Hill run and weight loss. Great day!!!

My hill run days are not days I look forward to. However I must say that I like them more than my tempo runs.

Yesterday went well. It was still cool and overcast but not raining. I got my 2 warmup miles in and then headed for the hills!

I did better this time. As I’ve mentioned this hill is very steep on the first half and then less steep but longer for the last part. This time I decided to time my assent on each half with the stopwatch in my phone.

So… I ran the hill 4 times up and down. This was the first time I ran down as it is so steep I was concerned running down it, but I figured eventually I’d have to start, so I went for it. The first time up I ran the steep part in 1 minute and the long part in 1 minute. Not bad. After going up and down 3 times, I went for my forth. It was tough. I did it in 1:11 for the steep part and 1:04 for the long part.

All in all it was my best hill run so far. My splits were in the 8:00 range until after my fourth run up the hill, and I finished the last two miles in the 9:00 range. The whole run was at 8:49 for 7 miles and 6:00 faster than last week.

One last note: This morning I got on the scale and weighed 176.9. That is lower than I have weighed since college. Wow, it has been a strange week. I started weighing 184 and ended lower than after my diet. Must be because I added some carbs to my diet.

7 miles today and then the weekend. I decided to take today off from work, so it is going to be a nice 3 long weekend for me. More time to run ūüôā

5K tempo run… The best one ever!

I’m very excited about my run yesterday.

It was my tempo run day and I was dreading it.  Running that hard for that long is difficult for me, but it always benefits my running.  After my tempo day, I run easier, faster and with less effort.  So I make myself do them and I never regret it.  I do dread it through.

Yesterday I ran 2 warmup miles in my Saucony Mirage 2 shoes (my favorite shoes) and then came home and changed into my Saucony A5 racing flats and went for the tempo run.  TJ started me doing this where he changes his shoes before beginning at tempo pace.  It not only gives a chance for a little rest, but it is amazing going from a regular running shoe to a light racing flat.  It feels like there is nothing on your feet.

My hope was to run 2 of my tempo miles under 7:00 pace and then the third as fast as I could, knowing that I would be tired.  I have never run 2 miles under 7:00 pace before, but I wanted to get use to the feeling of running that fast.  I wanted my brain to learn how fast that was and my legs to know how to keep at that pace.  So, I went for it.

I finished 2 miles feeling pretty good. ¬†From my iSmoothRun app, I could tell that I should be averaging under 7:00 pace. ¬†The third mile was an effort. ¬†But the idea behind a tempo run is to hit the wall. ¬†To know that feeling when your body says, “No more”. ¬†Well after yesterday, I know that feeling.

So how did it go?  Here is the breakdown of my tempo miles:

Mile 1 – 6:50 pace
Mile 2 – 6:50 pace
Mile 3 – 7:02 pace

Wow, I set a person record. ¬†My last 5K race I ran at a 7:09 pace and a total time of 22:10. ¬†I was not in a good place when I finished as it took 10 minutes of medical attention to get me back to a normal breathing state. ¬†I ran this 5K at a 6:54 pace and a total time of 21:29. ¬†I couldn’t be happier. ¬†It was hard, but I was able to get in 2 recovery miles afterwards.

TJ, RS and I are training for a 5K in May where my goal is to run it at 20:00 (6:26 pace). ¬†It is a big goal, but this will be the first 5K I have ever actually trained for. ¬†I’ve also learned that I need to run my easy runs at a slower pace. ¬†I’ve read that those who run too fast all the time end up running slower and getting hurt more than those who run 80% easy and 20% fast.

Today is an easy day, and I need it.  I am a bit sore this morning, but not too bad. It was worth it!

With all the dreading of my tempo day, it was the best day ever.

It’s an honor to be nominated…


Thanks StriveBalance (strivebalance.com) for nominating me for the Liebster award. You would have been one of my nominees, but someone beat me to it. ūüôā

She has a good summary of what Liebster means on her blog along with a lot of other great posts. Check it out.

I am rather new to blogging, so I wasn’t sure what to do next. The idea here is to post the image, tell 11 random fun facts about yourself, answer 11 questions and nominate other bloggers for the award. So, here I go…

11 random facts about me:

  1. My mom went into labor with me at a Penn State football game.
  2. My mom and dad were married over half a century.
  3. I’ve been married over a quarter century to my lovely wife.
  4. I have 5 kids who make me proud each day.
  5. I became a Christian in August 1982.
  6. My dad ran marathons from his mid 50’s through his mid 70’s.
  7. I have 2 brothers and a sister who passed away almost 10 years ago (who I miss terribly).
  8. I am a VP of Information Technology at a non-profit.
  9. I’ve had my current job for almost 6 years and I still enjoy it.
  10. My lovely wife and I moved 13 times in 11 years, but have lived in the same house now for 10 years.
  11. I live in the South, but love the north.

