Sunday, April 25, 2010

Forgot to mention

I forgot to mention that I re-joined Team AllEars for the 2011 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend. I'm very excited to be a part of the team and looking forward to seeing old friends and making new friends at the meet-up marathon weekend.

Get in Gear Half Marathon race report

A quick race report and update: Yesterday was the Get in Gear Half-Marathon and I was able to set a PR due to good training and my changing eating habits and in spite of rain, sometimes lots of rain. The Get in Gear has been around for over thirty years, although the half is only two years old. Before last year, Get in Gear was a 5K and 10K race. I’ve run both over the last few years and wanted to run it again, but felt the 10K was not long enough. I decided to run the half when I saw that on my training schedule for the Minneapolis Marathon on June 6, I was scheduled to run 13 miles yesterday. That seemed serendipitous to me, so I signed up for the race. The course is the same for the half and 10K for the first 5 miles or so and then splits so that the half course goes along or near the Mississippi River for a few of miles and then doubles back.

I’ve been getting faster fairly steadily, knowing how fast to go out for the longer distances, so I felt pretty good about how I went out when the race started. One issue I ran into was that my Garmin kept switching modes because the rain drops would accumulate on the bezel and cause a mode switch. I often had to try to get back to the training screen that showed my average pace while continuing to run (except for water stops and one other gel break, I ran the whole race, no walk breaks – another recent improvement). I felt I was at a good pace the first 3-5 miles and was able to continually go a little faster each mile after that. I did have one split that was slower by a few seconds, but I think that was a mile I was wrestling with the Garmin. Ultimately, I finished at almost a sprint, powering through the last half-mile and really pouring it on the last few tenths of a mile. I tried to stop my watch as I crossed the finish line, but had the same issues. I knew my watch time and chip time would be different (and they were, but either way, I also knew I had set a personal record for a half-marathon. I finished in 2:13:17, four minutes faster than my previous best set 5 years ago in my first half-marathon. That’s right, the half races I had run since 2005 had all gone downhill until yesterday.

Not paying attention to my training or weight really had hampered my running. The work I have done in the last two months, the weight I’ve lost (weighed 200.5 this morning, the least I’ve weighed in almost 9 years!), and the renewed enthusiasm for running, and really, life in general has paid off immensely. I’m not one to seriously consider what ifs in my life, but really, what if I’d done these things 5 years ago, 3 years, a year ago? I didn’t then, but I am doing the right things now.

Next weekend, I’m running a 20-miler, which is usually not a big deal, however, my wife, son, and I are going up to Duluth for a family gathering. I’ll be running in a town that I lived in for almost four years in college (that’s where my wife and I met 23 years ago this year), but I never ran in college. I did walk a lot, but around campus. We’re staying at a hotel downtown, so I’ll need to find my 20 miles somewhere. I have ideas and I’ll look at maps. I’ll also have my iPhone and Garmin, so I should be okay as long as the weather is okay. I’ll post how the run went when we get back.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

So much different in just four weeks

I posted almost a month ago and was just beginning to run outside more. Since that last post, I’ve been outside every day I’ve run except one (and I think I slept late that day!) I’m getting up around 5:00 Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays to make sure I get my run in before I go to work. Saturdays, I’m able to sleep in a bit, but I still try to get outside as early as possible so I don’t eat up the day with the run.

The biggest change I’ve seen in 4 weeks is that I’m faster. Much faster. I’ve shaved at least a full minute to minute and a half off my pace, depending on the distance I’m running. How? I run smarter, not going out too fast, I push myself harder, knowing I can do it, and I’m losing weight, down 4 lbs in 4 weeks. Not a very dramatic drop, but I’m in the long-haul weight loss mode, trying to get down to 180 by January (again, anything lighter is a bonus) by cutting down on meat and dairy drastically and eating more fruit, veggies, and less junk. There are a few more changes I’m going to do with my eating habits that I have to transition into in the next few weeks before I feel that I’m in a good place to sustain my new habits. The dairy needs to be cut more (watch out Starbucks baristas!) and I really do want to eat less meat, sort of an omnivore-lite lifestyle. I’m not sure I can go truly vegan, but I can see vegetarian. Not because I don’t want to or don’t think I can, but because I’m trying not to make 2-3 different meals each night for myself, my wife, and my son. For medical reasons, my wife can’t have most fresh fruits or vegetables and it makes it a bit tough to find a balance of what we can and can’t eat together. When I first started changing my eating habits, I was full on vegetarian/vegan for most meals, which caused my wife to feel left out. Not my intention, so we’ve found a balance that we can work with to gradually get me where I’d like to be.

I’ve also had a attitude adjustment, due to Gordon at
Running to Disney who is, despite his protestations, an inspiration to many people who follow his training and his awesome changes in eating habits that have made him change the intro to his podcast. He is no longer a chubby, back-of-the-pack runner, but is a mid-pack runner who has made an incredible leap forward in his running. His journey and transformation gave me the kick in the pants I needed to buckle down and take my training more seriously. No longer do I just go out and get the miles done. Now I pay attention to my pacing, my breathing, my hydration and fueling during long runs, things I did a few years ago, but stopped doing because I thought I knew enough about running. Well, obviously I didn’t know as much as I thought and I’m excited about running, training, and racing again. Thanks Gordon!

I’m still running the half-marathon on April 24. I have to review the course map, but I think I’ll do fine. Although I’m treating the race as a training run, I think I can actually PR (won’t try too hard, but still may get it) this race, such is my improvement and new attitude. I just have to watch the pace the first few miles, but I’ll do fine.

I hope to have another post before the race, but if not, I’ll have a race recap post soon afterwards.