Thursday, May 19, 2016

Tempo Run & Building Speed

Good 9 mile Tempo Run on Wednesday in Iowa City, Iowa ...

 8:00, 7:37, 7:17, 6:49, 6:38, 6:39, 6:23, 6:34, 7:54

The five middle miles were at an average pace of about 6:35 or so, which I'll absolutely take at this point.

In the photo, you'll notice a sizable amount of back fat.  That's real.  I didn't Photoshop it in.  My eating is still out of control and as a result I don't look great naked.  Normally I do.

Back at it I guess.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Way Out Of My League

Saturday, Michael and I celebrated our 11th Wedding Anniversary.  We spent some time walking around the beautiful Country Club Plaza on a perfect, although a little chilly, Kansas City evening.  Later, we had dinner at Fogo de Chão Brazilian Steakhouse where I basically ate my weight in red meat, which I paid for on Sunday. I'm pretty sure I gained about 17 pounds during our anniversary dinner, and it made a mile 4 mile recovery run on Sunday morning a little uncomfortable ... but RED MEAT!!!

Now I know what you all are thinking ... "Wow Jim, you are so much hotter than your wife!" ... and while I totally understand where you're coming from, I couldn't disagree with you more.  Actually, I think I'm in way over my head.  Because not only is she amazingly beautiful which is obvious ... she's smart, really funny, compassionate, puts up with my crap ... and most importantly, is my best friend.  This woman and I have been through a lot together, and I'm so lucky that she's in my life because she makes it so much better.  I love her now more than ever.

But something else I'm out of my league with right now is my running ... at least as far as my old paces go.  I think it's natural to want to go faster thit was an what's physically possible after some down time or an injury.  I mean, one of the last memories of my pace was when I was in peak condition right before I got sick.  So naturally, my mind is trying to tell my legs to just automatically turn over that fast again.  But it's obviously unrealistic for a while.  I feel like I'm slowly getting back to being a runner, though.  I put together two straight 40 mile weeks, which were both capped by 15 and 16 miles runs.  My legs are feeling stronger and stronger, and the quicker paces aren't killing me like when I first started back.  And my diet is actually starting to get a little better.  I ate like three or four salads last week ... which about sent my body into convulsions, but I managed to power through it.  Just gotta keep grinding.

Before Michael and I went out on Saturday night, I actually had a pretty good, and fairly quick 16 mile run.  The weather was pretty perfect at about 50 degrees, and I was able to turn in some decent splits.  Here are the paces ...

8:15   8:03   8:08   7:31   7:33   7:29   7:18   7:15   7:35   7:30   7:41   7:15   6:53   7:04   8:30   9:30

Mile 13 was actually sub 7:00!!!  While the paces look good, I actually took like four water stops, and stopped the clock during three of them ... so the cumulative time would have been a little slower.  But it felt really good to generate some faster pace on a long run, and frankly I didn't feel like it was killing me the whole time.  And Sunday when I woke up, although my gut was full of probably a side of beef, my legs felt really good.

So every week seems to be a little better than the last.  With the exception of my Royals playing really crappy right now ... everything in my life is pretty good.  I'm really blessed.  And hopefully soon, my running will be one more thing I can slide over to the positive side of the ledger.  I think I'm headed in the right direction.  Have a great week!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Three Straight Days = Solid Week

Thursday morning run through the mural'ed allies of Iowa City
I've had a solid week so far, and to this point, my legs feel great.  I put together three straight days, and will hopefully get a good long run in on Saturday.  If I get the run in, it will my first 5-day running week since I got sick.  5 days is a typical week for me.

Today I had a light 5 mile run in Iowa City, one of my favorite places, and my legs feel great!  I feel like I'm slowly getting back to form, although my endurance is really lacking, which is to be expected

The diet is still not great, and the extra weight I'm carrying is simply  making running a chore right now.  But hopefully I'll do a little better with that next week, and start eating like an athlete and not a glutton.

I've intentionally started really really slow on the road back.  Partly because I'm out of shape and my body is demanding it, but also because I don't want to start off with an injury.  The runs are shorter and slower at this point, but that's okay.  All in all, things are definitely headed in the right direction.  Hope your training is going well!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Recovery Wednesday

Good recovery run of 5 miles at about 8:20 average pace on Wednesday, combined with very lite core work.  Now just have to eat better today!  Getting stronger.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Bitterness Keeps You From Flying

I ran my first "semi-tempo run" in a good long while on Tuesday morning.  And although it wasn't as fast or as long as it's been in the past, it felt great to build a little speed again.  I got in 8 fairly solid miles, with 3 miles@6:38/average pace.

I know it's going to take a lot of hard work and dedication to get back to top shape, and frankly, I might never get there.  But it's okay.  I've always enjoyed the process and don't want to put too much emphasis on the results.

