Kilts and Podiums

20200314_0702200A couple of weekends ago I ran in the Glendale 1K Kilt Run and the Kiss me I’m Irish 4K.  I had a blast at both of them.  I’m a little surprised that they still held the events with the recent fears over the COVID-19 virus.  Although in the midst of all the media coverage of the spread of the virus and the panic that it is starting to cause I was very happy to have the sense of normalcy that comes with a race.

20200313_180904First up was the 1K Kilt Run.  This is a fun run, which means no timing or awards, to attempt to break the record for the most people in a kilt doing an organized activity.  We didn’t get the record, but it was still a very large crowd.  It has a festival like atmosphere with a live band playing Celtic music before the race and during for the people waiting on their loved ones to run/walk the just over a half mile.

I decided to see how fast I could go.  I even wore my track racing flats, although given that the course was wet, the racing flats don’t have much grip in the corners on wet brick.  At the start I felt a little like a Flinstone.  My feet were moving, but I wasn’t getting anywhere.  I was at the front of the crowd right from the start.  There were about 8 people in front of me as we went around the first corner.  Unfortunately, I slid out a little and thought to myself that I will need to slow down around the corners.  Then something happened that I’m not used to, I started chasing people down.  I zeroed in on the person in front of me and started closing the gap.  Most races when I’ve gone out fast, I end up flaming out and getting passed.  This time I wasn’t flaming out and I actually was gaining both speed and ground to the next person.  I finished an unofficial 5th place and was the only one over 25 in that group.  I was pretty pleased with myself.  It felt great and I started to get the feeling that I used to when I was running the 400, of the world dropping away.

20200314_080342Saturday morning, I got up early and headed back to Westgate Mall for the Kiss Me I’m Irish 4k.  Coach V didn’t think it would be a great idea to take the whole troop out for this one, so I was on my own. My plan was to go out at a little more than a comfortable pace and try to maintain it, but most importantly I was out there to have fun.  The 8K and the 4K share a lot of the same course at the beginning and with only a 10-minute start difference we quickly caught the stragglers from the 8k.  This made it almost impossible to tell who in front of me was from my race and who was in the 8k.  So, I just tried to keep going at a steady pace until I was a little over half-way then I started trying to pick up the tempo.  My calf did not appreciate the added speed and started complaining.  The complaints turned into a bit of an angry roar, so I decided to walk a few steps.  Doing some small lunges stretched it back out and I was able to take off again.  Next thing I really knew the finish was in sight and I dug down for whatever was left in the tank and got a pretty good sprint going.  I came across the line, was handed a bottle of water and my metal by a gloved volunteer and started a brisk walk to the car.  The RunBet distance for this weekend was 3 miles and I wasn’t going to have another opportunity to run.  I kept my watch tracking and headed to the car.  I stopped briefly to drop off the water and grab the kilt run metal for from the night before for a picture and started a light cool down run around the parking lot and back toward the finish area.  Once I got my 3 miles in, I decided to go see what my race time and age group placing was.  I was in a bit of disbelief with what I say.  I was the 19th overall male and the first in the 30-39 age group.  My first thought was that can’t be right, so I checked the bib number and sure enough it was mine.

20200314_085431I’m fairly sure that this is the first time I have ever won my age group in any race.  I’m very pleased with this result, but what makes me more excited is that it’s working.  In just 3 weeks training with the SRC I’ve drastically dropped my per mile time into a range that I haven’t been in since high school, 7:30 min/mile.  If I can hold that for another half mile then I’ll have my 24-minute 5K by the end of April.  It means that not only is the speed still in me somewhere but it’s starting to come out again.

There is still a lot of work to do.  Even once I get the sub- 24 min 5K I’ll still need to drop another 4 minutes by the end of the year.  And I’m certain that they will be harder to drop than these 4 look to be.  But I believe that I have a good routine in place and some great people to train with and help me along on this journey and hopefully I get to help some others along theirs in the process.

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The next several weeks look to be some trying times.  My daughter is in from Indiana which I love but it will make going out and training more difficult since I want to spend as much time with her as I can.  And then there is the COVID-19 virus.  Unfortunately, I am in one of the more at-risk groups to have a sever reaction to it.  Some days being asthmatic really sucks.  I’m taking all the precautions that I can, no I’m not buying 3 years-worth of toilet paper, but there is only so much a person can do.  So, if you are in one of the groups that I normally run with and you don’t see me for a few weeks it not because I don’t love running with you all, and believe me when I say that I miss the group either SRC of EMYP. I’ll be doing what I can on my own and trying not to go to stir crazy.  Feel free to drop me a note if you are wondering how we are doing.

My next scheduled race is the Hippity Hop 5K in mid-April assuming that they are still able to hold it.  My hope is that this scare is over by then and that my family (of which you are all a part of) comes through unscathed.

