10 More Wake Ups!

Ten!

That’s it. Ten more wake ups until The New Jersey Half Marathon! To say I’m excited, and probably a little nervous, is an understatement. During my runs on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, I told myself during and after both runs, I’m ready. I’m ready for Long Branch. I’m ready for the shore. I’m ready to run this race. To run my race. I know I’ve put in the training, now it’s time to put the finishing touches on it, finalize my plan, run, and enjoy.

My runs this week have been good. I’ve done a little bit of everything while pulling back on the mileage as I taper over these last two weeks.

On Saturday, I ran 9.34 miles. I dialed the pace back a little but felt good through out. It was an early morning run and I used it to concentrate on form. I didn’t let my breathing get out of control at all.

Monday was a nice recovery run of 5.12 miles. The first two miles were a bit sluggish, but the final 3+ miles felt fantastic. I hit a strong stride and honestly, I just wanted to keep going. I had to keep reminding myself it was a recovery run and to not overdo it. I averaged out at a 9:19 pace and made sure my breathing never got to a point where I couldn’t hold a conversation.

Tuesday, I decided to run a course that had more flat areas than my normal routes. I figured that would help my legs during these last two weeks. I ended up running a 6.34 mile course in 54:04 for an 8:31 pace. I felt strong on this run and it definitely helped me mentally as I was able to hit that 8:31 pace without feeling like i left it all out there. I felt good wind wise, strong physically and mentally.

Wednesday I decided to work on a shorter run but push it from the start. Normally, my first mile or two I ease into it and run slower miles. I went for it from the start here though, figuring I was only running 4 miles. I averaged an 8:16 pace, finishing the 4 miles in 33:04. This run felt awesome. There were times in the beginning I questioned whether or not I’d be able to maintain it but I did and actually felt stronger as the run went on.

I just felt like something has clicked this week. Hopefully, I’m right.

Now, I need to continue to focus on hydrating and getting the right amount of sleep and adjusting my clock so I’m ready for the earlier wake up on race day.

Any suggestions for the last 10 days before a half marathon? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Loading Likes...

March Training Recap

March seemed like it had a little bit of everything but overall I think I had a really good training month with running. I also started lifting 4 days a week consistently, which I think has been very beneficial for my training.

My numbers for March were:

Total Miles Run – 110.765
Total Runs – 20
Longest Run – 12.47 miles
Races – 2

I ran two races as preparation for the NJ Half Marathon. I ran in the Morristown St. Patrick’s Day 5K on March 11th (race recap click here) and the Garden State 10-Miler in Somerset on March 26th (race recap click here).  My results for the races were:

Garden State 10 Miler, Somerset, NJ (3/26/17)  –  1:27:17.67 (Pace 8:43)   PR – 10 Miler
Aerie Pharmaceuticals St. Paddy’s Day 5K, Morristown, NJ (3/11/17)  –  25:55.98   (Pace 8:20)
My longest run of the month was in the beginning. A nice 12.47 run. A run that my GPS on my FitBit Surge went a little off, but I noticed it while I was running through the park. I wasn’t sure how off it was but when I saw what it had my pace at, I knew it was off by a good amount. It’s an area I’ve had issues with when running. I ended up running until the watch said 12 miles on it so I knew for sure I made that goal. Everything else was gravy and I was thrilled when I marked it out that it was 12.47 miles.

The weather was all over the place. From days snow storms to high winds to one day in the 20s and the next in the 60s. A little all over the place.

I ended up having two non-planned rest days in March, the first two of the NJ Half Marathon training schedule for me. One was due to the snow storm Stella that ripped through NJ, not as bad though as originally planned. The kids were off school and my wife had to head into work the night before, so there was no conceivable way I could get a run in. I don’t own a treadmill, so there wasn’t much I could do, so I enjoyed the rest day and time with my kids. The other unexpected rest day was due to not feeling well. I started not feeling well on the 19th later in the day and whatever I had hit me pretty hard for almost a week. Running actually made me feel better most days, as it was mostly a head cold/sinus & chest congestion. On the 22nd though, I felt like a truck hit me. I figured it was best to rest as much as possible to try and kick whatever it was that I had. Even though I wasn’t 100%, I still decided to run the Garden State 10 Miler that Sunday.

