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MARATHON TRAINING UPDATE

Some­body pinch me. I’ve been run­ning for just three months. 12 weeks. That’s all. When I start­ed, I prob­a­bly weighed more than 220 pounds. I could­n’t even weigh myself, but pic­tures tell the tale. I’m down into the 180’s now and I’m feel­ing bet­ter than I have in quite some time. It’s great to be able to run dis­tances I nev­er thought I’d attempt, but real­ly rein­forces those achieve­ments and keeps me going.

This week I skimped a bit on work­outs. I did­n’t intend to, but it end­ed up work­ing for me any­way. Not only was I on vaca­tion, I’d also been suf­fer­ing from pain in my shins and calves. It took me a while to fig­ure out, but I was tying my sneak­ers too tight­ly, which kept mus­cles, lig­a­ments, ten­dons and all that good stuff from prop­er­ly flex­ing and relax­ing. My right shin still hurts a bit, but I think I’m on the road to recov­ery.

I put my ten­der limbs to the test yes­ter­day on a 16 mile run that took me from 21st and Poplar to leafy For­bid­den Dri­ve along the Wis­sahick­on and back. After Hur­ri­cane Han­na ran its course Sat­ur­day night, it was a beau­ti­ful Sun­day morn­ing, the tem­per­a­ture hov­er­ing around 70 degrees. Unlike our 14 mile run two weeks ago, this felt far more com­fort­able and relaxed. We main­tained a nine minute mile pace and nev­er real­ly labored, despite hav­ing got­ten lit­tle sleep after Josh and Suzan­ne’s wed­ding at the Glen Foerd man­sion Sat­ur­day night.

Rob and I need to bite the bul­let and buy those util­i­ty belts you see peo­ple jog­ging with on Kel­ly Dri­ve. For a run of this dis­tance, it’s a real test (and a lit­tle dumb) to not have water between the 2.5 mile mark and 13.5 miles. We’ll get those belts this week. I’m already look­ing for­ward to next Sun­day’s run!

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Doing

MARATHON TRAINING UPDATE: VACATION EDITION

The last time I was in Corol­la, NC, I’d just been laid off. It sounds bad, but the tim­ing was per­fect. The imme­di­ate after­math was so grat­i­fy­ing. It was the start to the best vaca­tion I’ve ever had. Seri­ous­ly.

This time things are a lit­tle dif­fer­ent. After a fran­tic week spent cov­er­ing the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Con­ven­tion from the com­fort of my couch, I’m try­ing to unwind a bit and soak up some sun and surf. I think it’s work­ing.

Unlike our last trip down here, I’m keep­ing up with my train­ing. It’s been a test. My first run in the swel­ter­ing North Car­oli­na heat was a bru­tal sev­en miles along the side of the road. It was a lit­tle scary, but I man­aged to fin­ish in a lit­tle more than an hour. It’s got­ten bet­ter over the week.

The biggest prob­lem I’ve been fac­ing is the ongo­ing bat­tle with my calves and shin splints. I had the same issue dur­ing the fit club train­ing. I keep tying my shoes too tight and it restricts my range of motion, lead­ing to a great deal of stiff­ness and pain. Worse, it pre­vents me from run­ning nat­u­ral­ly and my gait is real­ly messed up. Now that I’ve sort­ed it out, I hope I’ll be able to start run­ning more com­fort­ably before the Philadel­phia Dis­tance Run on Sep­tem­ber 21!

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Doing

MARATHON TRAINING UPDATE

Rob and I fin­ished our fifth week of train­ing strong last night, run­ning for more than 40 miles and record­ing per­son­al best dis­tances just six days apart (13 miles last Sun­day, 14 miles Sat­ur­day morn­ing.) The 14 mil­er was a great run that took just over two hours to com­plete. We start­ed on Poplar behind East­ern State Pen­i­ten­tiary, ran Kel­ly Dri­ve past the Falls Bridge, final­ly mak­ing a right into Wis­sahick­on Creek Park. We turned around just as we reached the first mile­mark­er on the For­bid­den Dri­ve trail and then ran back to Fair­mount.

How am I doing? My right ankle’s tak­ing it bad­ly and I’m treat­ing the sore­ness, bruis­ing and swelling with a reg­u­lar icing reg­i­men. Stretch­ing has become a reg­u­lar part of my rou­tine as well, both before and after run­ning. I think that I still need to find a way to lose anoth­er 20 pounds if my legs are going to hold up to this abuse. I’ve been stuck at 190 for what feels like for­ev­er now, even as I’m going on longer runs. That 14 mile run burned over 2000 calo­ries! I want to see results!

I’m look­ing for­ward to Week 6 of train­ing. It’s a step-back week, which means short­er runs and a chance for my body to recov­er a bit. It’s a fun­ny thing to say, but I breathe a sigh of relief when the longest run of the week is 10 miles.

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Doing

I RAN 13 MILES TODAY!

I’ve been blog­ging about train­ing for the Philadel­phia Marathon on three dif­fer­ent plat­forms (first Tum­blr, then Pos­ter­ous, then final­ly Dai­ly Mile. For the record, I liked Pos­ter­ous best.) I’m decid­ing right now to go the Lizzyville route and make my progress a part of this blog going for­ward. Sound good? Good.

The last two weeks have been inter­est­ing. I’ve been run­ning for nine weeks. As I’ve men­tioned before, I’m fol­low­ing Hal Hig­don’s inter­me­di­ate two sched­ule. It’s gone well so far, even if I’m intim­i­dat­ed by some of these dis­tances. Last week, I was hob­bled by shin splints and gen­er­al stiff­ness. This week was a 180 degree turn­around and I have no idea why. Weird, right?

I don’t know what was dif­fer­ent between this week and last, but I hope I can keep run­ning like I did this week­end. We spent the entire week­end at the Jer­sey shore, cel­e­brat­ing Helen’s 30th birth­day at our friends Suzanne and Frank’s house in Atlantic City. It was a great time, punc­tu­at­ed by two runs totalling 19 miles: six on Sat­ur­day and 13 this morn­ing. Both were com­fort­able and quick.

This morn­ing’s run was great. Rob and I hit the boards at just about 6 a.m. and ran two miles and change to the Vent­nor end before turn­ing around and run­ning all the way to the top, past the casi­nos on some of the rick­eti­est board­walk I’ve ever set foot on. But we weren’t fin­ished there. We turned around and ran all the way back down to the Vent­nor end before mak­ing one last turn to fin­ish the last mile and a half. It took just under two hours and was a per­son­al best dis­tance for both Rob and me. I nev­er thought a 13 mile run would feel so good!

Now I’m real­ly excit­ed to run the Philadel­phia Dis­tance run. Today’s run told me that I’ll be ready for it!