Random Rantings and Ravings from a Slow-Poke Runner in the Heart of the South. (A Weeekly (sort of) Blog about running and just about anything else)

Friday, March 31, 2006


It is now less than 12 hours until tommorrow's Trails and Treads 5K run. I am still hoping for a time just under 26 minutes but I will have to run a really good race to get my slow rear over the line by then! I also, unfortunately, may be running in the rain! There is a pretty good chance of showers in the morning. YUCK! I will be posting race results tommorrow so......until then........ :-).

Monday, March 27, 2006

Race Day's A Comin'!

It is now less than five days to race day - the Trail and Treads 5K Run! I have been training for the last five weeks, following fairly closely to "The Plan". As I said in my previous post, I am still sticking to my time goal of 26 minutes. I know it will be difficult for me to achieve but I am going to shoot for it. The Trail and Treads 5K is mostly flat with only the wind to worry about. It is a barebones race with little fanfare. No water stations, not that you need them in a 5K. Last year there was no goody bag but they gave away a lot of door prizes before awarding the winners. Thinking about the race reminds me of some of my past race efforts.

My first race was the Independence 5K Run in Nettleton, MS about 15 years ago. I don't even think they have this race anymore and there were only a couple hundred runners then. I had a weak age group and actually came away with a third place trophy, even though I only ran it in 23:38. In typical first-race inexperience, I ran the first two miles too fast at about a 6:30 pace and bombed the last 1.13 miles. I felt sick at my stomach and tried eating a banana immediately after the race. BAD MISTAKE. BAAAAAAAAAAD. I had to rush to the porta potty and threw up for several minutes. Pretty sad for a 5K! The trophy made it through several moves before finally biting the dust.

I drifted away from running after returning to college in Florida and meeting my future wife. It wasn't until several years later that I got back into it as I found myself creeping toward (and slightly passing) the 200 pound mark. We were going to a church outside of Memphis, TN who started a 5K Run for foreign missions called the Heart and Sole 5K Run. I volunteered the first year and we had a great first run. Afterwards the youth minister told a hilarious story about how the last mile of the race he struggled, yet eventually lost, to a one-armed 80-year-old man. He joked about how he was going to train all year to beat that guy!

The following year I decided to sign up and began running a few months prior to the race. My goal was just to break 30 minutes, which I did accomplish. With less than a mile to go in the race I was struggling, and that's when I saw him. Yes, the one-armed old guy. He was methodically churning along, one arm swinging along with his steady rhythm. I said to myself, "I gotta beat this guy!" Let's just say it was a TOUGH finish but I did come out on top! Barely! The funniest thing is, the guy STILL handedly beat our youth minister!

I ran a 4-miler the next spring, still my longest race to date. It was a St. Patrick's run with green beer and the works. My goal was to break 40 minutes but I came up 2 minutes short. That run was more than 10 years ago! I wouldn't run again until last year, in my quest to lose weight and become a runner again. (Read one of my first posts: "How I Got Started" for more on this quest.)

My first run after this long highatous was a 5K in New Albany, MS last summer. My goal was just to break 30 minutes and it is a good thing I didn't have anything more lofty than that in mind. This race is one of the most hilly you will find in North Mississippi and it was a tough run. I think the hills shocked a lot of people, including one of the high school cross country teams participating. With less than a mile ago, I was running behind a teenage girl wearing high school cross country attire when she suddenly collapsed in the middle of the road! I stopped for a second and asked her if she was okay and she looked at me kinda shocked and nodded. I kept going but felt TERRIBLE I didn't stop completely and assist her. A couple of minutes later I was still considering turning around and going back when she blazed past me like I was standing still! I tried to speed up and keep up with her but I couldn't match her pace. So much for feeling sorry for the little squirt!

The last race I completed was the Race for the Cure 5K. I met my goal of running under 28 minutes and felt like I was finally starting to make progress. In less than a week, I will be trying to take 2 minutes off that time! Just a few more days of running and its race day. Even now I am scanning the web for my 10K race plan for my next race!

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Week 5 complete!

