Almost there

I feel like I’m quickly closing in on the end of the first stage of my journey back to fitness. In 48 hours I’ll be 30 minutes into the Weather Channel Atlanta Half Marathon. Three weeks ago I ran in a community 15K which at the time helped build my confidence some, but now I’m back to wondering if I’ve run enough. I know I’ll finish the half marathon, I just worry about finishing with grace a dignity. Will I run it in under 2 hours or will things fall apart on me? I ran the 15K in 1:07:12, which put me 10th out of 114 and first in my age group, but will that translate to the half? Will I be able to finish strong? I know I won’t be any where near front runner status in a race this large, not these days, but I don’t want to be pulling up the bottom of my age group either.

The last time I ran this particular road race, I ran it in 1:31 and change, but that was 9 years ago and I’d been running a good bit longer than I have this time around. I have a hard time keeping it in perspective that I’ve only been running since mid August. To be honest, I don’t think I have the love for it I once did. It’s fairly safe to say there isn’t a marathon in my future any time soon.

My official line on the half is that as long as I finish it in under 2 hours I’ll consider it a success, but in honesty, if it takes me more than 1:45 I’m going to be disappointed in myself. Of course, the only way I run 1:45 or better is if things going well during the race. That doesn’t leave much room for side stitches or going out too fast and crashing, which happened on my 10 mile training run a couple of weeks ago. I’m counting on all the hill training to pay off for me big time Thursday :)

The training continues

Last weekend was my 8 mile run, which was the longest run I’ve been on since the marathon I ran last century. I don’t know why I do it to myself, but I picked a pretty brutal route for those 8 miles. Rather than doing it somewhere that’s relatively flat, I decided to take on the big hills of the surrounding neighborhoods. All-in-all, it went pretty well. 8.06 miles in 01:02 which made for a 07:41 pace, though I was definitely hurting at the end. I’d like to thank myself for not drinking enough water leading up to the run and then choosing the route with the big ass hills for the pain there at the end. It’s all good, I know the temporary pain endured then will pay dividends and make me a better runner in the end.

That having been said, I wasn’t too crazy about the stiff, achy feelings I had all day Sunday and Monday. That was the first time in this training cycle I’ve really felt that way, which quite honestly was making me wonder if I really wanted to pursue this distance running thing beyond the half marathon in November. Yesterday’s five miler, which included those same two big ass hills wasn’t bad at all. Pace was pretty close to the same (7:34 per mile), but I felt good and wasn’t too achy during the evening. That sort of puts me on the fence of either continue to train and run distances like the half marathon or focus more on high intensity interval training for cardio and hitting the weights a little harder. Decisions decisions. Ultimately, I’d like to find a happy medium. I’m not happy that I’ve been slacking on the weight training, but I don’t want to abandon the distance running completely either. There’s a certain allure there for me. Not enough of an allure to take on a full marathon anytime soon, but enough to make me think 13.1 isn’t so bad.

7 miles is in the bag

Finished my 7 mile run in 55 minutes or so. The run was actually a tad bit over 7 miles and it averaged out to be about 7:44 per mile. There were two considerable hills along the route, and oddly enough, those two miles were in the 8:00 per mile range. I was pleased that the last mile was a negative split, back down in the 7:38 per mile range. Pretty good for my longest run in 10 years. I’m afraid I’m starting to get the marathon bug again.

All-in-all, it was a pretty good run. It was a little cold, but that gave me a good excuse to go out and buy a couple of long sleeve dry fit shirts :) Sitting here an hour later, my legs feel a little tight. I think I need to be better about stretching. I was never disciplined when it came to that aspect of fitness, but I’m not 21 anymore so for my own good I may need to get better.

Anyway, that is all. Next week is lift/4.5 mi run/3 mi run/4.5 mi run+lift/off/8mi run

So, uh, it’s been a while

I’ve been super busy at work, which leads to less time at home, which leads to much less motivation to keep this blog updated. Less free time coupled with the fact that my readership is at best paltry, and that leads me to put this last on my list of things to do, so often it just doesn’t happen.