Until next time…C-ya!20200314_080352

Fallen Officer 5K & Surprise

About a month ago one of the lifters at Kilo Barbell Club asked if anyone wanted to run a 5K with her to benefit the Concerns of Police Survivors, Arizona (C.O.P.S. AZ) Organization.  Always being one who is up for a run I quickly accepted this invite and signed up for the Fallen Officer Memorial 5K.

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C.O.P.S. is a national organization dedicated to helping the family and co-workers of fallen officers in Rebuilding shattered lives of survivors and co-workers affected by line of duty deaths.  Which to me is a fantastic and very worthy cause.

As soon as I parked and went to the day of packet pickup I knew this race felt a little different.  I couldn’t even begin to count the number of uniformed officers I saw.  The packet pickup was staffed by police cadets who where extremely polite.  There were a couple of the cadets walking around passing out bottles of water BEFORE the race.  When we gathered in the start corrals I saw at least three large groups of runners all dressed the same and one in each who was carrying a banner for the officer training school that they were from.  There were also several officers in full gear and running shoes.

I’ve never been worried about my safety at any race I’ve ever done.  That being said I’ve never felt safer than during this race.  I’m fairly certain that at least half the field was in law enforcement and several were in uniform.

It was an interesting out and back course through downtown Phoenix.  I always find it fun when I get to run on the roads that I commute on a daily basis.  The only criticism I have is that according to my watch the course was a little long.  I clocked it at 3.4 instead of 3.1.  I’m also not the biggest fan of out and back courses but thats a fairly minor personal preference.

About half way through I fell in with one of the training schools, basic training academy 148.  I’ve tried to find information on them but the internet has failed me.

Anyway, they were a great group to run with and were very welcoming.  Even encouraging me to stay with them when I started falling back. I very much appreciated them helping to pull me along.

running to the edgeIt brought to mind a phrase that was used a lot in a book that I finished listening to recently, Running to the Edge by Matthew Futterman. The book chronicles the coaching career of Bob Larsen and his theories on how to train and run “on the edge”.  Its a great read or listen on Audible.  The phrase that I keep coming back to in my runs now is; “The group is faster than the individual”.  And its surprising to me that I had forgotten this.  That is how my cross country team ran in high school.  We were a pack.  While we did have some outstanding runners come through our strength wasn’t that we always had the top runner in the race but that we had 5 to 7 guys that ran together and would chase people down.  So, when they passed someone that guy didn’t drop 1 place but 5 or 6 places.  It made us very hard to beat as a team.  Along with some specialists for certain occasions we were a force to be reckoned with in our little corner of Indiana.  In practices we pushed each other always demanding more from ourselves than even our coach did.

Its also generally what my training has been missing recently.  Since moving to Surprise I’ve been doing more and more runs by myself.  Granted sometimes its nice to run by myself especially when I have a problem I’m trying to work out or just need to decompress.  But its when I’m with a group of like minded runners that I push and get better.

Marshmallow MileThat brings me to the Marshmallow Mile.  I know weird segue but stay with me.  The Marshmallow mile was sponsored by Tortoise and Hare Sports and is similar to a beer mile.  You eat 6 large marshmallows then run a lap around a track and repeat until you’ve run 4 laps.

I discovered a couple of things at this event.  Firstly, I’m terrible at eating marshmallows quickly.  it would take me twice as long to eat as I did to get around the track. Coach V participated with me and was able to keep up despite my lap times being twice as fast if not more.  She would come in after I was half way through my bag of marshmallows and leave enough before me to get about 100 m head start.  I’d catch and pass her but couldn’t get enough of a lead that she wouldn’t catch and pass in the “eating area”.

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I also rediscovered why I loved to sprint especially the 400.  When I’m running distance I’m aware of everything going on around me.  Wind, sounds, smells and sights.  Which sometimes is cool if your in a place that is scenic or with friends and talking about things.  But I’m also very aware of my breathing and my stride and that pain developing in my side and every other manner of thing that can distract me and scream at me to stop.

They had Olympic medalist Jenny Simpson who, along with helping to hand out marshmallows, did a Q&A session after the event.  Which was very fun and informative.  One question that stuck out for me was when she was asked if she had a magic wand and could grant everyone on thing in running what would that be.  She talked about wishing that everyone could find that euphoric place while running where everything feels good and you feel like you could just go forever.  She also talked about it being a prefect state where your aware of everything and have clarity.

For me that moment comes when I’m going fast. When I’m sprinting the world falls away.  My mind goes blank and the only thing that exists is the track in front of me.  And when I’m really going not even the whole track just my lane.  And it feels like it can go on forever and I don’t want to stop.  They were playing music loud enough that the whole track could hear and I only noticed when I stopped to eat.  For me its a purely zen moment where nothing exists or matters except the track and going fast.  Its that on the edge euphoria that Coach Larson is getting his runners to find in the book.  And I missed it.  I didn’t even realize how much I missed it until that night.

