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.