Wednesday, December 30, 2009

5K Simulation

Since I'm running a 5K for New Year's Eve, I decided to simulate it this morning. I run on the course all the time, but I've never run it hard. I know it's not the best idea to run hard right before the race, but I wanted to gauge what I'm capable of, since I haven't run fast in awhile.

As I was about to start my run, a guy ran by. I didn't want to blow past him, so I gave it some time. Of course as I was about to start again, a guy and girl went by. This time I started. I fly right past them as I went out very hard. Running 5Ks at that speed are just so uncomfortable for me.

Even running against the wind, the first mile was a very impressive 6:26. I wasn't even sure if I could actually run that fast. I impressed myself really. I definitely slowed the second mile and at the turnaround. I passed both groups of runners in the opposite direction, on the second mile.

I still was well under 7 minutes, even after slowing down. When I saw that I was approaching 20 minutes, I really picked it up. My race goal is to run under 20 minutes. That may be tough as this run took me 20:17 and I gave it about everything I had.

I actually only ran 3.09 miles. One thing I don't like about my Garmin is that I have difficulty getting it off of the calories setting and into the distance setting. I was unable to change its settings until after the race. I was close enough on the distance though and it just shows how accurate that thing is.

I'd like to run a little faster, but I'm not really sure how. Maybe if I back off a little early, I can pick up more later in the race with the wind likely at my back. I don't know that I can truly gain a lot though. I put about everything I had into today's run. Maybe some competition can push me a little more.

Weather is going to be another issue. Today, I went with just a Nike base layer. Tomorrow night, might be rain and snow. I definitely don't want to wear a jacket, unless I have no other choice. Regardless of the weather, it should be fun.

3.09 miles - 20:17 (6:33 pace)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Valley Forge Trail

I was called by work and told that I didn't need to be in until 4 PM, instead of 2 PM. I took the extra time and decided to run at Valley Forge National Park. It was a great experience.

The weather was almost unbearable. I got out to freezing cold and a driving wind. There are a lot of open fields up there, so the wind blows right through. Luckily, I was running on the trails and they were blocked by trees.

I found the Mount Joy trail and started up that in my new trail shoes. The start was incredibly steep. I had to work very hard to get up it. I had trouble breathing because it was so steep. It did even off a little bit at least.

I opted for the less steep portion when I encountered a spot with two choices. I eventually ran on what I thought was the trail and wound up near some deer. I had heard that they don't move and are used to people. I didn't believe until I actually saw it. I was about 15 yards away from them and they just stared at me. It was a neat experience.

Eventually, I got back onto the right trail. I took off my Under Armour Hood because it was too hot. Every now and then, some wind did blow at me though. The trail was quite narrow and interesting to run on at times. I finished it up and turned around after just over a mile. I was disappointed that it was so short.

I found a steep turnoff and ran up that. It was very rocky and quite the climb. I passed some walkers, who had trouble even going down in that fashion. I managed to get up and down it though. Since I was trying to find more trails, I found a very steep path. It went down to nearby Route 252. It was tough to even run down it. The trail then really kicked my ass on the way back up. I had to stop and walk briefly a couple times.

After getting back on level ground, I headed towards home. I found one more new steep incline before I eventually headed for home. That uphill was very tough as well. I haven't experienced hills like this. I guess the trails off of Forbidden Drive are comparable, but I've typically just stuck to the road.

The running and the hills were excellent and I'll definitely be back. My ass was really kicked today and this will be a good test of my fitness as I get stronger. Hopefully I can cruise on this trail at some point in the future. Now I see why the Kenyans like to run here. I'm still adapting to trail running in general. Downhill is tough and this trail was quite narrow.

I was disappointed that this trail wasn't connected to any others. There are a couple other trails across the creek. I'll have to try them out next time. That should give me enough mileage. I had hoped for 7 miles today, but 5 miles at that difficulty was okay.

I'm really enjoying trail running. Now, it's back to the roads tomorrow though. It's an easy 3 miler as I rest for the upcoming 5K. I might run the 5K route and see how fast I can do it. I really want to break 20 minutes for the run.

5.11 miles - 51:57 (10:09 pace)

Monday, December 28, 2009

Getting Windy

Today was an easy five mile run. I went one mile out on Kelly Drive and turned around and ran the Schuykill Banks loop. I really like this route.

The first mile was brutal due to the wind. The temperature was 40 degrees, but it was 31 degrees with the wind chill. Fighting the wind, I started off slowly. I consistently improved with every mile. The Garmin was a big part of me doing just that.

After the first mile, the next 2.5 miles were wind free. That was a big plus and I got into a groove. I actually was too hot and put my headband away. I really fought some wind during the final uphill portion. My legs were feeling a little dead, but I continued to battle.

I dressed with just a ColdGear top and shorts. It was actually the right outfit. It was a little troublesome with the wind, but very comfortable when going the other way.

