Pondering my Long run while Hangin’ with “The Dog”

The Dog

Just sitting here pondering my long run with “The Dog”.  She is happy to get some attention and I am happy to relax before I attempt my longest run.  Last year at this time my longest run was 6 miles.  Now I want to make between 15 – 18 miles.

I did take the good advice I got yesterday from Russ and others and took the day off of running.  We just did some shopping and I cut the hedges.  So I got a workout in anyway.

Today I plan on mixing up my route a bit.  I have a 7 mile route in our neighborhood that I run on long days.  Today however, I plan on running 2 five mile loops and then do the 7 mile route.  That will allow for me to come by the house and drink some water along the way.

Here is hoping for the “zone” that David mentioned.  I’m really going to try to make it a steady run and just see what happens.

Long run lessons

It was a good run yesterday, for the most part.

I ran the first 11 miles at close to a 9:00 pace. I honestly didn’t feel like I was pushing it much, but I guess I was. I tired to keep with my app, but I kept going too fast by the end of each split.

So, 11 miles went great. Then I came to mile 12. I lost all strength. It hit me out of left field. I suddenly had very little strength left. I ended up walking some of the 12th and 13th mile. I decided that rather than pushing myself, I would be glad I had a good run and head home.

I realized a couple things after yesterday’s run.

First, I pushed it too hard for the first 11 miles. Even though my perceived effort was low and I felt great, it was more than my system could handle. I should not have crashed as I did. Had I tried to keep my pace a little slower, I could have finished the course. As it was I ran 13 out of the 15 miles planned.

Second, I need to work on keeping my energy level up by taking some type of energy gel during my run. I read an article the other day that said, if you wait until you feel tired before you take a gel or drink gatorade, it is too late. Made sense. It said to start taking a little gel about 30 minutes into your run and then take more ever 15 minutes. Obviously you wouldn’t want to take a full gel every 15 minutes, but about a quarter of one each 15 minuted will keep your energy up throughout the race.

Last, I hurt my hip yesterday. I knew it was aching during my run, but that has happened before and not been a problem. Yesterday though, I was in quite a lot of pain about an hour after my run. It still hurts today. Since today is my off day, I am going to see how it feels after a day of rest and go from there. Based on my research, it sounds like it is my hip flexor that is inflamed. I am sure it was caused several weeks ago when I tripped on the sidewalk running. I hope it will get better on its own, but if not, I’ll see some type of doctor this week. Not good timing as I was just getting back into running well again.

So the ups and downs of my long run. The encouraging thing to me was the fact I am getting back to my Spring pace and had an overall good run. I just hope my second wind isn’t too close to the marathon that I run out of time.

Saturday, the Retro Run in Birmingham. It is a fun 5K that we did last year. Hopefully I’ll be all better and ready to run! Going to see Neill (@bigbiggeek) there and about 5 other people I know (plus TJ and RS will run). Can’t wait.

The Reinspired Runner

I have a goal for tomorrow that will change my run plan today.

I have to get to 15 miles tomorrow for my long run.

To be honest, a week ago I was thinking that I may never get back to a point where I could run 15, let alone 26 miles. But it has been a good week. I found out I had a sinus infection and got it taken care of. I ran 5 miles a day rather than my planned 7 miles a day. This was because of the heat and not wanting to feel overwhelmed each day since running had been difficult for a while. Finally, I ran negative splits every day this week. I started off slowly and each mile I ran faster than the previous mile.

Having our first marathon in 8 weeks (from tomorrow), I have to get the longer runs in and get up my confidence. I have gained great confidence from this week and now feel I can run 15 miles tomorrow and do it well.

Back to my opening sentence. I am taking today off from running to get me ready for tomorrow. My goal over the next 4-6 weeks is to get my long run up to 20+ miles and my hope is that I will feel good doing it. I now believe that is a possibility.

Confidence is huge and I lost my confidence over the past couple of months.

Now, however, you can call me the reinspired runner!