This week completed week 5 of "The Plan" and I have not been this consistent with my running for this many weeks for probably 15 years! This week included tapering down on my long run since I have the race next week. Not that you really have to "taper" for a 5K, but I really just wanted to avoid any chance of getting injured this close to the run. With some of the soreness I've been feeling this week, it was probably a good decision! Here are the numbers for the week:

Total Miles: 20.5 miles

Avg. Pace: 8:50 min/mi

Long Run: 5.50 miles (9:13 pace)

Speed Work: Speed Intervals (5 miles total)

1/2 mile warm-up (8:49 pace)
2 X (1/2 mile SI (8:00)) 1/2 breaks (8:56)
4 X (1/4 mile SI (7:47)) 1/4 breaks (8:56)
4 X (.10 mile SI (7:30)) .10 mi. breaks (8:56)

Hills: skipped! (Did a neighborhood 5-miler instead)

I was pretty sore on Friday and almost skipped running entirely but decided on a 2-miler on the dreadmill. I had been feeling soreness primarily in my lower calves and lower shins. Saturday was more of the same as far as soreness and I decided to cut the long run short. After about 3 1/2 miles, I had to sprint across four lanes of traffic and noticed I was limping. I wasn't really sure why I was limping because I didn't feel any significant pain, but it unnerved me nevertheless. It took only seeing a big dog running loose further down the road to cut my run a mile and a half short and end at 5.5 miles!

Even though I was a little short on the miles this week, I have some things to be really excited about:
  1. After next week's running, I will have run 100 miles for the month of March! This marks the first time EVER I have run 100 miles in a single month!
  2. I have now run five straight weeks of over 20 miles! I have never accomplished this as well; but, the streak will end this week with only about 14 miles planned.
  3. I completed two runs of over ten miles as well! These were the first times I had ever run in double digits!

The Trail and Treads 5K Run is now less than a week away. I am still sticking to my goal time of 26 minutes but I know I will have to run a REALLY good race to achieve it. I will be happy with a 26:30 time but I am not conceding anything just yet!

Tommorrow I will recap some of my most funny 5K race highlights from the past and review some of the past races. Congrats to Terry who completed the Knoxville marathon this weekend! Hopefully he didn't have to pas through a Mickey Dee's for a bathroom break! I am still waiting for him to post his time. I read on the Knoxnews website that it is a pretty hilly one! I might have to try and complete the half next year! I hope everyone had a great week of running!!!!

Monday, March 20, 2006


I tried doing this blog entry over the weekend. I had it all typed up and tried to insert a picture when something REALLLLY bad must have happened and I lost the entire entry! Needless to say, I didn't feel like typing it all up again, thus the delay.

Overall I had a GREAT week of running last week and I am really proud of a few of the runs in particular. Here are the numbers:

Total Miles: 26.04 miles

Avg. Pace: 9:00 min/mi

Long Run: 11.04 miles (9:34 pace) WOO HOO!

Speed Work: Pace and Speed Intervals
1/2 mile warm-up (8:56 pace)
1/2 mile PI (8:00) 1/4 break (8:56)
1/2 mile PI (8:00) 1/4 break (8:56)
1/2 mile SI (7:53) 1/4 break (8:56)
1/4 mile SI (7:46) 1/4 break (8:56)
1/4 mile SI (7:46) 1/4 break (8:56)
1/8 mile SI (7:40) 1/8 break (8:56)
1/8 mile SI (7:30)
Finished off 4 1/2 miles at 8:56 pace

Hills: skipped! (4-miler instead)

Early in the week last week, I completed a 3 mile tempo run to get an estimate of where I am in my training. I completed the run on a treadmill, but I ran it in 24:56 - first time under 25 minutes in a loooooooooooooong while! I'm going to have to really kick it up on race day if I want to break 26 minutes. But I probably shouldn't have done the tempo run Monday, because I was really sore Tuesday and had to skip my hard hill workout, doing an easy 4-miler instead.

I rebounded strongly on Thursday with a good interval workout, going as fast as a 7:30 pace. I was able to manage a 9:00 pace in between intervals, which helped my overall time for the 4 1/2 mile run (37:46 total - 8:23 pace).

