Wednesday, November 26, 2008

So here it is; 1:30 pm on the 26th and I'm already getting antsy for tomorrow. Shoot I won't even register for the run for another hour or so!

Now I'm just passing some time at work waiting for Alex to get out of school so I can pick him up. So instead of doing work, I'm going to be more constructive and highlight some points for tomorrow.

1. Have fun! I'm not a speed demon anymore - maybe someday in the future but not tomorrow.
2. Make sure Alex has fun and is comfortable. This is his first 5k race ever. He's done 1 milers before but never anything this size (4000+ runners)
3. Take pictures! I want to include them in my race report. This means I need a bag - store it etc.... (I've never done this before.)
4. Meet my sub 33 min goal. I still think this should be easy to do - but you never know since my back has been acting up over the past two weeks. (I really hope next year this goal will be more like a sub 27 min......)
5. Write an awesome race report. (I've never done this before - I run a ton of races but never written a report before.)
6. Eat turkey
7. Eat turkey
8. Fall asleep (with turkey in my stomach.)

Gobble Gobble

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Finally a Good Run!

Well I've taken it easy over the past few days to see if my back would feel any better (I only logged approx 15 miles last week) - and it's slowly coming around. It's really just sore and tired, nothing I can't handle but it's just making me uncomfortable sitting all day at work right now. Since playing softball last Thursday I shut down my running completely just to be safe but played golf on Sunday; I was sore going in, but my back loosened up and I scored ok (18 over for a 91).

So with the encouraging results of playing golf, I decided to start running again on Monday - and I felt really good. After walking during my lunch, I went for a run once Beth and I put down the kids. The plan was 2 miles easy, nothing more nothing less. When it was all said and done I logged 2 miles in 21:02 and I could have ran 2 more at that pace. Breathing was pretty good (it still have room for improvement) and I really didn't start sweating until 3/4th of a mile into the run. In fact, I wore longsleeves thinking it was colder than it was - I could have gone shortsleeves and been perfectly fine.

This morning I'm still a little stiff, and I can feel the tension in my lower back and hips, but once again nothing really bad. Maybe an Advil later this morning and I think I'll be fine. Today I'm planning on doing the same thing - walk at lunch, then 2 miles tonight. The weather calls for rain today so that may change a little we'll see.

A couple other notes - I tried to sign up for the Turkey Trot this morning, but on-line registration is closed (even though it indicates today was the last day) Now I have to go down tomorrow and pay more. Dammit. I've been putting it off for a couple reasons, my back and making sure Alex really want to run with me. That's what I get for waiting for the last min. Also sometime over the holiday weekend I'm planning on going to Crystal Cove to test run the 5k course there. If I like it I'm going to sign up for that also (just myself this time.)

I'm going to set a PB for my monthly miles this month no matter what - my next run will do that. So that's a good trend. I'll do a complete monthly review next week after my race report.

Keep Steppin'

Friday, November 21, 2008

A Day Off - Kind of

Well I took yesterday off - kind of. I did my normal walk during lunch (1.67 miles) and then started back on my softball team. I play second base for an 'upper D' league here in Irvine California. Now this group hasn't been together for about 6-8 months and I haven't even touched a ball during that time so I expected to be rusty, but the whole team came out on-fire and we never were challenged after the first half of the first inning. It was good seeing the guys again after such a long layoff.

My plan was to run two miles once I got home after a 8:50pm game - but that didn't happen. I rolled into the drive at 10:45 and with my body still reeling from the hard runs earlier this week and now the bending motion(s) from playing softball I was really sore. (Plus I had recorded the Laker game that I HAD to watch.) I decided to just take a warm shower and relax. I iced my lower back and feet for pretty much the hour it took to watch the game and felt pretty good going to bed.

