After four days of recovery, a solid effort

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I didn’t run on Friday due to recovery from my hard effort on Wednesday (my best 5k run time ever!), and Saturday and Sunday I had a lot going on with Sherry, so I didn’t get around to running until today. I was slightly worried, yet at the same time, my legs felt amazing. They were completely ready for anything I was going to throw at them. I decided to take it easy and just run without really pushing hard. I was surprised with the results.

My first mile was a bit slow, at 8:40/mile pace, but I was able to pick it up without a lot of effort and the second and third miles were both really good: sub 8:30/mile pace. At the end of the run, since my new minimum is 3.11 miles/5km, I decided to stretch it out a bit and go a little further, past 3.27 miles. I figure I can add a little distance each time I run so I can work up to 5 miles. Why? I don’t know. It seems that if I can run 8:30/mile pace for 5 miles, I should be able to really whip up the speed for 2 miles at my next APFT.

The run felt really good. Breathing was 4/4 for the first mile and then when I switched to 3/3, I felt the speed really come in. Like turbo. Wow. I felt pretty darned good for the rest of the run, too.

I’m not sure what my next run will be, but I’ll likely just try to stay under 8:30/mile for my pace while increasing the distances slowly. I’m also looking forward to December when I will be adding push ups back to the routine. My elbow is feeling better, but it’s slow going, and sometimes, a wrong move can aggravate it. I’m being very careful and allowing it to heal. I want to get back to 120+ push ups by my next APFT.

My run on Strava

Holy moly, best 5k time yet!

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Me on my driveway after a great run with a 5k PB!

Wow; I did not expect this, but I ended up having the fastest 5k run time yet since I started running in September 2016. Sure, I was faster when I was younger and on active duty in the Marines, but as a 50-year old guy who has been running for just over a year, this is a big accomplishment for me, and I am happy about it!

The funny part is that I wasn’t really wanting to run today. I even told Sherry as I was getting ready that I kinda wanted to skip the run because I really just wasn’t feeling it. When I turned on the run setting on my Garmin Fenix 3, I was even a little perturbed when it acquired signal so quickly which meant I didn’t have much time to think about the run before it was time to hit the pavement.

When I started my run, I began with my usual 4/4 breathing pattern but quickly changed over to a 3/3 as I wanted to run faster. I was able to stay comfortable with the 3/3 for the duration of the run. Another thing different today; Strava was telling me my pace every three minutes. The first time it told me I was running 8 minutes flat, I decided to do my best to keep that pace. It ended up working, for the most part. I ran my first mile in 8:01, and I kept it up with an 8:07 for the second mile and an 8:10 for the third mile. The last 1/10 of a mile (to make it 5 km) was slower at an 8:44/mile pace, but I was pretty burned out in the last quarter of a mile.

My legs are pretty tired, but there’s no bad pain. It’s just, “You just worked HARD” pain, which is good. Now, I’ll take the next day or two off from running before picking it back up either Friday after work or Saturday morning. Even then, I’m going to try to make it an easy run. But we all know how that goes; every time I plan on an easy run, I end up kicking it up and running like mad.

Sometimes, the hardest part of running is getting psyched up to do it. This time, it was definitely the case.

My Run on Strava

Back at it and glad to be there

Another day, and another great start to the week with a great run. I really wasn’t jazzed about running today. I remember standing in the restroom at work telling myself, “Okay. We will run tonight, and you’re going to like it. No; you’re going to LOVE it!” I was trying to find a way out of running after work, justifying it with, “Oh, maybe I can just do it tomorrow” before I realized what I was doing. I was trying to get out of a run.

Why? I have no idea. It’s not like I’m feeling ill, sore, or tired. I just… I don’t know. I just wasn’t feeling it. But when I got home, I immediately went into my pre-run routine; put on my clothes, my running shoes, my Bluetooth headphones, and my phone carrier waist belt. I turned on my Garmin Fenix 3HR’s GPS Run function, turned on the music, and hit the pavement.

I wasn’t as fast as I was last Monday, but all things considered, I’m happy with the pace. Anything near 8:30/mile is a win for me, and ending the three miles with an 8:34/mile average is definitely a good run.

I still haven’t re-added the push ups yet. I think I’m waiting until December to restart those. It’s going to suck: I was up to 120 push ups and I know I’ll struggle just to start with 60, but it had to be done. The pain in my left elbow is slowly subsiding, and I’m hoping by December, it will have healed enough for me to continue training without pain.

