My First Pass at the Oval Track

Today officially begins my training run up to the Peachtree Road Race.  Today’s run called for 4 miles – Fartleks.  I headed to a 1/4 mile oval track at a park near my home to get my run in.

Overall, I was really pleased. I attempted to run 4 x 1/4 mile at 7 minute pace with  a 1/4 mile rest in-between.   The details are below, but I ended up running the 4 x 1/4’s at 1:44, 1:47, 1:47, and 1:54.

The hardest thing to deal with today was the wind. The temps were great, but I was running into a strong head wind down one of the straightaways on the track, and it really took it out of me.

Untitled by douglasweaver at Garmin Connect – Details.

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Transitions

Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.

Semisonic – Closing Time  (Closing Time Official Video on YouTube)

The theme of this week has been “transitions”.  Whether I look at home, at work, out on the trail, even on this laptop this morning, what I see is change. Out with old. In with the new.  And this time, change is good. But even though it is all good, it is sometimes hard to process when you are the type who really likes consistency.

My Wife confirmed this week that her work schedule is soon to be changing.  She will no longer be working evenings and weekends, which will be radically increase the amount of time that we can spend together with our boys.  This will also help us to motivate each other to get a gym-time in each week as we have been trying to incorporate strength training and group cardio into our fitness routines, but the varied schedules have made it impossible to get to class consistently.

Oldest Son went to his Senior Prom Friday night. (Don’t worry Son, no secrets divulged here. What happens as Prom, stays at Prom.)  This means that there are just a few weeks of High School left and then he is prepping for college life.  Can’t believe that.  This week also saw us reach a settlement with the insurance company regarding an accident that my son was involved in with a drunk driver back in December.  I am grateful that my son is ok and that we can finally put this behind us.

For the record, Youngest Son will turn 15 this year, and the thought of him driving makes me proud and frightens me at the same time.

I was given some new responsibilities at work this week as well. I will be out of the office more (which I love) and will be making sales calls to customers throughout the week.  While I am excited about this, it will be out of my comfort zone.  I see this as a good thing.  This will definitely help to increase my confidence and teach me a skill that can be used in a variety of work applications. Hey, you never know…..

This has been a solid week of running for me as well, but it too is transitioning into another phase this week. I have spent the last several weeks just building base miles and run frequency to prepare my for my 10k training.  That training begins tomorrow for my race on July 4th.  I really want to challenge my body and put up a good time at the race. And some here come the fartleks, interval training, and hills runs to build strength, endurance, and speed to get me where I want to be when I want to be there.

I have been over 20 miles for 3 of the last 4 weeks and am running 3-4 days consistently each week.  My pace has been steadily increasing and I am now able to run longer distances (6-9 miles) on flat to rolling hills at under 8:30 pace.  I find that I am much more relaxed now when I run.  I used to look at each run individually. If I was running 6 miles, then the time had to be x or it was a wasted effort. Now I realize that each run is simply a small piece of a larger progression, and I don’t feel the pressure to perform a peak workout every time.  The funny thing is that my times are still dropping.  Less stress = looser muscles = faster times.

I am continuing to run in my Saucony’s with the arch and heel inserts.  Although the shoes have over 700 miles on them now, they still feel great, but I know I will have to replace them in the next month or two.  Hey, any shoe reps out there need a 41 year old, middle aged, back of the pack shoe tester? If so, I am your guy.

I will wrap this up with a word of thanks to A Veteran Runnah.  I have been reading his blog for a few weeks now, and have changed my running log (you are logging your miles aren’t you?) and my blog software (I now use Windows Live Writer) based on his blog and reviews.  Thanks for the tips, sir.

And one last thing. I now have 210 miles ran in 2012.  I have been completing a virtual run to Indianapolis (Colts fan) and on to Cleveland (Indians fan).  I am now in Livingston, Tn.  I am a little behind schedule, but these increased miles each week will get me on track eventually.

Get started.

Humbled

image

This is the view as I finished my long run this morning. I did 9 miles in 1:14:35 with the last 3 miles sub 8. A great run for me. But as I cooled down, enjoying a bananna and a coconut water, watching the water, listening to the geese, and hearing David Crowder sing “my God’s not dead. He is surely alive and he’s living I’m the inside, roaring like a lion!”, I am simply humbled.
All that I will ever do is so little compared to what God has already done, but, God wants to do so much more in and through me than I could ever imagine.
Have a great weekend!

The Decision Has Already Been Made

This has been a very unusual week for me.  I ended the Easter week with only one run.  That’s right. One.  I wasn’t sick. I didn’t have surgery. I didn’t lose my shoes. I didn’t forget to look at my calendar and not realize that I had 5 runs scheduled for last week.

I just didn’t run.  I could blame it on Spring Break, Easter, or (go ahead, plug in your own excuse here), but really, I just didn’t do it.  My mind was on other things and my shoes stayed in the closet.

Please don’t misunderstand me, I am not dogmatic about my schedule and sticking to it. I routinely change my mind about distance, route, etc… when running. But to simply not run. Really?

I was listening to the Marathon Training Academy Podcast over the weekend, and Trevor’s dad shared a montra that Angie uses when faced with the inevitable question of “to run or not to run”. The montra is The Decision Has Already Been Made.  Pretty simple, right? But as I have chewed on it over the last couple of days, I think that this could be a game-changer. And not just about running.

It amuses me sometimes, as I read through the blogosphere looking for some new tips or tricks to improve my own race times.  There are some ridiculously profound lessons floating around that usually only get applied to running.  What I have been brewing over is what are the things in my life can I say “the decision has already been made” about? It seems to me that these things are at the core of who I am.  They are the things that I am unwilling to compromise on. The things that are so important that I don’t even have to think about what I am going to do. I just do it because it is who I am.

For me, running is part of that, but it’s not the whole.  I have my beautiful wife. My two boys. My faith. My fitness. My family. When I am debating doing something with my family, I can think “the decision has already been made” and join them. When I am debating having that first second Reese’s Easter Egg, I can say “the decision has already been made”, and walk away QUICKLY.

But I also have a few other things that more often than not I elevate to the status of “the decision has already been made”, when they really shouldn’t be.  I am thinking WORK here primarily.  I need to think more about the outcomes that I want to create in life, and make decisions that are consistent with those outcomes.

It really comes down to integrity. Wholeness. It this is who I am, then this is what I do. Pretty simple really.

I will still skip workouts, change routes, run harder than I should, and sometimes, eat two Reese’s eggs. But I will do it on purpose. A conscious choice. Not a mindless reaction.

And if I only run one time next week, it will be because I either chose to, or circumstances beyond my control forced me to.

Get started.

Parking Problems and Chafing

And the question is: What do I hate about the return of Spring?

           

I headed out to the Silver Comet Trail – Coot’s Lake trailhead – at 9 Saturday morning for my weekly long run.  For the last 4 months the lot has been virtually empty (even with the mild winter) and I have felt as though I have the entire trail to myself for whatever amount of time that I want it.  Today, not so much.  It seems that Spring has officially returned and all of the cyclists have come out of hibernation and invaded the trail.

I know. I am whining a bit here, but I have sooooo enjoyed my alone time on the trail. The section of trail that I most often run is a 12 mile stretch that cuts through a WMA and has only one cross street, and it’s a dirt road.  There are creeks, farmland, lakes, deer, turkeys, the occasional fox.  Its a great place to lose yourself for a couple of hours.  I am already looking forward to late fall when all of the cyclists return to the safety of the spin classes and just we runners are left to use the trail.

By the way, why don’t cyclists ride outdoors in the winter?

Anyway, my second dose of Springtime reality:  chafing.  Yep. My wife told me that this might be to personal to share in a blog, but this is the ugly side of endurance running.  As the temps rise (along with the humidity in the south), so does the likelihood that some part of your body is going to be, shall we say, tender, for a bit after the run.  Vaseline, you are my friend.  I promise to bring you along next time.

Overall, this has been a great week.  It is my longest mileage week since my surgery in November (20 miles). It also capped a month that saw me run 80 miles for the first time since October.  I had a couple of good hills runs and I knocked 6 minutes off of my 8 mile time from last week, dropping from 1:15 to just under 1:09.  I also focused more on running the right pace for each specific run.  For me, this primarily involves slowing down and running a true easy pace for my easy runs.  i have a tendency to start slow and push the pace once I loosen up.  I also don’t like to be passed.  If I know another runner is coming up behind me, I auto-magically start speeding up to maintain my position.  I do that same thing if I see another runner in front of me.  I want to catch and pass them.  This week, I am proud to say, I was passed twice and I didn’t pass anybody other than walkers.

Click to Home

My virtual run finds me in Manchester, Tennessee.  Their claim to fame is the Bonnaroo Music Festival. Held annually since 2002, it brings over 100,000 to this town of 10,000 for a four day festival that has featured Pearl Jam, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, and Bob Dylan, among others.

I’ve got four easy miles planned for today. I guess it’s time to get started.