One Man's Fitness Fitness Adventures and Musings

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Week in Review

This was the most miles I have ever run in a single week, also Saturday marked the longest distance and longest time I have ever run at one time. Here are the results.

3/24/08 ..... 46.53 time ..... 4.35 miles ..... 10:47 pace .....759 calories

3/26/08 ..... 1:20:11 ..... 7.48 miles ..... 10:44 pace ..... 1357 calories

3/28/08 ..... 34:04 time ..... 3.25 miles ..... 10:29 pace ..... 696 calories

3/29/08 ..... 3:04:14 time ..... 16:00 miles ..... 11:31 pace ..... 2833 calories

31.08 miles

Some notes on the week:

1. My Friday run was interval training, this was the first time I put this into my program. It was a great time pushing the limits of my abilities. It was a good time.

2. I was only able to complete 16 of the 17 I had scheduled for the long run. This had everything to do with some family obligations. I just ran out of time. I was able to keep a decent pace over some serious hills and I was happy about that. My ankles took a pounding but after a couple of hours I was right as rain. I am surprised that after this type of pounding for hours that it only takes me 90 minutes to feel fine. It is amazing what the human body can handle when it is given the time to properly adapt. One year ago I was running at a 15:00 mile and huffing and puffing while doing it. In one year's time I have really made a substantial amount of progress.

3. Weight Check: Even though it is the 29th, I thought I would go on record. Today's pre run weight was 223. That is 8 pounds less than the beginning of the month. That is not bad, pretty good actually. That makes 25 for the year.

That's all I have

Friday, March 28, 2008

Intervals Day 1

I decided to add a little speed work this week. I have thought about this a lot lately. I don't want to get injured as I approach my first marathon. With that in mind I thought that on the small run at the tail end of the week I could handle some intervals. Tom from Runners Lounge send me some good advice on speed work and I plan on following that. Yet, currently I think I want to just put my toe in the speed work thing and see how it goes.

Today was that little toe experience. I think things went well.

Here is the break down

.5 rest - 11:14 pace
.5 speed - 9:20 pace
.5 rest - 11:37 pace
.5 speed- 9:18 pace
.5 rest - 11:40 pace
.5 speed - 9:42 pace
.25 rest - 10:38 pace

I think this is a good start. I like that I can sustain about a nine and half pace for a half mile. I think that is a good sign. I don't think I am going to push beyond this for a few weeks. Well that is what I have. The interesting thing was that the last quarter felt effortless after the 9 and half's, good feeling. 17 miles up for this weekend, yikes that sounds far.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Running Update

I don't usually write about my individual runs any longer, unless there is something remarkable. Last night I set out for my midling run. That is what I call the long mid week run. I set out to just keep a good pace and be comfortable. At the end of the run I had run each mile below 11:00 and finished with an average pace of 10:43. I have been finishing below the 11:00 pace for a bit of time but this is the first that I have had below 11:00 for seven miles in a row. To make it better, I did a .25 interval at the end of the run at a 7:45 pace. It felt good but strange. I had not run full out in sometime. So I have kicked the 11:00 barrier completely and now I can work on 10:00. Just so we are clear, I will still be over 11:00 for the marathon in May, there is a big difference between 26.2 and 7.5.

Another running related note, I found a track about 2.5 miles from home last night by running a different route than I usually do. I am happy that I can have a level spot to do some speed work. Huzzah. I think I am happier about this than is normal for most folks. Well, no one ever accused me of being normal.

In other news, my work has been getting in the way of my martial arts class, so I am quitting. Well not really, it is just annoying is all. But deadlines are deadlines and sometimes I have to work until 8 or 9 to get some things sorted out. I hope to make up a class this weekend. In an odd way I miss getting hit (now that is an odd admission).

