Sunday, September 29, 2013

Down in a Funk

Not the best several weeks for me.

This is actually not the first time I have been in a running funk. Actually that first time seemed to be for the exact same reasons. It kind of worked itself out but this time, with Marathon Weekend fast approaching I'm a little bit more than concerned. 

As I have mentioned before, these past few months I have focused on speed. The prospect of being swept from the marathon has freaked me out enough to get my butt in gear and my times have improved immensely. But all that hard work seems to also be the cause of my current woes. Now, I'm just too fast.

I'm having a real hard time finishing my runs. Anything above 3 miles is proving extremely difficult for me to finish. This from a guy who has run as much as 11 miles so far. The problem is that even when I focus on slowing down, I'm still running way beyond my running capacity. Oh, I feel great the first couple of miles but by the end of the third I'm struggling. Sure enough, Mr. Garmin tells the tale: I'm running miles in the 13's, almost high 12's. Well, I'm running faster but not that fast. At least not yet. This is quite a funny problem to have. The slow, fat runner is too fast for his own good.

Here is a sample run: I go out at a comfy pace. Try to hold it. After a while, I check. 13:07 . Too fast but I'm feeling good so here's where my brain gets delusions of grandeur. I decide to continue thinking that this time I will be able to run the whole way and then, of course, I can't.

The solution is obvious then. Run slower. My big head is getting in the way of this one. I'm trying to run slower but trying to avoid returning to my almost-dead-stop pace. I'm a lousy at it though. I can't seem to find and keep myself in the sweet spot, which seems to be in the mid 15's. (I think because I can't, for the life of me, seem to maintain that long enough to find out) Either I run too fast or turtle slow. Total Catch-22 here. Not sure how to proceed. In the meantime, I'll try running as slowly as my big head will allow me to and keep my runs longer. Trust the plan. Trust the process.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Um... OK, now what?

Let us recap here for a second.

From March 2012 to March 2013 I ran. Just flat out ran; three times a week with no real plan other then to increase the distance I could run at one time. Then, after the World's Best 10K, I began to officially use a training plan; a Half-Marathon Training plan for beginners. This got me from a 6 mile long run to a 10 mile one. Not bad...

Then immediately after finishing the beginner's plan (I didn't actually run a Half; it was more a hypothetical Half I guess) I jumped into the intermediate version of the plan. This time around I didn't focus on increasing distance as much as I was working on running at a faster pace for longer periods and while I only extended my long  run to 11 miles, all the speed work and tempo runs on this plan got me from running at around 16:30 to 17 min/mile pace to being able to run up to 7 miles at around the 14's. Again, not bad...

Lately, I have been keeping my long runs shorter to practice maintaining a faster pace. I can really feel the difference. Plus, I started cross-training by going to the gym. It hasn't all been honky-dory; there has been an "adjustment" period (read: horrific pain and soreness) but the worse seems to be behind me. No, like really, behind me. Ever since I started doing squats, my butt hurts.

And here we are today.

With my goal race about 119 days away (as of August 10, 2013), I'm trying to figure out how to put all I have worked on together into a sensible marathon training plan. Along the way, I will run a half-marathon in November (thanks for the jokes and support by the way; I am seriously considering the tutu idea. If you can't beat them...) to test my progress and then, the marathon. Wow, I can't believe I've made it this far.

Basically, I have the intermediate half training plan I just finished and a beginner's full marathon training plan I'm supposed to begin at the end of September. The marathon training plan is a bit soft in terms of mileage (operative word: beginner) so I would be pulling back if I start it from the beginning. The Half plan has more mileage at the start and overlaps almost exactly with the full plan at the end (following me so far?). So what to do? I thought you'd never ask.

Do the half plan again. This time focusing on distance instead of speed. If I start right now, it will line up with the Diva's Half exactly (yay), from then on I can ride the full marathon plan all the way to Florida. I would be starting on week 8 of the plan, which has a 15 mile long run, so it lines up perfectly. I think. Will it work? Well, it better because that's my plan and I'm sticking to it. For now...

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Wait, what did I sign up for?

So today, my Facebook page ( got it's 100th "like". I thought, since this is such an occasion and all, that I should do something special to celebrate. So, what's the best way to do that? Something "Fat Runner"-like? Well, I went ahead and signed up for the Divas Half-Marathon in San Juan, Puerto Rico on November 10, 2014.

Wait... what?

I just signed up for the girliest race in the World. Ever. In case you don't know about this race series, it is very popular and like the name implies, completely geared towards women. They have make-up booths at the finish line. They have boa stations along with hydration stations. A chiseled model full of muscles in all the right places presents you with a flower along with your "Diva Medal". Pink is the prevalent color of course. 

Oh, they let guys run. But you are not high on their priorities list. The shirt they give you? It's a women's cut. My wife will thank me for that one I guess. And as I described above, the atmosphere is not men-oriented. I guess the potential of being surrounded by thousands of women running is the one comfort, if only because I will know beforehand that they are not running away from me. I am so looking forward to this. Check out the excitement in my face. As Jaffar from Aladdin would say: "Ecstatic."

I'm excited. Can you tell?

So you are probably asking why am I doing this race? Well, so am I. Actually, the answer is simple: Because I have no choice at this time. I want to run a Half-Marathon before the Disney Marathon and it's either this or traveling somewhere in the U.S. which is not gonna happen as I can't afford it so Divas it is! There is no law that says you gotta do a Half before a Full but I sure would feel a lot better if I do. Plus, the racing schedule is part of what keeps me motivated and training regularly. I have to test my progress running longer distances and I can't do that running 5K's which are plentiful down here. The weather here is not conducive to very long races. 5 and 10K's are everywhere. You could probably run one every week of the year. Halves and Full's? Very, very few. Maybe 3 or 4 Halves and only two Fulls that I know of. This is the only race that fits into my schedule so I will take it.

Trying to look for a silver lining here, I think it is actually my destiny to run this race. I mean, I live surrounded by women every day. My wife for one. My three daughters for another.(Check out the art in my pic above) They call themselves princesses and how far can that be from diva? My only niece and Goddaughter? A girl. Heck, my boss is a woman! I am surrounded by women. Always. So this race will just be another day for me I guess. I am trapped in the estrogen train to fabulous and it seems to be a 13.1 miles trip to get there. Can't wait to write THAT recap.