Friday, June 30, 2006

So it does get easier

Last night I went for a 3 mile run with Elijah. I was going at an 8 min/mile pace, and I had no problems with the terrain. I commented to Elijah that I was feeling so good we should have gone 5 (I was considering it at the start, but it was still pretty warm so I opted to do the shorter distance). Running in the evening is great, a lot of sprinklers were on so Elijah and I got to run through a few on our way. He really enjoys getting out and will hold his hands up in the air, or reach out to bushes on the side of the sidewalk. Last night I was almost not going to go running, I felt like falling asleep at 6! But I knew that if I went out, I would feel better when I returned. I ended the day relaxing with a mango and some cherries that Melissa had picked up for me. Now Friday has finally come and I can't wait for the weekend. We hope to check out the Cherry Creek arts festival, and I'll try to get in a long run either in the morning or evening to keep cool. I bought buttermilk too, so that means pancakes for breakfast tomorrow!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Active evenings

I've been making sure to get out and about this week, Monday was an easy couple of miles, and I did some 800 meter repeats at the local track yesterday. Today the whole family walked up to Southlands for ice cream/coffee. I've been trying to get out more nights this week to start getting my milage up. Yesterday's speedwork was really hard, and the hills back home made it worse, but hopefully it will pay off in an improvement in my running. No pain, no gain!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

A mid-day five

I did a five mile run today without the joggy stroller as Elijah was napping. I didn't get a chance to go until 11:30, so it was warm, but not too hot. It was a good thing I didn't take the stroller as the run kicked my butt without it. Man, I can't remember the last time it was that hard to finish such a short run. It was a great workout though and I'll be stronger as a result of it. I'm really enjoying getting back into it, even though it is hard. I really miss the mental aspect of running when I am not doing it.

It was a weird Saturday, but good nonetheless. Elijah was really tired and grumpy and that weighed heavily on us when we were out, so we elected to spend most of the day at home with Elijah napping. I napped as at 4 I was really tired, and we spent some time out on the patio grilling burgers on the charcoal grill and playing cribbage. It was almost like camping! I beat Melissa for what I think is the first time ever, so Cate and Jen, it can be done!

We will probably watch a movie tonight, last night we watched "Chariots of Fire" which I had asked Melissa to get out of the library. I was looking for the motivational running in the movie, but I ended up really enjoying the whole thing. It sure is funny to see the way these athletes trained then versus now. It's no wonder that the times that are being put up these days far surpass what was done in the 20s. Our knowledge of sports medicine has come a long way, but I still can't help but wondering what we do now that they will look at in 80 years and shake their heads.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

M-O-O-N, that spells golf!

Had a good tournament today, the scramble format sure made it more fun for a duffer like me. I hit some great shots and by the end I was crushing some of my drives, and they were all in the middle of the fairway. Okay, so they weren't in the middle of my fairway. I was playing with an $800 set of "rental" clubs and I have to admit even my game was improved by them. I had a great time, and played not badly considering the last time I golfed was in California.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Run before dinner

I took Elijah out for a 3 mile run tonight before dinner. I felt pretty good after Monday so I ran it at about an 8 min/mile pace. With all the hills and the joggy stroller it kicked my butt. It's hard getting back into it, I think my time at sea level and my blood donation made it hard to keep up with the altitude.

I'm golfing tomorrow in a church tournament. I haven't golfed in forever! I rented a great set of clubs for a good price though, so if I suck tomorrow I can only blame myself. Well you can't lose any balls you don't hit!

Return to running

On Monday night I couldn't wait any longer. Two weeks was too long without any running, but I feel like it was a good recovery from the marathon. I went for an easy paced three miles with Elijah, man pushing that joggy stroller is hard! I'll probably go again tonight to get back in to some sort of training plan. It's nice to not have a specific workout that I have to run though. I'm going to try to get into running a variety of workouts 5 or 6 times a week. A mix of easy runs and hard runs should get things to where I want them to be while still keeping my weekly mileage fairly high. During the marathon training I came to love the 10 mile long run, it was long enough to feel long, but short enough that I wasn't bored or over tired at the end. I'll probably incorporate that into my workouts to stay on top of things.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Race Report

I've been swamped with work this past week so I haven't really had any time to write my race report. The Boy is sleeping in this morning though so I'll take advantage of it.

