Tuesday, December 30, 2008

1000 here I come...

Unless something disastrous happens tomorrow (knock on wood), I'm gonna get there. I ran just over 5.5 miles today over lunch and have about 5.3 miles left in my 1000 mile year. 2008 was a good one and I'm looking forward to shake it up for 2009. More to come...

Monday, December 29, 2008

Runner's World, The Loop

Ok, so Runner's World has started using Pluck to organize a more dynamic social community around their forums that they have dubbed "The Loop". I like the idea... because us runner's are a pretty social people. We enjoy hearing other people's stories about training and how to get faster... We are also, as I've heard Marcus say on several occasions, a self-documenting society. So... it makes a lot of sense.

However, I'm looking at the blog functionality on "The Loop" and it basically requires me to start a new blog. I'm wondering if there is a way to port what I am doing here directly into "The Loop". Admittedly, I haven't spent a lot of time trying to figure it out. But, it's not jumping out at me.

I do like how it pulls together all the activities of a certain "user" in one place. So, you can see comments, blog posts, add friends, upload photos, etc... But, the look and feel leaves something to be desired. It's just not terribly attractive.

Well... anyway, if anyone has the community capital to pull something like this off, I would guess Runner's World is as good as any. But, I'm hoping there is bigger and better to come.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Just Signed up for TheDailyPlate

Not sure that I'm proud of it. But, I think it will help me log the things that I do that don't allow me to get to my goals. 185 here I come. No more excuses, the holiday meals are all over now.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Sleep.. It Does a Body Good

I'm on day 7 of my 9 day holiday vacation from work. And, something I've been getting more of is ... sleep. Coincidentally, my running has really been a lot easier lately. I ran 5, 6, day off, 6 miles in the last 4 days. It's sad to say, but I haven't had a 4 day stretch like that in forever. In fact, those 17 miles in 4 days are two short of my week total high for the last 6 weeks or so. So, yeah, it's nice to be home and sleeping.

Also, this little spurt at the end of the year has put me dangerously close to 1000. After tonight's 6 miler, I am 18 miles away with 5 days to go. There is a rest day in there somewhere (maybe Monday?), but it is looking awfully reasonable all of a sudden.

As for tonight's six miler, it was cold and wet. I had planned to do 4 with my dog when I got home from my sister's. But, when I got out there, I just felt like doing more. I can't remember the last time that happened. In fact... lately, the exact opposite has been happening. I got out for 4 and only get 3 in. So, I think the tables are turning... just in time for 2009.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

1000 miles?

Back in July I set a goal for 1000 miles (see post here) for 2008. At the time I was at 400 miles and I had to average 100 miles a month to get there. Although, I was ramping up my miles and I secretly thought this was an easy goal. Then, Juliana was born in September and everything went a little haywire.

So... here we are, one week from 2009 and I have 24 miles left. About a week ago, it looked unlikely that I would make it. But, after a good week and a realization that it was still within reach, I'm pretty sure I'm gonna get there (even if it's hitting the number on the nose).

So, funny enough, an "easy" goal I set 5-6 months ago is actually just enough to get me to finish the year strong. I ran 5 miles on Tuesday and 6 yesterday. I'm probably going to rest today (Christmas) and run 6 out of the next 7 days to complete the 24 to get to 1000. Unbelievably, I'm most likely going to hit my 1000 mile goal exactly.

Also... mini pushup update. I've been religiously doing my pushups and I think it is going pretty well. I've definitely improved and I've settled in to 5 sets, twice a day. I topped out at 116 pushups the other day. So, I'm moving up the charts a bit.

Yeah, Great Idea

I went over to the YMCA to get in a treadmill run because it was misting and cold outside. When I got there, I realized that they were closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas. Drats. I took that as a sign that I am getting to reliant on the indoor running and I should toughen up and run outdoors. So, I went back home and did some pushups and then went out front to check the weather. It was still misting, but not too bad. Very runnable.

So, I put a pair of shorts on and a tech shirt with a hoody and headed out on my way. I told myself that I was going to do 6 easy miles just to build mileage, not speed. So... the first 3.5 miles were great. I passed my brother-in-law's house and he was out front with their rotweiler Luther. He feigned like he was going to chase me down, so I continued running instead of testing him.

It was right about then that the weather worsened. And I tell you, the next 2.5 miles were the longest 2.5 miles I've run since the marathon in 2007. Ugh. It really started coming down and it was windy and freezing. I was totally unprepared (dressed in shorts, you moron). And, the whole time I kept fighting off flagging down a car to drive me into town again. But, I eventually made it back. I did the whole 6 miles and am glad that I finished. But, that ranks right up there with one of the stupidest runs I've ever gone on. 25 minutes of misery. No good.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Running and Pushups...

With the holiday season more than upon us at this point, I've got some shopping to do. But, I'm gonna fit some time in for pushups and running too. In fact, this week (as soon as I go running today) will be my most mileage in probably 5-6 weeks (20 miles, sad I know). And, the pushup competition is going well so far. I've just been dutifully pumping out pushups. I'm not sure what the ideal method is to get to 100 consecutive pushups as quickly as possible. So, I'm just doing a lot of pushups. I'm on day 6 and I think I'm through the worst of the soreness. Almost one week in the books. 7 to go...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Pics from Jingle Bell Run...

For your viewing pleasure...

The Crew...

The Pre-race crowd...

Me with Sophie in the Stroller...


Talking crap on my work running buddy Lisa..


Passing my work running buddy Lisa..

Justin on his way to a sweet PR (my other work running buddy)...

Matt catching up to "the short guy"...


Marcus in the middle of a sub 20 5k...

Juliana trying to stay warm...

Monday, December 15, 2008

100 Pushups... Sort Of

How about this for a change of pace. After chatting it up a bit at work today, we actually decided on a different plan. Me and three of my buddies from work are embarking on an 8 week journey (unless someone gets there earlier) to 100 pushups. What's on the line? $20 from every competitor, winner take all.

The rules? Well, essentially, it's the most single rep of pushups accomplished in week 8 x 3. So, we will do one single rep three days the final week to decide our champion. The total of the three days is the winner. That, or if someone gets to 100 before then in one rep. Every other person will have a 2 day period to match the 100 and then the winner will be decided by total number of pushups on that last attempt. Admittedly, it's a little complex. But, the competition should be a blast.

In regards to plans... I was going to do the 100 push up plan. That's actually the reasonable plan. But, for an unreasonable bet like this... I think I'm gonna have to up the ante. For the sake of competition, I'm going to do a private log of my pushups. But, I'll certainly keep you updated on how it's coming along. Day one is in the books. I'm sore already.

6 Miles and 100 Pushups... Again.

I went on a really aggressive 6 miler after a pretty tough effort in my 5k yesterday. Justin and I covered 6 miles in just under 52 minutes (8:38 pace). Not too shabby. I don't know... the baby is sleeping at normal stretches... I'm feeling like I need to lose a little weight... the stars might finally be aligned.

Also, I started the Hundred Pushups program up again today. A buddy of mine, Adam, at work asked me about it today. He found it on Life Hacker. That's a weird coincidence. I told him how Steve actually reads my blog and he thought it was pretty funny. Anyway, I'm humbly starting at Week One, Day One. But, here we go again.

Pushup Plan- 10, 12, 7, 7, min 9
Pushup Done- 10, 12, 7, 7, 15

Day One complete...

Jingle Bell Run, Stroller PR!!

Ok... so I kinda wussed out on this one. I knew I was going to have a tough time PRing in this race. My training has been kinda lax and I just wasn't feeling it. So... what do I do? I decide (ok, my wife convinced me) to run the race with Sophie in her stroller. So, add 30 pounds to push through the entire race and that slows you down quite a bit.

I ran the first mile just hoping that I wouldn't trip anybody. I never knew how much maneuvering is necessary when running a race with a running stroller. People don't run predictable lines... and because of where I started, I was passing people most of the race. But, the first mile came in pretty slow at 8:42ish.

Then, the second mile opened up a bit and I came through the two mile marker pretty fast (at 16:41, 8:00 mile). The third mile was spent passing people and trying to just keep pace. At the end of the race, I saw Lisa (one of my work running buddies) out ahead of me like 200 yards. So, I made it a point to reel her in and then pass another guy right at the finish chute. All in all, it was a good race and Sophie slept the entire way.

25:44... Stroller PR!!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Jingle Bell 5k...

I'm off to run the Jingle Bell 5k in Lancaster this afternoon (or noon, whatever). I'm not sure how I feel or how well I'm gonna run. I keep thinking I'm just gonna go and "jog" it. But, I'm quite sure when I get there, that will all change. I think I will enjoy a fast run today. PR or not....

Friday, December 12, 2008

Breakfast... The Most Important Meal of the Day

It's funny... No matter how many times I heard this saying, I still hadn't adopted a regular breakfast regimen. In fact, it kinda became a part of who I was. "I don't eat breakfast". I'm actually usually a granola bar and cup of coffee kind of guy. I actually thought that I was doing myself a favor by eating light (again, despite all conventional wisdom).

