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)

Monday, July 31, 2006


I need help in figuring out what I need to do with my long run leading up to a 14.2 mile race on Sunday, September 3rd. Keep in mind that I plan to taper the week after the race and then shoot my miles back up with a marathon in mind for December 3rd. I will focus more on finishing the race than anything but I would like to finish in 2:15 if I can!

I have listed the long runs from the previous weeks below and have three scheduling scenarios I am considering for my long runs to come. I would appreciate some input on which scenario you think is best or any other ideas you may have.

Previous long runs and weekly mileage:

July 1 Long run – 9.0 Pace – 10:32 Weekly Mileage – 25.0 total

July 8 Long run – 10.0 Pace – 9:50 Weekly Mileage – 26.5 total

July 15 Long run – 10.0 Pace – 10:19 Weekly Mileage – 27.5 total

July 22 Long run – 12.0 Pace – 9:55 Weekly Mileage – 28.0 total

July 30 Long run - 13.5 Pace – 10:10 Weekly Mileage – 31.5 total

Here are the three different scenarios:

Scenario # 1:

Saturday, August 5th – 14.5 miles

Saturday, August 12th – 15 miles

Saturday, August 19th – 16 miles

Scenario # 1 maximizes my long run mileage so the 14.2 mile race won’t be as close to my endurance limit. Hopefully that would help me run a bit quicker pace to snag a better time.

Scenario # 2:

Saturday, August 5th – 12 miles

Saturday, August 12th – 14.5 miles

Saturday, August 19th – 12 miles

Scenarios # 2 keeps my miles at (or near) my current endurance limit, minimizing injury risk and basically giving me a 2-week taper leading up to race day.

Scenario # 3:

Saturday, August 5th – 14.5 miles

Saturday, August 12th – 15.5 miles

Saturday, August 19th – 12 miles

Scenario # 3 is basically a compromise of 1 and 2. It pushes my endurance level but gives me a better taper leading up to the race.

Right now I am leaning toward # 3 but would love your input. I am still new at this, especially at these mileages. I know that listening to my body is foremost but I like having a plan to try and go by.


Finally, just how long of a taper run should I schedule for a 14.2 mile race? I know I will have to do my taper on Friday, August 25th because I will be going out of town on Saturday for a whitewater rafting trip and figure I will be too tired to run on Sunday. I was thinking 10 miles but I didn’t know if that is too long and should go 8 miles instead. Advice on this would be appreciated as well!

Shane Runs A Half-Marathon!

Actually, 13 ½ miles! (Give me credit for that extra quarter mile)

I am training for the Tupelo 14.2 miler on September 3rd and this weekend came time to push my long run to the half-marathon mark. My longest previous run is 12 miles and I have only run double digits a hand full of times. The run would not only be my longest to date but also completes the first time I have run more than 30 miles in a week.

I left the house at about 6:05 am. I had my camelbak fully loaded with water, two powergels, and a cell phone. At about 3 miles I noticed I was feeling a bit sluggish and slowed my pace slightly. To this point I had averaged 9:30 minute miles, which I knew was a bit too fast. Keeping a slow and steady pace was important because I wanted to make sure and complete the entire run without needing to walk.

I felt my pace quicken as I ran through downtown. I just added this section to my long runs so it feels fresher and I really enjoy the scenery. I took in my first powergel at about 5 miles but had a little trouble getting it open. I had timed the run so I could throw the wrapper in a trash bin on the sidewalk so I had to slow my pace to try and tear into it so I wouldn’t pass the can!

I think it was around 7 miles that I noticed I was running way too slow and tried to pick up the pace. Without paying attention, I had slowed down listening to my podcast and had drifted into a slow jog. A mile later I went into the section that includes three large hills. The first two actually felt good and the extra work resulted in me powering down the backsides. The third one was pretty tough and I took in my second powergel right after -- at about 9 miles.

At 10 miles the sun really started to bear down and the temperature was rising fast. Despite the last powergel, I could feel myself getting weaker and I took more frequent sips from my camelbak. I knew my pace had drifted around the 10 minute per mile mark but I was afraid pushing it more may have resulted in a need to walk so I didn’t even focus on pace.

