278 to 3500

Today is my running anniversary.

I’ve now run for 3 years and over 3500 miles.

I started this journey at 278 lbs.  My running began after a physician directed diet that brought my down to 220 lbs.  I now weight 186 lbs.

Running isn’t easy for me.  Starting my running career at 49 years old and having been in horrible shape, my running is almost always accompanied by pain.  I run with hip pain and heel pain most of the time.  I don’t know if it is a good thing or not, but the hip and the heel are on opposite sides of my body.

Over the past 3500 miles I’ve learned a lot about myself.  I don’t listen to music while I run, so it is just me out there.  I can be a boring person to run with by myself. LOL.  I have learned to do things while I run.  I pay more attention to my surroundings, I pray, I say hi to people I pass.  I try not to think of the next hour or two that I’ll be pushing myself and try to distract myself in anyway I can.

During my runs I have solved a lot of problems.  It may be the oxygen getting to my brain, it may be the quite and the fact I have nothing else to do but think.  I will say that most of my good ideas and problem solving have occurred during my runs over the last 3 years.

Just some philosophical musings from a 3 year runner.

Yesterday’s run went great and I have a new system for running that seems to be working well.  I’m going to try it a few more times and then I’ll post it for everyone.  So far, I’ve done this for 3 runs (4, 13 and 8 miles) and my runs have been better, stronger and I’ve felt better afterwards.  Check back in a few days and I’ll tell you my system if it keeps working for me.

Have an awesome week and keep running!

Tom

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The perfect recovery drink for runners

I’ve been running now for almost 3 years. Sometimes after a run I’m shot. Exhausted. Breathing hard. Just not feeling great.  

After my last half marathon I had this type of feeing. I pushed hard during the race as I generally try to  do. I figure that I want to look back and enjoy the results. Momentary discomfort is totally worth it when you PR or just know you did your best. There is a need to be wise and not hurt yourself, but the feeling after a hard workout or race is awesome. 

Okay. The drink. I’m sure I am not alone in knowing this, but it took years for me to figure out the best drink after a tough workout. Beer!

So after my last half marathon I wasn’t doing well. I drank Gatorade, water, chocolate milk and after 30 minutes I was still not doing well. I found myself at the beer tent and had my 1 beer that they offered. Within minutes I was back to my old self. My mind was clear and I was no longer tired in the slightest. 

I kept that experience tucked away for 8 months.  Fast forward to the recent increase in my running.  My first long run was tough. Very tough. I couldn’t get myself to relax and knew it was about to become a long day.  I was driving home and decided to get a Gatorade at a local supermarket. I was exhausted. Then I recalled my half marathon experience. I decided to try it. I went to the beer isle at 9:00 on a Saturday morning.  I ended up with the non-alcoholic beer, Odules (it was 9:00 🙂 ).  I got to the car and downed one before I even put the keys in the ignition. 

In minutes I felt awesome.  Just like my half marathon, I had a 180 turnaround and felt like I never had an issue.

I now try to keep a recovery beer with me on all workouts. I had a really hard workout this weekend while visiting my mom in PA. I ran 13 miles with 2200 ft climb and when I finished… I needed a recovery beer. I took it out of the fridge and in a minute or two my breathing went to normal, my mind cleared and I felt great. 

Once again, this may not be big news to most runners, but it t really is a miracle recovery drink.  

Beer. I knew it was good for something. 

Tom

The perfect run plan (for me)

It has been a great couple of months running… with no purpose to run.  I have no races planned, no “reason” to run.  I have, however, run more miles in the past two months then anytime in the past 18 months. 

My run plan has changed. I used to have a plan I posted on this blog each week.  That stopped after I crashed and burned post marathon.  Now my plan is simple and consistent. It works for me, so here it is (if you care 🙂 ). 

Monday: 8 mile hill run. This is about building my strength and helping my back and hip. I credit this weekly run with the reason I have been able to run so much the past 2 months. Also, Monday is the beginning of my running week and it is motivational to have an 8 mile run and a hill run out of the way first thing.

Tuesday through Thursday all depends on my run cycle. I run 2 long weeks and 1 short week and then repeat.  On my long weeks I try to get in 2 – 3 eight mile runs a week with shorter runs in between. On short mileage weeks I generally stay at 4 miles a day for the rest of the week until my long run on Saturday. 

Friday: I try to keep Friday short. Usually about 4 miles. The main reason is Saturday morning is my long run and my run Friday is late afternoon. I can still “feel” my Friday run on Saturday morning, so I try to take it easy. 

