Life goes on – Tempo run Tuesday

Yesterday, with the Boston tragedy fresh on my mind, I got on my running shoes and did my tempo run.  My ultimate goal stands.  I want to qualify for the Boston Marathon in September in Pennsylvania.  If I don’t make it then, I will try in December in Jacksonville.  Either way, I have my eyes set on a goal and as long as I can physically make it, I will make it.  What happened Monday makes me more determined.  I continue to feel sadness, anger, confusion over it all.  I honestly don’t understand.  But as I said, it just makes me more determined to make it this year and if not, next!

My run yesterday went really well. Actually if it was a cool winter day in the South, I would say it was just average, but being a humid, hot day in the South it went great. Here are my splits for the tempo part of my run:

Mile 1 – 7:17
Mile 2 – 7:13
Mile 3 – 7:50

All in all it was a good run. Overall my pace was 8:14 for 6 miles.  I really want my tempo splits to get into the 6:30 range if at all possible by May so I can reasonably be assured of a 20:00 5K.  I averaged 6:54 for 5K once before, so I know it is a possibility.

I must say that running has altered many aspects of my life.  I understand setting goals and then working hard to achieve them in a way I have never understood before.  I used to be very undisciplined in my life and am much better at that now.  Not perfect.  But I am able to set a goal and work toward that goal and not drop it after a week or two.

Today is a regular run and then Thursday is my hill run.  I may push the hill run to Friday as we are to get cooler weather again by then, but eventually the hot Southern summer will set in and no amount of pushing will help.  I might as well get used to it sooner rather than later.

Praying for Boston.

Rough interval run yesterday.

Some runs are like hills, you have up runs and you have down runs.  Yesterday was a bit of both.  During my run, I thought, “what have I done”, “this is the worst run ever”, “what was I thinking running on my day off yesterday?”.  You know… the thoughts that go through your head as you are just trying to get your next breath.

Drama aside, it was a difficult run.  Since I like to analyze my runs, I would say it was from several factors:

  1. I ran on my day off.  Not only ran, but ran a hilly neighborhood.
  2. I eat more than usual at lunch.  I got to catch up with a good friend, but also eat more than I should have.
  3. It was 82 degrees outside (27.7 celsius).  The hottest day in 6 months.
  4. I ran a new type of run.  I ran half mile repeats with 1 minute recovery in between.

Okay, it wasn’t fun.  I’ve established that.  I learn from my mistakes.  The good news is that I ran 5 miles in 7:57, but the bad news is I wanted to run 7 miles.  I figured I should cut it short when I started noticing tingling in my hands and fingers.  I figured that was a pretty strong clue that I needed to stop my run early.

I was encouraged by the pace of my half mile intervals though.

  1.  6:30
  2. 7:02
  3. 6:58
  4. 7:48
  5. 8:14

So, I did run pretty well.  It was tough though.  I mean REALLY tough.  So tough that I wondered why I do this to myself.  In the end, it will pay dividends.  To be honest, if I run my 5K in May at a 20 minute pace I’ll be grateful.  If I qualify for Boston in September, I’ll be beyond grateful.  We aren’t guaranteed anything in this life and I am honestly grateful to just be able to run.  Many people would like to and can’t for some reason or another.  I am a 50 year old man who 2 years ago weighed 278 lbs and couldn’t run 1/4 mile and now I hope to run a 5K in 20 minutes.  I love that about running.  It is what you make it.  It is up to you and the grace of God as to where you go and how far you take it.

Okay.  That is enough for today.  As I stated in the beginning, running is like a hill day.  Ups and downs.  The nice thing is that even when you are going up the biggest hill, you know that there is a down hill on the other side.

Tempo hill run

Yesterday’s tempo run went well.  It was tough as usual.  I have written about my tempo runs here before, but it is not something to which I look forward.  After my 2 mile warmup I took a deep breath and went for it.

