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djplong

Progress log from the Granite State

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Yesterday - W13D2 - and another success.  All the typical aches showing up at all the typical times - but not as bad as the last time.  It's really puzzling me how I'm getting through all of these with no failures.  The first time through the program (before my hip injury) there were several sessions that I had to do multiple times before successfully completing them - sometimes it took 4 tries!  Ever since I re-started, I've been knocking down each and every session - with the worst case being when I 'borrowed' a minute from a jogging interval and tacked it on to the end.

 

I've *never* been good at physical things.  My birth defect and the ramifications of correcting it meant I was always picked last for teams at school.  Sure, in my 20s I got into roller skating and playing softball - but that was about the extent of it.  I certainly wasn't a slugger on the field - I had to depend on my brains to make up for what I lacked in my body (being a good infielder, spraying hits around the field, running down the first base line on a ground ball to back up the first baseman when I was a catcher).

 

I was talking to my wife about "what next?" now that we're leaving for Florida in less than two weeks.  Like the suggestions above, I've started thinking 'half marathon'.  Seems like a logical progression.  From nothing to 5K, 5K to 10K, 10K to 21.1K looks like 'the next step'.  I just think it's an even bigger commitment in time and there will definitely be more things to think about - like paying more attention to nutrition, some kind of off-day cross training, even trying in-race refueling (gels?).

 

I have a hard time recognizing myself when I start looking at a calendar and see that there's a half-marathon in Portland ME in July and a combined 5K/10K/Half/Full Marathon in Montreal (a 4 hour drive) on my birthday in September - and realizing that THOSE are starting to get me excited...

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Grrr..  App screwed up again.  I think the GPS went wonky and it drove the app nuts, though the timed reminders still happened.  It's like what happened a few weeks ago only this time, later in the day, my whole phone seized up or crashed or something..  Again I didn't complete what I'd intended but I got about 5K into W13D3.  I haven't decided if I'm going to do the 10K via the 4/1 jog/walk intervals that I did a few weeks ago or just try to do a normal session (or pick up again tomorrow).  But it *does* have me looking at other apps just to re-evaluate what's out there.

 

Now we're looking at 60F today..  Christmas..  IN NEW HAMPSHIRE!!!

 

It's now less than 2 weeks before the races in Florida - 9 days before we leave and I am definitely feeling the excitement!

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Yesterday was W13D3 and another success, despite my not having dressed properly - it got lots warmer while I was jogging.

 

Next up are the Week 14 60-minute intervals...

 

Was IM'ing with my daughter after the session - telling her what I'd done and she said "Daaaamn, son!  Who are you and what have you done with my dad?"

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Well - that's it..  W14D1 is in the books.  60 minutes of continuous jogging.  A whole bleeping hour...  9 months ago I could barely do 60 *seconds* at a time...

 

Now?  The back pain eases up as soon as I stop jogging.  The ankle and Achilles pains don't last as long.  The middle sections are still the toughest.  At the beginning, I can feel my body transitioning into 'run' mode - my breathing changes and I have a bit of anxiety while that happens.  In the middle, things start to slog and it's hard to break bad mental habit.  The closer I get to the end, the easier it gets..  When I can say 'less than 15 minutes' or 'less than 10 minutes'...  At one point yesterday I got an alert that indicated I'd been jogging for 33 minutes and I said to myself "Ok.  27 minutes to go.  I can do that..  I just *did* in the last half hour!".  Fortunately, the park was nearly deserted and nobody heard me!

 

I'm doing around 9K in an hour of jogging.  Not to far off my goal of doing the 10K in those 60 minutes.  Sunday we're leaving for Florida and I think, after the races are done, I might work on a bit of speed - though I'm not quite sure how.  I have a lot of reading to do and several plane flights will give me the time I need.

