Mother’s Day consequences

I got up today and could barely walk…

“Hmmm,” I thought to myself, “what did I do?”

I ran my mountain on Saturday.  That was a good run, but much easier then last week.  I purposely tried not to run hard or fast as I am still feeling the pains from my half marathon and don’t want to get hurt.  I also ran the short route, so it was 6.5 miles rather then 8.

“No, that was long enough ago that I shouldn’t be this sore.  It must be something else.”

I didn’t run Sunday or Friday.  Once again, I am trying to err on the side of caution and not get hurt.  I know, I should be recovered by now and I might be okay, but I still have left over hip issues and I’d rather run some and slower then a lot and get hurt.

“So if it wasn’t related to running then why am I so sore?”

This was my conversation with myself this morning. Then I figured it out.  My soreness had nothing to do with running.  It was cleaning.  Yes, for Mother’s Day I cleaned out a storage room for my Lovely Wife yesterday morning (thus the reason I couldn’t run – I didn’t have time).  All that bending and sitting and moving worked areas of my body that are not used to being worked.

Goodness, if you can run a half marathon in 1:43, you shouldn’t be down and out from cleaning.

I guess I’m not in the shape I thought I was in or maybe I shouldn’t clean anymore. 🙂

JK. Happy Mother’s Day LW!

The “Key” to Running Better

Over the past 20 years or so of my life, I have found out that in almost every difficult situation there is a “key” to making change happen.

What I am alluding to is that, for example, circumstances that are difficult in life can be like being in a pitch back room and continually running into walls with no way out.  The thing is that there is a door and a key to open that door near you .  All you need to know is how to get the key to turn and the door will open and things will suddenly work out.

This sounds philosophical, but honestly it is amazing how this works in everyday life, including running.

An example from my running life is the mountain I run.  I ran several times to the base of the mountain and at the left turn that went up the mountain, I turned around and went the other direction.  I got so close, but I didn’t know that the key to the door of running fast, more efficient and with less injury, was literally a left turn away from me.  It was like I was in a dark room with a door and a key, but I never unlocked that door and walked through until… one day with TJ.  We decided to see where that road went.  That left turn was the key that changed my running life in a way that nothing else has ever done!

Another example is Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV).  I wrote about this on this blog a month or two ago several times.  Not only has it helped my running in the afternoons by giving me something I had to have been missing, but over the past two months, my weight, which had plateaued at 192, has gone down 7 lbs to 185.  Even pizza night doesn’t seem to affect me much anymore.

I could go on and on.  In just about every area of my life this principle has helped.  I constantly pray for wisdom so that I can find the keys to shut doors in my life.

I guess I hope that there may be keys in your life to open doors to which you just haven’t paid attention.  It is an amazing feeling to find a key and suddenly realize there is a simple solution to a complex problem and it has been right in front of you!

One day…

It was 1:00 in the morning and I got out of bed to go to the bathroom.


I could barely walk.

There was that soreness I didn’t notice yesterday!  It felt like the day after my marathon.

Yesterday I felt pretty good.  I was a little sore, but nothing major.  I even did my five mile run and at a pretty good pace of 8:38.  I finished strong and felt good afterwards.  I was a little weak on the hills, but I chalked that up to my mountain run on Sunday.

Then last night and this morning…  I can’t walk.  I hurt from my hips down to my feet.  Talk about delayed onset.  Wow.

It is a good hurt.  It is a hurt that I know means my legs and quads got pushed and will be stronger in the end.

TJ just told me he wants to run with me during the half marathon.  So basically he will be pacing me.  That should be interesting.  He paced me on a 5K once and it really helped.

I’ll be honest.  I want to destroy my PR in my half marathon.  Another reason it will be good to have TJ with me.  He will keep me at a reasonable pace, especially in the beginning.  From what I understand the first half or so is mostly up hill and the last quarter is mostly down hill.  Not sure about the rest.

With each mountain run I am getting stronger, more confident, faster, less fragile.  I am so thankful I found this mountain and can run it each week.  It has actually given me hope that one day I will qualify for Boston….

One day.

Running in heat – and other musings


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.


