Finally a 10 mile run (negative splits)

It has been a long while since I’ve run 10 miles.  In fact, just to be honest, I haven’t run over 7 or 8 miles but twice in the past year.  Once was two weeks before my half marathon and once was my half marathon (RnR Nashville).

Why?

Well running up and down my mountain got me to about 8 miles and I considered that to be worth about 13.  That may not be true, but it really was much more then an 8 mile workout.  Then summer hit and I entered survival mode.  I decided I would set a goal of 4 miles a day and try not to miss more then 2 days a week.  That got me about 20 miles a week, just enough to keep me going.

Sunday it was cold here.  I know that it is cold it is up North, but for us, waking up to 36 degrees was a bit of a shock.  So I just stayed in bed.  In fact I stayed in bed later then I have in years.  I finally got up and decided I needed to get my run in anyway and man up under the cold.  By the time I got to our state park, it was a cool 50 degrees and almost perfect for running.  I will say it was too warm for a jacket during a run and too cold to go without.  In the end, I ran 2 miles with a jacket and then did the rest without.

I knew I could do the 10 miler, but also knew the temptation to tell myself that I could quit early, so after I ran the 2 miles and put up my jacket, I ran 4 miles in one direction and 4 back.  To be honest, it was hard.  My body isn’t used that long mileage anymore and the road back was mostly uphill.

The run was very rewarding.  I needed to get back to longer runs and figured 10 miles was a good start.  I am much stronger then I was during my marathon, which is good news.  All the hill runs paid off.  Also I mostly had negative splits, even with the last several miles being uphill most of the way.

So that run is in the bag.  I hope to keep the 10+ mile runs going each weekend for the long term.  I have the hill runs down, and adding the long runs will add to my strength.  I hope to run a half marathon at the end of December (Jacksonville) then another half in February (Birmingham) and finish with a marathon in Va. Beach in March.  Time will tell how this will go.  I got hurt a lot going into my last marathon, but I know now that I didn’t have the leg strength to do it.  I don’t know how I completed it, let alone ran it in 4:15.

Tom

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Running in the heat has put my marathon on hold…

Heat!  Summer heat!  Fall heat!

I am so tired of running in the heat.  Unfortunately the only real consistent time I have to run is at 3:00 each day.  So I just head out and try to be as consistent as I can.

You would think that being October, the heat would dissipate.  Not!  Yesterday it was 86 with a heat index of 90…

I know I shouldn’t complain, but it just makes it that more difficult.  I was thinking yesterday that I didn’t remember it being this hot last year (or at least running in the heat).  I then remembered that I spent most of last fall injured from repercussions of my marathon race in September.

All this to say, I won’t be able to run the Jacksonville State Marathon this December.  Sadly, I just don’t have it in me to run more then 4 – 5 miles a day and usually by Friday, I’m totally worn out.

I now set my sights on the Shamrock Marathon in Va. Beach on St. Patricks Day.  Hopefully as cool weather sets in, I’ll be able to find some more strength and stamina to get some training going.  Also, there is a lot going on with things unrelated to running at the moment that I would like to get past before putting so much time into training to run a marathon.

As of right now, cooler weather might start next Tuesday.  One can only hope!

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

To marathon or not to marathon…

I’m thinking about it…

I might just do it…

I am debating another marathon.  Of course that shouldn’t be big news to anyone who knows why I named my blog 278toBoston.  However this is big news to me.  I had almost just given up on running another long race.

The summer has been difficult to say the least.  It has been hot and tiring.  My goal is to run 4 miles each day I run (going for at least 5 days a week) and I have just added a 7-8 mile run on the weekend.

Basically I’m in survival mode running.  Just enough running to not lose the gains I have made in the past few years.

Back to the marathon.  I have a great Hungarian Dr. friend who lives in Jacksonville, Fl.  After I ran my last marathon, he said, “Okay Tom, now that you have run a marathon, you aren’t doing any more, right?”  He was afraid that I could hurt myself by running so far.

Well now he is wanting me to run the Jacksonville Bank Marathon in December.  He wants us to come down and spend time together.  I think the marathon is the excuse he is making for us to come down for a visit, but it is tempting.

A couple of pluses… It is a flat course. It is at the end of December in Florida.  It is 80% shaded.  It is very scenic.  He is an awesome friend.

So, now with confidence from my hill/mountain running over the past couple weeks, I am at a place where I have to make a choice to train or not to train for another marathon.  This training will be easier then last years training as I won’t be doing the bulk of my training in the summer heat.

Anyway, I will make up my mind soon.  My last/first marathon clocked in at 4:14, so a sub 4:00 marathon would be awesome.

Decisions, decisions…

Should I or shouldn’t I…

More on my decision within a few days.

Tom

Running with a positive outlook

This continues to be a strange season in my running life.

Yesterday I came home and wasn’t feeling well.  I had a bit of a sick headache.  My thought was to perhaps skip my 5 mile run for the day and just walk a few miles.  By the time I got home I felt better thanks to my Lovely Wife suggesting I drink some chocolate milk.  I guess it was low blood sugar.  Anyway, I decided to go out for my run.

