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Posts Tagged ‘half-marathon’

Running With the Wolves 5K Recap

Today was the day where I finally tested myself in a race situation. This was not part of the original plan; the Minneapolis Half-Marathon was to be my racing debut. Thanks to my marathon running friend, Kenny, he informed me of ‘Run With the Wolves 5K‘ early this week. Upon hearing about it, I instantly signed up. I have not timed myself once since I started running; this race was going to provide me with the benchmark to establish my goal for future races.

Leading up to this morning, I did not get the night of rest I had hoped for. Staying out a little later than I had planned, my phone kept ringing after 1:30am. Not in the mood to talk, I finally fell asleep around 3am. Race time was only 6.5 hours away.

I woke up only getting four hours of sleep, but I felt really good. I chose to take two days off from running to allow my body to be fully rested. I had a banana and wheaties for breakfast around 8am, leaving me an hour and a half until race time. Check in was easy since I had preregistered. I grabbed my bag of goodies which included a game ticket for the Wolves/Nuggets game tomorrow, a 2008-2009 team yearbook, some Gatorade products for after the race, and other promotional propaganda. Before the race, there was a contest to see if anyone could guess how many hours of sleep current Timberwolves player Mark Madsen got last night. After a couple minutes of guessing, I guessed ‘4:15’, which was close enough, winning me a $50 gift certificate to Dick’s Sporting Goods. Bling!

After some relaxing with the crew, it was race time. My goal was to not take any walking breaks. Based on pure guesswork, I had myself pegged for running ten-minute miles (had not been timing my runs); start, run, finish; that was the plan.

I had never run around Lake Harriet; I am used to the flatter confines of Lake Calhoun, or the flatlands of Hopkins. Lake Harriet has some decent uphill parts to the course which were a nice test for me. I used the downhill parts as my ‘break’ within the race, a strategy I will use in future runs.  I kept a nice, steady pace throughout the race. My legs never felt fatigued, further verifying I need to start pushing myself further. I kept seeking out landmarks along the course to use as a ‘checkpoint’. I hope I do not have to keep doing that to motivate myself. At the end of the race, I felt a sense of accomplishment, finishing the race how I wanted to: start, run, finish. I now know how it will feel to cross the finish line.

Now for the analysis of the race: I felt good during the whole race. My right trapezius felt tight from the halfway point on; that has happened a couple times before, not sure what that is from (there is no soreness now), my lungs felt good, my pace was consistent; overall, the experience was solid. The only negative to come of this: there was a guy that was sprinting as far as he could, then walked when he was tired. This was repeated four or five times. I thought the tortoise (me) would beat the hare (other guy). Unfortunately, sprint walking guy sprinted past me in the last 50 meters. I was not too happy about that.

My official time was 30 minutes and 14 seconds for a 9 minute and 45 second per mile pace. That slightly exceeded my expectations of ten minute miles.  If I was to keep that pace during the half-marathon, I would complete that race in 2 hours 7 minutes and 40 seconds. Long term, I would like to get below 9 minutes per mile; that might take a little while.

After the race, Ken, Alex, and myself got the chance to talk with Mark Madsen about twitter (he’s now following me… bling!), basketball, and other random things. He’s a very nice guy and was very accessible. We also got a photo with him. I can not wait to get the photos of today from Brit. Thanks to Brit and Marlee for taking pics!

Thanks to everyone for the kind and encouraging words. Today was a step closer to the half-marathon. 57 days away, but who is counting?

~Jason Douglas

twitter: @jasondouglas

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Runnin’ In The Snow

Mother nature seems to be testing me lately.  Tuesday, I ran in the rain.  Wednesday, I ran in 32 degree weather in the snow.

This was my first solo run since Saturday, when I ran about two miles in much warmer conditions.  The runs I have done since then have been with people, and for some reason, easier.  There is something comforting to have someone running with you.

As for today, Lake Calhoun called my name, and I answered.  I had some difficulty getting myself warm running.  It took me about halfway around the lake to finally feel comfortable, loose, and warm.  I find it amazing how it is possible to actually feel a healthy warm in ‘freezing’ weather.  I actually got a good sweat on during my snowy run.

One thing that I found interesting; I counted between 20-30 other runners at Lake Calhoun, with a handful running with their dogs.  I thought I was a little nuts, but there was a very tight knit club out there Wednesday.  Usually, when you run, you’re focusing on yourself, your run, breathing, etc.   This day, there was lots of ‘the nod’ going on, a non-verbal acknowledgement that ‘you’re one of the strong… welcome to the club’.  Finally, I am starting to HTFU (Google search it if you’re curious to what it means).

Today, I will be running once again.  It is suppose to be a day off for me.  However, things changed due to prior commitments on Friday (that should be a blast; I’ll write about that later 🙂 )  Friday is my day off now, with Saturday and Sunday as running days.

Question: I’ve been blogging a lot about running lately.  Are there other topics you want me to blog about?   I am open to all suggestions.

Til next time,

~Jason Douglas

twitter: @jasondouglas

Outdoor Running: Week One Recap

March 23, 2009 1 comment

Last Sunday, I began running outside in my training for the half-marathon.  I would have liked to begin running outside sooner, but wussed out because I did not want to run in negative degree cold weather.  I did not think that I would have to train my body to run in those conditions for a race on May 31.

In one week, eight days actually, I went from barely making it a mile to running around Lake Calhoun.  Progress is always nice; it keeps people motivated.

Highlights of the eight day period:

  • Ran six of eight days
  • last three runs were at least two miles, with yesterday’s run around Lake Calhoun was arounr 3.5 to 3.7 miles of running (new record)
  • minimal side aches; the ones I get I an easily run through

What I learned:

  • running with someone does help; thanks to those who suggested that
  • a large majority of runners on Lake Calhoun are visually pleasing; I hope I add to that 🙂
  • only serious runners apply: the runners at Lake Calhoun are there to run, not socialize.
  • I might be breathing wrong; was doing in the nose, out the mouth.  Running buddy Caitlin suggested I breathe in and out the mouth: more oxygen, fewer cramps and sideaches
  • slow down my pace = running further.  Speed will come with time.

My plan from today until race day is to run two days, rest one.  Today is a rest day, which is a blessing with how the weather is today.  If by the end of the month, I can get to running around 4-5 miles with ease, my confidence will be very high going into the next month of training.

I hope to get a group of people to run with at least once a week, most likely on a weekend.  It sounds like that there are quite a few people in my core group of friends that are all about running.

Thanks to everyone supporting me!

~Jason Douglas

twitter: @jasondouglas

Outdoor Running Day Two

March 16, 2009 3 comments

Yesterday brought me a wake-up call with my half-marathon training.  Things just did not go well in my first outdoor run this year.

Today brought an opportunity for me to redeem myself, to show myself that I am not as far off as I was yesterday.  Then again, after yesterday’s performance, it would be near impossible to do worse today.

I got home from meeting friends at happy hour just in time to get my run in before sundown.   I stretched, I stretched again, then went on my way.

Highlights:

  • I ran at least a half-mile further without stopping
  • My lungs were not as heavy, very little hacking up
  • No sideaches, again!
  • I could have gone further; I need to HTFU (if you know what that means, two bonus points for you)
  • I did run about a half-mile after walking for a few minutes
  • I did a push-up and sit-up workout after the run

Lowlights:

  • I stopped earlier than I should have, I need to HTFU
  • I need to not be afraid to go further; keep running!  1.5-2 miles may be ‘ok’ right now, that’s not going to cut it in a week

Overall, today was 100 times better than yesterday.  I am enjoying running outside the last two days more than any of the time I have spent on a treadmill so far this year.  I can only hope that the weather continues to hold up.

Tomorrow, I have to decide on going to my bosses house for St. Patrick’s Day dinner, or running after work.

What should I do?

~Jason Douglas

twitter: @jasondouglas

Spring Is Here: Take Two Steps Back

March 15, 2009 2 comments

It’s an interesting title to use for a blog.  Most people associate the arrival of spring as a step or two forward.  There is a saying regarding daylight savings time: ‘fall back, spring ahead’.  With the recent heatwave to hit the Minneapolis area (Hopkins specifically), I was hoping to start running outside.

Today brought 54 degree weather, sunny, and a small breeze.  Today was the day that training outdoors for the half-marathon would begin.

I didn’t have a goal set for how long I would run, distance and time.  My goal was to just get out and see how it felt to run against the wind, with the wind, not on a treadmill, and most importantly: how would my lungs feel.

I have run outdoors in the past, and have encountered the same issues when I start running outside: heavy lungs, dry mouth, a clearing of the nasal pasages.

Today was no different.

It has been since October since I had run outside; that was in different conditions and a different situation.  Then, I was happy to finally be active after my wrist ordeal.  Today; there is  a goal motivating me.

I made it a mile before I had to stop.  Not good for someone who has 13.1 to run on May 31.

