Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Not quite the magic I was hoping for

The massage appointment went well last week, but it unfortunately, wasn't the magic I was hoping for.  He did a fair amount of work on my hamstring and back and "fixed" some things, but 10 minutes into an easy run on Monday it pulled again so I walked 20 minutes back.  More time off.  Oh, and I broke a toe (or really really bruised it), so there's that too.

I can, however, ride my bike with minimal discomfort which is a good thing.  I guess I'm going to not run for another four weeks to let it heal and get stronger.  In the meantime, I think I'll put some more miles on the bike to try to keep sane. That, and work on the pull-up challenge at the State Fair next month.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

1st step

My first step in the process is to fix what's broken.  I have an appointment at Stiner Massage on Friday to get some work done on my hamstring, but also to investigate some possible issue that may be causing my "chronic" knee issues.  I predict some ongoing maintenance will be needed once I get fixed and into hard running.

The next three weeks (prior to Oct. 1) will see some easy biking and stretching before easing back into some light running.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014


I've been struggling a lot over the last few years with what I want to do physical fitness wise.  I took almost a full year off of running last year and "bulked up" lifting weights, but it didn't give me what I was looking for.  I started running again last December, and while I worked back into a few marathons, injuries have again side-lined me (old knee type stuff and new acute hamstring).  Naturally, I'm still a bit bulkier than in my "best" ultra-running years, but not grotesquely so (at least I don't think so?).

Still, I feel pulled in several directions and the "drifting aimlessly" without a concrete goal, is killing me.  I'm the type of personality where I need a goal to work towards, to the point where "just exercise" isn't really cutting it anymore.  The trouble I've had is, well, what's a good goal?  I've thought through them all, believe me.  I've had plenty of time to think.

I've decided I want to go back and run the Boston Marathon.  It's been since 2008, and will require a LOT of hard work, since I'm basically starting with scratch.  I put some time into the following timeline to figure out how to make it work:

  • October 1, 2014 - anticipated date to return to running (tentative, based on hamstring)
  • Spring, 2015 - marathon to get a sense of what I've put in since October
  • Fall, 2015 - serious attempt at fast BQ
  • Winter, 2016 - second serious attempt at fast BQ
  • Spring, 2016 - third and final serious attempt at fast BQ
  • September 2016 - register for Boston
  • April 2017 - run Boston Marathon
It's crazy to think that my first realistic chance to run is in 2017...that's 2.5 years away, but it is, so at least it gives me lots of time to prepare.  I'm going to morph this blog into sort of a training diary, of sorts, to track my progress toward this goal.  Who knows how long I'll keep up with it...

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Temporarily out of commission and an Update

The two-a-days for Grandfather Mountain never made it past day 2.  Predictably, GMM was a challenging, limping event, but completed in the midst of an awesome vacation week in Boone.

Post GMM, I was working my way back into some sort of shape focused on the Mag mile race, when on the last planned rep of a speed/track workout, I pulled a hamstring.  Two weeks off turned into four which is where we're at now.  I had a few test runs last week of 2, 3 and 5 miles that went slowly, but otherwise pain-free.  After a nice, active Labor Day weekend, I started my new training plan but towards the end of my first 5 mile run Tuesday morning, it the hamstring started to get sore again.  I did a slow, tentative second run at lunch, where it was sore, but not painful.  A similar feeling accompanied me Wednesday morning, so I decided to take today off to rest it.

I'm going to look into some massage therapy to see if I can straighten it out and perhaps, fix some other things.

I'm not really sure what my racing plans entail; they sort of hinge on when I can get back in shape, but the motivation and fire has returned, so I'm excited.  I would really like to do well at the Uwharrie 40 miler in February, so that's the goal, assuming I can overcome these issues.  I'd also like to get back up to Boston, so a fast marathon is also part of the long-term plan.

I've come up with what I think could be a really effective training plan, but will require a lot of effort on my part.  You're welcome to use the plan, but if you do something awesome, let me know!

My plan is a 7 day cycle and breaks down as follows:

  • Marathon Monday - warm-up for 10 minutes, followed by a steady run at marathon pace, building up to 13 miles.
  • Two for Tuesday - two easy runs, once before work and once at lunch working up to a total of 13 miles.
  • Once on Wednesday - one easy run, building up to 10 miles before work
  • Three for Thursday - similar to Tuesday but adding a third run at night, working up to 20 miles
  • Fast Friday - short and fast session of up to 20 minutes of hard tempo work
  • Off Saturday - while I'm timing races
  • Runday Sunday - traditional long run, working up to 20-24 miles (will move to Saturday when not timing a race)

So, that's what it is and I know I'll have some success if I could actually get healthy and be consistent.

Monday, May 12, 2014

2 months until GMM

I've begun looking forward to this "destination" race with only 2 months to go.  We're doing it right this year by renting a house for a week and planning some fun activities and adventures.  Now to just get in shape!  2-a-days for the next 2 months ought to do it.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Incredibly Busy

It kind of snuck up on me/us.  Back in December, we had the Holidays.  Then in January we had a lot of winter weather.  In February I was so focused on the Whole 30 that I didn't notice it looming.  Then March hit and the complete and utter chaos that was our schedule reared up.

We hit a period of 5 7-day work weeks (me) combined with 3 to 4 work nights a week (her) and another obligation on Monday nights (me) for a total of not much time for the two (or four) of us together, and something had to give.  I've already shed upcoming commitments in an attempt to bring back some balance and I'm thankful that no long-term damage was done.

