Sunday, February 27, 2011

Day 33 - Only 55 Days Left Until the London Marathon


Amazing day, in several ways. Today I ran further than I have ever run before, 22.5 miles. That is seven 5Ks. I keep going back to July of last year and my run alongside the Bow river in Calgary. I was only a mile into the run and realised I better turn back because I was running out of steam. 22.5 miles wasn’t imaginable.

Nor was the thought that I’d be covering over 500 miles of pavement, grass, gravel and dirt in a little more than six months time. Today, I passed the 500 mile mark since beginning back in July.

I also remember thinking a sub 9 pace would be great but happy just to finish somewhere in the mid 9 range for my half or just finish the race without taking any stops to walk.

Where I’m going with all of this? It astounds me the limitations and short sighted vision we place on ourselves. Even when I set goals, I sometimes find myself doubting the eventual outcome. “Can I really do this?” “It is only a few weeks away, I’m not really convinced I’ll get there” etc.

This whole experience reinforces my belief in setting goals beyond conceivable reach. My overall level of confidence is strengthened each week. For me, it’s been about taking the larger goal and breaking it down into smaller, easily identifiable and knowingly obtainable goals. The progression that takes place from the time you start until the time you arrive at the end, is self inspiring.

Now, a little about the actual run.

The weather was great and it was early enough in the day that I was expecting to finish with the sun still up. I enjoy White Rock Lake so I decided to run a similar route to where I ran my 20 mile run two weeks ago. I had to add some distance to it, so I decided to run my #2 spot through SMU and Highland Park.

At my exit from the neighborhood, I quickly got a sense for how the wind was going to be. It was moving strong at 10+mph from the South. The first few miles went well, no leg pain, feeling good about being out, focused on good form, little worry of time, just running. It wasn’t until around mile 11 that I started to realise how much of an effect the wind was having and starting getting a sense for my level of fatigue. I had been running South for an hour and half. This was also the first time I checked my watch. Normally when I keep my watch out of site, my pace suffers – which I was fine with today because my focus was on completing the distance not my finish time. I was surprised to find that I was clocking around an 8:30 pace. This would have been fine on a day without wind but I would soon discover the consequences.

Miles 12-14 took me back in West to North direction, although the wind was mostly cut out of the picture. It was either blowing me sideways each stretch I came to that was close off the lake or non-existent when I was hoping for a push from behind. I also ran out of water at 11.5 miles and starting to feel de-hydrated towards mile 14. Last long run, Elise missed me at the lake and resulted in several miles without water before I ran into a gas station to re-fill. I was getting very close to my exit from the lake and hadn’t seen her yet. I was getting a little worried. Just before my exit, there she was with our puppy and a big gallon jug of orange Gatorade. I was happy to see all three. Elise was sick and I was lucky she was able to come bring me anything. I felt bad for her having to trek out to the lake but was in serious need of liquids.

I also started to experience my first of many painful leg cramps. I’m guessing it may have had something to do with de-hydration but could have also been my diet over the weekend. Either way, it was making every stride difficult. I do not like stopping for any reason during a run, especially on my long runs. The leg cramps were too much and I say that with confidence. I continued to run when I thought it couldn't get worse, it then got worse, still I continued to run until I though surely this is as bad as it gets, my body then revolted and demanded I stop to walk for a bit. So I did. I walked for a couple of minutes and then ran as far as I could before I had little choice but to stop again and walk. This continued for the last 8 miles and every time felt like one of those moments where it might be best to quit. I'm glad I kept going.

I had the end in sight on the last two miles and just kept going straight through to the house. Mixed thoughts and feelings when I reached the apartment. Glad to have it over, whimpering, pumping with adrenaline after completing my longest run to date, ready to go out and do it again (stupid me), whimpering again, staring at the stairs up to our third floor apartment in disgust, felt like I made it to the summit of Everest when I reached the top of the stairs, then collapsed in the front hallway of my apartment where I stayed for the next 20-30 minutes.

