Monday, April 30, 2012

Recovery Week

Last week was a low mileage week. Thank goodness because I really needed it! The Monday and Wednesday run were the usual time, but I didn't push it at all because I was sore and tired all week. I made sure I got my stretching in as it was really needed.
I was scheduled for a 6 miler on Saturday. I had a scout campout planned so if I was going to get it done, Friday would have been better. As things turned out, Friday morning was stormy and I still had things left to get done and I was exhausted. I had to settle for the 5 mile hike with the Scouts as my exercise for Saturday. It was fun to get out and hike. It was really my first hike of the year other than snow shoeing. After we broke camp down on Saturday, we headed back home and hiked up in the foothills close to home. It was fun to let the Scouts read a map and let them make some choices on which way we would go. With the elevation gain, it ended up being a pretty good workout, but yet gave me some rest of the running muscles so it was a good situation to end up in.
Sunday, I ended up getting a rare opportunity to take a nap and I also got to bed early which was great since I have been so tired and beat up since last week's run.
I am hoping to get some more rest during the week leading up to a 14 miler on Saturday.
On a personal note, I am really proud of my family. I am seeing a lot of mileage run and walked and pounds being dropped as we are in the middle of a family Biggest Loser contest. Keep up the great work everyone!
Hang in there and I will too!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Man That Was Hard!

I always worry before either a race or an extra long run. This week was my last extra long run before the marathon next month. I thought it would be best to simulate the conditions of the marathon course the best I could from past experience with the other substantial downhill half marathons in the past. In order to do this, I got up early Saturday and took my son with me to drive up Provo Canyon about 13 miles and then turned left and drove 3 miles into Wallsburg. Why did I have my son drop me off up the canyon 16 miles off? Because it would give me over 16 miles of descent as I made my way down the canyon. The Ogden Marathon is similar at the beginning as well. You are bused up to a drop off point and almost the entire course descends down to the city of Ogden. The are uphill sections, but it is mostly downhill. You may think this makes for an easy run and to some extent it does, but it also pounds the legs a lot more. All three of the half marathons that I have run are similar runs as well and it is surprising how beat up you get if you don't prepare for a down hill race.

The first three miles were on a lightly traveled road. I enjoyed the rural community and had several cows look at me as I passed. They seemed to be saying, "What on earth are you doing!?!" I had similar thoughts myself. When we left Orem that morning, the temperature was 50 degress, but by the time we ascended to Wallsburg, it was 30 degrees. I didn't bring a coat, but I did bring gloves and a headband that covered the ears. I thought I had made a mistake by dressing so lightly, but I was fine the whole time.

The next stretch was really a different experience. Provo Canyon is a heavily used road. Not only do outdoor enthusiast head up the canyon to go to reserviors and numerous other recreational activities, but the canyon is also a major roadway for interstate travel as well. At the top of the road, you can turn either left or right on Highway 40 which is another main highway in the state that ties into I-80 on one end or you can go the other way and head towards Colorado. Even though Provo Canyon is not a freeway, it is a four lane highway for most of it and I ran on the shoulder for the next eight miles. I felt like I needed to be on the alert for the oncoming traffic. All went well, but every once in a while, I could hear an approaching car cutting the corner a little too much and hitting the rumble strip which a ran along in the shoulder. I was happy at about mile 11 to make it to Vivian Park because I knew I could then catch the Provo River trail for many miles. I was keeping the pace well and was happy with my progress up to this point.

One of my goals on this run was to be sure I hit the time constraints of the Ogden Marathon. Part of the Ogden Canyon road is blocked off for the marathon so you need to be at mile 17.3 in 4.5 hours. For a lot of marathoners, this isn't a problem, but this being my first marathon and just trying to finish the race as my only goal. I know that it might be close. Once you are Ogden Canyon, you have another 5 miles to run down the canyon and you have to be out of the canyon by 6 hours. This is much more doable. I hit both time goals with time to spare, so I know that if all goes well, I will be able to make the time constraints at the actual race.

