Breaking my body memory by longer runs

30 miles in 4 days.

Honestly, I guess I’ve overdone it a little, but I had good reasoning.

Sunday I went out for a long run at our state park.  I ran 8.8 miles. I didn’t look at my watch, but I ran until I couldn’t run anymore.  It was hilly and the temperature was okay when I started, but had gone up 10 degrees by the time I finished.  I also had negative splits, so that made me feel better.  I really wanted to run long and not stop at 4 miles.

Monday was my hill run day with TJ.  We usually run between 7 – 8 miles and 6 of those miles are large hills.  It was probably the toughest run of the Spring so far.  It was hot (near 90) and I had just run nearly 9 miles the day before with a lot of mountain hills.  I came home from our run and just sat for an hour throwing the stick with the dog and drinking my Gatorade.

Tuesday was an impromptu longer run.  I ended up at 7.3 miles.  I didn’t really go in my normal route of running in the park.  I just ran in different directions, got lost in my thoughts and finished when I thought I should.

Wednesday I tried to see if I could get in another 8 mile run.  I did make 6.2 miles, so it was a good 10K, but my legs were so tired and I was so hot, that I just didn’t think I should push it.

I wrote a few days ago that last year I got into a 4 mile Summer rut (I called it survival mode).  I really want to break free of that this year.  I hate running in the heat, but I also know I can get used to it and I can make it though without crashing and burning like I did at the end of last Summer.

You’re body gets a memory and it will get used to what you give it.  If you eat junk, it wants junk.  If you always run 4 miles, it won’t want to go 5.  It really is amazing.  For instance, I have gotten into the habit of drinking 32 oz of water every morning after I wake up.  Now my body craves it.  I even drank it before my last 5K because I have to have my morning water.  That is one reason I’m running more.  I want my body to get used to running in the heat and deal with it better.  Also I want to get past a weight plateau I’ve had since my last business trip to New Orleans.  This week of longer running has really helped.

Finally, be careful running in the heat.  People die in the Summer by running and not being hydrated.  I usually drink 96 oz of water during the day before my run and another 32 after my run.  I also have slowed down my pace to deal with the increased mileage and the heat.

As my wife says everyday before I head out for my run, “BE WISE” (and yes, she says it with that emphasis).

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

Running, heat, childhood and me

I am not a summer person.  I love the cold.  I’m originally from Pennsylvania and I don’t think I miss the cold winters, but I do remember the hot summers.  We would get into the 90s and we had no air conditioning.  I just had to sit and melt.  I learned then that heat was not my friend.  I can remember trying to sleep in my room at night with the window open and listening to the trucks on a far off highway… and sweating!  Fast forward to more recent times.  Before I began running, I would never go out in the summer.  The most I’d be outside was just enough to walk to my car.  I hated the heat – and I still do.  I love the fall.  I love the winter.  I love the spring.  I hate summer (which only begins tomorrow).

I started my run yesterday… 3:00 in the afternoon.  Five days in a row.  Four days of 100+ heat index.  The real temperature was in the mid 90s.

I got about 100 yards and turned back, went home, got on my headsets and decided to walk.

Honestly, until this week I’d only run 4 times in all of June.  So I am feeling good about my running at this point, heat included.  I ran my mountain for the second week in a row last Sunday and ran 4 miles in my neighborhood Monday – Wednesday.  Yesterday I ended up doing an even amount of running and walking.  My legs were shot and I only had 5 hours of sleep the night before.

On to a quick thought about the heat index.  Does anyone know how they decide what that is?  As a runner who hits the streets at 3:00 in the afternoon, I have a feeling that the heat coming up from the asphalt is about 100 degrees hotter then that index taken from some field in the shade.  Just sayin’.

Moving forward.  It was a the best week for me in about 2 months.  I have no idea why and I have no idea why the past two months have been so difficult.  I’m not going to question it anymore, I’m just glad to be feeling better.  Today is Friday and we have the whole weekend ahead of us.

Life is good better!

Tom

Summer running

The heat, my goodness how am I going to run in this heat?

That was my thought yesterday afternoon as I headed out in 100+ heat index for my run.

I learned last year that running in the heat is an acquired trait.  It is similar to running at a high altitude.  The reason being that the body sends extra blood flow to the skin to cool itself down.  This flow takes away from the blood flow that it is used to using during a run to give energy and help muscles.  Therefore running in the heat is sometimes similar to running through mud.

Fortunately, eventually as with running at a high altitude, the body compensates for this extra blood needed to cool itself by creating more blood (I think I have this correct, but I am about as far from a doctor as you want to get).  So after a few weeks of running through mud, runs get easier and this can actuality help you run more efficiently in cooler weather.

I haven’t been running much lately.  Just life getting in the way.  Yesterday I went out and felt okay.  It as HOT, but I ran the first two miles well.  I left my Pebble watch at home so that I wouldn’t be looking much at my pace.

By mile 3 I melted.  I went from an 8:30 average pace to a 10:00 pace and had to walk about every half mile for a minute or two.  Last year this would have devastated me.  Not only did I not understand what was happening to my body as it got hotter, but I also began training for my first marathon in this heat.  What a mess.  Yesterday though, I took it easy.  No pressure.  I know now that I have to take some time to get used to this heat and build up some endurance.