 

The thought of doing a half-marathon seems to be a reasonable goal now.  The thought of doing a marathon has gone from the "Impossible" shelf to...  ...well...  ...maybe my body *can* do this!  ...and I still hear that doctor telling my mother that I'd never walk again.

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Yesterday was over an hour of jogging.  I feel like I've really completed the 10K schedule - and just in time.  Our flight to Florida is tomorrow morning.  Wednesday is the expo, Thursday the 5K and Friday the 10K.

 

I've been thinking a lot of "What's next" and it seems to be staring me in the face.  If I can do 10K, I should see if I can stretch my body out to do 21.1K, 13.1 miles - the half-marathon.

 

Over these past 9 months there's been a lot of encouragement, frustration (injury related) and disbelief.  I could never have gotten this far without my wife's full support.  My ex would have responded to my idea of running a 5K with a "sh-yea, right!" and, given my history, she would have had good reason.  But Susie, to whom I've now been married over 5 years, is going to be right beside me at the starting line (ok, the corral) even though she hasn't done the program.  Her decades of dance, however, will let her do the 5K without too much difficulty and the 10K will have her taking a lot of walk breaks.

 

So now that the vacation is less than 24 hours away, I have to start checking out the calendars and pick this year's target races.  When I started this last year, I was also checking out the finisher medals.  Now?  I still want them - but I'm not checking them out the way I was when I started.  That being said, I can't wait to put these first two up on the wall when we get back!

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Well..  I did it!  I made some mistakes along the way but I'm back in the hotel room after a nap after the 10K the day after the 5K.  My thoughts - in no particular order...

 

- The 5K was done before I knew it despite me having a bit of a hard time transitioning from 'not running' to "running".  Had some aches and pains show up real fast - to the point I was wondering if my achilles was going to blow out - but it all went away and, before I knew it, the race was over!

 

- Important Training Tip: Do NOT walk around Epcot and put another 8-9 miles on your feet after the 3.1 miles of the race after standing around for over an hour in the corrals after a couple of days of doing the parks at Disney when you have a 10K the following day!  Which brings me to:

 

- A 10K in the rain is less fun than a 10K practiced on home turf.  THANK GOD I BOUGHT A HAT!  For a while, the rain started to let up but it came back plenty in the last third of the race.  My feet were soaked, sometimes my glasses fogged up BUT AT LEAST I COULD SEE BECAUSE I BOUGHT A HAT AT THE EXPO! :)

 

- I had to take a lot more walk breaks than I wanted to in the 10K (I wanted to take NONE).  I got it down to a routine - uphills were walked and I'd set a target sometimes at which point I'd fast-walk for 60 strides.

 

That being said, even though the 10K was less fun than I'd hoped because of the weather, I am SO glad I did this..  The proof?  Take a look!

 

post-5632-0-23178100-1452276623_thumb.jpg

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Back home from the cruise following the week at Disney that had the races.

 

I put on 4 pounds.  There's snow all over the roads and I need to get out there but it's not safe!

 

New goal: Half marathon.  Looking at schedules to set a timeframe and i got hit with two discoveries.

Montreal (about a 4 hour drive from here) is having their Rock N Roll 5/10/Half/Marathon day ON MY BIRTHDAY (September) - so I thought that might be a good target.  I could sign up for the half and, if I went "ahead of schedule" could upgrade to the full marathon (though I doubt I'd have that in me).  So I thought that might be a plan - with another half marathon in July in Portland ME on the shore as a test.

 

Then I was reading the running magazines on my Kindle while at sea and spotted an ad.  Disneyland Paris is holding their inaugural half-marathon ON MY BIRTHDAY!  ...and I spent way too much money on THIS trip!

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Got back to running today and felt really great afterwards.  I won't say it was an 'effortless' 5K+, but it was a lot easier than I feared after having been off for over a week and how frigid it was outside.