I was still hitting my pace well when I came out of the canyon at mile 17. I knew the rest of the course would be more of a challenge. I had about 2 more miles of gradual downhill, but from there, there was really no other option than to finish up with some uphill climbing. I also knew there wasn't going to be a lot of shade and the temperature was climbing up towards 80. Going from 30 degrees to almost 80 is quite a change and I know from past experience that I don't do well when it warms up. By the time I hit mile 18, I had been in the sun for a bit and the uphill was starting. My run/walk was turning into more of a waaaaaaallllllk/rn, waaaaaaallllllk/rn. At mile 21, I reached LaVelle Edwards Stadium not feeling super but glad I was turning west and heading back towards home. I did get a bit of a downhill heading down University Parkway, but there was one last hard climb to get up into Orem. I had to walk that long mile up. I was glad I had brought a light-weight Camel Back with me to help keep me hydrated. It didn't cause much discomfort to wear it that many miles either. so that was a plus.

By the time I got close to home, I knew I had a little over a mile to go. I could make a small loop around the the neighborhood, but I decided to finish up the last mile on the treadmill in the basement where I could cool down. I'm glad I did because it would have been a long hot mile if I would have stayed out.

As hard as it was, there was a lot of positives from the run. I now know that I can do a marathon because I did that distance almost exactly. I know I can make the time constraints on the course. I know what I need to take with me as far as nutrition. It got to the point where nothing sounded good, but early on during the run, I was able to keep hydrated and kept getting nutrition in me at good intervals.

I now have a easy week this week to recover. The following week has a long run of 14 miler. Funny to think of that as being relatively easy, but in comparison, it won't be bad. I then have a two week taper before the big race. Time to heal up and tune up for the event.

Hang in there and I will too.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Short and Sweet

I have had a tough time finding time to get my blog written this week. I need to keep it short and sweet.

Last Week's Training
It was an easier week for training. My main training run was Saturday. I ran a little over 6 total and one of them was a Miracle Mile which I have written about before. I ran the mile at about 10 minutes so it means I am on track for my planned pace. I am happy about that. The run this Saturday will help me see if I can go the distance in the time indicated.

Danger Rough Road Ahead
Saturday looms ahead as my last long, long run. It is scheduled for 29 miles, but since my last long, long run came up a bit short at 24 instead of 26, I will be happy if I go at least 26. Each successive run, I have been able to go a few more miles that the last one, so we will see. I am going to have a long down hill section to start off. That will take up about 15 miles of it. I need to figure out the rest of the route from there.

Biggest Loser Contest
In preparation for the wedding last week, my kids decided to do a Biggest Loser contest. Even though I didn't really add to the totals, I am proud of the fact that collectively the family lost 144 lbs. We have already started a second season since the family will all be back out here in July for several weeks. I hope to be more competitive this go around.

I have been reading up on cross fit training and think I will give it a go after the marathon.  I plan on doing a lot of hiking, but still want to run a race or two.  This might fit the bill all the way around.  More on that later.
Hang in there and I will too!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Two a Days