After the run, I ran three steep 8 second hill sprints. I used a path near some rocks at the back of the Art Museum. It is steep there anywhere else that I've used hills. It still didn't seem difficult though.

Tomorrow will be a difficult hilly run on Forbidden Drive. I don't work until 2, so I can head out there. It'll be great to have GPS out there, because I never know how far I'm going. I might use the heart rate monitor too. I also can't wait to use my trail shoes. It'll be a fun day.

5 miles - 38:19 (7:40 pace)

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Loving the Garmin

This morning was my weekly long run. Since I missed my 9 mile one last week due to the snow, I was a little concerned that I'd struggle to run 10 miles. I was very happy with today's results. I chose a relatively flat course from my parents house to an industrial park.

The first mile was nice and smooth. I went out with my new Garmin Forerunner leading the way. I cruised to around an 8 mile first mile. The temperature was in the 40s, even at 8 AM. I only had on a long sleeve shirt and tights. I matched that with a headband and gloves. That was actually too much. I rolled up my sleeves and took off my gloves and headband as I began to get hot.

I ran a solid pace. It definitely wasn't an easy pace, but I'm not sure I'd call it hard. It was great to watch my mile by mile pace on the Garmin. With so few cars on the road, I ran a lot in the middle of the road. That was much better than running on the crowned shoulder. Surprisingly, my IT band rarely bothered me.

My pace picked up slightly nearly every mile. I finally got to the industrial park and was very pleased when I turned around. I thought about slowing down because I wasn't sure how I'd react in the last miles. I continued to be strong though.

There was a pretty steep hill with 2 miles to go. That did take a lot out of me, but didn't kill me. I actually pushed harder and ran my fastest mile. The final mile was even faster, at just over 7 minutes.

I was thrilled with tracking my progress on the Forerunner. It'll allow me to monitor my workouts much more closely and take them to the next level. It's just what I need to qualify for Boston. I couldn't believe the pace that I sustained for 10 miles. I'm definitely getting much stronger. I think the hill running has been a big help. I will continue with that.

Tomorrow is an easy run. Later in the week, I'll be running the Midnight 5K on Boathouse Row. It should be a blast. Hopefully, my work schedule doesn't make it too rough.

10 miles - 1:15:21 (7:32 pace)

Friday, December 25, 2009

Appalachian Trail

Today certainly turned into an interesting Christmas Day run. I got a pair of tights and Garmin Forerunner 405 GPS watch among my many gifts. I didn't get any trail running shoes. Regardless, I decided to try finding a trail. I wound up trying the Appalachian Trail, since it isn't too far from my parents house.

They drove me to the snow covered trail and waited for me in the car. Running it seemed pretty crazy when I looked it over, so of course I jumped right in. I ran what I thought was the main trail, but later learned it was just a rugged adjacent path. I climbed up the very rocky path. I had to go slow and the hill was steep. I had trouble breathing early on too.

I fell once and there were some sharp rocks that hurt my feet. Luckily, the snow actually provided some nice cushioning and with only a few inches, it was reasonable to run on. After climbing for awhile, I came to an opening. I ran down a little and had a spectacular view from the top of the mountain.

I wasn't on the right path though, so I continued along the main trail. That was much wider and easier to navigate through. I ran faster there when I could. The problem I encountered was a lot of snow drifts. I had thin socks on and snow was often getting into my shoe.

A nearby chemical plant destroyed a lot of the trees in that area and it was eerie running through that desolate portion of the trail. The ground there is either black or orange. Some sections had snow drifts, others were bare.

I finally decided to turn around after 32 minutes. I regretted doing so though, because I was having such a blast. I never did much trail running and didn't realize how much fun it could be. I was the only one up there and crazy enough to run in those conditions. The rugged section had some other footprints, but the main trail only had animal tracks.

The run back was a real shock and slap in the face. I came across incredibly strong winds, one of the reasons that there was no snow on the ground (it all blew away). My feet still felt pretty good, but I was beginning to become concerned with how much snow and cold they were being exposed to. Trail shoes would've certainly helped.

I kept on running because I had no other choice. Even though my foot impacted the ground at different angles, my IT band didn't bother me. The softness of the snow must've cushioned it very well.

I got lost on the way back. I recognized the power line tower near where I came out of the rugged portion of the trail. I stayed on the main trail though for about 5 more minutes. I wasn't sure if I was going the right way, so I turned around and headed back for the tower. I then found the rugged trail.

It took awhile to get down there and I had to navigate down the steep slope very slowly. My dad actually called out for me at one point. They were getting worried. It was getting pretty dark by the end of the run. The rugged section of trail was marked with white paint on the trees, so it wasn't hard to follow.

