Dec 31, 2009

The end of 2009 is upon us

And I'm enjoying it with rest (from running), and will be enjoying it A LOT with friends tonight. Woo-hoo!

This past month I didn't do a lot of running. 22 runs, 135.86 miles. Ran in two 5K's, no runs were longer than 10 miles, and I haven't run since the 27th. A great run, by the way. Felt great. But I've decided that this week is going to be a week of total rest. No running. At all. I can't remember the last time I took a full week off. But I'm going to rest, refresh, and be ready on Monday to get after it again. Marathon training will begin in earnest. And none to soon. As much as I love "just running", I love having a schedule to follow, and a goal to hit every day, even more. I know that isn't always a healthy approach, but it's how I tick. If I were to get injured, I know I can step back and accept taking the time off, and be OK mentally. But when I'm healthy, I want set a path, understand what needs to be done, and get there. So now the next question...

Which marathon? Not sure. I'm leaning pretty heavily towards the Country Music Marathon, in Nashville, TN, on April 24th. It's 16 weeks out from this upcoming Monday. It's the earliest of the races I'm considering. There are several others out there in that general time period, but I have a little time to decide. Currently, I'm not planning to run the Flying Pig this year b/c there's a chance I might be going to the Kentucky Derby (same weekend) with friends who might find a way to get some tickets. I'd love to go to that!!! The Derby is one of those things that every sports fan should attend once, and I have yet to be there. And I love going to the track. I've never had a horse, I've never even ridden a horse, but I think they are one of the most beautiful animals there is. I love going to the track and seeing them. Strong, agile, lightning fast. Kinda like how I wish I was. I'm currently 0-for-3 there, but I like to think I'm still a work in progress. :) So I plan to keep that weekend free, in case they can score some tickets. I've looked at what other races are out there b/w late April and the end of May, and none of them really scream out to me more than Nashville.

What appeals to me about Nashville:
1) I know the atmosphere will be fabulous, b/c it's a RnR race.
2) It'll likely be my wife's first half-marathon too, and that kind of excitement would be a lot of fun for her.
3) It's within driving distance
4)  I've never been to Nashville

So I'm about 80% sure that's where I'll be heading. Sounds like fun. After that, I'll throw my name in the hat for the Chicago lottery and see if I can get in. If not, will do the same with NYC. If I get shutout of both, we'll see. I'll cross that bridge when I get to it.

My 2009 totals: 293 runs, one marathon, one half-marathon, one 10K, five 5K's, one marathon DNF, 1,924.28 miles run. This far exceeded what I thought I'd accomplish this year.

This year...this year...2009...

Now that I think about it, I have to say, I've had enough of 2009. More than enough. If there were any more of it, you could have it, I don't think I'd want it. Goodbye 2009! A new year awaits. What will happen? I have no idea, but I'm ready for it. Very ready. Ready to make 2009 a distant memory. But not too distant. Not so distant that I completely forget it, b/c I was reminded just how things can change in a hurry and make you re-evaluate everything you thought was good, or safe, or sure. In the end, nothing is truly certain. I learned that very valuable lesson this year, and I have 2009 to thank. But I'm on to bigger & better things in 2010. I'm ready to enjoy it, take every day as it comes to me, and be thankful of what I have and what I can do. I want to motivate the people around me to live healthy lives. I want my family to feel more loved by me than they ever have. I want to feel like I'm becoming a better person, and a better runner.

And I want a million dollars.

Have a wonderful (and safe) New Year's Eve, and I hope 2010 is as good for you as I hope it is for me.

Dec 12, 2009

It's Too Cold to Run?!?


"Shut up, lace them up, and run damnit!"

This was what I had to tell myself earlier this week when Cincy was hit with it's first true cold snap. Temp was 21 degrees, but it was the wind that was making it tough. Wind chill was 7 degrees. Certainly not unbearable, especially compared to many other areas of the country. But it was cold enough to make me question whether I really wanted to run in it. Ultimately, grudgingly, I decided that I did.

So I went upstairs and started digging my gear out:

Wind briefs, running tights, and fleece lined running pants.
Wicking socks and Smartwool socks.
Nike Coldgear baselayer, Mizuno 1/2-zip jacket, and a nice, heavy fleece.
Two pairs of gloves, fleece hat, fleece headband, and balaclava.
Sunglasses to keep eyes from watering b/c of the high winds.

That oughta do it. Lace up my shoes, grab my iPod, Blackberry, & Garmin, and out the door I go.



My body warmed up within the first 1/2 mile. My hands finally warmed up at around 2 miles, enough so that I peeled off my outer pair. I made sure to run into the wind to start so I could have it at my back to finish. Ultimately, it turned into a very nice 7-mile run.

But here's the point of this post. What I got out of this run was more important than any physical benefit I got from actually running. The conditions sucked. My attitude wasn't very good, and I could easily have packed it in and stayed home. No one would have questioned me. The battle was far more MENTAL than it was going to be physical. But it gave me a chance to remind myself that once I get out there, I love being out there. And when I finished, I re-confirmed something I've always known...I'm can be as mentally tough as I like to think I am. So the next time I think to myself, "Eh, just stay in. The weather is so lousy. You don't need to run today.", I'll remember that it won't be as bad as I think it will be, and I'll likely end up enjoying it, and even be proud of myself for doing it.

Get out there and run, folks. You'll be glad you did.

Dec 7, 2009

The Year in Review


I know it's not yet the end of 2009, but I got to thinking about how this year has gone for me. Some goals, I met. Others, I didn't. Still others, I didn't start the year with, but then wondered if I could reach them or not.

For example, I didn't start off the year with a goal regarding how much running I'd do, except to say I expected to run more this year than last year. And given that I planned to train for both a spring & fall marathon, this wasn't going to be too tough to accomplish, barring injury. I finished 2008 with 1,118.0 miles. How far might I run in 2009? I wasn't sure.I simply trained for the events I wanted to run, and let the miles add up. But then I started getting to the point that I thought I might be able to reach 2,000 miles run for the year. That blew me away. I hadn't realized I had a shot at 2,000 miles until around late September. At that point, I kinda, sorta thought that might be a goal. I finished October at 1,684.0 and thought I had a real shot at it. But I did a very minimal amount of running in November, as I recovered from my marathon on 11/7. And as a result, at the end of November I was at a total of 1,788.4. So 2,000 is out of reach. Eh, that's OK.

I put in 31 miles this past week, and hope to put in another 135-140 or so by year's end, as I start to ramp my mileage back up in preparation for whatever spring marathon I decide to run. So that'll put me just short of 2,000. Still, a good year, IMO. Especially since (knock on wood) I should end the year injury-free! Aside from general aches & pains, of course. On this note, my left knee which I was beginning to worry about if I'd torn something...I'm now of the opinion that I didn't. The pain I was feeling, I haven't felt in weeks. It still aches sometimes, but both knees do that. Nature of the beast when you pound the pavement, right?

Some other goals I had in 2009?

Two marathons. Didn't happen. DNF in the spring. I've come to grips with it, and have put it well behind me. Doesn't bug me anymore b/c I got my marathon in this fall. I don't even really want to consider it a PR, although of course it is, being my first completed 26.2. I think of it more as my baseline marathon, a time simply there to be improved upon. And it will be improved upon! My fall training was short (8-9 weeks, since I decided late which race to run), very casual (nothing but base building, with absolutely no speedwork), and I paid far less attention to my diet than I normally would have. Why did I take this approach? Because this time, I insisted on really wanting to focus on just running the event. I didn't want to get hung up on all the other things I did before the Flying Pig. My diet was going to have to be "good enough". My speed, I didn't care. All the extra hours of sleep I'd get by getting to bed early every night? Nope. Not this time. I was just gonna live my life as if I wasn't running a marathon, and then on race day, run comfortably with no expectations. The benefit of this approach was I put no pressure on myself this time. And because I knew my training was no where near what I did in the spring, I knew I wouldn't get greedy for time on race day. I'd simply run comfortably, for as long as I could. If I had gas in the tank to kick at the end, fine. If I didn't, that was fine too. Turns out I didn't. No big deal. I didn't care how fast I crossed the line. I simply wanted to cross it. Next year...I'll care. My baseline has been set, and now it's time to focus on improvement. Even if it's a slow, gradual improvement.

Other goals?

Run a few 5K's, some for fun, some for time. I ran two for time and set PR's each time. 20:27. Will shoot for a sub-20 next year. The rest, I've run for fun. And I really am having fun with them. I have one more this year.

Start a running podcast. I've got the recorder and mic. I've "practiced" a few times, listened to them, taken notes on what I want to improve on to make it easier to listen to, and I hope to have my first episode out at the start of 2010. I'm a bit self-conscious about how I come across, but I'll get over it. If the episode is honest, open to others, and opinionated, and I feel supports this running community, I'll be very pleased.

Inspire others to start running and living better, healthier lifestyles? I don't know if I've done this or not, because I think the desire to take to the roads is an internal one. I can offer advice. I can give tips & ideas. I can cheer them on, run beside them, or any number of other things. So at best, let's just say I've tried to ENCOURAGE others. I'll support their decisions to the fullest. Ask me for help or to join you on a run, I'll do my best to be there. But inspire? I'm not the person to ask.

Lastly, to continue to learn. Through podcasts, magazines, books, social networks like Twitter & Facebook, and my own experiences, to name just a few sources. Learning more encourages me to run more, and to run better. To take each run a find something in it that I didn't know about myself before. Or to find something that is challenging and overcome it. Not every run can be personal best. But every run should help you to be your best.

That's my 2009 in a nutshell.

2010? Here I come!

Dec 6, 2009

Four runners, three PR's - Jingle Bell Run 2009


This past Saturday, my wife Susan, my 10-year old step-daughter Melanie, and my buddy Jason, joined me for the Jingle Bell Run 5K. Race started at 10AM. Weather was clear, crisp and and cool 36 degrees. Absolutely perfect, in my opinion. We arrived at the race, and quickly met up with Jason. Everybody seemed ready to go. I was going to run alongside Jason, Susan was going to run with Mel.

