Training – Week 11 – Week 9 of Marathon Training – Tuesday – Weights and 4 Mile Run EZ

Woke up early this morning to meet one of my buddies at the Y this morning. Had a miscommunication or he just did not show up as I looked around and did not see him. I was to give him my concert tickets to Motely Crue and Poison this weekend as we will be out of town. I figured I was already up so I might as well do something with myself so I did a very short 20-25 minute circuit of weights. I worked on chest, arms, shoulders, abs, and back completing two sets of 10-12 for each.

After lifting I went out and knocked out a 4 mile EZ run. My body feels drained. My quads are still dead tired from the Bix race and my feet are hurting while walking and running. I took the run very easy running at 8:28 pace completing the 4 miles in 33:53.

I am going to rework my run schedule again due to my body just not feeling the greatest right now. I had planned for a 7 mile run tomorrow with a 16 miler on Thursday before taking Friday and Saturday off, but there is no way my body can handle those two runs without risking injury or going backwards in my training. I think I will take tomorrow off, run the 16 miler on Thursday(temps are supposed to be somewhat cooler) and then finish the week with the 7 miler and a 5 miler sometime Friday – Sunday.

It felt good to lift some weights. I have not done that much this summer, but something I need to slowly incorporate into my training along with TRX and all the running. I just need 40 hour days to get everything in.

I am also in pursuit of a road bike. I am hoping to get out today and test ride a few. Right now I have my eye on the Trek 1.5, but I also know that the 2012 lineup of bikes will be coming out soon as well. Patience is the key, but I am ready for a bike and beginning the journey of learning that whole sport(I am clueless)

Stay cool today and continue working to GETTING IT DONE!

One final note – over at Crashing the Course website – http://www.crushingthecourse.com/?p=485 you can see the obstacle for the Chicago Urbanathlon. Looks like they are adding a few more things this year. Anyone up for the challenge? I will be there looking to improve my time from last year.

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Triathlon Training – It is what it is people

I knocked out another 1000 yard swim this morning. I feel like I am improving my swim technique, but I also realize that my swim technique is still terrible. I am able to swim 100 yards without stopping which is a huge improvement to my 25 yard swim, stop, pant, breath hard, repeat. I think having the stress fracture has left me with only swimming as my option and maybe a good thing. I still need to track someone down to help me work on my swim technique. Technique is everything when it comes to swimming.

I have pushed a little bit harder in the weight room. Really working to improve overall strength with upper body. Really trying to emphasize my shoulders, back, chest, and arms. Working on overall strength so when I can get back to full training I will be at my peak strength wise.

Other than that, I have fell apart on my eating and diet. This is largely due to my motivation. Without a race in sight, my self control has fallen apart. I know what needs to be done, but am not too concerned. I have put some of my weight back on, but I know that as soon as I turn the switch, I will be able to get back to where I belong and maybe even a little less. It is time for me to start reading Racing Weight, but just have not had time to really focus on the contents with the Cybils and basketball going on. I have been cramming in middle grade science fiction and basketball information like no other. The winter break will be a great time to dive into this book. Plus, I really want to read what Jeff Paul is taking away from this book on his blog, but I refuse to read his posts on this book until I start to read.

I reflect on my current status and a few things go through my mind. One is that I am frustrated by my lack of self control in the eating department and losing my physical fitness level. However, I also know that after being in the game of racing and running for the first time I had a great season and understand that the body needs some downtime. I wish I knew what caused the stress fracture, but am not sure. Maybe my shoes as they had over 400 miles, but my training volume had decreased so not sure if that is the reason. Is it my weight? Maybe I should slim down a little bit more as my body is taking in a lot of force on the joints.

I am at a piece of mind right now where despite not being happy with my fitness and stress fracture, I am happy knowing that when ready I can turn the notch and get ready.

It is time to think about what goals I want to pursue. Here is my current thoughts on goals
1. A sprint triathlon
2. 2 half marathons
3. 1 full marathon
4. Bix 7
5. Urbanathlon

Now it comes down to registering and creating a calendar and plan. Much to prep and plan for and plenty of time to get ready. Now if only this stress fracture would go away.

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Goal Setting: Sometimes you just have to educate yourself

I am back to tackle the subject of goal setting. Why? Because I think it is so important and a topic that not everyone really understands on how to do create the proper goals. For example, I have spent a long part of my life creating goals – some good and some bad – to help me achieve and stay motivated. I am constantly learning how to find that right gauge of setting a goal that is realistic, but still a challenge.

For instance, I ate at Panera Bread the other night. I love this place. I could honestly eat there every day of my life and would choose over most fancy restaurants. Anyways, I was reading from the Eat This Not That website that the Panera Bread Large Frozen Mocha would require a 7.8 mile walk to burn off. 7.8 miles. Is that really worth it? Heck no, especially after I have began to realize how hard excercise is when it pertains to biking and swimming.

