Finally, an update on running, racing, hills and bikes!

It has been a long time since I last wrote.  Honestly, I just didn’t have the time to get a post out.  Life has been rolling at a thousand miles per hour for the last month, but I did get to run a race, run most days, do a huge hill run and bike some trails.

Red Shoe Run (formally the Red Nose Run)

This was the 3rd time TJ and I ran this race for the Ronald McDonald House.  It was a great race for us.  RS joined this year for his first year running this 5K and a coworker of TJ came also.

Cool things about our race:

  • TJ came is second overall out of 340 runners of the 5K.  Wow!
  • I came in 2nd in my age group (the old guys) and 19th overall.
  • RS ran his first race in 6 months and beat his last time by 10 minutes.  He has just started taking up the running mantle again.
  • TJ’s coworker ran his first 5K.  TJ has been running with him once a week and the guy went from out of shape, to running his first 5K, first 3 mile run and best time he had ever run.  TJ was so excited to have such an impact.
  • It was 18 degrees and windy at race time.  Okay, that wasn’t cool… it was cold.  I couldn’t feel my fingers in my gloves by the time I finished.  Alabama isn’t supposed to be that cold, EVER.

It was a good race and as always the Ronald McDonald House did a great job and raised a decent amount of money.  We joined the race too late to do any fund raising, however it was a great event to be a part.

Running in general

My running is picking up a bit.  In December I hurt my heel (heel spur to be exact) and had to slow down.  It still hurts from time to time, but I can and do run each day.  I am trying my best to get out of running 4 miles.  I have been stuck in a rut since summer and need to get some distance.  Last week I ran a 5 mile and 6 mile run, so that is a beginning. Running in the cold isn’t my favorite thing to do, but it is better than the heat.  The last few days it has been between 60 – 70, so life has been quite good for running.

Hill Run

I told TJ over the weekend that I really needed a hill run.  I haven’t run hills in a long time and I could tell.  My legs have felt tired during my daily runs and my hip/back hurt much more over the weekend after I picked up my mileage last week.  He asked if I wanted to run the hills in a nearby neighborhood and I agreed.  It was insane.

We ran a total of 8 miles (my longest run in a long time) and 700 feet in elevation.  He stayed with me though and I made it through without stopping.  The day before RS and I road bikes on trails at our state park for an hour and my legs were already tired.  So the hill run wiped them out.  Toward the end of the run we ran the biggest hill around.  I almost didn’t have the strength to make it.  My breathing was labored, but my legs had nothing left.  I plowed through and made it to the top of that hill, but I’m sure I wasn’t moving very fast.  The last quarter mile I put everything into the run I had left.  I can honestly say I have never felt so tired since my marathon.

The good news is that my legs feel better today.  Yesterday, the day after the hills, my legs still felt off.  My 4 mile slow recovery run was very slow and not fun.  Today, after a good night sleep and some time between me and the hills, my legs feel better, my back is better and my hip doesn’t hurt.  I don’t like running hills,, but they are worth the pain, at least for me!

Conclusion

Life is beginning to return to normal.  My work has been insane (14 hour days at times) and as a result, life was stressful.  Work is still hectic, but I feel like I am beginning to get a handle on things.  I hope to possibly run the Shamrock Half Marathon in March (was trying for the marathon, but… NOT).  If I can stay healthy and increase my mileage, I should be label to do it.

Virginia Beach, here I come!

 

Tom

PS – My weight got up there after the holidays and injuries.  I was near 200 lbs January 5th.  Today (Jan 21) I am back to 188. I hope to continue this downward trend in my weight for about another 10 lbs.

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4 miles on 4 apples

Well I must say life has been too busy to write.  I tend to prioritize things that I need to do when life gets crazy and unfortunately, this blog isn’t a high enough priority (unlike family, work, sleep and running).  

Yesterday I had an apple day.  What is an apple day you ask?

