One Man's Fitness Fitness Adventures and Musings

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Has it been a week? Odds and Ends

I guess I didn't have much to say this last week. I have been recovering from my marathon and getting back into cross training. The thing I noticed about my marathon training was that it left precious little time for anything else. Now I can get back to normal.

This week I ran 2.51 miles, all on Saturday. I just wanted to get out there and stretch my legs and start back into a running schedule. It went well and I even scored a mile under 10:00. I wasn't really trying to do that, it just happened. Now I will try to get a bit faster over the summer while I get back on track with my martial arts. I have been trying to smooth myself out in that regard over the last week. I was supposed to test like 7 weeks ago, so I am behind schedule. My instructor is an understanding soul so I hope I can work something out over the next couple of weeks. I have been practicing a good deal over the last week and I feel I am close to form. I just need to pick up my push-up totals over the next couple of weeks.

Over the summer I plan on doing a 3 day a week running schedule. I hope to do two runs during the week and then one on the weekend. I am going to be working on speed so I will probably be going shorter than I previously did. I think my long run will be in the neighborhood of 6 miles (a weekly mileage of about 12 to 16 miles). I need a bit of time to get recharged on running. In the mean time I can focus on my martial arts work and get back to a more fluid level. There is always something to do.

In some unrelated news, I finished a book Zen in the Martial Arts by Joe Hyams. For anyone training in the martial arts this is a great book. There are some excellent training insights and philosophical approaches that I found to be helpful to think about. Additionally, there are some nice stories about Mr. Hyams training with Bruce Lee, which is worth the price of the book by itself. Mr. Hyams does a great job of giving personality to some larger than life figures in the martial arts. You get a real sense of who these folks were. I was happy that I picked this up.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

What is Next?

I just finished a marathon, yeah! now what? I have been reading a lot about marathon recovery and there seems to be a wide variety of ways on the best way to recover. From what I can glean I have done OK so far. I ate soon after I finished and did walk quite a bit after the race to help my body calm down, so far so good. But when should I get back to running? From what I have seen it seems to suggest that as soon as I am recovered from the marathon.

I only suffered one day of post marathon injury. My muscles on Monday were sore in my neck, shoulders, thighs and hamstrings. I had no problems with any joints. Today, I am fine. I am not tired and I do not feel as though I ran 26.2 miles on Sunday, really I don't. That said, I have a couple of blisters that need to get a bit better. Saturday seems like a good day for a run, but how long?

I stumbled across something that makes sense, do a reverse taper. I like the idea of easing myself back into things for a few weeks. I will take that cue and run with it (sorry). So for the next few weeks I will take it easy and just get back into the flow. I have no races scheduled until October so I am free to do as I please in terms of my running. Then I can work on my speed for the remainder of the Summer (that will be nice).

How about after that what races am I planning on doing? Well the Baltimore half marathon is on the schedule, I paid last year and deferred due to injury. Somehow this doesn't seem like enough. I talked to my brother today, who lives in Las Vegas, and there is a marathon there in December. For those that don't know, I lived in Nevada for about 7 years and graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno for my undergraduate work. So I may do a bit of a destination half marathon to Vegas while visiting family. We may actually be able to convince my Mom out of Maine for a bit of a family thing.

Early Plan is: start a reverse taper on Saturday for three weeks and then work on speed for the summer

Extended Plan: Baltimore half marathon in October and Las Vegas Half Marathon in December.

Well I need my goals so there they are.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Marthon Post Race

Yesterday I ran the Delaware Marathon. I was surprised to find out that they were serious about running the entire 26.2 mile course, no sense of humor.

I woke up at 5:00 am to get ready to go for 5:30. It is about a 40 minute drive from where I live to Wilmington, Delaware (the race site). I loaded up with some bagels and peanut butter and had to rush the family into the car for 5:45. I had to make up some time on the road but not too bad. I even made it with enough to time to hit the head before the race, but not much time. I did have to run to the start line and made it with about 10 seconds to spare.

