Thursday, November 19, 2015

November 19

There's nothing like it being a run day especially when your work day was stress filled. Just to know you will be getting on the road and running all the tension away is relief enough but once you are out there it feels that much better.

It was another perfect night in the low 70s with barely a breeze and a spectacular sunset to calm my head. My abs were a bit sore from last night's session but that's my own fault for not doing them for the past couple weeks and I've developed a bit of a niggle on the inside of my right ankle. The PF has also been cranky and I think these may be a result of the faster run on Tuesday.

The schedule called for an hour at or below 140 bpm but the goal was to stay more in the low to mid-130s; more or less a very easy recovery run. Well it could have been easier but in my haste to get warmed up and on the road after running late from work, I forgot to fuel up with UCAN and hydrate so I felt a little sluggish after the 2 mile mark.

Overall though it wasn't a bad run though and the mission was accomplished. Only a few times did I get above 135 bpm and these occasions were only momentary. With the run behind me I'll have a rest day tomorrow before my first double digit run in 2 months on Saturday. So looking forward to it.

Another thing that I'm looking forward to is seeing my parents for thanksgiving. I haven't seen them since last Christmas and they will be coming out stay with Christine and I for Thanksgiving week. The only shame, other than it looks like it's going to be on the cool side, is that my dad has a bum hip and won't be able to do much hiking. He needs hip replacement surgery and wasn't able to get it done before they came out. Oh well, it will still be awesome to be with them for a week.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

November 17

Well it's another Tuesday so that means I get to run fast again and I was so looking forward to it. It is the greatest feeling a runner can have; being near 100% healthy, and it reminds us why we love it so much. The schedule for tonight was to to get in 45 minutes at below an heart rate of 150 bpm and it was a perfect night for a spirited effort with temps in the high 50s and a light breeze.

After a bit of a warmup I was off. Everything was feeling good and for the first time in a long time there were no niggles to speak of. It was nice for a change to be firing on all cylinders and with a pace in the 9 minute range I never felt like I was pushing it. For the most part I was comfortably in the 145-148 range and only hit 150 a couple times for only a brief moment. It was really an easy fast.

I knew that I would get in somewhere around 4.5 miles but with the way I was feeling I had thoughts of pushing further and trying for an hour. Thankfully my head knows not to try to make everything back in one run and it turned me back toward home according to the plan. This was for the better because the run back is mostly on a slight incline and by the time I hit the 4 mile mark I was ready to take it back down.

This was a very productive effort and I'll be interested to see how I feel tomorrow. There was one thing that I found after analyzing the RunScribe data, I was much more on the forefoot on the left foot than I thought. I'm trying to keep more to a midfoot strike to cut down on the load to my achilles, calf and PF and it seemed like I was ok but I guess not. It's wonderful to have a tool that can provide actual data and not relying on what I feel.

So for now it's time to get some sleep. Tomorrow will be a much needed upper and core session before an easy run on Thursday.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

November 15

Haven't had much time this weekend but I did manage to get out for 3 miles on Saturday and 9.3 miles today. My PF flared up late Friday and while it was minor I decided to skip the scheduled 9 and sleep in. Fortunately when I got up it was feeling better and with the cooler fall temps I decided to get in a few miles before I headed out to a local car show. Not a bad effort and aside from some early niggles in the right calf and achilles, it went well.

Today's run was a very good run. Has the same niggles early on but they worked themselves out and for the most part I was in the mid-10s. This was the strongest I've felt since I've been back and could have gone a few more miles but there is no need to push the distance/time any more than planned since I'm still working myself back up. Plus it was started to rain just before the 8 mile mark and I wasn't really dressed for it.

In all it was a productive week and I'll be back at it again on Tuesday with a 150 HR session for 45 minutes or so.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

November 12

There is nothing like fall in the desert if you are a runner and tonight was about the most perfect a night could be. It was in the high 60's with just a hint of a breeze as the sun was going down which was was going to make tonight's easy 1 hour run a joy.

Even though the plan for tonight was to try to take it easier than the planed MHR of 140 bpm I was dragging a little so I fueled up with some UCAN 30 minutes before I hit the road.

There is nothing really exciting to report about the run. Other than a momentary HR spike to 142 I was never over 139 and stayed mostly in the 134-136 range. My splits were a little slow as can be expected but I was treating it as a recovery run after Tuesday's spirited effort after which the PF made itself known for a couple days. Not that it hurt or anything, it just made me aware of it's existence. Even the calves felt good tonight with only a bit of tightness in the right one.

I have to say that in all, this run felt great. With no real niggles and what seemed like an easy effort it was probably my best run to date. I'll now have tomorrow to rest before pushing Saturday's run to an hour and a half which will be another baby step on the path of recovery

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

November 10

Tonight's run was one that I was looking forward to all day. After a 5 week layoff and 3 weeks of getting back into the swing of things, I was finally going to open it up a bit and go at a faster pace. I was not going to go all out; just bump the HR by 10 bpm up to 150 to see how it felt. I also was going to err on the side of caution and keep it short at 30 minutes or so.

As the sun was going down it was a cool night in the desert and with a brisk wind it felt a little cooler. At least the wind was going to be at my back for the last half of the run so it didn't concern me too much. I was just happy that I'm to the point where I feel comfortable in turning it up a notch.

After getting my HR up to speed I was able to get into a comfortable rhythm. I figured that running at 150 bpm would be a nice pace. Not too fast and definitely not too slow. Given that my HR is into the 170s at race pace, this should be an easy fast. And it was.

Since I wasn't monitoring pace, it wasn't until I finished mile 2 that I saw that I had ran a 9:13 mile. I had figured I'd be somewhere in the low to mid 9s so this was certainly good to see. For mile 3 it was more of the same at 9:18 which brought another smile to my face..

The most encouraging thing about the run was that I didn't feel tired and had little calf tightness. Had a great session with the Chiro and Massage Therapist yesterday which worked out some kinks. After the run was over I did have some minor tightness in the PF but that can be expected. Besides it's so minor that I'm barely giving it a second thought. I'll do some rolling before bed and it will be as right as rain in the morning. Tomorrow will be an XT upper body/core day so it will give me some extra recovery before an easy 1 hour run on Thursday.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

November 8

Getting back to blogging is much like getting back to running after a layoff; hard to do. Not too much has happened since last Sunday's run since I was in Los Wages for 3 days on business. Like I predicted there was no running, although I walked an average of 7 miles each day, and ate terribly. That will happen when you are treated to fantastic dinners by your suppliers. The trend has continued through today which has resulted in me going over 160 pounds for the first time in a very, very long time. Time for a round of fasting before the holidays commence before I get too fat.

At least on the injury front, things are looking much better although I had a scare on Tuesday. After logging 10+ miles of walking my left foot got cranky and was hurting to the point where it was waking me up. Fortunately it worked itself out and by Thursday it was fine. At least the PF behaved and was barely noticeable.

Finally with the weekend arriving it was time to get back into the routine and log some miles. The plan was to get in in 90 minutes or 7 miles and after much dawdling I hit the road on a beautiful Saturday morning. Fall has finally arrived in the desert and it was only in the low 60s when I hit the road at almost 11.