I woke up at 4am and went down to the lobby to grab my complimentary breakfast. They say not to change what you eat before a marathon, but they did not have any granola. Next time I'll bring some. I ate a bagel with cream cheese and two bananas, which I hoped would give me enough energy and not upset my stomache. I also had a cup of tea, which was gross, but I wanted a bit of caffeine. After breakfast I went about my preparing to run routine. I had to do most of it in the dark as Melissa and Elijah were still sleeping. I had to put sunscreen on, and I was thorough as I did not know if I was going to have to run without my shirt or not. I applied my protective nipple bandages, and smeared some vaseline on some chafey parts. After some stretching I headed back downstairs to catch the shuttle to the start line. The shuttle was small so we crammed as many people into it as we could and headed off, it dropped us off a few blocks from the start and we walked the rest of the way. By this time the water that I had been drinking had made its way south and I wanted to stop at the port-o-potties. Unfortunately so did everyone else. After a few minutes in line I realized that if I waited I would miss the start of the race. I dropped off my gear bag and headed to my corral for the start, resigning myself to the fact that I would have to find a port-o-pottie on the course. At 6:30 the gun went off, and 2 minutes later I crossed the start line and had officially started.

I settled into a pretty easy pace at the beginning, and was pleased that after mile 1 I was right on my 9:00 pace. It was cool and running felt really good so I was enjoying myself. Unfortunately every port-o-pottie I passed seemed to have a line. We looped around Balboa park and headed into downtown. I started keeping an eye out for Melissa, Elijah, Sean, and Jen cheering from the sidelines. I had passed a few water/powerade stations and had been having a small drink of water at each but dumping most of it over my head to keep my core temperature down. I had been skipping the powerade though, which turned out to be a mistake. At mile 5 I finally spotted a port-o-pottie that only had one person waiting in line, so I took advantage of it. This took two minutes off my time though, and it was the last time I was able to see the 4:00 pace balloon. The course continued through the gaslamp area, and out toward the waterfront. I caught sight of Sean as I was running and was able to get his attention. He ran up to where Melissa, Elijah and Jen were cheering so I was able to wave for a picture. We made our way out of downtown, and onto highway 168 which runs right through Balboa park. This was a lonely section of the course, and it was uphill for 4 miles on nasty freeway cement. When we finally left the 168 I was happy to see some people cheering again as we ran past the Fashion Valley mall. Sean picked me out of the crowd just before mile 13 and I was able to see everyone cheering me on for the last time before the finish line. I was starting to get tired as the miles took their toll, but I still crossed the halfway mark at pretty close to 2 hours. I passed a group of people handing out watermelon and I decided not to eat any as I was not sure what it would do to my tummy, but I regretted that decision almost immediately. I was beginning to feel like I had no energy, and the water I had been drinking was just sitting like a lump in my stomache. I started drinking powerade any chance I could, and when I passed the girl with the orange segments I did not hesitate. At mile 15 we started heading around mission bay. It was here that cramps stopped my running for the first time and I had to walk them out for a while. I was desperately trying to get to mile 17 where I knew that there was a Clif Shot station waiting for me. I felt like I had no energy left in my legs at all and it seemed to me that every mile took an eternity. I finally got to 17 and took my energy gel, hoping this would give me a bit of a kick. The miles were going by slower than ever now and I found myself having to stop to stretch my calves out a bit, and walking some of the time. I also had to search out a port-o-pottie as the extra water I had been drinking was weighing heavily on me. I found one just before mile 19. Soon after as the course turned around the outside of mission bay we started going over some pretty hefty overpasses. On one of these I had to stop running as my calves started to seize up. I tried to stretch them out, but when I got up, my quad had a massive charley horse and I could barely move. I didn't panic though and I kept limping along, hoping it would work its way out. Eventually it did and I was able to continue running. Every medical tent I passed seemed to be calling to me to not finish the race. I realized though that they would probably not drive me to the finish line where everyone was waiting, so I decided to push on through the pain. At mile 20 the water station was set up by a huge mural of a brick wall. I passed through the hole in the wall and while I didn't realize it at the time I had broken through my wall as well. I was able to run more of the time, and the powerade I had been drinking was starting to restore my electrolytes. I was able to limit my walking to just the uphill stretches and to short walks after each water station where I was getting cramps. As the miles started getting fewer and fewer I was able to break the distance remaining into shorter stretches that I knew were manageable. I kept plodding away and they seemed to come more quickly, 22, 23, 24. We finally started running alongside the Marine Corps recruitment depot and I knew the end was near. We turned into the depot and I could hear the band playing, then at mile 26 I could see the finish line. It looked like it was so far away! I heard Sean shout from the side of the course and I followed him to where Melissa was waiting. I couldn't believe that I was finally seeing them after all the miles that I had been waiting for that moment. I could barely muster a smile and a wave as I was almost completely focussed on making across the finish line. It seemed like the longest .2 miles I had ever run but soon I was there. As soon as I crossed the finish line I felt a wave of elation wash over me. I couldn't believe that I had finished it. I kept walking through the various stations in the finish area and I grabbed some food along with my medal, free sandals and mylar blanket. I picked up my gear bag and met up with everyone outside. It was over!

