Sunday, May 31, 2009

Podcasts

I'm going to get caught up on blogs as well as get a running update out this afternoon!

As much as I hate to give Steve Jobs his due, podcasts REALLY helped on my 20 hour drive this weekend.  I had around 15 hours of podcasts saved up and alternated between them and a fully loaded iPod that a friend of mine let me borrow.  I found that, even though the music was awesome, the podcasts really helped pass the time.

Before I was catapulted into the 21st century and discovered Podcasts, I would listen to talk radio.  (Insert comment here about how I am an old man)  NPR or sports talk radio would usually help pass the hours and hours of long runs on Sunday morning.  However, over the last year or so, I've collected a number of solid podcasts that I listen to on a regular basis.  I normally listen to them while running my long run, but sometimes I'll listen to them on the plane or while I am less busy at work.

Here is a list of the podcasts (in alphabetical order to be completely fair) that I listen to on a regular basis.  I've linked to each of the associated blogs but ironically I don't read any of the them.  I'm not sure why I don't read them, but then again, why would I do that when I could just plug in and have someone READ it to me!?  Itunes does all of the heavy lifting for me!  Now, if I could just get someone to read RunnersWorld for me.....

One important thing to note, subscribing to podcasts via Itunes doesn't require an Ipod.  In fact, I only recently bought my little Ipod shuffle but have been listening to some of these since they started.

Does anyone else out there listen to podcasts to help their long runs go by?  I'm always in search of new or exciting podcasts to add to my list.

Brandon's Marathon: Brandon is an opra singer in NYC who recently completed his first marathon and is training for his first ironman (IM WI).  The thing I really like about this podcast is that it is a very well organized / produced podcast. Also, to be honest, since he uses his voice to bring home the bacon, he has a radio type voice that is easy to listen to :)  *in my best radio voice* Heyyyy, you're listening to Q102, all the best music.... all the time!
Live Music Podcast: This podcast is from a high school buddy of mine who LOVES music.  A great one if you like the same type of music he does and love to listen to live recordings.
NPR Science Friday: I'm a science dork and I love me some NPR.  How could I not subscribe to this one?
NPR Car Talk: See also previous, except replace "science" with "car".  Besides, these guys are a RIOT.
Runner Lounge: This podcast provides a lot of 'solid' running advice.
The Runners Round Table: The format of this podcast is interesting.  It is a live chatroom where anyone can join and speak their mind.  The logistics are sometimes a bit difficult (stuipd interweb), however it is very interesting and usually worth the VAST differences in volume of some of the speakers.  Of course, that does mean that I blow out my eardrums every so often.
Running in the Center of the Universe: This is one of my favorite podcasts because the author takes his recorder on the run!  I usually listen to it while running so it is almost like having someone running with you.  Very cool idea.


Saturday, May 30, 2009

1400 miles to go

As you read this I will be driving from Kansas City to Phoenix.  The 1400 mile drive is not something that I have looked forward to, but I realize that it is a necessary evil.  I told my mom a few days ago that this move seems to be an iterative process and I am only on step 2 of 6.  You know, sort of like long division or Alcoholics Anonymous.  No one likes any of them, but all three are necessary – and painful.

I’m really excited to get to Phoenix, find a house, and be able to sleep in my own bed again.  Sleeping in hotel beds for 2 months and counting is really draining.  For those of you that don’t travel on a regular basis, think about it for a second...  What is the first thing that you do when you get home from either traveling for work or vacation?  Probably either crash on the couch or sleep.  Traveling takes a lot out of you.  Not that I am complaining per say, I’ll just be very excited to get back into a normal routine.

That said I will miss a lot of things about Kansas City.  As I brainstormed about the things that I will miss, I was amazed at how many of them were smell related.  I smell things – a lot.  In fact, I associate all sorts of things with smell.  (Double down on the deodorant if you are going to visit!)  Quite honestly, out of all of the things I’ll miss (seasons, BBQ, the Midwestern lifestyle, no traffic, being within driving distance of my parents) the smell of the city after a long trip on the road was one of the first things that I thought of.  Other smell related things were the smell of fall and the smell of green grass.  Maybe I smell everything because of my extra large nostrils.  Gotta use those puppies for something!

So, think of me while I am plugging away killing each and every one of the 1400 miles.  The great news is that a good friend let me borrow her iPod and I’m going to load my shuffle full of podcasts.  During the drive I’ll work on my truckers tan and try to get a run in here and there!

Friday, May 29, 2009

On a race hunt

I need to run some more races.  If you look at the little race schedule to the right, you'll see that I don't have any thing planned until October.

