Sunday, November 27, 2011

A Return to Racing

It may be a little early in the game but since my last post I’ve made a return to racing. Neither attempt was about setting a PR, but more about just participating in a group setting.

The slow and steady mileage buildup has continued. With seven weeks of running on the books I have yet to break 20 miles for a week. My longest “long run” has yet to break the double digits at “only” 7 miles. In weeks 5 and 6 rather than bumping any one run’s miles I added mileage by adding a fourth day of running to the plan.

Week 5, I ran on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday with the additional run on Sunday. Because I we had a Thanksgiving travel plans during the end of Week 6, I ran Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday. I’ve also continued to be a midweek early morning runner. This is a completely new concept for me. I used to abhor the thought of squeezing in my run before work, but with the time change and the early daylight I’ve really come to enjoy running then rather than after work in the dark.

Week 5 included my first race this time around. On Saturday, November 12th I ran the Kare Youth League 5K. The race took place only a few miles from my home at the Santa Fe Dam Recreation Area. The race was put on my Kare Youth League (KYL). Both my boys were involved in KYL from kindergarten to junior high. KYL is a year round sports league. The boys played football, baseball, basketball, soccer and track. The also enjoyed summer and winter camps. It was a lot of fun to go back and see the old coaches. I wore my youngest son’s Carolina Panthers football jersey to run in. I haven’t focused on speed at all at this point so I was running for the fun of it. My expectations were in the 27:00 range. The field was small. I was able to maintain my position and completely surprised myself with a 24:55 finish time (8:01 pace). Way faster than I expected.

Week 6 was spent mostly on the Isle of Palms near Charleston, South Carolina. I got in 3 runs there and then two more back home this weekend. So although my overall mileage didn’t really increase I bumped up the ante by adding in a 5 day of running. My hope is to maintain the 5 day schedule from now until my goal marathon next spring. Highlights of week 6 included running 3 miles with my oldest son. He joined the family in SC; driving down from Cleveland, OH. He and I, along with my wife, took part in the Charleston Turkey Day Run and Gobble Wobble 5K. Tyler’s goal was to PR which he did in 22:45. I finished my own race in 26:11. My race strategy hadn’t included a goal of improving on the KYL 5K time. The race is the largest 5K in South Carolina. The crowd of nearly 6000 made a fast time somewhat more difficult. I had lined up with the 24:00 to 27:00 estimated finish time and slowly worked my way up. I might have been able to run a faster race, but my primary goal of the morning was camaraderie.

Right now the main goal is to be running and to be running while keeping the heel pain that nagged me for the better part of 2011 in control. So far, I’ve been able to accomplish those goals and for that I’m thankful.

Saturday, November 05, 2011


Not only did I stop running after Missoula, I stopped blogging and unfortunately I stopped reading most of my favorite blogs. My apologies.

After running my last 26.2 miles on July 10, I didn't run another step until October 11 except for the few yards I ran in a sad attempt to play soccer against school kids in Zimbabwe. Like I said I started running again on October 11, three months after Missoula and a Tuesday which traditionally would have been the first run of the week. I guess I should have read my last blog post before I did that. Seems I promised myself and all of you not to run again until November. Ah, know what the say about the best laid plans of men.

I took time off to see if I could get my heel pain healed up. By the first of October the pain had subsided considerably. The only other thing that went up was my weight. I gained a good 10 pounds over the 3 month hiatus, mostly due to bad diet choices - damn sugar! Candy, cookies, cake, pie, ice cream - that about covers the 5 major food groups. All during my time off from running I continued to hike 5 miles a couple of times a week and hit the gym sporadically for weights and cardio on the elliptical, the stairs or the bike. But there's just nothing like running.

Other times when I've come back from injury, I've jumped right back into a 5 day a week schedule with long runs of 10 miles. I mean there's really no good reason to run less than 10 miles on a Saturday morning, right? Well this time I decided to go all the way back to the beginning, maybe further than that. I decided to start with a week day run of 2 miles (hardly worth changing clothes for!) and a weekend long run of 4 miles with plans to only ramp that up a mile each weekend with a couple of cut back weeks along the way.

I've stuck to my promise to myself so far.
The first week, Oct 10-16, I ran 2 miles on Tues, 2.3 on Thurs and 4 on Saturday.
Week 2 was 2.5 miles on Tues, 3 on Thurs and 5 on Saturday.
Week 4 was 3 miles on Tues, 3 more on Thursday and 6 on Saturday. For the 6 I finally joined up with my old buddies the CA Cruisers and ran in Peter's Canyon. I stayed off the big hills but got to run with Julie, Steve, Emile and Catherine.
This week it was 3 and 3 miles again on Tues and Thursday and today I joined the Cruisers again for one loop of the 2 Parks-2 Loops course for a 5 mile long run. I got to run with Julie, Shay, James and his Golden Retriever.

So far, so good. The right heel is pretty much pain free, the left is probably at 85% but holding up well. The residual pain doesn't seem be be aggravated by the mileage so far. A good sign, but them my weekly mileage right now is less than my Saturday long runs used to be. I don't expect to hit 10 mile long runs until sometime in January. Before that I plan on adding in a fourth run each week to boost the mileage first.

It's good to be back!