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!

Summer running update!

I haven’t posted in a while, and yes, I feel guilty about that.

Basically it has become hard to post for a couple of very good reasons:

  1. I run 4 miles a day and 7 miles on Sunday with Saturday off.  Not much variation happening with this routine.
  2. It is hot and so my runs are rather slow and exhausting.  I usually have to stop after 2 miles and once or twice on the last 2 mile stretch.  I don’t stop long, just enough to be able to catch my breath and walk for a few seconds in the shade.  All in all though, I’m not breaking any records out there.  In fact, I don’t even take my Pebble watch with me because I don’t want to feel I have to run hard in the heat of the Southern summer.
  3. I have few races ahead.  I am going to run a 5K with TJ (and maybe RS) in a couple weeks, but nothing major for which to train.

So here I am.  Mindlessly running 4 miles a day at 3:00 in the afternoon.  My knee is better and I haven’t had to stop a run again since I walked down the mountain, so that is good.  And I took off the weekend of the 4th to head to Chattanooga with my Lovely Wife.  I left my running shoes at home so I could take a break.  Wouldn’t you know that it was some of the best weather we’ve had all summer.  Cool mornings and low humidity.  Pretty much I have figured out that if I want it to cool down outside all I have to do is not run and… BAM – it gets beautiful out.  I started running again on Monday and, yes, it was hot and humid.

So all in all life is as monotonous as a slow 4 mile run in the heat.  Work is very busy and home is just about as busy with things breaking (like our central air).

I can’t complain though.  Other then my knee issue, I haven’t really been hurt much lately.  In fact the last time I took a week off of running was several months ago.

Finally, I honestly haven’t had time to read too many blogs lately (another guilt trip for me).  I think that adds to my monotony.  I get motivated by reading other blogs and by skipping them, it just isn’t the same.  Hopefully life will slow down a bit and get back to normal.

Have an awesome weekend and enjoy life.

Tom

A good run, new shoes and a strange sensation

I got my run in yesterday (it was a rare cool day here in the low 80’s).

It was a good run, but my legs are still tired.  I don’t quite know why they feel this way, but it might be my shoes.  They have 180 miles on them and they take a pounding as I run down my mountain each week.  Fortunately, yesterday my new Father’s Day shoes finally arrived complements of TJ.  They are Mizuno Wave Rider Precision and I can’t wait to use them this afternoon.  I’ve never run in a Mizuno shoe before and the heel / toe drop is much bigger in these shoes compared to every shoe I’ve ever worn, so it should be interesting.

Back to yesterday.  I was running and another guy ran in front of my at an intersection.  This guy was young and probably running at a 7:30 pace, so I knew I wouldn’t be able to catch him, but as I pulled in behind him it was like I was in a race.  I felt my pace picking up and even though he pulled in front, it made my run much easier.  Finally he pull off a side street and I lost him.

Nothing much more about my run.  Being cooler and with my unknown running friend, I pulled below a 9:00 pace for the first time in a while.

Finally a question.  Has anyone experienced a tingling sensation go down their arms in the beginning of a run?  For about the past 4 – 6 weeks I have had this sensation of tingling going down the top side of my arms starting below the elbows and going down to my hands.  It is fairly quick and only happens in the first mile.  It can happen several times, and it happens during every run.  It seems to mimic the tingling you might get when you are startled.  It is hard to explain and I have just ignored it, but with it being a consistent feeling I thought I’d post and see if anyone else has had that sensation.

I hope you all have an awesome week.  Run, walk, bike and have fun.  Life is too short to live it sitting down!

Tom

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 Runner’s Paradox

It was a long weekend trying to rest so that my back would feel better.

I tried, but didn’t succeed.

No, I didn’t run.  That would have been a mistake and I’ve made that mistake in the past.

Unfortunately my Lovely Wife, who has had a bad back for 3 years with 2 ruptured disks, woke up Saturday morning with what seemed to be a pinched nerve in her back.  She was a trooper and went out with me to do errands all weekend.  My only issue was helping her in and out of the car, which was not easy with my own messed up back.  She was better by last night, so hopefully she is on the mend – as much as one can be on the mend with 2 ruptured disks.

Then there was the toilet that broke.  I had to try to replace the insides of this toilet that I “fixed” 3 weeks ago.  That was an hour of leaning over a toilet and without a hangover to enjoy (just kidding).

Finally, between Church Sunday morning (Catholics do a lot of kneeling) and fixing TJ’s broken deadbolt, I don’t think I am in much better shape then when the weekend began.

On a good note, I slept well and am still below 185 lbs, which after pizza on Friday night and burgers last night, I’m thrilled.

