This evening I decided that for my 5 mile run, I would watch my pace.  I know I can do the distance.  The question is, can I improve?  After reviewing my past two months of runs, my fastest pace for a 5 miler was 10’28”.  I changed a couple settings on the watch, and I was off.

To track my running, I use the Nike GPS Sportswatch.  Its giant screen makes it easy to see my stats.  Every few minutes I glance down and check my progress.  The plan was, if my pace was slower than 10’30,” I would speed up.

After the first mile I cramped up.  I had eaten a Powerbar Energy Bite before leaving, and my body just does not like these things.  They will now be for post-run snacks, or WAY pre-run snacks.  Well, you can’t give up on a race after only one mile.  I checked the watch for my pace, which was still good.

Pushing through the pain, I kept moving.  For the first three miles I didn’t have any problems maintaining a sub 10’30” pace.  Then I met mile three.  Why hello mile three, how are you doing?  You have a gift for me?  How nice of you to bring the cramp back, and with a vengeance too!  No matter what part of mile three I was on, I could not reach my goal.  I needed be able to get back on pace.  But with every step, the cramp worsened.

Turning the corner on mile four, the cramp washed away.  I don’t know what made it disappear, but I’m glad it did.  No time to question, time to run.  I picked up the pace to make up for lost time.

On the last mile I pushed to catch up.  I knew that it would be close, but I also knew that I had a chance if I pushed hard.  I had forgotten to add the statistic “average pace” to my watch for the run, so all I had to judge my progress was “elapsed time” and “current pace.”  Time for some quick math!  Rather, time for some rough guessing.

My run ended in my driveway.  I hit stop in mid step, not wanting a full stop to mess up my time.  My final pace was 10’21”.  That’s right, a new PR for my five mile run.  For all my short to medium runs, I plan on using the pace screen.  I am still going to use the distance screen the long runs for now.

Now it was time for a post run smoothie.  I decided to mix it up, and concocted a chai tea smoothie.  I am not sure what inspired this, other than the box of chai tea mix in the fridge.  I decided to make it simple, since I could always alter the recipe later if it wasn’t right.

Chai Tea Smoothie:

1 Cup Greek Yogurt
1 Cup Chai Tea Latte Concentrate
1 Cup of Ice
1 Scoop Vanilla Whey Powder
1 Tbsp Honey

Step One) Put everything in a blender
Step Two) Blend
Step Three) Enjoy

Easy!  A new PR and a new smoothie… all in all not a bad day.

Question:

When you run, do you run to do a distance, or beat a pace?

Remember to like the page on Facebook.

For those of you who read my last post, in the comments you may have noticed that someone offered to put together a team for the Army Ten-Miler.  Since he is in the reserves, he gets to register two weeks before the general public.  What does that mean? I can’t “forget” to register in time.  I never realized that there are so many races in Washington, DC, which is a city I love.  I believe everyone has a city, one that fits them and is a reflection of their inner self.  So why is it DC for me?  It is a very different city than most large US metropolises.  Its layout and city planning are very open.  In 1910 a law was passed to limit the height of newly constructed buildings.  What this creates is a city that is open to the sky.  Add to that the Roman architecture, and you get a sense of the culture and history.  There are places like Rock Creek Park, which is like a piece of nature cutting deep into the heart of the city.  Numerous memorials and monuments litter the city, each with their own history and story.  I could go on and on about DC.  However, I will not.  I’ll save that for another post, perhaps.  For now, let’s get back to the Army Ten-Miler (ATM).

So a reader and contributor offered to put together a team.  Now we just need runners.  I have started the process to reach out and recruit for this team.  After reading up on the race, I learned that if you don’t cross the five mile marker by 9:45 AM they end your race.  At first I thought the race started at 9 AM.  That would mean you need to run a 9’00” pace.  Not bad, faster than me, but not bad.  Then it hit me; that only works if you are in the first wave.  There is no way I could make that!  I took a deep breath.  I had agreed to do it, so it meant I would just need to train harder.  Before I let panic mode set in, I decided to look up that race start time.  Turns out that it starts at 8:00 AM.  I can do that.  I’m ready for that run.  Now with that out of the way, on to my Easter run.