So, I'm reading Runner's World this month and there is an article titled "Weight Training". It gives five resolutions for better eating, and one of them is to eat breakfast every morning. According to the article, "According to the National Weight Control Registry, which tracks about 4,500 adults who have maintained a 30-pound weight loss for at least a year, 78 percent of successful losers eat breakfast regularly."

Ok... that's kinda compelling. It's worth a try at least. I have eaten breakfast every day this week and it seems to be curbing my hunger a bit (i.e. I'm not dying when lunch time comes around). And... although it may just be coincidental, I have lost about a pound this week.

It begins...

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

And This Is Why I Run...

I went in to work early this morning because I had a lot to get done. After only a couple hours of plugging away, my wife called and told me that she was feeling worse then she did last night and didn't think she could hack two little kids all day. Very understandable... but up goes the stress meter.

Then, I get home and get some things done. I dropped my oldest daughter, Sophie, off at my sister's house and Melissa and Juliana (my youngest) slept most of the day away. That allowed me to get my work done without too many interruptions. Not perfect, but probably as good as could be expected.

All that said, I still feel way behind. So, instead of getting too wound up about it, I decided to go on a run. And... darned if that didn't clear my mind. I feel 100% better now. Funny how that works, huh?

Monday, December 8, 2008

So Much For That...

So, my last post was full of optimism and I was on the cusp of getting serious about my running. Then, I go to Boston and NYC for three days and am so busy I don't fit one run in... NOT ONE RUN... So, I'm stuck this week trying to throw some mileage in before I run my Jingle Bell Run on Sunday. Ugh... Will I ever get ahead?

As usual, the new year brings a new challenge... (Read: New Year's Resolution). I think I am finally going to set out to hit 185 this year. After creeping up the scale a bit lately, I've realized that I need to recommit myself. I'm gonna try and make my way through the Christmas holiday without too much added damage. Then, I'm gonna really crank it up.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Running Has Been Going Better...

So, I recently wrote a post how I was going to back off it a bit over the winter and not worry too much about how much running I got in. That much is still true. But, the last couple weeks of running has been really good to me and I'd like to keep it up. I ran a long one on Saturday with Justin and he's coming down to my house this coming Saturday for another long one (maybe 10?). Anyhow, just when I was thinking about putting on the breaks, I got my second wind.

As for today, I'm gonna take Ivey (my lab) out for a 3 miler to prep for eating way too much food. I hope everyone has a very Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy the time with your family!

Monday, November 24, 2008

8 on the Conewago...

I'm so bad at remembering names of trails and where they are. So, when Justin asked if I wanted to run on the Conewago this past weekend, I said yes... The question was, "Where is that again"? I've been on a lot of trails, but mostly because someone else suggested it. So... keeping with my tradition, I still don't really know where the Conewago is, despite running on it Saturday.

The run was great. Justin really pushes me to run harder when I get the opportunity to run with him on my long runs. We ran sub 9 minute miles over 8 miles and it was pretty darn chilly. So much so that I was having a little trouble breathing at times (admittedly, that could have had something to do with the pace as well). But, a good time was had by all.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Snow running...

Now... that... was... fun!!! I woke up early this morning to go running because I am going out to eat over lunch today for a friend's b-day. I don't do this very often... but the day I chose to, it was snowing. :) Figures, right?

Anyhow, it actually was very enjoyable. The pace was slow because of the tentative footing. But, I cheated the running gods by running at a time that I normally wouldn't in weather that wasn't very forgiving. It reminds me of two January's ago when Nate and I started the C25K. We would run in everything and anything. If a run was on the schedule, we were out there. It kind of feels good to be back in that mindset. Very cool...

Monday, November 17, 2008

Harrisburg Marathon Relay photos...

Courtesy of Bill over at http://williamhathaway.com/ (where else?), I have a couple good shots of me in the Harrisburg Marathon Relay.

Me showing off... Yes, if you have to know, this kind of pose is great form.

Me sticking my tongue out at the camera...

Winter Slowdown...

Not that I have been pushing myself terribly hard for the last month... but I am going to back down the mileage a bit (maybe up the intensity, but maybe not) for the winter. I'm just going to use this time to keep fit and keep my mind in order. I have no races to plan for (aside of the fun Jingle Bell Run in December) and I think I just want some no pressure running until I get back into it in 2009.

I think it's going to look a little something like this... 3 or 4 milers during the week (3 or 4 of them) and a "long" 4-5 miler on the weekend. If I keep this up, I'll be in the 15-25 mile range every week and won't have to get frozen too often. Of course, building a plan like this leaves plenty of room for runs that are longer when I feel like it. But, I'll let that be the bonus miles....

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I Digress...

I don't do it often on here... but today was so whirlwind, I had to write a little post about it. Note... this is totally not running related, all about my job.

So... anyway, I started my day at 5:30 am, rolled out of bed and drove to the Philly train station. I knew today was going to be long... but, at 5:30 when the alarm went off, I just kinda stared at it like... really? But, anyway... I trucked along and got to 30th Street Station on time.

Then, I got into Penn Station, hauled butt across town to get to Grand Central Station... If you're counting, that's three pretty major train stations in one day (kudos to me... or not). Then, I headed out to Ossining, NY (never been, not bad) for my first meeting. That was about a 40 minute train ride from Manhattan and then 40 minutes back (obviously).

From there... I had to hustle to my next appointment (this time walking) and have one of the scariest meetings of my life. In fact, it was one of the coolest meetings too... But, I can't really reveal all that at this point. Then... off to a Custom Publishing Council Awards Dinner that my company was sponsoring...

So, who got to give out the big award of the night? That's right... yours truly. I watched Advertising Age editor, Jonah Bloom and Mr. Magazine (Samir Hussni) run the show all night. Then... I got up in front of approximately 200 magazine publishers... gave a little speely about our company... presented the nominees, and presented the big award. I was the only presenter outside of the event MCs... Although a little thing, that was one of the cooler things I've had the opportunity to do in my professional career.

Anyhow, It's 11:56 pm and I'm still on my way back to the Philly train station. I have an hour long drive when I get there... I don't expect to get in until past 2 am... What a day. I'm kinda destroyed right now. But... wow!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Harrisburg Marathon Relay

What a day it was on Sunday... I've never run a relay race before (not even on the track) and it was a totally different/awesome experience. I gotta say, I loved the team atmosphere and it certainly took some of the pressure off of the race itself (even though I had a very specific time goal). My teammates were Beth (a high school and college friend), Brad (Beth's husband and a college soccer teammate of mine), and Nate (another college soccer buddy of mine).

I got there early morning (as I tend to do on race day) and got the chance to see all the nervous marathoners in their race preparation. That was an interesting thing to see when I wasn't feeling nearly the same anticipation. Although I was running the long leg of the relay, 8.8 miles (8.93 on my Garmin), I just wasn't all that nervous. These poor souls were about to embark on a body pounding, 26.2 mile journey. I was just along for the ride.

I met up with my teammates and tried to figure out what the heck we were doing for the race. It turns out that the first leg was about 6.4 miles and was looping back to City Island (where the race started). Beth handled that leg and she was our only girl on the team. Go Beth.. That is where I would take over and take us just under 9 miles out to HACC (Harrisburg Area Community College). Then, I'd pass to our strongest runner (Nate) for a 6.2 mile leg. After that, he would pass to probably our speediest (but not long distance) runner Brad for a 5 mile finish.

My leg was actually pretty attractive. I ran out 3-4 miles along the Susquehanna River. That was great and sucky all at the same time. The wind was pretty brutal despite a slight decline in this part of the leg. Running along the water, I guess that should have been expected. But, it was really tough.

There was also a pretty smelly/noxious portion of the run along Industrial Road (yeah, it was just as it sounds). That was a pretty lonely part of the run and I couldn't help but feel bad for the marathoners who had this as part of their experience. I also thought it was funny that I was passing virtually every marathoner. They had more than half the race to go and I was trucking along in my 9ish mile race. Weird.

For the most part, I was lopping off pretty even splits.... right around 8:03-8:05. There were a couple tougher miles where I had tailed all the way down to 8:12-8:15ish. But, overall a pretty even race. I had planned to run a 8.8 mile 1:12:00 (about 8:10-8:11 miles). I ended up running a 1:11:41 over 8.93 miles (a 8:03 pace). So, I came in quite a bit faster than expected. In fact, my five mile PR isn't much faster than that at this point. So, I'm pretty stoked about my performance.

Overall, we did great too. We were called the Running Dutchmen (our Lebanon Valley College mascot). We finished 13/50 in the mixed (guys/gals) category and 18/78 overall for the relay division. That's worth talking about. I was very impressed and would totally do a race like this again!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

On the Mend... Mentally

Did you ever wonder why all the see-sawing? Why all the mental battles? Why all the craziness? For me... I think it has a lot to do with sleep (as I write this at 12:30) and stress levels. But... mostly sleep. Lack of sleep, for me, leads to bad decisions (about food and otherwise), stress, and frustration... Overall, there isn't a single positive redeeming factor of staying up for the sake of staying up.

