Backwards Routes and Knee Pain

Thursday mornings I have a group that I normally run with. The only issue, well I say that but there at are couple, is that they run a 4 mile loop. This because an issue when your training program calls for 8 to 10 miles. The other issue is that they start at 5:30 am. I’m told this will make more sense once it gets hot here.

So to solve one issue I had to make another worse. I got up at 4:15 AM so that I could run the loop before the group runs it. I do not like getting up that early as Vicky discovered. Anyway I got to the place and ran the loop. Unfortunately, I didn’t finish the first loop in time to meet everyone for my second loop. So, I decided to run the loop backward and just turn around when the main group met me going the other way.

This leads me to a question. Do you have a route that you run so regularly that you don’t have to think about it? Its just so engrained that you seem to finish and wonder, “did I really just finish?”

Now try to do it backward. Its amazingly difficult. At least it was for me. nearly every intersection I started wondering if I was suppose to turn there. It was so disorienting that I thought I must have missed something and was lost.

Fortunately, I wasn’t and the group found me. I turned around and ended up with a 7 mile run instead of the full 8 to 10.

It wasn’t a great run for me. After several weeks of runs getting stronger and faster I finally had a ‘meh’ run. Pace was 10:42 min/mile I had ALOT of knee and calf pain in mile 2 which took me 12:33. Maybe I didn’t get enough sleep the night before, maybe I was just due for a non-steller run. Maybe I have actually done something to my right calf and knee.

I’m moving the weekend long run, 9 miles at 9:45min/mile, to Saturday. Sunday I’m running in a Tough Mudder with Vicky and a friend from Ohio, Adam. It should be a good time since I enjoy these kind of events and Adam is a fun guy to be around. I’ll let you know how the long run and the Mudder go.

Until then….C-ya

Playlists and Half Marathons

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I went on a 4 mile run during lunch again on Tuesday. This was actually the back up plan. I’ve been told about a group that meets at 5:30 am on Tuesday just down the road from my house and runs 4 miles. Unfortunately, I just missed them because I like to sleep. So, I just went to work early and ran over lunch.

It was a pretty good run. Running beside an airport is fun as I mentioned last week. I’m kinda an airplane nut. I was an aircraft mechanic at one point in my career before moving to engineering. I ran 4 miles at an average 9:12 min/mile pace. But I’m kinda inconsistent. Mile 1 was at 8:20; 2 at 10:05; 3 at 9:40 and 4 at 8:40.

I have a couple of thoughts on why. during mile 2 I had a good amount of pain in my calves and right knee. I actually stopped a few times to try to stretch it out. it mostly worked out for mile 3 and by 4 it felt pretty good again.

Also was my playlist. I noticed that when Oh Yeah by Great Big Sea came on my pace increased. It increased a lot. It played at the beginning of the run and again during the last mile. Something about that song just gets me going. Its got a fairly brisk tempo and it drives really hard.

I’ve heard of people tailoring there running playlist to their running tempo but personally never thought much of it. I’m thinking that it might be a good idea. So, I need to figure out how to find the tempo of songs so that I can try to keep my playlist fairly even. I know that I can be influenced a lot by what I’m listening to so maybe this will even out my pacing.

If any of you out there know how to find tempos let me know. Thanks!

The other topic for this post is my training. After a really long search Vicky and I have determined that there are no half-marathons in AZ mid to late May except trail runs. Don’t get me wrong I like trail runs but I wanted to do a road race. We started looking out of state and found one at the end of April in Illinois. I know that’s a long way from AZ but I’m going to be back in the midwest for a little bit at the end of April anyway.

This has presented a new issue. The training program I’m using (Project 1:59) is set to conclude in mid May. Which means by moving up when the race is I need to move up the training. Instead of being on week 2 I should be on week 4.  So, I need to see if I can jump a couple of weeks.  We’ll see how this goes.

Until then…C-ya!

St. Patrick’s Day Runs and Basketball

Kiis me 4K

HAPPY MONDAY!

Ok, so I know that Mondays usually aren’t’ the most fun but it means the start of week 2 for Project 1:59 and I had a great weekend.

So lets start with Saturday. Saint Patrick’s Day. I’ve always found this to be kind of an interesting day. I am of Irish decent, relatively recent even. So on one hand I love this holiday. Its actually one of my favorites in many ways. I love Celtic\Gaelic music. Corned beef and cabbage is one of my favorite meals and its always been the ushering in of spring, at least until I moved to Arizona which never gets to winter.