I finally finished up, after over an hour of running. It was a very slow run, but definitely challenging. The hills were excellent and just what I need to get stronger. I later discovered that when I turned around to go back to the power line tower, that I was actually on the right path. That would've led right to the car and in a much easier fashion.

The run was a blast and I'll definitely have to go up there again sometime. I guess I need to find some more trails to run on as well as getting some trail shoes. Thicker socks would've helped too.

Tomorrow, I'll take off and buy a couple running related items. I'm going to run 10 miles on Sunday before leaving for the Eagles game. I'll likely stick to the roads this time though. What an amazing Christmas run though.

6.36 miles - 1:11:38 (11:16 pace)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Overheating in the Cold

Today was another easy morning run. I started off at my apartment and along Kelly Drive. I ran to the John B. Kelly statue by the grandstands and back. That's the turnaround point for the upcoming New Year's run, so I figured I'd run the course a little.

I couldn't decide on what to wear for the run. That ended up being a mistake. It was 27 degrees, but little to no wind. I just couldn't fathom going out in that weather without a jacket. Apparently I should have though as I severely overheated. I was sweating like crazy when I got back. Even opening my jacket during the run, taking off the headband and gloves, didn't help.

I tried to run hard and fast for awhile early on, but getting too hot eventually took its toll. There was a slight wind on the way out, but none on the way back. That's when I really got hot.

My IT band problem was just so so today. It continues to nag me, but it didn't slow me down any. I still ran an okay pace. It never got really bad. It's something I'll just have to continue to battle through. Running on uneven surfaces and at a slower pace are clearly issues. Maybe when I get vibrams in the spring, that'll really help.

Tomorrow is Christmas Day. I'm looking forward to getting some new running stuff and possibly testing it out during an afternoon run. I want to really do a hilly 7 mile run. Being back that the parents, I'm not sure where to run though. I'll have to figure that part out. It's been great to get out the last two days and I look forward to tomorrow's run as well.

5.4 miles - 43:57 (8:08 pace)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Slower Pace

I've been having trouble dragging myself out of bed to run lately. The cold temperatures combined with a lack of sleep have been an issue. Today, I did get up and get my run in. I still never ran my long run from over the weekend, but at least I'm making some effort.

I decided to start off running when I got to 21st and Green Streets. Running on the uneven sidewalks which are covered in ice might not be a good idea. Not only is it a safety hazard, but I think it bothers my IT band.

The beginning of the run along West River Drive was interesting too. Of course, it was very cold when I ran over the river. That is always the case. I had on my jacket and my new winter running hat. That was a big help. The temperature were in the teens with a wind chill in single digits.

I real interesting part was as I ran over the bridge over the river. The snow had melted and refroze. It made for a slow going through that portion. Once I hit the actual path, I was very impressed with how clear it was. Rarely did I come across any ice.

The head wind that encountered slowed my pace and my IT band started acting up before I turned around at the railroad bridge near Montgomery Drive. I was able to pick my pace up later and noticed that with a different stride, my IT band doesn't act up as much. It still bothered me though, but I managed to finish my run at the Art Museum.

All in all, it was a productive run. I was hoping to continue to improve over the winter, but I guess I'm just going to have to settle for putting in miles and just surviving. The cold isn't bad, it is the wind that is the pain. I constantly have to change how I'm dressed during the run because of it. Wearing extra clothes is slowing me down as well.

Tomorrow will be my last run here before heading home for Christmas. I hope to get in an easy 5 miler. Back home, I'm going to run a hilly 7 miler and then follow that up with a 10 mile Sunday long run. Hopefully, this week will stay on track now.

5.15 miles - 42:44 (8:18 pace)

Monday, December 21, 2009

After the Snow

I failed to get out a run yesterday morning after the snow, so I tried to run my 9 miler this morning. Things didn't start out well as I was very tired and struggled to get out of bed. I slept in another hour later than I planned. I finally hit the road though.

Part of my reason for not running up to this point was that I didn't expect the 20 inches of snow to be plowed from the Kelly Drive path yet. I was very shocked when I got out and it was relatively clear this morning.

I couldn't decide which shoes to wear. I didn't want to get my new ones full of snow, so I chose the old pair. I figured I'd be running in snow, so the additional support of my news shoes wouldn't help much anyways.

It turned out I made the wrong choice. The path was fairly clear. The only issues were water that refroze and a section by the grandstand that still had an inch or two.

I actually started from my house for a change. That wasn't too bad and I felt pretty good by the time I reached Lloyd Hall. I went a couple miles before I noticed any problem with my IT band. I ran slow, but comfortable. It was windy for most of the way out.

Once I hit the snow by the grandstands, it became obvious that I wasn't going to finish 9 miles. The snow caused my IT band to really start acting up. I couldn't land on even ground and it was a big problem. I went just past the Strawberry Mansion Bridge and then turned around.

