Country Music Half Marathon… Away we go!

And away we go!

I’m a bit nervous.

13.1 miles.  I’ve run that distance many times before, but this is just the third time in a race (one half marathon and one marathon).

I am looking forward to the race.  TJ and I will run together.  We talked about pace last night.  From what I understand the course has a lot of uphills the first half and a lot of downhills the last quarter.  RS will run also, but he will be in a different coral.  Too bad as it would be great for us all to run together.  However I’ve trained quite a bit for this race and RS is just starting to get back into running.  He will be at the 2:20 time and TJ and I will be at the 1:45 (as that was my last time in a half).

What do I want from this race?  I’m glad you asked. 🙂

I want to beat 1:44, which is my only half marathon so far.  To be honest, that was an awesome race for me.  To this day, I don’t know how I pulled out a 7:58 pace.  I’m not going to cry if I miss my PR, but I would like one after all my mountain runs and my training to get back into running.  It was a long and hard climb back from my marathon.  I think I went about 4 or 5 months in the 30 -40 mile range because of injuries.  Yesterday I broke 100 miles for this month which makes me feel a bit better.

So here we go.  We leave today at 12:00.  We will go directly to the expo and hope to be there around 3:00ish.  After that, we will check out the course, and then check into our hotel, about 8 miles from the starting line.

Our race starts at 7:00… It is supposed to be 50 degrees at race time and get into the mid 60s by 9:00.  All in a all, it should be a great day for a race.  Cool, low humidity.  No clouds.  Just fun.

@BigBigGeek and @David_topping will be running also.  TJ mentioned that there will be a place to meet up with family and friends and the sections are done by the alphabet.  Maybe we can all met under the letter Q?  I figure that will be the least crowded – of course maybe everyone will think that way.

Have an awesome weekend and I’ll try and post my time as soon as I can after the race!

Off to eat some bagels.

Tom

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Runner’s World book and tapering!

So I have a few subjects to write about…

I have never gone this long without writing on this blog.  Mainly I have been a bit worn out lately and it has been all I could do to run and watch the Boston Marathon (not disappointing).  I consider this a “blog taper”.  Sometimes I guess everyone needs to slow down and let the muscles recharge, whether the muscle is a leg or a brain.

Saturday is the Country Music Marathon in Nashville.  TJ, RS and I will all run the half and – for the most part – I am looking forward to it.  I have never run in a race with more then about 5,000 people, so going to one that is 5x that, should be… well… interesting.

We leave tomorrow at lunch, go to the expo, go to the hotel, get up at 4:00AM, get to the race at 5:30AM, and hope to be ready for the 7:00AM start.  Of course there are 40 corals, so we may not get going until 8:00, but it will give us time to prepare mentally.

On to my book article.  I mentioned last Saturday in my last post that I am in a Runner’s World book.  Actually they put me in two books, the other is called, “Runner’s World Training Journal for Beginners”.

I am putting up a scan of my section of the book.  I hope Runner’s World doesn’t mind, but if they read my blog and ask me to take it down, I will.  The chances of either are slim, but if I can be published in a Runner’s World book, then I guess anything can happen.  The book looks really great and is a great resource.  Here is the Amazon link if you are interested: http://www.amazon.com/Runners-World-Book-Running-Beginners/dp/1609615379

So here is my section.  Thanks for reading and for following my blog!

Tom

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One day…

It was 1:00 in the morning and I got out of bed to go to the bathroom.

Ouch.

I could barely walk.

There was that soreness I didn’t notice yesterday!  It felt like the day after my marathon.

Yesterday I felt pretty good.  I was a little sore, but nothing major.  I even did my five mile run and at a pretty good pace of 8:38.  I finished strong and felt good afterwards.  I was a little weak on the hills, but I chalked that up to my mountain run on Sunday.

Then last night and this morning…  I can’t walk.  I hurt from my hips down to my feet.  Talk about delayed onset.  Wow.

It is a good hurt.  It is a hurt that I know means my legs and quads got pushed and will be stronger in the end.

TJ just told me he wants to run with me during the half marathon.  So basically he will be pacing me.  That should be interesting.  He paced me on a 5K once and it really helped.

I’ll be honest.  I want to destroy my PR in my half marathon.  Another reason it will be good to have TJ with me.  He will keep me at a reasonable pace, especially in the beginning.  From what I understand the first half or so is mostly up hill and the last quarter is mostly down hill.  Not sure about the rest.

With each mountain run I am getting stronger, more confident, faster, less fragile.  I am so thankful I found this mountain and can run it each week.  It has actually given me hope that one day I will qualify for Boston….

One day.

A mountain run with no water

I made it.  I ran the mountain twice in a row.  1.5 miles to the mountain, 2 miles up, 2 miles down, 2 miles up, 2 miles down and 1.5 miles back to the car.

That was a run!

A couple things.  At the end, my legs felt like I had run a marathon.  In fact I actually hit a wall with just about a mile left to go.  I was shot and could barely seem to lift one leg in front of the other.

All in all it went well, with one HUGE exception.

Hydration.

I didn’t.  I didn’t drink much on Saturday.  I didn’t drink any water on Sunday before my run.  This wasn’t on purpose, I just forgot.  I also didn’t take anything with me on the run and there are no water fountains except near my car.

Not good.

I debated stopping after my first time up the mountain, but this would be the only time I could get this run in and it would be 13 miles which seems to be to be close to half marathon distance. 🙂  (My half is in 2 weeks, so next Sunday I’ll just run my normal run.)

I debated running back to the car, but that would add another 1.5 miles on to my run and I honestly wasn’t up for a 14.5 mile run.

