“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act but a habit.”
Aristotle

This particular post is meant to be read from bottom to top if you want to follow it chronologically. 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 – August 2011


9/30

Week 15 Day 5. My first run in almost two weeks. I did 2.5 miles in 35:57 today. Cardiovascular-wise I could have kept going my intended 4+ miles. My knee started bothering me though, so I called it before hurting it worse. I really just wanted to do a light run anyway, to ease back into the schedule without injuring the knee. Mission accomplished. My phone is jacked up…won’t play my iPod through headphones now, so I had to do it solo…no inspiration in my ears. That’s harder than I thought it’d be. I used my new heart rate monitor for the first time, and I like it. It helped keep me in a moderate effort zone easier than I have to do myself. Nine hours after the run, my knee is not too bad.


9/26
Week 15 Day 1. I’m getting worried. I didn’t run at all last week, because I spent the week in Indiana at a swiftwater rescue technician class. I took my gear to run if I had time, and I did. I didn’t have the energy though. Spending 8-10 hours each day Monday through Thursday on the river, taking a beating and putting my body through torture was enough. I was so sore on Wednesday morning, getting out of bed was a task. After not running for a week, I’m looking forward to getting back on schedule and preparing for this race. Today is a 5 mile run. What I’m worried about, though, is this…I hurt my knee yesterday while filming an Upward promo video. I don’t know what I did or how I did it, but my left knee feels like it’s bruised…right on the knee cap. It hurts to walk, and my limp is evident there is something wrong. All my other knee pain in the past has been right above the knee cap, and I’ve not had any real problems with that pain in a week or so. This new pain has me worried for two reasons…it’s a new pain, unusual to anything I’ve ever felt and doesn’t go away with stretches like the past pain…and it hurts so bad to even walk that the thought of running is out of the question. The last thing I need is to keep running and blow it out completely. However, I’m already off schedule in my training that if I take much more time off, I won’t be ready for this race on October 23. I know God works all things out for His plan and His glory, so I’m trying not to get bummed about this. I know it’s only a temporary setback in my overall fitness plan of running for the rest of my life, and I’m praying it’s a temporary setback for this race goal…that I can get it healed and get back on the road.

9/18
Week 13 Day 7. Today is the Cardinals Care 6K Run Home for Kids. A chilly morning in the low 60’s with rain on the horizon. My last two races were in the rain…I’m getting used to this. At the start line, the rain backed off to a drizzle and held throughout most of the race. Not too often I get to participate in a race where Jackie Joyner-Kercie gives the start command. Pretty cool. I held a steady pace throughout the first two miles, and on the last 1.74 mile return trip to Busch Stadium, I picked it up, trying not to let anyone pass me. Two people did, although I passed over two dozen. I was winded and hurting, but knew I could make it, seeing Busch Stadium in the distance all the way back. In the last block leading up to the stadium, I picked it up even more, and as I ran through the tunnels under the stadium and onto the field, I was at near sprint. Pretty amazing experience to be able to run through the tunnels and onto the field, to hear my name called on the stadium PA as I crossed the finish line. The rain was really coming down in that last two minutes. I finished the 3.74 miles in 44:22, an average 11:45/mile pace! My fastest yet. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” – Phil 4:13 I can’t wait to start experiencing these races with y’all. I think you’d enjoy doing this. I know I’d love to do it with you at my side, instead of alone. Next race is the half marathon in 5 weeks.

9/14
Week 13 Day 3. I traded this weekend’s long run day for today…7 miles today. I started this run early, even though I’m not an early morning person. Most races are morning races, so I need to be able to adjust to running early…6:15 this morning…still dark…and raining, with temps in the 60’s. I was cold as soon as I got wet, within the first quarter mile. I jogged this entire route, stopping only long enough at the gas station 3 miles in to buy a gel pack for fuel. It rained the entire time, which actually served to keep me cool…but it also kept my leg muscles from warming up and loosening like I’m used to…they were tight the entire run. This run took me 01:49:29. When I look at that number…almost two hours of running non-stop, I’m in denial still. It’s just over half of the race I’m training for…I just ran a fourth of a marathon. I burned over 1600 calories before 8:30 a.m…more than most people burn in a day. The pace was slower than I’d hoped for, over 15:00/mile. Not the pace I want, but I ran 7 miles! I’ll take the pace…and get better.

