Thursday, September 29, 2011
Moving on from digestive issues, this morning I awoke to stiffness and minor pain on the outside of my left knee, right where I had sharp pain towards the end of my HM on Sunday. It hasn't bothered me since the race, so I thought it was an isolated incident. I guess there is more too it now. I may be overly cautious, as I'm prone to do, but after researching the specifics, it may be the beginning of iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS). The pain was right where ITBS symptoms occur. I may be wrong, and I hope that I am, but since I felt something four days after the race I'm going to cautiously treat it as such and limit my running until the Army 10 Miler in 10 days. I DO NOT want another repeat of hobbling into the finish!
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Sunday, September 25, 2011
I did it. I finished my first half marathon this morning. It was a little anti-climatic compared to my first marathon back in March, but it was still an exciting time.
We began this adventure Saturday afternoon with a 3 hour road trip down to Salisbury, MD. For those of you unfamiliar with Maryland, the state is divided into by the Chesapeake Bay. To get there we had to take a trip across the “dreaded” Bay Bridge, a large 4.3 mile bridge that connects the rest of Maryland to the Eastern Shore.
We stopped at a favorite Mexican restaurant for lunch and hit the road back down. It was a rather uneventful trip down and we made it to the civic center to pick up the race packet. There was supposed to be a Fitness expo going on and Jen was excited to hit up the booths. I knew better. Last year the race consisted of about 300 runners total for the HM and 5K. I figured there might be a couple of booths there. Maybe a couple of the sponsors, and a store or two. Yeah, it was one tiny booth of clearance running apparel. Jen was quite disappointed!
We checked into the hotel and rested, or should I say, I rested, Jen and Paige watched a movie, and Connor, well he did what he does best, annoy everyone! We hit Olive Garden for dinner and I had a yummy Seafood Alfredo. I wasn’t feeling too well, thought I might be getting sick, and afterwards we headed back to hit the hay, dreading the forecasted rain, we stopped by Kmart for an umbrella for the family and a poncho for me.
This morning we awoke about 6am to find NO RAIN! It was foggy out though. We had breakfast and headed to the race. There were quite a few runners, but still it was a small race. The mandatory bathroom stops and we were off to the starting line. I got in place, the family shortly behind to cheer me on. We listened to a horribly slow version of the Star Spangled Banner and the race was on.
Mile 1-2: I started off with the same strategy as my marathon, take it slow from the gate and build up from there. While everyone else gunned it with the energy of the race, I was quickly positioned in the rear, only a few people behind me, just where I wanted to be. About 1/2 mile in, I meet up with a woman that looked to be attempting run/walks and I offered for her to run with me. She kept with me for about a mile, then started trailing off. This happened with another woman (this one claimed the longest she’d run was 3 miles, I wonder if she finished?). Again, I soon left her in the dust.
Mile 3-4: The family was planning to find a spot at mile 3 to cheer me on, we even drop by yesterday to figure out where the race crossed. The one thing we did not plan, an underground tunnel. Thankfully the were waiting on the other side and I did “knuckles” aka, a fist bump, with the kids then headed on. From there it weaved through Salisbury University then off through some residential areas.
Miles 5-8: I can sum these miles up as residential with a view. There are some beautiful lowland waters that we ran past, and many of the houses were really nice. As for the race, I steadily continued to pass people. With starting out in the back, I had a lot of rom to catch up on, and it seems nobody else was using the same tactic. I passed people, nobody passed me. I did not bring my Gymboss to run with and was at the mercy of hearing my watch beep, so I decided against using headphones. I put the music on my Droid 2 phone and turned it up. Some people complimented me for it and said they should run with me. In a small race such as this, I think it was fine. I would definitely not do this for a large one.
I again crossed the underground bridge at mile 8 with the family cheering me on. There where few-to-none spectators for this race, and as I am told, Paige and Connor did an excellent job at cheering for all the runners. Maybe we should go to a few races just to cheer. The vast majority of non-runners were either police at intersections or water station crew. There were about 8-9 water stations on this race, far more than I’m used to. Everywhere I turned I had people asking “Sir, water or Gatorade?” It was nice!
Mile 9-10: These miles were out along some farmland. Nice and flat and I enjoyed the scenery. I continued passing people, but not near as quickly as before. Still, nobody had passed me yet. At this point, I was wondering if I started out WAY to slow and would be trying to catch up with my pace the entire race. I was starting to feel the fatigue but was still going strong.
Mile 11-12: Shortly after the 11 mile mark, a woman challenged me. We were doing the run/walk shuffle for several turns. I’d pass her while running, then she’d pass me while I walked. I guess she decided she was not going to let this “walker” get the better of her and sped up enough to pass me for good. There went my streak!
Not a single runner passed me outside of the beginning (unless you count just passing them then hitting a walk, but as soon as m next run started I would leave them in the dust!). Two more people passed me before the end of the race. It was very motivational to start in the back and do nothing but pass people.
