Sunday, August 31, 2008

Did you brush your teeth?

First, I have to give a big shout out to a work buddy of mine. He and his wife made the journey to Virginia Beach, VA, this weekend to run in today's Rock and Roll Half Marathon. He started losing weight at about the same time I did (info about my weight loss is here), and has completed two half marathons in the past year! Nice job, buddy! We ask each other just about every day, "Did you brush your teeth this morning?" What we mean by that is, "Did you workout this morning?" The idea is that workouts are as essential to our health and well-being as hygiene. It sure is shameful to admit to not brushing your teeth!!! I know he "brushed his teeth" this morning because I saw his results at Congrats!

Yesterday's results from Monte Sano can be found here and for those interested in Limestone County finishers, be sure to check out the North Alabama Runner blog. I was a tad off in what I reported yesterday. I came in the 10k at 45:37 (7:21/mi) and in the 5k at 22:24 (7:14/mi). I really hope to run a 42 minute 10k and a 20 minute 5k before the marathon. I've run a 20 minute 5k in my training for Cotton Row and my basebuilding for marathon training. I just need to put that together on a race day. A 42 minute 10k is gonna take some work.

Well, I'm off to run the Nike+ Human Race.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Monte Sano 10k and 5k, 2 PR's in One Day

Today's races were a blast. I love the festive atmosphere of a race that size. And there were TONS of young people in the 5k. They looked like high school cross country runners. That was awesome to see. I wish I had run more when I was younger.

When the results are posted, I'll link them in a post. And you can usually find North Alabama area race results here. I especially like her blog, North Alabama Runner, because she summarizes the results of Limestone County runners. Nice service.

Well, I shouldn't have said anything about a target pace in my last post. I didn't even come close to 7:00. In fact, I didn't even hit ONE, no not ONE, split at 7:00.

For the 10k...
7:11; 7:05; 7:38 (I'll explain this one later); 7:22; 7:28; 7:25; and 1:31 on the last 0.2, for about a 45:44. I'll have to look at the official results to see. I totally forgot the number that was posted after the race. But that's according to my trusty Timex.

For the 5k, I missed my split button, on the first and last mile, but this is about what I had, if memory of the split callers serves correctly.
7:16; 7:09; 7:20; and about 0:39 for the last 0.1. I think I came in at 22:24.

So for the 7:38 3rd mile in the 10k... My knee really started acting up. I stopped and walked at least 3 different times during that mile. I probably walked at least 200 yards during that mile, so I'm happy that the damage to the time wasn't worse than 7:38. I thought I was going to have to quit, and I was getting angry. If you passed me during this time and heard me yelling, I wasn't yelling at you! :) I was saying, "Stop hurting!" (as if that would really make it stop hurting). After that, the pain went completely away.

There is good news on this front! I think my right foot has been landing wrong and that's causing, or at least exacerbating the problem. The right side of my right foot tends to immediately turn outward when my heel strikes. I started focusing on landing with the toes of my right foot pointed straight ahead, and the pain went completely away. I hope the solution is really that simple. It did slow me down a bit, but not because it's harder to run that way, but because I was focusing more on landing the foot better than I was on my pace.

Oh yeah, BIG props to my partner. Today was his first 10k and his first 5k. We carried 4 PR's back to Athens with us! We've run several miles together, and there have been days that I may have skipped a workout if he weren't going to be there waiting for me. I may have nagged him enough that he'll run Rocket City with me.

And another big props to another training buddy who let me beat him in the 10k, but would have none of it in the 5k. He's just a machine. He ran another 5k lap between the races. I should have joined him instead of loading up on bananas and watermelon. Maybe I would have run the 5k better. He was way out in front of me in the 5k, and the only way I'll ever beat him in a race is if he lets me!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Races tomorrow!

I'm updating early today. I hope this is the last unplanned day off from running in my training. I'm aiming for 7:00 pace in both races tomorrow. That's probably optimistic, but I'm trying to become an optimist!

The scale was very unkind this morning. Up 5lbs this week???? One of my training buddies would just say, "chubs." Well, I'm not where I want to be, but I'm better than I was!