I think March reallly was a good month for training. With a month to go until the NJ Half Marathon, I’m feeling very confident in where my training has brought me. Part of me wishes the race was here already but I’m going to take advantage of this last month to hopefully not time off of my pace so I can hit this half marathon with all I got.

How was your training in March?
Did the weather affect you at all?
Were you able to get through March without getting sick?

Loading Likes...

Race Recap – Garden State 10 Miler

With the NJ Half Marathon approaching in about a month, I decided to sign up for the Garden State 10 Miler in Somerset/Franklin (NJ)
three days before. I realized I can’t run in the Cherry Blossom Run 10k (attending the Bon Jovi concert woot woot), so I was looking for a longer race alternative. I remembered seeing a postcard for this race at the Pre-Game 4 Miler and decided since I was due for a 9 mile long run that weekend, why not just run this. I figured it would be good practice for the half.

I ended up running the 10 miler in 1:27:17.67 for an 8:43 pace. I was really happy with the time. I wanted to crack 9:00 and then challenge 1:27. I was sick all week and even during the race, so I know I wasn’t 100%. I was totally happy with the time and how I pushed myself. I finished 210/537 overall, 148/272 gender, and 30/45 for my age group.

I decided I would use it as a prep and push hard for a good time but test out a few different things to see what is best for the half. The biggest thing I was concentrating on was water stops. I decided to take water at all but the first and last stations to work on hydrating while running. I have to say, I suck at it. I think I might have drank a total of 6 oz or so and wore the rest. I know it definitely took time off my run too, so I’m trying to figure out what my next step is. It was about 40 degrees and I went with shorts and t-shirt as that is what I’m planning on going with at the half. The funny part was when I finished, I looked down at the sweat on my shirt and it looked like it was frosting over.

I identified three runners around me around mile 2 that I felt were running the type of pace I wanted to go at. They definitely kept me motivated and pushed themselves throughout the day and kept me going, trying to stay with them. I was able to thank one guy I was running with for most of the race after we finished. I saw him after from a distance and I was walking up to congratulate him when a woman tapped me on my shoulder. I turned and she said to me that I really ran a great pace. I smiled and thanked her. It made me feel so good.  I then went over and shook the guy’s hand and told him great race and we joked about how we kept going back and forth and for awhile on the course kind of had the roads to ourselves. It’s so funny that I went to thank him and was going to thank this woman that I kept in my view for pacing but couldn’t find her. To then have this other runner thank me, was really runspirational to me. I love that. I love telling others when they have motivated me and it’s always nice to hear others tell you that you helped push them through a race. There is just a great community feeling at races.

This was the first year for the Garden State 10 Miler and I think it went really well. It was well organized and the course was nice. They billed it as flat and fast. I was expecting more of pancake flat course. The course seemed to have a lot of rolling hills, which was still nice but not what I had prepped for in my head. The scenery of the course was beautiful. Plenty of water stations and volunteers. I think they hit a home run with this race and I’m looking forward to running it again next year.

The t-shirt they gave out was really nice and the medal, OMG. I love the new bling. Being from New Jersey, I love it that it’s an outline of the state. The colors are vibrant and it’s a big sized medal. I ended up wearing it all day long. Proud of it. I even wore it into WaWa and Ace lol.

Overall, I’m thrilled I decided to run this race even though I wasn’t feeling a hundred percent. It was a good practice run for the upcoming NJ Half Marathon. It definitely gave me a confidence boost. Now I have a month to work out a few things, get stronger, and ready to rock and roll.

Loading Likes...

