Running with a positive outlook

This continues to be a strange season in my running life.

Yesterday I came home and wasn’t feeling well.  I had a bit of a sick headache.  My thought was to perhaps skip my 5 mile run for the day and just walk a few miles.  By the time I got home I felt better thanks to my Lovely Wife suggesting I drink some chocolate milk.  I guess it was low blood sugar.  Anyway, I decided to go out for my run.

It went really well.  In fact it went much better then Tuesday’s run.  I did have my ACV before I went out as usual, but the run was stranger then my runs lately.

I ran easy.  I decided to not push myself.  I told myself to just take it easy and get a slow 5 miles in.

As I ran, I noticed my pace improving.  I wasn’t pushing myself.  In fact I was trying not to push.  The more I relaxed, the faster my pace got.  There were actually a few times where I got below 7:00 pace – and I didn’t feel like I was running very hard at all.

In the usual places I got a bit tired and did have a phone call during my run, but I felt strong and well for the whole run.

My last mile (almost a full mile – I don’t care much anymore about the last .05 of a mile) I ran at a pace below 8:00.  I was, however, pushing more at that point since I knew it was going to be a good run for me.

It was a good run.  8:23 pace overall.

Here is a breakdown:

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I really don’t know what I am finally doing right.  I feel good while running.  My hip is doing well.  My pace is getting better and my VO2 Max seems to be improving greatly.

I have had thoughts of increasing my mileage, but I am good with 5 miles a day and 8 – 12 on my long day.  Rhythm is important and I feel like I am developing one.  In fact, this was pretty much my whole training for my marathon.  5 miles a day during the week and 10 – 20 on the weekend.

So things are moving in a positive direction… Thankfully.  My weight is also down.  I was up above 190 for a bit, but am now at 187.  Hopefully that will continue to go down.

My half marathon is in just over 3 weeks.  I plan on getting in an 11 or 12 mile run this weekend and 13 the next.

This could be a very interesting race for me.  I’m beginning to actually look forward to it.

Tom

Finally… a run

I survived the weekend and came out the other side feeling much better.  My recent bout of sickness culminated Friday with me leaving work early and crashing at home.  I thought some fresh air and a slow walk would help, but… Nope… I started out and then headed home and got rest.

The weekend was not restful however.  Saturday I went with RS to get a new TV for his room, JR got a new bed and HM got tires for his car.  That was just the major parts of the day.  I must say, through I wasn’t feeling great, I was better.

Sunday found me running again.  I don’t think I went too soon.  I felt good, it was a beautiful day and so TJ and I went to the park to run a few miles.  I had hoped to get in about 6 or so, but could only manage 4.  I still have some congestion in my chest which the run helped, but it also impacted my ability to run further.

So I am 90% better.  I don’t want to have a relapse, but I think I am past that.  I must say, this was the first time in my memory of the past few years that a cold knocked me down for a week. It was pretty rough overall.  I looked so bad on Friday that my boss made me go home early from work.  That was a first also.

Today finds me tired, but doing much better.  I really want to get back to my running schedule as I have a half marathon in 7 weeks.

By the way,, the weather today is going to be strange here in the deep South.  It was in the mid 50’s when I got up.  By lunch we will be in the 30’s and by the time I run this afternoon we will be back in the 40’s.  All we need is snow to make this a perfect day. 🙂

Last four months of running

It was a quiet weekend.  Taking a week off from running isn’t much fun.  Especially since my mileage has tanked in the past 4 months:

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  • August 2013 – 195 miles
  • September 2013 – 66 miles
  • October 2013 – 44 miles
  • November 2013 – 34 miles
  • December 2013 – 12.5 miles

So, I’m not real happy with all the time I’ve had to take off.  I’m hoping that after this week off, I’ll begin to get back to some sort of consistent running, even it is only a few miles a day.  Time will tell.

Part of my latest problem was that I was beginning to recover and run consistently and then ran a 5K and that set me back again.  My plan now is not to run a race before the Mercedes Half Marathon in February.  I REALLY want to run that as last year it was the most fun I’ve had at a race in my short running carrier.

So, onward and upward.  Only 4 days left in my self imposed rest.

