The good, the bad and the ugly of April

17 days of rain totaling more than 8 inches. That sums up Richmond in April. It was very unmotivating at times ... every weekend featured rain, so even if I really wanted to go out and run or bike, the weather wasn't cooperating.

So, let me try and recap this month. First the good. The good really has to be the Ukrop's Monument Avenue 10k early in the month. While my time wasn't what I would normally want, I was pleased with it and running for a great cause. I also walked more than 30 miles this month. The only other good to come out of this month was lifting weights six times during the month, all of those sessions coming after April 14.

Now to the bad and the ugly - I'll let you figure out what's "bad" and what's "ugly." Since I've basically been getting over an injury, I logged just a little more than 30 miles running. Keep in mind 6.2 miles of that was in one day. My longest run besides the race was only 3 miles. I only biked about 10 miles. When I had the time to bike - mostly on the weekends - it seemed like it was raining.

So, all in all, April has been awful. I'll see in a couple of weeks if it's a good thing that I rested up. I'm eager to get back to consistency with running and with everything else and May will be a good test. I had hoped April would be that month, but with a hurt foot and miserable spring weather, it was a little tough to think positively. Now it's time to move on to bigger and better things ...


While I was hoping and planning to make April a month of rest and transition, all this rain has got to go. Richmond already has 7 inches of rain this month and it's raining on and off again today. In the end, I think it's a good thing to get my foot rested up. If I happened to be training for something right now, I'd probably get out and run in it. After a while, though, it gets old.

In non-running news, it was 10 years ago today that one of the greatest CD's in my lifetime came out -- "Before These Crowded Streets" by the Dave Matthews Band. While fans may debate what's happened since this, there is no doubt in my mind that BTCS is DMB's greatest release. Ten years later, it's still just as good as the first day I heard it.

3 short miles

It's been a while since I've done 3 miles without really thinking about it. Today it happened. Surprisingly, it was all in less than a 9-minute mile pace. For one of those just see-what-happens runs, I'll take it. I probably could've gone farther and been fine, but the biggest thing is that my foot didn't hurt at all.

I'm now focusing on doing another similar run soon and then hitting double digits for the week ... and then maybe doing another 5k sometime soon to see where I'm at. Meanwhile, lifting weights seems to be going well. In just a short time, my bench press has increased by two holes on my home gym, so I'm pleased with that.

Overall, I'm just ready for April to be over with. I'm ready for May and a fresh start ...

Take It and Run Thursday: 13 words, or less

This week's "Take It and Run Thursday" theme over at Runners Lounge is to give advice in 13 words or less. Well, the best advice I've ever received and the best advice I can really give is this:

Be smart. Listen to your body. It's always right.

Slowly, but surely

So within the past few days, I've had two runs of more than two miles with no pain. Right now, though, I feel like my confidence is missing. It's like I'm thinking about it too much with each step. I'm overly worried about hurting myself rather than concentrating on enjoying the run. My plan over the next couple of weeks or is to run every other day and mix in biking and weight lifting. I'll slowly build my mileage up as I see fit, with the goal of getting back to 15 to 20 miles a week toward the end of June. Running on back-to-back days isn't something I really want to get back into for a little while.

My two-plus miles today were in the 9-minute mile range, so I've very happy with that. With the general thinking that training runs are 60 to 90 seconds slower per mile versus races, I'm right where I need to be when I'm ready to do another race.

Right now, I need to get my running confidence back and just continue to stay focused on getting into good, overall shape. And I need to be content that I've managed two decent runs without any pain.


I've been reading a lot today about Boston and the marathon. I've only been to Boston once in my life. It was two falls ago -- a gorgeious time to be there. My wife and I did one of the hop-on hop-off trolley tours -- a great way to see that city. I've also been a longtime Boston Celtics fan. My mom can back me up on that one. I'm not on any kind of bandwagon just because of this year's NBA season. I grew up a big Larry Bird fan. From Celtics hats to a Bird poster to a Bird comic book, I loved the Cs, and always liked hearing about Boston. (I've never been a Patriots fan, though...)

As far as ever running the Boston Marathon, that's a dream that'll likely just stay a dream. For those who are working on that goal right now for Boston '09, I wish you the best in your running goals this year.

