Saturday, March 30, 2013

3/30/13 run at Messiah

This morning I met up with my teammates at Messiah College for our long run.  I originally planned to do 10 miles, but I ended up doing 6 miles instead.  No injuries or anything.  The problem was probably one or more of the following issues.  1.  I have been very stressed this week due to some increase in my workload.  2.  I didn't get to the gym at all this week.  This alone would have been enough.  3.  Because of the stress I didn't sleep as well this week (especially not last night).  4.  I decided that I could have done 10 miles, but I am running the Capital 10-miler next weekend.  If I would have run the entire 10 miles today I think my race would have suffered and I would have been prone to potential injury.

I am confident that I made the correct decision.  It also meant that I didn't take an ice bath after the run.  I typically do that after an 8+ mile run.  I think technically I shouldn't have run any farther than 6 miles anyway :-).

Even though I didn't run the original 10 miles my thought process has still be positive and I know that it's not worth just "logging the miles" at the expense of running for the rest of my life and racing when I can.  I know I've said this about a 1,000 times, but it was made more clear to me than it has been in a while.  I MUST get in several (preferably 3) workouts during the week.  If I have extra stress it is even MORE important to get out there and run (or get to the gym).

I am so thankful for my TNT team and coaches.  They are so supportive and positive.  Specifically, I want to give a shout out to Amy, Larry, Mark and Mike.  Amy for running the first 3-4 miles with me.  Larry for encouraging us from the bike.  Mark for running the last part of my 6 mile run with me and encouraging me in my nutrition (I KNOW this was an issue today).  Last, but not least for Mike picking me up and taking me back to the start (and for giving me some tips on how to get faster).

Thanks TEAM!  I'm running happy for those who can't.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

7 mile run 3.23.13

Today I was meeting up with friends for breakfast at the Front Street Diner in Harrisburg.  It is about 3.5 miles from my house.  Instead of running 5 miles before breakfast I decided to save some gas and some time and run to the diner.  We had great conversation and I had good run home.  Fortunately, I didn't eat too much (just two pieces of French Toast).  I didn't have any stomach issues with this since I was running a little slower than normal (about 11 min/mi).

I was just reflecting that I ran 7 miles today (with a break in the middle) and it didn't even seem like a big deal.  I am becoming more thankful that I can run and that I have been injury free to this point in my running "career".  I consider myself so blessed.  I saw a few birds (a robin and others) and I just generally enjoyed the run.  I prefer running with friends, but it was good to get a run in outside.  I can't wait to get back to train with the team next week.

Another thought I've been having lately is that exercise is must be a "non-negotiable" in my life.  I'm not saying that I have to do more than an hour each day, but life seems to go much more smoothly when I have done something physical in the morning.  I know that my mind works more clearly, my mood is improved and I am much more able to deal with the stress in life.  Bottom line is I'm a better husband, father, friend and counselor if I get my runs in several times per week.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

3.17.13 Frozen foot race 3

Blogging about my training and races has become a habit of mine.  It has been helpful to see my progress over the past year or more of training.  This weekend I didn't have a chance to blog about my race and I wanted to just write a brief blog post.  I'm not sure I know how to write a "brief" blog post, but here's my attempt.

First off, since I had the Chambersburg Half Marathon on March 9th, I didn't have any expectations for the last of the three Frozen Foot Races.  All I wanted to do was enjoy it and chat with a few of my fellow runners.  I sure did enjoy it and the best part was running the last mile or so with a guy who is 74 years old who was carrying a flag.  I told him that I was running the rest of the race with him.  I know for sure that I could have run faster, but that wasn't to objective for this race.  I told him that he's an inspiration to me and that I wanted to run races when I was his age (and beyond). 

Also, I purposely left my Garmin watch in the car (this was extremely difficult).  The reason I did this was because if I was truly not worried about my time then I didn't need it.  I would get a chip time at the end and even that I wasn't too concerned about.  The coolest part of this was that when I looked at the results I had an average pace of just under 10:30min/mile.  This is absolutely fantastic because that's my comfortable pace for a half marathon.  It sounds like I've settled into that being my "easy" pace which excites me a lot.

My goal is still for a sub two hour half marathon.  That means I need to cut about a minute and thirty seconds off each mile to accomplish this goal.  I also want to be careful not to peak too early.  At this point I'm going to be running anywhere between 5-10 miles each Saturday.  I want to create a schedule that I can keep with this and that will help me get faster.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Two running quotes

Never underestimate the power that one good workout will have on your mind. Keeping the dream alive is half the battle.

Kara Goucher

Running has always been a relief and a sanctuary—something that makes me feel good, both physically and mentally. The best thing about running is the joy it brings to life.

