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Showing posts from February, 2011

Real inspiration and motivation...

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Today my wife and her sister went shopping and she came home and gave me these wrist bands. They will serve as a great reminder to me as to what real strength and real motivation are. Strength is not the ability to run far, it's not in training, it's not in racing, it's not in running at all. Strength was what my Mom showed when she faced breast cancer several years ago. She fought it and she's winning, she's a survivor. THAT is strength. Many years before that (when breast cancer was a certain death sentence) her best friend and boss faced breast cancer. She fought hard, she fought for a long time, she fought unspeakable odds against her and she won. My good friend and neighbor is currently fighting that fight. She is reminding me every day what strength is, what persistence is, what never giving up is. Compare this to running a marathon for the first time and the marathon sounds like a pretty simple thing to do. One week from today when I'm on the course in N…

A week away...

It's so close I can feel the anticipation starting to build. I did my last long run today, but it did come up short. I planned an 8 mile run, but stopped at 6.17 miles. Nothing wrong, I just wasn't mentally feeling it today. That happens from time to time to all of us and today was my day. No worries though, I'm ready. I've done the work, I'm physically and mentally prepared. I just have to wait out my last week until I can get this thing done. I also have the honor of running my first marathon with a pretty nice field of athletes. The Napa Valley Marathon is a Boston Qualifier, an Olympic Trail Qualifier and an RRCA Western Regional Marathon Championship. That means there will be some serious runners in the field with me. In fact, here's an article from the Napa Valley Register about some of the elite runners: "Plenty at stake for elite-level runners at Napa Valley Marathon" I'm truely honored to share the field with these great runners for my fi…

Good to have a morning run again...

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My wife has been overnight pet sitting for a couple of weeks now so I've been having to run in the evenings, I much prefer morning runs before work. Last night she was back home and this morning I was up at 5:40 for my morning run!! So excited!! It was a nice run. I had a 5 mile Tempo Run on the schedule today. 1 mile warm up @ 10:00, 3 mile Tempo @ 8:57, cool down 1 mile @ 10:00. It felt good and I felt strong. I can't help but feel more and more confident as I get closer to the marathon. I only have one long distance event's training to compare this to, my first half marathon this last November. I feel like I've gone through very similar highs and lows, other than my ITB issues this time that I did not have training for the half. I feel more mentally ready for this than I did for the half. It seems to be a little of the snowball effect, I feel mentally strong, which gives me more confidence making me feel even more mentally strong.

It seems like yesterday. The night …

The real struggle...

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I'm struggling with the taper portion of my training. I'm frustrated that I cannot run more. I'm struggling to keep a smile on my face while reducing my mileage. Last night I was even having a hard time falling asleep, I kept thinking about the struggle that running 26.2 miles is going to be. Then I started thinking about the last two years and I realized that really is a relatively small struggle in the big picture. After Thinking about that for a few minutes I fell right asleep and had a very restful night. I woke up wanting to share the real struggle with you all, so this post is not about a run or about training for the Napa Valley Marathon; it's about how I got here in the first place.

Growing up I was the guy that everyone hated when it came to weight, especially the girls. In high school the girls worried that every french fry they ate would immediate show up on their thighs, while I could eat two Super Sized McDonald's Value Meals in one sitting, be hungry …

So it begins...

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I'm now into the taper portion of my training for the Napa Valley Marathon. That means two things:

1. The official countdown has begun! 13 days left. It's starting to really feel real and I'm feeling confident and prepared. If you've done your training correctly, tapering means you've prepared yourself as best as possible and it's now time to rest up a little to gain back some energy for the big day.

2. The rest of my training runs are going to suck and I'm going to feel frustrated. That's just how it goes. If Taper Depression isn't already a term, I'd like to copyright it now! I feel frustrated just thinking about the fact that I will only be running 20 total miles this week. My "Long" Run for the week is only 8 miles. Frustrating. So far this year 4 miles has been my shortest run, but after tonight's 4 miler, 3 of my 6 remaining runs will be short 3 milers. Frustrating.

I know how important this part of training is and I do not t…

Man, that's a LONG way to run...

