A letter to my running partner

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Monday, November 30, 2015

Dear Ben,

I know this isn't the type of post you envisioned for this blog, but every time I start to type, everything seems insignificant because all I can think about is how thankful I am for you.

First of all, I am abundantly thankful that you are home.  It actually brings tears to my eyes because I know that this picture could look far different.


There are sailors right now stuck on a ship and can only email their family...we've been there and I Praise the Lord that I got to cook dinner with you and hear your laugh and see you snuggle our kids this week.

I'm so thankful to have you as my running partner.  You are more than a person that runs alongside me; you encourage me when I'm feeling insecure or super tired, you let me vent my frustrations on long runs and you try your hardest to deceive me into thinking our pace is "just right for you" when I tell you to run ahead.  And even though I struggle to admit this, I'm thankful that you never, ever leave me on a run.

Thank you for making your health a priority.  Perhaps others see it differently, but I see your fitness and healthy eating as a treasure.  First of all, Lord willing, it means I get to spend more of my life with you.  Second, you are leading our family in health.  When you make time for runs, it shows our kids that fitness can be fun and enjoyable and it's important to make it a priority.  And when they see you cooking healthy meals, it's shaping how they will eat as adults.

 See?  This is proof that your actions make an impact on our kids:
Alison ran a 1 mile kids race before Ben's half marathon

Thank you for helping me out of running ruts and always making sure I get runs in, even with holidays and family visiting.  You are the one who hands me my running shoes and tells me to get outside- "I've got the kids"- when my mommy heart thinks I shouldn't leave.

Thanksgiving run together...the grandparents babysat for us!
I am so thankful for this "sweaty" life we've built together and God has blessed.  I pray often that others would have someone as encouraging and supportive as you in their life.

Love always,
Jen


P.S. If you could let me run more miles than you this month, that would be great :)




Week In Review

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Sunday, November 29, 2015

What a great week! I got to run multiple times with Jen and I got to eat lots of good food. After the half marathon last Sunday I was ready for a week of food and down time. However, the weather here in Virginia has been so warm it just seemed a shame to not go out and run.

Who needs to workout? Make some food!

I got some great new cold weather running gear from my Mom and I can't wait to try it out. It just has to get cold first. On second thought, maybe the cold can wait a bit longer.

Yummy apple tart!
My thought for the week was; be thankful for what you have.

Monday - rest
Tuesday - 6.24 miles at 7:22 pace
Wednesday - rest
Thursday - 6.25 miles at 7:50 pace
Friday - 6.25 miles at 8:19 pace
Saturday - 5 miles at 8:24 pace
Sunday - rest

Total miles:  23.75

Harbor Lights Half Marathon Race Report

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Sunday, November 22, 2015

When I signed up for this race I figured it would be a bit cold, but I didn't expect it to pour rain the entire race.  The weather at the start was 49 degree with showers. This presented the dilemma of what to wear. I choose shorts, a very light weight long sleeve tech shirt and a very light weight rain/wind jacket. I debated the jacket but I was glad to have it. The start of the race was also delayed about 15 minutes due to traffic issues on the course. My goal for this race was to beat my previous PR of 1:42:46, and hopefully go under 1:40.

Cold and wet but not too crowded at the start.


My strategy was to take the first three miles at a 7:30 pace and then evaluate how I was feeling. In my head I knew I could probably just keep that pace and then kick it up the last 3 miles. That plan didn't work. I made a critical mistake. At mile 5 I grabbed some water to drink. I don't know why, I wasn't even really thirsty. The water was cold. I gurgled it down while not really stopping because I like water-boarding myself and then at mile 5.15 I felt a cramp coming on. This has happened to me before so I knew what to expect. And what I expected was pain. That pain was a side stitch to be more accurate. It kicked in full gear and it literally staggered me. If you've never had one it feels like someone is taking a rake to the inside of your ribs and it's almost always on the right side of your body. Oddly enough scientists don't even really know why they happen. But they do happen and glugging water, like I did, is a known cause.

Pay no attention to the heart rate. I don't think it works well when it's raining, it messes up the optical sensor.


I had to slow my pace considerably. I even walked for a few seconds which is humbling. This happened in my last half and I remembered that it DOES go away after a while. And by a while I mean a few miles. While extremely painful it doesn't cause any injury. So I tried to relax, I went slower, and I simply ran through the pain. You can see on my pace chart (above) how my pace (in blue) dips hard when the cramp hit. Little by little was able to work myself back up to my goal pace, but I did lose valuable time, and it hurt.



Around mile 8 I felt like I could run normal again. However, the cramp feeling never went away and always seemed to be threatening to return. Even with the cramp in the background I was able to plod through the remaining wet miles. I even managed to run a pretty fast final mile!

Look! My feet aren't touching the ground!




My sweet wife came out in the rain with our three kids to cheer me at the finish. There was hardly anybody there due to the rain and cold. She is truly amazing and I'm a blessed man to have her support and friendship.

16th place in my age division out of 121. 124th place overall out of 2122 people.




My official time was 1:40:32 which is a new PR for me! I'm very happy about making a new PR. However, I am also left wanting a bit more. I feel very confident that if I could have avoided the cramp I could have ran a sub 1:40. Oh well, that just means I have to try again!

Update: I looked at my GPS again and it says I actually finished a Half in 1:39:46! While that's not my official time, I'll take it!


Oh, and about my goal to run the tangents? I think I did pretty well. My Garmin reported I ran 13.13. Several people around me had their watch's mile lap alarm going off 10-20 seconds before mine the whole way. I even heard one woman report she ran 13.41!

Tl:DR Rained the whole race, got side cramps at mile 5, recovered and still PR'd. 

 

It's Science

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Friday, November 20, 2015

Ever wonder why you run faster during a race? Or why you just seem to fly off the starting line during a 5k even though you told yourself before the start to 'take it easy'? Well it turns out it's science. A recent article in the Physiology & Behavior journal looked at "the influence of the presence and absence of competitors on pacing, overall running performance, and mood state during a self-paced run". Basically they compared how amateur runners (like me) ran 3 km alone verse being in a group. The results are not particularly surprising. The runners ran faster overall, faster during the first 500 m, and perceived the effort/fatigue level at the end as less than when running alone.

I'm on the far right in the green. There's nothing like the pre race jitters.
The findings of this study suggest "that the presence of competitors induces a fast start, which results in an improved overall performance and reduced post-exercise vigor scores, compared to an individual run." There is something going on in the brain that makes us able to run faster, do better, and feel less tired about the whole experience when we have competition. In other words if you want to become a faster runner it's a good idea to run more races!


Look at these silly boys madly charging up the hill as the gun goes off.

For shorter distances, like a 5k, it's not always beneficial to fight the "run-fast" urge at the start. Going out fast against competition doesn't necessarily mean you will run slower overall. In fact the study indicated that running the first 500 m fast is part of how you end up with a faster overall time. Everyone seems to talk about how beneficial negative splits are. They certainly are the goal for longer races but not necessarily for the 5k. Other studies have shown that running the first mile of a 5k 3% faster than goal pace is the optimal pacing strategy. Forget trying to achieve a negative split, just run fast the first mile....but not too fast. How fast is too fast? If the first mile is run more than 6% faster than the goal pace you are likely to crash and burn. So if you're running a 5k, don't feel so bad about going out fast, you just might end up with PR.

In other news: I am enjoying enduring my taper week. Not running is actually harder than it sounds. I also have the strong urge to go pick up heavy metal things and put them back down in an attempt to build muscle, but I am resisting that urge so my body is rested, recovered, and ready for the Half Marathon on Sunday.


Marathon training for the spouse

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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

I stand corrected; humble pie is your husband running more than double the miles of you in a week.

People often neglect the fact that training for a race is a sacrifice.  It's a sacrifice of time and energy and money.  However, even more neglected is the fact that it is a sacrifice for the spouse of the one training.  Perhaps it means giving up something financially so you can pay for the race or maybe it means giving up a Sunday afternoon together so they can get in that long run.  At this stage in our life, Ben and I have found it nearly impossible to run races together because of our kids.  They are too young for us both to sacrifice time and energy and we can't just leave them home alone to go to the race early in the morning (plus, who wants to babysit at 5 am?!).  We've run one half marathon together and it required my mom flying in all the way from Kansas to help us out.

The Crawlin' Crab half marathon

It can also be really hard not to get jealous of Ben.  Sometimes I'm jealous of the time he has to run or the pace he can keep or even how good of shape he is in now.  I want to be there too.  He gets to write fun posts like 'My Week in Review' and my week in review is no where near exciting or impressive.  It's humbling, to say the least, but in spite of all this, I firmly believe these sacrifices are worth it.  They teach our kids that we support one another and loving someone means sacrificing for them.

Ben's had his fair share of sacrifices over the years.  I hurt my ankle during our one half marathon together and Ben had to sacrifice placing in our annual hometown 5k race to run with our daughter the following weekend.  That was a painful sacrifice...3 miles in 50 minutes=pain!


He also made sacrifices for me when I was training for my first half marathon.  He brought the kids down to cheer for me as I crossed the finish line and it is a moment that I will never forget.  I know getting our kids up at 6 am and driving an hour and sitting in traffic and navigating crowds is not something he was excited about doing, but he did it for our family and I am so thankful they were there!

Sixty Four

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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Sixty four is the number of turns in the Harbor Lights Half Marathon. Ouch. It's like they gave a crayon and a map of downtown Norfolk to a child and asked them to draw a race route. I guess the turns will keep me from zoning out and going into cruise control mode. Though the course is very flat the number of turns makes me think it won't be a naturally fast race.




My strategy is to run the tangents. A tangent is simply a straight line that just touches the curve. In other words, run the shortest distance possible. If done correctly you can shave off a good amount of distance and it is completely legal to do. The idea is to not 'swing out' before a turn, or cross to the other side of the road too early. Simply run the shortest distance possible from one point to the other. Not only is this good advice but it is actually how race courses are measured. If you don't do this you will probably run more than the actual race distance. The USA Track and Field Course Certification Manual says that "a race course is defined by the shortest possible route that a runner could take and not be disqualified." This route is actually very difficult to follow due to the throngs of other people. In fact USATF also states that "most runners don’t actually run the SPR (shortest possible route), so the distance recorded by their GPS device will usually be longer than the certified length of the course." They don't care though. The point of the race certification is to make sure you run at least the distance the course is certified for. Thanks a lot.


People smarter than me have done calculations to see how much distance you lose if you run the outside of a 90 degree turn verse the inside. It comes out to about 40 feet. So there are 64 turns in this race. That means there is a possible variance in distance from the turns alone of 2560 feet or 0.48 mile! That could easily be a 4-5 minute swing of time just by running the corners smartly.


Red turn = good, blue turn = bad

The main enemy of this strategy for me is People (because they won't just get out of my way for some reason), pot-holes (I like my ankles working), and the simple fact that I just don't ever think about this when doing my regular runs during the week. I'll be sure to post what my GPS watch says I ran for the race when it's all over.

In other news I ran four miles at lunch on my normal at-work run route. It's an out and back that has about a two miles through the woods on a trail.  On the way back I saw a snake, screamed like a girl, and pranced around for about 10 seconds. Snakes aren't cool. They should stay off the running path.





Cheerios?

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Monday, November 16, 2015

General Mills, the company that makes Cheerios, is being sued for false advertisement and misleading labeling. The issue has to do with the Protein Cheerios. Apparently the box claims it has 7 grams of protein per serving. Regular Cheerios only has 3 grams. But the serving size for Protein Cheerios is 55 grams while the serving size for regular cheerios is 28 grams, see the problem? The box claims it is a high protein variant of cheerios, but you are only getting more protein because you are eating twice as much per serving! Not only that, Protein Cheerios has a whopping 17 grams of sugar per serving. Compare that to normal cheerios with just 1 gram of sugar per serving.  To put it into perspective 4 grams of sugar is equal to about 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar. That means that a serving of this stuff has over 4 teaspoons of sugar dumped on! They should have called it 'Cheerios Sugar'.


