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Archive for the category “Staying Strong”

Marathon Training Injury

A relatively new friend of mine was training for her first marathon and suffered a hip injury 2 weeks out from her marathon. The injury is so serious she is forced to pull out of her marathon. As a runner we all know how devastated we would feel in that situation. 16 weeks (out of the planned 18 weeks) of serious marathon training which was preceded by years of running. Many of us have built up from 5K to 10K to half marathon to get ready for the full marathon. It just doesn’t seem fair.

In 2010 after a layoff from marathon training I decided to run a fall marathon and started my training ramp up a bit late about 15 weeks out. With 3 weeks to go before the marathon I suffered a knee tweak that at first I thought I could fight through it and keep training. I wasn’t successful. I was crushed, but it didn’t break my will. I got in the gym and worked on my overall leg strength and made a plan for both a spring and fall marathon for 2011.

Running to the runner is obviously the basis for a strong existence. We define ourselves by being able to do what we love. Injuries for the most part are a sidetrack, but not a wall. We will find a way eventually. Staying positive is not always easy, but is also the best way not to be defeated.

Mental Game Running Goals

On today’s 11 mile run I was focused on every aspect of my successful marathon experiences vs. the unsuccessful ones. The result being in the training before my Boston Qualifing marathons I was able to fight through fatigue. I would feel awful, but would resist the temptation to walk and keep thinking “once I am past this hill, things will get better”.

The body can do more than mind tells you from time to time and it is your job to override those thoughts to get where you desire to go. Training is as much mental training as it is physical development. The BQ goal can be lost week 1 of training if you are not focused on it from the day you start. That is not to say that one bad day will defeat you, but it is how you recover mentally from a bad experience and use that knowledge to not repeat mistakes.

Mental preparation is something that can be practiced at other times off the course. Driving to work, writing a running blog, a lifting session, etc are great opportunities to  focus on your goals and train your brain to not except less. When I have failed, I wasn’t willing to fight poor mental feelings to reach my vision.

Be strong mentally and you will find your kick.

A Few From Fifty

Wow, it has been a few years since I posted last, a few years since   I last ran a marathon and just a few months before I turn fifty. I suppose it is as good time as any to get back in the swing of marathon training and writing about it.

I entered the Chicago Marathon lotto and will find out Thursday April 21st if I got in (or not). If that falls through the back up Marathon is the Quad Cities Marathon. The  QC is only 2 weeks earlier than the Chi so my training schedules are pretty compatible.

Winter training has laid down a stable foundation and my long runs have been at over 10 miles for more than a month now. Feeling healthier than the last couple years heading into spring training, so this should be a good year.

Looking forward to more of these updates. Talk to you all soon.

Bix 7 2014

After missing last year’s Bix 7 due to reasons other than physical injury, you could say I have been waiting 2 years to return and run my favorite race. 10 years in a row was a good run and I am looking forward to another 10 as I approach 50 years of age (T minus 2 and counting).
Last year physically was a pleasure. I ran the entire year without pain in my knees yet didn’t run a single road race. This year started off with hamstring and knees issues putting me on the shelf for all of February.
It seems like I have to warm up longer and pay more attention to the little things than the younger me who could fly out the door and run for 2 hours without much thought of stretching or proper hydration.
This being Bix Eve Eve (2 nights prior) I look to hit the sack early and get those z’s that will more than likely elude me tomorrow night as Bix Eve’s tend to do.
So excited to be back, but I am concerned about a goofy hamstring and I strongly hope I have no issues on the hills of Davenport, IA Saturday morn. For the love of running and for the love of Bix.
Plus I looking forward to seeing Meb since he ran past me as I watched him win the Boston Marathon 2014. It will be cool to see him long before I get to the half way point as he hopefully has a large lead. Best part of an out and back course is seeing the elites running toward you. Participant and fan all in one.
Peace.

Since You Probably Won’t Read This Away….

For 40 plus years I have searched for the perfect workout to both satisfy my fitness goals and keep me entertained at the same time. Well, I finally found it…..Homeless Person Hurdles. Yeah, it’s in really poor taste and illegal in some countries, but heck why not give hope to the hopeless by bounding over a few on your morning run. Better yet carry loose change in our pockets and some might fall out mid-flight. Can you say BONUS!

This was a really poor attempt at humor, but nobody has been reading this blog lately, so I doubt I hurt too many feelings especially since the homeless probably don’t have working laptops with an active internet connections. But if you are homeless and read this blog after stumbling into a library, I am sorry.

If you actually read this far, I will say that a very high percentage of the contents of this blog are intended for the promotion of good healthy activities. Please take a look at the other 158 blog entries and I am sure if you give it a chance, you will find benefit from most of them. Peace. No humans nor any animals were harmed in the making of this blog.

