My first treadmill run…

It has been a while since I’ve written.

Life has been hectic.  I was in Louisiana for a week doing a work project.  Let me say, I only ran once while there and that was my first run ever on a treadmill.  Just sayin… I’m not a fan.  That was the Sunday I arrived.  After that, I worked 14 – 15 hours each day and just couldn’t bring myself to get up to run on that machine again.

This last week was my first full week of running since I last wrote.  The week before my trip I was able to average 7 miles a day for 6 days.  Not bad for me.  In fact the only week I ran that much in the past was during marathon training.  On top of everything it was very warm out, but I wanted to push it (time wise, not speed wise).  Last week, I felt like I had lost everything.  I was tired and it was tough outside with humidity.  TJ and I did a hill run on Monday that was harder then any other run I’ve had in a long time. The week of running was simple 2 – 5 mile runs, but it was difficult.

So the week off really messed with my running.  No exercise, not much water, and not much walking either.  Just spending all week in from of my laptop programming.

This week is a new week.  I had a relatively good run yesterday morning.  It was hot, but I did get in 5+ miles.  I’m doing my best to break the 4 mile summer barrier I hit last year during the heat.  Today is another hill run with TJ and then just normal runs.  I have another business trip though that might mess things up a bit.  Normally I wouldn’t be worried as it is only a few days, but after having a full week off of running and now a few more days off, I’m going to have to be really careful, especially with my weight.

Have an awesome week. Hopefully things slow down after this week and I’ll get back to writing.  I’ve missed blogging and keeping up with my blog running friends.  Right now it is all I can do to write.

Thanks for reading and have fun running!

Tom

The perfect recovery drink for runners

I’ve been running now for almost 3 years. Sometimes after a run I’m shot. Exhausted. Breathing hard. Just not feeling great.  

After my last half marathon I had this type of feeing. I pushed hard during the race as I generally try to  do. I figure that I want to look back and enjoy the results. Momentary discomfort is totally worth it when you PR or just know you did your best. There is a need to be wise and not hurt yourself, but the feeling after a hard workout or race is awesome. 

Okay. The drink. I’m sure I am not alone in knowing this, but it took years for me to figure out the best drink after a tough workout. Beer!

So after my last half marathon I wasn’t doing well. I drank Gatorade, water, chocolate milk and after 30 minutes I was still not doing well. I found myself at the beer tent and had my 1 beer that they offered. Within minutes I was back to my old self. My mind was clear and I was no longer tired in the slightest. 

I kept that experience tucked away for 8 months.  Fast forward to the recent increase in my running.  My first long run was tough. Very tough. I couldn’t get myself to relax and knew it was about to become a long day.  I was driving home and decided to get a Gatorade at a local supermarket. I was exhausted. Then I recalled my half marathon experience. I decided to try it. I went to the beer isle at 9:00 on a Saturday morning.  I ended up with the non-alcoholic beer, Odules (it was 9:00 🙂 ).  I got to the car and downed one before I even put the keys in the ignition. 

In minutes I felt awesome.  Just like my half marathon, I had a 180 turnaround and felt like I never had an issue.

I now try to keep a recovery beer with me on all workouts. I had a really hard workout this weekend while visiting my mom in PA. I ran 13 miles with 2200 ft climb and when I finished… I needed a recovery beer. I took it out of the fridge and in a minute or two my breathing went to normal, my mind cleared and I felt great. 

Once again, this may not be big news to most runners, but it t really is a miracle recovery drink.  

Beer. I knew it was good for something. 

Tom

The perfect run plan (for me)

It has been a great couple of months running… with no purpose to run.  I have no races planned, no “reason” to run.  I have, however, run more miles in the past two months then anytime in the past 18 months. 

My run plan has changed. I used to have a plan I posted on this blog each week.  That stopped after I crashed and burned post marathon.  Now my plan is simple and consistent. It works for me, so here it is (if you care 🙂 ). 

Monday: 8 mile hill run. This is about building my strength and helping my back and hip. I credit this weekly run with the reason I have been able to run so much the past 2 months. Also, Monday is the beginning of my running week and it is motivational to have an 8 mile run and a hill run out of the way first thing.