Saturday: Long run: At the moment, on my long weeks I run 13 miles on Saturday morning and short run weeks are 10 mile Saturday’s. This has been huge for me as running a 13 mile run each week has never happened for me in the past three years. It puts my 8 mile runs in perspective and really helps finish the week off on a good note. 

Sunday: This is to be a day of rest and letting my body heal for the hill run I’ll do on Monday. However, Sunday is the only day RS and I can ride trails at the state park, so generally we will do that for an hour or so Sunday morning. 

So that is my run plan. At the moment, I run 45 – 50 miles on long weeks and 30 – 35 miles on short weeks. 

Really I do have a goal. My hope is that I’ll finally developed a base to run more miles and keep injury free.  So far so good.  I’ve slowed my pace down about a minute a mile and increased my mileage by about 1/3 over the winter. I REALLY want to run another marathon this year, and though I’d love to BQ, I am not obsessing about that right now.  One day I may make it to Boston (maybe), but if I don’t have good form and a strong base, it will stay a dream and never become a reality. 

Sorry for the longer then usual post, but I’m sitting in an airplane on a trip to visit my mom. I haven’t seen her or my brothers since the day after my Marathon 18 months ago, so I am really looking forward to it. 

Be safe. Run your own plan. Get help from others, but know that running isn’t done in a cookie cutter fashion.  Fine your spot, run your plan and you will succeed. 

Tom  

Running by time

Running by time

I had an excellent 13 mile run today.  

Last week’s 13 mile run was so hard and all I could think about during the run was to count down the miles. It was really bad. 

Today, I knew I would take at least 2 hours to finish, so I purposely ran in a way that I didn’t know how far I had gone, and waited for 2 hours to check my mileage. I was relaxed and really enjoyed running and not thinking of mileage.  At the 2 hour mark, I looked at my phone and had less then a mile to go. 



So I ran my long run at a 30 second faster pace and felt good at the end. I was tired and could feel it in my legs, but I really felt good.  So for the second week in a row I’ve run exactly 45.7 miles and this week was at a 30 second faster pace overall. 

Finally I ran 163 miles for the month – the best mileage in 18 months and it was on a short month. 

Next week is a recovery week, so I get to cut my mileage by about 20%.  In a way I wish I could keep my mileage up, but I’m trying to run smarter and my 52 year old body needs some rest so I don’t get hurt. 

Running is beginning to get fun again. 

Tom

My week running and learning life lessons from my workouts

I made my goal this week – but it wasn’t pretty!  My goal was 45 miles and after my low mileage week last week, I had hopes for a great set of workouts.

Monday 6 miles – My plan was 8 miles, but it was raining hard, I was soaked.  I was cold.  I ran through puddles 2 inches deep and it was getting dark, so I figured I’d cut my day by 2 miles and try to make it up later in the week.

Tuesday 10 miles – My plan was for an 8 mile hill run with TJ, but after the hills (crazy hills), I decided to make up my 2 miles from Monday and ended up with a 10 mile weekday run.  This was the longest weekday run I’ve had in my short career and was a lot of fun with TJ.

Wednesday 4 miles – My plan was for 4 miles in order to give my body a rest.  I started the run and knew it would be rough.  I was tired from the 14 miles the two previous days.  It was windy!  30 mph winds right in my face.  So as I was running into the wind, I could tell I was using my hill run muscles – and they weren’t happy about it.  I finished, but I was exhausted – really exhausted!  RS had to drive me home.

Thursday 8 miles – My plan was for 8 miles and I did it.  It was very cold (wind chill in the low 20s) and it was  a rough run, but I got through it and felt great about my mileage so far.

Friday 4 miles – I planned on 4 miles as I knew Saturday I would have the longest run I’d attempted in a year.  The run was okay.  I was a bit sore and tired from the week, but my weight was down (183) to the lowest it had been in a LONG time and I was really glad it was Friday.

Saturday 13 miles – This was tough.  I planned on 13 miles.  I knew if I made it, I would have a record week since my marathon 18 months before.  After about mile 5, I started fading. By mile 8 I was doing poorly.  I didn’t bring goo or any type of help for the run as it was a training run and I wanted to “feel” the whole run.  I hit a wall at mile 9.  It felt similar to my marathon.  I thought as I was running that if I finished this run, I would have run 25 miles in 3 days, so my body was feeling that mileage.  RS was running in the same park and by mile 11, I texted him and asked him to run with me my last two miles.  I was really hurting, but I wanted to finish.  People hit walls all the time in races and I wanted to get past it and finish what I started.  I finally made my 13 miles – I was shot.  I finished just under a 10 minute mile.  It took me 20 minutes just to be able to drive home and then I still was doing poorly.  After a shower and recovery drink I felt better though.  Honestly, if it weren’t for RS being with me, I might has stopped early.  I probably should have stopped anyway, but I was determined to finish my long day and record week.

