Friday, February 24, 2006

Out of town training

Hey all. I am in Vidalia, GA, working on a shutdown. I traveled EARLY Wed. morning (up at 4:00 am and on the road long before 5:00) going directly to the plant and worked until about 6:30 pm that night. By the time I got checked into the hotel I really didn't feel like going for a run so I bagged it and just went to dinner. It is tough to keep a schedule when you're working 6-6 and you don't really get "home" until 7:00. Especially knowing that you're rolling out of the rack at 4:30 every morning.

I did make myself run Thursday night after I got back to the hotel. I started my run at 7:00 and it was totally in the dark so I wore my Petzl headlamp and little fancy red flashing light on my back so I wouldn't get run over by the locals as they fly up and down the road to Wal-Mart. Overall I was pleased with my run. I ran 6 miles and averaged 8:20 miles. Not too bad considering it was dark, I kept jumping off the road due to traffic, and I had been climbing around all day in safety boots. By the time I finished and showered it was about 8:15 . . . too late for supper since I've been hitting the rack around 9:30. Of course skipping a meal or two doesn't hurt me :)

I'm glad this is only for a week or so. I am not crazy about not having much me time. It would be too easy to get discouraged and get into sloppy habits. I must keep the FATMAN at bay!

Monday, February 20, 2006

Starting back up . . flying pig or bust

It's been a couple of days since I've posted. Sorry about that. I did not get to run in Tupelo as I had planned. The weather did get nasty on us. Rain and 33 degrees. Just waiting to turn to ice. In fact, there was some freezing rain that was falling. It just wasn't sticking.

Sooooooo . . .
I did my 12 miler Sunday afternoon. It was in the high 30s with a very light breeze and broken clouds. It wouldn't have hurt my feelings if it had been a little bit warmer but I survived. Total run was 1 hour, 42 minute, 37 seconds. If my math is correct that works out to 8:33 pace. Felt pretty good. Marc "Animal" ran about 5 or 6 miles with me before he took off for some hill work-thanks Marc. I can always count on him to make me run just a little bit faster.

I've got to start bearing down to get ready for the Flying Pig marathon. I only have 11 weeks left and I still need to get in at least 2 20 milers and I want to do a 24 miler also. If you space some 15 and 18 milers in between you can see I don't have a whole lot of slop in my training schedule.

Friday, February 17, 2006


Hey all!
I am recovering from the effects of THE BUG I had last week and the 1/2 marathon I ran on Sunday. It seems that THE BUG hit our street last week with a flurry. Best we can tell it started at one of the little girl's birthday party two Saturdays ago and spread from there. Some of the mothers called it rotavirus . . . we just called it THE BUG.

Anyway . . . I've gotten over the race from last Sunday and the trotskys. Not a good thing to have going on at the same time.

I did not run Monday or Tuesday. Legs were a little sore. I did run a reasonably brisk (8:15 pace) 6 miler Wednesday night and did Hill work on Thursday night. The hill work did take a little out of as my legs and hips were still a little sore. However, I sucked it up and got the workout done.

I'm going to spend the night in Tupelo tonight. It is Mona's mom's birthday and I think she's been having a harder time with Mona's passing than I have. I figured I'd go and try to keep her mind off it. Also while in Tupelo, Shane (running in the deep south blog) and I are planning on meeting up for a run. I'm hoping to get in 10-12 easy miles. However, they (weather goobers) are predicting winter storm conditions so I'll just have to see how the weather is and if Shane is a fair weather runner or a hard core, do it unless it's lightning, kind of guy. We may be running in an ice storm! Of course if it looks too bad, I may bail just to make sure I can leave early enough to get back to B'ham.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Did okay but . . .

I ran my race. No, actually I ran everyone else's race. Why do slow people insist on getting near the starting line? I'm sorry . . . I am not fast but I can run an 8 minute pace. Why do 12 minute milers want to get that close to the front? PLEASE explain!!!

