I have started a separate blog, trying to capture the running experience without so much non-running or training related discussion. That blog is appropriately named Never Sit Still, and located at http://neversitstill.com
I’ll try to keep the non-running discussion here down, unless it’s appropriate!

Saturday, I start the “official” training for the October 10th Hartford half marathon. My training for Richmond, a short 5-weeks later, will have to wait for the Hartford half training, although much of the training coincides (12 miles in my taper for Hartford is the same week that getting cranked up to 12 for Richmond occurs, and 13 for Richmond is the same day as the Hartford half). The only conflict is in the weeks between the races, when I am cranking up the mileage after completing the Hartford half. That plan has injury spelled all over it… so I will need to see how I feel.

It’s a good, 18-week program that basically has you running each Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday. Tuesday and Thursday are short runs (3 miles for the first few weeks), Wednesday cranks it up a bit (4 miles for a few weeks, then 5 and eventually 6), and the Saturday runs are the longest and the ones that I fear.

I don’t fear the first long run since I’ve been already covering more than 5 miles while building my base mileage. It’s the 7, 8, 9+ mile trips that I fear. I’ve actually been having a difficult time figuring out where to run without subjecting myself to too many hills and being in a place that I could get picked up if all goes poorly and I get injured. I know I shouldn’t be worried about these things, but I’m running solo. I do carry my charged cell, my RoadID with my contact info, and a fuel belt with enough to make it through about 10 miles without replacement liquid. That means I’m prepared physically – I will need to get tough mentally to pull through. I have planned the work, and now I just need to work the plan.

My second and third half marathons this fall should fear me… at least that’s what I keep telling myself…

Well, I scheduled my second fall half marathon on Friday. I am now scheduled for the Hartford Half on 10/10 (coinciding with the World Wide Festival of Races that weekend), and the Richmond Half just 5 weeks later on 11/14. It will be a fun filled summer, starting on June 20th for my official training schedule!

I received the confirmation of entry for the Richmond half marathon today. So, the goal is set for the fall and the plan laid out for the summer running! This morning, I headed out for a nice long run. I had run on Wednesday, although just a quick 2-miler on the treadmill at the gym. I had a 7:30 conference call to make and a water main break had increased my commute by about 15 minutes. I have not run back to back in a long while, so I had no clue how I would feel.

I started down the road with little more than “run as far as you feel like” plan. I ended up going on a new route, feeling really good for most of the run (finally) and ended with a 5 1/4 mile run under my belt. Of course, it took about an hour to cool off so I was somewhat late leaving for work but I finally felt good about a run. I knew it was bound to happen. Now if I can kick this apparent cold, I’ll head out for another run this long weekend. I did stop on the way to snap the attached photo. The sun was just starting to peak through as it was a bit after 5:15.

Today was the last mid-week run before the half. We ran a measly 4 miles – very short even by mid-week standards. I ran slowly at first, got rid of the congestion that has been plaguing me for the last week, then increased my speed with each consecutive mile.

My miles were 10:31, 10:41, 10:15, and a blazing 9:43. I felt fantastic! I almost sprinted up the final long hill (which I generally hate), then kept going. I passed Melanie and Sara both — I think they were shocked… Knowing that I only had the four miles to run helped a great deal. My knee felt great. My feet felt great, and my belly felt great as well. If it weren’t for the congestion, I’d be really happy now.

The half marathon is Sunday. I have decided to head to Virginia Beach on Friday so I can relax on Saturday all day. I need to visit the Expo to do packet pickup, eat some lunch, then cook dinner for my buddies on Saturday night (pasta, of course). Early to bed, then an early rise on Sunday for the race. At this point, I think that I will need to leave the house around 5:30 at the latest to find parking in a public lot. Driving around in pre-dawn light is not my idea of a good, stress free day. After the race, I will relax, pack up and drive home. The best part is that I am off on Monday, have a 4 PM massage scheduled, and will have zero email or BlackBerry all weekend long.

Tomorrow morning, we are scheduled to run 4 miles, them recoup and run 10 more… that makes for 14 total miles. Since we are training for the half marathon which is a mere 13.1 miles, 14 miles is insane.

If I run all 14, I will know that I can do 13 and finish standing up. If I run all 14, I will know that I will feel like I am 80 years old (and I’m not even 50 yet). If I run all 14, I will have the satisfaction that February 23rd, 2008 will be the day that I ran the furthest distance of my life.

While it seems to be a daunting task, it will make the half marathon in 2 weeks much easier knowing that I can cover the distance.

We just finished a 10 mile “recovery” run and I’m feeling good. Wow – I never thought I’d be able to say that! We ran 3 miles with the YMCA 10K Team in Training group, then stripped down some of the layers, grabbed our fuel belts, and took off to run another 7 miles. The weather was cool, but not cold, sunny, but not in your face sunny. What worked for me was sort of everything. So, in the determination to repeat success, I wanted to document what I did.