 

I was inspired to get back on the road by something I saw online..  Fares from Boston to Paris for under $500 r/t at the time of the Disneyland Paris Half Marathon...  That almost makes it seem possible.  I mentioned it to my wife by saying "Honey, how would you like to visit your son for my birthday?" (Her oldest son lives in London)

 

It'd be a extended weekender.  I'd originally thought about doing the Rock N Roll Half Marathon in Montreal on my birthday but Paris beats Montreal.

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Yesterday I discovered a 5K race practically next door to me that was happening TODAY.  It was the Freeze your Buns 5K series in Nashua.  This was apparently the 2nd of 5 races with a paltry $5 signup fee.  I showed up early this morning (16F when I got there), handed them a $20 and, when they went to give me my $15 change, I told them to keep it and register me for the remaining 3 races of the series.

 

So I got bib #153 and ran, predictably, at the back of the pack until even the pack was a distant memory.  The good news is that I sliced between 4 and 5 minutes of my time at Walt Disney World.  Maybe the cold weather (it'd gotten up to 20F) was an incentive :)

 

In two weeks, I'll do it again.  What insanity has possessed me?

 

I also signed up at MakeYESHappen.com for a virtual challenge ($25).  Something to keep my feet to the fire.  They hook up with Runkeeper (among other trackers) so they automatically track your progress in the challenge.  (You can also add sessions manually)

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Aaaaaand I'm now signed up for the B.A.A. 5K that happens a couple days before their Boston Marathon.

 

I was surprised to see actual results from the 5K I ran on Sunday posted online.  I was right about the freezing weather being a motivator.  And I was fairly accurate with my time estimate - I knocked about 4 1/2 minutes off my WDW 5K time - down to 32:46.

 

So now I'm "treading water" running a 4.1 mile course around my neighborhood pacing myself with 4:00 run, 1:00 walk intervals.  Definitely have to work up the training plan to get stretched out to a half marathon.  I think I'm going to give Paris a pass and start signing up for the Rock N Roll Half Marathons in Philadelphia and Montreal on consecutive weeks.  In Philly, I get to visit my kids. Montreal?  Well, I just plain love Montreal - and then there's the bling.  Bonus medal for finishing half marathons in two different countries.

 

I should have a tshirt made up that says "Will Run For Bling".

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Time to head out for my 4th race.  The next in the "Freeze Your Buns" series.  Sure, it was in the 50s and touching 60F during the week but, now, it's back down to a very chilly 24F.  I've just been running 4/1 intervals on my neighborhood course twice during the week and trying a longer weekend run to keep my legs in shape.  I really need to set a goal and pick a  half-marathon that isn't in the fall so that I can work the training program backwards from that date.  I work a lot better when I have goals in mind.

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Still no *specific* goals set but I *did* finally finish a virtual race (via MakeYesHappen linked to Runkeeper) of 31 miles this week.  It's been frigid here in NH so the idea of going out and running in the windy cold isn't very enticing.

 

One good piece of news from the 5K I ran on Sunday..  I actually cracked 10:00/mile for an average pace.  Ok, it was 9:59 - but, still, my race time (30:58) was almost 2 minutes quicker than my previous 5K which was 4 1/2 minutes quicker than my first!  I'd like to think that, in warmer weather, not bundled up so much, I can crack a 30-minute 5K.

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The weather here, at this time of year, occasionally makes it difficult to plan one's running days.  -15F one day, over 40F 16 hours later.

 

I'm still learning.  Last week had a day of learning that I should allow more time to digest a larger meal before running.  I'd forgotten I'd had a late lunch, but even 3 hours wasn't enough as I just couldn't get into a breathing rhythm one day.  Fortunately, the weather and everything else was better two days later so - no worries.

