Weekly Wrap-Up: July 25-31

This was a strange week. Training plan? What training plan?

Also, from a running standpoint, July is over. (There’s still a few more hours left as I write this, but I won’t be running again until August.) Good riddance. In spite of all the pain, I did manage my 4th highest monthly mileage ever, 146.6 miles. So there’s that.

Weight Check: 169.8, up 2.6 pounds from last week. Yikes. Now, I did my weigh-in before my Sunday run, but still, that’s not good. I went way overboard on the Mountain Dew this week, and I guess I didn’t run enough miles to make up for it. Next week is a new week, I guess.

This Week’s Runs
Day Scheduled Total Miles
Monday Easy 5 5.01
Tuesday 3 mile warm up, 8 x 20 second hill sprints with 1:30 recovery, 1 mile cool down 5.77
Thursday Easy 7 5.01
Saturday 3 mile warm up, 4 x 1 mile at Marathon Pace (11:00/mile) with .25 mile recovery, 3 mile cool down 10.78
Sunday Off 3.11

Total: 29.68 miles

So, yeah, I deviated a bit from the schedule. I’ll explain.

Since I only needed 5 miles on Monday, I decided it was a great opportunity to get out of the heat and get on the treadmill. It may be mentally excruciating, but it’s climate controlled.

Tuesday I realized that hill sprints suck at any temperature. When it’s 77 degrees at 6:15 AM (Really?!?), I might as well do hill sprints.

The heat must have gotten to my brain, because for some reason I had it in my head that I had a 1.5 mile cool down instead of 1 mile. Oops.

Thursday, well, I was way overdue to have nature call during a run. I was right around the 5 mile mark and close to my house, so I went inside and did my business. When I was done, I realized I didn’t really have enough time for another two miles, so I called it there and figured I’d make up for those two miles eventually. Since I ran an extra half mile on Tuesday, I was actually only 1.5 miles in the hole.

Saturday was an interesting workout. I did manage to get under 11:00/mile for all 4 intervals. My times were 10:46, 10:40, 10:37, and 10:22. The 2nd interval being faster than the 1st was a happy accident, on the 3rd I tried a little harder to beat the 2nd, and on the last one, I was really pushing near the end to make sure it ended up being my fastest mile.

I briefly considered adding 1.5 miles to my cool down, but during the 2nd mile of the cool down, I realized that wasn’t going to happen. The heat and humidity weren’t quite as bad as the previous Saturday, but it was still no fun. I was pleased with my intervals, though.

And so, on Sunday, I went out for another run. I couldn’t justify going out there for just 1.5 miles, so I bumped it up to a 5K, so I ended up with about 1.6 miles more than my plan called for this week. It still qualifies as a step-back week.

Next Week:
Monday: Easy 6
Tuesday: 1.5 mile warm up, 4 x 200M REP w/200M recovery, 4 x 400M REP w/400M recovery, 4 x 200M REP w/200M recovery, 1.5 mile cool down
Thursday: Easy 7
Friday: Easy 5
Saturday 13 miles LSD

A couple of notes for next week. REP is short for repeats, and I’ll be aiming for a 9:00/mile pace for those. Also, unless something changes between now and Tuesday morning and I get access to a track, I’ll be running that workout in my neighborhood, and I’ll convert 200 and 400 meters to .13 and .25 miles.

Weekly Wrap-Up: July 18-24

Another busy week, so no updates here. Also, another hot week. I decided that Friday looked slightly less miserable than Sunday, so I moved my 7 miler that had been scheduled for Sunday to Friday.

Weight Check: 167.2, down 2.1 from last week. Wow. I wouldn’t be surprised if all of that weight loss happened during my long run. In the past, when I’ve increased my mileage, my appetite has increased too, and it sometimes has led to some poor choices when it comes to food. This week, more than anything else, I was tired. Really tired. So I drank a lot of Mountain Dew. My eating was OK, I guess. At least for one week, I was able to outrun my diet.