I felt strong for the first couple miles but as I got to the 3 mile mark I was beginning to slow down and had trouble keeping the HR below 140. My calves were starting to get tight and I felt like I was just plodding along. At least my splits were consistent in the 10:40s so that was an encouraging sign. It's still baby steps but the 7.2 miles was the longest run to date.

Today I was a little better about getting out of bed but I still dawdled and didn't get out until 10:30. The temperature was higher today, low 70s and there was a bit of a stiff wind for the 5 mile or 1 hour run. Happily nothing was hurting so I believe I am on the right path.

The plan for the run was to again keep it under 140 bpm and for the most part I was pretty successful. The 5.4 miles was pretty much a repeat of yesterday although I was a tad slower and it is just another step in the right direction.

With some good miles and my first back to back runs behind me it's time to see if I can push it a little harder. Tomorrow is a rest day and Tuesday I'm going to do some speed work in the way of a 30 minute run at 150 bpm. It will be interesting to see how my body reacts to it.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

November 1

A new month brings a clean slate as well as the beginning of a new training cycle with 16+ weeks before my next BQ attempt in the Phoenix Marathon on February 27. Although training actually began last month, that was more to get back into the swing of thing after the down time due to the PF I've been dealing with. With less than 19 miles in October I still have a ways to go but I'm 99% pain-free. Another plus is that other than some chafes on my Achilles I made it though the ThrillSeeker Stunt Run unscathed.

With recovery behind me it's time to get serious; well sort of. This coming week I'll be travelling for business with almost no chance of getting in any miles and I'll likely have trouble eating clean. Still, today was going to be the first real test of where I'm at and I passed with flying colors.

The original plan for today was to do the PHX10K Half but because of the injury I was going to pace Christine in the 5K instead. Unfortunately she developed a foot injury of her own so I scrapped that and decided instead to do an easy 5 with an eye on pushing it to 6. Since my longest run on the comeback has only been 4.7 miles, I don't want to risk pushing it too hard too soon but I also need to test my limits.

It was a beautiful morning in the mid 60s with no clouds and no wind. Perfect running weather and the reason all AZ runners suffer through the blazing hot summers.

There has been a bit of a change this time around in the early stages as I want to see if I can push my HR limit a little higher than the MAF 180 formula calls for. After all, we're all different and we need to find out what works best for us. I'm interested in seeing how it works out at a target of 140 bpm with a once a week run at 150.

With that said, after a good warmup I was on the road and got my HR up to speed nicely. I'm not concerned about pace right now; I'm just focusing on HR and form so there is very little stress involved in the process. Just remember my queues and enjoy the run.

For the first time in the 2 weeks I've been back there was very little tightness in my calves and I did not feel fatigued at all. Some of this may had to do with the fact that I wasn't pinging my HR and the highest I got at any point was 142. It wasn't until I hit the 5 mile mark that I even had an inkling of anything going on with the PF and then it was at a minimum. I cannot tell you the amount of relief this gives me.

I wish I could keep this momentum going but with the upcoming trip that will be impossible. The only consolation is that I will be walking for most of the days so that is some help. I'll also try to sneak in some core work if I can.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

October 29

I can happily say that thanks to the chiro and massage therapist my PF was almost 100% pain free when I got up this morning. What a strange, but welcome feeling and I couldn't wait to get my run on.

Even though I am chomping at the bit to build my miles back up, the plan was to do between four and a half to 5 miles tonight. After all, the last thing I want is to get injured again. I'm done with this not running thing. So on a beautiful night in the high 60s I hit the road as the sun was setting.

My HR was a bit on the high side all day, probably due to some of the junk I've been eating so I knew it would be a challenge to keep it under 140 bpm. I felt good after a day off and my focus was on form. Now that I have my RunScribe, I can see that my right leg is lagging while my left is braking too much; I need to get them working together. This will come with time.

I have to say that I love this cooler weather and running in the dark is sort of welcome especially now that I have my brighter Run-Bright lights. I just wish other runners would light up. Out of the 3 people I saw out, all were running with nothing reflective let alone lights. Why do people do this?

I was still doing alright when I got to a turnaround point and while I considered going a bit further to my 5 mile turn, I decided to head back and not press for glory tonight. My calves were beginning to tighten up so I decided to listen to them.

Tonight's run wasn't the fastest, but it was the most consistent so I'll take it and at 4.7 miles, it was also the longest. I just need to keep taking those baby steps. The key will be how good I feel tomorrow with a day off before I try to push a bit further with 5-6 miles on Saturday. Right now I'm playing it by feel and letting my body dictate the time/miles.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

October 27

It's late so this will be short. Not that this is a bad thing since the same can be said for my runs as I work my way back.

Now you may be asking yourself, what's with the rolling pin? Well the Nurse Practitioner at my Chiro's office recommended getting one to roll out my calves. He said they are cheaper and easier to work with than a stick and for $6 he was right. It works like a charm.

After rolling out last night I felt great today And really was hoping that I could push the distance a little. I know I can't make up for lost miles but I really want some endurance back. It was quite nice, in the low 80s, as the sun was setting but that wasn't a worry since I had my Run-Bright light and flashing arm band to help me be safe and be seen while out on the road.

Run-Bright  LED Light & Reflective Belt and flashing armband
The first couple miles felt great but shortly after passing the 2 mile mark I could sense that my legs were going away a bit. This was probably for the better because it made me turn toward home instead of trying to go further.

By the time I hit the 3 mile mark, my calves started to let me know they were there as did the PF although it was relatively light.When I got to 4 I was glad I had made the turn when I did and concluded with 4.2 miles in the books. I was happy with it and it was longer than I had been going so I'll look at it as a win. Tomorrow will be a rest day and back to the Chiro for more therapy.

Speaking of the Chiro, Christine had to head over today. She hurt something a couple of weekends ago and even though she hadn't ran since her foot swelled up today. This was unexpected since she thought it was getting better and it looks like it may be a stress fracture. She'll know in a couple days after she gets it X-Rayed. Poor kid she was so looking forward to the 5K on Sunday too. But such is the life of a runner.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

October 25

Recovery is never a straight ling, that is for sure. I had been feeling pretty good after a couple runs and even though I had some discomfort on Wednesday, the PF was feeling ok. After I went to the Chiro later on it was a different story. My foot wasn't happy with the treatment and between that and a business trip I decided to take some extra rest. I was going to be on my feet most of Thursday, Friday and Saturday anyway so that would be enough. Initially I was not planning on running today but I felt real good and since I was going to be home early enough, I decided a run was in order.

By the time I was home and was ready run it was almost noon and temps were creeping into the low 80s with a stiff wind from the east. This all was probably a good thing because I was initially tempted to go for 5 miles which would have been a colossal mistake. Wisely I settled on doing 3 miles instead.

I took it easy on the first mile and was feeling good while keeping my HR below 140 bpm for the most part.The hard was when I turned into the headwind just before I hit the first split and for the next mile, I had to work for it. The wind was gusty and I had to struggle to keep my HR down. This made for a harder run and I could tell it was affecting my form as well; I kept catching myself bending into the wind which was throwing things off as the RunScribe data would later show.

I was never so happy to make the turn south to have the crosswind and the last mile went a lot smother without having to deal with the wind. That said, my calves were really tight and is the root cause of my PF. In the end I was just glad I opted for 3 over 5.

So there's another run in the books which I followed up with a nice foam roller session. If all feels good I'll be back at it on Tuesday.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

October 20

So happy to have survived to run another day. After Sunday's run I really didn't know what to expect and I'm happy to report that all is well. Aside from some stiffness, there were no DOMS, no aches and even the PF felt pretty good. There's still a bit of tenderness in the foot but my chiro and massage therapist were pleased with the progress after only 1 treatment which means I got to run again tonight.

Since I want to ease back slowly it was going to be another short 3.4 mile run at 140 bpm. There is just no way I'm to attempt to make up for lost time; better to take it slow after the layoff. I also have to say that I'm loving these cooler temps and low 70s with cloud cover as the sun is going down is alright with me.

After getting stretched out I was on the road and after an half mile warmup I settled into a nice 10 minute pace. I was able to keep my HR in check a little better tonight although I still exceeded the 140 mark too many times. This will get better with a couple more runs under my belt.

Unlike Sunday, where I ran out of gas when I hit the headwind, tonight was calm and I felt stronger through mile 2, into mile 3. It may only be baby steps but we all know how important they are. It shouldn't take many more before I'm fully back but that's up to my body to decide.

What also made me happy about this run was that because I focused more on my landing, turnover and overall stride, I was able to lessen some of the imbalances between my left and right feet which was readily apparent in my RunScribe data. It's going to be so helpful to quantify whether subtle changes are working or not which my inner stat geek loves.

Well there it is, another successful run in the books. Tomorrow it will be back to the chiro before a business trip which will limit me to the hotel dreadmill but that's ok; a run on the DM is better than no run at all.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

October 18

A great man once said "That's all I can stands, I can't stands no more!" and that's how I feel when it comes to no running for 5 weeks.

While the upper body and core work has been great, I finally broke down and saw a Chiropractor that specializes in ART to help accelerate the healing. I couldn't believe how much better I felt after just one treatment as it put me over the hump that I had been stuck on for the last couple of weeks. I may not be 100% yet but I'm close enough that I felt comfortable in getting back out on the road.

Initially I was planning on doing a MAF test but came to the realization that I shouldn't put in the miles required this early on and settled on doing somewhere around 3 miles to gauge where my fitness is at first. I was planning on getting out around 8 but when I was going through my warmup I remembered that I had recently received my RunScribe devices and needed to get them set up. Unfortunately it didn't go very smoothly and what should have taken on a few minutes took over an hour. Soon I got my issues resolved and was on my way. 

It was a beautiful but windy morning with temps in the 70s; finally the blazing heat of the summer is gone and none too soon. It was also a bit on the humid side as we are in a rainy pattern but I can live with that as well.

My goal for the run was to do a half mile warmup and cool down with the remaining miles under 140BPM. It's not quite Maffetone Method but I want to experiment a bit more in this new cycle.

For the first mile and a half I felt great and was managing a pace in the mid-9s to mid-10s with the aid of a nice tailwind. This feeling of confidence would not last for long because once I hit the turn, between the wind in my face and fatigue from the layoff, I slowed down significantly. This wasn't the best feeling in the world but it was something I was expecting so it didn't come as a surprise.

In the end, I got in 3.4 miles in just over 39 minutes which also included some walking at the start and at the finish. In all I was quite happy with the effort and just glad to be able to run again. There was no issue with the PF either, although it did make me aware of its existence toward the end. I'm back to the chiro tomorrow so we'll see what he has to say.

It was also cool to have the RunScribe and geek out over the metrics. I'm so glad I got the 2 pods to have left and right data as well. I've always been able to feel that I was out of balance but now I can quantify it. Surprisingly, if I'm interpreting it correctly it is my left leg that is weak where I always thought it was my right. I'll know better after I get some more runs under my belt.

So I'm hopefully back for good and I'd like to thank everyone of you for the support, encouragement and well wishes. I can't put into words how much I appreciate it; just know that I do. I can't wait to get back out there on Tuesday night and you can be sure that I'll be wearing my new Run-Bright lights.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

October 3

Have you missed me?

It's been a while since the race, 3 weeks to be exact, and there has been nothing really worth writing about. My hope was to take a couple, three weeks off and then be back on the road. Unfortunately, the PF has had other ideas.

This isn't to say that I've been doing no training at all.

After taking a full week off to recover, I began in on building back up and nothing better than doing some core work. During the last cycle I experimented with no XT and we know how that worked out. One thing I have always noticed from race photos is that my pelvis collapses on foot strike which is undoubtedly the result of poor core strength. So it's been back to the TapOut XT program and some dedicated core work.

I've forgotten how bad it is to get back to into ab specific workouts after some time off. It wasn't too bad the next day but on day 2 I had such a case of DOMS that it was hard to stand up straight and hurt like hell to laugh or cough. At least after a few days I was recovered and back at it.

That's one part of the plan. I've also decided to sign up at a gym near work and get some lap swimming in a few day a week before work for a month or 2 in an effort to build upper body strength.

That said, I was hoping that I would only need 2-3 weeks off before I could run again but that is not in the cards. I was thinking that between the rest, foot skrunchies, rolling and stretching that the PF was getting  better but in the last few days it's been feeling sore. I'm wondering if the 1 footed stands at my desk on the cube farm are aggravating it.

So that's where I'm at right now. As it looks, it will probably be another 2 weeks before I'm running again. Part of me is enjoying the whole not running thing but the other part of me is chomping at the bit to get back on the road. Plus I'm so envious of all the great runs I'm reading about, while I'm sidelined, now that the cooler weather is here.

Still, I'm not going to rush it back this time. I made that mistake when I came back too soon in March and I'm not going to do that again. With my next swing at a BQ in late February, I have plenty of time to heal and begin running. Plus that is just more time that I can use to get stronger elsewhere.

Until next time.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Last Chance BQ.2 - Chicagoland Marathon

It was nice to have a very uneventful trip to the race with the flight, rental pick-up and commute over to the hotel going off without a hitch. We were checked in, grabbed dinner and in bed by 9.

We slept in a bit on Friday before having breakfast and heading over to the packet pick-up. Geneva is a quaint little town that looks like the definition of small-town Midwest America.

The packet was pretty sparse with only a bib, shirt, lip balm and a couple gel packs but I'm not into all the extra junk anyway so I really didn't care. After that we went back to the hotel and futzed around until it was time to head out to run.

The race organizers had a couple course previews scheduled to familiarize us with the course, especially the construction we would be encountering along the route, as well as introduce us to the pacers that would be helping us to reach our goal.

There was about 30 runners that showed up and it was a good chance to meet some of the people who shared the same dream. I also had a chance to meet Clare who I know from conversing on Twitter. It's always nice to meet social media friends in real life.