Shortly after that, I started to walk. I figured it was a good idea to do so for 2 minutes. I started back up, but the left IT band continued to be a problem. I had to run/walk the rest of the way and struggled to get back to Lloyd Hall. On my last run/walk segment, I got a burst and ran fast for a few hundred meters. That was over quickly though.

I was disappointed that I still didn't get my long run in. I did complete 6 miles though. That's better than nothing. I'll have to see if my new shoes will work better on the uneven ground.

One good thing is that I'm no longer very sore in work. Even after a shift of over 9 hours, I'm only slightly sore. Hopefully, I can get in a 9 miler tomorrow. Since I rested two days over the weekend, I can skip my scheduled rest day tomorrow.

6 miles - 55:17 (9:13 pace)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Going Solo

Well this evening was certainly an interesting run. I was unable to get much sleep on Thursday night, so I opted to sleep later instead of run in the morning. I didn't eat anything other than breakfast before work and I didn't get a break until 5 hours were up. I developed a headache and eating McDonald's during break wasn't any help.

I was still determined to get out and run in the beautiful 31 degree weather though (wind chill of 24 degrees). I ended up resting for about an hour to try to clear my headache. Following that, I opted to just attempt to sleep instead and make up the run at another time.

Of course the Friday night party downstairs started up and I couldn't sleep. As 10:30 rolled around, I just decided to head out the door for a run. Kind of crazy, but I might as well do something productive. I ran a 4 miler. I started on Kelly Drive and did an out and back for a total of a mile. I then ran the Schuykill Banks loop.

Not surprisingly, I was the only runner out. I was passed by about 5 bikers and a couple walkers. I think most people that were crazy enough to be out an 11 PM on a Friday were just commuting from somewhere.

I figured that I had dressed too warm with a jacket over my shirt. I was worried about going out without a jacket that late at night though. I was right, it was definitely too hot. Throughout some of the run, I had to open the jacket.

I ran a nice solid pace on this easy day. My quads were a bit sore from yesterday's hills, but other than that, I felt good. I was even crazy enough to add two hill sprints behind the Art Museum. Luckily, no one saw me. I would've looked completely ridiculous running uphill at full speed with tights and a yellow shirt on over my jacket.

I'm really starting to like this night running thing. The skyline is beautiful and everything is so peaceful. Of course, I've always enjoyed the darkness in general. If it wasn't somewhat dangerous, I might run more often at night.

This was good practice for the upcoming New Year's Midnight run that I signed up for along the river. As I was walking home, the clock hit 12 AM and it officially became my birthday. Speaking of which, I'd still like to get a 9 mile long run in tomorrow afternoon. It might get tricky because a big snowstorm is supposed to start overnight.

4 miles - 32:26 (8:07 pace)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Always Uphill

It was another day of hills on Forbidden Drive. I headed out there late in the morning for a fine trail run. After a couple strides, high knees and kick butts, I took off running. The plan was to go about 6 miles.

I started off easy, running north along the path from Valley Green. I did that for 5 minutes and then turned around. It is mostly flat there, but there was actually a portion that was quite hilly.

I started with my jacket over my ColdGear. It was too hot though. I just ditched the jacket and was comfortable. There was a little breeze, but the top and tights kept me warm enough. I didn't have any ear protection, but that didn't become a big problem.

The hills that I encountered when heading south were great. They are very challenging and you go from one to the next. It wasn't too wet today, but there were a few spots, including some with ice. I made it all the way out to Lincoln Drive again. This time, I ran comfortably because I didn't have anyone to push me like the hard workout two weeks ago.

It worked out well though. I still worked very hard. On the way back, it seemed like I was still hitting a lot of inclines. It was like the terrain stayed the same as on the way out. That bothered my IT band a little, but not so much so that I had to quit. I was able to keep going. I have definitely become a lot stronger than just a couple weeks ago. The hills are strengthening me, as is spending all day on my feet at work.

I finally found out why trail shoes are so important. This is a soft trail, but I still ran into a problem. On the way back, a sharp rock pierced my shoe and there's actually a hole in it. I'm definitely going to buy trail shoes if I don't get any for Christmas.

Overall, it was a great workout. It'll really help me in my quest to qualify for Boston. I'm am so focused on that right now. The cold weather can't even phase me. Tomorrow will be a simple recovery run. I'll likely do another flat route along the river. This time, perhaps I'll run on West River Drive. I haven't done that in awhile.

50:01 ~ 6 miles

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Lonely Winter Night Run

Well I took a rest day on Tuesday. I didn't get to bed soon enough last night, so I slept in a little this morning and didn't have time for my run. That meant that I had to run at night, after my 8 PM shift was over.

It was very windy, which made it feel extremely cold. I was actually surprised to see that the temperature is currently 30 degrees (feels like 20 degrees). I headed out the door prepared, with a couple layers on. I didn't want to put on a heavy ColdGear shirt, so I tried a lighter base layer. The cheaper brown shirt that I have didn't work as well as I had hoped, and actually was quite sweaty.