Oh my GOD! I woke this morning and my body was screaming at me. I could barely move; my feet, calves, lower back, ass and hips were all really sore - almost painful. (Notw I'm getting old and really didn't take care of my body when I was younger so normally I walk like a penguin when I get up but this was 10x worse)

Needless to say, I'm planning on taking another day off today - and I'll remember now not to run my long run after a quick race pace run like I did earlier this week. (stupid I know but I felt so good earlier this week.) I did bring my stuff to walk during lunch, but I might just use that time to buy/look at new shoes - My NB shoes are getting up there in miles, and I really haven't been happy with them in their cushioning and stability. (If fact I think they may just be aggravating my back enough to cause me pain after my runs.)

But like I mentioned in my last post - I'm going to take it easy the remainder of this week - the loss of mileage this week won't have any effect on my Thanksgiving race at this point. I just need my rational part of my brain to overcome the other part that is screaming; "You need the miles! Don't miss the miles! You lazy bum get out and run!" That's when running isn't fun anymore.....

Keep Steppin' <-- very gingerly today....

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Difficult Training Runs

We know everyone has them. But even after 30+ years of running I'm always surprised when one of these runs 'hit' me. Yesterday I got home early and the family was away from the house so I decided to go out for a run. Now this wasn't a 'normal' run for me =<3 miles so I mapped out a course that wound through town and it turned out to be 4.6 mile. No biggie, I'll just go out in a 11 min pace and should be able to complete this with no problem. Low and behold as soon as I stepped out the door and took that first step; the discomfort started. Notice I didn't say 'pain'. That comes a little later......

Normally I'm a slow starter and need to get warmed up - so these first few steps of discomfort didn't alarm me too much other than the fact that I noticed right off that my legs were sore from the other night. "No problem though - I'll just start a little slower than planned. Plus I really want to do this course since it's new." I told my brain. Slowly the kinks worked themselves out of my legs, and my breathing was coming pretty normally. Unfortunately that lasted about a mile. My first split: 10:43. "Good - I'm right where I want to be. This shouldn't be too hard - that first mile was all uphill so this second uphill mile should be easy now I've warmed up." Don't you hate it when your head plays with you? Damm it's getting harder - glancing down at my watch only about 5 mins has passed, my breathing is becoming a little ragged and all of the sudden my left foot his killing me. Where the hell did THAT pain come from? It hurts so bad I can feel it in my right knee.... What!?! My RIGHT knee? OK what the hell is going on? I'd better slow to a stop. Walk a min, run a min, walk, run; mile 2 marker: 13:42. Damm what happened?

I eventually overcame the issue and went on to finish with mid 10 min splits for the final two downhill miles, but it got me thinking about how the mind works regarding these 'bad' runs. I can have good run after good run but somehow over the years I tend to remember the bad ones more. Don't get me wrong I do remember good ones also - but just not as clearly. Is it because of the pain? Some of my best runs that I remember have come with pain so that's a common feature. But I tend to believe that it's more that that. Somewhere in me is my brain's filing system that 'stores' milestones - and a lot of times these difficult 'bad' runs seem to be stored. Why? Is the old adage "No Pain No Gain" really true? Maybe to some extent it is. For me at least I tend to remember these runs better when there is pain involved. But usually these runs are also followed by a decision I need to make in my training. Do I continue to try to get better and take it to the next level? Or do I back off and keep the pain to a level where I enjoy running at and not get any better?

Now just because I choose to work with the pain doesn't mean I'm stupid and go out and get hurt. It just means I decide to plan a little bit better, and work smarter to get to my goals. (Adjustments are made)

Still it think is funny how the brain works on these types of runs.... I still remember painful runs way back from High School and college. One in particular run was when I was a freshman in high school. I joined the x-country team upon begging from the Coach (we were a small school and needed another runner to fill the squad) I ran a soft riverbed course in something like 26 +change (3 miles) I felt like I was going to die, and could have quit right there without any shame. After puking my lunch (hotdogs of all things and purple CoolAid) I decided right there to run a sub 20 min for that season. (I didn't hit that goal until my sophmore season, but I did hit it and went much further.) Still even though I don't remember the winning time of the race, the weather, or even the time of day - I still remember how I felt over that last mile and a half and how I overcame that feeling. Not because of the race or the finish, but because I overcame something inside telling me to quit.