That said, I think I know why I do it (and, ok, I'm already backpedaling on the "no redeeming factor" statement). I think it is the only time in my life (between the hours of 11:30 and 1:00) that I get to myself. So... effectively, I sacrifice sleep for time in my own head. Good trade-off? Not always. But, I think it's important. Here's the point in my own post where I totally flip-flop my opinion.... Actually, despite the long list of negatives, I think I need it.

Where does that leave me? Eh... right where I was five minutes ago. But... just like the time I spend on the road running, 11:30-1 is the time that I pick to unwind. The only difference is... that time is truly "off the clock" (ironic huh?). I have no goals, no pressures, no anything. I think we all need a little more of that at times.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Day Has Come...

Well... I was pretty sure that this day would come. And, quite frankly, I'm surprised it took so darn long. I've officially fallen off the wagon. I am eating as bad as I did two years ago before I started this whole journey. I could put it in the "things I gained when the new baby came" category. But, that would be unfair. I could put it in the "I'm bored of this" category. But, that would be terribly lame.

So... what is it? I think it's LIFE. I've been running around so fast and furious that I hardly noticed it happened. It started with the idea that... because I run, I can afford to treat myself every once in a while. Then, I started creeping... ever so slowly back to the dark side. Now (as I'm eating three donuts, a hot dog, pizza and a tub of lard), I'm officially as far from where I want to be as possible. Frankly... it did creep up on me. But, I should have seen it coming.

Every good realization comes with a half-assed... "I'm gonna do better". And, every "I'm gonna do better" comes with the thought that I know I'm not going to. How do I make this my life instead of just a fix? Woooo...

So... here's what I have done. I've made running a part of who I am. I NEED to find a way (on some level) to do the same with eating. Maybe I'm not Johhny Eatnutritious at the end of the day. But, would it hurt to be Johnny Eatsmostlynutritious?

So... what am I going to do about it? I don't know... But, I think recognizing it has to be a step in the right direction, right?

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Quality Not Quantity

I've been training for some longer race for so long now that I have kind of lost track of the total miles logged vs. quality of miles logged ratio. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that I've always run to control my weight. More miles equals more calories burned and that's that....

But, I think I'm turning a corner in my training. It's not that I don't want to manage my weight. In fact, I have gained a little weight since the baby came. But, I really would like to change up my training a bit. I'm finding that just going out for a run to log miles is not challenging/exciting anymore. I need to do something to shake it up.

And... not coincidentally, I have done two different workouts this week that weren't just "going out and running". The first was a stair/bleacher workout that Lisa has been doing that I really liked. We did three step variations (both feet on every step, one foot per step, and one foot ever two steps) and did an entire side of the bleachers at F&M. That was a really fun workout and will become a part of my routine I'm sure. Also, we did a sprint workout in the middle of a jog at the track. We did two laps around the track of sprint the straight away and walk the turns. It wasn't a lot. But, my legs are sore today.

Anyhow... I'd like to focus on different and speed at this point. I think it will help me do something other than just "log miles". Anyone else do this?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

How 'bout them Phils???!!!

As a Philadelphia fan, it's not always easy to understand why you come back year after year and invest time, money and emotion into sports. As it has been said over and over again, it's been 28 years since the last World Series for the Phillies and 25 years for the city of Philadelphia since they have had a championship. Is it the curse? Is it the front office? Is it the players?

Well, all that is over now... The Phils have ended it and I feel like this could be a turning point for the city of Philadelphia and it's sports teams. One of the teams had to stand up and stop the bleeding... and, the Phillies did it. Awesome!!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Timed Mile... Again

Justin, Lisa and I went over to the F&M track and ran a timed mile again. We ran a 1.5 mile warmup over to the track and then walked one lap to "mentally prepare". Then... we were off. I was pretty sure that I hadn't pushed it to the limits with my 6:26 mile a couple weeks ago and I knew that having Justin running with me would push me to run faster... And, I was right.

We came through the first quarter in 1:27 (we were shooting for flat 1:35 splits), woops. But, that really evened out in the second lap (just like last time) where I ran a 1:41. The third lap was similar to last time (1:39 v 1:37) and the final lap came in at 1:29 (super fast). Total time... 6:18!!!

So... what did I learn?

1. I ran 8 seconds faster when I had a "rabbit"(Justin) to chase. That's significant.
2. The first and last quarter were REALLY fast. I'm wondering if I should be shooting for more even splits.
3. I'm getting faster... This time last year I ran a 6:49 mile and this year I cut it all the way down to 6:18. 31 seconds on the mile time is a big deal.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I'm Fast and This is Easy...

I went on a six miler over lunch today with Lisa and Justin... As is ritual (since I have the Garmin), I email out the stats for the run to both of them. Also... as is pretty normal, Lisa skipped out on the second three miles and went back to work. So, Justin and I continued on.

Justin and I have also been toying with a sub 9 minute mile month. I've never done that before and I'm fairly deep into the month and still keeping up. After the first three miles of our run, we were a little behind pace.

9:32
9:12
8:52

But, with the sub 9 minute goal in mind... Justin and I really cranked it up for the last 3 miles. And boy did we.... here are the splits for the last three miles.

8:30
7:48
7:32

I'd say that's considerably less than sub 9. In fact, even though it was a slow first 3, we still averaged 8:30's over 6 miles. Not too shabby...

Now for the explanation of the title of this post... Vanilla over at Half-Fast wrote a hilarious post a while back that I now consider classic ("That Wasn't Me You Saw Running") where he talks about how everything comes back to, "I'm fast and this is easy". Read the post, seriously... it's great. Anyhow, that's what I told Lisa when we got done with the final 3 miles. And, I kinda believe it at this point...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Work/Life/Run Balance...

This is probably one of the most difficult, busy and rewarding times of my life right now. We just had our second child and it has been way harder than I expected. Ask my wife and she might tell you that it has been WAY harder than expected. Coupled with the fact that I had to put off traveling for work for the last three weeks of the pregnancy (which means my last quarter of traveling is CRAZY), and that makes life even harder....

Now, don't get me wrong, this isn't a pity party. I love my job, love my family and love running... But, keeping up with all three has become increasingly difficult. I'm kinda worn out and need to figure out how to make it all come together. I just found out that I have a couple vacation days that I need to take before the end of the year. Maybe that's what I need to do.

In regards to my running, I have an 8.8 mile stretch of the Harrisburg Marathon (I'm part of a relay) in a couple weeks. I've been re-ramping (is that a word?) my mileage up to accommodate the race. I did a nice 8 miler on Sunday and plan to go for 10 on this coming Sunday. That should get me there. Then, I'm running a Jingle Bell Run in December (5k). Should be an interesting last couple months of 2008.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Still Running

I've fallen off the face of the planet lately. Don't feel too bad, you're not the only ones that I'm neglecting. I'm also neglecting my wife, two daughters, my job, my running and myself. This week has been a long one at work. I've been out to dinner twice this week, coupled with staying up late to watch the Phillies win the pennant (sweet!). So, I'm short on sleep and haven't had time to think about anything...

That said, I've been running. I picked up the mileage this week a bit (the last couple have been down weeks). But, I'm feeling overweight and undertrained right now. So, next week is going to have to be a recovery week (not running, but life). Just thought I'd check in... But, still trying to stay above water this week...

Thursday, October 9, 2008

One Mile Improvement...

No, I didn't improve by a mile... Actually, I don't even know what that means. But, I did run my timed mile over lunch. Lisa and I jogged a mile and a half over to the Franklin & Marshall track and both looked at each other like, "Do you really want to do this?". The answer in my head was, "No, not really.." But, the answer in my legs was, "Well, we're already here."

So... after one lap of walking around the track we got started. Lisa had run the timed one mile for the office olympics in about 8 minutes. She kinda sandbagged it and wanted to do better. So, she came out to run with me today. She ran a 7:30 mile...!! That's pretty darn good.

As I said before, my previous best (and only timed mile under 7:00 in my life) was last year at 6:49. This year, I was determined to really trash that time. And, I did!!

I started out pretty quick, but wasn't feeling that bad. I was just trying to run on "feel". I was half way through the first lap and had no clue if I was running fast or slow... I was shooting for a 1:36 first 400 and I came in at 1:31... Oh no!!!

So, the second lap I scaled back considerably. In fact, I scaled back way too much and came in at 1:40. So much for even splits... The 3rd lap, which is traditionally the toughest in the mile race wasn't that bad. I came in at 1:38 for that lap.

So, the last lap was just about digging down. But... it really wasn't that bad. I did push the last 100 meters or so. But, I don't feel like I left it all out there. That said, I did my last lap in 1:37. So, overall, I ran a 6:26!!! That's incredible. I had said prior to running it that 6:30 or under would be great. And, my goal was 6:24. So, I didn't miss that by much. We are already planning to go back in 2 weeks and try and leave it all out there.

Could I go sub 6:20? Stay tuned...

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

One Mile Test...

A bunch of people at work did a timed one mile for the Office Olympics while I was out for the birth of Juliana. I did that last year and it got me to thinking how fast I can run it now. I ran it in 6:49 last year.