Back to Basics

After being sick last week and having a totally worthless week, this week has been all about getting back on my feet and having small accomplishments. I finally got back to running after more than a week off following the 10k. It hasn't been much, but the key thing right now is making sure my foot is OK. I've ridden my bike once and hope to get a few miles in tomorrow if it's not raining. I've also gotten two solid weight-lifting days in, with a third coming tomorrow if it is raining. On top of all that, I've gotten some good walks in totaling about 10 miles so far for the week.

Coming off an injury and then being sick, my plan this week was to take it slow and see what happens. I was one run away from going to a doctor about my foot, but after more than 2 miles this morning, plus a mile walk and some yard mowing, all feels fine. I expect that I will very slowly build my mileage up over the next few weeks before I even think about another race. There are so many races in Richmond, so there's nothing to rush into right now.

My upper body is a bit sore from weight lifting, but nothing unexpected or too bad to prevent me from actually liking it. On the second day this week, I felt very focused when working out -- it was a feeling I hadn't had in quite a long time. Continuing the consistency into weeks two and three is what is key now. After that, it'll be a habit.

So now that I feel like my health is back, I finally feel appreciative that it's spring. It's a good time to kind of start over and get refocused on life and training.

87 degrees

Seriously? Earlier this week I had to put on a sweatshirt to go out for a 7 a.m. walk with my dog. Today, I almost have to turn my AC on. Crazy stuff, but I sure am glad it's spring.

It's not a clothes hanger

David, this is the weight machine. Weight machine, this is David. For the past year-plus I've been one of "those" people. I bought a home gym in early 2007 -- I just HAD to have one. "I'll use it. I need it for cross training," is what I always said.

Well, using it once every couple of weeks doesn't really count. At least I've never hung any clothes on it. But I'm determined more than ever to finally make this home gym part of me. I want to become one with this thing ... or least use it two to three times a week.

This week is the beginning of breaking into a routine. I made a spreadsheet with each of the exercises and squares to include the number of reps I do, as well as which weight I use. Day one yesterday was a reintroduction to this beast. I did at least two sets with each exercise to get a feel for what was comfortable so I'm not going into it blindly next time. By "next time" I mean Wednesday, not two weeks from now.

Lifting weights has always been my weakness, but once it becomes routine I know I'll like it. In 2004 when I first lost weight, I lifted about once a week, but about mid-way through that year I got into it twice a week. Then toward the end of the year I just kind of stopped and have never gotten into anything regular -- generally lifting about once or twice a month.

Speaking of losing weight, I also am getting back into the regular routine of having a "weigh in" day on Fridays. I'll detail this more later, but am posting now to hold me accountable.

Lastly, I haven't ran since the 10k. (Well, OK, I did do 0.2 miles yesterday with my dog and felt fine.) Last week was awful with everything since I was sick, but I'm feeling 200 percent better this week. I'm really feeling motivated to just rethink everything when it comes to fitness over the next couple of months. Running will still be my big thing, but lifting weights and biking are already nice change of paces for a short time. My eye will be on the big prize soon enough, but for now I'm content doing other things.

Breaking out of this cycle

Marathon. Sick. Right heel injury. Half-marathon. Left foot injury. 10k. Sick.

This has been the cycle of the past six months and it's time to stop. It seems by gearing up for the marathon last year, but body just went right along with it and never caved in to any illnesses or any major injuries. I think since November, though, I've probably pushed things along too much, and now my head is just clogged full of snot telling me to stop. Sure, I rested, but was it enough? At some point this winter, I think I got tired of running, but just kept going because it's what I've done for five years.

Now that it seems I'm back to square one again, it's time to really take a look at what's going. Simply put, I need a break from running and thinking about PRs and races. Fortunately, time is on my side since the next big race isn't until the last day of August. Once I get over this horrible cold or whatever it is, I'd like to focus on getting in good walks and jogs with my wife and dog and log some good miles on my bike at least for the next month. I want and need to lift weights a couple of times a week. I want to lose 10 pounds and keep it off. If I don't write it down, it doesn't happen, so here's to this blog holding me accountable...

