Today’s Numberz: 365 marathons in 365 days??

Last night, my wife handed me her iPad and said, “You have to read this. This couple just finished running a marathon every day in 2013.”

I think my first response was something along the lines of “B*** S***!”

But apparently, it’s for real (not that I can prove it one way or the other from here in the Midwest). For more details, check out the article from ABC News. Or check out the couple’s running and fundraising website: RunningRawAroundAustralia.com.

Looks like they set out to circle Australia while promoting a raw, vegan diet and fundraising along the way. All in, they ran 9,776 miles! I can only imagine how many shoes, clothes, and Gatorades they went through along the way.

Janette Murray-Wakelin, 64, and Alan Murray, 68, ran a marathon every day in 2013 while circling Australia. (Click for original source.)

Janette Murray-Wakelin, 64, and Alan Murray, 68, ran a marathon every day in 2013 while circling Australia. (Click for original source.)

Our two boys need not worry, however. Becky and I immediately looked at each other and promised that we would never, ever go this crazy and do this!

But then I realized I had already done something less aggressive–but still crazy. In sixth grade and with my mom and 200 others, I biked from Seattle to Atlantic City as part of the inaugural Trans-America Bicycle Trek via the American Lung Association. But that’s a story for another day…

So maybe it’s better to simply say I won’t be doing anything this crazy…again.

Posted in marathon, running | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Today’s Numberz: Revisiting my 7 running goals for 2013

I may not have achieved all of my 2013 running goals, but it was still a remarkable year...that leaves room for even more improvement in 2014.

I may not have achieved all of my 2013 running goals, but it was still a remarkable year…that leaves lots of room for more improvement in 2014.

I’ve always believed it’s good to have goals. It’s also good to not be over zealous about them. 2013 was a wildly successful year for me–but you wouldn’t know that by taking a hardliner view of my original goals.

I had set some fairly ambitious goals at the beginning of last year. Based on a straightforward review, I failed miserably.

2013 Goals

  1. Break 1:40 in a half marathon = ACHIEVED. I nailed a new PR by 4 minutes with a 1:38:18 on March 30 at the Egg Shell Shuffle Half Marathon (Recap).
  2. Break 3:45 in a marathon = FAILED. Close, but no cigar. Only came away with a new PR by 7 minutes on 4/27/13 at the Illinois Marathon in Champaign with a 3:47:02 (Recap).  I ended up bailing on the other marathon I had on my schedule for the year. I’m not disappointed in my time at all, but I’m slightly disappointed in missing my goals.
  3. Run 1,500 miles = FAILED. After running 1,241 miles in 2011 and only 900 in 2012, I was committing myself to a higher level of training in 2013. Finished the year with a solid 1,201 to average 100 miles per month for the year. If I hadn’t essentially taken Oct, Nov, and Dec off, I probably would have been close to that goal.
  4. Run every day in the month of January = ACHIEVED. And then because I was having so much fun with it, I kept the daily running streak going for ANOTHER five months.
  5. Stretch at least twice per week = FAILED. BADLY. I’m not even sure I stretched twice in the entire year, let alone in a week. Silly boy. Even as a hockey player in high school and college, I rarely stretched. I know it’s bad to skip it. I’m already wound up tight and have zero flexibility (as my wife continues to remind me when I try to emulate my kids’ karate moves). But I just can’t seem to commit the time to do it consistently. I tend to use the first part of a run to warm up and loosen up. But I know I need to do more…
  6. Increase treadmill incline = ACHIEVED. For a variety of reasons, most of my treadmill miles end up being run without an incline. This year, I started raising it occasionally (at 0.5% or 1%), but I would still forget more often than not. But my running log does reveal that I ended up with a total of 50 treadmill runs with an elevation. But every one was in the first half of the year during my running streak…
  7. Be more social and do two group runs per month = FAILED. BADLY. Races don’t count either. I think I ended up with a total of three group runs over the course of the year, so that’s some progress, but still far short of my goal. I run mostly late at night or at random unscheduled times when I can fit it in around my kids’ activities, so it’s hard for me to commit to specific times consistently. 

So there it is. I didn’t even hit 50% of my goals. But I’m not disappointed. It was a great year. I still put in a lot of miles. Had a lot of fun. Set some new PRs. And started mixing up my training with a lot more interval and outdoors hill runs than ever before.

All in all, going back and reviewing my goals has given me some things to think about for setting 2014 goals…like maybe stretching later today before I run.

What are the running goals you’ve set for 2014? 

Posted in goals, half marathon, marathon, racing, running, training, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

A review of my 2013 running…in chart form

Although this blog is all about the Numberz of my running, here’s a summary of 2013…without any numbers!

I started the year with a goal to jump start my running by going every day in January. It worked. And it stuck. So I kept on going all the way to July 1.

I started the year with a goal to jump start my running by going every day in January. It worked. And it stuck. So I kept on going all the way to July 1.

I eased up in July, August, and the first part of September.

