The following are things I strongly suggest you do not do before racing a half.
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.
Last Saturday presented my final long run before Chicago. I had a goal of between 22M and 24M, depending on how things were going (and whether drunken students messed with my hydration).
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.
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.
Last weekend’s long run was awesome. I started at 6am (well, I had to make it to tailgate early) and clocked off 15 very comfortable miles. Despite the fact that there was some wide variance of my pace (fastest mile was 6:53, slowest was 7:14), my average was a very solid 7:03/M.
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.
Following a late night at Hacienda Holiday, my friend “The Champion” requested I accompany him on a 6M run. The Champion is climbing Mt. Rainer this weekend, and has been training for it for weeks. As an aside, the Champion has been one of my closest friends since college but lives in Arizona now.
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?
Every Labor Day a wonderfully destructive group of my friends get together for a little event we call Hacienda Holiday. This weekend is filled with the three essentials: sacrificing meat on a grill, breaking mildly expensive things, and risking lives in water (because “the river will take your life if you don’t respect it. Ain’t no current in a lake, but there current in that river.”)
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.
Today all of you are luck enough to get two posts in one.
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.
Apparently, the reports of Summer’s early demise have been slightly exaggerated around here. But the sunset time is steadily creeping down, so my ‘evening’ track sessions are becoming ‘mid-evening’ track sessions. Oh well, we do what we do.
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.