Quick Sunday Running Update

Off to do my long run, which fortunately is only 10 miles this week since I am almost through with my recovery week.

Why fortunately?

Well, I had a horrible night sleep.  I don’t know why, just one of “those” nights.  I woke up at 12:30 AM and drifted in and out of sleep from then on.

Anyway, not wanting that to stop me, I am heading out.  Tomorrow is supposed to be my off day, but since I probably won’t have time to run Friday, I’ll try to run tomorrow and take Friday off.

Also I wanted to mention that my friend and trail running partner Neill adding running posts to his blog.  Here is the address bigbiggeek.wordpress.com, go visit and see his progress toward a half marathon.

Happy Sunday.

Achilles fix? Maybe!

93 miles in 2 weeks.

43 miles last week.

13 miles on Sunday.

That is a lot of miles for a 50 year old who has been running just over a year.

Many of you know that I have suffered with achilles issues for some time now.  I haven’t been writing about it because my ice baths for my foot after running has been keeping the problem in check, but it has still been difficult at times.  One bad moment was when I was getting up from sitting and hit my heal into the back of the chair I was in.  That sent me through the roof.  An hour later I was out running and the run was okay, but I had more pain.  That was Friday.

I had been thinking about the logic of stretching my calf to relieve the pain in my achilles. Everyone says to stretch by leaning forward with the foot on the ground.  Yes I can feel the stretch in my calf, but I also feel the pull on my achilles.  Then I thought, many people will tell you to take time off from running and let it rest to get past the issue.  So why am I stretching and pulling against it if it needs to rest?  Finally I got a foam roller to roll on my calf.  I am to roll until I feel a knot and then hold the knot until it releases.  This I did.  But it is hard for me to spend more than a few minutes doing this along with other stretching, running, family, work, dog, etc.

All that to say, I did something Saturday night that allowed me to begin my run on Sunday with NO pain in my achilles.  I ran 8 miles until I began to feel a little pulling.  It was amazing to me.  It is like when it is hot outside for weeks and one morning you go out and it is cool.  Wow, what a difference.  You notice it right away.  That was my run yesterday.  Zero pain.  Ahhh.

So what did I do?

I laid in bed while TJ and my Lovely Wife and I watched the first Spirit of the Marathon.  I put my left knee up with my foot on the bed.  I took my right leg and set my calf directly on top of my knee.  Then I dug in.  I could apply as much pressure or as little pressure as I wanted.  I finally found a spot on the outside of my calf that hurt a lot, so I worked that area for over an hour.  It hurt, but it was easy to continue.  I just watched a movie and did about 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off of allowing my knee to massage and kneed my sore calf muscle.  That was it.

The next morning (Sunday), I got up out of bed for the first time in a long time with no pain.  I knew I did something right – finally.

I’m not saying that I am fixed.  After my run yesterday my achilles was pretty sore, so I did some more work on it last night, but not much.  I feel asleep too fast.  Still, I now know an answer that I hope will permanently fix my achilles.

Time will tell.

It was a good long run by the way.  I did well until the 12th mile and then stated to fade.  Much better than last week.  So I am making progress.

12 weeks until the Lehigh Valley Marathon!  I hope I’m ready.

My virtual coach – a big help running

Yesterday’s run went well.  It was a bit tough since I had run so late on Friday, but not too bad.  No walls which is good and since I ran early in the day, it was cooler.

I have been really trying to follow my virtual coach’s instructions on my run (from the iSmoothRun app).  I think this will be a huge help in my marathon.  I have issues with starting too fast and then burning out quickly.  Since I have been using it the past two days, I not only start slower, but I keep a fairly consistent pace throughout  my run.  This has helped me conserve energy and be able to finish much stronger than I used to.

Today will be a good test.  I am going for my long run of 13 miles (TJ did 21 yesterday – wow!).  I am going to do the first mile slow to warm up (especially my achilles) and then try to keep about a 9:30 mile.  That has been my pace as the heat has hit.  I did get up early so that I can get my run in while it is still the cool of the day, but in the South, mornings can be hot even before sunrise.

