Thursday, August 31, 2006

I feel good!

Ernesto interfered with my running routine this week - silly tropical depression - hardly blew here at all. I suppose that is a good thing. On Tuesday I ran on the treadmill at work - too hot to run outside in the afternoon. A fast 5K (3.1 miles) at 32:33 (fast for me anyway). Now if I can only run it that fast on the ground! It was a good work out, and though my calf was still a little sore from Sunday, the Tuesday run helped to loosen it up, and by Wed (Ernesto storm day) I felt great. However, I didn't get the chance to hit the treadmill on Wed and the weather was not cooperating for an outside run (sorry, I don't run in the rain - with my glasses I can't see).

As I went to bed last night I felt so good and wished I could run - but the weather was calling for continued rain through this morning. As I set the alarm for 7 am, I decided that if I woke up on my own at 6 am, and it wasn't raining, I would go running. Sure enough, I woke up at 6:15, not a drop of rain outside, so out the door I went.

I decided to go for 4 miles since I didn't have much time and I didn't want to push it. It was a good feeling 4 miles, though. My last mile was 10:49 (I like to finish up under 11 if I can) compared to my first mile of 11:26. Total time was 46:25 - not my best 4 miles but probably my best feeling 4 miles, if that makes any sense.

So I feel really good this morning. Heel is feeling good but I iced it anyway to be sure. Calf is all but better now, but I have been using Icy Hot before my run to get a good stretch in. I am excited about Saturday's race - 15K is a distance I have never it should be interesting. Actually all I have ever raced is 5K and Half Marathon distances. I feel really ready for the race.

I feel good!!! :-)

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Why do I run?

After that long run on Sun, my left calf has been pretty sore and the heel hurt pretty good that day. So, I took yesterday off. Calf hurt so bad when sitting and then starting to walk - enough to make me limp. It felt like muscles that aren't used to being used, vs an injury, so I nursed it for one day, hit it with Icy Hot and hit the treadmill at the office today for 3.1 miles. With just 2 one minute walking breaks at mile 1 and mile 2, I did pretty well, running a 10:00 to 10:30 pace. Finished in 32:33! A bit sore now but not too bad. Going to run again tomorrow - probably the treadmill which is a little more weather friendly during tropical storms.

Why do I run? I was listening to a podcast today that was discussing why folks run. I had a goal four years ago to run a 5K non-stop (mind you, I had never run that far without stopping). I trained with a run walk method which I still use today. Back then run 30 seconds, walk 30 seconds. Then run 1 min walk 30 sec, gradually extending the running piece to up to an hour! That first 5 K was a bit over 37 minutes.

But I am training for a marathon - which will involve over 5 hours of running and walking. Even for the seasoned runner, a marathon is the challenge of a lifetime. But why? Here is my list:

1. Because I can.

Lots of folks can't walk or run. I can do them both.

2. To achieve something extraordinary that I have never done before.

In the past year or so I began to identify goals, as far fetched as they might be, that I wanted to achieve. Something that takes some level of real effort and something that most folks don't do.

3. To get into a regular exercise routine.

With my busy lifestyle I needed the mental, emotional and physical release that running (or something) provides. This pushes me out the door at least 5 days a week now.

4. To do something just for me.

When that alarm clock goes off at 5:45 am, I only get out of bed for me - no one else is up. No one else benefits from a run but me.

5. Why not?

Sometimes the best reason for doing something like a marathon is for the benefits that we don't know about yet. I am certain I will learn some valuable things about myself and about going for a big goal.

My daughter liked reasons 2 and 5. I am glad she picked those out. Those are the best reasons I can think of right now!!!

Run on!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Parrott Predictor says 5:02:54 for the marathon...

I am pretty wiped out from my 10 mile long run this morning. Rolling out of bed at 6:00 am, I pulled on the running clothes I laid out last night and packed my running belt with three small bottles of water, 2 gel paks, my license (in case someone finds me lying by the road), $5 (in case I need to stop somewhere) and my mace (in case anyone gets any ideas along the way). I sucked down one gel pak before leaving, put Icy Hot on my legs, and stretched a bit before leaving in the dark at 6:25 am. Returning at nearly 8:30, I completed my 10 mile run in just under 2 hours (1 hour, 59 min, 55 seconds - yes I sprinted that last 10th of a mile). I started out at a nice slow pace, so that being out of wind didn't really affect me until the last couple of miles. For the first time in quite some time, my legs ached a bit while I ran - meaning ice for them today. Now, as I sit here typing with one bag of ice under my heel and another under my left thigh, I feel pretty satisfied.

