Some Pictures from the Warrior Dash

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Warrior Dash-- Johnson Creek Wisconsin!

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Proof I leave the ground when I run.

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Week 8-- Very good week!

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I think I have finally turned the corner and felt strong all week, all culminating in a PR 5K, on the running leg of the Wauconda Sprint Triathlon today. We finished 5th in the coed team division.

I blasted through my 5K position for the sprint in 31:49 besting my old time of 34:12 by 2 minutes and 23 seconds. To say the least I am very pleased.

However there was more good things happening as well, my Thursday run was a 10K test and I got a PR in that as well 1:15:35 in a training run, which was not expected, that one was about 3 minutes better then my old PR.  I also did a solid 10 miles with my neighbor on Saturday morning.

Overall it was a very good week, 2 PR's! Next week I am doing a Warrior Dash with my daughter and her boy friend in Wisconsin. Plus next week is a big week, 9, 6, 4 and 14 for 33 total.

Having a good week!

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This has been a good week, nailed my weightlifting, on Tuesday and Friday, and then got the runs on Wednesday and Thursday done with some ease. Tomorrow 10 miles, then on Sunday I am doing the Wauconda Co-ed Team Sprint Triathlon. I am doing the run, portion, and I intend to go very hard. Would like to get an unofficial PR for the 5K, if I can get an accurate start location for the 5K out of transition area, maybe sub 30 minutes?

Win some wine, donate to a good cause!

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In October I will be running in the Chicago Marathon. Rather then running for me, I have decided to run for a charity I hold near and dear - the Ronald McDonald House Charities. What they do is amazing and rewarding and I am humbled by their work. They are all the things you want in a charity -  organized, proactive and financially responsible.

I am attempting to raise money for them as part of my commitment to the race team, so I had an idea for a raffle to kick off my fundraising efforts.
I am in possession of a $65 (according to my Vivino wine app) bottle of wine which I bought as part of an "instant wine cellar" at a silent auction for another charity.  Looking through the collection I found a bottle of Russian River Valley Cuvee De Trois Pinot Noir from 2011 (link to the rating of the wine is here).

So here is what I am doing as an incentive for this great cause, for every dollar you donate to RMHC via this link, I will give you one entry in a raffle for the above bottle of wine. The raffle will end on July 31st.

Week 7-- Humidity cuts into my mileage!

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The goal was 35, the actual result was 28, I reduced my 10 miler of Saturday to 8 miles, and today's 15 miles to 10. So why did I do this? 85% humidity at 5:00 am, made discretion the better part of valor.

The week was very good however. Wednesday I ran 5 miles with my neighbor who wanted to push and push we did, each mile being faster then the last, mile splits of 12:26, 11:41, 11:39, 11:39, 11:27, and the last 1/4 mile we did in 8:00 minute mile pace. So that was a good one.

Thursday was a speed work day, which was marginal, my legs felt the day before to be honest. I did 800 repeats with a long warmup and cool down. This workout was on the treadmill as well.

Saturday was hot and humid and my neighbor and I were out the door at 5am, she wanted to join me for 6 miles so we looped back to the house at 6 miles, but by that time she was good to go more, as was I, so we did 2 more, but in that space of time, it got much hotter and my thought process was don't push it, and 2 more miles would have done that. I walked a slow mile while drinking water as a cool down. The mile splits were 11:57, 11:46, 11:55, 11:38, 12:22, 13:23, 12:33, 12:16, much slower second half.

Sunday, was supposed to be 15 miles, but after a mile walking warmup loop, for which I forgot to start my Garmin, I ran 4 miles out via South Valley Lakes, to the Millennium Trail, and then to the Frisbee Golf course (see picture). When I got back to the house having done 8 miles I drank and did a slow jog walk cool down for about a mile. I thought about doing another 5, since it did not seem that bad, but when I checked my weather.com app, I saw 80% humidity, I decided that was enough.

As a side note to the Sunday run, running through the woods on the trail, is mosquito central! I did not do the walk/run in the woods, hard running only, not a bad plan.



Week 6 Report-- 30 Miles for the first time in this training program

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Got two ten milers done on Saturday and Sunday thanks to my neighbors and friends. and finished with my first 30 mile week in this training plan. I will be above 30 miles 7 more times in the next 14 weeks, for comparison, the build up to the Wisconsin Marathon only got me over 30 miles 3 times.
  • So today's 10 miler, when you back out warmups and cool-downs was the following in terms of minutes per mile my times were 13:18, 13:06, 13:08, 12:52, 13:31, 12:14, 12:40, 11:52 
    Negative Splits! Miles 1-4 52:32 and miles 5-8 50:20 also an average time of 12:50 per mile.
  • The two midweek runs were decent but not great, the speed work was fine until I was ejected backwards from the treadmill, when I decided to stop before the treadmill did. Not the smartest or safest thing I have ever done.
  • My nutrition plan seems to be working, I feel like I have quite a bit of power, during my runs, and my recovery from 10 milers, seems minimal, Sunday evening 12 hours later zero soreness, in fact I could probably go do it again. Not a bad feeling to have.
Next week I have a bigger week, planned, 8, 7, 10 and 15, the jump from 30 in a week to 40 in a week might be to much, so I may reduce the midweek mileage, by 3, and the long runs by 2, and bring my mileage in at 35, which would keep with my rule of only increasing mileage 15%

Week 5 report-- Not bad, with an MIA long run.

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So the week went very well, right up until Sunday morning and waking up with an ear ache. It was actually the third or fourth day of it, Sunday's was worse however. In fact I tried to run, but I was wobbly and I did not get to far (about a mile) before walking back to house. I took some ibuprofen to reduce the swelling, which is VERY unusual for me since I never take anything other then some vitamins and my blood pressure meds. It worked by noon and as I write this (Monday) there is limited to almost no ear discomfort right now. I suspect I had a mild infection since my lower jaw hurts almost like a toothache, hopefully I am on the downside of that.

So to recap rather then 29 miles for the week, I got 20. I am not terribly upset about it, still have 15 weeks or so to go until race day.

This week I have 8, 5, 7 and 15 miles. The 5 will be speed work, I am repeating a workout I have done twice before 7 x 1,000m at race pace less 60 seconds, I can compare and contrast the workouts.

Am I creating a monster? A food-like blog post no less!

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So my July 1 goal is to eat better, although I have been eating well before, I am really focusing on the ratio of nutrients/macros I eat on my nutrition plan. I have posted about this a few days ago and since then I have been monitoring my ratios every day and then recording them into my giant spreadsheet I keep.

So below is the table I am keeping of the ratios, I backtracked my nutrition for the last 10 days of June to give me a sense of where I was. I marked the days where I came within 10% of my goal in bold. In those 10 test days I had 4 successes, and 26 others. More depressingly only once did I come within 8% of my fat goal, most of the time I was double my goal percentage (Carbs are 50%, Protein is 30% and Fat is 20%) at this moment.

Since I started paying much closer attention (July 1) to the ratios I had 5 successes out of 15 days. In fact one day I was nearly perfect, all within 4% of the goal, I would qualify hitting the goal as 5% by the way, so certainly better performance.

Recognizing my fat needs to come down if I want to see how the 50-30-20 process works for me I focused on reducing my fat intake. In the process I have gone a little over the top with carbs, hitting percentages of 77% and 65% and reducing my fat the last few days to 10% and 8%

C50 P30  F20
43% 21% 36%
31% 26% 43%
35% 35% 29%
36% 20% 44%
33% 24% 43%
55% 16% 28%
34% 18% 48%
48% 17% 35%
39% 19% 42%
39% 24% 37%
26% 24% 49%
37% 21% 42%
48% 29% 24%
77% 14% 10%
65% 26% 8%

So I have very much focused on meal planning today, I have mapped out my exact breakfast for the next few days, as well as the exact lunch, and weighed and packaged it. Hopefully if I can avoid the stuff that pops up at work, I can manage to spend a week on the plan, at the right ratios and see how I feel.

So the picture above was today's lunch, it was a premade crust from Archer Farms a whole wheat thin pizza crust, half a cup of tomato sauce, a cup of diced shredded cheese, some mushrooms, diced onions and some Italian seasoning. According to MyFitnessPal its 681 calories, 116 grams of carbs, 27 of protein and 16 of fat. A little bit on the high side for the carbs, but my breakfast was 59, 42, 36, so my day is 60%, 22% and 18% after lunch. I happen to know I having some brats and coleslaw for dinner plus some BBQ sauce. So my ratio would be 52%, 23% and 25%, almost there! Plus I come in at 2,300 calories for the day.

Neighborly Goodness

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I ran 7 miles with two of my neighbors today starting with a quick car trip to the Volo Village Hall at 5:30am to get on the trail. One of my neighbors is running the Rock and Roll marathon in a few weeks in Chicago. So she needed the miles, I was happy to oblige. Always good to run with someone and in this case two someones. Had a good time on this route, since I went 10 miles on it last week, as well. Hills, paved and gravel roads, all are on this route so its a good test.

Week 4-- Much much better!

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This was supposed to be a low key week in terms of mileage and intensity, and it was. However I felt good on all my runs and surprisingly fast.

There were only three runs this week, since one of my training plans tenets is to do at least one of my long runs on fresh legs every month. In this case since my long runs are on Sunday, and I generally run on Saturday as well. It means dropping the Saturday run, which works perfectly into my cut back (recovery) weeks. I simply don't run on Saturday.

So Tuesday's leg workout went very well, I am slowly increasing my weights, I handle, and leg day is certainly paying off in terms of my running, the lunges, calf raises and most of all squats (smith, goblet and leg machine versions) all are making my legs feel strong when I run.

Wednesday was a day out at Ray Lake, after work I drove there and ran 2 laps of the Forest preserve trail (2.33 mile loop), Only problem here is I was supposed to run 6, and had run out of water, and while it was in the mid 70's, it was also about 70% humidity, and I was feeling it, so I cut it short. Went for a 2 mile walk with the wife about 2 hours later, so my guilt was removed about the lack of distance.

Thursday was speed-work, its was supposed to be at the track, but there was a monsoon dumping water all over us so I went to the gym and did it on the treadmill. I actually struggled during the warmup and the cool down portions of the run, but did 6 x 800 repeats with 90 second of rest, right in my goal time of 5:15. Felt awful warming up, and felt miserable during the cool down for some reason. I think I was irritated about being indoors.

Friday was upper body weights, and I did that just fine, the workouts I have are about 45-55 minutes long and I can feel progress and the "burn" in both the leg and upper body versions.

Saturday was a day of rest from my normal run, although I did the upper body workout a second time, just to have something to do at club, and figured it would not do anything adverse to my legs.

Sunday was long run day...I was up and ready to go (5:30am), before the gate at the Grant Forest Preserve I wanted to run at was even open, and rather then wait I went to the Volo village hall parked and ran a hilly 10 miler on an out and back course, that I felt fine with the whole time. The goal of the run was to run a few miles at better then race pace. So I decided mile 4-6  and mile 8 and 10 would be those and I would try to push each one slightly faster. I actually remembered to run those miles faster if you see my (bold type) splits below, but forgot that I wanted to go progressively faster.

12:16 12:02 12:06 11:25 11:35 10:45 12:38 11:01 12:27 11:49

So overall a good week hit my mileage goals (minus the one run) and my legs felt good throughout and 6 hours post run, can barely tell I ran today.

Next week is a step up week with runs of 8, 5 (speed work) 7 and 12 for a total of 32 miles. The next three weeks before my step down week consist of 32, 35 and 40 miles. So its an exciting few weeks ahead of me.

Nutrition for performance and weight loss? Can I do it?

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The reason I started my entire fitness program, with the long range goal of running a marathon back in January of 2014, was to lose weight. I weighed 256 back then, and today I am right around 220 depending on the time of day. My weight loss has been steady and reasonably consistent in the last 18 months, and I am quite pleased with it.

To recap here are some of the thing I did to get to this point.
  • Spent the first 4 months on the Atkins diet which basically got the first 15-20 pounds off me. I also walked during this phase quite a bit as well as refereeing soccer.
  • I then started a consistent 3-4 days a week weight training program, focusing on overall body tone and developing actual muscles. I continue this program, although with changes, to this day.
  • I started training for the Madison Half Marathon with a 16 week program in the late summer, and then a 20 week program for the Wisconsin Marathon in December. Right now I am in week 3 of a 20 week program for the Chicago Marathon.
  • I use MyFitnesssPal to record everything I eat, in fact I have only missed recording one day in the last 18 months. (My birthday, when I was on a cruise on a sea day, and out of wireless range). This has helped me make better decisions about calories and keeping my weight loss moving in the right direction.
  • I have set goals for weight loss, which I have generally hit. I wanted to be under 220 for Wisconsin and I was, barely, and I want to be close to 200 for Chicago.
Which brings me to where I am now. I am hovering around 220-221 as I start to ramp up my program for Chicago. All my reading tells me that I can do better in terms of nutrition.

Studying my 18 month eating history via MyFitnesssPal.com  has been quite educational. I appear to be averaging about 2,300 to 2,400 calories consumed a day and I have been averaging right around 3,000 total calories burned a day which is roughly correct in terms of how much weight I have lost. Basically my goal is a 500 calorie deficit every day, (more like 400 in my case) with a pound of fat being 4,500 calories its taking me about 10 days to drop a  pound, and that's right around where I am in terms of weight loss.

During most of that time my ratio of carbs, protein and fat (macros) has been 36% carbs, 23% protein, 40% fat. As I have read a variety of books about performance eating and eating for weight loss. I have pretty much deduced a few things about my diet:
  • I need to eat better.
  • My recording of portion sizes might be a little bit flawed, as in under counting calories.
  • My macro ratio of 36%, 23%, 40% is not optimal.
So starting in July I am going to do the following:
  • Eat better
  • Dial in on measuring what I eat to keep my goal calorie intake around 2,100 per day.
  • Change my macro ratio to 50% carbs, 30% protein, and 20% fat.
While running is seemingly my focus, in reality it is a means to an end, the end being fitter and trimmer. My ultimate goal would be 190, if I can get there, I am thinking my focus will then move to running faster times. At the moment weight loss plus increased fitness is leading to faster times but once I hit my ultimate weight goal, I am going to see what I can do in terms of training for faster race times.

Week 3 Highlights--- If you can call them that.

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So it really wasn't a good week, was not feeling good all week which cut into my mileage by about 9 of my planned 29, leaving me with 20 for the week total. I am not terribly concerned because the "not feeling good" issue has been fixed.

The highlight of the week was the speed work I did on Saturday as I was feeling better. The workout had a one mile warmup, followed by 12 x 400m at 10:30 mile pace, with 90 second rest intervals, the mile pace is about 90 seconds faster then my hopeful marathon pace for this fall. Then there is 1.5 miles of cool down. For a grand total of 5.5 miles.

I thought the workout would be tough, but in reality it was not, maybe a moderate effort at best. The Garmin data from the run showed my heart rate rarely getting above 120. Which is hardly pushing it for me. The recovery was quick and dropped into the 80's almost immediately during the rest intervals.

Overall I am pleased with the workout, I am not so sure what the ease of completion means in the overall context of the training plan, I feel I could have run at a 9:30 minute mile pace and been challenged, which is way faster then I thought I could do, I may dial up the pace in this weeks speed training to test that hypothesis out.

So week 17 is done, and on to week 16, which is a bit of a step down week, although given this last week, not so much. Mileage is 6, 5 and 12, with the 5 being speed work.

Week 2 is complete...not the best but not the worst

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So week 2 is over, I did 22.5 miles, when I was supposed to do 25, two things impacted that. First the speed work I did on Wednesday, mile repeats at 60 seconds faster then marathon pace, took something out of me for the the next run. Although I felt really good, during the second thing, the impromptu, trail race I ran on Saturday, I did a little less distance on Sunday because I did a little more distance then I was supposed to on Saturday. If that makes sense.

The weight training appears to be working as well. While its still very early, in the program (been doing it for 3 weeks), I can feel a springiness in my step from the leg days, and I can tell I am getting slightly more tone in the upper body, so its all on course right now.

Next week I am on schedule for 29 miles, two runs of 6 miles during the week, 6 miles of speed work on Saturday and then an 11 miler on Sunday. The work week is not super intense after Monday, so I should be okay with getting in the "following the schedule" groove, which I have not been the first two weeks as well as I would like to think.