Joe, the pace group leader, was a boisterous dude that led us along the path. You could tell we were all antsy to get it on  as the pace was  creeping up and Joe had to slow us down. Still it was nice to run after a few days off and a good 30 minute effort. It was also nice to know what the course was like beforehand and the biggest observation was that it wasn't quite as "pancake flat" as it was promoted to be but that was alright; it would be good for the muscles. Christine even got in some miles so she was quite happy too. When we were done, it was back to the hotel to get changed and head out for an early dinner. With the plan being to be up at 3, I wanted to be in bed by 9, so after mixing up my UCAN pouches, getting my gear laid out and having a couple of glasses of wine to calm my nerves, it was off to sleep.

3 am came soon enough and this was it; the moment I have trained for for the last 6+ months. After a breakfast of eggs and hash browns and a stop off for a Dunkin Donuts it was time to get dressed and taped up. Although the PF has been feeling about 90% I still wanted to give it some added support. I also taped up a blister that had healed but hadn't completely peeled.

Getting to the race and parking was a breeze so I had plenty of time to stretch and find a secluded tree. Why wait in line when you don't have to? It was a near perfect morning with temperatures in the high 40s as the sun was coming up. The only thing that would have been better was less wind but I wasn't going to complain.

It was now a few minutes until the gun so I got to the start and settled in with the 3:25 pace group which turned out to be about 20 or so runners.

This was the moment all 300 of us had all trained for and when the gun sounded, we were off.

There was some slight congestion for the first half mile or so given that we were on a walking path. Still, since we were lined up in true pace groups, it thinned out pretty quickly. As we got going, the group was a little too tight and spread across which caused some jostling when we came upon people who were also out taking advantage of the cool, late summer morning. I decided I would be better served by just hanging out in the rear of the pack. This would also allow me to use them as a wind block when we made the turn north and into the headwind.

Christine and Lisa
The first of the eight 3.2 mile loops were right about on the 7:42 pace at 24:26 and as I tossed my gloves to her, Christine handed me a pack of 20 ENERGYbits. I quickly swallowed them and washed them down with my bottle I had grabbed off my designated table.

Our group had gotten into a good rhythm for loop 2 with a few of us dropping back on the inclines and then taking advantage of the down slopes to fall back into the pack.

At the mid-loop water station this time around, things got a little fouled up when there weren't enough people handing water and although I wasn't taking any it still caused somewhat of a bottleneck which slowed the group. Despite this slight delay we were cruising right along and completed this loop in 25:12. As I passed her, Christine handed me a UCAN pouch and I quickly consumed it's contents.

When it came time to grab my bottle at the table, I whiffed and knocked it to the ground. Not wanting to stop, I just kept running only to have one of the volunteers chase me down, bottle in hand. This slowed me a bit but I caught back up with the group in short order.

Again when we got to the mid-loop station there wasn't enough hands causing the runner ahead of me to come to a dead  stop and I ran into him as I reached for a cup. Neither one of us were happy about this but he started screaming at  the volunteers. As we ran on he must have told me half a dozen times he was yelling at them, not me. I wasn't going to let it get me worked up either way.

As we concluded the third loop in 25:09, things were looking pretty good and we were on pace for a BQ. Since my hands had started to get cold, I yelled to Christine as she handed me another pack of bits to give me my gloves on the next time around. She was also now joined by another Twitter friend and runner Lisa who lives in the area and came to root me on.

This time past the water table, I made a clean grab and go. Things were still ok but I could feel my legs letting me know they were there. Not really anything to worry about, so I thought since I was keeping up with the group and wasn't having any problems.

Congrat on the BQ Clare
Then, about the 10 mile mark, the first sign of trouble arose; I started to feel a slight bit of nausea on one of the small hills on the course. The feeling passed quickly enough and I was still at a good pace to not give it much of a second thought. Just a minor adversity that I had overcome. Unfortunately this was the beginning of the end as I could feel my legs beginning to go and I was also to lose touch with the group. There was another bit of nausea as well. Even so, I had concluded this loop in 26:03 and was still on pace to BQ at the halfway point. I figured if I could just take a little breather until I got my legs back under me I would be fine. I just needed to keep the group in sight.

On the fourth pass by Christine I grabbed my gloves but decided to forgo the UCAN for the time being. My stomach was still feeling unsettled and I didn't want to exacerbate the problem any further. Over the next couple miles I could feel it all slipping away as my pace kept dropping and by the time I was done with loop 5 in 28:55 I knew that a BQ had eluded me on this day. Now it was just a matter of finishing.

Crossing the finish line at 4:04:58
It didn't take long before my legs told me they needed a break so at the 17 mile mark I stepped off the course to collect myself. No sooner than I had stopped that a couple of Race Guards came up from behind to see if I was ok. They asked me some questions to feel out how I was doing and I told them I was ok, I just needed a breather. After a minute or so they were satisfied that I could continue and they went on their way as I walked for a little while.

When I felt a little better I got back to running and tried to keep a good pace to try to salvage a finish somewhere in the 3:40s but my body decided against that and pushed back.We continued this argument for a while but it was no use as I did all I could do to maintain a 10 minute mile pace. I closed loop 6 out in 36:43 and as I got my UCAN from Christine, I let her and Lisa know that I was cooked but I could see in her eyes that she knew I was done but as I left I could hear her yelling for me to press on. As much as I wanted to quit, I didn't wasn't going to let that happen now.

At this point I was not only dealing with intermittent nausea but my PF was beginning to flare especially when I was walking. My TFL wasn't feeling all that great either but it was minor. I just had to do what I had to to finish the race whether it was walking or shuffling. 

Pretty much at this point I was being lapped by most pace groups and the most discouraging part of it all was that I was coming toward the line for the final loop, I was being passed by some of the runners in my original group. I was happy for them but disappointed as I saw them getting their finisher's medal with the crowd cheering while I still had a lap to go.

The last lap was the worst. I pretty much had nothing but still had an outside chance at a sub-4 hour race. This wasn't an ideal outcome but provided for some motivation and I was able to pick up my pace somewhat while walking less. I would also cheer on runners as they passed and was happy to see Clare was on a BQ pace as she went by me around mile 23 (she not only got the BQ but 1st in her AG as well).

As the finish approached, I saw that the thoughts of a sub-4 were out the window but baring a complete catastrophe, I was going to at least PR. Some times you have to appreciate the small victories and come back to fight another day. For now I had to be content with a finishing time of 4:04:58 which was a 16+ minute PR.

In all it was a great experience and my thanks goes out to the race organizers, volunteers and pacers for putting on an event that would give us the best chance of acheiving our goal of a BQ.  A big thank you also goes out to Christine and Lisa for cheering me on, it meant a lot. Finally congratulations to all the runners that got their BQ and for those that didn't, there is always the next race.

So there you have it friends. I didn't get the job done today so that just means another attempt some time in the late winter after a period of rest and assessment over where I went wrong of which the most glaring deficiency is the lack of long runs in the last 3 months. This also means that you're in for more of my whiny, poorly written posts as I try for a BQ for 2017.

Monday, September 7, 2015

September 7

And then there was one.

After spending the day yesterday doing more tear down on our 1969 Cougar restoration project and having a few too many glasses of wine last night I was in less than prime condition for today's run. Luckily for me it was still in the low 80s and cloudy by the time I hit the road just after 9 so the running gods were not going to make me pay too dearly for my transgressions it seemed.

With a good warmup mile down I was cruising right along when a dog came running at me out of it's yard. It looked to be older and not coming at me so much with bad intentand It really didn't take much to ourtun it. Also, between the owner yelling for it and another runner coming in the opposite direction, it lost interest in me quickly.

Now that that excitment was over, I was able to get back in my groove and continue on. Mile 2 was completed in 7:50 which was much faster than I wanted it to be so I backed off on my pace.

Mile 3 was pretty much where I wanted to be at 8:24 with mile 4 a bit slower at 8:55 due to it being a slight uphill. I had also lost focus a bit and that was continuing into mile 5 until a distracted driver decided to honk at me for being on the shoulder as she was drifting too close to the edge of the road. This pissed me off and gave me a surge of adreniline to finish with a strong 8:32 before cooling down for a mile.

So this is it and with this 6 mile effort my training cycle that began in March has come to it's conclusion. I'll be getting in an easy 3 on Friday that is a course preview but that doesn't count for much. Stats-wise I logged 777 miles along with just shy of 16 hours on the elliptical. Aside from the PF issue I've been dealing with; and it has been much improved since I gave it some rest, and a minor niggle in the TFL that hasn't presented itself in quite a while, I'm probably healthier going into a race than I have ever been.

I also feel like I'm better off in the diet and fueling departments. Although I haven't done a re-test of my vitamin D level since June, I've been supplementing with 10,000IU daily so I'm pretty sure I'm good. I'm also glat to have found UCAn and along with ENERGYbits, I should be good to go on race day.

I'd also like to thank everyone for the support you all have given me over the past 6+ months. It means a lot to me and has really kept me going.

We shall see how it all pans out soon enough. If you want see how it goes, you can sign up for updates or just get the results (my bib # is 32506). The race starts at 6:30am CST so you'll know by 10 how I did.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

September 5

It's always tough to get out of bed after a restless night's sleep so the plan for a 6 am start went out the window when I was still in bed at 10 to. Lucky for me it was a coolish and cloudy morning so hopefully I wasn't going to pay for it too much. Since I didn't want to press my luck I didn't dawdle and was out by just after 7.

The plan for the day was to get in a moderately paced run for somewhere in the 90 minute to 2 hour range or 10-13 miles. Don't need to do anything foolish so close to race day.

The warmup mile went well, nothing special, and by the time I completed it, I was up to speed and ready to roll. My pace on the next 2 miles was actually a bit faster than I would have liked in the lower 9s so I scaled it back somewhat. Also, with miles 4 and 5 being slightly uphill I knew that was going to slow me down as well.

To be honest I really wasn't much into the run. It was going well enough and I felt alright but I was just kind of bored with it. I've been here before so close to race day and it almost seems normal for me. I've been in this training cycle for 6 month now and I'm ready for it to be over.

If there is anything I had going for me at this point was that I was still feeling good and was consistent with miles 6, 7 and 8 all coming in at 9:31. I was also happy with the way fueling went and that there were no hiccups.

When I got near the 9 mile mark, I had a decision to make, do I keep going or do I cut it at 10 miles. It wasn't long before that decision was made for we when the sun began to poke out from behind the clouds. It may have been a convenient excuse but there is no sense pushing for glory this late in the game, especially when heading into an uphill section. 10 miles it was going to be.

So pretty much that is it, Tomorrow is a scheduled rest day but the wine is egging me into a few fast miles tomorrow.We'll see if I even want to get up. Regardless of whether I run tomorrow or not, Monday will be my final training run before race day.

Week ending September 5th - 30.3 miles

Thursday, September 3, 2015

September 3

There are those time when the running gods kindly look down upon you and grant you that much need run. Tonight was one of those runs. Granted, it wasn't without it's challenges which just made it all the better.

The plan called for an hour run and I was hoping for 6 miles but would be happy with 5. A dust storm had rolled in and even though there was very little actual dust, the winds we still blowing around 20 mph out of the south. Fortunately that massive headwind was going to be on fresh legs with a tailwind on the way back.

When I hit the road tonight I made sure I had my Mission Multi-Cool so I had something to cover my mouth and nose. It's not fun trying to run with a mouthful of grit.

The warmup went well enough considering and with the next mile having somewhat of a wind block I kicked it into gear. I felt strong and since the fast was over I was properly fueled which I could tell was making a big difference. I noticed this even more as I headed back into the teeth of the wind and felt like I was getting even stronger and my time even bore this out.

Now it was time to have fun.

When I hit the turnaround that strong wind was at my back and I felt like I was running downhill and for the next 2 miles I let it rip while staying under control. While a lot of this speed had to do with the wind,  I still had the energy to keep it up and when I hit the 5 mile mark I gave it on last quarter mile sprint before I dialed it back for the cool down mile.

This was the run that I really needed. Between the tough fasting runs, the achy PF and the heat, I feel like things are now falling into place. And speaking of falling into place, what does the weather look like for next Saturday? I don't think you could ask for better than that. Well actually you can because it's looking now like it may be cloudy and a bit cooler.

So things are looking up and with a rest day tomorrow before a final 10-13 miler on Saturday, it won't be long now.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

September 1

With the calendar flipping into September, there is the reality that race day is just about here and other than doing something stupid, I'm as trained as I'm going to be. This is where faith in my plan will either get me to the finish or lead me to crash and burn. Honestly, I'm ok with whatever the outcome is; good or bad.

The plan for tonight was to do another hard 1 hour run to see if I could improve over Sunday's effort. The rest day served me well although I my calves were still a little achy from shaking the rust off after 2 weeks on the elliptical.Happily though the PF felt really good and that was a nice boost. The warmup was ok tonight but my HR was high for whatever reason but since I was aiming for 8:40s that was of little concern.

By the time I hit the first split I was already in the 160s and nailed mile 2 in 8:40 on the button. Although I had fueled with a serving on UCAN as well as some ENERGYbits, I'm still fasting and on top of that missed lunch today so I wasn't exactly properly nourished.

It was at this point on the last run that I began to run out of gas so I was pleasantly surprised that I was still able to finish mile 3 in 8:53. It was here though that my body started to push back as a mild but long uphill stretch occurs.

I was still able to maintain my pace but now my HR was approaching 180 bpm. This comes as not much of a surprise given that is was in the mid-90s although there was some light clouds to filter the setting sun. Conveniently enough one of my shoes came untied at this point and with my momentum broke I decided to walk a bit to take the HR down.

After a short walk and getting down into the 140s it was back at it, now on a flat, if not slightly downhill section. My hope here was that I could push hard for the next mile and a half before the final cool down mile.

While I wasn't as fast as I would have liked, I was still able to maintain a pace around 9 which given the heat and fasting is ok in my book. More importantly the PF, a momentary twinge aside, felt rather good.

So another run is done and another day closer to the big event. I'm glad that I'm in a good place right now and happy to find out that there will be a few Tweeple in the race as well. The fast will also be ending tomorrow and with 13 pounds lost in the last 15 days, I'm a lean mean running machine.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

August 30

When you really think about it, there really is much difference between a good run and a bad run. When it comes right down to it, isn't it just a matter of perspective?

Take today's 8 mile run. The goal was to do 10 miles in an hour and a half with miles 2-9 at or near an 8 minute pace. Well after the 1 mile warmup, which I forgot to start off by walking, mile 2 was a little slow but seeming to go according to plan. Unfortunately that was not going to last for long. As I approached the 3 mile mark I was loosing some of the pep that I had in my step.

From here, my pace just continued to slow as my legs just seemed to have nothing. Now this isn't a good thing by any stretch of the imagination with a 26.2 race that needs to be run at 7:40 or better in less than 2 short weeks but there are also a few things in play that have me feeling ok with it.

One thing that I have to remember is even though I fueled with UCAN and ENERGYbits prior to the run, I am still in a fasted state so other than this very low amount of carbs (20ish g) my body has nothing to draw on but my stored fat. However, although I am fairly well fat adapted after months of no sugar and low carbs there really isn't a lot to assist the fat conversion to energy.

Another factor that I have to consider is that it's been 2 weeks with no running. Sure, I've been getting quality time on the beast but there is no substitute for being out there and getting in those miles. I'm just going to have to hunker down and get some speedwork in this week.

It was a beautiful morning out there as I was out well before the sun came up. The temperature was around 80 but with last night's storm the humidity was on the high side. With the full moon there was enough light to see without needing my Run-Bright LED lights (==>) although I still wore a flashing red arm band (coming soon).

I was really hoping that this was going to be one of those great runs that was going to exceed expectations but isn't every run a good run? Just being able to get out there and run is not something that everyone has the ability to do so I consider myself lucky to be able to do so.

Determined to not let this run get me down so even with my energy low and my PF starting to make itself known, there was nothing left to do over the last mile but fartlek. It started with a hard run to the next light pole. Since that was going so well I pushed for the next one, then the next one. I was able to keep this up for over a quarter mile before I needed to back off. After catching myself I did one last half mile effort before it was time to cool down.

And there it is. Nothing left to do but rest up today and tomorrow before getting back at it on Tuesday. Since this is the last day I'll be running in August, it looks like the 100 mile for the month streak is broken at 5, or is it? Even though I only logged 50.3 miles, the nearly 16 hours on the elliptical over the last 2 weeks would be good for 70+ miles at a 13 minute/mile pace so I say the streak continues.

So as much as this run is a disappointment on some levels and does not bode well for my chances of a BQ in 2 weeks, on any given day anything can happen when you dream big. You never know until you try.

As Dr Jim Afremow recently told me "It's all there for the taking - GO TAKE IT!" and I'm going to listen to his advice.

August total - 50.3 miles running/15.8 hours elliptical

Saturday, August 29, 2015

August 29

In a way I consider this the most important weekend leading up to the race. With only 2 weeks until race day, today's elliptical session was going to be a 3 hour 20 minute dress rehearsal as far as nutrition was concerned. My biggest worry going in is the dreaded bonk.

I remember back to my first 26.2 when I did the Lost Dutchman Marathon in February where I was cruising along nicely when at 20 miles I was done; I hit the wall and hit it hard. I learned a few things during that race and I've been trying to lean more as time goes on.

The plan was to take 2 scoops of UCAN in water about 30 minutes before I started with a single scoop in a couple ounces of water at 1:15 and 2:15. I was also going to supplement this with 15 ENERGYbits at 50 minute intervals.

For the workout itself it was going to be nothing exciting with a 15 minute warmup before just trying to keep a steady pace from the next 2:50. The HRM warning was also shut off so there was no distraction or concern about where I was as long as I was comfortable.

I was moving right along but, because of a brain-fade, forgot my bits until the 58 minute mark. I was feeling great and getting into the playlist I put together last night as well as the video of last year's course. It's a nice change of pace to have the distractions for these past 2 weeks since I stopped running with music about a year ago. I'm toying with the idea of having it during the race but I'm leaning against it. Even though there is going to be pacers and I won't have to worry about that, I still want to stay in the now as much as possible.

The first real test came when it was time to fuel with UCAN.The one thing I forgot was to shake it to get it mixed properly and had to fight to get it out. In all I probably got about 90% of it but now I know better. I should have been prepared for this since filled a couple 2.5 ounce pouches last night and they had settled overnight, won't make that mistake again.

With that behind me I got back in the groove. My HR was comfortably in the 145-150 range and I was feeling pretty good. The next fueling with bits went off without a hitch at 100 minutes and at this point I took the opportunity to run out to the kitchen to refill my water bottle. Can't do that on the road.

As strong as I was feeling I could tell I was developing a bit of a brain fog as I was having some trouble calculating some intervals for the race. This little mental struggle aside, my head was in as good of a place as my body and this time remembering to mix up the UCAN prior, that fueling went smoothly as well.

It wasn't until about the 2 and a half hour mark that my feet were beginning to hurt at the sesamoid bone at each big toe. This was more so on my left foot and at times was quite painful but I was not going to give in to it. Fortunately on the bottom of my monitor I have the reminder, "Pain is Inevitable - Suffering is Optional" and this kept me going.

There was nothing left to do but push the pain out of my head and to press on to the 3:05 mark before I would begin the 15 minute cool down.

With that workout behind me I have to say I was really please with the way things went. I learned something very important about using the pouches for UCAN which would have been a big issue if it happened during the race.

So things are looking good on all fronts. Diet-wise I'm down 10 pounds in 13 days which is ok but I still would like to drop another 5. This means I"ll need to extend the fast a few extra days but I will begin to add in some vegetables.

With tomorrow comes the real test as after 2 weeks on the elliptical, it's time to get back on the road. While my PF still isn't 100% it is very much improved. The goal for tomorrow is 10 miles at 8 minute pace for miles 2-9. I need to be careful to not build this up too much though. Sure it will provide for a good status check but if I don't hit the mark I've set it's not the end of the world. It will just be a bad run.

So it will be early to bed as I want to be up by 3:30 and out on the road by 4:30-5 before the sun comes up. With temps expected to be in the high 80s even at that early hour, I want to be done before it gets too hot.

And speaking of weather, the long term forecast for race day is looking like it will be in the upper 50s for the 6:30 start. I'm keeping my fingers crossed and will be watching closely but this put a smile on my face. Could the stars be aligning? I sure hope so.

Week ending August 29th - 8 hours 50 minutes elliptical

Thursday, August 27, 2015

August 27

Once again it was up early to get in a 30 minute morning session on the beast. Nothing too exciting but my PF was a little cranky when I woke up. It's definitely better with whatever pain pretty much limited to one spot at the point where my heel and arch meet. Once I found the trigger point just above my ankle and massaged it out, all was good.

As for the workout it was 5 minutes on 1 and 5 minutes on 2 to warm up before the meat of it on 3 for 10 minutes with the HR above 130 bpm. I was able to stay mainly in the 130-135 range with only a couple times at 137 so that made me happy. After a 10 minute cool down it was in the shower before I headed off to toil on the cube farm once again.

After work it was back at it; this time for 1 hour. This was going to be even less exciting as the goal was to stay below 132 bpm but at least I had a newly arrived pair of Skora Fit to break into the rotation.

