Sunday, April 19, 2015

4 Hot Dogs = Bad Run

By far, the worst and least disciplined area of my training is my diet.  I really struggle to maintain healthy and clean eating 100% of the time.  Don't get me wrong, I eat clean about 95% of the time, but I probably don't eat enough calories ... which leaves me hungry ... which leads me to supplementing ... with Cheetos, Honey Buns, Doritos, Chick-fil-A, Pizza and occasionally HOT DOGS!!!

Friday night at beautiful Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri
On Friday night my friend and fellow marathoner, Bobby, was in town to run the Garmin Marathon.  So along with another friend, Matt, we went to the Royals game where it was Buck Night.  Every Friday  night at Kauffman Stadium is Buck Night, where peanuts and you guessed it ... hot dogs ... are one dollar.  Now usually when I go to a game, I'll enjoy one hot dog, and maybe some nachos.  But when we got in line for the dollar dogs, there was a sign that read "Limit four hot dogs per visit", to which my friend Matt commented, "Ya know we've gotta get four ... right!"  Well, it didn't take much arm twisting for me to follow his lead.  I ordered four hot dogs, loaded them up with sauerkraut, and had them in my belly before the National Anthem.  (For those scoring at home, I later added beef nachos and a Dr. Pepper)

As I was getting ready for my 18 mile run on Saturday morning, I surprisingly felt like crap. Sarcasm.  My stomach wasn't upset, which actually did surprise me, but my energy level was about as low as it's been in a while.  Combined with pouring rain outside, I knew it was going to be a tough long run.  I fought the lack of energy all morning.  And it rained harder in a run than I've ever experienced before.  I cut the run short at 16 miles and went inside to take a nap and sleep off the hot dog hangover. 

The poor long run, and slightly below average tempo run really have me questioning my half-marathon in two weeks, and marathon in four weeks.  It's not just the hot dogs ... I'm just really struggling with my running right now.  The hip is finally about 90-95% healthy, but it's still pretty weak, and it put a huge dent in my training this Spring.  Combined with my lack of motivation, I'm just not where I thought I'd be going into my Spring events.  I'll still run the half-marathon in Wichita, but at this point, I don't really see me getting a PR.  But the race really weighing on my mind is the Colfax Marathon.  I don't feel anywhere near marathon ready, and I can foresee a complete disaster at that one.  But I'm trying keep my focus positive.

So I need to kick it into gear.  I need to find some motivation to lock down on my training.  But most importantly, I think I should stop eating four hot dogs the night before long runs.  I was considering using this as my marathon fueling strategy, but I'll probably just stick to chicken and rice.  Hope your training ... and diet ... are going better than mine! 
... Be Great Today!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Speed Ladder

Good speed run after a fairly fast 20 mile run on Saturday.  We won't rehash the details of that run here, some of you know what I'm talking about.  I was wrong, plain and simple.  But word to the wise, if you're gonna throw stones ... probably better make sure you don't blog in a glass house.

I ran a structured ladder workout this morning for the first time.   I've ran variations of this workout in the past, but this morning I was diligent with the distances and the paces.

2 mile warm up
400M @ 5:19 pace
800M @ 5:30 pace
1200M @ 5:42 pace
1 mile @ 5:41 pace
1200M @ 5:42 pace
800M @ 5:35 pace
400M@ 4:56 pace
2 mile cool down

Pretty good workout, although I'd like to be a little faster.  I'm about 7-8 pounds over race weight right now, so that's not helping.  Plus, the hip is probably about 90%, although I didn't feel it all this morning during the workout.  I also got in a good leg strengthening workout after the run.  So, it was a good morning.  Have a great week.
... Be Great Today!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

I Admit It ... I'm A Little Weird

Most people I encounter in my everyday life most likely notice that I'm fairly well spoken, mild-mannered, obviously wildly hilarious, average (maybe a little below) in the looks department but yet still slightly arrogant, mostly heartfelt and kind, and occasionally moody.  Ya know, just an average guy trying to live his life without incident.  But those closest to me (namely my family because I pretty much don't let others get close to me) often observe that I'm kind of a weirdo.  Not like diabolically weird sitting around with nefarious schemes.  Or not like weird in the sense that parents pull their children a little closer as I walk by.  Heavens no.  Mainly weird in that I just have random preferences, thoughts, and fears.  Here's one of the fears ...

Ya know those giant white windmills that you see all over the Midwest and in some of the windy Western States that generate electricity ... those freaking things scare me to death!  I'm not joking.  I have no idea why, but every time I get within a mile of one I get the heebie-jeebies.  

I never really thought about it until a few years ago when I started seeing the blades for the creepy things being transported on the highway on flatbed trucks.  They're so big up close.  And they drive so slow that you have no choice but to pass them.  And as I pass them, the hair on the back of my neck stands up.  They remind me of a giant 50 foot long whale being driven down the highway in captivity to a Sea World tank or something.  I'm afraid if I get too close or even look at it, it's going to swish it's gigantic windmill whale tail and send me spinning off of the road.  Or even worse ... eat me.  I often put my hand up on the side of my face so as to block out the view as I pass.  I'm 100% serious.  I just know that if I look over, I'm going to see it breathing or a giant windmill whale eye staring back at me.    

Yesterday, while driving through Western Kansas I saw about a thousand windmill farms.  YES, THERE ARE FARMS OF THESE FREAKING THINGS. When they're not being transported on trucks, they're standing upright in these barren fields.  It's like 100 or more of them just lined up to mock me and intimidate me as I pass.   They look like giant aliens that have landed to take over without outstretched spinning arms.  I'm certain they're going to come to life at any minute and start crushing cars with their giant alien feet, and shooting humans with lasers as they flee and scatter like ants. I admit it, they straight up make me way more nervous than they should.

Although I'm sure there's not a name for this phobia,  I'd be willing to bet there's other folks who feel the same way I do. But there's NO WAY I want to meet these people.  Literally, I could barely write this post with that creepy picture of the windmills staring me in the face.  If you have any advice on how to get over this, I would greatly appreciate it.  My run was really pretty bad this morning, but I have no doubt that I burned up a lot of energy yesterday being traumatized so I'll give myself a pass on this one.  Have a great week and be normal.  I probably won't.
... Be Great Today!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Almost Over The Hump

I've been very fortunate over the years to have never suffered a serious injury from running.  Sure, I've had tight "this & that's", but never something that flat out shut me down for any length of time.  But the Bursitis in my left hip really pushed my limits.  I was seriously considering an extended break to get over it. Fortunately though, I think I'm finally on the backside of the discomfort.  I've ran my last few runs with a little tightness in the area, and minimal soreness afterwards ... but it's getting better everyday.

Blue, Gold, and White balloons at the Royals Opening  day pre-game ceremonies
And even with the tightness and very humid conditions on Tuesday morning (mid 60's and 99% humidity ... I know in some parts these conditions are cause for a winter weather advisory, but I ran in shorts and t-shirt), I had a really good Tempo Run.  One warm up mile, then 8 miles at a 6:35 average pace ...

One mile warm up ... 7:28   6:31   6:25   6:24   6:35   6:33   6:31   6:17   ... two mile cool down

I typically do my Tempo Runs on Thursday, but because of my work schedule this week, I had to move it to Tuesday.  I felt really good about the pace, although it's still a little tougher than it should be right now.  But hopefully with a couple more weeks of solid training, I'll be ready for the Prairie Fire Half Marathon the first weekend in May.

Also, Michael and I got to go the Kansas City Royals Opening Day on Monday.  Most of you know I'm the world's biggest baseball nut, and we're Royals Season Ticket holders.  We had a great time and the Royals CRUSHED the WAAAAAAY overrated White Sox 10-1!!!  No biggie.  Have a great week!
... Be Great Today!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Really Cool "Major Award"

I kind of felt like Ralphie Parker's dad in the movie "A Christmas Story" tonight when I got home.  There was a box waiting for me (although with no Italian "Fragiiiiileeeee" markings) from the company Headsweats.  I hadn't ordered anything from them so I was pretty curious about the contents.  When I opened it up, I found a black Headsweats visor, and a note that read ...

"Congratulations!  You're a big deal! You qualified for Boston at The Phoenix Marathon!  Show off your accomplishment with this special custom Headsweats visor"

What a cool surprise!  The visor had the Phoenix Marathon logo on the front, and then 2015 Boston Marathon Qualifier stitched on the side.  I'm assuming all of the Boston Qualifiers got one, and not just me, ha.  It was just one more reason why the Phoenix Marathon is one of my favorites, and one that we'll run again next year!

Speaking of running, I got a good Tempo Run in this morning with very little hip pain at the time, although it got a little sore as the day progressed.  The hip is still mostly just stiff when I run, and it's definitely getting better, but I still feel it.  I would say I'm probably about 75% healthy right now, and in spite of that, I'm still hitting most of my splits.  Here are this morning's times ...

Two mile warm up     6:49      6:23      6:17      6:35      6:26      6:25    two mile cool down  

The middle six miles were a 6:29 average with downtown Omaha hills mixed in.  I also got a good leg strengthening workout in after the run.  I felt pretty good about the paces since I'm not a full speed right now.  I'm really looking forward to getting this dumb thing completely behind me and really see what I can do.  But for now I'll take it. (To all my doctor followers, yes ... I understand that workouts like this are slowing the recovery period) (And yes, some doctors actually read this blog ... I know, I'm surprised too!)
... Be Great Today!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Working Around Work

Many of you know I'm a sales rep for a national construction chemicals company.  Most of our products are used with concrete, but some are asphalt based and used in  paving.  So I'm on a lot of construction sites inspecting the installation of our products, as well as lending technical support on a daily basis.

Many mornings I have to be at a job site pretty early.  And some times the project is nowhere near my home, like this morning.  I had to be at Kansas State University very  early, which is about two hours from my house.  This meant I had to be out of bed by 3 a.m.  Packed for a trip to Omaha, NE by 3:30 a.m.  Out the door for a quick Speed Workout by 4:00 am.  And on the road headed to Manhattan, KS by 6:00 a.m. ... but not before I dropped off Jack at the kennel.

I'm an early riser, but getting up at 3:00 a.m. sucks.  But at least I got to go to bed at 7:30 a.m. last night since Michael was out of town.  I was awesome!  There was no badgering from the person the  next spot in the bed over, about living the lifestyle of an old man ... or the bright light of a Kindle in my face as I attempted to drift into slumber.  Nope ... just me, Jack, the fan, and several Z's.

And even though I had a little trouble getting my legs to turn over that early in the morning, I had a pretty successful, albeit short, Speed Workout.  Six 800 meter repeats that went like this ...

2:52 ... 2:51 ... 2:46 ... 2:54 ... 2:46 ... 2:58 (about 5:42/mile avg) with two mile warm up and cool down

The hip feels a little tight right now, but no soreness at all, which is really encouraging.  I saw my A.R.T. guy yesterday and he assured me that it was just inflammation and should be fine.  So hopefully I can continue training hard for a fast half-marathon in a few weeks.

Anyway, hope you got to sleep in a little longer than I did today - have a great week!
... Be Great Today! 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Hip Hoop Hooray!

This is the stupid wire hoop that caused so much pain
Every week before my long run, I drive bottled water to a few different hiding places along my route that I'll be passing by in a few hours.  Is it inconvenient ... a little.  But enjoy the time before my run just mindlessly driving and relaxing, typically before dark, focusing on my run.

But this morning when I dropped off a bottle near Red Lobster, I thought, "I wonder if that #%@*!'ing wire hoop is still over there in the grass."  You'll remember from my last post, that during my long run last Saturday, my foot tripped on a wire hoop and I fell on the concrete, landing on my inflamed left hip. Well, it didn't take too much looking before I found the #%@*!'er in the same grassy hiding place ... like a python stalking it's next rabbit or hamster that ventured too close to it's hungry jaws.  And even though I still have no idea what this is, other than a makeshift bear-trap for runners, I immediately picked it up and put it in the car, just to make sure I didn't trip on it again this week.  Score.

Why all the concern over a stupid little piece of cylindrical metal?  Well, this little guy caused me A LOT of pain this week.  Just when I was starting to get over the minor Bursitis pain I was experiencing, the fall last Saturday left me with a huge bruise, and a lot of pain directly on the top my Femur.  So much pain that I actually skipped two runs, which I never do.  And it put a pretty big dent in my half-marathon training since I only ran a total of five miles this past week before getting in 13 today.  But I think I'm finally turning the corner with the hip issues!

My run on Saturday went fairly well.  I iced afterwards, and as I sit here writing this about two hours later, there's no additional pain in the area.  I really tried to push my tempo and ran most of it fairly fast.  Here are the splits ...

2.5 miles warm up, then 9 miles ... 7:16, 7:00, 6:43, 6:48, 6:42, 6:35, 6:34, 6:35, 6:31, then a 1.5 mile cool down

My Spring race at the Prairie Fire Half Marathon is still five weeks away, with basically all of April to train.  And the good news is, that even with a sore hip, if I could averaged a 6:35 for four more miles, I would have been right at my current half-marathon PR.  So hopefully missing a couple of workouts and resting my hip didn't adversely impact me too much.  The biggest thing I notice right now when I run is tightness in the area.  It doesn't really hurt, but my leg's not swinging free and easy at all, it's really really forced.  So we'll see how training goes.  I really wanted to PR in Wichita, but I don't know if it's going to e possible. I'll probably make a call on the race in a couple of weeks depending on how training is going.  Anyway, that's about it.  Have a great week!
... Be Great Today!