Half Marathon #3 Weekend Is Here!

In 2 days I will be completing my 3rd Half Marathon. The Philadelphia Half Marathon. And I could not be more excited. Being able to hang up my 3rd Half Marathon medal after only starting to run in July 2013 is an exciting thought.

However this will be my first winter half marathon. And what I learned is training for a half in the winter is hard. Not the running part. Luckily if it gets too cold both my work and my apartment complex have gyms on site so it isn’t difficult to get a run in. For me it’s hard to find the motivation to run. By the time I leave for work it’s bitter cold and pitch black out. To say seasonal depression has kicked in would be an understatement.

So training has dipped off a bit. I have really only run a handful of times in the past few weeks. And with any luck I will get a run in today to remind my body what running feels like. As a result doubt has crept into my mind. Will I be able to do as well as I know I can? Am I ready? Can I even do it?

Luckily I have faith in myself. By no means am I a half expert, but I have been to the dance before. I know what 13.1 miles feels like. I know that by mile 3 I will be doubting if I can even run any further. I know at mile 7 I will start to get so hungry I could eat a full Thanksgiving turkey. I know at mile 10 I will be convincing myself “only a 5K more!” And I know by mile 13 I will sprint my hardest .1 mile I know I can. So from that standpoint I have been through the motions before and know what I am capable of.

I also had a 10K run a few weekends ago and walked away from that experience feeling very positive. My time was good, I handled the cold weather well and the course was very hilly and I didn’t let that stop me.

So naturally I am just going through the nerves anyone experiences when they know they are on the doorsteps of something very important to them. And as long as I am confident in myself, don’t get too high, don’t get too low I know I will complete my goal.

#3 is on its way!

Final Day of 28 Day Meal Plan

So today marks the final day of my 28 day meal plan. Overall I can say I really enjoyed it. Just to recap the plan was 5 meals a day, 5 days a week for 4 weeks. Consisting of Chicken, Eggs, Steak, Rice, Vegetables and Fish just to name a few.

I found the plan to be a success. Not because I dropped major weight, although yes I did lose weight. (Not sure exactly how much, maybe next time I should track that). But I found it successful because I really took myself to school as far as healthy eating was concerned.

My preconceived notions of healthy eating was very uneducated. I was always under the impression that I needed to eat tons of salads and fruit if I wanted to be healthy. Instead I learned the value of proteins, carbs, vegetables and most importantly portion control. I even took it as far as to go out and get a scale so I could measure out the amount of food I needed every day.

So now moving forward I feel completely confident that I changed my eating habits where I will be smarter with what I eat. Outside of the noticeable weight loss I feel like going through this plan has made a major impact on my life.

 

The initial shopping trip

The initial shopping trip

First day planned out!

First day planned out!

Delicious smoothie

Delicious smoothie

Fish/ Veggie Dinner

Fish/ Veggie Dinner

Weekly Workout Recap

The third week of my Tough Mudder training is now in the books. This week was a really good week because my girlfriend asked to be a part of it. After my workout on Monday she asked “why don’t you ever want me to work out with you?” And it was never about not wanting her to, I just assumed she didn’t have an interest. Not that she doesn’t like to workout (she is a Crossfitter) I just figured since I was on my own plan doing my own thing that she did not have an interest. But we did and we had a lot of fun. She even helped me with my form, as I can be an uncoordinated mess sometimes.

Saturday- 1 Hour Spin Class

Sunday- Rest Day

Monday- 1 Mile Run (10:00 Min pace) + 40 Minute Upper Body Workout

Tuesday- 4 Mile Run (9:39 Pace)

Wednesday- 1 Mile Run (10:00 Min pace) + 40 Minute Lower Body Workout

Thursday- Rest Day

Friday– 40 Minute Upper Body Workout

 

Also this week I have decided to go on a 28 Day Meal Plan. As I highlight in that blog, I am looking to drop some weight and tone myself so I can handle the difficulty that my upcoming races (Tough Mudder, Half Marathon, Spartan) will ultimately present.