For me, races are a means to a number of ends:
  • They give me a goal to train for
  • They give me something to talk about
  • They supply an ever increasing collection of free Tshirts with sponsors on the back - which make me feel a bit like I am in NASCAR
  • They let me spit, blow my nose rocket style, and scratch myself with relatively little repercussions

So, I'm on a hunt.  The first step is deciding what length to go with.  I'm not sure if I can do another marathon this year or not.  I really would like to, but it would be difficult to fit it into my schedule.  Besides, I'm going to run the RnR Phoenix Marathon around new years, so I'd like to be well rested for that and hopefully run another PR.

So, that honestly leaves 5k and 10k races.  (Haven't fell in love with half marathons yet)  Luckily, the AZ Road Racers seem to have a race about every weekend.  In fact, Pat told me that you can sign up for 5 of them for only $25.  That may be too good to pass up.  That would possibly add a 5k in June and two in July.

I recently found out about a 5K in my hometown of 1800 people (the town, not the race!!).  Now THIS race would be a riot to run.  If that isn't age group winning material I don't know what is!  Unfortunately, since I will be living in Arizona by that time, it would be hard to get to since I will have to catch a flight!

So, I'm a little torn.  I'll likely put some serious thought into it while driving across the country this weekend.  But right now AZ racers Run for Vaina on June 7th and AZ Road Racers #4 on July 18th are the leading contenders.

How does everyone else choose races to run?  I'm in a bit of a scheduling slump!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Boating in Austin

As I said before, I spent this weekend with friends at Lake Travis near Austin, TX.  A great time was had by all.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get in all of the pictures that I wanted to, but I thought that I would share a few of my favorites from the time spent there.  (There are a lot of them - sorry about that :)

My wife and I flew in on Friday and after we landed I headed straight for the beer.  I think that if my wife had her choice, we would have headed straight for bed (to sleep – blah), but like I always say “daddy needed his medicine” (beer in large amounts).  Fortunately, the group I went with had gone out the night before and REALLY did some drinking so they were pretty subdued.  I’m not sure that I can keep up with them anymore if they are full throttle.

On Saturday we woke up late, had breakfast of Cajun style eggs and played a little poker.  We used sugar packets as the money and I got my ass beat.



We got the boat ready to head out on the lake during the early afternoon and mostly drove around.  I did have a chance to accidentally snap a picture of what I can only assume are “ladies of the night”.  They had pasties on which unfortunately in my haste to take the picture didn’t’ really turn out well.  Next time I suppose.



That night, we grilled burgers with potatoes and asparagus.  As you can see, grilling is serious business.  Also, some of the guys we were with didn’t want to use sunscreen.  So, they got a little red.  Here are our three arms.  Brett (medium hair), me (hairless chiwawa), and Craft (Robin Williams).



Sunday morning we were actually up pretty early and were able to get out on the lake to try our luck at tubing/skiing/jet skiing.  Sunday was by far the most eventful day even though we were dodging lightning and rain the entire morning.  Of course, that didn’t stop us from tubing!  (Sorry mom, probably against some advice you’ve given me over the years)



Here is me tubing.  I actually fell off shortly after this picture taken, landed on my head, and had my legs continue past and slap the water in front of me.  I was a human pinwheel!!


Finally, I don't know what trip would be complete with this group without shot gunning a few beers.  For those of you not aware of the term, shot gunning a beer consists of stabbing a hole in the side of the can, cracking it open so that it can get air, and sucking all of the beer out of the stabbed hole in the side.  Good times.  The BEST part is that when one of the groups was doing it we hit a huge wave and one of the guys fell off the boat!


So, if I had to sum up the weekend in one sentence, I’d have to say it would be “Boating whiplash is bad”…. Or, maybe “Peeing in the lake is awesome and super convenient”… Naw, I’m going to settle on “Drinking beer is like drinking a loaf of bread”.  Awesometown.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Back on the wagon

It’s official.  I’m running regularly again.  Well, I guess if you could call one time for 5 miles regular.  But, I am PLANNING on running regularly again.  I’m on a running streak of 1.  I imagine that Paris Hilton is having a similar streak of not getting hammered and drunk dialing that guy she made the noodie video with….  Baby steps Paris, baby steps.

I sorta took off 2 weeks after my race in Fargo to recuperate and get over the cold that I had.  As a result, I have since ran a total of 8 miles in the last two weeks split across a painful 3 miler and a snotty 5 miler.  I read somewhere (Possibly the Running Laminator? Can’t remember) that after a marathon you should take off a day for each mile.  While that seemed a bit extreme, I didn’t feel bad that I took the time off. 

