Thursday, February 23, 2012

Myrtle Beach- A Marathon to Remember

This may be the best race report for me since I've joined this blog! I kept quiet about my training leading up to the race,...mostly because if the race didn't go well, I didn't want to be embarrassed by my inability to put together a good marathon.

Since I am on sabbatical I had no reasons to not train appropriately. So, during the month of January I averaged about 60 miles per week (or 96km/week for Craig if he still reads this). I reached a high week of 70 miles and an 8 day total of 83 at one point.

And, paid off. I ran the whole marathon without walking a step (which I haven't done in a while). I didn't have to take any bathroom breaks during race either. I ended up running my 4th best marathon ever and my fastest since I was 25. I can't even begin to remember what else was happening in the world in 1995!!  Well, other than the point that I was running fast.

Got to the race at a decent time, it was 44 degrees. The port-a-pot lines were moving at a snail's pace. I thought people magazines to read in the stalls or that they had fallen asleep. Fortunately, I got through with about 4 minutes to spare. On my way to the start I ran into a friend from Indianapolis. We talked for about 2 of the 4 minutes I had left.

With only 2000-2500 marathoners, you'd think the start would be easy. But when you added over 4,000 half marathoners starting at the same time it was hard to get to the pace I wanted. However,I was patient. It took 30 seconds to get to the starting line and I ran an 8:02 first mile which was my slowest.
I tried not to look at my watch and just run by feel and by the knowledge I had from my training.  would glance at the clock at 5, 10, 13.1, 15, 20 and 25 miles.

I went through the 1/2 marathon in 1:38:30 and felt great. At that point I knew I had the potential for a good marathon. At 16 and 18 miles , I thought to myself,... "My legs do not even feel like I've started running yet!" My mind was saying if you feel this good at 20, maybe you can put the hammer down. However, my 40+ year old voice of reason, said let's wait and see how 20 , 22 and 24 miles feel. I ran my fastest mile between 18.5 and 19.5 ( I had my gps set up to give me 1/2 splits so  could look at them after the race) at 7:18. By 20 and 22 I still felt really good,  but the thoughts of trying to run the last few miles harder were not entering my mind. I was maintaining my pace but it took a little effort. At 24, my goal was just keep pushing at whatever pace I am at. I was passing a lot of people late in the race. I couldn't help but to empathize with them on when hand because that has been me ,..MANY TIMES. On the other hand,  I couldn't help but have a smile on my face as I was doing the passing for once. I thought I pushed moderately hard the last mile, and I was pleased as it was a 7:34 and my average for the entire marathon was 7:33. The temp was 62 degrees at the finish,... oh how nice!!

I finished in 3:17:42 chip time. Missing the 2013 Boston qualifying by 2:40, but that doesn't bother me a bit.
Now a couple of weeks of rest/active recovery and then start a 24 week IM Wisconsin training!!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Florida Trip

We flew down to Tampa to visit my Dad for his 70th Birthday last week. The weather was 50/50 for us in terms of being warm but it was 100% fun. Kennedy Space Center, Golf, Tampa Brewery, spending time with family, what's not to like?
As a result of that trip. I had a couple of light weeks in terms of training which was fine. I also ate as if it was a holiday and enjoyed all of it.

When I got back, I drew up my training calendar all the way to IMMT 70.3 in June. Looking at the training schedule all at once made me realize just how much work goes into doing this. Not only the physical effort but the hours out of your week/month/year. Maybe this is the wrong attitude, but seeing just how much is planned kind of makes me feel better about missing a few here and there. It's basically a part time job, one that pays you in fitness. Heck, doing half of what's on that schedule is still pretty good!

Unfortunately for me, getting the workouts done is only part of the battle. The part of the whole fitness thing that I struggle with is keeping the calories down. It wasn't long ago that I was 230lbs, so most people look at me at 190 and say I look super fit. The reality is that 175 should probably be the high end of my range. I'm not certain of the low end. I don't think I've been there.

