Monday, February 27, 2012

Training report week 2/20/12

The most exciting thing that happened this week was my long run on Friday February 24, 2012. I took off from work so that I would have a four day weekend. I have gotten bored with my weekday runs near my house so I decided to go to Hershey to run. My original goal for this run was to run for 90 minutes. It ended up that I felt amazing so I kept going. I ended up running 11.58 miles. I think that reality that I did not know exactly how far I went was why I didn't run 13.1 miles that morning. I still used my Garmin watch but I set it up so I only knew my average pace and time (not distance).

There are two things that set this apart from other runs. First I am very surprised how easy this run was since I used a :30/:30 ratio - Galloway method. I felt great after as well.

Second the fact that it was raining and I hate running in the rain. I think that having races scheduled made a huge difference in getting me out for a run.

I find that this run felt better because I could run relaxed due to not having any time constraints.

I can't wait to officially register for the Marine Corps Marathon (MCM). I am trying to simulate the elevation for this race by running in other areas. Cindy printed out a larger version of the race map. Thanks Cindy!

My run yesterday was inspired by the system Cindy and I have implemented. Basically, if I run three times in one week then I get a mileage bonus. It will help me get out more times per week. Plus I still receive the exercise bonus :-).

Friday, February 17, 2012

How I started running (revised)

I started running  my junior and senior year in high school (1998 and 1999).  I ran the 100M and 300M hurdles.  I wasn't very fast, but I enjoyed the team aspect of track.  When I saw the longer distance runners I was envious of them.  I thought to myself that I wish I could run long distances.

When I was very young I remember my pediatrician saying that I have a "runner's body."  I never really knew what that meant.  Now, that I have three half marathons under my belt I have more confidence about my ability to run.

The question that I comes to mind next is why half-marathons and now I want to run a full marathon.  That story is quite interesting.  I remember in 2008 my friend's wife ran the half marathon and after that the thought was planted in my mind that maybe I could run a half marathon if I put my mind to it.  It wasn't as though this was in anyway critical if my friend's wife at all... it was almost like "if she can do it so can I."  At that point I got the runner bug and I started training for the Harrisburg Half in 2009.  I tried to train during the winter so that I could have a strong base, but I made it only a few times to the gym.  It was much less than consistent.  This training I did with a close friend and that made those long runs more bearable.  I remember that as the spring and summer came it was hot and I did not get nearly as much training in as I would have like.  I finished my first half-marathon with a decent amount of walking in about 2 hours and 50 minutes.  I felt horrible afterwards.  I remember still to this day that I slept for several hours after it.  Somehow I still wanted to go back for more because I know that my training wasn't that great.

So I did just that.  I decided that I would run regardless of whether or not I had someone to train with me or not.  I did end up having a guy from church run with me on some of the long runs.  He was running the Hershey Half a month or so after me so we had a lot of fun on those long runs together.  What a better way to spend a Saturday morning than to run for two hours and chat about life.  This training went much better because I was able to do a lot of longer runs in the cool and I was determined to be able to run without walking.  I had a a goal of 2:30 which is crazy since that would have been 20 minutes off of my previous half marathon.  I was so close to that goal.  I blame the fact that it rained the days leading up to the race so we had puddles to run around.  I think I missed it by less than a minute.  Another cool part was that my good friend paced me the last 6 miles or so with me (even though he was not registered for the race).  This was a huge help to push me to the finish.  As I recall I did have some tightness in my calf that made a difference in the last 5K of the race.

Anyway, so those previous two half-marathons were fond memories of mine.  I remember thinking that I wanted to run the Hershey Half since I had heard so much about it in 2010 from my friend.  I decided to skip the Harrisburg Half in 2010 and go with the Hershey Half.  At about this time I found the Jeff Galloway method of run/walking the half/full marathon.  I did not spend all of my training using this method so I wasn't sure how I'd do at the Hershey Half.  I lost the mental game for this race.  It had many more hills that the Harrisburg Half and I was not ready for what it was going to hand me.  I want to make clear that the Hershey Half had a lot of fans cheering my name and encouraging me.  This was helpful, but I did not fully use this advantage during the Hershey Half marathons.  That race was really well put together (even though it was only the 2nd annual race).   I remember at the very last mile or so I pulled out energy that I did not know I had to finish the race strong (even though I had walked a good portion of the race).  I felt good about it even though it was my slowest race.  As I look back it was because I did not train very well and did not have any long runs beyond 10 miles during this training season.

