Wednesday, December 16, 2009
So, since the OUC 5K, I basically forgot to run for a while, and therefore my running habits haven’t been going strong. In fact, they got pretty ugly pretty fast. I’ve had an 8M long run and a 10M long run sitting around and talking trash for weeks now. I asked the sloth sitting next to me to get my back, but he said I made him look productive. Make him look productive?!? That jerk has been wearing the same pair of my underwear for the past five days. Sometimes I hate the sloth more than the goat.
And then the Pillsbury Dough Boy called and said I was fat. I told him to come on over and say it to my face, but I really just wanted to bake that little punk and later him up with butter—then enjoy crispy deliciousness.
But training for Boston starts this week, and I finally managed to get a 10M run in last weekend. The real problem is training fast in snow. I believe there is a limit to how fast you can run in the snow. My best guess is that I can only hit about 80% workout effort on snow covered sidewalks/roads. After that, pushing it only serves to greatly increase the likelihood of a fall.
Point and case, on clear and open roads I hit 5M in 25 degree temps at a 6:50/M average; on snow covered sidewalks I could only manage 8:05/M for my 10M. Then, on mostly clear sidewalks, I could hit three mile repeats at 6:10, 6:19, 6:14. So, for everyone out there dealing with the same crap I am, I feel ya!
And finally, tomorrow I leave to Chattanooga to go spend time with a certain wonderful Redhead. We will be doing out first ‘long run’ together. I believe, in running relationships, this is considered the ‘biggest test’ there is. I better not fail.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Because it’s probably a little too late for the blog boyz to get organized, I’ll just list what I would have gotten a few of the male bloggers out there.
Nitmos: a stick and ten minutes in a back alley with Dick Beardsley so they can work out their issues
Viper: a six pack of Bush Light and two used coasters
Vanilla: only allow his wife a two minute head start so he might have a change to catch her in a skirt chaser 5K.
TGS: a lifeguard to actually watch him during his next surfing contest
Adam: a three month old National Geographic for all his ‘fun’ times spent on hotel treadmills
Paul: a keyboard to eliminate his accent
Lam: a tech shirt that says “Yep, I’m faster than you” (because the guy is so darn humble)
If I forgot you, I have two pairs to old running socks and one goat who now insists upon eating only dollars. Stupid goat.
Monday, December 7, 2009
I’ve only been on a ‘maintenance program’ with my running, with one to two short runs and a long run of 8 to 12 miles every weekend. So, I wasn’t in peak racing shape, or even great training shape. Therefore, a PR was really unlikely. One aspect of my running that I enjoy is that I don’t feel compelled to PR every time I toe the line for a 5K. Therefore, my purpose was not to PR before the end of the year. I had a greater purpose this weekend.
And yet, the purpose of this 5K was more than a ‘just go out there and have fun’ attitude. I wanted to run hard; and I’m never opposed to any bling I may earn. However, my purpose in running this race was a greater than getting some extra bling.
Also, I just recently received, as an early present (thanks Santa), a new Garmin. The 405 should be pretty cool, and this would be my first opportunity to test out my new toy. Alas, the first road testing of a new Garmin failed to be my primary purpose this race.
Moreover, I had agreed to act as a ‘final .5M’ pacer; meaning I would double back after my race and help to motivate and encourage through the final and difficult last leg of the race. And I can tell you from previous experience, being a pacer for a friend is a great honor and tremendously enjoyable—even if they are tired and less than enthusiastic about your enthusiasm. While being a cheer pacer is excellent, it wasn’t my true purpose for this race.
As for the race itself, I started off trailing the lead pack. This put me and about five others in the second tier of runners for this race. For the first mile I led the second pack, but slowed a bit when the course went from concrete to brick. My first foot-strike on the bricks made my plantar fasciitis scream. And shortly thereafter I was passed by two runners.
I tried to stick with them, but they seemed to have something that second mile that I didn’t. It killed me a little to watch them pull away. Also, because I was running a new course, I didn’t have a solid idea of where I really was or how much remained in the race.
As I rounded a corner I noted a significant straightaway, and during this stretch I realized that the two runners I had passed had not only ceased to distance themselves from me, but that I had gained about 10 feet on them.
I began to summon my inner motivational voice: “Run faster you loser!” The long straightaway rounded into the final stretch. I furiously picked up speed. As the runner in front of me gained on his opponent, I was gaining on them both. About 30 meters from the finish I managed to pass both runners—but not without a valiant effort and attempted re-surge by one of the two runners to withstand my pass.
Immediately after finishing I spun around and jogged back down the course to meet up and begin my home-stretch pacer responsibilities. And, when that was done, I performed the primary purpose which had brought me to this specific race.
Friday, December 4, 2009
This weekend the only local 5K is the Dashing Through the Snow 5K, but snow is not expected to last around here this weekend. Plus, the only thing more depressing than Lansing not having salt bagels after a race is partaking in a race with the word “snow” in it when there is no snow on the ground. Therefore, I think I’ll utilize the Runner’s Word Race Finder and find me a better 5K.
I’ll drop a race report, and let you all in on a little secret, next week.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Dear Owner of the Northern Party Store,
I wanted to take a moment and thank you and compliment your excellent staff. On the Saturday following Thanksgiving I decided I would attempt to undo—if that is even possible—the horrific carnage and possibly irreversible cholesterol damage I sustained during Thanksgiving and the following day.
Despite what I’m sure was the consumption of, conservatively, about 7500 calories during a ridiculous 48 hour period, a run seemed like a good idea. But then again, all bad ideas seem like a good idea at the time—just ask my friend Joe about buying his wife a snowplow for Valentine’s Day.
Because I was visiting my parents, and don’t know the area well enough, I decided to utilize the rails-to-trails trail; beginning my journey close to the fabulous Midland Tridge.
First, however, as some background information, you should know that I am a dedicated long distance runner. I’ve completed several marathons and regularly embark upon a run of 10 miles or farther just for fun. Now, before you begin to judge me too harshly, trust me, I understand how sick and slightly masochistic that sounds. But I tell you, I just love to run. I once even ran 12 miles around an indoor track that required 5 laps to complete a mile. Think about that, 4 left turns per lap and 5 laps per mile…yep, 240 left turns. It took me two days before I could turn right again. I totally know how Derek Zoolander feels.
Anyway. I was just over 4 miles into what I was hoping would be a 10 mile run when the Thanksgiving turkey, gravy, delicious stuffing with cranberries, and about 100 ounces of Mtn. Dew began to seek revenge. Boy were my innards revolting, churning and thrusting and threatening to make a new exit if I didn’t… well, you get the point. And here I am, surrounded by woods and almost nothing else, facing the great long distance runners conundrum: “Do I act like a bear and utilize the wilderness, or do I try to salvage some inkling of my humanity and turn back now (Note: turning back would mean an 8 mile run because I was running and out/back route)?”
Then, a ray of heaven’s light shone down and I saw the Northern Party Store sign. I ran across and used your restroom. What is significant is that your staff was completely understanding to the fact that I was not there to buy a Gatorade or maybe a Twix candy bar. Tired and probably sweating gravy, I went directly to your bathroom without haste.
Sometimes stores will have a policy that prevents people from using the restroom unless they patron the store. This rule sucks. It sucks even more if you are an avid long distance runner such as myself. And, as an aside, do you really want to place a part sweat and part gravy soaked fiver sitting in your cash register? No, of course you don’t. Can you imagine the kinds of negative emotions a bill like that would have on the other innocent bills in the register?
But, those stores have you at their mercy I tell ya, I mean sometimes you have to go and the only currency you have are a few pine-comes you picked up during your run.
Fortunately for me, Northern Party Store has (or isn’t enforcing) such a policy. Therefore, as a token of my appreciation (and in hopes that you will not alter the status quo regarding runners using the restroom), I have included five dollars.
God bless you and my mother’s delicious stuffing,
A Running Bluebear
P.S. I do hope to do future long runs on the aforementioned trail, and therefore hope this fiver will ensure an open restroom in the event of another emergency.
P.P.S. In case you were wondering, no physical damage was done to your restroom; but your toilet may suffer some lasting emotional scarring; to wit the enclosed fiver will not even begin to cover the cost of professional therapy.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Now, my cuz has been running on and off for the past three years; occasionally training for a 5K or 10K here and there. But, his quasi-residence in Orlando has provided him with the opportunity to run a few Disney races (a 10K and 13K) recently. His enjoyment in those races led him to sign up for the Disney Marathon in early January.
Cuz asked me to join him for a portion of his marathon—which I readily agreed to do—and this 10K was a practice session for our upcoming run.
Now, returning to the above mentioned 10K race, we rolled down into the Dirty D with lots of other folks on a cool and crisp day. The start of the race utilized both sides of a street divided by various shrubbery, then wrapped around a traffic circle. So, depending on what side of the street you lined up on, there was staggered start. The two sides rejoined after the traffic circle.
The race itself was fun; we held a good conversational pace and joked during the course. The people lining up for the parade (which followed the race) were energetic, and many crowd hive-fives were dispensed.
When the 10K and the 5K split apart, someone may have yelled “quitters” and “I see your 5K and double it” and maybe a “10Kers do it for twice as long.”
We finished strong and were rewarded with delicious food—including salt bagels. I don’t know what the deal is in Lansing, but in the greater Dirty D area post race salt bagels are a staple. A race director would sooner go without water than salt bagels. But not here in Lansing where people barely know what a salt bagel is. Sometimes my town is depressing.
On Saturday I headed out for a 10M run down the rails-to-trails trail near Buck and Bunny’s abode, and was 4M into at 10M out/back when the need to use a restroom manifested itself. Fortunately, I saw a party store and was able to maintain some of my runner’s dignity.
Finally, I decided to run one last 5K this year, and it will be this weekend, baring any unforeseen dramatic changes in the weather or loss of motivation due to weekend late nights.
*Such things are notably subjective
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Work. Work. Work. Work. Work. Work. Work. Work. Work. Work.
Work. Work. Work. Work. Work. Sleep. Work. Work. Work. Work.
Work. Work. Work. Work. Work. Work. Work. Work. Work. Work.
Work. Work. Work. Work. Work. Work. Work. Work. Work. Work.
Work. Work. Work. Work. Work. Work. Work. Work. Work. Run.
Work. Work. Work. Work. Work. Work. Work. Work. Work. Work.
Work. Work. Work. Work. Work. Work. Work. Work. Work. Work.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
In all honesty, I haven’t run this race in 5 years. So, I’m thinking of getting some of my family members together and running it. But the question is, should a group of job holding financial (mostly) responsible people run a race bandit?
Yeah, I know, I’m encouraging the ripping off of a good charity. And, believe it or not, such things actually bother me. But I do have two compromise positions. First, I’ll take the cost of the race and donate that amount directly to the charity. The way I justify it, that is more actual money for the charity. Or, run under an pseudonym.
Either way, the Parade Company will be getting some greenbacks and I’ll be running the 10K Turkey Trot with a few members of my family.
What would your racing pseudonym be?
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Sunday morning was a reoccurrence of Saturday morning and no running occurred. Thank you slacker self for destroying the goals ambitious self sets, breaking a little more of his esteem each time.
But, because it is what they do, that stupid unwanted and unanswered long run hung around like a ghost all day Sunday. Just jawing at me. “You gonna get out there and run?”
“No.” I reply.
“You’re lazy, and you suck at Mario Kart.” It says.
“I’m not even training for anything right now so back off. Stupid long run.”
I’m proud to say that, despite its persistence, I managed to not run all weekend. But long runs are not so easily defeated. So, around 7pm last night, after finishing yoga, I began my usual 3M easy run; which started out a little fast for an ‘easy’ run and turned into 4M before I knew it.
Worse, I was running an out/back route, so that 4M was undoubtedly going to be an 8M run. And yet, I kept going until I surpassed the 6M mark.
Because it gets dark at 2pm these days, basically all runs are ‘night’ runs, even if it is only 8pm. And, to add upon my already oversized pile of stupid ideas building avalanche-like momentum, I was running the hilliest route I know. A combination of two hill routes I would never run together. Stupid Spike.
All of this brings me to the point of this post, or the crescendo if you will. I once read an article in Runners World wherein a runner claimed running hills at night is easier because you can’t see the top, and therefore you just keep running.
That’s bullsh#t. In my opinion. Stupid Monday night long run.
*That is, unless you are Nitmos and get to ‘work’ at home and can enjoy long lunches that involve quality runs.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Half marathons: 2 (Borgess, Capital City River Run)
10Ks: 1 (bandit running of the Boyne City 4th of July Celebration Run)
5Ks: 5 (Super Bowl 5K [Feb], Shamrock 5K [Mar], Race for the Cure [Apr], Capital BanCorp 5K [May], Alternate 5K [Oct]
Miles run: 1326
Number of Pop-Tarts consumed: about 580 (most consumed flavors in order: Strawberry, Chocolate Chip, Brown Sugar)
Taco Bell Friday: 44 delicious times
Shoes and their #s: Sun Dancers (Kayano 14s) 334, Red Stars (2130s) 349, Omega Killers (2130s) 191; Blue Rho (2130s) 195; Delta Flyers (Kayano 14s) 193. All shoes are Asics.
AG awards: 5 (one first, three seconds, one third)
PRs in: the Marathon (Chicago), Half Marathon (Capital City River Run), 5K (Alternate 5K)
Weekends where I slept in both days: 1
Training programs used: Hal Higdon’s Advanced Intermediate II, FIRST: First to the Finish (expect a compare and contrast in the near future)
Number of typoos in the blog: about 53
Number of destroyed toenails: 2
Number of serious blisters: 4
Number of F*bombs dropped during a race: 18 (16 at the Bayshore Marathon, one at the Shamrock 5K when I was strollered, one when I was passed at mile 12 of the Borgess half by a 70+ old man who said “good job.”)
Number of times I ran with the cows: 8
Times the stars aligned: 1
Injuries: serious = plantar fasciitis, not so serious = left hip stiffness, sore right knee
Deer killed: 1
Manatee killed: now come on, do you really think I would do that…..
Girl Scout Cookies consumed: about 135
Number of ice baths post long runs: 0
Number of ice baths attempted: 1
Parties/social events willing declined due to long run: 29
Dollars fed to a goat: 1
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Now these three pairs carried me through my Chicago training, and Blue Rho carried me on that fateful race day. So, needless to say, these shoes hold a special place in my heart.
Which is why, when I returned home, the initial shock turned into uncontrolled anger is seconds. Below is an entirely accurate transcript of the conversation.
Brooks: Hi, I’m new. I’m actually so new I’m not on the market. I’m the Brooks Defyance 3s.
Omega Killers: Brooks!!! Phfffttt. Your kind isn’t welcome here.
Brooks: Oh, that’s strange. Because Spike picked me out specifically, he had a choice. And he picked me.
Blue Rho: Bullcrap! Even it that’s true, he’ll never run in you.
Brooks: Well, the thing about that is that he already pounded out 4M with me.
OK: Delta Flyers, tell me it isn’t true!
Delta Flyers: It’s true. He was wearing me as he picked them out. He even took me off—took me off—only to run with them instead. He even named them.
BR: He…he…he didn’t. He wouldn’t!
DF: He did.
Brookes: Yep, I’m Sigma Fire.
BR: Well, Sigma Fire, you had better watch your arch support.
DF: And keep those laces well tucked, I’d hate for something to happen to them.
OK: I’d hate for you to end up in the Oven, or something tragic like that.
SF: Yeah, well, I’m not all that intimidated by you. Bring you worst.
And then, this morning, I noted that the Sigma Fire were not along the running wall. I searched and searched, and finally found them here.
*I mean, come on guys, the old ‘frozen shoe trick.’
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
So let’s be perfectly clear. I get a free pair of yet-to-be-released shoes, and I get to try them out—and keep them after the trial? I will let you poke me, prod me, shank me, cuddle me, even gently molest me for this honor.