Kara Goucher

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Race Report: Chambersburg Half Marathon 3.9.13

My choice for a spring marathon was the Chambersburg Half.  I ran it today with a few hundred other runners.  I knew it was going to be challenging and that I would run into a few new "friends" (AKA hills).  It was a very nice day and it started somewhat chilly (around 32 degrees).  Originally I was going to just wear my blue TNT long sleeve shirt and race shorts, but at the last minute I decided to wear my running tights.  I somewhat regretted this, but was very glad I did not have very many layers on in general.  Anyway, my wife and daughter came to cheer me on and that was awesome.

Here's some of my experience. 
1.  Overall, the "friends" weren't all that bad considering some of the hills that I've trained on during the last year.  One of the guys was being sarcastic and asked about the hills and I said "I eat them for breakfast."  I think he got a kick out of that.
2.  This was a great "no frills" race.  Actually the water stops were better than they were last year when I ran the Harrisburg Half (since they had about 4 of them).
3.  This race was a little bit more "lonely" than the others that I've run because I was either faster than the runners or slower.  No one really "settled in" at my pace, but this gave me time to think and make sure that I keep a positive attitude.
4.  I kept telling myself "I love hills," "hills are my friends."  Brain washing I know, but it works :-).
5.  My slowest mile was mile 10, which had the longest of the hills.
6.  By far the best part of the race was the finish as I was able to convince myself that I could run faster and I passed two guys (one of which I wasn't sure I could do it, but I talked myself into trying the hardest and if I didn't that would be OK, but I needed to try my best. 
7.  I got a new PR of 2:18:40 which is more than 12 minutes faster than my previous PR on a MUCH more difficult course.
8.  My ice bath was great.  I will spare you the details, but it works.  I've NEVER taken any anti-inflammatory after a race.
9.  Right now I feel really good.  It's night and day from how I felt after my first half marathon.  I feel amazing :-).
10.  I want to continue running until I'm 100.  I won't be running fast, but I want to keep this as a part of my life as long as I am physically able.  Not only is it a huge stress relief but it's something I really enjoy.

So what's next?  For sure, the bird-in-hand half marathon in Lancaster PA.  I will probably do a 10 mile race here in Harrisburg and a 10K race in Shippensburg, but none of that is official yet.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Messiah Run 03.02.13

Today was my official taper run at Messiah College.  I have very fond memories of my TNT runs at Messiah College.  There are many "friends" that I have gotten to know over the past almost year.  "Friends" = hills.  They truly do make us stronger and where I might not enjoy them at the moment they do help me when I'm racing to accomplish my goals.

Next Saturday at this time I will have completed the Chambersburg Half Marathon.  My unofficial goal is to get sub 2 hours.  My official goal is to "run happy" and to get under 2:31 which is my current personal record (PR).  Regardless, I will cross the finish line with a smile on my face :-).

Before we started we had a nutritionist come to share the importance of hydration and eating effectively.  The primary things that stuck out for me were the importance of hydration even if it is cold (regulate body heat) and the importance of having a recovery drink (preferably within 30 minutes).

We also had several mission moments that were inspiring and which reminds me that we need to keep running and raising funds to find a cure for blood cancer.  My immediate family has not been impacted by this to this date, but I sure am passionate about this cause.

I started out the run with a guy who has been running for a little while, but that it was his first TNT run.  This is why I still run with TNT.  I'm there to encourage and inspire those who are just starting or if this is there first 10K, half marathon, or full marathon.  Since it's so fresh in my mind I am able to share my passion for it.

If you've spent any time around me you know that running is a passion of mine.  I run for the stress relief, for the ability to spend time with amazing people, and to inspire others to do the same. 

The last part of my 8 mile run was spent with a teammate who runs with the York TNT team.  She was about the same pace as me.  As we progressed through the run I learned that this was a milestone run for her and I'm so blessed to be a part of that.  After we went up one of the many hills she later said "that wasn't that bad."  That made me smile :-).

One of the many cool things about running is that it tears down so many barriers.  I can pick up a conversation with almost anyone about running.  I think this drives my wife crazy, but I find that almost any conversation can go back to living a health life and for me part of that is running.

I'm so thankful for Cindy and her willingness to sacrifice for me to be able to run with the team.  This sacrifice is not nearly as much for half marathons, but it's still a sacrifice and for that I'm incredibly grateful (I think about this nearly every day).  I wasn't planning on running a marathon this year due to the extensive time commitment.  As time goes on I'm starting to get the "bug" to run a full-marathon, but not train quite as hard for it.  At this point nothing is official, but as I run consistently though the spring and summer we'll see if a full-marathon is in my future.  If I did one it would be the Harrisburg Marathon and I've done the majority of it and I run the "hills" from the marathon on a regular basis with team.  The reason that "hills" are in quotes is because they aren't really hills compared to the training that I do with TNT.

I do appreciate you reading this and I hope that it is inspiring.  Remember, a mile is a mile and it doesn't matter how fast you run.  Just get out there and make it happen :-).  Running for those who can't!