Tuesday, November 3, 2009

New York Marathon Blog

So I have had a couple of days to digest everything that occured Sunday and will try to give a decent replay of how it all went down. I will preface this by saying it was everything I would have possibly imagined and so much more. Hope you enjoy reading....

The dinner the night before was cool. I did not really enjoy the food, but the company and the atmosphere really made it feel like a party. It was really needed the day before a marathon. I had come down with something a few days before, and took it really easy on Saturday. With my tour guide (hey Ria!) I went to the expo (which I could write an entire blog on...so much awesome runner gear and amazing people), grabbed some hot dogs and chilled until the dinner. Afterwords, I went back to my room and was treated to a really spectacular fireworks display that was viewed perfectly from the 15th floor window. What a great way to get mentally ready.

I knew I was not going to sleep much. I doubt many people do the night before a marathon. There was also a time change so I was even more concerned about getting up on time. I set my phone, my watch, and the room clock. I woke up before they went off, but it helped me get a little piece of mind.

My departure was from the Statten Island ferry side.  I had some issues getting there, but it was all minor (overall, I give the public transportation in New York City a B+). Once I was on the ferry headed towards Staten Island, the nerves really started to hit. We went right by the Statue of Liberty and it really started hitting home as I looked back and saw just how far away Manhattan was. This was really going to happen.

Ft. Wadsworth on the Island was a little difficult to navigate. I spent a lot of time wandering around trying to figure out where to go. I probably ended up walking a couple of miles before the start of the marathon getting to where I needed to be. The weather was cooler than I thought it would be, but I knew by the time the first couple of miles had gone by, I would be feeling temperature perfect.

The line-up for the third wave was interesting. They had us all corraled according to our projected finish times and I was near the end. In hindsight, it worked out well with having the dodge fewer people at the beginning, than the other waves. We all ended up below the top tier and running under a roof over a body of water is kind of eerie. More on that in a second. As we made it to the start, there was a little confusion about where the line was. It took care of itself in a hurry, and off I went.

The incline was pretty solid for the first several hundred yards. The mixture of people and tempos was hard to comprehend. Things spread out pretty quick, and even though I was constanly dodging and avoiding people, I was able to get up to speed relatively quickly.

After about the first 3/4 of a mile, I really started to feel the solitude that comes from the distance. I looked at the water down below and could feel the bite of the cold wind coming off the water. The thought actually went through my head 'what the hell have I gotten into?'. The feeling would quickly fade though as I made my way off the bridge into Brooklyn.

I have always been a pretty big fan of NYC. Everytime I have ever visited, I have been intoxicated by the energy and the vast array ethinicities. I was reminded of this in a hurry as soon as I headed into the first residential section. The Brownstones that lined the roads where as picturesque as any photos I have ever seen. So many people just sitting out on their stoops. Cheering, waving, and yelling for people as they went by. Little kids holding their hands out to high five. The occasional person handing out paper towels to the runners so we could wipe off our faces and bodies from the accumulated perspiration. It really took me awhile to take in all the wonderful things that were happening.

I believe it was around mile 4 the the other lane of runners joined up with ours. So the later runners of the 2nd wave were on one side, and the third wavers were on the others. We headed down a street lined with many places to eat and watering holes. Their were people cheering  pretty much from one side to the other. There were the first of many bands. I could smell all the wondeful food and the first pangs of hunger really started to echo in my stomach. I wished I had had more than half a bagel with peanut butter....

At the 4 or 5 mile marker, I took some water and tried the Gatorade Endourance (I tried some at the expo and like it a lot, so I took a chance. It is has now earned its way into my training plan). It didn't do much for my hunger, but taste great all the same. I ways down the road I saw a guy running with a huge eiffel tower model on his upper body. I actually took out my camera phone and took a picture while I ran (sorry Jon....how often to do you see a guy running with an eiffel tower). The picture is bad, but I will try to post it later.

About this time, I started experimenting with turning the Ipod off and just trying to enjoy the support. It worked fairly well....maybe a little too well. It became hard to not push. There are all these people out on a Sunday cheering on a bunch of people that can't win and that they don't know. Yet there are out there giving you this warm aura. It became really hard not to give what I could. Whenever I had the chance I would high-five a child or adult of they stuck their hands out. It was like a drug....I just wanted to do it more and more. The other problem that comes from this, is the topography of the streets. They tended to incline towards the outside edge and so it felt pretty uneven.

I kept making my way and was feeling good about my tempo, thought I was a little slower than a 10 minute mile, and I was, but the pace felt ok (I never really felt "in a groove" the whole marathon....just too many people). I was really quite pleased up until around mile 10. That is where the level of exertion really started to grind me down.

I am sorry...but I have been writing for a long time, and I can barely keep my eyes open. I will finish tomorrow morning....


As I stated last night, around mile 10, I could really start to the feel the burn and the energy leaving my body. I was a little too excuberant with the crowd interaction (which I wouldn't take back for anything) and the weaving to avoid people started to take its toll. I actually turned on the Ipod so I could try to conserve as much energy as possible. Things get keep getting slower and taking longer. The seconds soon started to feel like minutes and the minutes were beginning to feel like hours. It seemed the water/Gatorade stations were the big things that I was trying to look forward to for motivation. The crowd still helped, but it was getting more and more difficult to keep pushing.

One of the interesting things about the marathon is the timing system. They have timing sensors every 5K and then at the half-way mark. Then I believe they go every mile starting later in the race. It has the added benefit and stress of allowing those that want to follow you online to see your progress (and by mile 13 the slow down of progress) so I had that going in the back of my head. It seemed although my brain wanted to keep my tempo, my legs really did not want to oblige. I knew the Queensboro Bridge was in my future...and it was not going to be pretty.

Most people you talk to about the marathon have the bridge in mind when you are talking about details. I had had many people warn me about the perils of the bridge and I really tried to take it all in stride, but I am here to tell you that it was even more daunting than anything I had heard. You come around a corner and there it is...you are at the base and you can't even get a great sense of how high and long it is going to be. The pace of the entire group slowed rapidly. I tried to dodge and shift the hordes that had slowed down to a walk but after about a minute I just couldn't do it anymore. There was a searing pain in my left quad close to my knee. I don't think it could possibly be the IT Band, but wow was it excruciatating. I mixed in a good amount of walking and slow jogging to get to the crest of the bridge, but even when I was at the top, I couldn't get the pain to subside and ended up walking a good chunk of the level part. After a few minutes I gradually was able to work my pace up to a respectable clip, but the damage had been done.

After the curve to leave the bridge, the crowd noise was not quite what I had hoped, considering that the spectators were now more packed in. But no matter. I was now in Manhattan for the first time...

The streets were quite a bit wider so there wasn't quite that feeling of one that I had felt through most of Brooklyn and Queens. I kept chugging along, knowing that the pain in my leg was not getting better...but to be honest...it wasn't getting worse....just had to keep going....

There was this one porta-potty station after just leaving the bridge and I thought it would be a good time to stop. I was hoping it was the only stop I would need to make. Without being too graphic, the bathrooms definitely left something to be desired and I just gave up. This ended up being a great development, because starting after a bathroom stop is something that I am not good at. Although at the end of the run I would feel not so great about it, it really was a stroke of luck...

I got back into my little rythm and although it was slower than I wanted, and it hurt, I was able to make some peace with it. I had to mix in some walking here and there just to keep my legs going and at the water stations in order to get in all down. I had one of my gels and I was so hungry it was quite good.

I ended up drinkin way too much water and Gatorade throughout...but I think it helped me get to the end. All of the volunteers were so friendly and cheerful at each stop. One of my favorites, which was in the teen mileage I think, had sponges with soapy water. It was nice to clean my hands and just feel a little fresher. Way to go Poland Springs Water. You guys rock.

After what seemed like an eternity, I made my way over another much shorter bridge into the Bronx. It seems like they really get the short end of the stick when it comes to being represented, but no matter. At the base of the bridge there was a huge monitor showing runners themselves if they taped messages at the expo. I kept reading over and over again trying to figure out why everyone said the same thing....yeah they didn't...it was just different faces....but I was so far gone I didn't notice. Coming off this bridge were some nice people handing out chocolate. By the time I realized what it was, I was already to far to grab some. It would have been tasty.