Elise, although sick, was great. She came over immediatly with Gatorade and a Clif Bar, she had been waiting on me. I had her exchange the Clif Bar for some Clif Shot Rocks (22g Protein). I'm trying the Shot Rocks as a suggestion from Kristen. They seemed to work well. Eventually, I made it to the bathroom and started an ice bath. I climbed into the ice batch and wasn't sure which was worse, the ice bath or running 22.5 miles. I hung out in there for about 20 mins and took a shower. My legs had finally stopped cramping, glad that was over.

Looking back on it, I acted like such a baby. I need to tough it up for the future. I still have 3.7 miles to add on and significantly reduce my overall time. I am hoping the wind had a big role in the difficulty of today's run; otherwise, I need to step it up two or three notches with my training. Can't afford any mistakes, injuries, etc. from now until the race.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Day 32 - Only 56 Days Left Until the London Marathon


The calm before the storm. Fitting to explain this run.

A spectacular day outside and a short three mile run. Better yet I had yesterday off, family in town, and Mel ran with me. I was feeling pretty good and especially relaxed.

Mel set the pace and we ran a route through around through the lakes and by the country club at The Village. Lots of people out near the lakes with thier kids and dogs, other runners. Good recipe for feel good run. Thanks Mel for the great run, I enjoyed the company. I can count on one hand the number of non-solo runs I've had. You're part of a pretty exclusive proud.

I'm glad I took it easy because the run to follow is the most difficult physical challenge I've ever experienced.


Day 31 - Only 57 Days Left Until the London Marathon


Today is a rest day. An important rest day, my biggest run yet is only a couple of days out. I couldn't think of a better way to rest than going rock climbing.

We had a great time, and was well exhausted afterwards. I forgot how good of a work-out it can be. I kind of clumbsily maneuvered my way around the walls but still had fun. I was ultra impressed with Jonathan, he was making Australian walls look easy while I was the fat kid who probably shouldn't be making a fool of himself.

Nutrition today was terrible. Pancakes and bacon for breakfast, tex-mex for lunch and pizza for dinner..good thing I got some type of work-out in today.

Just a quick reminder. I have a goal to help raise money for the charity I am running for. I don't benefit from any of the donations, just to be clear. I believe in their organisationation and the help they give to families that have children with brain injuries. I also had a traumatic brain injury as an 8 year old, it took help from a lot groups to see my recovery through. Look at me know, I'm almost normal. :-)

A special thank you to those that have already donated.


Day 30 - Only 58 Days Left Until the London Marathon


In my last post I mentioned not running so late at night. Well, we had friends that flew into Dallas for the weekend and didn't land until around 10pm. I would have ran beforehand but was catching up on a few last minute items with work since I took off Friday. My run didn't get started until after 12am.

Although mostly uneventful, there were a few interesting characters out at this time of night. First was two young people, punk rock look going for them. The guy was obviously trying hard to seal the deal and the girl an obvious tease...I'll come back to this in a minute. Along the first couple of miles, I passed through the thick aroma of some late night pot smokers and an elderly man with his oxygen bottle and nurse pushing him around. He said hi. I said hi back. Then on the third mile I was passing a lot of the department stores off of Greenville Ave. which was mostly quiet and I spent most of my focus on dodging water sprinklers and anticipating sections that might go off any moment like roadside IEDs. As I passed Fudruckers, this little black Honda hatchback came flying by with no regard for my presence (remember I was in the parking lot dodging explosive water sprinklers). He pulled up in front of the PetsMart, hopped out an started looking around with a nervous look on his face, he pulled out a set of keys, looked around some more, stared at me (now he notices me), and then opens the front doors. He had keys so I'm not sure why he was acting so suspicous, guess I'll never know. Carrying on I came back into the neighborhood and ran across the two punk rockers. He was obviously still trying and she was still putting on the show. Not much happened on the next loop but again I ran across the punk rock duet. The guy this time looked like he was fed up with the walking BS and was ready to be somewhere else, probably with the guys smoking pot up the street. She still seemed to be enjoying the near hour long walk in the park. All I have to say is SUCKER. I truly do hope that after all that effort it paid off for him. I bet that makes me sound insentive, but I'm just being a realist. :-)

While all this may seem completely unrelated to my run, it actually has a lot to do with it. It is those types of little things you notice when you are running solo. I'm not sure I would have paid nearly as much attention to what was happening around me if I had a running mate. Not that anyone would want to run with me at 12:30am... I appreciate that aspect of solo running. Too much of my life is spent zoned out and out of touch with life that is happening all around me.

