Post-Run Report: February 1, 2017

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Today was an interesting run. I set out to take my time and have a comfortable run. I also set out to do over 4 miles, which I did. What surprised me was my pace: 9:34. This is within my happy range. I am able to consistently run within the 9:30’s, which is good for a comfortable slow run. When I kick it up, I can hit sub-9’s, which is my PRT goal (that’s what they call PFT’s in the Army/National Guard).

As for push ups, I did 70 and called it good. I could have knocked out the last 10, but I wasn’t feeling it. The day was long and a little stressful, so I felt I could use an easy workout day. Oddly, running 4.13 miles felt good, and the last mile was really very pleasant.

I’m getting the hang of this running thing more and more. I can’t say I love it when I start a run, but by the end of it, it’s actually pretty nice, and when I finish? Even better. It’s a great sense of accomplishment, and the stress or anxious feelings I’ve carried with me for the day all melt away. After a nice hot shower and then dinner, all is good with the world.

The PaleoMarine Running Plan: How a 49-year old guy got into fitness

img_4083The other weekend, I put up shelves in our master closet for Sherry’s shoes. I had to measure, cut shelves, and then mount them in the closet. This required a lot of going back and forth, bending down, holding up a drill, and a lot of minor physical activity. When I was almost done, Sherry noted that I wasn’t sweating, out of breath, or needing to take breaks from holding the drill up. I hadn’t realized it, but this was the first time in as long as I could remember that I was able to do basic maintenance or construction without feeling like I was going to die afterward. What changed?

I hated running. I hated exercise. I hated anything that had to do with exerting myself to the point of sweating. The problem was that even getting a screwdriver out to put in a shelf or to fix something simple would cause me to sweat and get out of breath. Seriously, it was that bad. Something had to change.

I began running on September 1 of 2016. It was the one year anniversary of my healthy lifestyle, and by that point, I’d lost 110 lbs. I wasn’t running to lose more weight. Rather, I was interested in fitness. It was all well and good to be lighter by almost 1/2, but my heart needed to get stronger. So I set out doing it with the following plan:

Run day – off day – run day – off day – run day – off day –  off day

That turned out to be a M-W-F run days with Sa-Su off. When life would get in the way (as it often can) and made me skip a run day, then that would become my “Weekend” and I would continue as if I’d just passed a weekend. So, it could turn into a M-Th-Sa run week, or a Tu-Thu-Sa run week, depending on how things went. Either way, I started with three runs a week.

My first run started with a 20-25 minute jog. I didn’t set out to run hard or fast, just to complete the run without stopping. I did it, and my first run was in the record books, as they say. My main goal was to finish. This had a much larger effect on me than I thought it would. It proved to me that I can set my mind to it and get through it. Was I uncomfortable? A little bit, but it wasn’t horrible. I wasn’t nearly as out of breath as I thought I would be, and the discomfort was trivial compared to what my mind had built it up to over the years.

I then set out to run a little further and a little faster with every run. I vowed to never cut one short unless I felt the bad pain. What I mean by that is that there is good pain and bad pain. Good pain is the muscle burn you get after exerting yourself. Bad pain is a pulled muscle or ligament. It’s pretty easy to tell between the two; one is just discomfort and the other indicates a serious problem.

With each run, I also would gauge how I felt (I still do this) and increase the distance if I felt good or cut it a little shorter at the turn-arounds if I was having a hard time with it. More often than not, I end up increasing the distance from what I set out to run. It’s funny; I always end up feeling better once I start than at the beginning of the run.

I also do push ups before every run. I started with 10 and I’m up to between 70 and 75 right now. It really gets my heart pumping and gets me ready for the run. I don’t do any stretching or warm-ups before my run as many studies have shown that most injuries in runners is caused by stretching before a run.