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Wow, map out 20 miles on the streets you drive every day and you realize how insanely far that is! That's how I felt yesterday on DailyMile.com mapping my route for this morning's run. It's pretty cold out again, it was 42° when I started and only got up to 46°, which really isn't THAT bad, it was the wind that got me. Yes, a 13 mph wind from the East made it feel like it was insanely cold. It was a straight headwind for the first 6.2 miles, then it was a strong side wind with nothing to block it from mile 14 to 17.5. At mile 15 I was still WELL on pace to beat my 10:00/mile goal. Then came, what now that I'm home is kind of funny but not at the time, a giant cramp in my ass!! This is the downside of treadmill training for several months, I just wasn't ready for all the hills. That was quite painful, so I had to walk on and off quite a bit of the last 5 miles which dropped me from hitting my goal. I ended up averaging 10:21/mile, so not too far off my goal. I g…

Indian Creek Trail Tempo Run...

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I cannot explain how glad I am to be back running outside! Granted, the trail was not as pretty as in this picture, what with some remaining snow on the sides and not quite as much life in the trees, but man, I love this trail and I love getting back off the treadmill and onto the pavement! I had a 7 mile Tempo Run scheduled so I thought I'd try out my Garmin Forerunner 405cx's workout feature. It worked well in some respects, but I doubt I'll use it again. It was good to have the reminder beeps to let me know if I was going too slow, but it does not warn you if you are going too fast. Also, the timer stopped right on the programmed 7 miles even though I decided I wanted to run a little further, that was frustrating. Also, it apparently overrode the lap feature so I don't have the normal half mile splits that I like to see, it just shows the 1 mile warm up, 5 mile tempo and 1 mile cool down as laps. Overall, I like the function of the workouts, but I think I'll go …

It was cold but I was glad to be outside...

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Easy Run on Garmin Connect
It's starting to warm up, but the sun had gone home by the time I got home. It was about 47° out when I got started and 42° when I got done 56:50 later, 6.01 mile Easy Run. I hate cold so that's about as cold as I'm willing to get out in and even with that I was not really happy with the weather, but it was great to be outside again. I haven't had an outdoor run since 12/30, that's right, this is the first outdoor run of 2011. It was a good run to get the legs loosened up again, they were still a little stiff from Saturday's 20 miler. I'm sure I would have felt better about the temperature withou the giant piles of snow on the ground. It'll be gone soon enough and I can be outside for all my runs. Happy running everyone!

Two big milestones and a busy day..

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Man, what a day yesterday was! First up was my first 20 mile run. It was yet another treadmill run, I'm really hoping the good weather we are supposed to get sticks around and I can be done with the mill for the year. That said, I must admit I cheated a little, I listened to my iPod on this run, the first time this year. It started out great, I felt strong confident and everything was going well. Then mile 9 hit and I fell apart. I was completely exhausted the rest of the time. It was a tremendous struggle to get through the last 11 miles. i think a huge part of the problem was my weight training the day before. I knew at the time I should have skipped it, but I did it anyway. My weight training plan called for a lot of squat push presses, alternate leg lunges with squat push presses and alternate leg step ups with weights. That's too much leg work the day before my first 20 miler, so lesson learned. I ended up having to walk several time in the last half, but I did make it a…

Kicking it up a notch...

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I followed up last night's great Speedwork Run with a nice Easy Run this morning. Well, that was the plan anyway. I hopped on the treadmill for my 5 miles and decided it was about time I started trying to speed up what I consider an easy run. Normal I train with my Easy Runs at 10:00 miles, so I kicked it up to 9:15. It went really well. It wasn't easy considering it hadn't even been 12 hours since that 8 mile Speedwork Run, so the legs were still a little tired. But I got through it and with more practice this will eventually become my easy pace. It was a positive run overall. It's great to have my ITB issues behind me. During that little stretch of pain I started to feel like running was work again. Now that I've put that behind me I'm enjoying my running again. I look forward to the next run which is my first 20 miler on Saturday. By the way, not only will that be my first 20 mile run, it will also push me past the 1000 miles all-time mark!