I’ve been doing all my running in the evenings after work, and so far so good. No missed runs and I’ve managed to finish them all before it gets dark and I haven’t pushed dinner time back, so I’m not really missing much time with my son. I’ve taken him with me on a couple of the shorter runs, and man oh man does pushing a 28lb toddler in a jogging stroller make running up a hill more challenging. I’ve re-adjusted to not getting my heart rate up first thing in the morning, so I’m not feeling sluggish for the first half of the day, and all-in-all, I think it’s probably a more sustainable training time. So far in the month of October, I’ve run about 30 miles which isn’t a lot for you avid runners out there, but I think it’s a good start for someone getting back in the game.

Yesterday’s 4.5 mile run was awesome. I ran the same less than stellar pace of about 7:35 per mile, but I felt great the entire time, even going up the monster hill that usually kills my pace. My average and max heart rate stayed lower than usual and the third mile which has 2 substantial hills along that course was run in 7:40, which was a real boost. It’s funny how some days everything just clicks and other days it’s a struggle to finish.

In news you don’t care about, I’ve stopped logging my runs on and started using The Daily Mile. I’m digging The Daily Mile, though I do wish they had mapping capabilities. I still use to plan out routes because I think they’ve done an awesome job in that arena, but everything else about their site and interface just wasn’t working for me. Now, if I could just get a clean data feed from The Daily Mile I’d be all set :)

To keep track of the actual routes I’ve run, I’ve been using rubiTrack. It’s fairly basic software, that unfortunately has some cost associated with it, but it syncs flawlessly and seems like a good alternative for logging my runs over time. I tried a couple of the free alternatives, and while most worked, there were things that annoyed me, like having to use Garmin Connect to offload the data then import it, etc. With rubiTrack, I plug in the Garmin, hit sync, and well, it imports my data right then and there which is nice.

OK, that is all. I really need to get working, I just needed some time to warm up the noggin before hopping back into the code. If you’re reading this, thanks for indulging me :)

More of the same… hopefully

Last week I started running in the afternoons to change things up and came to the conclusion that I wasn’t really a fan of it. I don’t like the slow start in the morning, I don’t like feeling rushed to get home so I can get my run in and still spend time with my family, etc, etc.

With that in mind, I’d planned to get back to my early morning running ways this week, however, this morning I woke up with a very sore throat. After breakfast and the commute to work, it seems to feel better (mostly), so I’m hoping I can get my 4 mile run in this evening. More than just getting the run in later today, I’m hoping I’m not coming down with something. Now is really not the time I need to get derailed, or have a reason to feel derailed. There’s redundancy built into this running program, so I don’t think a mild illness would be tragic enough to knock me out of the half marathon if I didn’t allow it to, but it would certainly make things more challenging, both psychologically and physically.

What’s not going to more of the same is the eating and drinking habits I’ve been letting slip back into the routine over the last couple of weeks. Most of it was very calculated and intentional. I wanted to get it out of my system so I could go back to work when it was time. It is time. My weight has been pretty steady the last couple of weeks, not because of lack of exercise, but because I’ve been lenient on food and drink choices. I’ve allowed myself a few beers on the weekend, or an extra helping at dinner, all of which I think is ok. Or, to be more precise, it WAS ok, but now it’s time to get back the intensity of the last 4 months and finish this thing. I know, it’s never really finished, but I have a goal weight and a goal pace in mind for this November half marathon. I don’t think I can achieve one without the other, and I’m more inclined to give up the creature comforts to get them than I am to give it a half-ass effort because I wasn’t giving my body the support it needed.

What that means is I’m cutting out all forms of alcohol for a couple of months and will be getting back to watching my portion sizes when it comes to dinner. On that front, for the most part, it hasn’t been bad food choices as much as just consuming too much food. This running stuff makes one very hungry, though I think I’ve been over compensating just a touch :)