Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Goodbye August

We had such a nice time together.   But boy am I glad that's over with now hopefully, we can find some time to relax in September.
  • The first week we were a bit distracted or tired and took a recovery week.   We also spent time roaming the country side looking for bathrooms, and enjoying a wedding anniversary.   Lowest weekly mileage @ 13.7
  • The second week we spent in a funk.   Blame my wife's 10 year high school reunion, or just that it was time for the funk-a-thon, whatever it was at least it was short lived.   I pushed through the agony and the desire to avoid running by putting in my longest weekly mileage to day @ 29.5. 
  • The third week we celebrated running for a whole year.   We did this by banging out 5 the day I started running.   We also celebrated by running an impromptu Half-marathon at a faster pace than I have run that long of a distance.   A great week of running, but one without the bustle of added activities. Mileage 28.5
  • Perhaps the most tumultuous week was the fourth of the month.   The changed schedule from the week before leading to a missed speed workout leading to a 5.5 mile run with no aim (looking back I loved that run).  Then the first shot at 20 miles, which ended up being 18 in light of trying to stay hydrated. My 10 year high school reunion, golf and a picnic on the hottest day of the year here.   The missed chance to make it to 100 for the month by trying to sleep off the grogginess.   And fantasy football draft.   Glad I moved the long run to Friday - weekly mileage 23.6.
  • The last three days of the month spent recovering from last week while preparing for a trip this weekend.   Finally got in those 5 miles needed to reach the 100 mile mark for the month.   A great tempo workout this morning with a really speedy mile at the end just for good measure, perhaps the best run of the month.   That is the best way to leave the month behind.
Turns out this month wasn't too bad.   Though it was busy, and I am certainly looking forward to the more relaxing month of September
Total Monthly Miles - 100.3 my first triple digit month. Hopefully the start of something great.
Have fun out there guys!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Easy or Pointless?

Do you ever feel like you are out for a 'training' run that has no point.   This morning I went out for a run, it ended up being 5.5 miles, but it was kind of aimless.   It wasn't a recovery after a long run or intervals, it wasn't a tempo run, it wasn't really anything other than a nice easy run.   Let me explain how I got here.

Last Thursday, I was still very much in go for a run mode (last Thursday was a rest/x-train day).  So with that feeling in mind I decided to move my long run from Sunday up to Friday, and increase the mileage on it from 12 to 13.  Normally I don't move long runs around, but with every other Friday off and the fact that my running partner had plans for the weekend, I decided to go ahead and move it up to try to get more done at the house this weekend.

So last Friday I got up, grabbed a couple of bills that could be dropped off along my route and set off on my run.   I was breezing along at a sub-9 pace for the first three miles before making my first stop to drop off the power bill.   Then back through town to drop off the water bill (a whopping 1.5 miles separates them).  After that stop I ventured across the bridge, where I startled two deer, and up along the busy road/highway into the neighboring city.   After a wait at the light to cross the bypass highway, I ran a few blocks to make the turn towards my in-law's house.   I was at 7 miles in just over an hour, not my fastest 7 miles, but still was right on a 9m/m pace.   I cruised along down towards the river stopping at several stop lights along the way.   I pulled up to the river path after 9 miles and was now just behind the 9m/m pace (stupid stop lights).  Just 4 more miles to go, so I followed the path down the river, and eventually up to one of the local high schools, where instead of returning on the path, I decided to run around the school and back towards my in-law's, my stopping spot.   The whole run was awesome, a 13.2 mile run in 2:01, which was 4 minutes faster than my previous best in the 13.1 distance.   So I counted this as a double type run, a long run, run faster (almost a minute/mile) than my normal long run speeds.   So really a long, tempo run.  

Move ahead two days.   Sunday I finally got to meet up with my other running partner, who's wife just had a baby 10 days ago.   Needless to say I hadn't seen him in a while.   I ran my warm-up mile over to his place then ran a nice easy 4+ with him, stopping briefly to see the new arrival,   then headed back to my place, for an easy 7 miles (same pace as the 13.2 two days prior).

