278 to 3500

Today is my running anniversary.

I’ve now run for 3 years and over 3500 miles.

I started this journey at 278 lbs.  My running began after a physician directed diet that brought my down to 220 lbs.  I now weight 186 lbs.

Running isn’t easy for me.  Starting my running career at 49 years old and having been in horrible shape, my running is almost always accompanied by pain.  I run with hip pain and heel pain most of the time.  I don’t know if it is a good thing or not, but the hip and the heel are on opposite sides of my body.

Over the past 3500 miles I’ve learned a lot about myself.  I don’t listen to music while I run, so it is just me out there.  I can be a boring person to run with by myself. LOL.  I have learned to do things while I run.  I pay more attention to my surroundings, I pray, I say hi to people I pass.  I try not to think of the next hour or two that I’ll be pushing myself and try to distract myself in anyway I can.

During my runs I have solved a lot of problems.  It may be the oxygen getting to my brain, it may be the quite and the fact I have nothing else to do but think.  I will say that most of my good ideas and problem solving have occurred during my runs over the last 3 years.

Just some philosophical musings from a 3 year runner.

Yesterday’s run went great and I have a new system for running that seems to be working well.  I’m going to try it a few more times and then I’ll post it for everyone.  So far, I’ve done this for 3 runs (4, 13 and 8 miles) and my runs have been better, stronger and I’ve felt better afterwards.  Check back in a few days and I’ll tell you my system if it keeps working for me.

Have an awesome week and keep running!

Tom

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Something has changed with my running

Two weeks.

The past two weeks, something has changed with my running… in a good way.

It all started 3 weeks ago.  I was complaining to TJ that my legs were shot and that I wasn’t even running much.  On top of everything, my back was a mess.  My right hip was hurting and I just couldn’t figure out what to do.

He reminded me that the hill runs I used to do would really help me and I hadn’t been doing them at all lately.  So the next Monday he and I set out for a hill run in a neighborhood nearby.  It has crazy hills.  Some high, some long, but every stride in this neighborhood takes you up or down a hill.  When we finished running all the streets, we had completed 8 miles of hills (and my longest run in months).  I was shot.  I had nothing left.  BUT I finished all 8 miles.

Since then TJ, RS and I have run those hills each week.  TJ and I have run them 3 time and RS twice.  The impact has been nothing but phenomenal!  I had one of the best months in January since my marathon in September of 2013 last month.  The past two weeks I have run 41 miles each week. These two weeks combined are more then most months I’ve run since my marathon.  I feel great.  My legs are strong.  Everything is beginning to click.

Now that I have had 2 high mileage weeks, I am taking this week and cutting back about 30%.  My legs feel great, but they feel the pain of the past few weeks.  The last thing I want now is the get hurt.

So I’ll run about 30 miles this week and then I’ll add 10% to my last couple week totals and up my mileage to 45 miles next week.

The great thing, is that I am not training for anything in particular.  I was going to run a half marathon in March, but that isn’t going to happen.  In a way, this is good.  I’m running for me.  I’m running because I want to.  I’m running for the challenge and not to prepare for something.  I can take this slow and do what ever I need to get back to where I was a couple years ago.

Don’t get me wrong.  My goal is another marathon.  But this time I want the strength, the ability. the grace to run it the best I can.

I’m running.

I’m glad.

Tom

PS: My daughter has suffered greatly with Fibromyalgia.  She had to quit work, she could barely move off the couch for a year.  Now she has lost a lot of weight, is biking and getting back her life.  This last week she ran with RS and me several times off and on during our runs.  She is up to running almost 3 miles a day and is looking better then I’ve seen her in years.  I can’t say how proud and excited I am for her and how humbled I am that God has given her the grace to “come back”!

Finally, an update on running, racing, hills and bikes!

It has been a long time since I last wrote.  Honestly, I just didn’t have the time to get a post out.  Life has been rolling at a thousand miles per hour for the last month, but I did get to run a race, run most days, do a huge hill run and bike some trails.