Frankly I need to run just so I can keep this blog going.  A running blog without being able to run isn’t very interesting. 🙂

Tom

A surprisingly painless run

I was surprised.  I ran yesterday and it didn’t hurt… much.

I left the house figuring I would walk 3 miles.  I got outside and it was cold.  Okay, it was only 48 degrees, but in Alabama the humidity makes the cold a lot colder.  So I decided to just run slowly to warm up a bit and stop if I felt too much pain in my hip.  Well I never had to stop.  After 3 miles I was done, but feeling pretty well.

Honestly at this point, I really want to get back into the mode of running each day; even if that is only 3 miles.  I have a half marathon in February that I would like to run and then a marathon in March that doesn’t look likely at the moment.

On top of all of that, I will need to take the week off beginning Friday, so that will give me some more time to heal.

Ahhh the fun of the sport.  I saw someone yesterday that I hadn’t seen in 9 years and he mentioned several times how good I looked.  That made me feel pretty good, especially since I still have on the extra 10 lbs since my injury.

Run/walk/Boston/Hip/Mercedes post

Well this is the longest pause I’ve taken from my blog since last January.  I guess since the running hasn’t been happening and the holiday weekend was very busy and I only walked once…  I just had little to say.

About running.  I tried yesterday and my hip didn’t cooperate.  I got about 3/4 of a mile in before I had to walk.  As I ran I knew I felt stiff and pushing it wouldn’t be good, especially since it didn’t loosen up as I ran.  I blame myself for this.  I was just too busy to stretch and do the things I needed to do to recover from the 5K I ran a week ago.  I really wasn’t at 100% to run the 5K, but I wouldn’t have done it any different.  It was so much fun to see TJ win and me do well also.  Now I’m still paying for it.  That is fine though.  I am not complaining.  I’m thankful I can do what I can at this point.

It seems the Boston dream drifts further and further away.  I guess that is why I put that in my blog’s title, so that I would keep that as a goal.  I have to keep reminding myself that I have only been running for 20 months and have come a long way.  It is amazing what the human body can do when it is pushed.

Anyway, sorry to ramble.  I have started taking my meds for my hip again and doing my exercises.  Hopefully I’ll be back running my 3 -4 mile route soon.  I really want to run the Mercedes 1/2 marathon in February.  I ran it with TJ and RS last year and it was my favorite race of any I have run.  Lots of fun and finishing at 1:44 was a thrill.  I want to get better soon so that I can make it again this year.

I do know I’ll get better in time.  I learned a lot from my last time out for injury.  I just need to be patient and not push myself and hurt myself more.  That is hard, but easier this time than last.  I guess we learn wisdom with our experiences sometimes!

Today will more than likely be another walk as my hip hurts even as I write this.  Hopefully I’ll be better by the end of the week.

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving / weekend / life!

Tom

PureFlow running

I took the plunge.

Brooks PureFlow 2 - My new shoes

Brooks PureFlow 2 – My new shoes

These are the first pair of non-Saucony shoes I’ve owned.

Brooks PureFlow 2

TJ, RS and I went to the TrakShak in Birmingham yesterday evening to hear about training runs and events for the Mercedes Marathon in February 2014.  We’ve never really participated in group runs and training runs, so this is new.

While waiting for the event to start, I began trying on shoes.  TJ was a huge help as I have been one sided with Saucony and he has branched out a bit.  I really liked the Brooks PureFlow 2 as soon as I tried it on.  My foot is a little on the wider side and it had plenty of room.  It’s weight isn’t much more than the Saucony Fastwitch shoes I’ve been wearing for some time now and it definitely seems to have more support.

Hopefully this weekend I’ll be wearing them on at least one run.  I walked again yesterday because of my hip.  It is about 90% better, but I really want to give it the time it needs to heal so that I don’t have to interrupt my training for the Vulcan 10K coming up November 2.

The other great thing about the meeting last night was that there was a guy there who has run over 136 marathon and above races and has been running since the 70’s.  Here is his blog.  He is also a physical therapist, so I was able to ask him about my SI joint issues.  He was very helpful and recommended some easy stretches to loosen it up for running.  As with my Chiropractor, he said never stretch right before running.  He did say to stretch as much as I can throughout the day – thus I will.