Keep Steppin'

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sunday night run.

I didn't really do much this weekend - and Beth got on my case for not helping around the house that much. Friday night was a bust - I did go for a run but the Lakers got their butts kicked so everything kind of evened out. Saturday I didn't run and it blew my chance for getting 20 miles in for the week. Still I didn't let myself get down - instead of running Beth and I had some good friends over for a BBQ (since it was 95 degrees outside). After a few beers, Beth let on that I was keeping this blog - let's just say I wasn't prepared for that and turned beet red. I'm not sure why - I'm guessing it just because I've never thought people I know would actually read this....

Anyway, today I went out planning to run 2 miles, but it stretched into a 5k. (In pretty good time for me) I felt so good I decided to try an extra mile time trial. This I clocked a 9:04! An 8:52 is my record and this 9:04 came right after running a sub 32 min 5k! Boy, I'm really ready for Thanksgiving right now. From this point on I'm planning to run my remaining training runs very slowly - and this week I'm trying to log 24 miles. We'll see how it goes.

Keep Steppin'


Thursday, November 13, 2008

I've made some changes......

Well I've basically changed some format items on my blog. First and foremost, I've finally switched over to RunningAhead, and all the links should be working now. Secondly, I've added a Goals section on the right of the page so I can clearly see what goals are coming up and estimate in my head if I'm going to complete them on-time. I felt that it was good reference to all my readers if I mention something related to my current goals. Finally, I've added links from RunningAhead that show my weekly/monthly/yearly totals along with my last 5 workouts. That way I don't have to really type my Log Summary posts just to display numbers - I can rather spend the time writing something that maybe you guys could find useful in your own training (or at least entertaining.)

Yesterday I didn't go for my scheduled run. I think my son passed his head cold to me; my throat is sore and scratchy, eyes watering, and nose is running like a faucet. So instead I fixed my blog, and took some benedryl. Before too long I was out like a light sitting downstairs with the laptop on my lap. I think I woke up around 11:00pm and crawled into bed. Luckily I didn't disturb Beth, she was already tucked into Cade's car bed.

Other than the head cold I feel pretty good and anxious for Thanksgiving to come. I'm pretty sure I've put in enough training to easily break the 33 min barrier. In fact in my mind I'm picturing a sub 31 min 5k. But you never know. There have been times where I toe that starting line and nothing is in the tank. Then time where I feel like crap and I do very well. We'll just have to see what happens. In the mean time I'm going to continue working pretty much everyday to get stronger and faster.

Keep Steppin'


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Log Entry 11/10/08

The last few days have been really busy with work, soccer, family etc.... Still I've been running pretty much everyday. Sunday was my last day off in about a week time frame. Overall my legs are a little tired and sore and my back is still bothering me a little bit but other than that I feel pretty good. Breathing is coming around and I can tell I'm getting stronger.

Miles: 1.67
Avg pace: 18:16
Time: 30:29


Miles: 3.02
Avg Pace: 9:50
Time: 29:41

Splits: 10:04, 10:02, 9:35

I felt pretty good during the run once I warmed up. Hopefully tomorrow I won't be too sore. Overall I didn't try to push too hard, just hard enough at the end to break 30 mins.

I'm getting really close to linking my new training log, keep an eye out for the change.

Keep Steppin'

Friday, November 7, 2008

Walter Ris was my Uncle.....

For some reason driving into the office this morning I was thinking about my long deceased Uncle. Maybe it was the clear crisp skies that jogged something in my mind, or maybe it's just that time of year again. But for whatever reason my mind wandered off and he came to the front.

