Ice bath for my foot after my run. Life is good.

I ran my planned 4 miles yesterday and did pretty well.  My heel (probably achilles) was a bit sore during the day so I kept ice on it and kept it elevated most of the day at work.  Actually it didn’t hurt while I moved,  just as I sat.  

I had several people mention ice to me.  One coworker mentioned taking ice baths in college after running (and the night before a race).  A friend of mine also mentioned these compression and ice combos that look very intriguing (http://110playharder.com/shop/).  

In light of these discussions, as I ran I got an idea (this happens a lot to me as I run).  Why not try an ice bath for my foot?   So I got home and found a bucket and filled it half way with ice.  I filled it up with water, sat outside with the dog as I usually do, and put my foot into the bucket.  COLD was my first thought.  I know from past physical therapy on my wrist that when you apply ice to an area, it first stings, then hurts and finally goes numb.  The point of numbness is what you want (but not too long of course).  So after about 15 minutes I took my foot out and let it dry and warm up.  The idea is that while it is cold, it is difficult for the body to get blood to that area, so when you take it out of the ice, blood rushes there.  That causes your muscles and such to repair much quicker.  

Well it was something to try.  I don’t know if it did much for me.  My heel is still sore today but not to walk on.  I may take today off and give it more time to rest.  The hard thing is that it doesn’t hurt when I run or walk, so I hate to just sit.  But I do what I need to do.  I Cor 9:24 says, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.”  Why run, live or do anything half way.  I want to do everything to the best of my ability while being wise at the same time.

So that is my latest adventure.  Tomorrow TJ, RS and I are going to run the 5K route we will run next week at the Spring Scramble.  We like to run our race routes ahead of time so we know the ups and downs and how to plan for the race. 

Should be fun.

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How to run well? Keep it simple.

I am the type of person who has to learn by experience.  Life teaches many lessons and in my life, I have learned by doing the wrong thing sometimes,  the right thing sometimes, and then applying the right thing to my daily routine.  The same is true when it comes to running.  Over the past 13 months, I have learned many “what to dos” and many “what not to dos” by experiencing them each day on the road.  Of course, I also learn by reading articles and talking with others like TJ about their experiences and what works for them.  I think running ultimately, like most things in life, cannot come down to a cookie cutter mentality.  This is why I am not good with training plans that lay out what workout to do each day, how many miles to run each day, etc.

I need simple.

For the first 10 months of running, all I did was run miles.  I honestly didn’t know what workouts to do or what would be best for me.  I needed simple.  So I went out and ran 2 miles a day for 5 days and 3 on Sunday.  I remember the first 6 mile long run I had.  I was so tired that I accidentally went to the wrong house after I was done thinking I was at TJ’s home.

During this time I would alternate between working on distance while running at a slower pace and working on speed while trying to keep up my distance.  I didn’t have anything in particular that would guide me on when to do either one, just a feeling that I needed to change up between the two.

One day, about a month before our first half marathon, TJ came to me and we talking about his workouts he was doing.  They consisted of “tempo runs” and “hill runs”.  Hmmm.  Interesting.  So he finally convinced me to try these different workouts.  They really helped and that experience is still helping me today.  I went from running 13 miles in my neighborhood at a 9:00 pace to my half marathon under an 8:00 pace all within a month.

So here I am, still running the miles, still increasing the pace, still doing the workouts, still learning by experience.

Yesterday I worked hard at running relaxed.  I am convinced that running relaxed is a key to running long, fast and without injury.  I relax everything that I can, even my lower legs to some extent.  Yesterday was a good run and only got difficult near the end when I was tired (I’d been up since 1:00am) and forgot about relaxing.

This morning I became a bit overwhelmed thinking of running a marathon at an 8:00 pace.  It was the same feeling I had when TJ told me I should try for running our half marathon at an 8:20 pace.  I wrote that day in my blog, “I think I am in over my head”.  I wasn’t.  As I said earlier, I ran it just under 8:00 and the last mile was at 7:47.

Why am I writing all this.  Just to solidify my thoughts and theories about how to run my marathon in September.  I know that if I can run with good form and run relaxed, I can easily make my goal.

Only time will tell.

Records, goals and a great running app

I’m excited!  I had a record month for running in April.  My last record was 151 miles.  April 2013 – 176 miles!  Wow am I sore!

Really though, I am excited to know that I can run that many miles in a month.  That isn’t much for a lot of runners, but for me, it is amazing, especially since I have only been running only 13 months.

Yesterday I had a goal to reach.  My goal was to run 6 half mile intervals at a 7 minute pace.  I have not done well with half mile repeats.  They are hard and for some reason every day in the past month that I run them (usually Tuesday) it has been the hottest day of the week.  Yesterday was no different, however it was cooler than last week.