Positives:

  • No side aches!  I did not think this was possible.   Maybe it has to do something with getting fresh air in the body.
  • My legs felt good as they have throughout this process
  • I was running outside and not on a treadmill; need more of that since the race is not indoors
  • I did continue running after a 3 minute walk, about a half mile, until everything went south again

Negatives

  • My lungs were heavy; it felt like I had a two-pack-a-day habit
  • The dry mouth was pretty poor; I kept hacking up a lung after a half-mile
  • Running outside made me feel like everything I have done to this point was for nothing, hence the title of the blog

Today allowed me to realize that I am nowhere near where I need to be to achieve my goal on May 31.  Sobriety a half-hearted adjustment on my diet, and a workout that I have not committed to 100% will only allow my doubters to be right, and that can not happen.  That can not happen.

This is the wake up call I needed.  The disappointing things here are that I allowed this to happen, allowed the doubters to feel that they finally got me and were right, that all the work I have done and steps I have taken forward have not been enough.  I will not allow failure to happen.

Until next time.

~Jason Douglas

twitter: @jasondouglas

A half-marathon it is!

January 11, 2009 2 comments

Yesterday, I hung out with college roommates Brian and N.I.C.  It was a fun day full of chinese/mongolian buffet food, a little shopping, 6-7 hours of playoff football, and a couple episodes of ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia‘, arguably my favorite tv show.

Within that time, I was able to discuss plans  with Brian for competing in a race later this year.  You may remember my blog from last week about 2009 being the year of the workout; this is a follow-up to that blog.   We came to the agreement that we would participate in a half-marathon.  My first reaction in my head, ‘****!’  I’ve never ran in a coimpetitive running race, let alone a half marathon.  Now, 13.1 miles awaits me on May 31st, all of which I’m not close to being ready for.  I was secretly hoping for a 5K, but Brian thought that would be too easy.

Right now, I give the advantage to Brian.  He’s more used to running than I am.  The most I’ve ever ran continuously at one time is between 2-3 miles.  I’ve always been a short-distance runner.  The sports I’ve played support that: basketball, baseball, football, tennis.   I have no reason to be confident going into this, but I have no choice.  Hopefully, my outlook will change in a month.

There are 139 days, 50 hours, 48 minutes until the Minneapolis Half-Marathon begins.  That’s plenty of time for me to prepare for something that is definitely outside of my comfort zone.

I appreciate the people who have given me tips on how to train, especially Liz.  This should be interesting to see how this plays out.  Training starts sometime this week.

~Jason Douglas

twitter: @jasondouglas

2009: the year of the workout

January 6, 2009 1 comment

One of the more important ’09 resolutions/goals was to improve my health.  One of the obvious ways to do that is to start exercising.  Let me give you a brief background on how I’ve done in recent memory with working out:

  • bought a one-year membership to Bally’s Total Fitness after graduating college; never used it
  • broke my wrist and had surgery, effectively ending my 2008 athletic season; that didn’t help things
  • I went up the stairs in the River Centre on Saturday before the Minnesota Wild game; I was thoroughly winded.

Pathetic.  That is the one word that describes my workout ethic in the last 17 months.  I’m honestly surprised I don’t look like this.  Because I don’t, I have a chance to get back to where I’ve been before a few times.  I don’t doubt that I can get there, it’s about maintaining and improving.

Last night, I tried to go to bed early: fail.  To get myself tired, I figured a few push-ups and sit-ups would do a body good.  I did 20 sit-ups, and 16 push-ups, all 20 and 16 were a complete struggle.  I don’t mind that I can only do 20 and 16, it’s just a reminder of how far off I am.  I plan on doing at least X sit-ups and X push-ups every night and/or morning.  I don’t want to join a gym until I’m much further along in this process, plus, I don’t want to be at any gym during January and February with all of those people that have ‘getting in shape’ as a New Years resolution; it makes the gym too crowded.  You do get to see who will make it and who won’t.

There’s another reason why I want to get in better shape.  Sometimes, to motivate people, you need to put something on the line.  Since improving my health for the short and long term wasn’t enough, my friend Brian thought of a good idea: sign up for a race.  5k? 10k? Half-marathon?  Of course, there would have to be a wager to make it competitive versus each other; that has yet to be determined.  Brian sent me an email with a link to the Minneapolis Marathon, which has a half-marathon and a 5K, on May 31, a day before my birthday.  What a birthday present to give myself; finishing my first race, and to beat Brian in whatever wager we have.  Whenever I’ve been in top shape, I’ve despised running with a passion.  Since I’ve posted this, consider this to be my way of saying ‘yes, I’ll run in a race with you on May 31.’

Here are some questions for you:

  • How many of you have ‘getting in shape’ as your resolution?
  • Did you join a gym?
  • What workout(s) do you do or are planning on doing?
  • For someone who’s never trained for a race of any size, what kind of training regimen do you recommend?

Wish me luck, here goes workout #2.

~Jason Douglas

twitter: @jasondouglas