Tag Archives: Running

I Need a New Race

As I typed the title for this blog post, “I Need a New Race”, I have the tune of Huey Lewis and The News “I Need a New Drug” in my head. Now I can’t get it out…

Since my first marathon run in late April, I’ve gone on less than 20 runs. Most have been in the 3-4 mile range and my average pace has slowly drifted slower. Most importantly, my weight has slowly drifted to my pre-training weight. My clothes still fit, but I’m not happy with where I am currently.

I’m one of those people that dive head-first into any project that I choose to engage. True to form, I went crazy with running, including spending most of my free time with running books, magazines, and podcasts. I enjoyed almost every run, even if I wasn’t the fastest guy on the block. Having a goal of completing the marathon was a fantastic motivator; it was a lot easier getting up early to run or running in the rain.

Unfortunately, the warmer weather and humidity sapped every bit of desire to get out and run. Additionally, I really like food and craft beer. The combination of lack of exercise and increased consumption of empty calories has brought be back to where I was over a year ago. 

So, I need a new race. Something that will fit in my schedule and allow me to be motivated. The Fall season just doesn’t work for me because of KSU home football games and involvement with the Symphony Chorus. So, I need to find something that will work. I’m looking into a virtual race in November. Maybe that will be it.

Whatever I find – putting it out here on the blog will give me a bit of accountability. 

My First Marathon

Of course, I didn’t sleep well during the night. I went to bed early, but tossed and turned all night. Were the 5  months of training enough? Did I do everything I could to prepare for running 26.2 miles?

Despite a fitful night of sleep, I got up early (as planned) and had some breakfast with some coffee. I triple-checked to make sure I had everything I would need for running farther than I had ever run before. Linda and I left very early for what should’ve been a 10-minute drive. However, the highway was backed up with 2 lanes of stand-still traffic for more than a mile from the exit – on a Saturday morning at 6:00 AM. We did our best to not worry and keep a smile on.

Fortunately, I noticed on Facebook that a very good friend was announcing for the race and I texted him to let him know that a lot of us were stuck out on the highway. The start time was pushed back from 06:45 AM until 7:10 AM. However, even with that change, I barely made it. When we got as close as we could, I jumped out of the car at 07:08 and ran to the start line.

I made it within seconds of the start of the National Anthem. 

As soon as the National Anthem was sung, we were off. I was at the back of the pack and was nowhere near the pacer that I intended to follow. My goal was to finish in under 5 hours, so I wanted to be with them and stay just ahead. I found the 5:30 pacer and stuck with them and slowly moved my way forward. 

Linda parked the car a couple miles up the road and found me running. It was amazingly awesome to have her standing on the side of the road, cheering me on. I can’t even put into words how much it meant to me to have her there – ringing her cowbell and all!

In fact, Linda leap-frogged the race several times to find me on 4 different occasions – all within the first 8 miles. She had to be in Topeka later in the morning for a job judging a piano competition. Thus, it meant that much more to me that she was sticking around to find me every few miles. 

At one point, I ran past the house of some very good friends – the Khemraj’s – and they were all out there to give me high-fives and cheer me one. Their daughter had even made a sign to cheer me on – it was fantastic.I found Linda for the last time at mile 8 – and a friend of ours was waiting with her for me to show up. Ron is the husband of one of our very good biking friends and he was running the half-marathon. He waited for me to show up and jumped back in to run with me. 

Ron and I ran together until mile 12, stopping quickly for a quick selfie in front of the 10-mile marker. It was fabulous running along with him. Having run a number of marathons, he was able to pass along a lot of advice while we were running. 

As soon as Ron and I parted ways, I was essentially by myself for the rest of the race. There was a huge crowd of runners – until most of them turned at the 12.5-mile mark and the few of us turned the opposite way for the marathon.

The second half was definitely tougher than the first half. I maintained my planned pace until about mile 20 or 21. I started to institute some walking (which I had not been doing in any of my training), as I began to become more and more sore. The left knee was really starting to get sore, but was hanging in there.