So I decide that in order to reach my goal, I would have to increase my recovery time between my intervals and slow down, even to a walk if needed to recover.  I really want my body to get used to running that fast.  It worked.

I ran my intervals and jogged slowly and walked in between.  I was able to get all 6 completed and averaged 7:00 overall.  My total time for the full 7 mile run was just under 9 minutes, but that didn’t matter to me.  With our 5K approaching in 18 days, I really wanted to get my speed down a bit and intervals are a great way to do that.

Just a word of advice.  If you run with an iPhone and don’t use iSmoothRun, you need to get it.  It really is the best running app available.  Not only does it keep up with your runs, shoes, miles, weather, etc., but it is invaluable doing interval runs!  It tracks each interval and recovery between intervals.  It even tells you audibly if you need to speed up, slow down or stay steady during the interval.  No more looking at the phone or just hoping to get the right time.  When you are done with each interval, it gives a recap of your time so you know how you did.  Finally it doesn’t have a connected website, but lets you export to about 15 different sites (like Nike+ and Runkeeper) and to Twitter and Facebook.  I wholly recommend it.

So that was my day.  I am sore today and my hip isn’t doing the best.  I will do an easy run this afternoon in the rain.  I am glad to get my speed workout behind me and move on with the week.  I’m looking forward to our 5K.  It should be a lot of fun and I have a lot of people from my work going to run it with TJ, RS and myself.

5K and marathon training – Doing both at the same time

To begin with, a word of thanks to my big brother for the post yesterday.  I was really blessed with what he said (and I think he is a great writer :))  It means a lot that my journey affects others in some way.  The path I am going on isn’t easy.  It is hard work and requires a lot of sacrifice from my family, so when I read what big brother wrote yesterday, it really encourage me.  THANKS!

Now, on to a dilemma of sorts.  I guess it isn’t a dilemma, but a choice that has made some of my training more difficult.

I really want (as you all know by now) to qualify for the Boston Marathon in September.  I read more and more articles saying that huge number of people are hoping to run it because of what happened there this year.  Totally understandable.  For me, I set my goal months before the race. I have a long way to go to get to the point of qualifying by September.

I also love running 5Ks with TJ and RS.  We ran five 5Ks our first year of running and had a blast.  The first one we ran was the Spring Scramble about a month after we started running and so we wanted to run the same race this year.

Here is the issue.  I am trying to train for the 5K, with the knowledge I only have 5 months to prepare for the Lehigh Valley Marathon (link).  I chose this marathon because it occurs just before Boston registration and 25% of those who run it qualify for Boston.

I don’t know if my training is at cross purposes or not.  I really want to run the 5K in 20 minutes if possible, but I also really want to begin increasing my mileage so that I have a chance in September.

Yesterday was a half mile repeat day of training.  TJ says these repeats are great for getting speed up for the 5K.  It was rough.  I don’t know why, but I tend to do better running 3 miles straight than running 1/2 mile and a minute rest and then repeating the process.  I did okay, but not near my goal of under 7:00 per mile for 6 repeats.  In fact I only made 2.5 repeats and had to stop and just run some recovery miles.  On top of that, I got a rock in my sole of my shoe that was in so deep I could feel it on my foot and had to stop to dig it out.  Crazy.  I only made 6 miles total even though I was trying for 7.  Some days you just need to cut your losses and go home.

Today is another day.  Just a regular run.  I am really going to try to slow it down.  I think I have been pushing the speed a bit much lately.

So to sum up, Boston Marathon /  Spring Scramble.  I would have never thought I would be pushing for these goals just a few months ago.

I love running!

2014 Boston Marathon – Is it possible for me to go?

Ahhh, the long run day.  Today is where the rubber hits the road, so to speak.  I am all ready to head out, but I must say that getting up at 5:00am on a Sunday morning is not my thought of fun.  However as my long runs get longer, I am going to have to sacrifice sleep on the weekend for running.  In the end, it will be worth it (I can’t believe I just wrote that).

I am trying something new this week (yes, there is something new from time to time in my routine).  I took Saturday off from running rather than Monday.  I will see how this works out.  I really need a day off before my long run as I do better after a day off.  However that will have me running non-stop into the week and my workouts.  I know… I could take 2 days off – but who would be that crazy!!!

I haven’t mentioned Boston since Tuesday as I wanted to give some time before I talk about running next year.  I’ve noticed news articles this past week on how interest in running the Boston Marathon has skyrocketed since the tragedy last Monday.  Notice the image below.  Talk about skyrocketing…  Click the image to read the story (but not until you finish my post, of course).