I tried to get into the pen area where the 8 minute pacers were supposed to be. FULL. I moved back, and back, and back. I wish the race officials would actually seed people and place them accordingly. Can you tell that I am slightly perturbed? My first mile was 10 1/2 minutes. Most of the time was spent passing and weaving through walkers and slower runners. Don't get me wrong. I am not a race snob. I have no reason to be. But I know better than to line up with the 5 minute milers. I will line up with the 8 minute milers. Why must a 300 lb walker (nothing wrong with that) line up in the 7 minute per mile chute?

Anyway . . . after a 10 1/2 minute mile, my second mile sped up to a blazing 9:15 pace. 2 miles into the race I am 2 minutes and 15 seconds in the hole. I never really did hit my pace until after mile 3. Mile 5-6 was all uphill so that was a slow mile. Mile 9-10 was all uphill. Being sick caught up with me after mile 10. Let's just say I had the trots with the trots! Lost another minute in the port-o-let at mile 11.

Bottom line is I did not break the 1:50 I wanted. Clock time was 1:55 and change. I have not checked my chip time but I think it is somewhere around 1:53. Not to make excuses-it was in the high 20s with 20-25 mph wind gusts out of the NW. The windchill during the race was high teens/low 20s. Not exactly ideal conditions.

Here I am around mile 7. I was making up time and feeling good at this point. I'm the guy on the right!

Overall, I am happy with my run. I just wish a couple of things had gone better. You live and learn. Next time I'll get into the chutes an hour early to make sure I have a half decent start.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

The night before

Okay. Tonight is the night before Mercedes Marathon here in Birmingham, AL. As followers of my blog, you know that I am running the half marathon tomorrow morning. I am hoping to break 1:50 but we'll see. I have been sick all week and trying to recover. I felt decent Friday and pretty good today. I went down to the race expo and saw several people I know. It is always good to be around a bunch of runners . . . you draw a lot of energy for a crowd like that. Are you fortunate to know what I am talking about? I hope you're fortunate enough to be able to enjoy what I'm talking about.

I know the course since it is my home course. I've studied the elevation changes and know where I can make up time and where I will lose time. I've got my plan. Let's hope I can carry through with it. I think I've recovered from being sick. I skipped my Friday run just to make sure I didn't stress my body. I know it sounds stupid and paranoid but that's the way I'm wired.

I've enjoyed a nice pasta supper, a couple of glasses of vino to relax and I'm sitting here watching The Green Mile on network TV. I know the vino is not a good thing to do before the race but I've drank wo much water today that I've been going potty every 15 minutes. That's a pretty good sign that I am adequately hydrated.

Wish me luck and I'll post either the good news or the bad news tomorrow!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Just a few more days

Just a few more days until I make my assault on my half-marathon PR. This is becomming a challenge. Over the last month I had no doubt about breaking 1:50 in the half. After getting sick this past Sunday night, I am now wondering if I've got the hoo-haws to do it. I ran 6 miler Wednesday night since I had started feeling better. BIG mistake. It probably set me back another day in my recovery. I am supposed to run 6 miles Friday night but I think I will skip it. I had rather give my body time to heal than to stress it and make things worse.

I went to the Dr today just to see what this ailment I have is named. I call it a pain in the bottom. After doing bloodwork, he told me my white count was down. Probably indicating some kind of viral activity. Just a stomach bug. Not much to do except let it run it's course, drink plenty of fluids. He did recommend that I take Potassium and Magnesium to try to build up electolytes. My Dr. is a biker and understands my desire to complete my goal. Of course, as he warned, I need to listen to my body and if body says "no", then I need to listen. However, right now my body says cool it until Sunday morning and then go do it. If I don't post by late Sunday night, you'll know that I either ran off to Jamaica or I'm hospitalized for not listening to my body!

