Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Not a Whole Lot of Running Lately

I have not been doing a whole lot of running lately. Yes, I have been out a few times, but I am taking it easy last week and this week. Next week, I will continue my base mileage training. Being a Runner allows me not to run sometimes. A break is needed at times, and I call for one. Also I have a cold. I tried running yesterday and it was horrible, so after a mile, I stopped. Today I will do some core training exercises as long as my nose is okay with that. I will share with you what I got for Christmas that is really great. I got the Perfect Push up. I have done several workouts with it and it is great. I usually do some bench presses at the gym, but I have found doing regular pushups with this really works out. The next day after the first usage, I had DOMS. I also got an exercise ball in which I have been using pretty effectively. I did not know that you could literally do thousands of different exercise moves with an exercise ball. "Very Cool" As I have mentioned before, being a runner is more than running. Its a mindset, Its attitude, its a lifestyle. You have to look at the overall picture, not just the day to day routine. When you get too specific and focused on the small things, you lose out on the BIG picture, and you can lose your momentum. This is what I have learned, not only from myself and my past, but from my commentators as well. Thanks. Also, thanks to Sami and her latest post, I have a mission. That mission is to go through the fridge and pantry, and get rid of junk. I am starting out the new year by eating better.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Avoid Burning Out [Part 2]

As I have progressed with my running, and with this site as well, I have made it a point to go back into the old posts and modify them or add to them. I have learned a lot from my online running buddies and from my own running experience. Last month, I had posted "Avoid Burning Out". As I go back and read these "Posts of the Past", they are more like "Ghosts of the Past" haunting me. I laugh at some, if not most of them. I have learned a lot from my blog postings. I believe I have made my posts more readable and enjoyable. I try not to bore my reading audience. I have learned about keeping your post at a desired length. I'm not Stephen King here. Well..., before I burn you out with all of this talk and ramble, I will get to the topic at hand - Avoid Burning Out!

I want to share with you some ideas to think about if you at the point or close to the point of burning out? What causes you to Burn Out? Too much to soon? The same thing all the time? For each person it is different. What caused me to burn out this summer was me doing too much too soon.

I use analogies a lot. Today I will use a car. Your Jouney as a Runner can be as long as you make it. You can venture down different roads or paths. You could, in fact, transform into an amphibious vehicle and do Triathlons. At some time, and there will be a time (especially for beginning runners) that you will lose interest mentally and, or physically. Here are two different scenarios and some tips that will help you avoid Burning Out.

One, as you approach the brink of a melt down, aka burn out, it is a good idea to take a look into your rear view mirrors instead of looking ahead all of the time. Going back to the place where you started and seeing just how far you have come along allows you to obtain motivation to move farther on down the road. The second thing is to try out different roads or paths. Try circuit training, strength training, etc. to spruce up your running career. I just reached my yearly Mileage Goal of 500 miles today. WhooHooo! I want to wish every one a Happy New Year, and hoped every one enjoyed their Christmas.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Being a Runner

So last weeks mileage was 23.5. Today I end up with (drum roll) ......2 recorded miles for the week. Yeap, 2 miles for the week. I went for shorter ones earlier this week, but dont even know the distance or anything. It is ok though. I'm not in training and have no races that I am scheduled to do anytime soon. The time this week seemed not to even exist. One day turned into another and another into another until I faced myself with the question, "Am I going to run this week?". I decided not to even go there. I thought about all of the reasons why I love to run, and the first one that popped up was "Because I love running". Nothing fancy, just because "I love it". Now, if you love doing something, you want to feel free to do it when you can, and not being bound to it into slavery or something. At the same time, there are a lot of principles that tie into being a good runner, such as training hard, eating the right foods, consistency, etc. But, this week, I was faced with the whole "Ok I am not training for a race, so I am going to enjoy my week, and get back into this next week". And so, that is what I decided to do. My family and I had a very Great Christmas. The Candlelight Church service was great. Jesus' Birthday was celebrated, and now it is the end of the week. Next holiday is New years. Oh Boy! I did end up getting my Asic Gel Kayano 15's. I tried them out on my 2 mile run today [my only run for the week that counted for anything, although I went for some shorter ones early on this week (I am having a difficult time determining whether or not to record junk mileage runs? Any Advise? )]. They kicked butt. Being a runner, with my second pair of shoes now, with my first ones having over 500 miles on them; I can now see why it is extremely important to swap out shoes. They felt GREAT. I did gain a few pounds from all the good food., but that's okay because I'm not competing on the "Biggest Loser" show. Being a Runner allows me to enjoy life and what it has to offer. Being a Runner allows me to, sometimes, just take a vacation from running and relax. Like a best friend, it will be there when you need it. It will be there waiting for your next outing. What does "Being a Runner" mean to you?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Some Running is better than NO Running....

