Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Closing Out the Year

The Last Week of the Year
First off, Christmas was a blast! I got up and met some guys from church at 5:30, and we ran 10 miles along the Creek Turnpike and Riverside. They are a great bunch of guys, and I would run with them more if I wasn't already committed to the RunnersWorld group. During the run, Mark quoted the first 20 verses of Luke 2, which he had memorized - a perfect passage for Christmas morning.
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
{Luke 2:8-14 KJV}

At 11:00 I ran with the RunnersWorld group. Vicky, Brian, Jeff, and I did about four miles or so, and the rest of the group did around three miles. It was a nice easy run.

Since then I have run twice. On Saturday we did a nine mile run just after the storm blew through. Temperatures dropped from about 70 to about 40 during the run, and my hands froze. I was running with Fred, Rusty, Bill, and Larry most of the way, but in the last couple of miles Fred just blasted off! I tried keeping up, but ended up lagging behind a bit. It was a good run.

I knew I was already starting on a cold before than Saturday run, but it hit me kind of hard on Sunday and Monday. Tuesday I felt good enough to run again, and I got in just under six miles at an 8:30 pace, and it felt pretty easy. That was the last run of this year. Next run probably will be New Years Day on the hilly roads of Ozawkie, KS.

Training Miles
My running log says I did 1734.6 miles in 2008. That is over my goal of 1600. It would have been more, except I cut back on my running in October due to quadriceps issues and in December due to knee issues. I am ready to come back strong in January. My longest training run was 52.6 miles, which I did with Ken. Kathy also ran with us, but she wimped out at mile 33 because she was still weak from the flu.

As far as racing in 2008, I think my highlight was pacing Kathy for 40 miles in the Mother Road 100. I ran two marathons this year - OKC in 3:59:06 and Rt 66 in 3:57:10 (new PR!). I PRed in the Tulsa Run 15k by about three minutes with a 1:10:19. I also PRed twice in the 5k in 2008. The first was Race Into the New Year in 23:32, and the second was Day Ohn Day in 22:27.

In late February/early March I came down with bronchitis, which took me out of the six hour snake run and also slowed me down in training for a while. Then I did really well until sometime in September when I strained my quadriceps while running hills and started having issues with my right hip and knee. It made me cut my training in about half for about six weeks. I recovered in time to pace Kathy and to do the Rt 66 marathon, but I can't help but think it hurt my time some. Then just before Thanksgiving I did something to tweak my left knee. I again cut way back on my running. It is still a bit sore, but it is getting better, and I think I will be back to normal real soon.

Looking to the Future
I am still hoping to qualify for Boston in the fall or next winter. That's really my only running goal for the year. To accomplish that goal I hope to increase my mileage to 1800 or so for the year. I also am thinking I may add some medium long runs during the week, something like 8 to 12 mile runs on Monday or Tuesday mornings. I may also start riding my bike a little more to cross train. I will try to keep my long runs at a slower pace, at least at the beginning of the run. And I will resist the temptation to run hills too fast.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve 2008

Since tomorrow is Christmas, I suppose I should say something about that, and not just talk about running. Christmas really is one of my favorite holidays. Two of my daughters have recently started going to Fellowship Bible Church, and we are going to their candlelight service tonight. Afterward, we will come back home and open gifts and sing Christmas carols. I like Christmas carols. One of my favorite is Hark, the Herald Angels Sing. The whole idea of the everlasting Lord veiling himself in human flesh and dwelling with us to bring light and life and to reconcile us to him is truly amazing!
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see:
hail, the incarnate Deity,
pleased as man with man to dwell,
Jesus, our Emmanuel.
Three of my daughters are working tomorrow - two at hospitals, and one at the Laura Dester shelter. It is important work, but I will miss them on Christmas. Maybe Marilyn and Sarah and I will visit them during the day. I also have plans to get a run in during the day. I haven't decided yet, but I have at least two options. One is to run 10 miles with a group of guys from church at 5:30 in the morning. The other is to run with a group from RunnersWorld at 11:00. Maybe I will do both.

Since last week's blog post I have had three pretty good runs. Thursday was the Marvellite Run with the Tulsa Running Club. I had a lot of fun. Here is a picture of Patty and me. I'm the one with the Rudolph nose. If you saw it, you would even say it glowed - it blinked, actually. Then on Saturday, the RunnersWorld group did an eight mile run. Supposed to be slower than marathon pace, but we were trying to keep up with Hailey. Had we known that she was going to turn back early, maybe we would have let her go on ahead. Ended up running something like an 8:15 pace, and I think the pace was faster on the way back - thanks to Larry. Aaron did much better this week and ran really strong at the end.

Yesterday I ran four miles at noon. It apparently had rained earlier because the streets were damp, and it was really windy. Almost nobody was out on the streets in and around downtown. I had a good run. My left knee, which has been bothering me quite a bit lately, felt much better during this run. I ran what felt like an easy pace, and it turned out to be just under 8:30 per mile.

On Saturday the 29th, the RunnersWorld advanced marathon training group will be doing a 9 mile route. I hope to keep the pace at around 9 minutes per mile or perhaps a little slower.

