Fall Has Arrived And Being A Germaphobic Runner

Fall has finally arrived in all it’s cool temperature glory! While it has been only slightly shy of monsooning yesterday, the low 60’s and breeze was perfect last night.

Becky and I struck out alone for a nice 4 miles. We did an entirely new route, we just struck out and started running until we got two miles and then just looped back. It was pretty straight forward with not too much elevation. Normally we do on five and I had thought of adding miles since Wednesday was a lost day with class. However, my legs are beginning to feel heavy from training and I had forgotten to roll; I felt that stopping at 4 when it was still a good feeling was the best solution.

I did have to laugh yesterday when I saw a rather humorous meme about tapering marathoners. While I’m not quite to the taper phase just yet, it perfectly describes how I always feel in the last month before a race.

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I never quite grew out of being cranky when I’m tired, and that seems to be intensified when I am training because I feel tired all the time AND I usually have some muscle soreness somewhere.

While I hate running in the pouring rain and freezing temperatures, I am usually not horribly weather obsessed. I am usually mindful so that I know what to wear so that I am comfortable and not reduced to being a clothes horse that has to carry half my running clothes drawer because I didn’t properly plan. (Writers edit: after reading that statement I realized that perhaps I am a bit weather obsessed.)

I think the statement that most applies to me is regarding being a germaphobic. I find that I am even more mindful of the potential for getting sick the closer I am to the marathon. I have what my pediatrician called an “infantile immune system.” Combine that with the residual impact of my various thyroid treatments and I will catch everything that comes my way.

  • Common cold-Check
  • Flu-Check
  • Ear infection-double check
  • Bubonic plaque-If it is going around the office I will get it

Next to injury my biggest fear is illness knocking me out near the end of training. Granted, I have finished a marathon with an undiagnosed under-active thyroid. I have finished a marathon with a sinus infection. But I have to admit that training and running a marathon sick, is a really miserable feeling. It makes things much harder than they need to be and it takes the joy out of the event.

I am usually teased for my careful nature when it comes to germs, but come October I am mocked for my “overly” careful behavior when it comes to avoiding cooties. With the exception of the sinus infection, I have thankfully avoided any sort of cootie incidences pre-race. Perhaps, being a germaphobe has it’s advantages.

How to you avoid the “cooties” close to race time? Are you mocked for your concern? Leave a comment below and let me know.

Happy Running!

 

 

 

Java-The Language Not The Beverage

Wednesday are suppose to be my moderately long distance runs. Typically between five to eight miles. However I forgot when I signed up for classes that taking another non-online course would mean one more day away from training.

Although, considering the amount of rain that we are now finally getting running probably would not have been an option. We are expected to get three to five inches of rain in the next couple days. I literally made it into the building before the sky opened up and the rain came down in blinding sheets.

My Wednesday night class is an object design class so I’ll be learning to write Java. I’m kind of excited despite having no computer science experience. My ultimate goal is to work in forensic accounting, in order to get there in addition to accounting I need some computer experience.

I am the only non-computer science major in the packed class. I am also the oldest person in the class, beside the professor. However the class thankfully is geared towards those with no programming experience. It was a really informative class. Personally, whenever I learn something new that I didn’t know anything about before I feel energized and excited. I found myself really excited about the prospect of learning a new skill set. It is the geeky part of the marathon runner.

While I am irked that class will interrupt my training but since class doesn’t start until 6:30 PM I can come home and run at least three miles and still have enough time to get showered and ready before class.

It’s not ideal BUT I am getting the consistency and training in that will make the marathon the most successful and well prepared marathon I have ever done. As flustered as I feel many days that real life gets in the way of training, I am excited to be embarking on a new academic endeavor while finding out how to balance all the things I love.

Happy Running!

 

 

Tax Law And Sore Quads

I got a B on my Tax Law exam, I’m irritated because I missed an A by 1 point…and I would have earned those points if I had more careful read the final question and realized I needed to include the deduction for the fictional persons work mileage. Oh well, on the upside I have an A in the class overall.

My quads are still a little sore from my Monday night late run that was so quickly after Sunday night’s training. I was relieved for the rest day. I spent some time rolling my legs, focusing not only on my quads but also on my ankles.

Thankfully the pain in my foot has dissipated as I have taken to rolling regularly.  Not only is there improvement in the pain but I also have found there to be an improvement in my running. It’s not 100% pain free but rolling has definitely reduced the issue. Also, as much as I love wearing flip flops I have all but eliminated wearing them except for short distances.