Tuesday through Thursday all depends on my run cycle. I run 2 long weeks and 1 short week and then repeat.  On my long weeks I try to get in 2 – 3 eight mile runs a week with shorter runs in between. On short mileage weeks I generally stay at 4 miles a day for the rest of the week until my long run on Saturday. 

Friday: I try to keep Friday short. Usually about 4 miles. The main reason is Saturday morning is my long run and my run Friday is late afternoon. I can still “feel” my Friday run on Saturday morning, so I try to take it easy. 

Saturday: Long run: At the moment, on my long weeks I run 13 miles on Saturday morning and short run weeks are 10 mile Saturday’s. This has been huge for me as running a 13 mile run each week has never happened for me in the past three years. It puts my 8 mile runs in perspective and really helps finish the week off on a good note. 

Sunday: This is to be a day of rest and letting my body heal for the hill run I’ll do on Monday. However, Sunday is the only day RS and I can ride trails at the state park, so generally we will do that for an hour or so Sunday morning. 

So that is my run plan. At the moment, I run 45 – 50 miles on long weeks and 30 – 35 miles on short weeks. 

Really I do have a goal. My hope is that I’ll finally developed a base to run more miles and keep injury free.  So far so good.  I’ve slowed my pace down about a minute a mile and increased my mileage by about 1/3 over the winter. I REALLY want to run another marathon this year, and though I’d love to BQ, I am not obsessing about that right now.  One day I may make it to Boston (maybe), but if I don’t have good form and a strong base, it will stay a dream and never become a reality. 

Sorry for the longer then usual post, but I’m sitting in an airplane on a trip to visit my mom. I haven’t seen her or my brothers since the day after my Marathon 18 months ago, so I am really looking forward to it. 

Be safe. Run your own plan. Get help from others, but know that running isn’t done in a cookie cutter fashion.  Fine your spot, run your plan and you will succeed. 

Tom  

My week running and learning life lessons from my workouts

I made my goal this week – but it wasn’t pretty!  My goal was 45 miles and after my low mileage week last week, I had hopes for a great set of workouts.

Monday 6 miles – My plan was 8 miles, but it was raining hard, I was soaked.  I was cold.  I ran through puddles 2 inches deep and it was getting dark, so I figured I’d cut my day by 2 miles and try to make it up later in the week.

Tuesday 10 miles – My plan was for an 8 mile hill run with TJ, but after the hills (crazy hills), I decided to make up my 2 miles from Monday and ended up with a 10 mile weekday run.  This was the longest weekday run I’ve had in my short career and was a lot of fun with TJ.

Wednesday 4 miles – My plan was for 4 miles in order to give my body a rest.  I started the run and knew it would be rough.  I was tired from the 14 miles the two previous days.  It was windy!  30 mph winds right in my face.  So as I was running into the wind, I could tell I was using my hill run muscles – and they weren’t happy about it.  I finished, but I was exhausted – really exhausted!  RS had to drive me home.

Thursday 8 miles – My plan was for 8 miles and I did it.  It was very cold (wind chill in the low 20s) and it was  a rough run, but I got through it and felt great about my mileage so far.

Friday 4 miles – I planned on 4 miles as I knew Saturday I would have the longest run I’d attempted in a year.  The run was okay.  I was a bit sore and tired from the week, but my weight was down (183) to the lowest it had been in a LONG time and I was really glad it was Friday.

Saturday 13 miles – This was tough.  I planned on 13 miles.  I knew if I made it, I would have a record week since my marathon 18 months before.  After about mile 5, I started fading. By mile 8 I was doing poorly.  I didn’t bring goo or any type of help for the run as it was a training run and I wanted to “feel” the whole run.  I hit a wall at mile 9.  It felt similar to my marathon.  I thought as I was running that if I finished this run, I would have run 25 miles in 3 days, so my body was feeling that mileage.  RS was running in the same park and by mile 11, I texted him and asked him to run with me my last two miles.  I was really hurting, but I wanted to finish.  People hit walls all the time in races and I wanted to get past it and finish what I started.  I finally made my 13 miles – I was shot.  I finished just under a 10 minute mile.  It took me 20 minutes just to be able to drive home and then I still was doing poorly.  After a shower and recovery drink I felt better though.  Honestly, if it weren’t for RS being with me, I might has stopped early.  I probably should have stopped anyway, but I was determined to finish my long day and record week.