Half way through my most intense week of training to date. Looking forward to a weekend with my family. Yes family.


Friday, February 18, 2011

Day 29 - Only 59 Days Left Until the London Marathon


Today's run was all about a new route, something to switch it up. The run started with an uphill over highway 75 and through a very nice area of Dallas, Highland Park. The path took me Hilcrest which passes a couple of nice parks before it peaks at SMU with a great view of the city skyline lit up at night. I haven't spent much time at the SMU campus but decided I would start running there more often. The campus is great, reminiscent of my days at OSU.

I was only meant to run 6 miles but a new route meant taking a longer way around, ending up at 7 miles.

Not all parts of the run were as nice as the Highland Park and SMU. Heading back down Mockingbird, I came across a crime scene. No joke. They had a large apartment community surrounded. The first corner I came to had an officer with a semi-automatic weapon, then the helicopter came circling above. When I reached the other end of the community, there was an ambulance with EMTs scrambling around. There were also people lined up on a curb, didn't look like they a were in trouble but possibly required to stay as witnesses. Crazy stuff, also a reminder that I should probably not run as late at night.

Some stats -- Distance: 7.01 -- Time: 1:00:38 -- Pace 8:32


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Day 28 - Only 60 Days Left Until the London Marathon


Best I have felt physically since I began training for the marathon. I felt like I had springs in my legs tonight. I was bouncing off the pavement. Good timing as well because tonight was my first night running Yasso 800s. Kristen passed this idea along to me a few weeks back and I decided to incorporate.

If you need a refresher, Yasso 800s are very simple. You run for 800 meters or a half mile at the time you plan to finish your marathon in. For me, I need to complete each 800m in 3minutes and 40 seconds (7:20 pace). After each 800, you jog for an equal amount of time then again at the goal pace for another 800m. The objective is to get up to Yasso 800s in one workout at your goal time before your event.

I ran them a little faster than 3:40 and the entire three mile run allowed me to complete 800s. My overall pace was 7:27, very good for me. Yasso 800s are alleged to be an amazingly accurate predictor of your marathon pace time. I guess we'll see.

Time for some sleep.


Day 27 - Only 61 Days Left Until the London Marathon


Yesterday was an important day for rest. This week will be my heaviest week of running yet with 42 miles. The biggest portion of that is coming with 22 miles (a distance pr) on Sunday.

My wife, being the amazing woman she is, booked a masseuse to come to the house for a 90 minute deep tissue massage. Best possible Valentine's day gift for a husband training for a marathon. I'm not going to act like it was all Yanni Live at the Acropolis and perfectly relaxing...some of it truly hurt but was completely necessary to break up and flush out some of the toxins that build-up. She was referred to us by a friend who has been using her and referring her to other people we know for awhile now. I know some you and know your heads are right there in the gutter, my wife didn't invite some hooker off the street. She actually works at a Chiropractic office, along side working at a spa and her private appointments. The chiropractic background gave me an extra level of comfort and assurance.

I got a great nights rest and was ready this evening to tackle my speed work. I'll get to that in the following blog. Before switching gears to today's workout, I wanted to share the online certificate that the Route 66 sent me. Boost to morale and cofidence.


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Day 26 - Only 62 Days Left Until the London Marathon


I'm gaining more confidence as each week passes by. Today was the fastest 10mi I've run (8:23 pace). The only time faster at a longer distance for me was the Route 66 Half Marathon (8:12 pace). My only regret, if I had one, would be that I finished with a lot of energy.

I could have pushed harder.

I've been trying to allow my recovery week, be that, recovery. It is hard to back off a run when you settle into a stride and it feels almost effortless. There is a desire that develops throughout the course of a run like I had today where you want to burn as fast as you can as long as you can. Like your physical limits are taunting you, saying "come on, that's all you got, come on test me" This probably seems silly to most people reading it but it's exactly the type of thought process I go through. Part of journaling my experience.

I may have also had some extra motivation today. I sat around stretching and watching a documentary on climbing Mount Everest. Yes, this is one of my life goals. I expect to do this in my mid to late thirties. I'd probably try it earlier but career and the sheer cost of an expedition will push it back to later in life. Plus training, gaining experience as a climber, etc. A lot, a whole lot has to happen before that dream can become a reality. I've digressed. What motivated me was thinking of the mental fitness required for a marathoner versus an elite mountaineer. If I ever want to climb Everest (or at least attempt to summit), I have a lot to learn just overcoming the mental challenges of running long distance.

My 10mi run today was a small personal victory, those over time will build mental toughness. A toughness required to take on challenges that elevate you into that top 1%. I refuse to live a normal life.

Might be part runner's high talking tonight but who cares. I love it.


Day 25 - Only 63 Days Left Until the London Marathon


Today (Saturday) was a great morning for a run. The sun was out and it was in the high 40s. I went early enough that the streets weren't too busy yet so I was able to venture out on some of the main roads. It was a nice change of scenery but a lot more hills.

I was thinking about hills and their effect on time, pace, fatigue, etc. The thought I couldn't shake is why they seem so tough. Let me qualify this next statement by saying first that I am not a math quiz by any stretch of the imagination. If you are running hills or elevation and returning to the same destination as you started the run then you should have equal downhill (lowered elevation) as you do uphill (increasing elevation) during your run. Seems simple, you go up 100 feet and come back then you have to go down 100 feet. That said, it seems like one would offset the other. The downhill portion would allow you to make up the time lost from going uphill and be a physical break as well giving you ample time to bring your heart rate back down. So why hill runs so incredibly difficult compared to flat runs. I guess it is the spikes in heart rate that you experience while running up hill and your body's ability to efficiently use the downhill portions to recover. Anyways, this bothered for my entire run today. The math of it seems so simple that I was trying to figure out the flaw in my logic.

My legs were still tense from the 8mi run on Friday night, less than 12 hours before I took off on my run this morning. I didn't spend enough time warming up because I was in a little bit of a hurry to get out the door today, spending today as Valentine's Day with Elise. I suffered through the 5 miles with stiff thighs, sore ankles and flaring shin splints. Although my legs weren't cooperating, I can't complain about the run. It was a beautiful day and I felt great afterwards, perfect start to a wonderful day.

If you haven't had a chance to donate to The Children's Trust, please take a quick moment to visit my fundraising page ( and make a donation. Thanks to all of you, we've raised £291 so far, a long ways still to my goal of £3,000.

Thanks again to all of my friends and family for the support. Thanks for keeping me motivated.


Day 24 - Only 64 Days Left Until the London Marathon


I am pumped about it being Friday, wooo hoooo! My legs were well rested today, I got a decent night sleep and was ready this evening to rock it.

To my delight, the sidewalks were fully clear of ice and begging to be run on. I postponed my 8mi run last night so I was itching to get it in tonight. I incorporated a little more pre-run stretching tonight than I have been previously. There are a few studies out there warning against too much static stretching before your body has warmed up...something my chiropractic friends/family have study a little bit on as well. Each person is different and for me, I believe a good static stretching (after warming up my legs) is an absolute must. My body responds well to it.

I burned out of the gates at a 7:30 pace on the first two miles. The cold air in my lungs was telling me I had to back down a little but my heart was telling me to kick up one more step. The cold air won. I did slow down a little and tried to find a pace that would be sustainable for the remainder of the run. I settle in somewhere around an 8:45 and just kept humming along.