But on the other side is everyone thinking that the holiday is just about drinking really bad dyed green beer. Don’t get me wrong I enjoy a good beer and there is nothing wrong with whiskey. It is a day of feasting celebrating the life of Saint Patrick but sometimes I feel like the focus becomes the Irish are all drunks. While many of us drink and some do quite abit I feel like this misses the point of celebrating the life of the man who brought Christianity to the Irish people.

OK….enough of that. My celebration of St Patrick started with a 4k run Saturday morning. The Kiss Me I’m Irish 4K in Glendale. 4K is kind of a strange distance but I thought it would be fun as a speed run to see how fast I could go over a relatively short distance.

Despite an equipment problem that caused me to stop twice I did really well. I have been using a little pouch strapped to my ankle to carry my inhaler during races. I’ve had it for almost 15 years and Saturday the elastic finally died. it came undone once and I reattached it. Then again about a quarter mile later it did it again. So I took it off and held it in my had for the rest of the race.

Why don’t I just keep my inhaler in the little pocket that my running shorts have? Well there is a simple answer for that. I run races in a kilt! No, that’s not just a St Patrick’s day thing. I run all my races whether its a 5k, Tough Mudder, Spartan, or marathon starting this year I run in a kilt.

Why do I run in a kilt? Because I can. I also have decided that I really like it. it’s different, except last Saturday, and I have found that I have fewer chaffing issues in it than running shorts. Probably has something to do with airflow.

Anyhizzzle……

I ended up running a 19:40 which works out to 7:55 min/mile and that was good enough for 2nd in the Male 35-39 age group. The idea of placing in my age group is still a new one to me. And before you ask there were more than 2 people in the division. There were 19 of us. So I feel like second is a pretty good accomplishment.

I also developed a theory about the Scottish military and its use of bagpipes. Bagpipes where originally used to convey military orders during battle. and I think I know why the ancient Scottish armies where so formidable. often they went up against an enemy with superior numbers and better weapons. But they were still victorious. The movie Braveheart wants us to believe that they were a fiercer and had more to fight for than those who opposed them. I think they where trying to get away from the bagpipes.

“You want me to fight my way though that larger force with just this sword? Are ye Mad?” Enter the bagpipes. “Right, if I do it will you stop the infernal racket?”

And for some reason over time we have decided that we like it. Its great to run to also.

And with that segue here was the playlist for the run

Oh Yeah; Great Big Sea

Within a Mile of Home: Flogging Molly

Finnegan’s Wake; Songs for Ceilidh (This is a friend of mines band)

Ever Time I Write a Song; Songs for Ceilidh

Screaming at the Wailing Wall; Flogging Molly

Sunday……

I had intended to get up and go on a long run with Vicky on the bike again. Instead I watched basketball. I am a boilermaker. I spent 6 years at Purdue as a student and then lived in the Lafayette Indiana area for another 8. So I watched the Purdue-Butler game. And nearly died. That was a hard fought, hard played game on both sides. it was Indiana basketball the way it should be. Fortunately if your a Purdue fan Mathis hit that 3 near the end. But Butler has nothing to be ashamed of there, it was a great game by 2 fantastic Indiana teams.

I then watched Michigan State fall to Syracuse and Texas A&M make UNC look like a junior college team.

Finally at 5:30 we headed out for the 8 mile pace run as the training schedule calls for. As usual I started too fast although I got it under control pretty fast. I’m teaching Vicky how to analyze running form and she even took a video of me running.

As I understand it a runner should be close to symmetrical. the arms should swing the same amount and be held in a similar position. there shouldn’t be excessive head movement and it shouldn’t be head perfectly still either. Feet should hit in the same spot on the foot and for the same duration.

I’ve got a couple of little issues.

I hold my left shoulder higher than my right. My left arm stays tucked in while my right swings out and the movement in general is more exaggerated. I know that My left shoulder has some issues and I’m actually in therapy for it. Hopefully that helps even that out some.

I’m actually a little more concerned about my legs and feet. I hit fairly flat on my left and up on my toe on my right. I think this is causing my right calf to be tight and actually have some veins that bulge when I run. I’ll probably get this looked into more after my shoulder.

But it was a good run that finished with a trip to a pizza place so I can’t complain. I ran 8.22 miles in 1:21:57 which is a 9:59 pace. the training plan’s goal was a 10 min/mile so I stayed pretty close.

