Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Depression, Flexibility, and Aging Gracefully


From the beginning of August until about two weeks ago, I was depressed!

My running had been going downhill and not in a good way. Speeds were falling off, distances were falling off.  And I was in constant pain.

After the end of the Cleveland Marathon in May, I had planned to run
  • The Wright Patterson AFB Marathon in Dayton,
  • The Road Runner Marathon in Akron,
  • The Cleveland TowPath Marathon,
  • The Columbus Marathon and
  • Maybe one more, perhaps the Detroit Free Press,  the Florida Space Coast Marathon, or the one in Indy.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Lactic Acid Management

Today (Tuesday) when I started out, I had planned a track session to work on leg turnover.  Let’s see, do about a three mile warm up, hit the track for a couple of sets of 200s to churn the legs and get that lactic acid burn we all love to feel, and then do a final 4 miles to cool down.

I got through the three mile warm up.  But when I reached the track, I saw that the local middle school Girls Track Team had taken it over.  Actually, it could have been the soccer team or lacrosse team for all I knew.  I saw a lot of young girls milling about on the track, a bunch of parents on the bleachers, and lots of red cones.  No one was running on the track so it must have been an orientation.  However, I didn't feel like being a mook, going over and saying, "Excuse me.  Since you guys aren't running today, could you all move over to the bleachers?  I want to use your track to run a couple of 200s".  Yeah, real mook material here.

Easy Recovery Runs Are Necessary

Took an easy recovery run on Monday.

The day had less of an edge to it probably because I was getting off to a late start with the sun slowly setting.  Part of the reason for the late start was that I ate too late in the day.

It was still warm, but with the sun low in the sky, it didn't feel nearly as oppressive as the day before when I did my long run at high noon.

Water, Dehydration, And The Long Run

Sunday's run was over the 22 mile long T-888.  The day was hot, which seems to be a common theme for the past few weeks.  But somehow, this day was different.  the air seemed sharper, harsher, as if it were saying, "come on out here pal.  I'm gonna work you today".

And it did.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Easy Run Turns Into A Power Run

So today I waffled between doing the hill repeats and going to the track. But it was way to nice outside, the temperature was mild, and I didn't want to do a hard run just yet. So another easy type run was in order.

The first few miles were easy enough. Easy and slow. Then I started opening up the stride. The last 5 miles were done in 42 minutes.

The temperature was in the mid 70s so I could afford to push it a little more. Still, I carried 2 bottles of water and I did need them.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Easy Runs In The Heat

The last two days have been easy, mind-body mending runs. Not running for time--just enjoying the run.

Of course high temperatures and humidity have played a part in the decision making process. When I returned from my run yesterday, I realized that in spite of taking it slow and leaving the watch at home, I still finished up feeling drained.

That's when it hit me like a fist full of quarters that heat does take a toll on the body.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Run Like Forest Gump

Yesterday I really felt unmotivated to get out and put the mileage in.

Getting dressed was a chore. Putting on the shoes was a chore.

Even filling the water bottles was a chore.

All I could think about was, "should I do the mile and a half repeats, the hill repeats or hit the track?"

That's when it hit me that running wasn't fun anymore. With all of the requirements that I had put in place, deciding if I was going to do a tempo run, a long run, a track workout or a hill workout, I had lost the original reason I had started running and continue to run to this day--to relieve stress.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Running Backwards Saves A Session

If there was ever a day to take off from running, today was that day. And I ignored the signs.

Running today was a real chore. The legs felt totally rung out, hips felt stiff and painful, and it was in the mid-eighties again even at 5:00 PM. To ad insult to injury, I had put in a strong 10 miler on Friday followed by a marathon long run on Saturday. So, I was tired.

Most of this run started out as a run-walk, which means after running for 15 minutes and not getting any power out of my legs, I switched to walking a bit before running again. At the pace I was using, I think jogging would be a better description. After running for a few miles, I decided to move to more of a fartlek format. I could manage a faster pace, but only for about 100 meters. After that, I started dragging again. So I alternated between the fast pace 100 meters and the slower paced 200 or more meters.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Marathon Prep Long Run

Ran the 21 mile marathon circuit in 3:43:44. Used the Asics 1130s.