I'm still shopping for a bike. I'm really considering the Specialized Roubaix. I'll make a decision later. I'm not real crazy about test riding right now considering what my body has been doing to itself and fact that it is just dang cold. Speaking of cold, it is supposed to be one our coldest mornings the morning of the Mercedes marathon. They keep pushing the forecast temperature down. I think it supposed to be low 20s. I know that is not cold for some of you. Normally it is not cold for me. However, January was temperature was in the 40s, 50s, and even in the 60s. I'm not sure if I'll be wearing tights, but I will be wearing long sleeves and gloves.

BTW, Amy did her 10 miler. Sounds like she had fun and the endorphins kicked in for her. Be sure to go to her site, read her story and congratulate her. Also, Shane did an 8 miler at a very good pace. He's targeting a 5k in 8 weeks. Be sure to lend him your support.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Absolute PANIC!

I cannot believe it. I had to leave work today because I got SICK! Why does this always seem to happen to me right when I get into shape? I had to skip my run tonight and my weight lifting. I've been backtracking in my mind over the last couple of days about who I have been in touch with. I don't remember being around anyone sick. I was around some kids at church (nasty little Petri dishes that breed germs and bacteria).

I'm hoping that it is just a stomach thing. I, like most people watching the super bowl last night, enjoyed several appetizers, soup, snacks. I didn't over eat and I did not over indulge. I was feeling sort of yucky when I got out of bed this morning. By 10:00, I was full fledged sick. Yep . . . the whole nine yards. I was driving the porcelain bus and had the dreaded "D" word. I also had chills and shakes and headache. I had fever off and on all day. However, tonight I have no fever, but my body feels like I've been run over by a truck. PLEASE tell me that this is not the flu! I had flu shot a couple of months ago. Isn't it terrible to wish that you food poisoning? If I wake up in the morning feeling the same, I am heading straight to the Dr. office. I hope that I can get some kind of shot or anti-biotics.

My race is next Sunday and I hope I can get my strength back. As far as training, I know that the hay is in the barn. There is nothing I can do to improve my race, I can only mess it up. I just need to calm down. I did run an easy 10 miler right before the game yesterday . . . that may be my last run before my half-marathon.

Friday, February 03, 2006

I played hookie today

I don't do it to often . . . but I played hookie from work. I had just sort of run out of gas on Thursday and decided that I had a lot of errands to run. More than I could do over several lunch hours. So the FAT MAN took a day of vacation. I actually slept in this morning. Of course for me, sleeping in means I get out of bed around 6:15 instead of 5:15. I can just hear all those office professionals and lawyers groaning out there. If you're not an early riser, you should try it. The mornings are the best part of the day-it's sort of like getting to start over. The air is fresher, there's less noise, little traffic. Besides, there's nothing like getting started early on your caffiene buzz!

Soooooooo . . . I ran my errands. One of which included shopping for a bike. I have a hybrid that is like a hundred years old with a steel frame and weighs 30 lbs. I mean a real bike. Several of you out there are triatheletes and duatheletes and you've inspired me. Several of my good friends bike. And I have lots of extra time on my hands. Thanks to Wayne K, Larry M, Kerry L, Dom S (one of my running compadres), Diane A, Cary W (my brother-in-law who lives in Portland and is an AVID cyclist), and many more that have been after me for a while to start biking seriously. Okay-I'm gonna give it a try. Haven't picked out a bike yet but I'm starting to narrow it down based on SIZE (does size really matter?), COMFORT, EASE OF MAINTENANCE/PARTS AVAILABILITY, and (drum roll, please) PRICE. My budget has increased as I've been shopping. I want to keep it around 2 grand. It seems that I can get a pretty decent composite or aluminum/composite frame with Shimano Ultegra components and decent saddle and wheels for this price. If you have any recommendations, please feel free to let me know.

I ran today. Did my hill work. It felt scary good. I warmed up with 2 1/2 miles at around an 8:15 pace and did 5 x 0.2 hill repeats and then finished with a 1 1/2 mile cool down. All said, about 6 miles.

