Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Wed bike ride

Hi all,
We were supposed to do a 35-40 mile bike ride this afternoon but we cut it short at 26 miles. It was hot and not everyone was up to the task. It was a fun ride and very social. That means it was slow . . . we averaged 16.6 mph.

I have to get back on the stick with my running. I have another few weeks before I need to start my next training cycle for my fall marathons. I am planning on a 10 mile run Thursday afternoon.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

whine, whine, whine

Yes, I'm a whiney boy today. First, it is always tough to go back to work after a 3 day weekend. BOOOO on work. Secondly, here in mid-Alabama we are already into end of June/mid July weather. Low 90s and humidity out the wazoo. I don't mind working my way into the weather but just a couple of weeks ago it was in the 70s. What's up with that? Could it be God giving us a warning????

I am also whiney because I just finished up perhaps the worst 5 miler I've had in a while. I averaged 9 minute pace and could not make myself go any faster. Maybe it something to do with yesterday . . . . .

Monday I met some friends, old and new for a bike ride. Larry M, Kerry L, Susan, Roxanne, Ray B, and Wayne K. Since it was Kerry's birthday today, we did a 47 miler (he is turning 46 today) in honor of his birthday. I know 46 . . . 47 . . . . it was close enough. Besides, can you honestly say that your bike computer is that accurate? Since most of us work in engineering we considered the added mile as conservatism and provided tolerance for error. We all did well and averaged 16.8 per my computer. Of course, Susan wanted to make it 50 miles so she and Wayne K and myself took off to add 3 miles to the ride. I really don't think it made that big a difference but my legs and hips were sore most of the day. Yes, I am still a beginner biker. I had a boo boo at about mile 42. We pulled up under a tree to let some stragglers catch up and so we could take on some water. Let me just say that unclipping left and leaning right is NOT THE WAY to stay vertical. I was humbled by the laughter and the gravel lodged in the bloody hole in my knee. Lesson learned. Thanks to all you guys and girls who rode yesterday. Hope to see you tomorrow afternoon for a 35 miler!

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Triathlon posting

First I need to start by apologizing to my friends D&J. My comments from last Friday's post were unnecessarilly gruff. And yes, I am aware that D reads my postings and I was insensitive in my comments. I realize that the kids come first and I have never had a problem with that. I am the classic Inspector Javert type character (Les Miserables) . . . . I live and breathe order, to my own detriment . . . . good guy turned bad. Anyway, I am sorry.

Now that that is done . . . .

I did my first triathlon this morning. It was for beginners, a sprint distance. 200m swim, 8.5 mile bike ride, and 2 mile run. As most of you know the running is no problem. The biking I have taken to nicely and was not concerned about. It was the dreaded pool that had me waking up last screaming, dreaming I was drowning! My training buddy Susan also did this one and it was her first as well. She's the one that talked me into trying it . . . . . bit thanks (yeah, right)!Susan started well in front of me in the swim since she is a swimmer. I think she got about a 25-30 minute head start on me. She was concerned about going slow on the bike and run but I kept telling to pick an easy even pace and save a little bit for the end. Her swim looked good and she was off and running to the bikes before I was even put in line for the swim. I figured I'd catch her in the second half of the bike ride.

The swim. I survived it. Actually, I thought I did decently. The swim was sort of a mess . . . it was 8 lengths in the pool at the local Y . . . . down, under the rope, back, under the rope, down . . . . you get the idea. No passing unless you were near the end of the lane. I only passed one person and no one passed me so I guess I was okay.

Swim: 4:55

Transition . . . I practiced it a couple of times but until you're actually there, you have no idea. I opted to put on socks for the biking and run. Wet socks don't bother me but putting them on is difficult. Funny to see folks hopping around the transition area on one leg trying to put on socks. I just sat on the ground, turned them inside out and rolled them on . . . it seemed to work okay.