Jason and I took off, and settled into our pace pretty quickly. I told him to make sure that HE set the pace he was comfortable at, and not let me lead. I would run whatever pace he wanted. He seemed to be doing quite well. We were running comfortably and talking, and really enjoying ourselves. The only somewhat tough part of the course is the C.W. Bailey Bridge. Is it a huge, steep hill? No. Can it look a bit daunting to a beginning runner? Yes. There's some definite slope there. In any case, we ran a really nice race, and finished in 31:54. That's Jason's PR, since it's his first 5K. =) The first of many, I hope.

Melanie and Susan seemed to have had a nice race too. This was Mel's first 5K also. She'd never run a race longer than 1.5 miles, and never run more than 2 miles (twice, this week, with me). But I had no doubt she could handle it. While Sue & Mel did have to walk a little, they finished in about the amount of time I expected. Right at the end, Susan told Mel to take off for the finish. So technically, Mel beat her mom. 41:27 to 41:32. This was also a PR for Susan. The best part of it for her I think was that she felt so much better after this one than she did in her 2 5K's this summer. She felt strong at the finish. She could run the distance w/o walking, but sticking with Mel was a priority. I think Susan's got a sub-40 in her right now, and I think she thinks so too. I suspect she'd like to run another race soon and see. But it won't be the Egg Nog Jog on the 19th. That's in Mt. Adams, which means there might not be a flat section of longer than 0.1 miles throughout the entire race course. It's all hills out there. I will be running it. I mean, free egg nog after the race, at The Wine Cellar. How can you turn that down? You can't. I'm hoping it's "fully loaded" egg nog too. But soon, we'll get Susan into a race she can run and set a new PR.

So three PR's. Can't complain about that. That's a good, good day.

Saran Wrap on my feet?

Yeah, I actually tried this the other night. It was raining here in Cincinnati, at times pretty hard, but I really wanted to get out and put in a few miles. Well, a night or two before that my wife asked me if I'd ever wrapped my feet in Saran Wrap in order to help keep them dry. Apparently she's read this somewhere. I thought it was kinda silly to even consider when she first asked me. But now I was wanting to run, the rain was coming down, and it didn't seem like it was going to stop anytime soon. Maybe I need to consider this a little more seriously. Hmmmm......

I learned that wrapping your feet isn't all that easy, but I managed. I made sure to wrap beyond my toes, so I could fold the extra over, in order to help keep water from seeping in that way. I grabbed some old running shoes, and I slipped my foot into it. It kinda felt like I'd ripped through it. I took it out, looked it over, and realized I hadn't. Just a strange feeling.

I went out and tried to run through every puddle I could find. If I was going to test this, I might as well do it right. When you go through the puddle, you get this weird cold sensation from the water. But surprisingly, my foot didn't seem to be getting wet. Very cool! I ran 6 miles that night, and my shoes were soaked. But at no point could I feel any water squishing b/w my toes. When I got home, the Saran Wrap was still wrapped around my foot, and my socks were no more wet than normal. The real tell-tale sign for me was my skin. It didn't have the cold, wet, clammy feel to it. I actually think this worked. Well enough that I'll certainly do it again.

So that led me to wonder...why hasn't anyone invented "Saran Wrap booties" for runners to wear over their socks in rain & snow? I'm picturing a sock shaped baggie, with a piece of tape, like on baby diapers, at the top, to cinch around the lower leg to help keep water from coming in at the top. Or does such a product exist? Seems like it would. I can't possibly be creative enough to invent anything.

Dec 1, 2009

100th Thanksgiving 10K Turkey Trot

This past Thursday I ran in the 100th 10K Turkey Trot, in Cincinnati, Ohio. The biggest holiday 10K in the world...according to the organizers. There were over 17,000 runners registered, and it was a beautiful day to run. Sun was out, temps were in the 40's, and only a little bit of a breeze.

I'd gotten a message from my friend Lance, who lives down in Birmingham, Alabama, but has a wife who's from Cincy. He said that he'd be running it, and wanted to know if I wanted to run too. Sounded like a great idea to me, so we made plans to meet up and we'd have a nice run together. He's about to run the St. Jude Memphis Marathon on 12/5, so he wasn't looking to race this 10K, which was A-OK by me. I'm still not 100% recovered from running the marathon in Indy. I have good days, and I have days where my legs still fell fatigued. Thankfully, on this day, my legs felt very good. We planned to cruise around in around 8:30/mile, his planned marathon pace.

First mile was a little on the slow side, but not bad. The rest were all right about on pace. He asked if I wanted to kick it up a bit on the final mile or so, and I said whatever he wanted to run, I'd run right along side of him. I didn't have to worry about a marathon the following week. So we picked up the pace after mile 5. Felt good to stride out a bit and get that turnover. No sprinting, just a nice pickup. Effort level at around 7.5/10. Our splits were...

1...8:41
2...8:18
3...8:21
4...8:25
5...8:21
6...7:14

Finished in a time of 51:19 (8:18/mile). Had a great, great time. Lance picked my brain about what worked and didn't work at my marathon 2.5 weeks earlier, and I was happy to share. We talked about mutual friends, and family, and about how much we were looking forward to the rest of the day. I'd love to run this every year. It's so nice to get up early, get out in those crisp temperatures, and get a nice run in before going and eating like an idiot...which I totally did, and LOVED! =)

He we were at the finish. Happy as could be.



I normally race, and almost exclusively train, alone. And that's fine. I like it that way. I like getting out there to run, and being able to think and reflect on whatever I want to. But to go out for a friendly run, with friends, on a beautiful day, and share that experience is something I very much enjoy too. I hope to do this more often than I do. Matter of fact, this weekend is the Jingle Bell 5K Run. My wife is going to run with Melanie, her 10-year old daughter, and I'm going to run with a past co-worker who has recently taken running back up. He ran 3 consecutive miles for the first time last weekend, and I twisted his arm into signing up for the race. I'll be running alongside him. Can't wait.

Nov 24, 2009

2 weeks post marathon

Not a great 2 weeks. Haven't run much, which is probably good. 17-18 miles the first week, 20-21 this past week. This week I'd like to get in the 30-35 range, especially considering all the food I plan to eat. =)

Knees have ached a fair amount since the race. I expected perhaps the left one would, but even my right one has. Sometimes more than the left! That's part of the reason I've been trying to take it easy.

Upcoming races include the 100th Annual Cincinnati 10K Turkey Trot, and perhaps a 5K the week after. Depends on whether my wife and step-daughter decide to run.

On a non-running related note, I now have my real estate license back. We'll see how that goes. Not the best time to try to get back into the game, but it beats sitting at home, day after day, tooling around the house, goofing around on the computer all day, and trying to decide when to get off my ass to go run. And it certainly beats endlessly searching for jobs on websites, sending resumes all over the place, wondering if anyone will actually look at it, let alone consider me for a position.

Gonna be an interesting holiday season at the Davey household. Very interesting indeed.

Nov 16, 2009

Indy Monumental Marathon - Race Report

About time I got this report posted. Sorry in advance for it's length.

On Friday morning, at around 10 AM, my wife and I loaded the car, and left for Indianapolis. I was beginning to wonder if WE'D ever get out the door. I knew I was going, the question was whether or not Susan would be able to go. She'd been battling with the flu, and a bad case of chest & sinus congestion. She bought some OTC medication to try and help it, but unfortunately, it made her feel even worse. She was having some side effects to the meds and was wondering if she should go at all. As much as I wanted her there, she was REALLY struggling. I didn't want her to feel pressure to go, if it was best for her to stay home. But we figured so long as she didn't take anymore of the meds, and waited for them to wear off, she'd be OK. So she made the trip.

We arrived in Indy at around noon. Had a little trouble finding the hotel, but no big deal. Now, I had e-mailed the hotel and requested a late check-out, just so I could grab a quick shower after the race, before heading home. No problem, they said. My reservation had been set to indicate I had this late check-out time promised to me. When we arrive to check-in, I remind the desk clerk that I have a 2PM check-out, and she says, “Nope. Sorry. We can't accommodate that.” I tell her I have an e-mail, from an employee there at the hotel, guaranteeing it for me. She says that it doesn't matter, they can't accommodate any more late check-outs, and so no way am I getting one. I'm floored, and angry. But it is clear that there is no way I'm winning this battle with this lady. So I ask if they have showers in the fitness room that I can use after the race, and I'm told absolutely they do. OK, fine. Not what I wanted, but it'll do. I'll complain later. For the time being, I just want to get checked in, and get some food. While at lunch, I look up the e-mail, and respond back (she had also cc'd her supervisor, so I made sure she got my e-mail too) about how disappointed I was with what had just happened. I'd hoped perhaps she'd respond and ask me to stop by the desk. No luck.

We go to lunch, come back to the hotel, and Susan decides to take a nap, hoping she'll feel better when she wakes up. I go down to the lobby and tool around on the laptop. As I'm sitting there, I hear lots of folks get told that they can't get a late check-out, but that there are showers in the fitness area. Now I begin to wonder how many people are going to be vying for these showers. So I go to check it out. LOL. They have a family restroom in there, and a SINGLE shower. That's it. One shower. OMG, I'm really upset now, so I go right back to the registration desk, and I know exactly the two people I want to ask for. One of them is going to hear how unhappy I am. Next thing I know, a guy comes out and asks how he can help. I tell him my name and my situation, and it's clear he already knows exactly what this about. They say they couldn't give us the 2PM check-out b/c of the room we are in (the Houston Texans were coming into town the next day, and they needed the room). But if they could move us, they then could give us the 2PM check-out. Well, duh. OF COURSE that will work. Would that have been such a tough thing for Little-Miss-I-Don't-Care-Who-You-Got-an-E-mail-From to do?!? So I go tell Susan, who'd just woken up, that we need to repack, and move rooms. They then put us in a room on the opposite side of the floor. We think to ourselves how can this be right? Seriously? Opposite side of the elevators, and we're all good? Whatever.

At this point, my dad is now with us, and we're getting ready to leave to meet some friends for dinner. While Susan is getting ready, dad & I go to Shula's Steakhouse and have a drink at the bar. Immediately, Susan calls and says I need to come upstairs immediately. WTF?!? Manager is there saying they AGAIN put us in the wrong room. Now they put us up on the club level and, for sure, we are good until 2PM. Our room was identical, but we had access to a small lounge area, with couches and TV's, a bar at night, water bottles & snacks 24/7, breakfast in the morning. OK, fine. Whatever. So long as this is the last time we have to move, I'll be happy.

We leave for the Broad Ripple area to meet Kirk & Alissa for dinner. We get little turned around trying to find the place, but finally we do. Some little French cafe called Cafe Patachou. Broad Ripple is a very nice area, trendy. Dinner was great. The most sickeningly, delicious mashed potatoes I've ever had. Not exactly the best pre-race meal, but it wasn't too bad otherwise. After dinner, we drop off my dad at his hotel, and head back to our room. Time to sleep. Sorta.

Sleep wasn't easy. I probably woke up every hour. I was actually relieved to have my watch start beeping and tell me it was time to start getting ready. I had planned for about 45-50 minutes to get up, get dressed, eat a little food, and drink a little coffee before meeting my dad downstairs in the lobby. All things were running smoothly until I was ready to walk out the door. I suddenly realized I wasn't wearing my Garmin. I know I'd laid it out the night before with all my gear. I'd even seen it that morning. But suddenly, I couldn't find it. So I rifled through my gym bag, throwing stuff all over the place. Couldn't find it! Son of a...!!! I go back to the chair I'd put my clothes on the night before, and there it was. It had somehow gotten wedged in b/w the back of the chair and the seat cushion. WHEW! OK, time to get downstairs and warm up.

Warmed up for about 20-25 minutes with some light stretching, easy jogging, and then made my way to the start area. Weather was really nice...downtown. Couldn't feel the wind. And what wind there was, was mostly in our back as we headed out the city. Things seemed to be organized fairly well. I worked my way over to the 4-hour pace group and tried to get inside the barriers to find a spot. But I literally couldn't get in. The area they had for the start was apparently a little small, and so I had to wait outside the metal barricades until after the gun went off,. As people started moving forward, hundreds of others, like me, tried file into the mob of runners. Fortunately, I was right up against the entrance to the start area, so I had little trouble. But you could see, and hear, others complaining about not being able to get into the flow. But finally, I made it to the starting mat, I started my watch, and I was off!

First several miles where pretty crowded. Through 2 miles, I felt boxed in the entire way. But in a way, I didn't mind too much b/c I wanted to make sure I didn't go blasting out from the start. I hit 3 miles in 27:31, which was perfect. Right after the 3-mile mark, we got to a section of the course where the DOT had set up these 5-foot high traffic barricades, blocking off the entire street! WTF?!? Who is the idiot that set these up when there's a freakin' marathon going through? There were gaps b/w them about 2-people wide. So we all had to funnel through them, or go around them on the sidewalks. If you were like me, and somewhere near the center of the street, there was no choice but to slowly make my way through. The next few miles were fairly uneventful. I hit the 10K mark in 56:36.

At around mile 7-8, some woman started chatting with me and that helped the next few miles go quickly. It was at about this time that we started noticing a spectator who was cheering wildly for everyone who ran by. Nothing weird about that. What was weird is that he kept popping up all over the course! You'd see him, half a mile later, there he was again. And again. And again. No bike, no roller blades, nothing. He just kept getting from spot to spot faster than we were! After about the 5th time, I started getting a little irritated. OK, not really, but damn. Lace up the shoes, and get a bib number dude.

Ran as comfortably as I could have hoped all the way to the halfway point, which I reached in 1:58:13. I was really happy with that. Exactly the pace I was looking to be at. But as soon as we turned to head back to the city, the wind that was coming out of the west-southwest really hit us in the face. No more protection of the downtown buildings. But I continued to run well. I reached 30K at 2:49:05, and knocked out miles 13-23 at 8:59/mile, over than span. I had a near disaster just short of the 20-mile mark. It was time for me to take my Endurolyte capsules, which I had in a small sandwich bag, tucked into the waist-pocket on the inside of my shorts. Took the capsules, then went to put the bag back into the pocket. As I'm looking down to see what I'm doing, I run dead-smack into a pylon in the road! I stumble badly and damn near face plant. OMG, scared me to death. Thankfully, I managed to keep my balance. Some guy running next to me asked me if I was OK, which I was, and we proceeded to run together and chat from mile 20 to mile 22.

I made it to 23.1 miles (5K to go) in 3:29-ish. I'd completed the second stage of my race plan and I was right where I wanted to be. Now on to the final part of my plan. After getting to “5K-to-go-mark” at a nice, comfortable pace, I simply wanted to run the final 5K with whatever I had in the tank. Here's where I would lay it all out, and empty the tank. I felt really good. And as soon as I thought to myself, “Here we go!”, both of my calves started to twitch and spasm a bit. I had to make a decision here, and I decided to hold off on stepping on the gas pedal for a minute or two, and see what happens. Sure enough, they started spasming again. At this point, I knew throwing the hammer down wasn't going to happen. So I decided to try and just keep running steady splits, like I had been. Unfortunately, that wasn't possible either. They kept spasming. Not so as powerfully as they did in the spring, but strongly enough that I knew I was going to have to incorporate walking breaks to get to the finish as efficiently as possible. It was while I was walking that I began to realize that I was having some tightness/soreness in my left hip too. I kept trying to apply pressure to it with my fist to help, but it was temporary relief. So I did the best I could to run & walk. Mile 24 wasn't too bad, but the 25th is when I really knew my calves were going to prevent me from getting in under 4 hours. The final 2.2-ish were really uncomfortable.

I say “ish” b/c there's some real question as to the true distance of the course. It was a topic on the Runner's World forum. I know for sure that my watch was barely off through 20 miles. After that, I paid less attention to it. When I got into downtown, it lost the signal temporarily, so my watch distance should have been less than what I actually ran. But when I load the run into Sportstracks, it adjusts for the distance covered, and since I made no turns during that stretch, it should have adjusted correctly. When my watch hit its 25th split, Sportstracks says I'd covered 25.07 miles. No problem. At the 26th split, the software says 26.23. Hmmmm. And then it says it covered another 0.76 miles, for a total of 26.99?!? Others on the RW forum have distances in the 26.5-26.9 range too. I'm not getting hung up on this though because I know my final 5K was crazy slow, and that I have plenty of work to do. No problem.

Ultimately, I covered the final 5K in about 37-38 minutes, and finished in 4:07:53. Once again, cardio fatigue was a non-issue. I had gas in the tank, I just didn't have the wheels to allow me to use it.

Indy was a very nice race, and I'm glad I went. The weather played some tricks on me. The forecast was for a cool (mid-40's), windy morning that turned into a mid-50's & windy day. I chose to wear shorts and long sleeve technical shirt. It got up in to the mid-60's later in the morning, and at that point, I was wishing I had a short sleeved shirt on. Still, I wasn't terribly uncomfortable, just a little.

The plan for the remainder of '09? 10K Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning with a friend from Alabama, 5K Jingle Bell Run the week or two after that with my wife & step-daughter, and nothing but easy running otherwise. The backs of my knees have been achy since the race, so I'm trying to rest, which is very difficult for me. I managed to not run on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday or Saturday. This week, I'll pick it up a bit, but not much.

Now that I've finished my first marathon, I've learned some things:

1) I have a lot room for improvement, and I now have a base time to work off of and improve on.

2) My calves still need plenty of work. When it happens once, I can say was a fluke. Twice is an issue. Gotta be diligent about stretching & self-massage to help loosen them up.

3) This is kind weird...as much as I like races, I realize how much I LOVE the training. I think I prefer training. I'll keep racing, for sure. They're fun. But the grind of training gives me that everyday sense of accomplishment that I thirst for.

4) Just finishing, even if I don't finish strong, or hit a goal, or whatever, just finishing is enough for me to avoid the post-marathon blues. I'm anxious to start to training again. I want to figure out what race to run next so I can get back after it. My mental outlook is just so much better right now than after the Flying Pig.

So now it's time to enjoy the holidays, and make it to 2010 healthy. By then I hope to have a target race, or races, and a training schedule in place. And maybe finally a podcast episode? More on that later.

Nov 4, 2009

Greatest Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe Ever, Nestle+1+1+1


I saw Funnyrunner's latest blog entry and I was immediately reminded of something I love to share with people...my chocolate chip cookie recipe. Yeah, yeah. I know. Everybody has one. Well, so do I. And with the holidays around the corner, I thought I'd share my version. So here goes...

Makes 1 batch:
Get a bag of Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chips. Follow the recipe on the back, verbatim. SCREEEEEEEEECH!!!! Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Stop the bus! The Toll House cookie recipe? Surely, I must be joking, right? Actually, no. Start with that recipe. Trust me.

But now I have a confession to make. I'm not particularly fond of the Toll House recipe. At all. Yet, I still use it here. So for me to use a recipe I don't even like must tell you that what I am about to suggest you do it must be pretty darn good. And it's very easy to remember. To the Nestle recipe add 1, plus 1, plus 1.

What are the 1's? 1 EXTRA egg, 1 EXTRA cup of flour, 1 regular box of instant pudding mix. Not the large box, the regular/small one. And it must be instant. I believe it is a 3.9 oz. box. Personally, my favorite to use is French Vanilla. But you can use whatever flavor you'd like to have in your cookie. I kinda think I'd avoid lemon, or pistachio. Vanilla is good, chocolate was fine. But French Vanilla wins in my house. And since I make 'em, I get to pick the flavor.

That's it. Follow everything else the recipe says to do. How simple is that?

How do these cookies differ from you'd normally get? They don't bake thin, they aren't hard, dry or crispy. I prefer soft, moist, cookies with the outside ever so slightly crunchy. And that's what you get with this recipe. They bake in nearly identically the shape they go into the oven in, i.e. they barely spread. And the inside is pure soft, chewy goodness. Just the edges crisp up. Just enough to provide that contrast in texture that I'm looking for.