We had a long walk to the car which was nice to keep moving, and I tried to do that the rest of the day. By the evening I was even up for a walk along the waterfront with Melissa. It was a great race, I finished it, and I did not get injured. I learned a lot from it and the next one I will run much better.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Results and Pics

The results are in, my official chip time was 4:44:21. Pics of me are available here, search for bib number 5361. I'm the guy in the blue hat.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Rock 'n' Roll!

Well it's done. I finished it! It wasn't pretty, and I wasn't the fastest but I finished and that's the point. The official results aren't up yet, but I came in around 4:45. It was a little longer than I had hoped, but I had some issues around mile 17 and in the end I can't believe that I did the whole thing.

What did I learn? For starters I learned that the beginner training plan I did is really just that. It's designed to get you across the line without collapsing and that it accomplished. But if I ever want to break 4 hours, I'm going to need to step up the plan and get my weekly mileage higher. The second thing I learned is that 26.2 miles is a distance that can only be experienced. You can prepare yourself mentally all you want, but when the sole hits the road it's just an astounding distance and you never know what your body is going to do to you while you are running it. Would I do it again? Yes, but probably not next year. We'll see I guess.

Stars of the show: seeing Melissa and Elijah, and Sean and Jen at mile 6 and 12 was wonderful, and the thought of seeing them again at the finish got me through some tough miles. The guy who held up the sign at mile 19 that said "Hell, you've come this far, you might as well finish." The little girl at mile 13.5 with the orange segments. All the guys with the hoses at the water stations who would hose us off. And finally, the marine boundary layer which stuck around until just after I crossed the finish line!

Successes: Finishing! Having put band-aids on my nipples, which seems silly when you put them on but after you've seen 3 or 4 guys with blood down the front of their shirts doesn't seem so crazy. Vaseline (I won't go any further into detail).

It was a long build up to the day, but I feel that today I have completed a significant accomplishment in my life. One that no one can take away from me. In the words of John "The Penguin" Bingham "Waddle on, friends."

Saturday, June 03, 2006

San Diego!

Well we arrived safe and sound and are enjoying the amenities that our hotel has to offer. We're driving a big pimpin' Tiger Woodsy Buick Rendezvous. This morning I have to do a quick couple of miles along the waterfront and then we are taking the trolley to the convention center to get my bib and chip. It's funny to see all the people staying at the hotel, with the exception of a few they all look like runners. Speaking of the hotel, they are rolling out the red carpet for us runners. Tomorrow they are starting breakfast early, at 4 am, and are running shuttles to the start line starting at 4 too. I can't wait for tomorrow!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

3 relaxing miles

A nice easy jog this morning, although it's still a hilly route. I sure have noticed a difference in my appetite since I started scaling back my miles. Twice this week I have had problems finishing my dinner portion that only a few weeks ago would have left me looking for more. That and my lunch is starting to almost get me through to dinner even without the extra banana I was taking on run days. I'm surprised the difference is that noticeable.