Up this week is a Tuesday 4-8 mile run, Thursday 6-10 and Sunday 7 miles at a 9:55 pace. Sunday may not happen since I’m running a Tough Mudder that day which is around 11 miles with obstacles. We’ll see. I also plan on going on a couple of bike rides and some weight training. Until then C-ya!

8 mile

Coffee and Lost Shoes

Tursday Group

First I’m going to apologize for this little rant that I’m about to go on but it has really started bugging me recently.

I love coffee. I believe that it is natures perfect beverage. Jordan Syatt of syattfitness (you can find him on Instagram and YouTube) refers to it as magic unicorn blood. There are many beneficial properties. So, I drink a lot. I mean ALOT everyday. Somewhere around 14 cups, because that’s how big my pots is. I could make a second pot I guess and drink even more but that would just be ridiculous.

However….

Recently anytime I mention the amount of the magic unicorn blood that I drink people get worried about my hydration. “You know that caffeine is a diuretic so you need to drink twice as much water to make up for it.” is a line that I’ve been hearing.

While part of that line is true caffine CAN cause diuresis, long term users of caffeine develop a tolerance to this effect and experience no increase in urinary output. (Armstrong LE, Casa DJ, Maresh CM, Ganio MS (July 2007). “Caffeine, fluid-electrolyte balance, temperature regulation, and exercise-heat tolerance”. Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews.)

That is talking specifically about caffine though which is only one part of coffee. another major component is water. Water hydrates the body, kinda by definition. Even to the casual drinker who has not built up a tolerance to the diuretic effect of caffinee coffee gives more water than it takes. According to a study by researchers at the University of Birmingham in the U.K. (No Evidence of Dehydration) there is no evidence of a link between dehydration and coffee. in fact the study that lead most to believe there was is from 1929 and consisted of a study of only three people with very little in the way of controls on the study.

So, coffee lovers drink up!

Ok…now that’s off my chest, back to the running.

I mentioned previously that I was thinking about getting up early to do some miles before my group run on Thursday. This was to stay in line with the Project 1:59 Training program I’m following. So I actually did! I was kicked out of bed at 4:30 in the morning went to the Starbucks that we met at and ran 2 miles before the group got there. I ended up going 6.02 in 55:29 which means I averaged a 9:13 mile. I am SO EXCITED by this and my other run this week. I thought I was an 11 minute miler and that it would be a hard push to get under 10.

When I got home from the run disaster struck, although I didn’t know it yet. I showered and got ready for work, put my order absorbers in the sun. Apparently this helps “recharge” them. and left for work. Unaware of the tragedy that had occurred. When I got home we went and got my old bike from the shop. It needed a tune up after the move to AZ and went on a short 3.5 mile shake down ride. The bike is in great shape by the way.

It was when I got back from that short ride that I realized I couldn’t find my running shoes. I searched for about an hour before admitting to Vicky and her 3 year old son that I couldn’t find them. The three year old then loudly proclaimed, “I know where the are!” and ran out of the room. Hopeful that he had actually seen them I eagerly followed him into my closet. He then turned, looked at me and said “I don’t know where they are. I’ll help.” We proceeded to look around the house. Under every bed, couch, pile of laundry (it was laundry night), even in the garage and my truck. Alas the shoes appeared to be lost. And with a race on Saturday I didn’t want to run in an untested pair.

Side note: thanks to runningaroundwithlindsey I’m running the Kiss Me I’m Irish 4K. which is appropriate because I am in fact Irish. I’ll let you know how it goes.

I went to bed wondering what I could have possibly done with them. Maybe someone broke into to the house and took them. Who steals shoes and nothing else anyway? Of course if they also took some socks I’m not sure I’d notice. I have a minor sock problem.

In the morning the search continued. Rechecking all the places I checked the nigh before. Then just as I was about to give up there they were. On a shelf below my t-shirts.

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Seriously?!? I had been within inches of them multiple times. Why would I have put them there? What was I thinking?

With the crisis of the missing shoes over I finished getting ready for work.

I think I’m going to go get some more coffee….C-ya!

Running and Dunkin Donuts

On Thursday’s I met up with a group of like minded crazy people in the parking lot of a Starbucks and we all go run 4 miles; at 5:30 am; in the dark. Which means at 5 am my alarm goes off and I have to will myself out of a nice, warm, cozy bed. Put on my night running gear, make the actually short trip to the Starbucks, and the NOT GET COFFEE! Which just seem ludicrous to me. I may have a small coffee problem. I only drink 10-14 cups a day. That’s just one pot because two pots would be ridiculous.

