Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Back on the Horse.

I ran today for the first time since the marathon. Nothing fancy, just 3 miles at a leisurely pace on the treadmill. My legs aren't sore at all, but they're definitely still recovering. I ran about an 8:20 pace overall, and my legs started to tighten up so I stopped at that point and stretched. My lungs felt fine, but the legs were too tight and sleepy to go much more.

I contacted a local running club to see about joining. I think that the key to getting a faster marathon time is going to be improving my running in general, not just at long distances. Since I generally run by myself, I don't have the motivation to really go as fast as I can. If I could run with some people who are in much better shape and can kick my ass, maybe I'll get some of that speed from trying to keep up with them.

I'm still figuring out how I want to approach my next marathon, or even when that marathon will be, but I have decided to train for and run a 5K in the spring. I need to find one so I can sign up and have it hanging over my head. I'd like to try and run a 19 minute 5K, which would be about 6:00 min/mile over 3.1 miles. I know that I'd have to train pretty damn hard and get quite a bit faster to hold that pace for that long, so I figure it'll get my ass out of bed and onto a track in the mornings.

I'm also going to focus a little more on strength training. I did almost none whatsoever during this last marathon cycle, and I think that stronger core muscles (abs and back) would really help my running form hold up in the later miles of a long race.

I have lots of plans, lofty goals, and hopefully the free time to purse them. I'll post again once my plans start shaping up a little more.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Lessons Learned... Looking Ahead...

Well, the marathon is done. Normally by this point I'm going through training withdrawal because the goal I have been planning my life around for 6 months has come and gone. This time, however, I feel great. I'm already looking forward to my next marathon, my next 10K, my next 5K, and my next PR.

I've had plenty of time to think about why I ran a 3:46 (not a bad time at all) instead of a 3:30. I think the reason is pretty damn simple, actually:

I'm dumb.

Allow me to clarify. The entire reason I was in Vegas was to run a marathon. All of the fun that exists to be had in that city was just a bonus for me. The problem I ran into was that I got very caught up in showing my little brother and the rest of my family all the cool stuff that Vegas has. The first day we were there, I'd guess that my brother and I walked about 6 miles. The day before the marathon, I probably walked another 6-8 miles.

When I went to bed Saturday night, my legs were sore and stiff from all of the walking. I knew I had screwed up, but I took some Ibuprofen, stretched out, and went to sleep.

I got up Sunday morning REALLY pumped up to go. I went through my rituals and got dressed for the race. My brother came up to my room and I pumped him up as best I could. My legs were still sore from all the walking, but the adrenaline was overriding the soreness at this point.

We made our way down to the starting line with my girlfriend and my parents. The weather was PERFECT, and the atmosphere was charged. Thousands of runners were crowding through the hotel to get to their corrals. I gave my brother a pat on the back and left him to head farther up the pack. A few minutes later, the gun went off and the race was on.

My strategy was to try and run the first 10 miles as easily and smoothly as possible. The ridiculous sights and sounds of Vegas made this a pretty simple task. I averaged a little bit slower than an 8:00/mile during this time.

At mile 10 I realized I wasn't going to run a 3:30. I didn't have any major problems, I just felt a slight stiffness to my legs. I knew, from past marathons, that even a tiny little ache in the early miles will just amplify and become huge by the end of a marathon. Mile 10 was WAAAAY too early to be feeling any discomfort. So, just like that, one silly mistake cost me time.

I had already made peace with the fact that a 3:30 would only happen for me under optimum conditions, so I was surprisingly OK with accepting a slower time. I just told myself to keep running at a pace that felt comfortable until I got to 16 miles.

I still managed to keep my pace in the 8:00-8:10 range through the 'teens. My legs started to feel like they might cramp up, and THAT scared me. I knew that I could keep moving as long as I didn't cramp. At mile 20, I took a 10 second walk break, and then kept moving. I told myself that I HAD to keep moving. Walking was fine, stopping was not. During the entire race, I did not stop moving forward one single time.

The last 6 miles were rough. I probably averaged a 9:30 or so. I would walk for 20-30 seconds at the start of each mile to keep my legs from cramping, and then tough it out until the next water station. It was painful, but seeing the hotels come back into view was enough motivation to keep the legs moving up and down.

I realized that I was going to kill my PR, and at that point it was enough for me. I knew that I had trashed my 3:30 attempt by using my legs too much the 2 days before the race, and I just wanted to run the best race I could given that fact.

I ran across the finish line in 3:46. My legs immediately made it clear to me that I'd be in pain later, but for now I was just ecstatic to be done and to have a new, very respectable PR.

I learned a bunch of lessons this time around, and I'm already plotting and scheming my next move. I'll be taking it easy this week, and next week I'll start doing some cross-training and weights to keep my fitness up. As you can see, I've changed the subtitle of the blog to reflect my new, over-arching goal. Maybe it's a bit premature to aim for qualifying considering I didn't even hit my 3:30, but I have a feeling it might take a while to hit 3:10... so I'll just throw it out there and see what happens.

On to the next race!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

3:46... I'll take it!!!

I ran a 3:46. I'll go into detail about it a little later, but I am THRILLED with that time even though it's not the 3:30 I was hoping for. It's still a new PR, and I am very, very excited to be well into the sub-4's now.

My little brother ran a 4:20, and looked AWESOME at the finish line.

Time to party.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Viva Las Vegas

I'm in Vegas. I have my number. My next post will be after the marathon. Mandalay Bay is large. Slot machines are stupid.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

T-3: This Is It!!!

Oh man I have the friggin' jitters!!! The marathon is Sunday... this Sunday. I'm going to wake up tomorrow, pack my stuff, and go to Vegas for the marathon.

I did my last long run on Sunday... a measly 10 miles. I maintained a 7:58 pace with ease, even though I felt absolutely exhausted and more than a few pounds heavier. I stretched like crazy afterwards.

Yesterday, before flying back to Boston, I did my last speed workout. I think the point of this speed workout was just to keep the muscle memory active in my legs. I was supposed to do this:

10 minute warmup
5 x 400m @ 1:35
10 minute cooldown


I felt like I was possibly coming down with a cold, so after the 3rd lap I decided that I'd do one more and cut the workout one lap short. The damage I could do with one lap too many is far worse than the lack of fitness one lap too few will cause.

I decided that since this would be my last speed lap for a while, and I really wanted to know what I was made of, I'd just sprint the whole lap. The last time I did that I hit a 1:20 400m. This time, I pushed myself even harder, and was panting for air and doubled over at the end.

My time was a 1:13. That's by FAR the fastest I've ever run a lap... It's the pace I'd have to maintain to run a 4:52 mile, something I probably won't ever do, but at least I know what it feels like to run that fast.

So that was cool, and this morning I did a nice little bike cross-train. My legs feel pretty strong, even though there's a little residual tiredness from the 10K and the 10 miles. I know that by Friday my legs will be back to 90%, and by Sunday they should be damn near 100%. For the next few days my goal is to do everything possible to make Sunday the best possible scenario for a good time.

I've worked my ASS off for this. I'm not sure I've ever applied myself so diligently to anything before. I know that, no matter what happens on Sunday, I've definitely caught the running bug in a bad way, and this marathon is merely one of many more that I'll be running. I will definitely be aiming for that 3:10 as soon as I can get my legs to move a little quicker, and who knows? Maybe this time next year I'll be 10 pounds lighter, running 19 minute 5K's, and heading to Vegas to try and qualify for Boston. I no longer doubt that I have the capacity to do it, it's just a matter of kicking my ass a little more.

I'll probably post one more time before the big day. Thanks to everyone who has kept up with me thus far.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

T-9: Thanksgiving Update

So. Full. Of. Food.

I ran the 10K in 46:40, which ends up being a 7:46 pace. My first two miles were 8:30 and 8:00, so that means the last 4.2 miles were run at a 7:11 pace. It was a little bit more than the program called for, but it was definitely a nice way of reassuring myself that my legs work. My little bro ran an 8:00 pace, which is fantastic.

My friend Jason made me lift weights with him today, which was awful, but at least I burned off some of the estimated 3800 calories I ate last night. The problem is that after working out, we binged on Mexican food, so I probably still have about 3000 extra calories to burn off from this week. Tomorrow I'll do something to sweat a little, and then Sunday will be a nice 10 miler.

This is it, the home stretch.

Happy Thanksgiving all.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

T-11: Strangest run of my life.

I really wish I'd written this post as soon as I got home from my run. The memory would have been a little clearer, and already I'm started to wonder if I'm remembering this correctly.

I woke up at 6:00 am to do my speed workout, the last one I'll do in Boston before the marathon. It was just bitterly cold outside, so I bundled up and headed out the door. As I jogged down to the track, I said to myself, "I'm insane... the sun is barely out, it's 33 degrees, and I'm running outside in shorts."

I got to the track, and started my workout. Here was the plan:

10 minute warmup
5 x 1000m @ 4:03 pace
10 minute cooldown


That's a pretty easy workout for me these days, but the cold made it a little tricky. My legs took a while to warm up, and my lungs were burning from the cold, but my first repeat only took 3:53 to complete. My pace was essentially a 6:00 minute/mile.

The second repeat took 4:01... I got really tired at the end of this one for some reason.

The third repeat was 3:56. The fourth was 3:54.

I was consistently running a little slower than a 6:00 min/mile pace. This is pretty fast considering where I started with my speed workouts, but lately I've begun to have these crazy thoughts like, "I wonder if I could run a 19 minute 5K. I wonder if I could train to run a 5 minute mile."

