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Posts Tagged ‘half marathon’


Today is Thanksgiving and I am sitting on the couch at my wife’s parent’s house enjoying being around everyone.  Our kids and grandkids will be here later to enjoy food and family.  Yes, this is a cliché Thanksgiving post.

Not everyone is here though.  There has been loss and there is also separation. So, it is not always as easy as it seems, but then for many, holidays are never as Hallmark-y as they make it out to be.

In our bible class at church we are studying John’s gospel.  He’s that “other” guy in the group.  The one that didn’t write like all the rest.  One of John’s repeated motifs is the “I AM” statements from Jesus.  “I AM the Light that has come into the world,” Jesus says.  “I AM the Bread…”, “I AM the Good Shepherd“, and “I AM the Resurrection and the Life”, are also statements of Jesus.  I suppose these hearken back to when Moses was at the burning bush asking God what His name was so that the Hebrews would know whom it is that Moses is talking to them about.  God’s only answer was, “I AM THAT I AM“.  He needed nothing more.

I think that at this time of year, it is good that we see that same simple statement in ourselves and the kind of spiritual power those small words have.  I am…

I am…thankful.  That is the biggest thing for this year.  It has not been easy for me or my family.  Since losing my former job in 2012, I was finally hired after five months of searching by a nearby hospital.  I am thankful for being able to keep a roof over our heads and food upon the table.  My new situation doesn’t allow for much more than that, but we have still been blessed and cared for every day of this past year.  Regardless of how little we had in our pockets, God provided for us all year.  I am thankful for these blessings because I know that others have even less and are still thankful.

I am…a runner.  Didn’t think I would stick that in here, did you?  No matter what has happened this year in other ways, I am still a runner.  I still get up twice during the week to run before the sun is up, and every Saturday I still go out for my long run.  My only race of the year will be in a week at the Dallas Marathon, where I am running the half.  I was fortunate to register back in the Summer and I am looking forward to the race. Yes, I am still a runner.

I am…a cyclist.  Well, we have to keep it going don’t we?  Cycling  is an expensive sport.  However, it can also be simple.  I managed one organized ride in May, but I have still been riding.  I have friends that have gotten up early on Sundays to ride a few miles and when they aren’t available, I realized I could still get up early and ride for myself.  While I don’t ride as many miles as in past years, I still ride and have made a few good routes around town.

I am…a triathlete.  Well, this one is just on faith.  I stopped swimming about a month ago just because it got very boring.  I did manage to make my distance up to a mile a week for a while this year from mid-Summer until Fall.  However, 1800 yards in a 20 yard pool can get very old.  So, I will just sit out for a while until I just have to go back.

I am…still in ministry.  I thought that when we started over at a new church that I would just be “around”.  That isn’t the plan I see.  There have been opportunities all year for ways that I can serve and I have been glad of the opportunities.

Yep, it’s been quite a good year after all.  And, just think: Christmas is just around the corner and many new adventures await.  Happy running, and happy thanksgiving!

 

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Yep, I’m back.  No, I didn’t go anywhere.  I’ve just been busy.

Since the first of this year, my family’s budget has been much more strict.  That can be problematic when you’re a triathlete, clydesdale or otherwise.  It’s kind of normal that in the 21st century, everything is an industry these days.  So, yes, there is the running industry, the triathlon industry, and I even work in the healthcare industry.  Side note: In my own personal opinion and belief, healthcare of any kind should never be considered an “industry” in any sense.  It should always and only be considered ministry, regardless of your religion.  We should be working ourselves out of a job, not creating permanence and profit. That being said, industries have one primary goal in mind: setting their followers free from the green stuff in their pocketbooks and making them feel good about it.

That’s not cynical, people, it’s just true.  Industries are in it for making money.  They exist because they have constituencies; followers.  Runners need shoes, shorts, shirts, gels, sleeves, compression gear…and the list goes on and on.  Get it–runners NEED this stuff (feel free to substitute cyclist, triathlete, etc.).  And, it’s true that there are times when we do need the stuff, or it may help us in one way or another.  However, many times, we just want it.  Of course, for many triathletes, what we  most want is the next race, or ride, or whatever event there is down the pike.