Anyway, I ran 5 miles at my new relaxed pace of 8:15/mile.  I’m making a conscious effort to step my pace up a notch with the goal of getting my speed up just a bit.  Not a lot of speed, just the tip, to see how it feels.  The new paces that I’m going to try to hit are somewhere between 8:30 for my super long runs, 7:45 for marathon pace runs, and 7:00 for tempo runs (speed workouts will be done around 6:30).  That will put me on pace for a 3:23 marathon.

The run felt good.  It was really nice to get back on the wagon again.  I noticed that the Lifetime Fitness that I go to gets BUSY during the early evening hours.  In fact, all of the 50 or so treadmills were full at one time during the night.  So to try to free up the treadmills a bit earlier for others (ok, I just wanted to see if I could do it or not) I ran the last mile in 6:30.  Not the best idea, but I’m sort of an idiot like that.  

On a side note, I REALLY need to find a fast 5K and see if I can break 20 minutes.  I’m not sure if I can do it right now, but I know that I can get really close if I try.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Going to Texas, Ya'll

By the time you read this I will be half nekid on a boat on Lake Travis just outside of Austin Texas.  I’m going to take a ton of pictures which I hope will include the following:

Me with a beer in hand with two beers in hand
Me with a Texas sized cowboy hat on.  Howwdeeee!
Me recreating various scenes of the “I’m on a Boat” YouTube video
Me grilling
Me cannonballing off of the side of the boat (if the water isn’t too gross/cold/cloudy/wet)
Me getting red as a lobster putting on sunscreen

Oh, and there might be pictures of all of my friends and wife too.  Maybe.  We’ll see.  

Happy early Memorial Day all!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

BQ??

I was reading an online running forum the other day and I ran across a post from a guy (who runs basically as fast as I do) asking the group if he could qualify for the Boston Marathon.  What struck me was that he is my age and has the same insane qualification requirements that I have: a 3:10 marathon.  That means running twenty six 7:15/min miles one right after the other.  It is about as hard as you’d expect.  To look at it another way, go to your local track, run around that track in 1 minute 49 seconds, and then repeat 104 more times without slowing down or stopping.  (I love the track analogy for a marathon.)

I’ve often wondered to myself if running at the speed required for me to qualify is something that is purely genetic, or if it is something that can be trained.  That is, can I qualify if I train my ass off?

If I look at my marathon history, I’m fairly confident that I am not a ‘born’ runner.  But, it is fun and I haven’t died yet, so I continue.  To achieve the 3:10 marathon, I’m basically 19 minutes away.  As I’ve found, early gains are easy while later gains are much harder to obtain.  I’ve shortened my marathon time by 30 minutes in 2 years.  I’ve went from 3:59:13 in 10/07 to 3:29:29 in 5/09.  However, I would assume that the last 19 minutes would be twice as hard as the first 30.

The people in the post above gave lots of suggestions on what the original poster could do to qualify / bring his times down.  A lot of them included running more miles.  60+ miles per week.  The most that I’ve ever ran has been 46 – and 26 of those were a marathon.  So, I suppose that is something that I could do.  Also mentioned was incorporating some speed work after increasing base mileage.  Yeah, I could probably look into that too.

So, what do you think?  Is this even a possibility?


My History:
10/07 - Kansas City Marathon: 3:59:13
3/08 - Olathe Marathon: 3:48:43
10/08 - Chicago Marathon: 4:05:49 (bombed out because of the heat)
3/09 - Fayetteville Marathon: 3:44:12
5/09 - Fargo Marathon: 3:29:29

Friday, May 22, 2009

Running again!

3 miles 7:59 pace

Yay!  I’m running again.  I decided that my cough/cold had subsided to an ever present need to clear my throat so I would let myself try a few miles.  It went great.  It felt really good to crank out a few miles.  My legs weren’t tired and the miles didn’t seem to be overly difficult.  In fact, I tried some “strides” (which I just learned about a week or so ago) which are controlled accelerations for, in my case, 0.15 miles.  I ran my “strides” at 6:00 pace and the rest of the miles alternating between 8:00 and 8:30 pace.  Gosh, it feels good to be back.  (That last sentence reminded me of the song in the movie “Office Space”…  “Damn it feels good to be a gangsta…”)

I'm in a good place right now. TGIF

I the spirit of running again, here are a few pictures of me ‘in action’ at Fargo.  I accidentally pulled these from the marathon picture website, but honestly may buy two of them.




Thursday, May 21, 2009

Shame on you IMAX

Since I've slowed down on the running, I've been going to a lot of movies lately.  By a lot I mean like 2 in the last month.  But, I am PLANNING on going to a lot more movies during the next month or so.  The summer movie season is in full swing and I can't get enough of things exploding, guys swearing, or robots turning on their masters and killing everyone in their path.  Summer movie season is guy movie season.  *grunt grunt*  Makes me want to scratch my crotch just thinking about it.

