Monday, January 19, 2009

Dizzy World!

Yes, the rumors are true. I am registered for what will likely be the most expensive marathon that I ever plan to not run competitively. Seriously, the price of the Disney World Marathon is up there with Boston and New York! This year "Goofy's Challenge" (run both the half and the full marathon for an extra medal), is priced at $40 more than the price of the individual events combined. It used to be that it was called Goofy's Challenge because you had to be a little goofy to attempt it. Now you'd have to be goofy to pay for it!

Regardless of the price, however, this will be a fun marathon. I don't plan to run this too hard as I want to soak in the sights and sounds of the Disney experience. My goal for this race is 3:30, but depending on the fall training that may change slightly. If the goal of this race can keep me from putting on the pounds during the holidays then that would be mission accomplished as well. The other reason that this will be a fun time is that I will be able to watch Melissa run the day before in the half-marathon. This will be quite the family affair!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Marathon Training?

On the heels of my last post, expressing my interest in more racing this year, I can report that I have begun marathon training again...sortof. I'm eyeing the Ft. Collins Marathon, which runs down the Poudre Canyon into Ft. Collins. I wasn't really thinking about a spring marathon, but a friend brought it to my attention and it looks like a scenic course, that's still fairly close to home. I have not yet registered though, so plans may change if the weather takes a turn for the worse, or if the marathon fills up.

My training kicked off this week with a couple of speedwork sessions on the treadmill. While treadmill running for long distances can get dull, for speedwork it's actually quite useful. I can set the pace I want to train at, and the treadmill will not let me slow down unless I give in and hit the "slow button". That doesn't make it any easier to run, however, and I found myself struggling with the workouts without any recent speedwork to build off. Consistency will help with that of course, along with the new core strength workouts I have been incorporating. My hope is that coming into a 16 week program fresh off a nice break will help prevent the burnout that I experienced last year.

In closing I'd like to include this quote, which I think sums up a lot. It is from Haile Gebrselassie, the current marathon world record holder (2:03:59), and is his response to an inquiry about how a global financial crisis might affect future corporate sponsorship of marathons.

"People always ask why I’m smiling. Well I’m in business, I’m also suffering, but I’m happy, because I run." - Haile Gebrselassie

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

What's to say?

I had all the good intentions of posting a wrap-up of 2008, but it just sounded cheesy to me. A little too much like patting myself on the back. Besides, 2008 is all in the past now, and what is yet to come is 2009. So perhaps a look ahead to 2009 is a better way to go.

Along that line, I think it is time for a re-arrangement of the blog. It needs a fresh new look, just as I need a fresh new approach to my running. Along the sidebar you will now note that I have removed the milage tracking from two years ago. I keep track of all of my milage now through an online training log, so that's really not necessary. I toyed with the idea of putting my race PRs in the sidebar, but I think that's too much looking back at the past, so instead I have put my goal PRs, which may or may not be achieved this year. Since the blog has become more about running than it's scotch tasting beginnings I thought about changing the name, but I realized that uisge beatha (water of life) has much more significance in my life now than it ever did before. So the name stays. So now that the blog represents more of where I am going, I should summarize some of that in this post.

It's time to get serious! I know many of you (two) may be thinking "Where was I for not serious?" But in reality my training these past years has not benefitted from significant direction. It has been fun, but not necessarily beneficial. Running long miles at a slow pace has built the base that I need to improve, but now it's time to get more consistent with my speedwork. Having an idea of what each workout is supposed to accomplish before I head out is key, as well as thinking about what I can best accomplish in the time that I have to train. I want to get faster, and that will not come through anything but hard work.

In that same vein, I think that cross-training is going to be the most significant thing to add to my training this year. Incorporating core strength exercises at least a couple of times a week will be important for my improvement. I am also hoping to increase my flexibility, which I hope will help keep me running injury free. In short, I actually hope to run fewer miles this year, but expand the number of workouts. After all, I'm not getting any younger, despite how I feel.

The final element to my running I believe comes through fellowship. Some of my running buddies are moving into new stages in their lives, which will mean fewer opportunities to run together. But those relationships will be strengthened through the time that we are able to spend together. Also, the door is opened for new running partners, and I hope to be able to continue to inspire and encourage others through those avenues. Finally, I hope to run more this year with my family. The taste I had last year of training with my wife (As Fast As My Feet Will Carry Me) with the kids in the joggy stroller was enough to leave me wanting more.

I cannot help but notice the parallels that my running life has with my walk with God. In both cases I find myself having to ask the same question, "What are you really doing?" Are you coasting through this life, or are you seizing it? Are you adequately preparing yourself for the challenges ahead? How can you help others to fulfill their potential? These are questions I need to consistently ask myself both as a runner and as a follower of Christ.

To summarize my goals for the future I'll use one word: quality. More quality time in training, more quality time in relationships, and most importantly more quality time with God. To do otherwise would be selling this life short.