Fortunately, I'm pretty good at getting stuff done when there is a deadline. So once again, I've created a calendar with my weekly weight goals on it. That helps me keep my expectations realistic. It's too easy to get excited when you lose 4 pounds the first week and too disappointing when you gain 2 the next. When the truth is you've lost 2 in 2 weeks and that's pretty good.

Then I was thinking of what I could print up to post on the refrigerator. The first thing that came to mind was "Bring It!" which would be a bit of a twist to JFord's dedication to giving it his all during his workouts. My dedication would be directed towards my diet. So I've decided I'll write my end of month weight goal with that. Hopefully that will help keep me on track.

Oddly enough, on the train yesterday there was a new advertisement posted. It was a program/app from the American Cancer Society to help people quit smoking. I thought this was pretty clever and it's sort of what I need to keep me on track for my diet. Anytime I'm going to get something to eat, I'd launch the app and instead of telling me not to have a cigarette, it just needs to tell me "170 Bring It!"
(Their app is more clever than this) (I also don't own a smartphone).

I swam all 3 days of the 3 day weekend. 3000, 3500, 3000. Initially I thought it might be a bad idea. Surprisingly enough, I felt noticeably better each day and the times were there to prove it.
Also I'm enjoying the weight room workouts. I missed 2 while in Florida and I'm actually itching to get back to lifting. After golfing in Florida, I'm also itching to get to a driving range. (Can I fit that into the schedule?)

I also added a new tab at the top listing the books I've read. I read a bunch so I figured I'd throw that on here as well.

Hope to see a Marathon Race Report on here from Jim soon....

Sunday, February 5, 2012

2012 NYRR Gridiron Classic 4 Mile

The day before the race I wanted to have the day off but I ended up having to swim 2500m. I’m taking my sleep very seriously. I missed a morning swim because of that and I moved it to Saturday. A few hours after my swim, I went to get a massage. Typically I go deep tissue and it’s an hour of pain. This time I had them take it easy. All was going well, until I put my face into that funky “pillow”. I seemed to be incredibly allergic to it. Within seconds my sinuses we inflamed and draining. (I know TMI). I didn’t worry much about it. I figured the netipot would chill it out. Nope, I spent the rest of my day with a Kleenex box at my side. I had to resort to Sudafed. I still wasn’t clear when I fell asleep. (I'll be taking allergy medicine before my next massage)

I built my week’s training schedule around this race. I definitely didn’t expect to PR the distance or anything. I just figured it might work out to be a good measuring stick. My swim and bike speeds are awful but I was curious to find out where my run fitness is.

I was feeling pretty good. I was thrilled that my foot was co-operating. I really wasn’t sure what to expect from this race in terms of my finish time. The one thing I had in my head was the hills. I have been losing ground on the uphills recently. I’ve been running plenty of hills bigger than what’s in Central Park tho’. I was curious to see what was going to happen on the hills today.

I was in the second corral. I put myself in around the 2/3’s mark. I was kind of surprised at the lack of football jerseys around me. Last year, it felt like I was surrounded by people wearing jerseys. (I was wearing a Bruce Smith jersey). It wasn’t until after the race that I realized that last year, I think I started back in the 4000’s or so for some reason. I guess the first couple corrals are a bit more serious about what they are going to wear to race.

I didn’t have a watch or HR monitor. I forgot to look at the clock when I reached the start line. First mile I’m going to have to make a guess at my pace. I did not start out crazy fast. I haven’t trained for that. I just wanted to fall into a pace that I felt that I could hold for 4 miles. Reached the mile marker it said 8:45. I’m guessing it was very possible that it took me 45 seconds to reach the start line. So I figured 8 min/mile. That’s reasonable.

Mile 2. I’ve run this many times but I’ve never looked at elevation maps. This part of the course always feels the easiest to me. I don’t know if it’s descending or if it’s that the blood has finally loaded into the muscles and it just feels good to be running. I figured I’d be looking at 16:45 when I got to the marker. I got there at 16:00… I’ll admit that I thought “Uh-oh” when I saw that. I said earlier that I wasn’t sure where I was in terms of fitness. Well, I’m fairly certain 7:15 was not going to be sustainable but what’s done is done. I did not ease off the gas. I just kept going completely by feel.