The Parrott predictor was created by a man named George Parrott who suggests that a runner can run no faster in a marathon than the fastest 26.2 miles run in a single week. To develop this number you find the fastest 26.2 miles in a week and add them up. Fortunately for me, my spreadsheet log calculates this for me. My accomplishment this week is that I actually completed more than 26.2 miles in a single week for the first time in my life!! In fact, I ran a total of 29 miles this week. Thus, the Parrott predictor figured 5:02:54 for my marathon. Now granted, if I ran a marathon next week, it would NOT be in 5:02. I haven't built up enough endurance for that yet....BUT it is good to know that I am on track for a time close to 5 hours - my target for the race.

Today I was listening to the podcast Phiddipedations. Steve Runner talks about a variety of topics on running while doing his weekly long runs. I got through 3 podcasts during my run, one of which was a race he was running on a very warm, humid day. It has been warm and humid running for me, so I could relate - though by getting out before the sun comes up, the temperature stays below 80 (though at 90% humidity). I was spared this morning by the clouds - so the morning sun did not have a chance to beat me down the last 3 miles like it normally would. Hopefully we will have the same fortune next Saturday for the Miracle Mile 15K race.

Well, time to kick back and relax for a bit before hitting the shower. If I am feeling up to it, I am hoping to get out for a shorter 4 miler tomorrow, though if my heel is still aching I may take a break tomorrow and run Tues-Thurs instead.

Til next time....

Friday, August 25, 2006

Another reason to run...

I just got back from another good 5 mile workout. When I returned from my run I got word that my mom was in the hospital. My mom's health is normally precarious at best, so this is not too shocking to hear. But when I heard that her left shoulder was hurting, this made me think it may be heart related. Now I am waiting to hear back from my sisters on how she is doing.

Heart disease is rampant on my mom's side of the family. She has it, her sister did, her brother did, her mother did (she is the only one still around). My brother also struggles with this. High cholesterol, particularly triglycerides, are usually the culprit. So I watch myself - I could be next. I do have one advantage over all the others. I am not a smoker. Still, my cholesterol tends to hover on the high side. It just so happened that I got the results of a cholesterol test taken when I had donated blood a couple of weeks ago. 169 is my count. They don't give the breakdown, but if it is as it normally tends to be, my bad cholesterol will be low, the good cholesterol high, and the triglycerides borderline. 169 is not too bad. Chalk one up for me.

So I also run - aerobic activity - I work my heart so that it stays strong and healthy. I try to eat healthy and continue to explore ways to maintain good health. I am still convinced I will feel better at 53 than I do at 43. :-) And since I started having kids late, I need to be a healthier 50 and 60 year old so I can get to know my grandchildren!

So the next time I am running, and feeling kind of tired, I am going to remind myself that I do it to keep the ticker in shape, to live a full life, and to be a good example to my kids so they stay healthy. I run for my mom who can't run anymore but who was there "running" for us for so many years.

As it turns out, it wasn't her heart - but probably a muscle spasm. They are keeping an eye on her in the hospital as I keep her in my thoughts as I run down that road...

Thursday, August 24, 2006

305 miles behind me

This morning I completed another good 5 mile run. I have decided that I can move up my mid-week runs to 5 miles vs 4. That will help build the endurance I am going to need. Takes me nearly an hour (about 56-58 minutes) but I will need to run that long to build to a 5 hour race.

305 is the number of miles I have run this year. About 500 more miles to go before the marathon. At least that is what I have in my plan. You see, I have a spreadsheet that tracks my running progress. It allows me to put in my plan and actuals for running, tracks my total, monthly, weekly averages and calculates my pace for the run if I enter distance and time. It even lets me track how many miles are on my different pairs of shoes.

Now this sounds a little bit much, but actually my running log is a good motivator for me. As soon as I get back from my runs, I fire up the computer and record my time. I think about how far I have come since the beginning of the year and get to celebrate how well I have progressed. I can see how my times have improved, how my miles have picked up month to month, and how my races continue to get better and better. Besides, the mathematician in me likes to count!

