Thursday, December 30, 2010

End of the Year Recap 2010

Well it's that time again, where I re-live every race and curse review my performance for the year.  Overall it was a mixed bag.  This year, I racked up the hardware (usually placing 3rd in my age group).  I had several goals this year, and I only made one of them.  Here's the numbers (goal first - actual result second):

155 lbs - 168.8 lbs  No dice here.  I really put the pounds on during the holidays.  Turkey, pie and bacon continue to plague me with their delicious, delicious-ness.

5K 21:11, 6:50/mi - 21:22 6:54/mi  Ugh.  This one was a heartbreaker.  I got 3rd in my age group, but I missed my annual goal by 11 seconds.  11 SECONDS!!!

10K 43:23, 7:00/mi - 44:49, 7:13/mi  Another mixed bag on this race.  I got 3rd in my age group again (detecting a trend?), but missed my annual goal by 1:26.

13.1 1:43:00, 7:51 - 1:42:00, 7:47 - This was the only race that I reached my annual goal.  It came pretty early in the year, and I thought it boded well for the year.  Sadly it did not.

26.2 3:30:00, 8:00/mi - 4:07:03, 9:26/mi - I didn't even come close on this one.  But I was so unprepared mentally and physically for this race, I was just glad to finish.

It would truly be a bad year if I didn't learn anything from this, but I did learn a few things.  First, I can't be a good runner just by running alone.  A good diet and strong overall fitness are important too for me.  Second, I need to work more distance into my training to build my endurance.  Third, I need more realistic goals!  As my lovely wife likes to remind me, I'm not 6' and bulletproof.  That means taking a more realistic assessment of what I can do, so I don't get too down on myself. 

Not the year that I was hoping for, but still a good year overall.  I've gotten faster in everything under marathon, just not as fast as I hoped.  Anyway, here's looking forward to another good (and fast) year!  Happy New Year everybody!

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Holiday Protocol

Merry Christmas!!!  Nothing to report.  I've been doing weights/cross-training at the Y while I rest my leg.  I'll be posting my end of the year wrap-up in a couple days as well as my new year goals.  Stay tuned.  I hope everyone has a wonderful and safe holiday!!!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Rudolph's Red Nose 5K Recap

That's me in the Man Up shirt and UT Santa hat!
I didn't have a lot of expectations for this race going in.  I'm still mentally dinged up from my marathon, and I didn't run at all this week (instead I did some may-as-well-have-not-even-bothered light cross-training and weight lifting).  Considering how poorly I did last year in this race, my hope for this race was to finish around 22:45, which would have given me 7:20/mi.  The race officials also changed the course this year, adding another hill right after the 1st mile.  Masochists.  I know, I know.  I've run hillier and longer courses before, but there's something about familiarity with a race that makes any change nerve racking. During my warm ups, my right calf felt tight and all of the sudden, 7:20/mi seemed like it would be a real accomplishment.  After my usual last minute pit stop ritual, I scooted over to the start line to find a spot.  There were over 1400 runners this year and it seemed like they all decided to run at the front of the line.  I was annoyed.  I tried not to be (since I was really just running for fun), but I always am.  I started out behind a trio of particularly annoying 8th graders, so I navigated the crowd to an open-less-teenager-y spot.  Then we were off, and up Woodland Street Bridge.  I tried to keep my pace easy but quick, and soon I found myself moving up ahead of the pack.  I could see the lead pack and fought the urge to sprint up and cover ground.  Instead, I held my pace, breathing hard, but moving well (as opposed to my side splitting run last year).  For the last 1/2 mile, I tried picking up my pace and crossed the finish, tired but still standing.  My splits ended up being 6:51, 7:16, 6:59, and 1:09 (6:30/mi) for the last .1 mile.  That gave me a time of 22:17.  Better than I had hoped for, but far from my best.  I hung around to check the official results, and Bam!  I scored 3rd in my age group! (Never mind that there were only 37 runners in my age group).  It's nice to earn some more hardware for my office.  I guess being 40 may not be that bad after all.  Maybe...

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Rudolph's Red Nose 5K Pre-Race

Sadly this is 5 days of growth.
I have lots of bad ideas.  And some terrible ideas, I do repeatedly.  My lovely wife attributes this to my stubborn, and often-outright, stupidity.  Apparently, I'm just too dumb to learn.  Every time I'm off from work for more than 2 days, like I was over the Thanksgiving holiday, I grow a "beard."  Or at least it would be if it actually grew in.  I can't even claim a manly Judge Lance Ito beard.  Instead my beard looks...well...let's just say it looks bad.  Kinda like a half-shavenm, motley chihuahua's butt.  Very bad.  

Likewise, some might say that continuing to do the Rudolph's Red Nose 5K would be a bad idea for me.  Maybe not chihuahua beard bad, but bad nonetheless.  Let me explain.  The Rudolph race is a night race usually the first Friday night in December.  Typically this is a very cold night.  I do not like the cold.  I'm a little man from a small Pacific island near the equator.  I'm not genetically designed to handle the cold.  I like it not.  The course is mostly an out-and-back with a large hill that has to be contended with both ways.  Traditionally this hill has made me it's bitch for the last two years.  So why do I keep running this race?  Well I probably wouldn't, if it wasn't so much fun!  The race kicks off Nashville's Christmas parade, so the course is lined with excited children and families.  The racers range from the serious to the playful with just as many elves as there are elites, possibly even more on the elf side.  Also this is the race that got me started two years ago.  So despite the the freezing temps that rob me of my manhood and the cold wind that burns to breathe in, I will continue to run this fun little 5k for as long as I can.  In essence it connects me to my running roots. It reminds me of those days when it was painful just to run even 1 mile.  It reminds me to let go and just have fun.  Now if I could only grow that beard....

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Chickamauga Battlefield Marathon Race Recap

Hail my running brothers and sisters!  If it wasn't true before, it is true now, that I can count myself as a marathoner.  Yesterday was the second official marathon that I finished.  While I didn't have the finish for which I was hoping, I was glad that I was able to 1) actually run this race (as opposed to the Middle Half which was a DNS) and 2)  actually finish this one (as opposed to the Country Music Marathon).  Post-race excuses and rationalizations:  Unfortunately I believe that my accident a month ago weighed heavily on the outcome of this race.  Missing two weeks of training and 2 big long runs (which included a race to test my speed and endurance) left me unsure as to whether I would be able to run this race.  When I was able to get back to training, I ran every step tentatively, wincing at every pain, because I was sure that it was an indication of an impending stress fracture.  Still I was determined to run this race, even if I had to crawl across the finish line. Luckily that wasn't necessary, though at times during the race, I was sure that it was a near thing.

For background, the Chickamauga Battlefield Marathon takes place in Ft. Oglethorpe, GA on the Civil War battlefield of Chickamauga.  It's a small race of about 500 runners for the marathon.  There were also about 700 half-marathoners.  Likewise the expo was small with a few vendors.  Still it was a nice, friendly atmosphere that emphasized paying tribute to the history of the area as well as being friendly to families.  The hours before the race, I stood huddled with several other runners around a heater inside the registration tent as the 39 degree chill felt much colder.  Still I managed to take care of some of my normal pre-race rituals (poop and pee), but I did not do a warm-up jog.  I was just too darn cold!

Eventually, they called for the imminent start, so I lined up with the rest of the runners at the starting line.  I found the 3:40 pacer and stood near him.  Chickamauga starts off their race by firing a canon (they also fire it for the first finishers of the marathon, half and jr-marathon!).  I knew about it, but I still jumped when they fired it.  Early on, I had decided to hold back and keep an easy, but quick pace.  I just wasn't sure what I could handle physically since the accident and  loss of training time.  Still as the miles ticked away, I felt strong and stable as I stayed with the pace group.  I stopped at the water stops for a minute or two and even took a porta-potty pit stop once or twice.  

The race itself was beautiful and eerie.  We started out at dawn and as the sun rose through the air, I could see rays of sunlight cut through the treetops and fog.  It was like some hazy special effect, and at any moment, I kept expecting to see a ghostly Civil War soldier materialize out of the fog.  Adding to this, the steam from the runners' labored breathing added to the ghostly quality of the race.  I almost stopped to take a picture of this scene (and wished that I had), but my competitive drive wouldn't let me give up the pace.  The course was generally flat, but it had a fair number of hills and some decent elevation to make it challenging.  Though it was a double loop course, the scenery of the park and the monuments throughout the battlefield never made the course seem boring.  There were plenty of volunteers riding on bikes throughout the course checking on runners, providing medical aid, duct tape (for blistered runners!), and Powerade from their bicycle baskets, if necessary.  The water stops and aid stations were well-manned and well-stocked.  So all-in-all, my race experience went fairly well.