I ended the streak on July 1 and eased up on the mileage in July, August, and the first part of September.

Then I took about three months off...and gained a lot of weight back...

Then I took about three months off…and gained a lot of weight back…

I started running again on December 20. I've rejoined the gym. And I'm getting sweaty and active again.

I started running again on December 20. I’ve rejoined the gym. And I’m getting sweaty and active again.

A 4-minute PR in the half marathon, a 7-minute PR in the full, and a 2nd place finish in my first 10k in decades all made 2013 very memorable.

The running streak, a 4-minute PR in the half marathon, a 7-minute PR in the full, and a 2nd place finish in my first 10k in decades all made 2013 very memorable.

I pulled something in my hip/leg, or strained it, or did something to it that didn't feel good. I kept running through it for a while, but eventually took some time off. Still don't know what caused it (docs weren't much help) and it's still not entirely gone.

In Feb, I pulled something in my hip/leg, or strained it, or did something to it that didn’t feel good. I kept running through it for a while, but eventually took some time off. Still don’t know what caused it (docs weren’t much help) and it’s still not entirely gone.

As my mileage dipped, my appetite didn't. But that makes for a pretty clear goal for 2014!

As my mileage dipped, my appetite didn’t. But that makes for a pretty clear goal for 2014!

Thanks to all for reading my random posts, encouraging me via comments on this blog and via Daily Mile, and for continuing to add up your own running numbers. Keep on keeping on in 2014!

Posted in 10k, goals, half marathon, marathon, racing, running, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

1,191 miles in 2013…and about 1,191 cookies in December

I haven’t run a lot since September. But I have been staying busy throwing, stuffing, and cramming as many different types of cookies as possible in my mouth. And that doesn’t even include the three packages of candy cane Oreos sitting on the pantry shelf that have been calling out to me with their siren song for the last three weeks–yet remain unopened.

I could easily become Jabba the Hut based on these alone.

I could easily become Jabba the Hut based on these alone.

I got a little elitist this year and dedicated my December to eating only homemade cookies…nothing pre-packaged. But my wonderful wife overdid herself again this year with the baking. She’s an amazing cookie-making-extraordinaire that even had a side business going as a kid baking cookies. She baked ’em all this year: Fudge. Chocolate chip. Oatmeal. Butterscotch and pretzel miracles. Sugar and sprinkles. Even Andes mint chip cookies. Peanut butter. Peanut butter with a Reese’s cup in the middle!

The result of all that holiday overindulgence? A shocker on the scales when the digital display kicked me in the rubbery gut with a very un-merry “202.”

That was a week ago. So after taking approximately three months off running, it was time to lace up the kicks and get my butt moving again. Back in the spring, I had been consistently trying (and failing) to get under 190 while running every day for 6 months. Over the past few months, I’ve been headed in the wrong direction. For every excuse I had for not running or working out, I ate another cookie. That’s a lot of cookies. I knew I was probably getting close to 200, but didn’t think I’d topped it yet.

I was wrong.

I vowed four years ago when I first started running to never top 200 again in my life. (I had been 210 at one point.) So it’s time to get back to the healthy eating, running, working out, and chipping away at that big number. I don’t have a set goal yet, but it’s probably in the sub-190 range. And I don’t have a timeline on it yet either as I hope to make sustainable changes…

I started a week ago with a couple 2-milers on the treadmill. Then a couple 3-milers heading into Christmas. I rejoined the neighborhood gym back at the beginning of the month knowing I’d need to start working out again soon.

This week, it felt good to be working out again. But it didn’t feel very good to try on all my old running clothes again and realize most of them are now too small and I’ll need to lose some weight quickly before wearing most of them again. Or at least before wearing them in public…

Posted in dieting, Food, training, weight loss | Tagged , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Today’s Numberz: 13.1 mile fitness test (aka race day)

I’m making last-minute preparations for my marathon training fitness test this morning, otherwise known as the Half Madness Half Marathon which goes off at 7am.

Training has been progressing relatively well for my marathon in October, and today’s Half Madness Half Marathon right here in my hometown is going to provide a good test of my fitness level.

This will be the fourth time I’m running the Half Madness. While my personal best in the half marathon is a 1:38:18 (7:30 min/mile pace) from back in the spring, I haven’t come close to that in this particular race. In fact, I’ve only improved by 2.5 minutes in the three years I’ve run it. My three times: 1:47:32, 1:46:55, and 1:44:51 (8:01 min/mile pace).

It’s a tough race with more hills than I normally train on, especially the second half that is largely either uphill or downhill–few flat sections. And that stretch from 5.5 through 10.5 is pretty brutal (for this race…). And it was super hot last year and looks like it’s going to be that way again today (80’s).

A tough Half Madness course.

A tough Half Madness course.

In terms of goals, I was thinking that it would be great to get under 1:40 for this race, but there’s no way I’m in shape to hit 7:38 min/mile pace over 13.1 miles right now. My target pace for my marathon is an 8 min/mile, so that’s around the pace of my faster runs lately. So cranking up my wheels by 20 seconds or more per mile just isn’t going to happen.

