Just for Fun

A new pair of running shoes just arrived. Same model I’ve been training in for the last 230 miles. Side by side comparison.

If only I could provide a scratch and sniff for you.

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3 Adjustments to Complete an Overcommitment

I did it again. About halfway through I realized a familiar feeling and thought, “Good grief. Here I go again.”

It was this morning around 7:10AM. Mile 7.5 of a committed 15-mile run. The feeling was more physical than mental. Well, I guess it was equally both. And it was the feeling brought on by overcommitment.

The commitment to 15 miles, at least in my world, is not a bad thing. But what I failed to acknowledge was that my body was questioning the commitment before I made it lace up my Brooks. My quads were saying, “Hey! I told you yesterday I needed a break. You might regret this.”

Between mile 7.5 and 11 it became apparent running all 15 was going to be unnecessary, self-inflicted torture (overcommitment defined). Sound familiar? Maybe your torture isn’t from running, but if you’re prone to overcommitment you know exactly what mile 11 feels like. 

Your mile 11 may be hosting Thanksgiving dinner, holding a drink at a reception wondering why you’re there, or looking up from your laptop and seeing it’s an hour past quitting time. You’re in. Too late. It’s got to be done. You’d rather call uber to pick you up, but then…

At this point it’s adjustment time. At mile 11.24, I took step one of adjusting, because I had no choice if I didn’t want to be found sprawled out on Manatee Avenue. Here were my three adjustments to my overcommitment this morning.

REGROUP

I started walking. I said, “I’m not looking forward to walking 3.76 miles back home, but neither do I want to be drained for the rest of the day. Been there done that.” My regrouping was to keep moving but at a sustainable pace, not torturous. Why do that? What would I be proving to these unknowing drivers passing me? 

Our regrouping could have various looks. It could be completely hitting the pause button. When we’ve not listened closely enough and we’ve fully drained ourselves, this is unavoidable. It could be simply slowing down and managing ourselves better. This will require honesty and maybe eating some humble pie. “Boss, I overcommitted.” “Honey, I did it again.” Maybe even, “I need help to get this done.” The basic principle of regrouping is acknowledging a better plan is needed now and putting it in place.

RECOVER

My recovery lasted for two miles, roughly 35 minutes. I finished the snack I had, then stopped to refill my water bottle and immediately drank half of it. It was pretty astonishing what that little attention did for my body and my mind. I kept moving and unknowingly prepared myself to resume-not what I was thinking two miles earlier.

So recovery could mean just taking a break to refuel. Leave the office for a half hour to take a walk or get some coffee. Make a phone call to just chat. Do something, anything that will refresh you so you can come back ready to complete the task. The basic principle of recovery is to get ready to finish. Think of it as a pitstop.

RESUME

Surprisingly with less than two miles to the front door, my legs spoke up again. “Ok. Let’s start back up. Smartly.” The first ten steps were rough, but soon I was back in the groove. A slower pace, of course, but moving forward. I made it all the way back home without collapsing. Successful Resumption.

Resuming will have different looks, again, based on how drained you are. It may have to wait 24 hours. It may have to be shelved until you can give it proper focus. But a commitment should not be completely abandoned. Figure out how to complete it rather than letting the overcommitment result in failure or regret.

When it’s completed, you might look back and see something worthwhile. I looked back and realized that my body was trying to tell me that I’ve ran more miles in the last eight days than I ever recall doing. That was a nice realization. I was grateful for following these steps. Now to work on listening to my quads.

Half Marathon Training Plan

Occasionally people inquire about what training plan I follow before a race. If you’re reading this post as a result of a Google search, then you have no doubt found many other plans to consider. The race distance you are preparing for certainly determines the plan you should follow. However, this plan pictured below (taken from Runner’s World) is the plan I like most and the one I modify based on the race distance.


This plan is for full marathon preparation, but I modify it for preparing for my half marathons. As you look over it, there may be reasons that this plan looks overwhelming, too much, or maybe undoable. Maybe this is your first half, like my friend who signed up to run with me in September. Maybe you don’t want to run six days a week. Maybe you’re trying to work in cross training. In order to help you modify it, here are some things I’m currently doing that is working for my prep for two halves this fall.