There were some little rollers that didn't seem to last too long and it was over one more bridge (Madison Ave.) back into Manhattan. This bridge took a little toll out of me. And if memory serves, at the base of this one was a video showing use coming at the screen. I looked up....and that really did not help my sense of balance, so I didn't bother trying to wave and find myself. It was a neat idea though....

Back in Manhattan, the pain really started to sink in. I walked through the water station and took two cups of the Gatorade and just tried to get my stride right will walking. It was very difficult and I gave up after a few minutes and went back to my hobbled jog. I figured things couldn't look much worse and I was moving a bit faster with the jog.  The crowds seemed bigger, but a little less vocal than those in Brooklyn, but it still helped tremendously.

I never really hit the wall...it was more just a gradual decline in my speed and form although in hindsight, I did ok. Most of my miles were fairly even in between 20 and 23. I just could not seem to get momentum going. At no point did I feel like I couldn't push through....I just could go fast enough...which for me...is an important distinction.

After what felt like a week, I could see Central Park again. I did not have anyone with me on the trip, but my new friend Ria's children were hoping to park it at mile 23 and so I looked for them from 22 on to about 24. (There were some issues with the tracking system that notified people my text where the runners were so we never did meet up). It was probably good so have something so mundane to obsess about. I ended up taking an orange wedge from someone handing them out...it was quite delicious.

Around mile 23.5 I was really having a hard time not focusing on the searing pain coming from my left leg. I crested a small hill and decided to walk it out a little more when I heard a New Yorker say something to the affect: "Don't walk....get running!" and because I am a people person I did...probably saved me 2 minutes off my time. I love this city.

Once I was a bit after 24, I knew this was it. My journey was almost over. The crowds were now three to five rows deep and there was a nice decline so I new if I was going to finish strong, I had to nut up and just go. It took a long time to get pushing, there was a deep decline that really started me going, I pushed harder and harder and finally hit what felt like my peak. I put the Ipod on a tune from the Spirit of the Marathon that always gets me. Seeing all the people and the rush of what was about to be over, I admit...I welled up a little bit....it is hard to describe the emotions mixed in with the pain and the exhaustion. It all just gets to be overwhelming, when you think of all the hundreds of thousands of people pulling for you and wanting you to finish this journey. I found I was going faster and faster, by the time I hit mile 25 I was at my fastest pace of the marathon. It felt like I was flying my the crowds and really many of my fellow marathoners that were laboring to finish. I moved to the left, back to the right, in order to give people as much room as possible. I tired to stay as far left as I could and that seemed to be the best path. As I was nearing 25 and a half I heard a man shout: "Way to finish strong!" and it pushed me more. They tease you with markers baring 25 then 25 and a half and 26. A ways after the half, when I was almost completely gone I made the final turn back into Central Park. The small incline I had mocked the night before that takes you past a bunch of flags and to the finish felt like climbing Everest and my pace slowed even though I was pushing for all I was worth. This was my time, my life, my run....just kept on swinging the arms and pushing until finally I ran under the finish clock and into the chute. The most incredible experience of my life had concluded.....4 hours 55 minutes and 05 seconds.

I had set a goal for myself to finish between 4:25 and 4:45. I had missed my mark. I can make all the excuses in the world, but I didn't hit my target. I do take comfort in the fact that I took over 2 minutes a mile off my time from my first marathon which was 6 months ago. So, I can't say my work wasn't rewarded. It will just be something else that continues to push me...and that is a good thing.

Marathon training and running has given me so much already. New friends, a fitter body, a sense of purpose, and a ton of other things. The New York Marathon, gave me the most amazing event that I have been a part of. The people were so warm and supportive. The expo, the dinner, the fireworks, and the volunteers. Everything was top notch. The route was difficult, but felt like a celebration of life and diversity. I would do this marathon again...hell...I would do this marathon again this weekend (I wouldn't finish...but I would love to go through it again). I wanted to use marathons as a way to see the world and feel like I earned it, but I will put in for this one every single year, and on the years I am lucky enough to get in, I will run it. For my friends that are runners....go do it....whenever you can...I know the lottery is rough....but it is something you will never forget. For my friends that aren't runner...take up running....train...then run this! You won't regret it.

As for me, I am already chomping to get back out on the roads. I am going to take it easy and maybe take a small light job Saturday to do an inventory of my legs and feet to see what comes next. I want to do the Windsor Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving so we will see how that goes. I am hoping to find a Spring marathon, but not sure if it will be Colorado or something else (Jon, with Boston, have you completely ruled this one out? It will probably sway me if you are or aren't there). So check back from time to time to see a new marathon and a new blog!

It seems so foreign to be at the end already. I have so many people to thank that I am going to leave some out and for that I am sorry...but here goes....

Jon. Besides for all of the amazing advice and support, you truly inspire me to be the best I can be with whatever ability I have developed. Thank you for keeping on me and helping push me to reach my dreams.

Beth. I know we aren't together anymore, but you still choose to support me even from afar. Thank you for all the encouragement and faith in me.

Jessica. I am so glad we reconnected. You always have a way of making feel good about even the tiniest accomplishment. Many days, it really helped keep me going.

Jenny. The fact that you trained and did a marathon inspires me more than you will ever know. Your words always make me feel good and you make me want to get better at this...

My folks. Not sure you read this...that is why you are down a few. I know this is all I talk about...and it can be very boring, but you always ask anyway, just so I can talk about it. Thank you for believing and keeping me positive even when I didn't want to be.

Mary Beth, Troy, Brea, and Ben. Besides for always letting me crash at your place when I need to. Like mom and dad, you always let me blather on and on about this thing that has become my obsession. Your support means more than I can express in words. Thank you!

Karen. You are such an amazing runner. Having someone like you check on me from time to time really helps. Like Jon, you inspire me tremendously. Good luck at Boston!

Ria. Thanks for showing me New York, and all of the amazing encouragement before, during, and now after the marathon. You and your kids are good people (even if your daughters aren't runners!).

And everyone else that has ever asked me about running or congratulated me. Many days I am not sure if people read this thing or not. Whenever any of you post on my wall or leave me a message it really makes my day. I could not have made it this far without all of you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!


I got back to Wyoming really late last night. I will put up a full marathon report this evening once I have recovered a little bit.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Pre-marathon blog

So I thought I would write the most introspective blog of my training the night before the marathon. I have had a great deal of thoughts, and now seems the best time to share them. This will only be marginally focused on running itself, and will instead just be a little glimpse of what brought me to this point. If you are waiting for a mile-by-mile account, that will be tomorrow. If you want to check my progress online during the race: My wave leaves at 10:20 Eastern tomorrow morning. My bib number is 62209. If you go to the New York Marthon website you can track me. The website is: nycmarathon.org. Feel free to follow, but I am sure most of you have better things to do on a Sunday. Tonight, this is something else....

So those of you that know me well, know that things haven't really been great in my life since around 2005. I won't bore all of you with the details, but I went through a series of really significant life changes. It seemed like at that time, I might never fully pull myself off the ground. I muttered around and just got by each and every day. Not really enjoying life, just trying to survive.

I made the decision to go to back to school to try and find a path that would bring some semblance of meaning back into my world. Before I moved to Laramie, I decided to donate blood at work. Well when they took my vitals, they were too high for them to allow me to donate. I was 32 and they were worried about my overall health enough to disquaify me from donating. That would be the wake-up call. The catalyst that pushed me off the couch and outside.

The first time I thought about running outside, I really wasn't sure that running would ever be for me. A few years back, I had hit the treadmill pretty hard for some months and dropped some weight. It was not something that I could stick with over the long haul, and eventually all the weight came back. I was always intimidated by what I thought would destroy my knees. So I thought I would keep things short and only use it for the weight-loss.

I put on some shoes I thought would be considered running shoes, and walked outside. I decided to go up to the corner and see how far I could run. I will be honest....I couldn't even do half a mile before I just wanted to cry. I could not believe how hard it seemed. So I walked a bunch and jogged some here and there until I made it home. This happened a couple more times and then my summer classes started up and I didn't get out again for a couple of weeks.

I don't really remember what pushed me out the door the try and get going again. I tried the same type deal, where I ran for as far as I thought I could...then I walked for awhile....then ran as far as I could. It seemed to take a long time for me to get anywhere. But I was struck by how good I felt when I got back The next day, I did the same thing....then the day after that....then the day after that. Pretty soon I could go a whole mile and that felt amazing.

