Tuesday, December 29, 2009

More Snow and Physical Therapy

Well, it's happening again...that beautiful white stuff is falling from the sky. This time it is a peaceful, slow snow which is fun to watch from the couch, the car, or the office. It's definitely a stark contrast to the sideways snow and fierce winds from last week. I am not sure how anyone in their right mind could hate this kind of snow. It's just so calming.

Today was the first day of physical therapy and I had a new therapist. She is about 30 or so and really knows her stuff. I was much more impressed with her than the last guy I had back in June. She talked to me and took detailed notes, asked a lot of questions, took several different measurements, examined my gait, and tested my flexibility/strength. It was a very thorough visit and I left feeling that I made progress and even scheduled another appointment for next week which really wasn't in the plans initially since I have to pay for this out-of-pocket. After her analysis, we found out once again that I need to stretch more. I am tight as a drum and it definitely leads to problems when I start tacking on the miles. She said surprisingly enough, I am more flexible on the left side (Achilles problem) than my right side, but she said it is probably due to the fact that I have been concentrating on it the past few weeks. Regardless, she stressed the fact that I need to do more stretching and incorporate more cross-training which I already have been hounding myself about anyway. Believe me, it is on the resolution list that will be debuting soon.

After going over some exercises I could do on my own, she recommended that I wear a medicated patch on the affected area for 24 hours and then really start to apply the Voltaren cream that I got from the doc back before the marathon. For some reason I bought this $74 tube of cream 3 weeks ago and completely forgot about it. I don't know why or how, but it happened. I guess my mind has been on other things. It is now out and ready to be applied when I take this patch off tomorrow afternoon. All in all, she said I was actually doing pretty well and the extra time off I took late during my training and the added cross-training the last week or so seems to have really helped. She told me to do the stretches and exercises she showed me and to keep up the cross-training and I should be good to go in a few weeks. It was a great visit and I look forward to getting back on track and running more in the near future.

I am now finalizing those lists of goals/resolutions for 2010 and am excited to finally reveal them to anyone that cares. The main thing is that I will have them written out in front of me and hopefully you guys will help hold me accountable. Have fun celebrating the end of 2009! I will be bringing in the new year in downtown OKC and then will be heading south to Dallas for a weekend full of OSU Cowboy football. Go Cowboys! Beat Ole Miss!

P.S. I will be making my first visit to Luke's Locker this weekend. Any other cool stores I should check out in the Dallas area? I will be staying near downtown.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas, blizzards, and rest

It's been a pretty eventful week around OKC. What started out as a chance for a little snow turned into a full fledged blizzard. I am a huge fan of winter and snow so it was a very welcome addition to our Christmas celebration this year. It does tend to put a damper on getting out and doing anything physical, but it's good for the soul to enjoy time inside by the fire while it snows outside.

Not a lot to report on running-wise this week. I am on the lookout for a good cross-training/strength-training plan for the offseason. I have signed up for Training Peaks online, but have not purchased an actual workout yet. I am consulting our fitness center at work first to see if they would help me build a plan from scratch, but if not, I will look at purchasing a program online. The Achilles has been quite tender the last few days so I went ahead and scheduled a physical therapy session for Tuesday and will see if I can get some pointers on exercises and stretches that will be beneficial. I also am going to continue the less running, more cross-training philosophy for a few more weeks until I feel comfortable adding back in more miles. Hopefully all is well by late January, early February and I can start training for the OKC Memorial Half Marathon.

I am also narrowing down the lists of goals/resolutions for 2010 and will list them this week or next after I finalize them. I am getting excited already!

Here are a few pics from Blizzard 2009 in OKC. 14.1 inches of snow! An all-time record for a 24 hour period in OKC and the 3rd largest snowfall in OKC history. It was quite amazing to watch. Glad I didn't have to get out and drive in it like some people because the thought of spending the night in your car on the side of the interstate was not very appealing.

View outside my back door...this mini-drift was meeting me when I opened the door (south side of the apt)
Shared entry-way of our 4-plex apartment's a bit drafty if you can't tell (faces north)

Out front of our apartment building...casualty number one of the drifts blocking the driveways

Casualty number 2 of the drifts...I had to help dig this one out before I could leave for my parents house the next day....a dustpan makes a pretty decent shovel!

Looking out the back door at our parking car didn't stand a chance against the snow drifts on this day
We are finally melting away all the mess from the Christmas Eve snowstorm. There is a chance of snow this week too, but I highly doubt we get anything close to this again anytime soon. It may be another 20 years before we see this kind of snow again.

Christmas was great this year as well. My family has boarded the running gift train and I got all kinds of good cold-weather running gear which will come in handy when training for the OKC Memorial gets into full swing in, it's great base layer gear for skiing..hopefully that will happen sometime soon too!

Back to laundry and cleaning up around the house...only 3 days of work this week and then we are Arlington bound for the Cotton Bowl. Go Pokes! Beat Ole Miss!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

So it's been a few days...

Wow, I look down and it's been a full week since I last posted. I seriously haven't been doing anything too exciting, but I have been busy. It seems like since I got home from Dallas, it has been non-stop Christmas parties, food, and time not spent at home. Being Christmas, it seems like everyone has the sudden urge to come visit us for work. I am not sure the reasoning behind it, but whatever. At some point in the whole month of December I stopped answering questions from customers that started with "Are you guys available...." or "Do you have plans on the....". I got partied out. There are only so many nights in a week and every night can't be filled with another dinner out on the town. I seriously, no joke, have gained almost 5 pounds the last week. I guess it's good that I feel really motivated to keep the cardio work going!

Nothing much on the run schedule the past week and a half. I took a full week off from running after the marathon and I think it did the body good. It wasn't necessarily a conscious decision to take a full week but it worked out that way with all the above mentioned parties and traveling.

My first run since White Rock was yesterday. I went to the gym and logged a quick 2 miles on the treadmill to see how I felt. The calf muscles were surprisingly still pretty tight so it wasn't the most enjoyable run I have ever had. Plus, it felt like it was 97 degrees in the gym so I was abnormally sweaty after such a short run. The Achilles did act up after the run so I think I will schedule some physical therapy appointments the next couple of weeks and limit my running to a couple miles at a time. I do plan on keeping the elliptical and stationary bikes busy in the meantime as well. I definitely don't want to lose the cardio base I have going at the moment. Hopefully the Achilles is a quick fix and I can get back to a full running schedule fairly soon.

I am currently working on a list of goals/resolutions/plans for 2010 and I will post those when I get it all finalized. There are some very exciting things coming up in 2010 and I am ready to tackle them head-on. Have a great Christmas everyone. I don't think I will have internet access until this weekend so no new posts until then. Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 21st : 2.0 miles in 19:25 (9:42 pace)

Tuesday, December 22nd : 11.65 miles in 40 minutes on the stationary bike

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Garmin Connect - Activity Details for Dallas White Rock Marathon

Garmin Connect - Activity Details for Dallas White Rock Marathon

Here is the data from my Garmin during the run. I thought some of you data geeks might like to look at it.

Dallas White Rock Marathon - Race Report

As I start to write this, I can already tell it's going to be hard to accurately describe all the emotions, experiences, and thoughts on marathon day. It was like no other experience I have ever had in my life. I can't say how thankful I am that I decided to give this a shot. It has done more than make me a more physically fit adult, it has changed my life forever. This one moment in time will forever be etched in my memory as one of my greatest accomplishments and proudest moments. Who knew that 10 months ago I would have come this far in my running career? I am not even a year old in running years!

Race day started about 5 AM with much anticipation, nerves, and an uneasy stomach. I started the morning off right with a cup of coffee, an english muffin, peanut butter, and a banana. My pre-run meals have always consisted of some sort of peanut butter and whole grain bread combination. It's safe and I love eating peanut butter so it's a win-win for me.

After grubbing down and applying the Body Glide in the oh-so strategic places on my body, it was time to go through last minute preparations with my parents. We were all marathon rookies this past weekend so it was a learning experience for not only me, but my mom, dad, and little brother as well. We had briefly discussed a tentative plan for race day the evening before the race, but it was reassuring to go over it again so I could mentally prepare myself for when I might see them and know I had a bag of runner's goodies waiting if I needed anything. The bag I packed for my parents to carry around included a banana, ankle brace, headband, gatorade, GU Roctane packets, cookies, pretzels, peanut butter M&M's, and just about anything else I could imagine needing along the way. It was definitely comforting knowing that I had this bag at my disposal along the course and was one of many ways my parents became a big part of my marathon journey.