Sad Philadelphia news, a man was waiting for a train and was beaten to death by four teens. The man was 36 and went into cardiac arrest while defending himself. One of the teens is in custody. I really do like the city but sometimes gives me pause. This happened in Center City where it is "safer" than most parts of the city. This troubles me. This city won't be a great city until we get the violence under control.

Monday, March 24, 2008

How's Your Bracket?

I survived this weekend to be in first place in my office pool. With both Drake and UConn dropping out I wasn't hurt. I was saddened when my beloved Temple Owls didn't make it out of the first round. Sometimes you go with your heart, I did. I currently hold a 50 point lead and the most points remaining.

Here is what I have left:

NC v. Wash St. ----- NC

Louisville v. Ten ---- Lou

Kansas v. Vand (they lost already) ----- KAN

Wisconsin v. Georgetown (they lost already) - WIS

Memphis v.Temple (they lost already) - MEM

Stanford v. Texas ----- Tex

UCLA v. Drake (they lost already) -- UCLA

Xavier v. WVA --- Xavier

Next Round

Kan v. Wis ---- Kan wins
NC v. Lou ---- NC wins
Mem v. Tex ---- Tex wins
UCLA v. Xavier ---- UCLA wins

Final Four
Kan v. NC ---- NC wins

Tex v. UCLA ---- UCLA wins


NC v. UCLA --- UCLA wins

That's what I have.

Week in Review

This was sort of a throw away week in terms of performance. I was fast but I didn't get in all the miles. I had an extra week built into the schedule so no big deal here are the results.

3/18/08 ..... 35.11 time ..... 3.15 miles ..... 11:12 pace

3/21/08 ..... 36.57 time ..... 3.45 miles ..... 10:43 pace

3/22/08 ..... 2:21:57 time ..... 13.1 miles ..... 10:50 pace

Week: 19.70 miles

Not terrible. I remember a time when a half marathon seemed like too long a distance to consider, not it is becoming comfortable.

In other news, I took the family to the Inner Harbor in Baltimore yesterday. I had never been before. It was a good time, my daughter loved the dolphin show they have at the aquarium and we were able to score some very good seafood as well. It was a nice day. I will have to make a weekend of it sometime this summer.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Just Another Half Marathon...

I was supposed to run 17 miles today; however, with my current funk I knew I wouldn't be running that far. Yet, I did have some foresight in regard to my training planning. When I set up this marathon training schedule I scheduled one week less than I had before the event. I knew that as an attorney my schedule can be suspect at times. Well I took my free week this week. I still ran 13.1 miles today, but that is not 17. So I will do this week again next week with no real damage to my schedule.

How did it go today? Pretty well thanks for asking. Since I cleared the funk out of my head over my training I feel much better. Here is the bottom line.

13.1 miles, 2 hours 21 minutes, 10:50 pace.
Huzzah for the PR. I was pretty shocked to be truthful. When I looked at the final numbers I was in disbelief. My slowest mile was mile 1 (11:06). That is it, 11:06 the slowest. Miles 12 and 13 were 10:57 and 10:59. To put that up at the end is a good sign for me. I felt strong at the end, I had another 6 to 7 miles in me. Things are coming together, even if this week becomes a scale back week, that is fine.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Clearing Away the Funk

I have been off for the past few days. Not as in off work but rather just kind of out of my normal flow. I think a variety of forces were working together in this conspiracy. I pulled a hamstring in my martial arts class on Monday, this prevented me from running for a couple of days. So I was off my routine. Then at my class I have been getting information from different people that is not all together consistent, or correct. So I was building up some stress on to how to best deal with this situation. My work has been a bit more intense lately and that has also added to my flow being a bit stifled. At heart, I am a problem solver. I am not the sort of person you come to if you just want someone to listen.
So I looked at the issues and mostly they are stemming from my martial arts training. I feel a bit off, nothing wrong with that on occasion. There are ebbs and flows in all aspects of life. This is just a bit of an ebb. However, what to do about the contradiction in training? Can be problem really. I think I will respectfully thank the person for any input and weigh it against what I know. Of course, I will do things their way while I am training with them for that time period. The bottom line, I train for self defense purposes, not to look pretty. I can evaluate information pretty well in this realm. So I won't stress the inconsistencies, I will just take the information weigh it and then throw out what is not useful to the main goal, self defense. I may look stupid to those who keep telling me the same thing but I am beyond caring too much about those sorts of things. I also don't care much about belts. So the big problem is solved. I will break it down into a flow chart in my mind.

