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Everything posted by RunEatRalph

  1. For me to run as fast as you do, it would have to be a bit more physical than that. 😂
  2. Hey Loopsters! It's been a while, but I wrote this one because I had an epiphany (?) of sorts. I don't want to overshare with weekly updates and whatnot, but I thought this one might be useful to somebody out there. Hey, hey hey! After last Sunday’s half marathon (read about it here, if you like), I’ve had some thoughts about how it went and what I might have learned from it. There are lessons to be learned from so many races that we run, both the good and the bad (probably the ugly too). I’ll share these thoughts with you runners out there and hope that they help. Running Shamrock was a total surprise. I wasn’t aware that I’d be running it until less than a week until race day. The next half marathon on my actual schedule is the Kentucky Derby Festival Mini on April 27th. To be honest, I haven’t REALLY been training for it anyway. I made a training plan, only to not stick to it AT ALL. I think it’s a combo of my injury and the winter, but I just haven’t had “the drive” in me for a while. It’s that and I’ve been enjoying myself too much just running to run. The plan for Shamrock was that I didn’t have a plan. I just started running. After the first mile, my watch told me I’d run a 7:00 mile. As you can see, the first 4 miles were all right at 7:00/mile or so. Here’s what’s crazy to me. I hadn’t run 4 miles straight at that pace since October (I had to look it up). I can’t speak for everyone, but I think that we often worry about getting out of shape quickly, or that we need to work hard to maintain a certain level of fitness. I’m starting to believe that maybe it’s just the mind that gets out of shape quickly. I’ve been running and racing for 10 years now. I’ve ramped up and I’ve wound down, so many times that I can’t count. Sometimes we are confident in our fitness and in our training, and we decide to go for that PR. Other times, our feet drag and we feel like we’re working WAY harder than the pace would have us think we should. Don’t get me wrong, training hard and putting in the work pays off and slacking can hurt performance, but maybe it isn’t as critical as we believe it to be. Other than some unfortunate potty stops, I strung together quite a few fast miles for a guy that hadn’t been running long or running fast. My body remembered how to run fast miles. My mind just had to give it a chance to prove that.
  3. "There is a huge difference between actual injury pain and just being uncomfortable. We spend most our lives in comfort. Heating & air-conditioning. Full bellies. Overstuffed chairs. For millennia, we survived as a species without these things. And don’t get me wrong, I enjoy my creature comforts. But, I do think that there is some merit in the primal feeling of scraping the bottom of your physical ability." YES.
  4. Your positive attitude will go a long way! I love your plan to embrace science.
  5. RunEatRalph

    Playtime is Over, Son.

    Hello, hello, hello! Here we are already into the last week of January. Time is flying by, so we’ll probably all be singing Christmas songs again before we know it. I’ve been posting for several weeks about how happy I am to not be training for anything and that I’m enjoying running just to run. Welp, time’s up. At 13 weeks to go until Kentucky Derby, it’s time I start to do a little more than just run for fun. I still haven’t decided how I’m going to treat this race, but I want options. This means I need to get myself up at uncomfortable paces again. The track is SO miserable in the winter so I might not start that up for another month or so, but it’s tempo time! I plan to add a mile or so to a weekly tempo run every couple of weeks. That should get me to a fast half marathon distance by race day! This week in running has been pretty chill for the most part. Chill as in both laid back AND cold. I think I’m starting to figure out how to properly dress. Shut up, weather app. You don’t know anything! Monday was 4 FREEZING miles with running buddy Brooke. The bridges made some awful sounds as we ran across them. Luckily I work with some sharp engineers that came up with some solid explanations. Brooke said it was like the bridges that collapse as you run across them on Super Mario games. We did pick up the pace a bit haha. Tuesday was more cold and more coffee. We didn’t take any pictures though. Step up, Wade and Alissa! This one was another 4 miles. There was talk of a 5th mile, but I just wanted the coffee. I didn’t run at all on Wednesday through Friday, which wasn’t exactly what I had in mind. I got sick (again!) and figured I needed a break. I didn’t take a total break though at least. I managed to work out pretty hard with kettlebells on Wednesday and I played some basketball on Thursday. Friday just ended up being a little too busy. That happens. I wasn’t exactly ALL better. I look awful. Saturday I ran 7 miles. For the first 2 or 3, I felt pretty good! After 5, I started to feel pretty run down (pun intended). Sometimes you think you’re all better after a good night’s sleep, but there’s a little bit of sickness still there. That was this morning. Oh well, I don’t think I broke anything haha. I’ll be working on a training plan over the weekend to ramp up to be ready for the Kentucky Derby Mini. I wish that I was a little more fired up mentally, but I think that’ll happen. It might just take a warm day. Hurry up, Spring!
  6. RunEatRalph

