Weekly Fitness Recap

So this week was week 2 of my Chicago Marathon training plan. As I have blogged before I got into the marathon through charity so I skipped the lottery. However this week the lottery was officially announced so I was very happy to see so many people find out they will be running their first or next 26.2 miles this October!

Outside of my workouts from this week I also began tracking my nutrition. I am using the MyFitnessPal App to track everything I eat. I wrote this last week, but I would like to lose about 20-30 pounds before I run the marathon. I am confident I can run at my current weight, but I have always wanted to lose at least 15 pounds so I figured my first marathon was the best time to make this a reality.

That being said here was my week:

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Weekly Fitness Recap

This week began my first official training week for the Chicago Marathon! It is going to be a long, difficult, scary journey, but at the end will reap major rewards.

“The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly”

My first week of official Chicago Marathon training looked like:

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: Rev Run 5 Miler

Monday: 2.5 Mile Run (Dropped my car off at the mechanic with no ride back)

Tuesday: 4 Mile Run

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: 4 Mile Run

Friday: 30 Minute Weight Lifting

Overall a very good week. I did more running than my training plan called for. The plan has me running a max of 6 miles the first week and I ran 10.5. Ultimately it is assuming I am starting from scratch, however I have already run 3 official races so far this year and am near the end of a Half Marathon training plan, so I modified the first official week for more miles.

On Sunday I had the Rev Run 5 Miler and did a lot better than expected. The run was full of hills that I was certain would present issues. However I pushed through them and was only 2.5 minutes off of my 5 Mile PR time. So needless to say I was happy. I ran the run with one of my co-workers and she was able to get a picture of me finishing:

Finishing the race

Finishing the race

I am looking forward to next week. I am going to start focusing more on weight loss at that point. I have always said if I am going to run a full marathon I would like to drop some weight. So starting next week I am going to focus on nutrition just as much as running. I always try and eat right for the most part, but now I will begin tracking calories on a daily basis. Overall a great first week headed towards the Chicago Marathon. Only 24 more to go!

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Your Excuses Are Your Problem

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The 119th running of the Boston Marathon was this week. The great thing about this marathon is that it brings out a lot of positive and feel good stories. There are plenty to be found in this years running, but it’s probably the person who finished the race last that has the best story of all.

Maickel Melamed completed the 26.2-mile course in about 20 hours, crossing the finish line around 5 a.m. You probably have seen the story by now. What makes his story so amazing is that Melamed was born with muscular dystrophy yet still conquered every last of the 26.2 miles. I’m no doctor so I can’t sit here and tell you what it is like to live with this, but after watching the video I would be in awe if he finished a local 5K race let alone the Boston Marathon.

What makes his story so amazing is what it says to everyone else in the world. Not just in the running community, but in any area of life. Excuses on why something cannot be done are exactly that, excuses. Whether it’s finishing the Boston Marathon or getting yourself out of debt, Melamed’s story applies to any situation someone faces. If you have an obstacle in front of you there is no magic potion needed to get around it. You have to make a plan and attack it head on, regardless of difficulties.

Too many times people will be quick to tell you why something can’t be done. It’s pretty simple why they think this way, it’s a lot easier to say “no” or “can’t” than it is to actually get it done. Think about it, accomplishing a goal takes time and dedication. Whereas saying “well it just can’t be done” takes no effort at all. I ran my first 5K in June 2013 and will run my first Marathon in October 2015. It would have been easy at anytime during that journey to just give up. I mean who has 2 years to dedicate towards one single goal? But I haven’t given up because it’s important to me. My story in no way compares to what Melamed did, nor would I ever suggest it.

If you want something, whatever it may be, you have to make a plan and go after it. If you do not, you probably never really wanted it bad enough and need to accept that as the real reason, and not because “you just can’t”

“Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success.” ~Dale Carnegie

More details on Melamed’ story here.

Help Me Increase My Charity Lead!

Currently I am leading the Run For Autism Chicago Marathon fundraising efforts (as seen below) by over $500. The entrance for donations has just started so I do not expect this lead to stay around for much longer.

If you can, help me increase that lead by donating here. Of course by doing this you will be helping out the Organization for Autism Research as they continue their efforts in Scholarship Programs, Research Grants and so much more that they do for the Autism community.

Your donations are greatly appreciated.

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Running: Just as Much Mental as it is Physical

Today I was having a conversation with my girlfriend about her wanting to run. She has run many times before. As she puts it she likes to do 5K’s and that is all. It’s not a major part of her life like it is mine, but she does it. She was saying how she wants to run a 5K in April (about 2 months from now) so she should start running now.

The convo reminded me of when I was training for my first 5K. I remembered how nervous I was and how I was afraid of the distance. Fast forward a year and a half later and I laugh at that thought. I feel confident that if someone forced me to run a 5K after waking me up in the middle of the night I would have no problem with it.

What this convo made me feel the most was how much of your mental state plays a factor in running. Sure I have changed physically since I have first started running, but it hasn’t been a crazy transformation like the ones you see in one of those before and after photo’s. So for me I don’t think it is easier now to run a 5K because of my physical shape. I have never really been out of shape. Sure I could easily afford to lose weight, but at the same time for most my life I keep myself physically active. Whether it is backyard sports or casually going to the gym even when I first started running I could at least be considered “active” (whatever that may mean).

So if the physical part hasn’t been a major change, something must be causing that mindset. And it is clear it is the mental aspect. Like I said, when I first trained for a 5K I was nervous about it. Nervous I wouldn’t be able to finish or it would be too tough on me. Fast forward a year and a half and I have completed 3 Half Marathons, a triathlon, spartan race, duathlon, 15K, 10 mile runs, etc. etc. So by now a 5K just doesn’t present that big of a hurdle to me. I am not saying they are easy, but the way I look at it is different.