My time this week has been taken up by last minute shopping and so much work (16 hour shifts...uuugghh). I haven't had a chance to get as many miles as I wanted in this week, but hey, it's the season to be jolly. I have gone on a few very short runs. By very short, I mean short in comparison to the last previous weeks. I suppose that some is better than none. Enough to were my body still knows the drill. Next week will probably be the same. I haven't even had time to sit and write cool posts (as if any of them are, lol). Last week I worked from Saturday into Sunday because of delays due to the snow. I know, blame it on the snow. All the same, I am feeling great. I am fitting in core workouts at least and watching my fuel consumption. After next week, it's back to the front. I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Take care and remember if you are traveling........Bee Alert, Arrive Unhurt!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Listening to Advise made my week's Running better!

On Monday I ran 8 miles, which now, was my long run for the week. My long runs are usually on Wednesday, but I was feeling it. I ran six and kept on going which led me to do better than last week's eight on Wednesday. I was contemplating the idea of running nine miles this Wednesday two days after my eight. I changed my mind as I headed out. Instead of going to the park to run nine I went to the gym instead. Yes, I said "gym". I often go there, as I do not like running in the cold. The number one reason is that I do not have the gear to do so yet. The second reason is that I actually like running on the treadmill. Per my earlier post, "It's okay to Change Your Running Schedule", I had asked for advise from the blogosphere running partners; EZEthan, Lindsay, Thomas Bussiere, and Glenn Jones.

On Wednesday, I did not run nine miles, I did not run six miles. I went and started running two miles, then did circuit strength training, ran 1 mile, circuit training, ran another mile, circuit training, and then called it a day. I left the gym happy and satisfied with my workout. I also mixed in some core training. I love using the ball at the gym and home which my wife surprised me with. When you use it at the gym, though, you get a lot of looks. Most people don't even touch them, let alone, go near them. I saw a lot of strange things though at the gym, which reminded me of EZEthan's Tales from the Gym.

Yesterday and today's run was awesome. I fear how it would have turned out if I would have even tried to run nine miles on Wednesday. Yesterday I ran six, in which I cut off 1 minute of my previous time. Today I ran four miles, in which I cut off 1.5 minutes. I ran faster and stronger. As time goes one, and I listen to the people listed above and elsewhere, I find myself not regretting my desicions at the end of the week. I would like to thank those people for their support and their advise. I had an awesome week. Thank You! My success comes through listening to others and myself. I will share some of my own tales from the gym later, but for now check out Tales from the Gym from EZEthan.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Christmas Cheer

Last Night I did something that I normally don't do, but it was fun. My wife and I went to the mall. When I got there I had managed to get a parking spot up close. Someone was pulling out, so I took the spot up. While my wife was shopping at one of the stores I went to get something out of my truck. People thought I was leaving (lol), so they stopped behind (a long line of cars mind you) and waited for the spot I was in. I got what I came for and went back inside. As I left my truck I noted the upset expression on the drivers' face for my action. "He thought he was getting the spot." I went up to the mall and stopped, I had an idea. I waited for a little bit for more cars to pass, then hit the lock button on my remote. The line of cars "stopped", and the guy was waiting and waiting. LOL. He was waiting for about 5 minutes for a spot up close. I hit the button again to give him or her a glimmer of hope. He waited another 2-3 minutes, then drove away. Aww, the power of the lock button on the remote of the car at Christmas time at the mall. I was in the Christmas Spirit of giving people Hope. One fun thing to do at the Mall at "Christmas Time" is to actually get in your car, and put in in reverse (while someone is waiting for your spot), then put it in Park, then turn car off and get out. I get a kick out of watching people do all they can to get a spot up close. For me, if there is one, fine. If not, I will park out far to get in some walking or whatever.