Back to running (pun intended), I may try some easy miles this afternoon.  I’ll have to see  how I feel when I get home.  I am in the runners paradox.  Do I try to run to keep in the best shape of my life, or do I keep resting even though it hasn’t done much for me?  To be honest, while I am running I don’t feel any pain.  It seems to come on me after walking all day (I average 2 – 3 miles walking a day at work).  I tend to walk fast in order to get a lot done, but today I am going to slow it way down and see if that helps.

I miss running!

Tom

I write to run

“I write to run.”

Hmmm.  I was thinking about this yesterday during my slow run.  I guess since I wasn’t pushing so hard that I couldn’t think, I had time to ponder of why I write this blog.

My writing has changed my running in so many ways.  I never thought it would have the affect it has had.

When I started writing this blog in January of 2013, I wrote to keep a diary of my running.  I had been running for a year before I began journaling my runs through this blog.  When I started writing, I had no followers.  I wasn’t on Twitter, Facebook or any other social media.  I’m still not on Facebook… but I digress.  Basically the only way people found this blog was pretty much by accident.

I have found that by writing my running experiences down, I remember what I have done correctly and what I have done wrong.  For instance, I wrote several times recently about altering my running after my half marathon.  This is because I wrote so much about my injures after my marathon last year that I remembered what had happened.  By writing what I was going to do this year, it cemented my plan in my head and kept me on the right path.

I don’t read much.

People make fun of me sometimes that in order to read a book, I need big words and lots of pictures.  I have never really enjoyed reading much, even as a kid.  I don’t know why.  I say that to say, I’ve learned most of the lessons in my life by experience.  That can be good, but also it can be bad.  When I started running, TJ was a HUGE help to get me going and doing the right things.  When I started this blog, I began reading other bloggers and their experiences and tips.  Also, the comments and feedback from other bloggers on my blog has helped a lot.

But…

I still learn from experience.  Thus another reason to write this blog.  As I learn a lesson, I write about it… good or bad.  If something helps me a lot, like my mountain runs or ACV, I’ll write about it more.  Of course I want to share my experiences with other runners now that I have a good following, but also I want to always remember the lessons learned.  If I write it down, I remember it!  In college I learned (rather late in my schooling) that I could take good notes in class, rewrite them in a condensed form the day before the exam.  Then that night I would read my condensed notes right before I went to bed.  The next morning I could “see” my notes in my head as if I had perfect photographic recall.  As the day went on, they faded, but talk about the perfect cheat sheet.  I went from a 2.0 average to being on the Deans List my last semester.

All this is to explain why I write this blog…  I do want to share my experiences.  I do want to get feedback and that really motivates me.  In the end though, I do it for myself.  Sorry.  I guess I’m selfish that way.

Have an awesome weekend.

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!

Final thoughts on the Country Music Half Marathon.. I think.

This post is a continuation of my Country Music Half Marathon recap post from yesterday.  

Here are my stats

I was 17th out of 561 in my age group – top 3%
I was 697th out of 19,057 half marathoners – top 3.7%

Honestly, I think this was my best race to date.  I credit TJ for running with me and being an excellent pacer and my mountain runs for getting me in shape.  Thinking back, I have really only been training for this for about 2 months.  Between injuries and other things that got in the way of my running, that was all I could do to train.  But the mountain gave me strength in my quads and took the pressure off my back and my calves.  It also helped me be able to pick my speed up and be able to handle the hills on this race without slowing down.

RS did well.  He struggled a lot though.  He had honestly not been running much until the last few weeks before the race.  His longest run before the race was 7 miles and he went out and completed a 13.1 mile race.  His time was slow because he had to walk to finish the last few miles, but it is amazing to me that he could complete that distance with so little prep.  This was his longest milage run in over a year.

TJ had been hurt leading up to this race; thus the reason he paced me rather then trying to run a PR himself.  His last half was completed in under 1:30 and he was in coral #1 for this one.  His choice to pace me was huge for me and I hope fun for him, though being a huge competitor, I’m sure he wished he was running his own race.  He is back in the saddle now and talking about another half in the fall and maybe running the Jacksonville marathon with me in December.

I had fun meeting my running friends @BigBigGeek and @David_Topping before the race.  They did well and I think were happy with the result.  This was @David_Topping’s first half marathon.  He has lost a  lot of weight and really been doing the work that made his run possible.

I was really concerned with this race.  I have never run with so many people.  My experience was a great one overall.  Not just the run, but everything from package pickup at the expo to parking at the race went very smoothly.  There was the obvious traffic, but I purchased a reserve parking pass and it put us right at the race with very little waiting.  The police presence was clear, but not over done.  Other then the helicopters flying overhead, there was very little that I noticed outside of the normal presence at any race.

The bands were great.  A few were loud (one was so loud it affected my hearing for a minute), but they helped overall and the crowd was awesome.  Being that we hung with the 3:30 pacer, there were a lot of cheers as we ran by.

Overall I rate this race very high.  Perfect weather, great attendance, plenty of food and drinks after the race.

Top notch.

Tom