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THE BUILD UP JOURNAL: Coming soon to a Christmas near you - mattn792's 4th Annual Charity Thread! With a new twist...



Hello all!  As many of you probably already know, I've run a little charity thread for the past three years in G/S/B, where @jaybuck43 and I pick a worthy cause or two to raise money for, I inevitably finish a strong second in whatever gentlemen's bet we agree to, and then I put up the seed money.  Myself and several generous boardies put up books to give away, folks pledge money, and we raise some good dough for our chosen cause(s).  Simple, right?

And this year will largely go the same way, except that you'll all have a chance to really make me earn it this year!  I wanted to do this little preview journal as much for myself as for all of you, because I'm attempting a feat that I'd never have even dreamed of accomplishing prior to meeting my fiancée, who is a bonafide badazz with 4 Iron Mans under her belt (if you don't know why this is impressive, see here - Ironman Distances: How Long is an Ironman Triathlon Race? (bettertriathlete.com)).

No, we're not jumping straight into an Iron Man together.  She wrapped up toting our daughter around 24/7 in mid-March, and at this particular juncture, I'm pretty sure I'd turn into something like this by the 2/3 point at the latest:

The Simpsons Homer Sleep Driving on Make a GIF

So what is that we've undertaken and will underpin this year's charity thread?  That would be the Dopey Challenge, hosted by Disney World this coming January.  What the hell is that you may ask?  Well Disney hosts a 5K, 10K, 1/2 marathon, and marathon on consecutive days.  And the Dopey Challenge is to finish...all of them.  48.7 miles in 4 days, with the distances basically doubling each day.  Don't believe me?  Check it out - Challenges | Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend | runDisney

When the time comes, participants can have all sorts of fun with their pledges - per mile, per race finished, betting against me finishing, time bonuses, whatever!  I think we'll once again have a great time.  The thread itself won't launch until December as usual, but stay tuned to this journal for some updates on how training is going, how I'm feeling overall, what my time goals are, etc.  I'll keep using this same entry to provide updates in the comments section.



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To date, the longest race I've ever done is a 1/2 marathon, which was last April in Nashville.  Another something I would not have dreamed of doing prior to meeting my fiancée.  Unfortunately, my right calf made me walk the last 5 miles or so under threat of debilitating cramps, so I our final time clocked in at 3:01.  Now this was largely due to a number of easily correctible factors - she got me to sign up the day before when I was expecting to be on vacation, it was over 90 on race day (Nashville in April, when I was used to Chicago in April), and my night before prep consisted of "well, guess I'll only have three beers..."  The good thing is I finished with plenty of energy to where I could've finished quicker had my leg not betrayed me.  And suffice to say those same hiccups won't happen again.  Though January weather in Chicago vs. Florida will likely be somewhat of a factor, I'm hoping the early morning start times will actually turn that into a benefit if it's, say, in the 50-70 degree range.  Hopefully it isn't Chicago comparable as I generally find it miserable to be running in the Midwest winter air.  Yet my husky loves it, go figure.

I've also made some adjustments to my running form which have been a massive help.

Training is going very well so far and actually entails a lot less running than you might expect.  I tend to only run 3-4 days per week, with supportive training in other areas (endurance weights, swimming, hopefully with biking and yoga added soon) built in, and I'm just now going to start pushing out my moving time substantially beyond 1 hour.  I say moving time because at 40 years old, I'm not too proud to work the short recuperative walk into my training miles.  And that little walk has proven to be a huge boon as it can be a big help in resetting form and breathing.  While running, I'm aiming to keep a pace in the 10-10:30/mile range.  Factoring in those miles where I work in the walk, I want to keep my total pace time at 11:30 or under per mile.  So far so good, and this stays well within compliance for Disney's 16:00/mile pace requirement for the 10K and 1/2er.  With this being a multi-day event, my aim is to keep the same pace on all four days, so I've set my current time goals as follows :

5K - 37:30 or less
10K - 1:15:00 or less
1/2 - 2:30:00 or less
Full - 5:00:00 or less

I know that I can already do the 5K and 10K faster than the goal times, but the point of this for me isn't to jet out in search of personal bests, but to finish all four races in a consistent manner.  I think at this point, my base is established well enough that the 5K and 10K are already in the bag, and it won't be much of a stretch to add the 1/2er to that list.  Barring injury of course.  In any case, the full will be the monster haunting my dreams come December.