I read a little more on shin splints and found a common thread amongst runners experiencing problems. Running on slanted or uneven surfaces. Running on a slanted surface essentially creates a shortened step on one leg and a lengthened stride on the other and by running like this for an extended period can cause biomechanical inefficiencies leading to stress on muscles situated between the bones of your lower leg. All sidewalks are slanted for drainage purpose which is fine if you run out in one direction and return in the same direction. You are off setting the stride differential when you change directions, evenly working each leg in the same way. Well, often I run this two mile loop around my neighborhood and on 4, 6, 8, etc. mile runs I run 2, 3, 4, etc. laps around the neighborhood in one direction, never changing the angle of the sidewalk.

I realise this is a very simple concept but it took me until now to catch on and make a change in the way I'm running these laps. Tonight, I ran a lap (2 miles) in one direction and then turned around and ran another lap in the opposite direction. It made a huge difference.

That was my big learning for the day. In terms of results, see stats below. I'm proud of tonight's run and overall effort.

Stats -- Distance: 8.25 miles -- Time: 1:12 -- Pace: 8:44

FYI - I thought this posted on Friday night, I can see now that it didn't. All references to tonight were actually Friday.


Friday, February 11, 2011

Day 23 - Only 65 Days Left Until the London Marathon


The last few weeks or even potentially months have been exhausting and full stress. Last night felt like one of those nights where it all comes to an impasse, physically and mentally. So as it relates to my run, I was exhausted, tense and not in the right state of mind for it. I wasn't confident that I would get much out of it and given the physical circumstance I concerned about potential injury. I decided to postpone my 8 miler I had on the schedule.

Running normally helps relieve a lot of the day to day stress. A quick run can give you a fresh perspective and help you remember the more important aspects of life. Last night, just wasn't going to be one of those nights.

I will say that it worked out well though. The sidewalks were still icey last night and I would have been pounding away on the hamster wheel had I ran. Tonight the roads were clear and the tempature just high enough to run (separate blog).

On a totally separate topic but something on my mind tonight as I was running. A friend of mine posted a blog on health, interesting concept of people allowing their health to deteriorate and the parallels to suicide. I've experienced a few deaths in my family where their personal health choices, had they been better, would have extended their lives several more years and who knows maybe they would still be with us today. It's sad and a good personal reminder to myself about the choices I make and how they affect the people that care about me.

I ended up getting a good night's rest and came back today more eager than I have all week to demolish a run.


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Day 22 - Only 66 Days Left Until the London Marathon

Hi Everyone,

The days continue to fly by. I had a closer look at my training plan last night and realised a couple of things.

  • My biggest week totals up to 49 miles…wow

  • I haven’t structured my speed work routine, right now it is the same as what I found online. I’ve been meaning to incorporate Yasso 800s. I haven’t been doing them and I think it is because I haven’t written it down. I’ve just been following the plan on the fridge.

  • Stretching needs to be added, if it isn’t written down – it doesn’t seem like a real priority.

  • Cross training needs to be incorporated

  • My off days shouldn’t just be off days, I need to add something in. Could be cross training, learning new yoga poses for runners, researching speed technique, spending an hour focused on fundraising ideas/effort, etc.

So I ran my five miles last night, on the treadmill. I laugh a little at the idea of running on the treadmill, especially for extended differences. I wonder what someone from the first century would think about us just running and running in place but going nowhere. I imagine it would take a lot of explaining and convincing to get them on one.

Last night it reminded me of a corner in downtown Calgary where a fitness centre sat on the second floor. There is a row of treadmills facing the glass and when it gets dark (at 4:00pm in the Winter) you could see a row of them just running on the hamster wheel…

Ok, somewhat off topic but not really. Moral of the story, treadmills suck and we’re intended for caged rodents not humans.

So I ran five miles last night, it is great that five miles seems like a quick out and back. I sometimes forget that a five mile run to a large majority of the population isn’t in their vocabulary. Not that I’m better than anyone, well I kinda am, but you know it gives me something to be proud of. I’ve worked hard to get to this point and see no reason why I shouldn’t revel in it a little.

Pace was good but not spectacular (8:31) considering it was performing in a fitness room at 80F. Sweatshop. I was soaked after the run. Good cleanse.