The last mile and a half was pretty difficult. I knew I was running longer than I ever have and the thought of finishing is about all that kept me going the last mile. It was hot and my camelbak was dry. However, I can’t say I was struggling too bad. I felt a slight queasiness and was tired, of course; but otherwise I was doing okay. I was not lightheaded or dizzy or anything like that. I have witnessed runners at races coming in on a half marathon and stumbling all over the place. I was nothing like that. I was steadily plodding along at a slow methodical pace.

I used the google map pedometer to measure 13.5 miles to the exact driveway. There were a couple little hills in the last ½ mile and then I had the drive in sight! After finishing, I took my ipod off and undid my camelbak belt. “13 ½ miles”, I thought to myself. I did it!
The time was just over 2 hours and 17 minutes. I was a little disappointed that I finished above a 10 minute pace but was more pleased to have completed the distance without walking a step. No, there was no finish line. There was no crowd to cheer me in, but I felt accomplished just the same.

My family cheered for me when I came into the house and I immediately ran water so I could collapse in a cold ice bath. I drank some Gatorade I had left over and my wife made me my favorite recovery drink – chocolate milk (fat free of course). I was not able to relax too much because I had to get ready soon after my bath so we could get to Sunday School on time.

I am still a little sore today. The easy 3-miler this morning was not too easy because of the soreness and I reminded myself that this was my punishment for oversleeping on Thursday. As a result, I am pretty tight and have to hobble a little if I I’ve been sitting too long. I am going to try and find some Advil and, hopefully, I will be ok by the time I do my intervals in the morning!

I am going to blog later tonight and need some advice. I have three long runs left (not including my taper run) and I’m not quite sure what distances to choose. I have a few scenarios in my head and hopefully some of you can help me decide. Until then…

Friday, July 28, 2006

Emotionally Addicted

I woke up bright and early this morning and this time I did not listen to the little red devil on my shoulder suggesting I take a few more minutes to wake up on the couch! I noticed yesterday that missing the day of running put a cloud on my entire day. While I am definitely not addicted to waking up every morning by 5:15 am, I am at least emotionally addicted to running itself. Yesterday reminded me of this fact!

Despite my overtime on the couch and normal intake of morning caffeine, I was grumpy and irritable throughout the day yesterday and pretty sleepy as well. Someone came to my office yesterday and I was trying to explain how I don’t feel myself anymore when I’m not running. Today I ran 5.5 miles and I feel SOOO much better and more energetic than I did this same time yesterday! That probably doesn’t make sense to anyone but us runners!

It felt great to hit the track again today! I could tell my body was geared up for it as well. I warmed up for a 1/2 mile in about 4:45 and then did a 5-mile tempo run in 44:27. My goal was to average 9 min miles. I went a little slow the first mile and should have remembered that a 9 min/mile pace is not THAT comfortable for me! But I did okay the rest of the way and actually had my fastest mile for mile 5! Here were the splits:

Mile 1 -- 9:14
Mile 2 -- 8:52
Mile 3 -- 8:48
Mile 4 -- 8:53
Mile 5 -- 8:40

It may work out great that I will do my long run on Sunday this week. The weather forecast indicates a heavy chance of thunderstorms on Saturday that would have probably nixed my long run. There’s still a chance on Sunday but it is an isolated chance so hopefully I will be okay. I hope everyone has a great weekend! I will blog again Sunday to let you know how the 13.5 miler went!

Thursday, July 27, 2006


I did the unthinkable today. I overslept and missed my run!

I’m not using it as an excuse but I played racquetball after work yesterday for an hour and a half so I was pretty tired when I went to bed. This morning I woke up after the third snooze and went into the living room. Maybe you have been there. You are half awake and still REALLY tired. The couch had a throw blanket lying on it from the night before and looked SOOO inviting! The thought crept into my clouded mind, “I’ll just lie down for JUST a few minutes to relax and wake up slowly.” And once lying down comfortably under the blanket, “I’ll close my eyes for JUST a second. ………zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.”

