Post-Run Report: January 25, 2017

file_000-84I’m really proud of today’s run. Once again, I hit a record pace, and I was only 6 seconds away from breaking a 9 minute mile for the first half and only 15 seconds from breaking a 9 minute mile for the first mile. My average pace for the 3.81 miles was 9:26 which is better than my last run by a whole second (lol). I’ll take it! I was worried about being able to run with any kind of speed today as I still had some muscle burn from my Monday night run, but once I got going, I was able to push and keep my pace up.

I started with 70 comfortable push ups, which was nice, too. I could have ripped out at least another 10 more, but I’d have been worn out afterward, so I stopped at 70. Maybe 75 or 80 next time. But the biggest victory came after the run was done. I weighed myself and hit a new all-time low: 173.5 lbs!!! I couldn’t believe it!!! I’m super-psyched to finally start seeing some movement on the scale again! That makes a total of 135 lbs lost so far!

I felt great after the run as well as hungry, so my son and I went to a local food establishment called Nik’s and I had some salad with vinegar and oil, grilled redfish with grilled shrimp, grilled veggies, and sweet potato fries. I am stuffed right now, but it’s all good Paleo-friendly food, and in the grand scheme of things, while filling, there’s not a lot of calories in it. The calories that are there are all good, whole food calories.

I’m forgoing any treat I would have had after a reasonably sized dinner. The dinner, in and of itself, was a treat that I won’t repeat anytime soon (but it was delicious!).

Post-Run Report: January 23, 2017

file_000-52Tonight’s run was another one that made me really happy. I ran it with the average pace I was shooting for: under 9:30 (I got an average pace of 9:27!!!). It’t not my fastest, but it’s very, very close (fastest was a 9:24 pace for 3.53 miles). This is, however, the first run I’ve had yet that every split (half mile) was under 9:30! That was my goal, and I did it!

The best part: the fun felt great. I felt myself pushing, but not over-exerting. My breathing was good, and the legs felt good. They were just on the very edge of pushing hard, but not quite. It felt amazing.

On the push up front, I only did 70. I’m okay with this, though. My goal is 80, but I’m sure I’ll get there within the month. There’s no rush to 80.

If you think you can’t do it, or that you can’t ever like running or any kind of exercise, think again. I can point  you to ALL of my friends who all heard me say for the past year that I’ll never get into exercise. Yet, here I am, and it feels great. I love how I feel afterward, and I love how much stronger I am.

Post-Run Report: January 19, 2017

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Yes, I look a little crazy in this photo. It’s because I pushed it a bit last night, and I got my best run since I took up running again last September. My pace was, on average, 9:24/mile which beat my very best run by 2 seconds per mile. It doesn’t seem like much, but this is a big deal to me. You see, I was making great progress until I caught a bad flu in November which kept me from running for over two weeks. I lost so much progress over that time, and it’s taken me nearly two months to get back to the 9:20’s. I’ve had two runs in a row now with times under 10 minutes, but to be so close to breaking the 9 minute/mile barrier is really exciting!

Also, my first mile run time was 8:52! If I can keep that pace for all three and a half miles, I’ll be really happy! My running goal is to be a sub-9 minute mile runner consistently. I’m getting there, and it motivates me!

I am also happy because I didn’t get a chance to run on Wednesday as planned due to weather and a dinner with a co-worker. I hate missing runs, so I was happy to get this one in. I will also run on Saturday this week since I don’t run back-to-back for fear of injury or developing shin splints. I may ride my bike on Sunday, though. We’ll see.

All in all, it was a great run. I worked the entire time, pushing myself, but after the second mile, my pace felt very natural, and whenever I felt my legs slow a bit, it was easy to kick it back into gear and pick the pace back up. This is a new sensation for me. I have always hated pushing myself in a run. Now that my body is getting stronger, it is getting easier to push the limits safely and without lasting pain.

As for my push ups, I did 70 in a little over a minute. I could have done more, but again, I’m letting my body gain its strength slowly and organically. I gauge how I feel while I’m doing the push ups, and if I reach a goal and feel I can do more without straining, I do it. Last night’s number was 70. Next time, I may go to 75 or even 80. We’ll see. Either way, I started with 10 back in September. I didn’t push myself for fast gains, and the nice part is that my arms are never sore afterward. Five months later, I’m doing 70 push ups without any pain or soreness. Ever. That’s a huge win to me!

I’m not in any hurry to make fast gains. I have been taking it slowly and allowing my body to strengthen slowly over time, and it’s the absolute best method I’ve experienced in my life in regards to exercise. It takes a lot longer, but my quality of life is so much higher. I can’t recommend it enough!

Post-Run Report: January 16, 2017

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Today’s run was actually pretty decent. I set out to run faster than I have in the past few runs, and I accomplished my goal with some pretty decent numbers. My average pace for the 3.52 miles was 9:46 with the first half mile being the best at 9:16. More impressive to me was that I was sub-10 minutes on all three miles overall including the last half.

