One Man's Fitness Fitness Adventures and Musings

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Here it is the end of the month and I have to admit that I have not been as diligent as I could have been at keeping content up on my blog. It has been a here and there endeavor this month. I hope to do better for October. I will have to increase my output to get ready for the half marathon in November so it will be better for all concerned (read me) if I keep up with it.

Running for the Week
I was only able to run for 3 days over the last week. There was a major rain storm on Sunday and I wasn't able to run. I suppose I could have run at about 10:00 pm or so but I was a bit tired from a day of cleaning. Over all not too bad it was over 12 miles for 3 days. Saturday I was great run. I did a two and half mile warm up with two miles of intervals. I felt quite fast averaging 9:00 miles for the half mile up ticks. It was a good feeling.

Martial Arts
I have been out of martial arts for a couple of months due to some home life stress related issues. I spoke to my instructor this last weekend and I will be taking private lessons starting next Saturday. I think that this will fit into my schedule nicely. The good thing about this is that I have been practicing again so that adds a few workouts a week and that makes me feel better. It is remarkable how things stick with you, I went through about 60 distinct techniques and only had to refer to video on two occasions to refresh my recollection. That is not a bad place to be. My form and speed need some ... special attention, nurturing really.

Upcoming Races
I registered for the Philadelphia Marathon, well not the whole thing but the half marathon. I was able to save 15% on the price from a coupon I received at the expo of the Philadelphia Distance Run, so that was nice. I am looking forward to this one and I know I could run the thing now but 6 more weeks of training should make it a good race for me. As of now I am at 8 miles for my long and my endurance is good. This coming weekend I have a 9.5 mile run scheduled so I should be just fine to set a PR. So far for me every race has been a PR but that is the joy of being a beginner.

One foot in front of the other

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Sickness ... looks like its over

I have a tendency to get a little sick with the first weather snap of fall. I look at as part of the changing of the season. The bad news is that is usually hits me up for a week. With just turning 40 this year, I thought it was going to be bad. I was pleasantly surprised that it only took about a day and a half to get better. Nice. Sure, I had the sweats and fever and so forth but it was only 36 hours so ... I can deal.

This morning to celebrate my new found health I went out for a morning run. I woke up at 5:00 am. That is pretty early in most part of the world. I wanted to just get in about 3 miles but I felt good so I kept going (I ended at 4.65 miles). I will admit that I was still half asleep when I hit the road and my first half mile was well ... slow. I managed to pick it up and salvage a pretty good time for the first mile. Although, I did have to really kick it up to get to a 10:30 average by the end. It was nice to be out there but I am always surprised that there are not more people with the same idea. I think I saw one other runner the entire time I was out there.

There is one thing that is always true, I always feel better after a run than before. I like to feel like I could have done a few more miles at the end. That was true today.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Her First Race

I was not up for the Philly Distance Run this year. My training fell off this summer and I am now gearing up for the Philadelphia Marathon (1/2 marathon variant) in November. My daughter, Emily made her racing debut at the kids' run. It was a half mile run.

She did a great job. She competed in the 5-6 year old division and lined up in the second row. When the start sounded she was off like a dart and was in the middle of the hunt. I took a couple of photos (they haven't been up loaded yet) and then crossed over to see her after the half way mark.

She was still in the middle of the pack and I cheered her on to the finish line. She said she really liked it a lot and was very proud of her finishers medal. That is the one she is showing off in my cell phone picture above. I wish I had been encouraged to get involved in these sorts of things when I was younger and I am glad she is having fun with running. Watch out Deena Kastor. :)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Not a bad run

I had planned to go 8 miles last week but it didn't really work out that way. The humidity was horrid. Today was another story. It was a great run. I managed 8.12 miles at really my normal pace, which was nice. It was a good tune up. I am going to do something a bit unusual in training for this next half marathon. Usually the way it works, stop me if you have heard this, you follow a schedule that usually prescribes 4 to 5 days of running a week. This schedule will have two runs that are short somewhere between 3 to 5 miles then a middle range run that will be a bit longer 6 to 8 and then a long run. I have found that for myself, I need a bit longer to recover from a long run.

I am taking a page, well in spirit, from Tom over at Runner's World. Tom mentioned a while back, I am not going to give you a pin point cite, that the twenty mile run was really not such a big deal to preparing for a marathon. I agree, I could feel my body start to break down once I crossed the 18 mile threshold. I think the logic of what Tom was trying to get at is what I am shooting for. Tom was getting at the point that conventional wisdom is not always what is right for you as an individual runner. Thanks Tom.

I know that after the long run I need more rest. So I will be doing a true long run every other week. There is no real need to do this more often in my mind. I want to preserve my conditioning as well, how to do both. I am going to run two week cycles. For week one, I will run my 4 runs as follows, 3 shorter runs (3-5) and one true long run (8-14) (there will be one speed workout in this week as well). Then for week two, I will run two shorter runs (3-5) and two mid range runs (6-9) (there will be one speed workout in this week as well). I am confident that this will help to preserve my conditioning. It might be a bit challenging to go up a bit faster on the long runs but the extra recover time will probably be what I need.

So there it is my unconventional running plan, self designed (self deluded - perhaps)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

What happened to the train?

When I started running I was quite a bit heavier than I am today. I was in fact almost 300 pounds, that was not a good time. I also remember as a novice runner wondering a lot about my breathing. I think that this was mostly due to it being so labored. It is in fact tough to move that much weight at a quick pace. I could hear my breath and so I was concerned with contolling it. I thought about the way I should breathe. Should it be shallow or deep, should it be through the nose or the mouth. I was a mess, but I was a mess without the running so I was really just trying to control the mess. I eventually found a rhythm and just got used to the noise I made while I was running. For the record I breathe through the mouth and to the mid to lower chest area, it works for me.

