Monday, January 31, 2011

January Recap

January turned out to be a pretty great month for running.  I vamped up my marathon training and had a few noteworthy runs.  I did suffer from the flu which knocked me out of running a bit, and a couple of long run fumbles, but all in all January started off my running year with a bang.

Weight wise, I also had a great month.  I've made it below the 200 lb mark, and got down to 195 at the beginning of last week, however, with everything that went on last week, my weight went back up a couple of pounds.  Still, I'm lower than I was and have been feeling the effects of it!

January Totals:

Number of Runs - 9
Total Miles - 73
Time - 14:53:21
Average Pace - 12:15

February Running Goals. 

First and foremost, I want to continue my build up for the marathon.  There are only  four more long runs left before I begin tapering and I need to hit 22 miles at the end of the month. 

Second, I'd like to continue with my faster short run pace. I'm not looking to start speedwork yet, but a stead diet of 3-4 mile runs at sub 11 min/mile would be nice. 

Third, I want to continue loosing weight. I've made it below the 200 lb mark, but hit a speed bump last week with too much eating out.  A continued effort of watching what goes into my tummy is a must.

How was your January?

Coming Soon to a Blog Near You

I've been thinking about the look of my blog and am in the process of figuring out how I'd like it to look.  I'll probably change up the color scheme and adding some pages to it.  I've got several different ideas going through my head but I figured I'd throw it out to you, my faithful readers.  What do you like about the look of my blog and what do you not like?   Any and all comments are welcome.  After all, the look of the blog is for you!

Also, there may be a few surprises coming in the near future so keep a watch out and comment, comment, comment!  Muhaaaa!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Treadmill – 1, James – Almost 1

Today was scheduled an 18 miler.  After the snow last week, I knew my favorite long run site would be covered in snow and originally I was going to try for a run around the neighborhood, but yesterday I decided to head to Fort Meade and hit up the treadmill instead.  On Friday I stopped by the gym and had an awesome 5K run so I figured I’d attempt a long run on one.  It didn’t go great.  My immediate concern was the lack of boredom.  I loaded up my walkman with some movies, got everything ready and headed out the door. 

I got there, hit the bathroom then mounted up. I was planning a 2/1 run/walk and fiddled with the settings for couldn’t set it for how I wanted so I went with manual mode.   The treadmill I was on has a visual display for distance of a 5K trail run so my goal was 6 laps. The first two went fine, but midway through my 3rd lap, I must have it the gyms time limit because it, without warning, threw me into cool down mode and I stumbled slightly to adjust to the unsignaled change in pace.  I ended up resetting the treadmill and kept going.  Around 10.5 miles, I started noticing some pressure around the back of my left knee.  My first thought was “oh shit!”.  I could tell my running form was causing it, so I adjusted to try and ease up the pressure.  It didn’t seem to help.  At this point I knew I wasn’t going to attempt the full 18.  I kept going for a bit then stopped.  It wasn’t getting any better, and I did not want to push through something and possibly cause damage, so I stopped at mile 11. 

I may have tweaked something during that stumble, or it could just have been my form being off since I was on a treadmill.  I’ve always felt awkward on them.  It feels like I’m slamming into the tread whenever I’m on one.  Never a comfortable feeling, that’s why I detest using them.  Well, I attempted a long run and have concluded that a treadmill and long runs don’t mix, at least for me they don’t.  The leg feels fine now, so well see how it does over the next few days.  In the mean time, come on snow hurry up and melt before next Sunday!

What do you think of treadmills?  Does your form feel different when on one?  Does it feel better or worse?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Speed Gonzales

speedy-gonzales After lunch today I had an awesome run!  After Sundays psych-out it was a great way to boast my self confidence.  I ran 4 laps around the lake (4X 0.77 miles = 3.08 miles) and it was ( need to double check) the fastest 3 miler I’ve had since starting back last year! 29:59 for a pace of 9:45!  Whahooo!  under 10 min mile!  .02 miles short of being able to say I ran a 5K in under 30 minutes.  I see a challenge for next week!!   Oh, and I’m still doing the run/walk thing too! I did this with a 1:45/1:00 ratio.