In case you don’t know, I try to be as frugal as possible when it comes to buying shoes. I always buy Asics, and I always buy the ‘last year’s’ model. So, while Asics has just released the Kayano 16s and 2150s, I’m rocking a pair of Kayano 14s and two pairs of 2130s. Such a jump in shoe technology is like my own personal Back to the Future where Michael J. Fox gets the ‘hover-board.’
So, I scurry on over to Playmaker’s in my slightly-more-complex-Guinea-Pig-modified-hamster-ball knows as Bunny1 (what! What!) to get my free shoes. They ask me, “What kind of shoes do you run in?” and I respond, “Always Asics.” They then say, “Would you like to try a pair of New Balance, Saucony, Brooks, or stick with Asics?”
I get a choice?!?!?!?! A choice in free running shoes!!! Now, for a little while I’ve wanted to try a pair of Brooks, but I’ve been hesitant to try a new brand given the costs; but a free pair? Alas, my loyalty to Asics is strong. But, a shot a trying a new brand for free is so tempting. I am literally a kid in a candy shop—figuratively speaking. “I’ll try the Brooks,” I causally respond.
I’m asked what kind of runner I am, to which I respond: “mostly awesome.” Ok, I didn’t respond that way, I said I’m a neutral to stability runner. But you get the idea.
Then I’m given a pair of Brooks Defyance 3s. The toe box fits well and they are lighter than my Asics. And they are free, which has to make them feel pretty great! “Would you like to be a trial runner for this pair?” “Yes, I’ll give them a try.”
And I take those babies out for a little 4M run on MSU’s newly redesigned Farm Lane, which now includes several hills. And, I liked the shoes based on my initial run.
That’s the good part.
I’ll report on the bad part tomorrow. But just to give you a sneak peak, the picture below is of my Asics getting ready to attack the pair of Brooks. An enemy in their midst?
Thursday, October 29, 2009
The deal is, I'm walking 60 miles over the course of 3 days to raise money for the Susan G. Komen foundation, to help find a cure for Breast Cancer. And sincerely, I need your help, and this cause needs your help.
In better economic times I'd suggest that to come up with the $5.00, you might forego everyday luxury items like a Flirtini, a handful of Itunes songs covered by the cast of "Glee," or a tip-of-the-hat from your favorite street mime. But I know these hard times have forced you to give these things up already. So instead I'm suggesting that you might forego:
* A can of baby formula,
* A bottle of prescription medication, or
* A co-pay for a swine flu vaccination.
If sacrificing pleasantries isn't your thing, here are some $5.00 ideas:
* Steal $5.00 from someone who is not looking.
* Steal something WORTH $5.00 from someone who is not looking and list it on Craig's list:(Click here for my example) (Editors note: YOU MUST READ THIS, IT'S AMAZING)
* Convince 20 friends to invest $5.00 each with you and then provide the most vocal of the group with an outlandish return. Give $5.00 to me, and hide the rest for seed money.
I know you've already donated to other causes and you've probably already bought a box of Thin Mints or Tagalongs this year as well. So I'm fully aware that this is a "not another one - I already gave money!" situation. But think about this, did those girl scouts put your name on a scrolling web plugin? I think not. Did those girl scouts sleep in a pink tent or walk 60 miles? Maybe. But you’re an adult, so get your mind off of girl scout cookies for once. Those delicious cookies may taste good, but they're downright evil compared to this walking bit. Here's why.
Many of us (myself included) haven't been directly affected by Breast Cancer (yet), and we wait until it affects us or someone we care about before we take action. But causes like this need a lot MORE people to care. They need my $5.00 and they need your $5.00 too. The "walking" part doesn't help the cure as much as the "you donating $5.00" part. The walking gets your attention and gives me a reason to send this e-mail, but the fundraising is what matters. I know we can make a difference.
I've asked for $5.00 by design. Do not give too much! It makes much more sense for you to donate $5.00 and then pass this along to a friend, or 2 friends, or 10 friends. If you give $20.00, it's certainly appreciated, but the true power of our combined ability lies within our influence! Just give $5 and pass it on! I intend to get this message directly to 1,000 people. If you all get it out to just one other person, and the average donation we get from that group is $5.00, we can raise $10,000! That puts a 1% dent in the unrealistic $1,000,000 goal I posted on the pink thermometer site. And that, my friends, is pretty cool.
To donate, just go here.
That's all I've got. Thanks for reading, and even if you don't want to donate $5.00, feel free to send me a reply and we'll just catch up or something. That's good too.
Finally, for you big spenders who like to hurt feelings:
1) If you give me $100 instead of $5.00, I'll write whatever you want me to write on one of my arms with a Sharpie marker for the walk. Feel free to humiliate me. If helping others doesn't motivate you as much as hurting feelings does, then hurt away!
2) If you give me $200 instead of $5.00, I'll bring a little megaphone with me and literally say whatever you want me to. Again, with the hurting feelings. I can take it. It's for a good cause. Finally, thanks for reading all this. If you're like me, you get a lot of these requests.
Don't feel obligated to donate. Even if you can spread the word instead of throwing in an Abe Lincoln, it will make a difference. I hope to catch up with you soon, and I'll see you on the other side of a painful 60 mile walk!
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Why?!? Simple, I didn’t run it. WHAT??? Honestly, I didn’t run it. Did two weeks of post marathon slothfulness catch up? Did your plantar fasciitis finally become unbearable? Nope. And nope (but the latter still hurts badly). But, since you have persisted this far, I’ll tell you the story of why.
On Saturday evening I jumped onto the race webpage around 10pm to get directions to the race. When the page loaded I got that terrible sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. It appears the WMU Campus Classic 5K was run on Saturday morning.
So, your captain of the ‘running in circles’ team failed to realize his gland finale for the 2009 racing season was a Saturday morning race, and not a Sunday morning race. And that is why there will be no WMU Campus Classic 5K race report. I missed the friggen race.
Fortunately, I live in a 5K crazed region of the country. So I took a quick dip into the vast seas of the internet and found another 5K—this one scheduled to run on Sunday. And, in case you still care, my alternate 5K race report is below.
My alternate 5K was a small race, with less than 100 people participating. Now, I had hoped to trail some fast college kids to pull me through to a 17:58. But given this field, it no longer seemed like an option. Oh, well, the burden has always been on me to run as fast as I can.
I get to the race early, register, and warm up. As I’m toeing the line I’m also fidgeting with my iPod. The gun impersonates a clap of lightning, and the race is off. Immediately five people blast out in front of me. And nobody else is around me. It is only at mile one (no clocks at this race) that I glance down at my Garmin and notice that in the commotion of the official start I failed to hit ‘start.’ It simply read (0:00:00). FAIL Spike, FAIL.
Well, I’m just going to have to run this one on feel. And right now I feel like I want to die. We are running along a river and all I want to do is jump in and begin my long overdue swimming lessons. I don’t, I just keep running. And pretty soon mile two is denoted by chalk writing on the ground. By this time, I’ve pretty much lost sight of the two runners I had before me. I’m wondering how fast they are going, and therefore how fast I’m going. But what I mostly think about is how the Pop-Tarts I consumed this morning are not happy with me. At this point I feel like I’ve settled into cruising speed, and that a sub 18:00 (or a PR) is out of the question.
As I near mile 3 I’m wondering why the Pop-Tarts are still so angry. When the finish line is in sight I buckle down and refuse to look at the clock. I’m just trying to get it over with.
As I cross I notice the clock reads 18:06.
18:06. Hummm…a new PR. And I’m quite happy about it. Yeah, I missed my goal. And yeah, had I known I was so close I could have pushed harder in mile two and the start of mile three, and made up those few seconds. But I won my ag, and would have won my ag at the WMU 5K as well. And bling is bling.
All things considering, I’m pretty excited. In a two-week span I BQed, destroyed 22 Pop-Tarts, ate Taco Bell 6 times, eviscerated a deer with my car, rocked McDonalds 3 times, loved BW3s once, ate pizza 9 times (including the night before my 5K and for lunch the day before Chicago), consumed more Dark Chocolate Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups than could be considered safe (and that’s not even taking into account all the other candy I enjoyed), drank Mt. Dew for 12 of the 14 days, made a rather non-specific “Zombie Survival Plan” (just meet me halfway), ate 7 doughnuts, and ran three times totaling 13 miles.
