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One of the things I really enjoyed about learning to run and starting it up this year was going outside in the morning, warming up, and running in the sunshine. Even if the majority of the summer was filled with 80% humidity and 85 degree runs at 715 AM, I loved being able to step outside, walk to the lake, and get my miles in. The lake served as an ideal place to learn to run, with marks every quarter mile, nice scenery, and close to home. But now that fall has finally arrived here in Kansas, I've had to relegate myself to the treadmill.
I have never enjoyed the treadmill. It always seemed to me to be very forced and unnatural. It just does not make sense to have someone run in place for the exact same pace for an extended period of time. Of course you can alter speeds, but not like you would naturally out on an open course or trail. Nevertheless, I'm not going to run in the rain in November unless I absolutely have to, which means I get to truck it up to Pinnacle Fitness and hit the treadmill for 4 miles. But a funny thing happened during the treadmill runs. I did not hate it.
It's a big step to become comfortable with doing something uncomfortable or less than ideal. I would include running on a treadmill in the list of things that I do not like doing when it comes to working out. But it is something that I am going to have to live with if I want to maintain a good fitness level for when I pick back up my running training for next year. For the past three weeks I have been running on the treadmill twice a week to make myself get used to it, knowing that by the time it snows or gets really cold, I will have no interest in running outside and freezing myself. The first two running sessions were only two miles, but it felt like 10. Why does running on the treadmill seem so tedious? Same distance as outside, plus I get to watch SportsCenter while I do it. It is easier on my legs, and I can have my bottle of water right there with me. These all seem like positive things, but for some reason they do not click with me. But on Tuesday of this week, during a 4 mile run, things seemed to feel good. The starting pace felt good, and the increases in speed worked out naturally in my run. Dare I say that I like the treadmill? I would not go that far yet, but it is getting better. I guess the message would be that if you are not comfortable doing something, even when you know it is there for your benefit, practice and work at it until it gets better. I have gone from hating running on a treadmill to accepting that it is not the worst thing in the world, to almost liking it. Go figure. Until next time ... later.
I've got to say that the post-race unwind has been a little interesting. It would be a lie to say I've been working out nearly as hard as I had been through the summer, and it is starting to catch up with me. I've put on anywhere from 3-5 pounds since the race, and in three weeks, that seems like a lot. I got away from tracking my diet, and from blogging, and I have a feeling that those two things have been major contributing factors (obviously). But I'm finding keeping motivation to be more difficult than I expected. I just figured I'd keep rolling along, running a few times a week, letting my legs heal, lift some weights, and just keep on dropping pounds. Halloween did not help, as we did not give out all of our candy. I've been devouring that like I've never had candy in my life. There have been a couple of tailgate weekends thrown in there as well, but for the most part, it feels like I've tackled sweets like I never have before. Cookies after dinner, the candy, Twix PB's, etc. It should not be that hard to stop hammering those things. I also feel that I've lost a little accountability to myself by not talking about what I've been doing with regards to running and my workouts. I did not plan on blogging much before race preparations start up again in January, but maybe I need to check in a little bit more and talk about weekly mileage, and what happens next. It's clearly pretty easy to fall back into old habits, because that is what is going on with me, even though I vowed that this would be the last time I would go through the loss-gain cycle. I need to re-commit myself, and I'm starting that up again. I'll let you know how it goes. Until next time...later.
After 7 months of running, I am ready for some time off. I like to think of this upcoming 3 month training hiatus in terms of baseball. Once the season is over, players take the next 4 months off before spring training fires back up in February. I am taking the same approach. I will still be working out, trying to continue my weight loss, but I will not be training as hard as I was during the past race season, if that is what you would call it.
So let's rewind. I'm currently weighing in steady at 174, down 32 from the beginning of the year. I attribute nearly all of that to running and an improved diet. I did have to cut down on beer, which sucked, but it did pay off in a big way. I had to eat responsibly, and did not have to give up on all of my favorites, like pizza. It was a little bit challenging, but I knew that going in. It was either continue to be overweight, or do something about it. It was gradual, for sure, never losing more than 7 or 8 pounds in a single month, but stretched out over 10 months, it adds up.