You become what you think about most of the time. This is a Fact. So, what do you think about? Are you someone who thinks all these ideas and have all these plans for the future, but never see them through to the end? Many of us are “starters”, but rarely do we get the chance to call ourselves “finishers”. As I set out this summer to get in shape I started small, did my research, and adapted along the way.

I started small by just trying to run 12-15 miles in one week however I could get it done. I struggled. My body hurt, my feet and knees were in constant pain. Could I have quit? Sure, I could have blamed the pain or simply said that was good enough for me. I pursued and persisted. Four months later I am ran a half marathon and Urbanathlon and felt the best I have ever felt. It was not overnight and not always easy.

Come up with a goal. Divide it into smaller sections. Do your research and learn about your goal. I read tons of books about training and running. Keep a dream book or something similar to write your goals down and how things are going. This blog acts as my dream book.

What is next on my plate? I took two weeks off after the Urbanathlon. This week I have begun to acquaint myself and prepare for a triathlon next spring and possibly a marathon for the summer. Not sure if I can train for both at the same time. I am still educating myself and putting together a plan. 

What is your plan? Write down your goal and then break it into smaller sections to pat yourself on the back as you progress.

I will share my goal sheet for the week with you this weekend and reflect on my large learning curve and how that helps me figure out what to do next.

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Two Week Slob and Lazy Streak Comes To A Close

It has been two weeks since I finished up with the last race of my goals that I set out to achieve back in late May/early June. Since my run at the Chicago Urbanathlon I decided to take it easy for a couple weeks and just let the body have a break from the constant training I was throwing at it on an almost daily basis.

Well, let me just say that I did not just rest and recover, but I turned into a slob. After just a few days I had lost all motivation and self control. I forgot how easy it is to make excuses, eat whatever, and just not do anything good of yourself. Not only that, but that way of life is very addicting and such a hard cycle to break. I was only under the “Slob and Lazy” spell for two weeks, but it quickly took me over. Every night I would say I was going to run or workout and I would wake up 5 minutes late and make an excuse that I did not have time.

Yesterday, I found my motivation to change. I rearranged the basement and was able to install my ceiling mount for the TRX. I did a 10 minute core workout that about killed me. I looked at myself in the mirror and saw how quickly I was losing everything I worked so hard to achieve.

I got up this morning to run. I wanted to do a long run to wake me up and to evaluate where I am fitness wise. I could have easily made excuses to not run. I could not find my shoes, my iPod would not sync to my iTunes to load up the music I wanted, my stomach hurt from eating like a slob last night(Incredible Pizza), etc. I got out there and ran. I felt great at first, but let me tell you that I was able to tell that I lost some ground. It was a struggle to finish the 7 miles. I wanted to go for 10, but then I would have been useless the rest of the day.

I ended up running the 7 miles in 57 minutes for an 8:12 mile pace. Not too bad, but I had to work way to hard for these results. I cannot believe that two weeks ago I was running stairs in Soldier Field. This was my wake up call. What is yours? Have you found yourself in the rut of making excuses and not living the way you want to? If so, get out and test yourself. It may not be a 7 mile run, but maybe a mile walk. How do you feel? Are you happy with that? No, then create a plan.

I know the last two weeks I was not happy with myself. I did not like the way I was living and how I lost the interest to take care of myself. Start now. Don’t wait until tomorrow or the next week where you can blame Halloween, Thanksgiving, X-mas, etc. There is always an excuse, but the change starts with you.

Time to put together a training plan for my first triathlon. Stay tuned.

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Chicago Urbanathlon – The results are in…..

Saturday I had my final big race of the season for me. This crazy race was my final big test that I set out to accomplish this year as I set a goal to get in shape and push my body. I have posted many, many times on this blog on my training and the races and am currently working on a final post of my thoughts on my goal setting and accomplishments. This post is not about that, but the actual race that I ran this Saturday with some other excellent athletes from my school staff.

Friday night I could not sleep. We drove to Chicago and had a good meal to get ready. When it was time to go to sleep my wife who has been battling a cold had a coughing fit from 12:00 – 12:45. After that point of hearing her struggle I was wide awake and my brain was going crazy. I had about a million thoughts racing through my head. I could not get myself to relax and fall asleep. Finally, at around 2:30 I dozed off and woke up to my alarm at 4:15 am.

I was tired. My eyes felt heavy and my legs felt like cement blocks. I was mad because I felt so bad. I started to get nervous about not being able to run well. I just had to stop the thoughts and get my morning ritual going on race day. I brewed some coffee, ate an egg and ham sandwich and just chilled reading on my iPad. I tried to stay offline all weekend to give myself a break from the internet and computer. As time slowly ticked by I felt better and more and more nervous. I don’t know why I was so nervous, but I think it was because I could not anticipate how I would do on the challenges.