Previously, during most of the year, I was budgeted to one event per month (except for special instances). One race or one ride.  Now, even those will be hard to come by, so I am doing with less of them.  I attended one ride this Spring, primarily because it was inexpensive and we didn’t have to travel far (and there was something for sweetie to do while I rode).  I was able recently to sign up for the Dallas Half Marathon in December because of a birthday gift.  No, I am not complaining, but I am learning a lot more about what it means to be a runner or a cyclist this way.

I’ve learned I can do without Clif bars.  I’ve learned I can do with just Gatorade.  I already reported that while funds were available, I pre-bought two pair of running shoes so they would last.  I’m keeping my 400 mile pair in service for short runs to make them last even longer.  I’ve also learned to get more out of my workouts than just a notch up for the next race or event.

Usually, by now, I am into full swing cycle mode for the Summer.  That hasn’t happened this year.  I have switched to doing long runs on Saturdays instead of going out and riding.  Mainly because I can’t get any medium length ones during the weekdays.  I was finding that if I got up at 4AM and did 6 to 8 miles, I was wasted for working that day.  Also, by waiting until Saturday, I can run longer and get into better condition, all while seeing the sun come up.  Much better, I think.

But, I’ve gotten some riding time in as well.  I’ve just had to be creative.  I’ve loaded up the bike on the car and driven out to a large trail where I can ride safely on Sunday afternoons sometimes.  Yes, that may be anathema to some, but it is better than nothing.  A friend recently started up his Sunday morning group ride around town.  Since I don’t have to be at church at 7AM any more, I can now ride.  Also, much better.

I’ve been working on a better running workout that is doing me some good right now.  My weekday runs are limited to about 3 and no more than 5K at a time.  Then on Saturdays, I’ve been working from 8 to 14 miles.  I just finished the first cycle a couple of weeks ago and now I’m going from 9 to 14, then 10 to 14, then 12 to 14.  After I finish that cycle, I’ll go back to 8 and start over again.  I’ll let you know how it goes, but so far it has felt very good to get out and do the longer runs like I was doing for the marathon.

I’m trying to hold 1,000 yds. in swimming, but I waffle some.  I’m down to just one day as Mondays are seniors only at my pool.  It’s a lot less busy that way and I can swim better.  An Ironman friend of mine had been doing a workout where he ran to the pool, did his swim, then ran home.  I’ve started doing that some.  It’s a killer workout, to borrow a cliche, but well worth the effort.

I hadn’t really been a running clothes horse.  My only few important things I’ve had for a while; a couple pairs of compression shorts, and some really good socks, plus a pair of winter woolies and running pants for Winter.  Almost all of my shirts are race shirts or were bought at Wal Mart or Target.  You can get decent stuff there.  I haven’t need any clothes this  year, but if I did, I know where to look.

It’s been different not racing or going to rides as much.  I’ve been blessed with more great runs this way than usual.  I am still getting to do new things.  I’ve noticed I am running much faster than I used to run.  It’s decently exciting to finish a long run on Saturday and discover you didn’t take as long as you thought.  It’s also good to be able to run by the grocery store on your run and see folks you know.

Running and working out is about a lot more than just the events.  You really don’t have to have a lot of money to do it.  You do need to have really good shoes though.  There you cannot scrimp.  That just requires planning and budgeting to make it work.  I’ve been reminded a lot more lately of just what it means to be an athlete (or “late onset athleticism as John Bingham calls it).  At my new job, I have been able to put into practice all those things I believe in about being a craftsman such as doing a good job just because it’s the way you do a job.  Now, I’ve been able to apply those lessons to running, biking, and swimming.  Doing them well just because you should and because  you can.  Triathlon training on a budget does work.  Happy running, ya’ll!

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Well, it is my last “free” weekend before going back to the world of work.  But, please don’t think that while I have been out of work that it has been “free” time at all.  Looking for a job in this day and age is challenging, frustrating, and just plain difficult.  It is only free in the sense that as of tomorrow morning, I’ll be back among the employed.  Hallelujah!