Mile 15.  Feeling good.
Now the race was supposed to provide shuttles (in this case, small school buses) that would take spectators to various points along the race every 15 minutes or so.  According to my lovely bride, this did not happen.  So it was, that I was only able to see my family at mile 15 before the finish.  When they saw me, I was still feeling good and moving well unlike when they saw me at mile 18 of the Country Music Marathon.  I was just ahead of the 3:40 pace group by maybe a minute or two, and after shedding my extra clothes and kissing my family, I headed back to the race.  About 1/2 a mile into mile 16, I noticed the first bit of cramping.  I was surprised as I had tried to maintain my fluid intake, and had even made sure to drink a big bottle of water prior to the race.  I soon came upon another water/potty stop and decided to use the "facilities."  That's when I discovered that my pee-pee urine was a darkish brown.  Now, I'm no dummy (though my lovely bride has told me that I can be a dumbass).  I know what this means.  I'm majorly dehydrated.  I cursed my lack of training and started downing the Gatorade that my lovely bride had given me when I saw my family.  I thought briefly about dropping out, but I dismissed that thought immediately.  I kept sipping on my Gatorade, and when I got to a water stop, I two-fisted water and Powerade from the volunteers.  Still the cramping, like my pace, got worse.  I briefly hoped that if I could slow down to 9-10 minute miles that I might have some hope of finishing under 4 hours, and had I been able to do that, I probably would have finished under 4 hours.  

My daughter running to me at the finish.
However, my legs were screaming at me to stop.  My IT band was flaring in fiery, hot pain from the top of my thigh down to my knee, and every tendon and muscle touching it joined in the hate-fest.  At several points, I had to stop and bend over to stretch out my calves and thighs, or I might have locked up on the spot.  Around mile 24, I made an attempt at finishing stronger than my last few miles, but the pain was too much. Throw in that I was not mentally ready for it, this time my pace again dropped to crawl.  Still I refused to quit, though I must have been quite a sight as a couple volunteers asked me if I was okay.  I told them that I felt better earlier this morning, but I would be fine once I finished.  Eventually I did reach the finish.  I even passed several people, but I got passed by even more.  Still, nothing was better than seeing my family waving at me as I crossed the line.  My children ran out to me and my lovely bride hugged me and told me how proud she was of me.  I told her that I was glad to just be standing.

With the help of my family, I stiff-legged my way over to the Finisher's tent and ate and drank as much food as I could get my hands on.  Pizza never tasted so good as it did in that moment.  Before I could stuff a 4th piece of pizza into my mouth, the officials were calling for the start of the Jr. Marathon, of which both my children were participating.  I waved my wife and kids on telling them to hurry to the start as I gingerly followed behind them.  When I caught up to them, my kids were picking their way up to the line.  I gave them hugs of encouragement and my son told me that he was going to try to win it!  I told him to go for it and stepped back to my wife.  At the last minute, I decided to see if my daughter wanted me to follow her (hoping she wouldn't need me), and hobbled towards her.  Before I got to her,  the canon went off and the crowd of kids rushed off the line.  I'm not sure why, but I walked behind, following the crowd. That's when I saw the crowd of kids move around something and the officials rushing into the pack.  I knew from my experience with cross-country that meant someone had fallen, and somehow, I knew that it was my daughter.  In fact, it was.  She is so small that I imagine she could not keep her balance with the surge of the crowd and she was trampled.  The officials had picked her up and she was crying loudly.  I came up on them, told them that I was her father, and I scooped her up into my arms.  I'll admit that I had little left in the tank, but even I couldn't just let my little girl stand there crying.  So while she clung to my neck, I started walking around the junior course.  I tried soothing her, so I could calm her down and she could finish her race.  I don't know why, but for some reason, I thought it would matter to her if she didn't finish.  I carried her for awhile, and eventually I was able to calm her down enough so that she could walk. Holding her hand, we walked the course well behind the pack.  We talked a bit, and though I wasn't able to get her to stop sobbing, she kept going.  She even agreed to shuffle-jog into the finish when her brother came back to us and she got her medal.  After that, I let her have as many cookies as she wanted!

Team Vallejo finishing the Jr. Marathon!

Overall, the race was a great experience.  The course was beautiful and the weather was near perfect.  The officials and volunteers were friendly and helpful.  Now for the usual post-race questions:  Was I hoping for a better race?  Of course, I was.  Am I happy/proud with how I did?  Absolutely.  It wasn't the epic fail of the Country Music Marathon, and I proved that I can still overcome adversity to finish something that I started.  Was this race dedicated to anyone?  Yes.  Of course, I dedicated this race to my mom, but also to my friend Joe Lynn Smith and my sister-in-law's Uncle Bob.  Will I do another marathon?  Absolutely.  I think that I'm going to take another stab at the Country Music Marathon for next year, but I may end up pacing a friend.  What about qualifying for Boston?  I'm not saying it's out, but unless I really re-vamp and re-focus my training, it doesn't seem likely.  The marathon is such a beast, I have no idea how Ultra guys do longer.  I think that I'm just way too competitive to give up on striving for Boston, but realistically I can only mentally train to race one marathon a year.  I think that physically I can do more than 1 marathon a year, but rolling out sub-8's for 26.2 miles is a lot to train for.  Official time:  4:07:03, 9:26/mi.  I finished 38th out of 71 in my age group (Ugh.  I'm a Masters now.  When did I get so old?) and 182 out of 502 finishers overall.  My pace times were (thanks to Garmin) in order:  8:21,  8:21, 8:08, 8:50, 7:35, 7:51, 7:58, 8:14, 8:19, 8:13, 8:29, 8:30, 8:11, 8:28, 8:11, 9:16, 8:20, 9:19, 11:50, 10:38, 11:14, 12:47, 11:48, 9:50, 11:58, 11:47 and 10:18 for the final .2 of a mile.

For now, I am going to rest and recover.  I'm going to re-vamp my training plan and hopefully get ready for my final race of the year, the Rudolph's Red Nose 5k this December.  Keep the faith, kids!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

End of the Week Recap 11/7/10

Hail my running brothers and sisters!  I am now approaching my final week before the Chickamauga Marathon.  As most of you know (all 2 of you that actually read my blog), I was in a car accident that pretty much derailed my training.  I've reconciled myself (if I keep telling myself this, it may even become true) to the idea that I won't be able to reach my goal this time.  Since returning to training, I've kept my distances up, but my speed work has been sucktastic non-existent.  I've been reading Once a Runner and Again to Carthage for inspiration.  Sadly, all I want to do is finish the books again instead of run.  Ugh.  It doesn't help that my 3rd and 4th grade basketball has started, and guess who is coaching?  Yeah, I know.  Shocker.  Don't worry, those boys will be running a fair number of suicides.  All right.  That's it.  Wish me luck.  Keep the faith.  See you at the finish line!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

St. Crispin's Day

Today is October 25, St. Crispin's Day.  For those of you who need your St. Crispin's Day Speech fix (and really, who doesn't), here ya go:

The Marathon Training Update

Hail my running brothers and sisters! Week....ummm...huh.  Maybe, I ought to back up a bit.  Almost 2 weeks ago, I had me a little car accident on my way back home from Knoxville.  Long story-short, I got distracted, over-compensated, spun my car, and ended up on the shoulder, lucky not to have ended up in the bottom of a cliff.  My car was totaled but I miraculously walked away relatively unscathed.  I say relative as I did not have any broken bones, but after a trip to the orthopedist and an x-ray later, he determined that I had some build-up on my tibia that indicated I might develop a stress fracture, if I continued running (I also have an injury to my coccyx.  No point to that.  I just like to say coccyx).  He prescribed 2-4 weeks off.  I mentioned my upcoming marathon to him and mentioned that I could miss it due to a stress fracture if I wanted.  Thanks doc.  Why don't you pass me the bacon and pie right now?  Well in my running exile, I dutifully (if not resentfully) rested my legs, and cross-trained on occasion (why is doing the elliptical so sucky?).  Thankfully I hadn't canceled my Y membership, so I was able to get in some weight work (do NOT ever sit down on a weight bench with a 40 lb weight in your lap and an injured coccyx!)  and low-impact cardio (seriously, why is the elliptical so sucky!?!) After 2 weeks of being pissy and mopey, I went out for a run today.  I hit the track (I assumed that it would be easier on my legs) and did an easy 3 miles.  While my pace was good (8:23/mi avg), it felt like I was running through mud.  I was breathing hard and I cringed at every little ache.  Still, it was good to be back out running again.  After I finished, I came home, had some breakfast, and took a cold bath (just in case).  So my plan for the rest of the week is to go easy and re-build my mileage somewhat before I start my taper.  With 3 weeks to go until my marathon in Chattanooga, I'm throwing out my original goal of 3:25 and just hoping to finish with my legs intact at this point.  I may be able to recover and do even better than I imagine, but the realist in me says that isn't likely.  It's a somewhat disappointing realization after all my training, but I'm still going to enjoy it and have some fun.  Later kids!  Keep the faith!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

End of the Week Recap 10/3/10

Hail my running brothers and sisters!  Week 10 of marathon training is at an end.  This week I ran 32.9 miles at an average of 8:37/mi.  I turned in 2:20 hrs of cross-training of golf and weights.  My weight came in at 162.2 lbs.  Not too bad overall.  The highlight of the week was my long run.  My training schedule called for a 20 mi run at an easy pace.  I was feeling pretty good yesterday, so today I opted for a long run at marathon pace for as long as I could.  Turns out that distance was 16 miles.  After that I cooled down with a sloooooow (walking slow) 3 miles.  I was glad to get that 16 miles out of the way.  The pace felt easy and I didn't have any physical problems until mile 15.5, when I felt twinges of a cramp come on.  Tonight, I'm tired and my muscles are tight, but otherwise, I feel pretty good.  Next week I'll probably try to post that 20 miler.  

