Monday, December 8, 2014

Race Recap - Frostbite Festival 2 Miler!

So last year, being semi-injured, I ran the 2 mile Frostbite Festival. It was cold, fun, and I set a new PR for myself for 2 miles. I was pretty pleased. Then I sat out for nearly 6 weeks because my shin/calf hurt. But 2 miles in 15 minutes was something I was really happy with last year.

This year, when I knew the race was coming up, I asked my 6 year old if he wanted to run, since he had just done his first 5k in September. He immediately said yes (and that he was winning it). We also asked my dad (grandpa) if he wanted to run, which he did too.

Well, we definitely did not set any PR's or break any records, but we did have a lot of fun and we all ran together for the first time. We had 3 generations of my family running, which to me was worth more than any PR or any trophy. It was a tough course and we walked quite a bit, because Gavin was not used to hills, but none of that mattered. We started strong and finished strong! The best part, according to Gavin, was the donut at the end!

Monday, December 1, 2014

My Runniversary...

2 Years... that's its, just 2 years, but it has been a long 2 years of running. It does not truly require much to be a "runner". Almost anyone CAN do it, because it requires next to nothing. This is also a big reason why I picked up running. Having played different sports most of my life into adulthood, running seemed like an "easy enough" sport to get into...

December 2, 2012 was the first run I took, after a really long absence from any athletic type activity! And it hurt! I told my wife I thought I would take up running as a new form of exercise. She encouraged me to do so and said why not, which really I did not have a reason.

I downloaded RunKeeper, I doubt I stretched, and off I went. 23 minutes and 45 seconds later, I was done. 10:45/mile was not so awful, nor was 2.21 miles. The soreness, that part was awful. I remember thinking to myself, "its really not THAT bad, since you haven't moved like that in a few years".

The next run on couch to 5k program was 2 days away, I knew I could handle it. I thought.

I had also thought in the back of my head, how much "fun" it would be to do a half marathon at some point... I actually never completed the couch to 5k program, if the program required one. As time went on, and as a runner, you start to realize how to get better. You start to read and better equip yourself, you adjust your training, you look for new inspirations, all while you grow/shrink as a runner.

It's only been 2 years. In two years time though here is a list of things that have changed or been accomplished:
- 3 sub 2:00 half marathons
- 3 sub 56 minute 10k's
- 200,000 calories burned
- 30 pounds gone for good (more to go)
- down 10% of body fat
- nearly 1300 miles covered
- almost 220 hours of running (mostly before sunrise)
- minor injuries, 1 semi real injury

In 1 year, I went from not being able to get even close to a 7 minute mile, to being able to run 2 miles at 7:34 pace. MY long runs went from 3-4 miles, to 9+ miles. My average pace went from well over 10 minutes, down to well under 9 minutes on my routine runs.

I have also learned how hard you can truly push yourself. During any run, especially longer runs, there is nobody out there telling you to run harder or keep going, its all on you. That's something that takes time to learn and time to figure out, but I can assure you, its a great lesson.  I have also learned running is most certainly NOT free! :)

Here's to year 3!


Monday, November 24, 2014

Its all about the pace, bout the pace

I will be the first person to admit, I worry A LOT about my pace. Maybe a bit much. I also feel like I need my body to feel what my ideal pace needs to be to hit certain marks - like 1:45/half marathon... But at what point is it too much concern? There are SO many benefits to slowing down and staying in a lower heart rate zone, but yet I find myself trying to push my pace all the time.

Many elite runners talk about how much slower they run during training and the benefits to that, yet it is really challenging to slow down. I find myself having to actually stop running to slow my pace (short term memory I guess, to forget how "fast" I was going).

Here is a great article on Pace and HR training... Even with advanced technology its no easy task.\

And to leave you with some humor - Enjoy this!(The simulator kit especially)

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Heads Up, Part 2!

Since one of my most popular posts was "Heads Up!", I figured I would follow that up with a part 2! The last iteration was about which side of the street to run on and why (SAFETY). While that is still  very important, lighting is equally important, so is ID.

With the days being much shorter, you are more than likely to be running in the dark, or at least not as well lit times of the day. For me that usually means the majority of my routine runs are done well before the sun comes up (as long as I get out of bed). While I do not see many cars out when I run, there are enough out and there are still enough distracted drivers out at that hour. It is somewhat scary to think that a routine run could turn tragic or cause severe injury, but its possible. Usually the thing that can speed up care for a patient is proper identification, more on that in a minute.  So how do you stay well lit?

