Apr 30, 2013

April Round Up

I may only be starting my 3rd week of my training program, but I am completing my first month of training. My first shoes-to-the-pavement run was on April 11. Coupling that with hitting the gyms, I've had a month of working out. Not only that, April also included running my first race of all time. I'm so happy with what I've done so far. I feel some real accomplishment.


To the finish line.
I ran all the way to the end
of a silent film.
My training has gone well. I started running at the gym on the elliptical. I also got out and went running. I have my sights set on Walt Disney World in January with my half marathon training plan. I've utilized the run-walk-run method from Jeff Galloway, which has been perfect for me. It's really worked exactly as advertised. It helps me to keep a good pace, without getting too tired and helping with the strain on my muscles. Every training session I try and improve. It may be more distance, it may be a quicker pace or it may be trying to improve my technique a little. I've played with some different tech and some apps, trying to find the right mix that works for me. It's still in flux, but I have a set that works pretty well for me right now.


I completed my first race ever, not a 5K as you might suspect, but the Rockstar 8K. The race was held here in Burke, VA, just around the corner running down and back Burke Center Parkway. The race was ran by Potomac River Running. They have a couple of stores in the area and do a lot of races. I finished the race with an official time of 1:08:12 giving me a 13:45 min / mile pace. That pace blew away all of training paces up to that point. I guess the adrenaline and the concentration of the race helped keep my pace up nicely.

I'm eyeing up some future races as well. I want to get in some longer runs. I need to do some 10Ks to give to Disney for pacing purposes. I'm looking at some Memorial Day weekend that Derek asked if I may be interested in. There is the Cascades 10K Firechase and the Ringing in the Hope 10K. I also want to find a 5K to run with my sister up in PA, since I cannot do the Chocolate Miracle 5K with her in Hershey. Longer term, I'm looking at the Perfect 10 and, if I can get into it, the Army 10 Miler (it apparently fills up quick).

Some Monthly Stats

Average Running Paces
I'm a geek, so I like numbers and stats. So here are some stats that I've been tracking for the month of April.

Total Distance on the Pavement: 16.9 miles
Average Pavement Pace: 14:16 min / mile
Best Pavement Pace: 13:43 min / mile

Total Distance in the Gym: 16.4 miles
Average Pace in the Gym: 7:48 min / mile
Best Pace in the Gym: 7:13 min / mile

What's Next?

What will May hold? Another race? Hopefully. More distance? Check. The plan calls for a 5 mile and a 6.5 mile runs this month. New gear? Check. My running shoes are in at the store, so I'll be picking them up soon.

What will May hold? More work, more progress, more success.

Training Day 13 - Gym

After completing week 2 with my first race ever, it was time to get back to the gym. My knees were starting to feel better. My muscles were still a little tight in the morning, but not too bad. I was still pretty physically tired, and didn't have a ton of drive to be physical because of it, but knew I had to get up and work out. Sam waking up the past two nights hasn't help much either. Even though Steph and I took turns, she was upset enough that neither of us were really sleeping anyway. I closed out April by keeping to my plan and starting week 3 of my training plan.


George "Dana Carvey" Bush
Stay the course.
As I started on the elliptical, my legs were feeling tight. I knew I had to work out, but knew better than to push too hard. I kept a slower pace and just kept moving. My strategy paid off. As the run progressed, my legs loosened up and started to feel better. The energy was a little low, but it helped my legs feel better. I kept it easy, not pushing as hard as I usually do. I usually try and use the gym to help build my cardio up in a lower impact environment, but today it was all about staying the course, getting back out there and working the legs out. The weekday runs are "maintenance runs" so that was what it was all about; maintaining.

The Stats

Time: 26:00 mins (workout)
Distance: 3.25 miles (workout)
Average Speed: 7.5 mph
Average Pace: 8:00 min / mile

Apr 28, 2013

Rockstar 8K

Rockstar 8K swag
Running like rockstar number 479!

Today, I successfully completed my first race. I skipped doing a 5K, like most people choose for their first race. No, I decided to do it in style, rock and roll style. I chose the Rockstar 8K, a race by Potomac River Running. An 8K race comes out to 5 miles. That is farther than I've ever run before. The race also came with a 75 minute time limit, which meant a 15 minute per mile pace. I've gotten under that in my runs, but never for this distance obviously. I was hoping I could keep it up over that distance as well. I was pushing my distance, pushing my pace, pushing myself.

The Race

The race started at 8am. It started in the shopping center around the corner from our house. The race ran down Burke Centre Parkway and back, which I've been running portions of it in preparation during my training. The plan was it would give me confidence in the course, which it did. I was bib number 479, so there were quite a few people running. I of course had my two lovely ladies, Stephanie and Samantha, there to cheer me on. I started the race off and wanted to stick to my plan, to my run-walk-run. I didn't let myself be overly concerned with where I was, where the other people were. I just concentrated on me. My biggest fear was not keeping the pace. I had done so in my training runs, but hadn't run this distance. I didn't feel like I had enough wiggle room to not worry. I occassionally tried to nonchalauntly check over my shoulder to see if anyone was back there. I felt as long as someone was behind me, I was ok. I tried to be smooth about it, but I know it wasnt. I did try to keep my eyes on the person in front of me, to help keep my walking pace up. I would concentrate on them during my walking intervals to keep me from getting distracted. It worked well too. As I hit the mile mark, I got my update from Endomono; my time, 13:39! Faster than I had run in any of my trainings! Fantastic! Maybe I can do this.

