Friday, August 15, 2014

Friday in Pictures

I’m still doing the pic a day, every day. Instagram is the best way to find them.  The more I think about it the more I really love that I decided to do it. With the pics of my legs laying on the couch as the exceptions, looking back on various days is a fun way to put the everyday events into context. Think about…. What do you remember from 2013?  What about Feb of this year? If you are like me or on heavy sedatives probably not much.  In fact, I’m looking to have them put into a big shutterfly style book at the end of the year. Because I mean, who wouldn’t want to come over to my house and flip through 365 pictures of me!?

Here are a few comings and goings over the past month or so:

Chuck E Cheese is just as creepy as you remember.  Scratch that, WAY more creepy

Because it has been balls hot out, I haven’t rode the motorcycle much in the last 2-3 weeks.  Frankly, the swamp ass sweat is just too much to bear. (Double checked bear vs bare on that one.) I hope that changes really soon.

I might do a full post on this, but a few weeks back I picked 2.5 gallons of olives at a public park…..

which then two weeks later turned into 5 quarts and 11 pints of canned olives….

which then a day later turned into 5 quarts and 10 pints of canned olives when my son broke one. Either way I have a ton of olives.

Like I said in my last post, in spite of it being balls hot, I have still been running.  I totally randomly met a twitter friend on the road during the last few miles of death march. Why is it whenever I see friends on the run I feel so terrible that I can’t even do the “fake chipper smile” that guys always do when girls run by?  :*(

Finally, it was my son’s first day of school three weeks ago. The start has been rocky at best as the transition between “YAY SUMMER FUN TIME” and the structure of school has been a bit of a shock. Hopefully that all settles out as everyone gets a bit more comfortable.  I’m not sure if I can handle many more teary “why can’t I just stay home and play with you all day, daddy?” questions.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

My fall marathon - Detroit!

Not the official race logo, probably 
As anyone who stalks me on a regular basis knows, I've been racing a bit less frequently than I have in the past. While I would love to say that the reasons are for running's sake alone a la "I'm focusing on the races that matter!" or maybe philanthropic "I'm donating my time to save baby humming birds!" instead they are pretty boring and run of the mill - "I don't have any vacation with my new job".  Gone are the vacation days to celebrate national hot dog wants me to work. Womp Womp.

Ugh, my thesis "blog post summary" sentence in the opening paragraph is boring. Boring Runner indeed!! Hmm, how about this:

I'm running the Detroit Marathon!

Alexis is as excited as I am!

In spite of my lack of vacation, I'm doing a whirlwind trip to Dirty D (is that what the kids call Detroit? God I'm old) to run my 21st marathon. As I sit here watching Alexis over and over again pretending she has different voices I'm 11 weeks away from the race. Plenty of time to put in quality training time and get after it!

When trying to decide on a fall marathon to run, I had lots of things to consider:

One race or two?!  I was hemming and hawing about the possibility of running a "practice" race early in the fall (Mid September) and then running a "real" race later in the fall/winter (Early November) but ultimately that was going to be too expensive and settled on just one (October). Frankly, people bitch about $120 for a marathon, but the real money is the $300 in housing, $200 in rental cars, $100 on cheap hotel wine and $500 in flights. Saving $40 bucks on the race itself barely hits the radar. So, one race it was - sometime in October.

Fast or slow? If I wasn't going to go for a blistering fast PR, I could pick about any race.  Race with "hell" in the title? Sure! Race with "challenging but scenic" in the description? Why not!? Some random obstacle course race with wild dogs that are on fire that you jump over and electric eel filled streams you have to run through?!  Uhhh, yes?  No, none of those would work, I wanted a flat course that I could possibly set a PR on.  Too many people try to run a fast race and then pick the "widowmaker marathon and 10k" to do it on.  Not me! I wanted it flat and fast just like I like my double mint.

New State? This one is obvious, yes. New state.

Large or Small? I've found that I do better at the larger races if I'm trying to go fast. I can run with others and the crowd can cheer me on. The crappy reality is that in the smaller races there aren't a ton of people running faster than 3:15 and me inside of my head without anyone else around is NOT a good thing.  So, big it is.

Sunday Funday Since I really don't have much vacation, I needed to find a Sunday race so I could fly out Friday night and fly back race day.

Do I know people running it? This is really what swayed me one way or the other. Given the 5 criteria above, there were really only a handful of races that fit the bill. I currently know of a handful of people running Detroit and I am sure that I'll find more.  So, Detroit it is!

More about the race in a post later in the week!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Hard runs are hard

Hard runs are hard....and other completely obvious revelations from my miserable 18 mile run on Sunday.

Heat and Humidity make runs hard
Last week was supposed to be my first 60+ mile week in as far back as Daily Mile goes in their weekly view. (The start of the year...7 months...yikes.) I came close at 55 miles, but couldn't quite get it due to an errant meeting that was scheduled over my 13 miler. Seriously, don't work people know that lunch is for running and not meetings!?  Anyway, I might as well have ran a billion miles because that is what my long run felt like. As it turns out, 80 degrees and 75% humidity aren't ideal running conditions. Who knew!? My legs were like bricks and my breathing was much higher than it should have been. (If I get around to it, I have a post on "why" running in the heat is hard rolling around in my head.)

When it is hot, I sweat a LOT
I think we can all agree that I'm a hot mess. But, drama filled social life aside, I'm what is eloquently put as a "heavy sweater".  I sweat before runs, while eating spicy food, yes even during "that", and even after showers trying to get ready.  As a result, I always carry water when I run no matter the distance and during the heat and humidity common this time of year I always have to plan to refill the 40oz of water that I carry. But, when my shorts were already completely soaked after 4 miles, I knew that I was in for a tough one.  Here are a few pics of me trying to cool off after 4 miles on Sunday:

So sweaty. Ugh, I look gross.
Wait, what am I grabbing in that first pic??

All told I drank 70oz of water with refills of my bottles at mile 4 and 9. I drank all I could while running, but still ended up losing 6 pounds (151.6 --> 145.2) before and after. Yikes.  I tweeted about how most ultra marathons will only let you lose 5% of your body weight before they threaten to pull you.  That was 4% for me.  So yeah, I didn't pee until 2pm.

Patient running partners are a godsend
Finally, regardless of pace, no one wants to be the "slow guy/gal". When I ran with my 2:50 marathoner buddy Matt I was quick to tell him that he could "go ahead without me" at any time... which is exactly what I told my running partner Ryan when I bonked hard at mile 13. We had been running pretty consistent 7:40 miles up until that point when the wheels fell off my run. I took a quick break to eat a gel, which then turned into a walk break, which resulted in slowing down the pace by 45 sec/mile....and then walking at every road crossing...  My 7:40s turned into 9:30s including the walking. 

Normally we'll chat about running, family, beer, (not necessarily in that order) and other various things (not as much about booty shorts as you'd expect), but I was pretty silent those last few miles. The only thing that snapped me out of it was running into twitter buddy Emily. Before then, Ryan was quick to point out that he didn't care how fast we went and that the walk breaks were just fine. Which, was a good thing, since I really couldn't do a ton about the walk breaks!


That run was probably one of the worst runs that I've had in 6 months. I think what frustrated me the most was how quickly I went from "this is hard" to "omg, I'm dying". A lot of it was the conditions but even more of it was mental. I'm going to try to work in more marathon paced runs and progression runs to try to work on my mental game and tackle it again in a few weeks!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Third Trimester: 12 weeks until my marathon

As I sit here, I'm 12 weeks away from my next marathon.  The beginning of the third trimester!! As you might imagine, I sleep a lot, my feet are swollen, the hemorrhoids are back, and my body aches all the time. It will all be worth it in the end, but right now brewing my marathon baby sure is a lot of work.

Just like when someone is not growing a baby, when I'm not specifically training for a marathon, I still take pretty good care of myself - but not all that horribly good.  I'll indulge in the occasional six pack of beer, eat copious amounts of dairy before bedtime, and run a lot but not all that focused and certainly no speedwork.  It is a blast! I still get the benefits of being healthy with all of the running I do without all of the hassle of actually being healthy.  I have seen the light, life balance be thy name!

But let me tell you, when that marathon seed is in me? Things get serious.  Prenatal vitamins? CHECK! Soft cheeses!?  NO WAY! Jumping on trampolines!!?  ARE YOU KIDDING I'LL have my marathon baby premature! TWIST AN ANKLE!!! I'm drinking more water than I thought possible (babies need water) and I am always on the lookout for foods that could make my stomach uncomfortable or give me heartburn. My veggie and fiber intake goes WAY up and my french fry intake goes way down.

Having put in a few solid months of base building right around the 12 week mark, I start to incorporate speedwork into my plan. This training cycle I did it a week earlier than normal during week 13 (last week) - my marathon baby always was head of the class.  He is going to be president.... congressman.... something better than those two.

Last week I logged 58 miles.  I had been hovering in the mid 40s for the longest time but finally pulled the trigger on the 6th day of running which pushed me over the edge. The speed session I did last week was a 5 mile tempo run on Friday (8 miles total) with the tempo miles at half marathon pace or 6:30/mile.  Let me tell you, it.was.hard.  I did it on a treadmill at work which helped a bit.  Nothing like all of your work people watching you grunt and sweat to keep you going!!!  (Edit: I forgot that I also did 5x800 @ 6:00 the week before that. So, I guess I started doubly early)  The miles are adding up on my legs for sure. By the time my long run rolls around, I'm pretty trashed, but it is a good kind of hurt.... all 50 shades of it.

This week I hope to log 61 or 62 miles.  I'm going to do another round of 800s, this time hoping to get 7 of them. I had planned to do a 10 mile marathon pace run today, but the weather was NOT cooperating with a low temp of 92 degrees. So, I did 7 miles at whatever pace I could muster and called it a day. (7 @ 7:29/mile which felt like running sub 5:00)

So, if the heat doesn't kill me, that is the plan for the next 2-3 weeks. But, rest assured, the heat WILL kill me.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Is Meb cashing in his running cred chips?

American elite distance running is interesting to follow.  With so few athletes to root for, we latch on to anyone who has the faintest glimmer of success or triumph over adversity. Or, in the absence of either of those, is marketable enough (Let’s be honest…. read: has a pretty face) to put on a magazine cover.  While Americans only have a handful of men and women that could come close to challenging the highest levels of world-class elite marathon times (I won’t dare list them here at risk of forgetting one), one has been doing it rather consistently for the last 4-6 years: Meb Keflezighi. He isn’t the fastest, he certainly isn’t the youngest, but he is a workhorse of the “difficult” Major Marathons.

As such, it came as a bit of a surprise yesterday when I heard that Meb was hired as the “VP of Running” of competitor group who puts on the Rock and Roll marathon series of races.

Elite running is BUSY. Meb posted a YouTube of an average day for him. Spoiler: IT IS NON STOPPED. How can he have time to consistently train like he needs to stay at the top of his game?  Every article I read had Meb quoted with saying that he is laser focused on the 2016 Olympics. But, I can’t help but be a bit cautious that he is bending his focus away from running and more towards whatever it is that will pay the bills AFTER running.  In fact, he had previously flirted with retirement prior to his Boston win.

Really Meb? No way do I believe you ride this...
Now, I certainly can’t fault him for making a big money grab after his massive win at Boston (if that is what this is) or starting to set himself up for a post running career.  At 39 years old, he is easily 5 years older than any of his “real” competitive peers, so thinking about his twilight years has to be top of mind.  Additionally, as a friend Lauren pointed out, Meb is currently juggling seemingly 15 sponsors (giving most healthy living bloggers a run for their money... zing!!!) so adding one more iron in the fire isn’t THAT big of a deal? Maybe?

I personally really hope that Meb keeps his foot on the running gas pedal. Granted, I do realize that he isn’t a robot and can’t do this forever. Unless he IS a robot. In that case, all hail robot overlord Meb. But, part of the reason I’m somewhat bummed to hear about the new “job” is that I’m a big fan of his and would hate to see him hang up his Sketchers. Having met him a few times he really is as genuine as everyone says – so I just hate to see one of the good guys go. That said, hopefully he is able to do a bit of good work with the Rock and Roll races and swap out a few high school garage bands with more water stops or better beer at the finish line.

Thoughts? Am I blowing this out of proportion or is this the beginning of the end?

Friday, July 18, 2014

Blogging Off-season is OVER!

Just like herpies, just when you think you’re rid of me, I’m back! Although, I suppose I haven’t really gone anywhere (also like herpies) – just took a little technology break for a few weeks.  You know, except for my phone, twitter, facebook, Instagram, Buzzfeed, online news….. okay, so maybe I just took a break from blogging.  Triathletes get their “off season”, so let’s call the last 3 weeks my Blogging Offseason. So, now that I’m all bloated up on hot dogs (read: beer), apple pie (also beer), and fruit salad (fruit beer) I’m ready to get back into the swing of things!  Here is what I’ve been up to:

At the beginning of the month I made my annual trip to my dad’s lake house. I not only took an internet break, but also took a bit of a running break. The logistics of running and taking care of my son were just too great to overcome. I did get to see all kinds of family, did some swimming, boating, but of course didn’t take that family picture that my dad INSISTED that we take.  Oops.  My son absolutely loves going back so that he can drive all of the heavy machinery.
 So, the lake on the 4th was.....busy

I was thinking the other day… the President can’t really have more than a beer or two, huh?  I mean, he could be in the middle of a keg-stand, Joe Biden holding Obama’s legs in the air (come on, you KNOW uncle Joe is up for a keg stand), and a nuclear war could start. Nothing says “leader of the free world” like telling the national security advisor to “shut his face” and “stop being so dramatic” while slipping Bud Light Biden a $20 for another beer run.
Crazy Joe Biden...

Fortunately, in spite of the time off while I was in Iowa, I have still been running! It hasn’t been as much as I would like and it hasn’t been quite as fast, but I’m getting out there. In fact, I did my first speed session (5x800 @ 6:00/mile) in months that went really well. That said, the humidity in Phoenix (read: like 50%) has been miserable. For the last week it has averaged 83 with 70%+ humidity while I’ve been running. Well, and that brought out the bugs (which are quite rare for Phoenix)!

Yes, that is one on my tongue. 

I haven’t locked in on a race for this fall but I am eyeing either the Detroit Marathon or the Columbus, OH marathon. That means that I need to find 10-12 miles extra per week FAST.  The 53 miles I’m running this week isn’t going to cut it.

Finally, today is my last day as a 32 year old that has a 12 year old mind. In that time I’ve ran 3 marathons (well, one last year was the weekend before my bday), started a new job, bought a house, had a few ups and downs, but most importantly kept my son alive. I’m not a huge birthday celebrator, so I’m going for a run, having some coffee with a buddy, and maybe a motorcycle ride.  That is, unless Joe Biden comes over – then it is keg stands all day long!

Of course, another work week gone slaving away at the factory wouldn’t be complete without at least a little chuckle.  Happy Friday!