I think running is like life.  Some days are great, some aren’t.  Some days there is no reason why the day is as bad as it feels.  Some days you want to give up half way through.  But learning to push yourself past that point is a life lesson that running really helps with.  Knowing that as your run the race, you are running for something more then just running.  You are training for lessons in life that are invaluable to learn.

I’m glad I run.

Tom

Finally success running smart!

I had a successful week running last week.  For me it was amazingly successful.

I’ve been running 41 miles a week for several weeks and to prevent a crash in my running, I decided to have a low mileage week.  My goal was to run 31 miles during the week with my longest run being 6 miles.  I ended up with 30.9 (but whose counting).

By Sunday, I felt great again.  My soreness was gone and my body “felt” healed.  This is huge for me.  In the past (1.5 years ago when I used to run this kind of mileage), I would keep running the higher mileage and then after a month or so I’d get hurt or have some issue that set me back into the low 100s.

Yesterday was going to be and 8 mile run, the first run of my 45 miles week (post recovery).  I did run, but it was raining hard and getting dark as the afternoon got late.  I got a late start because of issues beyond my control and by the time I got to 6 miles, I called it a day.  It was raining so hard toward the end of the run that it was like I was in basic training in the army.  I could barely see through the rain.  It was awesome.  I had negative splits with the first mile at a 9:40 pace, down to 8:15 my last mile.  I’ve learned to start out slow and then work my speed up throughout my run.  It makes all the difference in a good run.

There was one other soul out running at the same time as me in the park.  Just us two, going opposite directions and passing each other slashing in the puddles.

So my plan was for 8 miles yesterday, but I settled for 6.  I’ll make up the other two sometime this week.  Today is an 8 mile hill run, then Wednesday 4 miles, Thursday 8, Friday 4, and Saturday 13.  Sunday will be a 10 mile bike trail ride with RS and then it all starts over next Monday.

By the way, I was reading the recap of my only marathon and all the comments from it the other day.  Oh how I want to run one again.  This time, I want to run it smartly and with strength.  No plans yet, but maybe Chicago?  That would be cool! Maybe I could see my friend at runningonhealthy.com. 🙂

Happy trails.

Tom

Racing the sun in running shoes

This is my recovery week for running.

I’ve run 41+ miles for two weeks in a row and now need my body to heal a bit.  In the past, I would keep increasing my mileage until I got close to 200 miles in a month and then my running would crash.  My monthly charts look like stair steps going up, up, up and then major drop off.  After my marathon in Sept of 2013, everything crashed.  Now, I’m trying to be smart about my mileage and strength.

Yesterday was a particularly tough day in general.  It started as usual waking up at 4:00AM and at work by 5:30.  After work, I was looking forward to a slow 4 mile run with RS at the park while JR rode her bike.  I got home at 3:30PM and sat in my car for a minute and just enjoyed the silence.  No one wanting something from me, no noise, just quiet.  I thought, “I could sit here for hours and just relax”.

Then my phone rang!@#$%  It was work with a major database crash.  SERIOUSLY!!!  I finally have a “zen” moment and it is all over in seconds.

I spent the next hour recovering the databases (successfully, BTW) and then rushed out the door to get to the park to get my 4 miles in before dark.  I don’t run after dark outside of my neighborhood – just my preference.  We got to the park and I knew it would be close.  RS and I started our run out much faster then I wanted.  We had no choice.  We were racing the sun and that isn’t an easy thing to do.  Also my lovely daughter was riding her bike and I didn’t want her riding after dark.

As we came up to the 4 mile mark, it was dusk.  The sunset was beautiful and we were tired (more from the 8 mile hill run the day before then this run).

So we beat the sun… sort of.  Unfortunately this was to be a slow, easy run (as are the rest of the runs this week).  I need to recover, and racing the sun isn’t the way to succeed in slowing down.

Another 4 mile run today (and the rest of the week) and then 7 on Saturday and I’ll be at 31 miles.  Next week, 45!

