Tag Archives: training

4 miles, easy

Friday night was an easy run. That phrase has a little bit of oxymoron to it. I set out on Friday evening for two laps of what I call “Little Bear”, my original 2 mile course through the neighborhood. I ran all bundled up (including a “Turtle Fur” neck gaiter I’ve become fond of this winter) because 4 miles at an easy pace hardly warms you up in 25-30 degree weather in the dark.

Despite the ‘easy pace’ of the run, the miles took it out of me. I was as zoned (not tired just… breathless) as I have been for much longer runs.

That said, I’m one run away from completing week 1 of my 10 week training plan, and Sunday long runs have always been more of a pleasure when I have the time to savor them. More about that after I run it: I’m sitting in the car finishing this post, ready to set off for 8 miles that promise to be as bright as Friday’s were dark, and as cold as Friday’s were, well, cold.

10 weeks to the Glass City Half Marathon.


The other side of the hill

Certainly, whether you’re a runner, or just a person who has taken the stairs instead of the elevator, you know the feeling when you crest the hill and the climb is over.

In more than one way, this week is that for me.

The Pittsburgh Half Marathon is in the morning. My training was 100% on target until these last two weeks, when work intruded on multiple of my runs. The worst casualty was my last hard speed workout, where a Thursday night run last week that was supposed to be 10 miles turned into an unwilling rest day when I got home from the office at 10pm. Up until about 8:30, I was still convinced that I was going to manage to get out and clock it anyway. But it was already once I felt trained. With the few runs being so close to the main event, I didn’t feel like I was losing out, more like the universe had said “let’s taper a little more than the Runner’s World App said to.”

As stable as my running career has been, my engineering career has been volatile. At the beginning of March, my direct supervisor announced he was moving on to a career leadership program. For most of March and April I’ve been riding the roller-coaster of that change at work. At first, what does this change mean? Next, how do I show that I’m the best one for this job? Then doubts, stress, preparation, agonizing amounts of patience, and finally, a few weeks ago, a respected friend and colleague of mine and I found the perfect solution. After interviewing separately for the job, we agreed to apply jointly. And, as of this Tuesday, we are officially job sharing the supervisor role. This past Monday was the last Monday I’ll work for the foreseeable future, as I move to a part-time (Tue-Fri) schedule, while taking a big promotion to the management team at Ford.

I feel very fortunate. Life isn’t always so kind as to give us exactly what we need, regardless of whether we foresaw that need ourselves. This promotion could have been a life-changing amount of stress, and a lonely road as I learned the ins and outs of managing a team. The job share solution ameliorates that in two ways; giving me the flexibility to manage my stress and load through the part time schedule, and giving me a partner to share the hike up the learning curve.

With that taking effect, and the race travel winding up and dropping me here, in Pittsburgh, hours before the race, I truly feel that I am at the crest of a ridge, looking out over someplace new. It’s a triumphant feeling, but not entirely without trepidation. Tomorrow morning, I’ll know if this hard Spring training plan paid off. And once that immediate challenge is over, I get to take on something I’ve looked forward to for a long time, professionally.

My bib number is 22818, and the race website was offering live tracking, if you want to play along at home. No live tracking on the new job, but I think you can assume you’ll hear about it here. As Brit said in comment to my last post, I’ll need the constancy of running during this exciting time, and I think that experience; the meditation afforded me during a long run, will make for some interesting blog posts.

8.5 hours to the Pittsburgh Half Marathon. I’m trusting my training when I say 10.49 hours to the finish line.

Wish me luck, folks.

When training takes a back seat

Sure, this could be a post to say that I haven’t kept up with my goals, that I haven’t stuck to my plan and earnestly recommitting myself to my half marathon plan with just a month to go before I toe the start line at the Pittsburgh Half Marathon nice again.

But that’s not necessary, because despite not writing about it, I have been running. I haven’t missed a single workout through the entire training plan. I just haven’t been writing about it. And rather than getting all tearful and “dear diary” about it, I’m just going to admit I’ve been plenty motivated without the blog. So when I say in my title that training has taken a back seat, I really just mean that it’s not up front, arguing with me about directions and whining for bathroom breaks. It’s in the back seat, getting to the destination. Along for the ride.

I’ve had some great runs these past few weeks, mostly in the form of my increasingly-brutal, wouldn’t-miss-it-for-the-world, speedwork each Thursday. Last one was 4 mile repeats at a pace I didn’t think I could hang for a 1/4 mile, never mind 4 mile long intervals. My tempo run, this coming Thursday is set to be among my longest, fastest runs yet; 5 miles at 8:56, very near my targeted race pace for the Pittsburgh Half.

My weight loss broke another plateau this week and I’m down in the 205-210 range; approaching the normal BMI range for the what seems likely to be the first time since college. I am struggling with some issues surrounding that weight loss and my feelings about it; something I want to write about more soon.

Ultimately all this unabashed good news in the areas of health and fitness is, like I said, riding along with a lot of career/work concerns that are really steering the ship. My boss announced he was leaving his current position at the beginning of March, and the time since then has been a tumult of speculation, application, interviewing and rumor as my colleagues and I all grasped at something that’s been rather sparse of late; a big opportunity to advance. Without running, I think I’d be handling myself with less grace and composure right now. I’ve gotten some great thinking done on the 5 mile runs that dominated my plan this week, and I look forward to the control of my situation that running gives me every time I step out the door.

My goal for tonight is not to let this one languish in the draft folder, so forgive the rough edges. 4 miles tomorrow. 26 days to the Pittsburgh Half.

Daedalus & Son

In one sense, I don’t think things like running are worth it unless you explore the extent of your abilities. Literally the only way to do that, is to reach that limit. To run as far as you can, in a minute, or an hour, or in my case, today, in a week.

See, this week was my second 31 mile week. I had thought maybe that the ease with which I accepted my last one meant I could line up workouts summing to around 30 miles, and start there. 2 Easy runs, 5 miles each. 2 workouts, 5 miles each. One long run, 10 miles plus. Easy math, appealing symmetry, still left me time to schedule in the other things I do.

Only one flaw.

I can’t do it.

Maybe I will be able to, at some point. Maybe after a few more months of base-building, or maybe just after the pounds that still lurk around my middle come off. Maybe after I’ve run two more half-marathons or three more or a dozen.

Today though? Today I went out to run 11 miles and I just felt out. The fact that my five miles yesterday was nice and leisurely didn’t matter. The fact that my tempo run Friday was short in distance and long in time didn’t matter. The fact that my hill repeats were a distant memory (Tuesday? That’s practically *last* week!) didn’t matter. My body knew.

I could have balanced more carbs into my meals over the weekend, and I have been losing weight over the past few weeks as I came off the 240 plateau, but at mile 8 when I glanced down and realized I had 3 miles left, I knew physically and mentally that I had run too far, too much this week.

So I’m going to cut 5-7 miles out of the plan. I don’t need 31 mile weeks to run a half marathon. I don’t even need many 25 mile weeks to run a good half marathon. So it’s time to re-adjust.

As I chanted to myself through those last 3 miles, the title of this blog isn’t just a quote, it’s also a mantra.

Time to wisen up, and slow down.