Breaking my body memory by longer runs

30 miles in 4 days.

Honestly, I guess I’ve overdone it a little, but I had good reasoning.

Sunday I went out for a long run at our state park.  I ran 8.8 miles. I didn’t look at my watch, but I ran until I couldn’t run anymore.  It was hilly and the temperature was okay when I started, but had gone up 10 degrees by the time I finished.  I also had negative splits, so that made me feel better.  I really wanted to run long and not stop at 4 miles.

Monday was my hill run day with TJ.  We usually run between 7 – 8 miles and 6 of those miles are large hills.  It was probably the toughest run of the Spring so far.  It was hot (near 90) and I had just run nearly 9 miles the day before with a lot of mountain hills.  I came home from our run and just sat for an hour throwing the stick with the dog and drinking my Gatorade.

Tuesday was an impromptu longer run.  I ended up at 7.3 miles.  I didn’t really go in my normal route of running in the park.  I just ran in different directions, got lost in my thoughts and finished when I thought I should.

Wednesday I tried to see if I could get in another 8 mile run.  I did make 6.2 miles, so it was a good 10K, but my legs were so tired and I was so hot, that I just didn’t think I should push it.

I wrote a few days ago that last year I got into a 4 mile Summer rut (I called it survival mode).  I really want to break free of that this year.  I hate running in the heat, but I also know I can get used to it and I can make it though without crashing and burning like I did at the end of last Summer.

You’re body gets a memory and it will get used to what you give it.  If you eat junk, it wants junk.  If you always run 4 miles, it won’t want to go 5.  It really is amazing.  For instance, I have gotten into the habit of drinking 32 oz of water every morning after I wake up.  Now my body craves it.  I even drank it before my last 5K because I have to have my morning water.  That is one reason I’m running more.  I want my body to get used to running in the heat and deal with it better.  Also I want to get past a weight plateau I’ve had since my last business trip to New Orleans.  This week of longer running has really helped.

Finally, be careful running in the heat.  People die in the Summer by running and not being hydrated.  I usually drink 96 oz of water during the day before my run and another 32 after my run.  I also have slowed down my pace to deal with the increased mileage and the heat.

As my wife says everyday before I head out for my run, “BE WISE” (and yes, she says it with that emphasis).

Tom

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.

Running/mountains/life – the good, bad and the…

One thing I’ve learned since I began running in March of 2011… some days you feel like superman and some you don’t.

Yesterday TJ, RS and I went to the mountain to do our weekly run.  If you have read this blog at all over the past several months, you will know that I found this crazy road going up a mountain in our local state park.  I’ve run it many times now.  A few weeks ago, TJ coaxed me into going further past the top of the mountain.  There is a long hill that goes down and then a very steep climb up to the end of the road.  By the time we leave the car and make it back, we run about 7.5 miles on the mountain.

Back to my starting sentence.  Yesterday I didn’t feel like superman.  We started our run (RS likes to run alone, so he left after us) and my legs had no strength.  They honestly felt like rubber.  I kept racking my brain as to why this would be.  I hydrated well this weekend and last week.  I eat well.  I slept better then normal.  Also I walked Friday and took Saturday of.  I should have been smokin!

Not!

I figured by the time we got going my legs would wake up.  They didn’t.  I got to the top of the mountain and felt like I was on mile 20 of a marathon.  I was shot.  What kept me going?  Other then being almost 4 miles away from the car and running with TJ, I kept thinking to myself, “This will help my legs get used to running tired – like at mile 20 of a marathon”.

So I finished.  It wasn’t pretty, but I didn’t walk.  I pushed through.  To be honest, coming down the mountain was the worse!  I had to concentrate to keep my legs from giving way as we pounded down the steep inclines.

Running really does mirror life sometimes.  There are days when you wake up and you feel like you are at mile 20.  It is not only hard to get going, but it can be hard to keep going.  But we have to keep our eyes on the prize and push through.  Every up also has a down and every down has an up.  Life is never going to stay as good as you feel right now or as bad.  Life means change.  When you are tired, just keep going.  When you are happy, be thankful.  When you are sad, know that one day you will be happy again, whether you feel like you will be or not.