With this day on/day off schedule I run, I’ve been able to make steady progress and kept myself from over-exerting myself. I’m 49, and my muscles take a little longer to recover than they did when I was 19 or even 29. I know people my age and even older who exercise daily, but I just can’t do that. I’m not willing to live in constant muscle burn. I don’t work a different part of my body every day: I’m a runner who does push ups and very soon will add sit ups to the routine. I currently don’t feel the need for weight training although I am looking into some self defense training that is physically intense. No decisions have been made yet, but we’ll see. Surprise, Sherry!

My plan is simple and anyone can do it. If you do it the way I did it, you won’t have shin splints or excessive muscle pain after your runs. I actually look forward to my runs now, and I find that I do much better on my runs when I pump myself up psychologically beforehand. Remember, keep an open mind, get excited, and if you find you can’t get excited about a run, fake it. Seriously, just pretend you’re going to enjoy it. Something strange will happen: you actually might find yourself smiling during a run. It happens to me all the time now, and I never thought that was possible. Ever.

Post-Run Report: January 30, 2017

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I’m grinning like an idiot because I achieved one of my big goals in running: I had an average pace tonight in 3+ miles of 8:57!!! My first half mile split was 8:08, second half mile split was 9:00, and the third split was 8:42. From there, I had TWO 9:06 minute half miles followed by the slowest (ha!) which was a 9:30. All in all, it was a hard run as I pushed myself to keep my pace up, but it was well worth it! I’ve been wanting to hit sub-9’s, and I did it!

As for push up, I also hit a new personal best: 80! Once again, these were easy and without really pushing or straining. I could do more possibly, but I am really happy to be progressing without feeling spent afterward.

As for post-run, I do feel a bit tired in my leg muscles, but it’s not any worse than usual. Again, I didn’t really go all-out, but I did keep myself right at the top end of my comfort level and didn’t push past it.

I feel great. This is a huge accomplishment for me. I ran an actual USMC run pace for the entire run. Had this been a PFT run, I’d have done it in 26:35 which would have been a pass for me when I was 31. Now at 49, it’s actually a decent time! I’m hoping to hit low 8’s by summer. I don’t know if I’ll get into the 7’s, but being in the 8’s is a happy place for me and soundly puts me into the category of “Runner.” I never thought that would be me, yet I’m happy to be here. Ecstatic, truth be told.

Post-Run Report: January 27, 2017

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Last Friday, I had more personal bests in the first half-mile pace and overall pace: 9:10! I’m SO CLOSE to getting sub-9’s, I can taste it! I also discovered something again on this run. As I ran, I set a breathing pace (I know it sounds weird; stick with me) and whenever I found that I was getting too much oxygen, I would run harder to match the oxygen intake to output. It really worked to keep me going fast!

As I run, I tend to forget to keep focus on either my pace, my breathing, or sometimes even both. I feel like I now have a decent grasp on how to keep myself going as fast as I physically can without going past a certain “You’re going to hurt yourself” barrier. I also found a small lake I can run around that keeps me safely away from streets and even sidewalks where kids play. It’s a little boring running in circles, but it helps me keep the pace up and with my headphones on, I can listen to a podcast or some music in safety.

I’m looking forward to today’s run. After Friday’s run, my legs felt tired. Not too tired, but definitely a post-workout kind of feel. They were still a bit sore yesterday as well. Today, they feel ready to go, and I’m ready to stretch ’em out and let ’em loose!

In the push ups department, I stuck at 70 again. I may go to 75 today; we’ll see. But 70 is my new minimum. I feel pretty good about that.

Post-Run Report: January 25, 2017

file_000-84I’m really proud of today’s run. Once again, I hit a record pace, and I was only 6 seconds away from breaking a 9 minute mile for the first half and only 15 seconds from breaking a 9 minute mile for the first mile. My average pace for the 3.81 miles was 9:26 which is better than my last run by a whole second (lol). I’ll take it! I was worried about being able to run with any kind of speed today as I still had some muscle burn from my Monday night run, but once I got going, I was able to push and keep my pace up.