The first quarter mile was brutal. I put on the hood and battled a strong head wind. I had the hood on very tight. It actually bothered my neck after a couple miles and I had to loosen it. I felt pretty good for awhile. My Under Armour tights worked awesome and the jacket that I have really did break the wind.

Around 1.5 miles, I started to get hot though. I was surprised that this happened even before the turnaround. I took down my hood for awhile and even removed my gloves and unzipped my jacket to cool down. Eventually, I put the hood back up again.

Not surprisingly, my first half of the run was very slow. It took me about 17:15 to get to the turnaround. Today was an easy day, so I didn't push much. I did pick it up with the wind at my back though.

Even though it's cold, it is beautiful running in the city at night. The Kelly Drive path is dimly lit. The skyline is pretty. It's peaceful because there aren't many other runners, walkers or bikings out. I'm definitely taking a liking to the night run. There's also a certain toughness about being out in these conditions.

I also used my cheap yellow shirt again as a night vest. The shirt sucks to actually run in, but it's great for this application. I don't even need to buy a vest now, although I probably will at some point.

I'll be out to run again in less than 12 hours. I have a 2PM start time at work, so I'm going to run before it starts. It'll be my weekly hilly run on Forbidden Drive. Hopefully my feet will do okay on the rough terrain and I pray the ground isn't too wet. It doesn't seem like it ever dries out there though.

4 miles - 32:45 (8:11 pace)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Sore Hip

Today was an easy 4 mile run. I went out and back on Kelly Drive from Lloyd Hall. It's nice and flat. I followed that up with a pair of sprints on Lemon Hill.

The temperature was great for this recovery run. It was 39 degrees with no wind. I wore shorts, a light long sleeve shirt and light gloves. I was even a bit hot actually.

The run itself went pretty well, but my left IT band acted up a little bit again. I was pushing a little hard to get past some people. The IT band became a minor problem around mile 2.5. It bothered me slightly throughout the rest of the run.

After 8 hours on my feet, my right hip was sore again. I wonder when I'll finally get used to being on my feet. Maybe it was because I still have to break in the new shoes. I actually ran in my old shoes today and that might've been part of the IT band problem.

Tomorrow will most likely be a 10 mile bike ride. It's that or rest. I don't work until 2 PM, so I'll probably just bike beforehand.

4 miles - 30:51 (7:43 pace)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Cold and Rainy

Well it's December, but apparently the rain still doesn't want to leave. At least we won't have to worry about having a drought anytime soon. When I checked the weather before the run, it was 34 degrees with light rain. The only thing that could've made it worse was some rain.

I walked outside with just my ColdGear top on. I went right back inside and switched to a shirt sleeve shirt and water resistant jacket. I only wore short shorts on the bottom. It actually didn't feel as bad as it would've seemed. Maybe I'm just used to 34 degrees now.

I didn't feel very strong early on. My legs didn't have a lot of bounce. The jacket made me feel a lot heavier too. A guy blew by me just after the first mile and I let him go. It was a pain adjusting the jacket's hood. At first, the light breeze would nearly blow it off my head. Once I got it right and the rain started weighing it down, it worked well.

Although I didn't feel strong, I ran okay. My IT band started acting up a little bit after the third mile. I also noticed that my legs were red and they were numb when I touched them. It was odd because they never felt cold. I decided that I'd run to Falls Bridge and turn around.

Going up to Falls Bridge, my IT band bothered me again. I went all the way across the bridge before turning around. I was really concerned about my legs, so I thought about warming up in a portable bathroom for awhile.

A few minutes later, I came across another guy with shorts on. His legs looked redder than mine and a women with him had a very red face. I decided to plug on. I still didn't feel great, but my IT band didn't bother me. It was mostly just a problem on the hills.

The IT band did finally act up again as I was half a mile from Lloyd Hall. I tried picking up the pace for awhile and that's when it started bothering me. After reaching Lloyd Hall, I added on a portion to the circle in the drive by the art museum. That made my IT band worse too.

When I finally stopped, my legs were quite red. I rested and stretched for about 15 minutes in the bathroom. The worst part wasn't the part of my legs that were exposed, it was portion that was under my legs. The wet shorts were a problem for my legs. I put some paper towels under them and survived. It was a little scary for awhile though.

My IT band is still a problem, but it's definitely getting better. Last week, I only made it 4 miles before walking. I made it through the whole 8 miles today, even though I had some struggles. Tomorrow is an easy 4 mile run, as I continue to balance running and working.

7.8 miles - 1:02:03 (7:57 pace)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Extreme Weather

Today was my first test in extreme weather. It was an interesting run to say the least. Luckily, it was an easy day with only 3 miles planned. When I awoke, I checked the weather and was shocked to see 24 degrees and feels like 10 degrees. I knew it was going to make for a difficult time.

On the plus side, it was my first chance to try out the new running jacket. It worked well against the brutal headwind at the start, although the hood actually blew off. I had to tie it tight. It is definitely a solid jacket and I'll wear it again throughout most of the winter.

I went with Under Armour ColdGear underneath as well as UA tights. That was a pretty good choice, although I got fairly hot on the way back. My gloves still worked well in this temperature. I tried out my Under Armour Hoodie for a half mile. It was so so.

I wanted to run easy, but it is kind of difficult to do when the wind is pushing you backwards. I certainly didn't push the pace and really I couldn't have if I wanted to.

Once I hit the turnaround, I went from uncomfortable to hot. I actually took off the hood for awhile. I was sweating a little. The dramatic difference that the wind can make in each direction is what makes me so frustrated during winter running. I actually don't mind the cold part. It is just that the wind is brutal.

After finally finishing, I ran two short hill sprints on Lemon Hill. I am definitely getting stronger. I've only had minor soreness with my IT band lately. I wasn't sore today at work, even after being on my feet for 8 hours. That strengthening is going to be a big help in my marathon training.

This is the first time in a long time that I've run for 5 straight days. I don't feel tired or worn down either. I'm actually taking tomorrow off, but I'm eager to run again. I have an 8 mile run scheduled for Sunday. I might just make it 9 miles. I'm starting to develop a nice base.

Tomorrow, I need to lay out the rest of my training schedule. I have to mess my current fitness with my planned fitness. Bill Treichel wants to run a half marathon in the spring, so I'm going to put together a plan for him as well. I love making training plans. Maybe one day I'll coach and do that all the time.

3 miles - 25:31 (8:30 pace)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Trail Running Again

I went out to Forbidden Drive again. That's becoming a place that I really like to run. I ran for 35 minutes. It was freezing cold and very windy by my apartment, but comfortable out there.

This time, I ran north on Forbidden Drive. I ran to just past Bells Mill Road. Most of the route was flat, compared with the southern portion of the drive. There are still a few challenging hills though.

What made it very interesting was running through all the mud and puddles. It rained yesterday, but it was still wet. Apparently that area doesn't drain well at all. I was surprised that it was in that condition. I navigated around most of it, but a few times my shoes got wet.

I definitely need to get some trail running shoes. That'll protect my feet from water and mud. It will also give me some protection when I'm running over rocks. Eventually, I'll have to pick up a cheap pair.

I ran pretty hard, especially on the way back. I saw a couple people ahead of me and I passed them. I pushed hard to stay in front of them. I finished up with a pair of striders too.

It was fun running through the slop and I definitely need to get out and do more of that. I need to try running some of the trails around there too. Those are very hilly and will be a huge test.

My right hip has been sore the last couple days. It was very sore during work after my run. Tomorrow, I'll take it easy. I'm going to run a flat route with some hill sprints afterwards.

35 minutes (~4.5 miles)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Gorgeous Night

When I awoke this morning, it was pouring rain. While I like running in the rain, I'm not too crazy about it in December. I went back to bed.

At work, they had me working in shoes for most of the day. That meant running up and down stairs all day. After awhile, I started to get sore. It was good strengthening work.

Even after a busy day at work, I decided to get in my run afterwards. I went out for a nice 4 miler along Kelly Drive around 9 PM. The weather was great, in the mid 50s.

There is just something wonderful about running at night. I love the dark. Running in between the lights is pretty cool too. It was peaceful with only a few runners and bikers out.

I wore a short sleeve shirt and shorts with gloves. I put on the yellow running shirt too. I really don't like it for running, but it seems to be working well as a reflective shirt.

I went out at a comfortable pace. I wore my Asics again. I felt very good. I was actually a bit hot after awhile. As I was running around the 1.5 mile mark, a guy passed me. He was wearing an Ironman shirt and hydration belt. He wasn't going too fast and I tucked in behind him and picked up the pace. It was a good workout for a brief stint, but he turned around before I did.

His faster pace caused me to run the rest of the route hard. Right after passing him, I had to run up on a trail near the stands. The portion of the path near the river was flooded. I really pushed through the final two miles, even though my legs felt like they were dieing. I finished strong though.

It was an excellent workout and I'm really liking my new shoes. I had no problems with my IT band. Although it was almost all flat, that was still surprising. Tomorrow, I will test it out again with a hilly run. I'm considering riding my bike for a little beforehand too. I'm crazy with my latest addiction. Maybe I should backoff at some point.

4 miles - 29:44 (7:26 pace)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


I guess you can say I'm becoming addicted to running and exercise in general. I do have an addictive behavior, it is good that it is being used for something productive this time. Today was an easy 3 miles in the new shoes this morning. That wasn't enough though, as I biked about 10 miles in the dark after work.

The run went fairly well. I just ran the Schuykill Banks loop. I warmed up with some strides, high knees and kick butts. I bought a pair of Asics Gel GT 2140. I forgot how good it feels to have a new pair of shoes. I felt like I could fly. I actually had to hold back a lot. I didn't realize just how dead my old pair was.

My IT band continued to act up on the hills. It never got too bad, but the last uphill near the 676 overpass became really tough. I had to slow down quite dramatically. I guess my shoes weren't only problem when it comes to the IT band.

I ran in my new Under Armour ColdGear Compression Hoodie. It worked out very nicely with shorts and gloves. The temperature was in the low to mid 30s, but it wasn't windy at all. It was quite nice for that temperature.

I spend a few minutes in the shoe department at work. I didn't sell much, but I had a nice talk with a gentleman about trail running, barefoot running, ultramarathing and so on. I'll definitely be most helpful in the long run when working in the shoe department. I will be able to relate well to runners, once I know more about our shoe products. I've been doing a lot of studying up lately.

They cut me early from work again. That is kind of frustrating right now, but at the same time, my legs are thankful. I took advantage of the situation though. I went out for a bike ride. Since it's dark and I don't have a working light, I wore a bright yellow running shirt over my jacket. I wore my Under Armour tights and my Hoodie underneath my jacket. It was perfect attire for the ride. The hood kept my ears warm.

Riding in the dark was interesting. Luckily, there aren't too many people out. The Schuykill loop is also fairly well lit. I should rephrase that. Kelly Drive is well lit, West River Drive isn't. That became a real problem too because there are a lot of bumpy stretches of pavement where tree roots stick up. I could see quite a few of them thanks to the street lights, but I hit a couple of them hard too.

Tomorrow will be another fairly easy run. This time I'm looking at 4 miles. I work again tomorrow too. On Thursday, I'm hoping to head back to the hills of Forbidden Drive. I might actually ride my bike afterwards too. I don't work until 4 PM on that day.

3 miles - 24:31 (8:10 pace)

Easy Monday

This Monday run was a nice and easy one. I got up late and didn't have a lot of time to run. It was important to get out there though. I ran a nice and easy mile out and back, starting at Lloyd Hall.

The IT band bothered me a little bit, but it wasn't too bad. The weather was one of the issues. I didn't wear gloves and I should have. I covered my hands with the ends of my shirt.

After the run, I did two hill sprints on Lemon Hill. This time, I did them around 8 seconds. I'm still surprised at how short of a hill that is. I'd run much longer on Lemon Hill last time. It seems to easy to be doing a lot of work.

After my shift was over at work, I bought a pair of shoes. I tried on a couple pairs of Asics as well as a pair of the Brooks Adrenline GTS 10. The Brooks seemed too narrow. I went with the Asics Gel GT 2140s because we didn't have the 2150s in my size. I probably should get a size smaller actually, but I like my shoes loose.

2 miles - 15:56 (7:58 pace)

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Saturday Run/Walk

I was planning on an 8 mile run today. The IT band continues to bother me and I was only able to make it through 6 miles, even after some walking. I did run the first 4 miles at least.

I felt pretty good and went out hard. I cruised through the first two miles in just over 15 minutes. I was strong. I saw a girl up ahead and worked hard to catch and pass her. After about 2.5 miles, the IT band began giving me minor problems.

I thought about stopping, but managed to force myself to keep running to Falls Bridge. I made it a bit farther as well. Just after mile 4, I walked for 2.5 minutes. That helped and I ran for another mile after that, before I had to stop again. After walking for a second time, I battled to the 6 mile point. I then walked all the way home.

Being on my feet at work as been part of the problem with my IT band. I probably did too much too soon after the marathon too. I will try to back off a little.

My shoes have 400 miles on them, so that could be a culprit too. I plan on getting a new pair. I get 40% off of my first pair at City Sports. I'm going to check out a couple on Monday. Without trying any on, I'm leaning towards the Asics Gel GT 2150 or Brooks Adrenaline 10. Hopefully, they'll help my IT band issue.

I wore Under Armour ColdGear today. That worked really well. The temperature was in the 30s and it was cloudy. I wore gloves and shorts and was actually a bit hot during the run. It is amazing how much you warm up during runs. It'll probably be awhile until I have wear a jacket.

I bought a bunch of half price Under Armour stuff thanks to my training for City Sports. They called me yesterday and said I wasn't needed. I worked on studying shoes more. I will be in all 5 days this week. That should be interesting. It'll be good to get hours.

I may bike for awhile tomorrow. I need to reorganize my training plan and go a little easier this coming week. I have to back off and make sure this IT band doesn't become a bigger issue. I'm going to stretch and strengthen my hips too.

6 miles - 54:50 (9:08 pace)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

IT Band Back Again

Today was an easy run. I ran a mile out and back on Kelly Drive and then added in the Schuykill Banks loop. The run was 4 miles total. I struggled through it.

I stretched and warmed up. I felt pretty good with the slow paced first mile. My IT band began bothering me a little after that though. I had to walk downhill as I went to the Schuykill Banks. I stopped and stretched my leg.

I was determined to finish though. I was able to run until the turnaround. I struggled towards the end and stretched shortly after turning for home. I walked for a bit more.

I then got back to running again. I was able to run until the final uphill stretch. I walked part of it and finished with a run.

Whenever I picked up the pace, I felt much better. I really struggle when running at slow paces. I know no how to control the IT band problem a little better than in the past. Hopefully, the additional stretching I'm doing will help me through it again this time. I had not been stretching the left IT band and that's been the one that's bothered me this time. Usually it was the right one.

I'm going to run 2 short hill sprints on Lemon Hill tomorrow morning before work. I'm hoping to run 12 miles on Saturday. We'll see how the legs hold up after another day of work.

I think the extra time on my feet at work has been the problem. Hopefully, I'll adapt to it. I need to get stronger, but it's hard. Every time I do hills to get stronger, I have problems.

I've been studying up on shoes for work and I'm starting to learn more about them. I'm eager to become more knowledgeable. I'm thinking about getting a new pair of shoes myself.

4 miles - 36:30 (9:08 pace)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Hilly Forbidden Drive

This morning, I headed to Forbidden Drive to run. I haven't worked out there since the summer. I really should've went out there more during my marathon training. I just hated looking for parking before I got a permit.

It was a great workout. The area is quite hilly and that made things very challenging. The start was actually all uphill and I didn't warmup beforehand. That ended up giving me some bad IT Band problems.

I got settled in after a slow start. The IT Band issue went away and I picked up the pace. I heard someone coming up behind me. I picked the pace up even more. It was actually an older guy that I passed early on. He was friendly when he passed me. Both of us ran very up and down the hills until we hit Lincoln Drive.

He stopped there to stretch. I kept going at a slow pace. I was very worn out from the hard workout. After a few more hills slowed me down, my IT Band bothered me again. It got pretty bad, so I stopped on a hill. The guy caught up to me and chatted a little and thanked me for a hard run.

After a few minutes of walking, I found a steep hill. I was only 1:15 from running for 40 minutes. I decided to go hard up the hill for 1:15. That was helpful, but my soreness still continued.

I'm not sure why I'm so sore. Obviously, I'm still weak on hills. I need to get better on those, but it's tough when this problem is arising. I'm sure being on my feet all day at work is a huge issue too. I have to be smart with it. I need to stretch more frequently.

Tomorrow will be an easy 4 mile run. I'm going to make sure it's flat again. I'll probably run the Schuykill Banks, plus a mile add on. That should be a decent workout. I'm off again tomorrow, so I'll have all day to recover.

~ 5 miles (40:00)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

First Post Marathon Run

Today was my first day back to running after the marathon. I went out for an easy 4 mile out and back along Kelly Drive. It felt great to get back into running. I missed it over the last week.

The temperature was in the upper 30s when I started out. I dressed in tights and a new long sleeve Nike shirt. That seemed great when I got out the door. I found that it was way too hot once I got going.

The other problem I encountered was that my IT band starting bothering me. The weird part is that it occurred on my left one. That hasn't caused me problems at all, it has always been the right side. The tights I wore were the ones that I had 9 years ago when I first ran. That's when I first discovered the IT band issue. Perhaps the tights are part of the problem.

I wasn't quite as sore after I a few minutes. I settled into a nice, comfortable pace. I wanted to ease back into running and I did just that.

I concluded my workout by running two hill sprints behind the Art Museum. They were supposed to only be 8 seconds long, but I wound up doing about 14 seconds each. Eight seconds is a very short sprint. I didn't realize how short until I timed it.

I worked in shoes at City Sports on Monday. That requires going up and down a flight of stairs over and over again. It'll be good training, but I'll have to get used to it. Today, I worked in the fitting room and some on the floor. It's getting better now that I'm comfortable with where everything is.

We have a training website for a lot of our vendors. If you go on it and pass the quizzes, you get significant discounts on products. I bought some Under Armour gear with it. It's already been pretty helpful in training me on shoes, but I'm going to study those even more.

I have two days off now. I might wander out to Valley Forge Park tomorrow and check it out. I tried doing that the other day on my way back from the Philadelphia Premium Outlets. I didn't find the trail though.

I'm also putting together my training plan for the next marathon. I'm leaning towards running the Minneapolis one in June. I'm reading and following Brad Hudson's book that features adaptive running. I took his schedule from the back on the book. I'll likely tweak it and change things as necessary. I'm really having a lot of fun putting together training plan. I need to make one up for my strength training exercises too.

4 miles - 31:12 (7:48 pace)