Now off to bed as I’ve got a full day recertification conference tomorrow.  Long and dull!

Monday, January 24, 2011

I'm Melting!

Well, not really, but my fat is!  I'm officially down to 195 lbs!  My nutrition plans seem to be working well, along with my long runs.  I've still got a ways to go but I'm going strong.  Now if only I could target which fat was burned!  I need it to come off my belly.  :) 

I'm fairly sore after yesterdays folly but that was to be expected.  It's the good soreness not the "oh crap! I did something wrong!"  running through the snow for 16 miles is substantially harder than no snow.  For this coming long run, I might shake it up a bit and map out a route near my house.  We're slated to get some more snow and I highly doubt the trail will be clear on Sunday.

What kind of route do you prefer?  Out and back, loop, destination run, or something else?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Crappy Run

brain-drain Today’s long run sucked the big one. I haven’t had a bad run like this in a long time.  From the get go it was doomed.  It was a cold (22F) morning as I hoped into the car and headed out.  I had everything prepared, body glide,  GU, Sports Beans, water, even bandages on my nippies.   When I pulled up to the trail, I saw it was still covered in snow.  Heavily covered at that.  My mind instantly turned to how far I was planning on running.  How in the hell was I going to make it 18 miles, the furthest I’ve ever run, in such conditions.  I made the command decision to drop it to a 16 miler. 

I got out,prepared myself for the run and headed north.  The trail is marked every mile and my parking is about .1/4 mile south of the 4 mile mark.   I planned to run up to mile 9, back down to mile 1 (cutting off the first mile length to make it 16 instead of 18) then back up to my car.  The first 5 miles were ok, nothing great but ok.  I was feeling fine, but the trail had not been used as much on these upper sections so there was a lot of untouched snow, roughly two inches deep.  This made the run harder, and I got plenty of snow between my socks and shoes.   At the turn around I did a bit of stretching, took a GU and headed back.  Around mile 7 I started feeling some GI issues.  I don’t think it was the GU as it was the hmmm, lower section.  Thankfully by mile marker 7 there is an old train depot that has bathrooms so I hit the up for a bit.  After some relief, I took off again, making it past my car (10 miles into the run) and kept heading south.  Shortly after this, I was really starting to think about turning around.  It was cold, the snow in my shoes melted making my feet wet, and I’ll I wanted to do was go home, change into something warm, hop under some blankets and fall asleep next to the heater.  Alas, I kept going. The snow covered trail.


I did take my Sports Beans around here and took a few extra walk breaks.  It didn’t help my mindset.  In fact, usually when I hear the beep to start my running (1:45/1 run/walk) I’m slightly energized.  Not today! Each sound of the beep was like a small spear sinking into my brain causing what little motivation I had at this point to drain out.  Miraculously I made it to the second turn around (13 miles into the run) and headed back.  I kept thinking “3 more miles, only 3 more miles to go!” but around mile 14.5 I gave out.  I’d stopped for a walk and when the beep went off, I reached into my pocket and turned off the Gymboss (a new interval timer I have that’s loud enough to hear under all my winter gear).  I ended up walking the last 1.5 miles.  I wasn’t physically worn out.  Rather, I probably could have done the 18 miles no problem.  I just couldn’t mentally take another run interval.  I can’t really explain it,  my mind just didn’t want to go any further.  I walked back to my car, ashamed for stopping.  “How could I just give out like that?  My legs weren’t killing me.  I wasn’t out of breath or feeling like I was going to collapse.   What happened?”  

I rarely ever cut a run short after starting.  That’s one of the things I pride myself on.  If I set out for five, I go five.  I’d say only a handful  of times this last year did I actually stop before intended.  I know there’s nothing wrong with this, but for some reason I felt ashamed today.  After I stopped, all that went through my head was questions if I’m truly ready for a marathon.   I’ve been very lucky with my training.  Only missed a handful of runs (coincidently, most of them were last week).  Maybe I’m still recovering from my sickness.  Maybe running on the varied snow terrain made it more difficult. No tellingAfter five miles.

