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

3 runs and I feel great!

After my week off from running because of falling up the steps and hurting my bad hip, I had a very successful “come back” running this weekend.

Here are my workouts:

  • Friday: 4.25 miles in my neighborhood @ 8:40 pace.
  • Saturday: 8 miles up my mountain @ 9:43 pace.
  • Sunday: 5 miles in my neighborhood @8:38 pace.

Okay, I have been hurt before.  I have taken a week off before.  In fact this time I took a week off 3 weeks ago while sick, then ran 5 days, then took another week off for my hip.

There are many times I come back strong after taking time off.  It makes sense.  However this time there was a difference.

Yesterday’s run was – different.  I ran well.  I ran hard.  Up hill especially.  I would normally attribute that to my mountain runs, but I haven’t run my mountain in 3 weeks and that mountain wore my legs out yesterday.

I have another thought.

I’ve been taking apple cider vinegar for over a week now.  I take 2 tbs in water in the morning before breakfast and 2 tbs in the afternoon before my workout.  I started this to help my weight while not running as I read it can be beneficial.  However I noticed last week as I walked that I “felt” like walking longer distances than normal and my energy level was up in general during the week, especially at work.

My runs have felt much better to me over the past few days.  Of course it could be all the rest, but honestly I think there is more to it then just rest.  I have energy in my runs, in my legs and in my body overall.  I wasn’t planning on running yesterday, but an hour opened up in the afternoon, so I went out about a half hour after I took my 2 tbs of apple cider vinegar.  I felt so good that I decided to go for 5 miles rather than the 4 that I had planned.  Normally my head is screaming at me to shorten my runs, but I didn’t have that yesterday.  It was just a good, hard run.

So, have I stumbled on a super drink or is it just coincidence.  Either way I am going to keep up with the drink.  I strangely seem to be sleeping better also.  Maybe there is something I was missing mineral wise that the vinegar fills.

So all in all it was a good weekend and a good time running.  17 miles in 3 days after an injury and I feel great.

I can’t complain.

The 4 wheeler and the cop

Yesterday, I had decided to walk 4 miles.  About half way into the walk my hip began acting up a bit and to err on the side of caution, I decided to cut my walk short.  So my route was changed and I headed home.

As I entered into my neighborhood and was waking towards my home, a 4 wheeler came down the hill, through a stop sign and was traveling at a high rate of speed.  As the guy passed me, he looked back like he was looking for someone.  In my mind, I first thought I’d see another 4 wheeler come behind and perhaps they were racing through the neighborhood.  I also thought, he is going so fast, that short look back could have caused an accident as he was running through all the stops and going much faster than the speed limit in my subdivision.

I continued to walk and saw a police car pass by.  He slowed down and rolled down his window.  I took my earbuds out of my ears and walked over to him.  He asked if I saw a 4 wheeler go by.  I told him I had and that he had already gone way up the hill and out of view.  He said that this guy was trying to avoid him and took off after him.

A few minutes later a truck stopped by me and asked what was going on.  I told him the 4 wheeler story and he said that cars in general fly through the neighborhood so fast that he is worried about all the kids that play and bike.  I agreed and said it is also worrisome for a runner like me.

That was it.  I walked home and never heard another thing.

It is crazy the way people drive in our streets.  I live in a great neighborhood and city.  It is small and a suburb.  There are no bike paths though and it is a constant struggle to keep a watch for drivers who don’t seem to care that I’m out there or who are distracted on a cell phone.  I know all of you have similar stories, but seriously, it gets crazy.  I have almost been hit once and TJ has had to literally jump into the grass and a car almost wrecked after noticing him.  They just kept going.

I guess this is life in the small city.  99% of drivers are great.  I try to be extra careful.  I guess it just takes patience and vigilance to stay safe with people so distracted and in such a hurry.

I’m not complaining, at least it gave me something to write on my blog about. 🙂

All is well in 278toBoston land

This has been a crazy week.

First, I had a great run on Monday.  I felt on top of the world.  I had strength, power and felt like I could run forever.

Tuesday… Not so good. I couldn’t sleep the night before, I felt tired and I ran poorly.

Wednesday… Worst – tired.  Couldn’t sleep. I ran, but ran slowly and walked a bit.  It was 40 degrees hotter than the same time last week.  Not that it was hot, but 40 degrees is a lot of change in a week.