As the race went on, the pack in front of my started to pull apart and thin out. Before I hit mile 2, there was a quick wind going the other direction with a number that I can only assume was the overall fastest time. All I could think was "damn". As the distance went on, I just kept to my 30 seconds running, 30 seconds walking. People in front of me would run for a bit and then usually walk on the up slopes or when they just got too tired. I just kept chugging along. Some of them, I slowly gained ground on. As I hit the turn around, I got past two girls that had been in front of me for a bit for quite a while. I grabbed my paper cup of water, drank most of it, poured a little on my head, and kept on keeping on. I was feeling good. My spirits were high, and my legs not too tired.

At every stop light there were cops to direct traffic. They had closed one of the four lanes down for our race, so they were at the intersections to keep us safe. As I went by each one, I took out my ear bud and thanked them for being there to keep us safe. I was grateful for them and felt they should know it.

Official Results
As the end grew nearer, I was tempted to go for longer runs. I didn't want to over exert myself, so even though part of the last mile and a half was down hill, I kept to my 30 / 30. My legs were feeling good, but I was getting a little more out of breath at times. Finally, when the finish line was in view, I took some deep breaths and waited for the little voice in my earphones to say "Pick up the pace." When she did, I replied "Yes, m'am" and started running. I pushed as I came down the stretch, trying to give what I had. On the right, there were Steph and Sam, waiting for me to get back. They cheered as I grew near, so I gave some high fives as I ran past and sprinted across the line. Click.
Official time: 1 hour 8 min and 12 seconds. 

Phone stats
Unofficial Phone Results
According the official results, I averaged a 13:45 min / mile. I'm so happy with that. Sub-14, hell yeah I'll take that! From my phone, my slowest was still under 14 while my fastest was 13:23, which was my final mile. Overall, I actually kept a pretty steady pace, something I am also happy about.

The weather was beautiful, the run felt great and I finished.

How's the Body?

So, how am I feeling, on the evening after my first race? A little sore. My legs are sore but not too bad. Mostly slow and a little stiff after sitting for a bit. My knees are a little sore, my right more than my left especially. The bottoms of my feet as well. I'm physically exhausted. All in all though, I don't feel that bad. Or maybe not as bad as I was expecting. I don't know. Mainly, when I'm down for a bit, I'm very slow and sluggish, but I'm doing. Just physically tired more than sore.

Apr 25, 2013

Training Day 12 - Lunch Time Running

My schedule was thrown off again this week for my Thursday run. I got up early to get on the computer. The plan was work for a bit then, after Sam wakes up, help get her off to daycare, then go out for my run. I was up and on the computer early enough, that no time would be lost, and when my run was finished it would equal out the early vs run time. My Thursdays are usually clear until 11:30, so no problems there. However, and interesting happened this week, I became my team's scrummaster this week. I won't bore you on the details, save its a position for our 6 man team to help with the agile development process. It's a good thing. Added responsibility, added work, but a good career item. Also helping me make my mark early on in the company, but I digress. The point is this morning, I had a new item on my calendar, a meeting every Thursday at 8:30 am. Well isn't that just a monkey wrench. I wasn't ready to today, but I guess I'll just switch to running first when I get up early and then start at my normal time again from home. Today, I wasn't ready for that, so my run got pushed until lunch time.

The Run

stats from endomondo
Today is my last "prep day" before my race this weekend. I didn't want to push too hard, but needed to get a good reaffirmation that I'll be ok this weekend. I ran Burke Centre Parkway again, putting in my half hour going up and back on what will be a portion of the course. I did alright. I didn't have my head really in it. I was a little hungry, since my schedule was all thrown off. Between that and just not really concentrating out there, my pace was slowed down. I was still under 15 min / mile, which is what I need for the race, but I had much less wiggle room today. Hopefully, I was just getting that out of my system before the weekend.

The Stats

Time: 31:13 mins (workout), 44:23 (total)
Distance: 2.12 miles (workout), 3.69 miles (total)
Average Speed: 4.07 mph
Average Pace: 14:44 min / mile

Apr 24, 2013

Google Glass Project Idea

So I had an awesome Google Glass idea. It's off the #ifihadglass competition Google had. but this is more #ifihadglass and #ificouldaffordglass. Frankly, even if I was selected to be in the program to get one of the units, I could never afford the $1500. I have an 18 month old daughter at home, so there's always a better place that much money could go. There's two parts: what I would want to use it for straight away and a way I'd like to develop for it to use it as well. Since it's posted on here, clearly it likely has something to do with getting in shape.

What I Would Do with Google Glass

Google Glass
Pretty technology
Google Glass would offer a really unique opportunity for my races. I think it could be really interesting to record video and even broadcast my runs at Walt Disney World. It wouldn't be a view from the front of the pack mind you, but it could still be interesting to let everyone see what the race has to offer. Get a tour of EPCOT and Magic Kingdom from the 1/2 marathon course, see the race, the characters, magical views and, most importantly, the finish line. I could wear it for both the 5K and half marathon races. I already strap my phone to my arm for running, so could leverage the 4G to even a hangout live while running.

I'm not the fastest; I'm not the most in shape; I'm not the strongest. But I am a regular guy, a good bit overweight, making a switch. I think that can be relatable. I won't finish the race in the front, but that's not the point. The point is I'm going from 0 to 13.1 miles. I think it's interesting enough to follow along. I can only do so much in words here, but a video of the race, of the peak of what I'm pursuing, would be amazing. With Google Glass, I could not really do any better of sharing through my eyes.

In addition to my races in January in Walt Disney World, I could do the same with all the other races I do between now and then. I'm not out for just one run. I'm working hard and will push hard. I'm not sure how many I will do, but I already am doing my first this weekend, have a 10K picked out for later this summer, and I am constantly looking for other races to fit into my training schedule. I could video from those various races, from training runs around town, when I'm on vacation and running at the beach, wherever I go. Why? Why not?

What I'd Develop For It

It's like this... but for running!
One thing I've already considered building is my own personal app for training. I love the various apps I use, but I use various apps. I currently have 3 apps running at once (not counting music) to accomplish everything I want. I've thought of building my own app to do the special case I'm looking for. I know it's not a mass appeal of an app, unless you want to do what I'm doing as well. That's not the main point for her though. The focus of this post is Google Glass.

What would I want on Google Glass? I've always loved the concept of a heads up display (HUD). The biggest problem I have with any of the apps I used to track is you can't see them with your phone strapped to your arm. It's good not to concentrate on your distance or time or split while running, so the vocal update at key points works well... most times. Getting an update on the mile works well. But sometimes you want to know how close you are to that goal. Sometimes, when you see your getting close to that goal, you push just that much harder to reach it. When I know I'm a half mile from hitting that next mile with the time on my workout running out, I'll push to hit that mark. I would love to develop a workout HUD for Google Glass where I can see my distance, time and split while I'm running. Hooked up with my phone, tracking with GPS, it would be a perfect combination. With the Google Maps integration, you even have the potential to push a route to run and have Google Glass show you where to run, the path to take and how you're doing.

It has great potential from the exercise world and the running world. I'd love to be a part of that. New tech offers new potentials for exploration and development. It's always an exciting time when technology takes great steps forward like Google Glass. I can't want to see what it can do.

Apr 23, 2013

Training Day 11 - Unwritten Workout Rule

Today was Tuesday which means gym day. I was ready to work on my cardio to get ready for my race this weekend. I figured I could push harder today because it's far enough out. I may go slightly easier on Thursday. But then again, the race isn't until Sunday, so we'll see.


Rocky vs Thunderlips
Yep, more Hulk.
I pulled up my music as usually, same songs that were download as last week, hit the shuffle and got started. I did start it off with Eye of the Tiger, because, you just need to. You have to play it during some workout. It's like a law or an unwritten rule or maybe written-rule-but-not-quite-law-so-you-don't-have-to-but-still-should sort of thing. But I digress. I tried to keep a good pace. Not pushing myself too hard to tire out too early, but keeping a good pace. I didn't have any real goal in mind. I wanted to beat the distance from last week, but wasn't trying to stress too much over it.

In the end, I was able to push past 4 miles in 30 minutes. Just barely, but I did. That's what matters. I got a later start to my exercising, but still got wrapped up and up to work by my normal time. I need to start eating something before I leave in the morning though. I was reading some of the nutrition tips from Tara Gidus and she was saying how you should always eat something before a run, even in the morning, because otherwise you may overeat afterwards because you'll be so hungry. She talks about that you'll consume more than you worked off because of this and it can be detrimental to any weight loss. As I read that I thought, "Well, that was exactly me this morning." I had a bunch to eat after working out, and more than I even normally do after working out at the gym in the morning. I was just really hungry afterwards, which the oatmeal and granola bar didn't fill up. Well, guess that was a clear message. Grab something before you leave the house.

The Stats

Time: 30:00 mins (workout)
Distance: 4.15 miles (workout)
Average Speed: 8.3 mph
Average Pace: 7:13 min / mile

Apr 22, 2013

And So It Begins...

Rockstar 8K
This is where it all starts. I've just registered for the first official race I'll run. I'm going to run the Rockstar 8K, which is right here in Burke, VA. In fact, the start / finish line is right around the corner from our house, so bonus points on location! As you might of guessed from the name, the race is 8K in length. That comes out to just under 5 miles (so says sir Google). It starts right around the corner, runs down Burke Centre Parkway, goes almost to Burke Lake Road, then turns around and comes back. The biggest incline is the long(ish) one in the beginning, that I've been running the past couple times out. 

And oh yeah, it's this weekend...

I'm supposed to run 4 miles this weekend, so I figure doing 5 is only cheating a little. The race has a 75 min time limit for the course, which is 15 minutes per mile, but I've been keeping under that. I did it for the 5K this past weekend, so I think I can keep it up for the other 3. I think being in the race, I'll probably have a little adrenaline to help too. [Man, that scares me to type something like that, like I actually am enjoying running. That can't be right.]

If anyone would like to join me, I'd welcome the company. I warn / remind you I do the run-walk-run of the Jeff Galloway plan, but feel free to join me on the road. I'm excited for the race though. I'll be working hard to do my best. All I want is to finish under the time and complete my first race. I was going to try and start with a 5K, but hey, that would make too much sense for me.

Guess it's time for me to run like a rockstar!
Hulk Hogan
Would this be appropriate attire?

Apr 21, 2013

Doubling Down, Double Plan

Double Mint Twins
This week I have just finished week one of my "To Finish in the Upright Position" 1/2 marathon plan. I didn't make that title up, that's what it's called. It's a plan created by Jeff Galloway for runDisney and this particular one for the 1/2 marathon. I was entering my 20 week work out plan into my calendar the other day (so I can have it all mapped out to know how far I need to run each workout) and I noticed something. Officially starting the plan this week gives me just enough time run the whole thing through twice and line up perfectly with the marathon. Then Steph pointed out I can run through the beginner plan as I am, then run the time improvement plan before January. Double the plan, double the "fun".

General Plan Breakdown

So, here's the general breakdown of the plan. The core of the plan is two weekday "maintenance" run of 30 - 45 minutes. Then, on the weekend, a longer run of varying length. The weekend run is where you build up your endurance to the longer runs incrementally. The days you do these runs on is up to you, but has the requirement of a day off in between. For myself, I'm using Tuesday and Thursday for my weekday runs. Tuesday is a gym day for me. I get up early and hit the gym at my office before work. The thing I like about this is I have the option to run on the elliptical, as I have been doing. The benefit of this is it allows me to run a longer distance at a faster pace at a lower impact versus running on the treadmill (or pavement). That really is the benefit of the elliptical / cross trainer. For myself, I think that will really help with my cardio and weight loss. I think it's not only good to have one of the two maintenance runs, but being Tuesday, the low impact will likely be even more beneficial after some of the longer runs on the weekends, like when I get into the 10+ mile range. For my weekend runs, it will vary based on the plans for the weekend. I think in general, I'll likely do them on Saturday mornings by default, because it will be the easiest time to do them, when I'm home and running by myself. Derek mentioned wanting to get together for some of the longer runs, which will be nice to have someone to run with. In that case, I'll obviously flex the time for what works both of us.

Something I Noticed

I was checking my training schedule against weekend activities. I wanted to see weekends we'd be away, to start thinking ahead on when I would work my runs in. Could I still run Saturday morning? Would I need to do Sundays? Where am I going to be? One in particular stood out. Towards the end of the summer, we'll be going to Myrtle Beach with my in-laws. They have their timeshare from Florida and are using the points to go to Myrtle Beach. To my head.
Alright, running at the beach won't be so bad.
It'll be August, so definitely early though.
Ok, long run the first weekend. We're probably driving on Saturday, so guess it'll be Sunday morning.
How long is it?
Well, crap. I have to run 14 miles to start my vacation.
So that's where the thought first ended. I brushed it off as no big deal. Sure, I need to start my vacation off with some pounding, but I knew I'd have weekends like that when I signed up to do a half marathon. The fact is 13.1 miles is no easy feat.
Wait a minute... 13.1 miles...
I have to run 14 miles on vacation. That's 3 weeks before the plan gets to "half marathon".
I thought this plan is to BUILD to the 1/2 marathon, but I'm running further 3 weeks before.
So, yeah. I will be running further than a half marathon before I reach the half marathon. I guess, you'll know you can do it when the plan works this way. But when the point is you build your endurance up for the race, it feels a little backwards. But what do I know. I've only been doing this going on 4 days officially, so best left to the professional.

Apr 20, 2013

Training Day 10 - Week One Done

Week one down! Three miles run in the book. I feel really good having completed the first week of my program. It may not have been much, but I had a good sense of accomplishment from it.

The Run

Since it was the weekend, I had a distance goal. Being the first week, it was just 3 miles. But 3 miles is farther than I've gone so far, so it's yet another step forward. I started my day early, up before the rest of the family was up, geared up and out the door I went. I was sure to stretch more than Thursday, which paid off. I didn't have the same tightness this run. It was a little brisk, cooler than it's been lately, but I was still warm enough in just shorts and a t-shirt while moving. As I ran, the clouds cleared up as well, and I got to see some nice blue skies. I had a little bit of head wind for about the last mile home, but it was not well at all. I tried to push hard to keep up my pace as well. I wanted to sustain my pace, keep it down over the full distance. I'm hoping if I can keep it down for 3, maybe I can do it for 5. In the end, I did over 3 miles, so I completed a 5K! And I did it with just 5 seconds more per mile. I call that a success.

The Stats

Time: 46:59 mins (workout), 1:03:57 (total)
Distance: 3.27 miles (workout), 3.92 miles (total)
Average Speed: 4.17 mph
Average Pace: 14:22 min / mile

Apr 18, 2013

Training Day 9 - Thursday

It was time for my second run on my 1/2 marathon plan. Today was another maintenance run. It's meant to be around 30 minutes, then length not mattering. My main goal was to keep my pace under 15 minutes a mile, and improve it if possible. My schedule was thrown off by some morning rain. So instead of running early before working, I started working earlier then ran at lunch time. It was a short rain in the morning, so I knew it would / should clear up later to run, so I went with that instead running in the rain.

Yet Another App

I haven't gotten a physical timer yet to do my intervals. I'm not sure if I will, but I'm looking into it. I want to use something other than Endomondo for the intervals. Endomono is great for tracking my pace, distance, updating me on my averages and everything else of the run. I lose that if it tracks my intervals as well. I've decided, at least for now to use another app in conjunction with everything else. I'm using the aptly name Run Walk Intervals Timer. It's basic, but does it's job. You can set your own custom run and walk interval, add a warm up and cool down if you'd like, and customize the wording it says to prompt you to run and walk. The only small issue I have with it is I cannot seem to have my phone on vibrate and have it still have the audio prompt. However they're doing the text to speech, it is silenced when on vibrate, even though I have media playing. Small inconvenience, but I just keep the ringtone at the first level above vibrate instead.

The Run

My run went pretty well. Instead of running the lake, I ran straight down Burke Centre Parkway. It has paths the whole way, which makes it great for running. In fact, the whole area is really good for this. I decided on because there is an 8K on that next weekend, that is tempting to me. I have to do 4 miles next weekend, and 8K is 5 miles. I wanted to try running it, to see how difficult of a path it is. The run starts with a pretty long steady incline. It was tough, but I handled it pretty well. The only problem on my run was around my shins was really tight. I did barely any stretching, so that could be the likely culprit, combined with the incline. I was able to improve my pace as well. My first mile was barely over 14 minutes. My average pace was 14:17 minutes, on over 30 second per mile improvement. It was humid out, so I was tired and sweated a good bit, but still felt good at the end and like I could have kept going. I hope to keep feeling this way at the ends of my runs, so I can build my confidence of distance.

