Friday, June 30, 2006

Marathon Training Started Without Me


When I registered for MCM, I dusted off my 16-week marathon training spreadsheet, entered the 10/29 race date, and back-filled the weekly dates to get to a training start date of 7/2. With that in mind, I always thought my training would start the first week of July. Except that I checked again today, and training should've started the week ending 7/2 ... i.e. this week.
Still, it's only the first week, and I was supposed to do 3/3/3 on Tue/Wed/Thu followed by 6 on Sat. Instead, I happened to do 4/0/4 on Tue/Wed/Thu and tomorrow I'm doing the Liberty 5K race here in Dallas.

So I might not get all the miles in this week, but I think I'll still walk away well trained. Why? Because of a heck of a workout yesterday and today trimming trees in my backyard. Every July 4th, the well-heeled members of the Gleneagles County Club here in Plano assemble at the club for an All-American Buffet followed by a spectacular private fireworks display. Non-members such as yours truly, assemble the family clan at our house for a big, boisterous dinner, followed by pool-side seats to view the same so-called "private" fireworks display directly across our back yard! We're barely a mile and a half from the club, so it's almost as good as being there!

I only managed to trim two of the four large trees I have in the back, but even that led to this mountain of a pile of brush for the recycling truck to pick up. It easily took over a hundred trips from the backyard to the back driveway, carrying or pulling branches, and stacking them on top of this pile. Some of the logs you see must have weighed a good 40-50 lbs each. It took 6 hours total to do this, 3 unplanned dips into the pool to cool off, 1 slightly twisted ankle (but not enough to keep me from my race tomorrow), and miraculously, 0 broken bones or chain-saw mishaps! I'm marking this down as "cross-training" on my marathon training spreadsheet!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

50 Yards and Olympic Glory

At the annual Dadfest 5K in Dallas today, they inaugurated the 50 yard dash, which this Dad was all over! I signed up our 4-yr old, Sydney, and got her all psyched up, carbed up, and well rested last night for a 6:45 am wake-up call. She even caught an extra 15 mins power nap on the drive over to the Pizza Hut Park, home to FC Dallas.

A thunderstorm had blown through overnight and it was unusually cool, overcast, and windy this morning. We got there in plenty of time to get ready before the 7:45 am start.

The race was run in waves of 6-8 runners, which sometimes ballooned to 12-14 runners because, well, 3 and 4-yr old kids don't always follow instructions closely and when the big man with the loud voice yells "GO!", sometimes you just gotta take off and run!

Sydney was in the 3rd or 4th wave, and I stood behind her waiting for the signal. Mom and sis waited at the other end, ready with the camera. At the last minute, she turned and said she wanted me to run with her, and I said I would follow behind her but don't wait for me!

Finally, the big guy says "GO!" and off she went. With blazing speed, she lit up the concrete and coasted to an easy finish, barely breaking a sweat! And the best part ... they all got a medal! What a way to make the little kids happy!

The 5K started a little past 8:00 am. Unbelievably, it was my first race of the year. I usually sign up for several races beginning in March, but with travel and soccer games and gym meets and volleyball tournaments, I just didn't get around to it until now. It felt "good" to run again, but I quickly got that deja vu feeling of eagerly signing up for the race, can't wait for it to start, and then gasping for air mid-race and wondering again why I put myself through this torture?

Oh, and the Olympic part of this story ... guess who started off the 5K? All Around Gold Medalist in the 1984 LA Olympics, Mary Lou Retton!

This made my other daughter and gymnast-in-training, Stephanie's day, and she even passed up a sleepover at a friend's house last night so she could follow her 'ol Pop to a run meet this morning! Now, if only Mary Lou had told her to eat more protein and don't forget her vegetables ...

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

It's Supposed To Hurt Like Hell!

That's how a perfect race is supposed to feel, according to Dean Karnazes' junior high school coach. It's in his book, Ultramarathon Man, which I just finished and I can't say enough good things about. For a runner, it's a truly humbling and inspiring read. I'm not about to sign up for an ultra, but I'm sure as hell not going to complain about any more nit-picky little crap that goes on during my "short" runs. At least for the next few days ...