Doing Something Different

Yesterday I was debating on whether or not to do ahead and run the 9 miles. Well.....I already ran 8 on Monday, so I wasn't sure of what to do since I already ran my long run. 3 long runs in 8 days for a newbie?.......I reconsidered. I did something different. I did a circuit training. I ran 1 mile, then did 10 different strength exercises and repeated this 3 times. It felt great, and I had so much fun doing it. I have decided to do my long runs on Monday now. Reason being, I am off on Sunday, so this gives me the chance to get in bed Sunday night at a reasonable time for Monday's run.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

It's Okay to Change Your Running Schedule

As of last week, my long run was up to 8 miles. Tomorrow, my long run that I have scheduled is 9 miles for this week. I am trying to get my long mile run up to 10 before the end of the year is up. That is my goal anyways. However something strange happened again in my running adventures. Last week, my 8 miler was okay. I thought I did pretty good. I managed a time of 94 minutes with an average 11:45 pace. I was really tired after wards, but gave it 100% effort. That was "Last Week" though. My long Run days are Wednesday, or so I thought. This Monday I went out for a supposed 6 mile run. My Six turned into an Eight. By the six mile I was feeling really good. I decided, why not do 2 more miles to see what it's about. I did, and I do not regret it. My total time was 89:50, just under 90 minutes opposed to the 94 minutes last week. I took off 4 minutes on my long run. During the last 2 miles I was speeding a little bit. My average pace was 11:15, 30 seconds faster per mile than last week.

That was yesterday. Today I feel great. I am not sore. I went for an easy 3 mile run and did some core exercises. I have learned a lot this year about running. I have learned how your body adapts to the changes that you implement on yourself. Through experience, long runs, speed work, and core exercises are the key to improving your running. There are many more things you can do as well. What I have found out, though, is that my long runs, if executed properly, get better and better. Tomorow I will try my 9 mile long run. I am thinking if I should even contimplate doing it though, because I ran a long run already this week that was suppose to be shorter. Can you do 2 long runs in one week? Please advise. Otherwise, I will attempt it.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Weekly Recap

22 miles ran. My pace has improved dramatically. My overall average pace for the week is under 11. Long run, 8 miles. Pace - 11:45. This is what brought my average pace down for the week, but that's ok. I have implemented speed-work, thanks to the advise of Glenn Jones. He recommended this after my recent post, The last Mile. Incorporating 2 sessions of speed work and 3 sessions of core training have helped me out tremendously. I feel stronger when I run, and faster speeds feel like my old slower ones. For the year, my average weekly pace has dropped by 2.5 minutes. This week was a really good one. I hope to have many more to follow. Next week I will be picking up my new shoes. That will help out a lot, as the ones that I have now are showing signs of post-mortem. I wish everyone a good week end. .......Keep Running. Also, if there is anyone who runs with asthma or knows someone that runs with asthma, could you please email me your thoughts of coping with, etc. Thanks. I have a friend of mine who wants to start running, but he is concerned and wants some advise from runners that already run with asthma, not a doctor that does not run. Thanks again.

Grocery Store Item of the Week

First off, I will share with you my grocery item of the week. Every week I pick out something new for my pre run or post run or just running all together. My first post was the Morning Star Spicy Black Bean Burger. This week's pick is Nature's Promise Chocolate Soy Milk. I tried it for my Post Run on Wednesday and it was great. With an 8 oz. serving, it has 140 calories and............

3.5g Fat
.5g Saturated Fat
No Cholesterol
170mg Sodium
23g Carbohydrate
2g Fiber
19g Sugar
7g Protein

No Cows Required. This was the first time that I had tried Soy Milk. I actually enjoyed it. You should give it a try if you have not tried it. It kinda tastes like YooHoo! Just less sugar and more of the good stuff you body needs. So pick it up at your favorite grocery store today.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Body's Adaptation

I have been running now for a year now and have noticed lots of changes; both physical and mental. I am profoundly amazed at the body's continuance to adapt to the conditions that it goes through. If you take a person that eats non-stop and sits on the couch all day, then his or her body adapt and will supply more cushion (fats) for comfort and support while in that situation. On the other hand, if a person executes a daily regiment of exercise and proper diet, his or her body will adapt accordingly as well. You make of your body what you will and your body, in return, will adapt.