These thoughts are dangerous, because I tend to be impatient when it comes to my running goals, and both of those goals would require some serious training, but I've started to get the speed bug, so my next conquest might be speed, not distance.

Anyway, I started my last 1000m, and after one and a half laps I suddenly realized that I was about to run my last lap on the MIT track for a while.

I know this is stupid, but for some reason that really resonated with me. That track has been the site of some epic training runs that have put me in the shape I'm in today. I knew I'd miss it out there over the next couple of months, so I decided to go out with a bang and sprint the last lap.

Up until the sprint, I was on pace to hit another 3:53 or so. I began to imagine what it'd be like at the end of the marathon to see that clock ticking down to 3:30 and me needing to sprint the final 400m. I hit the gas and started to fly around the track... and then something WEIRD happened.

This is where it's going to be tough to explain...

After about 20m of sprinting, I felt my body go almost completely numb, and I got tunnel vision. It freaked me out because I had a similar sensation a couple years ago when I almost passed out from heat stroke. This sensation, however, was a little different in that my vision didn't go dark around the edges, I just stopped paying attention to my periphery.

I became aware that I was in a dead sprint... probably running as fast as I've ever run in my life, and yet my legs didn't ache, my lungs didn't burn, and I really felt as though I could keep up the pace all day long. The sound of the wind kind of died down, though I still felt it blowing on me so I knew that my hearing had changed. About a quarter of the way around the track, I had the distinct impression that I was watching somebody run really fast... I can't really explain why it felt that way, but I definitely thought that I had stopped running, and someone else had taken over and was just watching now.

The last half-lap was just a movie for me. I couldn't hear anything, and I was just watching the interesting scene unfold before me... the ground just FLYING by. I had a little moment of panic like, "This is not normal... what's happening... am I in danger here?" The thing was I just felt so peaceful, and this was so easy so I just let who ever was doing the running at this point finish the lap.

When I got to the end of my run, the world started to fade back into existence, and my body came back under my control. I didn't feel tired, I felt AMAZING. My breathing was slow, as if I'd been walking, and my legs felt as fresh as when I'd started.

I didn't need to look at my watch to know I'd done something nuts... and when I looked....

3:46.

I'd have to guess I ran that last lap at a 5:20 min/mile pace... that's insanity. The nuttiest part was how easy it felt, although I still feel like I wasn't the one that ran it.

This probably sounds ridiculous, and I swear that I'm not making anything up. Maybe I just had a HUGE surge of adrenaline on the last lap and it made me feel funny. Maybe I had an out-of-the-body experience... maybe I had some spiritual revelation...

So that was the weirdest run of my life... I have never had anything even remotely like this happen to me, and I don't know if it was actually just a brain aneurysm or something equally sinister.

Oh well... I'm off to Texas tomorrow. Tapering is going well, I've been trying to keep up my carb intake, and I'm still pumped as hell for December 2.

Monday, November 19, 2007

T-12: All Downhill From Here...

I ran 13 miles yesterday, marking the last time I'll run more than 10 miles until December 2nd. I just tried to run smoothly and easily, and at the end of the run my legs felt great and my GPS said 7:54 pace. The goal was an 8:00 pace, so I'm good to go.

I only have to work two more days and then it's time to relax and focus on the race. I'm starting to get those nervous pangs that make me think, "Have I built this up too high? Am I too cocky? What if it's windy again? What if I have a bad run?"

Tomorrow is a speed workout, 5 x 1000m. It'll be tough because it's freezing outside, but other than that it'll be no biggie. It's my last run that I'll be doing in Boston for a while, so I'll try to make it a good one. It's warmer in Texas, so I'll be a little more comfortable doing my LT run on Thursday at the annual Turkey Trot.

I've done all I can do training-wise. My fingers are now crossed!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

T-14: I need SLEEEEP!!!

I ran my LT run last night. I would have run it in the morning, but I didn't get to sleep until midnight the night before, so I slept in. I've had a pretty wacky week in terms of work, so I haven't been getting enough sleep, which worries me. I really need my legs to be 100% on the 2nd, and right now I'd say they're only 50%.

My LT run was fine, I ran 6 miles like this:

1 mile @ 8:20
4 miles @ 7:24
1 mile @ 7:14


The pace felt easy. My lungs were having no problem keeping up, my breathing was 3 in / 3 out the entire run, but my legs were protesting. They are certainly not over the beating they took last Sunday when I ran my last 20 miler. I think that I need to be very careful about pushing myself over the next 2 weeks. I need to sleep... alot. Luckily, I'm headed home to Texas for Thanksgiving, and then I pretty much go straight to Vegas for the race. I'll have plenty of time to relax, stretch, and sleep in the days leading up to the marathon.

13 miles tomorrow, and then my legs can really start to rest up.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

T-17: Exploding Chest Part Deux

Wow... this morning's speed workout was DEVASTATING. I was caught totally off guard.

Basically, after Sunday's performance I figured the next two weeks would be a breeze. When I checked my workout schedule last night, I was in for a little surprise:

10 minute warmup
8 x 800 @ 3:13
10 minute cooldown


Uhm... WHAT!? I just ran 20 miles, and now I'm supposed to run 6400m at my speed pace? AAAARRGGHH!! My legs were certainly not 100%, and I woke up an extra 20 minutes early at 5:40am to get this awfulness out of the way.

First of all, it was in the 30's when I got outside. There was ice on the ground. I was wearing shorts.

Second of all, my legs felt like they'd been shot up with Novocaine. They weren't really sore anymore from the long run, but they definitely hadn't recovered fully. It really takes about a week for me to feel 100% after a 20 miler.

Third, I decided to eat cheese ravioli last night... you know what that means.

So I jog down to the track, and usually by the time I get there I've warmed up and I'm ready to go. Not today. The cold air made my whole body stiff, and I had to jog a few laps around the track to get going. Finally I figured I was good to start the speed workout.

My first couple of 800's were fine, I ran them in 3:05 and 3:11. I didn't feel fast at all.

In the middle of the third 800, I found it REALLY hard to keep up the pace. My legs just wouldn't obey my brain's orders to RUN. I finished the third 800 in 3:12.

It's been quite some time since I've had trouble maintaining the pace in my speed workouts, so this was a little demoralizing. After four 800's, I felt the call of the ravioli.

Once that was taken care of, I had to face four more 800's. My legs were cold and shaky, and I really thought I might not finish the workout.

Somehow, I just zoned out and did the rest of the runs, making it just under 3:13 each time. I jogged home and just about collapsed.

I think that this workout will end up being one of the most important workouts of this whole training plan. I just ran 20 miles a few days ago, and I was still able to push myself to pretty insane levels of hurting and survive. I think that when I'm at mile 22 or 23 in a couple of weeks, and every cell in my body is screaming at me to STOP, I'll be able to dig down a little bit and keep my legs moving through it.

Friday will be an LT run of 6 miles... no biggie. Sunday will be a 13 mile long run at my marathon pace, but I'm not even a little worried about that. I'm already thinking ahead a few months, trying to figure out what I need to do next to reach my ultimate goal of qualifying for Boston. Training for a 3:30 has given me a pretty good idea of what it takes to get faster, and how much more potential I have than I ever thought possible.

My marathon pace for a 3:30 is 8:00 minutes per mile.
To qualify for Boston I need to run 7:15 minutes per mile.

What's 45 seconds?

Monday, November 12, 2007

T-19: I'm Tapering.

The hard part is over. I've pushed myself harder than I ever have before, I've sacrificed a lot, I've given up partying and constant burrito-eating for this one goal, and now I've arrived at the end of my training. The next two weeks for me will involve some decent speedwork, some easier LT runs, and two long runs of 13 and 10 miles. I'll be going home for Thanksgiving the week before the race, which should be a perfect opportunity to relax and mentally prepare for December 2.

Saying that my final 20 miler went well would be a huge understatement.

I was actually looking forward to this run all week. That, by itself, is very strange. I normally DREAD the 20 miler, as I know that it is just a big mental and physical drain that will end in leg cramps and limping. However, lately I've been able to kind of zone out during these runs. I feel like I can basically set my legs on autopilot, start running, and then "check in" from time to time and make adjustments if I need to.

I have started thinking of my running in terms of driving. I can be running, and mentally checking different things about my body during the run. How do my legs feel? How is my breathing? How's my pace? Am I hydrated? Do I need carbs? Should I increase my stride length or turnover? It's similar to driving a car on the highway. You are constantly making little adjustments to the steering wheel, hitting the gas, braking a little, keeping an eye on the speedometer, checking the gas levels, etc... You do it almost unconsciously.

Yesterday my goal was simply to run 20 miles at a constant pace and feel good afterwards. The program called for an 8:15 pace, and I really did try to run at that speed, but after the first 6 miles I found that I had to work much harder to run that slow than I did to just run my "natural" pace, which seemed to be around 7:59.

I felt incredible up until mile 19, when the fast pace started to take its toll, but even at that point I was so focused that I maintained my crazy pace right up until the end. My average pace was 7:58.

I'm ready, I'd run this race tomorrow if I could. For now, I'm going to focus on eating right for the next 2 weeks (except Thanksgiving, that day is a free-for-all) and resting my legs up. In 19 days, I'll be on fire to run a marathon.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

T-20: Short Update

I'll post more on this in a bit, but I ran my last 20 miles at a 7:58 pace. That pretty much sums it up.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

T-23: Lactic Shmactic

This morning I was up at 5:30 in the morning to do 8 miles. I woke up, looked at the thermometer, saw a reading of 34 degrees, and decided that a treadmill seemed like the smart move. Off to the gym I went, trying to decide if I was at all worried about running this workout:

1 mile @ 8:30
7 miles @ 8:00


Clearly, the answer was no. This workout seemed like a breeze to me. So, in true Joey fashion, I decided to up it a little. I figured that since I was running on a treadmill I should go a little faster anyway. Here's what I ended up doing:

1 mile @ 8:20
6 miles @ 7:40
1 mile @ 7:30


I've been using the mantra, "Smooth and Steady," lately to keep my breathing under control. I ran the first 2 miles before I had even broken a sweat. The entire run felt like a nice, easy jog. I honestly have never had such an easy time maintaining this pace. Afterwards I stretched, and my legs feel just fine now.

I have to confess, that my performance lately has had me wondering if I should maybe think about adjusting my marathon pace to something a little faster. Maybe a 7:50 or so. I know that I shouldn't do this, and I won't... I'll stick to my plan, but I'm already looking forward to January when I can start building up the speed necessary to make a run at qualifying for the Boston Marathon.

23 days from now, I should be standing at the finish line in Vegas wearing a solar blanket... I can't friggin wait.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

T-25: Still Gettin' Faster

I wish the marathon was this weekend. After hearing about all the excitement of the NY Marathon, I'm just really fired up to do it. Every training run I do boosts my confidence a little more, and at this point the only things that worry me are the things I can't control, like the weather conditions on race day.

This morning was speed day. The program called for:

10 minute warmup
10 x 400m @ 1:35 (400m RI in between laps)
10 minute cooldown


I ran this workout pretty much perfectly. I jogged in between laps as opposed to stopping, except for three 1 minute water breaks after a few laps. My lap times were generally between 1:28 and 1:32. For the 10th lap I decided to go hard and ran a 1:20 lap. I think that once this marathon is over, I'd like to try and run a mile as fast as I can to see how well I do. I know I can easily bust 6:00, but I wonder if I could get close to 5:30 territory... I also think I might be able to run a sub-20 minute 5K (3.2 miles @ 6:26 min/mile).

Soooo... at this point, I'm really going to focus on running a perfect 20 miler this Sunday, and then start storing up my energy during the taper. The taper is always tough, because I want to keep pushing myself all the way up until the marathon, but I know that the proper thing to do is rest my legs. I will probably start to go crazy with pent up energy, but that's the idea. On race day, I'll take out my aggression on the clock.

Thursday is an LT run that, honestly, doesn't worry me in the slightest. My legs are just too damn fast now.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

T-27: I See the Light at the End of the Tunnel

First off, I'd like to give a shout out to my buddy Dara who is, at this very moment, running her first marathon. She's in New York about 3/4 of the way done, and she's kicking ass so far. I can't wait to talk to her afterwards to see how she feels.

Anyway, I'm going to run my own marathon in 27 days. WOW!!! It really snuck up on me. All of the sudden I'm 4 weeks out. The good news is that I'm as confident as ever that I'm going to destroy my PR of 3:57. Here's my training update:

After my 11 mile LT run Thursday, I went to work as usual. Around noon, I started to feel sick, like I was getting a cold. By the end of the day my nose was running like crazy and I was dizzy and clammy. I felt like shit. I thought that maybe I'd over trained, which worried the hell out of me. I decided to take Friday off from cross-training, and just rest. I took it very easy yesterday (except for last night when I played a rock show), and I drank lots of water and made sure I ate plenty. This morning I woke up with an extra hour of sleep in me, thanks to daylight savings, and I was ready for 15 miles.

The plan was to run an 8:10 pace. I felt good about this since it's pretty close to my marathon pace. I really wanted to make a conscious effort to keep my pace down today so I could run the 15 miles without burning out, and feel good for my last week of hard training before the taper.

Me and the girlfriend started off nice an slow, the first mile was 8:18. The second was 8:04.

Now, normally at this point I would have said, "8:04... that's great, let's stick with that." But, today I was smart, and we slowed down. We managed to run a pretty consistent pace, with a few 8:00's and a few 8:20's thrown in. I just tried to keep my legs moving at a pace that felt pretty easy for me. I wanted to feel like I was holding back on the throttle, and that I could just burst out at any moment.

The run was pretty easy, to be honest, and at the end I checked my GPS.

My overall pace was 8:08... almost exactly where it needed to be. I felt like I could have easily kept that pace up for a while.

This week is really it as far as the really tough training goes. Next Sunday is my last 20 miler, and then it's time to taper. Tapering isn't about relaxing and taking it easy, but it's more about maintaining the level of fitness I've built up over the past few months, and maybe losing another pound or two to make December 2nd as easy as it can be (which isn't all that easy.)

I can see the end of this thing now, and I'm running stronger than I've ever thought possible, so I'm REALLY curious to see what happens in 27 days.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

T-30: 30 Days Left!!!

30 days until I run another damn marathon! I'm really excited, I am definitely in the best running shape of my life, and I've still got a month to prepare physically and mentally for Vegas.

I got a comment the other day about my tendency to run my workouts way too fast, and it got me thinking. I understand the logic behind training at slower paces during long runs, and I've experienced first-hand what happens when I go out too fast. However, I also feel that this running thing is definitely a part of my life for the foreseeable future, and pushing myself a little hard this time will make my next marathon a little easier. I've also gotten caught up in the fact that I'm running faster and easier now than I ever have, and it's just plain FUN to run faster. I know it's stupid, and it might be hurting my training a little bit in the short run, but I really believe that to run fast, you have to train fast. My body will never adapt to run a 7:10 mile unless I'm kicking my ass pretty good. I'm planning on making a run at a Boston Qualifying time in the next couple of years, and I'll need to be in pretty ridiculous shape to do it, so why not start now?

So... with that said. Tuesday I ran 2 miles, back to back, in 12:20. That's a ridiculous number. I have never even come CLOSE to anything like that. I then ran another mile in 6:00. My speed workouts have definitely paid off, and I look back at my first speed workouts and laugh at how slow I used to be. I know damn well that I ran the workout way too fast, but I felt amazing and I was having a good time, so I just booked it.

This morning was an 11 mile LT run. The last time I tried this workout it was a disaster. This time... I killed it.

I was supposed to run a warmup mile, and then average an 8:00 mile for 10 miles. I started the run at 5:45 am, so it was dark for the first hour of the run. I couldn't see my GPS, so I didn't look at it until about 5 miles in. At that point I realized I had been running 7:45's.

Whoops. I know. No, seriously... I KNOW!!!

So I did slow it down a bit, but I kept creeping back into the 7:50's. The last couple of miles were tough, but not the devastating kind that I experienced 2 weeks ago on this same run. I finished the run with an 8:00 mile pace overall, including the warmup mile which was 8:20... so I averaged faster than an 8:00 mile for 10 miles.

I feel awesome. I can't believe the paces I'm able to keep up. My weight keeps dropping too, so I know that in a month I might be 2-3 pounds lighter and in even better shape. This is nice. I can't wait until 2009, when I should be running 6:40 LT miles and 3:10 marathons.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Log #53: Forgetting to knock on wood...

Those damn running gods... They toy with me.

I decided to run my 20 miler on Saturday since Sunday was my girlfriend's birthday and I didn't want to inconvenience her on that day. I had a horrible week of sleeping, so I was expecting this run to be tough, but I was definitely overly optimistic

It was drizzling and cold when we left my house. By the time we finished, it was about 20 degrees warmer and drying off. I was completely drenched in sweat and dehydrated.

The goal was 20 miles at an 8:30 pace. Since my last 20 miler that I completed was done at that pace, I was confident it wouldn't be an issue. For the first 13 miles I was averaging an 8:15 pace. I felt light on my feet, I was happy, and life was good. I believe that I even said something to the effect of, "Wow, I feel great, this is easy."

So... stupid.

About a mile later I began to feel the effects of dehydration and sleep deprivation. I just ran out of gas, plain and simple. My legs filled up with concrete and felt like dumbbells, and my lungs just couldn't get enough air. We walked a LOT those last few miles, and I complained endlesssly. It was pathetic. When we got back to my house we has run 19.07 miles, and I called it at that. I turn my GPS off when I walk, so I actually did go the distance, but I walked a decent part of it, which makes me feel weak and silly.

Still, I feel like I got a good run in, and my legs are sore today as a reminder. The marathon is one month away, and I still feel pretty good about my chances of running a decent time. I have one more 20 miler in 2 weeks to redeem myself, so I'll be preparing until then. I'm ridiculously skinny now, and just had to buy new jeans since my old ones are about 4 sizes too big. I don't think I'll hit the 160 mark for Vegas, but I might be damn close.

My little brother is back on the horse, and ran 13 miles yesterday. I'm sure he'll have some choice words to say about it.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Log #52: Kickin' Ass

First of all, I wish had more time lately to update the blog, but I don't think I've ever been this swamped with work. I've done more jobs lately than I have ever done in my career. I suppose it's a good thing in the long run, but free time is in very short supply.

Tuesday morning was a track workout. The program called for:

10 minute warmup
1000m @ 4:03
2000m @ 8:26
1000m @ 4:03
1000m @ 4:03
10 minute cooldown


Not much to report, felt pretty good the whole time, crushed the times by 5-10 seconds every split, and just felt peachy.

Yesterday was an LT run. I was dreading it.

1 mile @ 8:30
5 miles @ 7:29


I got up at 6:00am, bundled up because it was 40 degrees out, and went out to suffer. What happened next shocked me.

1 mile @ 8:22
1 mile @ 7:22
1 mile @ 7:29
1 mile @ 7:33
1 mile @ 7:20
1 mile @ 7:11


Another victory. Looking back at my earlier posts, I am quite sure that this run would have killed me a few months ago, but now I can complete it and feel pretty great afterwards. Every time I have a run like this it makes me feel pretty confident that my marathon time will be a PR... hopefully a huge PR. Tomorrow morning is a 20 miler... it will suck... but maybe it won't.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Log #51: Life slows down a little...

Last week was insane. It was balls-to-the-wall for the entire week, and I couldn't find time to get even 5 hours of sleep a night. So, understandably, my running suffered.

Thursday morning I woke up to do the longest mid-week run I've ever done... 11 miles. The program called for this:

1 mile @ 8:30
10 miles @ 8:00


10 miles at my marathon pace shouldn't kill me at this point, but that's exactly what happened. I believe the the problem was not so much my fitness level, but the horrendous conditions I decided to run in.

I slept about 5 hours, got up at 5 am, stretched for MAAAYBE 5 minutes, drank a red bull, and went out the door to run in absolute pitch black. It was pretty cold, probably in the 40's, and there was a very thick fog covering the entire city. Needless to say, my spirits did not soar on this run. I managed to keep the pace for about 7 miles, and then I had to start taking walk breaks. I was just spent, I had no energy, my legs were heavy, and I felt like just lying down and taking a nap.

Whatever, I did 11 miles... that's good enough right?

Then, Saturday, I'm up in New Hampshire with the lady for a little vacation away from the madness of Boston. We decide to do the 15 mile long run Saturday morning so we don't have to worry about what we do that night. 15 miles shouldn't be that bad... 15 miles in the friggin' mountains is ridiculous.

The hills in the area we ran were very sneaky... they were gentle enough that you almost didn't notice them... until about 10 miles into the run. My legs felt like they had been skewered, and they weighed approximately 100 pounds each. By the time we made it back to the hotel I wanted to burn my running shoes. My body was racked with soreness.

So... a rough week, but probably one that needed to happen so that the next few weeks will be easier. I'm ramping up for a 20 miler this weekend, and there are only 40 days until the marathon. I'm still pumped!!!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Log #50: Rock Bottom

Sunday was the worst day of the year in terms of running and life. I suppose it can only get better from here.

I woke up early with my girlfriend to do 20 miler #3. I was pumped up, I felt great. My girlfriend went outside to get something from her car. When she came back up, she said:

"Joey, we need to call the police. Your car was broken into."

AAAAARARRRGGGHH!!!!

We go down to check it out. My driver's side window is destroyed, glass is everywhere. My glove box, which was locked, has been ripped off of the dashboard and is hanging down on the floor of the car. My $500 GPS is gone. Nothing else was taken.

This immediately puts a huge gray cloud over the day. After calling the cops and dealing with that nonsense, we finally headed out for the run. I figured that a nice 20 miler would make me feel better about my car. I was SOOO pissed.

We ran a mile down to the river, and crossed over to the other side, at which point our progress was halted. Apparently, Sunday was the day of the Walk for Breast Cancer. There were probably 25,000 people walking around the river in a 5 mile loop. The path was so clogged that I couldn't even dodge in and out of people, and my girlfriend was on roller blades so she had nowhere else to go. We tried to get through the crowd, but it was useless, and we felt defeated. We ran home and decided to try again in a few hours.

Total Distance: 4 miles.

Around 3:00pm, after wrapping my driver's side door in saran wrap to protect my car in case of rain, we headed out for a second attempt. By now, my legs were cold and stiff, I was in a dark mood, and I really didn't feel like running. About a half-mile into the run, I crossed the street and a biker went by me. Apparently I had run out in front of her a little too close for her liking (I gave her about 20 feet.) She yelled out something like, "Why don't you just run out in front of me and get hit?!?"

Well, after the events of the day, I had lost my capacity to let stuff slide, so I immediately turned and screamed at her to "Shut the F--- up!!!"

She came back around and I screamed at her for a minute or two while she made stupid remarks and tried to be tough. I kept telling her she was being ridiculous and she was, clearly, not a very nice person. My girlfriend finally convinced me that this jerk wasn't worth my trouble so I turned around and jogged off. I haven't lost my shit on someone in years, so that should give everyone an idea of how awful my mood was Sunday.

After about 5 miles, my stomach went south, and 1 mile later our run was finished.

Total miles: 10 miles.

I am sooooo glad that shitty day is in the past now.

Fast forward to this morning. It's 45 degrees out, I am still bitter about the weekend. My training plan calls for the following:

10 minute warmup
3 x (2 x 1200m @ 4:55 with 2:00RI)
4:00RI in between sets
10 minute cooldown


So that works out to about 4.5 miles of hard running, my longest speed workout to date. Here's what I banged out:

4:55
4:50
4:48
4:50
4:50
4:48


So, I still got it. I feel better, and I'm still really pumped for the marathon. My fitness is clearly at an all time high, and even though I blew a 20 miler, I don't think it will hurt me too badly.

This Thursday is the worst goddamn LT run yet. Here it is:

1 mile warmup (8:30)
10 miles @ 8:00


So... 11 miles in the morning. CRAAAAP! I'm gonna need to wake up at 5:00 to do it. Kill me now.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Log #49: If At First You Don't Succeed...

Another ridiculously busy week has left me exhausted and sleep deprived. Yesterday I woke up at 6 am to try and do my LT run. I decided to do it on a treadmill so I could just zone out and run. The plan was as follows:

1 mile @ 8:30
4 miles @ 7:30
1 mile @ 8:30


I ran the first mile, and despite being REALLY tired, I felt pretty good. Then, true to form, I set the treadmill WAAAAY too fast. 7:15 pace.

I ran one mile. I then set the treadmill to 7:12 pace.

Another mile. I'm gonna die... I walk for 2 minutes.

I run another mile, and then just stop. My stomach is pissed off, and my lungs are exploding. Apparently no sleep plus running too fast equals shitty performance.

So I ended up with 4 miles run. That sucks. I HATE screwing up workouts. So... what did I do?

I went back to the gym after work and did the workout all over again. I'm not sure I should have... in fact I am pretty sure I shouldn't have, but I felt like punishing myself. This time I was successful:

1 mile @ 8:00
1 mile @ 7:30
1 mile @ 7:25
2 miles @ 7:20
1 mile @ 8:00


So I ran 10 miles yesterday, and tomorrow I'm going for 20 miles at an 8:30 pace. We'll see if I've overdone it.

Two random notes: My brother has been dealing with a lot of stuff lately, and the running has suffered. If he can finish out the last bit of training, and get at least one 20 mile run in, I think he could still finish the race.

Also, I'd like to update you guys on the 2:36 runner dude. I had drinks with him and his girlfriend the other night, and I talked to him for a while about running. He did seem to know stuff about running, local running clubs, and certain types of running workouts that a non-serious runner wouldn't know. I'm beginning to think he may have actually run the 2:36. I'm going to try and run with him soon, and if he is really that fast then I'll get my ass handed to me.

So tomorrow is 20 miler #3. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Log #48: Another PR...

Looking back at where I started, it's pretty ridiculous to think about how much faster I've gotten. I've been doing runs lately that, six months ago, would have just leveled me.

I woke up this morning and opened up my training book to take a gander at what lovely speed workout I had in store:

1600m @ 6:41

Bah! Old hat... no biggie. What else?

3200m @ 13:42

What!? That's hogwash!!! I've never run 2 miles on a track at that speed... the best I've done is on a treadmill, which is not even close to the same thing. Oh well, I can probably do that and then limp home.... WAIT A SEC!!!

2 x 800m @ 3:13

Sooo.... 4 miles at a very, very fast pace. Fantastic. I thought I might die. I jogged to the track with my buddy Eric who happened to be in town for a few days. The mile jog to the track was his workout.

The first 1600m was... quite honestly... a joke. I ran a 6:27 and felt perfectly fine. It just felt natural and smooth to run at that pace. I began to get nervous about the 3200m I was about to try. Off I go!

The first 1600m were run in 6:40... actually a little fast for this distance, and I started to feel the effects of the speed. The next two laps went by, as laps do, and then came lap 7. This lap felt strange, almost like my muscles were on a delay. When I'd ask my leg to lift up, it would take a second to comply. I made it to the last lap,and then adrenaline kicked in and I tore through lap 8. My final time:

13:20. Booyeah. Back to back 6:40's. New PR for me.

The last 2 x 800m times were 3:07 and 3:11. I was pretty beat by the end.

I would love to try a 5K to see how my speed would hold up in a race. A 20 minute 5K would require a 6:26 pace for 3.1 miles... It's definitely fast for me, but I feel like the adrenaline I'd have in a race would make it a possibility for me.

Anyway, the marathon is only 8 weeks away, and I'm REALLY pumped to see if all this training will earn me a 3:30 time. I feel like it's almost inevitable that I PR in this race (my PR is 3:57.)

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Log #47: Hahahah!!! I'm an idiot... (recurring theme)

I'm a buffoon. A fool, an imbecile.

A dolt.

The only reason I'm even writing this in the blog is because I feel like I should commit to 100% disclosure on everything marathon related, so... here it is:

I made a mistake when I calculated the start date of my training program... I started one week late.