Even though it wasn't in my training schedule, I did a two a day workout on Saturday. I know that it is best to stick to training. If you do more that it outlines, you are at risk for overtraining and injury. Too little and you will likely pay the price on race day. So why did I deviate from my schedule? My daughter got married.
I was scheduled for a 12 miler in the morning. If I have something big and taxing on Saturday, I will sometimes move the long run to Friday morning instead. I had thought about doing it, but a storm came rolling through overnight and we awoke to a lot of wet snow and it was still coming down. Besides I would have been out the door by 5 am to get the run done in time to get to work at a decent time. I decided to bank a little rest and hope for the best on Saturday.
I never would have thought that a 12 miler would seem like an easier long run, but after the 24 miler a couple of weeks back, it wasn't too bad. I headed to LES like I have in the past but took a little different route back home. I knew the road climbed a bit, but I've always taken it in a car. It turned out to be a steady climb but it was worth it. I ended up on top of a bench that overlooked Utah Valley. then I got the payoff as I headed down a road that had a nice running path to the side. I had several more miles to go, so I headed towards Provo Canyon and then did a loop back to home and finished up at 12 miles almost on the dot.
Then came the real workout as we had those few last errands to run before the afternoon wedding and reception. We got everything picked up, packed up and we all headed over to the reception center. Considering all the snow we had had the day before and how cold it had been on the run in the morning, it was a beautiful afternoon with all of the snow melted and the temperatures in the 60's. Everything went well. It was one of the first weddings that we have had with all of our children that actually started pretty close to on time. The pictures afterwards went quickly (thanks Melissa!), and we even got the reception started pretty close to on time. Like a running nerd, I work my compression sleeves underneath my sparkling tux and they did wonders to help keep the legs fresh throughout the night. The only pain I really had to endure were the very unsupportive rental shoes that I wore. For some reason they were killing the bottom of my feet. But all in all, it was a great wedding and everyone seemed happy!
I even had a rare Sunday workout with helping get things ready for having a lot of family over for Easter dinner. After this weekend was over, I had an even greater appreciation for the one who doesn't like me to even mention her in my blog significant other better half person who I love with all my heart!
Hang in there and I will too!

Monday, April 2, 2012


I was glad that this week was a light week on the training.  I wrote last week about my 24 miler.  My previous long runs left me a bit tired and sore, but this one had a big effect on me.  I have been sore all week and I could feel some problem areas returning.  I started worrying that this was going to be an injury that would plague me. After a week of recovery I am feeling much better and my run this morning went well.

I think the biggest difference between now and last year is that I know what my weakness is.  It was a long process to get it healed up last year.  At first I didn't even know what the problem was but I knew I wasn't getting better and my hip area was sore and would get worse the further I ran.  I went to physical therapy and got chiropractic help at the same time.  From both of those, I learned how to strengthen my core better.  I found out that running alone wouldn't get the job done.  I had some weak areas that I needed to work on.  One of my daughters is a message therapist.  After a few weeks of physical therapy, she offered to help me out.  In one session she identified what my weak point was.  It was the piriformus muscle.  It literally causes a pain in the rear.  It just happens to be a weak point in my body.  As she worked the muscle, it loosened up and I got better quickly after that.

I knew that the 24 miler had caused the problem to flair up again.  Based on the knowledge I gained from those experiences I knew I needed to be careful.  I subscribe to Runner's World and as I was going through one of the issues, the had a whole page dedicated to strengthening and stretching this muscle.  I think it was more than good fortune to have picked up that issue and found exactly what I needed to help alleviate the pain.  Most of the exercises and stretches were new for me and they really helped loosen the muscle back up.  They also suggested a way to roll the muscle using a tennis ball.  What a difference that all made!

So why all the details about one of the glute muscles?  It got me thinking about weaknesses that we have.  It is our weaknesses that get us into trouble.  It can be physical, emotional and/or spiritual weaknesses.  But we don't have to be permanently incapacitated by them.  Just like the steps I went through to understand the weakness with my piriformus, we need to go through the same steps for most of our weaknesses to overcome them.

  1. Realize that you have a weakness.
  2. Get help to identify what that weakness is.
  3. Along with getting help, accept and follow that help.
  4. Learn all you can about the weakness.
  5. Learn how to strengthen your weak point.
  6. Learn how to stretch yourself to overcome the weakness.
  7. Don't give up if success doesn't happen all at once.  
  8. Patience and persistence will pay off in the long run.
I have a lot to work on in my life.  But if I look back, I have overcome a lot as well and as a result some of my weaknesses have become my strengths.

How about you?  What weaknesses have you overcome and are now your strengths?

Hang in there and I will too.