Over the course of the summer, I finally made my way up to three miles by really just pushing hard then walking when I couldn't run. I bought an Ipod and that really seemed to move me. Within three months I had dropped 30 pounds. Granted, I also was trying to eat a little better, but 85% easily was due to the effort.

But the one thing what means more than the lost weight, is how it makes me feel. Running is my escape. There are no failed relationships, regrets for past decisions, poor test grades, crappy work days, and anything else that brings me down. Running is just.....me....the person I think I am....the person I strive to be....the person that drives me. Running is all that in one. No matter how much I may want to go out on a run, it always makes me glad I did. Running takes nothing from me, but gives me everything. All it takes is putting on those shoes and making my way out the door. If you run, I think you know what I am talking about. If you don't....you should at least give it a try. I know it isn't for every one. I just know all that is does for me, and it would make me happy, if it could do some of the same for you.

I guess the point of all this, is just to share with all of you amazing people, that for some reason, continue to support and encourage me how much all of it has meant. I would not be near the place I am at, if you all were not a part of my life. You have helped me get the most out of myself. And from the bottom of my heart I thank you. When the going gets tough tomorrow...I know you will be there in spirit to help me continue on....

Thursday, October 29, 2009

In New York....barely

It was quite an ordeal to get there. Wyoming and Colorado were hit hard by a fall snowstorm. Didn't get a chance to run yesterday or today which is frustrating. Also feeling pretty sick...so maybe it is a good thing. On a side note...I had to go up through Walden and down through the Poudre Canyon to get to Ft.Collins because the roads were closed. I enjoyed the irony, that I had to travel my first marathon to get to my second....fitting. I m hoping to see the sites with another run-friend I met online tomorrow. I am going to try to sleep...thanks for reading....

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

No run today

Schedule called for 3. I have had some achilles tenderness that is new. I decided to bag the run just in case. We are being hammered with snow at the moment, so I am not sure about tomorrow. If I end up staying here tomorrow night, I will probably hit the gym just in case. I can't risk anything at this point so I am not sure I will get outside....

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Last sorta long run

So today was the last long run of the cycle. At 8 miles, it certainly doesn't feel like 20, but is still a decent distance for someone that is only been running a year and a half.

This was a pretty awful week all-around, but I don't want to dwell on that. I just have a lot of things to get donw before I leave for New York. Should make the next few days fly. Because I was in a bad mood last night, I decided to watch Spirit of the Marathon, to try to get my mind focused on this amazing experience I am getting the chance to participate in. Watching elites as well as everyday runners like myself, make their journeys really helps me get a little perspective. Great flick.

Got up really late, but that is actually ok. It is pretty cold here and the extra couple of hours helps make the temperatures rise just a little bit. I decided to go shorts and short sleeve shirt, because it looks like it is going to be quite warm (by my standards) next Sunday in New York. The temps said a little above freezing, but I neglected to look at the wind speed. It was quite breezy today. After the first 3 miles it didn't really bug me temperature-wise, but I still get a little lost when I am running into a strong head-wind. I think I am going much slower than I am, and in turn push a bit harder than I should and tire myself out. There were about 2 miles that really zapped me this morning, when I looked at the watch I could see why. It felt like my warm-up miles but I was actually going quite a bit faster. In the scheme things, it didn't impact my effort towards the end. Just one of those little curiousities that I wonder if I will ever master over the years.

The colors aren't much to look at anymore. We have lost most the leaves and a lot of the fields as well as patches of grass have turned yellow. Not the best to keep your mind preoccupied, but you get used to it. I am wondering if I should start looking to run on the paths around town, maybe something to think about after this marathon.

At the top of my hill as I finished 6 miles, I noticed this car stuck in an intersection. I ran over to help push it, and it kind of burned my quads a bit. I immediately went back into my run and the sensation went away after a couple of minutes. I haven't been stretching much, and this is just another sign that I need to find a little more balance with no-stretching and over-stetching.

As has become a happy pattern, I kicked the last 2 miles up a bit and finished really strong. It is amazing how good it makes you feel to have that extra energy when your body is tired. Overall, I might have pushed a little hard for a long run, but I feel ok. I am starting to get very excited and maybe a little nervous about next weekend. But I have done just about everything I wanted to do when I started training this cycle. So I have to just trust that all the work and dedication will payoff. Have a nice weekend and thanks for reading....

Thursday, October 22, 2009

3 miles

The run went well the rest of my day did not...the end. Thanks for reading...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

6 miles

It was cold this morning, but more brisk than anything else. I got out the door and you could really feel it in the air. First mile went well, just a little bit of knee pain and very little neck pain. After the first couple of miles, the groove was found....I feel like I am getting more life into my legs each day and that makes me happy. I am trying to keep up my intensity while cutting the mileage, per an interesting article I read in RunnersWorld magazine. I think that it will work out well if I keep the knee pain down to a minimum. I am actually a little sad that this weekend will be my last "long" run of the cycle before the marathon. I am hoping that I can bounce back relatively quickly after New York and keep pushing my endurance as well as my overall level of fitness higher. Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

4 miles today

So I injured my neck a little bit. It is a reoccuring thing I have had over the last few years. Oddly enough, it doesn't really hurt much when I run. So it didn't impact me at all. And that is a load off my mind. I thought I was in trouble when I woke up. The weather was brisk but not too bad. Got out the door in about 20 minutes and after my little warm-up I headed up the hill. My legs felt surprisingly good considering the knee pain I have been having the last week or so, so that really helps my confidence. By the top of the hill, I had locked into a pace I liked and easily kept it throughout the entire run. I had put a new song on the Ipod and gave it a few turns to see how I like running with it...it is a keeper. I was at a 9:19 mile for the loop so a good effort. Pretty good run to start my week.....

Saturday, October 17, 2009

12 mile lesson

So this is really the last true "long run" of the training cycle, and I did not put as much mental preparation into it as a normally do. I thought I was ready, but in hindsight I think I just made the mistake of not respecting the distance as much as a should have.

I had a late night and after a long week, decided to sleep in a bit. Because it has been so cold, I thought the extra time would help the temps rise to use my summer gear one more time. That part of the plan worked well. I was chilly for about the first 20 minutes, but perfect after that.

The first mile was a bit too fast, but I didn't realize it until I was about 3/4 of a mile in. ESPN just wasn't keeping my attention so I turned on the Ipod and that got me doing a bit too fast the first two miles. By mile 6 I realized the error of my ways.

The weather was really nice. I took a tiny detour through a park an into a neighborhood across one of the streets...nice to change things up a little from time to time. And I would be lying if I didn't say I like running on the trail, wish it would have been a bit longer.

About mile 4.5 I saw something that really made me chuckle...I was on a sidewalk and coming up on a big lab that always barks at me. He starts in on the usual chattering and then I see a squirrel jump on the ledge right next to his head and start running up the ledge perpendicular to me. It was like in the movie UP where the dog is talking and then sees a squirrel and loses all train of thought...it was really pretty damn funny. He tried to get the squirrel....but spent too much time focusing on me to even have a chance....ah the little moments....

On Grand, I hit every single light...which is really really odd. Run a block....wait....run a block...wait....run a block...wait....better to be safe than sorry I guess. Hopefully it will keep me safe.

The last several miles were a bit rough....but in hindsight...I am trying to let my body recover from 16 weeks of abuse. I didn't really get a taper before the last marathon because I had the flu so maybe a rough run is normal. Just gotta focus on the fact that rough or not, I ran 12 miles....

Thanks for reading.

PS - A big shout out for my friend Jenny Pruitt Craig running her first marathon tomorrow. Way to go Jenny! You Rock!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

8 mile Wednesday

Midterms....oh how I love thee. I have two tomorrow and need to get back to studying, but realized I forgot to update the blog. I got up and out the door fairly early. It took a loooooong time to get my pace to where I wanted. The knee is definitely back into my mind which is not a good thing. It was not so bad that it changed how I ran, but just enough to take away a little bit of the joy that running brings. It seemed to be better the last few miles but has been a little persistent all day long. I am taking off tomorrow to see if that helps a little bit before I do 12 on Saturday. Just a tiny speed bump....no way is it going to hold me back....

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

First run of the taper.