Around mile 12 I had a sharp pain hit the outside of my left knee. My first thought was ‘Oh shit! not another Army 10 Miler”. I took a few extended walking intervals and slowed it down some. It did return after the first walk, but not the second. I kept it cautious and trudged on, knowing full well that my hope of a 2:30 just got shot. Up to that point I was hovering around the goal the entire race.
Mile 13: The last mile was an incline, not steep, but not what you want to have at the end of a race. I was feeling the tiredness, and was treading on thin ice with my knee. I plowed on through to the finish, but did not have it in me to gun it at the end. I came in a little over a minute behind my Hopeful goal of 2:30 with a 2:31:21 (watch time, not gun time). I met my my middle and basic goals of finishing and being under 2:45 so I’m happy. I know that had my knee not felt that pain, I would have pushed it at the end and would have met the 2:30. Oh well, I really can’t complain. The pain hasn’t resurfaced and I’m willing to bet it was just a phantom pain. I’ll definitely keep an eye on it though. The Army 10 Miler is in two weeks and I WILL NOT have a repeat of last year!
Conclusion: The race was a success. I won’t say I felt as good as I did after the marathon, but It was still fun, I got a good workout, obtained an automatic PR, and I would recommend this race to others for next year. I can’t say I’ll do it again, but who knows. I’m still brewing a plan for the Runners Bug 2012 Season.
Monday, September 19, 2011
My training for this race has been much different than training for the marathon. Yeah, it's half as long, but I've just not been putting near as much effort into this thing. Mostly, I've been running two days a week instead of three, and I've not cared about my times. Plus, I'm nearly 25 lbs heavier than when I ran the marathon.
My goals will be to A) finish the race injury-free. B) run the race in less than 2:45. C) run the race in less than 2:30. I'm confident I can complete A and B, C will be tough, but is doable. We shall see.
My strategy will be somewhat similar to my marathon strategy, start off slow and slowly speed up over the miles. My training has been using 1.5/1 run/walks so I'll most likely stick with that.
Thursday, September 15, 2011
My fancy-dancy marketing pitch:
Feeling the effects of training burn out? A packed race season leavingyou drained and unmotivated. Follow these guidelines and you'll be back to it refreshed and ready to go in no time.
Start by taking a week off from running. You heard that right A WEEK. No matter what your mind thinks, or what the establishment says, you will not loose your hard earned badassness by taking a week off. Now spend that extra time doing something relaxing/fun/non-nunning and relish in it and try notto think of running.
After a week, it's time to get off your lazy ass and put foot to pavement.... or grass...... or dirt... or, well you get the idea. Now here's the catch, DO NOT bring your watch/gps/smartphone/mp3
player/kitchen sink/heart rate monitor/camelbak or whatever it is that you typically run with. Keep the distance short, 2-3 miles only. Find a new route or old favorite, but not one you typically use for training.
Now run! Run slow, run softly, run relaxed. You should easily be able to hold a conversation. If you fill like walking, then walk. If you feel like stopping for a siesta by the old oak tree on the corner, then siesta it up! The key here is to drop the mental baggage that you've accumulated and is dragging you down.
Now if you're a 5-6 day a week runner, it's time to cut it back to 3 days. If you're a 3 day runner, drop
back to two. Your goal should be to simply get out there and move. Keep the mileage low for a few weeks and enjoy the leisure running.
We've covered taking a break and reducing the number of runs, now it's time to discuss motivation. Sure, I can say read inspirational articles, other peoples blogs, etc. However, my media of preference for getting motivated is the cinema, movies for the layman, or "Talkies" if your in your late 90s. Thereare plently of traditional running movies, Prefontane, Chariots of Fire, Spirit of the Marathon, etc.; but I like it when running plays a bit part in a movie. Maybe the main character overcomes adversity and is shown having a great run at the end (see In Good Company).
Another non-traditional source for running motivation is a playground. Watching kids run around laughing and having a great time. This alone can take years off your mental age. Give it a try. Find somewhere where there are kids playing and you will see the magical run laugh.
So you're still in the middle of training and feel that taking time out will negatively affect your marathon/HM/5K or whatever you are training for. I saw Pushaw to that. If you're struggling through something then you're using negative energy. Negative energy zaps you far more than positive. Pulling back a bit to recover and reconnect with why you do this may just be the single best thing for your training.
Good luck and get your run on!
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Thursday, September 8, 2011
If you’ve watched the news at all in the last month, you know the Northeast has been hammered by natural disasters. First, it was an earthquake. Then came the hurricane. Now, it’s flooding. I came across some videos of my favorite trail being consumed by the flooding on fellow blogger The Running Moron’s blog. This weekend is supposed to be my last long run before the Hidden Treasures Half Marathon on the 25th and the Army 10 Miler on October 9th. After watching these videos, I’m going to need to find an alternate route to run. I have a love and hate relationship with this trail. I love running on it, but hate the fact that it’s so at the mercy of the weather. This is the same trail I spent many wintery Sundays freezing with my tail off running through heavy snow. Still, it’s a nice trail to run on.
And now for the videos…