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.  🙂

Reflections of a running blogger

I love running!

I love the fact I’ve lost a lot of weight!

I’m excited every time I realize I ran a marathon!

I can’t believe how much my life has changed since I started running in March 2012.

I began this blog so that I could write about my running since people would get a glazed look on their face when I would try to tell them about the benefits and the joys of running.

I began writing this blog in January with 2 goals:

  1. Write everyday if possible.
  2. Respond to every comment because every comment deserves a response.

Now, 253 posts later, I have kept to my goals and have gotten a lot more in return.

  1. I have found a blogging community that is supportive, encouraging and inspirational.
  2. Although I have never been “into” social media relationships, I have found that there are great people and new friends I’ve made because of this blog.
  3. The amount of support I’ve received via this blog and all the awesome people who follow it has been amazing.  My marathon wouldn’t have been half as fun and successful if it weren’t for all of you!
  4. I’ve had a lot of fun.

I guess I am in a reflective mood today.  It has been a great 9 months on this blog and I hope to have many years with this blog.  One day I may even take my posts and turn them into a book about my journey.  That would be a lot of fun.  I guess I should get to Boston first – no need to get ahead of myself.

Have a wonderful day!!!

Good runs + less pressure = more fun

I had another successful summer run yesterday.  Two great runs in a row.  Wow.

My app has really helped slow me down as it speaks to me, “Slower” when I run too fast for the preset pace.  This had enabled me to run like I used to before the summer heat hit.  I have cut my weekday runs to 5 miles for now and am working on rebooting my training for our marathon.

I am so encouraged by my runs this week.  Negative splits have changed my summer runs from dreadful to… maybe not exciting, but at least something to which I look forward.

As I ponder the Lehigh Valley Marathon in 8 weeks, I have come to realize (with TJ’s help) that the pressure of wanting to keep an 8:00 pace for 26.2 miles has really gotten to me.  It has made my running a burden and no longer fun.  So I have changed my attitude toward the marathon.  I would love to qualify for Boston in September and hope that I will, but I am no longer focusing on that as my primary objective.  It is an accomplishment in and of itself to finish my first marathon and I may surprise myself and run at my desired pace.  But I am going to relax, enjoy and make this an experience to remember.

So I feel that I am in a much better place now.  I have had a couple really good runs this week, even in the heat.  I have taken the pressure off of myself as to my expectations for the marathon.  I am more positive and enjoying the journey rather than obsessing about the destination.

Life is good!

8 miles closer to Boston

It was a hot, humid, lonely run yesterday.

I really enjoyed it.

I enjoy climbing mountains.  Well, actually, I enjoy the top of the mountain.  The finish.  The results.

So, to be honest, I didn’t really enjoy the run itself.  I ran well for about 4 miles and then got a phone call.  That really affected my momentum.  After that I ran/walked the rest of the 8 miles, which is unusual for me.  I think it was a combination of the heat, humidity and that I didn’t get my day off this week since I need to take Friday off.  Also, this is a record mileage week/month for me if I get it all in.  So I am trying to be wise and still get my full running in for the week.

To continue where I started, I really like setting a goal and then reaching that goal.  This is probably why I am trying so hard to qualify for Boston this year if at all possible.  It is my ultimate mountain to climb.  It won’t be the end of life as I know it if I don’t achieve the goal I have set, but I will do all that I can do to achieve it.

People ask me why I don’t wait another year to try to qualify.  I guess it is the thrill of doing something few have done in a way that few have tried and succeeding.  It may be my midlife crisis, but it is ultimately cheaper and has many more benefits than a new sports car. 🙂

It is hot and humid today.  At 4:30 AM on my way to work it was near 80 and near 100% humidity.

I can’t wait to climb another mountain this afternoon!

I may not get my chance to qualify for Boston this year

Yesterday was a bit difficult the whole way around.

I did run in the morning and got in my 10 miles.  That put me at 37 for the week and 145 so far for the month.  That is exciting to me as I was working toward my marathon in September.

Then I was told news that might change my plans of running the Lehigh Valley Marathon…

I messed up.  When I looked at the location of the marathon, somehow I thought it was in Altoona, PA.  An old friend who was reading through my blog noticed that I had said Altoona and it is actually in Allentown, PA.  Ugh…

Altoona is 1 hour from my mom’s home. My plan was to visit her which I do each Fall and then run the marathon with TJ (RS is too young) and then head back to her home afterwards.  Allentown is 3 hours away!  My plan no longer works.  The race starts at 7:00 AM.

I have been thinking over my options all day yesterday. I just can’t make this work, at least at the moment.

