Finally success running smart!

I had a successful week running last week.  For me it was amazingly successful.

I’ve been running 41 miles a week for several weeks and to prevent a crash in my running, I decided to have a low mileage week.  My goal was to run 31 miles during the week with my longest run being 6 miles.  I ended up with 30.9 (but whose counting).

By Sunday, I felt great again.  My soreness was gone and my body “felt” healed.  This is huge for me.  In the past (1.5 years ago when I used to run this kind of mileage), I would keep running the higher mileage and then after a month or so I’d get hurt or have some issue that set me back into the low 100s.

Yesterday was going to be and 8 mile run, the first run of my 45 miles week (post recovery).  I did run, but it was raining hard and getting dark as the afternoon got late.  I got a late start because of issues beyond my control and by the time I got to 6 miles, I called it a day.  It was raining so hard toward the end of the run that it was like I was in basic training in the army.  I could barely see through the rain.  It was awesome.  I had negative splits with the first mile at a 9:40 pace, down to 8:15 my last mile.  I’ve learned to start out slow and then work my speed up throughout my run.  It makes all the difference in a good run.

There was one other soul out running at the same time as me in the park.  Just us two, going opposite directions and passing each other slashing in the puddles.

So my plan was for 8 miles yesterday, but I settled for 6.  I’ll make up the other two sometime this week.  Today is an 8 mile hill run, then Wednesday 4 miles, Thursday 8, Friday 4, and Saturday 13.  Sunday will be a 10 mile bike trail ride with RS and then it all starts over next Monday.

By the way, I was reading the recap of my only marathon and all the comments from it the other day.  Oh how I want to run one again.  This time, I want to run it smartly and with strength.  No plans yet, but maybe Chicago?  That would be cool! Maybe I could see my friend at runningonhealthy.com. 🙂

Happy trails.

Tom

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Racing the sun in running shoes

This is my recovery week for running.

I’ve run 41+ miles for two weeks in a row and now need my body to heal a bit.  In the past, I would keep increasing my mileage until I got close to 200 miles in a month and then my running would crash.  My monthly charts look like stair steps going up, up, up and then major drop off.  After my marathon in Sept of 2013, everything crashed.  Now, I’m trying to be smart about my mileage and strength.

Yesterday was a particularly tough day in general.  It started as usual waking up at 4:00AM and at work by 5:30.  After work, I was looking forward to a slow 4 mile run with RS at the park while JR rode her bike.  I got home at 3:30PM and sat in my car for a minute and just enjoyed the silence.  No one wanting something from me, no noise, just quiet.  I thought, “I could sit here for hours and just relax”.

Then my phone rang!@#$%  It was work with a major database crash.  SERIOUSLY!!!  I finally have a “zen” moment and it is all over in seconds.

I spent the next hour recovering the databases (successfully, BTW) and then rushed out the door to get to the park to get my 4 miles in before dark.  I don’t run after dark outside of my neighborhood – just my preference.  We got to the park and I knew it would be close.  RS and I started our run out much faster then I wanted.  We had no choice.  We were racing the sun and that isn’t an easy thing to do.  Also my lovely daughter was riding her bike and I didn’t want her riding after dark.

As we came up to the 4 mile mark, it was dusk.  The sunset was beautiful and we were tired (more from the 8 mile hill run the day before then this run).

So we beat the sun… sort of.  Unfortunately this was to be a slow, easy run (as are the rest of the runs this week).  I need to recover, and racing the sun isn’t the way to succeed in slowing down.

Another 4 mile run today (and the rest of the week) and then 7 on Saturday and I’ll be at 31 miles.  Next week, 45!

Tom

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”!

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

 

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. 🙂

Walking then running – Why didn’t I think of this before?

Interesting run yesterday.

It began with my daughter JR and me walking for 2 miles.  She used to love to run and exercise.  Then she had a series of health issues that has kept her from doing much in the form of exercise for the past few years.  So, I thought I could walk a couple of miles with her each day after I get home from work and before my run.

I got home, put on my running clothes, said goodbye to my Lovely Wife and we headed out for our walk.  It was a very nice time of walking and talking.  It was in the low 90s, but the humidity was low, so it wasn’t too hot during our walk.

After we got home, I headed out for my run.  The interesting thing is that it was the first painless run since my marathon.  It was only 3 miles, but that is also the most miles I’ve run since Sunday.  Also I ran 9:16, 8:51 and 8:17 pace for an average pace of 8:48 for the three miles.

When deciding whether to walk with JR before or after my run, I decided to walk before to see if it would help warm my muscles up for my run.  That seems to be exactly what happened.  It was so nice to run without issues and run relatively fast for the heat of the day.

It was a great day, until…

I was heading out last night to get some milk and jammed my little toe into a wall on my way downstairs.  Needless to say it is hurting this morning and I don’t know if I will be able to run on it today or not.

Still I am thankful for the fun time with JR and my great run.  Life doesn’t get much better than that!

Retro Run 5K race recap

Wow, what a weekend.

To being with, our vow renewal went awesome Friday afternoon.  We had a great family time all of the day.

One thing I learned…

5 pieces of Pizza Hut pan pizza + 1 milk shake + hot weather + run immediately after = a really hard 4 mile run.  🙂

On to our 5K race yesterday.  I really had fun.  It was Birmingham in July at 6:00 in the evening and it was just under 80 degrees.  At the starting line it began to rain, which felt nice, but into the race a bit, it got very humid and hard to breath.

All in all I had a good race.  I didn’t know what to expect since I haven’t run much the past two weeks.  But I ended up coming in at 22:04 which is my second best 5K race time, so I am happy with that.

TJ, RS and my friends Neill (@bigBigGeek) and David (@David_Topping) all did really well.  Neill and David both set PR’s.  On a warm humid evening like yesterday, that is amazing.  TJ did incredible.  Just shy of his PR, but he has also run 360 miles in the past month.  I don’t know how he does it.  JR and HM both came to watch and cheer us on.  That is always a nice thing and really helps.  Thank you both!!  My Lovely Wife was home with her bad back, but she kept up with calls and texts.  I really missed her there, but I understand why she couldn’t sit there for 2 hours.

Today is normally my long day.  After averaging near a 7 minute mile for 5K just 14 hours ago, I may take today off or just go out for a short run later.  I haven’t run under an 8 minute mile since May and my legs are feeling it this morning.

Tomorrow starts a new week and hopefully I’ll be going back to my 45 – 55 mileage.  Marathon in 7 weeks.  Oh my!