I think running is like life.  Some days are great, some aren’t.  Some days there is no reason why the day is as bad as it feels.  Some days you want to give up half way through.  But learning to push yourself past that point is a life lesson that running really helps with.  Knowing that as your run the race, you are running for something more then just running.  You are training for lessons in life that are invaluable to learn.

I’m glad I run.

Tom

Finally success running smart!

I had a successful week running last week.  For me it was amazingly successful.

I’ve been running 41 miles a week for several weeks and to prevent a crash in my running, I decided to have a low mileage week.  My goal was to run 31 miles during the week with my longest run being 6 miles.  I ended up with 30.9 (but whose counting).

By Sunday, I felt great again.  My soreness was gone and my body “felt” healed.  This is huge for me.  In the past (1.5 years ago when I used to run this kind of mileage), I would keep running the higher mileage and then after a month or so I’d get hurt or have some issue that set me back into the low 100s.

Yesterday was going to be and 8 mile run, the first run of my 45 miles week (post recovery).  I did run, but it was raining hard and getting dark as the afternoon got late.  I got a late start because of issues beyond my control and by the time I got to 6 miles, I called it a day.  It was raining so hard toward the end of the run that it was like I was in basic training in the army.  I could barely see through the rain.  It was awesome.  I had negative splits with the first mile at a 9:40 pace, down to 8:15 my last mile.  I’ve learned to start out slow and then work my speed up throughout my run.  It makes all the difference in a good run.

There was one other soul out running at the same time as me in the park.  Just us two, going opposite directions and passing each other slashing in the puddles.

So my plan was for 8 miles yesterday, but I settled for 6.  I’ll make up the other two sometime this week.  Today is an 8 mile hill run, then Wednesday 4 miles, Thursday 8, Friday 4, and Saturday 13.  Sunday will be a 10 mile bike trail ride with RS and then it all starts over next Monday.

By the way, I was reading the recap of my only marathon and all the comments from it the other day.  Oh how I want to run one again.  This time, I want to run it smartly and with strength.  No plans yet, but maybe Chicago?  That would be cool! Maybe I could see my friend at runningonhealthy.com. 🙂

Happy trails.

Tom

Racing the sun in running shoes

This is my recovery week for running.

I’ve run 41+ miles for two weeks in a row and now need my body to heal a bit.  In the past, I would keep increasing my mileage until I got close to 200 miles in a month and then my running would crash.  My monthly charts look like stair steps going up, up, up and then major drop off.  After my marathon in Sept of 2013, everything crashed.  Now, I’m trying to be smart about my mileage and strength.

Yesterday was a particularly tough day in general.  It started as usual waking up at 4:00AM and at work by 5:30.  After work, I was looking forward to a slow 4 mile run with RS at the park while JR rode her bike.  I got home at 3:30PM and sat in my car for a minute and just enjoyed the silence.  No one wanting something from me, no noise, just quiet.  I thought, “I could sit here for hours and just relax”.

Then my phone rang!@#$%  It was work with a major database crash.  SERIOUSLY!!!  I finally have a “zen” moment and it is all over in seconds.

I spent the next hour recovering the databases (successfully, BTW) and then rushed out the door to get to the park to get my 4 miles in before dark.  I don’t run after dark outside of my neighborhood – just my preference.  We got to the park and I knew it would be close.  RS and I started our run out much faster then I wanted.  We had no choice.  We were racing the sun and that isn’t an easy thing to do.  Also my lovely daughter was riding her bike and I didn’t want her riding after dark.

As we came up to the 4 mile mark, it was dusk.  The sunset was beautiful and we were tired (more from the 8 mile hill run the day before then this run).

So we beat the sun… sort of.  Unfortunately this was to be a slow, easy run (as are the rest of the runs this week).  I need to recover, and racing the sun isn’t the way to succeed in slowing down.

Another 4 mile run today (and the rest of the week) and then 7 on Saturday and I’ll be at 31 miles.  Next week, 45!

Tom