Thursday, March 30, 2006

Officially midwest-bound

Well, we past two major milestones over the last 2 days. We essentially sold our house and bought another in Illinois. This blog will be relocating to Plainfield, IL -- approximately 35 miles SW of Chicago. We'll be true Chicago suburbanites - DINKS (dual income-no kids) -- until next year when we can hopefully have a little nipper. Here's my run activity week-to-date:

Mon 3/27/06 - Got out for a beautiful afternoon run at 3:40 PM from the office. Had a fairly rapid pace of 7:18 per mile over the 4 miles. Great speed. Feeling good. Back in the groove.

Tue 3/28/06 - Started my run at 6:08 PM. We were in the middle of a negotiation to sell our house and I needed to blow off some steam. 5 miles - 37:07 - 7:25 pace/

Wed 3/29/06 - No running on this day. I had planned to rest for our hockey game. We lost 3-2. I played defense and had an awful game. No goals.

Thu 3/30/06 -- Today, I again did not run. I simply was unable to get in some mileage. The late hockey game plus Jen getting back from Chicago kept us up late. We stayed up until 1AM talking about what house we would buy. Then, today we had the drama of offering to buy the house and counter-offering. Not to mention calling lenders. Oh yeah, I was also at work trying to get some things done. I need to focus over the next 3 days to hit my 20-22 mileage goal.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Feeling motivated - prepping for a productive week

I am rested and ready to return to my old running self. I am caught up with work for the most part and have tackled the stress of the moving situation. No, we've not sold the house yet, but I am feeling good about it since we've got a couple of bites at the minute. Here's how I got back into the fitness groove this weekend after taking some slack time.

Saturday, 3/25/06

I made a seemlingly rare visit to the gym. Our company has a gym on the first level, and it is really nice perk. It's totally empty on Saturdays. It's not Powerhouse with endless free weights and meatheads abound by any stretch - but it has what I need.

I did 5 minutes of stretching and 10 minutes on the bike to start up. I then hopped onto the 'mill for a short tempo 2-miler. It felt good and easy. I then moved onto the weight machines for some legs, chest, arms and rounded out with some crunches.

It was a good feeling, trying to climb out of my fitness rut. I am back in business.

Sunday, 3/26/06

We had two house showings today and we're highly optimistic. After all, we dropped our price again on Friday and we're at the point where we're saying "it's gotta sell for this!". With the 2nd showing, my disappearance was to go out for a afternoon run. I had the most speed in my run in probably 6-7 weeks. I am wondering if my Polar device was not calibrated, but I crushed 4 miles in sub-29 minutes. Did the last 2 in 14 minutes.

It so inspired that I decided I am going to plan my mileage one week at a time. I have been looking for 10k to work towards, but with the move, we're not sure where we'll be. So, I am taking it ONE week at a time for now. Here is the plan for the upcoming week...


Goal for the week: Target 20-22 total miles and a Wednesday hockey game

Mon: 3
Tue: 5
Wed: Rest from running - 9PM hockey game
Thu: 4
Fri: 5
Sat: Rest
Sun: 5

Friday, March 24, 2006

Ryan is not dead

I am entering the final phase of my unplanned "running hibernation" - hopefully, anyway. I took an easy 5-miler last Sunday. Other than that, I've been idle.

Truth is I am overwhelmed with life, the move, work and I needed some time off after the marathon.

I am not ashamed of my break. It is one of the joys of running for me. That I can knock out a marathon - take a break - and then get back in my routine.

Hopefully, we will sell our house soon and a big piece of the stress will be gone. I find I am spending a lot of my time either traveling to/from Chicago, catching up with work, cleaning the house (vacuum, make bed, organize desk) , looking at houses on line, talking with my wife about houses that we want to buy, talking with the realtor on how we can sell our damn house, hearing her ask what we should buy, thinking about all of the above, losing sleep over all of the above, etc.

I will bust of my hiatus soon. Spring has arrived a bit late this year. I am planning the re-emergence of my running life.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Unplanned personal hiatus

It has been a major slowdown for me in the department of running in my life during the last 2 weeks. This was not something I planned on. However, other aspects of my life have demanded attention.

The week of 3/6/06 (last week)
Last week, I ran 3 times -- all for about 5 miles apiece. I did runs on Tuesday and Wednesday. I think I became a little frustrated last week when I noticed my pace was slower than usual. I think I was still not fully recovered from the marathon. On Wed, I decided to leave my watch behind and do a 5.2 mile route from work that I have run several times before.

We went to Chicago for the weekend to househunt and I did a 5 miler on Sunday in Bolingbrook, IL.

This week
The truth is that I have not run at all since Sunday of last week. We had a 3-day meeting here in Norwalk for Category Strategy reviews. The all-day meetings basically push all the work that needs to be done to other hours and puts a strain on the free-time.

I am taking a little break from running to get my life in order. I will get out this weekend for hopefully two runs.

The fact is that the stress and pressure of trying to sell the house and keep up with work right now is taking its toll. We are trying to make this big personal move to the Chicago area and we've not had the luck we were hoping for to sell our house. Meanwhile, we've been all consumed with finding a house (which we don't want to buy until we sell).