Thursday… The day started slowly in general.  At work I dragged around.  I felt blah.  Then 11:00 happened.  I don’t know what that means, but sometime around 11:00 I felt better.  I wasn’t dragging . I felt so much better.  It was like the past two days just went away and I was back to normal.

I got home from work and decided to walk.. or maybe run… just play it by feel.  I didn’t want to overdue it, but also I was feeling so much better.  So I left the house and walked about a quarter mile.  I got to an intersection where a car was wanting to turn and I was in the way, so I jogged over to the other side… and kept going.

I ended up mostly running about 5 miles.  I walked a couple of times for a few minutes.  The run felt great.  I actually had a good pace, even though I wasn’t trying to.  I got home and I felt good, my hip didn’t hurt and it was a good time.

Last night I slept well for the first time in 3 days and I woke up before my alarm feeling fine.

So what did happen this week.  It is interesting as I wasn’t the only one feeling down and out.  I know several people who felt the same way.  Maybe something in the air?

Either way, I am going to run my mountain tomorrow with TJ.  Since I’ll be running with him, I’ll run harder then I would by myself.  One day, my goal is to run it twice… Maybe next week.

Sunday will be my day of rest (as it should be).

So all is well in 278toBoston land.

Thank you all who showed concern and helped with your comments and posts.

I am sooooo thankful it is Friday.

Till next time…

Tom

It gets complicated when I can’t run

Relax!

That is what I kept telling myself yesterday as I ran.  Relax and run easy.

I hadn’t run since before the snow last week.  After getting home and realizing I injured my back by my antics at work (sleeping on the floor, walking in the ice, falling on the ice, etc), I had to hold off running.  That is not a good thing for me.

I think because I run  5 – 6 days a week, if I go a few days without running my emotions take a dive.  I don’t know if it is the lack of endorphins or just lack of sleeping well, but I become a monster emotionally.  Just angry with the world and everything in the world.

Sunday was another one of “those” days.  I just had to leave.  I went for a 2 hour walk and ended up in a park and sat for an hour.  Actually that seemed to help get me back a little.  It was a rough day and I could feel it from the moment I woke up.  One week without running makes one weak, if you ask me.

Monday I just didn’t feel like running.  My hip was bothering me.  I decided to take “the dog” out for a walk.  That was nice, but it bothered me that I didn’t want to run.  It isn’t like I love my runs, but I love the aftereffect.  The peace.  The satisfaction of finishing a run.

Finally, yesterday I ran.  I got in 4.25 miles under a 9:00 pace.  I feel better.  I like that feeling after I run of my lungs breathing in full and easy.  I like the peace I feel and the fact that after two years, a run still finishes my day.

So I guess I am back again to my running days.  This crazy weather has been playing havoc with my hip, but I just relax and run easy and that helps (going back to how I started this post).

Relax.  Enjoy.  Run.  Be happy.

Sometimes I make life too complicated.

Tom

Running Back

Well my back is better, thank God for that!  The last time I had the same issue it took months to get over.

I haven’t tried to run yet, but did walk 5 miles yesterday and had no problems sleeping last night (which is when my back is at its worse).

So I plan on running today, Lord willing.

Thank you for all the thoughts and prayers.  It was a rough week last week.  This is a new day, week, month.

I am thankful.

Tom

An unexpected consequence of being a runner

I love running.

Okay, when I am out there and it is really cold or really hot or I just don’t feel good, running can be a chore.

What I love most about running is the freedom that it gives me.  An unexpected consequence of being a runner.

Last Saturday was a rough day.  In fact it was a difficult week overall, it just came to a head on Saturday.  I needed to get away.  A couple of years ago that would have entailed driving to Walmart and surrounding stores and walking through the isles of stuff.  Not this time.  Instead, I walked.  In fact I turned off my phone and walked for hours.  I walked on a trail I have run before, but never actually just took the time to look at the surroundings.  It was really cool.  Waterfalls, beaver dams and quietness.

I realized that day that because of my running I could walk as far as I wanted and not worry about how to make it home.  I was able to just go and be free.  It was awesome.

The other time this “consequence of running” occurred to me was this week while shut in at work for two days because of the snow.  I was able to spend hours outside helping people get their cars going.  I walked miles to the pharmacy to pick up meds for a coworker (and buy toothbrushes).  I never once thought, “can I make it back?”  I had freedom.  Who needs a car!

So if you are debating if you should start running or you are a runner and are trying to encourage others to run, remember what I learned.  There is a lot of freedom in life once the chains of poor physical fitness are removed.  Once you run 26.2 miles, it dawns on you that if needed, you can walk the 23 miles home in an emergency.

