Weekly Wrap-Up: March 20-26

Now that I actually hit the big 5-0-0-0, I can talk about how, after my Wednesday run, I realized I might have screwed up. When I finished my race last week, my mileage was 4,973.5. I thought, cool, I can do a 30 mile week, and I’ll hit 5,000 during my long run on Saturday. The problem with that is that my race was on Sunday, and I took Monday as a rest day. After two 5 mile runs on Tuesday and Wednesday, I was at 4,983.5. I really needed a rest day, so two more 5 mile runs before Saturday wouldn’t be possible. So I did the math, and figured out that I’d need to run 6.5 miles on Friday, then 10 on Saturday to get to exactly 5000, and I could pick up another 3.5 miles on Sunday to put me at 30 miles for the week. (If you paid close attention to yesterday’s post, you know that I finished with 5000.1 total miles, and that’s because I got an extra tenth of a mile on Friday.) Yeah, I had to scramble a bit, but I managed to hit my milestone when I said I would.

I got an e-mail from the Tobacco Road Marathon that said that 17.5% of the people who finished the full qualified for the Boston Marathon. Wow. I guess it helps to have a pretty flat course and temperatures in the 40’s. On another note from the race, I got my race pictures, and egads, this batch is more heinous than usual. I don’t know what happened. Either my hair was all over the place (OK, yeah, I’m overdue for a haircut), or I had a look on my face like Jack Nicholson in The Shining. Luckily, I hadn’t planned on buying any pictures anyway.

Weight Check: 162.7 pounds, up 0.1 since my last weigh-in on Saturday before the race. I’ll take it. I’m still drinking too much Mountain Dew, but I guess I was able to almost cancel it out.

This Week’s Runs
Day Total Miles
Tuesday 5.01
Wednesday 5.01
Friday 6.61
Saturday 10.01
Sunday 3.41

Total: 30.05 miles

Tuesday was my first post-race outing. My legs were a little tired and a little sore, but it wasn’t exactly a surprise. I ran slowly, and got through it.

Wednesday I gave my legs a break but punished my mind with the treadmill. I went a little slower than I had been going on my treadmill runs leading up to my race. My legs were still a little sore due to the race, and my mind was still very unhappy due to the treadmill. I survived.

The rest day on Thursday really helped. I wasn’t sure how my legs would handle 6 and a half miles. I ended up getting to 6.61 just because I wanted to run all the way back home rather than walking one tenth of a mile at the end. I may have run a little faster than I should have, but my legs actually felt good.

Saturday was a pretty big deal. 5,000 aside, it was a good solid run. Again, maybe it was a little faster than I should have run, but then again, maybe my slower pace is improving.

Sunday runs kind of throw off my ideal schedule, but I’m hoping that since this one was short (only 3.41 thanks to the extra tenth of a mile on Friday), I’ll be able to recover and have a semi-normal week. My legs felt OK, so there’s that.

This week, I’ll publish my Race Report for the Tobacco Road Half. As far as running, if I can improve just slightly over last week, I’ll be happy. Depending on the weather, I may finally get in a brewery run. We’ll see how it goes.


I’ve used Running Ahead to keep track of all of my runs over the past 5+ years. One of the stats it shows on the main page is my total overall mileage. A few months ago, I noticed that I was coming up on 5000. With this morning’s 10 mile run (OK, it was really 10.01 miles, of course), my total is now 5000.1 miles.

I still can’t believe it.

I’ve been through a lot as a runner. I’ve had terrible moments, like losing my car key in Ohio, or my ankle giving out with about 3 and a half miles left in a race. But I’ve also had some amazing moments, like my nephew running after me during my first marathon, or the New York City Marathon in general. (I still have a soft spot for the 2014 Thunder Road Half Marathon, and actually saw someone this morning wearing the shirt from that race, which was really cool.)

Ultimately, it’s been rewarding, and I know I’m a better person now than I was when I started. I love running, even with all the bad days, and I hope to run another 5,000 miles, and then some.

I had to take a picture to commemorate the occasion. It’s near the entrance to Freedom Park, and when I hit 5,000, I was on the path near the first tree in the picture. I was actually running toward the camera, but trust me, this is a much better view than looking out towards East Boulevard.