Running has been enjoyable. Granted, starting from scratch left me a little bit injured, having to seek chiropractic help through out the summer, I would consider it a learning experience in the grand scheme of things. I plan on spending the winter working on my running form, and maintaining a nice fitness base so that training again next year won't seem like such a drain or shock to my system. Hopefully I'll be able to avoid being hurt as often.
As far as running more races, I've got a few lined up for the next 15 months or so. April will take me to scenic Abilene, Kansas for their Eisenhower Marathon/Half Marathon. I will be running the Half Marathon. In June, I'll make a return trip to Kansas City for the Hospital Hill Half Marathon. Ambitious start to the season, but I want to push it more this year in order to keep that weight coming down. Once I run Hospital Hill, I'll take a small 6 week break to rest and recover, and then start training for the KC Half Marathon, where my coach is planning on running the race as well. She has been off to a good start with her jogging, knowing that she has a long time to get ready, so hopefully she'll be ready to run that one with me. It all leads up to me tackling my first marathon in January of 2012 at Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL. I want that Mickey Mouse finishers medal. There will, of course, be intermittent 5- and 10-K's thrown in for fun.
Hopefully, and it might seem far-fetched, I can drop my weight down to the recommended weight for a 5'10" guy, which is 153-156, depending on which calculation you use. I figure that I've dropped 32 pounds so far, 18-21 should be attainable by Hospital Hill. I also have made another challenge with myself. If I can drop my weight down to 163 by February 4th, when we go to Des Moines for our annual rendezvous with the High Life Lounge, I will attempt the Adam Emmenecker Challenge, as seen on Man vs. Food. So, that gives me a little bit of motivation throughout the winter, because I really want to try that sandwich.
So that's that. Thanks for reading and sharing the blog, and I hope you've found what I've written either entertaining or informative or inspiring, or all of them. I'll be working out at Pinnacle Fitness 3-4 times a week, as well as fitting in some longer runs to keep my fitness up. I'm guessing anywhere from 10-15 miles a week running, as well as weights and biking. We'll see how it goes, and I'll make sure to have a special blog post about that sandwich. Until next time ... later.
I thought I would get Sparks' reaction to the race as well, so here goes.
My first reaction to finishing my first 1/2 marathon was WOW! That was a lot of fun. I want to thank everyone evolved in the planning and organization of the race. The volunteers, the great support from the spectators, the other runners, and the city of Kansas City were all great. I received a great amount of support from friends and family through my training efforts which definitely played a big part of my success of completing my first half marathon.
The week leading up to the race I had a number of doubts run through my head which played a factor in the mental game leading up to the race. Once I showed up to race and read that last text message of encouragement all the cares or worries swept away, I knew it was just me and the road. When all is said and done I beat my goal of 2:30 finishing in 2:27:04. My biggest surprise was maintaining an 11 min mile pace for the first 9 miles. I had a blast running and finishing my first half marathon and looking forward to the next.
Today (Wednesday) was my first post race run, I felt like I was starting over again but I was still hurting a little from Saturday. Next big race is either a 15K or 1/2 in Tampa, FL on Feb 26th, 2011. I'm going to keep pursuing the goal of running a full marathon.
There you have it. Sparks is ready to run, and I'm still getting there. I went and had a 2 mile run today, and I was still sore in my left foot and right knee. Nothing terrible (except my foot), but I've got to just keep going. I'm aiming to run a Half Marathon or 3 next year, including one in April in Abilene, before I run my first full Marathon at Disney in January of 2012. So, you've been warned that this blog will continue until goals are met. Also, if you want these posts delivered to your email, sign up on the right hand side of the page. Thanks for reading, and until next time ... later.
The KC Half Marathon has officially come and gone. There is a lot to discuss, including my recap of how the day's events unfolded, so let's go.