The April blahs

Every April always brings some kind of sickness with it for me. So, it was like clockwork this weekend that after my race I allowed a cold or allergies or whatever to finally get the best of me. In a roundabout way, it's convenient -- I need to stay off my feet to heal up my left foot issues. So for two days, I've basically been doing nothing, including not wearing shoes. On the other hand, I'd rather not be sneezing and going through a box of tissues in two days. Thankfully, though, the weather has been miserable, so there really hasn't been a desire to do anything.

In the end, a pretty decent day

It's tough to try and have a race report for a race I didn't "race." Instead, the easiest thing I can say is that I ran a comfortable 51:43 in the Ukrop's Monument Avenue 10k. Things would have been a lot different if I had been able to run in the past few weeks; if it wasn't raining; if I would've been able to wear my new shoes; if I would've remembered my watch; and if I hadn't had several beers last night at the Lynchburg College Alumni Association "happy hour."

In the end, I ran this harder than I thought I would, partly because I felt I had to after raising $700 for the VCU Massey Cancer Center. I couldn't just take it easy the whole time knowing that I had done my part. To some, it might not seem like a big deal, but to me it was. In the end, I wish I would've done more in the last few weeks. It's crazy how much endurance I felt like I lost, but I was happy to be consistent the whole time - I had a 25:47 5k split. In the end, the rain wasn't nearly as bad as forecasted, but the humidity was awful. In the end, remembering my watch might've made a difference too. Imagine starting more than 14 minutes after the clock began and trying to do the subtraction every mile on how fast I was going. After a couple of miles, I stopped worrying about it and enjoyed a slower-than-usual race pace, but slightly faster-than-usual training pace. In the end, my new shoes would've been nice, but I wasn't going to ruin them in the rain. And in the end, I could've used one less Yuengling last night, but it was mighty tasty. And besides, I had already planned to not "race" hard.

My foot did OK ... it's feeling very indifferent at the moment. I think I'm ready for a solid week of bike riding and not worrying about hitting the pavement. It might not have been the smartest thing to run on it, but it really doesn't feel any different five hours later. It was awesome to be a part of this huge, huge race. It's the first race I've done that had wave starts, and it was so much better than being in corrals. It was nice to be among a steady group of people running around the same pace as me.

The Richmond Sports Backers do an excellent job of putting together events, and the beginning of this one was suburb. There was ample water on the course, and the finishing area made it very easy to find my wife afterward.

Now, it's time to make the switch to Magic Hat the rest of the day. :-)

Progress, one-tenth at a time

How happy should I be that in the past two days I have ran a whole 0.4 miles each day without any problems? I think my mind is starting to play games with me ... it's happened every time something hurts. It's like I'm thinking about it so much that it hurts. But it doesn't, actually.

This weekend I am participating in the annual Ukrop's Monument Avenue 10k here in Richmond. From a numbers standpoint, in just nine short years this has become one of the largest road races in the U.S. This year there are 31,000 registered runners and it is host of the USA 10k Championship. So whether I run it all, walk/run it or just walk it, I'll be a part of something huge. Before you lecture me, I will not do anything stupid. If anything, I've never done anything stupid when I've gotten injured. I know several people taking part in this race -- some who would go at a pace like I'd normally shoot for, others faster, others slower and a couple of walkers -- so I hope to have some choices on what to do Saturday morning.

Anyway, back to my injury, or hopefully, the lack thereof. I felt this urge today to go out for a few miles, but something held me back. There's no need to rush it ... if it started hurting, yes, I'd stop, but would it be a setback? With my next "big" race not until the end of August, I'm still very content with riding my bike and not running too much in the next few weeks. Speaking of the bike, it's very interesting to me the differences in how winded I feel during and after riding vs. running. Once I get used to riding more and increase my distances a bit, I'm curious how my body will handle everything. I'm looking forward to mixing biking into my routine this summer. These next couple of months are great for building a good base for the rest of the summer. And like I said a few posts ago, my health is much more important than setting new PRs. They'll be nice, but it's still far from my mind right now.

So two days into the second quarter of 2008, things seem to be looking up. I may have to take it one-tenth of a mile at a time, but I have no problem with that approach right now.