The plan was to run the first 10 miles at 10:45 to 11:00 pace, the next 5.4 miles at 11:00 to 11:15, the next 5.4 miles at 11:15 to 11:30 pace and the final 5.4 miles at 11:30 to 11:45 pace. During the race I had to make adjustments as I got into trouble. I had to realize that I had to scrap the plan or I wasn't going to finish and I wouldn't have much fun that way. So at mile 14/ 15 I scrapped the plan.

This was really three races for me. Miles 1 to 15, miles 16 to 21 and miles 22 to the end. I started out on my game and it was great for the first 14 to 15 miles. The first 10 miles I was at 10:53, I was right in the range. The garmin is a bit off at times and for the race it said I ran 26.60 miles so it is not exact. With the variance I think I was probably at 10:55 and 10:57. I was right on pace. This was surprising as the little flu I have been battling was still with me a bit and I could feel it. For the next miles I wanted to just slow down to about 11:10 to 11:15. I was doing fine until mile 14. At about mile 14 I started to catch some stomach cramps. I had never experienced this before and didn't have a lot of experience with this. First, I decided I better slow down a bit. I cut back to 12:00 miles but this didn't really help. My stomach was on fire for the next mile. I had to stop and walk. At the next water stop I took some pretzels, I thought maybe I was running into a salt deficiency, but I didn't know. For the next mile or two I walked and ran and took on more pretzels. By mile 17 my stomach was better, not 100% but better. I could run again. I took more pretzels at each water stop and slowed by pace to about 12:00 pace.

I did this until mile 21. It was odd but at mile 21, I seemed to have recovered. My problem had something to do with the salt. I think that the first 14 miles had drained me of salt much faster than I was replacing it and it started to bury me at mile 14. It took me the better part of 6 or 7 miles to recover. I will remember this lesson the next time around. From mile 21 on were not bad. I was able to just walk the water breaks and run about an 11:30 pace for the rest of the race. I really did feel and didn't hit the late wall that is talked about. I know that is because of the stomach cramps at the 14 mile mark.

I did finish but it was about 30 minutes after where I probably should have. I don't care. My goal was to finish and I did that at 5:31:32 for an average pace of 12:40. I didn't set any records but I finished, which was the point after all. It was nice to have my wife and daughter at the finish line when it was all over. I am not sure how they entertained themselves for so long. I think they could have written a novel in the time it took me to finish. But I finished and I wasn't last and I did enjoy the race.

When I was done my legs were tired and my feet were sore but that was all. My hip didn't make its presence know at all during the run. So it was just an overuse injury that got a chance to recover during my taper. The only real injury I had was to my big toes as they bashed the front of my shoes. They had some fluid built up under the nail and came out with blood. I seem fine to today but for some slight hamstring tightness. Not bad.

I am glad that I finished, and I am glad that I did this. That said, the marathon takes so much training that there is little time for anything else. I think I will stick with half marathons for a couple of years and then think about it again.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


I don't get a chance to put too many photos up I think this has a lot to do with my lack of time generally available to me. That said, I am making an effort to put some up tonight. Don't expect a big change from me in future, this will have to hold you.

Here are my daughter Emily, my Mom and myself at Disney World in June of last year. I weighed in at about 275 at that time. We were all pretty tired. (who is the big fat man)

Here is another of me from Disney World

Here I am at this year's Broad Street Run. I am on the left side of the photo. I am weighing in at about 220 in this photo. (Who is that sexy man?)

Here is one more of me at the Broad Street Run 2008. Nothing says good looking like being covered in sweat. Am I right ladies? -- not so much. (This before and after do not capture all the weight I lost but I think it shows a good deal of it.)

Here is my daughter Emily with Ronald McDonald about a month ago. I' m Luvin it.

Here are Emily and I during the Cherry Blossom Festival here in Philadelphia this year. Emily loves the face painting.

Here are my wife, Jinja and Emily at the circus earlier this year.