I will take off from running tomorrow as per my usual schedule, but I’m actually already looking forward to Wednesday’s run. It’s actually nice to get out there and push myself a little every other day.

I need to run

I had to skip running for the past two days due to plans outside of my usual routine. On Wednesday, my wife and I met with a girl who will be bar tending at our Halloween party this year to get her a costume, and on Thursday, I met with a fellow National Gaurdsman and we had a few drinks together. That leaves me with four days since my last run. Today, I plan on running after work. My muscles feel like they need it. They’re plenty rested after the fast run I had on Monday, and they feel ready. I’m going to try to have a relaxed run today, but I seem to have problems just taking runs slow. I always push myself.

So, we’ll see how it goes. I’m hoping my next post is a post-run report.

Felt fast today

I don’t know how I’m doing it, but I got faster yet again. I felt really strong, and the run felt easy. Heck, at the end, I only stopped because I wanted to get inside to shower and eat dinner. I could have easily gone another mile or so. I started out strong and I was able to keep the pace pretty quick throughout the entire run. At the end, I even pushed it out a bit, and ran the last half mile or so at a sub-8 minute pace!

Overall, I ended the run with an 8:22/mile pace over 3.1 miles. That’s the 5k distance, and I think from this point forward, it’s my new minimum run distance.

I don’t feel sore or worn out. A little tired; sure, but that’s to be expected. I’m hoping to continue making progress, but I think my next run will be an easy one to let my muscles heal up a bit more. We’ll see.

Cooler weather does amazing things for the pace!

I can’t believe it: I ran a solid sub-9 minute pace today and felt great doing so! I think the cooler weather had A LOT to do with that, though. I’ve also been sticking with the new breathing plan, breathing in/out on a 4/4 step pattern until I get to around 2 miles when I switch to a 3/3. This has been working really well, but I’m trying to keep myself at 4/4 as long as I can in my runs. Today, I had to switch to the 3/3 after about 1.5 miles, but I will keep pushing to get to 2 miles, then 2.5, and finally 3 miles as I start running toward a personal goal of 6.2 miles. Why? Because I think I want to run 10k. Nothing official, and no solid decision has been made, but it’s kind of a thing for me to want to try, at least. We’ll see. Sherry will think I’m crazy. My friends will think I’m crazy. Hell, I think I’m going crazy, but I am enjoying this running.

Today’s pace: 8:32/mile average!

Back At It; Added Push Ups

Image-1 (2)I was finally brave enough to re-add push ups to my work out, and I’m glad I did. I only did 50, but I did so comfortably and without really any pain. When I hit 50, I began to feel like I had to push, so I stopped. I didn’t want to reinjure my elbow. Also, it was a little tender coming up, so I decided I’ll wait another week before I do them again. At least I know I’m not completely worthless in the push up department and I won’t be starting from scratch like I did a year ago when I could barely do 10. 60 would have been work, but I could have done them. A year ago, 10 was a struggle.

As for running, it went well. I had to change from 4/4 to 3/3 breathing at 1.5 miles, but that’s because I wanted to keep my pace steady. I have started using the audio cues from Strava while I run, and I like that it tells me my pace. I knew I was falling off a bit with each 1/3 of a mile, but I was able to reduce the fall-off a bit by changing my breathing to give myself more oxygen. The end result is that I had no muscle soreness or pain, and this morning (which is the day after the run), I have no pain at all. Perhaps I’ve been pushing into anaerobic a bit much in the past, and running 4/4 and then 3/3 has kept my oxygen levels steadier throughout my run. I don’t know; I’m no scientist, but this is the third time in a row now without standard muscle pain. Then again, I’m also starting off a bit slower to be more consistent throughout my runs.

My pace ended up nicely with a 9:21/mile average which isn’t blistering, but it’s creeping closer to my happy place of sub-9 minute miles. I was able to do a few sub-8’s a few times six months ago before illnesses and injuries, and when it comes time to start working toward the December 5k and my April APFT for the National Guard, I’ll be pushing hard to get there by running some sprints and also longer distances. But that time isn’t here yet. For now, I’m just in pure cardio mode, so I run with a goal of sub-9’s at 3 miles. So far, it’s keeping me happy and fit. Oh, and this run would have been worth 39 points on the Marine Corps PFT which, for my age, would almost guarantee a first class. Hell yeah!