Swim to bike transition: 3:50

The bike ride. I was looking forward to this. Several big hills and though I am not an experienced biker, I am figuring out that I may be better than average at climbing. I had done a 35 miler earlier in the week and was having bottom bracket noise. I took it to my bike shop Bike Link and my main man Craig fixed me up. It just needed tightening up and he knew I was doing the tri so he jumped on it quick. 8.5 mile bike ride went rather nicely I was continuously passing people which is a big confidence booster. I was only passed one time during the ride. I did have my first wreck (sort of). While nearing the top of a climb, the road was about to level off and I decided to grab a quick drink of water. When I reached down to grab the bottle, I did the little old lady thing and ran off the road. Fortunately, it was a steep bank going up and not down. The bank was covered in ivy so it was sort of a quick, gentle deceleration. Unclipped, and ran with my bike to the top of the hill where I could get some momentum back and get clipped in. I had to pedal hard and fast in order to catch Susan. I had promised her that I would come back after the run to finish up with her during her run. The assumption being is that I would pass her on the bike ride. By mile 6 I figured I'd be seeing her soon. Mile 7 . . . where is she? Did I pass her and not see her or did she quit? About 7 1/2 miles I spot her! SHE'S ALREADY ON THE FREAKING RUN!!!! The girl has been holding back on me! She was already a third of the way done with her run. I hammered the rest of the ride and thought I'd run her down since she CLAIMS that she is not a strong runner.

Bike ride: 31:36

Bike to run transition. I was energized from the ride and I actually did pretty well. I was able to get unclipped right at the timing mat and picked up my bike and ran back to my location at the bike rack. Shoes off, glove off, helmet off, swig of water, running shoes on and back on the road.

Transition time: 1:23

The RUN. Finally, my sport. I am not fast but since most of the folks were beginners I figured I might have an advantage on them . . . . I did. I had decided last night that I was going run hard and try to come in with a good time. I flew onto the course passing people. I've got to catch Susan . . . . the further I went on the run, the better I felt knowing that I was closing the gap on her. Suddenly at about 2/3 of mile into my race I saw her coming back towards the finish line (out and back course). CRAP . . . I won't catch her but she looks like she's having fun and is running strong. That is what it is all about . . . having fun! Very nice. I ran faster than I had hoped, especially after the bike ride.

Mile 1: 6:21
Mile 2: 7:02

Total time: 55:07. Beat my goal of 1 hour!!!!

Where's the next one?????
have a great day

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Wed night

I'm sitting here just chilling. Finished left over pizza and watching the season finale of LOST.

I just got back from a very fun bike ride. We did 35 miles, averaged 17 mph. Not too bad for a beginner. However, I think something is wrong with my bottom bracket . . . it started making noise so I'm taking it to the shop first thing in the morning. I've got to have a bike for my triathlon this Saturday. I rode with two folks I've been riding with . . . Larry M and Kerry. Two others joined us that have been riding in the group before I came along. Susan and (another) Kerry. Both seem to be great people and we had a good time. Larry M is right . . . . Susan is an animal for her size. She probably has more energy per pound than anyone I've ever met. Kerry seemed like a nice guy too. All four were very nice to me being a beginner.

Last night I wanted to run a 10 miler. However, I did the smart thing and listened to my body. I canned it at 7 1/2 miles. It was hot and my legs hurt and I really wasn't in the mood. I think that the swimming thing, as little as it is, is really taking a toll on me. Hopefully I'll start getting the hang of balancing all this stuff.

I'm supposed to swim in the morning but I'll wait and see how I feel when I get out of bed.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

controlled drowning

Good morning. I am still alive, despite the title of my blog today. Thanks to Phil for sending me the link from TOO BAD I didn't read it until after this mornings swimming attempt. I will try to learn from my mistakes and this good article over the next several days. How can swimming be so hard. Didn't we all love playing in the pool as kids? Didn't I spend endless summer hours in the creek as teenager, terrifying every snake and catfish in the county? Maybe it has something to do with age . . . . back then I was 16. Now I'm 46. My body has detrained from swimming after 30 years of abuse, I guess.

Anyway . . . . I did a couple of easy warm up laps mixing it up with side strokes, back strokes and crawls. This was at a nice easy pace just to get the blood moving and everything was comfortable. Then something magical happened when it was time to do my 200 meters and started my stopwatch-my body became an oxygen sponge. I needed more air inside my body than I have in weeks . . . same problem as before-you cannot breathe when your face is in the water. 3 strokes breathe. 3 strokes breathe. BS! I need to breathe every stroke. Not very effecient. I wonder if I could cheat and use a snorkel?