Protein is very important for muscle recovery and lots of companies are trying to 'cash-in' on the protein craze. You should eat a good amount of protein, especially if you are active. Many experts suggest around 0.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight.   But you don't want that protein accompanied by a bunch of unnecessary sugar. The point to all this is make sure you read your nutritional labels carefully. Just because it says 'protein' on it does not mean it's healthy.

And just because it's vegan doesn't make it healthy either.

Week in Review

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Sunday, November 15, 2015

This week has been a week full of miles. I didn't really mean to run so much but it felt great. Actually I mentally consider Monday's 12 mile run to be part of last week's cycle. I am feeling very fast and fit right now. This gives me hope for a PR next Sunday at the Half Marathon.

I get to run some beautiful places

Alison my 8 year old daughter is running a fun-mile on Saturday, the day before my Half Marathon. So we have been getting in some training runs for her. I am very careful not to push her and I just want her to have fun. She has been having a great time running. She really wanted to do this race and she has been asking to do 'training' runs. I doubt I would be able to run like her when I was 8. 

A couple of observations for the week:

1. Baklava is a great pre-workout snack before a long run. Seriously give this a try. Alison is studying Greece in school so I decided to make some baklava for her. I had a piece before my long run today and also before my Navy PRT on Thursday. Perfect. Sugar, carbs, and protein from the nuts. I'm not sure you need anything else. It is 349 calories per serving, 35g carbs, 22g fat, 4g protein, and 19g sugar. Ok, it's not for the sedentary but it is great to fuel up before a big run!

2. Enjoying your runs is important. I seriously can't emphasize this enough. Today I saw a huge perfect looking pine cone while on my run. I picked it up and decided to bring it home. I don't know why. Maybe to show the kids, maybe for decoration, maybe because I just liked it. Yes, this means I ran with a pine cone in my hand for about 4 miles, don't judge. I got a few strange looks, and a few funny smiles. Don't forget to actually stop and enjoy your runs. Here are a few photos of what I enjoyed this week:

It was very large

The view from Windsor Castle Park in Smithfield, VA

Overlooking the James River while on a long run.
3. You can run faster than you think. This is pretty much true for every person who runs no matter you ability or experience level. Here's a quick example; me and Jen were running on Saturday and got to mile 5 of a 6 mile run when we realized we were going to be late getting back to the YMCA to pick up the kids. The child care was going to close in 8 minutes and we were still just over a mile away. So she told me to take off. I was tired from all the running this week, but I like challenges. I finished the last 1.3 miles at a 6:50 pace. I would never have run that fast unless I had the mental motivation to push myself.

I also did my 1.5 mile run this week for my Navy PT test in 9:17. That's the fastest time I've ever done and it is a max score for my age group. In my head I told myself "push it hard, the pain will be over in under 10 minutes." When I finished I realized I could have probably pushed it more and ran faster. The point isn't that I am all that fast but that each of us is truly capable of going much faster (and further) then we think. It comes down to this; are you willing to push hard and endure some pain? I think most of us (myself included) avoid pain and discomfort. But we ARE in fact much more capable then we think. At least that is what I am going to tell myself next Sunday when I start the Harbor Lights Half Marathon.


Monday - 12 miles at 8:15 pace
Tuesday - Weights for an hour. I focused on chest and arms. Once I am done with this half marathon I will start posting some weight training routines.
Wednesday - 6.24 miles at 8:17 pace PLUS a bonus mile with Alison at a 10:29 pace.
Thursday - 5 miles at 8:35 pace
Friday - 1.5 miles (my Navy PT test) at 6:11 pace PLUS a bonus mile with Alison at a 10:51 pace
Saturday - 6.21 miles at 8:09 pace with Jen
Sunday - 10.1 miles at 8:10 pace

Total miles for the week: 43.05 miles

Up next: this week will be a rest/taper week. My goal is to log about 12 miles and rest up for my race on Sunday. 



Molten Lava Cocoa Teff Pancake Recipe

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Saturday, November 14, 2015

These pancakes are from Ryan Hall. He is an Olympic runner and holds the U.S. half marathon record (59:43). I tried his pancakes to see how good they were and to fuel for a 6 mile run followed by a weight session. I made a few changes to the recipe so if you want to see the original go take a look.

