Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Log #19: I need a 36 hour day!!!

24 hours is just not enough time. I'm serious. How can anyone be expected to get everything done in such a short amount of time?

First of all, let me talk about my long-run on Saturday. I was going to try for 13 miles @ 8:30. I ended up with 9 miles @ 8:30. Where did those 4 miles go? Well, let me explain:

I woke up at 5:15, got dressed, laced up the shoes, applied the nip protectors, chugged a red bull and ate a granola bar. I strapped on my GPS and went outside. Keep in mind that I live in Boston, and I'm used to cold weather, especially early in the morning. Saturday morning the humidity was nearly 100%, and it was already in the high 70's. The heat was my first problem. The 2nd problem was that the dense cloud cover made my GPS unable to get a lock, so I sat there for 10 minutes waiting for a signal lock that never came, so now my GPS was useless.

I decided I'd wasted enough time, so I started running. About 30 minutes into the run, I was DRENCHED with sweat. I've mentioned my proficiency at sweating before, so it should come as no surprise that running in 100% humidity would make me look like I'd been boiled. I drank as much water as I could, but it wasn't enough, plus I was tired from being up so #%^$# early, and I started fading fast around mile 6. Any runner can attest to how persuasive your mind can be at times like this.

"Come on Joey, just head back. 13 miles are too much, plus you still have to pack. Why not slow down a little and just relax, what's the hurry?"

I managed to keep my pace pretty consistent at least, but I did not hit my distance. By the time I got home I was disgusting, and the shower felt soooooo good. I didn't feel that bad about only getting 9 miles in...

... that is, until I was at the wedding, 6 drinks in and eating the best wedding cake I've ever had. I also, predictably, didn't sleep enough this weekend, which cascaded right into me not getting up this morning for my speed workout. I leave tomorrow for 8 days in Europe with my girlfriend, so I have a feeling it's not going to get any easier for me!!! I need to make a kilometers to miles chart to bring with me.

My plan is to do the speed workout tomorrow morning, and maybe get a cross-train in tonight if I have time. I think this might actually be the craziest my life has ever been, and of course I decide to train for a marathon in the middle of it all!

I also read "Ultramarathon Man" this weekend. It's by Dean Karnazes, a man who routinely runs races that are over 100 miles. The book really did a good job of making me feel like a pansy, hehe. I recommend it... it's always good to get some perspective. Now I feel like 26.2 miles is a pretty average distance.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Quick Update

I'll write a full entry tomorrow, but my quick update is:

The long run did not go as planned (do they ever?). I just got back from a wedding in Detroit, and I'm going to try to get up tomorrow morning and do the speed workout on the track. I'll post a full update after that.

--- The Management

Friday, July 27, 2007

Long Run Math

Tomorrow I will be going for a 13 mile long run. The tricky part is that I also have a 10:30 am plane to catch, so I need to figure out when I need to get up in order to run, clean up, and get to the airport in time. Here's how Long-Run-Math works:

My plane leaves at 10:30
That means I need to be at the airport by 9:30
So I have to leave my house by 9:10
So I should try to be back from the run around 8:15 so I can stretch, shower, eat something, get dressed, etc...

13 miles @ 8:30 pace is about 1 hour, 50 minutes. I have to factor in traffic lights, possible fatigue-induced-stoppage towards the end of the run, and just a general buffer for my run, so I'll add another 20 minutes to that total, for a grand total of 2 hours, 10 minutes

If I'm aiming to get back to my house by 8:15, I should leave my house by 6:00 to be totally safe.

I need 30 minutes to get up and be ready to run, so I'll be getting up at 5:30 am tomorrow morning.

I will go on the record now to say that this sucks... 5:30 am on a Saturday? Why? Well, If I don't do the run tomorrow morning before I fly to Detroit, there is a VERY strong chance that I just won't do a long run this weekend, and then I'll feel like garbage when I'm at my buddy's wedding and after-party.

Wish me luck folks.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Log #18: Lactastic!!!

I just had an awesome workout. I feel like prancing about.

I actually managed to complete my LT workout. I did it on a treadmill so I could better gauge my pace, so take that into consideration. Here's what I did:

2 miles @ 8:30
2 miles @ 7:13
1 mile @ 8:30
1 mile @ 8:00 (I sped up just to push myself a little)

Since it was on a treadmill, it was definitely a bit easier. However, I definitely felt REALLY strong today, and during the LT portion I concentrated on my breathing and running form a lot. I didn't even get into the 2 in / 3 out breathing range until my second 7:13 mile. The last 2 miles were the hardest, because I kept waiting for my body to cool down and it never did. I was breathing pretty hard and felt tired even though I had slowed down a lot, but I just zoned out and eventually I was done.

I've read through some of my older posts about the LT run, and I am now very confident that this FIRST program is working. I've lost a considerable amount of body fat, dropped a few pounds, and my running feels stronger than ever. My long runs need some work, but my speed and LT runs have improved 1000%. I am pretty confident that I'll be ready to start training officially on August 21, and if the planets align I might even have a shot at my 3:30 marathon.

Yesterday was supposed to be a cross-train day, but I decided to do a "recovery run" since my legs felt a little stiff from the speed workout the day before. I did 3.5 miles at about an 8:30 pace. It felt good and pretty easy.

Ahhh.... PROGRESS!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Breathing While Running

My last post got me thinking about something that a lot of runners don't think about. When you're running, there are a lot of ways to measure how "hard" you're running, but for me, the easiest way is to observe your breathing. There are different zones that runners get into during a workout, and these zones can be measured by your heart rate. In fact, a lot of runners do what is called "Heart Rate Based Training" where they will run NOT for a specified distance, but for a specified time with a specific heart rate range they must stay within. The benefit to this type of training is that you can clearly see improvement in your fitness by seeing how much farther you can run in the same amount of time with the same heart rate.

The method I use to count my breaths per stride. It's REALLY simple, and it works like this:

When you first start running, focus on inhaling for three strides, then exhaling for three strides. Run a mile like this, and if you feel like you have to breath more rapidly, slow down until you can run with the 3 in / 3 out breathing pattern. For me, this is an 8:00 min/mile pace.

The next step is 2 in / 3 out. For me this is an LT run, or at least SHOULD be how I breathe during LT runs. It's a little weird at first because you're counting 5 strides, which means you'll end up alternating which leg is forward while you breath in, but after a few minutes it will feel natural.

The next step is 2 in / 2 out. For me this is a speed workout. You should be booking it pretty fast if you're breathing like this.

I suppose if you just sprinted as hard as you could, you might hit 1 in / 2 out or even 1 in / 1 out, but as a marathon runner I never run this fast.

The benefits of breathing control are easier determination of your pace (although it clearly doesn't work that well for me), better running economy (you'll use energy more efficiently if you breathe correctly) and one more thing to focus on to take your mind off of the burning in your legs and chest.

Does anybody else do this? It works well for me, and I think I've read about it in Runner's World before.

Log #17: Hitting My Stride

I think my body has finally accepted the fact that we are now "training" and it would be appropriate to act as such. For the past few weeks I've seen progress, albeit slowly, but I felt like my body was just responding at too sluggish a pace. Over the last week I've noticed a pretty huge spike in my energy levels, my clothes suddenly got really loose, and I've had 3 killer workouts in the last week. This morning was a speed workout. I decided to do it on a treadmill because I've noticed that my sense of pace is pretty unreliable, and I generally run too fast. The treadmill let's me just do my run and not think about the pace, and the whole time my legs are hopefully "learning" what it feels like to run at a certain pace.

I'll take this opportunity to talk about treadmill running vs. real running. I actually love treadmills because you literally HAVE to run at whatever speed it's set to or else you'll be flying off the treadmill onto your ass. It's easier to push yourself for longer periods of time because you can just zone out for a few minutes and your legs will do the rest. When you run for real, you have to constantly make sure you're maintaing the correct pace and fight the urge to slow down. Obviously a treadmill workout can't give you the same mental pressures as a real run, which is why I'm trying to do more "real" running for this marathon. Being in good physical shape is only 50% of being able to run a marathon... probably far less than 50% actually. If you're running on a treadmill, set the incline to 1.0 just to give you a little extra resistance to better simulate the effect of wind resistance when you run for real.

My workout this morning looked like this:

1.5 miles @ 8:30
1 mile @ 6:40, 2 minute walk
1 mile @ 6:40, 3 minute walk
1 mile @ 6:40, 2 minute walk
.5 mile @ 8:30

Here's the thing: My workout program calls for 1600M @ 6:41, and 1 mile is actually 1609 meters. This means that I'm normally running around a 6:45 pace during my speed workouts. Today I did 6:40's. I figured that I needed to make up for the fact that I was on a treadmill, and didn't have to push myself as hard mentally to keep running. That's not to say that the workout wasn't hard... it was REALLY hard. That last mile was brutal, and the "just quit, you've done enough" voice was VERY loud in my brain towards the end. I just focused on my breathing and kept repeating to myself, "It's just six minutes and forty seconds... two songs on the iPod..."

Now that the speed workout is out of the way, I can cross-train tomorrow, and then (oh joy!) do the LT run on Thursday. I haven't completed that workout yet, so let's hope that my energy surge can hold up throughout the week.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Log #16: Sweaty

I have an amazing talent for sweating... I'm a prolific sweater.

Yesterday I busted out a NASTY 45 minute bike workout. It was probably the hardest cross-training workout I've done yet. Here's what I did:

10 minutes warm-up
4 minutes HARD, 1 minute easy - 6 times
5 minute cooldown

My legs were done, and sweat was just shooting out of me. My shirt and shorts were drenched, and it was great.

Then this morning, I decided to do my long run since tomorrow I'll be playing a rock show. I was going to go for 10 miles @ 8:30 min/mile, but apparantly my pacing is horrible. I managed 9 miles. Here are my splits:

8:34 (mile 7, I finally slow down to the correct pace)

Looking at the splits it's REALLY clear what my problem is. I need to work on running the correct pace CONSISTENTLY. Running those first six miles too fast burned me out, and I really started suffering the consequences around mile 8. My goal for the next week is going to be making sure I'm used to running an 8:30 pace. You'd think it'd be easier to run a little slower, but that's just not the case. My natural pace seems to be around an 8:00 mile, and I need to make a conscious effort to slow down and just relax a little more.

Two days off and I'll start my next training week off with the speed workout. I hope this time I do better.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Log #15: Lactarded

Oh my GAWD those LT runs are tough.

I got up at 6:00 am tired as hell. I was up until midnight last night because Wednesday nights are practice with my band. I pounded a Red Bull and a granola bar (my pre-run routine) and laced up.

I knew very quickly into my run that it'd be an interesting workout. About .8 miles in, the shoe lace on my left shoe caught on my right foot sending me down HARD on the pavement. As I landed, I'm pretty sure I said, "ooh?" I scraped my hands up really good, and got the shocked look from a girl runner coming the other way. "Are you ok?" I told her I did it on purpose.

I've decided I hate shoelaces.

So I kept going, I got to my 2 mile mark where the LT portion is supposed to start, and lo' and behold I'm at the bottom of a hill. I made a series of mental calculations and decided I'd be stupid to start my LT run by going uphill, so I paused my GPS and kept my 8:30 pace over the hill. When I got to the bottom, I turned the GPS back on and took off.

In NASCAR races, there is a trick drivers do called "drafting." This is when a driver stays just behind another car, cutting down on wind resistance and enabling them to go just as fast as the guy in front of them without using as much power. In running, I'm not sure it works the same way, but what DOES happen is this: You'll run behind someone, and without thinking about it you'll end up lock-stepped with them, and in essence they pull you along behind them. It makes it easier to run. This guy was running ahead of me just as I started the LT, and he seemed to be going about the right pace, so I just stayed behind him. I felt MUCH stronger on this LT run, and actually managed to keep the pace pretty much the whole time, minus some stops for traffic lights during which I'd run in place.

After the LT section, I was once again a mess. I jogged for a half mile, then walked a bunch, jogged some, walked some more, and then pathetically jogged home. I hit my 6 miles, and here were my splits:

9:10 (keep in mind I fell on my face)
7:50 (Uhm... whoops?)
6:50 (Crap)
7:12 (That's better!)

Those last 2 miles are a little misleading... I was stopping and walking alot, and I'd turn off the GPS when I did that. When I was running, that was my pace.

As you can see the LT miles were a little fast, which actually makes me feel good. If I can learn how to run the correct pace, I should be able to nail this workout sooner or later (hopefully by August 21). I'm glad this workout is over, and I'm looking forward to a nice bike workout tomorrow. I may do my long run Saturday since my band has a show Sunday. 10 miles is the goal. If I can keep booze out of my system unti l then I should be golden!

On a related and pleasant note, my shorts are loose as hell on me now. I've lost about 5 pounds since I started this training buildup, and I've lost at least an inch on my waist.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Log #14: Row, Row, Row Your Boat

This morning I got up and did a very tough rowing machine workout. It went like this:

5 minutes easy
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
3 minutes easy

TOTAL: 30 Minutes

Now, 30 minutes may not seem like a lot, but try doing it. The rowing machine seems to work a TON of muscles at the same time, so fatigue sets in really quickly. It feels more like a lactate threshold workout then a pure cardio workout. I guess it's similar to swimming in that it works these muscles that, as runners, we just don't ever use. I've noticed that since I started doing the rowing and bike workouts, my upper body has gotten a little more developed, and I feel a little more bounce in my step when I'm running fast.

Doing my workout this morning got me thinking about how important music is to runners. I'd wager that the vast majority of distance runners have an iPod or some equivalent to listen to music while they run. I know that, for me, the music is much more than just a distraction from the pain of running. I listen to very heavy, screamy music when I'm working out, and it really jacks me up and gets my adrenaline pumping. There have been more than a few workouts where I was about to quit, and then some song comes on that gives me a big surge of energy.

Tomorrow morning is lactate threshold time. Last week's LT run destroyed me. I'm hoping to have a better showing this time. Once again, the goal will be:

2 miles @ 8:30
2 miles @ 7:14
2 miles @8:30

I start officially training on August 21... only a month left really. I need to work on my diet a little and nail down my training plan. I'm considering adding one day of moderate running to the 3 running workouts I already do... I don't think it will necessarily help my running speed, but it would burn more calories. Either that, or I do my cross-training workouts MUCH harder.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Log #13: Ninja Turtles

Last night I wanted to run 5 miles at around an 8:00 min/mile pace. It was not to be. Instead, I ended up with this:

1 mile @ 8:04
1 mile @ 7:40 (whoops!)
1 mile @ 8:07
.5 miles @ 4:00 after being attacked by ninja turtles

You're probably wondering what a ninja turtle is. Well, it's something that every runner will face sooner or later. Maybe you ate something you shouldn't have, maybe your stomach is a little acidic, maybe you're lactose intolerant and had dairy too close to the run... whatever the cause may be, a ninja turtle is a stomach malfunction that sneaks up on you and before you know it, you are hobbling home trying not to think about how bad you have to go. The "Ninja" part comes from the fact that these events usually sneak up on you, and the "Turtle" part... well I hope I dont' have to explain that part.

Last night's ninja turtle wasn't too bad because I sensed it sneaking up, so I cut my run short just in case. I ended up making it home ok, but in the past I've had REALLY close calls. I still think that my stomach is mad at me for pizza, steak and cheese, beer, and cajun fries that I ate on Saturday. I know that all of that garbage should be gone from my system by now, but I still feel a little gross.

This morning I tried to get up and do my usual speed workout. My legs were a little bit worn out since I had just run at 7:30 the night before, but I figured I needed the punishment. I managed this:

10 minute warm up
1 mile @ 6:39
400m @ 1:40
400m @ 1:30
400m @ 1:40
5 minute cooldown

I just didn't have the lungs today... I felt groggy and weak and just couldn't make my legs keep going. It was just one of those workouts. I made myself do a bunch of situps and pushups when I got home to try and compensate for my shitty performance.

Oh well, runners have bad workouts all the time. It's just part of the process. Even though I sucked today, I know that I got a good workout and I'm back on track a little. Tomorrow I'll cross-train. Hopefully I won't be attacked by any more ninja turtles

Monday, July 16, 2007

Off my game... and other random musings

It's official. When I miss workout I am thrown off of my game. All day today I've felt like garbage, and not just physically. I feel like today is an "ADD" day, and I could use some Ritalin. I have noticed that on days I don't work out, I generally am more distracted and anxious than on days I run. I think it must be my body telling me I'm being lazy.

I've often wondered what it is about our brains that makes it so hard for people to stick to a plan. I have a specific goal, a specific plan that will let me achieve that goal, and yet I keep sabotaging it. For instance, right now I am absolutely 100% positive I will be running every remaining workout until December 2, getting to bed early, eating healthy during the week, limiting alcohol consumption, etc... I am SO fired up to get back on track. I know damn well that Friday night will come around, some of my friends will be going out to a bar or something, and I'll cave. I'll probably have a few beers and go to bed around 2:00 am.

I could just go out, drink water, hang out until around 11:30 or midnight and then go home and go to bed. I'd wake up Saturday morning feeling fine, I'd have the whole day to get stuff done. It seems like such a fantastic idea right now. Why, oh why does my brain conspire against me when temptation is put in front of me? Shouldn't it be easy for me to realize, "Drinking this beer will make it much harder for me to reach my goal of running a 3:30 on December 2" ?

I have total sympathy for people who can't stick to a diet and constantly gain and lose weight in a yo-yo fashion. It seems simple on the surface... just don't eat so much damn food! I know from experience that it's not so simple. Your mind rationalizes and makes deals with you to get that one bite... ok maybe just a little piece... maybe just a piece and a half of cake into your mouth. "It's fine, you'll just eat less for dinner. Don't worry, you'll work out tomorrow and it'll be gone." You can't trust your mind... it will betray you!

I've found a few little tricks that help me, although they all seem to work only temporarily. One trick is wearing something that constantly reminds me of my goal. I have one of those rubber bracelets that has all of my splits that I need to run in order to finish a marathon in 3:30. It's meant to be worn on race day so I can easily look down and see if I'm running too fast or slow. I wear it all the time, because it reminds me, "Order the 6-inch sub, you'll be happy later." Before that I was writing "3:30" on my arm every morning. Both of these methods work for a while, and then I get immune to them. I need to find some new tricks. Maybe another tattoo would do it.

I am clearly a rambling lunatic today. Anybody else have these issues?

Domino Effect

I really don't even want to write this post, but the whole point of this blog is to make me feel accountable for my training, so here goes.

Saturday night I was up until almost 4:00 am. This caused me to sleep until 12:30 pm on Sunday, which caused me to skip my long run since I felt awful and had practice with my band at 4:00 pm. I was going to get up this morning and run, but my internal clock is thrown off by all of this nonsense, so I couldn't fall asleep until about 12:30 am, and when my alarm clock went off at 5:45 am I immediately turned it off and collapsed back into bed.

So now I haven't done my long run... it's too late to catch up on it. I totally blew a very important workout because I stayed up past my bed time. I know that I'm still technically in "pre-training" mode, but bad habits are very hard to kick which is why I've been training so hard up to this point.

I guess the lesson here is that you can definitely train for a marathon and have a social life, you can even party it up a little, but you HAVE to take care of your body before runs. If I go out Friday night, I don't have to run Saturday. I can be out pretty late, have a few drinks, and still be fine for my long run Sunday. I can't do that on Saturdays, so I need to just cut it out.


I'm going to try and get at least 5 miles in tonight... just something to burn some calories and get my legs moving. I feel like garbage. When I don't run for a few days I feel gross.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Son of a B****!!!!!

Ugh, I was up until almost 4:00 am last night mixing my band's cd, and I happened to also have some pizza, a steak and cheese, some cajun fries, and a couple of donuts. I also drank coffee at midnight.

Sooooo.... long run anyone? I was going to aim for 10 miles, but now I think I'm going to attempt 8 on a treadmill. I slept until 12:30, but my body is still protesting.

I'll let you know how it goes. I predict massive failure with possible vomiting.


Friday, July 13, 2007

Log #12: Bike Taint

My bike taint is stronger than ever! Read back a few posts if you're not sure what I'm talking about.

Today I did a pretty tough bike workout, but it felt SOOO good after that awful lactate threshold run last night. That run was so hard I felt sick afterwards. Ugh.

Here's my stats today:

5 minutes warmup (around 90 rpm)
30 minutes hard pedaling (around 120 rpm)
5 minuntes cooldown (around 90 rpm)

I've become a huge fan of the excercise bike because I can just go on autopilot. I don't have to concentrate on anything, so I have been bringing a book to read while I pedal. I was "that guy" today, on a bike, listening to heavy metal on the iPod, and reading a Stephen King book.... at 6:30 in the morning. Dear Gaaawd.

I'll say it again. These cross-training workouts are EXCELLENT because they just let your legs recharge after a brutal running workout, yet you still burn a ton of calories and strengthen parts of your legs that you normally don't while running. I know that my quads seem to be getting much more defined since I started doing the bike, and that has helped my speed runs a lot.

Tomorrow is my day off, although I might grab a quick jog if I'm feeling it in the morning. Sunday I might go for 10 miles, just to see how my distance legs are feeling.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Log #11: 3-Speed Legs

I learned something today: My legs have 3 speeds.

The first speed is KINDA SLOW, which is how I do my long runs. If I'm running an 8:00 - 8:15 mile, I feel like I'm just kinda jogging along, just keepin' it real.

The second speed is KINDA FAST, which is what a "lactate threshold" run is done at. For me it's between 7:10-7:45 minute miles.

The third speed is SLOW THE F*** DOWN!!!, which is what I do my speed workouts at.

By FAR... hands down... the hardest speed to run at is KINDA FAST. That might surprise you. The reason is thus:

When I'm running KINDA SLOW, even if it's for 20 miles, it's just jogging. I don't even really get out of breath running this speed.

When I'm running SLOW THE F*** DOWN speed, I know that I'm only running a mile, maybe a mile and a half at the most.

KINDA FAST, however, is reserved for the mid-distance runs (6-10 miles). Keeping up this kind of exhertion for that long really takes its toll on you mentally and physically.

I've completed the speed workout for the 3:30 training program, I know I can do the long run, but this lactate threshold run just slays me. Here's what I was supposed to do today:

2 miles @ 8:30
2 miles @ 7:14 (lactate threshold)
2 miles @ 8:30

Here's what I think I did... my GPS wasn't set right so I'm estimating here.

2 miles @ 8:30
2 miles @ around 7:20... maybe 7:30 counting the stops and water gulps at traffic lights
2 miles at 9:00-9:30 while complaining and grunting

Not so bad, but I definitely have found my weak spot. I need to train hard at this tempo so I can get good at running KINDA FAST. Tomorrow is a cross-training Friday followed by a Stephen King movie... it IS Friday the 13th tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Legs still angry :(

Woke up at 6:00. Legs still angry, still feel overtrained. Back to bed.

Try again tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Warning Signs...

Wow... it sure didn't take me long to overdo it.

I woke up this morning with the intention of doing my speed workout, but when I got out of bed to turn my alarm clock off, I noticed something felt off in my legs. I ran 5 miles on Sunday, only 2 days after getting over an awful stomach ailment, and I think I may have pushed my body a little too hard. Sunday night I couldn't fall alseep until close to 3 am, and last night I was up until about 12:30. I felt over anxious this morning, and my legs felt totally dead... classic overtraining.

At least I know what to call it. Overtraining is NOT some general set of symptoms that occur when you train too much. It is a VERY definite and specific response to pushing your body too hard, too fast. This happened to me last year when I decided to go from zero (Being about 30 pounds overweight, not running, drinking 3-4 times a week) to qualifying for Boston, and beating my PR by 50 minutes, in about 7 months of training. I learned my lesson the REALLY hard way.

Last June, I decided to try and run 5 miles at the Boston Marathon Qualifying pace for my age group, which happens to be a 7:10 mile. That is a very fast pace for me, just about my 10K (6.2 miles) pace NOW (20 pounds less and 2 marathons later). I did it on the treadmill because I knew that my legs wouldn't move that fast for that long on their own. I almost puked, but I survived the run. I remember that the next day, my body was just... different. My legs felt like I had cement blocks on my feet. I lost my appetite, I felt really anxious all day long, and could not fall asleep easily. My runs began to suck BAD. I went from long runs at about an 8:30-8:45 pace to almost 10 minute miles. My legs just wouldn't work, and my lungs burned out after a couple of miles. I had no idea what was wrong, and the word "overtrained" never occurred to me until I did some research and figured out that I was an idiot. I had these symptoms for about 2 weeks before stopping everything for one week. That one week off set my body back to normal, but had I caught it sooner I would have lost a lot less time (and sleep.)

It sucks to overtrain, and the only cure is to cut back on the training until your body returns to normal. I think trying to run so soon after being sick did it. This morning I decided to go to the gym, stretch a lot, and did a light cross-training workout instead. I'll see how I feel tomorrow, but I'm wise enough now to know what can happen if I don't listen to my legs. Your legs may argue with you, but trust them... they know what's best.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

One born everyday!

I've tried many times to get my friends to jump on the marathon bandwagon with me, and it's only worked once. One of my good friends from college actually trained with me and ran a 4:45 in the Bay State Marathon. Now, FINALLY, another sucker has joined the chase!!!

Ladies and gentleman, let me introduce my little brother Adam to the Marathon Club. Everyone give him a big round of applause. He just signed up for Vegas, and I'm going to whip him into shape. I'm not sure what sort of time I should expect out of him. He's in pretty good shape already since he's in the ROTC at Boston University. I'm guessing around a 3:45 or 4:00 for him. Who knows, maybe he'll kick my ass and make me feel bad.

Today I felt much better, I even tried to run a little 5'er out in the 90 degree weather. My legs felt like they weighed approximately 700 pounds, so apparently I'm not TOTALLY healed up, but hopefully by Tuesday I'll be good as new.

And thanks to everyone who's written and shown support! It means a lot to hear the kind words and such.

Friday, July 6, 2007


What do you do when all of your planning and hardwork are derailed by one undercooked hamburger?

Well, luckily I am VERY early in my training, so I think that I'll probably be just fine and won't really lose too much speed from my bout of food poisoning / flu. I really want to get back to running ASAP, but I know that trying to push myself before I'm fully recovered will do a lot more harm than good. I can probably go for a very short jog on Sunday, and maybe try to pick up the training again on Tuesday. It really sucks to get sick becuase you end up having to backtrack in your training and catch up to where you were before.

