Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Feeling the beat down

The last couple of days have been challenging for me from a running standpoint. I'm still a fairly new runner, with my first half-marathon only 18 months ago. I was averaging about 10 miles a week at that time, and for my first two attempts at a marathon, I was averaging 20-25 miles/week. It's funny how your perspective changes... because at that time, I felt as though my body was being pushed hard. I also thought that it would be virtually impossible to train more than 40 miles/week... just felt that my body would not be able to handle it, along with feeling that time constraints would be such a major issue for me. Also, when you tell someone that doesn't run at all, that you run 10-20 miles/week, they think you are nuts... but times have changed for me. I now browse RW.com forums on a frequent basis, in which the average person on the marathon boards runs around 60-75 miles/week... with a good amount of folks averaging 80-90 miles/week, and going over the 100 mile mark a few times during their training. Also, most of these folks run twice/day.... and it is not uncommon to find many of them starting at 4 am to get their first runs in.... seems crazy, huh??? But common... one guy who is training for a marathon this fall, said he gets home from work at 10-11 pm, and usually runs from 12 am-2 am, goes to bed, and wakes up at 7 am to go to work... it's his way of managing everything and getting his runs in. Gosh... it really makes me feel horrible to even slightly complain about my running schedule.
So.. I have just completed my first 50 mile week.....ever... I was recently not driving 50 miles/week when I was just working at the North Tampa clinic... a year later, I am running that per week... how cool!!!! My schedule over the last 3 days was as follows:
18 mile long run on Sunday
6 mile recovery run on Monday
11 mile tempo run today

Sunday's run really exposed my weakness..... endurance. I have good endurance for the average person, but I struggled to hold pace at the end of the run... from miles 16-18, I tried to hold my goal pace for the marathon, and even though I did it... that was not about to happen for any more miles. I am hoping that over the next few weeks, I will build up my endurance by doing more of these long runs. Its just draining to do them.... but just like everything else, your body starts to get used to it.
Usually after a Sunday long run, I feel pretty good, and ready to do some sort of run by Monday... but I just wasn't feelin' it Monday morning. I did not want to wake up any earlier than I had to, so I ended up doing my run right after work (Bayshore... yeah!!!). It was supposed to be a recovery run, which it was for the first 4 miles. All of a sudden, about 20 high school girls and 3 older guys started to run in a pack by Bay to Bay Blvd. I was kinda intrigued, and one of the girls looked like one of my former patients, so I decided to run with 2 of the guys and started to talk to them about the group. It was the Plant High School cross country team, and I did a little marketing while I was running with those guys, and told them about what I do, and if they needed any of our services... (services are always needed!!!). So I ended up running the 5th mile faster than I would have liked, and the 6th mile was supposed to be sprints anyway... so I just don't think I really "recovered" from that recovery run...does that make any sense???? With that said, I knew I had a 11 mile tempo run scheduled for today, and I knew it would be a struggle.... and it was. I started a little before 6 am, and it took me a full 3 miles to feel somewhat warmed up. My heartrate was climbing, I was sweating heavily, and I just knew this was gonna be a crummy one. I guess the good thing was that I was able to fight my way through the tempo portions, and my splits were somewhat respectable. I really wanted to just walk home after I finished the tempo portion, but I just knew it would make everything prolonged... I just wanted to take a shower and climb in a bed or something.... but then I thought... this is what it will feel like at the end of the.... marathon!!!! This was a little test for me. I had to fight through it, and keep on going even though I didn't want to go... and you know what??? After a mile, I was ok.... not great... but ok. I could've kept on going, but once I got to my house, I was happy to get inside, go straight to the shower, and get in some clean clothes and hug and kiss the Todd Squad. My right outer ankle (peroneals) are on the sore side, so I definitely won't run tomorrow, but I plan on doing a 12 miler on the Gandy bridge Thursday morning before work with Shane. I want to be well rested for that, as this will be the first time I have ever done hill work. If my ankle (which is already feeling a little better) is not right by tomorrow, I will bag it for another day... but I think I will be fine. Saturday morning, I will have a scheduled 20 mile run, so the beat down will continue. I will finish out this week at 55 miles. It will be my highest week ever, and it will be my peak week for my training for Chicago. Let's keep on keepin' on!!!!!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I ain't the only one

I decided to bite the bullet, and wake up really early this morning to get an 11 mile run in. I usually don't like to run very long, or at all on Wednesdays because I work at the South Tampa clinic at 7 am. If I do run, it is usually an easy run of 6 or less miles, because I know that I have a long day ahead of me. Tomorrow though, I have to take care of some stuff in the morning, so I knew it was better just to get it done now. So, I woke at 4 am, drove down to the clinic, and ran Bayshore to Gandy and then took Gandy to past Dale Mabry. I was trying to make it to the Gandy Bridge, but d/t time constraints, I had to turn around before I got there. I've never done it before, but I figured I could give it a try. Oh well... maybe next time. So, I thought I was going to be one of maybe two or three people running that early. I guess not.... because within the 1st mile of running, there was at least 10 runners that passed me. To cap it off, by time I got past Bay to Bay, there was a woman running with a baby in a jogging stroller... what???? Whatever works for you, right? The fact is that, as I was running, I felt very proud of those people that were so dedicated to start running so early. It also made me feel normal. It was a good run for me, and I must say that I pushed it a bit at the end... almost got a bit too carried away, because there were so many people running at that time, that it just got my juices going. About 75% of my runs are done with me not seeing anyone, so this was a treat. So, here is the run.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Life is like a....

box of chocolates??? No.... like a marathon...more like my marathons that I have run so far!!!! You never know what you're gonna get.... It has been a roller coaster 3 weeks for me, and that is putting it mildly. I had a major letdown... then got brought back up again with other news... and then another major letdown... and none of this has anything to do with running. Needless to say, that is why the blogging has been non-existent. Whatever strength I had over the last 3 weeks, I didn't want to use it up blogging...but I have been getting a few e-mails, questions, etc. from a few of my faithful blog readers, and have been responding... I finally realized that it is easier just to talk in the blog about stuff.

So.... I am still training for Chicago, and through all of these trials that I am dealing with, I am very proud that I have not missed a day of running. This morning I did a run with Chris that turned into a 14 mile run in Tampa Palms. Both of us have never run there before, and we were invited to come out to run with a group of triathletes that Chris's massage company sponsors. It was really cool to talk to new people, and see how dedicated some people are to their sport. Most of the people that we were running with are training for an Ironman triathlon... which consists of a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, and a 26.2 mile run.... back2back2back.... makes what I am doing seem like a walk in the park, huh???

We all started together, and ran the 1st mile or so together... until Chris fell into a pothole and twisted his ankle and fell to the ground!!! There is always a funny,dramatic, crazy story when we run together, and this time was no different.... anyways after he got up and everything checked out somewhat ok, we continued to run, and we broke apart from the group and picked up the pace. We averaged a 9:47 pace during the whole run, and enjoyed it quite a bit. It was really cool seeing the improvements that Chris has made over the past 2 months with his conditioning... he is back to where he was before all of the layoffs...probably even more conditioned.... and should really see some nice results in his future races. About 11 miles in, we saw one of my former patients running, and met up with her and ran together for about a mile or so. That was really nice... because she was one of my favorites....even better was to hear that the injury that I was treating her for is all gone... Yay!!!! She also asked me about the blog, and I promised her that I would get back on it today.... so here it is...

The coolest part of the day was after the run. We ran back to where we parked and met a guy who had a "Team in Training" shirt on. I actually can't even remember his name, but we got to talking a bit, and he told us a bit about himself. Within 5 minutes, this guy completely inspired me. He started running in August of 2007 (nearly a year now). He was 360+ lbs back then.
So apparently he met up with his former fraternity brothers at some reunion, and one of his frat brothers told him he was a fat, piece of #%&*..... (just quoting what he told me...) He decided the next day to go outside in 95 degree weather (with a sweater and jogging pants on) and run as far as he could. He ran out as far as he could, and walked back to his house. He later got into his car and drove the route he ran. He ran for..... 2 tenths of a mile.... not too good. The next day he did the same thing.... following day, he did double... and threw up.... same thing the next day... threw up again at the end. He followed this routine for 5 days, and then came home one day, and got a postcard in the mail from "Team in Training", which is an organization that helps you run a half-marathon, marathon and/or triathlon, in return for your raising money for Leukemia and Lymphoma. 4 months later, he ran his 1st half-marathon, and a few weeks after that, his 1st full marathon. So far for 2008, he has run 3 marathons and 2 half marathons..... he is also down to 255 lbs. He lost the first 90 lbs within 3 months. Unreal..... that guy made my day. You can tell how passionate he was about his running, and his team, etc. It was so cool to hear a story like that...
So it just put so many things into perspective. Good things don't come easy... and sometimes life can be unfair... but you have to fight and keep on pushin'.

So over the past few weeks, here are some of my more memborable runs:

A 16 miler in my old neighborhood in Pembroke Pines.

A 6 mile recovery run with Shane on Bayshore:

A 17 miler on the Suncoast Trail... quite uneventful, but I saw an alligator!!!!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

You know what bothers me???

A day like yesterday bothers me. I hardly ever go on rants (on this blog, that is).... but this is the right time to do it... at least for a paragraph or two. I got to bed a little past 11 pm on Monday night (partially d/t the Rays game vs. Red Sox (wow!!!), but I knew I had to run on Tuesday to stay with my running schedule....especially considering that I would be heading down to Ft. Lauderdale later in the week, and who knows what will happen with my running once I am down there. So needless to say, it was a struggle for me to get up at 5:00 on Tuesday morning. I did it, but I was slow moving.... and it was taking me forever to get moving. I didn't get out the door until 5:40 (I should have left by 5:30 at the latest, considering I had an 8 mile run with 10 x 100 meter sprints to complete. So, already I was off schedule, because I knew I had to leave my house by 7:00 am, since I had a 7:30 patient. I only had about 50 minutes to work with. So I decided to not push the pace, since this was my 5th day in a row running, and just cut the workout short. Work obviously takes precedence over another 2 miles of running.
So I ended up finishing about 6.1 miles of running, rushed inside the house, and took a quick shower.... no breakfast and sped off to work. When I was about 5 minutes away from the office, Cheryl (the office manager) calls me to tell me that my first patient canceled, saying he was too busy to come in today. I didn't have another patient until 8:30 am..... ugh!!!!
Couldn't he have called yesterday??? Not like 10 minutes before his appt???? Geez!!!!
So why does it bother me so much???? Because just like everybody else, my time is truly valuable (to me, that is). Chris and I were just talking yesterday about time commitments, and maintaining a healthy balance with work, family, hobbies, etc, and how it is so difficult to make time for everything, especially when you want to be great at all of those things. And if you are good at all those things, you have to use your time extremely efficiently and wisely. It doesn't help matters, when people only take into account their time, and not yours. I could've slept a little longer, finished my 2 miles, and see my kids wake up and kiss them before leaving the house, if this person would have just called the day before and notified us of his cancellation. Just got me off to a bad start... but whatever...
Again the rest of the day was a microcosm of what I talked about previously. Trying to find a balance.... I have my nephew here from Tallahassee for a few days, so my wife brought him and the kids to my office for us to have lunch together. Unfortunately, I had to do a mini-meeting with a fellow co-worker that was extremely urgent.... trying to find the balance... didn't do too good there. I got back to my office with about 15 minutes before lunch ended... thinking I would have a little time to actually talk to everyone, but people were standing outside... waiting for me to open up the doors.... sigh!!! (Ok sweetie, gotta go!!!! Love ya!!!) Kerry is so understanding... God Bless her!!
Later in the day, I had to re-organize some work-related things, so that I could spend some time with my nephew, as this would be the only time I could spend with him, given my hours at work. Again...stressful, but I know I made him happy and I am glad we got to do some fun stuff together.
There is a saying in Jamaica, which goes like this:
If yu wan good, yu nose afi run!!!!
Translation: If you want good things.... sometimes its gotta hurt or be uncomfortable....

And that's about it. Anything good for you is not always the easiest route... no way around it. That's the way it will always be, and sometimes you just gotta suck it up and keep on going if you want it (or all of those things) bad enough.