Sunday, July 27, 2014

Fort Gordon 10 Miler

The last couple of weeks have been busy for me getting ready to retire from the Army and looking for a job.  I have been able to get in some runs here and there so I don't fall off my running.  Mileage hasn't been very high, putting in about 36 miles the last couple of weeks.  Unfortunately, job hunting has been the priority and running has slacked a little bit.  Once things settle down and I get back on track within the next month my mileage will go back up.

Yesterday I completed the Fort Gordon 10 miler.  It was ugly, took me 2:06 to complete it.  The heat and humidity was crazy and the route didn't have a lot of shade on it.  Not to mention at about the 6 mile mark the bottom of my foot started hurting, in fact it's still pretty sore and hard to put weight on it.  I'm not sure what caused it yet.  I am trying some new compression socks that I am wondering is the cause.  Over a week ago I did a 6 mile and had the same pain afterwards when wearing the same socks.  I don't think it's my shoes as I wore different pair of shoes yesterday.  The only test will be to do a 6 or 7 mile run in my other socks and see how it goes.  I won't mention the brand yet as I want to see if it's the socks or something else.  Anyway, even though I was in a bit of pain, I was determined to complete the 10 miles not matter if I had to crawl through the finish line.  I am not happy at all with the time but sometimes you have to accept what you are able to do at the time.

The Review

Now on to a little review of the 10 miler.  Believe it or not, this race was FREE.  The Fort Gordon, GA Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) put on the race and didn't charge for the race.  This race was also a qualifier for the Army 10 Miler that is held in Washington D.C. in October.  I had no desire to try and qualify as I know I am not fast enough, especially since I know some of the people that ran it and they are fast.  Every runner was given a t-shirt and a participant medal.  The medal wasn't nothing to brag or write home about but for a free race it was something unexpected.  

The route was fairly hilly with a couple of descent size hills thrown in.  They had 4 water points at the 3, 5, 7 and 8 mile marks.  I think they should have put them at the 2, 4, 6 and 8 mile marks.  Going 3 miles on a warm and humid day without a water point is pushing it for some people.  The one good thing they had at the water points were cooling rags.  They had some small microfiber towels in coolers of ice water that were handed out at the water points.  This was a great idea and many runners I talked to after the race really loved them.  At the end of the race, they had the standard bananas and water but the best thing were a couple of misting fans at the finish line.  A good way to help cool down.  Overall, even with the heat and pain in my foot I did enjoy this race. 

My goal this week is to let my foot heal and hopefully I can get in a few miles towards the end of the week.  I am also waiting on some ENERGYbits to come in so I can try them out and see how well they work for me.  Once I am healed up and get the bits, I will do up a review on what I think.  From what I have seen from others, they seem to be pretty awesome.  Have a great week and GO RUN!!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

How Running Came Into My Life

     I was just thinking today that I never really shared about how I got into running.  Several years ago, I became less active and didn’t really exercise or had the desire to really exercise.  I may have done some here and there but nothing to really have any impact or benefit for me or my health.  Several years later and many pounds later my health started taking a bit of a hit when I found out I had high blood pressure.  At the time, I really didn’t think much of it, my mother has it and I thought it was just part of life and heredity.  I never thought it could be because of my weight. 

     Now going back to 2011, I had slowly been gaining weight over the past few years.  I think in 2005 I was at around 170 and by 2011 I was up to 200.  One day, in 2011, I was sitting in the living room with my daughter on my lap and we were just watching T.V. and talking.  She was 12 at the time.  Then out of the blue she said “daddy you’re getting fat”.  Now I love my little girl and appreciate that she doesn’t hold anything back, but this took me by surprise and was the wakeup call I needed.  I guess when you are gaining weight; you really don’t notice it or you’re in denial.  I was on my way to Kuwait for a year and that’s when I decided that I needed to get myself back in shape.