But I digress….

So, this Thursday I barely got there in time. I missed the group photo that is taken every week. (I think its just so that they can prove they did it) I snuck in behind them just as they were taking off. That did startle a couple of them which amused me. I fell in with a couple of ladies who where talking about everything under the sun (which still wasn’t up yet). I let their conversation distract me as I ran and listened to Britney, Clapton, DMB, Zeppelin and Trombone Shorty. Eventually I joined in and admitted that I haven’t been through a Phoenix summer yet. Which got the standard “just wait, your going to die out here” to which I told them I’ve been through several Georgia summers that where 120+ degrees F (~50 C) PLUS 85%-90% humidity. I think I’ll be ok.

Around the end of the run one of them thought we should kick to the finish so the people who where faster and waiting on us would think that we were running really hard. So I sprinted to the finish. For some reason, no matter how far the run, how fast my pace is, or how tired I am I have always been able to sprint at near 100 m dash speed at the end. In high school cross country the kick even had a scream associated with it and I dropped it down into the sprint for your life gear. I have managed to stifle the scream but I can still kick like none other.

I knew that we kept a brisk pace and that they where pushing me. I was a little surprised I had enough reserve left to sprint as much as I did. for those who have read the post about Tuesday I thought that was my speed day keeping a 9:29 min mile average over 2 miles. Once I looked at my watch I did a double take. I just did 9:19 min mile average over 4 miles. This tells me two things. Thing number one, running with people can push me alot more than I thought. Thing number two, I need to rethink how fast I should be going.

The run was over, I was feeling pretty good and ready for my Starbuck reward. Then we walked to Dunkin Donuts. I’m still a little confused by this but they have coffee so I was happy.

I also want to give a shout out to my 2 followers: thedancingrunner who has a blog you should go check out and my fiance Vicky. Which I didn’t tell I was doing this. She is the main reason that I have been managing to get up and go running at ungodly hours. She is also super supportive of my running goals.

Hopefully, I can get a couple of runs in this weekend.  Until then C-ya!

Early Morning and Coyotes

Tuesday morning the alarm went off at 5 am. After 10 minutes of convencing myself that I really should get up and run I finally dragged myself out of bed and put on my running gear. This time I included my Zephyr Fire 300 made by Nathan (pretty serious running flashlight). Armed with a flashlight and a really reflective shirt I fired up Britney (don’t judge) and took off into the darkness.

For living in a fairly major metropolitan area its really dark at 5:30 in the morning. I’ve decided that Tuesdays are speed days so I only ran 2 miles but I tried to go faster than I felt comfortable. I held a 9:29 min mile average, which I feel pretty good about. It was a good run but I encountered something that I wasn’t real sure what to do about.

My neighborhood over the past several weeks has been having a little bit of a coyote issue. mostly just a lot of sighting and people being scared for their pets. Being a farm boy from Indiana I’m no stranger to coyotes. I’ve even seen them on runs in the countryside before. Generally as soon as they see a person they take off the other way.

Arizona coyotes are different.

I turned a corner and there where 3 sets of eyes about 50 ft away from me. And instead of turning and running off they just stared at me. Probably as confused as I was. They didn’t make a move toward me or away, which I would have preferred. They just sat there. Which got me to thinking. what would I do if they decided that I was a good looking meal. the Zephyr has an alarm feature that is seriously high pitched. Maybe that would scare them off? But nothing happened and I live to run another day.

Until then C-ya!

The Journey Begins

Thanks for joining me!

I am a runner. At least I’m trying to be. This is going to be a space where I will document my journey toward the Hot Chocolate Phoenix 15K, Buckeye Marathon and Estrella 10k/5k challenge races in December of 2018. That will be 44 miles of racing in 3 weeks.

So, a little bit about me. I’m 37, living in Glendale, AZ (Phoenix Metro Area), I’ve been running off and on most of my life but never very seriously, at least not since high school cross-country. Its time to become more serious!

I’ve also recorded a vlog where I’ll talk about how my runs and training things are going and whatever else pops into my head while I run.

As I say in the video, it was a good trail run. The trails out here are a little more rugged than my home state of Indiana. But that a good thing I think. I’m not sure that starting to run again on a trail was the greatest idea but it wasn’t bad. Trails are interesting since you have to balance between watching you footing and looking at the scenery. So I’ll leave you with that. C-ya next time!

3-4 Trail Run

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton