Sunday, April 25, 2010

End of the Week Recap 4/25/10

Hail my running brothers and sisters!  This week I ran 40:46 miles this week at an average pace of 8:49/mi.  I did 22:00 of cardio/cross-training.  And as of today, I weighed in at a steady 156.4 lbs.  For those of you keeping up with my blog, my mileage was 3.8 miles short due to the tornado warnings (or were they watches?  I can never get that right), and my marathon getting cut short.

Despite my piss-poor disappointing marathon, I’m not done yet.  As I have discussed with the Running Guru, I’ve rallied by signing up for another marathon!  I’ve officially registered for the Chickamauga Battlefield Marathon on 11/13/10.  It has a small field of 700 marathoners and 800 half-marathoners.  The course is a relatively flat, double loop through the historic Chickamauga Battlefield.  Plus they start the race with a cannon blast!!!

And just to round out today’s post, here are some pics from the expo:

Me and Eddie George.  You can't tell from the pic
but Eddie is still huge.  The man is a beast.  Julie told
me that she would leave me for him.  I wouldn't blame her.

Me and Ryan Hall.  A really nice guy.  
I have no idea how he's already recovered from Boston.

Tara Stiles, Ryan Hall, and Eddie George on 
the Nissan Masters Panel at the Expo.

And for you Biggest Loser fans out there:

Me and Melissa.  She was much nicer in person 
than they make her out to be on the show.

All right.  That's it for now.  Next week, I go into a recovery week as I ease back into training.  Keep the faith.  Later kids!

We Needed More Cowbell

***This is a post from my sponsor, my lovely wife, who continues to support me despite my flights of insanity.  We've talked about giving her some posting rights to talk about marathon/running support, but after yesterday's race, she decided it was time to jump into the fray.  So everyone say hi, and be nice.  After all, she has to put up with me.***

     The first half of Joel's marathon was going really well. The text messages I read as he passed the 5k and 10K marks indicated that he was running amazingly fast mile times. The text I received when he crossed the 13.1 mark indicated that his pace had slowed but not so much that I was concerned. We had friends that were watching for him at Mile 18 and they were going to call me when they saw him go by. The kids I and were waiting at Mile 20. At some point while we were sitting at Mile 20 I saw the 3:30 pace group run by and I still had no news from mile 18 - that was my first indication that Joel’s marathon was not going well. I called my friends at 18 and got no answer. I waited a few more minutes and called again and they told me what I already knew – that he wasn’t doing well. So the kids and I continue to wait at Mile 20 watching all the other marathoners go by and slowly ticking off the minutes that we weren’t seeing Joel. Anyone who knows me knows that I am not good at math but there are two exceptions to that – I can calculate the sale price of anything very quickly (think “take an additional 20% off items already reduced 60%”) and I have become very adept at calculating mile splits to estimate a race finish time. The numbers I was calculating in my head were not good. How slow was he running out there? What was going on with him? And then we saw him. He was wearing an orange shirt and orange calf sleeves so he’d be easy to spot but honestly that’s not what I noticed first. What I noticed as he came into view was that he was swinging his right arm wildly (he later told me he was trying to work out a cramp) and he was struggling with every step. When he reached us he took out his ear buds and told me he’d started cramping up at Mile 11. I said something ridiculous like “Keep it up! I love you!” and watched him run down the hill and out of sight. What I wanted him to do was stop running – but that wasn’t my call. Because storm clouds were gathering and big fat raindrops were falling the kids and I headed back to the car to hang out for a while before we headed to the finish line. It turns out a tornado warning closed the marathon early so Joel was diverted at Mile 22-ish. We missed the finish but cheered wildly for Joel when he found us in the parking lot. He had finished every mile that they let him and he hadn’t quit and I was happy and relieved and proud all at the same time.

     On the ride home I kept pestering Joel with questions about what happened out there? He gave me lots of answers about cramping and powering through and a bunch of other stuff that doesn’t matter now because as we drove into Bellevue he said something . . . something that made me irrationaly angry at him. He told me that he had taken a Zyrtec before he left for the race that morning. If you read Joel’s blog you may already know that he had a disasterous training run a few weeks ago after taking Zyrtec. When I asked him “What were you thinking taking Zyrtec this morning!?” he told me that he thought he had built up a tolerance since then. I think I said something like “REALLY!? Didn’t we have a whole conversation about how great it was that you figured that Zyrtec thing out before Marathon Day?!!” And then I’m pretty sure I called him a dumbass. And that’s what it’s like being married to me. I am in Joel’s corner 110% all the time.  But I call him out on stuff all the time too. Some might call me harsh and maybe I am but he worked and trained so very hard to get ready for yesterday’s marathon and he cramped up at freakin’ mile 11 because he didn’t remember that he already knew that taking a Zyrtec before a long run leads to massive dehydration and less than optimal run results. Running a marathon is hard enough without handicapping yourself with a Zyrtec pill before you even leave the starting corrall. Today I am more sympathetic and we’ve been looking for races to run to help put this run behind him.   As defeating as yesterday was I know that we’re going to keep marathoning because even though I’m not the one running the races this marathon stuff is addicting. Racing is in our blood now. I also know that I will never go to another race without taking my big orange cowbell because even Joel admitted that yesterday might have gone much better if there had been more cowbell out there on the course. 

Country Music Marathon Race Report

Hail my running brothers and sisters!  I’ve had a day to think about this race, which will now be known in my mind as the “The-Race-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named” and I have this to say…wait…did you hear that?  That gigantic sucking sound!  It must have been the sound of either the thunder and the police diverting the marathon mile 22 or my groans of pain as my body seized up into a giant cramp at mile 18.

First let’s say that I am glad for a couple of reasons that the race director decided to cut the marathon short as the storms rolled in.  We were lucky in that we had pretty decent weather for the first 3 and half hours, but then the clouds came followed by rain, strong winds, thunder, lightening and then almost hail-like rain.  There were tornado watches all over middle Tennessee later in the afternoon, so I think that the race director had no choice.  The part of the course that was cut off ran along the river, through a park, around a small lake/large pond with trees lining the course.  If that isn’t begging for a lightening strike, I don’t know what is.  Did it suck not to finish?  Yes, but the safety of runners, and myself particularly, have to take precedence. 

The other reason that I was glad that they diverted us was that I just wasn’t sure if I would have been able to make it.  Like I said, the day started off fairly well, weather-wise.  A bit cloudy and warm, but still pleasant.  Unknown to me, the race director decided to start the race 15 minutes early (I assume to get ahead of the weather), but I was already in my corral and ready to go.  As I took off, I felt strong, and my pace seemed pretty easy.  I did notice that at mile 2, I started to get hot.  Really hot.  I ended up grabbing some water the next stop and splashing myself more with water than drinking it.  Despite the weather predictions, a fair crowd of supporters came out to cheer the runners on, and that was awesome.  I high-fived kids, waved to bands, and said thanks to volunteers.  I saw several friends along the course, and their cheers kept me going. 

As I’ve said before, I was going out chasing that elusive BQ.  While I knew it wasn’t realistic, I intended to chase it (And for the record, every time I line up in a certified marathon, I’m chasing that BQ until I get that damn thing).  My pace for the first half was strong.  I was just shy of a BQ qualifier by a few seconds until I stopped at mile 7 and 13 to “relieve” myself.  At mile 11, I felt the grumblings of a cramp in my left calf, but I managed to run through it, though my pace did drop.  Unfortunately for me, the cramps continued to nag me till mile 15 and I could no longer deny situation.  Both my legs were cramping from thighs to my toes.  I could barely walk.  And when I saw the 3:30 pacer pass me, I was crushed.  Crushed.  I tried to stay with the group for half a mile, but I had to give up on that when my legs wouldn’t cooperate.  At some point around mile 17, I was passed by guy juggling tennis balls.  If I had the strength, I would have reached out and punched him in the back of the head.  I still managed to feebly thank volunteers and high-five kids (they came out for us.  Give them some props, after all).  By mile 18, I saw a fellow running buddy pass by me.  I said hey and we both belly-ached over how we had blown the race, but we were gonna finish it.  Seeing that he still had more juice in him, I urged him on and continued in my pain.  At mile 20, I saw my family and ran over to kiss and hug them.  I told them I was hurting, but I was finishing the race.  At mile 21, my friend, TK found me and started pacing me despite having just finished the half-marathon herself (2:09:23 PR!  Awesome job!).  Between seeing my family and her act of kindness, I managed to dig deep and keep moving.  At mile 21.5, the police had blocked off the next 4 miles of the course and directed us to the finish.  I was disappointed and relieved all at the same time.  Many of the runners around me were complaining that they should have been allowed to finish, because they felt great.  Had I the strength, I would have told them that they should have run faster if they felt so damn good and then they may not have been diverted!  With less than a  mile into the finish, I told TK that I was gonna burn it all and finish strong.  She told me to go for it, and I “took”  off.  I crossed the finish line just in time to be caught in a downpour.

Final thoughts.  I’m disappointed in my performance.  I wasn’t tough/strong/fast enough, but I will be next time.  Next time, I will be better prepared, and even if I don’t get that BQ, I won’t be writing another blog about my epic failure (and for those who were wondering, to quote The Blindside, it tastes like vinegar).  I may not have finished the way I wanted, but I wasn’t quitting (even though I really wanted to quit especially when my legs seized up at a couple points).  A special congratulations to my friends who raced the half or full:  TK, Matty, Mia, Bill, Jeff, Julia, Stacey, and Jim.  A heartfelt thanks to the city of Nashville, the volunteers and supporters who made the experience great despite my performance.  A special thanks to my friends (practically family):  the Barts, the Trocchis, the Lights, and the Knights/Demosses.  Finally, I can’t thank my own family enough for coming out to support their insane father/husband who doesn’t know any better than to come out of the rain.  Their love and support have kept me motivated when my own stubbornness has waivered.  I could not have done any of this without their love and patience.

Okay now for the hard numbers:  7:34, 7:34, 7:49, 7:42, 7:48, 7:28, 8:07, 7:43, 7:34, 7:36, 7:40, 8:16, 8:27, 8:59, 9:32, 9:00, 10:23, 13:05, 16:18, 16:39, 12:42, 10:28, and 8:02/mile.
Some days, you beat the marathon.  Some days, it beats you.  Twice.  Mercilessly.  With a large, spiked club.  And then spits on you.  Later kids!

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Meteorlogical Illogic

Hail my running brothers and sisters!  I was going to avoid posting again before the race, but I may as well mention this since this all we’re talking about today.  Apparently “they” are predicting rain, thunderstorms, and possibly tornadoes tomorrow.  The crazy part of this whole pain in the ass prediction is that the weather has been gorgeous all frakkin' week.  Figures, huh?  My current plan:  When I hear the thunder, count the seconds until I see the lightening, and if I don’t make it past a 3-count, run like Chuck Norris chasing me.  Nice plan, huh?  Later kids.  Wish me luck!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Marathon Mojo

Hail my running brothers and sisters!  I have 2 days until my marathon, and I’m having a blast.  There is nothing like the anticipation of race day that gets me going.  It’s like Christmas wrapped in big bow of pain, sweat, cursing, and grit (And if you have kids, that is exactly what Christmas is).  That’s race mojo.  That mix of anticipation, nervousness, and elation all rolled into a goal time that looms over you like a giant tree waiting to fall.  Then there’s all the crazy things that you’ll put yourself through to eke out those extra seconds which could mean ultimate victory or agonizing defeat.  The amount of crazy you will subject yourself to is of course proportional to the length of the race.  For a 5k, some hard training will do, and maybe even with a weight vest.  With a 10k, weekly interval sessions and cross-training.  With a half, carbo-loading, numerous hill sessions, and careful diet management.  With a marathon, all of the above but at 30-50 miles per week.  Don’t let anyone tell you different.  All the training we subject ourselves to for our sport is clearly insane.  And then there’s the extra crazy, like the following:

101_0235I’ve got my Flash ring.  I got this little baby from Rick’s Comic City when I bought the first issue of the The Flash.  If this isn’t a sign I don’t know what is.  So I’ve worn it everywhere to tap into whatever speed power I can steal from it.  My friend TK saw it, and she demanded that I get her one for her (she’s running the half).  I told Rick that he should open a booth at the expo, because he would sell a million of them.
I’ve got my Marathon theme.  Theme, you ask?  Why yes…I do have a theme.  Originally, I was going to go with something fairly obvious in honor of the Country Music Marathon, like “Redneck Running,” but I have since changed my mind.  Instead, I’m going with “Run Like an Outlaw.”  I can’t take the credit for the idea, because I heard it in the song Wild, Wild West by Randy Houser.  I’m sure Psyche will try to take credit for my theme, but don’t listen to her.  I’ve even got my playlist loaded with every drinking, redneck, horse riding song that I could find.  Yeehaw!

See what I mean.  I’m generally otherwise rational person.  However when faced with a marathon, I will wear a plastic ring with lightening bolt and search every country song for the right tempo and attitude.  But hey, it’s fun too.  This could be my last marathon ever, so I figure, I may as well take it to Nth degree and enjoy the hell out of it.  This my friends is marathon mojo.

Tomorrow I’m spending most of the day at the expo.  Ryan Hall and Eddie George are supposed to be there, so I’m hoping to score a couple of autographs on top of my expo swag.  Like I said, I’m having a blast.  If you’re in town for the race, come by the expo, I’ll be the Filipino idiot singing country songs and stuffing gels into my mouth.  Awesome.  No hard numbers today.  It is taper week after all, but going into the race, I currently have 18 miles for the week.  I may try to grab a couple miles tomorrow, just to shake the nerves out, but we’ll see.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Marathon Support Acknowledgement

Hail my running brothers and sisters!  As I mentioned yesterday, I owe a blog to my family, friends, and bloggy buddies for all your support and encouragement this past year and a half.  As I the final days till my marathon tick off, I feel that I really have to thank everyone for bearing with me as I’ve made my way.  Especially my wife and kids.  No one has had to sacrifice as much as they have with my all my training, lack of patience and never-ending “Joel-ness.”  I can’t express how much I truly appreciate how everyone has suffered me for this long and have continued to support me, despite myself.  So as I get ready to race here in my hometown, among my people, my friends, and my family, I hope to honor you all with a race run well, performed to the best of my ability and courage, no matter how I finish.  Thanks.

Now enough with with sappy stuff.  Today was the 114th running of the Boston Marathon.  Congratulations Robert Cheruiyot (KEN 2:05:52(CR)) and to Teyba Erkesso (ETH 2:26:11) and to all the finishers.  It was an amazing race, and though I cheered for US favorites, Ryan Hall (2:08:39) and Meb Keflezighi (2:09:26), I can’t deny the strong kick at the end by Cheruiyot to take the men’s title.  Likewise I thought Tatyana Pushkareva (RUS 2:26:14)(Also the women’s winner of the Country Music Marathon last year) had me cheering her on for an unlikely upset/comeback from behind, but Erkesso managed to hold her back.  These competitors (all of them) are simply amazing to watch.

Now for  the hard numbers:  I got in my last long run before the race with a 10.25 mi run with 7 mi at marathon pace.  My average pace ended up being 8:01/mi.  I probably wouldn’t have run so hard if I hadn’t read an article in Running Times (I know, I know.  I shouldn’t have even looked at the article, but I’m an asshat.  Sue me.) that called for the workout to keep up your confidence and intensity going into your race.  I have to admit I’m feeling pretty confident.  Score!  So just a couple more short, EASY (I swear) runs for the week, and then I should be good (i.e. ready for the race.  I’m always good.  Not in the sense of morally good, but more like awesome-good.)  Okay, I’m out.  Later kids!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

End of the Week Recap 4/18/10

Hail my running brothers and sisters!  Another week down and now 6 days until my marathon.  This week I ran 30.68 mi at an average pace of 9:03/mi.  I did 1:20:00 of conditioning, and weighed in a bit high at 157.6 lbs.  Last night was the Spring Auction for my kids’ school and I’m afraid that I showed less restraint than I should have.

I got in 2 x 10 mi runs this week but my first 10 mi run, I did with a friend at a 10:36/pace.  I did get in a track workout this morning.  Nothing too strenuous, but it felt good to do a little speed work.  I did 2 x 1600 m, 2 x 800 m and 1 x 400 m at an average pace of 7:42/mi with 400 m recoveries in between.  It felt really good to be back on the track again.  Probably because I hadn’t been on the track in awhile, I went out a bit harder than I should have, but I kept the workout short in honor of taper week.

As I’m rolling into my final week, taper madness has taken full hold on my sensibilities.  I’m trying not to read too many magazines or training guides, because I don’t want to damage whatever fitness that I have left with some crazy training workout.  My anxiousness is at an all time high as I stare at my course map and fly through the miles in my head.  If I’m not doing that, then I’m checking the daily forecast for some hint of change in the weather (currently calling for highs of 81 with scattered showers) or reviewing my playlist for proper cadence and inspiration (by the way, we’re going full-on redneck running for the my hometown marathon.  It seemed appropriate to stick with all country music for the Country Music Marathon after all). 

This is the last week of taper.  I’m still running nearly every day, but I’m keeping my mileage low and my intensity high.  My thought is to not let my body slip into some non-running coma just as I’ve re-found my pace (about an 8 count-beat in my head), but by keeping the workouts short, I maximize my recovery.  All right, that’s it.  Next week I need to give props to my wife, family, and friends for marathon support.  Clearly without their understanding, patience, and encouragement, I would not have made it this far.  But, that as they say, is a topic for another evening (and another, and another).  Later kids!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Alternate Reality

Hail my running brothers and sisters!  Unlike a roundhouse kick from Chuck Norris, I’m giving you, my dear readers, fair warning that this post will contain spoilers (not a lot) from this season of Lost.  I know, I know…what a presumptuous, self-important ass to think that I can compare my running to a Chuck Norris level show like Lost, but guess what?  I AM a presumptuous, self-important ass that thinks he can compare his running to Lost (Duh…I blog to see what witty and insightful thing I have to say.  It’s fascinating to see what comes out of my brain sometimes).

If you’ve been watching Lost (or just prefer to read spoiler synopsis instead), then you know that our favorite cast from Oceanic 815 are now existing in two (count ‘em: two!) realities!  In one reality (for our purposes, let’s call it the Present), the passengers crashed on the Lost island, and in the other reality (let’s call it the Other), Oceanic Flight 815 never crashed and the passengers are living different lives.  In the Present, the passengers are hunted by smoke monsters, die suddenly, and betray loved ones like they’re on an episode of The Real Housewives of Somewhere Lame.  In the Other, the passengers are moving on with their lives blissfully unaware of the Lost island, and allegedly more the happy for it (with a few    exceptions).  Except now, the realities are starting to converge, and the passengers in the Other are starting to recall things that happened in the Present.

Likewise, with my running, I have two goals.  One goal is to beat 3:30:00 in the marathon this year, and the other is to qualify for Boston.  Now I haven’t talked too much about a possible BQ for this marathon as I was afraid of jinxing myself or enraging the running gods for my hubris.  But after some thought, I said “Screw it.  If I want it, I have to own it.”  Ignoring the elephant in the room won’t make it loom any less on my horizon, or make it any less intimidating.  When I adopted this idea, the concept of anything less than a BQ was like the idea of swinging a pissed off rattlesnake around your arm.  Un-ac-cept-able.  So I’ve trained hard (harder than I ever have before, but not as hard as I could) and I’ve oriented my mind towards catching that BQ.  But like the Present in Lost, as the race gets closer, I have to admit that my first goal may be my actual reality/fate.  Despite my wife’s argument to the contrary, the numbers just don’t lie.  While I readily expect to PR this race (barring injury), I seriously doubt that I’ll make my goal for the year or catch that BQ at least with this race.  To that end, my running guru, Frank Z., and I have discussed race alternatives for the fall/winter.  I had originally considered running an ultra in the fall, but if I’m close to a BQ with this race, then my Running Guru says that I should be running another qualifying marathon instead.  And you know what, he’s right.  Does this mean that I don’t chase that BQ this time around?  No, absolutely not.  But like the Locke/smoke monster, the BQ is an intimidating force to be reckoned with, but it is a fight I relish and desire.  It may not be this time, but I’m chasing you, BQ.  Watch out.

Now for the hard numbers:  I did a tempo run of 5.29 mi. at a pace of 8:11/mi.  A little slow, but not totally unexpected with temps around 91 degrees.  Ugh.  And with that, cue the music!  Later kids!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

End of the Week Recap 4/11/10

Hail my running brothers and sisters!  I did 37.25 miles this week at an average pace of 9:03/mi.  I only spent 12 minutes on cross-training and conditioning, but my weight this morning was at 156.0 lbs.  Not a huge week by any means and nothing truly notable.  No long run over 10 mi this week due to some life issues that crept up.  I’m trying not to let my lack of long mileage stress me out since I’m supposed to be tapering anyway.  I officially have 13 days left till my marathon.  I’ve decided to re-evaluate my fall/winter race schedule to accommodate more BQ races depending on how close I am at the Country Music.  I’m probably done with the Yasso 800’s until after the race.  I might try and squeeze in a short set of intervals next week just to keep my weight under control, but it's mostly base mileage, peppered with some tempo runs, until the marathon.  I definitely need to do more cross-training, but for some reason, I lose interest as I do more miles.

Now for the hard numbers:  Today was supposed to be a long run, but I got sidetracked.  I did manage 13 x .15 mi hill repeats with .15 mi recoveries in my neighborhood though at an average pace of 9:36/mi.  Per Garmin, I had an elevation change of 645 ft.  Not huge numbers, but the repeats were fairly consistent, if not a bit slow.  Later kids!

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Taper Madness Protocol

Hail my running brothers and sisters!  As I sit here and massage my calves, I personally blame Psyche for my current state of being.  If you’re reading this blog, you know that in 2 weeks I’m running the Country Music Marathon here in my hometown of Nashville (Yeehaw!).  As I have 2 weeks left, I am in the throes of taper madness!  Since I’ve started racing, I have been aware of the anxiety that I haven’t trained enough, the anticipation of busting out an awesome new PR, the fear of falling short of goal, and the exultation of visualizing racing among throngs of cheering crowds that comes with those last couple of weeks prior to your big race.  For the uninitiated, we call those last few weeks of reduced workouts to save your legs for the big race tapering.  The wild mood swings of dread and excitement, we would call the “jitters” down here.  However, Psyche gave my jitters a name that I had not heard before, Taper Madness.  And in naming, she gave those feelings bubbling through my head power.  Power over me.  Power that I cannot escape.  Power that forces me to acknowledge it at every waking moment.  Power, that if left unhindered, would surely TAKE OVER THE WORLD!!!

At these times of vulnerability and weakness, I do what any obsessed runner does, I hit books!  Or in this case, the internet.  I review my online training log and feverishly copy down my past training times before my last races, so that I can statistically analyze the correlation of my training paces to game day performances.  I scour other running blogs and websites to gleam the secrets of speed and nuggets of knowledge to raise my endurance.  I ponder my diet and curse the 10-second-costing pound I gained from that harmless looking slider at lunch (hmmm…sliders…*slobber*).  I seek out new gadgets, gear, tools, and accessories on every Chinese website that delivers overnight for the Holy Grail of racing that I can ingest, strap on, or doff that will create a magic bubble around me reducing wind resistance and pushing competitors unceremoniously out of my way.  Then I pester anyone with any running experience with reviews of my training to draw out cheap praise for my hard work and assurances that I will, indeed, catch that damn BQ tiger by the tail this time and make him my beyotch.  I bribe my children to pray to the Good Lord to bless me with speed as I’m not allowed to do so (I’m pretty sure that I sold my soul when I signed my admission papers to law school.  If not, I’m sure I traded most of it for my last PR.).  I even invoke the name of Chuck Norris to amuse and distract myself as I blog mindlessly about how I love to race.  What would make an otherwise rational (don’t listen to my wife…if she truly thought I was crazy, she wouldn’t have procreated with me) man adult mature person to act in such a way?  Taper Madness.  CURSES!!!

Now for the hard numbers:  The track was closed so that the track team could get their practice in.  Inconsiderate bastiches.  Can’t they see that I am a man in need?  Anyway, I went to the park and my main workout was 10x.5 mi intervals with .25 mi recovery runs.  They broke down:  03:25.5, 03:26.8, 03:35.4, 03:46.2, 03:32.1, 03:28.6, 03:33.8, 03:27.2, 03:23.7, and 03:30.3.  This was an average pace of 3:31.0/mi.  This was 12 seconds better than I did last week.  A definite improvement, but still not quite where I was hoping to be.  I definitely felt stronger/better today, but I was reasonably rested and the heat was not nearly as bad as last week. Okay time for me to organize my training log by training type.  :P Later kids!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Chuck Norris Paradigm

Hail my running brothers and sisters!  If Chuck Norris were a calendar, every month would be named Chucktober, and every day he’d kick your ass! I don’t care who you are…that’s funny!

Still it got me thinking (WARNING:  This is where the Taper Madness has set in, and I start spouting off.  If you are a Penguin, a small child, or Chuck Norris, I apologize (Mr. Norris, please don’t roundhouse kick me)), I can’t just run a race for the fun of it.  Like Chuck Norris, if you see me on race day, I’m there to kick your ass.  That is to say that I’m there to RACE.  Now I may not be racing against you in particular (because like Chuck Norris, you may end up kicking MY ass..a lot), but I am there to gut out a race.  I may not feel great, I may not be in my top form, but I’m not there to run it for fun.  A few months ago, my lovely wife and I were talking about some of the races that I was planning on running this year.  When I suggested that I might run a few smaller races for fun and to train for my bigger ones, she squelched that idea so fast I thought Chuck Norris had kicked me (clearly he didn’t as I’m not dead).  She told me in no uncertain terms that it’s impossible for me to run my races for fun as they post the results online and my ego would not stand for a less-than-Joel finish.

I’ve been rolling this thought around my head for awhile now, trying to decide if it was accurate, and like Chuck Norris’ beard, it’s inescapable.  She is absolutely correct.  As usual.  For me, a race defines who I am as a person and a runner.  When I race, I want to know that I gave everything I got…to be faster, stronger, and gutsier I was in my last race.  Unlike Chuck Norris, I have something to prove.  I need to prove that I’m not that bacon-loving-pie-eating asshat I was 2 years ago.  Nope, today I’m a lean, strong, fast jackhole on a mission to BQ.  Otherwise, why have I trained so hard for the last 2 years?  If I’m not willing to lay it all  out to win (i.e. reach whatever ridiculous goal that I’ve set this time), then I needn’t spend the $30-$100 to run the race.  After all, I don’t need to run a race to get a shirt or chew on stale bagels.  I’ve got plenty of money to buy as many shirts as I need, and plenty of month old bagels sitting in my pantry anytime I want one.  Nope, when I go to race, I’m running fast, like a man dodging a Chuck Norris roundhouse kick (which, by the way, is impossible).

Now I’m not suggesting that I have to win.  Not at all.  I just want to be faster than I was the last time that I raced.  And faster than that small kid with the ridiculously long stride (shouldn’t 12 year olds be at home watching cartoons or doing homework instead of trying to muscle past me in the chute).  Oh, and faster than that women pushing her stroller or running with her dog (C’mon guys, that’s just plain dangerous!).  And definitely faster than that frakkin’ guy in the tutu (I hate that guy).  Everybody comes to a race for different reasons.  Lots of people go to races to motivate them in their new healthy lifestyle (Waddle on my brothers!), and I give them full props for just getting out there and doing something.  But some people go to races to prove they’ve got the guts, skill and luck to win.  That’s me.  And Chuck Norris.

And now for the hard numbers:  I did 8.03 miles at an average pace of 8:07/mi.  It was a good, fast run along part of the marathon course.  Unlike a Chuck Norris punch to the face, it was not a perfect run, but it was still darn good.  Later kids!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

End of the Week Recap 4/4/10

Hail my running brothers and sisters!  In clearly a week that should have been a recovery week, I…wait for it…wait for it…over-did it.  Awesome.  Yes.  Definitely worth the wait.  After a strong (for me) half-marathon last week, I followed it up this week with 32.02 miles at an average of 9:29/mile.  I managed 20 minutes of conditioning, but just barely.  My weight has stayed around race weight at 156.8 this morning before my run.  A little higher than I like, but I should be right around 152-154 by the marathon.

As for my training this week, I wish that I could say that my pace was a result of strategic recovery, but I really can’t.  I tried to knock out some quality workouts this week, but I had nothing…NOTHING…in the tank.  The only exception may have been my midweek run with my buddy Matt, but overall my kung fu was weak.

Case in point, my long run today should have been a decent workout, but it wasn’t…shocker.  I had planned on a 14-15 mile run today, but due to the shaming I got from reading Adam and Psyche’s training plans, I decided to make today’s run a progression long run.

Let me preface, the rest of this story with the fact that I have terrible allergies, and on occasion, I will take Claritin to alleviate the symptoms.  Today, I took Zyrtec.  If you have allergies and need relief, Zyrtec is the bomb.  If you need to run a 15 mile progression run, Zyrtec may not be the best idea. 

Despite what my wife says, I’m not completely insane.  I did bring my fuel belt with me today along with 2 bottles of G2, so I figured I had plenty of liquid for 15 miles.  I was doing my run at PWP, so I purposely rested 2 days before to make sure that I could hack the all those damned-runner-hatin’-you-suck-dumbass hills (Oh yeah, Lent' is over.  I get to swear again!  Yay for me.)  I started off slow to work into my easy pace, but for some reason, it took some effort to hit it.  I chalked it up to being tired and plodded on.  Eventually I made it to the park entrance and managed to start building up to marathon pace on the flats.

It was at this point in the middle of my run that I realized my predicament and the cause.  As I said, I had been sipping on my G2 throughout my run, and the weather was hot, but not unbearable.  However, I noticed that despite the profuse amounts of sweat coming from my forehead my hands were remarkably dry and chalky.  Here in Tennessee, we see all sorts of weather and I’ve trained through most of it.  I’m used to running in 100 degree heat and watching the sweat evaporate into salt.  However  (Why does this word keep coming up in my stories?  Clearly I’m an idiot and I need an intervention.  Hi, my name is Joel, and I’m an obsessed runner.), I’ve never actually sweat out salt before.  Now I’m not a medical doctor, and this may not actually have been what was happening, but I really think it was.  I quickly figured out that the Zyrtec was not only drying out my sinuses, but it was adding to my dehydration.  Rapidly.  My hands were so dry that I had to run them through my hair to keep them cool and wet.  I found a water fountain, drank several greedy gulps and cooled off my face in the water.  Despite all this, I had to admit that there was no way I could maintain any semblance of pace that I had been running without ride in an ambulance.  So for once, I did the smart thing and pulled back.  I decided to walk the uphills and jog/run the flats and downhills.  This worked fairly well though I felt like a complete asshat for not having more fluid on me to re-hydrate, and eventually I made it back to my car and home.  When I checked my post-run weight, I tipped the scales at 152.2.  Yeah, that’s 4.6 lbs of weight loss due to dehydration.  Not good.  So, I’m a little tired now.  To say the least.  And I think that I’m gonna crash now.  Hopefully next week will be better as it is my last week to get in some quality workout's before I start my taper.  Later kids!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Track Substitution

Hail my running brothers and sisters!  It’s a good thing that I’m pretty because God didn’t bless me with a ton of brains.  At least that’s what my lovely wife says.  Case in point:  Dumbass move number 1.  Today was supposed to be an interval day on the track.  My interval workout has been 885m intervals with 443m recoveries at the David Lipscomb track.  According to my schedule, I’m supposed to have worked up to 10 by next week to make sure I’m ready for the marathon on the 24th.  Of course, this meant I would do 10 today, because that’s just the way I roll.  Schedules and rules are for the little people who are okay with being limited by society’s “rules” and “laws.” 

Dumbass move number 2.  When I got to the track, the gate was locked.  This seriously bummed me out, and I considered bagging my run today in favor of finding a track tomorrow.  However realizing that I had a fairly busy Friday, I decided to drive to work and do my interval workout around the outside of the stadium grounds at LP Field, Home of the Tennessee Titans.  Intervals on nice cork track;  a hard work out, but manageable due to the softness of the surface.  Intervals on concrete in the blazing sun;  clearly a level of hell that Dante forgot to mention.  Maybe it’s level of hell, 5.75.  The pounding to which I subjected my legs, left me shaking and exhausted after my run.

Dumbass move number 3.  Did I mention that the temperature got up to 75 today?  Well it did.  Of course, this meant I had to wear one of my darkest and  heaviest short sleeve sleeve technical shirts that I own.  When I was done, I had rings of sweat and salt all over my clothes.  Touching my fingers together was like petting salt.

It was a rough workout and I considered quitting my run short several times.  Sadly the little voice in my head kept pushing me on, and like a dumbass, I kept listening.  Alright here are the hard numbers:  The total distance was 6.98mi at an average pace of 8:54.  I did half mile intervals with 2:30 mins recovery laps  My splits looked like this:


My average pace ended up being 3:43.6, which is nearly a BQ time for training.  Not bad, considering that I nearly destroyed my legs to do this training.  Pretty good, considering that I flirted with my puke threshold towards the end.  And definitely stupid, considering that I had run a fast half-marathon just 5 days ago.  All right.  I can barely keep my eyes open, so I’m out.  Later kids!

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