“To climb steep hills requires a slow pace at first.”
William Shakespeare

If you’ve found this post and want to go back to the beginning of my running journey,
Start here.

Go here to see My Run Journal – July 2011

8/1
Week 7 Day 1. Today is 3.5 miles, and it’s hot. Stupid hot. Triple digits again. Before the heat index. I tried a late evening run for the first time. I don’t usually like running at night, because in the past, working out usually wakes me up. Evening workouts leave me lying in bed wide awake. However, I’ve got a few things working against me here. Running in this heat is just asking for heat stroke or injury, so it’s gotta be early morning or late evening after the sun goes down. I’m not an early riser, so before bed it is. I’ve also been really tired after my runs lately. I don’t like it, but I’m going to try to embrace it and run before bed.

I’ve been reading an article from a health website every day or so, and I just read one that talked about how new runners shouldn’t be focused on pace as much as their perceived work effort. They encouraged that by focusing on the perceived work effort, the pace will improve on its own. As I run more, it becomes easier to run longer distances, without becoming winded. The body adapts to the work, and as it does, it takes more effort to continue improving performance. That’s the wall I’ve been at the base of for a week or so…not improving and finding it more and more difficult to get out and run. I’ve been focusing on my per mile pace so much that I’ve been discouraged in some of my runs.

Tonight was a good run. I took a new route through the neighborhood that I’ll call Hutching’s Farm. Right at 3.5 miles, it was a nice jog with new scenery. I kept my head up more…because it was dark and other people were on the sidewalk, with overhanging trees threatening to decapitate me. Haha. I walked more on this run than any other 3.5 mile jog…but I also ran faster than normal. Did the first mile in about 12 minutes and was winded by 1.25 miles. At most, I only walked .05 miles at once, always running at least twice as far. Total time was 51:31, which is 4:23 faster than my 3.5 miles 7 days ago. I feel good about that. Maybe this is the start of climbing over the wall. I also incorporated 10 minutes of stretching my legs and low back afterward. Hoping it will help with the soreness.

8/2
Week 7 Day 2. My knees are killing me today. More so than normal. I blame it on the shoes. I left my running shoes at work last week, so I’m using my older running shoes. Still, it’s off to the track for 2 miles of intervals. It’s another late night run, starting at 9:00 pm. Same routine as last week, a near sprint for 100 meters, walk 100, etc. Each 100 meter run was:

Lap 1 – 29.5 & 29.3
Lap 2 – 31.2 & 30.0
Lap 3 – 31.6 & 32.4
Lap 4 – 31.3 & 29.5
Lap 5 – 32.5 & 32.7
Lap 6 – 31.5 & 33.6
Lap 7 – 33.0 & 30.4
Lap 8 – 31.4 & 33.2

The last three intervals were actually in the parking lot, because they turned the track lights off. They were probably a little less than 100 meters, so I added 2 seconds to the time I had. As I was stretching afterward, I’d been sitting for a couple minutes when the app I use to log my runs said I’d reached my 2 mile goal. When I stopped it was at 1.94. Haha. I guess it takes a few minutes to “catch up”. Either way, I feel good about tonight’s run. My knees still hurt to beat the band though. Total time was 30:36…slower than the pace I’d prefer, but I’m not focusing on pace, remember.

8/3
Week 7 Day 3. It should have been a 3.5 mile run day, but a last minute decision to work a trade threw off my plans for a late night run. I’ll swap my rest day tomorrow for today.

8/4
Week 7 Day 4. 3.5 miles on the treadmill. After a sleepless night at work and a busy day, I did it at 8:45 at night. It was a good run, and I’m feeling great about it. I did it at a 5.0 pace, doing the first two miles in 12:10 and 12:08 respectively. At 2.5 miles, I walked for .1 mile and did that third mile in about 13 minutes. Somewhere in the last half mile, I walked for .05 of it and finished the 3.5 miles in 42:55. I was never really winded, but felt like I was working. For not having slept more than 3o minutes in over 36 hours, I feel good about this run. Time for a chocolate chip cookie. 🙂

8/5
Week 7 Day 5. Supposed to be a 40 minute cross-training day. I did 10 minutes on the treadmill for a health and wellness assessment, ad that’s it. Feeling lazy.

8/6
Week 7 Day 6. Long run day. From station #4 in Cave Springs, I ram up to Mid Rivers Mall and back. Six miles in 01:29:11. I told myself when I started my goal was 01:30:00, and that I’d be thrilled with anything under 01:25:00, but disappointed with anything over 01:40:00. I hit my goal, and I’m thrilled about it! I jogged the entire 6 miles nonstop. Although I had some slower paces going up some long hills, I never really was winded or short of breath. The entire run felt good, and as I write this 20 minutes after stopping, I feel great. Hungry, but great. I think the post-run stretching is working better, because my legs felt decent throughout the run. Gotta start improving the strength and flexibility in my lower back so it won’t hurt as much either. The weight of my sweat-soaked shirt weighs me down and causes me to hunch forward and look down, contributing to the back pain. I need to find a moisture resistant shirt that fits. I’m excited that I just hit this personal best! To think that four months ago, I couldn’t even jog a mile, and I just did six relatively easily on my cardio output! I now believe I can actually do this!