Mile 3. The climb I’ve been waiting for. I made sure I did not get boxed in. It turns out that I pretty much held the pace with everyone around me. That’s fine with me. I’ve been giving up ground on the climbs recently. I’ve definitely improved here. I think my split was nearly 7:30.

Mile 4. I’m not exactly sure what happened here. There is a reasonable descent during this mile. I’m guessing it starts around 3.5 miles (I could be wrong). Well this is what happened. On the descent, I felt that I was being passed often and yet wasn’t passing anyone. Am I just a bad at descents right now? I’m not sure, because once it flattened out in the final push to the finish. I realized I was running out of steam. There was no push, just a continuation. As I approached the finish line, the announcer called me “Old School” in my Bruce Smith jersey. (Dang.. I’m getting old). The good news was that I realized I might have finished in under 30 minutes. Which would mean a 7:30 pace.

I kept my eye out for Jon as I walked out of the finish area. We keep saying we are going to catch up at one of the events and it never happens.

When I got home, I looked up results online. I ran a 7:27 pace! That is way better than I figured I could run. THAT makes me happy.

Todd hasn’t run much lately and was going to take it easy. He ran a 7:07 pace.

Then I looked up Jon’s results. I knew he’d be sub 7 min mile for the first time at a NYRR event. Well he kind of crushed it. I don’t want to steal his thunder if anyone happens to read my blog first, so I’ll just leave it at that.

Alright, now that’s it’s evening and I’m writing this. My right heel is giving me some grief. I’ve got ice on it and I’m hoping that it won’t be a problem for long. Because now that I’ve seen my results, I think I’ve got some goals in mind. More on that later, Genine is home from work and we are 2 hours behind on watching the Superbowl.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

I'm coming back

Okay, good peoples. It is time I get back on the horse. I'm not going to say much right now other than that I am out of shape and overweight by a lot, and I need to change those things. The Tango is always a good motivator and I have lots of time to ramp up and slim down for that in 2012. I have also been challenged by a co-worker to run the Tussey Mountainback 50 miler in a year and a half. If that doesn't get me in shape, what would? I haven't said I am going to do that one yet but if anybody else wants to visit then, we can all do it together. It's a bit of a stretch for a 300 pound guy to do a hilly 50-mile race on logging roads, but I'd like to not be a 300 pound guy by October 2013. Let's shoot for the Tango this year and see how that goes.

It's good to be back.

MRI Results

Went to the doctor's office on Thursday afternoon to review my MRIs. I really didn't know what to expect but I figured there would be an 80% chance that they send me for Physical Therapy and that would be the end of it.

The doctor shows up with my pictures and to make a long story short. He doesn't see anything wrong. Kind of a frustrating answer but it's better than finding out that I've got something seriously wrong.

So I figured now he would send me to some therapy place, but he threw a curve ball instead. He gave me the names of a couple of doctors that would be able to dig deeper into the problem by means of arthroscopy. Obviously that is a serious next step. (at least in my opinion)

Seeing how I seem to be improving these last couple weeks. I'm not in any rush to sign up for that procedure. The MRI and X-Rays at least gave me peace of mind that I'm not destroying cartilage, running on torn tendons or have any type of arthritis or broken bones. That's important. What's the point of getting into shape if you are just injuring yourself? Especially if it's could become a long term issue.

Even though there is still some sort of problem. I'm going to just manage my own recovery. Try to remember to ice it after every run. Do an assortment of strengthening exercises. But mostly, just be very aware of how I'm walking and running. I'd like to have my foot strike be consistent again. To make that happen, I have to think about my stride, foot placement... the whole chain of events. I think I may just have to unlearn a bad habit that may have crept in due to various aches/pains which caused me to unconsciously modify my stride to avoid pain or further injury.

Hopefully I can put all that behind me. Moving on.

The training plan: It seems that I can't count. I started my 20 week plan 21 weeks before my target race. (I'll just be that much faster as a result)

Once I finish my run and swim tomorrow, I'll have completed all my workouts for the last 3 weeks. That's not to say there isn't any modification along the way. What I plan out in advance doesn't always happen on the time slot or even the day I thought it would happen. I do try very hard at the beginning of the week to nail everything as written because that creates flexibility later in the week.

