Thursday, April 30, 2009

Mileage Junkie

After taking it easy yesterday, I decided to really push myself today. I went with biking again and completed a 20 mile route which consisted of two loops around the Schuykill from the Art Museum to Falls Bridge.

I hadn't biked more than 12 miles during one session up to this point. By about mile 7 or 8, I was already starting to feel it, but continued on. Hopefully I won't pay for this too much tomorrow. I figured that I'm not sure how much I'll be able to bike or run over the race weekend, so I might as well push myself before I leave tomorrow.

I am such a mileage junkie. Really that applies to any sport that I participate in. The hardest thing for me in exercising is simply getting out the door. Once I do that, I'm usually able to keep going and going. I'd often play basketball for hours or run mile after mile. It's fine if I do that, but I can't push it too far or I'll end up reinjuring myself.

I still have a lot to learn when it comes to riding. Early on, two bikers blew by me at what seemed double my speed. Clearly some of that is my poor conditioning, but I think part is also not knowing the correct gears to use. I need to be able to pedal more consistently at that same rate. I notice that when I tire, I drop down to an easier gear, but then just end up pedaling more and wearing myself out anyways.

Hopefully I can get some running and biking done at the race this weekend. If not, I'll definitely get back into it on Monday. I hope to do a couple more runs next week. So far, it's been a good start. The biking will really help reduce the stress on my knee.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Sometimes you have to change things up. I knew today would be much cooler than the three straight days of 90 degrees. I didn't expect a drop of nearly 40 degrees though. I went out this morning planning for a long bike ride. With just a long sleeve T-shirt, it was too cold to do that though.

Instead, I did a quick ride down along river south of Spring Garden Street. To counter the shorter distance, I picked up the pace and road much harder. There were three short hills in the route I took, so I went hard over those and used it as a speedwork session.

It turned out to be a good workout, despite being short. Actually, by the end I was no longer cold and instead sweating. I'm hoping tomorrow that I can do the short ride instead. I haven't ruled out a run yet though.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Beating the Heat

These last three days have been extremely warm, both reaching over 90 degrees. Sunday was a new record high. Good thing that was my rest day.

On Monday, I got out and rode my bike in the heat. I did a nice 10 mile ride and paced myself quite well. I finished hard because I didn't go out too fast. Biking has been great and it burns calories. It also doesn't put much stress on my leg. That'll be a key component if I am successful in this comeback attempt.

Today, I ran about 2.5 miles in the near 90 degree weather. The run itself was a bit tough, but the real hard part was the nearly 3 mile walk back afterwards. I was really worn down. At first, I considered a short bike ride this evening too, but the walk following the run was more than enough.

Twice now in the past week, I've run to the stands along the Schuykill which are used to watch crew meets. This was once the turnaround point in my shorter runs. Now I can only make it out there before quitting. Hopefully in a couple weeks, I'll be able to make it back too. It's tough, but you have to start somewhere.

The first run out, a female runner blew by me at boathouse row. It's amazing because I could probably count the number of times that happened during all my past training on one hand. Luckily, I found someone else going just as slow as me that day. I passed them and might've actually went out too hard. I was at least able to finish about 2.5 miles though.

Today, I started off slower. I was able to catch another slower runner. That really helps. Early on, I was going too slow and my knee started acting up a bit. I found that if I actually ran faster it doesn't bother me. It must be the angle I'm hitting on the shorter strides or just the more times I hit the pavement, but my knee really bothered me at slower speeds. I found this to be the case in the past too.

The good thing about my leg is that if it keeps bothering me, I can always switch to more time on the bike or I can do shorter distance runs. I've found in the past that if I build up right, it doesn't bother me. It's when I push too much that my knee becomes a problem.

The heat was really rough today. I need to work on getting out there earlier. I got up, spent some time on the computer and finally got out there to run after 11 AM. Luckily, this heat spell is supposed to end today.

Tomorrow will definitely be another bike ride. I'm not sure yet about Thursday. I'd like to start off running about twice a week and build from there (with 4 bike rides a week). This weekend, I'll be camping at an auto race and hopefully doing some biking there. Since that's the case, I'll likely run on Thursday. It's only the first true week of training, but it feels good to get started and get back into the groove.


I started my running career my senior year of high school after being cut from my first love, basketball. I joined the track team with no prior running experience. I had a great spring that year and finished with a best of a 5:07 mile. Following that season, I continued running road races over the summer and on into my freshman year of college.

With no track or cross country program at Drexel, I was forced to stick with road races. I actually found that I really loved distance. I ended up running further and further. By the end of my freshman year, I ran a 12+ mile race and a half marathon (13.1 miles).

Two things that year stalled my running career. I began drinking every weekend and started slacking off when it came to training runs. I'd often still do 10 mile runs, but only about two or three times a week and really nothing else. I had no intermediate or short runs.

This eventually led to a leg injury over the summer. I hurt my knee near my knee cap one day and was forced to limp home a few miles. After that, I stopped running with exception of a few half-hearted comeback attempts.

Fast forward nearly 9 years. I haven't run or exercised much at all since 2000. I've drank way too much since then and eaten too much fast food. In the last couple months, I ended up talking to some friends who are just starting to run. Ironically, these conversation occurred in bars. I was able to lend them some good advice.

This got me thinking about getting back into running. I currently have no job so it's a great opportunity to get back into it. I also want to do some biking and lose the 20-25 lbs that I've put on since I started running.

One night last week, I decided to look up my old running results. Back in 2000, I ran the Rodale Press Half Marathon in Allentown, PA. Even without training enough back then, I ran the 13.1 mile race at a 7:17 minutes per mile pace.

I decided then that if I'm going to get back to running, I might as well set a goal. I don't know if the current half marathon in Allentown is the same route as the one back in 2000, but I plan on running it next year and want to do so under the pace that I ran the first time around. That race will take place early next May so I have a year to accomplish that goal.

Obviously I'm a far way off from that goal time now. I ran a couple times recently and struggled just to run 2 miles, let alone at a good pace. If I could run the time I did in 2000 without training enough, I can certainly run that time again.

I've become a writer who covers basketball and found that I really enjoy writing when it pertains to subjects that I also enjoy. I decided to make this a place where I can record my progress as I shoot towards that running goal next spring. I have a long way to go, but I'm ready to take on the challenge.