Friday, June 28, 2013

1st Marathon Training Begins

Hi all!

I am about to start training for my first marathon, the Detroit Free Press Marathon on October 20.
In many ways, I have been training for over two years for this race, but this will be the beginning of my training geared specifically to this race. I have decided to follow the Hal Higdon "Novice 2" Marathon training. There are several reasons why I am choosing this training course instead of the Intermediate training or another, more intense program which I think I could handle. One main reason is that I want to keep long runs primarily on Saturdays while many of the other runs push you towards Sunday long runs. There were reasons for this on the other programs and I didn't think it would be ideal to mess with this item. Another thing I like about the program I chose is that I has 5 days of activity per week (4 runs, 1 cross training day) rather than 6. I've experienced the best results in my training when I run 4 to 5 times a week and find those rest days essential to recover.

Overall, the idea is to have a long run on Saturday, cross train on Sunday, rest Monday, run various distances Tues - Thurs and rest Friday. I'm sure there will be occasions where I will need to mix it up, but I think this schedule is doable. 


This past weekend I ran the Open Door Julie Run 5k. This is the 5th time out of 6 years running this race, which I participated in a couple times before I really started running again. It is an important race to me, being my first 5k race as an adult, the site of my current 5k PR and it supports the Open Door Outreach Center, which provides food and other assistance to people in my community.

The weather forecasters said that it might rain or even storm, but we ended up with a nice day with a bit of heat and humidity. We arrived fairly early and got our bibs and shirts (both my daughter and I were running) and I walked a couple laps on the track. There was still almost a half hour until race time after my "warmup", so I just kinda wandered around and hung out with the family. My mom was in town and came to the race and was encouraging me to get a massage from the group that was offering them before and after the race. I declined, mostly because I subscribe to the school of not doing anything out of the ordinary prior to a race. In hindsight, I should have gotten that massage and it may have helped.

As race time neared, Princess C and I went to the start line. She thought it was a good time to start messing with me, poking me, stepping on my shoes, etc. She was just trying to tease me, but I was not amused at all. I was trying to get into the right mental space to run and don't like to be messed with at that time. Once I articulated this instead of growling at her, she understood and was much nicer. :) The 10k started first and the we lined up in our spot. Knowing from past events that people don't line up where they should (fast runners in front, slow in back is a concept many cannot grasp), I made sure I was close to the starting line. The starter had the bull horn make a lame noise and we were off.

My legs felt crummy from the start, which was unfortunate because otherwise I felt pretty good. My pace was good to start and through the first half mile and most of the first mile, I was where I wanted to be. (I recall wishing that I had the legs I had just a week earlier during my long run.) I really started to hurt in my sides and back after about a mile and a half and that bothered me much more than my legs. I avoided looking at the watch much, but knew after a couple miles that this definitely would not be a PR day. 

I was frustrated because I felt good as far as my breathing and energy, but there always seems to be a limiting factor to these races and my legs and how my back felt was it this day.


I wrote this post almost a week ago and just finished it up now. Think I'll call it a post and do a fresh one soon. :)

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Two Year Blogiversary

Hey all!

Just noticed that this blog is now two years old!

I don't think I posted as much in the second year as the first, but I haven't run quite as much this year either. Not by design, it has just worked out that way. This blog still serves as motivation to me. While no one is concerned when I don't post for a long period of time, I feel an obligation to do so on occasion. Because of this, it provides a slight incentive for me to continue to run to have something to type about. Every little bit helps.

My last post was about my "slot car running" where I get on track, then get off track with my running. Nothing has changed. When I wrote that post, I was on track. This week, I'm out of the groove and on the carpet again. This time, it was raining / pouring / storming whenever I tried to run. In three "scheduled" attempts during the week, I ran a total of one mile. The one time I got outside, it started to thunder after about a half mile out and I ran home and in a couple circles to get that mile. The other two runs just were completely cancelled. I didn't want to do treadmill and didn't want to do anything else, so I did nuthin'. Probably not the best course of action, but it's what I did. It is too easy for me not to run when things don't go my way. I guess I get credit for not quitting, but not much...

We went to a camp called Spring Hill over Memorial Day Weekend. The whole family went on pretty short notice upon being invited by some friends. This place was cool with a ton of outdoor activities available all weekend. The highlights for me, besides hanging out with my family, were the zip lines. (This isn't us in the video, but one of the zip lines is shown below.

I did get up very early to run on Saturday and went about 3 miles around the camp, checking things out. It was friggin' cold, but a nice, relaxing run. The following day, they had a 5k race scheduled, so you know I was in! I was not in race condition after the running, a ton of walking, zip lines and climbing wall from the day before in addition to little sleep. Regardless, I got up early, tried to get the kids ready to run (they bailed on me) and walked over to the start.

This was a race where I was hoping that I would be dominant as just smoke a bunch of slow, recreational joggers. This was not the case at all. There were a bunch of high school cross country runners and several adults that looked like they could throw down. It wasn't lookng great from a competitive standpoint. This was reinforced by the start, when about a dozen of the runners took off at a near-sprint pace. 

I felt sub-par from the start and had trouble getting into a groove. Sore, tired legs + tired body = slow running. I know I'm not close to the fastest guy out there, but I don't like when people who I think I should be beating end up going faster than me. I struggled along for the first couple miles, but actually picked it up to  near-normal race pace for the last mile. A combination of feeling a bit better and wanting to be done I guess. I did manage to keep ahead of and then pull away from a big pack of people who were closing in on me at the end of the second mile, which I guess was the highlight of this race for me.

My finish time was 25:14. It was hilly, but I was not thrilled with this time. Even so, I figured there was a chance to win some sort of age group award. As the race was "free", I didn't expect much in terms of awards or prizes, but when they announced they would have them, I was hopeful I would win something, as I figured I was still the fastest 30 something. However, the age groups were whack: under 16, 16 to 25, 25 to 45 and 45 & up. (There were also no separate men's and women's awards, just 1st in that age range overall so no women won anything) 25 to 45 is a pretty big range, so I didn't win. Actually, the guy who did win was probably almost 45 - he was surprisingly fast.

Yesterday, I was able to run about 4.5 miles. I almost didn't get to run at all because of rain / storms again, but it cleared up long enough to get the run in. It was not a great run, but at least now I am experienced enough to have an idea why most "bad" runs happen. For this one, I was not well hydrated and had mid-section cramping. Oh joy. 

3 weeks until what I consider my "home race", the Open Door Julie Run. This time last year, I was envisioning this as my first sub-20 min 5k. Now, I would be thrilled with a sub 22:16 PR. Even that will be tough - I think I would have trouble going sub 23 as of this moment. Maybe with 3 good weeks of training I can do it. Just gotta keep it in the groove.