Surprise-Running-Club-Logo-150I also bumped into a guy wearing a Surprise Running Club shirt.  I introduced myself and asked what is the Surprise Running Club and where do they meet.  His response was priceless, “Surprise”.  He then told me a little about the group that meeting in a couple different places in Surprise and what the workout are like along with the website that details the locations and types of workouts.  The group is lead by coach Keith Rieger who is an accomplished runner who has qualified and ran in the Western States 100 Ultra, numerous Iron-man Triathlons and the Kona 5.  He also is a knowledgeable, humble, and great guy.  The rest of the SRC mirrors this friendliness and is very welcoming and encouraging.  They describe themselves as a support group that is disguised as a running club.  I felt completely at home with them from the start.

Between my current goal of a sub 24 minute 5K by the end of April, the reaffirmation that I need a group to push me and my rekindled love of speed I joined them for the circuit workout on Wednesday.  It was amazing and completely kicked my butt.  they organize into several groups woggers, runners and speedsters.  For reasons I don’t fully understand I decided to try and keep up with the speedsters.  There are some quick people in this group and I loved the workout of various speed\strength drills.  I’m not sure I’ve worked that hard running since high school track.

On Monday they meet for interval runs, Wednesday is the circuit training and Friday is a trail run.  I haven’t made a Friday yet since trails aren’t my focus right now but the Monday and Wednesday runs are fantastic, as tough as you make them on yourself and inspiring.  Before each workout is the club cheer of “We not me, SRC” which I believe embodies the philosophy of the group is faster\stronger that the individual.

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Not to worry, I’m still running with the Embrace Your Pace group and they will forever be a big part of my running family.  Now that soccer is over for the year I’m back at the Thursday Arrowhead loop runs.

Up next is the 1K Kilt Run on Friday and the Kiss me I’m Irish 4K on Saturday.

Until then…C-YA!

 

 

Accidental PRs and Running the Tangent

Last weekend I ran the Mesa 10K.  This race is part of the Sprouts Mesa Marathon weekend and going into the race I was ready for it to really suck.Mesa Marathon

Not because of the race or the organization, but I didn’t think I was ready for it at all.  To start with I haven’t trained for any kind of running race since mono in November.  That’s mostly due to soccer season.  Originally, this was to be the year of the 10K and when I signed up for it nearly a year ago I was still on track for that to happen.  However, after the injuries and mono those plans changed, but this was still on my schedule.  So, I decided to do it anyway.

Added to the lack of training I ran a very hard soccer day the night before.  Lots of running and fast paced.  Which is fun but exhausting and thanks to the overtime and PKs to decide a winner, a late night.

Coach V and I decided that Saturday morning in order to get to the race in time to catch the shuttle to the start line we needed to LEAVE the house by 4:15.  Which meant getting up around 3:30 in order to have ourselves and the baby ready to go in time.

Well, we overslept, but just a little and we were out the door by 4:20.  A little behind but recoverable.  On the way there we discovered a section of I-10 that was closed and causing all the traffic to stop as everyone was trying to get off the highway.  Now we were seriously behind and I was starting to worry about catching the shuttle to the start line.  But, nothing we could do so I tried to think of other things.  I got my nebulizer ready to do a breathing treatment using the AC outlet in the van only to discover that it draws more than the outlet can handle and won’t work.

“That’s OK”, I thought,” I’ve never used it before a race before and I still have my inhaler.  Wait, were is my inhaler?”  After a near frantic search of my race bag the compartments in the car and coach V’s purse I determined that I left it at home with no time to turn around.

“Well, I planned on taking it easy anyway.” I told Coach V who was trying to hide her concern.  A sever asthmatic without his inhaler running is generally not a good idea.  But, it wasn’t going to stop me.

After we parked, I got out of the van to discover it was a very chilly morning to be in a short sleeve shirt and my running kilt.  As I walked over to stand in line for the shuttle I started visibly shivering.  After what felt like forever, about 10 minutes, I got on the school bus that was being used for a shuttle.  I haven’t been on a school bus since high school track and I remember having more leg room back then.  The bus was slightly warmer and I stopped shivering.  Although it was short lived.  as soon as we got out of the bus I was cold again.  I kept telling myself that once I start running I’ll be fine.

I milled around the start area with everyone else waiting for the race to start.  Finally, they started playing the Start Spangled Banner.  A cool thing they did was when it got to the line “and the rockets glare” they set off red fireworks.  Which I thought was very cool although I wondered what the people in the neighborhood beside must think of these fireworks going off at 6:30 in the morning.

We lined up in a mob and got a 5 second countdown to the start.  Ok, here we go.  I started off at a light run but not looking at my watch.  I now know it was about an 11 minute mile pace and slowly increased to around a 9:30.  I was feeling pretty good.

