Thursday, February 27, 2014

Stepping Down and Building Base Mileage

I haven't blogged in over a year now, and stumbling across my page gave me some inspiration to get back on here and continue blogging. Since my last Ultra being Bad Marsh 50k in 2012 I hadn't signed up for any more Ultras. I completed around 18.7 miles at the Bad Marsh before becoming sick and could no longer hold any fluids in my stomach. I tried again at the Mad Marsh (which is the same course just during the day) in November 2012 and fell short again while only completing a little over 14 miles. My training had just not been the right method for completing these races. I usually always went to fast as in running 9-9:30 min/ miles when I should be only running 10min/ mile or slower. I just always hated running slow so I always pushed myself and would eventually "bonk".
 So, as far as my Ultra training and running 50+ miles a week I have come to an end point. In 2013 I stopped running all together for about 4 months. I strictly went to the gym and became lazier. This was the worst thing I had ever done to myself, by the way. I gained nearly 30lbs in about 6 months. I went from my racing weight of 140 and topped my scale at 170 before deciding that I needed to pick up running again. Boy was that hard! I had been used to running at 140-150lbs but with my new weight my knees, calves, hips and just everything hurt. I thought it was from all the ultra training I had been doing for the previous years, all the beating up of my knees and feet had finally gotten to me and I wasn't going to be able to get back into running. Well, I was wrong, of course. I had to start back from running 1-2 miles several days a week and slowly build my mileage back. This is when I decided to start a training plan and stick with it until my base mileage was up.
     After a few months of training I was back up to running 4-6 miles 4-5 days a week. I had signed up for several 5K races and this was going to be my time to see what I had done to myself with all the time off running. My first 5K Jan. 14' I ran 26:47, this was hard, exhausting, and depressing to me. I at least finished this run with my head held high, but I couldn't stand the fact that I had let myself get so out of shape. After the race I went home and looked up a lot of training plans online for 5K. My dad told me about McMillan running so looked that up and got hooked. I also bought his book "(You) Only Faster" and that helped me a lot with my training and fine tuning a plan. I started off right away making a 12 week training plan. It was my goal to get under 24mins by my next race in 2 weeks. I stuck with my plan and did the runs accordingly and at my next race I got 24:43. Better than my first but I wasn't stopping now. I wanted that new time and I wanted to better myself in running again. I started eating healthier, stopped drinking beer during the week and by my next race I ran a 23:10. 4 weeks into my training I lost 8lbs and increased my pace.
     I am now going to be sticking with 5 k races for a yer until I reach my goal of 18:47, at which point I will move up to 10k, then half marathon. This blog started as my Journey to becoming an Ultra Runner which is still a dream for me to do. I have to train smart and long, it's going to take years to get to the point where I'm ready to run an ultra marathon. It's my goal to stay focused and keep blogging in order to keep my motivation strong and hopefully keep inspiring upcoming runners to stay strong and keep going. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Staying Strong, Going Steady..

I completed my first relay race this past weekend in North Carolina. I was invited last minute by a friend in my running group. Apparently one of the runners backed out 2 days before the race and they needed a back-up and knew who to call that's always up for a challenge, That would be Me! The race was called the Blue Ridge Relay. It starts in Grayson-Highlands, VA and ends in Asheville, NC, approximately 214 miles through the mountains. We were a 12 person team with 2 vans and a lot determination. I had 3 legs to run that would consist of a 9.5mi, 3.5mi, and 5.8mi so I ran roughly around 20 miles in the 31hours it took us to complete the course. 31 hours and 45 minutes to be precise, that's an average pace of 8:54 per mile which I believe was great considering the 11% and 13% grade hills and 4,280ft climbs that were being made in some single legs.

This race really prepared me a bit more for the North Face Endurance challenge coming up October 13th in Pine Mountain, Ga. I am running the half marathon at this race due to the Savannah Rock N Roll Marathon 3 weeks after the race and the Mad Marsh 50k 2 weeks after the marathon. I want to put these races in order instead of running a 50k (in the mountains) then 3 weeks run a marathon. I made the decision a couple of months ago while I was training for the Rock N Roll marathon. I wanted to not only finish this marathon, but to run in under 4 hours. I knew that if I had to run a 50k and 3 weeks later run the marathon, there would a very high chance of not doing well. Mainly due to the fact of not enough recovery time between races. I don't feel that my level of running has gotten to the point of running multiple long distance runs without recovery between. A couple more years of marathons and 50k races should be good enough to not just train my body, but also keep my mind sharp and know how to listen to my body, become more in tune with it.