About 6:30AM I headed downstairs and caught the shuttle to the starting line which proved to be a very smart move after hearing the horror stories of people getting stuck in traffic and missing the start of the race the previous year. I stayed at the host hotel for this race as a way to reduce the complications on race morning because I knew my nerves were going to be out of control anyway. I didn't need any screw-ups an hour before the race to make me even more excited and nervous. The shuttle ride to the starting line was quite enjoyable. I ended up sitting with a guy from Oklahoma and his wife and mother-in-law were in the seats in front of us. It allowed me to chat for a bit and take my mind off the race. It was a good distraction because as soon as I stepped off the bus my heart started racing and my stomach started churning. The first order of business was to find a bathroom and start the long wait to get one last shot at emptying the system before I stepped foot on the course. It was fun to listen to stories while waiting in line and do a few stretches since I had the space. After going to the restroom I found a spot on the floor inside the American Airlines Center and finished my stretching routine and tried to calm the nerves. I used a lot of self-talk on Sunday and it definitely calmed me down. I also brought my phone which allowed me to text my Mom and she was encouraging and sympathetic just as most mothers are when you need them most.

About 30 minutes before the starting gun, I made my way outside to find my wave corral and line up for the big start. At this point, it was all I could do to keep from pacing back and forth trying to work off the nervous energy. I was trying to just take deep breaths and stay calm. The moment was almost here. All that hard work, all those early mornings, and all of those doubts were about to be put to the test. I was still unsure how my Achilles would hold out because I hadn't run for 2 weeks and I didn't even get through my entire training plan. I was nervous I wasn't prepared. I was nervous I would hurt the entire run and it would be miserable. I never really thought I wouldn't finish as I waited in the corral which was reassuring. I knew I would finish. I just wasn't sure what the journey would be like along the way. The next thing I know, it's time to go. No more time for thinking. It was time to put it all together and give it my best.

Being in the midst of 20,000 people is an experience all by itself. The fact that you are all running in the same direction is something special. I am not a huge fan of the first few miles of a race due to all the dodging and confusion, but it is part of the race experience and it's at least fun to see the masses in front of and behind you. Here is a pic my brother took before the first turn:

The good part about the first 1/2 mile was the wideness of the streets but they soon narrowed and everything became a bit crowded until the half marathon participants turned off the marathon course about 6 miles into the race. Up until 6 miles, it was just elbow to elbow people and not a lot of room to get into a rhythm. The positive side of it was that you never had a chance to overdo it early in the race. My pace was pretty close to what I wanted it to be so I just enjoyed the scenery and looked forward to the half marathon people going their own direction.

After the half marathon runners veered off the course, it definitely opened up the roads and gave you more room to run your own race. I didn't sign up for a pace group but knew that I wanted to be somewhere in the 4:00 or 4:15 range if at all possible. Early on, I knew it wasn't smart to push for the 4:00 pace so I shifted goals to 4:15 as I got a better feel for my pacing, fitness, and physical capabilities. Miles 7 (9:11), 8 (8:58), and 9 (9:00) were a bit too fast for that early in the race, but I think the excitement of having the room to run and the fact that I actually felt really good and wasn't having any pain in my Achilles led to my faster pace. The faster pace actually probably helped in the long run, because at mile 10, I had to make a pit stop and use the porta-potty along the course. I was about to wet my pants if I didn't find a stop soon so the 1 or 2 minute delay was well worth the time in the grand scheme of things.

Mile 10 is where we hit White Rock Lake in northeast Dallas. The lake provided a familiar backdrop because I did the majority of my training runs at Lake Hefner in Oklahoma City. I was used to the narrower trails and the constant cool breeze coming off of the lake. It was also pretty lonely on the lake as far as spectators go so it was definitely a mental hurdle as you tried to motivate yourself instead of relying on someone else yelling "Go Bryan, you can do it!"

Mile 12 was where I saw my parents for the 2nd time and it came at a time when I needed some help. At a water stop just before I noticed my parents, I got water splashed in my face and my contact in my left eye was washed out of it's place and was in the upper corner of my eye. I kept running by people asking if they had a mirror but for some reason no woman had a pocket mirror in her purse. Then I saw my mom and I knew she could help me out. She was able to fish my contact out of my eye and put it back in place so I could continue on in my journey. I also saw a guy from my local gym on the side of the course about the same time and he ran with me for a bit talking to me and asking me how I felt. It was great that he showed interest and ran with me for a bit. I have never talked to him at the gym. We have been going to the same gym for months now, but never really had a reason to talk. Now we do. It will be nice to have another runner-savvy friend to chat with at the gym. Here are a couple of pics from mile 12 :

Mile 14, 15, and 16 all went by without a hitch, but I could tell that 10 more miles was going to be tough. I wasn't overly tired, but my legs were starting to get a bit heavy and the mental obstacle of never having ran over 18 miles before was looming large in my mind. Plus, as noted before, the lake was lonely. I knew I wouldn't be seeing my parents anytime soon and the cool breeze coming off the lake wasn't too comforting on a sweat-soaked shirt.

Mile 18 is when it hit me pretty hard that it was going to be really tough the rest of the way. By this time my calf muscles were really starting to tighten up and it felt like I had bricks attached to the back of my legs. No step was very pleasant, but I wasn't to the point of cramping so I kept pushing forward. Mile 18 was also when one of my left toenails came off and I felt it all the way through my body. It was pretty tender for the next mile or two, but eventually it settled down and stopped throbbing.

Judging by my mile splits, this was the toughest part of the race for me. I will also say from experience, it definitely was the the toughest segment both mentally and physically. Mile 19 is when we started the climb out of the lake area into the surrounding neighborhoods and was really the only time I seriously contemplated walking. The hills weren't steep, they were just long and steady. I really felt like I was crawling at times and a lot of people around me were stopping to walk so it was tempting at the time. Knowing that I needed to keep pace to be able to break the 4:15 mark, I told myself to suck it up and get over it. I knew I only had 6 miles to go which meant I had less than an hour left.

Like angels sent from heaven, my parents popped out of nowhere at mile 22. When I saw them at mile 12 they told me they weren't sure if they would see me again until the finish line because the traffic was really bad and they didn't want to miss getting back to the end to see my finish. I had already mentally checked them off my list for the rest of the race, but when I saw them at mile 22 it put the biggest smile on my face. I was struggling and my calf muscles felt like they were going to explode. I needed to see a friendly face and my Dad told me to not give up and keep going. He said, "You are almost there, just keep going!" I gave him a thumbs-up and kept trucking along with a smile on my face. Here is the pic from mile 22, only 4.2 miles left :

It's really indescribable how mentally and physically tasking the last 4.2 miles of the marathon are unless you have ran one yourself. The added boost from my parents helped, but it was a constant battle of mind over body. My calf muscles were on the verge of cramping, my arches in my feet were on the verge of cramping, my toenails were throbbing, my back and shoulders ached, my body ached. I felt like I was just one more step away from completely falling apart. I watched people beside me cramp up and have to stop. I saw people in tears as they couldn't keep up their pace. I saw people realize their dream of finishing had suddenly vanished. I was thankful for every next step I could take, but I hated it at the same time. I knew I could finish if my body would cooperate, but sometimes your body just takes over and you can't do anything to stop it. Mile after mile I got closer to the end and my spirits kept lifting. I told myself I could do it. I told myself not to stop. I told myself to keep it together. I told myself to look around and see I wasn't alone. I told myself that if he or she can do it, I can too. I was going to finish.

As I hit downtown Dallas, I was overcome with joy. I found a sudden burst of energy and I wound my way towards the end. I heard the crowd. I knew I was close. I also heard my brother yell from behind me and I turned to see him running along the side of the road to catch up. I was almost there. Step after step my smile got bigger and bigger. This really was happening. I had done it. I was going to finish my first full marathon. The feelings I experienced as I stepped across that finish line are priceless to me. It's such a special moment in my life that I will never forget. It's a point in time that I will look back on when I am old and still be able to describe the sights, sounds, smells, and emotions. I am a marathoner.

Post-race was even more special than the actual finish. After getting my shirt, finisher medal, finisher picture, and food from the runner's village, I started looking for my parents. I ended up getting in touch with them and we agreed to meet inside American Airlines Center at section 114. As I turned the corner and saw my folks, they had the biggest smiles on their faces and came running to me to hug me. It's been a long time since I have seen that much pride and joy in my parent's faces. I had just shared the most amazing experience of my life with my mom, dad, and little brother. It felt great to see how much they cared and how proud they were to be a part of it. I felt overly blessed to be able to share my journey with them and see how much it meant to them. I am actually tearing up thinking about it right now. If I could have taken a picture of their faces at that moment, it would be framed and on my mantle right now.

After exiting the arena, we made the trek back to the hotel and the walking helped loosen me up a tiny bit. My calf muscles cramped up a few times on the walk and still hurt today. I took an ice bath as soon as I got back to the hotel to help calm down some of the inflammation and tried to eat as much as I could although I wasn't overly hungry. Here is a pic of my lovely ice bath back in the hotel:
Sleeping Sunday night was not pleasant because it wasn't comfortable to lay in one spot for too long, but the ill effects from the marathon are starting to wear off and I am now in full recovery mode. I start back to work tomorrow and look forward to showing off my race medal and sharing my experience with the coworkers.

Looking back now, I wouldn't change anything about this race and am still as happy today as I was on Sunday evening. I haven't stopped smiling and am really starting to look ahead at my goals for next year. I feel motivated and ready to tackle another challenge. Thank you to everyone who has followed along on the blog and I look forward to making this a regular part of my life. The goal in the meantime is to get healthy, establish a good running base, and stay active.

I will update soon with my goals for next year and hopefully have an exciting race schedule planned out with a few more surprises.

Stay tuned!

Dallas White Rock Marathon : 4:14:14 (9:42 pace)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

1st Marathon - Dallas White Rock

It's official! I finished! 1st full marathon is in the books. Official time was 4:14:14. Sore, happy, and hungry! Thanks for keeping up on the blog. Full race report to come soon!

Finisher's Medal!

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Days 120-121 : It's a Go!!

Yep, you read that right! Months of hard work and a little luck will all come into play on Sunday in Dallas. The visit with the doc was encouraging and I got the all-clear as long as I can handle the discomfort.

After a few minutes of stretches and exercises, the doc gave me the good news. He told me that I don't have any nodules on my Achilles and the creaking sound isn't present so I am basically fighting a case of bursitis/tendonitis that is there, but not major yet. He said the chances that I would do something catastrophic by running the marathon were slim to none so he thought it was ok for me to give it a go. After going over my treatment options, I decided I wanted to be aggressive and nip this in the bud before it becomes a nagging injury ordeal. He provided me with an Achilles brace, heel lifts, prescription for physical therapy, and 3 prescriptions for a topical anti-inflammatory cream, steroids for pre-race, and anti-inflammatory pills for post-race. I am hoping with all the cross-training and stretching I have been doing lately it will pay off on race day. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

It's also a big day for OKC. MAPS3 looks like it is going to pass and OKC will continue to rocket up the food chain of major metropolitan areas. The central park, whitewater course, loops of bike and running trails, and the start of public transit will be such an exciting thing to see in the near future. I still don't know why people were opposed to the idea of funding such great projects, but to each his own. The results aren't official yet, but the numbers are promising. I hope the YES votes win!

Here is an updated forecast for this weekend. Looking ok still! Stay away wind!

Saturday Night, Dec 12
Low: 38 °F RealFeel®: 27 °F
Partly cloudy; breezy late

Sunday, Dec 13
High: 59 °F RealFeel®: 54 °F
Sunny to partly cloudy

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Day 119 : Nervous Already

Is it possible to be nervous already? Well, I am. I have had that butterflies in my stomach feeling several times today thinking about next Sunday. Fears, doubts, thoughts of joy, thoughts of pain, expectations, missed opportunities. You name it and I have probably felt it. Idle minds can do funny things.

It was a relatively productive day, but I did have a lot of time to ponder the past 17 weeks and second-guess my strategy for this coming weekend. I have a plan in my head but we all know that can change in an instant when you get out there and start running. I hope my body is at full strength and I hope my mind is stronger than the pain. Keep me in your thoughts and send positive vibes my way. Next update will be Tuesday night after the doctor visit.

New updates from It's looking warmer :

Saturday Night, Dec 12
Low: 42 °F RealFeel®: 36 °F
Mainly clear and breezy

Sunday, Dec 13
High: 63 °F RealFeel®: 68 °F
Mostly sunny

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Days 116-118 : One Week

Week 17 of marathon training is in the books. I can't believe it's finally here. The final taper week. Although I did no running at all this week, I stuck to the book and did the cross-training equivalent to keep the fitness level near the peak. I know it's not the same, but at this point I don't think running would do me any good. My goal is to get to Dallas, lace up the shoes, and give it my all.

What a crazy day of football?!? I was very amused by both the Cincy game and the Texas game. I am glad Texas hung in there and pulled out a win. As much as I know it doesn't help our recruiting at O-State, it is still nice to see Texas make it to the title game. It looks like my fellow Cowboy fans and I will be dancing in Dallas in a few weeks for the Cotton Bowl. It's very deja vu playing Ole Miss again. Hopefully the outcome will be in our favor this time around.

No plans on Sunday except to rest up and get stuff ready to pack. I have business functions 3 of the 4 nights before I leave for Dallas on Friday so I want to make sure I am not rushing around forgetting things when I head out. It looks like the weather forecast is trending colder which will make dressing for the race more of a challenge. I would rather be a little cool than a little warm though.

As you can tell, my focus has turned towards positive thinking about actually being able to run this race. I do have my doctor's appointment still scheduled for Tuesday, but it is more of a precautionary measure and an option to get some tips, treatment, and recovery advice before I embark on my journey. I am expecting to get the go ahead based on how things have improved since Monday/Tuesday of this week. The knot on my Achilles is gone and I am not experiencing any pain when I walk or step now. I am sure that will change as soon as I run again, but it's a good sign the week before the race. All I have to do is make it one more run and then I can go into the offseason and treat it well for a few months.

Updated weather forecast from

Saturday, Dec 12
High: 59 °F RealFeel®: 58 °F
Cooler with more sun than clouds

Saturday Night, Dec 12
Low: 34 °F RealFeel®: 27 °F
Partly cloudy

Sunday, Dec 13
High: 47 °F RealFeel®: 42 °F
Mostly cloudy and colder

Friday, December 4th : 35 minutes on stationary bike (replace 3 miles of running)

Saturday, December 5th : 30 minutes on stationary bike and 65 minutes on elliptical
(replace 8 miles of running)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Days 113-115 : The Cold is Settling In

Yep, the cold weather finally made it back to Oklahoma and I think we may be settling into winter finally. After one of the warmest Novembers on record I think we all got spoiled and thought it was supposed to be 60s and 70s all year round. Reality check!

I actually like the cold, but I haven't had to get out and run in it lately due to the lingering injury concerns. I have opted for cross-training the past 2 days because Monday and Tuesday were not good days for the old Achilles. I had a knot on the side of my left Achilles on Monday when I woke up and it has slowly given away to a small bump and is not nearly as noticeable pain-wise. I got really concerned on Monday, but my fears are easing a bit. I have scheduled a doctor's appointment for next Tuesday, which was a chore in itself. It took several phone calls, a lucky cancellation, and me rescheduling a business visit to finally get into see my running doc. I want to get it checked out and get another opinion before I dive into the marathon next weekend. I want to limit the long term impact of this injury and if that means I have to postpone my marathon adventure then so be it. I hope that's not the case though.

I am a little concerned I won't be in tip-top shape for the marathon. I have opted not to run this week due to how the Achilles reacted to the 12 mile run this weekend. I figure since my mileage is so low this week and next that it wouldn't kill me to just substitute cross-training for the running. However, it's not the last 2 weeks that concern me, it's the previous 2 1/2 weeks. My running has been pretty limited since I did the 18 mile run on Nov 8th. I have done a lot of cross-training and haven't lost my cardiovascular fitness, but the running fitness will definitely be lacking on race day. I know my adrenaline will be rushing so that will help, but there is that voice in my head telling me to slow the pace down and just try to finish. I think that voice will win out in the long run. I know it's going to be a fight to the finish.

Time to get ready for bed. The evenings just keep flying by and tomorrow is our company Christmas party. I guess it will keep me from running so that's not necessarily a bad thing at this point.

Tuesday, December 1st : 47 minutes on the stationary bike (replaced 4 miles running)

Wednesday, December 2nd : 65 minutes on the stationary bike (replaced 6 miles running)

Updated weather forecast from

Saturday, Dec 12
High: 68 °F RealFeel®: 65 °F
Partly sunny

Saturday Night, Dec 12
Low: 47 °F RealFeel®: 45 °F
Partly cloudy

Sunday, Dec 13
High: 68 °F RealFeel®: 68 °F
Partly sunny

Sunday Night, Dec 13
Low: 45 °F RealFeel®: 47 °F
Partly cloudy with a shower late

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Days 110-112 : Is It Already Over?

Wow, where did the last 4 days go? All of a sudden I look up and it's time to go back to work. Talk about a bummer! I guess holiday weekends are always that way. You get time off from work, but you are traveling and doing things that you never really get a chance to soak in the extra days away from the office. Back to the grind. Can you believe it's December in 2 days?!

Well, good news for all of you actually following along leading up to the marathon! I managed to get in 12 miles today and am feeling ok about it still. I woke up this morning about 8 AM and did some pre-run preparation at the apartment. I had the usual whole wheat bagel with peanut butter and jelly and did a few stretches in the living room. The weather took a turn towards late fall/early winter finally so I actually had to pull out the long sleeves today. It was also a bit rainy so I put on my Brooks jacket and gloves and hit the road.

I opted for running in the neighborhood this morning because I really didn't feel like running at the lake because I knew it would be colder there. I also was kind of in a time crunch so I figured being close to home would eliminate some of the time needed to get in my run. Another perk was the ability to leave water and Gatorade at the corner of my block so I could hydrate without having to carry fluids with me.

The run started off about the same as the last 3 weeks or so. The first half mile was pretty routine and everything felt good, but soon after the heel started the usual burn/ache. It never really eased up the entire run but I made myself get through 12 miles to makes sure I could at least get to that point. I also wanted to see how I felt after I ran for that length. I know I haven't ran anything over 3 or 4 miles the past week or two, but I felt pretty fresh at the end of my run and it left me encouraged and optimistic. Obviously the run wasn't ideal, but it was a good indication that the marathon dream is still intact.

The pain is stubborn though. I still feel it now and it is 8 hours after the run. I have iced and stretched a few times already today and will keep up that regimen for the next 2 weeks. Again, the pain never really got to the point where I felt I needed to stop, but it never really was comfortable either. I am definitely resigned to the fact that I will be running with some level of discomfort in my first marathon. My hope is that it won't get worse in the later stages of the race, but it is still a big unknown so I will just have to keep my fingers crossed.

Only 2 more weeks until the marathon. I am a weather nerd so this next section is basically for my own viewing pleasure, but it will give you an idea of what the weather will be like on race day. I am going to start posting an update on the forecast for Sunday, Dec 13th with each of my posts leading up to race day. My source will be for now. They have a 15 day extended forecast so here is what they show for Dallas on race day:

Saturday, Dec 12
High: 48 °F RealFeel®: 47 °F
Cloudy with a shower in the afternoon
Saturday Night, Dec 12
Low: 41 °F RealFeel®: 35 °F
Mostly cloudy

Sunday, Dec 13
High: 61 °F RealFeel®: 56 °F
Cloudy and warmer

So far it looks pretty decent for a marathon. My only hope is that the wind is light. Stay tuned for more weather updates!

Sunday, November 29th : 12.05 miles in 1:53:43 (9:26 pace)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Day 109 : Un-Official Turkey Trot

In honor of all of the Turkey Trots around the country today, I decided I should at least go for a run to join the thousands of other avid runners hitting the streets today. I opted out of the official Turkey Trot here in OKC because I tend to run too hard when I go to races. A nice 4-mile run in the neighborhood was just right.

All in all, the ankle/Achilles wasn't too bad. It still definitely isn't 100% but the run was somewhat encouraging. If it holds up the same over the next 2 weeks, it will make marathon day even more enjoyable. I will continue to follow the extended taper plan for the next 2 weeks and try to ice and stretch as much as possible. All signs are pointing towards a go though. We are moving in the right direction. I will attempt a longer run this weekend and see how it goes. I will go for a 12 mile or 8 mile run depending on how everything holds out. I haven't fully decided what I am doing tomorrow. It is a scheduled rest day, but Saturday is Bedlam in Norman so I won't be able to cross-train then. I think 2 days of rest may not be a bad option anyway. Sunday will be my run day this weekend and hopefully it goes well.

Happy Thanksgiving. I hope everyone had a great time with family and/or friends. Time for some Texas/Texas A&M football now. We need the Longhorns to win to keep our BCS dreams alive. I will be fired up in Norman on Saturday. ORANGE POWER! BEAT OU!

Thursday, November 26th : 4.01 miles in 34:57 (8:43 pace)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Days 106-108 : Holiday Week

Oh it feels so good to be off work for 4 more days. I could really get used to this 3 day work week thing we have going on here. Wishful thinking!

No real big plans for Thanksgiving. My mom is working so I am going with the Pops down to his folks for Thanksgiving lunch. I don't really plan on staying long so I can get back and watch some football in the comfort of my apartment. The goal for Thanksgiving and beyond is to continue to eat well and taper towards the marathon. I really need to make sure I don't gain any unnecessary weight the last week or two. I am going to have enough strain on the body as it is now.

Yesterday was also my first run since last Wednesday and the disaster I experienced at Lake Hefner. I was really nervous for some reason. I have been stretching and icing like a madman the past week and I think it has helped some. The run was not perfect, but it was doable. I only ran a nice, easy 3 miles just to get back into the swing of things and will now alternate running and cross-training days until the marathon. I really am trying to not push it and just get to the starting line and see where the chips fall.

The pain is not debilitating like I have said before, but it's definitely there. It's more of like a constant dull, burning pain once it starts. I really am leaning towards a case of bursitis in my Achilles region, and not tendonitis. It is definitely aggravated more with pressure on my Achilles region by my shoes. I have been trying to wear Crocs, softer backed shoes, and/or go barefoot when at all possible to help cut down on the inflammation. The time off has definitely made this more of a possibility so that has been helpful. I also am going to schedule a doctor's appointment next week to go get checked and see if the doc can give me any tips or advice to get through the marathon. The goal is to still run the marathon. I think race-day will definitely help the situation and I would be very upset with myself if I didn't at least give it a shot. I would rather try and fail, then not try at all. The only thing that will stop me now is if I further injure myself between now and race day or if the doctor tells me I am stupid for trying. I don't foresee either one of those happening though. I am being as conservative as possible with my running to help promote healing and still maintain fitness.

Off to get some stuff done around the apartment. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 24th - 3.0 miles in 29:35 (9:52 pace)

Wednesday, November 25th - 60 minutes of stationary bike in place of running

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Days 102-105 : X-Train and R.I.C.E

The "vacation" has been superb. My spirits are high and I am very well-rested. It was just what the doctor ordered at this point in my training.

After the debacle on Wednesday, I have continued to try and think positively. I am doing what I can to get to the starting line in 3 weeks and that's all that I can control. I started my week of healing with a nice 50 minutes on the stationary bike on Thursday. I slept in until 8 AM and then went to our health center on campus and took my H1N1 vaccination. It was available so I figured I might as well get it. It never hurts to be prepared. After my immunization shot, I went to the Midtown Y and picked a spot among the other happy non-workers on a Thursday morning and turned on my tunes. Nothing too major to write home about other than the fact that I enjoyed the workout and started my day off the right way.

After the workout, I went home and did some stuff around the house for a few hours before the trip to Stillwater for our first Thursday night home game in nearly 14 years. It was definitely different being at a football game on a Thursday, but it was a fun game and the weather was great. Anytime I can wear a hooded sweatshirt and jeans I am happy. That's ideal weather in my book. I don't like hot or warm. I like cool and crisp! My Cowboys managed to keep things interesting all game and we needed a 4th quarter TD and a defensive stop to pull out a hard-fought victory. 9-2 and 6-1 in the conference and one game left! Bedlam baby! Beat OU!!

Friday was another day of rest and relaxation. It was cloudy and cool out so it was a great day to sit on the couch and rest the Achilles. I switched on the DVR and relaxed for hours. I recharged the batteries quite often this week and I can definitely tell it's paying off in my mood and demeanor. I was really becoming quite irritable the past few weeks and I think it was due to a little bit of overtraining and no time off from work. I really couldn't have asked for a better time to be off. Now I just need to continue to nurse the wounds and keep a positive outlook. I think with mental toughness and smart care I can make this happen.

Saturday was supposed to be my last long run of my training period. I had planned on 20 miles at Lake Hefner, but due to being held up by my Achilles, I switched the workout to some indoor cross-training to minimize impact and still maintain the cardiovascular benefits. I opted for 65 minutes on the stationary bike followed by 65 minutes on the elliptical. I contemplated trying to get in another 65 minutes on another machine, but wanted to make sure I was being smart. Plus, I was bored out of my mind. There really is nothing interesting about standing/sitting in one spot for over 2 hours. It was ridiculous. I was happy with the overall effort and hope it will help me out in the long-run. I realize the benefits of the 20 miler would have been huge both physically and mentally, but I think I would have further jeopardized my ability to do the marathon if I tried to push through 20 miles this weekend.

The plan now is to rest today and tomorrow. I haven't decided whether I will run on Tuesday yet. Part of me wants to, but part of me thinks I should wait another day. The 1st taper week calls for 5 miles, 8 miles, 4 miles, and 12 miles. I may just do 2 weeks of the 2nd taper week instead. That would give me runs of 4, 6, 3, and 8 for the next two weeks leading up to the marathon. I am still undecided though. The point now is to maintain and persevere. Healthy feet are happy feet :-)

If you have any suggestions, please feel free to throw them my way. I am more than willing to take any advice given. I just want to give this a go if it's possible. Only 3 more weeks. It's getting really, really close.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Day 101 : Decisions, Decisions

Well, it's happening. I think I may have finally hit my breaking point in the training schedule. Yesterday, the easy 5 miles was definitely ok. No real discomfort, just the general feeling that something wasn't 100%. Today, not so much.

The day started off so well. It was the beginning of my 4 1/2 day weekend and work went by quickly this morning. I went in to wrap up some last minute business and make sure my stuff was covered for Thursday and Friday. The weather was awesome and the wind was non-existent. It seemed like the perfect day for a nice 10-miler around Lake Hefner. I went and got a haircut after I left the office and then headed home to change into my running clothes. Everything seemed to be aligned for a great Wednesday run. I was excited and optimistic. Man, how things change.

The run started off well enough. I really was in no hurry to get anywhere so I stretched a bit before the run and started at a nice comfortable 9:30 pace. A mile in, no real problems. Everything felt like it was going well and I was optimistic. A half a mile later, I felt it starting. That tender, nagging pain that started last weekend when I tried to do my long run. Just a little hint that something wasn't right, but nothing too harsh that made me think I needed to stop. I keep moving to only feel things get worse. The nagging pain progressively intensified and at mile 2 I called it quits. Dejected, saddened, frustrated, embarrassed, heart-broken. Thoughts of failed marathon plans started rushing through my head. My mind started racing in every direction possible. "If I can't even run 3 miles now, what's going to happen to me on race day?" "Can I even think about running a marathon if I miss my last 2 long runs before my taper?" "Am I stupid for even thinking this is still a possibility?" You can imagine my disappointment if you have been following this blog for very long. Miserable, that's how I felt at that exact moment. "What's next?"

The walk back to the car was a blessing in disguise. It helped me gather my thoughts and remove some of the negativity swirling around in my head. I took it as an opportunity to assess the situation and come up with a plan of action. I am not giving up on the marathon. No way, no how. Plus, to tell the truth, if this was race day, I would have kept running. The pain is not debilitating. It's just there. A constant reminder that something isn't normal. Everything I have read up to this point in my training stresses the idea that it's better to get to the starting line healthy, a little under trained, than to never make it all. That's my goal over the next 3 1/2 weeks. No, I won't be able to get in my 20 mile run. No, I won't be able to get in every run on my schedule. The things I can control, I will. I will still do cross-training in place of the runs on my schedule. For all of you wondering, that means I will be sitting my happy butt on a stationary bike for 3 hours on Saturday trying to teach my body how to burn fat first, glycogen second, and everything in between last. I will not give up. I have come too far to hang my head now. Sure, I will have doubts over the next 3 weeks. Sure, I will be even more nervous when I stand at the start line on Dec 13th. It's all part of the journey, right? Plus, the taper is to let your body rest and recover anyway. The endurance building has already taken place. My job now is to not blow it.

So, that brings me to another dilemma. Do I still ask people to come to Dallas to watch? Do I stay quiet for the last 3 weeks and minimize the attention? I know my Mom is coming and she will be proud of me regardless of when I cross the finish line. My own personal goals are probably shot at this point, but there is always next time. I am at least being realistic now and am willing to admit that finishing is the main goal. My time goal has been thrown out the window. I am not sure why I care what people think anyway. This marathon is for me. Not for my mom, not for my brother, not for my friends. It's for me.

Marathon training is very selfish. It eats up your time., alters your social calendar, tears up your body, and maybe even costs you a few cool points with your friends. If I was doing it for someone else, I probably would have never started. I am doing this for my own good. It's a reminder that I can do anything I put my mind to. It's a reminder that life is fragile and to embrace the good health we are given. It's a reminder that life itself is a marathon. I have learned to not get too excited about the day-to-day mishaps. Focus on the goal. Focus on what makes you happy. Focus on making yourself a better person. Through this training, I have realized how lucky I am to be able to pursue this dream. It's not for everyone, but it is for me.

So, over the next few weeks, I plan on maintaining and persevering. I considered a doctor visit, but I know exactly what he would tell me. If it gets worse, I will consult a physician, but for now I will prescribe my own medicine. Tomorrow is a brand new day. To quote one of my favorite running blogs : "There will be a day when you can no longer do this. Today is not that day" Frayed Laces

Please send positive vibes my way. It will be a struggle, but I know I can do it. 24 days and counting.

Wednesday, November 18th - 3.90 miles in 45:35 (11:41 pace) - failed attempt at 10 miles

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Days 98-100 : Vacation Week

Yes, it's finally here! I only have a half day of work left this week and then I get to take 2 1/2 days off work. Woo hoo! I can't wait to have the time away from the office. I don't have any grand plans. OSU plays a Thursday night game this week so I will make the trek to Stillwater for our final home game of the year. I believe we are staying the night in Stillwater, but I plan on behaving. It's a big week of running on the schedule, health permitting, so I need to stay focused.

Today was my first attempt at a run since Saturday's failed long run. I decided to go inside and use the treadmill for this one so I could stop whenever I wanted and control my pace. I set my pace at 9:50 min/miles and just coasted in a nice, slow 5 miles to get back in the swing of things. The discomfort was pretty minor throughout the run. I could definitely tell I wasn't 100%, but it wasn't bad. I am going to give it a go again tomorrow and reassess. I am just taking it day-to-day at this point to see if I can get in a full week of running. I don't plan on pushing the envelope too much.

Tuesday, November 17th : 5.0 miles in 49:10 (9:50 pace)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Days 96-97 : Long Run Fail

Yep, it happened. Finally. My first real major disappointment of the marathon training season. I tried to get out and do my 14 mile scheduled long run this morning and failed misreably. About 2 miles in, my left Achilles sent me a very loud message "STOP!". It shot a sharp pain through my body and I immediately put on the brakes. I was already concerned that it would be a problem because last night when I was walking around the house it locked up on me and was pretty painful. It was almost like someone had twisted it in a knot. It was alarming because I really didn't do anything to it like step wrong or climb a stair or anything. I was just walking around picking up around the house and BAM! I thought I would give today a shot and see how it felt. I went in knowing this run could be very disappointing, but I knew I had to stop if it was painful. I am too close to do anything stupid and I am confident if I rest for a few days that I will be good to go. I will assess the situation over the next few days and make a determination on what I will do this upcoming week. It is my peak training week, so if all goes well I will be able to run all 40 miles at a slower pace. Keep your fingers crossed for me. I am very bummed out at the moment.

Time to shower and head to Stillwater. Hopefully OSU can cheer me up today. Go Pokes! Beat Tech!

Saturday, November 14th : Long Run cut short....2.0 miles before I had to stop. :-(

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Day 95 : Pop-Tarts and Peanut Butter

Wow! Why haven't I thought of this before now?!? All my life I have loved peanut butter and everything about it. I eat it daily and I have continually made it a point to make it even better, if that is possible. Tonight, I may have outdone myself. Chocolate pop-tarts topped with peanut butter! Yes, you read that right. It was dynamite. Hot, toasted chocolate layered with melted peanut butter followed by a nice big glass of milk. AMAZING! It's a perfect combination of carbs, protein, and indulgence all wrapped up in one. This "meal" will be making a repeat on Bryan's list of approved marathon training meals. I am still smiling :-)

I had my last midweek run today and all went pretty well. I actually ran a little faster than I intended, but I was kind of in my own little world, not paying attention to the Garmin. The left Achilles showed some tenderness late in the run, but nothing to write home about really. I did the icing and stretching regimen when I got back to the casa and all is well. This is also my last night with the dogs :-( I will definitely miss the little guys, but it will be nice to have the bed to myself once again. I am sure I will have more opportunities to keep the kids again.

Another OSU weekend coming up. I am planning on laying low tomorrow night and catching up on some DVR. I missed pretty much every show I watch this week since I didn't have access to my own DVR. I will catch up tomorrow and then go for my long run on Saturday morning. I plan on doing a 14-miler at Hefner so if anyone is out there, wave and say hi. Then it will be off to Stillwater for gameday. OSU versus Texas Tech so it should be a shootout. Watch it on ABC if you have it in your area. Go Pokes!

Thursday, November 12th : 5.04 miles in 44:46 (8:53 pace)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Day 94 : Back in the Saddle

I tested out the ankle/Achilles tonight and everything held up pretty well and I even got in a few "faster" miles to help keep the tempo Wednesday theme going. It was a little tender at a few points, but the elastic brace and the extra day of non-running helped. Now I will go with another 5 miler tomorrow to round out the midweek runs....every day brings me one day closer. I get butterflies in my stomach just thinking about it. I hope so much that it goes well and I have a blast. I really want this to be something I can make a regular part of my life. I feel so much healthier and motivated since I started running. Sure, I have had my share of aches and pains, but its all about the growing process. I know as I get my body used to running more frequently, it will continue to adapt and thrive. Only four and a half weeks. Wow.

I am currently watching the CMAs and really enjoying the country music industry. Carrie and Brad are great hosts and I can't wait for the Sugarland performance coming up. Miranda performed her new single earlier and it made me even more excited to go see her in January. Brad Paisley will also be a great concert. It's been since 2001 at the Tumbleweed in Stillwater since I saw Brad. Let's just say he has made a name for himself. I can't wait to see him again.

My days of dog sitting are drawing to a close. Only 2 more days and then it's back to my old apartment. The comforts of this house will be greatly missed. It has definitely motivated me to get the ball rolling on a house purchase next year. I would love the extra space and the ability to make it my own. Plus, I need a place to store that fancy new bike I am going to buy soon. Stay tuned for more details there!

Wednesday, November 11th : 9.01 miles in 1:23:10 (9:14 pace)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Days 92-93 : Minor Setback (Hopefully)

Well, if you remember that little ankle/Achilles problem I told you about in that last blog, then you are already up to par on the last two days. That pain while I was running has lingered into two more days of discomfort. It's not awful, don't get me wrong. It's just there. It's a constant reminder that all is not well, but all is not broken. It's a different pain too. It's not really painful when i stretch it or pinch it, but it hurts after I walk around for a bit. To me, this means it's not Achille's tendonitis. It has to be something else. Like a strain or something that only pops up after it gets used for a while. It's fairly minor at this point, so the plan is to keep it that way.

Dang short beds! I can pinpoint this problem all the way back to one of my trips to Stillwater when I slept in a bed that was too short for me. The sheets were tucked in and my ankle got twisted during the course of the night and was left in that position for far too long. It was noticeably uncomfortable the following day and I just haven't been able to shake it. Stupid beds.

In lieu of recent events, I opted for cross-training today in place of my scheduled 5 mile run. The recumbent bike and I became very close friends for an hour and I got to listen to quite a few good tunes on the iPod. As I get closer to the actual marathon date, my focus is shifting to getting there healthy and not trying to work in more runs when my body isn't willing. I will plan on getting in all of my long runs on the weekends and do as many of the midweek runs as possible as I wind my way down the road to the marathon. It may be a struggle on race day, but I am confident I am stubborn enough to make it to the finish line.

Tomorrow I have a 9 mile run on the schedule and I will give it a go. I plan on going to Lake Hefner and running 1 mile out-and-backs from the car until I get to 9 total. I figure this is a safe way for me to go run outside and have the option to pull the plug if it isn't go well. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Days 88-91 : Weekend at Home

Ah, how good it feels to be at home for a weekend. This was a very nice, restful weekend spent in OKC and I even managed to spend some quality hours alone which was very welcome.

Friday night was my friend's 50th birthday party/wedding reception at the Old Trinity chapel in the Paseo district. They decided to do this as a joint event since a lot of our core group of friends hadn't been together in quite sometime and it was a way for us to celebrate their marriage together since none of us were able to make the trip to Massachusetts with them. It was such a fun evening and a joy to see two women I deeply respect share their commitment with everyone. Sticking to my word, I also managed to be disciplined. I only had 2 beers, some fruit, and cake.

Saturday was the beginning of my house-sitting/dog-sitting adventure. I had two friends leave for Cancun for a week and they left me in charge of the kiddos back home. It will be a great trial run for me to decide if I want to get a dog of my own. Plus, these two dogs are very well behaved and like to be lazy. My kind of dogs! The only minor hiccup so far is the sleeping arrangements. It's going to take a few days to get used to them in the bed, but I think I will manage. The first night was a little rough because it took them an hour or so to fall asleep, but I think it will get easier as the week goes on since they will be used to me by the end of the week. I could also get really used to this living in a house thing. It's amazing how great it is to have every room a consistent temperature and a kitchen big enough to move around in. To top it off, the kitchen has a dishwasher! I think I may have to cook several meals this week and take advantage of all the extra space!

Another great football weekend for my Cowboys! We actually still look pretty solid with a convincing win on the road versus Iowa State. Our defense is surprisingly strong too. I really think we have a legit shot at the Cotton Bowl this year. If we take care of business at home and find a way to sneak one out on the road in Norman, we should be heading to Dallas for New Year's. That is definitely easier said then done though.

Today was another milestone in my short running career. I topped both of my weekly and individual mileage records with my 18 miler this morning. I started off the morning very bright and early with a 5 AM alarm clock. The boys and I were definitely not too thrilled to be hearing Dierks Bentley at that hour in the morning on a Sunday Regardless, I pulled myself out of bed and started the pre-run routine. I had to substitute mini bagels, because I forgot to bring my waffles with me when I "moved" in at my friend's house. They seemed to suffice though and I had the usual PB&J topping. I skipped the banana this go-around because the one I had just wasn't hitting the spot so I opted for 2 mini-bagels instead.

The weather this morning was pretty decent actually. Temps started in the upper 50s and climbed to the mid-60s before I was done. The wind was annoying, but not terrible. It was probably blowing 10-20 mph in the beginning and ended up around 20-30 mph before I was finished. The course did provide some windblock since I was running more of an E-W route through residential areas. The houses provided shelter and it didn't feel like you were constantly fighting against it to make your next stride.

I started the run with the OKC LandRunners group. We started in the Nichols Hills Plaza parking lot and followed the upper half of the OKC Memorial marathon course from there. They were only scheduled to do a 12-mile run so I hung with the pack for the whole run and made small talk with a group doing the same pace as I wanted for this run. The good thing about this group that lacked in the past when running with the LandRunners, were some other 1st-timers and people who were conscientious of the pace being set. They all seemed concerned about overtraining which has been one of the primary reasons I haven't ran with the group as much. In previous runs, I felt like I got caught up in someone else's pace and never really found a way to get myself out of it. I know it's my own fault, but at least I know my weaknesses. I get competitive and try to maintain pace. It's in my blood :-)

The run was quite leisurely and was just what I needed to get me through this next stage of training. I knew the last 6 miles by myself would present a struggle, but the smart running beforehand, definitely made it more bearable. I ended up stopping after the 12 miles with the group to have some pretzels and water before grabbing my own water bottles and heading back out. I kept my Garmin running during the downtime to properly account for the time out on my feet, but my pace was quicker than my Garmin showed. All in all, my avg pace without the stoppage was about 9:30 again. It seems to be a good training run pace for me.

My only negative out of this run was my left ankle/Achilles. I started having problems about mile 7 or so and it was just a nagging pain for the rest of the run. I tried several different ties on my shoelaces and tested out tight vs loose and nothing really seemed to help. I am still wearing the elastic ankle support on my long runs on my left ankle, but even that didn't seem to help much. I did manage to finish, but I can still feel the tenderness when I take stairs or walk on an incline. I am going to ice quite a bit and do a lot of stretches on my calf muscles to hopefully help alleviate some of the pain. I am sure it's only minor since it wasn't completely debilitating, but I need to be safe over the next week. I may throw in a cross-training day this week since it's a stepback week anyway. I want to be fully rested and ready for the peak week coming up. Hard to believe, but it's only 5 weeks away.

Thursday, November 5th : 5.o miles in 48:23 (9:41 pace)

Sunday, November 8th : 18.0 miles in 2:58:11 (9:54 pace)

New weekly mileage record : 36 miles

New individual run record : 18 miles

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Day 87 : Am I in Oklahoma?

Wow, great weather again today. It's been downright beautiful here the past 3 days. Low 70s for temps and absolutely no wind. Yesterday I bypassed the great weather for a day at the gym, but today was a completely different story. I busted out of the office about 4:15 and off I went to Lake Hefner for my midweek long run. I tried to get out early enough to time the sunset perfectly with the end of my run. It worked to perfection! This run was just what I needed. I really have had a pretty good attitude about my running lately. However, it's always nice to get in one of those runs that are just pure pleasure from the moment you start until the last step you take. Today was just that day.

My run today was a faster-paced run which is what I have been doing for the past few weeks. It breaks up the mundane pace of the other runs and keeps me working hard and improving along the way. I like the Wednesday runs too. They seem to be a needed shot of adrenaline to get me through the week. I typically do these runs outside too, so it's nice to get some fresh air and let the worries float away with the Oklahoma breeze.

For this run, I used it as a pace run with a little tempo worked in during the middle of the run. I paced myself around 9:00 to 9:15 miles for the majority of the run and then tossed in a mile or two of 7:45 to 8:00 minute miles around miles 5.5 to 7.5. My overall run averaged out to be around 9:00 flat which was a pretty decent pace for a midweek workout. I am pleased with my current fitness level which is good considering I am only about 5 weeks out from the marathon. Physically I am holding up ok. I have the usual aches and pains, but nothing too severe at the moment. I always have the sports doctors phone number handy though since I am so close now. He told me he would help through the pain if I get close enough and get injured. Hopefully I don't have to make that call, but at least it's an option.

I have another easy 5 miles tomorrow and then a couple of rest days to round out the week. I have pushed my long run back to Sunday this week to coincide with the LandRunners group. They are running 12 miles starting at my work and following the upper half of the OKC marathon. It should be fun to join up with the group again and I can just tack on another 6 miles at the end and finish out my required 18 miles. The key to running with the group for me is to not get caught up and run too fast. Off of the computer for now.

Trying my luck at getting Taylor Swift tickets tomorrow. Apparently it's the hardest ticket in the world to get. Hope it works out!

Wednesday, November 4th : 9.04 miles in 1:21:23 (9:00 pace)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Days 85-86 : Vacation Needed

I am in desperate need of a vacation. I really don't even have to go anywhere. I just want to take some time off from work. The good thing is that I am taking off 2 1/2 days in a few weeks. That will help clear my mind and get me away from work. After that, the holidays start so it begins to become pretty routine to only work a few days here and there as we gear up for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's. Hopefully my Pokes reward me with a good bowl trip, because that is likely the only actual vacation I will get any time soon.

Currently I am watching the OKC Thunder game versus the Lakers. They are actually hanging in there and giving it a go. This team is much improved and will be very fun to watch over the years. I can't believe its already basketball season. November will be gone before we know it.

I did an easy workout today at the gym. I focused on stretching and a comfortable run to start the week. Tomorrow I will take my running gear with me to work and try to head out of the office early to get my run in before it gets dark. I have to get in a nice 9-miler tomorrow so it should be a good test of my motivation as I approach another mileage record this week. Hopefully all goes well and I can log all 36 miles with a nice, tough 18-mile run this weekend. The weather looks downright stupid this weekend. It's going to be in the mid-70s with a steady 30 mph wind. Yuck. I hate wind. Maybe if I go early enough the wind will be a little lighter.

Have a good Wednesday. Let's go Thunder! Down by 2 in OT. Still putting up a pretty good fight.

Tuesday, November 3rd : 4.0 miles in 38:40 (9:40 pace)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Days 80-84 : Halloween Disaster

What a crappy way to end a Halloween night?!? OSU got absolutely manhandled by Texas in front of a sellout crowd at Boone Pickens Stadium. It was such a waste of a great crowd and perfect weather. I wish things would have turned out differently, but now it's back to playing for a good bowl game and see where the chips fall.

Halloween was rather hit and miss this year. We had our annual Halloween party at work on Friday and that was really the only thing I did even semi-related to the holiday. I didn't dress up in Stillwater, although quite a few people were dressed up at the bars on Friday night. I was a little surprised more people didn't dress up for the game, but I guess it was a good excuse not to which was what I used this year. I have never been a huge fan of Halloween. If it wasn't for the work party, I would probably never dress up.

I did get another full week of running in which was nice. It's two weeks straight that I haven't had to switch out a run for a cross-training workout or skip a day for extra rest. I did feel a little heavy and tired today, but that was due to the lack of discipline I showed this weekend. I have been very bad on football weekends in Stillwater. I am not sure why I decide it's ok to drink too much beer, eat horrible food, and get very little sleep when I go to Stillwater. It does me no good when it comes to training and it obviously doesn't help shed these few extra pounds I am trying to slice off before the marathon. Fortunately, we only have 2 more home games this year and I have made a pact with myself to be focused, disciplined, and motivated to eat, sleep, and drink well the final 6 weeks of training. It should allow me to go into the marathon leaner, well rested, and ready to do well.

Daylight savings time also is going to reek havoc with my training schedule. I need to figure out a way to work in my Wednesday "sorta" long runs the next few weeks. I go up the mileage ladder again this week and now have to squeeze in 9 miles after work. I typically can get out of the office about 4:30 so that leaves me with just about an hour or so before it gets dark. I don't really mind running at night if I can find a place I feel comfortable with on a normal basis. Lake Hefner has its moments. For being the primary city running trail, it really is poorly lit and not very well patrolled by local police. The last few times I have been out there, a car has been broken into recently. A pile of glass awaits to remind everyone to keep valuables at home or securely locked away out of sight. My neighborhood also isn't the safe haven that I would like either. I could probably run in my neighborhood, but I would have to do 1 mile loops in the area that I feel is semi-safe. I am leaning towards Hefner, but will be on the lookout for potential running spots the next few days. Nichols Hills is always a good option and it may win out. Traffic will be an issue there though. The treadmill is definitely not an option.

It's hard to believe it, but it's only 6 weeks to the marathon. Runner's World has selected the White Rock as their race of the month too! It should be exciting hitting the streets with 20k other people and my loved ones meeting me along the way. Ha, I have a feeling I will have to train my onlookers as well. I hope to be able to give each of them some gels, some fluid, and a map of places to meet me along the way so I don't have to carry all of that stuff with me on the course. My mom was also able to shuffle her schedule around and will be making the trip as planned. There was some concern she couldn't get her work moved, but we jumped the hurdle. I also think I am going to send out a Facebook invite about 2 weeks out and let everyone know of my plans. I really don't want to send it out any sooner than that for fear that it may jinx me the next few weeks. Only 3 tough weeks left and then it's the taper. I can't wait!

Wednesday, October 28th : 8.0 miles in 1:12:47 (9:06 pace)

Thursday, October 29th : 5.0 miles in 47:55 (9:35 pace)

Sunday, November 1st : 12.0 miles in 1:51:47 (9:19 pace)

Total October Mileage : 103 miles

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Days 78-79 : End of October

It's almost November. Where have all the weeks gone? I can't even keep up lately. Next thing you know, I will be watching the Cowboys play in the Big 12 Championship the weekend before the marathon. Oh wait, that was a dream I had last night :-)

The weekend ahead is quite possibly one of the biggest games in OSU football history and I am a nervous wreck. I also just learned that Dez Bryant got suspended for a full calendar year by the NCAA. It seems our luck with the NCAA continues to be on a downward spiral. I have no faith that we will ever get a favorable ruling from them. I hope our boys keep it together and make a good showing Saturday. I sure hope its our turn this time around.

Yesterday was a day of rest for me and it's amazing how much it helps the body and soul. I did some grocery shopping after work and then came home to watch some DVR and pick up around the house. I also planned the rest of my running schedule and realized I only have 4 more weeks until my taper! I am almost there! My body feels pretty decent today and I hope I can make it through the next 4 weeks unscathed. The hips and knees are a little sore, but nothing too out of the ordinary. I will ice, stretch, and be smart to get to the race healthy! I had a nice, slow run today to work out the kinks and will pick up the pace on the next two runs.

Off to bed. Have a good Wednesday. I have an 8 mile run in the wind tomorrow. Oh joy!

Tuesday, October 27th - 4.0 miles in 38:40 (9:40 pace)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Day 77 : 16 anyone?

Well I did it. I managed to get through all 16 miles today! Woo hoo! I was a little nervous going into this run because I had been experiencing some ankle/Achilles problems about 3 or 4 miles into my runs lately. I decided to buy an elastic ankle support for my left ankle and give it a go for the run and see if it would delay the onset of the pain. The strategy worked brilliantly and I only had minor problems along the way if I stepped awkwardly or was fighting uphill against the wind. Other than that, it was a pretty successful day on the course.

My route today was a little haphazard. I decided to play it safe and only run 2 or 3 miles in one direction and then head back towards the car and go 2 or 3 miles in the other direction. I did this as a safety net of sorts. If I had any problems along the way, I wanted to be able to easily walk back to the car and not be stranded. This also allowed me to refill my fuel belt with liquids since it was a little warmer compared to the past few weekends. I did get a little bored with the scenery, but this did give me an added level of comfort and I felt I could push through any minor pains without much concern.

As far as the run goes, I was actually pretty pleased with my fitness level and the way I felt after it was over. I was definitely tired and my legs felt like lead, but I wasn't dead tired and my heart rate recovered nicely. The pace of my long runs seems to be going well too. I have opted to do my long runs around a 9:30 pace based on my half marathon times and the McMillan running calculator. I have manged to get this pacing thing down pretty well with the aid of the Garmin and am confident I can keep myself at the right pace to hit my goal. I won't tell you my goal just yet, but I do have a range of times in my head. Obviously this will all depend on my health and the weather, but it's nice to have a general idea of where I want to be on the clock when I hit 26.2.

The long runs are also giving me the opportunity to test out my fueling ideas for the marathon. I have found a couple of Clif Shots I can stomach. Strawberry tastes like a strawberry Pop-Tart and the Mocha is like a chocolate explosion in your mouth. I think these will be my go-to flavors on the course. Timing-wise, I am basically taking a shot about every 3-4 miles based on how I feel. I think this is a pretty safe regimen based on the package instructions and everything I have read along the way. My pre-run meal has been a whole wheat waffle with peanut butter and jelly. I may have to substitute an English muffin for the road, but it sits well on my stomach and I don't want to risk any embarrassing moments out in public. I am pleased with my routine, now if I can just figure out my clothing. I think I am going to order some tights just in case. I am not a fan of tights by themselves, but I will wear some shorts over them if it's cold enough to utilize them on my long runs or race day. I just hope I can wear my orange on race day! Go Pokes!

I have a stepback week ahead which comes at a very welcome time. I think I will probably do some treadmill running on Tuesday and Thursday, while doing my mid-week run out at the lake. This weekend is the showdown in Stillwater and I am sure I will have to trudge through 12 miles next Sunday on less than adequate sleep. Total estimated mileage : 29 miles

I topped the 30-mile mark for the first time this week and have effectively broken both of my previous records of weekly mileage and individual run mileage. 32 miles total this week with a 16 mile run today to cap it off! I am exhausted. Good night everyone!

Sunday, October 25th - 16.01 miles in 2:31:40 (9:28 pace)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Days 75-76 : Lazy Man

I have been absolutely worthless today. The only time I have been out of the house is to get Starbucks and a Diet DP. It's just been one of those days. I finally had a chance to do nothing on a Saturday so I am taking full advantage of a day of college football on the couch. I probably should have gotten out and at least walked around a bit, but I just didn't feel like it. I think I am entitled to some down time after a full week.

Yesterday I did my last mid-week run since I had to push everything back a day due to a customer visit on Wednesday night. It was an easy 4 mile run and everything felt pretty good minus some tightness in the left Achilles once again. I went ahead and bought an ankle support sleeve for my run tomorrow. I figured I could use a little extra support to hopefully delay the pain until later on in my long run. I think after tomorrow I may take an extra day off next week since it's a stepback week and see if I can get it back to full strength. I also went and bought some more energy gels for tomorrow's run and am about to purchase a box online to get me through the rest of my training. Tomorrow's run will definitely be a challenge but the weather looks decent with mid-50s for the morning and not a ton of wind. I may join up with the LandRunner group, but I am undecided. I may stay up too late watching the Texas/Mizzou game tonight to let that happen.

Put another one in the win column for my Cowboys and we have now moved to 6-1 on the season and are eyeing the big Halloween showdown with Texas in Stillwater. I have heard that only 100 tickets remain and it looks like we will have our first sellout in the new Boone. 60,000 strong on Halloween night should make for an interesting evening. Its definitely going to be a long week building up for all the excitement. The best part is that we have a hotel room Friday and Saturday night so we can enjoy a great weekend in Stillwater. Plus, my long run next weekend is only 12 miles which will be nice after a long football weekend.

Hopefully I am writing tomorrow night with great news about a new mileage record. I am cautious though because I think the ankle may give me fits before it's all said and done. I hope not though. I have been icing and stretching all day today to help along the process. Wish me luck!

Friday, October 23rd - 4.0 miles in 38:15 (9:34 pace)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Days 72-74 : Aches and Pains

Over the past 10 1/2 weeks, I have had pretty good luck with no real major aches or pains. The past week and a half has lead to quite a few bumps in the road. My knees ache. My hips are tight. My calf muscles are tight. My left achilles is sore. It seems that the mileage is finally starting to give me a few fits. I tried to lay off a few days last week, but I am guessing the weekend binge in Stillwater didn't really do me any good. So far it's not enough to keep me out of running, but I am definitely on alert when I run now and remind myself to be patient, watch for warning signs, and slow down or stop if necessary.

Today was my first walk break during one of my training runs. It was a cloudy, cool, and misty run after work today. I started about 6:15 which was a little later than I had planned, but I had to work late so it got pushed back a bit. Everything started out really well. I decided to use the patella tendon strap today on my right knee to see if it would help alleviate some of the initial pain. I was impressed with the effectiveness of it and will be adding it to my running garb until after the marathon and I can rehab it back to normal. I definitely am fighting a bit of tendonitis there. It's not painful to the touch so I am relieved it's not something bone related. The bad part of the run hit me about mile 4 today. Tuesday when I was running, I noticed that my left Achilles and ankle were becoming tight and sore. I recall sleeping on my left foot wrong in Stillwater this past weekend, but really didn't pay much attention to it other than the fact it hurt when I first got up that next morning. I guess I have a little lingering pain and tightness from this incident. It's amazing how fickle the body can be and the slightest little mishap can pile on pain when you start adding mileage. I had to pull up a couple of times due to the tenderness of the area. Cardio-wise I was very happy with my run. It felt easy and like I could have run much further. Physically, I obviously have some concerns. I am just hoping to band-aid my way through the next few weeks and not aggravate anything too much. Ice, stretching, and anti-inflammatory meds are becoming my best friends.

Tomorrow is another light day. I have 4 miles on the schedule and will run as much as the body will let me. I definiitely won't push much tomorrow since I have the 16 miler on Sunday. I figure my body will be screaming at me then.

Tuesday, Oct 20th - 4.0 miles in 38:20 (9:35 pace)

Thursday, Oct 22nd - 8.01 miles in 1:15:27 (9:25 pace)