Archive for the ‘Running’ Category

Back at it

Hey everyone, long time no post.  So for those of you that don’t keep up with my podcast, Geeks in Running Shoes, I am still running.  In fact, I’m less than 48 hours away from my second half marathon.  My cohost/brother-in-law, Raymond and I will be running the St. Louis Frostbite Half Marathon.  True to the name, it will be wicked cold on Saturday, not to mention the 8-12″ of snow on the ground in St. Louis right now.  Why do a half marathon in the winter in the midwest?  Good fricking question!  Saturday is not only the race, but also my 30th birthday!  Woohoo!  So my plan is to run the race at 9am, be at McGurk’s Irish Pub at noon, nap by 2pm, and start partying around 6pm.  We shall see how that works out.

I’m going to try to be more active on my blog again.  I think that it really helped me stay honest with my eating habits and running.  Frankly, the reason I stopped blogging so much is because the podcast was a weekly outlet to talk about my life.  That helps (somewhat) with keeping me honest with my running, but I need to get back on the wagon with my healthy eating.  The last few weeks I have been doing better, but I’m still up in weight since my last half marathon in September.  My race weight was 192.  Currently, I’m hovering around 202-205, which I don’t think is horrible.  I can do better, though.  So, I’m just trying to make the best choices nutrition-wise during the day.  I’m really going to try to blog more often, so hopefully, you guys will come along on the continuation of my journey.




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This was the first major race my sister-in-law and I have done.  About a month ago, I did an impromptu 5k, but that was a last minute type of thing.  So the race was in Chicago, of course, and so I took the train up there from St. Louis.  The train ride is 5 1/2 hours and boring as hell.  I came up on Friday.  Raymond (my cohost and brother-in-law) picked me up from Union Station around 12:45.  We grabbed some lunch (Five Guys) and went back to his place to wait for Lauren.  She got home around 5, showered and changed, and we all went up to the race expo.  Being that it was Friday night, it was not too busy there.  Packet pickup was easy, and the three of us looked through the dozen or so stands there.  Not many deals to be found.  We went home and cooked up a big spaghetti dinner to get some quality carbs in.  That seemed to make everyone tired.  By 10, everyone was sleeping.

Saturday morning I got up early as I usually do (6:30am) and just relaxed.  Being a married father of three, grad student, and full (plus) time worker, I don’t get to do this very often.  There’s always something to do at home.  I wanted to make this weekend about me as much as possible, so I just relaxed.  Lauren and Raymond were up and moving by 8:30 or so.  We got cleaned up and decided to go see an early movie at the theater.  “The Other Guys” seemed like the only choice that all three of us would enjoy.  I had been hydrating as much as possible (maybe too much).  By the time the movie came on, I was 4 bottles of water into the day.  Needless to say, I had to hit the bathroom numerous times during the flick.  Afterwards, we stopped into Subway for lunch, then Dick’s Sporting Goods for last minute gear check.   We returned to the condo and started getting ready for the live show.  Surprisingly, it went smoothly.  Being constantly plagued with audio problems, one recording that goes easy is nice.  The show went great!  My wife, mother-in-law, and parents all got to watch the show.  We had more people tune in than we were expecting (not a bad thing at all).  By 6, we had taken apart the impromptu television studio and started our dinner of brown rice, chicken breast and peas.  To get in the mood for the race, we all sat down and watched “Spirit of the Marathon”.  What an inspiring movie!  It was especially meaningful since it follows Chicago runners.  By 10, we were all trying to find the elusive sleep.  Unfortunately, Ray had to do some work from home from midnight to 2am.  Lauren and I were able to sleep though.