Now, in reality, this makes almost no difference at this point. I've been running very consistently for some time now, so being behind in my training by 1 week won't hurt me. I just finished up the training for week 10 (the book counts backwards, so week 10 = 10 weeks until the marathon.) Ironically, the little marathon countdown widget I put on the page is what alerted me to my error. Right now it says 55 days... that works out to 8 weeks... yet I'm on week 9 of the program.

Whoops.

So next week, instead of running an 18 mile long run, I go right into a 20 mile long run... 20 miler 3 of 5 to be exact.

I'm not worried about it, I just feel retarded.

So, Friday I was supposed to do a BRUTAL LT run. 8 miles... 1 mile warmup at about 8:30, and then 6 miles at 7:44, then 1 more at 8:30. Here's what happened:

8:16 (too fast)
7:28 (too fast)
7:26 (too fast)
7:30 (too fast)
7:35 (too fast)
7:54 (dying...)
7:58 (a quivering mess)
9:06 (HA!!!)


Just awful... truly a piss-poor performance. I had to walk in between miles 5 and 6, and then between 6 and 7. Mile 8 was half walk, half shuffle. It's funny how I've learned to look at a workout in which I ran too fast as a bad workout. Running smoothly and consistently is SOOOOO much more important. You'd think I'd have learned my lesson by now, but the urge to go fast is hard to kick.

Today was a 13 mile long run. It's hysterical to me that 13 miles seems like a joke to me now. I used to be intimidated by anything over 10 miles... now I think 15 is the cutoff. 13 is just an easy jog.

I was supposed to run the 13 miles at an 8:15 pace. I thought that the pace would feel pretty damn fast after last week's 20 miler at 8:30. I also haven't slept as much as I should have this week, and I had a wedding Friday night at which I got properly soused.

I wake up... it's gray and cloudy and 50 degrees outside. I suit up and get out there. It's goddamn cold. I start going. My legs feel stiff. The first mile feels slow. I look down at my GPS.

7:51

WHAT!? I tell my girlfriend that we just started out 25 seconds too fast. We gotta slow down. 1 mile later:

7:55

Apparently, like a freight train, I need some distance to slow myself down completely. Mile 3:

8:07

I felt like I was crawling at this point. My legs were stiff, but apparently I was cruising at a pretty decent clip. The next few miles went like this:

Mile 4 - 8:04
Mile 5 - 8:11
Mile 6 - 8:18
Mile 7 - 8:17
Mile 8 - 8:01
Mile 9 - 8:06
Mile 10 - 8:03


At this point, I figured that since I'd already destroyed my goal of an 8:15 pace, and I felt really strong, I should just go for a nasty time. (Nasty = Really Good)

I do this thing when I want to get a little boost of energy, where I imagine that I'm running the Vegas Marathon, I get to mile 23, and I realized that I'm a minute behind my goal pace, so I need to run the last 3 miles pretty quick. I know it's silly, but I've yet to find anything that works better. So I just make believe and have a pretend race... fun!

The last 3 miles were: 7:54, 7:53, 7:15

I felt GREAT at the end too... I could have kept going easily. It was a very nice change to finish a long run and not feel like curling up in a ball and going to sleep.

I am so pumped to run this damn marathon. Only 8 more weeks... just enough time to lose another few pounds, get a few more great runs in, and psyche myself up to beat my PR by 30 minutes... no big deal.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Log #46: Busy busy busy...

Life is crazy at the moment, so this will be a short one.

Yesterday was speed day. I ran 6 x 800m. My goal was 3:14. Here were my times:

3:10
3:09
3:09
3:11
3:08
3:04


It was muggy as hell, and I was DYING on that last 800m, but I did it. This morning was a nice bike workout, and all is good. I'm losing weight very quickly now that I've been eating a healthier diet. My size 32 jeans, which have been pretty tight around the waist in the past, are now falling off of me. If I can keep up the healthiness until Dec. 2, I think I have a decent shot at being close to my 160 pound race-day goal. Weighing so little will be a huge advantage.

Tomorrow is LT day... ugh. Shoot me.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Log #45: Random Musings, Take 2.

This morning I biked very hard for 50 minutes. Big whoop.

What I'd like to ramble about today is more nutrition stuff. This morning, I happened to walk past the cafeteria in the building I'm working at, and I smelled french fries. The physical reaction I experienced was absurd... I immediately NEEDED french fries and started drooling. The smell was intoxicating, and I could literally taste the damn fries.

Of course I didn't go buy french fries, and as soon as I was out of "nose-shot" of the smell, my urges went away completely and instantly. This is something that I've really been more aware of lately. Food urges are so powerful, but as soon as you remove the temptation, the urge just vanishes. What's even stranger, is that although I had a very real physical desire to eat french fries, as soon as the urge passes, I had no remorse for not eating them.

Another thing I'm doing right now is bringing my lunch to work every day. Normally, a menu gets passed around and we all order and buy whatever we want. Panera is a mainstay on the lunch schedule, and I LOVE Panera. I used to get the "healthy" stuff from Panera, like a turkey sandwich on wheat bread. The problem with even "healthy" foods from restaurants is that the portions are just gigantic. That turkey sandwich from Panera probably had 1000 calories. It also came with potato chips. So right there is a 1300 calorie lunch. What if I went ahead and got the grilled panini with spicy mustard sauce and provalone cheese? We're talking more than half of my daily calories in one lunch. No wonder I would go into a food coma every day around 2:30. The scary thing is that Panera was one of the healthier choices. Sometimes we'd get Pizzeria Uno's. I'd usually order this pasta with alfredo sauce dish that came with a huge cheesy breadstick... I can't even fathom the calories.

My lunch today was a yogurt, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a granola bar, and a plum, probably 800 calories or so in total, and much healthier than a 2-pound sandwich. The rest of the office ordered from the Ground Round... do I miss not having junk for lunch?

Actually... not even a little. It's that strange phenomenon I was talking about. At the exact second that I see or smell something yummy, I want it. If I don't eat it and just walk away, my body immediately forgets that it was even an option. I don't ever eat something healthy and then think, "Wow... I really wish I went with something tastier and junkier." I just don't... and I am FAR from a health food nut. I enjoy the occasional food orgy and beer marathon just as much as any other red blooded male. The difference is that I think I've realized that the choice to eat healthy can have absolutely NO bad consequences... not even a little remorse. When I go out to a bar and don't drink, and the next day all my friends talk about how hung over they are and how much fun that was... I NEVER feel bad that I didn't drink.

My whole point to this ramble is that those cravings you get when something tasty is around are fleeting at best... if you don't eat a donut from the box that someone brought in to work, you will NEVER look back and wish you'd eaten it. I promise.

Tomorrow is a ridiculous speed workout. In the book it's written like this:

2 x (6 x 400m @ 1:35, 1:00 RI) 2:30 RI

This translates to:

Run 400m in 1:35, rest for 1:00, then do it again.
Do this six times in a row.
Now rest for 2:30.
Now do that same nonsense again.

It should be an interesting morning. It's getting coooooold up here in the mornings... today I saw my breath when I walked out to my car at 6:30. Yikes!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Log #44: Huh... so THIS is what it's like!!!

Well, it finally happened. I ran 20 miles like it was no big deal.

I woke up with one goal today: Run 20 miles at a consistent, slow pace. I know that my biggest problem with training so far has been that I run WAY too fast in the beginning of long runs and end up dying at the end. Well, I was mentally prepared for 20 miles at an 8:45 pace and no faster.

Of course, that didn't end up happening. I started out slow... my first mile was an 8:41. Perfect. I felt awesome, my legs were loose, the weather was phenomenal, and my girlfriend was tailing me with water in the CamelPak. I felt magic in the air... well not really.

The next one was 8:36. Get this... I told my girlfriend, "We need to slow down." THAT'S how committed I was to the 8:45 pace. Mile 3 was an 8:49... a good pace. After that, I quit looking at the GPS and just ran for a while at what felt like a nice, smooth pace. Miles 4-7 were all done around an 8:30 pace... OOOOOPS!!!

I slowed down for the next few miles. 8:43, 8:46, 8:47. I was just feeling so fantastic that I didn't even worry about the miles I had just run too quickly. I figured I'd just glide the rest of the way.

At this point I'd run 10 miles, and I felt perfect, so I decided to try for a negative split... running the second half of my run faster than the first. Mile 11 was an 8:37. I then followed with an 8:35, 8:40, and 8:31. I decided to just try and let my body dictate the right pace for me. After running for a while, you just get used to listening to the signs your body gives you as to how it's handling the stress. My breathing was fine, my heart rate felt ok, so I just kept running at my own pace.

Miles 15 and 16 were run at 8:38, then 8:22. By this point, I finally began to feel the miles in my legs. I had barely stopped at all by this point, and I realized that stopping made my legs ache. If I just kept moving, I actually felt better than when I stopped, so I just decided to keep my legs moving at all times. Even when I stopped at traffic lights, I'd jog around in circles.

With 4 miles left, I kept repeating the mantra, "Don't slow down." I wasn't in bad shape or anything, but after almost two and a half hours of running, your body just starts to protest a little. I kept chugging. 8:22, then 8:12.

My legs started to stiffen up, and my lungs were burning a tad. I knew that I needed to be able to run 20 miles and still feel like I could do 6 more if I had to, so I tried to let my body tell me how fast it could go. It told me 8:14.

The last mile wasn't so hard physically... I mean I was tired, and my legs hurt, but I wasn't as beat up as I've been on previous runs. The last mile of any workout is the hardest, it doesn't matter how long or short the run is. That last mile is just mentally trying, because all you can think about is a shower, food, and coffee. I was pushing myself to go all out on the last mile, and I ended up with an 8:00 mile... my marathon pace.

So... the first 10 miles took 1:26:30 to run, and the last 10 miles too 1:24:20... a negative split. I'm pretty sure my first ever on a 20 miler. My average pace was 8:32, a good 13 seconds per mile faster than what I needed to run today. I feel pretty good, too. Maybe the running Gods have finally decided to give me some love.

By the way, I'd like to take this opportunity to talk about the FIRST running method I'm using to train for this. I have never run this fast for this long, and I've been setting new PR's almost every week. The most incredible part is that I don't feel burned out, over trained, or even slightly injured. If anyone is thinking about trying FIRST... DO IT!!!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Log #43: About to burst...

My LT run yesterday was grueling... and that is putting it VERY lightly. I don't know if it was my diet, my sleeping, or just a tough run.

Th program called for this:

1 mile @ 8:30
5 miles at 7:30


This is not really that bad for me. I've done it on a treadmill many, many times. However, the road is not a treadmill, and it's just not the same thing. There was a slight wind that made every step a little bit tougher, and the cumulative effect on my body was rough. Here are my splits, approximately:

8:33
7:16 (DAMNIT!!!)
7:33
7:30
7:29
7:38


So, overall, I'd say I did well. I was HURTING at the end, though. The thing about the LT run is that you're running fast enough to build up that icky, burning feeling in your chest. It's similar to the feeling I get when I do speed workouts, except I know that the speed workout is going to end in 7 minutes or less. This was a burning that just kept getting stronger and stronger until I felt like coke bottle that was all shaken up and about to explode. My breathing was 2-in / 2-out at the end of the run, and I was just pooped.

Sunday is a 20 miler, and I'm determined to make this one a good one. I'm not drinking ANY booze this weekend, I'm going to eat very well on Saturday, and I'll be getting lots of sleep. After my 20 miler I will be celebrating with burritos and beer.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Log #42: Something's Missing...

Something has been missing from my life the past 2 days: The post-lunch crash. Generally I eat such a huge lunch that I enter a food-coma about an hour later. I would usually remedy this by drinking the post-food-coma coffee, which would cause a post-coffee crash a couple of hours after that.

So, apparently, eating decent foods and not binging on massive 1200 calorie lunches can increase energy levels. This is fantastic!

My calorie total for yesterday was about 2850. It's funny how I've already started to notice how little things can add up over the day to make a huge difference in calories. Choosing the regular granola bar over the one that is covered in chocolate... 100 calories. Wheat bread over white bread on a sandwich: 100 calories. A little less creamer in the coffee... 100 calories. Over the course of a day, 4-5 small decisions could add up to 400-500 calories, and over a week that could be the difference between losing or gaining a pound.

It's all common sense, too. However, I am constantly amazed at the tricks my brain will play on me when I'm hungry. Last night I couldn't eat dinner until 8:30, and my brain started rationalizing how it would be just fine to eat a huge meatball sub... just this once... since I was so hungry. Even McDonald's would be fine just to tide me over. Luckily, I have gotten wise to my brain's devious ways, so I knew it was just trying to derail my plans.

I think I'll count the calories for another week or so, and then see if I can manage to eat healthy without looking at the labels every time I eat.

This morning I rowed...

10 minute warmup, easy pace
1 minute hard, 1 minute easy
2 minutes hard, 1 minute easy
3 minutes hard, 1 minute easy
4 minutes hard, 1 minute easy
3 minutes hard, 1 minute easy
2 minutes hard, 1 minute easy
1 minute hard, 5 minutes easy


I kicked my butt, felt great... tomorrow is a horrible LT run. 1 mile at 8:30, then 5 miles in a row at 7:30... ugh.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Log #42: Joey - 1, Body - 0.

I've turned over a new leaf... or rather, I've turned over a leaf that I had already turned over, and then ignored. Metaphors are dumb.

I've started my training this week with a renewed determination, mainly because of the pathetic performance I had on Sunday. For starters, I've started doing something I've NEVER done before... counting calories.

I hate counting calories... it's annoying and demoralizing. However, I realized that I had absolutely no idea how much I should be eating, or how much I was actually eating. I figure that I should be getting around 2500 calories a day, maybe 3000 on a tough running day. This number should keep my energy up, but still be low enough to lose some weight before the race. I'm not overweight, but I would like to be as lean as possible for the marathon.

The problem with food in this country is that portions are just gigantic. This morning, for example, I looked at the calories on a box of Cinnamon Life Cereal. 1 serving of this cereal is 160 calories. That's not very much at all. However, 1 serving is defined as 3/4 cup cereal, and 1/2 cup of skim milk. Just for giggles, I used a measuring cup to see how much that actually was. It's about half of what I would normally put in my bowl. I then decided to see what a bagel would have for calories. A serving of onion bagel is 160 calories... not bad!!!

But wait... 1 serving is half a bagel, so a whole bagel is 320 calories with nothing on it. I love me my cream cheese, so a serving of that is 100 calories... except that 1 serving is only 1 oz. I generally DOUSE that bagel in cream cheese, so let's say I use 2 oz... a very conservative estimate. We're talking 520 calories just in my bagel.

I also discovered that the creamer I put in my coffee every morning has 45 calories per tablespoon... I use at least 3-4 tablespoons a day, so there's another 180 calories mainlined into my body with a nice dose of caffeine.

Lunch was the next battle... I normally order lunch from somewhere near where I'm working. I'd estimate that the average sandwich you get from a Panera or pasta from Uno's will have about 1000 calories in it. The portions are just massive!!! The last 2 days I have brought my lunch, and it's funny how I feel full after eating a normal sized meal, even though I'm putting about 50% less food into my stomach. I've always had a problem leaving food on the plate, so by bringing less I just don't have to worry about that.

Dinner last night was chicken and potatoes, maybe 500-600 calories worth. I used my fist as a guide... If the amount of food you are eating is much bigger than your fist, it's probably too much.

I had a couple of snacks yesterday, an apple and a granola bar... and that was it. I felt full, I had energy, and I came in at about 2400 calories.

My goal is to get in the habit of eating the right amount and then I won't have to bother with the counting anymore, but it was definitely an eye opener to see exactly how much food you SHOULD be eating versus what restaurants and grocery stores make it seem like you should eat.

So, this morning was speed workout day. The 3:30 plan called for this:

10-20 minute warmup
1200 x 2 @ 4:55
800 x 4 @ 3:13
10 minute cooldown


and just for shits, the 3:20 was this:

10-20 minute warmup
1200 x 2 @ 4:40
800 x 4 @ 3:03
10 minute cooldown


I, being a fool, decided to just go for the 3:20 times...

1200 @ 4:34

Whoops!!! WAAAAAAY too fast... I knew as soon as I finished this split that I had screwed myself royally. I was panting very hard and felt dizzy and thought, "Why, oh why?"

Round 2.

1200 @ 4:48

Better, but still too fast, and at the end of this one my stomach started doing somersaults.

My 800's looked like this:

800 @ 3:14
800 @ 3:11
800 @ 3:08
800 @ 3:04


Thinking back, it's hard to really recall how painful those 800's were, but I definitely remember a few thoughts going through my head:

"I think I might finally make myself throw up during a run!!!"
"I'm going to faint."
"There is NO way I can do another one of these (after the 2nd 800m)"
"I wonder if my heart should be beating this fast."
"This pain is that martini from Saturday leaving my body."
"I wish I would throw up."

This was, without a doubt, one of the most grueling speed workouts yet. I ran the first split 23 seconds too fast... and over 3 laps that is a ridiculous increase in pace. It's basically the difference between a 6:30 mile and a 6:00 mile. I think I might also be adjusting slightly to eating a normal amount of food. Normally I just eat whatever I want all day long, so I never have a problem with energy on runs... but now my body may want to adjust a little bit.

Anyway, the workout was a success, the new diet seems to be a good thing, and I'm still feeling positive about the whole thing. Tomorrow is a nice, intense rowing day.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Log #41: I'm an idiot.

Well today just about capped off the quick decline into running suckiness that has been my week. The only day I worked out was Tuesday, on which I had a decent speed workout. I blew off 2 cross-trains and an LT run because my schedule was insane, I was sleep deprived, and there were assorted weddings / shows / Jewish holidays to deal with.

That all helped contribute to today's spectacular failure, but the main cause is plain old stupidity. I've been eating garbage and boozing too much, and my body is finally letting me know that it's not going to get any faster until I change that.

My run today was supposed to be 18 miles at an 8:45 pace, without dehydration and severe calf cramps. I actually ran the opposite of that. I managed about 11 miles, actually at a decent pace, but with TONS of walking, very bad dehydration, and then to top it all off, excruciating calf cramps. I could barely walk by the end of the run, and then I had to stretch for a long time just to get my left leg to feel half-normal again. It was a mess.

I realized that I've started to take the training for granted, and just assumed that doing the workouts was enough. It's an easy trap to fall into, especially when you train so intensely for so long.

I'm starting fresh this week... it's like a new program. I'm not going to eat garbage, I'm cutting WAAAAY back on the booze, and I'm going to do this right. The marathon is not that far off, and if I sabotage my time by eating a few too many burritos, I will feel so stupid.

Bah!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Quick Update...

Life has conspired against me, making me so friggin' busy that I couldn't do my LT run yesterday. I HATE missing runs, so I'm grumpy. I have 18 miles on Sunday that will feel my wrath.

That is all.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Log #40: Why Do I Run Marathons?

As I was huffing and puffing my way around the track this morning, I ran past a guy wearing a shirt that said, "Never again... until the next one." It reminded me of something I told my girlfriend a few days after running the Boston Marathon back in April.

"I'm done with the marathon thing."

I lasted about 1 week before I started to get the itch again. Without a the threat of 26.2 miles hanging over my head like a piano, I can't maintain any sort of workout routine.

Allow me to get a little bit philosophical here.

Why in the world is it enjoyable to run a distance that literally causes your legs to begin self-destructing? Why, after being very sore for days after a race, would I decide to do it again?

The best way I can think to explain it is this: I wake up 5 days a week and go to work. My work involves sitting in front of a computer for 9 hours. It doesn't really matter what I'm DOING at the computer, but my job is the same as millions of other people in this country. We sit at a desk and use a computer for half of our waking hours. The human body isn't supposed to sit still like this. Look at the obesity rate in the U.S. It's ridiculous. Although I really do enjoy my job, the fact of the matter is that I spend at least 50 hours a week sitting in a chair staring at a computer screen.

When I first got into the workforce, I quit exercising. It wasn't an all-of-the-sudden thing, I just gradually stopped doing it because I was working all day and hanging out with my buddies at night. It wasn't until I gained about 30 pounds that I realized I felt like shit, I looked like shit, I had trouble sleeping, my back began having awful problems, and I was tired all the time.

I had several bouts of "I'm gonna get back in shape!!!" that would last from a few days to a couple of weeks, but never longer than that. The problem, I found, is that I am very good at rationalizing the decision to skip a workout, or eat a big junky meal, or sleep a little later. Without someone putting a gun to my head, I wasn't going to kick my ass the way it needed to be kicked. So, I signed up for a marathon.

All of the sudden, there was an anvil hanging precariously over my head. One way or another, I would have to propel myself 26.2 miles, and if I didn't train I would be in huge trouble. With the race looming, I had all kinds of motivation to train. In the first 3 months I dropped about 15 pounds, and I haven't looked back since.

So for me, the marathon is a reason to get up in the morning. It's something that makes damn sure I will be keeping in shape, because if I don't, the marathon will devastate me. It also has the added bonus of being a very cool notch on your belt, and a self-esteem boost like nothing else.

With all that said, my day off of training yesterday completely rejuvenated me. I got up, went out into the cold, ran to the track, and did this:

1600m @ 6:41
1600m @ 6:34
1600m @ 6:24


I feel like a champ. Sunday's 18 mile run will be my bitch.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Respite

I think I'm deeming this week a recovery week. I've been really kicking my ass the past few months and I need to let my body recover. I'm toning it down a bit. I slept in this morning, and might just skip the cross-train today. Tomorrow I'll do the speed workout and see how that goes. I need to get back to 100% after that brutal 20 miler.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Log #39: The Running Gods Hate Me

Ya know, I should have seen this coming. I've had some incredible runs lately, and reading through my past logs I can tell that I became cocky. I began to disobey the cardinal rule of marathon running: Respect the Distance. I decided to try and up my pace, I quit worrying so much about my diet, I would do cross-training exercises that technically I wasn't supposed to.

I got greedy.

Yesterday, the Running Gods put me in my place. Basically, I got my ass handed to me like a red-headed step child.

I woke up, got prepared for the task at hand, and then took pause. Did the watermelon sherbet I had last night contain any dairy in it? I went and checked the freezer.

Oh shit.

I figured that it might turn out to be a problem, but since I was friggin' Superman it wouldn't matter. I was going to kill this run. Since my girlfriend had an audition in the afternoon, she couldn't make the run with me so I carried my own water in my trusty belt pack. It didn't even occur to me that the extra weight could affect my times.

So what did I do next? Well, I just went ahead and started out my first mile at 8:12

The 3:30 marathon pace plan called for 9:00 miles, the 3:20 plan called for 8:40's. Keep this in mind.

My next 9 miles or so were at 8:00 or under... I was FLYING. I felt awesome, the tunes were rocking in my iPod, and everything was peachy.

And then.... mile 12. The first rumblings of sherbet in my stomach. I ignored the rumblings, and they stopped after a bit. My legs began to feel a little lacticish... if I may coin a term. They burned in my calves and hamstrings, and started to feel heavy.

By mile 14 I realized what was happening, but it was too late. I had gone out WAAAAY too fast in the beginning, and now I was going to pay for it. By the grace of God I was right next to a port-a-john when I felt the sherbet make a very convincing argument that I should not have eaten it the night before. Let me tell you... legs cramped, smelly port-a-john, sweating all over... ugh... so unpleasant.

The last 6 miles were a combination of pain, agony, and chafing. I cursed myself for being so dumb in the first part of the run. I made such a rookie mistake starting out too fast, and now I was 6 miles from home and miserable. The only thing that got me through it was the knowledge that the next time I did 20 miles I would be better prepared and know not to be cocky and think I can just DECIDE that I'm in good enough shape to run a minute per mile faster than my program says I should go.

Mile 20 was the longest mile. I ran it in 8:40, but it felt like it lasted about 20 minutes. The lactic acid in my legs made me feel like the lower-half of my body was about to explode, and my adrenaline had run out long ago. When I finished, I swore I'd learn my damn lesson and run smarter from now on.

This morning, I feel about as crappy as I thought I would. My legs are a mess, I feel tired and beat, and I know that tomorrow I will be cross-training, not doing a speed workout. Well, live and learn. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Respect the goddamn distance!!!

My little bro had issues as well this weekend, so go check out his blog. It's called "Run Fasterest," and it's linked over on the sidebar.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Log #38: Crazy? I was Crazy Once.

Either I'm in really good shape, or I'm a lunatic... I'm really not sure which. I'm probably just dumb.

This week has been insane in terms of juggling work, concerts, Jewish holidays, and high school buddies. I was too tired to get up and cross-train yesterday, so I decided to do it after work. Of course, I had to work late, and I had plans that required me to be done working out at a certain time, so I only had 45 minutes to get to the gym, workout, stretch, and leave.

I FLEW to the gym as soon as I was done at work, and then hopped on a bike and started going. I decided to just go as fast as I could for as long as I could. As it turns out, I could go about 110 rpm for 40 minutes, with bursts of up to 130 rpm. Since I'm not a biker, I'm not sure if that's good or not, but it's way faster than I've gone on previous bike workouts and I felt amazing. I chalked it up to adrenaline.

Last night my buddy who I went to London with was in town. The thing about him is that he likes bourbon... nay... loves bourbon. I was hoping to keep the bourboning to a minimum last night, but my friend also has trouble with moderation. I managed to stay below the threshold of "drunk," but I definitely had a couple of glasses and stayed out until almost midnight. It was a fantastic, Guitar Hero filled time, but I knew it would throw off my run for this morning.

When I got home, I was reading through the Run Faster, Run Less book when I turned to the training program for a 3:20 marathon. If you've been following my exploits, you know that I have a tendency to run my speed workouts and long runs way too fast. It's hard for me to go as slow as the program tells me to. I noticed that my times are pretty close to the requirements to run a goddamn 3:20 marathon.

So I decided to try the LT run for that time today.

1 mile @ 8:12
4 miles @ 7:14
1 mile @ 8:12


I didn't even feel that gross when it was done. I only got 6 hours of sleep, drank bourbon last night, and have had the week from hell. Yet, I ran 4 miles at a pace that only a month and a half ago made me choke after 2 miles.

So, either I'm an idiot for pushing myself this hard, I'm crazy for thinking I can just decide to run a marathon in 3:20, or I'm in better shape than I thought. Strange, eh? I think I'll proceed with caution. Sunday is a 20 mile run at either 9:00 min/mile (3:30 training pace) or 8:40 (3:20 training pace.) Stay tuned.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Log #37: So my body is saying, "I HATE YOU!!!"

Here is how I would sum up the way I feel right now: Ugh.

My glorious 17 mile run had the unfortunate side-effect of making my legs very angry for the next 2 days. Yesterday was the day I normally would have done my speed workout, but my legs were still sore and I didn't feel like overdoing it, so I went and cross-trained instead. I did 45 minutes on the elliptical machine, but I did it so hard that by the time I was done I was drenched in sweat, and had apparently burned 800 calories.

Then, last night, I went to a rock show. Before the rock show, I had a couple of vodka & cokes, and then a vodka tonic at the show. I was having a good time, the band was awesome, etc... When I got home around 11:00, I realized I was probably going to regret those drinks the following day.

Which brings me to this morning. Groggy, dehydrated, and surly, I woke up at 6:00am for the goddamn *#$*#! speed workout. The goal was this:

10-20 minute warmup
5 x 1000m @ 4:03
10 minute cooldown


1000m at a 4:03 pace works out to around a 6:40 mile, so the pace isn't anything I'm not used to. The problem was simply the state my body was in: Pissed.

I ran the first 1000m in 3:53. I thought, "Great! Maybe this won't be so bad."

The next one was 3:54... my stomach was gurgling by the end.

Then another 3:54. This time, my head started hurting on the last 400m. If my stomach could talk, it would have said, "I dare you to try that again."

Next, a 3:58. I was gasping for air by the end, and my legs felt very stiff, as though they had forgotten how to run. I was drinking some water and stretching when my stomach decided it was time for a nice stomach cramp. I nervously eyed the Port-a-john close by, but eventually the feeling passed. I was about to call it a day when I saw an older guy and his dog doing 5:30 miles around the track.

