The most important run so far

15.7 miles.

Okay, really about 15.20 running and .50 walking.  That is what I ended up with yesterday.  There is some good and some not as good news from that run.

The good:

  • My goal was between 15 – 18 miles and I made it.
  • 13 miles were completed with a pace between 9:00 – 9:30.
  • I ran 5 mile loops for the first 10 miles and that seemed to work well for me to get some Gatorade Chews and water.
  • I can walk this morning without a limp, so my Chiropractor must be helping.

The not as good:

  • I really wanted to make 17 miles, but just couldn’t do it.
  • The Marathon is 6 weeks away and I don’t feel that I am close to 20 miles yet.
  • My hip hurt to the point that I feel it affected my run.
  • I crashed the last 1.5 miles.

Here are my thoughts:

I feel that the 5 mile loop was a key to me doing well.  I decided to run the last 7 miles at one time and just as I hit 15 miles I couldn’t do more.  I wonder if I had kept to the 5 mile loop if I would have been able to make it.

I am a little panicked about the marathon being so close and my mileage not being where I need it.  I know that when the race comes, I will be able to do more than I can just running in my neighborhood.  Also, my neighborhood is very hilly and the marathon isn’t.  Finally, it is hot and humid here, so that will be better up North in September.

Ultimately, sometimes you have to do what you don’t think you can do in order to get what you really want.  I am not worried about qualifying for Boston in this marathon.  Right now, I want to finish the race.  Who knows, it might be the perfect storm and I’ll fly through and do great.  Time will tell.

So it was a good run.  It was a PR in distance.  It was fairly easy until the last two miles.

I can’t complain.  It was a good run!  It was the most important run so far in my training.

I am thankful.

Pondering my Long run while Hangin’ with “The Dog”

The Dog

Just sitting here pondering my long run with “The Dog”.  She is happy to get some attention and I am happy to relax before I attempt my longest run.  Last year at this time my longest run was 6 miles.  Now I want to make between 15 – 18 miles.

I did take the good advice I got yesterday from Russ and others and took the day off of running.  We just did some shopping and I cut the hedges.  So I got a workout in anyway.

Today I plan on mixing up my route a bit.  I have a 7 mile route in our neighborhood that I run on long days.  Today however, I plan on running 2 five mile loops and then do the 7 mile route.  That will allow for me to come by the house and drink some water along the way.

Here is hoping for the “zone” that David mentioned.  I’m really going to try to make it a steady run and just see what happens.

Long run lessons

It was a good run yesterday, for the most part.

I ran the first 11 miles at close to a 9:00 pace. I honestly didn’t feel like I was pushing it much, but I guess I was. I tired to keep with my app, but I kept going too fast by the end of each split.

So, 11 miles went great. Then I came to mile 12. I lost all strength. It hit me out of left field. I suddenly had very little strength left. I ended up walking some of the 12th and 13th mile. I decided that rather than pushing myself, I would be glad I had a good run and head home.

I realized a couple things after yesterday’s run.

First, I pushed it too hard for the first 11 miles. Even though my perceived effort was low and I felt great, it was more than my system could handle. I should not have crashed as I did. Had I tried to keep my pace a little slower, I could have finished the course. As it was I ran 13 out of the 15 miles planned.

Second, I need to work on keeping my energy level up by taking some type of energy gel during my run. I read an article the other day that said, if you wait until you feel tired before you take a gel or drink gatorade, it is too late. Made sense. It said to start taking a little gel about 30 minutes into your run and then take more ever 15 minutes. Obviously you wouldn’t want to take a full gel every 15 minutes, but about a quarter of one each 15 minuted will keep your energy up throughout the race.

Last, I hurt my hip yesterday. I knew it was aching during my run, but that has happened before and not been a problem. Yesterday though, I was in quite a lot of pain about an hour after my run. It still hurts today. Since today is my off day, I am going to see how it feels after a day of rest and go from there. Based on my research, it sounds like it is my hip flexor that is inflamed. I am sure it was caused several weeks ago when I tripped on the sidewalk running. I hope it will get better on its own, but if not, I’ll see some type of doctor this week. Not good timing as I was just getting back into running well again.