11 questions asked by StriveBalance:

  1. What did you do today? Being 3:00 AM, I woke up, read my Bible, drank coffee and wrote this post. It is going to be a long day.
  2. What is your favorite movie? The Matrix (movie #1) – Sometimes reality makes more sense to me when looking at it in the context of this movie.
  3. What is your biggest dream for the next 5 years? Qualify and compete in the Boston Marathon.
  4. If you could snap your fingers and be anywhere right now, where would that be? Right where I am. I love my life and wouldn’t change it for the world.
  5. What is the last book you read? Steve Jobs.
  6. What keeps you motivated to blog? I love feedback and “likes”, but I mainly blog keep a journal of my “journey” so I can look back and remember where I came from, where I am and where I hope to be one day. Also, hopefully to help and encourage others to run and learn from my successes and failures.
  7. Who do you admire most, and why? My lovely wife. Not many people know her like I do. She has always supported me (even in some dumb decisions). She lost 90 lbs, even with a bad back and little exercise. Everyday I go running, she says, “Run fast and don’t get hurt”. I can go on and on. She is truly a grand old flag (inside complement).
  8. What did you want to be when you were a kid? A dog. Yeah, I didn’t aspire to much. I looked at my dog and she just got to lay around, play outside, eat and sleep. I thought, what a great life. I’m glad I grew up and got motivation to experience life.
  9. What is your favorite kind of run? Any run ( or race ) where I set a personal record. That is the best feeling in the world.
  10. What is your biggest pet peeve? People chewing in my ear. Either in person or on the phone. Especially chomping gum. It is like fingers on a chalkboard to me.
  11. What fills your heart with joy? Wisdom. To be honest, much of what I do is way beyond my ability. I can work for hours on a programming problem and just be stuck. I’ll tell my lovely wife and she will alway ask, “Have you prayed for wisdom”? After I do, I usually figure the issue out in a short time. That is the best feeling in the world. At work or at home. To be “stuck” and pray for wisdom and have the solution almost immediately. It is awesome.

Here are my nominees…

Finish Strong

I have written in the past that with running, “The journey is the destination”. That is very true for me. When I run each day, I try to enjoy the journey to keep me from being bored or giving up.

However, in a race the finish line is the destination. During my first half marathon I ran last week, I remember thinking to myself, “pace yourself, but remember that the time you finish with will be what you look back on”. I wanted to “finish strong” and know that I did my best. I did. I look back on my hour and 44 minute finish and think, “wow, how did I do that?” It has been a week and I still am excited about it and it motivates me to go on.

Now however I am in the middle of a two week hiatus from running. I am resting my body and dieting to help get my weight to a place that will make my running easier and less painful. When I ran the half marathon I weighed 195 lbs. That was up from my average of 190 over the past six months. Don’t get me wrong, the run was great and better than I ever imagined I could have done. Just 2 weeks earlier I did a 13 mile run in my neighborhood and was thrilled with a sub 9:00 pace and last week I finished with a sub 8:00 pace. That still amazes me.

Now I am looking at a different finish line. Not a physical race, but a diet race. I don’t want to hurt myself obviously, but I want to loose as much as I can so I can look back and say, “wow, I really stuck to that diet and now I feel so much better”.

Life is a journey and the finish line is death. I want to always improve, grow, mature and finish this race with the grace God has given me since the day I was born. Just like a first half marathon, I only get one chance to live a life that I can look back on as I see the finish line approaching and say, “I have run well. I have helped others. I have accomplished everything I was put here to do”. As I cross the finish line I don’t want any regrets.

I run because my dad ran and my siblings ran and I was lazy and got fat. I run with my dad looking down on me cheering me on. He died almost 8 years ago, but he still influences my life in a positive way. Today is his birthday. Happy birthday dad. My running is my present to you. I hope I will make you proud!

I love my dad even more 8 years after his death. Now you know why I love running.

First half marathon recap – It was fun

I admit I was nervous going into our first half marathon. ¬†I didn’t really know what to expect. ¬†The only races we have run thus far were 5Ks and now I’m looking at the starting line of a 13.1 mile race with thousands of people crowding around me.

It was fun.

The first 6 miles were easy.  They were relatively flat and it was amazing seeing all those people running through the streets of Birmingham USA. I was encouraged that my app was continually measuring my pace around 8:00.  My goal was 8:2o so I figured I was banking some time for what was ahead.  Then the hills began.  In fact it was more like on long 2 mile hill.  Not really, but that is what it felt like.  The people around me went from talking and laughing to breathing hard and being quite.  It was tough.  I was beginning to pace closer to 8:30, but I told myself where there are uphills, there are downhills.  Finally the downhills started and I was able to pick up some time.  The downhills seemed to last a couple of miles also and I was feeling much better.  I was also getting back into the high 7 minute pace.

The final leg of the race was the toughest.  It was three straight flat miles.  There was a small incline for a while and then just flat.  I knew I only had a couple of miles left and knew that the time I finished with would be the time I would have to live with, so I picked up my pace.  By the time I turned my last turn and had a half mile to go, I was shot.  I somehow kept my time up though.  With the finish line 500 yards away, I gave it my all.  I ended up finishing in 1:44.  I beat my goal of 8:20 with a final pace of 7:58.  I could have cried.  A month ago as TJ and I were beginning our workouts (hill, tempo and steady state runs) I really thought 8:30 pace was a dream.  Here I finished at a time that if I could have done that for the 26.2 miles, I would have qualified for Boston!  Thanks TJ.  It meant more to me that you will ever know.