It went really well.  In fact it went much better then Tuesday’s run.  I did have my ACV before I went out as usual, but the run was stranger then my runs lately.

I ran easy.  I decided to not push myself.  I told myself to just take it easy and get a slow 5 miles in.

As I ran, I noticed my pace improving.  I wasn’t pushing myself.  In fact I was trying not to push.  The more I relaxed, the faster my pace got.  There were actually a few times where I got below 7:00 pace – and I didn’t feel like I was running very hard at all.

In the usual places I got a bit tired and did have a phone call during my run, but I felt strong and well for the whole run.

My last mile (almost a full mile – I don’t care much anymore about the last .05 of a mile) I ran at a pace below 8:00.  I was, however, pushing more at that point since I knew it was going to be a good run for me.

It was a good run.  8:23 pace overall.

Here is a breakdown:

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I really don’t know what I am finally doing right.  I feel good while running.  My hip is doing well.  My pace is getting better and my VO2 Max seems to be improving greatly.

I have had thoughts of increasing my mileage, but I am good with 5 miles a day and 8 – 12 on my long day.  Rhythm is important and I feel like I am developing one.  In fact, this was pretty much my whole training for my marathon.  5 miles a day during the week and 10 – 20 on the weekend.

So things are moving in a positive direction… Thankfully.  My weight is also down.  I was up above 190 for a bit, but am now at 187.  Hopefully that will continue to go down.

My half marathon is in just over 3 weeks.  I plan on getting in an 11 or 12 mile run this weekend and 13 the next.

This could be a very interesting race for me.  I’m beginning to actually look forward to it.

Tom

A great day – and a slow run!!!

Yesterday was a good day.

By the way, I  forgot to mention that my last post was #300 for me.  Pretty cool.  Next month will be one year of blogging.  I never thought I’d do that – and never thought I’d run a marathon.  Pretty big year.

Back to yesterday.

To begin with, I ran… a little.  I went out for my walk and decided to mix in some slow running to see how my hip was doing.  It did pretty well.  I didn’t time myself, but that old man with the walker passed me on my run so I know I wasn’t setting a PR. 🙂  Anyway, I walked a little and ran a little and then repeated that about 5 times.  3 miles.  So, I am beginning to feel confident that my time off of running after my 5K injury has helped and now I can begin to slowly get back into a routine.  (@BigBigGeek, I think we can do a slow run tomorrow at the park.  I’m not sure I can run the whole time though, so you may have to go on and meet me on your way back).

So running will begin again.  TJ still wants me to run the Shamrock marathon in Va. Beach in March.   Hmmm.  I’ve been thinking that might not happen, but I’m open.  I’ll see how December goes and how our half goes in February and decide from there.  Frankly that was not an option to me until he brought it up.  Although I never thought of running Boston until he brought it up.  What would I do without him!

Finally two great things happened at work yesterday.  First, my work has agreed to purchase my Google Glass option for the company.  I love that I am in IT and at a company who lets me be on the cutting edge.  Thanks Work!  Second, I was notified that our organization and the program I’ve created will be featured in major media markets in an advertising type of campaign.  The software company is impressed with our organization’s story and how I’ve programmed their software.

All in all it was a good day.

Today will be even better!

Ordinary running

Ran again yesterday.  7 days in a row.

I was thinking as I ran how “ordinary” my running is.  I don’t mean that in a negative way, but I think I am feeling some rebound from training for a marathon.

I wondered as I trained, how I would feel after it was all over.  Would I have a difficult time adjusting to the fact I wasn’t training anymore, or would I be relieved.  I was happy to find out that after the marathon was all over, I was satisfied.  I didn’t feel upset or unfocused.  I was just living in the fact that I had completed my goal.

Now, almost 4 week later, I think I did have some issues that came up over the past few weeks.  Even as I ran yesterday, I felt a bit “off” thinking that it is all over.  My running right now is ordinary running.  Nothing special.  Nothing to train for.  Nothing but me and the road and my shoes.

I don’t mean that I am not planning some races. We have a 10K in a month and TJ just talked to me about running a few 5K’s.  In February we have the Mercedes Half Marathon and in March the Shamrock Marathon.

Right now though, I am enjoying just running and not really training.  I am enjoying pushing it a bit.  I am enjoying the cooler weather (though the heat index yesterday was 90).  I really am enjoying the no pressure running that I am doing.  But deep inside there is a little sadness.  There is a little loss.  Training for a marathon was hard, especially in the summer.  It was grueling and tiring.  I am surprised though how much of my identity was tied up in that training.  Even now it seems hard to not have that goal to reach out to.  It seems hard to not be in a place of, “Can I actually do this?”

So, I am working on enjoying my ordinary running.

Sometimes life is ordinary.  There is nothing to reach out for.  It is work, home, run, eat and sleep.

If we don’t enjoy the moments, even in the ordinary times, we will never appreciate the marathon of life.

Hmmm.  Now I feel better.  I’m glad I had a chance to write through this thought process.

On to my ordinary life.  I’m glad I am alive, can eat, can run and can sleep in a bed and have a wonderful family.

Ordinary is good.