So to be realistic, I’m more targeting a 1:43:00, which would average out at 7:51. That might be a bit of a stretch, but there it is. (Side commentary on why it’s silly to set race goals the morning of a race to come in a later post…). Getting under an 8 min/mile average on this race alone would feel like a positive.

At the very least, my confidence would benefit from beating last year’s 1:44:51, but I’m entirely aware of the fact that it may not happen.

Not overthinking this race too much. Just trying to think of it as a good gauge on where my “marathon training” is right now, not my “half marathon training.”

Sun’s poking up on the horizon, so it’s time to start making my way to the start line…

 

Posted in elevation profile, goals, half marathon, racing, running, training, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Today’s Numberz: 10 push-ups and 1,000 miles

Been eerily quiet on the blogging front the past 1.5 months. Just four posts in that time. Been thinking about all kinds of things to write about, but simply haven’t been able to find the time. Tons of activities with my boys. Fixing up the house to prep for fall and winter. An all-out war on the chipmunks that are causing my front and back stoops to collapse. And a heavy workload lately.

While I haven’t been blogging much, I am starting to get my legs back under me with my training. The last few weeks have been going pretty well. After I took a week off in July and started running again on July 15, these have been my weekly mileage totals:

  • 27 miles (5 runs)
  • 16 miles (3 runs)
  • 32 miles (5 runs)
  • 31 miles (4 runs)
  • And I’m on track for a mid-30s week this week

Along the way, I’ve managed a 9-miler, 12-miler (that felt like death), and even a 14-miler (that felt far better than the 12). I’ve been mixing in some faster runs at 8 min/mile pace or better, and even some hills. I’m certainly not crushing my runs or feeling very confident yet, but making steady progress. Even surprised myself by waking up at 5:30 am this morning to get in 5 miles before catching the train to the office. It’s been a looong time since I beat the sunrise…

On Tuesday night, while my kids were playing video games and using the tv in front of our treadmill, I decided to do some more research on my groin strain and do some stretching before running later that night. Found some really great articles and stretches that I probably should have been doing months ago. When I started thinking about how long it has actually been since my leg has been hurting, I was shocked to realize that it was all the way back in early March–so nearly 6 months ago (and close to 750 miles ago…). That was before all three of my spring races, too (half, full, and 10k PRs).

Triggered by all that stretching, I decided to even do sit-ups for the first time in years. Did close to 50. Then the real challenge. Did 10 real, true, good-form push-ups without stopping. Those were my first push-ups in probably three years. Didn’t even try to do any more. Wanted to stop with the confidence I could do ten. Will try more again soon.

I’m about 10 days away from the Half Madness Half Marathon in my hometown. Then five more weeks until the Milwaukee Brewers Half Marathon. Then three more weeks until the Grand Rapids Marathon. The marathon is the only one where I’m really shooting for a PR right now (if my right leg can stay attached to my body that long). I’m using the others for training purposes and for having some fun with friends.

With my 14-miler last Saturday morning, I also discovered that I finally eclipsed the 1,000 mile mark for the year!

Posted in 10k, goals, half marathon, marathon, running, training | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Monthly Numberz: 78 miles in July

July was an up and down month.

After 185 straight days of running, I ended my streak and took a whole 9 days off. And it felt good. But the rest of the month was inconsistent at best. And my lingering groin strain from a couple months back still hasn’t healed completely…or gotten worse. So I’m not sure if that’s good or bad, especially now that my mileage (and speed) needs to ramp back up with two half marathons and a full coming up.

My mileage has dropped off considerably over the past couple of months. I’m calling July  my summer running vacation. It was nice to avoid some of the excessive temp days and squeeze in runs on the cooler days.

It was nice to have some days off in July, but that also meant my total mileage slumped big time.

It was nice to have some days off in July, but that also meant my total mileage slumped big time.

Back when my streak was going, I often wondered how I’d feel once it was over. Now I know. I felt burned out. And since I wasn’t training for any specific goals, that only made things worse. I’ve eaten a ton and my weight has crept all the way back up to 200 pounds. For the most part, I’ve been running slower, shorter, and with no incline on the treadmill. So one of my first goals is to start dropping that weight back down around 190 (or less).

BUT…

I’ve started August off on the right foot. 6 days into the month and I already have 5 runs and 30 miles in. Even a hills workout. And some fast runs. Now if only that groin strain were fully healed…

I’m planning on using my half marathons in August and September as fitness gauges for my marathon training that leads up to the Grand Rapids Marathon on October 20. I’m not training or focusing on PRs in the two half marathons–just setting my sights squarely on the full.

10 weeks to go…and a lot of miles until then…

Time to get back to those big weeks on the left and not those inconsistent ones on the right.

Time to get back to those big weeks on the left and not those inconsistent ones on the right.

Posted in marathon, Monthly recap, running, training, Uncategorized, weight loss | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments