Category Archives: Challenge

Non-Marathon Marathon Training

 

Well it’s hard to believe that it’s been over a month since my last post but I’ll catch you up. My wife has signed up for her first full marathon so guess who gets to tag along? I guess you can say I’m officially in week 7 of my “non-marathon” marathon training schedule. She’s doing a 4 day a week training schedule which is 18 weeks in length and to date I’ve run them all with her. Not knowing what my limits are physically and mentally will soon become a reality in the upcoming weeks. I’m enjoying the exercise and freedom it’s given me to eat whatever I want but I really could do without the running portion. To date the longest distance I’ve put in with her is 12 miles and I totally didn’t think I could do it. I was also recently matched with a match in the “I Run 4 Michael” group and it’s made the longer distances physically and mentally rewarding. I share my miles and workouts with my buddy Alex and he’s there to give me that extra push every time I feel I can’t continue.

DQ dd

sweaty

I’ve also had to cut back on the gym activity as my right shoulder has been really irritated and I’m not quite sure why. While I wasn’t doing extremely heavy weights, I do have that competitive nature within where I’m always trying to one up myself. Over the last month I’ve tried to nurse it but with no luck so I’m off to see the doctor to get it all checked out. The thoughts of downtime and missing out on the gym are why I’ve been a tad bit stubborn and kept from going. Several people remind me on a daily basis I need to go so I’ve set an appointment with my regular orthopedist but I hope I can get in to see the sports medicine doctor that I really want to see.

 

shoulder

What’s the most extreme run you’ve ever done or trained for? Are you as stubborn as I am when it comes to injuries and going to the doctor?

Back at the Gym Weeks # 2 and 3

 

I just realized I’m a week behind as I’ll be starting into Week 4 and have yet to go through Weeks 2 and 3. Week 2 brought me the usual growing pains of getting back into the gym that most people would experience. Every day at 4:00am the clock goes off and I struggle to get up and out the door to head into the gym. When I arrive I’m the only one there so I totally enjoy that as there is no fighting over machines and can workout at my own pace.

Week 2 brought my first hurdle of getting back into the gym which was timing. I could feel myself slipping and wanting to sleep past my 4:00 am alarm and just say forget it, but I didn’t cave and managed to roll out of bed (as hard as that was). Once I arrive at the gym and walk thru the door a switch seems to flip and mentally nothing else exists. I’ll throw on my headphones and nothing else seems to matter. The next thing I know it’s time to stretch and go home to prep for another day at work.

My one saving grace comes on Tuesdays and Thursdays as I can sleep in until about 5:30 because those are my running days (3.11 miles to be exact). I’m usually bitching and complaining that I’m sore and don’t feel like it but once I hit the pavement I’m fine and usually find my pace pretty quick. While my running days aren’t really for time I’m always finding myself wanting to improve on my previous time.

Week 3 seemed to light a fire and I deviated from my workout schedule as far as weight I had determined. I bumped everything up even though I should have waited a few more weeks to max out again and adjust my weights. Part of me thinks this was a bad thing but my other half wonders if I tanked my first week intentionally to keep the weights lower (which wouldn’t surprise me at all). Honestly it wouldn’t be the first time I had done it and I feel guilty about it every time I do it. The past week also had me rethinking my workout schedule as far as what body parts I’ve been working out and on what days. I sat here all day Sunday plotting and planning what changes if any I can do and how it will affect me, but I’ve decided to wait a few more weeks so I can gauge my results and see what I need to adjust. I’ve been happy with my results so far as I haven’t lost much weight but I’ve noticed changes in my body which I’m fine with.

My hardest body part to deal with are my abs. No matter what I do or how hard I work them they are slowly changing but not fast enough for me. If I had to choose one body part I hate working out I’d definitely go with the abs. While it doesn’t take a lot to work them out when I do it seems like I’m spending hours on them (when it’s really only minutes).

What challenges do you have when working out? Which body part do you hate working out the most?

Back at the gym week #1

It’s been a few weeks so I thought I’d give you a quick update on how it’s going. My struggle to get back in the gym has been going on awhile and my excuse has always been that I didn’t have a workout planned. Approximately 30 days ago I started to devise a plan which when the wife looked at it thought I was crazy. I was going from not working out to a 5 day routine which incorporated 3 days of running 3.11 miles each day which has proven to be interesting. I will say I have yet to make the 5 days in the gym as the early morning runs conflict and I’ve thought about cutting out 30 minutes of my workout to allow for the Tuesday/Thursday runs. The one problem I have is Tuesday morning is leg day so it wouldn’t be too smart on my part to do a full leg workout then go run 3.11 miles.

I won’t bore you with all the details of my workout as every person/body is different and what works for me may not work for you. My workouts focus on a different body part each day as this will allow me to spend more time focusing on isolating the muscle while performing proper technique. My time spent per session averages about 2 hours and seems to fly by as the only time I could seem to squeeze the time in is 4:00am. Many people tell me I’m crazy for getting up that early to go but it fits into my schedule and I’d rather go at 4:00am than not go at all. The best part of going that early is the gym is empty so I don’t have to fight for any of the equipment.

gym

 

The running regiment has me running about 5:30 in the morning with the wife and accomplishes a few things. First it allows her to get out and do her running which she loves to go early and get it done, but safety is always an issue as you never know what crazy people are out that early in the am. Secondly it’s my additional cardio I need to train for my first race challenge race I have coming up in 2015. I’ve done 5k’s, 8k’s and 10k’s but have never run any hack to back so I’ve signed up for my first challenge race in 2015, the Best Damn Race in Safety Harbor. The challenge race is a 10K race which when I complete I will hit the starting line to get ready to kick off the 2nd race which will be a 5k. Total mileage between the 2 races will be 9.33 miles and it’ll be interesting to see how my body handles this.

Route

 

splits

Overall I haven’t seen much change on the scale but I’ve seen changes in the way my clothes fit and just generally feel better all around. One thing I’m really interested is I’m within 5 lbs. of my weight I last hit as a plateau and spent several months trying to break that. I’m not ashamed to say that my plateau weight has been 215 and I’m ultimately trying to get do about 190 lbs. Everything I’ve read tells me my ideal weight is about 160 to 170 and I feel I’d look like anorexic and sick if I did hit that weight so I’m sticking with the 190lbs. These next few weeks will be interesting as I continue to tweak my workout/schedule so I can continue to make it work.

How hard was it for you to get back in the gym after being out for a while? How often do you modify your workouts?

These past few weeks

 

So as many have noticed I’ve been MIA over the past few weeks on the blog front as I’ve been trying to balance life and all the day-to-day drama that seems to come with it these days. I’ve recently looked in the mirror and have decided I don’t like what I see and I’m the only one that can change that. Since my last post I’ve started to get back into a workout regimen which includes running 3 days a week to help improve my overall health and physique. I’ll be updating my journey thru my blog so stay tuned and you can join me on my journey to a happier/healthier me. Many have asked where I’ve been hiding over the past month so I thought I’d address that. Works been super crazy and we have major projects in the works which is going to tie up most of my free time over the next few months, but I’m trying to create my habits now so when the time comes I’ll be used to it and won’t fall off track.

Fitness:

While I’ve been saying for a while now, I’m going back to the gym. I’ve finally been able to motivate myself and got back in there. I’ve been fighting it for a while and have no one to blame but myself and I’ve finally accepted responsibility and taken on the task at hand. Anyone who knows me will agree that I never do anything half-assed, I’m either 100% committed or I just don’t bother. This holds true with every aspect of my life from my blog, fitness or even pursuing my goal of playing a single season of tournament ball. My biggest problem with the gym was timing and I could never seem to find the time so I’ve decided to start my day a tad bit earlier and going at 4am. I‘ve had people tell me I’m nuts for going that early but you have to go when it fits into your schedule and that’s what seems to work for me. I will tell you day one was a bitch as I fought with every ounce of my being, but once I walked through those doors I realized I had missed the gym and it felt right being there. Another piece of the puzzle was my workout as I’ve always been very “structured” in the past when it came to working out. I can’t just walk into the gym and say “Oh I’m doing legs today” and go from there so I had to write out my daily workouts before I went as well. I broke my workouts into 5 days and could have very easily done 3 but I chose to spend more time devoted to working out and my overall performance in the gym.