I woke up this morning and the Easter Bunny had given each of my kids, my wife and me each a basket full of treats.  Ah, the Easter Bunny, you deliver to me once of my vices, the jelly bean.  Or rather, a large quantity of jelly beans.  It is only fitting that I had planned to run ten miles on Easter.  It is the best way to burn off the calories that would surely be consumed in jelly bean form.  Did I mention that I love jelly beans?

These are my Jelly Belly jelly beans, and you ...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I normally bring hydration with me for any run ten miles or longer.  I also bring with me a snack, PowerBar Energy Blasts.  Unfortunately, I am out of energy blasts.  Instead, I opened a pack of PowerBar Energy Bites.  Not quite the same thing, not even close.  They are too dry to eat while running, so they are only good for a pre-run bite.  Therefore, I have decided to sign up for a monthly delivery of Energy Blasts through Amazon.com to make sure this oversight doesn’t happen again.

This is also my first planned long run since my sprain.  It has been more than a few months since I needed my hydration bottles, and now they are missing.  I knew this would make for an interesting run.  On top of that, this run would be along the same path I took on the day I sprained my ankle. It sounds like a bad sequel, “Rural Run 2: This time, no hydration or snacks.”  If I had brought jelly beans as my snack, it would have seemed somehow wrong.  So off I went with nothing but the one small 6 ounce bottle of Gatorade I could find and an iPod.

When I left the house, I was already tired from two hours of walking around the zoo with the family this morning.  The first three miles of the run were rough.  Out the door I already had a headache, and my right knee, right shin, and left ankle were all screaming at me.  No matter the pain, I always give my run at least two miles to let the joints lube up and get the juices flowing.  By mile two, it still wasn’t feeling good.  I decided to give it another mile, just one more.  By mile three, no pain… only the road.  The run itself was uneventful until the run back.  On mile seven I encountered another runner – human this time.  She was ahead of me at one point.  Her pace was similar to mine.  I pushed to catch up in order to have a companion on the lonely road.  Sadly, she turned in a different direction than my intended route.  So then I was alone once again.  It had been good to see another runner.  I hadn’t felt so crazy to be out there in the middle of nowhere.

By mile eight I was approaching the place where I had sprained my ankle.  Not this time.  I watched each footfall to make sure they landed securely.  I noticed the size of the potholes in the area.  No wonder I had sprained my ankle!

As I said, the run was uneventful.  The most important part was that I completed it.  This is the longest run I have done since the sprain, with an OK pace of 11’20.”  Not the greatest, but good enough.  The true test will be tomorrow morning.  By then my ankle will tell me how good of a run it truly was.

Question:

What do you take on long runs?

Remember to like the page of Facebook.

Three more runs down.  They didn’t quite happen on the correct days, or in the correct order, but they are done.

Wednesday: 4 Miles – Treadmill Interval Training (Originally Tuesday)

Thursday: 6 Miles – Outdoor Long Distance Pace

Friday: 2 Miles – Outdoor 5k Race Pace (Originally Wednesday)

Exhaustion and working late keep disrupting my plans.  In fact, as I am writing this I am nodding off.  Why are there only 24 hours in the day?  To be fair, everyone has 24 hours in a day.  It is how you allot that time that determines your success at anything.  Of course, my body right now is playing the veto card on my choices.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, during his speech to the graduates of the University of Southern California in 2009, addressed the issue of sleep.

“I’ve always figured out that there 24 hours a day. You sleep six hours and have 18 hours left. Now, I know there are some of you out there that say well, wait a minute, I sleep eight hours or nine hours. Well, then, just sleep faster, I would recommend.

Because you only need to sleep six hours and then you have 18 hours left, and there are a lot of things you can accomplish.”

Click here for the entire speech and transcript.

I am surprised to hear the Terminator needed to sleep at all!  All joking aside, the rules are so simple.  Why are they so hard to follow?

