Archive for Training

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!!

2016 year end review – kinda rough but getting better!

Time again for a year end recap – and this one is a bit of an odd one to write up. On one hand my total mileage is not really awful and I did manage to get in my longest race event ever, but on the other hand my weight is up, my motivation was down, I had some injuries to deal with, and I had my first ever DNF.

There were definitely challenges this year but also some moments of light – I don’t want to focus on the negative, so I will mention some of the challenges but will try to concentrate more on the positive aspects of the year.

Total miles 1206.5 – down from 1400 in 2015 and 1971 in 2014. Definitely down – my Achilles tendon issue near the end of the year did not help here and without that I suspect I would have beaten my 2015 mileage. An injury is never fun but I did more mileage in the last half of the year than the first half despite the injury, that shows an increase in drive and strength.

2016 started pretty well with the 129 day 485 mile run streak but after the streak was broken the motivation tanked. That being said the streak didn’t work the way I would have liked either – I needed to adapt the streak to training for the specific races I had coming up and I failed to do so.

I then messed up on the Spruce Woods 50k by not hydrating during the race and then the Fargo Marathon by not eating properly the night before. But for both of these races I saw glimmers of strength still inside – if I hadn’t mentally screwed up on the 50k, I could have finished quite well. And for Fargo, I ran well early on in the race and despite g.i. issues and some major heat it still wasn’t my worst race. They both represent some screw ups on my part but I enjoyed them enough to want to do them both again – so that says something.

I had some recovery in the fall but then I had issues with my Achilles tendon that spanked me fairly well and through the last few months of the year. I am still struggling with the tendon now and it will probably define the start of 2017 too.

My longest run of the year (and ever), the 24 hour Lemming Loop, got me 53.3 miles – I believe I could have gotten farther but my ankles rebelled and I couldn’t run nearly as much as I would like on the race. I probably walked about half of the distance due to ankle issues. So while it was my longest event ever it was also disappointing. But man did I ever enjoy the event…starting to think I like messing up on races…

Then, 2 weeks after the 24 hour Lemming Loop, I ran my fastest half marathon in a year and a half at the Winnipeg Fire and Paramedic Services Half Marathon. My Achilles was really not pleased after that but it shows some solid recovery capability.

One common thing I found through the year was that I was struggling to feel strong in my legs when I ran. I finally figured out what the issue was and I understand that the issue led directly to the Achilles problems I have been trying to recover from. What was the issue? I have been running in the wrong shoes.

I won’t get too deep into the issue but to keep it simple, I switched from a high heel to toe ratio shoe to a lower one. A lower heel to toe ratio puts extra pressure on the Achilles tendon (it gets stretched a bit more each step) and since I have used a high ratio shoe for years, my tendons weren’t prepared for the extra extension and rebelled. Note to self – changing running form overnight = bad.

But I have now figured that out, gotten shoes that work with my running form and I have seen improvement over the past few months. The tendon is still healing but I am seeing some strength return. I have a lot of rebuilding to do but I am ending the year with hope that I will recover and come back stronger in 2017.

Next week is the 2017 Goofy Challenge and I won’t be running it for speed or to challenge myself – I will be doing it for fun and as a reminder to enjoy the running. And then, I get down to work to seriously rebuild over 2017. I will do another post on what I hope to do over the upcoming year – as a spoiler though, I want to do Dopey Challenge in 2018 for the anniversary year and I will be building to be stronger than I was when I did it in 2015.

So maybe that leads me to my take away for 2016 – I made mistakes, I had motivation issues, I had injuries, and things did not go to plan in any way, shape or form…but I am still running. Even injured, I am still at a spot where others might spend years getting to, and I have to be thankful for what I can do and proud of what I have accomplished.

I will be stronger in 2017.

Happy New Year everyone and keep running!

Goofy Challenge training / health update – 11 treadmill miles this morning

I just wanted to get up a quick update this morning for how my training is going for the Goofy Challenge in January. Just under 5 weeks to go – I guess 5 weeks this morning until the Donald Duck half marathon!

My ankle has been improving slowly and steadily and I have been able to get some ok miles in both outside and on the treadmill. I have been careful to not push it too hard and to slowly build up. I figure I still have time to make sure I do at least one or two 20 mile runs before taper time. In fact I was hoping to do one tomorrow, but now I’m not sure.

The ankle is still doing well after 11 miles this morning and a decent speed run on Tuesday night, however I have been fighting something with my lungs I have been getting winded even doing a few stairs since Wednesday. I ended up taking Wednesday afternoon off work as well as Thursday and Friday to try to rest and get over whatever I have.

Potentially it is pneumonia as both kids were diagnosed this week (yay!) but if it is, I don’t think I have gotten it nearly as bad as they did. Both are doing well now besides the occasional wicked coughing fit – antibiotics are a wonderful thing.

So I have missed about 15 training miles this week and I absolutely had to try to run this morning even if my lungs rebelled. However running outside in the cold didn’t seem wise, so I decided on the treadmill. Also, that way if I had to call the run I wouldn’t be miles from the house.

The first 3-4 miles involved a lot of coughing but as long as I kept things very slow I was able to keep moving. In the end the 11 miles took me almost 2 hours but I survived and managed to get it done.

After the run I did some vacuuming to make sure the living room is ready for the Christmas tree and then started bringing stuff up from the basement to start the decorating later. After the third time coming up the stairs from the basement my lungs definitely decided they had had enough. So that probably ends any strenuous activity for the day.

The trick will be if I can try to go longer tomorrow. I will see how I feel tomorrow morning but hopefully I continue to recover and I can go a touch quicker and get a 20 miler in. At this point 3.5 to 4 hours would be acceptable – I just need to start getting the distance in!

Anyway – I will keep twittering and start posting more frequently as we get closer to the Walt Disney World Marathon weekend.

Good luck to everyone training for any of the races! Getting close to the final push!

Update for the past week of Goofy Challenge training and ankle/Achilles issues

Just figured I would do a quick update post for my Goofy Challenge training and how my ankle / Achilles issues are impacting the running.

I managed a decent 5 miles Tuesday night on the treadmill at near the 7.5 mph mark – and my ankle felt good during the run, potentially due to running with my ankle brace on.

Wednesday I only pulled through 7 of my 8 planned miles on the treadmill. I didn’t run with the ankle brace and definitely felt issues with the tendon so I cut out a bit early to reduce any damage that I might be doing.

Thursday was a planned day off and then I ended up not running my planned 5 miles on Friday night due to ankle pain. Instead I did a bunch more icing and stretching.

Saturday morning I did 1.5 miles with the dogs (with no speed work) and 4.5 around the neighborhood after. That gave me 6 out of a planned 9ish miles for the day. I could definitely feel ankle issues during that run and also knee issues on the same leg. I think I was starting to compensate for the ankle and my knee was not happy with the change in stride.

Also on Saturday, our daughter and I took the dogs to the park to give them a good walk. Unfortunately one of them slipped his collar and went after some geese. Luckily he did come back fairly quickly when called because I don’t think I could have chased him down. The pups are just too damned smart for their own good – lesson learned…they don’t go to the park without their running harnesses on!

After that excitement we did a bunch of work around the house and yard taking advantage of the unusually warm November weather. This meant I spent another 3-4 hours standing / walking and I could definitely feel it by the end of the day.

…and that then cost me my planned 17 miles today – instead this morning I rested and stretched the ankle and did some walking around the yard. In the early afternoon we took the dogs to the park again (this time the whole family and with the harnesses!). We gave the dogs a pretty good walk and a bit of running but I felt the running parts pretty strongly in the ankle despite the brace I was wearing.

We also then did some shopping with more walking around (with me still wearing my brace) and as I am typing this I am feeling that I have worked that ankle probably more than it wants to be. So my run for the day may be completely nixed unfortunately.

After supper I will see how things feel but I hope I can do an hour or so on the treadmill tonight to try to salvage some miles but not over doing it has got to be my focus.

So all in all, I am still in the same spot as last week – I need to get more long mileage runs in to be ready for the Goofy Challenge in 9 weeks but if I do myself a solid injury by pushing too hard it won’t be a good thing either.

That means I need to push to the edge of what the ankle can take but really listen to it to make sure I don’t go over that edge and set myself further back. That should be an interesting challenge.

If it was still summer I would try to maintain conditioning using the backyard pool to deep water run but that isn’t an option right now so I will just have to see what other options I can come up with. Maybe grab a couple month membership at a local gym and use the stationary bikes? I don’t know yet but I still have hope that I won’t have to do that. I did get in more miles and more activity this week than last and in all honesty the ankle feels better than last week as well. So I am getting better but I really need to be careful!

Either way I will keep everyone posted!