Sunday, November 29, 2009

A little lost

My thoughts are all over the map right now

Sad that I shortened my run yesterday
Happy with myself because I think it was a smart move to shorten the run yesterday
Anxious that I will not be ready for Goofy
Hopful that taking a break will make me better ready for Goofy
Wondering if taking the week off is a good idea or a wimpy one
Trying desparately to find something else to think about it.

I re read a lot of this blog last night trying to find clues to how I feel and whether I'm being a wimp or not. I'm still not sure. However, I have found over the years that I'm smarter than think I am sometimes so I'm going with my instincts on this.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

More wind..

Well if I thought it was windy yesterday, I don't know what to say about today. I'm certain it changed directions everytime I did!

That however is not the reason for stopping 13 miles in to the run. My legs just weren't into it today. I couldn't get into a rhythm at all. And without the rhythm I couldn't get my mind off the running and distracted from the 20+ miles I intended. So I stopped and went home.

I've completed 12 and 20 two weekends since September so I'm not overly concerned but it would have been nice to complete it again 6 weeks before Goofy. I think that would have given me the extra confidence I need. The holidays and other committments may prevent me from trying again before Goofy. I'm going to have to build my confidence in other ways I suppose.

I stopped today because my legs felt like lead weights. My joints are in great shape so that's something. I've decided to take a week off. There's no way to know for sure if that's the right thing to do but I think I need a break. No running this week unless I really feel like it. Then I'll have to reevaluate my schedule starting Saturday for the five weeks left until Goofy.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Running against the wind

I did finish 5 miles on Wednesday. Thursday was a day off and Thanksgiving :)

Today I slept until I felt like getting up (7:45) had breakfast and was out the door a little before 9. I decided to do the 12 miles around Medi and Wallingford. 12-15 is about the max I can do around here without getting bored (from having to repeat routes) and because of the hills. Most of this area is one long up or down hill and few steeper ones. After 15 miles I want more flat.

Anyway, I finished a little of 12 miles in just under 2.5 hours. Mentally I felt great. Did not bonk and could have gone longer if needed. Physically I did ok. My joints and back were great. No problems until the last mile when my ankle started to bother me. My legs though felt very heavey and tight for most of the run. I stopped three times to stretch which helped for a little bit each time but not long enough. I still finished and was able to distract myself from how they felt most of the time but it was very evident.

It was a very windy day. I tried to remember to drink water at regular intervals since the wind and the cooler temperatures kept me from feeling any sweat. I wonder if that had anything to do with the feeling in my legs. Maybe I didn't drink enough. It wasn't cramping though....

24 tomorrow. I feel ready for it. Well as ready as anyone can be for that distance. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Focus on Goofy

Now that the USAFit Philly season is over (all but the after party) and the half marathon is in the books my full focus is on Goofy in January.

I worked out at the gym yesterday and plan a 3-5 mile run this morning. My miles this weekend will similuate goofy with 12 on Friday and 24 on Saturday. I've back and forth mentally on this for the last couple of days. Alternating between looking forward to it and not in the mood. Last night I decided that if I don't make the full mileage I can always try again next weekend. That seems to have taken the pressure off and I'm back to being excited about the challenge again. OF course I won't have that option in January but barring any physical impairment I can't see me bailing on the actual races. It's just too much fun to be out there with the crowd and the sights. Even at the Philly Marathon which almost knocked me out mentally last year I finished and always knew I would.

The trick for Friday and Saturday will be keeping the course interesting. I bagged the idea of 3x around the river drives. Without mile markers, even though I've run it many times and can pretty much visualize the course, I'm afraid I'll go bonkers. I'm almost settled on a combination of routes out at Valley Forge and Oaks where I can tick off the miles as I pass the markers.

Stay tuned....

Sunday, November 22, 2009


I finished! I had fun...absolutely had fun. And I did way better than 11 minutes miles. I bested my 2008 PDR time by 8 minutes; finishing in 2:17:21 averaging 10:28 miles. 10:28! When I first saw it I wondered if it was a mistake. I'm still half expecting the result to change.

I ran well. I feel good. I still feel good. I'm going to crash eventually since I've been up since 4:30 a.m but for now I'm riding high on endorphins and an amazing race result.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Tomorrow's Half Marathon

I missed one day of running this week. I probably would have completed 4-5 miles that day but I didn't do it. It's only one day. THAT''s what I'm thinking now. Last night I was obsessing over the fact that by the time tomorrow comes I will have not run for 4 days. And that thought was bringing me down. I'll be fine. I missed a 4-5 mile run that wouldn't bring significant change in tomorrow's results. :)

Now about tomorrow. By now you know that my number 1 and 2 goals are to finish and have fun- and not necessarily in that order.