But there's one hurt that did feel like hell, the $119.95 kind. That's what I needed to give today to get these. I tried once to go with the cheaper Brooks Addiction 7, but it felt too squishy and I eventually gave up running in them.

So since I started running, I've really only worn these Brooks Beasts, starting with the blue/gold on top, then the all-grey in the middle, and now in my favorite color: ORANGE! Well, just a bit of orange, but I'll take it. Also new this year - a $10 price increase, which offset the $10 coupon that the Run On store here in Dallas gives out every once in a while. Things could be worse I suppose.

I'm back in Dallas this week after 4 months in NYC. I had a great time running all around Manhattan, but now it's back to the heat and the old stomping grounds for a while. I've got a 5K coming up this weekend, and I'd like to get used to the heat by then. Did 6 miles Sunday, and 4 miles Tuesday, both times going out at 6:30 am to beat the heat, which was in the mid-70s even then. But hey, no more whining, right? It's supposed to hurt like hell!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

The Wait Is Over And The Pain Begins

I thought about posting this same title last night, but didn't want to jinx my lottery chances for the NYC Marathon. It occurred to me that the title would work either way ... the pain of training if I got in, or the pain of not getting picked if I didn't! I needn't have worried, because I didn't @#%$+?>*&(^ get in! And to add to the indignity of it all, I had to wait through 25 minutes of server timeouts on the NYC website before it finally let me see the big N-O next to my entry. If they say the results will be posted at 11:00, why don't get it ready by 11:00 instead of taking the server offline starting at 11:00 and then taking 25 minutes to load it back up? Don't they know some x0,000 people like me are hitting the refresh button every 10 seconds? But I'm not bitter ...

... because I'm going to D.C.! Oorah! Yup, I quit pitying myself long enough to sign up for the Marine Corps Marathon on Oct 29, and I can't wait! Plus, all the RBF meetup reports like this one from Anne in San Diego are making me anxious to get out there and meet some of you too, and I think it'll be a great time. As far as I know, Bex is leading this stellar crew! Good luck everyone!

Monday, June 05, 2006

June 5th, 2005

First of all, a big CONGRATULATIONS to Anne, Susan, and Nic for finishing San Diego yesterday! Each has her own story for how they did it, but they all finished!

I'm partial to San Diego, because today is my one-year annivesary of becoming a marathoner there, and I think I will remember this date for some time to come. I haven't run another one yet, but I'm hoping I can still make it this year (please, please
NYC, pick me!).

Anyway, to commemorate this date, I went out for a long run this evening starting out in Chinatown. My hotel woes continue, regrettably, and I've been placed in a pretty pathetic dump built recently in 2001 but furnished completely with liquidation-quality stunningly-bad rejects from 1961 - yet they have wireless hi-speed internet - go figure! I made my escape and headed straight for the Williamsburg Bridge (thanks for the tip,
Josh), crossing over into Brooklyn. Using my spotty memory of a Yahoo Maps printout, plus two consultations with NYC traffic cops, I zig-zagged my way to the Brooklyn Bridge, and crossed back into Manhattan. I even threw in a sprint up the easier Brooklyn side of the Brooklyn Bridge for good measure, probably scaring a few tourists with my all-out huffing and puffing. With a final navigation past City Hall and through the Chinatown crowds, I made it back to my "hotel" in 1:02:31, a touch over 7 miles.

So, do you remember where and when was your first marathon?

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Bump Draft

Is it a bad thing to follow someone if they're running at a good hard pace for you? Last night on the small loop in Central Park, I was doing just that. For the first few minutes, I was really motivated, pushing myself just to stay close. We were passing people left and right. It felt great!

Then she started to drop off, and I thought, what the heck, I'll keep going and maybe return the favor (is that being presumptuous?). But after I passed her, she kicked it in and quickly re-took the lead. A few minutes later, the same thing happened again, and then again 2 or 3 more times. Finally, she kept going north, and I turned off to stay on the small loop.

So what's the right etiquette? Stay back and she thinks I'm stalking, or run up and she thinks I'm racing? Hey, I just want to run fast!