Sunday, June 19, 2011

Back Pain and RAIN

Well..the RAIN (Ride Across Indiana)event is less than a month away and I am getting somewhat nervous. Yesterday was the first time I have done any type of activity in almost 3 weeks. I have been dealing with lower back pain since running the Geist half marathon and decided to take a break from everything on May 29th. I am almost certain that I hurt my back the day before running the Geist half playing church softball. But it could have been anything. I ran the half with a friend who runs a slower pace and I was okay with that. Afterwards, I could hardly bend over. I continued to run the days following the half even with the soreness (it didn't hurt to run). But after running and sitting around, I could barely move. I stretched, I heated, I iced. Nothing was working. I decided to run another 13 miles the following weekend to my family's get-together. I felt decent running in 90 degree weather. My back was not so good afterwards and that is when I decided to take my break. This past week, my back was less tight so I decided to bike 12 miles yesterday and run 3 miles today. It felt good to get back to running and biking, but unfortunately my back is somewhat tender. I plan on seeing a chiropractor soon and finding out if I have done something more serious or I just need an adjustment. I have never been to a chiropractor before so I am nervous I will feel worse afterwards. At this point it is still a go for the RAIN ride and I need to cram in some serious bike mileage. I am hoping that all of my running will help on the bike. My wife and son will be gone all week so I should be able to punch out some mileage.

I may also run a 5K this Thursday night at the IU Cross Country course. I have never been on a cross country course. I may not get a PR. I just need to get out and run.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

5K and Another Half

In the midst of a crazy day on Saturday, I was able to sneak in a 5K race. The race was just 5-10 minutes from home so that was convenient. I knew I wanted to beat my last 5K time and set a goal of running under 23 minutes. It was a very flat course so I knew there was a chance. I believe I went out too fast because I ran the first mile at a 7 minute pace and the 2nd mile at 7:04. I lost steam after mile 2, but I still crossed the line at 22:39. I am still working on my splits and pushing it at the end. I may have to bring back speed training if I want to reach my sub 20 goal. I really need to start training on my bike because the RAIN ride is coming up very soon.

On Sunday, my little boy Cameron ran his first race. It was the Rookie Run downtown Indy which was a smaller version of the Mini marathon. He only had to run 2 blocks, but he did so well running alongside his mommy. Even though it was crummy weather, he had fun. He even got a medal that almost looks like my Mini medal. I am a very proud daddy. I will post some photos later.

To make this "Year of the Gee" even better, I now work downtown Indy and have access to some great running trails. I am loving that I can run on the Indy canal after work. I like the environment of others biking and running in Indy. I could live there. So this has really been a year of change for me. A great stress has been lifted from my shoulders since I started a new chapter of my work life.

It is going to be another good weekend of running the Geist half marathon. I plan to run an easy pace with a friend and just enjoy running.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Mini Marathon

This past Saturday I ran in my first ever Mini Marathon. I was looking forward to this race all week and had a goal of beating my time from the IU Mini. Since the Mini course was way flatter than the IU mini course, I knew I would beat my previous time. I really wanted to maintain an 8 minute pace to come in around 1:45, but I lost some steam running around the track (which was kind of boring and long). I also think I started out too fast running a 7:17 pace up until the Yard of Bricks. I was feeling great until mile 11 and then my legs started to feel like Jello. But I pushed and finished at 1:48:48. I think I ran too hard because I was really dizzy at the end. It was worth it though. I grabbed tons of post race food and chowed down like a mad man. I continued eating all day! I will definitely do this race next year because of the atmosphere and being around 35,000 people wanting to better their health and reaching their goals.

In the next few months, I will be doing more races and preparing for the RAIN ride (which I have barely trained for). I have a 5K race on Saturday which I am hoping to run a sub 23 time. And then I will be running the Geist Half on May 21st which I do not have a time goal for. I'll probably stay at a 9 minute pace since I am running with a friend. And then I may do something crazy at the end of the month that will test me mentally. Stay tuned.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Doubler and Mileage

