Running Giveth and Taketh Away

Today’s Run

Time – 52:18
Distance – 5.7 miles
Pace – 9:08 min/mi
Elevation – 143 ft.

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The turnaround is at the end…

I got out early, before the wind really picked up, but it was still a little chilly. The sun was up, and it was a good day to run. I pushed a little bit, and did a progression run (each mile faster than the last) from 9:25 pace to 8:52 pace (for the last 0.7 miles). Felt good, legs are coming back from the long layoff. I hope that I haven’t sharpened up too much from all of the fast running as of late, especially with the marathon training around the corner. I think that it’s been enough mostly easy runs that I’m still just building fitness, and not peaking.

One Step Forward, One Step Back

I’ve come to realize that running does many things. It gives me so much, and, yet, it makes other things different.

What running gives:

  1. Perspective When you look down a road and realize that you have to get all the way to the end, AND turn around and come back, you figure out patience and the right mindset to get things done. (Sorry, David Allen, I’m doing this one without folders…)
  2. It keeps me healthy. I truly was the “fat kid” growing up. This is the lightest I’ve been since I was 14 years old, and the best shape I’ve ever been in.
  3. An appetite! GIVE ME ALL THE FOOD! I weigh like I’m 14, and I’m eating like it, too. This time, however, it’s getting burned off almost as fast as I eat it.

What running takes away:

  1. Clothes that fit Oh, they exist, just at the store. Looks like it’s time for another shopping trip.
  2. Warmth of any kind I never knew that the world was really THIS COLD in the wintertime. I guess when you’re wearing an extra suit of blubber, everything feels warmer. “Hey, honey, can we move to Texas? Oh, wait, they still have snow there? Nevermind.”
  3. The Eeyore inside me Ok, maybe not completely. Running does a lot, but it doesn’t permanently fix chemical imbalances. What it does do, though, is show me that I’ve got the ability to accomplish goals and overcome past mistakes and missteps I’ve made. The positive attitude that running builds makes me more like Pooh Bear, and less like Eeyore.

They say smiling makes you a better runner. I’m starting to believe it.

Welcome Back to the Land of the Living

Today’s Run

Time – 1:00:13
Distance – 5.9 miles
Pace – 10:03 min/mi
Elevation – 158 ft.

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Baby Girl has arrived!

Today’s run was COLD! 15–20 MPH winds, temperatures right around freezing, and no sunshine make for a brisk run. It felt good to get back out there after 5 days off. No pain, it wasn’t too difficult, just freezing! I even threw in a 8:57 mile accidentally, just for fun I guess.

Where have you been?!

So, The Wife delivered Baby Girl on Tuesday afternoon, after a strange delay due to a procedural issue at the hospital. It was nobody’s fault, just a momentary issue that was resolved reasonably quickly, and then we were put back on the schedule for the afternoon and, voila, we have Baby Girl! She’s beautiful, happy, and home. Both she and The Wife are doing just fine, and we’re all adjusting, including Little Buddy and the Teenager. Glad to be back to the start of normality. Now, on to healing for The Wife and getting back on schedule for me, which will require a whole new schedule…

Do What Feels Good

Today’s Run

Time – 1:32:45
Distance – 10.0 miles
Pace – 9:14 min/mi
Elevation – 200 ft.

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Found some pot on my run…

I went out to run because the weather was warm (it was over 60 degrees Fahrenheit) and I needed to get in my longer run for the week. I knew that I only wanted to do 90 minutes or so, and I figured that it would be between 8–9 miles for a run that long. 92 minutes later, I ran 10 miles. The leg felt just a little tight, and I was definitely needing food and water by the end, but it didn’t slow me down much. Lots of wind, which didn’t help the splits, either. VERY GOOD RUN!

The other part of this is knowing when to let your legs go faster

Yesterday, I talked a lot about knowing when to slow down. I went out today and, after the first mile, I kept looking at my watching and saying, “Wow! You need to ease off. You’ll never get through 7 more miles at this pace.” Then I went and ran the next three miles sub–9:00 pace, and the three after that between 9:06 and 9:11 (mostly due to starting and stopping at cross streets and for traffic), and THEN I slowed down…to 9:30’s. And that was because I was up the big hill to home and then into the wind.