Regardless, of the reason, I need to work on my long run motivation.  Maybe next week I’ll break out my walkman again.  I’ve been running music-less for awhile. Maybe that will help.

Next week was going to be a 20 miler, but I think I’ll retry for the 18.  Now melt damn snow!

What do you do to keep motivated on long runs?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Geese Poop!

I'm finally over my cold/flu/whateveritwas enough to get back out there.  I missed 4 scheduled runs, 3 weekday 3-4 milers and a recovery long run 6-8 miles.  It sucked missing those for training but it was a recovery week so I guess that was the positive of it. 

Anywho, I went out after lunch today to the lake by my office and got in 4 laps (3.08 miles).  Starting off slow as I wasn't sure how it would go, I quickly sped up, avoided all the Canadian Geese poop, and finished at a 10:16 pace while doing 1:45/1 run/walk.  I'll take that as a win! 

On the flip side, I didn't make it to the gym yesterday.  Works been hectic this week as I'm working on a presentation I'll be giving the day before and day after my marathon.  There was just no time to pull away yesterday. 

This weekend I've got the big 18 scheduled for my Sunday long run.  Daunting?  yes  Doable? yes.  Cooperative Weather?  I hope so!!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Gym Rat


When I first started back to running a little less than a year ago, I spent much time at the gym on post to get my exercise in.  between exercise bikes, treadmills, and weights, It really helped get my body back into  shape.  For awhile, I was going nearly everyday at lunch, then off to Subway for a healthy meal.  Once the weather started to warm up, I quit going to the gym and did all my running outside.

Tomorrow, I plan to reacquaint myself with the gym. 

I haven’t run in a week due to a rough cold, but I’m mostly better now, and figured I’d try out the gym while at work.  Right now isn’t the best time to be running outside with all the ice we have, so what better time to hit the gym right?   Besides, it’s a great gym, and at no cost to me.  Plus I can get my workout done before heading home.  So that’s the goal.  We’ll see how it goes. 

FYI, the Army has an awesome Moral, Wellfare, and Recreation program which runs the gym.  I’m VERY thankful that they allow Army Civilian employees access as well!  

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Weeked Update with Dennis Mill... Wait that's not right!

Just to update, I'm still sick.  I thought it was getting better but today I'm been hacking away, stuffed up, and have the feeling a fever is setting in.  Thank goodness it's a recovery weekend plus I'm off on Monday.  I don't feel so bad about putting running on the back burner.

FYI, Connor's in the same boat as me.  He's dripping enough snout to fill a bathtub! 

On the good news side, we finally have a fully functional home theater room.  Took the old love seat upstairs for Salvation Army to come get next week, then went to Ikea and bought some new chairs. Tonight we're having movie night with the works (trivia slides, intro videos, coming attractions, cell phone off msg, animated shorts (ala. Pixar), countdown, and finally a feature attraction yet to be determined.

Along with it, pizza and popcorn!  Fun!

 Here's a preview of the seating.  Don't mind the stained carpet, it's coming up soon.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Three Things Thursday

1)  I'm still a sicky-sickerson.  Starting to feel better and the sneezing has calmed down so I'm optimistic that tomorrow I'll be better, but today I'm still taking it easy.

2)  I didn't mention it before, but the car is in the shop yet again.  Three times since I' bought it in November.  It's now out of warranty but this is for things that were not corrected the last time.  They had to send it to the Dodge Dealer, who in turn had to contact Chrysler itself for help.  It should be done today (fingers crossed). 

3)Today is monthly mandatory training day at work.  Usually we end up with about a half day's worth.  Today, it's jam packed full of stuff.   Can you say boring?

How has your week been?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Wicked Wednesday

Kids, you've got to love em but don't you just hate when they bring their little microbiological friends home like a lost puppy?  "Mommy, can I keep him?  I'll take care of him, I promise.   Pretty Please??" 

Our household is full of sickly people.  Springtime hurry up and get here!  Yesterday's skipped run came close to a skipped day of work, but I made it, a bit late but I'll blame that on the snow we got last night

Yesterday, I was talking with a coworker (He's run 5 Marine Corps Marathons!) about my marathon training and the run/walk method.  He made an interesting remark that got me thinking.  You know the "Zone" when you completely forget that you're running and your mind is off in La-La Land?  I don't think I've ever experienced it during a run/walk.  I'm constantly thinking about my next transition and how much time is left.  Yeah, it's great for injury prevention, and yeah it occupies my mind making the time go by faster "only 30 more seconds and I get to walk"  but it does make for less of a transcendental experience. 

I recall from my previous running life those times when the run was just perfect.  Like I was floating along instead of pounding pavement.  No intervals, no counting down to the next transition.  I was just out there.  Doing it.  I miss that.

Over the last few weeks I've been thinking about my goals for 2011 and what I want out of running.  I've also been thinking about my run/walks, their benefits, and the drawbacks.  I've come to the conclusion I'd like to start bringing back straight running into my life.  That doesn't mean I'm done with the run/walk method, far from it.  It's a great method and has helped a tremendous amount of people get into running that otherwise wouldn't, and most of all it helps keep people injury free. I would just like to reintegrate full running as part of my overall running plans. 

After my marathon in March, I'm going to pull back on my distances and start working on speed.  Along with this, I'm going to work on extending run times out to a gradual goal of running my 5K races straight.  Anything above 5K will be a run/walk. 

I'm hoping this will provide me with the best of both worlds.  We'll see.

When was the last time you were in "the zone"?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


I skipped out on my run tonight.  It’s cold, snowing, and I’m coming down with a cold.  Nyquil here I come!   Blah!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Freeze Your Thorns Off 5K Give take an extra 20K

I decided to hold off and run the virtual race as part of my Sunday long run since I’m already commuted to that.  I didn’t think Adam would object being that he stated “ I'm flexible....if you're doing the race in your shower and have to take a break for the water to get hot again that is just fine.” :)  

It was 23F when I left the house to make the 20 minute drive to my route (NCR Trail as always) and I’m sitting here about 40 minutes after stopping and it’s 31F.  So yeah, it was freezing the entire run.  Thankfully the wind wasn’t too bad. 

I decided to officially start the race at my first mile, giving me plenty of warmup time.  I was not going for a speed record or anything (still had a ton of running once it was over), but I did decide to pick it up some and try driving with me knees more.  I ended up not taking my time during the 5K and only have my total start – stop time.  No mile laps today.

The 5K was great. There wasn’t hardly anyone on the trail, maybe a total of 25 people the entire run.  With yesterdays snow fail, there was a decent covering on the trail but not enough to impact hinder my running.  In fact it was light and fluffy and made for an easier run, much like running on dirt vs gravel.

After I finished the 5K, I continued on but slowing down to my normal long run pace. 

My original marathon training schedule had me doing a 10 mile recovery run but I was pumped up and given that my training has been ahead, I ended up doing 16 miles!!  That’s right the big sweet sixteen.  At the turn around I was feeling great but around mile 12 my legs were starting to wear out.  I made it through fine, but I should have only done 12 miles and my body told me so. 

Well, there you have it, my virtual race report plus extras.  Next week is going to be a recovery week!  I’ve been pushing it lately.   I took some pics on the run, but I don’t have the ability to upload them right now.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Three Things Thursday

1)  Today I had an initial appointment with a podiatrist to address my left Achilles tendon issue.  If you recall, my general doctor thought it was a bone spur and had x-rays made while referring me to the podiatrist in his practice.  Thankfully, it’s not a bone spur.  Apparently I have short Achilles tendons and the left one is pulling away from the bone.  He prescribed me some stretching exercises to do twice a day and a night split to help lengthen my Achilles tendon.  I go back in 6 weeks.  Hopefully with good news.  It doesn’t bother me too much except in the mornings or when I’ve been sitting for a long time.

