Saturday, May 30, 2009

Time Off

Just a week after signing up for my first marathon and instituting a new cross-training plan, I have decided to lay off of running for a week and half to recover from all my previous over-training. Yes, I have to admit that my tendency towards over-training and relatively high pain tolerance has now caused me some discomfort, particularly in my right leg. Another contributing factor was seeing a massage therapist this week, and she commented that she thought my right ankle looked somewhat swollen. By the way, the sports massage was a godsend. My legs felt brand new after the therapy, and I will probably try an ice bath later tonight. I'm not giving up on my cross-training. I may as well work on my upper body while I'm side-lined, but I'm already jonesing for a run. I've tried the elliptical and the stationary bike, but I feel like I'm cheating on my running when I do them. Plus I just don't really get a good burn from those exercises. I know, I know...that's the idea, right? Well in my messed up head, if it doesn't hurt a little, then I'm not doing it right. I'm a bend, don't break guy, so I've got to figure out how to get more out of the low-impact cardio. Maybe I'll just do a ridiculous amount of weight training again. There's nothing like a barbell falling on your throat to make you feel the burn!

Monday, May 25, 2009

It's Official

I've signed up for my first marathon on October 18, 2009 in Columbus, Ohio.  I'm taking the whole family with me, and Julie's college friend Katie has graciously agreed to keep Team Vallejo at their house.  I've been debating which marathon to run, and I even bandied the idea of doing a 31 mile ultra-marathon.  However, the Columbus Marathon seems like a good choice.  It's not overly hilly, it's certified (not that I'm planning on qualifying for Boston this time out), and it's well-supported with lots of aid stations, water stations, and supporters.  The weather should still be warmish and there should be a big turnout of runners.  I know some people hate crowded races, but I like the feeling of being part of something bigger than just myself.

However, now I have to really get serious about my training or I won't make it past the first 10 miles.  I know that I've done 13 already, so I should be half-way there, right?  Yes and no.  I recently did a long run of 14 miles and it has left my body somewhat the worse for wear, though I hate to admit it.  As such, I've decided to change my workout/training routine again.  Nothing terribly surprising about this since I tend to change my workout every month (if not every week) anyhow.  I'm still only planning doing one really long run on the weekend, but I will be doing more medium runs, i.e. 6-8 miles.  My plan is to run every other day and do weights/light cardio on my off days.  For example, yesterday was supposed to be an off day, but I ended up running 4 miles to my mechanic's garage to pick up car after they were finished servicing it.  I took it easy and chalked it up to a light cardio day.  Today, I ran a hard 8 miles.  By "hard" miles, I mean that it was hot, I didn't hydrate, and I had no energy bars, etc.  Just a my tunes and the hot asphalt in front of me.  It was a relatively slow run at just under 9 mins/mile was the average, but it was a really, really hot afternoon (you know that kind of heat that evaporated your sweat as it left your body, covering you in salt kinda heat).  It didn't help that traffic was a bit heavy for my taste, but everyone kept a safe distance from the shoulder that I was running on.  Tomorrow I'll start my new weights program.  This one focuses mostly on building the core, back and shoulders.  I got the plan from the newest Men's Health Magazine.  Now it's off to bed for some good rest.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Finally A Long Run

I hate the mornings.  I am not a morning person.  I can barely roll  out of bed to hit the snooze button on my alarm clock across the room.  This morning, I woke up late (as usual), but I managed to get in 14.08 miles.  It was a cool 61 degrees, slightly overcast and breezy.  I opted for my running suit and a long sleeve shirt as well as my weighted belt, my camelbak, and of course, my mp3 player.

The first 2 miles were slow and ugly as I tried to find a groove that worked.  Eventually I worked into a 9:35 min/mile pace.  By mile 3, my bladder was acting up from the 1/2 can of diet Sundrop that I downed before I hit the door, so I made a quick pit stop in the bushes.  I also had to take off my pullover as I was already over-heating.  After re-arranging my gear, I found my pace again and was going well.  Naturally with my pullover off, the wind picked up and I found myself getting cold.  Interestingly, I was more bothered by my torso being cold then my arms.  I can only figure that the mixture of the wind and my sweat-soaked shirt was a bit too cold.  Otherwise, my pace went well.  My route was mostly paved and somewhat hilly without being too steep.  

By mile 7, my back was somewhat sore from carrying the extra 10 lbs from my belt and camelbak, so I slowed down to eat part of my Cliff bar.  I got a couple of good bites before my hands quit working and I dropped the rest on the ground.  I cursed myself, picked up my trash and hit the road again.  Mile 8 winds up a long hill.  By this time, my body had started moving at a decent pace without my conscious effort, so I was moving along well.  I did start to notice my shoulders were getting sore as was my butt.  As I crested the hill, my mind and body desperate to finish the run started looking earnestly for mile 10.  After 5 minutes of running and checking my watch, I realized that I was not making up any time and may have been falling behind.  Mile 11 found me on the hardest part of my route as the shoulder of the road became non-existent.  Quite often I found myself running in the grass to avoid early traffic.  By mile 12, my entire body was tired, and every step felt like someone was kicking me in the knee.  That was also when my mp3 player quit on me and I was moving tuneless.  I trudged on realizing that my torture was almost over.  I hit mile 13 and turned into the horribly steep hill that sits at the front of my neighborhood.  I made it less than a quarter of the way up before I had to walk.  I had used up just about every bit of energy I had reaching mile 13, and I was practically dragging myself through my neighborhood to finish my run.  I found a little energy and finished my run in 2:15:00.