So now the next question is why do I need to run a full marathon?  Well the basic answer is found in the fact that as a result of listening to  This podcast helped me get through  mental barriers to consider running a full-marathon.  I am committed to running the Marine Corps Marathon October 28th.  The only thing that I'm waiting for is for registration to open up 17 days from now!  I know that there will be incredible obstacles to completing the marathon, but I am willing to go through those challenges in training so that the day of the race I will have a better idea of what I will experience.   My longest training run I plan to be 26 miles so that I will be as prepared as possible and I am hoping and preparing so that I do not need to hit "the wall."

My prayer at this point is for a running partner to run those longer distances with me.  I am not at all concerned about going up to 13.1 miles, but I've never gone beyond that.  It would be awesome if God provided someone to go through this with me ... and it would even be better if that person would want to use the Galloway training method.  I find that it's easier to handle those longer distances when you break it up and use the interval of running for one minute and walking for a minute.  It seems weird at first, but it really does work and I feel amazing afterwards (most of the time :-) ).

I hope you enjoyed my ramblings :).  Until next time.  I will post a race report on the Frozen Foot race 2.  I would like to hear feedback on all of this.  Any thoughts?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The week of Frozen Foot race 2

I have had to 30 minute runs this week.  One happened Monday after work and the other happened today (Wednesday) also after work.  I find that it has been very challenging to get up at 4:45am, but I know the benefits of running outweigh the negatives of running.  Anyway, I ran using a 4/1 ratio on Monday.  It was pretty intense, but I made it averaging just a little bit over 11:00 min/mile.  My effort was fairly high on this as my last 1/4 mile is completely uphill on the way back to my house.  Typically I try to run the last mile or so without any walk breaks because that's what I've did at my first 5K race of this series.  I have decided that I want to get under 30 minutes, but I'm not to worried if this doesn't happen this week.  I'm running still to have a smile on my face.  At this point I think I'll run at a 3/1 ratio since that worked extremely well for me tonight.  The difficulty I've been having for my runs during the week is that it is difficult to get more than 30 minutes of running.  However, I enjoy the weekend runs because time is not as much of an issue.

Another thing that I keep in mind as I run these 5K races is that I registered for them in order to get me out and running... they aren't so that I become fast.  My goal isn't to become fast... but rather I want to become more fit and my ultimate goal is to finish a marathon... no matter how long it takes.  I want to finish it with a smile on my face and to be able to walk after I complete it.  I believe with walk breaks as suggested by Jeff Galloway that I will be able to accomplish it by following his training method.  It will take lots of sweat and tears and lots of time, but the satisfaction of completing it will be worth it in the end.

I'll explore how exactly I got into running in the first place in another blog post.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Daily mile

I decided to join the so that I can find others who are going through the same struggles of training. I hope this ends up helping me get out and run when I would have slept in or otherwise skipped the run.

On a similar note I am praying for a training partner for the Marine Corps Marathon. I have two people who can run shorter distances, but no one for the 12 plus distances.

Run ratio 1:1 2/11/12

Run ratio 1:1 click on this for the stats from my run. I ran an average of about a 13 minute mile which is exactly what Jeff Galloway's method predicts. It would have been even closer if I did not need to do anything with traffic during my run. I feel fantastic. I do believe that running 8 miles before 9am makes me cross the line from "normal" to weird.  However, normal hasn't worked that great for me so I'm going to try be weird (at least when it comes to running).  I do feel amazing :-).  I used a CLIF bar shot energy gel about 10-15 minutes before and after about an hour. It tastes different than the gels I've had in the past. This is a case and point for why all the experts say not to try something new at a race. This is more "chewy" than the powerbar gels that I've used in the past. It worked great so I'm going to continue to use it. The cool thing about this 8 mile run is that I have a 5K race next Sunday... so this run I completed makes that look like a "piece of cake :-).  I can't wait to share the results of that second race.  My goal is to be a little bit faster than my chip time which was 33:37.2.  Depending on the weather and how I'm feeling that day I would like to make push it to 30 or 31 minutes.  I now know what to expect for this race so I hope that my training since then has made me faster.  I know my endurance has gone up significantly and is better than it's ever been this time of year.  Either way, I want to be at the finish line with a smile on my face regardless of the time because my real goal for this year is the full-marathon in October.  Only 260 days until then :-).  Have a great day and as Kevin from the extra mile podcast always says... enjoy your extra mile.

Friday, February 10, 2012

reflection about this week

My running this so far this week has consisted of a mediocre run on the treadmill (22 minutes long) and that's it... so far.  Before I go on and share my plans for tomorrow I wanted to pause and reflect about my experience.  First, I slept too long so I was late to the gym.  As I mentioned in a previous post I don't like treadmills (not many people do) and I haven't run on one for quite some time.  Since I was late I was not thinking very positive thoughts about the treadmill or the workout that I was about to have on it.  I'm glad that I went, but it was a difficult workout and very short.  Not many endorphins for me with this workout (which was disappointing, but I at least made it to the gym.  The weird thing about the gym this go around is that I have to drive about 40 miles (almost to work) to get there.  I have the entire car ride to either dread my treadmill run or to get psyched up for it.  I'm learning and it sure has been a process with all of this.

I'm planning on running for at least 60 minutes tomorrow (Saturday) even though it's somewhat snowing outside.  I am "dying" to run and the reality that the weather isn't the greatest doesn't bother me.  I want to be ready for my second race in the Frozen Foot 5k race next Sunday.  This is my last chance for a real long run before then.  My goal will be to run for 90 minutes, but I think that will depend on how I'm feeling physically.  I think about things mostly in minutes rather than miles right now due to the weather.  I think that once things warm up a bit I will run based on mileage rather than time.

Only 261 days left before the Marine Corps Marathon :-)!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Excited about running on the treadmill?

I never thought the words "excited" and "treadmill" would be in the same sentence or even paragraph for me.  However, I've been listening to some podcasts that have helped me remember that they do have a place in my training.  I wanted to get out this morning, but for some reason I didn't.  I'm not exactly sure why other than I'm tired overall.  I also think the idea of heading out again in the cold and wind was not pleasing to me this morning. 

I'm headed to the gym for the first time in quite some time.  I know that it's been at least since November if not October since I hopped on the treadmill.  I think the reason that I'm looking forward to it is because it beats missing another workout for one.  The second reason why I'm looking forward to it is because I have some good motivating music to listen to while I'm running.  It's called motiontraxx and if you've never checked it out I highly recommend it.  You can find it here at  They have a lot of mixes that are free and it really helps keep me going.

I have yet to go outside and run and turn around before I finished my goal for the morning.  My trouble is getting out the door.  My solution for this tomorrow is to go to the gym.  It is slushy and I'm not sure that I would be safe if I ran outside at 445am in the slush and whatever else is going on outside.

So, treadmill... I'm going to try again and see how it goes!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Why run?

I have learned though my morning runs that not everyone likes to run... In addition, it seems quite curious that I haven't seen many people running out before 5:30am (or many people out at all for that matter).  I think this is probably for many different reasons.  One possible reason is that they will run later and that they are sleeping at 5am.  This is possible as I typically see some other runners out when I run at about 6 or 7am on Saturdays.  Another reason could be that they just don't like running for any reason.  I don't understand this, but it's possible.  Another reason is that they don't like to run in the cold.  This is very possible because I know that this is the first winter that I have consistently run outside.  I just determined to myself that this was the year that I was going to run outside.

I titled this post "why run?".   What's my answer?  Well, for one it's because I like it.  I've already wrote a post about my motivations, but this is deeper than that.  Obviously I run for the physical benefits.  These days I run because I have challenges at work and my running  makes my brain function much more clearly and I am MUCH more focused.  Furthermore, I have found that just by running I become a better husband, father, counselor, and a better friend.

Could I accomplish this without running?  Maybe... but for me I know that this is an essential part of my life.  Before you think that I have completely gone off the "deep end" I want to make a point that I am not allowing this to negatively impact my family time.  I am primarily running in the AM and then heading off to work (Emma is in bed for all of this) or when I run on Saturdays I generally am running early 6 or 7am and I get back before too much has happened.  I'm so thankful for my wife as she understand that I am a better husband and father if I run so she provides the freedom to run those long runs on Saturday even if that means I missing a little family time.  The benefit for her is that I am much happier and that I am motivated to get things done around the house.  I even sometimes have the opportunity like I did this week to bring Cindy breakfast in bed (eggs and OJ).

Running has provided so many benefits and I'm excited to see what happens and how things change for the positive as I start to ramp up the mileage to get me ready for Marine Corps full marathon October 28, 2012.  Only 30 days and 18 hours until I can register (March 7, 2012).