2)  Tonight I went to run with the other “Winter Warriors” at the store.  I walked in, went to sign in and when I turned around Karen, the owner of the store, asked me what size of shoe I wore.  I told her and then she handed me a free pair of socks!  More specifically, a pair of Icebreaker Marino Wool socks!  A $17 pair of socks.  Wahoo!   Their rep was at the store promoting them and everyone that showed up got a pair.  I used them on our run and I must say they were awesome!!  I’m a cheapo when it comes to socks, usually getting the basic slightly-above cotton variety, but maybe I need to invest in some quality ones now that my long run is getting, well, long.  FYTO5k

3)  Saturday is the  Freeze Your Thorns Off 5K hosted by Adam of www.theboringrunner.com.   If you haven’t already, check it out, sign up, run, and report.  He’s giving away some great prizes.  Oh wait, don’t run it.  I want them!


Do you consider virtual races as official races when it comes to how many races you did in a year?

2011 Races

Like everyone else, I've been thinking about my 2011 races and trying to get a basic schedule.  Here's what I've come up with.

Shamrock Marathon - March.  I doubt I'll run a race before it.

Pikesville 5K - July.  This is right down the street and the course is one of my running groups routes

River Valley Run - August.  I ran this last year and it kicked my butt.  A very fun course though. 

Warrior Dash - June in PA, May in MD.  A rough and muddy 5K run with obsticles. 

Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon
- September.  Jen is getting into running and had a goal of running the Army 10 Miler with me this year.  We might change it up and do this as a romantic getaway.  I first mentioned doing the relay as a pre-race race for her but now we're considering both running the half.

Army 10 Miler - October.  A race that is personal to me in many ways.  I work for the Army, I used to work on the National Mall, where the course is, and I injured myself last year during the race.  I'd love a second chance to make it my little dogette. :)  Unfortunately, it's the week after Disney so that might be out.

What races are you considering this year?

Monday, January 3, 2011

2011 Goals

Weekly Weigh-in: 201.8

I've given a lot of thought about my 2011 goals. Last year my goal was to make running a permanent part of my life. I've done that.

What would I like to accomplish in 2011? Well, of course to complete my first marathon in March, but what else?

I decided to be rather vague in my goals to give flexibility as the year goes by.

2011 Goals:

A) Complete my first marathon (Scheduled for 20 March and training is going well!)

B) After the marathon, I would like to increase my speed.

C) Support and encourage my wife in her running quest, and hopefully run the Army 10 Miler with her.

D)  Run a variety of race distances.

E) Incorporate more cross training.

F) Stay injury free.

Stay tuned for my 2011 races to run and training plans.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

2010 in Review

2010 was a great year.  It had it’s ups and downs, as they all do, but overall it was great.  I started out the year as an ex-runner.  Someone that used to run but had let it fall to the wayside.  When I began running, somewhere around the middle of January, I had one goal in mind “my ultimate goal is to make a lifestyle change. I want to stop the back and forth and make a full commitment to running again.” I have definitely succeeded with that goal.

I started the blog in February and while I don’t have a strong following, I enjoy everyone that contributes to it.  It’s been an indispensible tool in keeping me motivated, journaling my thoughts, tracking my progress, and meeting new people.  Without it, I can’t say that I’d still be running.
I completed eight races this year.  All but the last one were PRs.  I ran six 5Ks, one 10K, and one 10 Miler. 
I dealt with setbacks, many of them not running related.  I Had one running injury during a race which nearly caused a DNF, but I pushed on and walked across the finish line.
I’ve had to stop running for several weeks because of illness or gout. Yet, I’ve kept coming back, even more motivated to get back out there.
Yup, it’s been a good year.  A year of coming to terms with my running, where I used to be, and where I want to go. 
Did I accomplish my one goal of the year? HELL YEAH!!