So I just ran.

It went well other then my freaking out.  I didn’t want to overdue it.  I didn’t want heat exhaustion.  If I could just find some water.  I prayed, “Lord, if you could use a raven to bring Elijah food, could you please get me some water”.

The top of the mountain, the second  time up, I saw two women looking at a map of the park.  They had WATER in their backpacks.  Now, I am very aware that a guy, covered in salt from dried sweat is probably not going to be well received by a couple of women minding their own business.  I was a bit desperate.  I went up to them and asked nicely if they had any water I could drink.  One looked at me and said, “Do you know where you are?”  I thought, “Do I look that disoriented?”  I replied, “Yes, I run up here a lot”.  She said, “Great, because we are lost”.

So I told them how to get to the falls and they shared about a half a cup of water with me.

Then it was back down the mountain and to my car.

The last 1.5 miles were brutal.  It had gotten near 80 outside and my legs were shot.  I had almost nothing to give, but I refused to stop running (If you can call a 11:00 pace running).  I thought, “If I can run 13 miles up and down a mountain, I can handle a hilly half marathon in Nashville.”

I finally got to the water fountain and drank for about a minute.  I poured water on my had so it would keep my head cool and then ran the last half mile to the car.

13.1 miles in just over 2:09.  Not bad for 1200 feet elevation and in my old PureFlow’s.

Then I saw it!  The Gatorade machine.  It was like an oasis.  I got money out of my car, and filled it with quarters.  I pressed the button… and nothing happened.  I pressed all the drink buttons… Nothing happened.  It was a mirage.  On top of that, it took my money. 😦

I can’t complain.  I’m glad I made it back and I had 2 waters in the car.  I’m sore today, but it is a good sore.  I feel like I accomplished something big and I was satisfied that I gave it all I could.

Next time I’ll hydrate!!!

Tom

6 miles a day

6 miles a day…  That is my new run.

In order to make this easier for me psychologically, I kept my 5 mile run in tact and added a mile at the beginning.  So now, after the first mile my mind thinks I’m still running my old run.  In fact it went so well yesterday that I ran 6 miles at 8:23, which is one of my best paces for my 5 mile run and my last mile yesterday was under 8:00 mile.

I am really working on “riding my run”.  I wrote quickly about this the other day, but I am concentrating on letting my legs run and my body rest.  The more relaxed I am the easier and faster I can run without as much effort.  Mentally it is like my body is riding my legs rather than my whole body trying to get me going.  That may not make sense, but it really seems to help me.

I have a meeting all day Saturday, so my (possibly last before my half) mountain run will have to wait until Sunday.  That is usually the way things work, but I wish I could do the mountain run Saturday.  Just my preference.

Also I got our hotel for the Country Music Half Marathon in Nashville, TN yesterday.  Not cheap, but not a bad price.  Everything is set and I’m running better then ever in my 350 mile Brooks.  I can’t wait to get my new pair – unfortunately they won’t be in until next week.  That won’t give me long to break them in before the race…

Life is good.

Tom

Brooks pain, but old running shoes save the day!

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So here is my shoe (I don’t have fat ankles, not sure why it looks that way in this pic).  Notice the orange strap that goes across it.  Where that strap hits the right side of the shoe is where my pain is in my foot.  Strange, because these are my second pair of Brooks PureFlow shoes and I’ve never had a problem.

I went out for my run yesterday and got about a quarter mile into it when my foot started hurting again.  It hurt on the top of the foot on the bone that leads to the big toe.  So I ran out and back toward my house.  By the time I got home I was in some real pain.  Crazy.  Not wanting to quit my run, I immediately switched shoes with my old pair, you will remember look like this…

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Okay.  A bit worn.  My foot felt better though, even though this is the same style shoe and has that strap.  After about 3 miles more, the pain was gone and I felt so much better.  The only issue was earlier, while I was in pain, I obviously adjusted my form to compensate, even though I tried really hard not to.  I am sore today in my ankle and calf muscles.

The run.

It was a good run.  I ended with a mid week high mileage  (at least since my marathon last September) run of 6.4 miles.  I also had an 8:38 pace and that included a 2 minute walk while I got a call from work.  I think it is a conspiracy that work calls me in the middle of my runs.  Anyway, I really felt great about the run and the mileage.  I hope to keep doing that same run about every other day to start slowly building my mileage up.

At the moment I have no plans to taper for my half marathon.  I’ll probably slow down a bit, but that is about it.  Running has become a lifestyle for me and tapering for a half marathon doesn’t seem to be that big of a deal to me.  If anyone wants to chime in on that one, feel free!

Tom

Half marathon goals!

Last week was a very productive running week.

I ended with week with just under 33 miles which was exactly my plan.  My mountain run went well.  It was cold and overcast, but fortunately didn’t rain while I was running.  I stuck with just 8 miles as I had a lot to do Sunday and didn’t want to take too much time out running.  Sad really.

Now on to another week.  I am tempted to increase my mileage, but don’t know that I will.  I’ll see how I feel.

I am curious how my half marathon will go in 3 weeks.  I’m stronger then I’ve ever been thanks to the weekly mountain runs.  I haven’t been doing specific speed workouts, but my speed is increasing quite a bit.  My last (and only) half marathon was completed in 1:44, so that is a big goal to beat.  I did get close to that time at my marathon during the first half of the race, but I’ve never gone faster then that – ever. I think I’ll make my goal 1:40 and see how it goes from there.

Special congrats to those who ran races this last weekend.  I need to find me a 5K to run sometime.  It has been a long time since I’ve raced and racing always keeps me motivated.

Have an awesome week.

Tom