Weekly Wrap-Up: March 13-19

I did it. 2:08:01.250. (Yes, they went to 3 decimal places.) No ankle issues, or really, much of any issues. I’ll do a full report soon, but as you can imagine, I’m pretty happy.

I updated the header, but I made things difficult for myself. Apparently for some reason I decided to take the car key picture in landscape mode instead of portrait. I ended up cropping it, and it still looks weird, but it’ll do for now. I guess I’ll just have to go out and run another half marathon PR. I’ll use the original in my race report, of course. Also, farewell to the 2016 Charleston Half Marathon picture. I kind of liked the brick background as a way to break up the header picture. I tried to get a few bushes into the background of my Tobacco Road picture, and maybe it would have worked better if I had used freaking portrait mode.

I’m especially happy that things turned out so well, because it wasn’t exactly a very good week. I got a cold. It was a head cold (and really didn’t affect anything outside my nose), so it didn’t directly affect my running. It caused me to lose some sleep, and at times it started to mess with my mind. (Tuesday was really bad.) But in the end, I was able to get through Tobacco Road.

I officially signed up for the Teal Diva 5K. I pretty much knew I’d be running it again, more for the cause than the race itself, and I actually registered this past week. I did notice that they tweaked the course a little. I measured the change using Map My Run, and it showed 0.25 miles of extra mileage. If that’s true, then that would put it right around 3.1 miles, and that makes me feel better. I want to run a 5K, not a 2.85 mile race.

Weight Check: I did my official weigh-in on Saturday morning before I left town for the race. And it was 162.6, down exactly 2 pounds from last week. So one of the side effects of my cold was that I completely lost my appetite. I can’t say that I recommend this diet, but it sort of worked for me. However, having a cold and trying to sleep when it’s difficult to breathe isn’t good, and it left me pretty tired, so I countered that with a lot of Mountain Dew, but apparently not enough to gain weight.

This Week’s Runs
Day Total Miles
Monday 5.01
Tuesday 4.01
Wednesday 4.01
Friday 4.01
Sunday 13.1 (2017 Tobacco Road Half Marathon)

Total: 30.14 miles

I tapered, and I’d have to say, based on my race results, it worked.

I decided to make Monday a tempo run, since I’d still have plenty of time to recover from it. I ended up doing it outside, my first outdoor workout run since early January. I managed to get a reverse split. My legs didn’t feel great, but they were good enough, I guess.

Tuesday was cold and, after about the first mile, rainy. The day after my tempo run, I was not surprised at all that my legs felt kind of tired. I survived.

Wednesday I went back to the treadmill, but this time at a slower pace and a shorter distance because of my taper. I ran 10:43/mile for 1st 3 miles, then sped up on the last mile, ending at 9:50/mile. The slower pace is even more mentally excruciating. My legs felt OK, though.

Friday was St. Patrick’s Day. As someone who’s Irish every day of the year, I felt like I needed to wear green for my run. Unfortunately, it was 26(!) degrees outside, and the only green running shirt I’ve got has short sleeves. So I took a long sleeved non-green shirt as a base, then wore the green short sleeved shirt over it. Problem solved. Never mind that I was just running though my neighborhood.

I have no idea how my legs felt. They were numb. I ran pretty well, but that may have been just to get out of the cold.

Sunday was great. More to come.

This week, I’ll get back into it. I’d like to get out to some of the brewery runs now that it’s light outside in the evenings, but this week I need to try to get back to my regular schedule, and evening runs won’t help. Sunday long runs don’t work well with my ideal schedule. But hey, after the race I ran, a little scheduling inconvenience is totally worth it.

My race report will have to wait a week, because I have something else planned.

Weekly Wrap-Up: March 6-12

I’ve been diligently using a To-Do list since about December. For the most part, it’s been very helpful. The one downside is that if I forget to write down a task in the list, I’ll forget about it. So, when I forget to write down an item to write up a February Monthly Wrap-Up blog post, I end up with a review of February posted on March 10. Oops.

Every year at work, they offer us a biometric screening. Not only is it free, but they give you a few hundred dollars to spend on medical expenses if you do it, so it’s kind of a no-brainer. They take a blood sample to check your blood glucose and cholesterol, they weight you, measure your height (Yes, I’m still 5′ 8″), and check your blood pressure. I had it done on Thursday. I got my numbers, and I’m going to live. There were no surprises. Everything was normal, except my BMI was just a hair over the limit on that day, and my good cholesterol was a little low. They told me to fix that with more aerobic exercise. I somehow managed to keep a straight face when they told me that. I didn’t bother to mention that I had run 36 miles the previous week and was on track to run at least that many miles this week. Also, I checked my numbers from last year, and my good cholesterol has gone up since then, so there’s that.

As far as the running goes, those miles may have caught up to me, but I managed to finish fairly strong anyway.

Weight Check: 164.6, up exactly 1 pound since last week. Yeah, this was one of those weeks where I feel lucky to have only gained one pound. I was tired all week for some reason, and so I drank lots of Mountain Dew. Sadly, since we lost an hour this weekend, I see more Mountain Dew in my future this week. Stupid time change.

This Week’s Runs
Day Total Miles
Monday 7.11
Tuesday 6.26
Wednesday 5.26
Thursday 5.61
Saturday 12.11

Total: 36.35 miles

The week got off to a decent start. I did get over 7 miles, although I only had time for an extra .11. I managed to speed up on each mile, which is kind of nice. Even better, my legs felt OK.

I’m noticing a pattern with my Tuesday runs. My legs tend to be more tired than usual. This week was no exception. Still, I rallied at the end and got up to 6.26.

I also noticed after this run that my mileage for 2017 was 294.3. I was hoping to get over 5 on the treadmill on Wednesday, but 5.7 seemed a little out of reach. (For my mind, anyway, I’m pretty sure my legs would have been OK.) And with Thursday being a planned rest day, I figured I’d be stuck at just under 300 for the year for almost 2 days.

Anyway, on Wednesday, I did indeed get on the treadmill, it was indeed mentally excruciating, and I did indeed get over 5, but it left me at 299.5. Annoying, but that’s how it goes sometimes.

At this point in the week, I wasn’t sure how many miles I’d do on my long run. I kind of wanted to get in a 13.1 mile long run before my race, but I also didn’t want to kill my legs to do it. So I figured I’d see how I felt on Friday, then make the decision.

Sure enough, around the 2nd mile of my Friday run, my legs started to feel a little tired. I decided to stay under 6 on this run, and do maybe a little bit over 12 on my long run. What’s strange is that my legs may have been tired on Friday, but they seemed to be moving at a pretty good pace. Go figure. On the plus side, it did put me over 300 miles for the year, and also put me over my total mileage for 2011 of 301.0 miles. Of course, at this point in my running career, if I can’t get to 301 miles in an entire year, something has gone horribly wrong. But passing that mark on March 10 is kind of cool.

Saturday I made the trip to Freedom Park, and ran a fairly uneventful 12.11 miles. I was curious if that’s the longest distance I’d run leading up to a half marathon, since I usually top out right around 12, but apparently I hit 12.16 on a run just before the Charleston Half Marathon. That one went pretty well. Also, I kept my pace very steady from Mile 2 to Mile 11, outside of the mile where I stopped for Gu and water.

Next week, I taper, then I race on Sunday. I think I’m ready, and *knock on wood* my ankle hasn’t been bothering me at all. It should come as no surprise that my next weekly wrap-up will most likely be delayed.

Monthly Wrap-Up: February 2017

Better late than never, right?

Also, since the drawing for New York City was actually in March, that’s a topic for the March Monthly Wrap-Up (which, at the rate that I’m going, will be posted sometime in May).

I want to tweak things a bit and start with some numbers, then I’ll review my progress towards my goals for the year.

February 2017
Total Mileage: 130.10 miles
Average Pace: 10:42/mile
Number of Runs: 20
Last Month (January 2017): 127.77 miles
Last Year (February 2016): 130.19 miles
Races: 2017 Charlotte 10 Miler, February 18, 1:36:24.0

Total Mileage for 2017 (as of February 28): 257.87

Not bad. I’m happy that I was able to increase my mileage over January even with 3 fewer days. I can’t believe I missed last February by 0.09, but 2016 was a leap year, so February had an extra day. I remember my February 29 run as being rather terrible, but it was definitely longer than 0.09. So I’d argue I got more bang for the buck this February.

