Archive for General Blog Thoughts

Time to wake up!!

Ok – time to wake up and get going again.

A combination of stress, anxiety, injury and just plain laziness has taken me down.

I have been on a slow decline running wise and a slow incline weight wise since the Dopey Challenge in January 2015.

Some quick history:

I struggled a bit through spring 2015 with some health issues and still got some decent miles in but nothing like I did in 2014.

I started 2016 with a run streak that lasted until April before it crapped out due to a work project going late one night, and after that a general level of stress and malaise seeped into my running in general.

I figured I would get pepped up again for training for the 2017 Goofy Challenge…but that didn’t happen. Between stress and an issue with my Achilles, I went into that race in poor shape and carrying more weight than I would like.

After Goofy, I figured I would at least get more motivated to run the Spruce Woods 50k in May…but again no luck. I was able to train some but work stress hammered me hard and I did not train well.

 

That then brings me to now…not much training, even more weight gain (some of it seemed very sudden), very stressed out, feel almost scared a good chunk of the time and motivation in the toilet.

Now, I know that most people will use running as a way to vent the stress…but what do you do when running becomes a source of stress?

I have been worried about how much slower I am getting, how much less endurance I have, how my ankle keeps seeming to get hurt…and on and on…I am a bit of a worrier, in case it wasn’t obvious.

Add this on top of work stress and it feels like constant stress and anxiety. And unfortunately, if I’m not running I will deal with stress with sugar. Which then leads to more weight and the spiral continues.

So how to fix this? Suggestions are welcome but below are my thoughts on some changes I am making to get going again.

I put a bar fridge in my office at work – this gives me a few things:

  1. I will not eat out at lunch as often on work days – saving money and greasy burger calories
  2. Packing lunches will make me more conscious of what I am eating
  3. I am able to do smaller more frequent meals during the day to help the metabolism
  4. I can keep various lower calorie condiments and such at work to add flavour to what I am eating making it more likely that I will continue to want to eat my packed lunches

 

I have switched my breakfast from quick toast to a couple quick scrambled eggs. The extra protein should help me in general but I know I have issues with weight gain due to bread (if I have bagels for breakfast a few days in a row it isn’t unusual for me to gain a few pounds) so reducing bread while eating something that will last longer in my system is a good thing. Way back when I started this blog I lost a lot of weight tied into having a high protein breakfast and I am going to break those habits back out.

Focused races – I was waffling on up to 4 races in September – 2 marathons, a half and a 24 hour ultra. I was thinking about all of these while knowing that I need to get a decent time in for a half or a full marathon by October 3rd for coral placement for the Dopey Challenge in January 2018.

This means I had to consciously drop even thinking about 2 of them (the marathons) – focus on getting ready for the half and leave the ultra on the back burner once I see if I can get running properly again.

Have a plan! I have roughed out a training plan similar to an 18 week plan and I started that this week. If I follow it, I will be near marathon ready come late October / early November. I will then have a few months from there to really focus on the back to back to back to back running I need to do in January for the Dopey Challenge.

Actually stick to the plan! About 5 days in and the average isn’t going great here but I kind of figured it would take time to build up and I am working on getting that mental strength back again.

Blog! Blogging has fully died on me – both here and in a few other places so I am going to have to revive that. That may mean random nonsense and simple reports of how I ran this day or that day but I need to start somewhere.

Vlog? I enjoyed yapping at the camera with my thoughts after the Spruce Woods Ultra 50K race (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=97OsS0WJHZE&t=337s) and I think I will try some more of that in the near future. I have recorded a few thing that I still need to edit and see if they are ok but I have some ideas and look forward to seeing how that goes.

 

 

Walk! I am going to start having to walk more – I will still probably run at least one of the dogs (the one that enjoys it) but I will need to walk them longer and more frequently. It will be good for me and for them!

Review what supplements I am taking. I was taking a handful of different things every day – most to do with maybe helping with my mood – but I have cut back and not taken anything for over a week. I will be bringing back in vitamin D soon (especially for days I don’t get out to run in the sun or play around in the pool) and may also bring back in the Omega 3 supplements. Most everything else I will leave on the shelf.

….I’m not 100% sure what else at this point but that is a solid start.

Here we go!

2017 plans. A return to form and a push to Dopey Challenge 2018!?!

With a new year we get a chance to reflect on things both good and bad from the past year and make plans for the future. What do we want to change? What should we keep doing? What can we do (or not do) to build ourselves and others up?

For the coming year there are a few things I know I need to change both running wise and just for life in general.

I don’t like to make resolutions since they usually get broken pretty damned quick – instead I am going to make a few commitments to myself.

 

First Commitment:

2018 Dopey Challenge – I am just days away from heading down to Orlando / Disney World for the 2017 Goofy Challenge but I am committing to running the 2018 Dopey Challenge now and doing it well. I want a better overall time than I got when I ran it in 2015. I was very happy with my overall time and strength that year and if I want to better that time, then I need to start work now and build through the year. I did 1971 miles in 2014 leading up to the 2015 Dopey Challenge so I will be trying to beat those numbers for 2017. I also set my PRs in the half and full marathons in 2014, so I will have some work to do to rebuild here.

In 2018 the race will be the 5th anniversary of the Dopey Challenge, the 5th anniversary of the Minnie 10k and the 25th anniversary of the Walt Disney World Marathon. That is a party I want to be involved with! I suspect there will be many who feel the same way so hopefully I can get in through the early entry with my annual pass!

My wife and I want to bring the kids down for this one too. I am doing Goofy Challenge this year and Heather is doing the Glass Slipper Challenge in February. We both have fallen in love with runDisney races and we really want to share that with the kids and get them more active at the same time. So we intend to do the 5k with them and see where else we end up. Our son is old enough to do the 10k so we will see if we can get him interested in that too. We are going to start building them up to this with the Pro Bowl 5k on January 28th – they will get a taste of a race through Epcot and hopefully they will catch the bug too!

Basically, all my running this year must lead toward this goal.

 

Second Commitment:

Spruce Woods Ultra – I let myself down on this one in 2016. I didn’t run my own race and it cost me. I know I could have completed this race and it eats at me a bit that I messed it up. So this year I will do it again and do it properly (properly for me – RUN MY OWN RACE). The only thing here is that I will have to decide what distance – 50k, 50 miles or 100k (smart enough to know I will not be ready for a 100 miler any time soon). Completing the race will be rebuilding my confidence so I need to figure out if I will feel better running a very strong 50k or if going well beyond 50k will work better.

The decision here will depend on how well my Achilles tendon continues to recover. I also don’t want to jeopardize 2018 Dopey Challenge with a big injury during the year. I realize you risk injury on every run and you can’t let that hold you back from reaching your goals…but there is a big difference between taking chances and deliberately flitting with disaster.

This race is in May, so I have some time to decide how things are going before I finalize my plans.

 

Third Commitment:

24 hour Lemming Loop – considering I really had no idea what I was getting into and my Achilles tendon didn’t cooperate  at all, I am a fairly happy with what I accomplished at the 2016 Lemming Loop…but I know I can do better.

I want to do this one again when I am stronger and healthier and just see what I can do. I have always thought my strength as a runner was more about endurance and quick recovery and this event lends itself to those traits. And I want to know what I am capable of here.

 

Other things:

These aren’t quite the same as the commitments above but they are things that will either need to happen or I want to happen over the year.

 

Lose weight…this one starts to sound a bit like a New Years resolution but it really isn’t. With my reduced mileage and injuries, my weight has crept up over the past year and a half and I have probably gained back 20 of the pounds I had previously lost. This needs to be rectified to achieve my goals above. I know how to do it and this will happen.

 

Marathon Maniacs – there are about 4 marathons run near(ish) to where I live and either combined with each other or with the ultras listed above I should be able to get Marathon Maniac status this year. I think this is something that would be pretty cool – but I am not going to commit to it as being healthy for the above races will take precedent as will various family commitments through the year.

 

Half Marathons – there are a few I like to do every year and I will most likely do so again with the goal of getting some speed back. My half PR is 1:46:00 and getting back there this year might be difficult but I think I can get back down to sub 1:50 and I would be quite happy with that.

 

Stress reduction – Over the past year or so I have been dealing with some big stressors that have been impacting my running motivation. I need to find a way to deal with those. At this point I suspect doing additional writing on the blog will help. I have been a bit lax over the past year on the blog but I will be picking it up and posting more. I find the writing helps focus my brain and lets me come up with solid plans better…so let’s do that.