First things first, I had to pick up my race packet. They won't let you run if you don't have a number or a timing chip. Weird, right? After spending a little time on Friday night at the Expo after packet pickup, it was time to eat. Pasta, naturally. The mistake I made of eating at the Cheesecake Factory was not that I ate my entire entree, it was that I opted for pasta with a nice creamy white sauce instead of a lighter red sauce. Let's just say that it played havoc on my stomach for the majority of the race. Anyways, after watching the Rangers gag away game 1 of the ALCS to New York, it was time for me to attempt to go to sleep, knowing that my alarm was set for 5:30 AM. I was able to fall asleep around 10:30 or so, and woke up at 3 AM on the nose. From that point on, it was the horrific feeling of knowing that you want to fall back asleep but you can't because you are wide awake. I drifted in and out of sleep until about 4:45, and then again until my alarm went off. That wasn't totally unexpected, because I was nervous and anxious about running, and about missing my alarm.
After breakfast, I made my way down the Crown Center where the race was to start. I met up with Sparks, did a quick walk down to the starting line, and back towards the main plaza area for some warming up and stretching. The website said to be in line with your pace group by 7:00 AM, and we did not start warming up until around 6:40 AM. I also had to wait in the world's longest line to use the restroom, so I was not going to be able to meet the pace group at 7:00. No big deal, though, right? I mean, how hard could it possibly be to fight through a crowd of over 11,000 people to find one or two pace people. Turns out that if you wait in line until 7:25, 5 minutes before the race starts, it can be pretty tough. As I am basically jogging through people to find my pace group, I make it to the 2:40 pace group when the gun fires, only a mere 40 minutes slower than where I needed to be. Neverminding that I was convinced my bladder would explode on me, I decided I could make a game out of it and try to catch my pace group, but I would just go at my own speed to get there. I knew how I had been running, so it would not be hard to keep a nice steady pace without overdoing it.
The toughest part of the track would be the first four miles, with a steady uphill climb to start, a steep uphill before mile 3, and another steep uphill before mile 4. After hitting Main Street, there were several downhill spots that would make for good spots to gain ground on my 2:00 pace group. I made sure to walk through nearly all of the water stations to keep my legs feeling good. The course had a lot of neat things to check out, like Westport, where I saw my mom and Coach Terra cheering me on, through the plaza, where I got to relive the Cheesecake Factory and the meal that was causing me much discomfort throughout my run. The only part of the race that I missed was the Nelson Atkins Museum, the one with the large badminton shuttlecock in the lawn. It was pretty bright and we were running right at the sun at that point. After hitting mile marker 8, I decided that I had to relieve myself, or I was going to be in too much pain. The good news was that I had found my 2:00 pace group, so I knew I was ok. I also was checking my times on my iPod Nike timer, so I knew I was doing fine. At mile 10, I was starting to hit the wall. The course flattened out, and then went back downhill, so I caught a break. By the time I hit 12 miles, I was feeling better, but I knew I had yet to run this far at any point during my training. It started to feel more like work at this point, and I was just glad that I knew the finish was coming up. I was very relieved to see the finish line, but did not have anything left in the tank to push it home. I crossed, and I was just happy to still be standing. It does take a lot of you.
I crossed with a gun time of just over 2:02, but I knew that I had started very far back in the pack, and that my chip time would probably be under 2:00. I was able to see the results, and I am very happy to say that I broke 2:00, finishing up with a time of 1:57:21. I collected my Half Marathon Finisher medal, claimed my free Boulevard Wheat beer, and sat down. Sitting has never felt so good, although I probably should have stretched out a little more than I did because I am so very sore today, it feels like I did not stretch out at all before I ran. Some notable runners that I have featured on this blog also posted some good times. Andie, who I featured just last week in the TFGIR Interview Series: Episode Two, posted a terrific time of 2:07:37 in her first attempt at a Half Marathon. Sparks, as you remember from the first installment of the TFGIR Interview Series, completed his race in 2:27:04, well under his goal of 2:30 or 2:40. All in all, I thought it was a pretty successful day all around for my running crew.