Then I was gone into dreamland. I woke up an hour later – time enough to get ready for work but no time to run. I had missed not only a run, but also one of my important tempo runs. As I got ready this morning, I became more and more angry with myself. Today is my “late day” because I teach two anger management classes at the local family resource center after work. (Sure, start dispensing the Jack Nicholson jokes now.) I don’t get home until after 8 and I am too wasted to think about running.

I packed my workout bag and running clothes and brought them to work with me but I am not sure why. I am way too busy to get in a run at lunch. I will just have to reschedule things I guess. Therefore, I will do my 5.5 mile tempo run tomorrow, 3 mile easy run Saturday morning and the 13.5 long run early Sunday morning. I don’t really like running on Sundays but I have found I don’t have to deal with traffic as much that early in the morning. Another drawback is I won’t have an off day after the long run. To get back on track, I will have another easy run Monday, intervals on Tuesday, and THEN the off day on Wednesday.
This running stuff definitely helps you become more disciplined. It gets downright frustrating to miss a run because you were lazy!

Monday, July 24, 2006

12 miles and countin!

12 miler on Saturday -- check
Longest run to date -- check
faster than a 10 min/mi pace -- check

Yes, with a little more planning and a little luck with the weather, my run went well this weekend. I didn't try to push the pace at all and made it in at a 9:55 pace for my longest run ever to date!

Friday night I ate some homemade spaghetti and a bowl of Grape Nuts Trail Mix cereal before bedtime. I went to bed at about 10:00 and set the alarm for 5:45 am. I was up and at it by 5:50 but I didn't rush things. I had a half a cup of coffee and filled my camelbak. (Yes, I just can't resist the ease of water riding on my hips -- at least it is the runner's version).

I bought two powergels the night before and loaded them in the camelbak along with my cell phone. I had mapped out a little bit of a different route that took me to downtown Tupelo and around the old historic courthouse. I got out the door at 6:20 and it was a bit warmer than I anticipated.

The run went fairly well. I had to battle diarrhea off and on from miles 5 to 9. I am not sure what that is about unless it was the Grape Nuts the night before. I took my first powergel at around 4 miles and the second around 8 1/2. I made sure to get the ones with caffeine, as they seem to give me a bit more spunk.

I had a semi-close call with a car but, otherwise, the run went great! The only concern as I type this on Monday night is a pain on the bottom/side of my left foot about two inches below my pinkie toe. This has been bothersome lately but has seemed to get a little worse with the longer runs. I am not sure what it is. My shoes currently have 257 miles on them so I wouldn't think they are wearing down yet. It is not like the plantar fascillitis I dealt with a year and a half ago either. I am going to keep an eye on it.

This week I have 31.5 miles planned with a 13.5 mile run scheduled for Saturday! After that I am going to want a little feedback on where I should go with my long runs and when I should taper (and how long of a taper run). I hope everyone is having a great week running!!!

Friday, July 21, 2006

Floyd and Me

"Floyd and Me"

That is a title of a post I had planned Wednesday night after American Floyd Landis bonked BIG TIME in the Tour de France, losing his race lead by an insurmountable 8 minutes. My mind went back to my bonk on Saturday and a pretty lousy run on Tuesday. I had planned a 6 miler on Tuesday but my legs felt sluggish and it was just too hot. I quit after only 3 miles!

The next night I turned on the Tour de France. I have been captured by the Tour for several years now and was looking forward to watch yet another American pull away from the European crowd. To this point everyone agreed Floyd Landis was the man to beat and many of his competitors seemed to already concede victory.

Then came the collapse.

Floyd Landis suddenly looked human. Very human. On the last climb of the day he lost a minute for every kilometer of the race - more than 8 minutes overall. He cracked. He looked embarrassed. Pulling his radio earbud out of his ear out of frustration, he looked human. He looked a little like me.

I went to bed disappointed and sad. You could see the disappointment all over Floyd’s face - the shamed glances to the crowd surrounding the mountainous incline. I could only imagine the French papers making fun of the American. He had lost the race on one day! That is when the thought of a blog entry came to mind. "Floyd and me"- the two bonkers. One and the same except for one of us is much more incredibly fit and famous than I can ever hope to be.