So, I think a realistic goal would be about 6:30 or so. I'm going to shoot for 1:36 quarters (6:24 pace) and see where that takes me. If I can come in under 6:30, I'd be stoked. The first time I ever ran a sub 7 minute mile was last year for the timed mile. So, if I could run under 6:30, that would be quite the accomplishment.

I got a nice 6 miler in over lunch yesterday with Justin. Now that I know he is quicker than me, it somehow seems like I'm always chasing him. It's funny how that works :) Anyhow, we really pushed the last mile and it felt really great.

Run recap- 6 miles, 53:43, 8:57 pace,

Monday, October 6, 2008

Fun With Numbers, HOH 2008

Here are some results for me at the HOH half marathon this year and last year... Not too shabby.

Me 2008
1:49:52
150/435 overall, 112/232 males, 17/28 age group

Me 2007
1:54:55
176/340 overall, 128/215 males, 18/21 age group

What stands out about these numbers? Last year, only three runners finished behind me in my age group. This year, 11 runners did. That's improvement right there.

Good race and I'm excited to run the Harrisburg relay now. Time to speed up...

Results link:
http://score-this.com/2008races/run/100508HOHresults.pdf

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Hands On House Half Report

Although I didn't really train for this race specifically. It was definitely at a convenient point in my training... so I decided to run it. And... boy am I glad that I did. I had planned to meet up with a couple people that I will be running the Harrisburg relay with (Nate, his wife Abbie and Beth) and my training partner (Justin).

So... I spent the better part of an hour trying to do the good thing and coach Nate and Justin through what to expect for their first half. "Here's what you should do"... "Don't go out too fast"... "Run how you feel"... "Turn it on late if you have anything left"... I kind of felt that I owed it to them since I've run multiple halves and this would be their first.

Well... jokes on me... :) Both Nate and Justin outran me today. I'm so darn impressed (read: jealous). In their first half marathon, Nate ran a 1:37 something and Justin ran a low 1:48. Really though.... super impressed with their run today.

But, enough about them... I had a hell of a run too. I ran the first 5-6 miles with Justin. We were clipping off 8:20 miles in anticipation of the hill to come. We had trained the hill pretty recently, so we both knew what to expect. That's not to say that a pretty steep, .8 mile hill is any better just because we had run it recently. But, we knew what to expect.

Right about here, Justin started to separate himself and I gave him my blessing to take off. It was pretty clear he had a bit more in him than I did. For a lot of the rest of the race, I could see him out in front of me. In fact, there was a point pretty far in (9 or 10 miles?) that I had him in my sights. I actually felt like I was reeling him in. But, he picked it up again and that was the last I saw of him.

I started to struggle with about 4 miles left (maybe from trying to reel Justin in?). But, with about 1.25 miles left, Beth (who ran the 5k) came out to run the last bit with me. Man, what a lift. That really helped a lot. I went from an 8:40 pace to an 8:20 pace in almost no time. It was a nice shot in the arm.

She kept giving me a hard time about catching up to the pack in front of me. I kept telling her, "not yet, not yet". So... with about a quarter mile left, I started to kick a bit. Then, with about .15 left, I really turned it on. I must have passed 4-5 people on the way to the finish and I turned in a 7:50 final mile. That was awesome!!!

But, here's the kicker... I turned the corner and could see the clock and a sub 1:50 was just out of my reach. Despite my best efforts, I came in at 1:50:02 on the clock. And, although this is a PR by almost 2 minutes and a almost 5 minute improvement on the same race last year, I was left with a bad taste in my mouth.....

If you've read my previous post about chip finished races, you may have already guessed what my beef is. But, if not, I'll indulge you. I start in the middle of the pack so as not to get in the way of the faster runners. When running a chipped race, the expectation is that it really doesn't matter where you start because the mats time you accurately and your chip time will reflect your "real" time. Anyhow, when the event only has a mat at the finish, you lose all the time it takes to get to the start line from when the gun goes off... Apparently, for this race, that was about 10 seconds. I know that because I hit my start button when I crossed the start line (makes sense right?) and stopped it just after I finished.

Big deal right??? Well folks... that's the difference between an official 1:50:02 and a watch timed 1:49:52. I'm gonna go ahead and throw caution to the wind and count my 1:49:52. Because, after all, I run and keep track of my times for myself. So... the race can have my official 1:50:02. I'm taking the 1:49:52. Sub 1:50!! Sweet. And, I don't feel bad about it at all (since it IS my real time).

Turning it on, not far now...

Finish Line


Justin, Nate, Me, and Abbie

Chip Finished Race?

What is going on anymore? Why do races do chip finishes, but not chip starts? What that means is that I start about half way back the pack (like a good mid-pack runner should) and I get penalized whatever time it takes me to get to the starting line. I think it's ridiculous and I don't get it.

So... I get that they chip finish as a convenience to collect results. That makes sense to me. I get that it is a better experience for the racers to get their times on the spot very quickly. But... are the companies that are renting the mats raping the race organizers so badly that they can't pay for two mats? What's at the heart of this? I'm seeing this more and more and it really frustrates me. So much so that I have half a mind to just start at the front with the "real runners".

I think it is a totally fair request to have accurate results. After all, it's why I enter races and seconds (or 10-15) could be the difference between my PR and no PR.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Am I Ready??

I'm in a really strange place in my training right now. I am running the Hands on House Half Marathon in Lancaster on Saturday. After training for the full and bailing half way through, you would think that I'm more than ready. And, at one point, that was true.

But.... I'm not so sure now. 2 weeks ago I ran 11 and last weekend I ran 7. I looked at a couple training plans and it appears as if it would have been smarter of me to run 12 this past weekend. But, I can't revise what I've done. And, I can't make up for it now. So... only the race will tell. I've just been going about my business and doing some short tempo runs this week to keep my legs lively and not overdo it.

One thing is for sure... I will be rested and ready for this race. The question remains... Has my training been good enough? Only the race knows the answer to that one. Stay tuned...

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Harrisburg Marathon After All?

No no... I'm not going to run the full marathon. In fact, my training has really tailed off over the last couple weeks. But, I've got a fun opportunity and I'm taking it. A friend of my wife and I from college (I went to HS with her too) emailed me the other day about running in a relay at the Harrisburg Marathon. Funny enough, I didn't even know that they were doing a relay at the race. But, it looks like a fun time.

After thinking a little bit about it, I think it's a great idea. That will be a little bit of closure for me for that race. And, I've never run a team race before. Should be a blast. The preliminary plan is that I take the longest leg (8.8 miles). That's fine with me... however, I think the one guy on the team is faster than me. So, it might make sense for him to run that leg. I don't mind running the longest leg though. I feel a bit of pressure to train harder now that I am part of a team. Before, the only person that I could hurt was myself. Uh oh...

On that note, I finally got back to running. I ran on Wednesday before all the baby stuff started heating up. I ran a 3 mile loop on the Hands on House Half Marathon hill (I'm running that race in just under a week). Then, yesterday, I got a 7.3 mile run in. I intended to run farther. But, my head just wasn't in it yet. This half seems like it will just be a warm up at this point for the Harrisburg Marathon relay. I really want to do good on behalf of the team.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

You want em? You got em (baby pics)...

I'll be back to regular posting shortly... But, until then, enjoy the pics.

The Girls...


Juliana Sucking Her Thumb..

Sleeping...


Minutes old...

Thursday, September 25, 2008

New baby girl!!

No pics available to post yet... But, we had a baby girl, Juliana Nicole Gervase. I'll post pics as soon as I have them. For now, everyone is doing well (minus a little jealousy from our oldest, Sophia). But, we are excited about the new addition.

Monday, September 22, 2008

No plan...

I don't really have a plan right now and it's kind of interesting. Since my wife could go at any time now (have the baby that is), it's kind of hard to construct a plan. So, I'm just going to try and get as many running days in before "it happens". That said, I got a nice paced 6 miler in over lunch today. Justin, Lisa and I ran the first 3 at a pretty nice pace. And then Justin and I really turned it up for the back 3.

I probably owe some of the pace over the last couple workouts to Justin. It's really nice to have a training partner again. We are VERY similarly paced. That's pretty hard to find. Not only that, we tolerate each other (just kidding, we get along great). But... that's helped me a lot and I really appreciate it.

So... Justin and I are going to head over to "the hill" on the Hands on House Half course to check it out. Nate and I did that last year and it really minimized the anxiety for that hill. We're gonna run a basic three miler just to see what its like. I've obviously run it before, but it will be a nice reminder. I'm stoked to see how Justin does... I think he's gonna kick butt.

Run recap- 6.0 miles, 54:32, 9:06 pace

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Hands on House Half? Maybe...

Justin swung by my house early this morning to go on an 11 mile run. I rarely get to do my long run with someone else and I rarely get to show someone else my running routes around my house. So, this morning's run was a special treat. Not to mention... I had forgotten how fun it is to run longer distances with a friend.

Justin is training for his first half marathon, the Hands on House Half. Coincidentally, this one was my first as well. It's in Lancaster and it is super hilly. But, a nice course for sure. So... we went out for our 11 miler and it quickly turned into a pace test. It was a cool morning, the kind that you wish appears on race day. And, we really took advantage.

