Walk before you run; Run before you run faster

I mentioned this a little bit on one of my recent DailyMile entries. It just amazes me how fast some people can run. As a teenager I could run a 10 minute mile. I absolutely HATED running back then, and just played basketball. There is a level of endurance involved in basketball, but it is definitely different than distance running. I look back now at my teenage self and I wish I could talk through time and tell past me to start running more, because when he turns 30, he will want to be faster when running races. He would probably tell me there would be no way that he would end up loving running. Somehow I would have to convince him that basketball would become secondary to running in his life. Right out of the script from LOST or Back to the Future, huh?

Anyways getting back to the topic at hand. Speed. How is it that the human body can travel at such speeds? For instance, the guy who won the Shamrock Shuffle 8K I ran in just a couple of weekends ago finished around 25 minutes! That means when I got to the start line (28 minutes after the elite group took off), he had already finished the race and finished a couple cups of water, a banana, and got his free beer. Meanwhile, I finish a couple of minutes under an hour, and I celebrated that! 🙂

Then I see people on DailyMile posting runs where they would average anywhere from 7-8 min/mile. Even in my best shape in high school, I never touched those kinds of speeds. Let me get across that I am not hating on these people. I am simply in awe of what they can do with what they have. And what they have is the same general anatomy as me: Two legs, two arms, brain, heart, lungs, etc. Now of course there are variations in their equipment compared to mine, and they have had years and years of training and discipline.

So I can’t help but wonder what kinds of steps I need to take in order to close the gap on some of these runners. Now I am pretty I won’t be getting to the 7-8 min/mi speed, but I would just love to chase my old self. 10 minute mile. Obviously with this marathon training hindering any true progress in speed, I may not get to it this year. But I think it is something I would like to pursue. Last year I was able to shave around 5 minutes off of my 5K time bringing me down to 32:32 – 10:29/mile. Just need to shave off another 30 seconds to reach that goal (assuming I still could run as fast). Maybe I’ll catch you next year, “16 year old Joey”. I’ve got my eyes on a bigger prize this year! 26.2!

Shamrock Shuffle 8K

My directional skills downtown has diminished. It took me forever to get downtown from Jaz’s work because traffic was backed up from the toll on 90. Decided to “cut” around it and take Lake Shore Drive, which probably took equally as long as if I stayed on 90/94. Who am I kidding, I’ve NEVER been good with directions. Then when we finally get to the Navy Pier exit off of Lake Shore, I miss the turn to go into Navy Pier! ARGH! Finally made it in and just took a couple of pictures around the expo and Navy Pier.

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Shot of the Expo at Navy Pier

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Me and @duclecalor – This lady is waaaay cool!

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Michael Jordan Stained Glass?


We stayed in the Affinia Hotel [thanks Roderick!] about 1.5 miles away from Grant Park which where the race was taking place. The day before the race, the weather wasn’t looking too good! It started to snow in the morning before we woke up. It wasn’t sticking a whole bunch, but there was just a little slush on the ground.

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Weather reports were saying that it wouldn’t get any worse on Sunday during the race, so I hoped that was the case! Sure enough, the morning of the race I checked outside and thankfully all of the streets were clear! No snow to be found, but it was still chilly. The race was scheduled to start at 9am so I figure I could wake up early grab breakfast down in the hotel restaurant and then make my way to the race. At 6:30 Jaz and I went down to grab breakfast to find out it opened at 7am, which was the time I planned on leaving. Without eating anything I made my way over to Grant Park, jogging and walking on the way. I figured they would have bananas or something there to snack on beforehand like other races I had been to. Yeah, I was wrong. I walked around A LOT trying to figure out where everything was, chatted with @dulcecalor again at the Fleet Feet tent, went to the Congress Hotel for my CARA check-in, then walked to a field my friend Rikki was supposed to be stretching at, couldn’t find him. By the time I got to the start line, I had already gone 10,000 steps. No food, a little water, somewhat tired legs, and 8K in front of me, oh dear…

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ALL READY TO GO!

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WATCH OUT FOR THESE LEPRECHAUNS!

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Gear check for 25,000 people

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Shot of the Shamrock Shuffle! WOW!

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Post-race = FREE BEER!

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WOO HOO! My First Shamrock Shuffle in the books [apparently I like this pose]!

So going into this race I wanted to run it under an hour. Given the factors of no food in my system from breakfast, eating like crap the day before, and already tired legs, I immediately thought that this goal was out of the realm of possibility. Obviously there was no backing out now. I was by myself and had no one to pace with, but then as we approached the start line I started thinking of all the reasons I began running. This is the type of thing I do before all my races. I start listing out reasons in my head and why I want to be healthy: Jaz, my family, my friends, my nephews and nieces, my godchildren, and everyone I could hope to inspire to lead a better life, and of course myself. I started off on my race and felt great. Being in the presence of more thank 25,000 people was just so exhilarating! Especially when people I have never met along the streets are cheering me on. Such a high! The volunteers were great helping out with the aid stations and directing traffic. They made this race such a great experience also! I loved the run and will definitely do it again! Oh an my time? 57:50, WOO HOO!! And then I grabbed all of the bananas, water, and beer I could get my hands on.