200m in 5:40. I did not crawl (freestyle) the entire distance. I still think I am more comfortable using side stroke . . . I can breathe more often and since I am not worried about the breathing, I think I am more relaxed. Thus, I am moving just as quickly. I'll keep working on it.

Last night I ran an easy 6 miler. Actually, an easy 4 miler and then a brisk 2 miles when Animal joined me. I needed the push. Thanks Marc!

Monday, May 22, 2006

I have lost my mind

Yep. No doubt about it. Triathlon. Who am I kidding?

Sunday after church, Susan and I went to the local state park to practice for the upcoming triathlon. The swimming killed me on Saturday and I know Susan was wore out as well. Soooooo . . . we did about 7 1/2 miles bike ride, 1 1/2 run and bailed out on the swim. The lake was awfully nasty looking and there were too many people. It was probably a good idea to take it easy since we had done the distances on Saturday. So instead of the swim, we sat in the shade and had a picnic! woo hoo.

Monday morning I was at the Y to get a swim in. 6:00 in the morning. Just me and a lifeguard. Needless to say, he probably had a good laugh watching me try to swim. However, to my credit, I did swim it faster than I did Saturday. I will be back at the Y tomorrow.

If anybody has a suggestion or tip for swimming and breathing PLEASE send me an email.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Sunday morning

Good morning to all . . . . the pendulum swings quickly and I am back into my ZEN state.

I forgor to mention in my last post that I did a 10 miler on Thursday afternoon. It felt good to get back out and start working again. Dominator ran 5 miles with me and we had a couple of faster miles while we were chatting. It really felt good to break a good sweat!

Saturday morning Susan and I went to the Y and did a practice triathlon on the course we're doing next week. The FAT MAN learned a valuable lesson . . . just because you can bike 35 miles and just because you can run a marathon in 3:48, it does not mean that THE FAT MAN CAN SWIM! I guess the last time I really tried swimming was several years ago. Granted, when I go to the beach I splash around and occassionally play Marco Polo if the mood hits. But dude, this was like real swimming . . . end to end. All I can say is that at least I did not drown. Does 200 meters sound that far to you? It was an eternity for me. And of course, Susan swims almost everyday. Yes, you guessed it-I got beat BY A GIRL! :) Evertime I looked over in her lane, she was getting further and further away. She swam like a freaking tadpole. I think I may have to check to see if she has webbed feet.

I have concluded several things about swimming:

1- As a runner my body is trained to USE OXYGEN in a normal cadence. You can't breathe when your face is in the water. This is not a practice that I recommend. Chlorinated liquid and the lungs DO NOT MIX!

2- totally different muscle groups. Running and biking have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with swimming. I'd rather run a half marathon than swim those dreaded 8 laps in the pool.

3- Goggles. Make sure they are snug. Period.

4- embarrassment. It happens. Get over it.

I'm going again today to see if I can drown myself. That would eliminate all the aforementioned problems!

Friday, May 19, 2006

Happy Friday . . .

okay. I'm lazy today. I meant to go to the Y and get a swim in today. BTW, I played hookie from work to clean house to get ready for dinner with friends tomorrow night. Had it planned for 4 or 5 days. Guess what? Last minute "we forgot that we had something". Anybody want to come over and eat grilled pork chops with hot Jalapena Apple salsa. All you have to do is bring dessert. Can you tell that I'm slightly p1$$'d? Susan was supposed to come over and co-host with me. Now I'm not sure what to do.

Okay, I vented.

Did I mention that Susan and I are doing our first triathlon next Saturday? Not enough for the fatman to run and bike . . . now he wants to jump in the water too. Way too much but I have to try it. It is a short distance so I should be okay. I think that we're supposed to practice this weekend on doing all our transitions (swim to bike, bike to run, for all you novices out there).

On top of everything else, I've managed to make Susan mad at me also. Right now she's my best friend and training buddy and I managed to hurt her feelings. Can you say dufus? Of course, I'm just a guy trying to figure out where I fit in the whole big drama called life. I prefer to live it as a comedy but I guess you have to play the part the DIRECTOR gives you. Susan, I'm sorry.

I have officially signed up for the Portland marathon on Oct 1 (my birthday-I'm expecting lots of cards!). I have also entered the lottery for NYC marathon on Nov. 5. I'm also thinking about signing up for Rocket City marathon in Huntsville on Dec. 9. I figure that if I use the first two as training runs, I will go for another PR in Huntsville. I've always liked that course and it is a fast course if the weather is right.

Okay. It is time for everbody out there to tell me how stupid I am and what a dufus I am. Waiting on your comments!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

starting back

Hey all . . . .
As you know, I did some bike riding that week after my marathon and I also ran an easy 10k with Susan. Now my week of laziness is over!

I ran 6 miles at 8:30 pace on Tuesday afternoon. Surprisingly, my legs were still a little bit sore. Probably from the bike riding last week. Tonight I was supposed to do a 30 mile bike ride but we canned it doe to weather. However, I did go home and practice for my next big event. I am going to try doing a beginner's triathlon. 200m swim, 8.5 mile bike ride and 2 mile run. The bike and run distances aren't a problem. I'm just not sure about the swimming. I will be swimming the next several days. My triathlon is next Saturday, so I have 9 days to get ready. Pretty stupid, huh?

Tonight I did a 8 mile bike ride and a 2 1/2 mile run. I was trying to figure out the best way to transition from bike to run . . . . not that easy to do. And the legs didn't like going from the bike to running. I'll figure it out.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Time for a rest

Good morning (at least for me). I just got in from a shortened bike ride. We were supposed to do a 40 mile ride this morning. We were trying to beat the storms that were heading our way but didn't quite make it. We managed to get in almost 28 miles. However we did the last 7 or 8 in a drizzle or rain. We were going to tough it out until it started lightning. After that it was time to head to the cars and load up. Just spent the last 20 minutes drying and lubing my bike. Gosh . . . I spend more time taking care of the stupide bike than I do taking care of myself. Something just doesn't seem right about that.

Yesterday afternoon (6:00) I got in an easy 10k run. Actually, I was running with Susan. It was a fund raiser at the zoo. We had decided to run this together-she's trying to cut time off her 10k and I was needing to start back my running. I know the experts say to take off more time after a marathon but I've been feeling so good I figured it wouldn't hurt. Susan's goal was to average 10 1/2 minute miles which would put her around 66 minutes. After discussing her plans, we decided to let her set the pace for the first 4 miles but I'd keep tabs on it just to let her know if it was too slow. After 4 miles, I started easing her into a little bit faster pace. By 5 miles, I was talking her into a faster pace. She worked hard and didn't quit. We finished in 65:15. Congratulations to Susan!

I'm heading to Tupelo after a shower. I am ignoring my mom (sorry mom) this weekend to go visit Mona's mom. She still doesn't seem to have her legs back under her after losing Mona and as far as I know, Mona's brothers are not heading to Tupelo. I figure it is something that I need to do. I am going to see my mom on Monday night . . . I better have a great present for my mom since I'm not going to see her on Mother's day. Maybe a nice bottle of vino???

I started to call my buddy Shane in Tupelo to see if he wanted to run this afternoon but my legs and hips are shot. I think it is time to take off for a couple of days and rest.

Hope everyone has a great weekend and happy Mother's day to all you mothers out there!

Friday, May 12, 2006

Back at it

The legs and hips have finally recovered and I'm ready to get back at it! Don't need to slow down or the fat man may catch me.

My bud Larry M and I did a bike ride yesterday after work. Being a beginner rider may be the best thing . . . I'm too stupid or naive to know better than to ride with real bikers but it worked out. We did a 30 mile ride out in Shelby county. I swear we were riding on roads that go to nowhere. We never unclipped except at one intersection for traffic. I think it was 1 hour 49 minutes . . . . something like a 16.5 mph avg. Again, I'm a beginner and I forgot to reset my computer . . . duh. The ride has a few rolling hills and I was surprised that I didn't get jello legs since I ran a marathon just 5 days ago.