This time I decided to run a different route.  Partly because I wanted to run in a different area and partly because there were more hills on the new route.  I figured that running a 5K as fast as I could and having to deal with hills would be a good thing to do to prepare me for the 5K we are going to run in May.  So my times weren’t as good as last week, but as TJ said, they were more in line with what the running calculator says I should run.

Here are my tempo splits:

Mile 1 – 7:02
Mile 2 – 7:23
Mile 3 – 7:13

Also I was able to run another 2 miles after my tempo run and the first of those miles I ran at 8:31 which was good for me since I am usually wiped out by then.

I am looking forward to todays easy run.  I realize that running tempo and hill workouts during the week make the easy runs much more enjoyable.  It becomes less boring running 7 or 8 miles at an easy pace after running 3 out of 7 miles at a tempo pace.  In fact overall, for all 7 miles yesterday I averaged an 8:07 pace, which is really good for me especially considering my last mile was a recovery mile at 9:25.

Only 10 hours until my run today.  I can’t wait.

Feeling my stride

I noticed something different during my runs this week.  Even yesterday on my 4 mile run (it was my short day before my long day) I noticed the same thing.  I seem to be “feeling” my stride.  I don’t know if that makes sense, but I have finally been noticing that my stride is consistant and feels right.  I have never noticed that before.  I guess that I have been working so hard on running faster, that I never just sank into my run.

I think putting my iSmoothRun app to only give me an update on my average pace each mile rather than per quarter mile gives me time not to think about my pace and to feel the way I am running.  I also think that my tempo runs help.  During these runs I have to push and run a lot faster than normal.  I notice my legs running hard and fast and keeping a steady stride.

It has been over a year since I began running and I’m just now noticing all this.  I find that strange.  I hope it is a good sign that I am becoming more consistent in my running form.

One more thing…  Last night I dreamt that I was running in a marathon.  As I was running I thought to myself, “I have only run 13 miles as a long run, how am I going to make 26”?  It was actually a fun dream.  I have never dreamed about running a race before.  It was a lot of fun and I ran without getting tired.  I hope that becomes a reality!!!

Happy Easter!

Yesterday, a good, easy run

Yesterday I felt good.  It was a good day from the moment I woke up.  Why yesterday, I don’t know.  Maybe because I was thrilled with my tempo run the day before.  Maybe because my goal of a 20:00 5K in May now looks possible.  Maybe it was just a good day!

After work I went for my run.  It was to be an easy run day, so I wanted to keep my pace slow.  Usually I work at going as fast as I feel comfortable, but I now realize that in doing so, I was actually hurting my overall running ability.  My goal now is to take my easy days easy and my workout days hard.

I want to also concentrate on increasing my mileage.  I have been “stuck” between 35 – 45 miles a week for a long time.  Our marathon isn’t until December and I know I have  plenty of time, but I want to begin the task of upping my mileage now, so I can slowly get to where I need to be rather than only having 12 weeks to get there.

So how did my run yesterday go?  Good.  I ran 7 miles for the second day in a row.  I thought of going 8, but knowing that today is a hill run workout, I didn’t want to do too much.  But it was a good run.  I averaged an 8:30 pace and, except for a couple of twinges, felt great for most of my run.

This is my new goal.  To enjoy my easy runs more.  To feel like I am running at a good pace, but to also feel like I could go farther at the end of my run.

Today the hill stands in front of me.  Not looking forward to that.  But I have learned by my years of living on this planet that the best things come by enduring through the hard things.  Hill runs are tough.  Tempo runs are tough.  But a 20:00 5K… priceless!

5K tempo run… The best one ever!

I’m very excited about my run yesterday.

It was my tempo run day and I was dreading it.  Running that hard for that long is difficult for me, but it always benefits my running.  After my tempo day, I run easier, faster and with less effort.  So I make myself do them and I never regret it.  I do dread it through.