It was the Christmas morning 1989 when he passed away. I still remember the call from my Aunt (my Dad's older sister). Telling us he passed away in his sleep. Wally was a big man about 6'2" and 190 lbs - he was a former Olympian gold medalist, and could pick his nephew (me) up by my ears. Even though it's been almost 20 years since his passing, I can still remember his smile and loud booming voice. I was in awe of him every time we visited - and the best I could describe him was he was like a loving bear in a china shop trying to be gentle.

Still as I think back, we weren't really that close - we saw one another on holidays and family gatherings, but for some reason he made a big impression on me. I still remember the time I got to hold his goal metals that he kept stored away in his downstairs office. I must have been about 8 years old, and these things were heavy in my hands. The metal dwarfed my hands and he had kept them well polished and preserved some twenty plus years after receiving them. In my mind, his office shrank to encompass only him, me and the two metals - something like the 'one ring' in JRR Tolkin's Hobbit series. Holding the metals and seeing the look on my uncle's face clicked something inside of me, and to this day I'm not sure what turned on.....

Maybe that's where my competitive fire came from - just seeing my Uncle's eyes and holding that weight. I wanted to experience that he had experienced, to feel what he had felt it was infectious. I wanted to go to that place we all go during a difficult run in my mind - to feel the tingling sensation through our limbs knowing you are totally in the moment, and in-sync with your body. Pushing yourself to the very limit, and feeling every moment as it passes. Somewhere in college that moment, that drive slipped through my fingers.

Still thinking back to my Uncle - I was close enough to experience HIM; to experience what he had felt and done. And to his day I thank God for my Uncle Wally, my Aunt and my cousins because he was a good man, husband and person. This world should have more Wally's......

Thursday, November 6, 2008

I have a follower! And other running stuff.....

It's kind of hard to believe that Someone is actually reading this - I wasn't going to mention anything (I though maybe it's bad blog protocol), but Thank You Kelly for taking the time reading my little edge of the blog sphere. I hope it's not too boring and that you continue to keep reading. BTW I love your blog and encourage anyone to read it.

On to running related stuff - I'm currently in the process of switching my running log over to RunningAhead. I had been using FavoriteRun for about 15 months and haven't really been happy with it. The thing that sold me on RunningAhead was the creator himself: Eric. After dropping Eric an e-mail on Wednesday, I promptly received a e-mail back within 24-hours with answers to all my questions, and concerns. I'm convinced that this guy is dedicated to producing a nice 'free' running site. Eric has put together a nice easy-to-use site with custom graphing functions. Mapping is included with fairly quick page loading times, and a fairly active board where there are people who respond quickly and nice towards even the most basic of questions. (The fact that most of the BB'er are refugees from the old Cool Running site is a rather nice bonus.) If you're in the market for a nice on-line running log take at look at what Eric's created over at RunningAhead.

Now comes the personal running stuff; over the last few days I been struggling with lower back issues, at first I wasn't sure where it was coming from but I know the pain was enough to cause actual pain and difficulty in walking. So for about two days I popped some painkillers and waited to see if the pain would go away. What was it? I was leaning towards a pinched nerve and sleeping 'weird' but that didn't seem right to me. It was only after I pulled out the 'tens unit' did I get any relief. In fact it worked so well I decided to try running last night. Low and behold I felt pretty good, so I added another mile. Still in the back of my mind was; "Why am I hurting so much? Am I overdoing it with my running? Putting in too many miles too quickly?" Only when I went to do my sit-up for the day did I know where the pain was coming from. I'm USING MUSCLES that I haven't used in a while! The tens unit had loosened up my back to the point where I wasn't feeling any pain, but as soon as I tried to do a sit up it locked back up! Damm I'm stupid! At lease I found the cause, and I can work around it now. (I really need my core muscles stronger, otherwise I'll never get any better in my running.)

This morning I feel a little better - still hurting, and in fact I'm using the tens right now as I type. But I'm happy to find the source, and I know I can work around it. If I'm careful I'll stronger here in the next few days. I just need to get over this hump.

