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September 27, 2014

The Struggle is Real...

This is, possibly, the 5th or 6th time I've sat to write this post.  Everytime, I find something else to do.  Today, I decided against that.  It's been about a year since last I posted, and it's time to get back to reflecting and ranting.  A year ago, I was training for a half marathon, and today, I, in fact, ran one.  This is a tale of two completely different years, though.

Last year was probably my best training year ever.  It was my second most miles in a year (800), and the quality was outstanding.  When I ran the Hartford Half Marathon, I had a near perfect race.  I ended up running under two hours.  A few weeks later, my wife and I ran a halloween themed 5k.  Me pushing our youngest, she running with our oldest.  All was right.

A few weeks after that, we found out that we'd be having our third child.  This was completely unexpected.  Though I was thrilled, I got very anxious about it very rapidly.  I had been thrilled and easy going about the first two kids, so this was surprising.  All the logistics got in my head (sleeping arrangements, needing a new car for 3 car seats, daycare costs).  My anxiousness quickly turned to full-blown anxiety, and I barely slept over the ensuing 10 days. I may have run 2 days in that span, struggling through 2 miles at a time. Though I completely understood that everything would be good, and despite all the reassurances, I was having difficulty processing the logistical aspects.  This is where I have to say, the support I got from my family and the people at work was great.  People understood I was dealing with something, and were very sensitive to it.

My doctor put me on some low-dosage anti-anxiety meds so I would sleep and get back to equilibrium.  My weight dropped rapidly during this time; I lost 12 pounds in those 10 days, due to not sleeping.  The meds worked, enough, so I was getting 4-5 hours of sleep most nights between the Monday before Thanksgiving and the week before Christmas.  The trade offs were the side-effects.  The meds both really slowed down my metabolism AND made me ravenous.  I gained that weight back by New Year's Day, and then another 20 pounds by the end of March. At Thanksgiving, I was really just going through the motions, and somehow pushed through the Manchester RR, to get just under 40, for the seed card for this year.  I don't remember much about that race, except that it was pretty clear for me up in the seeded portion.  I also remember grading papers that weekend, and having another freak out, worried I wouldn't hit my goals (which needed to be met by April 30.  This was November 30).

Alas, I digress.  Around Christmas, everything was feeling normal, except my running.  While my anxiousness was gone by Christmas, my training was shot.  I had done 90+ miles in November and December, but they weren't quality.  January hit, and we had one of the coldest winters ever.  I didn't have the motivation to go out and run many days.  It hurt, because I ran about 75 miles in January & February combined.  I was miles behind last year, in every sense of that.  From that point on, I've been behind the 8-ball.  March was also colder, and I didn't get much running in, and my training has been lower than the past few years for the majority of the year.

When summer vacation hit, I thought I'd start getting in gear for a half marathon.  I amped up my running volume (though not that much).  Our son was born on July, and we were truly blessed, and I was feeling so good, I decided I could finally stop taking the meds*.  I only missed two days of running, and then ran every day for the rest of the month.  That running streak actually hurt me.  Still carrying the extra weight around (metabolism is shot, remember), running every day, over 100 miles, for 4 weeks does a little damage to your body.  I kept running.  I took 3 days off to start August, and ran some more.  I developed sciatica, and ran through that.  My legs basically haven't been right since mid-July.

Still, I continued on, varying my training very little over the past few weeks, to lead up to today: The Hogsback Half Marathon.^  Here are the positives: It was a very pretty run.  The leaves were changing, and we had a very nice view of the Farmington River for nearly the entire race.  It was well-stocked; every two miles, there was water.  When I was running, I felt good.  I started out as I wanted to, about 9:20 miles, and didn't push to go out too fast.  This is always a problem, and I felt I achieved my goal in this sense.  The best part was that I never once psyched myself out.  I've been having a lot of doubt about running, but I don't think I had a single negative thought (except looking at my last 5 mile splits).Overall, I finished, and I finished running.