This winter I am working on my mileage base. I did 8 miles yesterday as my long run. I averaged a 11:45 pace. A month and a half ago, I was not conditioned to run that distance, as my body was not adapted to that. Over the course of the last few weeks, I have been building my mileage up adding distance every week (and taking an easy week every 4th). My body has adapted to the distance needed to go to reach that long run goal. The long runs are getting easier, but I am also working on speed as well.

You can take a person who runs 3 miles and present them with the opportunity to double their endurance. This feat is pretty easy. However, I have decided to incorporate speed-work into my weekly runs twice a week, as well as the easy runs and endurance runs (long runs). As of a week ago, I noticed a substantial elevated course of improvement my body offered me with my running during my long run (last one of 7 miles). I noticed I am able to go faster. When I first started my running career, I was lucky to do 2 miles in 27 minutes (a fast walk for most, but for me I was running, trying at least). When I do my speed work, it seems my legs are adapting and every time it seems easier (for the most part). I feel more relaxed, and my body does not hurt that much. My old pace seems too slow for me. My body is adapting to my running. I don't know if this happens to you or not, but......when I start out a run, about 1-2 miles into it; my body is recognizing what I am putting it through and responds with "ok, I understand, I'll go along with this running thing, this continuing motion".

What ever you put your body through, it will adapt in most cases.. whether it is speed or endurance. During my year of running, I have noticed a lot of things. I still have a lot of questions. Because of the longer distances, I am finding new things out (chaffing, body relaxation, etc). I could ask and get all of the knowledge before hand, but that would take the fun out of my journey. It is my journey. Running has presented me with challenges, some griefs, pain and suffering, happiness, and pure joy. But, for my running career to accelerate and for me to achieve the runner body that I ultimately want, I know that my body, spirit, and mind must adapt. It has been, and that makes me happy because I have a long, long long road ahead of me.

Monday, December 7, 2009

To Evolve into a Runner from a Blob; Taking a Look Back.

I started running seriously at the beginning of the year. I was tired of just sitting around doing nothing. I quick look (notice quick, like glance, cause that's all it took) in the mirror told me that it was time for something to happen. It was then, when I decided to take up running. Since the beginning of the year (2009), I have logged close to 500 miles and have lost 30 pounds. I am now under 200 pounds. Other things have happened too, for the good of myself.

One of the first signs of the evolution into a runner for me that I noticed was the loss of weight. It seemed to come off like grease sliding down a hot tin roof in August. I noticed that my face was getting thinner, along with my shoulders and legs. Seemed like the outer extremities were noticeable at first. My favorite, though is the loss of my man boobies, or whatever term they get now. With the loss of weight came the fact that my clothes were getting loser. No more XXL!!!! Now I am just L in shirts. If I try on a L shirt and it doesn't quite fit I just wait. I have had to donate at least more than half of my clothes away.

The second sign of the evolution process was that two medical conditions that I had were showing signs of improvement along with my overall health. I have Meniere's Disease and PAD. With the Meniere's Disease, some of the symptoms I had no longer exist. With the PAD, my right leg lost most of the swelling and the coloring is almost back to normal. I still have the protruding veins, but my leg doesn't hurt anymore. Last but not least, my overall health is so much better. I can breathe and have lots of energy.

Along with all of the physiological changes, the third and probably the most important sign of the evolution process is mental. Being a runner is more than just getting out there and running. It's a life long attitude. Running changes your mental side of everything. I have more focus. I can solve problems a lot better. I have this fascinated obsession on time now. Of course I relax, but on certain things, I am always figuring out times. I park way far when I go to the grocery store or shopping. I love to walk, and walk twice as fast probably. I am always thinking ahead of schedule. So, running does more than just take off pounds and gets a person fast.