I’ll be updating my training plan this week and will post for the world to see. Be great to get some feedback as well, cause truth be told I’m piecing it together as I go.


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Day 21 - Only 67 Days Left Until the London Marathon

Hi Everyone,

Today marks three weeks of training. I'm feeling good about the progress. Before I started this round of training, my longest distance was 15miles and my fastest 3mile was 24min. Longest distance is now at 20mi and fastest 3mi at 22min - good start but a long ways to go. For those that don't know, a marathon is 26mi and a 3'40" race is an 8:24 pace...a lot work still ahead and I have to stay healthy.

Tonight's run was a quick loop around he neighborhood (2.97mi / 25:23 time / 8:32 pace). Crazy to think that pace won't even be good enough at 26.2 miles to make my goal...yikes.

Managed to get my yoga/runner stretches in tonight and a good ice down on the legs. I'm going to keep it short again tonight because I also have a goal of 8hrs of sleep, also a big help towards recovery and staying motivated and healthy.

A big thanks to those that recently donated to The Children's Trust. I'm grateful and know the Trust as well as the families they support greatly appreciate the gesture.

Thanks All ~RunFlickRun~

Day 20 - Only 68 Days Left Until the London Marathon

Hi Everyone,

Last night was all about rest. I came home from work, made dinner, ate dinner, did a little bit of work, got ready for bed, watch an episode of Kitchen Nightmares in bed while icing my legs, and got 8hrs of sleep. Recipe for a good night.

Today my legs feel 80% better and ready for another week of training. I’ve got about 30 miles this week so a good break from the 41 miles I had last week.

I’ll be breaking in my new shoes this week, starting tonight with a three mile run.

Also, Kristen suggested I look into books on audio for my long runs. I like the idea because I can only talk to myself for so long before 1.) I run out of stuff to say/think about 2.) Get bored 3.) Develop a real habit of talking to myself, create an alternate ego and become certifiable 4.) all I can think about is the incredible burning mixed with shooting pain and jello sensation in my legs – distraction is welcomed.

That said, any suggestions on a book I should download?

I’ll get another post up tonight after my recovery run.


Sunday, February 6, 2011

Day 19 - Only 69 Days Left Until the London Marathon

Hi Everyone,

Seeing over the horizon. My run today can best be described as knowing the reward beyond your visible limits is worth pressing forward. I was physically depleted at 16 miles and the remaining 4mi were purely grit. Days like today are opportunities to grow both mentally and physically. I feel like I took advantage of both today.

I started in reserve direction of my normal exit from the neighborhood. It may seem small but the change helps the first two miles pass by quickly. I chose to run around the lake again today, good choice. I enjoy the atmosphere out there and all of the people keep it interesting. The best part though is that the route is still fresh.

Today's run could aslo be summarised as the slush run. While a lot of the sidewalks and running paths had melted, there were a number of stretches with slushy snow. At one point, my feet were soaked and freezing from the snow. For a moment, I felt like I was back in Canada.

As much as I had prepped, my shins were still giving me trouble as I started out but mellowed out by the time hit about 5mi. The challenges with today's run was the fatigue that sat in rather than the struggling with cardio. I feel like my level of V02 Max is above my levels of endurance. 

 I also believe my performance was off a little because of the speed PR attempt yesterday. Not my best decision this week. That said, I couldn't be more proud of my runs this weekend. A speed PR and a distance PR (single run and miles per week).

Good week.


Day 18 - Only 70 Days Left Until the London Marathon

Hi Everyone,

Boo Yeah! Today was great. A day of rest makes a huge difference.

I wanted to get a time PR in today, trying to get it out of my system. I had a great run.