After a few miles, it was clear that neither of us planned on slowing down and we were really going to put in a quick time. But, neither of us expected the time that we ended up putting in. We finished our 11 miler in just under 9 minute pace @ 1:38:24 (8:57 pace to be exact). And... maybe even more interesting, we got stronger as we went. Our last two splits were 8:40 and 7:59.

So... it got me to thinking. Maybe I'll run Hands on House as well. It is on October 4th. So, the baby should be here by then. And... it will be something good to do with all this fitness that I had built in the marathon training. It appears as if I'm more than ready for a half in terms of distance/fitness.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Post Quit Running...

Simple equation to get faster.... Train for a distance far more than you're mentally prepared, decide to quit just past the mid-way point, proceed to run shorter distances than your used to... It's worked for me every time I've done it (this once).

I ran 6 miles today in 53:30. That's about 8:55 pace. I'd have to say that is the fastest I've run that distance in a long time... Wanna know something else? The second half I thought we slowed down and I was Chatty Cathy the entire run (ran w/ Justin and Lisa). But... we actually sped up. We ran the first half in just over 9:00 mile pace. We ran the second half in 8:45 pace. I was shocked when I looked at the times in our post-run cool down.

So folks... The moral of the story? I'll take this one from the Simpsons.. ""well, son...you tried your best and you failed miserably...lesson is: never try." Apparently quitting makes you fast. Who knew?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Feeling Better

I still have not decided what it is I want to do. But, it was fun to go out tonight without the impending long run hanging over my head. I will run long this weekend. But, not 18 miles. So, I had the rare opportunity (maybe not so rare anymore) to run fast. Lots of fun and I really got to enjoy my run tonight. Apparently, running doesn't have to be a chore... :)

Run recap- 3 miles, 25:52, 8:38 pace

Monday, September 15, 2008

Bdee Bdee Bdee... That's All Folks...

I've pushed and pushed... I've come up short on multiple long runs. My body is tired and beaten. And... I've got a new baby coming any day now. Phew... That feels good to let all that out. What does all this mean?

Well... I'm giving up on Harrisburg this year. It seems to have been a flawed plan all along. But... I'm finding that my heart/mind just isn't in it. And, I respect the distance far too much to believe that I can do it without being "all there". So, I just need to let it go for this year.

Funny, it doesn't even hurt that much to admit it. I think that's how I know it's the right choice. I'm still running (no race in sight). But, I'm feeling much better now that I'm not chasing. My apologies in advance if you think this is the wrong move. But... it's not. :)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Blogosphere Has Spoken...

And... I've been chosen for one of the most prestigious awards available... The Weekly Pacesetter at the 26point2ers blog. If you haven't read their blog, it's team written and a lot of fun. I'd highly recommend it. And... they obviously have great taste in blogs... so, they've got that going for them.

So anyway... Thanks again for interviewing me ladies. It was fun.

Friday, September 12, 2008

1062s...!!

I was so excited to go running yesterday. It was my first run in a new kind of shoes. I went for a 6 miler over lunch and was literally bouncing with excitement. Then... it happened. About 2 miles into the run I started getting a weird feeling in my left forefoot. It was kinda like what would happen in my Asics last year when I hurt my feet....

So.... wah wah... I may have just spent $117 on a pair of new, really attractive, casual sneakers to wear around. We'll see, I'm going to give them a chance on a longer run (my 9 miler on Saturday). But, if they still persist in giving me problems, they are going to become my cool new casual shoes.

And.... back to my ugly 882s.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

My Crazy Fun Sunday Night...

So... as many people (ok, anybody that counts) know, the NFL started up this weekend. I am a huge Philadelphia sports fan and an even bigger Eagles fan. So, opening weekend is one of my favorite weekends of the year. Couple that with the fact that I had Phils/Mets tickets for Saturday night and I really was having trouble containing myself.

And... that's where the logistical nightmare begins. On Saturday night, it rained cats and dogs and it was pretty much a given that the game would be called off. So, the makeup game would most likely be earlier in the day on Sunday (right when the Eagles play). Since I'm a bigger Eagles fan than I am Phillies, I had to see the Eagles opener. So... I decided to switch my tickets out for the Phils closing game at Shea in NYC at 8:00 pm.

So... I live in Lancaster/Reading area in PA. For those out of the area, that is a rough/long train ride at that time of night (Amtrak doesn't run that late and you are left to regional lines). Anyhow, long story short. I watched the Eagles game in Trenton near the train station and got really, really, really loaded. Then, I took a train to Penn Station and a train to Shea. 3 hours and a Phillies loss later, I was on my way home (at midnight). Ugh.

I ended up sleeping in Manayunk at 3:30 in the morning (my Aunt's house) and taking a half day of work. Then, on Monday, I went to sleep at 9:00 and didn't get up until 7:00. What a weekend. I'm DEFINITELY not as young as I used to be. But, boy was it fun.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Garmin Not Working...

I went for my 9 miler (turned into 8) on Saturday in the pouring rain. I called it short because I thought it was stupid that my 11 miler was preceded by a 9 miler. And, I figured it couldn't hurt to save my legs a bit as I head into the home stretch.

Anyhow, I ran my 8 miles and and then my 11 on Sunday with my Garmin.... Then, when I went to record my 11 miler on Tuesday (long week so far), my Garmin wouldn't turn on. I thought maybe it wasn't charged or something. So, when I got home tonight I tried to put it on it's charger and it didn't react at all. I haven't had the chance to research. But, I thought I'd put it out there to others that might have experienced something similar. If so, let me know.

Otherwise... Off to the Internet to dig around...

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Embarassed or Thankful (Lititz Freshburst Run 08)?

So, I wrote a post (here) a couple months ago about a race I ran in Lititz. I run the race most years and it was actually my first ever race well before I even took running seriously.

So.... we went to get the mail today and there was a package there for me. I had no idea there was anything coming, so it was kinda fun. I start opening the envelope... and what is it? A T-shirt.. It was a large T-shirt that I had complained about not getting at the race. I can only assume that the race director saw my post when they Googled the race and sent it to me.

So... now I'm not sure if I'm embarrassed or thankful or both...? At any rate, I know that I am thankful. The note was signed Sara Young Fisher... so, thank you! But... I guess you should be careful what you say on the Interweb... ;)

Just another reason to like this race. Very random and very cool. I really appreciate it.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

New Shoes...

I've spent a lot of time considering what type of shoes I wanted to replace my old ones. In the process, I've been putting more mileage on my current ones. So, I actually got myself to a place where I NEEDED new shoes. Which, because I have a wide foot, is kind of a bad place to be.

So, I went to the Inside Track after work today in hopes that they would have something in stock that would be a change of pace in my size and width. Unfortunately, that is kind of a tall order. So.... I bought the same shoes.... again!! Ugh.. Anyhow, it's certainly a safe pick. But, I made sure to place an order for the 1026's that I really wanted. So, this won't happen next time.

I'm left with this.... longing for the shoes that are on the way (See below).

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Old Guy in My Shoes...

No, I still have not bought a new pair of shoes, though I need a pair BADLY. But, I was traveling in NYC yesterday for work and saw an old guy in my shoes. So, I took a picture of him with my phone (like a good blogger) to show you how lame my shoe choice is. I'm really considering changing my shoes based on looks... Yes, I also pick my football teams because "their jerseys are so pretty"... Seriously... If this guy wears my shoes, what does that say about me?

Monday, September 1, 2008

Time to Reevaluate?

I came up short on my LSD yesterday. In all fairness, I think it's just because I haven't built to the distance yet and it was residual from missing the other LSD's. That said, I'm kind of sick of chasing this plan. I upped the intensity on the plan and am doing Hal Higdon's Intermediate II. But, I've been missing the long run almost every week (not missing, shortening).

Anyhow, I've been doing 5 runs a week, right on target. I've been running the required mileage during the week, right on target. But, my long runs are more on target with Novice II. So... I'm going to continue to do the weekly runs for Intermediate II and the long run from Novice II. It's that easy folks... I already feel a weight lifted off me.

One change though... There is only one 20 miler in this plan. I may try to do 2 (and replace one 19 miler with a 20). We'll see. But, I'm just sick of chasing something that isn't happening.

Run recap- 15.0 miles, 2:35:11, 10:21 pace

Saturday, August 30, 2008

New Shoes??

It's no secret, I HATE the way that my shoes look.

This picture doesn't really do them justice. They are for "bigger" runners. They are neutral, cushioned and ugly as sin.

But.... They've worked for me. After some trouble finding the right shoes, these seemed to stop the onset of injuries and get me healthy and running. So, I'm on my third pair and I'm starting to build my "collection" of shoes in the closet. And, I can't use them. They are so ugly, they can't really be used to go out. One pair is being sacrificed to the gods of mowing. But, the other two pairs will kinda just be sitting around.

Here's my dilemma.... Go out and find another pair of neutral, cushioned shoes that work for me in the middle of marathon training that also look good. Sounds like a bad idea, but I've been known to do some stupid stuff before.

Regardless of my decision, I'm ready for another pair. Off to the store...

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Breaking the Rules...