And as of about 10 minutes ago I decided to run the Rock ‘N Roll Philadelphia 5K and Spartan Race on the same day. I do not think this will be too physically impossible, however the mental aspect of finishing one race only to have to get to the next one will be intense. I cannot lie, the whole reason I am doing this is because of the 5K Medal (pictured below). The Philly Rock ‘N Roll Half Marathon was my very first Half Marathon I ever run. I loved it and thought the Rock ‘N Roll organization did a great job, however the medal really left something to be desired. I have run countless races since then whose medals blow it out of the water. So call my reasoning superficial, but ultimately it gets me up and active so that’s not a bad thing right?

Onward and upward…..

 

Look at this medal, wouldn’t you squeeze this race in before a Spartan Race?!phi-5k-medal1

Fitness Friday- Weekly Workout Recap

The 2nd week of Tough Mudder training rolls right along…..

Saturday- Rest Day

Sunday- 5K Mud Run!

Monday- 40 Minute Upper Body Workout + 1 Mile Run

Tuesday- 3 Mile Run (9:40 Pace)

Wednesday- 40 Minute Lower Body Workout + 10 Minute Elliptical

Thursday-  3 Mile Run (9:40 Pace)

Friday- Rest Day

 

All and all a solid week. Getting into to the routine of the tough mudder program. And I had a 5K Mud Run to start the week that was a lot of fun. Prepared me for what I can expect in the upcoming months with the Spartan Race and Tough Mudder. I was surprised with my climbing ability overall. I was up those cargo nets and rock walls like spiderman!

 

Some images from the run….

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Weekly Workout Recap

This week started my 3 month Tough Mudder training. Another 3 month plan to go through the ups and downs and I look forward to every minute!

Saturday- 2 Mile Run (9:15 Pace)

Sunday- Rest Day

Monday- 40 Minute Upper Body Workout

Tuesday- 2 Mile Run (9:30 Pace)

Wednesday- Rest Day

Thursday- 2 Mile Run (9:40 Pace)

Friday- 40 Minute Upper Body Workout

 

The first Upper Body workout was intense. It is a lot of TRX work and focused around arm/ shoulder strength training with some core work. This will be the first time in all of my fitness experiences that I will be focusing on just more than running. So it will definitely be a shake up of what I am used to. And so far it has been a lot of fun.

I have always felt like when I am lifting in the gym I am just kind of going through the motions with no real rhyme or reason. It is good to have an actual plan to follow to get me where I need to be.

Also this week I was introduced to the #TMPushUpClub. If you do not know this is a hashtag used to connect people who are in the Tough Mudder program. Each day at noon the official Tough Mudder twitter account rolls 4 dice. The 4 dice represent the amount of push ups to do and in how many sets.

It’s a small thing, but something I really enjoy. When I started my running journey I was very much a lone man on an island. As I have said before my biggest support system (or so I thought) was my girlfriend at the time. Not to rehash much but she was unsupportive and it caused me to experience a lot of exciting new things alone. So as a result I gravitated towards social media. The beauty of hashtags is that it connects you with people experiencing the same things. And as someone who just started running at the time it was good to not feel alone.

Fast forward a year later and I still very much enjoy the social aspect of all of this. Call it a psychological thing if you would like, but I enjoy being connected to a like minded community. So having found the #TMPushUpClub, I am very excited to experience this new journey and share what I am going through.

 

Modified TRX Training. Swing works just like the TRX Strap. Intense!

Modified TRX Training. Swing works just like the TRX Strap. Intense!

First day of the #TMPushUpClub!

First day of the #TMPushUpClub!

5K PR and What is Going on With My Knee??

This week was my first virtual 5K and a PR for that same run! It was the US Running- Crazy Monkey 5K. As I mentioned it was my first virtual 5K and I really liked it. The medal that came with the 5K is probably the nicest medal I have received to date as far as quality and look goes. The US Running site does a lot of different virtual 5K’s and I know this will not be my last one. I can’t deny it, a big part of me does it for the medals. No shame in my game.

