My first treadmill run…

It has been a while since I’ve written.

Life has been hectic.  I was in Louisiana for a week doing a work project.  Let me say, I only ran once while there and that was my first run ever on a treadmill.  Just sayin… I’m not a fan.  That was the Sunday I arrived.  After that, I worked 14 – 15 hours each day and just couldn’t bring myself to get up to run on that machine again.

This last week was my first full week of running since I last wrote.  The week before my trip I was able to average 7 miles a day for 6 days.  Not bad for me.  In fact the only week I ran that much in the past was during marathon training.  On top of everything it was very warm out, but I wanted to push it (time wise, not speed wise).  Last week, I felt like I had lost everything.  I was tired and it was tough outside with humidity.  TJ and I did a hill run on Monday that was harder then any other run I’ve had in a long time. The week of running was simple 2 – 5 mile runs, but it was difficult.

So the week off really messed with my running.  No exercise, not much water, and not much walking either.  Just spending all week in from of my laptop programming.

This week is a new week.  I had a relatively good run yesterday morning.  It was hot, but I did get in 5+ miles.  I’m doing my best to break the 4 mile summer barrier I hit last year during the heat.  Today is another hill run with TJ and then just normal runs.  I have another business trip though that might mess things up a bit.  Normally I wouldn’t be worried as it is only a few days, but after having a full week off of running and now a few more days off, I’m going to have to be really careful, especially with my weight.

Have an awesome week. Hopefully things slow down after this week and I’ll get back to writing.  I’ve missed blogging and keeping up with my blog running friends.  Right now it is all I can do to write.

Thanks for reading and have fun running!

Tom

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

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

Running in heat – and other musings

Summer…

Actually heat.

I remember last year.  When the heat got above 65 – 70 degrees, I was shot.  I had the hardest time adapting.  My pace dropped about a minute or more per mile.  I would get so frustrated and down.  The hotter it got, the slower I got.

I then found out that running in the heat is similar to running at a high altitude.  I learned to start slowly to allow my body to get used to the heat and then try picking up my pace.  I used my app to tell me my pace, not so I could make sure I was going fast enough, but to make sure I was going slow enough.  If I started to fast, I would hit a wall in a dramatic fashion and just have to stop.

Yesterday was the hottest day of the year so far for me.  It was above 80 degrees and sunny.

I did not start slow enough yesterday.  I ran well until about mile 3 and then had to walk a bit.  Fortunately I was able to recover pretty quickly and it didn’t affect me much.  I still ended my run with an 8:12 mile and an overall pace of 8:43.  Not bad for an old man.

I learned from last year that as the heat and humidity go up, I need to not only be careful to not over do it physically, but I need to drink more water (I drink about 96 oz in the winter and 120+ oz in the summer).

I am really interested in how apple cider vinegar (ACV) will help my summer runs.  I still feel it working for me, even an month after starting to take it.  I tried everything in the past from chia seeds, to a bagel, to energy supplements and have never felt they affected my running at all after a few weeks.  Taking 2 tbs of ACV in the morning with water (before I eat anything) and then 2 tbs in the afternoon before my run has made me feel so much better and stronger.  One day I would like to do a study on what helps most, running up a mountain road every week or ACV.  I honestly think the ACV has had a larger impact on my running since I ran the mountain about 5 times and didn’t notice a huge difference until after starting the ACV.  I also wonder if I was just missing something in my body that ACV fills.  Honestly, for me to run 5 miles in the heat and the last mile at 8:12 pace is nothing other than a miracle.  Even my hip is better – not perfect, but much better.

So that is about it for today.  My musings.

Oh, one more thing…

When I started my run yesterday I could feel that my legs were still affected from my 11 mile mountain run on Saturday.  They didn’t hurt, but had a good feeling of fatigue.  I can’t explain it, but they are getting so much stronger then ever before that I know one day, they will take me to Boston.

Keep running.

Tom

Pizza, brownies, donuts and running

Yesterday was a “run off lunch” type of run.

It was 30 degrees colder than Monday and the wind was blowing at 20mph.

Lunch was provided by work and it was PIZZA!  I’m sorry, but if there is pizza, my will power goes out the window.  So I proceeded to eat until I was full.  Then I went back to my desk in a carb/gluten crash and waited until I could head out.