So... I still have 30 miles of running left this month and I'm already about 20% ahead of where I was last month. I think that gaining 50% of your mileage in one month must break some rule, but who knows?

As a side note... I think I'm going to run that extra 1/2 mile just so that I can have my first 150 mile month. Wooo...

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Shortened LSD, Still Happy

Last time I checked in, I was on my way to go play in the LVC Alumni Soccer game. As expected, all I really did was run around. I did get a wiff of the goal (I played striker the two times I was in the game). And, if my buddy up front could have gotten a pass off, I would've had a chance to make myself look really bad on a break away. But... the pass never made it and I think I'm thankful.

Most importantly, I didn't get injured. So, that was the first of two goals I had for the game. The second was to make a move on one of the current players. Check... Did that too. I got the ball at midfield and start up the field with it. One of their players had a head of steam coming right for me... I picked my head up... faked like I was going to play a long ball to the corner... and.... bloop... cut the ball right to the left of him and kept on trucking. He went flying right by.

The rest of the game was pretty much a bunch of nothing for me. In fact, I probably only touched the ball 3-4 other times for the entire 20 minutes I was on the field. But, I came away happy.

As a result of all the sprinting and changing of direction, I was really sore on Saturday. My back hurt, my groin hurt, my calves hurt... all things that never bother me. And, it wasn't like minor aches and pains. I was really walking around gingerly. It sucked.

So, I tried to go out on my 8 miler on Saturday knowing full well that it might not be in the cards for me. Since my 16 miler on Sunday was more important, I decided to make this a short run to try and knock off the dust from the previous day. Well, I went just over three miles and it didn't really feel like that.

Then, Sunday morning came... I woke up early and went to go get a coffee (as has been my new ritual, I like it). I came back, did all my necessary goofiness before the long run and assessed how I felt. I gotta be honest, I didn't feel great. I still felt sore in all the same places but not quite as bad. I really didn't think I had a long run in me. And... I was right.

So, I set out for my 16 miler to do a 4 mile loop 4 times. I figured, this way I could at least get a gauge for how I was feeling every 4 miles. My thought was that I could most definitely make it 8 and probably 12, but 16 was almost out of the question. I got through the first 4 with not too much trouble. And then, the second 4 actually started to feel like I was loosening up. Could I make all 16?

Aha... it was mile 10 or so and the legs started tightening. I hit the halfway mark of my 2 mile course and was pretty sure it would be my last lap. As I was approaching the final uphill towards my house, I really want to push on. I'm sick of giving up on my LSD's. However, I knew if I went up the hill, it was over. So, I turned around and went back to flatter ground. As a result of that turn around, I got an extra mile in that I'm sure I wouldn't have.

So, instead of settling for 12, I got to a full 13. That's not 16 for those counting at home, but I was really proud of myself for pushing through a really tough run. My legs will be caught up from soccer by next week and I will have a test waiting for me on my LSD. I really think I'll make it and get back on track. But... for now, I'll have to enjoy my 13.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Scared Stiff, LVC Alumni Game

For the first time, last year, I played in the LVC Soccer Alumni Game and things went pretty well. I played a couple "shifts" and didn't get injured. At this point, I'd consider that a success. But, the reason I only played a couple shifts last year was because I ran 7 miles the night before and trashed my legs.

So... I decided that I wasn't going to do that again this year. I'm going to make my marathon training secondary (for the week or a couple days) and try to go into the game fresh. I decided to run 4 miles on the trails yesterday so that I wouldn't get too much wear and tear. Well.... woops. I totally forgot how hilly the trails were (I hadn't gone in a while) and my legs are feeling kinda tired. Maybe I'll loosen up by 6 pm. I sure hope so.

Goals for the game? Again, my goal is to not get injured. But, would it be too much to ask to make one of the youngsters look silly once? Probably... but I can hope can't I? Wish me luck.

Trail run recap- 4 miles, 44:24, 11:06 pace (don't judge me, it was hilly)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Wednesday Double..

I realized something yesterday.... Just because I have an 8 miler on the schedule, doesn't mean I have to do it all at one time. I won't get the best result by always splitting up my runs. But there are times in which my schedule won't allow otherwise (or comfortably allow otherwise). So, it's a valid, but not perfect, alternative for me.

So... after having this new found "freedom", I decided to take advantage of it. I did 4.2 miles over lunch and 3.8 miles late last night. I feel pretty good today and have another 4 over lunch. Then, it's off to my alma mater (college) to play an alumni soccer game tomorrow. More on that later...

Run recap lunch- 4.2 miles, 38:21, 9:08 pace
Run recap late-night- 3.8 miles, 37:17, 9:49 pace

Monday, August 18, 2008

Weekend at the Beach...

I had a long weekend this past weekend in Rehoboth Beach (and a night in OCMD). It was a good time and we really enjoyed ourselves. On Friday night, my daughter got to go on rides for the first time in her young (2 years old) life. Here's two pics from the rides..


As you can tell, she had a blast... We also normally travel as a group (my parents, sister's family and us), and it was nice to have a mini vacation with just the three of us. I think it's especially cool for Sophie (and us) with the new baby coming next month that we got the opportunity to travel with just her.

I woke up early on Saturday morning to do my scheduled 7. It was kind of out of sorts since I really didn't know where to run in the area I was at. So... I ran about 3 miles of what seemed to be pretty normal running and then another 4 miles just running in circles trying to get the miles in. This is definitely one of those situations where the Garmin came in very handy. I wouldn't recommend running this way, but it took the hassle out of it. All in all, it was a good run and I negative split a majority of the run.

Then, we went out to the beach and hung out building sand castles and swimming and enjoying the nice weather. I spent two summers living in Ocean City, MD, when I was younger so I wanted to make the hour long drive to visit some old haunts. We did that on Saturday night... I have to say that it's not as impressive to me anymore. I still have that "I loved that place" feeling. But, it's definitely not a family friendly kind of place.

After a night in OCMD, I woke up at 6 am to get on the road and do my 10 miler. I promised my wife that I would get up early so that we wouldn't miss any beach time. That may be the only reason that I got out of bed. Man, it was tough. But, after I was up it wasn't really all that bad. Then, we went to the beach and enjoyed incredible weather until early afternoon.

After that,we came back and Sophia might have had the most fun I've ever seen her have at the hotel pool. In lieu of a baby pool, the hotel had a fountain area that had water shooting out of the ground (think Disney World on a much smaller scale). Anyhow, she was chasing around the water and we were spraying her. It was a blast. Great way to end the vacation...

Anyway, I got in two great runs... The 10 miler was actually my best long run in a long time despite running down route 1 for a majority of it. And, the family had a blast. Sounds like a winner to me.

Run recap Saturday- 7 miles, 1:06:13, 9:28 pace
Run recap Sunday- 10 miles, 1:33:32, 9:22 pace

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

New Mindset, Much Healthier...

Marathon training is no joke and also nothing to take lightly. But, at the same time, I think I have been making it more stressful than it needs to be. The reality is, I have upped the intensity on my training plan this time around. And, while I want to come as close to completing it as possible, I will still be ahead of the game if I fall slightly short.

So.... "it's gonna be ok". I don't need the added stress and I really just need to enjoy it. In fact, to put things in perspective, I've been seeing a bunch of my running buddies get injured. So, is it really that bad that I have to run today? As the miles build, the craziness does too. I just have to try to remember that I really do love to do this. It's hard sometimes when trying to fit it in. But, I wouldn't have it any other way.

The new mindset is "enjoy it". I'm gonna focus on getting in the miles as good as possible. But, I'm also gonna enjoy the challenge a little more and stop losing my mind if something doesn't go exactly according to schedule. There you have it... the new me.

I also got a good run in yesterday... here's the recap.

Run recap- 7.0 miles, 1:05:40, 9:23 pace

Monday, August 11, 2008

30 Mile Week...

For the first time since late in my last marathon training, I put in a 30 mile week. To be exact, 33 miles.... That was promptly followed by only completing 11.2 of 14 miles of my LSD yesterday. But, I'll bask in the glory of my 30 miles and selectively forget that part for now. Anyhow, because of my schedule, I ran 5 straight days. The long run suffered (again). But, I'm not going to worry about that. I'm gonna continue plugging away as well as I can.

On the bright side, 10 days into August, I've already eclipsed January and February for total mileage. Marathon training can be pretty crazy. Anyhow, despite burying my LSD again, I'm going to be putting in another 30 mile week this week. Truth be told, that was only the beginning of a string of 30+ mile weeks that will last me until after marathon training. So, this might get ugly. Anyhow, here's a brief recap of my weekend runs.

Friday run recap- 3 miles, 28:04, 9:22 pace
Saturday run recap- 7 miles, 1:03:36, 9:06 pace
Sunday run recap- 11.2 miles, 1:46:00, 9:28 pace

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Sub 4 hour 7 miler...

What a night!! I finally did it, sub 4 hours for 7 miles!!

Ok... ok... that's not really it. I decided last minute (about .2 miles into my run) that I was going to test out my goal pace for the marathon on my 7 miler tonight. That goal is under 4 hours (or about 9:13ish pace).