That would probably be my biggest advice to someone just starting out in running; don’t let the space between your ears stop you from achieving your goals. I recently wrote about how easy it would be for someone with no experience to train for a 10 mile run in 2 months. Someone wrote me backlash on how I was a fool for suggesting that and how difficult it would be. Sure it will be difficult, but that doesn’t mean impossible. I am living proof. I went from couch to Half Marathon in 2 months myself, and I never let my brain tell me I couldn’t. And in two months I completed my first Half Marathon. Because every day I went out there and just trained as hard as I could.

So for those of you thinking you need to be a specific body type to complete specific running goals, you are mistaken. Sure physicality has something to do with it. But just as important (if not more) you have to believe you can.

This Years Back To Back Training Plans

In 2014 I ran a few different race types that I had to have multiple training plans for. One for a triathlon, one for a half marathon and one for a Spartan Race. I don’t know if a doctor would support this but I essentially took 3 different training plans and Frankensteined them to make one plan. I essentially had one long training plan that lasted from February to October.

A little background on me, if I do not have a training plan I feel lost. If there isn’t something on my fridge telling me what today’s goal is I am like a lost child in a candy store. I am actually going through it currently. I don’t have a run to train for right now and I feel like I am a ship lost at sea just floating around aimlessly. I do have a 5 mile race next month so I am still in the gym and running, but it feels sporadic at best.

As I have blogged before 2015’s goal is a Full Marathon. I entered the NYC Marathon lottery so wont know for another month if I am in. But I do know whatever one I run it won’t be until late fall (Oct./Nov). And I picked out a 25 week training plan so training wouldn’t start until around May. So here I am a bag floating in the wind until May. I just don’t think I can do it. Am I becoming the type of person obsessed with running? I don’t think that is it. I think I am just afraid of getting out of my routine and not being ready to start the training plan. I know it sounds ridiculous, but it is how my mind works.

So that brings me to how I am once again Frankensteining a few training plans in 2015. In April of this year I am running the Hot Chocolate 15K and one month later will be running the Broad Street 10 Mile Run. I am confident I can keep this “bag in the wind” mentality without a plan and complete those races but I have decided not to do that.

So I have gone back to the well and dusted off my 8 Week Half Marathon training plan. Only this time I have expanded it to 13 weeks. I essentially took the last 5 weeks of the plan and tacked it on to expand it to 13 weeks. So here are my plans for 2015. Starting on February 2nd I will begin a plan that takes me to the 15K and 10 Mile runs in April and May. And after the 10 Mile Run I will begin my Full Marathon Training plan. So I am looking at being on a training plan from February 2nd to November 1st.

I need structure, what can I say?

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Training Plan #1. Starts Feb. 2nd

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Training Plan #2. Starts May 11th

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!

Marathon Training Plan Picked Out

I have posted previously that my goal for 2015 is to run a full marathon. And hopefully that will be the Chicago Bank of America Marathon.

As a result I have selected a 25 week (6.25 months) plan by the Salt Lake Running company. I researched a good amount and I wanted one that would spread out most the year since Chicago is October of next year.

It looks like a good plan for a beginner. A lot of the plans only went up to 20 miles and really only hit it once. From what I have learned in training for a triathlon and half marathons, you really only need to train to 75% of the total miles. The other 25% will work itself out on race day. So while I wasn’t concerned about just running up to 20 miles, I did want to hit that mark a few times. I wanted to make sure I would be comfortable getting to 20 multiple times before having to get to 26.2. Lets face it, if you can run 20 miles you can run 26.2.

So I like this plan because it gets to that 20-22 mile mark a couple of times and that will settle my nerves more than anything else. Running has always been a mental thing for me more than physical.

Now of course this is all contingent on getting into Chicago as it is lottery based. So fingers crossed. If not I will still plan for another one at that time. I have NY and Las Vegas as back up’s. Although I know NY is a long shot where as Las Vegas I can sign up for with no issue.

So here I am, on my way to a full marathon. Just your every day normal guy who chooses to put one foot in front of the other.

The Official Plan

June 2014…. My Best Month Running To Date

With today being the last day of June I recap my running for this month. In the year I have been actively running, it is by far my best month of running yet. This month was a lot of firsts and major accomplishments…..

1st Triathlon

1st time running every day in one month

Most miles ran in one month

Fastest average pace per mile in a month

2nd Half Marathon

 

This month is the start of the 2nd year of my running journey. The first year was a lot of fun and provided me with a lot of firsts. But, you better believe the best has yet to come…..

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Half Marathon #2: I’m a 2x Half Marathon Runner!

So this past weekend was the ODDyssey Half Marathon in Philadelphia. It was definitely by far the hardest run I have run to date (that didn’t involve some sort of cycling portion, just run). The run was the traditional Half Marathon course in Philadelphia. Which is running around the Schuylkill river (a pretty site for running). Although this one was a little different in the sense that you ran a portion through Fairmount Park. One of the largest parks the city of Philadelphia has to offer.

What made this one so difficult were the hills. There were 3 hills in particular. One right before mile 5, the second was about a minute after that one ended and the 3rd (probably the steepest) was at mile 13. The first two hills weren’t awful. They were steep for sure, but a lot of my training has been uphill so I ran up them without a problem. The problems started after the first 2 hills. I was worn out so I was still running, but at a much slower pace. The 3rd hill was a monster and at the very end of the race. If there were 40 people within my line of site at that hill, maybe 2 were actually running it (not this guy). So I walked that hill for the most part. It was very steep and after running 12 miles it just wasn’t in the cards to be running up that monster.

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