That was a tough run.  I wasn't sure if my head wasn't in it or if it was the additional weight.  At least, I did it and I really can't complain about my time.  I would have liked it to be closer to 9:00 mins/mile, but considering the distance, I'm still pretty happy.  I'm not sure how I'm going to do 26 miles as that 14 was hard.  I think I need a nap.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

I'm Tired of the Rain

Ideally Saturday is supposed to be my long run day.  This morning I was going to belt out 14 miles when I got up at 4:30.  I had my clothes laid out, my camelbak ready, mp3 player charged, and various other running accessories that I might need in the morning.  When I woke up, I was treated to a flash of lightening outside of my window, so back in bed I went.  Since I took off yesterday, I did manage to make it over to the Bellevue YMCA to get in some deadlifts and a quick treadmill run to stay loose but not over-tax myself before tomorrow.

Hopefully, I can make up my long run tomorrow; even though, I was looking forward to making Sunday an easy day.  I did pick up a weighted belt that I can add up to 10 lbs of weight.  I may take it with me tomorrow to see how my time is.  I figure even the little weight the belt adds may help me with my endurance.  Despite my gains in distance and speed in the short time that I've been running, I still have a hard time getting started.  The first 2 miles of any run are always a killer for me.  I just feel like I'm dragging.  After the first 2 miles though, the endorphins kick in and I feel like I'm cruising as long as the course isn't too hilly.

Here's my dilemna:  There is a 31 mile ultra-marathon here in Nashville in October.  I really want to run it (even though it is the same day as my high school reunion), so I really need to get in my long run in on the weekend or I won't be ready come October.  I already logged 28 miles for the week, but those were shorter speed runs in general.  Between the 5/10k's that I have been running lately and the rain, it's getting harder and harder to squeeze in my long runs.  So if I can get a break in the storms, I'm hitting the road tomorrow, rain or no rain.  Just no lightening please.  I don't want to give God a free shot because I can't find time to run during the week.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Rest Day

Friday is my rest day for this week, because I have a 5k on Saturday. I may have overdone my training for this week, because I'm pretty sore 2 days before my race. Now I was hoping to post a decent time on Saturday, but between the potentially bad weather and my soreness, it doesn't seem likely. Hence a full day off from working out tomorrow. Everyone knows you need a rest day to recover and let your body heal from the brutality of your workouts. For me, I did very little lower body, other than running, so my squat and deadlift regimens are taking their toll on my legs. I'm hoping that a little ibprofen, lots of protein, and some very light stretching will get me ready for Saturday. My goal is to be able to churn out 7:30 mins/mile in 5k's before the end of the year. We'll see if my speed training will pay off.

Fitness Food: Lean beef. I prefer sirloin cubes for their tenderness. I like to marinade them in a low sodium marinade and then pan fry them. They're great with mushrooms and a salad or alongside steamed brocolli or asparagus.

On my mp3 player: Boom Boom Pow - Black Eyed Peas. The Peas have some great tunes that have addictive beats and this is another great example. This song hits and suddenly I'm sprinting down the road!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

New Plan

With my first 1/2 marathon behind me, I've re-evaluated my training and workout program. Initially I didn't have much of a program, I knew that I wanted to lose weight and tone up my flab. 40+ lbs. later and a marathon on the horizon, I want to focus on endurance, speed, and some toning up. To that end, I'm focusing on spending less time working out, but increasing the intensity. Before the 1/2 marathon, I tried to work in at least 2-3 relatively long runs. Now, I think that my longest run during the week will be 8 miles and maybe only once. I'm going to stick to 3-5 mile runs to emphasize speed work and intervals to keep my weight down. I'm saving my long run for the weekends. Ideally, I'll be able to add 1-2 miles to my long runs every week. For weights, that means fewer sets/reps but more weight to acheive my goals. I'm also doing more targeted weight-lifting instead of a general weight program. My weight program will center around bench press, squats, shoulder press, and deadlifts on different days. I will also be complimenting each lift with more specific lifts, such as dips, rows, lunges, front squats, single leg squats, etc. I'll be using this plan through August till I need to build in more long runs for a marathon in October.

Food on my list: Spinach. If it's good enough for Popeye, it's good enough for me. It has contains vitamins A, C, and K. It's great for your eyesight, may help prevent cancer, and help protect against heart disease.

On my mp3 player: Nickelback - Burn It to the Ground. This is hard, fast tune. It's great in the middle of a workout to get the adrenalin going.

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