My original plan before the late night and inhaler missing was to go light the first couple of miles, let the crowd stretch and thin out and then drop the hammer down from mile 2 though 5 and walk the last couple of miles in.

Coming up on mile marker 2 I decided to walk a little and do a quick system check. Lungs where fine, legs where feeling bouncy, I was smiling and having a good time, so why not.  At the 2 mile marker I turned it on and went to about 9 minute miles.  I went for about a half mile, took a .1 break and then went back at it.  I kept that up for 3 miles, which was the goal.  The 5K inside the 10K as I decided to call it was at about 30 minutes.  Which I was pretty happy with. Another quick check, all systems good, so I kept the pattern up, running the last 2 miles in 9:19 and 10:17.  I crossed the line at 1:02:38 and thought to myself, “Wow, that was kinda quick”.  When I found coach V her coment was, “I thought you were going to go easy.”

The post race was great.  The major sponsor of the Mesa Marathon is Sprouts Framers Market.  For those who don’t know that is a grocery store specializing in natural and organic foods.  They handed me a reusable grocery bag and then I went through the goodie line.  By the time I was through it, I had califlower tortilla chips, squash pretzels, 3 different jerkies, and an assortment of other goodies overfilling my bag.Mesa 10K post race

Overall a great race and as I discovered later in the day a PR for the 10K distance by about 8 minutes.  Which for not trying I thought was really good and I’m extremely happy with the result.

I also want to mention the Mesa Police that helped throughout the race blocking the roads and keeping us safe while we ran.  I’ve done alot of races and I have never seen a friendlier group of officers helping with a race.  From friendly waves as we ran past to full volume cheering us on it made the experience very enjoyable and really helped to know that not only where they their doing a job but fully engaged in the run.  Kudos to you all and thank you for all that you do!

The race did present something that got me thinking.  somewhere in the middle of the course you come around a corner and there is a massive sweeping curve to the right.  What struck me was that there were 3 lanes on the road blocked off for the runners but everyone was hugging the left hand side or the outside of the curve.

In auto racing the drivers attempt to make the curves into as straight of lines as possible.  Generally going into the curve high, kissing the apex and coming out high.  This helps them to carry as much speed as possible through the curve.  And for anyone who ran shorter distances in track, namely the 200 and 400, the reason that the start is staggered is to normalize the distance between the lanes.  If they all started in a straight line the inside lane would go a shorter distance than the outside.

So, with that knowledge I veered away from the pack and headed for the apex to run the tangent.  I got a ton of strange looks from all the people hugging the left curb like it was a cliff and it got me thinking.

Has it just been so ingrained in them from their training runs to stay to the left that they don’t think about it. Or is it that one of the first runners through stayed left and everyone else is just following the person in front of them even though the better path is right there.  I think that far too often we get stuck in the way we have always done things or following the person in front of us for fear of going the wrong way.  This is not an issue I’ve had and yes it has gotten me in trouble a few times.  I once turned a 10K into a 13 mile run because I thought I knew where I was going.  I took 40 people with me by the way.  But generally, it has served me well.  Leading me to new places and meeting interesting people who seem to be as crazy or crazier than I am.  If I had followed the safe path I probably wouldn’t have started running at all.

So, If you remember nothing else from these posts remember: Run the Tangents!

Post race with Molly

Until next time,…C-YA!

Streaking and Inch-stones

 

Frozen FeetI’ve decided that this year I’m gone to try streaking. I’ve seen articles about it in magazines and I’ve heard others talking about how they can’t imagine not streaking once they started. What finally convinced me to give it a try is when my therapist, Yvonne, talked about it.
Wait…I’m talking about running or some type of aerobic activity every day. What were you thinking about?
Anyway, I’m talking about going out and doing some type of activity for at least 10 minutes every day. For me sometimes that is running, sometimes it’s walking, and this time of year a lot of the time it’s soccer. The point is that everyday I go out and do something. Now I know that this doesn’t seem like a whole lot since I go on a lot of runs, but I usually don’t do something athletic every day. So far, I’ve had a streak going since 12/31/2019… 28 days. Runner’s World encourages people every summer to streak for a month or two with the hope being that once you set the habit up it will continue past the challenge.
There are sites set up to help encourage run streaking like Run Bet. Similar to diet bet where you put a little money down on losing a certain amount of weight by percentage in a given amount of time. RunBet has you put some money down and you follow a prescribed by the challenge distance for a set amount of time. For instance, I signed up for one that starts mid-February and lasts 4 weeks. During that time, I have 5 runs of a varying distance that I have to do every week. The main caveat is that you can only log one run a day. At the end of the challenge all the money is divided up by the number of people who completed the challenge. Not something that you will make a bunch off of but it’s a fun little way to help motivate yourself to get out consistently.Marshmallow Mile

Along with starting a streak the local running store Tortoise and Hare Sports began the annual Frozen Feet challenge in association with Brooks. Which is a challenge to walk or run at least mile every day for 6 weeks. It needs to be a purposeful mile. Meaning that you can’t count just the general walking around that you do during the day, you need to go out with the intentional of completing a mile. Throughout the event they are holding some events such as a marshmallow mile. Think of a beer mile and just substitute the beer for marshmallows.