So the ups and downs of my long run. The encouraging thing to me was the fact I am getting back to my Spring pace and had an overall good run. I just hope my second wind isn’t too close to the marathon that I run out of time.

Saturday, the Retro Run in Birmingham. It is a fun 5K that we did last year. Hopefully I’ll be all better and ready to run! Going to see Neill (@bigbiggeek) there and about 5 other people I know (plus TJ and RS will run). Can’t wait.

Vacation / running / record month

It was a great weekend thanks to HM.

For Father’s Day HM took my lovely wife and myself to Chattanooga, TN.  He paid for the hotel, food and gas.  It was a great time and nice to get away for a couple of days.

Of course, as I planned this trip, I had to figure out where to run.  I looked online and found out that there is a bike/pedestrian path that runs next to the river appropriately called, “Riverwalk”.  So Saturday morning at 6:00 I went out to find this Riverwalk and to run my 8 miles.

It took a while for me to find the beginning of the main path, but some nice people on bikes pointed me in the right direction and I was on my way.

I had a great run.  It was beautiful, peaceful, and the course was relatively flat, especially compared to my neighborhood.  Here are some images I took with my phone as I ran…

The Riverwalk path

The Riverwalk path

The view from the Riverwalk path

The view from the Riverwalk path

My run on Saturday went really well.  I took Friday off running as I had run the 9 days prior and we had to travel after I got off of work.  So Saturday my legs were fresher and I felt much better than I had the past week.  It also didn’t hurt that it was about 30 degrees cooler than the last day I ran in my neighborhood.  So I pushed myself a bit, which I haven’t done in a while because of the heat.  I worked a few miles at trying to keep my marathon pace and was fairly successful.  To be honest, if it weren’t for my trying to find this path in the beginning, I would have averaged in the 8:00 – 9:00 range for the whole 8 miles.  Alas I ended up at 9:02 pace which isn’t bad.  In fact it is the best pace I have had since the heat kicked in serval weeks ago.

Sunday was different.  I woke up at 3:00 and couldn’t get back to sleep.  I really didn’t “feel” like running.  I was tired and sore, but I went out anyway and ran the Riverwalk.  It wasn’t nearly as fun, but I still managed a 9:58 pace for 8 miles.  My goal was to run 15 miles, but I ran out of time as we had to eat and check out of the hotel.  Also I was just tired and couldn’t do the extra miles, even after we got home yesterday afternoon.  So, sadly I missed my first 200 mile month by 7 miles.  Still it was my first month over 150 miles, so 193 isn’t shabby.

Looking forward, I think I will cut back this week and try to let my body heal.  My achilles is better, but did bother me yesterday.  Also during my Thursday run/walk in 101 degree heat, I wasn’t paying attention and tripped in a crack in the sidewalk.  I lunged forward and had to catch myself.  It really messed with my left hip which hasn’t been a problem since the half marathon in February.  It was better Saturday, but much worse on Sunday and last night I woke up in pain.

So, with 1o weeks to go to my marathon, I am having to pull my training back to recover.  On the bright side, it is not supposed to get out of the mid 80’s here for the next week.

Today is another planned off day and I’ll see how I feel tomorrow.

Thanks again HM for the trip!

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.


Quick Sunday Running Update

Off to do my long run, which fortunately is only 10 miles this week since I am almost through with my recovery week.

Why fortunately?

Well, I had a horrible night sleep.  I don’t know why, just one of “those” nights.  I woke up at 12:30 AM and drifted in and out of sleep from then on.

Anyway, not wanting that to stop me, I am heading out.  Tomorrow is supposed to be my off day, but since I probably won’t have time to run Friday, I’ll try to run tomorrow and take Friday off.

Also I wanted to mention that my friend and trail running partner Neill adding running posts to his blog.  Here is the address, go visit and see his progress toward a half marathon.

