Category: Physical

7 Weeks Complete: A Half-Marathon Training Update

Week 6 started well enough. Sunday was rest day and then Monday I began my plan to increase mileage and intensity. I ran 3 miles at 8:11 pace (fast for me). I followed up that run with a pretty intense core / strength work out that included sets of ring rows and push-ups, sit-ups and planks, and pull-ups and windshield wipers. I was fairly satisfied with my level of intensity and the amount of work I put in for what had been a non-run day in the first 5 weeks of training.

Tuesdays are team training days so I showed up at 6PM as usual. I was feeling a little tired and needed a little extra something just to get there that Tuesday. I was beginning to regret Monday’s intensity, but I was there and ready to push through nonetheless. The training plan called for a warm-up of indian runs (I realize this is no longer PC and I am sure somebody somewhere has already come up with a different name) followed by 6 Yasso 800s. These were to be 800 meter repeats at about 7:30 mile pace with a 400 meter jog in between. You can read about what a Yasso 800 is here if you are interested. I managed to get in 5 Yassos and ran/slow jogged a total of 6.3 miles. I left my watch running the entire time and because we stopped a few times my overall pace was pretty slow. In either case it was not good and I went home disgusted with myself for such a poor showing.

Wednesday I struggled to get out of bed and quickly realized my problem, I was sick. I cut myself some slack and took a sick day. Wednesday night through late Thursday I was traveling for work so I didn’t get a work out in on Thursday either. On Friday I felt even sicker. Long story short, I took 8 straight sick days. EIGHT. Really discouraged by how I was feeling, but taking some solace in the fact that I still had several weeks of training to go and maybe I could just get this sickness out of my system. Finally, on Thursday, and still not feeling good, I headed out for a crappy 4 miles. Friday I only managed 30 push-ups. Then Saturday, I pushed through for 10 slow miles with an overall 9:57 minute mile pace. Still upset with myself I decided to put in a few more miles yesterday (Sunday) so I headed out for 2 faster miles and accomplished those miles at an 8:14 mile pace.

As I write this on Monday morning, 34 days before race day, I am still blowing my nose and still a little achy, but I feel like I am back on track. Soon this sickness will be in the past and maybe I will be better from having taken off those 8 days to rest. I also have 14-days to go on my quest to lose 10 pounds through my AdvoCare Slim&Trim 28 plan. I am only down 2.4 pounds as of this morning with a weigh in of 245.3 (still beefy) pounds. I am not too worried though as the sickness greatly effected my weight loss goals. I mostly stuck to my plan, but without exercise those 8 days I actually gained some weight. I tend to feed a cold and allowed myself to over eat and/or eat bad a few times. Now that I am back on track I am fairly confident these stubborn pounds will fall off.

What I’ve learned: Sick happens. Rest when you need to and then pick up where you left off and push forward. My only regret about how I handled this sickness is the over eating I did on a few days and I maybe could have got in some core work and stretching even if I was not able to run. I also figured out that starting my run with a halls cough drop in my mouth really helps clear those nasal passages.

What I will change these next couple weeks: Trying to implement what I had planned before I got sick. Adding an extra running day to increase my mileage. Step up the intensity a little with my core work. More focus on diet. And because of the added intensity, I will pay extra attention to recovery and my sleep habits. I want to stay healthy.

DAY 50: It is the 50th day of 2019; how are you doing so far?

There is absolutely zero significance to day 50 other than it is a nice round number. Also saying we are 13.7% of the way through 2019 did not have the same ring as 50. So whether you like 13.7% in or 50 days in, I thought it would be a good time to take a little inventory of 2019 to date. To see how I have progressed with my goals. To ask where I am seeing growth. To see where I need more focus for the next several weeks. And then, to ask you to do the same.

I am going to start with you my friend, that way if you need to quit reading to take some personal inventory or to do some soul-searching, you can skip the part where I talk about myself.

What FITNESS goals did you set for yourself in the following areas?
  • Financial: did you plan to save more, give more, get out of debt, make more money, start a new business, or…?
  • Physical: did you have a goal of losing weight, running more, going to the gym more, eating better, or…?
  • Emotional: did you resolve to have more patience, forgive someone who has hurt you, end a toxic relationship, deepen a healthy relationship, take more time for your own mental health, or…?
  • Mental: do you have a lengthy reading list, were you planning to learn a new skill, maybe learn a language, write more, read more, or…?
  • Spiritual: did you plan to regularly attend your church (or attend a church for the first time), read your Bible, join a study or life group, pray more, meditate, or…?

