Saturday, November 24, 2012

Turkey Trot and 5 mile run

Here is a late Turkey Trot walk/run report. My wife and daughter came to this event with me. This was the 4th year my wife and I walked this event. This the second year Emma participated.

Before the race I was able to meet up with some of my TnT teammates and then I met a fellow runner who listens to the Extra Mile podcast.

The goal for this run was first to have fun and then to have short bursts of running. This year there were a lot more runners so it was pretty crowded. The run was very well organized and I think we will continue to do this run each year.

We were able to do some shot bursts of running. At about mile my daughter started to get fussy so I picked her up out of the stroller an carried her the res of the way. With about a .25 mile left I decided that I would run the rest of the way to the finish. This was fun and I think she enjoyed it. I pushed to the end even though I wasn't the easiest because I KNEW I could do it. Essentially I ran a MARATHON so I can do this. :-). We got to the end and enjoyed a slice of the pies and the other plunder. That's the end of my Turkey Troy story. We had a fun time :-)

Today I organized a 5-6 mile run that started at City Island. There were 4 of us. We all said that we would not have made it out if it weren't for the accountability of meeting this morning. We ran up Negly Park. This was a similar course as I ran for my first run with TNT earlier this year. There is something about running with people that makes it much more enjoyable and I am able to push without even knowing it :-).

I plan to keep organizing runs during this period in between seasons. I won't make it out for an organized run next week but I hope to do it again in the near future.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

TNT Winter Series run on 11/17/12

Today was a beautiful morning for a run at Wildwood Lake Park and HACC.  It was great to be back with my TNT friends.  My first question today was what type of clothing should I run in so as to be warm, but not overheat.  My answer with my current options was to wear my "winter running tights" as to keep my legs warm.  I also wore a short sleeve tech shirt underneath my blue TNT alumni shirt.  In order for me to keep warm while I was waiting for us to start I also had my "finishers" jacket from the Marine Corps Marathon.

I ran with several different people this morning.  I wasn't trying to break any records, but I was feeling really good this AM.  We had the water stop at mile 2.5 and then I continued on the longer route around the lake.  We went around the lake the opposite way that we typically do so I was not sure exactly what the hills would be like.  Even though this part was a little challenging I had helpful and positive self-talk that included things like "I've finished a marathon... I KNOW I can do this."

I was surprised how fast I did run today (averaged about 10:08/miles).  I was not racing anyone and I didn't have anything to prove to anyone.  Some of my friends are saying that this is the "new normal" and I'm completely OK with that :-).  I also talked with my coach about what I should be doing in between seasons to get ready for a faster half marathon time.  I mentioned that my goal is to improve my current official PR of 2:31 from two years ago to sub 2:00 half marathon.  This will be doable, but very challenging as I will hit some hard spots in making that much improvement.

Things I'm going to attempt to do in the meantime is more core work.  I'm going to do a pushup program and a situp program 2-3 times per week.  My coach suggested that I do at least 30 minutes twice a week, but stated that it would be better to do 45 minutes twice a week.  I also want to work on doing planks and making sure that I'm strengthening the muscles that I neglected last season.  I want to progress to the next level.  I believe I am in the best shape of my life and I won't allow myself to slack off to the point of loosing what I have gained.  I feel better emotionally and physically.

The biggest thing that I'm going to do to make this happen is more accountability.  A friend of mine will be calling me between 445-and 500am to make sure I am up.  I have not been successful thus far and this is a step that I think will make a huge difference.  I am so thankful for this!

Lastly, since we are in between seasons (Fall and Spring) TNT has a winter series once a month to keep us running.  I enjoyed it because it keeps me accountable and provides a social outlet for my running.  We went to the Front Street Diner and had coffee (or hot chocolate).  Some people had breakfast as well.  It was fun because we were able to connect with those we haven't seen for a little while and meet new people as well.

My goal is to still blog once a week (even if I don't have official TNT runs happening).  I plan to try to organize a few runs on Saturdays starting from City Island over the next few months.  These runs would be between 3-5 miles, but could be as long as we wanted them to be.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

early AM difficulty

Once it gets cold outside I have a hard time getting up early to go to the gym or to go for a run.  The trouble is that even though I'm have everything organized and laid out the night before I still often choose to either turn off the alarm before it goes off or I choose to go back to sleep.  This is a major problem right now because I don't have the type of accountability of a training schedule.  On one hand I want to give my body a chance to repair itself and relax, but I don't want to loose all of the progress I made over the last 6-9 months.

I feel better than I have in a long time.  I am trying to make wise food decisions as well because I don't want to put on the weight that I lost during this training cycle.  I think it will be important for me to develop specific goals for my time at the gym.  I am considering starting two programs to help me stay focused.  I know a huge weakness of mine from running the marathon in 2012 was my abs.  I did not do anything specific for my abs and I suffered for it during the last 6 miles of the marathon.  This year, I going to make doing ab work a huge priority.

I want to work on push ups as well to get my upper body in shape a little bit more.  The other day at the gym I tried to do some push-ups and I realized how much work I want to do to make myself feel stronger and better about myself.  Specifically my goal is to make it to the gym Wednesday and Fridays.  Ideally I would be able to run Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.  Or I could get to the gym to do core work Monday, Wednesday, Friday and run Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.  I'm going to try this out and see how things are going.

I know that in order for me to improve my half-marathon times as much as I want... it will be essential for me to run a lot and to also work on other areas of my body.  The purpose of all this is not just to get more half-marathon metals (although I will do that).  It's also not about getting significantly faster (although I also hope that I can do that).  It is about getting healthier and making sure that I keep myself accountable and to involve my fellow runners and friends that I have made through Team In Training.  I need accountability and I hope by posting this and being honest about how things are going that this will keep me on track.

Bottom line: running half marathons is about me being staying healthy so that I can live a happy and healthy life.  This will hopefully mean that I will be able to spend lots of time with Emma and Cindy.    Long term/life goal is to be able to run until I'm 100 years old.

When I figure out exactly what my plan is for the gym I will post it here.  Thanks and feel free to ask me how my running and my time in the gym is going.

At this point I plan to run the Marine Corps Historic Half Marathon in Fredericksburg, VA on May 19th.  I can officially register on January 23, 2013.  It seems as though I always need to have a goal in ind to keep me motivated.  So that looks like it will be my goal for May.  My plan is to use this to get me out on those cold mornings.  Running in the cold and snow can be fun and also a little tricky on a weekday morning.  I enjoy the cooler temps and I try not to complain about it if it's cold and rainy... because the humidity is probably the hardest time to run in my opinion.  Until next time.... I'll see you out there.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Blood, Sweat, and Tears - 5 Miler and future races

This morning we had a run organized by Tom to benefit the life saving work of the Leukemia/Lymphoma Society and Team In Training.  This was my first run since I completed the Marine Corps Marathon.  This was held in Lawn PA and started near the Lawn Fire Hall.  This was a very well organized event and I was impressed since it was the first running of the BST-5 miler.  I appreciated that part of the run was on the road and about 2 miles of it was on the trail.

My mindset in regards to this run (and most runs) was to have fun and enjoy myself and the conversation.  One of the huge benefits of running with TNT is that I am joined with people with a similar mindset about running.  I am realizing more each day that I am very much a social runner.  I enjoy running some of the shorter distances by myself, but I'd much rather run with someone else. I talked with on of my fellow runners, Liz all about my event and my experience at the marathon.  We didn't have enough time for me to hear about what Liz experienced in her most recent adventure.  So that will just have to wait until next time.

Now onto what I experience through this run.  As I said I was running with Liz and we had a pretty good pace.  It was comfortable conversational pace.  I did not look at my watch as often as normal because technically it wasn't a race... but I still wanted a time and to do my best.  Toward the end I did look at my watch at about mile 4.5 and that is when we picked up the pace.  I had no idea how fast I was going or that I was doing much better than what I would typically consider my "normal" pace.

I rested for almost 2 weeks from running and this was very difficult, but because I trust those that made that suggestion I did rest from running for almost two weeks.  Today I got the benefit of that decision when I ran with an average pace of 9:50/mile.  This has helped to prove to myself that I can get faster and that as I focus on the half-marathon next year I will improve.  I think I will improve significantly and I'm looking forward to that!

My unofficial goal for half marathon times next year will be to improve to at least 2:15 (my previous Personal record "PR" is 2:31).  I know I can probably almost do that today with the correct course and temperature.  My "reach" goal for the time next year is to get sub 2:00.  It is a huge goal, but with proper training (I'll get this by running with TEAM) and enough hard work I know I can do it.

My top choice for half-marathons next year I think is the Historic Half Marathon in Fredericksburg VA and that will be taking place on May 19, 2013.  I just looked at the website for it and it looks very exciting!   More or less 10 miles of downhill and the last 5K has about a 200 ft elevation gain in the last 5k.   There are many reasons why I'm considering this, but primarily because it's in a completely different place than I've ever run before and I can simply drive there.

I'm also considering the Pittsburgh Half-marathon which is also in May.  This would be a fairly easy drive, stay overnight the day before the half marathon and then drive home.

Today I officially registered for The Frozen Foot Winter Series 2013 which has 3 races that will be held on January 20th - February 17th - March 17th at 2pm at the Elizabethtown College.  The link is Frozen Foot Series 2013.  It would be cool to see some of you come out and join me.  