So with a 15 minute warmup it was onto 30 minutes where I was in the 125-129 range for the most part. I only hit 1322 a couple times although I did jump to 134 momentarily where I got into the music and was going to fast. It was bland but it was done and I closed out with a 150 minute cool down.

I know my posts have been pretty boring lately but not much happens when your in a room by yourself. I have to say that I'm proud of myself for resisting the urge to hit the pavement and as much as I love to do it Saturday, that just doesn't fit the plan. More than anything I need to heal and besides I want to try a fueling strategy and I'll be best suited by doing it on the beast.

If things work out and I'm feeling alright, maybe, just maybe, I'll hit the great outdoors for 10 miles on Sunday.

All I can say is that I'm getting stronger everyday.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

August 26

With no morning session on the schedule today, it was back on the beast again tonight as much as I didn't want to. If I had my druthers I would have just gone out for a run but Christine put the kibosh on that so the beast it was.

The plan for tonight's 1 hour session was to do an easy warmup for 15 minutes starting at the lowest resistance and jumping by 1 every 5 minutes. When I hit 15 minutes I went up to 4 and for the next half hour pushed as hard as I could. I even went up to 5 on occasion for a good burn in my legs. There was no HRM warning tonight; I needed a good, tough workout. With the hard work behind me, there was nothing more to do but a 15 minute cool down.

There you have it, 1 more brick laid. The plan is to get up and do a 30 minute morning session before heading off to the cube farm followed by an hour on the beast after work.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

August 25

This is going to be quick. Garmin Connect is being a PITA and the watch puked both of today's sessions to boot.

Anyway I actually managed to get out of bed early and ride the beast, my new name for the elliptical for 30 minutes this morning. It was a pretty good effort wit 5 minutes on 1, 10 minutes on 2, 10 minutes on 3 with my HR in the 130s followed by 5 minutes on 2 and 10 minutes on 1. It was steady and uneventful with some mellow music to drift into.

The added bonus was that I was showered in time to catch the IAAF World Championship women's 1500 meters, with Genzebe Dibaba crushing the last 800 and running away with the gold. Unfortunately it didn't go so well for the US ladies with Shannon Rowbury finishing 6th and Jenny Simpson finishing 11th after losing a shoe.

After a day in the cube farm it was back on the beast, this time for an hour. The plan for tonight was to keep the resistance at 2 the entire time save for the first and last 10 minutes which would be at 1. The goal hear was to shoot for faster turnover while keeping the HR in the 130s. I would have to say it was quite a success and I was happy with the result.

I'm also happy that the PF is feeling better although I still get an intermittent pain and have a tender spot in my heal. I really itching to run but I know I have to give it a few more days at least. I'd rather be 100% and will myself through the race than try to do it injured. Been there, done that with my first half; it was no fun running 13.1 with a screaming Achilles.

My only concern is that my legs aren't getting nearly the work they need but I'm still maintaining good aerobic training. If all else fails I'll just have to count on my heart, lungs and head to carry my legs. I know they'll be up to the task.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

August 23

The life of a runner is like shampoo instructions but instead of lather, rinse, repeat it's run, eat, sleep, repeat or in my case elliptical, eat, sleep, repeat. Sure most of us have other obligations; work, family, life, but let's be honest running consumes most of our thoughts.

So after another descent night's sleep it was time to get back on the elliptical. I was in bed early enough and fell asleep pretty quickly but was awoken up in the middle of the night by a dull ache along the side of my right calf. It was not shin splints, it was more off to the side, but it was enought to keep me awake.

Finally I did get back to sleep but was shortly awoken by not only that ache but also a dull ache in my  right glute as well. After a bit of tossing and turning I was back to sleep for a good 7-8 more hours.

After futzing around and having my coffee with UCAN and later some ENERGYbits it was onto the elliptical for 90 minutes. The plan was just to stay in the 130s for an hour, after the 15 minute warmup and followed by another 15 minute cool down. As a precaution I taped up the PF and have also added an insole for some additional padding.

This was by far my best effort on the beast. After figuring out what works and what doesn't over the past week, I learned that I was best to stay at one resistance and use speed to keep the HR up as opposed to trying to stay at the same rpm and increasing/decreasing resistance. By doing this, I was able to keep in the 127-134 range with an occasional jump up to 137. I think I momentarily hit 138 twice.

Nothing like a great workout especially with a rest day tomorrow. Things are looking up and yet another brick has been added.

Another thing that I didn't realize until today is that the 7 hours I put in last week was the most time logged training since early June. Need to keep up the momentum because time is running short.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

August 22

One of the nice things about training indoors is that it gives me the opportunity to sleep in on weekends so I did just that, getting about 9 good hours of sleep. Let me tell you, it sure felt good.

The plan for today was for a good 2-2.5 hour session on the elliptical again today. and for motivation I found how to loop You Tube videos so I was going to have a continuous loop of the Last Chance BQ -Chicagoland course although it now appears that they changed the course direction for this year. That's neither hear nor there, still have to run it either way.

After downing my coffee, infused with UCAN, it was time to hit it. Since I'm still fasting the plan was to take it easy and not overdo it. I wasn't too worried about keeping the HR up as much as I was getting in the time.

For the first 10 minutes I went at the lowest resistance to get warmed up before I jumped to 2 and then to 3 after 15 minutes. I could tell this was going to be a bit much but I wanted to see how far I could push it.

For the most part it was a pretty steady session over the first hour and a quarter where I would from time to time bump it up to 4 or go in reverse at 2 or even go normal at 2 depending where my HR was at. As I was approaching the 1 hour mark though I felt like I was tiring out and started to loose focus. I was leaving the door open enough for BBW to make his voice heard.

I wasn't going to have any of this so at 1:15 I took a quick break, peed, hydrated and got back on the machine. For the next whatever I pretty much just kept it at 2 and focused on the course video on my monitor. The fatigue was gone, with a little help from some ENERGYbits, and with my mind back on track I just had to make myself keep going.

On more than one occasion I wanted to end early but I talked myself into pressing on. Not so much because I was tired, on the contrary, I felt pretty good. It was more out of boredom. Still, with the race only 3 weeks from today, I need to build some endurance. Finally I settled on 2:15 as being a good time to stop.

I really don't know how people do the long treadmill sessions day in and day out, it would kill me. Sacrifices must be made though. I'm much better off doing this low impact training and letting the PF heal up as opposed to trying to push myself to the limit when I am less than 100%. And it is feeling a lot better.

Other than that, I'm happy with the way the fast is going as well. I'm down 5 pounds since Monday and hoping I will be down another 10 by next Sunday. It makes such a big difference to run lighter and I want every advantage I can get.

Tomorrow is another day and I will be at it again after a good night's sleep.

Week ending August 22nd - 7 hours elliptical

Thursday, August 20, 2015

August 20

Not much to say about tonight's hour on the elliptical other than it was pretty boring. At least it was more of a recovery effort so I kept the resistance on the low side and for the most part stayed below 130 bpm.

One of the benefits of the elliptical though is that I can close my eyes and visualize the course and the race and get into the moment without falling on my ass or running into something. This breaks the monotony as well as keeps me motivated.