Today was overcast with a fairly low temperature. I got off to a late start, which worked to keep the temperatures low.

Wasn’t sure if I should run the marathon long run today or tomorrow. However, with the threat of a wandering thunderstorm moving in tomorrow, I thought it best to get the long run in today before the rain set in.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Easy Marathon Prep With 10 Miler

I took two days off to give my hip a rest, and to avoid Wednesday’s electrical storm. Today was supposed to be another easy day where I could stretch my legs in preparation for more marathon speed work. So that is exactly what I did.

During the first 5 miles, I found it easy to maintain control over my stride, keeping it stretched out and maintaining control over foot placement. I also find that I am running on the balls of my feet more, running through my big toe, and spending less time running through my heels.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Mixing Speed Work And Long Distance

Second speed workout on the road.

I think I should have taken this day off. The run yesterday took more out of me than I thought.

My initial run was slower than my final run the last time I did this circuit. And they just got slower with each run.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Lengthening The Stride Creates An Unplanned Tempo Run

Yesterday began a 10-mile run to relax the legs. I ran a 21-22 mile run on Sunday so I just wanted to take it easy and give the legs an light workout.

I wore the old Asics DXs and by the time I actually started, my mindset had shifted.

First, I wanted to stretch out my stride. I’ve been running on time and not distance since before the Cleveland Marathon and recently I’ve noticed that my stride has shortened. I’ve been spending my mileage shuffling instead of running.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Turn Back The Clock On Your Body With Exercise

Itsy Bitsy Runner tried a new running route.
Out came the rain and washed the heat out.
Out came the sun and dried up all the rain.
And the Itsy Bitsy Runner overheated once again.

Yes, ran an easy 21 miles today in 3:36:16. Started the run just after a morning rain and the temperature was still in the low 70s. So the first half of the run felt good--no overheating, no cramping, no heat fatigue.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Flatten Your Stomach With These 6 Tips

No run today. Took a hint from yesterday’s run.

Weather today was over 90 degrees with high humidity and triple digit heat index. I remember not being able to keep my eyes open and feeling like a rung out dishrag after my run yesterday.

Decided that having a decent workout session on Sunday was worth two lousy sessions on Saturday and Sunday.

However, I did find this wonderful article from RealAge on the fat that collects around your waist and some ideas on how to cut it down. Number 3 is particularly insightful and I really like number 5.

Good reading!

A 10 Mile Walkathon

Created a new loop today, just to get some miles in. This was supposed to be an easy run after doing the 1.5 mile repeats and the hill repeats. But the heat and humidity made this run feel like a real chore. A heat advisory was in effect right at the time that I started until 8:00 PM, about the time that the storm was scheduled to move in.

Hip was a pain to deal with today. And it rained just before the run, which put a whole lot more water in the air.

I did a lot of walking to keep moving forward.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Hill Work for Building Strength in Legs, Hips and Glutes

I did another hill session today. First time I measured the hill and discovered just how much mileage I was putting on my legs during one of these little sessions.

I had first estimated the distance to be about half a track lap, a 220 or about an 8th of a mile (.125 mile). Today, I put it on DailyMile and it came out to about a tenth of a mile, which seems reasonable.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Speed Work On The Road

So today began my new venture in speed workouts.

Using the Dailymile application, I plotted out a small loop around Horseshoe Lake. After my previous run where I realized that my legs were just not providing any power, I decided that I needed a little more than a track workout but not quite up to a full-blown tempo run.

Dailymile Widget

I dropped the DailyMile widget on the sidebar. 

Dailymile has a really cool feature that lets you plot out road courses and provides you with an estimate of the mileage. 

Great way to keep track of your progress.

Create your account and give it a shot.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Feeling The Need For Speedwork

Another Hi-Lo day.

Ran the 2 hour loop and tried to put some of my speed work into practice. My thinking was since I’ve been doing all of these hill sprints and some track work, I should be able to cut some time off of the 2 hour loop so I can lengthen it out again.