Sunday morning, alarm went off at 4:45.  We wanted to take off by 5:15 (which we did).  The race started at 7, but 20,000 runners in Chicago presents quite the parking issue.  Luckily, we found a spot within a mile of the starting line.  Nervously, we walked to the start, jumping immediately into the Porta-John lines.  It was a good call, emptying the bladder before the trek.  Last thing you want to do is wait in line at the 3 mile mark or have to pull up a tree.  Raymond, armed with his Canon DSLR and my Flip camera, took a few pics of us, wished us luck, and went to get into position.  We lined up with the 2:20 pace group.  Neither Lauren or me really had a time goal in mind.  We really just wanted to finish.  If I could finish with a 12 min/mile average or better, that would be icing on the cake.   The race started on time.  Being near the back of the pack, it was a good 12 or 13 minutes before we crossed the actual starting line.  Lauren and I started strong.  I wanted to stay with her as long as possible.  It was Raymond’s idea that we do this race.  Lauren joined in when we signed up.  Then, Raymond suffered a stress fracture.  So, in his absence, I wanted to support Lauren as much as possible.  I knew that we could finish, I just wanted to be there to remind her as often as possible.  She had been having some knee trouble on her long runs, so we were just hoping that they would hold off as long as possible for the race.  I had been having calf and hamstring issues here and there, but I was hoping clean eating and proper hydration would keep my cramping to a minimum.   By the 3 mile, Lauren’s knee started flaring up.  We took walk breaks every 4-5 minutes.  We had shared some Sharkies (organic fruit snacks) at the 5 mile mark, hoping to get an energy burst.  By mile 6, she seemed worried.  She was moving slower and felt like she was holding me back, so she gave me the go ahead to take off.  So, off I went.

I passed the 2:45 pace group, then the 2:30 pace group, and caught up with the 2:20 pace group.  Around mile 8.5, I realized that taking off quick like that was a mistake.  I had used up a lot of my energy doing that.  Rookie mistake, I guess.  By mile 10, I had slowed down back with the 2:30 pace group.  I took a Gu with some water at the aide station.  This is where my knee issues began. I have been very fortunate through my training to not really have any joint issues.  My damage has always been in muscle or tendons.  All of this changed after mile 10.  This was the furthest I had run in my life, so I was in uncharted waters in my endurance.  By mile 11, I was into a 5:1 run/walk cycle.  By mile 12, 3:2. My knees felt like they were made of cement that was cracked.  Each foot fall felt unsure, feeble, and painful.  3/4 mile to go, I was visualizing how far that would be during my normal training runs in downtown Belleville.  Ok, 3/4 mile to go, so I’m near Auffenberg Ford, running down 159 towards my house.  1/2 mile to go, I’m at the gas station on the corner of 159 and the South Belt Line.  1/4 mile to go, I can see my house from here.  I go around the last right turn towards the finish line.  Raymond was on the sidelines yelling towards me.  I ran by and gave him an update on his wife, then went to finish my race.

The finish line was surrounded by people.  After finishing, there was a long corral full of photographers, bananas, bottled water, chocolate chip cookies, and tired people.  I kept walking for fear of my legs locking up.  I collected my medal, ate a Clif Bar, cookie, and downed a bottle of water.  I went back to wait for Lauren near the finish line.  Around 30 minutes later, she came across the finish line with Raymond running next to her.  He had joined her for the last 1/4 mile.  She was hurting pretty bad.  But she made it.  And I made it.  We did it.  We ran 13.1 miles down and back Lakeshore Drive in Chicago.  We wore our medals proudly.  The three of us made the impossibly long walk back to the car.  Funny how the mile long walk from the car wasn’t as bad (or seemingly as long).   After going back to the condo, we ate some delicious Gino’s East pizza, a Gatorade, a beer, and well-deserved naps for us all.  5:30 rolled around and we left for the train station.  Right now, I’m halfway home on the crowded train bound for St. Louis.  (Of course, I won’t be uploading this until the next day)  Here’s to the first of many races! Chip time, 2:37.