Before I sign off I want to congratulate RS who made it to the top of the mountain for the first time.  As we were coming back, we passed him.  I told him he made it and he said, “Really?”.  He didn’t know he had made it to the top!  Hmmm.  Seems like life also.  Sometimes we have everything we ever wanted, we make it to the top of the mountain and don’t even know that we have arrived.

Running/mountains/life.  Gotta love it!

Tom

A Fathers Day run and busy weekend!

It was a good Fathers Day weekend overall.  The one exception was a migraine yesterday, but at least I got to run.

Saturday was busy with errands to run and things to do.

Yesterday, though, I got to run the mountain with TJ.   First we eat breakfast (his treat) and then headed to our state park to run.

It was humid and I was soaked by the time we finished, but it was a lot of fun.  We ran the same route as last week, but without stopping (except for the ports-potty).  We finished yesterday’s run in the exact same time as last weeks, which was pretty interesting.

The mountain was quiet.  I didn’t see any other joggers and only a few cars.  AND, after the run, I had no pain in my hip or back.  That was the most amazing part.  I guess this seat cushion has really helped.

After the run and Church, we “ran” a few more errands and that was when my migraine started.  To be honest, some of my kids and my Lovely Wife suffer with headaches a lot, but I almost never have one; so when I get one, it shuts me down.  I did make it to TJ’s for burgers, but that was about it.  I came home and went to bed.  I fell asleep pretty quickly, but woke up with my head raging about 10:00 last night.  Fortunately I woke this morning feeling pretty good, so I got up and headed out to work.

All in all, it was a good weekend.  Lots of food (too much food).  Funny, I weighed in at 184 today and felt badly that I weighed that much. 🙂  A few months ago, I’d have been trilled to weigh that little.

I hope everyone had a good weekend and an awesome week.  I hope to begin running everyday again now that I’m feeling better –

Tom

Running blog reboot

I’m back.

Sort of.

Okay, I do feel somewhat better.  The day I wrote my last post I realized later that I had a sinus infection.  That put me out a bit since I also have ear issues when I get any type of cold or sinus infection.

Running?

Some.  The bad news is that my back got really bad again.  It got to the point where I honestly wondered if I would be able to keep running at all.  I did run the mountain run with TJ on Saturday and that was a lot of fun.

The good news is that I think I figured out where my back problem came from.  I realized that my back hurts most at work.  In fact, some days I get to work and feel fine and after an hour or two I could barely walk.  So I purchased this seat cushion called “Backjoy Posture” and gave it a try yesterday.  It was amazing.  I worked all day with no pain.  In fact I got home and mowed the lawn and cleaned some things up and basically worked out doing chores for 3 hours and felt fine.  Evidently my back problems (and maybe my hip problems) were due to the way I sit and this “cushion” helps me sit in a way that doesn’t hurt.  I need to give it some more time, but pain is pain and I had none yesterday!

I hope to start back with my daily running today.  I have to take my kid to a doctor appointment, so running depends on when I get home.

Finally, on to my blog reboot.  I am changing my self imposed rules for my blog.  I do enjoy writing, but I’m only going to write when I want to and not try to come up with something every day.

Have an awesome week and enjoy your day!!!

Tom

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!

Mountain Run PR!

I’m guess people could be getting tired of hearing about my mountain running, but it has been such a transformational thing to me and my running, I want to pass it along my experience along.

Yesterday was my first mountain run in 3 weeks and my first since last weekend’s half marathon.  I had taken last week off of running (okay, I ran 6 miles) to make sure I don’t get injured in my post race workouts as I have in the past.

I began at an easy pace as I warmed up.  By the time I got to the foot of the mountain, I was running too fast.  I knew I was running too fast for a mountain run, but being that I hadn’t run much in 7 days, I guess I got carried away.

About half way up the steepest part of the mountain road (one of the first hills) I had to walk.  That was okay.  I walked about 30 seconds and then started slower and kept a good pace.

By the time I got to the top I was getting tired.  I could tell I hadn’t run this road much in three weeks.  My legs were tried and I was breathing hard.  At the top of the mountain, there is about a half mile of fairly level running before I turn around.  I got to the turn around point, paused long enough to take and post a picture and headed back down.