We left at 6:00 and got to the starting line area around 7:00. We all got ourselves ready to go and Mr. Uhde took off on the bus to his station, Mr. Shepherd took off to get to his relay station, and Mrs. Reid made her way to the assigned wave for the start of the race. I also took off and waited to hear the horn.

7:45 the elite runners took off and Mario Lopez kept the waves moving every couple of minutes.

We had beautiful weather. The sun was out and it was not too cold, but not too hot and I felt good. I took off at a pace faster than I wanted after ran the first mile in 7:39. I ran the second mile in 7:37 and hit the first obstacle of the tires and balance walk. My third mile was around 8:07 with the obstacle. I was moving at a good pace and felt good. I hit a wall at the fourth mile like I always do, but overcame that and continue to run at a pace around 8:08 for the next mile. I wanted to push on the bike path and cranked out a 6:16 mile at one point. When it was all said and done I ended up with the following results:

Overall, I felt quite pleased with my time. I had a goal of 90 minutes and I accomplished this feat. However, I was a little mad because I still had some left in the tank and in hindsight know where I should have pushed harder on some of the running portions. I honestly think I could have ran at around a 7:50 mile pace, but that would be extremely hard and not being able to do anything else the rest of the weekend. At the time I was not sure how to gauge what to keep in reserve because some obstacle early on really taxed me when I thought they would be easy and the ones I was worried about I breezed through. Next year I will have a higher goal for myself and do feel quite good with my results. 
My body is very sore today. Will take things easy for a week or two and then get back into the swing of things. This was a fantastic race. The course is beautiful. How often does one get to run on Navy Pier when nobody is around or run up the stairs of Soldier Field and see the whole stadium? The Bettendorf Relay team of Mr. Uhde, Mrs. Reid, and Mr. Shepherd kicked butt running in 1:30 and taking 17th in their  relay division out of 244 relay teams. Everyone trained hard and pushed themselves and the results showcase the hardwork. Good job to everyone and look forward to doing this race again next year.
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Chicago Urbanathlon Training – Week 2 and 3 Recap – 4 Days until race day

I have been so busy lately that I have not had to time to blog about my training which is so important for me to do. I know some could care less, but this forces me to stop and analyze my training. We are 4 days until race day. We finally found out the race is a total of 9.75 with obstacles and the stair obstacle has finally been posted. Check out this link to see the obstacles in our race(when you scroll you will see the video for the stairs) 

Back to the training
When I last left off I had finished a 51 minute tempo run last Wednesday. I took a rest day on Thursday as I was pushing hard three days in a row so I did nothing on Thursday. I know rest is so important, but I felt so sloppy all day without any exercise. My body needed a rest and therefore was good. Friday I ran with Mr. Shepperd and ran a new course. We ended up running 3.85 miles in 29 minutes for a 7:40 mile pace. This time makes me happy, but you have no idea the amount of hills we ran on this course. I feel like as soon as we finished one hill we were taking up another. This was a challenging run, but a good one to throw into the mix.

Saturday, I ran my last long run prior to the race. I was set out for a 100 minute run and ended up running 90 minutes. I started off slow with a 9:07 mile pace and my goal from this point out was to work on increasing my time each mile like you are supposed to do in a race. My next mile was 8:30, then 8:15, 8:28, 8:24, 8:20, 8:01, 7:53, 7:57, 7:57, 7:43, 7:12. I ran 11.2 miles in 1:32 for an 8:13 mile pace. I was quite happy with this pace and hope this is what I can sustain at the race. I am not sure how the obstacles will affect my endurance, but time will tell.

This morning I set off on an easy 3 mile run. I took off that way with a 8:22 mile pace, but quickly decided to push myself this morning knowing I am going to do little to nothing the next few days. I ran a 7:14 second mile and a 6:48 third mile finishing the 3 miles in 22 minutes. I felt good which surprised me based on how tired and sluggish I have felt the last couple days.

At this point I will taper my workouts. I might do one slow easy run tomorrow, but then that will be it to allow my body proper rest. We leave for Chicago Friday and start the race at 7:45 Saturday morning. I feel ready and just hope my body has one more race left to show good numbers. I have had a great first year in running races and want to end on a good note.