I love running.
Although I’m not going to disappear during my time away from serious running, I want to thank all of you for your kind words and support this year. Please know I’ve enjoyed sharing your ups, downs, aches and pains, triumphs, and stories.
Friday, October 23, 2009
So let’s talk about goals for this 5K. I want to run a 17:58. And scheduling a 5K two weeks after my marathon seemed like a good idea. I’d be in good physical shape, I wouldn’t have any additional long runs to fret about, I can retool and focus on speed for a few weeks, and I’ll be well rested.
But I never went so far as to write down a training plan. Which has lead to this; its two days away from the 5K and, since Chicago, I’ve done three runs: an easy 3M, and to 5M at 6:30/M (read no speed work at all). Oh, and one yoga class. I’ve also had what can only amount to an intervention about my post-marathon eating habits. Look, lots of people would eat leftover cake from an office party at 7:15am the following day; and by lots of people I mean me. Those concerned will not be happy to hear that I’ll be heading to Taco Bell for lunch today (ummm…black taco).
But it’s Taco Bell Friday, and rules are rules.
Lastly, I’ll be shutting my running down for the next 8 or 10 weeks. During that time I plan on taking a swimming class, reading more books, taking a vacation somewhere warm (even cold runners enjoy the sun and sand sometimes), and attempting to negotiate a much needed peace between the star bellied llamas of East Lansing and the non-star bellied llamas of Okemos. I myself prefer alpacas.
tensions are running high
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Make sure you give her some props, she deserves all if it!!!
Monday, October 19, 2009
Ever have a perfect—and totally unexpected—weekend? I had me one of those recently. You have a secret hope that things will maybe work out in your favor. You quietly hope you’ll catch a break or two as you lie awake in bed; painfully recalling all the breaks you failed to catch. And then, because sometimes the stars align, everything not only works out—not only perfectly—but even the most optimistic of secret hopes are eviscerated. All of which leaves you beaming and exhausted on a Sunday evening.
Speaking of evisceration, my beloved Eco-friendly SUV (read: destroyer of Earth vehicle) eviscerated a deer this past weekend. Now, it is deer hunting season in Michigan, but I’m not really a hunter. That fact notwithstanding, a deer decided it was going to race me as I was traveling 70mph on the highway. In case you don’t already know this, deer will explode when they squarely collide with the front of your car at that speed; but not before they decide to destroy your front end, radiator, and a little sense of diver security. Now, don’t worry, I’m fine. Although I am typing this post from the hospital, in a full body cast, using a very frustrating bendi-straw—I’m fine, really.
This of course means that I needed to borrow (or rent) a car for a few days. Fortunately for me, my family was able to help out. That’s the good. The bad is that I’ll be rocking my mom’s minivan. Yep, Spike is rolling hardcore in “Bunny1.” Aren’t vanity plates swell.
Finally, please take a moment to harass Nitomos for running the Detroit Marathon Relay along with Mrs. Nitmos, and Running and Living for rocking the Baystate Marathon.
Monday, October 12, 2009
For those of you willing to suffer the long version, here you go.
On Friday I met up with Redhead (her cuz and cuz’s boyfriend) and BoB. We briefly hung out before they had to head back home. But I have to say, the short time we spent at the expo was fabulous. I mean, those FL girls rock!
Next I went and signed up with Nike’s 3:10 B corral pace team, and promptly dropped a few Benjamins at the Nike expo store. Then I headed over to the Asics store and proceeded to tell them how much I love their shoes-and bought a sweet green and white long sleeve running shirt that says “26.2 To Hell and Back!” I also picked me up a bad-a—and free—set of red wristbands. I capped off Friday night with some excellent Mexican from Uncle Julio’s.*
Saturday I returned to the expo (but too late to meet up with Irish Cream and Tom from Runner’s Lounge—sorry!!!), but was able to meet up with Frayed Laces. It was so awesome to meet all of my fellow bloggers. You are real people, and you are just as cool in person as you are on your blog!
I awoke at 5:15, with the goal of being down at the race at 6:00am.** Well, you know what they say about the best laid plans (at least the weather was working for me—as every prior marathon had temps that reached at least the high 60s—Sunday was low 40s). The main reason for the delay was a Gatorade bottle. Stupid Gatorade bottle. I had left it in my car, and left my cuz’s pad to go get it. When I returned I noticed that the door had locked behind me. Oh, and she lives on the third floor. So I knocked, and knocked, and knocked. But to no avail, she didn’t hear me. Thus, I was left with no other option but to use my super Ninja skills to climb a chain link fence, stand upright on it, and then jump three feet to the second floor balcony. From there I could use the steps to her floor. And of course, as I’m about to leap I’m thinking: “Spike race report: injured falling off of fence!” This little adventure set us back 20 minutes. But, I managed not to break my neck or twist an ankle, so that is good vary good start.
Then came the next pre-race screw up. Although I have never told you about this, I use to put my Gus in my shorts before I started stretching. Then one race a Gu packet exploded when I plopped down to stretch. Thereafter, I stopped putting Gu in my shorts before I stretched.
I tell you this because in my hurry to strip down to my racing outfit and get my stuff to the gear check before it closed, I forgot to put the Gus in. I notice this after I was forced to climb up and then jump over another chain link fence to get into the seated start corral. The seated corral guards had caused a huge backup because they were talking too long to get people in.
About five minutes before race and I’m thinking, “no Gu? How will I survive?” I dug deep and found my inner Zen runner, then decided I wouldn’t worry because I’d grab the Gu offered on the course—I’d just deal. I’m a big boy, I can deal.
I was in corral B, and lined up behind the 3:10 B pace team. My plan was to sit on them for the first 20 or 22 miles, then leave them to ensure a BQ. In all honestly, I don’t even know why I make race plans—I never follow them.
What I ended up doing is running ahead of the 3:10 B team and catching up with the 3:10 A pace team around mile 5. At that point I was about 1:00 ahead of a 3:10 pace. My new plan was to just ride with the A team the remainder of the way.
And this plan I was following pretty well. The crowds were great, loud and supportive. Big moments in the race this year was blowing past the water station where I collided with a runner last year and injured myself; passing mile 15, where I had to stop and begin my walk/slow jog to the finish last year; and running through Pilsen—where the crowd was beyond amazing. But most significant was seeing my Cuz and her family cheer me on around mile 5 and 11. Their enthusiasm and encouragement was of tremendous value.
I was surprised at how quickly we turned North on Michigan Ave at around mile 23.3. What I was even more surprised to feel was the twinge of my calves. A runner darted in front of me as we rounded the corner and I had to hop a bit to avoid him. It was when I landed that they started screaming. The same scream I’ve suffered in previous marathons. The same scream that ended an amazing race in Bayshore at mile 20.
I quickly looked at my watch and noted I was still 1:00 ahead of pace, so I pulled off and stretched them out for about 20 seconds. I just kept saying positive things like ‘run relaxed’ and ‘not this time.’ I only threatened them once. And they remained calm. Shortly thereafter I found myself right behind the 3:10 A pacers again.
At mile 25.2 (marked by a wonderful sign) I started my “Boston” chant. And several feet from the finish line, when I was sure a BQ was going to happen, I may have stopped and posed for the crowd.
I then crossed and experienced the joy of a great race. And the joy of a BQ.
I met up with the Redhead, BoB, and a few others to soak up the joy of finishing a marathon. I also consumed a total of 20 Girl Scout cookies after the race. Man life is good.
So, congrats to the Redhead for finishing her first marathon, and special thanks to BoB for making a wonderful sign “Don’t Poop Spike!” Don’t worry, I didn’t during the race.
Also, congrts go to Sun Runner, who just set a new PR in the half!
* In case you are wondering what I ate on the ever important day before the marathon, I had Pop-Tarts, yogurt, and a banana for breakfast, pepperoni and mushroom pizza for lunch, and pasta for dinner at this amazing place. Note: I did have Taco Bell on Friday—as it was Taco Bell Friday.
** For race morning breakfast, I had Pop-Tarts, yogurt, and one and a half bananas.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
My goal for Chicago has always been to BQ. I plan on sitting on the 3:10 pace group for the first 20M, then try to leave them. My training runs have all prepared me for this. I’ve done 5 20M+ runs, including two 24M runs. Now, the only thing left to do is to race.
Good luck to everyone running Chicago with me! And everyone else who may be racing this weekend.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
If you think that just doing your mileage, dutifully following a training plan and plodding through long runs on hot and sweaty summer evenings have you prepared to race a marathon, you have much to learn young padawan.
Based off of personal experience, I suggest the following non-running related items for consideration if you are racing out of town.
- Bring your own alarm clock (or one that runs on batteries)
- Bring your own pillow (or pillows if you use two like me). Nothing worse than trying to sleep on a hotel bed and not being able to sleep on their super hard/soft pillows.
- If the hotel doesn’t have a refrigerator (or it does but it’s full of overpriced beer and juice which can’t be removed), bring yourself a cooler. A bag or two will keep it cool all weekend long.
- Earplugs are good if you happen to be staying in a hotel where there is a wedding party (the after party is where it is at, but you may not want to be there). Make sure you test your earplugs with your alarm…trust me. In fact, ask the hotel if there is a wedding party that weekend before you even make the reservation.
- If you are flying, I strongly suggest you carry on your race day shoes, and clothing, Garmin, and iPod. I mean, not that an airline has ever lost a checked bag. Plus, pretty much everything else can be bought at the expo.
- Your favorite stuffed animal. I mean, if you have one, not that I do…would a grown man still sleep with a stuffed animal…pleeezzzzzz. Please don’t judge.
- Tylenol and Advil.
And, just in case you don’t already do this, I can’t suggest strongly enough that you charge your Garmin two days before the marathon. And check it the day before. And some people can attest, things can go wrong the morning of—even if they manage to qualify for Boston.
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Then the ever demanding Running Gods required I sacrifice a run. So, I attempted a 6M tempo run. I was about 30sec slow per mile, with snot as thick as Jell-O (eat that Bill Cosby…on secondhand, don’t go near it). But I had to do the run, even knowing my illness would prevent a solid effort. I’ve run through sickness before, and the Running Gods always require at least one run. There, take it. Just leave me alone come October 11, 2009.
Outside of these two activities, I’ve been sleeping, and watching movies. Nothing else, I swear.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Monday, September 28, 2009
1) While the party bus is stopping for more beer and liquor, do not run .25M to a Taco Bell to grab some deliciousness—even if you are very hungry and inherently suspect of wedding food. I specifically do not recommend running almost half a mile in your rented shoes (read: ice stakes with shiny black tops).
2) Do not assume that your race bib and d-tag (which are located in your car) are safe because they are in your car. Especially when you have to give your keys to a friend because you are on the party bus. If you do, you will realize at 6:45am race day that your race bib and d-tag are in fact no longer in your car, but at your friend’s house roughly 30 minutes away.
3) Do not fail to recognize that the groom is going to reenact the famous dance move from Dirty Dancing and you end up unexpectedly catching a 260lb man while simultaneously straining your lower back. Because, said lower back will hurt for the rest of the night and the following morning before the race.
4) Do not dance your little booty off in previously mentioned destroyer of feet rental shoes until about 10pm (when you finally realize how much your feet actually hurt and you put on a pair of running shoes—retired of course).
5) Do not go out to a club/bar after the wedding and dance for several more hours. And really, do not close down the bar.
6) Do not stop and eat greasy pizza at 2am. I mean, you do have a race in about six hours.
7) Do not get home and to bed around 3am. This is true no matter what. But this is even more true when you have previously agreed to meet up with some friends at 6:40am so that everyone can get to the race early. Because that would mean you have to get up at 6am to be on time.
If you fail to observe these rules, you will find yourself at the starting line with just under 3 hours of sleep, very sore feet, an even worse lower back, all kinds of angry digestive problems, and the stupidest smirk on your face.
The aforementioned notwithstanding, I had an amazing time at the wedding. Congrats J and J. The back pain went away during the race and I sat on the 7:00/M pace group for the first 11M. Then I surged with another member of the pack and finished just ahead of the group. All things considering, it was a great race. I was right on pace.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
I awoke at 4:30am to begin my run at 6am, but was thwarted by my Garmin (pbtn), who had decided that a blank screen would be all I got regardless of the frequency or ferocity with which I pushed the on/off button. Fortunately for me, after consulting an awesome friend who had experienced a similar problem, I found my Garmin bible (read: owners manual) and was able to reset it and begin my run by 6:30am.
The weather was perfect and I proceeded to pound out some awesome miles. I felt so good in fact that I decided to rock the 23rd and 24th miles. I went home, ate a yogurt and then bought two McDonald’s sausage and egg muffins. Delicious. Healthy. Wonderful.
But, such good long runs are never for free, and I paid for it today on my 8 800s. For the official first day of fall I was greeted with 82 degree temps with some humidity to boot. *Thank Running Gods* They were a struggle, going 2:49, 2:49, 2:51, 2:53, 2:51, 2:56, 3:05, 2:59. Yep, I lost all hope and desire during that 7th repeat. Oh well, I responded pretty well on my last.
I am now in full taper mode. I only hope I can keep it together.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
sometimes Fall stretches its long legs and darts into mid-November,
sometimes Fall just concedes defeat and pulls-up short in October,
sometimes Winter surpasses Fall, and Fall responds in turn,
regardless, every year Winter catches up with Fall,
it’s a race with a foregone conclusion, the result is never in doubt,
but it is a wonderful race to watch, as it is never exactly the same,
and the colors of Fall always outlast the Winter’s white grays,
so, while Winter may win the day, it is Fall that wins our hearts.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
But my track workout yesterday was much more consistent. I ventured back to MSU’s track with the hope that it wouldn’t be closed to runners. Fortunately, it was not. So I plowed through 10 400m. My fastest was 71 seconds and my slowest was 74 seconds; and laps 2-7 were all 73 seconds. Such consistency is rare for me, but I’ll gladly take it.
Friday, September 11, 2009
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Our run was an easy pace, and we had an amazing conversation about how difficult it is to actually ‘be’ in a moment, and how often we let things slip away because we are so busy thinking as oppose to listening. We also discussed the ever important questions we had of the other’s sport (i.e. what do you do when you have to go to the bathroom on a mountain/running a marathon). Well, we are boys after all.
A few weeks ago my iPod, named “The Emergence of Fall and Joy,” broke whilst I was running in the rain. Since then the light doesn’t work and it won’t hold a charge for very long. So I had to buy a new one. Only thing is, Apple stopped making the iPod shuffle 2.0, they have a new version about the size of a stick of Trident and the controls are on the headphones. So, basically, not so great for running.
This led to driving to several different ‘box stores’ to by an ‘older’ version. Sadly, I couldn’t find the old version in any color other than hot pink. What I was able to find, however, was a refurbished silver one. The new iPod has been christened “Ghost of Great Expectations.”
I’m also planning on getting my old one fixed, because these babies are now officially on relic status.
In case you are unaware, I place 8oz bottles of water on my long run courses; one every 5M. For most of my long runs, mile 15 is located alongside MSU’s campus. I hide the 15M water bottle by some bushes the night before my run. During my 21M run a few weeks ago someone got to my water before I did, and I was quite upset to see it smashed and empty. This is not something I dealt with very well because I was thirsty and because it meant no water until mile 20.
Well, for my 23M run, I moved my route a bit and hid my water (and a Gatorade) by where my friends would be tailgating. They had agreed to put them on ice and give them to me on my way through. Well, again somebody destroyed my hydration at mile 15. Fortunately, my friends went to buy a water bottle for me (apparently they don’t bring water to a tailgate).
Mile 15 is the only place where water has ever gone missing off the course. And I’m not entirely sure what I can do about it. If I find a more difficult place to hide them, I might as well burry it. Hummm…suggestions?
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
As you can imagine, fitting in a long run during such festive activities is difficult. So I mashed my 23M long run in early Saturday morning in East Lansing; and it was a perfect Fall for a long run. My goal pace was marathon pace plus 30sec, and of course I ran my first mile 30 seconds too fast! However I quickly settled down and stayed fairly close to my goal pace.
Then miles 19 and 20 came along, where I plopped down +8sec on and +14sec my goal pace. Surprisingly, however, I was feeling good as I grabbed my last water on the course and therefore decided to try and push my last 3M. I was able to hit the next three at 7:17, 7:08, and 7:16. I was feeling so good I decided to do one more, a very pleasing 7:08.
Overall it was a great run with an average of 7:21/M (-9sec of goal pace). Everything about the run was good, except for the missing water bottle at mile 15; which I will discuss later this week.
And finally, in case you were wondering, putting circus peanuts and marshmallows in a microwave will create an awful mess and cause said microwave to stop functioning for several hours. In case you didn’t already know that.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Part One: Fall Races
It occurred to me last night while having dinner with some of my running friends that I had yet to sign up for my other two fall races. Well, I had better get on that and take advantage of the early registration while I still can. I mean, we are talking about 5 bucks here, maybe 10 if I was really late.
This morning I signed up for the Capital City River Run Half-Marathon. A race I’ve done several times and love quite well. The course is scenic and has only two small/medium sized hills (one early, one late). I plan on using this race as a pre-Chicago dry-run. I’ve done this in the past with great success. Also, FIRST calls for a 13M run at marathon pace. I love it when a plan comes together.
I also signed up for a race I’ve never run, the WMU Homecoming Campus Classic. This 5K is two weeks after Chicago and will be my shot for trying to nail a sub 18:00 before a step down my training for a little bit. This should be a competitive race considering it’s on a college campus; so lots of young kids to drag me along.
Part Two: The Return of the Goat
Some of you may know that I enlisted some non-conventional help in hopes of obtaining good weather for the Chicago Marathon. Well, because there is photographic evidence, I should tell the other half of the story.
After the goat ate my dollar some people—let’s just call them tree hugging animal rights’ whiners—insisted that feeding a goat a dollar was cruel and harmful. Like eating a dollar (let’s just call it fiber) would have some sort of a negative effect on the goat’s precious little goat tummy. So, to prove a point, I ate half of a dollar bill, along with my cohort (who ate the other half). Below I provide the visual evidence of feeding the goat a dollar and my subsequent consumption of America’s great currency (what can I say, I ate lots of pennies as a child).
Oh, don’t think I’m not aware of the irony of saving five bucks on a race registration while so casually donating two dollars to various digestive systems. I am what I am. And if I wasn’t so thrifty with my race registration, I wouldn’t be able to afford to feed goats dollars.
Note: the dollar on the ground before consumptoin
"I've had better."
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
As I walked onto the track I noted one other runner and a large carpet draped across the track and buttressed up against the football field. This carpet is quite helpful in avoiding damage to the track by all those unfriendly football cleats, but doesn’t help the runners one bit while it’s down. So, I simply pulled the carpet back on top if itself and out of lanes one and two.
Shortly thereafter the other runner stopped and asked whether I had pulled the carpet back? I resisted all temptation to blurt out a condescending insult (like, no the magic track gnomes did it) and simply answered affirmatively. He then asked me if I had permission to do that, and I said “No.” The other runner stood there silently for a few seconds and then said, “I’m glad you did that, it’s mighty brave of you.”
Feeling like a hero, I ran 1K, 2K, 1K, and 1K. My times were three seconds off my goal time per 1K. Consistent. Nice. I really feel I could have made my goal times, but the other runner had left and I was running these alone. Of the many things I miss about running with the MMTC, having other people push you to go faster on speed work is definitely one of them.
This weekend I’ve got a 23M run, and I’m going to try something different with my music. The twist is to listen to a book for the first half, and then music for the last half. I mean, I have all this unused space on my iPod.
Monday, August 31, 2009
The FIRST demanded a 15M at +20sec marathon pace. But, because I think I should be able to do every run at 7:00/M, my unofficial goal was just that, a 7:00/M pace. Now, such expectations fly in the face of all of my experience; but I’m a rather unreasonable person.
I awoke early to a light rain and 55 degree temps, or perfect Spike running weather. Having a tough 10 miles still resting on my legs, I promised myself I wouldn’t crush the first mile. What I didn’t expect was a 7:24 first mile. Oooppps. I guess I was taking it a little too slow. I cranked it up a notch and hit 7:10-7:12 for the remainder of the 15M (with the notable exception of a 7:22 on an uphill mile and a 6:52 last mile).
My hotel was about a mile away from the starting line of the Chicago Marathon, and I checked it out whilst I was there. I stood on the very street were I will be on October 11, 2009 and I said five things to the Chicago Marathon:
1) last year an injury ruined my run, along with 85 degree temps and an unrelenting sun
2) this year things will be different
3) people says the New York Marathon is better (well…I wanted it to feel a little self-conscious and unsure of itself)
4) when it is all said and done we can still be friends; and
5) I’m only using you to qualify for Boston (this was unnecessary, but I thought I’d rub it in a little)
Thursday, August 27, 2009
So you can only imagine how my allergies acted up this morning when I ran my 10M marathon pace run in 55 degree temps with 90% humidity. Now, I didn’t think such weather conditions were possible, but they are. Fortunately, I hit the 10M mark at 70:10 (right on pace).
I have a family wedding in Chicago this weekend, so I’m likely to have to move my long run to tomorrow morning, and miss out on the mid 40s we’ll have this weekend.*
* Thank you Running Gods for simultaneously kicking me in the shin and mocking my poor running existence.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
All this heat and humidity and uber-fail runs have me thinking I need to do something dramatic to ensure Chicago will not replicate the 85 degree temps for this year’s marathon. After all, this is my ‘going for BQ’ attempt. Therefore, compelled to do something that will positively influence the Midwest weather in October, I fed a goat a dollar.
I did this for several reasons: 1) although I don’t necessarily subscribe to the magical power of goats, nor am I a goat worshiper, I though it couldn’t hurt; 2) that little guy looked hungry; 3) I wasn’t about to feed him my ten.
Now some may question my methods, but I have a feeling this little stunt will provide low 50s and cloudy weather come October 11, 2009.
Monday, August 24, 2009
Now I’m not talking about trust issues from a failed romantic relationship, where lies let to suspension and to destruction. Nor am I referring to trust issues springing from my upbringing (read: even if my Dad did lie to me and tell me he was a secret government agent and Superman).
No, these trust issues go much deeper. These trust issues are the sole responsibility of Pizza Hut. It started out simply enough, with Ashton Kutcher punking people. And the next thing I know I’m out eating at a fancy Italian restaurant when some lady informs me that I am in fact eating Pizza Hut pasta. It took me weeks to deal with the shock that such a respectable pie company would go so far as to purposely deceive me, feeding me under false pretences.
After my counselor said I needed to go out in public again, I decided to try something safe like chocolate. I wandered into a local bakery where a kind and sorta attractive French woman asked me if I wanted to try a new French delicatessen. I then proceeded to dunk bread into a bowl of chocolate. It was delicious.
No sooner had I gone in for an unauthorized ‘double dunk’ when the employee stripped away her apron and informed me she was not French, but a PIZZA HUT employee. You may have seen the commercials; although I doubt my experience will make it to the small screen, as the three minute thirty-seven second tirade I unleashed cannot pass FCC regulations by any means.
I may never trust again.
And on running news. Last week was my third (of five) 20M+ runs. Now, two weeks prior I had a 13M run I cut down to 10M due to the 80 degree heat and the fact that I could see the remnants of the small rain cloud that had fallen to the ground begin to evaporate—in daylight. I then tried to run early the following week (read: 7am) only to have 70 degree temps to start. Needless to say my 18M was a train wreck. Average pace was 8:18/M.