I was excited about my long run Saturday. It was another attempt to go further than this body has ever gone before! I actually felt really good during the 11 mile run, running it at a 9:34 pace which, for me, is just plain cool! I became a little fatigued at around mile 7 or 8 and took a chocolate caffeinated Power Gel. It went down a whole lot better than the jelly beans last week and I felt a good rush of energy about a mile later.

I almost had the CRAP scared out of me with just a few miles to go! It was a section that I have to run WITH traffic as there is no shoulder on the other side of the road. A dump truck came barreling close to me and sent me skirting to the deep grass! It probably wasn't THAT close but it was loud enough to seem like it was going to steam roll me like a cartoon animal.

With a mile left in the run, two old ladies slowed down and tried to ask me for directions. Trying to avoid another stoppage like last week, I just smiled as wide as possible and kept on going! I felt soooo bad to turn down a sweet old lady that looked like Aunt Bee and hope she and her friend didn't get too awful lost! But I was flirting with a 9 1/2 minute pace!!! :-) Believe it or not, I actually thought about adding on another 2 miles to call it a half marathon. The fear of possible injury and the desire to keep my strong pace kept me to my plan.

I actually joined the polar bear club soon after my run! I have read in the past that some marathoners soak in ice baths after their race to limit soreness and thought I would give it a try. After a few minutes of stretching I ran an ice cold bath and sat in it for 20 minutes. I was a little worried about the...well...you GUYS know what I'm talking about! But after I got used to it, it was actually refreshing! I can't say it helped a WHOLE lot with soreness but I think I noticed a difference.

There is only two weeks left to the first race of the year: The Trail and Treads 5K Run. I will reduce my mileage a little this week and focus more on speed before tapering the following week. I hope everyone had a great week of running!!!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006



I know I really should not have pushed it yesterday with a tempo run, what with my long run Saturday and all. But I really wanted to see where I was tempo-wise and it was, after all, on "The Plan". I was pretty happy with my pace yesterday in my 3-miler (8:20) but a little worried because it was difficult to achieve. I only have a couple of weeks and it is going to be hard to maintain that same pace on the "skreets".

So this morning, I felt the soreness more so than I have in a while. My calves were tight and my shins stung to the touch. I don't think this is shin splints - just a reflection of overuse. I've had shin splints before and this hurts more when I touch them - like they are real sensitive. The shin splints I've had in the past hurt primarily when I ran. Of course, it could be my shoes beginning to break down as well. I currently have 323 running miles on them! :-)

All this being said, I skipped the hills segment of my training this week. That's right; I diverged from the plan. But I think it was for the best. The last thing I want is an injury. Tomorrow I plan to avoid any cardio and take a full rest day. Then it is on to some serious speed training on Thursday! I have a lot to do if I want ANY chance of breaking 26 minutes come April 1st!

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Week 3 "in the books"!

Week three of "The Plan" is in the books and it was another TOUGH week. In fact, it hit me that I had almost run the length of a marathon over the course of my running this week - farther than I have EVER run in a week before! Here are the numbers and some highlights from the week:

Total Miles: 26.1 miles

Avg. Pace: 9:17 min/mi

Long Run: 10.1 miles

Speed Work: Pace and Speed Intervals - 2 x .50 (7:53 pace), 2 X .25 (7:40), 1 X.15, 1 X .25 (7:30)

Hills: 4 X 2 min. at 4 % incline

Tuesday was a big day as I not only completed a hard hill workout but sprinted a 1/2 mile later in the day and rode my bike to the park. I plan to push up to a 5 % incline this next Tuesday.

Thursday I had to walk a little in between the speed intervals but was able to push the pace more. I may back off the pace a few seconds so I won't have to walk this next Thursday.

Saturday was the first time I have ever run over 8.5 miles - the first time in double digits for me! I was happy with the effort despite my pace being slower than I had expected. But I think there are a few reasons for this, including the longer distance of course.

It was a lot hotter than what I have been running, reaching 77 degrees toward the end of the run. Now I know this isn't really that hot but it is a sudden change of about 25 degrees than what my body is accustomed to running, so it sure felt a lot hotter!

