Running in the heat has put my marathon on hold…

Heat!  Summer heat!  Fall heat!

I am so tired of running in the heat.  Unfortunately the only real consistent time I have to run is at 3:00 each day.  So I just head out and try to be as consistent as I can.

You would think that being October, the heat would dissipate.  Not!  Yesterday it was 86 with a heat index of 90…

I know I shouldn’t complain, but it just makes it that more difficult.  I was thinking yesterday that I didn’t remember it being this hot last year (or at least running in the heat).  I then remembered that I spent most of last fall injured from repercussions of my marathon race in September.

All this to say, I won’t be able to run the Jacksonville State Marathon this December.  Sadly, I just don’t have it in me to run more then 4 – 5 miles a day and usually by Friday, I’m totally worn out.

I now set my sights on the Shamrock Marathon in Va. Beach on St. Patricks Day.  Hopefully as cool weather sets in, I’ll be able to find some more strength and stamina to get some training going.  Also, there is a lot going on with things unrelated to running at the moment that I would like to get past before putting so much time into training to run a marathon.

As of right now, cooler weather might start next Tuesday.  One can only hope!

Tom

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

To marathon or not to marathon…

I’m thinking about it…

I might just do it…

I am debating another marathon.  Of course that shouldn’t be big news to anyone who knows why I named my blog 278toBoston.  However this is big news to me.  I had almost just given up on running another long race.

The summer has been difficult to say the least.  It has been hot and tiring.  My goal is to run 4 miles each day I run (going for at least 5 days a week) and I have just added a 7-8 mile run on the weekend.

Basically I’m in survival mode running.  Just enough running to not lose the gains I have made in the past few years.

Back to the marathon.  I have a great Hungarian Dr. friend who lives in Jacksonville, Fl.  After I ran my last marathon, he said, “Okay Tom, now that you have run a marathon, you aren’t doing any more, right?”  He was afraid that I could hurt myself by running so far.

Well now he is wanting me to run the Jacksonville Bank Marathon in December.  He wants us to come down and spend time together.  I think the marathon is the excuse he is making for us to come down for a visit, but it is tempting.

A couple of pluses… It is a flat course. It is at the end of December in Florida.  It is 80% shaded.  It is very scenic.  He is an awesome friend.

So, now with confidence from my hill/mountain running over the past couple weeks, I am at a place where I have to make a choice to train or not to train for another marathon.  This training will be easier then last years training as I won’t be doing the bulk of my training in the summer heat.

Anyway, I will make up my mind soon.  My last/first marathon clocked in at 4:14, so a sub 4:00 marathon would be awesome.

Decisions, decisions…

Should I or shouldn’t I…

More on my decision within a few days.

Tom

Running with a positive outlook

This continues to be a strange season in my running life.

Yesterday I came home and wasn’t feeling well.  I had a bit of a sick headache.  My thought was to perhaps skip my 5 mile run for the day and just walk a few miles.  By the time I got home I felt better thanks to my Lovely Wife suggesting I drink some chocolate milk.  I guess it was low blood sugar.  Anyway, I decided to go out for my run.

It went really well.  In fact it went much better then Tuesday’s run.  I did have my ACV before I went out as usual, but the run was stranger then my runs lately.

I ran easy.  I decided to not push myself.  I told myself to just take it easy and get a slow 5 miles in.

As I ran, I noticed my pace improving.  I wasn’t pushing myself.  In fact I was trying not to push.  The more I relaxed, the faster my pace got.  There were actually a few times where I got below 7:00 pace – and I didn’t feel like I was running very hard at all.

In the usual places I got a bit tired and did have a phone call during my run, but I felt strong and well for the whole run.

My last mile (almost a full mile – I don’t care much anymore about the last .05 of a mile) I ran at a pace below 8:00.  I was, however, pushing more at that point since I knew it was going to be a good run for me.

It was a good run.  8:23 pace overall.

Here is a breakdown:

20140402-161605.jpg

I really don’t know what I am finally doing right.  I feel good while running.  My hip is doing well.  My pace is getting better and my VO2 Max seems to be improving greatly.

I have had thoughts of increasing my mileage, but I am good with 5 miles a day and 8 – 12 on my long day.  Rhythm is important and I feel like I am developing one.  In fact, this was pretty much my whole training for my marathon.  5 miles a day during the week and 10 – 20 on the weekend.

So things are moving in a positive direction… Thankfully.  My weight is also down.  I was up above 190 for a bit, but am now at 187.  Hopefully that will continue to go down.

My half marathon is in just over 3 weeks.  I plan on getting in an 11 or 12 mile run this weekend and 13 the next.

This could be a very interesting race for me.  I’m beginning to actually look forward to it.

Tom

One year of writing a running blog

Today is my 1 year anniversary of writing this blog.

Okay, that deserves a picture!

Happy Anniversary To Me

Happy Anniversary To Me

It has been a crazy year.  When I started this blog, I had only run 5Ks and was preparing for my first half marathon.  I also had lost about 85 lbs and would loose another 15 (10 of which I gained back over Christmas.)

Since then, I ran my half marathon in 1:44, my marathon in 4:15 and PRed a 5K in 21:48.

I got hurt.  I thought I hurt my achilles, but actually it ended up being a heel spur.  I also jammed my hip during my marathon training and am still getting past it all.

I trained for my marathon in the hot Alabama Summer.  Nothing like getting up at 4:00 AM, working until 2:00, going to the Chiropractor till 4:00 and then trying to run in 100+ degree heat.

I missed qualifying for Boston by 45 minutes.  Still not a bad first marathon.  I had wonderful participation on my blog during my marathon as I ran and my brother kept people up on my progress.  TJ missed qualifying for Boston my 3 minutes – I was very proud of him.

Also a year of my Lovely Wife supporting me and putting up with me being out running 1-3 hours a day!!!  Thank you Lovely Wife! I honestly couldn’t do this without you!

So here I am.  One year to the day of starting my blog.  This is my 322nd entry.

Thank you to all of you who follow and encourage me on my journey.  It has been a heck of a ride so far.  I am not giving up on my goal of Boston.  I am going to do it.  I will continue until I make it and then… maybe start ultras?

One year down, another on the way.

God bless you all.

Tom

Running with memories

“Hello” I said after my Lovely Wife handed me the phone.

It was 11:30 at night.

“Hello, this is Bob, I work with your sister.”  The voice spoke back.  I didn’t know a Bob.

“Your sister died today in a scuba diving accident”.

SILENCE

There are many things that drive us in life.  Many memories that run us down.  Sometimes we have things to prove to the past, to those who went before us, to ourselves.

My sister had run several marathons with my dad and brothers.  She was always “on me” about exercising and taking better care of myself.  I remember one conversation where she asked if I would just walk the treadmill each day.  I didn’t.

My dad never recovered from my sisters death.  Although cancer took his life, I think somehow it would have been different if it weren’t for that night when Bob called.

It has been ten years since my sister passed away.  It has been 8 years since my dad passed away.  Why am I writing about this…?

I started running several times since 2003.  I would run and then stop for some reason.  I don’t know what made this time different.  The main difference is that I didn’t stop.  I kept running.  I know TJ and RS running helped keep me going.  The races have made running more fun.  My Lovely Wife has encouraged me more than anyone.  She has been great.

Ultimately though I think I am running with memories.  Memories of my dad running marathons from 55 years old into his 70s.  Memories of my sister and brothers running with him.  The lack of memories of me doing the same.  I did run a 5K with him once, but really nothing other than that.

As I approach my first marathon, I will be running in the memory of my dad and sister.  They never saw me run.  They saw me overweight and barely able to walk a mile, let alone run a marathon.

So I am running this race on Sunday for my Lovely Wife, for my kids, for my mom and brothers.  But most of all I am going to be running with memories and in memory of my dad and sister.  I think they would have been excited to see this day come.

I know I am.

I choose not to run… maybe

What a month last month was for my running.  I needed that month to be able to go to the marathon next Sunday and not panic.

I had a PR in miles run in a month – 195.

I had two 20 mile runs.

I had two 28 – 30 mile weekends.

Overall is was a great month.  Except…

Okay, I’m beat up a bit.  My hip is feeling better today, but my achilles on my right foot is not good and the upper part of my left foot (where you tie your laces) is still hurting quite a bit.

I’ve decided that I am not running another step until I feel better.  Today I am working, but tonight I will soak my feet in ice water and heat my back (not at the same time 🙂 ).  My goal is to get to the starting line at the Lehigh Valley Marathon and know that I will “rock it”.  That doesn’t mean I won’t run all week, unless of course it takes all week to heal.

So just consider this tapering on steroids.  I have to get my body back in a good place.  I don’t want to be a person who says, “I worked out for 4 months and then got hurt”.

I’m 50 years old and have only been running 17 months.  Everything I do is new to me in running.  I’ve learned a lot and I have a lot to learn.

If anyone disagrees (or agrees) with me on this decision to not run and to heal, please feel free to let me know.  I don’t want to regret what I did or did not do the last week before the biggest challenge of my life.

Running and help for my aching body!

I actually ran yesterday!  I am so thankful I chose to take Wednesday off (see yesterday’s post).  As I waffled in indecision, my Lovely Wife stepped in and helped me to finally decide not to run.  She is always supportive and wise.  I should listen to her more often!

Yesterday was a good run overall.  I got in my 5 miles in 95 degree index temperature.  It seemed hotter than that to me.

The run went well.  My hip and achilles started out hurting quite a bit, but after a mile or so of warm up they loosened and then no problem.  My first mile was at 9:46 and my last was at 8:23 so as I got loose, I got faster.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, I am not using my phone to tell me my pace.  In fact yesterday I didn’t even look at it.  I just ran what I wanted to run and it worked out.  I ended up with an 8:56 overall pace.  Not bad in the summer heat.