All of the jostling with realtors (on both the buy and sell side) - and hoping, wishing, waiting, cleaning, working, etc. - has made running a lower priority since the marathon 2 1/2 weeks ago.

I am in the down end of the cycle for me in running. But I will be back shortly.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Back in the saddle and daydreaming

Sat, March 4, 2006

I was able to muster up enough determination to get out and enjoy my first run since last week’s marathon. It was a beautifully bright and clear day in Connecticut yesterday. The winds were ever-present but manageable.

I just wanted to get through 4 or 5 miles to get some exercise and build my confidence. I find the all of my early post-marathon runs require some patience and more effort than before the marathon. Just part of the recovery process, I suppose.

TIME 33:11
AVG HR 159

Sun, March 5, 2006

Today was bright and sunny as yesterday – but a tad warmer and there was not a cloud in the sky. For some strange reason, I felt compelled to go at least 7 or 8 miles today at a very easy pace.

I had been reading about how I need to focus on slower paced long runs, and I decided what better time than to start today.

I began my run at 2:37 PM. I felt really good and I jogged along at a pace that ranged anywhere from 8:20-9:00 per mile. I was comfortable and at ease.

Along the way, I felt a sense of inspiration. I had been thinking about whether or not I should go after that BQ time in Chicago later this year. I was thinking about how, while it has been a set of great personal accomplishments to complete six marathons, that I truly never tested myself.

Much of my marathon training over the past 5 years has been largely recreational and, though reasonably well-planned, haphazard at times. That’s fine when you’re only goal is to finish or achieve a PR that you know you can get with just a little more effort the next year. Well, the PR streak ended this year and it was a wake-up call.

I had a vision about making our move to Chicago and getting settled in. Then, going to Mexico for vacation in early June. I would begin a 20-week regimen on June 5th that would be the most intense and committed that I would ever undertake. I could see myself putting in most of my runs in the early mornings.

I daydreamed that, by the time September rolled around, Jennifer (my wife) might even be pregnant. Wouldn’t that be great inspiration for the race in October?

I snapped out of my daydream and kept breezing along at that varied 8:30-8:50 pace range. I ventured to some new territory in Westport where I gazed a multi-million dollar homes as I passed. Before I knew it, I had knocked out about 5 miles.

I kept rolling enjoying the afternoon. I had a close call about 45 minutes in when I stepped on a huge crack on the edge of the road that caused me to twist my ankle. Luckily, I didn’t put much weight on it in my stride and I walked it off.

After about an hour of running, I decided that it would be quite a successful day if I completed 10 miles only one week after my marathon. I don’t think I have ever run double-digit miles after only one week of any marathon I have run. This was a first.

I’ll keep thinking about that Chicago BQ plan and how amazing it would be to achieve it. I’ll keep in it mind, but it is not a commitment that I would take lightly. This is why I need more time to think about it and decide how I would even take on such a goal.

TIME 1:25:11
AVG HR 152

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Reflection and a week of recovery...

First, I would like to thank Zeke, Rob and others for the words of encouragement, congratulations, advice, etc in response to my Marathon report.

I still have not run since the race on Sunday. I decided to take the week off. I may go out for a short one today just to get re-acclimated. It is cold here today, but very clear and sunny.

Recovery from last Sunday's marathon was remarkably smooth for me. Strange, considering how much I struggled the last 3 miles. After we returned from Florida on Tuesday, I played a 1.5 hour hockey game on Tuesday night in the men's league. I didn't feel sore or slow at all.

The next three days were focused on catching up with work and dealing with trying to sell our condo.

My wife and I are about to move in the couple months or so from Connecticut to the Chicago suburbs. This will be the big personal change (and a huge piece of work) that we will need to work through that I will need to balance with running.

Based on some of your comments, I will be looking into the advice on Pfitzinger training plan. I don't have the Advanced Marathoning book but I will get it. I have not seen the weekly mileage plans, but I am hearing rumblings of 55-miles per week from some of the discussion boards that I have read.

I think that I do have the potential to run a 3:10 and qualify for Boston. I really believe that. However, I am struggling with the commitment that I know it will require to achieve it.

I understand that the vast majority of us in this "run blog community" in are in the same boat: We have dayjobs, wives, kids, friends and/or other interests that compete with our passion and desire to keep running. When not training for a marathon, I have found that I am happy when I run anywhere between 18 and 30 miles per week.

During marathon training, running 35 miles/week is no problem. Above that, it starts to get hectic with balancing work and the uncertainty of the winter weather. The intermediate plan I have followed the last 4 years only takes me up to 40 per week max. To get this 3:10 will require much more than that -- AND at slower paces than I have in the past, thus adding even more time required per week to my training.

Plus, I am sensitive to warm weather. Therefore, to successfully train, it will mean many early mornings will need to be dedicated to running through the summertime in our new community.

Not worried about another marathon until later in the year. Once we get back from vacation to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico in early June, it will be 20 weeks til the Chicago Marathon in mid-October. This is likely to be my next marathon.

For now, I will get back into my 18-30 mile per week routine and run the 5M to 1/2 marathon races when I can. I am looking in to doing a half in about 4 weeks. Gotta get back out there if I am going to be ready for that...

Greater Danbury Half Marathon - Sunday, April 2