It was a great run! I felt fantastic. I’m really starting to believe that my goal pace is going to be achievable by the time I get to the marathon in April. I’m wanting to go sub–4 hour, which is going to be fast (for me). It’s also something that I’m sure will be VERY difficult to sustain over 26.2 miles, but I’m gaining confidence. I know that there’s still a few things I need to work out:

  1. Nutrition/Hydration – You can’t go 4 hours without having to refuel. You actually can’t go longer than about 90 minutes before needing to find calories usually, unless your pace is very low and you are running primarily on fat stores. This is how people can run multiple marathons a day, every day, and get across the U.S. in less than 43 days. But even those people still need to eat and drink. I’ll have to work on my strategy and get my body used to consuming on the run.
  2. Working up in distance – Right now my longest runs are about 15 miles. I should get in at least three runs of around 3-hours to get my legs used to the effort. I don’t have to run at marathon pace the whole time, but I have to work on running when tired.
  3. Running distances at pace – The corrolary to long runs are “longer” runs at goal pace. I’ll need to add more runs in the 75–90 minute range around my planned marathon pace. I have the ability to do this because it’s not so far out of my range that I’ll have to over-work to get in the mileage, but it is faster than I normally run. That being said, my “normal” runs are about 5–7 miles at a comfortable pace (9:30–10:30), which has been slowly increasing. I think that it’s possible I’ll be able to get to 9:00/mile pace as a steady run.
  4. Overall aerobic fitness – The biggest part of this is just continuing to get better at running. I know that going sub–4 hour is a goal for now; I don’t think it’s where I’m going to end up peaking. I think there’s a little more in the tank. Does that “little more” get me to a Boston-qualifying-pace (3:10 for the marathon – 7:15/mile)? We’ll have to see. In the meantime, I just want to get faster across the board, and run more medium distance races to add to my aerobic capacity and test it out. Everything that I can do to be more efficient helps with the larger goal – Western States.

Take It Easy

Today’s Run

Time – 43:32
Distance – 4.4 miles
Pace – 9:47 min/mi
Elevation – 143 ft.

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Do you know the “Why?”

My leg felt much better, but I didn’t want to take too many chances with it, so I went out easy and planned to only do a short loop that’s about 4.4 miles. I did the first set of hills with no problem, but I felt a tightness on the second, bigger hills, so I walked up and then ran the last mile in. Nothing too spectacular. Just waiting around for the long run on Sunday and Baby Girl on Tuesday.

Part of this is knowing when to slow down

So much of running is knowing what days to not run, or to not run hard, or to change paces. I’m not very good at it, I will admit. The last time I did a lot of running (about 10 years ago), I had a few injuries because of my overzealous nature and my unwillingness to understand that NOT WORKING OUT isn’t the same as weakness/lack of desire/etc. I’ve had to spend a lot of time thinking about the running in a different way.

I picked up a metaphor the other day that I thought was great. Running is a book, and every day that you do something towards your running (including REST), you are adding a page to your book. On that page is the “Why” of what you were doing. The goal is to build the thickest and most meaningful book you can. The thicker the book, the stronger your running is. The more you understand about WHY you are running everyday, the more you will know about your running.

Jack Daniels says in his seminal work Daniels’ Running Formula that a runner should always be asking the question, “What is the purpose of this workout?” Even more important, though, as Daniels goes on, is the ability to answer the question!

If you don’t know the why, then that page in your book of running is meaningless, and might as well be ripped out. Your personal running book will be thick, but will have no information that is useful to you. The “Why” of running matters.

First Injury

Today’s Run

Time – 53:39
Distance – 5.4 miles
Pace – 9:50 min/mi
Elevation – 127 ft.

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Easy run day after the hard run yesterday. Just circled the neighborhood, no big hills or fast paces. I tweeked my inner right thigh with about a 1 mile to go, and eased it in. I’m going to have to take Friday off and let my leg recover.

Man Down!

The cramping was down today, but now I’ve gone and hurt myself. Nothing serious, but I’ve definitely got a problem with the muscle on my inner thigh. I felt a twinge during the fast group run yesterday, but I figured that it was just soreness. It didn’t hurt during the day, and only bothered me at the very end of the run tonight. But, this means I’ll need to slow down and take it easy.

I have the luxury of having the impending arrival of Baby Girl next week giving me extra days off, so I’ll have that going for me. I wanted to get in more miles before she shows up, however, the plan will need to change. Friday is a regularly scheduled off-day, so I’ll rest it then and see what kind of miles happen on Saturday and Sunday.