Post-Run Report: April 12, 2017

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What a great run! I blew away so many personal records (PR’s) in this run and set a new bar for me to get past. I set a tough one, for sure, but it was really nice to experience. It looks like my experiment with eating three dried apricots 30 minutes to an hour before a run is really paying off. I once again felt like I had a lot of energy throughout the run and I didn’t feel wasted or exhausted afterward. I was also able to keep a really good pace, and kept below 9 minutes per mile for the entire duration of the run. As for the new PR’s, they are:

  • 1k – 4:55
  • 1 mile – 7:56
  • 2 miles – 16:27
  • 5k – 26:10
  • Pace for 3+ miles: 8:28

I can’t be any happier about all this. I finally feel like I’m making some solid progress in running again, and what makes me even happier is that after a run, I don’t feel the pain in my legs or any soreness at all. I’ve been running for seven months now, having started in September 2016, and this entire time, I’ve always had soreness after a run. The only difference now is that I eat those three dried apricots before a run. I knew that the Paleo Diet is rather tough on runners, but I didn’t realize just how tough. I will continue to eat the three apricots before runs to see how it continues.

As for my push-ups, I stopped at 75, not because I was overly tired or worn out, but because it just felt good. I could have easily gone 5 more to 80 and probably even beyond, but I wanted to stop at a good point where I was plenty past 60 and still feeling solid.

I am still experiencing some pain in my left gluteous maximus (left butt cheek muscle) due to sit ups a few weeks back, but with each day, the pain seems to be subsiding. I’m hoping it’ll be gone for my APFT in two weeks. At least it doesn’t hurt much while I run. Well, at least not bad enough to affect my run.

The best part about this run: I didn’t think I was really pushing myself to the wall. I did put in some solid effort, but I didn’t go all-out. I’m saving that for my APFT. I hope to break some more PR’s that morning. Until then, this run is the new bar against which all other runs will be judged. What a great day.

Post-Run Report: April 9, 2017

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So, I ended up taking a four-day break from running inadvertently. I will fully admit that it was my own fault, and through a large amount of stupidity that this happened. I had planned to run Thursday after work, but a co-worker of mine suggested we go have a few drinks after work. We met up with four more co-workers, and a few drinks turned into far too many, and I ended up having to call my wife to come and pick us up at around midnight because neither of us were in any shape to drive. The next morning, I was sick, and I had to take the day off from work. I stayed sick the entire day and didn’t feel well until Saturday morning.

You see, I don’t drink. I hardly ever drink at all, and even when I do, it’s in very strict moderation for a few reasons. One reason is I just don’t like to be drunk. The second reason is that I have too much respect for my body to put it though the effects of alcohol. Unfortunately, I let myself down Thursday night and things got out of hand. The good news is that it won’t be happening again.

Why didn’t I run on Saturday? My wife had a lot of things planned for us to do, and it would have been unfair for me to cancel those plans due to me needing to run. It wasn’t her fault I was stupid Thursday night.

So, this morning, I got up and tried something new: I ate three pieces of dried apricot. I had read that one of the difficulties runners who are on the Paleo diet have is that they lack carbs during a run to fuel them. I’ve definitely been feeling worn out after runs; far more worn out than I think I should be. I decided to take the advice of some runners who share the same diet as me and eat a few pieces of fruit before a run. I’m glad I did.

Although my legs were a bit sore from the lack of exercise over the past four days, I definitely felt I had more energy and the run was far more effortless than previous runs. I even had my fastest mile at an 8:53/mile pace, and my average pace for the 3 miles was 9:17/mile. That’s pretty fantastic, even considering the four day break! I didn’t feel like I was working as hard, either. Again, my legs were a bit sore, but that’s because of the break.

I also had a bit of ankle soreness on the left and some knee pain on the right, but nothing horrible. I am wearing new shoes, and I’m hoping they stretch a bit. I had them fitted properly and they seemed to be okay in the store, but today, they felt a bit tight. Maybe I tied them too tight. Next run, I’ll pay more attention to them.

I did 70 push ups which, again, not a record, but past the minimum 60 I try to do every run. I’d like to be 80+, but that four day break really affected the arm strength, too.

Otherwise, I’m pleased with today’s run. I set out to do an easy 2-mile run and ended up with a record-breaking 3-mile run without even really feeling spent afterward. That’s a definite plus, and I will likely run again tomorrow to get back on schedule.

250 miles since September

Every now and then, I look at my stats in Strava to see where I’m at, how far I’ve run, my pace progress, etc. Last night as I was going to sleep, I looked at the Strava app on my phone to get an idea of where I’m at and I found that I’ve run exactly 250 miles since I began running in September. That’s not a lot for some people, but it’s a huge accomplishment for me. You see, I’m the guy who said he hated running and would never do it. 250 miles later, I’m looking forward to the next 250.

Never say never. I’ve stopped saying it, because almost every time I say, “I’ll never like…” or “I’ll never be a person who…”, I end up doing that thing.

I’m a runner now. I don’t run daily, but that’s more a decision based on my need to recover and heal after runs, not out of a lack of desire to run daily. I know my limitations, and to stay safe and uninjured, I need that recovery time. But now, I’m also a runner who put 250 miles behind him in six months. It does feel good.

Post-Run Report: April 4, 2017

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What a bag of mixed emotions. This was another day I wasn’t really in the mood to run, yet I felt compelled and did it out of what my grandmother would call, “Duty.” It was my duty to run. I had my day off, and I didn’t want to take another two-day break, so I just got out there and did it. Started with 70 push ups as going past this was going to be work. I am happy anytime I get past 60.

I then set out for the run. It was HOT. It was nearly 85 degrees out and humid. I knew immediately that it was going to be a tough run, and I was right. Within a mile, my legs started getting sore. Normally, that doesn’t happen until around the third mile, so for it to happen after the first was unusual. With that said, I also had my best first-mile time in a very long time: 8:54/mile. The second mile was my slowest of the three, but I picked it back up for the final mile which gave me an average of 9:20/mile. I’m happy with that, as it’s my best three-mile average in a long time (if ever; I need to look that up).

When I was done with the run, I was pretty wore out. My legs were not quite cramping, but they were very sore. Mostly from the heat. I think it’s about time I start switching back over to morning runs. I hate that, because it means I have to go to sleep at between 8-9 pm, but if that’s what I have to do to get these runs in, that’s what I’m going to do.

Getting started is (damn) hard

Two posts back, I made a short video in which I talk about getting started with exercise, and how sometimes, I really am not in to it. I said it was discipline that gets me past not wanting to do it, and keeps me going. That’s completely true. But I think I didn’t go into how I do that, because I think I made it sound like, “All you have to do is just do it and it’ll get done.” That’s kind of silly. Like, “No kidding!”

What I was trying to say and didn’t do as good a job of as I’d have hoped for was that the single-most difficult part of exercise for me is getting started. From the time I just decide to do it and when I get started, it’s pretty easy. But to get to the point where I commit mentally and begin preparations for a run? That’s the difficult part.

I run every other day. As an older guy, I need the recovery time. I know there are lots of folks my age out there who run 5-6 times a week. That’s great for them! However, for me, it’s just not feasible. I don’t want to invite the possibility of injury, and so far, this regimen has been doing well for me. My run times are steadily decreasing, my pace increasing, and my resting heart rate decreasing. My cardio health is improving, and I continue to make solid, steady progress. The down side of running every other day is it gives me a lot of time to begin dreading a run.

I don’t dread every run. Not even every other run. But every now and then, the last thing I want to do is go out, run hard, and be out of breath with my heart beating out of my chest. Don’t get me wrong: I actually do enjoy running now, and there are days when I really look forward to my runs. Heck, there are days when I’m obsessed with getting out on the road and running. But for the times when I’m not so motivated, I need to draw on an inner strength and discipline that sometimes is hard to harness.

That’s where perseverance and discipline really comes into play. I talked about perseverance on my PaleoMarine blog, and it’s the single most important factor in my success in losing over 140 lbs. This is another case of the answer being simple but implementation being difficult. It’s easy to say, “Just push past the negativity and start and get it done,” but actually doing it is another thing entirely.

I get it. I’m right there with you.

I don’t know how you motivate yourself, or what drives you to make yourself better, healthier, or more fit. That’s something you need to discover for yourself. I don’t have the answer here for you for that one magical thing that can make getting started easier. Heck, if I knew that, I’d be using it myself! The only things that have helped me and may help you are the following:

  • Fake it ’til you make it. This has been a big one for me. I used to hate running and all exercise. One day on a run, I realized that I would do better during my runs if I liked them, so I decided on the mantra, “I love running.” I would repeat it to myself often during runs, and lo and behold, it worked! I actually enjoy running now!
  • Setting a goal for running pace and distances. I’m not overly competitive, but I do like to take on challenges. I set goals for myself for running pace and distance based on the Marine Corps PFT standards. Now as a National Guard Soldier, I make sure I can exceed those standards to the best of my ability. This drives me to keep going and to get better.
  • Technology. I love tech, and having a Garmin Fenix 3 HR has made collecting data during my runs not just neat, but downright amazing. The data collected during my runs really allows me to analyze my runs from many different angles to compare my efforts and results with previous runs.
  • When all else fails, discipline. I have decided that I will run a minimum of three times a week, with no more than two days off in a row. When I get to that third day, I leave myself no option to consider not running. Perhaps that’s the trick: I don’t allow myself to even consider not running on those days. I can’t put it off if I don’t allow myself the opportunity to call it off. The exception to this rule is bad weather. I won’t run in the rain. Sorry. It’s not happening.

While those work for me, you may have to find what works for you is different. Heck, it may be the same (yay!) and if so, get out there and do it! My life has been improved dramatically not only through my weight loss, but through my fitness. Being more fit has enabled me to experience things I would otherwise not be able to do, and opportunities that would not have been possible for me. It honestly has been a life changer. Getting started can be tough, but once you get going, the momentum will carry you. Just give yourself that nudge to get rolling.

Post-Run Report: April 2, 2017

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Today was pretty awesome. I really, really didn’t feel like getting started, but I pushed through it and got it going anyway. I got it done. 80 push ups to start with and then my best time since November for my first time: 8:58 for the first mile. YAY! The rest of the run was at a great pace, too! I felt so good, I kept going and went past my initial goal of 3 miles. At the end, I shot this little video.

Get it done.