Two weekends ago I decided to do two races a half hour apart. I headed down to Bloomington again to run the Monroe County YMCA Spring 5K and 10K. I should have guessed that both routes were going to be hilly (it's Bloomington!). Waking up, I really did not feel motivated to run. I am usually excited and ready to get out the door. Allergy season decided to come to me early and I was tired from sneezing, having watery eyes, and a scratchy throat the day before. The race started at 8 and it was cold outside. I was happy with my first mile coming in at a 7:04 pace. Then the hills decided to show up. They slowed me down, but I was able to cross the finish with a new PR. By one second! I'm thinking I would have broken into the 22s if it was a flat course. Either way, I liked the challenge and it's good training for the Mini in May. I grabbed some water and food until the 10K started. By the time the 10K started it was even colder and the wind was blowing like crazy. I also felt better using the 5K as a warm up. The 10K course was just as hilly, but I felt more comfortable running. I did not push myself too hard during this run and took in the scenery. I crossed the finish in 50:49 for my first ever 10K.

For the past two weeks, my mileage has been increasing. Last week I had my first ever 30 mile week and I am on my way to 100 miles this month. I hope that will be enough to do well at the Indy Mini (which is less than 2 weeks away). Today is a rest day and I need it.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Hilly Hilly Half and Family Fun

Three words to sum up this past weekend - Family, Fun, and Rewarding.

I'll start with the Rewarding part first. From my last post I mentioned registering for the IU Mini Marathon at the last minute. Looking at the elevation map of the course, I knew it was going to be a challenge and I actually had doubts soon afterwards. After registering, things started going downhill. I rested on Wednesday and ran 2 miles on the treadmill. Unfortunately I felt very sick stepping off of the treadmill and actually thought I was going to faint. I've never felt that way and I ran at a very slow pace. So I started to worry because I felt terrible and I had a race coming up in two days. I basically went home, ate, then went to bed. I woke up Friday feeling worse with sinus pressure in my head, aching body, and chest congestion. I took another rest day and loaded up on OTC meds. I woke up race day feeling decent. Once I arrived in Bloomington and warmed up, all doubts and feeling sick was gone. I was determined to run the half as best as I could. It was a brisk sunny morning and the atmosphere was what I needed. I became a different person as we began to run. I probably started out too fast with my first mile coming at a 7:20 pace. My pace was all over the place after that thanks to the many hills Bloomington has to offer. I used to go to Bloomington every weekend and did not know most of the hills existed. The elevation map I had reviewed days before did not put in to perspective of what it would be like running those hills. I'm not going to lie, but these hills kicked my butt. I admit, I took many walk breaks and I'm okay with that. I've been doing mostly hill training in the last few weeks and I know that helped with this race. By mile 10 my legs were definitely tired from the rolling hills. I just kept telling myself "you have a 5K left!" It was also nice hearing encouragement from other runners. I stayed with this one guy the last 3 miles, encouraging each other the rest of the way. We made it up the last hill and was a 1/2 from the finish. I looked at my watch and saw that I was going to break 2 hours. I made a turn and saw the glorious finish line. I tried to kick it as hard as I could and crossed the line at 1:54:53!! I totally shattered my previous half by 12 minutes. As I was walking over to the food tent, I kept wondering how I would have done if the course was flatter and I felt 100%. All I know is I gave 110% and that was REWARDING. The 65 miles I ran in March really paid off. I'll have my chance to PR again next month at the 500 Mini (flatter course). Another rewarding experience was going home after the race and rounding up my family to go have fun the rest of the weekend.

It was a nice weekend and I wanted to spend more time outdoors. Driving through Bloomington, I had found a very nice park and wanted Cameron to see it. This kid loves playing at parks. Once I got home and showered, we drove back to Bloomington for family fun. We stopped at Texas Roadhouse for lunch and then played at the park. As I watched Cameron run around, I was amazed at how free he looked. No worries, no bills to pay, no responsibilities, just free. I remember feeling the same way when I was a kid. It was one of the greatest feelings in the world! Ever since I started running last year, that feeling has come back! I feel FREE! Watching Cameron run around reminded me that we can all feel that way if we want to. If I am having a bad day, all it takes is being around my family to make it better. Running provides that extra kick. It was awesome seeing my Anne and Cameron smiling so much as it has been a rough 5 months.

Sunday was a continuation of family fun as we went to church, met the in-laws at the movie theater to watch HOP, ate at Stir Crazy, played at another park, and had ice cream. We were all pooped at the end of the day. While at Stir Crazy, I cracked open my fortune cookie with this fortune. I am not sure when my moment of glory will occur, but I like to think it is now - being the dad of an awesome boy and husband of a beautiful wife.