By the time I got home (after several errands), I was in no mood to run.  It was cold out and I was tired as I didn’t sleep well the night before.  BUT I had all that pizza at lunch and I know my body and how it works.

Here is my theory:

Eat before running…  Everything gets burned off in the run.  The carbs are used for energy and by morning I lose weight.

Eat after running… Everything gets stored because my body thinks that at any moment I’ll go for a run and need the reserves.

This is my theory and I am not a doctor (that I know of).

So yesterday I might have walked rather than run or taken the day off, but 5 pieces of pizza were sitting in my stomach and forcing me to get out and get my 4 miles in.  Let me tell you, running with 5 pieces of pizza in your stomach and 80 oz of water isn’t my version of a fun run.

So it would have gone well for my weigh in this morning other than the fact we had a birthday in our family and the chosen “cake” was brownies.  Outside of pizza, brownies are my favorite food.  So I indulged.

How did my weigh in go?

I was up half a pound from yesterday’s weight.  Not bad really.  Assuming I have no temptations today, I’ll probably lose that and some tonight.  Of course there is the Donut Dash this weekend that @BigBigGeek wants me to run… Donuts are right next to brownies and pizza as a favorite.  So I want to get another couple of pounds off before then.  I figure if I can get down to 188 or lower, I’ll be fine.  After all it is just a 2 mile run, eat a dozen donuts and a two mile run back.  No problem.  And the eating of the donuts is chip timed, so I could win a medal.  My type of race.  I doubt I’ll PR, but then again, I’ve never run a 4 mile race before, so any time will be a PR.

I love running!

189.9

Yes!

I made it back down to the 180’s. Okay, the upper 180’s but it still counts!

After my marathon and my injury and Thanksgiving and Christmas… well let’s just say I was pushing 200 lbs.  I think I got up as high as 197.5.  So for me to weigh myself this morning and see the second number of my weight be an 8 was a wonderful thing!

For me… this is how I lose weight.  This is what works for me..

I eat anything I want before I run and nothing after.

Now that isn’t exactly true.  Essentially my basic diet consists of eggs for breakfast, almonds for a snack, Stouffer’s macaroni and cheese for lunch and about 64 oz of water.  Then I go home and run at least 4 miles in the afternoon.  It has to be 4 and not 3 miles.  I will lose weight at 4 miles and I won’t at 3.

So I might snack after I run, but mainly I drink 32 oz of Gatorade and try not to eat much.

If I eat a regular dinner, I usually gain weight.  However I can eat almost anything (within reason) in the morning (Krispy Kreme 5K is looking tempting).

My eating isn’t complicated.  I do know that if I run at least 4 miles and don’t eat much for dinner I’ll lose weight.

Tonight for dinner… Pizza.  Oh well, I’ll have the rest of the weekend to get back down to the 180’s.

I love pizza.

The rest of the story

The Lehigh Valley Marathon was special for me in that I finished it.  As I was running near mile 23, I thought to myself, “If I finish this, I bet this will be one of those moments that flash before my eyes right before I die.”  Funny what you think about when your body is close to collapse. 🙂

This post is about the unusual occurrences that happened before and after the marathon.

First, wanting to be careful and make sure we know where we were going, TJ and I drove to the Lehigh Valley Hospital Saturday afternoon.  I looked it up in my GPS and we drove there fairly easily.  We ran around a large parking lot for 2 miles and drove home.  I felt better knowing where we would be going in the morning.

That morning I woke up at 3:00 AM and never went back to sleep.  We left the hotel at 5:45 to get to the marathon starting line at 6:00.  We drove there fairly easily other than a traffic jam (at 5:50 AM on a Sunday morning).  They were working a bridge on the Interstate and had a lane shut down.  But we still managed to get to the hospital by 6:00.

Hmmm.  There was no one there.  No police, no runners, just a hospital.  My stomach sank.  We were at the wrong Lehigh Valley Hospital.  TJ figured out where the OTHER hospital was and I looked it up on my GPS.  Fifteen minutes later, we were at the right hospital, in another traffic jam.  Talk about nerve wracking!  We were 45 minutes away from the start and stopped in traffic trying to get to the parking lot.

We finally got to the parking lot and ran for the porta potties.  There were a total of 6.  We waited another 20 minutes, did our business and headed to the starting line.

Marathon Starting Line

Marathon Starting Line

They counted down the start and we were off.