Along with working out I’ve committed to running 3 days a week with the wife. Anybody who knows her will tell you she loves to run and that I really need to as part of my conditioning. The 3 days a week I’m running I’ve committed to running a 5k (3.11 miles) or better in preparation for my challenge race in 2015. I’ve done 5k’s, 8k’s and 10k’s but I’ve signed up for the Best Damn Race Challenge in 2015 which is a 10k race and once I complete that I’ll line back up and run a 5k. I know it sounds crazy, but I know I can do it. Sometimes I just let the lazy come out and it consumes me to the point where I give in and let it win.

 

gym

Paintball:

There hasn’t been much to really report on this front these days as I’ve been too busy to go play (as sad as that sounds). I finally did get a chance to go back out a few weeks ago to knock off some of the rust from not being out for a bit. Some of the guys from the old team were there and it made for a fun time with them and all the others who came out and enjoyed the nice weather. I’m not going to lie, I seemed to slide right back into my groove after a few games and it felt great being out there. Even though we’re going into the hotter months I’m planning on going out more (I just have to remember to properly hydrate and monitor myself on those days). My future plans are to travel to more local fields to find others who share my passion for paintball and grow my contacts. I’m also planning several trips to a few different fields for larger games which I’ve missed in the years past. I’m looking forward to going to LCP in Georgia and meeting up with some of the people I chat with but haven’t got to put a face with the name yet as well as Wayne’s World.

 

paintball

Food:

While the wife is doing Weight Watchers and that translates into healthy eating for me, I still have my sweet tooth and addiction to sweets to try and conquer. I’m trying to curb those urges but it’s hard as I tend to gravitate towards the sweets when I’m stressed which has been a lot lately but I’m getting better. My sweet tooth still exists but I’m learning to control it but sometimes it still wins. The next few weeks of working out and watching the foods I eat will tell the true story. My true tests will be the day to day temptations that come to me… whether it be someone bringing in free food at work or the thought of ice cold $1 beers at a baseball game I just need to remember I’m accountable for my own actions and I can only blame myself if I overindulge.

 

cookies

 

Beer

What have you been up to the past few weeks? What do you turn to when you’re stressed or having a bad day?

Spartan Race 2014 Tampa Recap

Well it’s the Monday after running the Spartan Race in Tampa and I’ve survived. I’ll admit I didn’t train as often as I should have for the event and I think it showed in my performance. While walking towards the entrance to the stadium I remember seeing tons of people walking back all with medal (some were smiling from ear to ear and others look like they had been thru World War 3). Arriving at the gate we were greeted by individuals instructing all participants and spectators on where to go. First on the agenda were the waivers which everyone had to sign (including spectators) which I thought was strange at first but seeing how close they could get to take pictures at some of the obstacles I then understood. From there it was off to get my bib # and then go collect my timing chip and actual bib. My check-in time from start to finish was under 20 minutes and seemed to be one of the smoothest check-ins I’d been thru.

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When the wife and I arrived we got to watch one of the first waves and I remember uttering the words “I’m pretty sure I’m going to die” which she thought would be funny to tweet out amongst all of our friends. I was able to spend a bit of time relaxing and stretching before the event and I had time to calm the nerves before my 2:00 start time. I also took some time before hand to study the map and get the stations down to gauge how to attack the course.