I hope that things will start to settle down for me.  I really like to run and I am not one who likes to do many other physical activities.  I know that I should probably cross train and do other forms of workouts, but I am not an athlete.  I just want to run.  I don’t mind (but don’t really enjoy) running workouts.  They helped me get my first half done in 1:44 which I thought was great.  But for me running is simple.  Running is fun.  Running is what I want to do.  So that is what I do.

I’ll write about how I like the Brooks.  It really is about time for me to move beyond one brand of shoe.

Thanks for everyone’s ideas and support on my posts over the past few days.

I couldn’t do this without you all!!!

Running maturity – UGH

Sometimes the hardest run is the one that never happens.

I decided not to run yesterday as my hip is not good at all.  I made it to the Chiropractor and that was helpful.  I’d say my pain went down by half after he adjusted me.  So I went home and decided to walk with a thought in the back of my mind that if I warmed up and felt well after a mile or two that I might go ahead and run a little.

That didn’t happen.

I was still in pain.  Someone at work said that it sounds like my SI joint.  It probably is now that I think about it. About 12 years ago I was in so much pain in that same joint that I couldn’t even walk.  So I guess I’ve aggravated it all over again.

Last night I put heat on it and took Ibuprofen.  That seemed to help.  I must say that today it still hurts, but not nearly as bad.  I just have to do the mature thing and not run until it is better.  Sometimes I hate maturity. 🙂

Tonight TJ and I are going to a meeting at a local running store to prepare for our half marathon in February.  This is the same race we ran last year, but we are interested in preparing with a running group.  We live about 35 minutes away, so it is hard sometimes to get out with people, but it is time to do what we have to in order to be able to run with a group.

That is it for today.  I am hoping to run this afternoon, but it is looking doubtful (that whole maturity thing again).  Either way I’ll write about it tomorrow.

I can’t wait for the weekend.  I hope I can run!

Qualifying for Boston, making the impossible possible.

I really had no idea how much time running and preparing for a marathon would take out of my life.

As many of you know, I plan on running the Lehigh Valley Marathon in September and I hope to qualify for the Boston Marathon at that event!  It would be a major accomplishment as I have only been running for 14 months (as of now) and have never run more than a half marathon.  Also, 2 years ago I weighed 278 lbs and now I hope to qualify for Boston.

I must be crazy.

I admit this drives me probably more than it should.  I look on it not only a challenge, but also the chance of accomplishing something beyond my own ability.

As a 16 year old, I wanted to become a DJ.  In order to get on the radio you had to get a license and in order to get that license you had to pass a grueling exam. Everyone I talked to said I had no chance at passing the first time.  My sister knew two people who took the test 3 times and failed each time and they were in college.  It became a challenge.  I spent the whole summer studying and memorizing the material.  It wasn’t anything I knew or understood, but I learned.  One day my dad asked me what page of my textbook talked about radio towers (or something in that vein).  I gave him the page number from memory. We looked it up and I was correct.   I went to DC and took the test with 30 people much older than myself and passed the first time.  Understand, my dad once said that I was the first of his children (the youngest of 4) that he was relieved when I brought home a “C” in a class.  Getting this license was way above my ability, but after I passed I felt like I could accomplish anything.

You may be able to understand the parallels between getting my radio license and running a marathon, but just to spell it out…

Qualifying for the Boston Marathon is way beyond my ability.  In fact just running a marathon is beyond my comprehension.  I not only have to run it, but I have to run it under 3 and a half hours.  I have to keep at least an 8 minute pace for 26.2 miles.  I feel like I did going into that exam room with everything against me.  I questioned myself if I had prepared enough.  I questioned everything.  I was nervous and anxious.  I passed.  I want to pass this test also.  I want to, in just over 2 years, go from obesity to qualifying for Boston.  For me, it is making the impossible, possible.  If I can do this, I can do anything.