While on the night road I met only one evening runner.  The encounter occurred as I entered a dead end around the third mile.  He stopped his run, and stared as I approached.  For some reason he seemed fixated on me.  I don’t think he even blinked.  I noticed his drool formed a pool on the pavement beneath his small, dirty feet.  I closed the distance to the end of the street.  He waited.  A few steps closer my eyes adjusted and focused while his beady eyes reflected back the streetlight.  Then he bolted in a nearby bush.

This evening prowler was an opossum, a dirty, dirty opossum.  Its face was ghost white, its body a light grey.  They are some creepy animals.  They look like rats on steroids.  I would say I would not want to meet one in a dark alley, but I pretty much did.

I started the six mile run tired.  I ended tired. The pace was terrible.  During the run I felt terrible.  The wind was terrible.  I shall dub this run “terrible.”  But I got out there and finished it.  It needed to be done.  Sometimes training isn’t fun.  Sometimes it isn’t pretty.  Sometimes it just needs to be done.

With the run done and behind me, I felt great.  No matter how bad the run, I find it cleans out my stress and worries.  They may come back later, but for a few glorious seconds, my mind is free of all things save the sound of my pounding heart, and the deep breathing of my lungs.

My two mile runs are really meant to keep a close eye on my pace and beat out my previous 5k race pace.  Of course I should have checked before I left.  I figured it was somewhere south of 10’00” and that is what I kept an eye on.  The two-miler ended up at 9’46”.  Sadly the 5k was less than that, 9’36”.  Next time I will aim for 9’30”.  This run was a nice finisher to three days of running.  It was lite, just hard enough, and timely.  Being on a Friday, it was a nice way to end out the work week and clear the mind.  Typically I listen to music on short runs, this was no different.  I asked for music suggestions on a previous post and Queen and the Police were nominated.  I like to mix things up so for this run I ran with the Sucker Punch the Soundtrack.  More importantly I ran to track number 4, a mash up of “I want it all” and “We will rock up.”  It is composed by Armageddon aka Geddy.  I don’t know much about him, but I do know it is a fantastic mash up of two great Queen songs.

Looking over my marathon training schedule, I realized there is a crucial flaw.  A vital problem, it seems.  I am training for a non-existent marathon!  I have not signed up for one, nor even found a possible one.  I need help.  I need to find a marathon for the September 22nd or the 23rd.  I want my first one to be a good experience.  It doesn’t have to be a giant event, just a good one.  I need to start looking.  Any suggestions?

All and all, it was not an eventful week of runs.  Tomorrow is a ten-miler around my neighborhood.  It will be good to get above ten miles again.  The time commitment is going to increase, of course.  The longer the run, the more time it will take.  Solution?  Speed up!  Time to do some speed work.

Remember to like the page on Facebook!

Question:

Does anyone have any suggestions for a marathon on September 22nd or 23rd?

A Threesome…And a Good Duck

Posted: April 1, 2012 by Roberts in Races, Running Log
Tags: , , , , ,

Scandalous!  If you have been following, today was my second 5k and the tail end of the third week of my marathon training.  Let’s take a look at how the day unfolded.

6 AM: 2 Miles

To start the day of a race, I have been advised in the past to do a 2 mile warm up run.  When I woke up I wasn’t hungry, only dehydrated.  I decided to have a drink and head out.  Since the temperature had dropped to thirty I decided to wear my winter running pants.  The run and the pants warmed those legs right up.  As you can imagine, on cold Sunday morning the roads were empty.  I ran to Tron: Legacy again.  Since my pace on Saturday went well with it, I thought maybe there was something to the album.  I was a little worried about the Chipotle burrito.  By the half-way point my body reminded me I was carrying the extra 2 pounds of spicy meat and salsa.  I decided I needed to end the run before I vomited in my mouth.  I know, gross.  I pushed harder and shaved twenty seconds off the last mile.  In the end, my pace was five seconds off Saturday’s pace.  Considering I was a burrito-laden, breakfast-free, dehydrated, tired runner I am proud of only losing five seconds on a warm up run.  Time for the race.

9 AM: 3.1 Miles

When leaving for my race this morning, my wife and daughter both wished me good luck.  My not quite three year old son, who is into rhyming right now, said, “Good Duck.”  He thought he was the funniest person in the world.  My wife and daughter followed suit.  After numerous “Good Ducks” I was out the door for my race.