     After getting to Kuwait it took me a few months to get into the swing of things and then I started out hitting the elliptical for a month or so.  I soon came across Jeff Galloway’s run/walk method of training for a 5k.  I started doing this on the treadmill, still doing some time on the elliptical too.  My running started getting stronger and I was able to hit 3 miles without stopping.  The one good thing I discovered in Kuwait is that the camp I was on would have 1 or 2 5K races a month for one reason or another.  I used these 5Ks to keep me on track with running so I wouldn’t fall off the wagon.   A year later and many 5Ks later I return back to the states.  At my peak I hit 210lbs and when I left Kuwait I was at 179lbs. Not to mention I was taken off the high blood pressure medicine while in Kuwait, which has stayed at an acceptable level ever since.

     After coming back to the states, I made a determination that I would never get back to that point again.  I just continued running and doing more 5Ks then eventually 10Ks and even threw in a half-marathon.  I have had some injuries in the past year that has prevented me from running for a couple of months at a time, but luckily I have been able to keep things in check with my weight, I am still bounce around between 180 – 184. I am determined to lose more and running is the way to go.  

     I never thought that I would enjoy running as much as I do.  There are some hard days, but that is what makes it fun.  Fighting through the challenges the road, weather or body throws at you.  I enjoy it so much that when I had my couple of injuries last year (rolled ankles) I was pretty upset and ticked off that I couldn’t run for a while.  I have had some people say that I have an addiction; to me it’s a lifestyle that has proven to benefit me in the long run.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Summer Is Here

Summer has officially arrived and I kicked it off with a 5 mile run this morning.  Had to walk a couple of times, hamstrings started bothering me a little.  Not sure if it was the hilly neighborhood I ran through or the 6 days of running in a row.  At least tomorrow is going to be a rest day for me, need to recover and get ready to start training for a marathon.  I managed to put in just under 20 miles this week, the biggest week I have had in a while.  Feels great to get the mileage back up and hopefully I can get to the 40 mile weeks here soon. Overall the week has been pretty good with the mileage and joining a couple of good groups, as mentioned in the previous post, to help me stay motivated and on track with the running.  My goal is to prevent injuries, which right now means taking my runs nice and slow. For now I am focusing on distance, I think speed will come as I keep running.

Now that summer is here there are a few things that you should keep in mind when running in the heat.
Now, I am no expert or doctor but these are some of the things I keep in mind while I am out in the heat.  If you need to, check with you doctor before running in the if you are not used to it.  

1. Stay hydrated, but don't over do it.  You still have to keep the balance of fluids and electrolytes in your system to keep from having any major problems while out in the heat.  Personally, I stay away from sports drinks, too much sugar for me.  I like to use products like Nuun to help keep electrolytes in check.  Remember to carry water or have someone setup impromptu water stations, especially on the long runs.

2. Run either early morning or later in the evening.  Early morning is the cooler part of the day but if you can't do the runs early wait till at least the sun goes down in the evening.  It will still be warm but you won't have the sun beating down on you while you run.

3. Shade is your friend.  If possible, find a route that has lots of shade if you do end up running while the sun is out.  This will help keep things a little bit cooler while keeping the sun off you.

4.  Keep it light.  Wear light colored clothing as well as light materials.  This will help keep you cool and for the sweat to evaporate a little better, you body's way of cooling.  If you don't have anything light, this is a good excuse to hit the running store.

5. Protect the skin.  The sun is both an enemy and a friend for runners. I helps in the production of Vitamin D, but can also cause skin cancer.  Wear sunscreen while running to help protect you skin and plus you can smell good while running.

6.  Where did you go?  Make sure someone knows the route you plan on taking and roughly how long before you come back.  That way if the time has passed they know where to start looking for you if needed.

7. Most of all listen to your body.  If you feel dizzy, nausea or just not feeling right, stop running immediately and walk back.  If unable to walk back, hopefully you have your phone and can call someone to get you.  If these symptoms get worse or you start having chills and stop sweating you need to see the doctor right away.