Dinner Friday – pasta with meatless sauce, 2 pieces of whole grain bread with butter, a salad and a beer. I had done my best to hydrate all day on Friday and then continued with water in the evening. A few nuts to snack on before bed and in bed by 11. All of my clothes were out, with a few options depending on how cold it was overnight.

Saturday – up at 5:30, 2 ibuprofen tablets and some water, back to bed until 6:30. Up at 6:30 – breakfast by 7:00 – sweetened oatmeal and 1/2 mug of coffee – lots of water. Two immodium tablets for the IBS. Clothes: shorts, socks, shoes, and the first layer Nike shirt too tight to wear solo. Then, my new long sleeved layer with the zipper at the neck. Hat and sunglasses. For the first 3 miles, I added my jacket and gloves but stripped them off when we picked up the rest of the group before the final 7 miles. Of course, two paper towels folded and in my shorts waistband for the sinuses, glasses, and sweat.

I ate a PowerBar Gel (goo) after the first 3 miles, and topped up with Accelerade. Another Gel after 4 of the 7 miles (at 7 miles overall), and drinks of the Accelerade along the way. I felt good, with almost no walking at all today. I ran an 11:06 average pace which I will take over 10 miles anyday! Here is the link to the results: CLICK HERE

I completed a bit over 12 miles today, while the gals did 13. I was hurting during the last 2, so decided not to to the 13th mile. My orthotics were putting pressure particularly on my left knee, and I’m really feeling the pain tonight. We ran three miles to warm up with the 10K training team (Lori is a coach), then stripped down to more appropriate clothes (I went down to shorts and a top, leaving behind a jacket, gloves, and long pants).

That said, it was a good workout – a bit over 2100 calories worth – by far the most ever. Oatmeal for breakfast (single serve instant), a goo after 3 mile warm up, another goo after 7 and one more at 10 (our SAG) and lots of Accelerade along the way. By the SAG, I had set my new personal distance record by over 1/2 a mile.

After the SAG, I was really dragging, though, and my legs felt like jelly. I decided to blow off the last mile so I wasn’t completely spent for days, and it was a good decision. We all got a smoothie at the grocery store, including a protein shot. Then, home, a shower, and a quick nap. I think I won’t have a problem sleeping tonight.

Today, five of us started out together with four different distances in mind. I was running 8 (run to the SAG), another 9 (modified the course), another 10 (first 5 with us then back), and the other two 13.1 miles – a full half marathon distance. I kept up (mostly) with the 13.1 group (Sara and Melanie), and got a return ride at the water / SAG stop that Lori set up. This was planned – although I could have gone a bit further but didn’t want to push too far too fast and risk injury.

My orthotics worked well, although I pushed the envelope of how long I should wear them. The run today was well over an hour which is the limit that I’m supposed to stick to for the first week. The limits are a bit loosy-goosy though, so it’s what I’m feeling comfortable with. So far, they have felt great when I’m running, but I have some knee pain afterwards from the foot straightening that they are doing. In time, all will be well! I replaced my shoes about the time that my foot problem occurred, but they are just a newer model of the same shoes I had, just without hundreds of miles of road wear. One good thing to note is that my old shoes showed even wear, meaning I don’t have any signs of pronating.

Nutritionally, I tried a different goo and broke open a pack of these gummy-bear like shot bloks from the makers of Clif Bar. Three of us shared them (a bit less than a serving each). You absolutely have to stop and chew them, though, since I believe you will choke if you try to keep running. The ones we had were orange and quite delicious – eaten at about 4.5 miles. I also had a vanilla goo with no caffeine a couple of miles later. To start the day, I had my usual single serving of instant oatmeal which works with my belly. I got a solid night of sleep last night as well, so all of the stars were in alignment to run well.

Next week, 3 on Tuesday, 6 on Wednesday, and 3 on Thursday, then 14 on Saturday. We are going to run the 3 with the beginning 10K team first (Lori is one of the coaches), then take off for another 10. I think we will freak out the beginners if they find out.

I went back to the Podiatrist on Monday since I got a call on Friday that he had my orthodics ready. Those are inserts that I will wear in all of my shoes going forward to help straighten out my feet and remove the foot pain I have been feeling. It was a 5-minute appointment (still paid my $25 copay) and walked out with the orthodics in place.

Like contacts, I need to wear them for only an hour or less each day for the first week, then 2 hours, and so on until I wear them full time when I wear shoes. Today, I wore them at the gym while I attempted for the first time in weeks to run. I ran 3 1/2 miles with no pain at all (treadmill). I will attempt to run 6 miles tomorrow night (about an hour) and 13 miles on Saturday. I’m fairly certain that I won’t be able to run all 13 miles but that it’ll have nothing to do with my feet.

Today, I felt some pain in my knees, but that is from the correction that the orthodics have in straightening my feet. A few weeks from now, my only pain will be from covering distances that my 47 year old body just isn’t ready to cover…