But last weekend brought cool temperatures, starting in the high 50s and staying in the mid 60s. So my 21M run went excellent, hitting a 7:12 average and only the last three miles above a BQ pace (with nothing higher than a 7:25).
Friday, July 31, 2009
My tempo runs have been strong all training long, and this was no exception. The main difference is how much easier and natural it was to make this tempo run happen.
The second, and more important adjustment, was inspired by Ana-Maria’s post the other day. I included her mantra and it inspired me in the last two miles where I was feeling tired and somewhat demoralized.
Saturday I rocked 22M out at Kensington Park. I ran early, but the Running Gods still found it necessary to taunt me again. I had a cloudless sky and a sun to accompany me on my long on. Then, of course, it rained all evening in Lansing. Decision to run early = backfire. I hit a strong 7:28/M average, excellent considering the hilly nature of the course and the ever-rising temps.
And then Sunday I rediscovered why sunscreen is so important. I made this discovery by failing to apply the sunscreen I brought. 4 hours of beach v-ball left me red like a lobster and in immense pain. Ouch!
Finally, Morgan over at Caution: Redhead Running was kind enough to award this very blog with an award she was awarded with. Basically it’s the same way I ended up with MC Hammer’s Grammy. Thanks Morgan!
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Oh, I’m not just an attorney and a blogger, I’m also a poet and a philosopher. Running my speed workout yesterday I came upon one of the great philosophical questions all runners face: If you blackout while running repeats in the hot and angry sun, does it count against your rest interval?
And if I my wax philosophically (and I shall, it is my blog), having the FIRST speed workouts repeatedly humiliate me—week after week after week—I keep thinking about ‘why.’ Why does this hurt so much? Why do I keep doing this?
But the answer is simple. Because there is nothing better in the world. If it was just easy, if we didn’t find ourselves dripping in sweat, breathing hard, muscles aching, feeling used but strangely satisfied, we wouldn’t do it. And I was describing running sickos.
We all complain about the aches and pains, but we know this is the cost going in. And we all dream of PRs and Boston, but we know these things don’t come without effort and pain. Sometimes, after a particularly taxing workout the ‘Why’ seems like an albatross around our necks.
But after marking days off, tallying miles, and earning it; and as we prepare for the starting gun to fire, the ‘Why’ isn’t a question at all.
* This is a reference to this awesome book; something I used when teaching undergrads philosophy while also making it fun.
Monday, July 27, 2009
To celebrate my birthday I headed out to a local eating/drinking establishment. My group was ‘placed’ on the ‘patio’ (read: three tables that just happen to be outside). Things only proceeded to go downhill from there. Fortunately the tables and chairs were made of plastic, so no damage resulted when we threw them over the fence. Eventually almost the entire ‘patio’ moved to the parking lot. Ah, adults acting like children…priceless.
But all of these shenanigans resulted in bumping my morning run to an afternoon run (yep, a noon long run). Yes, this has been a trend, and a trend that has not resulted in good things. So, instead of high 50s and rain (ideal running weather for me), I had sunny and mid 70s. Hot and humid only getting hotter and humid-er. A bad long run.
Worse, my PF ached for the remainder of the weekend. Begrudgingly following my doctors orders I skipped out on Ele’s Race. But I’m optimistic my stretching and icing will heal this baby quickly and I can get back to race a 5K soon.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
That said, I’ve think I’ve avoided hitting a MMTC workout due to fears that I won’t be fast enough. I decided to hide away from others suspicious judgment of me as I attempt to whirl around the track, running shirtless and exposing my egg-white skin to harmful UV rays that refuse to alter my pigmentation.
But because I just can’t seem to nail my speed workouts, I may have to force myself to run with others.
Also, in honor of my beloved Sesame Street, today’s post is brought to you by the letter P. As in “painful” and “plantar fasciitis;” which I was officially diagnosed with yesterday. Stupid heal…
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
The temps on Saturday were in the low 60s and it was overcast all day. So when I stepped out at 7pm I wasn’t facing the same kind of grueling weather I did for my 17Mer last week. To date, my training has gone like this. Speed workouts are all hot nasty fails. Tempo runs are right on target. Long runs have been going well ahead of schedule. The only problem with my long runs is that I want to run them as close to marathon pace as possible. So, yeah, I’ve been ignoring my marathon pace plus 45 seconds instructions. Thus, while my long runs have all been well under the FIRST requirements, they have all fallen short of my expectations.
I’m able to endure these failures because I know that the first month of training is designed to build your strength and fitness, and that the times should come easier down the road. Now, if I could only stop staring at the red fail lines in my training log.
But that ended on Saturday. As I started I felt good, aiming to keep a consistent pace. And with the exception of three miles, I was always at my goal pace or under. My splits: 6:55, 6:56, 6:58, 7:09, 7:07, 7:20, 7:07, 7:02, 7:02, 7:07, 7:15, 7:21, 7:03, 7:11, 7:10, 7:15, 7:06, 7:11, 7:29, 7:12. A 7:09/M average.
What I’m most pleased with is my last five miles. Usually I start dropping 7:20s or worse from mile 16 on. This past run I managed to keep everything consistent except for mile 19.
As the first of five 20+ mile long runs, I couldn’t be happier.
Sunday morning I joined Sun Runner for a nice little 4M recovery run. I got a chance to run around her home town and even see the famous graveyard.
Monday, July 20, 2009
Now I’ve known for a while that Nitmos and I live very close to each other, but I hadn’t had a chance to stop and officially say “Hi.” And as I rapidly approached I recognized my hero a few feet away. I immediately stopped my run and dropped to my knees as a sign of respect.
After allowing me to look him directly in the eyes and speak to him, I requested an autograph. Unfortunately, neither of us had a pen so I asked him to flex his amazing pecks. He said “Absolutely.” It was amazing. I then asked if I could stop by for dinner sometime, and he said “Absolutely not!” I can tell we are going to be fast friends.
Finally, we discussed an upcoming local race and then we went on our way. I can say without reservation that I was honored to meet my local running hero.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
In route to the track I had to weave through hordes of incoming froshs getting their official campus tour during orientation. Yep, wave after wave of wide-eyed Spartans learning the names of buildings they will assuredly puke on next fall.
When I finally arrive a sign informs me the track is closed for ‘varsity athletics.’ Phffffttttt. Well great, how am I going to do my 1000m repeats? I can’t just run on the sidewalk because I’ll be weaving through the mob of walkers, I had to find an alternative course.
I finally located a suitable stretch (only crossing two partially busy roads) and begin the torture of 1K repeats. Temp, 77 and sunny. Only one cloud in the sky and there is no way that little sucker is even going close to the sun. And it was dry, dryer than my sense of humor…that dry. One red angry sun.
Then another red light (as in a red traffic light) during my third repeat. Rapidly approaching the red light I could see a bus fast approaching (stuffed full of incoming froshs I’m sure)—decisions time, try to outrun the bus or stop. The knowledge that a bus doesn’t stop easily and my willingness to risk death resulted in my fastest repeat.
Then another red light, the failure of my iPod—stupid battery. But the most consistent red light was that of my fails for my repeats. I was about 2 to 7 seconds off for all of them.
However, despite the epic failure, I’m sure the hot temperature was the reason I was only slightly slow. Had this run occurred in more moderate temps, I believe I would have made it. It was this thought that I held onto so tightly as I cried myself to sleep last night.
* The worst part was that they weren’t even using the track, merely the filed within the track.
Monday, July 13, 2009
But the reception ran late and I didn’t get home until an unreasonable hour. As I was setting the alarm for my morning 17M run I was already doubting whether I would really wake up and run it on so little sleep. Not surprisingly, I didn’t make it out the door for my morning run.
So like an unwelcome guest, those 17M sat around my place all day Sunday. It watched TV, took a nap, and ate cookies. Finally, I realized that it wasn’t going to leave unless I did something about it. So, at 6:30pm I began my long run.
Although my average pace was good, the run itself was spotty. The hot and dry conditions persisted throughout the run because I began too early to receive the benefit of a setting sun and cooler temperatures. Nope, 74 and sunny the entire run. But, the hope is that runs in such conditions will help improve my calf cramping issues.
