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Everything posted by RunEatRalph

  1. 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…
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. RunEatRalph

    It was Fun, 2018. 2019, Let’s See What You’ve Got

    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.
  5. RunEatRalph


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

    Looking Ahead to 2019

    Good luck with all of your 2019 goals! 2018 in pictures looked pretty great.
  7. RunEatRalph

    Peace out 2018, ready to #doepicshit in 2019!

    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.
  8. RunEatRalph


    Here's to a better 2019. We have running to do.
  9. RunEatRalph

    It was Fun, 2018. 2019, Let’s See What You’ve Got

    Thanks! Your performance and PRs have been pretty inspiring too! You’ve been on another level that I’d someday like to get to.
  10. 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.
  11. RunEatRalph

    Rehoboth Beach Marathon Recap and Happy Anniversary, My Achilles

  12. RunEatRalph

    Shamrock Marathon Training Week 4: Rehoboth 13.1 Race Report!

    Your Rehoboth recap made me smile 6 times. You ran a GREAT race and we celebrated accordingly. 😀
  13. RunEatRalph

    RR: Rehoboth Seashore Pikermi

    It was my pleasure to have the company of some Loopsters for the long ride. We sure crushed those tenders!
  14. RunEatRalph

    Rehoboth Runparty #6!

    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. 🤔
  15. Loopsters! This isn't running related, but those of you that know my backstory know that I've had to work this year to come back from a major injury. It's sorta running related, I guess. This means a lot to me so I thought I'd share it here. I've been sparing you from my weekly training recaps, but I'm Rehoboth ready! Happy Friday to all, and to all a Happy Friday! It’s not quite time for a weekly training recap yet and I’m sure you’re all tired of those anyway, but I wanted to post something about how I felt yesterday. I was in a glass case of emotion, as Ron Burgundy might say. I even have his mustache now. More on that later. As you may or may not know, my Achilles tendon ruptured on December 14, 2017. You can read about that here, if you like. It happened playing basketball when I probably shouldn’t have been playing basketball. I had run 2 marathons in 3 weeks and gave myself about 11 days rest (not enough). Both marathons went poorly. I was dealing with soreness in my left calf and had been for at least a month(I tore the right one, ironically). It happened on a perfectly innocent play. I took a shot and knew right away that it wasn’t going in. I tried to cut left to get past my defender and get my own rebound. As I cut, I felt like the guy guarding me hit me in the back of the leg with a crowbar. I looked up for the foul haha. I knew pretty quickly by the faces of the other men in the gym and by the pain and “weird softness” that was my right calf that this wasn’t good. That was it for me. There was surgery 2 days later, followed by lots of time in a boot and lots of time in rehab and we fast forward to 5 months later. I started running again. I knew I’d run. I wasn’t afraid of that. Now basketball on the other hand… I talked about playing again. Some people asked me, “Are you going to play basketball again?” Other people asked more like, “You’re not going to play basketball again, are you?” Big difference, right? Well I’m stubborn, so yes I AM going to play basketball again, thank you very much. I changed to a team that I thought could accommodate my middle aged body by allowing me to play less. Last night, that didn’t happen haha. Yesterday, I was pretty excited about getting back to a competitive sport, until I thought about it. The reality kicked in. My calf felt tight. I hadn’t been moving much laterally. I hadn’t jumped much. I got scared. I was sick to my stomach scared. I don’t like admitting it, but it’s the truth. I showed up to the court where 350 day before I was a changed man. Then we started playing. The fear melted away. The joy returned. I was still a little nervous, since every move I made felt new to my repaired tendon. As somebody said to me after, “You didn’t play like you were scared.” I played more minutes than I’d intended. We lost 58-55 and I only scored 6 points, but I didn’t care. I’d never played a better game. I felt this good, minus the money…and the championships. I thought my first run back from the injury was the best feeling I’d have, but playing basketball again was that times a thousand. I feel more confident that I’ve felt since before the injury happened. I’m smarter now and more aware of the fact that I’m a 40 year old man, but I’m BACK! Thanks so much for reading all of this. I do it mostly to get my feelings out and to be able to go back and remember things (both to learn from and appreciate), but it’s also great to hear from any of you with advice and encouragement. It’s nice to know somebody out there is paying attention.
  16. RunEatRalph

    350 Days Later – Get me on the Court and I’m Trouble…

    You’re right about the trade-off. I know I can’t have it all.
  17. RunEatRalph

    Shamrock Marathon Training!