Race Recap – St. Paddy’s Day 5K Morristown

I ran the Aerie PharmaceuticalsSt. Paddy’s Day 5k in Morristown on Saturday, March 11th. It was a bitterly cold morning but I felt the race went almost as well as it could have. More on the almost below. The temp was around 18 degrees but felts like 5-6 degrees. Not ideal but once I got going, I was fine. I decided to try out a new winter long sleeve from Nike that I picked up at Fleet Feet in Montclair on sale. It definitely kept me warm and was very light on me. Nothing like getting something great at the end of season sale for dirt cheap.

I ended up finishing the race in 25:55.98 for an 8:20 pace. For some reason, my chip time was the same as the clock time. I know that wasn’t the case as I wasn’t first in line haha. My watch time had it at 25:51. I ended up finishing 109 out of 638 racers. I finished 85 out of 290 males and 10 out of 27 in my age group (35-39). I was happy with a top 10 finish. Always cool to see your name in the top 10.

The course was a nice one. Very scenic. Mostly flat but had a nice steep long incline about 1.75 miles into the race. Unfortunately, this is where my “almost” part comes in. For the first time ever during a race, my shoe lace decided to come untied. Of course it was while I was going up the hill. I decided to run the rest of the hill and stop at the top to tie it on the side of the road. Of course, it had to be the one shoe I retied after warming up. I’m wondering if it would’ve come untied if I didn’t attempt to make it tighter. Ugh, it just annoyed me. I really think I would’ve ran an 8:10-8:15 pace and shaved off another 15-30 seconds of my time. It is what it is, but when things like that happen it just annoys me a bit.

My first mile pace was 8:16, second mile was 8:42 (hill + stopping to tie my shoe), third mile was 8:07, and the final .1 was 7:26 pace. I was definitely happy with how I was able to push it and have my fastest mile be at the end. I had an extra kick and when I saw the clock ticking up closer to 26, I told myself, no matter what I’m finishing with that clock still reading 25 in the minute holder.

It was good to get out there for another race in preparation for the NJ Half Marathon on April 30th. No matter what, it’s good to run with others, remember how it feels to dodge people and not have to worry about traffic. I always run faster too during races. I like to identify a few people around where I’m running to help pace me as the race distances itself. Plus, nothing beats sprinting to the finish with people cheering for the runners. So motivating.

I’ll definitely consider running this race again next year. The organizers did a really nice job with it and it was an enjoyable course. Hopefully it’s just not as cold next year.

Loading Likes...

February Training

FEBRUARY FACTS
Miles Run:  110.16
Runs:  18
Longest Run:  11.5 Miles
Rest Days:  4
Races:  1
Pre-Game 4 Miler Morristown (35:11.02 – 8;47 pace)

MY THOUGHTS:
I’m very pleased with February’s training. February 5th marked 12 weeks until the NJ Half Marathon that I’m training for.  I couldn’t ask for a better month of weather. Yeah we had some snow and ice, but for February in New Jersey, this was probably the best it could have been. Considering I ran outside in shorts and tshirt multiple times and not 20 layers is saying something.

Heading into February, the longest I’d ever run was 9 miles, which was the last week in January haha. I was able to get a 10 mile, 11 mile, and 11.5 mile run in during the month.

I definitely feel my base getting better. In January, 8 and 9 miles seemed daunting. Now, they feel good. It’s working now on miles 10-12. But that’s what training is for, right?

I was starting to question my pace a bit though. It just didn’t seem like it was budging. However, in the final week of the month, it seemed to. I was happy to see that and reminded myself to be positive. Things take time. Put in the work and it will happen.

I think I did a nice job of mixing my runs up. Most were done outside, some on the track, and some on the treadmill. I like to switch it up for recovery, speed, and flat versus hilly conditions.

There aren’t a lot of races to select from in New Jersey in February but I found one on Super Bowl Sunday that I decided to race in. It was the Pre-Game 4 Miler in Morristown. I had a really nice time at this race and was pleased with my results. It was my first time running a 4 mile race distance.

I was also getting a little sick of some of the areas I was running, so I tried out a few new routes during the month. Found one that I really like right now. Has hills, straightaways, and allows me to run through the park for almost 2 miles. I think I’m going to try and run the loop twice this weekend and cut some of it off for the second loop to get me to 12 miles. The loop is approximately 6.8 miles.