So I run.  I run 6 days a week and walk the 7th.  I ran 9 miles yesterday, my longest mid-week run ever.  I need to get to 50 miles this week and then into the 60s by next month sometime. My speed is way down, but I don’t think that matters right now.  I feel that miles matter more than the speed.  It is hot and humid and that makes it hard to run fast.  Yesterday I ran a trail for a couple of miles which made the run more enjoyable, but was also harder than running on pavement.

I guess I never finished the opening thought.  Running takes so much time that I really only have time at night to write my post.  I really don’t have time to read other blogs or twitter much anymore.  Even emails go unread for days sometimes.  Right now my life consists of working, running and family.  I say this to say thank you to all you bloggers who read my blog each day and those who comment and like my posts.  Please don’t take it the wrong way that I haven’t been on yours for a while.  I do read them when I can, but until September 8th, it may not be often.  I appreciate the effort it takes to blog and one day I will catch up on my reading, but for now…

I run.

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.

Use gravity

First, Kudos to TJ for running a 5:15 paced mile a couple of days ago.  Wow, that is amazing and he has been running less than a year.  He is really moving forward with his running.  Ah to be young again…

I have had some issues getting back to running which actually suprise me a bit.  I always have some pain becuase of my running, but not during my runs.  In fact, my back was really bad before the half marathon, but only when I wasn’t running.  While I was in my run, it never hurt.  Strange, I know.  Now, the second day back running 3 miles again, I have had two days with muscles pulling during my run that actually slow me down.  Yesterday, I thought I might have to stop during my run, but I got through it.  Another strange thing is now it is the opposite.  I hurt during my run and not after.  In fact, I have been running my first mile really slow, and my others at a faster pace, but still rather slow for me so I don’t think it is because of my warm up.

Half way through my run as I was starting to hurt, I remembered some things I used to practice that I had forgotten about.  To begin with, as soon as I hurt, I told myself to relax.  I let my shoulders down, I made my arms loose.  I even relaxed my jaw and forehead.  I relaxed my whole body, including my legs.  My feet started almost flopping on the ground as they hit.  After about a quarter mile of doing this, the pain went away and I was better.

It was then I had a flashback to the half marathon.  I was about 8 miles in (which was the hardest part for me because of some big hills) and a local runners club was on the side with signs and yelling encouragement to us as we went by.  One thing I heard and remember was, “use gravity”.  Oh yeah, I thought to myself, I need to use gravity.  I had practiced that a bit, but had forgotten during the race.  The idea comes (or at least I first heard of it) from Chi Running.  Although I bought a book about it, I admit I haven’t read it.  I have done Internet research on it though.  The main idea is to run tall and balanced and lean forward at your ankles allowing you to be in a controlled fall as you run.  Then as you move your foot under you to “catch” your fall, you move forward.  Basically using gravity to propel you rather than energy.  This makes running not only easier, but also prevents injuries since you are not using as much effort and putting strain on your muscles.  There is a lot more involved, but this is a quick summery of what I learned.  The main website is at www.chirunning.com, but you can search the net and get a lot of info from a lot of people about it.  I consider this the reason I have gone a year and only missed 2 planned running days from injury.  That says a lot coming from the out of shape old man that I was a year ago.

That is it for today.  My run today is going to be 3 miles.  It is to be warmer and the winds should be less than 20 mph that they have been the past two days. I am looking forward to that.

Tomorrow – our first half marathon

Tomorrow morning at this time (as I write this post), we will be approximately 2-3 miles into our half marathon.  Wow, all this work will finally come to fruition for TJ, RS and myself.  It has been hard and fun and difficult at times.  I plan on taking it easy next week and then I am taking a week off from running starting next Friday.  It will be nice to recuperate and let my body heal.

I want TJ to know how much he has helped me getting to this point.  The workouts that he had me do have really been invaluable.  It has been fun when we run together and comparing notes at the end of the day.

I also am so impressed with RS.  He has had wisdom teeth out and about 4 running injuries in the past few months and he still keep plugging away.  It would have been easy for him to have given up, but he didn’t, he persevered.

I’m still not sure my lovely wife can come because of her back.  I hope she can, but understand if she cannot.

Anyone wanting to watch live at 7:00 central time tomorrow morning can here www.foxalabamalive.com

Thanks for all the support.

I love running.