Stats -- Distance: 3mi -- Time: 22:11 -- Pace: 7:23 (fastest pace ever, regardless of distance and beats my best 3mi time by almost 2 full minutes)

After my run, I went for sport massage appointment. It was fantastic. She worked through several assisted stretches, stretching me to an extent I simply can't do myself. She then worked through all of the trouble areas I've been having (outer edge of feet, interior calf muscles, knees and hamstrings) and knocked out the other major muscle groups working deep into the tissue. I had to take some pretty big breathes through parts of it but once they released it felt like a million bucks. It is amazing the difference 50 mins can make. I'll probably have this done again in three or four weeks, again during the week of rest before the marathon and after the marathon.

I then stopped by RunOn Dallas to exchange my shoes. After living in Canada for awhile with horrible customer service, I fully expected them to have a problem with me exchanging the shoes since I've put about 20 miles on them already. I walked into the store with my defenses up. She didn't hesitate before asking me which model I wanted to exchange them for. I immediately responded Gel Nimbus 9...she responded "well that will be tough, I don't have a Gel Nimbus 9...pretty sure they don't make them but I do have a Gel Nimbus 12 (smile)" Okiesillydokio...I'm an idiot. I always feel a little bit intimidated in running stores, like a poser who doesn't really know anything about anything when it comes to running. This isn't true, I've actually learned a lot over the last few months. Not saying I don't have a lot to learn but I'm not completely clueless. Anyway, I got a SIZE 9 - Gel Nimbus 12, they are blue...I like my green ones better but just happy to be back on track in the shoe department.

Elise has a friend in town and they wen't to Dane Cook so I played the third wheel with some friends. We tried a place none of us had been before, Adelmo's. It had a great atmosphere and being italian worked out perfect in the carb loading department. I had gnocchi and lobster ravioli for dinner and some scrumptous bread, skipped on the wine (too bad, love wine).

I'm really excited about the long run tomorrow and also a little nervous. Some unknowns and no room for my legs to give me any problems. Look forward to reporting back and drawing some comparisons to the 18mi run a few weeks ago.


Saturday, February 5, 2011

Day 17 - Only 71 Days Left Until the London Marathon

Hi Everyone,

When I woke up this morning, I was surprisingly a tight. I was expecting to be a bit more loose. Nothing bad just enough to be a reminder of my commitment to increasing the stretching I'm doing.

Kristen suggested checking into yoga poses for runners. I found a set of 10 yoga poses design for runners. I've always know how much flexibility I lack...realising just how much further I have to go.

The poses: 
  • The Wall Dog - feels great
  • Hamstring Stretch - not sure this actually has a name but the stance and the angles of your feet stretches the hamstring more than any other hamstring stretch I've done
  • Wide Leg Standing Forward Bend - really works all over
  • Wide Leg Standing Forward Bend with Twist - I'm not actually able to pull this one off
  • Lunge - basic lunge frozen in motion
  • Front Thigh Stretch - it is in a sitting position, looks simple enough but I'm not really flexible enough to do this properly
  • Bound Angle Pose - should just call it sitting indian style...
  • Diamond Pose with Toes Tucked Under - ouch
  • Diamond Pose with Cow-Face Pose Arms - not happening, my hands didn't even get close - towel needed
  • Full Body Relaxation with Conscious Breathing - I'm pretty sure they mean sleeping
I'm going to finish with the 10th pose, as of now.


Friday, February 4, 2011

Day 16 - Only 72 Days Left Until the London Marathon

Hi Everyone.

Tonight was a mental victory and solid run. I am really proud of myself for pushing through the workout and have a lot of confidence going into the weekend distance PR. I feel fortunate that my legs responded to the SMR, icing and a tweak in my warm-up routine. I much like last week had nearly conceded to using the exercise bike in replacement of a run...and as much as I hate the treadmill, it is morally defeating to have to skip out on a run.

I read a little last night while icing after my run and again some today. What I found made a big difference in my training. Highlights below.

What are Shin Splints?
Although the term "shin splints" is often used to describe a variety of lower leg problems, it actually refers specifically to a condition called Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome (MTSS).  

