Jul 28, 2009

Running somewhere new is always great

I'm less than 3 weeks away from my half marathon on August 16th. I took last week very, very easy. Only ran 21 miles. I feel really good physically right now. So now I have 2 hard weeks of training (52 miles this week, 54 next), followed by a week of taper. The only hard part of taking such a slow week is getting started again. Rest feels goooooooooood! =) And the food tastes really good too. Problem is, I end up eating too much of it. LOL. My appetite control is much better when I run. With such a slow week, I find myself walking in the kitchen too much, looking in the pantry, or fridge, and finding something to eat. Needless to say, I put on a few pounds last week with the lower activity level. I expect them to mostly disappear this week. By raceday, I should be fit & ready.

And it looks like I'll have a fun week of running. We'll be in Gatlinburg, TN from Friday to Tuesday, so that should make for some scenic runs. I'm looking forward to that. I guess Cades Cove is closed until 10AM on Wednesday & Saturday so people can use it for walking and running. That should be a great run. I plan to put in my 14-miler there. Hopefully the weather holds up. And no bear attacks me! LOL. My other runs I'll have to figure out where to have, but I'm sure they'll be nice too. If I were a trail runner, I'd be in the perfect place. Someday I'd like to do some trail running, but I don't think I'll do it right now, before my race. I can picture myself tripping a root, or limb, and breaking something. But someday, I'll have some trail shoes, no upcoming race, and the Appalachian trails at my doorstep. Someday.

Jul 16, 2009

My mid-summer funk

Running is getting tougher lately, but not b/c I'm physically tired, or injured. I'm struggling mentally. For starters, I really hate heat. This is nothing new. Give me January weather to run in any day. Secondly, this whole unemployed crap is getting on my nerves. Really getting on my nerves. Add to that, I had a phone interview last week, that I felt went well, and had expected to hear something either Monday or Tuesday. Still haven't heard. I know these things can take time, and the interviewer is busy with everything they have to do in the course of their job, but I'm going a little stir crazy waiting. I'm so anxious to hear. I'm checking my Blackberry every 5 minutes during the day, looking for word from my recruiter. I'm going NUTS! And in turn, my brain is in overdrive. And by the end of the day, I'm mentally tired, and getting out to run in the heat is that much tougher to do. It's not like I'm depressed, I'm just tired. Mentally. But not from training. Yet, it's affecting my training. Some good news would do a lot to boost my spirit. Hopefully tomorrow.

Just bought 2 books. Advanced Marathoning, by Pfitzinger & Douglas, and My Life on the Run, by Bart Yasso. Using Pftizinger's training schedule for my marathon. Yasso's, I just think will be a good read, and hope will help get me in a better frame of mind.

Couple of weeks until my half, on 8/16. Looking forward to it. Just hope I'm ready for it, and ready to run a great race. My wife is definitely putting the work in to complete her first half. She's looking strong right now. She's definitely making progress, and that's the important thing.

Well, I have about 45 minutes before I need to get out and run. Hopefully I don't talk myself out of it, and just keep my ass parked on the couch.

Jul 6, 2009

Getting race ready & my new running partner

I'm currently 6 weeks away from running in the Ultrafit-USA Columbus half marathon. I'm really looking forward to it. It'll be great to see if I'm really in the kind of shape I've thought all year that I'm in. At the start of 2008, when I first started decided to run a half, my goal was to break 1:45. I ran 4 races, but I never managed to meet my goal, and that really upset me. I'd say I should have in Chicago in August, but a rookie mistake (drank way too much during the race, and drank Gatorade, which I never did back then and it ate straight through my stomach) cost me dearly. Then in San Antonio, in November, I pulled my right groin, and limped to the finish line. So I ended 2008 very disappointed.

I started 2009 with a renewed eagerness to get better. I got in the gym to strength train, to help prevent future injuries. I was out in the cold, 5-6 days per week, running. I ate like a champ. My physique began to change again. I was getting lean, and I felt great. And yet, despite not reaching my goal of running a 1:45, I decided to train for a full this year too. Sadly, that turned into another failure, and that was so much worse than not running my 1:45. But I took from it KNOWING that I was in the best shape of my life, and that if I'd chosen to run a half instead, I'd have crushed 1:45. I just knew I could. But I had yet to complete any race that objectively told me that anything of what I just said was true. About the only thing I had done was run a 5K in March, the morning after an 18-mile long run, far faster than I had intended to. Goal was to cruise around in about 24-25 minutes. I ran a 22:08. And I thought it was fairly easy too. That was when I decided that running a few 5K's this summer would be fun, and my goal was to run sub 21-minutes.

After getting over my Pig disappointment, I signed up for a 5K, first week of June. I wasn't 100%, and I had been somewhat lazy the weeks following the Pig, but I managed to run a 21:08. That was my first sign that I was at least close to the kind of shape I thought I was in. After that, my wife decided that she wanted to walk a half-marathon, this summer, and that she would try to get ready for the Columbus one, on August 16th. I told her I would run too. This was a great opportunity for me to finally break that damn 1:45-mark that bothered me all of last year. So I'm prepping for that now.

This past weekend, I ran another 5K, and I felt much better than in my June race. Despite my right foot soreness still being a slight issue, I ran very well, and clocked another PR. My goal was to just come in under 21:00. I came in at 20:27. WOW! I was pumped up big time over that. Talk about a confidence boost. And so now I take that success into the next 6 weeks of training. I'll be ready come August 16th.

On a completely different topic, I have a new running partner. And surprisingly, it's not my wife, Susan. She's sticking with the walking thing, for now. My new partner sort of blind-sided me. It's my 10-year old step-daughter, Melanie! She seems to have picked up on Susan's new found enthusiasm for long-distance races, and now she wants in on the act. She wants to do more than just the 1-mile kids' runs. She wants to try a full-blown 5K. So last week we began building some base mileage for her. 3 runs, about 5.5 miles total. And she really seems to like it. I really enjoy seeing the effort she's putting into it, and I especially enjoy our chats as we go. She asks lots of questions about "Why this?" and "Why that". So I get a kick out of her trying to learn. After her first run, she said she definitely wanted to continue doing this, so we went out and got her her first pair of running shoes. She tried on 7-8 pairs before deciding that the Asics GT-1140's felt the best. Add to that a couple of pairs of running socks, and she was pretty pleased. I guess she couldn't wait to show her Aunt Marla her new shoes! LOL. I'm hoping that perhaps she can be ready for a 5K by late August, or early September. I'm confident she can be.

After my half in Columbus, I'll be 12 weeks away from the Indy Monumental Marathon, on Nov. 7th. That'll be a good amount of time to train, and not burn out, I think. My next 6 weeks of training will be tougher than the first 6 weeks of an 18-week marathon plan. So my plan is to train and race on 8/16, use the week after that as my drop-down week, and then train like hell for the next 11 weeks. I'm definitely looking to finish 2009 much better than I ended 2008, or started 2009.