9/12
Week 13 Day 1. At 10:45 p.m., I still hadn’t run today, and knowing I need to keep at it, I set off on a 4 mile run in the dark. Difficult run in the dark, but I took a flashlight to help light the road in front of me…no time for stepping in a crack and twisting an ankle. This was a great run…51:40, just under a 13:00/mile pace. I found my comfortable “push pace” and kept it throughout. I need more of these runs.

9/10
Week 12 Day 6. Normally a long run day…7 miles, but today is the Fight Like a Firefighter 5K in Wentzville. It rained all morning and all through the race, very chilly. Which is fine by me…I’d rather be cold and wet than hot, humid and sticky. Ran this race in 36:36 which is 2:58 faster than when I ran this course on June 25, and just under a minute faster than my last 5K on July 4 at 37:30. I’m ecstatic about that! I started out very strong, in the middle to the front of the pack for about the first half mile or so. Much faster than my normal pace, I pushed it through some chest pain and shortness of breath for an extra few minutes before slowing back. I would pick it up every time someone passed me, trying to keep their pace for as long as I could. I know I had a pretty slow pace in the back stretch as I worked past the chest pain. It never reached a critical point, just took 5 minutes or so at a slow jog to get past it before I could resume my normal race pace. Gotta push through the pain if I ever want to get past this plateau in my training. No one new passed me in the last mile…just a few that had been leap frogging me for awhile, and I stayed ahead of them in the end. Overall, I feel very positive about this run because of that…pushing past my comfort pace for longer than I ever have, and improving my time…small improvement, but an improvement nonetheless. It’s a great day the Lord has made..great day for a run! He is my Sustainer.

As I came into the last .25 mile, with the finish line in sight, I picked it up to about a 10:00/min/mile pace and held that throughout the last .25 mile, sprinting the last few hundred yards or so. Your mom brought you all out to watch me, and I thought I heard SD yelling as I passed…turns out it was mom. While I didn’t see y’all, just knowing you were there to cheer me on was awesome! I love y’all so much, and it’s encouraging and uplifting to see you in my corner. Here’s the post-race picture with you. I hope I do you proud.

9/9
Week 12 Day 5. I haven’t run for a few days. My work schedule this week had me pulling some 12 hour shifts at dispatch, and it ain’t easy to find motivation to run after a 12 hour dispatch shift. It didn’t help that my knees are killing me. They’re getting worse after each run…taking longer to recover…it’s definitely time to get them checked out, because if things keeps going like this, I’m not gonna make the half marathon. Today, I did 3 miles on the treadmill…interval work. For the first mile, I ran two minutes at a 6.0 (10/min/mile), then jogged at a 4.5 or 5.0 speed 4 minutes for two intervals. From there forward, I did 1 minute at the 6.0 speed, and 2 minutes at either the jogging speed or a walk, depending on how I was feeling. I think I only walked two or three times, and still only did so for no more than a minute before picking back up to a 4.5 or 5.0 speed. Did the first mile in 11:07, which is smoking for me! Finished the 3 miles in 35:30 and was winded…felt really good.

On another note, I got the results of my department health/fitness test back today. I already knew a lot of what I’d be seeing, but I picked up some additional stats and information to help gauge my progression through this journey. I’m meeting with the owner of the company next week to redo my custom-tailored diet and fitness plan around my current training plan for the half in October. He’s also going to hook me up with a sports physical therapist to figure out what’s going on with my knees and find a plan to get that issue fixed. Woo hoo!

Tomorrow is another 5K race, same course as the Run for the Ridge I did back on June 25. I did that one in 39:34, which was 3:30 faster than my first one a month earlier. On July 4, I did a 5K in 37:30, so I’m really looking to beat both these times. Your mom is bringing the three of you out to cheer me on, so I know that’ll provide me an extra boost! She sent me a text tonight that reads:

I asked if they wanted to watch you run a race tomorrow. NE says, “That will be AWESOME!”