Geek love:  I'm still digging my Droid X.  I've transcoded a DVD and it looks AWESOME on my phone!  I still haven't named it though.  The name should be smart and sexy much like my phone.  I got Spartacus:  Blood and Sand this weekend.  From what little I've seen, it reminds me a lot of 300 cinematically at least.  That's it for now.  Later kids!

P.S.  Today is my dad's birthday.  Happy Birthday, Dad!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Droid X Review

Time to get my geek on:  Last week, I dove into the cellular world that is the Android.  After a somewhat lackluster history with the Blackberry Storm and Storm 2, I gave into the allure of the Droid X.  In the past, I have stood firm on my ground that I was a power/business user waving my Blackberry with its enterprise level security and amazing email technology in anyone's (read iPhone-ians) face.  I long considered the iPhone and the Droid to be cute Gameboy-esque toys that would occasionally allow someone to place a call or send an email.  This changed with 2 things:  1.  Updates to the Blackberry OS from the Storm to the Storm 2 did nothing to fix its anemic browser.  It's slow and nearly useless in how little it can handle most web pages now.  Blackberry's OS 6 was developed to address some of these issues, but from my research, it's still behind the curve compared to the iPhone and the Android.  2.  With the Froyo update (Android OS 2.2), Google upped the ante with improved enterprise level security as the Droid is supposed to now play nice with Exchange.  My office uses Exchange 2003, and after a few updates and reboots we were able to get my phone syncing effortlessly with my office server (Thanks Chief!).

Now the Droid X is a damn sexy phone.  It has all the standard smart phone features.  It has a 8 MP camera and a video camera that will record in 720P.  It has 8 gigs on the phone and comes with a 16 gig micro SD card. It also has a port for HDMI.  It's huge with its 4.3 inch screen.  The display is bright and is easier to read in direct sunlight then my Storm 2.  The browser is fast and can play Flash!  (UPDATE:  I downloaded the Skyfire Browser and I've been impressed at how fast it loads and handles Flash content even better than the stock browser.  Throw in that it can simulate a full desktop browser (not just an optimized mobile browser), and bam!  I haven't found a site yet that I can't use.)  The Droid OS is far more versatile than the Blackberry and powers up in seconds.  With a huge library of apps, this has to be one of the best purchases that I've ever made.  I even found an app that allows me connect to my office computer.  The mobile wifi hotspot is a great idea, but with Verizon's 2 gig/month data cap, it may not be worth the cost.  Fear not, tethering fans, as the Droid X will tether via bluetooth at no extra cost.  I got this to work once, but since then my laptop has "lost" one of the drivers to properly run the bluetooth radio.  I've tried to re-install the proper drivers several times, but it still won't install it.  Perplexing to say the least.  Also the OS does seem a bit quirky at times, but it's no worse than any phone that I've used before.  When examined under Verizon's extensive network, this phone is the most powerful/useful work purchase that I've ever made.  So sorry Blackberry, but I can't go back.  And you can't make me either.  Later kids!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

End of the Week Recap 9/26/10

Hail my running brothers and sisters!  Week 9 of marathon training is officially in the books.  This was a decent week in that I got over my mileage and hit my time goals (on average).  I did 38.21 miles at an average pace of 8:33/mi.  I did 26 minutes of kettleball cross-training.  My weight I believe to be firmly at 163.4 lbs.  My best run was my long run this morning.  I did 16.38 mi at an average pace of 8:25/mi around the Vandy, Belmont, Lipscomb area.  It was a great morning for a run, because it was cool and breezy, near perfect.  I just ran around the college campuses without a particular plan, and it was neat to see parts of town that I hadn't mapped out/ran before.

Today also marked the end of the cross-country season for "my" kids.  Let me tell you;  I'm truly blessed to work with such a great group of kids.  I was so proud of everyone's efforts, and though I haven't looked over the official times, I think most everyone turned in PR's today!  Of note, the 7th and 8th grade girls came in 4th as a team (jointly with another school), and one of our girls finished 11th and 24th!  Awesome job ladies!  On a more personal note, my son turned in a PR of 14 seconds better than his best time!  I have to say that I'm more than honored that I was a small part in helping some of these kids take interest in our sport.  Go Bears!!!

That's it for me.  Later kids, and keep the faith! 

Sunday, September 19, 2010

End of the Week Recap 9/19/10

Hail my running brothers and sisters!  Week 8 of marathon training is done.  I've considered calling this week, Hill Week or the Hills are Alive with the Sound of Pain.  Instead of tempo run this week, I traded it for hill sprints.  The run was short, but hard.  Oddly enough, this is the same description that I can apply to my long run this week.  I was on schedule to do 20 miles at 8:48/mi, but I decided to do my run through Percy Warner Park (because I'm a glutton for punishment).  My long run ended up only being 15.5 miles at a 8:57/mi pace.  I would whine about this, but that is a brutal course with hills that go straight up into the air.  I swear!  Not to mention the wildlife!  In the middle of my run, I had to slow down as a gang of wild turkeys filled the road.  Now, I don't know if wild turkeys are prone to attacking innocent, tired runners, just trying to get through their workout, but I really didn't want to find out.  Thankfully they meandered off the sides of the road and seemed to take no notice of me (though I could swear I saw one giving me the evil eye!).  Other than a brush with a family of Bambi's and wild chipmunk, the rest of my run was fairly uneventful (except, of course, for my cursing and gnashing of teeth as I trudged up and  down the hills of PWP).

My mileage for the week was 30.94 miles at an average pace of 8:41/mi.  I did 42 minutes of actual cross-training and conditioning (Thank you dear for buying me that kettleball for Christmas!), and I weighed in at 164.4 lbs this morning.  Not too bad overall.

Random bits:  Big Bang Theory premieres this Thursday on CBS at 8/7 Central.  Set your DVR's.  I already have.  This week's parochial cross-country meet was a scorcher, but my kids (my son and the ones I coach) all had impressive runs despite the heat.  It makes a dad and coach proud to see those kids toughing it out and finishing strong.  Go Bears!  Allegedly, Android 2.2 (Froyo) should be coming out on the Droid X soon.  I'm betting on Tuesday, 9/21/10, as that is the last day of summer.

Well that's all I have for this week.  Run hard and keep the faith!  Later kids.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

End of the Week Recap 9/12/10

Hail my running brothers and sisters!  Week 7 of marathon training is in the books after some switching around to accommodate my race this weekend.  This last week was supposed to be another long run, but I switched it with my rest week that's coming up.  I really didn't want to a 20-21 miler after doing a fast 10k.  Given this, I still didn't manage my rest week by the book.  I was supposed to get in 24 miles, but ended up with 20.58 miles.  Considering that over 8 miles was a tempo run and a race, I don't feel bad about not getting in all my mileage.  This week I did 20.58 miles at an average pace of 7:49/mi.  Golf again counted for my cross-training at 3:30 hrs.  My weight is right at 164.  Overall, I was a little "meh" about my race this week, but I'm hoping to get back in the mental groove this week.  I'm somewhat worried that I won't be ready for my marathon if I don't get my head back in the game.  On a final note, I've been really impressed with the effort that my cross-country kids are putting into it.  If nothing else, their drive has been a real inspiration for me.  Keep the faith, my peeps!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Run Chikin Run 10k Race Report

Hail my running brothers and sisters!  This has been a mixed-bag kind of day for me.  As I type this report, my beloved Vols fell apart in the second half of the game with Oregon.  The realist in me knew it would be a tough game, but I hoped it would be close.  The orange kool-aid drinking fan in me thought we really had a chance to steal the game after we scored our first touchdown.  But as I've said before this weekend, early projections don't mean crap.  You still have to play, and the final score is all that matters.  Ugh.