Weekend away along with some running

I had a good weekend of running overall.

It started Friday with my run at up the mountain.  That was a strange run.  Other then the strangeness of it, I got in 8 miles before my trip out of town and that was nice.

Then Saturday I got up and ran the Riverwalk in Chattanooga.  As I began my run, I noticed a race getting ready to start.  It looked like a 5K.  I was temped to go ask if I could join, but decided to just keep with my run plan of another 8 miles.  This was a nice run.  My legs were tired from the day before, but it was nice to run along the river.  I ended up with about 7.5 miles because I had to get back to the hotel by 10:00 to eat breakfast… and I really wanted to eat breakfast.

So I got back and eat.  Eggs, sausage and potatoes.  A good post run meal.

Sunday I got up and it was raining and cold… So I went back to bed.  We got home yesterday afternoon and I just didn’t have the desire to run, so we eat and went to bed.

All in all it was a good time.  I had fun in Chattanooga and I did get almost 16 miles of running.

Back to work today.  I’m a bit tired from the trip, but not bad.

Hopefully I’ll put in 5 – 6 miles this afternoon.


My dream, my hope, my life – Thoughts from yesterday’s run

As I ran yesterday, I thought about dreams.

Not dreams as in sleep, but dreams as in aspirations, desires, goals that seem beyond reach, but something you want to attain with a desire that is beyond normal desire or hope.

Dreams are an important part of life.  Some dreams never come to pass.  They sit in front of us an become a frustration, depression or just make us angry.

I realized yesterday that I have had many dreams I wanted to attain in life and many of them I have actually achieved.  Most were within my ability to achieve if I persevered beyond normal effort.  As I ran, realized that each major phase of my life has had a dream just outside my reach that I had to really work for in order to see it come to fruition.  Many times those dreams took perseverance beyond my own ability to achieve.

I am being purposefully vague here as I don’t need to go into all those dreams.  But my thoughts went on to the fact that so many people deal with anger and depression because they don’t get to fulfill their dreams, at least in the timing that they have chosen to see them fulfilled.  Without a dream, or as the Bible says, a vision, we will perish.  Hope is essential in life.  The American Dream has kept people pursuing their lives vocation for generations.  A hope for a good life and an even better life for their children.  I think a lot of Americans have given up on achieving their Dream.

My current dream or hope or goal is to qualify and maybe one day run in the Boston Marathon.  Back before last year’s race (and tragedy) TJ would talk to me about us qualifying together.  Then, last March I made that my goal.  I hadn’t even run my first marathon yet, but my new goal would be to qualify for Boston… Then I ran my first marathon in September and that dream seemed to be pushed beyond achievement.  I ended up hurting myself after the marathon and it took months to get back to a semi normal running routine.

I still have that as my goal, my dream.  It keeps me going home each day and heading out to run in good or bad weather.  It helps me get past heel spurs and hip pain.  It makes me run up mountains in order to build my endurance and run down mountains to build my strength.  

It is my dream.  

I could give up on my dream.  It is going on 2 years since I began running and a year since I made that decision to qualify for Boston.  That is a long time.  I am getting close to 2,500 miles run, mostly in my neighborhood.  It seems like a dream that is out of reach.  But that is exactly what makes it a dream.  That is what gives me hope.  The thought of the day I achieve another dream and overcome almost impossible odds to do just that…  That is what makes life fun.

So my run ended yesterday much quicker than most.  Not because I ended it early, but because I had so distracted myself from running by dreaming about dreaming.

Keep dreaming.  If it were easy, it wouldn’t be a dream.


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…


Running up a mountain

Top of the mountain

Top of the mountain

We ran… Up and up and up.  Where was this road going?

TJ and I decided to run at the state park.  We took a beginning route like @bigbiggeek and I ran the day before.  But as we got to the end of the road, we decided to take the narrow “road” to the left rather than turn around.

It was nice.  Running in the shadow of a mountain up and down and around.

But then the downs went away and it was just up.  We ran up one hill that immediately turned into another hill and then up another.  It went around curves and then continued upward.  I looked to my right and the small drop off became a steep fall.