The Stats

Time: 33:51 mins (workout), 56:24 (total)
Distance: 2.37 miles (workout), 3.30 miles (total)
Average Speed: 4.20 mph
Average Pace: 14:17 min / mile

Apr 16, 2013

Training Day 8 - Gym

Today marked my official start of my Walt Disney World 1/2 Marathon Training Program. I'm using the plan from runDisney that was created by Jeff Galloway. I'm utilizing the "to finish in the upright position" plan. No, I didn't make that up. That is what the plan is called. Today was my first workout, a 30 minute maintenance run. Tuesday I am going to plan on using the gym at work in the morning. Right now, I'm planning on using the elliptical to do the running, so I can do a little less impact but run faster to help build my cardio. I think it will be a good plan of action for the work out following my longer weekend runs.


Barney Stinson
LEGEN... wait for it...
This week, I remembered at the last second that last time my music pace seemed a little slow for the gym. So I pulled off to the side of the road before entering the parking garage, opened the 105 Running Tracks CD on Amazon MP3, and selected several of the higher bpm tracks for download. I figured I could just run the CD in shuffle and it'd be good enough. I wouldn't have an all rise, baby, Barney Stinson Get Psyched mix, but it would do the trick any way. I did keep a better pace this time. I started at a pretty good pace. I was trying to go really close to a half hour and not go over, because I was in a little later. I did the towel trick again, and uncovered at around 28 minutes. I also saw that I was closing in on 4 miles, so I kicked it into high gear. I pushed really hard to make the 4 miles, and I did at 30:30. So, I was a hair over. So sue me.

I still felt good after. I know these week day runs aren't meant to push me to my limits, but it's hard early on to not want to push to a longer run. I'm trying to be good. It's like I was reading on Jeff Galloway's site, when he was talking about running a marathon, at the beginning you should run slower than you think you can and still take walk breaks. His strategy helps you to finish strong, and is supposed to help you actually improve your time over just running, if you use the right ratio in the run-walk-run strategy. It feels counter intuitive, kinda like the Monty Hall problem, but it works. Or, I'll trust him that it works. It's worked well for me so far.

The Stats

Time: 30:30 mins (workout)
Distance: 4.00 miles (workout)
Average Speed: 7.87 mph
Average Pace: 7:37 min / mile


Apr 14, 2013

Training Day 7 - Evening Run

My weekend run got bumped around a little. Instead of the Saturday morning run it will likely be most weeks, it was a Sunday evening run. It worked pretty well, though I may need to start earlier until it gets lighter later, because the second mile was by the light of the street lamps.

And on a side note, yes, I am going to keep listing the training day number. Even if only because that way, in 9 months, 3 times a week minimum, that number will be pretty and and feel like an accomplishment all in of itself. Frankly, it will work as a reminder to me of how far I've come.

The Run

The evening run worked out well for me. The temperature was in the upper 60s, so a good one to run in. Since it got darker quicker than I expected, I only did one loop on the lake and ran up the parkway. It was a good change because it was a long slow grade upward, give a good workout on my legs. I set up a 30 / 30 run / walk interval. It worked great. The beginning even felt like the 30 seconds of running weren't long enough. Haha. In the end, I broke 15 minutes on my pace, coming in at 14:51 per mile on my 2 miles I ran. Getting under that makes me happy. I'm having some good early progress in my workouts.

The Stats

Time: 30:45 mins (workout), 40:28 (total)
Distance: 2.07 miles (workout), 2.58 miles (total)
Average Speed: 4.04 mph
Average Pace: 14:51 min / mile

Apr 12, 2013

Yet Another Tool and Device Advice

So, I wanted to share a couple of things on a non-workout day. I felt like sharing another tool I'm on. Or at least one I'm trying. I also wanted to open up for recommendations on something I'm trying to figure out what's the best way to manage.

Active.com Trainer

When you register for the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend races, you have to make an account with active.com first. That is how their registration process is handled. Since I had to make the account anyway, I decided to poke around the site to see what it had. I came across the trainer area of active.com. It allows you to track your workouts and earn "points" for them. Right now, those points can be combined with other members when you join a group and then all the groups are competing to have the most points. I'm not sure of the end goal for it though, if the points are used for anything else, or if they're Who's Line points, and they're made up and don't really matter. They have a little dashboard to show tracking everything, you can join challenges / goals for yourself and even track plans. My main gripe is the only training plans supported appear to be theirs that you can buy for usually a minimum of $19.99. You can't set up you're own plan to follow and track. The group thing is ok. I joined a Disney Runners one, and got some cool support when I posted to the group how I had signed up for the half and the 5K. So that support side of it was cool. Other than that, it is what it is. (And it's usually pretty slow for me, which I'm not fond of.) I'm mainly double tracking in it for the community side and because there I put the numbers in for my full workout with warm up and cool down, vs Endomondo that I'm using the app to track just my workout, for pacing purposes. You can find me on there if you want to follow me, high five or join the Disney group with me.

Device Advice

8 ball
Internets 8-ball, what do I do?
I'm trying to find the best way to track the run / walk intervals. I have the Endomondo Pro Android app, so I can add custom interval workouts. The problem is you can't just set 2 intervals and tell it to repeat until you stop. You have to add however many total you need. The problem is, with the plan I'm doing, at times I need to run for a certain distance (mostly for my weekend workout "long runs") and want to use that strategy. The problem with the app is I need to just make one long enough to definitely cover the time that it will take me. So, that can be problem-matic, where some I don't know how long it will take me. Then consider the half marathon, where all I can say is "I need to finish in under 3 hours and 30 minutes." Try breaking that down manually in to 30 seconds run and 30 seconds walk. Not pretty. Plus, if you do that, you can no longer set a distance goal if you'd like to or some other settings, because the interval training is the setting. And if the total is too short... oh well.

With this in mind, I'm looking for alternatives. Jeff Galloway offers a Run Walk Vibrating Timer, which may not be bad, but I'd have to clip it to my shorts or get the wrist band for it. At $20, it's not too bad. I could always got it old school and get a Timex Ironman watch, but it does beeps, and I'm unsure whether I would hear it or not with my headphones on and music playing. Well, that is, without the $225 version that does vibration, but in the words of Richard Karn "I don't think so, Tim." I don't want to run another app in the background just for the intervals, if I can avoid it, but maybe that's the best alternative? I'm sure there's things similar to the one offered by Jeff Galloway, but just wondering what my best option would be. Opened to you internets. Give me your thoughts.

Apr 11, 2013

Training Day 6 - Morning Run

Today was a work from home day so I was able to get in a morning run. I haven't officially started the training plan for the half marathon. I plan to start that next week. I was however to at least partial comply with it. The plan consists of two maintenance runs during the week of a half hour and then the longer run on the weekend. So, today I shot to have a maintenance run of a half hour.

Tricky Tracking

I've come up with a new tricky tracking plan. I'm using my phone with GPS to track how far I go and long I run. The problem I have is warm up and cool down vs the actual run. I want to know the full distance I go overall, but I want to know my pace for my actual work out and the distance I cover there. I found a solution that will give me just what I want. First, when I go to start my warmup, I start recording on My Tracks from Google. That will give me my total distance and time. After I get through the warm up and I'm ready to start my run, I press play on Endomondo to start recording my workout. This allows me to get updates on my progress as I run. When I finish the run of my workout, I stop Endomondo and continue my cool down walk. When my cool down is finished, I stop My Tracks. Just like that, I have all the information I wanted between the two applications. It worked out wonderfully this morning.

The Run

For my run, I tried to do the run / walk tactic from Jeff Galloway's plan. I didn't set a custom interval up, so I tried to count it my head. Yeah, didn't work out great. I tried to go 30 / 30, but when I ran I think I counted faster and when I walked, I counted slower, so it was probably more 20 / 40. Then there was when my mind gets distracted and I forget where I was in my counting. So, didn't really work ideally. The strategy did help though. I ran 2 miles in just over 30 minutes, getting a 15:14 pace. The half marathon needs to be under 16, and they recommend a 15 minute pace to give time for bathroom breaks and photo opportunities. Granted, 2 miles isn't 13 miles, but it's a start. In addition, I wasn't as tired this time at the end, so I could have run longer. I stopped however because I was trying to stick to the 30 minutes. Overall, I felt good coming out of the workout, which made me so happy. It's already giving me confidence over getting in shape.

The Stats

Time: 31:15 mins (workout), 46:19 (total)
Distance: 2.05 miles (workout), 2.70 miles (total)
Average Speed: 3.94 mph
Average Pace: 15:14 min / mile

Apr 10, 2013

Falling into Place

Clarification on the title, the pieces are doing the falling, not me. I'm good. No falling occurring (today at least).

Missus? Misses? Mooses?
We're already beginning to make plans for January. Investigating our options. So, originally, the missus and I (Is that how you spell it? Missus? Misses? Mooses? The wife and I) planned to drive to Florida in order to save cost. It costs time, but not as much money as the high costs of flights. Or so we thought. In a preliminary meeting of the minds, with Dave and the momma Chop (Claudia), Dave searched flights from Newark and they were just $204 a person. Some quick math on distance, fuel efficiency and even using current gas prices, that's just $10 more. Well, that's a pleasant surprise! Couple that with a good price to stay at the in-laws timeshare just off Disney property, and we're in business.

To add to the fun today, my former mentor at Platinum Solutions, eternal butt of all jokes, the Nerf target du jour, the Derek Richard hitched up his big boy pants and threw his hat into the ring. He has officially registered to run with us crazies. I believe he is doing the half marathon and the 5K. Unfortunately for him, it's not the Princess Half Marathon, because he could pull off the tutu.

The excitement grows and fuels the fire. Tomorrow, me and nature meet again. I hope to put up more of a fight. On that note, to bed!

Apr 9, 2013

Training Day 5 - Elliptical Error

Gym today was pretty good. Well, it was good all except for one thing: the damn elliptical machine.

So what happened?

Today, I decided to do like what I have done in the past, I covered the screen with a towel. I had read it as a suggestion once, and it worked well for me last time around that I actually worked out in a gym. Putting a towel over the screen helps to keep you from concentrating too much on the distance and not on just running. It worked well for me in the past and the first time I did it, it made a significant difference in how far I ran, even the first time. So, I got to the gym and it makes you set the length of work out in a time (maybe it just asks and doesn't "make" you). So I set it for 40 minutes. I planned on only running for a half hour, because I have a long day to get through today and didn't want to tire out too much. I cover the screen and get running. They have tvs attached to all the cardio equipment with headphone jacks and controllers. I have my music but I put on SportsCenter with close captioning so I could catch some highlights while I run. I'm making some good progress. I check between songs at one point and I was at 3 miles. I realized I was doing a slower pace, because the playlist I had was for running this weekend, but I can go faster on the elliptical. I guess I need a playlist for the gym with some higher bpm. Anyway, I cover it back up and keep running. SportsCenter rolls over to the top of the hour and I'm thinking ok, I'm at about a half hour. I started 630ish. I see after the NCAA championship highlights the Phillies highlights are coming on. I know they lost, but I wanted to see what happened to Doc, so I decide I'll run until then and start a cool down during the Phillies highlights. I should have known the championship game ones would have went on for a while. Finally, they're over, so I pull off the towel thinking, "I feel good still, maybe I'll top off the distance to the next mile." Then... utter failure. It reads 1:30 on the time. Crap. It went through it's auto cool down timer and then started again for me. So my time and distance were lost. I was instantly deflated, so just did a quick cool down and called it quits.


So, other than the machine hating me, the training actually went well. As I mentioned, I can go with a faster playlist for at the gym when I want to run the elliptical, or find more time. I have to either come in earlier or stay later at work to get much more time in. Today I ran for over 40 minutes and made it to my desk by 7:30 which is when I normally start by. So to do longer than what I need requires the time to come from somewhere. Doing longer runs on the elliptical may help my confidence though, seeing myself "running" the distances there, even though it is harder on the treadmill / pavement. I've never liked treadmills, but I may give it a go to at the gym on some days. I like the elliptical because it goes my speed without having to click it up or down at all. Same with feet to the ground. The treadmill just feels awkward to me. Always has.

I tried to step counting feature of Endomondo Pro today. I didn't seem to work on the elliptical. I didn't actually think it would, but I figured why not give it a try anyway. I plan on trying it on the treadmill one day, to see if it will track that well or not. I'm hoping it will, because that's a pretty cool feature, using it to track the workout indoors.

I did run for 40 minutes and still had more energy in the tank. I could have gone more, which is a good sign. My 3 miles was on a slower pace than before. I picked it up but don't know how I did. So I'm going to use and guess of 5 miles, even though I think thats low. Mostly because I have nothing better to go by.


Time: 42 mins
Distance: 5.0 miles
Average Speed: 7.1 mph
Average Pace: 8:24 min / mile

Apr 8, 2013

Update: A Little Sore

So, an update to go with my run from Saturday, which left me a little sore. There's still a little today, but not like yesterday. I do believe the soreness was from two components at its core. The first being stretching and the second the impact.

What Hurts

Sore like a hippo dancing
on coconuts in a hail storm.
I had / have soreness in the lower portions of my legs. The parts I feel the most are the muscle / ligaments / body stuff going down through my shins into and around my ankles and feet. It seems to be more on my right then left. Specifically,  when I flex up my right foot, about half way up my shin it feels like there's a knot just off to the outside of my shin. The ligaments around my ankles are all just generally sore and across the top of my right foot as well.

The Stretching

To quickly state, yes, I did stretch. However it wasn't anything specifically geared or even the slightest bit thought ahead. I simply stepped outside and started stretching my legs a bit. I have no real knowledge basis when it comes to stretching, only what I've done before and what seems to feel good. I also know I didn't stretch nearly long enough, in my impatience to get started running [with a weird little bit of excitement thrown in, who knew?].

The Impact

To put it as simply as possible,  I'm not a tiny guy. There's a good bit of weight on this frame. So, I know when I run, it's going to put some impact on my joints. I know some if my soreness is simply that. Over time, as I lose weight and my body adjusts, I know this will get better. It's just something I need to deal with in the meantime and try and minimize.

What To Do About It

First and foremost I need to get a better stretching routine. I need to get a specific routine, designed for running, and stick to it.  I'll do research on this but am, as always, welcome to suggestions. If you have one thats worked well for you, please pass it along. Once I have a set plan, I can add it to my routine and be sure to add the appropriate amount of time for it.

For the impact,  I'm not sure of too much I can do for it. I know the shoes can make a difference. Maybe mine are a part of the problem. I was fixing them, trying to get the lacing right,  so maybe early on caused the problem or maybe my "fix" was not a helpful change. In addition, I believe my shoes may need broken in more. I've had then for a while. Maybe 2 years. But... they haven't exactly gotten a ton of use in that time frame. I bought them specifically as "gym shoes". When I first bought them, they did get a fair bit of use. However, that use consisted most of the one block walk to the gym in the clubhouse, running on an elliptical, then one block back to the apartment. So, they weren't really getting the kind of activity that would "break them in".  And then, they had a nice home in the closet for a year [or so]. Now that I'm using them to actually run and putting them to shoe use, they may finally be getting worn the way they should. That could also play a part in the right hurting more than the left. That, or just my technique sucks. My plod may need some work. Haha.

They should be decent enough though. They're a pair of Nikes and I bought a running model, so they should be good enough for what I'm doing now. I know to actually run the half marathon, I'm going to want to invest in one or two really good pairs of shoes, but I'm nowhere near the distances where that matters yet. Let me work up to that first before purchasing shoes beyond my current need.

Gym tomorrow am. Going to do some elliptical running. No plan, just to see how far I get in a half hour or so. Need to do some cardio building, which the elliptical will help with that with less impact on me.

278 day until do or die!

Apr 6, 2013

Officially Crazy: Walt Disney World Half Marathon

WDW 1/2 Marathon
Well, it is now confirmed. I am officially crazy. I have officially registered for the Walt Disney World Half Marathon. I decided to take the leap. Registering will force me to have a set in stone date that I cannot change, cannot sidestep, cannot avoid. Training for a half marathon, even just to finish, will have the very positive side effect of losing weight and getting in shape, that I want to achieve. Choosing the particular half marathon I have also has the very positive side effect of going to Disney World. We're Disney fans in this family, so that is very very positive.

