one Man of a Certain Age's journey to a healthier lifestyle

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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  

My Blogs Thompson Family Web (Travel, Disney and fun) The Runner of a Certain Age Blog

Saturday, September 14, 2013

These are the times that try men's... legs

This is one of those times that challenge our resolve as runners I guess. I've had to deal with challenges like weather and such while training, but this morning was the first training run where I felt a physical challenge that had no real external source.

First, not related to anything except challenges, I am writing this on my iPhone from a veterinarians office. I am leaving the country tomorrow on business and a) my computer died (thankfully its backed up and under warranty) and b) my dog is having a minor issue but not one I wanted to leave untreated until I get back in a week. So here I sit knowing I will be picked up tomorrow morning before 5:00 and I'm not even packed. So please excuse any strange iPhone auto-corrections.

But I digress...

This morning my training schedule called for a 20 mile run. My longest to date. I had a bad feeling since last night. First, after being real good all week about staying hydrated, I completely forgot yesterday and barely had anything to drink all day. Then, after eating supper I realized it may not have been the best dinner choice for the night before a challenging run. Finally, and I think worst of all, I didn't get to bed as early as I wanted, and then I couldn't get to sleep. And I needed to get up at 4:00.

Well, I did get up at 4:00 and was on the road at 4:30. For my long runs I use a local bike trail. When I got there it was still dark, there was no moon and the trail is unlit so it was literally pitch dark. I mean I looked down and could not see the ground. Obviously I needed light so for the first hour or so - until the sun came up - I ran by the light of my iPhone flashlight app. I knew that this meant I was draining my battery more quickly than usual and I was worried I would run out if charge. (I did luck out here, it ran out if charge just as I finished the run.)

Another challenge was that my iRunner app - which I use to track distance - was acting up. For the last few runs I've been running it and another Nike app simultaneously and I don't think they play well together. (I've been using the Nike app to help this guy win a trip to Iceland by tweeting my runs.) And every time I had to mess with the apps the flashlight would go off so I needed to come to a dead stop as I could not see a thing. Needless to say this meant that the first five miles or so were not exactly barn burners.

Once the sun came up things got much better. It was actually a perfect morning for a run - cool and clear. Still, I just felt "meh" and just could not really get myself going. I didn't feel bad per-se, just sort of low energy. Plus my legs felt tired and sore. I also started feeling real hungry at about mile 15 despite having a gel every hour or so - I think I should have eaten more before I left. That said, I was basically ok up to about mile 18. Then I sort of crashed and really had to dig deep to push on. The last mile was particularly rough and in the end I switched from my usual 1 minute run/30 second walk interval to 30 second run/1 minute walk.

Still, I finished the 20 miles, and I feel pretty good about that. I'm reading a book by Jeff Galloway and in it he writes about how runners tend to hit a wall right at whatever their previous longest run was. That definitely seemed to be what happened to me. So, when I have my next real long run - 23 miles in 3 weeks - I'll make sure have a good carbo meal the night before, keep myself well hydrated, get plenty of sleep and have a good meal before I leave in the morning. Plus I'm investing in one of those headband lights!

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