Be safe out there this summer and keep these things in mind.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Oatmeal's DOs and DO NOTs of Running your First Marathon

Came across this on Runner's World. The Oatmeal's DOs and DO NOTs of Running your First Marathon, thought is was pretty funny.  It is from Matthew Inman's new book The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances coming out later this year. If this is a taste of what is in the book, looks like it might be a fun read.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Been a While

Well it has been a while since I updated the blog.  I really need to start keeping it up to date.  I have had issues with injuries lately, especially after a 10 miler I did back in December.  I think, and hope, that all that is behind me.  I have had a rash of injuries the past year or so and it gets frustrating.  Just as I get back on track and think I am good to go, BAM!! another injury.  I have come to realize that I just need to take things slow and don't worry about time and just concentrate on finishing whatever run I set out to do.

Now I have some extra motivation for my runs now, not that I didn't have any before.  I joined a group called IRun4, and waiting on someone to be matched to me so I can run for them.  Basically, the person you are matched to has a special needs and they are unable to run.  Therefore you are running not only for yourself but for them.  There is a Facebook page and reading all the posts shows how much support that not only the person with the special needs gets but the people running for them.  Right now the list is pretty long and it could take a few months before I am matched with someone.  In the meantime I will be running for those that do not have any matches yet until I am matched.

Another thing I came across, today in fact, is an app for Charity miles,.  You open the app and select a charity that you want the go out and run, bike or walk.  If you bike 10 cents is donated for every mile and for runners and walkers 25 cents is donated.  You don't have to do anything but run, walk or bike.

Now for what I have coming up in the future right now.  4th of July I will be doing the Yankee Doodle Dash 10K here in Augusta, GA.  It is a bare bones race and all the proceeds go to benefit the Augusta Warrior Project.  I also plan on doing the IR4 Declaration of RunDependence.  I more and likely will not have someone matched up to me by this time but I am going to do it for all the ones with no matches yet.  I also come to a decision to do a full marathon by the end of the year.  I found one outside Atlanta, GA but will wait just a little bit longer to see what is really out there before deciding which one I want to do.

On top of all this, I am happy to announce that I will be retiring from the U.S. Army after 20 years of service. I am looking forward to this and I plan on sticking with the running to keep my health up and stay in shape. Hope everyone has a good week.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Run for Boston

    Completed the Run for Boston 2.5 mile run in support of the Boston Marathon terrorist attack that happened on 15 April, 2013..  I ran an extra bit to make it at least 3 miles.  Was a nice day for a run, there were a lot of people supporting this run for the tragedy at the Boston Marathon.  It was also a great day to really show support on the day, or morning after, the second terrorist was captured.

 Time was good (coming in at around 30 minutes) considering I stopped to talk to a friend that was at the marathon for a short moment.  I was glad to see she is doing well. Also, to add the extra half mile I backtracked to run back in with a co-worker and their pace was a little slow.  Makes me want to go out and really push a 5k and see how I would really do.

  Several of my co-workers showed up to do the run too, was great to see support from both the community and military.  A couple of firemen ran the route in full gear to include oxygen tank on their back and a representative from the Mayor's office was there.  The Mayor has been known to do some runs within the community.  Augusta, GA is not a very big community but when the call for support goes out the people here show up, one of the main reasons I love living here.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Getting back on track

It's been over a month since my latest ankle injury.  I really took the time to let it heal since it was the other ankle I injured this time (did the left one back in September).  So far all is well with it.  I did a couple of runs this week, one on Tuesday and one today, to see how it does with two runs during the week.  I come to realize that I am a bit out of running shape after a month of no running.  My ankle is doing fine so far, just the rest of the body needs to get back in shape.

I don't plan on running again till Monday to give the ankle a few days to recover and not over do it.  It will be slow to getting my mileage back up but it needs to be done without re-injuring myself causing more damage. It felt great getting back on the road and enjoying a good run.  My plan is to try and get my mileage back up to half marathon distance within the next couple of months barring no issues.

Now that I'm back running I should hopefully keep the blog updated a bit more.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Ankle Injury, again

Well, didn't make it to the Columbia Half Marathon.  I badly sprained my ankle the day before the race by stepping in a hole.  I was pretty bummed out, hence the reason I haven't posted anything lately.

