1 Down, 65 More – Drawing inspiration from my son #coffeechugPLN

First day and first time in pads for Aiden.My son has helped me to jump start my brain and habits as he is doing something that I constantly preach – pushing comfort zones. He is trying out tackle football. He is young, but this is something that he wanted to pursue.

Last night was his first night with pads. I was nervous for him, but excited. After a rough start to practice the team started to adjust. Practicing in full gear is a game changer. He came to me during water break and told me the coaches were pushing him too hard. I told him that they were not because he was still accomplishing everything.

I was so proud of him last night. He is a nervous and anxious ridden kid who does not always believe in himself. When practice ended he had a smile that could not be taken away. He knew he just grew as a person and did something he did not think he could do. As a parent I so proud of him for sticking in there and doing a great job.

I wanted him to know that he is a source of motivation. As you may have noticed on this blog I have not posted much about training and exercise like I have done in the past. The reason being is that I have not exercised in a long time. I had some health issues this summer, but after several brain tests and scans they were not able to find anything and have released me to slowly begin to get back into exercise. Additionally, I was burned out and lost my motivation. This might be the first time I have admitted that despite my wife telling me this for quite some time. (Yes, she is right again!)

I told Aiden that watching him challenge himself ignited a desire to do the same for myself. I told him that I need to exercise and take care of my health as well. Today I started back.

The last time I had done any form of exercise was June 18th when I ran 4 miles. I honestly have not done anything at all since then mostly because my body was shutting down and preventing me from walking my daughter around the block.

I also knew it was time when I had to order larger pants for this school year and can barely fit into them now with a few pairs way too snug for public. This left me angry and defeated. It is hard to adjust when I know that I was pushing 150 miles of training a week and feeling great. It is a hard mental block to overcome.

Last night I realized I was neglecting my health by not exercising and eating poorly. What good am I as a father and leader when I don’t take care of myself. I was/am pouring myself so heavily into school, sharing my message of passion, and trying to be a good husband and father, that I used these as an excuse.

That is not acceptable.

After stepping on the scale and seeing a number I have never seen before left me scared. I had gained over 30 lbs from my racing weight.

It is time.

Life is about trying to keep things in perspective. You cannot balance it all because balance is a lie and cannot happen, but you must be able to get to the middle sometimes and realize you cannot live in the extremes all the time.

I also read that creating a habit takes the average person 66 days.

It has been 62 days since my last day of exercise. I would say the lifestyle of eating garbage and living in that endless cycle of unhealthiness was almost habit.

I end it today.

Motivated by my son I woke up this morning and ran. Or should I say shuffled my feet slowly for 3 miles. It was painfully slow taking me 33:30.

I cannot dwell in the past. I have to look forward. We have ups and downs. It has been an up in the sense that my son feels that he has inspired me and I love that. My children always inspire me, but I don’t know that they always feel that. Today he did. He reminded me to drink water at school as he brought water to stay hydrated. It has been good.

My goal is make this habit. One day down and 65 days to go.

Who knows what crazy goal I will tackle once I get back to where I need to be. Right now it is putting one foot in front of the other.

Thanks son!

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Hottest and Longest Run of Year To Date

After a weekend spent back in Indiana with family which pretty means eating around the clock, I woke up this morning and knew I had to get some mileage in early this week. I head to Dave Matthews Band concerts this weekend for the annual guy trip and therefore I need to get my mileage in before leaving because I doubt any running will be had while tailgating and dancing to the shows!

This morning I slept in a bit and around 9:30 I headed out. It was already a bit hot and very little breeze. I had not hydrated well all weekend so I knew I had to be careful, but also I knew I needed to get out for a longer run.

I did not feel too bad at first taking things nice and easy. My goal right now is not pace, but just getting back to enjoying running again. I have been in a year slump of hating running. I have decided to tackle the challenge of enjoying the run again and therefore I am running several times a week to get back in the flow.

As the miles went on I became hot. I soon remembered how this body does not take heat well. Around mile 5 I was able to stop at a water fountain and splash water on my face and head to cool down. This felt great. At this point I did not feel terrible.