The Run Like A Fool 5k for the Chester Community Physical Therapy Clinic was a much smaller 5k than the Shamrock 5k in Baltimore.  A one hundred person race is far different than a five thousand person race.  A couple things clued me in.  There was no signage along the route save one turn with six traffic cones.  At the turns volunteers and campus police directed the runners with no dividers.  There were, however, more water stations than at the larger event.  The starting and finishing lines (same place) were not well marked; it was just where some staffers stood with a watch.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining.  I think I was just spoiled by the Shamrock run being my first.  The race and staff were fantastic, and I will most likely do that run next year as well.  It is their second time running the event, and obviously do not have the budget for a large scale run.  The volunteers had great energy and enthusiasm.  I must have been ten years north of the median age of the other runners.  Why is that important?  I was pretty much guaranteed to win my age group!  Since it is such a small event, there were no prizes for the age groups, but it makes me feel good to say I won my age group.  I am glad six people from my office joined the run.  We all wore matching company running shirts.  It looked impressive.

The race started on a track.  Looking back at it now, I don’t think I have ever run on a track other than gym class (I think I pretty much walked it then).  Three of my coworkers bolted out at the start.  Without realizing my pace I kept up with them for the lap of the track.  Reviewing my run data, I was running a 6’47’ pace.  Good duck, indeed!  For me, that is a tremendous pace, and to maintain it for a quarter mile is fantastic.  After the track I knew I could not keep up that speed without burning out.  My goal was south of 10 minutes.  Stick to the goal, and don’t over exert.  Slowly, some other runners started to pass me.  Soon it would be my turn to pass them.

After a parking lot and a long driveway, the race entered the open road.  It moved through a neighborhood.  Just past the first mile, I started noticing people coming back in the opposite direction.  Shortly after that, members of my team were passing me heading back.  We high-fived as we passed each other.  At times the solo sport can be a team effort.  By this point, due to the low number of runners overall, everyone had more than enough space.  In fact, at some points I felt I was on a solo run.

Eventually, on my return lap I approached the walkers who were still on the first half of the race…They were walking after all.  Not just walkers, walkers with dogs…little toy dogs, some of which were yorkies.  In the last mile I started passing people.  Several people had gone from running to jogging to walking.  One person, whom I will now call Captain 170, was one such person.  Captain 170 did not like being passed by me.  The first time I passed him he was walking.  He then picked up the pace and passed me, and then started walking when he was around the next bend.  He repeated this process two more times.  The last time I passed him he couldn’t pass me right away, not until the final hill.  He caught up and nudged his way past me.  We entered a narrow sidewalk where I could not pass unless I entered the street on the other side of the guard rail.  You do what you have to do.  Once on the street I started to catch him again.  We entered the final parking lot.  Cones were placed to guide you to run around the entire lot.  He chose to cut across the lot while onlookers and staffers kept pointing and yelling at him.  The shortcut gave him too much of a distance to fully close by the end.  Through the last stretch, he kept looking over his shoulder to see how close I was.  How do I know he was looking for me?  The closest person behind me was at least a tenth of a mile.  It didn’t matter to me so much; I found it funny that this college kid found it so important not to be passed by me.

I finished out the 5k with a new PR of 29’19”.  The last 5k I ran was completed in 31’33”.  Almost a full 2 minute drop!  I can live with that.  The goal for next time is below 29 minutes.

4:30 PM: 5 Miles

According to my training schedule I needed to run 10 miles today.  Of course, Nike meant a single 10 mile run.  So instead, I needed to have another run to make up the difference.  I have never attempted a threesome of runs in a single day.  I entered the run already tired.  I didn’t care about the pace, it didn’t matter.  All I needed to do was finish up the distance.  I decided to listen to a funny podcast and hit the road.  A Sunday afternoon is very different than a Sunday morning.  The streets were filled with people enjoying the day.  There were groups of children on bikes, a man creating a dust storm with a snow blower, ten year-olds playing shuffle board, and three roving bands of three teenage girls each.