My last 1000m took 3:57, and I have never been so glad to be finished with a workout. It was torture. Towards the end of the last split, I felt like I was punishing myself for the drinks I had. I feel pretty gross right now, but I know I'd feel worse if I hadn't completed the workout.

So there it is. Another "successful" speed workout, and a pretty intense LT run on Friday to look forward to.

Oh yeah... and I'm running 20 miles on Sunday.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Log #36: Hmmm... that's odd.

I'm not sure, but I think that if I'd woken up Sunday morning and run a full marathon, I would have set a PR. What's strange about this is not that I still have 12 weeks of training left, but the fact that I only got 5 1/2 hours of sleep and went out on a "booze cruise" Friday night.

My band had a show Saturday night, and it went late. I didn't get home until about 1:45, didn't sleep until 2:00, and then got up at 7:30 to run a ridiculous amount of miles. I looked outside and saw grey clouds threatening to make my run even more uncomfortable. After stretching, changing, and Red-Bull-ing myself, my girlfriend and I headed out for 17 shitty miles... so I thought.

The goal pace was a 9:00 mile for 17 miles. I have a huge problem running that slow, so I knew I'd probably be closer to 8:45. I also assumed that I'd burn out for the last 3-4 miles, as I was REALLY tired. I started the run pretty slowly, very close to a 9:00 pace. The second mile was 8:40, and I just kept feeling better and better. The 5th mile was a 7:40... oops! I slowed down, and ran the next 5 miles very close to my marathon pace, 8:00 per mile. The last 5 miles or so were run at about an 8:30 pace, with a 7:40 for mile 17. I decided to push myself on the last one to see how hard I could go with not much gas in the tank.

When I got home, I checked my GPS. My average pace was 8:20. What!?!? The stranger part was how great I felt. My legs were stiff, but I didn't feel gross or even especially tired anymore. I realized that my conditioning has been working so well that 17 miles don't really feel so hard anymore. The physical act of running the miles is no longer daunting. That doesn't mean that it isn't still difficult... the mental strain of keeping your body moving for that long is still tough on you... but I am definitely feeling a lot stronger on those last few miles than I've ever felt.

I also think that I'm improving my running economy immensely. Running economy essentially refers to the amount of running a person can do with a certain amount of oxygen. If you improve your running economy, you can run faster and farther using the same amount of energy. Getting in better shape helps, but improving your technique helps alot too, and I think that's what I'm doing. I've noticed that when I want to run faster, I can either speed up my turnover rate (the number of steps I take each second) or I can extend my stride so I cover more ground with each step. I used to think that keeping my turnover rate constant and just increasing my stride length would be easier, but this is definitely not the case for me. By keeping my stride length pretty consistent and just taking more steps, I can go much faster without using too much more energy.

Anyway, to continue the saga from my last post, I took the advice of a few of you and tried to find this guy's time online. I found out his last name and searched, and absolutely no results came up. My girlfriend laughed at me for going to so much trouble to see if this guy is lying or not. I still think he's full of shit.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Log #35: Note to Self...

Note to self: Don't eat Macaroni and Cheese the night before an LT run. You'd think that after doing this for so long, I'd know better.

I have noticed that it's been getting much easier for me to wake up at 6:00am each morning. I've been doing it for months, so I think my body is finally on board with the idea. I get really tired by 10:30, and I'm usually in bed by 11:00 or so, and then I feel half-decent once I'm up.

I decided to do my run today on the treadmill to make it easy to hit my target pace. I've been running too fast lately, and I really wanted to have a consistent pace on this run. The target was this:

1 mile @ 8:30
5 miles @ 7:44
1 mile @ 8:30


This is what actually happened:

1 mile @ 8:30
3 miles @ 7:40
1.2 miles @ 7:30 (I felt good so I picked up the pace)
Tummy Ache, Pausing of Treadmill, Sweaty Bathroom Time
1 mile @ 8:30


So, unfortunately, I was .8 miles short of my LT goal. I felt awesome, and could have finished the workout no problem if it weren't for that damned delicious Kraft Mac 'n Cheese I ate last night. Sonofabitch.

On a side note, something odd happened last night, and I'd love some opinions.

My girlfriend and I met some of her friends at this bar across the street from us. One of her friends had brought her boyfriend. He was about my height (5'6") and looked to be a little pudgy, with a round face and no definition to speak of. He probably weighed a little less than me, but I have a stocky build and most of my weight is muscle (I think, hehe..)

Anyway, this guy mentioned that he was running the Disney World Marathon in January. When two marathon runners meet for the first time, it's obligatory to exchange stories, the number of marathons run, your PR, etc... We chatted about which races we'd done and all that, and then he asked me for my PR. I told him it was 3:57 at last year's Vegas, and I was training my ass off to run a 3:30 this year. His face said, "Meeehh.... not impressed." So I asked him what his PR was.

"2:36"

Now, I have met many marathon runners in my life. My good friend Chris ran a 2:50 marathon after training his ass off, and he is one of those genetically gifted people. He's also about 3 inches taller than me and 20 pounds lighter, and ran cross country in high school.

I was immediately suspicious of this guy, because he absolutely did NOT look like a 2:36 runner. A time like that would WIN many marathons. It's a 6:00 mile for 26.2 miles, and requires something a lot of people don't have (I include myself in this category). After we left the bar, I told my girlfriend I thought this dude was full of shit, but it's been bugging me. He was built like Samwise Gangi from the Lord of the Rings movies.

Anyway, what do you guys think? Shouldn't a guy who can run a 2:36 marathon LOOK like he can?

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Log #34: Speedy McPoop-Pants... almost.

Here's a math formula for you: Indian Food + 6 hour flight + 5 glasses of wine + Speed Workout = Ninja Turtle.

Actually, today's Ninja Turtle wasn't so bad. I was pretty tired considering I'd just gotten back in town, but I managed to make it down to the track for my speed workout. Today's workout was supposed to look like this:

10-20 minute warmup
1200m @ 4:55
1000m @ 4:03
800m @ 3:13
600m @ 2:24
400m @ 1:35
10 minute cool down


I jogged down to the track, so there's my 10 minute warmup. I then cranked up the devil music on my iPod and started hoofing. I did the first 1200m in 4:45. Not bad.

The next 1000m was a little tougher, but I still hit 3:54 for my time. On the 800m run, I got about 2/3 of the way through when that old familiar feeling hit my stomach. It was my intestines, screaming "STOP, OR WE'LL START MAKING THE WALK HOME VERY AWKWARD!!!:

I stopped for a minute, and the feeling passed. It's funny, but at moments like that I am very grateful for having some experience with marathon training. Like my brother, I am generally very stubborn and don't like quitting in the middle of something, but had I pushed my self I very likely would have had to find a bathroom to go be miserable in for a half-hour.

I walked back about 100m, and restarted the run, finishing the 800m in 3:10. I then did the 600m in 2:15, and then absolutely decided to see how fast I could run the 400m. I pretty much ran all out for one lap, getting REALLY tired towards the end. My 400m time was 1:20, the equivalent of a 5:20 mile pace. There is absolutely NO possibility of me running a 5:20 mile in the near future, but at least I know my legs are capable of going that fast.

So, all in all, a great workout. I am feeling really light on my feet, and my turnover rate has improved so much through these speed workouts. I'm also finding that I seem to have a better sense of how hard I can push my body. In the middle of the 1000m run today, I felt like I was going about 5 seconds per lap too fast, so I just made a little mental adjustment and my legs followed... I slowed down ever so slightly, but my perceived effort was decreased by quite a bit.

Training is going amazingly well so far, but I have 2 BRUTAL runs ahead of me this week. On Thursday, a 7 mile LT run with 5 miles at a 7:44 pace... I'm treadmilling that one... and a 17 mile long run. Good lord.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Log #33: Bloody Amazing Run!!!


The title of this post does not refer to any blood that managed to come out during my run, but is in a fact an homage to London, where I did my 15 miler. I actually ran it yesterday, as today's schedule was pretty crazy and I didn't want to try to just "squeeze in" an enormous run like that.

I woke up at 5:00 am, drank my Red Bull from the minibar, got dressed and hit the hotel lobby. I got directions to the Thames River, only about .75 miles away. At first my GPS couldn't lock on to a signal since I was around a bunch of buildings, so I jogged a little bit and it finally started working. Here were some highlights of this ridiculous run.

1. Running along the Thames River
2. Seeing the sun rise over London
3. Running around the Tower of London
4. Crossing London Bridge
5. Running past the Parliament and Westminster Abbey
6. Absolutely perfect weather

My pace was supposed to be 8:45, but I felt so amazingly good that I ran an 8:30 pace. Booyeah.

The weather was perfect, the scenery was amazing, and I was feeling very motivated. I've been eating better this week, and getting sleep, which has definitely helped my performance. I'm down in the 160's weight-wise (2 years ago I was 194 pounds) and I'm hoping to drop another 5-6 pounds by December 2. My confidence is through the roof as far as running goes.

Today I walked about 6 miles from Arsenal Stadium back to the hotel, so I think that makes up for my missed cross-training on Wednesday. Friday my buddy who I am here with made me do some ridiculous weight-lifting workout that nearly destroyed me. I'm glad I have a friend who is also obsessed with working out, it makes the trip a healthier one.

I fly back to Boston tomorrow, and begin week 3 of training. I'm feeling great so far!!!