At least this happened now and not the week of the marathon.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Food Poisoning

Ugh... I woke up this morning with the worst stomach ache ever. I'll leave out the details, but I got food poisoning somehow and I just want to lie in bed and moan. Training is postponed for a few days. Ich.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Log #10: Inner Monologue

I realized today that running is essentially nothing more than a conversation between your brain and your body. Allow me to pontificate:

Today's workout was supposed to look like this:

10-20 minute warmup
3 x 1600m @ 6:41 pace
10-20 minute cooldown

I felt like garbage yesterday because I overdid it Sunday with my long run followed by a metal show that was an hour drive away. I was POSITIVE that today would be a bad work out, and I resigned myself to miserably failing and feeling bad about it all day.

So... I ran to the track near my girlfriend's place (MIT's track in Cambridge, MA if you care) which satisfied my warm-up requirement. I then turned on the rage music on my iPod (today it was "The Bled") and hit start on my stopwatch.

On lap 4, I still felt pretty decent... strange, considering how sure I was that today would be awful. I passed the finish line at 6:36. I actually ran too fast. Oh well, there's definitely no way I can do THAT again.

I rested for a couple of minutes, and began round two. This time, after 2 laps, I started to hear the voice. Not LITERALLY a voice, but my body was definitely talking to me. It said, "Slow down, just a little... you'll feel much better and you'll still probably hit around 6:50 for your time."

My brain told my body "Nah, I think I'll just keep going at this pace if you don't mind.

My body was all, "Ok, but I think you might regret that decision."

So I focused on pumping my arms and making smooth strides and lo' and behold.... Another 6:36. At this point my chest is burning and I'm a sweaty mess, so I walk a lap around the track drinking lots of water. My body is saying, "Well I hope you're happy with yourself. Now there's NO way you're going to run another 1600m since you've already used up all of your energy."

At this point my brain is saying, "Yeah, you're probably right... but, then again, all I have to do is run for six minutes and forty-one seconds... that's only like 2 songs on the iPod."

Body: "Yeah, but you just wait and see. I'm going to make things very unpleasant."

I lined up, turned on the metal, and started going. My first lap felt fine, second lap felt fine.... wait a sec.... third lap felt fine.... uhm.... what the hell is going on here.... fourth lap a little tired but.... 6:34!!!!! WHAT JUST HAPPENED?

The lesson today is that sometimes your body has absolutely no idea what it's capable of doing, and when you ignore it long enough, sometimes it just shuts up and lets you do your thing. For the record, here is what I accomplished today.

10 minute warmup
1600m @ 6:36
1600m @ 6:36
1600m @ 6:34
15 minute cooldown

I feel like a champ, and the rest of the day is now a little bit brighter because I managed to complete the first speed workout necessary for me to pull off a 3:30 marathon time. It's a big step, and I can't wait to see what happens next.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Log #9: Going Long

I did an 8 mile long run yesterday, and felt incredible. There's something about getting outside for an hour on a nice day that just works wonders for your mood. People always talk about the "runner's high," and I have to say it's definitely a real thing. When you sustain a certain level of exertion for a while, your body produces all these wonderful chemicals which leave you feeling relaxed and peaceful. Who needs alcohol or drugs?

I forgot to bring my GPS with me, but I felt like I was running between 8:15-8:30 miles. I made myself run the last half of my run faster than the first half. This is called running a "negative split." It's a good idea to try and do this on long runs because typically when you run a marathon the second half is much slower for people. Training your body to maintain a consistent pace even when it's really tired and cranky will make the marathon experience go a lot smoother.

I also ate like a damn HORSE yesterday. Those long runs burn a ton of calories, and you end up just starving right afterwards. Me and my girl hit up a nice brunch place for some home fries and eggs benedict. Oh yeah!

Today is my day off, which is so nice. Tomorrow is speed day again. Maybe this time I can actually hit all 3 miles at the 6:41 pace.