By the way, in case some of you in the advanced group are wondering why we are doing 9 miles when the schedule says 8, here is the reason. We are pondering a change in the schedule that will give a three week taper instead of the two week taper that is in the current schedule. If we implement the change, this is what our long runs will be:

27-Dec: 9 miles
3-Jan: 10 miles
10-Jan: 12 miles
17-Jan: 10 miles
24-Jan: 14 miles
31-Jan: 9 miles
7-Feb: 16 miles
14-Feb: 10 miles
21-Feb: 18 miles
28-Feb: 11 miles
7-Mar: 20 miles
14-Mar: 11 miles
21-Mar: 22 miles
28-Mar: 12 miles
4-Apr: 24 miles
11-Apr: 12 miles
18-Apr: 8 miles

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Good Day For An Interval Workout

I haven't run since Saturday. I would say I'm definitely over any addiction to running. But today I brought my running stuff to work. I chickened out, though. Actually, I had decided when I left home that if it was above freezing at noon, I would run. Otherwise, I would be cautious and avoid slipping on ice. I've had some issues lately in and around my left knee, so I didn't want to risk tweaking it somehow and injuring it worse.

Partway through lunch, I decided I wanted to do something active today, so I headed for the stairs. I walked down to the ground floor, and the plan was to do three sets of walking up to the sixteenth floor and then back down.

First trip up was in 3 minutes and 9 seconds. That's 12.6 seconds per flight. Not running, but a good steady walk up stairs. Three minutes flat to get back down to ground level. Second trip up was in 2 minutes and 47 seconds. That's about 11.1 seconds per flight. At that point I was sorta starting to get sweaty, and since I was still in street clothes, I decided to stop. Knee felt fine, though.

Tonight my workout probably will be on the stationary bike, and then tomorrow will be the Marvellite run.

Inspiring Race - Girls Footlocker 5k Finish

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Saturday, December 13, 2008

A New Marathon Training Season Begins

Wow! What a turnout of people we had today for our first official training run for the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon. I met a lot of people today, and I can't even begin to remember their names. I ran most of our seven miles with Jarred, Kurt, and Aaron. This was my first time to run with any of them. My usual running buddies, which includes Larry and two Bills and a few others, did a twelve mile route, so I sorta missed them, although I did see them back at the store.

We started at RunnersWorld, headed north on Peoria to 34th, west to Cincinnati, north to 31st, west to Riverside, and then north on the trail to 15th. Then we turned around and went back to the store following the same route. It was a very windy day. I think there were sustained winds of 20 mph, but there were times that the gusts felt like they were well over 30 mph It was tough running against that wind on the way back to the store. Everyone did really well on the run. Aaron had some side stitches, so we slowed and walked a bit while Jarred and Kurt ran ahead. Next time, maybe we will try to slow down the pace from the start just a bit. Average pace for the run, including the walking was right at 9 minutes per mile. Not bad considering the windy conditions.

Here is some information I got from Cool Running about stitches.

The Stitch

We've all had this one, a sudden sharp pain in the side of the upper abdomen at the base of the ribs. The side stitch typically strikes when you're really pushing yourself and fades quickly when you slow down or stop. The stitch is particularly common for new runners still adjusting to the rigors of running.

Likely causes:
The pain is caused by a spasm of the diaphragm, the muscle that controls your breathing. There are a number of possible reasons for this. If your breathing isn't controlled and disciplined, the diaphragm may be complaining. If you are running too soon after eating, your heavy stomach may literally be tugging at the ligaments connected to the diaphragm. Or you may simply be running too fast for your body's breathing machinery to keep up.

A stitch will usually go away quickly after just slowing down or stopping. If you're in a race or you just don't want to stop, however, you can often make it go away by bringing your breathing into careful control. Concentrate on belly breathing, pushing your belly out when you breathe in and relaxing it as you breathe out. Take deep breaths on the intake, and exhale suddenly, even noisily. To get the diaphragm to contract in rhythm with your steps, try to inhale and exhale as you land on your left foot. Strange but true, this can help prevent spasms by encouraging the diaphragm to bounce along in sync with your stride.

If the pain is just too much and you have to stop, try bending over and raising your knee on the stitch side while pressing your fingers deep into the painful area and tightening your stomach muscles. Or just walk while belly breathing.

Oh, I guess I should mention my daughter, Sarah. For a while I wasn't sure if I would make it to Saturday's run because Friday night I was in the ER with Sarah. She was playing basketball trying to save the ball from going out of bounds, and she ran into the concrete block wall, striking it with her head and shoulder. She had difficulty breathing and a lot of pain in her back, and we ended up calling 911. The Broken Arrow fire department sent an ambulance, and they strapped her on a backboard and transported her to Southcrest Hospital. It turns out that she does not have any spinal injury or any broken bones, although the x-ray guy said that breaks are sometimes hard to see in ribs, so she may have a couple of broken ribs. If not, they are definitely bruised. It will be a week or two before Sarah is back playing basketball In the meantime, Sarah is enjoying the pain medication and muscle relaxers. I am thankful the injury was not any worse than it is. Here are a couple of pictures of Sarah being carted out of the gym.