Did 5 today. The weather was nice, chilly but not all that cold. Probably the best running weather for me. The knee is bugging me a little bit. So that is a source of a little concern. I will make sure I back of a little bit for tomorrow's 8 mile effort. Need to stay healthy as much as possible and not push so I am sure to make the starting line....

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Finally feel like I am ready...

There is no way to sugar-coat this. The run today was very difficult. The weather brought a snow storm in last night. When I went out this morning there were several inches of snow on the ground and the temperature with windchill was -5. The wind was blowing around 15-25 miles per hour. I woke up 5:30 but delayed going out until 7 in the hopes that some sunlight might make the sidewalks easier to see. Even as light as it was starting become, the first mile was very difficult to run. There had been no plowing done by the University (which as a paying student really annoyed me). I couldn't get my feet above the snow so I was my own mini-snow plow. I should send a bill to all the places that I made trails.

After about mile 2 I decided to just run in the street for the most-part and take my chances. I was pleasantly surprised by how many people (at least during the first loop around town) attempted to move over a little so I didn't have to run in the snow mounds along the sides of the road. From time to time I did have to plow through snow in the street, but overall it wasn't as bad as it could have been.

Around mile 5 I started to get a little bit of a decent rhythm. Don't get me wrong, the whole run was a lot slower than I wanted for my biggest training run. Considering the condions, I was very pleased to have completed it.

I got another pleasant boost when I passed a group of runners. I am guessing they are the local running club. I think there were 12-14 total. They were also running in the street, but on the other side. A few members gave me a wave as I waved to them, and that always makes me feel good. I would pass them again around mile 9.5.

I had left my water about a mile and a third in. By the time I had made my loop, the top was frozen, as were most of the contents. I decided to walk and work on getting the top unfrozen so I could drink some water and take the first half of my gel. I ended up walking about a quarter of a mile and in hindsight, this was probably the best decision I made this morning. It enabled be to get more fluids and some energy, that I really needed.

The second loop around went a lot slower. The snow had started to turn to mush, and there was a big increase in traffic. Most of these drivers were not as courteous as the ones an hour and a half earlier. I ended up trudging through quite a bit of snow. The back end of the loop felt like it took forever. Once I was at the top of the hill (around 14.8 in) things started to fall into place.....

At the top of the hill, there was finally some areas of UW property that had been cleared, so I was able to back to the much safer sidewalks. I picked up the pace a little bit and trudged on. When I got back to my water, what was left was pretty much a big ice cube. I got a couple more sips out of it and took the rest of the gel (which tasted really good....weird) and continued on.

I decided to take my lap around campus to get the mileage more in-sync with the route I had been taking. There were very little people out and about considering it was homecoming. There were some cars driving on the paths around campus, which I will admit kind of made me angry. You could see they were sidewalks and not streets. Not sure what that was all about, they were not UW vehicles and it was hard to move out of their way. But enough complaining....

The start of my final three miles was almost slow-motion Sean. The toll of all the snow caught up to me in a hurry. The sidewalks were about 70% clear and that helped push me along. By the top of my hill I was going at a solid clip. (Side note...I must say I have had great luck since I started running with never falling...I just don't seem to slip much).  By 18.5 I was a bit slower but still humming along....

I always try to finish strong, and this was no different. I kept pushing and pushing as fast as the ground would let me. Had to pull back a little on the downhills to make sure I stayed vertical but still gave a solid effort into the homestetch.

By the time I got home the watch said 19.83 miles. I figured this was 20, because I had forgotten to start it up again at a light four blocks back at one point. 3 hours and 42 minutes. While this is a bit slower than I wanted, it gives me great confidence of hitting some time goals I have set for myself in New York.     I feel very sore, but have gained a ton of confidence today.    I pushed when I could have quit, and didn't give stop when my body begged me to do so. New York won't be easy,   but I feel like I am ready....   

Thursday, October 8, 2009

5.0 in the snow

Sorry this is going to be short again. I have an exam soon and need to study a bit more. The weather turned crazy cold last night....but this time I was ready for it. Dressed in multiple layers up top...wore the balaklava....and my gloves....I was good to go.

As soon as I looked at the window and saw that it was snowing my heart jumped a beat. I love running while it is snowing. Makes me feel strong. It was bitter cold the first mile....but after that it all locked into place. Got the right tunes going on the Ipod and just enjoyed the moment. I love running in the cold weather....my pace was a bit faster than it should have been...but I don't care. I ran and enjoyed it that is all that matters....I have 20 on Saturday....20....then it is all taper....

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

9.7...short entry

I did 9.7 miles today. The weather was quite cold when I started but warmed up quickly. Besides from muscle pain around my shoulder and the knee bugging me a bit it was a decent run. I am over-loaded with projects, labs, and exams the next couple of days, so that is all I am going to write for today. I hope you are all doing well. Fellow runners, I hope all of our preparations are on track for whatever you may be training. Thanks for reading....

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

5 miles down

I have been crazy busy today, but thought I would post quickly about my 5 mile run. I was up until almost 2 and so I slept a little later than usual. I was able to get out and make some pretty good time. I was dressed properly and enjoyed the cold weather. It just feels like the little aches and pains don't hurt nearly as much when my legs are cold. I am a little nervouse for 10 miles tomorrow....it is the only 10 mile mid-week run of the cycle, but I am also excited to get out there and do it. I will let you all know how it goes. Thanks for reading.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Tempted by the fruit of another....run

First of all I will say that the run went well...(that's for you Jon!). No major stomach issues to speak of and I think I have a game plan with the gels. But since this is a log, I will recap the day.

Had a late night, so with it being real cold I decided to go out later than usual. I was glad that I did. I drank quite a bit of water when I woke up and thought I would try  not taking anything before I went out and then space out the Hamme gels. It seemed to work well for me today. Next week I am going to eat a little bit before I go out and then space 1/2 a gel packet every six miles. So I may have found my strategy with the intake of calories.

It was really chillly again this morning, but there was very little wind. I wore a bit more clothing, and while it got a little bit warm at the end it worked at fairly well. (Although I quickly remembered the areas that require lubrication when I wear that much clothing, can't believe I forgot since last spring).

The hum of the town was really was very light this morning. It was peaceful and enjoyable for the vast majority of the run. About a mile and a half in I realized that I was on the path of  a 5K by the markers that were laid out. It donned on me that it was probably the 5K I did last fall (my first). I was surprised that I hadn't heard about it before this morning. I really thought about doing it, but thought that a 14 mile run would help my psyche more than turning in a sub-par 5K time with dead legs. I think I made the right decision.

Next week is the peak of my cycle. I run 5, 10, 5, and 20 miles respectively. I am pretty nervous to be honest. I am at the lengths that I missed during my training for Colorado due to having the flu, so it I am hopeful I can put in a great week and get that monkey off my back once and forall. I was able to end my last 2.5 miles really strong today, so that gives me a bit of confidence heading into this week. My time for 13.90 miles was 2 hours 16 minutes and 26 seconds. I feel good about it.

Thanks for reading and have a nice weekend!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Not 5....but 3

It looks like it is time to break out the winter gear here in Laramie. I looked at the report on the weather before I went out...but I was still not wearing nearly enough. I put on my long sleeve outer layer and even my asics cold weather pants....but I should have dressed in layers and used my balaklava. The wind chill right not says 19....but you add in those gusts of 33-44 mph and the wind feels like a knife cutting through the clothing. I was supposed to do 5, but when my ears started ringing not even a half mile in I decided to just go 3 and cut the risk of getting sick all over again. It is supposed to warm up a big over the next few days, this cold just really hit here out of nowhere. I wore shorts and a short sleeve shirt yesterday and was quite warm. It was nice to wear some of my gear for the cold weather...next time I will wear all of it and be toasty.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

8.93 for me

Well the euphoria of yesterday's 5 mile effort did not quite carry over to today. The weather was quite windy and was really a shock. I have been spoiled the last few months besides for the random day here or there that pushed me around. I was really surprised by the warmth with all the wind. I decided to do a loop around what I call eastern Laramie.

The first mile was hard to get moving. My legs have definitely gotten that dead feeling the last couple of weeks. My taper can not come fast enough. But I am not there for another week and a half so I just need to suck it up. Easier said than done....