Now the test will be to see how my heel holds out today. After some ice this morning and later today, hopefully I will be ready for another 5 tomorrow morning!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Racing to the marathon

In my quest for the marathon, I have signed up to run a number of races. This does two things: Helps keep me motivated to train and improve and helps just plain motivate me. If you have ever run in a race, you know how the energy gets you excited and just participating can motivate you to run faster than normal.

Last weekend I ran in the Celebration of Running 5K, the first in the Track Shack Grand Prix series. And though I don't expect to ever get points in the Grand Prix series (you get points if you come in 1st through 10th for your age group), it was a handy way to sign up for 7 races at once.

Anyway, I recorded a personal record (PR) on that race - with 33:56 or a 10:55 pace. Next time I will shoot to break 33 minutes (which I have done on a tred mill). I am pretty excited to see my times come down. Now per Tammy's comment on my last post, I need to find a way to take a break by slowing down but not stopping. Right now I run-walk my distances. I run 4 minutes, then walk a minute, run 4 then walk 1. I do this for the entire time. I found that when I run slower to save myself to run the entire distance, I actually cover the distance SLOWER than if I run a little faster and take walking breaks. On average my pace with this run-walk technique has been about 11 min/mile. What I am working toward is running more minutes before the walk break. I have started to work a 5 min run 1 min walk but found I am not quite ready for that. Eventually, I would like to run the entire 5 K race - but I am anticipating walking breaks during the marathon. The only thing I worry about is when I get further into the marathon, it may be hard to get running again once I stop to walk. I remember this feeling when I did my first half marathon. During that race, I was so sore, that at the end of my walking breaks, it would hurt to start running again. HOWEVER - I had not really trained for the half marathon distance. I intend to train for the marathon distance.

So, while I would like to think I could RUN the entire marathon, my plan is to take scheduled walking breaks along the way. Hey....why not if I can break a 5 hour marathon? In my training I am hoping that I can get to where I can run a mile then take a 1 min break - that would be about 10-11 minutes.

Speaking of about a week (Sept 2nd) is the next race - a 15K (that is 9.3 miles). That should be a nice challenging distance. I am going for a 10 mile long run this weekend - so I think I am ready for 9.3. Outside of the half marathon's I have done, this is one of the longest distances for me. Here is hoping for breaking 110 minutes. That would be just under 12 min/mile - a good long distance pace for me right now.

Going for a 5 mile run tomorrow morning so I need to get to sleep so I am ready to get up at 5:45 am (ugh) ...more later. :-)

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

19 weeks, 4 days, 22 hours and 36 minutes and counting....

Well I decided to keep a blog on my progress, training thoughts and such toward running my first marathon. It is the type of journey I want to remember, and perhaps others can relate to it too as they may have taken similar adventures in their life.

As I look at the countdown clock on my computer, it is just over 19 weeks away until the start of the 2007 Disney World marathon on January 7, 2007 - my first. Reminds me of my first half marathon, also at Disney, back in 2004. That was an exciting time as I know this will be. What is different this year is the amount or preparation I am going through before this race. For that first half marathon, I trained some, but in the end had not fully trained, and although I participated anyway, and finished, I could get away with that since it was just 13 miles. This time, 26.2 miles, twice the distance, will take some discipline to prepare for - and I have been training hard since I returned from vacation this year.

I am blogging this morning after having finished one of the best 5 mile runs I have done. It is fun to think that 5 miles used to be my long run. Now it is becoming part of my regular mid week runs. It still takes me almost an hour, however! The hardest part of training, for me, is getting up at 5:45 am while it is still dark, and getting out the front door. The second hardest part is the first mile and a half - but once I warm up, by the time I get back, I feel pretty good and I ALWAYS am glad I ran.

To wrap up this first blog post, I wanted to write about running with my ipod. I think I found what seems to work well on the run. During the first half I listened to a podcast - actually the podcast. It is easy to focus on the podcast and not how tired I am feeling. Then at the halfway point I cranked up the tunes. It worked well. When I started with music I felt obligated to run hard with the music right up front. I guess I am still waking up at the start of my run and need to give my body a chance to wake up!

Well, time to get off to the rest of my real life.....