Something has changed with my running

Two weeks.

The past two weeks, something has changed with my running… in a good way.

It all started 3 weeks ago.  I was complaining to TJ that my legs were shot and that I wasn’t even running much.  On top of everything, my back was a mess.  My right hip was hurting and I just couldn’t figure out what to do.

He reminded me that the hill runs I used to do would really help me and I hadn’t been doing them at all lately.  So the next Monday he and I set out for a hill run in a neighborhood nearby.  It has crazy hills.  Some high, some long, but every stride in this neighborhood takes you up or down a hill.  When we finished running all the streets, we had completed 8 miles of hills (and my longest run in months).  I was shot.  I had nothing left.  BUT I finished all 8 miles.

Since then TJ, RS and I have run those hills each week.  TJ and I have run them 3 time and RS twice.  The impact has been nothing but phenomenal!  I had one of the best months in January since my marathon in September of 2013 last month.  The past two weeks I have run 41 miles each week. These two weeks combined are more then most months I’ve run since my marathon.  I feel great.  My legs are strong.  Everything is beginning to click.

Now that I have had 2 high mileage weeks, I am taking this week and cutting back about 30%.  My legs feel great, but they feel the pain of the past few weeks.  The last thing I want now is the get hurt.

So I’ll run about 30 miles this week and then I’ll add 10% to my last couple week totals and up my mileage to 45 miles next week.

The great thing, is that I am not training for anything in particular.  I was going to run a half marathon in March, but that isn’t going to happen.  In a way, this is good.  I’m running for me.  I’m running because I want to.  I’m running for the challenge and not to prepare for something.  I can take this slow and do what ever I need to get back to where I was a couple years ago.

Don’t get me wrong.  My goal is another marathon.  But this time I want the strength, the ability. the grace to run it the best I can.

I’m running.

I’m glad.

Tom

PS: My daughter has suffered greatly with Fibromyalgia.  She had to quit work, she could barely move off the couch for a year.  Now she has lost a lot of weight, is biking and getting back her life.  This last week she ran with RS and me several times off and on during our runs.  She is up to running almost 3 miles a day and is looking better then I’ve seen her in years.  I can’t say how proud and excited I am for her and how humbled I am that God has given her the grace to “come back”!

Running with my new bike

With everything that has happened to me over the past couple of months, I decided to try to mix things up.

No, I’m not going to stop running.  In fact I hope that by the middle of March I will have completed 2 half marathons and 1 full. That might be wishful thinking, but hey, a man can dream.

Going back to Black Friday, I wondered into Dicks Sporting Goods with 2 of my kids.  There, in the back of the store were the bikes.  By that evening all three of us had new bikes.  These are by no means expensive bikes or ones that you might take a 30 mile ride on, but I really felt the need to have another avenue for my exercise and have been contemplating cycling for a while.

Yesterday I went out for my hill run and got back with tired legs and then RS and I hopped on our bikes and road a couple miles.  I didn’t want to overdo it and didn’t want to make me too sore, but it was a lot of fun and just enough to finish off what strength I had left in my legs.

My plan is to run and then bike each day for a while.  If I get hurt and cannot run, then I’ll just bike instead.  Done are the days of walking for an hour when I can’t run.  Of course walking is still an option, but now I have 3 options rather then 2.

Thanks for all the well wishes from my post from yesterday. I’m hoping and praying that I am now done with carrying stones in my body and can concentrate on moving forward again.

Tom

Finally a 10 mile run (negative splits)

It has been a long while since I’ve run 10 miles.  In fact, just to be honest, I haven’t run over 7 or 8 miles but twice in the past year.  Once was two weeks before my half marathon and once was my half marathon (RnR Nashville).

Why?

Well running up and down my mountain got me to about 8 miles and I considered that to be worth about 13.  That may not be true, but it really was much more then an 8 mile workout.  Then summer hit and I entered survival mode.  I decided I would set a goal of 4 miles a day and try not to miss more then 2 days a week.  That got me about 20 miles a week, just enough to keep me going.

Sunday it was cold here.  I know that it is cold it is up North, but for us, waking up to 36 degrees was a bit of a shock.  So I just stayed in bed.  In fact I stayed in bed later then I have in years.  I finally got up and decided I needed to get my run in anyway and man up under the cold.  By the time I got to our state park, it was a cool 50 degrees and almost perfect for running.  I will say it was too warm for a jacket during a run and too cold to go without.  In the end, I ran 2 miles with a jacket and then did the rest without.

I knew I could do the 10 miler, but also knew the temptation to tell myself that I could quit early, so after I ran the 2 miles and put up my jacket, I ran 4 miles in one direction and 4 back.  To be honest, it was hard.  My body isn’t used that long mileage anymore and the road back was mostly uphill.