I still have a long ways to go, and that to me, is what I love the most. If it were something that was "easily" achievable, it would bore me. But knowing that the road is endless in terms of goals makes the journey that much desirable and likable. How have you evolved into a runner? What has running done for you? This post does not even touch a small portion of the gains from running, but it touches on the main points for me. I am not a Blob anymore. That life is on a planet 10,000 light years away. I have evolved into a runner, and the great thing is that I am still evolving, and so are most of you into the elite runner that you ever so dream about. Have fun evolving and ...................Keep Running!

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Last Mile

How did it happen? I don't know, but it did! Wednesday is my "Long Run" days. This is because I can probably get 8 hours of sleep, and it's one of my days off, other than Sunday. This winter I am getting back into the swing of running by building up my mileage, and doing core workouts (which I, so far, think are pretty fun, as long as you do different things).

I am up to 7 miles now for my long run. Two days ago, I went out for my 7 mile adventure. I had a pretty good amount of sleep. I ate some good pre-run fuel, I think. I was ready for this. I started out at my normal pace (which is SLOW, like Turtles, around 11:45 m). The first 4 miles of running were pretty good. No complaints here. The 5th and first half of the 6th were a little dreadful, but I didn't stop. At the pace I was going, I probably could of walked fast or something. LOL> Towards the end of the 6th mile, something happened and I don't know what it was, nor can I explain it. I got this enormous rush of energy through out my entire body. The last mile, I was running like Forest Gump (well.....not as fast, but to me I felt like it).

Now, here my first 5-6 miles were done around 11:55 pace average. My last mile was a PR on my one mile at 9:30. It felt great. I was blazing and did not even get tired out. Something must have kicked in. Maybe the beans I ate before I ran. Well today, Friday, I went for my 4 mile run. Did I have a last mile energy rush like on Wednesday? ......NO. But, my pace for the entire run was 11:15 which is about 30 seconds per mile faster. Next week I go back down in mileage to rest my body. I am noticing a lot of changes with my running, the way I look (which Ill get into later), my mental attitude of life in general, and everything else. The one thing that, if I could change, would, would be my work hours. Sometimes they kill me and on average Im lucky to get 4 hours of sleep.

Well, I have put in almost 500 miles this year so far, and am starting to really reap the benifits. My body is rewarding me with great running. I just need to reward it back with more rest and better fuel. Thanks for reading and ......Keep Running!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

My Body needs a Break from Running to get Better

When you love to run, and are extremely passionate about it, its hard not to want to take it easy when it is 70 degrees outside and not a cloud in the sky. On my non-running days, I do a little weight training and core workouts. I want to do "something". Well........last Friday I was scheduled to run 4 miles. It was going to be a tempo run but it turned into a slower than economy pace run. I have not ran since Wednesday and I had enough sleep and rest, but that was that period. What was I doing before? I decided to take a look at my log book dating the previous weeks. I have been adding mileage and doing faster speed work sessions. I was not giving my body the rest it needed. Although I "felt" like I had energy, I didn't.

I finished the 4 miles. I was soooo tired. I did whatever that day and got in bed early. On Saturday, I was suppose to go for an "easy" 3 miler. I did......NOT, because of the day before. I listened to my body and it was telling me to hold I listened. I had an enjoyable day. I did some core workouts in which I picked up from the Runnerdude. Before about a month ago, I have not really included any core exercises, but now I do them at least 3 times a week. So I had a great day of chilling out.

On Sunday, I was scheduled for a 5 mile tempo run. WoW! I did not feel like myself. I was Flying. My form was great, and my legs didn't feel like they had cement shoes attached to them. I felt great. It had to be my best run in the past 6 months or so. I gave my body the little break it deserved. Instead of going on that easy 3 miler on Saturday, I waited to see what would happen on Sunday. I was so surprised at myself. I don't mean to boast in any way, but it was an awesome feeling. After the 3rd mile, and the 4th, I was going a lot faster and feeling like it was nothing. Well.......anyways, that's what happened.

What did I learn? Listen to my body. If you give it a little break, it will come back and reward you later. That's my late breaking experience.