Happy Sunday.

Achilles fix? Maybe!

93 miles in 2 weeks.

43 miles last week.

13 miles on Sunday.

That is a lot of miles for a 50 year old who has been running just over a year.

Many of you know that I have suffered with achilles issues for some time now.  I haven’t been writing about it because my ice baths for my foot after running has been keeping the problem in check, but it has still been difficult at times.  One bad moment was when I was getting up from sitting and hit my heal into the back of the chair I was in.  That sent me through the roof.  An hour later I was out running and the run was okay, but I had more pain.  That was Friday.

I had been thinking about the logic of stretching my calf to relieve the pain in my achilles. Everyone says to stretch by leaning forward with the foot on the ground.  Yes I can feel the stretch in my calf, but I also feel the pull on my achilles.  Then I thought, many people will tell you to take time off from running and let it rest to get past the issue.  So why am I stretching and pulling against it if it needs to rest?  Finally I got a foam roller to roll on my calf.  I am to roll until I feel a knot and then hold the knot until it releases.  This I did.  But it is hard for me to spend more than a few minutes doing this along with other stretching, running, family, work, dog, etc.

All that to say, I did something Saturday night that allowed me to begin my run on Sunday with NO pain in my achilles.  I ran 8 miles until I began to feel a little pulling.  It was amazing to me.  It is like when it is hot outside for weeks and one morning you go out and it is cool.  Wow, what a difference.  You notice it right away.  That was my run yesterday.  Zero pain.  Ahhh.

So what did I do?

I laid in bed while TJ and my Lovely Wife and I watched the first Spirit of the Marathon.  I put my left knee up with my foot on the bed.  I took my right leg and set my calf directly on top of my knee.  Then I dug in.  I could apply as much pressure or as little pressure as I wanted.  I finally found a spot on the outside of my calf that hurt a lot, so I worked that area for over an hour.  It hurt, but it was easy to continue.  I just watched a movie and did about 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off of allowing my knee to massage and kneed my sore calf muscle.  That was it.

The next morning (Sunday), I got up out of bed for the first time in a long time with no pain.  I knew I did something right – finally.

I’m not saying that I am fixed.  After my run yesterday my achilles was pretty sore, so I did some more work on it last night, but not much.  I feel asleep too fast.  Still, I now know an answer that I hope will permanently fix my achilles.

Time will tell.

It was a good long run by the way.  I did well until the 12th mile and then stated to fade.  Much better than last week.  So I am making progress.

12 weeks until the Lehigh Valley Marathon!  I hope I’m ready.

My virtual coach – a big help running

Yesterday’s run went well.  It was a bit tough since I had run so late on Friday, but not too bad.  No walls which is good and since I ran early in the day, it was cooler.

I have been really trying to follow my virtual coach’s instructions on my run (from the iSmoothRun app).  I think this will be a huge help in my marathon.  I have issues with starting too fast and then burning out quickly.  Since I have been using it the past two days, I not only start slower, but I keep a fairly consistent pace throughout  my run.  This has helped me conserve energy and be able to finish much stronger than I used to.

Today will be a good test.  I am going for my long run of 13 miles (TJ did 21 yesterday – wow!).  I am going to do the first mile slow to warm up (especially my achilles) and then try to keep about a 9:30 mile.  That has been my pace as the heat has hit.  I did get up early so that I can get my run in while it is still the cool of the day, but in the South, mornings can be hot even before sunrise.

Anyway, I will use my virtual coach today and see how it goes.  I hope to finish my 13 miles feeling good and get my confidence up for longer long runs as our marathon is just 12 weeks away.

On a side note, the cooling shirt that TJ got me for Father’s day that I was so excited to use for the first time on my long run was way too small.  Very strange as I got a large.  It wasn’t even a comfortable tight.  So I’ll take it back today and hope they have an extra large.  I am disappointed, but at least I am running most of my run before the heat kicks in.