I believe it is just another step in becoming an ultra runner. I like things to happen now, faster results, if not instant. I know that's not how it works though. It takes years of training and dedication to something to become proficient in it. By keeping the body moving and the mind working you will only progress forward in achieving what you want. Running still today is the only thing that keeps me going, the progression I have seen in the past year amazes me. When you look back to last month or last week it seems to be the same, but when you look at the last year and compare to what you have done today it can amaze you at the results you have achieved. For me atleast it has, Weight loss/gain. Fat loss, Muscle gained, pace per mile, average distance run per week, little things, but things to be proud of.

Until my next post I hope some of you look back to last year or the year before and see what you have accomplished and see where you are today, because 2-3 years from now you will be even greater!

Stay Strong, Never Stop Moving Forward...

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Never Give Up on Yourself!

I had a great race this past weekend. I went into the Milestone half marathon just to run it by feel and it felt great. The weather was perfect, 70 degrees, compared to last year when the heat index reached 100. It was a nice shaded course for about 6 miles then an open stretch on a long wide road for about 4 miles in the sun.
I finished the race in 1:58 and surprised the hell out of myself. I haven't run over 6 miles in the past 5 weeks, due to a break in my training.

After this past race weekend I showed myself and proved that I still have it, I am a Runner! and as long as you keep in mind that you can not fail and only succeed you can take yourself a long way. This is what I needed, A boost in my confidence and motivation to keep moving forward and never stop putting one foot in front of the other, in life and in running, Never give up!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Bad Marsh & Xterra Race

A lot has happened since my last post in June. I ran the Bad Marsh night ultra June 23rd, and 2 weeks later ran the Xterra Harbison Trail half marathon. I now have a half marathon this weekend Aug. 25th and then I will be starting my training for the Rock n Roll Savannah Marathon. I haven't blogged since then due to moving and life changes.

The Bad Marsh ultra went really well. I had my girlfriend, dad, and a few friends join in at the race. I have to say the race was very well put together and looking forward to this November to run it again. Unfortunately I was unable to push all the way through, I over-hydrated before the race being worried I would not be hydrated enough and became ill after mile 18. I actually fell over and had my girlfriend catch me as I was falling over to the side to vomit. She wouldn't let me give up though, so with the help of Linda (girlfriend) I was able to push through one more lap of 4.5 miles and ended my run at 22.5 miles.

The next week I took it easy recovering with a 3-4 mile run every other day at an easy pace. I saw a friend post that there was a half marathon coming up the next week in SC and it was a trail race. I then became victim to the FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) and decided to sign up for the race. I don't regret it one bit! This was a great "hilly" run for me for sure. I ran it in 2:23 despite the mountainous range that Colombia,SC had to offer. It was the best experience and most challenging run thus far. Since that day I couldn't wait to run another mountain trail again, Though one is coming up in October.

Friday, June 29, 2012

I Am an Ultra Runner, This is my Year!

Bad Marsh is over and I have earned my first Ultra finisher medal. This was indeed a tough run, it had it's share of good and bad. I wasn't able to finish the 31.5 mi run, instead thanks to an uneasy stomach and nausea I could only throw down 22.5 miles.  I still feel like I ran an ultra and that's what matters to me most. I have 2 more 50k ultras before the year is up and one of those being the same course, just during the day instead of night. The event brought together a lot of good people and good vibes, I have fallen in love with the Ultra scene and the people who are a part of it. It's almost a new "breed", Everyone brings something special or unique to the field of ultra running in their own standards. I remember standing at the start with about 100 people and I felt so comfortable. Unlike the feeling at a local 5k or even the local marathon, I felt like this was a group of people I already knew and we were all running for fun.

In November they will be hosting another 50k event, "Mad Marsh" and this will be during the day and a lot cooler weather. The Bad Marsh last weekend was a night ultra and the race started with 90 degree weather and 84% humidity. I can't wait to set foot on the trail once more and this time go the extra 2 laps to make it 31.5 miles. 

I have a busy schedule coming up and I feel like it's about time. July 8th I'll be in SC for the XTERRA Harbison Trail 13.1, October 13th I am running the North Face Endurance Challenge 50K, November 3rd will be the Rock N Roll Savannah Marathon, November 17th Mad Marsh 50K, December 3rd 15K Savannah Bridge run (piece of cake compared to the other races) and then January I will be running the Delrium 6hr Ultra. By that time there may be more added to the list. Between most of these races especially in September-December I will be running several local 5K races.
I have a lot on my plate, and I"M HUNGRY.... This will be my year and start of something great, I will become an Ultra Runner and continue pushing the mileage until I reach 100 mile distance Ultras (probably 3-4 years from now).

now to go train and work in this crazy HOT Savannah weather (102 degrees today)

Stay Strong...Never Stop Moving Forward~

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Hitting A "Stress" Wall with Bad Marsh Around The Corner!