In line with the re-aligned 2020 goal of a 5K under 18 minutes. I’ve done 2 things. The first being I’ve started working with a nutrition coach. Jet, yes the same one who coaches me lifting, at Kilo Barbell Club is a certified nutrition coach through PN coaching. After talking with me about where I am and the ultimate goal of running significantly faster we decided that the main goal of the nutrition coaching should be to lose weight. The main thought being that I’m carrying too much extra weight that isn’t geared toward helping me run. Admittedly, I have gained a fair amount in the past year. When I started working with her on nutrition I was up to 200 lbs I’m now at 188. I’m not only changing what I eat but how I eat.

Second, I’ve broken the main goal down into sub goals. There is a basic tenant in engineering. If you have a problem that appears to be impossible to solve, break it down into smaller pieces until you have a problem you can solve. Solve that, then go on to the next, and then the next, and so on until the problem that was too big is solved. Another way to put it is the old line of: How do you eat an elephant? Which of course is properly answered as: One bite at a time.

So, I’m going to break the end goal into milestone and inch-stones. We use this system in my day job and I don’t know why it’s just occurring to me that I should apply this principle to my running. For the uninitiated milestones are the major accomplishments or tasks that need to be completed on the way to a goal or as I call it at work a deliverable. Inch-stones are a further breakdown of the milestone into even smaller accomplishments on the way to a milestone. We also use what I call mile markers, these are set point on a calendar used to measure where we are on our way to the milestones and to make any adjusts necessary in the inch-stones.

Ok, sorry, I became an engineer there for a second, hopefully I didn’t lose anyone. The way I see my running goals are as follows. The end goal is to qualify for Boston by 45. So that will be the “deliverable”. I believe that to achieve that goal I have the following milestone that I have to hit. I need a 5K under 18 by the end of 2020, a 10K under 40 by the end of 2021, a Half Marathon under 1:30 by the end of 2022, and then 2 years to increase that to the Full marathon under 3 hours.

So, for now let’s just look at the 5K milestone. My current 5K time is 29:57 set on Jan 11 this year. That will be the start point. My inch-stones then will be, April sub 24 minutes, June sub 22, August sub 20, October sub 19, December sub 18 with Mile Markers in March, July, September, and November.Year of the 5k Jan

Up6086 tomorrow is the Mesa 10K. I know, I just spent all this time talking about 5Ks and I’m running a 10K. Originally this was going to be the 10K year that is until the injuries and mono. I signed up for this a year ago with a discount code. Here is my plan. I’m going to take the first mile easy. And by easy, I mean nearly walk. Then I’m going to run miles 2, 3, and 4 as if it was a 5k. Then just jog or maybe do intervals for the last couple of miles. (note: this was meant to be posted on Friday.  I did well on the 10K but more on that later)  Until then…C_YA!

 

 

New Shoes and 2019 Goals

Let me start by saying Mono sucks! But, I’ve got some other things to talk about before getting into that.

20190929_070152.jpgI got new shoes! And its a departure from my normal Sauconys. Enda Itens. Enda Sports is a company from Kenya. They got their start from a Kick-starter campaign and have been producing shoes for about 2 years. They build shoes with the philosophy that the big corporations have sold us on over complicated and over engineered running shoes. Basically, I like the philosophy of “Keep it Simple”.

I’ve now done numerous training runs and several races with them and I love them more every time I wear them.  Generally, I forget that I’m wearing them, which is a very good thing. It means that they aren’t bothering me or causing any issues for me to become conscious of and I can focus on the other aspects of running.  The other great thing about them is that, relatively speaking, they are cheap, about $100.  Honestly, I can’t say enough about these shoes.

Kilo LogoOK, enough gushing about shoes.  The back half of the year was a rough one for me from a health and running perspective.   I got a membership at Kilo Barbell Club and began lifting 3 days a week.  I’m not a weight lifter and generally have no idea what I’m doing.  Jet and Keven are very patient with teaching me how to lift properly and getting me to rest between sets.  I had no idea that the rest between sets was so important.

Just as I was getting into the swing of lifting, I went to the doctor after having a sore throat for a week that I couldn’t shake and feeling exhausted to the point of not being able to get through my work day without taking a nap.  Turns out, I somehow contracted the Epstein-Barr Virus better known as Mono.  This was the beginning of October.

As I stated above, Mono sucks.  I was exhausted all the time no matter how much I slept.  My whole body was achy, I wasn’t allowed to do any exercise.  No running, no biking, no lifting, nothing!  It was brutal.  To add some extra stress, I got a new manager on the first day I had to be out from this.

