Run Forest! Run!

runforestrunSo the first month of training for my half marathon is complete for the Summer Breeze Half Marathon in San August. For the month of April I logged 27.57 miles in 4h:29m:38s. Not too bad for never having run for distance or training for any sort of road race. I skipped walking, power walking and jogging on the schedule and moved right into running, figuring I had done enough cardio at the gym that I could start right off with running. I do feel it was a good start.

I started off with a pace of about 9:45 to 10:15 per mile, but as of my last run on April 29, I was able to log an 8:48 and 8:55 in my two mile run. The best times I have put up yet. Hopefully I can add to my distance this month while dropping a few more seconds off my mile time as I work up towards 13.1 miles. It’s interesting to see the schedule only has one training session in which you run 10 miles. Not sure of the logic there. I know I will add a few other 10+ mile runs as I get closer to the race date. I might even drop in a 13.1 mile run, but that is still some weeks off.

For me, I have never liked running. Hated since we had to run the cross country course back in junior high at Twin Peaks Middle School. I was never good at running and could never maintain a good pace to keep up with many of my friends. Now, it’s all about challenging myself. I am not running to win a race. In my quest for health, I want to improve my cardio, even if that means having an adverse effect on my weight lifting.

I am growing to like running, being out in nature, alone with just the wind blowing through the grasslands of the California Delta. Much of my running right now has been in and around the Big Break Regional Shoreline in Oakley. It’s relatively flat, which makes for good times, but in my training for Tough Mudder I would like to find some hills. In fact I found one hill. Actually it’s an embankment to an overpass, which has had some foot traffic. I was planning on using this hill for my Tabata Training, but I fear it’s not a 20 second run up the hill.

Tough Mudder is going to be hard enough, but at 6,330 feet above sea level, in the summer is going to make it that much more challenging. So with running, I am trying to train for two completely different events. Everything I have read is that if you can cover 3 miles with requiring water, you should do fine. What I don’t want to lose is the muscle gains I have made thanks to Stronglifts. “Studies also show that there is a 9x greater decrease in subcutaneous skinfolds (fat) when doing HIIT than traditional endurance based workouts” (source).

With any luck I will continue to see a decrease in my overall time and an increase in the amount of miles I am running daily and monthly. I do feel better after a run, even though I am usually exhausted. I now look forward to grabbing my Brooks and hit the trails for a run.

Are You Mudder Enough?

toughmudderAbout this time last year I was looking for a challenge. A co-worker turned me on to the Tough Mudder series (Up For A Challenge?). I had yet to have an MRI done, which confirmed a torn meniscus in my left knee that would require surgery. I made the decision, as it was in my best interest to skip the event, so I didn’t make it to the 2012 event in Lake Tahoe. So 2013 will be my first Tough Mudder event. Hopefully not my last.

Fast forward nearly a year later. I am in better health, based on my blood work, have lost 44 pounds, been lifting weights (real, iron weights) since October and am currently in my 2nd week of training for a half-marathon in August. The challenge was presented to me again this year, by the same co-worker to participate in the July Tough Mudder in Lake Tahoe. After discussing the event with my wife, she agreed to let me participate.

I am now committed, as I paid my $120 entrance fee and received my confirmation via email. As it stands now there are 15 confirmed team members who are participating. I still plan on training as hard as I can up to the event, which takes place July 13. I might have to ramp up the high intensity interval training (HIIT), based on what I was reading on the TM website and their Tough Mudder Boot Camp. Still I continue make good progress lifting weights and running. I do know one thing regardless of how well I train, I am sure I will hurt for a few days after the event.

More news on this as we get closer to the July 13 start. I am looking very forward to participating in this.