Sunday, January 27, 2008

Freakin' Fifteen

Saturday I completed a long week of running with a 15-mile run - my longest so far. The run went well and I finished strong. This week I made sure to eat more the night before and take a Gu Gel during my long run. Last week I ran 14-miles and was totally out of gas at the end. As I finished, I really felt that this was a major milestone that will help propel me toward the Marathon. Of course I still have a really long time until the White Rock Marathon, but if I can run 15 miles in January, there's not a doubt in my mind that I'll be able to run 26.2 miles in December.

My body held up decently to the 41 miles I ran this week. My knees are no more sore than usual and my hip isn't getting worse. I went in for an annual physical last week and found out that I have "minimal degenerative changes" in my left knee. Apparently that means I've got a mild case of arthritis. I was given the choice of an MRI or to continue taking Ibuprofen for a while to see if that reduces the inflammation in my knee and hip. I plan to take the Ibuprofen for a few months and as long as the pain doesn't get worse I'll hold off on the MRI. While my knees have bothered me since before college, this hip pain is new. I really can't even explain what it is, but my doctor and I assumed it was just inflammation. So far I've been able to handle the discomfort. Generally, it only hurts during the first quarter mile or so then it disappears completely. My doctor didn't say so, but I think continuing to lose weight and decreasing the strain on my joints will help a lot.

This coming week is a cut-back week. Every four weeks I take a break from increasing mileage and run fewer miles. I believe the shedule has me down for 32 miles. My overall running plan is to build up to 50 miles per week and run that amount consistently before adding speedwork. From everything I've read, its not a good idea to build mileage and include speed workouts at the same time. It greatly increases your chances of injury - which I desperately hope to avoid. If I can make it all year without a single overuse injury I would be very excited, and surprised.

This week I also decided to start counting calories - eaten and burned - to see if I could figure out why my weightloss had stopped. So far this has proved to be very beneficial. There for a while I fell into the practice of eating more than I should with the thought that I would run it off. Turns out I wasn't burning more than I was eating. Watching what I eat a little more closely allowed me to lose about 4 pounds this week.

Losing weight while trying to increase mileage is a bit tricky. I think 4 pounds in a week is excessive - I may have gotten carried away since this was my first week of adding everything up. I'll try to keep weightloss closer to 2 pounds per week over the next few months. That should bring my energy level back up and allow me to run more miles closer to 9 minute pace rather than 10 minute pace.

This thing has gotten long...Varner out.

P.s. You should run too, it's awesome.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Good Week

A few hours ago I finished my fifth run of the week. I always run my "long run" on Saturday because I have the time to run and rest afterward. Today I ran 13 miles. My current schedule has me increasing weekly mileage but my long run won't go over 15 miles until I get closer to real marathon training. I'm hoping to get up to 45-50 miles per week over the next couple of months. I'm trying to take a very conservative approach to training to stave off injury. A friend of mine from church who is also a runner recently went to the doctor and is afraid he probably has stress fractures in his lower legs. That's definitely something I want to avoid if possible.

This week I ran 36.5 miles. That's my third straight week over 30 miles. I felt strong all week and really didn't have as much soreness as I'm used to. Of course today my knees are pretty sore after the long run.

I've done some research and am pretty sure that I've got a bit of patellar tendinitis. After running I usually have some discomfort in my lower knee. I've found a wealth of information on the internet regarding how to treat the tendinitis and hopefully it won't be on ongoing issue. I'm also going to the doctor next week for an annual check-up so hopefully he can give me more information on treatment. It was much worse when I was in college, so I'm confident I can handle it.

On another note, Paige bought Allie a "potty" today. We're not planning to start all out potty training, but its time to introduce her to the idea. I can't wait until she can wipe her own butt.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Year in Review

According to my Runner's World running log, I ran 412.8 miles during the last 4 months of 2007. I began running in May but unfortunately didn't begin tracking miles until September. November and December were my most productive months - I ran 118 miles both months. Cumulatively I ran for 69:19:47, which is 2 days 21 hours. It sure felt like more than that. I realized yesterday that I ran just about every single mile on concrete - which is no bueno for the knees (which have been somewhat sore).

I ran three races throughout the course of 2007. One 5K, one relay (3.79 miles), and the half marathon. Lord willing, this will be the fewest races I'll run in a year.

I ended up reaching my goal weight of 200 pounds. I now have a revised goal weight of 185 (sounds ridiculous and unreachable to me), which I plan to discuss more when I post our 2008 goals and resolutions (if we ever get around to it).

Here are a few non-running events that took place:
1) Allie had her first birthday.
2) Paige and I celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary.
3) I completed my 3rd year in the "real world" as a DCTA employee.
4) We traveled to NYC and San Francisco.
5) Paige and I both turned 27

That's all I can think of at the moment. With Paige's assistance I'll add more later.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

New Year Resolutions

I've never really sat down and thought long and hard about making New Year Resolutions. I've never used this as a time to plan out my next year or set goals and developing a plan to reach those goals. Perhaps this year should be different. It may be a good idea to sit down with Paige and Allie and decide what short term goals we'd like to accomplish in 2008 an what we can do this year to move toward our long term goals. It may also be a good idea to evaluate our long term goals to see if we're on the same page as a family. I think Paige and I will easily agree on the long term goals, but the implementation is where we'll probably do some head-butting. Through my education and training in Public Administration I've really learned to value and "sweat" the implementation side of things. Its not enough to set a goal, you have to work out how you will reach that goal, and details are the key. I'm not generally a detailed oriented person, but I know that goals must be measureable and you must have a semi-specific plan as to how those goals will be accomplished. Otherwise, you end up with great goals, such as making more money, or becoming a better Christian without any idea as to how those goals will be accomplished on a periodic basis. In many cases, setting intermediate goals provides wonderful benefits. You're able to see your progress and with each intermediate goal that is accomplished, you're motivated to reach the next goal.

Paige forwarded me an email from our church, Prestoncrest, regarding an outreach campaign they are starting to help people read the Bible in 2008. Each day you get an email with verses from the Bible. If you read the emails every day, you will have read throught the Bible in one year. Its steps like this that help us achieve our goals. With each goal, you have to determine what you'll do on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis to further the achievement of that goal. Our annual goals aren't accomplished on December 31, they are accomplished bit by bit throughout the year. We have to make conscious efforts and base our daily decisions on those goals. Otherwise, they will be forgotten after the first week - which is generally the case with most Americans who make annual resolutions.

As Paige and I sit down and work through our plans for 2008, I'm sure we'll decide on many of the same goals or resolutions as most of the people I know (except the marathon thing). Where I hope we differ from most people will be the details we work on together that will help us accomplish those goals. It will undoubtedly be a challenge to follow the plan, and it may have to be amended here and there (afterall, plans aren't set in stone), but anything worth achieving is never easy.