When I make them, I always double-batch it. I know better than to think one batch will last more than 2 days. I've always had great reviews, and am often asked for my recipe. When I tell them what it is, I always get the same reaction..."That's it?!? That's all you do?" Uh...yeah. What can I say? Simple is good. And this is a simple tweak, to a simple recipe, that (IMO) greatly improves the finished product.

Try it, and let me know what you think.

72 hours away

Getting so close to race day. I'm ready. Trying to stay calm, not overthink it, not make it more than it is. But I really wish it was Saturday, not Wednesday.

Arriving somewhere b/w 11-12, will check to see if can get into hotel room, then go to expo. After that, my dad will have likely arrived by then, so we'll go find him. I think we should go the start/end of the course and scope it out for where my dad can easily get to, and perhaps figure out what he can do while I'm running miles 4-24. Susan will be trying to see me at other spots on the course, and there's no way he'd be able to keep up. Then at 6PM we'll be meeting some friends who live in Indy for dinner, which will be fun. Not sure where we're heading, but I'm sure I'll be a good boy. Light dinner, no more than 1 glass of wine (if that). With an 8AM race start, I'd like to get to the start area around 7AM so I can warmup properly. So that means get to bed b/w 9-10PM the night before. Any earlier than that, I'll have a lousy night's sleep. I'll wake up at around 4:30-5AM to quickly eat a small breakfast, and then lay back down until it's time to head out.

Weather forecast looks great. Currently...sunny, low 48, high 63, 10% chance of rain. That would be short sleeve shirt weather! I was expecting to wear long sleeves. I actually prefer long sleeves. But I certainly won't complain.

Knee continues to feel better as I rest, and run fewer miles over the last 2 weeks. I'm encouraged by that.

I'll be tweeting periodically (at the same time as I text my wife to let her know how I'm doing so she can know when/where to expect to see me). Feel free to follow me. I'm rich_davey. I protect tweets, to help avoid all the spam that seems to be going through lately. But send a request to follow me, and if you are clearly not a spammer, I'll approve it.

Oct 29, 2009

8 days and counting

I am not far away from race day. Ready to get it done. My knee is feeling MUCH better, but still not 100%. I'm being quite careful with it. My diet has been better the past 2 weeks and I feel really good. Everything is booked. And as a surprise, my father is going to drive to Indy from Lima, OH and join us. That means a lot to me. As much as I tried to downplay my disappointment from my Flying Pig DNF, I think he knows how crushed I was about it. So he has decided to come in on Friday and watch the race. No small feat for a guy who's been suffering from Parkinson's Disease for the past 7-8 years. He doesn't get around great anymore, but he does manage without help. It's slow, but it's better than not at all. So to see him AND my wife cheering me on will be great. I'm really looking forward to it.

FTR, tapering sucks. I hate not being able to go run for as long as I want. These 5-6 mile runs seem to be over before they even start. I'll do 8-10 on Saturday, so that'll be OK, but still not the same. I understand the idea behind a taper period, and I'm not going to argue with it, but the longer I go without a good, long run, the more doubt creeps into my brain. I don't want to go out for a "nice, little run". I want to go RUN! Just run, and decide on my own when to stop. To be able to just keep going, on those days when I feel great. Ya know? I hope Saturday gets a little of that anxiousness out of my system.

Hope everyone is running well & feeling well, whether gearing up for a race, recovering from one, or just out there hitting the roads.

Oct 19, 2009

Time to rest, and get healthy

60.32 miles this week. My biggest ever. I'll be around 40-42 this week. Can't believe 40 miles sounds like a nice break. Never imagined that would be the case when I first started all of this, 2.5 years ago.

Had 1-hour leg massage today. I swear there were times where I wondered "how in the hell is this supposed to feel good?!?" Granted, the only other time I'd had a leg massage, I'd just finished a race the day before, and suggested she take it easy on me. Not this time. The weirdest moments are when you can't tell if it feels good, or if it hurts. It would actually make me laugh as I tried to figure out which I was feeling. The best part was when she worked my hips/glutes. She'd press a particular spot, presumably where some nerve was, and I'd feel this tingling rush of "warmth" all the way down to the arch of my foot. Very weird. Pressure points are cool, and painful, all in one. LOL. Right now, calves are really sore, which I expected, so I'm wearing my Zensah sleeves all day, and will probably sleep with them on too. Other than that, a true rest day. Haven't had a complete day of total rest in a long time. 2 rest days this week (today, and most likely Friday).

Knee feels better today too. Or maybe it's my calves making me forget that my knee was hurting at all?

Oct 17, 2009

Final, true, high mileage week before Indy Monumental Marathon

Ran my last true long run today, 22 miles. I knew after about 8 that it was going to be a difficult run. I wasn't running too fast, or too slow. I had a fair amount of fatigue in my legs, particularly my quads. I just didn't seem to have much energy for some reason. At 13.5 miles, I really wanted to call my wife to come pick me up and chalk it up to a bad day. I didn't NEED this run, I just WANTED this run. So I didn't call in. Bad day? Yeah. But not nearly such a bad day that I couldn't finish this stupid run. So I decided this was gut-check time. Struggle through it, and feel good afterward that I did, or quit, and wish I had at least tried to finish. At around 16 miles, I felt better, but still not great. At 20.6, I was right in front of my house. Hmmm, tempting. But I ran by it to the entrance of the subdivision (exactly 0.7 miles away) and back, and I was done. Whew.

Last week's 20-miler felt great, and I ran that at 9:13/mile. This one felt awful, and I ran it at 9:19/mile. Eh. Different days, different results. That's how it goes.

So after I run an easy 6 miles tomorrow, I'll have had (my first) 60-mile week. WOW! Next week, I'll look to run 40-42 miles, then begin my 2-week taper.

My one concern is my left knee. I've been pretty quiet about this, b/c I don't want to start sounding like I'm whining. But it's been sore the past few weeks, and I'm not 100% sure why. I have my suspicions though.

At indoor soccer several weeks ago, a guy took a bad, cheap shot at me from behind, and went straight for my left knee. I swear to God, I was ready to deck him! I got thru the game without noticing any knee issues. But then, it started to hurt, just like it does when you've torn an ACL. That makes me nervous as hell! Since then, the pain has flared up here & there, usually after I play soccer. But I've had no swelling, and when I go thru my strength & stability exercises from my rehab days, I can do them with no issues. So that at least gives me hope that I haven't (partially) torn it, and that it's perhaps just a sprain that needs rest (no time for that know though). That being said, this past Tuesday (soccer is on Monday), it hurt like mad! I had very little range of motion w/o pain, and had to cut my Tuesday run short. Each day since, it has hurt less & less. I've been icing it a lot, taking ibuprofen, etc. The forward motion of running hasn't been much of an irritant. I think the stopping, cutting, change of direction stuff at soccer does aggravate it. So I'm taking a soccer hiatus (which I hate to do) until at least after my race. Hopefully by then it'll be pain free, and I can play soccer again, and determine if that's what's causing this. If it is, then that'll be it for me & soccer. As much as I love to play, if I have to choose running or soccer, it's an easy decision at this point. The other possibility is that I have a case of runner's knee. The symptoms of that seem similar enough to what I'm feeling that I can't rule that out. And the fact that I can put in the miles I have lately, with no swelling, just some occasional, mostly minor pain, really leads me to think it's more likely runner's knee than a torn ACL.

Other than that, I seem to be OK. On Monday morning, I'm going in for a 1-hour massage of my legs. That couldn't be coming at a better time. I'm looking forward to it. But she might make me cry like a baby too. LOL.

I think I have all my gear issues figured out, just need to see what the weather will actually be like that day. Booked our hotel room. Great location. Literally about 1 block south of the start/finish. Now I just need to get there as healthy as possible.

Oct 10, 2009

My review of Zensah's compression leg sleeves


So today was my time running in these. I'm doing so because of what happened to me at the Flying Pig this spring, i.e. severe calf spams starting at mile 14 that finally stopped me at mile 22.

My first impressions (pre-run):
1) very comfortable, but was worried if I'd feel like I was roasting in them
2) expected them to be more snug than they actually were, but was happy with that
3) didn't feel self-conscious at all in them (I like to think I have a pretty strong self-image)

My impressions in-run:
1) never felt too warm, in fact, felt good how they kept my calves at a great temp (ran in mid-50's weather)
2) couldn't even tell I had them on
3) I was so relaxed, it almost seemed like my calf & shin weren't even there, and that was a good thing, if a little weird

My impressions post-run:
1) quite simply, I'm impressed as hell
2) I'm normally mildly sore in my calves after such long runs. Today, they feel great, as if I'd run 3 miles instead of 20

Truth is, I can't find a single negative thing to say about them. I'm thrilled with them and wish I'd tried them sooner. Now I'm wishing I'd bought more than just the one pair. So, if you have calf or shin issues, I'd recommend these highly. About $40 for 2 sleeves.

Oct 9, 2009

WWFOR


LAST CALL!!!!! Sign up at http://www.worldwidefestivalofraces.com/cgi-bin/home, find somewhere to run, lace 'em up, and get out there. You know you want to. I know I'm in!

Oct 8, 2009

Hey, Indianapolis! ARE...YOU...READY?!?

On November 7th, I come to you ready to run. I come with a lot of excitement, a lot of anticipation, and a lot eagerness. I also come to you humbled, nervous, and with an "appropriate" amount of trepidation. I respect you, but I do not fear you. Yes, you have the ability to defeat me, but I think I have the ability to overcome. I will not arrive with any sense of arrogance or cockiness. I have a healthy dose of respect for the challenge you present. I do not look to embarrass you, so I hope you do not embarrass me. I'm once defeated in this quest to officially be called a marathoner, and it has haunted me since. I've finally picked myself back up and I now look to make my mark on your streets. I do so with dignity & honor. I do not look to make an example of you, but rather I hope you will help me make an example of myself. I am ready to scratch, fight and claw my way to the finish line. And when it's all said and done, I hope we can be friends. Because this time, if I'm fortunate enough to finish, you will be the place that holds that very special place in my heart. My first marathon.

So, are you ready? Because I can tell you...I am.

HERE I COME!

Oct 3, 2009

Can I do anything right?

Seriously.