Today was an upper body workout. I don't see how this will help my marathon training, but it can't hurt and it may keep my upper body from shriveling to nothing. I'll probably back off to two resistance days a week during most of the training.
  • 3 sets of 15 dumbbell bench presses, 55 lb dumbbells.
  • 3 sets of 15 leg raises on the ab bench (Actually, it was 18, 15, and 16. I really wanted to do 3x20, but I just couldn't squeeze out those last few reps. Ugh, those are hard.)
  • 3 sets of dips (12, 10, and 12)
  • 3 sets of 25 inclined ab crunches
  • 3 sets of 12 military dumbbell presses, 35 lb dumbbells.
  • 100 ab crunches on the Swiss ball
As I left the gym this morning, one of my buddies there said a small thing that was pretty encouraging. He said, "See you next week." He expects me to be there next week! He will be. We don't workout together or anything (He's WAY stronger than me!); we just chat between sets. But he's already made his decision to work out next week, and he expects that I have, too. That's the key. You don't decide daily to workout. The decision must already be made before the alarm chimes at dark:30 AM. You make the decision once and then just behave according to the decision you've made.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

A Hindrance?

Tonight, I just realized that there may be a hindrance to my marathon training that I didn't think about. College Football. How can I get in bed on time when there's football on Thursday nights? How can I eat right on Saturdays when I'm around chicken wings, ribs, chips, dip, cookies, etc. And since Saturday is my long run day, I just KNOW that I'll justify all of those bad foods. I can hear it now... On the third Saturday in October, while I'm watching BAMA beat up on Tennessee with my favorite fellow BAMA fans, I'll say, "I ran 18 miles this morning, so I can have 10 extra meatballs, 2 more brownies, and drink Coke to wash it down." My discipline will be tested this fall!

On to today's workout...

45 minutes on the elliptical. I went at it pretty hard with sweat flying across the gym, but it still isn't close to the same as running. I also walked around the track at Athens High with my daughters. They wanted to jog some, so I obliged. No knee pain. More importantly, they made it all the way around the 1.5 mile track without a single complaint! I was so proud of them! Erin even wants to train for a 1 mile fun run again sometime soon.

I'm still taking tomorrow off from running to be sure. Hopefully I can run well on Saturday on Monte Sano.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Missed a Tempo workout

The schedule for today called for...
  • 2 miles at 7:25 pace (Goal Pace, unrealistic, I know, but I'm aiming high)
  • 2-3 miles 7:03 pace (Tempo Pace)
  • 2 miles at 7:25 pace (Goal Pace)
Instead, because of my knee... I did no cardio. Slacker, I know. Today's workout was...
  • Racquetball drills to warm up (no footwork drills, just strokes)
  • 3 sets of overhand grip pull-ups. 12, then 10 and 10. I wish I could do 3 sets of 12 or 15.
  • 3 sets of 15 bent dumbbell rows (50 lb dumbbell)
  • 3 sets of 10 upright dumbbell rows (25 lb dumbbell)
  • 3 sets of 25 back extensions
  • 3 sets of 15 oblique twists using the pulley
  • 3 sets of 15 weighted side bends (50 lb dumbbell)
I should have done cardio, I know. I just ran out of time, and gave the back workout priority. I'll go at the bike tomorrow. I really needed a back workout because it's been about two weeks since I did one. I don't want my upper body to shrivel up while marathon training. My arms are already scrawny enough now!

I need to figure something else out for the pull-ups, though. I already have a symmetry problem and those are exacerbating it. While my right arm doesn't look like Rafael Nadal's left arm, the difference between my right and left may be more pronounced than the difference between his left and right. I need to work my lat and biceps without allowing my right arm to cheat and do more of the work. Suggestions anyone??

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Day 3

No running today. I'm resting, stretching, icing my knee, and taking NSAID's.

Today's workout was supposed to be 4 miles and 4 x 100 m strides.

Instead, I did 30 minutes on an elliptical and weights. (elliptical != running)
  • 3 sets of 16 walking lunges with 2 x 35 lb dumbells
  • 3 sets of 15 squats with 205 lb barbell
  • 3 sets of 15 leg extensions #9 plate.
  • 3 sets 20 leg raises on the ab board (I hate these, so they must be good for me.)
  • 3 sets of 25 weighted crunches
Then, this afternoon, I played a match of tennis. I know, tennis is horrible cross training for distance running because of the sudden start-stops and the hard surface. But I committed to this league back in the spring and I need to finish up and honor my commitment. I did take it easy, and there was no pain in my knee at all. Besides, I LOVE racquet sports, especially racquetball. I'm not ready to give up racquetball just yet, but I will when my mileage increases to 18 on the long run and near 50 total for the week.

Hopefully I didn't lose any conditioning today.