  • I’m only running four days a week the first seven weeks. Weeks 8-13, I’ll probably throw in some extra runs.
  • Two days a week I cross train. What works for me is a 30-minute stairmaster workout at a progressive pace finishing at the highest level of the workout. Each week I’m pushing the pace to set new workout results.
  • I follow the speed and strength workout guidelines as suggested (on Thursday though, not Tuesday) but push the pace to reflect prep for the half versus the full.
  • My modifications to the MP workout is to cut the distance in half and to run it on Sunday, not Thursday.

These are ideas that you can consider and also modify to fit your level. Feel free to message me with any thoughts or questions. I’d also encourage you to consult a running coach to get a full plan in place to reach your race goals.

Following a plan will benefit you tremendously. Figure yours out. Tweak it as needed. Enjoy the training. Celebrate your results.

New West Bradenton Secret

I’d heard how nice the new trail is at Robinson Preserve, so I decided to check it out this morning. WOW! I believe I’ve found a new running home. Here’s a photo of my route so you can see how to get to this entrance off 9th.


Basically, turn left on 9th off 75th, just past King Middle, and drive to the end.

This trail is excellent for walking and running. The surface looks like packed mulch, several inches thick. It’s very easy on the lower body.


And apparently the wildlife like this part of the Preserve also. I came across this guy after he’d snagged breakfast.


NOTE: Restrooms are not at the large parking area. Keep going straight to find them. Look for this building.


You will enjoy this trail, whether it’s your first time in RB or you’ve been enjoying it a long time. Your options have been expanded. See you on the trail!

2017 Running Review

Almost 365 days ago, I ran an 11k in North Carolina on 1-1-17. Not a whole lot of those offered. So why did the race coordinators plan that? The mantra was do a little more, which I translated, push yourself. So instead of running traditional 5ks or 10ks, we did 6ks and 11ks. I wasn’t terribly excited that morning, though. Two days prior I had some ridiculous stomach virus unlike anything I’ve ever had. So without much energy I lined up at the start line. Thanks to good training and raw stubbornness I managed to finish first in my age group.

What I took away from that experience was the goal to do a little more throughout this year in my running. So in setting a total mileage goal for the year, instead of 1,000 I set the goal for 1,111. Happy to say I met that, and a little more (1,133).

In my blog entry on January 17, the word I set my mind on for 2017 was thrive, and for the most part I did. Being a numbers guy, here are a few of my stats:

  • Completed 7 races: 5k, 10k, 11k, and four half marathons
  • Checked off 6 states on the goal to running in all 50: AR, DE, IN, KY, NC, TN (Total stands at 15)
  • Total miles for the year: 1,133 (For the last 9 months, mileage increased from prior month making December the highest total month for the year).

Looking into next year, my phrase is this-More of the Same. Here are my goals and current plans:

  • Total mileage: 1,200
  • Run an ultra marathon-(50k, 31 miles)
  • Check off at least 3 more states-(my eyes are on MS, OH, PA)

Running may not be your thing. Whatever your thing is, how did 2017 go and what do you want to achieve in 2018? 

Sabbatical: The Saturday After

It was a good month. A very good month. Memorable in many ways. I was asked Thursday what was the best highlight. I gave an answer, but I could give you a different answer if you asked me today.

Rather than do highlights, here is the end of my journal entry from 10/30:

The lessons I take away from this month are:

  1. Grace is so needed in this world. I need to give more of it.
  2. People are very lonely in this world. I can offer them hope through my obedience to serve and to give my time, talents, and respect. 
  3. God has what people need in this world. They can find it through various methods-church, community, music, dance, family, books, new friendships, similar connections, and jobs where they can love people. 
  4. There is much to be in awe of in this world. But it shouldn’t replace my awe for the one responsible for all of it. 

For a bonus thought, I’ll share this note from my morning run today. In my first few miles, I wasn’t necessarily feeling it. I thought 7.5 may do it today, although I needed to do more. However, the more I ran the better my legs felt making me think double digit miles were possible after all (I was wearing Alabama socks…gotta be it). I ended up getting just over 10 done and felt good following. It reminded me of Sabbatical race #3 in Dover. 