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Chicago Urbanathlon Training – Week 2 – Wednesday

This morning the schedule was for me to run a 60 minute tempo run. I ended up running 51 minutes cutting it short by 9 minutes. I will tell you a couple reason why I cut it short. I felt great running this morning. After being sore from that crazy core workout and having some knee pain yesterday I started to worry that maybe I was pushing my body too hard after my first big half marathon race. I have been pushing my body pretty hard this last week in a half because I feel like I need to prepare my body and mind for this crazy race coming up next weekend where I have to hurdle taxi cabs, climb underneath cargo nets, climb over a bus, and several other obstacles along a 9 mile run.So, this morning I started off slow with my first mile coming in at 9:09 which I planned on doing. But, I also knew that my tempo pace was already behind schedule so I knew I had to push myself to get my average pace right around 8:00 minute miles. I continued to run 8:06, 8:07(stop for a car), 7:38, 7:34, 7:46. The last mile I felt my body begin to fatigue. I looked at my watch and noted the 48 minute timer on my watch. I knew I could push myself for another 12 minutes, but would it be worth it? I said no, and pushed hard back to my house running the last .41 of a mile in 2:55. I wanted to end on a good note where i felt good about the run, my body felt good, and I would not be pushing myself too hard to only falter later. i think I made the right choice. I have a rest day tomorrow which my body needs with a 5 mile run on Friday. All in all in 51 minutes I ran 6.41 miles reaching my precise tempo pace of 8:00 minute miles.

By the way, how are your goals working out? Have you written down your plan of action to achieve your goals. If not, then quit wasting time and making excuses and get it started. You will feel better about yourself, trust me!u

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Chicago Urbanathlon Training – Week 2 – Monday and Tuesday

Brrrr! It was cold this morning when I took off on my run. Today was planned for an easy 3 mile run with Tabata Sprints. I took off and felt good as I had not done any running since Saturday. My body needed the rest and more importantly my knees were sore. I ran 3 miles in 24:53. I planned to run some Tabata Sprints, but my knee was providing me some really sharp pain so I called it off to be safe. I am too close to race day to push through injury and risk not running. I have a 60 minute tempo run tomorrow so hopefully the pain subsides.

I do feel some muscle soreness from our workout yesterday. We ran through the following circuit and this one is tough.

Agility and Warmup
Circuit through this 2 times with each one lasting 20 reps or 60 seconds depending on what happens first
1. Body Squat
2. Push Ups
3. Stepping Side Squat
4. Quadruped Squares – crawl like panther, forward, sideways, backwards, sideways

3 rounds with 30-45 second transition
1. Push Up with Roll
2. Walking Lunge with Split jump
3. Tricep Dips
4. Prone Back Extension Swing
5. Medicine Ball Victory Swings
6. Medicine Ball Skater Lunge
7. Medicine Ball Balance Bridge
8. Medicine Ball Balance Twist

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Chicago Urbanathlon Training – Week 1 – Saturday

With any training regimine you have to be adaptable. That does not mean you take shortcuts, but each program should be etched in pencil to allow for change. Today was supposed to be my day off, but instead I decided to get up and do my long run today. My sister in law is getting married tonight and I know that after catering to the needs of my children all night long I will be in no mood to get up and run early tomorrow morning. So, I jumped up out of bed this mornning and ran.

Today I mixed up my running. I had two new goals with my run. I needed to run 11 miles and in the 11 miles I wanted to
1. Increase my mile time each mile in the first 6-7 miles. One thing I keep hearing about and reading about is how a runner should increase mile time as they run in races and not lose time. I am not good at this so today I thought I would try. I had good results in the 5 mile run yesterday running with Mr. Shepperd and wanted to be able to do it on my own.

2. I was to run the last 4 miles with Mr. Uhde and Reid on the cross country course that our middle school students run on to mix things up. We thought the hills and change of pace would help with our training for our crazy race that we have coming up.

How did it go?
It went well. I started off mile 1 at 9:11, mile 2 at 8:54, mile 3 at 8:47, mile 4 at 8:50(lost time somehow), mile 5 at 8:15, mile 6 at 7:43. At this point I had made it to the park and decided not to go for another mile and instead stretch it out and get some fluids in my body before I ran the cross country course.

The cross country course was an excellent change of pace. It killed my legs after running the 6 miles. The subtle hills and winding path really kept me focused and we took one trail off course to run one hill that was honestly almost straight up. That turned my legs to jelly. It was a good run and I think will help with the obstacles in the race. All in all I ran 10.4 miles in 1:30. My body is in need of some rest. I will not run again until Tuesday, but will do some circuit training on Monday.

I leave you with a blog post from an exclellent blog, Functional Path Training where Vern poses the question. “What are you doing?” and it reads:

Ask yourself some simple questions as you plan your workout today. Are you making them better or are you just making them tired? Are you being productive or are you just keeping them busy? Is what you are doing focused on need to do activities that reflect the demands of the sport and the needs of the individual athletes? How does today’s training session relate to yesterdays training and how does it lead to tomorrow?

What are your answers to these questions? Make yourself better as you are the only one who can. Have a great weekend! Coffeechug

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