Swimming: I'm confident that things will get better... I now have a much greater appreciation of my swim fitness in previous years.

Biking: I did a 2:30:00 trainer ride last night. I stopped many times to adjust the cleat on my right shoe. I'm hopeful that I'm finally in the ballpark. After awhile it's hard to have perspective. I'm jealous of Genine for having days during the warm weather and getting outside and riding. I do appreciate her watching a movie with me last night during that 2:30:00 tho!

Running: I'm doing a good job of not running the same course twice in the same week. Not as many hill runs this past week but I think I did the right thing by stopping when I did.

Weights: Going to the Y for this is definitely an upgrade. Although I really wish Lifetime Fitness was closer, just because that place had EVERYTHING in their weight "room". (Palace?)

Tomorrow is a 4 mile race in Central Park. I planned on taking today off but I missed a swim. I did get a massage tho'. Maybe that balances things out. I'm hoping I start to feel better on the uphill parts of the course tomorrow. We will soon see.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Playlist Request & Update

First a quick follow up to the previous post regarding the addition of the juicer.

It’s only been a week and I feel like I’ve already started to enjoy tolerate the funky veggies in my juices. I’m curious to see how far this will go. Will I eventually be craving beets?

I’ve been drinking them mostly as a recovery drink post workout. Which is typically between at 8-10 at night. Too early to say for sure, but I feel surprisingly stable in the morning. Often when I eat late, I wake up feeling very hungry not the case here. Too early to say if this is something I should expect every time.

I went and got MRIs of my foot yesterday. I now have dozens of pictures of my foot. I have no idea what I’m looking at tho’. I plan on going to the Doctor tomorrow. I’m more than a little curious about the results. I have a feeling he will say there is nothing abnormal looking. Then send me to Physical Therapy.

To explain the situation with my foot a bit, I’ll describe my run last night. My right foot was very awkward feeling. It just wasn’t moving smoothly. The left foot felt fine. So I thought about how that foot was striking. Heel, outside “edge” of the foot, moving towards the inside to the ball of my foot and finishing the push off on my big toe.

The left foot: Heel, already on the inside and finishing on the outside of my foot pushing off with my smaller toes.

But not all the time. But that’s what’s going on when I feel that I’m running very awkwardly. It seems to me that if I kept running like this, I’d end up with a serious long term issue. Thus the Doctor and MRIs.

This is week 1 of a 20 week plan to IMMT 70.3. I’m 3 days in and already I’m sleeping on the train during my commute. I knew I had lost a bunch of fitness but I’d also forgotten just how many hours of training I had been doing last year. The good news is that I’m still feeling like I want to do this. I definitely could see how you could look at a long trainer ride and just think “it’s not worth it”. That’s when I have to think about race days. Those are always fun. So I start to visualize the course and zone out.

Unfortunately, I’ve been finding myself zoning out in the pool as well. I suddenly can’t keep track of laps again. I have to make a point of figuring out my estimated finish time on the clock before every send off, otherwise I end up doing too much or too little every now and then because I started to zone out mid set.

I’ve got a 4 mile race in Central Park this Sunday. I built my schedule for the week in a way that I’m hoping that will allow me to have some energy for it. I have Saturday off and even scheduled a massage. (I realize a massage can leave you feeling pretty funky some times). I know it’s not going to be a PR but I’d like to have a run that feels good, and a time that’s not too disappointing.

Lastly, the one thing I’ve got to do some work on is… my iPod playlist. I only use the iPod on the bike trainer but it’s been quite awhile since I’ve added anything to it. So throw me a list of songs that I should consider adding to my mix. Don’t be too picky about your choices, it’s a bizarre mix already. Doors, Tom Petty, Rush, Cake, Beck, Metallica…

I’ll leave you with the Beck song that always seems to pick me up when it shows up in the mix.

Click the link. Watch an ad. Then Enjoy!