Thursday, May 30, 2013

5/30 run

4 miles: 44:40: 11:05 pace

Speed work this morning and I felt fine. IT bands are a little tight and need to spend some quality time with the foam roller so they don't become a bigger issue. On the bright side, I may be totally over my cold, no more sneezing or hacking. But now I have a weird allergy thing happening that's slightly swelling my left eyelid.

Need to get use to the hotter weather, almost 70 when I headed out at 5:30 am, not use to the heat but it was still an all right run.

Looked at the course map for the race Saturday and it's a 5K loop around Humboldt Park. Haven't done one like that before, should be interesting. If all goes well I'm hoping to be around 1:05. That will make me very happy and be a good way to kick off the marathon training.

And as I predicted, May was a quieter month for me running between the Tough Mudder and being sick.

May totals: 

50.2 miles: total time 9:15:25: 11:04 pace: 8,674 calories burned

The above doesn't include the Tough Mudder. June will be more, probably close to 80 miles, and only going up from there.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Catching up

My lovely wife and I after the
Road Runner fun run. 
5/25: 3.2 miles: 36:56: 11:34 pace
5/27: 4.1 miles: 46:29: 11:18 pace
5/28: 6.1 miles: 1:08:18: 11:16 pace

Still not feeling 100% after the Tough Mudder. This cold is lingering, heaviness in my chest and still blowing my nose after eight days. I just want to feel better.

I didn't mind it for the Saturday run, just felt good to get out there and stretch the legs. It was a fun run with Road Runner Sports in Wilmette. There were five of us and I ended up getting a pretty decent pace for the second half, running a sub-10 minute mile pace with the group leader. It felt good.

Monday's run was not nearly as good. Was struggling with the congestion. Probably should have called it sooner but wanted to get four miles in. This morning's run started out great but declined, once again was coughing and hacking. I really want this to subside.

Starting to warm up here in the Chicago area. On Monday I headed out around 11 am and it was cool, in the 50s. This morning it was mid-60s at 5 am when I headed out. It's going to be doing nothing but warming up from here on out.

Otherwise, back to boot camp in the morning, some speed work on Thursday and boot camp again on Friday. Saturday morning I'm doing the Humboldt Park Dream Run 10K. Hoping for a personal best but will really need this congestion to go away or I'm going to struggle.

Also, this is the start of my marathon training. Running three days a week from here on out until October. I'm loosely following Hal Higdon's Novice programs for my training. I say loosely because his programs are running four days a week and I have the half marathon in July that doesn't exactly fit into the plan.

June shouldn't be bad, July gets a little hairy but it's August and September where the tough miles come in and I know it'll be hot. I plan to try and get out the door by 5 am for those long runs in order to beat the heat.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Tough Mudder flu

Went to boot camp Monday and then promptly started feeling like crap. Sore throat, stuffy nose. Didn't run yesterday, skipped camp this morning and I'm guessing I won't run tomorrow. Basically fell asleep around 4:30 pm yesterday and woke up at 7 am. Feeling better no, boot camp on Friday most likely.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Chicago Tough Mudder

I was just happy it was over.

It's two days after the event and I'm still wearing my orange headband. I might wear it all week as the Tough Mudder was the hardest thing I've ever done and I feel that this is something I truly earned. I was going to wait another day or two to write up a post but decided to do it while fresh in my mind.

We signed up for this back in August, bunch of men and women coming up on middle age, deciding to take a test and see where we stand. At that point I had been working out consistently and was planning on running my first 10K that fall. When I looked at the site I thought it was crazy but why not. Time to work toward something and make all this fitness pay off.

Since that time I've run a couple of 10Ks and a 10-miler and have a long run of more than 11 miles. I work out six days a week, boot camp three days and running 15+ miles a week and feel that I'm in the best shape of my adult life -- even though I could still stand to lose another 20-pounds. I also decided to run the marathon this fall, but that's a whole other challenge to come.

But so far, the Tough Mudder was the hardest thing I've ever physically done in my life. Even with all the running and strength training it tested every aspect of my fitness. I finished, it wasn't pretty, but it's done. And I won't be doing a Tough Mudder again. I won't rule out a Warrior Dash or a shorter obstacle course race but nothing of that magnitude again.

The Tough Mudder was a struggle for me almost from the start. My energy level wasn't where I wanted it to be for the entire event. I don't know if it was the later start time, the heat or that I didn't eat/drink enough but I struggled.