Aziz Ansari is also going to movies.  In fact, he spent an extra $5 to go to what he thought was an IMAX theatre to watch the new Star Trek.  The catch?  Instead, he ended up at some crappy ass IMAX that was only 1/3 the size of a 'regular' IMAX.  Check it out in pictures:


You may know Aziz from Parks and Recreation.  Haha, who am I kidding, no one watches that show.  (It is actually pretty funny, but I think that the ratings aren't very good.)  He is also on Scrubs where he plays a REALLY funny character with crazy dry humor.  Anyway, he posted on his blog a F-bomb laced post that slammed IMAX, Regal Theatres, and AMC Theatres for charging more for the movie without the size to go with it.  I agree with him!  While I've never been to an IMAX theatre, I do associate IMAX with those massive 3 story screens not some 'digital projection enhancement'.  This is another one of those examples like the shrinking Cadbury Creme Egg. (This one is worth the time to watch)



Of course, IMAX is playing damage control, trying to say that the enhanced experience is what people are paying for.  $15 for an enhanced experience!?  Wow, I'll just buy the DVD for $20 and enhance the shit out of it while sitting on my couch in my underwear.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

My Amazing Body

Still hacking on phlegm, so no running yet…..

I was talking to one of my best friends late last week when I was just starting to get sick.  We were talking about how stressful his project is at the moment and how when he gets stressed he gets cold sores.  I told him that, while I don’t get cold sores, when I get stressed my face breaks out like a 14 year old during prom.  (By the way, I’d like to punch whoever told me that I would stop having zits when I was in my 20s – lying bastard).  While talking to my friend, we got on the topic of how amazing our bodies are that they can react to simple mental inputs like stress and have such an adverse reaction.

Think about it.  If you get stressed, your blood pressure goes up, your immune system goes down, and you may get cold sores or break out in zits – not to mention a host of other ailments.  Isn’t that amazing?  Amazing in the sense that you can involuntarily control your body that much with just your mind.  On the flip side, it really makes me think about the old mantra that ‘laughter is the best medicine’.  I mean, it isn’t that large of a scientific leap to go from your mind totally wrecking your body via stress to your body healing itself with the movie 40 Year Old Virgin.  Steve Carell can be my medicine any day.

I’ve read before that after a hard marathon, your body is so spent that you have little to no immune system.  Since I haven’t been really sick in years, I think that I am most certainly a victim of this.  What is interesting about this is that I 100% feel that if I had not run the marathon, I would not have gotten sick.  Not that I wouldn’t have come into contact with the virus that got me sick, but that I would have been able to kill it with my own body prior to it taking over and sending my snot production into overdrive.  Makes me feel powerful and weak at the same time.  Stupid germs.

So, in my recouperation, I’m trying to give my body the best chance it has to fight off anything else that may come my way.  The normal mom 101 stuff – fluids, sleep, lots of TV, binge drinking – you know, the usual.  Finally, since I am now so confident of my own mental powers, I’m going to start to work on Jedi mind tricks, Star Wars style.  *Waves arm* You don’t need that report until next week…. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Maintenance runs?

5/16: 3 miles, 7:27 pace
5/17: 5 miles, 8:03 pace

I was in my hometown this past weekend in northwest Iowa.  My wife and I saw a few people and got to catch up with each of our respective families.  Unfortunately, the cold that I was fighting off most of last week really took hold during the weekend, so I think that my rest period is going to last a bit longer than I would like.  Blah.  I've never experienced a post-marathon cold, but I've read all about how running a marathon totally wrecks your immune system.

On Saturday, I ran a few miles with my wife and, while she was getting ready for the day, I decided to crank out a quick 3 miler at a pretty good pace.  The GREAT news was that I could tell my calf was starting to heal and was on its way to being 100%.  The bad news is that the miles seemed to drag on and on and on.  I know that this is because I hadn’t done any real running for nearly a week so hopefully I can get on a consistent schedule and keep the leg cobwebs at bay.  Either way, this time I was able to do the 3 miles as basically a tempo / slow 10k pace.  Of course, with this cold in my chest, I’m not going to be sticking to that any time soon.

Sunday’s miles were a bit weird.  I went to a high school graduation on Sunday (the catalyst for the trip back) and spent most of the afternoon eating pickles and cake.  Don’t judge me.  The pickles were wrapped in corned beef and were glorious.  The festivities were starting to wrap to a close around 5:30pm and I was tired of asking my wife who various people were.  So, I decided to go for my ‘long’ run of the week.  My aforementioned cold was starting to get a bit annoying, but it hadn’t moved to my chest, so everything that I’ve read said that I was just fine to head out for a quick jog.  I went for a run and almost immediately regretted eating the pickles.  But, I powered through with all of the energy that I obtained from the frosting and was able to get the miles in.