The only thing is our internet is out at our house. In fact, I am in a coffee shop right now because it is STILL out. I didn't get a chance to post my tongue-in-cheek analogy.

Then came Thursday.

In what experts on the Tour is calling the most glorious one day performance ever, Floyd Landis pulled away on the first climb of the day and never looked back, CRUSHING his competitors in a way that few have ever done. It was pure drive and determination. In one day, he bested his closest rival by 7 1/2 minutes, only 30 seconds out of the lead! He is now very much in the race and has his sights on winning in Paris on Sunday. It blew me away and inspired me at the same time!

It really impacted me way more than Lance’s consistent victories year after year. He had ever reason to give up, but instead he just gave it much more. Maybe me and Floyd aren't exactly alike, but he showed me that bad days don't count. Finishing well does!

I have a 12-miler planned tomorrow. Wish me luck!

Sunday, July 16, 2006


Yesterday's run was to complete my week's running. After a strong 10-miler last week, I decided to shoot for 11.5 miles - the longest I have ever run. I started my run at about 7 am and it was already pretty hot. At about 3 miles, I could tell it was going to be a hard run. My legs felt a bit sluggish and the sun bearing down made the heat difficult. I took in a powergel at about 5 miles and immediately felt nauseous. It went away after a minute or so but I was wondering if I would need to call my wife to come get me only about 2 miles later! I decided to tough it out to the end, even if I had to slow my pace or even if I had to walk. At about 9.2 miles I started feeling very nauseous and my camelbak was dry. I came to a hill and walked for about 3 minutes. I felt a little better and began jogging again but when I turned into my neighborhood and knew I was at 10 miles, I decided it was time to stop. I walked the rest of the way to my house.

I am not too disappointed with the effort, even though I really HATE bonking and not completing a planned run. At least my week's totals were a mile further than last week. The 10 miler this week though, felt much tougher than the one last week's. I think the main reason was the heat. It reached 92 degrees during the run and there was no wind and not a cloud in the sky. It felt MISERABLE out there and only contributed to the miserable run. But there were a few other reasons as well:

1. My work scheduled did not permit me to do a moderate run on Tuesday so I had to rearrange my runs. My last off day was Tuesday so my legs felt sluggish despite the easy run the day before.

2. The week before I had a perfect pre-race evening meal with pasta and marinara sauce and a green salad. This week I ate sushi, which I don't think had as many carbs. I rationalized it by eating a half of a box of Sugar Babies at the movies.

3. We watched Pirates of the Caribbean Friday night (which was TERRIBLE by the way) and stayed up until past midnight. I know this was a really bad idea the night before a run.

4. I forgot to eat breakfast or anything. I was so focused on getting out of the door as soon as I could, I didn't eat anything. My online log says I burned off 1400 calories during the run so a powergel was probably not enough. Any advice from Phil or Terry on eating before a really early long run? :-)

5. Lastly, I think my camelbak has a leak. It dripped on the back of my legs the first half mile and seemed to run out too quickly. I am going to examine it sometime this afternoon because aqua is definitely important!

I will try to correct some things and go longer next week. I am actually still on track with the plan, despite not meeting the revised goal of a 11 1/2 miler. I hope everyone else's weekend runs went better than mine!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Visit with the Nutritionist !

Monday evening I went to the Wellness Center to ask about seeing a nutritionist. It is free as a member and she happened to have an open appointment that evening. I have been SOOOO frustrated about yo-yo-ing around 190 pounds that I was ready to go on an eating tear! I actually showed a weight gain Monday morning despite all the running and biking over the weekend. It was not like I had splurged or anything so it wasn't making sense to me. I felt a bit silly going but it WAS free and I was pretty frustrated.

We started out discussing my frustrations and I gave her a run down of a typical day's food intake for the ol' deep south runner. Yes, I told her of my occasional tendency....well.......frequent tendency to throw down on cold cereal at night. Especially when the kids happen to have a box of those Chocolate Lucky Charms! MMMMMMMM.