After the race I walked back to the hotel (BIG MISTAKE). Met up with Jaz at Niketown (it was way too cold for her to wait for me at the race) and saw these beauties:

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ohhh my…25th anniversary edition all-white Jordans *drool*

Then to finish off the day, went to Old Country Buffet with Mike’s family and of course my goddaughter Haley!

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Ain’t she CUTE!?

A great end to a great weekend in the city!

Anxiety and running

So I’ve been running with some kind of consistency for the past two years now. I would think that I would feel comfortable whenever I knew I was going to for a run. But that is not the case. Every single time I run I think I am going to fail or I doubt my abilities. I just noticed on my Polar Heart Rate Monitor/Running watch that I have run over 250 miles since May of last year. It may not be a lot compared to a lot of other real runners, but it is more than I ever thought I could. And maybe that’s where this anxiety stems from. For 28 years I never had even a thought of trying to run for long distances. The only running I would do would be on a basketball court. Must be just force of habit to think that I cannot finish? Over the past two years, I have constantly pushed my limits with running. In 2008, my goal was to run a 5K and I was successful. In 2009, my goal was to run a 10K and maybe longer. I was able to get up to 15K in training, but couldn’t run the 15K race because of the damn H1N1 flu…grrr. And now this year…the marathon. I AM going to finish it in October. But till then before every run, a tiny part of me doubts my abilities to finish the training session. Whether it is tempo run or speed run, I am just not fully confident in myself. It is a very odd feeling. Normally I am confident in my life, but running constantly makes me question myself.

What do you think of this? Anyone have any suggestions or tips?

My first run of 2010

March 1st is the first day I ran outside in 2010. I only ran two miles at lunch just to see how I felt after the run. I would have loved to do more, but I am always worried I won’t have enough to finish or I may get injured on the first run back. Just too many worries, I know! I didn’t even think about getting ready to go run at lunch. When 12pm hit, I just walked downstairs to the locker room, changed, had a quick conversation with Lisa and Ingrid in the aerobics room, and then went outside. I find if I stick around too long, I end up making excuses why I shouldn’t do certain things. Running being one of them. So I figured if I just occupied myself with smaller tasks [walking downstairs, getting ready, etc] I would not realize that I was about to go running. It reminds me of Chandler on the day of his wedding to Monica [that’s right, a Friends reference!] and how he was terrified to get married, so Ross took him to so small tasks like putting on his socks and just going to the church. So I always try to take that approach. Who says that you don’t learn anything good from television?

Anyways, back to the run. When I went outside it was probably around 35-40 degrees out. It was a comfortable cool and I completely overdressed with the under armour hoodie. Once the crisp air hit my lungs, I knew I was ready. It’s a different feel when that same crisp air enters your lungs when you’re just going to or from the car. It’s almost annoying then. In this situation it’s a wake-up call for the task you are about to accomplish. The first 1/4 mile I started feeling my left knee click, or just tighten up. This was not what I expected since I have been having issues with my right knee for the past few weeks. I thought to myself that I just need to get through it and that my body is just not used to running right now. Sure enough by the 1/2 mile marker, I was warmed up and felt great.
Last year after having run for a few months, this “good” feeling could last a few miles. Today…probably about 3/4 mile. Ugh I’m pathetic. But I knew this was a possibility so I tried not to set my expectation too high [good thing I didn’t]. The second mile I just tried to concentrate on form and my breathing. When I am good and focused on it, it doesn’t feel as bad. But when my mind drifts, that’s when we have issues. I droop my head, I lean a little too much, drag my feet, it’s a mess. After 25 minutes I finished off the 2 miles. About 30sec slower per mile than what I would normally like, but hey, this is my first run.
Went back inside to the gym, had a good post-run stretch (per the massage therapist), got dressed, and went back to work. I was ok the rest of the day, of course a little tired from running, but I was glad I got out and did it.
Next Run: Thursday, 2-2.5 mi

A massage..damn I needed that!

Last Sunday after my first game at an open gym for IBL, I hurt my back. I have no idea what happened. I was able to finish that first game just fine, and since we lost I was just stretching on the sidelines chopping it up with Francis. And then all of a sudden I felt this SHARP pain in my lower back. I honestly couldn’t breathe. It then resonated all up my back and practically paralyzed me while I hunched over. Since it was about a 40-minute wait till my next game [4-5 game wait] I was able to loosen it up while continuing to stretch and jogging in place. By the time I got to play again, the pain subsided. Thank God! I was able to play to play 3 more games that day with no issue. Well, I guess I just wasn’t thinking about it when I was playing. That tends to happen when my adrenaline gets going. And now that I am 30, the adrenaline cannot protect me for long periods of time. After hoopin’ I went to Alice and Eddie’s place to hang for a bit where my back continued to stiffen up and then the next morning I was useless. Every way I turned, my back hurt.

