Archive for August, 2012


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Don’t Let One Dictate the Other

This week my training took an unexpected turn as I was forced to start my transition to road running much sooner than anticipated.  As it turns out, the death of our gym’s treadmill was prematurely reported and I now have the option of mixing both surfaces into my training plans.

My first run on the road a few days ago was both a positive and a concerning experience.  I didn’t come away with any swelling or acute pain, but my legs were completely lost in regards to rhythm, pace, cadence and stride length.  I finished the 5k in my fastest time yet, which wasn’t the day’s objective, but I also finished with nothing left in the tank and gasping for air.

As a middle-aged, novice runner I am in no position to offer up training advice to anyone.  But I’ll break that rule today to share this point: do not let your pride dictate your training pace.

Slow and steady today. No HR redline.

My current goal is to train for and complete the ING Miami Half Marathon in January of 2013.  The biggest obstacle I face in completing that task is aerobic capacity and endurance.  Not pace.  Not speed.  Not the desire to finish under some magic number that has embedded itself into my brain as respectable.

Today I headed out for my second run on the road and I made a promise to myself not to look at my watch’s pace indicator.  In fact, I reprogrammed what data it would display before the run so I could only see the distance covered and the total elapsed time.

I pretended I was performing drills, and leaned from the ankles ever so slightly, just enough to get me moving, and I tried to maintain that body position for the remainder of the run.  Guess what.  I never felt tired muscularly until the final mile.  I never gasped for air.  I never questioned if I could keep running.

I run four days a week, and am slowly increasing my weekly volume.  I perform hill sprints at the end of at least 1 run per week.  And I will always try to negative split my easy runs, regardless of how slow the overall pace is.  But something clicked today that although I was already aware of, had not experienced fully until now.  Slow and steady is the race I’m in.  Train for it.


Don’t Stress Over Changes – Just Adapt

Since finishing my rehab and recovery I’ve completed three full weeks of running in preparation for the ING Miami Half Marathon in January 2013.  I made a decision to run only on the treadmill until I was covering distances of 10k or more, in order to give my body time to strengthen after the six weeks of mostly non and low-impact recovery.  My plan was to swap out a single weekly run to the road, and every other week I would swap out an additional treadmill run for the pavement.

Today my wife returned early from our association’s gym to inform me that the treadmill was dead.  Out of order.  No mas.

Lacking choices, I laced up the Inov-8s and headed out the door, eager to finish before the sun had a chance to rise too high in the sky.  I am already sunburned from attending my daughter’s first track and field event on Saturday. Honestly, I wasn’t excited about running on the road.  I’m paranoid about all of the different variables that could have contributed to my original injury: too many hills, running  too fast, shoes that are too minimalist, overpronation, muscle imbalances.  The list goes on and on.

But sometimes a lack of choices is just what you need.  The ING Miami Half Marathon is run on the road after all, not on a treadmill.

First road run in over 2 months

The challenges were immediate and pronounced as I took my first steps.  I use a metronome to help me lock in an efficient cadence of 180 strides per minute.  This is also a great tool to prevent over striding and makes mid or forefoot landing more natural and not something you have to waste a lot of energy focusing on during a run.

It literally took me the entire first mile to find the proper rhythm, stride and cadence.  By that time it was too late, I had already burned my powder.  I ran three progressively slower splits. No clearer evidence exists of a runner who leaves the gate too fast, finds the pace unsustainable and eventually labors through the finish of the run.  And I still had 3 hill sprints waiting for me at the finish, courtesy of Jason Fitzgerald.

So how does the death of my previously preferred training device impact my race preparation?  Simple, there are a few key areas I need to adjust and monitor:

stride cadence

stride length

pace management and awareness

recovery ability

The simple truth is that I eventually had to face this transition at some point in my training anyway.  So I choose to embrace it now, earlier than planned or expected, but inevitable nonetheless.

The only constant in life is change.




Posted: August 27, 2012 in Uncategorized

A good message delivered much more eloquently than I ever could…..


To return to the root is to find peace. To find peace is to fulfill one’s destiny-

Long painful story made short:  In order to reach our goals we need to forgive ourselves first.  That’s it, we promise.

What happens when you set a goal for  yourself and then fail to reach it?  Run a marathon in under 2:30:00?  5k Under 20 minutes?  Go a day without forgetting something important, are just a few examples.  Failing to reach our goals happens to all of us each and every day.

For many,  simply finishing a race is not enough.  We want each and every event to be a record smashing success.  Breaking goals and records each and every time we head out of the door.  If only this was true  …

What race are you running? And what are the failures, big or small, you’re kicking around in your head…

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Family First

Posted: August 26, 2012 in events, lifestyle, running
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Sometimes it just isn’t about you

A detailed training log for the week is here.

I started this blog several months ago when I made the decision to commit to running.  I felt that keeping a public journal of sorts would not only be a great tool to hold me accountable to my training but also serve as a source of motivation towards my goals.

During this time I’ve purchased a few pairs of running shoes, hi tech shorts and shirts, and even booked my flight and hotel reservations for my first half marathon.  I’ve lamented, moaned and even bitched about my Achilles tendon and bone spurs.

In fact, it’s all been about me.  That isn’t a bad thing necessarily.  After all, I am the one writing a blog about the running experience from my perspective: training, diet, injury, etc.  But you run the risk of blinding yourself to other events when you become too self-absorbed.

Last week my daughter came home from school and told me she had won a race in her physical education class.  Two days later she came home and told me she placed second in another event, and then handed me a piece of folded paper.  Inside was an official invitation from her school to participate in the annual track and field event: the 75 meter sprint.

My daughter has never expressed an interest in sports, other than the usual awe and admiration shown while witnessing the Olympic gymnastics events.  She has never asked me about my running.  She has never tagged along for a jog or laced up her shoes and walked out the door with me.  But apparently she has been paying close attention.

My wife, son, and I drove Sara to her school yesterday morning for the races.  The events were divided by grade and sex, and after about 1.5 hours we were ready.  I was photographing the race, documenting something that I was surprised to see in the first place, and having no idea if it will be repeated in the future: my daughter toeing the line in a competitive sporting event.

From the first step it was clear she had only one serious challenger.  The two streaked down the track literally neck and neck, and even with the photos taken on a high fps digital camera I’m not sure how the judges decided on a winner.  Eventually my daughter was awarded 2nd place.  She glowed from the adrenalin, and later pouted because her medal wasn’t as large as the winner’s.

Yesterday, before my eyes, my daughter became a competitor in running, the sport I’ve made so much to do about over these past months without ever having toed the line myself in all of my fancy new gear and technology..  My daughter laced up her well worn and used sneakers, donned her school’s phys ed uniform and gave it all she had.

I love you baby, and I couldn’t be more proud!

Congratulations on your success, determination and spirit.