Monday, November 4, 2013

You win some... You lose some...

So, the big day has come and gone.  Did I make my goal? Well, let's just say that I am happy with my results. My goal was 2 hours 24 minutes.... which I was basing off of an 11:00 minute mile. My average over the Half-Marathon was 11:05/mile or 2 hours 25 minutes and 7 seconds total.

I could be mad because, really - just  5 seconds a mile faster? However, I am ecstatic that my time was so close to my goal. Percentage wise I was only 0.75% slower that I wanted to be. That tells me it could have gone either way.

So how was the weather and course? The weather was as good as it is going to get for a November race. The course is nice and flat and there are a good number of turns at the beginning. Then the long stretches seem to get longer. Once you turn onto Meridian you know your headed back to city center and you feel as if your never going to get there because it is a few mile stretch. It plays with your mind. It is also the windiest part of the run. It almost feels like Chicago. Can I just say, I love Indianapolis? The city was great, the organizers at IMM were great, and the local people were tolerant of the mess of the city us runners made.

I had some really good company running with me this year (and if your reading this, thank you!). We have been encouraging each other all summer long. That's what family is for though, right?

Here we are at the finish:
She finished about 3 minutes ahead of me, and it all happened in the last 3-4 miles. Sigh.

So why am I satisfied with any of this? When running with my phone and using the GPS to track distance and speed, it is not always so accurate. I had been running with my iPhone at about an 10:50 minute mile. When we ran, for the the 10 miles, we averaged 10:24 minute mile on my phone. That is the furthest I have ever run at the pace, even though we were probably around 9.6 actual miles.

Yes, my lungs started hurting from breathing, but just enough to know I was at max pace (and that was at about mile 3 - mentally I was worried). I so wish I could have finished at that pace and crossed closer to the same time. Oh-well, I'll be happy for my PR.

The other win is that it seems to be rubbing off a little on some other family members. I sure hope they have as much fun I as do taking myself to the extremities of my physical capabilities. In the future we just may have some more runners with us on the course.

So now that the challenge is over, what next?

If there is no goal, no next race - is there really any reason to run? The whole point of "running the race" is so that you can tell how much you've improved or how well practice has paid off. Otherwise it is too easy to put off and say you will exercise another day or next week.

On that note we are already planning a rematch next year. On a different course and 25K in distance. It's only 2.4 miles further than a half, right? Will I also run the IMM half next year? Probably. I'll want to see how much I can shave off my time. I would like to see my time get under 2:18 for a half, then I'll start working on a marathon in under 5 hours.

So where is this loss that I was talking about? First of all. It was 14 pounds of pure fat. Yes, I can tell. I was feeling blimpish and that feeling has setting down to just plain fat. Much improved with plenty of room to go. The second is that it was the Michigan / Michigan State football game weekend and somehow the Spartans got lucky. Ok, so the Spartans definitely have the skill... I was just hoping the Wolverines would have a win.

Signing Off. Otto.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Last post before run!

Ran my last pre-race run today.

I am really excited for Saturday Morning to come. Did I mention I signed up for the  run like 11 months ago? It has been a long time coming.

Training started late this year as I was going to be a fair weather runner. Well, it didn't take long to figure out that you either don't get you training in or you run unless it is lightning out. Even vacations are no excuse for not packing you running shoes. 

So training is done and my last training run ran. So now what, I have like two and a half days to go.

For one I'll be stretching to make sure my muscles don't tighten up over the next few days. I also be taking in loads of carbs and fluids. 

Tomorrow night I'll pack for the trip. Check hotel reservations, print off the route map of the race, check expo and packet pickup times, and lots of other things.

So, for running gear, what to pack? Weather is unknown, could be almost warm enough not to need cold weather gear, but if it rains then I'll wish I had it. So... I'll probably pack for best, worst, and somplace in between type of weather. 

The weather forcast now says 40 for Saturday morning with partly sunny sky's. At 48, I usually just wear shorts and a shirt. So, I might have to change up my outfit a little. It'll probably be closer to 44 when I finish the race... So I just don't know. I am sure I'll be glued to the weather channel Friday night.

In any event, it looks like the weather is going to be co-operative at the moment. Unfortunately, it can change quickly. 

I am looking forward to the half marathon on Saturday. So much has gone into preparing and I am ready to run the race.

See you at the finish!

Today's run:

Saturday, October 26, 2013


Good run today.

I way over dressed but it's good that I did. I didn't realize it was going to be so windy out. Thankfully I was able to half unzip my jacket to cool me off enough,

I realized today when I wanted to speed up a little, I started taking deeper breaths, which mean the air went in and out faster. It's amazing how that wore out my lungs. Once I went back to normal breathing the run was much more fun.

Must be me getting nervous about the race next Saturday already. Trying to always run a personal best gets tiresome and stressful.

Oh, my normal breathing is a shallower breath but slightly more air than when I am at rest. Definitely more regular too. I find that breathing In-2-3 Out-2-3 still works the best. Yes, I time it with my steps.