On another note, …

My speed is back!!...

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That's right, Monday my endurance came back and today my speed joined in! I had a GREAT Speedwork Run tonight:

1 mile @ 10:00 4 x 1 mile @ 8:33 4 x 1/2 mile @ 10:00 1 mile @ 10:00
8 miles total in 1:14:15
Not my fastest run ever, but it's what my training called for and I haven't run a Speedwork or a Tempo Run in a few weeks thanks to the ITB issue. It felt great, I really could have done more if I had to. Man, it feels good to be back!! I can't wait for my next run, and that's a feeling I've been missing. I'm going to kick the Napa Valley Marathon's ass!!!!

Much improved...

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This morning's run was great! I definitely felt my old endurance kicking in again! I felt strong and smooth the entire run and I easily could have kept going. I ran a total of 6.08 miles of my planned 6.0 miles before work this morning. First off, it was nice to get it in before work again, it feels like its been forever since I ran before work even though it's actually only been just over a week. I started at my normal Easy Run pace of 10:00/mile and it was smooth sailing. After 4.75 miles I was feeling so good I wanted to test my leg and my endurance before Wednesday's Speedwork so I kicked it up to 9:22/mile. Not a ton of increase, but again, I was just testing things out. Piece of cake. I felt great through the remainder of the run as well. It was nice to end a run feeling so strong and ready to go. Less than 4 weeks to go to the Napa Valley Marathon and I feel very confident in myself. This part of training seems to be tough, it was the same way when I did my first ha…

The good, the bad & the ugly...

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The Good: No ITB pain, soreness, stiffness, anything. I really think I've finally put this issue behind me. I know, it was only like a week and a half, but it really felt like I dealt with it forever! Definitely will be making sure to keep the foam roller as part of my regular post-running routine. Lesson learned.
The Bad: My endurance is GONE. This was a terrible run. I actually had to walk some of it towards the end. I was not happy about that. I know I'll get it back, I just hope to get it back before the Napa Valley Marathon 4 weeks from tomorrow.
The Ugly: Me after the run. I felt like I was going to pass out! It took every last bit of energy I had to survive this run. I must have looked like a ghost after I was done. I definitely got some funny looks at the gym. My mother-in-law's first words when she saw me after the run, "Are you okay??"
There was good, there was bad and there was ugly. I survived it and I got in my full 16 miles even if I did have to walk a…

Endurance is lacking...

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This is pretty much how I felt after tonight's run! 6 miles Easy Run, I did the first 3 miles @ 10:00, the next 2 miles @ 10:55 and finished the last mile at 10:00. my leg felt awesome the entire time and I think I might have put these ITB issues behind me, but my endurance has definitely suffered. I normally training on Easy Runs at 9:45-10:00 min miles, but after 3 miles I had to slow it down or I wasn't going to make it. We'll see how Saturday's Long Run (16 miles) goes, I really need to get my endurance back up since I had to skip my fist 20 miler and I only have 4 weeks of training left. I have two 20 milers left in my plan and I really feel like I need them both at full strength to do well in Napa. Anyway, it was a good run overall and it's great to not be in pain after runs again. I hope every one's getting in some great runs!!

Snowpocalypse 2011...

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Well, I haven't left my house (other than shoveling) since Sunday. We have had some crazy snow for sure. Yesterday was a non-running day and rather than getting to do my normal weight training I had to shovel 1 1/2 of snow off the driveway with Kristy and then walk on the treadmill while watching The Biggest Loser. I burned a lot of calories, but I enjoy weight training much more.

Today after work I had to shovel a snow drift that had formed thanks to the wind that was at least 2 1/2 to 3 feet deep at the highest point. It took just over an hour, but burned over 500 calories! Then we had some dinner and it was running time! Training for your first marathon just won't let you wait out Snowpocalypse!! I admit, I was a little nervous going into the run since my last run felt so good. I was concerned that I would be too confident and have pain again this run. It was supposed to be a 7 mile Tempo Run, but I went for a 7 mile Easy Run instead. Same as last time, I slowed my speed do…