My overall goal was to complete the race – but my secondary goal was to finish in under 5 hours. It seem kind of arbitrary, but was still a goal, nonetheless. Knowing that I was walking a number of instances, I kept a close eye on my watch to keep myself within reach of the 5-hour mark.

My Apple Watch kept perfect time, however, by the end of the race it was 1.5 miles ahead. So, I was getting feedback from friends that were following me via my running app, congratulating me for finishing, but I wasn’t even at the 25-mile mark yet.

The final 0.75 miles was uphill and most of it into a 15mph headwind. It was really a horrible way to end such a long run, but I looked up and found Emily there waiting for me at the 26-mile mark. With 0.2 miles left, she joined alongside me and encouraged me to finish strong.

Emily ran along and Anna was waiting there at the finish line. It was so very cool to have both of my daughters there to see me at the end. I can’t say there weren’t a few tears exchanged as we embraced.

I did my best to walk off my sore legs – but a banana and a tall IPA were helpful in putting my mind somewhere else.

After a hot shower (which felt AMAZING) and some stretching and foam-rolling, we went out for lunch and I enjoyed a full pizza and a couple more beers. Like a doofus, I wore my medal out because it seemed like the thing to do. Finally, after a long day of hanging around and trying to nap, I got to hang out with Sally and just rest the legs.

What a wonderful day!

Marathon Training: 20 mile run done

When one follows a typical marathon training program, he or she will steadily increase their weekend long runs from 6 or 8 miles until they run 20 miles about 3 weeks before the 26.2 mile marathon; this will be the longest run achieved before the race. While training for the marathon last year, I injured my Achilles while during my 16 mile training run and I never progressed any farther. In fact, I was unable to run in the marathon and half marathon for which I’d already paid entry fees.

Fortunately, I was able to return to running later in the summer, but I’ve been quite cautious and, frankly a bit scared, as I’ve increased my weekly mileage. I chose a training plan that was 20 weeks instead of the typical 16 weeks. For obvious reasons, when I completed my 16 mile run back on February 25, I was ecstatic. Each week has seen me progress to longer distances and today I completed the final goal of 20 miles.

I chose to run on the Mill Creek Trail, which comprises a portion of the Garmin Marathon that I will be doing in a few weeks. It’s a bit lonely running 20 miles by oneself, but podcasts and the occasional passing cyclist was just enough to keep me entertained.

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I’m looking forward to the 3-week taper that will allow me to run fewer miles on each of my training run – all with the intent to allow the body to recuperate and rest before the actual race. I will continue to do my strength training and yoga – along with my foam rolling. It’s exciting to see that this day is finally getting here!

The only downside to the run – I forgot my bandaids and Body Glide; my fellow runners will know exactly how I’m feeling right now!

Discovered my Achilles Heel…

It was one week ago. I was running my “long run” for the week – fortunately, only a 12-mile run after running 16 miles the week before. I’d been experiencing a bit of soreness in my heel over the past couple weeks, but I assumed it was because my mileage had drastically increased since running my half-marathon a few weeks ago. Let’s face it, every run lately has started with a bit of soreness, but it had always worked out within the first 1-2 miles. It’s really not that big of a deal.

However, this run felt different. The soreness in my heel was a more sore than usual. But – I pressed on, like a good boy should. By the mile 3 I was still hurting and started to worry that I would really be hurting by the time I finished my 12 miles. Around mile 4, I was going up a short incline (in a motion much like running up some stairs) when I experienced one of the worst pains I’d ever felt – a pop in the back of my heel. I immediately assumed I’d ruptured my Achilles tendon. My training as an emergency physician was quickly put to use – and I determined that the tendon was not ruptured. I tried stretching; tried walking it off; tried a slow jog…nothing was working. I quickly determined that my run was done and I needed to start walking home.

I texted Linda and called Anna – someone would come pick me up. By the time Linda got there, I was only 1/4-mile back and couldn’t take one more step without being on the verge of tears. This was more pain than I experienced when I broke my pelvis 4 years ago in a bicycle crash. Honestly, my “almost tears” was the frustration over the fact that my marathon training had come to an abrupt halt. So close, yet so far away!