Around mile 6 I stopped sweating which is never a good sign. I made myself finish up that mile and mile 7 I forced myself to walk .2 miles to just cool down a bit and not push too hard. I was able to finish up strong.

This was not an easy run. This is actually the longest run I have done all year. How sad is that? Here it is June already and this is my first 8 miler. Looking back on my training plans from 2011 when I ran my first marathon did help me. I was looking at things and noticed that I was not too far off in terms of training and point in the year compared to 2011 and actually this was when I started riding my bike for the first time. I was riding a Schwinn bike and only riding 4-10 miles. Despite my frustrations of not being in the shape I wanted to be in this year I have to take a step back and remember that I cannot burn myself out and was right in this spot two years ago. Baby steps is what I have take and I will slowly get myself back to where I want to be. I have to remember to keep pushing, but not to the point where I burn out and put myself back in the position I am in.

After water, smoothies, and a good lunch I will get my legs and mind ready to keep running for the next three days to get my mileage in for the week. I need to get to 26 miles. A nice easy run tomorrow and another long run Wednesday.

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Midweek Exercise Update

To help hold myself accountable I am back to sharing my exercise in the quest to get back into the shape I was once in this time last year.

Monday – I started back to running. I need to find the joy I once had with running. I think I burned myself out from running by worrying about pace and time and splits all the time. I need to get back to just remembering the simple joy of running. One foot in front of the other.

I am jumping into a marathon plan, but not worry about pace, time, or actually even running a marathon. I needed a basic structure to follow to give me some guidance.

I ran 4 miles which was a great starting distance to get back into the swing of things. It helps to have Chad running with me so we can keep things easy and allow us to just chat about stuff. This really helps pass the time and keeps you out of your own head.

Tuesday – After an open water swim Sunday I knew I had some more work to do in the pool. Swimming is probably my strongest sport right now as I  have not missed a swim workout in a while.
Today I decided to mix it up and did a workout I saw in Triathlon magazine to do something completely different from what I have been doing. This was a tough workout. I have not crossed the 3000 yard swim barrier in a very, very long time.

800 warm up – 200 free, 200 kick x2
12 x 25 on :30 working on descent of stroke count – My stroke count was high hovering at 15-16. I was able to get that down to 13-14 by the end. This is way too high.
500 – 25 fast/75 normal – This was a gasser
4 x 150 on 3:00 – I did one set free, one kick, one free, one kick to work on swimming with tired legs
500 pull with 3/5/7 breathing – I did 50 at 3 breath, 50 at 5, 50 at 7, etc. 7 was a tough. I hate that panic feeling of not having oxygen. It was good for me to work on this.
8 x 50 – 3 fast at every :50 and 4th one easy at 1:10 – It is amazing how fast the time goes between sets. I would finish roughly around 40 seconds so the 10 seconds flies by.
100 cool down kick

Wednesday – Today was another 4 mile run. Felt much better despite more humidity and heat. Feels good to get out and run. I don’t always want to do the run in the morning, but feel really good afterwards.

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Thursday Run and Friday Rest

Below you find my track run session that I did Thursday morning.

Last night I fell asleep at 8 pm. I was exhausted. I woke up this morning and instead of training like I needed to do I had to get a video all prepped for my 5th grade students that I did not get done due to falling asleep so early.

Perhaps a day of rest my first week back is a smart thing. I look forward to getting out for a longer run this weekend and hopefully getting my bike back so I can ride.

MS: 2 x 800 (2′), 1 x 1 mile (2′) @ z4/TP/Hard.
Coach Notes: WU and Main Set only. Can extend to 60′ if you feel good.

!. 800 @ 7:35
2. 800 @ 7:31
3. 1600 @ 7:33 

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Running is so hard! 18 weeks until Rev3

Got up this morning for my run.

Yep, I am sure I was not pretty looking this morning.

Run gear was a bit snug

I was breathing as if I was in labor

And I was not moving fast

And I realized I counted wrong and only have 18 weeks instead of 19 weeks until Rev3

Happy Tuesday!

My run workout today consisted of

MS: 2 x 10′ (3′) @ z3/HMP/ModHard. Remainder of time z1/LRP/Easy to z2/MP/Steady. 