We first started apple days on the diet that my Lovely Wife and I lost most of our weight.  Basically, an apple day is where you take 1 day and eat 6 apples.  That is it.  No other food.  Just 6 apples.

That isn’t a fun day.  It is hard, and it is a sacrifice, but the results cannot be questioned.  Yesterday alone, I lost over 3 lbs.

My weight has been creeping up.  I was in the mid 180’s and have been closer to 190 for the past month.  I questioned my doctor as to how I can run 4 miles a day and gain weight.  Part of the answer is poor eating and that has caught up with me.  So… an apple day was to be had.

On to my run.  I started my run after work as usual, but yesterday after work I had only eaten 4 apples of my 6.  I really wanted to run my 4 miles to keep up with running for the week, but I was worried about 4 miles on 4 apples.  I shouldn’t have worried.

I didn’t break speed records.  I still stopped at 4 miles, but I felt great.  One reason was probably the 69 degree weather.  It was beautiful, sunny and not a cloud in the sky.  But I also felt better.  Not as heavy (not speaking weight heavy, but overall  heavy).  It was just a good easy run and about at the same pace I’ve had for the week.

I was excited to check the scales this morning and find I lost 3+ lbs.  The thing about an apple day is that something in the apples kicks your metabolism in the pants.  The weight loss continues as long as you don’t eat something stupid like pizza (did I say we are having pizza tonight).

Anyway, I just thought I’d pass that tidbit along.

All is well.  I have my eye on running a half marathon in December and a full in March.  I think training during the fall / winter / spring should be a good thing since I live in the South.

Have an awesome weekend and be blessed.

Tom

P.S.

TJ showed me this quote from Earnest Hemingway yesterday… It made me think!

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Loving the hills!

“You should run Sterling since you haven’t run the mountain lately.”

That text from TJ changed my running.

It happened a week ago.  I had been in a bad rut as I was running the same 4 mile route in my neighborhood since summer started.  I am not a fan of the heat and the only time I have to run is at 3:00 in the afternoon.  So I would run my route and usually have to take breaks to walk a bit because of the heat.  Running just wasn’t fun or interesting anymore, but I had to keep going no matter how I felt as I have a huge investment of time and lost weight in all those miles I’ve accumulated over the past 2.5 years.

Back to TJ’s text.

I thought to myself, “I don’t want to run Sterling”.  It is hot and the hills there are insane.  But TJ was right.  I hadn’t run my mountain in a while.  I was just not interested in the investment during the heat of the summer.

So I headed out to run and made my way to Sterling.

Sterling is a neighborhood about a mile from my home.  I used to run the hills there a year or so ago.  The main hill on the main road is about .25 miles long and ascends 100 feet.  So I looked up at that hill last Monday and thought, here I go.  I ran up the hill and at the top, I took a right turn and went on a more level area to recover and then headed back down.  It was tough!  I did this three time and headed home.  It was the first time in a long time that I felt like I accomplished something.

So Tuesday I headed back to Sterling.  I ran the big hill and then came back down and ran another smaller uphill road that is in the same neighborhood.  After that I headed home.

As the week went on, my times started getting faster.  My sluggish, boring summer runs were starting to be fun again.  I ran this run all week.

I have found from my mountain runs that I have really begun excelling on hills.  Many times after my mountain runs I will actually run faster up hills then on level ground.  While I have been away from the mountain for a while, this has been much less the case, but my legs “remembered” the love of the hills when I went to Sterling last Monday and throughout the week.

Finally on Sunday I actually ran a “long” run in my neighborhood.   It was only 7.5 miles, but it is the longest run since my half marathon in April.  The run itself was uneventful and hot, but just the fact that I was motivated enough to run it, is a good thing.

So things are looking up.  I am just trying to get to October where temps will start dipping into the 50’s and average that throughout the winter.

Even then, I’ll be running hills.

Tom

PS – Sort of ironic as I have now hit 278 followers on 278toBoston.com.  I guess I need to get back to writing! 🙂

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