Two Main Causes for Shin Pain:
  • Overload - examples include:
    • Exercising on hard surfaces, like concrete; (..yes)
    • Exercising on uneven ground; (..partially yes)
    • Beginning an exercise program after a long lay-of f period; ( six weeks considered long?)
    • Increasing exercise intensity or duration too quickly; (..guilty on Tuesday night, trying to run in the sevens..can't start off walking)
    • Exercising in worn out or ill fitting shoes; and (I still believe the new shoes played a big role)
    • Excessive uphill or downhill running. (..not really, still trying to find a good hill spot to mix into the routine)
  • Biomechanical
    • Poor running mechanics; (..possibly, I try to follow what I know to be proper mechanics but haven't been coached or had a professional assessment by a podiatrist)
    • Tight, stiff muscles in the lower leg; (..not necessarily, after Tuesday yes)
    • Running with excessive forward lean; (no)
    • Running with excessive backwards lean; (no)
    • Landing on the balls of your foot; and (..partially)
    • Running with your toes pointed outwards. (..yes, tendency to do that if I don't focus 

  • Better warm-up. (made some minor changes tonight)
  • More and higher quality stretching. (doing much better but need to set aside more time and learn a wider variety of stretches to increase range of motion..hoping my brother or yoga friends can help)
  • Strength and conditioning the lower leg. (again easy, just need to make the time and get familiar with a wider variety of exercises)
  • Treat immediately - rest, ice, compression, deep tissue massage or SMR and elevation. (..doing this now)
Long Term Damage
While mostly a nusance, soft tissue damage can cause long term damage in the form of built up scar tissue if not treated immediately and allowed proper rest. The part about resting is the hardest for me, especially with the short timeline for training.

I'm glad to be feeling better and going to enjoy a much deserved dessert tomorrow evening in honor of a solid week of training. Please continue to comment, email, etc. The feedback keeps me going.


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Day 15 - Only 73 Days Left Until the London Marathon

Hi Everyone,

Last night was terrible as far as my legs are concerned. I even started out at a very slow pace trying to “talk” my shins into being nice. It didn’t work.

At the end of my dreadmill run, I laid on the floor for about five minutes before even attempting to stretch it out. I took extra time to stretch and roll last night and then spent more time icing my shins afterwards when I would have much rather been in bed.

Still sore this morning and contemplating what I am going to do this evening. If they don’t improve over the course of today, I’m going to make a change. There is no way I can safely go eight miles with the current status. I’ll substitute in the bike, if necessary. I’ve got twenty miles on Sunday and I can’t afford to be less than healthy by then. I’ll make up the miles next week if need be.

My final decision on the shoes is to head back to the store with them. I’m not sure if they will take them back or exchange them provided that I have run in them a couple of times. Even if they don’t, I’m buying a new pair of Aasics. Lesson – be very careful when making a change in your shoes, probably best to only change the type, brand or model after your race rather than during training.


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Day 14 - Only 74 Days Left Until the London Marathon

Hi Everyone,

Exactly two full weeks of training today and a total of 74 miles (400+ miles logged since July!). It has been experimental in the first couple of weeks. I'm dealing with new muscle aches, sore spots, better nutrition, new gear and in general learning what I need to know for my first marathon. I am coming to realise how very little I know and deciding which area to focus on first can be on the verge of overwhelming. Overall, the experience has been good and my focus one day at a time.

Today's goal was speed. I was attempting a 5 mile run down in the sevens and fell short. The dreadmill was really my only option since Winter decided to come back to punish us for the beautiful weekend. It looks like my last home out there.

I started out strong around a 7:30 pace and held there for the first two miles. At two miles, it wasn't my heartrate or breathing that slowed me down but shooting pain in my shins. It started out bad and continued all the way through to the end. It was a battle just to post a low eight minute by the end of it. I've been doing all the right things before, during and after my runs. I've only had this flare up twice (and momentarily a third) this week. Both times I was wearing the new Ravenas. I'm done with them.

I have limited number of training days left and want to transitioned. Also, I need to have two good pairs giving me one as a back-up with the rain in London. I'll need dry shoes everyday. If anyone out there has a good reason to talk me out of it, you have until 6:00pm tomorrow.

I'm off to accomplish another training goal - average 8 hours sleep a night....

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