In the end, all will be well.  Summer will fade into Fall and running will become fun again.  Football will begin and my favorite time of year will make an appearance.  Here in the South the weather won’t turn cool until the last half of October, so I will just have to push through until then.

It is similar to life.  Sometimes life is like running through mud.  Those days make us stronger and then when the good times come, we appreciate them all the more.

Tom

The Dog-spiration and running in the summer heat

Yesterday was the hottest day of the year so far for running.  The heat index, according to my phone, was 94 degrees.

Needless to say it was hot.

My run went well.  I’ve approached running differently this summer.  Last year I would push through.  Drag.  Run home to get water and keep trying to push.  Of course I was stupidly training for a marathon in the midday Southern summer heat.  This year I run until I am feeling hot and tired and I walk for a minute, then I continue my run.  This has helped a lot.  I am still running 4 miles a day during the week as I haven’t gotten back to a full running week yet, but even so, my pace is still doing well (for me that means I am under a 9:00 pace).

On to The Dog!

The Dog

The Dog

She is an inspiration to me.

When I get back from my run she is ready to get out back and let me throw the stick to her.  She never stops.  Even in the heat, she will pause and pant and then she just keeps going.  I make sure I don’t overheat her because she would probably not stop running after that stick until she couldn’t move anymore.

So when I am beat.  Hot.  Tired.  I come in for my run, I know she will be pushing her hardest, and that somehow helps me to push harder also.

She keeps going, and going, and going.

She keeps going, and going, and going.

Funny.  She has no idea that she helps me push through.

What a great dog she is!!!

Running in heat – and other musings

Summer…

Actually heat.

I remember last year.  When the heat got above 65 – 70 degrees, I was shot.  I had the hardest time adapting.  My pace dropped about a minute or more per mile.  I would get so frustrated and down.  The hotter it got, the slower I got.

I then found out that running in the heat is similar to running at a high altitude.  I learned to start slowly to allow my body to get used to the heat and then try picking up my pace.  I used my app to tell me my pace, not so I could make sure I was going fast enough, but to make sure I was going slow enough.  If I started to fast, I would hit a wall in a dramatic fashion and just have to stop.

Yesterday was the hottest day of the year so far for me.  It was above 80 degrees and sunny.

I did not start slow enough yesterday.  I ran well until about mile 3 and then had to walk a bit.  Fortunately I was able to recover pretty quickly and it didn’t affect me much.  I still ended my run with an 8:12 mile and an overall pace of 8:43.  Not bad for an old man.

I learned from last year that as the heat and humidity go up, I need to not only be careful to not over do it physically, but I need to drink more water (I drink about 96 oz in the winter and 120+ oz in the summer).

I am really interested in how apple cider vinegar (ACV) will help my summer runs.  I still feel it working for me, even an month after starting to take it.  I tried everything in the past from chia seeds, to a bagel, to energy supplements and have never felt they affected my running at all after a few weeks.  Taking 2 tbs of ACV in the morning with water (before I eat anything) and then 2 tbs in the afternoon before my run has made me feel so much better and stronger.  One day I would like to do a study on what helps most, running up a mountain road every week or ACV.  I honestly think the ACV has had a larger impact on my running since I ran the mountain about 5 times and didn’t notice a huge difference until after starting the ACV.  I also wonder if I was just missing something in my body that ACV fills.  Honestly, for me to run 5 miles in the heat and the last mile at 8:12 pace is nothing other than a miracle.  Even my hip is better – not perfect, but much better.

So that is about it for today.  My musings.

Oh, one more thing…

When I started my run yesterday I could feel that my legs were still affected from my 11 mile mountain run on Saturday.  They didn’t hurt, but had a good feeling of fatigue.  I can’t explain it, but they are getting so much stronger then ever before that I know one day, they will take me to Boston.

Keep running.

Tom

All is well in 278toBoston land

This has been a crazy week.

First, I had a great run on Monday.  I felt on top of the world.  I had strength, power and felt like I could run forever.

Tuesday… Not so good. I couldn’t sleep the night before, I felt tired and I ran poorly.

Wednesday… Worst – tired.  Couldn’t sleep. I ran, but ran slowly and walked a bit.  It was 40 degrees hotter than the same time last week.  Not that it was hot, but 40 degrees is a lot of change in a week.

Thursday… The day started slowly in general.  At work I dragged around.  I felt blah.  Then 11:00 happened.  I don’t know what that means, but sometime around 11:00 I felt better.  I wasn’t dragging . I felt so much better.  It was like the past two days just went away and I was back to normal.

I got home from work and decided to walk.. or maybe run… just play it by feel.  I didn’t want to overdue it, but also I was feeling so much better.  So I left the house and walked about a quarter mile.  I got to an intersection where a car was wanting to turn and I was in the way, so I jogged over to the other side… and kept going.

I ended up mostly running about 5 miles.  I walked a couple of times for a few minutes.  The run felt great.  I actually had a good pace, even though I wasn’t trying to.  I got home and I felt good, my hip didn’t hurt and it was a good time.