I did a 10 minute warmup and then hit my strides. My Z3 is right around 7:47, but today I was happy to be right around 8 minute mile pace. It will get there. The rolling hills kick my booty today

Here is Episode 7 of the Getting It Done Journey

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Get Faster Week 2: 2 Run workouts in 12 hours

I am back in the game people!

Monday morning I got my swim on.

Monday evening before Amanda had to tutor I jumped outside and completed an interval run workout.

The workout called for
MS: 2 x 1 mile (4′) @ TP/z4/Hard. 

My zone 4 pace right now is a slow 7:35, but you have to start somewhere. Despite not being where I want things, this is far from easy for me. I did a nice mile warm up and started off. It was nice to run in the sunshine, but the wind was rough and gave me a wonderful earache afterwards.

The first mile interval I nailed running a 7:29 pace. I was right on track. I felt pretty good. I did the four minute rest and set out for the second interval. I ran 7:28, but during this mile my quads became sore and tight. I can tell I am out of shape. I knew that continuing the run for a total of 60 minutes was not in the cards for me. It is about quality over quantity at this stage in my training and no use to risk injury. I also knew I wanted to run in the morning so I cut the course short and headed home to finish under 5 miles in less than 40 minutes.

I came home and stretched, but knew I would be sore. My ankles hurt the worst! They are tender.

This morning(Tuesday) I headed to the Y for the 6B46 group run. It was just Jane and we took off and had a great talk. I had a hard time talking and breathing, but once I settled it was much better. I still am getting back in shape. My legs were sore from the run, but it felt good to battle through and loosen them up. I talked a bit about this new book out on training and fitness and we talked family life. It was a good run.

So, in less than 13 hours I knocked out two runs. I have barely ran two times in a week in the last six weeks. As the day wore on I became super sore.

Tonight I jump on the bike for a bike workout. This shall prove interesting to see how the legs adapt. A couple days of double workouts before heading out of town and giving the body a break. I forgot how sore you feel when working to get back into not only shape, but race shape. There are two major differences between the two. Each week I continue to work on better eating. I have to go in stages in order not to burn out.

I will report back in a few hours after my bike workout when the kids go to bed. Until then……..

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Run Focus Block: Week 1, Day 2 Run

Today is the second day of the 6 week run focused block of my training. I did not need to do the 5K run test as I just tested last week to end my NOS. Instead I had a 2 x 1 workout at Zone 4. My new Zone 4 pace is 6:43.

5k test for vDOT. WU: 15′ including 4 x 30″ at 5k pace.
MS: Run a 5k Time Trial. Find a relatively flat course (or track) for your test. Goal is to hold a pace you can sustain for the full duration of the test without blowing up and without having a lot left to kick at the end. The ideal course is one you can test on repeatedly. CD: Walking, jogging as needed, etc.

Note: If you don’t NEED to test, do 2 x 1 mile (4′) as your workout. 

I decided to finally suck it up and run outside. I have not ran outside this year so I thought it was time to get outdoors. IT was not too bad out. I was cold the first 10-15 minutes, but as I continued to run I warmed up just fine. I started off nice and easy running a 8:16 pace to get loose for about 11 minutes. I then moved to a stretch of road perfect to start the mile interval. I was spot on running the mile in 6:42.

I took the four minute rest going nice and easy to recover. My legs were heavy after this point, but it was soon time for the second mile interval. You can see below I ran that one in 6:36 so a bit faster. This was due to being properly warmed up and also probably a bit of small downhill descent to start the run. This helped to set the pace. I felt really good during this mile and actually overran a bit to run 1.17.

I was pretty tired and my legs were fatigued. I decided to run two more miles nice and easy to begin to build up some base and slowly expand my time on my feet. I have not ran long in a long time due to the focus being on speed. It is time to begin to slowly build.

I love my new watch! Look at all this cool data and this is not even all of it! So worth the purchase. Very happy I splurged. I hit my groove and realized I need to to work on my run. I am glad I chose the run focus because it is needed.