I purchased the Travel Stick when I picked up my packet for the 4 Miler. I’ve been using it and I’m going to write up a review on that soon.

I signed up for a St. Patrick’s Day 5K in Morristown, which will be on March 11th.

Last week, I tried out the Normatec Compression boots at a PT place in my town that sponsors a lot of the local races. I liked them and bought 5 sessions to start. It’s cool. They have a recovery lounge with a fire place and you sit on a massaging chair as you wear them. I’m using them for 30 minutes. Legs felt good afterwards. My plan is to use them on Saturdays after long runs.

I also got back into lifting again this month. I felt like I needed to work on my upper body especially since my legs have been getting all the work. I’m lifting four times a week and it’s going well.

It was a quick month but a good month. Happy with my training. I feel like I’m getting there. Less than two months now until the half marathon. Need to keep working.

 

 

Loading Likes...

Live Life

I know, I know, I know. It’s been too long in between blog posts. Sorry about that. There was just a lot going on around here and daddy/husband/friend first. Had to get through the flu hitting my house (I was OK), kids home from school, snow, ice storm, goddaughter’s birthday party, Valentine’s Day, and unfortunately losing an old friend/teammate at such a young age.

I’ve spent so much time over the past week and a half thinking about him and his family. Just crushes me that he’s gone. You couldn’t meet a better human. He was the type of guy that was always smiling, always joking with others to make sure everyone was having a good time. He was a great teammate, someone I played little league and high school football with. We both played in college. He was a lineman like me and the bonds you make with guys you start next to in the trenches are bonds that never break. When you have the pleasure of playing with a teammate as good as him and thinks just gel, it’s simply amazing how you can get on the same page without speaking a word. You have each others backs, always and forever. We lost a great one. A great friend, son, brother, husband, and father. Just make sure you reach out to your loved ones, maybe an old friend. Don’t take life for granted.

My training has been going great. I haven’t missed a work out or run. On Saturday, I got in a 10 mile run. Beginning part was great, middle was a long uphill road that really beat up my legs, but I bounced back and finished the last third strong. I was happy with the overall run. I’m amazed at how far I’ve come. I followed up with a rest day on Sunday and then went for a 5 mile recovery run on the treadmill on Monday and lifted my back and biceps. I had to go to the gym and use the treadmill due to the ice storm on Sunday. The roads were in awful shape and we had wind gusts as high as 70 mph with ice and items being thrown all over the place.

Tuesday I ended up taking advantage of the nice weather, well as nice as it can be in February in NJ, and ran 8.08 miles outside. I ran a new route and on some streets I’d never been on. Running has allowed me to explore roads in my neighborhood that I’ve never even been on. It’s really cool to explore the area and get a great work out in. After my run, I lifted my shoulders. I have weights in the basement that I was able to put to good use.

Today, I decided to run 3 miles on the treadmill. I ended up running it in 26:22. I was happy with the time. I then cross trained for 30 minutes on the elliptical. I also lifted my chest and triceps prior to running. Overall good day. Trying to work in lifting into my daily workouts. Need to remember how important strength training is. I felt like I worked on some speed with the treadmill run and gave my legs a little rest with the elliptical. I think I’ll work this type of work out into my schedules a little bit more.

I plan on getting more reviews up soon and I have a few 13.1 Q&As with some outstanding runners/bloggers on the way. I’ll make sure to update the blog more often too.

Less than 11 weeks until the NJ Half Marathon. Keep training hard. Be Runspirational.

Loading Likes...

12 Weeks to NJ Half Marathon

Work was crazy today so I wasn’t able to get my run in during lunch. Plus, it was raining all day here in NJ, so I decided to head to the gym at the end of work and run on the treadmill. I was looking forward to pushing myself today. It felt like the right day to crank up the speed a little quicker and push myself. The NJ Half Marathon is less than 12 weeks away, so it’s time to really focus and dedicate myself to getting myself ready to run the best possible race I can.