The muscles are sore, but the head is clear

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Today’s run almost didn’t happen. When I got home from work, I had no intention of running even though it was part of my plan for the week. The legs were still sore from Monday’s 3.2 mile run, and I just didn’t have it in me. Or so I thought. As I took off my sport coat, I saw my running shorts lying where I leave them during the week (on the edge of the hamper), and then my eyes looked over to my running shoes. They were calling me. Without much thought, as I took of my trousers, I put my running shorts on. Then my running socks, t-shirt, and shoes. The next thing I know, I’m pulling up my running playlist on my iPhone, connected my bluetooth headset, and walked out the door.

Once outside, I figured I’d at least run two miles. I haven’t run less than three in months, but again, my legs were sore. As I started, I used a 4-4 breathing pattern: four steps for inhaling and then four to exhale. This kept my pace decent and I felt really good at the end of the first two miles. I decided to go ahead and continue on to complete three miles. After 1/4 mile into the third mile, I found myself oxygen starved, so I switched over to a 3-3 breathing pattern, and it was like a boost of energy. My body was getting more oxygen, and as a result, I was able to keep my pace up and I was able to finish the three miles without a hitch. Well, from a cardio standpoint, at least. My muscles are pretty pissed at me, and even my Garmin Fenix 3 watch is telling me that I have a 24 recovery time after this run (for the record, it told me to wait 51 hours before running again on Monday that I ignored by running 48 hours later. lol).

Now, my muscles are sore. Not bad pain, mind you, but sore. I brought my pace back down to a decent 9:25/mile average for the three miles which is close to the 9 minute/mile goal I typically have for myself. Sub-9’s are better, and sub-8’s are a long-term goal for me, but considering I haven’t run in two weeks and had only one slow run before this one, I’m very pleased. I feel like I accomplished something.

I look forward to being able to do push ups again before my runs some day. I had to skip them again because the pain in my left elbow persists.

The final thing I want to say about this run is that I now realize how much running helps clear my mind. I’ve been sort of a mess these past two weeks and couldn’t quite put my finger on why. Now I know. I need to run. I actually enjoy it, and it helps me clear my mind. For that reason alone, I will continue to run for as long as I can.

First Run in Two Weeks

Due to a non-run related injury I sustained while standing up from the dinner table in a restaurant two weeks ago, I have been taking a break from running to allow my knee to heal. I hurt something in the back of my knee which was causing me a lot of pain and the more I ran, the more it hurt. Taking the past two weeks off was hard psychologically, but I was finally able to get back out on the pavement last night, and it was great! I decided to run it easy: four steps breathe in, four steps breathe out. It worked. It was a sloooooow pace, but it was comfortable, and I was able to do 3.2 miles with relative ease. Sure, the last mile was tougher than the first two, but not so tough that I considered stopping. To the contrary, as I finished, I almost contemplated going a bit further, but decided against it as the last thing I need is to re-injure myself on my first run back.

Pace: horrible. Feeling: great. It’s good to be back at it again.

The only down spot for me is that I am still unable to do push ups. I have a hurt tendon in my left elbow that is not getting any better. In fact, I may be seeing a doctor about it soon. The pain comes back from doing mundane things like bending my arm or lifting a pen. Something is definitely not right in there. I need to get that fixed ASAP because I have an APFT coming in April, and April will be here before we know it!

All in all, I feel good. My weight has responded very quickly by dropping a solid 3 lbs from the morning (partly water, partly stool, and partly just eating right). I’m very close to my happy zone in terms of weight, which also makes me happy. I look forward to Wednesday’s run. I won’t be doing anything toward pace or speed; I’m actually going to work on increasing distances for a while before I start working on speed. Now that the weather is getting cooler, I can spend a bit more time outside running without fear of negatively impacting my health.

Taking a break from running

I’ve had to take a two-week break from running due to a recurring pain in the back of my right knee. Good news: that break ends tomorrow. After work, I will hit the pavement and run a gain.

The bad news is that the pain in my right elbow is still pretty bad, so I’m going to have to forego push ups for a while. That hurts me psychologically, but it’s the right thing to do: let it heal. So, starting soon, I’ll be posting my post-run reports again.

I can’t wait.