Thursday, July 9, 2009
And yet there is another large family that shows up at the BCID races with matching shirts that say “racing is relative” on the back. Well, my family is not one to be outclassed, so we are currently designing ‘family’ shirts for next year. The leading slogan for the shirt is “Second place is the first loser” but I’m pulling for the “I just relatively passed you.” Regardless, you can be sure there will be a skull and crossbones on the shirt.
And if you think we are competitive when it comes to running, you need to see us play cornhole. We have a ‘rules’ committee and match officials. There have also been more than a few grudges and maybe one or two fists thrown over our putt-putt contests. We are serious competitors.
Tuesday I saw something quite unusual. As I was running to the Michigan State track I saw a girl on her bike ride into a car. No, the car didn’t hit her, she hit the car. I was the first one on the scene. I quickly made sure the biker hadn’t lost consciousness, made sure she could move her fingers and toes, and that waited for the ambulance to arrive. She probably sprained her knee, but otherwise was fine. Bikers.
Speaking of Tuesday, my speed workout was alright, hitting most of my goals but falling hard on two of them. They are getting better, and I’m rocking my other FIRST workouts, so that helps.
Finally, I’ve decided that, like Maverick, I should only play beach v-ball in jeans. It should elevate my coolness by at least four points.
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
So, on the 4th I laced it up without pinning on a bib. A 15M run in the hills north of Boyne City awaited me on the 5th, mandating a conservative race approach. The Boyne City Independence Day 10K is mostly flat and run along the bay for the first five miles (the course is basically an out/back). The sixth mile brings the only uphill, and it is only a ‘mild’ hill. It is a small grade but slightly over a quarter-mile. This uphill is only notable because of the downhill finish. With roughly half a mile left a steep rollercoaster-type hill propels racers flailing down. It is my favorite finish ever.
I ran a comfortable pace and tried to pick off runners, and ended up running even splits. I finished in 40:40, hitting a 6:33/M average. My time would have put me 6th in my AG and 26th overall. It seems there are a lot of fast kids that show up to this rather quaint and small race.
The following day I ran 15M in beautiful and hilly country. FIRST called for a 7:45/M pace average, and I personally hoping for a 7:30 average. The first and third miles were 7:37, and all else were sub 7:30. I was actually getting faster and stronger in the latter part of the run, and I finished with a 6:51 mile (my fastest). This was a nice run to cap off a sweet weekend with the family and on the beach.
Thursday, July 2, 2009
800m is not quite an all out sprint, but it is a ‘give everything you have and then some’ race. I’ve seen spectacular comebacks (in the 3200m relay) and epic fades. No race is more exhilarating or more frustrating.
In my glory days (yes, high school) I could pop off a sub 2:00 800m. But I honestly thought I would have to run my legs off to hit a 2:38. And, like all FIRST workouts, the rest interval was short (2 minutes).
Surprisingly, my first two were both 2:39. Excellent. Then exhaustion combined with a headwind to equal a 3:03. I don’t really know what went wrong, just that I wasn’t moving fast at all despite every effort to. But I regrouped for a 2:42 last 800m.
I may run a 10K this 4th, I may not. If I do, I’ll report next week. Otherwise, I’ve got a 7M tempo run tonight and a 15M long run this weekend. If you are racing, or running, or whatever, enjoy the 4th and blow something up…but do it safely.
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Now, in the past two weeks I’ve only run once, an easy 8M with a friend. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I was ‘unprepared’ physically, but to compare my ‘physical fitness’ with the Empire’s skeleton crew on Endor to guard the all important Imperial shield generator would be relatively accurate. Things started out so good and got ugly fast.
Goal pace for mile repeats, 6:30 to 6:40. First mile, 6:31. Nice. And then one minute is over and I drop out a 6:55. Ouch. By now, I’m just hoping the +90 heat index will kill me. I’m so exhausted I can’t even spit cleanly; I just end up hitting myself. Last mile, 6:48. That time is the most amazing of them all because in my head it felt like a 7:30.
I then somehow managed to eek out an 8:30 pace for the 10min cool-down before heading home to stretch and cry. Oh, but I didn’t cry. Not because I didn’t want to or my body didn’t try. I laid there in the fetal position twitching and heaving myself around. It was just that, I was so dehydrated, my body couldn’t produce tears.
Then I had a 2M “short” tempo run stuck between two sets of 2M at easy pace. I hit a 7:25 pace for my first two easy miles, and then tried to crank up to a 6:08 pace. Oh, and the temp was in the low 90s. My second day of training equals a second massive fail. My last two easy miles were at an 8:28 pace, both of them.
After posting two terrible fails, my only hope in salvaging my first week on FIRST rested on a 13M run at marathon pace plus 30 (7:30/M). Basically, my fourth run following three weeks (and third run in the last week) needed to be spectacular where every prior run had not. Yeah, I can do that.
And I did, hitting a 7:29 average. Sure, the early miles were a little faster while miles 10-12 a little slower. Amazing how one run can change everything.
Saturday, June 20, 2009
On the next wisp of a fall moon we shall runs
with eyes wide and mouths agape,
starving for any form of attention that would
leave some frosty imprint of love embossed
on our souls, something accidentally left behind; like a
childhood scar, something you only mention while
immersed in warm intimate moments,
told with a half forced laugh that is begging for
reassurance, banking on the hope that
older lovers understand such things,
soon we shall runs to avoid the weight of winter that such
emotional drifts often usher in with them, and we
shall relaxs’ knowing the next fall wind will be
sweeping up leaves soon enough, relaxs’ as
nature and time brush aside the rusting memories
that are clogging our cortex drains,
and when the first shake of snow descends carelessly
from ominous clouds we shall hides
with bodies wrung tight, remaining perfectly
silent the way old people do as they watch
television while enduring hazy reruns of
their former lives, we shall be silent as
mist rising across Old Sullivan’s fields,
silent as that, or silent’er.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
First, since I’ve stopped working out I started eating like crap. If that translucent orange grease from my pizza drips on my new white dress shirt, I don’t care. If I eat so many Girl Scout cookies I throw-up a little, I just swallow it back down and hope for the best. Yesterday at work a sales rep stopped in and left us a box of 12 Krispy Kreme doughnuts. I ate six of them in less than ten minutes and washed them down with 24 ounces of Mtn Dew (has anyone else noticed the Mountain Dew cans now just say “Mtn”? It’s not like they went phonetic or anything; they just got text lazy.).
Oh, but that isn’t all. I’ve stopped caring about my appearance altogether. I don’t shave (who grows a summer beard unless you’re a hockey player in the playoffs?), I don’t bother showering (why, I’m not working out or sweating…well I do sweat a little while watching TV lately.), and I’ve given up on brushing my teeth (how bad can by breath really get?). Oh, and yesterday when I put my hand on a hot stove, I just really didn’t care to pull it off right away.
And other people. Well, I wouldn’t say I’m misanthropic, but I pretty much hate everyone. And if you are on TV, I automatically hate you (even if you are that guy who saved the box of puppies and kittens out of the burning house). Worse, when I saw a guy running shirtless while carrying his shirt in his hand and while it was 62 degrees and overcast outside, I couldn’t even summon my righteous indignation. I didn’t even swerve my car to give him a scare. At work I’m trying a new program I call the “Only 1” program. Only 1 means I will only give you one word answers. If this is inconvenient, you need to ask better questions.
Also, as of late my ‘career’ has been getting in the way of my overall disillusionment of everything. I’ve had two huge court dates over the past two weeks and a wedding where I delivered a 15 minute best man speech. But now the happy couple is off on their honeymoon, I was victorious in court, and as my first day of training is looming, I have to admit I am beginning to care just a bit again. In fact, I’ve even stopped farting in my office (and have picked up my old habit of doing such awful things in the firm’s library). For anyone who thinks I have ignored you as of late, please know it’s me, not you, and that I’m sorry. If I promise to brush my teeth, can we kiss and make up?