I was going to take a running break this week, but I am not sure I want to after a successful half. I will continue to do hill training and incorporating walks since that seems to be helping me quite a bit. I am not really sticking to my training plan, but I am happy with my results so far this year. Next on my plate is the YMCA Spring Running Festival 5K & 10K in Bloomington (4/16). I plan on doing both of the races and hope to at least PR in the 5K. And then my family will be doing the Run for Rylan in Springville (4/30).

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Impromptu Half Marathon this Weekend

Well..I decided that I'm going to run a half marathon this Saturday. It is last minute, but I was able to enter before registration closed last night. I will be running the IU Mini Marathon in Bloomington, IN. It will only be my 2nd half ever, but a test for the Indy Mini in May. I am excited and nervous at the same time because there are some challenging hills. It is all good because I have been running hills like crazy. After a personal best in the 5K last week, I've gained back confidence in my running. My shin is somewhat tender from running hills last night, but I should be good. I just hope the weather holds out. It was snowing today! I will post a report after the half. Here is the course and elevation map.

Friday, March 25, 2011

New PR at the Courage and Valor 5K

I was going to post on the 7K event I ran this past Sunday, but I am excited that I have a new PR for the 5K and wanted to share. I ran in the Courage and Valor 5K yesterday at the White River State Park. It was a rather cold day and I debated on running it. I am glad I decided to go for it because I felt really good and knew I was going to do well. I've been battling shin splints and tight calves since February. Good legs have felt great the last 2 weeks! I've been doing more stretching, shin/calf exercises I found here, incorporating walk breaks during runs, eliminating speed workouts, icing, compression sleeves, and rest. My legs have felt so good, I've also been doing hill training. With my legs feeling better, I am definitely more motivated. 2 weeks ago I was stressed and wanted to sell my Mini Marathon entry. Now I am determined to run the Mini and do well. Back to the 5K. I felt good going into the race. It was cold out, but the atmosphere made up for it. There were firefighters from all over the US (since the Firefighter convention is going on downtown Indy this week)and the music was blasting. The race started in the park behind the visitor center. We crossed the river bridge going west then back over the bridge towards the canal. I passed the 1st mile at 7:10. After 2 miles I kind of lost it and slowed a bit. Honestly, I was ready for the 3 mile marker. After 3 miles we were out of the canal area and I saw the finish line. From there, I bolted because I always like to end strong. I stopped my watch at 23:13! Results showed me finishing at 23:14, but I'll take it. I actually think I could have broken 23 minutes. Maybe next time. Either way, I was happy with the run and my legs felt awesome. I think my next race will be on April 16th when I plan to do a 5K and 10K the same day. Maybe I will get that 5K PR.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Book Recommendations

I have not posted lately and will be posting a "race report" from this past weekend's event. In the meantime, here are some book recommendations to stay motivated:

Ultra Marathon Man - Dean Karnazes

50/50: Secrets I Learned Running 50 Marathons in 50 Days -- and How You Too Can Achieve Super Endurance! - Dean Karnazes

Run!: 26.2 Stories of Blisters and Bliss - Dean Karnazes (his newest book. Have not read yet)

Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen - Christopher McDougall (ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS I'VE EVER READ!)

The Long Run: A New York City Firefighter's Triumphant Comeback from Crash Victim to Elite Athlete - Matt Long

The Runner's Rule Book: Everything a Runner Needs to Know--And Then Some - Mark Remy (quick read and very funny!)

It's Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life - Lance Armstrong

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Still Ready for Spring

It was a good start to the year as far as fitness goes. I logged 120 miles on the bike(mostly at the gym) and started doing more strength training in January. 120 miles is nothing compared to the 160 plus miles I will be doing in just one day. Once the weather breaks I will definitely be out on my bike. I have been looking on Craigslist for indoor bike trainers because I really need to be training on my bike. If I do not find one, I'll just have to wait. Plus I am more anxious to run. I am going to start running next week then start my half marathon training on 2/14. I am hoping I can do most of my runs outdoors. I am not much of a treadmill runner. This week, I did decide to go with Hal Higdon's intermediate training program for the Mini. I was going to do the novice plan, but I really want to beat my 2:06 time from my first ever half I ran last year. It is a strict plan, but I plan to stick to it because I know I can beat it. I also decided to go with Hal's intermediate training plan for the full marathon in November. I just want to finish and do well. Mainly to finish! The plan includes two 20 mile long runs and that is what I was looking for. Here are my two training plans for this year.

