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)

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

20 miles!!


20 miles!!!!

So THAT is what it feels like!

I feel like I have entered into the “big boy” miles now! Those 20 miles were NOT easy! I am not sure why, but 20 miles seemed a few notches more difficult than the 18 I completed two weeks ago.

I started off the morning with 2/3 of a powerbar and packed three gels into my camelbak that was full of water. Due to a combination of weather and oversleeping, I was not able to run as much last week, logging only 12 miles during the week. That may be the contributor to my sluggish feeling as I started the run, a sluggish feeling that never quite went away.

I used the google pedometer to map out the route. It is essentially the same route as usual with extensions to meet the distance. I mapped out a small loop in a side neighborhood and it turned out it had a couple of nice gradual hills to run through. The weather was in the mid 40’s when I started. I was dressed perfectly for those temperatures but later in the run (3 ½ hours later) I was burning up!

I was not worrying about pace but, at 10 miles, I was disapointed that I was running about 10:24 a mile. I had not paid any attention and had not wanted to run over a 10-minute mile. I knew that I did not need to try to pick up the pace at that point because I was not really feeling up to it.

After about 2 ½ hours, the miles seemed to be passing more slowly. Partially, I was just bored. Three hours is a long time to be out pounding a road. At about 15 miles my route took me past my neighborhood. I had a tempting thought to just turn right and end my run early. I quickly dismissed it from my mind.

Three miles later, my route took me by my house for a 2 miles loop through the neighborhood to complete the run. At this point I was just hanging on. Quitting was not an option but pace was no concern. I had to keep reminding myself of the short distance left when my wife drove slowly by on her way to church and encouraged me.

I took off my camelbak and gave it to my wife. I told her I was struggling to finish the last mile and she stayed with me and talked me through it. It was a big help and I did make it! 20 miles! It felt like it too! I finished the run in 3:35:58, with a pace of 10:48 per mile. I came into the house, showered and got dressed, and made it to Sunday School before the teacher had started the lesson.

If I had any grandeur thoughts of a fantastic time for the marathon, they were squelched from my mind this weekend. This marathon will be about finishing. Future marathons may include talk of time goals but this one is just about going the distance. In two weeks, I will find out what 22 miles feels like!!!

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

100th Post!

TA DA!! This is my 100th post on this running blog! I think that is pretty cool! I’m a little late writing my summary of last week’s running. Things have been SOOO busy lately that I am actually writing this at work! (shhhhhh)

I have not been getting the miles I had planned during the week lately but at least my long runs are going on as scheduled. This past Sunday I completed a 13 miler that went pretty well. I pushed the pace a little bit but not enough that I was ever running uncomfortably. I finished the run at a time of 2:06:20 or a 9:44 per mile pace.

I have found it easier to dial down the miles during the week to help me recover from the long runs. My weekly mileage has been down in the low 30’s as a result but I am feeling pretty good. I still have to ice frequently for my PF and left ankle. I really try to dig into the bottom of my foot with my ice block and it tends to help. Those tendons in my left foot are still pretty tight.

This week I have a 6 miler on Thursday, will probably do an easy 4 on Friday, and then a 20-miler on Sunday! (The longest run of my life to date.) On my long run last weekend I realized that I run by several significant historical sights in my hometown of Tupelo, Mississippi – if you liked Elvis Presley that is. I will try to give you a run down on that later. Have a great week!!!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


Last week a day in history passed that no one even noticed. Not even me.

Monday, a week ago, was the One-Year Anniversary for the Running in the Deep South blog by yours truly! Yep, one year ago I posted on how I got started running and got this very blog started at the same time.

I can't say that the writing has gotten any better but my running sure has! That week I was planning for a 5K and ran a grand total of 13 miles! The Saturday before I completed a 4-mile "long run" and actually wore my camelbak to stay hydrated! Ha Ha Ha!!! I have to say that I am almost as proud that I have stuck to blogging as running! Usually my efforts at such ventures fall by the waist side after a couple of days!