Anyway, I will use my virtual coach today and see how it goes.  I hope to finish my 13 miles feeling good and get my confidence up for longer long runs as our marathon is just 12 weeks away.

On a side note, the cooling shirt that TJ got me for Father’s day that I was so excited to use for the first time on my long run was way too small.  Very strange as I got a large.  It wasn’t even a comfortable tight.  So I’ll take it back today and hope they have an extra large.  I am disappointed, but at least I am running most of my run before the heat kicks in.

Happy Fathers Day to all you dads.  Go for a run and everyone have a GREAT DAY!!!

Several “firsts” thanks to running

100th post!  Wow, time files when you write a blog!!!

Yesterday was a day of firsts.  It is funny when you lose a lot of weight, you tend to look closer at “firsts”.  My Lovely Wife and I have noticed several firsts, outside of our clothes getting smaller with our waistline.  For instance, actually seeing our collar bone.  Or I noticed I could sit with shorts on and put my knees together and actually see between my legs to the floor.

Well, yesterday I had a couple of firsts.  One, though not weight related, was a neat experience.  I was running my long run (13 grueling miles in the rain) and I heard something coming up behind me.  I looked back and a big black lab was running after me.  Needless to say, I was a bit shocked at first.  But it ran up beside me and just ran with me for a while.  In fact if you saw us running together you would have though it was my dog.  It made my run a bit more fun.  Then I heard someone behind me calling out.  I looked and there was a guy with a leash running after us.  Okay, that made a bit more sense.  So I stopped my run (another first) and the dog stopped also.  The guy caught up and put the leash on the dog and off they went.  So, for a while at least I had someone to run with.

My next “first” was diet related.  No, not the ice cream bonanza we had to celebrate RS’s birthday (nice that I could eat and not worry too much about my weight after running 13 miles).  As I ran, it began to rain.  Not surprising since it was supposed to rain and storm all day.  At one point, it rained so hard that it was hard to keep running.  Finally the rain slowed and stopped for a while and I was left soaked in my 2x teeshirt.  I still wear those double extra large teeshirts to run in for some reason, even though they are huge on me now.  By the time I got to 7 miles, I made a decision.  As I passed by my house, I was going to take off my now heavy, rain soaked shirt.  Knowing it would rain again and that if I went inside to get another shirt, I would have probably stopped my grueling run, I just took off my shirt, threw it in the yard and kept running.

You have to know me to appreciate what I did here.  I ran the last 6 miles shirtless.  I haven’t been outside without a shirt since probably high school.  Frankly, I have been overweight most of my marriage and not one to want to be seen outside without a shirt.  So it was a momentous occasion for me.  I didn’t feel very comfortable and I could still stand to lose 20 lbs, but it was doable and I felt like I lost 20 lbs after taking off that rain soaked shirt.

Needless to say it was a different day in many aspects, including me not posting a blog post.  I think it might have been the first day since I started that I didn’t write anything.  To be honest, I didn’t sleep well and wen’t shopping early in the morning with my Lovely Wife and started my run late, so my schedule was off from the beginning.

All in all it was a great day.  As I mentioned, the run was rather miserable.  As I hit 3 miles, I felt like I had already run 13.  But in my head were all those motivational posters I see on blogs and Twitter.

Anyway – Enjoy your week and keep running (whether you feel like it or not).

Awesome run yesterday!

Yesterday I had the type of run that makes me hopeful that I will be able to qualify for Boston in September in Pennsylvania.

Just a couple of weeks ago that I wrote how I struggled on my long run day (link).  I did several things to fix my problem.  I started getting up and drinking 32 oz (1000 ml) of water immediately.  I then wait two hours before running.  This seems to help me wake up and make sure I don’t have to stop my run to go to the bathroom.  Also I eat eggs and a whole wheat bagel.  One other thing I tried this week is moving my off day to Saturday.  I always run better the day after an off day and so I thought I’d give that a try and see if it helped.

It helped.