Saturday is Right for Running

With a tight weekday schedule, the weekend opens up to get those extra miles that a lunch hour doesn’t allow. Running 4 or 5 times a week for 4 miles a pop is nice, yet I can’t wait for Saturday to get out and stretch the legs miles into the double figures.  Even though a fall marathon is not in the picture, I can feel the urge to increase my mileage and put a 2014 marathon on the schedule.

If it has been a few years since your last marathon, it is never too late to put the pieces back together and build a fitness foundation to get back into marathon shape. Seeing a 78-year-old running a marathon gives me hope that my running days are nowhere near over. Finding inspiration and motivation from others is one way to get back on track.

Whatever it takes, whenever it starts, get it going soon, like now.

Song suggestion of the day: Far Side of Nowhere – Social Distortion. Great song for running, motorcycle and road trips in general.

run 440 plus facebook and photos

The run440plus blog has been around for a few years and so has the run 440 plus facebook page. Since the blog is free, it has  limited ability to feature photographs. Please visit the run 440 plus facebook page for photos of places I have run and feel free to share photos as well. The run440plus brand was established to share all things running related and to motivate others.

Mile High and Higher

As kids, my parents took us to Colorado on a family vacation. We found a basketball court and played around for a short while. Short because we felt the effects of the thin mountain air. Today the experts call it “altitude training” back then we just called it “sucking wind”.

My best marathon was after some mountain runs, so I feel like it helps to work out at altitude, however there were several other bonus attributes (lowest weight and overall conditioning) at that time, so the results are not scientific. I can attest to running in the mountains to be much more difficult than running at sea level, so that is all that is important. Like riding an old heavy steel bike compared to a new high-tech light one, the hard makes all the difference. I’ll take the hard every time in training to make the final event feel easier in comparison, which does wonders for the mental aspect of competition. To struggle in training makes it much easier to be run relaxed when it counts.

I was fortunate enough to hit the mountains of Truckee, CA over the weekend for the first time in about 10 years. My lungs burned as I ran up from 6,600 feet to around 7,600 feet. I got in about 15 miles over 3 runs (pulling a double on Sunday) in 2 days. Not a lot of miles for a weekend, yet the inclines were brutal, so the miles weren’t my main objective, survival was.

I have a cousin who lives in Monmouth Lakes, CA, which is where many elite marathon runners go for their altitude training. 8,000 feet in city and only up from there in the mountains. He says he can feel a big difference from Truckee to Monmouth Lakes. I sure would like to visit and give it a test. Maybe next year.

Now I am back home to 95 degree heat. Will have to see if heat is more of a challenge than hills and thin air.

Off for a run. Talk to you all soon.

36 Again

To be 36 again. Huhmmmmm, that would be a trick. I remember going to the official time checker at the after party at the 2004 Chicago Marathon. The guy entered my information and said, “3:14:11, great job!” He then gave me high five and I felt pretty darn awesome for the rest of the evening.

Flash forward 9 years and that marathon time is a distant memory. 2 more Chicago Marathons sub 3:28, but never close to another Boston Qualifying time. Yeah it hurts, especially since both times I qualified for Boston, I didn’t go to Boston. Sure I am part of the group that can called themselves BQs, but to never have run Boston still stings.

50 is rapidly approaching. Do I have one more shot at Boston? Maybe, maybe not. What I do know is that running is a lot more relaxing now that it is just about my sanity and overall health. Would I like to line it up in Hopkinton and take that hilly trek into Boston? Sure, but will I lose sleep over it? Probably not. Could I take any more wishy with my washy?

After 4o running takes on a different meanings and that is okay. I think.

Mountains as Motivation

As the sands of time blow away the desire to race/compete, the need to find reasons to get out the door become important. Nothing motivates me more than the thought of running through, by or within sight of cool stuff. Lake Michigan and the Chicago Skyline comes to mind. The thing that really gets me going is a run in the mountains.

It could be that mountain running is such an infrequent endeavor for me. I live in the flat Midwest with Denver, CO 800 miles away. I was fortunate enough to have a career years back where I traveled to Denver several times with enough free time to run over to the foothills of Golden, CO. As a child my family camped in Rocky Mountain National Park. Plus on those family vacations we listened to a lot of John Denver. Mountains really pump me up.

Next weekend I am making a trip to the Lake Tahoe, CA area. A little research on Google Maps and this trip looks promising for a few mountain runs. Of course the preparation leading up to the trip is key. I have been ramping up my mileage over the last few months, however one thing I can’t simulate is the altitude and thin air. When I ran in Golden back in 2002, I was full in marathon training mode and really didn’t notice a difference. This time around I am heavier and my mileage (though above average) is not anywhere near 60 mile per week. Extreme care will need to be taken.

I can hear John Denver now with a medley of great mountain songs…..Almost heaven…..Rocky Mountain High…..eagles fly….

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