So, right now I’m in a holding pattern to see if this cough that I’ve developed turns into anything or if it is the end of the cycle.  Either way, I don’t really want to run and risk making it worse.  I wonder if I can lift weights and not make it any worse? 

Saturday, May 16, 2009

7 Days Post Marathon

0.25 miles, 9:00ish pace.


Yes, you read that right.  I ran a whole 1/4 of a mile.  I was particularly spent after this race and had absolutely no intention of running anything until Wednesday or Thursday.  Normally, after a marathon I have stiffness and soreness in my hamstrings / glutes.  So, it hurts when I sit or when I  try to stand up.  Not a very good combination.  Although, I do get to complain a lot to my buddies that my ass hurts.  So, that is nice.  But, after the Fargo Marathon, I was really sore in my calves.  They were so sore right after the race that I couldn't really stretch them out for fear of cramping.

However, not to be determined by lingering stiffness, as "scheduled" on Wednesday I went to the gym to try to loosen up my legs.  I cranked out a quick 5 miles on the bike in 20 minutes and headed over to the treadmill feeling pretty good about myself.  There was no pain and I was able to peddle just as fast as I could have wanted.  That is where it went all wrong.

I hopped on the treadmill, set the speed to 9:00/miles and got going.  Little did I know that after 0.1 miles, my right calf and Achilles were screaming with pain.  So, I stopped the treadmill and stretched them out trying to ignore the people who were staring at me after my 'hard' workout of 30 seconds.  Once I felt like I had stretched everything out well enough, I jumped back on looking more determined as ever and again set the treadmill to 9:00/miles.  However, just as before, after a solid 30 seconds my calf hurt enough that I decided to just stop.

I stopped because I didn't want to push it too much and risk injury.  Fortunately, I think that I did and am now back to nearly 100%.  I'm going to test it out with a few shorter runs in my hometown this weekend (HS graduation party).  I'm thinking 3 on Saturday and 5 on Sunday.  Hopefully I'll have good luck!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Red Eyes be Draggin'

As I look forward in my personal calendar, I realize that I only have two weeks before my move to Phoenix.  This however does not change the fact that I must travel to Atlanta each and every week for work.  The problem?  Flights to Atlanta from Phoenix are nearly 4 hours long and I loose 3 hours in the process.  That means that if I were to leave Phoenix at 6:00am, I don’t land in Atlanta until 1:00pm.  Yeah, that IS a problem.  Don’t get me wrong, I love starting the day after it is nearly half over as much as the next guy, but I doubt anyone else involved would appreciate that.

One of the solutions is taking the red eye flight that leaves at 11:00pm and arrives at 6:00am the next day.  I’ve only taken one red eye flight before from Hawaii to LAX and it was a nightmare.  I didn’t sleep and the plane was hot one minute and then freezing cold the next.

So, I’ve started a short list of pros and cons to try to help me come to a decision:

Pro:
I get to work on time on Monday
I don’t get hassled for leaving work at a decent time on Thursday when I fly home

Con:
I don’t sleep on flights. Period. 
If the Arizona Cardinal’s cheerleaders are on the flight, I might punch them in the face
I won’t be productive for at least two days afterward due to sleep depravation
I’ll probably get sick because of lack of sleep
All of my blog followers will have to listen to me complain…more
All of my AOL Instant Messenger buddies will have to listen to me complain….more
I’ll be thinking of making sure to catch my flight all day Sunday

So, I’m honestly not sure what I am going to do.  Well, as I type that, it isn’t entirely true.  I booked my first flight a few days ago and decided to take the non red eye version.  I figure that since I’ll be working on the flight in the morning (I’m a morning person) I’ll make up at least partially for my late arrival.  That is the hope at least.  This is one of those ask for forgiveness vs ask for permission type deals.  At least that is the way I am approaching it right now.

What would you do?


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Happy Belated Mom's Day

A friend sent me this clip of Andy Samberg and Justin Timberlake from this week's SNL and it made me laugh - hard.  Yes, I am about as mature as a 4 year old - but that doesn't make this any less funny. :)





It may not but totally apparent, but this is a continuation of the infamous 'D in a box' vid that they did a few years back. (If you want to find it, just search "Timberlake in a box" on Youtube.)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Fargo Marathon Race Report – Uff da! Part 2

After drafting this race report I decided to split it into two separate parts.  Check out part 1 here.

3:29:29 / 8:00 overall pace / Average HR 187 / New PR by 15 minutes! 