WAIT: don’t leave yet. Read this next section at least

The way I see it there are 4 possible answers to these questions, whether considered as a whole or individually.

  1. “I never set goals/resolutions to begin with.”
  2. “I am failing at some or all of these and feel pretty crappy about it, thanks for reminding me you jerk!”
  3. “I have mixed results, I am doing good in some, fair in others, and poorly in a few.”
  4. “I am the most awesome person in the world and I am totally crushing everything I set out to do this year.”
Let me attempt to address each of these one at a time:

Answer #1: No Goals – No area of our life is static, we are always either progressing or regressing. If you didn’t make any goals/plans for 2019 I’d ask you to revisit my above list and consider setting one goal in each of at least 3 areas of fitness. I heard Tim Ferriss say that he likes to have goals or projects he is working on that span a few different time horizons and different areas and one of those areas is always related to physical fitness. This way, he continues, he is likely to be progressing in at least one area so he is not discouraged if other areas are not going well.

“A goal is a dream with a deadline.”

Napoleon Hill

Answer #2: You Feel Like (or know for sure that) You Are Failing – This can be painful and discouraging. First, you must assess why. Have you experienced some trauma or are you in the midst of a dark and difficult time and just surviving is all you are able to do? Or is it something less dramatic than that, and you either lack motivation or possibly your goals were a little too big?

If it is the first scenario, trauma or an otherwise dark time has you in survival mode, then give yourself a break. This blog post is likely going to fall well short of what you need right now, but I am here to tell you that there will be other days for goal-setting and goal-crushing. What is most important is getting you to a healthy spot where you can breath, and rest, and think clearly. I have been in a spot (more than once) where I did not have the luxury of goal-setting because I was in survival mode. You likely need others more than ever during this time.

“When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don’t throw away the ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer.”

-Corrie Ten Boom

Pray, read your Bible, cry out to God (He is the engineer). But don’t do this alone. Reach out to a trusted friend, mentor, or pastor. If you don’t feel like you have one of these, it may take all the strength you have left to find one. Go to a church and start asking for help, tell someone you want to talk to someone, anyone, just don’t suffer in silence.

If your situation is less dramatic, then just revisit your goals. Maybe they need some tweaking. Do a google search on SMART goals to help guide you. Talk to a friend and ask for some feedback and accountability moving forward. Lastly, give yourself a break too. The best time to start on most goals was last year, but the second best time is today.

“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

-Lamentations 3:21-23 (English Standard Version)

Answer #3: Your Results Are Mixed – Congratulations! You are making progress. Take a minute to enjoy your victories. Then a minute to consider your shortcomings. Adjust goals if necessary. Then keep moving forward.

Answer #4: You Are Crushing Everything – It is likely that your goals were too small or you are delusional. IF, however; you are being totally honest and you’ve just had a great start to 2019, then, outstanding, I am happy for you. Now go and help someone else because it is likely that you know others not doing as well as you. And do it without judgement but with kindness, compassion, and the humility in knowing either you were once where they are now or you could be there if not for God’s graciousness that you are now enjoying.

How Am I Doing?

Well, this got long didn’t it? If you are still reading, thanks for sticking with me. I’ll try to make this part short as it is mostly for my own accountability rather than really being that informative to anyone.

Financial: I am trying to run my business by the Profit First principles and I am doing so-so. I am a little behind now and have had to borrow business dollars for personal use. I have not been as generous as I want to be and I have not been able to pay down additional debt. The one success is that I have continued to pay at least the minimums on consumer debts and paid off one small medical bill so there has been some progress.

Physical: My half-marathon training has been going great, so success there. Weight-loss has not been happening though. I just began the Advocare Slim & Trim 28 plan yesterday to address weight loss specifically. Pull-up progression has been a fail thus far. I can still do just one strict pull-up on a great day. Zero on most days.

Emotional: This one is tough to measure. My special needs daughter requires a lot of patience. There have been days when I have done pretty well and days when I have lost it a little. Mostly, I think I am trending towards improvement and my physical and spiritual health are closely related. The running is important to my self-care as is time in God’s word.

Mental: I am bumbling along with this blog which was one of my goals. I have been listening to lots of podcasts and audio books which is good, but I have not been doing much by the way of active reading (pencil in hand reading). I also have neglected one major project that I wanted to undertake to improve my business. This is something that will take deliberate practice in learning a CRM application.

Spiritual: I am 50 for 50 on my daily Bible reading plan. While this is good and easy to measure it is not the best barometer at measuring where my heart is. My prayer time has been inconsistent at best and while I am reading God’s word daily I am not really studying it. I want to add a day where I do a more in-depth study. Just one day a week. I also want to add in some scripture memorization. Something that may help me with that required patience in the emotional fitness area.

If you stuck through to the end, THANK YOU, and please take a moment to comment. I would love to hear from you. What is one area of success and one area of needed improvement for you?

5 Weeks Complete: A Half-Marathon Training Update

So I am through my first 5 weeks of training for my half-marathon and wanted to post a quick update on how the week went, what’s going well, and what needs work. Since there is only one week to cover here I will go day-by-day pretty quickly:

Sunday – Rest Day: The week started with my normal rest day with the family. We all went to church together and out to lunch after, then pretty much relaxed all day. It was a good day.

Monday – Cross-Training: I started with a little warm-up, only a minute or so, and then went into 3 different, I hesitate to call them full, antagonist super-sets, but that was kind of the principle in how I structured them. My cool down was only about 3 minutes and included a little stretching. The “super-sets” went like this:

  • 5 Rounds: 6 Push-ups and 8 Dips on Parallette Bars (sometime I’ll link to a how to build these parellette bars. I really like them.)
  • 3 Rounds: 3 Hang Cleans followed by 3 Push Press as a complex with 135lb. bar
  • 5 Rounds: 20 AbMat Sit-ups and 15 KB Swings with 44lb. Ketttlebell

Tuesday – Team Workout: I met the team at the Fleet Feet Fresno location at 6PM as usual and we ran some hill repeats. I ran the same half-mile, up and down, hill repeat 6 times along with a few other hills on the trail. Overall it was a 5.7 mile run for me at 9:01 pace. I was pretty proud of myself so I recorded the following video immediately after the workout:

This will make a lot more sense if you follow Jocko Willink on Instagram

Wednesday – Rest Day: I took an extra rest day this week. And no, I do not feel one bit of shame about it. I’ve been going really hard (relative to what I was doing before) for over 4 weeks and I wanted to add in some extra rest.

Thursday – Mileage Day: Maybe I was trying to quickly atone for the extra rest day, but I rolled out early and completed 6 miles before 6AM. Last half-mile or so was in the rain. Overall pace was kinda slow at 9:35/mile. Later that morning I put my boots on and walked another 3 miles or so around the WorldAgExpo because farm equipment is kinda my day job.

Friday – Rest Day: This was my regularly scheduled rest day. I worked from home and went to a somewhat sleazy real-estate investment seminar. I will likely write a review on that later.

Saturday – Team Workout: Saturday is my long run day. This week I ran 9 miles at 9:24/mile pace. There were several hills on the trail and it was cold with rain off and on. Last week I said I wanted my long runs to be a little faster, but due to the hills and rain, I was satisfied with this pace for where I am at in my training.

What I learned this week and what I am changing for next week 

I learned that my legs are holding up to the mileage pretty well. While I think the extra rest day was a good move, I am going to take somewhat of an opposite approach this next week. Beginning tomorrow (Monday) I am going to add a 3 mile maintenance run before my cross-training workout. I hit 21.3 miles total for week 5 and my legs feel great. While I don’t want to push too much, I do want to increase my weekly mileage as I try to start getting faster.

I also learned that the weight is not coming off through exercise alone. Starting tomorrow I am getting more serious about my diet. I will be starting the SLIM & TRIM 28 plan from Advocare tomorrow. It is a 28-day plan that includes one meal replacement shake per day, and various supplements that provide primarily energy support and appetite suppressant. While there is some thermogenic fat-burning components to the vitamin supplements it is not intense and healthy eating and healthy levels of exercise are part of the plan. My goal is to lose 10lbs in the 28-days. Trust me, I have enough to lose around the mid-section that 10lbs is not too lofty of a goal. My hope is that running with 10lbs less weight to carry is going to help with both my speed and stamina.

As I have mentioned previously I am an Advocare distributor and I am partial to their products. In addition to the Slim & Trim plan, I ordered a bunch of other stuff including some Rehydrate which is great during long runs and for post-run recovery. The Muscle Gain is for my 20-year-old son. It is a great clean protein which I use occasionally, but I generally just use the meal replacement shakes. I also got a backpack and an extra bag of Spark stick packs for free with my order!

Big Advocare Order arrived on Saturday!

4 Weeks Complete: A Half-Marathon Training Update

I have been negligent in providing updates on my training. Part of the reason is I have been a little busier than usual with my day job and part of it is because I am not satisfied with the appearance of my little site here and have been spending some time trying to learn how and where to make improvements. Hopefully I will start implementing those soon, but since that could be awhile it is time for an update of my first four weeks of training.

“Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day.”

A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

The above quote works for both my moderate frustration with my running pace and my dissatisfaction with my website appearance. I will get there though on both accounts and there are actually a few things with my running that I am quite pleased with. For one thing, I have always been a fair-weather runner. Staying committed to this running club and the ultimate goal of a sub 1:51 half-marathon has had me running on dark cold nights and on rainy days. Thankfully no dark, cold, rainy nights yet. Though that is forecast for this Tuesday.

Here is a brief rundown of my training to date. The running club I joined at Fleet Fresno held our kickoff / informational meeting on Tuesday, January 15th. The weekly schedule that is strongly encouraged for those of us training for the April 7th half-marathon is to meet Tuesday nights and Saturday mornings for community runs/training. There is also an optional meeting on Thursday or you can run on your own. I have chosen to run with the group on Tuesdays and Saturdays and on my own on Thursdays. As per the training plan I do cross-training on Mondays and Wednesdays and I take Fridays and Sundays as rest days.

Here is what my running days have looked like:

I am pretty happy with the fact that I have been pain free thus far and I have fairly consistently added distance. I would like to get that mile time a little faster but, that was actually after an hour and a half of core work and playing relay games and a fair amount of warm-up jogging with the team. I would also like to get under 9 minutes consistently so I am happy with that 4.6 miles at 8:24 pace.

My cross training days have included some rowing on my Concept 2 rowing machine, stretching, core work, weight lifting, and some body-weight work.

Here is a typical day:

I think kettle bell swings and abMat sit-ups are great cross training for running. I also like to alternate sit-ups with dead lifts, though I focus on more reps and less weight for the DLs. As a side note, I am trying to get to where I can crank out a few pull-ups. Right now, on a good day, I can get one strict pull-up in. Pull-ups are hard for a tall, over-weight guy, (6’4″ 246ish) and I am trying to work on the over-weight part.

What I have learned in 4 weeks:

  1. Running only 3 days a week may not allow me to add mileage and increase speed as quickly as I would like.
  2. BUT…running only 3 days a week is good for injury prevention.
  3. Running in the dark or in the rain builds character and sure makes you appreciate a beautiful California day for a run.
  4. Being a part of a running community is good for accountability and generally makes training more fun.

What is my focus / goals over the next 4 weeks:

  1. Add 1 mile/week to long runs and get closer to 9:00 pace on long runs and 8:30 on shorter runs.
  2. To add speed and remain injury free focus on these 3 areas:
    1. More Core Strength Work
    2. More Stretching and Mobility Work
    3. Limit Sugars and Loose 5 Pounds

A Time to Run

I don’t generally make New Year’s resolutions. When I do, I break them pretty quickly. This year I am not calling them resolutions, I have instead made two commitments that I intend to keep. One has some built-in accountability. The other does not, but it probably should. Beginning with the later, I commit to read the bible in one-year utilizing the YouVersion bible app. I have started and failed this many times. Soon I may write a post on why this year will be different.

Back to the first commitment. This year I am committing to running a half-marathon on April 7th. This in itself is not such a big deal as I have run this same half marathon once before. And not to sound cocky but…I could run one again relatively easily with little training. The difference this time is I am going to train for it. With a group. And I am going to follow a plan and push myself to run it in 1:51. That is roughly an 8:45 minute pace. If I were to run it tomorrow my pace would likely be in the 10:30 to 11:00 range so this is a pretty ambitious goal, um…commitment, for an overweight 40-year-old. The accountability comes in two parts, the first is that I joined a running club at Fleet Feet. The second is that I intend to post my progress on this blog. Even if no one reads my posts, I will know they are out there for anyone to see, and I am banking on the fact that my pride will not let me fail.