Let’s review my goals for the year.

Goal 1: 1500 miles

I’ll go with the average miles per day times 365 calculation, so with 257.87 miles over 59 days, that’s about 4.37 miles per day, which comes out to over 1595 miles for the year. Woohoo!

Goal 2: 6 races, with 2 that are 13.1 or greater

I ran the Charlotte 10 Miler, which counts as race #2 out of 6, but it wasn’t 13.1 miles, so I still need 2 of those. The Tobacco Road Half is coming up in March, and then the New York City Marathon on November 5. I’d say I’m on track.

Goal 3: A PR in 3 different races

I didn’t PR in the Charlotte 10 Miler. Bummer. I PRed the Joe Davis 10K in January, so I’ve still got two more PRs to go.

For the non-specific goals, I’ve continued doing a bodyweight routine on all of my rest days for some non-running exercise, and I’ve kept up with the slower easy runs and faster workout runs. I still haven’t done well with the better eating, less Mountain Dew, or working on this blog.

Best Run: February 18, Charlotte 10 Miler, 1:36.24.0 (9:39/mile pace)

It was my only race, and even if I missed out on a PR, it was still my fastest run of the month.

Worst Run: February 28, 6.01 miles, 11:26/mile pace

It was just one of those runs where my legs didn’t actually feel bad, but they just wouldn’t move very fast. It sucks that it was my last run of the month, though.

Overall, it was a solid month. I do think that, considering I wasn’t feeling 100% the day of the Charlotte 10 Miler, my slower easy run/faster workout run routine kept me within a minute of last year’s time, so I think it’s worth it, and I’m really curious to see how it will work at the Tobacco Road Half. My legs still haven’t felt beat up at any time this year, and when I do have a day where my legs were tired, I can usually trace it back to either a race or a bodyweight workout where I went overboard. (I don’t have a good explanation for February 28, though.)

For March, well, there’s this little race, I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before, called the Tobacco Road Half Marathon…OK, I know, I’ve been harping on the race, but I can’t help it, I’m looking for redemption. Considering (knock on wood) I’ve had 0 ankle problems recently, I’ll be curious to see what I can do. After that, I’ll just do some base building to prepare for my marathon training that should start in July.

Weekly Wrap-Up: February 27-March 5

As excited as I am about getting into the New York City Marathon (and believe me, I’m pretty freaking excited about it), I need to focus on my next race, the Tobacco Road Half on March 19, two weeks from today. I did have a revelation this week about that. I’ve been talking about getting revenge in this race, and I don’t think that’s the healthiest way to think about it. I mean, revenge for what? My ankle didn’t explode because a race volunteer tripped me, or because I stepped in a hole in the middle of the course that the organizers knew about and didn’t bother to tell anyone. My ankle gave out because my Achilles tendons are short, a condition I was born with, and eventually something connected to my Achilles was going to give out, and it just happened to be my left ankle at around the 9.5 mile mark of last year’s race.

I think a better way to look at this year’s race is that I’m looking for redemption. OK, I’ll go with that. And a PR, I’m definitely looking for a PR.

Between my delayed race report and my reaction to getting in to New York City, I decided to wait until this week to post my February wrap-up. Of course, the drawing for NYC was actually in March and technically shouldn’t be included, but I’m sure it will come up anyway.

Oh yeah, I ran quite a bit this week.

Weight Check: 163.6, down 2.0 pounds since last week. Wow. I guess my mileage helped. I still drank too much Mountain Dew, but otherwise, I guess I did OK. I’m no longer overweight (for me, anything over 164 is overweight according to the charts), which is kind of nice.

This Week’s Runs
Day Total Miles
Monday 7.01
Tuesday 6.01
Wednesday 5.01
Thursday 6.01
Saturday 12.01

Total: 36.05 miles

The last time I ran more than 36 miles in a week, my long run was 26.2 miles and ended in Central Park.

Monday I ran my entire neighborhood, including the really big hill. The weekday 7 miler was a staple of my marathon training, but a quick glance at my training log shows that I haven’t done it since my marathon. This one went pretty well, though.