I can certainly tell from my time without a job that I am not cut out for being without a job or retired just yet.  I do need things to do.  Though, if I didn’t have to look for work, I do think I could think of enough to keep me busy.

Running of late has also been problematic.  I put it down to age, but the cold weather has been unbearable.  We in North Texas are experiencing a colder weather than we have had in the past couple of years.  It’s probably not too abnormal, but we are not used to it.  Last Tuesday, we woke up to a blanket of unexpected and unforecasted snow-like stuff.  It wasn’t snow in the pretty flaky sense.  These were little round snow pebbles.  We spent most of the week not getting hardly above freezing all day and the mornings have been mostly 20’s.  Brrrrrrrrr!!!!

I just wasn’t able to force myself out the door after these same temps have been with us off and on for a few weeks now.  I stayed on the trainer most of the week and even was desperate enough to get on a dreadmill at the fitness center for a couple of miles.  Friday turned out gorgeous and in the 60’s so I even broke my usual Friday rest rule and went out to run a couple of miles in the evening.  It was good to do, but they were a couple of tough miles.

Saturday morning was finally normal at 41 degrees and I felt reasonably good enough.  I debated how many miles I should run…three…four?  It is usually my routine to ride on Saturday morning but I needed to not be out too long so I elected a run for this time and didn’t want it to be a short one.  At Running Bear park (about two miles out) I went for broke and headed off for six miles.

The weather was good and I was dressed right for it.  I just wore a long sleeve tech-T and running pants.  I was comfortable and had set a comfortable pace.  I hadn’t run any hills since December and now would run three this morning.  Things worked well and through miles four and five, I felt really good running.

The city recently finished the addition of a small trail near a park I pass at about the end of five miles.  I thought I’d try it out.  It was really well done and brightly lit.  I took me around to an alternate street I could run down without being off course too much.  Since I was without a garmin I had to guess, but I think it was just enough to make my usual 6.14 miles into an even 6.2.  I finished up in 1:17 exactly and was ready for the day.

Winter running can be really hit and miss.  All I usually have to deal with is the cold, but even that can be daunting.  Everyone reacts to temperature stress differently.  If you’ve been running a while, it’s really frustrating to be off your schedule, but you just have to be patient and wait for the right time.  Treadmills have helped a lot of folks keep up in the Winter.  I use my bike trainer a lot, too.  You have to get creative.

Hopefully, with a return to work I’ll get back into my regular routine.  That should help me a bit and then I can get my miles back up to where I want them.  I’m working on getting back to and holding 20 mile weeks.  I’d like to get my long runs to about 10 miles.  I would like to be ready at almost any time to run a half marathon, though this year I might need a registration fairy for that to work.  Regardless, running is still well worth doing.

I guess I have wasted enough time away from finishing my algebra homework.  My semester is almost done and I’m ready to get it over with.  So, while I work on geometric progressions: Happy running!

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This past Monday, I decided to restart my speedwork again as it groweth closer to Cowtown time again.  None of my speed workouts for my marathon training were pickups, so I had not done any for several months.  I thought it would be a good time to run some (not so) gentle pickups again.  And, as usual, I would run mine with my trusty Garmin and heart rate monitor.

Now, if you’ve read my original post on doing pickups by heart rate, you know that I set a heart rate alarm on the Garmin that is slightly under my max heart rate.  My max heart rate had been running about 180-182.  When I first started running with the Garmin, I calculated my max HR (220 – 50; my age) at 170, but I measured my heart rate going to 180 when running flat out.  For a couple years, I’ve been using an alarm setting of 172.  When my HR gets to 172, I hear the beeps and run out the pickup for as long as I can hold, then slow down.

As long as I have run, that formula has worked just fine.  Until last Monday when I took off on my first pickup and kept going and going and going.  No beeps.  No alarms.  I look down and the Garmin says, “162.”  Ok, so slow down, jog a while and try it again.  My HR drops back to 130 and I start off again.  Maybe I didn’t run the pickup out fast enough?  You’re only supposed to reach about 80% of top speed.  Maybe I am just out of practice.  So, I’ll make this one faster.