I am running a 10k tonight at the zoo with a possible bike ride of 40 miles on Saturday morning. Am I crazy or what? I also have big plans for the fall . . . . I'll update you later on that.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Details: 2006 Flying Pig Marathon

Okay. I'm finally taking time to sit down and write a little bit more about my marathon story. If all you want are details, scroll down to the bottom paragraph titled “DETAILS”. If you want the juicy gossip and my perspective of the trip then just read on.

As you know, I traveled to Cincinnati this past weekend to run in the Flying Pig marathon. It had been several (many) years since I had run a marathon and I have been training differently than before. I trained harder and longer (since last November). After many runs between 10 and 22 miles, I felt that I was in the best shape of my life. It was draining, both physically and emotionally, especially with the passing of my wife of 15 years, Mona, on Christmas night. Most likely, she helped to provide most of my motivation since.

I did have a friend go with me. Before everyone gets all upset and tries to pass judgment, let me say that this was a runner's trip and it always helps to have a fellow runner to hang out with during events like this. I've told you that I had been trying to help my friend Susan get ready for some upcoming 10ks. The Flying Pig 10k was one of her races. I went to run my marathon and she went to run her 10k and we both supported each other's efforts. That being said . . . .

We flew into Cincinnati Friday afternoon. Cincinnati is sort of a screwed up airport. Take a bus from one concourse to the next. THEN, take a train to the next concourse. THEN, take another bus to the rental car place since they have no rental cars at the airport. Reminded me of the movie “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles”. If you plan to fly to Cincinnati, plan on spending at least an hour AFTER you arrive to finally get out of the airport.

After getting the rental car, we decided to hightail it to the convention center where the EXPO was being held to pick up race packets. That would keep Susan from having to deal with that on Saturday morning and I would have mine two days ahead to make sure everything was correct. Made it to the EXPO in time to get our stuff and that was about it. Checked into the hotel which was across the street from the convention center. Then we went to dinner a couple of blocks from the hotel. All said a fairly successful first day without any major glitches. Good enough . . . nothing to screw up my run. . .yet.

Saturday morning came early (I always hate losing the hour due to the shift from central to eastern time). We got Susan across the river and to her race without a hitch. The course was a big loop that ran on both the Ohio and Kentucky sides of the river, thru Cincinnati and Covington. I was able to trek back and forth across the bridges and take pictures several times and places. Of course I had to do some running to get where I wanted to be. She started off slower than I thought she needed to but she ran the race she wanted to run and kept picking up her pace every mile-a sure sign that you’re holding back too much. Susan . . . you better be busting it next 10k!

We then proceeded to violate all that is sacred and holy for marathoners . . . I spent the entire day Saturday on my feet. Not only did I run a couple of miles scooting around the 10k course, I also went to the museum of art, the conservatory, and walked around downtown, sight seeing-the whole time knowing that I am probably ruining my race. The first real sit down was at the pasta dinner. Thank goodness I took the 4:30 seating! The dinner was good and I met several folks from around the country and enjoyed talking race histories and strategies. The amazing thing about the whole Saturday ordeal was that I really never really got nervous or jittery like I normally would before a race. My plan was to get out of bed at 3:00 am Sunday (6:00 am race start) and stretch, sip some coffee, eat a half a bagel. Though I went to bed prior to 10:00, I tossed and turned (as expected) and maybe got 4-5 hours of sleep.

I was up before the alarm and did my morning ritual. After checking the weather I made a final decision on shorts and singlet. No gloves needed. The temperature, which was expected to be low 40s, was in the low 50s . . . a little warmer than I would want for a perfect race but it beats the 70+ degrees I've been running in the last 4-6 weeks at home. Since I was staying on the Kentucky side of the river, I had to catch a water taxi to the starting line near Paul Brown stadium. I got on the boat at 5:00 and was in a port-a-let next to the start line by 5:15. Perfect timing! I had decided that I was not going to get caught up behind a bunch of walkers and slower runners, not that there is anything wrong with walkers or slow runners. So as soon as the corrals started opening up, I jumped into the front of the 9 minute/mile corral and sat in the road for 40 minutes.

The start was fun and exciting . . . very festive. However, while standing there IN THE DARK I kept wondering . . . where is the sun???? Did Ohio not pay the power bill to God? Why do I have sunglasses on top of my head when the sun is nowhere in sight? Anyway . . . . we started with a cannon shot which, along with caffeine Cliff gel, will get you going.

