Exercise


That day, for no particular reason, I decided to go for a little run. So I ran to the end of the road. And when I got there, I thought maybe I’d run to the end of town. And when I got there, I thought maybe I’d just run across Greenbow County. And I figured, since I run this far, maybe I’d just run across the great state of Alabama. And that’s what I did. I ran clear across Alabama. For no particular reason I just kept on going. I ran clear to the ocean. And when I got there, I figured, since I’d gone this far, I might as well turn around, just keep on going. When I got to another ocean, I figured, since I’d gone this far, I might as well just turn back, keep right on going. – Forrest Gump

A lady I go to church with has recently started running, and it’s for a reason, and a good reason at that. The local park near where she lives is in disrepair, and the kids in the ‘hood just don’t have a good place to go play. So, she decided to start running to raise awareness (and hopefully a little cash). She set up a website at

www.seemamarun.com

and I encourage you to go there and cheer her on. She’s suffered a few setbacks, but I will let you read and experience that for yourself. If you can find it in your heart to donate, that would be great as well. None of us can do it all by ourselves, but if we work together, we can accomplish great things.

This morning I experienced another first in my running saga, and I figured it had been a while since I had posted a blog entry. So, I decided to post one. This is a pretty minor thing, so don’t get excited that you are going to read anything cool.

It rained on me this morning during the run. It didn’t just sprinkle a little bit. It rained. And rather hard. I was totally soaked by the time I made it back from my 4.24 mile run. It didn’t help that the sidewalks I was running on were pooling water in a few places which caused me to get my newest pair of running shoes totally wet.

Oh well. That’s the way it goes.

In other news.. In case you hadn’t heard, I’m training for the Milwaukee marathon. It’s sometime in early October. It’s a bit more hilly than the Bayshore, so I’m going to be doing more hills in training. It will be a challenge, but what’s life without a challenge or two?

The past few weeks I’ve been a bit negligent in my running, but I’m starting to get back into it now. I ran 12ish on Friday, 19.4 on Sunday, and then 4 today. I’m thinking about changing my training program to a different one that is supposedly totally focused on increased speed. I’m not sure yet, though.

After my 12 miler on Friday, my left knee started hurting. On the 20 miler on Sunday, it started hurting about halfway through, and today the last mile or so wasn’t a whole lot of fun. The pain feels like it is kinda on the outside of the knee. Not quite like any ache that I’ve experience so far. So, I’m watching that one. I kinda limp jogged the last mile today. Not a fun experience. Walking kinda ‘tweaks’ the knee now. Let’s see.. what else.. I’ve been nursing a minor case of what I assume is peroneal tendenitis on the right foot for a couple of months now, and Sunday’s 20 mile run caused my left foot to hurt just a little bit. Not on the outside like I get with the peroneal tendenitis, though. This one was more on the inside of the foot, just back a little bit from the ball of the foot. It doesn’t feel like a bit deal, though.

I ran the July 4th race here in town. 20:50 was the official time, but I think I lost about 15 seconds getting to the start line and waiting for them to stop the timer at the end. 20:35 is probably more accurate as to how long it took me to run the 5 kilometers. That’s about 80 seconds faster than I’ve ever run 5k before, so I was pretty pleased. I came in 6th in my age range, and I would have needed to run the 5k in about 19 minutes to have placed in the top 3. So, I feel good about it.

More updates later, but this is it for now.

The Bayshore Marathon, on May 26, 2007, has come and gone, and I have lived to talk about it.

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As it was my first marathon, I really didn’t have any idea what to expect. I’ve been writing about training for the marathon for some time now, so I won’t bore you with those details. But, I’ll briefly go over a few events of the past week or so that are relevant.

For the past 3 weeks I’ve been tapering for the marathon. Three weeks before the marathon I ran 20 miles, and each subsequent week I have been running fewer and fewer miles, the idea being that you want your body to be in great condition and not overly tired for the actual long run. The pains that I had previously been experiencing in my feet had pretty well gone away, and I was feeling quite good for the marathon. Since the 20 miler I have been doing intervals on all of my shorter (non Sunday) runs, and I was doing a sub 6 minute mile pace during the sprinting portion of my intervals. So, this past week’s running was: Last Sunday: 8 miles. Tuesday: 4 miles, and Friday: 2 miles, with the race being on Saturday. Each of these runs went well.
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For some time now I’ve been meaning to write up a description of my weight loss. Everyone that has ever known me has commented on it, and several people have indicated that I’m something of an inspiration to them. That wasn’t my goal. I’m glad that I might be helping others out in some small way, though. First, I want to say that all views expressed here are my own, and they only pertain to how I feel about myself. I’m not discussing what I think about others. I feel it’s important to specifically point this out, because I think I’m probably a lot harder on myself than I am when I look at others.

Some background information is in order to fully understand the whole process. At least since elementary school, I’ve always been either overweight or on the verge of being overweight (until recently). I can vividly remember being overweight in middle school/junior high. I was rather short and heavy. I didn’t look very good, but I’ve always been a relatively positive person, so I didn’t obsess over my weight or anything. Physical appearance just wasn’t a motivating factor in my life. This continued through ninth grade.
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Here we are… 3 weeks from the marathon.

This morning I did the second of my 20 mile training runs. These are the longest runs I have during training, and after today’s I start tapering down for the marathon itself.