Boy did I get a shock.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Marathon Training, Electrolytes, and Burnout

In spite of my best intentions, and it being one of those rare sunny Cleveland days, I felt way to fatigued to get out and do the track workout yesterday. Mentally, I was completely burned and physically, I felt wrung out. So when 5:00 rolled up, I was not motivated to go out and do even an easy run. I actually felt like taking a long nap.

In fact, I could hardly keep my eyes open throughout the day.

So instead of going through my mental motivation exercise, I stayed in and read in between some really long blinks.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Hills Again Today

Yesterday I had decent hill workout and kicked it.

Today, I got kicked... into the middle of next week.

High temperature, high humidity, and some lingering fatigue from yesterday’s hill repeats worked together to create a difficult hill workout today.  Probably should not have done back-to-back hills but it’s too late for that now. 

I was able to use different strides, integrating some bounding strides, some longer kicks, some shorter and faster steps, and some high kicks.

Felt drained, but I gave the hip a workout. I should be ready for a track workout tomorrow.

Hill run today. 40 hill repeats for an hour.  Total exposure time 2.5 hours

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Running Motivation From Supportive Community

Today was a hill day.

The hip was still hurting from yesterday’s track workout, so the 45 minute run to the hill started off at a very easy pace until I could loosen up the locked up hamstring and inner thigh muscles.

My usual route takes me down one particular street where my fans hang out. That is right, I have fans. And after a three-week absence, they were back today.

The first fans appeared right about the beginning of May when the temperatures started getting warm, about two weeks before the Cleveland Marathon.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Smokin Speed Workout

I was lacking serious running motivation today. Monday was a zero hour day and I knew that I had to get out and run. But the hip was still bothering me and I had spent the majority of the day in a seated position doing data backups and erasing a hard drive.

Still, I had to get on the road and as it is Tuesday, that means either the track or the hill. The hill makes my hip feel better but I opted for the track since my last track workout was almost two weeks ago.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Tip For Showing Off Your 6-Pack Abs

I recently received this article in my inbox from RealAge regarding weight gain and stress. 

Apparently, excessive dieting can cause additional stress, which in turn can trigger weight gain, something we've seen in the starvation diets.

According to this article, a study that followed 121 dieters revealed a rise in their cortisol levels, a hormone commonly associated with stress.  And prolonged exposure to cortisol seems to do some pretty nasty things to the body, including inducing an increase in weight.

I guess the advice here is to eat sensibly, exercise regularly, and get your rest on and you'll strip off that blanket of belly fat that's hiding your abs.

But you still have to do your lunges and your crunches to tighten up those puppies!

RealAge: Flatten Your Belly With This Eating Habit

Wikipedia: cortisol

Marathon Preparation Long Run

Ran the 4 hour long run loop today.  First time I've been able to get the time under 4 hours since the temperature crept past 75. If I can do it again next week, I may have to add some additional distance to bring the time back over 4 hours.

Then again, the 40 hill repeats from yesterday may have helped as well.

Might be time to start thinking about cutting back on the distance and focusing more on the hills and track workouts for the rest of July and August.  The USAF Dayton Marathon is about 10 weeks away.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Hill Repeats Today

Today, had a small change in plans.  Was going to do a 4 hour long run but remembered that I had put in only one hill session this week, and it was shortened by a pending storm.

So I did a hill session today and will do the long run tomorrow. 

Today, 40 hill repeats in an hour. Total time out 2.5 hours.

Marathon Running Increases Your Risk Of A Heart Attack

I came across this fun article from Rodale Press supporting several facts and exposing a few myths regarding marathon running, exercise and general fitness.  Of particular interest was point number 6, that running a marathon increases your risk of a heart attack.

At first I thought, "I'm in big time trouble now".  Recently I've been running 4 hour long runs almost every week and the temperature over the last few weeks has been in the upper 80's and lower 90's.  So I know that there's some additional cardiac stress going on.

Training Shorts Starting Line

After keeping my training workout on several scraps of paper, 3 by 5 cards and a big whiteboard, I've finally taken the leap to keeping the training log online. Now I can also integrate interesting articles, nutrition information and ideas from other runners as well.

At the very least, I'll be able to control the proliferation of paper!

Should be an interesting ride... run.