How has rolling impacted your running? Have you found an improvement in pain and form? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy Running!

 

Wait, 5 miles?!

I always look forward to Thursday runs with Regina and Becky. While I enjoy the solitude of my solo runs, it is nice to run with friends. We always manage to talk endlessly about everything from the mundane to the life altering. I think all three of us have found at various times that our chats have helped solve some internal issue that until Thursday can’t be resolved.

Typically on Thursday we do 4 miles. Becky, unlike Regina and I, is a solid 4 miler. She doesn’t care to go any further than 4. She feels there is no need to go any further than that. I totally respect that! However a couple weeks ago, Regina suggested making our runs 5 miles. Something that neither Becky nor I remembered. Normally I would have been ok with adding an extra mile but luck would have it that I decided to run two miles BEFORE running the supposed four miles. I needed to make up my miles from Wednesday so thought running to the Y and having Jesi pick me up after we run would be the perfect solution.

I ran a conservative two miles, I still managed to get there in slightly under 20 minutes, but I didn’t want to push too hard. Also, my legs were feeling heavy from Wednesday. My right quad was a little more sore than I would like but knowing that it was a muscle “thing”I decided that being mindful in my running wouldn’t result in any injuries.

Due to the muscle soreness, I would rate it about 3ish on the discomfort scale, I decided to to do a thorough rolling on my legs. In the long run I’m sure it will help but in those moments its was incredibly painful. But I stuck with it and in a few spots really sunk into the roller and bared down on a few sore spots.

Initially when I realized we were going to run an extra mile I was a little frustrated because my legs were already tired and I had so carefully planned things out. But then I realized that running with tired and heavy legs might be a good thing. Once I re-framed my perception, the run was really successful. It wasn’t incredibly fast, we were slightly over an hour for five miles. But I maintained a steady pace with just a couple walk breaks which came more of the heat then anything.

During the run we laughed and talked and enjoyed the camaraderie that we haven’t had in a couple weeks. I’m not sure how Becky felt about the five miles, she definitely grumbled a bit near the end; I know I grumbled but overall it was a good run with good friends.

Have you unexpectedly ended up for a little more mileage than you wanted? How did you frame the change in your mind to help you get through it? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

Happy Running!

Tax Law Tuesday

No running for me yesterday since I had my tax law class. It was probably a good thing since my legs were still feeling heavy and a bit store from Monday’s run.

Class was so-so, we had an open book exam that I managed to fly through rather quickly. Though seeing the rest of the class take almost the entire exam period makes me nervous that I over estimated my knowledge of the material. However unlike my classmates I had pages flagged and I spent less time searching. That could have either been a good thing or a bad thing. Personally, I have never been a huge fan of open book exams. Perhaps it’s because my undergraduate professors had a tendency of making the open book/take home exams incredibly and unnecessarily difficult; I ended up having to study as if it was a regular closed book exam. Time will tell next week when I get the exam back.

In terms of training, I didn’t do anything incredibly interesting. I did my walk at lunch and got a good brisk mile in. I also rolled my quads before class since my quads were sore to the touch in a couple spots.

It was as soon as my quads have been in quite a while so I spent a lot of time slowly going over the couple hot spots I had. I have a friend that foam rolled the other day but said she didn’t want to put too much weight down, so it was more like a massage. Internally I was thinking why bother than. I know that foam rolling can be incredibly painful, especially when done right after working out/running which is something I am working on being more consistent with; but if you take the easy way it won’t be nearly as effective.

I do not like the theory of “no pain, no gain” however in regards to foam rolling I feel that pain is the best way to make gains in muscle healing which will by extension lead to gains.

To round out my rest day, Jesi and I hit up Joann’s to get supplies for her costume. This weekend is the town’s Heritage Day Festival. Yep, it is just like those small town festivals you see on Hallmark movies. Her child care center has a Wizard of Oz themed float, Jesi is dressing as Glinda. I will be one of the Lollipop Kids complete with large (Styrofoam) lollipop.  We shall see what 20 yards of pink tulle and some fabric glue with get us.

Not the most exciting day, but my body was definitely relieved to have a rest day focused on recovery and taxes.

Happy Running!

Super Fast Miles Before Choir Practice

Regina was hiking on the AT trail and Becky was at the beach so I was on my own for my Thursday run. Jesi was working until close, unlike Wednesday it was planned, and then we were going to grab dinner before choir practice.