This morning I go out for my long run. 4:30AM, I'm out there, ready to throw down 18 miles. Proud as hell of myself that I got up at this ungodly hour. Ready to run, no less. So I decide this is a perfect time to make an in-run recording. Now, the other day I go out and do something I think will be a smart move, and buy rechargeable AAA batteries for my recorder. Yeah, that's thinking, Rich. You are one smart cookie. Devilishly handsome too I might add, but that's not important right now. I pop one battery out of the charger, and I'm off. I record during my 1st lap of 6 miles. As I get close to home, where I'll be stopping quickly to replace my water bottle, I think to myself that I was very happy with I'd recorded. Very usable stuff, in my opinion. I'm stoked. I get home, pop in the new bottle, and decide to swap mic for headphones, so I can listen to SOME REAL PROS do a podcast. As I go to select a podcast, I realize that the "Low Battery" is flashing at me. WTF?!? I'd had that battery sitting in the charger for the last 2-3 days, to prepare for today. OMG, I'm pissed off.

So I now take off for Lap #2 in a very foul mood, and with nothing to listen to (iPod is in the foyer, and I didn't want to startle my wife & step-daughter at that hour by opening the door and having the dogs go crazy), and nothing to speak into. But during the lap, I manage to settle down, I finish the lap, and now I do run in quickly to grab my iPod, and listen to something during Lap #3. Run ends, I'm feeling great, but I'm wondering about my "recording". Unfortunately, I have a very busy day, barely have time to shower & change before we're out the door for the day. We get home at 6PM. I watch the end of the Notre Dame game (GO IRISH!). And now, I grab my computer, and recorder.

I pull up the recording I made, curious as to how much of it I actually did get down. I'm thinking I had to have gotten quite a bit. I'd settle for 30 minutes. What do I see? 4m 2sec. What?!? 4m 2sec?!? All that good podcast material I thought I'd laid down, and all I have the first 4 freakin' minutes of it?

I check the charger, make sure it was in an outlet that worked, that didn't cut power when you flip the light switch off. Check. Everything seemed fine. What happened? I have no idea. Are the batteries bad? No idea. I'm recharging them again now, and will test very, VERY THOROUGHLY before recording again. Otherwise, I guess I'll just be dropping coin on regular AAA batteries from now on. I'm getting very fed up with the delays I keep running into. Or am I causing them, because I'm just that stupid? A little of column A, a a little of column B, is my guess. But I'm tired of it. And really disappointed. I was so proud of what I thought I'd recorded.

I'm in complete meltdown mode right now. No sharp objects, no high ledges for me until.....Tuesday, I think.

Sep 30, 2009

My running has picked up in a big way

Well, for as bad a month as August was running-wise, September was good. The weather cooled off, and I warmed up. I ran 27 times, for a total of 197.4 miles...my biggest month to date. I'd have easily topped 200, except that I wasn't feeling well on Sunday, and instead of going for my 18-mile long run, I bagged it altogether and took a rest day, and made last week my "drop-down" week. So now that I've rested, time to fire it back up.

Unrelated note...podcasting is hard. Very hard. Those of you out there who do it either have an incredible innate skill, have developed an amazing talent, or both. I fear I have neither. But I am coming to appreciate those that I listen to more & more as I go through this process. I've recorded, erased, recorded again, deleted, and recorded some more. At this point, the only thing I think I have that I like, is the intro. After that, I've got nothing. So my plan now is this...I think the first episode or two will essentially be my introduction to this genre, how I got here, why I ran then, and why I run now. Along the way I'll talk about the path I took. Fortunately, much of this is already documented in a discussion thread on a discussion board I've been a part of for years. It was there that I started writing about my journey, mainly to make myself accountable to my peers. Some of whom happened to be friends in real life. I'm also jotting down ideas as I think of them and hoping to expand on them for the future. Perhaps I'm being too hard on myself. I probably am. But that's OK. I do that a lot. I can't help myself. Sometimes it's good, sometimes it's bad. But it's me.

I'm looking to keep them in the 25-45 minute range, maybe twice a month. Just a gut feeling to what I'll do. But getting this first one at is proving much more difficult than I anticipated. And I'm not yet sure I now how to use my mp3 editing software. I'm just hoping it's as easy as the website said it was. Knowing me, it won't be.

I continue to be unemployed and it's really getting to me at this point. I never once imagined myself to be unemployable. But that's what I've become it seems. My math & stats degree, combined with 11 years of professional business experience (P&C actuarial work) and 3 years of real estate sales, not doing me whole heckuva lot of good. Getting hired into something that represents a career change for me isn't exactly what companies are looking for right now, even if I am willing to essentially start back at square one. So it's looking like it's time to get the ol' real estate license back and starting pounding the pavement, selling homes. I hear the market is great! What luck!   But I was with a broker who will have me back, and it's essentially self-employment after that. I'll make out of it, what I put into it. But I know I'll need to put a lot more in now, to get the same out, than I did 8 years ago. Still, it's work, it's a potential living, I actually did enjoy doing it, and I'm thinking I need that in bad way right now. Now I just need to retake the damn exams. Oh, bother.

Sep 20, 2009

My podcasting begins.....tomorrow?

My mic has been shipped, and is at the local UPS facility. I assume they'll deliver tomorrow. It damn well better work right! Now I really need to get something well thought out, so I'm not stuttering constantly, trying to figure out what to say.

Last 2 weeks of running have been really solid. Just over 50 miles last week, will be at around 51 this week (after I get my recovery run in tonight). Finally feel like I'm getting my legs back. Back to back 50-mile weeks...I would have expected to have some soreness. Or at least a real sense of dead legs. None. Nothin'. So that really pleases me.

Have also added outdoor soccer to my mix of training. I've been playing indoor, every Monday night, for a while now. I finally got invited to play on their outdoor team that plays on Sunday. I love playing outdoor. So much more enjoyable. Won last week, 5-4, after starting in a 3-0 hole. Lost today in the rain, 6-4. Still, lots of fun. That has caused me to change my long runs from Sunday to Saturday. I always preferred Sunday, but I don't think I do anymore. Saturday is good. Get it done, get on with all the stuff we always have going on on the weekend. Plus, it makes it easier to know that the next day is a nice, easy run to wrap up the week.

This past Saturday, I ran with the CCFA Team Challenge folks, who are preparing for the Rock n' Roll Las Vegas Half-Marathon. Lots of people signed up. What a surprise! Las Vegas! That would be an awful race for me. I'd never go to bed before the race. I'd be sitting at a poker or blackjack table telling myself, "Just 5 more minutes, and I'll head back to my room". But it would never happen, and before I'd know it, it'd be time to toe the line. Good luck to everyone running, and more importantly, raising badly needed funds for the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation. I hope to join you all again sometime soon.

Next week...probably gonna do another higher-mileage week (52-53), before dropping down for a "rest week" of 30-35. So Monday, indoor soccer & weight training session. Tuesday-Thursday, good middle distance runs, Friday a 5-mile recovery run, Saturday I'm think 17-18. Sunday is outdoor soccer and 5-mile recovery run later that night. The only thing that might change this plan is if I decide to run the state-to-state half marathon, starting in Oxford, OH. But I doubt that I will.

So, I'm really looking forward to this week. Lots of good running, a little bad podcasting. But I gotta start somewhere, learn, and get better at it.

Sep 13, 2009

Lessons learned.

1) When buying a microphone for recorder, make sure the mic doesn't need to have a button held constantly while you are recording. Argh. I didn't realize that when I tried to record on Saturday, and didn't figure it out until tonight!

2) I'm going to need at least an outline of things I'm going to talk about. Otherwise, there's long pauses in the conversation.

3) Do an intro and outro while not running. That way, the in-run portion can be shorter and more concise.

So now I need to go find a mic that can be switched on, instead of needing to be held on. My recorder is a Sony, and there's a Sony store at a mall nearby. Will check there. Otherwise, I found a mic, recommended in the recorder's manual, online at Amazon.com. I can always just order that, I guess. But I want to see it first, to make sure I don't make the same mistake twice.

Growing pains. Fun.

Sep 12, 2009

Game on!

Well, I pulled the trigger and bought a recorder and portable, clip-on microphone, so I can record while I run. Question is, will I have the courage to post my recordings on here so anyone who wants to hear me, can? I've gone this far. Might as well go all the way. Got a 15-miler on the schedule for today. Seems like as good a time as any to give it a whirl. Question is, will I know what to do afterward? I've never recorded myself, I've never posted a recording of any kind, and I don't think I can edit the recording directly off the recorder. Will need to do a little research to try and find a decent editing software. Any suggestions out there?

Sep 4, 2009

To podcast, or not to podcast. That is the question.

I've given starting a podcast some thought over the past few months. Why? Because I have anything interesting to say? Because I have something of value to say? Because I think anybody will listen? No, no, and no. Basically...just cuz. I have no idea what I'd talk about, how often I'd do it, how to do it, what I'd need to do it, etc., etc., etc. You get the picture. So why? Well, I talk to myself a lot on my runs. I often find that I'm telling myself to try and remember something after my run. But I never do. I feel like I've gone through a lot in the past 2.5 years that I think some people might get something from, but I have no idea if that's true or not. I keep a running journal, where after every run I write down my thoughts about that run. Did I feel good? Did I overdo a recovery run? Do I like the route I'm taking? So recording my runs could be my "in-the-moment" journal. And if I go so far as to record myself, why not let others listen, if they're so inclined? But I have some problems.

1) I'm technically incompetent.
2) I have no idea what to look for in an mp3 recorder.
3) I have no idea what to look for in a microphone.
4) Even if I recorded something, I have no idea what software to use to edit it, or how to edit it.
5) Blogging is easy in comparison. Podcasting, to me, is like jumping into the deep end of the pool when you don't even know how to tread water.

I'm sure there are other issues I've thought of during my runs, but like I said before, I can't remember stuff afterward. And yet, despite all these roadblocks, I still want to do it. Now make no mistake, I have no delusions of being the next Steve Runner, or Stuart, or Gordon, or Kevin, or Chris, or Adam, or any of the other great podcasters I listen to. I may be stupid, but I'm not THAT stupid. I can't do what they do. But I can't do what Ryan Hall or Kara Goucher do either. Yet, that doesn't stop me from running and entering races, right? I run & race for me. So maybe, doing a recording/podcast is just like that. I'll talk and record, for me. Just cuz.

So at some point, I'll probably do this. I'd like it to be sooner, as opposed to later. I just need to figure out what to buy to get started, and where to get it. I've heard of the iRiver, but when I go to their site, I get kinda intimidated b/c I don't understand what all the features, and bells & whistles, are. And then I quickly get frustrated, and say that I'll check again some other day when I have more patience for it. I've done this about 20 times now. LOL.

What I should do...is bribe Kevin from The Extra Mile podcast. He lives only about 4 miles from me. I've thought that I should call his show, ask him to meet me for dinner & a beer somewhere (on me, of course), and pick his brain. Better yet, ask him to order something that he would consider acceptable for a newbie, and then just give him the cash for it. It's a thought. I just don't want to bother him with my petty issues. Plus, it just seems like the kind of thing I should go through myself. Gotta learn somehow.

Anyway, still pondering....

Sep 3, 2009

Finally starting to feel like myself again

Last week, I had to leave town and wasn't going to be able to run over the weekend. I ran on Thursday, and then didn't get to again until this past Tuesday. I felt disgusting before I got out there, but DAMN it felt good to run. Kept it very easy, nice & slow, for 5 miles. Then I went out yesterday for another 5 miles. Again, felt really good. This morning, 8.7 miles. The first 4 miles felt as easy as any run has felt in a long time. Got home, and I was so happy. It was a strong run, where I felt fresh the whole way. God, I love that!

Now, I'm absolutely convinced that a big part of this is the weather. We've had a few days in a row of nice, sunny, cool weather. And you just can't beat the feeling of walking out the door to run, and knowing that you aren't going to suffer in the heat & humidity. It literally psyches me up before I even turn the Garmin on. I know there'll be some hot, sticky days still. But now that it's September I really hope we've turned the corner. I'm ready to do some serious running.

But serious running to do what? My initial goal was to run the Indy Monumental marathon. Not sure I'm going to do that now. Not that far away, and I just don't think I can be ready in time. My other thought was to race a half marathon in September, another in October, and one in November. Which ones? No idea. Just pick a weekend that looks like it'll be nice out, and sign-up last minute. Yeah, it'll cost a little extra, but that's OK. I'll have the flexibility of running on a great weekend, of my choosing, or not at all, if the weather/my schedule doesn't work out. The last option is Memphis. A friend of mine in Birmingham is planning to run there on 12/5. I could see myself doing that too. It's far enough out that I can be ready for it, and it's not so far away that I could drive there, as opposed to fly. We'll see. Never been to Memphis. Sounds like fun.

And my friends at the CCFA are starting up their training for the Las Vegas Rock n' Roll Half Marathon. Good luck everybody. I'm sure I'll make it out to a few Saturday morning runs with you. Always nice to see everybody.

Aug 27, 2009

My running partner today.

It's been a bit of a slow week so far. Had some very sore legs after my Monday night strength workout and soccer game. But today, I finally started feeling better and so I decided to make it a two-a-day.

This little guy was in the middle of the road during my morning run.



Didn't want him to get hit. Looked like he'd already taken some damage a while back (right, front claw missing). So I ran back home with him, then took him to a nearby creek and sent him on his way. C'ya, buddy!

On my evening run, I ran by the spot I left him. He was long gone. Dude could move pretty good for having bum front foot! ;)

Aug 22, 2009

The difference a day makes

Two days ago, I bitched, and moaned, and complained some more about the heat & humidity and the effect it was having on my perceived fitness level. Now, I know it affects us and makes us feel more fatigued, it slows us down, and just makes getting through workouts all the tougher. Add to that the fact that I've just never been a "get up at 5AM runner, to beat the heat" kind of guy, and it basically makes the affect of the heat even worse. Truth is, I wish I was a 5AM guy. I really admire those folks who can do that. I want to be that guy. I often go to bed telling myself that if I wake up on my own anytime between 5-7AM, just get up, throw on the shoes, and go get that run in. On the rare days that I have done that (usually more out of necessity b/c we have a very full day planned) I have enjoyed those runs immensely. But it's just not in me to do consistently. Not yet, anyway. Maybe some day.

My issue, and it's entirely mental, is that the last week or so has me really questioning myself. I expected my runs to be slow, tough slogs through the heat. But not THAT slow & tough! Combine that with a stretch of less than pristine diet, and WHAM! Self-doubt about your true conditioning levels.

That led to my post on the 20th. Funnyrunner was kind enough to post an encouraging comment. But more importantly, she referenced an article in August's RW magazine where they conducted a study at UConn designed to empirically measure the effect of heat on our running performance. http://www.runnersworld.com/article/0,7120,s6-238-267--13245-1-1X2X3-4,00.html As an analytical kind of guy, this is right up my alley. Yet, somewhere along the way, I forgot to read this issue! I've read September's already, but missed this one. No idea how! UGH! I'd just found it a few days ago, buried in a stack of other magazines, and I must have fallen victim to "out-of-sight, out-of-mind". I assumed I'd already read it, and therefore tossed it into my pile of read RW's. Now that I open it up, a leaf through it, none of it looks familiar to me. Thank goodness Funny pointed to this article. First, b/c I was amazed at the incredible difference in results from the study, and b/c I love reading RW, and now I have another to read while I wait for the October issue. Bonus! So, thank you very much Funnyrunner.

Am I feeling better? Yes. The article affirmed what I've been feeling, so that was gratifying. And last night when I went for my run, and it was so much cooler, I left the house hoping that I would find that something that has been missing in my workouts. Turns out, I did. It was wonderful. I headed out and realized almost immediately how much better I felt, how much more comfortable I was, and much easier the effort seemed. And it was reflected in my stats (pace & average HR). I finished up feeling wonderful. A feeling I haven't had since I ran Cades Cove at the beginning of the month.

Is the Indy Marathon back on the schedule? Maybe. Certainly much more so than it was last week. I'm still a bit worried about being ready in time. Have to get my eating habits back in order, or sure. But for now, I'm content to be a little smarter, a lot happier, and maybe a little less likely to be so hard on myself all the time.

As for running early this morning? I woke up at 9:30. LOL. Can't have everything at once, right?

"Slow & steady"

Aug 21, 2009

Who is the God(dess) of Perfect Weather?

I ask because I'll build a shrine TODAY if it'll help.

Thinking about the weather lately, and I'm so sick of heat, and especially the humidity. Thankfully, today is much better, and looks like it will stuck around for at least a few days. So I started thinking how I would rank the months in terms of which I like running the most in. It goes like this for me:

1) October
2) September
3) November
4) December
5) January
6) February
7) April
8) March
9) May
10) June
11) July
12) August

My priorities are:
1) Cool
2) Wind (otherwise March & April would be higher)
3) Sun (otherwise Dec-Feb would be higher, we don't see the sun much in those months here in Cincy)
4) Dry

So just get me through the next couple of weeks. The best is right around the corner.

Aug 20, 2009

Something just isn't quite right

I can't put my finger on it, but something isn't right with me lately. I feel like I have no endurance, at all. I'm running slowly, feeling fatigued, HR seemingly way to high all the time, and the past 2 days, I've had some soreness in my lower abs. In fact, I'm currently of the mindset that I will not be ready to run the Indy marathon in 12 weeks. I'll be really pissed off if I'm not, but at the same time, I'm determined to not do anything stupid just to prove that I can actually finish a marathon. I do plenty of stupid stuff as it is.

Now, perhaps it's the heat & humidity of August that's preventing me from being motivated. Especially lately. It would do me a ton of good to wake up and get my runs in early when there's at least a chance of lower temps. Thankfully, the next few days will be much a bit nicer (i.e. cooler). So we'll see. I really want to get back into that wonderful grind of training, when you know you are getting better, fitter, stronger, as every week goes by. Right now, I feel like I am regressing, not progressing. If I don't start feeling better very soon, I'm considering "breaking down" and starting from scratch. By scratch I mean starting at around 20 miles for the week, and building slowly from there. More than likely run two halves in the fall, instead of a full. I'd prefer to NOT start over, but at the same time, I could see it doing me some good. I'd regain some confidence, I'd get plenty of rest, in case I am injured (I don't really think I am), and I'd get the chance to develop a new routine, good habits, etc. I'd like to do all those things while training for a full marathon, but I'm starting to get my mind around accepting a smaller workload, and training for halves, if I have to. I'll have to decide soon.

Want to get back in the gym and strength train again. I liked Pfitz's program in his book, Advanced Marathoning. I plan to follow it.

Been watching the IAAF World Championships this week too. Hoping to find a little inspiration. They're starting to get into the longer distances now, so I'm very excited for the next few days. Wish they had shown the 5,000 meter heats today, but no. I was bummed about that. Hope Lagat's gash is OK in time for the final, and that it doesn't affect him. Really enjoyed what they did show of the 10,000 meters the other day. Bekele is a monster runner. Bolt is fun to watch run, but his antics get on my nerves after a while. There's a fine line between "relaxed and having fun" and being obnoxious. Just ask Cincinnati's Chad Johnson. No, don't ask him. Ask Bengals fans. They'll tell you. Glad he's not on my favorite team, the Chicago Bears. Chicagoans wouldn't put up with that crap.

So, the next few days will be important to me. If I don't start running strong, relaxed, and more comfortably very soon, I'll have some major reevaluating to do.

Aug 14, 2009

Oh well

No race for me on Sunday.

No big deal, I guess.

Aug 11, 2009

Race week

Hope to add to this in the next day or so. Just got a lot on my plate this week. But it's still race week, and I'm not feeling 100% confident. Don't know why, I'm just not. Hopefully by Sunday, I'll feel better. I really want to PR in this half marathon. Actually, no. I want to PR AND run under 1:45. Well under, if possible. But I know nothing about the course. Maybe that's what worries me. I don't know.

