6 miles a day

6 miles a day…  That is my new run.

In order to make this easier for me psychologically, I kept my 5 mile run in tact and added a mile at the beginning.  So now, after the first mile my mind thinks I’m still running my old run.  In fact it went so well yesterday that I ran 6 miles at 8:23, which is one of my best paces for my 5 mile run and my last mile yesterday was under 8:00 mile.

I am really working on “riding my run”.  I wrote quickly about this the other day, but I am concentrating on letting my legs run and my body rest.  The more relaxed I am the easier and faster I can run without as much effort.  Mentally it is like my body is riding my legs rather than my whole body trying to get me going.  That may not make sense, but it really seems to help me.

I have a meeting all day Saturday, so my (possibly last before my half) mountain run will have to wait until Sunday.  That is usually the way things work, but I wish I could do the mountain run Saturday.  Just my preference.

Also I got our hotel for the Country Music Half Marathon in Nashville, TN yesterday.  Not cheap, but not a bad price.  Everything is set and I’m running better then ever in my 350 mile Brooks.  I can’t wait to get my new pair – unfortunately they won’t be in until next week.  That won’t give me long to break them in before the race…

Life is good.

Tom

Life is cyclical and so is running – Yesterday was a good day!

Life is cyclical – that is something that I have been realizing lately.

If one of my kids come to me and say that they are having a difficult time with work or with a friend, I say, “life is cyclical; if today is a bad day, a good day is coming and, unfortunately the same is true in the other direction.”  There are good days and bad days.  If you can’t see beyond today, then you believe everyday will be the same as today.  That can lead to depression or to exhilaration; both are bad if you can’t see past today.  The key to life is to understand that you can learn from good days and bad days.

That was a bit of my philosophical side coming through there, but it applies to running and to my blog.

I have found out over the past 14 months of running that there are great days and horrible days running.  In between those days are just normal days.  I have been having a bit of a difficult time lately because of the heat.  I have gone from running an average of 8:30 pace to getting excited to hit 9:30.  To me that has been a bit depressing.  I have been telling myself, it is the heat.  It is the Summer setting in (of course we are still in Spring).  Still, to go through 3 or 4 weeks of slowing down and just being happy to finish and meet my mileage goal rather than my pace goal has been difficult.  Even on my Run Plan tab above, I have changed the emphasis to mileage and not pace.  What really worries me is that in September I need both mileage and pace.

Then there was yesterday.

It was a little cooler and overcast when I went out to run.  I have a reduced week of running this week to recover some from the higher mileage I have put in, so that is also a help.  I began my run and it began to rain.  It rained hard!  Then the thunder hit about mile 1.5.  I decided to head home and hope it passed by.  After about 10 minutes the thunder stopped and it was still pouring outside, but I decided to go back to my run anyway.  I had to stay close to home so I could go inside if lightening started, but it was still fun.  The rain made it cool and my run went great.

I began running at about a 9:00 pace.  The next two miles were near 8:30 pace.  The forth mile was near 8:00 and my final mile was 7:55!  It was soooo nice to be able to run faster for a change.  Of course 7:55 is going to be my marathon pace so that one mile will be my average for 26 miles, but who is counting.  I am just ecstatic that I ran well and had a great time in the rain.

Life is cycular.  I know there will be hot, humid days ahead where I’ll be glad to hit my 9:30 pace.  But today I am so thankful for my run yesterday.  It gives me hope and keeps the fire burning.

The best run

Wow, what a Friday run. All week my runs have been horrid. They were slow and painful. What I mean by painful is that my legs felt tight and heavy. Not yesterday.

It was awesome. I ran faster yesterday for my 7 mile run than I have ever run in my neighborhood. The only faster time I had was during my half marathon. I ended up with an 8:02 pace and a 49:45 10K which is a personal best for me (outside of the half marathon). I felt like I was a runner during the run. I know that sounds crazy, but my legs were relaxed and my stride felt perfect. My cadence for each mile was between 89 – 90; perfect!

I think the difference yesterday had a lot to do with the weather. It was a perfect day. It was 70 degrees, sunny, low humidity and a nice cool breeze. We had storms the night before and got rid of a lot of the pollen that was in the air.

To be honest, I was getting a bit worried about my running. I know I over did it this week, but things were so bad that I was beginning to not look forward to going out. One good run wiped that feeling away!!!

I am taking today off to get an off day since I didn’t get one on Monday as I planned. Tomorrow is my long run (12 miles). I am now looking forward to it!!!

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!

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!

What a week

About 10 years ago an older man saw me rushing to meet someone for a meeting and told me, “sometimes the journey is the destination”. I found a shirt with a similar saying on it and have worn it in my last two 5Ks. That saying really helps me in running, especially running the same route in my neighborhood six days a week. For some reason, some days/weeks I go out to run and just dread the time. I am sore or tired from getting up at 3:00am. I usually run after work, somewhere around 2:00pm so it has already been a long day.

This was not one of those weeks…

Here are the personal records I broke in the past 7 days:

5K race – Time: 22:10 Pace: 7:09
10K run – Time: 52:17 Pace: 8:22
10 mile run – Time: 1:28:36 Pace 8:49

To steal a line from Apple, running this week “just felt right”. I really didn’t push it (other than my 5K). The journey was my destination and I felt great. I’ve decided to try and keep under a 9:00 pace for my half marathon next month. Being my first race over 3.1 miles I don’t know what to expect. I have heard from TJ that it is wise to begin slow and finish strong. I am really looking forward to it. Then after a couple of 5Ks this summer and our first marathon will happen in the fall. Who would have thought that less than a year ago I couldn’t run more than 2 miles. I am really enjoying the journey!!!