Here are my wife, Jinja and Emily during the Cherry Blossom festival in April of this year.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A Marathon this weekend, THIS WEEKEND

I suppose some folks might be tensed up a bit over running their first marathon at the end of the week. I just don't feel any stress. I am sure there are lots of reasons for this. One of those reasons may be that I have no sense. Yet, I think the reasons are:

  1. I don't plan on trying to win the thing, I only want to finish.

  2. I have trained hard and can complete my goal.

  3. I have done lots of races so I am pretty calm about the race day stuff.

  4. I am doing this for fun

I think number 4 is the most important. I am doing this for fun. There is no need to get worked up about it. I did what I was supposed to do and I am as ready as I am going to be, so relax. It may be 26.2 miles but I get to run it one step at a time. I run one step at a time all the time, this will only be different in the duration. Even if I have to walk, I will still finish.

I am very much tapered. I will run a couple of maintenance runs this week and a two miler on Saturday just to stay loose. I will try to keep things safe during my martial arts classes this week. I usually have a tendency to train with a good deal of intensity; however, I will try to scale that back a bit this week. My only real concern is injury and illness.

I have been dealing with this left hip issue but it seems that my illness gave me more of a chance to rest and that seems fine. The illness seems to be tapering off and I should be 100% by Thursday. That should put me in a good position for Sunday. It will be an interesting weekend though.

My wife is competing in a Tae Kwon Do tournament on Saturday, she is a 2nd degree black belt. She has blazing fast kicks and regularly schools women half her age. Lately I have been taking our daughter, Emily, to see her Mom's classes. This means I have to watch as well and I have noticed how well she does. It is interesting, Tae Kwon Do is not my cup of tea, I prefer my martial arts a bit more up close. I had hoped with both her Mom and Dad being black belts that Emily might develop an interest, well not yet. She seems more interested now than she did a year ago. That said I don't want to push her to do something she has no interest in; for now it is ballet and gymnastics. Anyway, the tournament should be a fun time for her and I am happy she is going. What does all this have to do with my marathon? Well, I have to carefully find a time to drive the hour to pick up my race packet and scope out the course. I have to fit this in along with my video camera and cheer leader duties. I believe it should all be done by 2:00 p.m. so that should give me enough time.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Week in Review

I am still fighting this creeping crud that my daughter thoughtfully brought home to share. The good news is that it is much less of a problem today than it was earlier last week. I still have to hack now and then but nothing too serious. I had intended to run on Friday night but I was too exhausted after work. The illness just sapped my strength. Saturday was the first day I ran of the week, I suck. I managed 3.25 miles at an average pace of 11:10. I stared out at 10:25 and got slower and slower and slower. The illness just wasn't letting go and I had to stop every so often to spit up. Yuck, I know, but it is true.

Sunday, I decided that I needed to go and do the run again as it was such a great experience, not really, the day before. I managed 5.25 miles and was more consistent with less hacking and wheezing. This was a nice bonus. I was pretty steady and managed an average pace of 10:41 for the entire run. I was plus minus 10 seconds of this time for each mile. I term this a success. I have liberal standards on this sort of thing.

So in the end two whole runs for 8.5 whole miles. I am setting the world on fire this week. The good news is that I did not have one shred of evidence that my hip will be any issue at all going forward. The bad news, I feel beat down today. I think this is because I started to do more on my cross training this weekend as well, so my back, shoulders, triceps and lats are all equally sore. I guess that means I am pretty even, not a bad thing.

So in review
-- sickness - getting better
-- hip - much better
-- running - a bit low for the week
-- cross training - up for the week

Friday, May 9, 2008

It is good to be giving...

My daughter brought home a nasty bug last weekend. I did OK in fighting it off for 3 days, then well you know, I got sick. She is a girl who just loves to share. I am now fighting a particularly nasty little bug. The fever and weakness were not a big deal as they were only there for about 12 to 18 hours. However, the chest congestion is another matter altogether. It coughed so hard one night I spit up some blood from the broken blood vessels. Blood has a tendency to freak people out, I think I am a bit immune to that effect. I am not sure if that is from my time in the military or something else? However, I did know that I should not continue to spit up blood because that is not good for you. Anyway, it was a minor thing and was only one night. Now I feel fine but I have to cough a bit. The sad news is that I have not run at all this week. The good news is that I feel much better today and hope to log some miles tonight. Here is what was intended versus what actually happened.