This is important to me. My running goal is to run sub-9’s as my “comfortable run” pace, and I’m getting there. It’s taking me some time, but I’m getting there. Today’s run was comfortable, and notable to me because as I pushed my legs to run faster, they weren’t really aching or burning. The only real limiting factor today was my willpower and desire to run faster.

Tomorrow is a rest day for my legs, so I may do some situps or something. I haven’t decided yet. But tonight, I will sleep well having had a really nice run with great results!

Post Run Report: January 13, 2017

file_000-78Last night’s run was unexpectedly long. Not because I got lost or anything like that, but because as I ran, I decided that I wanted to keep running. It wasn’t because I felt so great, either. Quite the opposite, in fact. My legs felt a bit like I was running in wet cement or deep sand, and I was kind of upset about it. That led me to running slower than normal so I decided, “Okay body, if you want to play this game with me, I’m going to play one with you!” That’s how I ended up running over five miles last night.

In the end, the pace wasn’t all bad, but it wasn’t blazing fast, either. Considering it was a five mile run, I’m okay with the slightly slower pace. I never stopped, and wasn’t in any pain. I had the occasional aches in my legs, but it was what I was taught in the Marines as “Good pain” which is the muscles working.

As for the nipples, I think they are hardening up to the runs. Only the right one was aching the tiniest bit. The left one was a total trooper and wasn’t sensitive at all.

One new thing that happened during this run: I listened to slower music. The xx released their new album today, and I listened to it in its entirety. It’s slower paced music, and I think it actually effected my run by slowing me down. Rammstein makes me run a whole heck of a lot faster! Then, when the album was complete, it didn’t loop to start again and I ended up running the last mile and a half without music. It was weird. I haven’t done that since I was on active duty. It wasn’t bad, but I definitely prefer listening to music or podcasts while I run. It helps keep my mind busy.

It was a good run after all was said and done, and now I’ll be letting my body rest for the weekend before getting back to it on Monday. I may do a short run on Sunday, like a one mile or one and a half mile run, but I haven’t really decided yet. It all depends on how I feel on Sunday.

Run Report: January 11th

file_000-77Last night’s run was actually pretty decent. I set out with a good pace and was able to keep it up pretty much the entire run. It wasn’t my fastest time, but I only missed that by a few seconds each mile. The more important part to me is that I felt good through the run, and near the end, my legs felt completely invisible. What I mean by that is that I didn’t feel them: no pain, no burning, or anything at all. It was like I was gliding along the sidewalk.

The distance was 3.55 miles and my pace was <10 minutes which is my current goal. As long as I can get an average below 10 minutes/mile, I’m happy. The next goal is to keep each half mile split under 10 minutes. I had two half mile splits that went over 10 minutes by 11 seconds; I will work that down.

Paleo and Running

file_000-71These two things are not friends with each other. For distance runners, they’re almost at-odds with one another. As a light runner, I don’t have issues, but I know others who long distance runners whose bodies need carbs while running have a hard time doing Paleo.

I don’t do the long distance stuff, so I won’t comment about that other than to say that I have read about Paleo people who do distance running, and while it’s a challenge, it’s do-able. I will talk about my own experience: running for fitness.

I run 5 miles or less typically every other day. On the days that I run, I do allow myself a little more food for breakfast, typically a piece of Paleo banana bread or maybe an extra slice of bacon. I find that my running doesn’t otherwise tax me otherwise. I don’t get hungrier, nor do I feel any other sort of discomfort.

Eating Paleo for someone like me doesn’t seem to have any detrimental effect on my running or my ability to keep running. The food fills me up and fuels me sufficiently to keep running. Since I’m only out running for 30-45 minutes at a time, my body doesn’t run out of fuel. At no point do I feel like I’m going to crash. I’ve never felt light-headed.

As far as water goes, I don’t drink before or during a run. Again, my runs are short, and the water fetish Americans have with hydration is really based more on marketing and less on real science. I don’t “re-hydrate” after a run, either. I drink normally at breakfast or dinner, whichever meal comes after my run. Again, I have experience no negative effects from this.

For someone who runs like I do, 3-5 miles every other day, Paleo is very doable. For someone who runs more often or longer distances, I don’t know what to tell you. I don’t have first-hand experience with that, and I don’t want to lead you down the wrong path. If you do find out, though, let me know. I’d be interested to find out from someone who is Paleo and is doing long distance running.

Some Days I Don’t Want to Run

It’s weird. I have found that I enjoy running, yet there are days I really don’t want to do it. The reasons can range anywhere from, “I’m just not feeling it,” to “My knee has some pain in it that I don’t want to exacerbate.” Today, I’m just not feeling it.

But I’ll do it.