Yesterday I ran 2 warmup miles in my Saucony Mirage 2 shoes (my favorite shoes) and then came home and changed into my Saucony A5 racing flats and went for the tempo run.  TJ started me doing this where he changes his shoes before beginning at tempo pace.  It not only gives a chance for a little rest, but it is amazing going from a regular running shoe to a light racing flat.  It feels like there is nothing on your feet.

My hope was to run 2 of my tempo miles under 7:00 pace and then the third as fast as I could, knowing that I would be tired.  I have never run 2 miles under 7:00 pace before, but I wanted to get use to the feeling of running that fast.  I wanted my brain to learn how fast that was and my legs to know how to keep at that pace.  So, I went for it.

I finished 2 miles feeling pretty good.  From my iSmoothRun app, I could tell that I should be averaging under 7:00 pace.  The third mile was an effort.  But the idea behind a tempo run is to hit the wall.  To know that feeling when your body says, “No more”.  Well after yesterday, I know that feeling.

So how did it go?  Here is the breakdown of my tempo miles:

Mile 1 – 6:50 pace
Mile 2 – 6:50 pace
Mile 3 – 7:02 pace

Wow, I set a person record.  My last 5K race I ran at a 7:09 pace and a total time of 22:10.  I was not in a good place when I finished as it took 10 minutes of medical attention to get me back to a normal breathing state.  I ran this 5K at a 6:54 pace and a total time of 21:29.  I couldn’t be happier.  It was hard, but I was able to get in 2 recovery miles afterwards.

TJ, RS and I are training for a 5K in May where my goal is to run it at 20:00 (6:26 pace).  It is a big goal, but this will be the first 5K I have ever actually trained for.  I’ve also learned that I need to run my easy runs at a slower pace.  I’ve read that those who run too fast all the time end up running slower and getting hurt more than those who run 80% easy and 20% fast.

Today is an easy day, and I need it.  I am a bit sore this morning, but not too bad. It was worth it!

With all the dreading of my tempo day, it was the best day ever.

The perfect end to a long day – Run, eat pizza (surprise ending)

Yesterday was a long, but productive day.  After a 10 hour work day, I headed home planning on my 6 mile run and then PIZZA.  Okay, I have a problem with eating too much pizza, but I wanted to find a way to eat it and not gorge myself.

First the run!  TJ and I ran together again.  I enjoyed the time running and talking.  The run began rather slow as I was very sore from my hill run the day before.  I still am not taking any Ibuprofen for soreness since it is just muscle soreness and not pain in my hip or back.  So, we began our run and shortly into it I decided to cut it back to 5 miles.  It was getting late and, need I say again, pizza was needing to be bought.

About half way through the run, TJ mentioned he read that it is good to run the last part of an easy run day fast.  This has two benefits.  You get the mileage of an easy run and you get the workout of a tempo run.  Also, as I mentioned in an earlier post, new research has shown that running hard, even in short intervals, burn more fat in one hour than 7 hours of regular running.  I had that thought in mind as we began our last mile.  So I picked up the pace (my tempo pace is TJ’s easy run pace).

As we began the final leg of our run home, it began to sprinkle.  Since I run with my phone to track my pace, I thought I should run even faster to beat the rain (rain and iPhones don’t mix well).  As we were a quarter mile from home, TJ asked if I wanted to sprint the last part of our run.  My reply was, “Arn’t we already sprinting?”  He smiled.  So, we got to the last turn before our home and we sprinted.  I don’t know where I found the energy, but I think I ran faster than I ever have.  I had nothing left by the time we hit our street, but I still had to go a little farther to make the 5 miles.

We started the run at an 8:26 pace and ended the last mile at a 7:15 pace.  It was exhausting for me at the end, but very rewarding.

