Sunday, March 29, 2009
The relay is a 200 mile run from Gettysburg to Washington, DC. Thankfully, I get 11 friends to run this with. Our team is comprised mostly of blogger friends from Ottawa (yes, Canadians are allowed!), Arizona, New Jersey, Arkansas, North Carolina and, of course, right here in Maryland.
Over the past few months, we've needed to replace seven or eight original members. Logistically, getting everyone from where they live to the start line, and then back, has been a challenge, but if everything works out right (like it always does, right?), we'll all make it to the starting line just in time.
The route is not exactly level. For some reason, they didn't build battlefields like Gettysburg or Antietam into the lowlands. Some of my teammates, being from, shall we say vertically challenged geographies (read: flat), are a bit nervous about the task ahead.
This week's training plan was to try to replicate the feeling of running three times in about a 24 hour period. The challenge for all of us was to get three runs in representing 60-70% of their AOR mileage total. Build in hills, if possible, too.
I think I've only done a multi-run day once, and that was years ago. I started Friday morning with boot camp. Just a mile and a half in the hour, but that goes to the total. At 8:30, after the kids were off to school, I met up with my neighbor Brian and we headed out for a hill run. My street is pretty hilly. The hills are steep, both up and down, but short. After we left my street, the main event is Tollhouse Road -- about 2/3 mile mostly uphill with a short breather in the middle. From there, some moderate hills, but nothing like the first half of the run. Brian is a much stronger runner, normally averaging about 8-9 minute miles. I struggle to keep up with him, but it's good to have him pushing me. Friday, not so much, we kept a 10 minute pace which we both felt good about for 4 1/4 miles.
At 2:30, I headed back out for another loop on my own. This wound up being the best of the three runs, breaking under 10 minutes average.
On Saturday, I planned to do 6 miles on the regular Team In Training course. We woke up to a torrential rain storm and I was having serious treadmill thoughts. Unfortunately, I had made comments to the team that I mentor not to skip a run in the rain. You can't control race day, so don't skip out on a long run. By the time I walked out the door, the rain had stopped. Attendance was understandably sparse. My team was a no-show. (Guess I need to do a better job emphasising my point.) Oh well, all of the mentors showed (and most even ran!) and a few hardy participants were there, too.
In short, this run sucked. I struggled the whole way and spent the first three miles of the out and back thinking about cutting the run short. Once I hit three miles, I was pretty well all-in. Only way back was three more miles by foot. I even walked the last third of a mile or so.
Not sure if it was the third run, the big mileage coming off the half a week before, the weather, or what, but it was mostly misery. Except, of course, that a bad run is better than no run at all.
So, 16 miles for my triple run. Not bad at all. Will do it again next weekend, trying to up the mileage a bit, too.
A good part of the AOR team took the challenge. We'll all be ready to hit the starting line on April 24. Can't hardly wait!
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Dave and I, marathon #15 and half #5 in the books!
I feel great about the day, but what I feel best about is that I know I could do better. Now, time to concentrate on the next event -- the American Odyssey Relay. Much more on that to come.
So much for this race report. Thanks for hanging in with me.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
A friend spent the past four months or so not feeling right. Mostly some gastrointestinal issues. He started going to the doctor and they couldn't find anything. They scheduled a colonoscopy. Even though he started to feel better, the doc wanted to do the test anyway. The result? Colon cancer.
My friend is 39 years old with a four month old baby at home.
His prognosis is good.
I can't help but to think what he and his family have gone through in the past few weeks. It really puts everything else in life into perspective . . . the job loss, the day-to-day bs that we all deal with, the bs that you're going to read below. Just can't imagine.
Our thoughts and prayers are with him.
A couple of weeks ago I was walking through Trader Joe's and I ran into an old friend. We'll call him Greg. (No, not protecting his anonymity, that's his actual name.) I turned a corner and there he was. Greg and I went to college for a few years together and were good friends after college. In the last few years, we haven't seen each other or spoken, but I've always considered him a friend, even though our paths had diverged a bit.
Anyway, back to the story, "Hi, Greg" I said. I get this stare back. . . "I know you but I don't know who you are," I'm sure he's thinking. He throws out a name -- not mine. "Nope, it's Jeff," I said. Don't think Greg's chin could have dropped any lower.
Through this whole body changing adventure, this is the first reaction I've had like this. In the past year I haven't lost a whole lot, so I'm starting to accept what I look like and forget what I used to look like. This was a great reminder of how things have changed. I don't ever want to forget where I've been.