We reached about 2.5 miles of running and so far this one “hill” was 1 mile long.  I had to stop and take a breath.  Then back to running up the hill.  1 mile up became 1.5 miles and then 2 miles.  I had never run up hill for two miles straight.  It became obvious that we weren’t running in the shadow of the mountain, we were running UP the mountain.

Finally the ups became more flat.  We were at 3.5 miles out and I wanted to get to 4 miles so that I would have an 8 mile day.

The picture above was one taken at the top.  We still had to run about a 10th of a mile to get in 4, so we continued on and then turned around to head back.

Cool trees

Cool trees

As we began to head back, I saw these cool trees overlooking Birmingham.  What a great view.

Heading back down the mountain

Heading back down the mountain

Finally we began our decent.  On our way up we saw no one.  No cars, no bikes and no runners.  On our way down we saw several cars going up and a few bikers heading up the mountain.  We flew down the road and around all the curves and to the bottom of the mountain in record time.  My legs felt like mile 20 of my marathon.  Shot.

We finally ended at the bottom of the mountain and got back on the road that would lead us to our car.  I hadn’t realized how many hills we ran down in the beginning of our journey.  So we had a mile and a half to go and it seem to be mostly uphill!  I told TJ, my legs were shot.  But then I thought of my marathon and that I needed to make my legs run, even with nothing left.  So we pushed on.  In fact that last mile we ran near my marathon pace.

Back to the main road

Back to the main road

Finally back to civilization.  TJ told me that we had just .5 miles to go.  I was never so happy to see the road and the park.

So I had a couple of unexpected firsts in the run yesterday with TJ.  First we ran up a mountain which I never thought I would do, but it was an amazing experience.  What a feeling of accomplishment for me to look out over the city while realizing I just ran 2 miles up hill.  Second, I got in 8 miles which is the most since my marathon last fall.  My hip wasn’t perfect, but it made it through and I feel fine today.

So the rest of the day was filled with football and burgers.

What a great day for a run.

Running Super Juice

Fresh from my confidence building weekend, I actually ran a hill workout yesterday.

I haven’t run a specific hill workout since the half marathon we ran in February. I have run “improvised” hill runs just during my regular runs.

I guess I have some hope of not only trying to finish but also getting into the 3:30 finish for my marathon. Thus it makes it easier to suffer the pain of a workout rather than just trying to rack up the mileage.

Beet Root Juice

Beet Root Juice

One thing I have been doing that I think really helps is drinking beet root juice. I read about this a month or so ago and so I set out to try some. Publix has it in stock in their juice section. It comes in a 500 ml bottle and so I just drink a whole bottle down at one time. The taste isn’t bad. It tastes sweet, but has a beet aftertaste (I wonder why).

I realize psychology has a lot to do with performance in running, so I have given it some time before I wrote anything. I have some 3 out of 4 weeks (about 2 bottles a week) and here are the results:

  • Week 1 – Drank beet juice – Ran a 5K in 22:08 and then the next day ran 17 miles at a 9:15 pace.
  • Week 2 – Didn’t drink beet juice – Ran 16 miles in 9:30 – crashed – jogged/walked 2 miles – walked 2 miles.
  • Week 3 – Drank beet juice – Ran 10 miles on Saturday and 20 on Sunday (Sunday’s pace was 8:53).

Of course these are my own observations and correlations, but I do feel a difference with the juice.

Yesterday I was dragging. I didn’t recover properly from my run on Sunday. I came home from that run and eat popcorn and oatmeal cream cookies. I paid for that indiscretion. Mentally and emotionally I was a mess after my run and into yesterday. I was grumpy and in a fog. I decided to go out and get some beet juice as it also has a kick after I first drink it. It did help, but I was still dragging. By the time I got home though, I got out to run in 95 degree real feel temperature and had a great workout. 10 repeats up the hill and 6 miles overall.

The beet juice has nitrates that help with performance. But for me, it seems to stop “The Voice” that tells me to stop. I didn’t hear that voice at all on Sunday and I didn’t hear it yesterday either. I was tired and thirsty after my repeats and my running slowed down, but I could have gone further if I had some gatorade available. As it was, I thought it better not to overdue it and take a chance of getting hurt.

