Friday, August 26, 2011

Coming Back from the Wooziness

Ever read one of those blogs where they haven’t posted for a while, and the blogger says stuff like “I’ve been sooooo busy” and the like.  Well, go back and read those and that’ll fit this one, too!  I have been terribly busy, but through it all I’ve been able to keep up with running.

The week before last I added in some new weight training.  Up to this point, I’ve stuck with machines, but I decided to switch over to free weights to make my workouts more effective and efficient.  Among the exercises was the highly recommended squat.  Well, the squats really thrashed my legs.  This derailed my running a bit, and I wasn’t able to put in the miles I had previously while my legs recovered.  I still got a long run of 11 miles in despite the damage.

Then on Sunday softball season started.  We had our first practice, and the first ball thrown my way I misjudged or lost in the sun or something; I don’t really know!  Anyway, it smacked me in the face, causing a nasty little cut and some pretty good bleeding.  I patched it up the best I could and got back out there.  Unfortunately, there was a little more to it than that.

My next run went okay, but not quite up to par as I seemed to be very lethargic.  This general feeling of being tired, and also feeling out of it, continued through the week.  I went back to the gym and the free weights, cut out one set (I’ll add it back in as I progress), and my body responded great without pain.  I still felt quite tired, though.  Also, loud noises really bothered my head, and I would get headaches from time to time.  The culprit?  A mild concussion!  I’m feeling better, but still not completely rid of the ailment. 

This morning, though, I had a great run.  The weather was outstanding, and I’m motivated to do the North Face Endurance Challenge 10k this weekend.  Saturday will be an off day and then the 6.2 miles the day after.  I’m not doing a long run this week because of this race.  I’ll pick them up again next week.  Might do the body some good anyway.

At packet pickup, I snapped this shot of the starting line:

This is in Kansas City, and that's the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in the background.  This is a picturesque part of the city, so it should be nice.  They are calling for mid-60's weather, too...I hope the forecast stays true!

Seems like a well-run event so far.  Nice North Face Tech t-shirt to entrants.  Dean Karnazes is the headliner; he’s running in the marathon on Saturday, but I’m not sure if he’ll still be around on Sunday when I run. 

I feel like I’m getting back into the swing of things.  Next weekend I’m going to Vegas, and while there I’m going to enjoy myself.  I might (repeat, might) do a three-miler on the Strip on Sunday; that’d be kind of fun.  I’ll be sure to do my long run on the Friday before I leave.  I’ll keep on track…still have my half to worry about!

Enjoy your progress,


Friday, August 12, 2011

From the Treadmill, a Glimpse Back

The roller coaster ride of running has continued for me lately, but I’ve been working to keep my eye on my immediate goal of the St. Louis Rock N’ Roll Half Marathon in October.  October is getting closer and closer every day!

Last weekend, I had a terrible run where I just didn’t have it in me.  In retrospect, I believe it was the culmination of negative thoughts, humidity, and hills that did me in.  Four miles in, I was spent.  Shortly after that, the heavens intervened with a fantastic thunderstorm that forced me to shelter.  I called the wife to pick me up and save me.  Luckily she was off work; she’s a school teacher and was enjoying her last Friday off of the summer.

I was irritated by the effort throughout the weekend and Sunday I thought, “Hey, I’m feeling pretty good right now.”  I decided to give my long run another go.  This time I concentrated on a slower, steady pace with the goal being to eat up miles; not set land speed records.  It went well and I made it through 12 with energy to spare. 

It has been a decent week this week as the weather has cooled.  This morning, though, the rains came again with lightning and thunder.  I decided I’d hit the home treadmill; something I haven’t done for a while.  I’ve either run outside or run at the gym’s treadmill.  My treadmill is not a terrible one, but also not a great one.  It is a middle of the road machine but gets the job done.  I figured it’d be a good way to put on some miles, but an unremarkable run.

As I was chugging along on the hamster wheel, I looked down at the treadmill and noticed the piece of paper on it.  What I found was a reminder of how far I’ve come since February.

C25k note; sorry for the poor quality cell phone shot :-)

The paper outlined a Couch to 5k run; one of the parts where the times can be confusing (particularly when you’re tired).  Today I was running a 5k on the treadmill and thinking of it as a shorter, easier run.  Back then, such a thing would have been preposterous.  It made me feel good about how far along I’ve made it, and thankful to the me of old for starting down this path.  Along the run I picked up my pace, and registered the first sub-30 minute 5k I’ve ever run.  It was on a treadmill, so an easier environment than an outdoor run, but I still felt good about it afterward.

Ready to tear into the weekend now and squeeze in a long run on Sunday!

Enjoy your progress!


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Roller Coaster and a Break

It has been a while since I’ve posted, and sort of a roller coaster the last couple of weeks.  I believe I’ve found some new focus to hopefully carry me through to October and my half marathon, as well as hitting my weight loss goals.

A couple of weeks back, some frustration was setting in.  Perhaps the daily grind was just getting to me, as it can tend to do.  I probably needed a break. 

Well, I ended up taking one.  This coincided with a decision I made to alter my nutrition plan (aka diet).  Since January, I had lost about 65 lbs on “The Four Hour Body” diet.  My running started in late February.  The problem was that I had stalled and I wasn’t losing any more weight.  I have some theories about what the issue was, but it really doesn’t matter as the end product was pure frustration.  I decided to switch my diet plan to Weight Watchers and give it a try.  I thought this my kick-start me back into gear.

The results?  Disastrous!  Now, I’m not blaming Weight Watchers.  I did not follow the plan.  Partially this was due to the fact that I was ravenously hungry all of the time.  I ate, but couldn’t eat enough; particularly in the evenings.  On Four Hour Body, I would occasionally get hungry, but this wasn’t a big problem. 

For one week, I was able to keep up my running but I didn’t cross-train so much.  I ate way too much of foods that aren’t that good for me.  I was able to get in an 11 mile long run and did pretty well with it, although I had some aches and pains in the ankle afterward.  By the time this week was over with, I had put on 10 lbs and didn’t feel good at all.

So Sunday morning I started back on the Four Hour Body.  I was supposed to put in a three mile run, as well, but I was still hurting.  I think I might have to cut down on the training a bit; I’m considering 3 days a week instead of 4, or just seeing how I feel before deciding whether or not to throw a 4th in. 

The results thus far: I have lost the 10 lbs again and I feel better.  My ankle is still bothering me a bit, but I hope it gets better with some lighter running over the next week or so.  I have a trip to Vegas planned in almost exactly one month, so I plan to be dedicated to the diet and running until that time, then take a two day break to enjoy all that Vegas has to offer (at least the legal stuff).  I think a break every once and while helps maintain the sanity.  As far as nutrition, I am going to try to consume some protein and maybe a small amount of sugar pre-long run; something like a tablespoon of peanut butter.  I’ll see how that goes.  I’m only two miles shy of a half marathon, so I think I’ll be good.

So that’s my roller coaster story for the past week.  I’m back on track and ready to push for St. Louis in October. 

Enjoy your progress!