March is now over and while the beginning of April doesn't look a whole lot better, there is light at the end of the tunnel.  Going forward, I have a good, fresh, reminder of the need for balance and the fact that there are much more important things (people) in my life that deserve my time.  Spring (any season, really), is a great time to look back, look ahead and make adjustments to our course.  The weather this week has provided a gentle reminder that relaxation and fun are as important as work and toil.

My running streak also ended on March 28th.  The old knees just weren't getting any better with cold, rainy weather, so I decided to finally rest them from running impact.  So, my new longest ever running streak is 86 days and honestly, I'll probably never come close to that again.  Again with the balance, I'm hoping to do a lot more bike riding with the warmer months and may even find my way back to my outdoor gym.  Variety is a good thing and I'm relearning how to embrace it.  That said, I've got to find a way to get ready for the 100 mile race I signed up for in October.  For that, I'm thinking a combination of 3 days of quality running with 3-4 days of biking, plus some weights will get me close enough to in shape over the next 180 days!

Pacing the Tobacco Road Marathon - Fun (?)

My first marathon in ~15 months is in the books.  My knees can vouch for that.  Splits first, because they tell an interesting story.  I was a 4:00 pacer, along with John Adamof, which is a pace of 9:09 per mile.

  • Mile 5: 46:41 (which includes about 57 seconds to get to the start line.
  • Mile 6: 9:10
  • Mile 7: 9:04
  • Mile 8: 9:03
  • Mile 9: 9:02
  • Mile 10: 9:02
  • Mile 11: 9:01
  • Mile 12: 9:04
  • Mile 13: 9:05
  • Mile 14: 9:07
  • Mile 15: 9:04
  • Mile 16: 8:52
  • Mile 17: 9:13
  • Mile 18: 9:08
  • Mile 19: 9:05
  • Mile 20: 8:47
  • Mile 21: 8:44
  • Mile 22: 8:38
  • Mile 23: 8:34
  • Mile 24: 8:39
  • Mile 25: 8:17
  • Mile 26: 8:06
  • Finish: 3:55:11
So, the story is that at mile 20, a couple guys noticed that the split was a little fast (I think John got carried away on the downhill section with all the people at the aid station), and asked about it.  I indicated that we could back off a bit, but they asked if we could instead, keep it up.  When I replied, "whatever you guys want", the three of us moved ahead.  We (Brian and I) dropped one (Ben), but picked up one (Adam) and so the three of us knocked down the last 10k getting faster each mile.  

The finish was rewarding as we steadily moved up and they both finished with PRs.  John finished at 3:59:30 (chip time) for an excellent job.

My knees started to really ache around mile 10, but felt a little better during the last 10k when our pace picked up.  They're still quite sore today, but I chalk it up to the change in running form (plus a lack of long runs) needed to slow down from my regular running pace.

I'm not sure why I didn't hit the Publish button when I drafted this, but whatever, here goes nothing...

Whole 30 - Yes, I did finish it

I guess through all the excitement of finishing the Whole 30, I forgot to update the blog about it.  So, although four weeks late, here it is.  I finished.  I made it an entire 30 days without a gram of sugar, alcohol, grain, dairy, or anything else prohibited by THE PROGRAM.  I picked up a dozed doughnuts on my way to work Monday morning, which is not exactly how they advise reintroducing foods, but I ate them all anyway.  And they were good.

By the end of the 30 days, I had lost 11 pounds.  A good portion of that, I believe, was water which joined with carbohydrates in my body.  I'm no longer concerned about being so careful with what I eat, worried I might mindlessly eat a goldfish as I'm packing a lunch and ruining 3 weeks of discipline.

The month was challenging, but got easier as I got into a routine.  There are definitely some good things about the "diet", though I don't like using that word.  I might even do it again sometime, just because I now know I can.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Whole 30 - Day 27

Surely, 26 is the same as 30, right?  Argggh.  Fine, four more days it is, but I don't have to like it.  Actually, I'm well under 100 hours to go, so that's a good thing.  While I generally feel fine, I'm just ready to be done with being so cautious about what I eat, making sure everything is 100% "compliant".  I'm ready for a beer.  And doughnuts.  Separately, or together, I don't care.

I know I've lost some weight, though I will wait until Sunday evening for a final weigh-in.  I'm definitely leaner and my clothes fit a little better, (though my arms don't fill out the sleeves as well as they used to.)

I don't know that I've seen any change with regards to sleeping, but to be fair, I didn't have any issues with sleeping before.  One benefit from the last four weeks is that my beard is longer and fuller, as is the hair on my head...coincidence?

My running has also improved, but more than a result of complying with the program directly, I think it's because I've lost a little weight and have run consistently this year, so getting "back to where I was" is happening at a more rapid pace.

I've had an uptick in side-work which I believe is completely unrelated to the Whole 30, but is nice to note anyway.

My challenge for March is to do real meal planning for the month, in hopes of making it habit.  By "meal planning", I, of course, mean coming up with a weekly menu and shopping list based on grocery store sales in hopes of more strictly sticking with our grocery budget.  I've been interested in ways to maximize efficiency with regards to meals, groceries, and our budget and am now in a place where I can put some more effort into it.  (That probably deserves it's own blog, but don't worry, I'll muck up this one with all the details.)