Around mile six my calves start cramping, not debilitating but enough to where I had to stop running and walk. At the aid station I got some salt and drank some salt water along with four or five additional cups of water and stretched. It didn't help right away but eventually it kicked in and I stopped cramping and could run more than a couple of minutes without stopping.

The Brooks True Grits after. 
If I had the months back to train again I would do some things differently. The biggest thing is trail running. Everyone says it's different from being a road runner and I believed them, but I have a while new found respect. Your calves get worked a whole lot more and it was a lot harder then road running. I would have added hills training too.

I should have done more core work, more planks, v-ups, oblique crunches. My core is week and I need to fix that. And of course tried to build up more upper body strength. Nothing makes you feel as weak as a kitten as when you go for that second monkey bar and fall right into the water.

There are also things that you just can't prepare for, such as the mile long stretch of mud that went to your ankle. Each step was like stepping into a think stew and just hoping your shoe didn't get sucked off. Also with each step you didn't know where your foot would go when planted. Would it stay or go left, right, forward or behind? It was like being on a mile long ice rink but you were sinking in past your ankle before figuring out where you would go. The best thing I did was buy trail running shoes. They were light and they drained really well and helped me get through the day.

But now it's on to the next challenge of the half marathon in July and the full in October. I have never looked forward to running on asphalt so much in my life.

While it's fresh in my mind I figure I could break the Mudder down obstacle by obstacle.
  1. Artic Enema: A dumpster filled with ice water where you have to go full under a barbed wire separator in the middle. I didn't think this was going to be bad. I was wrong. I decided to jump in far enough in and go right under. What I didn't realize is that once you hit the water it would feel like the wind got knocked out of you. I came back up gasping for air and a little traumatized. 
  2. Kiss of Mud: Army crawl under barbed wire. Quite possibly one of the easiest obstacles all day. 
  3. Electric Eel: Army crawl under barbed wire with electrified wires hanging down in water. The goal for this one was to move quick. I got zapped a couple of times but it was pretty minor, all told, not bad. 
  4. Glory Blades: 10-foot high Berlin walls that were at a slight angle. Got through this one with a little help from my friends. 
  5. Trench Warfare: Crawl through pitch black trenches that take a couple of turns and come out the other end. Again, pretty easy. 
  6. Walk the Plank: Jump off a 15-foot high platform into water. We waiting a half hour to do this one. It was interesting seeing how many people got up there and freaked out. Dont' get me wrong, I got up there and looked down and asked myself "What the F&^( are you doing?" and then I jumped. Can't think about it too much, just do it. 
  7. Log Jammer: Log fences set up and you have to climb up and under. Pretty easy. 
  8. Wounded Warrior Carry: We had some issues with this one because some of us are larger guys. One of my teammates carried me a bit and I carried another of the teammates a bit. 
  9. Hold Your Wood: At first we thought three of us would carry this one log that was for three guys. One of the guys decided to carry his own but instead of taking another log we stuck with the one we had. Needless to say we made this harder on ourselves than we needed to. 
  10. Ladder to Hell: Bunch of boards nailed together that you had to climb up, probably about 20 feet. Real chance to hurt yourself on this one. Didn't help that when I got to the second rung my foot slipped on some mud and made me nervous. But got up and over without and further issues. 
  11. Hanging Tough: Rings suspended over water and you need to move from one to another. I made it to the third ring before getting wet. 
  12. Fire Walker: Jump over a small fire pit into some water. Pretty simple. 
  13. Dong Dangler: Use a rope to traverse a small lake. This one would have been difficult if there was a chance to stay dry. There wasn't, one way or another you were getting wet so I enjoyed using the rope to guide me across. Pretty easy. 
  14. Berlin Walls: Propel you and your team mates over 14-foot walls. At this point we're about eight miles in to the event and just gotten through the mud swamp awfulness that I described above. I wasn't feeling great this entire event so when we got here I bailed. I helped my team mates get over but I wasn't feeling that I had the juice to get over and land safely. I feel a little bad for not trying but I'm also walking around uninjured now. 
  15. Mud Mile: Trenches of mud and muddy water. This is the one obstacle that out late start time might have helped us with because they were so worn down it was pretty easy to get over by the time we were done. 
  16. Dirty Ballerina: Jump over four-foot trenches of water. The water in these trenches was most foul looking. I made it over four without any problems but on the last one my knee popped and I had to walk around the last couple. Manipulated my knee and was fine after. 
  17. Underwater Tunnels: Small lake with barrels and barbed wire that you had to swim under. The cool water felt good, not bad. 
  18. Twinkle Toes: Traverse a beam over ice water. Made it about four steps on before I got wet. 
  19. Boa Constrictor: Go down a pipe into muddy water and then work your way up another pipe. This is where I knew I was done. Going down was easy but coming back up took every ounce of strength. Got through it again, thanks to my teammates. 
  20. Funky Monkey: Monkey bars suspended over ice water. Again, my tank was just about empty I grabbed to first one, went for the second and got wet. 
  21. Everest: Half pipe that you run up and have someone grab you and pull you up. This one scared the crap out of me from the start and with nothing in the tank I am sad to say I skipped it. I just couldn't see it happening. 
  22. Electroshock Therapy: Electrified wires hanging down that you have to run through. I had a plan for this one, it didn't work out too well. I got about half way in when I slipped on some mud and then I was shocked in the head. I may have blacked out for a second, I'm not sure. 
And then it was Dos Equis time. Seriously, this is a tough event, they are not fooling around. We saw a lot of people go down with twisted limbs and cramping.