Red Shoe Run (formally the Red Nose Run)

This was the 3rd time TJ and I ran this race for the Ronald McDonald House.  It was a great race for us.  RS joined this year for his first year running this 5K and a coworker of TJ came also.

Cool things about our race:

  • TJ came is second overall out of 340 runners of the 5K.  Wow!
  • I came in 2nd in my age group (the old guys) and 19th overall.
  • RS ran his first race in 6 months and beat his last time by 10 minutes.  He has just started taking up the running mantle again.
  • TJ’s coworker ran his first 5K.  TJ has been running with him once a week and the guy went from out of shape, to running his first 5K, first 3 mile run and best time he had ever run.  TJ was so excited to have such an impact.
  • It was 18 degrees and windy at race time.  Okay, that wasn’t cool… it was cold.  I couldn’t feel my fingers in my gloves by the time I finished.  Alabama isn’t supposed to be that cold, EVER.

It was a good race and as always the Ronald McDonald House did a great job and raised a decent amount of money.  We joined the race too late to do any fund raising, however it was a great event to be a part.

Running in general

My running is picking up a bit.  In December I hurt my heel (heel spur to be exact) and had to slow down.  It still hurts from time to time, but I can and do run each day.  I am trying my best to get out of running 4 miles.  I have been stuck in a rut since summer and need to get some distance.  Last week I ran a 5 mile and 6 mile run, so that is a beginning. Running in the cold isn’t my favorite thing to do, but it is better than the heat.  The last few days it has been between 60 – 70, so life has been quite good for running.

Hill Run

I told TJ over the weekend that I really needed a hill run.  I haven’t run hills in a long time and I could tell.  My legs have felt tired during my daily runs and my hip/back hurt much more over the weekend after I picked up my mileage last week.  He asked if I wanted to run the hills in a nearby neighborhood and I agreed.  It was insane.

We ran a total of 8 miles (my longest run in a long time) and 700 feet in elevation.  He stayed with me though and I made it through without stopping.  The day before RS and I road bikes on trails at our state park for an hour and my legs were already tired.  So the hill run wiped them out.  Toward the end of the run we ran the biggest hill around.  I almost didn’t have the strength to make it.  My breathing was labored, but my legs had nothing left.  I plowed through and made it to the top of that hill, but I’m sure I wasn’t moving very fast.  The last quarter mile I put everything into the run I had left.  I can honestly say I have never felt so tired since my marathon.

The good news is that my legs feel better today.  Yesterday, the day after the hills, my legs still felt off.  My 4 mile slow recovery run was very slow and not fun.  Today, after a good night sleep and some time between me and the hills, my legs feel better, my back is better and my hip doesn’t hurt.  I don’t like running hills,, but they are worth the pain, at least for me!

Conclusion

Life is beginning to return to normal.  My work has been insane (14 hour days at times) and as a result, life was stressful.  Work is still hectic, but I feel like I am beginning to get a handle on things.  I hope to possibly run the Shamrock Half Marathon in March (was trying for the marathon, but… NOT).  If I can stay healthy and increase my mileage, I should be label to do it.

Virginia Beach, here I come!

 

Tom

PS – My weight got up there after the holidays and injuries.  I was near 200 lbs January 5th.  Today (Jan 21) I am back to 188. I hope to continue this downward trend in my weight for about another 10 lbs.

My 2 mile run and quest for slow running

2 miles.

I ran a 2 mile run for the first time in two weeks yesterday.

My heel has been hurt.  Might be my achilles.  I stopped all running until I thought I could give it a good try and yesterday was the day.  The run went well.  Of course I paid a bit too much attention to my heel, but I had no problems.  TJ bought me new shoes that have more of a built up heel and I could really feel the support.

I honestly think this latest injury was caused by 3 things…

1) I had new shoes.  They ran great.  I won’t mention the brand here, but I loved them and felt like I could run much better then ever before in them.  Sadly, about 20 miles into wearing them, I felt a tug of pain on my heel.  Not wanting to give up on shoes after 20 miles I kept going.  I tied them differently to try and give more support.  Finally, one day the pain wasn’t feeling better. I ran one step too far and something sprang in my heel. No more running for two weeks.

