Mile 25 of my 5 mile run

I had a mile to go to finish my run.

I was beat.  Totally beat.  I told myself that I would quit a half mile early.

  • It was hot – not as hot as in the middle of summer, but a hotter day then we have had lately.
  • I forgot to take my Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) before my run.  My legs were so tired and heavy.  Was this the reason?
  • I increased my mileage from 4 to 5 miles a day just this week.  Was that why I was beat?
  • I am running a hillier area and one hill is huge.  Am I just worn out?

These are the thoughts of a runner perplexed at 4 miles as to why his run is going badly.  Pace?  What pace?  I threw pace out of the window a couple miles ago.  Actually all summer I have kept my love for speed away and just tried to be consistent on the run.

I tripped.  Sort of tripped.  I literally stubbed the top of the front of my new running shoes.  I’ve never done that before, I thought to myself.  Maybe I should walk home.  I don’t want to hurt myself on a basic run.  I don’t want to be stupid.  I don’t… I can’t… I won’t…

Then the thought occurred to me.  Just a year ago I ran a marathon.  I felt worse at mile 25 of that marathon then I did now at mile 4 of my 5 mile run.  My body needs to learn.  I need to master my body.  It must submit to me if I ever want to run a marathon again, let alone qualify for Boston.  This feeling… The feeling of being spent, exhausted, tired, hot and having nothing left inside… Maybe this feeling is a gift.  Maybe this is training for mile 25.  Only a little over a mile to go and I’ll be done.  My body will learn that it has to comply with what I am doing.  Not to the point of getting hurt, but I need to teach my body, my mind and my spirit that I can run through this feeling.  I can complete the race.  I can run up that last hill and finish what I set out to do.

5.01 miles after I started, I finished.  I literally had nothing left.  It was hard to walk the rest of the way home (about 100 yards).

I finished. What a great feeling.  I had the worst run of the summer and I felt like I just completed a marathon.  I didn’t give up.  I didn’t give in.  I didn’t walk until I met my goal.

Today… who knows, maybe I’ll run 6 miles just for fun!

Have a great weekend.

Tom

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Loving the hills!

“You should run Sterling since you haven’t run the mountain lately.”

That text from TJ changed my running.

It happened a week ago.  I had been in a bad rut as I was running the same 4 mile route in my neighborhood since summer started.  I am not a fan of the heat and the only time I have to run is at 3:00 in the afternoon.  So I would run my route and usually have to take breaks to walk a bit because of the heat.  Running just wasn’t fun or interesting anymore, but I had to keep going no matter how I felt as I have a huge investment of time and lost weight in all those miles I’ve accumulated over the past 2.5 years.

Back to TJ’s text.

I thought to myself, “I don’t want to run Sterling”.  It is hot and the hills there are insane.  But TJ was right.  I hadn’t run my mountain in a while.  I was just not interested in the investment during the heat of the summer.

So I headed out to run and made my way to Sterling.

Sterling is a neighborhood about a mile from my home.  I used to run the hills there a year or so ago.  The main hill on the main road is about .25 miles long and ascends 100 feet.  So I looked up at that hill last Monday and thought, here I go.  I ran up the hill and at the top, I took a right turn and went on a more level area to recover and then headed back down.  It was tough!  I did this three time and headed home.  It was the first time in a long time that I felt like I accomplished something.

So Tuesday I headed back to Sterling.  I ran the big hill and then came back down and ran another smaller uphill road that is in the same neighborhood.  After that I headed home.

As the week went on, my times started getting faster.  My sluggish, boring summer runs were starting to be fun again.  I ran this run all week.

I have found from my mountain runs that I have really begun excelling on hills.  Many times after my mountain runs I will actually run faster up hills then on level ground.  While I have been away from the mountain for a while, this has been much less the case, but my legs “remembered” the love of the hills when I went to Sterling last Monday and throughout the week.

Finally on Sunday I actually ran a “long” run in my neighborhood.   It was only 7.5 miles, but it is the longest run since my half marathon in April.  The run itself was uneventful and hot, but just the fact that I was motivated enough to run it, is a good thing.

So things are looking up.  I am just trying to get to October where temps will start dipping into the 50’s and average that throughout the winter.

Even then, I’ll be running hills.

Tom

PS – Sort of ironic as I have now hit 278 followers on 278toBoston.com.  I guess I need to get back to writing! 🙂

Retro Run 5K – Finishing the race!

I was so close.

I was only a step behind the couple that was running in front of me the whole race.

