Pre-training week 8 – (Race #3)

This is my first post from a cell phone. I’m currently in Raleigh, NC for a wedding of an old friend of mine from South Carolina. I spent the weekend here and had a great time catching up with friends I haven’t seen in a little while.

On the running front, I had a good week. Pretty much hit my goal. I had four runs this week, all of which felt great. I am experiencing pain in the same spot where I had an apparent stress fracture last year. It’s my lower left leg, on the outside near my ankle. It is actually making me second guess whether I had a stress fracture last time or if it was a tendon issue.  I am not sure if I am over/under pronating, or if it’s due to lack of strength in my calves or if it’s due to lack of stretching/flexibility. So I am going to try and do two things this week: go to a gait analysis place and start foam rolling. Maybe I’ll pop some anti inflammatory medicine too. I know that I can’t push through this and need to figure out what is causing this issue.

Regardless, like I said, great week of running despite the leg pain. I did 14.7 miles, very close to the 15 goal. So the goal next week is 16.5, going up from this week’s 15 mpw goal by 10%. Here are the stats:

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Pre-training week 7 – (Race #3)

Although my mileage this week wasn’t great, it was a bit of an intense week from an exercise point of view.  I worked out five days this week, which isn’t an insane amount.  The intense part came on Saturday when I did a back to back Vinyasa Yoga class and a strength training class for one hour each.  The yoga class was pretty challenging, and the strength training classes is one of the more rigorous ones that I take.  So although I did not hit my mileage goal, I feel like this week was a win.

 

As of now, I have been building my base for exercise but not for nutrition or sleep.  I am trying to change that.  On the nutrition side, I have a couple of appointments set up with a nutritionist to get my diet right for marathon training.  I don’t usually go hard for these types of appointments, mainly because they are expensive and I feel like with enough research I can put together a plan myself.  But I do have two free nutrition counseling classes so I am going to use those.

 

On the sleep side, I have been trying to get to bed earlier, and trying to hit an 8 hour sleep night when I can.  I feel like there’s this weird thing in our culture that you can’t admit to how much sleep you actually try/want to get.  It’s almost like being sleep deprived is a badge of honor that we carry around to prove how dedicated we are to our life commitments like work and family.  By admitting that you’ve slept a lot, it’s somehow admitting that you’re not “all in” for whatever responsibilities you have.  All I know is that the more I sleep, the more productive I am–in my personal, professional and active lives.  So, I prioritize it.  8 hours of sleep per night is my goal and I ain’t ashamed to say it!

 

Below are my workout stats for this week (5/16 to 5/22).  Overall, I ran twice for a total of 10.4 miles.  Short of my 15 mile goal, but I feel ok about it given the other amount of exercise I was able to do.  So I’m keep my goal at 15 for next week.

I am still planning to start my actual marathon training on the week of July 25.  This gives me 12 weeks of training before the Baltimore Marathon.

 

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Resilience

I read two articles today about resilience:

The first was Sheryl Sandberg’s speech on resilience.  She speaks deeply and powerfully about mourning the sudden loss of her husband and the tools she’s used to try and persevere through the tough times.

 

The second was an ESPN article on Marcus Lattimore.  About how his knee injuries robbed him of his would-be great NFL career, and how he’s bounced back and is actually thankful for those injuries and the life perspective it has given him.

 

These two are definitely worth a read.

Race Report: 2016 Capitol Hill Classic 10k

On Sunday, I ran my first race since starting this blog.  I heard about this race through a new friend of mine that I met through the run club I've recently joined.  She had high praise for this race–well organized with a great turnout in a nice neighborhood race for a good cause.

 

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This was all certainly true, with the welcome addition of some fantastic running weather:  high 50s, sunny and a bit windy.  Perfect condition for running if you ask me.

 

The race itself was pretty great.  The course started at Stanton Park in Capitol Hill, and basically did an out and back to RFK Stadium where DC United plays.  The vibe was just really cool.

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RFK Stadium

I got to the packet pickup about 30 minutes before the start.  I walked around for a little bit after getting my packet and shirt, and I made small talk with a few people I randomly recognized from here and there in DC.  After walking around for a little bit, I started to warm up with some lunges.  During my warm up, this group of about seven super excited/energetic people run over to my area in the grass just ahead of me and form a sort of semi circle.  My lunges were taking me directly into their circle, and one dude noticed me and immediately called me in to join his group and warm up with them.  I think half of the folks there were originally from Brazil, the other half probably from around here.  It was really cool of them to invite me into their group and just offer for me to join them.  It's one of the things I really like about running races; you really see the best in people.  Strangers helping each other and just looking out.  It's this feeling that you're all in it together, so why the hell not help each other.  We're all headed in the same direction with the same basic goal of finishing with our heads held high.  Every single race I've ever participated in has left me with this feeling in one way or another.