Monday, is a typical rest day, so I looked at the schedule, trying to decide how to tackle the speed work and the 20 miler on deck for the week.   I decided to move the speed session to Tuesday, and the long run to Friday with an easy recovery today and Sunday   I am taking the end of the week off to hang out with an old high school friend and go to our reunion which is my primary reason for moving the runs around.   Then I was up late on Monday, and slept through my time to run yesterday.   So between everything else going on (getting the house ready for my friend, book club, work) I skipped the workout completely.  Which left me with today.

I want to do that speed session, but I didn't want to do it too close to the 20 miler as it is my first attempt at running 20 miles.   I was afraid of burning out and not having enough energy Friday, something I did two weeks ago before attempting 18 miles (ending up with 16.2).  So there you have it.   I was left with a shorter recovery type run on the schedule this morning, and opposed to trying to pick up the speed on it, or increase distance, or get that speed session in, I just ran.   I like to think that all runs have a purpose, and today's ended up being a run for the sake of running.   Deep down I know that the run has a purpose, I am after all still out exercising, but I feel that I lacked focus this morning, just logging miles for the sake of it.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Runniversary, The Why I Run Story

It all started with a thought.   A simple thought that I could motivate my overweight butt, climb off the couch and run a 5k.  GULP! This is 3.1 miles, the longest I have run or walked in years, especially run, which I hadn't done since high school.   So during my vacation last July/August, I told my wife that I wanted to run the Cable Bridge run here in Kennewick/Pasco, WA.  A simple idea of actually running the 5k.  It was when she told her parents that I felt like was on the hook to do this, like I was committed to doing something I wasn't entirely sure I wanted to do in the first place. 

The Backstory:

I, like so many others, slowly climbed the hill to overweight, little by little, year after year.   I basically stopped all physical activity after high school, as I began working my first real job (retail) and going to the local Community College.   The easiest way to eat was through the drive through, and not the healthy stuff, the good tasting fatty stuff.   This problem continued on through out my 4 years at WSU.  I did eat better (thanks to my wife), but not that much better, the challenges of being in an engineering program mean that food fits around school.   So again, it was fast food heaven. 

After graduation, we moved to New Mexico  I worked 12 hours a day, 6 days a week.   We were a bit better about home cooked meals, but the exercise was still non-existent, with the exception of a few 30 minutes walks at night whenever I felt good enough to go for a walk.   I assume that my weight stayed fairly constant through out these 6 to 8 years, though in all fairness, I either refused to get on the scale and find out, or didn't care enough to start a change.  A year after moving to NM, my first son was born.   We continued our walking, but never were consistent with it enough to forge a change.   I became gradually more complacent as the rigors of raising a family and working 6 days a week grew upon me.   The fact that my parents were discussing divorce during the summer of '08 didn't help the frustration level.
Either late in my tenure at WSU, or early on after we moved to NM, my mom was diagnosed as prediabetic.  I mild eye-opener, as my mom's weight issues have fluctuated throughout my life, trying diet fads and all sorts of things, but not exacting a lifestyle change.   This still wasn't enough to make me change the way I ate or how I treated my body.

When I got a new job that took us back to Washington State, I was becoming more aware of my seemingly unhealthy lifestyle.   We had been back in Washington for about 9 months when my parents decided that things couldn't be reconciled and began the official proceedings (Jan '10).  I buried this within me as I usually bury things I don't want to worry or think about.   Then a few months later, already worried about my dad and how he was taking things, he told me that he had also been diagnosed as pre diabetic as well.   This got me to thinking, really hard about my future, and making sure I was going to be part of my kid's future too.   But in May of 2010 I still wasn't ready to commit to a healthier lifestyle, exercising was still out of the question, and I like eating way too much to change that part of my life. 