 

2014-02-15 15.02.05     photo 9

 

Around 1:50 I heard the all call for the 2:00 wave which then sent my nerves into over drive as I walked towards the starting line. As I got closer I looked up and noticed in order to get to the start line you had to climb your first wall. Once I made it over the wall and into the coral, the reality of my commitment had set in and I was all nerves. From the time I touched down after climbing the wall until they said go was pretty much a blur.

photo 1     photo 2

 

Once 2:00 hit I was on my way and off to a great start. Rather than trying to explain all 18 obstacles (yes I said 18) I figure I’d let you take a peek at Tampa’s course map to get a feel for what may be in store for you if you accept the challenge to become a Spartan. Looking below, Tampa’s course took us on a nice winding maze throughout Raymond James Stadium (a place I’ve been to several times but never seen even a ¼ of what I did going thru Saturdays run there). Looking over the map below you’ll probably say “hey I only count 12 obstacles. Trust me there were 18 and the last 6 remained a secret until the day of the event. Looking back to the event, we covered 10 of the 18 obstacles inside the stadium and also over 2 miles.

 

Map Front

Map Back

 

Exiting the stadium and entering the portion outside of the stadium I remember seeing my wife and telling her “I’m done” as I sat there trying to catch my breath, but I wasn’t mentally ready to give in. So I continued on hitting the last 8 obstacles, each one bringing me closer and closer to my breaking point but I still wasn’t giving in. I will say out of all the races of this type this by far was the most intense of them all. I’d definitely recommend signing up for their workout of the day which are designed to help you prepare for your Spartan Race Challenge.

 

Photo 10     Photo 11

Photo 12     Photo 13

Photo 14    Photo 15

Photo 16     Phto 17

 

 

I’d have to rate this as one of my most challenging yet fun events to have been a part of. The running portion combined with all the physical challenges have made me start to think about how I can be a better Spartan next year. While I have to admit I wasn’t happy with my finish time which was 1:32:03 which I feel is a respectable time, I’ve already set my goals on a faster time for next year. Stay tuned, as earlier I gave away a free entry to any race in the Continental US and the Winner Seth will be doing his race at Fenway Park and will be sharing his experiences after his race.

Have you committed to joining the Ranks of the Spartan? Which location have you set your sites on to compete at?

Photo 18     Photo 19     Photo 20

Couch to 5K Week 8 Wrap Up

Sorry for the delay but week 8 is officially in the books and wow what a week it was. In addition to my Couch to 5K training the wife is doing some half marathon training which has gotten me some extra time in. While I’ve had my routine runs according to the app there has also been a Sunday morning addition to the routine. The wife’s training has brought her 6, 7 and even 8 mile runs on Sundays but I’m unable to complete those so I’ve been riding along. I feel as if the additional training on the bike has helped a bit with my endurance and overall performance.

Days 1 and 2 brought me 28 minutes of run time, which I’m happy to report I was able to run about 25 of it. I did have to stop a few times to take a quick water break but overall I ran a majority of it. Day 3 on the other hand brought me 30 minutes of running of which I was able to run approximately 28 of the 30. I once again did have to stop a few times, but this was for a water break and to catch a quick breath or two.

Overall I’ve been really happy with the Couch to 5K program so far and I have one workout left. My last workout I must do in order to complete my Couch to 5K program is run a 5k. I’ll be doing that this week as well as trying to establish a regular running schedule. I feel the regular schedule will help me maintain and improve on the 8 week training I’ve done so far as well help my cardio progress so I can see changes in my performance on the paintball field.

How far along are you with your training? How do you hope this training will help you?

Couch to 5K Week 4 Wrap Up

With week 4 of my Couch to 5K program coming to an end, I’ve officially passed the halfway mark and I’m well on my way to meeting my goal of running a full 5k. The training time for week 4 consisted of 31:30 training sessions of which approximately 16 minutes of that time was spent running. The additional running time doesn’t seem to have affected me and I’m starting to feel pretty confident about being to accomplish this goal. Below I’ve listed out the intervals for week 4 of the training program and it was definitely a chore but I’ve managed to work my way through it.

5 minute warm up

3 minute run

90 second walk

5 minute run

2.5 minute walk

3 minute run

90 second walk

5 minute run

5 minute Cool Down

I’ve started to notice little differences in activities I do. Activities that used to be hard for me based on their physical nature are now becoming easier. My endurance for running during my paintball scrimmages seems to be growing and the fatigue seems to be less of an issue at the end of the day.

bridge

How has your training helped with any activities you do? Have you noticed any changes in your endurance levels?