 

I didn't go into the race with a goal time in mind at all.  I just kind of looked at it as a part of my weekly milage.  About 3 miles in, though, I was hoping that I'd PR it, or at least try to finish with a sub 50 minute time.  That didn't happen, but it's all good, I had fun.  The craziest part of the race was at around mile 4.  I was hitting a hill on the back end of the course, and ahead of me I see this guy running in a Clemson shirt.  Given that I grew up in South Carolina a HUGE Clemson fan, the shirt immediately caught my eye.  I knew that an old friend of mine, from elementary school actually, lived in Capitol Hill, and although DC is full of alumni from colleges across the country, I figured there to be a decent chance that this guy was my friend.  I run up next to him and observe him for a second.  The last thing I want to do is interrupt some guy running up a hill 4 miles into a 10k only to mistaken him for someone else.  "My bad." I'd say in that scenario as I tried to run away as fast as I could.   But actually, it turns out that it was my good friend from SC.  It was crazy to see him.  We met up once here in DC about 6 years ago, but haven't seen each other since.  And before having met up 6 years ago, I hadn't seen him since I graduated high school.  So basically, this was the second time in 15 years that I saw him.  We ran together for a bit, he caught up with his family who came out to cheer him on, and we made plans to meet up later.

 

That was a really cool experience that got me to thinking.  About the small decisions we all make and how one decision leads to another, leads to another, leads to another…  For example, I decided to join this run group, and from the group, I met a new friend who told me about this race.  I decided to register for this race (even though I didn't know anyone running it).  During the race, I decided to pick up  my pace slightly at mile 3 to try and PR.  Then I decided to investigate the man in Clemson shirt further.  All of this led to a cool experience or randomly running into an old friend.  It kind of makes you think.  You never know where interesting opportunities will arise and how the small decisions you make will lead you there.  I feel like it's a lesson, to embrace the decisions, large and small, with positivity and purpose and optimism.  Maybe those decisions will be the first ripple that will eventually lead to an experience that is fun, eventful, surprising, fulfilling, etc.  Or maybe not, but even then, at least you've done something with a positive intent in mind.  And the potential path, full of uncertainty and unpredictability, is just fun to imagine.

 

Anyway, I'm certainly planning to run this race again next year.  The money benefits a local pre-K to 8th grade public school, The Capitol Hill Cluster School, with several campuses in the neighborhood.

 

My final time was 52:23.  8:26 min/mile pace.  My GPS mapping said otherwise, but I know that GPS tends to overestimate distances.  589 out of 2217, overall; 420 out of 996 in the male group; 195 out of 421 in my age group.

Pre-training week 6 – (Race #3)

This was a good running week.  I had three runs, one with the run group at Vida Fitness, the local gym near me, one in the rain in Baltimore during my lunch break at work, and a 10k in Capitol Hill.

 

I’ve really started using my Under Armour Gemini 2, Record Equipped shoes this week.  These are smart shoes with a chip that measures your speed, pace, cadence, etc. while you run.  I have to say, these shoes are just great for an untethered running experience.  I’m not just saying this because I work at UA and I’ve been plugged in with the development of the shoes.  It’s just really cool to be able to put your shoes on, go for a run, and then have all your run stats right there.  Case and point, on Friday it was raining and I didn’t want to run with my phone.  I was able to just slip my shoes on and have it track all the stats I need.

 

The 10k race was a lot of fun.  I’ll write more about it in a race recap post, but it was cool to do a nearby neighborhood race that was well organized, well attended and directly went to benefit a nearby charter school.  To me, there’s not much more of a positive experience than something like that.  Plus, at mile 4 I ran into an old friend of mine that I grew up with in South Carolina!

 

Here are my race stats for the week from 5/9/16 to 5/15/16:  13.57 miles (note below that there are two entries for my 10k–one at 6.5 miles measured via GPS and one at 6.1 miles measured by my smart shoes.  I’m choosing the lower milage).

 

My goals for next week are to go up by 10% from this week.  So the goal is to hit 15 miles.

 

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Pre-training week 5 – (Race #3)

I was finally able to get back on track, at least somewhat. Still below my weekly goal, but the runs felt great this week. I was battling a minor cold this week and also I made a trip to SC to visit my mom for Mother’s Day. She’s doing really well, as is my dad so I am very happy about that!

One thing I’ve been thinking a lot about- why I have been drawn to distance running. I still don’t know exactly why, but I think that it has something to do with the fact that when you run a race, you are literally forced to put one foot in front of the other, no matter what. I think that it is a metaphorical link to who I am or the mentality that I want to have, that as long as you keep going, keep putting that foot in front of the other, you can get past your tough times and accomplish something you think might not be possible. I also like the idea that when you run a race, you are both simultaneously all alone and all together with a larger community. No one can run the actual steps that you physically need to run–you do that all on your own–but also there are times that you can’t go on without the cheers and assistance of others.

Anyway, here are the stats for this week: 8.63 miles. This is short of my 10.25 mile goal, which is still fine I think. I’ll aim to do 10.5 next week, even though it means breaking my 10% per week increase rule. I am only ok with this because both runs felt really good, even if I didn’t go for speed at all. I don’t want to make a habit of increasing my mileage too drastically though- I’m pretty sure that caused my stress fracture last time.