I have been giving a lot of thought to a finish time goal. I did very well in the Broad Street 10 miler (average 10:40 pace) and the Run the Bridge 10k (average 10:19 pace) this year. Interestingly enough both were run in rainy conditions. Tomorrow the forecast is for partly cloudy skies and a high of 57. The rain is expected to hold off until later in the day. My performance in the distance run this year (average pace 11:18) was slower than in 2008 (average pace 11:06); due in large part I'm sure because in 2008 I ran the first several miles with Angie and Doreen who really are faster than me. Still I didn't feel as good in the Distance Run as I did in either the 10 mile or 10k this year. See I told you I gave this a lot of thought. And really all that thinking means nothing since whatever happens will happen. I'd really like to average 11 minute miles tomorrow. That will shave 1 min 10 seconds off my half marathon PR (2008) and I think it's realistic. I have to run my own race though and I've been getting better at that.

I did manage to wrench my upper back this morning...not sure how.. but on both sides I'm sore. I was fine when I got out of bed and still fine out of the shower... something happened between then and now. I took an aleve and I'll take one tonight again and hope for the best. Sometimes when I run these aches and twinges go away so who knows.

Today it's off to the race expo at the convention center. See ya tomorrow! :)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Another good run today. 4.25 miles. I used an old walking route with a little add on. No near misses with the traffic.

I really felt good again. I feel like I hit my rhythm early and just kept at it. I stopped at 4 but feel like I could have easily continued. I'm trying to figure out what it is that makes the difference in how I feel right now. How do I maintain it? I've been keeing a spreadsheet of workout days and rest days. Maybe there is a pattern? Maybe it's just dumb luck? I really wish I knew.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Last Sunday WAS just a blip....

I woke up at 6 but decided I had enough time to let myself sleep until 7. I got up had my raisin bagel with peanut butter and water. I packed my belt with gu, filled my water bottles and headed to Oaks. I walked down the path to the trail and I was off.

I headed right first to go down to the zero marker. The plan then was to go out to 6 and then back to where I started for a total of 12 miles. Oh did I mention the sun was out today? What a different that makes. The sun was out last Sunday too but it just wasn't my day as you know if you read that post. Today the miles seem to fly by... well as flying as they can for me anyway. It was a very enjoyable run. I even missed a couple of the 1/2 mile markers and had run a full mile before I even realized it.

I originally planned to go 4 miles then stop for gu and stretching. At 4 though I felt so good that I kept going and took a gu on the move (I found out I do not like chocolate by the way. It was the only one of that flavor I had and i'm glad for that now) Anyway, stopping to stretch didn't feel necessary and I didn't want to lose momentum so I continued on to the 6 then stopped to stretch before heading back.

Tomorrow is a rest day then I'll do short mileage around Media on Tuesday, Gym on Wednesday and short mileage again on Thursday. Then off for two days before the Philly half on Sunday. I'm skipping back to back runs this weekend because I'd like to have fun on Sunday and run for time. I haven't settled yet what the time goal will be. I'll put it here later. Of course my first goal is to have fun and to finish! :)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

USAFIT Philly Final Weekend 2009

Today we met for 6-8 miles. It was a cold rainy day (sound familiar?).. I was expecting a low turnout figuring some would wait for the sun tomorrow perhaps. I was pleasantly surprised to find a good turnout. We chatted about the marathon and half marathon next weekend and finalized arrangements to meet at Rocky at 6am. Then we headed out. I ran with Anne today. She wanted to talk walk breaks and I was ok with that. I wasn't in any hurry to finish and I felt good running or walking. She is doing the half on Sunday as well. Her second. She told me she had originally planned to train just for the Distance Run in September and decided to keep going. That's cool.

I think I have a spring marathon picked out now. Mary was wearing a shirt form the Capy May County Marathon 2008. Officially it's called the Ocean Drive Marathon. I've often thought a jersey shore marathon would be neat. She said it was excpet of the bridges and runing into the wind. Still, being down there is so much fun. It is the last weekend in March which is iffy weather wise but strange one that I am I think that adds to the excitement of it. I won't sign up until after Goofy. I want to see how I feel after that. Maybe I wont' be up for training for another one so close. The way I feel now is great but I want to make sure that holds. Hmmm just took a look at the registration. It goes up $10 after December 31st. Wonder if I should commit that early... I'll think about that.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Another good one

Today the temperature was about 45 when I got home from work. It had stopped raining but the air was still thick with moisture. It was also getting windy. I asked Dave if he minded waiting for me to run before dinner. He said he was impressed that I was even going out. I shushed him because I knew I could be easily talked out of it. It was so nasty out.