The first 2 miles or so was in the dark but run on city streets so the lighting was good. We finally started seeing sunrise prior to mile 3 as we were crossing a bridge from Kentucky back into Ohio. I even stopped long enough to take a picture for another runner who was trying to take a picture of himself with the sun and river in the background. HMMMM . . . . did that waste a valuable 30 seconds? After 5 miles, the pack was spreading out and I was finally able to hit a decent stride. I was running with a man that I had been talking to for a mile or so when we ran up on a man holding balloons on a stick . . . . a pacer. I never really look for pacers on a race course since I figure that they are holding an even pace all through the race and I have never run that way. What was that written on his balloons? 3:50? You have to be kidding me! I was running way too fast. I wanted to break 4:00. Maybe 3:55. Why am I about to pass the 3:50 pacer before the 6 mile mark? Am I insane????

We started into the “hilly” part of the course after mile 6. According to the elevation plat that the website provided, we had about 3 miles of all uphill running to contend with and the locals I had talked to on Saturday described it as torturous. I did slow slightly, knowing that I was running in the dreaded hills. The funny thing was this-these terrible hills were much milder than what Chip, Animal, the Dominator, and I run in our neighborhood on a daily basis. So much for the fear!

Between miles 8 and 10 I kept fighting to stay behind the 3:50 pacesetter. I was keeping up with my splits and saw that I was well on my way to my 3:55 goal if I could hold everything together. Somewhere between mile 10 and 11 I made the decision to pass the pacesetter and not look back. At the halfway point, I had clocked my split at a few seconds over 1:55 and I thought that would put me close to my 3:50 goal, IF I COULD HOLD MY PACE for the second half. I had trained all my long runs running negative splits. But would it work for 26 miles the way it worked for 22 miles? The miles have seemed to click off and I was in a comfortable zone. I had been running in the 8:30s and 8:40s and felt good. I thought that I’d go to mile 15 and make a decision there. It wasn’t like I needed to speed up; I just needed to prepare myself mentally to bear down.

Somewhere between mile 15 and 18 the emotions started kicking in. I was shocked at how good I felt compared to past marathons. I started to realize that maybe I could break 4 hours. Maybe even break 3:55. But I was still reluctant to think in terms of 3:50. By the way, I have not seen the 3:50 pacesetter recently . . . did he sneak past me at some point? Should I look back over my shoulder to see if he was closing the gap? HECK NO . . . . just keep running. Run like your life depends on it. I had promised myself and Mona to do the best I could do, regardless, and I was not going to let the mind start playing tricks on my body! Between 18 and 20 miles the emotions got worse and I kept having mini breakdowns. Ever see a man run 8:30 miles and blubber at the same time? It is not a pretty scene!

The last 10K. In the past, this has been the hardest part. However, this time there was no “give up” in me. There was no wall. I had determined in all my training that I would not become a dish of melted butter in the last miles. I really think that running my long runs on Saturday and then running another 5 or 6 miles on Sunday really helped my mind cope with the discomfort. There were four of us that had been running together and talking between mile 18 and 20 and we had taken turns running as lead in a pace line. When we hit mile 20 in 2:55 my mind went bye-bye. I announced my intention to run a 50 minute 10k. If we could turn 50 minutes, I could get to 3:45 marathon. I asked who wanted to go with me and everyone grunted an affirmative grunt. We picked up the pace and we did an 8:17 mile. Not fast enough for a 50 minute 10k. At that point I realized I could not make 3:45. In fact, during the faster mile, I lost two of my buddies whom I am sure are still cussing me today. There were two of us left and we had stopped talking. The effort to speed up this late in the game was overwhelming. I can at least brag and say that I finally got away from my remaining buddy around mile 22. We wished each other luck and he started walking. I’m on my own for the last 4 miles. The legs are hurting. The hips are hurting. The back is hurting. The FATMAN is screaming at me . . . “you can break four hours, even if you start walking now”. NO. Not this time. I will not walk. I have never run a marathon start to finish without walking. I would love to tell you of heroics but I cannot. But, I did not walk. Unfortunately, my pace did fall off. The last couple of miles were a blur. I remember more crying and thoughts of all the Saturday morning runs. I remembered how Mona used to brag to our friends about what I was doing (I would not tell our friends about my training, so she would brag on me). The realization that I no longer had my biggest fan hurt. All I ever wanted was to be someone's hero. Such a mix of emotions, all culminating in the struggle of the last mile of a marathon. Epic battle? Perhaps. More likely, a dehydrated, chemically imbalanced brain playing tricks. I managed to pull it together and saw Susan about a half mile from the finish. She and thousands of other spectators were cheering me to a strong finish. For a brief moment, I was superman. When I saw the finish line and the clock reading 3:48:10, I kicked it in the rump and crossed the line in 3:48:16.