Rather than make one massive pancake I made a bunch of 'normal' sized ones (8 of them about 4 inches across) so me, Jen and the kiddos could eat them. I had two of them and felt like that was enough. I also took some plain greek yogurt and mixed in some real maple syrup to put on top of the pancakes. To me, they were not moist enough to just eat plain, but that is mostly because I made them smaller sized rather than one huge 'molten' one, and I may have slightly over cooked them. So if you want more of a molten pancake (not fully cooked), then just make two giant ones from the recipe below.


Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Teff Flour (you can buy this on Amazon or just use regular flour)
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • Dash of Salt 
  • 2 scoops protein powder, Chocolate Flavor. (I have been using EAS 100% whey with good results) 
  • 6 tbsp  Cocoa Powder
  • 3 tsp raw sugar
  • 2 tsp PB2 (this is powdered peanut butter)
  • 1 tbsp melted butter
  • Water as needed

Directions:

  1. Mix all of the dry ingredients together.
  2. Slowly add enough water to make the batter slightly gooey, but not overly runny.  
  3. Pour the batter onto a 10-inch skillet over medium heat.  
  4. Flip the pancake when bubbles appear in the middle, or when the edges begin to look firm.
  5. Allow the pancake to cook for another 15 to 90 seconds, depending on doneness preference.

Humble Pie

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Thursday, November 12, 2015

Yesterday was my "total body weight" day on my new plan.  It felt so good to have a plan and prioritize some time for myself!

I was in a good workout groove and really enjoying the sweat from lifting, when a man came up to me and said, "Excuse me Ma'am.  Are you done with the assisted squat rack?"

Ma'am?
Either I need to crank up my workouts big time or I need to burn this outfit...I'll probably be doing both.

Then, Ben took this picture at the end of my workout.
Not really the pretty "I just rocked my workout" picture I had in my head.


Welcome to a Sweaty Life; it's not pretty or perfect, but we still try to work hard every day.

Motivation

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Monday, November 9, 2015

I've spent many a days in my running clothes, waiting for a "free" moment to get a workout in.  I rush everything and everyone and my attitude stinks.  When I finally get to that fleeting moment, I find that I have no motivation and I instantly feel defeated that I can't get the workout I wanted.
I need a plan. 
And probably some accountability.

I've learned one big thing the past few months: if I don't make myself a priority first, then I will always come last.  Sounds selfish, right?  Same is true of God.  If I don't make time with God a priority first, my day will always end with, "Oh yea, I was going to read my Bible this morning..." 

Give me a little coffee and a whole lot of Jesus.


This is what gets me up at 5:00 am.


My plan consists of getting up before everyone in the house and having a quiet time and working out before Ben leaves for work.  This way, I get "me time" before anyone else needs my time and nothing can thwart my plan...mwah ha ha!

Monday: Run 3 miles, strength train arms and abs with TRX
Tuesday: Run 4 miles
Wednesday: Weight train total body
Thursday: Run 4 miles
Friday: Run 3 miles, strength train legs and abs with TRX
Saturday: Run 6 miles...hopefully with Ben on the trail


This will be my baseline and anything active during the day on top of this will be devoted to my family (bike rides or trail walks or playing at the park).



Day 1 of my plan, I woke up and thought, "The true test of my plan will come when it's raining.  Am I tough enough to run in the dark and the rain?"  Ironically, I stepped outside and it was raining.  Of course.  I was already wide awake and dressed and it was too late to go back to bed, so I ran.  It felt good to get it done and my attitude for the rest of the day was definitely lifted.  I'm really hoping I can stay on my plan...now who's going to keep me accountable?

Week in Review

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I'm in the midst of training for the Harbor Lights Half Marathon on November 22 and this week was good progress. I got my first good long run in and I was able to do some speed work through the 5k race.  The two 'rest' days were a trip to DC with the family. It wasn't much of a rest though. Both days I logged over 10,000 steps and a lot of those were carrying a 3 year old. 

