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!

Hot Chocolate & Respiratory Infection III

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Saturday I flew to Indiana with my daughter to get her back to her mom’s place.  Amelia is an incredible flying partner and really a blast to go through airports with.  I had been warned that there were storms going through the Midwest over the weekend and to be prepared for an unexpected overnight stay.  We were met at the airport, I saw them off, and then went back through security to get some dinner and wait at the gait.  While eating I got an alert the flight was delayed.  Not surprising and it was going to be tight but my connection in Chicago was still doable.  I walked around the airport wishing that I could go for a run and periodically swinging by the gate just to check.  Its a good thing I did.  On one of my fly-by’s I saw that we were back to an “on-time” departure.  Got on the plane and settled in with the latest Runner’s World for the short flight.  I always get the latest Runner’s world to read on flights.

In Chicago is where the trouble really began.  The flight was delayed a hal hour, then an hour, then an hour and a half and this continued until my 8:30 flight was delayed until 11:30.  The whole time the gate personnel told us that they didn’t have pilots and where waiting on them to come in.  Finally, the flight canceled.  This was not looking good for the race on Sunday morning.  I got on my phone and quickly re-booked for the 5 am flight and resigned myself to meeting Coach V at the finish line.  American Airline was incredibly unapologetic about the cancellation and didn’t even offer vouchers for hotels.  I was simply told that there was an emergency shelter area set up in Terminal 2.

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O’Hare know how to decorate!

So, after giving the customer assistance people an earful, I went to the shelter area and was shown to a cot.  I think I got a couple of hours of sleep before I had to head back to the gate for my 5 am flight.

I have yet to be very successful sleeping on planes.  I continued to read Runner’s World and watched a movie.

To my surprise we landed a little early.  I called coach V and she was just heading to the start corrals. “You might be able to get here in time” Coach V seemed pretty excited.  And a plan was hatched.

She left my race bib at the information tent right beside bag check.  When I get there I checked my bag, got my number and took off.  I missed the start and they where just about to shut down the start line when I went through like a bat out of hell.  Coach V had a pretty good lead on me and while I knew that she was going to stay with the 14 min/mile pacer I still wanted to catch her as quickly as possible.  I caught up with her after about a mile and a quarter.

After spending the night at the airport, a 4 hour plane ride, and a Lyft to the race site I ran a 9 min mile.  IN BLUE JEANS!

OK, so, I was kinda impressed.

We did the rest of the run together at a walk run interval.  Coach V hadn’t trained for the run very much and being 5 months pregnant I was impressed she did it at all.  But, she REALLY loves chocolate.  Admittedly, it was really good chocolate.  And it was so nice to see her after the night I had.

That race was the middle of “the Taper”.  That magical time before a marathon when you scale back the mileage in preparation for the impending race.  And as the theme has gone for the year I got another respiratory infection.  It started on Thanksgiving day as a mild sore throat which eased off after a couple of days.

Then the cough started.  I tried to deal with it on my own but after a week and reffing a soccer game I decided to head to a doctor.  He confirmed the infection and started me on antibiotics and, my personal favorite, prednisone. Just what I wanted in the week leading up to the marathon that I’m trying to break my PR by over an hour in.

I have been jittery all week.  I’ve been having such a hard time focusing that its taking me 3 days just to write this. I’m not sleeping a whole lot and when I do it isn’t great.  Oh and I’ve reffed 4 of the 5 nights this week.

Yet I’m still hopeful that it will be a good run.  The weather is looking like it will be just about perfect for a run tomorrow.  I’ve been watching my diet this week and avoiding anything fried.  The soccer games mean that I’ve been running 6-8 miles every night but its all stop and go.  Light jogs, followed by standing, followed by full on sprints.  Its actually a lot of fun but mentally taxing.

My goal tomorrow is under 5 hours.  the trip, and Runner’s World, helped me think a lot about my running goals in the next several years. I’ve come up with some pretty aggressive goals over the next 4-5 years but I’ll save those for another time.

Buckeye Marathon

Tomorrow is the Buckeye Marathon.  I’ve never been more prepared for a marathon than I am right now.  Still I’m incredibly nervous and worried that the recent respiratory issues will create a problem.  But, still I’m hopeful.  Assuming I survive I’ll let you know how it goes.

Until then…C-YA!

Virtual races and Spartans

 

 

Wow, so its been a little busy here.  Lots to recap so I’ll just get to it.