One kid on a scooter raced towards me and asked me why I was running.  That is the age old question often asked of runners, myself included.  No, I don’t have an answer for you.  I used to ask myself that question, and there has never been an answer that worked.  So I have stopped asking it of myself.  Why do I need it answered?

That completes the third week of marathon training.  “Good Duck” with your running this week!

Remember to like my page on Facebook.

Question:

What is the most number of runs you have done in a single day?

Boogie Man and the Yorkie

Posted: March 31, 2012 by Roberts in Running Log
Tags: , , , ,

This was my first week of consciously using the treadmill less.  I now have a treadmill guideline.  If the program calls for 4 miles, I will use the treadmill on interval training.  If it is any other mileage, I am outdoors.  The first outdoor run of the week was a small 5 miles on Thursday. OK, the actual first run of the week outdoors was to be 2 miles on Wednesday.  I skipped it since, yet again, I was too tired that night.

The Watchmen Soundtrack

I recently picked up a copy of the Watchmen Soundtrack.  Albums should be listened in their entirety and in the correct order.  Or rather, a well-produced album should be enjoyed in its entirety.  I can’t seem to find too many of them these days.  This brings me to the run.  The run time for the soundtrack is 53 minutes.  Given my pace, that is about a 5 mile run.  Serendipity!  I had my theme music for the run.

Just past the first mile and a half the song “I’m Your Boogie Man” by K.C. and the Sunshine Band came on.  It’s such a fun song.  My pace quickened without even trying.  How much?  I went from a 10’10” pace to a 7’49” pace.  Not only did my pace quicken, I had a hop in my step.  I avoided the cars sticking out of the driveways by hopping into the street, and springing back onto the sidewalk.

What a Yorkie dive bomber may look like...

The only occurrence out of the norm was a small dog.  His little legs beat away trying to close the ground between us.  His high pitched yapping cut through my music.  Once he caught up with me, he circled wide to make another pass.  The little brown yorkie kept at it for the rest of the block.  Once I was out of his territory, he returned home triumphant.

As I mentioned, I missed my 2 mile early in the week.  Now it was time to pay myself back.  Late Friday night I decided it was time.  I hit the road, and pushed for a decent pace.  With the race coming up on Sunday I wanted to gauge my potential time.  I turned up the Tron: The Legacy Soundtrack and hit the road.  The first mile was a decent pace, but I knew I could do better and push harder.  So I did.  I shaved a minute off my pace for the last mile.  The final average pace was not quite a potential PR time for the 5k coming up, but you never know what will happen on race day.

What a hear attack in a tortilla looks like...

Here I am on the night before the race.  My wife and I decided to each enjoy a burrito from Chipotle.  I have not allowed myself such a lavish caloric food in some time.  If you don’t know what Chipotle is, well consider yourself lucky and unlucky.  Before I cared about my health I truly enjoyed them.  Each bite was a blend of fake Mexican flavors, meat and cheese.  Some combinations could reach as high as 1500 calories.  Each meal was a heart attack in a tortilla with a side of guacamole.  My friends and I referred to the inevitable tiredness that followed as a Burrito Coma.  You could not move, only digest.  So why get one now?  My excuse?  I am carb-loading.  Of course not really, but it works for me today.  It was really a splurge.  If I get a PR tomorrow, I won’t feel bad about eating it.  If I fail miserably in getting a new record, it was the extra weight of the burrito, so much weight.  I have all my bases covered!

Time for some sleep, and get ready for the race.

Remember to like the page on Facebook.

Questions:

What music do you enjoy during your runs?

Two weeks are down, and only twenty six remain in my marathon training program.  I would say that I am feeling good, but I am not.  I am more satisfied than anything else.

Game of Thrones (soundtrack)

Game of Thrones (soundtrack) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It has been a rough week for running.  Tuesday went well.  I was scheduled for four miles, and I did four miles.  On Wednesday I was scheduled for two miles, and for some reason I failed to read my schedule correctly and I ran four miles instead.  Of course, an extra two miles is not a bad thing.  Each of these runs was on the treadmill.  I got to enjoy a nice episode of Game of Thrones for each.