There was only 1/2 mile left in my 5K.  I know my time wasn’t going to be a PR, but I felt like I was running solid.  Actually I was quite happy as I hadn’t done any workouts or mountain runs in a while.  Just my 4 mile daily runs.

I had a thought.  I could push past them (that couple), but then I thought, “what if I run out of steam and they pass me – that wouldn’t be fun”.  We were running at a good pace and so I decided to hold back until later, right before the finish.

It was hot.  The race started at 7:00 PM in the South on a sunny July day.  My app read 94 degrees at the start.

As I pondered my finish to the first 5K I had run in 7 months, I thought back to the beginning of the race.  I was only about a half mile into the race and I had doubts.  I thought to myself that I couldn’t do this racing anymore.  I should just stick to my daily runs and be done.  What am I doing running a 5K when I hadn’t even run my mountain in over a month.  Nope.  Racing is not for me.  This will be my last.

As I got closer to the couple (back to the end of the race) – literally almost beside them – I thought to myself, “I’m enjoying this race.  It’s been hard and all, but I miss racing.”

The couple ahead of me were a woman and a man.  Both about half my age.  The woman was obviously in great shape and the guy was not.  He wasn’t overweight, but he was hurting.  This was probably his first 5K.  As we got closer to the finish, suddenly he stopped.  The woman looked around and begged him to keep going.  We were about 1/4 mile from the finish.  He had nothing left.  I moved on, but felt badly for the guy.  He had run a good race, but didn’t have enough in him with the heat.

As I rounded the last block, I passed another guy who was half my age.  He looked at me and told me to go for it.  That was so nice.  I said the same to him and he thanked me.

I pushed to the finish.  The line was directly in front of me.  My mountain legs had kicked in.  The last mile of this 5K was uphill most of the way.  Running a mountain once a week has allowed my legs to have strength to go uphill.  In fact, many times my pace goes up while going uphill.

This was the first finish of a 5K where I had strength to really push it at the end.  I gave all I had.  My Lovely Wife and daughter rooting me onward, I passed the finish in 22:32; 45 seconds slower then a PR, but very satisfying.  Before the race, TJ asked me how confident I felt.  I told him I had no confidence.  I was just going to go out and do the best I could.

I came in 2nd in my age group (the old guy age group).  I was thrilled as I had never placed in this race before and this was the 3rd time we ran it.  There were over 400 people and I came in 41st overall.

I don’t know what happened with that couple.  I never saw them after the guy stopped.  I was so hot and tired at the end, I really couldn’t think much.  I hope he pulled it together and finished the race.

Life is like a 5K.  So many times we either don’t want to be in the race or we want to stop right before the finish.  Ultimately the joy of the finish erases all the pain of the race.  My hope is that everyone could run as to finish the race.  Life is too short to give up in the middle.

I’m not sure why I wrote that last paragraph, but I hope it helps someone.

Have an awesome week and keep your eyes on the finish!

Walking down a mountain

I finally ran 6 days in a row last week.  Other then my long day, I only ran about 4 miles a day.  I figure until I can be consistent with running 4 miles a day, why go farther.  So I ended up with 28 miles for the week.

Then, Friday happened.  I was running well, but it was hot and I was tired from the week.  I was about 1/10 mile from home and my knee got a shooting pain that made me immediately stop running.  It was on the inside of my left knee.  I’ve had that pain twice before in the past couple of years and it has never been long term.

Sunday, I went to the mountain with RS to do my weekly run.  It was my first mountain run in my new shoes and I was excited to see how they’d do.  As we parted ways to begin separate runs, I handed RS the clicker to the car and I took the key.  He then asked me, “What if you get hurt, how will I get you”.  I just smiled and said that wouldn’t happen.

Hmmm.

I got to the top of the mountain and felt fine.  I had a good run and took my time.  No issues.  As I began my decent, all was well and then, after about a half mile, that pain came back.  I limped to a stop and let out a cry of pain.  I texted RS and told him I was walking back and then I tried to run again.  I know that was stupid and I new it at the time, but I didn’t want to walk 3 miles back to the car.  So I started and stopped about 3 times.  Each time I ran okay, but then the pain hit and I couldn’t continue.  Finally I resigned myself to walk down the mountain and give up my run.

About a mile after I began my walk, I spotted RS coming toward me.  He ran up the mountain to meet me.  He offered to go get the van, but I declined. We walked back and had a good talk.  Thanks RS!

Now I’m off running for a bit.  Back to ice and heat and stretching.  I don’t know if it was my shoes or just fate, but it is frustrating (although running always seems to be frustrating).

Maybe I should start biking.

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.

Ouch.

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.