I had roughly 45 minutes to run, shower and then head out. I wanted to make sure that I had a quality run rather than a quantity run. My training plan had me at four miles, but I knew that I wouldn’t be able to get a decent run in plus accomplish the other things I had in mind.

I decided instead to do a really good and solid thirty minute run. I accomplished amazing things in those thirty minutes. I ended up with 3.34 miles in about 33 minutes. I felt good and energized, albeit slightly out of breath. Which is something you never want when you are getting ready to sing for an hour. However the time to relax and have a nice dinner with Jesi helped recenter my breathing and my mind.

I did a little bit of hill work interspersed in the speed work. I feel like part of my success was my marathon play list some how ended up on shuffle. The order that I’m use to hearing music was jumbled. Because my music was unexpected, I found it easy to maintain pace because I never knew what was next. Usually I would mentally say I was going to slow down after the current song, only to have an incredibly upbeat motivational song come on making me feel like I couldn’t stop.

I wouldn’t want to always run with shuffle, I find that the regimented list helps keep me maintaining race pace. But it was a happy accident that yielded fantastic results.

What do you do when you your music list gets all jumbled? Do you stop and fix it, like I contemplated, or do you keep running?

First Day Back Grind

First day back from vacation is ALWAYS challenging. Getting back into the routine of being at a desk and wearing dress clothes is a chore. Thankfully, my boss was on the road so I was able to get the key aspects of my job completed and could catch up at a little more relaxed pace than I had anticipated.

My first day back was a little more relaxed and low key than Jesi’s. Jesi was pulled in a multitude of directions to solve problems and issues. I’m not sure that she even had enough time to catch her breath between issues. In my attempt to remain positive about things and look at things with a more optimistically pragmatic approach I viewed the unexpected necessity to walk home from the office as a good thing.

Jesi was stuck at her job until 6 PM, which would have meant me being at the office until 6:30 PM or even 7 PM. I was frustrated because being at the office that late meant not only would I potentially be stuck in an alarmed building after a 12 hour day, but I ran the risk of not getting my training miles in.

After some consideration, I made the ultimate decision to walk home from the office. I was scheduled to do 4 miles that day and thought that a 5.25 mile walk with brief case and lunch box would be a sufficient substitute. I viewed it as a way to kill two birds with one stone…I get my training in and  I get to be home at reasonable hour.

Probably the only thing I would have changed was not walking home in the hot afternoon sun in a dark navy blue dress shirt. Also, I realized how shot my under the desk lunch sneakers were. I felt my shins twinge around mile 3, which could have been that I had to do some off the beaten path walking to avoid traffic.

I wouldn’t want to do the walk home on the regular, and certainly not with a brief case in tow, but occasionally and better planned out it’s a good way to end the day.

Have you ever had to get creative in how you smashed together training and commuting? What did you have to do?

Happy Running!

Leaving On A Jet Plane

It’s always bittersweet to head home after vacation. There’s always the the sadness of leaving such a relaxing time but then there is the excitement of going home. Returning to routine, in case you haven’t figured it out I’m a very routinized person. I am content to do the same things day in and day out. Don’t get me wrong I like to have adventure and I like to try new things, but more than anything I like to be at home with my wife doing our old married couple routine.

There was talk of going to the pool in the morning before we left, but we were worried that we wouldn’t have time to enjoy the dip in the pool because we would be so focused on what time we needed to leave. Plus I really didn’t want to travel with a wet bathing suit in my bag. We instead just took a relaxing more and visited for the last few hours we were there.

We made it safely through security, complete with magic wands and turkey sandwiches and settled in to wait for our flight. The weather the entire week had been perfect! We had a few passing showers that resulted in MAYBE a dozen drops of rain before passing buy. It seemed ironic that our last day of vacation it rained the entire way to the airport. It stopped long enough for us to board the plane and back away from the terminal, only to return again with a vengeance. We sat on the runway waiting patiently for about an hour before we were cleared for take off.

The delay resulted in me experiencing an airplane bathroom as an adult. I must admit they seem far smaller than I remember. I was worried that my elbows would inadvertently hit something and I would eject myself, bare assed, onto the runway. I now wonder how Casey Neistat is so easily able to change into his pajamas when he initially boards the flight. He is either smaller than I realized or he has far greater flexibility than any human outside of Cirque de Soleil should have.