Now it's been a little over a week since I seriously sprained my ankle.  Still have a little "knot" around my ankle bone but I am walking a bit better now.  I can even walk up the stairs without any problem.  

I did a short 15 min walk on the treadmill today to see how things feel, so far no problems.  I will probably do a 20 min walk on Weds if all is still good to go.  I am doing this recovery slow so I can heal up and get back to my long mileage.  I am hoping that by the middle to end of next week I can be good enough to put in a short mile to see how things feel.  

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Columbia, SC Half Marathon

Just signed up for another half marathon in Columbia, SC on 9 March.  One of my co-workers that ran the Augusta half talked me into signing up for the Columbia one.  Can't believe I am doing another on two weeks after my first but there is a method behind the madness here.

I am using this as a test for how I have recovered and being able to do almost back to back half marathons.  With the way things are looking for October - November and if all goes to plan, I will have probably two half marathons plus a ten miler along with maybe a 10k and a 5k mixed up in there.  I want to see how my body does so I know what areas I need to train on between now and October.

It's going to be interesting to see how things go.  I think I will be fine and should be recovered enough by next week.  At the same time, what a good way to start the year.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

My First Half Marathon

Completed my first half marathon today, the GRU Augusta Half Marathon.  Started off by getting there about 1 hour early to make sure we got a parking spot.  Today was a beautiful day to run, temp at race start was 45 and by time I finished the race it was at 48.  Started off cloudy then the sun came out about halfway through the race.  It was a pretty well organized race, but then Augusta had done this race for quite a while.  I started of further in the back than I wanted to, wanted to start more in the front to middle.  

The race started on time, which is great.  I have done 5k and 10k races where they started anywhere from 10 - 20 minutes later than published.  The amazing thing I saw today was a young man that did the half marathon in a wheelchair.  Considering a couple of the hills on the route he did a great job of completing the race.   

The hills on the route where a little tough today and there were a couple of little hills I didn't know about between miles 9 and 11.  I ended up walking for about 30 secs a few times, my hamstring was bothering me.  I came in at 2:15:36 (even though Nike said 2:15:55).  I placed 635 out of 921 runners, which I am happy with for my first half marathon.  I enjoyed the run and got to see some of the guys I run with every week along the route.  

Here are my splits for the run:

1 8:32 -- 8'32"/mi

17:33 + 0:29 (-6%) 9'01"/mi

27:00:00 + 0:26 (-5%) 9'27"/mi

37:15:00 + 0:48 (-9%) 10'15"/mi

48:36:00 + 1:06 (-11%) 11'21"/mi

57:58:00 - 1:59 (17%) 9'22"/mi

1:08:17 + 0:57 (-11%) 10'19"/mi

1:19:05 + 0:29 (-5%) 10'48"/mi

1:29:05 - 0:48 (7%) 10'00"/mi

1:40:10 + 1:05 (-11%) 11'05"/mi

1:51:23 + 0:08 (-2%) 11'13"/mi

2:02:49 + 0:13 (-2%) 11'26"/mi
2:14:25 + 0:10 (-2%) 11'36"/m

As you can see the last few miles is where I slowed down quite a bit, this is where my hamstring started bothering me.

This race was a good benchmark for me to build on.  I know I can work on speed work drills to see if I can come in closer to 2 hrs and I know I need to hit the gym more often and do some leg workouts so my hamstrings don't bother me.  My next half marathon will not be until October or November so I have time to work on it.

I have come a long way in the past year and a half or so.  Went from not really running a lot to doing multiple 5k races in Kuwait.  After doing a few more 5k races here in the states last year I moved up to 10k races by completing a couple last year.  My goal was to do my first half last November but after rolling my ankle and being out of commission for a month or two kept me from doing it.  After slowly getting myself healed up and gradually tagging in the mileage I worked my up to this day.  Now I really know what the Runner's high is and I know I will not forget this day.

I can't wait to do my next half marathon, I think I have the bug now.