Luckily, I have a somewhat flexible job and was able to work from home as I was able most days and go into the office just a couple of times a week.  Not ideal, but it was better than being out completely.  Unfortunately, this came right as we where preparing to move across town and my daughter from Indiana was here for 3 weeks.  Needless to say I was little to no help packing and Coach V should be nominated for sainthood.

Finally on Nov 13, 1 month, 2 weeks, and 1 day after my last run I tentatively went out for a short run.  A slow 2 mile effort around my new neighborhood at a 10:37 average pace.  It felt AMAZING!

Running Is My TherapyStill feeling a little hesitant to get back at it too fast, I started working full days at the office again and Thursday I joined the group for the Arrowhead loop run.  The more I did the better I started feeling.  This is when Coach V put forth the theory that I was no longer fighting mono but depression.  Coincidentally, I was listening to an audiobook titled Running is my Therapy by Scott Douglas.  And as I thought about it, I think she was right.  I use running to help keep my mood level and the ADHD in check.  It clears my head and helps me to stay focused throughout the day.  In the book Mr. Douglas discusses studies that show the effects of running (aerobic activity) to be very similar to antidepressants.  That is all well and good, but can be taken too far.  I had become so dependent on running that when it was taken away I began to struggle.

In my profession we call this a single point failure.  That means the entire operation can grind to a halt if one piece is removed.  It is something to be avoided.  When we find those we work to find ways around them as contingency plans.  I have no contingency plan for running.

He also talked about a therapist in California that does something that they call running therapy.  After a search in the Phoenix area I found a counselor, Yvonne Lewis from  Creative Quiescence, that does running therapy.

The premise is to have a talk therapy session while on a light run.  The thought is that it can be a little less intimidating to talk to someone when you are side by side and doing some other physical activity.  If you go on group runs or have a training partner you probably talk about everything under the sun. Including some things that are very personal and you probably wouldn’t talk about if you were to just sit down with someone over coffee.  This approach appealed to me since I get very uncomfortable talking about my feeling and emotions.  As you have probably noticed I don’t mind telling stories.

I’ve been to 3 sessions with Yvonne and I feel like I’m getting a lot out of them.  Generally the session starts in her studio with some talking about how things have been since the last session and how I’m feeling in general.  Then we go outside and run or walk at a conversational pace.  She has me focus on mindful running and listening to what my body is telling me.  This is a small departure from me telling my body to be quiet and get moving.  Although it turns out I was already practicing some mindful running without knowing it.

10492_6077274_enm967002334ramWe talk about running and how I run or react to situations running or reffing and how that might be translating to other areas of life.  She is very good at guiding my thoughts to come to realizations and insights.  All in all, I like it and feel like this is helping my running and other areas of life.  I know that therapy can be intimidating and mental health has become a hot topic, but it is important and getting help if you are struggling there is just as important as going to PT for a calf injury.

2019 is over and my goal accomplishment rate was 50%.  In a previous post I talked about my goals and having high goals and low goals.  I had 2 high goals for 2019.

  1. Pay off my consumer debt, credit cards, car loans, etc. and 25% of my student loan.
  2. Get my 5K time to sub 18.

And the Low goals of:

  1. Pay off the consumer debt
  2. 5K under 20 minutes.

I’m happy to report that I knocked #1 out of the park.  I have cleared the debt completely with the exception of my mortgage.  So, put a big fat check on that one.

The fitness goal didn’t go so well.  Not to make excuses but the baby coming in April, 2 injuries in May and June then Mono in October, these goals just were not in the cards for this year.  And I’m OK with it.  Basically, I’m just pushing the 5K goals out a year.  That leads to the announcement of:

2020: The Year of the 5K!

There are a couple of steps that I have already started toward that end but I’ll go into more detail on those next time.  Until then…C-YA!

 

Spartans, Swiss Days & New Goals

So, its been awhile. Life has a way of getting extremely busy especially during the summers. And add to that I wasn’t able to run the majority of June and I haven’t felt like writing much.

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I was able to do the Spartan Stadion Race. While I wasn’t able to do it as quickly as I would have liked I had a blast doing it. That was mostly do to having someone from to run it with. Dr. Ryan, my chiropractor, did the race with me and was a lot of fun to run with. I probably would have slacked off it I hadn’t been trying to keep up with him. Managed to cut 10 minutes off my time from last year and reinforced that I still don’t know how to climb a rope. One day I will conquer my nemesis the rope!

After the Spartan I started running a the 2 min on/off cycle and only for around 2 miles. Until the end of June when one of the guys, John, goaded me into running with him. We maintained an ok pace, around 10 minute miles but we ran for all 4 miles. Came to find out that he had already done several miles before the group got there and continued for a couple more after. But, it was what I needed.