(See Finishing the race! for details of our run).

The finish line was chaotic for me.  I just crossed and couldn’t hear anything because of the loud speaker and people and just lots of noise.  I told my mom and brother (that I had FaceTimed a few minutes before the finish) that I had to hang up (since I couldn’t hear them) and hung up on them.  Then I looked up and TJ was coming towards me.  He was a sight for sore eyes.

Just finished

Just finished

Getting Finisher's Medal

Getting Finisher’s Medal

I got my finishers medal and a water and just tried to make sense of the situation.  TJ suggested I go to the medic tent and get checked out.  I didn’t look very good I guess.

The medic tent was well done.  I got and IV after 3 needle pricks and laid there for an hour while it filled me up with fluids.  I felt badly for TJ having to sit and watch me get an IV for an hour, but he never complained.  Finally, I got up SLOWLY and we walked out to find the shuttle back to the starting line.

This is where everything went wrong.

TJ and I literally limped to get the shuttle.  The race is run in a straight line, so we were a half hour away from our car.  No one could tell us where to go to get the shuttle, but just pointed us in a general direction.  We finally found the spot…  Two hundred marathon runners stood in a line for a shuttle.  We waited about 10 minutes and the first shuttle pulled up.  It was tiny.  Probably 20 seats total.  It filled up with some runners and took off.

At this point I was becoming desperate.  I had to check out of my hotel in an hour and my 2 youngest sons were waiting for me.  On top of this, my phone battery died and TJ’s had only 4%.  I had to get back to the hotel to get a shower and head to my mom’s birthday party 3 hours away.  I walked around SLOWLY and looked for anyone I could ask for help.  I saw a police officer and told him my situation.  I asked if I could get a cab.  He said the wait for cabs was really long.  He was nice, but no real help (not that there was anything he could do).

A half hour after the first shuttle left, another shuttle arrived.  This was a full sized bus.  The line made progress.  A half hour later the tiny shuttle showed back up and took a few people.  There were probably about 50 people in front of us to get the next shuttle.  I should be able to make it.

I love runners.

We all stood in line after running 26.2 miles and everyone talked, laughed and waited.  A nice lady in front of me lent me her phone so I could call the hotel and my kids.  It was getting late and I had to make a decision.  Did I make my boys pack the room and sit in the lobby until I got back or did I bite the bullet and stay another night in the hotel.  It was now 1:00 PM.  I knew it would take 30 minutes to get back to the starting line if I could get on the next bus.  Then it would take about 15 minutes to drive back to the hotel.  I knew what I had to do.  I called the hotel, paid for another night and had HR call my Lovely Wife and let her know we were staying.  She called my mom and told her we would miss her birthday.

Now the frustrating part of the day.  We waited for the bus.  We stood in the sun for another hour with no shuttle and no explanation.

Nothing.

A runner forced suggested we move the line to the sidewalk where there was some shade, so everyone reluctantly moved.  As we waited on the sidewalk by the main road, one runner held out a $20 bill to passing cars asking them to give him a ride.  Finally one stopped and loaded about 4 people.  Everyone cheered.  We all talked, vented, stood, sat and baked in the sun.

Finally a guy came up with a couple cases of bottled water.  That was nice.  But we still stood with no bus.  In fact 2 large buses went past and just kept going.  Talk about some upset runners.

Finally a bus came by and stopped.  Cheers.  Only 2.25 hours later.  We started to load.  I wasn’t sure I could get on this one, but I knew I would give it a try, even if I had to sit in the toilet.  Then another bus pulled up behind the first bus.  BUT… It didn’t wait for the first bus to load and then move up, it just opened its door.  So we were in the back of the first line and others were loading in the other bus.  I was an unhappy camper.  Fortunately, TJ and I made it on the very back of the first bus.  People were actually sitting in the isles.

30 minutes later we were back to our car.  3:00 PM, 3 hours after we got in line, we arrived back at the hotel.

I wrote the race director and asked about the transportation issue.  They were apologetic and gave me a free pass for next years marathon.

Sorry for the long post.  I wanted to get all this out.  I must say that although it was a tough afternoon, I met so many great people.  Exhausted runners standing for hours and smiling.  Everyone was great.  It wasn’t fun waiting and I was upset to miss my mom’s 85th birthday, but I will remember this marathon for a long time to come!!!