There were certainly negatives, but maybe not as many as I thought at the finish.  First and foremost, there were hills.  I don't care about quantity, it's the quality.  These were serious hills.  The race started at the top of a hill, and dropped 397 feet to its lowest point (at mile 7).  It then proceeded to climb 125 feet over the next 5k (with several STEEP, short hills), and 260+ feet over the final 10k (but really, another 125 feet over the last mile, after leveling out for nearly 2 miles preceding it).  The last mile was a killer, looking more like a wall than a hill.  I knew all of this going into it, and I honestly didn't let it bother me.  When I knew I could walk faster than I was running uphill, I did.  I hate that, but I know it was the right strategy.  Secondly, there's nobody out on the course.  I feed off the crowd, because I'm too proud to let somebody see me slowing down.  Plus, with the smaller field, I couldn't pick people as my goal to catch up to.  That hurt my general racing strategy.

Also, I was terrible at pacing.  This weight is killing me.  Though I've been dieting, I'm not losing weight.  I've just plateaued for the past 2 months.  My pace suffered for this.  Still, the doctor told me earlier this week that I'm doing great, and the weight will, in fact, come off.  Because my blood work is okay, he's not worried about it.  He recognizes the side-effects, and said it could take a month ot a year for some people (I hope it's sooner).

This was my worst half-marathon finish time ever at 2:39 (7 minutes slower than my debut, 40 minutes slower than my best).  That's the thing that bothers me the most.  I know that I'm carrying nearly 25 pounds more than I did 50 weeks ago.  I know my training was good, but not that good.  I know that I can do better.

I am happy I tried some new races over this crazy year.  I won't be running either of them again, at least not any time soon.  But, I'm back...really, I'm back at the beginning or at least 5 years ago, when I started running this long.  Same pace, same weight.

Screw this: 2014 may have been a lost year.  The struggle may be real. But 2015, I'm coming for you, and I'm starting now.  I'm going to own you.

*When stopping anti-anxiety meds, it is important to a) do so as your physician directs you to, and b) to taper over an extended period of time, so your body doesn't go into withdrawal, and make it necessary to begin on the meds again.  When I stopped, I had been tapering for over 6 weeks.
^ The one race I ran during this time was the "Run Around the Block" in Block Island.  I had my first ever DNF.  It was hot & humid, and I was heavy.  There was heaving.  It was not say the least.

September 30, 2013


I guess I'll never let you know about my 14 miler.  It went well, but it was over a month ago.  I can't recall the details any more.  However, the thing that got me (and actually stuck in my head) was the weird playlist.  This is what I was provided with when I went with random internet radio.  Mind you, I put in "rock" as my criteria.  Nothing about this playlist is rock, it seems. (I also mowed the lawn after the run, so some songs were from that)

As for September, I'm a whopping 25 miles behind last year.  Two years ago I was pumped at this time of year because I had hit 600 miles for the year.  Last year, I cruised past that.  This year, I'm already at 647.  What a difference a year (or two) makes.  Can't find the information from September over the past few years.  I do know a few things.

September 2012: 120
September 2013: 85

  • 2012 - 693
  • 2013 - 647

While I've fallen off pace, I have confidence I've got a chance to catch up in October and November.  Last year, I put in a total of 117 miles in those two months.  That included 1 marathon.  So, for all my other runs, I did 90ish miles in two months.  I can handle that, and start closing the gap.  I'll by no means match last year's mileage, but it'll still be a great year.

2 weeks until the half marathon in Hartford.  This will be my 3rd time running it.  I hope to break 2 hours.  Here goes nothing.

August 31, 2013

Summer in a second...

So, for this past summer, I didn't blog at all.  School was off exactly two months, and I ran with it (and during it).  I just didn't find time to blog about it, and frankly, that's okay.  Still, we can update:

July 2010 Miles: 83
July 2011 Miles: 115
July 2012 Miles: 106
July 2013 Miles: 106

August 2010 Miles: 83
August 2011 Miles: 115
August 2012 Miles: 125
August 2013 Miles: 113

YTD Miles
  • 2010 - 407
  • 2011 - 546
  • 2012 - 573
  • 2013 - 560
    • A decrease of 2.3%
  • End of December - 223
  • January - 222.5
  • February - 221
  • March - 223
  • April - 223 (UGH!!!)
  • May - 222.5 (and there we are)
  • June-220.4
  • July-219
  • August-216.8 (let's keep going)
I'll post about my 14 miler today ASAP.

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