Happy Fathers Day to all you dads.  Go for a run and everyone have a GREAT DAY!!!

50 mile week and I felt it yesterday!

They say that the way you feel in your run isn’t the total miles of that run, but the sum of the past three days of running.  This is because of the time it takes to recover from a run.  Well if that is true, then I know what happened yesterday to the end of my run.

The sum of my last three runs (including yesterday’s run) was 27 miles.

It was my long run day and I was feeling pretty good as I began.  I needed 13 miles for the day, which put me at 50 (PB) for the week!  Here is a quick summary or my run:

Miles 1-4: Felt pretty good, surprisingly good in fact.
Miles 5-9: Getting tired and hot, especially toward the later miles.  Ran past the house to get some Gatorade.
Miles 10 – 13: I hit the wall and never recovered.  I slowed down to about an 11:00 pace – seemed like I was barely running. My legs were shot and I did everything I could just to finish.

My Lovely Wife eventually sent TJ to search for me since I was taking so long to get home.  It was nice to see a friendly face driving up beside me as I had 1/2 mile to go.

My philosophy, as I have stated before, is to not worry about speed this summer.  I am training for a September marathon and the speed will come, but my body has to get used to the miles.  So as I run I do what I can, but if I have to run slow to get my miles in, that is what I will do.

We are at 13 weeks before the Lehigh Valley Marathon in Altoona Pennsylvania.  This week the temps get up near 100 and I have another 50 mile week to put in.  Next week I will taper down about 25% so that will be really nice to get a break.

I just have to keep my eye on the prize.  In some ways (forgive me ladies) I feel like I am 6 months pregnant.  I am doing all I can do each day to get by, but I know that it will all be over in 3 months, then I can relax.  Okay, not a good analogy, but it is the best I can think of at the moment.

Off day today. 🙂 Yay!

A great run with TJ

Monday’s are my day off from running… Not yesterday!

I decided to take yesterday off from work as a last minute thing.  The 5K put me behind on some things I had to get done during the weekend and I just needed a break.  So, I got to sleep in and rest and run.  I ran Sunday for my long run and it wasn’t pretty.  I was wiped out from the 5K, but needed to run anyway as the marathon is just 14 weeks away.  I didn’t break any speed records, but I got 10 miles in.

Yesterday I was going to run in the morning, but ended up going out do spend time with my Lovely Wife and get some things done that we didn’t get done from the weekend.  I saw TJ at his work and he mentioned us running together in the afternoon, so I was glad I had decided to hold off.

Well the afternoon came and we went running.  It was warm but not as hot as it has been.  TJ has suggested I work on running 50 miles this week, so I am going to average 7 miles a day with one 9 mile day and a 13 mile long day on Sunday.  Finally he and I went for our run.  It was fun – until the end.

I ran really well.  I felt well and according to his app, kept about an 8:07 pace through the first 6 miles or so.  The problem was that I hit a wall at about the 5.5 mile mark.  I started really feeling the run and it was hard to concentrate.  Unfortunately I had 5.5 really good miles in and didn’t want to just crash the last mile and a half.  So I kept up the pace.  TJ wanted to run a half mile further than me so we split at the last half mile and I ran home.  

I was beat.

I would say that I was as more tired from this run than our 5K.  I ended running about an 8:16 pace.  My app had problems and measured me running at 8:29, but I know I was running faster than that, so I went with TJ’s app.  

So I have now run 9 days in a row.  I am taking today off, which is good since it is going to be 90 this afternoon.  

Anyway, I appreciate running with TJ, it makes it much more fun for me, even though it is a slower pace for him.  Funny, we were talking and I found out that last year at this time he was running an average of 5 miles a day at an 8:30 pace.  That is about where I am now.  Last year at this time I was running 2 miles a day at an 11:30 pace.  I think just putting in the miles 6 days a week has made the biggest difference.  Also the workouts that TJ has shown me how to run has really helped.

I am looking forward to my day of rest – two days late, but also enjoying to memories of a great running weekend.