Some other things I'm happy with involve looking at the overall standing of the event. Now granted, just finishing was good enough for me, but I also wanted to show to myself that the work I had put in was for a reason, and that I could hit my time goal. 5,213 runners signed up for this Half Marathon, with 2,082 being dudes. In my age group, there were 388 dudes. Overall, I placed 1360th, within the dudes it was 871st, and within my age group, it was 171st. Considering when I ran my first 5K back in May I finished in the bottom quarter overall in the dude group, I am very pleased with how I ran in this race. They also had a nice split time breakdown available to see, and it showed that I was pretty consistent throughout the race. I had a 3.3 mile time of 29:24, an 8:50/mile pace. There was also a split at the 8 mile mark, which calculated the time from the 3.3 mile split to the 8 mile split. It had me there at 41:47, an 8:57/mile pace (which did include my rest stop). Overall, I ran a pace of 8:58 per mile, inside of 9:00, which is what I was hoping to achieve. I figured it I could do it in practice, I could do it with people around.
So there you have it. I'll have some more of my thoughts and thoughts from others that ran in the race during the week, and then I probably won't have a whole lot to talk about, but I'll come up with some super interesting things that will have you reading up until it comes time to start training for Spring races. Thanks for reading and following me along throughout these last 6 months, and until next time ... later.
Welcome back. Been a pretty slow week with only a small 3 mile run on Wednesday, but I'm feeling great and ready to race tomorrow. Today though, I wanted to continue along with the This Fat Guy is Running Interview Series. If you missed the last interview, which was also the first, I interviewed Brain Sparks, a good friend of mine about his transition into running and exercising. That interview can be read right HERE. Today, I interviewed Andie Alexander, a friend of mine from K-State, and the girlfriend of one of my other good friends from K-State. Through tailgating a couple of weeks ago, I learned that she was also running in the KC Half Marathon. What I did not know is that she has been living with Type 1 Diabetes for a majority of her life. That really piqued my interest, and I thought it might be a good topic to write about to show readers that anyone can get out and decide to take up running. So, without further ado...
1. TFGIR: Tell me a little bit about your history with Type 1 Diabetes.
Andie: I got diabetes on Superbowl Sunday of my third grade year, so almost 17 years. No one else in my family has it. I was blessed with this wonderfulness.:) I have had my ups and downs with it just like any one else with diabetes. I try extremely hard to keep it under tight control. I had my mom to take great care of me when I lived at home, but going to college brought many challenges. This is only one of the many reasons I am so blessed to have such amazing friends. My problem is more with hypoglycemia (low blood glucose) than hyperglycemia (high blood glucose).
2. TFGIR: You are running the KC Half Marathon. What is your strategy during this race in regards to dealing with your diabetes?
Andie: I actually start out with my blood sugar higher than I normally like it on a day to day basis. I then take jelly belly "sport beans" about 20-30 minutes before I run. I take off my insulin pump, and I start running. While running I have an energy gel that I take. I try to take at least one, but if needed I take more.
3. TFGIR: What challenges has training for the KC Half Marathon presented to you?
Andie: There has been many challenges, actually. I switched to a different insulin when I first started training, which after a month did not end up working at all for me. I thought this had somewhat to do with the training, but since I have switched back I feel about 110% better than before. My second challenge was what foods to eat and eating more carbs because I am running. Also, whether I like it or not, I have to carry some sugar with me to run, and if I get out and run 10 miles I have to make sure I will find the strength to make it back home. I have a wonderful boyfriend who has me tell him where exactly I'm going and will watch the time to make sure I am not passed out somewhere. (Editor's note: Danny is a sweetheart.)
4. TFGIR: Why are you attempting to run the KC Half Marathon?
Andie: This has been a personal goal of mine for a long time. Just because I am diabetic does not mean I cannot do something of this magnitude.
5. TFGIR: When you are not training for a distance run, what type of exercise do you partake in to maintain a healthy lifestyle?
Andie: Right now not too much. I like to bike ride and take my dogs for a walk.