To finish this up quickly, I got home, took a shower and we to Dominos and got our pizza.  This time I listed to my brother Jeff and ordered a cheese pizza for me and stayed away from my favorite (fattening) white sauce pizza. Plus I stopped at 3 pieces rather than my normal 5 or 6.  Now to the amazing part of this story.  Saturday mornings after pizza night I always weigh a pound or two more than Friday.  BUT, this morning I weight a half pound less!!!  In fact I was one tenth of a pound below 180.  Wow, eating pizza and loosing weight.  Who would have thought that was possible!

Life is good.  I am thankful.  Keep running, it really pays off in many ways!!!

Days like yesterday are the reason I love running

Awesome day running yesterday.  There has to be a correlation between tempo runs and performance.  Before my tempo run, I was having a hard time to get below 9:00 pace.  Last Sunday for my long run I was way over a 9:00 pace.  Yesterday I started out a bit slow, just because I was sore from the tempo run the day before.  After the first mile it was all “down hill from there”.

Here are my splits:


And it felt great.  I was a bit tired at the end, but not bad and I had almost no pain, except a little in my knee.

Now to the amazing part.  Those who follow this blog know that TJ and RS run also.  Yesterday RS had a great run and is getting back into the game after getting over some injuries.  As I got home from my run, HM was playing a video game.  HM doesn’t like to run but I keep trying to get him going anyway because I know he would do great if he just tried.  Anyway, I got home after my 6 miles and he looks up at me and says, “Hey dad, do you want to run a mile with me”.  Two thoughts go through my head.  First, wow he rarely asked that before.  Second, he thinks I am so tired I’ll say no. Before I could think, I said, sure, get on your shoes and let’s go.  After 5 minutes of trying to find his shoes (they haven’t been warn much), we go for the run.  RS joined us and we went for a slow mile.  It was a recovery mile for me and a good starting mile for HM.

All that to say, days like yesterday are the reason I love running.  I haven’t had one of those days in a while, so it was great getting to enjoy a fun, fast run and run a mile with two of my kids.  Quoting from the Christmas Story, “All was right with the world”.

Tomorrow: I think I figured out the carb/diet/running problem that has plagued me for the past year!!!

Very interesting article about losing weight with exercise!

Researchers Claim To Discover the Single Most Efficient Exercise Regimen

Scientists in Australia claim to have discovered the exercise technique that burns the maximum amount of fat with the least amount of work.

Tempo runs and hunger pains

I had a strange sensation last night as I lay in bed with my stomach growling on my 3rd day of my diet (and 3rd day off from running).  The hunger in my stomach was familiar in some way.  Of course I have dieted before and my Lovely Wife and I had both lost 85 lbs.  However I gained 10 lbs back over the past year and so I am doing the diet again over the next few weeks to try to get down a bit for running.

I digress.

As I pondered the fact that the hunger pains were not only familiar, but I also didn’t seem to mind them, I tried to make sense of it all.  Then it hit me.  Of course this is just my aged mind thinking and pondering, but in running, I have had the same feeling.  No, not massive hunger, but forcing my body to do what it did not want to do.  As we trained for our first half marathon, TJ had me doing tempo runs, steady state runs, hill runs and so on.  In doing these (especially tempo runs) I would feel horrible and my body would want me to quit.  I wouldn’t go to the point of hurting myself, but I knew that if I didn’t push myself further than I wanted to go, I would give up almost immediately.  This developed discipline in me that I credit, almost more than the training itself, to my success in my half marathon.  I have written before that running has a lot to do with psychology and now I am adding that running creates discipline (something I have never had).

So last night, as I felt hunger sweep my body and smelled dinner (baked ziti) cooking downstairs, it wasn’t dread or anger I felt, it was almost like an old friend coming to visit.  I understand that this diet won’t last forever and I won’t push myself too far.  I also understand that the hunger is working to improve my running as does a good tempo run. It is all the same discipline working on my behalf.

This is all philosophical, but it really made sense to me last night.  Of course, it could just have been that the hunger made me a bit delirious 🙂

I hate dieting, but I love running.