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Out Season Week 14: Reflection and Run Test with a Double BOOM BOOM

I finally got my butt moving for this run test. Fear is not even close to what I was feeling. I had to overcome a mental block like you would not believe.

A block knowing that I could have trained better.

A block knowing that I have been chicken to running outside since converting to treadmill training in my basement before it broke.

A block not wanting to see my final time.

A block in just not enjoying running period.

Today I got up and forced myself to the Y to run on the treadmill there. My last two run tests have been outside, but since I have been training on a TM over the last month I decided to stick with the TM. I got to the Y and after signing up for one of the new TM’s I made my way over to find a young couple taking the very one I signed up for. This made me mad, but I decided to just move to another treadmill. An older one.

I did my warm up and just was not feeling it, but tried to tell myself to get loose and focus. After one mile of gradually picking up speed, I stepped off to stretch and get ready.

I cranked the TM to 9 mph and tried to hold that pace at least until the 1.5 mile marker. That was the plan. My hamstrings felt tight, but I got into a real nice groove. A groove so nice that that TM decided to short out on me and turn off. I went from 9 mph to 0 in .5 seconds. Talk about a disruption of flow. I was about .3 of a mile in and had to quickly move to a new TM. Needless to say that a 6’4″ 220 lb man coming to an abrupt stop like that caused a lot of people to stare.

I moved down and started back up. There was about a 30 second lull in the running, but I figured that since I was only a little bit into the run it was not a big deal so I just continued forward instead of starting over. I was out of whack from this point on. I tried to maintain the 9 mph which my watch read as being sub 6:10 mile pace. I was doing good until around the 1.5 mile mark when I had to stop for a quick cramp stretch. I had a 10 second break in the action to stretch my hamstring. I know it is not recommended  but it is what it is. I had to move the pace down to about 8.5 and 8.0 mixed in back and forth to be able to finish and keep my hammie from going crazy.

In the end I hit my goal. I ran the 5K under 20 minutes. I was quite happy. I know that I would be able to do this even if I did not have to stop twice. I was at 19:28 so even if I slowed down a bit more I would have been under 20 with no stops. This was a great sign. Perhaps this is what I needed to reignite my running goals.

This is my second fastest time. Last year I ran 19:!4 at  4.21.12 : PROJECT RENEWAL 5K

I know with a bit more mileage and run focus I could get below 19:14 in a race. I need to seek out a race in about 6 weeks after this next training block of 6 weeks of run focus.

So, this is a double BOOM BOOM. I am quite happy with the results. Reaching goals is always a great feeling. The hard work and getting up every morning early has paid off.

Here is my Out Season Test Recap

Week 1: My time was 20:52 with a 6:43 pace
Week 8: My time was 20:33 with a 6:37 pace.
Week 14: My time was 19:28 with a 6:17 pace

A few things I have learned through the Out Season.

1. Mileage – I have gotten away from the notion of worrying about getting so many miles each week. Rather, I have finally begun to shift to work on the actual workout at hand. Run for 45 minutes with the intervals instead of just an easy 7 mile run. I am adapting my thought process to put in quality instead of quantity  Last year I thought the more miles, the better. It is QUALITY that matters and this Out Season has proven that idea.

2. Rest – You have to listen to your body. Even though I had workouts to do six days a week there were times when my life and schedule were just too busy to do it all. The body wears out if you don’t take care of it and sometimes that means taking an extra day here or there. The journey is long so if I have to sacrifice a workout here or there it is worth it to stay healthy and injury free.

3. Rest and Nutrition – Two more important things especially this time of year. Getting good sleep is huge. As I work on eating more balanced and eliminating foods that I don’t really need(this does not always happen :)) my sleep has improved. I realize the importance of getting enough rest. I also realize the importance of proper nutrition. They work hand in hand and do make a difference. Sometimes you don’t notice right away, but charting data long term you can see the results.

4. Spice It Up – during the Out Season I hit a low in motivation. I had to change things up. I did a CrossFit workout during my test week. Probably not the best week to do this, but it was needed. That change of pace changed everything. Sometimes we have to go against the grain, against the standard protocol and do something different to reignite our passions. I plan to do CrossFit once I am done coaching. It will be a good break of action from SBR(Swim, Bike, Run) and keep me going. The key will be balance and not wearing the body out. Don’t be afraid to try something new.

So there you have it. My first Out Season is in the books. I made massive gains that I am so proud of. I look forward to training hard and seeing where it takes me this year in my races. I will enjoy the rest of this rest week by mixing things up with some swimming and lifting and then move on to  a six week run focus training program before hitting up my Ironman training. Time to sign up for the races!

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Out Season Week 14 – Blended Run Workout

I have not ran in about two weeks due to several conflicts of schedule and a broken treadmill mixed in with sub zero temperatures.

I had the following workout to get done from earlier in the week

MS: 30′ @ EP/Z1/Easy, then 6 x 90 (2′) @ TP/Z4/Hard

I headed to the Y early this morning on my late start. I really wanted to sleep in, but I knew I had to get a run in. My hamstrings and lower back are still ungodly sore from CrossFit. I wanted to do more than just do an easy run. I needed to find out if I had anything in my tank for my test run or not. I did not want to go all out and mess things up, but I had to see if it would be wise to test soon.

I was to already have tested this week, but my schedule and lack of mojo and shifted things around. I started off running and my hammies were sore, tight, and not feeling the greatest. I started super easy below my easy pace just to loosen things up. Instead of running steady I decided to pick up the pace over time to keep things interesting. You can see what I did below. I don’t have any Garmin data as my watch has also died. I guess it is time to find more money to replace the things breaking on me! I hope my body is not next.

Here is what I got done this morning.

Mile 1: 9:09
Mile 2: 8:34
Mile 3: 8:00
Minutes 26 – 30:00 – 7:30 mile pace
Minute 30 – 32:00 – 7:00 mile pace
Minute 33:00 – 34:00 – 6:40 mile pace
Minute 34:00 – 35:00 – 6:18 mile pace
Minute 35:00 – 41:00 – 8:49 recovery pace

Total miles = 5 miles

It felt good to get going. I had to get over the hump about 15 minutes in when I did not feel like running anymore, but once I got over that I was focused and ready to go. I am glad I got the run in.

As soon as the temps rise about below zero I will attempt to run outside for my test run. I want to use the same course. If not, then I will hit up the treadmill on Monday for my run test.

Despite a tired and sore body I plan on hitting up the bike test this weekend. I will then knock out the other bike workout on the opposite day. Then Monday I will do the run test. This will wrap up my Out Season and I will move into the Get Faster Block of training. I just need to decide what my focus should be. The focus will either be bike or run. I should probably focus on the run as this is the sport I am struggling with mentally. However, I also know that this means more running. I will figure it out this weekend.

Now it is time for breakfast and getting ready for a shortened school day.

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Out Season: Week 12 Wednesday Night Run

I had to dig deep to get this run done. I really did not think it was going to happen. After getting the kids to bed we had to figure out the next phase in the AdvoCare 24 day challenge and what we can and cannot eat. I finally made it down to the treadmill around 8:30 and took some time to get set up and took off.

My treadmill is struggling lately. It kept jerking as I ran. It hurt my knee by the end of the run, but after about 30 minutes it finally stopped the sudden stop motions. I started off watching the pilot episode of American Horror Story, but had to change because that opening sequence was too much for me handle before bed. I hate scary movies and shows so this was not a wise choice. I went back to Breaking Bad and knocked out the workout.

The workout was a 60 minute run consisting of

MS: 1 x 200, 1 x 400, 3 x 800 all at @ IP/6:39/Very Hard with full recoveries between each.

Tip: Build your pace across each repeat here so that your final set is your strongest.

 My 800’s were 6:17, 6:18, 5:58. I was way below my 6:39 pace, but it felt easy and for some reason my watch was not showing these numbers. It kept bouncing around at an above 6:39 pace. This was a blessing to see for me personally to see that numbers this low. I have not seen numbers this low in training ever!

I felt good to get this workout done. I know this weekend will be tough to get both workouts in as I am out of town with my robotics team competing at state. Trying to manage and coach ten 5th – 8th graders is a workout itself.

My knee was sore and I hope a rest day will do it some good.

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