 

I have now done 2 virtual runs in the AZ Sunrise series.  The first one I did during the 4 mile Arrowhead Loop Run on Thursday morning.  It was a pretty good run.  finished in 27:22 which is a 8:47 pace.  It really helps to have people that you run with on a regular basis to help pace.  I pushed pretty hard to stay with the lead group for as long as I could.

A couple weeks later we took a short trip to Seattle.  So, with I was up in the cooler weather I did another 5K for the July 7th AZ Sunrise run since I was going to be running a Spartan that day.

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Running in Seattle was great.  Thanks to Coach V’s years up there she knew some good places to run.  She took me to a trail     That was a out and back run with only 1 turn that I had to pay attention for.  I’m calling it a trail because it was heavy wooded with REALLY tall trees but it was paved so no risk of tripping on roots and rocks.  Even though I did it in the afternoon it was beautiful weather for running.  Sunny, warm but not what a guy from Arizona or Indiana would call hot.  I pushed really hard on this one and was rewarded with a 25:46 finish.  Average pace was 8:17 and the first mile was 7:14.  I haven’t had a mile split that fast since high school.  I looked up where that would have put me if I had ran that in the actual race.  I would have been 4th in my age group.  I’m pretty excited by that and am very curious to see what will happened in a week and a half at the next one.

On to the Spartan.  I ran a Spartan Super back in February.  A super is around 8 miles with around 25 obstacles\challenges.  To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t a huge fan of it.  While on the road and trails I’m pretty competitive and have very specific goals that I’m pushing myself to meet I view these kind of runs as just screwing around.  I’m just out there to have some fun.  The Tough Mudders have more that feel to me.  While I do take it seriously, I’m not worried about finishing times and have the most fun when I’m helping others on the course.

Spartan is a little different.  Almost everyone I talked with there was taking it very seriously.  I was criticized for drinking coffee before the race because “the caffeine will make you muscles need more oxygen while your running”.  That’s the first time I’ve ever heard that.  I’ll need to look into sometime.  But, frankly who cares.  I know a lot of runners that have a serious coffee problem.

Des Linden in an interview I think with Runner’s World talks about getting a bag of coffee beans to take home from everywhere she goes on vacations.  And she won the Boston Marathons during the worst weather conditions in recent memory.  She, along with her Husband and another couple run a coffee company, Linden & True Coffee. (https://www.coffeebylt.com/)

Ok, I’ve gone on rants about coffee before so I’ll stop now.

I need a refill anyway.

Anywho…..

This was a Spartan Stadium Sprint which means that it was basically a 5K with 23 obstacles.  I had a blast!  one 2 obstacles that gave me issues. I can’t climb a rope.  I used to be able to but I’ve forgotten how to do it somewhere along the way.  and the “multi-rig” which is just swinging from rings suspended by straps.  The only issue I had is that the rings where so close to the ground that I could reach them while standing on the ground.  So, every time that I swung between rings my feet dragged across the floor.

It took me 1:13:45 to complete. I could have gone a lot faster but since we where winding around the University of Phoenix Stadium I couldn’t tell how far it was between each obstacle or how much more I had left in the run.  So, I keep to a moderate jog to conserve my strength.  Next time I’ll push harder.

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And riding that kind of euphoric, that was pretty easy, feeling I signed up for a Spartan Beast in October.  That will give me an extra “Trifecta” medal.

Yes, I know, I have a running for the bling problem.

Tomorrow I will run my 4th Arrowhead Loop in 4 weeks. which means that I get a doughnut keychain.  I’m really excited about this.

This weekend should be interesting.  I’m on a triathlon team as the swimmer.  I haven’t swam seriously since I was in high school and would swim practices with the girls swim team.  And I’ve never swam like this in open water.  Or worn a wetsuit.

I had a chance at the beginning of the week to go on an open water swim but I got the time wrong.  I was told they where meeting at 4:30.  I assumed PM, they meant AM. Opps!  I’m hoping tomorrow night to go get some laps in at a nearby pool just to see if I remember how to swim.

I haven’t been very good at all with training runs.  As I mentioned I’ve been going to the Thursday morning Arrowhead Loop Runs. I also did a workout with Coach V’s trainer in Seattle, Chris Reilly.  Great workout but it kicked my butt.

I think that after the fairly intense training that I did for the half I needed the break.  Marathon training starts on July 23 and I’ve got a pretty aggressive schedule set up for that.

And now to finish watching England and Croatia!  Until next time C-YA!