Running Start:

As the weight of my parent's lifestyle choices and medical diagnosis started settling in, I reached a conclusion that I needed to start changing my life for the better.   So what could I do to change my lifestyle?   I remembered that I had a pail or Adidas running shoes that I had purchased in 2005 or 2006, as a futile attempt to become active while in college.   At this time, Mid-July 2010, I told my wife my that I was going to start running with the goal of running the Cable Bridge Run 5k in December  So, at dinner one evening, she told her parents.   Now I felt as if I was on the hook to start, though I still wasn't sure I wanted to.   I did what I always do when I start a new activity or want to find information, I hit the internet and settled on a plan.   Now I just needed to find the motivation.

I made a deal saying that I would start when we got back from vacation, which put my start running date the second week of August.   After vacation and some work around the house, running day arrived.   I however, took a snooze, and slept on past the time to get up and run.   I still wasn't ready to commit, either to waking up or running.   I kept pushing the start off.   The following week, I again didn't get up Monday morning, so I made a decision, Tuesday I was going to get up, no matter how I felt and get out and run.   Finally, Tuesday, August 17, I awoke at 5:15, went over to the middle school track and started my running life.

The Plan:

I don't undertake anything lightly, I didn't want to take on a plan that was going to be too strenuous, to the point that I was going to burn out.   So I hit the internet searching for a manageable C25k plan. After looking at what seems like a ton of plans I settled on a run/walk plan that called for 30 minutes of exercise 3 days a week.   The plan called for one minute of running to seven minutes of walking repeated three times that first week.   I figured that I could drive to the track, walk a five minute warm-up, then start on the running portion.  That first week was hard, but I had pushed myself to 1.5 minutes of continuous running by the end of the week.  

The plan increased weekly, adding 1 minute of running while subtracting 1 minute of walking.   The third week added a fourth set of run/walking, so that I was now up to a grand total of 35 minutes of activity.   I was using the Wii Fit to track weight and do some cross-training, but I found that it was adding stress to parts of my body, so I abandoned that and switched to using the stationary bike for cross-training.   By the end of September I was up to a continuous 10-12 minutes, but seemed to be at a plateau.   I eventually pushed passed this, and by October I had managed to push myself to two continuous miles.   There wasn't any doubt in my mind that I could complete a 5k event.

I completed three 5k events between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day.   The Thanksgiving day and New Year's day 5k I ran the whole distance.   The Cable Bridge run was a bit more difficult, as it snowed the night before hand, and was still snowing at start time.   This was a heavy, wet snow which slowed down conditions on the areas where the roads weren't yet plowed.   I remember cruising through the first two miles of that race, before hitting a wall.   I was suddenly very tired, and had to try to plow through snow.   Maintaining pace was difficult.   In then end I was able to find strength and ran the last half mile to the finish, completing the race for which I had trained.   There was a huge sense of accomplishment that I had been able to change my lifestyle as well as complete something like running 3 miles, which I had not done ever perhaps.

A Year of Lessons:
  • Change is hard - To start running after 10 years of a sedentary lifestyle is one of the hardest things I have over done.
  • Rome wasn't built in a day - It took me three months to go from stationary, couch potato to running a 5k.  It has taken me almost a year to get to running 16 miles.   Asked last year if I would have trained or signed up for a marathon, I would have told you that you were crazy.
  • Running is unique to the person - What motivates us individually varies.   Some people run to win, others to PR, some just for the joy it brings.   Whatever your motivation, enjoy it.
  • There are Bad Days - And they suck. They make you question why you do this in the first place.   I look at is a pre-payment for that great run you are about to have.
  • Then there are Awesome days - These are those days that training, or the circumstances all align for and make you realize just why you keep running.
  • Training plans are good - They provide goals, and help manage daunting tasks.   Focusing on today's run is far easier than looking at the whole goal.   Plus they teach flexibility.
  • Listen to your body - The body and mind know when to rest, listen to them and they won't lead you wrong. That training plan isn't set in stone.
The numbers:
  • I ran 515 miles in the year since I started running.
  • I have run 415 miles since January 1, 2011
  • Five 5k races with a PR of 23:00
  • Two 10k races with a PR of 51:39
  • One (Fake) Half Marathon - 2:05
  • 41 lbs lost.
The Final Lesson:

Running was worth it. I started running as a way to get active to start taking better care of my body.   It was something that I decided I wanted to do. I didn't do it as a way to lose weight, or a way to show that I could accomplish a 5k, then give it up.  I wanted it to be a change that I could do for the long haul.   This is probably why I was so successful at continuing to run.   I won't complain about the side effects.   I noticed an immediate shift in the way I approached food.   I was now eating until I was full, trying to watch how many calories I consumed, what those calories were.   I lost 25 pounds in the first three months of running, and had more energy too.   I think that the most important thing about my lifestyle change, is that my sons see that I am an active person.   I will keep running for them, in hopes that they lead a healthy active lifestyle.   But I will keep running mostly for me, because I want to be around to see them and their families.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

I took my DW wife to the running store last Friday, in order to pick out a new pair of shoes.  Now, I suppoes that my intentions were twofold.  First I wanted her to get a good pair of shoes if she is going to start getting active again now that the baby is here.  Second, I wanted to look at new shoes (read: try out the Kinvara 2).

The guys at the store are awesome.  They runyou through all the normal tests, stand on each foot, walk back and forth, then recommend a shoe.  First, they grabbed her a pair of Adidas and had her move around in those.  After a few minutes, she told him what she felt in those and then he went to the back and worked his shoe finding magic, brought back 4 new pair.  She eventually narrowed it down to a pair of Sauconys and the Asics GT-2160.  After trying both shoes, she settled on the Asics. Thankfully she absolutely loves these shoes.  Now she just needs to go try them out before we set up a training plan for her. 

In the meantime, I asked to try on the Kinvara 2s.  Let me tell you,  I was so excited to try these bad boys on and take them for a test run.  So out of the store I went for a quick little lap.  They felt great, light and airy, like I could take off, fast.  But, there is almost always a but, they rubbed funny.  What is this, why do the tops of my feet hurt?  Nuts, these aren't going  to work for me.  I can't justify running shoes that rub my feet, no matter how light and airy they seem.  I was major bummed, becauase I was dreaming of these shoes.  Back into the store I went and told my sad story.  They brought out 4 more pair for me to try on.  I decidede on the Brooks Launch.  These are nice, light, but not as airy, shoes, that felt great on my feet.  I should have known, I love my other Brooks shoes.  My wife was impressed that I had the where-with-all to recognize a problem with the shoes, and not  be sold on their awesomeness.  Like I said, if I am going to run 400ish miles in them, they better fit right.  So with the purchase of new shoes in hand, I have officially retired my first pair of shoes, a pair of Adidas with 285 known miles on them.  They were starting to hurt my feet on even short runs.  The new shoes will Launch Tuesday, with and easy run (pun most definitely intended) before they take over interval/tempo runs. 

Speaking of intervals, Friday called for 12x400 with 2 minute recoveries.  The first 8 sets were awesome, the energy was there to lightly jog between each interval. But by set 9, I was drained.  Now the intervals themselves were are all run at roughly the same time, within three seconds of each other, but the final four sets I walked the recoveries so that I could push through.  The average for the intervals was an aweseom 1:34, the fastest being at 1:31 and the slowest at 1:38, a great little workout.

