Saturday, September 22, 2012

I ran an impromptu half marathon today

Ok, first thing's first: obviously I haven't updated this blog in literally months. I meant for this blog to be an extension of my twitter account (they both have the same name), but like most things I do - I lost interest quickly. Maybe I'll turn this into a health blog of some sort. Anyway on to the point of this post:

Sweaty Chad
I ran an impromptu half marathon today.

I've been getting pretty good at running long distances this year. Ever since I started working out and watching what I eat I've lost almost 40 pounds. I found that running was something that came rather easy to me. Perhaps I should say jogging because anything faster than 6.8mph is really strenuous for me. I once ran 7.5mph for about 45 minutes, but I've run about 6.8mph for 60-90 minutes several times without any trouble.

I've actually stopped going to Planet Fitness, or at least as much as I used to, because I started a boot camp-style workout routine of using just body strength resistance. I'd been lifting weights at the gym for literally months and I would always plateau rather quickly. I've tried to bulk up in high school, college and when I was in the navy but my body just won't cooperate. My brother John told me recently he's had the same problem so he sticks with bicycling and body resistance calisthenics too. But back to the run:

Ok, so there's this route I run a few times a week through four main roads in Guilderland: south on Schoolhouse to Krumkill, east to Russell road, north to Western Avenue, west back to Schoolhouse and south back to my house. It's about 4.8 miles round trip according to MyMapRun. The last few Saturdays I've vowed to run two "laps" which would be about 9.6 miles total and would be a record for my longest street run ever. My longest run, for the record, is about 8 miles that I did on September 7th. I live fairly close to the UAlbany campus so I'll run from my house to the campus and run around the entire campus (about 3-4 miles) and then back home (about 6.8 total). Last time I did this I still had enough time and energy on the return trip so I ran around the Wood Lake apartment complex and around some other blocks in the area which brought my total to 8. It was just a good day that day.

ol' Bessie
This morning I was determined to finally break my record and run my 4.8 mile route twice. I ran about 100 yards and stopped. Why? Because the wind was blowing so damn hard I could barely see where I was going. I could feel dirt flying in my eyes. So I turned around and came home and jumped on the treadmill I recently bought from a guy on Craigslist for $80. It's kind of a rinkydink little Sears one that's mostly intended for walking (although it does go up to 12mph). I use it mostly for walking on my off days: I'll put it in front of the TV and just walk about 2.5-3mph for a couple hours. I've ran on it before, but never for more than 30 or 40 minutes at a time because it's tough to get used to its size. Compared to the professional grade treadmills at Planet Fitness, it feels like a kids toy.

I've always wanted to run a half marathon on a treadmill and I know I could do it if I ran about 6mph for about two hours. So that's exactly what I did this morning. The conditions couldn't have been more perfect. The air was fairly warm, in the mid 60s I'd say, the humidity was low and the wind provided an all-natural cooling system (did I mention I can move the treadmill easily from the living room to the front porch?).

That's actually 127 minutes (or 2 hours 5 minutes).

I put on Metallica's "Death Magnetic" album and started running for the first hour or so. It was pretty easy. Once I hit the one hour mark I KNEW I could do another hour. I wasn't cramping or sore or out of breath - I felt really good. The other times I've tried to run significant long distance I always stopped because of soreness or lack of stamina, but I didn't have either problem today. I didn't work out yesterday, although I did walk four miles on the treadmill while I watched TV. For breakfast I had a cup of coffee, two pieces of toast with peanut butter and a bowl of Cheerios. What's funny is i felt like I had to pee the entire time I was running!

I think when it comes to running is that a lot of it has to do with mental stamina rather than just physical stamina. In other words - mind over matter or self efficacy. When I hit 70 minutes I felt great and really happy. I even tweeted that I was going to try to run a half maratho.
Running and Tweeting should be an Olympic sport.

By the time I hit two hours I was at just over 12 miles ran and had only another 1.1 miles to go (a half marathon is 13.1 miles and a full marathon is 26.2 miles). Once I hit 13.1 I seriously considered going for a FULL marathon. After all, it was only an early Saturday morning and I didn't have anything else to do. However, I decided against it because I had ran out of water. I've heard a lot of horror stories of people dehydrating while trying to run a marathon and even though I could've cheated and just ran into the fridge and grabbed another water bottle I didn't think it'd be right.
That's quite a compliment coming from @JenIsGreen!

What's interesting was that throughout the entire run I never felt hungry or exhausted or felt in any way that I wouldn't hit my goal. Even after I slowed down and walked for another 10 minutes or so I was surprised I felt so calm and relaxed. I guess that's what they call "runner's high", although feeling normal doesn't feel like a high to me in any way. I stretched and showered and as soon as I started getting dress is when the hunger hit me. It was a hunger where your body starts to tremor, just a hunger you might associate with having a late lunch or dinner.

you have to run a half marathon just to break even on the calories!
I don't know what runners are supposed to eat or drink after a significant long distance run but I figured I probably just burned at least 1300 calories and I'd treat myself to some Five Guys Burgers & Fries.

Now that I know what running a half marathon feels like I have a good idea of what running an actual marathon would entail. If the conditions were perfect, like they were this morning, I could see myself doing it. If I ever decide to enter an actual marathon road race I'll definitely go about it with a bit more preparedness. Still, the fact remains I ran an impromptu half marathon today.


  1. I ran the length of Manhattan once and it came out to just shy of 15 miles. I hurt so badly afterwards that I had to limp to the train to get home. I'd really like to run a marathon some day, but the thought of running ANOTHER 11 miles after what I completed seemed impossible.

    1. I saw that video on your youtube channel - that's pretty awesome. I might have to drive down to NYC just to do that! Let me know if you ever want to make that run again.

      I've never been sore after running - well not to the point of not being able to walk. Sometimes my feet just hurt from the pavement, especially my Achilles tendon. Mostly I get chaffed in my inner thighs. I've heard you should put Vaseline on them to prevent that from happening. Some Gold Bond medicated lotion helps clear it up relatively quickly.

  2. Very good post and kudos for going from 8 - 13.1 miles in one shot. Definitely would not suggest going straight to a marathon (on the road or treadmill) without some runs of 14-20 miles first (ideally at least 2 or 3 in the 18-20 mile range). Check out Hal Higdon's training plans online. Tried and true for success. Feel free to link to this post on The Runners Blog Facebook page if you wish.