Week 94: Spring Time is Fitness Time!

Spring has really sprung in Columbus. We had our first 70-degree day this weekend and I have had several outdoor runs and walks without long sleeves or a jacket. That means I can finally start enjoying outdoor fitness again and not a minute too soon.

Unfortunately I have backed off a bit too much on my exercise-rich life and need to get back into full-on athlete and beast mode. Don’t get me wrong, I am still super active but I am just not pushing myself as hard as I know I can and should. With the full emergence of spring I have an opportunity to make this better.

But, for now, I will share my updates from this week in my fitness journey.

Last Pre-Marathon Long Run

I am running the Cap City Half Marathon in just 20 days! It is so close and that is a slight source of anxiety. Have I trained enough? Am I ready? Will I have a repeat of the terrible cramps from my first half marathon? All the questions that my brain likes to focus on. The logical side of me knows that I am ready. I have run half marathons either organized or by myself 4 times since August. Just two weeks ago I ran a solo half marathon and achieved my stretch goal time. So I am pretty sure I am ready.

This weekend I ran my last long run before the half marathon. I ran the second race in the Scioto Miles racing series Sunday morning on the Scioto Mile on the riverfront in downtown Columbus. The first race in this series was a 5k that I ran on St. Patrick’s Day.

For today’s race I upped my distance to a 10k. My strategy was to run this nearly quarter marathon distance using my marathon pacing strategy. For the next half marathon I plan to alternate running and walking just like my previous half. But unlike last time, where I did one mile run followed by one mile walk, I am planning on speeding things up a bit. I am planning to run 2 miles and walk a half mile and continue alternating for the full 13.1. During my run segments I plan to try to stick right around 10 minutes per mile and no faster than 9:30 per mile. This should give me the right blend of speed and endurance.

At the October half marathon I finished in 2:44 and my stretch goal for this race is 2:30.

Today’s run went pretty well with the exception of one big mistake. I ran too fast!

When we lined up I went to my normal pace group – the 9 minute mile group. I stayed with them for the first 2 miles which sometimes meant I was running in the 8:30 to 8:50 range which is definitely faster than I wanted to run. I crossed the 5k line at just one minute slower than my last 5K which meant I was going way too fast.

I averaged a 10-minute mile for the whole 10k race. That is a great, fast pace for a 10k and I would normally be happy with that. But my goal was to practice for my half marathon and that was not successful. If I run like this in the half I will not end where I want to end or I may not end at all.

Lesson Learned: just like you can’t eat on autopilot, you can’t just exercise on autopilot. If you have gone to the trouble of building a plan, stick to it.

Also I found another interesting mental aspect of the race. During the first 2 miles I was running with the 9 minute pace group and was sticking with them. I was doing great and I was going fast! Then I hit the 2-mile mark and it was time to slow to a walk. Next thing you know all of the people I was just hanging with at my fast pace were now out of sight. Even worse, the people I was ahead of in the 10-minute pace group and beyond were also passing me. Then some of the spectators were cheering me on because they thought I was struggling and that was why I stopped to walk (reminded me of my Reflections on Leadership from 8/29 – Leaders Know their View is Limited).

My competitive side starting kicking in and it made it hard to be happy walking. I wanted to be running! I wanted to prove that I am faster than the people behind me (most of which were only doing a 5k, not a 10k) and that I deserve to be in that 9-minute pace group. I shorted myself a bit on my first half-mile walk and started running after just .4 miles.

I was not there to compete in this race I was there to practice for something bigger. But my brain didn’t like that idea!

Lesson Learned: don’t let the emotional side of your brain talk you into feeling like any less of an athlete and don’t let it convince you to abandon your plan.

One other fun detail – the temperature at the start of today’s race was 25 degrees warmer than the race just 3 weeks before!

Race Review: Scioto Miles Series

Today’s 10k run was the second race in the Scioto Miles racing series. This was a fantastic series and a great deal. The package included 2 races with your choice of distance for each: 5k, 10k, 15k. A pair of running shoes. Two shirts and two medals all for $125 (which is about the price of the shoes alone!). The goal of the Scioto Miles series is to help runners train for spring races and the Cap City Half Marathon in particular.

My buddy Steve and I ran both races together. We did the 5k together in March and I increased my distance to the 10k for today.

The racing series is very well-organized and managed by Fleet Feet Columbus. The online registration was simple. There was a pretty long window for shoe pickup at Fleet Feet in Lewis Center and 2 separate packet pickup dates at the same place. As an alternative participants could choose day-of packet pickup. This option is great because Fleet Feet in Lewis Center is a terribly inconvenient location for me since I live in the downtown area. If I were to suggest an upgrade in the process it would be to allow shoe and packet pickup at any Fleet Feet or Frontrunner location.

