Sunday, January 26, 2014

2 Miles Down, a Lot to Go.

One of my goals was to be able to run two miles without a walk break by the end of January.  


2 miles, 20:07, 0 walk breaks.  I'm back!  Atlantic City Half Marathon here I freakin' come!  Ok, not quite.  But I can build on this.

I was surprised that today's run was relatively good, whereas my last run, on Monday, was relatively bad (I took a walk break every half mile as planned, but still needed an extra one at the end to get through 2 miles) and I hadn't done anything else all week other than stretching.

I think my secret was that it was under 20 degrees today, and I somehow get stronger as the temperature drops.  Sadly, 2 miles is not far enough to get a massive ice buildup in my beard.  My Viking invasion will have to wait. 

Saturday, January 25, 2014

The Makings of a Race Schedule

A few weeks ago, I posted my training schedule, which due to work, weather, and health (a bout with the flu) hasn't really come together as well as I'd hoped.  Still, I think 5 miles by the end of March and an at least surviving Sole of the City is still pretty likely. 

So what am I training for?   I guess that was in the previous post, too, but I'm really lacking inspiration for posts these days, and a race schedule is starting to take shape.

Kelly St. Patricks 5K, Baltimore, 3/16
I'll be honest, I run this one for the after-party at the pub with my friends.

Sole of the City 10K, Baltimore, 5/12
I'll be honest, I run this one for the swag and the chance to make a fun Orioles-oriented weekend out of it.

Color Run,Hershey, 6/1 
I'll be honest, I'm running this one because I'm susceptible to even the mildest and most benign peer pressure.  I still don't really get the appeal of  this.  Still, at least I probably won't break my tailbone like last time I went along with the crowd!

Atlantic City Half Marathon, Atlantic City (duh), 10/19
I'll be honest, 'm running this one because I'm a wimp who's had to defer two years in a row.  Run, walk, or crawl, I need to do this because I need even more so to be able to do at least the half, and hopefully the full, at Shamrock 2015.

Across the Bay 10K, Annapolis, 11/9
I'll be honest, I'm running this one because it just sounds fun.  To the extent that running can be fun, I mean.  Of course.  

That's all I'm registered for currently, but I'll mix a few more 5Ks in.   Even in my crappy Running Year 2013, I ran more races than this!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Belated New Year's Resolutions

I'm not good at New Years Resolutions.  I didn't keep a single one of my 2013 Resolutions, and most of those carried over from 2012.  Injuries were partly to blame, but again, I don't want to use that as an excuse.  I didn't do what I needed to do and I have to own that.

In 2011, my single resolution was just "to kick ass."  That's stupid.  What does that even mean?  How do I measure success?  Do I have to kick everyone's ass or just one person's?  I made all my running goals for the year and it remains by far my best running, but in terms of my vaguely-defined goal to become more confident and assertive, it was a complete and utter failure.

In order to try to set resolutions that I can keep, I think I need to need to set better resolutions.  A lot of companies use the acronym "SMART" as criteria for business objectives.  Objectives should be:


"Kick Ass" is not any of these things.  I did a little better with last year's:
1. Run Shamrock Half Marathon in March 2013
2. Under 6:00 mile (carried over from last year)
3. Run one marathon this year.
4. 10 races total
5. Lose 20lbs.  (I freaked out earlier in the year when I was 150. I'm 160 now. I feel best when I'm under 140.)

I did ok with measurable and perhaps time-bound, though I wasn't specific enough.  1. was probably was not attainable given where I was at the end of 2012 and in the context of health, neither was 3.  By setting goals that were too high and partially (PARTIALLY!) out of my control, it makes it easy to throw in the towel on everything.

So, here goes:

1. Lose 30 pounds by July 1, 2014.   As of this morning, I weigh 166.8 pounds. We have a trip to Texas coming up in July for a friend's wedding.  It's really, really hot in Texas, and I need to be lighter if I'm going to take the heat.  I'm happy with my weight being in the 140s, but I want to be on the light side of that for that trip.  Let's make this even more specific:
a. Weigh 159 pounds or less by February 1, 2014
b. Weigh 149 pounds or less by April 1, 2014
c. Weigh 139 pounds or less by June 1, 2014
d. Weigh 137 pounds or less by July 1, 2014
e Weight 149 pounds or less at the end of each subsequent month.  Like I said, I'm ok if I'm in the 140s but that needs to be the line.  I'm not a tall person and I was under 150 until I was almost 36.  I can get back there.

2. Be able to run 6 miles by April 12, 2014.  I'm signed up for sole of the city 10K again.  I limped through this last year with the help of prescription anti-inflammatory drugs and it was the farthest I ran all year.  I can't run two miles now without talking walk breaks every half mile right now.  So let's break this one down, too.
a Be able to run two miles without walk breaks by the end of January.
b. Be able to run four miles by the end of February.
c. Be able to run five miles by the end of March.  This would probably leave me needing some walk breaks to get through Sole of the City and would still have it in my stretch zone, but I'll be better off than I was this year when I didn't really have any business trying to run six miles.

3. Run the AC Half Marathon in October 2014.  By the end of this month, I'll have sent in my deferral for Shamrock Marathon for the third straight year and I've now deferred the AC half twice.  I can't put these off anymore.  I need to get myself in at least position to run the Shamrock Half in 2015 to get it off the books, and to have a hope at the full, I feel like I need to be in half shape by the fall of this year.  By setting my sights on a fall rather than spring half, I think I'm setting a goal that's attainable.  I'll have a mileage plan to get from Sole of the City to Atlantic City, but I I'll set after the 10K. My half PR is just under 2 hours, but I know this isn't a PR race.  I hate running on the boardwalk and I know even if I'm in good shape, I'll need to do some walking on that portion of the race.

4. Get my 5K time back under 30 minutes by May 1, 2014 and under 35 minutes by Kelly St. Patricks in Baltimore in March.  I'm guessing my average time until mid 2012 was in the 26s, but on the right course in the right weather I could get into the 23s.  My PR days are probably behind me, but I still think I can get back some speed.  I say May 1 because that will have me ready for the bulk of 5K season.

Then there's three that I don't think I can put into SMART:

5. Don't care about being the one everyone likes.  There's one part of my social circle where one of my goals is "to be the person everyone likes".  And I think I am.  But, in doing so, though, I've let a status quo that I'm not happy with endure far too long rather than trying to change it.  I'll write more about this one on my other blog.  Not "Orioles Update".  The other one that you don't get to read.

6. Leave the world a better place in 2014 than I found it.  I'd like to contribute more positively to society.

7.  Find a new hobby.  Right now, my hobbies are eating and watching sports.  The first ties back to goal #1.  The second leaves me with my self-esteem tied to closely to a meaningless activity over which I have no control.  I felt like running freed me from that to some degree.  I still loved watching sports and I still lived and died with two of my teams, but I had something of my own to be proud of.  I don't feel like I can depend on running to save me anymore.  I have not always fought as hard as I could to come back, I know that and I will own that.  But I have to know that it's possible that I will give everything to get back and not meet my goals.  I did work really hard in early 2012 to come back, and the shins didn't cooperate.   My attitude wasn't as good after that, and I also know that even if running doesn't work out, I still need to lose the weight, but I want to have another hobby, which could be but doesn't need to be athletic, that fills that same mental role. 

"Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must; just never give up."
                                                                             - Dean Karnazes

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The Lost Year

2013 was not without its moments.  I made some great new friends.  I had some fun adventures. But as the year ended, I'm as burnt-out, depressed, and out-of-shape as I've ever been and I realized yesterday that I just couldn't see any way out of it.

I've let the stress of my job, which generally comes with a panic-level approximating an emergency room despite lives NOT hanging in the balance, ruin the past year.  I don't want to use that as an excuse. I'M the one who didn't get up and run the next morning after working late.  I'M the one who stress-ate everything in sight.  I'M the one who reached for a beer on nights on which normally I would not. I'M the one who didn't get to the gym enough when I took a few months away from running (again) to rehab my compartment syndrome. I let myself have the mindset of a victim, but I was the perpetrator all along.

So this year, I must fight.  I have to fight to get the miles in.  To get to the gym.  To eat more salads and not so many delicious burgers.  To try to make that workplace culture a better one, rather than just complaining about it.  To be a better friend and family member and a better all-around individual, and not only a great employee.

Talk is cheap.  Words on a mostly-defunct blog are worthless.  Trying to have a new positive outlook doesn't change my workload or deadlines or magically reduce my stress-level.  It doesn't make me weigh less or able to run 5 -- hell, 3 -- miles again.  The things that suck, still suck.  I can try to have a new positive attitude, and I know from trying before that it will last only day...if that.  My only hope for making this year a better one is to actually take actions to do the things that will make me feel better about myself.

Run the miles.

Lose the weight.

Re-engage with the friends and loved ones I've neglected.

Don't have another lost year.

"We're from Philadelphia and we fight."
                                        - Chip Kelly, Head Coach, Philadelphia Eagles