Sunday, July 26, 2009


I haven't got around to writing much about my training lately, but I have kept up with doing it. Yesterday, I ran the 10K at NJMP. It was actually at 6PM and of course it turned out to be one of the hottest days of the summer.

The course started on the Lightning Course and after a lap around there it headed to the outside. It was combined with a 5K so that was rather interesting. One of the good things was that I've been to the track before so I had a rough idea what to expect (although I didn't find a course map until close to the start).

Unlike the fast paced 5K start a few weeks back, this pace was nice and slow. There were really only about 20 people from the combined field ahead of me. I did what would've been an ideal first mile, except for the heat.

Even though I was comfortable early on, it was evident that I needed to slow down. The first couple miles seemed like forever. They didn't have mile markers around the track so that was really frustrating. I only had a rough idea of my pace.

The first water station wasn't setup until the 5K turnaround point, which was over two miles from the start. That was just too far out. I was spend and just trying to survive when I got there. The heat was unbearable.

The one nice thing about the water station was that they had towels. That really helped cool my head. I picked up the pace significantly after that. There was also some shade no longer after. That helped me stay pretty strong.

Again I began to wear down though. The second water station was at the 10K turnaround which I would guess was around the 4 mile mark (again the course was poorly marked). I got to that station and began to significantly pick up the pace one more time. Two guys continued to walk after the station, so I was able to pass them.

I pushed fairly hard to stay away from them. At that point, I at least knew where the next water station was (again at the 5K turnaround point). I was tired, but I worked hard knowing I'd get a short break when I got there. I didn't stop as much through that station because I knew I was only about a mile from the finish.

The guys I passed earlier, must've walked through that station too. They were nowhere in site as I neared the end. No one was near me in the front either. Most of the final 5K was essentially run alone. That made it really tough to put up a good time.

When I got near the finish, I was quite sure how everything finished up in the infield. I pushed hard, but wasn't able to sprint because I didn't know how much further I had to go. I finally got my sprint going when I saw the finish line and I ended with a 52:45 time. A kid on a bike got in my way near the finish too.

The time was really disappointing. I was hoping for a 45 or 46 minute run. I really knew going in that the heat was going to hurt my time though. If the water stations were more frequent, I probably could've shaved 3 or 4 minutes off my time.

I've run two races now and both in terrible conditions (rain and heat). Neither gave me a good gage of where I'm really at right now. I didn't get to push my legs to the limit in either one of them. I was happy just to make it through this one. I finished 1st in my age group, but I think the only other person in my age group was one of the Top 3 finishers.

I'm now getting into my marathon training schedule. I believe I have 78 training runs scheduled now through November (including cross training). This week will be a bit tough as it'll be a jump in mileage. I'll be doing three runs of 3 miles and concluding with a 7 mile long run on Saturday.

Originally, I was going to take tomorrow off and run three straight days. I'm not that sore today though since I didn't work my legs too hard yesterday. Therefore, I might take a rest day on Tuesday or Wednesday to break up the three straight days.

It's going to be a fun journey trying to train for the marathon. I still remain very hungry. I'm finding that staying focused on a goal is keeping me enthusiastic. Also, still trying to better my old running times is keeping me very motivated too. Eventually, I am going to reach that level again and go beyond. For now, I just have to accept how far I've come. I've lost 15 lbs and can run at a level that a lot of regular runners can only dream of.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Just Not Feeling Good

Today was a 3 mile run. I was still back at my parents house. I decided to run my usual route with a different extension at the end. I haven't had much rest lately and didn't feel good.

Nothing about the run went well. The food that I ate the day before didn't agree with me. I felt very sluggish throughout the whole time. Even the walk breaks didn't help much. I was lucky to just make it through.

I've been so busy watching hoops lately and I haven't been able to focus enough on running. That should change soon. Tomorrow through Thursday, I'll be in West Virginia. That'll make the running a little tough. Tomorrow I'm getting up very early to bike 45 minutes before leaving for the Mountaineer State.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Night Run

It's been a crazy week with so much basketball. One Wednesday, I ran a short two miles, but didn't get a chance to write about it. I got out much earlier than usual and ran the typical Schuykill Banks route. It was so early that the sun was still behind the trees. That made it nice and cool.

The funny thing is that the guy who ran the week before and caused me to push myself too much actually ran past me again. This time I didn't challenge him though. I ran 8 minutes, then walked for 2 minutes and finally ran another 8 minutes. It was a nice and efficient workout.

I was supposed to bike this morning. Since I'm at my parents though and my bike isn't fixed yet, I decided simply to skip it. I had very little sleep last night too so that was a good idea.

Rather than wake up early for my long run tomorrow, I decided to run in the dark at 9:30 PM. That turned out to be a good idea. Without the sun, it was nice and cool and I was able to run the 5 miles or so with ease. I ran six minutes stints with 2 minute walk breaks in between.