The trouble began on Thursday.  I got home and headed upstairs to get changed.  Prepared to run, I sat on the couch to put on my shoes, and nodded off.  That’s right, I fell asleep in my running gear.  Not my most proud moment, but it happened.  All day Friday I kept promising myself I would run that night, no matter what time I got home.  I got home at 10.  The call of my bed was far stronger than my desire to log another 4 miles or watch an episode.

On Saturday I got my miles.  The kids napped, and I ran.  It was another treadmill run, but the miles got logged.  What is the point of all this?

The Sunday schedule had me running eight miles.  Not a crazy run, but not an easy one.  I woke up that morning and made breakfast for the family.  The entire meal had an oatmeal theme.  They had oatmeal pancakes, and I, merely oatmeal.  Well, oatmeal with dried apricots, honey, and flax seed.  After letting that settle, it was time to hit the road.

An entire week had passed since my last outdoor run, and every run since then had been interval training on the treadmill.  I put an episode of SWIC on my iPod, and stepped out onto the road.  The first three miles were miserable.  My calves and inner thigh muscles screamed.  They were tight and unyielding.  Did I not stretch enough?  Are my legs no longer used to the impact of the road?  Maybe I shouldn’t have run the day before?  Either way, I needed my eight miles.  Mile 1…mile 2…mile 3…  Each passed, and was more painful than the next.  As I moved further away from home, I thought maybe I should turn back.  Just one more mile…just make it to the next corner…  I kept giving myself little milestones to take my mind off the pain.  After the third mile, the muscles were loose, and the pain washed away to numbness.

I completed the run as planned.  The only two issues I have are why I had the initial pain, and why my pace was so poor.  I have lost about a minute off my 8 mile pace since the sprain.  My unscientific analysis is that I believe it is due to the treadmill.  I have spent the majority of my runs on the treadmill in these past few weeks.  The machine is designed to reduce impact, and my legs have become spoiled.  My friend, Keith, thinks it might be due to over training with the interval sessions.  My legs may not have had the necessary time to recover.  Of the two of us, he knows quite a bit more than I about running. Either way, I need to reduce the treadmill sessions and increase the outdoor trips.

This entire week I have not been following my diet.  Throughout the week I have tried to maintain a limited caloric intact.  I have eaten small “meals” every couple hours.  The problem is I get near the end of the day and I feel dizzy.  I can’t focus and my mind starts to drift.  It makes me think it is a blood sugar problem.  I eat and the issue goes away.  Since I have eaten more than scheduled, my weight hasn’t gone down.  Better luck next week.

My last frustration of the week is Nike Plus.  I currently use the Nike Plus Sportswatch with GPS.  Don’t get me wrong, I still agree with my original review.  Their site has been having some issues and I can’t review my runs.  They keep promising to fix it, but I am still frustrated.  I love watching the little green dot run around the map showing my speed and heart rate.  I hope they fix the problem soon.

This week my running schedule changes.  I am going to drastically drop the amount of treadmill work.

Tuesday: 4 Miles – Interval Training on the Treadmill

Wednesday: 2 Miles – Race Pace

Thursday: 5 Miles – Long Run Pace

Sunday: 10 Miles…

Now, Sunday should be interesting.  I signed up for a 5k for the same day.  The question is, do I run the 5k, and then add 7 later that day?  I think I will first wake up and run 2 to warm up.  I will then do the race, and round out the day with a 5 mile run.  Sound good?  By reducing the treadmill work, and increasing the outdoor work, I hope to gain back my outdoor pace.

Though it was my idea to get the office to do the 5k, I might end up being the slowest of our group.  Oh well, it’s about the charity, right?  Nah, I’m going to haul my sorry butt over that finish line as fast as I can.  3rd out of four would be good.

Question for my readers:

What do you use to track your runs?

The Liebster Award

Posted: March 25, 2012 by Roberts in Misc

MyMultiPersonality graciously awarded me with the honor of the Liebster Award today!

This is how the Liebster is described:

This award we’ve discovered is given to bloggers who inspire you and have less than 200 followers. The Liebster Award takes its name from the German word meaning ‘Beloved, Dearest or Favorite.’

