Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The 1/2 Century Mark

I am currently in the 3 week taper period of my upcoming marathon, and I am enjoying it...and today was no exception. I was able to do something that I very rarely, if ever, get to do. I was able to take a little longer lunch break since I had another therapist work with me this morning, and go out for an afternoon run. I very rarely try to run in the afternoon, because it is usually just too hot and muggy for me. But, I want to keep my body used to the heat, and the weather today was very nice this morning, so I was able to run at 11:15 am and run 5 miles in 45 minutes. It was perfect for the 1st 3 miles and started to get a bit warm for the last 2 miles...but I got through it fine, without a hitch. I was able to shower at the Seven Oaks Clubhouse, and later I ran into some people that I know from Saddlebrook. The cool thing is that Seven Oaks has a cafe with some really good food... so I was able to have lunch (by myself) and enjoy a Chicken sandwich and a smoothie.... yum!!!! This was perfect for me.... I deal with people all day, and I was able to get a full 1 hour and 45 minute break by myself doing things that I love to do.... run and eat!!!!! So anyways, I was able to weigh myself today and I realized that I have now lost 50 lbs. since I started this running endeavor 2 & 1/2 years ago. I'm sure that I will probably gain a few pounds back over the next few weeks, since my training will decrease, and a few more after the marathon as I will be taking a break from running for a little... but still, it is pretty cool. The funny thing is that it really just happened... I wasn't even trying to lose this amount of weight, but I just really started to enjoy the sport, and I have been so focused on becoming a better runner at all distances from the 5k to the marathon... that this just happened indirectly.... so maybe that is the key to weight loss, huh?? Stop thinking about losing the weight and start thinking about starting a journey that you can enjoy and pursue bigger and better things for yourself. At the end of every training period for a major event, you get time to reminisce and think about the fruits of your labor... and this is no different. So far, I have PR'd in my weekly distances with running (highest mileage week at a little over 55), I have PR'd in the 10k distance, this Saturday I hope that I will PR in the 5k distance, and hopefully great things will come on October 12th.

Monday, September 22, 2008

We The Best!!!!

Two other things that really made my weekend fantastic:

My daughter, who started kindergarten last month, was picked as "Student of the Month"..... oh yeah!!!! Amazing for her, because I don't think that Kerry or myself were ever picked for Student of the Month. I'm so happy for her. We will be celebrating with her school and other students this Thursday... very happy!!

Also, Renewal Rehabilitation-South Tampa got picked as the Best Physical Therapy Center in the Tampa Bay area. Click here to read about it.

Very proud moments for both of my families (working and personal).

Sunday, September 21, 2008

My Birthday!!

Yesterday was a very interesting, but fulfilling day for me. To set it up, I have been a bit under the weather since Wednesday night, and have been trying to fight off the flu since then. Unfortunately (or actually fortunately), I had a really busy day on Friday, so my body really felt run down by time I ended up going home (around 8:00 pm). About 6 weeks ago, I committed to sponsoring a breakfast for the Blue Sharks running group on a Saturday morning, which happened to be yesterday. The other thing that I had to do yesterday was finish my 20 mile long run (the last 20 miler of my training cycle). The reason why I wanted to do the 20 miler yesterday instead of today was because last night was a date night for my wife and I, and I didn't want to have that 20 miler hovering over my head. I wanted to know that it was over, and that we could go out and do whatever we wanted, as late as we wanted, and just have a blast.... but as I said earlier, I felt terrible at the end of my work day, and actually told Chris and Julie (who were running in Downtown also, that I would probably have to skip out on my 20 miler).

I was able to get to my bed by 10:30, but I was very stuffy. I woke up at around 12:30, and went to the bathroom, and when I went back in the bed, I was so uncomfortable and congested, that I could not sleep. I knew I had to get up at 4:30, in order to drive down to the Downtown YMCA and host the breakfast, but I was so frustrated because I was not able to go back to bed. I tried to relax my mind as much as I could to no avail. Finally, I think I fell back asleep, but woke up again before 2:00 am, and was even more uncomfortable at this point. So, I started to think..... should I just do my 20 miler now??? I know, it sounds crazy, but at least I could get it out of the way... I just didn't know if my body would hold up. I realized that this would take me around 3 hours, and it wouldn't give me enough time to complete it by my house, shower up, and get down there in enough time. So..... I decided to get dressed, drive down to our office in South Tampa, and I started to run on Bayshore.... at 3:15 am!!!! Right before I started, I called Chris to let him know what I was doing (he just laughed at me) because I knew that he was going to be down there around 4ish to start his run also. I figured that we could meet up at some point and run together.
As I was driving in Hyde Park, it must have been around 2:45 or so, and I saw many people by their cars, at bars...even saw a few people puking on the side of the road (from too much alcohol I assume)... and thought to crazy as I may be, I would rather be doing what I am doing, than what those folks are doing right now.
Initially I was nervous about running that early...because there was obviously no people running or walking on Bayshore, except for homeless folks sleeping on the benches. I tried to keep my breathing quiet so I wouldn't wake any of them up, but once I got going and turned on my Ipod, it was like any other run. I basically ran all the way on Bayshore to Interbay and 1st St. and then back to the YMCA. About 8 miles into the run, I met up with Chris and Julie and ran another 7 miles with them. We met up with the Blue Sharks and Fred (the director) introduced myself and Chris to everyone and mentioned that the Renewal Rehab facility was sponsoring the breakfast (we appreciated the plug!). I then proceeded to run an additional 6 miles to finish up with a little over 20 miles, which was done by 6:15 am. After I finished, Chris, Julie and myself went to pick up the breakfast, set up our tables, and meet with all the runners as they finished their runs. I ended up staying until close to 10:00 am and met a lot of people, including a good amount of people that are also running the Chicago Marathon.

When I got home, I had my 3 favorite people waiting for me, and sang Happy Birthday to me, and greeted me with loving arms (luckily I took a shower at the Y, so they were safe). All these things happened today, and it wasn't even 11 am yet....

I did relax for a few hours and then Kerry and I went out for my B-day and had a blast. From Bennigans to Splittsville to Grille 54 for dessert (which is an awesome restaurant!!!!).... we had such a good time... anytime I can be with my sweetheart are good times.... felt like college again... but always so nice to have a great time, and then come back to our kids and kiss them goodnight.

This was my best birthday in a long time! Actually my best birthday ever, because every year I feel blessed that God has given me another year to enjoy my kids, my wife, and the people that he has put in my life.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Nailed it!!!!

Just a great run this morning...due to being inspired by what I saw yesterday. Unfortunately, about 3 of my patients had to cancel last night because of a gas leak on I-75, so I finished work a little earlier than usual. I knew that Wiregrass High (which is a school that our facility sponsors for Cross Country) had their first meet of the season at their school.... so I decided that I could at least catch part of the race. I was able to get there by 7:05 pm, and the boys meet started less than 2 minutes before I got there. For those of you that don't know, a cross-country race is a 5k, and the winning team is the team that has the most amount of runners place in the top 20... I think??? I'm not sure completely about this, but I know that the winning teams had the lowest numbers. Anyways, it was really cool to see this, because I had never really been to a cross country meet before.
Anyhoo, Wiregrass girls and boys team won the meet, and more impressively, the Boys team beat Land O' Lakes High, which hasn't lost against a Pasco team in over 4 years... so it was pretty cool to see it all go down.
This morning, I was able to do my hardest intervals during this marathon training... and I nailed it. I envisioned myself being in that meet last night while I was toughing out those interval sessions. Between the 10k and the intervals this morning, I really have a lot of confidence that my speed has returned, and that it is better than ever. I do realize that the temptation is there to really test my speed this weekend during my 20 miler this weekend, but I'm going to resist. Someone told me... don't leave your marathon performance on the roads this week.... save it for Chicago... and that's what I plan on doing.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

On the 6th day of running.....

Today will culminate the toughest 6 days in my training cycle so far. After my 5 mile run today, I will have run 6 days in a row for the 1st time in my life. As they say, sometimes the journey feels like more of an accomplishment than the actual event itself... and that is the way I feel now. But on the way, I've been feeling pretty beat up, especially after yesterday. So here is how the week went for me:
Tuesday: 8 miles with intervals
Wednesday: 4 mile recovery run
Thursday: 11 mile run
By that time I was feeling pretty tired after Thursday. Friday was a planned day off for me from running, and I was supposed to do a time trial 10k Saturday, and a 17 mile long run Sunday, but I was able to run Friday after work, because the wifey and kids went to a party. So after a full days of work (and a workout at Sports and Field with Scott before work at 6 am), I decided to do the 10k time trial and give it all I had. My reasoning for it was that I really wanted at least one of my weekend days to sleep in and not have to get up at 5:00 am and train.

So I did the 10k, and finished it really strong. I held on for dear life at the end... I thought my heart was going to explode!!!! But I was able to hold my pace the whole way. Unfortunately my Garmin 405 watch failed me at the end, and wouldn't stop... so it kept on ticking away seconds even though I was done. I don't know for sure what my official time was... and I guess it doesn't fully matter since it wasn't official anyway, but I do know that it has me on pace to finish the marathon in the projected goal time that I wanted to aim for. This was so key for me, because through the whole summer, I felt like I was getting slower and slower, and that my tempo and interval pace runs have been so hard for me to hit my goal times due to whatever reason(heat, humidity, training, etc.). So I was really please to see what happened with the 10k. You just never realize what you truly have in you, until you just let it rip (giving everything you got!). So with that said, I headed back home, showered up and had some leftover pizza and watched the USF vs. Kansas game (while I waited for the family to come home).

I knew Chris, Julie and some other folks were going to run at Flatwoods Saturday, along with the Wiregrass team being out there, so I decided to just get the 17 miler out the way on Saturday instead of Sunday. I knew it would be helpful to have some company for at least part of the run. So, between the 10k and the start of my 17 miler on Saturday morning was 10 hours... and boy did I feel it by mile 14. My legs were shot, and I just pushed through it. It was the first time that I have felt like I wanted to cut off my legs for this whole training period. I got to my car, and literally had a difficult time getting in my car. I gingerly got myself in the car, and got to a gas station close to my house and bought a bag of ice.
As soon as I got home, I filled up my tub and poured all the ice in there and just let my body enjoy the ice bath. My body has been as stiff as a board all day yesterday, and every time I tried to stretch, my legs cramped up... so my lovely wife gave me a massage at my right hamstring for a few minutes and I fell asleep.
Today, I am feeling about 50% better, but I think I need to actually run really slow to get some of the soreness out of my legs. So that's what I plan to do later on today. A really slow 5 mile run, and hopefully I will feel great again. It will also allow for me to sleep in until 6 am tomorrow, instead of having to get up early and run before work.... so I'll take it.
So there it is... 6 consecutive days of running for me. It's a big deal for me, and just another moment that proves that you can push your body further and further (within reason, that is).

Thanks for reading

Sunday, September 7, 2008

I don't have time!!!!

As I sit here, watching the Dolphins try to stay alive against the Jets (although I am at least enjoying that football is back on TV), I just started to think about something one of my potential fitness clients said to me this week. "Greg, I just don't have any time to spare to exercise... it just takes too much time!" There might be a little truth to that, but I started to think about my week, and how much time I have spent doing certain things... so here it is.
Working: Clinical (40 hours at the office). Marketing (5 hours). Administrative (3-4 hours)
Training/Working out: (7.5 hours)
Here's the kicker.... TV (about 20 hours!!!) Between pro football today, college football yesterday, all of the US Open for tennis, Big Brother, parts of the polititcal speeches on CNN, and other little things here and there.

My wife just asked me out of the blue, if I would consider training for a triathlon? I am following some people that Chris works with that are doing the Wisconsin Ironman today, and immediately said.. "I don't have the time to train"..... but actually I do, if I wanted to right? Let's face it... add another 10 hours/week of training and I could be prepared to do it... so.... take away 1/2 the TV time, and there you go...

I am not doing a triathlon... don't have any desire currently to do one, but my point is that the time thing is such a lame excuse... we all need to stop using this...either you want it or you don't... it's time spent vs. reward. For 99% of people, time is not a factor, even though we say it is.
I have a patient that is a single dad of 9 children.... 2 are autistic....that's right... 9 children!!! I asked him... "How do you do it?", and he said, "God doesn't give you more than you can handle"... makes me feel like an absolute dud.

But the main thing I realize is that no matter what it is, we are always going to find time for things that mean much to us. Our economy is in shambles right? I have patients every day telling me that they can't afford to pay their co pays for pills, MD visits, and visits to our office.... but I watch football today, and I see stadiums filled to capacity. I went to the movies last night and it was pretty much a sell out... the restaurants were packed, and as I came home yesterday from my run, I saw numerous cars getting on I-75 to go to Gainesville to watch the Gator/Canes game. So.... no matter how bad things are financially, personally etc., people will find a way to do the things that mean the most to them. It's just that simple.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Wait and see approach...

I am nearly 5 weeks from the big race... my training has been a little bit up and down over the past 2 weeks or so. 2 weeks ago when I went down to the Downtown area to run with the Blue Sharks, I rolled my ankle inward when I turned a corner, and "jammed" my ankle.... which at the time didn't hurt because I was at mile 4, but I happened to run 20 that day, so I continued to aggravate it throughout the run (even though I didn't feel it), and I really struggled after I got home that day. I was only able to run 30 miles for the week last week, which was 20 miles less than I was supposed to do. This is the time that I really need to be in full intense workouts, and I have had to taper it back quite a bit, because the ankle continues to nag me... so I decided to go from a 5 to a 3 day/week program, so that my ankle/foot can rest up and get back to normal. I continue to have good and bad days with the foot.... and this morning was no different.
I started to run at 5 am, and when I took my first 50 steps, I felt like my foot was on the verge of doing something very strange... almost like something was going to "pop".... as I was deciding whether or not to shut it down, my foot stopped hurting (this all was in the first 1/2 mile) and it gave me no other problems throughout the run. Go figure. When I got home, no problems with the foot, and all day I have been fine... until now when it is starting to ache a bit.... so it's a wait and see thing for me each day. I have just come to terms with the fact that I might be able to run only 3 days/week until the race.... at this point, I'll take it. The marathon means so much more to me than just having an "ideal" time... because from what I hear, the Chicago marathon is just such an incredible experience, that I want to just be there and soak it all in.. and I know that I'll have a great time. With that said, I feel as though I can continue to put in the fitness gains that I need to on 3 days/week of running.

So here is my plan as I lead up to the race:
I have 3 more challenging long runs, starting this Saturday, when I have to do 17 miles, with 14 of them at 8:00/mile pace (or at least that's the plan). This will give me a good idea as to what pace I want to attempt to hold throughout the race.
Next Saturday, I will do a 17 mile run, with the last 8 miles getting faster and faster (hopefully I will be running around 7:30/mile by the last mile)
The following Saturday, I will attempt to do the same thing but I will do 20 miles instead.... that will be my last "long run" before the race. I will be ready to taper at that time.

Somewhere in between now and September 20th, I will do a time trial of some sorts, probably a 10-15k, and that will give me additional information on what pace I should try to hold for Chicago. Just writing about it is getting me psyched up!!!!