1. Does it work/ is it effective? Y/N if N dump if Y keep
As to work, the stress generated is a bit out of my control. Yet, we are in control of how much we allow things to have an impact on us. I hadn't run since Monday, that was part of the problem. I ran today and was able to melt off some stress and for the first time since Monday I felt fine. So the problem with work is the problem we all face, deadlines, work flow, and balancing life outside of work. I just need to stop and do some exercise when I feel things building up a bit. OK, problem solved.
Right now I feel 150% better than I did on Tuesday. Sometimes we get in a funk, we just have to realize we are there and why we are there. After that cleaning the thing up usually isn't too tough.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Just Great, (A Rant)

I was watching the Discovery Channel this weekend, you know because I am geek like that sometimes and there was no porn on. So they have an interesting program on the human body. It really was amazing and I was very intrigued. It appears that a man was able to lift 1200 pounds of rock in a crisis situation, A police officer was able to out run a flash fire and the best way to swim the English Channel is to pack on about 16 pounds of fat. All very interesting and worthy of the Mr. Spock eye raise from the old Star Trek.

Yet, I am disturbed. Disturbed how you ask? Well it seems that over the course of human history food has been scarce, much like in most of the developing world. Over that time period of thousands of years, humans have become hard wired in particular ways. The one that is troubling to me is that due to this scarcity of food through human history our ancestors gorged themselves when they did have a chance to eat and then when they didn't their bodies would just cannibalize the fat created by the gorging. Sweet. So not only do I have to fight against increasing portion sizes where the average coke was only 10 oz or 12 oz when I was a kid to now where 20 oz seems to be the minimum but now I have to deal with thousands of years of pre-programing. So because some Cro-Magnon couldn't figure out how to salt and dry his woolly mammoth he decided to eat as much as he could right then, much like a cheetah on a gazelle. So today because Fred Flintstone couldn't stop after the 12th serving I have something else to worry about at the dinner table. Great another obsession. Hmmm, am I eating this because I am hungry or is it just a hard wire response to a lack of food in 4000 b.c.e.

It was interesting to learn; however, it was not something that someone who is food obsessed needs to hear. Just great! That's my rant.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Week in Review

As I mentioned earlier in the week, work was a bit of a bear and I was not able to get any runs in until Friday. Which means that one run was axed from the schedule. But I did manage the following.

3/14/08 (am) .....3.25 miles .....10:54 pace .....651 calories

3/14/08 (pm) ..... 8.2 miles .....11:07 pace ..... 1504 calories

3/16/08 ..... 15.25 miles ..... 11:10 pace ..... 2828 calories

I did manage a decent recovery for the week. Two a days are not really the way to go but as I did a short one in the am I was not overly concerned. In other observations, 15 miles is a heck of a lot more taxing that 13.1. I suppose this might be self evident but not so much for me. After thirteen I was really right as rain, but after my 15 yesterday, my ankles and feet were quite sore. It is the longest run I can ever remember doing so that is probably part of it. I do feel fine today but I went to bed at 9 pm last night, very early for me. I was just exhausted at the end of the day. I am sure that I will have a similar report next week after I do 17 miles.

On the plus side, I did manage an 11:10 pace over 15.25 miles. For me that is smoking and I did shave 2 minutes off my half marathon time from last weekend, a little good weather goes a long way. This week should be closer to schedule.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Working like a mad man

I have not run at all this week. I did run a half marathon on Sunday but that has nothing to do with it. I had a project at work and I have put in about 40 hours in 3 days time. Needless to say last night I was tired ... really tired. Today everything is back to normal. I should get something in tonight, hopefully an 8 miler.