So fast forward to today. My back had finally loosened up this week after icing and resting, so I decided to get a massage. I went to Massage Envy today in Palatine and Christine hooked me up with an hour massage. I thought my lower back was my only issue, but it turns out my upper back is all kinds of crazy too. She found knots all over the place. We talked a good amount about running since I saw one of her hobbies was running in her bio in the waiting room. She said she ran the marathon last year in under 6 hours. I hope to do the same this year. She told me some stretches I need to as well as techniques. I’ll be sure to do those the next time I workout/run.
Tomorrow…a swim while Jaz is at her driving lesson. Then Monday, outside to run! I have the Shamrock Shuffle 8K at the end of March so I gotta be ready for it.
Sorry for the boring blog, just wanted to write SOMETHING for tonight 🙂

Just waiting to register for the Chicago Marathon…

I’m not even running right now, and I feel like I’m going to puke. 11:46PM right now so I have 14 minutes before I make a decision that will change and own the rest of my year. I can’t believe I am even considering this. I had a good last year of running right? Was able to run up to 9 miles within a few months when I really started pushing myself. I mean, I just have to TRIPLE that effort, right? Starting out this year of working out, I think I finally found some workout and some good resources [my cousin Joe and my friend Jeremy]. And it’s amazing how helpful it is to just be on twitter and tweet with other much more experienced runners and see what kinds of tips they have with running. Also the support is simply AMAZING in this community! Of course I have my running friends who I go to often – CJ and Lisa [10 min now], and they totally have my back. Hundreds of thousands of people run in a marathon in a year, if not in an actual marathon, but on their own. There’s a guy I am following on twitter who is trying to run 250 marathons this year! Just an amazing story! So what’s my story? I don’t have some crazy story about possibly never being able to ever walk again, or have the courage to run for someone who battled with a terminal disease. I am simply running for the ones I love. I have seen lives end too soon whether it was something that could be avoided or not, and time and time again, I wonder how much more life did that person have in them? How many experiences in their life were they supposed to have? What did they not get to accomplish? Whenever God says it is my time, I don’t want people to think I did not live a full life [5 min left]. I want people to know I went when I was supposed to, and I did everything in my power to accomplish the goals I set. I am not a motivational speaker but I would love to be the person to tell everyone that they can. They can do whatever they want to in this life if they work hard and stay focused. And there is only one way to prove this theory. It is to show everyone that anything, is indeed possible. Years ago, I would have NEVER tried something like this because I thought I couldn’t. Now I realize I never did it because I wouldn’t. I thank you all in advance who will be supporting me throughout this year in this seemingly improbable goal…I promise you, I will do this for you. 3…2…1…

9 months and counting…

NO! It’s not what you are thinking! haha

Of course I am talking about the Chicago Marathon that will be on October 10th of this year. That’s right, it is on 10/10/10. Now the furthest I’ve actually run in an organized race is 10K. I was training for the 15K and actually got up to the distance, but then if you remember, I got the H1N1 flu…which SUCKED!! I’ve signed up for some races already to get me started out of the gate when it gets “warmer” this March. Here are the races I plan on running to get me ready for my ridiculous goal for 2010:

  • Shamrock Shuffle 8K – March 27 [registered]
  • Soldier Field 10mi – May 29 [registered]
  • North Shore Half Marathon – June 13 [not registered yet]
  • I hope writing and blogging about it will actually make me be more accountable this time around. Last year my goal was a 1/2 marathon, and I never got it done. I did make some good strides to get there for this year.

    Being that it is 9 months away, today on 1/10 I decided I had to start liking the treadmill. In my copy of Runner’s World this week it was talking about what kinds of different workouts you could do on the treadmill. Speed, tempo, random, and of course hill workouts. Of course I went after the most difficult and tackled the hill workout. Here’s what the magazine said to do:

    Try one minute runs up a 4% incline with two minutes of slow, flat jogging between. Build up to 10 repeats at 6% incline

    Instead of two minutes I only jogged for 1 minute, because I forgot and I kept it at 4% the whole time since I wasn’t sure if it meant that I should end this particular session at 6% or gradually work towards 6% in the next few hill workouts. It wasn’t terrible, although I thought for sure I was gonna give up after only 5 intervals. Luckily with the Cardinals/Packers game on [Sorry Coop] I was able to get through it all. It didn’t feel as bad as when I ran in the bay area a couple weeks ago. I didn’t go up and down those CRAZY hills in San Francisco, just the ones I like to call the “beginner” hills in the outskirts of the city.

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    Me after running the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco

    So there you go, 1 step [actually over 13,000 steps according to my pedometer] closer to training for a marathon. I don’t know what struggles lay ahead of me, but I knew I better start now, because before you know it, October will be here as quickly as 2009 left.