I'm happy to report that my PF is feeling much better. I'm still getting the work in but without the forces that you deal with with running. Now I just need to resist the temptation to not get out and run before I'm really ready.

Thankfully tomorrow is a rest day because I could use one.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

August 19

So much for getting out of bed to get on the elliptical this morning. I was feeling a bit achy and frankly I just wanted the extra sleep. I'm sure a lot has to do with the fast but hey, I've lost a couple pounds with a long way to go. Just have to push through it.

I did get back at it tonight and had planned on doing an hour but once I started I could feel the fatigue even at low resistance so I decided to do the best I could. Still I went through the normal routine to warm up for 10 minutes and increase the resistance as high as I could without getting over 137 bpm.

I have to say that it was a bit of a struggle but i keep pushing for 5 more minute. At first I decided I'd shoot for 30 minutes, then I talked myself into 35, then 40 before finally settling on 45 minutes. It may have been shorter than I wanted but it was still quality with about 30 minutes above 130 bpm. Gotta get that fat burning.

Tomorrow is another day and I'm not even going to attempt to get up early; don't want to overdo it. This boy needs his recovery and I'll just hit it after work.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

August 18

It was up before the sun to get on the elliptical once again. After Sunday's session I was a bit surprised that aside from a slight ache in my left quad I has no soreness which is a good thing.

Really not much to say about this other than I wasn't very successful at my attempt to do the bulk of the workout in reverse. Even with the resistance set at 2 it took less than a minute for my HR to come up to 137 so I had to be satisfied with mixing these in every 5 minutes or so. I probably could have pushed the HR a little more but I also don't want to overdo it since I'm using new muscle groups. Definitely a nice change of pace though and 30 minutes on the machine is a fine way to get the fires stoked before a full day on the cube-farm.

After work it was back at it, this time for an hour. Once again it was nothing too exciting. After 15 minutes of warming up I got into the routine but made it a point to work the resistance higher. I still threw in some short reverse intervals but like in the morning I could only do them for about a minute before the HR got too high.

Not feeling any ill effects from the am session I worked my HR mostly above 130 bpm for about 30 minutes and felt some good burn in my legs to boot. I'm sorta enjoying being in from the heat with a fan on me and music playing in the room to motivate me. I just hope this doesn't screw with my form too much.

It's time for bed now and if everything feels good I'll hit it again for another double tomorrow.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

August 16

The human body is an amazing yet unpredictable piece of machinery. By all indications I should have been feeling the effects of yesterday's run in my PF but for whatever reason it's been feeling better than it has in weeks with little or no pain. Go figure. Even so, I decided to stick to the plan of using our elliptical instead of running which gave me the opportunity to sleep until 9:30 which meant I got about 11 hours of sleep.

In doing some checking on the interwebz last night it turns out that the machine we bought at Walmart years ago is probably one of the lowest rated units on the market but whatever. It works and that is really all that matters. We don't need anything fancy with a bunch of pre-programmed garbage anyway. Yeah, the stride-length is short and it's a bit wobbly but those my only complaints.

To keep myself from being bored I put on some music; nothing like a little 70s/80s metal to keep you motivated. There's really not much more to say about the effort other than I can see that there may actually be some benefit to using it. As I was going along, especially when I took the resistance up, that I was getting more of a burn in my quads and glutes so it'll be interesting to see how I feel in the morning.

With the first workout of 90 minutes behind me, I have to say I was pleased with the result. I also feel like this will be a nice change as well as keep me out of the heat. One other thing that I had forgotten about is that you can also pedal in reverse. Since numerous studies have shown the benefits of running backwards this will allow me to strengthen other under-used muscles as well.

This won't be the only change in my training either. With the race almost here, it's time to drop some weight. Right now I'm sitting at 155 which is 10-15 pounds heavier than I want to be. Even though we've been wery good with our diet, we do low carb-high fat, I've put on about 5 pounds this month.

To change things up we're going to be doing a Protein Sparing Modified Fast for the next 2 week. Basically, no carbs, no fat and about 9 oz of lean protein daily; that's it. Some supplements are also needed, potassium, magnesium and sodium, to make up for the lack of these in lean meat and we'll also be using ENERGYbits (==>) to help us out here as well.

We have used this diet in the past for a quick weight loss after the success Christine had when she did it under a doctor's supervision years ago, losing 81 pounds in 6 months. I tagged along at that time and lost 40 pounds in 3+ months. I have to tell you though, it sucks. Although it's true that ketosis is an appetite suppressant, that only goes so far especially when you are around food. Fortunately this is only for a couple of weeks.

Time to become a lean, mean running machine.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

August 15

With my PF flaring up I decided to rest it up so this was my first time out since Tuesday. It was feeling ok but stupid me forgot to tape it up and didn't realize it until I was ready to go. I thought about putting it on but since it was starting to get light outside I didn't want to loose the 10 minutes or so that it was going to take.

The goal was to get out by 5 so I wasn't too far off with, getting out the door at 5:25. Even still temps were already near 90 and it was almost 30 minutes until sunrise. I was hoping to get 3 hours/18 miles in but that was TBD. I just wanted to have a good run.

Under the cover of darkness the first mile went great to get warmed up and by the time I hit the 1 mile mark I was right where I wanted to be. For the next 5 miles I was cruising along  nicely in the mid to upper 10s with my HR right around 140 bpm. Now if this would only last.

Somewhere around mid-mile 5 my PF started to flare  and as the sun started getting higher in the sky, I was beginning to heat up. Since I was doing a 6 mile loop I left out water but feeling like I still had enough, I foolishly didn't stop to fill up. This would come back to bite me later.

I was feeling pretty good still but right around the 7 mile mark my HR started to elevate so I slowed it down a bit. The sun was getting to me now so when I got to the irrigation pump near mile 8 I though it would be a good idea to soak down my Mission Enduracool. Wrong! While it felt good in the moment it broke all momentum I had and got me to start walking.Now this in itself isn't bad but it caused my PF to stiffen.

After walking for a half mile I started back running but everything I had going for me was lost. Nothing left to do but embrace the suck. I was out there doing my best and wasn't going to let it get me down. I was simply going to take what the run was going to give me.

Over the next 4 miles there was some running but mostly walking. My PF was none too pleased with me and I was getting low on water to boot. Mental note, you never have enough water, always refill when you can.

The nice thing about walking was that it gave me some time to think. What I really need more than anything is to give my PF some serious time to recover; something more than a few days. Now with the race less than a month away (==>) I still need to maintain my fitness so I'm going to be spending a lot of time on our elliptical. This will also keep me inside and out of the heat for the most part too.

So it was a good run and a bad run all in one. The first 6 were exactly what I wanted but the last 6, not so much. Still, any run is a good run and this also put me over 100 miles on the year.

This was a good week for my battle against BBW as well. The other night I was lamenting my current mental state regarding the race and would up getting some sage advise from The Champion's Mind: How Great Athletes Think, Train, and Thrive author Dr Jim Afremow via Twitter. It's a great book, which I am re-reading but Jim gave me a couple points to focus on that have swung the pendulum for me. I can't thank him enough. Now to get my body healthy.

And with that one more week is in the books.

Week ending August 18th - 25.1 miles