Second to last 10k (miles 13.1 – 19)- 2:38:02
I stayed remarkably strong after the half and was able to hold my pace at about 7:55.  This was one of the first races ever that my pace didn’t start to taper off right after the half.  Normally, I go out a bit too fast and start to pay for the early speed around mile 15 or so.  I honestly think that my GU and water strategy was what got me through these miles on pace.  I ate a GU every 6 miles and took small sips of water and Gatorade with salt each mile.  I wore my water belt which enabled me to drink when I wanted to which was totally worth the extra weight.  I’m going to continue to do that until someone can convince me that drinking every three miles is better.  Well, that or until I can drink from those cups while on the run.  Right now most of it ends up in my nose, on my face, and down my shirt.

I did have a bit of a ‘scare’ around mile 18.  I believe the term is ‘runners trots’ or maybe ‘runners gut’….or possibly the ‘I’ve gotta crappies”?  Either way, I all of a sudden had the very strong urge to go #2.  While I wish I had a great story of me going behind a bush, getting caught by a cop, and getting thrown into jail, I don’t.  THANK GOODNESS I was able to keep on running and the cramping subsided.  Possibly phantom cramping?  


Last 10k and finish (miles 20 – finish) – 51:27
I read somewhere (likely a blog) that a marathon is actually a 20 mile jog followed by a 10k race.  I never thought much about that, but they are right.  Having the juice to run a solid 6 miles after running 20 is really the key.   Ha!  Sort of like getting a root canal… all you do is just sit there and open your mouth.  It looks easy and straight forward but the devil is in the details.

Fortunately, I did have the juice to hold a decent pace for the last 6.2 miles.  While I didn’t completely hold 7:55, I was able to keep it up to 8:10. I did resign myself to a quick pee break during mile 23 which burned an amazingly long 60 seconds.  You’d think I was rubbing one out in there or something.  Fortunately, I was planning on slowing down a bit, so this 60 second break just ate into my 2 minute “bank”.  Miles 20-24 were completed using pure grit and I’m honestly not sure how I finished miles 25-26.  I only vaguely remember these last few miles.

The finish itself was remarkable.  The 3:30 pacer hadn’t passed me yet, so I knew that unless I completely fell on my face I was going to meet my goal.  We finished in the climate controlled Fargo Dome with each runner being displayed on the jumbotron.  Incredible.  My wife, brother in law, in laws, and some native Fargo/Moorhead family friends were in the stands all cheering me on as I crossed the line.  While I was walking around in a dazed state getting the usual post race garb: medal, bagel, banana, chocolate milk, etc I was able to take everything in.  It was really fun.

While I was cooling off and stretching, we met up with two people from my hometown that both finished their first marathon.  They finished in ~3:55 and ~4:40.  Based on initial reaction, I think that they both had fun and met their goals.  In fact, they both did it while looking remarkably well rested afterward!  My mother in law said that we needed to take a group picture to put in the local paper.  I had been done for over an hour and still looked frazzled.  They however, both looked like they could go do another loop of the 13.1 mile course.  Nice work ladies!

Finally, my brother in law said he heard the announcer say something just before I finished that brought tears to my eyes both now and then.  The announcer said “Let’s cheer this next group on they are all going to be finishing before 3:30.  Finishing a marathon in less than three hours and thirty minutes is sometimes known as what separates racers from runners”.  I had never heard of that before, and I’m not sure if it is true, but I like it.

I’m a 3:30 marathoner.  I’m a racer.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Fargo Marathon Race Report – Uff da! Part 1

After drafting this race report I decided to split it into two separate parts.

3:29:29 / 8:00 overall pace / Average HR 187 / New PR by 15 minutes! 

Packet pickup and prerace
Before I arrived at packet pickup I had no bib.   When I left I had a bib and a timing chip.  I honestly think that the Chicago Marathon packet pickup has forever spoiled me for what an over the top debacle a packet pickup can be.  That said, Fargo held it’s own.  In the goodie bag was a cool long sleeved technical shirt (my first) and a nice golf sized towel.  For that matter, the goodie bag itself was a really high quality Adidas bag that I think will now be my new gym bag.  They had a bunch of vendors selling stuff and giving away free samples – who doesn’t like that??

On race day, I did my usual routine, got in the car with my wife, brother in law, and in-laws and was off.  Little did we know that the roads in a town of 175,000 are ill-equipped for 13,000 runners and crew.  I had planned on getting to the starting line around 7:30 and relaxing until the race.  Instead, I jumped out of the car on the road (I was driving) at 7:45, jogged to the port a potties to pee, saw some girls from my hometown, and then jogged to my pace group.  2 minutes later they started prerace announcements and we were off!  Whew.