So, after clipping off a comfortable 9:17 first mile as a warmup, I really turned it up. The next mile came in at 9:07 and I was thinking, "huh, this isn't so bad". Then, I came in under 9 minutes at 8:57 for the third mile. I wasn't really trying to run this fast, but since it was going ok I continued.

The fourth mile came in almost identical at 8:58 and I was really cruising along now. Then, I turned in an 8:54 fifth... Here's where it really got interesting. Since I was in my sixth mile, I was trying not to pay much attention to the Garmin. I thought it might help me zone out for a bit. Mission accomplished. I looked down at the Garmin and I had run just over half a mile and I was pacing for a 9:44 mile!!! Yikes!

Then, I quickly went into recovery mode. I didn't make it this far into the run to throw a bad split in there towards the end. So, I turned it up and then looked back down at my watch to see if I was making up ground. I certainly was.... I had knocked the pace down to 8:34 in a quarter mile. Either that means I was running at the speed of light, or I had misread the Garmin and it originally said 8:44, not 9:44. So, I wasn't behind at all.

Anyhow, I finished that mile in an astounding 8:24 and rode that momentum all the way to the end for an 8:25 final mile. Pretty impressive workout indeed.

Run recap- 7 miles, 1:02:02, 8:52 pace

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Double Anyone?

I ran my double yesterday with much trepidation (+3 Nitmos?). Anyhow, I did the lunch run with Lisa and Justin and it felt pretty good. 6 miles goes a lot quicker when you are running with others. I really didn't feel too overworked and felt like the evening run would go well too.

My original plan was to go out the door as soon as I got home so that I wouldn't have food in my stomach for the final 7. Then, I reconsidered. My wife and daughter are headed to the Poconos for the next three days (Tues-Thurs), so I thought it would be a good idea to hang out with them until Sophie was ready to go to sleep. Great plan for the family, not so great plan for the run.

After hanging out with the fam and admiring our new fence (it looks awesome by the way), I finally got out on my run. I was feeling like I ate a little too much for dinner and a little run down. But, surprisingly (for me anyway), that wore off pretty quickly. I got through 3 miles and up the biggest climb of the run (witnessed by a 11 minute 3rd mile) and then it was mostly down hill and fast from there on out. I clipped off a number of low 9:00 miles and before I knew it, I was home.

Moral of the story? Physically, doing a double during a workday wasn't really that bad. Mentally, it SUCKED!! It consumed my day and I really don't want to make a habit of it.

I know that marathon training is not easy and you'll have your moments. But, I feel like I've been having a "moment" every week when my long run comes around. I'm not saying I'm quitting, but I am analyzing a bit. If the next three weeks go the way the last three did, I may reconsider the training. Life is getting in the way of my running right now and that is actually ok with me. So.... we'll see.

Lunch Run Recap- 6.13 miles, 1:01:16, 10:00 pace
Evening Run Recap- 6.93 miles, 1:07:38, 9:46 pace

Monday, August 4, 2008

Rough Weekend (and Marathon Training)

This is becoming a trend for me. This summer has been very busy and I've had a really tough time getting my runs in. Yesterday was no different. I woke up in the morning and Melis had to go over to the hospital for a stress test for the baby (short story, everything is fine). At any rate, that took a majority of the morning and I wasn't able to get my run in.

Then, we have the "fence guys" coming in today, so I had to go out and make sure I pulled the fence out and got it all ready for a new fence to come in. I was right in thinking that pulling the fence out wouldn't be that big of a deal. But, unfortunately, there were 3-4 small tree stumps in the way that I had to dig out. That was a bear (and one of them still remains).

So.... after doing all that, I didn't have the energy for 13 miles. So, I decided I would do it today somehow. The plan right now is to split it up (6 over lunch and 7 tonight). We'll see if I'm able to pull it off.

I also got my six miler in on Saturday, that was the end to a good week.

Run recap- 6.0 miles, 56:37, 9:26

Friday, August 1, 2008

Hundred Pushups- Week 3, Day 2 (Round Three)

So maybe I'm not just gonna cake-walk through this week. I did day two yesterday and didn't quite make it through the max set. That stinks... I thought I was gonna make it this week.

Plan- 27, 19, 19, 15, 25
Actual- 27, 19, 19, 15, 19

This was 6 more in the max set than last week... but not 25.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

My first 100 mile month of the year....

After today's lunch time run, I will have my first 100 mile month of the year in. I was supposed to put in 106 and I should be there by now. But, life happens and I'm gonna have to close out 100 miles on the last possible day.

Two things I've learned this month (my first of my second marathon training)...

1. It's never as bad as it seems. Just keep running. Don't worry about missing here or missing there.
2. Year 2 is easier and harder all at the same time. It's easier because I can handle 5 days a week now (where I was only doing 4 days last year). It's harder because I feel like the expectations are higher for this marathon. I wanted to run sub 4 hours last year. But, it was just a "want". This year, I REALLY want to run sub 4 and might have a chance at it. So, I'm definitely putting more pressure on myself.

I also was able to get two good runs in on Tuesday and Wednesday. I ran on Tuesday night after I got home from DC and really put the pedal to the medal.

Run recap Tuesday- 3.07 miles, 26:30, 8:38 pace

Then, Justin and I went for a 6 miler yesterday in the heat and humidity over lunch. Yikes. I wanted to quit at 3, but Justin convinced me to push on. I'm glad for that because now I don't have to run 6 today. Sweet.

Run recap Wednesday- 6 miles, 1:01:00, 10:10 pace

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Age Group Award, Really?!!

I'm sure you'll all recall (because you memorize everything that I post) that I left the Pottstown 5k that I ran on the 4th of July before they sorted out the awards. It was a real messy scene that included the race organizer berating everyone for the races mistake in not putting names on the pull-off thingy on the race bib.

Anyhow, since I never win anything anyway and I wanted to get back to the fam... I left. Well, doesn't it figure, I actually placed in my age group!! There's a first time for everything I guess. I got third place in the 25-29 age group with a time of 22:53. My wife called me yesterday while I was in DC for work and gave me the news that the award above arrived in the mail! Sweet!

Now all I have to figure out is how to be as obnoxious as possible (I've already started this mission) about winning this. You'll likely be hearing more chatter from me about this award in the near (and distant) future. My apologies in advance.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Hundred Pushups- Week 3, Day 1 (Round Three)

Today was the first day of my third go-round on week 3. I fully expect it to be my last. I put in a pretty impressive (for the third try) performance today. Hopefully this keeps up and I skate right through.

I am also consistently doing over 100 pushups, 3 times a week now. That's pretty cool in itself.

Plan- 25, 17, 17, 15, max (min of 25)
Actual- 25, 17, 17, 15, 33
Total pushups- 107

Humid Long Run...

I went out on Sunday to get my long run in after the race. My legs were still a little dead and I wasn't really feeling it. Lucky for me, it was only 8 miles and not next week's 13. I'll try and get a little more rest leading into that run. Anyhow, my wife came out and met me just after 4 miles. Thank you... it was really humid and I was ready for her.

Other than that, the run was pretty uneventful. I actually didn't mind the fact that it was uneventful... a couple of my recent long runs have been "eventful" and it hasn't really worked out for me. So, "I got that going for me".

Run recap- 8 miles, 1:18:36, 9:50 pace

Hundred Pushups- Week 3, Day 3 (Round Two)

I got through the final workout of the week with my highest one day total yet (124). That leads me to believe that I didn't get through day 2 this week because of fatigue from my run. Oh well, it's not going to hurt me to do this week one more time. But, I expect I will get through it this time.

Plan- 30, 22, 22, 20, max (min of 27)
Actual- 30, 22, 22, 20, 30

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Lititz Freshburst 5 Mile Race...

I decided a couple weeks ago that I would run this race out of convenience. It fit right in with my marathon training and a bunch of people I know were running.

So, I woke up this morning and took my good 'ole time getting ready. I even gave Sophie a bath because I neglected that chore last night. We got out the door a good 15-20 minutes later than I wanted to and got to the race with about 20 minutes to work with. That might seem like plenty of time, but I'm anal on race day and it kind of messed with me.

Then, I go to pick up my bag of goodies, shirt and chip... I get to the front of the line and they tell me they are all out of anything larger than a medium. Since I'm not a "medium", I basically didn't get a shirt (I did, but I can't wear it). Anyhow, that's frustrating when you pre-register for a race and they guarantee you a shirt.

Then, I handed Meliss my race packet and headed over to the starting area. I ran into a friend from HS/College and chatted with her. I got a little caught up and the race began with me standing there chatting. Not a good start...

I intentionally dialed back on the first couple miles to ease my way into the race. I've been trying to do that a little more lately because of a couple of rough races where I got out too fast. My goal for the whole race was 7:45 miles. I didn't quite do that, but it was a pretty good goal none the less.

I came in the first mile in 7:40 something and the second in 7:50 something. Then, it began to become a little tougher to hold that pace. I kept looking down at the Garmin and despite pushing harder, my pace was not going down (or up, depending how you look at it). So, I resigned myself to the fact that 8:00 miles was the pace to stick to until I pushed at the finish.