That being said, this is a race report for the Run Chikin Run 10k in Murfreesboro, TN (or it will be after I wipe the tears off of my keyboard and pull my remote out of the TV.  I'm very bitter.), and early projections suggested that I would have all the elements in this race for a PR.  The course is relatively flat, the field is not enormous (531 timed finishers), and the weather was not overly hot (but fairly humid).  Of course, I ran this race last year and scored a PR then of 44:59.  This year, I ran it in 44:49 (My splits were 6:41. 7:00, 7:05, 7:32, 7:14, 7:13 and 2:04), another PR, finished 3rd in the 35-39 age group, 23rd in the men's division and 29th overall.  

I'm not going to bore you with all the details (that's what long distance race reports are for), but I will give you the highlights.  I tweaked my right calf from over-training, so I wasn't all that fired up for this race.  I figured my injury would hurt my chances at my goal time of 43:23.  Keeping that in mind, my only strategy was to go out hard and hope that I could find a pacer to drag me in.  During the race, I thought my pace was faster than it was early on, but by the middle I knew that I had lost it.  I did find a pacer, Sue Scholl (who got 2nd in her age group.  Congrats!), but I started my finishing kick too early and fizzled out at the end.  Still, I finished better than I thought (and probably deserved with my bone-headed strategy).  While I'm down that I didn't get my goal for the year, I'm now stoked to get back into training and prove that I have what it takes to finish the year strong.  I may not get my marathon goal, but by God, it won't be because I didn't bleed for it. Keep the faith, homies.

P.S.  Congrats to my buddy, Matty B.  He finished the race 10th in his age group with a time of 54:02.  Nice one.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Garmin Giveaway

Hail my running brothers and sisters!  Before everyone gets all excited, this is not my contest.  Check out Garmin Giveaway at DC Rainmaker's blog for the contest before 9/9/10 to win a Garmin Forerunner 310!  Better hurry!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

End of the Week Recap 9/5/10

Hail my running brothers and sisters!  Week 6 of marathon training is down and out.  For the week, I did 32.86 miles at an average pace of 8:32/mi.  I did 2:30 hrs of cross-training.  Most of that was golf, but 10 minutes were some body weight exercises.  My weight feel in at 165 lbs this morning, because I spent most of the day eating yesterday after my long run.  Speaking of which, I did 20 miles with the Nashville Striders, and I hardly felt fatigued.  Unlike previous solo long runs, I felt the need to muscle through the run with a group.  My runs this week were right on pace this week.  I did skip one easy run this week, because I had some minor calf pain after racing my 5th and 6th grade cross country team in the school gym.  Skipping the run wasn't terrible, because I needed the rest/recovery plus I had already run some extra miles earlier in the week.  Next week, I have a 10k on Saturday in Murfreesboro, so I'm changing up my training schedule.  Next week was supposed to be a regular week, but I'm making it my rest week.  I really didn't want to try another 20 miler after a fast 10k.  

On an unrelated topic, yesterday was Derek Dooley's debut (Yay, alliteration!) with the UT Vols.  They laid an enormous beatdown to an unremarkable UT-Martin Skyhawks, 50-0.  I believe that this is a good sign for Dooley's tenure at UT, but I remain skeptical that this will be a better than 50% season.  If it is...awesome.  If not, it was our lack of depth and experience that hurt us, and next year should be better.  In any case, congratulations to my beloved UT on a good (not great) season opener.  Go Vols!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

End of the Week Recap 8/29/10

Hail my running brothers and sisters!  Week 5 of marathon training is in the books, and slightly better than last week.  I did 31.67 miles at an average pace of 8:28/mi.  I did almost no cross-training except for ugly 2 hrs of golf.  My easy runs have been a bit faster than easy pace, which has tended to build a lot of false confidence.  My speed work and long runs have actually been more telling.  During a tempo run, I can hit my paces, but I can't hold onto it for more than a mile or two.  My long run this showed that I started to lose it after mile 13.  My splits before mile 13 were under 8:45, but after 13, they were 9:05, 9:05, 9:19, and 10:38 respectively through 16.  Not good.  Mile 16 is especially troubling, seeing as how that was where I got dead-legged in the Country Music Marathon.  I think that I need to get serious about real cross-training and weight-lifting to further my endurance.  Hopefully a new outlook on my workouts will translate into more confidence at the end of my runs also, as I'm sure that my stupid head is getting in the way as much as any physical weaknesses.

And before I close this week down, I'm gonna do that proud parent/coach thing that usually drives me nuts to read.  After all, no one else cares about our kids like we do, right?  Well, I'm no different.  Today was the first cross country meet for the Parochial school league, of which I assistant coach my kid's school's team.  I wish that I could take credit, but damn if those kids haven't gotten faster since last year.  It is inspiring to me to see those kids gutting out that last quarter mile, just because their wildly hysterical screaming assistant coach is screaming at them to dig deep and bring it home.  Oh yes.  I was that guy.  Holla!  As for my kid, you may look up "awesome" in the dictionary and you will see his smiling, sweaty face right there.  He clobbered 2 MINUTES off his time from last year, and I couldn't be more proud!  Thas my boy! Dayum!

All right, I better cut out, before I embarrass my boy any further. Later kids!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

End of the Week Recap 8/22/10

Hail my running brothers and sisters!  Week 4 of marathon training is down and out.  This week was a recovery week, but it was also the start of cross country practice.  So as I've whined said before, it was hard for me to get any actual recovery in, because I was running nearly every day (though no run was longer than 6 miles).  So after sneaking a run in (through the storm) yesterday, I decided to make today a recovery day, drop a run, and sit on my ass and watch TV do some quick cross-training.  This week I did 19.28 miles (not 22 as scheduled) at an average pace of 8:43/mi.  I only did 12 minutes of cross-training, but my weight came in at a solid 163.4 lbs.  It seems like a lot of my miles were run in the rain this week, and if I were a superstitious man (and I am), I would say that this is a bad omen for my marathon (and look, I said it.  Jinx!).  As for my dropped run, I say short, slow miles are better than no miles, and no miles are better than getting hurt as long as you go back out the day after.  I'm taking that one to heart, resting my gimpy ass tired legs and gearing up for week 5 of marathon training.  Yeehaw!  

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Cross Country Addendum

Hail my running brothers and sisters!  The school year has started and with it:  cross-country!  My son's elementary school (which is awesome by the way.  I will totally pimp for SBA, since I think that has been a great learning environment for my kids) participates in a parochial league, and I help coach some of the kids.  Why don't I head up the whole thing, you ask?  One, I'm so over-committed between work, other school activities and marathon training that I'm lucky that I have time to fart, much less run a K-8 cross country program.  Second, our cross country program is a very laid back, come-one-come-all, have fun and run affair.  If I were in charge, it would not be.  Rumor has it that when it comes to racing, I tend to be a bit...just a bit, mind you...over-competitive.  Thankfully, I have other parents, and my lovely  wife, to remind me that they are just kids, and we want them to have fun.  Don't get me wrong, we would also like to win, and we have quite a few fast kids.  But if I were in charge, everyone would hate me because it would be windsprints and long runs every day.  Kids would be too tired to do homework.  Test scores would drop.  The Y would be full of delinquent ne'er-do-wells.  Riots would ensue.  Like I said, it's good that I'm not in charge.

As it stands, I'm running with the 5th and 6th graders for now.  I run them a mile out and back, trying to work on form, breathing and strategy for those who are interested before the meets start.  My only problem is that practice is falling on my training days, so I'm having to re-adjust my training schedule to get my miles in.  This week was supposed to be a rest week, so I've been able to play with my schedule to figure out how it will work.  I have determined that I will have to keep myself in check when I run with the kids.  No macho posturing for me by trying to keep up with the kids (durn whipper-snappers are fast!), or I will likely hurt myself before November.  Yesterday, I had to cut my 5 mile easy run short, because my legs were dead, and I skipped this morning's make-up run to get some rest.  This is a rest week, so rest/recovery are more important to me today than the miles.  I'll worry about making up the miles later, but I don't want to overdo it (Wimp!!).  Later kids!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

End of the Week Recap 8/15/10

Hail my running brothers and sisters!  The 3rd week of marathon training is in the books.  I ran 29.85 miles at an average pace of 8:26/mi.  I did 2:12 hrs of cross-training thanks to a brief visit to the weight room at the Y and a quick 9 holes of golf on Friday the 13th.  My weight is still hanging around 164-165 lbs.  Because of my race this week, I had to tweak my runs this week to get them all in and still save my legs for the 5K.  I did throw in an extra 3 mile easy run, but ended up balancing it out by cutting my long run short this morning.  I really, REALLY wanted to sleep in this morning, but somehow I managed to roll my monkey butt out of bed this morning to Shelby Bottoms and knock out 13 miles.  I probably could have gutted out the last mile on my training schedule, but I was starting to have some problems by the end of my run.  From the race to the heat to my lack of overall fitness, I was sore as all get out, tired as heck, and developing some fun blisters on my left foot.  So by the time I passed my car at mile 13, I called the ball and brought my ass on home.  Despite all this, it was a good week, and I'm looking forward to my rest week coming up (all easy runs, no longer than 6 miles.  Aaaahhh).  Later kids!