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If I can carry today’s training run into race week with consistency, I’ll be a happy camper.  5.5 miles in 1 hour, straight running miles around 10:30, and the two miles with interlude walks were around 11:30.IMG_2757.jpeg.f435fd642293737c80c2fea7c39e58fb.jpeg

Left knee was briefly put off when I was done, but it got over it shortly after.  And the real question, especially come race week, will be how I feel the next morning.  I think back on last year’s 1/2er, and I remember I felt like I couldn’t have run 1/10 of a mile the next day.  Again, extenuating circumstances, but I’m not naive - day 3 into day 4 is going to have its challenges.

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Did 2.78 miles today in 30 minutes.  I wanted to skip the interlude walk initially, but excessive pride cost Archimedes his Golden Fleece.  Or something like that.  

I’m noticing that I need to pay some attention to my form for my left leg, because I think it’s finally starting to realize that this running thing is going to be a 50/50 endeavor.  The imbalance in my gait for the past 15 years or so put extra strain on my right leg, so the left got to skate a little bit.  Correcting it is going really well though as the old issues in my right knee and hip are very noticeably disappearing.  My left Achilles was throbbing a little bit after the run today but in a “good” way, like it put in a good day’s work.

Lower body has three main focal points for me - relax the hips, bend the knees, land on the middle part of the foot.

Funny story, I had a similar throb in my Achilles during senior year of high school cross country.  It kept me out almost the whole season.  Not because I was seriously hurt, I just didn’t want to run cross country that year.  But my parents wouldn’t let me just walk away (and go to work that much more at the job I had and focus that much more on the AP classes I was told I had to take), so I came up with my own solution to the problem.

Anyway, looking to do a 1:15:00 moving session between tomorrow and Sunday.  Probably going to be Sunday, I think I’ll swim tomorrow and install the rest of the gutter guards on Saturday.

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Well its nine days later and I didn't get to my 1:15:00 mover just yet.  Turns out we had social plans on Saturday, so I then spent Sunday mowing the lawn and trying to finish the gutter guards.  Funny thing about that - I can't install them when the baby is napping, which is the most opportune time to do so, because the noise could wake her up.  :frustrated:

I did a couple shorter runs during the week, and then swam a little over 1/2 mile on Wednesday.  Which went really poorly, like "how am I almost overheating in this 80 some degree pool?" poorly.  So I listened to my body and took the last two days off.  Got back to it today and went 4.19 miles in 45:00, which is pretty much perfect for the pace I'm looking to maintain.  If I wake up good to go tomorrow, I'm aiming to do 1:20:00, which should translate to about 7.5 miles.  It is going to be super dull circling the indoor track at the gym for that long, but that does have two distinct advantages - 1. water, a bathroom, and my car are always close at hand & 2. my run can go on uninterrupted.  No stop lights, no wayward drivers, no dog peeing 600 times (our Shepard knows how to sneak breaks) to stop my progress. 

Granted, running with one of the dogs or the baby is always great, but it also makes my run times a bit misleading.  Besides stopping the watch for those various breaks on the route, I'm usually stopping mid-run to drop one or more off at home, which gives me a few minutes to rest and stretch, and get some cold Gatorade, etc.  Come magic time, those advantages won't be there.  Might as well flush them out now as best as I can because that race timer is going to keep ticking no matter what.  And it's the middle of summer.  Come fall, my favorite time of year, I'll be much more inclined to run outside, especially when my sled dog should be able to do 4 or 5 solid miles.  The husky may like laying about in the yard in the heat, but she does not care for long runs in it.

One closing thought - thinking back to mid-2019, when I moved into my previous house, and spent plenty of time going up and down significant flights of stairs, often laden with some sort of something...oh boy were my knees hurting.  Not just an overuse ache, this was substantial pain kind of hurting.  I vividly recall this knee pain also affecting me when getting out of the car.  I also wasn't exercising regularly, and the stress was really adding up as 2019 was the stage of my life when things were firmly settled in on bad and starting to move toward the end game with my practice wife.  In the midst of our divorce, she said she thought moving to the new house would make me happier.  If you had any idea how much acrimony buying that house put me through, to say nothing of the cost...let's just say my logic circuits shorted out at that point.  