I should probably lay off the sodas and caffeine this week so I can make sure I am well hydrated. 

I have two maybe three workouts left before my run. They will only be 2-3 mile runs for 20-35 minutes. Just enough to keep them exercised a little.

Remember to keep calm and run.

This weeks weigh in (after run): 230.6

Today's run:

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Crunch Time!

Well we are about 10 days from the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon and it is crunch time.

I am running the half marathon which is around 13.1 miles.

So, here is my last-minute advice for all you beginner runners. But don't just take my word for it. Read up on it from multiple sources for yourself.

1. You want to make sure you are comfortable during your run, dress for success!
  • Need something that is not too heavy, but will keep you warm at near freezing temperatures. (I am wearing Adidas Climawarm pants and top - great for that 30-48 degree weather.)
  • They do make socks so that when your feet sweat it causes a chemical reaction and the socks warm up. They are very nice.
  • Gloves. Get something that has a nice soft fuzzy material on the thumbs. (They comes in handy when you need to wipe your nose.)
  • I plan on wearing my Skull Cap and a regular hat over it. It will prevent sweat from running down my face. The regular loose fitting hat will help keep some heat in.
  • Do what ever it takes to ensure no blisters or raw skin become a problem. You should have this figured out by now, but if you are still having issues, ask some other runners on how best to deal with your dis-comfort areas.
  2. Keep it SLOW out of the gate. The race will not be won or a PR made in the first 3 miles of the run. I have been reading up a lot on how to prep for a race like this and I get the same message over and over and over again. First, there are going to be 11,000 people at the starting line and it will be crowded. If you wait a little to pick up your pace, there will be less crowding. Unless you like being worn out before the first 3 miles are over because you are darting and going fast then slow then fast then super fast to get around a group and then slow to catch your breath - then KEEP IT SLOW AT THE START. At 5k, if you are feeling really good maybe kick it up a notch. Then again at 10k you can re-evaluate your pace. Last time you want to check your pace is the last 5k of the run. This is where you want to kick it into high gear if you have it in you, if not keep the pace you are going. More records are broke by people who run the second half of the run faster than the first half of the run.  

3. YOU ARE A SKILLED METAL WORKER! Or in this case, marathon runner. That is right, just like Khalil in the Veggie Tales movie Jonah, you need to have a positive mental attitude. Most of this fight is mental. Your body can handle it. Unfortunately our brains like to give up before our body is worn out. So, you need to think positive. Be prepared because the conditions are almost never perfect. While the IMM will claim it was perfect last year, I don't count being pelted by sleet perfect.

4. Your last run should be around 60-48 hours before the race. A short 2 mile / 20 minute run would be perfect. You'll want at least 48 hours of recovery before the long run.

Today's Run:

Sunday, October 20, 2013


Took a different route today for my long run and had the hardest time even running 10 miles.

It's almost disheartening to think that the run is two weeks away and I just blew my last chance for a 13.1 mile run. 

My per mile time just kept creeping up. It seemed there was nothing I could do to get a consistent mile time.

The weather was awkward as well. While it was 60 out it was a cold 60. Mostly overcast, good breeze, kept my core cool. Probably too cool.

My body kept going from ok to cold. That probably added enough stress to my body for my body to wear out faster.

I guess I have two weeks left to figure out what I am going to wear to keep my body temp more regulated.

Today's weigh in (after run): 230.6
Today's run:

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Do you like to run?

This question was recently asked of me. At the time I said, "No". Now, I think I know how to better respond. I should have said something like, "As much as I love having a root canal done." 

Problem is I have bend fortunate enough not to have experienced one yet but I hear they are painful. So, I am really not sure if that is a good metaphor.

So what's the God's honest truth? 

Most days I have a desk job. That means I get very little physical activity. It is great if you work at a manual labor job and you get your exercise in while you work. However, in our technology crazed era a lot of people have desk jobs.

Rather than blame my chubbiness on fast food I blame it in myself. Why? Because I should have some sort of self restraint. Really, you can say no if they ask you if you want to upsize that for 39 cents. Do you really need to super sized sweet tea? I know it's only a buck right?

Think of it as money. By the looks of it I have plenty in savings. While stockpiles of emergency funds are great, stockpiles of fat are not. 

So the fact is, I need to spend time exercising. I chose running because it is something easy to fit into a schedule and take with you on vacation.

Do I like to run? The training runs are that, training. They can be laborious. However, I have really begun to enjoy my Saturday morning and Sunday afternoon runs. Usually they ard longer, I am not trying to run as fast as I can, and I have time to enjoy the scenery around me. From really cool spider webs, to children playing, to fall colors in the leaves. It's all good and make the whole thing worth while. 

So while it may not be the act of running I enjoy, running does bring me closer to world around me and the One who created it all.

Last weeks weigh in: 235.6
Last Saturdays run:

Sunday, October 6, 2013

So, when is it time for new shoe?

I have done some research on when to replace my running shoes. There are as many different opinions as there are flavors of ice cream at baskin robins. I did, however, come across some good guidelines. 