Hope everyone else has been able to keep their schedules.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Citizens Bank Caesar Rodney Half Marathon

Yesterday, March 9th, I was in Wilmington, DE for their Citizens Bank Caesar Rodney Half Marathon. It was not a warm day and it was windy, it may be the worst in race conditions I have faced so far. As is usual I got a bit caught up in the race day energy and ran a much faster mile I than I should have (9:49) but I did not really pay for it this time. The first few miles I was caught in a bit of a cross wind for the majority of the time but it did not seem to effect my speed. This was kind of a windy course through Wilmington and but for the cops and race volunteers I would have gotten lost. Thanks to all those who were out there helping the runners out it was really appreciated.

Then we looped back around and made it back to about where we started at near mile 6. I felt really good and had maintained about a 10:40 pace to this point. However, the danger was coming. At about mile 6.5 or so starts a very long incline to the turn around point at mile 9.5. It was mostly incline to this point. I will tell you I bled some time here. I was averaging about 11:45 through this stretch. I have to thank former heavy weight champ Jack Dempsey for helping through this one. I was chanting, "champions get up when they can't" for those three miles. I was forcing some speed and I think I saved my race on this hill. I could have easily been at 13:00 if I had let my mind get out of the game.

After the turn around I bounded back down the hill and picked up some speed but I will tell you my thighs are a bit burned today from the downhill of 3 miles. The nice thing was that after I got back down I was able to maintain about an 11:10 pace for miles 12 and 13. I had a small hill to climb to get to the finish but it was no big deal and I felt like I had another 4 to 6 miles left in the tank.

If this had been a flat course I think I could have averaged 11:05 to 11:10. However, 11:19 is fine and it is a huge improvement over my 12:36 from last September. So it is a PR, but I haven't been running that long so they are mostly PR's these days.

I had a great time even with the weather, it was a nice race. They even had pizza at the finish, mmmm, pizza.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Week in Review

This was a good week marked by increased speed and topped off with a good half marathon. Well by my standards at least. I do think the training is going well and I was glad that at the end of the half marathon I could have run another 4 to 6 miles. Good feeling.

Here are the results of the week.

3/3/08..... 37:46 time.....3.46 miles.....10:55 pace.....667 calories

3/4/08..... 1:20:21 time ..... 7.10 miles..... 11:19 pace .....1363 calories

3/6/08..... 33:58 time ..... 3.25 miles ..... 10:27 pace .....595 calories

3/9/08 ..... 2:28:20 time ..... 13.10 miles ..... 11:19 pace ..... 2445 calories

Week: 26.91 miles

Caesar Rodney Half Marathon

I promise a longer report tomorrow but for today this is it:

2:28:20, 11:19 pace, finished
I think I will have nightmares from a two and a half mile hill that was in the center of the run. Yikes.

Friday, March 7, 2008


In my effort to provide myself (and others) just a bit of inspiration from time to time. I have added a quote section to the side bar. I have tried to mix it up a little bit and I hope that if you need just a little push these folks can help out a bit. I will try to update it once a month or so and if anyone has any suggestions please send them along my way. Here is this month's selection.

"I run to see who has the most guts." -- Steve Prefontaine

"Believe you can and you're halfway there." -- Theodore Roosevelt

"You don’t have to be a fantastic hero to do certain things – to compete. You can be just an ordinary chap, sufficiently motivated.” -- Sir Edmund Hillary

“A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at.” -- Bruce Lee

"A champion is someone who gets up when he can't" -- Jack Dempsey

"Everyone's got a plan until they get hit" -- Joe Louis

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Last Run Before the Half Marathon

I think that having a good run before an event is pretty important. For me it sets my mood in the right spot before the event and helps me to get upbeat about the race. This morning was the last run before the event. It was nothing most people would write home about but for me it put me in the right spot mentally.