Here is what I intended to do this week:

Monday: Martial Arts
Tuesday: Run 4 miles
Wednesday: Martial Arts
Thursday: Run 4 miles (there was a martial arts seminar that I was planning on going to today but it did not work out - I am really bummed about it)
Friday: Run 4 miles
Saturday: Rest
Sunday: Run 8 miles

Here is what I did do this week:
Monday: Martial Arts (it was a nice class where my speed and power seemed to gel a bit more than previously.)
Tuesday: Hack up a lung with some blood for good measure
Wednesday: Sleep 12 hours
Thursday: Feel like I just did 12 rounds with Evander Holyfield (all day)
Friday: Nothing yet but hope to do 4 miles tonight
Saturday: Plan on 4 miles
Sunday: Plan on a slow 6 or 8 miles

This taper has been a lot of rest time with injury and sickness. I will say this I will be well rested when I get to start line. I am not worried. I did all the prep work and now my body is just recovering a bit more than it would have. The good news is that my body will be as rested as it could be.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Broad Street Run

Well I ran the Broad Street Run today. Last year this was the first race that I ran and I did not run it very well. I was very fat and injured and averaged a 14:26 mile over the ten mile course. Today my average pace was 10:11. This is a 4:15 improvement per mile, I feel safe saying that I will never have this degree of improvement ever again in my running. The thing is that I lost about two and half minutes over the course on the water breaks. It seems that running in the pack means that there is more of a crowd at the water stations. If I had been able to take the stations as I usually do I probably could have shaved a minute or so off this time. It is a minor thing to complain about over all.
This is a great course. It is a straight 10 mile course through the heart of Philadelphia. It is a fast course, so maybe I should not feel to awesome about my time (but I do). There are some ups but it is mostly a down course. There are lots of bands and the Mayor of Philadelphia set you off and you can high five the Governor of Pennsylvania just after City Hall. It is a good time. There were more than 19000 finishers today. You read right, 19000. It really is an unbelievable number of people showing up for this run. I know there are more crowded ones out there, but 19000 is still 19000. The nice thing for family is that at the end they have some moon bounces, big slides, face painting, artists, balloon animals and so on. It is pretty nice start to finish.

I felt very good to wipe the 14:26 off the record and replace it with a 10:11. It was a good feeling. I was steady the entire way and was able to maintain a sub-10:00 pace, but for the water stops where I picked up a lot of time. As to the hip, I felt some pressure during the run, I picked this up about mile 5. There was no pain, only pressure and once the race was over it was gone. I think this is good news. I am still trying to recover from this little injury and it is good news to me that there was no pain involved on this one.

I am very pleased with this one.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Weight Check

Well here it is the first of the month again. This is as good a time as any for an official weight check. It is not as impressive as previous months. I ran in to a road block about half way through the month. My daughter had a birthday and we had a big party and I had cake and ice cream. Well that started a downward spiral for about a week or so (well more like 10 days). In short it threw off my steady weight loss. I did manage to go from 223 to 220 so that is not too bad it is just not as good as I had been doing. Additionally, with the marathon training I was eating a lot more than I usually do. So down three pounds, after this month I'll take it.

Running update: I went out for a short run this morning and all seems fine with the hip. Well on a short run anyway. 3.65 miles, 10:29 pace I am pretty pleased that the additional rest has paid off. We will see how things hold up on ten miles this weekend. I am officially in taper so I am not trying to push things very much. (Well I will be pushing this weekend but I am scheduled for 12 and I am only doing 10 so I figure I can push a bit.)

Garmin stuff: I just learned about the accuracy guage on my garmin. I put it on my display so that I can guage how accuarate the pacing is. Sometimes the Captain (the name I use for my garmin gps) seems a bit off based on the pace I know I am going. I will let you know how this goes.