The course for this racing series is the running path at the Scioto Mile along the Scioto river in downtown Columbus. The course was a 5k loop that you run 1, 2 or 3 times depending on your distance. I personally don’t really like that kind of course because you cross the finish line but then have to keep going again. A total mind F for me. But this is the most logical and practical way to run this race of variable distance so it is exactly the right choice and I just need to get over myself.

The course is beautiful! I love watching the sunrise over the buildings downtown. The birds and wildlife around the river are amazing. The bird “remnants” on the course aren’t as good but what are you going to do, we are guests in their home? Plus it really wasn’t that bad, just a couple of spots to dodge. Not at all unpleasant.

As a training course this race is perfect. There is a mixture of uphill, downhill and flat terrain which is great preparation for running through the various neighborhoods that comprise the Cap City Half Marathon course.

Finally, the race starts with a half-mile kids run before the grown-ups have their shot. The kids are cute and are working hard which is a big motivator. Plus I love to see kids focusing on their physical fitness as kids so they don’t have to go through a weight loss journey in the future like I did. And some of them are pretty darn fast.

Lesson Learned: the Scioto Miles racing series is a bargain and a very well-run series that gives you the flexibility of your distance, a beautiful course and is the perfect way to kick-off the spring running season. I will run it again next year and you should too!

Goals Update: Mostly Positive

Ok, last week I said that this week would include a Q1 progress update on my goals. So here goes. Here are the “physical” goals that I shared in my 12/30/18 blog post, my primary focus was to be a fit, healthy and impressive amateur athlete capable of significant and inspiring achievements.

  • End my weight loss journey and maintain a healthy, comfortable weight between 189 and 199 pounds using the techniques that helped me be successful (tracking, good decisions). Current Status: I have mostly accomplished this. My weight went up a bit as my muscles have grown plus I am more sensitive to daily fluctuations because I am at my lowest healthy weight. But I am still, on average, in this range.
  • Continue to improve as a runner by running 2 half marathons (April, October) and average one race per month with continually improving times. Get to a 5k pace consistently under 9 minutes by summer. Current Status: I am fully on track for this! I did skip a “formal” race in February but I am really doing well. The 5k pace is right at the 9 minutes mark too!
  • Build a more structured workout routine and continue to build and shape my body while setting new personal records. Current Status: I need to get better at the structured routine but I have set, and am on track to meet, a new strength goal of being able to bench press 100+ pounds by 6/15. I have gotten as high as 90. I have seen my body building and shaping pay off and I grew my biceps by a half inch in 3 months.
  • Try new things including yoga, CrossFit, climbing and other activities. Current Status: I did yoga a couple of times but didn’t stick with it. I have a friend who wants me to try spinning with her but I haven’t yet. I have friends who want me to come to crossfit with them but I haven’t yet. I just have to do it.

I didn’t share all of my goals with you but I will update you on progress with some of the others:

  • I finished my book, started, my LLC and launched my ebook in March. That is exciting! People are buying it and I am convinced that I am really helping people.
  • I have also made some progress with my “social” goal to be a great friend who makes efforts to keep in touch with and to be a source of support, fun and inspiration for my friends.
  • Plus I work daily to make progress with my “intellectual” goal to be smart and happy by living a life of balance focused on growth, success and enjoyment while continuing to develop my knowledge of and confidence in myself. I give myself a solid B+ on this one.

Lesson Learned: I set and am working on a lot of goals. Some are fully on track while others need some more focus in Q2. Overall I am pretty happy with 2019 so far!

Book Progress

This week I launched my book on iTunes and Amazon so there are now 3 options to buy it. Each of them are linked from my book page. I have sold several copies so far and have heard positive feedback from my readers.

Unfortunately the sales are slower than I had hoped though I had no real sales goal. I just wanted to get my message out there. Plus I haven’t done any true marketing beyond simply tapping into my amazing network of friends and connections. So I can’t be at all disappointed.

Next up I am going to work to accelerate the production of the paperback. I have heard from several people that they aren’t eBook readers. Plus I have heard from people that they want autographed copies – I know, what?! So I am going to push to get the print version published soon. I just have to learn how to do that!

Lesson Learned: it feels great to launch a book and to tell your story. You just need to figure out how to make sure you are reaching your target customers where they want to be reached.

Thanks for reading and have a great week!

Last week’s stats (3/25-3/31):

Maintain avg. weight of 189-199 pounds: 199.2 lbs average
Run 10+ miles per week: 4 miles (recovery week from half marathon)
Total walk/run miles: 28.3 miles (recovery week from half marathon)
Weight training 2-3 times per week: 2 workouts
One race per month: January, March and April races complete, half marathon 4/27
Continue to track & manage calories: 2,045 calories under budget

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