So that is my “unsolicited review” of beet root juice. I write from experience and I have no health degree, so take it for what it is worth. As for me, I’ll be drinking beet juice at least for the next 2.5 weeks. 🙂

More “Voices” from another run blogger!

More voices…

It is amazing how many people have had the same experiences as I in dealing with “The Voice” that continually speaks negative thoughts during a workout or run.

Another blogger, Mimi’s Getting Fit, just posted a great post talking about the same issue.  When you get a chance, go read the post and also peruse her blog, you will be inspired and motivated after you see all that she has accomplished!

Yesterday, as I sat at the Chiropractor’s office waiting to be seen, I began pondering…  “What, for me, would be the best way to stay positive about my workouts and long runs?”  Good question, I answered. 🙂

Hmmm.  What really excites me about a particular run is the feeling just after I finish.  As I sit on the back porch, throwing a stick to “The Dog” and look at the stats of my run; that is the best feeling.  It is the feeling of accomplishment.  The feeling of beating the odds.  I never thought I’d be a runner, let alone one who likes his stats!

For instance yesterday, I ran hard hill workouts in 108 heat index and humidity.  I only ran 4 miles overall, but they were good miles.  I got home, soaked in sweat, and sat outside in that same 108 heat and felt great.  The run wasn’t easy, but that feeling of accomplishment was so powerful.

I say all that to say this… Each day I am going to reach for that goal.  The goal of enjoying the results of my runs.  So when I head out to run (after getting up at 2:30 AM, working 10 hours, running to the store on the way home, then finally heading out in the summer heat to run) I am going to begin by thinking of the end.  Thinking of the point of exhilaration I experience after a good workout.  Thinking of the positive.  SILENCING THE VOICE!!!

Everyone has a reason(s) they run, workout and or exercise.  Everyone has a voice telling them at times that today just isn’t going to be a good day to go out and they need a break.

Recognize “The Voice” and defeat it with the very reason you run or exercise.  Your motivation.  For me,  it is that feeling of, “Ahhh, what a great workout” and playing with “The Dog”!!!

Prep run for our 5K next week

Yesterday I was sent the Runners World article as it will appear in the book.  Pretty cool.  My part is about how to make running a habit and about consistency.  I was told the book will be out in January 2014, so I guess I’ll have to buy a copy.  🙂

Okay, on to running… Of course.

TJ and I ran the 5K course that my friend Neill (@bigbiggeek) picked out for us to run August 3rd.  This will be TJ and my last 5K before our marathon in September.  We figure it is a good way to keep some speed workouts going without impacting our marathon training much.


This course was a killer for me.  I think some of my issue was that it was about 10 – 20 degrees hotter than it has been all week and it was sunny (it has rained all week also).  But it is in a really nice planned community.  Basically it is a run up and down the streets throughout the community.  It was a very pretty run and very interesting to see all the nice homes.  But to me, I felt like we were going up hill after hill after hill.  Actually it starts out flat-ish for a half mile, but then the hills kick in and continue through about mile 2.5.  At the end, it is mostly down hill which is really nice.

All in all it seems like it will be a good course.  We ran it the first time at an 8:19 pace and then a second time at 9:27.  I admit, I started out too fast and was dragging after the first time through.  The second time we ran it much slower, but I really didn’t have much left.  I did get in 6 miles for the day and was only planning on 5, so I am 1 mile ahead of my running plan for the week.

Also yesterday, Neill challenged me to a virtual 7 mile race on the Nike+ app.  It is a pretty cool new feature.  Of course this challenge starts Saturday and I was to run 7 miles on Friday.  I try to keep Saturdays low mileage in preparation for my Sunday long run.  I’ll see how it goes.  He set it up to go until September 1, so I have time to work on it.  Should be fun.

That is about all I have for today.  My Chiropractor worked on my achilles some yesterday and it did feel better during my run.  It has started acting up again this week, but I’m glad it is doing better.

Until next time (tomorrow) – Keep on running!!!