I feel horrible if I don’t run now. I’ve developed the habit of running, and I do enjoy how I feel after a run. The day after a run is even better: my legs feel strong, I feel vibrant, and physically able to tackle anything. Also, as much as I’m not feeling it today, as soon as I get done with my push-ups (I’m up to 60 pre-run push ups now), I’m ready to go. I usually decide on a minimum of 3 to 3.5 miles, and depending on how I feel at mile 2, I may go for an extra half or even mile and a half. My longest run to-date has been 5.23 miles, and while I don’t do that often, it’s a new benchmark for me to pass up at some point.

But probably not today.

I’ll likely do my 3.53 mile course and be happy with that. The weather is a little warm today so I’m going to wait until it gets dark before I hit the road. Then, when I get back, I’ll shower and eat dinner. Tonight is lobster night. I think it’ll be a good celebratory meal after getting out there and getting it done even when I didn’t feel like it.

Update: I did run. It ended up being 3.53 miles (as I predicted) and I felt great running today. As a matter of fact, it was probably my best run since I got sick back in early December and couldn’t run for nearly two weeks. Even though I was able to get back into running after being out of it for those two weeks, it’s taken me nearly a month before I was able to really feel good on a run. I’m glad that the good feeling is coming back. It makes my runs so much more enjoyable!

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Achievement Unlocked: 5+ Mile Run

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Tuesday’s 5+ mile run. Bonus: our home behind me.

I did it. I didn’t set out to do it yesterday, but it happened and I’m really happy about it. I ran 5+ miles on a run, and I didn’t die.

When I set out for my run in the late afternoon, I had 3+ miles in mind. My normal comfortable run is 3.5 miles, so that was probably what I was going to do. However, when I hit the 1.5 mile mark, I decided to go a little further. When I hit the 2 mile mark, I decided to go for the extra half mile. This is important because to get back home on the route I like to take, that would mean another 2.5 miles to get back home. When I got to the 2.5 mile mark, I was feeling great and headed back. I didn’t feel any discomfort until about 4.25 miles when (and this is no joke) my nipples started burning. My shirt was so drenched with sweat that it became heavy against my skin. My running made the shirt rub against my chest, which in turn rubbed against my nipples. When I got home, they were on fire.

More notable than my burning nipples, however, was the fact that I didn’t have any other discomfort. I felt good, my legs felt good, and upon looking at my heart rate during the run, it only went up to 147. That’s really good! That means I didn’t push nearly as hard as I could have.

All in all, it was a good run. I felt good during the run and didn’t have any muscle pain or difficulty with my breathing. As I joke on Facebook, I didn’t die, either. That’s always the best part.

Another exercise post: this one about rest

file_000-52A common mistake that nearly everyone I know has made when getting into exercise is doing it too much. Being motivated and wanting to make progress quickly is something we all go through. I wanted to hit the road every day when I started running again, but this time, I let my brain override my overwhelming desire to get out there every day and I sat out every other day. This turned out to be the single most important key to my success in being able to continue running without injury for my first three months of running.

How I started back into running

The only plan I had was for 30 minutes of nonstop running. I didn’t care about my pace or speed: just shuffled along for 30 minutes. Looking back, it was a laughably slow pace, but I did it; I made it all the way through without stopping.

I continued by increasing my pace every time until I started noticing that the distances I was running were creeping up. I hit two miles, then two and a half, then three… and I was up to four and a half when I got sick and had to stop running for nearly two weeks.

That two week break was hell for me. There’s no other way to put it. I wanted to get out there so badly to run. I had time to think about what was compelling me to go, and I think it came down to the following:

  1. I had begun to enjoy running. It was something I was looking forward to every other day, and not being able to do it actually made me feel anxious.
  2. Didn’t want to lose progress. I had been increasing my pace and distance nicely, and I was very proud of the progress I was making. I was feeling good after runs, and sometimes, even during them. I didn’t want to go back to when runs were difficult.
  3. Had a 5k coming up I was training for. I was hoping to be in as good of shape as I possibly could before the run. With the cold hitting me when it did, I was unable to train until a week before the run.

Where I am today with running

Now, I’m back to my regular running. My last run was 3.53 miles at a 10 minute mile pace. It’s not my fastest, but it was comfortable. I will not push myself; I will do as I did before I got sick which is to allow my body to gradually get used to the distance and increase the pace enough to remain comfortable. I’m not competing with myself or in any hurry. I do push enough to keep improving, but I’m not looking to win any races, so I’m allowing my body to make its increases naturally. I am also making sure to take a day off between runs. This seems to be helping so much with regards to the progress I make. By giving my legs time to heal and strengthen, I am better able to get back out and run a little harder each time.

This isn’t a novel concept. It’s what I’ve been taught since I was in the Marines: a run/rest cycle is important to safely build muscle and stamina.It has been working for me for the past three months. I recommend you try it yourself.