Now, for whatever reason, that great workout didn't translate to a great long run Sunday.  I am guessing that between the hard intervals, the early morning Thursday, or the DW reunion Saturday night, the long run wanted to kick my butt.  And it did, I had no desire to get out of bed, but the knowledge that my friend was going to meet me for 10 later drove me to get it started.  Needless to say, I awoke 30 minutes too late to get the 8 in before hand.  So I decided to try to get 16 in.  I got to the park at 6:40 and knew it was going to be tough.  A very slow 6 miles later, and I met my friend, wanting to stop, so it was good he was there.  We headed out for another 6, slowly, then passed the cars again on our way to finish out his 10 with another 4.  This 16 was bad, it was slow, it was long, it was tiring, to an already tired body.  It ended up being a 16.2 mile run in 2:47, eek.  That was 15 minutes worse than my last 16 mile run.  Oh well.  Sometimes you gotta prepay for that amazing run with a few bad ones. 

Pics of shoes will be up soon.

Have fun out there guys.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Pullman Trip (AKA the Bathroom Saga)

My wife and I 'celebrated' our 5th wedding anniversary last Friday.  I say 'celebrated' in the sense that I went out and bought a super mushy card (I never do this) and she bought me compression socks. We decided to take a trip to Pullman, WA this weekend to celebrate, you know, where we met. This was the first time we took the 1 month old (sorry no pics of him from the trip) on a car trip longer than 20 minutes.  A test drive, if you will, as we are planning on taking an 8 hour trip later this month (he was a trooper by the way, slept a lot). 
Friday morning I ran a 7 mile tempo run.  It was a great run; I ran each mile between 8:30 and 8:45, which is probably my goal marathon pace.  It wasn't a true tempo, I feel like I should run those in 8:15 or so, but it was faster than any other distance I did throughout July. 
Saturday morning, I am the 'first' person up (I assume others have been awake and since fallen back asleep this morning), so I put on my shoes head out for a short run.  I manage 3.5 miles in 30 minutes, a great little run before we head out on the trip.  I weigh in after my run, just for fun, I have lost 4.5 pounds in the last month dropping below 200 for the first time , which deserves a dancing banana.  .

For those readers who have  gone through the joys of potty training, I am sure you are familiar with the fear associated with ‘using’ the potty out in public for the first time. For those that are soon to tackle this joyous adventure, let this be a lesson. 

8:30 AM: Oldest kid dressed, youngest one fed, let's get in the car.

9:30 AM: We are finally in the car, Starbuck's coffee in hand, gas tank full, off we go.

10:30 AM: "Daddy, I have to go to the bathroom", so begins the saga. Eastern Washington a brief description:  There is nothing out here.  Once we have turned off the main highway, there are three little hole in the wall towns between the highway and Colfax, WA.  We are about 5 miles from the first little town.  I didn't know that the first town had a rest stop until we pulled up to it.  Bad news, the toilet is clogged, needless to say no bathroom use here.

11:00 AM: At the second hole in the wall town I promise candy if he manages to get over the hump. We spend 10 minutes 'trying'.  Nope, no bathroom use.  I feel bad that we were just going to use the bathroom and buy the candy anyway.

11:30 AM:  At the third hole in the wall town.  We repeat this sequence again, with the same result, but now the youngest child needs to be fed again. We spend 30 minutes in Dusty, WA, google it for fun.

12:30 AM: We finally arrive in Pullman home of Washington State University.  We grab lunch at Cougar Country, then wander up to the WSU campus to walk around, and do some shopping.  Then decide to head over to Moscow, ID, home of the University of Idaho, 8 miles away.

3:00 PM: We get to Moscow, the oldest one has fallen asleep in the 15 minute drive, and the little one wants to eat again.  So we stop at one of the shops there and take care of all our business.  

4:00 PM: We head to my wife's favorite store in Moscow - Tri-State.  Really it is a clothing, shoe, hardware store, and knick knack store.  But it has a lot of cool stuff.  We wander around looking at stuff for a while, then we see the running shoes.  And just as I am about to try on the Kinvara 2s, I hear "Daddy, I have to go to the bathroom."  So I take him. We spend forever in the bathroom, I eventually promise a new movie, if he can eclipse this milestone.  No luck. 