Freedom.  A basic instinct.  One that I am glad I received almost 2 years ago when I started running.

Southern Snowstorm (Part III)

Honestly I have nothing to do, so I thought I’d write a post for my blog.

We are stuck.  Massively stuck.  The road where my work is off of only has two ways out.  One side has a sharp hill that is ice and the other is filled with a quarter mile of cars that were abandoned yesterday.  The Interstates are crawling and abandoned cars all over them.

Basically the weatherman made a booboo.  He said that this storm was going to be much more south than it was.  So they sent all the sand trucks (and what few salt trucks and snow plows we have) south.  Thus we had 2 inches of snow on frozen roads that turned to ice and no way to move.  I know people up North say, “2 inches of snow… those wimps”.  I am from the North and I’m telling you, if you had this snow with no equipment to clear it or melt it and sub freezing temperatures… Okay, you would have handled it better than us Southerners who haven’t seen snow in 10 years, but still it would have been a mess.

So I spent the day getting medicine and supplies from a CVS a few miles away and walking a co-worker to her husband’s hotel.  Oh yeah, I also worked some.

Another night her in the office and probably most of tomorrow.  I don’t see them getting these cars cleared very quickly.  It is a mess.

No running for me, but I did walk about 7 miles in the ice.  That should account for something.

UPDATE:

It has been two hours since I started this post.  Seems some cars are moving on the Interstates, but our road is still blocked.  Ugh.  The guys who brought the good came and picked it back up.  I’m not sure where they were going, but they were so nice and said to keep anything we needed.  The main guy was a pastor and his deacon was helping him.  Very nice people.

So another day is done.  I may write in the morning if I can keep my eyes open.  I have nothing to sleep on, so it will be another long night.  Reminds me of my collage fraternity days.  Sleeping on the floor in strange rooms. 🙂

I am so thankful for this experience.  It has been hard and I miss my family, but we are all safe and warm and have food and shelter.  There isn’t much more we can ask for in this life.

Goodnight!

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!

The Pebble run and 5K prep

Yesterday’s run was hard.

No, it isn’t what you think.

I made the decision that I would run slow and easy since I ran hard on Wednesday.  In the past I would run as hard as I could, even the day after a hard run.  Well my recent 2 month off and on sabbatical from running because of my hip has made me a little wiser (I hope).  So when I started my run I told myself that I wanted to run between a 10:00 – 11:00 pace.  I decided that if I looked at my time and I was under a 10:00 pace then I would walk for a bit and then start my run again.  That way I would keep pulling my nature to run hard in and hopefully keep from getting injured.

I got a half mile into my run and had to walk.  Actually I felt a twinge from my hip and looked and I was running near a 9:00 pace.  So I walked for a few minutes and started running again.  It wasn’t long before I was walking again.

Enter Pebble watch.

The most frustrating thing about starting and stopping my run was the fact I had to keep starting and stopping my iPhone.  So one of the times that I was walking, I started pushing buttons on my Pebble and found that the middle outside button actually pauses and starts the app on my phone.  So as I started my run I would press the button and my app would announce that it was started.  When I walked, I pressed the button and my app would tell me it was paused.

So cool.

I no longer need to even interact with my phone.  I don’t need to have auto pause on (which does not work well on the iSmoothRun app).  In fact, I can put my phone in an arm band and never look at it again the whole run.

I’m FREE!

Back to my run.  I walked about a dozen times, but managed to get 3 miles in on the 4 mile route and my pace at the end was 10:39 – exactly where I wanted to be.  This is the first time I was able to pull back and not run faster than I knew I should.

Today is another run, hopefully between 8:30 – 9:00 pace and then tomorrow I’ll be walking my 4 miles.  The race starts at 9:00 Sunday morning, but evidently there is a church meeting at the building where the race starts, so we will only have limited access to the building.  It is going to be 35 degrees and we aren’t even allowed inside the lobby to keep warm before or after.  Had I known that, I wouldn’t have chosen this race, but it is too late now.  I do understand the church not wanting a lot of sweating runners hanging around with people coming in for services, but the planners of the Magic City Half Marathon and 5K should have made better plans, especially with the cold weather.

Anyway, I’m looking forward to the 5K and it will be fun to run with TJ again.  We haven’t run a race since the Lehigh Valley Marathon in September. RS has to work and so he can’t make it.

Have an awesome Friday and rest of the weekend.

Tom