Fun walking over 5 miles on a 'rest' day.
Monday - 10 miles at 7:56 pace
Tuesday - 3 miles at 9:12 pace, weights for 45 minutes
Wednesday - 5 miles at 8:19 pace
Thursday - 3.12 miles at 6:20 pace (this was a race)
Friday - 6.24 miles at 8:27 pace
Saturday - Rest day
Sunday - Rest day

Total miles: 27.36
This is from my usual work running route. There is about a mile through the woods and right now it is very pretty!

Good news! I saw a turtle today on my run! (if you don't get it)

There's a fallen log across my usual work running route. Now I have an obstacle to jump over!
Up next is another long run, this time 12 miles. I also have my bi-annaul fitness test with the Navy. I have to run 1.5 miles as fast as possible. Should be a good week!


I was hoping to post this report with a nice photo or two. The event organizers of this 5k took photos and assured me that they would post them on their FB page. However, the way the race was organized....I'm not holding my breath. 



This race was not for the Wounded Warrior Project (which you should research before giving money to), but for  Wounded Warrior Safe Harbor.

With that out of the way here's the report: The weather was off-and-on misting and it was about 70 degrees. The race had quite a lot of goodies; t-shirt, finisher medal, dog-tag with the wounded warrior logo on it and lots of snacks and drinks. Very impressive for a tiny 5k! They even had signs telling you where to line up based on your predicted finish time. 

I was feeling tired because I had run 18 miles in the previous three days, but I optimistically lined up with the under 20:00 crowd. There start line was not really defined,  which I found strange, it was just 'under' an inflatable rainbow-thingy with no real 'line'. They started us off and there was even a truck with a timer on it ahead of us so we could see the official time the whole race. I ran out with the lead group (about 8 of us) and knew I was in trouble. I was fairly certain my legs were made of lead and, though the course was completely flat, I wasn't going to be able to keep up with the top guys. My first mile I clocked a blazing 5:59 and promptly started to decline. 

At the 1.5 mile mark I found myself in 'no-mans-land'. There were 8 guys in front of me with the closest about 80 feet away and the nearest guy behind me was about 100 feet away. This stunk. I was already feeling like I was dying and now I was going to die alone. 

Slowing considerably I pressed on towards the end of my pain, or my life, whichever came first. I as rounded a corner into the last 400 yards I heard a guy trying to push past me. I chanced a brief look and saw it was a guy pushing a jogging stroller looking like a steam engine that's about to explode. I thought I had nothing left as a kicker until I saw him. I couldn't let stroller man beat me. I somehow increased my pace just enough to keep him in my rear-view and finished in 19:38 a new PR! I went up to stroller man after the race and told him how impressed I was with him for running while pushing a kid. Though I beat stroller man, he's a winner in my books.




My pace looks like the decent of an airplane.
Somehow I set a new PR. I wasn't really thinking that would happen due to my fatigue level. This makes me excited to try for a new PR when I am fully rested! 

The race, which seemed so organized, didn't track or record times. When I asked about it I was told that it wasn't for 'time'. This puzzled me greatly because that is EXACTLY what a race is; it's running a set distance for time. Someone else asked about this in the group's FB page and someone had the nerve to say that we should run to support them not so someone can track our time. But it's not one or the other. You can run a race for support AND want your time tracked. This race is an example of an organization deciding to hold an event without ever talking to a runner. They had the swag and the bling but not the race results. I'd take official results any day over a t-shirt I'll never wear again.




Perspectvie

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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

I've gone on a few runs since my last post, but you don't need to hear about that. You should hear about Jonathan Mendes. I read about him over at Runners World and was blown away. Let me tell you a few things about this man. First, he is 95 years old and he started running at age 44 when he was told by his doctor to stop smoking.  Second, he is a retired Marine Corps Colonel who flew missions in WWII and Korea. Since he started running he has completed 14 marathons and was set to become the oldest man to complete the NYC marathon last Sunday.

Jon Mendes, a bomber pilot in World War II and the Korean War who attempted to finish the NYC Marathon 1 November 2015.
Credit Todd Heisler/The New York Times       


He didn't make it through the course though. After 16 miles he dropped out. “I quit because I started getting some pain in my legs,  I called a cab home, had a double scotch, took a shower, and went to sleep.”  Is he upset that he didn't make it to the finish line? No. He's been there and done that. Does he like scotch? Yes, so he's awesome in my book. He's had his life threatened in a war. He's been widowed twice. He has been all over the world. Not making it to the end an abstract distance, in this case 26.2 miles, just didn't bother him very much. Talk about perspective.