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I was happy I made it through the 5K because my knee, from what I can tell, is pretty messed up. Long story short I was moving my parents this past weekend and took a pretty nasty fall on some concrete. My right knee braced the fall and took the entire impact of my body crashing down. I do not know what is going on in there but something feels like it is moving around and unattached and clearly shouldn’t be. So needless to say I concentrated on every single stride that my right foot took during the run.  The weird thing is, that it does not hurt to walk or run on. It only hurts when I move it in certain directions. Honestly it feels like the knee is held together by tape and rubber bands. But after the run it did feel a bit better so I was happy I didn’t do more damage.

For that 5K I also hit a PR! To date, my fastest 5K was 29:30. For this race I finished in a time of 28:55! I could sense towards the beginning of the run that I would hit a PR, but I knew it would be tough. So I kept at it and at about the 2.25 mile mark I kept telling myself “ok keep a fast pace and you can take it easy towards the end”. I am glad I didn’t listen to myself because “taking it easy” is not how you accomplish things.

That is what I would like to work on next; pushing myself harder. I have always thought that running was never too difficult on me physically. Not to suggest running is easy, but I always found that my legs held up and so did my body pretty well during long runs. Clearly running is a very difficult activity, but I never had to fight my body as much as I would have thought (if that makes any sense).

So the next part of my journey is to push myself physically. Get past my comfort zone as they say. Luckily I have a 5K Mud Run next weekend, a Spartan Race in a few months and Tough Mudder shortly after that. I feel those will be good races to get myself out of a comfort zone and into a mentality of pushing myself even when I think I can’t.

Outside of that I also started to increase my running activity on social media. I have always been pretty active about my running on Twitter, but recently I felt like there was no real resource on twitter dedicated to the running community in Philadelphia. For those that do not know Philadelphia is a very rich community as far as running is concerned. Most major towns have an official running company, there is a race just about every weekend, and a lot of national running celebrities will come here to partake in our major runs.

So this week I set out and created the Twitter handle: @RunningPhilly. In less than a weeks time I already have more followers on that than I do my personal twitter that I have had for years. I am getting pretty good feedback from it and have had a lot of good interactions with people. I even created this logo to start branding myself a little more:

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So here I am. Injured, PR’ing 5K’s and active in the Philadelphia Running Twitter community. A relatively good week all things considered. Just like that the running journey continues….

Weekly Recap

So the title of this blog is not dedicated towards a weekly workout recap because there wasn’t much to be had. For the past few days I have been recovering an injury that slowed down running a bit.

It is hard to consider it an actual injury since the issue I was dealing with was an extreme case of sunburn on my quads. None the less walking has been very difficult this week so running wasn’t even a thought.

Last week I went to the beach and decided it would be good to get some sun, without the use of sunscreen. Lesson learned. I had what felt like 2nd degree burns on my legs. I went out for a mile run to finish the last day of my 40 day running streak and I thought I ran a full marathon.

So to prevent anything worse I took Saturday- Wednesday off from running. But last night got right back on it and went out for a 5K.

Taking 5 days off like that impacted me more than expected. Not so much physically. Sure the run was tough, but I finished in good time all things considered.

More importantly the days off showed me how much running has consumed my life. First off I felt like I was getting cabin fever. My typical schedule has been working, get home, prepare dinner and make time for a run. All said and done I probably only get maybe an hour to an hour and a half of time after work to myself not spent running every day. So to have all this free time was very weird to me.

The days of me coming home, sitting on the couch and wasting the evening seem like they are very distant.

Also I felt like I was missing out. I track my running on Nike+ and have a handful of connections on their. Watching some people record runs while I was sitting at home resting made me feel like I was missing out and almost lazy to an extent.

The brief time away really showed me how much running is becoming a part of me. Even though I have completed 10 mile races, half marathons and other longer distance runs, I still have always felt like a casual runner. And compared to most runners out there I probably am. But for me the time off showed me how much I am not so casual, and it is something that is a big part of me.

Now that I am back on the horse I look forward to the next few runs!

Upcoming running schedule:

7/15- Crazy Monkey 5K (First Virtual Race!)

7/27- Merrell Down and Dirty 5K

8/24-  Philadelphia OUCH! Race 15K

9/6- The Inaugural Philly 10K

 

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