For me - I run with a lighted LED armband and shoe strobe, and recently bought some gloves with LED lights built in.
I am not going to sell you products, but these are really great - all from Nathan Sports
http://www.nathansports.com/visibility/led-lights/lightbender
http://www.nathansports.com/visibility/led-lights/strobelight
http://www.nathansports.com/visibility/cold-weather-gear/speedshift

I know many of us think, it won't ever happen to me, but even running in a great park in the dark, I feel better that other people can see me, let alone cars.

Now for ID... I read a Facebook post from RoadID last week, a letter from a wife, whose husband had left to go for his ride, crashed into a tree and because the paramedics called her - based on the RoadID, she was able to see her husband before he passed away. Literally within minutes! While I never anticipate being in that situation, and while its terribly tragic, can you imagine had he not been wearing ID? It's a very scary thought but there are very simple solutions. A shoe tag or bracelet or insert in your armband, waistband, etc, can easily help. I like RoadID because its right there and if they are checking for a pulse, they are sure to see my ID band!

So please runners, riders, drivers, just be smart and be safe!

Happy Running,
Jeff

Monday, November 10, 2014

Bring on the Winter training!

So today will be unseasonably warm... how did I celebrate? I slept in, past my alarm... Actually I forgot to set my alarm, from taking a week or so off... So today's run will happen tomorrow.  I really don't mind running in the winter or cold temps. As long as there is no snow or ice, then its really not as bad as people make it out to be. Sure, its tough to get all the stuff on that you need and get out the door, but its no worse than jumping into a cold pool! You adapt and get used to it. Ice and snow, that is a different ball game though - mainly because its dangerous!



Winter is such a good time to strength and cross train though too. So even if it does become a bad winter, weights, elliptical, plyometrics, etc, will all be options. Fortunately, my first race next year is a half, one that I have completed before, so event if I don't get to my long runs till late February or early March, I won't be too concerned. Granted, I will be pushing my distance as much as I can in the meantime, since I have not ran over 6 miles in months!

I am excite to see what a 100+ mile month feels like as my training will pick up and will gain plenty of distance! But that's jumping ahead...

Cheers,
Jeff

Monday, November 3, 2014

Going from half to full....

I know... I said that I did not want to do a full marathon. Well, that has changed. After completing a few half marathons, I have decided I need a new goal for distance. I still have goals for my half time, but a big part of the half for me was completing it. Now that I know I am plenty capable, I want to push harder.

After seeing many friends complete a full and becoming more "into" running, a full seems like the natural progression. Now, I will say it may be a 1 and done thing, it may be just for the sake of saying I did it... but like the half, I am going to go out and give it my all. I have about a year to train, and ideally, I will have checked off a few goals before the full would get here. Either way, the journey of pushing my limits is always fun and you learn so much about yourself along the way!


So here's to the journey to come. A HUGE thanks in advance to my wife and kids for understanding and tolerating my crazy obsession! There is no thanks big enough for them to put up with the long training runs and hours on the road! Love you all!

Cheers,
Jeff

Monday, October 20, 2014

Hitting reset...

Well... STL Rock N  Roll came and went, I opted not to run. It was a little disappointing, but seeing/reading/hearing about so many people that did run was nice!

So now what? I won't lie, I have been a little less than motivated as of late. I think my body is/was due for a little break. With the winter months coming and less than predictable weather, It will definitely be time to hit the cross training. I will still keep up with my running, probably down to 3 days per week, but the runs will also allow a break from pushing so hard on running that my body is exhausted. Nutrition will also come into focus, especially since our kitchen is nearing completion!

Its also a good time to set my goals for next year. I know I will run in our local Frostbite festival, especially because my son wants to run the 2 miler with me! I am kinda excited about that, since he did the 9/11 Heroes Run and was so proud of his effort, which he should be! As of now, I will do the Fight for Air Climb in February, run the Lincoln Presidential Half in April, Maybe Chicago Rock N Roll half in July again(?),  State Fair 2 Miler, Abe's Amble, and St. Louis Rock N Roll half... maybe full... I have the bug to do a full, just not sure next year is the year!

In the meantime, I know where to focus, not only to meet those goals, but also to get better and better each time. I am also starting a 6 week fitness challenge group, in early November. If you're interested, get in touch with me and we can discuss the requirements to join! 

Happy Running,
Jeff