What made the workout great is that it ended up where I actually ran up every single hill and it seemed that my walking breaks were all flat road. It was odd that it happened like that. The walk breaks were huge. They really keep me fresh throughout the run. During the final two segments, I was able to really push myself.

I'm still not sure that I can get myself to race with walk breaks, but I like training in that manor. It allows me to recover better and hopefully I won't get injured. The 10K is only a few weeks away. I haven't focused much on running this week since I've already watched 40 games with 30 to 40 more yet to come.

Monday I will be off from basketball, so I'll be able to run my normal run. Tuesday could get tricky because I plan on heading to West Virginia for hoops for a couple days. Some way we'll make it work though.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Close Call

I adjusted the seat and saddled in for a 40 minute bike ride today. Since I was strapped for time, I went hard from the start and counted that amongst my 40 minutes. The new seat positioning was a big help.

I got into a nice rhythm and kept in the same gear throughout the ride. That's one nice thing about the flat routes along the river. I went out to near the St. Joe's Prep boathouse and back. Even when I got to the final hill by the Art Museum, I just kept my head down and focused on pedaling hard.

I tried to work on relaxing as I ride, just as I'm looking to improve that when it comes to running. I'm trying to incorporate some of the same ideas into both.

After the museum, it got interesting. I went to pass a slower rider. She wasn't looking and apparently was going to cross the road. I cut over and near ran into her. She didn't see me at all until I startled her and we nearly hit. I probably should've yelled that I was coming, but I figured we were both going slow enough. People need to become more aware of their surroundings in busy areas. It's amazing how often they aren't paying attention and make drastic moves.

Tomorrow, I'll be back in Philly for an event so that'll be a big relief. It's a short 2 mile run before the camp starts. Thursday will be a much needed rest. I was pretty sore after sitting around watching basketball all day today.


Monday, July 6, 2009

Stop and Start

I stayed overnight at my parents house after the Indy Car race. In the morning, I ran 3 miles around the neighborhood across the highway from their house. I did so, by running 8 minutes, then walking for 2 minutes. I did that pattern one more times before finally running for the final 12 minutes.

The walk breaks were a big help because I felt very sluggish. I tried to relax and took it easy throughout the run. I was planning on running a flat surface. The neighborhood that I ran through wasn't there yet back when I used to run. I thought it was flat, but there were actually quite a few hills. The run portion seemed like it started at the bottom of hills every time.

Early on, a young runner blew by me. I didn't challenge him though and instead kept up a nice pace. I'm going to stay healthy this time around.

All in all it was a decent day. I wasn't too sore after Saturday's run, so the walk breaks are a big help. I probably shouldn't have played some basketball today though. I might pay for that tomorrow.

Tomorrow will be a bike ride. I still have to adjust my seat. Following that, I'll run 2 miles on Wednesday before taking Thursday off.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Still Plenty to Learn

It has been an interesting few days since I last ran. I felt fine after the fast and hard run on Wednesday. Thursday was a scheduled rest day and I was okay until I went to an auto race that night. It was cold and my leg started acting up. All of a sudden, I had soreness when standing in the same spot for a few minutes. It bothered me on the drive home too. I put some heat on my legs before bed. They continued to bother me during sleep if they weren't positioned correctly.

I decided to take an extra day off and cut out the 60 minute bike ride on Friday. I iced my knees and laid in bed or sat on the couch all day. It did help, but at times if my legs still had some minor aches. The concern this week has been that this injury was below my knee cap rather than to the side.

I was afraid to go out and run the long 4.5 mile run this morning. I woke up early and felt good, but still had some of the minor sensations in my legs. After reading for an hour and going back to bed for another two hours, I decided to test myself by getting out and running. I figured I won't know how bad the problem is if I don't give it a go.

Navigation to Llyod Hall was tough because of all the 4th of July activity. It took even longer to get there. I ran all the way out to the scheduled turnaround point just past the St. Joe's Prep Rowing Building. Around that area was a little difficult because they were having an event. I felt pretty good though.

I ran back for about another mile or so, but then my leg started acting up. I tried to push on, but once I went from gravel to pavement, it got worse. I had to start walking. I've been reading a book that Jeff Galloway wrote. His training involves walking for a minute or two every mile. It's something that isn't easy for a competitive runner to accept. That's for sure.

Since I couldn't run anymore and was so far from home, I decided to give Jeff's program a try. At the 2 minute walking point, I approached the second set of gravel. I ran for another 8 minutes or so to the other end of the gravel. I then walked for 2 more minutes and ran until I got to Llyod Hall. I decided to keep going for a little longer since I had to walk back a lot further than usual. I added in about 2 minutes of uphill before walking. This run/walk pattern was very refreshing and gave me energy to push further. It greatly reduced the pain. It's something I'll definitely continue in training for awhile, if not during the race too.