I also wanted to try a different route this week to take in some new scenery. I mapped out a different course but included several more hills in doing so. the long run course I had been running is pretty flat. But here is a map of the course:

There were some interesting things that happened on my long run Saturday. I was already feeling it after only a mile and a half. I really pushed it this week and was realizing it as I was just starting off this long run. After mile 3, I saw the anchorman for the local t.v. news. He was really nice and waved. I could hear him say hello even as I listened to my podcast loudly. Then something really funny happened.

After 3 1/2 miles, I was running through a nice neighborhood when a car with two ladies drove by me (going the other direction). I soon heard someone yelling, "Mista! Mista!" I turned around and one of the ladies was chasing after me! I stopped and turned around thinking, at first, that I had dropped something. Before she got to me I had surmised that she was going to ask for directions but I was wrong again!

She asked me, "Are you a lawya?"

"What?" I asked, not sure I was understanding the question.

"Are you a lawya cause I needs me a good lawya to get my babies back!"

By this time I had turned back around and was walking fast in the direction I had been heading.

"No." I replied, "I don't really even know any lawyers." She was persistent though. (I have to give her that.)

"Well, I needs me a good lawyer with an adoption case I'm in and I don't know how to find one." I told her to look in the yellow pages, which looking back at it, was probably just too obvious to blurt out. She replied, "No. I needs a GOOD lawyer cause I got a tough case. Let me tell you about it."

"Oh great. Here we go!" I thought, all the time wondering if I should just start back running.

She proceeded to tell me that a few years ago she was put in jail on drug charges for three years and gave up her "babies" for adoption. She said the adoptive "auntie" won't let her see them now and she would have "never signed those papers if I knew she wasn't going to let me see my babies". She needs a good lawyer, she said, because of her "bad past". She needs one that will help her get her babies back.

I tried to be nice but we talked for at least three minutes, which had to really hurt my pace for the long run! In an even more bizarre fashion, she ended up video-taping me using her cell phone when I gave her the number of the local family resource center that might find someone to help her. After she finally walked away, I continued on and met a biker coming down the rode who smiled with a smile like, "Yeah buddy, she hit me up too just up the road!"

Although I had to slow way down for this conversation, I noticed I felt rejuvenated as I began to run again. I was really enjoying the run through this neighborhood, looking at and admiring different houses. Tupelo is weird in how you can cross one road and go from million dollar houses to houses costing less then $60,000.

After mile 6, I reached back into my Camelbak pocket and got one of my packs of Sport beans.I have not used these before and they tasted a lot like sugary gatorade. I liked the taste but I think I will stick to GU because I really didn't like the effort I had to put into chewing these things while I was breathing hard.

After about 7 1/2 miles I had to walk for about a minute. I knew I was about to hit some main roads and wanted to be able to pick up the pace a bit.

I actually had to do about a mile and a half loop in my neighborhood to complete the 10 miles. This was hard when I was soooo tired and knew my house was soooo close! But I did the loop and completed my run! I will have to say that I don't feel much different than I did after my 8.5 miler last week.

I think I will work even harder and do another 10-miler next week before tapering a little for the race on April 1st. I hope everyone had a great week of running!

Monday, March 06, 2006

The Sanity of Running

A lot of people who haven't seen me in a while notice my weight loss and
ask me how I did it. I tell them about how I get up early and run every
morning and eat a lot healthier, at least during the week. ;- ) Almost
inevitably they reply that they could never get up that early to exercise
and can't fit it in anywhere else in their schedules.

I am not a morning person either. If I am honest, I prefer sleeping in a
warm bed to running out in the cold any day. I have noticed, however, that
with my persistent efforts, it really has become easier for me to
accomplish the goals I have set for myself. In addition, my continued
efforts at running - increasing my miles - increasing my pace - has helped me
to increase my ability to run.

Many of you may have heard the ol' definition of insanity as "doing the same
thing over and over but expecting a different result" . I don't know how
exactly but after I completed my run this morning, it hit me how running is
a lot like the reverse of that truth. In fact, it brings to remembrance a
quote I've heard, "That which we persist in doing becomes easier for us to
do; not that the nature of the thing itself has decreased; but out power to
do it has increased".