What does this mean?  Someone out there likes me, they really do.  Seriously, I love reading MyMultiPersonality and for her to choose mine is fantastic.

It seems there is a price to this fame.  Here’s how it works:

  1. Link back to the person who gave it to you and thank them.
  2. Post the award to your blog.
  3. Give the award to 5 bloggers with less than 200 followers that you appreciate and value (It’s a great way to get to word out there about other blogs!!)
  4. Leave a comment on the 5 blogs to let them know that they have received this award.

After looking over the blogs I follow, I see that not everyone displays their number of followers (myself included).  I am always looking for advice from others experiences, and how people are overcoming the trials of running.  There are so many out there; so I settled on these five.

The envelope please:

Twisted Running – I recently found her blog.  I give her this award for her fantastic write ups and posts.

Bearrunner – Awarded for his quest for a marathon and I enjoy the off topic posts.

Creature of Habit – This is a great combination of running and food.  I am looking forward to her other “experiments” in the kitchen.

Overpaid, Oversexed, and Over Here – I found this blog just after I started my own.  It is full of humor, and she is working her way to a marathon, just as I am.

DrRachelRuns – Another great blog about a marathoner with some amazing race write ups.

I have completed my first week of marathon training. How many times have I said that? Three to be precise.  Or rather, this is my third attempt. Third time’s the charm right? It seems injury always finds me during a marathon training schedule. The first injury was a busted rib, and the second an ankle.  Well, the past is behind me and nothing but the road is ahead.

Maybe I should trick myself. I am not training for a marathon. I am training for two half marathons back to back with no break. It would be very sad if I could trick myself that way.

During this week I had scheduled three treadmill sessions (interval training) and an outdoor run of eight miles. Not only did I accomplish that, I added an extra treadmill session. I just had to see one more episode of Game of Thrones. We all need our little inspirations.

My pace on the outdoor run was less than spectacular. No excuses, I will take the fact that I got out there as a mild success and do better next time. That just sounds pathetic.  I got out there, I got it done.  On a Sunday night there isn’t much to see on the road.

I had two encounters on my run.  The first was a squad car. She paced me down a dark road, and turned away when I returned to the lite section of the neighborhood. I don’t know if she was bored, or wanted to provide me some extra light for my evening run. It was that, or she thought I was cute, or maybe worried that I might get mugged.  The other interesting sight was a young couple I passed on three occasions.  By the third time they finally acknowledged me.  It doesn’t matter.  They were too busy walking down the street, each keeping a hand warm in the others back pocket.  Strange events are the norm for my runs; every now and then I need an uneventful one.

I have decided to sponsor, or rather trick, my office into a 5k race on April 1st. I convinced three other people to join me.  We are attending the Chester Community Physical Therapy Clinic “Run like a Fool” 5k.  It is a small race, but I have the bug and I need to get out there again.

Remember to like my page on Facebook.

Finally, I have two questions for you:

What is the craziest thing you have seen while running?

What do you do to entertain yourself on the treadmill?

I’m back!  Where have I been?  As many of you know, I sprained my ankle at the end of last year.  It did a number on me, both physically and mentally.  The road kept calling out to me, however, I was too worried about damaging my ankle further.  That and [insert any number of useless excuses here] I became couch bound.

I have spent the past couple weeks working on the treadmill.  I could have logged each of the sessions, but what would I write about?  The shows I am watching while acting like a gerbil (BSG, Game of Thrones)?  Should I write about the exposed rafters in my basement, or maybe that strange cobweb in the corner?

Obviously I had nothing interesting to write about.  Well now, not so much.  Last Thursday I was working on the treadmill.  Halfway through my run, and episode of BSG, my arm hit the kill cord, shutting the machine down.   Standing there, my heart pounding and frustrated, all I could think was, “1.75 miles isn’t enough.  I am not going out like that.”  I grabbed my IPod and headed out the door to finish out another 2 miles.