The past 3 weeks have been very tough, especially in terms of training for the Bad Marsh 50k in 10 days. I haven't had many good runs for a about 3-4 weeks, my weekly mileage dropped to about 25-35 miles and my pace slowed a lot. I was talking with my girlfriend on Sunday about how I've been feeling and I feel like I've lost my "inner runner". I've been so stressed lately with what I need to eat and how much?, Am I drinking enough water?, I need to slow my pace!, I need to pick up my pace!. all these things rush through my mind all throughout the day and on my runs. Just 5 weeks ago I was running 45-50 miles a week for the hell of it, just because I wanted to. I felt it and it felt great, I wanted more of that high from the run. My girlfriend suggested that I've been overdoing it "mentally" and I agreed, I have had so many things going through my head about how i need to train or do my runs that I wasn't just letting my body do it naturally on its own like before. I haven't blogged in awhile, because I wasn't able to think of ideas to blog about while running. I always have "me" time when I run, I talk to myself in my head and go over ideas and topics about what to blog about or talk with friends about. I've hit a mental wall!

I went running Sundayday after talking with Linda (girlfriend) about my problems I've been facing. It hyped me up and made me tell myself I am runner! I started running 2 years ago to better my life and it has been more than an amazing journey. I used to go run 6 days a week and would get excited at nights because I was ready to run the next day. I never worried if ate enough or drank enough, I always had, it was instinct to eat and drink! I never worried about my pace being slow so I could last longer, I just ran by feel and did what I could. On my run I started thinking about all the things I discussed with Linda and I was back at my "inner runner" once again. I came up with topics on what to write and talk about, I never looked at watch to see my pace, I just ran to one spot I normally run to and turned back and headed home. I felt great, my legs didn't feel heavy, my mind was clear, my lungs were open. I was running with "me" again. I feel the stresses of life take a big toll on us mentally and physically a lot of times throughout life, One achievement we can gain from this is the strength we receive when we stand back up and claim what is ours. I let the stress of running, What I love so much, get the best of me. I am a Runner and I run, running doesn't run my life, I run with it! I won't let the stress of what I need to be eating and if it's enough get to me, I'm continuing to do what I know and stick with the basics. Bad Marsh is around the corner and I'm ready to get this ultra moving and go with a clear mind and stick with my motto. "Stay Strong..Never Stop Moving Forward!"

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Training Update, With Some Motivation!

My hip injury has fully subsided and I was able to put in 40 miles last week. I was able to catch the injury quick and get back to running slowly after only 2 days off. I started off the recovery with stretching and light strength training for the legs. I was doing 10 single leg squats, followed by 25 dips with no weight. I did this just 3 times last week and felt great after the third. After the first day my legs were pretty sore from not incorporating any type of strength training in my training regimen. I also ran my first 3 days on the rails to trails out near Tybee, I felt that the softer impact from the trail would feel better than the asphalt on the road. I started Tuesday with 4 miles, Wednesday with 5, and Thursday with 8 miles. I felt really great on each run, especially since my average pace for each run was between 9:45-10:05 per mile( Ultra-marathon pace). The feeling of just being able to get out and run last week was great, I wasn't going to let that injury stand in my way, again. I ended up taking Friday off running as usual, so I would be well rested for my long tempo on Saturday and Short tempo on Sunday. When Saturday came I was more than ready to go out and get a run in that was faster than my pace during the week. I love running slow and controlled, but I've always loved my tempo days more. I ran 10 miles Saturday morning at an 8:15 pace, I also ran another 6 miles that afternoon for a recovery, which was a really nice way to end the day. I ended my week on Sunday with 6.5 mile run around Wilmington Island.

After being injured just 10 days ago, I'm glad to be back at it. I feel like by having confidence in a strong recovery and not throwing in the towel when you're down is the only way to get stronger, physically and mentally. With the help and confidence I was given by fellow readers and friends to guide me through my recovery was very appreciated. To know that you are not alone when you're out there running or even when you're put on the sidelines from an injury is a wonderful thought. We as runners have this positive vibe of energy that surrounds each one of us. We will always give advice to one that is in need of assistance. We will slow down our pace and fall back to stick by your side and motivate you to the finish when you're feeling that urge to stop.  We will be your pacer and support team in a 50 mi, 100mi, or whatever distance you decide to challenge, and never think once about quitting. We will always push ourselves closer to the edge of our own limitations, because once you've crossed that line you set yourself up for new limits to reach. Always run with confidence in yourself, and remember that you are only what you set yourself up to be. Become fluent in what you want to achieve, not only in running, but in life. Always go for the gold, and become a better "You" tomorrow.

Until my next blog...   "Stay Strong...Never Stop Moving Forward!"

(Two and a half weeks left of training until the taper week before the Bad Marsh 50K..)