I ran the farthest and the fastest long run ever.  Here are the stats from my run:

  • 15 miles
  • 2 hours 3 minutes
  • 8:14/mile
  • 90 Avg Cadence

Wow, it was incredible!  I ran differently from most of my runs.  I worked on running relaxed.  I let my legs run and by body go along for the ride.  It really helped.  By the time I reached the half way mark, I was still feeling good.  I wasn’t tired and I wasn’t breathing hard.  In fact, mile 13 was my fastest of the day at 7:58!  My slowest was mile 1 at 8:57.

The weather was good also.  It was in the mid 40s, no wind and sunny.  It must have been close to 60 by the time I was through with my run.

All in all, it was a great day for running.  The only issues were my knees hurt a little and my hip was not good after the run.  I have to figure that one out if I want to keep up the mileage.  Also I got blisters on the balls of my feet.  That seems to happen on long runs no matter what socks I wear.  Not sure the reason.

Today is another day.  The one thing about running is each day you start over.  Sometimes that is a good thing when you had a tough run.  Sometimes it would be nice to just relive that great run for a few days, but that can’t happen.

For tomorrow, I asked my brother to write a guest post.  I thought it would be nice to get his views on running as he ran a lot with my siblings and my dad during the marathon years that I missed.

Have a wonderful day and keep running.  I’ll be back Wednesday!

Day off yesterday, long run in the rain today

I took yesterday off for obvious reasons if you read any of my posts this week (other than Friday).  It has been a difficult week running and I figured that since I only planned 4 miles yesterday, it would be good just to give my body a break.

Today is my long run day.  I planned 12, I hope to make 13.  It is going to be raining pretty consistently the entire run.  I never look forward to running when it is raining, however I usually run better in the rain for some reason.  Well I run better until my shoes get wet and heavy, but you can’t have everything.

I’ve had my water, eggs and banana, so I am good to go.

Here’s to a great run today (he says as he heads out the door)…  I hope.

Victory over my long run day – Finally

It seems that all the pondering yesterday of my long run day did in fact help.  As I wrote, my long run days have been quite difficult.  Not just the mileage, because even at mile 3 I can feel awful.  Also I cannot seem to run them even close to my average time.  Somewhat I understand that, because it is a longer day and I don’t want to push too much, but considering I ran my half marathon under 8:00 pace and I cannot even run 10 miles under 9:00, it is frustrating to say the least.

What did I do differently yesterday?  Quite a lot.  Unfortunately, when you change multiple things at one time, you don’t really know what helped and what didn’t. I admit I was desperate to figure this out, so here is what I did differently.

  • I got up and drank 32oz of water as soon as my feet hit the floor.
  • I drank a cup of coffee (as I do most of other mornings)
  • I took a shower (I normally don’t take a shower until after my runs if I run early in the morning)
  • Right before my run I walked a quarter mile and ran very slowly another quarter mile.

So something in this mix helped me tremendously.  I felt great when I started my run and, in fact, felt good for most of it.  My hip began to hurt around mile 7, which was annoying, but I did well overall until mile 11.  Now you need to know that I haven’t run over 10 miles since February when we did our half marathon, and I wanted to run 12 miles yesterday.  Mile 11 was just hard.  I felt like I had nothing left.  However, when I got to mile 12, I thought, if this was a race, I would find something inside to pick up the pace, so that is what I did.  In fact the only mile I ran over a 9:00 pace yesterday was mile 11.

I finished my run, drank my chocolate milk and looked at my time.  I ran the 12 miles at a 8:38 pace!!!  Other than the half marathon, I have never run a long run in our neighborhood under 8:55 and it has been a long time since I have been under 9:00.

So, now I look at the 4 things I did differently and wonder…  which one helped, or was it just TJ’s advice to not over think the run.  Either way, I know myself, now each Sunday I will have to do those 4 things to make sure I am covered.  I know I’ll have good runs and bad, but yesterday made running fun again.

Today is our traditional off day, but TJ and I are going to run very slowly for a few miles.  Just for fun 🙂