one Man of a Certain Age's journey to a healthier lifestyle
Welcome to my fitness blog. I started running in early 2012, having set my sights on the Walt Disney World Half Marathon which I ran in January 2013. (You can read about that in my other blog). I intend to update this blog weekly with training progress and run reports. Please follow and join this blog (links below) for updates. If you want to share please feel free to, there are links to share via Facebook or Twitter below as well. You can also follow me on twitter. And please comment letting me know what you think!
|My upcoming races:||My recent races:|
|NYCRuns Central Park Half Marathon February 23, 2014||2013 Year in Review|
|Rock 'n' Roll USA Marathon - DC March 15, 2014|
Sunday, March 31, 2013
So, I decided to check it out. For my 4 mile run this weekend I jogged the entire way and did not walk at all. Here are the results.
As you can see, not great. I will say this - I had no problem running the entire distance, in fact I am sure I could have gone a good deal farther. But these times are not great. Admittedly, had I been running a race I probably would have pushed it more and perhaps I would have had a better time. Perhaps. But consider this: the last time I did a 4 mile run using Run,Walk, Run my time was slightly better. Even more telling are the first 4 miles of my marathon last weekend:
As you can see, these times are a fair bit better. And I was pacing myself for a half marathon. And I was on a very hilly course.
So, my conclusion? At least for now I will continue using the Run, Walk, Run method. Not only can I go farther using this method while feeling better, it also appears that my times are faster.
Next week I go 10 miles and I've set myself a bit of a challenge for that. Then perhaps the 5K, and then my next half on the 21st. And I will also probably be signing up for another half in June.
Sunday, March 24, 2013
I signed up for the race some time ago. After running my first half marathon during the Walt Disney World Half Marathon Weekend in January, I was looking for more races. There weren't any available that I could find in the dead of February in my neck of the world (just north of NYC) and the first race I spotted was the NYC Half Marathon. I looked into that but it was sold out. I could still do it as a charity run, but I would have needed to raise $1000. I thought this was do-able, but then i found out about the Sleepy Hollow race so I decided to do that instead.
As the date of the run approached I felt a bit of trepidation. First, I had heard from several folks (including my chiropractor, who is a runner and actually one of the sponsors of the race) that the course was very hilly and challenging. I also read that the race has a strict 3 1/2 hour time limit. I had completed the WDW race in 3:27. On the one hand that was my first race, it was very hot and I had to deal with huge crowds. On the other hand, the WDW course was flat. In the few days before the race I had some new worries to add to my list - we were hit with a sizable snow storm just a few days before the race. Much of the race takes place on trails and I was worried that there might still be snow or, even worse, ice. On top of all that my back had been bothering me (I had taken a few yoga classes a while back that did a real number on me.)
As you will read - all of these things were no problem.
First, with regard to the hilly course, I learned about this early enough so that I was able to do a lot of hill work in my training. Read earlier posts in this blog for more details. As to the condition of the course, with the exception of a few muddy spots it was fine. As to my time, I came in at 3:02. Yes, I was one of the last finishers but I got in well under the limit. Finally, as to my back problems, it was not an issue during the race. My back hurt like a son-of-a-gun after the race, but no issues during :-P. I also had been having some minor twinges in my knee during the couple of days leading up to the race, and while I did feel something a few times it was no problem and, unlike my back, my knee has not bothered my after. I'm not worried about my back, I can tell it's just muscle soreness, but it still hurts.
The race started at the very civilized time of 9:30. On race day the weather was sunny but cold and windy. I had been doing training runs in much worse weather, so I was used to it and not at all concerned about the weather. I wasn't sure exactly what to expect so I arrived early - about 8:00. I had already picked up my race packet a few days earlier so I didn't need to check in. The packet included your bib and an RFID chip you put on your shoe as well at a long sleeve t-shirt. It also included a bunch of info and freebies from race sponsors. Upon arriving I went to a local deli to get a breakfast sandwich and then I hung around the gathering area and walked around a bit trying (mostly in vain) to stay warm (and trying to keep my toes from getting numb.) Finally the race time arrived and we gathered by the starting gate.
Sunday, March 17, 2013
- The race is, as I have written, very challenging.
- The race has a strict time limit of 3 1/2 hours
- The time is measured from the gun (e.g no matter how long it takes to get through the gate)
- My time on the Walt Disney World Half Marathon was 3:27
Sunday, March 10, 2013
I tried out a new video that focuses on your core and gluts, and it further exacerbated the issues I've been having with my back. So, I decided to take it easy this week in order to give my back a rest. I did nothing on Monday and Tuesday, just did some walking on the treadmill on Wednesday, just some weight work on Thursday, my usual 30 minute treadmill session on Friday and weights again on Saturday. I usually do my long run on Saturday, but I did it on Sunday this week because a) we got hit with a major snowstorm on Friday and I wanted to give it another day for the streets to dry and b) I did my treadmill work on Friday and I don't like running two days in a row.
On the weight loss side I lost 2.6 pounds, putting me on pace to reach my mini goal in time for the Sleepy Hollow Half marathon (4.2 pounds to go):
Weight loss this week: 2.6 pounds
Total weight loss so far: 8.6 pounds
Loss to goal: app. 15-25 pounds
I feel inclined to write something about my weight loss program. I'll write more later but I think it's important to point out one thing - the purpose of this blog is to discuss fitness. My goal is to become more fit. At this point I feel that the extra 20 or so pounds I am carrying is a detriment to that goal. Beyond that - I'm not really worried about it. The goal is not to lose weight - it is to be healthier. This is why I don't mention my weight here - I don't think it's relevant I firmly believe that thin does not mean healthy, and heavy does not mean unhealthy. Everyone is different, and you should do what is best for you. I am not writing this to be politically correct - it is something I firmly believe.
My big news for the week was buying new shoes (exciting, eh?). I have been running in New Balance 1080 V2s since I started training for the Disney Half Marathon. I saw a podiatrist a few months back because I was having a lot of trouble with foot pain - specifically in my instep. He suggested getting New Balance orthotics, and he also suggested that the next time I get shoes I look for a pair with more stiffness in the instep. I got the orthotics a few weeks back and they have made all the difference in the world. This week I decided it was time to replace my shoes, and I asked the guy at the New Balance Store to find a pair similar to the 1080 V2s but with a stiffer instep. I tried on several pairs and ended up with the 1260 V2s. Interestingly they looked like they had the least amount of support in the instep but the NB guy said they actually have the most. And, of course, at $159 they were the most expensive (*sigh*). Well, as any runner knows, you can't cheap out on your shoes.
|1080 V2 on the left and 1260 V2 on the right.|
You can see how the instep part of the sole is wider
|You can easily see the added support in the instep|
As I mentioned I did my long run on Sunday instead of Saturday. I ran 8 miles around the hilly course in my neighborhood. I didn't wear my new shoes - I don't think an 8 mile run is a great idea in a pair of shoes you haven't broken in yet. I'll use them for my mid-week runs and, if they feel good, my long run next weekend. And hopefully the Half Marathon.
Here are the stats - not real happy about my time although I think it's OK for the upcoming half. Those hills really slowed me down!
Average Pace: 14:51
That's it for this week!
Sunday, March 3, 2013
That said, I don't intend to change the focus of this blog. The main method I am using and intend to continue using in my quest toward a fitter me is running. Both using running as a way of getting fitter as well as (more importantly for me, I think) using running races as a motivator.
OK, so the thing I have been dealing with this week is a soreness in my back that seems to have started when I started a yoga class. It started out as a general soreness but has evolved into a soreness in a specific area of my lower right back. It bothers me more when I'm doing things like walking up stairs. Now, I don't mind the pain, but just with less than 4 weeks to my next half marathon (the Sleepy Hollow Half Marathon), the last thing I want to do is injure myself. And on top of that I have a long (12-13 mile) run planned for this weekend. My intention had been to run the hilly course near my house, but I was growing afraid that the hills would make my back worse. Also, as I mentioned, the pain in my back had changed and become more focused on one spot - leading me to think it had gone from "general soreness" to a specific, albeit very mild, injury.
My week was pretty typical. I did Yoga on Sunday followed by weights, a short 30-minute trot on my treadmill followed by stretching on Monday, and core work and weights on Tuesday and Thursday. On Wednesday I went to another yoga class at my gym (which is at my office), followed by 45 minutes on the treadmill. That was a workout! Friday I hadn't planned to do anything but I changed my mind and did a 30 minute walk on my treadmill.
On the weight front I was unchanged.
I also saw my chiropractor this week (who is also a runner) and he basically told me that I've been doing plenty of running on hills, so I should give my back a rest and do my run on a flat surface. So, I decided to go to a very long walking/running/biking trail about 20 minutes from my house. I set out on Saturday and drove to the trail. As I mentioned earlier, my back pain had become more focused. As I started the run I could really feel it. About 2 miles in I was really wondering if I was going to be able to continue. But as I kept going the pain went away and by about mile 3 I couldn't feel it at all, so I pressed on.
I decided I wanted to do 13 miles - actually, 13.1, the distance of a half marathon. And I also set a goal of a 14 minute mile average. This would get me at 13.1 at about 3:03:30 (OK, 3:03:24 to be exact). As a point of reference I did the Walt Disney World Half Marathon in 3:27 - but that was a very crowded course with a lot of distractions. One bit of advice I've gotten that makes sense is to try to never be too far away from your car. So, I ran in one direction on the trail from the car for about 3 1/2 miles, turned around and ran back to the car and went in the other direction about 3 miles and back.
So here are the overall stats from the run, as shown on my iRunner ap:
As you can see I didn't quite meet my goal but I was close. Here are my splits:
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