Here’s the deal: our minds are a tool. They can beat us up or tear us down. Controlling the self talk in our head determines if we’ll finish strong or finish at all. 

Bottom line: Own Your Mind.

Photos to illustrate: 

Following mile 1 in Dover. Thought: “How will these next 12 miles go?”


Finish Line in Dover. Thought: “Thanks, God. We owned those last miles.”

Sabbatical: Race #3

Delaware ✔

Yesterday morning at 7am around 400 runners gathered at the Dover International Speedway to run 13.1 or 26.2 miles. 
2:00:04 later, I’d checked off state 15. 

Last week a non-longdistancerunning friend asked me what I think about while running. So Mark, here’s a rewind as best I remember. 

M1 This is cool, running on the speedway, but not ideal. Stay slow until we leave the track.

M2 10:04 was a little slow. Let’s pick it up. Pass the guy in the Bama hat and say, “Roll Tide.”

M3-5 This is a nice neighborhood. Check out these old houses. Feeling good. Decent pace. Keep it through 5.

M6 Almost half done. Overall pace 9:27. Push to drop that by at least a second every remaining mile. End goal, finish with 9:15 pace. 

M7 There go the full marathoners. Now the mental game really kicks in. We’re not in the city anymore. Don’t let the pace slow because there aren’t as many runners around you. Stay with these two runners; they have a good pace.

M8 They slowed down, admitted they went out too fast. Move on. That millennial that just passed me will be the last person to pass me.

M9-10 Keep slowly picking off each of the group of five ahead. You might have a shot at catching the 2-hour group.

M11 These Alabama compression socks rock. This weather rocks. This course rocks. I can beat last weekend’s times. What is going on?

M12 Where is that 2-hour pacer? Oh, there he is. PUSH!

M13 No one told me the steepest hill was at the end. Get over it. Fly down the other side. You have done a negative split. I NEED ICE CREAM!

(There you have it. Below is the proof of states 13-15.)

Sabbatical: Race #2

Kentucky ✔

I found the Iron Horse Half Marathon race online. It is slated as a top destination race by Runner’s World. I now know why.

Midway, Kentucky isn’t far from downtown Lexington. Population, less than 2000. They may have as many horses. And this morning, it seemed about half the town was running the race.

The course really was picturesque. If you are a horselover and a runner, you should schedule this race. Be advised, it’s hilly. But you’ll be glad you did it. You feel like you are spending the morning on the horse farm. Very unique setting.

As for my “performance,” this was a test. How would I do running two halves back to back? How prepared was I? Would I manage myself well before, during, and after both races? 

I give myself a 90%. Surprisingly my thighs are worse off than my calves. I’ll take these two results happily and move on to State #15, possibly this next Saturday. Stay tuned

Sabbatical: Race #1

Indiana✔

Almost 1,600 of us converged on the streets of Evansville, Indiana, at 7amCST to run 13.1 miles. I finished in 2:03:31. Pleased with that.

EVENT REVIEW:

Everything about this race was done very well. 

  • Packet pickup was easy to find and speedy. (We got buckets along with our goodie bags…still not sure why)
  • Race parking was a breeze-plenty of it, and I unknowingly parked one block from the start line. Unheard of. 
  • The course was mostly flat-perfect for Floridians. It weaved nicely through neighborhoods and parks. 
  • The community presence was great. Very few areas weren’t covered with spectators, volunteers, first aid, or policemen.
  • Plenty of encouragement and refreshments at the finish line. Shout out to the announcer for calling out “John Gregory from Bradenton, Florida” repeatedly until the crowd cheered.

PERFORMANCE REVIEW: 

  • If I weren’t running again in the morning, I probably could have pushed to get under 2 hours. Good to know.
  • My pace stayed pretty steady through 10M. 57-degree start had a lot to do with that.
  • I surprised myself being able to pick up the pace the last half mile. Assimilating that on the treadmill pays off.
  • Shout out to Holly and another young lady who unknowingly paced me from miles 9-11. Strong job, Ladies.
  • State 13 done. On to 14 tomorrow. (Bucket list item: run a race in every state)