Anyways.....Lost my train of thought. She actually said that I am not eating enough throughout the day. My body thinks I may starve and its metabolism slows down. I am so busy at work I don't realize it, but at night I get REALLY hungry! Therefore, I overeat at night without realizing it. Even though the food I overeat on is not terribly unhealthy, I am eating more than I realize.

She then went into portion sizes and gave me an example of a 2000 calories diet. She said this is the amount of calories I need to take in for my activity level to lose weight gradually. Although it has only been two days, I did actually feel better and I am not as hungry at night.

I poured a bowl of Grape Nut Trail Mix cereal (one of my healthy favorites) last night but used a measuring cup. Boy was I surprised to see how 3/4 of a cup only takes up such a small space in my bowl! I have been eating 2 1/2 cups some nights!

I am going to give this a try for a while -- eating more at breakfast, a snack in between meals, and more at lunch and see how it goes.

As far as the running goes: I wasn't able to run Tuesday due to my work schedule so I took an easy day and did my intervals this morning. This will mean two harder days in a row so we will have to see how that goes. My interval running went pretty well but my STUPID watch didn't work and I don't have an exact readout of the intervals. GRRRRRR!!!!
I am feeling pretty good tonight though and I am looking forward to the long run this weekend! (At least right now anyway). :-)

Saturday, July 08, 2006


I guess you can say I have experienced "blogger block" the last few days since it seems I haven't been able to post. It even took me a while to finally get my hiking pictures up. Thankfully though, I have not let up on my running! If you are just tuning in, I am training to run my 1st race over a 10K distance and, actually, only my second race over 4 miles. I will be running the Tupelo 14.2 miler on September 3rd. Of course, I am not looking to win or anything. Finishing is more in line with my goals!

I would like to finish somewhere in the middle of th pack. I can't find the full results broken down by age group from last year, but with the time I am tagerting (2:15 - 2:25), I should finish somewhere mid-pack overall. If you want to read some comments about the overall race, click here. (This is the marathon guide website and you can find comments about a lot of races on their website.)

I finished a 10-miler this morning! It went a LOT better than the 9-miler last Saturday when I procrastinated watching the Tour-de-France and ran when it was way too hot. Last week my pace was well over 10 minute miles but this week I managed running at a 9:50 pace. I didn't really try to push the pace and felt strong throughout the run!

I am still a little worried about possible injuries as I reach the 30 mile a week mark. It was then that I got my last injury that plagued me in the weeks leading up to the Gum Tree 10K. I have felt better since taking Phil's advice to slow down on easy runs so hopefully I will be okay. You can check out my race log with the link on the side bar or here is my summary totals. I hope you have a great weekend!!!

Total Miles: 26.5

Long Run: 10 Miles 1:38:11 (9:50 pace)

Tempo Run: 5 miles 44:43 (8:57 pace)

Intervals: 4 x 1/2 mile repeats at 7:30 - 8:40 pace
(5.5 total including warm-up, recovery, and cooldown)

Two easy days of 3 milers at 9:30 pace

(I also strength trained 3 days and mtn biked 2.)

More Pictures

Here is one I took from sitting on top of the bunion:

And one more with another good view:

I hope you enjoyed them!!!

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Finally! Hiking Pictures!!!

I finally made the time to get some pictures uploaded from my 8 mile hike on the Appalachian Trail. My computer cooperated this time so I hope you enjoy seeing some of the sights! Above is one of the signs we encountered almost 2 miles into the hike. It didn't tell us how much farther we had to go but we estimated about 2 1/2 more miles.

You can't tell too much from the picture but parts of the trail were almost surreal. It actually felt like we were in one of the Lord of the Rings movies expecting to hear "Froto! Froto!"

I believe this was called the Clearwater Spring Shelter. There were a few people taking their time and resting when we checked it out. It actually seemed nicer than I expected but I would be scared to death to spend the night in one of these places! We knew we were getting close to the Bunion when the trees opened up to this view:

Charles Bunion is definately a place you do not want to visit if you are afraid of heights. There are cliffs with drop-offs of several hundred, perhaps thousands of feet. It was a hazy day but still beautiful! Pictures can't really capture the views but here a few I took:

For some reason I can't get any other pictures to load in this post. I will try doing another one.