I'm walking the SMT Turkey Trot in New Cumberland on Thanksgiving.  Here's the link for this Click Here to learn more and register.  This will be the fourth time Cindy and I walked this race.  Second time that Emma will be able to join us and we are looking forward to it :-).

Last, but not least I'm looking forward to the TNT events that will be happening starting next week.  I miss my running family so I will do my best to make these runs.  Actually, the first run that is happening next week I will be bringing Emma along for the 3-5 mile run that we will be doing.  I'm excited about participating in this.

I hope these updates are encouraging.  They keep me accountable.  I'm a social runner so if I blog that helps me feel connected to others.  I am attempting to strengthen my core over these next 6 months which will help me in my running.  Any suggestions that you have about how I can do this would be greatly appreciated!  I did not do as much core training or cross training as was suggested and I will make sure that happens during the next 6 months.  Thanks again for reading :-).  Running happy for a cure!

Friday, November 2, 2012

"Post-marathon blues"

I ran my first marathon less than a week ago.  It is hard to believe that 11 months worth of training culminated on one race.  Through this experience I know that I need to have a much bigger goal than just finishing this race or that race.  It must be bigger... more long term... more life changing than that.  At this point the long-term goal is for me to be able to run until I'm 100 years old.  As a 32 year old that task seems quite daunting.  Even while having that goal it doesn't really seem attainable so I need something more tangible.  Another goal of mine is to run until a cure for blood cancer is found.  Yet another intangible goal... at least it's very hard for me to wrap my brain around this one.

So how am I going to push though this "post-marathon blues" and move on with my life.  First off, I want to make sure that I give back more to my family.  I want Cindy to know how much I appreciate all the sacrifices that she's willing done to make sure that I accomplished this goal.  There were what seems like many hours on Saturdays that she had Emma while I was running.  Here's an interesting fact about my life in the last 6 plus months... I have not missed a single weekend of running either with TNT or running a race.  I ran a 10K race one weekend and the Harrisburg Half marathon the other weekend.  Those were the only times I didn't run with TNT since I joined back in May.  We even scheduled our vacation to North Carolina around my TNT runs.  We left right away after an 8 mile run at Messiah the day we left for NC and made sure we got back before the following Saturday for a TNT run and a wedding that day as well.  So I share all of that detail with you to let the world know how much I appreciate Cindy and all of her hard work with Emma and her support of my running.  I believe I'm a better husband as a result of running regularly.  I feel better about myself and I'm also coping with my stress better as well.

So after I make sure that I'm back in balance with things in regards to my family I'm also going to try to get back in touch with my friends outside of running to see if we can hang out for coffee or get together and chat.  I'm also going to make it a priority to make the TNT events during the winter.  They are only once a month which means that there is no reason why I can't make all of them and still enjoy the rest of the Saturdays with friends and family.

One thing I'm NOT going to do is give up running.  I truly want to run several times a week the rest of my life.  I hope that my passion for running has rubbed off onto people rather than make them sick of me talking about running.  It will be worth it to me if I can just get another person to at least get off the couch and start walking and maybe even put some running parts in as well.  I'm trying to encourage people to have the mindset that if Nate can run a marathon, maybe I can run a little bit too.  Yes, it's a lot of sacrifice, but it is so worth it.

Other strategies that have been suggested to me is to register for a shorter race soon.  I'm going to do this by registering for a 5 mile race put on by a fellow TNT alum called Blood, Sweat & Tears 5-Miler next Saturday.  The cool thing is that this is not a timed event (I'll just use my Garmin) so I have no pressure to go fast.  The best part about this run is that all the proceeds go toward funding research for blood cancer.  Moreover, it will be nice to be with my TNT friends again.  Next I have the Turkey Trot that is in New Cumberland.  This is a race that Cindy and I have done the previous 3 years together.  We walk it and we have a great time.  So I know having specific races/runs on the schedule will be helpful to get me out of this "post-marathon blues."  Also I have 3 runs (one per month) with TNT alumni which will be a lot of fun and I'm looking forward to that.

The biggest thing I've learned about myself this week is that if I want to have razor focus that I can and that is what I had for my training for the Marine Corps Marathon.  I figured there is only ever one first marathon so I wanted to make sure I did everything right (I of course didn't, but I tried).  I might have been too focused at times, but it still was an amazing experience that I'll never forget.

For my next post: 

Things that I'm thinking about and will post about in a different post.  These were suggested by my TNT friends.  First, it was suggested that I think about what I would do differently if/when I were to do it again.

Practicing relaxation breathing and prayers

Also suggested writing in my journal about what I have gained from this experience.

Thinking about ways that I can give time back to Cindy and to care for her and her stress (providing times that she does not need to take care of Emma).

Prepare for Christmas.

Start some core training.

It truly is a life changer and I believe that I'm a better person as a result.