Tom

Something has changed with my running

Two weeks.

The past two weeks, something has changed with my running… in a good way.

It all started 3 weeks ago.  I was complaining to TJ that my legs were shot and that I wasn’t even running much.  On top of everything, my back was a mess.  My right hip was hurting and I just couldn’t figure out what to do.

He reminded me that the hill runs I used to do would really help me and I hadn’t been doing them at all lately.  So the next Monday he and I set out for a hill run in a neighborhood nearby.  It has crazy hills.  Some high, some long, but every stride in this neighborhood takes you up or down a hill.  When we finished running all the streets, we had completed 8 miles of hills (and my longest run in months).  I was shot.  I had nothing left.  BUT I finished all 8 miles.

Since then TJ, RS and I have run those hills each week.  TJ and I have run them 3 time and RS twice.  The impact has been nothing but phenomenal!  I had one of the best months in January since my marathon in September of 2013 last month.  The past two weeks I have run 41 miles each week. These two weeks combined are more then most months I’ve run since my marathon.  I feel great.  My legs are strong.  Everything is beginning to click.

Now that I have had 2 high mileage weeks, I am taking this week and cutting back about 30%.  My legs feel great, but they feel the pain of the past few weeks.  The last thing I want now is the get hurt.

So I’ll run about 30 miles this week and then I’ll add 10% to my last couple week totals and up my mileage to 45 miles next week.

The great thing, is that I am not training for anything in particular.  I was going to run a half marathon in March, but that isn’t going to happen.  In a way, this is good.  I’m running for me.  I’m running because I want to.  I’m running for the challenge and not to prepare for something.  I can take this slow and do what ever I need to get back to where I was a couple years ago.

Don’t get me wrong.  My goal is another marathon.  But this time I want the strength, the ability. the grace to run it the best I can.

I’m running.

I’m glad.

Tom

PS: My daughter has suffered greatly with Fibromyalgia.  She had to quit work, she could barely move off the couch for a year.  Now she has lost a lot of weight, is biking and getting back her life.  This last week she ran with RS and me several times off and on during our runs.  She is up to running almost 3 miles a day and is looking better then I’ve seen her in years.  I can’t say how proud and excited I am for her and how humbled I am that God has given her the grace to “come back”!

A tale of two runs

Five miles to run isn’t far.  I remember when my long run day was 6 miles and I was so exhausted afterwards I walked into the wrong house.  That was embarrassing.

On the other hand, sometimes a five mile run is an eternity.

One day last year I was running 5 miles and it wasn’t going well.  It was hot, I was tired from a long week and hurting physically.  I tried to keep with the run to master my body and make it my slave, but in the end, I stopped and walked home.  I made it 3 miles and couldn’t take another step.  Oh, and did I mention that this was 2 weeks before my first marathon?  My thoughts went to, “I’m running a marathon in a couple of weeks and I just stopped a 5 mile run 2 miles early”.  To say I was a bit worried is an understatement.

Two weeks later I ran that marathon.  I completed 26.2 miles in 4 hours and 15 minutes.

I learned from that run.  In fact out of all my training runs for that marathon, that 3 mile failure sticks out the most.  I can even see in my mind where I stopped and claimed defeat – or was it defeat?

Yesterday I mimicked that run.  It was a 5 mile run and I wasn’t doing well.  It was hot and I wasn’t feeling well (sore, tired, etc).  I stopped a time or two to make sure that I wasn’t overdoing things and also I wanted to make it through my run at whatever the cost.

NOT

I stopped.  I stopped at 2.46 miles.  Not even an even number.  I just couldn’t run any more.

I could have pushed myself.  I have pushed myself in the past and have been pleased that I persevered.  This time was different.  I knew that if I continued, I could hurt myself.  I can’t explain why I knew this time was different.  I guess over my years of running I have developed a sense.  But just as when I had the 3 mile run while training for a marathon, I stopped and walked home.

Ultimately I count these runs as success.  Everyday before I run, my Lovely wife tells me to run fast, have a good run and be wise.  I think I was wise back a year ago and wise yesterday.  Success in running isn’t always pushing harder and making the goal.  Success in running (and life) is knowing when keep going or when to stop.  Stopping isn’t failure, getting hurt if failure.  Pushing through or stopping early, we just need wisdom to know how to proceed.