Fenton Payne and Fred 5K Race Report 2010

Hail my running brothers and sisters!  Yesterday was the 7th Annual Fenton Payne and Fred 5K in Murfreesboro, TN.  I signed up for this race, because it's a flat course that lends itself to some fast times.  My buddy Matt was also running it, so these were my excuses for running this one at the start of marathon training.  This year they changed the course so that there were fewer turns thereby making a PR a strong possibility.  Knowing my race schedule for the rest of the year, this is probably the last 5K that I will run to get my annual goal of 21:10, 6:50/mi.  My marathon training to this point led me to believe that I could probably get a fast time and possibly a PR, but I wasn't sure that I could maintain a 6:50/mi pace.  In hindsight, I probably should have kept my damn mouth shut.

The race is big for a local race, almost 900 finishers, so I tried to scoot up to the front to avoid the crowding in the back.  The pace started out fast, and when I realized how fast (5:50/mi), I backed off to save my legs.  I did mile 1 in 6:37.  Mile 2, I was following a runner in front of me, and then I realized that she was slowing down.  I surged past her, but I think by that point the damage was done.  I did mile 2 in 6:57.  Mile 3 was an exercise in holding on.  I tried drafting another runner, but I could never close the gap.  Mile 3 was done in 6:48.  The last .1 mile I emptied the tank and finished in 1 minute even.  

Here's a picture of me near the finish line.  Like I said, it was clearly an exercise in holding on (Why are race photo's always horrible?)

I ended up finishing 3rd in my age group with a PR of 21:22, 6:54/mi.  Of course in my head, it's still a mixed bag, since I didn't get my annual goal.  My wife tells me that this is because I'm mentally deficient.  Later kids!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

End of the Week Recap 8/8/10

Hail my running brothers and sisters!  Week 2 of marathon training is in the books.  Overall a decent week of mileage, but my speed run was lackluster at best.  Although I've been performing at or over my training specs for my easy/long runs, I haven't found my groove with my speed work.  It could be a result of trying to do speed work on the dreadmill, but in any case, I clearly need to get more bang for my buck there.  This week I did 29.49 miles at an average pace of 8:24/mi.  I only did 30 minutes of weights this week.  I really should go back to swimming to help with my endurance, but I've really been under the crunch with time lately.  My weight is right around 163.  Overall, I'm feeling okay, but sluggish.  No major injuries but my shin splints are starting to creep back up.  I'm wearing my compression leg sleeves to help, but I need to do more stretching post-workout.  I could probably also use a good sports massage to help me recover.  Ok, on to week 3!  Later kids!

Monday, August 2, 2010

End of the Week Recap 8/1/10

Hail my running brothers and sisters!  For those who've been following this blog, clearly my blogging is starting to follow my blogging, i.e. nonexistent.  However this week, I started my marathon training, and though I did get in the miles, they were less than stellar.  Due to the heat, I've tweaked my outside runs (read here...less miles, slower times) to allow myself some recovery.  I've also thrown in the towel and have started doing longer runs on the dreadmill.  For those runs, I've upped the speed and mileage to compensate for the fact that I can cheat while I hamster.  For last week, I ran 31.52 miles at an average pace of 8:11/mi.  I did 1.7 miles of walking for additional cardio/cooldown and 2 hours of golf.  My weight fell in around 164.5.  On the plus side, I've been playing the best golf I've played in ages!  Back to the ground pounding next week.  Later kids!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

End of the Week Recap 7/25/10

Hail my running brothers and sisters!  This week I ran 13.56 miles at an average of 8:32/mi.  I did 4:02:00 hrs of cross-training/cardio, thanks mostly to 3 hrs spent on the golf course.  I have no idea what I weigh, but if I'm anywhere in the neighborhood of 165 lbs, I'll be shocked.  I had a lot key lime pie this vacation.  A LOT.  I was hoping to get a bit more mileage this week, but due to a nasty rainstorm yesterday, I did not get to finish my run. I did get pelted by sand and water for a good mile.  And I learned this neat trick that turns my cell phone into a brick.  Otherwise, I was not overly happy with my run.  To add insult to injury, after I made it back to the condo and dried off, it, of course, stops raining and turns into a beautiful afternoon.  I took it as a sign that the Universe hates me called it a day.  No workout today either as I spent 8 hours driving back from the beach.  I'm planning on crashing early and starting over tomorrow.  This is muy importante as I officially start my marathon training tomorrow.  I'm even using a plan (sort of).  That's all I have for now.  Later kids!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The New Shoe Orientation

Hail my running brothers and sisters!  It seems like all I've done this summer is go on vacation, but at best, I've taken a vacation from my running.  This week I'm in Gulf Shores, AL with my family and my brother's family.  For those of you interested in the condition of the beaches, I have to say that they are not as bad as I thought they would be (I can't scoop up the oil and pour it into my car), but it could be better (it looks like the waterline has turned that part of the beach a rusty brown).  BP and the Gulf aside, I have managed to work in a few miles this week.  Despite the heat and my general sluggishness, I've been pretty happy hitting the road again.  So happy that I thought that I needed a new pair of running shoes.  It probably helped that my pair of Brooks Adrenaline 9's were looking the worse for wear.

So my traditional trip to the outlet mall came a bit earlier this week and I picked up a new pair of running shoes.  They are Saucony Grid Cohesion 3's.  A neutral cushioned shoe.  I'm sure that the Born to Run crowd are screaming foul on my apparent snubbing of the Saucony ProgGrid Kinvara, but in my defense, they did not have the Kinvara's where I was shopping.  Plus, I'm really cheap, and I got these for $35.00 plus tax.  Score!  In all seriousness, I'm still considering the Kinvara as a potential racing shoe, but I can't seem to pull the trigger on my tried-and-true Nike TriD III's.  Despite the fact that I've sipped the minimalist kool-aid in the past, the fact is that I'm a high maintenance runner.  I like to run with my MP3 player on occasion.  I find it almost painful to run without my Garmin Forerunner 305.  I will fill up my Aquapod handheld with G2 low cal.  And yes, I still need some moderate cushioning in my shoes for my everyday trainer.  It's sad to admit, but I'm not nearly as strong or bulletproof as I used to believe.  So if I can relieve my joints from a little stress by using a more cushioned shoe, then I will.  For me, the shoes are only part of the equation.  Now, I take more stock in having a comfortable, short stride over gimmicks and fads.  Just like anything else, it has taken some experimentation to find out what works best for me, and now I think I've found it.  And that means I wear shoes for now. Later kids.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

End of the Week Recap 7/18/10

Hail my running brothers and sisters!  This week was a mixed bag.  I did 21.44 miles at an average pace of 9:04/pace.  Not very fast.  I did 1:06:45 mins of cross-training/conditioning..  I think that I'm weighing in at 164 lbs.  My times as well as my endurance have been crappy.  I did do some beach running, barefoot, yesterday, which resulted in some gigantic blisters on my feet.  Oh well.  Back to vacation for me, and hopefully some more base miles during the week.  Later kids!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Summer Re-Format

Hail my running brothers and sisters!  Of late, my running, much like my blogging (you can see where this going, can't you), has been fairly non-existent.  If it wasn't for my cross-training, I doubt that I would have much to show for this summer.  The day before a run, I always seem to have the best intentions, but when the day comes, I always seem to find an excuse.  I have too much work.  It's too (damn) hot.  My legs are achy.  It's too damn hot.  The British Open is on.  I need to pack for vacation.  It's TOO DAMN HOT!!!  You get the picture.  I'm not sure when I became a whiny, sissy, but I don't care for it.  Next week, I'll be on vacation (again), but I'm hoping the free time will give me a chance to re-ignite my running.. I need to start from scratch, and re-build my base.  The first thing that I need to do, is write down my training plan for the week.  Even if I have to switch it around, at least I have a guide to go by.  Hopefully this will inspire me to get in my miles.
Hard numbers for the day:  No miles today.  Just 20 minutes of cross-training/cardio.  The usual at-home workout:  5 minutes of jump rope and a couple quick sets of push ups, lunges, curls, etc.

Geek Tip:  My IT guy just upgraded me to Windows 7 this week.  It called for a re-format of my harddrive and many hours spent re-installing my drivers, apps, and games.  After playing with it for a few days, I have to say that 7 is a VAST improvement over Vista (and I kinda liked Vista).  7 is easier to use and significantly faster.  It gets my finisher's medal of approval.  That's all I've got.  Later kids!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

End of the Week Recap 7/11/10

Hail my running brothers and sisters!  This was a rest week.  I hadn't intended on taking a rest week (I usually mock those people who take them), but man, did I enjoy the week off.  I ran 4.1 miles at a pace of 8:28/mi.  I did about 3:26:00 hrs of cross-training/conditioning, but 2 hours of that was golf.  Thanks to my week off, I'm topping the scales at 165 lbs.  I decided to look up swimming technique on ye olde internet and, surprise, surprise, discovered that my form needed work.  I did about 5 minutes of form work today in the pool while the kids played and realized it is harder than I thought.  Assuming that I get a break in the storms this week, I'm going to pick up my training again before vacation.  That's all I have for now.  Later kids!

Friday, July 9, 2010

The Race Schedule

Hail my running brothers and sisters!  A quick look at my exercise activities in will show you just how little I've done this week.  In my defense, it has been really hot, and I've been really lazy.  Not sit-on-the-couch-with-bacon-and-ice-cream-sandwiches-lazy but more like I-need-a-break-to-recharge-lazy.  My IT guy also installed Windows 7 on my laptop, so I've been geeking out on it.  Unfortunately this also meant reformatting my hard drive, so I've been trying to re-install programs, games, and the rest of my junk from my backup.  Big fun.  About the only running productive thing that I've done this week is to complete my race calendar for the year.  My next 3 races before Chickamauga will take place in Murfreesboro, TN (or the 'Boro for the locals).  As for the Fenton Payne and Fred 5k and the Run Chikin Run 10k, these are races that I ran last year and scored huge PR's.  The Middle Half will be a new race for me, but my friends who've run it before really liked it.  The 'Boro is relatively flat and these courses lend themselves to some pretty fast times.  Coming towards the end of my marathon training, these races should be good tests of my fitness and speed before my marathon.

Now for the hard numbers:  I played 9 holes of golf today.  I scored a 45, but my playing partner, the Running Guru, and I had to skip a hole.  A pair of drunk yahoos were taking their sweet time between cans of beer and duffed shots into the woods.  After riding up on them twice and nearly getting hit, we decided to skip the hole they were playing and move on to the next hole.  For score card purposes, we gave each other bogies.  It's possible that this might have been too generous, but we were playing pretty consistent bogie golf up to that point.  I also managed 10 minutes of cross-training/conditioning tonight.  Mostly body weight exercises, but it was enough to get my heart rate up for a bit.  Okay, I'm out.  Later kids.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

2010 AJC Peachtree 10K Race Report

Hail my running brothers and sisters!  I know, I know.  It's taken me nearly 3 days to file this report.  What can I say?  I'm a slacker.  On the 4th, I ran the AJC Peachtree 10k with my friends the Trocchi's (who also graciously hosted us at their home.  Thanks guys!) and over 50,000 other runners (Yes.  50,000 runners.  For a 10k.  But for the record, it was surprisingly organized and orderly for a race that size).  The weather was perfect, a cool 75-80 degrees, and nary a cloud in sight.  The first 3 miles were downhill, and I figured that I would need to clipping along fairly quick to have any chance at a PR.  So you can imagine my frustration, when I realized that several people in my corral (I was placed in the first corral behind the invitees/seeded/subseeded.  I know.  Awesome, right?  You betcha.) were jogging/walking.  Looking down at my Garmin and realizing the pace was way too slow, I moved to the left and tried to sprint through the pack.  Not easy in corral of 2,000 or so people, but I managed to build up to a decent pace.  My paces were 7:38, 6:59 and 6:44.  The remaining half of the race was mostly uphill.  As the heat built, I tried to stay cool by sticking to the shady parts of the course, dousing myself with water, and taking quick drinks at the water stops.  Between the heat and elevation, my pace seriously slowed.  Fortunately for me, the last mile was downhill, so I was able to make up some time there.  My paces were 7:14, 7:22, 7:05 and 1:48 (6:12/mi for the last .2).  My official finish time was 44:51, 7:14/mi, which was a new PR (I know.  Awesome, right?  You betcha.)!  Overall I finished 1402 out of 50,965 finishers (I know.  Awesome, right?  You betcha.).  Booyah!

With a race this big, it could have been a total organizational/logistics nightmare, but surprisingly, it wasn't.  The race organizers had volunteers stationed at strategic spots to make sure that everyone got where they needed and kept the runner traffic moving.  They had plenty of food, including Georgia peaches, and I was shocked that the bagels even seemed relatively fresh (I had that all races required week old, stale bagels, but these were nice and soft.  Awesome, right?  You betcha.).  

This keen insight into runner needs and pampering was particulary evident in the place that I can commonly be found prior to a race, the porta-potty.  These porta-potties provided by Johnny on the Spot were the cadillac of porta-potties.  
They were mostly clean and had plenty of TP.  The ones that I saw (I had to make use of the facilities before and after the race.  I know.  Peanut bladder.  You betcha.) had fixtures for men (#1) and men and women (#1 and #2).  Furthermore, these closets of luxury had hand sanitizers and seat sanitizers!  They even had a shelf for your stuff while you took care of business!  
Take note race directors, this is how you treat a runner in your race.  Get them the upscale porta-potty!  The only recommendation that I might have for the Peachtree race director is that the goody bag at the end of the race really needed some deodorant/cologne.  There were a lot of ripe folk riding the subway home (I know.  Stinky, right?  You betcha.)  That's all I've got for now.  Later kids!

Monday, July 5, 2010

End of the Week Recap 7/4/10

Hail my running brothers and sisters.  A quick week recap.  I've been out of town so my race report will be tomorrow.  Only 19.93 miles at an average pace of 7:52/mi.  1:03:43 hrs of cardio/cross-training.  I think my weight is still around 162.  The big news of the week is my PR at the Peachtree 10K.  My official finish was 44:51, 7:14/mi.  Race report tomorrow or Wednesday.  Later kids.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The AJC Peachtree 10K Countdown

Hail my running brothers and sisters!  My countdown has begun for the AJC Peachtree 10K on the 4th.  I'm taking my  family down to Atlanta, and we're spending the weekend with some great friends who are generously putting us up.  The course will have plenty of elevation to be challenging.  I'm going off in one of the first waves so I'm hoping that the temps will be a cool 70.  My training hasn't been great lately, so I think anything under 50 mins will be acceptable but I'm shooting to finish around 45 mins.

Talking about my training, this is as good a time as any to talk about summer training/running.  The main reason that I haven't run much is that it's just too damn hot (and surprise, surprise...I'm not much of a morning runner).  So if you're willing to test your sanity like me by running outside in the afternoon, I suggest the following:  

1.  Drink some cold water before you run.  A cold drink before you run will make sure you are properly hydrated before you exercise and help keep your core temperature down.

2.  Bring fluids and stay hydrated.  I use a handheld with water (sometimes Gatorade) for anything under 10 miles.  Anything over that I bring along my fuel belt.

3.  Pick a shady route.  This can be hard if you run in an urban area, but any shade can be physically and mentally refreshing.  For my long runs, I prefer to run in park full of trees.  It helps keep me cool and it's nice to be surrounded by nature.

4.  For as few runs as I'm doing, I'm trying to make sure they are quality runs.  I'm doing speed intervals/tempo runs, hill training, and long runs.  If I can only run 3 days a week, I want those runs to be good runs.

5.  Since I'm running less, I'm at the gym and the pool more.  Not running, doesn't mean that I get to be a slug.  I'm digging swimming at the Y, and it feels good to be throwing up some iron again.  Honestly though, I usually end up doing body weight exercises at home, since I don't get much time to make it to the gym.

Now for the hard numbers:  Today I did 20 laps at the YMCA pool in 29:43 mins.  I still swim like a frog, but my endurance seems to be building as my rest breaks were less and less.  I also did 13 minutes of conditioning/light calisthenics.  Wish me luck this weekend.  Later kids!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

End of the Week Recap 6/26/10

Hail my running brothers and sisters!  Just a quick recap to keep me honest.  It was a short week, running wise, with only 15.87 miles at an average pace of 8:23/mi.  I did 1:37:00 hrs of cardio/cross-training and weighed in at a whopping 165 lbs. The weight gain is mostly from a full weekend of burgers and dogs at the lake.  I didn't count any of my swimming from the lake though as it was mostly recreational.  The drop in mileage is mostly from the heat, so I'm hoping to do better next week.

Lastly, go see Toy Story 3.  It is great.  It is completely lives up to the hype.  'Nuff said.  Later kids.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

End of the Week Recap 6/20/10

Hail my running brothers and sisters!  This week I rand 20.19 miles at an average pace of 7:59/mi.  I did 1:15 hrs of cross-training/conditioning, and I weighed in at 161.8 lbs this morning.  The highlight of the week would have to be my back-to-back Wilma Rudolph races yesterday.  Despite my pissy rant, I cannot deny that I enjoyed the race, due in no small part to my placement in both races.  My mileage wasn't great, but right now, I'm working on my "beach body" (Ha!) until I dive deep into my marathon training.