  18. Hey hey hey and I hope you had a Happy Halloween! I’m a bit candy fat at the moment. It’s time to recap last week’s training. I’m really just happy that there IS a recap, since that means I was able to hold up and stay healthy enough for another week. I’m a little late to recap this week, but I can tell you that I’m feeling GREAT right now. I was going through a rough patch, where I honestly started to question what I was even doing. I mean, I LOVE running, but I also love feeling healthy enough to run around with my kids and stay active in other areas. My hip soreness was starting to impact my overall quality of life. I’m so thankful to have the resources (personal trainer and physical therapist mainly) to get me back to normal. The encouragement and advice given to me by runners (both “real life” and social media types) has helped so much too. Monday – Planned 4 miles/Actual 4 miles This was my treadmill run for the week. I’m really starting to like those. 4 miles doesn’t get TOO boring and I really do like the lower impact to keep my legs from getting too beat up. Something is definitely up with my wrist-based heart rate monitor these days. I’m fairly certain it has something to do with the cold. My average HR for this run was 142bpm, which is to be expected for a run at an 8:16 pace. My outside runs of a similar nature have been averaging over 160bpm! That ain’t right. I also did a little cross-training. I’m sticking with twice a week, but I took it kind of easy. Something is better than nothing, right? Tuesday – Planned 6 miles/Actual 6 miles It was pants weather. Too often we go from sweating to death by the first mile to needing galoshes, all within a couple of weeks. I think the perfect running temperature is somewhere around 50 degrees. What do you think? Average HR…167bpm. Riiiiiight. Wednesday – Rest (Maybe I should say “non-running”) I kicked some cross-training butt by throwing some bells around. Thursday – Planned 6 miles/Actual 6 miles I ran these with running buddies Brooke and MC. It was good to have the company and there was coffee! Brooke also provided me with a dozen Monster cookies in exchange for a donation to help with her fund-raising for the NYC marathon. I came out ahead in the deal. Brooke can most definitely make a cookie. I won’t say how many I ate, only that 6 miles wasn’t enough to burn them off. We talked about a number of things, but mainly the difference between Red Vines and Twizzlers (I think I talk about this too much) and sleep chambers. Our running crew might invest in one of those (I’m looking at YOU, Robbie). Friday – Rest This was real rest. I did nothing. Saturday – Planned 6 miles/Actual 6 miles I named this one, “I just wanna run 6 forever.” There’s some real truth to that. It’s the perfect distance! I feel like I could run that distance every day without ever needing a rest day. It’s such a satisfying distance. Sometimes I think about quitting all of this marathon stuff and just running 6 miles every single day when I wake up. My wife, some friends and I went out for a little Halloween thing at a bar called Clamdiggers out in Bedford. I dressed as Justin Verlander, since I look like him so they say. It was a pretty easy costume too. It was pretty fun, but luckily not TOO fun with regards to my long run on Sunday. Being mistaken for future HOF pitcher Justin Verlander is the closest I’ll ever get to fame. Sunday – Planned 13 miles/Actual 13 miles I’ll be honest. I was nervous. 13 miles was a big jump from last week’s 10. 14 miles is the distance in which my hip REALLY got crazy. I was up late, so I had to run in the afternoon. None of this mattered, because I got to run in some Clifton 1s. They are as advertised. They are like running on marshmallows, but not too much. Speaking of marshmallows, there is toasted marshmallow Gu. I know it’s weird, but I like it! Weird, but yum. The best part about this run was the negative splits. My last 4 miles were my best 4 miles. Woo hoo! Week 12 brought me some confidence that I desperately needed. Missing time and being banged up really shook me. This week’s long run is 15. I feel like if I get that done with no problems, I’ll be back on track to at least put a good effort in at Rehoboth. Rehoboth is going to be just fine no matter what. There’s a beer tent like no other.
  19. RunEatRalph

    Rehoboth Beach Marathon Training Week 12 – The Good Kind of Pain

    Yes! I ran 15 on Sunday and thought of it almost like I did the first time I ever ran that distance. That newness and excitement really helped.
  20. Since I'll be seeing at least a few of you in Rehoboth, I thought I'd update you on where I am currently... Ever since a run the day after my 40th birthday, I’ve been battling right leg pain that seemed to move all over the place. After plenty of working out, dry needling and physical therapy I discussed the issue with my good friends and trainer/PT people Jill and Rachelle and I think we figured it out. My baby calf just hasn’t been ready for what I’ve tried to put it through. As I increased the mileage, I think that my baby calf has fatigued and then no longer absorbs the shock of impact that comes with thousands of steps on a long run. My hip has been paying the price. To put it in medical terms, pounding the pavement beat the crap out of my hip. Time for a Plan B. Blow the whole thing up. Long story short, I’ve fallen WAY behind in my training with all of this on again/off again stuff. I’m not giving up on Rehoboth quite yet, but I’m having to reevaluate my plan and my goals. Surviving is the #1 goal now. Bye bye, time goals. I’ve gone from 3 x 20 mile runs to zero. My peak week is just over 40 miles now. I also have an extra rest day from running for the next 6 weeks. No track work. No hill repeats. This could change if I’m able to show that I’m 100%, but for now I don’t want to push it. I need to remember that not long ago I was in a boot for 3 months. Not long ago, I was so happy to run ANY miles at all. I have the rest of my life to run. There’s no sense in killing myself now.
  21. Well said, whoever that was. It's strange having different sized flag poles, that's for sure.
  22. RunEatRalph

    The grass is always greener

    Some of the things you write seem like they are being pulled straight from my own head. You and I are definitely on the same path. Hopefully it leads to good runs in Rehoboth.
  23. RunEatRalph

    Baby steps.

    Hooray for miles! I need to do that workout too, honestly. I think I will.
  24. RunEatRalph

    ? Marathon Training Week 4 – The Decision

    It feels like Monday, but it’s Tuesday! That’s pretty nice. I feel like I’m a bit jet lagged, although we didn’t fly anywhere. We made a trip up to DC for a baseball game and had it was HOT. Soooooo hot. That combined with not getting home until 10pm was enough to wear me out. As you may or may not know, I’m 4 weeks into my marathon training and until recently I couldn’t even tell you which marathon I was training for…until now. Drum roll please… I have signed up for the Rehoboth Beach Marathon on December 8th! I ran this one last year, but it went pretty horribly (read about it here, if you dare). However, the race and course are awesome and you can’t beat the post-race fun (read about that here, it’s a more cheerful read). So now that we all know what I’m actually training for, let’s recap: Monday – Planned 3 miles/Actual 3 miles I ran these on the treadmill just before getting DESTROYED by a kettlebell workout. As of know, the runs are optional and the kettlebell workouts are not. I just think that short, easy runs are nice but not all that meaningful to my training. The kettlebells are definitely helping me feel stronger. I need that strength for the late miles more than I need a little extra volume. Tuesday – Planned 6 miles/Actual 6 miles I’m still having trouble finding my “easy” pace. I want to run 8:30 to 9:00 miles, but I always seem to end up near 8:00 pace. I think I’m a little less efficient when I’m slower and it doesn’t “feel” easy. My theory is that when I shorten up and reduce my turnover, it causes me to be on one leg for a little longer and that wears down my muscles a bit. Wednesday – Planned 3 miles/Actual 4 miles I ran one extra for my friends and I was glad to. The title of my run on Strava was “This one was JUST right”. My friends helped me pace that easy pace I was looking for and with their conversation it didn’t seem so awful. Also, there was coffee! This is pretty much us. Thursday – Planned 4 x Hill Repeats/Actual 4 x Hill Repeats I loved and hated these so much that I decided to write a post about hill repeats. I decided to look back to what hill repeats were like for me before my injury and I couldn’t find any in recent history. Going back to May of last year, they were pretty similar. That made me pretty happy. On a non-running topic, my co-workers also made me happy. They surprised me with office decor and dirt cake for my upcoming 40th (gulp) birthday. The REAL surprise is that it was 9 days early! Friday – Rest Day! I rested in the sense that I didn’t run or work out. Jen had our good friend and her college roommate Suzy in town from LA, so they ran off to Richmond in search of non-Mom type fun. I got the kids off to school and had a day with little Ben. Ben is my little buddy. I hate that he’s growing up so fast, but that’s the way life is. What can I say? The kid likes wristbands. Saturday – Planned 6 miles at MP/Actual 6 miles at MP Friday night lasted WAY longer than I’d hoped, but we were having so much fun plus Jen and Suzy don’t get a ton of time together and they needed a driver. I ended up getting my butt out of bed after <4 hours of sleep and going for it. That’s why running in groups is good. Accountability. I told myself that I don’t sleep well the night before a race anyway. Based on the conditions and my condition, I was pretty happy about this run. I averaged right around what my BQ pace needs to be. I’m keeping it around as a possibility. Sunday – Planned 13 miles/Actual 13 miles Another hot and miserable run to grind out. I’m just waiting on my Pegasus Turbos to make EVERYTHING better. We’re getting into long run territory where you HAVE to think about fuel/hydration/chafing etc. etc. and I’ve forgotten how to deal with all of that. It’ll come back to me one way or another. I’m proud of anyone that toughs out this time of year through so many awful runs. Fall is coming. We shall rejoice! I had trouble pacing again and ended up a little fast, but my heart rate stayed relatively under control. That means I’m getting in shape (I think). Week 4 is in the books. It was a 35 mile week (my highest in a year!). August was a 120 mile month. This is happening!!! When I tore my Achilles WAY back in December, I dreamed about getting back to this point. Here we are. Thanks go out to all of you that advised me, encouraged me and motivated me. You’re the best!