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…

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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.

Cramps and Conditions

Today’s Run

Time – 54:49
Distance – 6.4 miles
Pace – 8:32 min/mi
Elevation – 123 ft.

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Is it a cramp, or just a need for attention?  You decide.

Continuing the awesomeness that is the group run with Runwell, I got out and ran fast again. This one hurt a little bit, but that’s what the faster days are supposed to feel like, I’m told. Held pace really well, didn’t have any pain, but I did have to slow way down at mile 5 because I felt like I burned out. After a minute or so of walking, I was back at it. I’m thinking that I need to get my iron levels checked and I need to watch my water intake. Other than that, the run was good.

Cramping sucks

I’ve now been having cramps in the calves in the mornings and evenings after runs a few days a week. The chiro is telling me that it’s a calcium problem, which would make sense as I had cut out the Greek yogurt for a little while. I’ve put it back in, but looking at the foods I’m eating, I’m not see anything that looks like enough of a replacement for dairy.

Of course, I’m no doctor, which means that I only have speculation and the internet as places to go for information. Checking with a doctor is a good idea, and we should all do it. (End disclaimer)

Sources for calcium are not the simplest to come by if you don’t have milk to lean on. Green leafy vegetables like kale, foods like broccoli and almonds, and fortified orange juice are the best sources that I’m finding. There’s options through fish and other interesting items (bok choy, anyone?).

In looking at this, I’m realizing that diet is going to be the biggest thing I will have to deal with in my running. That sounds strange, but think of it this way. If you don’t have a source for good gas for your car, it doesn’t matter how much work you do on the engine, or the maintenance you schedule. The engine will eventually have issues that can’t be fixed as a part of regular maintenance.

Time for more research!

Countdown to Time Off

Today’s Run

Time – 1:01:22
Distance – 6.5 miles
Pace – 9:23 min/mi
Elevation – 153 ft.

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Let the countdown begin!

Back at it again with easy miles at the start of the week. I didn’t push the pace, although I felt like I could have. I’ve got the group run tomorrow, which is usually a faster day, so today can be more relaxed. The weather was amazing, and I got to run in a t-shirt and shorts. Felt great, no issues, and I’m hoping to get in a bunch of miles this week.

T-minus 6 days…

Baby Girl is now no more than 6 days away, if she doesn’t decide to come early. This means two things:

  1. I’m super excited to meet her and help her mother start the recovery process. Pregnancy is hard (understatement of the year, I know!), and I want to get The Wife back to a more comfortable existence. This is JOB ONE.
  2. Running is going to be harder to do after Baby Girl’s birthday, and next week will definitely be one of less mileage. I’m okay with that as there will be much to do, and I’ve been working to build to this point anyway because we knew this was coming. It will be a little disappointing personally, as I really like running, but I don’t see this as a sacrifice. I WANT to have a daughter and I am so thankful that we get to continue to grow our family.

All things being equal, I’m getting to live out the saying, “May you live in interesting times.” Some say that this is a curse, but I’m holding out judgment for a while longer.

I’ll leave you with my own proverb:

“May all your runs involve no chafing.”

Running to Nowhere?

Today’s Run

Time – 1:21:38
Distance – 6.8 miles
Pace – 11:52 min/mi
Elevation – 205 ft.

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Where am I going?

Today was RECOVERY DAY! Just trudging around the local trails, and keeping my heart rate below 130. I averaged a 120 bpm run by walking the uphills and keeping the pace VERY slow. It was almost silly, but my legs feel really refreshed and I’m ready for the day off tomorrow after another week above 30 miles.

Running without a destination

My running right now is without plan. I don’t start the marathon one I have until January, which means that right now I’m just out there moving around at different speeds until I feel like being done. It’s time to get it together. So, here’s the idea I have:

  • One long run per week of 90–120 minutes – Do 1.5 to 2 hours of running one day per week to get the body used to going long. This builds aerobic endurance and will be necessary later as a part of the marathon training.
    • Key Note: This run needs to be faster than the “easy” runs the rest of the week. It’s a workout. Not marathon pace fast (goal pace for the marathon is 9:06/mile), but I need to keep it in the 9:35–9:45 range.
  • One tempo run per week – This has been, and will most likely continue to be, the run with the group on Wednesdays. Staying near the front and keeping an 8:30–8:45 pace is hitting it a little hard, but I’m finding that pace to be difficultly comfortable(?) and something I can hold a simple conversation during. I’m still trying to see where my race paces are, but this is slowing becoming my 10K pace. I’m probably not supposed to run this fast this often, but all of the other easy runs are helping to ease this in. And it’s only 50–55 minutes, usually.
  • I need to add strides of 3–4 x 100 meters to a few easy days a week – Strides are VERY fast runs of 100 meters or so at near top-end speed. Not a full sprint, but a definite moving pace that is meant to remind your body how to get the legs running quickly. These are also not track repeats! It’s a drill, not a workout.
  • Fartlek twice a month (or, in other words, every other week) – This workout I’m still unsure of. I know that it’s coming in the marathon program, but I’m not sure how to work it in for myself. I need to do more research and decide.

That’s the detail. Now to make it happen.