Saturday, May 31, 2008

Trying to fight it off...

This whole week, I have felt like garbage... just haven't been able to completely get over that cold I was dealing with last week. Sometimes I feel right, sometimes I feel weak, and it has obviously affected my running. I'm usually a morning runner, but because of the way I have felt, I have not been able to get myself out of bed to run.... by the end of the day I'm usually better, and I will go out and just test my body out. As usual, running makes me feel better, and I end up doing more miles than initially projected. So... here are my runs for the week...
Tuesday Run: Easy effort - 7 miles
Friday Run: 10 miles (Felt like an eternity): 10 miles
Saturday Run: 10 miles (Next to the clinic)
I decided to switch it up this weekend, and run next to the clinic, since I had a meeting this morning there. It helped to have different scenery this morning, and I ran fairly slow, but it was my best run for the week.
So, I have been able to run 27 miles so far this week... hopefully tomorrow, I can finish off the week with a 3-5 mile easy run... take off Monday, and start again on Tuesday.

Even though this hasn't been a great running week, it has been a great week overall. Adryana just finished preschool. It has really been a monumental week for us, because we realize that our little girl is getting bigger and bigger. Adryana is also doing swim classes, and really starting to overcome her fear of the water.... very proud of her.
We also had family come in town last week and spend 4 days with us over the Memorial Day weekend. We had a good time with them.... always nice to be around family. I only have 1 week left before I officially start my training for Chicago. I am praying for good health throughout my training cycle. Let's see how it goes.....

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Push the limits.... a little

This is my run from this morning; it started out great and ended.... ok, I guess??? My body still hasn't gotten used to the heat yet, but it is starting to slowly adapt to it. One thing that I tend to do is use a heart rate monitor to keep track of how my body and my heart is working on a given day. As you have noticed, I have been really happy with how my body has been performing at these faster paces while keeping my heart rate in check. Well, those days are over... at least for now. The heat and humidity has made my heart rate climb up like it was at this time last year... its just that my speeds are about 1 minute/mile faster than last year. So today I decided to do just run my long run pace that I have been running before the weather got disgustingly hot like it is now. For me, that is at around a 9:00 pace for the first 7 miles, and then at an 8:20/mile for the last 5 miles. I just turned my Garmin screen to not show my heart rate... and I just wanted to see what happened. I periodically checked it during the 1st 7 miles... and it was in the mid-high 160's... which was fine with me. By time I finished the first 7 miles, I was on the Suncoast Trail, and it was time to pick up the pace. I knew I was hydrated well, and ready to give it a shot.... and the first 2-3 miles at the new pace felt pretty good... so I thought it was going to be a walk in the park for the last 2 miles. Once I got to the end of the Suncoast Trail, I have to open a gate to get back to where my house is... and it was amazing with me just stopping to open the gate, and attempting to start again was so difficult. The last two miles were a bear!!! It really took a lot of focus and concentration to keep my pace up, and maybe I could've pulled out another mile if I desperately needed to, but I'm glad I didn't. After looking at my watch when I finished, I saw that my HR hovered around the mid-high 180's for the last 3-4 miles... whoa!! But it's all good... I guess there are few things I might do different next time.... like start a little earlier, but overall I think I handled it quite well. The one thing that brought a little concern to me today was that last mile reminded me of the last couple of miles of the marathons that I have done so far... not too pretty... but this time around the last mile was the fastest... still felt like crap... but hey, I finished strong, so its all good!!!!

In 10 days, I officially start my training program for the Chicago Marathon. My goal is to run a strong marathon. All the way!!! I want to run the whole way.. no walking... just for water and fluids... but not because I'm just tired and beat. I have some time goals, but I won't share those just yet... I think the harder goal is to be able to run the whole way... cramps, no cramps... doesn't matter... just run a smart race. This weather that we are dealing with here can only help in the whole process. My goal is to run the paces I am running now, but with my heart rate about 8-10 beats lower than what it is now by the end of the training period.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Puts things into perspective....

That is the email message I got from Chris about 2 hours ago. He was referring to this. Steven Curtis Chapman, a very popular Christian recording artist, had a tragic family accident yesterday, in which his 5 year old daughter was struck by a SUV in their driveway and was killed. It is obviously a very tragic event, and my thoughts and prayers go out to his family.

When I initially started this blog, my intent was to write about my running endeavors and rehab as it pertains to running. It has been close to 8 months since starting it, and the focus of the blog has turned more to running, instead of rehab, based on my frequent reader's request... Very few times I have talked about my wife, kids, etc. but every once in a while, I just have to say something about them, because they are so important to me. This blog post will not pertain to much about running, so if that's what you came here for... don't leave!!! Just read on...