TJ, by the way finished at 1:28.  How great is that for a first half marathon.  I was so impressed.  RS, whom I was worried about since he had been hurt so much, ran in Vibram 5 finger shoes and not only finished, but ran it under 2 hours!!!

It was an amazing day.  Now some much needed time off.  TJ is already getting our training together for the Spring Scramble 5K.  It was the first race we ran in when we started running last spring and so it will be great to run it again.

Just so you know, I LOVE RUNNING!

It was the best of runs, it was the best of runs

Guess what? ¬† Yesterday was the best run I have ever had. ¬† I ran 4 miles at a 7:54 pace and 3 of those miles averaged 7:48. ¬†I wasn’t tired. ¬†I wasn’t pushing it. ¬†It was just great.

Now to my question. ¬†Why was yesterday so easy when Monday was one of the worst days I’ve had running in a long time? ¬†I don’t know. ¬†I was using the same shoes. ¬†It was a similar day, other than no rain. ¬†The only thing I did do differently was eat a piece of plain bread right before I left (something I remember my dad doing before his runs). ¬†Surely a few carbs couldn’t have made that much of a difference.

Well I guess I won’t question it. ¬†It was supposed to be an easy run for 4 miles since we are tapering for the big day. ¬†It was so easy I thought my phone might be wrong. ¬†I know some days are better than others and TJ said he has had similar days, but this was about a minute faster than my normal pace about a month ago.

On to training for Sunday. ¬†TJ said today I should run a minute at half marathon pace and a minute jog and alternate back and forth. ¬†That is what he is going to do. ¬†It sounds good and I can make my phone tell me when to switch so that won’t be too hard.

3 more days to the half marathon. ¬†I was talking with a sales rep the other day who has run this race for 4 years now and he said it is very well done. ¬†Being my first I didn’t know what to expect. ¬†He said they have pacers who will run the half marathon (and the whole) at different paces so, for example, ¬†if you want to finish in an hour and 30 minutes, someone is setting that pace. Or if you want to finish in 2 hours, someone is setting that pace, and so on. ¬†I guess I’ll start in the two hour group and then try to pull ahead in the last few miles. ¬†He also said there is lots of food, beer (9:00 in the morning?) and massages given to runners. ¬†I am hoping my lovely wife comes to cheer us on, but I understand it might be a bit difficult for her to sit for 3 hours with a bad back. ¬†I’ll understand if she doesn’t go, but it would really be special if she did.

That is it for now. ¬†This is so exciting, it is like Christmas is 3 days away and I’m an 8 year old kid.

I love running.

Another reason I do tempo runs

I like the effect tempo runs have on my running, but they are torture to me while I’m running them. ¬†Yesterday was my third tempo run and for the first time I made my goal of running 3 miles at a tempo pace! Thanks TJ for encouraging me to do this run. ¬†I really was dreading it.

About half way through the run I starting feeling tired and my body was saying it had enough. ¬†This time I didn’t listen to my body and I pushed through. ¬†I kept telling myself that I was in charge of my body and that my body wasn’t in charge of me. ¬†It reminded me of something I read in the Bible where Paul says, “…I beat my body and make it my slave…”

I think this year of running has made my body my slave where in the past I was enslaved to my body. Contrary to what my body tells me, I drink a gallon of water a day, I eat less, I run more and I have given up pizza.  Okay that last one was a lie.  I love pizza.  My body wins on that one.

So, although I hate tempo runs, they make my mind stronger then my body.

I guess some people call this being disciplined.  I waited 49 years to achieve this.  I guess an old dog can learn new tricks.

I love running.

Best fall marathon? TJ wants to qualify for Boston!!!

First, yesterday was a great run. I mentioned in an earlier post that I tend to run faster after exerting myself in a 5K race. I started doing tempo runs this week with the input of TJ and it made a huge difference. I had a record 10K run yesterday in 50:55 total time. It really wasn’t much effort, except at the end when I was trying to get my 10K in under 51:00. I know it was the tempo run from Wednesday that made the difference.

The training continues for our half marathon. Today is a hill day (ugh) – my first. TJ says it helps a lot, but I’m not looking forward to it.

After our half marathon in February, we look for a marathon in the fall. TJ mentioned finding a fast marathon as he wants to qualify for Boston. He also wants me to qualify, but at this time I don’t see that happening.

Right now we are looking at Chicago or Jacksonville. Both are considered fast marathons. The advantage to Jacksonville is that I have a friend there we could stay with. The advantage to Chicago is that we also have friends there and we love to go to Ballydoyle’s Irish pub and also get some Giordano’s pizza. Another option that would mean a lot to me is the Marine Corp Marathon. The main reason for that is that this is the marathon my Dad and siblings always ran. It would be great to make my first marathon the same one my dad ran in years ago – also since <a href=”https://runat49.wordpress.com/why-i-run/&#8221; he is the inspiration for my running.

I don’t know if anyone has any suggestions. It is still early, but I know that April is when sign up begins for the Marine Corps Marathon and last year they filled up quickly.