My first blog entry elicited an actual comment by famed trail runner Scott Dunlap! (He knows Kristen Armstrong personally ya know!) I haven't heard from him since but I have gained some readers over this first year that leave me great feedback and encourage me on a consistent basis. I want to thank Phil, Terry, Jim, Michele, Leonard, my brother R., and parent-in-laws for their "comment support" along the way!

My next post will mark number 100 for this blog, which will probably summarize the long run this weekend. My running is going fairly well this week but I have been busy with the CCO in town at work and the weather has been bad. I hope to knock down 7 in the morning but heavy rain is projected.

I know I have let many of you down when I failed to follow through on my "fearless reviews" of running gear :-) but I thank you for sticking around! I appreciate the support as I continue my quest to complete 26.2!!!

Monday, October 16, 2006

18 miles: check!

Total miles this week: 33.6 (4 times)

Cycling: 50 minutes (Sunday)

Long run: 18.1 miles (10:19 pace)

Another long run in the books!

My wife was out of town this weekend "with the girls" so the kids and I went down to my parents and spent the night so they could watch them for my long run Saturday morning. I showed them my route the night before by driving it in the car after we had eaten out.

My mom is a chronic worrier and she was on me the entire time about how I should not be running that far. She elicited the name of Dr. Donohue, a weekly columnist in the paper who often advices his readers not to overdo it. I am serious when I say that she attempted to talk me out of the run the entire drive. In her mind, my running is only about weight loss and she insists I would do fine by running only 2 miles every day.

I didn't listen to my mom and headed out just before 7 am on Saturday morning. It was cold - in the mid 40's and I had to wear an Adidas running pull-over to keep warm. I felt pretty strong as I started. I had only run 3 times the week before. My wife encouraged me to take off Friday to give myself some rest before the long run and I think it helped. The 18 miles didn't seem any longer than the 16 last Saturday. My lower legs were hurting those last few miles but, otherwise, I felt strong.

I iced a lot Saturday and I feel like I am recovering well. I biked 50 minutes Sunday and the new muscles I am using are a bit sore but I have no muscles soreness from the run! The ligaments in my ankles are a little sore but my PF doesn't seem to be a problem at all.

It is now Monday morning. It was easy to talk myself out of running this morning. When I woke up at 5 am it was cold, windy, and pouring down rain. I told myself that I DID cross train yesterday and turned back over. At any rate, I think the extra day of rest will help me recover from the long run and I will just tack on a couple extra miles on Tuesday's and Thursday's run. This weekend it is back down to only a half marathon distance before kicking it back up to 20 miles in two weeks!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

One foot after another

I have come to that point in my marathon training where I repeatedly find myself asking the question, “Why am I doing this???”

This morning was definitely no exception. I had driven 6 ½ hours roundtrip yesterday to complete an all day training session with staff of a new program we are opening up. I didn’t run yesterday, leaving the house before 5:30 am and arriving after 8:30 pm. When the alarm went off this morning at 5:00, I hit the snooze of course. (and then again and again). But when I finally DID get up at 5:30, I asked the question again, “Why am I doing this?”

I read a few months ago that the hardest part of running a marathon is not the event itself, but the weeks of training leading up to the race. I have never been a very disciplined person. (I like to think of myself as a perfectionist who just leaves a few things undone because I don’t have time to do them right!) So sticking to this training has been really challenging. It was easier when the miles were not adding up to 35 or 40 a week and long runs were not so taxing.

I can REALLY tell that this week’s 16-miler took a lot out of me. The easy run Monday was not so easy and the 4 mile tempo run this morning was more of a struggle than a 9 minute mile at this distance is usually.

So I’m tired. And I, honestly, am not looking forward to an 18-miler sometime Saturday night or Sunday morning. I mean…18 miles!!!! 18 miles??? “Why am I doing this?” But then I remind myself that this is all an exercise in discipline and I am just going to continue plodding along – one foot after another. Seems like a good Forrest Gump quote would fit nicely here! :-)

P.S. Thanks for all the encouraging words! It helps!!!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Just about 10 miles to go for a marathon!