3.25 Miles, 34:58 time, 10:27 pace
I started the first mile a bit slow for the first .3 and then found my speed and maintained about a 10:15 to 10:25 pace the rest of the way. I did not feel like I was pushing and it was just a nice natural but quick run. Well quick for me.
So as one of my co-workers is fond of saying, I got my mind right. Now I can rest until Sunday morning and then race. I am looking forward to it.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

On the Radar

My next big event is this weekend, the Citizens Bank Caesar Rodney Half Marathon, in Wilmington Delaware. The last time I ran a half marathon was last September, in the Philadelphia Distance Run. This is a great race for anyone interested. At that time, I ran the first 7 miles faster than I had anything previously and spent the last 3 and half miles sucking wind. It wasn't pretty at the end but I finished. The final tally was a 2:45 minute race. I was very happy with that time considering what I went through just to finish the thing. The nagging plantar injury was alive and well at that time and I was able to grit out a finish. It was a good feeling. My neighbor Jack ran with me and we both had a great time. I still use the slippers they gave us post race when I do to do laundry down in the basement.

So what am I planning for this Sunday. In short, I am not sure. I know I am a much better runner today than I was 6 months ago but in terms of time, I am confused as to what to expect from myself. I think I can reasonably shave a minute off my time per mile from last September, which was a 12:36 per mile. If I shoot for 11:30 per mile, I would end up at 2:30:45, I think that this is a completely reasonable goal. I think based on my last two long runs and the excitement of race day, I should be able to do better than this.

So I think my goal will be 2:30:00 but I will aim for an 11:15 pace over the course of the race or a 2:27:28 total time. There is no real appreciable difference between the two. But that is what I am shooting for. If I go over my goal so be it, in the long run it is only a training run for my May marathon.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Martial Arts: My Struggles with the Sweet Science

I have been working on my boxing as of late and I should say my skills are well .... wanting. It is hard work to develop a decent skill set, especially in your late 30's. I certainly don't expect to get very good, but I would like to be smoother. I feel like I am a mess.

Yesterday, I showed up to class an hour early as my daughter and wife go to swim class and there is some overlap so I get some free practice time, good for me. So far my time back training had been dedicated to catching up on old techniques; however, now I feel that I can start expanding on my training. So, once I arrived I spent 20 minutes going over some things from last class which left 35 minutes give or take for other things. I decided that I needed to so some bag work (I still feel like I need to do some bag work).

I wrapped my hands and placed an extra rolled wrap under my chin, to help me to keep my head down. Everything started off well enough with some basic drills (jab, cross ... jab, cross, parry, hook ... jab, cross, uppercut). I felt like I was doing well enough moving and staying up on my toes (one of my issues is that I can be a bit flat footed as a fighter). After about 10 minutes the wheels started to come off. First, I started to drop my wrap that is supposed to stay under my chin. It just kept falling. Which means that I was not keeping my head up (which means my world would be rocked by another fighter). I can take a hit but if you put your chin out there, well good luck to you. Anyway, I must have dropped the thing like 15 times in like 5 minutes. I was getting so frustrated with myself.

The other thing that bothered me was that once I started to spice things up my flow fell apart on me. I like to engage with elbows and knees in my workouts; it is a preference, that's all. I am not training for the ring so I can do what I want to. I would line up and do my combinations - jab, cross, elbow, elbow, uppercut or jab, elbow, knee, elbow. This was fine for a couple of times but then as I was trying to position based on the bag, which was moving much more freely with the added power of knees and elbows flying into it, I was having a hard time. My foot work was all off and I felt like I was falling over myself. I had also reverted to being more flat footed. I need to work on that.