It took almost 4 and a half miles before I felt the rust coming out of the ol legs and felt good about being out there. The traffic was quite steady and there were a lot of lights that I caught. Made a little bit tougher to find my pace and my stride. But no matter...I made the distance...more or less and my time was respectable....little over 1 hour 31 minutes...so overall I would have to say the run was a success.

I am finding the sore feeling really staying with me longer and longer and harder to get to go away. Hopefully after the 5 tomorrow those 48 hours will get me feeling refreshed and charged up to hit 14 on Saturday.
Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

5 mile attitude adjustment

So I was in a really bad state of mind when I went to bed. I have been really struggling with my coursework and I am really starting to doubt my abilities to succeed in Computer Science. I was not even able to come close to completing a rather large programming assignment and that always drags me down. When I woke up 7:00 I really did not want to run. I just wanted to lie there and feel sorry for myself. I managed to get up and out the door. I was pretty over-dressed because the computer said it was only 37 out so that was my only real miscue of the morning.

The first mile was a bear. The legs are still sore. My IT has slowly started to show itself in the original knee pain I worked to get past. The frustrations of my world felt like a boulder weighing me down. I trudged and kept pushing to the top of my hill....my first mile.

The longer my legs kept pushing, the more relaxed and free my brain became. My pace was slow....no question....but it didn't matter. Getting out there and just doing what I have grown to love doing helps me find my center, create my balance. The run itself was pretty unremarkable. It wasn't fast....it was kind of painful...but mentally....it helped me get my focus back on track.....

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Not quite 18

Had some serious GI issues today. Only ended up going 17.5. I figure I am going to be on my feet for most the rest of the day dragging dead branches and trees, off by .5 won't be the end of the world. I am running late to help my folks in the mountains. I will give a full recap tonight. Hope you all had good runs, those of you that are runners.


Had another pretty sleepless night. Kind of strange being tired and sick and not being able to sleep. I woke up at 5:45. I had tried to eat last night thinking it might help with the stomach issues from the Blocks energy supplement I had been trying. Since I was able to use the Hammer gels for Colorado (even though they made me miserable) I decided to try one in before I went out and then add the other later. (Ironically, I think it was the sample that we had been given at the Colorado Marathon in our goodie bag, although I don't remember for sure). That idea was one of the least intelligent I have had since I started running. But more on that later.

It was quite chilly. There was frost on the ground and you can really feel it. I carried my water bottle and the shot blocks with me up the hill and left them at the top. If I had known I would not be able to get them down, I could have kept my hands warmer by not carrying them. As it was, it took a long time to get warm.

First few miles went well. I was chugging along pretty slow, but I felt decent. The colors as the sun was rising were nice. There weren't too many people out for the first hour, and I always like less road traffic. As I slowly made my way around Laramie, you could see more and more leaves turning and that makes me sad. Feels like summer was just here. New York will be here before I know it (well not really....5 weeks away).

I first noticed the stomach pain around mile 5.7. I had gone to the gym last night and worked on my abs for awhile (I have been lax about getting there). I think I overdid it, but did not realize it until part way through the run. At almost the same exact spot, I had to stop and walk because of the horrible sensations in my stomach. But unlike last week, the track was still locked (it was unlocked the next two times around, so I am guessing it was too early). It took me awhile to find someplace and that really wore me down.

Even after my stop, the pain in my stomach remained. My next loop around, I tried to drink more and that seemed to help, but then I felt totally water-logged. This is a delicate dance I am going to have to learn over the next 5 weeks. I know I have to get used to them, I just don't like it.

Some point throughout my run, I turned off my watch and forgot to turn it back on. So I have really no clue how much time I spent running. I had to do all the distance math in my head, and it took me forever to figure out where I needed to be. I decided that 17.5 was all I was going to handle, because my stomach cramped up severely again about 1 mile from home. I ended up having to talk the last .3 of a mile. Kind of a bad way to end a run. But I almost got the full distance in.

To answer a question posed, I have not looked too closely at any races to do between now and New York. I need to, but I don't want to give up a day with driving and running so I will look tonight and see if I can find something. I am due for a long run of 14 next week I think so it should be an interesting week. Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

8.9....eh close enough

First of all, Jon I know the treadmill would have been the way to go. But getting one at 5:00 on a weeknight is a no go. And they have a time limit so it just did not feel like the way to go tonight. I will probably pay the price tomorrow.

The weather was not too bad. The temperature was a little under 50 without the wind chill. The wind was up around 18-19 miles per hour. Overall, with the way I felt it could have been much worse.

The first mile seemed to really drag on. Just not used to running when I am sick. I was worried about really getting thirsty, but it worked out fairly well. There were a lot of people out driving...around rush hour...go figure. I hit many many traffic lights, so finding my rhythm was not easy.

It was nice to see some of the fall colors with the sun close to twilight. I did see a few more runners than my run last week of 8 miles. It always helps keep me going.

The last few miles were tough, and right now my legs are really beat but overall I am pleased that I just took the initiative to get out there and get the mileage in. I could have given in and said no, but I didn't....I did what I needed to do. Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

No 4 for me

So I have been nursing a serious head cold since Saturday. I originally thought I would just nut up and do my run today....but I need to be as healthy as possible for my mid run of 9 and my real long run of 18. Plus after that, I promised my folks I would go up to the  mountains and help them haul branches and stuff so if I don't get better sooner, I am going to be kicking myself later. I will get 9 in tomorrow morning....promise.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

13 is the luckiest number....or maybe not.

So I tried to do everything right with this run. I was in bed by 10 but being in bed did not translate to actually falling asleep. It was pretty surreal. Just laid there most the night not falling asleep. This has been a brutal week with school so I though I would crash, but it was not to be. The alarm went off at 5:30 and I got up and fed the cat and almost fell over because I was so tired. So I crawled back in bed for an hour. It helped...a little.

I was really looking forward to the 13 mile run today. I was able to find a charger for my Ipod through one of my roommates friends and that helped my mood to be sure. I also downloaded quite a few new songs to put in the rotation. I took off Thursday thinking it would help my legs recover from the hard effort Wednesday. I am just not sure what else I could have done to be ready for today.

I have been trying to work in some Shot Blocks to help with the energy in the morning and during the run. My stomach has just never been able to get used to them, and today they really wreaked havoc on my system.

The first couple of miles there was that tenderness from the left knee that sometimes singles trouble and sometimes just goes away. Today happened to be one of the days it just really went away. Even though it was about 7:10-7:15 by the time I was on the road, it was still quite cold. I could see my breathe up until about mile 8. I did enjoy the coolness, to be sure. There was a lot of dew on the grass and leaves so that was kind of nice to look at once I noticed it.

I had some really strong miles from about 4 to 6 that made me feel pretty good. Around mile 7 is when my stomach started going haywire. Usually, when I need to stop to hit the bathroom, I have a mile or two sometimes even three before it becomes absolutely necessary. Today....once I hit mile 7.8 that was it. I had to completely stop running and walk until I got to a bathroom. Kind of bad for the confidence, but I was able to find a bathroom at the UW track stadium and that was a pleasant surprise. So now I have 2 places a mile and a half apart when needed.

After the stop I did an ok job of picking the pace back up but it was really hard to find a pace that felt right. With the walking mixed in, I was well behind what I wanted today....but I really made hay the last 2.2 miles...in fact...and I know the mph isn't 100% accurate on the Garmin, but it was what was showing when I looked down at 12.91, my speed said 6.9 mph so I was going pretty well. I actually ended up at 2 hr 9 min and 56 secs by the time it was all said and done. So I am pretty excited about that. And Jon if you check this out...I tried to do the lap time on the Garmin to check my half split, but can't figure out how to check both times. Any help would be appreciated. Hope all my runner friends had good runs and that everyone has a nice weekend. Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

8 is enough

So I didn't get out for my 8 mile run this morning, but I did get out this early evening. The temperature change as stated before is pretty drastic. I looked everywhere for a charger for the ol Ipod and could not find one anywhere in Laramie. I ordered one online and hopefully it will be here by Friday so I can charge up for my run on Saturday. One of my upstairs neighbors was nice enough to let my borrow her Zune. She likes a lot of techno so it worked out ok.

I came out of the gate at a reasonable tempo, but after the first mile, I really pushed too hard for how I was feeling. It came back to bite me about 4 and a half miles in. I did not see as many runners as I normally do around 5:00 out running. They must have gotten the memo about me being out late and thought better of getting their runs in.

The last 3 miles really kicked my trash. All the more reason to get up and get the run in early in the day....no food to make me feel all off. But hey....I got it in....1 hr 19 min and 53 secs for 7.99 miles. I will probably not go for my 5 mile run in the morning, but will evaluate how I feel after work to see if I want to do it tomorrow night. Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

4 miles...no Ipod....booooo

Sorry this is late. Tuesday is one of the busy days for me so this is the first chance I have had to update. Over the weeked I accidentally stepped on the docking station for my Ipod...and it is dead dead dead. I got up at 5:50 and was out the door by around 6:20 so I feel good about that. My legs felt a little sore for most the run, but nothing too bad. Just have to keep chugging along. The sunrise was nice, but I was running west for most of it....there is nothing like a Wyoming sunrise, if you catch a few clouds....maybe I will have more luck toorrow. The pace was a little slow, I am sure the Sportstalk played into that, but that was probably good for my body. I have 8,5,13 for my remaining runs and I am looking forward to all of them. Thanks for reading!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

1...little 2....little 16....miles

Got up and at 5:30! Out the door by a couple of minutes after 6 and I am here to tell, it was downright cold. I could see my breath for the first 11 miles. Fall is here, I don't care what anyone says. First couple of miles went really well. I was feeling pretty good, enjoying the brisk weather.  I was curious to see the impact of today's game on the population of Laramie. I decided to take my big loop around what is in essence, east Laramie. It ends up being just a little bit less than 8 miles. Some of the leaves have already fallen. I did see on sign referencing the game today and I had to chuckle. It said "Texas. You suck!" But it was like three pieces of cardboard taped together with packing tape. You stay classy Laramie!

As mentioned in the last couple of blogs, I am getting pretty tired. Today really seemed to highlight that fact. I didn't feel bad for most of the run, minus knee tenderness, but I can really tell that the miles are adding up.

After the first loop I decided to do a couple close to campus to witness the craziness unfold. I turned onto Willett which is the main street through campus and goes right by the stadiums. It could only have been 7:40-7:50 when I passed and there were already people with the RVs getting set up to tail-gate. It is pretty crazy. I ended up running by the same spot two more times and by the third total time, it was really starting to fill up.

I also decided to do a loop around Prexy's Pasture in the middle of campus to make up for the .3 I was off by my first loop. There were only about 4 or 5 people walking around campus, which seemed odd. I am sure by now there are many.

The only other important thing about the run is that it really honestly felt like I got stronger the last couple of miles. I was able to pick up the pace significantly and hold it until the end which makes me feel like I am at a much better point through my training cycle than I was last Spring. My time was down a little bit (10:13 mile pace), but I am not going to sweat it because I am tired and I know it will all even out in the end.

Hope you all have a nice weekend and GO POKES!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

4 miles and ready for an off day

It was pretty darn chilly this morning. It is consistently taking me longer to warm up. I am wondering if it is a less blubber thing or if my circulation isn't quite what it used to be. Not a big deal, just one of those things you think about while you are running.

With the Texas game being this weekend, I expected to see more people around campus than I did. I am guessing by Saturday's long run, it will be a zoo. Local drivers are hard to figure out as to what their intent is, so I always give them the right of way. Out-of-towners......should be interesting.

The left knee is still a little tenious. I walked a lot yesterday going back and forth and all around campus, and that seemed to help. The soreness crept back in though, as soon as I was out the door. Just like all the other days, the pain has been something that was tolerable so I am going to try and put it out of my mind as much as possible.

The run itself was pretty unremarkable. The first mile was kind of hard after yesterday's run, but not too bad. I can tell I am getting a little beat-up by how much effort it takes to reach my goal pace. Got the 4 in, but feel pretty drained. I am hoping the day off will help get some life back in my legs.

Well, off to school....thanks for reading.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

8 miles and tired

I had another night filled with homework nightmares and have decided to drop one of my classes. When I was in my early 20's I probably could push all the things I have to do in my life and still stay on top of everything, but at this point I just can't physically/mentally do it. That was only marginally running related, but the point is that I am hoping to have a little more time in my day so I don't have to keep rushing my runs or killing myself into the wee hours of the morning to get things completed for class. In other words....I am trying to find balance! On with the run....

My left leg has stayed in my mind since last week, and that isn't a good thing, but the pain has been very manageable (think I spelled the wrong, I have no idea why Blogger got rid of spell check). After the run yesterday, it felt a little sore constantly over the next 24 hours. I decided I still wanted to get my 8 in and I did, but it was not the best experience. Surprisingly it had nothing to do with my knee.

The first mile seemed to go crazy slow. I was going my 11 min mile pace up the hill so I am not sure why. I think it has to do with how tired I am or maybe I am coming down with something. I tried to listen to sportstalk to help me not try to push, but it just made the run feel even longer. By mile 4 I really had to come home to use the restroom (I should really find out what University buildings I can get into....seems silly to always come home) and so at mile 6 once I was around the apartment I stopped.

I decided to try put on dry undergarments before I left, and it really made a difference in how I felt. I was not able to muster much more out of my body. But I stil came in a hair under a 10 min mile (1 hour, 19 mins and 46 secs), so that is pretty good. I think that today my physical issues might have been cause by a lack of mental focus. I am hoping to remedy that tomorrow with a good night's sleep and a better attitude.

8 miles is a respectable distance, and I am please that I was able to complete it. I also stepped on the scale and I am now 2 pounds less than my lowest weight during the last training cycle. I am guessing it was probably when I was 14 or 15 and not fully grown that I was this weight. So that really helped my overall mood. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

4 mile Tuesday

The left leg is still a little sore, but I decided to go ahead and try to get my 4 in today. It stayed stiff throughout the first mile, but then seemed to loosen up a bit about a mile and a half in. The weather was nice and that always helps my mood. I felt tired throughout most of the run, but when I looked down about 3 miles in I could see why, I was about a minute and a half faster than the pace I wanted. I am usually pretty good about checking, but with all the traffic around campus, it just slipped my mind. I need to stay more focused on not trying to push too much or too hard. My time ended up being 38 mins and 14 secs. I have 8 coming tomorrow, and that should be interesting. Thanks for reading.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Call me Capt. Lead Legs

I was nervous about 15 today no question about it. With the stiffness building in my left leg, the chances of re-tweaking or doing whatever it is, I did to my IT Band increases. I set the alarm for 5:30 but for some reason it did not go off. I did wake up at 5:55 though, quite confused about why the alarm never went off. I am sure I did something wrong, but can't figure out what it was. No matter.

I was out the door at 6:25. And running by around 6:30. I decided to change up the pattern a little bit. The monotony of the same three miles is starting to where on me. I decided to go in south Laramie, much like I did while training for the last marathon. I am still a little unsure about west Laramie, if I had people that could come get my sorry butt if I broke down it would be one thing....but that is a long walk home if something goes wrong. But I digress...

The first few miles I felt cold....I usually warm up pretty quick, but today my hands just did not get warm for about an hour. It was really cool to see the full moon while running towards the west. There were a couple of times I had some dogs scare me....but all bark and no bite! After almost 6 miles I had to stop back home and use the facilities. I probably should change into dry clothes when I do that....might help with the chaffing

I decided to stick close to home for the next 9. It took my awhile to get back in a groove. This is a game weekend, so there are staffers all along my 3 mile route making sure people are parking in the right areas...I always wonders what goes through their minds when I pass them the 2nd or 3rd time.

The hill three times after a break almost did me in. It seemed to get harder and harder to raise my legs up and they just kept getting heavier and heavier. After about mile 12, it was all I could do to keep getting one in front of the other. That concerns me....

The one really good thing I will take from today, is that I didn't walk....God knows I wanted to do so. My pace could not get above a 10 minute mile the last 2 miles, but I did not walk. My time was slow (2 hours, 32 minutes and 31 secs), but I was able to labor on and get the mileage in.....Have a good weekend.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

No run for me

So when I woke up, the left leg was really stiff and sore. I decided to take the day off in hopes that it will get a little better before Saturday's 15 mile effort. I really hate missing days in the cycle, but if I don't make the starting line, nothing else matters....

