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.