I used crutches the first 24 hours, but quickly moved over to the cane that I used for a few weeks during my pelvis fracture healing. The best thing that could’ve happened was an invitation to be evaluated by a good friend that is a physical therapist. She did some magic massage and ultrasound therapy that made my heel feel much better. Kinesiology tape and a heel cup have also been a miracle.

My marathon is 5 weeks away. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to run it, but I’m hoping that I get the chance to try. I’ve rested for a full week and I’m expecting another week of no running. I’m hoping to start using the stationary bike soon to keep my cardiovascular status in check. If things work out, I’ll run the marathon – but in a much slower time than previously expected. At this point, I’ll be happy just to get the chance to try.

 

Rompin’ Stompin’ Raider 5K Run (2015)

On a recent (very cold) morning, Linda and I helped raise money for our high school marching band (the Rompin’ Stompin’ Raider Marching Band) by participating in their 4th annual 5K run. The marching band is near and dear to our heart, considering both of our daughters are connected with the band. When given the choice to sell popcorn, candy, wrapping paper, or run a 5K – it’s a pretty obvious choice which one we’d rather do.

This was the first time that I had registered for a 5K run. The 5K is a great race for runners – usually completed around  30 minutes. However,  my first race was the half-marathon that I did in May 2014 and the only other race was a 4-mile run on July 4, 2015. When I do my regular runs, I will always run at least 5K (or 3.1 miles).

I usually run my regular runs around 10:00/mile , which is a comfortable pace. But, I had made the decision to try to run the 5K race at a faster pace. I tried to keep up with a couple of people that were in front of me for the first mile, but they were obviously running a bit faster than the pace that I could keep beyond the first mile. I settled in to a pace around 180 steps per minute – which is supposed to be the sweet spot.

Additionally, I decided to do this run without listening to music or podcasts (I normally run with something occupying my brain). I wanted to enjoy the run and stay tuned the fellow runners.

Despite being cold (around 40 degrees), it turned out to be  a great run for me. I ran at 9:13/mile, which is the fastest i’ve run in a long time. Out of about 250 participants, I was the 59th finisher overall and the 5th finisher in my age group (men 45-49).

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To help keep me humble, the overall winner finished the 5K in about 17 minutes. Most astonishing, a 9-year-old boy ran it faster than me (somewhere around 21 minutes, if I remember correctly)!

Linda walked the coarse with a really good friend, Robin. I was able to catch a photo of them crossing the finish line:

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Finally, this picture proves that we’re fun,  selfie-taking, photo-bombing crazy people:

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My First Half Marathon

I picked up running as an exercise option last fall, trying to find something different than the biking that I’d been doing. My sister (and her husband) and also Linda’s sister had been running for a couple years. I thought to myself, ‘if they can do it…”.

My hatred of running

One must understand how much I’ve hated running throughout my entire life. Being made to run a mile in 5th grade made my side hurt with cramps every time. When I ran any time in middle or high school, the same thing happened and I was always at the back of the pack. I’ve never been fast and I have NEVER experienced a runners high.

Upon joining the Army, I was made to run a lot. Despite the multiple opportunities to get better at running, I never found any joy and actually came close to despising the exercise. The only thing I hated more were the pushups that were also required. One of my driving reasons for leaving the military was having physical exercise (including the running) as part of my job requirement (as a nurse). To put it plainly – I hated running. The only time (and last time) that I ran since then was about 15 years ago when I ran a bit for exercise during medical school.

I need to lose weight

Back in the fall, I decided I needed to do something about my weight as I had slowly gained back all the weight I’d lost back in 2010. After losing almost 35 pounds, I’d gained it all back by enjoying my food and craft beer. Biking did it’s best to keep my weight in check, but it wasn’t providing the needed kick to get the calories burned and help convince me to drop extra calories. I began to run a couple miles on the treadmill at the gym. This was a good beginning.