When asked if he will try again next year he said, "If I am still here and I feel like I can, we will do it once again. Don't tell my children.” The last sentence made me laugh. I hope I can make my kids worry about me when I'm that old.

This man has a sagacious perspective I long for. He will run if he's able. He will try if he can. But he's not too worried about finishing or failing. To him it's just a blessing and privilege to get up and go on a run. He's focused on what he can do, not what he can't. He's focused on what blessings he has, not what he lacks. He said, “I am a very fortunate person, they tell me I have all my marbles. I go in the park every morning around 7:15 a.m. and I say, ‘Hey, God, thank you for good health and a good quality of life.’”

I pray I can have the perspective of this man (hopefully before I'm 95). I pray I can say, 'Hey, God, thank you for good health and a good quality of life', and leave all the other distractions and potential disappointments behind.



Butterfingers FTW

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Monday, November 2, 2015

Today I went on a 10 mile run. It was raining pretty good and it was forecast to keep raining. But I needed to get this run in. So I ran in the rain, lots and lots of rain. There was an abundance of Halloween candy in the office today so I decided to use that to my advantage. Before my run I downed a protein shake with a little bit of PB2 in it and I ate a mini Butterfingers candy bar. It was right before lunch so I needed some fuel to keep me going. 

I strapped on my Nathan Trail Mix Hydration Belt and tucked in a mini Butterfingers into the storage pack for when I hit mile 5. Who needs gels/goo when you have candy? My goal was to run easy, around an 8 min/mile pace. But if that didn't feel good I was fine to slow down. This run was not about speed but getting my distance up. It's only good to work on one thing at a time; speed or distance.  Fortunately 8 min/mile felt great and I was able to keep even go a bit faster! 

Wet wet wet. I promise it's not sweat.

Around mile 6 I had some running thoughts. You know, the kind that seem profound when you are running but when you are sweaty and gross and taking a shower they seem stupid. Mostly they were along the lines of, 'Isn't is great to be alive?' and, 'I'm so thankful I can get out here and use my body and do this!'  I don't feel that way every run so it was nice to just feel good. Around mile 7 it truly started to pour and I got as wet as a drowned rat. After getting back I rewarded myself with another mini Butterfinger, because, why not?

My splits for the 10 mile run

Lesson learned today; I think I will use Halloween candy on all my long runs this training cycle. 


Half in a Month & Week In Review

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Sunday, November 1, 2015

Wish me luck! I signed up for the Harbor Lights Half Marathon on November 22. That means I have 19 days left to train! The good news is that I have a good mileage base built up. I've been running between 20-30 miles per week for a long time. The epic news is there is a 'pie stop' during the race. That's right, they are handing out little mini pumpkin pies to keep you going. And there is beer at the end, which is always a win.



The bad news is my longest run the past 6 months is only 8 miles long. I would love to PR this race but I am not sure if I will have the endurance to stay with it the last few miles. My plan is to get three 'long' runs in before race day and hope for the best. I know (Lord willing) that I can finish, but I'm not really sure if I can keep my goal pace for the duration. 

This is my 'pain' face on September 25th. This was my first run back on shore after my deployment. I was already thinking of running the Half, so in many ways this was my first training run.

Here's my week in review:

Monday: 6.24 miles at 7:46 pace
Tuesday: Weights for an hour, chest and some biceps
Wednesday: 8 miles at 8:27 pace
Thursday: 5 miles at 7:59 pace, 50 pull-ups and 50 push-ups
Friday: 5 miles at 7:45 pace, 35 pull-ups, 50 push-ups
Saturday: 5 miles at 8:12 pace 65 pull-ups, beer, pizza and some Halloween candy
Sunday: Rest!

Total miles for the week: 29.24
Total miles for October: 101
Average October pace: 8:01

I didn't get any photos this week during my workouts so here is me on 'rest' day; Sunday morning enjoying some coffee.