Couch to 5K Week 3 Wrap Up

Week 3 is officially in the books and I’m happy to say I’ve made it thru another week of the C25k program by Zen Labs. The intervals have changed slightly but nothing significant. Warm up and cool down still consist of the traditional 5 minute times. My first interval consisted of a 90 second jog followed by 90 seconds of walking. After that we moved on to a 3 minute jog followed by a 3 minute walk. The program is a 1 to 1 with all of its training which seems to help me with building my endurance for my ultimate goal. The biggest changes in my routine came with me being able to accommodate running outdoors for 2 of my 3 training days. Sunday’s run was at the Memorial Causeway which is our normal Sunday running place, but Tuesday ended up being a treadmill day. Thursday morning was a weird exception for me as I woke up early and ended up running in the AM as opposed to an afternoon run. I’ll admit the morning run was tough to get up to do but once I got outside I was fine. The day seemed to go much better as I wasn’t stressed about making time to run as I had already gotten it out of the way and made for what felt to be a great start to the day.

Outside

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photo 3

Where do you prefer to do your training? Do you prefer morning or Afternoon runs?

Couch to 5K Catch Up

For those who have been following my progress on the Couch to 5K, I’m a few days behind so I’ll do a wrap up of the past few days. Last week I was able to complete Week 2 Days 2 and 3 which obviously were an exact mirror of Day 1. I did change the experience a bit by doing one day outside and the other inside on the treadmill. I’ll have to admit even with as miserable it is out in the afternoon I still preferred to be outdoors. The heat was a tad bit unbearable but still worth it in the end over the treadmill. Treadmill training seems to have a negative effect on me; yes, it’s convenient but definitely not the same as being outdoors. Day 2 and 3 workouts were the same but I could tell a definite difference with indoor training vs. outdoors. The indoor training, while convenient, lacked the mental stimulation that you get from outdoors. The heat, humidity and over all change of scenery is what I require to keep me motivated.

Week 3 Day 1 did bring some changes as I’m starting to run/walk in longer intervals and it definitely feels a bit different but in a good way. I’ve noticed on my running portions that I’m able to pace myself and not feel any winding or fatigue from the increased intervals. The one thing I’m sure of is I’m definitely seeing the progress and I’m confident I’ll make my goal of running my first full 5K.

bridge

sunday run

What type of training have you done in the past to train for any events? How did it help you prepare?

Couch to 5K Week 2 Day 1

This past Sunday brought me to the beginning of week 2 of the Couch to 5K program and this week was a slight modification of week 1. Week 2 brought an additional 30 seconds of running per interval and also an additional 30 seconds of walking for each interval. The change on the running portion was so subtle that I didn’t even notice the additional time and it felt great. Even the additional walking time was hardly noticeable on this training run. The total training time for this run was 31 minutes and which was just a minute over last week’s training sessions. Week 1 and 2 of the Couch to 5K consisted of the following workouts that I’ve listed below.

Week 2 Day 1

Week 1 workout: 8 minutes jog time and 12 minutes walking

5 Minute Warm up

(8) 60 Second Jogs

(8) 90 Second Walk

5 Minute Cool down

Week 2 workout: 9 Minutes jog time and 12 minutes walking

5 Minute Warm up

(6) 90 Second Jogs

(6) 120 Second Walk

5 Minute Cool Down

Week 1 didn’t appear to be that bad even though I ran 2 of the 3 days on the treadmill due to weather. The beginning of every week is run at the the Memorial Causeway in Clearwater and I wished I could do all 3 days there but time doesn’t permit me to during the week. Week 2 felt pretty much the same for me even though week 2 only added 1 additional minute of running. The intervals were longer and there were fewer, but I noticed my pace seemed a bit faster on the runs.

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photo 2

What training have you done to complete your first 5K? Was it a schedule you created yourself?