6. TFGIR: Do you have any other goals to accomplish or feats to attempt in your life, such as a full marathon?
Andie: I am not fully convinced that I ever want to do a full marathon. I hear there is a "runner's high" that will want to make me do it. I think my next feat is the Dallas Rock and Roll 1/2 Marathon with both of my sisters and possibly my mom.
7. TFGIR: What is some advice you would give to someone who is considering distance running while dealing with Type 1 Diabetes?
Andie: Find what works for you, have a strong support system, carry sugar, eat enough, and do what you feel you need to do in life to "live" (such as achieving your personal goals!).
Tomorrow is race day, of course. I've signed up to have my split times posted on my Facebook page, so if you are just dying to know my times, and I know that you are, feel free to check out what they are posting on my Facebook wall. I'll be back with more coverage over the next couple of days, so feel free to check frequently. Also, send this interview to someone you know who might find it interesting. You never know who will find motivation in someone's actions. Until next time ... later.
Have to admit, running even a little bit on Saturday, and a little bit more on Sunday, was not a great idea. I do not know how elite runners, or even regular runners like Sparks, can manage to run on back-to-back-to-back days because I struggle after long runs even with a day off in between. I know I talk about mental toughness, and how most of running appears to be a mental game, but occasionally it truly is a physical issue that can slow you down.
I had not recovered enough from my 12 miler when I went out to run my scheduled 4 miles yesterday that I had to stop my run about .8 miles short of finishing, which I hate doing. Nothing frustrates me more than coming up short and not being able to fight through it to finish a run, mostly because during a race I am going to have to do those things, like struggle to finish. But, since this week is more of a rest and heal type week, I figured I did not need to be killing myself in order to complete a meaningless run. In fact, I amended my schedule to only have one more run of 4 miles on Wednesday, and then two more rest days before the race on Saturday. At that point, of course, I'll just have to gut it out if problems arise, but knowing the way that I heal, this week of limited action will do wonders for my legs. Also, taking a couple of weeks off after this race will do wonders for my body to heal, and then I'll be figuring out what sort of goals I want to achieve, both in the weight loss category, and in terms of future runs and races.
A quick note: I got the go ahead to do my next interview for the blog. This will involve an interview with a friend of mine that is also running the KC Half Marathon. But, she has had Type 1 Diabetes for nearly her entire life, and has set out to run this race as a challenge to herself. So look for that later this week. Until next time ... later.
It'll be race day. Not sure how much prep I can squeeze in at this point, so I'm essentially done with race prep. I put in 2 miles today just to see how my legs felt after the 12 miles on Thursday, as well as going and tailgating immediately after, thus ensuring minimal recovery rest. Needless to say, it did not go super great. It was not terrible, I suppose, but I'm not sure I had a real chance to get all the booze out of my system after Thursday. No big deal. I hit the bike for 15 to loosen up my legs, and did some nice stretching to keep my legs feeling good. Tomorrow brings a 4 mile run, then a 4 mile run on Tuesday, and a 3 mile run on Wednesday, and that is it. Then it is officially time to go.
An update on the Wamego race, finally. I was emailed the list of results, but nothing has been posted in a way that I can link it through the blog. What I can tell you is that I beat the only other person in my age group. At least it wasn't just me running the race in the 20-29 group. So at least I sort of earned that medal. I am also going to attempt to get another pre-race interview posted in the coming week by a girl who has been running while attempting to overcome a medical condition she has. If she allows me to interview her, of course. So, keep tuning in, and until next time ... later.
Not the ELO song, but that new addiction I told you I would have. Following my blog stats. I would imagine that through the power of Twitter, this blog is being exposed to people all over the world. Over the past three days, many check-ins from Brazil, Turkey, France, Germany, and Kazakhstan have shot the pageviews higher than ever! So, thanks to all of you who are reading, and tell your friends. I hope you enjoy this tale of a fat guy who is running, thus the name of the blog, This Fat Guy is Running.
