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.

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!

Rough interval run yesterday.

Some runs are like hills, you have up runs and you have down runs.  Yesterday was a bit of both.  During my run, I thought, “what have I done”, “this is the worst run ever”, “what was I thinking running on my day off yesterday?”.  You know… the thoughts that go through your head as you are just trying to get your next breath.

Drama aside, it was a difficult run.  Since I like to analyze my runs, I would say it was from several factors:

  1. I ran on my day off.  Not only ran, but ran a hilly neighborhood.
  2. I eat more than usual at lunch.  I got to catch up with a good friend, but also eat more than I should have.
  3. It was 82 degrees outside (27.7 celsius).  The hottest day in 6 months.
  4. I ran a new type of run.  I ran half mile repeats with 1 minute recovery in between.

Okay, it wasn’t fun.  I’ve established that.  I learn from my mistakes.  The good news is that I ran 5 miles in 7:57, but the bad news is I wanted to run 7 miles.  I figured I should cut it short when I started noticing tingling in my hands and fingers.  I figured that was a pretty strong clue that I needed to stop my run early.

I was encouraged by the pace of my half mile intervals though.

  1.  6:30
  2. 7:02
  3. 6:58
  4. 7:48
  5. 8:14

So, I did run pretty well.  It was tough though.  I mean REALLY tough.  So tough that I wondered why I do this to myself.  In the end, it will pay dividends.  To be honest, if I run my 5K in May at a 20 minute pace I’ll be grateful.  If I qualify for Boston in September, I’ll be beyond grateful.  We aren’t guaranteed anything in this life and I am honestly grateful to just be able to run.  Many people would like to and can’t for some reason or another.  I am a 50 year old man who 2 years ago weighed 278 lbs and couldn’t run 1/4 mile and now I hope to run a 5K in 20 minutes.  I love that about running.  It is what you make it.  It is up to you and the grace of God as to where you go and how far you take it.

Okay.  That is enough for today.  As I stated in the beginning, running is like a hill day.  Ups and downs.  The nice thing is that even when you are going up the biggest hill, you know that there is a down hill on the other side.

Tempo hill run

Yesterday’s tempo run went well.  It was tough as usual.  I have written about my tempo runs here before, but it is not something to which I look forward.  After my 2 mile warmup I took a deep breath and went for it.

This time I decided to run a different route.  Partly because I wanted to run in a different area and partly because there were more hills on the new route.  I figured that running a 5K as fast as I could and having to deal with hills would be a good thing to do to prepare me for the 5K we are going to run in May.  So my times weren’t as good as last week, but as TJ said, they were more in line with what the running calculator says I should run.

Here are my tempo splits:

Mile 1 – 7:02
Mile 2 – 7:23
Mile 3 – 7:13

Also I was able to run another 2 miles after my tempo run and the first of those miles I ran at 8:31 which was good for me since I am usually wiped out by then.

I am looking forward to todays easy run.  I realize that running tempo and hill workouts during the week make the easy runs much more enjoyable.  It becomes less boring running 7 or 8 miles at an easy pace after running 3 out of 7 miles at a tempo pace.  In fact overall, for all 7 miles yesterday I averaged an 8:07 pace, which is really good for me especially considering my last mile was a recovery mile at 9:25.

Only 10 hours until my run today.  I can’t wait.

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!

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.

A good tempo run… Go figure!

Yesterday I started my run with some trepidation.  Yes, I have never used that word before in a sentence, but it fits here.  My plan was to run my first tempo run since the week before my half marathon.  So it has been quite a while since I have attempted this run.  What scared me most was my body’s reaction to the workout.  My goal was to run 2-3 miles at tempo pace which is somewhere between 7:23 – 7:29.  Last time I was doing tempo and hill workouts was when my hip, knees and body in general rebelled and I was in a lot of pain almost every day.

So I began my run.  I ran 2 miles at a normal pace just trying to get warmed up.  My first mile wasn’t good.  My right hamstring had been hurting for two days and actually started hurting at work walking down a hall.  On my run it felt fine, but my left hamstring began hurting.  Crazy.  I really considered trashing my plans and just running a normal run.  By the time I got done with 2 miles, I felt better and decided to go for it!!!

I ran well.  I felt good.  The first two miles weren’t easy, but weren’t hard.  I decided to go for the third mile.  It was getting difficult to keep up my pace for the third, but I did.  I ending up running those 3 miles in an average pace of 7:17.  This put me just 40 seconds behind my 5K PR.  That was where I needed paramedics to look at me because I ran too hard.

Finally I ran a SLOW cool down mile.  I ended all 6 miles at a 8:10 average pace.

I haven’t been running well lately.  I seem to be slow and feel blah in my runs.  This run pumped me up.  I can still run the hard runs and with 15 lbs off of my body, it wasn’t nearly as bad.

So today is an easy day and tomorrow a hill run.  Hill runs have really hurt in the past.  I’ll be interested how my weight loss has helped in that area also.

3 days running and back on pace!

Getting my running legs under me again.  Yesterday was my third run since I took 2 weeks off and lost 20 lbs.  I felt really good running and felt my stride was longer and easier to maintain.  Ultimately I ran just over 9:00 pace on Monday and just over an 8:00 pace yesterday.  I did feel like I was pushing it a bit after the first mile, but I knew I was running well and wanted to see what I could do.

The good news is I am still not taking and anti inflammatory meds or fish oil.  I think that is my biggest success from my time off.  I used to be in a lot of pain with my hips and back that I had to be on meds everyday.  Now I really have almost no issues other than after my run yesterday my left hip hurt for a while, but the pain went away on its own.

I am trying to keep to my run plan.  Today and tomorrow I up my mileage to 4 miles each day and then Sunday I go up to 6.  I hope by next week to be in the 5 mile a day range again.  I just didn’t want to take things too fast.  Also, I didn’t have any muscles pulling as I ran yesterday so that was great.

Our next race is a 5k in May.  It was our first race we ever ran and it will be fun to compare our progress.  TJ has a training plan worked out for me when I get myself back to normal running.  My goal is to finish in the 20 minute range, which would be a miracle.  But in the past year I have seen a lot of miracles happen because of my running.  I wish more people could experience what I experience.

Running makes life an adventure!

5 more days to go on my diet and run recovery.  I am using a physician’s weight loss diet and am now at 182 lbs which is the least I’ve weighed since college.  It is going to be great to run again knowing that I have about a bowling ball less weight to run with.

I am a bit worried about getting running after my diet.  Mainly I know I’ll have to go slow since I’ve had almost no fat or carbs for a while.  I tend to want to push the envelope a lot and I want to be sure I don’t do that.

TJ is working with me on a running plan for our next race.  It is going to be the “Spring Scramble” in the first week of April.  This was our first 5K we ran after we began to run in March of last year.

Wow, a whole year is almost up.  I began running on March 25, 2012.  Is amazes me how far TJ, RS and I have come in a year.  Looking back at our first 5K, I barely finished in 32 minutes.  My goal for this year is to finish in the 20 minute area.  I am sure with TJ’s help, I’ll get somewhere close.

Life is always an adventure if you make it one.  That is why “I love running”.  Running is all about getting out there and doing it.  It is up to me to run.  Sometimes things get in the way like injuries or other responsibilities, but for the most part If I run, I do better at running.  If I run, I feel better about myself.  If I run, I feel like I have accomplished something.

The more I run, the more I love running.