I started using a few apps on my phone to start tracking everything I did. I used MyFitnessPal to track my calories and RunKeeper to track my runs. When February came around and the Bill Snyder Highway Half Marathon was announced, I quickly made the decision to run the race. I’ve never run a 5K or a 10K or anything close to it.  I used the RunKeeper app to create a training plan.

I ran alternating 3 and 4 mile runs with increasing distances each week. Eventually I was up to 12 miles, but quickly found my left knee a bit sore. As I would get to distances past about 5 or 6 miles, I had a hot-poker pain in my left knee every time my left foot struck the ground. If I stopped and walked, the pain would almost go away; but resuming the run would recreate the pain. As a physician, I had no real answer as to why this was the case. I chose to rest the knee as much as I could and take it easy on the runs to prevent extra stress on the knee.

The rehabilitation and rest seemed to work as I was able to do the race this past week.

The race

Linda and I celebrated our 22nd anniversary on May 22 last week. We went to Manhattan the night before the race to pick up the race packet. We also enjoyed our anniversary with a nice dinner at Bourbon & Baker. We stayed at one of the new hotels built in the downtown area; it was a gorgeous place and amazingly comfortable.

Because we were being bussed to the starting line in the morning, I was in bed by 9:30pm; unfortunately, I tossed and turned all night. I even had weird dreams that the race was really a front for a drug cartel and the race was not happening – all that training for nothing. I eventually woke early at 4:45am and was out the door by 5:15am.

I met a line of school buses at the Bill Snyder Family Stadium. They were there to bus the 1,008 participants out to the start line near I-70 on Highway 177 (The Bill Snyder Highway).

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Once out at the start point (at 6am for a 7am start), we stood around trying to stay warm in a 55-degree morning with a brisk southerly breeze. I stood there shivering, thinking of all of the energy I was wasting by shivering. I met up with several friends from high school and enjoyed catching up while discussing all of our training that we’d done.

IMG_7650IMG_7649bazu-6316963The race started with the first 8 miles running along Highway 177, over the viaduct and into town. The first 8 miles is essentially all downhill with the slightest elevation at one point. Around mile 6, there is a long downhill that lasts almost a mile. My average pace of 10:00/mile was quickly improved while running 8:11/mile going down the downhill.

Linda brought her bike so that she could jump around to see me at different spots along the race route. She was able to meet me at mile 8 (where I was able to dump off my jacket with her).

16492_10153482790941159_9026657750282235263_nAfter getting around the mall and turning on Poyntz Ave, it was nice to finally be in town and no longer out on the highway. It felt like I was almost done, but I still had 5 miles to go. Fortunately, the knee was feeling really good.

There were water spots every 2 miles or so and also GU available every 4 miles or so. I had been a bit worried about my hydration status along the race (especially since I’ve never experienced this), but the water spots were perfect. It’s a bit hard trying to drink from a cup while running; I eventually started to walk briskly through these spots to get the water and Gatorade down (and not wear it on my face).

IMG_7657After running through downtown on Poyntz, we ran around City Park and then down Moro in Aggieville. There were supporters all along the route with signs and clapping. Best sign I saw: “Worst Parade Ever”. I honestly laughed out loud.

After passing through Aggieville, we crossed in to campus and ran through Kansas State University and then into the Jardine area next to the stadium. Once I could see the stadium, I felt amazing and really felt like I might be able to get the race done around the 2-hour mark. My goal was to have it done within 2 hours and 30 minutes. However, despite being able to see the stadium, I still had about 2 miles to run (or almost another 20 minutes).

Linda was waiting for me as I entered the parking lot at the stadium (with another 0.75 miles to go). It was at that point that I knew I was going to make it. I picked up the pace and put it all out there!

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Click HERE for a video of me crossing the finish line.

 

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IMG_7655Brian Schottler is one of my high school friends that had been training alongside me for this race (via RunKeeper app only). He finished a bit quicker than me, but was there with high-fives and a big smile!

Looking forward to more running – because I love running now and I’m hooked!

By the way – I lost the 35 pounds that I wanted.