I felt really good at the increased speeds and felt like I should’ve turned it up a little bit faster earlier on in the run. I ended up running the five miles I planned in 46 minutes. I had a great sweat going and after a busy day at work and just lots of thoughts running through my mind recently, it was a good stress reliever.

I was late but was able to participate in the bibchat on twitter tonight for the second week in a row. What a fun and great group chat to participate in. It’s amazing how everyone’s thoughts and feelings can differ and how much you can learn from other runners. It’s been very cool to be a part of. The bibchat tonight was sponsored by Legend Compression Socks.

I’ve been thinking more and more about compression socks. I don’t think I want to wear them while I run, but I think it might be good for my recovery, especially after long runs, to wear them after. Do any of you do that? What brands do you like? Would love your input, let me know.

Tomorrow is scheduled to be a cross train day, so I’ll hit the elliptical probably. I’m having a cord of firewood delivered too and I need to get that stacked prior to Thursday as we are supposed to get 5-10″ of snow dumped on us. That counts as lifting right? When you think of me tomorrow, think of Paul Bunyan out there. We’ll see what the forecast calls for as we get closer but I may have to adjust when or how I get my run in on Thursday.

So do you like to run while it’s snowing or does that automatically become a treadmill day? Let me know!

Loading Likes...

Pre-Game 4 Miler Recap

I had a great time at the Pre-Game 4 Miler yesterday in Morristown. It was a nice turn out and I enjoyed the course. It felt good to run in a race again. It’s been two months since my last race so it was good to be pushed by others.

I felt good yesterday, very strong. I did find myself looking at my pace and wondering if I was going to quick. My breathing was fine, so I need to realize that I am getting in better shape, more conditioned, and I guess a little bit faster too. This is the reason you add in some prep races before the event you are really training for, in my case, the NJ Half Marathon.

I’ve never run a 4 mile race, so this was a first but I figured it was right in between the 5K and 8K races I’ve run in the past. I was happy with my time. My original goal was to break 36 minutes, which I was able to. I was close and there are a few instances I can look back on and question if I pushed a little harder here, could’ve I broke 35. My chip time was 35:11.02 for a pace of 8:47. I finished 256 out of 760. My splits, according to my FitBit Surge, were:

Mile 1 – 8:36
Mile 2 – 8:51
Mile 3 – 9:12
Mile 4 – 8:32

I was proud that my fastest mile was the last one, especially after recovering from mile 3. This course had a very long hill about 1 1/2 miles through and a very steep hill around 2 1/2 miles. That is why you see a drop in time on both. I was proud of myself though. I always strive to never stop running, especially on hills. I tell myself, keep moving you got this. That’s nothing against anyone that feels it’s best for themselves to stop, it’s just always one of my personal goals.

The course was really nice. You start off running near the green in Morristown. You end up passing by parks, then up along some very beautiful homes, then onto a busy road, up back up a hill with about a half mile to go and then two turns to the finish. The race promoters had bagels, water, granola bars, coffee, bananas, a dj, and a nutritional company allowing you to spin for a chance to win something. It was quite nice, especially for it being Super Sunday. I definitely would run this race again.

I think if I was to run this race again this week, I would definitely be able to run it quicker. I hadn’t run this course, so I didn’t know how my legs would react to the hills. I knew they were there and I think prepping for them throughout the race caused me to save a little. Plus, the first mile was flat and then downhill. My pace was ahead of what I’ve been training at and I was worried I was getting out too quickly. I don’t think I was. I think I could’ve hit the gas a little more on that stretch of the race.

I warmed up for this race with about a 15 minute jog. I felt good and ready. I know some of what I wrote might make it sound like I wasn’t happy, but I was. I’m just critiquing my race. I know I can always improve and learn from every race I’m in.