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A run through the park

Hello all.  I guess I’m just getting into the rhythm of updating the blog on the weekends.  That seems to be when I have time to do it, especially since school started back up for me.  Well, I would have liked to have gotten in two runs this week then a long run for the weekend.  Due to my schedule and an ear infection, I only got one five miler in after Tuesday night class.  SIUE has an indoor track that’s open until 11pm.  I hit that up on Tuesday night for five miles in around 56 minutes.  Good enough for an 11 min/mile avg with some change.  It was frustrating considering I had to do 40 loops with no GPS availability for my iPhone.  Just kept repeating the count in my head.  Let’s just say it was a long hour of running.  I definitely need to find a different place to run after school.

So yesterday (Saturday) I had 8.5 miles scheduled.  My sister-in-law is in town (who will be running Chicago with me), and, due to lack of injuries, she had 9 miles scheduled.  So, I picked her up at 5:15, and we were on the trail at a local park at 5:30.  The run went well.  I got to try out my new Coleman camel back (which leaked all over my ass) and a Gu.  I don’t know if it was the Gu or poor nutrition from the night before, but I had some stomach issues around mile 7.  My sister-in-law was experiencing knee problems around mile 5, so she stopped and waited for me to finish.  I made it through the 9 miles in 1 hour 44 min with an average pace of 11:33 min/mile.  I felt good still after the run, which definitely help build my confidence for the half marthon.  Next weekend I will be visiting family in Iowa, so I will get a chance to run again with my sister-in-law.  This time, 10 miles.  Going to try to get two 5 milers in this week, 10 miler next Saturday, and maybe a couple of 3 milers the week of the race.  14 DAYS!

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Long Run and 5K

Wow, yesterday (Saturday) was a long day.  I woke up early because I wanted to get a good breakfast and warmup before my long run.  Up at 10 to 5, out the door at about 5:20.  There was an intense thunderstorm overnight, so I came outside to find it surprisingly cool with the streets still wet.  Fine by me.  I used MapMyRun to find an out and back route to get my 7 miles in.  Unfortunately, it seems to be off by almost a half of a mile.  I ended up passing my street and running a little further down the highway to make sure I had my 7.  All in all, the run went well.  I averaged between 12 and 13 min/miles for the run.  Came home, showered, and went about my day.

Now, later that night, I went and picked up pizza for dinner (I did burn 1000 calories in the morning, so I needed to refuel, right?) and remembered on the way home that the Hecker Tiki Trot 5K was that night.  We ate around 6:30, and I was out the door at 7:20.  I arrived 10 minutes before the race started, just enough time to register and get to the starting line.  That’s pretty much how it went.  I just did the non-competitive 5K run/walk because I didn’t know how my body would feel after doing 7 miles 13 hours prior.  I took off a little fast and slowed myself down around the first mile mark.  It was a nice, flat out and back down a tar/chip back road lined with Tiki Torches.  Very fun!  I kept a 10 min/mile pace the whole time with a little hamstring pain near the end.  Finished up around the 31 minute mark, said “Hi” to a few people, and went and got a beer.  Finished my beer while watching a woman passing out from the exertion or the heat or the exertion in the heat.  Walked over to my car, drove home.  Long day.  10.2 miles total.  Can definitely tell that I exerted my legs when I woke up this morning, but I’m not injured or anything.  All in all, a successful Saturday.

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Sore, but Still Going

Top of the evening to ya! I’m slowly winding down on another long day at work after a morning run. Very happy to have 9 miles in this week with a 7 miler planned for Saturday. This morning I did a light 4 mile run at 4:30am. Overall I was happy with the outing despite the twinge I got from my hamstring shortly after mile 3. I have been doing a lot of reading on forefoot running styles from some of my fellow (and more successful) bloggers. Pete (@Oblinkin) put up a hell of a post about running form on his website RunBlogger.  What an interesting and informative read!  I used  what I read on the run this morning, trying to have my foot strike as close as possible to my center of gravity.  It seemed to help a lot as I noticed an increase in pace without a corresponding increase in effort.  I will definitely will be focusing on this for my 7 miler.