First 10k – 49:28
The first six miles were, just like any other largish race, really busy.  I started two rows back from my pace team leader and I spent the first 3 or so miles trying to catch back up with him.  Most of the time I was doing my best to dodge people to try to keep up with my pace group.  It was like I was playing my own personal game of Frogger.  I was trying to get from point A to point B which sometimes meant jumping over and around people without going splat (tripping).  I felt a little bad at times because I know that I was cutting people off trying to keep up the pace, but honestly the slower pace people who started towards the front were probably a bit to blame too.  Either way, no harm, no foul.  Anyway, during the first few miles I realized that my Garmin was going to be a bit off because we were hitting right at 8:00 pace based on the stopwatch, but the GPS said we were running around 7:53 pace.  This worried me a bit because I was going to have to run ~ 35 seconds per mile faster than training pace. Uff-da!  (Inside joke….  I guess that is something that people from North Dakota say a lot?)


Middle 10k (miles 6 – half) - 1:43:25
Miles 6 to 13 are usually my best during a marathon and these were no different.  I continued to hold my Garmin indicated 7:50 pace and by doing so even gained a few seconds each mile ahead of my 8:00 pace group.  I found something about myself and pace groups during this time.  Around mile 6, I was able to get ahead of the pace group.  When I was running with or behind the pace group I felt like I was scrambling to keep up.  You know, think of a little lap dog trying to keep up with a speeding car.  However, when I was ahead of the pace group, even if only by a little bit, I felt like my effort was substantially less.  

Once I was ahead of the pace group, I took the time to look around and enjoy some of the local fans.  I especially liked the accordion band made up of 10 old ladies playing polka music and the 20 kids on the jumpy thing with YMCA playing in the background….  “Its fun to stay at the…..Y M C A!!!”  Yes, I did do the YMCA with my hands, and yes they did go crazy screaming when I did it.  I think that there may be some race photos of that too.    

More tomorrow on the second half!!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Fargo Marathon: 3:29:33

Race report tomorrow. Too sleepy right now!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Testing email to blogging

Just testing the email to blog post functionality.  Nothing to see here!

Week of 5/4 Runs

5/5: 3 miles, 7:57 pace
5/6: 4 miles, 8:06 pace


Gosh, not much to say about these miles, it is definitely taper time and I am definitely going nuts.  I have all of the classic symptoms of taperitis including worrying about every little twitch or feeling in my legs, having tons of energy, and questioning my goal times.

Trust my training...trust my training...

I'll be MIA for the next few days, but I'll be back and better than ever in a few!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Cheerleaders and 5:30am flights

…Don’t mix.  Period.

As I know that I’ve mentioned before, my Monday morning flight has a departure time of 5:30 AM.  That means, to make my flight, I need to roll into the airport around 4:50 AM.  Here are a few examples to give you an idea of my mental state that early in the morning:
  • I often forget where my car is parked…even though I park in nearly the same spot each week
  • I usually have a panic attack on the drive to the airport that I forgot my laptop/coat/sex swing/notebook/client badge/etc
  • I am fairly certain that I could get pulled over for reckless driving (thank god for cruise control!)
  • In the past, I’ve went to the wrong gate for my flight
  • I am a VERY talkative person and I talk to no one

All of that and I am a morning person!!

This week was no exception.  Total daze.  So, imagine my surprise when I started to see women (for some reason really short women….strange) in matching Chiefs Cheerleader Jennifer Lopez style tracksuits.  It started out as two, but eventually it turned into about 40.  They were about as chipper as you would expect, giggling and bouncing around while in the security line.  I wanted to punch them in the face.  Or barf.  OR maybe barf in their face!  Even better.

It only got worse when they were in the confined area of the airplane.  Thank god I was in the back.  It was like they were on crack!  Bouncing off of the walls like they just snorted a line of coke.  I was really starting to wonder if the Chiefs require their cheerleaders to take drug tests.  I’d better spend a few hours on the cheerleader’s website figuring that out. :)

Don’t get me wrong, I’m as red blooded as the rest of them, but for some reason I feel that seeing all of these girls would have been much better had there been sports in the background and beer in hand.  I was able to snap a camera phone pic of about a third of them when I got off the plane in Atlanta.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Fargo Marathon Thoughts

Since I am just 4 days away from the Fargo Marathon, I thought that I would look back a bit and do a prerace postmortem on my training.  The more interesting thing will be to do this same analysis after the race is over.  Hopefully I’ll have the same thoughts!

What I did the same:
Hal Higdon.  He has worked well in the past and has got me across the finish line 4 times before.  His focus on off days really works well for my lifestyle (traveling consultant whore) that enables me to take days off while I am traveling.  I trained off of his Intermediate II schedule with some slight modifications.