Everybody needs to check out Amy's progress . . . She's scheduled to run a 10 miler this weekend. She is the the first link (30 YOF seeking marathon to run) on the right hand side. She has done a good job in quiting smoking and becomming a runner. I think she's been getting extra coaching from her beau. Be sure to stop by and congratulate her.

A taper long run (10 miles) Sunday. Have a GREAT WEEKEND!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Psyche assignment

Okay. Now you've done it. Amy and Liv have sent out an assignment that on the surface seems pretty easy. But after thinking about it, it is pretty tough. How do you define your "ideal future"? Actually, Liv started it and Amy made it a "chain" assignment.

I am not sure if I have the wherewithall to define my "ideal future". Or my revised ideal future. As most of my readers and friends know, I have recently had a MAJOR freaking life change. I used to say that my ideal future was to grow old and be happy with Mona. Well that plan isn't going to happen. So now I have re-examine my life, my goals. That is a scary thought.

Like Amy, I am also a control freak. Not overbearing . . . just that I can't stand leaving something to chance. Now, my whole life is left up to chance. But I'll give it a try.

My "ideal future":
One thing I've learned over the 5 weeks is that I have become a lot more sensitive and compassionate. Where I used to just do the minimum to get by socially, I now appreciate people's pains and needs. Very much unlike the old Jim. Not that I was selfish . . . . I just didn't realize what other people may be feeling. I guess one aspect of my future life would be to become more serving to others and less self serving. I'm not going to run off to a third world country and live in a leper colony, but I will do more to help others.

Being an AR type person about my running, I have to mention goals in that arena of my life. You probably already know that I want to break 1:50 in the half-marathon and 4:00 in the marathon. I think that if I keep the fat man away and keep working, I can do it this year. Mercedes Marathon here in B'ham is next weekend and I really feel primed for my half-marathon goal. I am planning on two chance for my marathon goal this year. I'm doing the Flying Pig in Cincinnati in May and Portland Marathon on Oct 1 (my BIRTHDAY!). I don't think that I will ever qualify for Boston, unless I run as a 60 year old woman. But realistically, I'm not a natural runner . . . I have to work hard just to get a few seconds off my times. Maybe a 3:45 marathon is in my future. It depends on how hard I'm willing to work. Right now, it is hard to say if I can stay that motivated. I do want to start doing some duathlons. Maybe a good goal over the next year would be to do one.

Life itself. TOUGH to think about. With Mona only being gone a little over a month, it is hard to say what I want out of my life. I know that I don't want to disappear into the background. I don't want to become a hermit. I am not sure that I will ever find anyone as special as she was. Of course, I know I can't replace her and I would never try. But I ask myself if I want to be lonely the rest of my life. Too soon to delve into that area. For right now, I have no plans other than to live day to day. To do what Mona taught me-to take each day one day at a time and enjoy what I'm given. Anything else is gravy. I do want to remain a part of her family. She has two brothers, two sisters-in-law, one niece, and 4 nephews. I do want to remain "uncle Jim" for them.

I want to make many new friends, including my friends that I have met out here. I also want to reestablish old relationships. I want to let my existing friends now how important they are to me.

Sorry. I didn't want to make this a bummer trip. Right now, I am just living day by day. Every day is a gift and we should not take our days or friends for granted.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Picking up speed

Hey all! Today was a little bit better. The grief counseling that I am attending is helping. I still have a lot of work to do to get back to normal. However, as all the books I'm reading say, "normal will not be the way I was". Normal will be able to function day to day without any meltdowns. ENOUGH OF THAT, says the FAT MAN. I yell back, "it helps to talk about it!"

Thanks for the warning, Dom. I need to start running my longer runs (>15 avg=" 8:32/mile" avg=" 8:03/mile" avg=" 8:03/mile" avg=" 7:57/mile" avg=" 7:54/mile" avg=" 7:47/mile" href="">

Thank you Summer for the kind words.