Today was the biggest challenge that I have faced so far. 12 miles. The Dirty Dozen. Mentally, all week I had felt that I was ready to roll with this distance. Of course, getting out there and doing it is completely different than thinking about it. As I've said time and again, I think that a lot of this distance running business is mental. When attempting a distance of this magnitude for the first time, it can be a little bit daunting. I won't lie. I was pretty overwhelmed at the thought of 12 miles once I got out to the lake this morning. And this overwhelming feeling impacted my run. It would be tough for it not to do that. What it did was make me want to ease up the pace so that I could ensure that the distance would be covered, and that I wouldn't start off too quickly and crash and burn. Unfortunately, I just don't run that way. I've gotten to the point that I would prefer to run hard and "leave it all out there" (how cliche) as opposed to saving my energy to make sure that I finished. So this sort of messes with my thought process, and it affects the run.
Once I started out, I kept second guessing if I was taking it too easy. My legs had not yet felt warmed up, so that played small part, but something did not feel right. Maybe I was too distracted by the game tonight. Whatever it was, I felt sluggish. That is not something I can not afford to do next Saturday for the race. As for the course today, I ran a couple of miles around the South end of Lake Shawnee that I had yet to see. This area went all the way around the golf course, and past the camping area, a full 5 miles from the dam. It was very challenging, which was actually kind of nice, and once I hit the halfway point, I felt pretty good overall. I was sore, of course, but I think I got back into the right frame of mind by having to really push it today. Five miles is a nice run, for sure, but I don't think I'm working as hard as I need to when I do it. I had to work hard today. The best thing, by far, about hitting 12 today is that 13.1 next week will really not seem so difficult, especially with thousands of people running with me to keep my adrenaline and excitement flowing. That really is going to be an awesome experience, and I can't wait.
As for the overall results pages from the race last Saturday, they still have not been posted. I'm not sure if they ever will be posted, if they are, I will post them here and we can analyze what they looked like. Until then ... Later. And EMAW.
Well, it isn't gold, but I'm pretty happy about it. I took home first place in my age group in the Ruby Slipper Run 10-K at Oztoberfest in Wamego this weekend. Photo Here This would be my first medal of any kind since I started running. I was hoping to have a full list of results to share with you, but so far, they have not been posted yet. I got to Wamego a little bit late (wake up call at 6 AM), so I had to really rush through my stretching. It appeared to be a very small field, which is not a surprise because it was the first time they had ever had this run, and Wamego is not very big. The run took us through the town, through the Wamego Country Club, and back down Lincoln Street. Before the race, they had told us that they had altered the route slightly that ended up being 5.4 miles instead of the full 6.2 miles, so I can't officially count it as a 10-K on my chart on the side of the blog. I finished the race at 43:44, and my Nike Plus showed 5.22 miles, so I figured that was pretty close to the distance they said they had set. I did not really see how many people finished behind me, but I knew that I had run a pretty good race.
We waited around through some of the Wizard of Oz festivities until they announced the results. I was pretty surprised when they announced me as the winner of the 20-29 age group! Now, after checking out the crowd, it is entirely possible that I was the only one that showed up and ran in that age group, but I don't really care. I got out there early in the cold and ran, so I'm taking the medal. We'll see if I can ever add to it, because I doubt there will be many more races where I'm the only one in the age group, if that was in fact the case.
Took the day off yesterday to recover, and then had to go out and do some hills today. The KC Half is only 12 days away. Last time I did hills, two weeks ago, I had registered a 9 min/mile pace, which was a nice improvement. After the last few run I've had, I was not sure if I was really pushing myself on the hills or if I was taking it easy to make sure I could handle the steep hills. I went out with a goal today of improving my time and basically just making sure I ran hard the entire time. I was rewarded with a terrific time of 42:13, a massive improvement in my 5 mile run. I think with the Half coming up, I am more fired up to go out and run a great run. I know the adrenaline and the excitement are going to boost me through the race, and it is up to me to harness that to my advantage. I think I'm close. Now, the big test comes on Thursday when I hit 12 miles. I do not have a set goal in mind, but I feel I need to be under 2 hours to consider it a good run. So, I guess I do have a set goal in mind. Anyways, until next time ... later.