The run was very rewarding.  I needed to get back to longer runs and figured 10 miles was a good start.  I am much stronger then I was during my marathon, which is good news.  All the hill runs paid off.  Also I mostly had negative splits, even with the last several miles being uphill most of the way.

So that run is in the bag.  I hope to keep the 10+ mile runs going each weekend for the long term.  I have the hill runs down, and adding the long runs will add to my strength.  I hope to run a half marathon at the end of December (Jacksonville) then another half in February (Birmingham) and finish with a marathon in Va. Beach in March.  Time will tell how this will go.  I got hurt a lot going into my last marathon, but I know now that I didn’t have the leg strength to do it.  I don’t know how I completed it, let alone ran it in 4:15.

Tom

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

Mile 25 of my 5 mile run

I had a mile to go to finish my run.

I was beat.  Totally beat.  I told myself that I would quit a half mile early.

  • It was hot – not as hot as in the middle of summer, but a hotter day then we have had lately.
  • I forgot to take my Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) before my run.  My legs were so tired and heavy.  Was this the reason?
  • I increased my mileage from 4 to 5 miles a day just this week.  Was that why I was beat?
  • I am running a hillier area and one hill is huge.  Am I just worn out?

These are the thoughts of a runner perplexed at 4 miles as to why his run is going badly.  Pace?  What pace?  I threw pace out of the window a couple miles ago.  Actually all summer I have kept my love for speed away and just tried to be consistent on the run.

I tripped.  Sort of tripped.  I literally stubbed the top of the front of my new running shoes.  I’ve never done that before, I thought to myself.  Maybe I should walk home.  I don’t want to hurt myself on a basic run.  I don’t want to be stupid.  I don’t… I can’t… I won’t…

Then the thought occurred to me.  Just a year ago I ran a marathon.  I felt worse at mile 25 of that marathon then I did now at mile 4 of my 5 mile run.  My body needs to learn.  I need to master my body.  It must submit to me if I ever want to run a marathon again, let alone qualify for Boston.  This feeling… The feeling of being spent, exhausted, tired, hot and having nothing left inside… Maybe this feeling is a gift.  Maybe this is training for mile 25.  Only a little over a mile to go and I’ll be done.  My body will learn that it has to comply with what I am doing.  Not to the point of getting hurt, but I need to teach my body, my mind and my spirit that I can run through this feeling.  I can complete the race.  I can run up that last hill and finish what I set out to do.

5.01 miles after I started, I finished.  I literally had nothing left.  It was hard to walk the rest of the way home (about 100 yards).

I finished. What a great feeling.  I had the worst run of the summer and I felt like I just completed a marathon.  I didn’t give up.  I didn’t give in.  I didn’t walk until I met my goal.

Today… who knows, maybe I’ll run 6 miles just for fun!

Have a great weekend.

Tom

New running shoes to the rescue!

So much going on here and the blog is screaming for me to write, so here I am, putting all else behind and writing finally.

Last week, my son got the flu, I got a small version of the flu – to be honest I was over it in just a day or two.  My son is back to normal now and we continue on with life.

I finally broke down and bought me a pair of Brooks PureFlow 3 on Saturday.  I was starting to have pains where I never have pains and my heel spur was getting angry, so I thought I should buy another pair, even though my shoes had less then 200 miles on them.  I’m glad I did.

As soon as I put on my new shoes, I could feel support in the exact areas I was hurting.  Looking at my old shoes, I didn’t really see much wear, but all my hill running had taken a toll on them.  What goes up, must come down, and running down steep hills at times means a lot of pressure on my shoes.

So I ran this weekend some.  Saturday was my off day, but I wanted to try these shoes out.  I put them on and ran a quick 2 miles.  They felt great.  My last mile was at 5K pace and it was over 90 outside.

Sunday I wanted to run a long run or my mountain run, but my body wasn’t over the pain inflicted by my shoes that were wearing out.  I chose to run 5 miles in my neighborhood.  The first three were lousy.  I felt weak, my legs felt heavy and it was very humid outside.  Then at mile 4 I began to come to life.  My legs finally decided to wake up and I had a great ending to my run.  I still kept it at 5 miles for the reasons stated above, but I was satisfied with my run.

Back to work today and then my hill run this afternoon if my body feels up to it.  Looking at the weather, we will be in the 90’s until a week from wednesday when the temps finally plunge into the 70’s.  Of course that is 10 days out and there are no guarantees.

I’m still debating on the marathon in December.  I have a lot going on right now and I remember the huge amount of time and effort goes into training.  So, decisions, decisions.  I have to make my mind up soon though.  Really soon.  It was exactly a year ago I ran my first marathon with TJ.  I must say it was a rewarding experience.

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