No hard numbers for today.  I took a rest/recovery day after yesterday's races.  I did get in some fun basketball practice with my son's summer basketball team, but it wasn't enough of a workout to mention (Oh wait...).

Finally, Happy Fathers Day to all you dad's out there (and to all you mom's out there also, who make it possible for us to be good fathers.  I'll admit that if it weren't for my wife's support and love, I wouldn't be a very good runner or father).   My wife's Father Day gift was the "Cocky" belt buckle as seen in Bones.  

Sadly, it hasn't arrived yet, but when it does, I'm not sure I'll ever take it off!  Later kids!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Wilma Rudolph 10k/5k Race Report

Hail my running brothers and sisters!  Today I ran the 5th Annual 2010 Wilma Rudolph 10k and 5k.  Yes both.  The 10k first and then the 5k. Instead of boring with you my normal race report conventions, descriptions and witty metaphors, I'm going to give you a general summary of both races, one not-so insightful comment, a quick list of deserved appreciation and two minor pissy rants. 

Summary:  The races were hot.  I tried to stay with the front pack.  I was feeling good and thinking awesome thoughts of placing.  I passed a couple of people early on.  I desperately held onto my spot through the middle.  I wavered in the last halves and slowed  I cursed myself for going too hard early on.  I dug deep for my final kicks.  I flailed across the finish line, happy to be done.  I'm pretty sure I cramped up at some point during both races.  Oh yeah, and the hard numbers:  3rd place award for overall finishes in both races (69.05 combined).  10k- 45:43 (7:22/mi), 9th place overall and 5k-23:21(7:32/mi), 7th place overall.  No PR's but strong finishes considering they are summer races.

One not-so insightful comment:  For context, understand that the fields in these races were relatively small.  I'm not sure that there more than a 100 or so racers in each race (last year, they had 110 in the 10k and 117 in the 5k), so there were no starting line corrals.  That being said, I still don't understand why slower racers line up at the front.  I didn't start on the line and I finished in the top 10 for both races.  Instead, I had a fair estimation of my time and lined up close to the front, but not to close to allow the faster racers a quick, unobstructed route to the front.  Or so I thought.  In both races, I passed a fair amount of people till I settled into my spots.  I might have attributed this to a way-too fast start for myself, but no one caught me (and I was looking for those sneaky bastards on the last miles).  I can't even say that it was due to my awesome running abilities, as I posted good, but not great times.  Maybe those people really believed that they would finish the races under 7:00/mi, but I find that hard to believe.  Dumbasses.

A quick list of appreciation:  I was really impressed with the support on the course and the number of water stops for a small couple of races.  The Clarksville Running Club really made sure that the runners had plenty of fluids and medical aid/support if necessary.  Along that line, the volunteers were awesome.  They were generally helpful and upbeat.  A special thanks to the volunteer that let me know (unsolicited) that I was in 9th place overall going into mile 5.  I was amazed at the number of door prizes that they gave away.  The local businesses and CRC members really stepped up with donations.  I know my wife appreciates the $10 Starbucks card that I brought home!

Two minor pissy rants:  First, this was not a chipped race, so the race officials were keeping up with finishers by writing down their order and time.  Apparently in the 5k some yahoo crossed the line either 2 or 3 times, helping to bring in her friends (I have nothing against pacing your friends after your done.  I did this also, but I wasn't dumb enough to cross the finish line again in a non-chipped race.  Think people.  Please.), and the officials did not realize this until they were tabulating everyone's place and time.  Apparently this caused havoc with the timers as they had to go through the results line-by-line.  They must have done this several times as it took nearly an extra hour and half to announce the final results for both races (the 10k results were already up by the time I finished the 5k).  Second (please be warned, this one will really make me sound like a whiny, ungrateful jackhole), I ran both races and finished in 9th in the 10k and 7th in the 5k, and as a result of these strong finishes in both races, I was kicked into a special finishers/award category.  A 3rd place award for my combined times in both races.  Pretty cool.  But...(there's always a but in a rant.  This time, the butt is me)  I should have also finished 1st for my age group in both races.  However since I got my 3rd place award, I didn't qualify for 1st place spots in the individual races.  I understand.  I got a nice award.  I did.  I'm proud of it.  It was nice to be recognized for doing well in both races.  I know this allows other people to win awards.  Yay.  (Here comes the butt).  The thing is I almost would have rather not even got the 3rd place award.  I'm competitive enough to admit that when I line up for a race, I want to do my best (i.e. win and gloat over my victory inspire my fellow runners).  So if I have the chance to be 1st, I would rather be 1st than 3rd (or the 2nd loser according to my 6 year old daughter)  overall.  I understand that I won't always win, so I guess that's why this one stings a bit.  Also I would have been okay with not getting the top nods, if I finished 3rd in each race.  But I didn't.  I finished 9th and 7th.  I've never been 1st before (and I'm still not, dammit), so not even getting a verbal recognition for that accomplishment at the awards presentation was kind of a kick in the balls.  Like I said, I'm just being bitchy.  Sorry.  Sigh.

Overall, though, I did have fun.  The course was challenging but not ridiculously difficult.  The field was a good size (it's nice to run a small race on occasion), and the volunteers were great.  And I did well for no PR's.  They are still two races that I look forward to running every year, but next year, I'll try to go a bit faster!  Later kids.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Weight Loss Nemesis

Hail my running brothers and sisters!  What we see here are 2 buttery, light-as-a-feather croissants with honey butter from Rafferty's.  And yes, I did order and eat them both with my salad at lunch yesterday.  What we don't see is the third croissant that I swiped from friend and also proceeded to stuff into my face.  I don't know how bad these delicatable pastries are, but I  know they are bad.  With runners, I've found there are two camps:  one camp that carefully monitors their diet and calories to maximize calorie-to-fuel ratio and then the other camp that just eats whatever the hell they like because they can.  I often hear the comment from non-runners that it's okay for me to eat whatever I like, because I will run 10 miles in a day.  Otherwise, people will ask me if I'm allowed to eat at Mickey D's or some other fast food, since they know I'm a runner now.  I tend to fall somewhere in the middle.  I try to keep my diet pretty balanced with lots of fruit and vegetables throughout the day, but since I'm on the road a lot, I try to stick to healthier choices for my fast food.  I'm a big fan of Chic-fil-a and the fresco-style tacos at Taco Hell.  My biggest weakness, however, are Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnuts.  These sinful pastries will bring me to my knees in sugar oblivion every time.  There is a Krispy Kreme store on one of my running routes, so I have to run on the other side of the street to avoid the temptation to stop when the Fresh, Hot Doughnuts sign is on.  My second biggest weakness is, you guessed it, honey buttered croissants from Rafferty's.  When I'm hitting the scales at 164, and I'm trying to get down to 155, a trip to Rafferty's is not always conducive to my goals.  Every reformed fat kid (like myself) knows that it's easy to lose weight once you learn the tricks.  The hard part is keeping the weight off after reached your goal.  Suddenly every calorie and every mile is a careful balancing act of calories in and calories out.  Sure I can eat 3 croissants, but I really will have to run an extra couple miles to make up for that bad decision.  God bless my fat kid heart.  

Now for the hard numbers:  Today I did a 2.63 mi easy run at an average pace of 8:17/mi.  I followed it up with 1 mi of hill sprints and recoveries at an average pace of 9:17/mi and a cooldown run of 2.68 mi at an average pace of 8:38/mi.  Tomorrow I go to the Y to work on my beach body and then I have a the Wilma Rudolph 10k and 5k on Saturday in Clarksville.  Wish me luck!  Later kids!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

End of the Recap 6/13/10

Hail my running brothers and sisters!  This week I ran a token 18.3 miles at an average pace of 8:58/mi.  I did 27 minutes of conditioning/cross-training, and 3:45 hours of golf.  I topped the scales this morning at 162.8 lbs.  It was a rough week this week trying to settle back into a summer routine and to catch up on my work.  I had every good intention of knocking out a 12 mile long run this morning, but I didn't drag my lazy ass out of bed early enough.  By the time, I did get on the road the temperature was already in the 90's.  After beating my brains in and sweating through my shorts for 6.5 miles, I decided to call it and put an end to my misery.  After that, I used my 3.5 mile run/walk as a cooldown/recovery run and limped back home.  The only high note was my golf.  My scores weren't great, but considering that I haven't played in over a year, they weren't as bad as I thought they would be.  I doubt that I'll give up running for golf, but it's nice to break up the routine every once and awhile.  Next week is another busy work week as well as the Wilma Rudolph 10k and 5k on Saturday.  I'm running both, but at my current level, I'm just hoping to do as well as I did last year (49:29 and 25:32 respectively).  That's all I have for now.  Later kids!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

End of the Week Recap 6/6/10

Hail my running brothers and sisters!  I realize this recap is late by a couple of days, but cut me some slack.  I was on vacation.  I did 21.67 miles at an average pace of 8:01/mi.  I did 28:00+ of cardio/conditioning.  I'm reserving the plus as I walked for miles around Disney.  Sadly my weight did not fare as well last week as I ate everything in sight (I had forgotten how good real ice cream is!).  When I got back home, I weighed in at lucky-it-wasn't-more 165.4 lbs.  Most of my runs were early in the morning before my family and friends woke up and we hit the parks.  We did stay on-site at the Contemporary Resort-Bay Lake Towers for the last 2 days of our vacation, so I managed a nice 5 mile run over to the Magic Kingdom and then to the Polynesian Resort.  And a special thanks to Psyche.  I used her lawyer joke at the Disney Laugh Factory Ride (you text them a joke and the Monster's Inc. guys use it in the show), and it was one of the jokes used!  Thanks my dear!