Besides the half and full marathons on my agenda, I have also laid out the races I plan to run this whole year. Most of them are 5Ks, but there is a chance I may fit in 2 more halfs by the end of the year. After the marathon in November, I may do the Tecumseh Trail Marathon in December. As far as preparation for the RAIN ride, I plan to do most of the training May-July. It is going to be a crazy year, but it is something I am looking forward to. I have been reading Dean Karnazes 50/50 book so I am staying quite motivated. Motivation is a good thing to have with the crazy weather so far this year. Even though it is cold outside, I may be doing the Polar Bear 5 mile run downtown in two weeks. I want to see if I have lost any running ability. As I mentioned, I will be easing into running next week.

My goals this week were to do more strength training and ride the bike 50 miles. I did not go to work(which is located near the gym) on Tuesday and Wednesday so that did not help. I completed the 50 miles and definitely had a good leg workout this week.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Ready for Spring

One more week and I will be back to running! Not that biking at the gym is bad. I just feel I get more out of running. Plus the gym is overcrowded right now with people trying to stick to their new years resolutions. I want to get out and enjoy the surroundings even though it is cold outside. This is going to be the best spring ever. I feel good so far this year. I've biked almost 100 miles so far this month and have been strengthening my legs. It is hard to imagine I will be biking 160 miles in one day this year. I am excited to run my first race on March 16th. I will be signing up soon as it's only $10 for the 7K race. Not bad!

Last week was a busy week and I had to squeeze in training. My goal was to bike 40 miles for the whole week. I ended up biking two 20 milers to get in the 40. It felt great though. I was unable to do two sessions of the ab ripper x. I am actually going to stop doing the ab ripper x because it is causing me back pain. Something I do not need this year. This week I plan to bike 40 plus miles and do some major strength training. I have been daydreaming quite a bit lately about what the RAIN ride and marathon will be like this year. Visualizing really keeps me motivated. I've also been motivated by the books I've been reading in the last 2 months. I haven't read this much in years! I highly recommend Hal Higdon's Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide, The Long Run: A New York City Firefighter's Triumphant Comeback from Crash Victim to Elite Athlete by Matt Long and Charles Butler, and Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner by Dean Karnazes.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Stressful Week Over

It has been a rather stressful week, but it ended well going to church this morning. I feel refreshed and I feel a change is coming. I know it is going to be for the best. It was also a more active week and I met my goals. I logged 30 miles on the bike, I did some strength training, completed 2 sessions of ab ripper x, and I actually "tried" to swim. After tempting to swim, I decided I set too high of a goal to do a triathlon this year. I am going to need work and will not have time to do swim training. I am going to try and do a duathlon though. When I went swimming on Friday, I could only do 4 laps and those were hard for me. I could not get the breathing, strokes, and leg kicking down. I was never a strong swimmer. I will continue to work on technique, but I will not be doing a tri this year. After the 4 laps, I did stay in the pool and ran 10 laps. It was a good workout. I am still going through running withdrawals, but February is around the corner. I am looking forward to spring more than ever this year. I believe I am going to do my next race in March. It will be a 7K race in Bloomington. Next week's plans are to bike 40 miles, ab ripper x times 2, and do strength training.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Lazy Week, Exciting Day!

So it has been a very lazy week, but I did make it to the gym to do some strength training and ride the bike. So not too lazy. One thing I am struggling with right now is not running. I decided to take January off from running to heal a shin splint. It has been hard and I am going through withdrawals. Biking has helped, but nothing beats running. I also did the P90X Ab Ripper X two times this week. It was my first time doing the ripper X and I definitely felt it all week. My plan is to do the ripper X twice a week. I plan on hitting the gym hard this coming week. I need it!

One of my goals this year is to do the RAIN ride. It's an organized bike ride across Indiana - 160+ miles. The most I've ever biked is 30 miles. So this is going to be a challenge because I officially registered today! I plan on riding with someone that has cycling experience and has done the RAIN event before. I am overly excited for July 16th.

Goals this coming week:

Ab Ripper X 2 times
Bike 30 miles at the gym
Strenth training
Start swimming