Today is another day.  It is going to be hot again, but Saturday will be sunny and in the 60’s as a high.  Wow – Fall weather is coming and I can’t wait.

Until next time…

Tom

Running, hurt, better, running, happy

Somedays running can be ordinary.

Somedays you think your run was ordinary, but it really wasn’t.

Somedays running is fun and you feel like you can run forever.

Somedays you get two miles into a run and know you need to stop or risk getting hurt.

Monday I ran my 4 miles.

Tuesday I ram my 4 miles.

Wednesday I woke up and my ankle hurt so much I could barely walk.  Strange that I was fine during my Tuesday run.  Of course it was HOT and I was tired.  I hadn’t slept well the night before and the heat, though not as bad as at other times, just got to me.  I ended up walking several times.

So I woke up Wednesday and limped out of bed.  At work I had to walk slowly and favored my other foot.  It hurt so much, I wondered if I had sprained it.  I had visions of having to take weeks off of running and just keep weight off of it all together.  That afternoon I decided to walk through my neighborhood.  I figured it would work its way out of make it worse, but at least I’d know what I was up against.  So I walked a couple miles and headed home.  To be honest, it was better after a while.  I still couldn’t run on it, but I could walk without issue.

Yesterday I woke up and felt fine.  No pain.  No limp. All was well.

So I went for my run yesterday afternoon.  It was awesome.  Not only did my ankle feel fine, but I felt like I could run forever.  I ended up running 5 miles, which was longer then I’ve run in a long time.  I felt comfortable. It was cool outside (I love the polar vortex in the summer) and all was well with the world.

This morning I am back in the 184 range for my weight.  I have been creeping up past 184 off and on since my vacation.  184 is not where I want to be as a goal, but is acceptable to me, so that is good news.

Ultimately, somedays are good and some are bad.  I’ve said this before, but if you have a bad day, know that a good one is coming soon.  If you have a good day, don’t be shocked at the next bad day because it will happen.  That is the way we are made and that is life.

I’m glad I had a good day yesterday.  I really needed one.

Tom

 

Running backwards

I did a dumb thing.

Last week, I ran through Thursday, walked Friday and didn’t run all weekend.  On top of that, I eat like a king (not a good king) for the second weekend in a row.

I think it’s the summer heat that has gotten to me.  That and a very busy schedule that seems to be getting busier.

The bad part of my dumb thing is that I have gained weight.  More then I think I should have, but considering 2 weekends of eating frenzies, I guess I understand why.  I’m not too concerned as when I get back out and run, I can loose the extra weight pretty fast.  However, I really should have been more self controlled this weekend.

Saturday I was out with my family shopping this weekend and ended up in a bike shop.  I had a great sales guy just try to give me some biking basics and help me price out a bike.  Wow, biking is so much more expensive then running.  For a basic bike and all the stuff that I’d have to buy to go with it, I was looking beyond $1,000.  Fortunately my old running buddy @BigBigGeek is now an avid cyclist and he things he can get me going on an older bike my sister left to me for a lot less.  I hope that works out.  I’d like to add biking into my routine, but I honestly don’t want to spend $1,000 until I know I want to go that route.

Back to my weight.  I did another stupid thing.  I skipped my apple cider vinegar (ACV) yesterday.  I was just too busy and decided mot to drink it.  I paid for that today and I was back on the ACV train this morning.

About ACV, I know now that it really helps my workouts.  I run in the afternoon and in the summer, it gets HOT outside.  I forgot to take my ACV twice last week before my run and I was spent after 2 miles.  I basically had to run/walk most of the rest of my route.  Then Thursday I remembered it and had a much more consistent run.  I wasn’t setting any records, but I only stopped twice.  I can really tell the difference.  It must have a property that I need or that helps endurance in the heat.  Either way, I am still hooked on the stuff.  I just wish someone could make it taste better!!!

That is about all for me for today.  I hope everyone had a great weekend!  It was way too short for me, but I guess that means I got a lot done!

Tom