The only part of Sunday’s run that felt weird and different was I was alone. It was the first race I ran without my wife and kids at it. Both of my kids were sick, so it was best for them to stay home. I was fine running and it was cold out so it’s better they were home, but it was weird to cross the finish line and not have them there. I always love to see them on the course somewhere. It gives my body and extra kick.

With racing on Sunday, I took Saturday as a rest day. Since I only ran 4 miles yesterday (never thought the word “only” would come before “ran 4 miles” in my life lol), I decided to go for a recovery run today. It was a nice and easy pace. I ended up running for 53:07 and got 5.11 miles in. I tried not looking at my pace at all. I only checked my watch to see how long I was running. I wanted to get somewhere around 50-55 minutes in today. I did about 4 miles of the run up on the track in my new pair of Asics Gel Nimbus 18. I got them a couple of weeks ago, been walking around in them to break them in, so I figured a recovery run was perfect to christen them.

When is your next race?

What are your thoughts on running hills?

Would love to hear from you.

Loading Likes...

Packet Pick Up & Course Preview


The race I am running this weekend is on Sunday. The Pre-Game 4 Miler allows you to pick up your packet on Friday or Saturday at the Running Company in Morristown. I decided to go pick it up tonight.

I’d never been to the Running Company but it was a nice store. I ended up purchasing one of The Travel Sticks. I’ve been intending to get one to help with recovery and warming up, so when I saw it there I figured I’d check out the price. They had it at the cheapest price I’ve seen online, so I picked it up. I like to help out the local running stores whenever I can. I think it’s great how they help out for a lot of races with being packet pick up locations.

I really liked the long sleeve t-shirt I received tonight for this race. I don’t know if it’s just because I love football so much, but I thought the front was really neat looking. Glad to add it to my collection.

After I was done there, I decided to drive the course. I’ve never run in Morristown, so this was all new to me. I actually parked right near the start of the race, without even knowing, so it worked out well when I decided to drive the course. The course has some hills throughout it that look challenging. Not sure what that will do to my time but I’m glad I could see where they are roughly and how long they are. I think it’ll help me mentally prepare more for it. The area around my house that I run has a lot of hills so I think I’ll be up for the challenge. I have to be, right?

Since I have the race this weekend and I’m taking off today instead of doing a long run, I kept my Friday work out as a cross training day. I ended up going for 45 minutes on the elliptical. Kept the resistance at a lower threshold. I just wanted to get loose, burn a lot of calories, get a great sweat going, and let my legs take it easy. Mission accomplished.

When is your next race? What race is it and what’s the distance? Would love to hear from you. Good luck to all that are running this weekend.

Loading Likes...

Be Flexible … With Your Schedule

Today was a good lesson for me. It shows that where there is a will there is a way. My daughter was not feeling well, so we decided to keep her home from school. I was planning on getting my outside run in today during my lunch hour. With staying home with her, I knew that was impossible. I realized my only chances to go for a run would be right at that moment before my wife left for work or late tonight when she got home after a late night work function.

I prefer to run during the morning or afternoon for safety reasons. Plus, I feel like if I push it off until that late and with being with the kids all day, I might be wiped out and not go. So I quickly got ready and out the door I went.

It worked out for the best. With the pre-game 4 miler this weekend, I realized a shorter run would be in my best interest. I ended up just running 3.5 miles with 2.5 miles of it being done around the track.

I have noticed that the track’s softer impact is nice on my legs, but I seem to run slower on the track then I do on the road, even though it’s a flat surface. I don’t know if it’s just the scenery or what, but something I’ve been noticing each week recently.

After taking my daughter to the doctor and finding out she has the flu, I’m glad I got that run in first thing. I’m a daddy first and my attention has been all her’s today taking care of her and then bringing her baby brother to the doctor just to make sure he didn’t have the flu either. Thankfully, he tested negative and can go to school.

So today just shows that you need to be able to adjust, roll with the punches. Things will work out no matter what. Don’t get caught up on your plan not working out to a tee. Just continue to strive to stay on course and give a great effort every time.

How do you adjust when your schedule changes suddenly?

Would love to hear from you. Let me know.

Loading Likes...