 

Yesterday it was time for another Freeze Your Buns 5K - though the weather should have renamed it the Thaw Your Buns 5K.  Ran it with one walk interval for 40 paces at about the 2.5 mile mark.  I'd been pushing myself to see if I could do another PR. (A longer term goal was a 30-minute 5K)

 

Coming up the final, long, uphill incline, I could see the clock at the finish line and it was reading about 29:30.  I didn't know how long it would take me to get to that clock at the line but I put everything I had into that final push and I *thought* I came in at about 29:58.  When they posted the official results online, I missed it by ONE SECOND!  30:01 was my finishing time!  I mean, sure, that was the gun time and it was a couple of seconds to get to the start line from where I started..  But, still, seeing the numbers online make THAT number 'real' for me.

 

Afterwards, as I was turning in my bib (you use the same bib for each FYB race), I mentioned that I would love to thank the person who came up with the idea for this race series.  Turns out that I said that to the very person who started the series many years ago.  I loved the fact that I had something to keep me focused so that I didn't just 'take the winter off' and stop running because it was too cold. 

 

So I'm probably going to join the Gate City Striders running club and now I'm looking at a series of 7 races in New Hampshire that make up the New Hampshire Grand Prix.  Finish them all and you get a neat jacket.  Of course, one of those races is a half-marathon...  It fits with my goals.  I still wonder if my body will allow me to do this.  My right Achilles is still barking from time to time but ibuprofen seems to take care of it.  It's really only a problem when I'm walking barefoot for some reason.  When I'm wearing pretty much ANY kinds of shoes, it's either nonexistent or much less pronounced.

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Well, I signed up.  I'm now a member of the Gate City Striders.  Another in a series of Things I Thought I'd Never Say.

 

Missed too much running this past week because of weather and (to be honest) attitude.  Things just weren't feeling right.  But I got back on the horse Saturday and that went well.  As well as that went, yesterday was that bad.  Same run, same course - and yesterday had better weather.  But whereas I ran Saturday with no problem, yesterday a couple of the hills were like walls and I had to take unscheduled walk breaks.

 

The only difference that I could point to was that yesterday was a work day and, truth be told, I was ready to take a nap when I got home.  Not exactly an energetic start.  Was hoping the warmer weather would lead to a better time but that was not to be.

 

What I *did* do was start to map out my 'running calendar'.  After the final Freeze Your Buns 5K this coming Sunday, I think I'll start the New Hampshire Grand Prix with the Shamrock Shuffle 5K in Lebanon NH in a couple of weeks.  Looks like I have targets all the way into October and I'll have to hop on a training plan shortly if I'm going to make the July Half-Marathon in Portland ME.

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Life will get in the way, whether you let it or not.

 

Over the last two weeks, for every reason from weather, to business, to having a last-minute work-related trip to San Antonio, I wasn't getting my usual 3 runs per week.  This past week, I only ran twice - Sunday's final Freeze Your Buns 5K and yesterday, when I finally got to get back to the park where I prefer to run (now that the snow has melted).

 

The race?  Well, for the first time I did NOT improve my time.  I could feel, going into it, that I wasn't in my best 'place' but I got through it and still kept a sub-10-minute pace (9:50, 30:31 total time).

 

But yesterday it was time to see where I really was.  Running in the park, I can pretty much go however long I want.  I can take any number of paths and, no matter where I stop, I'm never too far from the parking lot (which usually makes a good cool-down walk).  When I run the neighborhood course, it's 4.1 miles with few options unless I'm having a real bad day and there's a bailout point that results in only going 1.6 miles.

 

It was a magnificent day at nearly 60F - and the parking lot was PACKED.  But I warmed up, started running and really felt a lot better than I feared.  For some reason I'm still coughing some while running, but the results were there.  I didn't tax myself too much and still ran nearly 5 miles at a pace, including walks or 10:11/mile.  I didn't want to push it too much and I'm glad I didn't as I'm a bit sore this morning.  So, right now, if I were in my 'training for the half marathon' mode, I'm somewhere around Week 4, 5 or 5+ (Week 6 wants 7 miles).

 

I'm beginning to believe I'll be more than ready for that half marathon in July.

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