Something strange happened on the run.  I couldn’t stop.  I just kept running.  Each driveway I passed, and every turn made I got further and further from home.  As I moved along I kept saying, one more corner, or one more hill.  I looked down and my watch said…4.5 miles!   It was almost ten o’clock, it was time to head home and I still needed to run back.  By the end I logged 9.11 miles, from a run I took outside on a whim.  The ankle wasn’t an issue anymore, and neither was my mental block.  Time to do it again.

Thursday night I was on top of the world, and on Friday morning I suffered for it.

Sunday was my first 5k race.  I attended the Kelly St. Patrick’s Day Shamrock 5k in Baltimore, Maryland (Bib #3795).  I went with a good friend of mine, Michael, his brother and his brother’s girlfriend.  It was a fantastic event and a fantastic experience.  The energy of five thousand people in a sea of green, all ready to push themselves and accomplish something that many people think is unimaginable.

The skill level of the runners varied so much.  Watching that many people crammed in such a small area pushing their way forward was very interesting.  The first couple seconds can only be compared to cattle moving along for the slaughter.  The most you could do was jog in place.  After the first minute of dodging people, weaving through the crowd, and avoiding the runners flailing their arms, I found my place.  The first mile had slight downhill slope; a great way to start the run.

About half a mile in, Michael tried to cut around the crowd down the sidewalk.  Much to his surprise, a women in a wheelchair cut out from the spectators out in front of him, and he cleared her.  Yes, he jumped OVER the old lady.  Ok, maybe it wasn’t a full vault, only a partial.  From my angle it was hard to tell.  Either way, laughing while running hurts.  She seemed fine and only a little shocked from the experience.

Now, to say that was the only strange sight would be a lie.  I watched as a man tried to squeeze between another runner and a pole.  The pole won.  One kid kept bolting past me, stopping, and bolting again.  There were a number of green hats, funny glasses, and strange head gear.  It was not the most serious of races, the perfect kind to start you racing experience with.

The most interesting sight was the end.  After passing over the finish line, you could pick up granola bars, water, bananas, and beer.  Yes, beer.  Nothing like running a few miles and ending it with a beer.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, and keep on running!

Sunday…my return to the great outdoors…at least to run.  Or at least that was the plan.  In order for me to leave the house for a run my wife needs to be home to watch the kids.  They are a little too small to leave behind while I travel the sidewalks of the neighborhood.  So instead I hit the treadmill again.  The scheduled run was 8 miles.  After the successful sessions with the treadmill, I decided to increase the difficulty and do the scheduled 8 miles.  Not the best move on my part.

After two miles, I had trouble keeping up.  If I only had a couple miles to go, I would like to think I could have pushed through it.  Self-delusion is strength of mine, it seems.  Mission aborted.  So my excuses were: I am tired…I aimed too high for my first long run…etc. 

That evening I decided make another attempt for an 8 mile run.  This time outside, and this time at my pace, not the infernal torture device that is my treadmill.  It was my first outdoor run since the sprain.  I checked the temperature, 32 degrees.  Perfect.  I geared up; running pants, jacket, gloves, hat, GPS watch, and IPod.  It is going to be a great run. 

It started slowed, but I moved my way through the neighborhood.  OK, I can’t expect to be right back to top performance after eight weeks off.  At mile two, I cramped up.  This isn’t the first time this has happened.  Last time, I pushed through it for a mile until it subsided.  Well, that was then, this is now.  By mile four I was done, and couldn’t push any further.  Time to go home.

By the next day my ankle felt as bad the week after I sprained it.  It seems the concrete is harder on my ankle than the treadmill.  Go figure.  Am I doomed to the life of a treadmill?  The treadmill means no interesting encounters.  If I stay inside I won’t see turkeys, storms, a live sitcom,or porn.   I pushed myself too hard too soon.  It seems that 8 miles on the hard concrete was too ambitious. 

Now I need to hold off on the training for a week.  I need to let the ankle recoup.  I plan to change my training from a marathon to maybe a half, or 10k.  It will limit my miles, and slowly build back up.  I wanted too much.  Foiled by the sprain again!

Next Run: Who knows?
Next Race: Kelly St. Patrick’s Day Shamrock 5K