Anyway, I feel like I have a lot to say, just not the time to say it. I'll feel less stressed tomorrow night. Maybe that'll be a better time to write.

Jul 28, 2009

Running somewhere new is always great

I'm less than 3 weeks away from my half marathon on August 16th. I took last week very, very easy. Only ran 21 miles. I feel really good physically right now. So now I have 2 hard weeks of training (52 miles this week, 54 next), followed by a week of taper. The only hard part of taking such a slow week is getting started again. Rest feels goooooooooood! =) And the food tastes really good too. Problem is, I end up eating too much of it. LOL. My appetite control is much better when I run. With such a slow week, I find myself walking in the kitchen too much, looking in the pantry, or fridge, and finding something to eat. Needless to say, I put on a few pounds last week with the lower activity level. I expect them to mostly disappear this week. By raceday, I should be fit & ready.

And it looks like I'll have a fun week of running. We'll be in Gatlinburg, TN from Friday to Tuesday, so that should make for some scenic runs. I'm looking forward to that. I guess Cades Cove is closed until 10AM on Wednesday & Saturday so people can use it for walking and running. That should be a great run. I plan to put in my 14-miler there. Hopefully the weather holds up. And no bear attacks me! LOL. My other runs I'll have to figure out where to have, but I'm sure they'll be nice too. If I were a trail runner, I'd be in the perfect place. Someday I'd like to do some trail running, but I don't think I'll do it right now, before my race. I can picture myself tripping a root, or limb, and breaking something. But someday, I'll have some trail shoes, no upcoming race, and the Appalachian trails at my doorstep. Someday.

Jul 16, 2009

My mid-summer funk

Running is getting tougher lately, but not b/c I'm physically tired, or injured. I'm struggling mentally. For starters, I really hate heat. This is nothing new. Give me January weather to run in any day. Secondly, this whole unemployed crap is getting on my nerves. Really getting on my nerves. Add to that, I had a phone interview last week, that I felt went well, and had expected to hear something either Monday or Tuesday. Still haven't heard. I know these things can take time, and the interviewer is busy with everything they have to do in the course of their job, but I'm going a little stir crazy waiting. I'm so anxious to hear. I'm checking my Blackberry every 5 minutes during the day, looking for word from my recruiter. I'm going NUTS! And in turn, my brain is in overdrive. And by the end of the day, I'm mentally tired, and getting out to run in the heat is that much tougher to do. It's not like I'm depressed, I'm just tired. Mentally. But not from training. Yet, it's affecting my training. Some good news would do a lot to boost my spirit. Hopefully tomorrow.

Just bought 2 books. Advanced Marathoning, by Pfitzinger & Douglas, and My Life on the Run, by Bart Yasso. Using Pftizinger's training schedule for my marathon. Yasso's, I just think will be a good read, and hope will help get me in a better frame of mind.

Couple of weeks until my half, on 8/16. Looking forward to it. Just hope I'm ready for it, and ready to run a great race. My wife is definitely putting the work in to complete her first half. She's looking strong right now. She's definitely making progress, and that's the important thing.

Well, I have about 45 minutes before I need to get out and run. Hopefully I don't talk myself out of it, and just keep my ass parked on the couch.

Jul 6, 2009

Getting race ready & my new running partner

I'm currently 6 weeks away from running in the Ultrafit-USA Columbus half marathon. I'm really looking forward to it. It'll be great to see if I'm really in the kind of shape I've thought all year that I'm in. At the start of 2008, when I first started decided to run a half, my goal was to break 1:45. I ran 4 races, but I never managed to meet my goal, and that really upset me. I'd say I should have in Chicago in August, but a rookie mistake (drank way too much during the race, and drank Gatorade, which I never did back then and it ate straight through my stomach) cost me dearly. Then in San Antonio, in November, I pulled my right groin, and limped to the finish line. So I ended 2008 very disappointed.

I started 2009 with a renewed eagerness to get better. I got in the gym to strength train, to help prevent future injuries. I was out in the cold, 5-6 days per week, running. I ate like a champ. My physique began to change again. I was getting lean, and I felt great. And yet, despite not reaching my goal of running a 1:45, I decided to train for a full this year too. Sadly, that turned into another failure, and that was so much worse than not running my 1:45. But I took from it KNOWING that I was in the best shape of my life, and that if I'd chosen to run a half instead, I'd have crushed 1:45. I just knew I could. But I had yet to complete any race that objectively told me that anything of what I just said was true. About the only thing I had done was run a 5K in March, the morning after an 18-mile long run, far faster than I had intended to. Goal was to cruise around in about 24-25 minutes. I ran a 22:08. And I thought it was fairly easy too. That was when I decided that running a few 5K's this summer would be fun, and my goal was to run sub 21-minutes.

After getting over my Pig disappointment, I signed up for a 5K, first week of June. I wasn't 100%, and I had been somewhat lazy the weeks following the Pig, but I managed to run a 21:08. That was my first sign that I was at least close to the kind of shape I thought I was in. After that, my wife decided that she wanted to walk a half-marathon, this summer, and that she would try to get ready for the Columbus one, on August 16th. I told her I would run too. This was a great opportunity for me to finally break that damn 1:45-mark that bothered me all of last year. So I'm prepping for that now.

This past weekend, I ran another 5K, and I felt much better than in my June race. Despite my right foot soreness still being a slight issue, I ran very well, and clocked another PR. My goal was to just come in under 21:00. I came in at 20:27. WOW! I was pumped up big time over that. Talk about a confidence boost. And so now I take that success into the next 6 weeks of training. I'll be ready come August 16th.

On a completely different topic, I have a new running partner. And surprisingly, it's not my wife, Susan. She's sticking with the walking thing, for now. My new partner sort of blind-sided me. It's my 10-year old step-daughter, Melanie! She seems to have picked up on Susan's new found enthusiasm for long-distance races, and now she wants in on the act. She wants to do more than just the 1-mile kids' runs. She wants to try a full-blown 5K. So last week we began building some base mileage for her. 3 runs, about 5.5 miles total. And she really seems to like it. I really enjoy seeing the effort she's putting into it, and I especially enjoy our chats as we go. She asks lots of questions about "Why this?" and "Why that". So I get a kick out of her trying to learn. After her first run, she said she definitely wanted to continue doing this, so we went out and got her her first pair of running shoes. She tried on 7-8 pairs before deciding that the Asics GT-1140's felt the best. Add to that a couple of pairs of running socks, and she was pretty pleased. I guess she couldn't wait to show her Aunt Marla her new shoes! LOL. I'm hoping that perhaps she can be ready for a 5K by late August, or early September. I'm confident she can be.

After my half in Columbus, I'll be 12 weeks away from the Indy Monumental Marathon, on Nov. 7th. That'll be a good amount of time to train, and not burn out, I think. My next 6 weeks of training will be tougher than the first 6 weeks of an 18-week marathon plan. So my plan is to train and race on 8/16, use the week after that as my drop-down week, and then train like hell for the next 11 weeks. I'm definitely looking to finish 2009 much better than I ended 2008, or started 2009.

Jun 25, 2009

Today was a much better day

Managed to run 3 moderately comfortable miles this morning. Foot only hurt slightly during first mile. After that, I felt good. So after that success, I felt I could go back out and run another 4 tonight. That went very well. No pain at all.

Plan for tomorrow is to run 5 in the morning, 8 in the evening. Get me through that, and I'll be a very happy camper.

Jun 24, 2009

UGH

Wanted to run this morning. Plan was 7 miles. Woke up and my foot was still fairly sore. Sore enough that I was still limping on it. Not as much as yesterday, but enough. I was tempted to try it out, but decided against it. I'm rarely able to resist the temptation to go run. But I just don't want to risk doing something stupid, 2 days after signing up for the Columbus half-marathon. Yesterday, I started feeling more comfortable on it later in the day, so I'm hoping to get a run in of some kind later tonight, even if it's just 2-3 miles. But it won't be until late tonight. We're headed to the casino today!

My dad is once again playing "banker" b/c he wants to go to the casino. But with my sister in town, he needs/wants other people to be there too. My sister, Monica, has cerebral palsy and so it helps to have other people along. Plus she's dying to see Susan. So my dad has "invited" us along, with one condition. He insists on spotting each of us $400, and we can keep any profit. If we lose, it's on him. Hard to say no, right?

Jun 23, 2009

OUCH! My foot!

I really hate when I get hurt in a soccer game. I hate it even more when I do it in a game that we have completely in hand, and there's no need for me to make risky challenges. But I guess instinct sometimes takes over. Last night, we're killing some team, only have 12 minutes left in the game, and there's a loose ball in front of goal. I'm near it, and try to get a foot on it. Their defender comes in from behind me, and goes to blast the ball out of the area. Out feet strike the ball simultaneously, his with a lot of momentum, mine with very little. Needless to say, I lose that battle, and the top of my foot takes the damage. Very, very sore last night. This is a somewhat common injury for soccer players, so I'm not overly concerned. I iced it when I got home, and took some Advil. Surprisingly, I slept quite well.

Not sure how, or if, this will affect my run schedule for the week. I had planned on running today and taking Friday off. I may switch those now, although I am feeling much better than last night. Going to ice it a few times today, and may sneak out and test it. If I can get my miles in, great. If not, I'll rest and be ready on Wednesday.

Had considered running the Hyde Park Blast this Saturday, but can't now. Mel has a softball tournament that starts on Friday and goes all through the weekend. So now I'll consider doing a 5K over 4th of July weekend, and work it into my training schedule for the Columbus Half-Marathon, on August 16th.

On a side note, my weight is getting back to where I want it. Still a little work to do to get to the weight I want to maintain. No worries, though. I've been eating better, running better. Helped to sleep well the past 2 nights too, after a couple nights in a row of lousy sleep. Plus, with Susan getting ready for the half-marathon too, I know we'll be eating quite well for the next 8 weeks.

Jun 21, 2009

This was a good week

I had what I felt was a pretty good week. Got a speed workout in, got a decent long-run in, and didn't feel overly fatigued from it.

My speed workout was short. Haven't done one in a while, so didn't want to overdo it. A 1-mile warmup, 3x1-mile intervals, and a 2-mile cooldown. 6:53, 6:32, 6:52. Not bad.