I started with 70 comfortable push ups, which was nice, too. I could have ripped out at least another 10 more, but I’d have been worn out afterward, so I stopped at 70. Maybe 75 or 80 next time. But the biggest victory came after the run was done. I weighed myself and hit a new all-time low: 173.5 lbs!!! I couldn’t believe it!!! I’m super-psyched to finally start seeing some movement on the scale again! That makes a total of 135 lbs lost so far!

I felt great after the run as well as hungry, so my son and I went to a local food establishment called Nik’s and I had some salad with vinegar and oil, grilled redfish with grilled shrimp, grilled veggies, and sweet potato fries. I am stuffed right now, but it’s all good Paleo-friendly food, and in the grand scheme of things, while filling, there’s not a lot of calories in it. The calories that are there are all good, whole food calories.

I’m forgoing any treat I would have had after a reasonably sized dinner. The dinner, in and of itself, was a treat that I won’t repeat anytime soon (but it was delicious!).

Post-Run Report: January 23, 2017

file_000-52Tonight’s run was another one that made me really happy. I ran it with the average pace I was shooting for: under 9:30 (I got an average pace of 9:27!!!). It’t not my fastest, but it’s very, very close (fastest was a 9:24 pace for 3.53 miles). This is, however, the first run I’ve had yet that every split (half mile) was under 9:30! That was my goal, and I did it!

The best part: the fun felt great. I felt myself pushing, but not over-exerting. My breathing was good, and the legs felt good. They were just on the very edge of pushing hard, but not quite. It felt amazing.

On the push up front, I only did 70. I’m okay with this, though. My goal is 80, but I’m sure I’ll get there within the month. There’s no rush to 80.

If you think you can’t do it, or that you can’t ever like running or any kind of exercise, think again. I can point  you to ALL of my friends who all heard me say for the past year that I’ll never get into exercise. Yet, here I am, and it feels great. I love how I feel afterward, and I love how much stronger I am.

Post-Run Report: January 19, 2017

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Yes, I look a little crazy in this photo. It’s because I pushed it a bit last night, and I got my best run since I took up running again last September. My pace was, on average, 9:24/mile which beat my very best run by 2 seconds per mile. It doesn’t seem like much, but this is a big deal to me. You see, I was making great progress until I caught a bad flu in November which kept me from running for over two weeks. I lost so much progress over that time, and it’s taken me nearly two months to get back to the 9:20’s. I’ve had two runs in a row now with times under 10 minutes, but to be so close to breaking the 9 minute/mile barrier is really exciting!

Also, my first mile run time was 8:52! If I can keep that pace for all three and a half miles, I’ll be really happy! My running goal is to be a sub-9 minute mile runner consistently. I’m getting there, and it motivates me!

I am also happy because I didn’t get a chance to run on Wednesday as planned due to weather and a dinner with a co-worker. I hate missing runs, so I was happy to get this one in. I will also run on Saturday this week since I don’t run back-to-back for fear of injury or developing shin splints. I may ride my bike on Sunday, though. We’ll see.

All in all, it was a great run. I worked the entire time, pushing myself, but after the second mile, my pace felt very natural, and whenever I felt my legs slow a bit, it was easy to kick it back into gear and pick the pace back up. This is a new sensation for me. I have always hated pushing myself in a run. Now that my body is getting stronger, it is getting easier to push the limits safely and without lasting pain.

As for my push ups, I did 70 in a little over a minute. I could have done more, but again, I’m letting my body gain its strength slowly and organically. I gauge how I feel while I’m doing the push ups, and if I reach a goal and feel I can do more without straining, I do it. Last night’s number was 70. Next time, I may go to 75 or even 80. We’ll see. Either way, I started with 10 back in September. I didn’t push myself for fast gains, and the nice part is that my arms are never sore afterward. Five months later, I’m doing 70 push ups without any pain or soreness. Ever. That’s a huge win to me!

I’m not in any hurry to make fast gains. I have been taking it slowly and allowing my body to strengthen slowly over time, and it’s the absolute best method I’ve experienced in my life in regards to exercise. It takes a lot longer, but my quality of life is so much higher. I can’t recommend it enough!