I’m waiting, and waiting, and waiting for the beep.  None comes.  I’m going all out now and I look down, “164.”  What’s wrong?  Why won’t my HR go up?  I run the rest of my pickups by feel and just monitor the heart rate.  It never exceeded 167, and that was on the last one.  What has happened?  I know I’m fit.  Has something change?

Of course it has.  I’ve dropped 30 pounds!  And, I’m slightly older now.  OK, so my age only drops the max HR by 2 bpm, but when you go in with the idea that I’m now back to my calculated HR (220 – age), which is now 168, almost 167, you see the difference.  My extra weight artificially raised my max HR because of the extra stress.  Now, I need to figure out a new HR limit for pickups and try it again.

Of course, now, I’m not sure when that will be.  Tuesday evening I went for my regular swim.  Every time I tried to fully kick in the freestyle stroke, my left foot hurt.  I eased up on my kicking and could keep the pain under slight control, but at least once every lap, one strong kick would make me wince.

Just when I crossed 800 yds., it got worse.  Now it was throbbing and moving up the leg.  I stopped and made it back to the shallow end to see what was going on.  I could feel a large knot on top of my foot near the ankle.  It wasn’t hard and after a while, the know moved when pressing on it.  The pain was increasing.  My friend stopped to see how it was and I told him I was done for the night.

I hobbled home and put some ice on it.  I took some ibuprofen and wrapped it for the night.  It remained quite painful all night, but when I got up, the pain when down, the swelling went down, and I could walk.  I went two days at work with no real problems at all.  No problem walking.  I jogged a little coming home and didn’t feel anything either.  However, I got up this morning and could see a small bruise down near my toes.  That was odd.  I didn’t have any pain down there.

I thought I’d try spinning and see if that would be a problem.  For 52 minutes, it wasn’t.  Then it started again.  I got off and checked.  Sure enough, the swelling was back and the bruise had gotten larger.  Well, that bites.

Now, I am going to have to stick to my plan to do no workouts until Monday at least.  I can’t find any medical conditions exactly like it on the Internet.  The only one that is close sounds really bad.  I don’t think I’ve ripped a ligament or tendon.  That pain would remain…I think.

Well it happens.  You can’t get everything right.  I’ve gone a considerable length of time without an injury.  I guess you might say I’m overdue.  It’s just not a good time with a race coming up.  I’m going to be patient and wait until Monday.  Then, I’ll have to reassess whether this needs a doc or not.  I sure hope not.  They tend to go overboard when there is an injury.  And, my experience with a lot of docs is they aren’t all great diagnosticians.  But, we’ll just have to see.  Be careful and have fun running.

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Tomorrow will be Thanksgiving for those of us in the good ‘ol US of A.  We will celebrate our nations humble beginnings, our connection to our families, our thanks to our God, and some among us will also deign to worship at the altar of football.  So it is appropriate on this occasion to note what I am thankful for in this past year.  However, before I get to all that, it is important to note that it was somehow comical to someone to place a marathon at just such a date as to cause its runners difficulty.  Why?  Because we must go through taper at Thanksgiving. (more…)

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About a week ago, I finally pulled the trigger on deciding to run a full marathon.  Though I have done three halves and several other races, I was trying to rationalize out NOT doing the full.  Since that rationalization kept failing,  After putting it to the vote of my running/biking friends on Facebook, I will be entering the 2011 White Rock Marathon.  And, the first order of business was to find out when to start training for said marathon. (more…)

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Success does not come to the most righteous and rigorously disciplined but to those who continue running. — Amby Burfoot

July is about to come to a close.  The heat in North Texas has been stifling for most of this Summer.  It will probably go down as one of the hotter Summers on record.  I have heard the weather prognosticators comparing it with 1995, though my target year will always be 1980.  It’s not a 1980…yet.  If we are fortunate it won’t get there.  Running during this Summer has been a challenge for most of the area runners but it’s the “keeping on” that is most important. (more…)

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