So This Happened…

Today’s Run

Time – 2:04:45
Distance – 11.44 miles
Pace – 10:54 min/mi
Elevation – 358 ft.

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Another long run today puts the mileage above 35 for the week on Runkeeper because I did a long run on Sunday and another today (Saturday). Next week will be down because of it, but I am due to slow down for a week here soon, and if it happen next week, so be it.

The run felt great…except…I got an uncomfortable cramp in the outside of my right foot about mile 8. Had to stop and stretch for a minute, and then I was able to go again. I finished with a little bit of tenderness there, but I’ll ease off tomorrow, and then make this week a little less hectic.

Eleven and a half miles felt good. I was actually really picking up the pace at the end. I could probably run a half marathon a little faster than this pace, but I don’t need to right now.

Let the training begin…as soon as I find a plan

I’m signed up for my first marathon. It’ll be here in the spring. April 8th, to be exact. I’m excited to give the distance a try. I’m not nervous about it, though. I’ve got a 100-miler on the radar beyond Go! St. Louis, so I’m thinking that the marathon will just be a function of adding distance over the winter and building up a nutrition/fluids/recovery plan between now and then. I’ve got plenty of time to prepare for it, and I feel really comfortable at about half the distance right now. If I just keep adding and avoid injury, I should be able to finish, no issues.

In terms of speed, however, I’m wanting to make a push. I’d like to come up with a good, tough goal. I think that a 10:00/mile pace isn’t out of the question. A marathon at today’s running pace (10:54), though, is 4:45. A 10:00/mile pace is about 4:22. Breaking 4 hours is better than a 9:10/mile pace for 26.2 miles. That’s WAY faster than I run right now. But I did that kind of speed on and off for the last 2 miles of today’s run. I know I have it somewhere. I just need to find it and make it my endurance pace.

A 4:20 marathon is an even 9:55/mile pace. That’s probably the goal at this point. Now to work for it. Can I add twice the distance of my long runs and cut off a minute per mile? They say you shouldn’t add speed and distance together. I have a little over 5 months between now and then.

Time to research training plans…

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Running from the Monster

Today’s Run

Time – 43:46
Distance – 4.30 miles
Pace – 10:10 min/mi
Elevation – 183 ft.

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Got to run outside in the dark today on campus. The local university is reasonably well lit and there’s enough sideways/roadways/bike paths to make any run relatively safe. Glad to get outside again, as I realize I haven’t run on roads since Sunday’s 10 miles.

Running in the Dark

I spent a lot of years being afraid of the dark. I still get nervous when the lights are off and I come up the basement stairs. This the result of an overactive imagination and years spent trying to avoid horror movies but being unable to look away fast enough.

I’ve lived with a lot of crazy, and creepy, images in my head for a long time. This is only relevant because I now find myself running in the dark. I’m not running from the dark anymore, though. I don’t have to hide, because I’m too busy moving.

Tonight’s run ending with long strides and strong legs. I powered up the last hill to the house fast. Strava says it was my 3rd best mile time ever, and at the end of a 4 mile run.

Getting stronger is fun…and it means I can outrun the monsters…

I’m Gonna Claw My Eyes Out

Today’s Run

Time – 49:54
Distance – 4.51 miles
Pace – 11:04 min/mi
Elevation – N/A

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Winter running at its finest…

Treadmill running. I couldn’t bring myself to run outside in the dark as the cold front has moved through today. It’s just a little too cool, and the darkness has crept in early, which calls for a headlamp, reflective vest, or other visibility gear. I’m not in possession of any of that equipment yet, and I didn’t feel like carrying my phone flashlight the whole way. So I went off to the gym to watch the middle innings of the Cardinals-Cubs game and stare at the wall.

Treadmills are boring…

Seriously, gonna claw my own eyes right out. Treadmill running is bad. I’m not sure how the winter is going to work out for me. If I have to run inside while staring at the wall the whole time (there’s no baseball in winter), I’m gonna lose my mind. And with marathon training for the winter needed in order to get ready for a springtime race, I’m pretty sure that my brain will melt out of my ears.

I’m going to be buying a lot of running tights (thank goodness I’ve lost all that weight) and long sleeve shirts. Must run outside… Need scenery changes…

It’s time to learn what the best clothing options are for running in different temperatures and weather types. This site has a chart on options. There are a ton of others out there that I found that have good data. A little Google searching and you’ll see what I’m talking about there.

Looking Forward to Christmas

Today’s Run

Time – 49:16
Distance – 4.65 miles (or was it?)
Pace – 10:36 min/mi
Elevation – 118 ft.

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Track miles tonight. Got to watch the local Pee-Wee football practice as I did my laps. Descending miles for the first 5K, then an easy 1.5 miles to finish up. All told, a good run. The 5K was 31:03, so not too fast, but good.

Can’t wait for Christmas

I have come to realize that my watch has problems. Or, rather, the app on my watch has problems. I use RunKeeper for my tracking through the Apple Watch and iPhone.

I ran at the local high school track tonight. According to the watch, I did 4.65 miles. The 18 laps around the track would say I ran 4.47 miles. That’s not THAT far off, but it’s a little weird to finish a mile before you get anywhere close to the finish line on the fourth lap…

What’s even weirder is that there is a 6.5 foot difference between one end of the track and the other…by the app’s calculations…

It’s a flat track…just sayin’…

Hopefully, my Christmas present (a.k.a., the Garmin) will do a slightly better job.

Long Runs and Tired Legs…What’s Next?

Today’s Run

Time – 1:54:27
Distance – 10.32 miles
Pace – 11:05 min/mi
Elevation – 241 ft.

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Well, holy crap, that was a long way for my untested legs. I figure, based on rough estimates, that I haven’t run 10+ miles in 10 years. The funny part about it is that the first time around my pace would have been nearly the same, but I would run for about 10 minutes around 6 MPH, and then walked a minute, and done it again, over and over, until my run was completed. Today was just about all continuous running, without any walking breaks, except for a quick stop to fill up my water bottle. I even ate a Larabar while running an hour into the workout.

Crazily enough, I ran far enough and long enough to need to eat while I was running. That’s a strange feeling. In a 100-miler, however, you need to eat WAY more often (try about every 30=60 minutes until the race is completed). That’s a lot of food on the run!

And Now for the Big Question

What’s going to happen next? Where do I go from here? I know that I can run around a lot if I want to, and that I need to keep adding distance and time to my running to get into Western States-shape, but what is the follow-up to this workout and all the mileage from the last few weeks?

I think that next has to be a half-marathon, then the full 26.2, and then up from there. This will all be predicated on the successful and healthy birth of Baby Girl in December, and with enough time and sanity to train up to 26.2 mileage while helping the Wife recover and deal with Teenager and Little Buddy. I’ve got a half marathon in the bag now with the distances I’ve done and how good my legs are feeling. Time to go after the beast.

What race to sign up for is the question? This will be my first marathon ever, so I want to find something that I’ll enjoy. I can’t travel much, so that limits the game plan.

Time-wise, it will have to be in the spring. I’ll need to have some time to keep building up to it. I would like to hit early springtime, though, so that I can keep adding and working for Tunnel Hill in the fall of 2018. That will be a 2020 Western States qualifier (most likely).

So, any suggestions for a spring marathon in the central Midwest?

Toesocks…Yes, That’s a Word!

Today’s Run

Time – 52:22
Distance – 4.57 miles
Pace – 11:27 min/mi
Elevation – 179 ft.

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Easy recovery run today. Lots of miles over the last week means that I needed to keep the heartrate low. Strava says that my “Suffer Score” for today was 42. For reference, yesterday’s run was a 106. Today was easy. Tomorrow, on the other hand, should be about 10 miles. It’s not going to be as much fun…

Toesocks Make My Feet Happy

I did a little more Christmas shopping for myself today. The Wife hates when I do this, because I get to know all my presents in advance. I like it because I get EXACTLY the right thing (I’m a bit weird about this…there’s a reason I have two autistic kids).

I bought another two pairs of Injinji running socks today. They’re a pain in the rear to put on, and they feel super-strange for the first twenty minutes or so, but then it’s like a whole new world, especially on runs. My toes don’t blister. They don’t feel cramped around the edges. The socks don’t bunch up.

I’m not paid to say this, I don’t have a sponsorship deal with them (but, come on, Injinji!), and I buy my socks like everyone else. They are awesome. These will definitely be the socks I’ll start out with on the big runs to help keep the blisters down. I don’t know if I’ll have the time to change into these throughout the 100-milers, but I’m willing to test these out.

Why I Love Breakfast

Today’s Run

Time – 1:01:41
Distance – 5.89 miles
Pace – 10:29 min/mi
Elevation – 194 ft.

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Went out late today for a run as I got back from work a little behind schedule. It was a long day, to say the least, and I was really looking forward to my run. I decided that by hook or crook, I was going out running. As soon as I left, I knew this would be a run that was a “don’t-stare-at-the-watch” kind of day. So I just ran. And ran. And ran. 5.9 miles and a little over an hour later, and I was done, although I didn’t want to be.

Today is the day that I figured out that I can do this Western States thing. I know that it’s not some life-altering event to run just under 6 miles, but I felt good, I enjoyed every bit of it, and I realized that, with the right training and an adequate amount of time, I’m going to be able to do it. This is 100-mile run is going to happen.

Breakfast is the most “looked forward to” meal of the day

Is it strange to get to the end of the day, after dinner and the evening treat, and realize that you’re looking forward to eating breakfast the next morning? I’ve gotten to be like that now. Every evening I get excited about waking up and eating again. I’m not hungry when this happens. I don’t have a specific craving, per se (although I’ve been hitting the granola and Greek yogurt pretty hard as of late). I’m just amped about waking up, hitting the button on the coffee maker, and sitting with a book on the iPad in the morning and a solid breakfast. Usually it’s the Greek yogurt and Bob’s Red Mill granola or the Coconut Granola from Trader Joe’s, an apple, and a cup of coffee. Sometimes I make crepes with oat flour and brown rice flour (see recipe here), which I cover in a thin layer of Justin’s hazelnut chocolate butter. Mmm…so good.

I guess the weirdness really is that I think about these things at 9:30 at night, just about 90 minutes after dinner. It’s what gets me up in the morning. I’ve reached a point now where food has a special place because it is special. It’s not just stuffing my face with whatever garbage I would come across. Or hitting the Starbucks for a cookie and a Frappuccino at all hours of the day or night. Food, now, has a meaning. It’s fuel for the run. It’s the kind of stuff that doesn’t make my head hurt, or mess with my heart, or make my body tire and sore and break down.

Food can be good, it can be medicine, it can make me a better person physically, mentally, and emotionally. I don’t get as moody, the wife tells me. I have a clear head all day long, and I can tell when I get a hold of something that’s not good because I fog up almost instantly. And, most importantly, I don’t have weird pains, or aches, or acne (in my late–30’s, even!), or a layer of fat around my heart, lungs, and organs. I’m not slowly constricting the blood flow to all the parts of me, or stealing the few nutrients I was getting to give to layers of fat cells around my waist.

Food can be great for you if the food going in you is great. I think that’s what I’m looking forward to everyday.

And to think that breakfast used to consist of two Pop-Tarts and a liter of Mountain Dew. Ah, to be 22 again and able to eat anything…