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

7 mile we-knee

Because I am tired of being razzed, I somehow managed to get up at 6 after another long night. I was out the door by 6:20. The sun hadn't really started to rise, and I did not get to see the cool red effect that I witnessed yesterday. As I ascended my opening hill, the legs were feeling a little dead. I had the normal aches that seem to work themselves out after a couple of miles, but they seemed to stick around longer today.

During my second time up the hill, I really felt a little off. My pace was around where I wanted, but I seemed to be working harder than usual for the result. After the 6.7 I stopped at the gym and did my crunches. The legs felt better, but when I went to run home, the aches came back.When I was in the shower and since, it feels like the IT Band might be getting inflamed again. I am going to try to have my feet up for awhile before class, but I am a little concerned. It had been doing well, and I don't want to lose that momentum....

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

3 for me

I ended up not going to the gym yesterday. The coursework seems to be piling up faster than I can knock things out and so I am staying up later to try and get things done. I hope things mellow out soon, I am not sure I can take a semester like this. Got up and out the door at 6:50.There was a little fog, and the sun was a very cool red. It was really neat to see. Both of my knees were a little sore while I was walking and through the first mile. The pain seemed to go away though and has still not returned, so I am optimistic. It was cool, but not cold. About as nice a weather as I could ask for September, 1st in Laramie.

After 2.7 I hit the gym for some crunches, I just can't afford the time to do my whole routine, and that frustrates me. Hustled home and quickly got ready and ate. It was a decent run, an I am curious as to what tomorrow's 7 miler will bring....maybe another red sun. Well....back to the books. Thanks for reading.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

2 miles? Why not.

So I got up and did 2 miles this morning. I should not have pushed quite as hard, but the legs were feeling good and sometimes its fun just to open up a little bit....18 min 33 secs. I did some crunches and that is pretty much it. I have a bunch of work due tomorrow, so I will not be able to get to the gym to do strength training and it will have to wait until tomorrow. For this next week I am scheduled to do 3,7,4, and 15 respectively. It is a substantial jump from this last week and really starts to get into the higher mileage. I am a little nervous and a little excited to see how it goes. Thanks for reading.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

9 weeks down and 9 to go....

Well I did not get to bed as early as  I would have liked....I still woke up at 6....although it took me until 6:15 to drag myself out of bed. I had 10 miles on tap, and I was looking forward to getting out there and pushing last Saturday out of my mind.

It was quite brisk out.  I can tell that fall really wants to sneak into Laramie early this year. During my few block walk, I noticed my right knee was a little sore. Considering how the IT Band problems started in my left knee, this gave me some cause for concern. Oddly enough though, after I was about a mile and a half in, the soreness went away and never returned.

The first mile felt like it took forever today. I needed to get my blood moving to warm up, and it just felt like an eternity. I was listening to ESPN radio on my arm band and really enjoying it. They have a guy, Erik Kuselias, that used to be on every day in the afternoons, then tried to transition to tv and is now back on the weekends. I really enjoy his thoughts and humor, and actually listened for the first three miles. The reason I am sharing this, is when I listen to sports talk, my pace drops fairly significantly. This is something that would get under my skin a little bit, because I really wanted a 10 min/mile pace for this run.

The first 5 miles were pretty uneventful. I did not see many people out, which is strange for the first weekend back in session. I think there must have been quite a bit a late night enjoyment. When I looked down and saw I was more than 2 minutes slower than my goal pace, I decided to kick it up a notch. I was very surprised with how easily it was to put it in a higher gear (for me, for most legit runners I am still at a jog). By the end of the ten miles, I had not only reached my goal pace, but was in fact 1 minute and 27 seconds ahead. This made me really happy.  My time ended up 1 hr 38 mins and 33 secs.

Overall, the run was really good. The last mile was hard, but it generally is. It was a nice way to finish up the first half of my training schedule. I am debating going out for a light/slow run to loosen up my muscles tomorrow morning. Hope you all have a wonderful weekend and thanks for reading.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

I'm late...I'm late....for a very important.....eh forget it.

The lack of sleep monster finally got me....7:30 today...BAH! But anyway, I got up and quickly got dressed and headed out, My legs are tired from yesterday...but not sore...I am gaining more and more confidence in my ability to get through 26.2. The schedule called for 4, and I like to give the schedule what it asks for. It has been getting cooler, so the sun did not bug me at all this morning, which is always nice. At 3.7 I hit the gym and did my strength training, core work-out, and crunches. I am skipping my first class. I have all the lecture notes, so it feels like a waste to go all the time anyway. I am going to relax a tad and get some things done before my 11:00. I am sure my legs are going to enjoy having off tomorrow....but I will still be getting up at 6:00....take that sleep monster!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

7 from heaven....uh what?

So I got up at 6:00 today is per my goal. Sleep has been eluding me. Tonight I will be sure to leave a big serving of food down for the cat because I am running out of things to try. I have to get on some sort of sleep schedule so I don't feel so groggy in the morning.

This is the first mid week run that has been over 6 miles during this cycle, and I was a little nervous. The 6 last week were very difficult and I was scared of a repeat. I made sure to go slow out of the shoot....no faster than an 11 min mile for the entire first mile. The legs felt a little tired, but not sore, which makes me happy. At the top of the hill I tried to kick it up to around a 10 min mile and I was able to keep that pace more or less, for the remainder of the run. I did two loops, one of 3 miles and one of 4 miles, bother incorporating that dreaded hill that I always use to start my runs. It is amazing to me how quickly it can sap my strength and mile 3-4 was no different today. I had to focus a little to keep my pace steady. After I reached the top the nect 2.7 miles went pretty well. Too many people out on bikes riding on the sidewalks. They give them their own lane in most places around campus, I am not sure why they feel the need to ride on the sidewalks. It really makes it hard to navigate intersections. But if that is my biggest worry during a run, it is a good day.

I stopped off at the gym and again did my crunches. I am hoping to go back tonight if I feel alright and do my strength training and full core workout. But if I don't, I am not going to beat myself up....I just ran 7 miles....

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

3 mile madness....not really.

So I decided not to go back up to the gym last night. I highly underestimated the walking back and forth and around campus. I want to keep my legs fresh, so I just called it a night. I did not sleep well. At some point I must have rolled over on the cat, because I have these two  deep scratch marks that go about and inch stop for about an inch and then continue for another inch. It looks pretty cool, but does not feel so great.

I did manage to get up 30 minutes earlier than the day before at 6:30. So chalk a point up to will-power. Tomorrow I will try 6:00, I just hope I sleep a bit better.

The run was pretty uneventful for the most part, I will take this moment though to whine about something that has started to grate on my nerves...NON-WAVERS. I am not asking for much from people, just a head nod or a flick of the hand would be nice. I just don't get why people get so standoff-ish. I never try to talk to people or anything, but would it be that hard to just acknowledge another human being?

After 2.7 I stopped off at the gym and did a bunch of crunches....like 300. I am determined to become a hot piece of meat.....or more likely....develop stronger abs to help me keep my form when I am tired. There were people everywhere at the gym...I miss the summer already...

Thanks for reading,


Monday, August 24, 2009

No real running...but cross-training

Need to get my clock back on target. Got up at 7 today and hit the gym. Worked really hard and feel good.  I might go back and do some light machine work in the evening....gotta keep the legs fresh though so we will see. It feels good to be back in school. I will get up at 6:30 tomorrow and hope to be back to 5:30 by Friday.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Ok....time to get back on track....with the blog

Alright. No more excuses! I will do this thing after every run regardless of how busy I may be. Last week I did runs of 3,3, and 12. I took the Wednesday run out because of how my legs were feeling and I think it helped. The Saturday run was pretty grueling but I managed all the way through.

This last week was not as good. I did the first 3 on Tuesday well, but when I got to Wednesday, it felt like my legs were just gone. It was the first time I had tried to do 6 on a weekday since the last cycle and I did not anticipate much trouble. I was very very very wrong. The following day I went really easy and things seemed to improve.

I have been trying to find some semblance of a social life and have made some new friends with my neighbors upstairs. I had a little cook-out on Thursday and we went out and had some fun afterward. I didn't get to bed until 1:30....this would be a trend repeated for the next three nights with some bad results on Saturday.

I could not drag myself up out of bed until around 7:30 on Saturday. It took me another 90 minutes to get my head right and get out the door....well it was about 35 degrees warmer than I had been used to and holy cow did it kill me.