Week Total: 35 miles

Long run -- 16 miles

I just finished week 3 of my 11-week marathon training plan and completed the longest run of my life by going 16 miles.

I had planned to go only 15. I completed 12 last week so I mapped out a side route the night before that would add an additional 3 miles. But I forgot I had knocked off a mile the previous week because of a big dog and did not realize until a few miles into the run that I actually mapped out a 16 mile run. I decided I was going to go for it as long as I was feeling okay.

The weather cooperated with a sunny day and temps in the mid to high 40's during most of the run. I felt really good and kept a relaxed pace throughout. I didn't take in any water until about 5 miles and didn't feel I really needed the powergel I finally consumed at mile 8. I never hurt at any point in the run and finished fairly strong at the end!

I have an 18 mile run this Saturday and then begin alternating 20-milers with a half-marathon distance the following weekends. My ankle and bottom of my left foot is still a bit sore but I have started doing something that seems to help. Instead of just icing, I have taken several hot baths for about 15 minutes and then ice it afterwards. It seems to be getting better faster than it normally does.

I have a busy week next week and may have to move some of the runs around a bit. More on that later -- I hope everyone had a great weekend!

Monday, October 02, 2006

New Wheels!!!!!

Finally! The day arrived when I was able to go out and buy a road bike. I can't tell if my old Fisher Marlin trail bike is jealous or not but I'm sure it will start getting a lot less use!

After a lot of looking and reading reviews on the internet, I went with an 2007 Specialized Roubaix. They gave me a GREAT deal at a bike shop about 45 minutes from my house and the staff there were really patient with me as I tried it and several other rides in the store. It is built to be comfortable for really long rides but is light and aggressive enough for triathlons as well. It is a 30 speed that is made of lightweight aluminum and has a complete carbon fork, carbon seat stays, and carbon seat post. The shop owner thought it would work fine to install aero bars down the road if I desire but I may not worry about it since I won't be doing any serious competion.

I already have two triathlons I know I want to compete in next year. One is the Rebel Man Sprint Triathlon in Oxford, Mississippi that is held in March or April of every year. The other is the larger DragonFly Tri in Sardis, Mississippi in June. There is another sprint tri in Tupelo in August but it is a new event so I have decided on that one yet. In 2008 I would like to tackle a longer olympic distance triathlon, possible the Memphis in May tri in Memphis.

But I am SOOOO excited! I went out on a 12.5 mile ride Saturday and had a blast! I took relatively the same route that I use for long runs and it was wild to cover the same ground in 53 minutes! I was a little sore in the thighs and butt but nothing real major. I may have some more adjusting to the seat to get just the right fit but I still averaged 14 mph without really pushing and I had a lot of gas in the tank when I quit.

So you may be hearing me talk more and more about biking and thinking about tri's -- that it -- once I am able to get through a marathon! :-)

Kicking the mileage up

I finished week 2 of the marathon plan and it went a bit better than week 1. I woke up late Sunday morning and only had time for a 12 mile run. Actually, it would have been 13 but, at mile 7, I saw a HUGE dog chasing a squirrel across the street about 150 yards ahead. I don’t exactly have an aversion to dogs but I easily talked myself in going the other direction.

I felt pretty strong during most of the run but could feel myself running out of gas near the end. I think I could have easily gone an extra mile. Next week I will try a 15 miler and then 18 the week after. Then, I will alternate long runs of 20 and 22 miles with runs of half-marathon length the weekends in between.
My ankle is bothering me a little after my long runs so I have gone to my old trick of freezing coffee-size Styrofoam cups full of water. They are convenient because you just tear off the top few inches and use them to message the sore muscles (or in this case – ligaments). The speedwork tomorrow will really tell me where I am at.