I'm going to keep icing my legs after running and will try to be more cautious in my training. I think overstriding is what caused my problem this week. I kept a nice and slow pace today. Another thing I'm doing is overstretching. Every time I've felt soreness, I've been stretching and sometimes too hard. I need to stretch after exercise and if I feel really bad, but I can't keep doing it over and over again. That can cause damage as well.

They say that running is trial and error and I'm certainly learning. I thought of overtraining as running too many miles, I never really thought much about it as running too hard. I also didn't feel like I was going too hard since I was just increasing my stride and not really working harder. Obviously I was wrong.

The biggest problem I have is I rely too much on the past. When I ran track, I was able to get up to speed very quickly with no running background. I was able to compete with some of the best runners around in just two months. Now looking back, it's not just amazing the quick progress I made, but also that I didn't get injured. If you asked my track coach, he probably would've said that he didn't like to push me that hard. It was my senior year though and the last and only chance, so he let me run as hard as everyone else for as long as I'd take to it. I probably would've got injured had I kept up that training pace.

One thing that likely did keep me injury free and got me up to speed so quickly back then was that I was very active. I didn't run, but played baseball, football and basketball, all the time. I had a good fitness base to work from. I've now been running for 2 months, but that's after doing next to nothing for years, especially the five years since graduating from college.

I want to be an elite runner, but I need to be patient. There's still plenty of time. They say not to go for a goal time in your first marathon and now I see why. You'll come across a lot roadblocks like this if you push too hard. I need to just hit the finish line in November. Whatever the clock reads doesn't matter. It'll take years for me to become an elite runner anyways. Once I have a good healthy base built up, then I can start pushing a little more.

Tomorrow is an off day with some strength and stretching. I'll be at Watkins Glen for the Indy Car race. Monday will be an early 3 mile run. It's the live period for basketball, so I'll be very busy with that over the next two weeks. I'll still get my workouts in though.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Running Within

Today was only a short 2 mile run, but very productive nonetheless. I'm trying to focus on improving my stride and breathing. I did just that on this day and I also worked on running relaxed.

Much like a few weeks back, I focused on catching a slower runner early on. I blew past the heavy footed runner who seemed to be struggling. Unlike the previous run though, he picked up his pace and came back at me. I could hear the loud footsteps behind me so I increased my stride a little longer and tried to hold him at bay.

It didn't break him though and it was just too early in my run to push any further. He eventually went by me and pulled ahead. Unlike when I was passed in my 5K, I didn't quit and attempted to at least stay at his pace. I did that until he finished up his run at my turnaround spot on the Schuykill Banks. In a few weeks, I'll be stronger enough to leave him in my dust, but I'm not there yet. I actually wish I had more challenges like that in my daily runs. There are a lot runners out there, but few seem bothered when they get passed.

The second half of the run was fairly impressive too. Because the other runner set a torrant pace, I was in a comfort zone and able to maintain that pace throughout the end of the run. I stayed focused and concentrated on my stride, breathing and relaxation. I battled up the hill at the end and finished the second half of the run roughly as fast as the first half.

Following the run, I decided to run up and down the Art Museum steps twice. It wasn't too difficult and perhaps I'll add it to my routine (although I wasn't too comfortable). I also did some abs exercises and push ups when I got home. I'm not looking to create a total body workout, but it wouldn't hurt to add a little strength to other areas as well.

I'm working not only on improving my stride and breathing to get faster, but also the mental aspect of running. That allowed me to push hard today, but not overdo it. I bought an excellent book called "Running Within" that works on the mental aspects of running. I'm nearly done reading it in only a day and a half. I used it to do some visualizations of my runs. I envisioned how well I'd run today, although when passing people, I didn't anticipate them coming back at me. That's something to add to future visualizations. I also reran my poor 5K run in my head, only this time imagining that I ran it better and the way I wanted to. I think this mental training will be a big help too as I'm trying to get serious. Only time will tell though.

The other fun thing in the works right now is putting together a 5K. Several of us on CAAzone have been talking about running. We've thrown out the idea of running a 5K amongst all the CAA schools' fans and obviously the locals in Richmond during CAA tournament weekend. I suggested we put on the event to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. After Nicole Hester battled through Hodgkin's Disease and now with Will Adams is going through the same, it would be great to benefit a related charity. I don't really know all that is involved in putting on an event, but I plan to contact the CAA office as well as the local chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. I also might contact the local Richmond running club. It would be a lot of work and I'd love to be heavily involved. Ideally though, we'd need someone in Richmond to handle a lot of the logistics.

For awhile now, I haven't known where my future is going. I'm sure watching basketball will take me there, but now it looks like running might play a bigger role than I would've imagined a few months ago. Before, I thought that maybe I hated running, but that might've just been a reaction of poor training and overtaining. I'm so passionate and hungry right now and plan to keep it that way.

After a hard week, tomorrow is a much needed day off. Friday will be a 60 minute cross training exercise on the bike. Saturday I'll do my 4.5 mile long run for the week as I build up towards the 10K at the end of July.