So what was positive? The positive was that I was able to do about 30 minutes on the bag and was still fresh for class. Nothing like 25 mile weeks to help your wind. I was able to put some combinations together and keep my feet working the angles for the most part. Even though I did drop the wrap a number of times, I also was able to keep my head down for a good portion of the session. The best thing was that I hit the bag for a solid 30 minutes without hurting myself, sometimes I get a stinger on an off angle strike. I still need a ton more work (my respect for boxers goes up daily) but it is a start and there will be more time on Wednesday to work on things.

Monday, March 3, 2008

What type of runner are you?

I have been thinking a lot lately about what type of runner I am. I used to think I was just a slow plodding type of runner, sort of a kin to a bulldozer. It will get there but you better not be in a hurry. These days I am thinking that is not quite true. I am still pretty sure that I am an endurance athlete. My long runs do seem to spell this out for me. Each time I hit a long distance my performance is better the second time out. My body adjusts and I am fine. The first time out though I do get burned out in the last mile or two of the run. I know that this is a direct result of my aggression. I have a personality flaw, it is true. I don't know how to ease into anything. I do understand push and drive but I don't understand take it easy. I don't think I have that gear. I am an aggressive guy in my life and that just transfers over into my running.

As I said last week, goals are made to be broken not merely met. I accept my aggression as part of who I am, it is after all a drive to succeed. When I run I do the same because I want to be better. These last couple of weeks I have been just kicking up the speed a little bit, more of a tempo run pace. This is not true speed work (I will think about that after the marathon in May) merely a kick up in tempo. I think the reason that I have been trying to go a bit faster has everything to do with my aggressive nature. I like challenges and right now speed is the one I am tackling. I am not looking for anything earth shattering, but I want to get down to 10:00 by the end of the year. I don't think this is unrealistic.

I am currently running short run paces around 10:45 to 10:55. I think that with a full Spring, Summer and Fall under my belt that 10:00 is not out of the question. I just have to work hard and try to progress steadily. I may have to keep my aggression in check at times. But sometimes I have to let it out. If you don't let your spirit run sometimes you just may end up killing it. What kind of runner am I? I think I could be a mid pack long distance runner. I am now at 228 lbs and if I drop another 20 I think I will right there. Now that I know where I am going, well now I can focus on the work to get there.

Goal 1 : 10:00 pace for short runs (3-5 miles) by the end of the year.
Goal 2 : 10:15 pace for mid range runs (7-9 miles) by the end of the year.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Week in Review

This was a scale back week so that means just a bit off the top in terms of the run distances. I still got out there but I wasn't really trying to keep up with the standard distances. Well here is how it turned out for the week.

2/26/08.....39.91 minutes.....3.43 miles.....11:23 pace.....657 calories
2/28/08 (am run).....22:39 minutes.....2.10 miles.....10:56 pace.....390 calories
2/28/08 (pm run).....54:38 minutes.....5.1 miles.....10:43 pace.....970 calories
3/1/08 .....1:42:49 minutes.....9.00 miles.....11:26 pace.....1713 calories

Total Miles: 19.63 miles

It was a good scale back week. I picked up some speed on my increased speed runs. This really isn't speed work as much as it is just picking up the pace a bit on the shorter runs. I can easily kick it up a notch from what I was doing before. At most I am just setting up a bit of a tempo, so in short I don't worry about the increased speed, it is in reality only 30 seconds per mile above what I was doing, which was not that fast to begin with. Two runs with a sub 11:00 pace, not too bad really.

In other fitness news, the I dropped a couple of more pounds this week and the diet is really working well. My martial arts training is going well as well. I now have all my old techniques back to their former level with only two weeks back. That is not too bad on my progress. I am tireless when it comes to practice so that is probably why. I am sporting a bit of an elbow hyper extension. This makes my boxing work a bit troubled but I am sure I will recover within a couple of weeks. Being involved in these types of things do increase the chance of injury, just a fact.

Well that's the week: 4 runs, 2 martial arts classes, and 3 hours of martial arts practice this was the effort, the result 2 pounds down. I'll take it.