About the Bike
Okay, let me talk about my love/hate relationship with my bike. I love riding my bike, really I do. Unfortunately, I had no clue how much maintenance might be required. I was up for some maintenance, but I'm a low maintenance kinda guy. (I've thought about paving my lawn to avoid lawn work, to give you an idea what I'm talking about.)
The weather two weekend's ago was absolutely perfect, so I finally got around to truing up my wheels. My neighbor's truing stand had been in my garage for four months. An hour later, it was done. Sunday I went to ride.
Apparently, with the wheel issues, my gears were out of alignment. I was stuck in the middle front chain ring, which gives me nine gears. That's okay, though, I can handle the hills on the easier gears. That is, until I go into the easier gears -- bike is not happy about either the easiest or toughest gears. Oy! I'm down to just 5 or 6 working ears out of 27.
I get through the ride and head over to Kirk's Bike Shop. Never heard of Kirk's? Well, he's my neighbor and between Kirk and George, next door, they've got just about every tool made and have been invaluable in keeping me on the road. In about 5 minutes, Kirk has my gears working -- all 27 of them. Then he spend 10 minutes explaining the 4 hour overhaul I ought to do to clean the bike up. Needless to say, my head was spinning. Nobody told me about all the maintenance required. Guess I'll just have to get a new bike every six months or so.
Half to Go
Just three days until the National Half Marathon. Weather report is darn near perfect -- in the 40's, light winds and DRY! Goal for the day is to break 2:15. Will be tough, but using the Tampa barometer from a few weeks ago, I think it's there for the taking.
Speaking of Tampa -- got confirmation of my time from the race and apparently, I got 27 seconds faster in my sleep. The confirmation was 2:22:48 vs the initial 2:23:15. I knew I was getting faster, but I sure do like getting faster this way!
That's it for now. Next post will be after Saturday's half. It's back to Kick Ass Wednesday.
Thursday, March 5, 2009
Last Tuesday, I headed to the chiropractor to address the calf issue, still not feeling better and a bit concerned with a half marathon scheduled for the trip. The doc got me right in and massaged the spot. Diagnosis was a micro tear in the muscle. Doesn't sound good, but you know already that things worked out. Glad I took the time to visit.
We picked the kids up from school early Tuesday afternoon. Amazingly, we were able to keep the trip a secret to them up to the point when we pulled into the parking lot at the airport. It certainly seemed like we'd spilled the beans on a few occasions, but the boys clearly aren't suspicious enough, though I'm sure that will change over time.
Once they figured out the secret destination, plenty of hoot'n and holler'n ensued.
Our Southwest flight was full but landed early in Tampa. From the airport, we headed out to Clearwater Beach for some fun in the sun.
We spent Wednesday locally at the pool and riding on a pirate ship. And we ate. And ate. And ate some more.
Thursday, I woke early and headed out for my first run since the prior weekend's triathlon. Though my chiropractor suggested waiting as long as possible to run -- Friday evening or Saturday morning -- I really was anxious to get out there and enjoy the weather. Besides, my calf was feeling much better. The run didn't disappoint. I'd say the pain was about 95% gone and I felt pretty good running in the early morning "cool", such as it was.
Once I got back, it was breakfast and on to a day of coasters and games at Busch Gardens Tampa. We could not have picked a better day weather wise. Just perfect. The only thing better were the light crowds at the park. My family has had a longstanding love affair with roller coasters. One of my disappointments as a fat guy was not being able to partake, but I've been making up for lost time, not skipping a ride at any park. My kids seem to have taken to the family love.
Zach was fearless at the park, riding every coaster at least once, and some several times. He even handled my favorite, SheiKra, a coaster that goes up 200 feet, does a straight 90 degree downward turn and the holds you at the apex for 4-5 seconds. Then, free fall. Matty rode most of the coasters as well.
Friday was beach day. We spent the whole day at the beach. Kids were in and out of the water. I sat and read a book. (My mom had lent me The Kill Artist by Daniel Silva months ago. Once I read page one, I couldn't put it down. ) That afternoon, I went for a pain free three mile run.
Sunday, March 1, 2009
This morning was the Tampa Gasparilla Half Marathon. Weather sucked, high winds, rain for the last 4 miles, humidity of 90%+, but I finished in 2:23:15, a personal record.
Pictures and full story to come!