A coworker and fellow runner gave me a massage ball to try using on my hips and back.  It is about the size of a tennis ball but harder.  I gave it a try last night before bed as we watched some TV.  I just put it between the bed and my hip and put pressure where the pain was.  I moved it some and also put it between the bed and my calf muscle some.  This morning I am moving better than most mornings.  I think this might have really helped, but I can’t tell for sure until I try it for a few days.

I have a foam roller but don’t use it much.  This ball was convenient and easy to use.  I could pinpoint my pain and just let it sit in place for a while. It is called a Trigger Point Massage Ball.  He purchased it in a local running store for about $20.  I assume a tennis ball would also work, but this was much denser and was easy to dig into my hip even on the bed.  Time will tell.

A week from today we leave for the marathon.  Wow, it will be here before we know it.

An amazing run that never happened

Listen to your body…

How many times have I heard that over the past few weeks!

Yesterday I was at my Chiropractor and I was glad to be there.  The track run the day before was horrendous on my body.  My good hip hurt so much that it was hard to walk.  I got up in the middle of the night and limped to the bathroom.  Work wasn’t much better.

After my last few blog posts there seemed to be a theme from the comments and that theme was, “Listen to your body”.

As I was waiting for the Chiropractor to come into the room, I had made up my mind I was going to run after the appointment.  Yes I had been in pain and I was tired, but it was to be an easy run and only 5 miles.  I could do this… But in the back of my mind were the “what ifs”.  What if I run and my hip gets worse?  What if I hurt myself and can’t run the marathon?  All those miles and all the pain would be for nothing.  Then came the other “what ifs”.  What if I don’t run and that would have been “the” best run?  What if I don’t run and in some small way it affects my marathon?  It is only 5 miles after all, I can do that much.  Finally, if I ran all my planned  runs this week I’d be at a 200 mile month which I’ve gotten close to before, but never actually achieved.  “I can’t give that up”, I thought to myself.

The doctor came in.  He adjusted me and asked about my running.  He said I was really stiff and spent extra time trying to loosen me up.  Finally he asked if I was going to run after my appointment.  I told him I was waffling back and forth as to whether I should run or take a day off to recover.

His response…

“Listen to your body”.

Alright, I might be a little obsessive about my running.  I need to be.  If I weren’t I would have stopped long ago.  But eventually hearing all of your comments on this blog and his response got to me.  I knew I had to take the day off.  Sometimes things are said in such a way, and so many times, that I know it is wisdom and not just a coincidence.  This was one of those times.

So I went home.  I got in bed.  I read your blogs.  I rested with heat on my back and hips.  I slept.  I got up this morning and felt great.  I’m still a bit sore and it was hard when I first got out of bed, but I almost beat “The Dog” down the stairs for the first time in weeks.

So yesterday was an amazing run.  I ran it in my head and not on the streets.  It may have been the difference between a good marathon and a great one for me.  It might not make much of a difference.  Either way, I’m glad I didn’t run.

Ten years from now when I am reading blogs and posting comments to help new marathoners, my advice will be:

Hi IrunBecauseIwantTo (made up blog name).
Years ago I was preparing for my first marathon.  I had trained a lot and had a rough couple of weeks toward the end of my training.  I got some of the best advice from fellow runners that I had received in my year and a half of running.  They told me over and over, “Listen to your body”.  Finally I listened.  My marathon was awesome and I can look back and see it was that advice that made all the difference.  So I leave you with the same advice.  Listen to your body and have a great marathon!!!

Yesterday’s split run

Yesterday was a strange run.  I ran in the afternoon and it was pretty hot.  I realized that for the past 4 days I’ve run in the morning (except for Monday which was my off day).  Since I needed to try and run a tempo run, I decided to try a public track and see how I would do with something flat.

This track is really nice and has a “rubbery” surface (I don’t run track so I don’t know what it is called).  Unfortunately, it really hurt my hip.  I guess the feedback from the track must have messed with me.  I ran one mile at 9:00 pace and a second at 7:35.  Then I had to stop.  I felt disheartened and headed to my car and drove home.

By the time I got home, I thought I would just try to get the mileage in so that I would have my 5 miles for the day.  So I went out slowly as to not aggravate my hip further.  I ended up running 3 miles at 9:25, 9:01 and 7:57.

So it wasn’t even close to a tempo run.  In fact, I would just call it a strange run (oh yeah, I already did).

As I ran I kept thinking to myself, “Don’t over do it.  You have a race in 10 days.  Listen to your body”.

Today I go back to the Chiropractor after work and then run an easy run.  Tomorrow I’ll probably run the bike path near work again.

I admit I’m sore and tired.  I’m close to a record month, but don’t want to overdue it before my marathon.  To be honest, I would probably just run about 20 miles this week and 10 next if it were up to me.   I may take off an extra day this week just to recover a bit.  Next week I start my vacation Wednesday, leave for PA on Friday and run the race Sunday.  Right now the weather is supposed to be in the 50’s when the race starts with a high in the 80’s for the day.