Now for the hard numbers (for today):  I did a 4.02 mi fartlek at an average pace of 7:29/mi.  It was a cool 91 degrees.  2 bikers nearly ran over me.  1 passing runner did not wave after I did.  1 woman of questionable dental hygiene yelled "woohoo" at me.  1 guy standing on the corner commented that "It's too [damn] hot [to be running outside [moron]].  All-in-all not a bad little run, but I need to be racking up more mileage and cross-training.  Later kids!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Vacation Quarantine

Hail my running brothers and sisters!  A quick shout out from the World of the Mouse.  The weather has mostly cooperated (other than the heat), and my kids have had a blast at the parks with us and our friends.  One quick note, my son got a little stomach bug (awww), so he didn't get to go to Aquatica yesterday.  He's feeling better today, so we're going to take it easy and visit the parks this afternoon.

Now for the hard numbers:  I did a quick tempo run of 3.25 miles this morning with negative splits of 7:39/mi, 7:21/mi, 7:03/mi and a recovery jog of 7:14/mi.  That does it for me.  Later kids!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

End of the Week Recap 5/30/10

Hail my running brothers and sisters!  I was in the middle of vacation prep this week, so my numbers are terrible.  But here they are:  I did 16.79 miles at an average pace of 7:36/mi.  Not bad time-wise, but my mileage is pitiful.  I did 30 minutes of swimming and a few bits of conditioning.  When I last weighed, I came in at 160.8, but I'm sure that I'm definitely more than that thanks to vacation, ice cream and blueberry wine.  Look for my mileage to be crappy the rest of the week, not that I expect to blog much since I'll be with my family most of the week.  So run hard for me.  Later kids!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Vacation Influence

Hail my running brothers and sisters!  Today was my daughter's kindergarten graduation, tomorrow is my son's last day of school and in less than 2 days my family heads off on vacation with our family-friends to the southern Land of the Mouse.  Needless to say, my household is in high gear prepping for our trip.  We have snacks in the corner of the pantry, piles of folded laundry sorted for trip and non-trip, and stacks of comics and reading material (not all mine, I swear) to be crammed into duffle bags.  My kids have been so ready for vacation, they "packed" a week ago (I"m afraid to go through their bags, but I'm sure they're stuffed with every doll, action figure, Lego and DS game imaginable).  For my part, I have to sort through which running shoes (someone has to run and fetch Fastpasses.  It may as well be me) to bring, how many tech shirts I'll need (I need that breathable fabric for all my profuse perspiration!  Stinky.), and what kind of socks should I wear (I favor the ankle socks, but they leave a funny tan, after all).  At work, I've poured through every paper on my desk to make sure I leave as little as possible unfinished (to keep people from snooping through my office).  All this being said, I've had very little time to train this week (i.e. I'm tired and I want to take a nap).  I'd be upset if it wasn't still so early into my training program (i.e. It won't hurt anything if I have bacon with my pancakes).  I figure that I can afford a couple weeks of recovery time (sleep and eating candy) this summer before I really hit my training hard (to make up for all those pancakes and candy).  I'm still planning on doing some running next week (Ha!), but I figure my runs will mostly be early (Double Ha!  Not unless the trails are in your bed, lazy ass) before we hit the parks.  Probably just easy runs for not longer than an hour (you betcha), but you never know (not really, I do know.  And it ain't gonna be pretty), I may throw in a tempo run or two to spice it up (or just sleep in).

If you've been following Biggest Loser, like me, this season, then you most likely watched the finale last night.  Michael won losing over half his starting weight.  Say what you want about the artificial conditions of the show, but that is a HUGE weight loss in 8 months!  So a quick congratulations to him.  I hope he sticks with the weight loss (he said that he wasn't done yet), because I think the show, at the very least, gives a platform for living healthier lives that the contestants can promote nationwide.  On a side note, anyone else think that Daris's popularity screwed him and Koli?  If America hadn't voted Daris to compete in the final 3, he would have won the at-home competition prize of $100,00.00 and Koli would have beaten Michael by over 3% total weight loss.  Way to go America.  Where was the Samoan love?  

Now for the hard numbers:  Today I did a short set of half-mile intervals with quarter mile recoveries.  I did 5x.50 mi intervals at 3:14, 3:19, 3:22, 3:22 and 3:29 respectively.  My slowest recovery lap was 2:17.  All right, that's all I have for now.  Later kids! 

Sunday, May 23, 2010

End of the Week Recap 5/23/10

Hail my running brothers and sisters!  This week I ran 30.19 miles at an average pace of 7:57/mi.  I did 1:36:54 of cross-training/conditioning, but I ended up topping the scales at 160.2 (ugh).  Tonight was also the end of Lost.  I'm still withholding my opinion on the final episode, because, to be honest, I'm still trying to figure it out.  I still have so many questions that weren't answered, but maybe they were never supposed to be really answered (much like my questions about women or Krystal sliders.  How do they make that gray thing so tasty?).  Overall, though, I did like the series. I don't know if it was the best series ever (Sorry guys, but I will always have a soft spot in my heart for Buffy), but it definitely re-defined what I expected from a TV series.

Okay now for the hard numbers:  I did a 10.9 mi long run at 8:32/mi.  My pace might have been a little higher if I hadn't run part of it on a nearby trail.  Then of course, I fell down.  It was my own fault for trying to tackle a technical trail in road shoes.  D'oh!  Still I managed to escape with a little scrape and finish my run in negative splits.  So overall, I can't really complain.  I also finished up the evening with 24 mins of pilates and kettleball workouts.  All right.  That's it for me.  I need to go figure out what the hell happened in Lost.  Later kids!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Iron Man 2 Review

Hail my geeky brothers and sisters!  A little departure from our usual programming today, because I finally got to see Iron Man 2.  Let me say if you liked Iron Man, you'll like IM2 more.  On the plus side, the story is more developed and seems more complete than IM.  There's still plenty of cool high-tech action and bad-assery, from Samuel Jackson to Scarlett Johansson, to go around.  On the minus side:  It needs MORE Scarlett Johansson!!! On a very shallow level, the story explores the cost of technology, fame and greed on our humanity.  All the major characters explore this to some extent.  I realize that this is an action flick, but I find it hard to sympathize with Robert Downey, Jr.'s Tony Stark as we are rushed through all of these themes in the movie.  I realize that Jon Favreau had a lot to cover, but I don't think we really get to feel any emotional depth as Downey glibly moves from scene to scene and problem to problem like a kid off his ritalin.  The special effects are again, top-notch, as they make me really do believe that a man can slap on an steel jump suit and fly.  The fight scenes are to sum up:  Awesome.  Johansson did an amazing job as the Black Widow.  Okay, I will admit that at times I have not been a huge fan of Johansson, but I think that she was a great compliment to Gwyneth Paltrow's Pepper Potts.  It was almost as if Favreau needed both strong actresses/characters to contrast and reign in Downey's Stark.  Johansson's big fight scene was nicely choreographed, but I felt like it needed more.  This is a character that could easily spin off into her own movie and hold her own unlike the horrible Elektra spin-off from Daredevil.  Even her costume was perfect.  It conveyed a sexy practicalness for an acrobatic, and *ahem* limber, super-spy.  And as I said, the consensus around most of my male friends is that the movie just needed MORE Scarlett Johansson/Black Widow.  And I'm not even talking about more naughty Black Widow as there was hardly any of that (I could probably take my 9 year old to watch it).  Sadly her fight scenes were just not long enough, and if given a little more time, could have stolen the show.  So one more time:  More Black Widow!  Are we clear?   Good.

Now for the hard numbers:  I did an 8 mile tempo run today at marathon pace (7:33/mi).  Along with the quick rains and the breeze, it was relatively cool day, which translated into decent numbers for today.  The effort was hard, but I didn't feel all that winded afterwards.  It was a nice change from the sweltering heat that we've had lately, but I probably could have gone without the rain though.  Still, a good run, all things considered.  I just hope tomorrow that we get a break in the rains so that I can get in some base miles.  All right, I'm out.  Later kids!

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