8/11
Week 8 Day 4. You’ll notice it’s been a few days since my last entry. I haven’t run all week…since my 6 mile run last Saturday. Several things going on this week threw off my schedule and sucked my motivation. I took Sunday as a scheduled and normal rest day following the long run Saturday. I was scheduled to run 4 miles, 2 miles, and 3.5 miles on Monday, Tuesday Wednesday this week with Tuesday being intervals. On Monday, I didn’t have the mental capacity to pull it together. I was struggling with some issues unrelated to running, but that’s another story. I couldn’t get it together mentally to tackle what I needed to do to keep training for the race. I just dropped the ball.

On Tuesday, I found some motivation to get out and finish the pool, and I found the people to come help, so I spent the day out in the heat doing what needed to be done before we could do what needed to be done with all the help coming in the evening. Too tired to run, and quite frankly still mentally fatigued from Monday. We were up until 3:00 a.m. working on the pool, so come Wednesday, I was exhausted…to say the least. I’m too old for all-nighters, and Wednesday was proof of that. I felt like crap all day, so no running again. The last thing I want to do is make things worse by forcing a run with extreme exhaustion. Which brings me to Thursday. After four days of no exercise…no running…no nothing but working on the pool, it’s time to get out and do something. It’s been too long. I should probably do 3.5 or 4 miles today, but I want to ease back into it, since I’m still not feeling 100 percent. I’m a little achy all over, with a sore throat and runny nose. I’m hoping it’s just allergies, as the weather has cooled down significantly in the past week…from 100’s to mid 70’s. Nonetheless, I’m out for 2 miles. I got 1.6 miles in before getting dispatched on a call, so that’s it. It was a slow, easy run around the station, about a 15/min per mile pace…enough to log some miles without over-stressing my weakened body.

I had been struggling with having not run for 3 of the days I should have. And then I sat down to write this, and before I did, I read an email with a daily devotion, and I find encouragement in the need for this week’s rest. My commitment to training is unwavering by this unplanned break, and I will press on toward the goal He has set out for me. You might find some encouragement in the devotion also:

Tough Sledding

Matthew 11:28-29
Jesus said, “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy
burdens, and I will give you rest” (v.28).

While we were on vacation in Alaska, our family visited the kennels that house Denali’s sled dogs. There we got to observe and learn about these amazing animals that help park rangers patrol the vast wilderness of Mount McKinley National Park during the long, harsh winter months.

One of the intriguing things we discovered about sled dogs is their incredible stamina. Patrols using the tireless canines can last up to 6 weeks—and the dogs are more than up for it. Alaskan Huskies live to run and pull. The only problem is that they don’t know when to stop. Rangers have to make them stop and rest. Otherwise, they’d simply run themselves to death.

Maybe it’s my love for dogs, but I saw a parallel to my life that was striking. I too love to “run” and “pull” my own weight. I’m the kind of person who is typically on the go and has trouble slowing down and resting. In fact, my family understandably gets after me when I wolf down (pun intended) a meal standing up.

A sled dog’s need for rest resonates with the words of David in Psalm 23: “The Lord is my Shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; He leads
me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength” (vv.1-3). This is a wonderful description of God’s loving care for us. Too often, however, I am running so hard that He can’t restore my weary heart. It’s why I need a wise and loving Shepherd who says, “Come to Me, all of you who are weary” (Matthew 11:28).

God meant for us to work and to pull our own weight (Genesis 2:15). But He also knows we need rest or we will run ourselves ragged. Jesus, may we learn to respond to Your call to rest. —Jeff Olson

8/25
Week 10 Day 4. Today was a rough day mentally. Got a lot done around the house with NE and SI, and it’s time to get back to running…the half marathon is only 8 weeks away. At 8:15 p.m., I set out for a jog on a 5.4 mile roundtrip route. It was a pretty slow pace, but after two and a half weeks off I’m looking to log the distance, not work on the speed yet. As I get back into the daily runs, I’ll begin reincorporating speed work. The run took me 01:28:49, but I did it virtually nonstop…”stopping” only long enough to buy a power drink at the designated gas station halfway point. I feel really good about this run…I was expecting a setback. And while it was about two minutes per mile slower than my desired race pace, I’m confident I can get the speed back in the coming weeks. I’m really encouraged that I could handle the distance well, without tapering off. The pace I set when I started was the pace I finished at. Finished with a 30 minute moonlit dip in the pool, a glorious way to end a run.

8/30
Week 11 Day 2. I took a dew days off between that run last Thursday and today. I forgot how hard running is on my knees. It took 2 days just to get to where I could walk up and down stairs without wincing in pain. Yesterday, I was at work, and we had training all day…high angle rescue work outside. I climbed over 200′ straight up, arm over arm, and it kicked my butt. I’m calling that a cross-training day. This morning after momma and all the kids were off to school, I set out on a route to get 4.5 miles done. A little faster pace, but still not back to where I was three weeks ago, I jogged all but about 200 yards…which came in three different walking breaks. This run wore me out. By the end, I could barely hold my own body upright. My breathing was fine and under control, but my legs and back were done. Total time was 01:03:47, an average 14:00/mile pace. I need to knock about a minute off per mile to hit my race goal. I do love the post-run swim in the pool.

8/31
Week 11 Day 3. Ran 3 miles in 42:00 tonight after the kids went to bed, right at a 14:00 pace. I think the first mile may have been a faster pace, though…sure felt faster at the start. Running in the dark is a challenge. I really need to find the energy to wake up and run early morning. Although, the post-run dip in the pool by moonlight is peaceful.

Total miles logged in August = 27.9. And that’s August 2011. To continue this journey with me, check out my September Run Journal.

Love,

Dad

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