This Week’s Runs
Day Scheduled Total Miles
Monday Easy 7 7.00
Tuesday 2 mile warmup, 5×4:00 at Threshold Pace (10:30/mile) with 1:00 recovery, 2 mile cool down 6.31
Thursday Easy 6 6.01
Friday Easy 7 7.02
Saturday 13 Miles LSD 13.10

Total: 39.44 miles

On Monday, my legs were dead. I pushed through, but I was kind of worried about my workout scheduled for Tuesday. I was so ready to be done with the run that I stopped my watch right at 7.00.

I considered pushing my workout back a day, but somehow, my legs made a miraculous recovery, and they were fine on Tuesday. Go figure. My average pace for the intervals: 10:13, 10:13, 10:12, 10:09, 9:48. I was pleased.

Thursday and Friday were pretty unremarkable, just hot. I did add an extra extra .01 to Friday’s run to make up for Monday.

Then there was Saturday. It was bad, but I’m still trying to process what it means in the big picture.

Moving my Sunday run to Friday probably didn’t do me any favors. But man, it was brutal.

On the one hand, heat isn’t something you should mess around with. It really can kill you. Still, I felt like there were times when I was walking that I should have been running. I did manage to pick up my pace for most of the last mile, so there’s that.

The plan I’m using this year is basically the same as the one I used to train for a marathon last year. It’s pretty easy to compare where I was a year ago to where I am now. Right now, it’s not looking so good. I know it feels warmer than last summer, and that’s part of why I’m not as fast as I’d like. But in May and June this year, I was still working my way back from injury, I couldn’t put in the miles that I really needed to prepare for marathon training, and this is the result.

I can’t defer the New York City Marathon. Ready or not, November 6 is coming. I really wanted to do better than I did last year at the Raleigh City of Oaks Marathon, but right now, I’m not sure if I’ll be able to.

It sucks. All I can do is keep going, keep pushing, and hope that I see some results. (And hope that it finally cools off a little.)

Next Week:
Monday: Easy 5
Tuesday: 3 mile warm up, 8 x 20 second hill sprints with 1:30 recovery, 1 mile cool down
Thursday: Easy 7
Saturday: 3 mile warm up, 4 x 1 mile at Marathon Pace (11:00/mile) with .25 mile recovery, 3 mile cool down

It’s a step back week, which I could probably use right now.

Weekly Wrap-Up: July 11-17

It was a busy week, and that’s the main reason why I didn’t get the lost car key story posted. Next week, maybe.

Also, I sort of screwed up the dates on my training plan. It wasn’t supposed to start until next week. However, since I’m going to spend a few days in Portland in August, I’ve changed my plan so I don’t really skip a week of training, I just broke one week up into two parts (since I know I won’t be able to run 10+ miles while I’m on vacation, and even 7 miles might be pushing it). So it all works out in the end.

Weight Check: 169.3 pounds, down 1.4 from last week. Woohoo! I drank a bunch of Mountain Dew this week, which was bad, but otherwise, I generally ate relatively healthy things. All that running in the heat probably helps.

I did my weigh-in before my run this morning. Normally, unless I have to juggle my schedule due to travel (and if I’m traveling I’m probably moving my weigh-in anyway), Sunday is a rest day, which makes it a good day for a weigh-in. This week of my training plan includes a Sunday run, and I’ve got a few other weeks where I run on Sunday, but I’ll stick with a pre-run weigh-in whenever it comes up.

This Week’s Runs
Day Scheduled Total Miles
Monday Easy 6 6.01
Tuesday 3 mile warm up, 6 x 20 sec hill sprints with 1:30 recovery, 1 mile cool down 5.01
Thursday Easy 6 6.01
Saturday 12 Miles LSD 12.01
Sunday Easy 7* 5.01

Total: 34.05 miles

I’m not crazy about the table formatting, but my HTML-Fu is weak. (Or maybe it’s my CSS-Fu. Or maybe the problem is I don’t know which one is the problem.) Hey, it’s readable.

I don’t have much to say about Monday and Thursday. Hot and humid, but I got through them. Tuesday was my first workout, and it involved hill sprints. I walked at the end of the warm up to make it easier to get to the exact spot on the hill where I wanted to start, and I walked the first half of each recovery. I now think that was a little too much walking. I ended up with a slower overall pace than my Monday and Thursday runs, which doesn’t seem quite right. I’ve got more hill sprint workouts coming up, each with 1:30 recovery, and I think I’ll try for 30 seconds walking and 1 minute of jogging for those. My average pace for each of the 6 sprints: 8:04, 7:55, 7:34, 8:22, 8:12, and 7:53. I was hoping for a little faster, but when the interval is only 20 seconds, my ability (or lack thereof) to start and stop my watch at exactly the right time has an effect. Also, I added a little bit to the cool down, about .15, just so I’d end up with a nice round number of miles.

Saturday I drove up to Freedom Park. Once again, we got tons of rain Friday evening, and I couldn’t run under 3rd Street without scuba gear. I got around it. It was still hot and humid, although not the worst I’ve seen, and I took it easy, stopped for water as often as I could, and rallied at the end. My fastest mile was Mile 12, so there’s that.

At the start of this week, I wasn’t sure about 7 miles on Sunday, which is why I listed it with an asterisk. It would have put my mileage for the week at around 36, which is a pretty big jump from the previous week’s 29.35. Also, the last time I ran over 30 miles in a week, it was February. I also noticed that I had runs scheduled for Monday and Tuesday next week, so I decided to cut my Sunday run back to 5 miles. Considering I ran 12 miles the day before, it went OK.

Next Week:
Monday: Easy 7
Tuesday: 2 mile warmup, 5×4:00 at Threshold Pace with 1:00 recovery, 2 mile cool down
Thursday: Easy 6
Saturday: 13 miles LSD
Sunday: Easy 7

For my training, Threshold Pace is supposed to be my half marathon pace. I’m going to say that my current half marathon pace is 10:30/mile.

Weekly Wrap-Up: July 4-10

I was going to post the full story about how I lost my car key last week, but with all the things going on in the world, it just didn’t feel like a good time to post a silly story like that. I’m hoping that sanity will prevail this week, and then I can post it sometime early this week.

My marathon training starts Monday. I have a plan. Now, we see how well I can follow it.

Finally, my warm-up race will be the Yiassou Greek Festival 5K on August 27. I ran it last year. It’s a relatively flat course, but it should give me a good idea where I stand after a month and a half of training.

Weight Check: 170.7 pounds, up 0.9 from last week. I’m disappointed. I had a Mountain Dew on Tuesday. Apparently I’m the only one in my neighborhood who had to get up and go to work on July 5, because everybody else was shooting off fireworks all night long Monday night, and so I was sleep-deprived on Tuesday. I usually try to limit myself to just one beer when I go out (mainly due to the excess calories), but I had two beers when I went out with friends on Wednesday, then I went to a party on Friday where, even though I ate mostly healthy things, I grazed way too much.

My mileage is going to increase this week (more on that later), and that should help, but I have to be careful, since my appetite will also increase, and I need to make sure I’m not stuffing my face with junk because I’m starving.

This Week’s Runs
Monday: 6.21 miles
Tuesday: 4.01 miles
Wednesday: 4.01 miles
Friday: 4.11 miles
Saturday: 11.01 miles.

Total: 29.35 miles

I wanted around 29 miles with an 11 miler, and that’s what I got.

Since Monday was a holiday, I went over to McMullen Creek/Four Mile Creek Greenway. I also decided since I didn’t need to worry about getting to work on time, I’d try to get in 6 or so miles. The weather kind of sucked, although it was overcast, so at least I didn’t have the sun beating down on me. I survived. My thought for the day: I’d like just one outdoor run where it doesn’t feel like I’m aqua-jogging. (I’d argue that I got that later in the week.)

Tuesday, I got back on the treadmill. Mentally excruciating, but a lot less humid. Wednesday was still hot and humid, but for some reason didn’t feel quite as bad as the previous few days. Friday was slightly less uncomfortable than Wednesday. Progress, I guess.

And then there was Saturday.

OK, first of all, I was dreading 11 miles after last week’s 10 miler. Second, I was checking the forecast all week, and they were saying it was only going to get down to 75 Saturday morning, and heat up fast. I heard a forecast on Friday morning that predicted a low of 77. That’s insane. I was seriously thinking about doing my 11 miles on the treadmill. I’d have to break it up, but I could do it. Eventually, I decided to get up early Saturday, see what it felt like outside, and if conditions weren’t completely miserable, I’d drive up to Freedom Park.

Well, we had a nasty storm Friday evening, and I guess that was enough to cool things down a little bit. It dropped down to 70. So I headed up to Freedom Park.

It was still tough, and there was some debris from the storm, but I took it easy, stopped at every water fountain, made it through the 11 miles, and even had enough in the tank to speed up at the end, and my fastest mile was Mile 11.

Next week, I have a training plan to follow. Here’s what it says.

Monday: 6 miles easy
Tuesday: 3 mile warm up, 6 x 20 second hill sprints w/1:30 recovery, 1 mile cool down
Thursday: 6 miles easy
Saturday: 12 miles LSD
Sunday: 7 miles easy

First, LSD is short for Long Slow Distance. My training plan does not involve any drugs. Second, because I’m not quite where I wanted to be going into my training (I had hoped to have my average weekly mileage in the low 30’s, not the high 20’s), and this represents a significant jump in mileage, I may end up cutting back the miles for Sunday. I’ll just see how I feel that morning.

Weekly Wrap-Up: June 27-July 3

Each week, I like to do a review of my training. I admit, it’s primarily for my benefit, so I can go back later and see how my training was going for a given week, but hopefully I can make it interesting enough for other people to read.

I’ve always used Monday-Sunday to measure my weeks. It works pretty well, since I usually end up with a long run on Saturday and a rest day on Sunday.

Weight Check: I do keep track of my weight, and typically do an official weigh-in on Sunday morning. This week, I’m at 169.8, which is down 1.2 pounds from last week. For the record, I’m 5′ 8″, so anything over 164 is overweight. I put on some weight while I was recovering from my injury, and got all the way up to 175 at one point, but I’ve worked my way back down, partly through more running, and partly through less Mountain Dew. This past week, I only had one can of Mountain Dew on Monday, and that’s it. In the past, I’ve had three 20 ounce bottles in a day on multiple days, so I did pretty well this week. The rest of the week, I managed to avoid junk food for the most part, except for some birthday cake for one of my co-workers.

I’m not too concerned about my weight. Being about 5 pounds overweight isn’t a huge deal, plus I’d guess that a good portion of my extra weight is in my legs, which is generally less harmful than extra weight above the waist. Still, losing a couple of more pounds will help my running, and if I’m not gaining weight, it usually means I’m not eating a lot of junk, and that’s a good thing.

This Week’s Runs
Monday – 4.11 miles
Tuesday – 4.11 miles
Wednesday – 4.11 miles
Friday – 4.11 miles
Saturday – 10.01 miles

Total: 26.45 miles

Monday, Tuesday, and Friday were in my neighborhood. Monday’s weather was barely tolerable, and it just got worse as the week went on. Wednesday was a treadmill run. It was mentally excruciating, just like any other treadmill run, but the climate control was nice. Saturday, well, I talked about that a little in my post yesterday. The weather was brutal, easily the hottest temperatures I’ve run in this year, with plenty of humidity thrown in. I walked a whole bunch in the last few miles, but I made it to the end.

I guess I should explain why I ended all my runs with an extra .01. Back when I first started running, I used an app called Runkeeper. On some of my early runs, I noticed that sometimes if I stopped on an exact number of miles, say 4.00, when I would look up the run later, it would show up as 3.99. I have no idea if that was an issue with Runkeeper, or with my phone at the time, but I got into the habit of added .01 to all of my runs. Now I have a Garmin Forerunner 220 to track my runs, and I’ve never had any issues with the mileage changing, but I still add .01 most of the time. Everybody has quirks, mine are .01 miles and pictures of my car key.

Looking ahead to next week, if anything it’s going to get hotter. This is my last week before I start my training plan for the New York City Marathon. I’m hoping to get up to around 29 miles this week, and in theory, I’d like to get an 11 mile long run next weekend, but again, I’ve seen the forecast, and considering how tough 10 miles was, I’m not sure how I’ll do it in conditions that are at least as hot, if not hotter. We’ll see how the week goes.

5 Years Of Running

I started running five years ago today. It was my first time running since a PE class in college, so it had been about 18 and a half years since the last time I ran. It did not go well. I managed to make it 2.03 miles in 29:26, for an average pace of 14:30/mile. When I was done, I felt like I was either going to throw up, faint, or die. I managed to avoid any of those fates. The next day, my arms and neck were OK, but every other muscle in my body was on fire. I eventually recovered, and I’m still running.

I’ve had many ups and downs during these five years. Today’s run falls in the down category.

I celebrated my anniversary of running by going out for a 10 mile run. It was 75 degrees and humid, and I haven’t run 10 miles since March. What could possibly go wrong?

You might be having a bad run when you get passed by a mother pushing a double stroller. (Don’t get me wrong, I’m really impressed by her, but I’d like to be able to run faster than someone pushing extra weight like that.)

Somehow, I made it to the end, and while getting there may have been rough, it was a pretty significant milestone for me. Back in March, the last time I ran over 10 miles, it was in the Tobacco Road Half Marathon. I had been having some off and on problems with my left ankle in the weeks leading up to the race. Well, at around the 9.5 mile mark of the race, my left ankle blew up. I did manage to finish the race, but it wasn’t pretty.

I went to an ankle specialist, and he determined that I have short Achilles tendons. This was putting extra pressure on pretty much everything in my lower legs. It was just a matter of time before something had to give, and my left ankle was the first thing to give out. Luckily for me, it’s treatable with some custom orthotics, which I’ve been wearing for a little over a month.

My mileage was severely limited during this time. I went almost 3 weeks with no running, and when I started back up, I had to limit my mileage to only 3-4 miles per run, with no runs on back-to-back days. Eventually, I was able to work my way back up to 5 days of running per week, slowly increasing my long runs. Other than a day or two right after I got my orthotics when I was still getting used to them, I had no ankle pain.

This was my first run where I planned to go farther than 9.5 miles. (You know, the mileage where my ankle blew up during Tobacco Road.) I (barely) made it to 10 miles. It was hot, it was humid, I was slow, my legs had no energy left near the end, but I had zero ankle pain. Progress.

Since this is my first post (By the way, welcome!), I guess I should explain the name of the site and the picture above. One time I went out for a run and somewhere along the way, I lost my car key. (I’ll post the full story later in the week.) Since then, every time I get to the end of a race, I take a picture with my car key to prove that I didn’t lose it. The four races in the picture are my PRs (Personal Records) at the four most common race distances, 5K, 10K, Half Marathon, and Marathon. The races are the 2015 Yiassou Greek Festival 5K in Charlotte, the 2014 Joe Davis Memorial Resolution Run 10K in Fort Mill, SC, the 2016 Charleston Half Marathon, and the 2015 Raleigh City of Oaks Marathon (my only marathon so far).

Finally, I have to give a shout out to Mike Kahn. His enthusiasm for running is what got me started five years ago. In spite of runs like today, I really do love running, and I never would have found that out without Mike, and I can’t thank him enough.