Wish I could’ve been there to hear that. 🙂

9/5
Week 12 Day 1. Yesterday was rest day. At work again today, and 4.5 miles await me. Circling the block around the fire station, I got 3.7 miles done before getting dispatched on a house fire. Pretty pathetic run at 01:01:57. Got no excuses for this one…it just sucked.

9/3

Week 11 Day 6. Long run day. Six miles. It’s a work day, and I’d planned to get up at 4:30 to run before work, because I really don’t like running long distance at work…and I don’t prefer to run on the treadmill. Running almost always leaves me wiped, and the long runs are energy zappers. Anyway, you know me…I’m not a morning person, so when the alarm went off at 4:30 this morning, after laying in bed trying to fall asleep until 12:30, I hit reset and fell back asleep. At work, we spent two hours in the heat testing fire hose, and when we got back I wanted to get it over with while I was still hot and sweaty. I told myself if I ran at least 3 miles, I’d be happy. At the 3 mile mark, I was right at 40:07 and feeling decent, a 13:35/mile pace. I wanted to finish the 5K distance, so I did and then walked for a minute. My left knee had been hurting since about the 1 mile mark, and I was mentally ready to call it done. As I walked that minute, though, I psyched myself up for one more mile, convincing myself to at least do 4 miles. I finished that 4th mile and as I was taking a walking break, I was vividly aware of the pain in both knees, my hamstrings and my back. But I reasoned that if I knocked out one more mile to hit 5 miles total, I could rest easy knowing I could take tomorrow off…with just one more mile.

To be honest, I should have stopped there…or at least at the 4.6 mile mark. At 4.6 miles, the treadmill timed out at the one hour per session maximum, so I had to reset it and start again to finish. The pain in my knee was at least not unbearable anymore…because I could barely hold myself upright. By the time I reset the treadmill, I reasoned I only had 1.4 miles to go. If I could just push through the pain for 1.4 more miles, I’d have the rest of the day and all day tomorrow to rest, knowing I’d pushed myself past my comfort zone. For that last 1.4 miles, I could only run for .10 miles, having to walk for .15 for every .10 mile. After each running segment, I had to hold onto the treadmill to keep myself upright…my back is still sore. That last mile was the hardest mile I’ve ever run…mentally and physically. I was short of breath the entire time and really struggled to get through it. I definitely went past my comfort zone in that last mile. It wasn’t a pretty mile, but I finished 6 total miles in 01:30:40, just over a 15:00/mile pace overall. As I write this, I’m sitting with an ice pack on both knees and wishing I was in an ice bath. My legs are screaming “I hate you!” On a side note, a coworker showed me some exercises to do on a foam roller with my quadriceps and knees. It’s excruciatingly painful, but it stretches the quad muscles and the adjoining ligaments and tendons, expanding and strengthening them so that the knee pain will eventually improve…maybe even go away.

9/1
Week 11 Day 4. Ran 4.5 miles tonight about a half hour after dinner. The temp was probably still close to 100*, and this run kicked my butt. I did the first half without stopping, then stopped to buy a power drink at the halfway point, and on the return trip, I had to stop and walk about a dozen times for 50-100′ at a time, always trying to run twice as far before and after each walking break. The first mile took me 11:47, which is awesome. My fastest mile yet. Total time for the 4.5 miles was 01:07:02, which averages out to a 15:00/mile pace overall. Part of my issue on the return trip was not only the heat, but an upset stomach. I was not adequately prepared for this run. I was slightly dehydrated, and I ate a heavy meal about 30 minutes beforehand. The power drink at the halfway point only served to exacerbate the problem. At least I didn’t puke, though I felt like I would at any time. Overall, I’d be happier with tonight’s run if I could have done more without walking. Stupid heat.

Total miles logged in September = 38.7. And that’s September 2011. To continue this journey with me, check out my October Run Journal.

Love,

Dad

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