20140504-094812.jpg

This was my only real scare.  Right after I posted the picture above on my previous post, I began to run again and felt a “pull” in my left heel.  Oh no!  It had been a good run and beyond that, I didn’t want to get injured again.  So I relaxed and kept my run going.  I just paid close attention to how I was feeling and my form.  Honestly, I don’t think I hurt myself, but my past experience tells me that sometimes injuries don’t show up right away.

As I got to the bottom of the mountain, I had 1.5 miles to get back to the car.  I know my run was in record mountain running time, as I know I was running well.  So I pushed a bit going up and down the hills leading back to my car.  I passed a guy walking the opposite direction who said, “Does it feel as bad as you thought it would?” I had to ask him to repeat his question.  He was being nice, knowing I was breathing hard and really pushing.  I just yelled back, “Nah, this is easy”!  He just laughed and we continued in our separate directions.

I got up the last hill and could see my car.  I finally looked at my time.  8:45 pace.  Seriously?!?  I ran hard down the last hill.  My pace dropped to 8:42 for the run.  My total time was 1:09:47 for the 8 miles.  My best time before this was a run with TJ several months ago that was at an 8:50 pace.

Mountain run PR

Mountain run PR

My heel is better today and I am still being careful.

My hip isn’t doing great, but is much better then last week.  I wear a sciatica belt on my mountain runs to help with the support and that makes a lot of difference.

So a half marathon PR last week and a mountain run PR this week.  All in all, I’m pretty happy.

I’ve been trying to catch up on other people’s blogs by the way.  I got way behind the past week or two, but I am getting there slowly.  🙂

Have an awesome week.

Tom

A mountain run with no water

I made it.  I ran the mountain twice in a row.  1.5 miles to the mountain, 2 miles up, 2 miles down, 2 miles up, 2 miles down and 1.5 miles back to the car.

That was a run!

A couple things.  At the end, my legs felt like I had run a marathon.  In fact I actually hit a wall with just about a mile left to go.  I was shot and could barely seem to lift one leg in front of the other.

All in all it went well, with one HUGE exception.

Hydration.

I didn’t.  I didn’t drink much on Saturday.  I didn’t drink any water on Sunday before my run.  This wasn’t on purpose, I just forgot.  I also didn’t take anything with me on the run and there are no water fountains except near my car.

Not good.

I debated stopping after my first time up the mountain, but this would be the only time I could get this run in and it would be 13 miles which seems to be to be close to half marathon distance. 🙂  (My half is in 2 weeks, so next Sunday I’ll just run my normal run.)

I debated running back to the car, but that would add another 1.5 miles on to my run and I honestly wasn’t up for a 14.5 mile run.

So I just ran.

It went well other then my freaking out.  I didn’t want to overdue it.  I didn’t want heat exhaustion.  If I could just find some water.  I prayed, “Lord, if you could use a raven to bring Elijah food, could you please get me some water”.

The top of the mountain, the second  time up, I saw two women looking at a map of the park.  They had WATER in their backpacks.  Now, I am very aware that a guy, covered in salt from dried sweat is probably not going to be well received by a couple of women minding their own business.  I was a bit desperate.  I went up to them and asked nicely if they had any water I could drink.  One looked at me and said, “Do you know where you are?”  I thought, “Do I look that disoriented?”  I replied, “Yes, I run up here a lot”.  She said, “Great, because we are lost”.

So I told them how to get to the falls and they shared about a half a cup of water with me.

Then it was back down the mountain and to my car.

The last 1.5 miles were brutal.  It had gotten near 80 outside and my legs were shot.  I had almost nothing to give, but I refused to stop running (If you can call a 11:00 pace running).  I thought, “If I can run 13 miles up and down a mountain, I can handle a hilly half marathon in Nashville.”

I finally got to the water fountain and drank for about a minute.  I poured water on my had so it would keep my head cool and then ran the last half mile to the car.

13.1 miles in just over 2:09.  Not bad for 1200 feet elevation and in my old PureFlow’s.

Then I saw it!  The Gatorade machine.  It was like an oasis.  I got money out of my car, and filled it with quarters.  I pressed the button… and nothing happened.  I pressed all the drink buttons… Nothing happened.  It was a mirage.  On top of that, it took my money. 😦

I can’t complain.  I’m glad I made it back and I had 2 waters in the car.  I’m sore today, but it is a good sore.  I feel like I accomplished something big and I was satisfied that I gave it all I could.

Next time I’ll hydrate!!!

Tom