Last night I slept well for the first time in 3 days and I woke up before my alarm feeling fine.

So what did happen this week.  It is interesting as I wasn’t the only one feeling down and out.  I know several people who felt the same way.  Maybe something in the air?

Either way, I am going to run my mountain tomorrow with TJ.  Since I’ll be running with him, I’ll run harder then I would by myself.  One day, my goal is to run it twice… Maybe next week.

Sunday will be my day of rest (as it should be).

So all is well in 278toBoston land.

Thank you all who showed concern and helped with your comments and posts.

I am sooooo thankful it is Friday.

Till next time…

Tom

Running legs!

I think I finally have my running legs back.

Yesterday was warmer and I was tired, so my run didn’t go quite as well as the two previous days.  But I am excited to say that I did run negative splits and once again ran 4 miles.

Negative Splits!

Negative Splits!

For me, 4 miles seems to be the point at which my body loses weight.  I have experienced this over and over.  I can run 3 miles a day and gain weight.  I then up it to 4 miles and I lose weight or at least remain steady.  I’m not sure why that is specifically, but I’ll take it.

I’ve really enjoyed running lately.  I think for me (post marathon) 4 miles is a good amount of running, at least for the next few weeks.  It gives me some cardio, but doesn’t feel overwhelming.  Funny, when I was only walking last week I had the same mental issues as I did while training for the marathon.  Just the thought of doing something for 2 hours puts me into a mental spiral.  I thought it was just all the running, but I’m really glad to know it happened while walking.  Now I need to train my brain to stop the negative thoughts and to just enjoy what I am doing.  That is my goal in running right now.  I want to enjoy running again.

So all in all things are going in a good direction.  I really can’t complain!!!

 

A good run on a bad day

Have you ever had one of “those days”?

Yesterday was one of “those days” for me.  No issue with anyone in particular.  My work went well and my family was well, but I felt lousy. Angry. Bugged. Unhappy.  Really there was no reason for my mood.  I guess it was just a Monday.

So what could I do? I got home from work and ran as hard as I could. Well not as hard as I could, but hard.

My first mile is usually a warmup mile and not very fast, but yesterday it was run at 8:01 and half of that was up hill (of course the other half was down hill 🙂 ).

photoSunday and yesterday was the first time since March that had two consecutive days under an 8:15 pace per mile.  It really did feel good.  I pushed my run hard for the first two miles making the second mile at a 7:34 pace.  The third mile was slower and I was tired.  However, I was able to keep my pace at 8:46 and the fourth mile at 8:29.  Finally the last small part of my run (about a tenth of a mile) I sprinted at my 5K pace of 7:12.

This is what was so hard about last week.  I had no outlet.  I had no way to work off my mood.  I just had to walk and suffer through.  To be honest for most of my marathon training I wasn’t able to really push my workouts.  It was so hot and humid that I had to take things slow.

Now I feel like things are getting back to normal.  I doubt I’ll keep this pace up.  8:12 for 4 miles is a goal pace, but the heat is returning this week and also my left achilles and top of my right foot aren’t the best.   Still it is good to know that I still have strong running in me.  And with a 10K a month away, I really want to work up to 6 miles at an 8:00 pace.

It is strange to be almost a month removed from my marathon and having so many other blogs I read with people just beginning their taper.  Once again, good luck to you all.  I’m pulling for you!

20 mile run – The good, bad and ugly

The Good

I did it!  20 miles.

Last summer I was amazed to to 6-8 miles and yesterday I made 20.  That is a milestone that I had to reach yesterday for my own knowledge that I could make those miles.

I got out before dawn to try to beat the heat.  I’ll be glad when training is over and I can actually sleep in past 4:00 on the weekends.  🙂

I don’t know if it was my body or my GPS, but my pace was way down.  Saturday I ran 6 miles at 8:35 pace and yesterday, early on in my run, it was hard to get below  a 10 minute pace.  I have been told not to worry about pace on my long runs, but psychologically it was confusing.  I decided to let it go and just run.  I ran 4 mile loops and drank water and ate GU at the end of each loop.

The Bad

I’m trying to figure out what exactly happened, but I really hit a wall at 16 miles.  Last week I ran 17 miles pretty strong and the last mile was close to a 9:00 pace.  Yesterday I ran 16 miles okay.  I ended up running/walking miles 17 – 18 and just walking the last two.  I really don’t know what the difference was yesterday from a week ago.  In fact, I started earlier, so it wasn’t hot and I kept to a 4 mile loop which should have helped.

When I finished, my shoes and clothes were soaked.  My feet were pruned and had some blisters.  I did mess up in one area.  I started with a new pair of Saucony Fastwitch shoes last week and put them on for my run yesterday.  So I ran 20 miles in shoes that only had 11 total miles on them.  That could have been an issue.

I wonder, if I can barely get to 20 miles and my marathon is 4 weeks away, do I even have a chance?  Boston qualification is not in my mind at this point.  My goal is to finish my first marathon.  If I can do that, I’ll be ecstatic.  Boston will have to wait for another day.  Sort of sad.

The Ugly

Me after a 20 mile run.  🙂