As I crossed the line, I realized that my life has indeed changed. I’ve been searching for a way to define myself. Athlete? No. Runner? Not really. Confused? Always. Lonely? Yes, but not in a devastating kind of way anymore. Proud of myself? Kind of, but I’m not really that way. Have I been running from my past? No, there is nothing there to run from-it is who I am. Perhaps I am running towards my future. As I walked through the finish line area with my medal and mylar blanket, stuffing orange slices into my mouth I concluded that I am just another ordinary guy who by the grace of God and with proper motivation was able to do something extraordinary. Thanks to all my family and friends who have supported me. Thanks also to my blogging friends for supporting me as well. I will be here for you as you were for me. Count on it!

Here are the details:

1 9:18
2 8:59
3 8:17
4 8:28
5 8:36 43:38
6 8:49
7 9:03
8 8:58
9 8:21
10 8:36 1:27:25
11 8:39
12 8:55
13 8:46
14 8:50
15 8:48 2:11:22
16 8:31
17 8:41
18 8:32
19 8:34
20 8:37 2:54:16
21 8:17
22 8:38
23 8:45
24 8:46
25 9:29
26.2 10:08 3:48:16

Best mile: 8:17

AVG pace: 8:43/mile. That is averaging 6.88 miles per hour.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

It is done!

This is just a quick post for those who want to know. I will post more details later for the engineering friends of mine who love every statistic known to man.

I had several goals:

Goal #1 was to break 4 hours
Intermediate goal: Break 3:55
Agressive goal: Break 3:50

I achieved my aggressive goal!!!!!!

3:48:18 chip time. 3:49:11 clock time.

I actually thought I had a 3:45 in the bag. I made mile 20 at 2:55 and thought that if I could run a 50 minute 10k I could do it. I just ran out of gas. The last two miles were tough and my pace slowed into the 9 minute range but I am still tickled at the results!

Party tonight in Cincinnati!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

just 2 days left . . . . SQUEEEEEEL !

Thanks to everyone for the encouragement. Special thanks to my family (Mom and Dad), extended family (Cary out in Oregon), Lisa H, Jim and Karen, Amy down in good ole Macon, Mary up in PA way, Shane in Tupelo, the neighborhood boys and girls: Chip, Animal, the Domintor, Shelley, Dori. I want to especially thank Susan, my new found running buddy and mentee . . . Her encouragement has meant a lot to me and I've enjoyed our Sunday afternoon runs. Susan, you will do well in your upcoming 10ks . . . would I lie to you???

I had dinner with a couple of the neighbors tonight. Carbo loading with Chip and Dori (Chip is running the same marathon) and Dom and Debbi. Something about when you get a group of runner together and start talking the juices start flowing!

I did an untimed 5 miler this afternoon. I am so ready to get this thing started. I could have run all night. I guess there is something to tapering. My legs haven't felt this good in months! All I have to do now is execute.

If I have access to a computer at the hotel I will post my results and marathon story. Of course I am going to enjoy the post race party first. If no computer available, it will have to wait until I get back in town on Monday.