Monday, August 25, 2008

First workout, first injury

Well, I'm not off to a good start. My plan for today was...
15 minute warmup
4 x 1 mile at 6:42 or better (3 minute rest between)
15 minute cool down

During my warmup, I started limping a bit. There was pain on the outside of my right knee. I walked it off, and the pain went away. I ran my first mile in 6:23. No pain at all! Then I ran my second mile in 6:29. Slight pain on the last quarter. Then, I began the third mile. While making a turn on the first quarter, it felt like a gremlin jumped out of the ground and stabbed me on the outside of my right knee! I stopped. I wanted to finish the workout, but limping through it wouldn't have done any good. It probably would have done more harm than good. So, I walked the 1.7 miles home from the track. There was no pain while walking. A quick google suggests that it may be ITBS. It makes sense because I've been running on slanted surfaces (sides of crowned roads).

So, I'm planning on stationary bike and weights for the rest of the week. Hopefully, I'll be ready for Monte Sano on Saturday.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Day 1!

Well, my marathon training has begun! Day 1.... Rest. Got it. Check. This marathon training thing is easy! Well, it gets harder, I'm sure. But, everything I've read says that rest and recovery are just as important as workouts, so I'm resting today!

And, I did do a long run yesterday (10 mi.). I averaged 7:33 per mile on that long run, so I think I have my base under me to begin training. The first long run is a 10 miler Saturday, Aug. 30. Instead of a long run on that day, I am going to run the Monte Sano 10k and 5k. That's 15k or 9.3 miles. By the time I warm up and all, I should be at 10 miles for the morning. And I'll probably run that a little harder than I would a normal long run around the neighborhood, so I'll count it as my long run.

Oh, and by the way, did you see the Olympic marathon last night? AMAZING!!! 2:06:32???? And also a nice job to get 2 USA top 10 finishes. Nice job by Dathan Ritzenhein and Ryan Hall.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

A few plugs before I begin

Just what is this race I'm running? Check it out at Go ahead, you know you want to sign up, too! Actually, I haven't signed up yet, but I will before the price goes up.

What's my training plan? Find it here. I'm shooting for 3:30, so I'm following the advanced plan on that page.

Every more experienced runner tells me that I'm insane for setting a time limit goal for my first marathon. Perhaps I should listen. But I just can't convince my self NOT to set some sort of pace goal. An 8:00 mile pace even seems slow to me, but I have to respect the distance.

My gear? Simple. A pair of Asics GT 2130 shoes, a Timex Ironman stopwatch, and a Nike+ for my iPod nano. You can get all of that at Fleet Feet Sports in Huntsville. Shop there. It's a great store with great gear, and best of all, GREAT customer service.

Friday, August 22, 2008

If I can...

That guy in the pictures wants to run a marathon. Really. That's me. That's me at 5'11", 238 lbs. I don't want to say that "if I can, anyone can" because I don't know everyone's situation. I make no excuses for my previous physical condition, but others who are not in great physical condition may have good reasons for that. I got to be 238 pounds by eating indulgently and being lazy.

To be sure... I'm not beginning my marathon training at 238 lbs. I've since lost some 70 lbs. This morning the scale read 167. It has taken me some two years to lose that weight. And I didn't lose the weight by running. I didn't really start running until this year.

So, how did I do it? One day I'm going to write a book on how I lost 70 lbs. Naaa, it wouldn't sell. I lost 70 lbs. by eating healthier and exercising more. Really, it's that simple. We know that vegetables, fruits, and whole grains are good. We also know that fried, processed, sugary foods high in saturated fat are bad for us. Most people who don't eat much of the fried, processed, sugary foods and combine that with exercise will maintain a healthy weight.

So here's a couple of "after the weight loss but before the marathon training" pictures. Training starts in two days.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Before the beginning...

Does the world need another runner's blog? Probably not. But I don't always consider whether something is needed before I create it. At worst, it's superfluous. At best, it can encourage someone somewhere to eat better and get more fit. Maybe someone somewhere will be inspired to finish a 5k, 10k, 13.1, or... dare I say... even a 26.2 miler after reading this blog. Naaa. Probably not.

Why am I doing this? I used to HATE to run. Before this spring, I had never run more than 3 miles at any one time. And I hated everyone of those miles every time, too. I've been heard to say things like, "I'll never run unless someone is chasing me." One of my buddies got into running and entered a half marathon. When he told me what it cost, I told him to give me $75 and I'd give him a t-shirt and time him while he ran 13.1 miles. I just didn't get it.

But something has clicked. I have no idea how or why. But now I LOVE to run. I get frustrated if schedule or injury keeps me from running. I run on grass, roads, trails, tracks, and treadmills!

So what's this blog about? I've decided to train for the Rocket City Marathon in Huntsville on December 13, 2008. I'm going to tell the world (and myself) when I workout and when I slack. I'm sharing my training. Training doesn't start until August 24, so over the next few days, I'll give some of my background.

I do hope you enjoy. But more than that, I hope I enjoy. :)