I had plotted out a 4.5 mile route through Media. The bulk of it was spent running between 5th and Baker on the major roads across town. It was an awesome run once again. I felt really good and finished strong.

The only thing to mar this run was that I was almost hit by a car three times. In Media, people are generally good to runners, i've noticed. If I'm within a few strides of the intersection most will wait for me to cross. I still slow down to make sure but they are really nice about it. Tonight I slowed twice to an intersection where a car was approaching. There were no other cars so when the car didnt move on I figured they could only be waiting for me. Both times, as I was in front of the car it started to move. How rude! I figure either they weren't natives or they had been playing with the radio or something (explaining the delay in movement) and i couldn't see that in the dark. I had a white shirt on and a reflective vest so if they had looked they had to see me! The third near miss was someone backing out of a parking spot along Baker street in front of Trader Joe's. I always watch there for lights on the cars. This person had no runnnig or parking lights on and by the time i saw the back up lights I was already behind the car.

But it was a good run! :)

Off tomorrow, then 6 on Saturday and 12 on Sunday. Saturday will be our last official Phillyfit run as the MArathon and Half Marathon races are on Nov 22nd. It's hard to believe it's been 6 months since we started training together.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Fantastic 4

Actually 4.5 but who's counting. (Ok, I am) It was an awesome run yesterday. Nothing hurt, I ran tall and steady. It was just awesome in every way. I felt good and loose and sooooooooo much better than Sunday.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

5 and call it a day

The schedule said 16. The Valley Forge Loop (5 miles) over and back to the gravel river trail (2 miles) the river trail out and back (6 miles) finished with 1.5 miles out and back on the SRT. *Sigh*.. my mistake was probably in starting with the loop. It's all hills. Even the parts that appear hilly are mostly slow inclines or declines. I started out in good spirits. It was a nice sunny day and a few degrees warmer than yesterday. About 3 miles in to it my brain went into a downward spiral and it was all over.

It started with the loop, sure. But then I started thinking about how I had to be back home by a certain time today. And at the end of the loop I still had 11 miles to go. What if I got to the end of the river trail and needed to walk back... I wouldn't make it. I had plenty of time... I knew that somewhere deep down but couldn't resurrect that at the time. Another issue was no mile markers. The loop has no markers and when I get in this mood I ususally say ok go to the next marker. Then I arrive and think ok not so bad try another one.. and so on and sometimes I have to do that the whole way and sometimes I get into a rhythm and forget them.

So I stopped at 5. Not to worry. These things happen. I just have to hope they don't happen on race day. The key now is to get back out on Tuesday and have a great run! I left the park and went to the gym for a weight training workout to make up for being a slacker on the course. The endorphins from that did help boost my mood. :)

Tomorrow is another day :)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

USAFIT Phily: 5 degress of separation

5 Degrees.. that's how much warmer it was this morning compared to the 2008 Philly Marathon run. It was 31 when I left the house at 7:15 compared to 26 at the 7:00 start on Nov 22, 2008. It's amazing how much difference 5 degrees can make. Don't get me wrong it was COLD! I had to scrape frost of my windows before leaving and I needed head gear, gloves, running tights and layers to run but it didn't feel nearly as bitter as it did last November.

We were a small group this week. It seems we've been pretty small since the Marathon closed out and people didn't get in. Next year we will have to convince people to sign up early. I ran mostly with Angie, Maureen and Brenda but I turned around before them for a total of about 8 miles they went 10. I'm going out again tomorrow for 16 and really want to stick to my Goofy training schedule. Not that the extra two would have killed me but I wasn't feeling 100% so I took it careful.

Today it was my back. I usually don't stretch until halfway or every 4-5 miles of a run. I think when it's this cold though I should do some gentle strectches for my back. I'll try that next time (which may be tomorrow). The run was uneventful except for my back.

Our speaker today was Ira Meyers who won the Marathon in 1986. He is a podiatrist in Montgomery County. I talked about race prep in the next two weeks. Mainly he said there is nothing you can do that is going to make it any better. The key is to stay healthy. He suggested of course trying to get good sleep on Thurs and Fri before becauase Saturday night there are too many nerves.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Gym workout; speedwork on the treadmill

I realized this morning that I will miss my run tomorrow because we are going to the Nova game at the Wachovia Center. Yeah, I know it's 'only' Kutztown but I like seeing the team play in person no matter who the oppponent is. And look at Syracuse getting beat by some Div II team last night so anything can happen, right? But I digress.... realizing that I would miss my run I considered skipping the gym for an outdoor run tonight. I need the gym workouts though just as much as the running. I need the strength and core exercises. Of course I could do the gym and run outside but I'm not motivated to do that. So I opted to go to the gym and instead of the bike I did a speek workout on the treadmill.