John also encouraged me to come out to the bike rides as a way to build fitness. So, I thought lets give it another try. Attempt #3 went a lot better. I took the old Schwinn and met up with the group. and it didn’t go too bad. Although, the guys did tell me that I was fighting the weight of the all steel bike and that a newer little bike would be amazing things to both my comfort level and ability to keep up.

The weekend while at a used sports equipment shop I found an aluminum Cannondale from the 90’s. On the first test ride with no adjustments I knew that they guys where right. The Cannondale was so much easier to ride than my Schwinn. So we got it. John had a set of clip-less pedals that he wasn’t using and told me I could have them. I just needed to get cleats and shoes.

Being attached to your pedals is kinda interesting. I feel like it didn’t take as much effort to get the same power per stroke the trade off being when you stop you have to remember to un-clip. If you don’t you slowly fall over. I’m happy to report that I remembered to un-clip before I stopped every time. However, three quarters of the way through the ride after having stopped I forgot to push off and get moving before clipping my right foot back in and slowly fell over on my left. I’m told this is a right of passage that everyone goes through. I was just bruised and had a couple of scraps so I was able to continue. And I dare say that I actually had fun.

I have now purchased a bike jersey and shorts to go along with my shoes. And since the group usually rides on Wednesday’s the jersey is hot pink and the shorts match. Why? Because on Wednesday’s we wear pink!

At the end of July I ran in the Swiss Days 5K with several of my cousins and brother. I knew that there was no way i could stay with my speedster cousins having only been back to running for 3 weeks but I still wanted to put up a decent time. My family did very well. I got 18th in my age group with a time of 28:46. Given that I’m still rebuilding from the injuries to my foot and calf I’m pretty happy.

received_2082643498696906On the way home from the great Indiana road trip we stopped for the night in Albuquerque, NM and I found a great little 5K to run.  The Rudi Cancer 5K.  This is an annual run to benefit cancer research in honor of Kevin Rudi.  Compared to a lot of the runs I do this was very small.  About 60 people, mostly family and friends of the Rudi family.  His mom came and introduced herself to us and was extremely friendly.  Even though most of the field already knew each other they were all very welcoming.  It was one of the most challenging 5k courses I’ve encountered.  The entire first mile was uphill, the second was downhill and then back up for the third.  It was brutal, but a lot of fun.

It has got me re-evaluating my goals for the year. Between injuries, newborn, work, and we are trying to sell our house and find a new one, I’m not sure that my goal of sub-18 5K is reasonable.  I just don’t have the time to train without sacrificing time with my growing family.  So, this year my revised goal is to get my 5K under 24 minutes.  But, don’t think that I’ve given up on my quest for a sub 18, its just going to move to 2020. All the rest of the goals will then push back 1 year.  So it will look like this:

received_476802426218927-12019 5K under 24 minutes
2020 5K under 18 minutes
2021 10K under 40 minutes
2023 13.1 miles under 90 minutes
2025 26.2 miles Under 180 minutes

Due to the longer distances involved I’m going to give myself 2 years for both the half and full marathons.

There is SO MUCH more that has happened since the last post but that will have to wait for another time.

Until then…C-ya!

 

More Injuries and Addiction

I’ve been reading a lot of books on running and the personal stories of various runners.  They have been written by various levels of runners, although they are all faster

and perhaps more serious than I am.  From the instructional 80/20 Running by Matt Fitzgerald and Endure by Alex Hutchinson to the historic Born to Run and Natural Born Heros by Christopher McDougall to the inspirational North by Scott Jurek, and Let Your Mind Run by Deena Kastor, and the combination of inspiration and instruction of Run Forever by Amby Burfoot. Then my personal favorite, the humorous and inspirational The Incomplete Book of Running by the host of NPR’s Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, Peter Sagal.peter-sagal-the-incomplete-book-of-running

All these books have had some great advice and given me things to think about on my own running journey.  While I’ll never be going for an FKT on the Appalachian Trail, or any other trail for that matter, or competing for a chance to podium on an international race.  I’m still extremely surprised when I get a podium in local 5ks and that is usually because they are small races.  It has made me realize that every runner, regardless of level, has a story.  Whether it is a health scare, overcoming addiction, therapy, or any other host of reasons, we all have something that got us started.

But, for all the host of reasons that we get started we all seem to have one thing in common, other than running of course.  The year that no matter what we did we were plagued by injury.  Sometimes it’s not a whole year, sometimes it’s longer.  For some of us it signals an end to running, some come back even stronger.  Almost all of us realize what running means to us and reflect on what running has brought us, especially those who have been doing it for a long time.  I mean what else do we have to do but think about running while we aren’t able to.

All my life I’ve battled things that, according to most, should have stopped me from running. Inflamed growth plates in my heals, the flattest feet known to man, knee problems, a list of injuries three pages long. I was told during my junior year of high school track by a doctor that I should stop running forever due to a back problem. And last but not least, asthma.  And not just the mild variety. As a kid I was as bad as they get.  I could only play outside for a couple hours a day at one point because I couldn’t be out in the pollen for longer than that without my lungs seizing up.