Huge Interest In Qualifying For Boston 2014

I have some mixed emotions about this.  One side of me says, “Great!  Look at all that support and how people are coming together after a terrible tragedy”.  But the other side of me says, “Now with so many people wanting to qualify for Boston, I probably won’t make it for 2014”.  I’m not trying to be selfish, just honest about what I am feeling.

I am very encouraged by the response to last Monday.  Personally, I’ve had many people that have sought me out to say that because of this blog and my goal, they thought of me after what happened.  It is nice when people are so thoughtful.

So my eyes are set on a goal.  I’d rather not have to wait until 2015 to run Boston and I’d also like to support the marathon the year after the tragedy.  I have 5 months to train and to run my first marathon under 3:30 to qualify.  What are the chances of a 50 year old who will have only been running for 18 months being able to do that?  Not very high.  But I am going to try.  This was a personal goal from the beginning, long before last Monday.  Now it is even more important to me.  I will work hard to qualify for this marathon one day.  Maybe this year, but if not, then next.  If not next year then I’ll keep trying until I cannot try anymore.

I am still praying for those affected by the events last Monday.  So many people are hurt, afraid, confused, etc.  Some wounds, even time can’t heal.

Here is to Boston!  We are with you.  We will support you.

I hope to see you soon. 🙂

Hill runs and races – workouts and payoffs

Hill run day yesterday… Need I say more.

Hill runs are good for you I hear.  TJ has really helped me in understanding the reason for the various workouts we do. Hill runs are just another part of the puzzle.  I’ve mentioned this hill we run before, but just to say it again, it is huge.  It goes straight up it seems for about a tenth of a mile and then levels out a bit and then is just semi steep for another tenth of a mile.  In fact the first part is so steep, I can’t run down it.  I’ve tried and it is more of a defensive run than a run.  Also, if I try to run down it, my knees are killing me afterwards.  So now I run up and walk (or walk in a falling forward motion) down.

All this for the workout.  I must admit that workouts really help break up the routine of running 6 days a week.  I start with a tempo run (I’m at 3 miles now) and then 2 days later do my hill run and then 3 days later do my long run.  Unfortunately I don’t recover very well from the hill run.  As of yet, though I’ve only done a few hill days, it takes until my day off (Monday) to get over the soreness.  I know that will go away, but wow I am sore afterwards!!!

The good news is that yesterday I was able to do 4 repeats up the hill.  That is the most so far and wasn’t too bad.  I didn’t sprint up the hill, but just tried to keep a steady pace.  I can tell that it really works out my lower body, which is good.

The 5K is just under 2 months away and I really want to do well.  I don’t know about other runners, but TJ and I really work at speed and distance.  I love 5Ks because they allow you to push hard for a short distance and really see how good of shape you are in.  I really enjoyed the half marathon because I had to pace myself and not push, but try to hit a sustainable pace for 13.1 miles.  That took much more strategy than the 5Ks I’ve run and in some ways made it more enjoyable.

Ultimately it is the races that make running fun.  They keep me pushing forward, up and down hills, fast and slow runs, over and over, week after week.  On race day, it all pays off.  I can’t wait for May 18th, our next 5K.  I only hope I can make my goal!!!  Only time (and workouts) will tell.

Yesterday, a good, easy run

Yesterday I felt good.  It was a good day from the moment I woke up.  Why yesterday, I don’t know.  Maybe because I was thrilled with my tempo run the day before.  Maybe because my goal of a 20:00 5K in May now looks possible.  Maybe it was just a good day!

After work I went for my run.  It was to be an easy run day, so I wanted to keep my pace slow.  Usually I work at going as fast as I feel comfortable, but I now realize that in doing so, I was actually hurting my overall running ability.  My goal now is to take my easy days easy and my workout days hard.

I want to also concentrate on increasing my mileage.  I have been “stuck” between 35 – 45 miles a week for a long time.  Our marathon isn’t until December and I know I have  plenty of time, but I want to begin the task of upping my mileage now, so I can slowly get to where I need to be rather than only having 12 weeks to get there.

So how did my run yesterday go?  Good.  I ran 7 miles for the second day in a row.  I thought of going 8, but knowing that today is a hill run workout, I didn’t want to do too much.  But it was a good run.  I averaged an 8:30 pace and, except for a couple of twinges, felt great for most of my run.

This is my new goal.  To enjoy my easy runs more.  To feel like I am running at a good pace, but to also feel like I could go farther at the end of my run.

Today the hill stands in front of me.  Not looking forward to that.  But I have learned by my years of living on this planet that the best things come by enduring through the hard things.  Hill runs are tough.  Tempo runs are tough.  But a 20:00 5K… priceless!