Tuesday I stuck to the flatter parts of my neighborhood. It was one of those runs where my legs felt OK, but just didn’t want to move all that quickly at first. Eventually I was able to speed up a little bit, and I finished strong.

Wednesday was once again treadmill day. My mind still hates it, but my legs generally don’t. They handled it really well. I also noticed that Wednesday was the 1st anniversary of the opening of Sara’s Y. I didn’t show up on the first day, but I’ve been going there off and on for the past year, and it’s pretty nice. It’s certainly not their fault that I find the treadmill mentally excruciating.

Thursday was a rest day, but it was also the day I found out that I’d be running the 2017 New York City Marathon. (My one regret is the title of my post. The Lottery was kind of a placeholder that I forgot to go back and change. Oh well.)

Friday I was still in a good mood because of NYC. Somebody in my neighborhood saw me and yelled out, “How many miles today?” I cheerfully responded, “Six!” Yeah, it was that kind of day. My legs felt good, and I was happy. It got kind of cold, but I didn’t mind.

Saturday I got a late start because of the cold. I also chose to run on the McMullen Creek and Four Mile Creek Greenways. The Corporate Cup Half Marathon was Saturday morning, and I could have gotten around it to get to Freedom Park, but I felt like that was just too much trouble when I’ve got another place I can run that’s 10 minutes from my house.

There were no hidden water fountains that someone forgot to turn off, but since it was colder, about 35 degrees when I started, I didn’t need water as much. Except for a spot in the first mile where I had to stop to tie my shoe, I ran the entire time with no walk breaks. My pace was fairly steady for the first 11 miles, then I really took off for the last mile, with a pace of 9:02/mile, almost two minutes per mile faster than my average pace for the first 11. I think that qualifies as a strong finish. My legs had a couple of stretches where they didn’t feel great, but I managed to recover each time.

Next week, I definitely want to run at least as many miles as I ran this week. I’m debating whether to increase my mileage a little bit and run 13.1 miles next Saturday. (I can’t just run 13 miles, or 13.01, and stop. I have to go that extra tenth of a mile and make it like a half marathon.) We’ll see how it goes.

The Lottery

OK, I’m going to break a cardinal rule here and spoil the ending: I got in to the 2017 New York City Marathon. But I did want to post some of my thoughts leading up to the drawing, most of which I actually wrote before I found out the results. (Specifically, the first 3 paragraphs were written before I found out.)

The New York City Marathon lottery has been on my mind for several weeks now. My current thoughts are very different than the last two years, though. I mean, now I’ve got two marathons under my belt, so I shouldn’t be surprised that my perspective has changed a little bit. Like I mentioned in my post about my 2017 Goals, marathons and marathon training are really freaking hard, require a lot of sacrifices, and at this point in my life, I think the New York City Marathon is the only marathon worth doing.

The surprising thing is that part of me started to think that I might actually be better off if I didn’t get in. If I got in, my 2017 calendar would pretty much be set in stone. After Tobacco Road on March 19, I’d do base building until July, then marathon training with a warm-up 5K in there somewhere (very likely the Greek Festival 5K again), NYC in November. But if I didn’t get in, that would open up a whole bunch of possibilities. Not just races, but possibly even other fitness activities like bicycling and yoga.

I could have removed my name from the NYC lottery if I felt really strongly about it, but I never really reached that point. New York City (both the race and the city itself) is still really special, and it’s still worth the sacrifices. It’s worth the lack of schedule flexibility, which I suppose is another sacrifice.

But yeah, I definitely had some second thoughts as the day of the lottery approached, and truly wondered if not getting in would be the better outcome. I think I mentally prepared for that possibility, and honestly, in my gut I felt like I wouldn’t be getting in.

Today I got the news that I was in. And just like that, all of the second thoughts disappeared. I was just so happy to have the opportunity to go back to this incredible race in the city where I was born. I know it won’t be easy. I’ve done it before, I know what it takes. But I’m excited that I’ve got another chance at this race, another chance to make it an even more incredible experience than last year.

Also, I’ve got my eye on you, 59th Street Bleeping Bridge. I know you’re coming. I’ll be ready this time.