So, Boston may have to wait for another year.  We may go to Jacksonville in December and run that marathon, but then if TJ and I qualify we will need to wait until 2015.

I like to set goals for myself and work hard to achieve them.  This throws my goals into chaos.  I know people will say, “you probably need another year anyway”, and that may be true.  But I had a goal and this just makes it hard.  It is one thing to try and not make it, but to not be able to try… Oh well.

Life goes on.  There may still be a way to qualify for Boston before September registration.

Never say never.


How many pair of shoes does it take to get to a marathon?

I love my running shoes.

I wear Saucony Fastwitch 5 and they are the one shoe that has gotten me through my achilles problem and allowed me to keep running.  Saturday I put on my old Kinvara’s and after 2 miles was in a moderate amount of pain.  So I went by the house and switched to my Fastwitch and felt much better and finished my run.

All that to say, I just bought 4 pair of Fastwitch 5’s from Running Warehouse. Being more of a built up racing flat, I can only get 200 – 300 miles out of them and my current pair feel like they are getting worn.  So I did the math and 4 pair will get me through my marathon in September.  I wanted to make sure I got them so that I would not be having to use a different shoe by the time of the marathon.  They were $38 a piece at Running Warehouse (after discount)  so all in all I got 4 pair of shoes for $150 and they are sent 2nd day air for free!  Tomorrow will be like Christmas!

As I pondered getting all those shoes it makes my marathon become more and more a reality.  It is like I am on a path to Pennsylvania and it is a straight path, an unalterable path.

Last night TJ said he really believes that I can run the Lehigh Valley Marathon and qualify for Boston.  That was the first time I can remember him saying that to me so directly.  I have  also had  bloggers say the same thing, like Runningtoherdreams said yesterday, “I have no doubt you will rock the Lehigh Valley Marathon!”.  I am going to print that statement out and put it on the wall of my office so that I look at it everyday!  Many other bloggers have given me encouragement as well over the past few months.

Each day I wake up, work, run, see the family, eat dinner and go to bed.  Some of this has gotten a bit tiring to be honest.  But I have a goal.  I have to do all within the power that God gives me to make it to my goal!  Now that I have 4 new pair of shoes, it has become more real.

This week is a little break in my training.  I am cutting back 25% on my mileage to give my body a break.  TJ has helped me with my plan and I am thankful as I couldn’t figure this out on my own.  So now I am running 5.25 miles a day rather than 7.  That will be nice.  And this week is supposed to be cooler than last week.

Gotta run (literally).  Have a GREAT day!!!

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! 🙂

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!!!

Boston, Boston, Boston

Summer, I have decided, is not a running season – at least for me.

Yesterday I had a run where I had to constantly remind myself why I am doing this.  Some days are wonderful and it feel like I can run a thousand miles.  No runs this week have been wonderful to me.

I hesitate here because I don’t want to sound like I am complaining on this blog.  I write it for me to remind myself from where I have come and where I hope to go.  FYI, I come from a 5’9″ 278 pound man and I hope to qualify for the Boston Marathon this September (i.e.:  That is what I had to keep reminding myself yesterday as I ran.

I started my run in my old Saucony Mirage 2 shoes.  Not old in mileage – they only have 78 miles on them.  They are the shoes I loved before I got my Saucony Fastwitch shoes that I have been using during my achilles recovery.  Why did I switch yesterday?  Mainly because they are heavier and have more support and I thought that they would help me not push as hard as I did the day before.

I got less than a mile into my run and felt a sharp pain in my achilles.  I thought to myself, “run relaxed and keep your form”.  As I ran a bit more – another sharp pain.  I thought at this point that perhaps I should head home and change shoes.  By the time I got home (5 minutes later) I had 2 more sharp pains.  Ugh.  I don’t want to have this problem again.  I just felt like I was getting over it.

I went inside and put on my Fastwitch shoes and headed back out.  After that point, I had one more minor pain and then I was pain free.  Well, I thought to myself, I guess I have another pair of lawn mowing shoes (thinking of the Mirage).

I don’t know what he difference is between the shoes except that the Mirage is stiffer and pulls more on my heel.  Either way I was elated that I could continue with my run (which didn’t go much better after that).

It was hot outside again.  The heat index was 90.  At least there was a breeze.  Then it rained.  Not a bad thing, but it rained just enough to get the road wet and then the sun came out again.  The sun and heat radiating off the road shot the temperature up at least 10 degrees.  I made it to 7 miles with a 9:12 average pace. My last mile was close to 10:00.

I’ve decided it is going to be a long hot summer and I had better get used to it.  I run in the afternoon because I leave for work at 5:00am and just can’t get up early enough to get my mileage in.