The Race

The Walt Disney World Half Marathon takes place every January. This upcoming year, the marathon weekend will be January 8 - 12, 2014. There are 4 main races, a 5K, 10K, half marathon and marathon. (there are also some kids races as part of the festivities). The races are run in that order; Thursday has the 5K, Friday the 10K, the half marathon is on Saturday and the full marathon on Sunday. Each race gives you a finisher medal. In addition, they have the Goofy Challenge for running the half marathon and full marathon back-to-back. With the addition of the 10K this year, they also added the Dopey Challenge, for if you're dopey enough to do all four. My running partner for the half marathon, Dave is going to be dopey. In addition to the half marathon, I plan on running the 5K, since my training calls for a half hour run on the Thursday before anyway, so I might as well get a medal for it.

The Training

I'll be training for the race, as I alluded to, using Jeff Galloway's 19 week plan for the Walt Disney World Half Marathon. The main points of the plan include 2 maintenance runs during the week and one longer run on the weekend. For the runs, he also suggests a run-walk-run strategy where you run 15 seconds, walk 45 seconds (or variations of this 10 / 50, 20 / 40, etc). There's a lot more to it than that. I'm still working on wrapping my head around it and planning it out so I can use it. I suggest you go download the PDF and read it if you're interested in more information.

So, be sure to follow along in my journey to the half marathon. I'm excited and apprehensive at the same time. I'll be really excited when I know I'm ready to complete it.

First Encounter with Nature

Today, I had my first workout encounter with nature. Yes, that's right, I ran outside. I wanted to get a better feel of where I stood, under the more difficult setting of running not on an elliptical. I upgraded to Endomondo Pro, purchased some music from Amazon music (the particular CD of running tracks with bpm was $1.50 cheaper than on the Play Store) made a quick playlist and was ready to rock.

The {Sorta} Run

So, how did it go? Not quite as good as I might have hoped but not as poor as it could have been. It was probably a good representation of where I am and need to go. I'm happy with the result of me being out there doing it. In thr end I did 2.38 miles with just over a 17 min mile pace. This included my warmup and cool down walks and about 30 seconds stopped fixing my shoes part way through to be laced a little tighter. You can see my full stats in the screen grab from Endomondo. The weather was cooler at the start but not too bad as I went because it was bright and sunny. I ran around a small lake nearby, which was a nice path. It was about 3/4 of a mile around, with some up and downs. The sun and water made for a nice environment to run in.

In the future, I'm going to be sure to only start the tracking after my warmup and before cool down to get a better read on my pace. I was happy with the app. It gave me all my information at the miles, seemed to get good GPS tracking and made it easy to pull up my playlist. It also has good ability to do custom intervals. That will be good for the training program I'm looking at, which uses them to build up your stamina. The author suggests a 15 second run, 45 second walk (or 20 / 40 split) which will still enable me to make the pacing requirements for the race I'm looking at. More on that when it becomes officially official.

In the end, I'm happy with my run because it happened. Thats the most important part, getting out there. By getting out there, the improvement will come with it.


Time: 40:47
Distance: 2.38 miles
Average Speed: 3.5 mph
Average Pace: 17:08 min / mile

Apr 3, 2013

Mixing it Up: Kinect

So I decided to mix things up a little bit and do a little Kinect to work out today. I was working from home, so the gym was out. I decided on this over going out for a run because when I run, I want to track my progress so I know how far a ran and how long it took me. In order to do that, I need to have my phone with me. The easiest way to do that is with an arm band. My armband fit my old phone, my Thunderbolt, but does not come even close to fitting my Note II. I've ordered an arm band for my Note II, but it isn't here yet. Therefore, in the end, I went with Kinect.

Your Shape Fitness Evolved

Screenshot of game results.
So, according to this, it looks like
I did ballet for cardio. And I'm a girl.
So I decided to put in a Kinect game I got way back when it first came out, Your Shape Fitness Evolved. I thought at the time it may give me something to stay more active in, but I only played it once or twice, so it didn't really work then. I feel like not it does give me another option though. I used it for a bit, about 40 minutes. It gave a pretty decent work out. I did the personally training and the one gym game where you need to punch and kick bricks to break them (I enjoy that one). Actually, at times I was yelling at the trainer when she'd say shit like "This will be fun." It wasn't fun. Those were always the worst ones. I politely let her know she was incorrect. And by politely, I mean I yelled at her and likely insulted her. So, you know it was working. It's like mouthwash "the burn means it's working". If you hate the trainer, even virtual, it's working.

In the end, it said I spent 25 minutes working out. It must only account for the actual time in the event / activity. I burnt 195 calories, which doesn't sound like much, but it was something. And something is better than nothing.

Looking at the Half

So I've been looking more at the half marathon. I've been looking into what it will take me to get ready. I found a 20 week program, directly from runDisney and Jeff Galloway. It doesn't actually look too bad. It basically includes two week day shorter runs and a longer run on a weekend day. It also talks a lot about run 15, walk 45 or run 20 walk 40 (seconds all around) and that makes it sound like it would be easier. Ideally, I'd love to be able to jog the whole thing, but I'll take what I can get to make it. In the end, Disney only requires a 16 minute mile pace, so it really is more about the endurance to complete it than the time. That makes it more obtainable. The registration opens on Tuesday, and is supposed to fill up quickly, so I have to make an official decision by then. I'm leaning on the positive side right now, even though I was leaning negatively this morning, just from a lack of self confidence, really. So, I may be starting my official training program soon. Have to sign on the dotted line first and commit.