 

As a conclusion, I have to say I am fairly excited about the upcoming year of running and looking forward to see where I end up!

Good luck to everyone in 2017!!

Watch Instagram @biggoofyrunner over the next few weeks!

Hi folks – as the post title says, please check out my Instagram account @biggoofyrunner over the next few weeks.

In honor of heading into the final push towards Goofy Challenge 2017, and to do a bit of a celebration of 4 years of this blog, I will be posting a picture a day from along the route of the 2015 Walt Disney World Marathon. I ran Dopey that year and had a blast hitting every picture stop I could.

Most of the pictures will be from the on course photographers taken at the various character stops but a few are taken by myself (those will be the blurry ones).

So have a look and feel some nostalgia if you have done a Disney race before or if you haven’t done one before you can see some of the things to expect.

If you want to see most of the pictures ahead of time – most of them will be coming from the post: 

Final Race – Dopey Challenge 2015 – Disney World Marathon race report and pictures!

Hope you enjoy!

My initial thoughts for 2016 – run streak and a shot at Goofy Challenge 2017?

So I have been thinking for a while about what my goals and plans for 2016 should be. While I did have some great events, overall my running did not go very well in 2015. My mileage and speed are way down and the weight I previously lost is coming too far back – not good things.

I had indicated at the start of last year that I wanted to back off a bit because I felt I was putting too much time into the running and maybe falling down in other areas – family, hobbies, etc.

But the way I backed off wasn’t the way I would have wanted it to happen. There were some legitimate illness and injuries that had an impact but a big part of the issue was a loss of motivation and energy. Running used to be a habit but that fell off – meaning that I used to run out of habit even if I was tired or not motivated and I have lost that.

So that is the first thing I need to fix this year and to do that I am going to run streak.

Now I have tried run streaking before and it did not go well. But I did it differently during that attempt than what I plan to do it this time. When I did it before, I did it including double run days – I would do my normal 5 days a week training plan but would also add in a couple mile morning run every day before work – giving me up to 10 runs in a week. I did not adapt to the change in the sleep cycle well and I maybe lasted 9 or 10 days before I fell apart on a 2 mile run.

So I won’t do it that way this time. Instead I will ramp up to doing the 5 days a week run schedule and will do a single mile on the rest days. I am hoping this will get me to the point where, even if I am tired or unmotivated, I will run no matter what.

How long a streak though? It is a leap year and I love the idea of run streaking the whole 366 days. Granted I also ran Dec 31st so it would be 367 days. That is a bit of a daunting task considering how little I have been running, so I will start with setting the first goal as run streaking January. Once that is achieved I will break it down to run streak each month until the year is done.

That should make take care of getting back in the habit of running all the time, but how do I get myself back into running long distances? I did pull off 50+ miles in the 12 Hour Lemming Loop back in early October but that was more about experience and shear pig-headedness than about any sort of conditioning really. As I think about it, about the only thing that has made me truly commit to training has been the Goofy Challenge and the Dopey Challenge. So I am going to lay it out there that I am going to train to do the Goofy Challenge in January 2017. I don’t know yet if I can make that work financially but I am going to mentally commit to it – I have done 5 and want to do a 6th. That means everything I do through 2016 is going to be as part of a training plan for January 2017. Usually a marathon training plan comes in around 18 weeks but I am giving myself 50+ weeks so I will need to have several milestone races / runs along the way that will break the period down into more manageable chunks.

I don’t have that fully worked out yet but I have a few races running through my mind:

  1. Hypothermic Half marathon on Feb 21st – this one probably won’t work as we are vacation until the 20th and I don’t know if I would be able to hit package pickup or not. I will be investigating further.
  2. WPS Half marathon on May 1st – this race is where I hold my half PR (1:46:00 – 2014) but was about 10 minutes slower in 2015 due to illness. I will be looking for redemption on this race – maybe not a PR but back to sub 1:50 would be the goal) This means lots of speed work through March and April.
  3. Spruce Woods Ultra marathon event – the weekend after the WPS Half marathon – they trail marathon, 50k, 50 mile, 100k and 100 mile options all with decently generous time limits – so maybe, just maybe I might do something that will scare the hell out me here…
  4. Fargo Marathon – May 21st – just a bit of a drive away from Winnipeg but it is a flat course and the weather seems to average better than the Manitoba Marathon a month later which is a positive for someone coming off of several months of winter running. This one gives me a better shot at getting back to the low 4 hour range, possibly even PR or finally breaking below 4 hours.
  5. Manitoba Marathon – June 19 – If I have been training well and consistently at this point then hammering out a new full marathon PR would be the goal (currently 4:09:44 in 2014) – my marathon PR is for this race but my history with the weather on this one is not great (I have a tendency to get spanked by the heat or drenched).
  6. Treherne Marathon – Sept 11 – I haven’t done this one before and it is only a bit of a drive from home. It is done mostly on back country unpaved roads and I have, up to this point, ruled out doing this race because I keep getting an image of it raining and making the roads a mess. But this one may help me stay motivated through the summer.
  7. Fort Garry Rotary Half Marathon – not sure the date yet but is usually a couple weeks after Treherne Marathon. This can be a good race to show off summer conditioning as we head into the fall.
  8. Lemming Loop – Sept 30 / Oct 1 – I have done the 12 hour event 2 years in a row and I am thinking of doing the unthinkable and moving up to the 24 hour event.
  9. WFPS Half Marathon – October 16 – only a couple weeks after the 12 or 24 hour Lemming Loop and I could be exhausted for this race. But I have done this one several years in a row and it is a tradition at this point.
  10. Wine and Dine Half Marathon – my wife and I thought about doing this one for our 10th anniversary last year but it didn’t work out. So maybe this year as a couple’s trip?

So I don’t know what I will do for sure but those are the races I am currently pondering.

One other major motivation idea I am looking at is tracking my yearly mileage as the miles I would need to get to Disney World from my house. Google Maps lists this as 1928.75 miles – I did 1971 in 2014 so it is possible. I will call this personal mission the “Run to the Goofy Challenge”. The bonus with this challenge is that if I start seeing myself getting close to that number later in the year it might drive me to go further – maybe beat the 1971 to have my highest mileage year ever or maybe even beat 2000 or 2016 miles?

To ensure I hit any of these milestones I will definitely need to tackle the sleep and weight issues I have been having but I have done it before and can do it again.

Basically I will need to break things down into more manageable chunks with sub goals to achieve and celebrate along the way. I’m not exactly sure what that looks like yet but I know I will have the ramp the mileage up slowly as I try to rebuild – so January won’t be 200 miles but maybe closer to the 130-150 range, but by the end of the year I should be hitting 200 mile months at least a few times.

A slow, strong, steady progression is key here.

Lots of work to do – but I will make sure to blog about it more frequently to help keep me honest and motivated.

Cheers to strong 2016!

5.22 miles tonight takes me to 1171 for the year – 800 less than last year. Ouch. Year recap in the post.

The 5.22 miles I ran on the treadmill tonight takes me to a total of 1171 miles in 2015 – 800 less than last year. With a combo of illness, injury, tanked motivation and flat out laziness I certainly got a lot less miles in this year.

I had indicated at the end of last year that I wanted to back off a bit and run a bit smarter – but I didn’t intend to do that the way it happened! And I don’t think I could consider the way I backed off as running “smarter”.

That being said I did have some great events and got to do some pretty cool things this year:

There were 2 very important running events for me this year – the Dopey Challenge in January and the 12 Hour Lemming Loop in October. I feel great about both of those events. I met and broke all my timing goals at Dopey Challenge and had a blast. And at the 12 Hour Lemming Loop I was able to break 50 miles (50.33) – not too shabby for a guy at around 230 pounds!

I also feel pretty impressed with myself with how I did during the Hypothermic Half marathon in February – it was bloody cold for that one (so cold that they did an emergency course change to reduce the safety risk to the runners) and even though I wanted to quit and walk off, I still managed to finish strong.

Other than that the other races for the year were pretty awful. Between illness and minimal training my race times took a beating. I am frankly surprised that I was able to finish my last half marathon of the year at the end of October in under 2 hours.

All in all, the year was definitely not a write off but it was certainly a major step back from last year. Look for a post on the blog tomorrow where I lay out my goals and plans for 2016…redemption will be mine!

Happy New Year everyone!