living in the now

Still rambling about running. Sometimes other things.

Filtering by Tag: lifting

77 days ...

There are 77 days left in 2017. That's it. 77. 

And I'm not sitting around waiting for time to pass to "start over" or start something new. I am, quite simply, tired of those words and tired of that mentality with A LOT OF THINGS, especially when it comes to running. 

A little more than a month ago, I finally dropped "Running Because" because it didn't fit me. It doesn't mean I'm giving up on running ... it simply means that running won't define me in the online world. 

Now that I've been going to the gym regularly for several months and doing all the things I rarely did while running, I have a whole new approach and mindset to fitness. I will get back to running one day, but it's going to be completely different. 

There's no doubt that 2017 has been a failure in a lot of ways, but at the end of the next 77 days, I don't want to look back on the year and think that it was horrible just because a couple of illnesses and injuries threw off my running goals. 

So what can I do in the next 77 days? Here are some thoughts I've had since starting this post (which was at 82 days when I saved it in draft at the end of that question):

- Whatever old way of thinking I had before isn't going to work. It's time for a new mentality. While having three goals each month works to some degree, it's OLD. It may not completely go away, but I'm not setting three goals every month. 

- Mileage is not important. When it comes to running, over the next two and a half months, I'm running whatever feels right. Maybe it will be a tenth of a mile, or maybe I'll try running 2 miles. I've got to focus on just moving forward without focusing on miles for a little while. I may vaguely post to social media more than I already do about running and not being specific with my distance.

- I want to reconnect with old running friends. It's been 2 years since an AMAZING experience at the Runner's World Festival where I made awesome connections. I've lost touch with too many of those people for a variety of reasons. 

- I will continue to ride my bike, a lot. And yes, mileage will be a focus and I'll set goals based on mileage, but I'm learning more and more that time on the bike is more important than distance.

- I will also continue to lift weights and do lots of push-ups. The last time I felt this strong was well before I ever ran my first race in 2004. I have finally moved beyond that point of "I need to do more with cross training" to being really strong. 

- When Dec. 31 gets here, I want to be able to reflect on this post and not be disappointed in myself. And that, my friends, is truly what I'm after ... 

The little-bit-of-everything day

It certainly wasn't as ceremonious as Friday's events in Beijing, but today marked a big day for me -- I returned to riding my bike. It wasn't much -- just a little more than 4 miles -- but I'll take anything considering it's been just a month since I hurt my tail bone. I still am having some issues with sitting, but it's not anything too terribly bad. It seems to bother me more at night when I get in the bed, and it still bugs me to sit in a car for very long. It's more of a major discomfort than actual pain.

Anyway, today was one of those days in which I didn't really feel like running. After my walk/jog with my dog, I decided to dust off the bike seat since I didn't want to force a run. After my ride, I got out my dumbbells and did a few reps with my upper body. Lifting weights was putting odd pressure on my tail bone before, so I've stayed away from them.

Meanwhile, the weather is looking great this week. It's been an odd summer with these cool spells. It's also been very dry. While some parts of Richmond have gotten several storms in the past couple of weeks, my neighborhood keeps missing them. My backyard looks like late September with dried up leaves falling off the trees. It's really bad. I've mowed my yard just twice since early June. Even neighbors who waste water trying to have green lawns look like they're giving up hope.

Workouts since Aug. 7:
Aug. 7: Walk - 2.1
Aug. 8: Walk - 1; Run - 10.1
Aug. 9: Walk - 1.6; Run - 4.2
Aug. 10: Attended Watermelon Festival in Richmond
Week totals: Walk - 8.8; Run - 23.5
Aug. 11: Walk - 1.1; Run - 1.3; Bike - 4.1; Weights

Take It and Run Thursday: Cross Training

Today's "Take It and Run" theme over at the Runners Lounge is cross training. It's an interesting theme for me considering that I really only recently discovered the benefits of cross training. For four-plus years I've thought running was just the thing to do to get or stay in shape. For a brief time in '04 I lifted weights, but I thought it only made my arms look better. I didn't realize that it could help my running.

If you've followed my blog, you know that in the past month or so I've taken up bike riding and weight lifting after back-to-back injuries this past winter. Now that I'm pain-free again, I am feeling the best I have felt in a long time when running, and I have cross training to thank for that. By mixing in a little bit of weight lifting and a little bit of bike riding, it's taken my focus off running a little bit. My running is feeling more care free these days, and that's a good thing. Running feels more natural than it ever has before -- I always felt I was thinking about it too much.

I know I have a long way to go to get back to the shape I was in, but I can guarantee that cross training will be a big part of my training this summer for Virginia Beach's Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon. I hope in three months I can revisit this subject and actually offer some advice on what to do. I'm already considering taking part in 2009's National Duathlon Festival, so getting in better biking shape will be key to me later this year.

Oh, and if you're wondering why I haven't mentioned swimming ... well, to put it simply, I don't swim. I'm not totally ruling it out -- I did do a marathon after once saying I never would -- but I highly doubt it'll happen anytime soon. In addition to needing lessons, I also would need to join a gym or join my neighborhood pool this summer, both impossible considering things going on in my professional life.

Good runs keep on coming

How hard is it for you to have two good runs in a row? How about three? What about four? It seems that the biggest problem with running is that good runs don't happen often enough. After nearly every run my wife asks me, "Did you have a good run?" It's usually hard to answer that question. If it's a normal day in which I don't care about pace, it's tough to have a bad run, but it's tough to say yes. If I have a tempo run, "good" can turn to awful if I'm a few seconds off the pace I seek. If I'm running more than 10 miles, "good" may be determined by the weather or if I had to take a bathroom break during the run.

But in the past week, with the focus of my runs being to get through them without any pain, I've had excellent runs. I haven't focused on pace, but my trusty Garmin tells me I'm in about a 9-minute mile pace. It's so great to be at that pace for a comfortable run. It makes me eager to do some sort of interval training very soon. With no planned races yet, I have nothing to worry about. Being able to run worry-free is an added bonus I don't think I've ever had.

So back to this consistency with good runs. Today I put in 4.2 miles (as well as a mile walking) and things continued to go well. My upper body was sore from lifting weights yesterday, so things actually felt weird at first. It had been a while since I lifted enough to be this sore, but it's a great feeling to have. It's almost like I can feel things changing even though my scale doesn't want to change.

Also with today's run, my May miles passed my April total. That's almost hard to believe, but it's great to put all that behind me now.

The big 4.0

Excluding races, it's been almost two months since I ran 4 miles or more. I ran 6 miles on March 8 and participated in the 8k on March 15 the day before the half marathon. Ever since then -- except for the 10k in early April -- I haven't ran much. When I have, it's only been a mile or two at a time. When last week came along, I got in three miles, which was a good confidence builder.

This week I've gotten in runs of 2.1 miles, 1 mile and 2.4 miles. Today, though, I hit 4 miles. I've been overly worried about running coming off back-to-back injuries, but hitting 4 miles tells me that it's OK to run again. I'm not going to all of a sudden bump my mileage back up, but after two weeks of decent short runs, I'm ready to lay out a game plan to slowly build it up. Slow and steady wins the race ... or at least will make me a better runner by the end of August.

On a cross-training note, I must admit that it's very nice to be back into a routing of lifting weights. Even though it's only been a few weeks, I can already see small results in my arms. It's like 2004 all over again. This is about the time of year I started and by July I was feeling great and could really see the results. This year, though, there's no excuse of a wedding and honeymoon to interrupt things.