The last post I wrote was on April 25. In the week and a half since then, I haven’t done much running. I was experiencing a case of peroneal tendonitis in my left foot, and I’ve come to the conclusion that it is a slow thing to heal from. As you can see from my training log, I didn’t run on the 25th (was supposed to do 5) and the 26th (5). Instead, I went for several miles on the stationary bike on the 26th. I figured it would take me about 40 minutes to do the 5 miles if running, so I rode for 40 minutes on the stationary bike. I definitely didn’t feel like I was getting as good a workout as running, but based on muscle soreness afterwards, I was certainly using muscles that I don’t use while running.

I have been running on Asics 2100 and 2110 shoes for the past 8 months or so. I’ve been pleased with them, but some online research led me to believe that the Asics might actually cause peroneal tendonitis in some people, due to the high arch support that they have. So, I decided to visit the local running shop (Body ‘n Sole) and get their input. I had an intelligent guy help me this time, and he put me on the treadmill and videotaped my feet while running, and we determined that I definitely overprotonate (when my foot hits the ground it rolls to the inside) so I needed some sort shoe with support (the Asics qualified on this, thank goodness). To mix things up, though, I got a pair of Brooks Adrenaline 6 shoes that don’t have quite as high of an arch support. The guy also thought that it was too early for me to be trying a marathon (after having only been running for a year now) and he really didn’t like that I was playing volleyball (when running the distances I’m running, the body really needs to concentrate on one sport). He has run 6 or 7 marathons and seemed to know what he was talking about. He gave me the names of a few sports massage people in town that I could try if I wanted to. The Brooks feel similar to the Asics. He said that sometimes on his runs he likes to switch brands just so that the feet feel bumps in different spots.
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This past weekend I did my first 20 mile run (20.13 to be precise). I ended up skipping a midweek run last week, but I don’t think it hurt me a whole lot. It’s hard to believe it has been over three weeks since I last posted a note about running, but the past few weeks have been mostly uneventful, at least as far as running goes.

For my 20 miler on Sunday, I was up around 5:20 in the morning, and I was outside putting foot to pavement before 6am. On Saturday night I had eaten whole wheat spaghetti, which is good for the carb effects, and I was hoping that it would serve me well on Sunday. Before leaving Sunday morning, I had filled the camelbak up with water, but not totally full. I took the 50 ounce bladder, and I’d guess that I had about 40 ounces in it.

I started off feeling really great for the run. I actually had to force myself to slow down for the first few miles. I wanted to run faster, but I tried hard to keep myself at the pace that my training program recommends. I ran solid for the first 6.5 miles or so and then slowed to a walk to drink a little bit of water. About 8.4 miles in I sucked down a Gu packet as I crossed the bridge over the Interstate, and I took a second Gu packet at 14 miles in.
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This past weekend’s training activities pushed my body farther than I have ever pushed it while running. To recap, a week ago I had a step-back week, and this past week I started a new three week cycle. The training program says that I should have done 8 miles at marathon pace on Saturday, and 17 miles on Sunday. However, I have more time on Saturday mornings, so I decided to switch the two around. The downside of doing that is that it makes it pretty hard to run at high rates of speed on Sunday after doing the long run on Saturday.

Anyway, I decided to reverse the two on Wednesday or Thursday, so I had some time for my mind to adjust to the idea of having a 17er on Saturday. I wanted to be moving at 7:00 on Saturday morning. I ended up waking up at 7 and was out the door moving at 7:33. But, the beauty of Saturday is that I can deal with that.
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Some (presumably wise) person once said that the first 13 miles of a marathon is physical, and the last 13 miles is mental.

As I’ve been going through my training runs, I’ve noticed something, which I’m going to consider a corollary of the above wise statement. No matter how long my runs are (3 miles, 4 miles, 8 miles, 15 miles….)

I’m always feel about the same at the end of the run.

At the beginning of a run I might say to myself, “Only 4 miles today. Should be easy.” Or, “15 miles today. This will be interesting.”. But, at the end, regardless of how far I’ve run, I’m always tired, and never in the mood to “go run a few more just for grins.” I really don’t think that my physical conditioning moves in cycles from day to day to equilibrate how my body handles the run, so I have to assume that my feelings are mental in their origins.

RunningFor my short runs, I just do them. For my long runs, I know I’m going to be running long, so I just do it. Either way, I get to the finish line tired, with legs that are partially stiff, and I’m ready to take a break. For my short runs, this is kind of a downer. I wonder to myself, “Gee.. if the short run makes me feel like this… imagine what the long run is going to do!” But, experience has taught me that I’m going to feel about the same after the long runs. (I’m talking about immediately after the run.. Several hours later, my muscles definitely tell me that there’s a difference between running 3 miles and running 15)

So, I’m looking at this as a good thing. If I can do 15 miles and feel about the same as I do after 3 or 4.. I can do 26.2 miles. It’s all mental. If I go through the training program so that my leg muscles can handle the torture, I truly feel that I can complete the marathon. Will it be daunting? You bet. 6 miles in, will I be telling myself, “Geez. Still 20 to go.”? Probably. But, God willing, I can and will succeed on May 26.

In other marathon news… A bit of a depressing thought. I really don’t see myself qualifying for Boston on this first one. I need to run 26 miles at a 7:28 pace per mile, and I haven’t been running quite that fast during my training. I don’t logically see myself being able to run 26 miles at that pace when I haven’t been running the shorter distances at that pace. Am I still going to try? Well….. I don’t want to burn myself out. So, I’m still trying to be positive, but it will be very disappointing to make the first 15 or 20 miles and then have to drop out of the marathon because I’ve went too far, too fast. So, stay tuned. We’ll see how things feel after the next couple of weeks.

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