Miles: 2.0
Avg Pace: 10:09
Time: 20:18

Keep Steppin'

PS once I get my log transferred and reviewed I'll make it available for viewing. Hopefully that will be completed by this weekend.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

It's Raining!

It started raining last night, I know "So what?" But in Southern California it's kind of a big deal since we don't get much all year. It's not a lot of rain but enough here that the ground gets waterlogged and soft. It's nice, it clears out the air and reminds me of being a kid again - with the air clean and you can see for miles. I always picture in my mind clear days where from my parents house you could see all the way to Catalina Island.

Well on to other things - Ran pretty good last night before it started raining, put in three miles and set a new PB with 29:27. Really I wasn't surprised with this since my old PB was 33+ mins I just hadn't run the distance in a while. In fact I was disappointed in my time even though it was the first time I was running this course. Effort wise, I did push myself and can feel small aches and pains this morning. Feet, calves, and lower back all are hurting but I can live with it. If it clears up before lunch I'll be taking a walk to loosen up.

The plan this week calls out about 20-25 miles - about 6-8 miles of this will be walking the rest around a 10 min pace. I am planning a 4+ mile run on Wednesday so tonight will be very SLOW and easy. Recovery, recovery, recovery is the name of the game today. Friday I do plan to run two miles with a mile warm up then a TT mile to see if I can better my PB in the mile. Other than that, this week is all about mileage and easy pace. I really want to put together a solid month before Thanksgiving.

I broke my consecutive day running streak on Sunday (14 days) - I actually took the day off from everything. I didn't even get dressed for the day and just played hermit. (I didn't even shave until about 9:00 pm). It felt weird not running, but I think it was the right thing to do. Beth though I was lazy, but I needed some downtime.

The only other thing worth mentioning right now is that I'm thinking about changing my on-line log site. Currently I'm using FavoriteRun. This site is pretty good except load times for maps can be long, and there are too few graphs available plus I'm paying $12/year for the site. Lately I've run across a site: RunningAhead that looks pretty good and I might just go to it if they can convert my currently log. Does anyone out there have any experience with RunningAhead? It looks like it really took off when CoolRunning merged. Any input would be helpful. BTW - isn't it scary how Cool Running has become a ghost town? I remember back when that was the site to be on; you could ask ANY question and get a hundred answers within minutes, now looking at their forums, you're luck to see a single post in an hour or two.....

Keep Steppin'


Monday, November 3, 2008

Month End Summary (October 2008)

Well it's hard to believe that another month has past for this year already. In a blink of an eye I look up and see the year almost over and myself a year older. But really it's not that bad - my family is great! Alex seems to be doing well in his first year of High School, Abby if finally coming around after the move, and Cade is just classic! He's at an age where he really fun to watch.

In regards to my running this month, I feel pretty good. I logged quite a few mile for me and I seemed to get stronger as the month went along. I set some short-terms goals, and accomplished a few PB's so I really can't complain. Here are a few of the highlights:

1. Total miles for month (PB): 61.58
2. Avg Pace: 10:02 per mile
3. Total time on the road: 14:12.41 (PB)
4. 74% of days spent running (PB)
5. 14-day-in-a-row running streak (PB)
6. 1.81 miles per outing

Personally, I think I could have done more during the month even though I did log PB's in several areas. The 1.81 mile per run is kind of wimpy, but it did increase over September. I do need to be careful not to try to increase pace and distance too rapidly otherwise I'll burn myself out.

Looking ahead, I do want to try to continue building for Thanksgiving. My body feels pretty strong except for an ongoing case of heartburn. Lately it's been really bad and I'm not sure what to do. I've tried altering my diet a little, not do situps, drink more water, etc but nothing seems to work for relief. If it continues over the next few weeks, I'll have to schedule an appointment to get checked out.

Keep steppin'