What I did differently:
While I did use the same training plan, I incorporated some speed work through the first few months.  I only did Yasso 800s on the treadmill – nothing fancy because that is the kind of guy I am.  (In the bedroom is a totally different story – heyoo)  I loved doing these and will most def work them back into my regular routine.  Also, I really focused on my pace.  I tried my best on my short runs to go slower than I would like (same story in the bedroom!!  I’m on a roll…) and until I got hurt I was incorporating a 5th day of running a week.  Finally, I ran two additional 20 milers one of which was a full marathon.  The extra miles on my legs served me well even if only to build up my very fragile ego.

Injuries:
I did VERY well with injuries during this training cycle.  While I did fight with some nagging pains, they were mostly my own doing.  I strained a quad muscle doing some squats (I know… I know….) which I believe lead to a nagging opposing ankle issue.  I just can’t help myself.  When I get into the gym and I see all of the meatheads and the crazies, I just want to load up the plates and go to town.  GRRRRRRRRRR.

Goals:
For my goals, I’m tracking to the A/B/C style of goals.  My A goal is a sub 3:30 race.  I would need to have no wind and a perfect race to hit this.  I have the legs for it, but everything would need to fall into place.  My B goal is a sub 3:40 race.  My C goal is to set a PR of a sub 3:44.  While it is aggressive, anything less than a PR would honestly be a disappointment.  I know what you are thinking: “Gosh Adam, you seem very arrogant/cocky/boastful/ass-tastic.  Why?”  Mostly because I ran the 3:44 after running 20 miles the 4 days before on a very hilly course.  I may have to “eat a bit of crow” if I totally blow up, which I have done before, but I think that posting it here on my blog makes it ‘real’.

By the way – what the hell is the deal with the saying ‘eat some crow’??!!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Boxing - Just one of those days

Sometimes you just have one of those days, you know? You give your best effort and it backfires in your face... sometimes literally! Luckily I haven't had one of those days in a while. I think the last time was when I was running. I moved over into the grass so that an older husband / wife pair could continue to walk hand in hand and was subsequently greeted by a gopher hole that caught my foot sending me head over heels. Yeah, screw you too mother earth.

My buddies over at fail blog always do a great job of putting this to pictures in short youtube videos. So, when you think that you are having a bad day, just think - you could be this guy.





More about my Fargo Marathon race prep tomorrow!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

5/2 Weekend Run

8 miles, 8:06 pace, 181 average HR

Today's run went really well.  The weather was almost perfect at 60 degrees with overcast clouds.  I still had some slight pain in my ankle that is more nagging than actual pain.  It honestly seems to get better if I keep it limber and run on it more - so maybe that means that it is a little tendinitis?  I'll have to do a little self diagnosis at some point this weekend (my wife LOVES it when I do that).  Thank goodness for WebMD.

Am I the only one that HATES to go to the doctor?  You go there, only to wait for a hour - 30 min of which is in the cramped exam room - talk to the doctor for 5 minutes.  GAH  It is enough to give me high blood pressure.  Don't even get me started on the $40 copay...or swine flu!

The thing that I didn't like was that the run was really choppy.  I waited a bit to go out running which also meant that everyone else had a chance to get up and start their Saturday morning errands.  I kept thinking to myself "why is everyone out so early!?"  But then I realized that it was actually like 10:30am instead of my regular 5:30am.  Yeahhh, big difference.  So, almost every single stoplight light (about once a mile) I had to stop for some period of time and wait for it to turn.  As a result, my HR was all over the place.

This is my last run before the big Fargo Marathon.  Since I am going to be in Atlanta this week and will fly directly to Fargo (via Minneapolis) I'll have to figure out exactly what I am going to wear for the race a week beforehand.  Not idea to be sure - but it has worked in the past.  The weather is a week out, but it looks like there is a pretty good chance of rain.  I just hope that there is no wind!



Friday, May 1, 2009

Time Flies

It is amazing how fast time flies.  This will be my last weekend in Kansas City (even though I'm not moving until 5/30).  In fact, I will spend a total of 4 more nights in this apartment during that time.  Hellooooo hotel points!!

This weekend we are here in Kansas City, next weekend we are in Fargo for the Fargo Marathon, then we go to Iowa for HS graduation, then we're off to Austin for some lake time and then we move!!  Before I know it we'll be looking for a new house and I'll be drinking a Pacifico by the pool.

Has anyone ever noticed that when you are flying, it is always sunny?  No matter what, there is never a cloud in the sky when you are above 30,000 feet.**  I love that.


**Yes, weather dorks, I realize that cumulus clouds can get as high as 60,000 feet. :)