Thanks again to everyone and believe me, I'll be thinking of each and every one of you while I'm running. Most of all I will be thinking of Mona.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

3 days away

Thanks to everyone for your votes on confidence! Some are friends and family, some are observers and supporters. Dom's wife Debbi thinks that she's going to be buying me pink panties if I don't break 4:00. If I don't break 4:00, I won't come home! I'll live in a refrigerator box under the interstate in Cincinnati for the rest of my life! And I don't know about a century ride but I will be picking my bike back up and starting to build some miles. Of course, I have Portland marathon on Oct 1 to start training for.

it is sinking in . . . . it is time to focus and get on with the serious business. No more goofing off . . . seriously :)

I ran a very nice 6 miler Tuesday afternoon. A little warm (low 80s) but all in all it felt good having to hold back during my run. I didn't figure my average but I did the 6 in about 51 minutes. I guess that is a 8:30 pace. I was constantly having to slow down. The legs feel great and fresh . . . the reason for a taper (duh).

I spent last night and tonight going through my list and making sure that I am packing everything. Shorts (2 pair-just in case), socks (3 pair-just in case and in case it rains), singlets x2 and coolmax teeshirts x2, lightweight gloves (a low 40 degree start), bodyglide, brass safety pins, sunglasses, fig newtons, cliff gel. What could I be forgetting?????? Oh yeah, SHOES and ORTHOTICS! Also extra pair of laces.

I will be calculating my splits for 4:00, 3:55, 3:50. Not sure that I am bold enough to figure splits for a 3:45. I have to make up my pace chart and tape to my watch . . . I'll probably to it on Friday morning. Sort of ritual. You A.R. types know what I am talking about as far as rituals go.

I'm heading to bed early tonight. I need to get some good sleep over the next couple of nights since I know I won't sleep well Saturday night. Tomorrow I will run 4 or 5 miles and I may do a mile or two Saturday morning. The plan is to backtrack on the 10k course and meet a friend who is running the 10k and run the last mile or so coming back in.

I'll post at least once more before the race with my final thoughts, fears, emotions. Thanks again for everyone's support.

Monday, May 01, 2006

I can't believe it is almost here

Sorry ya'll . . . been out of town on a golf outing and have not updated recently.

Last week I took it easy since my legs were dead from the long Saturday run and follow up with the Sunday run. I did get in a nice 5 miler last Tuesday but skipped Wed and Thurs.

While at Jekyll Island, GA, I ran a VERY strong and confident building 90 minute run. Best I could tell it was somewhere between 11 and 12 miles. I felt great. I hardly ever run without a shirt but since I was at the beach and I need some tan on my white body, I ran sans singlet. A beautiful run. I had played decent golf which got me into a pretty good mood. The run was spectacular. The trail I ran runs along the beach and in and out of live oaks with spanish moss. There were folks on the trail riding bikes and walking. I felt so "studly" being the only out there on Friday afternoon running in the sun and the heat.

Came home Sunday morning. 7 hours in the car. Not my choice of things to do on a weekend day but I guess it is the price you pay for having fun. After I got home, I did a very hard 5 miler and felt great doing it. It was strange weather . . . . low 60s and a light rain. It was bad but good . . . does that sound strange? My life seems to be loaded with paradoxes right now.

I did an easy 4 miler this afternoon before I cut grass. While running it occurred to my how different my life has become since Mona passed. I had been planning this marathon since early November and Mona had supported me in my dreams of getting back into marathon shape. After she died, everything in me screamed to give up. I knew that she had no quit in her and this run has somehow become more about her than me. Perhaps that is why I think I can really do a good job with it. No, I'm not hung up on my grieving for her-it's just that she always inspired me with her determination and spirit and I owe her that much. I have trained so hard. Harder than any other time. Yet I feel so relaxed going into this marathon. I am normally a basket case this close to a race. However, as bad as I want to do well, I sort of have a don't give a $hit attitude. Like I said, my life is full of paradoxes. Everytime I think of some reason to quit or give up on anything, there are twice as many reasons to go on. Maybe some of you know what I'm talking about. I am afraid that I may experience the post marathon funk. That is why I am already planning for the next race.

My goal is to run a hard 6 miler tomorrow and an easy 5 miler Thursday. I may decide to jog a mile or two Saturday morning before the marathon. I've checked the Cincinnati weather and it should be perfect for the run. Supposed to start out in the low 40s-PERFECT!

Must break 4 hours. Intermediate goal is to break 3:55 and my stretch goal is to break 3:50.
Must go faster!