I did finally try on those shoes, AMAZING! I want to go and buy a pair of the Kinvaras right now! They were so light and felt great on my feet.  I am hoping to go this Friday, and get a pair for me and my wife.

Around 6:00 PM:  I took this picture of my kiddo on the WSU football field, he was sad that he didn't get to see the players practice, but this made up for it I think.

T on the WSU logo at mid-field.

We stopped to get snacks at the local grocery store around 7, where... I became the proud owner of the Blue Bird movie, Rio.  Honestly, I think he waited until he got the most he could out of me before deciding to use the bathroom.  It was quite the trip, and I now know where all the bathrooms on the eastern side of the state are. 

Lessons learned: 1) bring the toilet insert, or go before you leave. 2) Drink less liquids.

I was tired Sunday morning, and wanted to hang out with my family, so I skipped my 10 mile run.  I normally would be upset about it, but, eh.  I suppose this has rambled on a bit, and might be a bit more TMI than I should have shared with the community, but I know that a few of you out there can relate to this.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Looking Forward

Wow, I have so much going on this month it is ca-razy!  (You are supposed to read that last word in a high pitched, comedic type voice.)  Before we move on to August's crazy plans, I want to recap the last part of July.

Saturday, was my youngest son's one month birthday!   I forget how quickly time goes by, and how much newborns change in one month, wow!   It was also a month of firsts for me runningwise.  I eclipsed 25 miles in a week for the first time ever, ran 16 miles in one go for the first time, and ran a total of 88.5 miles in the month.   The 16 mile run was Sunday, and I have been splitting up my longer runs with two friends.   This weekend was the first time they split the run equally.   The first 8 miles were at a blistering (for a long run) pace of 9m/m for a total time of 1:12 run with my friend who just started running with us.   The second 8 miles were run with my friend that I trained for the Half-Marathon with.   Those second 8 miles were slow - like 10:15 - 10:30 m/m, slow.   But I didn't care, its about the company and the miles, not the time (yet).  So the 16 miles was run at about a 9:45m/m pace for a total of 2:35.  Overall a great long run. My wife tried to convince me to head out and run that last 1.5 miles Sunday night to get to a nice even 90 miles for the month.   I decided there was no way my feet were going to let the rest of my body move from the couch to the bed much less and extra 1.5 miles.   It was a fun idea though.

So August,   I have a whole bunch going on, and that doesn't just include ramping up to 20 miles in preparation for my first marathon.

This week my wife and I celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary .  Next week, we are going to her 10 year HS reunion.   Two weeks after that my best friend is flying down from Alaska to attend our 10 year HS reunion.   Really!  I can't believe that it has been 10 years.   I should note that my wife and I went to high schools in the same city, went to the same community college for two years, and did not meet each other until we went to college 150 miles away.   Sometimes the world works in mysterious ways.
- WARNING  : Definitely not running related, uber nerdy talk coming on a completely different sport.  -

To top all that off, with everyone in my fantasy football league in town for the first time in years, we are holding the draft (for those that play fantasy football you know what I mean about having everyone around) at my place.   I love my fantasy football, and I am elated that the NFL has managed to figure out the labor problems (morons).   Mostly I love the fact that my friends and I get to spend the next 4 months bad mouthing each other and then whining about who wins.

Back to running. Finally, the biggest, and perhaps the most important thing, I will be celebrating my Runniversary this month as well.   I will try to keep the sap level down when I write the post for that.   I meant to kick off the month with a 3 mile shake out, easy, run yesterday, but I like to sleep, so I slept.   I got out and ran this morning, nothing too exciting about a 3.2 mile run, other than it helped get those muscles loosen out a bit.    This week is a short, long run week, which means I get to continue to try to add that 4th running day to my week. Ultimately, I want to build to 5, so that I can increase mileage some more.   Baby steps as I gear up towards a marathon.   I will be able to add those days this winter as a way of maintaining mileage.
Have fun out there.