But here we are in 2023 - one divorce, infinitely happier, and a whole bunch of quality exercise later - and my knees feel pretty fantastic!

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Well today’s mission was scrubbed on account of some discomfort at the bottom of my right heel, which Dr. Internet will tell you is indicative of a barking plantar fascia.  Since my age and activity type put me in prime time to develop plantar fasciitis, no reason to push things when it’s only July.  The discomfort is minor too, one of those “I’d be out there if it was the playoffs” kind of things.

I had the basketball court to myself for a little while, so I got in some movement shooting the ball, and then I did 35 minutes on the stationary bike.

Tomorrow - yoga!

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Yoga was exactly what I needed, all the little nags feel much better.  And it always finds some way to keep you humble.  I definitely should turn this into a standing date.  

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I also bought new running shoes yesterday as I was already over 300 miles on my previous pair.  UnderArmour Flow, in an…eclectic color.  Some kind of coral blue.  Seventh son of the Lama, flowing robes…striking.  They have the advantage of additional cushioning without being Hokas.  Not dogging Hokas, they’re just not for me as I still like to feel the ground.

I did a 5k in some absolutely miserable indoor track atmosphere today (it’s poorly insulated against the outdoors, and it’s H-O-T this week).  Honestly, I think I could’ve done my hour and 20 today, but I also had a haircut appointment.  I was starting to look homeless, it was a fair trade off.  Aiming to long range it on Friday.

Edited by mattn792
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I got in my hour and twenty today!  And felt pretty darn awesome throughout.  Had a couple short barking hot spots, but my body worked through them well.  Only drawback are the break-in blisters I got from my new shoes (one minor one per foot).  Total distance was 7.43 miles, and pace was excellent as my running pace was still around 10 minutes when time was up.  :banana:


I hit the 10K mark around 1:06, so I’m on point with my goal times as well.  

I’ll probably aim for 1:45:00 for my next long distance movement, which should have me cover just under 10 miles.  That assumes my shoes are properly broken in of course, not going to do another blister run.

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Day after, and my legs feel awesome :bigsmile:

The blister on my left foot broke on its own, so it's a tad angry today.  But if it were the playoffs, I'd just slap a little mole skin over it and move forward.

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Well it’s been a minute, and with good reason - we were on vacation for about three weeks.  Despite almost two of those weeks being spent on a cruise ship, with cruise food and cruise people, I did manage to exercise on 4 of those days.  And also got in 10,000+ steps on a few other days (over 20,000 in Amsterdam!).  So it wasn’t total sloth.  Unfortunately there was no running track on the ship, so I had to settle for treadmills.  That crimped my “distance” because I don’t like treadmills to begin with, and I definitely didn’t need a misstep resulting in a multi-week injury.

Anyway, did my first two miles back on the indoor track yesterday, and…they went.  Felt better as time rolled on, leaving me confident that vacation didn’t cost me too much.


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I tallied just over 4 miles with the dogs yesterday.  Even with the temps down into the mid-70s, the husky still isn't up for more than about 3 miles, and the Shepard still pees every 14 seconds, so it wasn't as quick as I'd like, but I felt good overall. 

Somewhat unfortunately, I definitely have a bout of plantar fasciitis in my right foot, the heel soreness cropped up the day after last Monday's short run and lingered with some gusto for about three days.  And the overall symptoms are textbook pf.  Luckily it doesn't seem to be a problem while I'm moving, and consistent calf stretching with some theragun work on the foot is paying dividends.  I don't expect it to hinder my training or race performance, though I'll probably invest in a night splint and one of those compression dealies if it continues to linger.

Going to do 25 minutes on the indoor track today, then likely take tomorrow off since it's an in office day.  

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Today’s 5 miles were fantastic; miles 1, 3, and 4 had no recuperative walking.  And honestly, I had to force myself to take the two walks that I did.  I felt that good today. :bigsmile:

Still battling the minor case of plantar fasciitis, but proper management is definitely having a positive impact.  Hopefully it’s a non-issue come January. :wishluck:



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I took the past two days off for right foot management, and I had an ambitious goal of 8 miles today.  But almost from the get go I knew today was going to be miserable, so I ultimately wound up with 7.08 miles.  And it was a grind:


Lots more walking than usual, and it was 91 degrees by the time I got home.  But there were still some positives:
- Right foot did fine, and no pains in any muscles or joints
- My feet got tingly and heavy, fast, a bad sign for circulation and overall hydration. But that also cleared up around mile 5.
- I still managed to stay within my time goals for the 5K and 10K.  About 20 seconds to spare for the 10K, but it still counts!

This was just one of those days where my whole body didn’t have it.  The heat was certainly a factor, but the last two days of less than righteous dietary choices definitely didn’t help either.  Depending on how my right foot rebounds, I’d like to sneak in a shorty run tomorrow to keep up on the back to backs.  Otherwise it will probably be a swim day.

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8.07 miles in the books today, in almost the same amount of time as last week’s miserable 7.  Overall I’m very happy with the result, but I wish my pacing had been more consistent.  I think it’s partly a function of transferring from the indoor track to the much less predictable outdoors, but also that 8 miles is still being a bit of a boogeyman as I was not only pretty wiped by mile 8, but I pulled up a few feet short of the driveway because my right calf grabbed.  Mile 8 was pretty much where the same thing happened during the Nashville 1/2er.  Gatorade is making a difference during the long runs, so I just need to sort out my mid-race nutrition, if that means some fancy electrolyte pills or maybe just a few Clif bars.

Today was tough, but this whole thing is going to be tough.  Next week’s long run might also be 8, maybe 9.  



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Oh, and the plantar fasciitis pain in my right foot keeps getting better.  Ice baths, consistent stretching, and the Theragun.  :bigsmile:

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I went back just now to see if the good people at Rock ‘n Roll had a more detailed breakdown of last year’s 1/2er pace, and while not mile by mile, I was surprised to see that I was only 25 seconds off of this year’s 10k goal.



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Howdy.  It's been nearly a month since my last update, and unfortunately that's largely due to going back to square one with my running.  My plantar fasciitis recovery plateaued pretty abruptly after a two mile indoor track run on September 11th, and my prettier half convinced me to take a decent amount of time off.  Indoor track has turned out to be a key component in this problem, as I'd come to surmise later that all the turning on the roughly 1/8 mile track was significantly contributing to the very injury I was trying to kick.  So much for the controlled environment being beneficial!

When I officially started the re-build up on September 24, the weather was much better, so I got back at it outdoors rather than indoors.  I started with only a mile, and since then have climbed back up to 4 as my longest run.  Honestly, my foot feels almost back to normal at this point, and the rest of me feels great. I have a four run/week training schedule in place, and this week's longest will be 6 miles. 

The only hiccup so far -- two miles on the indoor track on October 7.  Moved well, felt good during, but by that night I felt like I had suffered a setback.  Since we were out of town visiting my brother, I took the next two days off and then got back to it outdoors.  Nearly broke 18 minutes on the first two miler that I did, which was nuts considering I didn't even feel like I was moving at that fast of a pace.  Me and the energizer husky have duplicated that effort multiple times, and we kept a sub-10 minute pace for our four miler, even with an honestly walk included in the middle.  And I haven't felt like I needed to push to keep that pace, it's feeling very natural.

So the results speak for themselves - being outdoors, with far fewer turns, and a much easier time settling into and keeping my proper form, has been key to my foot's recovery.  The only downside is that when winter shows up, there's going to be days where I need to run but mother nature will be in a mood, and the indoor track is no longer an option for me.  Cold, especially over 30 degrees, I can deal with.  It's ice and snow that worry me.  And I dread the thought of doing something like 16 miles on a treadmill, so let's hope it doesn't come to that!

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Today's daddy/daughter 5k clocked in at 30:11, so well ahead of my goal time.  Couldn't have done it without her support, napping in the running stroller and all. 

The question now is, do I actually want to move this fast on game day?  This is a four day endurance event after all, and no matter the training between now and January, I don't expect to be able to run a 9:45/mile marathon.  Especially after logging 22.5 miles in the three prior days.  But...January is still a ways away, let not make any assumptions and see how these longer runs in the coming weeks go.