I'm glad I did it but am happier that I'm walking around feeling good two days later. My legs feel good, my upper body is still a bit sore but I'll survive. I did boot camp this morning and am contemplating my running this week. I was planning to take a couple of days off. Maybe instead I'll just do some shorter, easier runs.
Members of The Mission after. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

5/16 run

2.5 miles: 26:57: 10:51 pace

Speed work, last workout before the Mudder. Would have been an uneventful run and meant to go a little farther but some GI issues made me cut it short. Hope that's the last I see of the stomach issues, don't know where it came from, haven't eaten anything out of the ordinary. Just chalking it up to a fluke thing.

80 degrees and sunny is now the forecast for Saturday. At least falling into the icy water might be a bit of a relief and should dry out pretty quick.

Lastly, want to thank everyone who has donated to the Wright-Way Rescue. I am overwhelmed with the outpouring of support this early on and I am happy to know that I have a great support system out there.

I've taken a quick and commanding lead among the other Wright-Way runners but considering that I'll probably be the last finisher I am fine coming up with more donations.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

5/14 run

7 miles: 1:17:08: 10:55 pace

Slept like crap Monday night and woke up a half hour before my alarm was supposed to go off so I just got up and went for my run. Work is stressing me out right now and I have some anxiety about the Tough Mudder so between the two I couldn't quiet my mind for a good night's sleep.

The run wasn't great either, I couldn't flip the switch and just go with it. My mind kept wandering and I just struggled, wanted to find the groove but couldn't.

As for the Tough Mudder, I feel as though I've trained well but when it comes right down to it there's stuff that I haven't done. I'm kicking myself for not doing more -- any -- trail running and hills. I know people who have had some serious injuries during these obstacle course races and just want the team and I to get through this unscathed.

I've been like a junky watching YouTube videos of the obstacles and tips on how to deal with them. It's like being a football player and watching game tape to prepare.

Short speed work out tomorrow and then Friday off, will walk Matilda but otherwise it's about resting up. Goal is to get to Joliet around 10 am for the start.

Monday, May 13, 2013

5/11 run

Run to boot camp: 42:49: 4 miles: 10:40 pace
Boot camp, upper body and core
Run home from boot camp: 45:03: 4 miles: 11:11 pace

Nice workout on Saturday. Really nice run to boot camp, legs were feeling fresh and was happy with my pace and how I felt. 

Boot camp was a tabata style workout -- eight consecutive sets 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest -- mostly upper body and some core. The run home was good, my calf was a little tight but my foot/ankle is feeling a whole lot better. 

Did boot camp this morning, planning six or seven tomorrow morning, boot camp again Wednesday and three miles on Thursday. Friday will be a rest day before the Tough Mudder. 

We have an 11:40 am start time, they say the course (PDF) will take about three and a half hours. The weather is expected to be in the 70s with a chance of rain. I'm happy about the temp, rather be warm and wet than cold and wet. 

The later start time is causing me to think about eating/fueling. Usually I have a PB&J a couple of hours before the race but with the travel time and everything else I'm trying to figure out my food intake. I'm planning to pack a cooler with some PB&J, water, gatorade and maybe some celebratory beers for after. 