Yesterday's long was just over 15 miles. Met up with the local chapter of Team Challenge, and ran with them. They were doing 11 miles, and they were meeting about 10 minutes from my house. Turned out, the course was 11.58 miles. I ran that with their "lead group" and we finished right at 9:00/mile. The final 2.5-ish miles was a circular loop around a lake in a park. So I doubled back to check on some folks who'd never run that far in their lives. Figured I'd offer encouragement, and perhaps a running partner, if they really seemed to be struggling. But most everyone was doing really well, despite the heat & humidity. When I was done, I felt great. Even considered running a couple of more by myself, but decided to call it a day.

Still haven't run today, but by the time I do, I'll have put in a comfortable 50-mile week. Really feeling like my overall fitness is getting back to where I'd like it to be as I get ready to start my training for a fall marathon.

Might have 2 races on the calendar now. The first is the Hyde Park Blast, next Saturday. It's a 4-miler in Hyde Park. But it's a whole day affair with the different events, ending with the bike race. That should be fun...to watch. The other race is the Columbus Half-Marathon and 5K, on August 16th. AND...it'd be my wife's first half! Now that would be cool!

For this week, I'll have to decide if I'm racing the 4-miler, or just running it. If I decide to race it, I'll get my long run in on Wednesday, and get ready for Saturday. I'd like to "race", but it's not important enough to me to sacrifice getting in a full week of running. Especially if I run the half in Columbus, in August. A PR there would mean WAAAAAAAY more to me.

Oh, and with it being Father's Day today, my gift from my wife? $100 gift certificate to Bob Roncker's Running Spot! Boo-yah!

Jun 13, 2009

Why do I even draw up a schedule sometimes?!?

LOL. I'm not sure I've followed a single day of the schedule I drew up for this week!

Tuesday, I rested. Wednesday, I ran 3.6 in the morning, 9.0 at night. Thursday, 3 miles, easy. At this point, I planned to do my tempo run Sunday, long run Saturday. Friday, 6.05 miles, still no tempo run. Today, 10.88 miles, again easy, with a couple of quick water stops for those I was running with. So somehow, it didn't really feel like a long run. So now I have to decide whether I want to do that tempo run, or if I want do another mid-long run in the 10-12 range. I can see benefit to both.

But I've read that occasionally it can be beneficial to do back-to-back, tougher-than-usual, workouts. Additionally, I'm beginning to think that speed isn't my primary concern in running the time I want to run in my fall marathon. What little speed I have, I don't need to be overly concerned with developing...yet. Endurance should always be my #1 focus. So that being said, I'll look to run 12 miles, and perhaps turn it into a 3/1 run (75% at long-run pace, final 25% at faster pace, but not quite race pace).

As for my job search, it continues to go VERY SLOWLY, but I did a somewhat encouraging call from my recruiter. Hopefully sometime next week, I'll hear some even better news, i.e. someone will have asked me to interview. In the meantime, I'll continue to be patient, enjoy my new found with my wife, and keep on running.

Jun 12, 2009

The importance of eating right

I'm usually very good about this. I try to eat as well as I can every meal. And on those days when I "slip", I feel OK telling myself that it's no big deal so long as I get right back on track. But I have this habit after a big race of eating not-so-well for long stretches at a time. I don't eat like crap every meal of every day, but I do seem to find a way to have at least one meal that sabotages my day. I've been doing this for the past few weeks, and it's really annoying me. I'm having far more "bad" days than good days. I also have a habit of eating particularly poorly when I'm out without my wife, Susan. I gotta stop this...starting today.

I've determined what I feel is my ideal, everyday weight. It's a weight I feel very good at. Strong, healthy, energetic. And so my rule now is to be within +/- 2 pounds of that weight. When I'm over +2, I MUST EAT EXCEPTIONALLY WELL until I'm back in that range.

It's like I've forgotten how good I feel when I eat right. Put good stuff in, feel good. Put crap in, feel like crap. That's not so hard to figure out, right? I should be able to remember, right? So how is that I've forgotten? It certainly isn't b/c I don't care. So today is the day I get back on track.

Jun 8, 2009

Week of June 8-14

Well, after what I felt was good week last week, I'm really looking forward to this one. Just gotta come up with the plan. LOL.

Took today off from running, although I do have indoor soccer in about an hour & a half. Since I do not plan to race this weekend, I want to throw in one speed workout, so I'm thinking something along the lines of:

M - soccer
Tu - rest
W - 8 in the morning, 4 in the evening
Th - 3
F - 4-mile tempo, with 15 min. warmup/cooldown
Sa - 6
Su - 14

Other than that, I need to catch up on my reading (last two RW's, and I've been wanting to delve in Lore of Running again), and do some stuff to try and help me find a job. Yeah, I guess that's sorta important too. Getting laid off sucks. I don't recommend it to anyone. :-)

Jun 6, 2009

Shame on me

I forgot to add that my wife completed her first 5K today too. So that's one 5K, and one 10K, under her belt now. Afterwards, she said that she had a good time and it kind of inspired her to want to do more of them. I hope so. Race days are much more fun when you have people you care about particpating with you, in some way.

5K PR

Ran my first 5K of the summer. Really haven't trained for one yet, as all I've done since the Pig is run about 25-30 miles a week, no speedwork, and with a lack of enthusiasm too. Not good. But the past few days I've felt my mood improving some, and my runs too. On Wednesday, when I saw that there was going to be a 5K at the park I occasionally run at, benefiting Parkinson's research, I had to run it. My dad has had to deal with Parkinson's for the past 6-7 years.

Didn't sleep well last night at all for some reason, and I ate breakfast at 6:15AM (too close to the race time of 8AM), but I didn't really care. I wasn't looking to PR. Add to that my relative lack of training the past 4 weeks, my goal was to run in the 23's. Tangent...guy who finished 3rd at this year's Pig was in the field. Dude...can...run! He's about 6'2", and just glides. I was in awe. Anyway, I wound up running pretty darn well, by my standards. Finished 7th in my 30-39 age group, 15th overall. On Friday there about 210 registered, no idea how many race day signups. Final time - 21:08. A PR!

So I'm very pleased. Looking forward to running a few more this summer, and being a little better prepared. Could 20-flat be a realistic goal? Not sure. But I'd better break 21-flat. That was my goal for the summer.

Jun 4, 2009

4 very meaningful miles

I just had a GREAT 4-mile run. Were they fast? No. Is 4-miles a long run? No. Is it b/c I'd already run 10 miles today, and these 4 felt perfectly good? No. It's b/c I think, I hope, I got a friend to take the first steps to a healthier lifestyle.

Here's the deal...I play soccer with Hans. I've occasionally mentioned that I'd love to have him join me for a run, and he typically declines. But Tuesday, after our Monday night game, I get an e-mail from him asking if I'd run with him. HELL YA, I WILL!!! I couldn't believe he was serious. But if he was, I wasn't about to decline the invite. So we scheduled a run for tonight. I figured I'll get my run in, and if he cancels, no biggie, I'll have gotten my miles in. If he does run, I can handle whatever we do together, no issues.

Sure enough, he was ready to go. I jog out to his place, about a mile away, get him, and we go for 20 minutes. After about 5-6 minutes he's breathing heavy from running too hard to start. I'd been trying to get him to slow down. Finally I get him to take a much needed walk break. Then we're off again. Soon, another short walk break. Then we finish our 20 minutes back at his house. Total distance, 1.75 miles. And better yet, he enjoyed it, and wants to run again. How can I possibly say no? I can't. And I don't want to. So we'll get out again in the next couple of days and do it again.

I finish up by running home, and getting to an even 4 miles. And when I finished, I felt as good as I've felt about running in a VERY, LONG time. I can't wait to get out there with him again.

GO HANS!

Jun 3, 2009

Finally!

I'm finally back to post something. I need to stay on this better. I actually think it helps my mindset to be diligent about it. But there has been another reason I haven't been posting. I've been in something of a post-failed-marathon funk. No surprise. Add to that being laid off from my job, and it simply made matters worse. But I finally think I'm over that hill, and ready to resume.

So, for the past 4 weeks, I've done a pretty minimal amount of running. I topped out with a 38-mile week, but most were in the 25-range. Mostly from a lack of entusiasm, some from a feeling of sluggishness during every run. So last week, I ran a VERY light workload. Did I run 20 miles? Maybe. No more than 25, for sure. But more importantly, I feel mentally ready to go out and run, and be active. Had a good soccer match on Monday night, wound up not running last night b/c of the torrential downpour we had, and ran this morning. Was going to run again tonight, but I ate way too much for dinner. I'll just call it a night, and do 2 runs tomorrow instead. Additionally, I signed up for my first 5K of the summer. Saturday morning at the VOA, on behalf of the Tri-State Parkinson's Foundation. Seeing as my dad suffers from this, it seemed like a no-brainer to sign up. I don't expect to PR. It'll likely be a grass course, with potentially a major hill. Don't know the exact course setup. I'll try and get under 23:00.

I've also tentatively decided to run the Indianapolis Marathon on 11/07, so I have plenty of time to get ready for it. This time, failure is not an option. I don't care how I cross the finish line. Fast, slow, crawling, skipping, whatever. But I will get there, under my own power. My ego got left somewhere between mile 14 and 22 at the Flying Pig.

Something else I've learned over the past 4 weeks...I'm very much someone who needs to have a running plan ahead of time. I'm just not nearly as good about my training when I just "wing it" and run however and whatever I feel like. I need the structure that comes with a schedule. So over the next few days, I plan to lay out the next couple of months of running, and posting it on my calendar here at home. That way I know ahead of time what I'm expecting of myself that day. I also find I'm better about my food choices on a particular day when I know I have tough run yet to do. Will use Tim Noakes', Lore of Running to help develop something that I think I can accomplish, and that will have me ready for Indy.

On the job front, I'm looking, but no real bites yet. Expanding my search. Hopefully that will bear some fruit. At this point, I'm a bit nervous. In about 4 weeks, I'll be stupid-nervous.

It's good to be back posting here.