer and marathon training my average pace has dropped a bit.

On a final note, many congratulations to those who have gotten into Boston.  I got a nice comment from  RunningBostonAndBeyond yesterday and read her blog post about getting that email.  It is a great post.  If you have time, read it HERE. Very exciting.

Gotta go.  Have a great weekend and enjoy your run!

How do you deal with a bad day when you can’t run?

Yesterday was a particularly rough day.  It was one of those days where you know that a good run is “better than therapy”.   One of those days where you would barely get out of the door with your running gear on before you are off running as hard as you can just to get the junk out of your head.

For me, yesterday was a day of frustration.  Yes, the day was difficult, but the frustrating part of the day was the fact I can’t run until Friday.


I could have set a PR.  I could have run so hard and so long.  I could have run off the day.  I could have saved my mind and my body a lot of stress if I could just have gone for a run.

I walked.

I walked for hours.

I walked along highways with no shoulders.  At times I was inches from cars on a two lane road.  I had to leave the neighborhood and there aren’t many areas to walk nearby and I didn’t want to drive somewhere.  I was careful though and most of the time stayed a few feet from the traffic.  Cars were considerate and moved over for me when they could.  At one point I slipped on pine straw, but I caught myself and was fine.

Finally after miles of walking I headed home.  This walk helped.  I’m glad I could walk and I am thankful I am in shape.  I had no fear of doing “too much”.  I just walked off my day.

I miss my running.  I think some of my problems from the day was the fact I haven’t really run much in the past month.  I was hurt the week before my marathon so I didn’t run.  I was too sore to run (or even walk) the week after my marathon.  Now I had to take a week off for other reasons.  I guess I’m having endorphin withdrawal.  🙂

Tomorrow my hiatus from running is over.  I can run as much as I want.  I already have a 6 mile run planned with my friend Neill on Saturday.  I’m looking forward to that.

We take so much for granted in this life.  I never knew how much of my mental well-being was tied up in running.  I never knew until yesterday how much I NEED running.  I have been transformed into a runner and I cannot go back.

Discipline through running

I have never been a disciplined person.

As far as I can tell, discipline is simply doing something without feeling the desire to do it.

I was in a meeting at work this week and we were talking about personality types.  Making a long story short, I mentioned that I have always lacked discipline and people laughed at me.  One person said that I was the most disciplined person that they knew.  It was then that I realized that my running had created discipline in me.  It wasn’t a natural trait to me, but had become a learned trait.

When I run in rain, sleet, snow, cold, hot or any other type of weather, or just when I run when I don’t feel like it, I become more disciplined.  I have read somewhere that the brain physically changes when we do new tasks and do them repeatedly.  I think this is true.

I’ve got something to confess.  I have been more irritated lately at my kids.  Don’t get me wrong.  I have great kids and they are all older, but if I ask them to do something and they give me an excuse as to why they cannot do it, I get annoyed.  After working through my thought process I wrote above, I think it is because I have learned to do things without excuse.  This doesn’t mean I do everything I am asked to do or do it without complaint.  I have learned, however, that I can do anything I set my mind to.  Running has brought me to this point.

I guess if I can make my 50 year old body run 26.2 miles then I know pretty much anything is possible.

Discipline is the key.  Doing something without feeling the desire to do it.  My definition, but I think if everyone developed discipline in their lives, this world would be a much better place in which to live.

Putting that in a different way, if everyone were a runner, life would be much easier.  🙂

Sometimes life is like a long run…

Sometimes life reflects running – or it may be the other way around.

Have you ever been on a long run and thought of the miles ahead of you and just wanted to stop?  It isn’t that you feel badly or that you are tired, but just the magnitude of the task ahead of you seems to take all the air out of your sails.  In the end, you keep going and finish the run and are better for the experience.

Yesterday was that type of day for me.  No, I didn’t run, but I planned on walking 4 or 5 miles.  That just didn’t happen.

I got up at 4:00 AM and got to work by 5:30.  During work things got hectic.  The one good part of the day was lunch with @BigBigGeek and getting to hear his half marathon recap live and in person.  I love talking about running.

Back to my day.  I got a call from my son that he had a migraine.  He lives with debilitating headaches, so if he calls and says it is bad, then it is really bad.  I had him make a doctor appointment and then had to figure out how to get done with my work and take him to the doctor.  My Lovely Wife’s back is acting up again, so she was at home in bed trying to get some relief.

After the doctor, I took my son home and then had to go back out and get some prescriptions.  Of course our main pharmacy didn’t have one of the prescriptions, so I had to head over to another pharmacy.

Finally I got home near 5:00 PM, too exhausted to walk and just fell into bed.

I’ve had stressful days before but there were a lot of frustrations and things happening that I didn’t write about here.

Anyway, on to my premise.  Sometimes life is about endurance.  You might be on mile 5 of 20 and thinking, how am I getting through this.  I guess it’s that runner’s mindset that helps me deal with stressful days now.  I am getting used to being at the base of a mountain and having to look up and wonder how in the world am I ever going to get to the top.

So reason #162 of why I love running…  It helps me overcome issues in life and deal with the mountains.

I figure if I can run 26.2 miles, I can deal with a difficult day.

I’m glad I run.

Running goals – Looking forward!!!

Since I can’t run until Thursday or Friday, I’ve been enjoying hanging with my family and doing family things.  We had a great weekend together and I must admit it was nice not to have to wake up early to get my run in before doing weekend chores.

I was thinking today of my goal.  Last March when I made my running goal to qualify for Boston, I honestly didn’t know what I was in for.  I thought to myself that I made my half at BQ pace and so it shouldn’t be hard to get in a whole marathon at that pace.

Um – Not!

Knowing what I know now, I have a lot of work to do to make my goal.  My pace for my one and only marathon wasn’t great, but I’m fine with it.  I finished that race in 4:14 and I have to finish in 3:30 to BQ.

So, as always is the case, TJ has helped me come up with a plan (thank you TJ).  I have just under 6 months before the next marathon.  I hope to run the Shamrock Marathon in Va. Beach on March 16, 2014.  I have to save some money as TJ and I will need to fly there, run and fly back over a long weekend, but at least I can stay with family so I don’t have to pay for a hotel or meals (thanks Jeff).

Right now we are in a planning stage.  On the horizon is the Vulcan Run 10K with @BigBigGeek, The Mercedes Half Marathon and various other 5K’s and races to keep us motivated.

Back to my goal.

To be honest I like to put myself on the line for what seems impossible.  It helps with motivation and builds character.  Also since I put my goal in the name of my blog, I have no choice but to work hard toward it.  I don’t say this in a negative way, honestly!  I have learned over the past two years that pushing myself in positive ways is immensely important.  I have to move forward or I will move backward.  So why not push myself in a positive way to achieve something I never thought I could?   If I don’t try, I’ll never know what I can accomplish!!!

Stay tuned.  The saga continues.  🙂

Hangin’ with The Dog on a beautiful Sunday morning

It is a great Sunday morning here in the South.  59 degrees and sunny.  It is the type of day you might want to go on a long run or run a half marathon.  Fortunatly for Neill (@BigBigGeek) he is running one right now!!!  Good luck Neill.

I can’t wait to hear from Neill on his twitter about how the race went, but until then I’m hangin’ with The Dog.

The Dog loves her morning treat!!!

The Dog loves her morning treat!!!

She and I have a ritual each morning.  As I come out of my room, she gets up from where ever she chose to sleep that night.  She waits for me to walk down the stairs and follows, but sometimes she leads (depending on how slowly I’m moving at 4:00 AM).

After I let her out, I go get my coffee.  Usually in a few minutes she comes back in and wants her treat.  Notice in this pic how patient she is waiting for me to tell her it is okay for her to take her treat.

She is quick.  She grabs it and goes out to the living room to eat.

She is the best dog ever.  Happy and content.

That’s it for today.  Go Neill.