My right foot is a touch sore now, but not the shooting pain that I had when the pf was at its worst, so I'm optimistic that this is just a side effect of logging 9 miles in three days.  Next two days are off days from running, with no exercise on tomorrow's docket.  Saturday/Sunday is a planned 2/6.

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I successfully completed 2 miles and then a 10k over the weekend, as planned.  Me and the energizer husky had our groove on, so she went with me for the entire 10k.  Ten minutes ahead of goal pace at 1:04:28 and felt awesome :bigsmile:


My foot stings a bit today, but again, 8 miles in two days.  Hoping the day off today takes care of it, but I’ll skip running tomorrow if need be.  This week’s scheduling is a touch trickier as my brother’s wedding is this weekend, but that’s life.

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Tuesday and Wednesday brought back-to-back 5k excursions, both of which went really well.  Today I wanted to squeeze in the planned 8 miler, but it was a workday, and I couldn't swing it on top of the rain and all the prep for leaving out tomorrow for my brother's wedding.  Plus, I feel just the slightest touch of a bug...which better be gone by the morning if it knows what's good for it...

I will go hot sauce and Jack Daniel's on your az!

Edited by mattn792
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Well, the bug ended up lingering, and though it didn't slow me down for the wedding, it was enough to keep me from doing any extensive physical exertion until last Friday, when I got in a solid yogurt lattes session.  Saturday we met some friends in the city and walked like crazy, but my foot was no worse for the wear.  Hooray!

That didn't last too long, because I got back on the 5k horse on Sunday with the energizer husky, and my foot was shrieking the next day.  No biggie, me and the baby did 4 miles in spite of it.  The "nice" thing about plantar fasciitis is that, once you start moving, the pain fades.  I did still invest in a few compression socks, which I wore for the first time today, and I found that one of they're significant benefits is to keep the foot from tightening up during prolonged periods of sitting.  I also ran two miles with it on, and it was perfectly comfortable.  I'm going to do at least two more tomorrow, barring any unexpected obstacles.  We're basically two months out at this point, so it's time to really buckle down.

3-4-2-2 is a far cry from 3.1-6.2-13.1-26.2, so the distance has to stretch each week now.  Luckily our social calendar is pretty much empty up till race time, outside of the holidays.  This weekend is going to bring at least the 8 miler, possibly 10.  Want to at least hit 20 total miles this week, and ideally climb to 40 at the apex of training.  

Despite the setbacks during training, I honestly feel really good about where I am at this point.  Just gotta keep the good times rolling and the miles building. :cheers:

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I wound up skipping the planned 2 for Wednesday and did the upper body exercises instead, then off Thursday aside from a 10000 step kind of walking day, and then my usual Friday yogurt lattes.

Yesterday…5.  Today…10!  21 total for the week :bigsmile:


I walked a little extra early on because I didn’t quite know how I’d feel once I passed 7 miles, but overall it went really well.  The 8 mile boogey man reared its head once more with a handful of attempted calf cramps, hence the lousy 9th mile, but I’m really happy to say that a continued focus on form and relaxation helped me work through them very effectively.

This run gives me confidence that as long as everything keeps trending like this, the 5k, 10k, and 1/2er are all in the bag.  I need to get closer to 20 before expressing my feelings about the monster.

We’ve also been discussing pace planning, and I think there’s a good chance I’ll walk at least the last mile of the 5 and 10k no matter how I feel.  Call it load management.  I don’t think that plan will interfere with staying at or under my goal times though, which is nice.

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About 24 hours later, the AAR on my 10 miler is very positive.  My legs feel fantastic, and my right foot, though shrieking in the early AM when the baby waken me up half a dozen times, is feeling normal sore by midday.  I think we’re in business.  :bigsmile:

Interestingly, I find the mental aspect of carrying on a tad challenging.  I occasionally find myself thinking, “I just ran 10 miles, how awesome!  Wait, I gotta do more?!?”  Can’t rest on the laurels, the build must go on.

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The energizer husky and I did 2 yesterday (9:16 pace), then a 5k today (which we finished in just under 30 minutes, hooray!).  Despite the quality results, with the nice weather, and feeling especially good physically today, I definitely did not want to be out there.  But...embrace the grind!  It's all going to be worth it in the end.

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