As a runner I was a bit of a freight train. I was big, took a bit of time to get up to speed, and made a lot of noise. I think I got used to this image of myself as a runner and sort of got comfortable with it. Choo, Choo! That was me chugging through the parks on my self made rails, never going very fast but being a a pretty big object with a good head of steam I was fine. I made some strides in my weight loss and sort of lost that freight train look. I didn't realize that my breath noise has disappeared until recently. As I said I used to labor but I don't do that now. I am not sure when this changed but it has. When my mp3 ran out of juice the other day I ran without it and I noticed that I could not hear my breathing like I used to.

It was odd. I had sort of come to expect that part of my running included the heavy breathing. Like an obscene phone call but without the sleazy underpinnings. So I am not sure what to make of it. I guess I am happy to have made progress but I am no longer a freight train, I just don't have the sound effects. I guess I am an Electric Bus. :)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Who is Fast?

Well not me, but I am getting better. Tonight after work I hit the road for a little recovery run. This was a nice and cool run. Unlike the mess that was Sunday, this was a good run. I got into a groove early and really could have kept going for a long time after I was finished. That is a nice feeling.

I even got my time down a bit. This is a nice change. My daughter will have her first run this weekend. Even though I will not be running the Philadelphia Distance Run this weekend, Emily will be doing the fun run. It will be nice to see my little 5 year old get her first finishers medal. I think she will have a great time.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Ahh, the week that almost was

The week started out so well. I managed early in the week to get in three really good runs a couple of 3's and a 5 sandwiched in between. I had such high hopes for the weekend. Well being an outdoor sport the weather can be a factor. I went out for my Sunday run expecting to put in 8.5 miles. Well long story short, not so much. The humidity was insane. I should have expected trouble as I was sweating while folding clothes at 7 am. But being long on determination and short on sense I went out for a run at about 8:3o. I don't know how hot it was but that was not the issue the humidity really took it out of me. Within a mile my clothes were soaked. My pace was fine but I was laboring under it and was forced to back off a bit just to get to the 5 mile mark. It was not a good performance. Sometimes these things happen. The good news, there is always next weekend.

The really good news is that I was able to get up to 17.1 miles for the week even with a bad long run day. So I am quite pleased with that aspect. I will shoot for 20 for this week. I don't think it will be a problem. Also, as I only did 5 miles on Sunday, I don't really need my Monday recovery, so I can get out tonight and put in some miles. I am now looking forward to the half marathon at the end of November. I think the timing is right on.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Remembering what works

When I had trained for my marathon and then again when I was training for half marathons. I found that my mid week longer run was very important. It seemed to me that this run balanced my weekly runs and really did quite a bit in adding to my overall fitness. My summer funk seems to be mostly behind me and today I added my first midling run on the season. It was a 5.2 mile jaunt. I had worked from home today as my car needed some work.

When the repair center called to let me know it was ready (it was a weird thing where the driver side lock just wouldn't unlock). Well I ran to the repair center but I got there just as I got into a grove ... too bad. I had run about 3.2 miles when I arrived. So I drove home and then added another two from there. It was only about a 10 to 15 minute drive. So I had a small break and then hit the roads again. So I don't know if it counts as two small runs or one 5.2 mile run either way I am fine with it.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Short Comings

I have to admit that I haven't been very good at keeping up with the blogs on my lists over the summer. I am sorry about that and I hope to be better for the fall. It has been a crazy work summer having 50 to 70 hours a week dedicated to work can leave precious little time. It seems that things might be simmering down in terms of work. Which means an upswing in the running.

This morning I was out in the morning for a 3 mile run. It was a good time and I had nothing of issue to say at all. Just three miles. It was a good run, nuf' said.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

A Tough Week

I started off the week battling a throat cold. I am happy to say it is now gone but it made my running a bit ... well abbreviated. I ran about 2.5 miles for my first three runs of the week and then broke out with a 7.2 mile performance today. This salvaged the week.

Sometimes I have to admit, I forget some of the lessons I have learned only to have to relearn them again. I have such an experience happening now. I learned from my previous training that for me I have to run a distance twice in order to have a handle on it. The first time I struggle with the extra distance and then when I do it again it is not a problem. I am not sure if this is particular to me or not. So I have been struggling with the lower miles because I have not been pushing forward on the mileage. Additionally, my faster 5k made me think that every run should be faster. I think I have learned to back off a bit. Longer runs will be slower, of course. I will just have to be a bit more patient.

The good in this is that I can take this going forward to the half marathon in November. Today was seven and next week I will try for 8.5 miles and just build on that. Well here is to finding your way.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Bloody Shoe

So I was out running last week and I guess that one of my toe nails was a bit long and was cutting into its neighbor toe. I didn't notice at the time ... I can obtuse. So I got home and my sock looks a mess. It was a good run. You can see the shoe and the stain from the blood.

I think the normal thing to do would be to wash the shoe. But I think it adds some character ... so the blood stays. I don't think it will mess up any PRs. I could be wrong on that, but I don't think so on this one. So if you see a big guy running with a a bloody shoe ... it could be me.

As for the week, it was an ok result. I ran three days ... work has been demanding in terms of hours. I ended up with a bit over 11 miles for the week and 55 miles for the month. This is moving in the right direction. I hope to get up to 75 miles for next month. Not too bad really.

I am feeling better in my running. My times are coming down and I feel a lot more comfortable in the running.