Tomorrow will be a full day at work, then the basketball game followed (I hope) by the end of the Phillies-Yankees game when we get home. They are losing 2-1 in game 6 as I type. It's still early. :)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Daylight savings time has ended

I knew this. My clocks were all carefully turned back on Saturday night before bedtime. I forgot, though, how much that affects the after-work run. I set out tonight at 4:47 in relative daylight and returned an hour later in need of my reflective vest. Fortunatly the shirt I chose was not dark but it still wasn't sufficient if I was not in someone's headlights or under a street lamp. Note to self: where vest! I may have to get a lamp as well. I almost lost my footing on some as yet unidentified object in the road between streetlamps.

Depite the surprise of darkness it was a good run. About 5 miles combined from two previos routes. Some flat, some hills. No aches pains or mental hinderances at all. :)

Here is a link to David Letterman last night. "Top Ten Thoughts That Go Through Your Mind When Running the New York City Marathon" read by the winnner Meb Keflezighi. Pretty funny, I thought.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Run the Bridge

What a fun race! I forgot to tell you my goals last night. So I'll tell you now before going into my race report. My first goal, as always, is to have fun. Beyond that I thought a lot about this one and decided that an 11 min/mile average pace would be doable and a really good goal. My training runs have been 12 minutes and slower but they have also been much longer than 6.2 miles. So here goes.

Saturday night/Sunday morning marked the end of daylight savings time. Still I was in bed at 11/10 for a good night's sleep. I was up at 6 am for breakfast of bagel and peanut butter, vitamins and water. I also took a throw away bottle of water with me. I packed a bag of dry clothes as, once again, it was raining this morning. All of the training runs in the rain with USAFit Philly were going to come in handy. If nothing else, it meant I just didn't mind it (or care) anymore. My only regret is I forgot to pin a Phillies Rally Towel to the back of my shirt.

As I headed north on 95, I made a last minute decision to take the Ben Franklin Bridge instead of the Walt Whitman because it was not going to close until 7:45 and it was only 7:15 as I approached. The traffic once I was over the bridge was heavy though. It took close to 30 minutes to get from the bridge to Campbell Field. I parked, walked over to the field and picked up my packet and t shirt. I went back to the car to drop everything off, pin my bib to my shirt and put the timing chip on my shoe. I double checked that my car key was tied to my other shoe, locked the car and headed back to the stadium. As I climed the steps they were singing the National Anthem.

The runners and walkers were assembled on the field (but not on the tarp... being instructed not to do so). At 8:15 we began the walk to the base of the New Jersey side of the bridge. At 8:30 the gun went off and so were we. Funny note: just before the gun went off I looked down and saw two nickels on the ground. I had no pockets though so I left them there.

So the first three miles of the run were on the bridge. Two up hills and two down hills. I imagined the long slow up hill to be Edgmont Street in Media. A street I have run many times in both directions. Although the bridge climb was probably longer it wasn't any steeper so I had not trouble with this picture. I attacked it at my own comfortable pace. I thought too that the Valley Forge loop, which has a much steeper hill to start, prepared me well for this. I passed mile marke 1 at 10:54. Ok, so far so good. As I crested the top of the hill I lengthened my stride and let gravity help me down the other side. Around the turn on the Pennsylvania side and now back up to the top. At mile 2 the clock said 20:10. I must have picked up time on the downside. Just past mile 2 I passed NJ Governor Corzine and his bodyguard. At mile 3, at the bottom of the hill and the end of the bridge, he passed me but this was also where he stopped. I continued on the rest of the course; a flat 3.2 miles.

Interestingly the next mile was the same route I took driving off the bridge when I arrived earlier. We ran through this faster than I drove it! I forget the clock was at mile 3 but I remember still being on track.

Before I move on I have to comment about runners trying to pass each other. I thought to myself as I ran that the runners would have done well to think of themselves in cars as they passed each other. When you pass someone in a car, you check first before pulling in front to see that there is room. Twice, I was almost clipped by someone who passed and then slowed down as they moved in front of me. HELLO!!!!

Anyway, back to the route. Mile4 was finished in over 11 minutes. I'm not sure what that was all about except that maybe coming off the downhill of the bridge I slowed as I adjusted my gait to run on flat instead of downhill. The final clock (except for the finish) was at mile 5 and I was back on track there. Just after mile five the group running in cadence came up behind me. I managed to stay in front of them the rest of the way and found it amusing to listen to them. One ditty was about Fred and Barnie; the chorus being Yabba-Dabba-Do in cadence. Think about it.. it's kind a cool!