Therein lies the Sanity of Running . By doing something with increasing
effort over and over again, it becomes easier. It becomes habit. While to
some, getting out of bed at 5 am may seem pretty insane, I feel pretty
insane if I don't so it each day.

I can't really imagine running 26.2 miles at one time! The longest I have
ever run is the 8.5 miles I did last Saturday. Yet, I can still remember
when a 4-miler was my long run. I completed a 4-miler as my easy run this
morning. :-) So I will keep treading on, continuing my sanity of running,
looking forward to the day when marathon miles actually seem in reach!

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Trails & Treads 5K Run

My wife and I received our applications for the 2006 Trail and Treads 5K run here in Tupelo, Mississippi. For all of you who have never been to Tupelo, Trails & Treads is a local outdoors sporting goods store - sort of like a really small version of an REI store. They took over this race last year, which was simply called the Heart Run in the past. This year, all proceeds benefit the Health Care Foundation of North Mississippi.

It is your typical out-and-back 5K course, very flat, not too much scenery really. It starts and ends below the Wellness Center where I work out. I had planned on running it last year and would have been looking at breaking 30 minutes then. However, I came down with plantar fascilitis in the weeks before and couldn't run. I kept the shirt though, as it is one of the finest you'll get for any race - a long sleeve technical brooks running shirt.

This year I hope to break 26 minutes! I have more hard work to put in over the next few weeks to try and accomplish this goal but I'm feeling pretty good about it right now. If any of you are going to be around here on April 1st, here's a link to the race application or shoot me a comment and I'll be happy to give you more information. I hope everyone is having a great weekend!

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Week 2: Check!

Week 2 of "the plan" is in the books and MAN was it a week! Honestly, this is probably the hardest I have trained in one week and I felt it in today's long run. Here's the numbers:

Total Miles: 24.5 miles

Avg. Pace: 8:56 min/mi

Long Run: 8.5 miles

Speed Work: Pace Intervals - 2 x (.50, .25, .15) at 7:53 pace

Hills: 3 X 2 min. at 4 % incline

I didn't feel I pushed that hard in Tuesday's hill session so I ran a 2-mile tempo run on Wednesday. I felt missing that rest day for the remainder of the week! Thursday's speed session was hard but I was able to quicken my pace a few seconds. This coming week will start "speed intervals" and I hope to rachet it up another notch!

I felt the miles in today's long run! I was able to hit my goal distance at an okay pace and used my Camelbak Alterra today to hydrate. I also used my injinji socks and I am blister free! (That's one in the picture to the side.) I have what feels like gas pains in my lower stomach. I don't know if it is just my "inners" getting used to all the pounding, my lack of discipline in doing stomach crunches, or maybe it's just both. Maybe one of you experienced runners could give me some feedback here.

Next week is my third week of "the plan", and I will do a little more hill work and will start speed intervals... but I plan to take that rest day! I hope everyone had a great week of running!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006


I was listening to a podcast yesterday about running (Runcast Weekly) and the author recorded himself running a marathon. He discussed how he was feeling after each mile and it was interesting to hear. At about mile 15 he thought he was going to have an unbelievable time but hit the wall soon after, finishing well behind what he had been thinking earlier.

It was then I started thinking about how our success in such races is only a reflection of the work we put into training in the weeks leading up to the race. My thought progression led quickly to the fact that I had not really pushed myself TOO hard in the hills segment I ran just an hour earlier. I mean....come on Shane! Hard days are supposed to be hard!

So when I woke up today I decided to do a tempo run instead of resting. Sure I may pay for it later but I still pretty good! I wanted to do two miles at my race day pace and went through it with no problems. In fact, I felt pretty good - like I could have finished a third mile at that pace!

So tomorrow is my speedwork day - "pace intervals"! Now, these are not meant to be as fast as the speed intervals I will start next week. But to really push myself, I think I will raise the bar a notch and do them at about a 7:50 pace instead of the 8:00 I have been doing the last couple of weeks. I will let you know how it went later!