I only made through the first 3 miles before I was just absolutely drained. I pushed along for the next couple thoroughly miserable. I decided to alter my route so I could get some water and hopefully feel a better. I ran/waled over to Washington Park and the water fountain. At that point I was just short of 9 miles of run/walking. I knew I could not run 13, but I was damn well sure I could get the distance out if I just mixed things up and continued on. I decided to do four 3/4 mile laps at the park and then make my way home. It was very difficult and at times painful. By the time I got home, I had been out for around 3 hours and the temperature was well over 80.

It seems really weird to say this, but I gained a lot of personal satisfaction from my effort yesterday. Things haven't been going all that well for me lately, and to just push myself to the brink of what I could handle really meant a lot to me. I learned how dependent I am on my routine, and that the early bird really gets the worm...because after 9 the worms are all dried and dead. Thanks for reading!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Where have I been

It has been quite awhile since I updated the ol blog. I do apologize. Have some non-running things that I am dealing with. But that is not a decent excuse. So I will try to give a quick recap.

Last week the schedule had me doing 3 miles, then 5, then 3, and on Saturday 10. I was really nervous about the 10. I had to move my Thursday 3 to Friday so I did not have that extra day o rest the IT Band. I started slow and stayed pretty slow the whole run. I may have stated before, but because I am really on my own if something happens, I try to stay within a mile to a mile and a half of my apartment. I ended up needing to come home to use the bathroom about halfway through, but did well getting back out and going again. By the end of the run the knee was sore, but manageable so I will take it.

The three runs I did this week were pretty uneventful. 3,5 and 3 and nothing big to talk about. I was due a 7 mile long run this weekend, but decided to do a 5K instead. Think it will help keep me motivated and give me one last shot at breaking 25 minutes before the end of the summer. Because I need to be up in 6 hours I am going to end here. Sorry it took so long to get this in. I will try to be better. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Rapid City not so Rapid

So I had a wedding to attend up in Rapid City, South Dakota. This was the first time I would be doing a training run in another city. Having the Garmin made it so I wouldn't have to map the route unless I wanted to. Having that kind of freedom is awesome.

I made my way out of the lobby and up the road to give myself a nice walk to get my legs moving. I made my way down the Cathedral Rd. and turned right onto a side street. The amount of hills was staggering....upppppp.....dowwwwwn......upppppp......dowwwwwn. I decided to turn right on a street called Terracita because it looked like it went through a nice neighborhood and seemed to have a small incline....holy cow was I wrong.

The road just kept going up and up and up and up. I turned on Alta Vista and went all the way to the top of the hill and literally saw the mansion on top of the hill. The view down was truly amazing and a walked for about 30 seconds to try and soak it in...and back down I went.

I looked at the Garmin to see how far it would be to get down the hill, and by the time I got back to the starting street, it said 1.2 miles. With the two small turns I made, I figure the incline was at least 1 mile up to the top....crazy.

The IT was really pretty good overall. I can't say the same for my right calf. It stayed sore for a few days and took some time to relax during my 3 mile run today. But I felt like I truly accomplished something within those 5 miles on Saturday. It was hot and I was dead by the time I got back to the hotel, but I enjoyed the challenge and the effort.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Nervous Thursday

So Thursdays have been the run day that have given me the most trouble. The IT Band just always seems to be so tender that a half mile in the pain gets rough. I was concerned about how it would go. I have been trying some different approaches to stretching. I am starting to suspect that I am stretching too much too soon and actually making the problem worse. I decided to try not stretching until the end of the run to make sure the muscles is warmed up and a little more pliable. I am also trying to make sure I work my stride so it causes the least amount of pain when I am running.

I would be lying if I said there was no pain for the entire run, but it was a very dull ache that is really easy to manage. It reminded me of the pain I had for a couple of months before the Colorado Marathon. To be honest I am a little encourage....

The fact that I made it through the run without the excruciating pain that had happened the previous two wees makes me happy. I did spend some solid time after the run, stretching and using the foam roller to try and stretch it out. Friday it did not feel great after yoga, but by mid afternoon, I felt nothing at all and that pleases me.

I went to a wedding up in South Dakota and did my Saturday run in Rapid City....I will give an update on that when I get home.

So my mileage for this week:

Tue - 3
Wed - 4
Thur - 3
Sat - 5

Everything is on track at the moment....

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

4 miles I think

The ol Garmin I was raving about yesterday died on me as I was starting my run. Thought it had plenty of juice but I was wrong. Need to be better about checking I guess. This is the first mid-week run that is of longer length than the Tuesday and Thursday run. It grows at a faster rate than the mid-week runs of the Novice 2 schedule I followed last marathon. I think this will pay off in the long run, although I reserve the right to tinker to try to build more base miles. I have been told by someone I trust that longer mid-week runs is one of the keys to getting better at this so I plan to try to make sure I build more as I go.

The run itself was not too bad. Again I did feel pressure for the entire run, but only a few moments of pain.The place I believe I went wrong was in my strength training afterwards. I need to not try to lift with the legs after a run while I am healing. It really had some adverse affect on me today. I have been battling some pretty solid pain since I got home at 7:10 this morning. It finally died down after about 4:00 PM and feels fine now. I am hoping I will be ok to make it through my three miles tomorrow.

The route.....sort of:

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

3 mile run fun

So I am in the 3rd week of my eighteen week training program. I have had mixed results the first couple of weeks, but continue to forge forward. I had a three mile run this morning and it went pretty well. To be honest...it is 2.7 then I work out a bit...followed by .3 home. I really want to get my body to reach its potential from an appearance stand point. So I do some solid strength training three days a week, and I do core work 5 days a week. I think it is slowly paying off.

The pain in the knee was very mild...more pressure than pain. For that I am grateful. I am trying not to let the need to run faster push me every day. The Garmin has been incredibly helpful with keeping perspective. I can see almost instantly my pace and distance so I can correct accordingly.

I have been getting up early to run and it helps keep the warm temperatures to a minimum. There aren't a lot of other people out and that is a little bit of a bummer. Other runners out always seem to help amp me up and push me. Wondering if other people keep a pattern of just squeeze it in whenever. But anyway....

I did not keep an accurate read of my time because I forgot to start the watch again after I was done doing my core work...so if that is the only reason you check the blog...I apologize. I have 4 miles tomorrow. I am excited....

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

New York State of Mind

I entered the lottery and did not think I would be chosen for the New York City Marathon. I think my lack of speed and location probably helped me get in. I really don't care. New York is such an amazing looking marathon, that I am just thrilled that I lucked out. Since I started thinking marathons last year, it was always on the top of the wish-list. I will be going to New York on the 29th of October to run in the Marathon on the 1st of November. So it is time for a new marathon blog. I think most people probably know what I have been up to since Colorado, but I will give a recap.

It took a week for my feet to feel almost normal after the marathon. I blackened the big toe on my right feet and was pretty miserable for a couple of weeks. I also had the knee pain get gradually worse and worse so I went to the doctor and found out that it is my Iliotibial Band. It is a somewhat common ailment for runners. Basically the muscle runs down each leg. When you push the knee down well taking steps, it can cause the muscle to constrict in the area around the patella. This cause the pain in the knee. I can tell you from 1st hand experience, that the pain can drop you to your knees. I have been working on things since May to try and get healed up with very mixed results. I have had to flat out stop a couple of runs and that scares me. I decided to do a lower mileage training program this time, in hopes of getting this under control.

I am just finishing the second week of the Higdon Novice I plan and it has been ok. My two long runs (a paltry 6 and 7 miles respectively) have gone well. The first two runs of each week have also gone well. The run that has dogged me both weeks is the third run. I am not sure why that day, but it has been really rough. I have added yoga and strength training, yoga, special stretching, prescription ointment, new shoes, cross-training, and a lot of ice and cold-water baths to try to help myself.

On the plus side, I bought a Garmin 405 GPS watch. I have had it for 3 weeks now and absolutely love it. It really helps keep me on track with my pace and distance. I set a personal record (PR) at a 5K down in Fort Collins a couple of weeks ago of 25 minutes and 26 seconds. I really want to get it under 25 before the end of the summer, so I am hoping to squeeze that in as well.

Well, I will get back in the habit of putting things up on the blog starting this week. Thank you again for all the help and support those of you that read this thing.