So, I guess I did complain some.  It was actually one of the roughest runs I’ve had in a long time.  I run one more time today and take tomorrow off to get my body ready for the 5K on Saturday.  Then it is marathon training until September.

Boston, Boston Boston.  I have to keep my eye on the goal.  Summer will eventually turn to fall and then I can have some fun.  Then the Spring and hopefully Boston!

Run through the pain? Not this time!

Yesterday I wrote, “lessons learned” and then in the afternoon I had a chance to prove that I learned a lesson.

I have found that it is important to run even when I don’t “feel” like it.  If I don’t run when I’m tired or a bit sore, I’ll never run.  That isn’t good and I would never meet my goal of qualifying for Boston.  On the other hand, I have had to learn the lesson that sometimes it is important to listen to your body.  Some aches and pains or even just being tired is a sign that things aren’t going in a good direction and perhaps I need to pull back some on training or even take a break.

Yesterday was great running weather.  I had only run once for 5 miles since last Thursday because my achilles was hurting. But my 5 mile run on Sunday went very well and I had no problems yesterday during work, so I was excited to hit the road running.  I  don’t have a run plan this week, but just a “see how it goes” plan.

I got 1/2 mile into my run and I felt that pain in achilles.  Ugh.  I realized that I was so looking forward to my run that I started too fast.  I slowed down and ran relaxed trying to make sure I wasn’t pushing off my feet, but allowing gravity to move me forward. It was too late.  That pain, not severe pain mind you, but still pain, was back and I couldn’t get past it.  I ran for a total of 2.2 miles and decided to walk home.

It was disappointing to me that I had done a stupid thing and started too fast, but in the end, looking back, I’m excited that I showed that I had learned a valuable lesson.  I know that I shouldn’t push past pain all the time.  I know that it isn’t a bad thing to stop a run in the middle.  I learned that if I act wisely today, then I’ll be able to run tomorrow.

I’ve learned that there are runs that you push through the pain and meet your goal and there are runs that need to be stopped and you go home and rest.

I’ve learned lessons this past week that I hope I continue to remember.  I’ll probably never be a “great” runner.  But with consistency I can be a good runner. However if I don’t run with wisdom, I won’t be a runner at all.

I’d rather walk home from a run, then finish it and have to stop running.

I hope I remember this lesson next time.

2014 Boston Marathon – Is it possible for me to go?

Ahhh, the long run day.  Today is where the rubber hits the road, so to speak.  I am all ready to head out, but I must say that getting up at 5:00am on a Sunday morning is not my thought of fun.  However as my long runs get longer, I am going to have to sacrifice sleep on the weekend for running.  In the end, it will be worth it (I can’t believe I just wrote that).

I am trying something new this week (yes, there is something new from time to time in my routine).  I took Saturday off from running rather than Monday.  I will see how this works out.  I really need a day off before my long run as I do better after a day off.  However that will have me running non-stop into the week and my workouts.  I know… I could take 2 days off – but who would be that crazy!!!

I haven’t mentioned Boston since Tuesday as I wanted to give some time before I talk about running next year.  I’ve noticed news articles this past week on how interest in running the Boston Marathon has skyrocketed since the tragedy last Monday.  Notice the image below.  Talk about skyrocketing…  Click the image to read the story (but not until you finish my post, of course).

Huge Interest In Qualifying For Boston 2014

I have some mixed emotions about this.  One side of me says, “Great!  Look at all that support and how people are coming together after a terrible tragedy”.  But the other side of me says, “Now with so many people wanting to qualify for Boston, I probably won’t make it for 2014”.  I’m not trying to be selfish, just honest about what I am feeling.

I am very encouraged by the response to last Monday.  Personally, I’ve had many people that have sought me out to say that because of this blog and my goal, they thought of me after what happened.  It is nice when people are so thoughtful.

So my eyes are set on a goal.  I’d rather not have to wait until 2015 to run Boston and I’d also like to support the marathon the year after the tragedy.  I have 5 months to train and to run my first marathon under 3:30 to qualify.  What are the chances of a 50 year old who will have only been running for 18 months being able to do that?  Not very high.  But I am going to try.  This was a personal goal from the beginning, long before last Monday.  Now it is even more important to me.  I will work hard to qualify for this marathon one day.  Maybe this year, but if not, then next.  If not next year then I’ll keep trying until I cannot try anymore.

I am still praying for those affected by the events last Monday.  So many people are hurt, afraid, confused, etc.  Some wounds, even time can’t heal.

Here is to Boston!  We are with you.  We will support you.

I hope to see you soon. 🙂