Week 2

Week 1
I was supposed to run my first run of the program on Monday. It was to be an easy 3 mile run at a 10:32 pace. I ran it in 9:42 pace on Sunday. A little fast, but I don’t think that will hurt me.

The reason I did not do the run on Monday was that I wanted to go to one more swimming class. I knew it would be the last chance I had before we started traveling and would not be in town enough to pay for another month.

A tempo run of 3 miles with a 1 mile warm up and 1 mile cool down. The tempo part was to be run at 8:57 pace. I struggled to keep the pace up.

From my running log:

I tried something different this morning that may have affected my pace. I ran before eating breakfast and hitting the bathroom. I did this in an attempt to get out on the road earlier. I felt awful the whole run. I need to get me some kind of snack bar that will put a little something in my stomach before hitting the road.

Pretty disappointed in the slowness of this run.

I did a 1 mile warm up and then the 3 miles at an average pace of 9:20 per mile and then an almost 1 mile cool down. I have regularly run at 8:45 pace. I was disappointed that 8:57 was such a struggle that day. But, there are just some days that are hard.

It was not a running day, but I wanted to get out and do a nice easy run. Did 2.89 miles at a 9:52 pace.

Long run of 8 miles at 10:32 a mile was the plan. I did the 8 miles (plus a little) at 10:20 pace. I did a run/walk, which is the way I plan to do the marathon. I ran 1 mile and walked 1 minute. It is amazing how much fresher I am at the end of an 8 mile run that way. I am curious as to how well I will finish the half marathon distance doing the run/walk. Based on my run today, I could finish a half marathon 4 minutes faster than my current half marathon PR. And that is without racing today.

Total mileage for the week: 20

Week 2
Monday: 3 miles easy 10:32 pace

Wednesday: 5 miles speed at 8:27 (2X1600 meters with 800 meter recovery jog in between. Plus warm-up/cool-down runs.)

Saturday: 9 miles long 10:32 pace

June Goals Report

I ran only 50.1 miles during the month of June. I knew this would be a low month because of going to the swimming class for the whole month. I also started riding my bike to go to class instead of running there. I finished the month 21 miles behind my goal pace for the year. I am not at all discouraged about that. It has been good to step back just a little as I get ready for marathon training.

I ran 17 days and did not run 13 days. There were only two times that I took two days off in a row and once I did not run for three days in a row. Even though the mileage was down a bit, I was still consistently on the road, just with lower mileage. My longest run this month was just under six miles.

This week I finished with my swim class. It has been a great six weeks of swimming, but my schedule over the next two months before we leave to move back to the US will prohibit me from being able to regularly continue going to the pool. I will still swim when I get a chance. The most important thing is that I have learned how to swim properly now.

I started marathon training this week. Over the next few months I will be running between 20 and 35 miles a week. By the time I run the marathon I will have made up my lost miles and gotten a few miles ahead of the yearly goal once again.

I read 1097 pages in six books this month. Among the really interesting books were Flags of Our Fathers, Healing ADD and Freakonomics.

Flags of Our Fathers was great! It was well written and gives a history of the six men who are in the Iwo Jima flag raising photo. The author is the son of one of the three survivors of the six. The book helped me understand why my grandfather never talked about the war. My grandfather, like the central character in the book, was a Navy Corpsman stationed with the Marines at Gudalcanal, Bougainville and Guam. Like the men in the book, I suspect my grandfather believed that the heroes were the men who did not come home after the war. He went over there to do a job. He accomplished it and came home, but probably believed the real heroes were the men who sacrificed their lives so that he could come home.

My personal opinion is that anyone who serves in the military to protect my country is a hero.

With a better understanding of what he went through, I only wished my grandfather were alive today so that I could possibly get more information from him.

Freakonomics is a book that was wildly popular a couple of years ago. Steven Levitt applies an economist’s eye to societal trends that don’t necessarily fit in the realm of economics. He explains why school teachers sometimes cheat and how they do it, as well as how they get caught. Also he tells why drug dealers live with their mothers. Many other interesting topics too.

The book Healing ADD breaks down ADD into six categories instead of the traditional two. Besides medication, which the author believes is very helpful, he recommends other interventions that can help each of the different classifications of ADD. While there is a lot of controversy as to whether diet helps or hurts ADD behavior, Dr. Amen recommends dietary changes that can help certain types, but clearly stresses that diet alone is not a cure-all. He also recommends coaching and exercise as two other methods in a multi-faceted approach to controlling ADD. [I have a more complete list of ADD books I have read or recommend.]

Amazingly, I finished five of the six books I was reading. I will be picking up all new books this month to chew on. Or, I will be pulling books from the shelf that were previously partly read and need to be finished. There are 13 books on my “To Be Read” shelf. I have plenty to choose from.

Still swimming

I have gone to the swim coach for 4 weeks now. I have bettered my crawl and back strokes and have learned the breast stroke and the butterfly.

My crawl was, of course, my strongest stroke (that’s the normal stroke). But I had some serious errors in my execution of the stroke. Joel, my coach, had me work on some error correcting exercises for a couple of weeks. It is amazing how much one can improve when given the right pointers along the way.

I was also given some error correcting exercises for my back stroke. Since I don’t like that stroke and don’t really know what I was doing wrong, I never asked Joel what I was trying to correct. Just do the exercises and move on.

The breast stroke, while very physically demanding, is a stroke I have always liked. I basically knew how to swim it, or at least thought I did. The reason I like this stroke is that I feel like it is the easiest one to breathe with, even easier than the back stroke for me. And, let’s face it, breathing is always a good thing.

Butterfly is by far the hardest of the strokes. It is very demanding. Coordination is everything. I am capable of complicated moves, but the learning of new moves and timing sometimes takes a bit of work. I just started working on this stroke last week. It may be a while before I am comfortable with it.

I have learned that I am pitiful with my kicking no matter what stroke it is. As a SCUBA diver you learn to kick with your whole leg. That allows you to use your biggest muscles while letting the fins do the real work. Swimming needs much more flexibility in the knees. Still learning that. I have not learned the trick of the frog kick yet to make it powerful. When I see my coach do it, it is amazing how far he can travel on each kick. When I do it, I feel like I am just going through the motions, but not going anywhere. The worst thing I can hear my coach say is “Get a kickboard and do 100 meters with the frog kick.” AAAaaaaa!

Friday Joel had me doing an oxygen depletion workout. This was the first really hard workout I have done. Normally, in the crawl stroke, you would swim 3 strokes and then take a breath, then 3 and a breath. This gets you breathing to the left and right and is about often enough to be comfortable. He wanted me to swim 100 meters while breathing 3 strokes and then 5 strokes. By the time it was over I was pretty winded.

The next phase of the torture was to have me swim constantly for much further than I have done before. Up to this point I have been allowed to swim the length of the pool (25 meters) and rest as long as I want before returning. There has never been time pressure. But Friday my task was to swim 50 meters (breathing normally), rest 30 seconds and then 100 meters and rest 1 minute. I was supposed to do 6 sets of those. Somehow I convinced myself that he said to do 3 sets. When I told him I finished, he had a puzzled look and asked if I really did 6 sets. Oops. He looked me over and decided it was safest to just do 2 more sets.

I swallowed so much water and worked harder than I normally do in a 5K road race. I was physically ill. It took me a couple of hours after class to start feeling right again. But, I am gaining endurance and learning how to breath better.

In total I swam 1100 meters during class. It normally takes me 10 to 15 minutes after class to finish swimming 1000 meters. I know none of this is very hard for someone who has been swimming a while. But I have only been at it for 11 hours of class over the last 4 weeks. I have improved my strokes and learned some new ones. Now I am getting into the meat of why I wanted to take the class in the first place which is building endurance and speed.

My swimming has cut into my running time, but I will be doing a whole lot more running starting in July when I no longer have access to the pool and I start into my marathon training program.

New swimming class

I started taking a swimming class last week. My dad seemed a bit disappointed when I announced that I was taking a swimming class. It was like he felt he failed me as a father by not teaching me to swim. That is not the case at all. I am probably the best swimmer in the family. No problems Dad.

Probably the better way to think about this class is that I have hired a swimming coach. It just so happens that he is coaching 10 other people at the same time.

The reasons I am taking the class are varied. Firstly I want to be a better swimmer. I have visions of entering triathlons in the future. Swimming would be my weakest discipline. With this class I would be better prepared to face the open water. I do enjoy swimming at the beach, but also have a bit of a fear that I will bite off more than I can chew some day. This class gives me more confidence in that.

Secondly, I like the fact that I can pay a relatively small amount of money and have access to a pool. I don’t get unlimited access as I would if I were paying a health club, but I do get to swim 3 days a week and can spend as much as an hour after class getting in extra laps. So far I have not wanted to swim any extra laps after class. I am beat.

Another reason I am giving this class a try is that I know I can only take the class for 6 weeks. That is comforting to me. I know it is not something that I will feel obligated to stick with if I absolutely hate the class or teacher. Starting early July we will be traveling pretty consistently and getting packed up to move back to the US by the end of August. So this is a short term experiment.

The class is at a local university, which is only a 4 minute run from my house. My coach is probably only 21 years old. He is a student at the school.

I have spent much of my time working on corrective exercises. I think I will be doing these for a while. When I start swimming correctly on a consistent basis, I think he will turn me lose to swim lots of laps and then start teaching me other strokes. Currently we are working on the crawl and backstroke. Those are the two I know best so he is having me clean up my form before moving on to other strokes.

The pool is a 25 meter long pool. I swam 750 meters the first day and 850 meters the other two days.

Just another ADD adventure.