2) Speed.  The need for speed.  I’m an old man (not really, but older then most of you I’m sure).  I have been on a quest to run faster and farther since I started my running career almost 3 years ago.  I’ve done well.  I’ve won my age group in many 5Ks.  I finished in the top 4 percent of my age group in my Country Music Half Marathon.  I ran half of my only marathon at an 8 minute pace (and the second half at a 12:00 pace).  Speed is fun, but for me, it causes injuries.  So I am giving up on speed and going to start running for distance.  I want to run another marathon, an ultra marathon, perhaps a 50 miler.  There are far more goals for me to achieve beyond being fast and taking chances at getting hurt.  I still hope to BQ one day, but for now, that dream is set aside.

3) Cycling.  God gave me the wisdom to buy a fairly cheap bike on Black Friday.  If it weren’t for that purchase, I’d be walking everyday because of my ankle and hating it.  So, instead I’ve been riding.  Not everyday as I’ve been out of town some and had other commitments, but several times I’ve gotten out an ridden with my kids.  Sunday was awesome.  RS and I road trails at the Mountain State Park for 6 miles.  I probably should have thought differently when I saw the sign to “Rattle Snake Ridge” and let RS talk me into going on that trail.  We made it, but it was a bit above my comfort zone.  Also, after our 6 miles with RS on the trails, I got to ride with JS for 13 miles at a small park near our home. She suffers from fibromyalgia and to be able to ride that much at one time was quite a victory.

RS at the top of Rattle Snake Ridge

RS at the top of Rattle Snake Ridge

So, all that to say, speed is out (except on the bike) and running long and slow is in.  It is a new chapter for me and will take time to get into my head (don’t run fast), but I think it is the way to go, at least for now.

Hey, maybe I can get to Boston running for a charity.  Who said I have to kill myself to reach my dreams.

Have an awesome week.

Tom

 

The agony of de-heel

I was feeling good.  The day before, I just had the best 5 mile run, coming in under an 8:00 mile.  This day I chose to take it easy and not push it.  As I ran, my heel spur began to bother me.  It has been bothering me a lot lately.  So I concentrated on my form and tried to relax.

The run continued and I sped up a bit.  I was really wanting to have another good run.  I shouldn’t have done that.  My heel began hurting more and I kept relaxing and running.  At the 4 mile point, it hit.  The pain.  There was definitely something wrong.  I stopped immediately and began to walk.  Shortly the walk became a limp.  I had to walk a quarter mile back to my car and it took almost as long as it did to run the 4 miles.

I then limped for 4 days.  I had a lot to get done and didn’t ice it like I should have.  I still don’t know if it is my achilles or heel spur.

The good news is that I bought that bike over black Friday.  My heel didn’t hurt at all riding the bike.  I rode with my only daughter one day.  She has suffers a lot from Fibromyalgia and it was great riding slowly through the neighborhood with her.

Sunday was also good.  I went riding at the State Park with RS.  We rode a lot.  We rode mountain trails and roads.  The trails were really hard to get used to at first, but by the end, we were riding hard and having a lot of fun.  We rode some roads for a while and then headed back to the car.  Going up the hill to where we parked was hard as my legs were rubber.  Funny that I can run 5 miles hard and fast, but I can’t ride 5 miles without major effort.

Today, 5 days after my injury I am doing better.  I walked without a limp and have little pain.  I won’t have time to run again until Wednesday, so I should be good to go.

I was just thinking a week ago that what has kept me from running most lately has been other health issues (stones, mainly), and then this…

Either way, I will be back.  I will run.  I will keep the edge and, Lord willing, I will run another marathon… Boston maybe!

Tom

A tale of two runs

Five miles to run isn’t far.  I remember when my long run day was 6 miles and I was so exhausted afterwards I walked into the wrong house.  That was embarrassing.

On the other hand, sometimes a five mile run is an eternity.

One day last year I was running 5 miles and it wasn’t going well.  It was hot, I was tired from a long week and hurting physically.  I tried to keep with the run to master my body and make it my slave, but in the end, I stopped and walked home.  I made it 3 miles and couldn’t take another step.  Oh, and did I mention that this was 2 weeks before my first marathon?  My thoughts went to, “I’m running a marathon in a couple of weeks and I just stopped a 5 mile run 2 miles early”.  To say I was a bit worried is an understatement.

Two weeks later I ran that marathon.  I completed 26.2 miles in 4 hours and 15 minutes.

I learned from that run.  In fact out of all my training runs for that marathon, that 3 mile failure sticks out the most.  I can even see in my mind where I stopped and claimed defeat – or was it defeat?

Yesterday I mimicked that run.  It was a 5 mile run and I wasn’t doing well.  It was hot and I wasn’t feeling well (sore, tired, etc).  I stopped a time or two to make sure that I wasn’t overdoing things and also I wanted to make it through my run at whatever the cost.

NOT

I stopped.  I stopped at 2.46 miles.  Not even an even number.  I just couldn’t run any more.

I could have pushed myself.  I have pushed myself in the past and have been pleased that I persevered.  This time was different.  I knew that if I continued, I could hurt myself.  I can’t explain why I knew this time was different.  I guess over my years of running I have developed a sense.  But just as when I had the 3 mile run while training for a marathon, I stopped and walked home.

Ultimately I count these runs as success.  Everyday before I run, my Lovely wife tells me to run fast, have a good run and be wise.  I think I was wise back a year ago and wise yesterday.  Success in running isn’t always pushing harder and making the goal.  Success in running (and life) is knowing when keep going or when to stop.  Stopping isn’t failure, getting hurt if failure.  Pushing through or stopping early, we just need wisdom to know how to proceed.

Today is another day.  It is going to be hot again, but Saturday will be sunny and in the 60’s as a high.  Wow – Fall weather is coming and I can’t wait.

Until next time…

Tom

Summer running update!

I haven’t posted in a while, and yes, I feel guilty about that.

Basically it has become hard to post for a couple of very good reasons:

  1. I run 4 miles a day and 7 miles on Sunday with Saturday off.  Not much variation happening with this routine.
  2. It is hot and so my runs are rather slow and exhausting.  I usually have to stop after 2 miles and once or twice on the last 2 mile stretch.  I don’t stop long, just enough to be able to catch my breath and walk for a few seconds in the shade.  All in all though, I’m not breaking any records out there.  In fact, I don’t even take my Pebble watch with me because I don’t want to feel I have to run hard in the heat of the Southern summer.
  3. I have few races ahead.  I am going to run a 5K with TJ (and maybe RS) in a couple weeks, but nothing major for which to train.

So here I am.  Mindlessly running 4 miles a day at 3:00 in the afternoon.  My knee is better and I haven’t had to stop a run again since I walked down the mountain, so that is good.  And I took off the weekend of the 4th to head to Chattanooga with my Lovely Wife.  I left my running shoes at home so I could take a break.  Wouldn’t you know that it was some of the best weather we’ve had all summer.  Cool mornings and low humidity.  Pretty much I have figured out that if I want it to cool down outside all I have to do is not run and… BAM – it gets beautiful out.  I started running again on Monday and, yes, it was hot and humid.

So all in all life is as monotonous as a slow 4 mile run in the heat.  Work is very busy and home is just about as busy with things breaking (like our central air).

I can’t complain though.  Other then my knee issue, I haven’t really been hurt much lately.  In fact the last time I took a week off of running was several months ago.

Finally, I honestly haven’t had time to read too many blogs lately (another guilt trip for me).  I think that adds to my monotony.  I get motivated by reading other blogs and by skipping them, it just isn’t the same.  Hopefully life will slow down a bit and get back to normal.

Have an awesome weekend and enjoy life.

Tom