The delay allowed Jesi and I get some serious headway into our respective books. She is currently on the fourth book in the Harry Potter series while I am making my way through Give Me The Ballot; a fascinating read on the Voting Rights Act in America.

Since I typically make Tuesday my rest day, and knowing that I will hit the ground running (literally and figuratively) once we return I savored the last day of vacation know that my last few weeks will be strict adherence to the training plan.

The week was an amazingly wonderful respite that truly rejuvenated me and Jesi. We had fun and laughter and great adventure. But as always its wonderful to return home to Casa Bellfrey.

Magic Kingdom

8 miles! We walked 8 miles! After spending the day riding rides and watching the amazing fireworks over the castle. We also got a chance to see the Electric Light parade before it makes it way back to Disneyland.

14249935_10154605773149175_3889844645462222531_oIt was a super fun day with only slight issues of anxiety for me. Large groups and confined spaces make me tense and when they are occurring simultaneously I border on panic. I know, I know then when in the world did I go to Disney where those two instances happen on the regular? Seeing my wife’s reaction to the castle for the first time definitely made it all worth while. Also hearing her scream and swear like a sailor when we road Space Mountain was an added bonus as well.

By the time we made it back to the tram after walking, riding and souvenir shopping we had put in roughly 7 miles. However the wait for the tram to take us back to our car was going to be at least 45 minutes. Rather than wait around and risk being even later arriving home, we decided to just walk back to the car.

While I didn’t get running miles in today, making the decision to walimg_7407k despite the level of fatigue we were all feeling was an empowering feeling. I tried to keep a brisk and consistent pace and took the opportunity to view it as a training experience. Even though I didn’t run, and I probably could have, I still took the route that was going to better me overall in terms of athletic endeavors but also healthful endeavors. In reality, that is the ultimate goal of my marathon running is to be healthy.

Happy Running!

 

 

Beach Day

Sleeping in has never felt so great! The last few days of sleeping past 8 AM after going to bed at a reasonable hour has been so incredibly rejuvenating. I made the conscious decision not to run today. My legs are feeling heavy and tired from the standing and walking from our time at the parks, and tomorrow will provide to be equally as long.

Jesi seemed when surprised when I said no to running because we are going to the beach. As a New Englander, her experience with beach waves is pretty limited. The Cape never sees the huge swells that are common in southern beaches. I knew that our time at the beach and in the water would be spent body surfing and fighting the waves as they came rolling in.

We both spent significant time spewing salty water out of lips and and equal amount standing back up after being knocked down. Particularly humorous was when Jesi for some reason decided to punch the wave in frustration and was then promptly knocked on her butt by the wave that came from her left. In my defense, she was laughing before I was.

I’m finding the time away from running is making me equal parts anxious and relieved. Anxious because the marathon is mere weeks away and I need to get the miles in. My body needs the miles and the practice and consistency. But at the same time there is a bit of relief because I am so focused and concentrated on the goal. It’s ironic that the thing that makes me anxious is the same thing that I find relieving, two sides of the same coin for lack of a better term.

I am finding that even when I am not running I am thinking about. The time spent relaxing, I was reading and watching videos and learning new things. There is always comfort in my geekyness. It helps to settle my nerves. I’m also relieved because even though I have taken a slight step back during a crucial time, I recognize that this time off is important on some levels.

I have a tendency to become addicted to things rather easily whether they be good, bad or in between. For me to be able to take a step back for just a brief time and recenter myself and re-balance myself with the rest of my life is a huge help. My addictive tendency drives me for both good and bad reasons. Taking a little time off and refocusing my attention on my wife and just reconnecting has been an even bigger help than the miles that I am missing.

Setting aside the philosophical, I knew that to do ten miles and then go battle the waves after walking some distance on the sand would only end up shredding my legs; potentially injuring myself. In the end my greatest fear is that I will get injured during such an amazingly productive training time. History has proven that I am prone to tendinitis as well as issues with my knees and hips. Part of my acceptance of my rest is an overall fear that I will be injured if I continue forward in such a no-holds bar focused manner. The goal for me is to actually get to the start line and then make it to the finish.

All in all, it was a great day. Super fun day at the beach that is heralded as the Shark Bite capital of the world. Thankfully I neither spotted sharks or was bitten by one so I would say that the day was a win-win. Besides I got some cross training in and spent time with the family.

Happy Running!