Monday, February 28, 2011

In Training

I think that I can honestly say that I am officially back in training.  Granted this week wasn't the full on follow my half marathon training plan word for word, but it was pretty close.  I need a plan to follow, if I don't I feel confused and don't know what to do.  I should probably back track a bit and fill in some of the blanks from my last post.

I am feeling so much better than two weeks ago.  My right foot is at about 85%, with any discomfort on the outside of the foot and the heel.  I tape it up when playing soccer and don't have to do anything to it when I am running.  My left quadriceps feels that same as it has for the past two months.  I am going to have to get to the doctor to have it checked out soon, but it isn't restricting my daily training.  It just doesn't feel "right".  My lower back is sore in the morning but not the pain I had been dealing with a month or so ago. 

I think I can blame a lot of the aches and pains I feel on the weight gain since last November, an additional 16 lbs from my race day weight.  I basically had been eating my normal diet but hadn't been able to keep my activity levels up.  Just this weekend, with the increase in running, I have seen a couple pounds drop off.  Let's' hope it happens quickly!

As of Wednesday of this week I am back to training.  I say Wednesday because I had two indoor soccer games that night and considered that a solid speed work out.  I was pretty immobile on Thursday and wasn't able to get out for a run, but I did get on my bike for an hour on Friday night.  Saturday was a painful (emotionally that is) 4 mile run where I struggled to get under 8:30/mile pace.  I did though and feel good about it.  Yesterday was the big test as I tackled my longest run in over three months....8.5 miles!  The started the first mile very easy and gradually found a rhythm.  I was not blazing along the roads at all, but I did end up at around 8:35/mile pace.  I'll take it considering my lack of road running and weight gain.  My running will improve over the next few weeks as I get into a routine.

My wife and I have decided that we both need to get into shape.  Yes, I am in decent shape, but not where I want to be.  Even when I did IM Arizona back in November, I probably should have been five pounds light (or slightly more) to better handle the rigors of the day.  Looking forward to the race season that is only two or three months away, I am going to try and get my weight down and improve my strength and power.  My wife is looking to get back to the shape she was in before she had our two little girls.  With that said, we are going to give P90X a shot.  I have been told that it is really friggin' tough; I guess if it was easy, everyone would be doing it.  I'll let you all know how it goes.

Everything Else
All else is going pretty well.  My new job is going well, although the commute into Philadelphia is rough.  This will all improve once I get appointments set up and I don't have to trek in here everyday.  I managed to sell my VW Jetta this weekend, which is a huge burden gone.  Looks like we will be going car shopping this weekend for my wife!

I guess that is about it for now.  Hopefully I will be keeping up a bit better on this blog now that I am back to a structured training plan again.  Ciao!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Back At It...Sort Of

It seems that the more things change, the more they stay the same.  The past week and a half has been a very good one, but with that said it hasn't been without its not so great parts.

On Monday, February 7th I started my new job with Chartis (AKA AIG) down in Philadelphia.  It is a sales job, a position that I have never done before.  After the issues I had with my prior employer/manager, I am extremely excited to be starting fresh and looking forward to "competing" against my former employer for business.  My first day in the office was akin to starting at a new school half way through the year.  I had been with Chubb Insurance for over 10 years and had grown very comfortable there, almost to a fault.  To move to a new company has been a very unique and mildly stressful experience.  All of the little things that I had grown accustomed to were now different, such as:
  • Working in a city as opposed to a very rural setting in western NJ
  • Commuting an hour and 20 minutes (or more) on I-95 as opposed to 50 minutes on country roads.
  • Employing systems/programs that are a bit more archaic (e.g. IE 6.0)
  • Using a new laptop that is a step down from my old one
  • Having to buy lunch everyday instead of bringing it in (I am trying to eat breakfast before leaving the house
Yest things are different, and it may seem like they are worse from the list above, but trust me I am much, much happier than I was a month or two ago.  Once I get used to things here and start spending more time out on the road and less in the office, things will improve greatly.

Now for the training portion of the is post.  Ugh, I can not seem to get healthy!  My back is finally back to normal, or at least I think it is.  That is a good thing.  Last Wednesday I started playing indoor soccer with some friends; I was really looking forward to it.  I could tell within the first five minutes that my hip flexors were not 100%, so I decided to take it somewhat easy for fear that I might reinjure them.  Things were going well, I had scored two goals and we were winning pretty handily.  With about 10 minutes left in the game I landed a bit awkwardly on my right foot and my heel really started to hurt.  I kept running around, trying not to let it bother me. 

Well, flash forward to today, a full week later and I am still feeling some pain in the heel.  I have not idea what the heck I did to it.  I have dealt with Plantar Faciitis before and I don't think that is it (the pain isn't on the inside near my arch).  The pain is on the bottom/outside of the heel, I think I may have bruised it or the padding.  I am going to try tapping it before playing tonight, hopefully that is all I need. 

As for actual "training", I have been limited to cycling on the trainer for the past two weeks or so.  I did go running a week and a half ago, but that was for all of 25 minutes (coming off of my back issues).  Swimming has been no existent for the better part of the past month since I don't presently belong to a gym, although I am hoping that my wife and I can agree to signing up for a family membership at the YMCA.  Sooner than later would be ideal!

I definitely need to get out running again soon as I have a few races coming up that I have to get ready for and the fact that I have not done a run over four or five miles over the past two months is a concern.  I am anxious to get back to serious training and losing some of the excess weight I have put on over the past two months.

That is all for now.  Peace out!

Saturday, February 5, 2011


This past month has been unlike any other I have had in my adult life.  January started out pretty well, at least the first couple of days were good.  I had let my hair grow for about six months or so and decided to cut it short again on January 1st (the pic to the right is the "before"...look at all of that gray hair!).  Things seemed to be going well at work and I was feeling very good about a new job opportunity.

That would all change within a day or two.  I was told that I probably had a hernia and then found out that my job was being terminated the following day.  The potential "new" job wasn't moving along as quickly as I had hoped and I was getting nervous.  Despite all of this I wasn't terrible depressed, most likely because I just despised my job and was happy to have that stress gone from my life.

Things were then up and down, depending on how you looked at them.  First, I was able to spend a lot more time with my daughters which was great.  My lower back was in bad shape, which prevented me from working out at all.  I finally got some positive news about the potential new job, but nothing concrete.  I had to cancel my gym membership as a result of my losing my job (plus the fact that I was pretty immobile because of my back).  I did manager to grow a beard for about two weeks which the ladies in the house were not too happy with.  I was starting to get into a funk and hoping that things would change.

About a week ago everything started to turn around; I started seeing my sports doc and my back is feeling much better, I got the call regarding my new job and I start this coming Monday, and I have been given the OK to start running again tomorrow (albeit easy).  Yes, things are definitely getting better.  I am hoping that I can start really training this coming week as I really need to get back into shape.  My weight is way too high, my fitness way too low and my aspirations for the upcoming season definitely, well of course VERY high. 

So, 2011 didn't start off all that great, but I have a feeling that it is going to pick up and be a great year.  My optimism is soaring and I think it could be a great year for me.  Let's hope so!