So Ray and I were talking on our latest episode of Geeks in Running Shoes about my plans after the Chicago Half Marathon.  Honestly, I plan on taking a three to four week break from running.  I need to let my legs heal up completely without risk of re-injury.  After the break, the plan is to focus solely on my running technique.  I’d like to get into a running clinic or seminar if possible, but middle of fall is probably not going to bring any near me.  I’m also contemplating purchasing Newton Sir Isaac’s.  This we shall see, mainly because the $150 price tag is a lot of money to me.  With three kids, there is always always always another way to spend $150 on something other than shoes.  My goal, though, is to have my running technique in tune by the end of the year to start training for my full marathon for next year.  We shall see, though.

Other than that, I might do a 5k this weekend.  There is a TikiTrot about 10 miles south of me on Saturday night.  They light the whole course with Tiki Torches.  I mean, how cool?  It’s like trying to outrun the killer in the final scene of a Hawaiian murder-mystery.  Not to mention free reflective shwag!   Might do it, might not.  If I do decide to, it will be more of a run/walk because of my morning long run.

I’ll let you know how Saturday goes!  As always, thanks for checking out the blog!

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Hey all, been awhile. I’ve been busy, what can I say. Last weekend I got the virus from hell. Fever, headache, nausea, the works… So obviously, no physical activity going on there. Hell, I didn’t get out of bed for a few days. I did lose 6 pounds from all the vomiting, so there’s the silver lining of that dark cloud. By Tuesday, I was feeling better and decided to go for an easy run. Made it a tenth of a mile before my hamstring went again. Frustrated and cussing, I limped back home. Ice, massage, compression followed for the following few days. I itching to get out there and try it out again, but work has been hectic. Taking off two days from being sick left me wicked behind on my route, so I had to work late and today (Saturday). Such is life. Today, we are taking our girls to a kid’s salon to get their hair and nails done for school. Just a little day to make them feel special, ya know? When we return, I might go for a run if the heat isn’t too bad. Supposed to be 97 today and with the humidity, the heat index might well be close to 110. Don’t know that I want to venture outside in that kind of heat. Tomorrow, we go to Six Flags, so worst case scenario, I run early tomorrow.
My recurring hamstring injury got me down this week. I seriously thought of deferring the Chicago Half Marathon because of it. I’m extremely worried that I’m just not ready for it. It’s less than a month away. I know that it is not going to be a strong finish on my part. I just haven’t got the training in that I need. I talked with a few runners on Twitter about the pros and cons of going on with the race. In the end, I decided that I’ll just do what training I can and do the race. I’m not expecting to tear up the road in Chicago, but I think it’s important for me to run it. Important for me to finish. So, that’s where I’m at right now. I’ll check back in after my weekend run.

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Got up early this morning to get a run in before the heat wave came through. Last I checked, heat index is supposed to be around 112 today. Yeah, not going to try to get a run in with that kind of external oven temp. The plan was to do a 5 mile run around a 12 min/mile pace. I was 3/4 mile in at a 12:30 pace when I decided to bump it up a little bit faster. When I did, my right hamstring reminded me that I was in a bit of pain still. Slowed down to a 13+ min/mile for the remainder of the run. While I need to speed up a bit for the Chicago run, I can’t afford another injury to sideline me. So, I sucked up the slow time and decided to just put a few miles in. Ran down to the fountain and returned home. Finished up with 3.1 miles in 43 minutes. Horrible time, but it got me out and my legs moving. Tomorrow is rest day, and I’m going to try to keep it that way. Yesterday, I did a 16 mile bike ride down to the next town and back. It was a beautiful day and a beautiful ride. Took me 1 hour and 11 minutes. The bike ride also convinced me that I need a few things, namely a new bike seat, cycling shorts, and gloves. I was hurting when I got back. So, rest tomorrow, attempt a 5 miler on Thursday and possibly Friday, and then a 7 miler this weekend. We shall see!

Playlist for this morning’s run:
Sweetness by Jimmy Eat World
Vegan Running Mom Episode 60
You Don’t Have To Run Alone Episode 24

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