Posts Tagged ‘training’

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#43 – 2007 Summary

1 January 2008

A year of good news and bad news, so I’ll get the bad stuff out of the way. 2007 ended not as I’d hoped thanks to my hamstring injury but at least it’s getting better with physical therapy. The downside was that I didn’t run a single mile during all of December, the first time I’ve missed a whole month since I started running four years ago today.

The good news is that I had a great year of running yet again. I ran 13 races including a post-high-school PR in the 5K and then lowered that mark with the help of my dog. It was all part of 1018.5 miles underfoot in 2007 so despite the injury, I was happy to crack 1000 miles even if it’s just a number. One of my goals for the year was to run 250 times but I only reached 207; however, I probably would’ve hit my target if I’d been smart enough to not overtrain into an injury. Live and learn.

Another positive is this very blog – since writing reason to run #1 back in April (which has been one of the most popular articles) there have been over 5200 visitors to Why Run?, much more than I would’ve thought my writing would attract. Thanks for reading!

Looking forward to 2008 my first priority is to get running again. Before the hamstring acted up I was hoping to try for a marathon PR in May and do some serious training for a sub-4:00 finish. Hopefully I can still go for that, but right now the prime race on my radar this year is my first crack at the 100K distance in August. Aside from that event I’m still working on sorting out my race schedule but I won’t be racing as many 5Ks this time around.

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#17 – Don’t Eat Before a Run

30 May 2007

Frequently I’ll join some co-workers for a 5-mile run during lunch. Today I tried an experiment that really backfired: I ate a turkey sandwich an hour before running. Coupled with today’s heat (87 humid degrees) my body was overwhelmed and I had to walk a couple times during the run! We were just running an easy pace but apparently my digestive system had gotten dibs on my oxygen supply before my legs, lungs, and skin (for cooling) got a chance. My energy was non-existent, my legs were mush, and my skin was on fire. I was curious to see how eating a meal before a run would affect things, and I guess I found out! So save yourself the trouble and hold off on that sandwich until after the run!

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#9 – Explore the Entire Country

18 April 2007

Last Sunday I explored the local countryside in a 16 mile run. Meanwhile someone else is exploring the entire western half of the country in a 6,875 mile hike!

Andrew Skurka is a hiker who advocates packing lightly and moving quickly, usually covering around a marathon’s distance per day. He’s a former high school runner who fell in love with hiking during college, and now appears to have made hiking his full-time job. Pretty impressive.

Andrew’s Great Western Loop hike began on April 9th, and just two days ago his mom posted his first update from the trail. Amazingly he’s hiked even further before – his “Sea to Sea” trek from the Atlantic to the Pacific covered 7,778 miles in 11 months! Summaries, stats, photos and even gear lists from all of his hikes can be found on his website – he seems to be quite an obsessive planner and organizer, which is good for the rest of us to get an idea of how one would prepare for such an undertaking.

One good way to prepare is to run, which Andrew does often as part of his training. Since resuming running four years ago (after five years of minimal activity), I’ve noticed a huge benefit when hiking or even just walking around the office. I encourage you to notice these small but significant changes that running can add to your life because after all, it’s not only about the running.

Have fun, Andrew!

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#8 – Explore the Countryside

15 April 2007

Today I went for my weekend long run, choosing to explore some of the rural farmland here in west Michigan. I left home right at sunrise and the clear skies provided stunning views. Lots of wildlife crossed my path – deer, vultures, hawks, blackbirds, sparrows – but none were cooperative enough to pose for a photo. Fortunately the countryside itself doesn’t move nearly so quickly!

Out in the middle of nowhere I was surprised to come across a stash of water and Gatorade! Scribbled on the lid was “rungazelle.com“, a running club based out of the local running store Gazelle Sports. I figured they must be out for an organized training run. Since I had three liters of water on my back to use up, I didn’t touch their stuff… besides, I didn’t ask permission!

A couple miles later I was in the middle of some big, rolling hills when I spotted this picturesque farm. As I got closer I saw a sign proclaiming this farm to be 164 years old, having stayed in the same family since 1873! Pretty amazing. It’s such a great location that I’d want to keep it, too.

Across the street from the farmhouse was this view that that family has awakened to for the past 164 years. Yes, that’s my shadow in the low, morning sun.

Leaving the farm and descending a steep hill down into the Flat River valley, I crossed one of Michigan’s historic covered bridges, White’s Bridge. There’s just something really charming about these bridges, don’t you think?

The Michigan Historic Site marker describing White’s Bridge.

Climbing north from White’s Bridge out of the valley I was treated to this spectacular view of the Flat River. This is one of the prettiest views you’ll ever see (sorry, the into-the-sun photo doesn’t do it justice) and it’s visible from a simple isolated stretch of dirt road.

Continuing along the dirt road I passed by this interesting silo that has been converted into what looks kinda like a lighthouse. You can’t tell from this angle, but this silo is sitting on the bluff overlooking that stunning section of Flat River seen in the previous photo. If I ever own a silo someday, it would be this one.

Turning around, this is what I saw across the road from the silo – a flat, wide-open field. It’s amazing how the Flat River carved such a deep valley just a few hundred feet behind me yet left this stretch of land flat as a pancake.

I ran past cornfields, beanfields, hayfields, wheatfields, but my trek wouldn’t be complete without passing a Michigan apple orchard. Maybe I’m partial to them because my dad grew up farming apples, but I think they’re more picturesque than any other farm crop.

Speaking of farm “crops”, Michigan has its share of dairy farms, too. The sign says “Drink Milk for Vitality” and a glass of cold milk sure sounded good right about then – I was two and a half hours into my run at this point.

Here I am at the Flat River yet again, but several miles south of White’s Bridge now. This photo was taken from a modern vehicle bridge at the north end of Fallasburg Park in Lowell, Michigan. The North Country Trail has an access point just to the left of the photo’s field of view, but since I ran there last week I kept to the roads this time through.

My second covered bridge crossing of the day! Here is the Fallasburg Bridge, part of the park but at the southeast end. The sign says “$5 FINE For Riding or Driving on This Bridge Faster Than a Walk” – since I ran across three times while taking these photos, should I get fined $15? 🙂

This historical marker describing the Fallasburg Bridge.

Running up the hill away from the Fallasburg Bridge these four ducks crossed the road ahead of me. As I crouched down to get a duck’s-eye view, they started waddling towards me! It looks like the one on the right is the drill sergeant, quacking orders to the others to ensure they look good for the picture.

Moving just tad more quickly than those ducks were the RunGazelle folks nearing the end of their group run; about an hour earlier I had passed them up near that apple orchard, so I figure they were running about 1.5-2 hours. At this point I was three hours along but just as close to finishing as they were.

After taking that photo I ran less than five minutes before meeting Amanda, who was out for a long walk of her own. We walked the North Country Trail back to where she’d parked the car and headed home. Check out her blog, too, for some photos she took on her trek.

Where do you usually run? In town, near your home? That’s true for me – I walk out the front door with running shoes on and most of my runs don’t go far enough to take me into the countryside, but today’s 16 miler gave me the opportunity to bring the camera and see some new sights. Next time you’re up for a long run, I suggest you head “outward”, away from town, even if you have to drive a bit to get closer to the countryside. And don’t forget your pocket camera!

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#2 – Rest Days

3 April 2007

I’m sitting here eating some chocolate when normally I would be running! This past week I’ve dealt with a lingering cold and soreness in my left hip, so even though it burns me to do this I decided to take a day off. It’s no fun right now – the devil on my shoulder keeps whispering to go run – but logically I know that this will be good for me in the long term.

It might seem oxymoronic to write about not running in a blog devoted to finding reasons to run, but the truth is that if you don’t listen to your body and rest when necessary, an injury will trump any other reason to actually run.

Cal Ripkin had a great career and The Streak was truly impressive, but even when I was a kid I would wonder just how good he could’ve been if he’d allowed his minor injuries to heal for a game or two rather than play through them.

I guess it comes down to what you want. Do you want to string together daily runs and move up the ranks of the Running Streak List? Not me. I admit that those streaks are cool, but for me I have other priorities with my running. Besides, you don’t see many world class runners on that list!