One would assume that it's when the shoes wear out. That's exactly right. Knowing when your shoes are wore out is a whole new experience for running shoes though.

If you've been into basketball or tennis you know it is usually the rubber sole that wears out and you know it time to replace your shoes.

On the flip side, running shoes can practically look brand new when the need to be replaced with very little wear on the tread. 

So for running shoes here are the guidelines that I liked:
    1. Replace your shoes every 3-6 Months.
    2. Shoes should be replaced every 300-450 miles.

So, those are good guidelines, but when do you really know it's time? For runners that translates into pain they usually don't have after running. 

What happens is the vision in the shoes break down causing more stress on your legs and knees. So if you are starting to run into discomfort after your runs, then you know it's time.

Why, did I look this all up? Well, yeah some muscle, bone and joing pain popped up. It seems to only come on longer runs that are more than 10 miles. At this point I am not sure if it's the shoes or the distance, but I'll know when I get the same sort of pains from shorter 4-5 mile runs.

My current shoes are 3 months old and have just over 250 miles of running on them. I know the mileage is short, but I am relying on what little cusion in my shoes that there are to take a beating from 240 lbs landing on it. It would be a whole knew scenario if I was 190 lbs. 

So, yes, everyone will vary with when they need to replace their shoes, but your body will tell you. Remember, that pain is a gift, it is telling you something's not right and to take care. Listen to it.

Weekly weigh-in: yeah, maybe next week

This weekends runs:

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Slow and steady wins the race.

So today I ran... And ran... And ran. All 13.1 miles and was disappointed that my time was 9 seconds more per mile than two weeks ago.

However, after reviewing my run I noticed my pace looked more like a yo-yo than the straight line runners try for.

So what I've learned is that there is a reason you want even pace. That reason is simple. It is a lot less stressful on your body. Two weeks ago I stopped at 13.1 miles only because I had previously only ran 10 miles this year. I could have kept running two weeks ago, I was feeling good and I had a great pace.

Today was total opposite. I just could not keep a good pace. I struggled to hit 13.1 and do as well as I did. So, next time I think I'll take it a little slower out of the gate.

This weeks weigh-in: 237.0
After run: 232.6

Today's run:

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Ooops, That wasn't too bright.

Yesterday we had the local blood bank have a remote blood donor drive at my place of work. I occasionally donate and it had been long enough since last time that I was able to donate again.

It never occurred to me that it might affect my running. But as I was finishing up donating blood they remind me to take it easy and no strenuous activity for at least 24 hours. Ooops.

The next morning (Today) I was planning on running another 13.1 Miles. I figured that was beyond strenuous even if it was 24 hours later. It's just not what normal people do.

So after posting on Facebook and not getting any real helpful responses, I decided to do some Googling. 

What I found out is that I just donated a bunch of red blood cells. Well more than that, but it's the red blood cells we are concerned with.

Here is an excerpt from Runners World that explains it better than I can:
Your red blood cells contain hemoglobin. Oxygen attaches to hemoglobin at your lungs and is carried to your muscles and other tissues where it is used to produce energy aerobically. If you have low iron levels, you produce fewer red blood cells, and your hemoglobin level decreases. Less oxygen is transported to your muscles, therefore, and your running performance (amongst other aspects of your life) deteriorates. 

Thankfully my iron level is in a good range. But you can see I have less red blood cells now which means my body has a harder time transporting oxygen to my muscles. It will take 4-6 weeks for my body to replenish my red blood cell count.

So, I didn't run my long run this morning. I thought I'd go out and at least run 4 and maybe up to 6.2. I ended up running five. The last mile was my best time at just under 10 minutes. That's only because I was trying to stay ahead of the rain.

I was overtaken by rain on my mile walk home. Just about a 1/4 mile from the house. Well, more than rain - downpour. I was thuroughly wet.

My run was ok. Glad I didn't go for the long run. My body just felt weak. Like low on sleep weak. Still, I was able to run the 5 miles at race pace without any major issues.

This weeks weigh in: Oops, I forgot.

Today's run:

Sunday, September 15, 2013

I made it!

For those of you who use MapMyRun you know you can take part in different challenges. 

I took part in a challenge by Aetna. 

Aetna's challenge was over 90 days. The first 30 days you needed to log 10 workouts of 20 minutes or more. The second 30 days you needed to log 15 workouts of 20 minutes or more. The last 30 days you needed to log 20 workouts of 20 minutes or more. 

Well today is day 90 and I just logged my 20th workout of 20 minutes or more for the past 30 days. This means I have completed all three phases of the challenge and will be put in the bucket for the grand prize drawing. 

Will I win? Most likely not. I have a 1 in 22,485 chance. Not very good odds.

But with out the challenge I know of at least two workouts I would not have done.

They both involve rain. Today I wore my jogging suit because it is light and helps keep the rain off. That is good for electronics like my iPhone which I use on every run. 

However, I can say the jogging suit made me feel much heavier. Maybe if the pants didn't have a cotton lining it would be better. I know I couldn't wait for the 20 minutes to be done. So when running, less is better.

The Challenge: