Month: March 2014

Last Long Run Until my Half

I ran 12 miles today and it was a rough run. Let’s be honest, my half in two weeks is no cakewalk. The first half of it is mostly uphill and it seems no matter how much hillwork I do, it’s not enough.

I ran 3 miles through Golden Gate Park, which was a nice way for me to wake up and get some ground work down. During my run, I had to stop briefly to get Spotify on my phone to work and while I was adjusting it I spotted a lone coyote standing in a meadow near the Rose Garden. I’ve heard so much about the Golden Gate Park coyotes that it was cool to finally see one. But when I reached those first two very steep hills on Balboa Street, my heart sank a little. I run hills at least once a week and even with that training, I still had to walk up the last part of the second block.

And then later on the hill through the Presidio to the Golden Gate Bridge is as brutal as it was last week! I’ll have one last chance to run it again next Sunday on a shorter run, but then that’s it. Sigh….

The best part of the run was the flats at Chrissy Field and through the Marina. That felt pretty good. I maintained a slow pace, but kept going and with the exception of a bathroom break, I kept running. Once again, I walked up part of the hill at Fort Mason and then that last couple of miles was very painful.

Somehow, I hurt my left thigh doing swimmers turns a couple weeks ago and it only acts up after running, cycling or walking a lot. I will meet with a trainer at the Y to get my turns made properly. But at least until after my race, no more trying to do fancy turns in the pool!

The things that really helped me today was my choice in music. I know it’s not that big of a deal for many, but for me, having the right tunes helps keep me moving. A few of my songs included:

Heaven Can Wait – Iron Maiden

Broadsword – Turisas

Glastonbury Song – The Waterboys

Only You Can Rock Me – UFO

Everything Invaded – Moonspell

A Thousand Lies – Hypocrisy

As you can see, I like my music mostly on the heavy side. 🙂

Also, I won’t miss this route once this race is done. I’m sure the directors of the Rock & Rock Half are great people, but this course….


I Guess I’m a Jock…..

Half jokingly a co-worker called me a “jock” the other day. I take it as a compliment. I’m 55 years old and trying my hardest to get into the best shape I can.

Well, most of the time I am. I’m not completely strict diet-wise, but I soon will be. I work out tons, I stick to my schedule, and on my way to swimming this morning at 5:30am I thought about what being a “jock” felt like at my age. Thirty years ago, the only thing I was worried about was having enough money for booze and other “things” for the weekend. I was naturally thin, never worried about getting into shape. In my mid-20s I started running and in my 30s I ran a lot and hardly ate. I still drank though. And drank and ran and drank some more.

Nearly nine years ago, I quit drinking for good and made my life so much better. I love life. Everything isn’t always great, but I can certainly handle the not-great better sober than I ever did drunk or hungover.

And it’s funny. Now I live as if I have no time to waste, which at 55 years old, I don’t. Every moment is precious. I’m not in my twenties anymore when an entire day spent hungover in bed isn’t a big deal. Now when I’m sick in bed I hate hate hate it and wish more than anything i could get those hours back. Because I know they are lost forever, it gets me up and active faster and functioning a bit quicker.

I hope I can think of this post as I chug up that nasty hill towards the Golden Gate Bridge Sunday when I know I’ll be feel every single second of my 55 years….

On Being a Better Runner….

Sometimes on my long runs I focus on one particular thought or idea and let it simmer in my brain the entire run. Such was the case yesterday during my run. i spend too much time in StumbleUpon. Perhaps you do too. It’s a search engine where you pick some subjects you like, such as: travel, cooking, baseball, and the like and you click “Stumble” and the engine finds different websites that you can like, not like or skip to the next one you stumble to. It’s a lot of fun.

Anyway, I read one particular blog from a distance runner who, in a rough and inarticulate way, stated that he felt there were two types of runners: those who work at getting better and faster at running and those who don’t bother getting better and rather just keep increasing the distance they run instead. The latter, he said, risk injury, never lose the weight they need to and don’t really gain the greatest value they could out of running had they spent more time becoming better runners.

He never said it this way. He was a lot more in-your-face about it, using words like “Suck” and “Fat” and “Crappy”, etc. Somehow, he felt that calling people names would help change their minds, I suppose.

But he had some very valid points. I’ve said for a while now that more and more newbies are discounting the shorter distances. I used to visit a couple running groups on Facebook but I stopped because I couldn’t stand the snobbery towards shorter distances, even by newbs. They looked down upon 5Ks and 10Ks. They could barely run faster than 12-minute miles but run a race shorter than a half marathon? Wouldn’t ever dream of it!!!

I don’t have a link to his blog and I don’t even remember what it was called. But I’ll state it in my own way here. I think there are very few regular runners who spend enough time becoming better runners. Sure, they spend lots of time running, but how much time do they spend becoming faster? How much time do they spend on their form? How much time does a normal runner spend improving their technique, their breathing?

There was this one Facebook running group I used to visit, nearly every other post was about someone being injured. Injuries don’t have to happen! If you’re injured, that means something went wrong!

I realized that I myself am guilty of being tempted by the long races. I have two halfs planned this year, but I don’t think I’ll be doing many more of them. I would really like to be a faster runner.

To run, we runners do NOT have to run half marathons or whole ones. After this half that I’m doing, I don’t have another half scheduled until September, so I won’t be training for it until June, meaning I’ll have over a month to get some good speed work in and get faster. I’ll also be using that time to get serious about getting into better shape. I’m in decent shape now, but I want to get in better shape.

But now, bed time, I have an early morning hill run.

Three Weeks to Go…..

The San Francisco Rock & Roll Half Marathon is April 6th, so I’m nearly through with my training. Today, was my second to last long run. I went out for 9 miles. I was thinking I could do 8 to 10 miles, because last week I was supposed to get in 8 miles, but due to my cold, I only ran 5 miles. 

It was a good run. I started at Fulton and Stanyan at the beginning of Golden Gate Park. I covered part of the Half in my run, especially the hill up to the bridge, as that will be the nastiest. I did walk up some of the hills. Through the Presidio, heading up Lincoln to the Golden Gate Bridge, the uphill got to me and I had to walk some portions. 

But there was at no point when I felt the horrible feelings of exhaustion or breathlessness i had last week. My right thigh that had been giving me a bit of trouble felt OK, and the usual aches and pains of distance running came and went and the miles added up. 

The other plus of today was that I started out early with a relatively empty stomach, having eaten only a small breakfast of 1 slice of whole wheat toast with almond butter and a banana with coffee. Last week, I went out much later because of an early morning Rangers game being broadcast. Why they have early Sunday NHL games is beyond me, and by the time I got to the park it was afternoon. My late runs are almost always inferior. 

I feel good now, after a lovely shower and icing down my legs, as well as a couple good rolling sessions. Those help so much. Tomorrow I start spin classes, so I’ll write and say how those are. 

But, the greatest thing about my run is that I’m no longer afraid of the R&R Half. I KNOW I can do this! If I had needed to, I could have run 3 more miles today. It wouldn’t have been pretty, but I could have done it. 

Next week, I’ll go for 11-12 miles and then the week before, I’ll taper down to 7 or 8 miles. 

And now, it’s dinner time! 🙂 


Trying to Catch Up….

I don’t get sick very often, but this time around I caught a nasty cold that dragged me through hell and back. It was so bad I had to take two sick days off work just to try to get enough energy to not feel like I wanted to sleep 20 hours a day and blow snot out of my nose the other four. 

Bleh….I’m mostly (95%) recovered now and trying to regain the strength I had before I succumbed to illness.

The most unfortunate part is that my half marathon is less than four weeks away and I don’t feel anywhere near ready for it.

But, I’m getting as ready as I can. This weekend, I ran 3 miles Saturday, which was fine. I then tried to run a longer run Sunday, going for 6 or longer, but I could only get 5 miles out until I stopped, out of breath, wheezing a bit, coughing some leftover phlegm. (I know, sorry.)

Last night after work, I did some core and weight training and took a good swim. Swimming is therapeutic for me. Everything bothering me is washed away, if only for that short time I’m immersed in water. But I always come out tired and smiling. And hungry, I’m always so hungry.

This morning, I went for my favorite hill-run route. It’s 2.5 miles – up Hyde to Greenwich, down to Polk, back to Geary Home. It’s a tough route but easy enough to remember and familiar. There were many times (at least five) that I said to myself “turn around, let’s just do a short run this morning.” But I didn’t. I kept running. I kept going. I said back to myself “Just do one more block up this hill. And after that block, “just one more hill.” Finally I just decided to do the whole thing. And I was so happy I did! I need to conquer this route if I’m going to do anywhere near OK in this half. The hills are NASTY NASTY NASTY and they intimidate me intensely!

So, my goals until April 6th are to eat as healthy as I can, keep my workouts going and try to maintain a POSITIVE ATTITUDE. Keep smiling….I CAN DO THIS!!! 🙂