With about a half mile left in the race, I saw a guy I work with out in front of me. So, he became my visual. I was slowly reeling him in the whole way. At about the quarter mile marker, I finally pulled even with him. We chatted for a second and stayed even. Then, with about a tenth of a mile left, I really turned it on. I ran the last mile in 7:40 something and ran all the way through the finish.

According to my Garmin (and I didn't stop it immediately), I ran a 39:35 over 5.04 miles. But, after I had the chance to check out the results, they had me chipped at 39:44. The only thing that I can figure is that they just had it chipped at the finish. So, all the time I spent getting to the start was wasted in my total time. Heck, even the time at the finish line on the clock was 39:30 something. I'm confused.

Anyhow, since I went with the calculation for the short race in Hershey for the purpose of PR times, I am going to go with my Garmin time for this one. My official time from the race is 39:44, but I'm going to count it as a 39:35. After all, I'm competing with myself here, nobody else.

A couple race notes... This is usually my favorite race of the year for the give-aways and the food. They didn't disappoint, but the food wasn't as good as it has been in past years. That said, it will still pretty darn good... so no complaints.

But... I'm still a little burned on not getting a shirt that fits me. It was even more annoying to see the throng of volunteers who got free shirts and me (who paid) without one. Don't get me wrong, the race couldn't take place without the volunteers, but I paid for a shirt. Not only that, I got this ugly alternate grey shirt and they had the much nicer green. Enough about that, seriously.

All in all, another good experience and a 5 mile PR!! Woohoo!! I did however, feel like I can/should be running this race faster at this point. I think that I am going to have to lose some weight to start putting in faster times. I'm still improving, but the improvements are small. So... we'll see what I do about that.

Edit to post (09/06/08)- I received a shirt in my size today! What a random and great thing. Check out my post about it here.

Crazy Week...

This week was absolutely insane at work. I went from kicked back and relaxing on vacation (ok, mentally) to full speed ahead at work. We had meetings all week and went out to dinner twice with the crew. I really enjoyed spending time with the out of town sales guys as well as my other co-workers that I don't spend time with outside of work. But, by the end of the week, I was losing it.

It also made it very difficult to get my runs in as well. After having a goofy LSD on Sunday, I didn't want to miss any of my other runs this week (and I didn't). But, I did a 6 with Justin over lunch. That's further than I'd like to go over lunch (for timing reasons). With my schedule the way it was, it felt like my only choice. Then, Justin and I got a fast 3 miler in on Thursday. It felt really good and led me right into the Freshburst race today. Here's the recap for the 6 and 3 milers...

Wednesday run- 6 miles, 57:39, 9:37 pace
Thursday run- 3 miles, 25:59, 8:40 pace

Hundred Pushups- Week 3, Day 2 (Round Two)

I'm not sure if I would have passed this workout or not. But, I went running first (a fast 3) and then did the pushups. I do think it had an effect. But, I'm going to repeat the week anyway. I'd like to get through flawlessly before I continue on. I did everything but the max set. Lately, the max set is the only one that trips me up. Anyhow, here are the results.

Plan- 27, 19, 19, 15, 25
Actual- 27, 19, 19, 15, 13

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I Don't Call This StubbornRunning for Nothing...

So, I didn't complete my LSD on Sunday and had planned to make it up today (this morning, in fact). But, the alarm went off at 5 am and I didn't want to get up. I stayed up late creating a presentation for work and just couldn't muster the energy to get out of bed. It occurred to me later that I was probably doing more harm then good trying to fit the LSD in during the week. So, I just decided to get back on my schedule. After all, this is only week 2. Plenty of time until the marathon.

So, I went out for a pretty quick 3 over lunch and felt much better. No reason to kill myself. I really don't think this is going to have any lasting affect on my training (except maybe for the better). I just can't make a habit of missing my long run, that's all.

Run recap- 3 miles, 26:30, 8:50 pace

Monday, July 21, 2008

Hundred Pushups- Week 3, Day 1 (Round Two)

Off to a good start with the repeat of Week 3.... I struggled a little with the second set of 17. But, the 15 felt like a nice "break" before I tried to max on the next set. So, I was actually able to complete day one for a total of 101 pushups. Sweet...

Also, this Hundred Pushups thing is sweeping the blogosphere (or at least the running blogs I read). I got caught up in it too, so I guess it shouldn't be a total surprise. But, you can pretty much convince me of anything with a little nudging. Anyhow, it's pretty amazing how many people are doing it now.

Plan- 25, 17, 17, 15, max (min of 25)
Actual- 25, 17, 17, 15, 27

5/11

No, that's not how tall I am (6'1" if you are curious). That is the total miles to planned miles ratio for Sunday's LSD that I completed. Long story short, I saved my run for the evening to avoid the murderous weather.... And, I had a little stomach malfunction. It was humid, I don't normally eat before I run (I usually run long in the morning before I eat) and I have stomach issues to begin with.

So, at the 2 mile mark, I took a "break" at the golf course along my run. Then, at the 5 mile point, I decided to throw in the towel. Unbelievably, my stomach was acting up again just 3 miles later... On top of that, thunder and lightning were just beginning and it was a fitting end anyway. But, without the storm, I was done anyway. I think it was just happy coincidence and a nice conscience release.

Run recap- 5 miles, 49:24, 9:53

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Hundred Pushups- Week 3, Day 3

I finished up week 3 on a happy note. I did not complete the entire day, but got through everything but the max set again. I may be set up to pass through next week. I might not, but getting through the first 4 sets is probably a good sign. Another milestone in this workout as well... I did over 100 pushups for the first time. That's not 100 pushups in one set, but it is 100 pushups none the less (110 to be exact).

Plan- 30, 22, 22, 20, max (min of 27)
Actual- 30, 22, 22, 20, 16

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Bar Harbor... (Warning: Long entry)

In looking back over the last week, I can hardly believe that we packed so much into so little time. As planned, I went running, biking, kayaking, hiking and sight-seeing. It was action packed and I had little time to even digest everything that was going on. Here's an attempt to piece the week together...

My wife, daughter and I drove up to Boston on Friday night (6 hours of driving). I woke up the next morning and did a 5 mile tempo run before heading out the door for the final 5 hours of driving into Bar Harbor. The driving wasn't that bad on the way there (more about that later).

Then, we arrived on Saturday around 3 o'clock in Bar Harbor and really just had a relaxing first night. The most challenging run of the week was Sunday morning. It's really difficult to fit a long run in on vacation. But, I figured I'd get it out of the way early and then have more time to spend with the family. I did three loops around a shore trail and town to get acclimated with my new surroundings. Check out the view down on the shore trail. This was some easy running as a result of the awesome view.

Later that day, the whole family went to the "beach" at Lake Echo. The water was great and the view was pretty good too. It was a little different being at the beach at a lake. But, without the waves, it was actually pretty perfect for the little ones. They had a blast.

Then, Monday was an off-day for running and we went and biked the trails in Acadia National Park. They were really pretty, but we picked a really hilly course which didn't work that well for my sister and brother in-law (or me and Melissa truth be told).

Because we were unable to do the complete trail the day before, Melissa and I went out again on Tuesday for another go at it. I ran 3 miles while Melissa biked with Sophia (in our cool new bike seat, see above). Then, I ran back to the car and grabbed my bike for another 3.5 miles of biking with Sophia and Melissa. It was fun, but all the activity was already starting to catch up to me.

Wednesday was an easy 3 miles (supposed to be 5, but I was wooped). Not to mention, I had kayaking to do. Me, Melissa, my sister Kristina and brother-in-law Kevin all went out. My parents took the kids so that we could have a fun day out and about. It was certainly that... We saw seals and got to see a pretty uninhabited part of the island. It was pretty amazing that there was that much wilderness without houses and commercialism. Almost the entire side of the island that we kayaked along was free of anything but trees, sand and rocks. Very cool...

Thursday included a trip to Cadillac Mountain. I've done a bit of traveling in my day and have seen my share of pretty views, but I have to say that this is the most breathtaking I've seen. The pictures don't really do the view justice (do they ever?).

We also spent part of Thursday at Bar Island. It's a neat little island off Bar Harbor that is actually connected by a sandbar during low tide. So, we went out there at about 2:30 when we knew low tide would make the sandbar available. It was awesome. I'm pretty sure that we had more fun then Sophie. Melissa and I were wading in the water and collecting sea items (shells, urchins, crab shells, etc.). Sophie was throwing rocks... which she really enjoys, but I think she could have done that in a lot of places.

We enjoyed that trip to Bar Island so much we drug my sister's family out the next day. We also had a rockin dinner as our farewell to Bar Harbor. We went to a brewery/barbeque place called the Atlantic Brewing Company. I had a Coal Porter and Kevin (my brother-in-law) and I ordered a huge sampler that had chicken, ribs, shredded pork and hot sausage. It was very good (and so was the beer).

Then, finally, we made the trip home on Friday night. We chose to drive through the night so that Sophia could sleep. Unlike the way up, we weren't stopping. So, it was supposed to take 12 hours. A flat tire and crazy tired driving later, it actually took about 15. I was ready to fall over when we got home. But, it was a fantastic trip! So happy to be home, dreading work tomorrow....