Right now, the economy stinks, gas prices are high, homes are foreclosing all over, and jobs are being lost left and right... and I am not discounting any of those things... because they are important... but if you put things into perspective, you can really realize how blessed we all are.

In 1997, about 4 months before I started PT school, a tragedy happened in my family. My cousin, Brian Runcie, was killed on his way into a club in Kentucky, where he just recently moved to. Brian and my older brother were extremely close, and did everything together. Brian got me my 1st job at TJ Maxx, he was my older brother's roomate in college for 4 years, they started their 1st, 2nd, and 3rd business together... basically he was like my older brother. Brian was also extremely brilliant. He was a computer genius and got his 1st "corporate job" with IBM in Kentucky, immediately after graduating from Florida A&M. Even though he was very grateful for his job, he was extremely lonely in Kentucky, because he had no family or friends there. One night, he was on the phone with his girlfriend, and said he was going to go out. The club he went to was in a storefront and after he parked his truck, he walked his way to the entrance of the club. On his way to the entrance, he looked to his right and saw a young teenager through a glass window stealing something at a convenience store. The teenager came out of the store, and the details are a little sketchy from here, but witnesses say he pulled out a gun and shot Brian in the center of his head. Brian was dead by time he got to the hospital. This was an extremely hard time for many of us in our family. After a time of serious grieving, I actually was able to put many things in perspective. I no longer looked at getting older as "Oh my, I'm getting older... this stinks" I am now so grateful for every birthday that comes my way. This situation that happened today with Steven Curtis Chapman's daughter has again made me look at the big picture on stuff that is really important. So, here is my reality check that I do sometimes if I start feeling sorry for myself or my situation:

Am I alive?

Do I have at least one family member or friend that I have the potential to confide in?

Did I have food within the last 48 hours?
If not, am I still alive?

At least a few times times a year, I tend to think about Brian, and wonder if he was alive, what would he be doing now? What company or companies would he have owned? Would he have kids? Would he have gotten married by now?

As much as my wife doesn't like when I talk about this, I realize that at any time, this could be my last day on this earth. It could also be one of my kids last day, or my wife, or any of my family members or friends.... I mean its gonna happen, right? I know... this is not something we want to address... but the truth is, you gotta live life!!! Thank God for your blessings.... don't leave anything on the table... take advantage of everything that comes your way, and make an impact in something.

To some of my co-workers, friends and family, I frequently come off as very impatient... wanting to do crazy things... now!!! People always say, "Greg, you have all the time in the world... you're young." But who says that my last days are not just around the corner? If you knew you were going to die in two months, would you do anything different? Would you reconcile a broken relationship with someone? Would you try to work harder, in order to set up a future for your kids? Or lay back on work a bit to spend more time with your family because you have been absent in major parts of their lives?

My point is that if you are reading this blog, I am assuming that you have been living for at least 4x as long as Maria Chapman... and her life has ended here on earth. Unfortunately, her time expired without her getting a chance to experience a lot of the things that we are experiencing.... don't wait... do it now!!!

Garmin Connect

As most of you know, I am completely in love with Garmin and their products. I give Garmin most of the credit when it comes to my frequent running routine. Their GPS watch really gave me a lot of freedom to run where I want, when I want, and gives me a full breakdown of how my run went. Running has become so much more of a new experience every time I go out to log in miles, because I know my watch is tracking everything for me, and I just enjoy the rest. Well, now Garmin has taken it to another level. Garmin has a new site called Garmin Connect. This site is similar to motion based in that it logs all of your runs, your heart rate, etc. But what makes this even better than its predecessor is that it allows you to make goals for yourself on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. For instance, I like to run 4x/week, so I have set up goals for myself to run 4x/week, 16x/month, and every time I log in, it gives me updates on how I am progressing to achieve these goals. To me this is extremely beneficial, because it keeps you on track...which is the key to success. It is actually bugging me know that I will probably not be able to hit my first weeks goals of running 4x/week, because I have had the flu since Tuesday.
Monday night, when I got home from work, I could tell that my throat and nose were starting to bother me, and knew that the flu was coming on. After taking some Airborne, and taking in some fluids I got ready for bed. Around 4:30 in the morning, I woke up and my throat was bothering me and I couldn't go back to sleep. So what did I do??? Yes, I decided to go running... because my rational was... I'm not going back to sleep, so I have 1 hr 30 minutes before I have to get ready for work... so maybe the running will make me feel better... I know, moronic.. but when I went outside, and I turned on my Ipod, I had to start laughing because the 1st song that came on was "Crazy" by Gnarls Barkley. I felt like I was crazy for doing this, but like always, about 5 minutes into the run, my body felt great. I think the dumb thing that I did was that I ran mile repeats, which is running the mile 3 times at a pretty fast pace. Maybe that wasn't a good idea, because I could not hit any of my times that I usually hit. I was around 6:40/mile and I can usually stay around 6:30-6:35/mile. I felt pretty good for most of the day, but by the end of the day, I was toast. Yesterday was miserable also, and by time I came home, I just wanted to go to bed. So, usually today, I would have logged in a nice 10-12 mile run, or so... but that's not happening at all. I feel a little better, but I just don't have the energy to run right now. I definitely have the desire to do it, but it just can't work today. Oh well, it's all good... I'll rest up and get ready for maybe a good run tomorrow, or on Saturday.
I want to give a quick shout out to my little sweet girl, who is "graduating" from preschool tomorrow. I am very excited about going to the graduation... I can't believe she will be in Kindergarten later this year..... she was just born...crazy!!! I love you Adryana!!!!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Stir up the pot....

It looks like I created a stir on the RW forums re: a topic on "Are runners athletic?" Well here is how it started (this was my first post):

Had a discussion a few days ago at work re: which sports require true athleticism...
We came up with a formula on what it would require for you to be considered "athletic".
1. Speed
2. Skill
3. Power and/or Endurance
4. Agility

Very few sports require you to have all 4 of these attributes, but sports that I found to require a great deal of athleticism have at least 3 of the 4.
IMO, running only requires speed and/or endurance..definitely not agility or skill...
Sports such as gymnastics, football, soccer, basketball require at least 3 of the 4, if not all 4. Running is an extremely one dimensional sport.
This is just my little "formula" that I came up with... some might agree or disagree... just interested to get some takes on what you all think of distance running, and although I realize it requires work and dedication to be successful, does it really require any type of athleticism???

As you see, even though I am a runner, I don't believe that it requires true athleticism. It is a great form of exercise, and it requires incredible endurance, especially if you are doing the marathon distance. But let's be honest here... Lebron James is a ridiculous basketball player, and if he had decided that he wanted to go the football route instead of the basketball route when he was in high school, I'm sure he would've done incredibly well. I don't think you can take a 130 lb elite marathoner and put him/her in most sports that they would excel in. You see, most of can run.... some of us like to run, fewer of us can run long, and very few of us can run fast and long.... to me that's it. I don't think running translates into hand/eye coordination sports, or agility sports for that matter... it is strictly a matter of endurance, proper training and proper pre-race, race and post-race strategy.

Now, one of the nice things about running is that you can see improvements if you train properly. It's one of the few sports that you will continue to see improvements, especially over the 1st 5-10 years that you work on your training. That's part of what makes it so rewarding. Today I ran 14 miles, and it was hot... and even though it wasn't one of my better long runs that I have had over the last 3 months of my significant gains in speed, it took me back to a run that I had about a year ago around this time. I was at Flatwoods park with Chris, his sister-in-law, and one of my patient's coaches (who is a runner also). I decided to run my 1st 14 miler that day, and the weather was about the same as it was today. I was running around a 9:30/mile pace that day for the first 9 miles.... and then I crashed... crashed hard.... I was passed by everyone... and honestly I didn't think I would make it to my car... I actually thought the paramedics might have had to get me, because I was so dehydrated and just torn up, that I just couldn't walk anymore... I ended up having to walk the last 3-4 miles, and that was extremely disheartening. I would have to say that it was my worst training run I have ever had. So the fact that I was able to do the same distance today, even faster than when I did it that day, and finish strong (but soaking!!!) it made me reminisce back to that day, and realize how much better things have gotten since then.
It actually made me think that I want to start to train in the heat, so my body gets used to it... just in case Chicago has a heat wave like it had last year. I guess its more of a scheduling thing for me than anything. Family has to come first... and it always easier to run before the Todd Squad wakes up.... know what I'm sayin??

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

She's no joke!!!

I am extremely grateful that I have a very supportive wife when it comes to running. Earlier this week, I was browsing the message boards and there was a discussion thread re: "Does your significant other ban you from running marathons?" It was interesting to see different issues that people have with re: to how they get around doing their long runs on the weekends, and the training that they put into their running. I guess it is not really my place to comment on everyone's individual situation when it comes to managing their running schedule... but when it all comes down to it, you have to have a supportive partner. I am very grateful for that, and that she encourages me to run and keep myself in good condition. I have tried to encourage my wife to start running herself, but she has never been interested in running in the heat... no sense in pushing the issue, so I just leave it alone....until 2 months ago.....
Kerry decided to give the stationary bike a try, and I was so proud of her when she was able to complete 20 minutes of the stationary bike at about 20 rpm. It was a very admirable accomplishment for her, and I was very proud of her.... I have never bothered her about doing the bike or running since then, because she is now addicted to the bike. Can you believe that she actually works out more than I do now!!! I run 4x/week, but Kerry bikes around 5x/week. Yesterday, she text messaged me at work to let me know that she crushed out 50 minutes on the bike at 40 rpm. I mean, that is just ridiculous!!! Her conditioning has improved so much, and more importantly, she absolutely loves it!!! She calls it her "escape", and I think even more know, she understands why running is so important for me to do... because it allows you to decompress and collect your thoughts... it's also good for me, because when I am home and she is biking, I can understand what it's like when I am out running and she has to deal with the kids.... always good to be on the other side to see how your partner feels. Anyways, just wanted to give a shout out to my boo to let her know that I am extremely proud of her, and very happy that she is doing something that makes her happy. You go girl!!! I love you....

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Warming up....

First of all, I just wanted to say thanks again to all that participated in the May Classic 5k. We all had a great time..... and we are already planning for the next one. It looks as though the Tower of Terror 13k in October is going to be the next challenge for us. That is not official yet, but I will keep everyone posted. BTW, we are starting an email group for people that are interested in the fitness events (primarily running) that Renewal Rehab will be doing. If you want to be notified of upcoming events, please email me in the comments section of the blog.
This week has been a relatively good week of running for me. As I said last week, the paces are getting more challenging, but so far I have been able to handle it. Over the next month or two, the workouts will become even more manageable, and I will have to challenge myself even more. The only thing is that I won't see as quick of improvements until the fall, because of the weather... it's getting very warm... actually its hot!!!

My Sunday run was pretty tough, because it seems as though the temps are starting to be around 4-6 degrees higher than what I am used to. I had to shorten up the run to 8 miles instead of 10 that I was going to do. I was dehydrated, and felt extremely sluggish for the entire day. By Sunday night I was ok, and Monday morning I had a very good speedwork session before I went to work. Wednesday was a very good session also, as I was able to run 5 miles around a 7:00/mile pace. It was extremely challenging, but I got a second wind at the 5th mile. I felt as though I could of probably pulled out another mile or two at that pace. The ironic thing about my run is that I finished a little over 9 miles, with 5 of the miles at a fast pace and 4 of the miles very slow (warmup and cooldown)in around 1 hr and 11 min. Earlier this year, I completed the Gasparilla 15k in 1:09:04, which was my best race before the 5k I did 2 weeks ago. So I know I definitely have a much better time ahead of me for my 15k and half marathon. So that's very exciting!!!!
This morning I did a 12 miler, and luckily I brought some gatorade with me. I needed it, because it is just so warm out there... When running at a slow pace, I usually feel quite fresh at the end, but not today. I was kinda happy that I just had to do 12 miles... could've done a few more, but wasn't really looking forward to it.
Unfortunately, I can't post my runs today like I usually do, because I have switched over to a new website to monitor my runs. It is called It is taking over for Motion Based, and I have yet to figure out how to post it on the blog. I'm working on it though...maybe I can figure it out later today.

So, you all know I am a techie geek (or a wannabe techie geek)... Garmin has just released the Forerunner 405, which is a new GPS watch that does all the things that the Forerunner 305 does, but looks like a watch (a big watch for that matter). It also has a bezel screen that switches through different menus like how you do it on your Ipod....way cool!!!! I'm figuring out more things about it, so I will post all the cool features on it as I learn more... here is a pic. With that said, I have my Forerunner 305 that I could sell to someone for a very reasonable price.... you just have to promise me that you are going to use it a lot!!!!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

An even better prize this week!!!

This running is getting pretty fun...... and I really didn't even run today. Today was the May Classic, and as I said during my last post, we were part of a corporate challenge to see which local company could get the most people to participate in the race.... and we did!!! Yay!!!!! I think we finished up with 34 people who signed up officially under us, and we had a least 2 people that were former patients who were affiliated with us. It was a great showing!!! Thanks to everyone who came out to support us, but also to run the race!! All of our people did extremely well while running. Cheryl, Chris, Denise (who all work at the Wesley Chapel clinic) completed the 5k... and they all hit personal records (It's a personal record when you have never run a 5k before, right?) I'm so proud of them for coming out and trying hard and doing well. My little sweet girl (Adryana) really had a ball. She was a little shy and nervous at the beginning of the 1 mile fun run, so we walked for most of the 1st half. After that she wanted to run, so we split it up to where we would run to the stop sign, or some landmark etc. She did so well, and she was so excited at the end. She loves Denise's daughter and she hung around with her the whole time after the race. Unfortunately, she was sad when she had to go, but no crying...just bummed that it was all over. I got to meet a frequent blog reader, who is a friend of one of my former patients, so that was pretty cool. She has adopted the Chi Running concept and seems to be doing quite well with it. We had our Saddlebrook crew come out and do the race also. Remember the lady that passed me during the Disney Marathon??? Well she passed me again, but this time I was only running 1 mile, and she was running the 5k, go figure!!! There are so many other current and former patients that were out there and did a wonderful job, that I just wanted to give a little shout out to you guys for working hard, training and finishing strong.
So here are a few pics from the race:

Me and sweet girl with the Corporate Challenge Award:

Cheryl, 2 of her sons and their girlfriends:

The Saddlebrook crew: The one on the far right is the lady who keeps on beating me in races... that's why she is smiling so much in the pic.

Denise, her husband Pete and the kids (Nick and Gabriella - Adryana's "best friend")

The original "Renewal Rehab - Wesley Chapel crew": Jennifer (my 1st ever patient at Renewal Rehab) and April (my 1st crazy patient at Renewal Rehab). They became great friends during their rehab.. now they have taken up running, which is great. The ironic thing is that last year, it was Chris, myself, Suzie, Jennifer and April. I could not have imagined that this year we would have so many people and win the "big" award!!!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Ready for Saturday

Saturday is the May Classic 5k, and I am pretty excited about this one. Not for the reasons that I'm usually excited about a race for, but because we will have a good showing of participants that are affiliated with our clinic. 26 and counting..... I think we had another 4 sign up this week for the race, which brings to 30 (which was the goal). Considering we had 3 people sign up last year, this is a major improvement!!! Well, a lot has happened since last year, and I am hoping that this can become a tradition for our clinics. The race is having a corporate challenge, to see which company has the most people signed up for the race. Last year, Albertsons won. Little ol' Renewal Rehab is much smaller obviously, but we pack a punch!!! Hopefully we can get an award of some type for all the folks that came out in support of this.... Thanks again to everyone!!!! I so appreciate you all doing this, and I'm sure you are going to have a great deal of fun!!!!!!

My brother came in town for a meeting (he works for Red Bull) and decided to stay the night here in Tampa, so we could hang out and he could see my family. Once I got home from work, we decided to go out for a bite to eat and Chris accompanied us. We didn't get home too late, but I told myself I wouldn't set the alarm to get up to run. I will just start running whenever... usually that's when I wake up early... which was the case today. I was out the door running by 6:45, and because the weather was so nice, I decided to do a pretty long run. Again, right now I don't have any limitations or structure on how my running schedule is. I just usually decide while I'm running what I actually want to do. The first mile I felt stiff, because I ran a hard Ivy Lake/Suncoast Tempo Run yesterday, the second mile I felt in my groove, and then the start of the 3rd mile, I had to go to the bathroom.....immediately!!! So, luckily I was by the park bathroom, and I was able to take care of business... and then the run finally started, with no more hiccups!! I ended up going on the Suncoast Trail, which is about 1 mile from my house, and ran on it for around 5 miles. By time I made it home, I put in 12 miles. The weather was perfect, and based on my avg. HR, it showed. I was able to hold under a 9:00/mile pace (8:42/mile pace if you take out the bathroom break) while keeping my HR at a 152 avg. So that is one of the nice things about not being in training mode. You can take advantage of these beautiful days in Tampa, and put in an extra couple of miles if its perfect outside.

Map of Ivy Lake/Suncoast Long Run

Can't wait to see all of you this weekend. For those of you that don't know where the race is, Chris will be at the Wesley Chapel clinic on Saturday morning, and leaving at 6 am, so if you get there by 6 am, you can follow behind him. The race starts at 7:15 am, so that will give us enough time to get registered and not be too rushed. See you then!!!