    And so it Begins...

    It was definitely nonsense! 😀
  7. RunEatRalph

    And so it Begins...

    Not much better than a small airport, as long as it has a bar.
  8. I wasn't sure about reading a car-related death post, but this was AMAZINGLY good. You have a gift. I hope Nissan hooks you up.
  9. Sounds pretty awesome. Anything that can make someone positively blog about the dreadmill must be good.
  10. RunEatRalph

    And so it Begins...

    I'm pretty excited about the relay and YES a Loop team would be awesome. I didn't think about the fact that it's on Boston weekend. That might be a great consolation for those that don't get their BQs.
  11. RunEatRalph

    And so it Begins...

    I wrote this at the end of last week, but I figured why not try to recruit some Loopsters to join me for some races. Happy Friday (Saturday now, but still happy), friends! It’s been a long week, but it’s SO CLOSE to being time to move into the good part. My week has been action packed in every way. Work has been busy (not such a bad thing) with lots of excitement going on. Jen and I are plotting our family vacation this year and are working between Myrtle Beach or DisneyWorld. It ain’t cheap haha. I’ve managed to run 4 days so far this week and plan on running a semi-long one tomorrow. The early wake ups are starting to wear me down a little and I need to focus on getting my butt in bed earlier if I’m going to keep doing it. I’m still running what I want, when I want, how I want for the most part and I don’t have a training plan. However, I DID sign up for some stuff! April is going to be a busy month. Race #1 – The Ville to Ville Craft Brew Relay This will be my first relay ever! The race starts in Asheville, NC and ends up in Greenville, SC for a total of 75 miles. As the name implies, THERE WILL BE CRAFT BREW. I should end up running one or two legs of the race, which means no more than 20 miles or so total. Our team isn’t really all that competitive, so I can run at a semi-leisurely pace and I don’t require a ton of intense training. I like that. Just tell me how far to the next brewery. Race #2 – The Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon and MiniMarathon 2 weeks later, it’ll be a trip to Louisville, KY for the mini marathon down in Louisville, KY. I have several reasons to be excited about this! Special edition whiskey? Sounds better than regular edition whiskey. There will be whiskey. There are several distilleries that I’d love to visit while I’m there. I randomly won free whiskey! Shoutout to @therunchat on Twitter for getting me hooked up with that. They can also save you $5 if you decide to sign up by using code CHAT2019. I’m excited like a kid to go to the Louisville Slugger factory. Baseball bats!!! I’m on the fence about whether I’m going to really “race” this one and try to PR or just enjoy it. We shall see…
  12. That was exactly the message that I was trying to convey! I love the thought of stoking the competitive fire. My running buddies are trying to bring it out of me all the time. It's coming for sure. I want to at least hold out a month or two haha.
  13. RunEatRalph


    I know exactly how you feel. I hope feeling normal comes soon.
  14. RunEatRalph

    Looking Ahead to 2019

    Good luck with all of your 2019 goals! 2018 in pictures looked pretty great.
  15. 2018 was the year of the #bootbuddies. You did an amazing job of getting through it and getting back to your normal butt-kicking self. Let's shoot some hoop in 2019. Speaking for coffee addicts everywhere, I don't need the caffeine. I WANT IT.
  16. RunEatRalph


    Here's to a better 2019. We have running to do.
  17. Thanks! Your performance and PRs have been pretty inspiring too! You’ve been on another level that I’d someday like to get to.
  18. Good morning! It’s Wednesday, but it’s Monday. I’m still trying to figure out where I am and what I’m doing. Jet lag is REAL. Spent New Year’s Eve on a redeye flight from LA to DC. Most runners are somewhat goal oriented people, I think. With the new year here, lots of people are reflecting on their 2018 and thinking about what they want to do with their 2019. I figured I’d join in on the fun. 2018 Zero miles through April. I was still quite busy rehabbing my surgically repaired achilles. A lot of work went into coming back., and not just my own. I really have so many people to thank for help and encouragement. My first “run” came on April 6th on the Alter G treadmill. That was quite an experience and you can read about it here if you have lots of time to kill. My first REAL run happened on May 1st. Talk about a runner’s high… I think I was excited. First race back was a 5k in May. I was a little bit nervous and maybe even a little bit fearful. The race day butterflies were more like race day bats(?). I didn’t get TOO crazy, but it was my first time stepping on the gas pedal. Go Navy! Right around this point I was officially cleared! I quickly did what any goal-oriented runner would do upon being cleared and I started looking at marathons! On August 6th, I started training for round 2 of Rehoboth Beach. I had a first marathon nervousness going, but with that came first marathon excitement. There were plenty of ups and downs in the training process. For the first month or so, I was killing it, then 40 happened. The day after my birthday, my quad and hip started to hurt and they never stopped hurting. The right side hurt, then the left side hurt. I felt like I was running “through” something for most of my runs. I started to hurt even when I wasn’t running and to me that’s a real problem. I lost hope at times and there were thoughts of shutting it down and not running Rehoboth, but then THIS happened. Speed happened. Confidence happened. A fast 5k is exactly what I needed to get mentally ready for Rehoboth. I rested almost the whole week afterward, but that didn’t matter. I felt like I could finish no matter what and nothing was going to stop me from that. So I did… Rehoboth was full of ups and downs, but also the best post-race party there is. I ran without anxiety, maybe for the first time ever in a marathon. I was happy right from the start that I was back on that starting line. I didn’t care about awards, or BQs, or anything else (although my 3:33 time wasn’t too shabby hehe). It’s a great feeling! That leads me to 2019… 2019 I really liked the feeling of running Rehoboth and truly enjoying it. I’m not ready to give that up quite yet. I ran one little mile yesterday to start out the year. That’s all I felt like doing. As I said on Strava…No Challenges. No Streaks. No Goals. I’ll be running races for sure. There’s a happy medium where you can run fast and love it. I need to find that place and stay there for a while. Find your happy place. Eventually, my competitive nature will win out and I’ll need something more or something bigger. That’s ok. I’ll just enjoy that break while I can.
  19. Your Rehoboth recap made me smile 6 times. You ran a GREAT race and we celebrated accordingly. 😀
  20. It was my pleasure to have the company of some Loopsters for the long ride. We sure crushed those tenders!
  21. It was so great to hang with you for half the race or so. I wish I’d have hung in for the whole thing. It’s great to get your mental approach to the race. I’m taking notes. 🤔
  22. Happy Friday! Today is my one year anniversary! No, not THAT anniversary (I’ve been married for 14 years now). It’s the anniversary of that time I ruptured my Achilles tendon in a basketball game. I’m telling you, the injury was life changing. Ben and I at the hospital. That little elf made me feel much better about it. So one year later, here we are. I’m back to running. I’m back to marathoning. I’m even back to basketball! I said I’d PR a race within six months of being fully back to running. That didn’t quite happen. I might run a fast 8k today just to get that PR. Anybody know of one? All in all, everything feels pretty normal now. It’s even normal enough to run a marathon now, which is what this post is REALLY about! WARNING: It’s gonna be load and detailed. Look away, non-runners. Hehe. I had plans to run a few days of easy 3-4 milers the week of the race. I ended up running a 1.2 mile run before quitting and another 3 the next day. That was it. My beat up hip/quad were scaring me. I figured the miles weren’t going to get me more ready, but they certainly might have hurt me. Normally, I’d have been FREAKING OUT about skipping a bunch of runs, but not this time. I guess I had a calmness that goes with not trying to qualify for Boston, or PR, or anything really. Rehoboth Beach is about 6.5 hours away from Lynchburg. I planned on running 2 miles to shake the travel off of my legs, but I had 2 beers instead. I blame the company that I chose to keep. The morning of the race, I always wake up pretty early. Rehoboth’s start time is 7am and I was up by 5am. This doesn’t seem THAT early but since we had about an 8 minute walk to the starting line and there isn’t much of a crowd to fight through, it was MORE than enough time. I decided to do things a little differently than in the past. Generally I eat something, but I keep it to a minimum. This time around I FEASTED. I had a peanut butter bagel, a banana, a BCAA drink and a cup of “from the hip” coffee (thank you, Mr. Bacon). I figured if God blessed me with an iron gut I should take advantage and load up! The weather was set to be COLD (like sub 30) so there was much confusion about what to wear. As my running buddies know (mostly YOU, Alissa), I tend to overdress for these occasions. I rolled with shorts with compression socks and a short sleeved shirt with armsleeves. I had a Buff on my head, pirate style to match my pirate shorts. I dressed for mile 20 and not mile 0. I hope you’re proud of me! I DO wanna be a pirate! Several of us started out together and then we all sort of branched out and did our things. I ended up running a ton of the time with Mr. Bacon and Carissa. The first few miles were right on pace with my goal, which was to run. I felt very comfortable, other than the nagging discomfort in my quad that I’d been avoiding all week. Amazingly, it wore off after the first 4-5 miles or so. The rest paid off (I think). Around mile 8, I definitely warmed up and was feeling good. The pace noticeably sped up. At mile 16 I was feeling GREAT. I started the countdown from 10 in my head (I hear that works, Mai) and was thinking about the great 10k that I was going to finish with. Then mile 20 came. I finished up all of the Gu and caffeine I had left (I needed more). Mr. Bacon stayed with me, even though he had more left in the tank. He ran a GREAT race despite being unprepared. I finally talked him into leaving me behind shortly after. Miles 20-24 were the typical craptastic miles that they always are. I maintained better than I have for some marathons but clearly I slowed down. There were some short walks. Honestly, I was SO HAPPY at this point knowing I was definitely going to finish that my motivation to push through kind of ran out. I mean after all, I ruptured my freakin’ Achilles. The last couple of miles come back into town and it’s like a little victory parade. I saw several people that had come in from the half and were there to cheer us on and that really helps. I ate some Red Vines (not Twizzlers) that somebody awesome had a bucket of. I seem to be happy enough. I’ve looked worse. I saved enough energy to enjoy the amazing beer tent and post-race festivities. Don’t ask me how. I guess you just have to want it badly enough. For dinner I had TWO meals at the same time, a steak wrap and a kid’s chicken tenders with fries. They were like the best chicken tenders I’ve ever had, but there were only TWO. Come on, man!!! This is my Rehoboth experience in photos. Sunday morning I gathered myself together and drove six nine hours (thank you, snowstorm) home to Virginia. I was EXHAUSTED but so thankful that I got through the storm and got to see and hug my wife/kids. I really wasn’t sure I’d make it. The roads were SCARY. I really don’t feel too awful for having run all those miles when I was already not feeling great. I’m going to run tomorrow and see how it feels. I’ve had faster marathons and I’ve had slower ones, but this one will ALWAYS be special. When we’re young we feel invincible. That feeling doesn’t die until you’re knocked to the ground. Getting back to this makes me feel a little bit invincible again.
  23. You’re right about the trade-off. I know I can’t have it all.
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