A lot of things in life will try to slow us down ... stress, weight, work, family, just life's general issues.  And like everyone else, it sometimes get the best of me.  But I think the secret is finding the ability to put it behind you and move forward.  Honestly, looking backwards has always been a little it of an issue for me.  But I'm excited about this new chapter of fitness and fully accept all of the challenges that it undoubtedly will bring.

It's time to get moving again in earnest, and today was a great benchmark.  No more waiting.  No more ignoring it.  No more excuses.  It's time to be great again.  Not great in the sense of winning some age group division in a race somewhere ... that's not greatness.  But great by getting everything out of my body ... regardless of the results ... and knowing that I did everything possible to enjoy the journey, and explore every ounce of my ability.  This will be fun.  Let the bodies hit the floor.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

New Kicks ... And Back At It

Doug checking the tread on my new Kinvara 7's to make sure he approves
Besides the fact that I'm still eating fairly poorly ... I've began putting together solid runs lately, mixing in some core work, and slowly turning myself back into somewhat of an athlete.  After the race last Sunday, I ran a couple of light recovery runs during the week, followed by a fairly good 15 miler on Saturday.  Of course the long run nearly killed me, but at least I got it in.  I averaged about 7:45/pace while actually running, but stopped for extended periods for water. I totaled about an 8:10/pace overall, which is acceptable since I'm carrying about 15 extra pounds with this food baby.

I also ran in new shoes on Saturday.  My new Saucony Kinvara 7's.  And frankly ... I LOVE THEM!!!  Like I've done with every pair of shoes over the past several years, the litmus test is can I take them right out of the box and run in them without "breaking them in".  And these passed with flying colors.  They literally still had factory paper around them at 7:00 a.m.  and at 7:05 a.m. they were in the middle of mile 1 of 15.

The fit was a little different than the Kinvara 5's or 6's ... but it seemed to be better for my foot.  More than anything there seemed to be more room in the toe box.  The extra width really seemed to help with keeping my toes from bunching too much.  There is also a 6.7 mm drop from heel to forefoot, so not completely flat, but not a big bulky heal.  The men's size 9's are 7.7 ounces.  I wear a size 12, so mine are probably a little over 8 ounces, but they still feel really light.  Overall, the Kinvara is just a great shoe that I've enjoyed wearing for a couple of years now.

So hopefully now that I'm back in a bit of a groove, I'll start logging some miles in these new kicks.  It's gonna take most of the summer to get back to where I want to be, but maybe if I stay at it, I'll be ready for some speedy fall races.  Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Wow, Even Slower ... LOL

Here's a little known fact.  If you stuff your body with junk food for three months, gain 15 lbs, and don't train as much as you should ... your finishing time for any foot race you decide to run will be much slower than normal.  I proved it on Sunday!

Literally laughing at my time as I looked at looked at Steve Blew, the race director, as I crossed the finish line
Michael and I ran another half marathon this past weekend ... only because it had been scheduled for a while.  And the results were not great.  But do I care ... nope.  I've turned the page on the worst winter and spring I've had in a while and it's full speed ahead, baby!

Finisher medal (which I was thankful to finish) and medal for Age Group First Place in 45-49
Because it was a small inaugural race of about 650 people, I actually won my age group, which I felt a little sheepish about considering it was my second slowest time ever of 1:39:48.  Man, I just couldn't make my legs turn over.

And yes friend, there are some who have said to me "I would love to run a sub 1:40".  I understand, and don't in any way mean to belittle anyone else's time.  But it was just much slower than what I've done in the past.  I've preached this A THOUSAND times ... but I believe we're all just stamped genetically with a time range. I'm never gonna be a 5:15/pace marathoner ... and some are never gonna be a 9:00/pace ... it's just the way we're made. The finishing time really doesn't matter.  Heck ... there were a TON of folks in that race who deserved a medal much more than I did on Sunday.  It's just a point of reference, that's all.  Frankly I get tired of defending the position just because some of us are born with a little more natural speed than others ... which I had to do again after the race on Sunday.  It's like some want to make you feel bad about your time.  I mean, I couldn't care less about another's time ... why is the fact that my time is faster such an issue.  I NEVER volunteer the time unless I'm asked specifically.  Anyway ... that's a much deeper topic for another day.

We had a good time catching up with friends we hadn't seen in a while. And after the race I felt pretty good as far as health, and hopefully it will continue to get me on the right track.  Later that night, while sitting in the movie Jungle Book ... WHICH IS AWESOME ... I didn't notice any weird pain, and I've even ran a couple of times since.  And more than anything, I'm thankful for the ability to even run 13 miles after the spring I've had, and enjoyed getting out there with everyone for a nice day.  The point is ... the slower than normal times this spring aren't a big deal to me.  I'm back on the wagon now and hopefully I'll get some of this weight off and get back to running consistently again soon.  Hope your training is going well!  Have a great week!
   - Jim Weatherly