I actually think that the asthma and back issues are what have driven me to continue running for as long as I have.  And even with all the of injuries, most of which came through my own stupidity and lack of self-preservation, I’ve always recovered and carried on.  They have never strung themselves together in any way that would keep me down for more than 3 weeks.

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Unfortunately, I’m not as young and able to heal as I once was.  I talked in my last post about having plantar fasciitis for the second time in my right foot.  That stopped me from running completely for 3 weeks and then, at the advice of my physical therapist Charlie, a very slow return.  I’m very happy to report that my right foot feels amazing.  It’s not completely recovered as I still feel a little fatigue toward the end of 3 mile efforts, but it is less each time out.  I have been using a walk run method again suggested by Charlie of 2 min on and 2 min off.  This has been extremely effective and I’m maintaining an average around 11 minutes per mile.  Given that I walk for a good portion of the run is pretty good. It’s also further pointed out that I have no sense of pace.  Some of the runs are well under 8 min/mile and some are around 9:30. And it’s not that the first run cycles are really fast and then they slow down.  They seem to be random.

donut-1024x1024 About a week ago I went to Tortoise and Hare for the monthly donut run.  I was having a really good run.  I was even gaining on one of the faster runners when it felt like someone stabbed me in the calf.  Luckily, it was at the end of a run cycle, so I stopped and tried to stretch it on the curb, then walk it off.  However, at the next run cycle it was back within a few steps.  Did I stop and head back?  Hell NO!  I adjusted my foot strike to land on my heel and that seemed to help.  So, I soldiered on, albeit a little slower.  It also felt super awkward.  I finished my three miles with a noticeable limp.  Later that day, I found myself in my in-law’s pool swimming laps with a 4 and 6-year-old taking turns riding on my back.  Nothing like swimming with a moving 40 lbs weight on your back.

Over the next couple of days there was a dull nagging pain, so I decided that I should rest it and took 5 days off until the Thursday Arrowhead loop.  Which come to think of it is where the plantar started.  Hmmm…

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Anyway, I was glad to be back running and Coach V even came with Molly in a carrier to walk while we all ran.  I intended to take the 3-mile cut of the 4-mile loop, but during the first 2 min run something stabbed my calf again, but this time the pain was more intense.  I walked the rest of that run cycle and the next trying to stretch as I was walking.  I also decided to turn around at the mile mark and head back.  A smarter person would have turned around right away, but I’m not too bright when it comes to injuries.

The new part is that I noticed some bruising around where the pain was.  Since no good can come of that I called Charlie and will get it looked at tonight.  I fear that he is going to tell me to lay off running for a few weeks again.

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The issue is that it’s going to start getting difficult to be built back up for the Swiss Days race and the speed I would like to do that in if I can’t get back to training soon.  In the meantime, I now have a carrier for my bike, so I can join the group for rides to try to keep\rebuild my fitness.

Coach V and I have been talking about addiction recently.  This have been mostly due to helping a friend who realized that she had a problem and has decided to get some help.  Meaning she must move across country.  So, we helped her sort through, pack and load her stuff into a U-Haul for the move.  We have also talked about the number of endurance runners who have had similar type problems in their lives and how running, in some cases extremely long distances, have helped them manage the addiction and overcome it.  There was an interview once where Robert Downy Jr. claimed that he simply replaced one addiction, namely drugs, with another, going to the gym.  He apparently will go workout 2 to 3 times a day, sometimes more.  Maybe that’s what those runners are doing.  Maybe that is kind of what I’m doing.  I’ve had a couple of issues in the past.  Poker being one of them.  I nearly failed out of Purdue because I was playing so much.  I never viewed it as an addiction because I was able to decide to quit playing one day.  After a letter from Purdue stating that if I didn’t get my grades up they would kick me out and meeting a girl that told me she wouldn’t be interested in someone who failed out of school,  I just stopped and didn’t play again for 3 years.  And I’ve never played with the frequency or stakes that I used to.

A couple of other things developed after poker that I’m not quite ready to go into on a forum that is as public as this, but there were things that replaced poker.  I never thought of them as an addiction, but they could be.  I never got involved with any kind of drugs.  Not for lack of opportunity, just never interested me.  Coach V has suggested that perhaps running is an addiction I have.  According to her I get irritable, moody, and jittery if I haven’t run in a few days.  I don’t think that I’ve taken it to an unhealthy level, but it does explain some things.

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It might be somewhat telling that I’m not scheduled in a road race until the end of July and its driving me a little nuts.  I’m scheduled to do a Spartan Stadium Sprint at the Arizona Cardinals Stadium in a couple of weeks with my Chiropractor, 

so maybe that will take the edge off a little.

Until then…C-YA!