Friday, May 10, 2013

Rest Day

Got up, geared up and headed up the door Thursday morning and within a block stopped and turned around. The foot/ankle thing was bugging me and I decided to go home, ice and rest. I also skipped the Road Runner Adventure Run because of rain.

I'm trying to not beat myself up about it but I felt like a slug. Did boot camp this morning and the foot was tender at first but loosened up. I know I should take a week off to rest this but I don't want to. I know that's not rational but I feel that if I stop I won't start again.

Tomorrow I'll run the four miles to and from boot camp and do the class. Hopefully that'll make me feel a little better.

In eight days will be doing the Tough Mudder, have an 11:40 am start time. I'm trying not to obsess about the weather this far out but looking like 60s and rainy. It's also supposed to be a wet week leading up to it so should make it pretty muddy.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

5/7 run

7 miles: 1:15:45: 10:42 pace

Awesome run this morning, just felt really good getting out there and was moving easy. The only sad thing was the chicken fajitas from the previous night starting to bug me at mile six I would have gone another miles but nature's call wasn't taking a message. No more Mexican food the night before a run.

Just felt good to be out there, minimal breaks, little to no pain, really just an excellent run. These are the ones to remember after a bad outing.

But I think whatever is going on with my foot is a muscle/tendon problem. It'll be sore when I first wake up but as I move throughout the day it loosens up. Also, it will hurt when I first start my run but as I warm up it just about entirely goes away. I also need to be better about treating it. I froze a water bottle and have been rolling the area on it and it does help. I just need to do it more.

Boot camp tomorrow, speed work and Road Runner Adventure run Thursday -- weather permitting, thunder storms in the forecast. Friday will also be boot camp and Saturday will be another run to and fro with boot camp in the middle.

Eleven days till the Tough Mudder, getting excited.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

5/2 training

After 8 miles and boot camp. 
4 miles: 43:57: 10:51 pace
Boot camp
4 miles: 46:40: 11:37 pace

Boot camp on Friday was a heavy legs day, three sets of 20 weighted squats, three dozen lunges and three sets of 20 dead lifts -- yeah, not exactly legs but the glutes. My quads were sore yesterday and were still sore this morning when I woke up. I really didn't want to run but I still did.

The run there was fine, wasn't moving as quick as I would have liked but it wasn't awful. The boot camp sessions was cardio/back and core. In the first series we did jump rope, lats, jump hops from a push up position and Arnold curls. Second series were box hops, assisted pull ups, burpee jacks and bicep curls-shoulder press-triceps extensions.

We did three sets of each series and for the most part I was ok. At the very end we tacked in some plank variations and here is where I began to feel fatigued. Regular planks are fine but then we did reach outs in the plank along with 60 seconds of side planks on each side. I didn't do very well on this part. I really need to work on my side planks.

As you can see the run home was quote a bit slower but I wasn't trying to set any records. My goal now is just to be able to walk around like a normal person the rest of the weekend and not look like an arthritic 70-year-old.

My foot is also feeling better, froze a water bottle and have been rolling the achy part on that. Other than general soreness the runs were pretty pain free as well.

Good weather today too, about 50 when I left the house and partly cloudy. Warmed up a but while in class and was nice run home. Kind of feel bad for not running the 13 miles today but with the leg workout I probably wasn't up for it and would have been disappointed with my time.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Dialing it back a little

Making some changes to my training plan for the next couple of weeks. I have this weird pain in my foot at my ankle and my quads/hamstrings have been barking at me so I'm going to dial it back a little bit. This foot thing has been around for a couple of weeks and I don't want it to linger and I need to spend some quality time with my foam roller to deal with the other issues.

So I took this morning off -- yet again no speed work <sigh>. Instead I'll do boot camp tomorrow morning and on Saturday I'll run the four miles to boot camp, do class and then run the four miles home. This is all contingent on the weather cooperating, rain is in the forecast. I was planning to run 13 miles Saturday but am shelving that.

Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday will be boot camp next week -- running too and for on Saturday. Tuesday be seven and Thursday four of speed work. There's also the Road Runner Adventure Run next Thursday so that'll be a few miles.

The week before the Tough Mudder will be interesting, will do boot camp at least Monday and Wednesday and a decent run on that Tuesday but then might rest up a couple of days before.